- The people of the U. S. have changed greatly. I have a book (reprinted) from 1832, by Mrs. Childs: The American Frugal Housewife. From first to last, the author gives suggestions on how to save money, how to use as many of the vegetables and meats as possible, and how to economize, economize, and economize! In my early school years, at least one arithmetic teacher tried to teach us how to keep a ledger and account for every penny. My father did just that, so that even two cents given to me for penny candies went into the book.
Well, with all that in my training, I have felt like a spendthrift with my less frugal ways! Certain things routinely remind me that some of that training did take. Today I finally changed the laces on an old pair of everyday shoes. From the beginning, those laces (round ones) had irked me because they do not stay tied, especially on my night shoes. So what did I do with the old laces? I resisted the urge to discard them, so I folded them, to keep for possible need!
- Do you want to know one reason why Rome fell? According to the church father, Lactantius, in De Mortibus Persecutoreum, 7, "There were more tax collectors than taxpayers." Keep trying, Congress: you can make it too!
- Mark and Darlene were returning home rather late last night. Listening to the car radio, they heard a young woman asking counsel of a psychologist. But she did not know whether or not she was separated from her husband or divorced. She did not know that there is a difference.
There is today a growing illiteracy, and an ignorance of the most obvious facts of life.
- More than 40 years ago, I did something while pastor of a better than average sized church that really caused me much trouble. On the back page of the Sunday bulletin, I would add citations of telling passages from theologians, short poems, and interesting quotations. I once added a statement from Spurgen's John Plowman's Talks which I thought was quite amusing. Spurgen said that many church members reminded him of his neighbor's pigs, "all grunt and no bacon." I was startled at how many members believed I meant them, and they were angry! On second thought, I realized they were right!
- I have received several requests lately to comment on Biblical rules for inheritance, a matter I have discussed in Institutes of Biblical Law. Briefly, we are to capitalize God's Kingdom by confining inheritance to our godly children. It is a sin to reward sin; the ungodly should be disinherited. But it is sad how many people delude themselves into believing that their reprobate child or children are godly. Your other children can usually tell you the truth without illusions.
- We live in the upper foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. When we settled here some 22 years ago, we quickly learned that the wildlife on the property included mountain lions, a lioness and her cub. But for years, with the arrogance of science, "authorities" denied that mountain lions still existed here. Only when an "authority" found evidence of one were such animals officially considered in existence. A few years later, because they were so plentiful, their presence was a threat, and a law was passed to open up limited hunting. This the courts blocked. Now some mountain lions are in the cities, in parks, and are killing people.
Another problem: in Stockton, California, a city about 65 miles below us, a widow, Kettie Numley, age 87, has a home on a quiet street near the river. She also has a large and beautiful pine tree in her front yard. Black-crowned night herons, Nysticorax Ayticorax, have made the neighborhood their home, especially her tree. A reporter counted 25 to 40 young ones alone. The bird droppings have hit the widow about 200 times. Also, the birds bring fish, frogs, rats, mice, and crawdads to the tree and house to eat, and they are prone to upchucking. The roof has to be cleaned weekly, and the smelly upchuck on the walks and lawn fill several garbage cans weekly. It would cost $1600 to cut down the tree, and Mrs. N. cannot afford that. But any damages to the birds can mean a severe fine and imprisonment. The herons are supposedly an endangered species!
Aborting a human child is legal, but touch a heron, and you go to jail!
- I like this statement of a mid-eleventh-century abbot, Herluin of Bec: "Of what use is a man who is ignorant of letters and of the commandments of God?"
The Venerable Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, tells us of the King Sigebehrt of Essex who was killed by his own kinsmen because as a new Christian he forgave his enemies in violation of the barbarian's code.
- Tempus fugit. Time flies, indeed it does. When I was 18, age 80 seemed very remote, and now I am 81. "I don't remember getting older!" But I have, and, hopefully, a little wiser and more patient. And the Lord remains always gracious.
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