God calls his creatures to live under authority. He is our authority and has vested authority in people within the institutions he has established (home, church, state, and business). You must not be embarrassed to be authorities for your children.You exercise authority as God’s agent. You may not direct your children for your own agenda or convenience. You must direct your children on God’s behalf for their good.Our culture tends toward the extreme poles on a continuum. In the area of authority, we tend either toward a crass kind of John Wayne authoritarianism or toward being a wimp. God calls you by His Word and his example to be authorities who are truly kind. God calls you to exercise authority, not in making your children do what you want, but in being true servants – authorities who lay down your lives. The purpose for your authority in the lives of your children is not to hold them under your power, but to empower them to be self-controlled people living freely under the authority if God. Jesus is an example of this. The One who commands you, the One who possesses all authority, came as a servant. He is a ruler who serves; he is also a servant who rules. He exercises sovereign authority that is kind – authority exercised on behalf of his subjects. In John 13, Jesus, who knew that the Father had put all things under his authority, put on a towel and washed the disciples’ feet. As his people submit to his authority, they are empowered to live freely in the freedom of the gospel.As a parent, you must exercise authority. You must require obedience of your children because they are called by God to obey and honor you. You must exercise authority, not as a cruel taskmaster, but as one who truly loves them.
you” need to be and who needs to be with you to fulfill what God is asking you to do. Your life is your own. You must define your dreams, not live someone else’s vision of a good life. What is it that God is asking you to do with the talents and hobbies you enjoy? What were you blessed with a desire for? A good life is one spent in the service of helping others. Find a life partner that will help you reach God’s highest potential—service to humanity, service to his Kingdom, service to building others up. Also, begin any choice with the end in mind. This means to begin each day with a clear vision of your desired direction. It is not enough to live a passive life of religious devotion. God asked you to do more than worship. He has called you to serve, not to be a servant to other people’s dreams. You and only you know where your heart must travel. God brings you storms in life to wake you up. Don’t see it as his disappointment, but as his parental love for you. Life was not meant to stay the same. If someone truly loves you they will never take you away from God’s plan, they will only magnify it.
A man worth being with is one…That never lies to youIs kind to people that have hurt himA person that respects another’s lifeThat has manners and shows people respectThat goes out of his way to help peopleThat feels every person, no matter how difficult, deserves compassionWho believes you are the most beautiful person he has ever metWho brags about your accomplishments with prideWho talks to you about anything and everything because no bad news will make him love you lessThat is a peacemakerThat will see you through illnessWho keeps his promisesWho doesn’t blame others, but finds the good in them That raises you up and motivates you to reach for the starsThat doesn’t need fame, money or anything materialistic to be happyThat is gentle and patient with childrenWho won’t let you lie to yourself; he tells you what you need to hear, in order to help you growWho lives what he says he believes inWho doesn’t hold a grudge or hold onto the past Who doesn’t ask his family members to deliberately hurt people that have hurt himWho will run with your dreamsThat makes you laugh at the world and yourselfWho forgives and is quick to apologizeWho doesn’t betray you by having inappropriate conversations with other womenWho doesn’t react when he is angry, decides when he is sad or keep promises he doesn’t plan to keepWho takes his children’s spiritual life very seriously and teaches by exampleWho never seeks revenge or would ever put another person downWho communicates to solve problemsWho doesn’t play games or passive aggressively ignores people to hurt themWho is real and doesn’t pretend to be something he is notWho has the power to free you from yourself through his positive outlookWho has a deep respect for women and treats them like a daughter of GodWho doesn’t have an ego or believes he is better than anyoneWho is labeled constantly by people as the nicest person they have ever metWho works hard to provide for the familyWho doesn’t feel the need to drink alcohol to have a good time, smoke or do drugsWho doesn't have to hang out a bar with his friends, but would rather spend his time with his familyWho is morally free from sinWho sees your potential to be greatWho doesn't think a woman's place has to be in the home; he supports your life mission, where ever that takes youWho is a gentlemanWho is honest and lives with integrityWho never discusses your private business with anyoneWho will protect his familyWho forgives, forgets, repairs and restoresWhen you find a man that possesses these traits then all the little things you don’t have in common don’t matter. This is the type of man worth being grateful for.
