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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)

TITLE: The Man Behind the Quill Pen
By Frank Parrino


Justin’s use of a quill pen can rightly be called noble. Some to the contrary called it downright silly. Why dip one’s hand into an inkwell dozens if not hundreds of times? After all such an outdated writing method is not only tiring but time consuming. Who has time to spare during these fast paced days? Others of the “cleanliness is next to godliness’ sort would rather not risk inky spots or smears on finger, desk, or paper. Is not this the day of computers? All one need do is go on word or note pad. The magical backspace or delete button would prevent unsightly images produced by inky cross out and smudges.

We note that Justin did make use of this electronic medium for essays and papers. However, this venue was not for his journal. Justin’s chronicle was the reliable witness for his most personal thoughts.

Let us dig a little deeper as to why Justin used this 1300 year old writing implement. Justin was not a strict conformist to modern methods. He liked being different. Nor was he a neat freak or perfectionist. Was his use of such an outmoded writing practice influenced by great men of the past? Was Justin inspired by a Jefferson’s Declaration or a Spurgeon’s Treasury of David? Such immortal documents were enshrined with the feather of a flight bird. The record reveals that Jefferson’s splendid document was marked with cross outs and add-ons. I am sure that Spurgeon’s sacred commentary had a few of the same before being handed over to the printer. Like the fine statesman and the mighty preacher, Justin was a deep thinker. When he wrote with his turkey quill pen there simply was to be no cross outs. This disciplined Justin to think long and hard about his daily entry.

We find the man behind the quilt pen in a comfortably furnished attic. Justin is seated behind a modest sized walnut stained desk. One of four standard double hung windows across from the desk provided a pleasing view of the valley and its venerable Blue Mountains. Nature always had a calming affect on his entire being. As he gazed out unto the wonders of creation, his thoughts began to take shape. Forty-five minutes passed. Twilight began to chase the daylight away. The stars were itching to shine. Crickets ready for nightlong chatter. The thrush family of nightingales ready for the evening serenade.

Opening his black leather bound journal, Justin took his primitive pen in hand and began to write slowly and reflectively.

June 21

Before and after:

Long cold winter of life is past. Spring brought new hope. It is the first day of summer. Picture perfect day. The landscape is lush and green. Nature is in full of life. Today marks a special day for me…the thirty-fourth anniversary of new life in Christ.

Before: In a state of nature. 1952: born a fallen son of Adam. Dead in sin, carnally minded, friend of this evil world system, spiritual deaf – bind – naked. At enmity with and alienated from God. Law breaker…self-serving…no love for God, His things, His people…under His wrath…deserving of nothing but judgment and hell for my sins. Found in the church but not in Christ.

After: In a state of grace! The morning of June 21, 1975 is as clear as then. I awoke, got down on my knees and cried, “God be merciful to me the sinner!” That moment of repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus found me an adopted son of the Living God. That very moment…alive in Christ! I’m was a new creation with a new view of Christ which to this day ravishes my heart with love for Him…a new purpose for living…to walk in truth, love, and obedience…a new focus of concern – to please Him in every aspect of life...setting my mind on the things above. Battling the world, the flesh, and the devil in following after holiness… His grace always sufficient…clinging to the cross…cloth in the perfect righteous of Christ alone.

Why was I made to hear Your voice? Blessed be God for His sovereign love and mercy in saving a wretch like me!!

The ink was dry. Justin laid aside the old quill pen. There was the record of his spiritual before and after. Marked out was the old nature replaced by the new.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Janice Fitzpatrick05/23/09
Very eloquently written. I love the pen and actually for years enjoyed doing calligraphy, a dying art I am afraid to say. I liked your use of before and after in spiritual terms, before a sinner, after, saved by grace. Praise God for His saving grace and mercy for us each day!!:0)
Maria Kana Santos05/24/09
It's interesting to learn that Spurgeon still used a quill pen. I'm amazed at his diligence and patience!

However, quills went into decline after the invention of the metal pen, first patented in America in 1810 and then mass produced by 1860.

We have in our keeping of the two thick volumes of "The Treasury of David" by C.H. Spurgeon 1874-1885(Vol.1, Psalms 1-26; and Vol. 4 Psalms 79-103).

Thank you for your article.
Maria Kana Santos05/24/09

Thank you for relating to us about Justin's surrendered and consecrated life to our Saviour Jesus Christ. A Godly example for me to follow.

God bless you in your writing for His honour and glory.

Patricia Herchenroether05/26/09
Caught a couple typos, but you certainly are creative. This kept my interest and portrayed a good picture of the MC in the attic. Fits the topic well. Very nice.