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Vol. 2, No. 8
Aug., 1993

Why Did Noah Build the Ark?

by Glenn Conjurske

A Sermon Preached on May 9, 1993. Recorded, Transcribed, and Revised.

Open your Bibles to the book of Genesis, chapter five. I'm going to speak to you tonight on “Why did Noah build the ark?” We know from the New Testament that he was moved with fear, and he built the ark to the saving of himself and of his household. We also know he built the ark because God told him to. But what I want to go into tonight is, Why did God tell Noah to build the ark? You say, Well, it was to save him alive. I agree with that, but why did God wish to save him alive? You see, if you look at this book of Genesis, chapter five, verse 24, we read, “And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” We then read that Enoch's son Methuselah begat Lamech, and Lamech begat Noah, and Noah, you understand, is the man who built the ark, because God told him to. The obvious purpose was that God should save him alive. But you know there were only eight souls saved alive in the ark. Eight souls----Noah, his three sons, Noah's wife, and his three sons' wives----eight souls. But before the flood came God took one man, Enoch, and raptured him to heaven. Now we know that when the flood came there were only eight righteous souls on the earth. Wouldn't it have been just as easy for God to rapture nine souls to heaven, as it was to rapture one? Why did he rapture one man to heaven, and tell Noah to spend a hundred and twenty years building an ark to save eight other souls alive?

Well, this brings us to the purpose of God. God had a purpose in saving those eight souls alive, and the purpose was a purpose for the earth. God was not done with the earth. He was not finished with human history. He could at that point have taken Enoch, and Noah and his sons and all their wives, and raptured all nine of them to heaven, and poured out the flood and destroyed all the ungodly, and that would have ended the history of the earth----but God wasn't done with the earth yet. And because he had a purpose for the earth, it was necessary to save those souls alive. That is why Noah built the ark.

Now over in the seventh chapter of Genesis we're told that Noah and his sons entered into the ark, and beginning at verse 17, “And the flood was forty days upon the earth, and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth, ... and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man, all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.” What we have here is a sweeping, universal, unsparing, earth-wide judgement, in which every living thing that breathed was destroyed. Therefore the ark must be built if God was going to save flesh alive. And that was his purpose. Go back to the sixth chapter, verses 17 to 19. “And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.” And again in verse 20, “two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.”

This was the purpose of the ark, to keep flesh alive. The reason that flesh must be kept alive is that God was not done with human history, not done with the earth, but had a purpose to cleanse that earth, purge that earth of all of the sinners and ungodly, and then establish his saints in the earth. If he had had no such purpose for the earth, there would have been no purpose for building the ark. He could have raptured nine souls to heaven as well as one.

Now Enoch prophesied before the flood came, and said, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgement upon all the ungodly.” That prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. The Lord is yet coming with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgement upon all the ungodly. But as often happens, when God gives a prophecy concerning the coming judgements, though the fulfillment of that prophecy is far away in the last days, in the day of the Lord, at the second coming of Christ, there is an immediate partial or typical fulfillment, that closely follows the giving of the prophecy. There was such a typical fulfillment following Enoch's prophecy. It was the flood. And the reason that the flood can stand as a type of the actual fulfillment of Enoch's prophecy is because it is a real picture of what that actual fulfillment will be. When Enoch's prophecy is fulfilled, the Lord is going to execute judgement upon all the ungodly, and the judgement which comes is going to destroy them all----exactly as the flood did.

If you haven't gathered it, what I'm talking to you about tonight is pre- and post-tribulationism. I'm talking about premillennialism also. When that judgement comes, which Enoch prophesied, there is going to be a sweeping and unsparing judgement, which is going to destroy all of the ungodly from off the earth, and when that is done, God is going to plant a righteous seed in that purged earth, exactly as he did after the flood in Noah's day. Now then, if that is the case, then God is going to have to preserve that righteous seed alive through that final judgement, in order that they might be planted in the earth as Noah was.

Well, is that what is going to happen? Turn with me to the book of Matthew, chapter 24. In this passage we read about the great tribulation----all of the judgements which are poured out upon the earth in the last of Daniel's seventy weeks, which culminate in the final judgement, when the Lord himself appears from heaven with ten thousands of his saints, and executes judgement upon all of the ungodly. The events of the great tribulation, which are described in detail in the book of Revelation, are preliminary judgements, in which great portions of the earth's population will be destroyed, but the final judgement will be when Christ himself comes. Now it tells you in Matthew 24:21-22, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved, but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.”

This great time of judgement which is coming is accurately pictured by the flood in the Old Testament. The flood prevailed over all the earth. This tribulation which is coming is “the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Rev. 3:10). But he says those days are going to be shortened. If they were not shortened, no flesh would be saved. The judgements are going to be so severe that if the time were not limited, no flesh would be saved. You say, So what? Ask an ammillennialist, What difference would it make if no flesh were saved alive? He would have to tell you it wouldn't make any difference at all. When Christ comes back, human history on the earth will end. The great white throne judgement will take place, and the eternal state will be ushered in. There would be no purpose to save men alive in the flesh.

But you see, the reason that it does make a difference is that God has a purpose yet for this earth. The dispensation of the fulness of times is going to follow this day of darkness in which we live. The time will come when the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. God is going to purge this earth as he did in Noah's day, and plant a righteous seed in it----men and women who know God, alive in the flesh, as Noah and his sons were.

Now then, it is an absolute necessity that some flesh should be saved alive through that time of tribulation----through that universal, earth-wide judgement. There must be flesh saved alive. Some post-tribulationists labor to prove from various scriptures that the ungodly are not all going to be destroyed at the coming of Christ. Some are going to be saved alive. They believe that the godly will be raptured and glorified at the same coming of Christ in which the ungodly are judged. That is the main tenet of post-tribulationism, that the second coming of Christ is one indivisible event. Christ is coming to rapture the church, glorify his saints, and execute judgement upon the ungodly, at one and the same time, with no seventieth week of Daniel or great tribulation between them. The church, therefore, must go through the tribulation, and be raptured at the end of it, at the same time that Christ executes judgement upon all the ungodly.