Brahma made up his mind to make the world and a man and woman. He made the world, and he made the man and then the woman, and put them on the island of Ceylon. According to the account it was the most beautiful island of which man can conceive. Such birds, such songs, such flowers and such verdure! And the branches of the trees were so arranged that when the wind swept through them every tree was a thousand Æolian harps.Brahma, when he put them there, said: 'Let them have a period of courtship, for it is my desire and will that true love should forever precede marriage.' When I read that, it was so much more beautiful and lofty than the other, that I said to myself, If either one of these stories ever turns out to be true, I hope it will be this one.'Then they had their courtship, with the nightingale singing, and the stars shining, and the flowers blooming, and they fell in love. They were married by the Supreme Brahma, and he said to them: 'Remain here; you must never leave this island.' Well, after a little while the man—and his name was Adami, and the woman's name was Heva—said to Heva: 'I believe I'll look about a little.' He went to the northern extremity of the island where there was a little narrow neck of land connecting it with the mainland, and the devil, who is always playing pranks with us, produced a mirage, and when he looked over to the mainland, such hills and vales, such dells and dales, such mountains crowned with snow, such cataracts clad in bows of glory did he see there, that he went back and told Heva: 'The country over there is a thousand times better than this; let us migrate.' She, like every other woman that ever lived, said: 'Let well enough alone; we have all we want; let us stay here.' But he said 'No, let us go;' so she followed him, and when they came to this narrow neck of land, he took her on his back like a gentleman, and carried her over. But the moment they got over they heard a crash, and looking back, discovered that this narrow neck of land had fallen into the sea. The mirage had disappeared, and there were naught but rocks and sand; and then the Supreme Brahma cursed them both to the lowest hell.Then it was that the man spoke,—and I have liked him ever since for it—'Curse me, but curse not her, it was not her fault, it was mine.'That's the kind of man to start a world with.The Supreme Brahma said: 'I will save her, but not thee.' And then she spoke out of her fullness of love, out of a heart in which there was love enough to make all her daughters rich in holy affection, and said: 'If thou wilt not spare him, spare neither me; I do not wish to live without him; I love him.' Then the Supreme Brahma said—and I have liked him ever since I read it—'I will spare you both and watch over you and your children forever.'Honor bright, is not that the better and grander story?
If the bible be true, God commanded his chosen people to destroy men simply for the crime of defending their native land. They were not allowed to spare trembling and white-haired age, nor dimpled babes clasped in the mothers' arms. They were ordered to kill women, and to pierce, with the sword of war, the unborn child. 'Our heavenly Father' commanded the Hebrews to kill the men and women, the fathers, sons and brothers, but to preserve the girls alive. Why were not the maidens also killed? Why were they spared? Read the thirty-first chapter of Numbers, and you will find that the maidens were given to the soldiers and the priests. Is there, in all the history of war, a more infamous thing than this? Is it possible that God permitted the violets of modesty, that grow and shed their perfume in the maiden's heart, to be trampled beneath the brutal feet of lust? If this was the order of God, what, under the same circumstances, would have been the command of a devil? When, in this age of the world, a woman, a wife, a mother, reads this record, she should, with scorn and loathing, throw the book away. A general, who now should make such an order, giving over to massacre and rapine a conquered people, would be held in execration by the whole civilized world. Yet, if the bible be true, the supreme and infinite God was once a savage.
