Abolition of God (Constantinople III) - RR126F12
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Our times are in Thy hands, and that the government is upon thy shoulders. Teach us therefore our father to look unto thee for all our todays and our tomorrows not unto the hands of man. Make us ever strong in faith unto the end that we may faithfully serve thee and that in all things magnify thy holy name, in Jesus’ name, amen. Our scripture is Psalm 14, and our subject is the third council of Constantinople, Constantinople III versus the abolition of God. Psalm 14, and our subject Constantinople III versus the abolition of God. The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from on heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? Who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord. There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous. Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his refuge. Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad. [00:02:36]
This morning as I was driving along the freeway and
This morning as I was driving along the freeway and listening to the council of churches program, I was somewhat startled to read about a special service being conducted somewhere in the county, and the sermon topic at this special service was the problem of Godless church. Now I was fully aware that the church today is be and large headless, it does not have Jesus Christ any longer as its head, but I didn’t realize that its nakedness was going down that far. The church today is headless because it is part and parcel by and large with the death of God movement. The death of God movement extends far beyond the formal frontiers of what is called the death of God philosophy. Wherever you have modernism, wherever you have existentialism, neo orthodoxy, the social gospel, you have implicitly the death of God movement. Man has taken the place of God. The death of God movement is not new, it is an ancient movement, we can find it for example in a very major form throughout the medieval period, the Abbott (Wakeem?) of Flora was the major figure in the medieval death of God movement. He declared that there were three ages of history, the first age, the age of the father, or old testament religion, the second age the age of the son, or new testament religion, and the third he called the age of the holy spirit, the age when all men realize that they were gods and took over the government of the universe. This movement was exceedingly powerful and one of the most dominant of intellectual movements for centuries. Before that you had of course of the early church Gnosticism, Arianism, Monophysitism and other related movements, but the behind all of these it had man’s original sin. Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Every man his own god, abolish the sovereignty of God, abolish God from your intellectual horizon and universe, and declare yourself to be your own God and this is the basic movement which undergirds all of this. The fool hath said in his heart there is no God. [00:06:04]
The sixth council which was the third council at Constantino
The sixth council which was the third council at Constantinople is the last of the ecumenical councils which is recognized by both the eastern church, Roman Catholic church and Protestantism, it is thus the only- the last of the councils which is binding in all three areas in any degree. It was called in 680 and 681 and its problem again was the same recurring humanistic heresy. Now many scholars as they deal with these councils, particularly the third council of Constantinople insist that the theological issue was so refined and so involved that with most people it is not a question of heresy it was simply ignorance, they didn’t understand, and they continue, this was the basic problem in much of the controversy over all the councils, and the creeds. An orthodox Christian cannot accept this perspective. Man’s problem is not lack of knowledge or ignorance, it is sin. It is a willful disobedience of God and a neglect and a denial of his word, not a problem of information. Man sinned willfully against God and sought to be God, make himself the ultimate source of truth and law, to make himself the basic force of the universe, of the basic point and frame of reference. Man in his sin and his rebellion against God will only tolerate if he allows any god, a democratic god. And so when he approaches God he says in effect: we will permit you God, to have a place in our universe if you will be a good boy and take your place among the rest of us, and you will have just another vote in the great democracy of the universe. In one sophisticated form of this as it approaches the doctrine of election we find such people, humanists, basically saying that where our election is concerned god casts one vote and the devil casts another vote, but man casts the deciding vote, in other words man Is sovereign, man is ultimate; man’s word is basic in the determination of things. [00:09:15]
The third council of Constantinople met to deal with
