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The Disintegration of the Disinclined
The Self-Seduction of the Unsecured Self
It took only a minor design flaw to spoil the flight of the Concorde. It was a matter of tyres, their jolting, the fuel-tank, its placement, it appears. It did not show clearly at first, but it did at the last. Therefore, it was put off limits. Either fix the fault or do not fly. The aircraft looked good, and seemed secure, but in its uncorrected state, its expectation was a burning hell.
For the burning Concorde,
fuel tank breached, that was of course metaphorical. For the unsecured self, it
is destination. In what does it burn ? In diminished performance, in engulfment
in pride which refuses remedy, in the pangs of the seduced, the coarseness of
the impenitent, the ruptured principles of life, the sheer insolence of marring
the majesty of the truth in one's heart, arresting the peace of God by the
rupture of reality in the heart, disdaining redemption, not trusting in one's
Maker, despite the payment available, the power presented and the testimony to
all time, accorded to the human race. What breast would not burn with such
fuel, inflamed with such despicable denial of the Prince of Life!
With remedy, repair and reconstruction available, they pursue the sure paths of ruin, impassioned, dispassionate, aroused, deadened, as the case may be. Yet their feet move that way, and this is the direction of their lives, anon self-congratulatory, or else depressed, but still remorselessly proceeding to that destination. Like Israel of whom Paul spoke in Romans 10, they may be fastidiously going about the self-assurance of their own goodness, but refusing that gift of the righteousness of God, in the Redeemer which is the only acceptable sacrifice, standard and cover (II Cor. 5:17-21). Small wonder Paul BESEECHES them to turn to Him, as an ambassador of Christ.
How good and lovely is the
way which the Designer has directed. Proverbs puts the pith like this (-18):
But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;
And your hope will not be cut off."
In a racy Jewish-specialty book concerning
In this work, Joseph shows some of his conceptions of the modern Jew, or, perhaps more after the style of Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales, an array of 'pilgrims', of zealots, not so entirely dedicated as the term might suggest, yet substantially involved, drawn into the flow and appeal of their land, their past, their future, their thoughts of unity, of meaning; and all this in the midst of vast uncertainties, pragmatism and yearning, mixed like the components of a cake, not yet fully baked.
Thus it is not a work that specifies the modern Jew, so much as a mural. Again, it is a work which exposes in almost Hamlet-style breadth, the dissipations and alterations, alternations and aspirations, with a tremendous thrust towards 'US', a unity, in marriage, in nationality, one seeking and hoping and becoming jaundiced and then reawakened, for this SOMETHING that is US: our land, our nation, our past, our hopes, our jointness, our effectiveness, as the mood changes and the clock ticks.
Again and again, almost flippantly in surges never sustained, the talented organiser who is the hero of the tale, if a personal one is indeed to be found, looks at human love, at beauty, at the knowledge of God, at Israel's return, at integrity, and after a psychic surge, like the breakers of the ocean, relapses into what is most precious to him, his seduced self. To it must all this come, and from it must all this proceed, albeit in the community, larger or smaller, of US. As so often now, it is 'all about me'. What however is me about ?
Many people are seduced in
spirit - for example, by the Taliban by or with the violence often documented
in modes of the Koran (cf. More Marvels ... Ch.
4), as a mode of implicitly or more bluntly forcing its faith on people who
do not care to share such things, whether in mode or message, preferring the
love of God to such severances, whether of hands or feet, of liberty or
redemption, of Christ and the Gospel, or of a peace which is not the
prerogative of man to dispose, in a dispossession which mere human authority
inevitably brings and breeds (cf. Scoop of the Universe 51, Barbs, Arrows and Balms Appendix 1).
by COMMUNISM (cf. SMR pp. 925-926 and Index), as their vanished heaven on earth,
wants to be a god, and sits enthroned in the
HUMANISM aspires to the heaven it dismisses, and floundering, wonders why it is not there; and here frequently is found the obnoxious presence of the deluded, grown fragments of babies born without their aid, and maturing without understanding, a focus of naturalism, invoking for Nature the prerogatives of God, though they be not found there! (cf. SMR pp. 1008-1111, Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming ... Chs. 5 and 6, Joyful Jottings Chs. 3, and 2 for example).
AUTONOMY sets up its
altars, and there once again, we saw the hero of Bride of
Here his guiding star, enthroned monarch, he who must be obeyed, is to be found. In pathetic grandeur, his heart throbs for his liberation from all culture, mere national zeal, principle or precept. Only his OWN life deserved an entire consecration - to itself! Such woeful worship becomes as nauseating in its intensity as depraved in its immensity. Unfounded, ungrounded, without understanding, abortive of reason, secured in spiritual surges, forgetful of the Rock (cf. Isaiah 51:1-2, Deuteronomy 32:4,18) who begot him, he sits on the seas, like a Neptune, forgetting the myth (cf. SMR pp. 380ff., 620ff., News, Facts and Forecasts 3). The feeble site of a self which, by his understanding, was nearly blown to scraps in the midst of his glory, by a mere bomb, becomes the Taj Mahal of majesty, the psyche with the sceptre.
