Extracts from “The Reconstruction of Belief”

By the Rt. Rev. Charles Gore, D.D. (Doctor of Divinity) (Hon. D.D. Edin. And Durham, Hon. D.C.L. (Doctor of Civil Law) Oxford, Hon. Ll.D. (Doctor of Laws) Cambridge and Birmingham, Hon. Fellow of Balliol and Trinity Colleges, Oxford, and Fellow of King’s College, London) 

Note:- Because this book was over 1000 pages in length, the tracts cover a small area of its pages than was the case with previous excerpts, from other books. 
The reality of an ordered world can exist only for mind and in terms of mind.  There seems to be no way of escaping this conclusion.  The man’s world of fuller reality requires the man’s mind.  The whole of the world – reality in all its fullness and complexity postulates a universal and perfect mind, which would be instinctively called divine.  And it is this divine mind which is communicating with me thorough all the process of sensitive experience.  In knowing more about the world I am learning about God. 

There is a spirit of beauty in the universe which communicates with and corresponds with the faculty of beauty in man. 

Like reason itself, of which it is an aspect like beauty, so righteousness belongs to the universal and eternal being, and, because this is so, men have called this being God, and worshipped it. 

In the moral region, very much more than in the region of beauty, we re encompassed with the sense of what ought to be.  Moral goodness exists, but, under conditions of continual and sometimes desperate struggle, and in each individual with more or less of manifest imperfection.  But whatever its struggles and imperfections, goodness, we are convinced, is what ought to be.  It represents the purpose of the world for free personalities.  Whatever else the world may be, it is, in the region covered by the existence of persons, a vale of soul-making, a scene for the making of character and goodness under conditions of severest trial. 

The Prophets of Israel in the Old Testament (700 to 400 B.C.)

Here we find a succession of wonderful men, mostly conscious of profound unpopularity in their contemporary world, who nevertheless, even in the face of the most determined hostility of courts and people, delivered a message which we feel to be self-consistent and to involve the same great principles throughout, about God – his nature, his will, his purposes – and about human nature – its dignity, its responsibility, and its sin; a message which they declare, with the fullest conviction, to be derived not from their own reasoning or speculation, nor from tradition, nor from any external source at all, but from God, the God of Israel, speaking in their own souls, so intensely and clearly that there would be no mistake about it. 

The prophets, then, because they are conscious of being thus even violently dealt with and possessed, claimed to utter with supreme authority a word or message from God to man.  The content of this message is, on the whole, quite clear in its final outcome.  It is a message which proclaims God as intensely personal and moral, as the one and only god, the absolute creator and sustainer and judge of all that is, almighty in the sense that no other God or external power exists to restrain him. 

His people understand that there is no manner of fellowship with him possible except by conformity to his character, that is, by goodness, social and individual, by “doing justly, and loving mercy, and walking humbly with God.” (Micah. VI.8).  It also proclaims the responsibility of man as a free being, and his awful power to thwart God by his pride and wilfulness, and to throw his world into confusion.  It assumes that God does not over the long course of this world’s history intend to remove man’s liberty thus to thwart his purpose; but it declares God’s intention to judge and overthrow one by one every structure and device of human pride and wilfulness, and finally to vindicate himself in his whole creation.  Meanwhile, his prophets are his mouthpiece to make his character and will and purpose known, and to call on those who have ears to hear, to correspond and co-operate with him, that is, to stand for righteousness and truth in evil days. 

The message of the prophets made, and still makes, a profound difference to mankind.  It impinged upon the human soul and conscience in a quite new way, with new motives, new fears, new hopes, new aspirations, new possibilities.  This monotheism of the prophets created a new type of character.  It claims to introduce into human experience a new source of information about God of the most important kind, such as never could have been derived from the consideration of nature. 

If the there really was such a divine education of mankind of which the Hebrew prophets were the instruments, we must put them, with regard to religion, in a position analogous to that, which we commonly assign to the Greeks in philosophy or art, and to the Romans in administration and law, but profoundly indifferent in respect of the source of their authority and the method by which they gained their assurance – the method of positive revelation, given and received.  It can be fully realized by any man who likes to read the prophets, and to ponder the vivid accounts which the prophets give us of their commissions, and in general their intense experiences, of the dealings of God with them; that these experiences gained the world a new spiritual life and a wholly new moral power.  One of the miracles of history is the fact that Israel, the divinely appointed instrument of the true religion (as it is contended), though it was again and again apparently absorbed, or on the way to be absorbed, in the great nations which trampled it down, such as Babylon or the Empire of Alexander, was in fact preserved to fulfill its separate function.  On the whole the anticipations of the prophets have been indeed wonderfully fulfilled.  But it is not in predictions fulfilled that their chief function is to be sought; it is in their message about God and his nature, his character, and his purpose – and about man’s capacity, responsibility, and true hope.  Every man must draw his own conclusion as to the nature or source of the prophets’ inspiration.  It can be done only by a reverent and continuous reading of at least large portions of their writings.  We have to take note both of the individuality and distinctiveness of the message of each of the prophets and of the continuity of the teaching through their whole succession.  Then we have to ask ourselves the great question: can we ascribe the message to any lower source than that to which the prophets themselves ascribe it?  I do not think we can.  Of the source of the communications, as coming really and directly from God, I dare to feel certain; for the communications to the prophets had the sort of vivid reality which required them to state what they “heard” in the form of propositions or messages appealing to the intellect as well as to the will.  That is to say, they carry inevitably intellectual conclusions.  And I am sure that in the consideration of the truth of the prophetic testimony we must not leave out of account the effect of their teaching on those who accepted it.  It is impossible not to feel that men who exhibit a quite new power in life are thereby proved to have got into closer touch with reality.  I believe that the spirit of Jewish prophecy and that towards which it led – the spirit of Christianity in its most genuine form all down the ages exhibits human nature at its best and riches.  Something has occurred for which only the experience of the prophets and the witness of Christ can account, and without which the mortal treasures of human nature would be vastly impoverished.  The Christian impresses us as pre-eminently capable in virtue of his faith of dealing with the circumstances and sufferings and tasks of life in a spirit of liberty, unperplexed and undismayed.  And he draws this power from what is distinctive about his faith in God.  Thus it was that when the Christian church came out into the Graeco-Roman world, it proved itself so combative, not merely for some belief in God, but for its own distinctive belief.  It demanded the belief, which the prophets and Christ had taught it, in God the absolute creator, who is also the absolute love – in the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ – in the God of whom Jesus Christ is the living image in human for.  Christian humility, Christian enterprise, Christian love, the Christian sense of supremacy over all evil influences and powers, the Christian hope, the assurance of the kingdom, all depended upon – not any form of theism, but the specific Hebrew belief.  If we consider the moral needs and capacities of ordinary men and women, it is chiefly among them that the Christian faith – which is the Hebrew faith perfected – where it is genuine, vindicates the truth of its premises by the fruits which it shows in life. 

The personality of God – what we mean by this term lies at the very heart of all that the prophets taught.  Their God is not an abstract quality to contemplate, such as beauty, justice, truth; but a being of deliberate will and energetic action, approving and disapproving, loving and hating, judging and blessing; who not only can respond to man’s advances and prayers, but who from the beginning has been, and always is, taking the initiative in willing and acting; whose will is to be discerned behind everything that happens and working through everything that happens, yet who also appears as acting more intensely here than there, in the execution of particular, individual purposes.  There can be no question about the truth of this conception of God if, in any real sense, the experience of the prophets is an experience of reality.  For it is its very heart and substance.  
The moral perfection of God  - “Righteousness and judgement are the habitation of his seat”.  And there is with him no respect of persons, no favouritism of his own people such as could lead him to ignore their sins; and no possibility of error in his judgments, for he sees men’s hearts and knows their most secret thoughts. 

Man is not a part of God, but the creature of God.  His relation to God is one of absolute dependence, as for the beginning of his existence so moment by moment for its continuance.  God has been pleased to make man in his own image and likeness, to admit to his friendship, and to make him his vicegerent in the world which he inhabits. 

How, the, if God is the creator, responsible for the existence of all that is, is his character for goodness to be maintained in view of the evil and misery of the world?  The answer of the prophets to this portentous question is, if not complete, yet simple, and it is expressed or implied everywhere.  It attributes the mass of evil in the world to the lawlessness of rebel wills – to pride, greediness, ambition, cruelty, selfishness, jealousy, lust; and to the judgments which those things bring upon individuals and upon the world, whether as their natural results or as the punishment for sin which God inflicts. 

The whole teaching of the prophets was given for a practical and not a speculative purpose.  It was a ‘word of life”, a message as to how men must live.  It was a life before it was a doctrine.  But it was a life which involved a whole body of truths about God and man: and though these are affirmed for a practical purpose, they are none the less affirmed as true.  They must be true in fact – and therefore truths for the intellect – or the life proposed becomes impossible. 

Now we have been asking what are the intellectual propositions which the prophets insist upon as the word of God, and we have found them to be especially these: that Jehovah, the God of Israel, is personal; that he is the absolute being, beside whom there can be none other; that he is in character perfect holiness, and love; that he is absolutely distinct from all his creatures as their creator; that he has given to his creature man, and to other orders of spirits dimly perceived, such moral freedom and responsibility as admit of their co-operation with God or of their resisting and thwarting him on the widest scale; but that as God is God he must fully vindicate himself over all and in all his creation, if not in this world, then in the world to come, 

Revelation and Reason – Reason and beauty and goodness cannot be regarded as merely qualities of our minds.  They belong to the universe of things.  There is an “eternal, not ourselves”, which is at once reason and beauty and goodness, with which we can hold communion and co-operate, and this eternal being we can call God. 

The prophetic creed is (1) that God is a personal being, making his will known to us, and demanding of us that we should deal with him as with a person, at once our unerring judge and our loving father. And (2) that he is, at the root of things, the sole, absolute, or omnipotent being.  Also (3) that he is the absolute creator of all that is: perfect in himself “before the world was”.  And (4) that he is perfect moral goodness – that God is love.  Then (5) that man is purely a creature, but endowed with reason and a real, though limited, freedom, qualifying him for free co-operation with God, but necessarily capable also of perversion; and that if it has in fact been perverted on the widest scale, and the moral disorder of the world is due to this sin.  Finally (6) that the purpose of God is to redeem the sinful and disordered world; that his kingdom – the realm of obedient wills – already exists and is discoverable here and now; that it is the business of good men to behave as its faithful citizens; and that they have a sure goal in view, for in the end God is to come into his own perfectly in the whole creation.  This is the final kingdom or reign of God, and mankind is destined to immortal fellowship with God in this world to come, if he has not by his wilfulness lost his soul and exclude himself from the divine fellowship.   

Now, we must be profoundly conscious that in this discussion of what might conceivably have been or, in other words, of the nature of divine choice, we are moving in worlds too high for us.  But we have seen reason to believe that a self-disclosure of God has been granted to us.  “From above”, not as a conclusion of human reasoning, but yet through human minds, and in such as manner as has necessitated its expression in intellectual propositions; and these propositions, if they are necessarily inadequate to eternal realities, must be the best image of the truth possible under our present conditions of knowledge.  And there is no doubt that this revelation has both by its first recipients, the prophets, and by its exponents, both Jewish and Christian, been held to involve the self “complete and independent existence of God “before the world was”. 

The strength of Christianity – its power of appeal to men of different ages and classes and educations – lies, as  seems to me indisputable, in its being rooted in a person of whom we have adequate, trustworthy knowledge, or, in other words, upon the substantial historical truth of the gospels – not their infallibility in detail, but their substantial trustworthiness. 

God acts more intensely in man’s mind and personality than in rocks or beasts.  He shows more of himself in the free moral conscience than in the automatic action of plants. 

The second and third gospels, then, and the Acts of Apostles are by known men – John Mark, a member of the original apostolic company in Jerusalem, where he lived in his mother’s home, and then the trusted companion of Barnabas, Paul, and Peter, and Luke “the beloved physician”, the companion of St Paul; and these men had the best opportunities of intercourse with those “who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the Word”, and their narratives are found extraordinarily convincing.  We have, then, here, documents which, judged by the standards of history, are fully trustworthy; and they would have been, no doubt, unhesitatingly received were it not for the supernatural features of which they are full, and the tremendous claim upon men’s lives and though which they involve.  Whether these features and this claim constitute any good reason for disputing their trustworthiness depends very greatly upon the amount of faith present in each individual.  The writers of these gospels must have had the freest access to original witnesses of the events which they describe.  Their intentions were conspicuously simple and honest.  They appear to have no design except to record things as they happened.  It is true that in their narratives we are presented with a ;person and with events quite unparalleled in the history of the world.  But we have found, as we have read these records, quite unable to believe that we have here a work of imagination.  The portrait is convincing.  The elements in the narrative – the things done and the things said – cohere in a wonderful unity. Thus we find ourselves disposed to take the gospels for what they profess to be, and to give them an open-minded hearing. 

A miracle is an occurrence in the process of nature of something which nature, that is, the experienced order cannot account for, and which constrains men to recognize a special or extraordinary action of God calling attention to a special purpose.  And the supernatural is all that constrains men to believe that nature with its customary order is not closed or complete in itself, but part of a larger and higher world of existence from which it is not separated by any insurmountable barrier. 

The visible world and its order and law has so impressed itself on the imagination of men, and moulded their language as a thing in itself, that we need the word nature to describe it, and the word supernatural to suggest whatever may lie in the unknown beyond.  But, if a supernatural event suggests that God is most evident when something happens which is disconnected and disorderly, then this can be objected to as not being the real purpose of such events.  The supernatural is God’s gift to mankind, and not a proof of God’s existence. 

Law, as a burden, is transcended, but it is not abolished in a world where perfectly free love expresses itself as perfect order.  But freedom of choice, though it need not involve any actual departure from order, involves the possibility of it, an d has, in fact, resulted in worldwide lawlessness.  No doubt the free will of men has been absurdly exaggerated.  As a fact, it is strictly limited.  There is no such thing as human independence.  All the forces which any man employs, in choosing or carrying out his choice, are drawn from beyond himself.  It need not be claimed that he can add to the sum of energy.  His conditions again determine the channels along which he must use the powers which are available.  Nevertheless, in the heart of this world of determinate and determined forces and laws there lies this mysterious and unique thing – free choice.  As has been already argued, the choice of the will at the last analysis decides in which direction – in the form of which kind of action – the energy stored in the human organism is liberated.  Something has happened which mechanism cannot explain.  Nothing can explain it except the frank recognition of moral will as here directive of physical force.  The soul of man is conscious of a moral purpose above him claiming to control his action.  The purpose of nature,, or the God of nature, appears to be that he should be “good”, as he can be only by the free choice of his will.  We are thus bound to think of the great power, within the grasp of which we live and move and are, as not mere unconscious force, but also as conscious moral will and purpose – as willing righteousness.  Here we feel ourselves planted on ground from which our reason cannot suffer us to be dislodged.  Nature has behind it and within it a being of whom the moral will in us and the moral personality is a better image than either mechanical force or unconscious life.  That is, the recognition that the human personality, which is the highest form of life known in nature, is a better “image of God’ than physical forces or chemical combinations. You must think of God a not inferior to man – as at least rationally willing and choosing in accordance with a purpose of righteousness in the whole universe of things. 

The principle of the order of nature is now seen to be not blind mechanism, but the perfect reason and perfectly free will of the supreme  
God the creator.  Man is to “have dominion” over all the lower orders of creation.  But on the vastest scale he has misused this stewardship, and his misuse of it has disordered not only his own nature and life, but the whole superficial order of the world.  It has raised huge structures of insolence and cruelty and lust.  And the blindness and wilfulness of sin have obliterated or monstrously perverted man’s thought of God on the vastest scale.  And God has not seen fit to annihilate either man or his freedom.  He tolerates the vast disorder.  But he counterworks it. He enters into the struggle.  He sets redemptive forces to work.  He bears with their obstinacy and wilfulness and ignorance.  He perseveres.  Through infinite difficulties and seeming failures he brings his redemptive purpose to its climax of critical moment.  And it is in this critical moment that God is specially represented as dealing in the miraculous – that is abnormal – action.  The point of a divine miracle, as the Bible conceives it, is not to be a mere portent.  But a sure indication to men’s minds that the moral will of God is supreme in the world.

The mind of mankind has utterly misconceived God.  Man’s pride has left him out of account, and despised him.  The rejection and crucifixion of Christ is, of course, the supreme example of such moral blindness.  Is it not a least conceivable that at such a supreme crisis god should have given mankind, or such portion of mankind as have “eyes to see”, assurance – such assurance as is given by Christ’s resurrection from the dead – that at the last issue the power which rules in the physical world is on the side of righteousness – that it is the same God as commands in conscience and speaks through prophets?  It is true that the testing of faith lies in enduring and seeing him who is invisible. This is the normal task of faith.  But surely the father may see that this testing ordeal must be tempered.  Frequent miracles would destroy the reality of this probation, as they would destroy the sense of the divine order.  But on the supreme occasions, can the human reason have the audacity to say they may not be necessary? 

Can we conceive that the reinforcement of the moral conscience, the sense of the supremacy of right, which we identify with Christianity, could have occurred without the resurrection?  There is great reserve in the exhibition of the miraculous in the Bible; there is great limitation in the evidential function assigned to it. Is it not to deny reason to God to deny the possibility or credibility of miracle?  Is it not the very mark of rational power, as compared to blind force of animal instinct?  What God is doing when he works a miracle is not to violate the order of the world in the deeper sense.  He innovates, it is true, upon the normal physical order, but solely in the interest of the deeper moral order and purpose of the world.  Miracle is, from this point of view, God’s protest against the monstrous disorder of sin.  It is God the greater recreating what man has defaced.  At the last God is to come into his own – that is the day of the Lord.  But he from time to time gives some foretastes of this final self-vindication, and they are “miracles”.  To admit the credibility or the actual occurrence of miracles in effect lays no fresh burden upon science.  The sciences of physics and chemistry – and we may include biology – cannot account for all that is in nature.  They cannot account for the action of free wills or for the consequent disorder of sin, any more than they can account for miracles.  But neither the actions of free wills, nor the very rarely occurring miracles, hinder their effective investigation of nature on the level that lies below freedom.  When a materialist philosophy has attempted to ignore freedom and still to take all human life into its province – as the old political economy attempted to deal with industrial life on the basis of a mechanistic philosophy of human motives – it has always conspicuously failed. Mechanism can give no account of miracles.  But also it can give no account of freedom or sin – that is, of human nature. 

In Christ we see something new to human experience – a new level reached in creation – such as it may, be supposed would have occurred in any case, even if sin had never been.  If Christ truly was, what his disciples came to believe him to be, the eternal word or son of God, himself very God, made man or “flesh”, there was thereby constituted a new thing in nature, a new relation of the creator spirit, the spirit of life, to matter, a new level in the evolution of life, such as would naturally exhibit new phenomena.  From this point of view “the works” of Christ are natural in this case – the natural outflowings of the power which he alone, or he first, possessed.  It was “natural” that he, being what he was, should so heal the sick, should so control nature, should so be raised from the dead, as is related in the gospels.  It is what would be expected in the case of such a person.  When the woman with an issue of blood touched the garment of Jesus, he perceived that virtue or healing power – the “power that was in him” – had gone forth.  And on another occasion, where faith was lacking, it was said that he could do no mighty works.  Such phrases suggest a “natural” faculty which could heal the sick and raise the dead – a “natural” outpouring of inherent life-giving power, which a certain lack of response could restrain or inhibit.  Thus the argument is quite valid that – granted that Christ cannot be reasonably accounted merely as man, but must be interpreted as God incarnate – he must be expected to exhibit actions natural to him, which would be “miraculous” from the point of view of the nature which lies below him.  In the New Testament the miracles done by Christ, are represented as the acts of God who sent him bearing witness to him.  They are attributed to the divine spirit who indwelt him, and re pictured as done by God in answer to the prayer of Jesus.  In a word, they are abnormal acts of God done to call attention to his Christ.  So specially the resurrection is the act of God marking out and finally designating Jesus as his son and as his authorized representative through whom he is to judge the world.  That is to say, our thoughts are in the main directed by the miracles not to the special nature of Christ but to the nature of God as transcendent creator, under whose hands nature is plastic and must fulfill all his will.  Miracles are very rare occurrences.  That is of their essence.  They do not occur as a hindrance in the path of the scientific investigator.  His world of fixed laws is before him all the same, whether personally he believes in certain miracles or no.  All that is asked of him as a scientific man is that he should recognise the abstraction of his sciences, and seek to impose no dogmatic barrier against the conception of the possibility or credibility of miracles – a possibility and credibility which are really bound up with faith in the God of the prophets and of Jesus Christ.  The credibility of miracles is neither impossible nor incredible, if the God of Jesus is the real God, if the world is what the Bible represents it as being, disturbed and distorted by the rebellion of free wills, and if the redemptive or recreative purpose of God needs such a manifestation of his power in the physical world to make it effective, there is no ground for the assumption that the physical world which science investigates, the world of constant physical sequence and invariable law, is a self-complete and closed world, which can admit no influence from any other world. The evidence is against this theory of a self-complete enclosure, which cannot account for the action of human wills. 

