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Let's look at Sir Francis Bacon: The content in the Shakespearian dramas are politically recognized viewpoints of Sir Francis Bacon (His "enemies" are frequently caricatured in the plays.) The religious, philosophic, and educational messages all reflect his personal opinions. Similarities in style and terminology exist in Bacon's writings and the Shakespearian plays. Certain historical and philosophical inaccuracies are common to both (such as identical misquotations from Aristotle.) Sir Francis Bacon possessed the range of general and philosophical knowledge necessary to write the Shakespearian plays. Sir Francis Bacon was a linguist and a composer. (Necessary to write the sonnets.) He was a lawyer, an able barrister and a polished courtier and possessed the intimate knowledge of parliamentary law and the etiquette of the royal court revealed in the Shakespearian plays. Bacon furthermore visited many of the foreign countries forming the background for the plays (Necessary to create the authentic local atmosphere. There is no record of William Shakspere's ever having travelled outside of England). ... Why the secrecy? Manly Palmer Hall writes: "Sir Francis Bacon knew the true secret of Masonic origin and there is reason to suspect that he concealed this knowledge in cipher and cryptogram. Bacon is not to be regarded solely as a man but rather as the focal point between an invisible institution and a world which was never able to distinguish between the messenger and the message which he promulgated. This secret society, having rediscovered the lost wisdom of the ages and fearing that the knowledge might be lost again, perpetuated it in two ways: (1) by an organization (Freemasonry) to the initiates of which it revealed its wisdom in the form of symbols; (2) by embodying its arcana in the literature of the day by means of cunningly contrived ciphers and enigmas." [article link]

Wikipedia: New Atlantis [North America - the discovery of America was known to the Crusaders before the 1492 A.D. voyage of Christopher Columbus] by Sir Francis Bacon, published in 1624 A.D. - New Atlantis is a utopian [Illuminati] novel by Sir Francis Bacon, published in Latin (as Nova Atlantis) in 1624 and in English in 1627 - In this work, Bacon portrayed a [secular - occult] vision of the future of human discovery and knowledge, expressing his aspirations and ideals for humankind - The novel depicts the creation of a [secular] utopian land [North America] where "generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendour, [false] piety and public spirit" are the commonly held qualities of the inhabitants of "Bensalem" (lit. son of Salem) - The plan and organization of his ideal college, "Salomon's House" (or Solomon's House) envisioned the modern research university in both applied and pure sciences {Note: New Atlantis by Sir Francis Bacon, (an unfinished book) is a primer, an instruction booklet, setting out a plan in how to colonize the New World (North America) as a secular occult [non-Christian] society. The outline of Sir Francis Bacon's plan was for a secular society to dominate by gaining and controlling all aspects of society; land, resources, knowledge, wealth, power, science, technology, etc. and to do it primarily by introducing a [non-Christian] population greater in numbers and more privileged than the common Christian community. -- A plan that has been carefully followed and has been by most accounts a complete success in America and throughout all reaches of the New World.}

Plot summary: The novel depicts a mythical island, Bensalem, which is discovered by the crew of a European ship after they are lost in the Pacific Ocean somewhere west of Peru. The minimal plot serves the gradual unfolding of the island, its customs, but most importantly, its state-sponsored scientific institution, Salomon's House, "which house or college ... is the very eye of this kingdom." On arriving to Bensalem, the travellers are initially instructed to leave without landing, but are successively quarantined to "the House of Strangers", then given greater leave to explore the island, and finally granted an explanation of Salomon's House. Their conversations with the inhabitants disclose how they in such isolation came to be Christian, how they came to know so much of the outside world (without themselves being known), the history and origin of the island's government and the establishment of Salomon's House by King Solamona, the Bensalemite customs regarding marriage and family, and purpose, properties, and activities of Salomon's House. The interlocutors include the governor of the House of Strangers, Joabin the Jew, and the Father of Salomon's House. -- Only the best and brightest of Bensalem's citizens are selected to join Salomon's House, in which scientific experiments are conducted in Baconian method in order to understand and conquer nature, and to apply the collected knowledge to the betterment of society. Near the end of the work, the Father of Salomon's House catalogues the activities of the institution's members: "For the several employments and offices of our fellows, we have twelve that sail into foreign countries under the names of other nations (for our own we conceal), who bring us the books and abstracts, and patterns of experiments of all other parts. These we call merchants of light. "We have three that collect the experiments which are in all books. These we call depredators. "We have three that collect the experiments of all mechanical arts, and also of liberal sciences, and also of practices which are not brought into arts. These we call mystery-men. "We have three that try new experiments, such as themselves think good. These we call pioneers or miners. "We have three that draw the experiments of the former four into titles and tables, to give the better light for the drawing of observations and axioms out of them. These we call compilers. "We have three that bend themselves, looking into the experiments of their fellows, and cast about how to draw out of them things of use and practice for man's life and knowledge, as well for works as for plain demonstration of causes, means of natural divinations, and the easy and clear discovery of the virtues and parts of bodies. These we call dowry-men or benefactors. "Then after divers meetings and consults of our whole number, to consider of the former labours and collections, we have three that take care out of them to direct new experiments, of a higher light, more penetrating into nature than the former. These we call lamps. "We have three others that do execute the experiments so directed, and report them. These we call inoculators. "Lastly, we have three that raise the former discoveries by experiments into greater observations, axioms, and aphorisms. These we call interpreters of nature." Even this short excerpt demonstrates that Bacon understood that science requires analysis and not just the accumulation of observations. Bacon also foresaw that the design of experiments could be improved. [article link]

