tending the garden

A passing comment, arising after a sermon on 1 Cor 7, ‘the time is short …’:

Time is the only physical thing we can give to our souls.

(And the gift we give least often.)

True? false? debatable?

[Meanwhile, I’m catching a train northwards tomorrow lunchtime and web access is unlikely until the start of next week.]


justly stressed

Somebody reached this blog by searching for, “Is the word “just” a stressed syllable?”

No doubt they’re long gone, but what a question!

Stress is inherently relational: you can only identify something as stressed in comparison to something else.

When a word is monosyllabic, there is no question about where its lexical stress is located: on the only syllable there is. So in citation form, I suppose there could just about be a sense in which you could call it a stressed syllable. It’s stressed enough, I suppose, to make it utterable.

But considering citation forms isn’t the best way of going about any phonological analysis. You need to see (for which read: hear) the word in context, so that it can be considered in its relation to the surrounding words. Only then is it possible to decide whether it is stressed (in relation to the surrounding words) or not.

Syntagmatics is the way forward, folks.

beyond the reach of mercy

Spotted recently, in a certain denominational magazine – a sermon by William Trail, minister of the Free Tron Church in Glasgow after the Disruption, where he discusses obstacles which a person might imagine in the way of believing, or being forgiven. Just thought it fits with a couple of earlier posts, here and here.

“Perhaps the two most comon obstacles with which an anxious soul obstructs its approach to Christ are: (1) mistaken views of a sinner’s warrant to come to Christ; (2) a dread that some unpardonable sin has been committed, or that he has gone to such lengths in wickedness that he has put himself beyond the reach of mercy. …

“(1) … My sole warrant to believe in Christ is God’s testimony in the Word. … The free invitation is sufficient warrant for you, or anyone else, to believe in Christ.

“(2) The alarmed soul says, ‘I have sinned beyond the possibility of pardon. Others may be forgiven, but I am beyond the reach of mercy.

When the sinner says that his sins are so many and so heinous as to put him beyond the reach of hope, are we to try to persuade him that he has an exaggerated view of his sins, that he is judging his heart too harshly? No, we are to strive to convince this sinner that it is impossible for anyone to exaggerate their sins, for they are far greater than they yet understand. So, when the sinner cries out, ‘My sins are as scarlet, they are red like crimson,’ we may, as it were, echo back his confession: Yes, your sins are as scarlet; they are red like crimson, but there is hope even for you, for ‘though your sins be scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’

Yes, though your sin is a great evil, Christ is a still greater Saviour; his blood cleanses from all sin. And if you also, desponding soul, would only wash in it, these sins of yours will be so cleansed as to rival in whiteness the driven snow or the spotless fleece. To say that any sinner can be so vile that Jesus cannot or will not save him would be to pluck the brightest jewel from his crown as the Saviour of the chief of sinners.”


In Psalm 111, it says, the Lord “has made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious, and full of compassion.”

A question:
What is the link between the two statements? Does the psalmist exclaim over the grace of the Lord as an effect of remembering the Lord’s works? Or is it because the Lord is gracious that he has made his works to be remembered?

(Or does it matter?)

accessing half the web

Well, the new router has arrived and has solved some of our internet problems, although frustratingly bringing new ones into the equation too. It’s failing to load up some sites properly – I can get Bloglines, Google, WordPress, the BBC, but not much else (Yahoo, Facebook, Language Log, anything with blogspot in it, any help pages that I google for). This can be for several hours with no apparent reason and then fine again for a while: very annoying.

On the plus side, I’ve successfully persuaded my dad to lend me a couple of aged tomes from his library, which means that I will be able to read up on Victorian ecclesiastical controversies to my heart’s content while the internet sorts itself out. If there’s anyone out there who understands and is willing to talk about the Establishment Principle, and how far it was/is shared by other countries of the Reformation (particularly perhaps the Netherlands), and what it means in today’s political (not necessarily ecclesiastical) context, it would be lovely to hear from you. A post on such matters may be forthcoming if rage at the tantalising lack of yahoo mail doesn’t consume me first.