Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jul | 31 | The best diet for the health of giants


The best diet for the health of giants

Psalms 119:9-16
How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word. NKJV

I have just returned from an afternoon walk around the 15th Century Ravenscraig Castle, the first castle in Scotland to be built to withstand Cannon and protect Kirkcaldy from Pirates based on the near isle of May. To my wife’s delight, her hero, Oliver Cromwell, garrisoned some of his invading forces there in the 17th century. It is a ruin now, yes, it is just another footprint in the sand where giants once trod.

When Edward Irving, of whom I referred to yesterday, was teaching in Kirkcaldy, another Scott named Thomas Carlyle was also imported into the ‘Lang Toun’ from Edinburgh maybe to set up some teaching competitiveness? Irving and Carlyle, however, rather than compete with one another, became the greatest of friends. Indeed, Carlyle went on to marry one of Irving’s students, and the joining of these two particular people, continue to provide psychologists and historians with enough material to write a thousand theses! Suffice to say, that though Carlyle, like so many other of Irving’s friends, would later distance himself from what he considered the mad tongue speaking cockney lunatics who would surround Irving in London, it is obvious that Irving, never the less, loved Carlyle deeply. Such love, such respect is very interesting and I say this because Carlyle had already lost his Scot Calvinist rooted faith whilst studying Divinity in Edinburgh. There are far too many who have had their faith destroyed in educational institutions.

Thomas Carlyle, love him or hate him, went on to become one of the greatest of the Victorian writers. It is evident, however, that Carlyle’s loss of his personal faith in his twenties, had left a hole in his soul, which it seemed no amount of intellectual prowess, or plasticine molded, self-invented spirituality could adequately fill. Even so, like the best of ‘ex-pats’, he appears to be more of a devout Christian patriot than the many others who have also gone on to deny respectable Christianity.

So, like I say, long ago, two giants meet in Kirkcaldy. Irving seems in his ‘mysticism’ to draw closer to God, whilst according to his intellectual friends, also moves into the madness of what we might regard as the simple current day evidences and occurrences of the charismatic movement. There is no doubt that Irving’s increased mystical encounter with God led him into error and deception, whilst Carlyle on the other hand, seemingly draws away from God and like some spiritual ex patriot who is ever separated from his homeland, tries to recreate the image of a lost land and culture that suits now his ever changing and ever evolving position and understanding of a lost home viewed from a foreign country. Two giants meet in Kirkcaldy and both leave gigantic imprints on the world as they tread their divergent paths. What can we learn from another brief look at their tracks left on the land?

For me, I first see now that more than ever, it is only time and distance travelled which provide the valid litmus test of whether a life’s journey made seems to be right or wrong, profitable or unprofitable, fruitful and helpful, or empty, vain and destructive. There is a third thing of course, the comfort of which though is only provided for that onlooker who ‘hopes for the best’ and that is: a ‘satisfactory’ mortal end, you know, a good death.

So, Irving, that eventual recycler of old heresies, dies aged just 42. Pushed by the declarations of so-called prophets, he was left tired out, worn out, stressed out, played out, and I wonder, even maybe ‘faithed’ out. God, you see, never did come and heal either his three dead boys or finally himself of tuberculosis.

Carlyle, aged 86 years, eventually died a lonely and virtual recluse. Despite being told he could be buried in Westminster Abbey however, he chooses to be buried with his parents in Ecclefechan. His last words apparently were: “So this is death. Well!”

Two giants. Two lives. Two paths. Two measures of continuing influence in the world. But looking now to the south of Kirkcaldy, in both time and distance covered, it seems that it is Carlyle who leaves the larger footprints on the land, whose very footsteps still echo through the halls of passing time, and whose literary prowess has influenced a thousand million fireside pulpits and set aflame a whole host of other giants.

From these two men we can learn one great thing: That men once touched by God, men once kissed by God, continually desire God. Choices made in life may restrict and shape the expression of that now irrepressible desire, but one way or another, that kiss kindled desire will out.
  • However, the only right shaping of the expression of that desire is: ‘The Word of God’
  • The only course correcting and directing of that desire is: ‘The Word of God’. 
  • The only comfort for the journey is:   ‘The Word of God’.
  • The only safe coracle across the river of death is: ‘The Word of God’ and the only passport to present at heaven’s gate is: ‘The Word of God’. 

So, I say to you again: “Young man, get into the Word of God and whatever happens to you, keep in it and get it into you! For the Word is the only thing that encompasses the passing of time, stays fresh in distance travelled, and provides strength and comfort for a good end to this our mortal lives.”

Listen:- Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV

Pray: -  When I forsake You, please O Lord fulfill Your Word and do not forsake me. In all of this, my quickly passing life, draw close through the blood of Jesus Christ my King and only hope. Speak loud O Lord, speak long and make my pathway narrow for he long journey started seems quickly to come to its end and the judgement of all things is soon at hand. Prserve me in Your goodness, guide me in Your righteousness, lead me safely home and sink all the pirates on these my present raging seas. Amen and amen

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