Saturday, March 16, 2013

Patrick's Hope

"60. For the sun we see rises each day for us at [Christ's] command, but it will never reign, neither will its splendour last, but all who worship it will come wretchedly to punishment. We, on the other hand, shall not die, who believe in and worship the true sun, Christ, who will never die, no more shall he die who has done Christ's will, but will abide for ever just as Christ abides for ever, who reigns with God the Father Almighty and with the Holy Spirit before the beginning of time and now and for ever and ever. Amen."
-Confession, Patrick of Ireland, c. A.D. 450

Friday, March 15, 2013

Reading Bede

I love reading early medieval history! I just finished the first book of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. It already contains martyrs dying for their faith; preachers preaching the gospel, attacking heresy, and fighting demons; Roman, British, Pictish, and Saxon leaders fighting battles; very practical pastoral instructions from Pope Gregory for the discipleship of the nations; and, above all, the sovereign God who carries it all out according to His purposes.

Bede gave his thoughts on at least one use of history in the preface:
"Should history tell of good men and their good estate, the thoughtful listener is spurred on to imitate the good; should it record the evil ends of wicked men, no less effectually the devout and earnest listener or reader is kindled to eschew what is harmful and perverse, and himself with greater care pursue those things which he has learned to be good and pleasing in the sight of God."
Bede is teaching what the Scripture teaches, such as in 1 Corinthians 10:6 concerning the history of Israel in the wilderness: "Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did."

The following is as close as it gets to mentioning King Arthur (I believe Ambrosius is Arthur's uncle and Arthur is the one who fought the battle of Mount Badon):
"Their [the Briton's] leader at that time was a certain Ambrosius Aurelianus, a discreet man, who was, as it happened, the sole member of the Roman race who had survived this storm [of Saxon invasion] in which his parents, who bore a royal and famous name, had perished. Under his leadership the Britons regained their strength, challenged their victors to battle, and, with God's help, won the day. From that time on, first the Britons won and then the enemy were victorious until the year of the siege of Mount Badon, when the Britons slaughtered no small number of their foes about forty-four years after their arrival in Britain."

For those of you interested in the use of Old Testament law, Pope Gregory goes right to the OT case laws to discuss several practical issues, including: "It is a grave sin to marry one's stepmother, because it is written in the law: 'Thou shalt not uncover his father's nakedness.'"

I look forward to reading more!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Samuel Rutherford on Tyranny and Government

On tyranny and resistance:

"Therefore an unjust king, as unjust, is not that genuine ordinance of God, appointed to remove injustice, but accidental to a king. So we may resist the injustice of the king, and not resist the king. 8. If, then, any cast off the nature of a king, and become habitually a tyrant, in so far he is not from God, nor any ordinance which God doth own."

"A tyrant is he who habitually sinneth against the catholic good of the subjects and the state, and subverteth law."

On balance of powers due to man's depravity:

"Power and absolute monarchy is tyranny; unmixed democracy is confusion; untempered aristocracy is factious dominion...all three thus contempered have their own sweet fruits through God's blessing, and their own diseases by accident, and through man's corruption; and neither reason nor Scripture shall warrant any one in its rigid purity without mixture."

-Samuel Rutherford, Lex Rex, 1644