Divine Names

How then can we speak of the divine names? How can we do this if the Transcendent surpasses all discourse and all knowledge, if it abides beyond all reach of mind and of being, if it encompasses and circumscribes, embraces and anticipates all things while itself eluding their grasp and escaping form any perception, imagination, opinion, name, discourse, apprehension, or understanding? How can we enter upon this undertaking if the Godhead is superior to being and is unspeakable and unnameable?

Dionysius, The Divine Names, 1.5

An Observation by Bach

[Bach] grasped the sound properties of any place at first glance. A remarkable illustration of that fact is the following: He came to Berlin to visit me; I showed him the new opera house. He perceived at once its virtues and defects (that is, as regards the sound of music in it). I showed him the great dining hall. He looked at the ceiling, and without further investigation made the statement that the architect had here accomplished a remarkable feat, without intending to do so, and without anyone’s knowing about it: namely, that if someone went to one corner of the oblong shaped hall and whispered a few words very softly upwards against the wall, a person standing in the corner diagonally opposite, with his face to the wall, would hear quite distinctly what was said, while between them, and in the other parts of the room, no one would hear a sound. A feat of architecture hitherto very rare and much admired! This affect was brought about by the arches in the vaulted ceiling, which he saw at once.

Hans T. David and Arthur Mendel, The Bach Reader: A life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents, 276. In Music of the Western World.

An Imprecatory Prayer

Father of Jesus Christ, our gracious God, we cry out to You in a time of trouble. Our adversaries come at us with lies, lies that they delight to tell, fluent lies, as their father tells them, in their native language.

We pray that You would return to them seven-fold, according to all that they have done or said or hoped for, and all according to the promises of Your holy Word. Grant to them shame of face, so that they might turn back to You and seek Your name. We would not be like Jonah, resentful or afraid of Your grace to other sinners, even to those who have sinned grievously against us.
You have taught us, called us, summoned us, to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, to rejoice when we are mistreated by them, and to return good for evil. We are not to return evil for evil, but rather to overcome evil with good. We accept this and rejoice in it. We know and understand that this is based on Your holy character and example—You give rain and sunlight to the righteous and unrighteous both—and that this is therefore Your standard of holiness for us, and we gladly submit to it. We therefore seek the grace to continue to love our enemies, asking You to save them. Not only would we be saved from their treachery and lies, but we ask that You would save them from their treachery and lies.

In praying this way, we ask that we would be able to distinguish sharply between those who are our personal enemies, and those who are our enemies for Your name’s sake. We pray that we would extend nothing but wholehearted grace to the former, and that we would commit the terrors of strict justice, with regard to the latter, entirely and only to You. We would not be like the disciples who, caught up in their mistaken zeal, did not know “what spirit they were of.” We would ask nothing from You in this that Your Word does not specifically invite us to ask. You are a God who keeps covenant to a thousand generations, and we are asking You to keep Your covenant word. If justice falling on the heads of our enemies is not a promise of covenant justice, Lord, we don’t want to ask for it. But if it is such a promise, we dare not refuse to ask. How long, Lord, will You leave in sin those who mistreat Your people in this way?

If it is not Your sovereign purpose to destroy them through saving grace, we pray that You would humiliate them and give them shame of face regardless. We pray that they would fall into the pit they have purposefully dug for us. We pray that You would turn all their plans and purposes upside down. Like Haman, we pray that they would be hanged on the gallows they have built for Your people. You are the judge of the whole earth; will You not do right? How long will You delay in bringing justice to the earth? Doesn’t it bother You that Your name and Your people are treated this way? We know that You are everlastingly good; why are You silent in that goodness? We know that You have promised to justify and vindicate Your people; rise up, Lord, and scatter Your enemies!

Father, we pray that You would deal with this situation. If it is Your good pleasure to deal with it through saving them, then that is what we would by far prefer, and it is what we ask for. But if it is not Your good pleasure to save them, we ask that You would cut them off in their course of sinning regardless, and that You would not allow their iniquity to come to its full measure. Set limits to Your judgment on them. We pray that You would set limits to that judgment by setting limits to their lies and treachery. We pray, Father, that You would cut them off in the midst of their sin.