Now if it is true that all of the ungodly will not be destroyed in that judgement, look at what the necessary consequence must be. These folks understand that there must be flesh saved alive. Otherwise there could be no millennium such as the Bible prophesies. There must be flesh saved alive through all of the judgements, exactly as there was flesh saved alive through the flood in Noah's day. But because they recognize that there must be flesh saved alive, some of these folks are concerned to prove that the judgement which falls upon the ungodly does not destroy them all. There must be some of them left alive. All right: Christ comes----raptures all the godly, and glorifies them. We are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. We are no longer men in the flesh as Noah was, but translated and glorified. We are not going to dwell on this earth any more, and till the ground, and replenish the earth, begetting sons and daughters. We have no more capacity for that. We're glorified----changed. This takes place at the same time (according to post-tribulationism) that Christ comes to execute judgement upon the ungodly. Now if all the godly are raptured, and all the ungodly are not destroyed, but some are saved alive in order to enter into the earthly kingdom, you know what you end up with? The ungodly inherit the kingdom!

Isn't that clear? The godly are all raptured and glorified. Most of the ungodly are destroyed, but some are spared. So the Lord gathers all the nations before him, all that are spared alive at this coming, and says to the GOATS, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” You can't escape this, if you put the rapture of the church at the same coming of Christ at which the ungodly are judged and the kingdom established.

But no, Christ says to the goats, “Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire.” It's to the SHEEP that he says, “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” What I am insisting upon, then, is that there are sheep who are spared and saved alive through all of those judgements, and NOT RAPTURED AND GLORIFIED AT THE END OF THEM, but planted alive in the flesh in the cleansed and renewed earth.

Come back to Noah now. Suppose that God had had the same purpose for Noah and his sons as he had for Enoch. Suppose that God raptured Enoch to heaven some years before the flood fell, and then told Noah, “You only have I found righteous on the earth. Therefore I am going to spare you when I pour out my judgements. Therefore build an ark.” And Noah labors for a hundred and twenty years, building that ark. And the rains begin to fall, and the fountains of the great deep are broken up, and the waters begin to rise on the earth, and the ark is borne up, and the waters rise and rise upon the earth, until they prevail over the tops of all the mountains. Then little by little the waters begin to abate from the face of the earth, while Noah bides his time in the ark----week after week, month after month. And when the earth is dried from all the waters of the flood, God comes down and opens the door of the ark----and raptures Noah and his sons to heaven. Does that make sense? Why then the ark? Why the hundred and twenty years of labor? Why all those months shut up in the ark? God saved Noah through that universal judgement to plant him in the earth, not to rapture him to heaven. And whatever saints they are that God saves alive through the coming tribulation, which is the antitype of the flood----whatever saints they are that God spares through all those sweeping and universal judgements----are not going to be raptured to heaven at the end of them, but planted in the earth.

And I want you to observe also that in Noah's day, God did not spare any goats through the flood, to plant them in the earth. He spared the sheep. He spared only the sheep, and all of the sheep. The goats were all destroyed, and none of them were planted in the earth. The precise purpose of the flood was to sweep the earth clean of them, so that God might establish his people in it.

Now turn to Revelation 12. You remember I already gave you two scriptures, one in Genesis 6 and one in Matthew 24, which indicate God's purpose to save flesh alive through those judgements. I'll give you another in Revelation 12. Verse 13: “And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” The woman is Israel. She brought forth the man child. The church didn't exist yet when the man child was brought forth. This “time, and times, and half a time” is three and a half years, the last half of Daniel's seventieth week, the time of the great tribulation, a time when the wrath of Satan and the wrath of God too are poured out on this earth. And this little remnant of the seed of Israel, who “keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (verse 17), have a place prepared for them in the wilderness, where God nourishes and protects them all the time of the great tribulation. What for? To glorify them and rapture them to heaven at the end of it? No, but to save them alive to plant them in the earth.

God does not do so to all the tribulation saints. In Revelation 20 we read of saints who came out of the great tribulation, who were not spared alive. Verse 4: “I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” These saints obviously lived under the antichrist, during the great tribulation, but they did not come alive through it. They were slain for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. And when Christ comes back they will live----that is, be raised from the dead----and reign with him. They will not be planted in the earth to replenish the earth, as Noah was. But if there is to be a millennium at all, some of the saints must be saved alive to be planted in the earth, and some of them will be, for God yet has a purpose for the earth.

But what purpose for nourishing them in the wilderness for three and a half years, if God was only going to rapture them from the earth at the end of it? If God is going to rapture the tribulation saints to heaven at the end of the tribulation, why does he put them through the time of judgement first, only to rapture them to heaven at the end of it? Try to think of a reason. You may say it could be for the sake of their testimony. The world needs their testimony at this time. But no, God does not put them into the midst of the ungodly to testify. He prepares a place for them in the wilderness----that is, in the desert, as the word means. This is not for testimony. This is to keep them alive, so that a righteous seed may inherit the earth after the ungodly are swept out of it. There would be no more purpose for God to nourish these saints through the tribulation, only to rapture them at the end of it, than to preserve Noah through the flood in the ark, only to rapture him to heaven when the flood was over. He did have a purpose to rapture Enoch to heaven, but he did it before the flood.

Enoch was raptured before the judgement ever fell, and the church of God is going to be also. Revelation 3:10 says, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” This verse alone necessitates pretribulationism, if this were the only verse in the Bible. Post-tribulationists have labored hard to overturn the real meaning of this text, but they have never been able to shake it. He says, “I will keep thee out of the hour of temptation.” He does not merely say he will keep us out of the trial, but out of the hour of trial. He will keep us out of the time of trial. Noah was kept from the judgement. He was safe and secure in the ark, and never a drop of rain fell upon Noah. But he was not kept from the hour of the judgement. He went through every minute of it, every day, every month of it. He was not kept from the hour of it. But Enoch was. Noah never felt a drop of that rain. Enoch never saw a drop of it. He was kept from the hour of the judgement, and the church of God will be also. Noah was kept through the hour of judgement, as Israel will be in the days to come. The woman who brought forth the man child, and the remnant of her seed who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ----that's Israel----will be kept safe through the day of judgement, hidden away in the wilderness, to be saved alive, and planted as a righteous seed in the earth when God has purged it of all the ungodly. That's why Noah built the ark. God had a purpose for men in the flesh on the earth. And that's why the saints are not going to be glorified and translated at the end of the tribulation. God has a purpose for men alive in the flesh on the earth, after he has “thoroughly purged” it of all the ungodly.

