by Glenn Conjurske
There is nothing on earth so cheering to the soul of man as sunshine.
We bask in sunshine, but what gloom I have sometimes felt in passing several
days together without seeing the sun
----and what cheer I have felt
in just a passing gleam of sunlight, when I had not seen the sun for days.
A day without sunshine is called a gray day, which means a
A sunny day buoys up the spirit, but I have been told that in the far
north, during the long winter when the sun is never seen, the suicide
rate goes up.
But more: the sunshine imparts its own beauty to everything it touches.
What are autumn leaves in the dark? What are they even in the shade, or
under any light but that of the sun? But sunshine makes them radiant with
splendor. What entrancing beauty we find in the sun-lit peaks above us,
when the valley around is shrouded in darkness. What beauty in the distant
hills, when they are clothed with sunshine. Even the clouds, the very
symbols of gloom when they shut out the sunshine, are radiant and beautiful
sometimes glorious beyond description ----when they reflect it.
Indeed, I have seen the very columns of smoke, rising from a dirty factory,
radiant and beautiful when bathed in sunlight.
Sunshine is therefore commonly
----and no doubt quite rightly ----used
to symbolize all that is bright and cheering, all that is warm and pleasant,
all that is radiant and attractive ----as kindness, love, and cheerfulness.
We speak of folks who have a sunny smile, or a sunny
disposition. All of this is fitting enough, and proper enough, but
it fails to begin to fathom the depths of sunshine. There is a reason
why sunshine warms the soul of man as well as his body. That reason is,
God designed and created it to do so. How do I know this? By a very simple
process of reasoning:
An artist shows you a portrait he has just painted, and you say, That
is my wife. What makes you think so? asks the artist.
It looks exactly like her, you say. But the artist responds,
Perhaps so, but this is pure coincidence. I never intended this
to be a picture of your wife. To this you can only say, Away
with such foolish talk. This is my wife, her exact image, to the very
twinkle in her eye. This did not happen by accident. There is no
arguing with such reasoning.
Now it so happens that the physical creation is filled with types
that is ----of spiritual things. Those types were, of course, created
by God, and can anyone suppose that they are types only by accident, and
not by design? Can anyone suppose that God worked as an artist painting
portraits, with no design to represent the face of anyone in particular,
but let that fall to chance ----let the portrait, that is, represent
whomever it happened to look like when it was finished. No man would work
so, and did God? No, it is altogether rational, and indeed I should think
necessary, to believe that God worked by design, and that the types and
pictures with which the lower creation abounds were intended by God to
represent those things which they do represent. God, in other words, created
them on purpose after the pattern of those spiritual things which they
were designed to represent ----precisely as he also designed the
earthly tabernacle after the pattern of the true tabernacle, which God
pitched, and not man.
Now it is evident enough to those who know the Bible that the sun is a
type of Christ. Here, then, is the full and simple explanation of the
nature of the sun. God created this glorious orb to picture his Son. How
vastly superior, then, are those poor idolators who worship the sun, to
those who worship toads and bones, or sticks and stones. How vastly superior
they are to those who worship silver and gold
----or all that is
most glorious on earth.
What is there of all things known to man to compare with the sun? Resplendent
with a glory which no eye of man can bear
----all-pervasive in its
presence, while its absence is felt more keenly still ----warming
and cheering like nothing else known on earth ----so high above
us, yet caressing our very cheeks with its warmth ----ever faithful,
never failing, never tiring ----never waxing, never waning, never
changing, never appearing but in all its glory ----the source of
its own light, which it freely lavishes upon all the world ----the
source of its own warmth, which it spreads unstintingly o'er all the earth ----cheering
the very beasts and insects, along with the heart of man. Indeed, even
the mindless leaves and flowers, with a wisdom wrought into the fabric
of their being by the God who created them, reach always for the sunshine,
and turn their faces always to its warming beams.
This sun is the divinely drawn picture of Christ. It is indeed the
light of the world, and the life of all things here. What death
and darkness would reign on all the earth without the sun! Take the sun
from the sky, and how quickly the whole earth would be dark and cold and
lifeless. The science and ingenuity of man might sustain a little life
for a little while, but this would be no more than the last flickering
of the smoking wick of the lamp, after the oil has run out.
Now consider what a divine mercy it is that the God who has made this
glorious orb so necessary to our existence, has made it also so cheering
to our heart. Can anyone suppose this to be an accident? He must be an
infidel who can. Yet many there are who know well enough how to bask in
the sunshine of this earth, who yet have no relish for the sunshine of
heaven. Like some doleful creatures of the night, they fear and shun the
sunshine. How is it that they have no capacity to bask in the sunshine
of heaven? How is it that they do not sing with Charles Wesley?
Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Ah, they little believe in the power of the Sun of Righteousness to warm
and cheer the heart of man. They suppose that the way of holiness is a
dreary one, and that the service of Christ is drudgery. They suppose that
all the pleasures and good times are to be found in the broad way of self-will,
self-pleasing, self-indulgence, and sin.
Is this your case? You will not heed the chidings of your conscience.
You will not believe the solemn warnings of the Bible. But Friend, will
you believe the sunshine? What can you find on all the earth so warming,
cheering, pleasant, and inviting as the sunshine? Know this, then, that
this sunshine is God's own picture of Christ
----in whom you have
found nothing to attract your soul. Surely sin and Satan have blinded
your eyes. Open your eyes to the sunshine, and see the Christ whom you
despise. His very words are sunshine. Come unto me, all ye that
labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. He that
followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never
thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of
water springing up into everlasting life. Who would not open his
heart to such sunshine as this? Only those who love darkness rather than
light, because their deeds are evil.
And saints of God, is there not more of beauty and warmth and glory in
Christ than any of us have yet known? That I may know him
was the passion of Paul. Is it ours also? It may well be that we so little
desire him because we so little know him, and so little know him because
we so little desire him. But it may be that if we contemplate the picture
which God has drawn of him, both our desire and our knowledge of him will
be increased. Let us, then, study the sunshine, and know what Christ is.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
Quality and Quantity
by Glenn Conjurske
A Sermon Preached August 5, 1992, Recorded, Transcribed, & Revised
You may turn with me to the book of Leviticus. Leviticus, chapter 26.
I'm going to begin reading at verse 3. If ye walk in my statutes,
and keep my commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due
season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field
shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage,
and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time; and ye shall eat your
bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace
in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and
I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through
your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before
you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred
of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before
you by the sword.
I'm going to speak to you tonight on Quality and Quantity. We have a statement
here that five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall
put ten thousand to flight. Obviously what we have here is: quality on
one side, and quantity on the other. When you have five on one side, and
those five are a match for a hundred, obviously you have quality on one
side, and quantity on the other side. If you have a hundred on one side,
and those hundred can put to flight ten thousand, obviously you've got
quality on the side of the hundred, and quantity on the side of the ten
thousand. More strength on the side of five than on the side of the hundred.
More strength on the side of the hundred than on the side of the ten thousand.
Now you say, Well, it's because God is with the five. It's because God
is with the hundred. And I don't have any argument with that. I agree
with that. I believe it. But I don't believe it's the whole story. If
I am in any sense a prophet, I am a prophet of human responsibility. That's
the thing that's generally denied, explained away, or slighted, in our
day. And I believe that's one of the things that God has committed to
me to preach. Human responsibility. That's why I'm called a heretic, by
folks who don't believe in human responsibility.
