by Glenn Conjurske
Solitude is a commodity which is as valuable as it is rare in modern
----and it is valuable not only because it is rare, like some old
postage stamp, but because of its own intrinsic worth. To be alone is
wholesome. To be alone is profitable. But solitude is little known and
little valued today. It is sought by few, and positively avoided by many.
And those who do value it, and crave it and seek it, may find it hard
to obtain in this world of hustle and bustle and clatter and clutter.
And this is no doubt exactly as the enemy of our souls would have it.
Modern civilization, under the undoubted control of the god of this world,
has complicated our lives, engrossed our time, flooded our spirits with
hurry and business, and cluttered our minds with a thousand thoughts which
our ancestors never had occasion to think. Solitude is not so easy to
come by now as it was a century or two ago, and those who would have it
now must make the greater effort to obtain it ----an effort, however, for
which they will be well repaid.
But some are no doubt ready to ask, What is the great value of solitude?
First of all, to think
----to be alone with our own thoughts, far away
from the hurry and clutter of the world ----to reason, to muse and meditate,
to ponder and reflect, to search and study ourselves, to wrestle with
the knotty questions which trouble our souls ----to remember ----to dream.
Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide. (Gen. 24:63).
He went out. He sought a place of solitude, to be alone with his thoughts.
But meditation is a lost art in modern society. Men do not seek the place
of solitude, but avoid it, and if they are forced to be alone, they must
have a radio or tape player pumping sound into their ears. And Christians,
who would not listen to the world's radio or recordings, must have Christian
radio and Christian recordings, to mar their solitude and destroy their
quiet. Is it any wonder that the age in which we live is so extremely
shallow? Depth is impossible without meditation, and meditation is scarcely
possible without solitude. The Christian radio and recordings are just
as destructive of this as the worldly. They may not be so polluting, but
they are just as destructive of solitude.
But there is another reason for solitude, more compelling than being alone
with our own thoughts, that is, to be alone with God. Why is this so little
valued? Alone with God! Alone with the Creator of the universe!
spoke the starry heavens into being with his word ----who painted the wing
of the butterfly, and the petals of a myriad of flowers, and spoke their
fragrances into existence with a word ----who by the same word breathed
the melodies into the throats of a thousand feathered flutes. Alone with
omnipotence! Alone with eternal wisdom! Alone with the fountain of living
waters! Alone with LOVE, and with his ear bowed to my petition. What a
wonder, that the human race ----yea, the church of God ----so little desires
But let none imagine that I mean to say that a man ought to be always
alone with God, or that it would be wise or wholesome so to be. Man was
created by God with a need within him for human companionship, and no
amount of solitude with God can fulfil that need. It was of sinless man,
free altogether from the unrestrained appetites which reign in the breasts
of his fallen posterity
----it was of sinless man, privileged every day
to walk in unhampered communion with the living God ----it was of sinless
man that God said, It is not good that man should be alone. His communion
with God could not satisfy his need for human love. To affirm that it
can, or that it ought to, is not spirituality, but hyperspirituality,
such as shall meet with only determined opposition from me.
But though it is neither wise nor good to be always alone, yet it is good
to be much alone. We all take the Lord Jesus Christ as our example, and
when we look into the New Testament at the life which he lived on the
earth, we find him often in solitude.
We read in Matthew 14:22-23, And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples
to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he
sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he
went up into a mountain apart to pray, and when the evening was come,
he was there alone. Here we see him seeking solitude, and taking such
measures as were necessary to obtain it. He had gone out into the desert
in the first place to be alone. When Jesus heard of it [the death of
John the Baptist], he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart:
and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of
the cities. (Verse 13). Thus was he deprived of the solitude which he
sought. When the day was far spent, therefore, he constrained his
disciples to depart to the other side
----compelled them, for so the word
means. That being done, he sent the multitudes away ----and retired to
his beloved solitude ----up into a mountain apart to pray, and when the
even was come, he was there alone ----and there he remained from evening
till the fourth watch of the night. And here, by the way, is a hint for
those who seek solitude and cannot find it. Should the business and company
of the day deprive you of the solitude your soul needs and craves, the
night is open before you. Your Savior often used it to be alone.
We see him thus again in Mark 1:35. And in the morning, rising up a
great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place,
and there prayed. Again in Luke 6:12, And it came to pass in those
days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night
in prayer to God.
Again in Luke 5:14-16. Having healed a leper, he charged him to tell
no man; . . . but so much the more went there a fame abroad of him, and
great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their
infirmities. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
His ministry always threatened to deprive him of his solitude, and this
is no doubt one of the primary reasons that he so often charged those
he had healed to tell no man. Yea, He straitly charged them, and commanded
them to tell no man that thing
----that he was the Christ of God.
(Luke 9:20-21). He was too thronged with crowds already. And as much as
he loved the people, and as thoroughly as he was committed to serving
them, communion with God was more to him than all of that, and he withdrew
himself into the wilderness to obtain it.
Thus he sought solitude. He went out. He withdrew himself into the
wilderness. He went up into a mountain apart. He sought solitude
at the times and in the places where he knew he could find it.
So also have many of the greatest of his servants. I have often supposed
that one reason for the great power of the early Methodist preachers is
that they spent so much time alone. They were forced to it, by their itinerant
system, but its effect was most beneficial. Without having been there
to hear the difference, we can yet easily feel it in the following description
of the earlier and later preaching of Henry Bascom, who left the Methodist
itinerancy to become a college president: Those who never heard him
till after his soul had been caged in the cramped and narrow cell of scholastic
study, and shorn of its freshness, strength, and power, by inhaling the
atmosphere of a pent-up city life, can have but faint conception of what
he was, when he communed with nature and nature's God, and breathed the
pure air of the mountain, in the bright and palmy days of his itinerant
John Wesley, who stood at the head of all the Methodists, has this to
say of himself: It is true that I travel four or five thousand miles
in a year. But I generally travel alone in my carriage, and consequently
am as retired ten hours in a day as if I was in a wilderness. On other
days [when not travelling] I never spend less than three hours (frequently
ten or twelve) in the day alone. So there are few persons in the kingdom
who spend so many hours secluded from all company.
And Francis Asbury, the apostle of American Methodism, speaks often of
his beloved solitude. I give a few extracts from his journal. The date
of each, and his age when he wrote it, will be found in the notes.
My mind is quiet and serene. I am now free from company, which is very
pleasing to me, having found that much company is both disagreeable and
Employed in reading and writing. I wish to be alone
----O how sweet is
I was pleased to enjoy the privilege of retiring alone to the cooling
sylvan shades in frequent converse with my best Friend.
I feel it necessary to retire and humble myself before the Lord: I have
been crowded with company, and have had much talk, and I find a solitary
walk very agreeable.
How sweet to me are all the moving and still-life scenes which now surround
me on every side!
