Tag Archives: Old Dead Guys

The Ideal Congregation

F. W. Boreham, Dreams at Sunset

There may be some question as to which is the largest congregation in the world: there may be some doubt as to which is the richest: but there can be no uncertainty as to which is the best. The best congregation in the world is a congregation of one. And the best of that best congregation is that anyone can enjoy the privilege of addressing it. Continue reading

A Clouded Christmas

F. W. Boreham, My Christmas Book, Part II, ch. IV

It is an infinite comfort to us ordinary pulpiteers to know that even an Archbishop may sometimes have a bad time! And, on the occasion of which I write, the poor Prelate must have had a very bad time indeed. For—tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon!—none of his hearers knew what he had been talking about! They could make neither head nor tail of it! ‘I have not been able to find one man yet who could discover what it was about’, wrote one of his auditors to a friend. It is certainly most humiliating when our congregations go home and pen such letters for posterity to chuckle over.

And yet the ability of the preacher at this particular service, and the intelligence of his hearers, are alike beyond question. Continue reading

Life

George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, vol. II

‘I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.’—ST JOHN x. 10.

I

In a word, He came to supply all our lack—from the root outward; for what is it we need but more life? What does the infant need but more life? What does the bosom of his mother give him but life in abundance? What does the old man need, whose limbs are weak and whose pulse is low, but more of the life which seems ebbing from him? Weary with feebleness, he calls upon death, but in reality it is life he wants. It is but the encroaching death in him that desires death. He longs for rest, but death cannot rest; death would be as much an end to rest as to weariness: even weakness cannot rest; it takes strength as well as weariness to rest. How different is the weariness of the strong man after labour unduly prolonged, from the weariness of the sick man who in the morning cries out, ‘Would God it were evening!’ and in the evening, ‘Would God it were morning!’ Continue reading

The Silver Trumpets

F. W. Boreham, Dreams at Sunset, Part I, ch. 7

The postman has this morning brought me a letter that affords me peculiar satisfaction. It invites me to return for one notable Sunday to a pulpit in which, long ago, I spent twelve very happy years. ‘We are celebrating our Jubilee,’ the minister writes, ‘and we all want you to be among us!’ Continue reading

The Inventiveness of Reluctance

Joseph Parker, The People’s Bible, vol. II: Exodus. Available for Kindle.

“But he said, ‘Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.’ ”
Exodus 4:13 (ESV)

Man excusing himself from duty is a familiar picture. It is not a picture indeed; it is a personal experience. How inventive we are in finding excuses for not doing the will of God! How falsely modest we can become! depreciating ourselves, and putting ourselves before God in a light in which we could never consent to be put before society by the criticism of others. Is not this a revelation of the human heart to itself? We only want to walk in paths that are made beautiful with flowers, and to wander by streams that lull us by their own tranquillity. Nerve, and pluck, and force we seem to have lost. In place of the inventiveness of love we have the inventiveness of reluctance or distaste. It should be our supreme delight to find reasons for co-operating with God, and to fortify ourselves by such interpretations of circumstances as will plainly show us that we are in the right battle, fighting on the right side, and wielding the right weapon. The possibility of self-deception is one of the most solemn of all subjects. I cannot question the sincerity of Moses in enumerating and massing all the difficulties of his side of the case. He meant every word that he said. It is not enough to be sincere; we must have intelligence and conscience enlightened and enlarged. Mistakes are made about this matter of sincerity; the thing forgotten being that sincerity is nothing in itself, everything depending upon the motive by which it is actuated and the object towards which it is directed. The Church is today afflicted with the spirit of self-excusing—it cannot give, because of the depression of the times; it cannot go upon its mighty errands, because of its dainty delicateness; it cannot engage in active beneficence, because its charity should begin at home; it cannot enter into ardent controversy, because it prefers the comfort of inaction. Churches should not tell lies to themselves. The first great thing to be done is for a man to be faithful to his own heart, to look himself boldly in the face, and speak the clear truth emphatically to his own consciousness.

The Fish-Pens

F. W. Boreham, Rubble and Roseleaves, Part III, ch. II

I was holiday-making at Lake King. As a matter of fact, Lake King is no lake at all. It used to be; and, like the Church at Sardis, and like so many of us, it bears the name that it once earned but no longer deserves. In former days, a picturesque rampart of sand hummocks, richly draped in native verdure, intervened between the fresh waters of the land-locked lake and the heaving tides of the Southern Ocean. Then the engineers arrived; and when the engineers take off their coats no man can tell what is likely to happen next. At Panama they split a continent in two. At Lake King they wedded the lake to the ocean. Through the range of sand-dunes they cut a broad, deep channel by which the big ships could pass in and out, and, as an inevitable consequence, Lake King is a lake no longer. But it was not the big ships that interested me. It was the trawlers. I liked to see the fishing-boats come in from the ocean and liberate their shining spoil at the pens. On the shores of the lake the fishermen have fenced off a sheet of water, a quarter of an acre or so in area; and into this sheltered reserve they discharge their daily catch. I never tired of visiting the fish-pens. As I looked down into their clear waters they seemed to be one moving mass of beautiful fish. Never in my life had I seen so congested an aquarium. There were thousands upon thousands, tons upon tons, of them. Continue reading