Well, I believe that the reason five may put a hundred to flight, and
the reason a hundred may put ten thousand to flight is because God is
on their side, but that's not all. The question remains, Why is God on
their side? And even with God on your side, how many of you would undertake
with a hundred to put ten thousand to flight? There's got to be something
besides God on your side. There's got to be something in you, before you
would even attempt such a thing. There's got to be some faith, to start
with. Some consciousness of right, and of strength. There's got to be
something in the man when five of them can put a hundred to flight, or
a hundred put ten thousand to flight. There's got to be some quality in
Now I want to look at II Samuel, chapter 23, and you'll see what kind
of men they are who fulfill such promises. II Samuel, chapter 23. This
is a description of David's mighty men. Now, there are only three of them
that are described here. That's not what you'd call quantity, but when
you read the description, you will discover that it's what you'd call
Verse 8: These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The
Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was
Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he
slew at one time. And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite,
one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines
that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were
gone away: he arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary,
and his hand clave unto the sword; and the Lord wrought a great victory
that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil. I'm going
to stop there for a minute. It says, his hand clave unto the sword.
How? How did his hand cleave to the sword? By a miracle? I don't believe
so. Listen, his hand clave to the sword by will power. There was something
in his spirit that would not quit
----that would not give up. Most
men, you know, would have given up before they ever started, when it was
eight hundred against one. But he not only started, but finished also.
He wouldn't let go, though his arm was so weary it was ready to fall.
He clave to the sword by will power. What I'm saying is, there was some
quality in the man.
Now I'm going to read on. Verse 11: And after him was Shammah the
son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into
a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people
fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and
defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the Lord wrought a great victory.
Now, here are three men who could single-handed take on the army of the
Philistines and win. You'll notice, with the second and the third of these
two men that it describes, you'll notice that it says something about
the rest of the people. It says in verse 9, After him was Eleazar
the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when
they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle,
and the men of Israel were gone away. He arose, and smote the Philistines
until his hand was weary, and the end of the verse says, and
the people returned after him only to spoil. He won the victory
single-handed. Where was the rest of the army? They weren't around. They
evidently knew what was going on. They knew when it was time to come and
take the spoil, but they weren't around when the battle was on.
Now it says the same thing of Shammah in verse 11. It says, After
him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were
gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles:
and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of
the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the Lord wrought
a great victory. There's a sermon for some of you preachers. The
people fled, and he stood. One man. Now you see he was a man of quality.
It wasn't just because he was an Israelite, and God was with Israel. All
the rest of the Israelites fled, and he stood.
Now, if you've got five men chasing a hundred, or one chasing a thousand,
as it says elsewhere
-------Joshua 23:10. I'll read it to you. One
man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that
fighteth for you, as he hath promised you. One man shall case a
thousand. Five shall chase a hundred. A hundred shall chase ten thousand.
One man slew eight hundred all alone. These other two men stood all alone
when the people went away, or when the people fled. That's quality. On
the other side is quantity ----the whole army of the Philistines.
Now if you've got one man chasing a thousand, obviously you've got quality
on the side of the one. One man. How would one man chase a thousand? I
don't even know how to imagine such a thing. You know, I used to live
in Grand Junction, Colorado, and we had a lot of difficulty out there
with vicious dogs, that used to come out and attack whenever you walked
anywhere. Now I felt fairly safe when I was dealing with one dog. I could
look one dog in the eye, and keep him at least an arm's length from me,
but I didn't feel so safe when I had three dogs on me. What would you
do with a thousand? But One man shall chase a thousand. Obviously
you have quality on the side of the one, and I'll tell you this: even
if it were the other way around, even if it said a thousand shall chase
one, the quality would still be on the side of the one, if it took a thousand
to chase him. Quantity on the other side. A thousand that aren't worth
a thing. One that's worth more than a thousand.
Now it is my principle always to go for quality, not quantity. I'm not
saying I want no quantity, but I am saying I go for quality first as the
main thing, the important thing. If you can secure quantity also, then
by all means secure it. But first secure quality. And usually you will
secure quantity if you secure quality. The man who is determined to make
a quality product will eventually get a reputation for quality, and will
secure a quantity of sales also. The man who is only determined to secure
quantity of sales will eventually get a reputation for poor quality, and
he will lose even quantity. A lot of folks operate that way. The only
sales they ever expect to make are to those that haven't bought the product
before, but there are enough fools in the world that they can keep making
first-time sales, and that's the only way they stay in business.
Anyway, I want to look at a few more scriptures to show you that quality
is of more value than quantity in numerous spheres.
First of all you may turn to I Corinthians, chapter 14. Verse 9. Paul
says, So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to
be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak
into the air. Now here he's talking about words which are of no
value. It doesn't make any difference how many of them there are. If they're
not words which can be understood, you might as well be speaking to the
air. Your words are of no value. Now then, down in verse 18 he says, I
thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all. Yet in the church
I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice
I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
Now you've got quantity on one side
----ten thousands words. On
the other side only five. Very little quantity at all, but quality. Now
Paul says it, I would rather speak five words with my understanding than
ten thousand in an unknown tongue. Why? Because those five words are worth
more than those ten thousand. The ten thousand have no value at all if
they don't minister anything to anybody, if nobody can understand them.
But five words with my understanding may be worth a great deal. And I
do not believe that Paul is exaggerating here. You can say a great deal
in five words, if you know how to choose them. For to me to live
is Christ. That's seven words in English, but you'll find it to
be exactly five in Greek. Five words. Few ----no quantity at all ----but
quality. Ten thousand words on the other side. A whole lot more quantity
than anybody knows what to do with, and no quality at all.
Matthew, chapter 6, verse 7, But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions,
as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much
speaking. Now here's quantity
----much speaking. But there's
nothing in it. Vain. That means empty. Weightless. Useless. Vain speaking.
It doesn't make any difference how much of it you have. The heathen who
use vain speaking in their prayers, they may cry from dawn to dusk every
day of their lives, and they will not be heard for their much speaking.
If there's no quality in it, the quantity that you have makes no difference
whatsoever. You may have ten thousand, or ten million. It doesn't make
any difference. The ten million aren't worth any more than ten thousand.
What I'm saying is that quantity without quality is not worth anything.
Not worth pursuing. Not worth laboring for. Not worth possessing. Long
prayers are worth nothing, when there is no heart in them. Spurgeon says,
You can't measure fire by the bushel, nor a prayer by its length.
Isaiah, chapter 1, verse 11. God says, To what purpose is the multitude
of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings
of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of
bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me,
who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more
vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths,
the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with: it is iniquity, even the
solemn meeting. A multitude of sacrifices, but of no value. God
says it is vain. The same word he uses to speak of the much speaking of
the heathen. It's vain. There's nothing in it. They would be better off
to come to God with a simple, heart-felt prayer, God help me,
in three words, than all of their much speaking. Some of those short prayers
in the Bible were very effectual. Lord, help me. Lord,
save me. But the much speaking is empty, vain, nothing in it
worth at all. Many oblations. Multitude of offerings. Vain. Empty. Nothing
in it. Better to come with one poor offering from the heart, than a multitude
of them that are vain.
