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III

 

BLOOD SPORT -

or

THE MODERN MARK ANTHONY

with

ANOTHER BODY

 

Shades of Shakespeare …

 

Contemporary Gentiles following Ancient Jews - ALL have sinned!

 

It is time to escape the cyclotron, for every person in every race

Many of us are doubtless familiar with the account of the recently spilled blood of Julius Caesar, as encountered by associate Mark Anthony, whose reaction was not a pleased one. Hiding his contempt and abhorrence from the treacherously high-minded souls who murdered Caesar - one of them a special 'friend' like a Judas - lest things should grow too much into a dictatorial mode: Mark Anthony set to work.

At first, things were difficult. Anthony rose to it, with a desire to speak as if to excuse or even to participate. Over and over, he seemed to say how fine were the ideals of the murderers, but succeeded just as constantly in damning them by contrasting their words with Caesar's cited deeds, his goodwill and his generosity even in his will leaving estates to the people, with
their oily words of self-justification. Soon he would let them appear, always indirectly, since they held the current power, as guilty of wanton if whitewashed treachery...

As he covered the relative virtue of Caesar, leaving to the imagination the real motives of the murderers, he gradually reached the point at which the people, who earlier might have slaughtered HIM if he had spoken against the conspiracy, were now all but ready to slaughter the conspirators on the spot! The will of Caesar, grandly generous to the people of Rome, and showing in retrospect his considerable concern for them, produced a climax.

The scene is so perfectly fitting for the Liberal and post-liberal, modern and post-modern approach to the Bible, that it would seem sad to omit an application of it as if another Mark Anthony were delivering another speech. This time, it is not to the citizens of Rome, but to twentieth century church-goers; the conspirators are not Brutus and company, but those who brutalised the popular conception of the Bible, and who have sought in effect to bury its integrity as well as if they had joined in the communal stabbing session of the conspirators who innocent hearts cut down Caesar.

SCENE: A MODERN CHURCH SEMINARY

On Scene: Students, a Professor and a visiting Professor

(There is an air of opulence and oppression. The students look as enlightened as a corpse left out in the rain. A dark aura seems to surround the heads of the Staff, as if mist were turning slowly into night.)

Visiting Professor: Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears. I have come to bury the Bible, not to praise it!

Professor (soliloquising): That is certainly good to hear. This should help my hard-sell of existential New Age concepts in the name of Biblical standards, so that the church may be taken over without a whimper.

Visiting Professor: This Commencement address, which is to honour your start of a new year at this esteemed College, is made with the full knowledge on the part of your own professors, of my awareness of their very pronounced and progressive views.

Now young men, I must try to make you realise, right now and clearly, at the outset of your course - a course designed to train you to be Ministers of religion - to understand I say, just what attitude we shall be adopting towards the Bible. I know, some of you have been brought up with it beside your bed, and we shall have to understand one another.

You see, indeed you simply will have to see: your professors are here by virtue of the Church Education Committee... a Committee IN the Church, in the church, for it is a corporate body. Your mentors are at the head, you see of a corporate body. This Committee is composed of good men. I hope that you may come to know them. Yes, we have a position, a platform you might almost say, and why not? I should like to join with you and them in examining it.

Staff Member: Hear, hear! We can't delay the orientation of students - and (shaking hands), I look forward with real enthusiasm, sir, to your address. May I say, students, before my learned friend proceeds, in just how high an esteem he is held overseas.

V.P.: Well, thank you. You see, men, there is plenty of room for research, and for a degree of difference even of opinion. Some believe ... well, rather newer ideas, shall we say, rather newer ideas than others. It's interesting ... even exciting.

We produce our ideas and then we live by them: we really do, we depend on them, on what we make!

Some indeed do still believe that parts of the Bible are objectively valid ... well! Indeed, a while ago we even had a student here who said he deemed it ALL valid. Remarkable, remarkable.

But you can't have that sort of thing. As I was beginning to say, we are here in one way or another, by virtue of the Education Committee... good men, they are all of them honourable men, who deserve your full respect and acknowledgment.

Student: Sir, may I ask you a question?

V.P.: Well I have not yet really got into my stride, but for initial clarification, certainly, certainly you may.

Student: Could you tell us, sir, what is your authority in evaluating the Bible, I mean, the starting point and basis for the activities you note.

V.P.: Ah yes certainly. Let me illustrate. You know, I recall one young student actually saying the Bible held no errors in origin, and was even now substantially equivalent to its autographic form at the start. Well, we tried to demonstrate the errors to him.

We had to - for that is the policy of the Committee, of a majority indeed in the Church: to expose, to depose, to defame, to defile I might almost say, this ambitious Book, the Bible. I couldn't precisely prove an error now for the top of my head: confessedly. But there must be errors, errors of composition clear and manifest ,diverse and drastic. There must be , you understand, there must be! No book made by men could be without them! and after all this time, thoughts change, culture changes, ideas evolve, nothing is the same.

