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Archive for January, 2018

When love with uncommon force

Demands complete surrender

Old Age must an idea perforce

Lose domain it had before;

Years bind such outward sinews

Of Time as Autumn limns the eye:

Seasons like ages fall to disuse

And with Spring proves a lie.

 

Stone walls do not a prison make

Nor what lies an Age tells

I cannot with good sense take

When Love made me break the walls-

Bonds of my nine month ordeal,

I shall no wise exchange for another

Though be cast in gold and silver, a deal

Fit for dumb and the stupid in hell.

Benny
Original

To Althea from prison by Richard Lovelace,1642

When love with unconfined wings
Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
To whisper at the grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair
And fettered to her eye,
The gods that wanton in the air
Know no such liberty.

When flowing cups run swiftly round,
With no allaying Thames,
Our careless heads with roses bound,
Our hearts with loyal flames;
When thirsty grief in wine we steep,
When healths and draughts go free,
Fishes that tipple in the deep
Know no such liberty.

When like committed linnets I
With shriller throat shall sing
The sweetness, mercy, majesty,
And glories of my King:
When I shall voice aloud how good
He is, how great should be,
Enlarged winds, that curl the flood,
Know no such liberty.

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage:
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage.
If I have freedom in my love,
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.

 

 

 

 

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The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitely settled–but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.

It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Fortunato cause to doubt my good-will. I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation.

He had a weak point–this Fortunato–although in other regards he was a man to be respected and even feared. He prided himself on his connoisseurship in wine. Few Italians have the true virtuoso spirit. For the most part their enthusiasm is adopted to suit the time and opportunity–to practise imposture upon the British and Austrian millionaires. In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack–but in the matter of old wines he was sincere. In this respect I did not differ from him materially: I was skillful in the Italian vintages myself, and bought largely whenever I could.

It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season, that I encountered my friend. He accosted me with excessive warmth, for he had been drinking much. The man wore motley. He had on a tight-fitting party-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells. I was so pleased to see him that I thought I should never have done wringing his hand.

I said to him: “My dear Fortunato, you are luckily met. How remarkably well you are looking to-day! But I have received a pipe of what passes for Amontillado, and I have my doubts.”

“How?” said he. “Amontillado? A pipe? Impossible! And in the middle of the carnival!”

“I have my doubts,” I replied; “and I was silly enough to pay the full Amontillado price without consulting you in the matter. You were not to be found, and I was fearful of losing a bargain.”

“Amontillado!”

“I have my doubts.”

“Amontillado!”

“And I must satisfy them.”

“Amontillado!”

“As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi. If any one has a critical turn, it is he. He will tell me– ”

“Luchesi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry.”

“And yet some fools will have it that his taste is a match for your own.”

“Come, let us go.”

“Whither?”

“To your vaults.”

“My friend, no. I will not impose upon your good nature. I perceive you have an engagement. Luchesi–”

“I have no engagement–come.”

“My friend, no. It is not the engagement, but the severe cold with which I perceive you are afflicted. The vaults are insufferably damp. They are encrusted with nitre.”

“Let us go, nevertheless. The cold is merely nothing. Amontillado! You have been imposed upon. And as for Luchesi, he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado.”

Thus speaking, Fortunato possessed himself of my arm. Putting on a mask of black silk, and drawing a roquelaure closely about my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo.

There were no attendants at home; they had absconded to make merry in honour of the time. I had told them that I should not return until the morning, and had given them explicit orders not to stir from the house. These orders were sufficient, I well knew, to insure their immediate disappearance, one and all, as soon as my back was turned.

I took from their sconces two flambeaux, and giving one to Fortunato, bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into the vaults. I passed down a long and winding staircase, requesting him to be cautious as he followed. We came at length to the foot of the descent, and stood together on the damp ground of the catacombs of the Montresors.

The gait of my friend was unsteady, and the bells upon his cap jingled as he strode.

“The pipe,” said he.

