Day Two in the UK

A wi-fi connection has proven to be a hard thing to find where we have been, so I post this a bit late. We have left London and gone north to Cambridge, planning to travel and spend the night in York this evening. Some of the countryside along the way has been simply stunning. Fields of yellow flowers sometimes for miles, and sheep grazing here and there amidst ancient estates and perfectly maintained grounds. More tomorrow, Lord willing.

World travelers at the Chapel at King's College

World travelers at the Chapel at King’s College

Typically beautiful European

Typically beautiful European

The oldest building in Cambridge — St. Benet's, 12th c.

The oldest building in Cambridge — St. Benet’s, 12th c.

The beauty of the Yorkshire countryside

The beauty of the Yorkshire countryside

In Gainsborough — the oldest and most complete Tudor home

In Gainsborough — the oldest and most complete Tudor home

The St. Wilfrid's Church — Scrooby

The St. Wilfrid’s Church — Scrooby

The interior of the King's Chapel...

The interior of the King’s Chapel…

... and the ornate ceiling

… and the ornate ceiling

More of the inner court of the King's Chapel

More of the inner court of the King’s Chapel

Sydney Sussex College — attended by Oliver Cromwell

Sydney Sussex College — attended by Oliver Cromwell

2017-02-22T16:44:14+00:00 April 19th, 2007|Family, History|

Day One in the UK

Sleep is too precious, so there is no time for words for now. Below are a few shots from today, our first day in England. Hopefully a good rest this evening will help me improve the quality of images I take tomorrow and on.

A corner shot of the Tower of London

A corner shot of the Tower of London

Our one-night residence

Our one-night residence

Big Ben Tower and the London Eye in the distance

Big Ben Tower and the London Eye in the distance

Tower Bridge of London

Tower Bridge of London

The ancient and imposing Westminster Abbey

The ancient and imposing Westminster Abbey

Which way do we go?

Which way do we go?

2017-02-22T16:44:14+00:00 April 18th, 2007|Family, History|

Band of Brothers

These are from the archives folks! The two pictures below are of my dad and his four older brothers, the youngest, my uncle Tyler, having not yet arrived on the scene. They grew up in a family of just boys… six in all!

Uncles Jim, Jack, Mike, Tim and Dad

Uncles Jim, Jack, Mike, Tim and Dad

All dressed up for church

All dressed up for church

We found these recently in the family archives and believe them to be dated somewhere between 1963 and 1964.

2017-02-22T16:44:14+00:00 March 25th, 2007|Family, History|

The Bonne Terre Band

If you were hoping to catch the Bonne Terre Band concert the Tuesday before last, I’m sorry to say you’ve missed it… by a hundred and two years.

Bonne Terre Band

Bonne Terre Band

While recently looking through the pages of our great-grandmother’s old Bible, we came across this advertisement. The ad is apparently for a local concert band which was to be performing Tuesday evening January 17, 1905 at the Lyceum in Bonne Terre, Missouri. When I look at the date on the ad (what appears to be a page torn from a magazine), I can hardly believe what great shape it’s in. The page is fragile, but perfectly intact still and quite legible. Apparently, general admission was a quarter, and if you really wanted to spend some money and reserve your seats, you’d pay thirty-five cents!

The ad was tucked between the pages of the Bible which was printed in 1881. If time permits, I will post a few scans of the Bible itself which is about eight inches tall (laying down) and is bound by leather covers nearly an inch thick. Quite the book, and quite a family treasure to be sure. Click on the page to see a larger version.

2017-02-22T16:44:14+00:00 February 1st, 2007|Family, History|

Happy 200th, General Lee

Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee

Happy Robert E. Lee Day! Today is the 200th birthday of one of the finest men ever to walk American soil. Today we honor him and praise the Lord for the example we have in men such as he was.

