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Welcome to my weblog! My name is Jessica. I enjoy learning more of God, reading 16th-17th century Puritan divines' writings, playing piano, playing table tennis, old-fashioned things, etc. This is where I post on things that I'm reading or learning (as a sort of commonplace book), to aid me in remembering helpful things.

My Podcast Subscriptions

Rev. Kenneth Stewart - SermonAudio / iTunes
Rev. David Silversides - SermonAudio / iTunes
Rev. Robert McCurley - SermonAudio / Videos
Rev. Gavin Beers -
SermonAudio
Dr. Joel Beeke -
SermonAudio / iTunes
Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Podcast - Confessing Our Hope (iTunes) / Web
Reformed Theological Seminary on iTunes U - Free RTS course lectures
Westminster Theological Seminary on iTunes U - Free course lectures

Westminster Shorter Catechism

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A Les Misérables Medley

A One-Man Orchestra Cover

 

 

Be Not Vexed

This quotation by a 17th-century pastor, Willem Teellinck, is encouraging in light of today’s news and event (from Redeeming the Time, p. 36):

When you begin to consider the things which are happening all over the world, always remember that the Lord is working in them.  He who can bring light out of darkness, will yet from the completed and combined work bring forth something glorious.  Be not therefore too much vexed that there appears somewhere to come an ill stroke in your own affairs, or in the affairs of God’s people in your day, as is now the case; for the Lord would not permit this to take place, did He not mean to use it as a background to give the whole work a more beautiful lustre.

John Knox Trailer

Trailer for feature-length documentary: Knox: The Life and Legacy of Scotland’s Controversial Reformer.

 

 

Of Two Moral Evils Choose Neither

The last quotation by Symington is my favorite of the list.

 

Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ:

Of two evils, the lesser is always to be chosen.

 

Charles Spurgeon, The Salt-Cellars: Being a Collection of Proverbs, Together with Homely Notes Thereon (1889), p. 297:

John Ploughman says, Of two evils choose neither.  Don’t choose the least, but let all evils alone.

 

Matthew Henry, from his Commentary on Genesis 19:8:

It is true, of two evils we must choose the less; but of two sins we must choose neither, nor ever do evil that good may come of it.

 

William Symington, Speech of the Rev. Dr. Symington at the great meeting, for protesting against the desecration of the Sabbath by the running of trains on the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway on the Lord’s day, held in the City Hall, Glasgow, February 26, 1842:

. . . Instead of being fixed by their favourite poster, ‘of two evils choose the least,’ I say . . . when you give me the choice of two moral evils, I can choose neither of them.  If I have the choice of two physical evils, I will choose the least.  If I am asked whether I would choose to lose a toe or a leg, I would choose to part with a toe; but if I am asked whether I would desecrate the Sabbath by steam or by horse power, I say I would do neither.  There is a dangerous and deadly fallacy lurking beneath this common maxim, against which I would warn all; for of two moral evils we must choose neither–we are not at liberty to do evil that good may come.

 

Keep the Heart as Keeping a Garden

From Thomas Watson’s Sermon, The Spiritual Watch:

Keep your heart as you would keep a garden.  Your heart is a garden (Song of Solomon 4:12); weed all sin out of your heart.  Among the flowers of the heart, weeds will be growing—the weeds of pride, malice, and covetousness: these grow without planting and cultivating.  Therefore be weeding your heart daily by prayer, examination, and repentance.

Weeds hinder the herbs and flowers from growing; the weeds of corruption—hinder the growth of grace.  Where the weed of unbelief grows—it hinders the flower of faith from growing.

Weeds spoil the walkways.  Christ will not walk in a heart overgrown with weeds and briars.  Christ was sometimes among the lilies (Song of Solomon 6:3)—but never among the thistles.