Like the most of you, I was raised among people who knew - who were certain. They did not reason or investigate. They had no doubts. They knew that they had the truth. In their creed there was no guess — no perhaps. They had a revelation from God. They knew the beginning of things. They knew that God commenced to create one Monday morning, four thousand and four years before Christ. They knew that in the eternity — back of that morning, he had done nothing. They knew that it took him six days to make the earth — all plants, all animals, all life, and all the globes that wheel in space. They knew exactly what he did each day and when he rested. They knew the origin, the cause of evil, of all crime, of all disease and death.At the same time they knew that God created man in his own image and was perfectly satisfied with his work... They knew all about the Flood -- knew that God, with the exception of eight, drowned all his children -- the old and young -- the bowed patriarch and the dimpled babe -- the young man and the merry maiden -- the loving mother and the laughing child -- because his mercy endureth forever. They knew too, that he drowned the beasts and birds -- everything that walked or crawled or flew -- because his loving kindness is over all his works. They knew that God, for the purpose of civilizing his children, had devoured some with earthquakes, destroyed some with storms of fire, killed some with his lightnings, millions with famine, with pestilence, and sacrificed countless thousands upon the fields of war. They knew that it was necessary to believe these things and to love God. They knew that there could be no salvation except by faith, and through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.Then I asked myself the question: Is there a supernatural power -- an arbitrary mind -- an enthroned God -- a supreme will that sways the tides and currents of the world -- to which all causes bow?I do not deny. I do not know - but I do not believe. I believe that the natural is supreme - that from the infinite chain no link can be lost or broken — that there is no supernatural power that can answer prayer - no power that worship can persuade or change — no power that cares for man.Is there a God?I do not know.Is man immortal?I do not know.One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be.We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know. We can tell the truth, and we can enjoy the blessed freedom that the brave have won. We can destroy the monsters of superstition, the hissing snakes of ignorance and fear. We can drive from our minds the frightful things that tear and wound with beak and fang. We can civilize our fellow-men. We can fill our lives with generous deeds, with loving words, with art and song, and all the ecstasies of love. We can flood our years with sunshine — with the divine climate of kindness, and we can drain to the last drop the golden cup of joy.
You should date a girl who reads.Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.Buy her another cup of coffee.Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.She has to give it a shot somehow.Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
Your child's needs are far more profound than his aberrant behavior. Remember, his behavior does not just spring forth uncaused. His behavior - the things he says and does - reflects his heart. If you are to really help him, you must be concerned with the attitudes of heart that drive his behavior.A change in behavior that does not stem from a change in heart is not commendable; it is condemnable. Is it not the hypocrisy that Jesus condemned in the Pharisees? In Matthew 15, Jesus denounces the Pharisees who have honored him with their lips while their hearts were far from him. Jesus censures them as people who wash the outside of the cup while the inside is still unclean. Yet this is what we often do in childrearing. We demand changed behavior and never address the heart that drives the behavior.What must you do in correction and discipline? You must require proper behavior. God's law demands that. You cannot, however, be satisfied to leave the matter there. You must help your child ask the questions that will expose that attitude of the heart that has resulted in wrong behavior. How did his heart stray to produce this behavior? In what characteristic ways has his inability or refusal to know, trust, and obey God resulted in actions and speech that are wrong?
The parent is the child's guide. This shepherding process helps a child to understand himself and the world in which he lives. The parent shepherds a child to assess himself and his responses. He shepherds the child to understand not just the "what" of the child's actions, but also the "why." As the shepherd, you want to help your child understand himself as a creature made by and for God. You cannot show him these things merely by instruction; you must lead him on a path of discovery. You must shepherd his thoughts, helping him to learn discernment and wisdom.
... Genesis 18 calls fathers to direct their children to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Being a parent means working in God's behalf to provide direction for your children. Directors are in charge. It involves knowing and helping them to understand God's standard for children's behavior. It means teaching them that they are sinners by nature. It includes pointing them to the mercy and grace of God shown in Christ's life and death for sinners.