Wikipedia: "The Pilgrim's Progress" written by John Bunyan (1678 A.D.) - The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come is a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan and published in February, 1678 - It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature, has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print

Bunyan began his work while in the Bedfordshire county gaol [jail] for violations of the Conventicle Act, which prohibited the holding of religious services outside the auspices of the established Church of England. Early Bunyan scholars like John Brown believed The Pilgrim's Progress was begun in Bunyan's second shorter imprisonment for six months in 1675, but more recent scholars like Roger Sharrock believe that it was begun during Bunyan's initial, more lengthy imprisonment from 1660-1672 right after he had written his spiritual autobiography, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners. -- The English text comprises 108,260 words and is divided into two parts, each reading as a continuous narrative with no chapter divisions. The first part was completed in 1677 and entered into the stationers' register on December 22, 1677. It was licensed and entered in the "Term Catalogue" on February 18, 1678, which is looked upon as the date of first publication. After the first edition of the first part in 1678, an expanded edition, with additions written after Bunyan was freed, appeared in 1679. The Second Part appeared in 1684. There were eleven editions of the first part in John Bunyan's lifetime, published in successive years from 1678 to 1685 and in 1688, and there were two editions of the second part, published in 1684 and 1686. [article link]

Wikipedia: John Bunyan (1628 - 31 August 1688 A.D.) -- an English Christian writer and preacher, famous for writing The Pilgrim's Progress, he was a Reformed Baptist, in the Church of England - 1644 was an eventful year for the Bunyan family: in June, John lost his mother and, in July, his sister Margaret died - Following this, his father married (for the third time) to Anne Pinney (or Purney) and a stepbrother, Charles, was born - It may have been the arrival of his stepmother that, following his 16th birthday, led John to leave the family home and enlist in the Parliamentary army - From 1644 to 1647 John served at Newport Pagnell garrison - The English Civil War (1642-1651) was then nearing the end of the first stage - John was probably saved from death one day when a fellow soldier volunteered to go into battle in his place and was killed while walking sentry duty - After the civil war was won by the Parliamentarians, Bunyan returned to his former trade -- In his autobiography, "Grace Abounding" Bunyan wrote that he led an abandoned life in his youth and was morally reprehensible as a result - The increasing awareness of his (in his view) un-Biblical life led him to contemplate acts of impiety and profanity; in particular, he was harassed by a curiosity in regard to the "unpardonable sin" and a prepossession that he had already committed it - He continually heard voices urging him to "sell Christ" and was tortured by fearful visions - While playing a game of Tip-cat on Elstow village green, Bunyan claimed to have heard a voice that asked: "Wilt thou leave thy sins and go to heaven or have thy sins and go to hell?"