James Durham on Providence

Reading a troubling news yesterday made this quotation poignant to me:

“And therefore: Let us stay our faith here, that our Lord is still working in all these confusions.  And when matters are turned upside down to human appearance, our blessed Lord is not nonplussed and at a stand when we are; he knows well what he is doing, and will make all things most certainly, infallibly, and infrustrably to work for his own glory, and for the good of his people.” –James Durham, Christ Crucified: The Marrow of the Gospel in 72 Sermons on Isaiah 53, Sermon 34 (on Isa. 53.9), p. 358

 

A World of Thought
old-library-trinity-college

Old Library at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

 

Bishop Joseph Hall, “Meditation on the Sight of a Large Library”:

What a world of thought is here packed up together!  I know not whether this sight doth more dismay or comfort me.  It dismays me to think that here is so much that I cannot know; it comforts me to think that this variety affords so much assistance to know what I should.  There is no truer word than that of Solomon; ‘There is no end of making many books.’  This sight verifies it.  There is no end: indeed it were a pity there should . . .  What a happiness is it that, without the aid of necromancy, I can here call up any of the ancient worthies of learning, whether human or divine, and confer with them upon all my doubts; that I can at pleasure summon whole synods of reverend fathers and acute doctors from all the coasts of the earth, to give their well-studied judgments in all doubtful points which I propose.  Nor can I cast my eye casually upon any of these silent masters but I must learn somewhat.  It is a wantonness to complain of choice.  No law binds us to read all; but the more we can take in and digest, the greater will be our improvement.

Blessed be God who hath set up so many clear lamps in his church: none but the wilfully blind can plead darkness.  And blessed be the memory of those, his faithful servants, who have left their blood, their spirits, their lives, in these precious papers; and have willingly wasted themselves into these enduring monuments to give light to others.

 

From John Flavel’s Epistle to the Reader in preface to The Righteous Man’s Refuge:

“If Heinsius, when he had shut up himself in the library at Leyden, reckoned himself placed in the very lap of eternity, because he conversed there with so many divine souls, and professed, he took his seat in it with so lofty a spirit and sweet content, that he heartily pitied all the great and rich men of the world, that were ignorant of the happiness he there daily enjoyed;” How much more may that soul rejoice in its own happiness, who hath shut himself up in the chambers of the Divine Attributes, and exerciseth pity for the exposed and miserable multitude that are left as a prey to the temptations and troubles of the world.

 

One-Year Reading Plan for Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour

Christian in Complete ArmourI found a one-year reading plan for William Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour.  It could seem a bit intimidating to tackle this unabridged volume of 1,100+ pages.  The grand theme of this book is spiritual warfare and how the Christian can furnish with ‘spiritual arms for the battle’ against the Satanic foe.

Sin never relaxes.  It never takes a vacation.  Our indwelling sin doesn’t lie down and wake up the next moment.  The Puritan John Owen wrote that sin may be most active when it seems to be the most dormant to us, hence we must be vigilant and vigorous against it in our spiritual warfare at all times and in all conditions, even when there is least suspicion.

The reading plan (available here) breaks it down into manageable chunks of reading only a few pages per day.  Because it is a 5-day-a-week reading plan, it allows two days within the week to catch up if needed or to reflect on what has been read throughout the week.

 

Books

Came across this super charming picture.  I like the details that went into it.  The thick black-framed glasses adorning the girl’s face, along with two pigtails.  The piles of books.  Her little hands framing an overwhelmed facial expression.  Her dainty, old-fashioned, retro dress.  She could be a mini Librarian.

 

 

This picture somehow reminds me of a time, when I was perhaps an eight- or nine-year-old girl, browsing through my Dad’s bookshelves at home.  At that age I didn’t have the capacity to fully comprehend what I was trying to read from those books, but I’ve always loved books for as long as I can remember.  I recall turning the pages, pondering what was being written and thinking along the lines of, “When I grow up someday, maybe I’ll then be able to read many books and understand what I read . . .”

 

 “I’ve traveled the world twice over,
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
Poets and artists, kings and queens,
Old stars and hopeful beginners,
I’ve been where no-one’s been before,
Learned secrets from writers and cooks
All with one library ticket
To the wonderful world of books.
~Janice James

 

Give Me Scotland: John Knox

I’m happy to hear about an upcoming feature length documentary on the life and legacy of Scotland’s Reformer, John Knox.

About the film (excerpt from its campaign website):

“The film would retell the engaging and dramatic story of Knox and explore the relevance of the man and of his Reformational message in the 21st Century . . . We believe that a visually gripping film on Knox will achieve a wide audience both in Scotland and around the world, and we believe that this film could be a powerful challenge for the church to live up to Reformational standards and be once again a great force for good in the world. Perhaps it could even spread the vision for a new Reformation.”

To stay up to date with the latest events in the production of the film, simply join its Facebook page.

 

 

 

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Books

“Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” —Charles Spurgeon