Now there are philosophic sophistries and literary cacophonies... oh the Bible's full of them, oddities and wobbles. You know they're men of standing , of substance you could say, yes of substance; and they say it's so. The Staff here, all of them say it's so, the Bible's a dead book, of literary interest historical value, but well, not quite a base. The base? To the point of your question, well really it is in ourselves, in our thoughts, in our understanding, always changing, always advancing. The Bible is a history of ideas. We are the present of that history. We advance, we grow. Does that answer your question?

Student: I think it presents where your authority lies, sir, admirably.

V.P.: Yet looking back, I can remember the way I have found things myself... perceiving in the Bible superlative literary graces - boldness without crudity, beauty without stylistic preciousness; truth without tedium; penetration without obfuscation - which indeed I will confess I never found in philosophic sagas such as we all here read ad nauseam and almost an infinitum, and certainly with tedium - no, I don't mean te deum! I have found in this poor Scripture ... accuracy where I looked for pot-holes; acumen where I suspected asininity; and irrefragability tendered to my intemperate critical feelings of intellectual irritability. In short, it has seemed a thing of beauty.

I look upon it now, this poor bleeding scripture which has a been torn and assaulted by those paid to be its friends - but they are honourable, all honourable men, who could speak against them, they are merely constrained by the highest motives in so assaulting the Bible, for it might have become a rule, a standard, something outrageously and intolerably dictatorial. Certainly it is in the name of the Lord, but we all are His offspring, and our ideas are an important medley for you young developing people to consider as you take up the torch of ... what we find out, and hand it on to the next generation.

Staff member to friend (sotto voce): We won't ask this fellow back again, he seems double-tongued. Still, maybe he'll spring back in some shock tactic later in his speech. Hes changing the colour of the whole thing. Let's just wait and see

V.P.: Gentlemen, young people, I will indeed I must confess to you that here - in this poor bleeding Bible (lifting cover from the body of the Text)... I find philosophic problems knocked for six in simple language, cohesion, coherence mingled with sardonism and level-headed irony at our pretensions, as God often uses simple men to present His word - a Word too DEEP for tears; too HIGH for fears; too SURE to suffer or to foster the tiresome tantrums of academic sophisticates with their foxy sophistries, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men. And WHO commanded THEM? I should like to know.

Yet here it lies, dismembered, discountenanced, assaulted, murdered by mouths, the bible lies on the ecclesiastical earth, smitten by the mouths of black robed men, who teach you such things that your children then may learn from you and all of you - well, from experience, whatever that may teach you, and experience put together by experienced verbal inventors whose experience teaches them, well how to put it together. Noble ideas, ideals, men - yes, listen to them as they batter the Bible, for what better is there for it than to be battered, if only to see how it responds to being beaten up!

It is as if its very ink were blood, and its blood were poured out on the earth, to soak into every hole and crevice, to stop in rocks and filter into the fungus of the earth from which, taken in test-tubes, it is spawned back upon the book, as if mixing with the dead philosophic bacteria of the earth would adorn it, as if merging it with the cultural viruses of the world would ameliorate its disciplines, further its purity or increase its comprehension.

Yes, I am sure that each of your Staff here is a culture-vulture, if I may so put it, greedily gobbling up whatever comes along, each new thing, new experience, new probe into the - if you let me put it this way - Martian soil of their souls, to find what lies there, and what it means, and just how to make it a standard in, and for and of itself. Most wise.

As a this book, it strove to high, it set itself to declare what we should think, intolerable, and not to be borne. Your Staff here have handled its pretensions well. Small wonder they opposed it. It has such appeal that it needs defenestration. Indeed, I personally find this book, stabbed in its various parts with the daggers of necessity, for your Staff are all honourable, all learned, all reputable and desirable teachers: I find this book a well of learning in an embarrassingly indeed, almost frustratingly simple setting.

At the same time, her depth drowns me when I feel clever; here simplicity charms me when I quieten myself like a little child. Green pastures... how sweet are the words of the Emperor or of Eternity when He condescended to irrupt into time and speak His mind to those image-bearers of his, men.

But what am I saying?

Staff Member: What indeed!

V.P.: Oh dear me, gentlemen, you must bear with me, for I am temporarily overcome by considering the grace of the parts, the fulfilment of the prophecies, the wonder of the Christ after whom, I believe, our church is actually named, the thrill of the majesty of the divine utterances which proceed from His mouth. But forgive my aberration. I cannot because I must not speak this way of the Bible. I

I came not bury the Bible, not to honour it. But in any burial, a certain decency is mandatory to the civilised, and I must acknowledge its qualities, though the Staff, who have laboured with you so assiduously over the past years, have torn it into little parts by philosophic daggers of the mind, which they have specially prepared by much study abroad, for the purpose: these are honourable men. Every one of them is deserving of much attention for what he has done.