Most well-known for his role as general of the army of Northern Virginia during the War of Northern Aggression, Lee also served in the Mexican-American war and in various capacities at West Point and Washington College (later Washington and Lee College). Lee was a faithful Christian soldier and unlike many of his northern counterparts, acted nobly and principally in his leadership role as general. Compare him, for example, to the likes of William T. Sherman or Ulysses S. Grant of whom 19th century English historian/author G.A. Henty writes:

[Grant’s warfare tactic]… was a terrible programme and involved an expenditure of life far beyond anything that had taken place. Grant’s plan, in fact, was to fight and to keep on fighting, regardless of his own losses, until at last the Confederate army, whose losses could not be replaced, melted away. It was a strategy that few generals have dared to practise, and fewer still to acknowledge. — from With Lee in Virginia, G.A. Henty

stars-and-barsAlthough the war was lost, the integrity of his character and the memory of his Christian nobility will never be forgotten. He acted with courage and did not act pragmatically when facing seemingly impossible odds. His unflinching trust in the sovereignty of God can be a lesson to each of us. To end the post… not only my favourite quote by Lee, but one of my very favourites by anyone:

The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope. —Robert E. Lee

2017-02-22T16:44:14+00:00 January 19th, 2007|History, Quotes|

Tales from the Reformation

As a family, we have been studying the reformation recently. Along with a series of messages by Dr. Joe Morecraft on the Reformation, we have also studied in more detail the London Baptist Confession of 1689, the Westminster Confession of 1646, and various key reformers. As none of these people or events forms in a vacuum, we have also backed up in history to look at people like the Waldenses, John Wycliffe and others. Tonight’s study brought us to look at the French Huguenots in more detail. We read of their spiritual strength and their steadfast faith in the face of fierce Catholic persecution. We came across the story of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in Sketches from Church History and were extremely moved by what we read there. What we read reminded me how instrumental trials can be in forging men of sterling character, and it makes me despise the softness and complacency that are the trademarks of our modern society. Below is a brief account from the book of the unbelievable persecution of the Huguenots at the hands of the Catholics:

From the year 1560, the French protestants were known as Huguenots. The chief Huguenot leaders were Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Conde, and Gaspard de Coligny, Admiral of France. On the Catholic side, members of the Guise family who were related to the king were the chief leaders, particularly, Francis de Guise, and Charles, a Cardinal of the Roman church.

The death of Henry II brought his son to the throne as Francis II, a youth of 16 who had married Mary Queen of Scots. Before long, however, he died of a disease of the ear and was replaced by his brother, Charles IX, a boy of ten. Catherine de Medici, his mother, then became Regent of France. At the time of her husband Henry the II’s death, she had been left with a family of five children, and was determined to protect their interest against the Guises on the one hand, and the Bourbons on the other. The Bourbons had married into the important house of Navarre, a kingdom on the frontier with Spain, and were represented by their Prince Henry, a friend of Coligny and a Huguenot, though not a man of deep religious convictions.

Shortly after 1560 a period of religious wars, which lasted on and off for thirty years, set in for France. Into the details of these wars, we cannot here enter, but we concentrate attention on the lights and shadows of the period. At the center of action was Catherine de Medici, and although at the beginning she seemed to wish to maintain balance of power between Protestant and Catholic forces, it soon became clear that her ultimate aim was to crush the Huguenots.

Craftily she hit upon a plan to gain her object. To cement a treaty between the two parties, she proposed that the Catholic princess Margaret, the sister of King Charles IX, should be given in marriage to Henry de Bourbon, the new Huguenot King of Navarre. All the notables of the land were invited to Paris where the marriage was to take place. Among them was Admiral Coligny. The Huguenots were not aware of the trap that was being set for them. Before the festivities that followed the wedding were over, there occurred one of the most hideous crimes recording in history. The date was Saint Bartholomew’s Day, 24 August, 1572. On the evening of that day Catherine went to her son, the king, and told him that the Huguenots had formed a plot to assassinate the royal family and the leaders of the Catholic party, and that to prevent the utter ruin of the house and cause, it was absolutely necessary to slay all Protestants within the city walls. Catherine had prepared a document to this effect and she presented it to the king for signature, in order to make it an official document. The weak-minded king at first refused to contemplate such a dreadful crime against a section of his subjects, but finally pressed by his mother, he yielded and exclaimed, “I consent, but, then, not one of the Huguenots must remain alive in France to reproach me with the deed; and what you do, do quickly”.