'Us', as we have seen, is one of this particular self's desires - but it is on a very selective basis.
Nothing acceptable must be differentiated. All in this manager's kibbutz, where his industrial prowess intimately mingles with the life of the place, in the factory components, all must be one. Hence: out religion, out mere nation, out disagreeable dissension (unless the self insists), out unproductive preoccupation. Rather, in the superficial splendour of half-thought premises, pragmatic over-rides, and the personal implicits, there the hero surges out his shame. Sitting crowned, the lordly self engages in its hedonistic thrusts as the atmosphere takes it, in its ethical ... exemptions, its logical leaps and fragmented musings.
The significance for our theme, of all these things, is this. With the firmness of jelly, the panache of the pragmatic, the residues of half-remembered morals often called 'gut feelings' or some derivative or parallel, like large lumps of heavy pudding, the hero illustrates the disintegration of the disinclined, the self-reduction of the unsecured self. (Cf. SMR Ch. 4, and pp. 611ff., 570ff., 582ff..)
Beauty baffles him - at one moment, he all but worships it, at another retires in disorder from its would-be throne, stunned by its magnificence, failing to find, and committing it with much else to the too-hard basket, with its flashes occasionally awakening him, with muted appeal. (For answer see SMR pp. 431ff., Beauty of Holiness.)
Is this the criterion ?
But what IS it ? he mourns as he muses, and muses as he mourns. Without the source, he cannot understand the subtleties, the purities or the power which lies back of the supreme divine architecture. When the architecture of the soul is not understood, then neither is that of the environment; and above all, when the Architect of intelligence, beauty and the basis of all and any truth is avoided, then His works must of course be misunderstood. It is one thing to be ignorant of an architect as you study a building; it is quite another to be severed in spirit and alone by desire from His thoughts. (Cf. Ephesians 4:17-19.)
So with the return of
superficiality, and rank departure from scientific method, he simply ignores
the detailed predictive data, the stream of consciousness seductively replacing
the facts ... And this ? In fact,
Thus amid all the roistering, anon boisterous, insane, inane, wicked, unjust, cruel, reviving, contriving, spell-binding, mindless, thoughtful, crowing, glowing, murdering, sensitive proclivities of unsaved flesh, it is the LORD who dictates to sinful and rebellious human nature, calling the shots and outlining the requirements of the plot, its removal from dominance and the escape from domineering. It is a Lord unlike any other. There is no other worthy of the name.
He has a crisp coverage, a kind appeal and a sure knowledge, ordaining without forcing any to evil, the outcomes in just accord with exposures of all that goes. Like a tapestry, now here, now there, the outcomes are directed and the pattern shows itself - currently, a most discreditable one, free from pretence increasingly, if it be not the pretentious pomposities of formal beliefs, lacking the power of God and the purity of His word.
All this however, it is one to Him in this: that nothing is beyond His wisdom, outside His might, or escaping the judgment appointed. Despite almost infinite complexities, He simply predicts and predicates of the future as He spoke, the things we see as we live.
The knowledge of God is also faintly touched by hero Leslie, like a ship's rope of mooring, and strummed with the fingers of the mind - with bemused reflection, without light. Instead, humanism with almost autistically selected cultural fragments, sits in splendour in his soul, the meaningless in majesty, reality in travesty, in turn meaningfully given its place by the meaningless: a thing very meaningful to himself, though he divorces that self from any possibility of meaning. So it goes, and where does it go ? It goes where darkness dwells, and many are those who follow it.
What then do we have here ? It is Man stripped by dreams, imaging some end of dissension, at leisure without logic, vapour without faith, surging in the dynamism of solidarity with other drifting clouds, the pseudo-robotic prisoner who issues from the grind, ignores his programs, programs his ignorance, looks to the ground, and imagines it his father, this other and lesser book, while disregarding the invisible source of his invisible person in very visible ways (cf. It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls Ch. 9, Little Things Ch. 5). Purposing without weight, he puts all weight into his purposes, and then rests on the material, ignoring any purpose but himself. Is not hell large for such a purpose ? Is not pretence incompatible with truth, and is not an end necessary for the self-inflicted, the self-depicted, who have not truth, nor can find any, except what they proclaim, baseless and logic-free!