Yes, it is my office to bury it, this is my function, there is the burden of my status, and the symbol of my success. You could almost call me an undertaker the for Bible. This success I have gained, but that Bible I have lost, buried in a thousand seminaries, floating in the barbs which have been produced with such exceptional industry by men such as your Staff, every one of them a notable metaphysician, able to produce thoughts that many of you would never have thought of, and to base them, well on nothing. And that, believe me is an achievement, something that many a Ph.D. student succeeds in doing.

Well then, for this I am accepted, and for this I speak, to bury the Bible in which so many fangs have been buried - I speak metaphorically. And yet its promises are so strong, its tenor so immiscible with normal human mischief, its tone so stately, its deeds so extraordinary, its consistency so perfected: it is like a funeral service for a great man.

And great are its promises to you, even when its word is made of no effect through our cultural traditions which are of course noble, and pure and worthy and to be believed, since they are founded on themselves and they are the products of some of our most brilliant minds. Well do I remember the Bible's amazing accuracy on Luke and Acts, as noted by the archeologist Ramsay, its incredible ability to rehearse what happened so that history like a lamb licks its feet, its logical prowess, since the truth of course could only come from the Maker who knows all, since He only has access to what really is, and depends literally on nothing. But what is based on nothing, it knows nothing.

Still, it is my office to bury it, and bury it I shall, even if only in your hearts.

That is the ultimate and proper resting place for the Bible. Take it up there, act on it, and it will have a sure resting place, and so will you.

Staff Member: Let us, dear Professor to the point. It is true the Bible has served its time, but we are for all time. Let us then to the issue!

V.P.: True indeed, dear Professor. You are for all time, for all time is for you, and it is your mentor. Drab in personality perhaps, lacking in truth as such undoubtedly, but there, and plenty of it, to teach us all, I am sure, to teach us whatever it is that it has in mind - although, strictly, it does not have one, unlike the cohesive comprehensibility of the Bible, which speaks its mind like a trumpet, soars into spirituality like a rocket, disinters the things that need rebuking like a grave digger, and thrusts daggers of truth into the hearts of the robust.

How I weep for it, excuse me, I am moved. But I have come to bury it, and bury it I shall.

I am not here to expound the Bible - who of us indeed is here for that, but rather to use it as a launching pad for furthering our own ideas. It is for this that I have been trained, and for this I must say trained very well. No, I am not here to expound it but to expel it! It arose to tell us from the mouth of our God and our Creator what He wanted of us, His mind to our minds, His words to our verbal power, His thought to our thought, like that of a lover, a teacher, a pastor, a friend, a father; and like infants who squall we violate the air with our wailings and will not heed. Yet we have learned, we are all learned men, to violate what must be violated in the interests of the State, the world, the culture, the times, the pressing needs to express ourselves, implement, fulfil ourselves; for who is such a God that tells us; for we are our own and who shall contest that?

And you students also, you learn to invent your own additions, subtractions, annealings, to reveal your own revealings, the depths of your own minds and hearts; and so to continue the massive cultural input of the human race into the mind of any God who would otherwise set about telling us. We are far too important a race to be told by anyone.

Staff member (aside): Ah, now the subtle beggar is getting there!

V.P.: We dabble in all things and find many things, and express ourselves and must wallow in the mire of the earth, the ways of the world, to find ourselves, somewhere, somewhere surely, to find ourselves in the experiential torrents and the existential atmosphere and the planetary orbits of our minds that certainly, it is true, did not make themselves, but now can at least try to make up for that by making a mess of this book, this book that has so stood for so long to say so much to so many.

Yet our Faculty here is sure of one thing. It is dangerous to trust, better to be trained, and preserved from the infection of trusting God in accordance with this word. That is a very dangerous thing. It is not deliriously dialectical, but direct. It endows you and does not subdue you; and worst of all, it thereby interferes with your employment for the purposes of ecclesiastical enterprise! For with such a dictator as this, you would never be safe to run your own affairs, consult it for this, for that! It would not have the true dignity of the human being, though what, I am sure, we amount to, we who without absolute truth are absolutely relative, but too relative to know that we are so, and so know precisely nothing - what we are: well that is an interesting question.

But as to your Staff, who better placed to ask such a question. And indeed how much better it is to ask questions than to answer them. It is better to be finding out than to know; this is what we are here for, to be ever learning but never attaining to the truth, to use the name of God and to forsake the word of God - that is, the Bible. THIS is humanity's highest office.

Any questions?

A hubbub of frustrated irritation but also of querulous query and anxiety is heard.

Student: Are you telling us, sir, that the Committee and the Staff are in charge of all this and that their cultural feelings are set above this book ?

V.P.: Oh certainly and of course. The majority, or what perhaps we might rather call the operative majority in the church, they say that it is so. How can we doubt it? They are honourable men, liberally endowed in several senses of the word. Who can doubt them? Like many others in history, they have done what they had to do, and there they are, clearly recognised for their ... ah, courage and devotion to what they are doing!

