Another Methodist Revival on a Dance
[The following account is taken from The Battle Field Reviewed, by Landon
Taylor; Chicago: Published for the Author, 1881, pp. 51-53. As a young
Methodist preacher, Mr. Taylor met Sister Livermore at one of his appointments.
She was the wife of the class leader, and an old woman nearing her heavenly
home. From her he received the following account.
[Mrs. Livermore] was raised near Binghamton, in the state of New York.
Her father's name was Pease. Being in good circumstances, and under no
religious restraint, she, with others, as they grew up, became very fond
of dancing; and being a kind of leader among the young people, of course
she must be present and lead the way. At the age of fifteen, in company
with a cousin of the same age, as they were engaged in making their dresses
for the Fourth of July, they were arrested, both at the same time, by
the peculiar sound in drawing their thread through the cloth. Each stitch
seemed to say: It is the last. The impression was so strong
equally so with both ----that they suspended their work about nine
o'clock in the evening and retired to rest, but not to sleep. The unseen
Messenger divine had undertaken an important work, and all through the
night his whisperings seemed to say: This is the way that leads
to death. Morning came, but the work of preparing for the dance
was laid aside; and soon it was known through all the circle of their
youthful friends that the Miss Peases had decided not to attend the coming
ball. The cry of turning Methodists was raised and circulated through
the community; but they had settled the question on that memorable night,
and no taunts nor persuasions could turn them from their purpose. The
fourth of July came, the ball went off, but they did not attend. But a
new trial was to come. The uncle of these ladies, chagrined at the defeat,
determined to recover lost ground if possible, and so he laid his plan
in order to deceive and decoy them. The plan was this: To request Miss
Pease, the subject of our sketch, to spend one or two weeks at his house,
assisting in making up some garments for the family, during which time
a pleasure party would be given, and in this way carry out their plans
with success. True to the arrangement, the whole programme was faithfully
executed, and the day of the select party was near at hand. The morning
previous, however, the cousin alluded to came over to spend the day with
her, and to fortify each other for the coming trial. The better to carry
out their purposes, in the afternoon they took a walk out into the grove
in order to implore divine aid, and make the final resolve what course
to pursue in the coming dance. It was this: Knowing that they would be
selected, as usual, to lead off on the morrow, that when the fiddler announced
that he was ready, instead of dancing, they would drop on their knees
and pray with all the fervency of spirit within their power, and depend
upon God for results. Well, the day came, bright and cheerful; the company
of about sixty met, and the hour of interest had arrived. As they had
anticipated, they were the first ones led out upon the floor to head the
dance. The eventful moment had arrived, and, standing there, awaiting
the signal, the suspense was fearful, and it seemed, said Mrs. Livermore,
that I should drop in my tracks. But as it is said that fortune
favors the brave, more truthfully may it be said, God honors
the faithful. True to duty, as the fiddler announced that he was
ready, those two young ladies of fifteen bowed in humble prayer. Shall
I record the result? The transition from dancing to praying was perfectly
overwhelming. Within a few minutes almost every person present was bowed
before God in the attitude of prayer. The two young ladies were instantly
converted; the sister of the proprietor of the house, an old backslider,
was reclaimed, and went through the room shouting the praises of God.
The fiddler struck the chest with his fiddle and broke it into pieces,
and was soon converted, and the prayer-meeting lasted through the night,
resulting in the salvation of about sixteen souls. But the good work did
not stop here. It went on through the community for weeks to come, and
resulted in the accession of sixty members to the church. Among the converts
was Mr. Pease himself, who afterward became a local preacher in the M[ethodist]
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Corrections on First John 5:7
by the Editor
My article on First John 5:7 appeared in the Sept., 1993, issue of this
magazine. Shortly afterwards I received information from Doug Kutilek
(of Wichita, Kansas) that there are four Greek manuscripts which contain
the text, not two as I had stated. I had relied upon Bruce Metzger's Textual
Commentary on the Gk. N. T. ( copyright 1971) for my information. When
I received the contrary information, I intended to publish a correction,
but hoped first to obtain the exact readings of those manuscripts, thus
to exhibit how far they agree with each other, and with the Textus Receptus.
But time has slipped away, and I yet remain without that information.
At present I can only inform my readers that the other two manuscripts
which contain the verse are dated from the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries,
that is (certainly in one case, and probably in both), after the Greek
Testament containing the verse was already in print. I judge them to be
of no real weight, and certainly insufficient to alter the views set forth
in my article. If it had been otherwise, I would not have thus delayed
to publish this correction. A fifth manuscript (Ravianus, which I was
aware of before) also contains the verse in the text, but this, as Scrivener
says, is a mere worth-less copy from printed books. (Introduction,
Second Edition, pg. 561.)
Only now I have learned of another mistake. Mr. Michael Maynard, A History
of the Debate over 1 John v, 7-8, pg. 288, points out that I have misrepresented
a portion from Erasmus' 3rd edition as , instead of the actual .
This, of course, was no intentional misrepresentation, but I thank Mr.
Maynard for calling my attention to it. I had no access to Erasmus's text
except in quotations or collations. F. H. A. Scrivener's Introduction
(2nd Ed., pg. 561) gives a collation of verse 7 thus: Ver. 7---ejn
tw'/ oujranw'/ usque ad th/' gh/' ver. 8, Er. 1,2.---oJ prim. et secund.
Er. 3 [non C. Er. 4,5]. +kai (post pathvr) C.--- V Er. 3. pneu'ma a}gion
Er. 3,4,5. ---ou}toi C. +ei" to (ante en) C. From this it is
plain that is inserted only by C. (the Complutensian). A recent
letter from Mr. Maynard points out yet another error in the text of Erasmus,
namely, the insertion of j before V . Scrivener's collation verifies this.
