Broken Bread

Broken Bread

Thirty years ago I read, Broken Bread, by John Wright Follette. The following poem has stayed with me all these years and I consider his book was worth reading for this poem alone. But there are other gems too.––R. Barry Tait

Identification

I am a flame born of celestial fire,
I bear a name, Insatiable Desire.
   I wear in heart an image all divine,
   Past human art, not traced by mortal line.
I hear God call to taste His heavenly power:
I give my all to burn life’s single hour.
   So let me burn through fetters that would bind;
   Thus will I learn and freedom will I find.
I shall return to Love’s eternal fire,
There shall I burn─a satisfied desire.
                                      ─John Wright Follette

                                        

The White Yogi

From the book, George Bowen of Bombay, “The White Yogi” by the Rev. J. Sumner Stone, M. D., Dec. 23, 1889:

Two young men just landed from America on “India’s coral strand” started out to see the curiosities and celebrities of a great city on the shore of the Indian Ocean. There were monuments, temples, and palaces by the score; there were princes and princelings, governors and generals and nabobs. But this morning we were hunting a prince, but not among palaces. So we picked our way through the crowded native district till we came to a broad street called Grant Road, and stopped in front of a low, one˗storied building divided into narrow apartments, two rooms deep. This was the office of the Bombay Guardian and the home of its editor and proprietor—one of the celebrities of India.

Americans and English called him George Bowen; natives called him the “White Yogi,” or white saint. To our timid knock the door opened and—I started. It was December, 1880, yet we seemed to be in the presence of a Huguenot, Geneva Calvinist, or Scotch Covenanter of the sixteenth century. The figure that greeted us might have been John Calvin or John Knox. Spare body, thin face, gray beard, narrow, high forehead, surmounted by rimless skull cap, thus the “White Yogi” stood framed in the door, bidding the strangers to enter.

How shall I picture to you that room? It was small, its furniture was of the plainest type and limited. The editorial table was a chaos of books, copy, manuscripts, and periodicals. Among the books, placed without order in the bookcases, I noticed a loaf of bread next to a dictionary, and a few bananas sharing a shelf with some works on theology and sociology. I realized that I was in the presence of a remarkable man, in the sanctum of one of the leading writers of the Indian empire, one of the most distinguished representatives of Christianity in the eastern world. At once there flashed into my mind the words of Jesus concerning John the Baptist: “What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yes, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.”

George Bowen was a scholarly man; he was by birth and training a gentleman. He was widely read, widely traveled, a thoroughly trained man. When he wrote golden words flowed from his pen; gems of thought fell from his lips when he spoke. He had the brain of a philosopher, the soul of a poet, and the genius of a musician. I wish I could convey to you the impression produced by the strangely˗gifted man when he sat down at the organ to let his fingers “wander idly over the noisy keys.” He lived in poverty, yet he was rich—he had all that the millionaire possesses—sufficient. He lived among the poorest of the people, was a comrade of the coolie, yet he was sought by the cultured and the noble.

How we met George Bowen

The annals of the Church are replete with the names of missionary saints: Francis of Assisi, David Brainerd, David Livingstone, Mary Slessor, Adoniram Judson, Hudson Taylor, Mother Teresa—the list is virtually unending. With Edwin and Lillian Harvey as my parents, it is not surprising that I grew up, as it were, on these saints. They were my heroes and heroines—my standards of devotion, my blueprints of sacrifice.
But it was not until I was in my early teens that I heard about George Bowen of Bombay.

