“I have been to…

“I have been told that if you really love someone you give that loved one the power to hurt and pain you in a way nothing else can.” – Hinds’ Feet on High Places

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Doctor Faustus

           Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe is a tragic play – written in blank verse – of a man who sells his soul to the Devil in return for twenty-four years of fulfillment of this man’s fleshy desire. Marlowe tells of Faustus’s dissatisfaction with his current status and wealth, his pact with Lucifer, and his eventual demise into the abyss of Hell.

            Even though Faustus was born into the lower class, he excelled in his studies and managed to earn a doctorate. However, he is dissatisfied with his acquired title and possessions. He muses on the immortality of man, quoting Romans 6:23a, “For the wages of sin is death;” But, he fails to understand the last half of the verse “…but the gift of God is eternal life.” Wanting to be made “immortal with a kiss:” (XII.91), Faustus learns black magic from two of his friends, Valdes and Cornelius, in hopes of summoning Mephastophilis, a servant of Lucifer. Before Faustus’s two friends arrive, the Good Angel (representing the conscience and Holy Spirit) appears and tries to dissuade him from going down this evil path; while the Bad Angel (representing man’s sinful nature) goads Faustus further into sin. Faustus ignores the Good Angel and proceeds on to summon Mephastophilis.

            Faustus renounces his faith in God when he says “Despair in God, and trust in Belzebub.” (V.5), and signs a pact, promising “…both body and soul to Lucifer, Prince of the East…” (V.105). In return, Mephastophilis would serve Faustus for twenty-four years. During this period of time, Faustus uses this power to do almost anything he wanted – from visiting Europe, disrupting the Pope’s banquet, and conjuring Helen of Troy to make her his lover.

            Finally, the twenty-four years are over, and Faustus’s soul is soon to be collected. In despair, Faustus delivers a soliloquy, expressing his sorrow in signing the pact. Oblivious to all his cries and yelling, the devils arrive to collect Faustus’s soul for Lucifer, damning him to an eternity in Hell.

            Marlowe’s life is filled with speculation, due to the fact that he was probably a spy. But, one thing is evident in this play; he had a clear understanding of man’s sinful nature and its consequences. Throughout the story, Faustus showed regret in selling his soul to the Devil and had wanted to listen to the Good Angel. Yet, when given the chance to repent, he heeds the Bad Angel’s advice and clings on to his own selfish desires.

            Whether saved or unsaved, are we not like Faustus too? For the saved, do we not often indulge the “old man” and starve the “new man?” For the unsaved, do we not put off the Holy Spirit’s calling to be saved – all because we want more time to live in our sin? However, we do not need to end up like Faustus! 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Thereby, saving us from eternal damnation in Hell, and giving us an eternal place in Heaven.

Appointment with Love

I just had to share this story. I suddenly remembered this from my literature book and had to hunt the story up again. This will probably be my most favorite short love story of all time! 🙂

  

Appointment with Love

S. I. Kishor

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             Six minutes to six, said the clock over the information booth in New York’s Grand Central Station. The tall young Army lieutenant lifted his sunburned face, and narrowed his eyes to note the exact time. His heart was pounding with a beat that shocked him. In six minutes he would see the woman who had filled such a special place in his life for the past 13 months, the woman he had never seen, yet whose written words had sustained him unfailingly.

          Lieutenant Blandford remembered one day in particular, the worst fighting, when his plane had been caught in the midst of a pack of enemy planes.

          In one of his letters, he had confessed to her that he often felt fear, and only a few days before this battle, he had received her answer: “Of course you fear…all brave men do. Next time you doubt yourself, I want you to hear my voice reciting to you: ‘Yea, thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for Thou art with me.’” …He had remembered, and it had renewed his strength.

          Now he was going to hear her real voice. Four minutes to six.

          A girl had passed close to him, and Lieutenant Blandford started. She was wearing a flower, but it was not the little red rose they had agreed upon. Besides, the girl was only about 18, and Hollis Meynell had told him she was 30. “What of it?” he had answered. “I’m 32.” He was 29.

          His mind went back to that book he had read in the training camp. Of Human Bondage, it was; and throughout the book were notes in a woman’s writing. He had never believed that a woman could see into a man’s heart so tenderly, so understandingly. Her name was on the bookplate: Hollis Meynell. He had got hold of a New York City telephone book and found her address. He had written, she had answered. Next day he had been shipped out, but they had gone on writing.

          For 13 months she had faithfully replied. When his letters did not arrive, she wrote anyway, and now he believed he loved her, and she loved him.

          But she had refused all his pleas to send him her photograph. She had explained: “If your feeling for me has any reality, what I look like won’t matter. Suppose I’m beautiful, I’d always be haunted by the feeling that you had been taking a chance on just that, and that kind of love would disgust me. Suppose I’m plain (and you must admit that this is more likely), then I’d always fear that you were only going on writing because you were lonely and had no one else. No, don’t ask for my picture. When you come to New York, you shall see me and then you shall make your decision.”

          One minute to six. . . Then Lieutenant Blandford’s heart leaped.

          A young woman was coming towards him. Her figure was long and slim; her blond hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears. Her eyes were blue as flowers, her lips and chin had a gently firmness. In her pale-green suit, she was like springtime come alive.