We ask that You would deliver us from their snares in a way that showcases Your final and ultimate vindication and justification of us, together with all Your people. We know that we are sinners, and that many just and righteous accusations could be brought against us. For the sake of Christ, we pray that we would be justified concerning all that we have done that is wrong and wicked. But because Christ is our Protector as well as Savior, we pray that we would be vindicated and justified with regard to all that we have not done wrong. You chastise us for our sins, but that is not why these evil men and women attack us—they attack us because we love what is good, and because we trust in You.

Father, we pray that the angel of the Lord would chase them down. We pray that You would set for them a dark and slippery place, and that the angel of the Lord would persecute them there. They have hated us without any just cause at all, and they have devised all their plots without any good reason. We ask You therefore to rise up and defend us. Stand in the pass behind us, and lower Your spear against them. Turn them back from their wicked attacks. Rout them, we pray. Chase them like chaff in a stiff wind. We pray that You would string Your bow, sharpen Your sword, make ready all the instruments of death. Ordain Your arrows to fly against those who persecute the righteous. Make their mischief to roll back on their own impudent heads.
Those who hate us without cause are more than the hairs of our heads, and yet, Lord, we know that You have all those hairs numbered. You number and name, and note, their hatreds. You know our foolishness; You know our sinfulness, and You also know that our sin is not why we are being attacked. Rather it is for Your sake, and our identification with You. Let their table become poisonous to them, let it become a snare. Let their eyes be darkened, and judicial blindness fall upon them.

We pray that their eyes would be blinded by You; strike them so that they cannot see. Father, we pray that You would make their loins shake continuously, that they would be seized with fear and amazement. Pour out hot indignation all over them; take hold of them tightly in Your wrathful anger. May their dwellings become empty and desolate—for whenever You chastise anyone else, they love to pile on as though You were not there. They persecute the one that You are disciplining, and by their talk they dismay the one who is suffering under Your hand. Add iniquity to their iniquity; make a great heap of their sins. Do not let them enter into Your righteousness. Blot them out of the book of the living. Do not record their names alongside the names of the righteous.

God of our praise, do not hold Your peace. The mouths of the wicked and the mouths of the deceitful have joined in chorus together, and they are speaking against us with lying tongue. They are surrounding us with words of hatred, and they fight against us without good reason. It is because we love You that they are our adversaries, but we still give ourselves to prayer. Not only have we incurred their hostility by loving You, but we have also loved them, and have been treacherously betrayed by them. They returned evil for good, and hatred for love, ingratitude for kindness.

Let these wicked men come under the rule and reign of wicked men. Let Satan be continually at their right hand, accusing them. When they come into judgment, when the trial comes, we pray that the verdict of guilty would be rendered. When they cry out to You, let their prayers be reckoned as sinful. When they pray to You, let the ceiling above them remain silent. Cut short their days. When they have abused offices within Your Church, let other faithful men rise up to take their place.

Let their children be orphaned, cut off without a father. Let their wives be widows, and we pray that their children would be desolate, having to beg their bread in empty places. We pray that the extortioner would come back at them, catching them in their plots, and taking all that they have. May strangers and aliens pillage them and leave them with nothing. We pray that when this happens, and Your hand is evident, that no one would show mercy, and that no kindness would be extended to his fatherless children. Cut off his posterity; may his name and his line come to nothing. Recall how sinful his father was, and call up again the sins of his mother. May their sins come before Your throne continually so that their name may be blotted out, and remembered on the earth no more.

We ask for this because he is merciless. He loved to kick the poor and downtrodden, and sought to kill the broken-hearted. He loved cursing, and so give him that cursing. He detested blessing, so let blessing remain far away from him. He would put on curses like a comfortable coat; let those curses of his seep into him deeply. Tie those curses around him permanently. Let this be the clothing of all our enemies.

Let them curse, so long as You bless. When they get up in the morning, and hear of the blessings You have bestowed on us, let them be greatly ashamed. Let confusion cover over them completely, as though it were a mantle. I pray that You stand at our right hand, and that You would always save us from those who would condemn our souls.