The gospels show the disciples after the death of Jesus as a dispirited band of men, who had been gradually disheartened by the seeming failure of Jesus, and finally utterly discouraged by his rejection and execution.  It plainly appears that the sense of disappointment and failure so possessed them and dominated them that they could hardly be aroused from their lethargy.  Then the early chapters of the Acts present to us this same body of men confident and courageous – with a courage which no hostility could shake.  And though they were not emotional men, abut slow of spiritual apprehension, and liable to jealousies and misunderstandings among themselves, they had been transformed all together.  It was a transformation which suggests the impact of some startling fact of common experience.  Their outlook has been changed by the grave of Jesus having been found empty on “the third day” after his crucifixion and  burial, and afterwards by repeated appearances of the risen Jesus to individuals among them and to the assembled group, by which their doubts had been at last wholly dispelled, and a new and glorious conviction of the divinely certificated lordship of Jesus had come to posses them all in common. 

The dominant influence of Jesus upon the disciples did not lie in anything that he taught them, whether about himself or about God or about the kingdom of God, but in “the man” himself – in the impression of overwhelming authority certainly supernatural and “of God”, resident in him.  It is this that constrains them at the beginning to leave all and follow him.  It is authority which expresses itself in his works of healing, especially, but not only, the healing of the possessed.  The sense of it is vividly presented to us in the case of one who was neither a disciple nor a Jew – the Roman centurion who had been paying attention to Jesus, and had gained the conviction that he occupied in nature a position comparable to his own in the army.  No doubt, that is to say, he was “under authority” – the authority of God; but within the sphere of his activity he could do as he willed with nature, as the centurion could with his subordinates, “with authority he commands”, and it obeys him.  He speaks, and it is done.  That is the impression.  His authority in working what we call miracles and what the gospels call “powers” is paralleled by his moral authority.  He taught as he worked, “as one having authority” of a divine kind in himself.  So as “the man” he claims to forgive the sins of the paralytic and, to prove his right to do so, he heals his disease.  And in teaching he does not generally, though he does at times, refer beyond himself – “This is the word of the Lord”, or “thus saith Scripture”.  Even in revising the divinely-given law of Sinai, it was enough to say “but I say unto you”. 

Many moderns seems quite to underestimate or almost to ignore this overwhelming impression of authority.  The disciples are being led to believe that in the physical world, though he will do nothing to help himself, he can do anything to help those in need, or themselves, his companions.  Such was doubtless the impression of his feeding of the five thousand out of so miserably inadequate a supply, or rescuing the disciples suddenly, when they roused him out of sleep in the storm at sea.  They were growing to believe that he would be equal to all the emergencies which might occur.  And in the moral sphere his word was enough.  They could not question it.  And though he did not seem to know everything, yet he had a strange power of reading men’s hearts; and at times he spoke as if he were the final judge of men, not only in view of their public acts but of their secret lives.  In certain of the parables this assumption that he is the final judge is plain.  But it is implied elsewhere. We think of such a saying as “many shall come to me on that day … then will I protest unto them, I never knew you”.  Here what is implied, both in St Matthew and St Luke’s version, is that nothing matters to a man at last except the judgment of Jesus on him, and that judgment goes to the heart of the reality and cannot be misled by appearances or professions.  So elsewhere we hear that to deny him and be ashamed of him here in this world means to be disowned by him at last, and that that is the final disaster.  He is the ultimate judge. Whatever he taught, he taught as if it were certainly true, and as if the fountain of truth was in himself.  “No man knoweth the father save the son”.  “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away”.  Secondly, there was not in his language the least trace of a sense of sinfulness, or even possible unworthiness, such as has possessed at all times prophets and seers.  There was an exclusiveness about his claim on men, as it he were not merely one of the representatives of God but in some profound sense the only one.  In himself , he seems to brook no rival.  “Come unto me”, he says, “and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn of me.” 

Now all this time questions were pending in the minds of the disciples as to who he was.  There was some secret, some mystery, about his person.  There were names, “Son of Man”, “Son of God”, “Christ”, which were in their ears and would have to be explained.  But while all this process of questioning was going on, something deeper was happening.  Beyond all possibility of question, and seemingly by his own deliberate intention, Jesus, so far as they yielded their faith to him, was taking the place of God in their souls. Within the sphere of their personal lives, he had been showing them the values of God, as the object of their absolute faith, their infallible refuge and informer and protector and guide.  The conception of the Messiah which Jesus caused to grow in the minds of the disciples was quite remote from the expectations of his contemporaries.  According to Jesus’ teaching, the Messiahship had its basis in his humble and patient manhood, and it was to have its centre in his rejection and suffering and crucifixion, and it was to find its consummation in his lordship in heaven and in his coming to judge the quick and the dead.  But the disciples had at present no ears for the note of glory beyond humiliation and through it.  They could only attend to the announcements of utter shame and rejection and death.  He bade them accept this utter seeming failure, and all that their patriotic hearts held dear, as something inevitable and necessary for the kingdom to come.  It was too much for them.  It stirred in their minds a despondency and repulsion which overcame even their loyalty and their faith in him.  There is hardly any tragedy in history which moves us more than the failure of the disciples.  But it was a temporary tragedy.  Their failure became an element in their strength and power.  Their faith in Jesus lived again, and took form and glory after their recovery. 

Quite apart from their ideas about the person of Jesus their master, which were no doubt vague and uncertain, quite apart even from the new conception of the Christ which Jesus had planted in their reluctant souls to bear fruit after their temporary failure, there was another and deeper impression which they could not shake off.  They had been keeping company with one who, deliberately as it seemed, had come to occupy towards their souls a place of authority which is practically God’s place.  He had come to have for them the values of God.  We can conceive nothing further from the method of Jesus than that he should have startled and shocked their consciences by proclaiming himself as God.  But he had done something which in the long run would make any other estimate of him hardly possible. 

It would seem that all the effort of Jesus was directed, in  the latter part of his ministry, to the training of the twelve, and especially to the preparation of their minds to welcome the principle of sacrifice, and withstand the shock of the cross. To the heart of the disciples the course which Jesus, who they had confessed to be the Christ, had, as it appeared, so deliberately chosen, seemed doubtless an intolerable betrayal.  The most tragic feature in the whole situation is the failure of the twelve, yet we must not be scornful.  The doctrine which they were required to embrace was a very new one.  It is not easy to realize the depth of the requirement which our lord made upon his disciples’ hearts and minds when he bade them not only contemplate his own seeming failure and death, but also anticipate the doom which he so solemnly pronounced upon their nation and city and temple, and be prepared to witness its accomplishment even with joy, as the necessary prelude of the kingdom of God.  The real strain on faith lay in the spectacle of the present seeming weakness of God and of good, which no prospect of further reversal seemed able to counterbalance. 

But a few weeks after the crucifixion and entombment of Jesus, the company of “the brethren”, numbering one hundred and twenty persons, and centering upon the twelve, are preened to us in the beginning of the Acts in a wholly different frame of mind.  They are now radiant and confident, and re prepared to face an even worldwide mission, apparently of a most desperate kind, and to challenge the world, with a clear understanding at least of the ground of their mission. Nothing can satisfactorily account for their sudden, complete and corporate change of mind, except a certain series of facts, some of which are recorded in detail by the evangelists, and which are summarized at an earlier date by St Paul – that is the finding of the tomb of Jesus empty on the third day, and his repeated appearances afterwards, with a humanity strangely changed in physical condition, but still the same – which had assured them, beyond possibility of mistake, of his actual resurrection from the dead.  Such a rapid, simultaneous conversion of such unimaginative men as we know the twelve to have been from the state of mind as described in the gospels, both before and after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, to the state of mind described in the beginning of the Acts, could not have occurred except by the impact of indisputable facts of experience, such as those to which they attributed their newly-won convictions. 

…. The Church is the representative of the Kingdom of God on earth here and now; which is “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit”.  So the ethics of the New Testament are predominantly social ethics – the ethics of brotherhood; its discipline is primarily moral discipline.  The aim of the church is to show here and now the true human fellowship realized in Christ. It is bound to make war.  In the name of Christ, on all injustice as much as on all impurity.  It must take all human life for its province.  It must develop its philosophy, its art, its principles of social economy.  It exists in the world, but not of the world, and that means that it must vigorously and combatively maintain the true principles of human brotherhood and human life – that is, against the social aims and practices of the selfish, avaricious, and lustful world.  It has to labour for the establishment of the kingdom of God in the name of Christ and the power of his spirit here and now.  

But neither Christ nor experience warrants us in believing that we are to see the extinction of the power of evil within the present world order.  Progress is an exceedingly fitful and chequered process.   There is no security against the collapse of civilizations and churches.  The powers of evil do not seem too be worn out or to be weakened – only to take new shapes.  There appears to be the most fearful waste of the best human efforts.  It seems to me that Jesus Christ would prepare us for all this by the apocalyptic, other-worldly hope.  He would have us believe that no good effort for the cause of truth and righteousness will ever really be lost.  The fruits of what we have thought and done and suffered are gathered into the treasury of God in the heavenly world unseen, and one day we shall see them with our eyes. 

It is impossible to read the gospels and not feel that Jesus Christ did not appeal to men primarily or chiefly as an example they could follow.  They felt him to be in some formidable sense above them – teaching and working with a quite extraordinary authority – drawing them with a tremendous claim as from above – claiming, controlling, saving, judging.  Above this there can be no question, if the gospels are in any sense historical.  And it is no use fashioning a Christ of our own fancy.  We must not, of course, minimize the reality and value of his human example, for he left us an example that we should follow.  This cannot be too strongly or constantly insisted upon. 

When Jesus was living as man among men, it appeared that neither his teaching nor his example was effective with his first disciples.  He was altogether too high for them – too unworldly.  They failed under the strain he laid upon them and deserted him.  What recovered them was their hardly won faith in his resurrection, which convinced them of his supernatural sonship, and their consciousness of the divine spirit – his father’s spirit and his own – received as a distinctive gift at a memorable moment.  Thereby they realized Christ as their living lord who from heaven was inspiring, guiding, governing and enriching them with an inward power.  So it was that his outward example, their memory of which is recorded in the gospels, become something quite different from the mere example of a departed hero.  The example living in their memory was the pattern of humanity, or “the way”, in accordance with which he was moulding them from heaven by his spirit.  It was only “in Christ” that they could follow Christ.  But it was only because he was something more than man – something in respect of which they would have felt it madness to equal themselves with him – that he could be living in them and they in him – that he could thus have access to their inmost souls, and remake them, and “dwell in their hearts by faith”. 

And this has been true for all successive generations of Christians.  The example of Christ has been of supreme importance.  He called himself the son of man.  That pattern of glorious manhood – glorious in all its relations, and not least in its matchless self-control – has appealed to men in each successive generation as presenting an ideal before which all cynicism is put to flight.  Here is the man whose life is altogether worthy of fullest admiration.  If he is the real man, there remains no manner of doubt in our hearts that the life of a man, even under extremist conditions of failure and suffering, is altogether worth living.  But in its supreme perfection it would seem to us, as it seemed to the first disciples, an example of despair.  It postulates for life forces which powers which we seem to lack.  And, in fact, he appears in the gospels as claiming a mastery over other men’s lives which it is not for a mere man to claim.  But he did not end by setting an example.  He died, but he is still alive.  That is the point of the Christian belief.  It concerns “one Jesus who was dead”, whom Paul, and all Christians since, have “affirmed to be alive”. Yes, alive in the heavens – the same son of God who came down from heaven to redeem our nature from within by himself taking it, and exalting it into the glory of God; and who thus alive in heaven is alive in us also by his spirit, moulding us inwardly into the pattern of the life he showed us outwardly in word and work.   There is no possibility of question that this is the way in which Christ’s example has in fact appealed to men in the succession of generations.  They have studied “the life”, “the way”, in the pages of the gospel, as described in his words and as lived in his conduct, and also as reflected in countless saints who were his true disciples; and however low the level at which they may have started.  To become his disciples and to imitate him, however degraded and polluted they have felt their manhood to be, they have not despaired, because they believed in him, not only as their pattern of manhood, but as their redeemer.  In his name, they have known themselves to be set free from all the guilt of the past and to be given that incomparable blessing, the forgiveness of their sins – that is, the opportunity, constantly renewed, of a fresh start free from the burden of the past.  From him again they have received that without which example and absolution would have been alike useless – the gift of the spirit.  Poured into them out of his heavenly manhood to purge and strengthen and renew them inwardly after the pattern which in his human life he had shown them outwardly.

No one can doubt that this has been the way in which Christ has expected his influence and made his example effective down the centuries like the example of no other man.  This sort of influence has a sort of analogy in the influence of other men over their fellows.  But in his case there has been an “influence” or “inflowing” of him into all those who have accepted him as their master which has been quite distinctive.  Of no mere man could it be said that he could thus gain effective entry into the very centre of the personalities of all other men, so as to renew them from the roots of their being by his spirit, and make them “in him” new men..  That is a recreative act which, in the full sense in which it has been experienced from the first, can assigned to none other than him “in whom we live and move and are”. 

The uniqueness of Christ’s self-sacrifice consists in this, that one who existed in the nature of God consented to abandon this (to us) inconceivable glory of life, in order to accept the conditions and limitations and sufferings of real manhood.  This act of self-sacrifice is strictly unique, and it is so only because the person who sacrifices himself is very God – not closely united to God but personally God.  His acts are strictly God’s acts and his love God’s love. 

Intellectually considered, nothing is more essential to a full faith in Christ than his recognition of his essential finality.  This means that he is not only the greatest prophet and the most conspicuous saint and the noblest leader of humanity who has ever lived; for if that were all, obviously we could “look for another” as great as he, possibly greater than he.  And if Jesus be a human person, one among millions of human persons, whom the divine word united to himself and even (finally) absorbed into himself, there is no reason in the nature of things why the process should not be repeated.  It is, in fact, only the highest example of what occurs in its measure in every good man.  There may be another Christ, even conceivably a higher and more enlightened one.  There is no real ground for asserting the finality of the Christ, unless he be personally God in manhood.  Then, and then only, must he be essentially and necessarily final.  For there can be no disclosure of God in manhood or of manhood in God even conceivable which should be completer or fuller (at least under the conditions of this world) than is given us in him who is the word made flesh.  Nor in the nature of things can there be another such.  There can be no other such person as the only-begotten son of God. 

The divine son in becoming man must have accepted, voluntarily and deliberately, the limitations involved in really living as man – even as sinless and perfect man – in feeling as a man, thinking as a man, striving as a man, being anxious and tried as a man.  Jesus does not indeed appear in the gospels as unconscious of his divine nature.  He knows he is son of the father.  He “remembers” how he came from God and would go back to God.  But he appears none the less as accepting the limitations of manhood.  This was no failure of power.  God is love, and love is sympathy and self-sacrifice.  The incarnation is the supreme act of self-sacrificing sympathy, by which one whose nature is divine was enabled to enter into human experience.  He emptied himself of divine prerogatives so far as was involved in really becoming man, and growing, feeling, thinking and suffering as man.  All that appears evident is that it was the eternal son who was manifested in human nature as Jesus of Nazareth, and that within the sphere and limit of his mortal life he appears as restricted by human conditions; and we thankfully accept this supreme example of humility and self-sacrifice, without attempting to relate it to what lies outside our possibilities of knowledge.  Just as we believe that now in the heavenly places Christ is still truly man, but that the manhood is all radiant with God head: so in his earthly state we should believe that Christ was really God and so knew himself, but that Godhead was submitting itself to the limitations of manhood.  We feel that the gospels present us with one who is, and knows himself to be, always and in all things the son of God, but who is throughout existing, acting, and speaking under the conditions and limitations of manhood. 

The disciples were led to expect from Jesus, the Christ, the outpouring of the spirit of God.  And a few days after he had finally left them, the Holy Spirit actually came, taking them as it were by storm, and possessing their souls with an almost intoxicating force.  And the spirit dealt with them like a person controlling them, and guiding them, in the most unmistakable ways.  So we see in the Acts and Epistles how the thought of God was modified by their experiences, and the name of God became to them the threefold name of the father and of the son, or Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost. 

On the whole I hold it as unquestionable that the church at the end of the apostolic age is found believing, as a result of its experience of Jesus and of his spirit, in three distinguishable agents: (1) God, whom they now know as the father; (2) Jesus, the Christ and lord, whom they believe in as the son or word of the father, who for their sakes had been made man, and in that manhood glorified and spiritualized had gone into heaven and had sent down upon the church (3) the Holy Spirit, his own spirit and the father’s, to be their helper, strengthener, guide and intercessor; and their thought of the one God includes that of the three “persons”.  The three are by no means separate persons.  There is, it seems, in the three but one being, one mind, one activity.  The divine being is one – one substance, one mind, one will.  But this divine being exists in three persons, each of whom is whole God, in each of whom the divine mind and all the divine attributes exist personally. 

God appears to be as dependent upon the world for self-expression as the world is on him.  He realizes himself in the world.  Perhaps he only attains self-consciousness in the self-consciousness of men. 

The religion of the prophets of Israel and of our lord gave a profound stimulus to human life just because it represented God as a person, perfect and complete in himself, having the characteristics of a person, wisdom, justice and love in a supreme sense; having a will and purpose for men, who were made in his image, but alive in himself before ever the world was, the creator of all that is and the judge of all rational beings.  We find ourselves intellectually paralysed when we try to give any meaning to this idea of one self-existent being, alive in himself with the fullness of life before the world was.  For life, as far as we can see, involves relationship, and rational or moral life the relationship of persons.  How can we think of an eternal will without an eternal effect or product of this will, or of an eternal consciousness without an object of this consciousness adequate to itself, or of an eternal love without an eternal object of love?  How can he live and love along> 

A glimpse into God’s eternal life seems to have been given to me, and the relief to the intellect is great.  Now we can see how God can be alive with the fullest life we can conceive of – will and reason and love – because his own being involves in itself a relationship of persons.  In the eternity which we cannot with our finite intellects conceive, he was productive, and found his object of knowledge and object of love in his eternal word or son and in the Holy Spirit. 

The nature of man is the most complex unity in the world known to us.  If I seek to rise to the source and penetrate to the ground of all life, and find this source and ground to be a living God perfect in himself, the upward soaring train of though leads me to postulate that this eternal being must be something quite different from a monotonous unity. When I admit the disclosure of Trinity – that is multiplicity in unity – it is only what I should expect in the perfect and absolute being.  And I can dimly conceive how there in the eternal word and the spirit was the counterpart, under the conditions of eternity and perfection, of all that wealth of life which is gradually evolved on a lower plane in the process of creation.  The moving world and the unchanging, immobile God seemed not merely to belong to different grades of being, but to be in no possible relation to one another.  Does not creation involve movement?  Does not God move in the moving world which he sustains in being, and live in its life?  But now I am delivered from all this horrible imagination of a God who is absolute immobility.  For God is eternally alive – eternally moving out into self-expression.  He has the whole movement of absolute life within himself.  Thus to create and to begin to live and act on the lower plane of gradual and progressive creation is no unnatural thought to associate with a God who eternally is life in himself, because there is in him what is dimly descried as the eternal generation of the son and the procession of the spirit. 

