Saturday, September 30, 2006


Everybody's Linkin' For The Weekend

I am proud to report that I did some consulting with several companies that helped build this thing. I had always figured when I studied chemistry that I had left my dreams of space exploration behind, little did I know. But I have to tell you, that headline sounds like it is on a dermatological expedition.

People fish, people drink, weird stuff happens.

Oh come on, they're not that bad. Although, practical jokes have been known to happen with them.Sealed

Vitally important game cheats - no seriously.

Think I'll stick to reading them, not becoming them, although the ingenuity is amazing.

How to turn a beach into a pizza.

The difference between nanotechnology and chemistry continues to elude me. Well, that is, other than one sounds old-and-busted and the other sounds new-and-hot-and-fundable.

Imagine that - trees grow at differing rates. Stop the friggin presses.

I know a snake or two that could catch him.

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Comic Art

Last week we looked at one of my more favored lesser
knowns that "worked with" The Defenders and we will do the same this week. The Character is Moon Knight. I have looked at him once in these spaces, but only as from the pen of Bill Sienkiewisz while today I want to look at the whole of the character.

MK is one of those characters that is excellent in his own right, but suffers from being a bit too derivative. Please peruse the images arrayed here and tell me what you see - I'm hoping if you are any kind of comic fan, you are seeing Batman - the similarities in the look at just too close to not be noticed. I for one think that a plus, there has never been a more visual rich comic character that Batman, capes and shadows just seem to make the
image. But I think in this case people just looked at the cover art, saw "Batman rip-off and moved on. While we are doing comparisons with uber-hero Batman, MK was also written for a time by the incomparable Frank Miller. It was before Frank's name came to mean super-hero gold, but it was Frank. dark and thoughful.

Like most characters that never quite break big, Moon Knight has been tinkered with a great deal. That is both a good and a bad thing. They are working out what will make the character work, but at the same time, they never give the fans anything to connect with and hold onto. This brief write-up thinks the comparisons to Batman superficial and the real comparison is to The Shadow; there is some insight there as the character goes, but visually the comparisons must be to Batman. And the visuals are the reason this character sticks

I do truly love the look of the character. Which is why I want him to catch on someday. If it was me making the editorial decisions, I would put him in the character niche the Batman used to occupy. Dark enough to maintain those marvelous visuals, but not so dark as a character that kids and optimists need not read it - which is pretty much where Batman is right now - too dark. I do think they should jettison Marc Spector, the civilian identity altogether - that would give them a chance to really start over with the character, and lose the occult aspects.

Moon Knight is one of the most attractive, beautiful characters in comics, but he has never caught on. He did appear at one time with The Defenders which is why we are discussing him here. If we can just work out the story.

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Friday, September 29, 2006


Americans and Narrative

We love a good story don't we? I mean one of the biggest industries in this great nation, the entertainment business, is, at its base, storytelling. What's amazing is we tell the same story, over and over and over again. Movies are the ultimate story telling medium.

Did you know there is a basic outline, called a "narrative structure" for virtually every movie that's made. And in this day and age where the purpose of writing a novel is to get a movie deal, you can bet even novels follow that structure. Amongst screenwriters, that structure has been outlined and capsulized in a book called The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writer's by Christopher Vogel.

In the book, Vogler shows how the outline at the left here is used over and over and over in successful movie after successful movie. If you want to know what the steps are, read the book, but the point is, we love this story. We are fed this story in 90 to 120 minutes bites routinely, and we spend billions of dollars to be so told.

What I find most fascinating; however, is how history has come to be told along the same outlines. Consider WWII - cast us the United States as the reluctant hero and Churchill and England as the mentor. If you have ever read Churchill's multi-volume history of WWII, that is essentially the story he tells. In fact, on relfection, I am willing to give Churchill the title "great Communicator" over Reagan, because he won WWII by casting the narrative of the war in precisely this fashion and kept both the UK and the US focused on reaching the narrative's end.

But in the end that is also what Reagan did, only instead of maintaining focus on the narrative, Reagan restored it. We lost the narrative as the press retold Vietnam. We got lost in the details and forgot the goals. Ronald Reagan, with his well developed Hollywood sensibilities, reminded us of the narrative, maybe even refashioned it, did a little script consulting and lifted us out of the plot minutae, and before you knew it, the decades old Cold War was at an end.

It seems that as Americans we need the narrative, we need the story to finish what we start. In this age of the 24-hour News Channel, it is natural that the story would compress. Thus in the narrative that is the GWOT, we find ourselves in peril of once again becoming lost in the plot minutae, this time much faster than during the Cold War.

If Bush has a weakness as a war leader, it is that he lacks the ability to maintain the narrative. He fights the fight wonderfully, but he does not tell the story well. At the moment, this war has no Churchill, no Reagan. From whence shall such come? The crop of new leadership queing up in the UK and here contains many able leaders, but no great story tellers as of yet.

Well, as this is the age of the 24 hour news channel, so this is the age of the new media. Maybe the new media is the place to maintain the narrative of the GWOT? There are great blogs out there covering different aspects of the total story. But right now I don't know anyone that is crafting all that into the total narrative. Maybe it's time for the White House to start a blog - there are many able bloggers out there that could do the job well.

