Saturday, September 23, 2006



This will live in history exactly like "I did not have sex with that woman." (HT: Holy Coast)
UPDATE: Quote Clintion, "I tried and I failed." - In other words, "I refuse to go down in history as Nero - I'll settle for Neville Chamberlain." I'd say history has his butt backed into a corner.

More drumsticks for me. This is one mutation I'd work to preserve - more meat for the feed. I wonder if it's related to this thing?

Say good-bye to your weekend with this time waster.

False dicthomy - it's both, definitely both.

I had no idea they used skateboards.

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Comic Art

I am not sure if the Guardians of the Galaxy ever
worked with the Defenders as a team, but most of the major players did the time travel thing at some point and hooked up with the Doc Strange and whatever crew he had assembled at that moment. That said, they were a pretty fun group and worthy of exploration a bit. I personally love the story of the origin because even though they are heros from the future, from a 2006 perspective it is a very quaint sort of story. It readily reflects the concerns about the future that existed at the time the stories were written back in the late '60's and early '70's. Somehow I was lucky enough to purchase their first ever appearance way back then and loved it. Unfortunately, that particular comic has been lost form my collection. If only....

To my most youthful mind they may have been Marvel's best invention because of the sci-fi aspects and the mighty Marvel fashion of giving the characters depth. Something which frankly today DC is better at than Marvel. In this day and age Marvel is too busy protecting the franchise, funny how that happens.

But back to what I loved about the Guardians. Never has their been a comic I more wanted to be great than DC's "Legion of Super-Heroes." This title, originally intended to give Superboy a milleau in which to operate that did not interfere with adult Supe's continuity too much, was set in the far future where Superboy would travel and be a part of an enormous team of heroes. These future heroes were inspired by the stories of Superboy in their history books, but were unique because they didn't really have "super-powers" - they were normal for the planet they were from, but on earth, that made them "super." In some ways this gave the Legion all the possibilities of the X-Men, but with a sci-fi twist. Oh the possibilities - possibilities I still do not think the title has realized - though it is much better.

Guardians kicked that idea up a notch. The heroes in the Guardians were earthlings purposefully altered to survive on other planets! They, like the Legion, were brought together by events from the distant past. In this case, the line to comics "present" was Captain America's shield which Vance Astro of the Guardians wields to this day. That sang to my patriotic, even as a kid, heart.

The Guardians have faced some of the biggest baddest foes. Above we see a showdown with the darkly heoric Ghost Rider. (Did you know he has a movie coming out in February with Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze! The trailer looks awesome!)

And then there is Galactus - they do not come any bigger.

The Guardians are one of the better lesser knowns of the comics and a highly recommended read.

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Friday, September 22, 2006


Christians and Creation - A Positive Approach II

Having established that a Christian should have an entirely different view of environmental matters than a secular environmentalist, this post is the second in a series looking at how a Christian should view matters related to creation. In the first post in the series, we looked at the need for skepticism because virtually everything you will encounter on creation "issues" comes from that other worldview.

In this post I want to argue that a Christian's creation concerns should operate from a local perspective. I mean this perspective in two senses.

The first sense in which I want to talk about Christians, creation and a local perspective is the sense that all you can ever see of creation is, in fact, local. From where you sit, you may be able to witness some "raping of the planet," but that can be illusory.

For example, if you live in Elko County Nevada, virtually anywhere you go in the mountains north of town, you will think the planet decimated by the gold mining on the Carlin trend. Yet, look at this aeriel photo of the area - you cannot see a thing. Given a local perspective the merely annoying may appear as the catastrophic.

This means we should be extremely cautious when launching an "environmental cause." What we think may be a huge problem, may only be something personal to us. What's more, our personal desire to deal with our annoyance may give use motive to inflate the problem. Is that really Christian? Are we not first people of truth.

Think about it - casting our pet peeve as a huge planet impactful problem is a way of shoving aside all other interests for the sake of our own. Did not the Apostle Paul say
Phil 2:3 - Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;
Which brings me to the second sense in which I want to talk about having a local perspective. I think that God's plan to remove the curse of the fall from creation parallels His plan to bring salvation to mankind. It seems to me that God's plan is not big movements, politcal causes, and legalities, that it is incarnational, personal and very local. Did Christ travel the Roman Empire to spread His message? No - He stayed awfully close to home. You see, Jesus knew that if He dealt with twelve and they dealt with twelve and so forth He would accomplish what He truly wanted to accomplish - to transform those people - to make them worthy and adequate citizens of His kingdom. Before He established His kingdom, He has to make people worthy of it.

This means that in one sense evangelism is action to save creation. You see as people are transformed into Christ's image, they will relate to creation as He desires and any problems that may exist will resolve. If, as we established earlier, we are God's agents of change in creation, then when we become worthy of Him, we will act in accordance with His will.

Next we will turn our attention to having a humble perspective as relate to creation.

Part III is here.
Part IV is here.
Part V is available here.

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Links In The Key Of Life

Yesterday I linked briefly to the lawsuit Bill Lockyer (California Attorney General) has brought against auto makers for global warming. I may have taken it too seriously. As has been pointed out, the choice of defendant is a bit too narrow and the state should be including itself for actually bulding the highways. Hey the federal government too! Of course, Dan Weintraub is willing to name himself a defendant. Come to think of it, Lockyer "contributed to global warming" in the very preparation of the litigation itself - from the generation of the electricity that powered the computers it was written on, the internet is was researched on, oh and the lights in the room where he and his staff sat. They all had to get to work, or buses. Then there are the CO2 breathing trees destroyed to make the paper, and the delivery of the papers to the court, in a car. Can I sue Lockyer for suing?