Having been obliged to get the text of Erasmus at second hand, perhaps
I copied someone else's mistakes, but I cannot now say certainly what
source I used. If it was Scrivener
----and I think it was ----I
obviously read him too carelessly. Suffice it to say, while from this
it will appear that the text of Erasmus does agree with Codex Montfortianus
in the portion I have printed, it yet remains that no two of the witnesses
agree in the entire portion, embracing verses 7 & 8, for Erasmus and
Montfortianus differ twice in verse 8. No printed edition agrees with
either of these manuscripts.
I have also discovered another mistake in my article. In giving the text
of Tyndale's last revision (1535), I used what I took to be a 1536 reprint
of it, but see now that what I actually had was a reprint of the GH edition.
It is difficult to keep all of these prints straight, especially as some
of their title pages are lost. For this purpose Francis Fry's A Bibliographical
Description of the Editions of The New Testament, Tyndale's Version in
English is invaluable, or I may say indispensable. By carefully comparing
Fry's descriptions and plates with the copy in my hand, I may now give
with certainty the text of what is believed to be Tyndale's last revision.
The first title page is missing, and I believe there is no copy which
contains it. The second title page reads The new Testament/ dylygently
corrected and compared with the Greke by Willyam Tindale: and fynesshed
in the yere of oure Lorde God A. M.D.and.xxxv. This may be distinguished
from Tyndale's earlier editions by a number of readings peculiar to itself,
as the misprint rueled ruele (for ruele) in Col.
2:15. The spelling is also peculiar, commonly having such things as almoest
for almost, and faether for father.
And lastly, this edition differs from the others in that I John 5:7 appears
in the same size type as the rest of the text, yet still set off with
parentheses as in the other editions. The microfilm copy of this which
I have is not clear enough to give a good facsimile (which is why I did
not use it in the first place), but I give the best I can.
The printing of the added words in the same size type as the rest of
the text, contrary to Tyndale's former practice, is likely due to the
fact that Tyndale had no personal oversight in the printing of this edition,
for this was the second edition of 1535 (the GH edition being the first),
and Tyndale was arrested and imprisoned on May 21 of this year.
Finally, lest I be thought to suppress the fact, I should perhaps mention
also that there are a few Greek manuscripts (four, I believe) which exhibit
I John 5:7 in the margin. I did not mention these before because I regard
them as of no weight. Their real testimony is that the exemplars from
which they were copied did not contain I John 5:7, for scribes do not
write the text of their exemplar in the margin of their copy.
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How to Build a Good Library
by Glenn Conjurske
A reader has asked for recommendations on how to build a library.
Permit me to affirm in the most solemn manner at the outset that the most
important ingredient in this business is to want to. Hunger and thirst
for good books will go farther than any advice which I can give. Thirty
years ago I knew almost nothing about how to build a good library, and
neither did I have anyone to guide me
----nor have I had anyone
since then. Moreover, through that thirty-year period I have had an almost
constant battle against poverty, and often very deep poverty. Yet today
I have I suppose the best private library I have ever seen. I do not say
biggest (for I have seen one larger), but best ----and
there is a very great difference. I cite this fact to prove that Where
there's a will there's a way. The will is the most important ingredient.
Without that, neither advice nor help nor riches will be of much avail.
When I was a student at Bible school I had just begun to build a library,
and a pitiful affair it was. I had perhaps seventy-five or a hundred books.
Some of my friends complained of turning green with envy when they came
into my room and saw my library. Yet they had more money than
I did, and could certainly have had a better library than I had
they had wanted to. My weekly income was about three dollars more than
my weekly school bill. Yet I spent most of my Friday nights down at the
book stores, combing through the books on the bargain tables, while they
spent theirs on a date, at a restaurant or a bowling alley. The books,
of course, were easier to get than the dates, and though I might have
given my right arm for a date with a certain girl, I would yet have contrived
a way to reserve my money for the book tables. As a matter of fact, my
bride and I spent the first two days of our honeymoon at the book stores
in Grand Rapids. (The rest of it I preached for a week of meetings in
a little church north of there.) I was pastoring a little church in Colorado
at the time, with a salary of $0.00 per week ----the same per year,
by the way ----and had no money. I had to hitch a ride from Colorado
to Michigan for my wedding. But my bride had saved up a little, and when
I walked into her parents' house, she handed me a roll of bills. If she
was priming the pump, she must have found the well pretty dry, but I made
good use of the money at the book stores.
And this brings me to the second most important ingredient in building
a library which is self-denial. Unless you are rich, you will need a good
deal of this. For thirty years I have done without almost everything else,
in order to obtain good books. I have driven old cars which other folks
would have taken to the junk lot. During a period of thirty years I drove
eleven cars, for which I spent a grand total of $580. For several of them
I paid nothing. (A few months ago I was obliged to spend $700 for a single
car, for it became a matter of necessity to get a larger one to contain
my family, and that was the cheapest I could find, of the kind which I
needed, after several months of searching.) A friend who visited me years
ago expressed surprize at my house, saying it was substandard.
I suppose it was, though it was better than the house I live in today.
Most of my shoes and clothes have come from rummage sales or second-hand
stores. I have often worn shoes, socks, underwear, and coats with holes
in them, and sometimes the holes (or patches) have gotten to be the biggest
part of the business. Furniture, appliances, dishes, and goods of all
kinds we have bought used, or rescued them from the trash when others
have thrown them away. I have always been poor because I have always had
an income which was small, and usually uncertain, but I have been so much
the poorer because I have spent my money for books. But for that there
is no help. Books are expensive
----often very expensive ----but
they are a simple necessity to those who aspire to lead the church of
God. It is a plain matter of fact that I could not now edit such a magazine
as this if I had not denied myself for thirty years to build my library.
Of course I must endure reproach enough for all of this, but this is part
of the cost. Some who have much profited by my ministry have much criticized
me for buying books as I do. They like to eat the bread, but they grudge
wasting the land to raise the wheat. Yet I frankly suppose that I have
endured more reproach for this than I have deserved, for I often deny
myself buying books in order to buy necessities.
