Monday, January 13, 2014

Daily Old Testament: Isaiah 59 and New Testament Inspired Words of James Nayler - Nayler Sonnet 8 by K. Boulding

Isaiah 59 – The iniquities of man create a gulf between man and God. When we sin, God veils his face from us.

Relying on idols is relying on “nothingness” (59:4). “We looked for light and all is darkness, for brightness and we walk in the dark” (59:9). Our “faults are present to our minds, and we know our iniquities: rebellion and denial of Yahweh” (59:12).

The following translation is different from what I remember – “He put integrity on like a breastplate, and on his head the helmet of salvation” (59:17). “My spirit with which I endowed you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, will not disappear from your mouth, nor from the mouths of your children, nor from the mouths of your children’s children for ever and ever, says Yahweh” (59:21).

These words amaze me and I can say I know they are true, for if the words of this ancient prophet resonate for me – child of modernism, child of political radicalism, believer in science – they will always resonate. Our creator, whoever, wherever, whatever sort of being He/She/It is, will not let us depart from a vision of deep meaning, purposefulness, morality. It is so deep in us is this nature that we can never “outgrow” it – you hear Mr. Dawkins!

New Testament Inspired:
Beautiful Quaker Words: James Nayler’s Deathbed Testimony

There is a spirit which I feel that delights to do no evil, nor to revenge any wrong, but delights to endure all things, in hope to enjoy its own in the end. Its hope is to outlive all wrath and contention, and to weary out all exaltation and cruelty, or whatever is of a nature contrary to itself. It sees to the end of all temptations. As it bears no evil in itself, so it conceives none in thought to any other. If it be betrayed, it bears it, for its ground and spring is the mercies and forgiveness of God. Its crown is meekness, its life is everlasting love unfeigned; it takes its kingdom with entreaty and not with contention, and keeps it by lowliness of mind. In God alone it can rejoice, though none else regard it, or can own its life. It is conceived in sorrow, and brought forth without any to pity it; nor doth it murmur at grief and oppression. It never rejoiceth but through sufferings; for with the world's joy it is murdered. I found it alone, being forsaken. I have fellowship therein with them who lived in dens and desolate places of the earth, who through death obtained this resurrection and eternal holy life.

Thou wast with me when I fled from the face of mine enemies: then didst Thou warn me in the night: Thou carriedst me in Thy power into the hiding-place Thou hadst prepared for me: there Thou coveredst me with Thy Hand that in time Thou mightst bring me forth a rock before all the world. When I was weak Thou stayedst me with Thy Hand, that in Thy time Thou mightst present me to the world in Thy strength in which I stand, and cannot be moved. Praise the Lord, O my soul. Let this be written for those that come after. Praise the Lord.

Kenneth Boulding’s Nayler Sonnets:

8. Or whatever is of a nature contrary to itself

If GOD be All in ALL, must all be good?
What then of evil?—of the shriek in the night,
The slavering jaw, the glinting eye, the plight
Of mouse, fawn, coney? If this mystery could
By some veil-tending flash be understood,
Would Darkness shine with its own holy light,
Wrong but reflect the under-side of Right,
And Life exult beneath Death’s sheltering hood?
Are there no contraries at the heart of things?
The double thread winds deep, beyond the reach
Even of faith’s white beam: and whether breach
Or union comes at last, no prophet sings.
Yet—if in this life love can weary out
The staunchest evil: does God lie in doubt?

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