Imprisonments: As his popularity and notoriety grew, Bunyan increasingly became a target for slander and libel; he was described as "a witch, a Jesuit, a highwayman" and was said to have mistresses and multiple wives. In 1658, aged 30, he was arrested for preaching at Eaton Socon and indicted for preaching without a licence. That same year his wife died leaving him with 4 children, one of which was blind. He continued preaching, however, and did not suffer imprisonment until November 1660, when he was taken to the County gaol in Silver Street, Bedford. In that same year, Bunyan married again, Elizabeth, by whom he had two more children, Sarah and Joseph. The Restoration of the monarchy by Charles II of England began Bunyan's persecution as England returned to Anglicanism. Meeting-houses were quickly closed and all citizens were required to attend their Anglican parish church. It became punishable by law to "conduct divine service except in accordance with the ritual of the church, or for one not in Episcopal orders to address a congregation." Thus, John Bunyan no longer had that freedom to preach which he had enjoyed under the Puritan Commonwealth. He was arrested on 12 November 1660, whilst preaching privately in Lower Samsell by Harlington, Bedfordshire, 10 miles south of Bedford. -- John was brought before the magistrate John Wingate at Harlington House and refused to desist from preaching. Wingate sent him to Bedford County Gaol, to consider his situation. After a month, Bunyan reports (in his own account of his imprisonment) that Wingate's clerk visited him, seeking to get him to change his mind. The clerk said that all the authorities wanted was for Bunyan to undertake not to preach at private gatherings, as it was suspected that these non-conformist meetings were in fact being used by people plotting against the king. In answer to the clerk, John argued that God's law obliged him to preach at any and every opportunity, and refused to consider the suggested compromise. -- In January 1661, Bunyan was brought before the quarter sessions in the Chapel of Herne, Bedford. His prosecutor, Mr. Justice Wingate, despite Bunyan's clear breaches of the Religion Act of 1592, was not inclined to incarcerate Bunyan. But John's stark statement "If you release me today, I will preach tomorrow" left the magistrates - Sir John Kelynge of Southill, Sir Henry Chester of Lidlington, Sir George Blundell of Cardington, Sir Wllm Beecher of Howbury and Thomas Snagg of Milbrook - with no choice but to imprison him. So Bunyan was incarcerated for 3 months for the crimes of "pertinaciously abstaining" from attending mandatory Anglican church services and preaching at "unlawful meetings". -- Strenuous efforts were made by Bunyan's wife to get his case re-heard at the spring assizes but Bunyan's continued assertions that he would, if freed, preach to his awaiting congregation meant that the magistrates would not consider any new hearing. Similar efforts were made in the following year but, again, to no avail. In early 1664, an Act of Parliament the Conventicles Act made it illegal to hold religious meetings of five or more people outside of the auspices of the Church of England. -- It was during his time in Bedford County Gaol that John Bunyan conceived his allegorical novel: The Pilgrim's Progress. (Many scholars however believe that he commenced this work during the second and shorter imprisonment of 1675, referred to below.) Bunyan's incarceration was punctuated with periods of relative freedom - lax gaolers allowing him out to attend church meetings and to minister to his congregation. -- In 1666, John was briefly released for a few weeks before being re-arrested for preaching and sent back to Bedford's County gaol, where he remained for a further six years. During that time, he wove shoelaces to support his family and preached to his fellow prisoners - a congregation of about sixty. In his possession were two books, John Foxe's Book of Martyrs, the Bible, a violin he had made out of tin, a flute he'd made from a chair leg and a supply of pen and paper. Both music and writing were integral to John's Puritan faith. John Bunyan was released in January 1672, when Charles II issued the Declaration of Religious Indulgence. [article link]

Church History - 35 messages on church history by Pastor Phillips - Pastor Phillips takes us on a tour of some of the early Christians after the death of the Apostle Paul -- Note: Church History **John Bunyan 1628 - Save the "Play!" Version, open it in a player and save it that way, the Mp3 download version link might have an Error (Mp3s)

"WOW - what a great series!!" A couple years ago I followed the journey of the early church by a comprehensive study of the Acts of the Apostles, etc., and have wanted to fill in the gap of church history from that time to present, but don't have much time to read. I like to listen to sermons on the treadmill and in the tractor, so I searched for a series on church history. I found the first 3 and did extra time on the treadmill today so I could keep listening! Pastor Phillips has a way of telling the facts in a very interesting way and then finishes with application and lessons for today. After the 3rd sermon (on Augustine) I really wanted to hear more so I searched again. I was THRILLED to find 39 messages on church history by Pastor Phillips!! I plan to download all of them since spring seeding is coming up and I will be spending many hours in the tractor, and now I am looking forward to that! In the meantime, I'll keep at the treadmill. Thanks for posting all those great sermons! [article link]

ccel.org: "Grace Abounding To the Chief of Sinners" by John Bunyan published in 1666 A.D. - John Bunyan's spiritual autobiography (PDF)

