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On the making of spirits

In an article I perused recently on the making of whisky, the writer described the manic way that whisky makers choose a cask in which to mature their spirit. “It’s a mania that takes many forms, from tracking the oak from source to final cask, to insisting on the wood from a particular part of the tree, to most precisely selecting the tightness of the grain, but the most radical part of cask tailoring will be the decision as to whether to toast or char, or both – and at what level.”

To toast or to char! And in varying combinations and degrees. How fascinating. To either apply the flame so as to gently penetrate the wood like toasting bread, or to apply a hotter flame and more quickly so as to leave the inside of the barrel burnt and blackened. Each method working its different magic on the enclosed spirit, and each method infusing in the spirit a different flavor.

It made me think that if men can apply such discipline to the making of their spirits, how much more does God in the making of his – not of course spirits of the whisky kind, but of the human kind. Carefully applying through all sorts of trials the various degrees of toasting and charring, so as to produce a lovely flavor to the spirit of his saints. Perhaps that’s why James begins his letter: ‘Consider it pure joy my brethren whenever you face trials of many kinds.’

DM 19th Feb 2019 

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