Mark chapter 6, verse 20. For Herod feared John, knowing that he
was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he
did many things, and heard him gladly. Now here's quantity without
quality. He did many things, and it wasn't worth a straw.
He left the main thing undone. So long as he kept his brother's wife in
his bosom, and the prophet of God in his prison, what was the worth of
the many things which he did? Quantity enough, but no quality.
Proverbs 10:19. Paul says, I'd rather speak five words with my understanding
than ten thousand in an unknown tongue, and Proverbs 10:19 says,
In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth
his lips is wise. The great quantity here is not only not worth
anything, it's worth less than nothing. In a multitude of words, he says,
there is sin. But if you go over to the 25th chapter of Proverbs, it says
in verse 11, A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures
of silver. This is worth something. Apples of gold! Pictures of
silver! What is it which is so valuable? A word. Just a word. But a word
fitly spoken. That's quality. On the other side, a multitude of words
which are worth less than nothing. It is quality that matters, not quantity.
Now the thing that we have to consider is people. Are we going to go for
the multitudes, and seek to build up a big work? Get lots of people? Or
are we going to go for quality? The right kind of people. The right kind
of testimony. A pure church. Which do you want, a spiritual testimony,
or a big testimony?
Now I can tell you without any doubt which one I want. Actually I want
them both, but the way to the quantity is quality. You've got all kinds
of movements in Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism that go primarily for
quantity. Much of the Fundamentalist movement is that way. Super-aggressive
churches they call them. They've got quantity, and are extremely
shallow. They've got numbers, and that's about all they're aiming at.
No depth, and little enough even of godliness.
Well, let's look at quantity as it concerns people. Not words now, not
things, but people.
John, chapter 2. Verse 23 says, Now when he was in Jerusalem at
the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw
the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them,
because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man:
for he knew what was in man. Many believed, it says, and it wasn't
worth a straw. They believed, but Jesus did not commit himself to them,
for he knew what was in them. But you know when such a thing happens in
the modern Fundamental churches, they have the numbers posted on the board
before the week is over, and published in The Sword of the Lord. Many
believed. And yet it likely isn't worth one whit more than these many
were worth who believed on Christ in his day. Quantity, but no quality.
No depth. No reality. No root in themselves. Nothing. Just a big number.
Jesus did not commit himself to them. That proves to me that they were
not saved. If Jesus did not commit himself to them, obviously he wasn't
their Saviour. If Christ saves you, he commits himself to you. These folks
that believed were not saved. There was nothing in the great quantity,
and Christ knew there wasn't.
Now in chapter 8 of John, verse 30, we again read of some quantity. As
he spake these words, many believed on him. That's quantity. Then
said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word,
then are ye my disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth, and the
truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and
were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth
sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for
ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free,
ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek
to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. Many believed
on him, but he didn't rejoice in that many. Had no confidence in them.
He knew there was no reality in it, and turns to them and says, You want
to be my disciples? Continue in my word. Many believed, and there was
nothing in it. They believed, but they were yet the servants of sin. They
were nothing different from a multitude who believe today, yet the word
of Christ has no place in them. Great quantity, and no quality.
Luke, chapter 3, verse 7. John the Baptist preaching. Then said
he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation
of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth
therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves,
We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of
these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. Now we have a multitude
here. Not just curious hearers, but a multitude actually coming to be
baptized. My! how would the Fundamental churches of this land rejoice
in that! They would baptize every one of them, and publish it in the Sword
of the Lord, how many hundred baptisms they had in the year. Multitudes
actually coming to be baptized, and John didn't baptize any of them. He
says, You are a generation of vipers
----a brood of
snakes. Lots of quantity, but no quality, and John the Baptist had no
interest in such a situation. He turned them back in no uncertain terms.
Luke 14. It says in verse 25, And there went great multitudes with
him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate
not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and
sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever
doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
Verse 33, So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not
all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Salt is good: but if the salt
have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit
for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath
ears to hear, let him hear. Here were great multitudes following
him, and he says, There's nothing in this. Just salt without savor. Not
good for anything. Not even good to be cast out on the dunghill. Quantity
without quality, and he turns to them, and speaks the hardest things that
he knows how to speak. Why did he do that? To get them on one side or
the other. Either to get them all the way with him, with understanding
and with heart-felt commitment, or to turn them back, one of the two.
He didn't want any multitude following him that wasn't really with him
in heart. He had no interest, and neither do I.
I was speaking with one of the couples in this congregation recently.
The husband asked me, not opposing, but just questioning, If we
could hold up the standard at 100%, and get fifty people, or lower the
standard down to 90%, and get five thousand people, what would you do?
And I said that I'd go for the fifty. Well, the real thrill came to me
some days afterwards when the Mrs. called me and said, When you
said, `I'd go for the fifty,' that thrilled me through and through.
Well, that thrilled me, to hear that. I guess I've accomplished something
in my preaching here these years! Not that I don't want the five thousand,
either. But I don't want even one of them if I have to lower the standard
to get him.
But I believe that the way to secure the quantity is to secure the quality.
You know why that is? Because when you secure the quality you secure the
presence and the power of God. He doesn't need this multitude of vipers
that want to follow the prophet of God, while their hearts are yet in
the world. You know that Christ is our example, and I see two things in
the ministry of Christ. I see in the first place that when he had great
multitudes following him, he spoke hard words to turn them back. He didn't
want quantity without quality. Had no interest in it. But I see something
else. When he performed the great miracles of healing
the dead and healed the lepers and the blind ----it was his custom
always to straitly charge those folks that he healed to tell no one. Why?
He wasn't interested in having a multitude of gapers following him. He
didn't want it. He didn't want them to know he existed. He had too many
multitudes following him already, and he didn't want any more. He wanted
men like Peter and John. Men that could understand him. Men that could
stand when they needed to stand. Men that could deny themselves and forsake
all and follow him. He didn't want that careless multitude, half serious,
half religious, and half committed. He didn't want that. He didn't want
a church full of Sunday-morning Christians.
You say, Well, but didn't he want them to get all the way serious and
committed? Of course he did. That's why he preached those hard things
that he preached. You know, maybe when he preached those hard things,
when he turned to the great multitude that was following him, and said,
If any man come after me and hate not father, and mother, and wife,
and children, and brothers, and sisters, and his own life also, he cannot
be my disciple, maybe they didn't all turn back. Maybe there were
a few in that crowd that said, I'll do it. I'll commit myself entirely.
And he gained those few, and he got rid of the rest, and that's what he
designed to do.
And you know if we go for quality, we please God. If we go for quantity,
we please man. We must please man if we go for quantity. That's the only
way to secure the quantity. Build up a great work that man can admire.
But God isn't pleased when we have numbers without commitment. God isn't
pleased if we have numbers without standards. God isn't pleased if we
have quantity without quality. God abhors it.
