Wednesday, November 9, 2016

From My Commonplace: "O Goodness Infinite!"

(Originally posted July 20, 2016.  I had a new quote queued up to post today, but this one seemed a fitting reminder today.)

"Yet him God the Most High vouchsafes
To call by vision, from his father's house,
His kindred, and false gods, into a land
Which He will show him, And from him will raise
A mighty nation, and upon him shower
His benediction, so that in his seed
All nations shall be blest. He straight obeys,
Not knowing to what land, yet firm believes.
'I see him, but thou canst not, with what faith
He leaves his gods, his friends, and native soil…
Not wandering poor, but trusting all his wealth
With God, who called him, in a land unknown…
This ponder, that all nations of the earth
Shall in his seed be blessed. By the seed
Is meant they great Deliverer, who shall bruise
The serpent's head…"
(Lines 120-129, 133-134, 147-150)
…who shall quell
The adversary serpent, and bring back,
Through the world's wilderness, long-wandered Man
Safe to eternal paradise of rest…
… of His reign shall be no end."
(Lines 310-314, 330)
"Thy punishment
He shall endure, by coming in the flesh
To a reproachful life, and cursed death;
Proclaiming life to all who shall be believe
In His redemption; and that His obedience,
Imputed, becomes theirs by faith: His merits
To save them, not their own, though legal, works."
(Lines 404-410)
"O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense!
That all this good of evil shall produce,
And evil turn to good; more wonderful
Than that which by creation first brought forth
Light out of darkness."
(Lines 469-473)
~John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book XII
A few choice lines from the final book of Paradise Lost.   I had set Paradise Lost aside during a busy season this past spring, and figured it might be a couple of years before I would pick it up again.  So much to read, so little time, right?  But my summer reading took a bit of a detour when I picked up a paperback copy of Surprised by Oxford (I had previously read it off my Kindle) and re-read it.  Her descriptions of studying seventeenth century literature at Oxford inspired me to pick Paradise Lost back up...and I finished it!  I am so very glad I did.  The story Milton tells in Paradise Lost is a heartbreaking one.  Satan rebels against God in heaven…he falls.  God creates a beautifully perfect world – He speaks order into the chaos, and Satan infiltrates it and tempts Adam and Eve into sin as well.  They are cursed, and thrown out of God's beautiful paradise.  All is lost.
Or so we think.
But all is not lost.  There is Another One coming.  One who will triumph.   One who did triumph at the cross, and One who will come again in ultimate victory.
This is a crazy world we live in.  There are times when the Unthinkable happens.  There are times when it seems that Chaos overwhelms.  There are times when it seems All is Lost.
Christ Has Died.  Christ Is Risen.  Christ Will Come Again.   We declare those words every week in church as part of the Anglican liturgy.
I don't know about you, but that's a truth I need to hold on to.
"O Goodness infinite, Goodness immense!"

In My Reading Stack This Week:
Devotional: Luke with the Luke for Everyone Commentary (NT Wright)
The Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven (FD Maurice)
The Daily Office Lectionary Readings and Prayers from The Trinity Mission
 Theological: Mere Christianity (Lewis)
On Education: Vittorino da Feltre and Other Humanist Educators (Woodward)
Personal Choice Fiction: The Game (King)
Personal Choice Nonfiction: Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies (McEntyre)
With my Hubby: Emma (Austen)
Family Read-Aloud Literature: At the Back of the North Wind (MacDonald)
Click Here for more Words

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