An executive like W is not supposed to be able to do everything, he is supposed to build an organization that does. This is one gap in the organization this President has built. He has not put together a team that maintains the narrative. Maybe he should put the new medium to use to do so, particularly in light of the fact that the traditional media is interested only in busting the narrative.

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Because Someone Has To Link

Whadda ya think? 10 Beliefs of an Unhealthy Faith (HT: 42) I tend to agree in principal, but think it needs more nuance. I keep thinking "Almost, but...."

Ahhh, sweet reason. But considering a countersuit is just wrong. But here is more of that sweet stuff.

Right now, my skin is crawling, no kidding, literally crawling off my body. Debt for Jesus! This is a wonderful idea. Half the friggin' county up to their eyeballs in high-interest, have-to-refinance-the-house-to-keep-bankruptcy-at-bay credit card debt, and the church is going to encourage them. Oh good.

Speaking of Christianity in bad taste....

I once heard a tokamak described as trying to "hold jello with rubber bands," so when China reports a "successful" tokamak test, I get excited. All they did was produce a plasma. Great guys, now get one that is self-sustaining and energy productive. Most people in the western world have given up on tokamaks.

Because I am not the only one that tells jokes on Friday.

Don't you love the history of technology!

This just strikes me as a way to avoid work. What can you do with those things?

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Friday Humor - I'm In Trouble Now Edition

St Paul's Chain Letter To The Corinthians

1. The Chain Letter of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. With love all things are possible. This epistle comes to you from Philippi. Grace be to you and peace. Spiritual gifts will be delivered unto you within four days of receiving this letter - provided you in turn send it on.

2. This is no joke. Send copies to whomsoever among the Gentiles superstitious peoples of other denominations you would comfort in all their tribulation. Do not send material things. Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.

3. While visiting the household of Stephanas, a Macedonian proconsul received the epistle and was greeted by his brethren by a holy kiss. But he broke the chain, and now he is become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.

4. Gaius bestowed all his goods to feed the poor, and gave his body to be burned, but it profited him nothing. He failed to circulate the letter. However, before his death, he received the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

5. Do note the following: Crispus had the gift of prophecy, and understood all mysteries, and all knowledge, and had all faith, so that he could remove mountains. But he forgot that the epistle had to leave his hands within 96 hours, and now he is nothing.

6. In AD 37, the epistle was received by a young Galatian woman who put it aside to copy and send out later. She was plagued by various problems: thrice she was beaten with rods, once she was stoned, and thrice suffered shipwreck. On the last day of these occasions, she spent a night and day in the deep. Finally, she copied the letter. A trumpet sounded, and she was raised incorruptible.

7. Remember: Believeth all things, hopeth all things. The chain never faileth.

--St. Paul

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Thursday, September 28, 2006


There Is Wrong And Then There Is Evil

Recently, Al Mohler had a discussion on his radio program on the possible presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney, a Mormon. You can give a listen here. Regular readers know I have a blog, where I partner with a Mormon, Lowell Brown, the Hedgehog, precisely to discuss religion, religious tests for elected office, and the candidacy of Mitt Romney. Needless to say, the Mohler discussion caught my eye.

There are two things in the program that I wish to discuss here. The first is there is no mention in the discussion of the U.S. Constitution and its specific mandates against a "religious test" for elected officials. Now, having said that, of course, voters are permitted to vote as they see fit. But as Christian we are also commanded to good citizenship.
Matt 22:17-21 - "Tell us therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?" But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, "Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the coin {used} for the poll-tax." And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said to Him, "Caesar's." Then He said to them, "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's."
I take from this that God did not call us to be political revolutionaries, He called us to be spiritual ones, and to learn to be good citizen's in whatever political situation we find ourselves. As Joe Carter said the other day
In a classical statement of ecumenicity, St. Augustine once said, "In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love." Those of us on the religious right should adopt a similar principle and clearly define the boundaries between what is essential and what is non-essential in matters of policy and politics. Protecting the sanctity of innocent human life and defending the traditional definition of marriage are clearly essentials. Those matters are based on principles that can be clearly derived from the Bible.
Which brings me to my second observation from the radio segments. It seems that many, many Christians are not capable of making the distinctions between "the essential and non-essential in matters of policy and politics." I base this observation on some of the callers to the show.

They appear to assume that a person that we as traditonal Christians believe not to be saved, cannot do the right thing in a given situation. I'm saved, but I'm still a sinner, and I still do bad things, so why is an unsaved person prevented from doing good things?

Sometimes I think we forget what we believe. We are all sinners, every last one of us. Our salvation in Jesus does two things - it assures us of our eternal destination and it empowers our journey towards our unfallen state because that salvation enables the habitation of the paraclete, the Holy Spirit, in us. At best, our salvation makes the odds a bit better that we will do the right thing is some circumstance, but it's no guarantee.

Need we forget the most Evangelical president in American history? I'm sure you remember Jimmy Carter. I have never been more sure of the right standing before the Throne of Grace for any other president, or candidate for president, than for Jimmy Carter, and yet he was one of the most consistently poor decision makers the office has ever seen. Mohler quotes Martin Luther in the segments as saying something like "I'd rather be ruled by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian."

Finally, we need to remember that as sinners we are wrong, we are depraved, but we are not irredeemably evil. Our faith is based wholly in the idea of redeemability, in the fact that all of us are capable of doing the right thing. By denying the possibility that someone of a different faith might do a good job as president, we deny that concept of redeemability - we implicitedly make that person more than just wrong, we declare them evil. In a real sense we deny that Jesus can do for the Mormon what He has done for us.

