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Ecclesiastes 1 thru 6
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Reflections of a Royal Philosopher

Ecclesiastes 1:1     The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

2 Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
3 What do people gain from all the toil
at which they toil under the sun?
4 A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
5 The sun rises and the sun goes down,
and hurries to the place where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south,
and goes around to the north;
round and round goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.
7 All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they continue to flow.
8 All things are wearisome;
more than one can express;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
or the ear filled with hearing.
9 What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has already been,
in the ages before us.
11 The people of long ago are not remembered,
nor will there be any remembrance
of people yet to come
by those who come after them.

The Futility of Seeking Wisdom

     12 I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, 13 applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. 14 I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

15 What is crooked cannot be made straight,
and what is lacking cannot be counted.

     16 I said to myself, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a chasing after wind.

18 For in much wisdom is much vexation,
and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow.

The Futility of Self-Indulgence (Cp 1 Kings 4:20–28)

Ecclesiastes 2:1     I said to myself, “Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself.” But again, this also was vanity. 2 I said of laughter, “It is mad,” and of pleasure, “What use is it?” 3 I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine—my mind still guiding me with wisdom — and how to lay hold on folly, until I might see what was good for mortals to do under heaven during the few days of their life. 4 I made great works; I built houses and planted vineyards for myself; 5 I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. 6 I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house; I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, and many concubines.

     9 So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. 10 Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

Wisdom and Joy Given to One Who Pleases God

     12 So I turned to consider wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the one do who comes after the king? Only what has already been done. 13 Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.

14 The wise have eyes in their head,
but fools walk in darkness.

     Yet I perceived that the same fate befalls all of them. 15 Then I said to myself, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also; why then have I been so very wise?” And I said to myself that this also is vanity. 16 For there is no enduring remembrance of the wise or of fools, seeing that in the days to come all will have been long forgotten. How can the wise die just like fools? 17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

     18 I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me 19 —and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? 23 For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.

     24 There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil.
This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have
enjoyment? 26 For to the one who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to
the sinner he gives the work of gathering and heaping, only to give to one who pleases God. This
also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

Everything Has Its Time

Ecclesiastes 3:1     For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The God-Given Task

     9 What gain have the workers from their toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. 11 He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; 13 moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. 14 I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. 15 That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by.

Judgment and the Future Belong to God

     16 Moreover I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, wickedness was there, and in the place of righteousness, wickedness was there as well. 17 I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for he has appointed a time for every matter, and for every work. 18 I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals. 19 For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. 21 Who knows whether the human spirit goes upward and the spirit of animals goes downward to the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them?

Ecclesiastes 4:1     Again I saw all the oppressions that are practiced under the sun. Look, the tears of the oppressed — with no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power — with no one to comfort them. 2 And I thought the dead, who have already died, more fortunate than the living, who are still alive; 3 but better than both is the one who has not yet been, and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.

     4 Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from one person’s envy of another. This also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

5 Fools fold their hands
and consume their own flesh.
6 Better is a handful with quiet
than two handfuls with toil,
and a chasing after wind.

     7 Again, I saw vanity under the sun: 8 the case of solitary individuals, without sons or brothers; yet there is no end to all their toil, and their eyes are never satisfied with riches. “For whom am I toiling,” they ask, “and depriving myself of pleasure?” This also is vanity and an unhappy business.

The Value of a Friend

     9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

     13 Better is a poor but wise youth than an old but foolish king, who will no longer take advice. 14 One can indeed come out of prison to reign, even though born poor in the kingdom. 15 I saw all the living who, moving about under the sun, follow that youth who replaced the king; 16 there was no end to all those people whom he led. Yet those who come later will not rejoice in him. Surely this also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

Reverence, Humility, and Contentment

Ecclesiastes 5:1     Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; to draw near to listen is better than the sacrifice offered by fools; for they do not know how to keep from doing evil. 2 Never be rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be quick to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven, and you upon earth; therefore let your words be few.

     3 For dreams come with many cares, and a fool’s voice with many words.

     4 When you make a vow to God, do not delay fulfilling it; for he has no pleasure in fools. Fulfill what you vow. 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not fulfill it. 6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake; why should God be angry at your words, and destroy the work of your hands?

     7 With many dreams come vanities and a multitude of words; but fear God.

     8 If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and right, do not be amazed at the matter; for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. 9 But all things considered, this is an advantage for a land: a king for a plowed field.

     10 The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is vanity.

     11 When goods increase, those who eat them increase; and what gain has their owner but to see them with his eyes?

     12 Sweet is the sleep of laborers, whether they eat little or much; but the surfeit of the rich will not let them sleep.

     13 There is a grievous ill that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owners to their hurt, 14 and those riches were lost in a bad venture; though they are parents of children, they have nothing in their hands. 15 As they came from their mother’s womb, so they shall go again, naked as they came; they shall take nothing for their toil, which they may carry away with their hands. 16 This also is a grievous ill: just as they came, so shall they go; and what gain do they have from toiling for the wind? 17 Besides, all their days they eat in darkness, in much vexation and sickness and resentment.

     18 This is what I have seen to be good: it is fitting to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of the life God gives us; for this is our lot. 19 Likewise all to whom God gives wealth and possessions and whom he enables to enjoy them, and to accept their lot and find enjoyment in their toil—this is the gift of God. 20 For they will scarcely brood over the days of their lives, because God keeps them occupied with the joy of their hearts.