The Bible is the record of a gospel of redemption.  It is a proclamation of good tidings from God.  It holds out to man the highest and most glorious  possibilities in Christ Jesus.  But it does so on the assumption that in humanity as it stands there is something radically perverted, in view of which it needs for its salvation something quite different from more example or encouragement to make the best of itself – it needs fundamental reconstruction by him who originally created it. 

There is no doubt that our lord is very far from representing human nature as he found it as wholly corrupt.  He showed a vivid appreciation of what we should call natural goodness, which he found in those whom the Jews regarded as outcasts at least as much as within the chosen people.  He values “the cup of cold water” and every act of natural kindness.  He welcomes men who show a right disposition of mind as “not far from the kingdom of God.”  Also he is extraordinarily gracious to the outcasts.  The “publicans and harlots” of society are assured of ready forgiveness.  He came, he said, not to call the righteous but sinners.  His main emphasis is on the sins of “the righteous”, that is, of those who were so regarded and so regarded themselves.  Sins of violence and lust were, of course, regarded as sins and stamped with reprobation in respectable Jewish society.  But Jesus was at pains to bring to light the even deeper sinfulness of spiritual sins, hypocrisy or self-righteousness, avarice, pride, contempt, hatred, spiritual blindness and prejudice, and above all unmercifulness and the neglect of active goodness. “Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of the least of these my brethren … depart from me:.  Such sins of the spirit he represents as even more dangerous than disreputable sins.  “The publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.” When our Lord announced the joy of heaven as lying more in the reclamation of the lost than in the righteousness of “the ninety and nine righteous persons who need no repentance”, he was speaking to the Pharisees and Scribes who murmured at his receiving sinners and eating with them.  On the whole it must be acknowledged that while our Lord infinitely deepened the sense of God’ willingness to forgive, and refused to regard the outcasts as “hopeless cases”, he also deepened and broadened the sense of sin.  He appears to assume its universality. This it is quite natural that, when our Lord has in view the kingdom of God which he is inaugurating, he should declare that none can be fit for it without a fundamentally fresh start.  “Verily I say unto you, except ye turn and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.”  And this fundamental turning appears to be inseparable from discipleship to himself, which means a very thorough faith in him as the divinely commissioned redeemer.  Therefore he demands of men a deep reconstruction.  “Except a man be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” “Except a man be born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”.  Certainly this is the spirit in which the first church in Jerusalem understood its message.  It was no announcement to men of a glory which was already theirs, if only they would open their eyes to discern their true nature.  Enlightenment was not enough.  They needed to embrace by faith a “salvation” now first offered them – offered in a new “name” which was the only name of salvation – and the gateway to this salvation was Baptism, which conveyed to them that they could not otherwise receive, the forgiveness of their sins, and prepared them for the new gift of the spirit. 

I do not think the New Testament can be accused of any pretension to expound the secrets of divine justice for the satisfaction of our intellect.   It does what is much better, it assures us of the character of God and thus enables us to feel quite confident that he will deal in justice and love with every human soul he has created.  But it exists to record a gospel – a salvation for men, publicly proclaimed, and divinely covenanted; and the gospel is based on an assumption that what humanity needs is something other than development or enlightenment.  It needs fundamental reconstruction – a fresh start, a new birth, forgiveness and renewal – and of all this there is only one source – the prince of the new life, the saviour, the redeemer Jesus Christ: and this fresh start is offered so to speak, objectively, as membership in the new community, to those who seek this great deliverance as sinners who need to be saved. 

The kind of estimate of human nature which we find in the New Testament, both in its optimism and its pessimism – that is, its glorious estimate of what humanity is intended by God to be and is capable of becoming, and its dark estimate of what it has in fact, by rebellion against God, made itself to be – was not out of harmony either with the general sentiment in the period of the Roman Empire when Christianity first spread, or with the general sentiment of the Middle Ages.  In both periods it was natural to men to feel that the world was a very evil world, that nothing that men could do for themselves would make it better, and that they must look for redemption to God and a spiritual world above.  But what asserted itself was a sense of human power – the power of man to redeem himself by his own initiative, especially by the instrument of knowledge in general and the science of nature in particular, which was at his disposal and which he could manipulate in the cause of his own advancement. This is the gospel of the kingdom of man.  And this gospel has seemed beyond question to make the language of the Bible sound out of date – as if it disparaged the “God in man” which is the only kind of God congenial to this modern spirit.  It is certain that the optimism of Christianity, its glorious appreciation of human capability and destiny, is bound up with its pessimism – with its profound sense that mankind has set itself by its own sin on the wrong road and needs redeeming by God, who alone can redeem it as he first made it, and can give it the light and stimulus and direction by which alone it can recover itself and realize itself afresh.  I have tried honestly and freely to know myself and to study human life all around me and in the record of history; and I know no interpretation of human life which is adequate both to the rays of glory which I see there and the encompassing gloom, except the estimate of the Bible.  Man is made to be a king, but he is “a discrowned king”: and no one can put him again on the way of honour except his God who made him and would redeem him. 

The Christian idea of sin was not developed as a philosophy by reflection, but appeared as part of a teaching about God and man which claimed to be a divine message given that men might know how to live.  Nevertheless it involves a philosophy in that it places the seat of sin in the will and finds its essence in disobedience or violation of a law known to be divine. So the Bible looks out upon a disordered and miserable world and finds the secret of the disorder and misery simply in the refusal of God by men. 

There is no sin which is not the breach of law by a rebel will, and nothing else in the world which breaks the law of its being except sin.  For there is nothing as God made it which is not good and meant to serve a good end.  There is no evil substance.  The grossest sins are but the misuse of faculties good in themselves.  And however much evil habits may have engrained vice into our nature, let but the will be again replaced in love to God and obedience to his will and the whole nature can be recovered. Faith means the surrender of our being to God in Christ; and when that is gained God can work freely upon us to accept and to renew.  The spark of the divine, which is the soul of man, is imprisoned at present in the body with its corrupting passions and influences, and is subjected to the mysterious tyranny of the material world.  What it must hope for is to be released from the body and delivered from the material world, and so be free to resume its place in the pure being of God.  To believe that matter is evil and the source of sin, or as something eternally existing and intractable – is to despair of the world and our present life in the body.  And the Christian’s determination to plant and promote the kingdom of God in the world and to consecrate to God every element in nature, including his own body, depends on the belief that there is nothing bad in the world but a bad will, and that man’s body as well as his soul are the subjects of divine redemption.  Progress no doubt represents the divine purpose, but the reason why progress has been so broken, so fragmentary, and so liable to reversals and catastrophes lies just in the thwarting, disturbing, destructive power of sin, from which neither education nor refinement of itself has the power to redeem. 

The Bible teaches that man was created free to correspond with a good purpose of God for him: and his advance towards the realization of his heritage of sovereignty in the world might have been inconceivably more glorious and unimpeded than it has been but for his constantly renewed and perpetuated disloyalty to God and disobedience to the law of his being.  It is to this that his misery is due.  And as he was made for constant dependence upon God, so he cannot hope to rescue himself out of his bondage, but only to be rescued by God when he will return to him in penitence and surrender. 

Sin, or disobedience to God and the law of our being – essentially and always is a fall.  Indirectly it may be through sin that we make discoveries about ourselves and the world.  So sin may be a condition of progress, but not a necessary condition.  We could have gained the fruit of the tree of knowledge without sin, for sin is always a perversion and a loss.  It puts us in a wrong relation to ourselves and to our fellows and to God.  Everywhere, in all its forms, and in every case sin is lawlessness and therefore is a fall.  We are fallen by our iniquity. Thus Adam and Eve stand for every man and woman, and the story of their fall is the true story of humanity and of what has been its ruin in every individual case.  And over against the old Adam, which is sinful humanity, stands the last Adam, which is the sinless humanity.  Thus in Jesus Christ I see humanity both restored to its true basis and its true relations, and not only restored but perfected in God.  And I apprehend the true character of my redemption only when I grasp it as a radical transference of my fundamental allegiance, and so of my whole being, from the stock of the old Adam to that of the new. 

We can regard mankind as constituting one race which can be dealt with, whether barbarous or civilized, as having certain fundamentally identical spiritual capacities – that is, intelligence (as distinct from instinct), the moral conscience, and some measure of moral freedom, capacity in some

Measure for enlarging fellowship and progress, and capacity for God.  Man is an individual with the responsibilities of an individual, and progress towards the ideal will deepen and intensify his individuality.  But that mysterious and elusive thing he calls himself carries within it elements and qualities which are inherited and not personal, and which make him the representative of something much wider and much older than his individual self.  In his unconscious mind he carries (so it appears) instincts and memories which are racial and not personal.  If this is so, it would be very bold to deny that there may be, or must be, some inheritance of sin, in its weakening and perverting effect upon the spiritual nature, in those roots of our being which lie below the beginning of personal consciousness.

Jesus and Suffering

All that came upon Christ in the way of suffering came simply from his life of obedience and sympathy.  He never sough pain, as if to witness pain would please the father, or taught men to seek pain, except so far as service and self-discipline involve it.  All that he suffered came simply out of his obedience to his father’s mission, and of his speaking the truth and rebuking sins out of his standing stoutly against wickedness in high places, and out of his boundless sympathy with men.  This constituted his mission.  “He rode out because of the word of truth and meekness and righteousness”.  And as the world was, it brought him to his death.  He let sin take its course, and show its real nature in this supreme example.  The sins which crucified Christ wee the normal sins of men; in exactly the same sense as all the world over the sins of men are vicariously borne by their victims.  The father simply sent the son into the world, and under the normal action of its moral laws, and did not interfere.

During his visit to Ireland in Sep/Oct 1979, Pope John Paul the second said: “Love your enemies.  In the long run love always bring victory.  Love is never defeated.  If it were not so, humanity would be doomed to destruction”. 

It was announced today 17 Oct 1979 that Mother Teresa had won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Surely the most deserved award of all time. 

She was known as the saint of the Calcutta slums, having worked for over 30 years in some of the world’s worst slums, rescuing some 37,000 poor and dying people from Calcutta’s pavements (most of them leprosy sufferers).  She began her work of charity in 1950 in two spare rooms of a Hindu temple in Calcutta, and since then the order she founded (Missionaries of Charity) was spread throughout Asia, Africa, America and Europe, and has now nearly 2000 sisters. 

The Nobel Prize Committee said that the award, worth nearly £90,000 was for her efforts in “bringing help to suffering humanity”.  It adds “the loneliest, the most wretched and the dying have at her hands received compassion”. 

She announced that the money (which she said came from God) would go towards the building of hospitals for the lepers.  

The following is an extract from the Book “The New Revelation” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) 

But what is always fresh and always useful and always beautiful, is the memory of the sweet spirit who wandered on the hillsides of Galilee; who gathered the children around him; who met his friends in innocent good-fellowship; who shrank from formal approaches and ceremonies, craving always for the innermost meanings; who forgave sinners; who championed the poor and the outcast, and who in every decision threw his weight upon the side of charity and breadth of view  When to this you add those wondrous psychic powers, you do, indeed, find a supreme personality, who obviously stands nearer to the highest than any other.  When one compare the general effect of his teaching with that of the more rigid churches, one marvels how, in their dogmatism, their exclusiveness, their pomp and their intolerance, they could have got so far away from the example of their master, so that as one looks upon him and them, one feels that there is absolute deep antagonism, and that one cannot speak of the church and Christ, but only of the church or Christ.. 

Music is moral law.  It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness; gaiety and life to everything. 

                                                 Plato (427-347 B.C.) 

Nothing can come out of nothing, any more than a thing can go back to nothing. 

                        Marcus Aurelius (121-80 B.C. Roman Emperor) 

Life is a quarry, out of which we are to mould and chisel and compete a character.

Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth, (1749-1832).  German poet and thinker

God has made apostles and saints out of men and women that the world would have thrown away as rubbish; Peter, the weak and wayward; Mary Magdalen, the defiled; Zaccheus, the worldly; Thomas, the despondent; Paul, the persecutor and blasphemer.  What God could do in the first century he can do, he is doing, to-day. 

                                     Henry Van Dyke 

Love comes and grows through serving , not through being served. 

                                     Henry Clay Trumbull 

We lead but one life here on earth, we must make that beautiful.  And to do this, health and elasticity of mind are needed; and whatever endangers or impedes these must be avoided. 

                                     Longfellow (1807-82) 

Fear is a hindrance to all virtue. 

                                     Publilius Syrus (43 B.C.) 

I have grown to believe that the one thing worth aiming at is simplicity of heart and life; that the world is a very beautiful place; that congenial labour is the secret of happiness. 

                                                       A.C. Benson 

Our life is what our thoughts make it. 

                                               Marcus Aurelius 

After all, the kind of world one carries about in one self is the important thing, and the world outside takes all its graces, colour, and value from that. 

                                                 James Russell Lowell 

In art, the highest success is to be the last of your race, not the first.  Anybody, almost, can make a beginning: the difficult is to make an end – to do what we cannot be bettered. 

      George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950).  Nobel Prize winner 1925 

Today is your day and mine, the only day we have, the day in which we play our part.  What our part may signify in the great whole we may not understand, but we are here to play it, and now is our time.  This we know.  It is a part of action, not cynicism.  It is for us to express love in terms of human helpfulness.  This we know, for we  have learned from sad experience that any other source leads towards decay and waste. 

                                                 David Starr Jordan  

To maintain a fault known is a double fault. 

                                                 Bishop Jewel 

Love is not getting, but giving; not a wild dream of pleasure, and a madness of desire – oh no; love is not that – it is goodness and honour, and peace and pure living – yes, love is that – that is the best thing in the world, and the thing that lives the longest. 

                                           H. Van Dyke 

How can he grant you what you do not desire to receive? 

                                           St. Augustine of Canterbury

                                           (1st Archbishop) Died 605 

People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy after.

                                           Goldsmith (Oliver) 1728-74

This life is the childhood of eternity. 

                                     Archbishop Manning, (Henry Edward)

                                     (Archbishop of Westminster) 1808-1892 

To bless God for mercies is the way to increase them. 

                                                       Willim Secker

He enjoys much who is thankful for a little.

                                                       Willia m Secker 

A man’s worth should be reckoned by what he is, not by what he has. 

                                           Henry Ward Beecher (1813-87) 

Flowers are the smiles of God’s goodness. 

                                           William Wilberforce (1759-1833) 

Ill will is never easy. 

                                           Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) 

Happiness is a web with many threads of pain in it. 

                                           George Eliot (1819-80) 

There is no sense in always telegraphing to heaven for God to send a cargo of blessing unless we are at the wharf to unload the vessel when it come. 

                                           F.B. Meyer 


“The child shall be given facilities to enable him to develop physically, mentally and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of dignity.  We shall have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services.” 

Psalm 91 (v14 to end) 

Trust in God 

Because they love me, I will save them,

And will protect those who know me as Lord,

When they call upon me, I will answer;

I will be with them in time of trouble;

I will rescue them and honour them.

I will reward them with a full life,

To enjoy the abundance of my salvation. 

Virtue is a disposition or habit involving deliberate purpose of choice.  If this were not so morality would be a sham. 


We are punished by our sins, not for them. 

                                           E. Hubbard (1859-1915)

Christian Science

A religious denomination founded by Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910), an American who sought to organise a church which would reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing.  Its main tenets are “that nothing is real save God and his spiritual creation, including man in his image and likeness; that evil, disease and sickness are unreal – illusions existing only through ignorance of God.  Therefore Christian scientists renounce for themselves medicine, surgery and drugs, and rely on healing through prayer.”

In using the words “Christian Science”, Mrs Eddy meant that the teaching and acts of Jesus were rooted in unchanging divine law.  Mrs Eddy was a patient of a faith-healer named Quimby, and claimed to have been divinely healed by him.

In principle believers argue that if one has total unquestioned faith in the healing power of Christ, then all sickness will be revealed as illusion and will vanish.

Upright and religious living brings salvation.  Eternal life has already appeared to all who give up ungodly and dishonourable lives.

When life seems cold, hard, bleak; without any feeling, concern or affection; remember this entry in the Daily Mirror:-

The Mother of 18 month old Tony Brown was killed by a blaze which destroyed her home.  Tony was found badly burned underneath his 20 year old mother, Jayne, who had shielded him from death.  He has now recovered after two months’ intensive care.

" Until her supreme sacrifice, Jayne was just an ordinary woman in this world.  Now one can be certain that she is in God’s presence, and that she has acquired the status of a saint." WWG

What is fear but an occasion to prove our faith and courage? 

                                                Group Captain Leonard Cheshire. V.C.

Palm Sunday, the Triumphal Entry of the Messiah into Jerusalem

As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives , the disciples brought a colt to Jesus for him to ride.  As he went along, great crowds that had come for the festival spread their cloaks on the road, while others carpeted the way with branches of palm.  And they were all shouting:

Hosanna!  Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest!

And when he entered Jerusalem , the whole city was in turmoil, “Who is this?” people asked, and the crowds answered, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee ”.

On seeing the city, Jesus wept over it, and said, “if only you had known, on this great day, the way that leads to peace!  But, alas, it is hidden from your sight.  The time will come when your enemies will surround you with fortifications, blockade  you. and close in on you from every side.  They will completely destroy you within your walls, because you did not accept God’s moment when he came to save you.”

Him have I known, the great spirit

Him who is light, who is beyond darkness.

To know him, and him alone, is to pass beyond death –

There is no other way.

He is the whole, other than he, is naught,

Greater or smaller there is nothing other,

Still as a tree, unshaken in the heavens,

His living being fills the universe.

                                                                   Swetaswatara Upanishad

A king may make a nobleman, but he cannot make a gentlemen.

                                                                   Edmund Burke 1729-1797

Hard work does not kill any man, but sin will destroy him.

The joys of love are but a moment long,

The griefs of love they last for evermore.

The eight points of the St. John’s Ambulance badge are:-

Sympathy, perseverance, observation, tact, resourcefulness, explicitness, dexterity, discrimination.

Two questions in search of an answer


1.     How did the universe begin from nothing?

2.     How could the universe exist without beginning?

A paraphrase on the 23rd Psalm

The Lord is my helper, he fulfils all my needs.  He invites me to rest in green pastures, and leads me beside the quiet waters.  He gives me new strength, and guides me in the right paths.

Even though I go through the deepest darkness I will not be afraid; for you will be with me, and will comfort me.

Your caring hand fortifies me in times of stress; you greatly refresh me with your spiritual influence, my heart is full.

Surely goodness and mercy will be with me all my days; and I shall dwell in God’s house for ever.

On 17th May 1981 the following hymn was sung during the “Hymns of Praise” programme from Bakewell.  This hymn was also sung at Allan and Chris’ wedding.

Now thank we all our God,

With hearts, and hands, and voices;

Who wondrous things hath done,

In whom his world rejoices;

Who, from our mothers’ arms,

Hath blessed us on our way

With countless gifts of love,

And still is ours today.


O may this bounteous God

Through all over life be near us,

With ever-joyful hearts

And blessed peace to cheer us.

And keep us in his grace,

And guide us when perplexed,

And free us from all ills

In this world and the next.


All praise and thanks to God

The father now be given,

The son, and him who reigns

With them in highest heaven;

The one, eternal God,

Whom earth and heaven adore;

For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

                                                                   Martin Rinkart, 1586-1649

                                                   Cr. By Catherine Winkworth, 1829-78

A description of my journey to Yorkshire (14th to 21st June 1981) to fulfil what will probably be my final effort to find out more about Father.

On the Way

On the way to Yorkshire by car,

Once again, Doris , here I come.

Back to where we started from.

Mother, aunt Ann and you no longer there,

All I can do is drive and stare.