“It is farther on,” said I; “but observe the white webwork which gleams from these cavern walls.”

He turned towards me, and looked into my eyes with two filmy orbs that distilled the rheum of intoxication.

“Nitre?” he asked, at length.

“Nitre,” I replied. “How long have you had that cough?”

“Ugh! ugh! ugh!–ugh! ugh! ugh!–ugh! ugh! ugh!–ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh! ugh!”

My poor friend found it impossible to reply. for many minutes.

“It is nothing,” he said at last.

“Come,” I said, with decision, “we will go back; your health is precious. You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy, as once I was. You are a man to be missed. For me it is no matter. We will go back; you will be ill, and I cannot be responsible. Besides, there is Luchesi–”

“Enough,” he said: “the cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. I shall not die of a cough.”

“True–true.” I replied; “and indeed, I had no intention of alarming you unnecessarily–but you should use all proper caution. A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps.”

Here I knocked off the neck of a bottle which I drew from a long row of its fellows that lay upon the mould.

“Drink,” I said, presenting him the wine.

He raised it to his lips with a leer. He paused and nodded to me familiarly, while his bells jingled.

“I drink,” he said, “to the buried that repose around us.”

“And I to your long life.”

He again took my arm, and we proceeded.

“These vaults,” he said, “are extensive.”

“The Montresors,” I replied, “were a great and numerous family.”

“I forget your arms.”

“A huge human foot d’or, in a field azure; the foot crushes a serpent rampant whose fangs are embedded in the heel.”

“And the motto?”

Nemo me impune lacessit.”

“Good!” he said.

The wine sparkled in his eyes and the bells jingled. My own fancy grew warm with the Medoc. We had passed through walls of piled bones, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of the catacombs. I paused again, and this time I made bold to seize Fortunato by an arm above the elbow.

“The nitre!” I said; “see, it increases. It hangs like moss upon the vaults. We are below the river’s bed. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones. Come, we will go back ere it is too late. Your cough–”

“It is nothing,” he said; “let us go on. But first, another draught of the Medoc.”

I broke and reached him a flagon of De Grâve. He emptied it at a breath. His eyes flashed with a fierce light. He laughed, and threw the bottle upward with a gesticulation I did not understand.

I looked at him in surprise. He repeated the movement–a grotesque one.

“You do not comprehend?” he said.

“Not I,” I replied.

“Then you are not of the brotherhood.”

“How?”

“You are not of the masons.”

“Yes, yes,” I said, “yes, yes.”

“You? Impossible! A mason?”

“A mason,” I replied.

“A sign,” he said.

“It is this,” I answered, producing a trowel from beneath the folds of my roquelaure.

“You jest,” he exclaimed, recoiling a few paces. “But let us proceed to the Amontillado.”

“Be it so,” I said, replacing the tool beneath the cloak, and again offering him my arm. He leaned upon it heavily. We continued our route in search of the Amontillado. We passed through a range of low arches, descended, passed on, and, descending again, arrived at a deep crypt, in which the foulness of the air caused our flambeaux rather to glow than flame.

At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains, piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the fourth the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size. Within the wall thus exposed by the displacing of the bones we perceived a still interior recess, in depth about four feet, in width three, in height six or seven. It seemed to have been constructed for no especial use within itself, but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite.

It was in vain that Fortunato, uplifting his dull torch, endeavored to pry into the depth of the recess. Its termination the feeble light did not enable us to see.

“Proceed,” I said; “herein is the Amontillado. As for Luchesi–”

“He is an ignoramus,” interrupted my friend, as he stepped unsteadily forward, while I followed immediately at his heels. In an instant he had reached the extremity of the niche, and finding his progress arrested by the rock, stood stupidly bewildered. A moment more and I had fetteredhim to the granite. In its surface were two iron staples, distant from each other about two feet, horizontally. From one of these depended a short chain, from the other a padlock. Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it. He was too much astounded to resist. Withdrawing the key, I stepped back from the recess.