The Frustration of Desires

Ecclesiastes 6:1     There is an evil that I have seen under the sun, and it lies heavy upon humankind: 2 those to whom God gives wealth, possessions, and honor, so that they lack nothing of all that they desire, yet God does not enable them to enjoy these things, but a stranger enjoys them. This is vanity; it is a grievous ill. 3 A man may beget a hundred children, and live many years; but however many are the days of his years, if he does not enjoy life’s good things, or has no burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 For it comes into vanity and goes into darkness, and in darkness its name is covered; 5 moreover it has not seen the sun or known anything; yet it finds rest rather than he. 6 Even though he should live a thousand years twice over, yet enjoy no good—do not all go to one place?

     7 All human toil is for the mouth, yet the appetite is not satisfied. 8 For what advantage have the wise over fools? And what do the poor have who know how to conduct themselves before the living? 9 Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of desire; this also is vanity and a chasing after wind.

     10 Whatever has come to be has already been named, and it is known what human beings are, and that they are not able to dispute with those who are stronger. 11 The more words, the more vanity, so how is one the better? 12 For who knows what is good for mortals while they live the few days of their vain life, which they pass like a shadow? For who can tell them what will be after them under the sun?

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American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     He conquered from Austria to Palestine, Holland to Egypt. He uncovered the Pyramid treasures and the Rosetta Stone. He sold a million square miles of land to U.S. to raise money for his army. His name was Napoleon Bonaparte, born this day, August 15, 1769. Though emperor for life, disasters in Russia and later Waterloo led to his banishment to the Island of Saint Helena. There Napoleon wrote: “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires… upon force!… Christ founded His upon love; and at this hour millions… would die for Him.”

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Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

Scratch the Christian
and you find the pagan - spoiled.
--- Israel Zangwill

Through the humbling dispensations of Divine Providence,
men are sometimes fitted for his service.
John Woolman's Journal

If your religion does not make you holy, it will damn you. It is simply painted pageantry to go to hell in.
--- Charles Spurgeon

He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.
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History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     12. Now the besieged had plenty of corn within the city, and indeed of all necessaries, but they wanted water, because there was no fountain in the city, the people being there usually satisfied with rain water; yet is it a rare thing in that country to have rain in summer, and at this season, during the siege, they were in great distress for some contrivance to satisfy their thirst; and they were very sad at this time particularly, as if they were already in want of water entirely, for Josephus seeing that the city abounded with other necessaries, and that the men were of good courage, and being desirous to protract the siege to the Romans longer than they expected, ordered their drink to be given them by measure; but this scanty distribution of water by measure was deemed by them as a thing more hard upon them than the want of it; and their not being able to drink as much as they would made them more desirous of drinking than they otherwise had been; nay, they were as much disheartened hereby as if they were come to the last degree of thirst. Nor were the Romans unacquainted with the state they were in, for when they stood over against them, beyond the wall, they could see them running together, and taking their water by measure, which made them throw their javelins thither the place being within their reach, and kill a great many of them.

     13. Hereupon Vespasian hoped that their receptacles of water would in no long time be emptied, and that they would be forced to deliver up the city to him; but Josephus being minded to break such his hope, gave command that they should wet a great many of their clothes, and hang them out about the battlements, till the entire wall was of a sudden all wet with the running down of the water. At this sight the Romans were discouraged, and under consternation, when they saw them able to throw away in sport so much water, when they supposed them not to have enough to drink themselves. This made the Roman general despair of taking the city by their want of necessaries, and to betake himself again to arms, and to try to force them to surrender, which was what the Jews greatly desired; for as they despaired of either themselves or their city being able to escape, they preferred a death in battle before one by hunger and thirst.

     14. However, Josephus contrived another stratagem besides the foregoing, to get plenty of what they wanted. There was a certain rough and uneven place that could hardly be ascended, and on that account was not guarded by the soldiers; so Josephus sent out certain persons along the western parts of the valley, and by them sent letters to whom he pleased of the Jews that were out of the city, and procured from them what necessaries soever they wanted in the city in abundance; he enjoined them also to creep generally along by the watch as they came into the city, and to cover their backs with such sheep-skins as had their wool upon them, that if any one should spy them out in the night time, they might be believed to be dogs. This was done till the watch perceived their contrivance, and encompassed that rough place about themselves.

     15. And now it was that Josephus perceived that the city could not hold out long, and that his own life would be in doubt if he continued in it; so he consulted how he and the most potent men of the city might fly out of it. When the multitude understood this, they came all round about him, and begged of him not to overlook them while they entirely depended on him, and him alone; for that there was still hope of the city's deliverance, if he would stay with them, because every body would undertake any pains with great cheerfulness on his account, and in that case there would be some comfort for them also, though they should be taken: that it became him neither to fly from his enemies, nor to desert his friends, nor to leap out of that city, as out of a ship that was sinking in a storm, into which he came when it was quiet and in a calm; for that by going away he would be the cause of drowning the city, because nobody would then venture to oppose the enemy when he was once gone, upon whom they wholly confided. 16. Hereupon Josephus avoided letting them know that he was to go away to provide for his own safety, but told them that he would go out of the city for their sakes; for that if he staid with them, he should be able to do them little good while they were in a safe condition; and that if they were once taken, he should only perish with them to no purpose; but that if he were once gotten free from this siege, he should be able to bring them very great relief; for that he would then immediately get the Galileans together, out of the country, in great multitudes, and draw the Romans off their city by another war. That he did not see what advantage he could bring to them now, by staying among them, but only provoke the Romans to besiege them more closely, as esteeming it a most valuable thing to take him; but that if they were once informed that he was fled out of the city, they would greatly remit of their eagerness against it. Yet did not this plea move the people, but inflamed them the more to hang about him. Accordingly, both the children and the old men, and the women with their infants, came mourning to him, and fell down before him, and all of them caught hold of his feet, and held him fast, and besought him, with great lamentations, that he would take his share with them in their fortune; and I think they did this, not that they envied his deliverance, but that they hoped for their own; for they could not think they should suffer any great misfortune, provided Josephus would but stay with them.