But I suppose that these are not the kind of things which my readers had
hoped to hear. No, but they are the things which they need to hear, for
any man who is serious about building a good library will meet with many
hardships and discouragements, such as nothing but hunger and thirst and
determination will carry him through. He will find that books cost money
indeed, and if he happens to have plenty of money, he will find that most
of the best books are out of print, and scarcely obtainable at all. And
to build a good library will not only cost money, but time
reading through lengthy book lists, to find perhaps one or two books worth
ordering, time travelling to bookstores, and much time combing through
But Where there's a will there's a way, and I can cite my own experience
as proof enough that a good library can be built, and that even in the
midst of continual poverty. I proceed, then, to some practical pointers
as to how this is to be done.
The first practical difficulty which every man must face is this: for
every good book ever published, there are a thousand worthless ones, and
how are we to tell which is which? My first advice is to go after the
old books. Modern scholarship is extremely shallow, and the modern church
is generally unspiritual. Modern books are seldom worth what the old ones
are, and most modern books are a waste of time and money.
But alas, the same is also true, though in a lesser degree, of a large
portion of the older books. Therefore my second piece of advice is, go
after the well-known men of God. Go for the books by and about the great
men of God, such as have been the real leaders of the church in past generations,
whose names are well known throughout the church of God. But while I so
speak, I know that I must face the fact that the present generation is
generally so ignorant of its own heritage that some of my readers may
be at an actual loss to know who those men of God are. Some years ago
I spoke with a young man who had been to the most prominent Bible institute
in the country, and asked him if he knew anything about John Wesley. He
said, I've heard of him. And that is about all I knew of Wesley
when I graduated from Bible school. Yet the fact remains that I had heard
of him. The great men, the prominent men, the men you have heard
of, these are the men to pursue
----for their names have not
thus lived for no reason. Yet if you are so far in the dark as to be unable
to tell who these men are, you will do well to get almost any non-sectarian
history of the church, and read it through. This ought to introduce you
to at least a fair number of such men of God.
But to spare my reader even such a task, I offer him a representative
list, roughly in chronological order. Any such list will include such
names as John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, Menno Simons,
Richard Baxter, John Bunyan, John Wesley, George Whitefield, William Carey,
Adoniram Judson, Charles G. Finney, J. N. Darby, C. H. Spurgeon, D. L.
Moody, and R. A. Torrey. These men are not all of the same caliber, and
I would surely rank D. L. Moody far below John Wesley, yet the verdict
of history has given to these names a place of prominence which is really
to be accounted for by the fact that they deserve it. History seldom errs
in such matters. The same cannot be said, I should point out, of men who
may be prominent in the church today. They may be forgotten tomorrow.
Present fads are not to be confused with the verdict of history.
To pursue the works of the prominent men of God of all ages is the method
which I instinctively chose for myself. When I at first set out in such
a course, I did not even know what century men like Wesley and Bunyan
had lived in, but I knew their names. I instinctively supposed there must
be a reason why their names were known, and in this I was not mistaken.
And I believe it by all means the safest method to go after the prominent
men of God. It is a very unsafe thing to build a library of those particular
authors whose books seem to have profited your own soul, for an author
who has influenced you has not necessarily profited you. He may only have
----may only have given you a defective, one-sided, or
unsound view of things ----and the more you read of his books, or
his particular kind of books, the more deeply you will be settled in error.
It is also a very unsafe method to build a library upon sectarian principles.
No sect has a corner on the truth of God, and the man who reads only those
of his own sect or doctrinal persuasion only narrows his mind. I have
seen large libraries in Brethren homes, consisting almost entirely of
Brethren books. But I affirm that however good those individual books
----and many of them are excellent ----that is not
a good library. It is narrow, contracted, and one-sided. Whether it is
true or not that Spurgeon says (Commenting & Commentaries, #1105)
of William Kelly ----a man, `who, born for the universe, narrowed
his mind' by Darbyism ----yet it was not his library which
was at fault, for his 15,000 volumes certainly did not consist primarily
of Brethren books. It included the great Codices (some in facsimile);
all the great Polyglots; the works of the Fathers, and the Schoolmen.
Replete in the departments of science, Philosophy and History, it was
specially rich in Classics, Ecclesiastical History, and Theology, including
many very rare items connected with Biblical research. (Memories
of...William Kelly, by Heyman Wreford, pg. 83.) Those who stock their
shelves with W.K. would do well to follow his example also ----though
they may dispense with most of the science and philosophy. Some Calvinists
read nothing but Calvinism, and the more they read the more narrow and
bigoted they become. They will not read John Wesley, but they feed upon
what his Calvinistic enemies have said about him, till their own souls
are withered and soured. This is really a shame. Our libraries ought to
build up our souls, and not warp and dwarf them.
And while we avoid the narrowness of sectarianism, we ought to avoid also
the equally detrimental narrowness of concentrating primarily upon a particular
kind of books. Some, for example, read only doctrinal books. Biographies
they regard as fluff and froth. The natural result of this is to confirm
them in a heady and unhealthy intellectualism, which is at the farthest
remove from true spirituality. That intellectualism evidently has too
much ascendency in them already, which is why they must have always doctrine.
And the more they read, the more intellectual they become. I knew a young
man of this sort a few years ago. He seemed zealous and devoted, but I
could not twist his arm to read a good biography. He made an attempt,
but he had no taste for it, and would not finish it. He must have doctrine.
I believe it was intellectual pride which was at the root of this, and
today that young man is in a very poor spiritual condition.
In this respect the Bible ought to be our standard. The Bible contains
solid doctrinal treatises, but it contains a good deal more of history
and biography. This is the wisdom of God, and this ought to govern the
kind of libraries we build. I may mention here, by the way, that I believe
that just here lies one of the great deficiencies of a great deal of modern
preaching. There are certain men who preach almost constantly from Paul,
and their preaching is almost entirely doctrinal and intellectual. I have
nothing against doctrine, and I believe my own preaching is as doctrinal
as anybody's, but doctrine is only the skeleton of Christianity, and,
as Ezekiel informs us, it is the way of a skeleton to be very dry.