The Paris mob was to be given a free hand; only Henry of Navarre, the bridegroom on the occasion, was to be spared. At midnight, August 24, the castle bell tolled; this was the signal for the horrible butchery to begin.

It later became known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 24 August — 17 September 1572, Catholics killed thousands of Huguenots in Paris. Similar massacres took place in other towns in the weeks following, with a total death toll estimated as high as 110,000. An amnesty granted in 1573 pardoned the perpetrators.

2017-02-22T16:44:15+00:00 January 14th, 2007|History, Quotes|

Samuel Adams on Morality & Freedom

As Governor of Massachusetts, Samuel Adams wrote to James Warren, February 12, 1779:

A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader… If we would enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people.

Amen Mr. Adams. To that I would add:

Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He giveth His beloved sleep. — from Psalm 127

And also:

And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. — from Deuteronomy 28

2016-08-24T20:03:01+00:00 January 4th, 2007|History, Politics, Quotes|

Happy Birthday Texas

texas-flag

Today, we celebrate Texas’ birthday and remember the sacrifice made by those early Texans to win independence from Mexico. Only nine years after the Mexican Province of Texas seceded to become the independent Republic of Texas, it was accepted into the union as the twenty-eighth state in the U.S… one hundred and sixty-one years ago today.

Let’s take an abridged look at the historical context of the statehood of Texas:

  • 1529 — Spanish explorers become the first Europeans to map the Texas coast.
  • 1685 — Fort St. Louis founded at Matagorda Bay, thus establishing the French claim to Texan territory.
  • 1690 – 1821 — Texas was governed as a Spanish colony separate from New Spain, known as the “Kingdom of Texas”
  • 1718 — The town of San Antonio founded by father Antonio Olivares
  • 1724 — Construction on the San Antonio de Valero Mission (The Alamo) begins
  • 1821 — Mexico wins its independence from Spain
  • 1824 — Mexico enacts the Constitution of 1824 and makes a compact with Stephen F. Austin, the “Father of Texas” to encourage the settlement of Tejás (Spanish for “friends”) by citizens of the neighboring U.S.
  • 1835 — Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, fearful of the swelling numbers of American citizens residing in Texas, breaks the covenant of the 1824 Constitution. He imprisons Stephen F. Austin and terrorizes the people of Texas.
  • 1836 — In late February the two-week struggle of 189 men in a San Antonio Mission against the Mexican force of 5,000 occurs. All defenders of the mission are slain, but not before taking the lives of 1,000 of their Mexican opponents… The Battle of the Alamo has ended.
  • 1836 — “Remember the Alamo” echoes in the hearts of the Texas soldiers in the battle of San Jacinto, where Texas independence was ultimately won. Under the leadership of General Sam Houston, the small band of 800 Texas soldiers, surprised and successfully destroyed the largely superior Mexican force of over 2,000 men near what is now Houston. In a mere 18 minutes the battle had concluded leaving only 74 Texan casualties and nearly 1,500 Mexican casualties. La Provencia de Tejás becomes the Republic of Texas.
  • 1845 — On December 29, the long-fought battle for acceptance in to the United States union is won.
  • 1861 — On February 1, by a Secession Convention vote of 166 to 8, Texas agrees to secede from the union and ally itself with the Confederacy.
  • 1865 — On June 19, just two months after Lee’s surrender of the army of Northern Virginia, 2,000 union soldiers arrive at Galveston Island and force Texas back into the union.

p.s. You’re welcome to click on and use the image of the Texas flag for whatever you will. Original from scratch, courtesy of yours truly.