          He started towards her, forgetting to notice that she was wearing no rose, and as he moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips.

          “Going my way, soldier?” she murmured.

          He made one step closer to her. Then he saw Hollis Meynell.

          She was standing almost directly behind the girl, a woman well past 40, her graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plum; her thick-ankled feet were thrust into low-heeled shoes. But she wore a red rose on her rumpled coat.

          The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away.

          Blandford felt as though he were being split in two, so keen was his desire to follow the girl, yet so deep was his longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned and upheld his own; and there she stood. He could see that her pale, plump face was gently and sensible; her gray eyes had a warm twinkle.

          Lieutenant Blandford did not hesitate. His fingers gripped the worn copy of Of Human Bondage which was to identify him to her. This would not be love, but it would be something precious, a friendship for which he had been and must ever be grateful. . .

          He squared his shoulders, saluted, and held out the book out toward the woman, although even while he spoke he felt the bitterness of his disappointment.

          “I’m Lieutenant John Blandford and you – you are Miss Meynell. I’m so glad you could meet me. May – may I take you to dinner?”

          The woman’s face broadened in a tolerant smile. “I don’t know what this is all about, son,” she answered. “That young lady in the green suit, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said that if you asked me to go out with you, I should tell you she’s waiting for you in that restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind o a test.”

Chicken or Egg?

According to evolution, man was not created directly by God but evolved from animals. Evolutionists say that at some point in history, certain animals began accidentally changing in ways that eventually produced a man. The idea of evolution has many weaknesses. It cannot explain the beginning of the world; it gives a false impression of man.

Man differs from animals in possessing language and thought. Anyone who believes that man evolved from animals must explain how language and reason began…logic has set traps in a series of “chicken and eggs – which came first?” problems.

Human thought requires language. Much of our thinking is in words. When we think, we sort of listen to ourselves talk inside our heads. Language, on the other hand, requires thought. Unless there is thought behind the sounds called language or speech, what comes out is mere gibberish. Which came first, language or thought?

Without language and men talking to one another, there would be no truly human society. Instead of society, there would be merely a herd or swarm. But language means communication and therefore assumes men living together in society. Which came first, society or language?

Genesis, of course, does not have these problems of logic. It presents man as the direct creation of God and from the very first having language, thought, and society. The evolutionists’ only escape from logic is to downplay man’s special characteristics. He underrates man’s speech and reason.

To an evolutionist, man is nothing more than a computer made of flesh and bones. The result of humanism is putting man in place of or above God…The Bible’s account of the beginning elevates God. It also elevates man, but not at God’s expense. Humanism, whether in the guise of evolution or of some other view, tries to build man up by playing down or ignoring God. It rebels against God but utterly destroys man by making him no different from an animal or a machine.

Adapted from Jerry Combee, History of the World in Christian Perspective

Everyman

Even though Everyman, the most famous of all the morality plays, was written centuries ago – late 15th century to be exact – much can still be learnt from it.

In the beginning of the play, Death approaches Everyman to inform him that it is his hour of death. Everyman is not ready to die and tries to bribe and reason with Death. Death does not succumb, but allows Everyman to bring a companion to speak for Everyman’s good works.

As the play continues, Everyman tries to get Fellowship to go with him. At first, Fellowship said that he would go with Everyman, yet, ultimately goes back on his word.

Next, Everyman approaches Goods, whom he loved the most. However, Goods out rightly refuses to go and states “That he [Goods] bringeth many into hell.” (Line 117)

Finally, Everyman approaches Good-Deeds, whom he loved the least. Even in her weakened state, for Everyman’s sins encumbered her, Good-Deeds readily agrees to go with Everyman.

Now, here’s what we can learn:

The majority of human beings are seldom ready to go when their time comes to die. Instead of focusing on things that really count for eternity – reaching other people for Christ and striving to live for Christ – we, like Everyman, tend to focus more on the world and the current pleasures of life (which Goods depicted), allowing them to drag us further into sin, and choose to ignore the Holy Spirit trying to work in us.

Alas, there is one, very wrong moral being taught in this play. The play emphasizes that Good-Deeds (which personifies the good works that people do) will be the one that allows us to get into and stay in Heaven. This is not true and goes against what Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For be grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; Not of works (Good-Deeds), lest any man should boast.

Truly, is this not salvation plan simpler than trying to earn salvation by our own merits? For no matter how hard everyman will try to do good, our good will never be good enough for the Lord!

Rights and Responsibilities

With each freedom that we have, there also comes responsibilities:

Freedom of worship – honor God with our worship and our lives’

Freedom of speech – speak honestly and purely; respect the opinions of others

Freedom  of press – keep informed and analyze what we read; do not print things that would harm others

Freedom of vote – vote faithfully and wisely for what is best for the country

Freedom to own property – be good stewards of our possessions; respect eh property of others

Freedom to earn a living in one’s own vocation – take advantage of our educational opportunities; develop good work habits; be                                                                                        responsible employees

Freedom of assembly – meet with others to share ideas; recognize … and anti-Christian activities and emotions and avoid them

Credits: American Government (A Beka Book History Series, page 65.)