I still don't know if I am going to vote for Mitt Romney or not, but one thing I know for sure, I will not make the decision based upon his faith - I will make it based on whether I think he will do a good job. To do otherwise is to deny him the potential for true salvation that I myself enjoy.

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Illuminated Scripture

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Links That Caught My Mouse

Confession: Remember those tests in school where you connected each item from a column of questions on the left with one item in a column of answers on the right? When I saw this post from Adrian Warnock, I wanted to make a column of bloggers and do that.

This honks me off - eating too much causes obesity - everything else is an excuse.

Mark Daniels on leadership. Good Stuff.

If Christian "environmentalists" want to help the poor, and the poor can least afford to upgrade home heating systems, etc - explain to me how this helps anything?

I like possum stew as much as the next redneck, but this is a bit much.

Some things I need.

Defining futility. (Think about it, it'll come to you.)

Fung Seui goes sub-atomic. I must comment that this is lousy science reporting, spectacle over truth.

The value of reading.

This troubles me. Science sucking at the government teat. God don't let this happen to the church.

Technology that matters - although I still prefer the singing bass.

Time to start saving my sheckles! WAY COOL!!!!!!!!! (HT: Buckspot)

This is fine - as long as they don't cut it.
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Christians and Creation - A Positive Approach V

I have pretty thoroughly discussed the fact that Christians have a view of creation that is at odds with the average "environmentalist. I have then gone on to discuss how that affects a Christian's ideas and attitudes in terms of skepticism, humility, having a local perspective and personally following God's mandate to put creation to use. There is another aspect that I think bears considering. Most environmentalists work from an assumption that science and technology is somehow evil, this is not a proper attitude for Christians.

This is in fact how, in my humble opinion, environmentalists are making inroads into the church, this is the avenue which the so-called "greening of evangelicals" is following. This questions is actually related to original worldview issue. We tend to think that because we are sinners we can't do anything right. And yet, we experience goodness and kindness, and right things from sinners every day.

The other thing that is at play in all this is because of the so-called "war between science and religion," it is too easy for people of a religious persuasion to assume that science and technology is somehow evil. But in reality, there is no war between science and religion, there is a war between the naturalistic worldview and the Christian worldview. While it's true that most scientists hold a naturalistic worldview and most Christian's hold a Christian worldview, there are certainly exceptions on both sides of the divide. It's what one does with science and technology that is good or bad, not the science and/or technology itself.

It is important to remember the roots of science and technology. As academic disciplines, they flowed out of the desire to attend to general revelation. By coming to understand God's creation, we can come to understand something of the Creator - that's science. Much as by manipulating God's creation to create new things, we exercize the image of Himself in us - that's technology.

There is a natural fear of that which we do not know, or that which we do not understand. Science and technology is unknown and difficult to understand for most of us. Fear of it is natural. But even that fear does not imply evil, or even wrong.

As Christians, we uniquely have the power and the authority to overcome our fears and to make right that which can be misused and abused. We should not allow our natural fear of the unknown to rob us of that power and authority.

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Linkus Primus


I think this is a special word for Godbloggers. I also really like the "little book" he starts off discussing.

I hereby deny any connection between this "church"/church website and actual Chritianity.

Climate Change food for thought. And even deeper questions.

Speaking of which - increased solar acitivty has nothing to do with global warming!? - won't be long and we'll hear global warming caused the solar activity!

Comic books need a good dose, and Miller is the uber-writer.

The world's smartest dog.

I'm not sure this was about smuggling - if you know what I mean.

I think a better punishment would be 40 hours of watching The Crocodile Hunter.

Bummer - They're not poisonous.

Apparently rocket science is not all that hard. (HT: In the Agora)

Way Kewl!

Where to part with money.

Apparently Chicagoans vote in Canada too!

That's it - Mike Tyson is banned from flying.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Christians and Creation - A Positive Approach IV

Having established that Christians have a different view of creation than environmentalists, and looking at the consequences of that fact in skepticism, a local perspective and humility, The next question is how do we develop this view and perspective? I would like to argue that we do so, by following God's mandate to go out and make use of the earth.

Now by this, I do not mean hiking, visiting parks, and that sort of thing. Wonderful acitivities all, and I engage in them routinely, but they are like watching creation on TV - look but don't touch, engage, but do not interact.

These activities give creation a sterility, a metaphorical "virginity" if you will, that makes one somehow more interested in preservation than in genuine interaction with creation. To be sure, some areas should be preserved because of unique beauty, popularity or individual desire because individuals owning land can choose to use or not use it as they see fit. But I am talking about changing creation, making or growing something.

When one actual interacts with creation, one learns so many things, most importantly - how fragile creation IS NOT!

Unfortunately, most people cannot engage in animal husbandry of any sort, they simply lack the space and resources, so let's pull that off tha table. Gardening is, I believe the ticket. Not flower gardening either. That's lovely, but again its about looking, not intereacting. Nope, I think everybody should grow a vegetable garden for at least one season. I don't care if you live in an apartment - most cities make land available for this purpose somewhere near you. And when you do it, do it for real - feed yourself and your neighbors.