And now, the real reason behind global warming politicing becomes way too readily apparent - Moving money around - to places that cannot really earn it. Btw, note who is in the background in the picture - it speaks volumes.

Speaking of the great narrative of global warming...Last year's monstrous hurricane season and this summer's heat wave are consider "possible evidence of global warming" and require millions of dollars to investigate. But the fact that global temperature has decreased the last three years - that's just evidence that warming is trend, not a straight line. Does anyone see a problem here?


Climbing three flights of stairs - 30 calories. Candy Bar - 400 calories. Not keeping the right perspective - more costly than you can imagine.

Friday time-waster

I like the way this guy thinks. Now, how do we incorporate the best of the house church in our church?

An interesting perspective on the Presbyterian publishing fiasco.

And you thought chemistry was boring.


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Friday Humor - Utter Rip-Off Edition

Duplicated in total from Jollyblogger

Why did the chicken cross the road?

DR PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on "THIS" side of the road before it goes after the problem on the "OTHER SIDE" of the road. Whatwe need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his "CURRENT" problems before adding "NEW" problems.

OPRAH: Well I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so badly. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DONALD RUMSFELD: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

ANDERSON COOPER/CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am for it now, and will remain against it.

JUDGE JUDY: That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain. Alone.

JERRY FALWELL: Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth in front of your face? The chicken was going to the "otherside." That's why they call it the "other side. Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like "the other side." That chicken should not be free to cross the road. It's as plain and simple as that!

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together - in peace.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2006, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet explorer is an integral part of eChicken. The Platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^( C .....reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken!

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

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Thursday, September 21, 2006


Christians and Creation - A Positive Approach I

I have been blogging recently about how a Christian's view of creation is very different from your average environmentalists. The basic thesis is that a Christians seeks not to preserve creation but to alter it in light of God's curse upon it at the fall and in accordance with His will. This fellow seems to agree about the differing viewpoints, even if he arrives there a bit differently.

But the question remains, in light of that differeing view - What should a Christian do about the "environment"? In the first place I am not sure we should do anything about the environment per se. In general when we make an "issue" out of anythig we run a risk of it becoming more important than the motivations that drove us to it to begin with. As Christians we seek to become like Christ. That will have ramifications in terms of our relationship to creation, but they should be approached as side effects and not as "an issue."

So, that being said I want to look at some principles and viewpoints that should be used to inform your actions - your living out of life as a Christian - as you relate to creation. I'll start with the most obvious one first.

As this article readily points out - the issue really resides in the science, not the scripture and there is much debate on the science and even more on the policy. (HT: Justin Taylor) This leads naturally to he first principle a Christian simply must apply when considering "the environment" - Skepticism.

You must remember, nearly everything you will see written on the subject is written by those that have a very different worldview than you. This worldview will affect both how they do the science and how they interpret the results. It is, for example, a very different thing scientifically to ask the question "Is the earth warming?" as compared to "What, if any, changes are their to the general climate of the planet?" One question seeks to see if there is a problem, the other simply investigates a scientific fact. One has an agenda, the other doesn't.

A Christian, coming from their own decidely different viewpoint, must strip all the agenda, all the other viewpoint, from what they are reading and seek the nuggest of reality buried therein. That is the essence of skepticism.

Skepticism is also important because a great deal of sophistication is necessary to even understand the science that is being done. It is common to compare data gathered from very different sources temporally, methodolgically, and geographically, and then use blindly complicated statistical methods to blend these various sources into a single picture - without mention that such methodologies have limitations, margins of error, and discontinuities in that "single picture."

This form of skepticism is difficult to exercise without a great deal of training. Most people will have to chose between competing "experts" - they end up chosing "who" to believe instead of "what" to believe. This really calls for skepticism - on what basis can such a choice be made? It can't be based on agreement with you, since presumably you have no opinion, that is why you are turning to the experts.

I would suggest examining who to believe on two important bases. First - Do they share your worldview as I have previosuly articulated? If they do not, how can you take anything they offer at face value? You are forced to examine everything they say skeptically, which puts you back in the "what" question where you do not want to be.

Secondly, you should ask what an expert has to gain from the viewpoint they present. Make no mistake, global warming, and the environment in general, is an industry. I should know, I am a part of it. From lawsuits to research grants, from alternative energy technology to tourism, charitable foundations to political platforms, a lot of people are making a lot of money, and gaining a lot of power, off this stuff. It is in their best interest to have a crisis, or create one, and then offer a solution.

In the next couple of posts we'll look at positive perspectives a Christian should have.

Part II is here.
Part III is here.
Part IV is here.
Part V is available here.

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Illuminated Scripture

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Ball of Links

Where the tobacco lawsuits have gotten us. Fortunately, Lochyer is going to have a much harder time proving causation and damages here than in the tobacco cases. This is awful for legality for it would almost completely do away with the legal category of "act of God" for someone will be available to blame for everything. This is no way to fix the states financial problems.
2 Pet 2:22 - It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A dog returns to its own vomit," and, "A sow, after washing, {returns} to wallowing in the mire."
For some reason, this link simply must be next...

Blogging in the news.

A man can dream can't he?

You know how they say "kids can be so mean"? Sometimes the parents teach them. If I was the judge, the sentence would be truly nasty.

Speaking of stupid people... And then really sick stupid people, although, I think there was a CSI about this one.


Most oxymoronic headline in history.

Time to get elected in India

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006


The Hardest Humility

Part of being humble is a good grasp of your own strengths and weaknesses. Christ never denied He was God - it was what He did with His deity that made Him the ultimate model of humility. And then he entrusted His ministry to twelve guys that had no where near His capabilities.

