Category Archives: Books

Intellectual Character

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The intellectual character of Athens claimed and received, beneath the power of Rome, a degree of respect to which her proud, though less cultivated rival, Sparta, was a stranger. Her literature which ages had consecrated, arrested the remorseless tyranny of Sylla, who, while he leveled her lofty Acropolis, desecrated her altars, demolished her groves, and plundered her sacred temple, permitted her libraries and schools of learning to remian, either as monuments of his clemency — or, as contrasts to the desolation which surrounded them. A corresponding cause produced a like effect in the destruction of the Roman republic, and prepared its population for the blood-stained cruelties of a Tiberius, Domitian, Caligula, and Nero.

Education, 1835

Knowledge is Power

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Amid the various subjects which present themselves to the attention of the philosophic inquirer, we know not of anyone more national in its interests, or worthy of minute attention, than that which investigates the theory and practice of public instruction. The assertion that ‘knowledge is power,’ is verified on every page of history, present or past. To the neglect of this great auxiliary in the political condition of mankind, may be ascribed the downfall of the ancient republics. In tracing the history of Greece, as a commonwealth, we lose sight of her general condition in the contemplation of her few great names, and thus draw an unfair inference in reference to her intellectual character. We admit that her annals are enriched by some extraordinary exhibitions of original genius, between the period of Solon and that of her final subjugation by the Romans…..But the mass of her population was immersed in the grossest ignorance, and this circumstance materially hastened her decline.

Education, 1835

Check out Jacob Chamberlain’s classic book, “The Kingdom India”

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The Kingdom in India
Jacob Chamberlain
missionary adventure
Full Well Ventures
May 26, 2014
paperback
342

The Rev. Jacob Chamberlain, M.D., D.D., (1835-1908) served as a missionary to India with the Reformed Church in America for nearly fifty years, mainly stationed at Madanapalle, where he tended the sick, preached the Gospel in many cities and villages, distributed Christian literature, and contributed to the establishment of a number of schools and colleges, infirmaries and hospitals.

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The Kingdom in India: Its Promise and Progress (Paperback)


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," written in 1908, is his third and final book, written shortly before his death and published posthumously. In the first few chapters Chamberlain details some of the issues faced by Christian apologists introducing Jesus to a people whose country was dominated by the polytheistic religiosity of Hinduism and Buddhism. He goes on to summarize some of the amazing stories of conversions that he personally saw during his many years of missionary service.

It is interesting to note that Full Well publisher has recently deemed the India missionary’s classic book worthy of reprinting in a paperback format. I recently read this book and found it very interesting, a richly detailed personification of 19th century missions programs around the world, particularly in India.

For those who are wondering about the rationale behind the explosion of Christian mission programs during the 19th and 20th centuries, Chamberlain’s book, “The Kingdom in India,” provides a very good place to start your studies. Jacob Chamberlain’s life story provides an exceptional model of Christian missionary service, one who served as Christ’s hands of ministry, fulfilling the Great Commission of the New Testament. Chamberlain’s life story echoes the words of Jesus as he began his ministry at the synagogue in Nazareth, unrolling the scroll to read aloud the words of the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then, in explanation of the text, Jesus said to those assembled there, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4)

Although critics typically accuse 19th century Christian missionaries of paternalism, the truth is that the backward conditions in countries such as India during the 19th century perhaps explain the need for the leadership they provided, which explains why American missionaries and doctors at the time found wide open doors for their service of providing educational and medical programs in the 19th and 20th centuries. Certainly the role of American missionaries in the 21st century may never be quite the same now that the nations of the world have been challenged to provide higher living standards, health care, and education for their peoples. And yet Jesus, in another place, tells us that the poor we have with us always, both the spiritually poor as well as the materially poor. In every age, in every place, in many ways Christ continues to seek disciples who will be his hands of ministry to those in need.