While browsing in a secondhand bookstore in Belfast, Northern Ireland, my father struck up a conversation with the owner who mentioned the author, George Bowen. “If you ever come across one of his books,” he told my dad, “grab it. It’s a prize.” Some years later, my father remembered this advice when he visited a skid row mission in Chacago. After preaching to the men, he was browsing in their library and stumbled across Love Revealed by Bowen—devotional meditations on the upper room chapters of St. John’s Gospel. Borrowing it from the mission, he took his treasure back home to England, read it to his family and fellow mission workers, digested it from cover to cover, reprinted it, and mailed several copies to the mission in Chicago.
This, then, is how George Bowen entered my life and our publishing. But it was not until after my dad’s death that my mother obtained the unabridged biography of George Bowen. I remember my husband reading it to her day by day as she sat in her recliner, by then well into her nineties and diagnosed with dementia. It was probably the last book we read to her, bar the Bible, of course.
As the years have passed and an increasing number of our readers have been blessed by Love Revealed, it has been our intention to make Bowen’s remarkable life-story accessible to them. At first, we attempted to abridge it but that attempt never materialized. And yet although this biography is very lengthy and written in Victorian English, it is a gripping and inspiring portrayal of the “White Saint” as Bowen came to be called. His intellect was mind-boggling in its scope and depth as anyone reading his books soon discovers, and his sacrificial life-style was virtually unparalleled in the history of missions. Christ and Christ alone was his passion, his consuming love, and his inseparable Friend.
While proofing the manuscript several times during the past months, I have become increasingly aware that George Bowen was entering the inner sanctums of my heart. In fact, I found it almost impossible to describe my emotions as I closed the book for the fourth time several days ago. What was there about this man, I ask myself, that has moved me so deeply? His rare combination of genius and spirituality? His faithfulness to his missionary call whatever the cost? His humility and sacrifice? All this, admittedly, has greatly influenced me, but it is something more that makes me, even now, want to fall down and worship my Redeemer. It is, in fact, nothing more or less than George Bowen’s obsession, and I use that word deliberately, with Jesus Christ! This humble and eccentric missionary has made me fall in love afresh with my Lord and Savior. And that is recommendation enough, is it not?
Trudy Harvey Tait
trudytait@gmail.com
October, 2021

Writings of George Bowen available from Harvey Christian Publishers:
Love Revealed — https://harveycp.com/?product=love-revealed
Daily Meditations — email harveycpbooks@gmail.com for a digital file.
The Amens of Christ — email as above for a digital file.

George Bowen of Bombay by Robert E. Speer $24.95 — available by November 1st.

The Christian’s Daily Challenge–Nov. 1st.

Increase through trial

“Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again. . . . shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side” (Psa. 71:20-21).
“O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest . . . behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colors, and lay thy foundations with sapphires” (Isa. 54:11).

If by the enlargement of my life I let in human sorrow I also let in divine consolation. A big, holy purpose makes me more sensitive toward the sin and hostility of man, but it also makes me more sensitive toward God. If the sufferings abound, “so our comfort aboundeth also.” If I said nothing more than this, this alone would suffice: if we suffer with Christ, Christ Himself becomes a great reality. When life is a picnic we play with theology: when life becomes a campaign we grope for religion.
—J. H. Jowett.

The tears we shed are not in vain;
Nor worthless is the heavy strife;
If, like the buried seed of grain,
They rise to renovated life.
It is through tears our spirits grow;
’Tis in the tempest souls expand,
If it but teaches us to go
To Him Who holds it in His hand.
Oh, welcome, then, the stormy blast!
Oh, welcome, then, the ocean’s roar!
Ye only drive more sure and fast
Our trembling bark to Heaven’s bright shore.
—Thomas C. Upham.

Now, as I look back over my own life, I can discover that some of the richest mercies my heavenly Father has ever bestowed have come in the shape of bitter disappointments. It has been truly remarked that “disappointment never means wreck when God’s hand is in it. There is often a lift in that ugly thing.” Disappointment, like fire, has a double power; it may scorch and crisp and blast a man, or else it may thaw out his blood, and quicken his life.
—Theodore Cuyler.

Inspiration

Jesus infallibly knew that when words were spoken and actions
performed in accordance with the blessed attributes of God, though
such actions were done on the lonely seashore, or such words were
whispered in the soundless ravines of Galilee, they would in due time,
under the fertilizing and cultivating power of the Holy Ghost, come
forth in the gigantic forms of mature history, and be uttered in peals
louder than seven thunders, when the proper hour had arrived. All great
characters are first made in secret. ― Our Own God by G. D. Watson

Robert Murray McCheyne’s Diary Entries

“Two things that defile this day in looking back are love of praise running through all and consenting to listen to worldly talk at all.  Oh that these may keep me humble and be my burden, leading me to the cross.  Then, Satan, thou wilt be outwitted.”

“When I was laid aside from the ministry, I used often to say, ‘Now God is teaching me the use of prayer.’  I thought I would never forget the lesson, yet I fear I have grown slack again when in the midst of my work.”