How hard do you think it was for Jesus to watch those guys take those first bumbling steps? Don't you think the urge to "pitch in" would have been almost overwhelming? Wouldn't you, in the same place, have wanted to come in and take over so the job would get done "right."

I am not a preacher, though I have had occassion to preach in my life. I do do a great deal of public speaking and am told I am fairly good at it. I am never more pained at church than when someone takes to the pulpit and I know, just know, I could do it better. It's not a matter of ego, it is simply an evaluation of capabilities. I have little desire to preach really, but I would sure rather do it sometimes than listen to some of the what I have been subjected to in my life.

This is the point where I am learning humility. You see genuine humility is not even about capabilities - it is about resting solely and wholly on God. I indeed might be able to preach better than who I am listening to on any particular occassion, but that is not the point. It is not a question of who is better or best, it is a question of who God is using. If God wanted to use me that way, I would be a preacher.

When I think about learning humility, I find it fairly easy to learn it concerning myself. All that I am, all that I have, all that I can do is by the glory and gift of God. That's where humility starts. I have little trouble with that.

Oh, but how much trouble I have, and I think many of us have, with believing the same in others. But that is where developing genuine humility leads us - to not only acknowledging that the gifts and talents we have are from God, but that it is His to decide when, where, and how to use them - and further, that He may choose to use others less capable.

You see, if my gifts and capabilities are from Him, that means He is not relying on me; He is just using me, and relying on Himself. I need to rely on Him too.

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OKay - I'll Link

human-induced global warming is a fear perpetuated by the media and scientists who are trying to get federal grants
--Gee, Ya think?

Speaking of which - quiz time. Take it, you'll be amazed.

In the most far-fetched fear mongering to make global warming the issue I give you this. Next we will connect global warming to unmarried pregnancies and homosexuality.

It's official - politics in front of national security.

Thank goodness it did not happen in this country. The man would have been jailed for life for harming an endangered species.

Deep philosophy - just because it's interesting.

Could micromachines finally be useful?

Even when you can unhinge your jaw, it is not wise to eat anything larger than your head.
?Whoever refuses to debate, reduces religion to emotions. And you'd then end up with a priest, an imam and a Buddhist monk sitting round a campfire singing songs together. That, at least for me, is not the point of religion.?
Obviously, a regular reader of this blog.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Finding Common Cause - Where There Should Not Be Any

I've been writing lately that Christians have a distinctly different view of creation that an environmentalist. So distinct, in fact, that I think it problematic for Christians to make common cause with environmentalists. This point was driven home to me by the juxtaposition of a couple of articles I ran into last week.

The first was this article out of the UK on recent environmentalist protests at power plants there. (HT: Greenie Watch)
But there is something risky about this, even from the point of view of the environmental movement. Targeting electricity generation is not the same as taking on vivisection, nuclear power or genetically modified crops. By taking on coal-fired power stations environmentalists are now questioning the actual existing fabric of our energy infrastructure without which modern society cannot function. It is not so much fears of new technology that are driving the protests, but doubts about whether already-existing technology is a good thing.

Electricity is an underrated marvel of the modern age. Our capacity to generate vast quantities of electrical energy has only really existed for a century or so. Electrification was the big advance of the early twentieth century in the modern economies of the world. We can easily forget how our lives are dominated by the easy availability of electricity. When there?s a power cut our lives pretty much grind to a standstill as people go in search of musty candles and hidden boxes of matches.

It is therefore unthinkable that we should turn the clock back to a time before the national grid. Yet this is what some eco-warriors are seriously considering. Of course, it would be unfair to say they have advocated the abandonment of electricity generation per se; they want us to turn to alternative sources of electrical energy. The government, too, wants to go down the alternative route. The decline of natural gas supplies has driven the government to consider new rounds of nuclear power stations ? which no serious green would agree to ? and an expansion of alternatives including wind farms and tidal power.
[emphasis added]
The other was this piece from the Washington Times reviewing the events of memorial for 9-11.
After the stops in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, the president addressed the nation last night, reminding Americans that ever since the worst terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, the United States has been at war in "a struggle for civilization."

"America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over. So do I. But the war is not over, and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious," Mr. Bush said. "We are in a war that will set the course for this new century and determine the destiny of millions across the world."
[emphasis added]
My contention has been that that a Christian has a forward-looking redemptive view of creation and that environmentalists have a backward-looking destructive view. And now it seems that we find environmentalisst share the worldview in common with our Islamofascist/terrorist enemies. While they may arrive at this worldview by different ideological paths, that they arrive at the same place seems undeniable.

The irony in this is amazing, and frightening. In large part, enviromentalists have avoided terrorist action, though environmental terrorism is real and has increasingly happened. It would not take much to push some of the activist groups over the edge. What would prevent the very smart Islamofascist terrorists from infiltrating these environmental groups and using them for their own purposes?

As Christians, do we want to find ourselves in a place where we share a worldview like this? As the "greening of Evangelicals" continues, I think we need to tread very carefully, very lightly, or we will find ourselves making common cause in places we should not find it.

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Shiver Me Links Matey!

Arrrrgh Shiver me timbers.

Mohler on the Pope and Islam and the mess. Richard John Neuhaus on same. If we can't talk to them, and they keep trying to kill us, what choice do we have but to kill them?

Possibly the most boring sex science ever done.

I wonder if it has every occurred to Wallis and Campolo that we are supposed to be about both? - social issues and feeding the hungry.

Example related to today's top post. It's talk like a pirate day, not actually BE one! Fortunately, the victims of this terror can fight back.

Dinner is served.