Now, if you'll turn with me to the book of Acts, briefly, chapter 5, verse
13, it says, And of the rest durst no man join himself to them:
but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the
Lord, multitudes both of men and women. Here they've got some quality
secured first. They've got the kind of testimony that the rest of the
----the rabble and the common multitudes of people ----did
not dare to join. Some high standards there. Some real, whole-hearted
commitment. A Christianity that requires something of people. The kind
of a church, therefore, that people won't dare to join. And yet the next
verse says, multitudes joined them. You may have a hard time explaining
that. How can this be? They had a church that the outsiders would not
dare to join, and the next verse says multitudes joined them. This seems
to be a contradiction, doesn't it? But the fact is, they first secured
quality, and as a result of that they secured quantity. In securing quality,
they secured the power of God, and God brought in the multitudes, though
their own inclination was to avoid the place like the plague.
Now, I'll say this: man's way is always easier than God's way. And it
always takes longer to go God's way. God's way is not the way of instant
success. His is the way which requires faith and patience, and it may
require a good deal of toil and tears. To establish such a holy, zealous,
and spiritual church that nobody will dare to join it
require long years of toil. While you're going about doing that, the other
churches already have the multitudes. You could have gone the way of some
popular radio preachers, or teachers of popular seminars, and had a million
and a half followers. But it's the stone which the builders reject that
becomes the head of the corner. It's the testimony that nobody dares to
join, that the multitudes are added to. If you secure the quality first,
the quantity will come in due time. If you aim first at quantity, you
will never have any quality worth having, and in the long run you will
sacrifice even the quantity.
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Wise Unto Salvation
by Glenn Conjurske
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which
are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ
Jesus. So says Paul in II Tim. 3:15. To be made wise unto salvation
certainly means to be taught the truth which must be known to be saved.
It is the Holy Scriptures which are able to teach us that truth.
But observe, it is the Old Testament Scriptures to which Paul refers.
It was these, and these alone, which Timothy had known from a child. The
New Testament Scriptures did not yet exist. Timothy's mother was a Jewess,
who no doubt took him to the synagogue on the sabbaths, where he heard
the Old Testament read. These were the Scriptures which he knew from a
child, and these are the Scriptures which Paul affirms are able to make
us wise unto salvation.
But there are multitudes of a certain brand of dispensationalists who
think otherwise. If we preach the gospel from the Old Testament, they
pity our ignorance. Nay, if we so much as preach the gospel from the Gospels,
they consider us blind guides. Perhaps I should say, If we teach the gospel
from the Old Testament or the Gospels
----for they may not be so
much concerned if we use the Old Testament Scriptures as a basis for exhortation,
but they are determined that no doctrine shall be derived from them ----and
certainly no doctrine concerning salvation. But observe, Paul does not
speak here of being moved or exhorted by the Old Testament Scriptures,
but of being instructed by them ----and of being instructed in the
way of salvation. Those Scriptures, he affirms, are able to make us wise
They are able to make us wise unto salvation. They are not deficient on
----not wanting, not lacking ----but able to make
us wise, and that unto salvation. They will therefore certainly not lead
us astray upon the subject of our soul's salvation. They will not lead
us in the wrong direction. They will not conduct us to the wrong place.
But certain dispensationalists will no doubt tell us that this is true
only if the Old Testament Scriptures are rightly divided. We might find
a chapter or two of Isaiah which might make us wise unto salvation, or
a verse here and there in the Psalms
----but this is not true of
the Old Testament in general. The Old Testament as a whole will not make
us wise unto salvation, but will lead us in another direction altogether.
Unless, therefore, we have a special council of doctors and lawyers to
rightly divide the Old Testament for us, and conduct us to those particular
passages which are indeed able to make us wise unto salvation, we had
best leave the Old Testament alone. But this, I am bold to say, is not
only not Paul's meaning, but is a direct contradiction of it. For observe
in the first place, in the very next verse he continues the subject by
informing us that All Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. All Scripture,
without distinction, and without carefully picking our way through it
to discover a few texts which are safe. All Scripture is profitable for
doctrine, and for instruction in righteousness.
And observe in the second place, it is not only a council of lawyers which
the Old Testament can make wise unto salvation, but a child. From
a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee
wise unto salvation. Thayer defines this word child
as an unborn child, embryo, foetus, and secondarily, a
new-born child, an infant, a babe. This is the word which appears
in Luke 1:41, where we read, The babe leaped in her womb.
Again in Luke 2:12, Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling
clothes, lying in a manger. And in I Peter 2:2, As newborn
babes, desire the sincere milk of the word. Paul, then, does not
speak of any council of lawyers or hoary-headed theologians, but of the
merest babes. These may be made wise unto salvation by a knowledge of
the Old Testament Scriptures. They will not be led therein to a different
way of salvation, nor to a different kind of salvation.
For observe, the salvation of which Paul speaks here is the same salvation
which he preaches everywhere. It is salvation through faith which
is in Christ Jesus
----nothing less, and nothing other. This
is the salvation unto which the Old Testament Scriptures are able to make
us wise. It is the same salvation which is now preached in the gospel ----not
some earthly or temporal salvation ----not some hypothetical, unattainable
salvation by law ----but salvation through faith which is
in Christ Jesus. Neither is this some defective faith, or some half-faith,
but (obviously) saving faith, and none other. It is that same unfeigned
faith which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother
Eunice, and, says Paul, I am persuaded that in thee also.
(II Tim. 1:5). It was the same faith, which dwelt in Timothy's mother
and grandmother, as that which dwelt in Timothy himself. That faith was
wrought in them (pious Jewesses) by the Old Testament Scriptures, before
the New Testament Scriptures existed. That faith brought them the same
salvation which it now brought to Timothy. There is no gainsaying this.
And who is it who affirms all of this? These are not the doctrines of
some dark legalist
----some covenant theologian ----some adherent
of Reformed theology ----but of Paul. Come now, ye dispensationalists,
whose whole cry is Paul, Paul, Paul ----come now and
hearken with me to Paul. I am no foe of dispensationalism, but a firm
and fast friend. Are you a dispensationalist? So am I ----heart,
soul, and mind ----dyed in the wool. But what sort of dispensationalist
are you, if you will not hearken to the plainest statements of Paul? Many
there are whose dispensationalism is little more than a tool with which
to make void the word of God, and they deal as hardly with Matthew as
they do with Moses. But there is no excuse for it, for God has seen fit
always to rebuke their ways by the pen of Paul. It is Paul who affirms
that the Old Testament Scriptures are able to make men wise unto salvation,
which is through the faith which is in Christ Jesus. Could anything be
plainer than this?
And why should anyone doubt that the Scriptures of the Old Testament are
able to make men wise unto salvation? Were not Noah and Abraham saved?
Were not Samuel and David? Were not Isaiah and Ezekiel? Were they not
saved, in the full sense of the word? Were they not saved with an eternal
salvation, saved from sin and wrath, and death and hell? And if they were,
did they require some special revelation beyond the Scriptures to save
It is true enough that salvation in the Old Testament may sometimes be
a temporal thing. The book of Hebrews tells us concerning Noah's salvation,
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved
with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house. (Heb. 11:7).
That salvation was surely temporal. He was saved from the general destruction
of the flood. His life was spared, the same as the lives of the beasts
who shared the safety of the ark with him. But was that all? Was his life
spared that he might live out his days on earth, and die, and go to hell?