Grace Abounding To the Chief of Sinners is John Bunyan's spiritual autobiography. In it he tells of his conversion and struggle with faith. He wrote it while he was imprisoned for preaching without a license. His main issue was a kind of "spiritual obsessive compulsive disorder" as one reviewer puts it. Bunyan was constantly concerned about the state of his salvation and whether God deemed him worthy enough for eternal life. This story communicates the author's anguish over his sin, his confession, and the life-changing impact of God's saving grace. Bunyan's spiritual struggles will remind readers that even the great minds of faith had issues with belief, and his personal testimony will encourage anyone who is doubting the status of their salvation. [article link]

Wikipedia: George Frideric Handel (23 February 1685 - 14 April 1759) -- was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos - After his success with Messiah (1742 A.D.) he never performed an Italian opera again - Messiah (HWV 56) is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 A.D. by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer -- Messiah eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music - Almost blind, and having lived in England for almost fifty years, he died a respected and rich man

After his success with Messiah in 1742 A.D. he never performed an Italian opera again. Handel was only partly successful with his performances of English Oratorio on mythical or biblical themes, but when he arranged a performance of Messiah to benefit the Foundling Hospital (1750) the critique ended. The pathos of Handel's oratorio is an ethical one, they are hallowed not by liturgical dignity but by the moral ideals of humanity. Almost blind, and having lived in England for almost fifty years, he died a respected and rich man. -- Handel is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time, not only because of his Water Music, and Music for the Royal Fireworks. But since the late 1960s, with the revival of baroque music and original instrument interest in Handel's opera seria has revived too. Handel composed forty operas in about thirty years; some are considered as masterpieces, with many sweeping arias and much admired improvisations. His operas contain remarkable human characterization, by a composer not known for his love affairs. -- Messiah: (HWV 56) is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible, and from the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer (which are worded slightly differently than their King James counterparts). It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later. After an initially modest public reception the oratorio gained in popularity, eventually becoming one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music. [article link]

Johann Sebastian Bach - Later in life Bach became blind - Bach died in Lepzig, Germany, July 28, 1750 A.D. - Bach was buried in an unmarked grave, for an unknown reason, in the churchyard of St. John's {Note: It was also common at that time for famous and religious people to request to be buried in an unmarked grave. John Bunyan (1806-1841) author of "Pilgrim's Progress" requested to be buried in an unmarked grave. Desiring that their tomb would not become a monument to themselves but that their life's work would be a monument to Jesus Christ.}

At age 15 Bach joined the choir at St. Michael's church. At age 19 Bach left St. Michael's and became a professional organist at St. Boniface. Bach studied music until 1703. In 1707, when Bach was 22 he married his cousin Maria Barbara. Maria had 7 children with Bach. Three of them died. In 1716, when Bach was thirty-one, he was put in jail for thirty-one days because people didn't believe that he shouldn't be writing that kind of music at that time. In those 31 days, Bach wrote five to ten musicals. Those five to ten musicals he wrote when he was in jail turned into two hundred musicals. In 1717 Bach became the court conductor at Anhalt-Cothen. 14 years later in 1721 Maria died leaving Bach to take care of four children. Bach was thirty-six at this time. One year later when Bach was thirty-seven in 1722 he married another woman. This woman's name was Anna Magdalina. Anna had thirteen children. ... Bach wrote 300 religious and nonreligious pieces called cantatas. Some people think that bach was the best composer of all time. Bach was a very religious man. Bach showed his religions in his music. Bach joined an orchestra at Weimar as a violinist. His home town was famous for music. One time when Bach was young, he walked thirty-five miles to a town named Hamburg to hear a concert. [article link]

Wikipedia: John Newton (July 24, 1725 - December 21, 1807) -- a British sailor and Anglican clergyman - Starting his career at sea, at a young age, he became involved with the slave trade for a few years - After experiencing a religious conversion, he became a minister, hymn-writer, and later a prominent supporter of the abolition of slavery - He was the author of many hymns, including "Amazing Grace" and "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken"