What could possibly go wrong? They haven't done well so far, so what makes them think they have it figured out this time?

That's a relief. But there is a movie script in there - I just know it.

Are we seeing "evangelical Catholicism" reach the highest levels in that church?

The Jewish Greyfriar's Bobby?

This does not happen over sushi. There is a reason. Although I prefer mine rare, thick, juicy with a salad.

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, September 18, 2006


Thinking About Wisdom

Adrian Warnock has been posting on Proverbs lately. I am gearing up to teach a mid-week Bible study to High School Seniors this year and we are starting off the first couple of months talking about "wisdom" as what they should endeavor to acquire to help them with collegiate life. It's a topic deeply on my mind.

As I approach the topic, certain scriptures ring in my head. Wisdom is clearly connected to two things - submission and utterance. That latter connection should be pretty important to anyone that blogs, for that is all a blog is, utterance.

I know sometimes I like the sound of my own voice an awful lot. Worse, I feel a pressure to put something up here everyday, I feel compelled to utterance. Such compulsion can easily lead to such utterance without the requisite development of wisdom that comes from submission.

I also know that sometimes I think study and reading constuitutes submission. That is surely part of it, but there is more
Prov 19:20 - Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.
Reading, studying, that's easy, but listening, now that's hard - and accepting discipline? Aren't I too old for that now?

There is a lot of talk about "discernment" lately. A lot of that talk, not all mind you, but a lot, strikes me as permission to be mean, and more, permission to be "RIGHT." Well, wisdom defines "RIGHT" and wisdom comes not from utterance, but from submission. The discerner needs to listen and accept discipline not just before, but as he/she utters their discernment.

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Time To Call It A Weekend Links

The next time you think you KNOW, absolutely know an environmental disaster is happening, remember this. Much that mankind has done "to destroy creation" really has improved life immensely. Which reminds me - you know that e coli spinach thing? It's organically grown spinach! No evil man-made chemical involved, nope just the natural killers! Laer explains the DDT thing in detail.

Can you imagine the global warming?

Right thing, wrong place. Prayer is NOT a form of political protest. To use it as such cheapens it.

Only Rick Moore could beat me to this joke...

From the UK...
The long-term decline in church congregations has been slowed by people from ethnic minorities, a survey says.

Proof - Al Gore is a numbskull who will do anything to make a political point.

It better be... Note to John McCain: I have no doubt your military prisoner in Vietnam experiences were horrific, Thank you for your heroic service, but this is not Vietnam, and we are not the NVA.

Oh-weee-oh: Armadillos making northern march Probably in formations first devised my George S. Patton.

OK, who farted?

Even in Bill Clinton's world, the truth will eventually surface.
Matt 23:23 - "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.
Do you think Jesus might have had this guy in mind?

The PRC government has no sense of humor whatsoever. Had to check my sense of humor at the border when I went.

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Sunday, September 17, 2006


Sunday Linkin'

We followed the televangelists of the '80's!? Oh dear Lord, what have we wrought?

If you havn't played arounf with Google Earth - you should, it's cool. Here's a good way to start.

And you thought cartoons were only entertainment.

Russell Smith on "permission giving" presbyteries - I agree completely, though I would hit his word of caution a bit harder. That said, the best way to build the boundaries he discusses might be to get good people to engage in Presbytery work. He's right it's the worst job in PC(USA) - clear the decks so good people won't be bored to tears with trivia and process.

Sounds like a reason to quit drinking.


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Sermons and Lessons


JOHN HENRY NEWMAN was born in London in 1801. He won high honors at Oxford, and in 1828 was appointed vicar of the University Church, St. Mary's, and with Keble and Pusey headed the Oxford Movement. In the pulpit of St. Mary's he soon showed himself to be a power. His sermons, exquisite, though simple in style, chiefly deal with various phases of personal religion which he illustrated with a keen spiritual insight, a sympathetic glow, an exalted earnestness and a breadth of range, unparalleled in English pulpit utterances before his time. His extreme views on questions of catholicity, sacerdotalism and the sacraments, as well as his craving for an infallible authority in matters of faith, shook his confidence in the Church of England and he went over to Rome in 1845. He was made Cardinal in 1879 and died in 1890.

God's Will The End Of Life

I came down from heaven not to do mine own will but the will of him that sent me. - John 6:38.

I am going to ask you a question, my dear brethren, so trite, and therefore so uninteresting at first sight, that you may wonder why I put it, and may object that it will be difficult to fix the mind on it, and may anticipate that nothing profitable can be made of it. It is this: "Why were you sent into the world?" Yet, after all, it is perhaps a thought more obvious than it is common, more easy than it is familiar; I mean it ought to come into your minds, but it does not, and you never had more than a distant acquaintance with it, though that sort of acquaintance with it you have had for many years. Nay, once or twice, perhaps you have been thrown across the thought somewhat intimately, for a short season, but this was an accident which did not last. There are those who recollect the first time, as it would seem, when it came home to them. They were but little children, and they were by themselves, and they spontaneously asked themselves, or rather God spake in them, "Why am I here? How came I here? Who brought me here? What am I to do here?" Perhaps it was the first act of reason, the beginning of their real responsibility; the commencement of their trial; perhaps from that day they may date their capacity, their awful power, of choosing between good and evil, and of committing mortal sin. And so, as life goes on, the thought comes vividly, from time to time, for a short season across their conscience; whether in illness, or in some anxiety, or at some season of solitude, or on hearing some preacher, or reading some religious work A vivid feeling comes over them of the vanity and unprofitableness of the world, and then the question, recurs, "Why then am I sent into it?"

