Monday, January 20, 2014

Daily Old Testament: Isaiah 65 and New Testament Inspired Words of James Nayler - Nayler Sonnet 14 by K. Boulding

Isaiah 65 – The last chapters are an apocalyptic vision – post-exilic or even later in time. The Lord has been ready to help those who went astray, but no one ever asked for help. “I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me” (65:1). All day long the people threw dirt into God’s “face” – burning incense of pagan altars, breaking the laws God gave to their ancestors. They will suffer punishment at God’s hands “both for their own sins and for those of their ancestors” (65:7).

“But I will not destroy them all . . . For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones . . . I will not destroy all Israel” (65:8). “I will preserve a remnant of the people of Israel and of Judah . . . The plain of Sharon will again be filled with flocks for my people who have searched for me” (65:9-10). But the rest - “I commit you to the sword, all of you to fall in the slaughter For I called and you would not answer, I spoke and you would not listen” (65:12).

“For now I create new heavens and a new earth, and the past will not be remembered, and will come no more to men’s minds” (65:17). No longer will there be weeping, no longer infants dying or men not living long lives. Life will be what it should be. “They will not toil in vain or beget children to their own ruin, for they will be a race blessed by Yahweh, and their children with them. Long before they call I shall answer; before they stop speaking I hall have heard. The wolf and the young lamb will feed together, the lion eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no hurt, no harm on all my holy mountain, says Yahweh” (65:23-25).

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:
14. Its crown is meekness
How every virtue casts a mimic shade
Of subtle vice, so like in form and face
That shadow oft usurps the royal place
Of substance, in unholy masquerade.
So rotten pride, in pity’s garb arrayed,
Drops hidden poison in the springs of grace,
And selfishness transmutes to metal base
The gold of love, by lesser love betrayed.
But most of all, the very crown of good,
Unconquerable Meekness, is pursued
By the grey ghost compliance, bland and lewd,
And cowardice seeks to stand where courage stood.
Yet no deceit of words can hide for long
The seed of life, the meekness of the strong.

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