Gouldian (Rainbow) Finch

Gouldian Finches are Australia’s most spectacularly coloured grassfinches, and are perhaps the most spectacularly coloured of all Australian birds. They are small birds, with a bright green back, yellow belly and a purple breast. The facial colour is usually black, and is found in about 75% of the birds. Red-faced forms make up about 25% of the population, and rare, yellow-faced birds occur from time to time. The yellow colour results from a lack of red pigment in the red-faced birds. The males are brighter in plumage than the females. Young Gouldian Finches are dull ashy grey on the head and hind neck, becoming olive on the back and tail. The underparts are brown white, paler on chin, and have a faint yellow tinge on the belly. The upper bill is blackish and the lower bill is pinkish white. The end of the beak is tipped with red and there are pale nodules on the gape.

—Birds in Backyards



an authoritative order, a municipal by-law (North American usage), or a religious rite

LaTIn: “ordinare” = Put in order

Middle English, in the sense of “arrangement in ranks”, from Old French ordenance, from Medieval Latin ordinantia from Latin ordinare.

[Wikimedia Commons]

edict, decree, law, injunction, fiat, command, order, rule, ruling, dictum, dictate, directive, mandate, enactment, statute, act, canon, regulation; ukase; pronunciamento

Officially titled An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States North-West of the River Ohio, the Northwest Ordinance was adopted July 13, 1787, by the Second Continental Congress, chartered a government for the Northwest Territory, provided a method for admitting new states to the Union.

[cf. ordnance, a military term for mounted guns, artillery, or munitions (US use) or, by extension, a branch of government service dealing especially with military stores and materials.]


1 a : an authoritative decree or direction : order

  • On that day the king signed three ordinances.

b : a law set forth by a governmental authority; specifically : a municipal regulation

  • A city ordinance forbids construction work to start before 8 a.m.

2 : something ordained or decreed by fate or a deity

  • Let ordinance come as the gods foresay [=foretell] it.
  • —William Shakespeare

3 : a prescribed usage, practice, or ceremony

  • observes the ordinance of abstinence during Lent

The Oxford Dictionary has a very similar definition.

In the ecclesiastical ordinances Jean Calvin defines the organisation of the Church and the relations between the reformed Church and the political power in Geneva.

A law, a statute, a decree.

An ordinance is a law enacted by a municipal body, such as a city council or county commission (sometimes called county council or county board of supervisors). Ordinances govern matters not already covered by state or federal laws such as zoning, safety and building regulations.

This word is more usually applied to the laws of a corporation than to the acts of the legislature; as the ordinances of the city of Philadelphia.

Where the proceeding consisted only of a petition from parliament and an answer from the king, these were entered on the parliament roll; and if the matter was of a public nature, the whole was then styled an ordinance; if, however, the petition and answer were not only of a public but a novel nature, they were then formed into an act by the king with the aid of his council and judges and entered on the statute roll.” According to Lord Coke, the difference between a statute and an ordinance is, that the latter has not had the assent of the king, lords, and commons, but is made merely by two of those powers.

The general sentiment, then, is that of a regulation or rule prescribed and acted at a local municipal level.

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Augustine of Hippo, of present-day Algeria, favouring a Platonic view of the world in his reading of scripture, remained an ardent critic of Aristotle. Regaining momentum in the Renaissance, having been passed on from the Middle Ages by the favoured son of Roman Catholic lore, Thomas Aquinas, Aristotelian thought came to dominate once more. Later, however, in the spirit of the age, Luther bypassed Thomism returning to an earlier Augustinian conviction, one of original sin and the corrupted human will, in sparking a Reformation.

From Bartleby.com, we have a veneration written by St. Possidius, Augustine’s disciple and Bishop of Calama. The source is attributed to:  Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume VIII: August. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.