     17. Now Josephus thought, that if he resolved to stay, it would be ascribed to their entreaties; and if he resolved to go away by force, he should be put into custody. His commiseration also of the people under their lamentations had much broken that his eagerness to leave them; so he resolved to stay, and arming himself with the common despair of the citizens, he said to them, "Now is the time to begin to fight in earnest, when there is no hope of deliverance left. It is a brave thing to prefer glory before life, and to set about some such noble undertaking as may be remembered by late posterity." Having said this, he fell to work immediately, and made a sally, and dispersed the enemies' out-guards, and ran as far as the Roman camp itself, and pulled the coverings of their tents to pieces, that were upon their banks, and set fire to their works. And this was the manner in which he never left off fighting, neither the next day, nor the day after it, but went on with it for a considerable number of both days and nights.

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Proverbs 22:29
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29     Do you see a man skilled at his work?
He will serve kings, not obscure people.

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Mushrooms On The Moor
     by Frank W. Boreham

     VII | LILY

     I was once advised to write a novel. I scouted the suggestion at the time; I scout it still. If you write a novel, you run a great risk. One of these days somebody may read it—you never know what queer things people may do nowadays. And if somebody should read it, your secret is out, and the paucity of your imagination stands grimly exposed. No, I shall not write a novel, although this article will be something in the nature of a novelette. For I have found a heroine, and many a full-blown novelist, having found a heroine, would consider that he had come upon a novel ready made. My heroine is Lily; and Lily—to break the news gently—was a pig. I say was advisedly, for Lily is dead, and therein lies the pathos of my story. And so I have my heroine, and I have my story, and I have my strong suffusion of sentiment all ready to my hand; and really, I feel half inclined to write my novel after all. But let me state the facts—for which I am prepared to vouch—and then it will be time enough to see if we can weave them into a great and classical romance.

     Away on the top of a hill, in a rural district of Tasmania, there stands a quaint little cottage. Down the slopes around, and away along the distant valleys, are great belts of virgin bush. But here on the hill is our quaint little cottage, and in or about the cottage you will find a quaint little couple. They may not be able to discuss the latest aspects of the Balkan question, or the Irish crisis, or the Mexican embroglio; but they can discuss questions that are very much older and that are likely to last very much longer. For they can discuss fowls and sheep and pigs; and, depend upon it, fowls and sheep and pigs were discussed long before the Balkan question was dreamed of, and fowls and sheep and pigs will be discussed long after the Balkan question is forgotten. And so the old couple make you feel ashamed of your simpering superficiality; you are amazed that you can have grown so excited about the things of a moment; and you blush for your own ignorance of the things that were and are and shall be. Yes, John and Mary can discuss fowls, for they have a dozen of them, and they call each bird by name. Whilst poor Mary's back was turned for a moment the rooster flew on to the table.

     'Really, Tom, you naughty boy!' she cried, on discovering the outrage. 'I am ashamed of you!' And to impress the whole feathered community with the enormity of the offence, she proceeded to drive them all out of the kitchen.

     'Go on, Lucie,' she cried, a note of sadness betraying itself in her voice in spite of her assumed severity. 'Go on, Lucie,' and she flapped her apron to show that she meant it, much as an advancing army might defiantly flutter its flag. 'Go on; and you too, Minnie; and Nellie, and Kate, and Nancie; you must all go! It was a dreadful thing to do; I don't know what you were thinking of, Tom!' I said that John and Mary could discuss sheep; but their flock was a very limited one, for it consisted entirely of Birdie, the pet lamb. I cannot tell—probably through some defect in my imagination—why they called him 'Birdie,' nor, for the matter of that, why they called him a lamb. I can imagine that he may have been a lamb once; but of feathers I could discover no trace at all. Yes, after all, these are prosaic details, and only show how incompetent a novelist I should prove to be. I grovel when I ought to soar. John and Mary were very fond of Birdie, and Birdie was very fond of them. He came trotting up when he was called, wagging his long tail as though it were proof positive that he was still a lamb. It was scarcely a triumph of logic on Birdie's part, and yet it was just about as good as the artistic subterfuges by which lots of us try to convince the world and his wife that we are still in the charming stage of lamb-like simplicity. And then there was Lily.

     The old couple were very fond of Lily. How carefully they made her bed on cold nights! How considerately they fed her on boiled potatoes, skim milk, and other wondrous delicacies! She, too, came shambling up whenever she heard her name, and, with a grunt, acknowledged their bounty. 'Dear old Lily,' poor Mary exclaimed fervently, as Lily lifted her snout to be rubbed, and looked with queer, piggish eyes into those of her doting mistress.

     Yes, Lily was a pig, but she was none the worse for that; and if any ridiculous person objects to my taking a pig for my heroine, I shall take offence and write no more novels. Lily, I repeat, was none the worse for being a pig. And I am sure that John and Mary were none the worse for loving her. It is always safe to love, for if you love that which cannot profit by your love, your love comes back to you, like Noah's dove, and you yourself are none the poorer. But I am not at all sure that affection was wasted on Lily. Why should it be? There is no disgrace in being born a pig. It did not even show bad taste on Lily's part, for Lily was not asked. She came; and found, on arrival, that she was what men called a pig; and as a pig she performed her part so well that those who knew her grew very fond of her. What more can the best of us do? And, after all, why this squeamishness? Why this revulsion of feeling when I announce that my heroine is a pig? I aver that it is a species of snobbery—a very contemptible species of snobbery. Booker Washington used to declare that a high-grade Berkshire boar, or a Poland China sow, is one of the finest sights on this planet. And one of our own philosophers has gone into rhapsodies over the pig. 'Pigs,' he says, 'always seem to me like a fallen race that has seen better days. They are able, intellectual, inquisitive creatures. When they are driven from place to place, they are not gentle or meek, like cows and sheep, who follow the line of least resistance. The pig is suspicious and cautious; he is sure that there is some uncomfortable plot on foot, not wholly for his good, which he must try to thwart if he can. Then, too, he never seems quite at home in his deplorably filthy surroundings; he looks at you, up to the knees in ooze, out of his little eyes as if he would live in a more cleanly way if he were permitted. Pigs always remind me of the mariners of Homer, who were transformed by Circe; there is a dreadful humanity about them, as if they were trying to endure their base conditions philosophically, waiting for their release.' All this I entreat my critic to lay well to heart before he judges me too severely for selecting Lily as my heroine.

     I suppose the truth is, if only my supercilious critics could be trusted to tell the whole truth, that Lily is not good-looking enough for them. But that, again, is all a question of taste. Beauty is relative and not absolute. My critics may themselves be at fault. The real trouble may be, not want of comeliness in Lily, but a sad lack of appreciation in themselves. I notice that the champion Yorkshire sow at the Sydney Show this year was Mr. E. Jenkins' 'Queen of Beauty'; and as I gazed upon her photograph and noted her alluring name, I thought once more of Lily and laughed in my sleeve at my critics. I once spent a week with an old Lincolnshire gentleman at Kirwee, in New Zealand; and almost before I had been able to bolt the meal that awaited my arrival, he begged me to come and see the pigs. And at the very first animal to which we came my happy host rubbed his hands in an ecstasy of pride, whilst his eyes fairly sparkled. 'Bean't he a beauty?' he asked me excitedly. And I answered confidently that he was. I could see at a glance that the pig was a beauty to him; and if he was a beauty to him, he was a beauty, and there remained no more to be said. I remember reading a story of two ministers who met beneath the hospitable roof of an old-fashioned English farm-house. One of them no sooner approached the table than he uttered an exclamation of delight. Picking up one of the cups, he spoke of the wonderful beauty of the china. He held the plates up to the light and asked the others to see how thin they were, and went into ecstasies over the wondrous old china that had been in the farm-house for many generations. The other took little interest in his talk, and could not be aroused to enthusiasm over the china; but when the farmer took out of his cupboard some old books, one of which was a black-letter commentary, he became excited. He turned the pages over lovingly, and pointed to the quaint initials, and became eloquent over their beauties. The farmer thought both men silly. Neither the china nor the books seemed precious to him. 'What a heap o' nonsense ye be talking surely,' he said. 'Now if ye want to see something worth seeing, come along o' me, and I'll show you the finest litter o' pigs in the country.'

     I know, of course, that, beaten at every other point, my critics will take their stand on dietetic grounds. 'How can you have a pig for your heroine?' they will ask, with their noses turned up in disgust. 'See what a pig eats!' Now I confess that this objection did appear to me to be serious until I went into the matter a little more carefully. Before abandoning poor Lily, and consigning her to everlasting obscurity, it seemed to me that I owed it to her, as a matter of common gallantry, to investigate this charge. An author has no more right than any other man to toy with feminine affections; and having pledged myself to Lily as my heroine, I dared not commit a breach of promise, save on most serious grounds. Into this matter of Lily's diet I therefore plunged, with results that have surprised myself. I find that Lily is the most fastidious of eaters. Experiments made in Sweden show that, out of 575 plants, the goat eats 449, and refuses 126; the sheep, out of 528 plants, eats 387, and refuses 141; the cow, out of 494 plants, eats 276, and refuses 218; the horse, out of 474 plants, eats 262, and refuses 212; whilst the pig, out of 243 plants, eats 72, and refuses 171. From all these fiery ordeals my heroine, therefore, emerges triumphant, and her critics cut a sorry figure. Theirs is the melancholy fate of all those who will insist on judging from appearances. It is the oldest mistake in the world, and it is certainly the saddest. Many, like Lily, have been judged hastily and falsely, and, as in Lily's case, the evil thought has clung to them as though it were a charge established, and under that dark cloud they have lived shadowed and embittered lives. Half the pathos of the universe lies just there.

     One thing affords me unbounded pleasure. If I take Lily for my heroine after all, I shall be following a noble precedent—Michael Fairless, in The Roadmender, did something very much like it. 'In early spring,' she says, 'I took a long tramp. Towards afternoon, tired and thirsty, I sought water at a little lonely cottage. Bees worked and sang over the thyme and marjoram in the garden; and in a homely sty lived a solemn black pig, a pig with a history. It was no common utilitarian pig, but the honoured guest of the old couple who lived there; and the pig knew it. A year before, their youngest and only surviving child, then a man of five-and-twenty, had brought his mother the result of his savings in the shape of a fine young pig. A week later he lay dead of the typhoid. Hence the pig was sacred, cared for, and loved by this Darby and Joan.

     '"'E be mos' like a child to me and the mother, an' mos' as sensible as a Christian, 'e be," the old man said.'

     What a world of illusion this is, to be sure! It takes a good pair of eyes to see through its good-humoured trickery. You see a pig turning this way and that way as he wanders aimlessly about the yard, and you never dream of romance. And yet that pig is none other than Lily! You see another pig in a commonplace sty, and you never dream of pathos; but old Joan wipes a tear from her eye with her apron when she remembers how that pig came into her possession. There is a world of poetry in pig-sties. Yes, and pathos, too, of its kind. For, as I said, Lily is dead. It was this way.