Recognizing that God has called you to function as his agent defines your task as a parent. Our culture has reduced parenting to providing care. Parents often see the task in these narrow terms. The child must have food, clothes, a bed, and some quality time. In sharp contrast to such a weak view, God has called you to a more profound task than being only a care-provider. You shepherd your child in God's behalf. The task God has given you is not one that can be conveniently scheduled. It is a pervasive task. Training and shepherding are going on whenever you are with your children. Whether waking, walking, talking or resting, you must be involved in helping your child to understand life, himself, and his needs from a biblical perspective (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
As a parent, you have authority because God calls you to be an authority in your child's life. You have the authority to act on behalf of God. As a father or mother, you do not exercise rule over your jurisdiction, but over God's. You act at his command. You discharge a duty that he has given. You may not try to shape the lives of your children as pleases you, but as pleases him. All you do in your task as parents must be done from this point of view. You must undertake all your instruction, your care and nurture, your correction and discipline, because God has called you to. ... If you are God's agent in this task of providing essential training and instruction of the Lord, then you, too, are a person under authority. You and your child are in the same boat. You are both under God's authority. You have different roles, but the same Master.
[The Old Astronomer to His Pupil]Reach me down my Tycho Brahe, I would know him when we meet,When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet;He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of howWe are working to completion, working on from then to now.Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete,Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet,And remember men will scorn it, 'tis original and true,And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learned the worth of scorn,You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn,What for us are all distractions of men's fellowship and smiles;What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious smiles.You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant's fate.Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.What, my boy, you are not weeping? You should save your eyes for sight;You will need them, mine observer, yet for many another night.I leave none but you, my pupil, unto whom my plans are known.You 'have none but me,' you murmur, and I 'leave you quite alone'?Well then, kiss me, -- since my mother left her blessing on my brow,There has been a something wanting in my nature until now;I can dimly comprehend it, -- that I might have been more kind,Might have cherished you more wisely, as the one I leave behind.I 'have never failed in kindness'? No, we lived too high for strife,--Calmest coldness was the error which has crept into our life;But your spirit is untainted, I can dedicate you stillTo the service of our science: you will further it? you will!There are certain calculations I should like to make with you,To be sure that your deductions will be logical and true;And remember, 'Patience, Patience,' is the watchword of a sage,Not to-day nor yet to-morrow can complete a perfect age.I have sown, like Tycho Brahe, that a greater man may reap;But if none should do my reaping, 'twill disturb me in my sleepSo be careful and be faithful, though, like me, you leave no name;See, my boy, that nothing turn you to the mere pursuit of fame.I must say Good-bye, my pupil, for I cannot longer speak;Draw the curtain back for Venus, ere my vision grows too weak:It is strange the pearly planet should look red as fiery Mars,--God will mercifully guide me on my way amongst the stars.
If you are able to judge God so easily, you certainly can judge the world. You must choose two of your children to spend eternity in God's new heavens and new earth....And you must choose three of your children to spend eternity in hell.....I am only asking you to do something that you believe God does. He knows every person ever conceived, and he knows them so much more deeply and clearly than you will ever know your own children...You believe he will condemn most to an eternity of torment, away from his presence and apart from his love."Mack: "I don't want to be the judge...I can't do this." You suppose then that God does this so easily, but you cannot?"This couldn't be real. How could God ask him to choose among his own children? Even if Katie or Josh, or Jon or Tyler committed some heinous crime, he still wouldn't do it. He couldn't! For him, it wasn't about their performance; it was about his love for them. Mack: "I can't, I can't....Could I go instead?....I'll go in their place...Could I do that?" He fell at her feet crying and begging now. "Please let me go for my children..I am begging you. Please...Please..."-"Now you sound like Jesus.....That is how Jesus loves.
The future belongs to God, and it is only he who reveals it, under extraordinary circumstances. How do I guess at the future? Based on the omens of the present. The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live ach day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.