The first thing you will learn is what good food actually tastes like. Did you know that real sweet corn (not this hybridized little corn shaped sugar nuggets you get at the store) loses 95% of its internal sugar within the first 5 minutes of being picked? You have never tasted anything so wonderful in your life as corn that moves in the most rapid possible manner from stalk to pot of boiling water. Tomatoes! - oh dear Lord, nothing in a store can match a home grown tomato in flavor - NOTHING. I could go on like this for hours....

But the most important lesson you will learn from growing a vegetable garden is how very little you actually have to do with the whole thing. You dig a little, plant, keep it watered and you'll get food. In less arid climates than mine, you may not even have to water. That's all it takes. Oh sure, there are things you can do to increase yield some, but at its base, you have nothing whatsoever to do with the actual production of all that wonderful (and I mean wonderful) food. No matter how hard you try to be, you are not in charge of your garden.

That is, I think the ultimate lesson when it comes to Christians and creation. No matter how much we think we are in charge, we are not. We do not make it work. we cannot make it work. Only the Creator can.

Part V is available here.

UPDATE: Further thoughts along these lines can be found here.

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Set 'Em Up Links

What Ho!? PC(USA) gets something right, for a change.

Who knew there was so many wonderful gastornomic possibilities in the world?

Mine Too! (this may be the most atrocious nerd humor of all time)

Remember when you were a little kid and you had night visions your teddy bear was trying to kill you? Maybe you were right!

Don't you think there are some things that really do not need a support group.

Steve Irwin was entertaining, but please.

If some kid doesn't get one because of a lack of funds, this will really piss me off.

This ought to be interesting. You do know that NASA calls their zero-g planes "vomit comets" don't you? Not a pretty picture.

Somebody better, or they will never sell the stuff again.

New frontiers in palentology. I will NOT give them permission to dig in my place - they make huge messes.

It's good to be royal!

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, September 25, 2006


Christians and Creation - A Positive Approach III

We have previously established that a Christian should have a very different view of creation than an "environmentalist." Since, we have begun considering the ramifications of that fact and considered that a Christian should be very skeptical of that developed by secular environmentalists and that Christians should always remember they have a local perspective on matters realted to creation. In this post, I want to consider that a Christian's perspective on creation should be a most humble one.

As we have discussed, the secular environmentalists thinks that man is destroying the planet through manipulation and alteration. The Christian understands that he/she has a mandate to alter the planet in accordance with God's will. But, there is something implicit in the Christian view that is of vital importance. Man's ability to alter the planet, let alone what alterations he shall do, is an ability from God. We so act under God's providence. The mere presumption that we can "destroy the planet," that we can completely undo that which God has done, is in some sense a failure to acknowledge from whence our abilities come. Humility starts by knowing our place under God.

Humility also demands that we demand the very best of our science. Humility says, "I am small and created." To understand all of creation is reaching very far to the Creator. He has granted us very powerful intellects, but they can be lazy, and they can jump to conclusions. When we reach so far towards our Creator we cannot afford any less than our very, very best efforts - otherwise we risk allowing our own fallen nature to stand in the way of learning that which God would have us do.

Humility will also accept the changes that God intends for creation. Some piece of land somewhere may be very special to us. We may want it preserved for sentimental or personal enjoyment reasons, but God may need it to provide housing for others, or grow food for the poor, or.... Humility is the root of faith, and sometimes, faith demands that we rely on God's providence, that what is happening is what He would have happen, even if it makes us unhappy.

Finally, humility in viewing creation is willing to say "I don't know." Saying so is part of relying on God's providence. Sometimes we simply don't know what affect, if any, something will have on creation. Humility understands there are limits to what our science can do. Which means that when it comes to many decisions about what to do in some circumstance, the basis for those decisions will have to be other than "environmental impact" because we simply do not know.

Part IV is here.
Part V is available here

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Monday, Linky Monday

This may be the mot overblown claim in the history if overblown global warming claims.
Humans could cease to be the "dominant species" on Earth because of the environmental damage they are causing,...
Anybody that has seen "Planet of the Apes" knows that happens because of nuclear weapons, not global warming.

Meanwhile, the Anglicans leave morality issues behind for the world of science fiction
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, also supports using coercive measure to cut global warming.
Meanwhile as "green" Evangelicals claim biblical authority for global warming activism uner the guise of caring for the poor, Cheat-Seeking Missles points out the opposite just might be the case.

Perfect if you work at home.

I generally like gastronomical experiementation - but no, not this time.

Send PETA every cockroach you can find, I mean by the billions, even trillions - see how they like it.

A time waster for the artist and engineer in you.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006


Link To The Bone

NYT - Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat - When you go to war against someone the first thing they do is make their army bigger, thus they become more "militartistic." In the Cold War the more bombs they built the more bombs we built. These things are a fact of war. The point is we want NO THREAT OF TERROR, and that can only be accomplished by WINNING THE WAR, which means killing them until they quit. And if we don't, the threat will become the reality.

If you are serious about comics. (HT: 42) Speaking of comics - here is some guy's idea of the Marvel's best 50 covers of the year. Call me old-fashioned, but I do miss pen-ink-4 color, These seem too "serious" somehow.

Monty Python writes headlines - proof.

If you are going to build and android - don't you think you should build a useful one?