It is the preacher's business to put some meat on the bones, and it is
the historical and biographical portions of Scripture
the Old Testament and the Gospels ----which will effectually do
so. And while we avoid a diet of purely doctrinal reading, we ought also
to resist any temptation to limit our doctrinal reading primarily to some
favorite theme. Some there are who are always reading prophecy. Indeed,
I once knew a single woman whose whole library consisted of books on prophecy.
Many of them were excellent books, but this was certainly not a good library.
I suppose that most of us have our own particular interests ----perhaps
hobby horses ----but we ought to firmly resist any inclination to
read exclusively or primarily in those fields. This will narrow our souls
and our usefulness.
And if a diet of purely doctrinal reading will be detrimental to the soul,
much more will a diet of grammatical, technical, and linguistic books.
These will wither and dry the soul much sooner than doctrinal reading.
They will take away the heart for evangelism, and in the end even take
away the ability to deal with souls, and confine the soul in the realm
of technicalities. Over against all of this, I must affirm that a good
library is a balanced library
----with a good representation of
historical, biographical, doctrinal, and (for those who have a capacity
for it) technical works. Nor will it much avail if the content of the
library is balanced, unless our use of it is balanced also.
Begin, then, with a pursuit of the prominent men of God. This will not
be easy. It would be nothing very unusual if the reader should visit one
of the better used bookstores (such as Baker's or Kregel's, both in Grand
Rapids, Michigan), and not find a single title by any of the men I have
listed above. He might find a modern paperback or two about some of them,
but he will do just as well to leave most of those where he finds them.
If he turns to the modern reprints of these old authors he will do better.
Sectarians of all sorts do a great service to the church of God by keeping
the works of their own favorites in print. Thus we may have Darby and
Kelly from the Brethren, the Booths from the Salvation Army, Wesley and
Asbury from the Methodists, Menno Simons from the Mennonites, and Spurgeon
and Bunyan from the Calvinists or the Baptists. Much of Spurgeon is in
print today, and so also of Darby, Whitefield, Baxter, Bunyan, Menno Simons,
and I believe William Tyndale. Wesley's works were in print very recently,
if they are not now. The Christian bookstores will not have most of these,
and the reader may have to go to the publishers for them
for some of them to secular publishers. But if he inquires at a local
library for a catalog of books in print, he will be able to locate much
of what is on the market. The prices he may expect to find high, and alas,
the quality often low. And many of the Christian publishers today cannot
be trusted to reprint old books as they find them. Many such reprints
are edited and altered. He should look for photographic reprints, though
I have seen even some of those which were altered or curtailed.
Next to the prominent men of God I would recommend the prominent movements
which were inaugurated by such men as these. The history of the Reformation,
of the Methodists, the Plymouth Brethren, the Quakers, the Puritans, the
----this is of great profit, and this will serve
to introduce the reader to some of the less prominent men in the movements,
who are nevertheless worth knowing. Many of the best of biographies are
of men (and women) of lesser stature ----especially those of missionaries
Next to prominent men and movements I place prominent books. Though the
verdict of history is not so unerring here, yet it is generally true that
those books which are generally quoted, generally regarded as standards
in their field, and often reprinted, are thus regarded with good reason,
and the reader will do well to procure them. I refer to such books as
Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History, Alford's Greek New Testament, Neale's
History of the Puritians, D'Aubigné's History of the Reformation,
William Wall's History of Infant-Baptism, Tyerman's lives of Whitefield
and Wesley, Gaussen's Theopneustia, Adam Clarke's Commentary,
G. N. H. Peters' Theocratic Kingdom, and Thomas Hartwell Horne's Introduction.
The reader will of course be required to do a good deal of reading before
he can know much about what such books are. All of those books which are
great storehouses of information are of great value, especially if they
have good indexes. Most of those listed in this paragraph fall into this
Some of those books may be altogether astray from the truth, but no matter
about that, for we ought to be familiar with the workings of the flesh
as well as those of the Spirit. A good deal of the Bible consists of records
of the false and the evil. To know the disease is half the cure. We ought
by all means to read controversial books, and to read both sides. Whatever
controversies have agitated the church
----over Calvinism, Baptism,
the conditions of salvation, the millennium, the rapture, textual criticism ----these
are profitable reading, and the reader will do well to secure the prominent
or standard works on both sides. One of the best means there is to be
firmly established in the truth is to read the strongest arguments which
may be brought against it. Some doctrinal controversy is unprofitable ----mere
theological nit-picking, by men of small minds and smaller hearts ----but
when able and spiritual men, when great men, set their hands to controversy,
this produces some of the best of all of Christian literature, and there
is nothing dull about such books. Such are John Fletcher's Checks to Antinomianism
and J. W. Burgon's The Revision Revised.
Now all that I have said thus far will do no more than give the reader
the proper orientation
----set his face, that is, in the right direction
to begin building a good library. When once he has fairly begun, if he
is earnest and diligent about it, he will no doubt find his own means
of going forward. As he uses good books, these will continually introduce
him to others, and to other authors. He should carefully observe what
good authors say about other writers, and observe which books they quote,
and should always read pencil in hand.
But I fear my readers may be getting impatient. They want to know what
books to buy, and where to get them. I cannot say what books to buy without
writing a book myself
----I am working on one, by the way ----but
the reader who will consult my Library Chats, published in this magazine
during the previous four years, will gain a great deal of information
in that department. He may also gain a good bit by taking note of the
books quoted in this magazine. I make it a point to give sufficient references,
so that the reader may not be left in the dark as to what I am quoting.