2017-02-22T16:44:15+00:00 December 29th, 2006|History|

Letter from John Robinson

Having recently returned from the Faith and Freedom Tour, we remembered the Pilgrims’ sacrifice this Lord’s Day and reviewed the history leading up to the departure of the Pilgrims. The number of men that gave their all to the cause of reformation is astounding. Wycliffe, Hooper, Tyndale… just to name a few. All under-studied and under-appreciated sadly. I’m embarrassed to say that I’d not even heard of them until just a few years ago (it has become my habit to blame any and all of my short-comings on my government school education). At break-neck speed we reviewed just a few of the people and events (good or bad) that ultimately shaped the outcome of the great Protestant Reformation… the Waldenses, King Edward I, the Battle of Bannockburn (William Wallace), John Wycliffe, Gutenberg’s printing press, the Muslim capture of Constantinople, Luther’s ninety-five theses, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, Charles II, King Henry VIII, John Hooper, Bloody Mary, 1560 – First Geneva Bible, Thomas Cartwright, Sodomite King James…and many others.

Laying this historical foundation was crucial to seeing that the brave men of the reformation did not simply appear out of nowhere. The recapitulation culminated in the reading of Pastor John Robinson’s farewell letter to the Pilgrims as they departed for the new world. As shepherd of the Scrooby congregation, he had every intention of joining them soon afterwards, but never did. He died in England only five years after their departure. Below is practical, godly counsel from the first pastor of the Scrooby congregation to those departing. Amazingly, that very congregation is alive and well today in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and this year celebrates the 400th anniversary of the Scrooby covenant written in 1606!

Loving Christian friends, I do heartily and in the Lord salute you all, as being they with whom I am present in my best affection, and most earnest longings after you, though I be constrained for a while to be bodily absent from you. I say constrained, God knowing how willingly, and much rather than otherwise, I would have born my part with you in this first brunt, were I not by strong necessity held back for the present. Make account of me in the mean while, as of a man divided in myself with great pain, and as (natural bonds set aside) having my better part with you. And though I doubt not but in your godly wisdoms, you both foresee and resolve upon that which concerns your present state and condition, both severally and jointly, yet have I thought it but my duty to add some further spur of provocation unto them, who run already, if not because you need it, yet because I owe it in love and duty. And first, as we are daily to renew our repentance with our God, especially for our sins known, and generally for our unknown trespasses, so doth the Lord call us in a singular manner upon occasions of such difficulty and danger as lies upon you, to a both more narrow search and careful reformation of your ways in his sight; least he, calling to remembrance our sins forgotten by us or unrepented of, take advantage against us, and in judgment leave us for the same to be swallowed up in one danger or other; whereas, on the contrary, sin being taken away by earnest repentance and the pardon thereof from the Lord sealed up unto a mans conscience by his spirit, great shall be his security and peace in all dangers, sweet his comforts in all distresses, with happy deliverance from all evil, whether in life or in death.