     John and Mary are not rich; and a pig is a pig.

     'What about Lily, Mary?' John asked awkwardly one day. 'You see, Mary, she's got to die. If we keep her, she'll die. And if we sell her, she'll only die. If we keep her, Mary, she may die of some disease, and we shall see her in pain. If we sell her, she will die suddenly, and feel no pain. And then, Mary,' he continued slowly, as though afraid to introduce so prosaic an aspect of so pathetic a theme, 'and then, Mary, if she dies here, look at the loss, for Lily's a pig, you know! And if we sell her, look at the gain! And with part of the money we can get another pet, and be just as fond of it.'

     There were protests and there were tears, but Lily went to market.

     Awhile afterwards John came home from the city with a parcel. 'Mary,' he said hesitatingly, 'I've brought ye home a bit o' Lily! I thought I'd like to see how she'd eat.'

     Next morning at breakfast they neither of them ate heartily, but they both tasted. There is food that is too sacred for a glut of appetite.

     'Ah, well,' said John, at last, 'those who eat Lily will none of them say anything but good of her, that's one comfort.'

     And Mary went silently off to see if she could find another.

     This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org

Mushrooms on the Moor
My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers

                Signs of the new birth

     Ye must be born again. --- John 3:7.

     The answer to the question “How can a man be born when he is old?” is—When he is old enough to die—to die right out to his ‘rag rights,’ to his virtues, to his religion, to everything, and to receive into himself the life which never was there before. The new life manifests itself in conscious repentance and unconscious holiness.

     “As many as received Him.” (John 1:12.) Is my knowledge of Jesus born of internal spiritual perception, or is it only what I have learned by listening to others? Have I something in my life that connects me with the Lord Jesus as my personal Saviour? All spiritual history must have a personal knowledge for its bedrock. To be born again means that I see Jesus.

     “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3.) Do I seek for signs of the Kingdom, or do I perceive God’s rule? The new birth gives a new power of vision whereby I begin to discern God’s rule. His rule was there all the time, but true to His nature; now that I have received His nature, I can see His rule.

     “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin,”
(1 John 3:9.) Do I seek to stop sinning or have I stopped sinning? To be born of God means that I have the supernatural power of God to stop sinning. In the Bible it is never—Should a Christian sin? The Bible puts it emphatically—A Christian must not sin. The effective working of the new birth life in us is that we do not commit sin, not merely that we have the power not to sin, but that we have stopped sinning. 1 John 3:9 does not mean that we cannot sin; it means that if we obey the life of God in us, we need not sin.

My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

     the Poetry of RS Thomas


There were people around;
  I would have spoken with them.
  But the situation had got beyond
  Language. Machines were invented
  To cope, but they also were limited
  By our expectations. Men stared
  With a sort of growing resentment
  At life that was ubiquitous and
  Unseizable. A sense of betrayal
  At finding themselves alive at all
  Maddened the young; the older,
  Following the narrowing perspectives
  Of art, squinted at where a god died.
  Between fierce alternatives
  There was need as always of a third
  Way. History was the proliferation
  Of the offerers of such. Fortunes were made
  On the ability to disappoint.


Searching For Meaning In Midrash
     Exodus 21:18–19

     BIBLE TEXT / Exodus 21:18–19 / When men quarrel and one strikes the other with stone or fist, and he does not die but has to take to his bed—if he then gets up and walks outdoors on his staff, the assailant shall go unpunished, except that he must pay for his idleness and his cure.

     MIDRASH TEXT / Exodus Rabbah 30, 17 / Rabbi Shimon says, “There are many warnings written here, as it says, ‘When men quarrel and one strikes the other.’ No good thing, and no peace, ever come from arguing. Cain slew his brother only because of an argument, ‘And one strikes the other with stone or fist.’ God adds a warning here, as it says, ‘if he then gets up and walks outdoors.’

     Why is [the name] ‘God/Elohim’ mentioned in each case? Because the creatures are steeped in the Evil Urge, as it says, ‘Since the devisings of man’s mind are evil from his youth’ (
Genesis 8:21). If the Holy One, praised is He, were to swallow up the Evil Urge, everyone would come under His wings. And the Holy One, praised is He, would then put it [the Evil Urge] to death. You will find that the Evil Urge is what causes humans to sin, and it [the Evil Urge] is the one who slays him, as it says, ‘They make their own laws and rules’ (Habakkuk 1:7). Therefore, the Holy One, praised is He, warns us about the rules in the Torah, as it says, ‘These are the rules’ (Exodus 21:1). The Holy One, praised is He, said, ‘Observe the rule in this world, and I will save you from the rule of Geihinnom.’ ”

     CONTEXT / Noting the many laws and regulations in this chapter, Rabbi Shimon says, “There are many warnings written here, and he focuses on one of them, as it says, ‘When men quarrel and one strikes the other.’ ” Rabbi Shimon comments that no good thing, and no peace, ever come from arguing. As proof, he cites the example of Cain and Abel, where Cain slew his brother only because of an argument. In the Genesis story, Cain becomes jealous of his brother. The Rabbis assume that some argument ensued and that Cain slew Abel as a result of this quarrel. Thus, the verse in
Exodus 21 is applied by the Rabbis directly to Cain and Abel: “And one strikes the other with a stone or fist.” The Rabbis interpret the verse to mean even more than a prohibition against murder: God adds a warning here, as it says, “if he then gets up and walks outdoors.” Even if you do not kill him but only hit the person, and he is still able to walk around, you will still have to compensate him for his injury.