----The quiet country-houses; the fields and orchards,
bearing the promise of the fruitful year; the flocks and herds, the hills
and vales, and dewy meads; the gliding streams and murmuring brooks; and
thou, too, solitude ----with thy attendants, silence and meditation ----how
dost thou solace my pensive mind after the tempest of fear, and care,
and tumult, and talk experienced in the noisy, bustling city!
I too have my sufferings, perhaps, peculiar to myself: pain and temptation
one of the body, and the other of the spirit: no room to retire to ----that
in which you sit common to all ----crowded with women and children ----the
fire occupied by cooking ----much and long loved solitude not to be found,
unless you choose to run out into the rain, in the woods: six months in
the year I have had, for thirty-two years, occasionally, to submit to
what will never be agreeable to me; but the people, it must be confessed,
are amongst the kindest souls in the world. But kindness will not make
a crowded log cabin, twelve feet by ten, agreeable: without are cold and
rain; and within, six adults, and as many children, one of which is all
motion; the dogs too, must sometimes be admitted. ... ----poor Bishop!
But we must endure it for the elect's sake.
I was sometimes ready to wish I had no company, and no observations
to make to hinder my constant communion with God.
I must take the road again. Oh, what sweetness I feel as I steal along
through the solitary woods! I am sometimes ready to shout aloud, and make
all vocal with the praises of His grace who died, and lives, and intercedes
I retire to sacred solitude, and great and delightful communion with
So frequent are the visits of the people to talk or to do business,
that I have not time to think or to pray, scarcely: I bear it all patiently.
I preached at the Two Mile Stone, and retired to George Suckley's. I resemble
my Master in one thing
----I cannot be hid ----they find me out.
At Dover my dear friends who had not seen me for one and two years visited
me and led me into conversation the whole afternoon. It is hard, think
they, that we cannot see him; so it might be thought in every place; but
do they always remember the hardship they impose on me? so we go.
Thus did this man of God value his soltiude and communion with God, feel
it when he was deprived of it, and seek it whenever he could. And is it
any wonder that a man who speaks thus of his delight in being alone with
God can speak with power to the souls of men when he comes out from his
solitude? One last extract from his journal I give to the reader. I have
kept it out of its chronological place, in order to present it last:
Now, I say to my body, return to thy labour; to my soul, return to thy
rest, and pure delight in reading, meditation, and prayer, and solitude.
The shady groves are witness to my retired and sweetest hours: to sit,
and melt, and bow alone before the Lord, whilst the melody of the birds
warbles from tree to tree
Pardon me, friends, but oh, how my heart yearns when I read such a statement.
Oh, how I long to be away from the busy world, in the quiet place of solitude,
alone with God! But I do not only yearn and long: I seek it, and find
it. And how I hope that the words which I here pen, and the words which
Asbury penned two centuries ago, may inspire the same yearning and the
same seeking in the hearts of my readers.
But I take my leave of Asbury, and turn again to the Scriptures. There
can be no doubt that solitude was a great part of the preparation of men
of God like Moses and David, who kept the sheep in the wilderness, and
we might suppose that they turned again instinctively to that solitude
when the heavy burden of caring for the flock of God rested upon their
shoulders. Moses we see in such a time of solitude in Exodus 34. And
the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first:
and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables,
which thou brakest. And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning
unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.
And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout
all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount.
(Verses 1-3). In spite of all of his responsibilities, Moses was ready
on short notice for such a call, and rose up early in the morning, and
went up unto mount Sinai. (Vs. 4). And he was there with the Lord
forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread nor drink water.
Now picture some of our modern young people receiving such a call from
----yea, some of our modern preachers. They would be pacing to and
fro, or sitting with folded arms and restless spirit, looking this way
and that, and saying, It sure is boring up here! There isn't anything
to do! It's too quiet here! This silence is too much for me! There's nobody
to talk to! Thus they speak when they are alone with God! But we write
not a word to discourage or reproach anyone. There are several factors
which explain such a state of things. The first is, we all relate much
more easily to our fellow mortals than we do to God. We understand them,
and we need them. And they respond audibly and visibly to us. This is
understandable. Well, then, take a book in your hand, and go alone with
John Wesley or George Whitefield. For many years the best ----and often
almost the only ----fellowship I had was with my books, and thus I got
to know John and Charles Wesley, and D. L. Moody, and R. A. Torrey, and
Sam Hadley, and Gipsy Smith, and C. H. Spurgeon, and Martin Luther, and
William Tyndale, and a host of others ----for all these, being dead, yet
But another factor is that we so little know God. We might have been bored
in the presence of him who is now our best friend, before we knew him
as we now do. Young folks in love, who can scarcely bear to be out of
each other's sight, may once have been bored together, before they knew
each other. If we but knew God, how would we delight in his presence.
But perhaps the biggest factor is that we so little feel our need for
God. We are too well provided for, too worldly-wise, and we fail even
to feel our need to pray, Give us this day our daily bread. We too
little feel the weakness of the flesh, or our need to pray, Lead us
not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. We feel no need to watch
and pray. We are too self-sufficient, and we lightly take up burdens
which angels would tremble to carry. The wisdom of years, and the scourging
of the Father's hand, will hopefully teach us better.
But to return to Moses on Mount Sinai. He was there with the Lord forty
days and forty nights. And it came to pass, when Moses came down from
mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came
down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone
while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel
saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone. (Vss. 29-30). When Moses
came down from the mount, he had in his hands something from God to communicate
to the people, and his face shone with the glory of God. So we will find
it also when we have learned the secrets of solitude.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -----
First John 5:7
by Glenn Conjurske
At some time or other the reader has doubtless read or heard that I John
5:7 is not inspired Scripture, and does not belong in the Bible, but was
probably left wondering what facts such an assertion was based upon. On
the other side, some of the advocates of the modern doctrines of the perfection
of the Textus Receptus and the King James Version have gone the length
of affirming that no Bible is of God if it does not contain I John 5:7.
Obviously, both of these positions cannot be true. What I shall endeavor
to do in this article is simply to set the facts of the matter before
the reader, so that he may judge of the question himself, and judge also
of the soundness of the modern theories which set all of those facts at
We have two questions to answer:
1.How did I John 5:7 gain its place in the Textus Receptus of the
Greek New Testament?
2.How did it gain its place in the English Bible?