The third council of Constantinople met to deal with Monophelism (?). Monophelism, MONOPHELISM, MONOPHELISM. Monophelism means basically one will. Now Chalcedon has closed the door to the doctrine of one nature for Jesus Christ. Chalcedon had made it emphatic that the orthodox doctrine is that there are in Jesus Christ two natures, that he was very God of very God and very man of very man, and that these two natures were brought together in union without a change of nature and without confusion. Now Chalcedon of course declared war by that decision on all pagan and Greek thinking. The thinking of all non-Christians is that there is one basic reality, one being, and that this being is continuous that there may be differences on this being but they are differences of degrees, that at the top you can have whatever you want to call God. Step by step as you come down you have thinner beings, but as people work their ways up the degrees of this ladder of being they become more and more divine, more and more God. And this matter of the test on the scale of being, you find of course in the tower of Babel set forth in its method of construction, you have it in free masonry the degree by which you ascend upward and become a God, you have it in the medieval concept of the scale of being and the ladder by which man works his way up so that he became divine by degrees, either by merit, either by speculation or by mysticism. [00:12:00]
All such views are paganism, because the biblical perspectiv
All such views are paganism, because the biblical perspective instead of saying there is one common being which is only slightly divine here and totally divine up at the top, instead of one common being you have the uncreated absolute being of God, and then the created being of man and of all creatures of the entire universe, and that these two can never be merged or confused, that when these two were brought together by the miracle of the incarnation it was a unique event and even in that unique event there was no confusion and no change of nature. In Jesus Christ his deity remained God, His humanity remained man. But, the effort of all these heresies was to try and merge the two natures and to say that man was simply a god in process of evolution, he had certain aspects to his nature to eliminate, and when he eliminated them he would become more and more fully God as he ascended, degree by degree to the highest point. Now monophelism because it could not formally deny the doctrine of the two natures without incurring charges of heresy, said oh of course we accept Chalcedon and the doctrine of two natures, but we say after the two natures came together there was only one will so that by passing on from the argument about nature to the argument about will they said that here at this point man and God became totally one and humanity merged into deity at this point, so that Jesus Christ were as it were a point in man’s development and as man became a Christian he entered by baptism into this world where he became divine, and then step by step ascended in this scale of being because now he participated in the divinity of Christ. Man therefor and humanity as a whole was divine. [00:14:55]
Significantly as with other forms of this pagan and
Significantly as with other forms of this pagan and Hellenic heresy it came from the state. In fact monophelism was propounded and first propagated by an Emperor, Heraclius, and when you think it over its obvious why this is a convenient doctrine for the state, and why statist education will always destroy the biblical faith. After all, what does express the highest point of power in the universe as far as the eye can see? The state of course; and who is the head of the state? The emperor. So if you see divinity as one with the universe, then you are going to find the highest point of divinity in the state and in the head of the state so the state becomes God and the emperor becomes the incarnation of that imminent deity in the universe. This the emperors of course believed. This they propagated, and today we have in the same form this desire to remove the word of God from the people, to educate the children of the state into the faith of the state into the divinity of the state, that they might bow down and worship the state. The emperor forced this doctrine on the church, and he found immediately the patriarch of Constantinople agreeable to it, he was a (unintelligible). Pope Honorius of Rome also accepted the doctrine, and so for a time the doctrine was in power throughout the church. However, Maximus, known to history as saint Maximus, a Greek abbot fought it because he stood in terms of the biblical, the orthodox faith. Saint Maximus went to Rome when Martin the First became pope and he was able to convert Martin to his side, and together they made a stand for the orthodox faith. Martin was immediately arrested and tried, and when in the course of the trial the imperial prosecutors began to cross examine him, Pope Martin attempted to turn the discussion to the theological issues involved and he was told don’t mix in here anything about the faith, you are on trial for high treason, we too are Christians and orthodox. And Martin replied “Would to God you were. That even on this point I shall testify against you on the day of that dreadful judgment.” [00:18:36]
Then as now of course the strategy of the anti-Christian
Then as now of course the strategy of the anti-Christian movement becomes apparent. They would not admit they were attacking the biblical faith; instead they were trying Pope Martin on high treason. And how is it today that everyone who is thrown out or persecuted in virtually every church in the United States is persecuted, on grounds of the faith? Not at all. For violating church order or church discipline, for being rebellious against a bishop, if his case is serious enough there are innuendoes spread abroad about his moral character, this is the strategy, no discussion on the issues. For Saint Maximus who had been the fountainhead of the opposition, an even worse fate, faith was reserved. He was tried and badgered extensively to make him break down and renounce the faith, he was beaten and tortured, and when Maximus refused his right hand was cut off so that he could not write for the faith and his tongue cut out so he could not speak for the faith. This together with the beatings led to his death soon after the trial. They were out you see to abolish God. Now God can be declared abolished from all consideration by three methods, and all three have been tried in history. The first method is by the outright denial of God, it can be said that God does not exist, that the concept is unnecessary. This outright atheism is not too common, it is too open obvious and honest and very few men will take it, the number of professing atheists are very few in the United States. There are actually fewer professing atheists now than there were forty years ago. The reason of course is that while there are more atheists most of them are in the church and on the pulpit. [00:21:29]