Who are those men? Not the goats. Any of them alive when Christ returns will be slain by the sword that proceeds out of his mouth, when he says to them, “Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.” Not the goats, but the sheep. But what sheep? Not the church. Every post-tribulationist believes the church will be translated and glorified before the millennium begins. What sheep, then? Israel, and the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ----after the church has been translated as Enoch was. These are the saints of the great tribulation. Israel, during the time of Jacob's trouble, will look unto him whom they have pierced, and the Spirit of grace and of supplications will be poured out upon them, and they will mourn, every family apart, and they will turn to the God of their fathers. These, and all the Gentiles who receive the testimony which they bear, are the saints of the great tribulation, and these are they who will be saved alive, and planted in the earth after God has purged it of all things that offend, exactly as he did the righteous Noah.

R. A. Torrey on the Old Evangelism and the New

[The following article appeared as an editorial, under the heading The Revival We Need, in the October, 1915, issue of The King's Business, edited by R. A. Torrey. Torrey in his day saw only the opening of the door to an evangelism mixed with the world and the flesh, and dependent upon carnal weapons, and regretted his own place in helping to open it. Today that door is wide open, with a thousand forms of recreation, fleshly indulgence, and worldliness incorporated into the work of God. Torrey's admonition was obviously little heeded. Nevertheless, it is a pleasure to reprint it. ---- editor.]

I have just been reading anew some of the revivals God has sent to His praying people in by-gone days, notably the revivals at Shotts, in June, 1630; in Ulster in 1628; at Kilsyth, July 23, 1839; at Antwerp, N. Y., and through the neighborhood in Chas. G. Finney's early days; at Gartly, Scotland, in the days of Reginald Radcliffe; at Broughshare, Ulster in 1850. My heart has been deeply stirred, and I have been thinking and praying about it. A deep conviction has taken possession of me that we need in America and Europe another revival after the same general pattern. I rejoice in and thank God for the great work He is doing through “Billy Sunday” and other of our present-day evangelists. I have had very recent and conclusive evidence of the depth and genuineness and permanence of the work done through Mr. Sunday in Scranton, Wilkesbarre, Philadelphia and other places. Many of the converts were at the Montrose Conference and were very eager for the Word of God and were all aglow with passion for the salvation of the lost. Yet I am sure we sorely need a revival of another sort. There is too much of man and too little of God in these meetings; too much that is of the flesh, too little that is unquestionably of the Holy Spirit; too much of meaningless but appealing songs and hurrah boys, and the world; too little of prayer and soul agony and deep work of the Spirit; too much of the spirit of the age and too little of the Spirit of God; too much of machinery and commercialism, and buying and selling and worldly advertising; too little of looking to God to work and trusting God to work. I am the last one who has a right to criticise unkindly all this machinery and advertising and book-selling, for I fear that the responsibility for introducing it into America lies more nearly at my door than that of any one else. When Mr. Alexander and I started out on our world-wide tour we had no other helpers, and planned a campaign along old-fashioned lines, with no hymn books of our own to sell; no troupe of workers, etc. But the workers increased in number, other things came in, and so it has gone on in ever-increasing measure. These great evangelistic machines are doing good, incalculable good, and will go on doing good, but we need, sorely need something else. We need movements in cities and villages and country neighborhoods, where God's people will get together to pray, and pray, and pray, till they “pray through”; and then through their own pastor, or a pastor from abroad, or an evangelist, have the gospel preached in the power of the Holy Ghost, and Spirit-guided personal work done, with no jolly singer from the outside to whoop it up; no hymn books or other books to sell in the church or other places of meeting; no business agent to get calls for the man who hires them, and to raise enormous sums of money by all manner of more or less questionable means; no free-will offerings except such as people feel quietly led without solicitation, to give; with dependence upon the Holy Spirit; a work that from start to finish is carried on in an atmosphere of prayer “in the Holy Ghost.”

Will such a movement, so opposed to the hustling, self-advertising spirit of the twentieth century succeed in the twentieth century? Is the Holy Ghost dead? Must we now resort to weapons that are carnal? Have we lost faith that weapons that “are not carnal” “are mighty through God to pulling down strongholds?” Finney did not even have a Sankey with him. The music, on one occasion at least, was so dreadful that Finney (who had a musical ear) felt that he must hold his hands over his ears to shut out the discordant din, but the Holy Spirit fell that very day in such power that “the Power from on high came down upon them in such a torrent that they fell from their seats in every direction. In less than a minute nearly all persons in the congregation were either down on their knees, or on their faces, or in some position before God. Every one was crying or groaning for mercy upon his own soul.” The whole community was revolutionized. The same God and the same Holy Spirit live today. It is true, “the Spirit bloweth when He willeth,” but He willeth to blow when professed Christians get right with God and pray through (Luke 11:13; Acts 4:31-35). Finney took men mighty in prayer along with him to pray, but no men mighty in song to sing, or mighty as press agents to work the papers and the community.

Chats from my Library
By Glenn Conjurske

Corn in Egypt

When the great seven-years' famine was prevailing over all the earth, “all countries came into Egypt for to buy corn, because that the famine was so sore in all lands.” (Gen. 4l:57). At the same time “Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt” (Gen 42:1), and immediately took steps to procure some of it for himself. However it might have stumbled his mind to have to go to Egypt for it, while famine reigned in the “good land,” there is no law like that of hunger, and therefore to Egypt he went.

Twenty-five years ago I also discovered that there is “corn in Egypt.” My soul hungered for the old paths and ancient landmarks of real Christianity. I wanted the works of William Tyndale and Menno Simons. I wanted John Wycliffe and John Huss. I wanted John Wesley and George Whitefield. Where were such books to be found? I had early learned that if I was to find such books as I sought, it was to the used book stores that I must look for them. I had searched often enough through the stores which carried the new Christian books, and I found that a sore famine reigned there. Occasionally a substantial reprint might be found, but I have sometimes searched through the entire stock of a Christian bookstore, and walked out of the place weeping, unable to find a single volume of substantial worth in the place. To the used Christian book stores, therefore, I instinctively turned. But it was a slow and difficult process, beset with many disappointments, to try to build a good library in that way. There are but few of such bookstores in the world. They were all far away. Most of them I could never visit at all, and others only occasionally. The selection was usually poor enough even in them. Their catalogs came infrequently, and alas, the few titles in them of the sort which I was seeking were often already sold when I ordered them----though I wasted no time in ordering. The famine was sore enough here also.

About this time I was reading a book by Luther A. Weigle----a modern book, which I think my wife had picked up for me at a rummage sale. I no longer have the book, and do not remember the title, but I believe Weigle was involved in the production of the Revised Standard Version, and this book concerned Bible versions. Weigle referred to some work of William Tyndale, and added that it could be found at any good university library.