A Few Plain Thoughts on Poetry

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A Few Plain Thoughts on Poetry


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An essay first published in the March 1837 issue of “The Knickerbocker” magazine in which the virtues and value of poetry are lauded in a most elegant style. Says the “Knickerbocker” writer:

Take from us the belief in a future existence, and Poetry is shorn of her beams; but let her discuss those subjects connected with our immortal destiny, and she assumes an appearance of inexpressible glory; she strips us for a time of our earthly garments, that we may follow her to the pure river of life, and like the repentant tear which the Peri conveyed to the angel, removes the crystal bar which binds the gates of paradise.

And also:

Poetry is the appropriate handmaid of Religion; and says Wolfe: ‘The homage of Voltaire to the muse’s piety remains a bright memorial of her allegiance to Christianity.’ When the powers of hell seemed for a time to prevail, and his principles had given a shock to the faith of Europe, the daring blasphemer ventured to approach the dramatic muse; but no inspiration would she vouchsafe to dignify the sentiments of impiety and atheism. He found that no impassioned emotion could be roused—no tragic interest excited—no generous and lofty feeling called into action, where those dark and chilling feelings pervade.

Of course this assumes that all could write poetry. Yes, if only I were a good poet and not merely a mediocre hack in that department. Well, I will not judge myself too harshly. The forms of poetry may be good or bad. It is the divine thought or the hissing snake that makes the difference, as one might imagine.

Methodist book’s authors is among millions of Hugh Calkins’ descendants in America

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The Mind of Methodism


In “The Mind of Methodism,” Harvey Reeves Calkins (1866-1941), a Methodist minister from Illinois who wrote this book while serving as a missionary in India 1900-1910, discusses the ideals of a Methodism that is represented by worship with liberty in the Spirit, which he contrasts with the rigid Calvinism of the Puritans of earlier generations, and by its flexibility in administration, and its practice as a living witness of the living God.

Although this book’s author surname is identical to mine, one has to go back to the 1700s to find the New England connection. That was before the westward migration of some parts of the Calkins family. It is interesting to note that according to biographical information this Harvey Reeves Calkins pastored a Methodist church in Denver, Colorado, in about 1890. His first wife died there in about 1891, apparently of the consumption which is tuberculosis.

Interestingly, my great-grandfather’s family was living in Colorado at about this time. He was born in Colorado but soon after 1900 the family moved to Oregon or Washington and later California. I am not sure whether they were aware of Harvey’s existence. It is hard to ask people who are no longer with us.

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The Everlasting Arms

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The Everlasting Arms (1898)


This short work by the founder of Christian Endeavor Societies offers hope and encouragement to persons who are weary, depressed, and burdened. Author Francis Edward Clark was a prominent Congregationalist minister in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduate of Dartmouth College and Andover Theological Society. In 1881 he founded the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor to encourage the young people of his church to get involved in short-term ministry projects. By 1908 the organization had more than 70,000 chapters and 3.5 million members and is still in existence today.
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A Ship Of Fools

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The printing press was newly invented and printed books still quite a novelty when “The Ship of Fools” was first set in type. This is a collection of moralistic ditties with a humorous twist. Here is one example of a “fool” poem with editing by myself to clarify:

An exhortation of Alexander Barclay

But you that shall read this book: I exhort you,
And you that are hearers thereof also, I pray
Whereas you know that you are of this sort:
Amend your life and expel that vice away.
Slumber not in sin. Amend your sins while you may.
And if you do so and virtue and grace ensue
Within my ship you get no room nor place.

This little verse may seem sort of oxymoronic but I suppose the author is saying that if you have no vices, and you have virtue and grace to spare, then you will have no use for the advice dispensed by the author(s) of “A Ship of Fools.” You are perfect and it will not be necessary that you expose yourself to the rough-hewn translation of “fools” who live without pretensions of having already achieved that state of perfection and with full humility confess their human follies and foibles, having in common with humanity at large that tendency of human nature to sin and, like sheep, to go wander and stray from the fold of God and to be in need of forgiveness and restoration.