The church at any time is to be trusted, and the church? It is of course ourselves, our existential impulsions, our meditative reflections, are sharing and caring and wearing every thought we can find in marvellous synthetic ideational constructions. You know, it IS fun! And in any case, this is the game of the hour, and we are its sportsmen, and that is how it is played. Infallible for its hour is the church, and isn't that proven by the way it rejects in principle and in substance, here at least and at last, the production of the Lord in earlier ages! The church, there is your Lord... it is the Church which does this!

Oh how I wish you could really understand this. It is this church which has stood guard over its professors while their knives of rejection have torn into the print of this book, a book which takes of the rock of ages, of One who said not only that He was THE TRUTH, but that no man came to the Father except by Him. Such a man, such book! They are dedicated to overturning such blasphemy as were the Jews, and as did the Romans in their day. We are all humanity, all of one piece, and no piece is better than another, don't you agree?

Student: Sir, does this mean that we are as good as our professors, and since as you said, no one knows, really knows anything, and all of us are to convert our ideas into ever new syntheses, we might as well set about it on our own, and write our own books and - well, become Biblical scholars in the sense that our own books will be from the younger strain, the more involved, advanced and diversified, and so ... may I say, better ? I ask this only in principle sir, since I know as you have said, how honourable and learned are all our Staff.

V.P.: You could say that, and I would tend to agree with you, except for this. These men have personally assaulted your Biblical faith, or approach which you had when you entered this seminary, and they have to take the credit for the ruin of those structures, and hence you should share further with them, and doubtless they do not repent on their assault on the Bible from a position of knowing nothing; since they still draw their salaries, and well paid, I am sure, and worth every cent of it to their real employer.

Student: I thought, sir, you said this was that corporate construction, the Christian church.

V.P.: Oh judgment, you are fled to beasts! Forgive me gentlemen, but I am moved to see these constructions so flimsy before this so noble enterprise which stands like a Statue of Liberty that needs not painting, since it is so pure. Of course I am here by appointment, and by the appointment of honourable men...

Bear with me, my heart is in the coffin there with the stately truth of Scripture, which no one seems to destroy though it carries a thousands daggers and generations spend themselves in mere futility in their avenging attacks on what dares, just dares, to tell them anything! This however is the spirit of enterprise, and we must acknowledge the nobility and splendour of the conception. Yet I am moved.

I must pause till my heart comes back to me form the idolatry of believing God could speak, and would speak His mind. The party say it is idolatry and they bear rule in this hour... honourable men

1st Student: That's not idolatry but simple reason.

2nd Student (aside): It says "The prophets prophesy lies, and the priest bear rule by their means, and the people love to have it so." It seems so here.

3rd Student: Yes , and it goes on: "What will you do at the end of it?" What indeed.

2nd Student: End? Brother, I'll not be in at the end in this show

Ist Student: Wait, this Professor a rare'un. He is not the usual one. I think he/s coming to himself.

V.P.: The Bible was ambitious, It wanted to take a place as the word of God written, the speech of God.

(O Pardon me thou bleeding burdened but unbroken book...)

The Bible was ambitious, The most noble men have told us that this is so. Now all our Classes echo the party theme:

" The Bible is not valid,

The Bible is not true;

The Bible may be hallowed -

But man it's not for you."

Of course, we give out that the Bible IS true; it would be too straightforward to say quite simply that we doubt much of it, reject more and cavil at the rest.

So this line must be right. It's accepted dogma. It's been taught more and more openly for 60 years in this land. Next century we plan simply to say that the Bible is not true; but we don't think the people are ready for our saying so .. . not yet. You can't debunk an image in an hour: not an image like the image of the Bible. So we way one thing and teach another; and mean a third; and wonder what the fourth will be. I used to take some students years to know what we are getting at

Boy we had finesse!

But the message's getting across now. Sometimes we say what we mean... but there's the rub. I always forget what it is we do mean. AH! If only those noble men were with me now, who trained us all in my younger days... Well, we mean quite simply, that God can't speak and ...and this is just possibly what He would have said if He could have spoken, though since He can't, it isn't; but it is highly suggestive as to what we may think, if we happen to be in that existential thrust at a given time, which mirrors our own ideas on what could have been possible in another situation.

On the other hand, there is no such simplistic theme as this: we may come to think something entirely different... because, measuring ourselves by ourselves, there is really no limit.

Student: Is that sir, what the Bible means by the bottomless pit!

V.P. : Undoubtedly it has deep, yes deep relevance.

Oh I know the Bible has brought captives home to Christ born of the word and sent sin away as God worked with it; that nations fed on the sincere milk of the word and many on its meat, and the race in parts became radiant. I know its promises and the wit and wonder in it leaves nothing to be desired... it is tenderer than a mother, kinder than any Father: it speaks of Him who spoke of it ... as true, jot and tittle... and it talks to ME: IF YOU LOVE ME, YOU WILL KEEP MY WORDS. That is the word of that Jesus, who gave His name and His life to and for the Church.