So great is the veneration which popes, councils, and the whole church have paid to the memory of this glorious saint, through every succeeding age since his time, that to load our history with a list of his illustrious panegyrists would be a superfluous labour; and barely to copy the sober praises, which the most judicious Christian critics have bestowed on his extraordinary learning and sanctity, would be like carrying water to the sea. For the name of the great St. Austin is alone the highest eulogium and panegyric, raises in all persons the most exalted idea, and commands the most profound respect. This perfect model of true penitents, this triumphing champion of our holy faith and confounder of heresies, this bright light and most glorious doctor of the church of Christ, was born on the 13th of November, in the year 354, at Tagaste, a small town of Numidia, in Africa, not far from Hippo, but at some distance from the sea, which the saint had never seen till he was grown up. His parents were of good condition, yet not very rich; his father, Patricius, was an idolater, and of a hasty choleric disposition; but by the holy example and prudent conduct of St. Monica, his wife, he at length learned the humility and meekness of the Christian religion, and was baptized a little before his death. She bore him several children; St. Austin speaks of his brother Navigius, who left a family behind him, and of a sister who died an abbess. Our saint had the misfortune to fall, in his youth, like the prodigal son, into the most frightful gulf of vice and spiritual miseries, of which himself has drawn a lively portraiture in the first books of his Confessions, both for his own greater humiliation, and to deplore his blindness and ingratitude towards God, to set forth the infinite riches of the divine mercy, and to propose the example of his own fall as a warning to others. If we pursue him in his youth through all those mazes in which he wandered and bewildered himself so long, it is only that we may learn to discover and shun the snares and dangers with which we are encompassed, and cleave more closely to God.

St. Austin begins his Confessions by adoring the unchangeable and incomprehensible majesty of God, and by praising his infinite mercy, which in a wonderful manner brought him into this dying life (shall I call it, says he,) or living death, into which he himself knew not how or whence he came. The saint thanks Him who gave him this being, formed his body, furnished it with senses, and beautified it with a comely form, and who bestowed on him a mind or soul; from his birth provided him food, and constantly attended him with the comforts of his mercy, commanding him to praise his adorable majesty for all these things, to confess to Him, and sing to His holy name, who is the Most High.1 The saint cries out to God,2 “Let thy mercy suffer me to speak: what am I to Thee, that thou shouldst command me to love Thee, and shouldst be angry with me, and threaten me with great miseries if I love Thee not? Is it then a small misery not to love Thee?” He confesses, with regret, that he began to offend his gracious God even in that age which is falsely called innocent, which was passed away without leaving any traces in his memory, and which was, with respect to the darkness of his oblivion of it, much like to that which he passed in his mother’s womb. He accused himself thus from what he observed in other children; for he perceived that little ones are easily possessed with jealousy, anger, and revenge, which they sometimes express by their pale and envious looks; and they require with tears what would be hurtful if granted, and they rage and swell against their betters and those who owe them no subjection, and would have them to comply with their will, and to obey them even in things that are hurtful; they also suck in very early sentiments of vanity and pride. He laments that custom should make it appear against reason for children in this tender age to suffer correction for what certainly deserves reprehension, and what is strengthened by being flattered, and becomes sinful upon the first dawning of the use of reason; whereas there is no age which is not docile, and capable of some degree of correction by the senses, whereby the first seeds of the passions may be crushed.3 He deplores that when he had learned to speak, and launched further out into the tempestuous society of human life, though as yet wholly depending on the authority of his parents and the beck of elders, he multiplied his sins and miseries. By the care of his pious mother he was instructed in the Christian religion, and taught to pray.4 He was made a catechumen by being marked with the sign of the cross, and by blessed salt being put in his mouth; and whilst he went to school in his own town, falling dangerously ill, he desired baptism, and his mother got every thing ready for it; but he on a sudden grew better, and it was deferred.5 This was done lest he should afterwards stain the grace of that sacrament, considering the great billows of temptations that were like to beset him after his childhood. This custom of deferring baptism, for fear of sinning under the weight and obligations of that sacrament, St. Austin most justly condemns; but then the want of a sense of the sanctity of that sacrament, and the frequent perfidiousness and sacrileges of Christians in defiling it, by relapsing into sin, is an abuse which, in these latter ages, calls for our tears and for all our zeal. The church has long since forbidden the baptism of infants ever to be deferred: but it is one of the principal duties of pastors to instruct the faithful in the rigorous obligations which that sacrament lays them under, and to teach them highly to value and to watch carefully to preserve the grace which they received by it.