Stare at the hills we knew so well,

The villages and downs, and woodland dell.


As the beauty of Yorkshire fills my eyes,

For you and your company my heart cries.

As I got older and my memories fade,

My last visit to our homeland I think I’ve made.

For all things eventually come to an end,

And the rest of my life I’ll probably spend

Down in the south where I went long ago,

Eager to find a new life, and so

With a wave of my hand back there I’ll go.

And memories are all that remain.



                                                                   14.6.81 W W Gibson

Allan, see manuscript page 39- 50, there are clippings of cards etc which you may wish to include in the texts somewhere?

The outline of my visit

Sunday 14th June 1981: - Went to Richmond , Yorkshire .

Monday 18th:- Visited the Green Howards Museum and war memorial in Richmond .

Tuesday 16th:- Visited St Mary’s Parish Church at Richmond .  Went to Malton, Yorkshire . Arrived Filey. Yorkshire .

Wednesday 17th:- Went to Bridlington, Yorkshire and visited the Priory Church .

Thursday 18th:- Visited the Church again.

Friday 19th:- Went to Aldbrough and then Withernsea.

Saturday 20th: - Spent day at Withernsea.

Sunday 21st: - Returned to Wembley.

Attached is a complete list of battle honours during the Great War.  And also the Battle honours since 1953  (Allan, see bottom page 40 of manuscript)



Battle Honours


The Great War

(24 Battalions)

Ypres , 1914, ’15, ‘17”

“Ancre, 1916”

Aisne , 1918”

“Langemarck, 1914, ’17”

Arras , 1917, ’18”



“Scarpe, 1917, ’18”

“Hindenburg Line”

“Neuve Chapelle”

“Messines, 1917, ’18”

“Canal du Nord”

“St. Julien”




Menin Road



“Polygon Wood”





“Festubert, 1915”


France and Flanders




Somme , 1916, ‘18”

“Cambrai, 1917, ‘18”


“Albert, 1916”

“St. Quentin”

“Vittorio Veneto


“Bapaume, 1918”

Italy , 1917-18”






“Landing at Suvla”



“Scimitar Hill”



“Gallipoli, 1915”

“Le Transloy”


Egypt , 1916”

Ancre Heights


Archangel , 1918”


Father badly wounded at Ypres in 1915  

Father’s Cemetery is in “Pozieres  

The Battle Honours since 1953

Austria                            Tripoli

Hong Kong                    British Honduras

Germany                         and six tours of Northern Ireland


Monday 15th June 1981

Visited the Green Howards Regimental War Memorial, situated at the top of Frenchgate in Richmond , Yorkshire .  It takes the form of a celtic cross built of stone, and was unveiled on 13th July 1921.

The following inscription is show:-

1914-1918                                        1939-1945

To commemorate the gallant dead of the Yorkshire Regiment.

The Green Howards, who fought and died for their country in the Great War, and whose names are recorded in a book placed in the Richmond Parish Church .

Visited the Green Howards Regimental Museum , which is in the old Holy Trinity Church , Market Place , Richmond , Yorkshire .

The museum contains a very full regimental history, from the raising of the Regiment until the present day in Ireland , showing are the arms, equipment and clothing used over the years; with various photographs of events.

The following are the earlier battle honours listed.

Regiment raised. 1688.

Marlborough 1709-11

7 year’s War, Belle Isle 1761

American War of Independence 1781

Flanders 1794-95

Ceylon 1796-1520

Crimea 1854-55

N.W. Frontier of India 1868-1902

Egypt 1884-85

Tuesday 16th June 1981

Visited the Green Howards Memorial Chapel, situated in St. Mary’s Parish Church , Richmond , Yorkshire .

On the Walls of the Memorial Chapel

Queen Alexander

Colonel-in-Chief of the Regiment


In memory of King Haakon VII

Of Norway

Colonel-in-Chief, 1942-1957

Battle Honours

Battle Honours


Norway (1940)


Normandy landing


N.W. Europe (1940-44-45)




El Alamein

Belle Isle


Relief of Kimbrley



Sicily (1943)

S Africa (1899-1902)


Afghanisitan (1919)


Waziristan (1937-39)

Malaya (1949-52)

Dunkirk (1940)

Burma (1945)




Note:- Queen Alexandra (1844-1925) was the daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark .  She married Edward VII (1841-1910) on March 10th 1863, when he was the Prince of Wales.  He became king in 1901.


Note:- King Haakon VII (1872-1957) of Norway , was a Danish Prince, and elected on the separation of Norway from Sweden in 1905.  He resisted the Nazi Occupation.

Tuesday 16th June, visit to St Mary’s continued

Description of the Memorial Book mentioned on the War Memorial.  It was handed over to the rector on 13th July 1921

The book contains the names of 464 officers and 7,036 warrant and non-commissioned officers and men of the Green Howards, who died in the Great War.

Entered on the outside cover of the Roll of Honour



Allan,  see page 42 of manuscript

Entry in Book

The Green Howards

Yorkshire Regiment

Alexandra Princess of Wales ’s own

Roll of Honour


Officers, warrant officers

Non-commissioned officers, and men

Who fell in

The Great War 1914-1919

Inside the book, in her own handwriting

This book records the names of the brave officers and men of my Yorkshire Regiment who gave their lives for King and country in the Great War 1914-1918.

The glory of their sacrifice will shine through all the ages.

These were men who put their duty above all else!

                                                        Alexandra, Colonel-in-Chief

                                                          April 3rd 1921

The entry on the page containing Father’s name.

Roll of Fallen Soldiers                      Fifth Battalion

Gibson Harold                                  Sergeant

A very gallant member of the Green Howards (Father’s regiment).  

“If I had the money I would buy this Victoria Cross for the Richmond Museum in Yorkshire , where it rightly belongs.”  

This Victoria Cross was sold to someone unknown for £32,000  

Added Note: The Victoria Cross was bought by medal collector Sir Ernest Harrison OBE, chairman of Racal and Vodafone. Harrison later presented the medal to the Ggeen Hoewards Museum in Richmond, North Yorkshire.  Ten years later, he purchased, for the Green Howards, the Normandy hut which Hollis had attacked. Allan Gibson

How I managed to obtain access to the Roll of Honour Book, locked in a glass container, situated in the Green Howards Memorial Chapel, in St. Mary’s Parish Church , Richmond , Yorkshire

On Tuesday 16th June 1981 I decided that, although it was early morning, I would see if I could get into St Mary’s to have a look at the Memorial Chapel.

Arriving at the church I was relieved to find that the door was already open, and, on entering, I found that there was a painter inside, hard at work up a very high ladder.

I found the chapel, and wrote down all that I could see printed on the walls.  Then I turned my attention to the 60 years old Roll of Honour Book locked in the glass case.  I felt a great eagerness to have a look inside the book, but was doubtful whether I would ever be able to get the key.

As I was leaving I had a chat with the painter, and he suggested that, perhaps the Museum would have the key.  This was a possibility which had not occurred too me, so, thanking him, I made my way to the Museum.  When I inquired about the key I was surprised to be offered it straight away without any formalities at all.

Full of anticipation and gratitude I made my way back to the church, and, after waving the key in the air and giving the painter the thumbs up, I nervously inserted it in the lock, and behold the door was open.

Inside the case I noticed some white gloves which, I presumed, had been placed there for anyone who was going to handle the book, to wear, so as not to dirty it.  After putting the gloves on I then proceeded to write down all that was on the book’s cover and first few introductory pages.

After this I very carefully, and with great trepidation, turned the thick sacred pages until I came to father’s name.  What a thrill it was to see it GIBSON HAROLD.  SERGEANT!

Leaving the book open with his name showing (this was the normal practice because the book is always kept open, and, I understand, a page is turned each week), I locked up the container again and returned the key to the Museum.

On reflection, it appears to me that without the painter being there I doubt if I could have got into the church, and I certainly would not have thought about getting the key from the Museum.  So, by being there, he served a very useful purpose. I told him how grateful I was for his help, and he seemed very happy that he had been of some assistance.

And so, my visit to Richmond ended far more successfully than I had ever hoped was possible.  I can say that I really felt that the spirit of God was there with me on that day; and that without his help things would not have happened as they did.

In the afternoon I set off for Filey.

Tuesday 16th June (continued)

Visited Malton Cemetery and located the grave of Mrs Ethel Norah Mayson Thomson (1878-1967), the wife of Lt.Col. J.A.R. Thomson (for more details of Mrs and Col. Thomson see page 78 in my book No.5).

I had not intended going to Malton this time, but after unsuccessfully searching the Yorkshire villages for my cousin Gwen, who used to look after a sub-post office in this area (but I never knew exactly where) I found myself heading for Malton.

Last year on my nostalgic journey to Malton I had tried to find Mrs Thomson’s grave but without success; but this time I was able to contact the cemetery keeper who managed to locate it for me.

I was very pleased that things happened in this way, because this completed everything I had wanted to do in Malton.

After this I moved on to Filey and spent the night there.

Wednesday 17th June 1981

Left Filey for Bridlington.

On entering Bridlington I decided to park in a side street before going to reserve a room for the night.  When I went back to my car, I noticed an imposing church at the other side of the street.  On an impulse I decided to go into it.  Inside I was surprised to see a memorial table to the Green Howards.  I was going to write down the particulars about it when I was told the church was closing, so I decided to return the next day.

Thursday 18th June

Went back to the Church and took down all the information about the table.  Here it is:-

The Green Howards Memorial Table inside the Priory Church Bridlington, Yorkshire .

On the table – XIX. The Green Howards 1688.  Dedicated 19 June 1977.

The following words appear:-

The Green Howards Memorial Table has been made by Robert Thompson’s craftsmen Ltd of Kilburn. The carved inscription commemorates the raising of the Regiment in 1688.  The official recognition as the 19th foot when numbers as regimental designations were introduced in 1751 and the name “The Green Howards” which was officially accepted into the Army list in 1920 after use as a nickname for 175 years.

The date “1875” on the regimental badge is in remembrance of the presentation in that year of new colours by Alexandra, Princess of Wales.  Her cipher, interlaced with the Dannebrog or Danish Cross signifying her birthplace, and surmounted by her coronet, became the new badge of the regiment when the numeral was abolished.

My note: - the numeral XIX signified the 19th regiment of foot.  And although this numeral did not appear on the badge that Father wore during the 1914-1918 war, it has re-appeared on the latest badge; a copy of which I obtained from the Museum at Richmond .  The two badges appear below.

Situated above the table was an old wooden cross, which looked as though it had been brought from France after the 1914-1918 war written on it were:-

In memory of Capt. Geo.B. Purvis, 5th Bat. Green Howards.

Killed Messines Ridge.  June 8th 1917.

Note: Father would know this man quite well because they were both in the same battalion, and were serving together in 1914 before going to France .  Capt. Purvis was then a Lieut.  He was a machine-gun officer.

A description of the two badges

Father’s badge

Introduced in 1875 in remembrance of the presentation on that year of new colours by Alexandra, Princess of Wales.

The numeral XIX (19th of foot) was abolished.  The regiment was known as “The Yorkshire Regt”, Princess of Wales’s own.  With the nickname of “The Green Howards”.

The badge bears Alexandra’s cipher (the letter A) with her name on it, interlaced with the Danish cross signifying her birthplace.

Surmounted by her coronet (the crown at the top), and bears the date 1875.

The new badge

Introduced in 1920 when the name “The Green Howards” was officially accepted into the Army List, after use as a nickname for 175 years.  The numeral XIX was re-introduced.  Also bears Alexandra'’ cipher and the Danish cross (in a different arrangement) and the name Alexandra has been omitted.

Surmounted by her coronet.  And still bearing the date 1875.

After leaving this wonderful church I spoke to the gardener who told me he had been a parachutist in the Green Howards in the last war.  He then invited me into his home nearby where we had a good talk about his service days, and also about the interesting things he was still doing in the church regarding the memorial services and reunions in memory of the regiment.  I told him about Father, and showed him some photos.  He then gave me a copy of the Green Howards Gazette from which I was able to extract the following information about the remaining members of Father’s 5th Bat. still living today.  And it is remarkable to think that Father, during the war years, would possibly have known these survivors, and it could well be that they would remember him too.

The extract was:-

We are indebted to the editor of the Yorkshire Post for permission to reprint the following article which appeared in his newspaper of 21st April 1979:-

Old soldiers fade away

A vow made by old soldiers will be broken on Monday for the first time in 58 years.

The 5th Bn the Green Howards Old Comrades Association now has only four members out of an original battalion of 1000.

The Association has held a reunion dinner to remember their fallen comrades, each St. George’s Day.  But over the years numbers have dwindled, and of the four remaining, only two are fit enough to attend the dinner which has now been cancelled.  The Chairman, Mr Harry Johnson, 82, said yesterday “it was inevitable that sooner or later our reunion dinner would have to be abandoned”.

The other survivors are Mr William Wood, 86, of Wykeham Street , Mr Ernest Baker, 82 of Manor Road , and Mr Frank Megginson, 85, of Hibernia Street , all of Scarborough , where the battalion had its headquarters.

The reunion has always been held on April 23rd – the anniversary of the day the battalion went into action near Ypres .  The Association was founded after the first world war with the aim of perpetuating the memory of comrades, promoting comradeship among the living and to instil principles of patriotism and loyalty in the young.  The rules state the reunion should be held annually until only one member is left to drink to the dead.  “When those rules were drawn up it can’t have been appreciated how hard it would be for those left to carry on the tradition in view of our ages” said Mr. Johnson.

Note:-  All the old soldiers mentioned above are now dead.  I did see Mr Wood and Mr Megginson at Scarborough in 1982; and when I went to visit them again in 1984 I was very upset to discover that they were no longer alive.  I was so shocked that I had to return to Wembley much sooner than I had intended.

Final Comment:-  With regard to the two days Wednesday and Thursday, 17th and 18th of June, I feel I must say that the whole of the events in the Parish Church and elsewhere were definitely purely chance happenings.  I most certainly had no idea when I arrived in Bridlington that I would find out anything about Father’s regiment at all.  But as it happened I found out a great deal.  I am very happy and grateful for all that I experienced in that period; and for what was brought to my attention.

Was this chance? Or was it God’s guiding hand?  Looking back it seems remarkable that I
was able to find out so much in such a short time; and it was all connected with father’s 5th Bat. in the Green Howards.  In my quest to find out more about Father I feel more and more confident that I am being constantly helped in some unknown and unaccountable way.

Friday 19th June 1981

Moved on to Aldbrough.  It was to this place that Father marched from Hull (quite a walk, about 15 miles) with the 5th Bat. Green Howards Territorials on 8th August 1914, land stayed until the 12th.  I had a good look round but found little of interest, so moved on to Withernsea, where I spent a very uneventful time before returning to Wembley via Hull, the M62, the M18, and the M1.


I see God in the swelling seas,

I see him in the mountainside,

I see him in the rustling trees,

I see him wherever I abide.


I see God in the starry skies

I see him in the cliffs so bare,

I see him in the quiet sighs

That murmur in the placid air.


I see God in the caring hand

That teaches out with gentle touch.

Surely God is in our land

We need his help so very much.


For no one can ignore his call,

That we should recognise his earth,

With all it contains both large and small,

As meant for us to know its worth.


Visited Olney Parish Church (built 1325)

Here the Rev. John Newton (1725-1807) slave-trader and hymn-writer worshipped and ministered.

The hymns he wrote include – “How sweet the name of Jesus sounds”, “One there is above all others”, and “Glorious things of thee are spoken”.

John Newton is buried at Olney with his wife, Mary.

There is an epitaph on the tombstone written by Newton himself.  It reads as follows:

John Newton, Clerk.

Once an infidel and libertine,

A servant of slaves in Africa .

Was by the rich mercy of our lord

And saviour Jesus Christ

Preserved, restored, pardoned

And appointed to preach the faith

He had long laboured to destroy.

Near 16 years as curate of this parish;

And 28 years as rector of St. Mary. Woolnoth.

Which of all our friends, to save us,

Could or would have shed his blood?

But our Jesus died to have us

Reconciled in him to God:

This was boundless love indeed;

Jesus is a friend in need.


While I am a pilgrim here,

Let thy love my spirit cheer:

As my guide, my guard, my friend,

Lead to my journey’s end.

                                                                   John Newton 

Audrey (Jessop)       (Died 5.10.1981)

Audrey was a truly admirable and praiseworthy woman.  A woman of great feeling and great modesty; a most unassuming and unpretentious person.  I met her while I was gardening, and a friendship developed between us which was to last until I left Prebend Gardens.

She loved me to visit her and have a meal; and also she was happy to come and see me.  During her visits I started to read the extracts etc from my books, and she much appreciated listening to them.  This made me very pleased because she was the only person to really enjoy my writing.  The end result of this was that my ego was suitably boosted, and I was encouraged to carry on and do more.

At times were went out for a meal, which always gave her much pleasure.  On one occasion, we visited the crippled ex-servicemen of both world wars at the Star and Garter Home, Richmond.  She was deeply moved, and spent a long time talking to the men; some of whom had been bedridden since they were severely wounded and disabled in the 1914-18 war.  She was full of sympathy and understanding at their plight, and it was difficult to get her to leave them.

Also, she went to see a man who was unable to get about due to ill health.  He seemed to delight in talking to her, and these meetings did both of them a great deal of good.  This visiting was a real effort for her as she was by nature a shy and retiring person.

It was a terrible shock when it became known that Audrey had chronic leukemia; an illness that she bore with wonderful composure and courage.  She never complained about her illness or its unpleasant treatment; and she never stayed away from work except for the days when she had to have her blood changed.  Indeed she bravely carried on living a normal life until eventually she became too ill to do any more.

The time came when her resistance to illness gave way, and she died of broncho pneumonia.

The world is poorer and heaven richer for her passing.

Goodbye, Dear Audrey.

                                      Her friend, Bill. 71 Raglan Court, Wembley  

A card from Audrey’s son, and his wife and family)

Psalm 65 (v9 to end)

You, Lord, visit the earth with rain; greatly enriching it, and filling the streams with water.

You provide the crops, and cause the young plants to grow.  What a precious harvest your goodness provides!

Wherever you dwell there is plenty; the pasture abound with flocks; the hillsides are full of joy.

The meadows are rich with blessing; the fields are clothed with sheep, and the valleys are mantled in corn.

Everything shouts and sings for joy!

The call to service in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster

To all who are weary and seek rest; to all who mourn and long for comfort; to all who struggle and desire victory; to all who sin and need a saviour; to all who are idle and look for service; to all who are strangers and want fellowship; to all who hunger and thirst after righteousness; to all who having found happiness desire to share it; and to whosoever will come – this Church opens wide her doors and offers you welcome in the name of Jesus Christ her Lord.

The Collect

Almighty and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire, or deserve; pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and meditation of Jesus Christ, thy son, our Lord.  Amen.

At the televised hymns of praise service from Linlithgow, Scotland, on Remembrance Sunday 8th November 1981, with blinded ex-servicemen, this beautiful hymn was sung.

For the fallen

Valiant hearts, who to your glory came

Through dust of conflict and through battle flame;

Tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved,

Your memory hallowed in the land you loved.


Proudly you fathered, rank on rank, to war,

As who had heard God’s message from afar;

All you had hoped for, all you had, you gave

To save mankind – yourselves you scorned to save.


Splendid you passed, the great surrender made,

Into the light that never more shall fade;

Deep your contentment in that blest abode,

Who wait the last clear trumpet – call of God.


Long years ago, as earth lay dark and still,

Rose a loud cry upon a lonely hill,

While in the frailty of our human clay

Christ, our redeemer, passed the self-same way.


Still stands his cross from that dread hour to this,

Like some bright star above the dark abyss;

Still, through the veil, the victor’s pitying eyes

Look down to bless our lesser calvaries.


These were his servants, in his steps they trod,

Following through death the martyred son of God:

Victor he rose; victorious too shall rise

They who have drunk his cup of sacrifice.


O risen lord, O shepherd of our dead,

Whose cross has bought the and whose staff has led,

In glorious hope their proud and sorrowing land

Commits her children to thy gracious hand.