As to the first question, we must begin by informing the reader that he
might take up almost any manuscript of the Greek New Testament in the
-----ancient or modern, Syrian, Alexandrian, Western,
Egyptian, Antiochian, or what have you ----and he will NOT find
I John 5:7 in it. But he may turn to any printed edition of the Textus
Receptus, and he will find I John 5:7 in that. How did such a thing come
----that a verse which is not in the Greek manuscripts should be
found in the printed Greek New Testament? We need not conjecture on this
point, for the actual history of the printed Textus Receptus is in our
hands. To the facts of that history I direct the reader:
For nearly 1500 years the Greek New Testament was reproduced only by hand-written
copies (manuscripts), as printing was then unknown. These manuscripts
contain numerous variations
----some of them being accidental errors, and
others being purposeful alterations ----and no two manuscripts contain
exactly the same text. Some time after printing had been invented, certain
learned men gathered together a few of these manuscripts, in order to
compare them and seek to edit an accurate text of the Greek New Testament,
in order to print it. The first published Greek New Testament was the
work of Erasmus, and was issued in 1516. This Greek New Testament did
not contain I John 5:7, for the very simple reason that the verse was
not in the Greek manuscripts. As soon as his Testament was issued, however,
Erasmus was attacked, by those who regarded the Latin Vulgate as the final
authority, for omitting the verse. He replied that he had not omitted
anything, for he could not omit what was never there, and it was none
of his business to add it. In 1519 he published his second edition, still
without I John 5:7. He was further hounded, and at length he promised
that if anyone could find a single Greek manuscript which contained the
verse, he would insert it in his next edition.
More on that anon. First we must back up a little. One of Erasmus's foremost
opponents in this matter was Stunica. He was the primary editor of the
Greek New Testament of the Complutensian Polyglot. When Erasmus's Greek
New Testament appeared in 1516, the Complutensian Greek New Testament
had already been in print for two years, though it had not yet been published,
as it was awaiting the completion of the Old Testament. It was not given
to the public until 1522. This New Testament contained the Latin Vulgate
in one column, and the Greek in the other. It contained I John 5:7. In
the controversy between Stunica and Erasmus, the latter inquired by what
authority the Complutensian editors had inserted l John v.7, and whether
they really had MSS. so different from any that Erasmus himself had seen:
to this the answer was given by Stunica, `You must know that the copies
of the Greeks are corrupted; that OURS, however, contain the very truth.'
By ours he meant of course the manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate, and
Stunica's statement is really an admission that his Greek manuscripts
did not contain the verse, but that he had in fact forced the verse into
the Greek New Testament on the sole authority of the Latin manuscripts,
which he regarded as containing the very truth. Thus it will be seen,
by the way, that the principle of Peter Ruckman and his kind, of correcting
the Greek from the English, is no new thing. Nearly five hundred years
ago men dared to correct the Greek original from the Latin version, which
they regarded as the final authority. Today they dare to correct the Greek
original from the English version, which they regard as the final authority.
But to return to Erasmus, he likely made his promise in the confidence
that no manuscript of the Greek New Testament would ever be found which
contained I John 5:7. But within a year after his promise was made, somebody
came forth with one, and Erasmus inserted the verse in his third edition,
----not because he supposed the verse to be genuine, but to redeem
his rash promise.
The manuscript thus forthcoming was called Codex Britannicus by Erasmus,
but has since been designated Codex Dubliensis (from its location), or,
usually, Codex Montfortianus (from a former owner). Of this manuscript
Adam Clarke says, I am rather inclined to think it the work of an unknown
bold critic, who formed a text from one or more MSS. in conjunction with
the Vulgate, and was by no means sparing of his own conjectural emendations;
for it contains many various readings which exist in no other MS. yet
discovered. On the character of the same manuscript Bishop Marsh is
cited as follows: The influence of the Church of Rome in the composition
of the Dublin manuscript, is most conspicuous in the text of that manuscript,
which is a servile imitation of the Latin Vulgate. It will be sufficient
to mention how it follows the Vulgate at the place in question. It not
only agrees with the Vulgate, in the insertion of the seventh verse: it
follows the Vulgate also at the end of the sixth verse, having cristo",
where all other Greek manuscripts have pneuma: and in the eighth verse
it omits the final clause which had never been omitted in the Greek manuscripts,
and was not omitted even in the Latin manuscripts before the thirteenth
Such was the manuscript, on the authority of which Erasmus admitted
I John 5:7 into his Greek New Testament. This solitary manuscript has
since found an ally in the Codex Ottobonianus, in the Vatican library.
Ottobonianus is a Greek and Latin manuscript, with the Latin Vulgate in
the left-hand column, and the Greek text in the right-hand column. The
Greek text of this manuscript has also been altered in many places to
make it agree with the Latin Vulgate. There are also a couple of manuscripts
which contain the verse in the margin, added by a recent hand, and a very
late manuscript which is a mere copy of the printed Complutensian text,
but so far as I can learn, aside from these two there are no other Greek
manuscripts in the world which contain the verse in the text. And what
are these two? They are two late manuscripts, both of them belonging probably
to the fifteenth century
----written, in other words, at just about the
time that written manuscripts were superceded by printed books ----and
both of them Latinized in their text by the influence of the Vulgate.
These two witnesses +stand alone against all the other Greek manuscripts
But there is more. Not only do these two manuscripts stand alone against
all other Greek manuscripts in the world, in the fact that they contain
the verse, but they +stand alone against each other in the actual text
which they contain. Being independent translations into Greek from the
Latin Vulgate, they could hardly be expected to hit upon exactly the same
words in translating, and in fact they did not do so. Thus they prove
each other to be false witnesses, for their words do not agree together.
But there is yet more. Not only do they not agree with each other in the
text which they exhibit, but +neither one of them agrees with the Textus
Receptus. The following table will exhibit the actual contents of both
manuscripts, as well as the text of the Complutensian Polyglot (another
false witness, of the same character as the other two), and Erasmus's
third edition, beneath the common text of the Textus Receptus, as found
in Stephens' edition of 1550. These are arranged so that even the unlearned
reader, who knows nothing of Greek, may see how far they agree or differ;
and it will here appear that no two of the five of them contain the same
text. The table exhibits:
1. The Textus Receptus, Stephens' edition of 1550.
2. Codex Montfortianus.
3. Codex Ottobonianus.
4. The Complutensian Polyglot.
5. Erasmus's third edition, 1522.
Thus I have laid before the reader the plain facts of the matter, showing
both how I John 5:7 came to be inserted in the Textus Receptus, and also
upon what slender ground that insertion rests. I only turn aside here
to remark the folly of those who, with such facts of history within their
reach, in printed books, yet hold that the Textus Receptus contains the
Greek text perfectly preserved by God. Such doctrine is only systematized
ignorance, and the fact that it is held by so many of the leaders of Fundamentalism
is only one more proof of the extreme shallowness of the modern church.
And I venture to ask, if the Textus Receptus in I John 5:7 contains the
true and perfectly preserved text of the word of God, where was that text
perfectly preserved for a thousand years before the Textus Receptus existed?