Hardly had the light been extinguished, when a peculiar trembling beganto affect the netting under which the three children lay.It consisted of a multitude of dull scratches which produced a metallicsound, as if claws and teeth were gnawing at the copper wire. This wasaccompanied by all sorts of little piercing cries.The little five-year-old boy, on hearing this hubbub overhead, andchilled with terror, jogged his brother's elbow; but the elder brotherhad already shut his peepers, as Gavroche had ordered. Then the littleone, who could no longer control his terror, questioned Gavroche, but ina very low tone, and with bated breath:--"Sir?""Hey?" said Gavroche, who had just closed his eyes."What is that?""It's the rats," replied Gavroche.And he laid his head down on the mat again.The rats, in fact, who swarmed by thousands in the carcass of theelephant, and who were the living black spots which we have alreadymentioned, had been held in awe by the flame of the candle, so long asit had been lighted; but as soon as the cavern, which was the sameas their city, had returned to darkness, scenting what the goodstory-teller Perrault calls "fresh meat," they had hurled themselves inthrongs on Gavroche's tent, had climbed to the top of it, and had begunto bite the meshes as though seeking to pierce this new-fangled trap.Still the little one could not sleep."Sir?" he began again."Hey?" said Gavroche."What are rats?""They are mice."This explanation reassured the child a little. He had seen white mice inthe course of his life, and he was not afraid of them. Nevertheless, helifted up his voice once more."Sir?""Hey?" said Gavroche again."Why don't you have a cat?""I did have one," replied Gavroche, "I brought one here, but they ateher."This second explanation undid the work of the first, and the littlefellow began to tremble again.The dialogue between him and Gavroche began again for the fourth time:--"Monsieur?""Hey?""Who was it that was eaten?""The cat.""And who ate the cat?""The rats.""The mice?""Yes, the rats."The child, in consternation, dismayed at the thought of mice which atecats, pursued:--"Sir, would those mice eat us?""Wouldn't they just!" ejaculated Gavroche.The child's terror had reached its climax. But Gavroche added:--"Don't be afraid. They can't get in. And besides, I'm here! Here, catchhold of my hand. Hold your tongue and shut your peepers!
SEPTEMBER 1, 1939I sit in one of the divesOn Fifty-second StreetUncertain and afraidAs the clever hopes expireOf a low dishonest decade:Waves of anger and fearCirculate over the brightAnd darkened lands of the earth,Obsessing our private lives;The unmentionable odour of deathOffends the September night.Accurate scholarship canUnearth the whole offenceFrom Luther until nowThat has driven a culture mad,Find what occurred at Linz,What huge imago madeA psychopathic god:I and the public knowWhat all schoolchildren learn,Those to whom evil is doneDo evil in return.Exiled Thucydides knewAll that a speech can sayAbout Democracy,And what dictators do,The elderly rubbish they talkTo an apathetic grave;Analysed all in his book,The enlightenment driven away,The habit-forming pain,Mismanagement and grief:We must suffer them all again.Into this neutral airWhere blind skyscrapers useTheir full height to proclaimThe strength of Collective Man,Each language pours its vainCompetitive excuse:But who can live for longIn an euphoric dream;Out of the mirror they stare,Imperialism's faceAnd the international wrong.Faces along the barCling to their average day:The lights must never go out,The music must always play,All the conventions conspireTo make this fort assumeThe furniture of home;Lest we should see where we are,Lost in a haunted wood,Children afraid of the nightWho have never been happy or good.The windiest militant trashImportant Persons shoutIs not so crude as our wish:What mad Nijinsky wroteAbout DiaghilevIs true of the normal heart;For the error bred in the boneOf each woman and each manCraves what it cannot have,Not universal loveBut to be loved alone.From the conservative darkInto the ethical lifeThe dense commuters come,Repeating their morning vow;'I will be true to the wife,I'll concentrate more on my work,'And helpless governors wakeTo resume their compulsory game:Who can release them now,Who can reach the dead,Who can speak for the dumb?All I have is a voiceTo undo the folded lie,The romantic lie in the brainOf the sensual man-in-the-streetAnd the lie of AuthorityWhose buildings grope the sky:There is no such thing as the StateAnd no one exists alone;Hunger allows no choiceTo the citizen or the police;We must love one another or die.Defenseless under the nightOur world in stupor lies;Yet, dotted everywhere,Ironic points of lightFlash out wherever the JustExchange their messages:May I, composed like themOf Eros and of dust,Beleaguered by the sameNegation and despair,Show an affirming flame.