                                                                             Sir John S. Arkwright

Here is my own contribution to the fallen of two world wars

Once more ‘tis Armistice Day,

With memories of far away,

The heroes go marching by

With thoughts of comrades who quietly lie

In foreign fields where poppies grow,

The flower which we know

Is the symbol of brave hearts and true,

Hearts which were stilled for me and you.

Let us remember as long as we can

How they fell to the very last man,

To secure for us all

A richer heritage ‘ere we fall,


                                                                             8 Nov. 1981

Selections from Psalm 92 (A song of praise) – Hebrew Title – A song for the Sabbath

O most high God, it is good to give you thanks, to sing in your honour; to proclaim your constant love every morning, and your faithfulness every night, with the music of stringed instruments, and with melody on the harp!

Your mighty deeds, O Lord, fill me with exultation!

Because of what you have done, I sing for joy!

How great are your actions, Lord, how deep are your thoughts.  You have blessed me with happiness!

Suffering can become a means to greater love and greater generosity.  

                                                                             Mother Teresa

Psalm 117

Praise the Lord, all nations!

Praise him, all peoples!

His love for us is strong, and his faithfulness is everlasting.

O, Praise the Lord!

The feelings of the prophets (in relation to God)

To the prophets of the Bible, and those whom God has singled out to do his particular work, he comes in grandeur; as an impulse or an inspiration, or a glorious vision.  Like motion pictures from the eternal world flashed upon the screens of their minds.  Showing the present, the future, and their part in them

The prophet Zechariah wrote  - “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, they king cometh unto thee; ;he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass.  And he shall speak peace unto the nations; and his domination shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.”

Amos cried despairingly – “The word of God is sudden, tremendous, awesome, a consuming fire.  It strikes at human superstitions like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces.  When the lion roars who can but fear; when God speaks who can but prophesy”.

Gibson is a Scottish name; and the Gibson’s clan is known as the Buchanan Clan.

Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?

                                                                             John Keats

Psalm 63 (Extract)

Longing for God

A Psalm by David when he was in the desert of Judaea     

O my God, I long for you, my whole being desires you; my heart thirsts for you!

Let me see you in the sanctuary, let me see how mighty and glorious you are!

Your constant love is better than life itself, land so I will praise you!

I will give thanks as long as I live; I will lift my hands to you in prayer, my soul will feast and be satisfied, and I will sing glad songs to you!

As I lie in bed I remember you; all night long I think of you, because you have always been my help!

I am safe in the shadow of your wings.  I cling to you, and your hand is my support.

On Allan’s Birthday Card (1982)

To a truly worthy son,

To whom I must give credit.

And say to you “well done”,

For you deserve great merit

For all the achievements you have won.


I wish for you a happy day,

And that many nice things may come your way.

May all your dearest dreams come true,

And may you find delight in all you do.

                                                                             From Dad

Christmas 1981

Christmas nineteen eighty one,

Once more we welcome God’s only son.

For our redemption he was born,

For our happiness he comes on Christmas morn.

He comes to bring us lasting peace,

That the cruelties of war may forever cease,

To greet him church bells merrily ring,

And children their sweet carols sing.

At Christmas we must a joyous welcome make

To our saviour; and him, promise never to forsake.

For he wants to free us all from grievous wrong,

So let us salute him with a triumph song.

As the dawn of another year breaks,

Each one of us his resolution makes,

That no more will bad habits remain,

Never again will things be quite the same.

For God is waiting to enter our eager hearts,

Waiting to enter as the new year starts.

Let us banish the many faults we had,

And try to bring in the good, and expel the bad.

                                                                             23.12.1981  W W Gibson

Before he made us he loved us, and when we were made we loved him.

                                                                   Juliana of Norwich

Written by me on Mrs Manheimer’s Christmas Card (1981)


He came to us in lowly stable,

Watched by his mother with adoration.

No one thought then that he would be able

To make in us a transformation.


His sweet presence radiated tender love,

He gave us the example we were seeking,

He brought God’s glory from above,

And with our God he arranged a meeting.


He said that the meek would inherit the earth,

That we could all find God in our native land,

That we would, each one,  be judged by his worth,

And that our future is safe in God’s guiding hand.


Shall we, then, pay heed to his gospel call,

And, like him, make God our constant guide.

Let us make sure that whate’er befall,

We will pronounce our saviour with devotion and pride.  

                                                                             23.12.1981  W W Gibson

Written on Daisy’s card in acknowledgement of all the calligraphy she has done for me regarding my poetry.  She has truly made it most beautiful and attractive.


We live and laugh and love and cry,

And memories produce a sigh.

To God who lives in heaven on high,

Our hopes our thoughts should ever fly.

O give us grace his ways to try,

Till in his arms we gently lie.

                                                                                      4.7.1985  W W Gibson

The writings of Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) Swiss Psychiatrist of Zurich (Extracts)

Biographical sketch

Son of a pastor – summary of the main events of his life:-

1900 – began his career as a psychiatrist at the Burghulzli Mental Hospital, Zurich, and the psychiatric clinic of Zurich University.

1907 – met Freud, and friendship developed, which lasted for several years.

1909 – obtained Hon. Degree from Clark University, Massachusetts.

1911 – became first president of the International Psychoanalytic Society, which he himself founded.  His work became known as analytical psychology, or sometimes as complex psychology.

From 1913 – he devoted himself increasingly to research into the nature and phenomena of the unconscious, and the problems of psychological behaviour in general.

1921 onwards – he spent a considerable time in North Africa; and later among the Pueblo Indians in Arizona and New Mexico; and the natives of Kenya: studying for himself the behaviour and mental processes of primitive people.  He also visited India, England, and various European countries.  (He spoke four languages well, and two others fairly well).  He was a prolific writer, and his works have been translated into nearly all European languages.

1930 – acquired Hon. President of the Deutsche Arztliche Gesellschaft fur Psychotherapic.

1932 – literary prize of the City of Zurich.

1933 – Presidency of International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy.

1936 – Harvard University awarded him the most eminent living scientists Hon. Degree.

1938 – became Hon.D.Sc. at Oxford University.

1943 – Hon. Membership of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences.

Many other degrees and honours were bestowed on him in the course of time, and in 1944 the University of Basel founded a Chair of Medical Psychology specially for him.  In 1945 he was given the Hon. Doctorate of the University of Geneva.

Commencing the extracts from C.G. Jung’s works

If you do not have the vocation, or if you try to imitate another man’s method instead of discovering the “way” within yourself, then no amount of effort will help.

The unconscious contributes every moment of the time to the conscious personality.  Our every word, gesture, expression, mood, fantasy, dream, is nourished by this unseen life.  The unconscious is the other of consciousness.  Every man’s body is a museum of man’s biological development, containing within it vestiges of innumerable evolutionary stages; so man’s mind carries within it the whole history of the unconscious giving birth to consciousness.

The fear of the descent to hell is at the bottom of the timidity and the resistance experienced by every natural person when it comes to delving too deeply in himself.  If he experienced the sense of resistance alone, it would not be such a serious matter. But the psychic substratum, that dark realm of the unknown, actually exercises a fascinating attraction that threatens to become the more overpowering the further he advances into it.

Baptism lifts a man out of his antiquated identification with the world, and changes him into a being who stands above it; for it means the birth of spiritual man who transcends nature.

Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument.  The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him.  He is a man who carries and shapes the unconscious psychic life of mankind.  To perform this difficult office it is sometimes necessary for him to sacrifice happiness and everything that makes life worth living for the ordinary human being.  All this being so, it is not strange that the artist is an especially interesting case for the psychologist who uses an analytical method.  The artist’s life cannot be otherwise than full of conflicts, for two forces are at war within him – on the one hand the common longing for happiness, satisfaction and security in life, and on the other a ruthless passion for creation which may go so far as to override every personal desire.  The lives of artists are as a rule so highly unsatisfactory – not to say tragic – because of their inferiority on the human and personal side, and not because of a sinister dispensation.  There are hardly any exceptions to the rule that a person must pay dearly for the divine gift of the creative fire.  It is as though each of us were endowed at birth with a certain capital of energy.  The strongest force in our make-up will seize and all but monopolize this energy, leaving so little over that nothing of value can come of it.  In this way the creative force can drain the human impulses to such a degree that the personal ego must develop all sorts of bad qualities – ruthless ness, selfishness and vanity (so-called “auto-erotism”) and even every kind of vice, in order to maintain the spark of life, and to keep itself from being wholly bereft.

The auto-erotism of artists resembles that of illegitimate or neglected children who from their tenderest years must protect themselves from the destructive influence of people who have no love to give them – who develop bad qualities for that very purpose, and later maintain an invincible egocentrism by remaining all their lives infantile and helpless or by actively offending against the moral code or the law.  How can we doubt that it is his art that explains the artist, and not the insufficiencies and conflicts of his personal life?  These are nothing but the regrettable results of the fact that he is an artist – that is to say, a man who from his very birth has been called to a greater task than the ordinary mortal.  A special ability means a heavy expenditure of energy in a particular direction, with a consequent drain from some other side of life.  It makes no difference whether the poet knows that his works is begotten, grows and mature with him, or whether he supposes that by taking thought he produces it out of the void.  His opinion of the matter does not change the fact that his own work outgrows him as a child its mother.  The creative process has feminine quality, and the creative work arises from unconscious depths – we might say, from the realm of the mothers.  Whenever the creative force predominates, human life is ruled and moulded by the unconscious as against the active will, and the conscious ego is swept along on a subterranean current, being nothing more than a helpless observer of events.  The work in process becomes the poet’s fate and determines psycho development.  It is not Goethe who creates Faust, but Faust which creates Goethe.  And what is Faust but a symbol?  By this I do not mean an allegory that points to something all too familiar, but an expression that stands for something not clearly known and yet profoundly alive.  Here it is something that lives in the soul of every German, and that Goethe has helped to bring to birth.  Could we conceive of anyone but a German writing Faust or also Sprach Zarathustra?  Both play upon something that reverberates in the German soul -  “primordial image”, as Jacob Burckhardt once called it – the figure of a physician or teacher of mankind.  The archetypal image of the wise man, the saviour or redeemer, lies buried and dormant in man’s unconscious since the dawn of culture; it is awakened whenever the times are out of joint and a human society is committed to a serious error.  When people go astray they feel the need of a guide or teacher or even of the physician.  These primordial images are numerous, but do not appear in the dreams of individuals or in works of art until they are called into being by the waywardness of the general outlook.  When conscious life is characterized by one-sidedness and by a false attitude, then they re activated – one might say, “instinctively” – and come to light in the dreams of individuals and the visions of artists and seers, thus restoring the psychic equilibrium of the epoch.  In this way the work of the poet comes to meet the spiritual need of the society in which he lives, and for this reason his work means more to him than his personal fate, whether he is aware of this or not.  Being essentially the instrument for his work, he is subordinate to it, and we have no reason for expecting him to interpret it for us. He has done the best that in him lies in giving it form, and he must leave the interpretation to others and to the future.  A great work of art is lie a dream; for all its apparent obviousness it does not explain itself and is never unequivocal.  A dream never says: “you ought”, or: “This is the truth”.  It presents an image in much the same way as nature allows and plant to grow, and we must draw our own conclusions.  If a person has a nightmare, it means either that he is too much given to fear, or else that he is too exempt from it; and if he dreams of the old wise man it may mean that he is too pedagogical, and also that he stands in need of a teacher.  In a subtle way both meanings come to the same thing, as we perceive when we are able to let the work of art act upon us as it acted upon the artist.  To grasp its meaning, we must allow it to shape us as it once shaped him.  Then we understand the nature of his experience.  We see that he has drawn upon the healing and redeeming forces of the collective psyche that underlies consciousness with its isolation and its painful errors; that he has penetrated to that matrix of life in which all men are embedded, which imparts a common rhythm to all human existence, and allows the individual to communicate his feeling and his striving to mankind as a whole.  The secret of artistic creation and of the effectiveness of art is to be found in a return to the state of participation mystique – to that level of experience at which it is man who lives, and not the individual, and at which the weal or woe of the single human being does not count, but only human existence.  This is why every great work of art is objective and impersonal, but none the less profoundly moves us each and all.  And this is also why the personal life of the poet cannot be held essential to his art – but at most a help or a hindrance to his creative task.  He may go the way of a Philistine, a good citizen, a neurotic, a fool or a criminal. His personal career may be inevitable and interesting, but it does not explain the poet.

Whenever there is established an external form, be it ritual or spiritual, by which all the yearnings and hopes of the soul are adequately expressed – as for instance in some living religion – then we may say that the psyche is found on the outside of the mind, and no spiritual problem, strictly speaking, exists. 

There has never been a time when the psyche did not manifest itself, but formerly it attracted no attention – no one noticed it.  People got along without heeding it.  But today we can no longer get along unless we give our best attention to the ways of the psyche.

Within a recognised system of belief the psyche cannot be regarded as a problem in itself; but as soon as he has for any reason lost whatever form of religion he was born to – as soon as this religion can no longer embrace his life in all its fulness – then the psyche becomes something in its own right which cannot be dealt with by the measures of the church alone.  As long as all goes well and psychic energy finds its application in adequate and well-regulated ways, we are disturbed by nothing from within.  No uncertainty or doubt besets us, and we cannot be divided against ourselves.  But no sooner are one or two of the channels of psychic activity blocked, than we are reminded of a stream that is dammed up.  The current flows backwards to its source; the inner man wants something which the visible man does not want, and we are at war with ourselves.  Only then, in this distress, do we discover the psyche; or, more precisely, we come upon something which thwarts our will, which is strange and even hostile to us, or which is incompatible with our conscious standpoint. Freud’s psychoanalytic labours show this process in the clearest way.  The first thing he discovered was the existence of sexually perverse and criminal fantasies which at their face value are wholly incompatible with the conscious outlook of a civilized man. A person who was activated by them would be nothing less than a mutineer, a criminal or a madman.  We can no longer deny that the dark stirrings of the unconscious are effective powers – that psychic forces exist which cannot be fitted in with our rational world-order.

Stability is acquired when the claims of the spirit become as imperative as the necessities of social life.  It is from need and distress that new forms of life take their rise, and not from mere wishes or from the requirements of our ideals.  When the attractive power of psychic life is so strong that man is neither repelled nor dismayed by what he is sure to find, then it has nothing of sickliness or perversion about it.

During the past 30 years, people from all the civilized countries of the earth have consulted me.  I have treated many hundreds of patients, the larger number being Protestants, a smaller number Jews, and not more than five or six believing Catholics.  Among all my patients in the second half of life – that is to say, over thirty-five – there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.  It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given to their followers, and none of them has been really healed who did not regain his religious outlook.

A considerable number of people came to see me, not because they were suffering from a neurosis, but because they could find no meaning in life or were torturing themselves with questions which no one could answer, not even myself.  When conscious life has lost its meaning and promise, it is as though a panic had broken loose and we heard the exclamation: “let us eat and drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!” It is this mood, born of the meaninglessness of life, that causes the disturbance in the unconscious and provokes the painfully curbed impulses to break out anew.  Religious problems which a person has are relevant to the neurosis, and are possible causes of it, as also are sexual disturbances.

The patient does not feel himself accepted unless the very worst in him is accepted too.  No one can bring this about by mere words; it comes only through the helper’s sincerity and through his attitude towards himself and his own evil side.  He is never in touch when he passes judgement. Nor is it any use to agree with the patient offhand.  We can get in touch with another person only by an attitude of unprejudiced objectivity.  That is a human quality – a kind of deep respect for facts and events and for the person who suffers from them – a respect for the secret of such a human life.  The truly religious person has this attitude. He knows that God has brought all sorts of strange and inconceivable things to pass, and seems in the most curious ways to enter a man’s heart.  He therefore senses in everything the unseen presence of the divine will.  We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.  I am the oppressor of the person I condemn, not his friend and fellow-sufferer.  If a doctor wishes to help a human being he must be able to accept him as he is.  And he can do this only when he has already seen and accepted himself as he is.  Perhaps this sounds very simple, but simple things are always the most difficult.  In life it requires the greatest discipline to be simple, and the acceptance of oneself is the essence of the moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life.  That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ – all these are undoubtedly great virtues.  What I do unto the least of my brethren, that I do unto Christ.  But what if I discover that the least amongst them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself – that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness – that I myself am the enemy who must be loved – what then?  As a rule, the Christian’s attitude is then reversed; there is no longer any question of love or long-suffering; instead we condemn and rage against ourselves. We hide it from the world; we refuse to admit ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves.  Had it been God himself who drew near to us in this despicable form, we would have denied him a thousand times before a single cock had crowed.  The man who uses psychology to look behind the scenes not only of his patients lives but more especially of his own, will admit that to accept himself in all his wretchedness is the hardest of tasks, and one which it is almost impossible to fulfil.  The very thought can make us livid with fear.  We therefore do not hesitate, but lightheartedly choose the complicated course of remaining in ignorance about ourselves while busying ourselves with other people and their troubles and sins.  This activity lends us an air of virtue, and we thus deceive ourselves and those around us.  In this way, thank God, we can escape from ourselves.  There are countless people who can do this with impunity, but not everyone can, and these few break down and succumb to a neurosis.  How can I help these persons if I am myself a fugitive, and perhaps also suffer from the morbus sacer of a neurosis?  Only he who has fully accepted himself has “unprejudiced objectivity”.    But no one is justified in boasting that he has fully accepted himself.  We can point to Christ, who offered his traditional bias as a sacrifice to the God in himself, and so lived his life as it was to the bitter end without regard for conventions or for the moral standards of the Pharisees.  We must sooner or later face this question: are we to live our own lives as truly as Christ lived his in all its implications?  It is no easy matter to live a life that is modelled on Christ’s, but it is unspeakably harder to live one’s own life as truly as Christ lived his.  Anyone who did this might well be fulfilling his destiny, but would none the less be misjudged, derided, tortured and crucified.  Therefore, as neither myself nor my patients, are monks; it is my duty as a physician to show my patients how they can live their lives without becoming neurotic.  Neurosis is an inner cleavage – the state of being at war with oneself.  Everything that accentuates this cleavage makes the patient worse and everything that mitigates it tends to heal the patient.  What drives people to war with themselves is the intuition or the knowledge that they consist of two persons in opposition to one another. The conflict may be between the sensual and the spiritual man, or between the ego and the shadow.  It is what Faust means when he says” “Two souls, alas, dwell in my breast apart.”  A neurosis is a dissociation of personality.

