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News of Machining the Mind
It was just a simple case.
One person dying is simple ? but this was not death to the body.
One person prying is simple ? but this was no ordinary peeping Tom.
This was a youth. He looked so very much so, tousled hair, earnest face, thoughtful mien, as if there were years of growth before maturity would sit gilded on his brow. Perhaps he was 17.
The picture in the newspaper (date now unknown) was large; and the journalist was obviously quite affected by the story.
Here was, apparently, a lad
The DREAM was to benefit his most needy people. This SMALL contribution could somehow bring relief, hope. In a moment, yes, he is out for the service, if not of his country (the point may be moot), then service for his country. Captured, he is exposed as undesirable; his story is out. His life will be changed, if he lives. There seemed an interest in his account of being prepared to come, and maybe in the mercy of the Lord, his life may be spared.
Our point in this case is
brief. A dream was machined. LIFE with its hope, its need, its beckoning luster
was not immodestly disregarded, apparently, but modestly sought with some verve
and with the immaturity of youth; but either it, with some of its liberties, or
its simplicity is likely to be lost. In this case of incursion, actual
machining of ideas, equipment of concepts with training and means, bringing
steely non-solace, military preparation, seems to have occurred first, in
Yet he is a symbol for youth, and not for youth only.
Machined dreams are commonplace, however guileless this case seemed. Someone wants a university education, and behold, some advance, some hope to be something better than the scrum, there is some small defilement of integrity, some suppression of the true opinion for the sake of pleasing the lecturer. There are here at least two types of failure. Firstly, someone may BURY the truth in order to ACCEPT the cultural conditioning outwardly, and so be embraced with some measure of success. Secondly, the victim may AVOID the truth, merely styling the response in terms of others, withholding artfully his/her own view and the ample grounds. In either case, integrity is lost, the cadences of the prison house as Wordsworth saw it, the bars, the shades, they grow. Convenience has won over truth, and the exact degree of success in exchange for submission to error, where truth is perceived, could perhaps even be calibrated: for utter success, utter corruption; for considerable success, substantial dishonesty and so on.
The case is not always so inward. While it is true that the author has made a life function of NOT doing this, and suffering WHATEVER it takes, to tell the truth to examiners, lecturers, code-stylists, Presbyteries and to all, as a Christian, often suffering monumentally for the privilege, yet the furore of fury, the cadences of corruption which make it hard to speak, or unjust methods to undermine the appearance of liberty, these things have been seen. It leads one, in so many years of experience as a student, to see the mind of the culture addict, theological or political or philosophical, clouded with the testimony of arrant or arrogant pretension for the lectern, as if a mist or miasma of acceptance were to appear, perhaps even indoctrinating the servile in spirit, without conscious awareness!
The machined mind, the cultural
cripple, the theologically ‘trained’ soldier for service, not perhaps in
All this removes that childlikeness which is so desirable in man, that innocence of the great transgressions of the world, being unconcerned at its rewards and its penalties, having a higher regard for an unseen city, an unseen Lord, looking to Him who is invisible but most impactive in Spirit, most blessed in power and most inspiring in communication. It is WHEN MAN IS HONEST IN THE LORD, that the beauty of holiness can freely summon its fragrances and spill into the atmosphere like a burst damn of celestial air. Then appears the stout countenance, the happy twinkle, the restful assurance, the peaceful boldness, the sense of rock which comes from the Lord, who is to man as a rock that never moves.
MOUNTING THE MACHINERY, AND DISMANTLING IT
You see it in Deuteronomy 32, in detail, where the nature and power, the faith in and the reciprocity to the Lord are all in view. Here lie the steps to sedition of soul, where the mental mechanisms of men deal with their dread arithmetic, spoiling in their measured terms the immeasurable beauty of God, alight in the soul. Consider these words, from near the commencement:
The Magnificent Microcosm,
history (of the Jews)
portraying and hallowing the name of God!
A. “Let my teaching drop as the rain,
· My speech distill as the dew,
· As raindrops on the tender herb,
· And as showers on the grass.
· “For I proclaim the name of the Lord:
greatness to our God.
B. “He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
· For all His ways are justice,
· A God of truth and without injustice;
· Righteous and upright is He.
C. “They have corrupted themselves;
· They are not His children,
· Because of their blemish:
· A perverse and crooked generation.
