Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Swans Are Not Silent

According to one of John Piper's excellent biographical book series "The Swans are not Silent",
http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/OnlineBooks/ByTopic/42/
Augustine of Hippo retired in 430, and handed over his duties to his humble successor, Eraclius.
Eraclius stood to preach with the aged Augustine behind him.  Overwhelmed with a sense of inadequacy in his presence, Eraclius said:
"The cricket chirps, the swan is silent."
The reference to swans appeared again a thousand years later.

"John Hus (whose name in Czech means "goose") was burned at the stake for criticizing the Roman Catholic sale of indulgences on July 6, 1415. Just before his death, he is said to have written:
"Today, you are burning a goose; however, a hundred years from now, you will be able to hear a swan sing; you will not burn it, you will have to listen to him."
" Martin Luther was that "swan"

Here's the full excerpt from Piper's book "The Hidden Smile of God"...short bios of John Bunyan, William Cowper, & David Brainerd.

I call them swans because they are great voices for Christian truth that death has not silenced.
When the unrivaled Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo in North Africa, retired in A.D. 430, he handed over his duties to his humble successor, Eraclius. At the ceremony, Eraclius stood to preach as the aged Augustine sat on his bishop’s throne behind him. Overwhelmed by a sense of inadequacy in Augustine’s presence, Eraclius said, “The cricket chirps, the swan is silent.” This story is the origin of the title for this series of books called The Swans Are Not Silent. You are now reading Book Two. The first was called The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphant Grace in
the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin. The reference to swans appeared again a thousand years later.
On July 6, 1415, John Hus (whose name in Czech means “goose”) was burned at the stake for criticizing the Roman Catholic sale of indulgences. Just before his death, he is said to have written,
“Today, you are burning a goose; however, a hundred years from now, you will be able to hear a swan sing; you will not burn it, you will have to listen to him.”2 And so the line of “swans” has continued down to our own day—faithful witnesses to the gospel of the glory of Christ whose death does not silence their song.

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