“Private meditation exchanged for conversation.  Here is the root of all evil―forsake God, and He forsakes us.”

“Sabbath―very happy in my work.  Too little prayer in the morning.  Must try to get early to bed on Saturday, that I may ‘rise a great while before day.’” “Rose early to seek God, and found Him Whom my soul loveth.  Who would not rise early to meet such company?” ―How They Prayed, page 52.

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A Place to Pray

It came to my heart with a lesson,
As the day was beginning to dawn,
As the day, with its cares and trials
And its blessings, was drawing on,

How Jesus, the world’s Redeemer,
Arose before it was day,
And, feeling His human weakness
Found in secret a place to pray.

Not even the three disciples
Who followed the Lord the best,
Were there in His sanctuary;
They slumbered as did the rest,

And only the stars of heaven
With, perchance, the silvery moon,
Looked down upon their Creator,
Who would suffer and die so soon.

If Jesus, the King of glory,
Commander of hosts on high,
Must petition for daily succor,
What about such a worm as I?

I rest at ease in the morning,
Before me a puzzling day;
I know not how I shall meet it;
But my Savior arose to pray.  

How foolish our human blindness!
How hard are our hearts of stone!
Why rise we not in the morning,
And pray to our God alone?

There’s help for the daily duties,
And spiritual strength and power,
There’s victory for the conflict,
To be gained in the morning hour.

If we walk in the Master’s footsteps,
And follow the path He trod,
We must find, in the early morning,
A quiet place with God.

We must pour out our heart before Him,
And let Him into the life,
If we ever shall be the winner
Of victory over strife.

                            ―Minnie Embree Parker.
―In Biblical Evangelist.

Barclay Buxton, leader of the Japan Evangelistic Band, wrote to his Christian workers and converts:  “Do you rise early?  None of us ought to be in bed after six, so that we may have at least one quiet hour with God for prayer and reading of His Word before we meet others, and the day’s work begins.  At special times we must get more―but no Christian can afford to take less than that.”

Pour Thyself through Me

Spirit of the living God, pray Thy mind through me;
Nothing less than Spirit-power do I ask of Thee.
Purge me, urge me, guide me, hide me—
Spirit of the living God, pray Thy mind through me.

Power of the eternal God, flow Thy power through me;
Holy, Pentecostal power do I ask of Thee.
Lowly, holy, for Thy glory—
Power of the eternal God, flow Thy power through me.

Mercy of the living God, channel love through me;
Nothing less than Calvary love meets the need for me.
Love that’s burning, love that’s yearning—
Mercy of the living God, channel love through me.

Grace of God, eternal grace, reach the lost through me;
Tenderness for every race do I ask of Thee.
Love them, lift them, reach them, teach them—
Grace of God, eternal grace, reach the lost through me.

Life of God, eternal life, pour Thyself through me;
Nothing less than Thine own life do I ask of Thee.
Life compelling, life that’s telling—
Life of God, eternal life, pour Thyself through me.

Heart Breathings, Leonard Ravenhill.

As Different As Chalk Is from Cheese: They Knew Their God Vol.6

As Different As Chalk Is from Cheese: They Knew Their God Vol.6

Continuing our study into the variety of characters cited in the series, They Knew Their God, here is Volume 6, noting, as with Volume One, the nationality, denomination, vocation, and the century in which they were born as relating to each character.

 

Volume 5: 14 characters described in 14 sketches.  

Nationality: 1 Syrian, 4 Scots, 5 English, 3 American, 1 German.

Century: 1 from 4th century, 7 from 18th century; 5 from 19th century, 1 20th century.

Denomination:  1 RC, 4 Anglican, 1 Lutheran, 1 CIM (China Inland Mission), 3 Presbyterian, 1 Baptist, 1 Salvation Army.

Vocation—original and final.  

Church Father/bishop/author

Cowherd/teacher—minister, commentator

Anglican vicar/advisor/author

Missionary pioneer

Student/prayer-warrior

Academy Principal—minister

Cooper/itinerant preacher

Missionary

Dentist—missionary

Housewife—missionary

Politician/abolitionist/reformer

Preacher/temperance advocate/abolitionist

Pastor/exorcist

Lawyer—preacher/intercessor/author.

 

Sex: 2 women. 12 men