     Why is [the name] “God/Elohim,” the divine appellation that the Rabbis associated with justice, mentioned in each case, that is, in so many of the criminal cases cited in
Exodus 21–22? The name Elohim usually means God, but in these cases, we know from the context that the word means human judges. Why, then, is Elohim used, rather than a more common word, shofetim, for judges? Because the creatures are steeped in [שְׁטוּפִים/shetufim] the Evil Urge, as it says, “Since the devisings of man’s mind are evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21). In choosing the word שְׁטוּפִים/shetufim, “steeped in,” the Rabbis are setting up a wordplay: שְׁטוּפִים/shetufim sounds like שׁוֹפְטִים/shofetim, “judges.” This play on letters serves to make a point: Since human beings are inherently inclined to do evil, human judges alone might not be sufficient to assure justice in the world. Therefore, the Bible uses the word Elohim when it means judges to tell us that God is an integral part of the judicial process.

     The Rabbis do not answer the implied question, “Why doesn’t God simply destroy the Evil Urge?” Instead, they focus on our part in the equation: Humans die because of their own sins, and “it,” the Evil Urge, slays “him,” man, for those sins. As it says, “They make their own laws and rules” (
Habakkuk 1:7). Those who make their own laws—as opposed to following God’s rules—cause their own demise. Therefore, the Holy One, praised is He, warns us about the rules in the Torah, as it says, “These are the rules”
Exodus 21:1). The Holy One, praised is He, said, “Observe the rule in this world, and I will save you from the rule of Geihinnom,” the place, according to the Rabbis, where the wicked are punished after death.

Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living

Take Heart
     August 15

     By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to beknown as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He choseto be mistreated along with the people of God ratherthan to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ asof greater value than the treasures of Egypt,because he was looking ahead to his reward.
--- Hebrews 11:24–26.

     As though [the writer of Hebrews] said, “No one of you has left a palace… nor such treasures, nor, when you might have been a king’s son, have you despised this, as Moses did.” (The Early Church Fathers--Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: First Series: 14 Volumes (The Early Church Fathers, First Series , So14)) And that he did not simply leave, [the writer] expressed by saying, he “refused,” that is, he hated, he turned away. For when heaven was set before him, it was needless to admire an Egyptian palace.

     And [the writer] did not say Moses regarded heaven and the things in heaven of greater value than the treasures of Egypt but—what? Disgrace for the sake of Christ he counted better than being at ease, and this itself was reward.

     “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.” He called unwillingness to be mistreated with the rest “sin.” If then he counted it sin not to be ready to be mistreated with the rest, it follows that suffering must be a great good, since he threw himself into it from the royal palace.

     But this he did seeing some great things before him. “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ of greater value than the treasures of Egypt.” What is “disgrace for the sake of Christ”? It is being disgraced in such ways as that [which] Christ endured, or that [which Moses] endured for Christ’s sake. It is disgrace for the sake of Christ when you are reproached by those of your own family or by those whom you are benefiting.

     In these words [the writer of Hebrews] encouraged [his readers], by showing that even Christ suffered these things, and Moses also, two illustrious persons. But neither did the one send forth lightning nor the other feel any [anger], but he was reviled and endured all things. Since therefore it was probable that [the readers] also would bear such things and would long for the reward, [the writer] says that even Christ and Moses had suffered the like. So then ease is [the reward] of sin, but to be disgraced, of Christ. For what then do you wish? Disgrace for the sake of Christ, or ease?
--- John Chrysostom

Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers

On This Day
     My Victory  August 15

     Rev. William Anderson of Philadelphia’s North United Presbyterian Church saw a boy dart into a grocery store. He followed him, asking, “Where do you go to Sabbath school?” Nine-year-old Robert McQuilkin replied, “Nowhere.” Anderson invited him. “And I can promise you a wonderful teacher, too,” he added. “William Parker. He has a fine class of boys.”

     At age 12, Robert united with the church, saying, “When I grow up I am going to be a minister; the Lord wants me.” But as a teen, he grew dissatisfied with his Christian experience. Though active among his church’s youth, he wrestled with anxiety and doubt. On Christmas Eve, 1904, he wrote, “Have come much closer to Christ, advanced spiritually but not near enough.” He entered the University of Pennsylvania and the following summer took time to attend a missionary conference on the New Jersey coast. The speaker, Dr. Charles Trumbull, shared his testimony, admitting that there had been great fluctuations in his own spiritual life. But he had discovered that “the resources of the Christian life, my friends, are just—Jesus Christ. That is all. But that is enough.”

     McQuilkin sought out Trumbull, the two talked, and on August 15, 1911, McQuilkin entered a prayer room. There came to me this impression: I am going into that room, and I do not want to come out before this matter is settled, and I have taken Christ as my Victory for daily living.

     McQuilkin knelt and consciously surrendered every sector of his life to Christ—his sins, his “doubtful things,” his doubts, his loved ones, his fiancée, his past failures, his future. When I finished, I had no special emotion, and I saw no vision. But it did seem for the first time consciously in my life that there were just two persons in the universe—my Lord and I, and nothing else mattered except the will of that other person.

     For the next 40 years, the Holy Spirit flowed through McQuilkin like rivers of living water—and out of his ministry came Columbia Bible College/Columbia International University in South Carolina, today one of the great Christian and missionary training centers on earth.

     Every child of God can defeat the world, and our faith is what gives us this victory. No one can defeat the world without having faith in Jesus as the Son of God. ---
1 John 5:4,5.

On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - August 15

     “Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide.” --- Genesis 24:63.