Now next after this heavenly peace with God and our own consciences, we are carefully to provide for peace with all men what in us lies, especially with our associates, and for that watchfulness must be had, that we neither at all in our selves do give, no nor easily take offense being given by others. Woe be unto the world for offenses, for though it be necessary (considering the malice of Satan and man’s corruption) that offenses come, yet woe unto the man or woman either by whom the offense cometh, says Christ (Matt. 18:7). And if offenses in the unseasonable use of things in themselves indifferent, be more to be feared than death itself, as the Apostle teaches (1 Cor. 9:15), how much more in things simply evil, in which neither honor of God nor love of man is thought worthy to be regarded. Neither yet is it sufficient that we keep ourselves by the grace of God from giving offense, except with all we be armed against the taking of them when they be given by others. For how imperfect and lame is the work of grace in that person, who wants charity to cover a multitude of offenses, as the scriptures speak. Neither are you to be exhorted to this grace only upon the common grounds of Christianity, which are, that persons ready to take offense, either want charity, to cover offenses, or wisdom duly to weigh humane frailty; or lastly, are gross, though close hypocrites, as Christ our Lord teaches (Matt. 7:1-3), as indeed in my own experience, few or none have been found which sooner give offense, then such as easily take it; neither have they ever proved sound and profitable members in societies, which have nourished this touchy humor. But besides these, there are diverse motives provoking you above others to great care and conscience this way: As first, you are many of you strangers, as to the persons, so to the infirmities one of another, and so stand in need of more watchfulness this way, least when such things fall out in men and women as you suspected not, you be inordinately affected with them; which does require at your hands much wisdom and charity for the covering and preventing of incident offenses that way. And lastly, your intended course of civil community will minister continual occasion of offense, and will be as fuel for that fire, except you diligently quench it with brotherly forbearance. And if taking of offense causelessly or easily at men’s doings be so carefully to be avoided, how much more heed is to be taken that we take not offense at God himself, which yet we certainly do so often as we do murmur at his providence in our crosses, or bear impatiently such afflictions as wherewith he pleases to visit us. Store up therefore patience against the evil day, without which we take offense at the Lord himself in his holy and just works.

Another thing there is carefully to be provided for, to wit, that with your common employments you join common affections truly bent upon the general good, avoiding as a deadly plague of your both common and special comfort all retiredness of mind for proper advantage, and all singularly affected any manner of way; let every man repress in himself and the whole body in each person, as so many rebels against the common good, all private respects of men’s selves, not sorting with the general convenience. And as men are careful not to have a new house shaken with any violence before it be well settled and the parts firmly knit, so be you, I beseech you, brethren, much more careful, that the house of God which you are, and are to be, be not shaken with unnecessary novelties or other oppositions at the first settling thereof.

Lastly, whereas you are become a body politic, using amongst yourselves civil government, and are not furnished with any persons of special eminence above the rest, to be chosen by you into office of government, let your wisdom and godliness appear, not only in choosing such persons as do entirely love and will promote the common good, but also in yielding unto them all due honor and obedience in their lawful administrations; not beholding in them the ordinariness of their persons, but God’s ordinance for your good, not being like the foolish multitude who more honor the gay coat, than either the virtuous mind of the man, or glorious ordinance of the Lord. But you know better things, and that the image of the Lord’s power and authority which the magistrate bears, is honorable, in howsoever mean persons. And this duty you both may the more willingly and ought the more conscionably to perform, because you are at least for the present to have only them for your ordinary governors, which yourselves shall make choice of for that work.

Sundry other things of importance I could put you in mind of, and of those before mentioned, in more words, but I will not so far wrong your godly minds as to think you heedless of these things, there being also diverse among you so well able to admonish both themselves and others of what concerns them. These few things therefore, and the same in few words, I do earnestly commend unto your care and conscience, joining therewith my daily incessant prayers unto the Lord, that he who hath made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all rivers of waters, and whose providence is over all his works, especially over all his dear children for good, would so guide and guard you in your ways, as inwardly by his Spirit, so outwardly by the hand of his power, as that both you and we also, for and with you, may have after matter of praising his name all the days of your and our lives. Fare you well in him in whom you trust, and in whom I rest.

An unfeigned well-willer of your happy success in this hopeful voyage,
— John Robinson, 1620

2017-02-22T16:44:15+00:00 December 10th, 2006|History, Quotes|

Faith & Freedom Tour

I’ve just returned from a 9-day-long trip to Massachusetts where I spent Thanksgiving with my family and 150 others from around the country on the annual Vision Forum Faith and Freedom Tour. We saw much in Plymouth and also in Boston in relation to the godly heritage of our nation, focusing largely, though not exclusively, on the Pilgrims and their landing at and colonization of the Plymouth area.