Not so, for that temporal salvation was bound up with his eternal salvation,
and the second half of the text just quoted adds, by which he condemned
the world, and became the heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
By the same faith by which he secured his temporal salvation, he secured
his eternal salvation also. There was no other means of salvation in the
Old Testament than there is in the New, and neither was there any other
kind of salvation. It is nothing peculiar to the Old Testament to speak
of temporal salvation. It is in the New Testament that we read, The
prayer of faith shall save the sick. (James 5:15). This is temporal,
but this is not the only kind of salvation in the New Testament.
At the birth of John the Baptist, his father prophesied saying,
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he hath visited and redeemed his
people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of
his servant David, as he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which
have been since the world began, that we should be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of all them that hate us, . . . that he would grant
unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might
serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all
the days of our life. (Luke 1:67-75). Well, there is plainly something
temporal in this salvation
----something which belongs
to all the days of our life ----and moreover, something
which belongs peculiarly to Israel, something altogether different from
the portion of the church, for the portion which we may expect on earth
is just the reverse of this. Is this then a different kind of salvation?
In some of its external incidentals, yes, but in essence, certainly not.
It may come to Israel in a pan, and to the church in a pail, but it is
the same salvation for all that, and if we but read the next two verses
of Zachariah's prophecy, we shall find, And thou, child, shalt be
called the prophet of the Highest, for thou shalt go before the face of
the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation unto his
people by the remission of their sins. This is the same salvation
which Job and Abraham found, the same salvation which saved Moses the
prophet and Rahab the harlot, and the same salvation which is preached
by the gospel today. Remission of sins. Eternal life. These are the great
matters, as I often enough have occasion to tell the Jehovah's witnesses ----for
they speak as though the great matter to be insisted upon is that we shall
spend eternity on earth, and not in heaven. But why should they waste
their brains about where they shall spend eternal life, when they don't
know that they have eternal life? The great question is not whether I
shall be in paradise on earth or in paradise in heaven, but whether I
shall be out of hell. This is salvation.
But some dispensationalists are so bent upon finding differences that
they can see nothing else. They study two puppies of the same litter,
and find them to be exactly identical
----ear, nose, tongue, tooth,
wiggle, wag, yip, yap, bark, bite, and growl ----and yet they go
away affirming that these are two different kinds of puppies, for one
of them has a white tip on his tail.
And so it is also with salvation. Regardless of externals and incidentals,
there is but one salvation. It consists of the remission of sins, of eternal
life and eternal bliss. It is always by grace through faith. It is the
same in the Old Testament as it is in the New. And as a plain and undeniable
matter of fact, that same Old Testament which did make men wise unto salvation
ere the coming of Christ yet does make men wise unto salvation today.
Thirty years ago I heard the testimony of one Lou Finney. (I cannot vouch
for the spelling of his name, for I only heard it by ear, and never saw
it on paper.) He had been an atheist, and it was his custom to deride
the Bible at his work place. At length a Christian asked him if he had
ever read the Bible. With some embarrassment he had to admit that he had
not. The Christian told him to leave the Bible alone until he knew what
he was talking about. He therefore determined to read the Bible, so that
he could deride it intelligently. He was converted in the eleventh chapter
of Genesis. He found that The law of the Lord is perfect, converting
the soul. (Ps. 19:7). He was saved. And the salvation which he got
was not salvation from Noah's flood or the sword of Nimrod, but from sin
and death and hell.
We conclude, then, just where we began. The Scriptures of the Old Testament,
which Timothy knew from a child, were ABLE to make him WISE unto SALVATION
through FAITH which is in Christ Jesus. So says Paul. And if any man cannot
confess this without reservation and without qualification, it is almost
certainly because he has false notions of what salvation is, or false
notions as to how it is to be obtained. Let him but embrace the same views
of salvation which the apostle Paul had, and he shall then cordially endorse
Paul's statements concerning it.
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Ears to Hear
by Glenn Conjurske
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matt. 11:15). These
words, with slight variations, were often in the mouth of the Son of God,
both while he walked the earth, and when he spoke from heaven, to John
in the Isle of Patmos. The words imply two things
there are some who do not have ears to hear, and also that even those
who do have ears to hear are in danger of failing to do so. It is those
who have ears to hear who are exhorted to hear, for those who have ears
may fail to hear through carelessness or laziness or apathy.
But what are these ears? Not physical ears, surely, for a deaf man might
take this admonition to heart as well as the hearing. Ears are no doubt
used here in a figurative sense, and the figurative sense answers exactly
to the literal. Literal ears give men the capacity to hear, and he
that hath ears in the figurative sense is the man who has the capacity
to hear in the intellectual and spiritual realms. Many do not have that
capacity. They have incapacitated themselves. They have as it were put
out their own eyes, and stopped up their own ears. They have no more ability
to see, no more capacity to hear. What this amounts to practically is
that they have no ability to receive and weigh evidence. They are as impervious
to reason as a deaf man is to sound, or a blind man to light.
But what is it which thus robs a man of his ears, eyes, mind, and reason?
In one word, prejudice. Prejudice is a bias against something or somebody,
or an infatuation with the same. It is a disposition of the heart, and
is not based upon fact or reason. Prejudice is defined as
an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual,
a group, a race. It is now also used of a bias in favor of something,
in the proper sense of the word infatuation, which is a
foolish and unreasoning love or passion. Call it by what name you
will, the thing is a disposition of the heart, not based upon evidence
or reason, and when once it is thoroughly established, it renders the
soul absolutely impervious to the most patent facts, and absolutely immune
to the most evident reason. The foundation of prejudice is in passion,
not reason. The passion in which it is founded may be envy, resentment,
malice, or, on the other side, love. These passions take away men's ears,
and render them unable to see and hear.
This truth is embodied in a number of old proverbs, the best known of
which is, Love is blind. Another says, Hatred is as
blind as love. Envy and malice are blind also. Love cannot see the
ill, and malice cannot see the good. Malice can see well enough
too well ----but it cannot see good. Envy is lynx-eyed. Envy
sharpens the sight. Suspicion has double eyes. It not
only sees the faults that are there, but also sees faults which do not
exist. It blinds the eyes to see good, and sharpens them to see evil.
Faults are thick where love is thin.
And this leads us to the fact that prejudice is the author of confusion,
for it is the author of innumerable inconsistencies. Men are not prejudiced
on every subject, or towards every person, but only where the passions
are allowed to overrun the reason. The same man, therefore, may be both
eagle-eyed and stone blind. He may be an acute reasoner on one subject,
and altogether immune to reason on another. Prejudice insensibly leads
men to hold double standards. They will condemn the same action in one
person which they defend in another, or oppose that in others which they
are guilty of themselves
----for most of us are prejudiced in some
degree in favor of ourselves. I was once speaking with a man who was taking
me to task for being sure of the things which I preach. I explained to
him that it is right to be sure of the truth, but that I do not know everything.
I am sure of some things, and other things I am not sure of. As an example
of the latter I named a particular doctrine, which happened to be one
of his favorites. Oh, said he, that I'm sure of.
Yes, but how then was it wrong for me to be sure of anything? The fact
is, I happened to be sure of some things which he didn't like.
But to return to Matthew 11:15. After saying, He that hath ears
to hear, let him hear, the Lord immediately adds, But whereunto
shall I liken this generation? This generation has no ears
capacity to hear the message of God. It is like unto children sitting
in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, We have piped
unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have
not lamented. (Verses 16-17). They pipe, but receive no proper response.