Best Time Waster in a while

I do so love curmudgeons - could it be becasue I am one? Anyway, Pappy McVulgar gets his curmudge on in two great posts - one on mission trips (Pappy - you forget they this "native" church is making money off the deal - why work when you can con American churches into giving it to you?) - and one on the commericalization of Christianity.
In an unusual move, aides to Prince Charles denied a report on Saturday that the heir-to-the-throne's staff have to cook him seven boiled eggs to allow him to choose one with the perfect consistency.
--Of course not, everybody knows it's TEN eggs!

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Sermons and Lessons


Augustus Hopkins Strong - President and professor of systematic theology, Rochester Theological Seminary, 1872 -1912; born in Rochester, N. Y., August 3, 1836; graduated from Yale, 1857; pastor of the First Baptist church, Haverhill, Mass., 1861-65; First Baptist church, Cleveland, Ohio, 1865-72; D.D., Brown University, Yale and Princeton; LL.D., Bucknell and Alfred universities; author of "Systematic Theology," "Philosophy and Religion," "The Great Poets and their Theology," "Christ in Creation and Ethical Monism," etc.


"The power of the Holy Ghost. " - Rom. 15:13.

Who is the Holy Spirit? He is the third person of the blessed Trinity. In opposition to much of the false and pernicious teaching of our day, I emphasize the truth that the Holy Spirit is a person, not an influence - some One, and not some thing. I do not need to tell you that the tri-personality of the divine nature is essential to the life, communion, and blessedness of God. Because God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, He is independent of creation; He does not need the universe. The world has had a beginning; it is the work of His sovereignty and grace, but the Holy Spirit is eternal, and be¬fore the world was He existed, coequal with the Father and the Son. He is not only a person, but He is that person of the Godhead who comes nearest to us in our needs, who brings the Creator not only to, but into, the creature. He is personal love in its tenderest form, and only when we appreciate the depths of our own ingratitude and His holy shrink¬ing from our sin, can we understand "the love of the Spirit" that bears with our manifold provocations and still persists in His healing and purifying work. As Christ in Gethsemane "began to be sorrowful and very troubled," so the Holy Spirit is sorrowful and very troubled, at the ignoring, despising, resisting of His work, on the part of those whom He is trying to rescue from sin and, to lead out into the activities of the Christian life. Multiply this experience by millions, and conceive how great must be the suffering and sorrow of the third person of the Trinity, as He struggles with the apathy and unbelief of the Church, endeavors to replace the spirit of selfishness by the spirit of missions, and strives to turn the weakness of His people into power!

But though the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, He is more than this; He is also the Spirit of the incarnate Christ. We cannot understand this without reflecting upon the nature of the change in Christ Himself when He took upon Him human flesh. Before His incarnation He was the eternal Word of God, the Revealer of God in nature and in history. But when He was born of a virgin, He condensed His glory, so to speak, and manifested Himself within the limits of humanity. What was before abstract and far away now became concrete and near. In Christ we see the Godhead in our own likeness, speaking to us with a brother's voice and feeling for us with a brother's heart. Christ is now Son of man as well as Son of God. And what I wish to say with regard to the Holy Spirit, is, that He is the Spirit, not of the preincarnate but of the incarnate Christ, with just as much more power than He had before as Christ had more power after His incarnation.

The Holy Spirit had wrought in some measure before the incarnation, just as Christ had wrought. But as Christ the Word of God, was abstract and hard to recognize so the Spirit of Christ partook of the same disabilities. The Holy Spirit, who always manifested Christ, could in Old Testament times manifest only the divine side of Christ, because there was as yet no human side to manifest. But when Christ?s person had become com¬plete by taking humanity into its divinity and when Christ?s work had become complete by taking all our sins and penalties and bearing them for us, then the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, had more to manifest than He ever had before. From being the Spirit of God alone, He became the Spirit of the God-man, the Spirit of the incarnate Jesus, the revealer through all space and time of the humanity that had been taken up into the divinity.

We can understand now how it can be said in John's Gospel that before the crucifixion and resurrection "the Spirit was not yet given" - or was not yet - "because Jesus was not yet glorified." The proper work of the Holy Spirit is to take of the things of Christ and show them to men. Until Christ's work was accomplished the Holy Spirit had comparatively little to show. Not only was His influence limited in its degree, but it was also limited in its kind: the Holy Spirit as the revealer of the incarnate Jesus did not as yet exist. We might illustrate this by the pride and joy of the mother in showing off her son: she can exhibit him after he has reached his majority and has education and character, as she never could when he was a babe in arms. One might even say that while she was caring for him in his infancy her time for showing him off had not yet come. The mother was not yet exhibitor. So the Holy Spirit could not exhibit Christ until there was a full-grown Christ to exhibit. While our Lord retained the form of a servant and was subject to the Holy Spirit here on earth, the Holy Spirit could not make Him known, any more than the mother could publish abroad the greatness of her son, before the time of his greatness had come. But when Christ's humiliation was ended and His exaltation had begun, then the Holy Spirit's work could begin also. Only when the Savior was glorified in heaven, could the Spirit glorify Him on earth.