Not in any Greek manuscript, for none of them written before the fifteenth
century contain the verse at all, and as it is now commonly read in the
Textus Receptus it is not contained in one manuscript under the sun, Syrian
or otherwise. If this is the true text, it was not preserved at all,
but rather restored by Erasmus in 1522
----and not quite restored even
then, for the text as Erasmus printed it in 1522 did not agree with the
present Textus Receptus. Where then was it preserved? Only in the
Latin Vulgate ----which the advocates of the modern doctrine of preservation
call the devil's Bible. But it was not preserved even in the Latin
Vulgate, for though forty-nine out of fifty of the later manuscripts of
the Vulgate contain it, it is absent from the older manuscripts of the
Vulgate, and some of those which do contain it have it only in the margin,
and others insert it in the text after verse 8. Moreover, it is absent
from the manuscripts of all other ancient versions. On this Scrivener
says, The disputed clause is not in any manuscript of the Peshitto,
nor in the best editions (e.g. Lee's): the Harkleian, Sahidic, Bohairic,
Ethiopic, Arabic do not contain it in any shape: scarcely any Armenian
codex exhibits it, and only a few recent Slavonic copies, the margin of
a Moscow edition of 1663 being the first to represent it. The Latin versions,
therefore, alone lend it any support, and even these are much divided.
Such are the facts about I John 5:7 in the Greek New Testament, and these
facts alone (were there no other) are sufficient to completely overturn
the theory of a perfectly preserved Greek text as it is found printed
in the Textus Receptus, or an English Bible which is perfect and without
error in the King James Version
----a very modern theory by the way,
which was never heard of in the world before the advent of our own shallow
generation, and a theory which sets all the facts at defiance, and which
discourages and condemns all inquiry into the facts.
But I must proceed to the second question before us: How did I John 5:7
gain the place which it holds in the English Bible? The answer to this
is simple enough. When William Tyndale first undertook to translate the
New Testament into English, he no doubt had in his hand the latest edition
of Erasmus's Greek Testament, the third edition of 1522
----in other words,
the same edition into which Erasmus had admitted I John 5:7 ----and from
that he translated. Yet Tyndale could hardly have been ignorant of the
controversy which raged about this verse. Moreover, he had also in his
hands Martin Luther's New Testament, which had also appeared in 1522,
and which did not contain I John 5:7. But we suppose that Tyndale was
pressed with difficulties enough to translate the text, besides hardships
and persecutions, that he did not concern himself with textual criticism,
but was content to translate the text before him. He says in his note
To the Reder at the conclusion of his first New Testament, Moreover/
even very necessitie and combraunce (God is recorde) above strengthe/
which I will not rehearce/ lest we shulde seme to bost oureselves/ caused
that many thynges are lackynge/ whiche necessaryly are requyred. Count
it as a thynge not havynge his full shape/ but as it were borne afore
hys tyme/ even as a thing begunne rather then fynesshed. At any rate,
when Tyndale gave this first New Testament to the world, it contained
I John 5:7, a facsimile of which follows:
Eight years passed ere he brought the work to what he then regarded as
his full shape (though he was afterwards to revise it twice more).
When he did so, in 1534, he retained the verse (with the wording slightly
altered), but set it off from the rest of the text, by putting it in parenthesis,
and printing it in smaller type, thus:
In his next revision, known as the GH edition, dated 1535/1534, the verse
was printed after the same manner, as follows:
In 1535 the first edition of the whole Bible appeared in print in English.
This was the work of Myles Coverdale. His New Testament was based on Tyndale,
but revised by himself. He also marked I John 5:7 as doubtful, though
he did not set it off as markedly as Tyndale had done, for he did not
print it in different type, nor did he bracket the words in earth
(though they stand on the same foundation as the rest of the bracketed
words). The verse appears thus in his first edition:
Tyndale, meanwhile, was not idle, and in 1535 he published The newe Testament
yet once agayne corrected by William Tyndall. Obviously nothing altered
in his opinion concerning I John 5:7, in this he set the verse off with
the same marks of doubt as in his former revisions. I give a facsimile
from a 1536 printing of this edition:
In 1537 came Matthew's Bible, which incorporated all that Tyndale had
done before his martyrdom in 1536. In this the verse appears exactly as
it had in Tyndale's revisions.
In 1539 appeared Richard Taverner's Bible. In this also the verse appeared
bracketed, and in smaller type, and with this note in the margin: This
that is printed in other charactes (after ye iugement of Erasme, in his
annotacions) be not the wordes of Iohn, the writer of this Epystle, but
seme to be put in, of some other.
In 1539 also appeared the Great Bible, under the editorship of Myles Coverdale.
It contained the verse, set off after the same manner as it was in the
New Testaments of Tyndale, Matthew, and Taverner. The 1540 revision of
the Great Bible marked it the same way, as did subsequent printings. The
following facsimile is from the 1540 edition:
During the short reign of the boy king, Edward VI, the printer Richard
Jugge published a revised edition of Tyndale's New Testament, apparently
at the king's behest, for in his dedication To the most puysaunt and
mightye Prince Edward the syxt he says, VVherunto are required, not
only true and faithfull ministers, but especiallye, that the bokes of
the holye scripture be well and truely translated and printed also, both
to take away all occasions of scismes and heresies, that by reason of
impropre translation and false printe many times do arise amonge the simple
and ignoraunt people, and also to stoppe the mouthes of the aduersarie
part, whych vpon suche faultes, take a boldenesse to blaspheme and misreport
this heauenly doctrine, nowe so plentifully set forth vnto vs, thorowe
your graces moste prudent and godlye carefulnesse. VVherin forasmuche
as semed to lacke no more to the absolute perfectnesse, but that one vndoubted
true impression mighte be had, wherunto in suche worde debates, men might
haue recourse and be resolued: Accordyng to the streyghte charge and commaundemente,
that I receaued of youre highnesse in that behalfe, I haue endeuoured
my selfe accordynge to my duetye and power, to put in print the newe Testament,
vsing thaduise and helpe of godly learned men, both in reducinge the same
to the trueth of the Greke text (appoynting oute also the diuersitye where
it happeneth) and also in the kepynge of the true ortographie of wordes.