They do not profess it obviously
They do not profess it obviously. The second form of the denial of God is instead of denying God to deny man, and to abolish God thereby. The classic example of this of course is Charles Darwin. Darwin expressed his hatred of God by destroying the idea of God in man. Man is the image and the creature of God, man as a revelation of God and the universe as the revelation of God. For him it was the product of chance. When in 1881 a person in England who knew Darwin wrote to him a letter in which he pointed out how all creation testified to God, and everything gave evidence not of chance and of evolution but of the most intricate design, and to purpose (?) this creation. Darwin admitted in his reply that the arguments were thoroughly convincing, in fact for him conclusive, but he continued and I quote: “You have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the universe is not the result of chance, that then with me the horrid doubt always arises, whether the convictions of a man’s mind which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals are of any value at all or at all trustworthy, would any one trust in the convictions of a monkeys mind if there are any conviction in such a mind.” Notice the strategy. [00:24:08]
Darwin did not deny the doctrine of evolution because
Darwin did not deny the doctrine of evolution because man’s mind was totally untrustworthy, but when he was with an argument concerning the reality of creation and the sovereignty of God, though he admitted that his inward conviction was that his argument was sound, yet he denied the reality and the conviction of the argument by saying oh but my mind is the product of evolution and is no different from the mind of a monkey, then how can any conclusion of my mind be valid when my mind concludes there must be a God and creationism must be true. Darwin you see denied God by denying man. The third method used to deny God and to abolish Him from philosophical consideration is by means of an affirmation of God which leaves God as a mere agent of man, or as a captive of man. He is then simply man’s tool and servant and the power and the glory are transferred to man. Now the monophelites took this third course, they abolished God in effect in their thinking by an affirmation which introduced the humanity into the Godhead and made man one with God, so that in the name of Christianity humanity and atheism were affirmed. This was the monophelites strategy, deny Christianity in the name of Christianity, and it is still the strategy. At the council pope Agatho’s letter stated the case against monophelism, he affirmed the Cathedonian faith, the two natures were separate, man cannot become divine, that to affirm the divinity or potential divinity of man is humanism, that the biblical faith is a creature and God is uncreated being, the sovereign creator. [00:26:58]
The council in its anathemas against monophelism declared
The council in its anathemas against monophelism declared that it did two things first it exalted into the divine essence that which is created, and second it brought down the glory of the divine nature to the place- to the creature. In other words it exactly reversed the place of God and man, made man the creator and God the creature. Thus when it talked about Jesus Christ death and incarnation, Monophelism was guilty of pretense and anthropotheism. In place of Christ his substitute is a divine universe and man-made God. It abolished God and it made God. The council stopped monophelism. But today the same death of God movement is with us, and it is in power in virtually all of Christendom. Yesterday I heard a priest declare that man became divine by baptism; this is simply nothing but the old heresy now proclaimed as the faith. On all sides we see humanism throughout the church. However the destiny of heresy has always been decay and death, it is the fool that says in his heart there is no God, they are corrupt as the psalmist declares, they are altogether filthy and God who is the God of all creation will in due time destroy them. [00:29:28]
Thus though we be but few in the faith to the end,...
Thus though we be but few in the faith to the end, we have this assurance, if God be for us, who can be against us? Let us pray. Almighty God our heavenly father, we give thanks unto thee that thou art God, the creator of heaven; and earth and of all things visible and invisible and that in the space of six days. We thank thee that thou art he who arose did humble Pharaoh and destroy the might of Egypt, did part the Red Sea asunder and deliver thy saints, and thy power O Lord is unchanged still. We thank thee that thou art the God of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, who didst raise the dead, heal the sick, save the sinners and destroyed the power of sin and death in His atoning death and resurrection. And we praise thee O God that thy power is unchanged still. Make us bold therefor our father in thine unchanging power, and confident as we face our todays and our tomorrows knowing that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. Our Lord how great thou art, we praise thee. In Jesus’ name amen. Yes.