But we must not separate the Spirit from Christ as if the two were independent of each other like Peter and Paul. The persons are one in essence. As the Father dwells in and reveals Himself through the Son, so the Son dwells in and reveals through the Spirit. As Christ could say: "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father," so the Holy Spirit might say: "He that hath seen me hath seen Christ." In the Holy Spirit we have Christ Himself, no longer far away and unintelligible, but possest of a human soul and touched with the feeling of our infirmities as He could never be if He had not passed through the temptation and the sorrow of an actual human life. The Holy Spirit is the same incarnate Christ now made omnipresent and omnipotent. You can appreciate how great a truth this is, when you remember the sorrow of the disciples at the taking from them of their Lord. To part with Him, their Teacher and Helper, seemed to them to be the loss of all. How hard it was for them to realize that it was expedient for them that He should go away! Yet it was best for them to lose His visible, bodily presence, because only thus could they have His invisible, spiritual omnipresence. Unless He went away in body, He could not send His Spirit. But if He departed from their eyes, He could come into their hearts. Hence He can say indifferently, "I will send the Comforter," and "I will come unto you," for the Comforter is only Christ in another, more spiritual, more universal form.

It was to educate the disciples to this faith in His invisible presence through the Holy Spirit that Jesus appeared to them so mysteriously in the upper chamber, on the way to Em-mans and by the seaside of Galilee. A moment ago He seemed absent, but now He is here, stretching out His hands in blessing. Has He come through the solid walls, or through the circumambient air? Ah, not so! The lesson to be learned is rather that He has been here all the while, and now He only manifests His presence. And the disciples do learn the lesson that, while seemingly absent, the Savior is ever present with them - while invisible, by the eye of faith He can be seen. The Holy Spirit is the incarnate Christ not only, but the incarnate Christ spiritualized, freed from all the limitations of space and time, no longer subject to the conditions of His humiliation, but omnipresent and glorified. While here on earth in human flesh He could heal the lepers and feed the hungry and raise the dead and walk the sea; but He could not be in two places at the same time, nor teach Peter in Galilee at the same time that He taught John at Jerusalem. Now, by His Holy Spirit, He can be present with the little knot of believers that worships in Swatow, at the same time that He meets with us here in America. And as the Holy Spirit is the omnipresent Christ, so He is the omnipotent Christ also, with every restraint upon His working removed, except the restraints of infinite wisdom and infinite love.

We begin to see the greatness of the Holy Spirit. And yet we shall not understand how great He is, unless we remember how great this Christ is who works through Him. Jesus said that all power was committed to Him in heaven and in earth. This means nothing less than that nature, with all her elements and laws, is under His control and manifests His will; that history, with all her vicissitudes, including the rise and fall of empires and civilizations is the working out of His plan; and that the Church, with her witnessing for the truth, her martyrdoms, her love and anguish for men's souls, her struggling after righteousness, is the engine by which He is setting up His kingdom. The incarnate Christ is now on the throne of the universe, and the hand that was nailed to the cross now holds the scepter over all.

Who, then, is the Holy Spirit? He is the incarnate and divine Redeemer wielding all this infinite power, in the realm of spirit, and for spiritual ends. He is the organ of internal revelation, as Christ is the organ of external revelation. Just so far as Christ does anything for intelligent and moral beings He does it through the Holy Spirit. We can make no exceptions. As the Spirit of God in the beginning brooded over chaos and brought forth forms of life and beauty, so still He works in nature to complete and restore the creation which sin has marred; as He strove with men before the flood, so He strives with them all along the course of time, in every nation and in every conscience giving witness of Christs law and grace; as with Noah and Abraham and Moses and David and Isaiah He renewed the heart by presenting the truth made known by the preincarnate Logos, so now He takes the clearer truth of Christ's incarnation and sacrifice and resurrection and makes it the means of establishing the kingdom of God in human hearts. Pentecost could come only after the Passover. The feast, of jubilation and first fruits dated back to the other feast when the lamb was slain in every household. So Christ had first to die, before the Holy Spirit could show to John on Patmos the Lamb that had been slain, sitting upon the very throne of God and with all the crowns of the universe upon His brow. In other words, the Holy Spirit is the divine but incarnate Savior omnipresent and omnipotent to subdue to Himself the hearts of earth's revolted millions and to go .forth conquering and to conquer until every spiritual enemy has been put beneath His feet.

If what I have said is true, then I think we shall be obliged greatly to enlarge our ordinary conceptions of the power of the Holy Ghost. I think we cannot confine it, as we sometimes do, to the power exerted in the conversion of the individual, though that is its most common and impressive exhibition. There is a larger agency of the Spirit in the leavening of society, the shaping of public opinion, the raising of ethical standards, the quickening of the moral sense throughout whole communities and decades, throughout whole nations and ages. Just as there is a preliminary work in the individual which prepares the way for his regeneration so there is a preliminary work in the masses of mankind that pre¬pares the way for the coming of the kingdom; and this preliminary work is the work of the Holy Spirit, just as much as the work of consummation is.

There are times when financial depression is succeeded by a strange awe and expectation of the coming of God. There are times when the sudden solution of vexed problems of State, when great public deliverances and great public judgments, are recognized even by ungodly men as due to the finger of God. Then it is the Holy Spirit that draws the curtain aside and lets men see the living God behind the wheels. In the movements and enterprises of the Church there is a work of the Holy Spirit quite aside from His enlightening and sanctifying of individuals. At times a multitude of believers, widely separated from each other, seemed moved to pray for the removal of some mountain-like obstacle that prevents the progress of God's cause. Then slavery is abolished, walls of heathen exclusion are broken down, civil reforms are instituted, great revivals of religion and great missionary efforts are inaugurated. And yet it is true that even these broad and general influences upon the heart of humanity and of the Church are connected with renewals of single individuals, like the conversion of Paul and the conversion of Luther; and these turnings of individuals become the means of turning whole communities.