Featured Image

The Four Doctors of the Western Church, Saint Augustine of Hippo (354–430), attributed to Gerard Seghers ca. 1600-1650 [Wikimedia Commons]

Judgement against Babylon

Who or what is Babylon? In the Bible many things but mostly a reprobate pagan apostasy antithetical to that of creation, later manifest through oil-derived wealth and decadence. Babylon is a world of splendour to delight the senses. Such sensuality and grandeur is NOT, however, what life is about. Others have made prophetic extrapolations to cities like New York or nations like Saudi Arabia. Notwithstanding, Babylon also simply refers to the ancient city of the same name and, by extension, the region more-or-less occupied by present-day Iraq. To that end we now turn to the writing of Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, with precedence of old but overlays onto our end days.

[Image: cdn-countercurrents]

Jeremiah 51

51 Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind;

[Image and Text: AP Photo/militant website, Huffington Post]

And will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about.

[Image: Bloomberg]

Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine: and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host.

[Image: CNN]
Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in her streets.
[Image: Middle East Monitor]
For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the Lord of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel.Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord‘s vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence.

Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord‘s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.

Saddam Hussein was rebuilding a palace in Babylon [Image: ivjarfield]
Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.
Tikrit [Image: Tamsin News]
We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.

10 The Lord hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God.

11 Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the Lord hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of his temple.

[Image: SOTT.net]
12 Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the Lord hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon.

13 O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.

[Image: CNN]
14 The Lord of hosts hath sworn by himself, saying, Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillers; and they shall lift up a shout against thee.
[Image: social.yl.ms] 
15 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.
16 When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.

17 Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.

18 They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.

19 The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the former of all things: and Israel is the rod of his inheritance: the Lord of hosts is his name.

20 Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms;

21 And with thee will I break in pieces the horse and his rider; and with thee will I break in pieces the chariot and his rider;

22 With thee also will I break in pieces man and woman; and with thee will I break in pieces old and young; and with thee will I break in pieces the young man and the maid;

23 I will also break in pieces with thee the shepherd and his flock; and with thee will I break in pieces the husbandman and his yoke of oxen; and with thee will I break in pieces captains and rulers.

24 And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the Lord.

25 Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the Lord, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.

Babylon, the mother of all Harlotry (paganism)

26 And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the Lord.

[Image: Covert Geopolitics]
27 Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms


of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillers.

[Image: Baldoa Media]
28 Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominion.29 And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the Lord shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.
Borsippa ruins [Image: Mesopotamian Gods]

30 The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken.

[Image: albawaba.com]
31 One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to shew the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end,32 And that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted.
[Image: abc.net.au]
 33 For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come.34 Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.35 
The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say.36 Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.37 And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.38 They shall roar together like lions: they shall yell as lions’ whelps.


39 In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the Lord.

40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with he goats.

41 How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!

42 The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof.

43 Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.

E-zida ruins [Image: Mesopotamian Gods]
44 And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up: and the nations shall not flow together any more unto him: yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.

45 My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord.

46 And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land; a rumour shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumour, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.

47 Therefore, behold, the days come, that I will do judgment upon the graven images of Babylon: and her whole land shall be confounded, and all her slain shall fall in the midst of her.

48 Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the Lord.

49 As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon shall fall the slain of all the earth.

50 Ye that have escaped the sword, go away, stand not still: remember the Lord afar off, and let Jerusalem come into your mind.

51 We are confounded, because we have heard reproach: shame hath covered our faces: for strangers are come into the sanctuaries of the Lord‘s house.

52 Wherefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will do judgment upon her graven images: and through all her land the wounded shall groan.

53 Though Babylon should mount up to heaven, and though she should fortify the height of her strength, yet from me shall spoilers come unto her, saith the Lord.

54 A sound of a cry cometh from Babylon, and great destruction from the land of the Chaldeans:

55 Because the Lord hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered:

56 Because the spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, every one of their bows is broken: for the Lord God of recompences shall surely requite.

57 And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.

58 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.

59 The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And this Seraiah was a quiet prince.

60 So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon.

61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt read all these words;

62 Then shalt thou say, O Lord, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever.

63 And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates:

64 And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.