A Morning Hymn (from Paradise Lost)

A short prayer: Hail universal Lord, be bounteous still [ 205 ]
To give us onely good; and if the night
Have gathered aught of evil or conceald,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.

A longer version: These are thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almightie, thine this universal Frame,
Thus wondrous fair; thy self how wondrous then! [ 155 ]
Unspeakable, who sitst above these Heavens
To us invisible or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works, yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and Power Divine:
Speak yee who best can tell, ye Sons of Light, [ 160 ]
Angels, for yee behold him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, Day without Night,
Circle his Throne rejoycing, yee in Heav’n,
On Earth joyn all ye Creatures to extoll
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end. [ 165 ] Continue reading “A Morning Hymn (from Paradise Lost)”

Satan’s Doubts

In Book I of Paradise Lost, Milton envisions the self-vindication of Satan and his host. You can read a summary of it here. It is a forceful and specious defense of Satan’s rebellion. How should we answer it?

In Book IV, Milton provides a rebuttal to Satan’s self-vindication. It comes from the mouth of Satan himself. After he falls to earth, he expresses doubt about his rebellion.

Satan considers all that God had given him and how little he asked in return:

“He deserved no such return from me, whom he created what I was in that bright eminence, and with his good upbraided none: nor was his service hard. What could be less than to afford him praise, the easiest recompense, and pay him thanks, how due!” (4.42–48).

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Why Everyone Should Watch A Christmas Story

“I watched the first 15 minutes, and then I had to turn it off. I couldn’t take it.” That was my friend’s analysis of A Christmas Story.

So, I said to him, “Why don’t we watch it together, and I’ll see if I can decode it for you?” He agreed.

We watched the first 15 minutes together, and then I thought, “Why do I like this movie? How can I recommend it? Is this my award for defending this Christmas classic?” But then the plot began to unfold, and the reason it was a classic stood out to me like a lamp in a window on a dark winter’s evening. Now, A Christmas Story is not just a movie to me, it is a work of comedic art. Here’s why.

1. Nostalgia. We love Christmas stories because of the nostalgia. A Christmas Story is as nostalgic as it gets. There is the middle class house, the brick school, the toys, the snow, the downtown, the tree, the turkey, the family, the fighting, the carols, the Santa, and on and on. This movie is packed full of all sorts of things that evoke a nostalgic remembrance of Christmases past. Continue reading “Why Everyone Should Watch A Christmas Story

The Father’s Plan of Redemption

In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, it is clear that Satan can do what he does only because God permits it. Why does God permit Satan to enter earth and successfully tempt Eve? In order to show God’s glory in the work of redemption. Milton’s description of God’s decree of redemption a beautiful statement of God’s love.

The Father’s Decree of Redemption
After this determination to fight “war then war,” Satan comes up with a plan to find the new planet of which they had heard rumors. The goal is to disrupt “the Enemy’s” plan. The Father in heaven sees what Satan is doing, decrees to permit the fall, and then decrees to redeem the world through His Son. I found the conversation of the Father and the Son particularly moving.

Milton attempts to describe the glory of the Son as that of the glory of the divine Father:

Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance filled all heaven, and in the blessed Spirits elect sense of new joy ineffable diffused. Beyond compare the Son of God was seen most glorious; in him all his Father shone substantially expressed; and in his face divine compassion visibly appeared, love without end, and without measure grace; which uttering, thus he to his Father spake (3.135–143).

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Satan’s Self-Vindication

Paradise Lost is an epic like no other. In terms of imagination, language, and insight, I am not sure what can compare to it. I am in the process of slowly reading through it. Book 1 begins with Satan’s “after action report” following his fall from heaven.

The book begins in hell. Satan and his host are considering their loss, and he gives an explanation for his rebellion. It is so compelling that you can easily begin to wonder, “Was Satan right?” After all, there had to be some specious reason for Satan to rebel, did there not? Continue reading “Satan’s Self-Vindication”