But these men, they love, they have a broad general love ... or would if they could. But they can't have that sort of effective love, you see, they cannot gain the truth to understand what it takes to do what is necessary. That's what they say,, and they should know, for they are all educated, men of talent.

Student: But why is the Bible called ambitious? It seems to me it has the credentials that all other writing lacks.

V.P.: If this was ambition in the Scripture, to find the guarantee of Christ and present the authentication of God, it has paid heavily for it, for there it lies, wounded in the house of its friends. And was this ambition, to provide such stability and feed such strength, valid in every climate of thought and action:

in history,

in archeology,

in morality,

in effectiveness by His Spirit,

in uniqueness as viable revelation from His Spirit,

in innate consistency of discourse,

in coherence conferred on all reality without crass reductionism,

in prediction,

]in regenerative power,

in disintegrating doubts,

in centring on the ONE Incarnate,

in adoption by its Christ,

in fulfilments innumerable,

bonuses unthinkable,

capacities unmatchable,

in myriad matters - oh well! : if that was ambition,

then it WAS ambitious; and direly has it suffered for this ambition.

We have cast it from our shelves, this warrior Bible, as truth's written criterion; and have replaced it with varieties derived from Bultmannianism and Barthianism, and from the annals of Tillich, from the naivet of philosophy ruinable in moments, and using all these: self-contradictory, logically absurd, effluvia of imagination without the God who made it, we leave the Bible a stimulus to thought, an aerodrome, a launching pad, tolerated with a bemused smile.

This we do while these parasites of philosophy, masquerading as prophets, use the name they trifle with and trifle with the truth He gave. Without Him, what are they? The garrulous of the ages, neither good novelists nor witty writers: garbage of ungodliness, industries of defamation, profiting by their abuse of what gives them place.

So are we used as merchandise as the Peter precisely predicted would be the case, when men turned to fables. But all of these, what are they ? surely illogical, irrational, mere psychic intimations of the unknowable which they happen to know, of the unthinkable which they happen to think.

Yes these devotees of musing, with the New Age wireless sets trained on transcendental meditation about whatever is meditatively attractive for the stray thought or penetrating regard, when your mind is diseased by baseless presumption, and disabled from rational systematic thought, capering about without causality, flitting with fancy, ungirded by necessity, and heedless of it: these, I say, have done well in tittivated tittilation, captivating cruises of the unknowable, carefully reported in known language. Besides such things are popular. In a democratic society, so who can speak against what is popular?

Success, too they have it: and that is relevant. That's one we ought to teach Isaiah, whom some say was sawn in two by his hearers. Teach Isaiah! And we must indeed go, go man, go - isn't that the expression I seem to have heard. We must adolesce with the times and dream vague myths, for this is the whole duty of man, except of course, if you can't get a pension, to earn your living. This we have found; and we do, you know, we all do a very good job right there: good example for all of you, the way we gain support. We where it is, and you'll collect, believe me!

{He is suddenly racked by uncontrollable weeping for several seconds, but then, straightening up a little, proceeds...)

But yesterday, the word of God, here written... I have it in my hand... might have stood against the world - and for those who take it, and whom it took, FOR them, it might have stood. But now it lies abandoned in blood. No flaw or spot or failure mars its outward texture, deeply it speaks within, well-loved as kitchen utensil or daily implement for chore. It lived, it worked, it authenticated enriched, awakened ... and endeared itself at every turn, constantly increasing its value, its applicability, its depth in digging into our lives, frank and fearless, directing them ably and wisely. It sought no honour but for Him who spoke it, whose it was and is.

But the Brutus-band, these your professors, have killed it in this great College, killed it in your hearts, all, have killed it on salary, killed it in the name of the Son of Man who authorised it. Ah! See THAT wound. There was a quibble old Professor Z (name suppressed ) rejoiced in: a - quaint one, I mean the wound. He said it cured more from trust in the validity of this dictator, this paper Pope, than any other ruse he ever used. Oh well, the end justifies the means, I suppose. It had to go - against the spirit of the Age. Yet Christ said this:

Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge: you did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.

That's Luke 11:52, you know. It goes on to say how those gentlemen began lying in wait for Him, then, to catch Him from His mouth, so that they might accuse Him. Much the same today; they failed then, they fail now: except that, you see, it was crucifixion of the flesh of Jesus Christ then, of the words of His book by jabbering mouths now. Same result! Simpler procedure. So we progress, in getting what we want!

Of course, it's easy to answer quibbles like that one of old Professor Z, when you put your mind to it for five minutes .. but who WOULD answer ? It would stab your own career, put the authorities against you; and if there is one thing we must all agree on, it is to be self-serving. If you do not serve God, what else? There's yourself, self-fulfilment, self-esteem and all that, as you have so well for so long been taught. Let's be dignified about it, as are these men, your professors. Yes the students are subject to discipline you know, and slander is a potent weapon: has to be used sometimes, of course, for the greater good of the whole, and is.