Do you know, my darling, how very much God loves you?He loves you so much that He created you and blessed you with this life.He gives you the strength to help you grow; trust in Him and this you will know.He nourishes you with food and drink, but most importantly with the words He speaks.He answers all the questions you ask and never forsakes you; that’s a fact.He comforts you when you cry and heals the pain inside.He banishes all your fear because He holds your life so very dear.He keeps you safe from harm and protects you from those who would do you wrong.He forgives you for the mistakes you make; when you repent, then you find His grace.He is patient, gentle, and kind as He leads you on this path of life.Do you know, my darling, how very much God loves you?He loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for you and save your life.Trust in Him and find true life.
Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.
You do not want to live in a country ruled by people who never have any doubts. To have doubts is human. A horse has no doubts, a grasshopper has no doubts, an ant has no doubts. But a human being stops to think sometimes, and when he thinks, he hears a voice asking quietly, 'Are you certain that you are right? You must be certain before you pull that trigger. You must be certain before you put your knife to that man's throat.'Would God have given us the power to question if he wanted us to behave like grasshoppers and ants? I am sure God takes pleasure in all the creatures of the world, but I am also sure that his greatest pleasure is a human being who puts his knife away because he is not sure, because a doubt has come into his mind.
4. Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place, divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty & singularity of opinion... shake off all the fears & servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine first, the religion of your own country. Read the Bible, then as you would read Livy or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course of nature, you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy and Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor, in one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature, does not weigh against them. But those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from God. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong, as that its falsehood would be more improbable than a change in the laws of nature, in the case he relates. For example in the book of Joshua we are told the sun stood still several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, beasts, &c. But it is said that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine therefore candidly what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body revolving on its axis as the earth does, should have stopped, should not by that sudden stoppage have prostrated animals, trees, buildings, and should after a certain time have resumed its revolution, & that without a second general prostration. Is this arrest of the earth's motion, or the evidence which affirms it, most within the law of probabilities? You will next read the New Testament. It is the history of a personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the opposite pretensions: 1, of those who say he was begotten by God, born of a virgin, suspended & reversed the laws of nature at will, & ascended bodily into heaven; and 2, of those who say he was a man of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions to divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition, by being gibbeted, according to the Roman law, which punished the first commission of that offence by whipping, & the second by exile, or death in fure ....Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you... In fine, I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it... I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be Pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists. Because these Pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those ecclesiastics. Most of these are lost...[Letter to his nephew, Peter Carr, advising him in matters of religion, 1787]
Peace is the gift of God. Do you want peace? Go to God. Do you want peace in your families? Go to God. Do you want peace to brood over your families? If you do, live your religion, and the very peace of God will dwell and abide with you, for that is where peace comes from, and it doesn't dwell anywhere else. . . .Some in speaking of war and troubles, will say are you not afraid? No, I am a servant of God, and this is enough, for Father is at the helm. It is for me to be as clay in the hands of the potter, to be pliable and walk in the light of the countenance of the Spirit of the Lord, and then no matter what comes. Let the lightnings flash and the earthquakes bellow, God is at the helm, and I feel like saying but little, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth and will continue his work until he has put all enemies under his feet, and his kingdom extends from the rivers to the ends of the earth.
The Bible speaks of the Word of God as added. Sometimes it's planted by the wayside, and nothing grows there. Sometimes it's sown among the thorns and represents the person who makes the decision an then goes back to his old life of bars and chasing women or whatever. A third seed is sown among the rocks. There's sand and dirt between the rocks, and when it rains you'll see a stalk of green coming up. But on the first day with sunshine it wilts because there is no room for roots.The fourth seed is planted on fertile soil, and finally it takes hold and has a chance to grow and live. That's what happened to me.