I thought, Can this be true? At that time, for all of my searching, all that I had of Tyndale was the third volume of the Parker Society edition of his works----and I considered myself very fortunate to have that. Were Tyndale's works to be found at such a place as a university? I knew that the secular university was an ungodly place----knew that it was of the world, which lieth in the wicked one, and not of God----and it seemed to me a great anomaly to think of finding the works of the great Christian martyr at a university, when I could find them nowhere else. Nevertheless, compelled by hunger, I went immediately to a friend who had attended the university before he was converted, told him what Weigle's book said, and asked him if he thought it could be true. He said, “Let's go find out.” At that time I was living in Madison, just a couple of miles from the University of Wisconsin, and off we went to the university library. We found it to be even so. There was corn in Egypt.

Now I must admit I felt a little uncomfortable going into such a place----sort of like I used to feel when I had to go into a bar to get my lunch (“a hamburger to go,” by the way)----but “necessity knows no law,” and God had said to Jacob in the time of famine, “fear not to go down into Egypt” (Gen 46:3), for there was corn in Egypt.

We found corn in Egypt indeed, and we found it was for sale also. There were numerous copy machines, where for a nickel a copy we could fill our sacks and carry the corn away. I was soon busy copying tracts and sermons of George Whitefield and John Wycliffe, the thirteen volumes of The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley, the original edition of Isaac Watts's poetry, Fletcher's Checks to Antinomianism (not then in print as they are now), and other treasures. I soon found that the State Historical Society library was full of corn also, and from that source I have obtained many scarce and valuable histories and biographies, on American Methodism, missions to the heathen, etc. Cotton Mather, Roger Williams, Adoniram Judson, and many more are well represented there. Here I have found many of my best books on Mormonism. Here I found the only copy I have ever seen of Kendrick's excellent Life and Letters of Emily Judson. A few years ago some friends----not rich, but committed and generous----bought me an excellent copy machine, and I usually make several trips a year to these libraries, and take home boxes full of books to copy.

In recent years many of scarcest books from the libraries of the world have been copied on microfilm, and these also may be found at the university libraries. These libraries usually also have the means of copying these microfilms, at anywhere from five cents to thrity-five cents per copy. By this means I have obtained Tyndale's 1534 New Testament, his “GH” revision, the 1552 edition of his New Testament (which provided the basis for the 1557 Geneva New Testament), the Geneva New Testament of 1557, Tyndale's Jonah, George Joye's Psalter, the Bibles of Coverdale, Matthew, and Taverner, Coverdale's Latin-English New Testaments, the Rheims New Testament of 1582, and others.

Now the reader will no doubt guess that it is work to obtain books by this means, and it is work. It was no doubt work for the sons of Jacob to go to Egypt for corn also. It cost them labor and time and money----but what are they where hunger compels? The most interesting book I have read for many months, A Question in Baptist History, by William Whitsitt----in print, by the way, from a secular publisher, along with many other excellent Christian books never seen in the Christian bookstores----complains that “English Baptist scholars have kept holiday”----napped and vacationed, that is----“with such ample collections as the British Museum, the Bodleian and other libraries lying just under their noses.” And the whole church of God in America, with rarely an exception, is guilty of the same sort of neglect. The reason for this is plain: there is not hunger enough. The real fact is, most of the modern church would have no relish for such corn if it were dropped into their mouths, and where is the man who will spend and labor to get it?

But much as the labor and expense may be to copy books from microfilm, it is really but a small price to pay for such treasures. Take these ancient English Bibles. Aside from the few which have been reprinted (as the Geneva of 1560), one lifetime is too short a time in which to hope to find most of these for sale. And should you live to see such a wonder, the price would stop you in your tracks. Of all of these ancient versions, I have never seen but one for sale. I saw a copy of the 1582 Rheims New Testament for sale in a Boston bookstore----for $2000. I did not buy it, but I have since photocopied the very same book from microfilm, for less than $40, and a few hours' work. The works of many ancient men of God, such as William Tyndale and Richard Baxter, besides many tracts and pamphlets which could not be bought at any price----all these are available on microfilm.

Those who live far from good libraries may often be able to procure the desired treasures from a local public library by “interlibrary loan.” By this means I have obtained a number of scarce works from around the country, which were not available at the libraries within my reach.

The best corn is often to be found in Egypt. You might spend ten years searching for good histories of the English Bible, and consider yourself very fortunate to find one for sale on the used book market. From the Christian publishers of our day you may expect none. But take a trip to a good university library, and you will likely find them all. The same is true of the printed editions of ancient Lollard manuscripts, and the most ancient English Biblical translations. These were published a century ago by the secular Early English Text Society, and are now usually only to be met with in secular libraries. Many of the best of Christian books which are in print today are done by secular publishers, and are never met with in Christian bookstores. It seems a shameful thing to me that such corn is so plentiful in Egypt, while it is scarcely to be found for any money among the Lord's people----but so it is, and therefore to Egypt I go for it.

Speaking Graves

by Glenn Conjurske

Wherever we go in this sin-cursed world we meet with graves----not only a grave or two here and there, but hundreds of them, large fields filled with them. And those who ponder a little must be impressed with the fact that for every grave which we see there must be hundreds of “graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them” (Luke 11:44)----for almost all of the graves which we see are of recent origin. If a stone were to mark the mouldering dust of every man who ever lived, we must be almost overrun with graves.

Now these graves are accustomed to speak. Their message is, “Here is the end of every man. You who are now in health and strength will shortly lie here. Death is coming. You cannot escape it. All of the portion which you now enjoy on the earth will shortly be snatched away from you. Your plans and ambitions will perish. Your soul will fly----where?”

All of this the graves speak by their very existence. The sight of a cemetery by the roadside cries out with this message. But those who step within its gates and walk among the graves will often find the same message engraved in the very stones. Our forefathers were accustomed to engrave solemn messages on their tombstones, an excellent practice which has long since fallen into disuse. But the old stones in the old cemeteries still stand, and, by means of these stones, those whose dust decays beneath them, being dead, yet speak. At various times through the years I have walked in old cemeteries, reading the inscriptions on the stones----often using all my ingenuity to make out precious messages nearly obliterated by the ravages of time. Besides being a very interesting study of human nature----and human nature ought to be the constant study of every servant of God----this is a solemn experience, and to a saint of God may be a very blessed one. But I have little reason to expect that the most of human beings will ever engage in such an employment, and it has therefore occurred to me to write down many of those inscriptions, to be able to present them to those who will never read them otherwise. For that purpose I have recently visited a few old cemeteries, all in the state of Massachusetts, and filled many notebook pages with inscriptions. I here present a number of them to my readers. I only remark first that I present them exactly as I found them, though the poetry is sometimes poor, the grammar wrong, and the spelling bad, or, in some cases, obsolete. The only alteration I venture to make is in the addition of necessary punctuation, which is often missing on the stones. This I do because it has often been impossible to tell if the missing marks, small as they are, were missing from the original engraving, or obliterated by time. I have not, however, changed punctuation which was present, though it is sometimes wrong.