Regeneration is a spiritual work, in the sense that it takes place in man's spiritual nature, is wrought by a spiritual Being, and makes use of spiritual means and agencies. The Holy Spirit changes men's natures by bringing truth to bear upon them the truth with regard to their sin, with regard to Christ's salvation, with regard to God's judgment. He convinces of din, and of righteousness, and of judgment. As a flash of lightning shows the nightly wanderer that he is on the edge of a precipice when before he thought himself safe, so the Holy Spirit lights up all the heart's ungodliness and reveals its danger. As the rising sun discloses the glories of an Alpine landscape which the darkness has hidden and shows snowy mountain and deep blue lake in all their beauty, so the Holy Spirit draws aside the veil of unbelief and enables the lost and helpless to perceive the divine compassion and the infinite sufficiency of Jesus Christ, the Savior of sinners. And then He convinces of judgment also - the certainty and awfulness of God's judgment against sin; the Holy Spirit teaches this, and enables the sinner to renounce sin utterly and thus to make the judgment of God his own.

So, while Christ is the life, the Holy Spirit is the life-giver. The Holy Spirit presents Christ to the soul, or, if you prefer the phrase, in and through the Holy Spirit, Christ comes to the soul and takes up His abode in it, makes it holy, gives it new views of truth and new power of will. Before the Holy Spirit began His work Christ was outside, and we looked upon Him as a foreign, perhaps even as a distant, Redeemer. After the Holy Spirit has done His work, we have Christ within, the soul of our soul and the life of our life. A union is established between Christ and us, so that none can separate us from Him or from His love. In fact, there is nothing more marked in the New Testament than the way in which He is identified with His body, the Church, unless it is the way in which the Holy Spirit is identified with our spirit. The Holy Spirit so passes into our spirits that we are said to have the spirit of Christ, and it is sometimes difficult to tell whether our spirit or the divine Spirit is meant, the two are so merged the one in the other. All this renew¬ing and transforming shows what power the Holy Spirit exercises. It is power compared with which the mightiest physical changes sink into insignificance. You can more easily create a world than recreate a soul. Only God can regenerate. It is only God, who causes the light to shine out of darkness at the beginning, who can shed abroad in a sinful soul the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

And yet physical images are employed to illustrate the Holy Spirit's power. His agency is compared to that of air, of water, and of fire, at their highest pitch of efficiency. Take the air that is often so still and apparently impotent about us that we absolutely forget its existence. Would you believe that this air, when stirred, is capable of taking up cattle and carrying them half a mile over fences and trees? Would you believe that this air could absolutely prostrate the strongest houses, and even lay low the largest trees, cutting a clear swath for miles and miles through the forest? Yet the eastern tornado or the western cyclone is nothing but "wild air," as Helen Keller beautifully said. So in the ordinary quiet workings of the Holy Spirit, we get no idea of the mighty effects He is able to produce. The same divine Agent who comforts the sorrowing and speaks in whispers of peace to the heart of a child is able to come like a mighty rushing wind at Pentecost and in a single day convert three thousand unto God.

The agency of the Holy Spirit is compared to that of water. The rain is a symbol of His influence. Sometimes it is the gentle showers that water the mown grass and cause the thirsty field to revive. So the Holy Spirit encourages the believer whose earthly hopes have been cut down. But there are larger manifestations of His power. In this country and latitude we know little of what rain can accomplish. Years ago I was traveling in Palestine and happened to be caught in the last rain of the springtime, just before the long dry season from April to November set in. I had heard of rain coming down in the tropics in sheets and bucketsful, but I had never expected to see anything like it But there, on the way from Carmel to Caesarea, I had the experience. The water seemed to descend in masses. Those exposed to it were drenched as if they had been plunged into the sea. Then I understood what the psalmist meant by "the river of God which is full of water" he meant the rain that came down like floods from heaven. And then I understood the promise of Malachi: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord, if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, so that there shall not be room to receive it." The opening of the windows of heaven is an allusion to the deluge of old; and the prophet assures us that, when God's people are faithful and put His promise to the test, the Holy Spirit whose ordinary influences are so gentle will descend like the floods of Noah, so that the fountains of the great deep are broken up, and rivers of blessing flow forth from God's sanctuary, to water the earth.

The agency of the Holy Spirit is compared to fire. The flame kindled in the heart by the blessed Spirit may be so slight and low that a single breath of coldness and opposition may suffice to quench it. But it may also become a consuming blaze that carries everything before it. It is only a match that sets the dry wood burning in the hunter's campfire, but that fire may spread till the whole forest for miles and miles is swept by the roaring flames. A kerosene lamp overturned is a little thing, but Chicago devoured by conflagration is the result - the greatest structures of wood and iron melt and crumble in that heat. So in the common operations of the Holy Spirit we get no conception of what the Spirit can do in melting hard hearts and in bringing to nothing the pride and opposition of men. How often has He swept whole communities with religious anxiety and zeal that could only be compared with fire from heaven! The college revivals, and the great awakenings on a larger scale which this country has witnessed in days gone by, are evidence that the Holy Spirit has a power beyond all our ordinary estimates. Why should we be so slow to believe in His power?