· “Do you thus deal with the LORD,
· foolish and unwise people?
· Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you?
D. “Remember the days of old,
Consider the years of many generations.
Ask your father, and he will show you;
Your elders, and they will tell you:
When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations,
When He separated the sons of Adam,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the children
“For the Lord’s portion is His people;
Jacob is the place of His inheritance.
“He found him in a desert land
And in the wasteland, a howling wilderness;
He encircled him, He instructed him,
He kept him as the apple of His eye.
As an eagle stirs up its nest,
Hovers over its young,
Spreading out its wings, taking them up,
Carrying them on its wings,
So the Lord alone led him,
And there was no foreign god with him.
“He made him ride in the heights of the earth,
That he might eat the produce of the fields;
He made him draw honey from the rock,
And oil from the flinty rock;
Curds from the cattle, and milk of the flock,
With fat of lambs;
And rams of the breed of
With the choicest wheat;
And you drank wine, the blood of the grapes.
“But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked;
You grew fat, you grew thick,
You are obese!
Then he forsook God who made him,
And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation.
They provoked Him to jealousy with foreign gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
“They sacrificed to demons, not to God,
To gods they did not know,
To new gods, new arrivals
That your fathers did not fear.
Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful,
And have forgotten the God who fathered you.
“And when the Lord saw it, He spurned them,
Because of the provocation of His sons and His daughters.
· “And He said:
E. ‘I will hide My face from them,
I will see what their end will be,
For they are a perverse generation,
Children in whom is no faith.
F. ‘They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God;
They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols.
But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation;
I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.
For a fire is kindled by my anger,
And shall burn to the lowest hell;
It shall consume the earth with her increase,
And set on fire the foundations of the mountains.
G. ‘I will heap disasters on them;
I will spend My arrows on them.
They shall be wasted with hunger,
Devoured by pestilence and bitter destruction;
I will also send against them the teeth of beasts,
With the poison of serpents of the dust.
The sword shall destroy outside;
There shall be terror within
For the young man and virgin,
The nursing child with the man of gray hairs.
H. ‘I would have said, “I will dash them in pieces,
I will make the memory of them to cease from among men,”
Had I not feared the wrath of the enemy,
Lest their adversaries should misunderstand,
Lest they should say, “Our hand is high;
And it is not the Lord who has done all this.”
I. ‘For they are a nation void of counsel,
Nor is there any understanding in them.
Oh, that they were wise, that they understood this,
That they would consider their latter end!
How could one chase a thousand,
And two put ten thousand to flight,
Unless their Rock had sold them,
And the Lord had surrendered them?
J. ‘For their rock is not like our Rock,
Even our enemies themselves being judges.
For their vine is of the vine of
And of the fields of
Their grapes are grapes of gall,
Their clusters are bitter.
K. ‘Their wine is the poison of serpents,
And the cruel venom of cobras.
‘Is this not laid up in store with Me,
Sealed up among My treasures?
Vengeance is Mine, and recompense;
Their foot shall slip in due time;
For the day of their calamity is at hand,
And the things to come hasten upon them.’
L. “For the Lord will judge His people
And have compassion on His servants,
When He sees that their power is gone,
And there is no one remaining, bond or free.
He will say: ‘Where are their gods,
The rock in which they sought refuge?
· Who ate the fat of their sacrifices,
· And drank the wine of their drink offering?
· Let them rise and help you,
· And be your refuge.’
M. ´ “ ‘Now see that I, even I, am He,
And there is no God besides Me;
I kill and I make alive;
I wound and I heal;
Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.
For I raise My hand to heaven,
And say, ‘As I live forever,
If I whet My glittering sword,
And My hand takes hold on judgment,
I will render vengeance to My enemies,
And repay those who hate Me.
I will make My arrows drunk with blood,
And My sword shall devour flesh,
With the blood of the slain and the captives,
From the heads of the leaders of the enemy.’
N. “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people;
· For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
· And render vengeance to His adversaries;
· He will provide atonement for His land and His people.”
In paragraphs ABC, above, you see the clean holiness of God contrasted with the corruption of those who have been but slightly healed. In D, the LORD’s provision, liberality and tenderness are reviewed, so that he would lift up his people, as if to teach them to fly, tossing them up on his wings, with the safety beneath, but the aspiration above, to let them start to soar.