They go to the opposite side, and mourn, and still there is no response.
So it was with that generation. For John came neither eating nor
drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and
drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend
of publicans and sinners. (Verses 18-19). The heart was set against
holiness. They loved darkness rather than light. Therefore God could not
send a messenger which would be acceptable to them. No wisdom or goodness
of God could satisfy them. Let him send them an abstemious man, or a man
who eats and drinks with sinners, and they find fault with both, though
the one was a prophet and more than a prophet, and the other was the Son
of God. God went to both extremes, and they condemned both. If he had
taken any ground between, they would have condemned that also. Such are
the workings of prejudice.
C. H. Spurgeon felt the same sort of prejudice in operation against himself
during the downgrade controversy, which moved him to say at that time,
I have no intent to wound anyone, but I cannot help it if I do.
I do not say this by way of apology, for I am now past all need of apology,
and I have become a chartered libertine in the speaking of my mind, since
I have found it utterly impossible to please, let me say or do what I
will. One becomes somewhat indifferent when dealing with those whom every
Another example of the same kind of prejudice occurred when John Wesley
published the minutes of his conference of 1770. The Calvinists, led by
Lady Huntingdon and Walter Shirley, raised a great hue and cry over the
doctrine of the minutes, and in a paper headed Popery Unmasked
called upon all real Protestants to proceed in a body to Wesley's
next conference, and insist upon a formal recantation. Here,
but for the absence of fire and faggot, was real popery unmasked,
for who but the papists claim the right to insist that other men formally
recant their doctrines? But nothing is more common, where prejudice is
at work, than for men to accuse others of the very things they are most
guilty of themselves. Some of the modern pleaders for the perfection of
the Textus Receptus are very forward to accuse Westcott and Hort of pulling
facts out of thin air
----while they do the very same thing themselves
in everything they write. Wesley rightly regarded prejudice as the real
root of the objections against him. He felt that prejudice, the same as
Spurgeon did, and wrote two months after his conference:
I am constrained to believe (what I would not for a long time) these
are not the objections of judgement, but of passion; they do not spring
from the head, but the heart. Whatever I say, it will be all one. They
will find fault because I say it. There is implicit envy at my power (so
called), and a jealousy rising therefrom. Hence prejudice in a thousand
forms; hence objections springing up like mushrooms. And, while those
causes remain, they will spring up, whatever I can do or say.
There was nothing in the doctrines of Wesley's minutes which a Calvinist
would object to, if a Calvinist had written them. The fact is, one of
the chief objectors, Walter Shirley, had put forth the same doctrines
himself in his published sermons. But Wesley, besides being a known and
outspoken Arminian, had introduced his minutes by saying, We have
leaned too much toward Calvinism. In so saying he touched the apple
of their eye. Passion and prejudice were inflamed, and reason and judgement
fled before them. If at that point Wesley had published a Calvinistic
creed, the Calvinists would have condemned it. If they could find no fault
with the doctrine, they would have questioned his motives. They would
have said, Though he says what we say, he means something different
by it. They would have found something wrong, for prejudice always
John Fletcher took up the cause, and wrote in defense of the minutes,
thus producing his Checks to Antinomianism. In so doing he showed to the
world the double standard of prejudice, by showing that Walter Shirley's
published sermons contained the same doctrines that Shirley was insisting
that Wesley formally recant. Shirley was equal to the occasion, however,
and rather than admit that Wesley was right, he formally recanted his
own sermons! Such is prejudice.
The controversy raged for several years, and waxed warm, with several
of the prominent Calvinists opposing Wesley's doctrine and Fletcher's
defense of it. Well
----scarcely had the dust of the controversy
settled than Jonathan Edwards' Twenty Sermons were published, in 1779.
The first of these sermons contained the very same doctrine that had been
labelled popery when coming from Wesley ----the only
difference being that Edwards stated the doctrine in much stronger terms ----yet
never a Calvinist breathed a word of protest. Wesley was an Arminian,
and that was proof enough that his doctrine was false. Edwards was a Calvinist,
and that was the proof that his doctrine was true. The fact that Wesley
and Edwards held the same doctrine was not even noticed. Such is prejudice,
and such are its double standards. It renders the soul literally unable
to see and hear the plainest evidence.
It is not that the prejudiced choose not to believe the facts. They are
unable to believe them. He that has no ears need not choose not to hear.
He is unable to hear. I do not believe the human race has the ability
to choose not to believe plain facts. Evidence that is convincing will
convince. The old saying, A man convinced against his will is of
the same opinion still, is really only a meaningless ditty, for
if he is of the same opinion still, he is obviously not convinced. He
may be forced to conform, but he is not convinced. But the fact is, men
often are convinced against their will
----though they may be a
long time in admitting it, for it is a much easier thing to convince a
prejudiced man than it is to get him to admit that he is convinced. Convincing
evidence does convince, as much as ever a trumpet blast awakens the sleeping.
But it has no effect on the deaf, though they are wide awake. They have
no ability to hear it ----no ears to hear.
The evolutionist cannot receive the evidence which points to a Creator,
convincing as it is to an open mind. The impossibility of such a thing
is greater evidence in his mind than all the facts which point to it.
The King James Only man is unable to believe that there are
errors in the King James Version. The perfection of the King James Version
is so thoroughly established in his mind as truth, that that is stronger
evidence to him than any array of facts on the other side. On that subject
he has no ears to hear. It is not that he chooses not to believe the facts.
----but he is sure they cannot be true. He will even (and very
sincerely) call his certainty that the plainest of facts are not true
by the mistaken name of faith ----faith in the doctrine of the inspiration
of the Bible, which he thinks is the same thing as faith in the perfection
of the King James Version. And indeed, there is something in this which
so nearly resembles true faith that we have no disposition to fault him
that is deceived by it. But still the fact remains that the truth cannot
contradict the facts, and any truth which sets facts at defiance
is not the truth, and the faith which rests upon such truth
is only superstition and prejudice. It is of the same nature as faith
in the infallibility of the Roman Catholic church, in spite of the fact
that that church is riddled with corruption from head to foot.
But as said, such faith may so nearly resemble true faith as to be hardly
distinguishable from it, for faith is often called as it were to set facts
at defiance. Abraham must not consider the deadness of Sarah's womb. This
was a fact, which he must simply brush aside, in order to hold to the
promise of God. I am called to believe that God is for me, even though
the things he does may seem to indicate that he is against me. But let
me illustrate. In the climate in which I live, I am sometimes called upon
to believe that it is summer, in spite of the fact that it is snowing
outside. That we may liken to faith. But if I am asked to believe that
it is not snowing outside (since it is summer, and therefore cannot be
snowing), in spite of the fact that it is snowing, this is no longer faith,
----credulity ----prejudice. And this homely
illustration may serve very well to illustrate how prejudice operates.
We begin with the premise that it cannot snow in summer. This being firmly
established in the mind as truth, we cannot believe that the white stuff
coming down outside is snow. It looks like snow, feels like snow, and
can be rolled up and packed up into snow balls ----but
it cannot be snow. Thus prejudice puts out the eyes, and stops up the
ears, and renders men incapable of receiving the plainest evidence.