Was Pentecost the limit of His working? What was Pentecost but the feast of first-fruits, the bringing in of the first few ripened ears of the mighty harvest? Shall we limit the harvest by the first fruits, or think that the first ingathering is the greatest possible? Ah, no! Pentecost was but the beginning and the power of the Spirit of God will be fully seen only when a nation is born in a day.

There is no measure of the Holy Spirit's power except the greatness of the Holy Spirit Himself. The Holy Spirit is as great as Christ?in fact, He is Christ, not now absent but present, with us and with His Church always even unto the end of the world, and all things in heaven and earth are given into His hand. And since Christ is God revealed, deity manifested, divinity brought down to our comprehension and engaged in the work of our salvation, the Holy Spirit is this same God in the hearts of believers and pushing the conquests of Christ's kingdom. in the world. Wherever God is by His omnipresence there the Holy Spirit is, to make men will and do according to His will, and whatever God can do by His omnipotence in the spirits of men, that the Holy Spirit can do, to convert the world to Christ. Is the Holy Spirit equal to the work of missions? Ah, the Holy Spirit is God Himself, engaged in this very work. More pervasive than electricity or magnetism, His power encircles the globe, and hence the touch of prayer in America can produce results in Africa or in Japan.

He is one, and He is almighty. He can weave together all the prayers and all the labors of the Christian Church into the complex structure of His kingdom, and He can make the least breath of desire, and the widow's mite of contribution, most potent agencies for the salvation of the world. All the wealth of Christendom is His, and He can prompt His people to use it. The storms of war and the oppositions of the nations are only surface movements of the great sea of humanity, beneath which the vast ocean of God's Spirit is ever resting and waiting with power to bring the waves to calm or to drive them with one consent to engulf and overwhelm the shore. And the day shall come when, in answer to His people's prayers and through their very efforts, this ocean-like Spirit shall show His power and the work of a thousand years shall be done in one day. Men may fail and be discouraged, but the mighty Spirit of God shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He has set judgment in the earth, and the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ.

It is the mistake and disaster of the Christian world that effects are sought instead of causes.? These weighty words of a recent writer have deeply imprest me. I wish to apply them to the subject of missions. The Holy Spirit is the one and only power in missions, and to expect success in missions while we ignore the Holy Spirit, is to look for an effect without a cause. How evident it is that this great agent, this renewer of hearts, this regenerator of the world, has been largely neglected and ignored! We have been trying to carry on missions without the Spirit of missions. We have trusted our own wisdom, instead of trusting Him. We have invoked earthly helps, instead of invoking the Helper, the Advocate, who has been called to this work by God. And so our zeal has slackened, and our faith has grown weak, and our love has become cold. Neither faith nor love will survive, if hope does not go with them. We cannot do this work ourselves, and when we lose sight of the Holy Spirit, Christian activity dwindles and dies.

The success of missions is dependent upon our recognition of the Spirit of missions. The conversion of the world must be preceded by new faith in Him who effects conversion. The Holy Spirit will show His greatest power only when the Church seeks His power. The Spirit of missions is also the Spirit of prayer. How may we secure the power of the Holy Spirit in missions and in prayer? Ah, we cannot pray that He will take to Himself His great power and reign supreme in the world, until we ourselves admit Him to complete dominion in our hearts and lives. So long as we are full of other things that He abhors our own selfish plans, our impure desires, our worldly ambitions?He will not work in us that mighty praying, that mighty effort, that mighty sacrifice, that alone will save the world. You might put a corked bottle under Niagara, but you could never ff1 it. The flood of spiritual influence may be descend¬ing like Niagara, but the love of sin may completely prevent it from entering our souls. Let us open our hearts then that we may receive. Let us put away the evil that offends God and prevents Him from doing His work in us. Let us ask for His coming and in-dwelling. Let us take Him, by the act of our wills, once more to be our Lord.

On his last birthday but one, Livingston wrote: "My Jesus, my King, my Life, my All, I again dedicate my whole self to Thee!" No wonder that he died on his knees, with his face buried in his hands, praying for the regeneration of Africa. The Spirit of missions is also the Spirit of consecration. He prompts to various kinds of service. He puts it into the heart of one to say: "Here am I, send me!" He moves another to say: "The half of my goods I give, to send the gospel across the sea!" He impels still another to spend days and nights in prayer for the conversion of Madras, or for the spiritual revolutionizing of New York.

We are responsible for the bringing of the world to God, because we have this connection and partnership with the Spirit of God. It is not so much a question of giving as it is a question of receiving.

The Savior even now utters His command as He did in the company of those disciples on the evening of His resurrection. "Receive ye - take ye - the Holy Ghost!" He says to each one of us. But we make two mistakes with regard to His words. First, they are a command, and not a mere permission; and secondly, it is not a passive receiving, but an active taking that is required of us. Shall we thus take the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of missions, the Spirit of power - May God the Father grant it! May Christ the Son bestow it! May the Holy Spirit Himself vouchsafe it! Then from us, though of ourselves we are hard and dry as rocks in the desert, shall flow rivers of living water like that which sprang forth at the touch of Moses' rod! Then shall be set in motion divine influences which shall flow like ocean tides around the world, until every land shall be bathed in their flood and the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth as the waters cover the sea!

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