Alas, in E,F, G and H, we find this: that pride vexed the spirit and grossness delved into the soul of the nurtured, till His charge became lusty and energetically obtuse. Perverse, they indulged their spirits with what is not God, with no-go non-gods, cheap, nasty and brutish, gross, carnal and outrageous, unclean for the mind, soiled for the soul. This progress in regression led to more than an impression, and only the thought of His faithfulness, His lovingkindness that must not fail, stopped Him, concerned at the impact on the nations, from giving them their due: outage for outrage.
I and J find their counsel in absence of heart from His, reviewed, so that their daft folly is exposed as darkness before light. Commonsense is lacking, facts are an aversion in spirit, the head has no time for arithmetic, for the mathematics of deliverance, the testimony of truth. The mind has not a memory but a forgettery where is stored irrelevance in place of recalled news. It is even like the fateful theory of evolution in particular, and naturalism in general, for they had a reputation because of the power of God, and now ? Now the time will come when their very strength is gone. There is nothing left to neigh with, and then the LORD, who for His part, has not forgotten them, will ACT! You see that in L and M.
Before this, however, in K, you see a careful adjudication, for vengeance BELONGS to God. While this is unleashed in measure, without measure is the coming deliverance He proposes and will enact for them: the force of L. You see that likewise in Micah 7, Ezekiel 36 mounting to the consummation of it in 38-39, in Zechariah 12,14, in Joel, in Habakkuk, in Isaiah 42:13ff., 66 and so on.
The enemies of His people (for so long, themselves, grossly squandering their spiritual inheritance, as has been their lot – cf. Isaiah 4219ff. – “Who is BLIND BUT My servant!”) are now met with their vast accumulation of vengeance, for who is he who grieves the distressed and mounts action against the one the LORD has disciplined! He too shall have his payment. It is then that the LORD invites the Gentile peoples (obviously, the Christians, but others who may begin to awake) to REJOICE with MY PEOPLE!
is the song of Hosea fulfilled, as it has been in Christians, Jews inwardly in
the sense of Romans 2, for long, but now in its very virgin territory of the
addressee herself, Jerusalem itself (cf. Zech. 12:6), the absconding renegade
herself, no mere ordinary sinner, but a case of outage after acceptance as a
people. You who were NOT
My people become My people. Here is this great song of Moses
dealing stage by stage with the race of
A race is of course very different from an individual, but the principles of love, mercy, faithfulness, discipline have many points in common application.
However this vast scene of Israel, traced with energy, concern, tenderness, occasional truculence in the face of dastardly impurity and deadened minds, stuffed hearts aligned amiss, spoiled spirits roving like stray dogs in the alleys, when the country is their home, is a grand tapestry for review. In this you see the seduction, the machining of lost spiritual causes with casuistry, as the new basis, like the “new maths”, this the “new theology”, the “new ontology” and so forth. Pretending to become great, they grow mean. Looking for grandeur, they face the pit. Spoilt in spirit, they face fury. Does not caustic soda speak here ? It has such resolute resurgences when faced with its cleansing market! Yet it is this very passion, if you will, which gives it its name! Dirt will not do. This is not to sing the cleansing qualities of this acrid chemical, but it is merely to touch on some of its powers, in given schemas, as illustrative.
Did you notice,
“their grapes are the grapes of
gall, their clusters are bitter” ?
This is the inward payment. No money can atone, no education can supervene, no action can undo the quality of the soul, its inheritance from sin, its due from justice: what it becomes is the life lived, and the environment is as nothing to it. Here are those shadows of which we spoke earlier; here is that invasion which despoils, and which cannot by man be undone. One would not for billions of dollars share the soul of the man who has sold it for mere gain, power and self-fulfilment! What is the use of means when the thing itself is sold! Under the hammer! Lost. It is customary now to refere contemptuously to those who are “savable” as if this were some joke. It is nothing man can do, but God only, and the beginning of salvation, is it not to see the case and to regret the chemical conditioning, that is, the psychological imbuing, those so lofty failures, those so unacknowledged contourings to society, to this world, which have made of the soul a soiled garment.