This revision appeared in 1552. Jugge freely incorporated readings from
the Great Bible, and made revisions of his own. He removed the marks of
doubt which had stood in I John 5:7 ever since William Tyndale had placed
them there in 1534. The verse stands thus in his edition:
What moved Jugge to depart from the practice established
by his predecessors is unknown, but it was altogether in keeping with
the purpose of his edition, to remove doubts, and print one standard of
appeal for the settling of controversies. Jugge's edition was not the
first which removed those marks of doubt, for Francis Fry lists three
printings of Tyndale's New Testament in 1836 (printer unknown) which removed
them. Henry Cotton lists upwards of eighty Bibles and New Testaments printed
from 1536 to 1551, and I have not examined most of them, though the ones
I have checked contain the verse with the usual marks of doubt. The significance
of Jugge's revision of 1552 lies in the fact that it was used five years
later by William Whittingham as the basis for the Geneva New Testament
of 1557, which included I John 5:7 without note or mark. The Geneva Bible
of 1560 followed suit, as did the Bishops' Bible in 1568, and the King
James Version in 1611. Thus I John 5:7 came to stand in the Bible of the
English people. Whether it ought to be there may be well enough determined
by the facts set forth above.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- -----
Books and the Bible
by Glenn Conjurske
A Sermon Preached August 23, 1992. Recorded, Transcribed,
I am going to preach tonight on Books and the Bible. I know all of
you folks here are inclined
----some more and some less ----to read other
books besides the Bible. You all do so. How do you know that you ought
to? Can you prove from the Scriptures that you ought to? I always take
the ground ----have always taken the ground on this point ----that you don't
need to prove it from the Scriptures. It's something that is so obviously
right that even if you can't prove it from the Scriptures, you don't worry
about it, any more than you would worry about proving from the Scriptures
that you ought to eat ----or, what may be more to the purpose, that you
ought to eat certain kinds of food. How do you know you ought to eat peaches,
pears, and apricots? Why, you've tasted them, and found them good. You
know that they come from the hand of God, and experience proves them to
be good for you. That's all the proof you need. And the same three tests
would prove that the food for your soul, which you can find in books,
is just as surely of God and of faith as that food for your body ----even
if the Bible said nothing about it. But the fact is, you can prove from
the Bible that you ought to eat peaches, pears, and apricots. And you
can prove from the Bible that you ought to read books ----and that's what
I intend to do tonight.
Now in searching through the Scriptures on the subject, I was really amazed
at how much the Scriptures do have to say on it. What I'm going to do
is take you through the Scriptures themselves, and show you what the Scriptures
themselves have to say about other books
----books which are not in the
Bible ----and give you a basis to be able to defend what you do if somebody
else challenges you on it. Because this is a thing that will be challenged.
There are a lot of people who insist that to read other books besides
the Bible is in essence to overthrow the sufficiency of the Bible, and
they condemn the reading of other books on that basis. Now I want to show
you that doctrine in its true light tonight, but I'm going to save that
until the end. First of all I'm just going to take you through a number
of Scriptures, and show you what the Bible itself has to say about other
You can start with Numbers chapter 21, and while I'm showing you what
the Bible has to say about other books, I'm going to endeavor to point
out to you the implications of what the Bible says about them. Numbers
chapter 21 and verse 14 says, Wherefore it is said in the book of the
wars of the Lord, What he did in the Red Sea, and in the brooks of Arnon,
and at the stream of the brooks that goeth down to the dwelling of Ar,
and lieth upon the border of Moab. Now, here is the book of the wars
of the Lord that Moses is quoting from in writing the Pentateuch. In quoting
from this book, he obviously indicates it is worth quoting from, indicating
thus that there is something profitable in this book
----which is not Scripture.
The book of the wars of the Lord. What is it? Nobody knows. Why don't
we know? Well, because somewhere back in history the people of God were
apathetic and didn't care enough about preserving this book about the
wars of the Lord, which Moses regarded as profitable, and worth quoting
from in the very word of God.
Joshua chapter 10 and verse 13 reads, And the sun stood still, and the
moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies.
Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the
midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. What is
the book of Jasher? Never heard of it. But it's a book that recorded a
thing that Joshua was recording in Scripture, and it rather appears to
me that Joshua is referring to something here which is so unbelievable
that he calls another witness. If you don't believe what I've got to
say here, look in the book of Jasher. It's recorded there, too. Now,
this indicates in the first place that Joshua (who was a holy man of God,
because the Scripture says that the Scripture came not by the will of
man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost)
this holy man of God had obviously been reading the book of Jasher. I
don't know if the book of Jasher is a secular book, or a sacred book,
or what it is. But whatever it is, it was not a book inspired of God ----not
part of the canon of Scripture, but Joshua was reading it, and knew what
it had to say, and here refers to it to substantiate his own testimony.
Now I am going to move on to some references to the books of the Chronicles.
The first you'll find in the book of 1 Kings. We'll begin at
I Kings, chapter 14
----and I am not going to refer to all the references
to these books, but to just a few of them. I Kings chapter 14 and verse
19, And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred and how he reigned,
behold, they are written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of
Israel. Now the author of this book has just related a few acts concerning
King Jeroboam ----a very few. But he says the rest of his acts, how he
warred, and how he reigned, and everything about him, is all written in
the Books of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Now, what is this
Book of the Chronicles? Well, you say It is the scriptural Book of Chronicles.
No, it is not the scriptural Book of Chronicles, because there isn't any
more related there than there is here. Maybe not so much. He relates a
few things here, and then says, the rest of his acts, everything he
did, it's all written in the Books of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.
It cannot refer to the scriptural Book of Chronicles, because whatever
he did is not written in that scriptural Book of Chronicles. It's referring
simply to the daily Chronicles that were kept at the king's court, and
that is where the author of the Book of Kings got his information. And
he says in effect that if you want to know more about Jeroboam, that's
where you can find out. Now, in so saying He is indicating that there
is something profitable for you to know about Jeroboam that's not written
here. Something beyond the things which are written here in the Bible
is profitable for you to know, and this is where you can find it ----in
the Books of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel.
Now, in chapter 14 of I Kings, same chapter, the 29th verse, he says,
Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they
not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? Now,
here we have another reference
----The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah,
the same as the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. The daily chronicles
that were kept in the Royal court, perhaps written by the king himself,
or by his counselors or scribes or somebody, but the record of all the
royal acts. And he says in effect, I've written you a few things here
about king Rehoboam. If you want to know the rest of his life, it's all
written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah ----again,
implying there is something profitable for you to know in the life of
this man, and this is where you may find it.
Now, in Chapter 15 of the same book, and verse 7, we read, Now the rest
of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the
Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? Verse 23 of the same chapter,
The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he
did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the Book of
the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? Now you'll notice we have these
continual references to all that he did. This is not a reference to
the scriptural Book of Chronicles, because all that he did is not
written concerning any king in that Book of Chronicles. This is talking
about the journals kept at the courts of the kings, and the implication
is that there is something profitable for you to know there, and if you
want to know what it is, that's where you can find it. Thirty-one times
in this book he makes that statement. Why? Why would he refer to those
books of the Chronicles of the Kings thirty-one times?
----and over and
over say the rest of the things that he did, all his works, all his
wars, all the things he built, and so forth, everything he did, it's all
written in those books of the Chronicles of the Kings? Why would he
say that thirty-one times in this book? Obviously, he is indicating there's
something profitable for you to know there, and this is where you can
find it. It's obvious, too, that he had been studying these books of the
chronicles of these kings himself.