The last inscription copied in my perambulations is worthy of the first place in this article. It comes from the grave of a girl who died in her third year, in 1796:

Life is uncertain,
Death is sure;
Sin is the wound,
And Christ the cure.

Numerous inscriptions contain precious statements of faith in God and the resurrection, while many others contain warnings to the living of the shortness and uncertainty of life and the certainty of death. Others are personal messages, often full of pathos. I give a few the latter sort first.

A touching personal message comes from the grave of a seventy-nine-year-old woman, who died in 1824:

Afflections sore long time I bore,
Physicians skill was vain,
Till God was pleas'd to give me ease,
And free me from my pain.

Telling the same sort of tale is a brown sandstone marker over the grave of a man who died at the age of 80, in 1819:

Our age to seventy years is set,
How short the time, how frail the state,
And if to eighty we arrive,
We rather sigh & groan than live.

On an unusually large white sandstone marker, over the grave of a young wife, who died in 1805 at the age of twenty-nine, we read,

Swift in succession,
Deaths cold hand
My dwelling dose invade;
My former wounds
Was sorely, scarcely heal'd
Before anothers made.

I found no clue from any of the graves around who it was that was snatched from his dwelling before her, whether wife, or child, or some other, but what a picture this grave gives us of this sorrowful scene of death through which we are passing! The same is enforced again in a nearby family plot in the same cemetery, where we find two small brown sandstone markers over the graves of two sisters, who each died in the second year of life. In 1812 died the first, at the age of 1 year, 6 months, and 26 days. Her gravestone is inscribed,

Transient & vain is every hope
A rising race can give.

Her sister died in 1819, at the age of 1 year and 95 days, and her stone is inscribed,

But death came like a wintry day
And cut the pretty flow'r away.

The same is enforced again in another cemetery, where four little children of the same family lie buried in close proximity. The first was a son who died at the age of five in 1814. His stone reads,

Too dear, too fair, for mortals here,
His Saviour called him home,
Here we are left to shed a tear,
And mourn his early doom.

This is an inscription, by the way, which I found on the tombstones of numerous children. The second child, a babe of four months, died in the following year, and his stone is marked,

Sleep, sleep, sweet babe, & take thy rest,
God called the home, he thought it best.

The last of the three black slate markers covers the grave of two infant daughters, who died on the 17th and 19th of March, 1819, at the age of eleven weeks. It is inscribed,

Happy the babes who privileg'd by fate
To shorter labour & a lighter weight,
Received but yesterday the gift of breath,
Order'd tomorrow to return to death.

Many of the personal inscriptions consist of strong expressions of faith. Some of these were no doubt written by surviving friends or relatives rather than the deceased, and alas, no doubt many of them are no more than wishful thinking, for there are no atheists in death. These expressions of faith are so common, so nearly universal in the old grave-yards, that simple folks might be ready to suppose that the whole world must have been Christian in those days. Thus Spurgeon asks, “Where do they bury the bad people? Right and left in our churchyard, they seem all to have been the best of folks, a regular nest of saints; and some of them so precious good, it is no wonder they died----they were too fine to live in such a wicked world as this.” Indeed, some of these inscriptions express no more than wishful thinking, and others may be no more than hypocrisy. On this Lorenzo Dow says, “Most people wish the public to believe that their friends, if they live like devils incarnate, very wicked and immoral, and even ashamed of religion, and become persecutors of it here, yet when they are dead, posthumous fame must declare they were very pious, and the best of Christians, and are gone straight to heaven, to the abode of the blessed! Is not this exemplified to our minds, if we walk into the church-yard and view those epitaphs on their tomb-stones, composed by their friends?” Others, however, have the ring of truth about them. Such as they are I give them. From the stone of a woman who died in 1814 at the age of 48:

My flesh shall slumber in the ground,
Till the last trumpets joyful sound,
Then burst the chains with sweet surprise,
And in my Saviours image rise.

This excellent piece graces the graves of many in various places. I found it used in a very touching way on two black slate stones, side by side, over the graves of a young husband and wife. He died August 11, l822, aged 23. She followed him to the grave less than a month later, on September 7, at the age of 20. His stone in inscribed,

My flesh shall slumber in the ground
Till the last trumpet' joyfull sound,

ending with a comma, just as I have given it. Upon her stone we read,

Then burst the chains with sweet surprise
And in my Saviour's image rise.

A sixty-three-year-old woman, who died in 1818, tells us,

God, my Redeemer, lives,
And often from the skies
Looks down, & watches all my dust
Till he shall bid it rise.

A deacon who died in 1810, at the age of 80, says,

O thou great author of life & death,
Thy call I follow to the land unknown;
I trust in thee, & know in whom I trust.

Near by, a man who died in the following year, aged 70, tells us,

All our ambitions
Death defeats, but one,
And that it crowns.

He speaks, no doubt, of the ambition to see Christ, or to depart and be with him. And on a brown sandstone marker over the grave of a woman who died in 1787 in her 55th year,

Why should we tremble to convey
Their bodies to the tomb?
There the dear flesh of Jesus lay
And left a long perfume.

In 1800 a young man died, aged 21 years. His tombstone is inscribed,

Father I give my spirit up
And trust it in thy hand.
My dieing flesh must rest in hope,
And rise at thy command.

A man of 88 years, with the title of “Reverend,” died in 1830. The black slate slab which marks his grave in inscribed,

Lord I commit my soul to thee,
Accept the sacred trust;
Receive this nobler part of me,
And watch my sleeping dust.

A woman of 87, who died in 1812, yet speaks also, and says,

Death is a sweet sonorous sound,
To those who have salvation found.
It wafts them to the courts of bliss,
Where all is joy and happiness.

A man who died in 1819, at the age of 36, yet speaks also. His brown sandstone slab is inscribed,

The holy triumphs of my soul
Shall death itself out-brave,
Leave dull mortality behind,
And fly beyond the grave.