Student: Doesn't that make US trainees to be in the same category as the scribes and lawyers who killed our Master?

V.P.: Ah surely your Staff here have capably taught you to think laterally. This means that - well, you look around about for as many things that relate to the topic as you can, and in the midst of all this scholarship, conveniently forget about the original question. Hence, with a little help from philosophy in questioning the true meaning of categories anyway, you are freed up from hook-ups like that!

Professionally if there is one point I must stress above the rest it is just this: get off the hook fast, when you're on it, and use your training to make people lose sight of the hook. Otherwise it is YOU who are hooked! Christ is past history in this matter; WE are for now. We must learn!

Student: Where does that leave our consciences?

V.P.: Do not say... that these words being God's are divine, and command as His spokesmen, or that they are verbal fingers purposely displayed from the hand of His sovereignty. You must not even think their origin and deployment is divine. For I should not speak in this way, lest in the simple mouthing of such suggestive words, I give you an opining to think, and thereby ruin my task.

I rather choose to wrong this noble, murdered book, myself and you, than spoil my appointment or bring one penetrating thought agaInst the pronouncements of this Committee-in-Command and that --- divine assemblage which speaks the truth even though it seems now almost to divine that no such thing exists.. for gone is God for them, and from them: for with many of them, it is themselves by whom they measure and in whom they stand or fall. They measure all things, you see, by themselves and ... do not know the measurements they have. Paul talked about this in II Corinthians 11, as your excellent Staff must undoubtedly have taught you. Yes, they "measure all things by themselves" and...

1st Student (completing it for him) : "Are not wise". That's Paul's comment.

V.P.: But why should God speak! Indeed, how dare He speak to men!

Could the craftsman of speech speak -

Or could the Organiser of thought think;

Or could the Creator of volition, will - or

Could the Emperor of facts depict or know them!

Ah yes... look at the Word, those words of His ... you see I almost came to know Him, well. I have not come - no calm down - to honour God and all His speech - but to bury Him beneath the earth of honour which we receive one from another, as we find Jesus put it - in John 5:44-47 ... and notice the outlook and the outcome in 5:42-43! In fact, while we're at it, read 5:45-47, where NOT believing Moses is NOT believing Christ.

IF you do not believe his writings, said the Christ, HOW will you believe My words! Valiant words, clearly setting the Bible above all cultural captivity; for it is God, it says, who created the man who has the culture into which God speaks - AS HE WILL. And what does He say? What He calls Himself -Truth!

You see the clash perfectly in Jeremiah 42:5-6,12,20, 44:17. The words out of our mouths - "whatsoever has gone out of our own mouth" -said the people, this we'll follow; NOT the words out of His mouth through the prophet. In FORM they had sought His words, even promising to do them; but in fact they did not like them, and so did not do them! These words, they were not 'culturally relevant'. But poured scorn on the cultural anomalies and abominations with which they were surrounded, and surrounded themselves !

This emphasis presented by Jesus Christ, however, it is not for us; but rather to bury the book beneath our holy honours, which are really the coin of life to us.

By this we live. Indeed, this is WHY we live. We SEND those who do not relish this one important act .... I mean, you must get on, you must get on in the Church.

But THIS word, executed as you see before your eyes: it does not grasp; nor do its practitioners live this way. It thunders, roars, disperses like the sun. Yet how can we treat with such a thing as this! It dwarfs us, reduces us to such insignificance that sheer old fashioned repentance is needed!

And I don't know, gentlemen, that we are ready for THAT!

(He drops to his knee - and looks up, his hands upon the floor.)

It lives with the life of God, for it is His - I Peter 1:22-24. It does not live by borrowed light, like all these modern theologies, soliciting congratulation; but by a peculiar viable victoriousness which a hundred thousand scholars never crushed, and a hundred literary microscopes never plumbed. It stands unrebuked as Satan with a whore... in the able!

2nd Student: But why not tell us what it SAYS! If it is so good, it is best to know.

V.P.:

They say it's damned, it's idolatry to accept report of prophet, apostle

STUDENTS: The will, the will of God, we want to hear the will of God. Read His will!

V.P.: Have patience friends. It is not good you know it. I fear I've overshot and wronged these honourable men whose ecclesiastical daggers damned the book in which our Lord delighted, and carved a new Christ out of the corpse their dead thoughts rest in. Oh! this the unkindest cut that those so near should go so far.

STUDENTS: Honourable men... Traitors! Judases out of their century. They have betrayed the Church and Christ and turned disbelief into a synonym for doubt.

V.P.: You compel me then to read the will! Shall I descend?

STUDENTS: Descend, descend. Descend from arid piety to articulate religion and preach Christ and Him crucified, yes rather risen from the dead, according to the Bible - and learn to live by every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God, and learn of Him, for He was meek and spoke only what His Father commanded. His works are merely consummated in His resurrection.