“Pass your hand,” I said, “over the wall; you cannot help feeling the nitre. Indeed it is verydamp. Once more let me implore you to return. No? Then I must positively leave you. But I must first render you all the little attentions in my power.”

“The Amontillado!” ejaculated my friend, not yet recovered from his astonishment.

“True,” I replied; “the Amontillado.”

As I said these words I busied myself among the pile of bones of which I have before spoken. Throwing them aside, I soon uncovered a quantity of building-stone and mortar. With these materials and with the aid of my trowel, I began vigorously to wall up the entrance of the niche.

I had scarcely laid the first tier of the masonry when I discovered that the intoxication of Fortunato had in a great measure worn off. The earliest indication I had of this was a low moaning cry from the depth of the recess. It was not the cry of a drunken man. There was then a long and obstinate silence. I laid the second tier, and the third, and the fourth; and then I heard the furious vibrations of the chain. The noise lasted for several minutes, during which, that I might hearken to it with the more satisfaction, I ceased my labours and sat down upon the bones. When at last the clanking subsided, I resumed the trowel, and finished without interruption the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh tier. The wall was now nearly upon a level with my breast. I again paused, and holding the flambeaux over the masonwork, threw a few feeble rays upon the figure within.

A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a brief moment I hesitated–I trembled. Unsheathing my rapier, I began to grope with it about the recess; but the thought of an instant reassured me. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs, and felt satisfied. I reapproached the wall. I replied to the yells of him who clamoured. I reëchoed–I aided–I surpassed them in volume and in strength. I did this, and the clamourer grew still.

It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed the eighth, the ninth, and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. I struggled with its weight; I placed it partially in its destined position. But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. It was succeeded by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognising as that of the noble Fortunato. The voice said:

“Ha! ha! ha!–he! he! he!–a very good joke indeed–an excellent jest. We will have many a rich laugh about it at the palazzo–he! he! he!–over our wine–he! he! he!”

“The Amontillado!” I said.

“He! he! he!–he! he! he!–yes, the Amontillado. But is it not getting late? Will not they be awaiting us at the palazzo–the Lady Fortunato and the rest? Let us be gone.”

“Yes,” I said, “let us be gone.”

“For the love of God, Montresor!”

“Yes,” I said, “for the love of God!”

But to these words I hearkened in vain for a reply. I grew impatient. I called aloud:

“Fortunato!”

No answer. I called again:

“Fortunato!”

No answer still. I thrust a torch through the remaining aperture and let it fall within. There came forth in return only a jingling of the bells. My heart grew sick–on account of the dampness of the catacombs. I hastened to make an end of my labour. I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up. Against the new masonry I reërected the old rampart of bones. For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them. In pace requiescat.

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One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
There was clearly nothing left to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the look-out for the mendicancy squad.
In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”
The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, the letters of “Dillingham” looked blurred, as though they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a grey cat walking a grey fence in a grey backyard. To-morrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honour of being owned by Jim.
There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its colour within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out of the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.
On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she cluttered out of the door and down the stairs to the street.
Where she stopped the sign read: “Mme Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One Eight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”
“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.
“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”
Down rippled the brown cascade.
“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.
“Give it to me quick” said Della.
Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.
She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 78 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.
When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task dear friends–a mammoth task.
Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.
“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty-seven cents?”
At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.
Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit of saying little silent prayers about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please, God, make him think I am still pretty.”
The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.
Jim stepped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.
Della wriggled off the table and went for him.
“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold it because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say ‘Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice-what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”
“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet, even after the hardest mental labour.
“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?”
Jim looked about the room curiously.
“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.
“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with a sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”
Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.
Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.
“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”
White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.
For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped for long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise-shell, with jewelled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.
But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”
And then Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”
Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”
Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.
“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy Your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”
The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men-who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.
(Ack:classicshorts.com)

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“And it came to pass…that God did tempt Abraham”(Ge.22:1-19). In demanding Abraham to sacrifice Isaac we have a passage, which at the surface sounds very contradictory. God does not tempt man of which we have this verse, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man (Jas.1:13).”