It is probably the survivors who speak in the next instance, and we hope their hope was as good as their expression of it. The man died in 1863 at the age of 81, and the white sandstone slab which marks his grave reads,

There is a world above
Where parting is unknown,
A long eternity of love
Formed for the good alone,
And faith, beholds the dying here
Translated to that glorious sphere.

These expressions of faith and hope are precious, but there is another class of inscriptions which speak more forcefully. These are they which warn the living to lay the inescapable fact of death to heart. Such are numerous, and many of them most excellent. A woman who died at 82 in 1814 says,

Life how short. Eternity how long.

If a woman who lived eighty-two years must thus solemnly testify to the shortness of life, how ought the rest of us to lay it to heart, for as the grave of a boy who died five years later at the age of 16 solemnly declares,

Death enters and theres no defence.

And a woman who lies near them both, who died at 75 between their deaths, in 1816, thus lifts up her voice to speak to the living,

Whilst living men my grave do view,
Remember here is room for you.

A man who died at the age of 19, in 1822, has been speaking for nearly two centuries, and saying,

Death is a debt to nature due,
Which I have paid, and so must you.

And another who died in 1763 at the age of 63 has spoken for well over two centuries, enforcing the message which all of these graves declare by their very existence:

Thus shall our Mouldring Members teach
What now our senses learn,
For dust and ashes Loudest Preach
Man's Infinite Concern.

And a young wife who departed this life in her twenty-fifth year, in 1811, declares,

How soon the thread of life is spun:
A breath, a gasp, a diing groan.
Alarming thought, upon the strings
Of life hangs everlasting things.

A man of 75 years who died in 1827 admonishes,

Are you in health, so once was I,
Pray think of me as you pass by,
As I am now so you must be,
Prepare for death, & follow me.

The same I have seen elsewhere with numerous variations. On the grave of a man of 81 who died in 1800,

Behold, my friend, as you pass by,
As you are now so once was I,
As I am now soon you must be,
Prepare for death and follow me.

And hear I rest my weary head
Till Christ my Lord shall raise the dead.

One stone gives the following homely admonition concerning the uncertainty of life:

to the memory of Capt.

C------------------------ C-------------------------,

who was suddenly kil'd
by being thrown from
a waggon, Oct. 24, 1815
aged 61.
Make ev'ry day a critic on the past,
And live each hour as if it were your last.

This man's wife had died but half a year before him, and lies beside him. Her gravestone testifies,

Thrice happy Christian! who, when time is o'er
Enters the realms of bliss, to die no more.

A large brown sandstone slab near by marks the grave of a man who died at 39, in 1817. He pleads with those who visit his resting place,

Go not away till you have made
Thy God thy friend, the grave thy bed,
Then chearful you may come again
And sleep with me among the dead.

And a man who died in 1814 at the age of 21 pleads,

The grave is now my home,
But soon I hope to rise;
Mortals behold my tomb;
Keep death before your eyes.

An admonition of another sort comes from the grave of a man who died at 54 in 1799, and though we wonder at a skilled engraver so illiterate as to put “affirs” for “affairs” and “trimble” for “tremble,” the advice might be well taken.

Mortals be dumb, what creture dare
Dispute his awfull will,
Ask no account of his affirs,
But trimble and be still.

D. L. Moody speaks of listening to the tolling of the funeral bell when he was a boy, once for every year of the age of the deceased. It was a solemn thing to hear the bell toll out his own young age. I was reminded of this while copying the following solemn appeal from the grave of a man who died in 1800 at the age of 46, which is my own age:

Ye living mortals, view the ground
Where soon your clay must lie,
Nor leave this spot till you have found
That you must shortly die.

One of the very best admonitions, for both form and substance, which I have found, comes from a black slate marker over the grave of a young wife who died in 1809, aged 28. It reads,

Mortals attend, for you must die,
And sleep in dust as well as I.
Repent in time your souls to save.
There's no repentance in the grave.

Beside this eloquent preacher lies her husband, who, however, had other things to think about when death took him, for he died six years after her, at the age of 36, apparently leaving their dear children orphans. To them and to his God he appeals from his grave:

Farewell my Children whom I love,
Your better Parent is above,
When I am gone he may supply,
To him I leave you when I die.

Very near these lies the body of another eloquent preacher, who died in 1826, aged 79. From the gray marble which marks his grave comes the solemn appeal,

O if you knew as much as I,
You quickly would prepare to die.

I trust I have not wearied the living with these walks among the dead. Nay, I trust I have profited them. “The living know that they shall die” (Eccl. 9:5), but how little do we lay it to heart, until the summons comes. And though I hope to end my earthly career in the air, and not in the ground, yet if the Lord delays his coming, death will summon us all. Let us all lay to heart the solemn admonitions of them who being dead yet speak, and we shall be ready.

The Missing Tears

by Glenn Conjurske

There is power in tears. Tears move the heart. Women know this, and are not afraid to show their tears when occasion calls for them. Yea, children know this, and freely----often too freely----employ their tears to move the hearts of their parents. But somehow the men of our day seem to have missed this, and the most of them are afraid to be seen with a tear on their face. If that were all, it were a small problem, but there is something much worse: many of the men of our day are unable to weep----at least, not under ordinary circumstances. Their hearts are too cold, or too hard. They are too much intellect, and too little emotion, and this, alas, they may regard as a strength or a virtue. But this is no strength, but a great weakness. The God who created the human constitution created within it an invisible link between the heart and the eyes. The feelings----whether of joy, of sorrow, of love, or of innumerable and undefinable other emotions----the feelings of a feeling heart naturally open the fountains of tears. This it is which gives power to tears, for as an ancient English proverb says, “What comes from the heart goes to the heart.” Where no tears flow, this is a general (though not infallible) indication of an unfeeling heart. It belongs to human nature----and among the rest, to manhood----to weep. “Jesus wept.” Jesus, the man of true masculine strength, who quailed not before any, but fearlessly spoke the truth to every man on every occasion, who overturned the tables of the money-changers, and drove them out of the temple with a scourge of small cords. “Jesus wept.”