And a great contrast indeed does this vain, unprofitable, yet overbearing world p1esent with such a question as that. It seems a bit of place to ask such a question in so magnificent, so imposing a presence, as that of the great Babylon. The world professes to supply all that we need, as if we were sent into it for the sake of being sent here, and for nothing beyond the sending. It is a great favor to have an introduction to this august world. This is to be our exposition, forsooth, of the mystery of life. Every man is doing his own will here, seeking his own pleasure, pursuing his own ends; that is why he was brought into existence. Go abroad into the streets of the populous city, contemplate the continuous outpouring there of human energy, and the countless varieties of human character, and be satisfied! The ways are thronged, carriage-way and pavement; multitudes are hurrying to and fro, each on his own errand, or are loitering about from listlessness, or from want of work, or have come forth into the public concourse, to see and to be seen, for amusement or for display, or on the excuse of busi¬ness. The carriages of the wealthy mingle with the slow wains laden with provisions or merchandise, the productions of art or the demands of luxury. The streets are lined with shops, open and gay, inviting customers, and widen now and then into some spacious square or place, with lofty masses of brickwork or of stone, gleaming in the fitful sunbeam, and surrounded or fronted with what simulates a garden?s foliage. Follow them in another direction, and you find the whole groundstead covered with large buildings, planted thickly up and down, the homes of the mechanical arts. The air is filled, below, with a ceaseless, importunate, monotonous din, which penetrates even to your innermost chamber, and rings in your ears even~ when you are not conscious of it; and overhead, with a canopy of smoke, shrouding God?s day from the realms of obstinate, sullen toil. This is the end of man!

Or stay at home, and take up one of those daily prints, which are so true a picture of the world; look down the columns of advertisements, and you will see the catalog of pursuits, projects, aims, anxieties, amusements, indulgences which occupy the mind of man. He plays many parts: here he has goods to sell, there he wants employment; there again he seeks to borrow money, here he offers you houses, great seats or small tenements; he has food for the million, and luxuries for the wealthy, and sovereign medicines for the credulous, and books, new and cheap, for the inquisitive. Pass on to the news of the day, and you will learn what great men are doing at home and abroad: you will read of wars and rumors of wars; of debates in the legislature; of rising men, and old statesmen going off the scene; of political contests in this city or that country; of the collision of rival interests. You will read of the money market, and the provision market, and the market for metals; of the state of trade, the call for manufactures, news of ships arrived in port, of accidents at sea, of exports and imports, of gains and losses, of frauds and their detection. Go forward, and you arrive at discoveries in art and science, discoveries (so-called) in religion, the court and royalty, the entertainments of the great, places of amusement, strange trials, offenses, accidents, escapes, exploits, experiments, contests, ventures. Oh, this curious, restless, clamorous, panting being, which we call life! - and is there to be no end to all this? Is there no object in it?? It never has an end; it is forsooth its own object!

And now, once more, my brethren, put aside what you see and what you read of the world, and try to penetrate into the hearts, and to reach the ideas and the feelings of those who constitute it; look into them as closely as you can; enter into their houses and private rooms; strike at random through the streets and lanes: take as they come, palace and hovel, office or factory, and what will you find? Listen to their words, witness, alas! their works; you will find in the main the same lawless thoughts, the same unrestrained desires, the same ungoverned passions, the same earthly opinions, the same willful deeds, in high and low, learned and unlearned; you will find them all to be living for the sake of living; they one and all seem to tell you, "We are our own center, our own end." Why are they toiling? Why are they scheming? For what are they living? "We live to please ourselves; life is worthless except we have our own way; we are not sent here at all, but we find ourselves here, and we are but slaves unless we can think what we will, believe what we will, love what we will, hate what we will, do what we will. We detest interference on the part of God or man. We do not bargain to be rich or to be great; but we do bargain, whether rich or poor, high or low, to live for ourselves, to live for the lust of the moment, or, according to the doctrine of the hour, thinking of the future and the unseen just as much or as little as we please."

Oh, my brethren, is it not a shocking thought, but who can deny its truth? The multitude of men are living without any aim beyond this visible scene; they may from time to time use religious words, or they may profess a communion or a worship, as a matter of course, or of expedience, or of duty, but, if there was sincerity in such profession, the course of the world could not run as it does. What a contrast is all this to the end of life, as it is set before us in our most holy faith! If there was one among the sons of men, who might allowably have taken his pleasure, and have done his own will here below, surely it was He who came down on earth from the bosom of the Father, and who was so pure and spotless in that human nature which He put on Him, that He could have no human purpose or aim inconsistent with the will of His Father. Yet He, the Son of God, the Eternal Word, came, not to do His own will, but His who sent Him, as you know very well is told us again and again in Scripture. Thus the Prophet in the Psalter, speaking in His person, says, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." And He says in the Prophet Isaiah, "The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I do not resist; I have not gone back." And in the gospel, when He hath come on earth, "My food is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work." Hence, too, in His agony, He cried out, "Not my will, but thine, be done;" and St. Paul, in like manner, says, that "Christ pleased not himself;" and elsewhere, that, "though he was God's Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." Surely so it was; as being indeed the eternal coequal Son, His will was one and the same with the Father's will, and He had no submission of will to make; but He chose to take on Him man's nature and the will of that nature; he chose to take on Him affections, feelings, and inclinations proper to man, a will innocent indeed and good, but still a man's will, distinct from God's will; a will, which, had it acted simply according to what was pleasing to its nature, would, when pain and toil were to be endured, have held back from an active cooperation with the will of God. But, the He took on Himself the nature of man, He took not on Him that selfishness, with which fallen man wraps himself round, but in all things He devoted himself as a ready sacrifice to His Father. He came on earth, not to take His pleasure, not to follow His taste, not for the mere exercise of human affection, but simply to glorify His Father and to do His will. He came charged with a mission, deputed for a work; He looked not to the right nor to the left; He thought not of Himself, He offered Himself up to God.