Healing may be called a religious problem.  In the sphere of social or national relations, the state of suffering may be civil war, and this state is to be cured by the Christian virtue of forgiveness for those who hate us.  That which we try with the conviction of good Christians to apply to external situations, we must also apply to the inner state in the treatment of neurosis.  This is why man has heard enough about guilt and sin.  He is sorely enough beset by his own bad conscience, and wants rather to learn how he is to reconcile himself with his own nature – how he is to love the enemy in his own heart and call the wolf his brother.  The modern man, moreover, is not eager to know, in what way he can imitate Christ, but in what way he can live his own individual life, however meagre and uninteresting it may be.  It is because every form of imitation seems to him deadening and sterile that he rebels against the force of tradition that would hold him to well-trodden ways.  All such roads, for him, lead in the wrong direction.  He may not know it, but he behaves as if his own individual life were instinct with the will of God which must at al costs be fulfilled.  This is the source of his egoism, which is one of the most tangible evils of the neurotic state.  But the person who tells him he is too egoistic has lost his confidence, and rightly so, for that person has driven him still further into his neurosis.  If I wish to effect a cure for my patients, I am forced to acknowledge the deep significance of their egoism.  I should be blind, indeed, if I did not recognize in it the true will of God.  I must even help the patient to prevail in his egoism; if he succeeds in this he estranges himself from other people.  He drives them away, and they come to themselves – as they should, for they were seeking to rob him of his “sacred” egoism.  This must be left to him, for it is his strongest and healthiest power; it is a true will of God, which sometimes drives him into complete isolation.  However wretched this state may be, it also stands him in good stead, for in this way alone he can take his own measure and learn what an invaluable treasure is the love of his fellow beings.  It is, moreover, only in the state of complete abandonment and loneliness that we experience the helpful powers of our own natures.  When one has several times seen this development take place one can no longer deny that what was evil has turned to good, an that what seemed good has kept alive the forces of evil.  The archdemon of egoism lead us along the royal road to that ingathering which religious experience demands.  What we observe here is a fundamental law of life – the reversal into the opposite; and this it is that makes possible the reunion of the warring halves of the personality, and thereby brings the civil war to an end.  I have taken the neurotic’s egoism as an example because it is one of his most common symptoms.  I might equally well have taken any other characteristic symptom to show what attitude the physician must adopt towards the shortcomings of his patients, and how he must deal with the problem of evil.  No doubt this also sounds very simple.  In reality, however, the acceptance of the shadow-side of human nature verges on the impossible.  Consider for a moment what it means to grant the right of existence to what is unreasonable, senseless and evil!  Yet it is just this that the modern man insists upon.  He wants to live with every side of himself – to know what he is.  That is why he casts history aside.  He wants to break with tradition so that he can experiment with his life and determine what value and meaning things have in themselves, apart from traditional presuppositions.  Modern youth gives us astonishing examples of this attitude.  To show how far this tendency may go, I will instance a question addressed to me by a German society.  I was also asked if incest is to be reprobated, and what facts can be adduced against it!  Granted such tendencies, the conflicts into which people may fall are not hard to imagine.  I can well understand that one would like to leave nothing untried to protect one’s fellow-beings from such adventures.  But curiously enough we find ourselves without means to do this.  All the old arguments against reasonableness, self-deception and immorality, once so potent, have lost their effectiveness.  We are now reaping the fruit of nineteenth-century education.  Throughout that period the church preached to young people the merit of blind faith, while the universities inculcated an intellectual rationalism, with the result that today we plead in vain whether for faith or reason.  Tired of this warfare of opinions, the modern man wishes to find out for himself how things are, and though this desire opens bar and bolt to the most dangerous possibilities, we cannot help seeing it as a courageous enterprise and giving it some measure of sympathy.  It is no reckless adventure, but an effort inspired by deep spiritual distress to bring meaning once more into life on the basis of fresh and unprejudiced experience.  Caution has its place, no doubt, but we cannot refuse our support to a serious venture which calls the whole of the personality into the field of action.  If we oppose it, we are trying to suppress what is best in man – his daring and his aspirations. And should we succeed, we should only have stood in the way of that invaluable experience which might have given a meaning to life.  What would have happened if Paul had allowed himself to be talked out of his journey to Damascus?

The psychotherapist who takes his work seriously must come to grips with this question.  He must decide in every case whether or not he is willing to standby a human being with counsel and help upon what may be a daring misadventure.  He must have no fixed ideas as to what is right, nor must he pretend to know what is right – otherwise he takes something from the richness of the experience.  He must keep in view what actually happens – and only that which acts, is actual.  If something which seems to me an error shows itself to be more effective than a truth, then I must first follow up the error, for in it lie power and life which I lose if I hold to what seems to me true. Light has need of darkness – otherwise how could it appear as light?

It is well known that Freudian psychoanalysis is limited to the task of making conscious the shadow-side, and the evil within us.  It simply brings into action the civil war that was latent, and lets it go at that.  The patient must deal with it as best he can.  Freud has unfortunately overlooked the fact that man has never yet been able single-handed to hold his own against the powers of darkness – that is, of the unconscious.  Man has always stood in need of the spiritual help which each individual’s own religion hold up to him.  The opening up of the unconscious always means the outbreak of intense spiritual suffering; it is as when a flourishing civilization is abandoned to invading hordes of barbarians, or when fertile fields are exposed by the bursting of a dam to a raging torrent.  The world war was such irruption which showed, as nothing else could, how thin are the walls which separate a well-ordered world from lurking chaos.  But it is the same with every single human being and his reasonably ordered world.  His reason ha don violence to natural forces which seek their revenge and only await the moment when the partition falls to overwhelm the conscious life with destruction.  Man has been aware of this danger since the earliest times, even in the most primitive stages of culture.  It was to arm himself against this threat and to heal the damage done, that he developed religious and magical practices.  This is why the medicine-man is also the priest; he is the saviour of the body as well as of the soul, and religions are systems of healing for psychic illness.  This is especially true of the two greatest religions of man, Christianity and Buddhism.  Man is never helped in his suffering by what he thinks for himself, but only by revelations of a wisdom greater than his own.  It is this which lifts him out of his distress. Today this eruption of destructive forces has already taken place, and man suffers from it in spirit.  That is why patients force the psychotherapist into the role of a priest, and expect and demand of him that he shall free them from their distress.  That is why we psychotherapists must occupy ourselves with problems which, strictly speaking, belong to the theologian.  But we cannot leave these questions for theology to answer; the urgent, psychic needs of suffering people confront us with them day after day.  Since, as a rule, every concept and viewpoint handed down from the past fails us, we must first tread with the patient the path of his illness – the path of his mistake that sharpens his conflicts and increases his loneliness till it grows unbearable – hoping that from the psychic depths which cast up the powers of destruction the rescuing forces will come also.

When first I took this direction I did not know where it would lead, I did not know what lay hidden in the depths of the psyche – that region which I have since called the “collective unconscious”, and whose contents I designated as “archetypes”.  Since time immemorial, eruptions of the unconscious have taken place, and ever and again they have repeated themselves, consciousness did not exist from the beginning, and in every child it has to be built up anew in the first years of life.  Consciousness is very weak in this formative period, and history shows us that the same is true of mankind – the unconscious easily seizes power.  These struggles have left their mark.  To put it in scientific terms, instinctive defence-mechanisms have been developed which automatically intervene when the danger is greatest, and their coming into action is represented in fantasy by helpful images which are ineradicably fixed in the human psyche.  These mechanisms come into play whenever the need is great.  Science can only establish the existence of these psychic factors and attempt a rational explanation by offering an hypothesis as to their sources.  This, however, only thrusts the problem a stage back and in no way answers the riddle.  We thus come to those ultimate questions: whence does consciousness come?  What is the psyche?  And at this point all science ends.

It is as though, at the culmination of the illness, the destructive powers were converted into healing forces.  This is brought about by the fact that the archetypes come to independent life and serve as spiritual guides for the personality, thus supplanting the inadequate ego with its futile willing and striving.  As the religious-minded person would say: guidance has come from God.  With most of my patients I have to avoid this formulation, for it reminds them too much of what they have to reject.  I must express myself in more modest terms, and say that the psyche has awakened to spontaneous life.  And indeed this formula more closely fits the observable facts.  The transformation takes place at that moment when in dreams or fantasies themes appear whose source in consciousness cannot be shown.  To the patient it is nothing less than a revelation when, from the hidden depths of the psyche, something arises to confront him – something strange that is not the “I” and is therefore beyond the reach of personal caprice.  He has gained access to the sources of psychic life, and this marks the beginning of the cure.

This process, if it is to be made clear, should undoubtedly be discussed with the help of suitable examples.  But it is almost impossible to find one or more convincing illustrations, for it is usually a most subtle and complicated matter.  That which is so effective is often simply the deep impression made on the patient by the independent way in which his dreams treat his difficulties.  Or it may be that his fantasy points to something for which his conscious mind was quite unprepared.  Most often it is contents of an archetypal nature, connected in a certain way, that exert a strong influence of their own whether or not they are understood by the conscious mind.  This spontaneous activity of the psyche often becomes so intense that visionary pictures are seen or inner voices heard.  These are manifestation of the spirit directly experienced today as they have been from time immemorial.  Such experiences reward the sufferer for the pains of the labyrinthine way.  From this point forward a light shines through his confusion; he can reconcile himself with the warfare within and so come to bridge the morbid split in his nature upon a higher level.

Dreams and their interpretation (Jung)

A dream should be regarded with due seriousness as an actuality that has to be fitted into the conscious attitude as a co-determining factor.  If we meditate on a dream sufficiently long and thoroughly, if we carry it around with us and turn it over and over, something almost always comes of it.  A dream is an involuntary and spontaneous psychic product, a voice of nature; and is usually obscure and difficult to understand because it expresses itself in symbols and pictures.  Each dream is taken as a direct expression of the dreamer’s unconscious, and is only to be understood in this light.  A series of dreams makes a more satisfactory basis for interpretation than a single dream; for the theme which the unconscious is presenting becoming clearer. The important images are underlined by repetition, and mistake in interpretation are corrected by the next dream.

We find that important dreams are repeated if they have not been understood, or if they need to be emphasized.

There are also forward-looking or “prospective” dreams.  It seems, indeed, as if space and time are creations of our consciousness, and are relative to us.  The unconscious does not work according to these concepts.  There is the case of a woman who was shortly going to move to a new and unknown district, who dreamt correctly all about the house she would live in, down to the smallest detail, even including the reason why its present owners were leaving it.  Such dreams are not uncommon.  Dreams can become not only sources of information, but also sources of creative power.

Libido (Lib-ee-doh)

Emotional energy or urge

Flows between two opposing, or opposite, roles.  Similar to the positive and negative poles of electricity.  The greater the tension between the pairs of opposites, the greater the energy; without opposition there is no manifest energy.  The many opposites include progression- which is active adaptation to one’s environment (the forward movement of energy) and regression – which is adaptation to one’s inner needs (the backward movement).  Other opposites are consciousness and unconsciousness; extraversion and introversion; and also thinking and feeling.

The opposites have a regulating function, and when one extreme is reached libido passes over to its opposite.  An example of this is when an attitude carried to one extreme will gradually change into something quite different.   Violent rage is succeeded by calm; and hatred may turn to liking.  The regulatory function of the opposites is inherent in human nature, and essential to an understanding of psychic functioning.  If libido is forced into a rigid channel, or repression has created a barrier, or the conscious adjustment has failed (circumstances may become too difficult) the natural forward movement may become impossible.  The libido then flows back into the unconscious, which will become overcharged with energy seeking to find some outlet.  It is then possible that the unconscious will leak through into consciousness as fantasy, or as some neurotic symptom, or as unusual behaviour.

More useful information from C.G. Jung

The personal unconscious belongs to the individual; it is formed from repressed infantile impulses and wishes, and countless forgotten experiences.  The memories of the personal unconscious, though not entirely under the control of the will, can, when repression weakens, (as in sleep) be recalled, disguised as dreams or fantasies.  Sometimes a shock or chance association can recall them of their own accord.  On occasions these memories can cause a disturbance (as in neurosis) and they then need to be “dug out”.

The collective unconscious is the unconscious in the fullest sense, and is a deeper stratum of the unconscious than the personal unconscious; it is the unknown material from which our consciousness emerges.  We can deduce its existence in part from the observation of instinctive behaviour (that which is inherited and unconscious). The unconscious is the source of consciousness and of the creative and destructive spirit of mankind.  Intuition is perception via the unconscious.

There are four functions which we use to orientate ourselves in the world (and also to our own inner world).

1.     Sensation, which is perception through our senses.

2.     Thinking, which gives meaning and understanding.

3.     Feeling, which weights and values.

4.     Intuition, which tells us of future possibilities, and gives us information of the atmosphere which surrounds all experience.

The importance of religion in our history (Jung)

It has aroused a deep intensity of emotion; and it has canalized a tremendous amount of energy into the arts.  It has produced much learning and teaching; and has caused concern and care for the weak, the sick and the poor.  The lovely cathedrals and churches which adorn our cities, towns and villages are standing evidence of the past influence of religion on the population.

Religion and the individuation process

Man possesses a natural religious function, and his psychic health and stability depend on the proper expression of this, just as much as on the expression of the instincts.

Finally:-  “I cannot define for you what the theologians call God, but what I can tell you is that my work has proved, empirically, that the pattern of God exists in every man”.

                                                                             Carl Gustav Jung

Virtue is its own reward.  

                                                                             William Shakespeare

Extracts from Waiting on God

By Simone Weil

Short outline of Simone’s life

Simone Weil, who was Jewish, was born in Paris on February 3rd 1909.  She qualified as a teacher of philosophy in 1931.  Between teaching posts she worked in the Renault car factory and in the vineyards.  She also spent some time with the Spanish Republican Army on the Catalonian front and experienced the complete invasion of her inner life by the horror of war.  In 1941 she went to live in the south of France, where she worked in the fields while continuing her study of Greek and Hindu philosophy, and enlarging her knowledge of Sanskrit.  In 1942, after reaching America, she was called to serve the French Provisional Government in England.  She prepared for them a long study of the reciprocal duties of the individual and the state, later to become famous in English as “the need for roots.”  She died in 1943, her illness aggravated by her refusal to eat anything more than was given to her compatriots in occupied France.  She is buried at Ashford, Kent.  All her writings and essays which have been published were given to her friend and confidante, the Rev. Father Perrin at the time when she was still able to communicate with him.  Father Perrin was a monk at the Dominican convent in Marseilles.  He was later arrested by the Gestapo.

Extracts:-  The duty of acceptance in all that concerns the will of God was impressed upon my mind as the first and most necessary of all duties.  I saw it as a duty we cannot fail in without dishonouring ourselves.

I always believed that the instant of death is the centre and object of life, and that it is the instant when, for an infinitesimal fraction of time, pure truth, naked, certain and eternal enters the soul.

At times the very first words of the Lord’s prayer tear my thoughts from my body and transport it to a place outside space where there is neither perspective nor point of view.  The infinity of the ordinary expanses of perception is replaced by an infinity to the second or sometimes the third degree.  At the same time, filling every part of this infinity of infinity, there is silence, a silence which is not an absence of sound, but which is the object of a positive sensation, more positive than that of sound.  Noises, if there are any, only reach me after crossing the silence.  Sometimes, also, during this recitation or at other moments, Christ is present with me in person, but his presence is infinitely more real, more moving, more clear than on that first occasion when he took possession of me.

God causes this universe to exist, but he consents not to command it, although he has the power to do so.  Instead he leaves two other forces to rule in his lace.  On the one hand there is the blind necessity attaching to matter, and on the other the autonomy essential to thinking persons.  By loving our neighbour we imitate the divine love which created us and all our fellows.  By loving the order of the world we imitate the divine love which created this universe of which we are a part.

A sense of beauty, although mutilated, distorted and soiled, remains rooted in the heart of man as a powerful incentive.  If it were made true and pure, it would make the total incarnation of the faith possible. The beauty of the world is the easiest and most natural way of approach.  God hastens into every soul immediately it opens, even a little, in order through it to love and serve the afflicted.  The beauty of the world is not an attribute of matter in itself.  It is a relationship of the world to our sensibility, the sensibility which depends upon the structure of our body and our soul.  The part of this beauty which we experience is designed and destined for our human sensibility.  The beauty of the world is Christ’s tender smile for us coming through matter.  The love of this beauty proceeds from God dwelling in our souls, and goes out to God present in the universe.  The words which express beauty come to the lips of all as soon as they want to praise what they love.  Only some are more and some less able to discern it.

The love we feel for the splendour of the heavens, the plains, the sea and the mountains, for the silence of nature which is borne in upon us by its thousands of tiny sounds, for the breath of the winds, or the warmth of the sun, this love of which every human being has at least an inkling, is an incomplete, painful love, because it is felt for things which are incapable of responding, that is to say for matter.  Men want to turn this same love towards a being who is like themselves and capable of answering to their love, of saying yes, of surrendering.  When the feeling for beauty happens to be associated with the sight of some human being, the transference of love is made possible.

There is not any department of human life which is purely natural.  The supernatural is secretly present throughout.  Under a thousand different forms; grace and mortal sin are everywhere.

The essential truth to be known concerning the universe is that it is absolutely devoid of finality.  Nothing in the way of finality can be ascribed to it.

The day when a perfect being was to be found here below in human form, the greatest possible amount of evil scattered around him was automatically concentrated upon him in the form of suffering.  That is why he suffered the death which was the extremity of affliction.  In a mysterious manner this transference constitutes the redemption.  It is the same when a human being turns his eyes and his attention towards the lamb of God present in the consecrated bread, a part of the evil which he bears within him is directed towards perfect purity, and there suffers destruction.

Charity does not discriminate.  It is found where affliction has chanced to provide an occasion for the exchange of compassion and gratitude.  It is equally available for the whole human race, inasmuch as affliction can come to all, offering them an opportunity for such an exchange.

There is no contradiction between seeking our own good in a human being and wishing for his good to be increased.  For this very reason, when the motive which draws us towards anybody is simply some advantage for ourselves, the conditions of friendship are not fulfilled.  Friendship is a supernatural harmony, a union of opposites.

In what concerns divine things, belief is not fitting.  Only certainty will do.  Anything less than certainty is unworthy of God.

God himself has not the power to forgive the evil in us while it remains there.  God will have forgiven our debts when he has brought us to the state of perfection.

The Command of Christ:-  “You cannot in this life understand the mysteries of God and the universe.  If you try you will only lose sight of your real duty.  Your only duty is to love God and all the people in the world.  Draw upon the love of God, and pour it out upon all mankind.  If you do this, the spirit will enter your soul and will lead you.”

An ode to our eternal God, creator of the universe, limitless and changeless, full of grace, beauty and harmony

Our God, you dwell in heights unknown,

In unknown brilliance dost thou shine.

We, and the countless multitudes yet unborn

All belong to thee, and will be forever thine.


Where are the secret places of your dwelling?

What great power lies beyond this space and time?

We look to your son, our saviour, for the telling

Of your nature, and your might sublime.


For who else can possibly let us know

About that majestic centre of all creation?

Who else can positively show

What lies in store for every nation?


Our saviour has said in words both exacting and clear,

That for our future life our God has prepared a great adventure.

Another kind of existence, free from sorrow, pain and fear,

A life of untold happiness, endless joy and infinite splendour.

But to earn and worthily deserve that spiritual life,

We must toil and struggle and strain

To overcome all the misery and sin that is rife,

And help straighten out our self inflicted pain.


For great is our creator’s joy and delight,

When his followers we earnestly seek to become,

When we are modestly submissive, and praiseworthy in his sight,

And when for his kingdom on earth we constantly long.


He is eagerly and earnestly waiting to welcome us all,

Into that wondrous place that is prepared in the skies,

We all await with certainty this unfailing call

To us, to take that immense and exalted journey to his paradise.


Alternative last verse to the ode to our eternal God


He is waiting to welcome all his friends,

Waiting to receive us into his dwelling place,

His loving concern and care for us never ends,

One day we shall meet him, and see his face.

                                                                   W.W. Gibson

                                                                   14 April 1982

Let each man think himself an act of God; his mind a thought, his life a breath of God.

                                                                   P.J. Bailey (1816-1902)

Our God is:

Righteous, but understanding and forgiving.

Almighty, but humble and merciful.

Strong, but kind and gentle.

Elevated, but lowly in nature.

Owner of All, but gives freedom to all.

Above all, but holds out the hand of friendship to all.

Immortal, but willing to help us adjust to our limits of time.

These are my own thoiughts, from God       24.5.1982    W W Gibson

God guides us with persuasion and patience.  He fulfils our intense and passionate prayers and supplications with moderation and quietness.  He will instruct when requested; support when required; strengthen when it is deemed necessary; fortify the weak; calm the oppressed; heal the wounded in spirit; restore the depressed, and sustain the weary.

God allows cruelty, suffering, sin and disease; but does not condone these things – rather, he uses them to mould our characters and personalities.  In this way we conform to the kind of people he would have us be.  The majority of us become better people when faced with trials and tribulations.  God is concerned with our sorrows; anxious about our welfare, and willing to assist if asked.  Whatever God does, his desire is to help and support us in our earthly dilemma; to lift us out of our despondency and despair, and to bring us joyously and happily to his kingdom.

My country

(my reaction to the Falklands dispute)

England! O England!

Land of my birth.

To be born of you

Is to me of great worth.

Land of hope and glory!

Will always be my story.

Mother of the free.