(Students grow more restless, as if to rush out.)

V.P.: Do you then compel me? I rather come to believe with you. But stop! Don't pursue these men. The Church has need of you. Be instructed by those who know Him.

STUDENTS: It has indeed.; and we shall!

We'll form a new structure on this base, new but old, so very old - more like that old one authorised by Him for whom we stand, now: a Church outlined according to that word which broke from the lips of Him who was broken for us. We believe the ineradicable credentials of Him and of His word a million times better, than these flimsy tales, and they're verified immeasurably more than all their transmutative religions, parasitically clinging to this vine, this Christ who worked and won the way of aid that covers, counts and accomplishes, and finished His grand work.

Theirs are mere rules of thumb, eloquence for the dumb, cantankerous catastrophes, puerile pedantries, performances within the pulpit, props from salaried sops - they do indeed make merchandise of us, for whom Christ died. But no more!

V.P.: Good friends, sweet friends, let me not stir you up

To such a sudden flood of mutiny.

They who have done this deed are honourable:

What private griefs they have, alas I do not know.

STUDENTS: Let's go...(Exit.)

V.P.: And COME .. to Him.

(Smiling to himself) ... Now let it work: for if the loss of my work be the witness of what in Him I here have worked - at least, and now, at last I'll be a workman not ashamed to work His will!
 
 

AND THEN, ON THE SEMINARY NOTICE BOARD, APPEARED

THIS POEM,

which we now see.

 

 

{ THIS RELATES TOO WELL TO ALL THAT WE HAVE SEEN IN THIS CHAPTER,

TO ALL THAT WE WILL SEE IN THE APPENDIX TO FOLLOW, TO 'THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY',

FOUND IN THE OTHER NEWS, APPENDIX,

AND TO THE 'OTHER YOUTH', NO. 19 IN THAT WORK;

TO CHAPTERS 7-8 OF THE PRESENT WORK, AS TO

THE SHADOW OF A MIGHTY ROCK, pp. 946-958, 732B-C,750B-E, 1031C-1041 AND 1046-1080. }

 

 

 

 

 

THE WONDER AND THE WITCH

IT IS TIME TO SEEK THE LORD

 

As the world winds its wicked way

In tortures of blazing heat,

Its heart a devastation,

Its mind robustly robotic,

Its thoughts in consternation

With plastic consolation

Wrought with chemistry

Misnamed therapy -

The gods of bestiality at its heels

The glamour of iridescent morals

About its throat -

Like an aged witch

Pretending to be a fairy -

History develops like a strongman.

With culture's tentacles outstretched

More like the tentacles of an octopus

Than the arms of a child -

Our luxuriating fairy,

Alias wanton witch,

Kisses each tentacle

With glazing eyes,

Feeling nicely surrounded

With a naturalistic inverse

Which - though blown to billions of bits,

Or spewed into abysmal unknowns,

Is here! Hers to know and to exploit.

 

With prophetic precision

Our witch cavorts, contorts,

Disports herself

Under the unseeing eyes

Of the heaven God made,

Crying coyly - or

Anon plaintively

For company in her sport

Of creating havoc with hearts,

Seducing the young and

Using God's creation of a mind

As a format for being blind.

Anguished nations,

Political amputations,

Genocides so popular,

Atrocities a norm,

Hypocrisy hallowed,

Conscience mellowed,

For a mle

Of doomed misunderstandings

Reinforced by greed,

Insane social egotisms,

Personal aggrandisements:

These are as a savoury

For the main course

Which she can only imagine,

Though she has eaten

Fare like it

Before...

The Lord is not mocked

By her witcheries,

Nor does He savour her stew.

Unlocked doors open effortlessly,

Oiled with blood - that of Christ the Lord,

As Lady Culture pursues her angst,

Anon accompanied by her

Counterpart in spiritual

Crime, Lady Spiritual Culture,

Festooned with tradition

Like pearls, red with

The blood of martyrs:

But there she goes,

With shampooed hair

Her way to The End.

As to her:

Babylon is her archetype *1,

History gathered in her tresses,

With one of its faces,

Rome

with her descendants,

her allies,

sympathisers

and her children *2.

Alas for them!

A good book , asks Lady Culture,

This world ?

Surely plenty in it for all -

But this she will not know,

That this is mere wrapping :

The contents of His Book,

The Book that rules

Are finished -

These two millenia,

Now almost completed,

Have watched them,

With largely unseeing eyes.

God has spoken - no more to say,

To this race till The End.

Heedless headiness

Ignores God's voice,

Despises His words,

Which for all that

Fulfil themselves

Untempered,

Unalloyed,

Unallayed,

With the routine assurance

Of a dentist

Investigating your teeth.

Where the decay,

The spiritual decay

Is,

It is:

And the results are what they are.

