Saturday, May 12, 2007

John Donne

At the wonderful Christian Aid book sale (see Conferences etc), I bought a nice edition of some of John Donne's work. I studied Donne more than once, but have never owned any of his work before. He was not a Puritan, or approved by Puritans, but certainly a contemporary. Here are a couple of poems by him. This meditation was published in 1635:

Thou hast made me, and shall thy work decay?
Repair me now, for now mine end doth haste,
I run to death, and death meets me as fast,
And all my pleasures are like yesterday,
I dare not move my dim eyes any way,
Despair behind, and death before doth cast
Such terror, and my feeble flesh doth waste
By sin in it, which it towards hell doth weigh;
Only thou art above, and when towards thee
By thy leave I can look, I rise again;
But our old subtle foe so tempteth me,
That not one hour I can myself sustain;
Thy Grace may wing me to prevent his art,
And thou like adamant draw mine iron heart.

This one is number 6 of his Holy Sonnets, 'Resurrection':

Moist with one drop of thy blood, my dry soul
Shall (though she now be in extreme degree
Too stony hard, and yet too fleshly,) be
Freed by that drop, from being starved, hard, or foul,
And life, by this death abled, shall control
Death, whom thy death slew; nor shall to me
Fear of first or last death, bring misery,
If in thy little book my name thou enrol,
Flesh in that long sleep is not putrefied,
But made that there, of which, and for which 'twas;
Nor can by other means be glorified.
May then sin's sleep, and death's soon from me pass,
That wakes from both, I again risen may
Salute the last, and everlasting day.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Beating a Path to Heaven": New Website on English Puritan Meditation

Recently, I was introduced to this excellent new website on English Puritan Meditation. Here's an overview:

In seventeenth century England, Puritan works on practical divinity were increasing in availability, especially during the middle to later parts of the century. During this time, certain ministers began to write manuals to instruct believers about the importance of the Christian discipline of meditation. Other ministers preached sermons on the subject which were later collected into published works.

Understanding Puritan Meditation examines and analyzes Puritan texts on meditation and then suggests five aspects of Puritan meditation as being central to the collective Puritan theology and practice of this discipline.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A very worthy digression

"... of whom the world was not worthy ..." (Heb. 11:38)

I received this letter yesterday. It tells of a recent tragedy in Turkey involving the three Christian brothers pictured above and a group of young Islamic extremists, who believed they were doing a service to Allah in their horrific act. Amazingly, the believers in Turkey — even the family and close friends of the brethren whose lives were taken — are offering forgiveness. They also ask for our prayers. Here's the opening:

Download the full letter in pdf and forward it as an attachment to all who will pray. May God bless the church in Turkey.

Read more on this site.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Encyclopedia Puritannica

Just when you begin to think you're "in the loop", something like this comes to your attention.

Apparently there's a campaign to digitize (immortalize) the Puritan corpus. It's called the Encyclopedia Puritannica Project. From the EPP's own site:

"The Encyclopedia Puritannica Project (EPP) is an inter-denominational federation of Christians who are committed to the orthodox truths of Scripture. We believe these truths to be well understood, articulated, and applied by the Puritans and other Reformed teachers—both past and present. Many of their works have been forgotten by the modern church and have thus become practically inaccessible. It is our desire to see these works, among the best in the history of Christendom, go forth to the nations once again. This project, begun in 1998, is dedicated to the accomplishment of this task.

In the early 1990s, after the advent of the scanner and OCR software, it became possible to convert printed material to computer text with relative ease. In 1998, EPP began to harness these technologies in order to produce quality digital texts from Puritan and Reformed books. Our long-term goal is to make every public domain, Puritan book available as digital text.

EPP puts a strong emphasis on textual quality. To ensure faithfulness to the original source, we usually proofread our digital text back to the printed book several times. We also refrain from editing or modernizing the text, other than correcting obvious printing errors and standardizing such things as Bible references and dates. We desire to leave the text just as it was printed.

To God be the glory, forever and ever!"


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