     Very admirable was his occupation. If those who spend so many hours in idle company, light reading, and useless pastimes, could learn wisdom, they would find more profitable society and more interesting engagements in meditation than in the vanities which now have such charms for them. We should all know more, live nearer to God, and grow in grace, if we were more alone. Meditation chews the cud and extracts the real nutriment from the mental food gathered elsewhere. When Jesus is the theme, meditation is sweet indeed. Isaac found Rebecca while engaged in private musings; many others have found their best beloved there.

     Very admirable was the choice of place. In the field we have a study hung round with texts for thought. From the cedar to the hyssop, from the soaring eagle down to the chirping grasshopper, from the blue expanse of heaven to a drop of dew, all things are full of teaching, and when the eye is divinely opened, that teaching flashes upon the mind far more vividly than from written books. Our little rooms are neither so healthy, so suggestive, so agreeable, or so inspiring as the fields. Let us count nothing common or unclean, but feel that all created things point to their Maker, and the field will at once be hallowed.

     Very admirable was the season. The season of sunset as it draws a veil over the day, befits that repose of the soul when earthborn cares yield to the joys of heavenly communion. The glory of the setting sun excites our wonder, and the solemnity of approaching night awakens our awe. If the business of this day will permit it, it will be well, dear reader, if you can spare an hour to walk in the field at eventide, but if not, the Lord is in the town too, and will meet with thee in thy chamber or in the crowded street. Let thy heart go forth to meet him.

          Evening - August 15

     “And I will give you an heart of flesh.” --- Ezekiel 36:26.

     A heart of flesh is known by its tenderness concerning sin. To have indulged a foul imagination, or to have allowed a wild desire to tarry even for a moment, is quite enough to make a heart of flesh grieve before the Lord. The heart of stone calls a great iniquity nothing, but not so the heart of flesh.

     “If to the right or left I stray,
     That moment, Lord, reprove;
     And let me weep my life away,
     For having grieved thy love”

     The heart of flesh is tender of God’s will. My Lord Will-be-will is a great blusterer, and it is hard to subject him to God’s will; but when the heart of flesh is given, the will quivers like an aspen leaf in every breath of heaven, and bows like an osier in every breeze of God’s Spirit. The natural will is cold, hard iron, which is not to be hammered into form, but the renewed will, like molten metal, is soon moulded by the hand of grace. In the fleshy heart there is a tenderness of the affections. The hard heart does not love the Redeemer, but the renewed heart burns with affection towards him. The hard heart is selfish and coldly demands, “Why should I weep for sin? Why should I love the Lord?” But the heart of flesh says; “Lord, thou knowest that I love thee; help me to love thee more!” Many are the privileges of this renewed heart; “’Tis here the Spirit dwells, ’tis here that Jesus rests.” It is fitted to receive every spiritual blessing, and every blessing comes to it. It is prepared to yield every heavenly fruit to the honour and praise of God, and therefore the Lord delights in it. A tender heart is the best defence against sin, and the best preparation for heaven. A renewed heart stands on its watchtower looking for the coming of the Lord Jesus. Have you this heart of flesh?

Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

Amazing Grace
     August 15


     Adelaide A. Pollard, 1862–1934

     Yet, O Lord, you are our Father, We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

     An elderly woman at a prayer meeting one night pleaded, “It really doesn’t matter what you do with us, Lord, just have your way with our lives.” At this meeting was Adelaide Pollard, a rather well-known itinerant Bible teacher who was deeply discouraged because she had been unable to raise the necessary funds for a desired trip to Africa to do missionary service. She was moved by the older woman’s sincere and dedicated request of God.

     At home that Evening Miss Pollard meditated on Jeremiah 18:3, 4:

     Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels, and the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

     Before retiring that Evening, Adelaide Pollard completed the writing of all four stanzas of this hymn as it is sung today. The hymn first appeared in published form in 1907.

     Often into our lives come discouragements and heartaches that we cannot understand. As children of God, however, we must learn never to question the ways of our sovereign God—but simply to say:

     Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
     Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
     Mold me and make me after Thy will,
     while I am waiting, yielded and still.
     Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
     Search me and try me, Master, today!
     Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
     as in Thy presence humbly I bow.
     Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
     Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
     Power, all power, surely is Thine!
     Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!
     Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
     Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
     Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
     Christ only, always, living in me!

     For Today: Psalm 27:14; Romans 6:13, 14; 9:20, 21; Galatians 2:20

     Breathe this ancient prayer: “I am willing, Lord, to receive what Thou givest, to lack what Thou withholdest, to relinquish what Thou takest, to surrender what Thou claimest, to suffer what Thou ordainest, to do what Thou commandest, to wait until Thou sayest ‘Go.’ ” Reflect on these words again as you go ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Tuesday, August 15, 2017 | Holy Day

St. Mary The Virgin
Years 1 & 2

On the same date: St. Mary the Virgin, Evening Prayer

Psalms     Psalm 113, 115
Old Testament     1 Samuel 2:1–10
New Testament     John 2:1–12

Index of Readings

Psalm 113, 115

1 Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD;
praise the name of the LORD.

2 Blessed be the name of the LORD
from this time on and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting
the name of the LORD is to be praised.
4 The LORD is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens.

5 Who is like the LORD our God,
who is seated on high,
6 who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust,
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.
9 He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the LORD!

1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness.
2 Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”

3 Our God is in the heavens;
he does whatever he pleases.
4 Their idols are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
5 They have mouths, but do not speak;
eyes, but do not see.
6 They have ears, but do not hear;
noses, but do not smell.
7 They have hands, but do not feel;
feet, but do not walk;
they make no sound in their throats.
8 Those who make them are like them;
so are all who trust in them.