Now, one more verse in this 15th chapter
----verse 31: Now the rest of
the acts of Nadab, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book
of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel? The reason I refer to this
reference is this: some people will be hyperspiritual enough to contend
that we ought not to read anything outside of the Bible, and will object
to everything that I am saying about these books of the Chronicles of
the Kings of Israel and Judah, contending that the reference is really
to the scriptural books of Chronicles. But this one says concerning Nadab,
that the rest of his acts, and all that he did, are written in the Books
of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel. Is that the scriptural Book
of I Chronicles or II Chronicles? Absolutely impossible. There is not
one word about Nadab in the scriptural books of Chronicles. The reference
is to the secular books of the Chronicles kept at the king's court, and
the indication is that there is something profitable there for you to
know. Of course, everything which is profitable may not be necessary,
and we can't know those things any more. Those books are long since lost
and destroyed, along with many other things which would have been profitable,
had they been preserved. But we have other things which are profitable,
which we can know, and which you can find in the books of the chronicles
of the lives of the men of God of the present dispensation.
I Kings chapter 11, verse 41: And the rest of the acts of Solomon, and
all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the Book of the
Acts of Solomon? Now again, the implication is the same: There are
a good many other things about Solomon that would be profitable for you
to know. I don't have space to write them all here, but they are all written
in the Book of the Acts of Solomon. Wouldn't you like to get your hands
on that book? All the acts of Solomon! All his wisdom! Yes, and all his
follies and mistakes also. All the rest of the acts of Solomon. Wouldn't
you love to read that book? You can't. It's forever lost, by the apathy
and the carelessness of God's people. Nevertheless, the implication here
is, there are other books which are not Scripture which are profitable
to read. Now you'll observe that all of these books that we have talked
about thus far have been history books: the chronicles of the kings, The
Acts of Solomon, The Book of the Wars of the Lord
----they are all history
books. This is a good indication, by the way, of what kind of books it
is that are profitable for you to read. Biographies and histories. A good
share of the Bible itself is made up of that, and a good share of the
books which the Bible itself refers you to are history books.
Now if you will turn with me to the Book of I Chronicles, chapter 29,
we'll see a different sort of book. Verse 29, Now the acts of David
the King, first and last, behold, they are written in the Book of Samuel
the seer, and in the Book of Nathan the prophet, and in the Book of Gad
the seer. Now, wouldn't you like to get your hands on those books? The
acts of David
----first and last! His whole life story, which we have just
briefly told here in the Scriptures. Well, you say the book of Samuel
the seer, that may be our scriptural Book of Samuel, which does in fact
concern itself largely with the life of David. And you may be right. But
he also mentions the books of the prophets Gad and Nathan, and these are
placed alongside the book of Samuel, and all recommended together. Now
I do know something about Nathan. He was the man that came to David from
God with his parable, and said, Thou art the man. Wouldn't you like
to read his book? God himself here indicates that it is profitable ----but
II Chronicles, chapter 9 and verse 29, Now the rest of the acts of Solomon,
first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet,
and in the prophecy of Ahijah, the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo
the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat? Solomon was a great and
famous man, and his life was evidently written by many, as were the lives
of Wesley and Whitefield and Moody and Spurgeon, and the writer of this
scripture recommends them all. We have two more books mentioned here besides
the book of Nathan the prophet. We have the books of Ahijah and Iddo.
The last five of these books which have been mentioned in the past two
references, were all written by prophets of God. They are not inspired
Scripture, they are not part of the Bible, but they are written by prophets
of God. They are historical works concerning the acts, first and last,
of both David and Solomon, and God indicates by these references that
these things are profitable to be read. They are religious books, not
inspired Scripture, but religious books, written by men of God, and God's
indication is that there is something in them that you would do well to
Turn on with me to II Chronicles, chapter 12 verse 15. It's says, Now
the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book
of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning geneologies?
Here we have another one mentioned, the book of Shemaiah the prophet,
another godly man who wrote a book which is not part of the Bible, but
recommended by God in the Bible to be read. Profitable
----a book written
by a man of God. You know, all of these are what may be called religious
books. But I am going to go beyond that, because the Bible does, and
indicates that sometimes it may even be profitable for you to read secular
Turn with me to the book of Esther, the tenth chapter, and verse 2. And
all the acts of his power and of his might, and the declaration of the
greatness of Mordecai, whereunto the king advanced him, are they not written
in the book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia? Now,
here we have a secular book recommended. Thirty-one times he recommends
to us the books of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel or of Judah.
But here it is the books of the Chronicles of the Kings of the Medes and
the Persians. Two pagan nations. Why does he recommend them? Because they
contain something about a man of God! The greatness of Mordecai is proclaimed
in those books. Now I don't have many secular books in my library. I have
hardly any. Most of the secular books that I have are dictionaries or
lexicons or something of that nature. Most secular books you ought not
to waste your time on. Alas, the same is true of most Christian books!
But I do have a very few secular books. The reason I have them is because
they contain some information, some reference to the church of God, or
the history of the church, or some men of God. And the inspired Scripture
here recommends the chronicles of a heathen court, because they contain
a record of the greatness of a man of God. Now if it wasn't profitable
for you to know those things, God would never have made any reference
to such a book
----nor to any of these other uninspired books either.
Now, this brings me to the principle that there are many things that are
profitable for you to know, which are not written in scripture. Hyperspiritual
folks will be offended to death at anyone who says so. They will contend
that absolutely all that you need to know is what is written in the Bible.
Don't laugh at such folks if they don't know how to butter their bread,
for the Bible doesn't tell them
----nor how to eat it, either. But the
Bible itself teaches us that there are things profitable which are not
written in the Bible. Things which are to be found in other books. And
the implication of course is, many things which have not been written
in other books, too ----because everything there is to know, and everything
that is profitable to know, has not been written in books. And every profitable
thing which is now written in a book was once upon a time unwritten ----but
it was just as profitable then as it is now.
Now this principle is set forth in the New Testament in the writings of
John. You can turn with me first to the Gospel of John, the 20th chapter.