And Paul wept. This strong man who could endure prisons and stonings and shipwrecks, who could give his back to the rod and the scourge, who could encourage the desponding sailors in the midst of the raging storm at sea, and who could face the angry mob and speak faithfully for his God----Paul wept. And Paul wept habitually. His tears gave character (and power) to all of his ministry. To the Ephesians he says, “Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears.” (Acts 20:19). And again, “I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:31). To the Philippians he says, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Phil. 3:18). To the Corinthians he says, “Out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears.” (II Cor. 2:4). It appears, then, that whether Paul was serving, or writing, or preaching, he was often doing so “with many tears.” And it plainly appears also that he was not ashamed of the fact.

Nor is it anything to be ashamed of. It is not weakness, but strength. It is the dry eyes of which we ought to be ashamed----the dry eyes which betray the cold heart----the dry eyes which betray the hard, unfeeling heart, the heart which is too full of self, and too empty of love, the heart which is not broken with “great heaviness and continual sorrow” over the plight of perishing immortal souls----here is the real and proper cause of shame. John R. Rice relates his own experience thus: “When I first began preaching, I remember how I wept from the beginning to the end of my sermons. I was embarrassed about it. This was wholly unlike the college debating, the commencement addresses and other public speaking to which I had been accustomed. The tears flowed down my cheeks almost continually, and I was so broken up that sometimes I could scarcely talk. Then I grew ashamed of my tears and longed to speak more logically. As I recall, I asked the Lord to give me better control of myself as I preached. My tears soon vanished and I found I had only the dry husk of preaching left. Then I begged God to give me again the broken heart, the concern, even if it meant tears in public, and a trembling voice.”1

Alas, others have lost their tears for worse reasons than being ashamed of them. Intellectual pursuits dry up the hearts of some. Worldliness causes the hearts of others to grow cold. Controversy embitters the spirits of others. The tears cease to flow. The rivers of living water are replaced by dry husks, and the power which was wont to move the hearts of men departs. Christmas Evans tells how the spirit of controversy dried up his tears and robbed him of his power. He says, “The Sandemanian system affected me so far as to quench the spirit of prayer for the conversion of sinners, and it induced in my mind a greater regard for the smaller things of the kingdom of heaven than for the greater. I lost the strength which clothed my mind with zeal, confidence, and earnestness in the pulpit for the conversion of souls to Christ. My heart retrograded, in a manner, and I could not realize the testimony of a good conscience. Sabbath nights, after having been in the day exposing and vilifying with all bitterness the errors that prevailed, my conscience felt as if displeased, and reproached me that I had lost nearness to, and walking with God. It would intimate that something exceedingly precious was now wanting in me; I would reply, that I was acting in obedience to the word; but it continued to accuse me of the want of some precious article. I had been robbed, to a great degree, of the spirit of prayer and of the spirit of preaching.”2

He continued a long time “as dry as Gilboa.” But at length he found his way back to the fountain of living waters, and learned to weep again. Of this he says, “I was weary of a cold heart towards Christ, and his sacrifice, and the work of his Spirit----of a cold heart in the pulpit, in secret prayer, and in the study. For fifteen years previously, I had felt my heart burning within, as if going to Emmaus with Jesus. On a day ever to be remembered by me, as I was going from Dolgelley to Machynlleth, and climbing up towards Cadair Idris, I considered it to be incumbent upon me to pray, however hard I felt my heart, and however worldly the frame of my spirit was. Having begun in the name of Jesus, I soon felt as it were the fetters loosening, and the old hardness of heart softening, and, as I thought, mountains of frost and snow dissolving and melting within me. This engendered confidence in my soul in the promise of the Holy Ghost. I felt my whole mind relieved from some great bondage: tears flowed copiously, and I was constrained to cry out for the gracious visits of God, by restoring to my soul the joy of his salvation;----and that he would visit the churches of Angelsea, that were under my care. I embraced in my supplications all the churches of the saints, and nearly all the ministers in the principality by their names. This struggle lasted for three hours: it rose again and again, like one wave after another, or a high flowing tide, driven by a strong wind, until my nature became faint by weeping and crying. Thus I resigned myself to Christ, body and soul, gifts and labors----all my life----every day and every hour that remained for me;----and all my cares I committed to Christ.----The road was mountainous and lonely, and I was wholly alone, and suffered no interruption in my wrestlings with God.

“From this time, I was made to expect the goodness of God to churches and to myself. Thus the Lord delivered me and the people of Anglesea from being carried away by the flood of Sandemanianism. In the first religious meetings after this, I felt as if I had been removed from the cold and sterile regions of spiritual frost, into the verdant fields of the divine promises.”3

Those who have lost their tears may find them again. It may require some deep searching of soul, and some deep repentance, but they may find again their tears, and the power of them. Alas, those preachers who never had any tears to lose are in a worse way. What shall be done for the cold, dry hearts which have never learned to flow out in tears? And are not these the majority of the preachers of the present day? Yet the Bible says, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:5-6). The tearless preaching and praying of the present day is not the normal state of things, nor is it in any way healthy, but only one more indication of the extremely low state to which the church is sunk.

Speaking of the apostle Paul, John Angell James writes, “O those tears, those tears; how they reprove us for our insensibility, and how they prove to us our deficiencies.”4 But Paul was not alone in weeping out the message of God to the souls of his hearers. Look where we will through the recorded history of the church, and scan the names of all the great preachers, and we shall find tears on the faces of all of them. Richard Baxter, Whitefield and the Wesleys, Freeborn Garrettson and Jesse Lee, Charles G. Finney and D. L. Moody, Adoniram Judson and Jonathan Goforth, Sam Hadley and Gipsy Smith----these all preached with tears.

If we search hard, however, we may find a great preacher who did not weep when he preached. R. A. Torrey was such a one. He did have power, and yet preached without weeping. He was intellectual, and showed little emotion. But who would dare to take Torrey as a pattern, before the apostle Paul, and almost all the great preachers of all the ages? Torrey's coldness was regarded by himself as a deficiency, and it undoubtedly was so. When he saw a leaflet entitled, “Wanted a baptism with fire,” his response was, “I said: `That is precisely what I do want; if there is anybody on this earth that needs fire it is I,' for I was born, and had grown up cold as an iceberg.”5 Yet when his heart had been warmed by the love of God, he was no iceberg. He was apparently too sophisticated to show his emotions, but this did not mean that he had none. Though both are lacking something that belongs to true human nature, there is a great difference between a man who does not show his emotions, and a man who has none to show. Torrey was of the former sort, but definitely not of the latter. He had enough emotion to shout for joy, but too much sophistication to do it in public. Of this he says, “I was not brought up to shout in meeting. I was brought up in the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches. I never heard anyone say `Amen' except where it came in the regular place in the service until after I was in the ministry, and the first time a man said `Amen' when I was preaching it so upset me that I nearly lost the thread of my discourse. I cannot shout to this day in public, but, oh, when alone with God and His Book sometimes such a joy sweeps into the soul that nothing but a shout will give relief.”6 And elsewhere he says on the same subject, “How often have I reached home at night after a hard day's labour, completely tired out. But before I go to bed I open my Bible (don't think that is the only time I study my Bible) get down on my knees, and ask God to give me something out of the Bible as I read, and God opens up His purposes of love, and as I read His wonderful promises my tired heart forgets its weariness, and I fairly shout for joy. I never shout in public----I wonder that I don't----but when I am all alone by myself and with my God, and with my Bible, I shout, I cannot help it.”7 Clearly, the man had some genuine emotion, and after all, who would not much sooner have a man who shouted for joy when he was alone with God, and not in the pulpit, than the other way around? The former is real, the latter a fraud.

