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For the Third Sunday after Epiphany: a reading from John Chrysostom

January 27, 2019

For the Third Sunday after Epiphany, here is another reading from the book “Faith and Life: Readings Compiled from Ancient Writers” by William Bright.  This reading is from none other than John Chrysostom.

I. THE LEPER.

“LORD, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.” Great is the intelligence and faith of the applicant. For he did not break in upon the discourse, nor interrupt the audience, but awaited the fitting time, and approached Jesus when He had come down. And he supplicates Him, not carelessly, but even with great fervour, and kneeling before Him, as another Evangelist says, and with genuine faith and a right opinion about Jesus. For he said not, ” If Thou wilt ask it of God,” or, “If Thou wilt pray,” but, “If Thou wilt.” Nor did he say, ” Lord, cleanse me;” but commits to Him the whole matter, and makes Him the disposer of his cure, and bears witness to the plenitude of His authority. If the opinion of the leper had been erroneous, Jesus ought to have confuted it, and reproved him, and set him right. Did He then do so? Not at all; quite the contrary. He even confirms and ratifies what was said: therefore He said not, ” Be thou cleansed,” but, “I will, be thou cleansed.” Not so the Apostles; when the whole people were amazed, they said, “Why do ye fix your attention on us, as though by our own power or authority we had made him to walk ?But the Master, although He often spoke, with great modesty, what fell short of His own glory, in order to confirm His dogmas, here, when men were astonished at His authority, says, “I will, be thou cleansed.” Further, He extended His hand and touched him; to indicate, as I think, that He was above the law, and not beneath it, and that, thenceforward, to the pure nothing was impure. For His hand was not made unclean by the leprosy, but the leprous body became pure from the touch of His holy hand.

St. Chrysostom, Hom. xxv. on St. Matthew.

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A helpful devotional aid: an audio of daily Morning and Evening Prayer

January 25, 2019

If you are looking for a somewhat different devotional aid, Father Damien Grout of the REC (Reformed Episcopal Church) records both Morning & Evening Prayer according to the American 1928 BCP here:

https://soundcloud.com/user-73237704

An example would be his Evening Prayer for January 24, which can be heard here.  I think it is quite good and if you haven’t tried it, it would be very much worth trying it out!

The Rev. Dick Lucas: “The Perversion of the Gospel (2)” (Jude 1:4)

January 24, 2019

I recently came across a series of audio messages by the Rev. Dick Lucas that was given at St. Helen’s Bishopsgate in London, on the Epistle of Jude and titled “Can the Churches Survive?”.  These are, as always, very much worth hearing, and here is the fourth one, on Jude 1:4.  It is titled “The Perversion of the Gospel (2).”

An Epiphany hymn: “Brightest and Best”

January 22, 2019

For the Epiphany season, I really like the hymn “Brightest and Best”, and here is an excellent rendition of it by the St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, Gerre Hancock being their organist and Master of Choristers.

For the Second Sunday after Epiphany: a reading from Cyril of Jerusalem

January 20, 2019

This is another reading from the text Faith and Life: Readings Compiled from Ancient Writers by William Bright; it is part of his selection for the Second Sunday after Epiphany and is from Cyril of Jerusalem’s Lecture xvi:

I. THE MANIFOLD GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT.

ONE fountain waters a whole garden, and one and the same rain comes down in every part of the world, and becomes white in the lily, red in the rose, purple in violets and hyacinths, diverse and manifold in all kinds of plants; and so it is of one sort in the palm, of another in the vine, and all in all things; being all the time of one nature, and not diverse from itself. For the rain does not change as it descends, and become first one thing, then another; but applying itself to the condition of that which is to receive it, it becomes to each what is suitable. So also the Holy Spirit, being one, and of one nature, and undivided, distributes grace “to every one severally, as He wills,” and as the dry tree when it partakes of water puts forth shoots, so also the soul that is in sin, being endued by means of repentance with the Holy Spirit, puts forth clusters of righteousness. And while the Spirit is of one nature, yet many are the excellences which by the fiat of God, and in the name of Christ, He works out. For He uses one man’s tongue to utter wisdom, illuminates another’s soul with prophecy, to another gives power to drive away demons, to another gives ability to interpret the Divine Scriptures. One man’s self-control He strengthens, another He teaches how to give alms, another to fast and discipline himself, another to despise the interests of the body; another He prepares for martyrdom; differently in each case, but not diverse from Himself, as it is written, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

Here Cyril certainly echoes the Scriptures’ teaching that we are each given our own gifts for the strengthening of the whole Body of Christ.

From Hillsdale College: quite a selection of free online courses

January 18, 2019

I thought I would mention that Hillsdale College has made available a remarkable selection of free online courses – ranging from literature (Jane Austen, Mark Twain) to culture (Western Heritage: from the Book of Genesis to John Locke) to politics and history (Introduction to the Constitution).  And there are more courses than just the ones I have mentioned.  If you are looking for a good way to stimulate your intellect, this is quite an opportunity from Hillsdale.

An interesting book: “The Doctrine of the Church of England on the Holy Communion”

January 16, 2019

Recently I came across another interesting book on the Anglican doctrine of the Eucharist – The Doctrine of the Church of England on the Holy Communion: Restated as a Guide at the Current Time.  This text was written by the Rev. Frederick Meyrick of Norfolk in 1885, and features a preface by the Right Reverend Edward Harold Browne!  You can read more about Frederick Meyrick here; he was quite a prolific writer.

In his book on The Doctrine of the Church of England on the Holy Communion, Meyrick takes what one could describe as an evangelical view, and Dr. Brian Douglas in his excellent article on Meyrick indicates he was ‘nominalist” for the most part in his position on the Eucharist.  Meyrick was quite an interesting man, and this book is worth taking a look at if you are studying views of the Eucharist.

For the First Sunday after the Epiphany: a reading from Augustine of Hippo

January 13, 2019

One of the readings for the First Sunday after Epiphany is the account of Jesus being found in the Temple by His parents (Luke 2:41), and in the book Faith and Life, there is a quote from St. Augustine that addresses this, which I have quoted before:

When our Lord Jesus Christ was in regard to His Manhood twelve years old, while in regard to His Godhead He is before all times and independent of time, He tarried behind Joseph and Mary in the temple, and talked with the doctors, and they were astonished at His understanding. But His parents returning from Jerusalem sought Him in their company,—and, not finding Him, returned in distress to Jerusalem, and found Him talking in the temple with the doctors, when He was, as I said, twelve years old. But what marvel? The Word of God is never silent; but He is not always heard. He is then found in the temple, and His Mother says to Him, “Why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing.” He answers, “Did ye not know that I must be in what belongs to My Father?” This He said, because He, the Son of God, was in the temple of God; nor did He wish to be in such a sense their son as not to be understood to be the Son of God. For the Son of God was always the Son of God, the Creator of those very parents of His.

–St. Augustine, Sermon li.

An interview with Os Guinness, by John Anderson

January 11, 2019

In the past I have mentioned interviews that John Anderson, former prime minister of Australia, has done with various people.  Here is another one very much worth watching: here, John Anderson speaks with Os Guinness, the great-great-great grandson of the Dublin brewer. Os has written or edited more than 30 books and is an expert on the Judeo-Christian foundations of Western Civilisation. His grasp of our present predicament is unprecedented.

Dr. Steven Lawson: “High Theology Produces High Doxology”

January 9, 2019

From Dr. Steven Lawson, who I believe is associated with Ligonier Ministries, we have this message titled “High Theology Produces High Doxology.”  That certainly makes sense if one thinks about it.