It says in verse 30, And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence
of his disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written
that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that
believing, ye might have life through his name. Now, why does he tell
us that there are many other things that Jesus did that are not written
in this book? Is this not an indication that what he has given us here
is just a small selection, and that there is a great deal more that would
be profitable for us to know? He has given us here what is necessary to
know to believe and be saved. Now I do believe that the Bible gives us
what is necessary for our salvation, but there are other things that need
to be done besides getting saved. And there is a great deal of knowledge
that is profitable for you to know, for the edification of the church
of God, even for the effective preaching of the gospel, which you will
not find in the Bible, but you will find in other books. I preached some
of those things to you this morning
----how God chooses the weak and the
foolish and the base and the despised. I didn't find the lives of Gipsy
Smith, or D.L. Moody, or Bud Robinson in the Bible. I read other books
to find those things. But I see the hand of God at work in them, and that
is profitable. Now, in II John, verse 12, we have another verse with the
same inference. And I believe this will be very convincing as to the point
I am trying to make. II John 12 says, Having many things to write unto
you, I would not write with paper and ink, but I trust to come unto you
and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. Now, here is an apostle
of Christ. He says, there are many things for me to say unto you. What
kind of things? Worthless chit chat and trish trash, or profitable and
edifying things? Profitable things, certainly. Not unprofitable things,
not foolish trivia, but things that are profitable and edifying. Things
that are going to build up the soul. Things that are going to refresh
the soul. Many such things. But he says, I am not going to write them
with paper and ink. I'm not going to put them in this book. I'm just going
to save them till we meet face to face. They are profitable to be known,
undoubtedly, but they are not written in the book.
You'll find the same thing in III John, verses 13 and 14. I had many
things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: But
I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Now
don't you wish that the apostle John had seen his way clear to write down
those many things? He didn't do it, though. So we have these inspired
epistles, II and III John, each of them just about a paragraph long, and
in both of them he says, I have many things to say to you, but I'm not
going to write them down. Now, the plain implication here is that there
are many things that are profitable to know. John wasn't going there to
be unprofitable, and unedifying. He was going there to profit their souls.
He had many things to speak, but he didn't write them down. So, there
are many things which are profitable to know that are written in other
books. The Scripture plainly teaches that. And there are many things that
are profitable to know that aren't written down at all.
So, how are you going to learn them? Well, go through the world with your
eyes open. I have come across a very intriguing title of a book. It's
by a man I'm not much impressed with, and I don't have the book, but the
title of it is, Observation: Every Man's University. I have observed
that for years. If you want to know anything, go through life with your
eyes open, and observe. And, besides that, read the things that other
men, especially other men of God, have observed, and you'll learn something.
Now, what about the sufficiency of Scripture? What does this doctrine
that I am preaching tonight do to the doctrine of the all-sufficiency
of Scripture? Doesn't what I am saying overthrow in some way the sufficiency
of Scripture? Not in the least, I'll be very bold with this one.
I believe that those folks who refuse to read other books on the plea
of the sufficiency of Scripture, don't have any more belief in the sufficiency
of Scripture than I do. What they do have is a belief in self-sufficiency.
Turn with me to Ephesians, chapter 4. We read beginning at verse 11, And
he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and
some, pastors and teachers. Now, if he gave these, these are his gifts.
Some people think they don't need his gifts. They say, All I need is
the Bible. The Bible is all-sufficient. I don't need prophets and apostles
and evangelists and pastors and teachers. I don't need anybody to teach
me. All I need is the Bible. That is not a belief in the sufficiency
of the Scriptures. It is a belief in the sufficiency of self. It is to
say, I am sufficient to understand the Scripture all by myself, and I
don't need God's gifts, and I don't need what they have written.
But this notion is wrong on another count also, for the Bible was never
written to teach you what you can learn without it. It wasn't written
to tell you what kind of tree to make your axe handles of, and what kind
to put in the fire. It wasn't written to replace common sense and human
experience. And neither was it written to replace spiritual experience.
It was written to guide it, but not to replace it. The Bible tells you
scores of things to do, without giving you a single word to tell you how
to do it. Abide in me. It tells you what to do, but not how. It doesn't
even explain to you what it consists of. Walk in the Spirit. It doesn't
even tell you what it is, much less how to do it. Esteem others better
than yourself. You know what that is, but do you know how to do it?
The Bible doesn't tell you. How are you going to learn these things? By
----or by listening to someone who has some spiritual
experience, or by reading his books.
But he goes on and says in verse 12 that all these gifts are given for
the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the
edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith,
and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure
of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more
children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine,
by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait
to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all
things, which is the head, even Christ. Now listen to verse 16: From
whom the whole body, fitly joined together and compacted by that which
every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure
of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself
in love. Built up by that which every joint supplies. But the man
who contends for the sufficiency of the Scripture, and says that therefore
he's not going to read any other books, is really saying, I don't need
anything that the other joints supply. I'm all-sufficient myself. I can
read the Bible and understand it all by myself. I don't need the other
things that the other joints are going to supply. I don't need the working
of every part of the body. I don't need John Wesley. I don't need C. H.
Mackintosh. I don't need C. H. Sprugeon. I don't need Menno Simons, or
Martin Luther. And I don't need to look in the mirror to see if my wig
is on straight. I just need the Bible, and my all-sufficient self.
You see, the Bible is all-sufficient, for the purpose for which God gave
it. It is the all-sufficient foundation for the truth of God, but it won't
teach you how to tie your shoes, and in the things which it does teach,
you aren't all-sufficient to be able to understand it all for yourself.
You need that which every joint supplieth.
Now, just in case anybody might misunderstand what I am saying here tonight,
I'm not saying you ought to read every book there is. I believe that 95%
of all the books that have been written
----I'm talking about Christian
books ----ought not to have been written at all. They were not written
by holy men of God, who had a message from God. Many were written by someone
who was just proud enough to think that he had the ability to write a
book, or maybe somebody who had money enough to print one. Most of them
were written by good and sincere men, who were shallow and mediocre. Most
of the books on the Christian market today should never have been written.
Most of the books on the Christian market in history should never have
been written. You don't have time to read everything that has been written.
You don't have time to read the profitable things that have been written,
much less all the unprofitable. I'm not contending that you ought to read
everything that has ever been written. You need to exercise some discernment,
and read those things that are most profitable. You may waste plenty of
time and money finding out what is profitable.
I did so, and that's why I labor to help other people, so they don't have
to. I wasted a lot of time and money on books that weren't worth buying
or reading. But that doesn't change the fact that there are books that
are worth buying, and that are worth reading and re-reading
worth studying. Receive some of that grace which every joint supplies.
Do you believe John Wesley was a gift from God to the Church of God? Then
maybe he has something to offer you. Do you believe Spurgeon was a gift
of God? Maybe he has something to offer you ----something you may not get
No man, of course, is any authority. Isaiah 8:20 says, To the law and
to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because
there is no light in them. Setting any book on the same level as the
Bible, as an authority, teaching you what you ought to believe, I never
dreamed of such a thing
----it never entered my head. But I believe there
are a lot of things you may learn from reading books, that you won't learn
at all from reading the Bible. Or if you do learn it, it may take you
ten years to do so.
The nature of the Bible is involved in this question. This Bible is not
written to spell everything out to you clearly. This Bible is like a gold
mine. You have to dig deep to get the nuggets out of it. Those nuggets
are scattered here and there. And some of the gold that is in this gold
mine is just gold dust. You have to sift it out. And you know, it often
happens, you may read this Book for twenty years, and read right over
some nugget of gold, until you read that same thing in some book that
some other man wrote, and it finally dawns upon you. You see it clearly.