I have been too often frustrated myself by insufficient references in
other men's books ----such as Smith's History. Anyone
who has endeavored to find Smith's History in a library will
know what I mean. He may find a full drawer of cards under George
Smith, another under Henry Smith, and a third under
John Smith, and so on, until he gives up in despair. And History
of what? The church? England? America? I long groped in the dark for this
Smith's History, knowing that I wanted it, but not knowing
what it was that I wanted. At length, on the shelves at Baker's in Grand
Rapids, I discovered History of Wesleyan Methodism, by George Smith, in
three large volumes. So this was the long-sought Smith's History!
I do my best to save my readers from such mysteries.
But if it is book lists the reader wants, he may often find them in the
backs of older books, for publishers commonly published their catalogs,
in whole or in part, in the backs of their books, and I have seen some
of these catalogs which were as large as the books to which they were
appended. This is one very great advantage of buying old editions rather
than reprints. Buy a Passmore and Alabaster edition of most anything by
Spurgeon, and you will probably get a good list of Spurgeon's works, and
perhaps a complete catalog. Spurgeon's Commenting and Commentaries will
give the reader a vast amount of information on commentaries, but most
of this will be about books he will never be able to find at this day,
and I should also point out that Spurgeon is usually too favorable in
his reviews of almost everything
----except the Plymouth Brethren.
It is hard to find good commentaries, and the reader will be much more
likely to gain an understanding of the text of Scripture by reading controversial
works than commentaries. The authors' bibliographies, such as appear at
the end of various books, are often of very great value, especially to
beginners. Richard Owen Roberts has compiled two mammoth (and expensive)
volumes entitled Revival Literature and Whitefield in Print. These are
worth something to an experienced hand, but they may bewilder a beginner
by their very size, and Roberts lists all, wheat and chaff, together.
Wilbur M. Smith has compiled a number of books on books, but I do not
recommend them. In what I have seen of them he deals more in chaff than
wheat, and does not have spirituality enough to be a proper guide.
But the book lists extraordinary will be found in the bibliography
sections of good libraries. There the reader will find such things as
The National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints, in 747 very large volumes.
This is followed by a second set covering 1956 through 1967, in 125 volumes,
etc. This catalog is designed to list all the books published in English,
but it very often overlooks individual titles. The Dictionary Catalog
of the Research Libraries of the New York Public Library, in 800 thinner
volumes, seems more complete, at least for the kind of books I have sought.
Henry Boehm is not listed in the former set, while the latter lists two
titles. Even the popular William Arthur is not listed in the former set,
while the latter lists two of the many editions of his Tongue of Fire.
There are also scores of books and sets cataloging particular libraries
or subjects, as the Dictionary Catalog of the Missionary Research Library
(New York), in seventeen volumes. All of these, of course, will only inform
the reader as to what exists, while they tell him nothing as to what it
Such helps as these will enable the reader to compile a wants list,
but where is he to get the books? The fact is, the wants list will grow
a good deal faster than the library, and for that there is no help. The
good books are scarce. A revival in the church might change that, by creating
a hunger and a demand for good books
----for the Christian publishers
will publish what they can make money on. But for the present most of
the best books must be gotten second hand if they are to be gotten at
But where are the books to be gotten? First and foremost are the used
Christian book stores. Baker's and Kregel's in Grand Rapids are, I suppose,
the most prominent of these. They have both been in business for many
years, have a large stock, and generally reasonable prices. Kregel's sends
out catalogs, but for many years I have not gotten them. The better books
are all sold before the catalog is printed. If the reader will send a
list of his wants to either store, they will quote him a price and hold
the books for two weeks. But I warn him in advance that he will not get
much this way, unless he is looking for the most common books of fairly
recent date. A trip to Grand Rapids may turn up more. The year has not
passed in the last quarter century that I have not been in Grand Rapids
at least once, and sometimes three or four times. When my library was
much smaller I often found books I was in search of, but this rarely happens
any more. The selection has been very much poorer of late years than it
used to be, and most everything which I want, and which it is possible
to find through these channels, I already have. But while failing to find
many of my wants, I sometimes find good books which I did not know existed.
Some of the best books in my library I have thus found, and bought at
a venture. Among these are the life of David Marks (a Freewill Baptist
preacher), and the matchless Down in Water Street, by Sam Hadley.
At the date of this writing there are a couple other small book stores
in Grand Rapids. I mention one, the Family Book Services, located in the
basement of Gary VanDer Schaaf. His selection is small (though good),
and he is not always open for business, but his prices are very reasonable.
There are a number of other dealers in used Christian books around the
country. Richard Owen Roberts of Wheaton, Illinois, was in the business
the last I knew, but his prices are high, and I have done very little
business with him, and none for probably a dozen years. D. A. Schroeder,
of Lake Ozark, Missouri, and Noah's Ark Book Attic, of Greenwood, South
Carolina, both send catalogs. William Snider, Pell City, Alabama, sends
regular book lists. He specializes in old Methodist and holiness
works, and has an amazing ability to come up with scarce and valuable
titles, but his prices are generally very high. His last catalog, for
example, lists Peter Cartwright's Fifty Years as a Presiding Elder (a
very scarce book) for $32
----a price I would certainly pay if I
did not already have the book ----and Stevens' History of Methodism
in three volumes for $45. This is high for used books, but a new set of
Stevens would likely cost as much ----if it were ever reprinted.
The same catalog lists an 8-page pamphlet on the baptism of the Holy Spirit,
by an obscure author, for $20, and another of 16 pages on tongues, by
the same author, for $18. I have bought a few from Snider which I had
given up finding anywhere else. He lists some non-Methodist books, and
those usually at lower prices. Foundation books of Roanoke, Virginia,
also sends regular catalogs. His prices are very reasonable, and he lists
some good books, among many which are modern and liberal.
Besides Christian book stores, there are hundreds of secular used book
shops around the country. Most of these have small sections of religious
books, and it is hard to tell what might turn up in them. George Whitefield,
by Joseph Belcher, I found in such a store somewhere in New England, I
think in Maine. (George Whitefield by John Gillies I found at a yard sale
in a small town in Massachusetts.) In a little secular book shop in Fayetteville,
Arkansas, I got the first copy I had then seen of B. W. McDonnold's History
of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. (I have since seen another at Kregel's.)