(Rushdoony) He was an exile and for some time and I believe died in exile finally. Yes.
(Rushdoony) Yes, the Eastern Roman empire, the imperial government before a special court appointed by the judge- by the emperor. Yes.
(Audience) (Unintelligible) He was pointing out why the (unintelligible) might not be proper in all respects at least they were doing their Christian chores. So she was talking about the responsibility that after all I cannot be (?) how do you stand for Jesus Christ point? And he was saying that is basically your problem, I have my flock to take care of (unintelligible) and has nothing to do with the rest of the church. And he was pointing out that (?) approach to the poverty problem the same way she looked at him with respect for (?). So he said let’s see if (?) now you get down on your knees and pray for (?). She says I don’t agree with it either, the Presbyterian ministers made her get down and pray and afterwards he said did you pray for us? And she said with tears in her eyes no, I prayed that God would stop him and she said how would you analyze that? [00:34:02]
(Rushdoony) Yes well the scripture tells us that we are not to receive anyone who brings not the true doctrine, neither to receive them into our house nor to bid him Godspeed, and we are also told that for such a one we are not even to pray so that this business of seeing prayer as the answer for everything is pure humanism, we are not commanded at all times to pray for all people without any restriction, this is to make a mockery of prayer, and in one instance in the Old Testament when Moses came before the Lord, God told him to go back and speak to the people, in other words it was not a time for prayer, he knew what he was supposed to do, the people were in sin, and what point was there in praying to God when he had a responsibility to rebuke the people? Now if we are going to take the way out of prayer when we know what’s wrong with the church, we have business first to make a stand against what’s going on and then to walk out. How is god going to listen to a prayer when we are not doing that which we can do? In other words when we come to God in prayer, we cannot ask him to take away a problem that we are doing nothing about. This is not Godly prayer, so this minister was obviously evading the issue of his own responsibility, he was guilty first of receiving men in his own church who taught the wrong doctrine, and John in his second epistle makes it clear that he was not to receive any such or to have fellowship with them, but he was fellowshipping with them, living with them in peace, thus he had no right to talk. [00:36:26]
Second, he himself was guilty of everything these men
Second, he himself was guilty of everything these men were doing because if we make no protest we are guilty of condonation. This of course- we are an accessory to the fact, to use modern legal terminology, and the old testament makes it clear that this is sin, we are a participant to a crime if we are silent in the face of it, and this man was a participant to a crime against God by his silence, he has done nothing in the church to change the situation. So, he had no right to talk and she had every right to call him a hypocrite. Yes.
(Rushdoony) Yes. Yes, those were our enemies, this is a different thing. This is personal, but the enemies of God are on a different basis. Do I not hate them that hate thee? Thee, yes. Because we cannot make our personal frictions and enmities a matter of great moment to the universe. Now we often have fallings out with people who are fellow Christians and its our personalities, our frailties and we don’t get along. In such cases we are governed by the law of God which tells us to love our enemies even though we use us spitefully, but, whereas the enemy of God is a different relationship. They are not our enemies they are God’s enemies, and if we go to and give aid and comfort to Gods enemies we are one with them, it’s a case of treason. (?) And that’s the definition of treason, aid and comfort to the enemy. [00:38:53]
(Rushdoony) Yes, that’s true. Stay away from any such, that’s the best stance. Yes.
(Audience) I read this week that (unintelligible) but a statement was made that (unintelligible)
(Rushdoony) That’s right, he knew as a child what his destiny was, and said whist ye not that I must be about my father’s business. Now that was simply the theory of Kenosis that you ran into, that supposedly Christ was emptied of all his identity and knowledge and so on, and when he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane of course, the point of His prayer was not that the cross be taken from him because everything he had said to that point indicated this was to be his victory, his moment of triumph, but if you read over the incident there very carefully you find, and I think the greatest thing incidentally on the whole of the passion week is a three volume study by Dr. Schilder (sp?). K. Schilder, SCHILDER, its published I believe by either Baker or Erdna, but at any rate you remember he took the three with him and asked them to watch with him this one hour. He knew that he was to be made sin for us and it was the utter loneliness, the desolation that was difficult for Him, and in a sense He was hoping against hope that there might be some understanding among the disciples, could ye not watch with me this one hour? So that the cup was this cup of total isolation and loneliness, and yet He accepted it. Yes.