At the end of the sacrifice it was not Isaac but a ram served the purpose just as well. The Angel of the Lord calling out to him from heaven thereby stopping the action is one vignette. Between God and Abraham, faith of the latter had proven what was crucial. Next was merely finding a substitute to complete the interaction. God had provided for in such visible manner the substitute. It is a clear example of the provisions that lay in God’s blessings to Abraham. Second time when God said: “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed (23:18).

Abraham saw a ram caught in the thicket. It served Abraham as a substitute for his only begotten son, is a substitutionary symbol for God the Son. Ram and the Lamb of God refer to the nations in which the nation of Israel is but one. We have a similar symbol, in the story of Hosea, which shall help us to understand the context where a substitutionary symbol becomes useful. In order to testify against the spiritual whoredom of Israel and Judah what does God do? “And the Lord said to Hosea, Go take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms; for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord (Hos.1:2) Christians are enjoined to live honourably ‘not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of man (2 Co. 8:21).’ The Spirit in apportioning realities of heaven with those of the earth uses symbols, which need not always run on predictable lines. Neither shall time and place of man restrict the Glory of God to express wholly in a manner human mind may comprehend the divine rationale. It is the office of the Spirit to counsel, help and lead man into all truth. Thus anyone judging Hosea is in error as those Christians whose activism prompts them to pillory their brethren whose life styles are different. “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth…(Ro.14:4,8)

A substitutionary symbol is exception to the rule.

Benny 

 

 

 

 

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Wherever we read of God judging whether it be of the old world or the cities of the plains his judgments are partial. Noah and his family, altogether 8 souls were spared from the flood.

“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved to fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (2Pe.3:7-American KJV)”.What we often miss is that the heavens also are reserved for judgment. Satan is prince of the power of the air among other things. Judgment of heavens shall occur only when Satan is finally consigned to the lake of fire and brimstone (Re.20:10). Prior to this Satan shall be bound for a thousand years. It signals the Millennial Reign where Jesus Christ shall set up his kingdom on the earth. The Spirit while setting down the story of Noah in his ark serves us a foretaste of earthly bliss that no worldly governments could provide. Immediate purpose of the Spirit in setting the narrative account of the Son is to make Noah as a forerunner of Jesus Christ the Messiah-King. Noah is an antitype of the Messiah.

Judgment as we discussed here is only partial. What we may conclude from this is sovereignty of God makes heaven and the earth as one. Similar to the realities of the earth there exists reality of the heaven. Thus whenever God makes a covenant with man we shall see a testimony similarly set up in heaven. Why this must be so? The Word settled in heaven is eternal. It is the constitution of the sovereign God. So much so not a jot or tittle shall pass from it though heaven and the earth pass away (Mt.5:18). Millennial Reign is an event that must occur on the earth in God’s Time. We also see the testimony in heavens in the shape of the four living creatures. They were shown in the vision of John being present in the midst of the throne. “And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle (Re.4: 7)”. When God made a covenant with Noah the Spirit would instruct us that it had become a memorial before God. Whether it was Adam or Noah, man’s association with other creations of God are recorded in heaven.

We see before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah he tells thus: “I will go down now, and see whether they (people of S&G) have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me…(Ge.18:21)” Omnipresent God has no need to go on any fact finding mission. The Spirit is, however, referring to this ‘cry’ as a testimony on which his judgment shall be passed. The parable of the Persistent widow (Lk.18:1-8) teaches us the same. God shall execute his judgment certainly in his Time, so no one shall accuse him of neglecting his sovereign Authority.

(text reprinted from Guide to His Word of 27 Jan,18)

Benny

 

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Then she looked at me. I thought that she was looking at me for the first time. But then, when she turned around behind the lamp and I kept feeling her slippery and oily look in back of me, over my shoulder, I understood that it was I who was looking at her for the first time. I lit a cigarette. I took a drag on the harsh, strong smoke, before spinning in the chair, balancing on one of the rear legs. After that I saw her there, as if she’d been standing beside the lamp looking at me every night. For a few brief minutes that’s all we did: look at each other. I looked from the chair, balancing on one of the rear legs. She stood, with a long and quiet hand on the lamp, looking at me. I saw her eyelids lighted up as on every night. It was then that I remembered the usual thing, when I said to her: “Eyes of a blue dog.” Without taking her hand off the lamp she said to me: “That. We’ll never forget that.” She left the orbit, sighing: “Eyes of a blue dog. I’ve written it everywhere.”
I saw her walk over to the dressing table. I watched her appear in the circular glass of the mirror looking at me now at the end of a back and forth of mathematical light. I watched her keep on looking at me with her great hot-coal eyes: looking at me while she opened the little box covered with pink mother of pearl. I saw her powder her nose. When she finished, she closed the box, stood up again, and walked over to the lamp once more, saying: “I’m afraid that someone is dreaming about this room and revealing my secrets.” And over the flame she held the same long and tremulous hand that she had been warming before sitting down at the mirror. And she said: “You don’t feel the cold.” And I said to her: “Sometimes.” And she said to me: “You must feel it now.” And then I understood why I couldn’t have been alone in the seat. It was the cold that had been giving me the certainty of my solitude. “Now I feel it,” I said. “And it’s strange because the night is quiet. Maybe the sheet fell off.” She didn’t answer. Again she began to move toward the mirror and I turned again in the chair, keeping my back to her. Without seeing her, I knew what she was doing. I knew that she was sitting in front of the mirror again, seeing my back, which had had time to reach the depths of the mirror and be caught by her look, which had also had just enough time to reach the depths and return–before the hand had time to start the second turn–until her lips were anointed now with crimson, from the first turn of her hand in front of the mirror. I saw, opposite me, the smooth wall, which was like another blind mirror in which I couldn’t see her–sitting behind me–but could imagine her where she probably was as if a mirror had been hung in place of the wall. “I see you,” I told her. And on the wall I saw what was as if she had raised her eyes and had seen me with my back turned toward her from the chair, in the depths of the mirror, my face turned toward the wall. Then I saw her lower her eyes again and remain with her eyes always on her brassiere, not talking. And I said to her again: “I see you.” And she raised her eyes from her brassiere again. “That’s impossible,” she said. I asked her why. And she, with her eyes quiet and on her brassiere again: “Because your face is turned toward the wall.” Then I spun the chair around. I had the cigarette clenched in my mouth. When I stayed facing the mirror she was back by the lamp. Now she had her hands open over the flame, like the two wings of a hen, toasting herself, and with her face shaded by her own fingers. “I think I’m going to catch cold,” she said. “This must be a city of ice.” She turned her face to profile and her skin, from copper to red, suddenly became sad. “Do something about it,” she said. And she began to get undressed, item by item, starting at the top with the brassiere. I told her: “I’m going to turn back to the wall.” She said: “No. In any case, you’ll see me the way you did when your back was turned.” And no sooner had she said it than she was almost completely undressed, with the flame licking her long copper skin. “I’ve always wanted to see you like that, with the skin of your belly full of deep pits, as if you’d been beaten.” And before I realized that my words had become clumsy at the sight of her nakedness she became motionless, warming herself on the globe of the lamp, and she said: “Sometimes I think I’m made of metal.” She was silent for an instant. The position of her hands over the flame varied slightly. I said: “Sometimes in other dreams, I’ve thought you were only a little bronze statue in the corner of some museum. Maybe that’s why you’re cold.” And she said: “Sometimes, when I sleep on my heart, I can feel my body growing hollow and my skin is like plate. Then, when the blood beats inside me, it’s as if someone were calling by knocking on my stomach and I can feel my own copper sound in the bed. It’s like–what do you call it–laminated metal.” She drew closer to the lamp. “I would have liked to hear you,” I said. And she said: “If we find each other sometime, put your ear to my ribs when I sleep on the left side and you’ll hear me echoing. I’ve always wanted you to do it sometime.” I heard her breathe heavily as she talked. And she said that for years she’d done nothing different. Her life had been dedicated to finding me in reality, through that identifying phrase: “Eyes of a blue dog.” And she went along the street saying it aloud, as a way of telling the only person who could have understood her:
“I’m the one who comes into your dreams every night and tells you: ‘Eyes of a blue dog.'” And she said that she went into restaurants and before ordering said to the waiters: “Eyes of a blue dog.” But the waiters bowed reverently, without remembering ever having said that in their dreams. Then she would write on the napkins and scratch on the varnish of the tables with a knife: “Eyes of a blue dog.” And on the steamed-up windows of hotels, stations, all public buildings, she would write with her forefinger: “Eyes of a blue dog.” She said that once she went into a drugstore and noticed the same smell that she had smelled in her room one night after having dreamed about me. “He must be near,” she thought, seeing the clean, new tiles of the drugstore. Then she went over to the clerk and said to him: “I always dream about a man who says to me: ‘Eyes of a blue dog.'” And she said the clerk had looked at her eyes and told her: “As a matter of fact, miss, you do have eyes like that.” And she said to him: “I have to find the man who told me those very words in my dreams.” And the clerk started to laugh and moved to the other end of the counter. She kept on seeing the clean tile and smelling the odor. And she opened her purse and on the tiles with her crimson lipstick, she wrote in red letters: “Eyes of a blue dog.” The clerk came back from where he had been. He told her: Madam, you have dirtied the tiles.” He gave her a damp cloth, saying: “Clean it up.” And she said, still by the lamp, that she had spent the whole afternoon on all fours, washing the tiles and saying: “Eyes of a blue dog,” until people gathered at the door and said she was crazy.
Now, when she finished speaking, I remained in the corner, sitting, rocking in the chair. “Every day I try to remember the phrase with which I am to find you,” I said. “Now I don’t think I’ll forget it tomorrow. Still, I’ve always said the same thing and when I wake up I’ve always forgotten what the words I can find you with are.” And she said: “You invented them yourself on the first day.” And I said to her: “I invented them because I saw your eyes of ash. But I never remember the next morning.” And she, with clenched fists, beside the lamp, breathed deeply: “If you could at least remember now what city I’ve been writing it in.”
Her tightened teeth gleamed over the flame. “I’d like to touch you now,” I said. She raised the face that had been looking at the light; she raised her look, burning, roasting, too, just like her, like her hands, and I felt that she saw me, in the corner where I was sitting, rocking in the chair. “You’d never told me that,” she said. “I tell you now and it’s the truth,” I said. From the other side of the lamp she asked for a cigarette. The butt had disappeared between my fingers. I’d forgotten I was smoking. She said: “I don’t know why I can’t remember where I wrote it.” And I said to her: “For the same reason that tomorrow I won’t be able to remember the words.” And she said sadly: “No. It’s just that sometimes I think that I’ve dreamed that too.” I stood up and walked toward the lamp. She was a little beyond, and I kept on walking with the cigarettes and matches in my hand, which would not go beyond the lamp. I held the cigarette out to her. She squeezed it between her lips and leaned over to reach the flame before I had time to light the match. “In some city in the world, on all the walls, those words have to appear in writing: ‘Eyes of a blue dog,” I said. “If I remembered them tomorrow I could find you.” She raised her head again and now the lighted coal was between her lips. “Eyes of a blue dog,” she sighed, remembered, with the cigarette drooping over her chin and one eye half closed. Then she sucked in the smoke with the cigarette between her fingers and exclaimed: “This is something else now. I’m warming up.” And she said it with her voice a little lukewarm and fleeting, as if she hadn’t really said it, but as if she had written it on a piece of paper and had brought the paper close to the flame while I read: “I’m warming,” and she had continued with the paper between her thumb and forefinger, turning it around as it was being consumed and I had just read “. . . up,” before the paper was completely consumed and dropped all wrinkled to the floor, diminished, converted into light ash dust. “That’s better,” I said. “Sometimes it frightens me to see you that way. Trembling beside a lamp.”
We had been seeing each other for several years. Sometimes, when we were already together, somebody would drop a spoon outside and we would wake up. Little by little we’d been coming to understand that our friendship was subordinated to things, to the simplest of happenings. Our meetings always ended that way, with the fall of a spoon early in the morning.
Now, next to the lamp, she was looking at me. I remembered that she had also looked at me in that way in the past, from that remote dream where I made the chair spin on its back legs and remained facing a strange woman with ashen eyes. It was in that dream that I asked her for the first time: “Who are you?” And she said to me: “I don’t remember.” I said to her: “But I think we’ve seen each other before.” And she said, indifferently: “I think I dreamed about you once, about this same room.” And I told her: “That’s it. I’m beginning to remember now.” And she said: “How strange. It’s certain that we’ve met in other dreams.”
She took two drags on the cigarette. I was still standing, facing the lamp, when suddenly I kept looking at her. I looked her up and down and she was still copper; no longer hard and cold metal, but yellow, soft, malleable copper. “I’d like to touch you,” I said again. And she said: “You’ll ruin everything.” I said: “It doesn’t matter now. All we have to do is turn the pillow in order to meet again.” And I held my hand out over the lamp. She didn’t move. “You’ll ruin everything,” she said again before I could touch her. “Maybe, if you come around behind the lamp, we’d wake up frightened in who knows what part of the world.” But I insisted: “It doesn’t matter.” And she said: “If we turned over the pillow, we’d meet again. But when you wake up you’ll have forgotten.” I began to move toward the corner. She stayed behind, warming her hands over the flame. And I still wasn’t beside the chair when I heard her say behind me: “When I wake up at midnight, I keep turning in bed, with the fringe of the pillow burning my knee, and repeating until dawn: ‘Eyes of a blue dog.'”
Then I remained with my face toward the wall. “It’s already dawning,” I said without looking at her. “When it struck two I was awake and that was a long time back.” I went to the door. When I had the knob in my hand, I heard her voice again, the same, invariable. “Don’t open that door,” she said. “The hallway is full of difficult dreams.” And I asked her: “How do you know?” And she told me: “Because I was there a moment ago and I had to come back when I discovered I was sleeping on my heart.” I had the door half opened. I moved it a little and a cold, thin breeze brought me the fresh smell of vegetable earth, damp fields. She spoke again. I gave the turn, still moving the door, mounted on silent hinges, and I told her: “I don’t think there’s any hallway outside here. I’m getting the smell of country.” And she, a little distant, told me: “I know that better than you. What’s happening is that there’s a woman outside dreaming about the country.” She crossed her arms over the flame. She continued speaking: “It’s that woman who always wanted to have a house in the country and was never able to leave the city.” I remembered having seen the woman in some previous dream, but I knew, with the door ajar now, that within half an hour I would have to go down for breakfast. And I said: “In any case, I have to leave here in order to wake up.”
Outside the wind fluttered for an instant, then remained quiet, and the breathing of someone sleeping who had just turned over in bed could be heard. The wind from the fields had ceased. There were no more smells. “Tomorrow I’ll recognize you from that,” I said. “I’ll recognize you when on the street I see a woman writing ‘Eyes of a blue dog’ on the walls.” And she, with a sad smile–which was already a smile of surrender to the impossible, the unreachable–said: “Yet you won’t remember anything during the day.” And she put her hands back over the lamp, her features darkened by a bitter cloud. “You’re the only man who doesn’t remember anything of what he’s dreamed after he wakes up.”
(Ack: classicshort.com

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