You may have read the Bible for another twenty years, and not have seen
it at all. But somebody else saw it, and he wrote it in a book, and that
man that wrote that book was a gift of Christ to you to profit your soul.
And what he wrote will profit your soul. Not in setting aside the Bible,
but in opening up the Bible to you. Or in opening up to you godly, Christian
----the history of the hand of God at work in the souls of men.
Those things are profitable. And as I said, I myself have been rather
surprised at how much the Bible has to say on the subject, and how many
are the books which are not Scripture that the Bible itself recommends
to us. Now, we are not wiser than God. If God in his own Book recommends
to us books which are not Scripture, then obviously those books are good
for us. Let's dig into them, and get the good.
Chats from my Library
By Glenn Conjurske
Gipsy Smith (whose actual name was Rodney Smith) was born in a gipsy
tent, and never attended school a day in his life. Yet he was one of the
greatest evangelists of the present century, and as a preacher I rank
him above any of the rest of them. In spite of some doctrinal weaknesses,
common, alas, to most of that era, some of his printed sermons are among
the best gospel sermons I have seen in print. He always preached extemporaneously,
and often did not know what he would preach on until it was time to begin.
But his sermons were usually taken down and published in the papers. Far
too few of them have survived in book form, and it would be a fine project
for someone who has time, inclination, and probably money, to hunt up
his sermons in the old newspapers where they reside, and print them in
a few good books. He who would perform such a task would render a great
service to the church of God. The books of his sermons which I have been
able to discover are As Jesus Passed By, Real Religion, The Lost Christ,
Revival Sermons, and Evangelistic Talks. This last has a very interesting
origin. Each day of his Nashville meetings one of the local pastors would
speak for ten minutes at the noon meeting on a text of his own choosing.
Gipsy was wholly ignorant of the text till he heard it announced to the
people, yet he immediately followed with an extemporaneous address on
the same text. Those addresses make up the bulk of this volume.
But good as Gipsy's sermons are, his autobiographical works are better.
At the head of the list (and one of the most heart-moving books I have
ever found) is his autobiography, entitled, Gipsy Smith: His Life and
Work. This was first published in 1901, and revised in 1925. Each edition
contains a little not in the other. The book went through many printings,
and is one of the least scarce of good books. Of the revised edition I
have a good copy signed by Gipsy himself in December of 1943, four years
before his death. His hand is very legible for a man of 83, and above
his name is inscribed, Kept for the Masters use. The same book contains
(pasted in) a newspaper notice of his death, headed Gypsy Smith Dies
at Sea. (But Gipsy is the correct spelling of his name, as it appears
on the title pages of all his books, and as I have it in his own handwriting).
A sequel to the autobiography is entitled The Beauty of Jesus, subtitled
Memories and Reflections
----an excellent book, containing much personal
information about Gipsy Smith, but not equal to the autobiography. A Mission
of Peace, and Your Boys, deal respectively with his mission to South Africa,
and his work among the soldiers during war time.
No biography of Gipsy has ever been written, and who would dare attempt
it after reading his autobiography? Yet it ought to be done, and should
have been done long ago by someone who knew him personally. We are fortunate
enough to have one excellent biographical work about him, by one who knew
him intimately. This is Sixty Years an Evangelist, subtitled An Intimate
Study of Gipsy Smith, by Harold Murray
----a small book of 143 pages,
published in 1937. This is not a biography, but it is brimful of the best
kind of information about Gipsy Smith. Another worthwhile book is The
Gipsy Smith Missions in America, by Edward E. Bayliss, a book of 158 pages,
written in 1906. This is a compilation, and all its parts are not equal
in value, but every scrap of information about such a man is precious,
and it does contain some good descriptions of his meetings and his methods,
as well as a few good extracts from his preaching.
Gipsy Smith married a second time at the age of 78, but his good fortune
was not so good for us, for his bride was only 35 at the time of his death,
and she lived to renew the copyrights on some of his books. Thus two of
his best, Evangelistic Talks, and The Beauty of Jesus, are still shackled
with copyrights, and the latter will be for a long time to come.
Gipsy compiled and published a small hymn book (of interest as the work
of Gipsy Smith, but of no more value than scores of others of the same
nature), entitled, Wonderful Jesus and Other Songs, Used Exclusively in
the Gipsy Smith Campaigns.
Richard Baxter (1615-1691) on
The Great Duty of Heavenly Contemplation
[Baxter applies his directions on meditation primarily to the contemplation
of heaven, yet he does not limit it to that, and I believe his remarks
may well apply to meditation in general. He was much taken to task in
his day for pressing meditation as a duty, and I confess I would rather
invite and inspire the saints to it as to a privilege, than press them
to it as to a duty. Baxter defended himself with the plea that there are
no works of supererogation, and if it is good for us, it is our duty to
do it. Duty or not, Baxter's words have weight.
That meditation is a duty of God's ordaining, not only in His written
law, but also in nature itself, I never met with the man that would deny:
but that it is a duty constantly and conscionably practised even by the
godly, so far as my acquaintance extends, I must, with sorrow, deny it:
it is in word confessed to be a duty by all, but by the constant neglect
denied by most: and (I know not by what fatal customary security it comes
to pass, that) men that are very tender-conscienced towards most other
duties, yet do as easily overslip this, as if they knew it not to be a
duty at all; they that are presently troubled in mind, if they omit but
a sermon, a fast, a prayer in public or private, yet were never troubled
that they have omitted meditation perhaps all their lifetime to this very
day: though it be that duty by which all other duties are improved, and
by which the soul digesteth truths, and draweth forth their strength for
its nourishment and refreshing. Certainly I think that as a man is but
half an hour in chewing and taking into his stomach, that meat which he
must have seven or eight hours at least to digest: so a man may take into
his understanding and memory more truth in one hour, than he is able well
to digest in many. A man may eat too much, but he cannot digest too well.
Therefore God commanded Joshua, that the book of the law depart not out
of his mouth, but that he meditate therein day and night; that he may
observe to do according to that which is written therein (Josh. i.8).
As digestion is the turning of the raw food into chyle and blood, and
spirits and flesh; so meditation rightly managed, turneth the truths received
and remembered into warm affection, raised resolution and holy and upright
conversation. Therefore what good those men are like to get by sermons
or providences: who are unacquainted with, and unaccustomed to this work
of meditation, you may easily judge. And why so much preaching is lost
among us, and professors can run from sermon to sermon, and are never
weary of hearing or reading, and yet have such languishing starved souls;
I know no truer or greater cause than their ignorance, and unconscionable
neglect of meditation.
----The Saints' Rest, by Richard Baxter; London: Griffith, Farran, Okeden
& Welsh, 1887, vol. II, pg. 218.
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.