(Audience unintelligible) [00:41:51]
(Rushdoony) Yes, this was His destiny as the sin bearer to be isolated from God and in the process also from man, and this was a cry prophetically uttered by David, Psalm 22 centuries- or was it 21 excuse me… 22, centuries before the event, and the cry was forever nailed to the cross and man no longer can make the statement that David did, my God my God why hast thou forsaken me, because in Christ the evidence indicates that we are not only not forsaken but we are redeemed, and all that man does now is in the face of this to forsake God himself. A couple of little items I would like to call to your attention, one is an interesting item from an indictment in Washington DC in 1859 in a murder case, it was the infamous General Sickles who was involved, he was guilty of shooting and killing someone. At any rate I think the form of the indictment tells us a great deal about the Christian character of the country at that time, I’ll read a portion of it. District of Columbia, county of Washington DeWitt, the jurors of the United States for the county of Horsehead (??) upon their oaths present that Daniel E Sickles (?) of the county of Horsehead definitely not having the fear of God before his eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil on the twenty seventh day of February in the year of our Lord 1859 with force and arms at the county of Horsehead in and upon the body of one Philip Barton Eaton (unintelligible) then and there being feloniously and willfully and of his malicious aforethought did make an assault. A little different from our legal terminology today isn’t it? This little item I think on public schools a serious social problem, a statement by Ken Hutchinson I think is interesting. The number one social problem in America today is the crisis in our public schools. More and more parents are turning to church and private schools for their children. Could it be that the public schools have served their purpose and are now on the way out? [00:44:59]
It certainly looks that way
It certainly looks that way. In Chicago, Americas second largest city, forty percent of the children are already in private schools and the number is growing. In Washington DC over 90% of the public school students are colored. White students who live there attend school elsewhere or in private schools. President Johnson’s youngest daughter graduated from a private school, church and private schools are greatly increasing in the New York City area. Senator Robert Kennedy has his children in private schools, so does Mayor John Lindsey. In the south private schools are opening so fast we cannot keep up with them, for example the enrollment in 28 private schools in South Carolina has nearly tripled this summer alone. Not only are students leaving the public schools, the teachers are too. New York has the highest pay rate for public school teachers of any city in America, but the dangers there are so great that one third of the teachers are full time substitutes, this is so they can quit at a moment’s notice if the dangers become too great. Last years it was reported that serious attacks on teachers in that city average one a day. This is from the bible Presbyterian Church bulletin of Walker Iowa for November 20 1966, now- Yes.
(Rushdoony) Yes, if they accept federal aid. What happened in England was that the Fabian socialists at the beginning of the century started parliamentary aid to all the Christian schools and one of the prominent Fabians on the Fabian board sent in his resignation, and Bernard Shaw wrote to him, he was another board member, and told him in effect you are a fool, don’t you realize this the way to destroy Christianity? To destroy these schools? Have them eating out of the trough and they will be so dependent on us that when we lay down a law they will follow because they are afraid to go back into independence. Yes. [00:47:41]
(Audience) In the last (?) election New York, people had a theme of bragging about being a product of the New York public school system (?) push back is obvious. (Laughter) What do you think of (?) Christianity (unintelligible)?