I got my laptop out from under the bed and fired it up and went onto his wall page, where already the condolences were flooding in. Themost recent one said:I love you, bro. See you on the other side.… Written by someone I’d never heard of. In fact, almost all the wall posts, which arrived nearly as fast as I could read them, were writtenby people I’d never met and whom he’d never spoken about, people who were extolling his various virtues now that he was dead, eventhough I knew for a fact they hadn’t seen him in months and had made no effort to visit him. I wondered if my wall would look like this if Idied, or if I’d been out of school and life long enough to escape widespread materialization. I kept reading.I miss you already, bro.I love you, Augustus. God bless and keep you.You’ll live forever in our hearts, big man.(That particularly galled me, because it implied the immortality of those left behind: You will live forever in my memory, because I will liveforever! I AM YOUR GOD NOW, DEAD BOY! I OWN YOU! Thinking you won’t die is yet another side effect of dying.)You were always such a great friend I’m sorry I didn't see more of you after you left school, bro. I bet you’re already playing ball in heaven.
God's high freedom in Jesus Christ is His freedom for LOVE. The divine capacity which operates and exhibits itself in that superiority and subordination is manifestly also God's capacity to bend downwards, to attach Himself to another and this other to Himself, to be together with him. This takes place in that irreversible sequence, but in it is completely real. In that sequence there arises and continues in Jesus Christ the highest communion of God with man. God's deity is thus no prison in which He can exist only in and for Himself. It is rather His freedom to be in and for Himself but also with and for us, to assert but also to sacrifice Himself, to be wholly exalted but also completely humble, not only almighty but also almighty mercy, not only Lord but also servant, not only judge but also Himself the judged, not only man's eternal king but also his brother in time. And all that without in the slightest forfeiting His deity! All that, rather, in the highest proof and proclamation of His deity! He who DOES and manifestly CAN do all that, He and no other is the living God.
God wants man to be His creature. Furthermore, He wants him to be His PARTNER. There is a causa Dei in the world. God wants light, not darkness. He wants cosmos, not chaos. He wants peace, not disorder. He wants man to administer and to receive justice rather than to inflict and to suffer injustice. He wants man to live according to the Spirit rather than according to the flesh. He wants man bound and pledged to Him rather than to any other authority. He wants man to live and not to die. Because He wills these things God is Lord, Shepherd, and Redeemer of man, who in His holiness and mercy meets His creature; who judges and forgives, rejects and receives, condemns and saves.
You are to make up your mind whether it is to be God or man. Whether you are to be free or a slave. Whether it is to be progress or stagnation.As long as man loves a phantom in the sky more than he loves his fellow man, there will never be peace upon this earth; so long as man worships a Tyrant as the "Fatherhood of God," there will never be a "Brotherhood of Man."You must make the choice, you must come to the decision. Is it to be God or Man? Churches or Homes—preparation for death or happiness for the living?If ever man needed an example of the benefit of the one against the other, he need but read the pages of history for proof of how religion retarded progress and provoked hatred among the children of men.When theology ruled the world, man was a slave. The people lived in huts and hovels. They were clad in rags and skins; they devoured crusts and gnawed bones; the priests wore garments of silk and satin; carried mitres of gold and precious stones, robbed the poor and lived upon the fat of the land!Here and there a brave man appeared to question their authority. These martyrs to intellectual emancipation slowly and painfully broke the spell of superstition and ushered in the Age of Reason and the Dawn of Science.Man became the only god that man can know.He no longer fell upon his knees in fear.He began to enjoy the fruits of his own labor.He discovered a way to relieve himself from the drudgery of continuous toil; he began to enjoy a few comforts of life—and for the first time upon this earth he found a few moments for happiness. It is far more important to learn how to live than to learn how to pray.A new day and a new era dawned for him. His labors produced enormous dividends. He looked at the sky for the first time and saw that it was blue! He searched the heavens and found no God. He no longer feared the manifestations of nature.