Thought, systematically and multiply aborted, like direction for a stray dog in an alley, becomes the serf of the lordly self, never in its erratic flashes, staying long. There is even an effort with the same racy unreason, to clear Israel itself of the murder of Christ*1 - but as with all the rest, this effort for liberty for the self, and now also the nation, 'US', is without adequate data or discipline and merely froths in pretension.
God however is NOT like that, as the predictions of His word, hand in hand with history, so abundantly attest. While the Leslies of this world throw away the blackboard and ignore the teacher, neither reason nor revelation are heeded, and the tutorial of Hitler continues ignored, the Lord Himself still evaded, like a boy after football, declining his bath.
Yet there is a fountain to which Israel, as long predicted, may repair; and it is to be opened in Jerusalem, to which the Messiah came, from which He was unceremoniously evicted, and where He will rule in the power and peace which His eternal majesty will express (Zechariah 13-14). This fountain is not for the Jew only, for there is ONLY ONE GOSPEL (Galatians 1 with ), only one God, and only one Messiah. Nevertheless, in great numbers, will the Jew here bathe as forecast, and it may well be soon (Zech. 12:1-10). The efficacy however is one, the fountain is one, the meaning is one (Romans -27, Romans 4-5, and Gatatians 3-5).
Indeed, not only is there one solution, but the very contours of the 'problem', the dismissal of God and the dismal world results accruing, by the rejection of His divine initiative, the proliferation of substitutes which do not substitute in function but merely in hope and in name: this likewise is universal to this world. The disintegration of this world's systems of rule, which it still seeks desperately to repair, of its peace which it still seeks rather sanctimoniously or speciously at times to restore, of its repose, of its systems of thought, of its hope, all these merely mirror and parallel the disintegration of the self, made nothing by its foster fathers. Yet it is still a soul made by God for God, lost without Him, dissolving into mental derelict parts, disintegrating morally, more and more factitious morally, meretricious in content, but the same in fact ... only soiled. Slightly soiled ? Not at all.
The unsaved soul of man facing God is abundant in folly, feckless in misconstruction, feeble in light, merely using the gifts of power to sacrifice the necessities of meaning, the realities of rationality and the majesty of God. God ? He however remains majestic, and the spiritual slanders express, and hatreds implicit (for when you toss aside a massive diamond, it is clear that you have no time for it, and hence despise what it is), these mere dissolve man. He is not quite dissolved however; and in the final judgment - should any not repent and receive the Messiah - then from the God who is regal and has made us, from Him it is disjunction which occurs. It is final, fatal and fateful - the divorce from God is then made irrevocable.
A decree nisi ? Alas, there is no ability to refute the fact in all this. It is a divorce which attests outwardly, the inward heart. That ? It remains as it was, built by the God it rejects, has rejected and continues to reject.
The self-seduction is the most perilous of all.
It is well that the Saviour does not require us to perform our own operation. CALLING on His name and accepting who He is and what He has done in redemption, putting your own name with the cover by faith, a repentant person is found in Him; and what He finds, He keeps. Notice the capital! As the old saw has it, Finders keepers:
"Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation" (Romans 5:9-10).
In the city of your soul, this is the only viable capital. Indeed, it is the only way to eternal life (John 3:16, Acts 4:11-12).
In fact of course, the Gentile nation of
Josephus, a Jew in high
3) The Jewish historian, Josephus writes in some little detail (around 75 A.D.) of Jesus as a wise man, a doer of marvellous deeds, a teacher of men who receive the truth with pleasure. He won over many Jews, the historian adds. Laconically, he goes on: "He was the Messiah." After crucifixion by Pilate, he notes, he appeared on the third day alive again, as prophetically predicted.
Lest it be thought Josephus was a Christian, let this be put to rest. He cited the events perhaps after the manner of tongue in cheek modern day 'descriptive writers' in comparative religion. Thus he goes on: "And even now the race of Christians, so named after him, has not yet died out." We will of course note the unity, the common basis in Christ the supernatural Messiah - even to the point these Christians were called - a 'race.'
It should be observed in terms of evidence that this testimony is found in all the manuscripts of Josephus, and that it agrees with the style of Josephus; and that he made favourable mention of John the Baptist elsewhere, as well as the martyrdom of James 'the Brother of Jesus called the Christ' in another place.
(4) Another problem for the unbeliever in Jesus the Messiah's place in history, at least for any not too existentialist to be interested in facts, comes from Tacitus, the historian. Not long after 100 A.D., he advises us that: "The name Christian comes to them from Christ, who was executed in the reign of Tiberius by the Procurator Pontius Pilate; and the pernicious superstition, suppressed for a while, broke out afresh and spread not only through Judea, the source of the malady, but even throughout Rome itself, where everything vile comes and is fÍted." (Italics added.)