But what is it like ? It is like taking some equipment to the machinist, and asking for this to be bent, that to be shaded so many millimeters, this to be compressed, the other to be engraved, until the whole contraption is unrecognizable, its entire virgin state violated. Machining dreams is a specialty of the devil and of his agents. Man thinks with aspiration, hopes it is inspiration, seeks with desperation, and allowing this passion, dynamic, force, coursing spirit to seize him, lends to the vulture culture of the age, his flesh, and to the engineers of the mind, his mind. He conforms, but does not think. He accepts but does not know. He wanders witless as an owl in light, a bat in the day, useless because of violation, denudation of reality for the sake of comfort, convenience, power, place, prestige, acceptance, ease of mind or soul or body or all, or whatever other dynamic would sear with its sawing, into the metal of his being.
Soon his very dreams are machined, with just that indentation of cynicism, that contour of skepticism, that flair of sensuality or arrogance (they can appear as alternates, love your pleasure or rejoice in your self) which debases him to a kingdom wholly other than that of heaven! Soon the meaning of hell appears, for it is NOT ONLY the machining which spoils; it is the refusal to be re-created. Snigger at salvation ? It is like smirking at an operation for a brain tumour, but far more ludicrous. Yet it is endemic to the condition. The smirk is the dirk of Macbeth. It is the blade of the killing showing through the ruptured flesh.
our Deuteronomy passage, however, we saw that for
When a common principle is found, often analogies can be both instructive and arresting. SO here. Thus when God acts with vehemence, energy and long sagacity to reduce to ruin the imposing structure of self-possessed Gentiles seeking their enrichment of heart or pocket at the expense of Israel, at the end, it resembles the mighty action of His Spirit in confronting those who NEVER KNEW HIM, and whose restoration is no less significant.
therefore God acts, NOTHING can stop Him, as Isaiah 43:13 points out. HE will work,
and who can restrain Him! Fighting the wind with a paper bag would be a
in a hurricane, compared with that! So to the soul who is His, He comes
irresistibly, irrepressibly, inexorably; and yet, it yields; for God knows who
are His own, and He has chosen them before all time. Just as He acts at length
But one will say, What if I am not His ? Do you want to be ? No, then why worry, for who would have you love what you do not! Do you want to be ? Yes, then do not play God in ignoring the fact that it is just as sure that He would have all men to be saved, and find the truth, as that HE KNOWS who are His. Each is true, like the right and left hand, and they act together. ALL YOU have to do, is sate your desire for Christ in His cordial, repentant and delighted reception! (John 1:12). You do not need to work out the plan of salvation for Him, or teach Him methodology of the spirit. HE IS SPIRIT, and HE KNOWS!
So everyone is happy in this, that the nature of man is not aborted, except by desire, for God has appointed His own before time, and time itself cannot condemn them, only this, they LIGHT has come and MEN HAVE PREFERRED darkness (John 3:19). THAT is GOD’S statement of the ground of rejection (as in John 15:22ff.), and His statement of the intent of His heart is as Colossians 1:19ff. has it, exactly. With such a lavish generosity of love, who could refuse it ? Who could perceive it and not realise that NOTHING could separate you from it, for the wind is on your side, and the power is on your side, when you come! GOD WOULD HAVE it so! But He does not dictate! You would like Him to dictate ? Well then, realise that the ORDERS ARE OUT. Repent or perish (Luke 13:1-3), COME and rest (Matthew 11:28ff.), EAT and live (John 6:47ff.), DRINK and never thirst again (John ).
Orders ? Appeals surely, one says. Yes, in form; but in fact, the repentance is A DIRECT ORDER (Matthew 4:17), and His statement, If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins, is as much an order as a death march along the plank would be, when presented by a captain as an option instead of conforming to the necessary work of the ship. Calls, orders, appeals, exhortations, solicitude, understanding, many are the dresses of His words; but their point is sure.
There is no other way, there is every invitation, and there is every necessity; yet not the necessity which binds. Yet again, the necessity which departs can become the aggravation which blinds (cf. (II Thess. ). It is not wise to play with the truth. It is best to secure it, love it, delight in it, be enraptured with it; and why not ? It is rapturous to think of, splendid to know, being personal in composition, indeed uncomposed in its elegance of reality, eternal. To know Christ is its own reward; and the marvel is this, He ADDS to that, the heart with WHICH to know Him (in regeneration) and provides the impact with which to REALISE the machining folly of engineering the dreams of man, and to detest the sins which deluded.