The only duty you owe is to yourself and to your family.The duty you owe to yourself is to do the best you can, and the duty you owe to your family is to endeavor to make them happy.Emancipate yourself from these stultifying creeds, and protect your children from the contamination of religion. Get off your knees, stand erect, and look the whole world in the face.Get all the joy and happiness you can out of life. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and waste it not upon the myth of heaven; support not the parasites of God.Do not knowingly harm another human being; do not knowingly injure your fellow man. All forms of life have feeling, do not make them suffer. As Shakespeare says: 'The poor beetle, that we tread upon, In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great As when a giant dies.' Kindness is a magic solvent.While we know that sometimes 'ingratitude is more strong than traitor's arms,' we also know that 'mercy is twice blest; it blesses him that gives and him that takes,' and, it should be remembered that while Loyalty is the most important of the virtues, Patience is the most valuable.Become a courageous human being and do the best you can under any and all circumstances in this imperfect and troublesome world. Be brave enough to live and be brave enough to die, knowing that when the Grim Reaper comes, you did the best you could and that the world is better for your having lived.A God could do no more.I will stand between you and the hosts of heaven.I am not afraid.I will act as your attorney before the Bar of Judgment.I will assume all responsibility.My services are free.Put the blame on me.Break the chains of mental slavery to religious superstition.Arise and become a free and independent human being.Dignify yourself as a Man, and justify your living by being a Brother to All Mankind and a Citizen of the Universe.
Without conversion of heart we cannot serve God on earth. We have naturally neither faith, nor fear, nor love, toward God and His Son Jesus Christ. We have no delight in His Word. We take no pleasure in prayer or communion with Him. We have no enjoyment in His ordinances, His house, His people, or His day. We may have a form of Christianity, and keep up a round of ceremonies and religious performances. But without conversion we have no more heart in our religion than a brick or a stone. Can a dead corpse serve God? We know it cannot. Well, without conversion we are dead toward God. Look round the congregation with which you worship every Sunday. Mark how little interest the great majority of them take in what is going on. Observe how listless, and apathetic, and indifferent, they evidently are about the whole affair. It is clear their hearts are not there! They are thinking of something else, and not of religion. They are thinking of business, or money, or pleasure, or worldly plans, or bonnets, or gowns, or new dresses, or amusements. Their bodies are there, but not their hearts. And what is the reason? What is it they all need? They need conversion. Without it they only come to church for fashion and form’s sake, and go away from church to serve the world or their sins. But this is not all. Without conversion of heart we could not enjoy heaven, if we got there. Heaven is a place where holiness reigns supreme, and sin and the world have no place at all. The company will all be holy; the employments will all be holy; it will be an eternal Sunday. Surely if we go to heaven, we must have a heart in tune and able to enjoy it, or else we shall not be happy. We must have a nature in harmony with the element we live in, and the place where we dwell. Can a fish be happy out of water? We know it cannot. Well, without conversion of heart we could not be happy in heaven.Look round the neighborhood in which you live and the persons with whom you are acquainted. Think what many of them would do if they were cut off for ever from money, and business, and newspapers, and cards, and balls, and races, and hunting, and shopping, and worldly amusements! Would they like it? Think what they would feel if they were shut up forever with Jesus Christ, and saints, and angels! Would they be happy? Would the eternal company of Moses, and David, and St. Paul be pleasant to those who never take the trouble to read what those holy men wrote? Would heaven’s everlasting praise suit the taste of those who can hardly spare a few minutes in a week for private religion, even for prayer? There is but one answer to be given to all these questions. We must be converted before we can enjoy heaven. Heaven would be no heaven to any child of Adam without conversion.Let no man deceive us. There are two things which are of absolute necessity to the salvation of every man and woman on earth. One of them is the mediatorial work of Christ for us, His atonement, satisfaction, and intercession. The other is the converting work of the Spirit in us, His guiding, renewing, and sanctifying grace. We must have both a title and a heart for heaven. Sacraments are only generally necessary to salvation: a man may be saved without them, like the penitent thief. An interest in Christ and conversion are absolutely necessary: without them no one can possibly be saved. All, all alike, high or low, rich or poor, old or young, gentle or simple, churchmen or dissenters, baptized or unbaptized, all must be converted or perish.