A man begins with the premise that miracles cannot happen. This once reigning
in his mind, no amount of evidence to the contrary can convince him that
miracles do happen. The eye-witness accounts which he hears make no impression
upon him. If he sees a miracle himself, it was a trick, a deception, a
coincidence, something mysterious and inexplicable, but not a miracle,
for miracles do not exist. If his belief that miracles do not happen was
mere ignorance, a mere mistake of the mind, the evidence to the contrary
will quickly convince him to the contrary. But where passion is at the
root of that belief, where that belief is founded upon heart opposition
to God, or to Christianity, or to Christians, or to a certain sect of
Christians, the evidence will not penetrate his mind
than the blast of the trumpet can enter the ears of the deaf. It is passion
But prejudice comes in all degrees, and is not always invincible. An older
woman, whose beauty is fading, works with a virtuous young lady whose
beauty is in full bloom. She is therefore jealous of her. That jealousy
grows into a settled antipathy, and she becomes unable to see any good
in her. All of her evident goodness is attributed to pride. All of her
acts of kindness are regarded as so much hypocrisy. At length, however,
the young lady has occasion to bestow upon her detractor some act of self-denying
love, and her heart is softened. The expressions of love are repeated,
and her antagonist is completely melted down. Prejudice flows away in
a flood of tears, and animosity is replaced with love. And this, by the
way, is also an apt illustration of the best way to deal with prejudice.
An old French proverb advises, Against a prejudice avoid a front
attack. What is the use of talking to people who have no ears? The
young lady, or her friends, might have reasoned for ever with the jealous
woman, and made no impression. But when the heart is softened, the missing
ears are restored.
Proceeding to the spiritual realm, we find that men are prejudiced against
the ways of God in general, and against his messengers in particular.
This prejudice springs from the fact that men love sin, and therefore
love darkness rather than light, but there are numerous other factors
which strengthen this prejudice. Particular doctrines which they cannot
brook (and which may not even be true), some hurt which they have received
from some servant of Christ, or the failings of Christians in general
these may serve to strengthen their heart opposition to the things of
God. It is of little use to reason with such. Their trouble is not in
their understanding, but in their heart, and until the heart is changed,
reason will make little impression. How many weary hours I have spent
reasoning with Jehovah's Witnesses, and all to no avail, for I have found
them impervious to reason. They have no ears to hear.
So it is in general with Jews. No one is more prejudiced against Christ
than they. Many of them hate his name, and scorn his claims. But years
ago I had a valuable experience which taught me how to deal with that
prejudice. I was out knocking on doors, preaching the gospel. I came to
a house where there were three young men and one young woman, evidently
university students. I stayed about two hours, but it was a dreary argument.
The girl strongly, and a little scornfully, opposed all that I could say.
At one point we hit upon the subject of persecution. She said, If
you want to see persecution, look at the history of the Jews. I
looked her in the eye and asked (what I suspected), Are you a Jew?
She said, Yes. I said, I know the history of the Jews,
and when I read it, I weep. I paused, and the tears began to run
down my cheeks, but I kept looking her in the eye, and said, I love
----and Christ loves Jews. By this she was completely
overcome. She burst into tears herself, and covered her face with both
of her hands to hide them, while she ran from the room. A simple expression
of love for her people, the reality of which she could scarcely doubt
while the tears flowed from my eyes, did more to move her than days and
weeks of reasoning or doctrinal persuasion could ever have done.
But we live in a strange day, in which the emotions of mankind are either
ignored or feared. Emotionalism and emotional appeals
are spoken of with contempt, and the gospel which is commonly preached
is addressed purely to the intellect, as though man were all mind, and
no heart. It is taken for granted that converts made by emotional
appeals are not real, and will not hold out. But the fact is, men's
hearts are filled with prejudices against the truth of God, the ways of
God, the people of God, and the servants of God, and until those prejudices
are broken down, it is of little use to reason with them. They have no
ears to hear. The preacher's tears are very much more likely to win them
than his reasoning. A little of love will convince a man much sooner than
the most cogent of arguments. What is the worth of arguments to a man
who has no ears to hear? I do not mean that emotional considerations alone,
in the absence of reason and understanding, can actually convert a man.
Certainly not. But they can open his ears to hear reason. I know a woman
who was raised in the church, but had lived a dissolute life, and wanted
nothing to do with Christianity. Some men knocked on her door to preach
the gospel to her, but she told them she already knew all that, and wanted
nothing to do with it. But somehow in their brief conversation her destitute
circumstances came out
----she probably alluding to them to blame
God for them. The men left, but returned a few days later, carrying bags
of groceries. This broke her heart, and she was converted.
Now the world is filled with men who are bitterly prejudiced against God
and all his ways. They have no ears to hear the truth or the gospel. But
they have a heart which is hungry for love. A little of love may give
them their ears. I was out knocking on doors some time ago, and ran into
a woman whom I had known since childhood. She was filled with bitterness
against me, evidently based upon the rumors which the Christians in these
parts have spread about me
----for there are Christians nearly from
coast to coast, many of whom have never met me, and would not know me
if they saw me, who have yet taken it upon themselves to paint me as black
as they can, their real difficulty being that the kind of Christianity
which I preach is a condemnation of the kind to which they adhere. One
of the rumors which has prevailed about me in these parts is that, like
some modern-day Joseph Smith, I am writing my own Bible. Some
years ago a man who had had a hand in spreading this rumor came to me
to apologize for it, and his apology plainly revealed to me the source
of the rumor ----an old preacher whom I had known as a child. I
wrote him a kindly letter about it, showing him the damage the rumor was
doing, but I received no reply. At any rate, when I knocked on this woman's
door, her husband answered it. I spoke with him a little, left him a tract
with my name on it, and went on to the next house. When I came back on
the other side of the street, this woman was standing at the end of her
driveway calling me by name. I went over to her, and she lit into me like
a whirlwind, authoritatively forbidding me to come spreading my wicked
doctrines in her neighborhood. I told her I preached nothing but the Bible.
She informed me with great bitterness that I do not preach the real Bible,
but my own Bible which I wrote myself. I opened the Bible in my hand,
to show her that it was the King James Version, but she immediately slapped
the book, and knocked it out of my hand. At about that point I realized
that I could as easily talk down a tornado as to try to reason with this
woman. She had no ears to hear. Yet I pray that I might have opportunity
to show to her the love which I have in my heart for her.
Likewise, there are disgruntled and bitter souls who once walked with
the people of God, but have left them, and are full of bitterness, usually
against the preacher. No amount of talking will move them the breadth
of a hair. They have no ears to hear. I have endeavored to reason with
some of such, and have found them absolutely impervious to arguments,
and absolutely immune to reason. But some of them may not be immune to
love. If love will not move them, nothing will.
The Lord Jesus was hated by the world because his own works were righteous,
and the world's wicked. What he was condemned the world. He also bore
witness of it, that its works were wicked. He was therefore hated. And
what was his response? He went about doing good. He did not
do this instead of preaching, for that would have been little more than
a waste of time. But while he preached those things which provoked the
enmity of the world, he did those things which told out his love for it.
By this means, if any, we might give ears to those who have none.