9 O Israel, trust in the LORD!
He is their help and their shield.
10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD!
He is their help and their shield.
11 You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD!
He is their help and their shield.

12 The LORD has been mindful of us; he will bless us;
he will bless the house of Israel;
he will bless the house of Aaron;
13 he will bless those who fear the LORD,
both small and great.

14 May the LORD give you increase,
both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

16 The heavens are the LORD’s heavens,
but the earth he has given to human beings.
17 The dead do not praise the LORD,
nor do any that go down into silence.
18 But we will bless the LORD
from this time on and forevermore.
Praise the LORD!

Old Testament
1 Samuel 2:1–10

2 Hannah prayed and said,

“My heart exults in the LORD;
my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in my victory.

2 “There is no Holy One like the LORD,
no one besides you;
there is no Rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the LORD is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble gird on strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry are fat with spoil.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
6 The LORD kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The LORD makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low, he also exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
and on them he has set the world.

9 “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness;
for not by might does one prevail.
10 The LORD! His adversaries shall be shattered;
the Most High will thunder in heaven.
The LORD will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king,
and exalt the power of his anointed.”

New Testament
John 2:1–12

2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9 When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

12 After this he went down to Capernaum with his mother, his brothers, and his disciples; and they remained there a few days.

Evening Prayer

Psalms     Psalm 149, Psalm 45 or Psalm 138
Old Testament     Jeremiah 31:1–14 or Zechariah 2:10–13
New Testament     John 19:23–27 or Acts 1:6–14

Index of Readings

Psalm 149

1 Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
2 Let Israel be glad in its Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
3 Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.
4 For the LORD takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with victory.
5 Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their couches.
6 Let the high praises of God be in their throats
and two-edged swords in their hands,
7 to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with fetters
and their nobles with chains of iron,
9 to execute on them the judgment decreed.
This is glory for all his faithful ones.
Praise the LORD!

Choose from the following:
Option A
Psalm 45

To the leader: according to Lilies. Of the Korahites. A Maskil. A love song.

1 My heart overflows with a goodly theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

2 You are the most handsome of men;
grace is poured upon your lips;
therefore God has blessed you forever.
3 Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,
in your glory and majesty.

4 In your majesty ride on victoriously
for the cause of truth and to defend the right;
let your right hand teach you dread deeds.
5 Your arrows are sharp
in the heart of the king’s enemies;
the peoples fall under you.

6 Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.
Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity;
7 you love righteousness and hate wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

10 Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear;
forget your people and your father’s house,
11 and the king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord, bow to him;
12 the people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts,
the richest of the people 13 with all kinds of wealth.

The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes;
14 in many-colored robes she is led to the king;
behind her the virgins, her companions, follow.
15 With joy and gladness they are led along
as they enter the palace of the king.

16 In the place of ancestors you, O king, shall have sons;
you will make them princes in all the earth.
17 I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations;
therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever.

Option B
Psalm 138

Of David.

1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
for you have exalted your name and your word
above everything.
3 On the day I called, you answered me,
you increased my strength of soul.

4 All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O LORD,
for they have heard the words of your mouth.
5 They shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
for great is the glory of the LORD.
6 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly;
but the haughty he perceives from far away.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand,
and your right hand delivers me.
8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Old Testament
Option A
Jeremiah 31:1–14

31 At that time, says the LORD,
I will be the God of all the families of Israel,
and they shall be my people.

2 Thus says the LORD:
The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
3 the LORD appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
4 Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
O virgin Israel!
Again you shall take your tambourines,
and go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.
5 Again you shall plant vineyards
on the mountains of Samaria;
the planters shall plant,
and shall enjoy the fruit.
6 For there shall be a day when sentinels will call
in the hill country of Ephraim:
“Come, let us go up to Zion,
to the LORD our God.”

7 For thus says the LORD:
Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
“Save, O LORD, your people,
the remnant of Israel.”
8 See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north,
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame,
those with child and those in labor, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
9 With weeping they shall come,
and with consolations I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I have become a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.

10 Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him,
and will keep him as a shepherd a flock.”
11 For the LORD has ransomed Jacob,
and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
12 They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD,
over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and over the young of the flock and the herd;
their life shall become like a watered garden,
and they shall never languish again.
13 Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
14 I will give the priests their fill of fatness,
and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty,
says the LORD.

Option B
Zechariah 2:10–13

10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the LORD. 11 Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst. And you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. 12 The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem.

13 Be silent, all people, before the LORD; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

New Testament
Option A
John 19:23–27

23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. 24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says,

     “They divided my clothes among themselves,
     and for my clothing they cast lots.”
25 And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

Option B
Acts 1:6–14

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. 13 When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church

Women and Ancient Israelite Household Religion
Susan Ackerman    Yale

How Do We Empower the Poor?
Ron Sider    Yale

Discussion on Faith and the Environment
Panel    Yale

Christian Approaches to Development
Various Speakers    Yale

Crumbs from the Table?
Collin R. Timms    Yale

Crumbs from the Table?
Vinay Samuel    Yale

Crumbs ... Closing remarks
Ambassador Tony P. Hall    Yale

Eschatology and Proclamation
Thomas G. Long    Yale

The Word in Preaching
Thomas G. Long    Yale

The Jewish Jesus
John P. Meier    Yale

Sacramental Poetics
Regina Schwartz    Yale

Christ and the City 3
Christopher Brooks   Biola University

Deliver Me From My Necessities
Gilbert Meilaender    Biola University

Leadership in a Wireless World
Tami Heim    Biola University

Lect 9 Gen Letters Jude 1
Dr. Herb Bateman