In a secular book shop in Madison, two doors down from the university
library, I found the only copies I have ever seen of Henry Sanders' The
Old Testament Manuscripts in the Freer Collection, and Richard Webster's
History of the Presbyterian Church in America
----both of these
beautifully rebound in buckram. The only copy I have ever seen of Charles
Sellers' Lorenzo Dow I found at Books & Birds in Manchester, Connecticut ----where
I also bought the Oxford English Dictionary for the very reasonable price
of $200. In a book shop in Worcester, Massachusetts, I found F. W. Farrar's
History of Interpretation, after scouring the earth in vain for it. One
of the best of such stores I have seen is The Book Bear in West Brookfield,
Massachusetts. The selection there was fair, and the prices low. This
man believes in selling books, not storing them. I got a number of the
older volumes of Bibliotheca Sacra there for $6 each. These would be much
higher at the Christian book stores ----if they ever happened to
have any of them. The Book Bear also yielded Beza's Latin New Testament
(a fairly common book), and Liddell and Scott's final edition of their
Greek lexicon. It is not necessary to spend much time in such stores,
for most of them are small, and the religious section usually very small.
There are many lists of the better of these book shops in print. I find
in my files a few small pamphlets and leaflets such as Massachusetts
and Rhode Island Antiquarian Booksellers Directory of Members, Maine
Antiquarian Booksellers Directory, and Pacific Northwest Antiquarian
Booksellers. These are usually available at the bookstores which
are listed in them. These lists are excellent, and each store usually
gives a brief description of the kind of books handled. If no such list
can be found, ask the book dealers. They know who and where their competitors
are, and are glad to give out such information, after you have examined
their own stock. With such lists in my hand, along with what I could find
in telephone books, and inquiries along the way, I have spent several
days driving around New England shopping for books. I found some excellent
books, including the only copy I have ever seen of J. W. Burgon's England
and Rome: Three Letters to a Pervert.
There are very many book shops which will do book searches, usually for
a fee. Some charge no fee for the search, but all charge high prices for
anything they may find. I have tried this service a time or two, but came
up with nothing. I have known others who have located some excellent books
in this way, but they paid a high price for them. Shops which do book
searches may be located in the yellow pages of telephone books for most
Antique shops will occasionally yield a treasure, but the books are unorganized
in most of them, and it is usually a waste of time to look through them.
There are also college and public libraries which have regular book sales.
Some of these, indeed, sell off the old gold to make room for modern trish-trash,
but I have gotten very little from them, as I am seldom in the right place
at the right time. Second-hand stores of all kinds usually have books,
but they very seldom have anything of any worth.
But I long ago despaired of ever finding most of the better books for
sale anywhere, and learned to resort to the libraries for them. Most libraries
have copy machines, and books which are in good enough condition may be
copied for a price. I now have my own copy machine. This was given to
me, but the reader might find a good used one for less than a thousand
dollars. (A small desk-top model will not serve very well.)
There are many good public libraries, such as university libraries and
state historical societies, which have large collections of the kind of
books which you may never see for sale. These may usually be copied for
less money than it would cost to buy a copy
----if you could find
one for sale. By this means I have procured some of the best books in
Many of the older books are also now available on microfilm. Good libraries
usually have these films, and machines for copying them also. By this
means I have procured all of the early English Bible versions, as well
as books by some of the Puritans and Reformers. This method is costly,
but again, not near as costly as it would be to buy used copies of the
----if you could find them for sale. This process
takes time also, and if you have more money than time, (and as much patience
as money) you can order copies made to order (on paper) from microfilm
companies, as University Microfilms in Ann Arbor, Michigan. But when you
have paid the price, you may wish you had done the work yourself.
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
J. W. Burgon on I John 5:7
by Glenn Conjurske
We do not hold Burgon to be infallible, nor believe him to be always
in the right. We do believe him to be a man with a message, and a message
which is as much needed today as it was when he wrote it. He was a man
of depth and solid learning, whose name ought to have some weight in the
matters which he treated. Yet Burgon has generally been contemned and
sneered at by his opponents, though they would do much better to calmly
consider what he has to say. That is not very likely to happen, and most
unfortunately, the reproach which already adhered to his name has been
greatly augmented by his admirers today, who have continually misread,
misunderstood, and misused him, using the authority of Burgon's name to
bolster opinions which Burgon certainly never held. We can easily understand
that men would wish the authority of Burgon's name for their position,
but it would not be so easy to understand how the modern advocates of
the Received Text and the Authorized Version could so thoroughly misunderstand
him, did we not understand something of the power of prejudice. It is
difficult to believe what we are sure cannot be true. Yet Burgon was a
very clear and forceful writer, and there is really no reason to misunderstand
him. He has been misunderstood solely because he has been read with prejudiced
eyes. The wish has been the father of the thought, and Burgon has been
claimed for positions he never held, as Spurgeon and others have also
been. I intend a series of articles in which I hope to set the record
straight, and establish beyond cavil what Burgon actually held. The prejudice
which misreads and misunderstands him comes in varying degrees, and in
the present article I deal with a mild form of it.
On page 15 of the original edition of The Last Twelve Verses of Mark,
by J. W. Burgon, we read:
Our opponents maintain that these verses did not form part of the
original autograph of the Evangelist. But it is a known rule in the Law
of Evidence that the burthen of proof lies on the party who asserts the
affirmative of the issue. We have therefore to ascertain in the present
instance what the supposed proof is exactly worth; remembering always
that in this subject-matter a high degree of probability is the only kind
of proof which is attainable. When, for example, it is contended that
the famous words in S. John's first Epistle (1 John v.7,8,) are not to
be regarded as genuine, the fact that they are away from almost every
known Codex is accepted as a proof that they were also away from the autograph
of the Evangelist. On far less weighty evidence, in fact, we are at all
times prepared to yield the hearty assent of our understanding in this
department of sacred science.