Hence it is that He was carried in the womb of a poor woman, who, before His birth, had two journeys to make, of love and of obedience, to the mountains and to Bethlehem. lie was born in a stable, and laid in a manger. He was hurried off to Egypt to sojourn there; then He lived till He was thirty years of age in a poor way, by a rough trade, in a small house, in a despised town. Then, when He went out to preach, He had not where to lay His head; He wandered up and down the country, as a stranger upon earth. He was driven out into the wilderness, and dwelt among the wild beasts. He endured heat and cold, hunger and weariness, reproach and calumny. His food was coarse bread, and fish from the lake, or depended on the hospitality of strangers. And as He had already left His Father's greatness on high, and had chosen an earthly home; so again, at that Father's bidding, He gave up the sole solace given Him in this world, and denied Himself His mother's presence. He parted with her who bore Him; He endured to be strange to her; He endured to call her coldly "woman," who was His own undefiled one, all beautiful, all gracious, the best creature of His hands, and the sweet nurse of His infancy. He put her aside, as Levi, His type, merited the sacred ministry, by saying to His parents and kinsmen, "I know you not." He exemplified in His own person the severe maxim, which He gave to His disciples, "He that loveth more than me is not worthy of me." In all these many ways He sacrificed every wish of His own; that we might understand, that, if He, the Creator, came into His world, not for His own pleasure, but to do His Father's will, we too have most surely some work to do, and have seriously to bethink ourselves what that work is.

Yes, so it is; realize it, my brethren; every one who breathes, high and low, educated and ignorant, young and old, man and woman, has a mission, has a work. We are not sent into this world for nothing; we are not born at random; we are not here, that we may go to bed at night, and get up in the morning, toil for our bread, eat and drink, laugh and joke, sin when we have a mind, and reform when we are tired of sinning, rear a family and die. God sees every one of us; He creates every soul, He lodges it in the body, one by one, for a purpose. He needs, He deigns to need, every one of us. He has an end for each of us; we are all equal in His sight, and we are placed in our different ranks and sta¬tions, not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, but to labor in them for Him. As Christ had His work, we too have ours; as He rejoiced to do His work, we must rejoice in ours also.

St. Paul on one occasion speaks of the world as a scene in a theater. Consider what is meant by this. You know, actors on a stage are on an equality with each other really, but for the occasion they assume a difference of character; some are high, some are low, some are merry, and some sad. Well, would it not be simple absurdity in any actor to pride himself on his mock diadem, or his edgeless sword, instead of attending to his part? What, if he did but gaze at himself and his dress? What, if he secreted, or turned to his own use, what was valuable in it? Is it not his business, and nothing else, to act his part well? Common sense tells us so. Now we are all but actors in this world; we are one and all equal, we shall be judged as equals as soon as life is over; yet, equal and similar in ourselves, each has his special part at present, each has his work, each has his mission, not to indulge his passions, not to make money, not to get a name in the world, not to save himself trouble, not to follow his bent, not to be selfish and self-willed, but to do what God puts on him to do.

Look at the poor profligate in the gospel, look at Dives; do you think he understood that his wealth was to be spent, not on himself, but for the glory of God? Yet forgetting this, he was lost for ever and ever. I will tell you what he thought, and how he viewed things: he was a young man, and had succeeded to a good estate, and he determined to enjoy himself. It did not strike him that his wealth had any other use than that of enabl¬ing him to take his pleasure. Lazarus lay at his gate; he might have relieved Lazarus; that was God's will; but he managed to put conscience aside, and he persuaded himself he should be a fool, if he did not make the most of this world, while be had the means. So he resolved to have his fill of pleasure; and feasting was to his mind a principal part of it. "He fared sumptuously every day"; everything belonging to him was in the best style, as men speak; his house, his furniture, his plate of silver and gold, his attendants, his establishments. Everything was for enjoyment, and for show, too; to attract the eyes of the world, and to gain the applause and admiration of his equals, who were the companions of his sins. These companions were doubtless such as became a person of such pretensions; they were fashionable men; a collection of refined, high-bred, haughty men, eating, not gluttonously, but what was rare and costly; delicate, exact, fastidious in their taste, from their very habits of indulgence; not eating for the mere sake of eating, or drinking for the mere sake of drinking, but making a sort of science of their sensuality; sensual, carnal, as flesh and blood can be, with eyes, ears, tongue steeped in impurity, every thought, look, and sense, witnessing or ministering to the evil one who ruled them; yet, with exquisite correctness of idea and judgment, laying down rules for sinning ; heartless and selfish, high, punctilious, and disdainful in their outward deportment, and shrinking from Lazarus, who lay at the gate, as an eye-sore, who ought for the sake of decency to be put out of the way. Dives was one of such, and so he lived his short span, thinking of nothing but himself, till one day he got into a fatal quarrel with one of his godless associates, or he caught some bad illness; and then he lay helpless on his bed of pain, cursing fortune and his physician that he was no better, and impatient that he was thus kept from enjoying his youth, trying to fancy himself mending when he was getting worse, and disgusted at those who would not throw him some word of comfort in his suspense, and turning more resolutely from his Creator in proportion to his suffering; and then at last his day came, and he died, and (oh! miserable!) "was buried in hell." And so ended he and his mission.