(Rushdoony) Buckley is a very talented and able man, and there are often good things in his publication, but basically he is not a conservative, he is a conservative liberal. Now the basic difference between conservatism and liberalism is that the liberal believes in intervention. He believes that the government should intervene to save man from poverty, he should intervene in foreign affairs, he should intervene here there and everywhere. Now when you hold to interventionism, you can be a conservative interventionist or a radical interventionist. A radical interventionist says we should not only intervene but take over. The conservative interventionist says we should intervene only to give a hand. Now the historic Christian position in America going back to John Cupp, which is from the early 1600’s is anti-interventionist, the state has no right to play the role of the savior and to intervene here there and everywhere in the affairs of men or in foreign affairs; its function is the ministry of justice. Now we have been interventionist as a country since World War I as far as foreign affairs are concerned. We intervened in the European in 1917, 1943, and again in- or 1941 in Korea, and now Vietnam. This is interventionism, we are intervening in every area of private and industrial life. Now Buckley is a very mild interventionist, but he is an interventionist. He does believe in a certain amount of intervention in foreign affairs, he does believe in a certain amount of intervention domestically, but he is very conservative about it so that he is very different from historic American conservativism. Yes.
(Audience) One thing I had thought about was if we (unintelligible) [00:51:00]
(Rushdoony) Yes. Yes, some of the earlier presidents had very serious doubts about the use of that section, they felt that it was being misconstrued, that the reference was to the frontier areas, so they were very reluctant to make use of that, very reluctant. Yes.
(Audience) I had a question, regarding salvation, what comes first chronologically, faith or knowledge?
(Rushdoony) Well, what comes first neither, but it is prevenient grace, which goes before and leads us to hear so that we might understand and believe, so that prevenient grace moves our hearts to faith and to understanding.
(Audience) So would you say that faith and understanding happen simultaneously? I was thinking of I Corinthians 2: 14 (unintelligible)
(Rushdoony) Yes. Well, faith goes before knowledge because it- knowledge rests on a presupposition, and once the faith appears and behind the faith is the prevenient grace, then knowledge opens up in terms of the presuppositions of that faith.
(Audience) Now the Holy Spirit compels (unintelligible) who has faith, therefor we don’t need to have knowledge previous to the faith, we don’t have to have knowledge in which our faith is based. (unintelligible)
(Rushdoony) Yes. However, the Holy Spirit can work through knowledge which brings us to that point of faith you see, it is prevenient grace that is prior, you have to insist on that. Now, (?) prevenient grace can use a number of things to precipitate the moment of faith. It can be a bit of knowledge or something else but its prevenient, and then the faith opens up and lightens all knowledge, but it’s the prevenient grace from God that is prior to all else. Yes. [00:54:07]
(Audience) I wondered if you could comment on this proposed (unintelligible)
(Rushdoony) No, I am against it, because first it does not- it is not specifically Christian, it opens up the way for any kind of religion in the schools basically and second what it will do is to lead people to a complacency about what the reality of our statist education is. It will not make the schools Christian, it will give a façade so that the schools can more readily subvert the country, and people will sit back and say well why worry about anything, we’ve got the bible in schools. I have written a long analysis of the congressional hearings and of the bill which may be published sometime in the next few months by a particular magazine, I have been paid for it already so I think they will publish it. (Laughter)
(Rushdoony) Yes. Right. Yes, I would be afraid to have religion taught in the schools today by the teachers who teach it. Well our time is just about up and I thought I’d pass on a little item which has no religious significance whatsoever, but some of you will remember the way travel was, when cars were before World War I and after World War I also. I was a very small boy then but I remember some of the things, and this was exactly the kind of thing you did get from car dealers, just a little poster. Travel hints for motorists: use chewing gum to mend a leaky gas line. Carry a can of ether for winter starting. Test for an overheated engine: spit on it, if there a sizzle all is well. If steam arises, check your radiator. (Laughter) Strain all gas through a chamois skin to remove oil and dirt. If the spark lever slips while you are cranking, tie it in position with a piece of string. A box of oatmeal flakes is handy when the radiator springs a leak. (Laughter) Pour flakes into the water, as they swell they fill the hole, dry horse manure is also good and of course always available. (Laughter) To rejuvenate a worn tire, pump in it a cup of chopped up feathers and hot molasses. Spin tire in this mixture evenly to seal pores and holes. Watch out though if there is a plug (?). (Laughter) A gun is no longer needed when you visit the western states. To clean a celluloid window in your side curtain, remember those? Use vinegar. To keep windshields clean on rainy days, rub sliced onion over it. With that we stand dismissed. (Laughter)