Early life: John Newton was born in Wapping, London, in 1725, the son of John Newton Sr., a shipmaster in the Mediterranean service, and Elizabeth Newton (née Seatclife), a Nonconformist Christian. His mother died of tuberculosis in July, 1732, about two weeks before his seventh birthday. Two years later, he went to live in Aveley, the home of his father's new wife. Newton spent two years at boarding school. At age eleven he went to sea with his father. Newton sailed six voyages before his father retired in 1742. Newton's father made plans for him to work at a sugar plantation in Jamaica. Instead, Newton signed on with a merchant ship sailing to the Mediterranean Sea. In 1743, while on the way to visit some friends, Newton was captured and pressed into the naval service by the Royal Navy. He became a midshipman aboard HMS Harwich. At one point, Newton attempted to desert and was punished in front of the crew of 350. Stripped to the waist, tied to the grating, he received a flogging of one dozen lashes, and was reduced to the rank of a common seaman. Following that disgrace and humiliation, Newton initially contemplated suicide. He recovered, both physically and mentally. Later, while Harwich was on route to India, he transferred to Pegasus, a slave ship bound for West Africa. The ship carried goods to Africa, and traded them for slaves to be shipped to England and other countries. Newton proved to be a continual problem for the crew of Pegasus. They left him in West Africa with Amos Clowe, a slave dealer. Clowe took Newton to the coast, and gave him to his wife Princess Peye, an African duchess. Newton was abused and mistreated along with her other slaves. It was this period that Newton later remembered as the time he was "once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in West Africa." Early in 1748 he was rescued by a sea captain who had been asked by Newton's father to search for him. And he made it to freedom. In 1750 he married his childhood sweetheart in St. Margaret's Church, Rochester. -- Spiritual conversion: He sailed back to England in 1748 aboard the merchant ship Greyhound, which was carrying beeswax and dyer's wood, now referred to as camwood. During this voyage, he experienced a spiritual conversion. The ship encountered a severe storm off the coast of Donegal and almost sank. Newton awoke in the middle of the night and finally called out to God as the ship filled with water. After he called out, the cargo came out and stopped up the hole, and the ship was able to drift to safety. It was this experience which he later marked as the beginnings of his conversion to evangelical Christianity. As the ship sailed home, Newton began to read the Bible and other religious literature. By the time he reached Britain, he had accepted the doctrines of evangelical Christianity. The date was March 10, 1748, an anniversary he marked for the rest of his life. From that point on, he avoided profanity, gambling, and drinking. Although he continued to work in the slave trade, he had gained a considerable amount of sympathy for the slaves. He later said that his true conversion did not happen until some time later: "I cannot consider myself to have been a believer in the full sense of the word, until a considerable time afterwards." Newton returned to Liverpool, England and, partly due to the influence of his father's friend Joseph Manesty, obtained a position as first mate aboard the slave ship Brownlow, bound for the West Indies via the coast of Guinea. During the first leg of this voyage, while in west Africa (1748-1749), Newton acknowledged the inadequacy of his spiritual life. While he was sick with a fever, he professed his full belief in Christ and asked God to take control of his destiny. He later said that this experience was his true conversion and the turning point in his spiritual life. He claimed it was the first time he felt totally at peace with God. Still, he did not renounce the slave trade until later in his life. After his return to England in 1750, he made three further voyages as captain of the slave-trading ships Duke of Argyle (1750) and African (1752-1753 and 1753-1754). He only gave up seafaring and his active slave-trading activities in 1754, after suffering a severe stroke, but continued to invest his savings in Manesty's slaving operations." -- Anglican priest: In 1755 Newton became tide surveyor (a tax collector) of the port of Liverpool, again through the influence of Manesty. In his spare time, he was able to study Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac. He became well known as an evangelical lay minister. In 1757, he applied to be ordained as a priest in the Church of England, but it was more than seven years before he was eventually accepted. Such was his frustration during this period of rejection that he also applied to the Methodists, Independents and Presbyterians, and applications were even mailed directly to the Bishops of Chester and Lincoln and the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. -- Writer and hymnist: The vicarage in Olney where Newton wrote the hymn that would become "Amazing Grace". In 1767 William Cowper, the poet, moved to Olney. He worshipped in the church, and collaborated with Newton on a volume of hymns, which was eventually published as Olney Hymns in 1779. This work had a great influence on English hymnology. The volume included Newton's well-known hymns "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken", "How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds!", "Let Us Love, and Sing, and Wonder", "Come, My Soul, Thy Suit Prepare", "Approach, My Soul, the Mercy-seat", and "Faith's Review and Expectation", which has come to be known by its opening phrase, "Amazing Grace". Many of Newton's (as well as Cowper's) hymns are preserved in the Sacred Harp. He also contributed to the Cheap Repository Tracts. [article link]

Wikipedia: George Müller (27 September 1805 - 10 March 1898) -- a Christian evangelist and Director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, cared for 10,024 orphans in his life - He was well-known for providing an education to the children under his care, to the point where he was accused of raising the poor above their natural station in life - He also established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, many of them being orphans - The theology that guided George Müller's work is not widely known, but was shaped by an experience in his mid twenties when he "came to prize the Bible alone as his standard of judgement"

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