The U.S.S. Constitution

The U.S.S. Constitution

Marker of founding father Samuel Adams

Marker of founding father Samuel Adams

A view form the Granary Burial Ground

A view form the Granary Burial Ground

The impressive Massachusetts State House

The impressive Massachusetts State House

With the exception of a trip to Massachusetts when I was five or six (which doesn’t count in my mind) and one to Pennsylvania recently to man the booth at the CHAP conference, I hadn’t been north of the Mason Dixon line. I tend to like it down here after all. In fact, it only took a few hours with the New England bus driver and I found myself whistling… “Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton…” It’s a long story. One not worth telling. Anyway, what a whirlwind the tour was. We saw Plymouth Rock, the replica of the Mayflower (Mayflower II) the church of the Pilgrimage, Burial Hill, the Forefathers Monument, and many other things in Plymouth. The order of the pictures posted here is not at all representative of the order of events of the trip, but I was doing well to post anything at all this week!

Mayflower II

Mayflower II

The Forefathers Monument in Plymouth

The Forefathers Monument in Plymouth

Burial Hill and an ocean view

Burial Hill and an ocean view

The first church in Plymouth which split in two in 1801

The first church in Plymouth which split in two in 1801

Several times during the week, we also went to Boston, as well as Salem where we learned more about the causes of the Salem Witch Trials and the lessons that can be drawn from that incident. There are few things more sad than to behold the ruin of a once godly place. That is Massachusetts, beset with liberalism and socialism, often the leader of the nation on our ever-quickening journey down the slippery slope of immorality… but once a place filled with saints the likes of which I’m confident we’ve never met in our lifetime. The thought of a life lived in such a way that it would inspire others towards godliness four-hundred years after passing away is a beautiful one. To be able to inspire even from the grave?! God grant us such fervor!

Among my favourite moments of the tour were those spent at Plimoth Plantaion where we dined 17th-century style and on another occasion had the opportunity to interact with the plantation residents. Aside from some exceedingly salty pumpkin dish, the dinner there was fantastic. Not really all that strange or different from modern meals (assuming it was accurate). Talking with people from both the Separatist and Anglican groups was pretty fascinating as well. We ended up talking primarily to Myles Standish, captain of the Mayflower hired by the pilgrims for their voyage across the Atlantic. Quite a character. He, as were the others who did role-playing at the plantation, was outstanding. Not only did he demonstrate total command over the history of his own character, but also that of the times and the lives and history and opinions of the Mayflower passengers. He was simply unable to be stumped with any question, whether historical or theological. Simply stunning! We also spent some time talking to a young man who was repairing the roof of Governor Bradford’ house. As there was not yet any currency, duties were often traded with respect to those skills that one may have possessed, in his case, repairing roofs.

Pilgrim Henry Samson repairs Governor Bradford's roof

Pilgrim Henry Samson repairs Governor Bradford’s roof

Three little pilgrims: Grace, Mary and Hannah

Three little pilgrims: Grace, Mary and Hannah

A beautifully overcast day at Plimoth Plantation

A beautifully overcast day at Plimoth Plantation

Why... it's none other than Captain Myles Standish!

Why… it’s none other than Captain Myles Standish!

Several times during the week, we also went to Boston, as well as Salem where we learned more about the causes of the Salem Witch Trials and the lessons that can be drawn from that incident. There are few things more sad than to behold the ruin of a once godly place. That is Massachusetts, beset with liberalism and socialism, often the leader of the nation on our ever-quickening journey down the slippery slope of immorality… but once a place filled with saints the likes of which I’m confident we’ve never met in our lifetime. The thought of a life lived in such a way that it would inspire others towards godliness four-hundred years after passing away is a beautiful one. To be able to inspire even from the grave?! God grant us such fervor!

I cannot even begin to record every detail of the tour. You wouldn’t bother reading the whole thing anyway. Suffice it to say that it was refreshing, invigorating, inspiring, convicting, and yes, even fun. Seeing friends from all over the country is of course a big part of the fun. I could go on, but you really just want to see the pictures anyway, right?!

2017-02-22T16:44:15+00:00 November 30th, 2006|Family, History|