I shall forever be

Enchanted and enthralled with thee.


For in my heart there lies

The deepest pride for this my home.

And from this vale of earthly paradise;

From this abode I ne’er again shall roam,

What shall I gain by leaving you behind?

Only a great yearning in my saddened mind,

A longing to be back to you, sublime,

To stay with you till the ceasing of my time.


For you have forever filled me with content,

To you from God was I undoubtedly sent,

And back to God I will quietly go,

Back to a place I don’t yet know.

I know, only that God must love you so,

All his many blessings to you must surely go,

For he has made you into a land both great and free,

A peaceful sanctuary set in the crystal sea.


My country, you are a haven of delight,

Inhabited by those who brought you might.

Let no one misunderstand their tranquil manner

They will always be true to their glorious banner.

When my time comes to say goodbye to this dear land,

I shall only one more thing demand,

That my country remain as it has always been,

A place where the loss of freedom is never, never seen.  

                                                                             21-6-1982 W W Gibson

On his return home from the Falklands the Commander of the Parachute Regiment, Lt. Col. David Chaundler, said, “I have immense pride, immense humility and respect for our soldiers”.

Selections from Psalm 51

David prays for forgiveness

Be gracious to me, O God.  Because of your constant love and great mercy wipe away my misdeeds. Wash away all my evil, and cleanse me from my sin!

I recognise my faults; I am always conscious of my wrong doing.  I have done what displeases you; so you are right in judging me; so you are justified in condemning me.

Sincerity and truth are what you require; fill my mind with your wisdom.  Remove my offence and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness.

Close your eyes to my iniquity, and wipe out all my wickedness. Create a pure heart in me, O God; and give me a new and steadfast spirit.  Do not banish me from your presence, or take your holy spirit from me.

Give me again the joy that comes from your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to obey you; then I will gladly proclaim your righteousness. Help me to speak, Lord, and I will praise you.

My offering to you, O God, is a humble spirit.  You will not reject a broken and repentant heart.

O God, be kind to Zion, and help her rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.

It is often better not to see an insult than to avenge it.


                                                                   Seneca (AD 5-65)

The sacrifice of the suffering saviour is foretold by the Prophet Isaiah in Chapter 53

(Isaiah lived in Jerusalem in the 8th century B.C.)

We despised and rejected him; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and we had, as it were, our faces from him. He was disdained, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried out distress; yet we regarded hi stricken, smitten of God and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, tortured for our iniquities.  We are healed by the punishment he suffered, and made whole by the blows he received.  All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us going his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the guilt of us all; the punishment all of us deserve.

He as oppressed and he was tormented, yet he endured it humbly, and opened not his mouth.  He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he did not say a word.  Without protection, and without justice, he was arrested and sentenced, and taken away.

He was put to death for the sins of our people, even though he had done no violence.  His death was a sacrifice to bring us forgiveness.  He willingly gave his life and shared the fate of evil men; taking the place of many sinners, and praying that they might be pardoned.

One whose greatness lay in unfolding the love of God by speech and action, and in helping individual men and women to find the meaning and the glory, the purpose and the joy of life, in that surrender to the all-pervading presence of God, which for him gave earth the character of heaven.

                                                G.A. Studdert Kennedy (by his friends)

A necessary step in evolution

The process towards perfection, and the completion of God’s purpose in the world, is by a system of evolution; and the coming of Jesus was intended to speed up this forward movement by showing mankind the best way for progress to be made.

The introduction, by him, of the tremendous power of love, was a great step ahead; for it was intended to teach us how this most important force for good could help solve all our relationship problems and difficulties.  Thus bringing us ultimately to understand that only by loving and caring for one another could we bring in the kind of world order whereby real happiness and joy may be achieved to the benefit of all.

By using the influence of love in the way that Jesus demonstrated, the world could be transformed into a completely different place; and God’s kingdom on earth would begin to be a real possibility.  It is now up to us all to follow the example given by Christ, and to do everything in our power to bring about the kind of life that our maker intended us to have.

This love, which was brought to light by Jesus, requests us to be patient and kind.  To be always ready to trust and hope; and to persevere against all hardships, all obstacles and opposition.  We must endeavour never to be ill-mannered, boastful or easily angered.  Also, our lives must be free from selfishness, jealousy and irritability.  Others must not be envied, and we should never feel resentful towards them.  Finally, we are asked to love everyone with all the concern and care that we have for ourselves (there is no greater demand on us than this).  This God given love is eternal, and never fails.

Our ability to pass on this love depends on our possessing it in our own hearts.  Without it we are no better than a hollow image of ourselves.  We are, in fact, of little use to anyone.  People will dis-believe our counsel, they will not be drawn to us because we carry no conviction.

We must not only talk of this wonderful love, but we must live it as well.  What people see in us is vital; and they will only react in a positive way to our teaching if we give them a shining example; an example they will be eager and willing to follow, come what may.

                                                                             31 October 1982



Love is patient, love is kind,

Love to each other does us bind,

Love has no limits to its power,

It produces beauty, as a flower.

Love is not jealous or conceited,

It never gives up, is never defeated.

It does not approve of selfishness or pride,

Anything distasteful lit seeks to hide.


Love is granted to us all,

We all possess it, be we great or small.

It is given free of all conditions,

It frees us all from our inhibitions.

Love shows the face of caring and concern,

Of other people’s distress it seeks to learn.

It keeps no record of misdeeds that are done,

It seeks to forgive and amend the things that are wrong.


This love from God does not complain,

From making trouble it will always refrain.

It approaches all people with goodwill and grace.

Within each one of us the love of God can find a place.

Love sets no limits to its faith and hope,

It accepts any weaknesses and learns to cope,

A steadfast belief in goodness it is never without,

And of its sincerity there is never any doubt.


With love, being ill-manned is not permitted,

And being happy with evil is never remitted,

Only with truth is happiness acquired,

Only in the absence of sins is true love fired.

Love must be wanted above all desires,

In the search for love, the virtuous man never tires,

Love should be put first in everyone’s life,

Without love, unrest and disturbances are rife.


The greatest sacrifice that love can make

Is when a life is given for someone’s sake.

No greater love than this can ever be found

As when a soldier falls dying to the ground.

Without love, our spiritual growth will not exist,

Without love, even evolution is at risk.

Without love, all our efforts for good are in vain,

Without love our moral progress is on the wane.


Love is  constituent of the spirit,

It must be nurtured every passing minute.

God’s hand must play a vital part

In bring out that love from every willing heart.

Love is God’s greatest gift to man,

It is the most important part of the heavenly plan.

We must welcome love wherever it may be found

And on finding it, spread it happily around.


Let us then trust, hope and endure.

Let us remain ever upright and pure.

When we reflect on the skies above,

Let us remember that god is love.

                                                                             16.11.1982  W W Gibson

Poetry from Allan


Those lonely days of painless pain,

The searching, hoping, all in vain.

Four close walls and corners eye,

My only friends as there I lie.


The small window open to the world,

But no one sees me weeping and curled.

A dark and cold; a hopeful night?

The odd one out? Be bold, be bright.


Then hope arises, fears pass by,

A chance of happiness before I die;

Such love and kindness, not known before,

My wife, my son, there’s nothing more.


To Chris

My heart often cried

During the

Wasted years.


Until your heart,

And love,

Lifted all my tears.


Blessed are the pure in heart

(in memory of mother)

Here eyes were so blue,

Full of kindness and care

As she held her leg rocking

With pain and despair.


My heart cried in anguish,

Her thin body suffered so,

Such courage and bravery

Never let me feel low.


Such happiness I could give her,

A child to love and so dear,

Would make the nights that she suffered

Bring loving smiles through a tear.


If there’s a heaven above,

Full of peace and no pain

My mother will be there,

Her life not in vain.

 beautiful poetry Allan, it is full of understanding and concern.   Dad.

Memories of tomorrow

(A new life with Chris)

Our first year has passed by,

Natures seasons have gone

Thank you for blessing me

With a wonderful son.

Gentle snow in the winter,

Beautiful blossoms in spring.

The flowers in summer,

Warming memories they bring.


But passion flowers have passed,

All the daisies have died;

Yet with my love for you

My heart never cried.


Now another year lies ahead,

And a future with love

Like a mirror of our memories

Passes today like a dove. 


His eyes are so blue,

His face is soft,

His hands are small,

He falls a lot.

He’s strong and determined,

He has a cheeky smile.

He’ll crawl for ever

His hands patting down,

He learns so quickly,

He feels and prods.

His tender ways,

His loving touch,

He’s all we’ve god,

He’s all we want;

He’s our little boy,

He’s loved a lot.

David (one year old)

There’s a little boy we’ve known just a year,

With big blue eyes and soft brown hair.

What a joy to see him play and crawl

As he chases after his orange ball.

His lovely soft face and such a happy smile

When he tries to walk and crumples down in a pile.

Each day can we ask for anything more?

Our lives are richer in every chore,

He means so much to us in every way,

We thank God for our son on his special day.

Do we care?

Why do we weep and worry so?

When going on a shopping spree;

Fighting and angry, and wanting more,

We are so greedy, thoughtless and free.


Think of the poor souls suffering so,

In mind and body and lifeless soul.

Does nobody care? Yet it must be so,

Such starvation and death through riceless bowl.

No human being is justified in shrugging his shoulders and saying, “I do not know whether God exists or not, so why worry?  All our lives depend on whether or not he exists, it is not tough or manly to say that we do not care if there is or is not a God.  If there is a possibility that God exists, a reasonable and courageous human being will set himself to try and find out.

It seems to me, therefore, that when God decided to make man as a moral creature, he bestowed on him the power to think about himself, and an innate sense of right and wrong.  As soon as he received these gifts, man became aware of God’s presence, and ceased to be capable of living contentedly without him.

                                                          Sir John Bagot Glubb ( B.1897)



Sadness is a lonely man

Racked with pain and little hope.

Reached for God to ease his mind.

With life’s ordeals he cannot cope.


Leaving behind the family’s woes,

His loneliness is now complete.

With solitude his constant friend

His burden walks an empty street.


Happiness is hard to find.

Who listens to a worried man?

Turns again to family ties,

From once before he turned and ran.


O brave return, and great ordeal,

He faced the past, but present now.

Not understood, but welcomed home,

To ease his frown and worried brow.


But ease it not, nor never will.

Why let all the worry be in vain?

Its others he was thinking of,

Why should they suffer all his pain?


Yet suffer too and helpless are,

Those who love and cannot share.

When understanding, but not understood,

They seek more than just to care.


Many thanks Allan for your  care and understanding.  This poem shows me how much you have thought about me.  Love Dad.

Some sound advice to us all (Desiderata)

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste; and remember the peace that may be found in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, for they too have their story.  Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit.  If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.  Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.  But let his not blind you to what virtue there is: many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself, especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.  Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture the strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.  But do not distress yourself with imaginings; many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.  You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and stars: you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe if unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be; and whatever your labours and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.  With all its shams, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.  Be cheerful.  Strive to be happy.

This writing was found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore (dated 1692)

In a moment of deep feeling


Come to me, O God; I weep for thee,

In all the world, thee only would I see.

I beg for the light and knowledge of thy guidance,

I plead in desperation for thy nearness and assurance.


For as long as I would breathe, I ask this,

That I may hereafter live in joy and bliss.

May the blessedness of the saintly heart be mine,

And may my thoughts towards thee forever incline.

                                                          W.W. Gibson 14.5.1983

“His heart was as great as the world, but there was no room in it to hold the memory of a wrong”.

Everyone should bear patiently the results of his own conduct.

                                                                   Phaedrus AD20

Let’s go hand in hand not one before another.

                                                                   Shakespeare (1564-1616)

“ A good deed done without love is nothing, but if anything is done from love, however small and inconsiderable it may be, every bit of it is counted.  God considers what lies behind the deed, and not what is actually done.  A man does much if he has much love”.  

                                                Thomas A Kempis (Augustinian monk)


                                                Author of the Imitation of Christ

A compassionate and merciful Godhead


He reaches out with tender care,

All our troubles and trials to share,

He seeks to enter every broken heart,

Ready, always, his constant love to impart.


Will you answer, then, his urgent plea?

Enter his presence on bended knee?

Will you come with deference into his company?

His mysterious grandeur for yourself to see?


He loves the humble, the gentle, the mile,

With the penitent heart he will eagerly abide.

Anyone seeking his encouragement and help,

Should reach out in longing, losing all thought of self.


For, always urgent, is God’s desire to please,

Every opportunity to succour he will seize,

With the wayward one, he will kindly persuade

That he should reform his ways, and seek the master’s aid.

                                                                   W.W. Gibson


The Daily Mirror’s advice to the Labour Party –

Labour must offer

Hope to the young

Security to the old

And comfort to the sick.

(how true!) WWG

An appeal to a caring God

Make whole my broken heart,

And show me the treasures of your heaven,

Let me newly make a start,

Bring to my mind your spiritual leaven,

And in your creation let me play a part,

Under your tender care.


Allow me not a backward step.

Show me, only the way to go.

Many times I have quietly wept,

That I may ward off the deadly blow,

That from your way I may have crept

In deep despair.


But never have you let me falter,

Always by my side you stayed.

And when I was apt my ways to alter

Your closeness caused me to dissuade.

You were ever near; my guide and shelter,

Listening to my prayer.

                                                                             W.W. Gibson


The claim of Christianity is simply the claim of Christ himself: “ I am come that you may have life and have it more abundantly”.  He set himself to teach us what full living means, to show us how to become really alive.  Those who heard him and watched him got tremendously excited about him.  He had a secret which altered people’s lives, that put spring and energy and joy and youth into them, the joy of living.

                                                                             R.L. Smith

“For to fear death, Sirs, is simply to think we are wise when we are not so; it is to think we know what we know not. No man knows whether death is not the greatest of all goods that can come to man; and yet men fear as though they knew it was the greatest of all ills.”


Bernard Bosanquet on salvation

“And now we are saved absolutely, w need not say from what, we are at home in the universe, and, in principle and in the main, feeble and timid creatures as we are, there is nothing anywhere within the world or without it that can make us afraid.”.

The way I see it

Unless things happen uniformly and in step with the rules of nature and the universe, there is always chaos.

An Indian doctor estimates the task in hand throughout his country

“To get to the tree tops, we must aim for the stars.”

Love’s strange ways.

A possible explanation of the two explosions which I heard at the Pozieres Cemetery in France

In 1971, I decided to go and see my father’s name on the Pozieres Memorial, which forms a colonnade round the Pozieres British Cemetery, situated northeast of Albert, in France.  I took with me a wreath of poppies, bought from the British Legion.  A friend accompanied me, and is a witness to all that happened.  The journey to France was by hovercraft to Calais, and from there to Albert by train, visiting First World War Cemeteries on the way.

The cemetery of Pozieres is about 3 miles from Albert, and, as no transport was available, we decided to walk to it.  We had gone only a short way when we saw a small British cemetery, which we decided to investigate.  During our walk round we met and Englishman, who, we learned, was the head gardener of the cemeteries in that area.  After talking for a time with him, and telling him of our quest, he kindly offered us a lift in his car to our destination.

On arrival at Pozieres we thanked our helpful friend and set out to find father’s name on the surrounding walls (because father was blown up and there were no remains to be buried, he was listed as “missing” and his name entered on the encircling memorial wall).  On finding his name I laid the wreath underneath it, and took photographs of both his name and the wreath.

After looking round the cemetery we made our way to the exit where the visitor’s book is kept.  I started to write in the book when suddenly I was shocked to hear two sharp explosions.  These explosions would normally cause at least some movement of air, or pieces of debris to fly about; but there was none of this, only an eerie stillness afterwards.  The cemetery is situated well out in the countryside where there are no houses or buildings of any kind, and no activity that would be likely to cause these explosions.  So I am driven to the assumption that this was a completely unnatural happening which could only have a deeper spiritual source.

After this incident we visited other British cemeteries and memorials to the First World War dead, and then made our way to Paris where we spent a few days before returning home.

My own interpretation of the explosions

I was a soldier for 14 years (7 of war), and father was a soldier for 5 years (4 of war), so there is a strong military bond between us.  Because of this I feel I am the right kind of person to award him the military honour of a soldier’s farewell (which he so richly deserves) i.e. the firing of shots over his grave.

As I signed the visitor’s book on that day in 1971 the two detonations I heard could have meant that the time had arrived for father to receive the long delayed tribute to the sacrifice he made in the giving of his life and war for his friends and family.

To me, these explosions were my own tangible expression of gratefulness to father; and it had been allowed me by our God.  Thus, my journey to his memorial and the laying of a wreath, had been kindly recognised and acknowledged; and at last the moment had come when the full ceremony could be carried out.  That the honour and privilege of carrying it out had been given to me fills me with gratitude, and a deep sense of fulfilment.

Therefore, although he had no known grave, his death was still acknowledged in the way that soldiers do acknowledge their fallen comrades.

If all that I have surmised about this incident is true, then there is undoubtedly another existence beyond this one; and some form of life carries on after death; and God is a reality upon which to base our future hopes and aspirations while still in this life.

We must make it our duty in the future to see that the deaths of father and his many compatriots in that terrible war of outrageous slaughter, must be our incentive to seek a true and lasting peace throughout God’s creation.


(Written after many years of contemplation and meditation).

Further comment on the explosions at Pozieres

In her book “Testament of Friendship”, Vera Brittain describes a visit she made with her friends Winifred Holtlby to the battlefields of World War I.  (Vera had worked as a nurse in France during this war).  She says: -

“We stood together in front of the great memorial at Thiepval to the missing of Somme, and saw, upon the huge arch, the names of the 73,366 men who, on one battlefield alone, had never been found, or never identified.  Above that grim record of the mutilated and unrecognisable dead, we read this their memorial inscription.” –

“Here are recorded names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields July 1915 to February 1918, but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death”. *see below

Vera continues “there were 35,000 other names on the memorial at Arras, and later we found nearly 15,000 more carved between the pillars of the colonnaded cemetery at Pozieres’.

My note -  father’s name is shown at Pozieres.  I have visited this and the other cemeteries mentioned above.

* Regarding the known and honoured burial given to the soldiers whose names are shown on the colonnades at Pozieres, (see above)  where I describe the explosions I heard there; I now consider that all the soldiers on this memorial have, by these explosions, been given their honoured burial i.e. the firing of shots over their graves; and not only father as I at first thought in my writing. W W Gibson 8 Oct '83

“Kantianism” (by the philosopher Kant):- “we never know the real thing; all we know is the way we experience it”.

Summary of the Book of Job

Job is the story of a man who suffers total disaster.  The Book shows how Job’s friends, and Job himself, react to these calamities.  In the end, God himself, whose dealings with mankind have been a prominent part of the discussions, appears to Job.

The friends of Job explain his suffering in traditional religious terms.  Since god, so they assume, always rewards good, and punishes evil, the suffering of Job can only mean that he has sinned.  But Job does not agree that he deserves such cruel punishment; because he has been an unusually good and righteous man.  He cannot understand how God can allow so much evil to happen to him, and consequently he boldly challenges God to explain it all.  Job does not lose his faith, but he longs to be justified before God, and to regain his honour as a good man.

God does not answer Job’s questions, but responds to his faith by giving a picture of the divine power of the creator.  Job then humbly acknowledges God’s greatness and universal wisdom, and repents of any wild or angry words he has used.

The conclusion records how Job’s remorse and contrition earns him a return to prosperity; and a happy and long life.

God reprimands Job’s friends for failing to understand the meaning of his suffering.  Only Job had really sensed that God is greater than traditional religion had depicted him.

God speaks to Job

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Who laid it cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and the heavenly beings shouted or joy?  Have you comprehended the expanse of the earth?  Declare, if you know all this”.

Confronted thus with his maker, Job has not been given a reason for his suffering.  Instead, he has been granted an insight into God’s immeasurable power.

Why did Job suffer?  We look at these words from god for a solution to that suffering.  But it is in the very absence of a verdict that we find the truth that makes the Book of Job a landmark in man’s spiritual progress.  Job has understood :  we have no contract with the Lord allowing us to call him to account or force him to explain.  His wisdom is unfathomable, his decisions beyond our comprehension.