And so it is with tears. The man who weeps in public, and not in private, is an actor, not a preacher. Far better that a man should not weep at all, than that he should weep only in the pulpit. In this connection one who knew Gipsy Smith well speaks thus of him:

“When first I watched him in his meetings and saw the tears running down his own cheeks as he told a story that brought tears to the eyes of his hearers, I wondered. It could not be superb acting. No, it was not. The time came when I saw him behaving in exactly the same way when there was no crowd. I saw him weep, when practically alone, in the forest where he was born; in the lane where his mother died. He can no more keep back the tears when he thinks of the past, of those he has loved, of the dying boys to whom he ministered in France, that he could stem the Atlantic ocean.”8 The tears belonged to his nature, and they were too strong an element of his nature to be kept in merely because men were watching him.

But to return to R. A. Torrey. Of his preaching and its effects we are told, “Dr Torrey, it is true, is not an emotional man. He cannot weep with men, as other great preachers have done, as he pleads with them to come to Christ, for he is not built on that plan, and his appeal is more to the intelligence, the common-sense, and the conscience than to the heart. But yet there is a wonderful softness in his nature. Listen to him as he faces a crowd of drunken men and women and tells them of the love of Jesus. No word of reproach falls from his lips. In simple language he speaks of the Saviour's love in such a manner that the hardest conscience is awakened and the coldest heart touched. Tenderly does he plead with them to quit sin----so tenderly and lovingly that tears steal down the grimy faces, and miracles of grace are numbered by the hundred.”9

Now this seems a rather strange thing----that he who sheds no tears himself should draw them from the eyes of those who hear him. But when we look deeper, we may plainly see that the man was neither cold nor hard. When he spoke on “Future Punishment” at the World Conference on Christian Fundamentals, he said, “I cannot tell you the pain I have in my heart every time I speak on that subject. I have lain on my face before God and sobbed as I have thought of what the Bible clearly teaches on the subject, and thought also of what it involves. I believe I would gladly die in agony and shame if thereby I could make it sure that all men would somewhere, sometime, somehow be brought to repentance and thus saved. To me the doctrine of Future Punishment is not a mere matter of speculative theory that I could discuss without emotion in cold intellectuality.”10 There were tears in his heart, and they freely flowed out when he was alone with his God, though some quirk in his nature----some false shame or social sophistication----held them back in the presence of others. This was a deficiency in him, no doubt. Yet when he spoke, the tenderness of tears was in his preaching, and that tenderness made its way to the hearts of his hearers. Torrey was something out of the ordinary in this respect, and, with the copious tears of Paul before us, we dare not take him as our pattern. Much less do we dare use him as our excuse, when we do not sob on our faces before God for the souls of men, when that “wonderful softness” of his nature does not pervade our own, or when that loving and tender pleading of his does not flow from our lips, and when those who hear us are not melted to tears as his hearers were. Usually the missing tears are as fatal to the power of a man's ministry as the missing links are to the theory of evolution. The missing tears are the telltale sign of the coldness and hardness of the heart. There are no tears on the cheek because there are none in the heart. We love the ministry, and even the work of the ministry, but do we love the souls of men? We love the work of the study, and of the pulpit, but we cannot say with the Psalmist, “Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.” (Psalm 119:136). And onward and downward they go to their doom, still not keeping his law, for our lukewarm, dry-eyed praying cannot move the heart of God, and our cold, tearless preaching cannot move the hearts of men. We desperately need a “water baptism” such as the most of us have never dreamed of----a baptism of tears. We need a different kind of preaching, and a different kind of praying, and we need to begin with the prayer,

“God give us tears.”


The Love Chapter

From the First Printed New Testament in English,

Translated by William Tyndale

[After the editor had long sought for Francis Fry's facsimile edition of William Tyndale's 1526 New Testament, without success, a good friend has at length procured a photocopy for me. From this I present to the reader a facsimile of “The Love Chapter,” (I Cor. 13), as it appeared in the first New Testament printed in the English Language, followed by the same in modern type, with the contracted letters of the original printed in italics. ----editor.]

Though I speake with the tonges of men and angels/ and yet had no love/ I were even as soundynge brasse: and as a tynklynge Cynball. and though I coulde prophesy/ and vnderstode all secretes/ and all knowldege: yee/ if I had all fayth so that I coulde move mountayns oute of there places/ and yet had no love/ I were nothynge. And though I bestowed all my gooddes to fede the povre/ and though I gave body even that I burned/ and yet have no love/ it profeteth me nothynge.

Love suffreth longe/ and is corteous. love envieth nott. Love doth nott frawardly/ swelleth not/ dealeth not dishonestly/ seketh nott her awne/ is not provoked to anger/ thynketh not evyll reioyseth not in iniquite: but reioyseth in the trueth/ suffreth all thynge/ beleveth all thynges hopeth all thynges/ endureth in all thynges. Though that prophesyinge fayle/ other tonges shall cease/ or knowledge vanysshe awaye: yet love falleth never awaye.

For oure knowledge is vnparfet/ and oure prophesyinge is vnperfet: but when thatt which is parfet is come: then that which is vnparfet shall be done awaye. When I was a chylde/ I spake as a chylde/ I vnderstode as a childe/ I ymmagened as a chylde: but as sone as I was a man I put awaye all childesshnes. Nowe we se in a glasse even in a darke speakynge: but then shall we se face to face. Nowe I knowe vnparfectly: but then shall I knowe even as I am knowen. Nowe abideth fayth/ hope/ and love/ even these thre: but the chefe of these is love.

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