Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Youth is not a period of time. It is a state of mind, a result of the will, a quality of the imagination, a victory of courage over timidity, of the taste of adventure over the love of comfort. A man doesn't grow old because he has lived a certain number of years. A man grows old when he deserts his ideal. The years may wrinkle his skin, but deserting his ideal wrinkles his soul. Preoccupations, fears, doubts, and despair are the enemies, which slowly bow us toward earth and turn us into dust before death. You will remain young as long as you are open to what is beautiful, good and great; receptive to the messages of other men and women, of nature and of God. If one day you should become bitter, pessimistic and gnawed by despair, may God have mercy on you old man's soul.

General Douglas MacArthur

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The test of our humility

... these Beatitudes as they proceed become increasingly difficult ... what we are now considering is more searching, more difficult, more humbling and even more humiliating.... The first Beatitude asks us to realize our own weakness and our own inability... it makes us feel we have nothing— But here, I say, is something which is still more searching—’Blessed are the meek.’

Now why is this? Because here we are reaching a point at which we begin to be concerned about other people. Let me put it like this, I can see my own utter nothingness and helplessness face to face with the demands of the gospel and the law of God. I am aware, when I am honest with myself, of the sin and the evil that are within me, and that drag me down. And I am ready to face both these things. But how much more difficult it is to allow other people to say things like that about me! I instinctively resent it. We all of us prefer to condemn ourselves than to allow somebody else to condemn us. I say of myself that I am a sinner, but instinctively I do not like anybody else to say that I am a sinner.... So far, I myself have been looking at myself. Now, other people are looking at me, and I am in a relationship to them, and they are doing certain things to me. How do I react to that? That is the matter which is dealt with at this point. I think you will agree that this is more humbling and more humiliating than everything that has gone before. It is to allow other people to put the searchlight upon me instead of my doing it myself.

Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, i, pp. 64–5, by Martin Lloyd Jones

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Secret sins

There are certain things in a man's past which he does not divulge to everybody but, perhaps, only to his friends. Again there are certain things he will not divulge even to his friends; he will divulge them perhaps only to himself, and that, too, as a secret. But, finally, there are things which he is afraid to divulge even to himself, and every decent man has quite an accumulation of such things in his mind. I can put it even this way: the more decent a man is, the larger will the number of such things be.

From The Underground Man in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground