The Men of Whitby!

“The men of Whitby” is a story by Robert Blatchford relating the effort to rescue the passengers and crew from a stricken vessel in ‘Robin Hood’ bay in 1881.9457326879_8c2b42832f_z

The ‘Robin Hood’ bay life boat is damaged and out of action and the sea is too rough to risk rowing the ‘Whitby ‘life boat around the coast. They therefore hit upon the thought to take the boat overland despite warnings of it impossibility and dire weather conditions.


After super human effort and a groundswell of local support the boat crew manages to get the boat to ‘Robin Hood’ bay.

The first attempt is forced back by immense waves and half the oars are shattered and half the crew put out of action.

Taking the oars from the damaged local life boat and fresh men taken aboard but again they are forced back. But again they attempt to reach the vessel in its dire peril647033102

All this time the passengers and crew of the vessel are unaware of the mighty efforts being made on their behalf’s and only when the lifeboat men cheer do they realize that their deliverance is at hand.

The story ends ,

“Oh, it was a glorious day! a strife of giants! a triumph of heroes! Imagine the delighted enthusiasm, the frantic excitement of the crowd when the shipwrecked crew were landed on that dangerous rocky shore, snatched from the very jaws of death – saved, saved to a man! – saved by the dauntless courage and magnificently heroic devotion of the fishermen of Whitby, who brought their lifeboat overland.”


While making allowance for some poetic license, there is no doubt that this story has often stirred my soul and brought a tear to my eye.

In the spiritual realm it is this desire to save that made Christianity different from the religions of men.

The saving love of Christ seen in his life and death upon the Cross has always fueled the zeal and fired the hearts of Christians for the proclamation of the gospel of Salvation.

It can only be said that the malaise the modern Church finds itself in is largely due to its allowing this fire to burn low and be replaced with a desire for people’s mere acceptance of Christian profession.

Is Jesus indeed, the Saviour and the only one, or is He not? If so we who have experienced his mercy and grace must declare Him as such without fear or favour.



Tongue Tied Christians in prayer!

A ‘Methodist’ lady on an emigrant ship coming to Australia in the 1800’s complained to the captain that there was no ‘prayer meeting’ on board ship. He replied that the Anglican minister on board ship read ‘prayers’ Sunday morning. She replied that they were only ‘Parson’s prayers’.

The Christian’s constant peril is falling into the habit of praying merely by rote and habit.

Books of prayers and artificial helps may have their place but only if they lay a foundation upon which we ourselves build.

To have needs, desires and concerns is common to us all but the teaching of Scripture about prayer is all about the way we ‘give them utterance’ in the presence of ‘Our Heavenly Father’.

What we say in prayer is less a factor than how we come. While we indeed come to God through Christ as sinners, we also come as children.

It is natural for us to want to come into our father’s presence as presentable as possible yet for all our washing and scrubbing we still come clothed in the righteousness of Christ. The washing away of remaining sin is from God so coming to him in all our sin and shame is unavoidable.

The ‘shopping list’ tendency in prayer may stem from our ‘business’ like attitude and not wanting to hold God up with extraneous matters and civilities.

No doubt the crises of life and our agitated states may excuse us many a time yet in the normal course of our lives we need to stop and consider who it is to whom we come.

To pray after the pattern of the Lord’s Prayer or if you prefer the Pattern our Lord gave us for prayer is a good starting place for those ‘ all at sea’ when it comes to prayer. Our application of its principals to our current situations and as it were filling the names and problems into the blanks is useful sometimes.

One major thing to is to not fall into the habit of neglecting prayer or forever putting it off.

The Holy Spirit graciously intercedes within us in our prayers and Christ all availingly intercedes for us at the ‘Throne of grace’ but all this depends upon us praying in the first place.

john Cennick2


The Men of Whitby!

A Worse than Egyptian darkness!

The ninth plague that God sent upon Egypt was a darkness which could be felt, (Exodus 10:21). It was such darkness that during its whole duration no one could move from their place for three whole days.

Darkness and the ‘night’ very often carry a sense of judgment in Scripture also it is highly symbolic of the heightened activity of ‘satanic powers’.

This is not to say that the coming of the ‘night’ does not also mean the end of the days labour and the promise of well deserved repose.

Of course the most notable instance of a prevailing and supernatural ‘darkness’ was that which occurred at the time of Christ’s crucifixion. It lasted for three whole hours.darkness at the cross

The speculation regarding the cause and extent of this event has exercised theologians, scientists and skeptics for years. Needless to say that for many it all comes down to a person’s beliefs regarding Jesus Christ.

This great ‘darkness’ effectively shrouded Christ for a time and prevented the witnessing of this part of his ‘titanic’ struggle with sin and the enemy.

It also seems to signify for a brief moment, the hiding of the Father’s face though not His love.

As no  human eye could penetrate that ‘worse than Egyptian darkness’, so no human understanding can penetrate and comprehend the struggle and suffering that occurred when the sinless ‘Son of Man’ combated sin and the powers of darkness to satisfy for the sin of man.

The believing soul can only humble themselves and remember that it was done for them and their salvation.

“Thy unknown Sufferings”

Someone said that the ‘sufferings of Christ’s soul were the soul of His sufferings. The ‘Greek’ church’s liturgy asks

“By Thy unknown sufferings, have mercy upon us, O Christ.”

The depths of suffering which Christ experienced in His last hours and culminating upon the Cross are an abyss to which we can never sound.

Jesus said of the disciples “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials,” Luke 22:28 According to Alexander McLaren, this saying would refer not to Christ’s first and final sufferings , because the disciples were not in attendance at these events, but rather to the sufferings Christ endured throughout His earthly ministry.

Christ began his ministry in suffering temptation by Satan and deprivation in the wilderness. He ended his ministry in suffering through the agonies of Gethsemane and the arrest and crucifixion.

However this saying of Jesus seems to refer to what Christ suffered day by day throughout his earthly life.

Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost but instead of welcome and gratitude He met with for the most part scorn and misunderstanding.

Even when the people most seemed to ‘adore’ Him they were imagining Christ as what they desired Him to be instead of who He was.

Even when His teachings were being admired and hung upon by the multitudes they were for the most part falling upon ‘stony ground’.

Christ as man, no doubt felt keenly the rejection of mankind deeply.

“Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:3

Knowing the love of Christ for mankind as seen by the pain He suffered for our salvation, we can see a little of what the pain He suffered as a result of the misunderstanding, obduracy and hardness of heart he encountered throughout his earthly walk.

This is one aspect of Christ’s sufferings that the believer can to a small degree enter into; because if we are faithful to Christ and his truth, we to will suffer the same sort of treatment.

Lives in parallel!

While researching my family I followed what I thought was my great grandfather’s life. It turned out that I was following the wrong person. The difference came down to the ‘O’ in front of the name.

It is ironic that my grandfather dropped the ‘O’ off the family name, more irony still, my great, great grandfather’s name had no ‘O’ in front of it either.

This other man I researched had two other similarities to my great grandfather inasmuch as he was born in the same year and died in the same year.

It would be interesting to have been able to pursue the coincidences further.

It is as I have pointed out before a favourite theme of ‘science fiction’ is the consequences of interference with events of the past and ‘alternate reality’.

No doubt this long dead person had many of the same choices and opportunities laid before him during his life. Which choices did he make? How was his life different?diverging paths.jpeg

The overarching question proposed as we come to this time of year, though it should be far more often, is what are we doing with regards to this ‘Crucified’ man? It is our answer to this question that will dictate the path of our future lives.


A Worse than Egyptian darkness!

“They being Dead yet speaketh”


Sadly this grave is in ‘off the beaten track’ part of the cemetery, yet I wonder how many who do see it pause and reflect upon it.

We may put the thought of death far from us but this does not lessen its inevitability.

The Day of Salvation is now and any prevarication is dangerous.

As the Lord God has through Christ came and sought us so we are called upon to seek Him while He may be found.

We are not merely called to take up the profession of Christianity but rather to be made anew in ‘being born from above’ and become a new creation.

May all who read this blog who do not know the Saviour ,the Lord Jesus Christ, take heed and act upon this warning from someone so long departed.

thomas brooks


“They being Dead yet speaketh”

The Roaring Forties.

“The Roaring Forties are strong westerly winds found in the Southern Hemisphere, generally between the latitudes of 40and 50 degrees. The strong west-to-east air currents are caused by the combination of air being displaced from the Equator towards the South Pole, the Earth’s rotation, and the scarcity of landmasses to serve as windbreaks.

The Roaring Forties were a major aid to ships sailing the Brouwer Route from Europe to the East Indies or Australasia during the Age of Sail, and in modern usage are favoured by yachtsmen on round-the-world voyages and competitions. The boundaries of the Roaring Forties are not consistent, and shift north or south depending on the season. Similar but stronger conditions occurring in more southerly latitudes are referred to as the Furious Fifties and the Shrieking or Screaming Sixties.” (Wikipedia)

1roaring forties.JPG

The sailing ship ‘Champion of the Seas’ took 83 days to bring my ‘Gilbert’ ancestors from Liverpool to Melbourne in 1855.


The vessel no doubt took advantage of the southern route and these strong prevailing winds even though it risked encounters with storms and even ice bergs.

Comfort on board ship depended on the class of passage and wind and weather conditions. Poor food, shortages of fresh water, disease and Sea sickness and plain boredom also made so long a voyage difficult at times.

Yet the hope of a striking gold as well as a new and better life prompted these hardy souls to venture all.

It was not till the advent of steam and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 that voyage times decreased.

Only steam ships could use the canal but the early ships still used sails to save on coal when possible and in places where coaling stations were few and far between.

Seldom in the history of Christianity have the prevailing winds and tides of the world favoured it.

Indeed it has been that every man’s hand was against the growth of Christ’s kingdom. The individual believer invariably finds the winds blowing contrary to him or her and has to struggle just to make headway.

Those times when conditions appear to be most favourable to progress and the furtherance of the Church there are those who overladen it with excess cargo or kick planks out of it.

Rather than expect the fitful winds of this present world to speed us on our way we must seek rather to that same (authentic) rushing wind of the Holy Spirit  that came on the day of Pentecost to bring us to the heavenly harbor


Farewell Flintstones!

jackie gleason

The actor Jackie Gleason wanted to sue cartoon animators Hanna Barbera for using himself and the character he played on the popular series “The Honeymooners” as a basis to pattern “Fred Flintstone” on without clearing it with him first.honeymooners

Gleason’s lawyer told him that he would no doubt win any legal case but did he really want to be the one who took such a popular show as the “Flintstones “off the air”?

The large sum of money Gleason might have made by winning the lawsuit could not make up for the possible resentment and ill feeling caused by forcing the program off the air and depriving the show’s viewers of so much laughter and enjoyment.the-flintstones-fred-flintstone-wilma-flintstone-barney-rubble-betty-K3J3M9

The point I would make here is that just because we can do something does not mean we should do it.

Too much of our behaviour, even as Christians seems to be largely matter of ‘point scoring’ and striving for ascendancy.

Even worldly wisdom tells us to ‘pick our battles’ because the cost of winning is sometimes too high and the victory  often does more long term harm than good.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, [h] let him have your cloak as well. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Matthew 5:38-41

It is the way of the World to take without asking and to be forever looking for the advantage. Its people return blow for blow and insult for insult. By contrast the follower of Christ exercises like meekness and forbearance and thus wins others to Him.

The short term gain and temporal advantage we might seek in this World bears no comparison to the higher and eternal riches that are at God’s right hand and are there for all who trust in Christ.

Cup and Saucer.


I still think that despite being the most civilized way to drink tea, a cup and saucer is also the most awkward.

For someone as inherently unstable as I am, moving around from one place to another without some spillage is nearly impossible.

Far better to appear to be ‘uncultured’ and ‘unsophisticated’ than spill scalding hot liquid over ‘all and sundry’.

Were we depending on ourselves and our unaided efforts to achieve the heavenly goal set before us as believers we would have good cause for fearing that we would spill all and fail at last.

While some in the Church cry up man’s inherent goodness and ability the fact is it is completely insufficient for the task in hand.

The need for power from ‘on high’ is not just needed for the great and important tasks and trials of the Christian life but also for those small things that we think require no divine help at all.

Lost for words?

It is sad to think that many ‘Christians’ of today patterns his religion more after the political correctness of the ‘New Age’ and eastern mysticism than they do the Scriptures.

As a result they spend more time trying to reach a consensus than proclaiming the truth of God’s Word.

We see very little of the boldness such as characterized the ministry of the Apostle Paul when surrounded by the rampant paganism of the ancient world. Nor do we see very much of the faithfulness which the apostle Peter displayed in convicting the Jewish multitude on the Day of Pentecost.

We may say these men of God had a far greater measure of the Spirit’s power than we do. This is true, yet the greater part of the early growth of the Church came from ordinary people who scattered in all directions as a result of persecution and other things.

How then can we explain our corporate embarrassment and timidity when it comes to standing boldly for the veracity and relevance of the Bible as the Word of God and the gospel of Christ and Him crucified?

Maybe we should ask each other whether the ‘cat has got our tongue’?

Do we believe that the gospel is the sinful World’s only hope of Salvation or we do not? Is the Bible truly the Word of God with the need to be heard or it is a matter of no great importance whether we proclaim it or not.

God forgive me and us all for prevaricating with the gospel message so desperately needed a lost and sinful world.




“Many a good and righteous cause on earth has been lost by the death of its advocate. But our Advocate, as He is without beginning of days, is without end of years. As the tinkling bells of the High Priest’s vestments were heard by the crowd in the outer court, while he himself was ministering within the veil – the sound conveying to them the assurance that he was still engaged in the solemn act of intercession – so the ear of faith can still catch up the music of these sacred chimes – these silver bells in heaven – “Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!” (J.R. Macduff- “Clefts on the Rock – The Believer’s Ground of Confidence in Christ, 1874”) An Author I heartily recommend.

Footnote : One measure I would extend to the usefulness of this blog is not merely the numbers of people who read it,but rather the readers willingness to recommend it to others.
The Roaring Forties.

The Sunny side of the Brae!

I was under the misconception that a ‘brae’ was the ‘Scots’ word for ‘brook or stream’ rather it refers to the brow of a hill, though it can refer to ‘the high ground adjoining a river bank’.


“God hath called you to Christ’s side,” wrote the saintly Rutherford, “and the wind is now in Christ’s face in this land; and seeing ye are with Him, ye cannot expect the lee-side or the sunny side of the brae.” (Quoted by A.W. Tozer)

This is Rutherford’s picturesque way of saying that the follower of Christ cannot expect to go to Heaven on ‘the flowery beds of ease’.

Christ endured hardship and suffering during his earthly ministry and the faithful Christian must expect some of the same and “endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ” 2 Timothy 2:3.

Our present age is one that  abounds in luxuries and cries out for pleasure and ease. Most people would rather win money than earn it and be served rather than serve.

This ‘spirit’ has crept into the Church when we ‘out for what we can get’ rather than seeking for the opportunity to give.

We indeed share in the day to day toil and strife that is common to mankind and like them we crave comfort, ease and pleasure.

Yet the believer is also a worker in the cause of Christ and His soldier in the battle against sin, Satan and the godless world.

For Christians to expect an easy time of it in the world and to forever  walk a ‘primrose path’ all the time is self delusion.

The pleasures of this world, while enjoyable at the time, are transitory and only reach to the fleshly part of our beings; they seldom deliver all their promised satisfaction and over indulgence in them rob them of any real benefit.

God indeed sweetens and blesses the ‘stony’ road the Christian walks but this is to help speed us on our way not divert us into idleness.

Therefore ‘Let us go on’, ‘come wind come weather’.

‘Gang aft a-gley’

From reading old books such as ‘the letters of Samuel Rutherford’ over the years, I have become familiar with many words from the old Scottish dialect as well as sayings in use in Scotland from the sixteen hundreds into the 19 century.

Rather than always referring to the ‘glossary’ of Scottish words at the end of the book,  in the past I often lazily attributed to them a meaning that I felt they carried in the context of the passage or simply moved on to the following words that were more understandable in meaning.

It was only when I referred to the  glossary or the index that I came to understand  the writers actual meaning and to what he was referring.

Yet even after this, when these words ‘cropped up’ in a sentence they stood in the way like an old fashioned ‘Style’ was used to climb over a fence, not so much an obstacle but a reason for more thought , concentration and

Does this sort of thing occurs when we read the Bible or Christian books?

Does it occur when we hear the preaching of the Word?

We assume a working knowledge of Christianity and yet because of our failure to grow in understanding and seek ‘wisdom from high’ we labour under misconceptions and fall short of an accurate and complete grasp of God’s truth.

We come to a passage or word in the Scriptures and by failing to study its meaning and not looking at their historical context or by failing to compare Scripture with Scripture we remain none the wiser and without a genuine understanding of God’s message for us.

None of us perhaps will be completely free from misconceptions and mistakes in spiritual matters or the teaching of the Scripture but the more we study the word of God and the more we seek to Him for wisdom and understanding  the less likely we are to fall into doctrinal error or stray from the path of holy and godly living.

“The gate of heaven is the sunny side of the brae, and the very garden of the world.” – Samuel Rutherford

Samuel Rutherford has been long regarded as one of the most saintly men who lived in seventeenth century Scotland and his letters have been highly esteemed, even by those who disagreed with him in other areas.

Some in later times have accused Rutherford of being excessive in his language and lacking in propriety when speaking of the beauty of Christ and His love.
To some in who lived in later ‘ Victorian’ times such overflowing devotion was unseemly and indelicate.

In our day we are so much affected by the World’s ideas of romantic love. Also we are being inundated in the Church with a sickly sentimental idea of Christ.

Few today have plunged themselves into the beauties of Christ by the searching and feeding on the Word or communing with Him through prayer to the extent that the great Believers of the past did.

The result being we have substituted in our devotion for God the same sort of worldly emotion and carnal love we are swamped with in our daily lives.

It is only when we make God, Father Son and Holy Spirit the centre and soul of our existence that we will be enabled to  truly soar in spirit to the heavenlies even now and will when we come to the end, indeed ‘ change our place but not our company’.







The Sunny side of the Brae!

It is all ‘Greek’ to me!


If I were able to choose an ability to be gifted with it would be a gift for languages.

It would be wonderful to be able to pick up a previously unknown language simply by hearing a few words of it spoken.

Imagine being able to see a written word and be able to give the English equivalent with a minimum of study.

Sadly this ability is given to very few, for the most it takes many years of hard study.

My efforts to translate Latin phrases have fallen down because while a dictionary may give me the meaning of the word, unless can understand the declension i.e. grammatical variation of form, you cannot completely understand the writer’s meaning.indexlatin.jpeg

Additionally, you need a greater understanding of grammar than I currently possess.

Recently it has been made clear to me that the Greek of the New Testament has in its words greater shades of meaning and richness than can be adequately conveyed in English translations.

To give you an idea of this I would suggest you peruse a copy of the ‘Amplified ‘Bible.


It does make for rather cumbrous reading but does reveal the depth of thought of the New Testament writers under the Spirit’s guidance.

One teacher’s educational course for biblical ‘Greek’ was called appropriately ‘Greek’ for the rest of us’.greek alph

While I would not expect us all to try for a working knowledge of the languages of Scripture it is still imperative that we grow and get deeper in our understanding of the Word.

A Basic knowledge of the imperatives of Christianity is fine at the outset of the Christian life but can hardly sustain the growth necessary to the believer.

True, we cannot content ourselves with a mere ‘academic’ knowledge of the Word.

It must be applied daily to our experience and thinking in dependence of the one who ‘breathed’ it to the writers of Scripture in the first place.

The modern trend of relegating and trivializing Scripture makes our efforts to grasp its truths all the more imperative.


The best that modern medical science and ‘New Age’ philosophy can offer is ‘Euthanasia’, a (supposedly) ‘good’ death. Only God in Christ can give ‘Athanasia’, eternal life.

A ‘rust bucket’


An author writing about the last days of service of Australia’s last Aircraft Carrier; the H.M.A.S. Melbourne, states that the crew no longer engaged in ‘scraping’ the ships paintwork, to remove the rust underneath. Apparently finding, it had developed to such a stage that it was only the rust that held sections of the ship together.

He writes that the ‘gangways’ were so rusty that members of the crew fell through them.

He adds that this state of affairs was understandable because this warship was only built to last for the duration of the emergency of the Second World War.

As it was, it the ‘Melbourne’ served the Royal Australian Navy for over thirty years.

Historically, there have always been those who regard the Bible in much the same way as this grand old ship.

They think the Scriptures are ‘past their used by date’ and of no more than historical or sentimental interest.

These people are forever finding ‘rust’ where it is not there and imaginary ‘barnacles’ which they would gladly remove. If they could but throw overboard those things in the Scriptures they see as superfluous, obsolete and offensive they would be well pleased.

Yet in the end they discover that they only sink themselves while the Bible keeps afloat all those who trust in God and remain aboard it.

An author writing about the last days of service of Australia’s last Aircraft Carrier; the H.M.A.S. Melbourne, states that the crew no longer engaged in ‘scraping’ the ships paintwork, to remove the rust underneath. Apparently finding, it had developed to such a stage that it was only the rust that held sections of the ship together.

He writes that the ‘gangways’ were so rusty that members of the crew fell through them.

He adds that this state of affairs was understandable because this warship was only built to last for the duration of the emergency of the Second World War.

As it was, it the ‘Melbourne’ served the Royal Australian Navy for over thirty years.

Historically, there have always been those who regard the Bible in much the same way as this grand old ship.

They think the Scriptures are ‘past their used by date’ and of no more than historical or sentimental interest.

These people are forever finding ‘rust’ where it is not there and imaginary ‘barnacles’ which they would gladly remove. If they could but throw overboard those things in the Scriptures they see as superfluous, obsolete and offensive they would be well pleased.

Yet in the end they discover that they only sink themselves while the Bible keeps afloat all those who trust in God and remain aboard it.


It is all ‘Greek’ to me!

The Bigsworth’ Board.

The ‘Bigsworth’ board’ was issued to aircraft navigators and observers so that they had a convenient way to plot their aircraft’s course in flight.indexbigsworth board

(Captain W.E. Johns named his famous character “Biggles” after the man himself as he had worked with him at the British Air ministry.)

Bigsworth served with distinction during the First World War and was awarded a D.S.O. and bar for daring attacks against a German Zeppelin and an enemy submarine.)

In the often cramped confines of an aircraft, especially in the old “open cockpit” days, the Bigsworth’ board was a useful help to airman.

In an infinitely higher sense the Bible is a vital tool to help us navigate through life.

Like an aircraft pilot it is easy to go off our appointed course. We also need to be able to check our progress and be forewarned of dangers that loom before us, like jagged mountain ranges.

The Word of God charts the landmarks which confirm that we are heading on the right bearing and flying at the right altitude.bigsworth board

The Bigsworth’ board also prevented the airman’s chart from blowing away in the slipstream.

Similarly, the Bible despite the efforts some to “blow” it away, remains firm, intact and a reliable revelation of God’s holy will.

indexopen bible.jpeg

Gee & Oboe!

Gee, sometimes written GEE, was a radio navigation system used by the Royal Air Force during World War II. It measured the time delay between two radio signals to produce a fix, with accuracy on the order of a few hundred metres at ranges up to about 350 miles (560 km). It was the first hyperbolic navigation system to be used operationally, entering service with RAF Bomber Command in 1942. (Its basic system was later developed into the far more effective Gee H system.)LORAN_AN-APN-4_receiver_set.jpg

Oboe was a British aerial blind bombing targeting system in World War II, based on radio transponder technology. The system consisted of a pair of radio transmitters on the ground, which sent signals which were received and retransmitted by a transponder in the aircraft. By comparing the time each signal took to reach the aircraft, the distance between the aircraft and the station could be determined. The Oboe operators then sent radio signals to the aircraft to bring them onto their target and properly time the release of their bombs. (quotes from Wikipaedia)Oboe_control_room

The German defenders furiously tried to jam or at least fool these systems and thus limit their success.

They also sought to use them as a means of locating and intercepting British bombers.

God has provided the believer with “navigational “aids and protective equipment to guide and guard them on their journey through the world.

The enemy of the saints by cunning ploys, temptations and persecution tries to jam the signal God has sent and tries to misdirect the Christian by employing false beacons to put them off course.

Therefore we have to take every possible care to differentiate the true Word of God from false distortions of the gospel and Worldly cares and desires that are attempting to drown it out.

We must remain alert and on our guard against the “night fighters” and anti aircraft artillery which Satan daily sends to intercept and destroy the follower of Christ.

A “Split Infinitive”

“In the English language, a split infinitive or cleft infinitive is a grammatical construction in which a word or phrase comes between the to and the bare infinitive of the to form of the infinitive verb. Usually an adverb or adverbial phrase comes between them.

A well-known example occurs in the opening sequence of the Star Trek television series: “to boldly go where no man has gone before“; the adverb boldly is said to split the infinitive to go. Sometimes more than one word splits the infinitive, as in: “The population is expected to more than double in the next ten years”.

In the 19th century, some grammatical authorities sought to introduce a prescriptive rule against the split infinitive. The construction is still the subject of disagreement, though modern English usage guides have dropped the objection to it.

(Quoted from Wiki.)

The reading of this definition did not help me at all!

No other grammatical issue has so divided English speakers since the split infinitive was declared to be a solecism (error, inconsistency or impropriety ), in the 19th century : raise the subject of English usage in any conversation today and it is sure to be mentioned.

— Henry Watson FowlerPocket Fowler’s Modern English Usage 

Henry Alford, (7 October 1810 – 12 January 1871) was an English Churchman best known for his 8 volume edition of the New Testament in Greek. (From Wikipedia)Henry_Alford.jpg

In his work “A plea for the Queen’s English” (published in 1866,) Alford professes a profound distaste for the use of the “split infinitive” in grammar but gives no real evidence to support his dislike.

I doubt whether many non-grammarians would concern themselves today with the rights and wrongs involved here.

We all have our ‘pet’ peeves when it comes to a variety of subjects.

My current dislike, in the field of grammar and pronunciation is the practice of people saying “everythink” when they should say “everything”.

Also, the new and common practice of describing a person’s behaviour as ‘precious’ is an innovation that I find irritating.I have no real idea what they mean when they say this.

How do these adjectives apply to a person’s particular behavior in a given circumstance?

Over the progress of the ages, manners of speech and common expressions  change in meaning and may fall out of use altogether.

To some extent, for good or ill, this also occurs in the way we understand and speak about Christianity.

Some find the expressions used in Scripture distasteful,  so they seek to tone them down or replace them with what they perceive as ‘unoffensive’ phrases and use words which are less likely to polarize and divide.

The usual result is a message that bears little or no resemblance to the gospel ,”once for all delivered to the saints” Jude 1:3

It is God’s Message we seek to proclaim and we cannot play fast and loose with it.

Rather we must express ourselves in ways that accurately and faithfully convey this “gospel” to a sinful and desperately needful world.




The Bigsworth’ Board.