Catching his breath, all Job can say is, “I a of small account; what shall I answer thee?  I have uttered what I did not understand, about marvels too great for me to know.  I knew only what others had told me, but now I have seen you with my own eyes; therefore I am ashamed of all I have said, and repent in dust and ashes”.

At his, the Lord’s delight in Job shines through the darkness.  God clearly loves this much-tried mortal who has stood up to him with dignity and courage.  And he bestows on his good servant many great benefits of material things.  And Job had seven sons and three daughters who were the fairest in the land, and the Lord blessed Job; and at a great age Job died, being old and full of days.

The book of Job, then, is a book for every season.  It remained for Christianity to take up where it leave off; softening the rigid law of petribution, proclaiming the nobility of suffering, and anchoring our bond with God to faith on earth and grace in heave: “Seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you”.

A candle gives light to others, and consumes itself.

                                                                   H.G. Bohn (1796-1884)

A philosophy for living

Just feel God with you each day.  Walk side by side with his spirit.  Use this spirit as a guide in everyday affairs.  Rely on, and take note of, what comes into the mind in daily experiences.  Get to know by inner promptings and intuition what God’s wishes are for you, and what he wants from you.  Consult God mentally when awkward and difficult situations present themselves; and search the mind for answers to the problems which beset you.  Find what God is like by reading other people’s writings about  him, and take note of their testimony as to how they have been affected by his presence in their lives.  But also, regardless of any other opinions or differences of view, read the Bible for yourself, forgetting all things except what you are reading, then this will be the truth to you yourself.  In the many and controversial circumstances and confrontations which occur in life, you will find that a knowledge of the almighty will most assuredly give you an accurate insight into what he wants you to say and do for everyone’s good.  As you get to know God better you will acquire much more confidence in your ability to advise and help people you meet who are seeking some guidance or counsel.  God answers any requests made to him, in various ways; and you should not always expect an immediate or obvious answer; but rather, you must trust him, and believe that your entreaties and supplications will eventually have a response thought suitable and appropriate by the heavenly father.  If things don’t happen as you would like them to, or you don’ts seem to succeed in your efforts, then faith is needed to enable you to feel that by continuously trying, and letting things work their own way out, an answer will surely come, no matter how long it may take.  Seek assiduously to obtain as much knowledge as possible about everything; for a good understanding of God’s universe and all that is in it is a great help towards an appreciation of his plan for the whole of his creation.  Believe firmly and absolutely that God is a reality, and that the design for his creation includes your help.  When you truly accept this, then you can quietly, and with complete confidence, put yourself into his hands and wait for him to work in you whatever purposes he has for you to fulfil.  He is waiting, now, for you to assist him; so open yourself to him and let him in; and may you find joy, peace, success and contentment in his service.

                                                                   W.W. Gibson  5th Nov 1983

                                                                   (A seeker of the Truth)

The cure of the woman with a haemorrhage

Mat (18-22), Mark 5 (25-34), Luke 8 (43-48)

There was a woman who had suffered from a severe haemorrhage  for many years; and, in spite of long treatment by many doctors, there had been no improvement; in fact, she had become worse.

She had herd about Jesus, so she came up behind through the throng and touched his cloak, saying to herself, “If I can but touch his clothes, I shall be well again”.  And instantly the bleeding stopped, and she knew that she had been healed.

Aware that power had left him, Jesus turned and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”  His disciples said to him, “You see how the people are crowding round you, why do you ask who touched you?”  But he continued to look round to see who had done it.  Then the woman came forward because she was afraid of all that was happening to her.  And she knelt at his feet and told him everything.  Jesus said to her, “my daughter, your faith has restored you to health.  Go in peace, you are are for ever from your affliction.”

The healing of a woman in present day Britain

During the songs of praise programme shown on television on Sunday 6th November 1983, the following hymn was chosen by a young woman who was cured for a very painful illness by a faith healer.

Listening to what she had to say I am personally convinced that this cure was a genuine one, because she had been receiving hospital treatment for many years with no relief whatsoever. She is now completely without pain, and living a normal happy life.

The hymn chosen by the lady who was cured of her illness:-


I will sing the wondrous story

Of the Christ who died for me;

How he left his home in glory,

For the cross on Calvary.


I was lost; but Jesus found me –

Found the sheep that went astray;

Raised me up and gently led me

Back into the narrow way.


I was bruised; but Jesus healed me:

Faint was I from many a fall;

Sight was gone, and fears possessed me;

But he freed me from them all.


Days of darkness still come o’er me;

Sorrow’s paths I often tread;

But the saviour still is with me

By his hand I’m safely led.  

                                                          Francis Harold Rawley, 1854

Jesus gave himself wholly to his neighbours, giving up the possibilities of marriage and a family; of owning property and amassing wealth; even to the possibility of a normal span of life on this earth in order to open to many the possibility of a new and better life.  

                                                          John Hick (Professor of Theology

                                                          in the University of Birmingham)

God’s concern for us

On that holy night,

All creation was set alight,

Humanity was faltering in God’s sight,

The time had come to put things right,

To rescue us in our plight.


For our God it was time to fulfil,

His promise of that friendship and goodwill,

Which was needed in order our hearts to fill

With understanding of what may make us more at peace, more tranquil.

More close to him still.


That we needed his help it could not be denied,

“Bring us your presence”, the people cried!

“Come to us quickly and dwell at our side”!

“Open up the curtain wide”!

“Do not ever from us hide”!


And he sought us in our dwelling place,

Came to all shades of kindred and race,

Showed us all, his human face

The face of modesty and grace,

Meek, and virtuous and chaste.

                                                                             W.W. Gibson


The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none. 

                                                                   Carlyle (1795-1881)

Where are you now?

Return to me, Dear Heavenly Father


My God, absolve me from all unkind thought,

My friendship at a dear price you bought.

Throughout my life, my full support you sought,

Was your help and kindness all for naught?


Great was my delight and gladness when you came to me,

And so overwhelmed when I was able to see

That you were really there, and willing to set me free,

Able to persuade all my troublesome doubt to flee.


Alas, from your presence I allowed myself to stray,

Perhaps, in remorse, I’ll return again some day,

Return with no conditions, and without delay,

Determined, for all time, with you to stay.


O God, you are my life, my bliss, my ultimate end,

Allay all my uncertainty, and be my friend,

You indwelling spirit, to me, quickly send,

For on this spirit I’ll always completely depend.


For now I know I cannot live without you,

Each day I search my mind for what is true,

Search for the possible ways that I can renew

The feelings I once had, the joys I knew.  

                                                                             W.W. Gibson

                                                                             17 June 1984

Privatisation – by Rodney Bickerstaffe (Leader of NUPE) – “When public need is met by private greed, corruption is not far behind”.

                                                                             Very true

Extracted from “the foolishness of God”, b John Austin Baker

1.     Man has been defined as ‘the animal who can think about what is not there.

2.     No man can believe in God deeply and unshakeably unless he has first accepted the moral primacy of sacrifice; and of loyalty to love and its demands as the absolute and universal law of life.

3.     Jesus strikes us today very forcibly as a man who was free: free from conventional restrictions and prejudices, free to follow truth and goodness to the full, free to give himself in love to the real needs of other men.  Such freedom emphatically indicates as its psychological basis a complete and unshakeable confidence.  Jesus never made any mystery of the source of that confidence, since it formed the constant and central theme of all his preaching: that God is sovereign over all men and all things at all seasons, and that his sovereignty is that of a good and loving father.

4.     The purpose of becoming man in Jesus Christ was not to enable God to suffer, but to bring that suffering into such a relationship with man that man could know it, respond to it, and co-operate with it, and so find his own fulfilment in freedom.  This is the great affirmation by which Christianity is marked off from all other answers to the riddle of life: the once for all historical embodiment of the personal God in a particular human individual.  Not the perfect obedience of a human being to an abstract principle, not the exaltation of such a being to eternal fellowship with God as his ideal son; but the incarnation of the creator in a truly human life, decisive for the whole future and past of the human race.

5.     A religious order may get its results, not by overcoming the problems of human, life, but by avoiding them.

Strangely art thou with us Lord.

God comes in many ways


An inner voice is telling me,

“Seek and you will find,

you too can have my company

my presence in your mind”.


An unknown power is prompting me,

“Make haste and let me in,

open to me your heart, and see

that I change everything”.


A warming love is urging me,

“Come unto me in peace,

Come, and I will set you free,

And help your trouble cease”.


A guiding hand impels me,

“Come and be at rest,

take my yoke and forever be

uplifted and refreshed.”.


A holy influence speaks to me,

“I give you the rightful way to live,

the way that brings eternity,

this, to you, I freely give”.


Calm and restful in repose,

I gratefully thank my lord,

That he has deemed to come to close

In gesture and in word.

                                                                             W.W. Gibson

                                                                             25 October 1984

The Christian Church in the First Century

The Believers of the early Christian community share their possessions, and witness to the risen Jesus

(extracted from Chapter 2 and 4 of the Acts of the Apostles)

And the multitude of those that believed were of one heart and one mind.  And they met constantly, and with much faith to hear the apostles teach. A sense of awe was everywhere, and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles; who testified to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great power.  And the people broke bread in their homes, and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.  They praised God and were looked up to by everyone. Day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

None of them was ever in want, everything they possessed was shared, and no one claimed for his own use anything that he had.  From time to time they would sell their goods and possessions, and bring the proceeds to the apostles to be distributed to each man according to his need.  And much grace was with them all.

A description of the Christians at the beginning of the 2nd century by the Athenian Orator Aristides (confirming what is written above)

“The Christians know God and trust in him.  They forgive those who oppress them, and make them their friends. They are good to their enemies.  Their wives keep marriage pure; their daughters are chaste. They love one another.  They do not refuse to help widows.  When they see a stranger they receive him in their house, and rejoice at him as at a brother.  If any among them is poor or in need they fast for two or three days in order to satisfy his needs.  They obey conscientiously the commandments their Messiah was given them.  Every morning and every hour they praise God and thank him for his goodness.  They are the source of all that is beautiful in the world.  They do not speak publicly of their good deeds, but take good care not to be observed by any man.  They are in truth a new people, and there is something divine in them.

Dick Sheppard- 1880-1937

(Vicar of St Martin-in-the-fields) (for 12 years)

writes this tremendous passage about God’s love

If the disciple can maintain a constant conversation with his Lord, the greatest of all gifts will inevitably be his.  It will be as natural for him to love as to breathe.  Love in its highest manifestation is the richest, most persuasive, loveliest, nicest thing God has to offer – it is the only weapon we need.

It is full of understanding – it knows how easy it is to sin, how difficult to live nobly.  It sees with the eyes of those it loves.  It never makes a quick harsh judgements.  It gets to the heart of a situation as nothing else.  It thinks in terms of men and women and children, and never in terms of statistics.  It prefers to give itself to the individual.  It shuns expression on public platforms.  It has no ulterior object except to serve.  It would gladly lead if it could – it would never drive.  It asks nothing for itself, but it is human enough to long for love in return.

It knows when to speak and when to be silent, when to be patient and when to be impatient.  It is at home with all sorts and conditions of men and women and children, and it makes them laugh, for it has a real vein of humour.  It gives and gets a joy of loving.  It believes in all men and women.  There is no such word as “hopeless” within its vocabulary.  It feels; it is sensitive to the moods of all to whom it is given.  It is never clumsy, and yet it often steps in where angels fear to tread.

Perhaps its greatest characteristic is its power to understand.  It anticipates man’s needs; it can see a situation sometimes before it occurs; it has an almost super-human instinct for what ought to be done and how to do it.  It knows what is in the heart of man.  It is not always declaring itself.  Like all creative forces, its best work is done in quietness.  It prefers action to speech, it would prefer to visit someone in want to making any oration on fellowship.  It likes best to do small things that no one else has seen need doing.  It sees sorrow where sorrow is thought to be hidden, and virtue and grandeur where it is least expected.  It is for ever on the watch for those who need a helping hand.  It runs to give itself as the father ran to the prodigal son, not because he pitied, but because he could not do without his son.  It washes the disciples’ feet as he did because it wants to – not because there is a lesson in humility to be taught.  It is like a window through which can be heard all the cries of the market-place without.  It knows no barrier of rank or class, of creed or colour.  It overflows the boundary of its own denomination – no official channels can hold lit entirely.  It flows, perhaps, most tenderly to those who never enter church or care little for the love of God.  It sees the crown of their need on their foreheads, and longs to be of service.

It could not patronise if it tried – it understands too much.  It is generous, yet strong in controversy.  It seeks to win without wounding – it never descends to personal abuse or bitter speech.  It is sometimes angry, for there is nothing sickly or sentimental about it.  It is never shocked.  When it is angry it is because another is hurt – in soul, or mind, or body.  It knows nothing of jealously – it rejoices in another’s success.  It is never petty or mean.  It has all things in their right proportion.  It is ever seeking to disentangle itself from irrelevancies.

It learns more in listening than in speech.  It is never sarcastic, for it knows that by such means no soul was ever won.  It is the property of no clique – it wears no ecclesiastical badge.  It cares nothing for its own status – there is nothing professional about it.  It is not always trying to buy up the opportunity, to point the lesson and draw the moral.  Above all, its faith in God is massive.  It is confident, always, that in the end darkness must flee before light.  If we do are to serve in the society of Christ could possess it from constant conversation with our Lord, we shall not have lived in vain.

Men who see it will know from whence it comes, and they will give praise to God who can do such great things.  They will know also why we are what we are and what are the essentials of Christianity.

At Dick Sheppard’s death, the coffin rested at St. Martin’s for two days and nights, and over 100,000 people came by day and night from all walks of life, including tramps and prostitutes, to pay their respects.

His parishioners said, “He knew Jesus, preached Jesus, and made him real.  He loved us – and we loved him”.

He pioneered broadcasting and popular religious journalism, and made the church one of the famous centres of social work in London, with people queuing to come inside, and sit on the chancel steps to hear him preach.

At his funeral crowds four deep lined the streets, a hundred clergy followed the hearse along the embankment and up Ludgate Hill to St Paul’s.  The Cathedral was crowded to the doors, with people standing in the courtyard.

He was buried, as he had asked, in the Cathedral cloisters at Canterbury.  

How God came to my assistance on Saturday 12th of January1985

A lovely hymn tune suddenly came into Ivy’s mind, and she told me that she used to sing a hymn with this tune whom she attended the spiritualist church in Wembley, she asked me – did I know which hymn it was?

In order to find the answer to this question, I went straight to my hymn book and, saying to myself, “seek and you will find”, I opened it at random and, immediately in front of me on page 112 the first hymn I saw was “Come Holy Spirit, heavenly dove”.  And, in fact, this was  the one that Ivy remembered singing.

So, completely by chance, I had opened a book containing 984 hymns at the very one I wanted, not even knowing myself which hymn it would be, or where it would be.

This is a hymn which would be sung quite often in a spiritualist church because it calls on the Holy Sprit to come and enter the people’s minds and hearts.

Here is the very beautiful hymn in full:-


Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly dove,

With all thy quickening powers;

Kindle a flame of sacred love

In these cold hearts of ours.


In vain we tune our formal songs,

In vain we strive to rise;

Hosannas languish on our tongues

And our devotion dies.


And shall we then for ever live

At this poor dying rate?

Our love so faint, so cold to thee.

And thine to us so great!


Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly dove,

With all thy quickening powers;

Come, shed abroad the saviour’s love,

And that shall kindle ours.  Amen.


                                                                   Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

Did the Holy Spirit come with all its quickening power?  It would appear so.

Lin Yutang (1875-1976)

Born in China to Christian parents and educated in Christian schools.  He renounced his Christian faith and became an ardent Confucianist.  Studied at Harvard and in Germany – Professor of English-author-chancellor of Nanyang University, Singapore – Head of Arts and Letters Division U.N.E.S.CO.O.

Extracts from his book “Why I came back to Christianity”

I have returned to Christianity, and have rejoined the Christian church because I wish to re-enter that knowledge of God and love of God which Jesus revealed with such clarity and simplicity.  Mankind cannot survive without religion, man needs contact with a power outside himself, that is greater than himself.  Christianity offers man incomparably the best way to God.  What is eternal life?  It is more than just going on living a continuance of life on the animal level.  There is a higher level where man has a yearning for spiritual values and can be moved to unselfish sacrifice.  That higher life deserves eternity, and on that level eternity will be eternally satisfying.  I returned again to a study of the awe-inspiring simplicity and beauty of the teachings of Jesus.  I found that no one ever spoke like Jesus.  He spoke of God the father as one who knew him, and was identified with him in the fullness of knowledge and love.  No other teacher of men revealed such personal knowledge or such a sense of personal identity with God.  The result was his astounding claim, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father”.

It was astounding, too, that God, as Jesus revealed him, is so different from what men had thought him to be.  There is a totally new order of love and compassion in Jesus’ prayer from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”.  That voice, unknown in history before, reveals God as forgiving, not in theory, but visibly forgiving as revealed in Christ.  No other teacher has said with such meaning, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto lone of the least of these my brethren, lye have done it unto me”.  The ‘me’ in this context is God with a first concern for the downtrodden poor, the humble widow, the crippled orphan.  Jesus speaks as the teacher who is master over both life and death.  In him, this message of love and gentleness and compassion becomes incarnate.  That is why men have turned to him, not merely in respect but in adoration.  That is why the light which blinded St Paul on the road to Damascus continues to shine unobscured through the centuries.  I do not know of anything, certainly not humanism, which will deter man from hatred and violence and cunning and deceit except these very opposite teaching and assumptions and compulsions of Christianity.  I no longer ask, “is there a satisfying religion for the modern educated man?”  I know there is.  I have found the Bible not merely a record of historical events but an authentic revelation that brings God, through Christ, within my reach.  I have returned to the church: I believe we go to church, not because we are sinners, and not because we are paragons of Christian virtue, but because we are conscious of our human failings and of the slough of self-complacency into which, without help from this greater power outside ourselves, we so easily fall back.

He who would reach out to see the incomparable beauty ad soul-charging power of the teachings of Christ must often struggle against the ‘religious’ claptrap that tends to obscure it.  But it was Jesus himself who simplified for us the essence of Christianity and its adequacy above any other faith: upon the two commandments, to love God and to love one’s neighbour, ‘hang all the law and the prophets’.  That person and that gospel I have found sufficient – a sufficiency which is joyously renewed each day.  Nothing less than that person and gospel can be sufficient for the world.     

Looking back on my life, I know that for thirty years I lived in this world like an orphan.  I am an orphan no longer.  Where I had been drifting, I have arrived.  The Sunday morning when I rejoined the Christian Church was a homecoming.

The humanism of Mencius:- “I love life, but I also love righteousness.  If I cannot have both, I would sacrifice life to do what is right”.

God’s presence on Christmas Eve 1985

(while I was listening to Chopin)


He fills me with tender grace,

In my inmost mind I see his face.

He prompts me to kindly thoughts and helpful acts,

And brings out of me the burdened tasks.


O Lord, I truly and reverently ask

That in this world I may find my rightful place.

And in humble retreat

With you to meet

And worship at your feet.  

W W Gibson

A thought on Life


We live and laugh and love and cry,

And memories produce a sigh.

To God, who dwells in heaven on high,

Our hopes, our thoughts, should ever fly.

O give us grace his ways to try,

Till in his arms we gently lie.


                                                                                      29.1.1986 W W Gibson

Jesus speaks to the people


And they listened to his words with rapture,

No one had ever spoken like this.

He talked of God, salvation, and the hereafter,

Filling them all with joy and bliss.


There were so many hearts to win,

So many burdened with the guilt of sin,

So many searching, ever searching,

For knowledge of their heavenly king.


And he said:-


“Come to me, and I will give you rest.

I am the way, the truth, and the life

Take my yoke upon you, and be greatly blest,

Follow me, and find freedom from all your strife.”


                                                                                            19.1.1986    W W Gibson