This was the fate of your pattern and idol, oh, ye, if any of you be present, young men, who, the not possest of wealth and rank, yet affect the fashions of those who have them. You, my brethren, have not been born splendidly, or nobly; you have not been brought up in the seats of liberal education; you have no high connections; you have not learned the manners nor caught the tone of good society; you have no share of the largeness of mind, the candor, the romantic sense of honor, the correctness of taste, the consideration for others, and the gentleness which the world puts forth as its highest type of excellence; you have not come near the courts of the mansions of the great; yet you ape the sin of Dives, while you are strangers to his refinement. You think it the sign of a gentleman to set yourselves above religion; to criticize the religious and professors of religion; to look at Catholic and Methodist with impartial contempt; to gain a smattering of knowledge on a number of subjects; to dip into a number of frivolous publications, if they are popular; to have read the latest novel; to have heard the singer and seen the actor of the day; to be well up with the news; to know the names and, if so be, the persons of public men, to be able to bow to them; to walk up and down the street with your heads on high, and to stare at whatever meets you; and to say and do worse things, of which these outward extravagances are but the symbol. And this is what you conceive you have come upon the earth for! The Creator made you, it seems, oh, my children, for this work and office, to be a bad imitation of polished ungodliness, to be a piece of tawdry and faded finery, or a scent which has lost its freshness, and does not but offend the sense! 0! that you could see how absurd and base are such pretenses in the eyes of any but yourselves! No calling of life but is honorable; no one is ridiculous who acts suitably to his calling and estate; no one, who has good sense and humility, but may, in any state of life, be truly well-bred and refined; but ostentation, affectation, and ambitious efforts are, in every station of life, high or low, nothing but vulgarities. Put them aside, despise them yourselves. Oh, my very dear sons, whom I love, and whom I would fain serve; oh, that you could feel that you have souls! oh, that you would have mercy on your souls! oh, that, before it is too late, you would be-take yourselves to Him who is the source of all that is truly high and magnificent and beautiful, all that is bright and pleasant and secure what you ignorantly seek, in Him whom you so willfully, so awfully despise!

He, alone, the Son of God, "the brightness of the Eternal Light, and the spotless mirror of His Majesty," is The source of all good and all happiness to rich and poor, high and low. If you were ever so high, you would need Him; if you were ever so low, you could offend Him. The poor can offend Him; the poor man can neglect his divinely appointed mission as well as the rich. Do not suppose, my brethren, that what I have said against the upper or the middle class will not, if you happen to be poor, also lie against you. Though a man were as poor as Lazarus, he could be as guilty as Dives. If you were resolved to degrade yourselves to the brutes of the field, who have no reason and no con¬science, you need not wealth or rank to enable you to do so. Brutes have no wealth; they have no pride of life; they have no purple and fine linen, no splendid table, no retinue of servants, and yet they are brutes. They are brutes by the law of their nature: they are the poorest among the poor; there is not a vagrant and outcast who is so poor as they; they differ from him, not in their possessions, but in their want of a soul, in that he has a mission and they have not, he can sin and they can not. Oh, my brethren, it stands to reason, a man may intoxicate himself with a cheap draft, as well as with a costly one; he may steal another's money for his appetites, though he does not waste his own upon them; he may break through the natural and social laws which encircle him, and profane the sanctity of family duties, though he be not a child of nobles, but a peasant or artisan, nay, and perhaps he does so more frequently than they. This is not the poor's blessedness, that he has less temptations to self-indulgence, for he has as many, but that from his circumstances he receives the penances and corrections of self-indulgence. Poverty is the mother of many pains and sorrows in their season, and these are God's messengers to lead the soul to repentance; but, alas! if the poor man indulges his passions, thinks little of religion, puts off repentance, refuses to make an effort, and dies without conversion, it matters nothing that he was poor in this world, it matters nothing that he was less daring than the rich, it matters not that he promised himself God's favor, that he sent for the priest when death came, and received the last sacraments; Lazarus too, in that case, shall be buried with Dives in hell, and shall have had his consolation neither in this world nor in the world to come.

My brethren, the simple question is, whatever a man's rank in life may be, does he in that rank perform the work which God has given him to do? Now then, let me turn to others, of a very different description, and let me hear what they will say, when the question is asked them. Why, they will parry it thus: "You give us no alternative," they will say to me, "except that of being sinners or saints. You put before us our Lord's pattern, and you spread before us the guilt and ruin of the deliberate transgressor; whereas we have no intention of going so far one way or the other; we do not aim at being saints, but we have no desire at all to be sinners. We neither intend to disobey God's will, nor to give up our own. Surely there is a middle way, and a safe one, in which God's will and our will may both be satisfied. We mean to enjoy both this world and the next. We will guard against mortal sin; we are not obliged to guard against venial; indeed it would be endless to attempt it. None but saints do so; it is the work of a life; we need have nothing else to do. We are not monks, we are in the world, we are in business, we are parents, we have families; we must live for the day. It is a consolation to keep from mortal sin; that we do, and it is enough for salvation. It is a great thing to keep in God's favor; what indeed can we desire more? We come at due time to the sacraments; this is our comfort and our stay; did we die, we should die in grace, and escape the doom of the wicked. But if we once attempted to go further, where should we stop? How will you draw the line for us? The line between mortal and venial sin is very distinct; we understand that; but do you not see that, if we attended to our venial sins, there would be just as much reason to attend to one as to another? If we began to repress our anger, why not also repress vain-glory? Why not also guard against niggardliness? Why not also keep from falsehood, from gossiping, from idling, from ex¬cess in eating? And, after all, without venial sin we never can be, unless indeed we have the prerogative of the Mother of God, which it wou1d be almost heresy to ascribe to any one but her. You are not asking us to be converted; that we understand; we are converted, we were converted a long time ago. You bid us aim at an indefinite vague something, which is less than perfection, yet more than obedience, and which, without resulting in any tangible advantage, debars us from the pleasures and embarrasses us in the duties of this world.