True he sounds rather like an orthodox Marxist in his irrational, emotional vilification of Jesus; and perhaps he, like these new imperialists of men's souls, felt the danger posed by a king not limited to this world. The point however is that the 80 years or so following the death of Christ left a very unheroic and distasteful image of Christ as a dis-savoured residue in the world of officialdom and bureaucratic power. This same Christ, however, was held by some in a strand of popular favour at that time as duly possessed of the required supernatural seal. Further, this supernatural type religion had shown force and thrust enough to squeeze from the official the title 'pernicious'.
Could Tacitus then have been so unoccupied that he invented his bÍte noire; or so unfactual as to refer in anti-professional fun, to this 'infection' as of vast extent and irrepressible virulence ?
If then we are to be rational, we will notice that prior to this 80 year mark, Christianity based on a crucified Messiah to whom was attributed the seal of thesupernatural, had:
i) shown numerical strength.
ii) been observed, considered and reacted against (could we call this 'reactionary'!).
iii) reached the point in which the reaction is official and suppressive.
iv) a fixed character in these noted features over a characterisable period of change and cruelty, shown it by officialdom.
v) secured relief from suppression, and
vi) gathered force and surged anew.
(End of excerpt.)
We have linked Josephus here with another writer, Tacitus, whose correlative information makes with this, a good twin.
As Michael Green points out in his "Runaway World", p. 19, of the relevant portion in Josephus, concerning Christ intensively: "It has as good an attestation as anything in Josephus..."
Prejudice cannot select what it will; facts must face it.
Not only is it included in all manuscripts of Josephus, but "we know that both Origen (third century) and Eusebius (fourth century) read it in their copies of Josephus. No doubt some of it is sarcastic... "
No doubt. The claims of Christ are not received by Josephus; but the facts are reported. Among these ? "This man was the Messiah. And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross a the instigation of our own leaders, those who had loved him from the first did not cease."
We never read of insurrection about the death sentence on Jesus, from Jews, drastic appeal from the Sanhedrin in His favour, but rather in various Jewish references, distaste and rejection (cf. Green p. 18, op.cit.). The Gospel that gripped Jerusalem, winning many thousands speedily, was centred and based explicitly and multiply in many references and utterances, and on no mere accord on the part of Jewish authority, with the death penalty. Rather it is, as Josephus puts it, a matter of rejection and INSTIGATION by Jewish leaders.
After all, is it so surprising ? They could scarcely have required less, given their unbelief (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). If Jesus had been NOT the Messiah, then a dreamer leading them astray, He would legally, by Moses' law, have to be put to death.
This is where faith steps in. Identifying Him by the multitudes of data in the divine identikit provided in the prophets, including the death date (SMR pp. 886ff.), the miracles, the authority of speech (Isaiah 11), the kindness of heart (Isaiah 42:1-4), the interest in children (Isaiah 40:11), the birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5), the tribal background in Judah (Micah 5, Genesis 49:10), the sacrificial intent (John 1:29, 6:50ff.), the rejection paraphernalia from the authorities (Isaiah 49:10), and indeed the whole harshly gaunt mode of His execution (Psalm 22, Isaiah 50, 52-53), His power for resurrection which He maintained and implied (Isaiah 26:19, Psalm 16, John 2:19, Matthew 22, John 11), and indeed used (John 11), and all this amongst the entire medley of specifications which only God could meet: what could they have done ?
The Jews ? the authorities ? Why, this, they could have believed in Him. If not however; if they did not do that ? Then it would be THEY who rejected this clearly consummation of the clear testimonies of the Messiah, to the very date, the very time of His appearing; and hence by that same Mosaic law, it would be they who should be put to death for misleading to false gods, that is, to gods or a god NOT exhibited in the Messiah, CONTRARY to the Messiah, a god other than definitively expressed in human format BY the Messiah.
Since they had the judicial power, and not the faith, rejecting the categorical evidence, they would be forced in their ignorance and unbelief, to put Him to death, though not of course in the manner of their action. Faith makes life utterly different, for good or evil, as it is placed where it belongs or in an object not worthy, and not God. Thus irrational disbelief led to judicial murder; and the ensemble has naturally enough, in one sense, and supernaturally in another, led to the history of Israel. It is to be hoped that the next phase, their massive repentance, will lead to a blessing for many of them more intense than the curse which they inherited.
Inherited ? As shown repeatedly on this site, their error is no more a ground for their persecution by 'Christians', then that of any other enemy (here, of the faith). The word of the Messiah ? LOVE your enemies. Let us who follow Him, then DO IT! Our Gentile world is not notably superior, and indeed how could it be, when it does what it is! Sin is universal, and only in the Redeemer is its superficial but deadly wound to be healed.