A recent book* by Michael Maynard quotes the above words of Burgon (except
the first sentence), and then proceeds to cite another work which injects
some question as to Burgon's meaning, and speaks of his writing as being
perhaps somewhat unclear in this section. The question hinges
upon Burgon's words is accepted. Is he affirming only that
such evidence is accepted by some, or implying that he accepts
it himself? Mr. Maynard gives his own conclusion as follows: Did
Burgon accept this fact? It is hard to tell because his style of writing
is unclear. Burgon's paragraph on 1 John v.7 does not constitute solid
evidence that Burgon denied its authenticity.
Just the contrary, say I, and I proceed to prove it. The words of Burgon
quoted above are perfectly conclusive that he did not accept I John 5:7
as inspired Scripture.
The first thing to which I object in Mr. Maynard's statement is the assertion
that Burgon's style of writing is unclear. Though he can quote
a couple of modern authors to second the opinion, it is certainly not
true. The real fact is, there are few men in history who have wielded
an English pen with such clarity and cogency as J. W. Burgon. It is hard
to believe what we wish were not so
----hard, perhaps, to believe
that Burgon is against us ----but Burgon is clear enough for all
that. Charge Burgon's disciples ----charge Edward Miller or Herman
Hoskier ----with an unclear style of writing, and I will not object.
I have labored myself trying to understand Hoskier, but I have never had
such an experience reading Burgon.
But though Mr. Maynard seems to make a general statement concerning Burgon's
style, the authors whom he quotes speak only of his style in this
section. Perhaps that is all Mr. Maynard meant to assert. But if
so, I must yet deny that there is anything unclear in the words quoted
from Burgon. Yet here I must distinguish between two possible meanings
of unclear. The word may mean not easily understood, or it
may mean ambiguous. If by unclear Mr. Maynard means not easily
understood, I can at least grant that this paragraph may not be so readily
apprehended as most of what Burgon has written. I suppose no author writes
with equal clarity at all times. This paragraph is a little complex in
content, and it may therefore require a little close thinking to understand
it. This much I can grant, but this sense of unclear will
not suit the necessities of Mr. Maynard's position. What his position
requires is that Burgon's words shall be ambiguous
more than one meaning ----indeterminate ----and that they
are not. If this is what is meant by unclear, I absolutely
deny it, and affirm that this paragraph of Burgon's is as clear as anything
he has written. It is not indeterminate, and it is not capable of being
misconstrued, if objectively considered. The words themselves can yield
but one meaning.
The whole issue is made to hinge upon the words is accepted.
Does Burgon mean that such evidence is accepted by himself,
or only that his opponents, or some others, accept it? Without the least
fear of being discomfited, I affirm that he here asserts that he himself
accepted this evidence. I affirm that this paragraph, let it be subjected
to the severest scrutiny, cannot have any other meaning. Burgon begins:
Our opponents maintain that these verses did not form any part of
the original autograph of the Evangelist. These verses
are The Last Twelve Verses of Mark, which is the subject of Burgon's book.
The Evangelist is Mark. The original autograph
is the first copy of the book of Mark, as it originally came from the
pen of Mark himself.
The burden of proof, Burgon asserts, lies on the party who asserts the
affirmative. And here, I will grant, he introduces an element which may
be unclear if we do not think closely, for what he calls the
affirmative is that these verses did not form part of the
original autograph. That is, what he calls the affirmative might
appear to a careless reader to be in fact the negative. A moment's reflection,
however, will correct the mistake, for he is certainly not asserting that
the burden of proof lies upon himself, but that it lies upon his opponents,
who maintain that these verses did not form part of the original
autograph. I do not inquire at present whether it is legitimate
for Burgon to call a negative statement the affirmative.
I ask only after his meaning, and there is no doubt about that.
Having asserted that the burthen of proof lies upon his opponents,
he proceeds, We have therefore to ascertain in the present instance
what the supposed proof is exactly worth. The present instance
is of course The Last Twelve Verses of Mark. We must inquire whether the
opponents have actually sustained the burthen of proof which
lies upon them
----whether their supposed proof does
actually prove that these verses did not form part of the original
autograph ----what, in short, the supposed
proof is exactly worth.
At this point Burgon turns aside from the specific case before him
aside from the present instance ----turns aside, that
is, from The Last Twelve Verses of Mark ----to define what kind
of evidence is acceptable in such matters: remembering always that
in this subject-matter a high degree of probability is the only kind of
proof which is attainable. Remembering always, in all
such textual questions, this subject-matter being questions
of textual criticism, questions concerned in the establishing of the true
text of Scripture. In this subject-matter, no absolute demonstration
is possible. We are obliged to accept a high degree of probability
as proof, for that is the only kind of proof which is attainable.
Having laid this down as a principle, he proceeds to illustrate it by
an example: When, for example, it is contended
the affirmative, placing the burden of proof upon those who affirm it ----that
the famous words in S. John's first Epistle (1 S. John v.7,8,) are not
to be regarded as genuine ----another negative affirmative,
if you please ----the fact that they are away from almost
every known Codex is accepted as proof that they were also away from the
A Codex is a manuscript. The autograph in this
case is of course the original copy of First John, as John wrote it. The
fact that this text is absent from almost every known manuscript is
accepted as proof that it was absent from the original. But Accepted
by whom? is the question which our modern authors have raised. The
----which I shall first state, and then prove ----is,
it is accepted by all who are conversant with such matters,
by all who know how to weigh such evidence, by men in general ----by
Burgon's opponents, certainly, and by Burgon himself, with equal certainty.
This is Burgon's undoubted meaning.
