Sunday Poem

One of my besetting sins is wrath. I find myself hating people and instituitions, but then what they do is hateful.

When Dr. Johnson said that his friend Dr. Bathurst was a “good hater,” he meant that Dr. Bathurst was good at hating things that Dr. Johnson thought it good to hate. And about the things it is good to hate, Dr. Johnson was very seldom wrong. The same cannot be said about today’s vociferous haters of “hate,” since they believe they are “good haters” but are, in fact, sanctimonious sadists. Some have said that one must be cruel to be kind. These sanctimonious sadists are kind to be cruel.

The older divines knew hatred had uses. One is commanded to hate evil. The hatred of sin leads to one shunning the habits that lead to sin.

For the passions we have, love for God, and hatred for that God hates, keeps the mind moving and the heart warm. Without our passions, our emotions, any religion becomes an intellectual exercise and the relationship we have with God and man dies.

Which brings me to that Anglican Priest, Herbert, who was fanning the flames of his love for God by conversation. Iron does sharpen Iron. Plastic, Tinsel or Balsa does not. Our system is the latter.

Employment.

He that is weary, let him sit.
My soul would stirre
And trade in courtesies and wit,
Quitting the furre
To cold complexions needing it.

Man is no starre, but a quick coal
Of mortall fire;
Who blows it not, nor doth controll
A faint desire,
Lets his own ashes choke his soul.

When th’ elements did for place contest
With him, whose will
Ordain’d the highest to be best;
The earth sat still,
And by the others is opprest.

Life is a business, not good cheer;
Ever in warres.
The sunne still shineth there or here,
Whereas the starres
Watch an advantage to appeare.

Oh that I were an Orenge-tree,
That busie plant!
Then should I ever laden be,
And never want
Some fruit for him that dressed me.

But we are still too young or old;
The man is gone,
Before we do our wares unfold:
So we freeze on,
Untill the grave increase our cold.

The Temple, George Herbert, 1633

This is why bodily training is good, but spiritual training better. This is why we need companionship, even deep introverts that blog. And this is why the time we have in the word and in prayer is essential. We need to fan the flames of the Holy Spirit, not quench them.