Why Did Noah Build the Ark?
by Glenn Conjurske
A Sermon Preached on May 9, 1993. Recorded, Transcribed,
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
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
----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
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
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
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
----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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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.
by Glenn Conjurske
Wherever we go in this sin-cursed world we meet with graves
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
to the memory of Capt.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- C ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -----,
who was suddenly kil'd
by being thrown from
a waggon, Oct. 24, 1815
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
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
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
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
----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
God give us tears.
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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
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.
Old articles are reprinted without alteration (except for corrections
of printing errors), unless stated otherwise. The editor inserts articles
by other writers if they are judged profitable for scriptural instruction
or historical information, without endorsing everything in them. The editor's
own views are to be taken from his own writings.