Rottenness smells

In the form of an opened abscess,

And the word of God

Opens the mouth of man

To inspect it -

That mouth so often

Silent to God,

In multitudes innumerable;

Or addressing its Maker,

Only with expressions

Of blasphemy,

Cultural occlusion,

Indifference, contempt.

With that divine name,

Freely and frequently

It exhibits -

In a quisling's calumny

And patricidal passion -

A preference for idols,

In the heart, the soul,

The mind, the spirit.

 

Today -

In these idols,

Often made with paper,

Such words are printed,

Their spokespersons

Speak on TV

And frequently

MUST be immoral...

To satisfy implicit lust.

They may seem religious,

They may be blatant,

But they must have lust,

Intemperate...

Uncommandeered,

Free as air to satisfy whatever

It wills :

Making in imagination

But never in reality,

Makers of man in maniacal fiascos

That never grace this globe,

Or create one single fact:

Themselves

'Made by nothing':

Emptiness

And confusion

Their rule.

It is God and love

Of His created conditions,

Organised and arranged,

Instructed, counselled, told ...

OR ELSE printed idols,

Perhaps with protoplasm as a

Screen,

With eye shadow

And noble moments

Fecklessly, recklessly, vainly set as if

To atone debauchery of the souls:

That are lost.

These are the ways - there are two!

 

The Lord of Life

Has used

Only one language

In organising our bodies,

Only one testimony

Of the KINDS He has created,

And only one Book

In directing our eyes

To His word.

 

He has sent

Only One Son

In setting a standard for sacrifice,

and providing

Only One Sacrifice

To cover the penitent

Who long for mercy,

and find

Only One Eternal Life,

Their desideratum,

Their delight

and His gift.

 

That is - like God,

Infinite in its purity,

Immeasurable in its love,

Incalculable in its Power:

It is His, and

He gives it as I John 1 tells us.

 

The bestowal ? *3

 

It is called the grace of the Gospel.

Its crux, the Cross

Of Calvary is the only

Alternative to a crucified universe:

 

A hell-hole as instalment

For everlasting contempt.

His name who made

The sacrifice ?

 

Jesus Christ.

 

His requirement?

 

You - unvarnished,

No eyes shadowed,

The cultural idols dashed -

Repentant and with realism,

Returning to your God,

To His narrow way,

Where your Guide,

Counsellor, kind Friend

Has infinite breadth,

And depth as well,

Conducting you

Who are His

To your destiny: Himself.

His place ?

 

Higher than the heavens.

Where can you meet ?

The earth, to which He came,

Where He will return,

Where His free Spirit is Sent

As a gift to His people who know Him.

 

"Be reconciled to God!" -

He calls over the blood

Of His Son's central sacrifice,

The Just for the Unjust,

To bring us to God.

Is your eye opened ?

Can it see ?

 

He made Him to be sin

Who knew no sin,

That in Him

We might be made

The righteousness of God *4.

 

If you come,

You're covered.

If you don't,

You never were.

Transactional analysis:

Your sin for His,

His righteousness to be yours

As a pardoning gift;

To which is added

A dynamic, transforming vitality

Of a surgically changed heart *5

In which lives

This same Lord Jesus Christ

By His Spirit *6.

 

The universe ticks

As if responding to a music,

To its appointed destination:

For us who believe, His irrepressible harmony;

The other way -

the cacophony without conductor,

Fitting

For reckless, radical recalcitrance,

One teeming with just rebuke *7

Is life to be yours?

 

Or are you,

A culturally captive city,

To abide blind

Till your place is amazed ashes;

Your desires

Twisted from your captured spirit,

Even while your city disintegrates:

Your spirit justly awaiting the judgment

Of that God who made you,

And whom you ignored -

Except perhaps for presumptuous

Deals based on nothing

But vanity.

 

It is victory or vanity,

Delusion or God!

 

He has left nothing

To chance,

And nothing will

Those gain who

Trust it!

 

In Him there is confidence

As there was creation.

Without Him,

There will be the desolation

Of deceit *8.

 

Come! He says, to Me:

I will not cast you out! *9

And let him who is athirst

Come*10.

And whosoever will,

Let him take the water of life

Freely.

 

 

 

 

Notes:

*1 Revelation 17:1-5; cf. SMR pp. 946ff. (Go to Next Section at 946.)

*2 Revelation 17:5.

*3 Ephesians 2:8, Romans 5:15, II Corinthians 5:19-21.

*4 II Corinthians 5:17-21.

*5 John 3:1-8, Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:7ff., Ezekiel 11:20, Jeremiah 3:12-16

*6 Romans 8:9-16.

*7 Daniel 12:1-3, Jeremiah 2:19, 5:3, Romans 2:8-9.

*8 Jeremiah 9:6 -"Through deceit they refuse to know Me!";

Hosea 7:16, Psalm 139, II Thessalonians 2:1-12.

*9 John 6:37.

*10 Revelation 22:17.
 
 

IT IS TIME

TO SEEK THE LORD.

 

WHERE THE LORD IS,

THERE IS SAFETY!