We offer this pray to You in the righteous and holy name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and amen.

– Doug Wilson

Only the Gauls had managed that

The Republic had no fiercer bogeyman than the pale-skinned, horse-maned, towering Gaul. Hannibal might have ridden up to Rome’s gates and flung his javelin over them, but he had never succeeded in capturing the seat of the Republic. Only the Gauls had managed that. Way back, at the beginning of the fourth century BC, a barbarian horde had burst without warning across the Alps, sent a Roman army fleeing from it in panic, and swept into Rome.

Tom Holland, Rubicon, 234.

Our Battle Field

O Socii, tomorrow is a great and honourable day. It is a day in which we can put to use our right as citizens of the Unitest States of America to elect our leaders. In days past leaders were often chosen through strength of arms. Men proved their courage on the battle field, fighting for their king, that they might live peaceful lives under their king. We have no bloody battle field on which to pour our blood and prove our valor, but we do have the Moscow Skating Rink, and tomorrow from 8 to 8. May it not be said of the students of New Saint Andrews college that they did not bother to go out and vote.

If you are unsure of who to vote for, here is a good guide:
Right-Mind (Dale Courtney)
Doug Wilson

See you at the Polls!

Homo proponit, sed Deus disponit. O Socii, Proponite!

Love Will Ascend

Love will ascend in unexpected ways
Like the heart-throbbing gleam of the moon’s
Bright rays, as it touches your
Heart… slowly… the flame starts to glow as
Your heart starts to know of a growing
Devotion that will transform and transplant
You; to become one in soul–a rare treasure
Most forgotten, to share common passions
And share the same view, and sharing one
Father; these things will fast mend any
Disparity between me and you.
The outwardly perfect match is irrelevent,
Indeed when two hearts remain forever divided
In two. But if each heart may be willing to
Give unhindered to the other, then those
Two shall forever be true.
Such love remains my oriflamme;
This is my wish–it is now what I am.>

~Deborah Ruth Foucachon (2003)

Words of The Wise

A few great quotes I borrowed from Liz Callihan’s blog.

Life

  • Life is a foreign language; all men mispronounce it.
    – Christopher Morley

Friendship

  • Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.
    – Aristotle
  • Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.
    – George Washington
  • We secure our friends not by accepting favors but by doing them.
    – Thucydides
  • The habit of giving only enhances the desire to give.
    – Walt Whitman
  • Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them.
    – Publilius Syrus

Love

  • To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
    – Bertrand Russell
  • Love is everything it’s cracked up to be…It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for.
    – Erica Jong
  • But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.
    – Jane Austen
  • Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.
    – Peter Ustinov

Humility

  • Life is a long lesson in humility.
    – J.M. Barrie
  • He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.
    – Confucius
  • It well becomes a young man to be modest.
    – Titus Maccius Plautus

Enjoying the Bible

Subsequent religious tradition has by and large encouraged us to take the Bible seriously rather than to enjoy it, but the paradoxical truth of the matter may well be that by learning to enjoy the biblical stories more fully as stories, we shall also come to see more clearly what they mean to tell us about God, man, and the perilously momentous realm of history.

-Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative,189.

Calculation of Perils

Soldiers and comrades in this adventure, I hope that none of you in our present strait will think to show his wit by exactly calculating all the perils that encompass us, but that you will rather hasten to close with the enemy, without staying to weigh the odds, seeing in this your best chance of safety. In emergencies like ours calculation is out of place; the sooner the danger is face the better.

-Demosthenes, Thucydides, IV.10

NSA Reformation Banquet

Madames et Monsieurs,
it is my supreme privilege to present to you
the photos of The New Saint Andrews 2006 Reformation Banquet

www.danielfoucachon.com/nsa/nsa_reformation_06/

And HERE is Jordan Wilkins singing “Where’s the Girl”
Accompanied by Miss Lydia Psmith on the Piano

If perchants there be a lady among you,
who upon seeing a distressing photo
wishest that photo to be removed,
there existeth a solution.
http://www.foucachon.com/complaint_form
If there be a gentleman among you,
who upon seeing a photo is distressed,
get over it.