Ï Stray Notes on the English Bible
by the Editor
By No Means Clear the Guilty
In Exodus 34:6-7 the Lord reveals himself as The Lord, the Lord
God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and
truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression
and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty. I suggest that
this text as thus translated contradicts itself. How can God say that
he forgives iniquity and transgression and sin, and immediately affirm
that he will by no means clear the guilty? Whose sins and iniquities and
transgressions does he forgive, if not those of the guilty?
But we must back up a little. The expression which is rendered and
that will by no means clear the guilty is somewhat cryptic, and
therefore not easy to translate. It has been interpreted in diverse manners
by the ancients. The Latin Vulgate has nullusque apud te per se innocens
est, a paraphrase, which Adam Clarke renders, and no person is innocent
by or of himself before thee, while the Greek LXX (not A) has kaiV
ouj kaqariei' tovn e[nocon, that is, and he will not cleanse the
guilty. The guilty is added in the translation, not
being in the Hebrew.
Luther was evidently influenced by the Vulgate, and has Vnd fur welchem
niemand vnschuldig ist, and before whom no one is innocent.
Tyndale followed after Luther with (for there is no man ynnoceát
before the), and was followed by Matthew and Taverner.
Coverdale has (before whoá ther is no man innocent),
but he dropped this in the Great Bible for the improved rendering, (and
not leauyinge one innocent).
The Geneva Bible further improved this, having and not making the
wicked innocent. The Bishops' Bible retained the reading of the
Great Bible, and not leauing one innocent.
The King James Version both strengthened and weakened the rendering of
the Geneva Bible, with and that will by no meanes cleere the guiltie.
This, as I said at the beginning, evidently makes the text to contradict
itself, for who does he forgive, if not the guilty? The words the
guilty, are of course added, not being in the Hebrew. We have no
objection at all to adding something here, to fill out the cryptic expression,
but we suppose that the guilty was the wrong thing to add.
The King James Version ought by all means to have retained the wicked,
which the Geneva Bible added. Thus we would read, that will by no
means clear the wicked, which is sound and scriptural doctrine.
All men are guilty, but all are not wicked. The wicked are
a well known and recognized class of men in Scripture, as distinguished
from the righteous. By repentance a man may cease to be wicked, though
in the nature of the case he can never cease to be guilty, for guilt does
not cease with the cessation of the crime. If a man committed murder sixty
years ago, and has never repeated the crime
----yea, though he is
filled with sorrow and remorse for it ----still he is guilty of
murder. Yet he need not continue to be wicked. He need not continue a
murderer. The wicked, so long as they remain such, will never be pardoned
by God ----and this is the true doctrine of Exodus 34:7 ----but
it goes without saying that every man who is pardoned is a guilty man.
It might be supposed by some that this statement, that will by no
means clear the guilty, is in fact an affirmation of the principle
of law, for it was at the giving of the law that it was spoken. But the
text itself will not allow any such thought, for it plainly affirms that
the Lord forgives iniquity and transgression and sin. This is not law,
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
O Grace of God So Boundless
by T. T. Shields and Daniel B. Towner
Thomas T. Shields (1873-1955) was pastor of the Jarvis Street Baptist
Church in Toronto, and one of the leaders of a past generation of Fundamentalists.
He loved to preach on Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?
(Lam. 1:12). It is unlikely, however, that any sermon on the text could
equal the following hymn in power and pathos. The music, by the well known
D. B. Towner, greatly increases the power of the words, and I question
whether I have ever seen a more perfect match between the words and music
in any hymn. Towner wrote the words of the chorus (as is usual), and somewhat
altered the words of the verses also. It is strange that so beautiful
and powerful a hymn, written by two men so well known, should be absent
from all the modern hymn books, but such is the fact, so far as I am aware.
It is a great privilege to this editor to be able to do something to rescue
such a piece from its undeserved oblivion. It is no longer under copyright,
and may be freely used by all. I am sorry I cannot give a clearer copy,
but the printing of the original is poor. The hymn is number 138 in The
Ideal Song and Hymn Book, edited by D. B. Towner in 1909.
Index to Volume 4, 1995
Articles by the Editor
About My Father's Business............ 189
All That Is In the World.................... 25
America in Prophecy....................... 119
Back Side of the Desert..................... 54
Baptism in the English Bible............ 126
Be Not Deceived............................. 244
Casting Lots..................................... 82
Cleaning Up the World...................... 97
Did Elijah Go to Heaven in a Chariot of Fire?...............................................
Ears to Hear.................................... 278
Eternal Sonship of Christ................. 199
Fear and Dread................................. 45
G. Campbell Morgan & John Murdock MacInnis.....................................
Good in the King James Only Doctrines.......................................
Him Ye Will Receive...................... 121
In Us or By Us................................ 186
Influence of the Plymouth Brethren.... 61
King James' Other Book.................. 169
A Geneva Bible.............................. 89
Billy Sunday................................ 149
Books on Revival......................... 113
Fletcher of Madeley...................... 175
Fundamentalist History & Biography...................................
J. C. Ryle..................................... 261
Missionary Books............................ 8
Paul Rader................................... 239
Plymouth Brethren History and Biography...................................
Reprints of Early English Bibles... 130
Rescue Mission Books.................. 215
Kept from the Hour......................... 103
Patience of Christ.............................. 77
Prodigal Son: Saint or Sinner?......... 145
Qualifications of an Interpreter
of Scripture................................... 224
Refining and Polishing the KJV....... 193
Repentance: Law or Grace?............. 207
The Christian Bible......................... 217
The Right Hand & the Left.................. 4
The Two Dispensations................... 241
The Two Witnesses........................... 49
Earthen Vessels.............................. 36
Quality and Quantity.................... 267
Rejoice With Trembling................ 252
Restraining Children.................... 150
What God Chooses....................... 177
Stray Notes on the English Bible
As Not Abusing It.......................... 30
By No Means Clear the Guilty....... 285
Cannot Away With....................... 214
Effectual Fervent Prayer............... 263
Frankly and Freely......................... 92
God Forbid.................................. 134
Jehovah, Corrections on............... 118
Jesus and Joshua.......................... 236
One Fold........................................ 22
One Fold, Addenda........................ 71
Questions in Romans Eight............. 70
Transgression of the Law.............. 117
Woe Worth the Day!..................... 192
With the People of God................... 170
Wise Unto Salvation....................... 274
Articles & Extracts by Others
Ballade of Anne Askewe................. 235
Bob Jones on Sam Jones.................... 92
Conversion of Mary & Her Earrings 238
Grace Stott's Preparation for Missionarey Work..........................
Hunger for the Bible in Madagascar... 64
Just One Sin, Harry Ironside............ 252
O Grace of God So Boundless (hymn)........................................
Richard Rhodda & Falling Rocks....... 96
Sam Hadley Finds Jim,
by Harry Ironside.......................... 94
Sin or Salvation, Richard Baxter...... 252
Sword of the Spirit, John Wycliffe..... 48
Worldly & Heavenly Joy,
by Walter Hilton?......................... 211
OP&AL is a testimony, not a forum. Old articles are printed without
alteration (except for correction of misprints) unless stated otherwise,
and are inserted if the editor judges them profitable for instruction
or historical information, without endorsing everything in them. The editor's
own views are to be taken from his own writings.