This is what you will say; but your premises, my brethren, are better than your reasoning, and your conclusions will not stand. You have a right view why God has sent you into the world; viz., in order that you may get to heaven; it is quite true also that you would fare well indeed if you found yourselves there, you could desire nothing better; nor, it is true, can you live any time without venial sin. It is true also that you are not obliged to aim at being saints; it is no sin not to aim at perfection. So much is true and to the purpose; but it does not follow from it that you, with such views and feelings as you have exprest, are using sufficient exertions even for attaining purgatory. Has your religion any difficulty in it, or is it in all respects easy to you? Are you simply taking your own pleasure in your mode of living, or do you find your pleasure in submitting yourself to God's pleasure? In a word, is your religion a work? For if it be not, it is not religion at all. Here at once, before going into your argument, is a proof that it is an unsound one, because it brings you to the conclusion that, whereas Christ came to do a work, and all saints, nay, nay, and sinners to do a work too, you, on the contrary, have no work to do, because, forsooth, you are neither sinners nor saints; or, if you once had a work, at least that you have dispatched it already, and you have nothing upon your hands. You have attained your salvation, it seems, before your time, and have nothing to occupy you, and are detained on earth too long. The work days are over, and your perpetual holiday is begun. Did then God send you, above all other men, into the world to be idle in spiritual matters? Is it your mission only to find pleasure in this world, in which you are but as pilgrims and sojourners? Are you more than sons of Adam, who, by the sweat of their brow, are to eat bread till they return to the earth out of which they are taken? Unless you have some work in hand, unless you are struggling, unless you are fighting with yourselves, you are no followers of those who "through many tribulations entered into the kingdom of God." A fight is the very token of a Christian. He is a soldier of Christ; high or low, he is this and nothing else. If you have triumphed over all mortal sin, as you seem to think, then you must attack your venial sins; there is no help for it; there is nothing else to do, if you would be soldiers of Jesus Christ. But, oh, simple souls! - to think you have gained any triumph at all! No; you cannot safely be at peace with any, even the least malignant, of the foes of God; if you are at peace with venial sins, be certain that in their company and under their shadow mortal sins are lurking. Mortal sins are the children of venial, which, though they be not deadly themselves, yet are prolific of death. You may think that you have killed the giants who had possession of your hearts, and that you have nothing to fear, but may sit at rest under your vine and under your fig-tree; but the giants will live again, they will rise from the dust, and, before you know where you are, you will be taken captive and slaughtered by the fierce, powerful, and eternal enemies of God.

The end of a thing is the test. It was our Lord's rejoicing in His last solemn hour, that He had done the work for which He was sent. "I have glorified thee on earth." He says in His prayer, "I have finished the work which thou gayest me to do; I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou hast given me out of the world." It was St. Paul's consolation also, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord shall render to me in that day, the just judge." Alas! Alas! how different, will be our view of things when we come to die, or when we have passed into eternity, from the dreams and pretenses with which we beguile ourselves now! What will Babel do for us then? Will it rescue our souls from the purgatory or the hell to which it sends them? If we were created, it was that we might serve God; if we have His gifts, it is that we may glorify Him; if we have a conscience, it is that we may obey it; if we have the prospect of heaven, it is that we may keep it before us; if we have light, that we may follow it, if we have grace, that we may save ourselves by means of it. Alas! Alas! for those who die without fulfilling their mission; who were called to be holy, and lived in sin; who were called to worship Christ, and who plunged into this giddy and unbelieving world; who were called to fight, and who remained idle; who were called to be Catholics, and who did but remain in the religion of their birth! Alas for those who have had gifts and talent, and have not used, or have misused; or abused them; who have had wealth, and have spent it on themselves; who have had abilities, and have advocated what was sinful, or ridiculed what was true, or scattered doubts against what was sacred; who have had leisure, and have wasted it on wicked companions, or evil books, or foolish amusements! Alas! for those of whom the best can be said is, that they are harmless and naturally blameless, while they never have attempted to cleanse their hearts or to live in God's sight!

The world goes on from age to age, but the Holy Angels and Blessed Saints are always crying Alas, alas! and Wo, Wo! over the loss of vocations, and the disappointment of hopes, and the scorn of God?s love, and the ruin of souls. One generation succeeds another, and whenever they look down upon earth from their golden thrones, they see scarcely anything but a multitude of guardian spirits, downcast and sad, each following his own charge, in anxiety, or in terror, or in despair, vainly endeavoring to shield him from the enemy, and failing because he will not be shielded. Times come and go, and man will not believe, that that is to be which is not yet, or that what now is only continues for a season, and is not eternity. The end is the trial; the world passes; it is but a pageant and a scene; the lofty palace crumbles, the busy city is mute, the ships of Tarshish have sped away. On heart and flesh death is coming; the veil is breaking. Departing soul, how hast thou used thy talents, thy opportunities, the light poured around thee, the warnings given thee, the grace inspired into thee? Oh, my Lord and Savior, support me in that hour in the strong arms of Thy sacraments, and by the fresh fragrance of Thy consolations. Let the absolving words be said over me, and the holy oil sign and seal me, and Thy own body be my food, and Thy blood my sprinkling; and let my sweet mother Mary breathe on me, and my angel whisper peace to me, and my glorious saints, and my own dear father, Philip, smile on me; that in them all, and through them all, I may receive the gift of perseverance, and die, as I desire to live, in Thy faith, in Thy Church, in Thy service, and in Thy love.

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