“Praise for the Incarnation”







Sweeter sounds than music knows
Charm me in Immanuel’s name;
All her hopes my spirit owes
To his birth, and cross, and shame.

When he came, the angels sung,
“Glory be to God on high;”
Lord, unloose my stamm’ring tongue,
Who should louder sing than I?

Did the Lord a man become,
That he might the law fulfil,
Bleed and suffer in my room,
And canst thou, my tongue, be still?

No, I must my praises bring,
Though they worthless are and weak;
For should I refuse to sing,
Sure the very stones would speak.

O my Saviour, Shield, and Sun,
Shepherd, Brother, Husband, Friend,
Ev’ry precious name in one,
I will love thee without end.

~ John Newton

God’s Glory First

“Isn’t it interesting how in Christmas cards and on public displays we often see the words, ‘Peace on earth, good will toward men’? But how seldom we see the prior words, “Glory to God in the highest’! But there is no peace, there is no goodwill, unless there is glory to God in the highest first. We forget to put God’s glory first. Fortunately, He does not. God will be glorified.

“Would you or I have begun this announcement the way the angels did, with God’s glory first? Obviously, the angels did not understand the importance of relevance and contextualization and meeting felt needs. They started with God, not with peace on earth! Why? Because the most relevant message to this sin-ruined world was, is, and always will be, “Glory to God in the highest.” Our whole problem is God-neglect. But the best news for sinners like you and me is that, whatever we might do, God is still God. God is glorious, and God’s glory is supreme above all other realities. And when His kingdom is finally consummated, then there will be perfect peace, good will toward men…”

~ Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr., Luke 2:14 and Reasons for Joy at Christmas

Is This All I Get – After So Much Trouble?

“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“Dear Brother,
Blessed be God for the news of a better world, where there will be no sin, trouble, nor defect forever!

“What shall it be – when the Lord shall call us up to join with those who are now singing before the eternal throne!

“What shall it be – when all the children of God, who in different ages and countries have been scattered abroad – shall be all gathered together, and enter into that glorious and eternal rest provided for them!

“What shall it be – when there shall not be one trace of sin or sorrow remaining – not one discordant note to be heard, nothing to disturb or defile, or alleviate the never-ceasing joy!

“Many a weary step we have taken, since the Lord first drew us to Himself; but we shall not have to tread the past way over again. Some difficulties may remain – but we know not how few. Perhaps before we are aware, the Lord may cut short our conflict and say, ‘Come up hither!’ At the most, it cannot be very long! He who has been with us thus far – will be with us to the end. He knows how to cause our consolations to exceed our greatest afflictions!

“And when we get safely home – we shall not complain that we have suffered too much along the way. We shall not say, “Is this all I get – after so much trouble?” No! When we awake in that glorious world, we shall in an instant – be satisfied with His likeness. One sight of Jesus as He is – will fill our hearts, and dry up all our tears!”

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

~ John Newton

HT Grace Gems

Book Review: The Island of Dr. Moreau

I do not propose to add anything to what has already been written concerning the loss of the Lady Vain. As everyone knows, she collided with a derelict when ten days out from Callao. The long-boat with seven of the crew was picked up eighteen days after by H.M. gun-boat Myrtle, and the story of their terrible privations has become quite as well known as the far more horrible Medusa case. But I have to add to the published story of the Lady Vain another as horrible, and certainly far stranger. It has hitherto been supposed that the four men who were in the dingey perished, but that is incorrect. I have the best of evidence for this assertion – I am one of those four men.

This begins H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau – one of the most disturbing and, at the same time, interesting science-fiction novels I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

The protagonist, Edward Prendrick, miraculously survives the wreck of the Lady Vain, and soon finds himself stranded on an isolated island. It is on this island that he meets Dr. Moreau, a prominent scientist banished from England years earlier. Prendrick soon learns that Moreau, along with his profane assistant Montgomery, is conducting a series of experiments. Using vivisection, they are changing beasts into man-like creatures.

Events take a sharp turn when Moreau is unexpectedly killed by one of the gruesome hybrids he worked so hard to create. Now alone, save for the unhinged Montgomery, and Moreau’s hostile creatures, Prendrick must find a way of escape from island before time runs out.

Wells often wove social commentary, overtly or subtly, into his novels. And while such commentary exists in The Island of Dr. Moreau, it is more of an undercurrent than a theme. Wells’ primary theme in Moreau is the de-evolution of man. After all, in the mind of an ardent evolutionist such as Wells’, if mankind can evolve “up”, why shouldn’t he just as easily evolve “down”?

I’ve read other fiction by Wells’, but Moreau is by far the most fascinating. There’s so much in it that merits careful consideration. What happens when man tries to “play God”? What is the difference between man and beast? What happens when the pursuit of science trumps ethics? How is Wells’ idea of de-evolution similar to the Christian doctrine of human depravity? How is it not?

All very interesting stuff to think about – especially in light of a Christ-centered worldview.

The Island of Dr. Moreau is definitely a book I’d only recommend for older readers. It deals with very mature themes, and there’s quite a bit of disturbing, violent, and gruesome content. Don’t tackle this one if you’re squeamish or easily unsettled – it might give you nightmares.

In conclusion, I’m not proposing that you read this novel and swallow everything in it piecemeal. Not at all. Wells’ had some very serious issues, both as a man and a writer, and his worldview was thoroughly pagan. None of his work should be read without solid discernment. That said, The Island of Dr. Moreau is riveting, thought-provoking novel that should be on the reading list of every sci-fi buff out there.