He is speaking, recall, of what kind of evidence constitutes proof in
such matters, and has just affirmed that a high degree of probability
is the only kind of evidence possible. He immediately proceeds to give
an example of the kind of evidence which is accepted as proof,
introducing it with the words For example. The fact (for such
it is) that I John 5:7 is absent from almost every known (Greek) manuscript
constitutes a high degree of probability that it was also
absent from the original, and this therefore is accepted as
proof. He may not mean that this is accepted by all the world,
for the prejudiced are rarely convinced of anything, no matter how high
the degree of probability. His simple and obvious meaning is that the
high degree of probability comprised in the fact that I John
5:7 is absent from almost every known manuscript, being the only kind
of proof possible in such cases, is accepted as proof, commonly
and legitimately, by all reasonable and objective men.
And this, of course, is why he states the matter impersonally
he says is accepted instead of I accept. It was
nothing to his purpose to avow what he himself would accept in the matter.
He was stating a principle ----defining what kind of evidence is
accepted in such matters ----what kind of evidence both he
and his opponents, and all other reasonable and understanding men, would
accept. To have said I accept would have taken all the force
and sense out of his statement. Is accepted is exactly what
he meant to say, and as for its application to himself, it is not a whit
more unclear than if he had said I accept, or
we all accept.
And here I pause, to remark that Burgon evidently chose I John 5:7 deliberately
and advisedly, for it exactly illustrates the present instance.
In the present instance
----The Last Twelve Verses of
Mark ----some maintain that these verses did not form part
of the original autograph. In I John 5:7, it is contended
that they are not to be regarded as genuine. There were other
passages which he could have used to illustrate the point, but likely
very few of them in which he and his opponents would be sure to agree.
In the case of I John 5:7, the evidence against its genuineness is so
overwhelming that there was no cause for misgiving on that point. He understood
that he could speak of the body of evidence which stood against the genuineness
of I John 5:7 being accepted as proof ----constituting
a high degree of probability ----and his statement on
the subject would be accepted, no one contradicting. He knew
very well that his opponents would grant that the absence of I John 5:7
from almost every known Codex constituted that high
degree of probability which would be generally accepted
as proof of its spuriousness, and that being granted, he intended momentarily
to turn the tables, and press upon them the fact that the presence of
The Last Twelve Verses of Mark in almost every known Codex
ought equally to be accepted as proof of their genuineness.
So I suppose, but will leave my reader to think as he please on that subject,
for no conjecture as to why he used this text for his illustration can
affect the matter of what he plainly affirmed about it. And what he plainly
affirmed is that its absence from almost every known manuscript is
accepted ----commonly and legitimately ----as proof
that it is not genuine.
If this, then, were all that Burgon had said on the subject, there would
be no reason to call it unclear, or declare it indeterminate.
But this is not all that Burgon has said. We have yet to consider his
final sentence, and that sentence, I am bold to affirm, places his opinion
absolutely beyond the reach of objection or doubt. Up to this point he
has affirmed that a high degree of probability is the only
kind of proof attainable in such matters. From this he immediately proceeds
to cite the absence of I John 5:7 from almost every known manuscript as
an illustration or example of that high degree of probability, and affirms
that this is accepted as proof that it is not genuine. The
example cited is one of the most extreme which he could have chosen
where the evidence is not evenly divided, or but slightly preponderating
to one side, but overwhelmingly against the genuineness of the passage.
And knowing very well that there are many cases, of equal importance with
I John 5:7, in which there is not such an overwhelming body of evidence
on one side of the question, he immediately affirms that we do not hesitate
to accept as proof in such cases a much less preponderating body of evidence.
On far less weighty evidence, in fact, we are at all times prepared
to yield the hearty assent of our understanding in this department of
sacred science. This leaves Burgon's position absolutely indisputable.
On far less weighty evidence
----far less weighty, that
is, than the absence of I John 5:7 from almost every known Codex ----for
as a plain matter of fact, the evidence is not so clear-cut, not so preponderating,
in most of the questions of this type. When, then, the highest degree
of probability attainable in any particular case is far less weighty
than the concurrence on the same side of almost every known Codex,
we are yet at all times prepared to yield the hearty assent of our
understanding to that evidence. At all times ----that
is, in every question of this nature which presents itself to us. We are
ready, not only reluctantly and grudgingly to admit the matter, but to
yield the hearty assent of our understanding ----to yield
ourselves freely and cordially to that body of evidence, though it be
far less weighty than that which stands against the genuineness
of I John 5:7.
And who is it who is thus prepared to yield his hearty assent to a far
less weighty body of evidence than that which stands against I John 5:7?
Who? WE, says John W. Burgon. Is this unclear?
But we may in fact bear two different meanings. It may (and
probably does) mean all of us in general
----all reasonable men
who are conversant with these themes ----those of my opponents'
school, and those of my own school ----my opponents and myself.
But if anyone is disposed to doubt that this is Burgon's meaning, there
is yet another possibility. This we may be an editorial
we ----such as we ourselves persist in using, though some
who have nothing better to do have faulted us for it. If this is in fact
an editorial we, then its plain meaning is neither more nor
less than ----I myself. One or the other of these he must mean,
either all of us in general, or I myself. He certainly does not mean you,
my opponents, but not I myself, or other men, myself excluded.
The word we cannot mean that. John W. Burgon, then, did accept
the absence of I John 5:7 from almost every known manuscript as proof
that it was absent from the original autograph. And John W. Burgon stood
at all times prepared to yield his hearty assent to evidence
far less weighty than that. This is the plain matter of fact.
And with that I have done. I fancy that I have handled the matter as Burgon
himself would have handled it. That is, I have labored every facet of
it. My readers will pardon me. Prejudice has compelled me, and truth constrained
---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ---- ----
The Editor's Apology to William Van Kleek
Some while after the publication of my article on The Refining
and Polishing of the King James Version (Sept., 1995), I received
a call from William Van Kleek
----whose principles I endeavored
to expose in that article ----objecting to my lumping him together
with the rest of the King-James-Only advocates, and suggesting that I
correct my mistake in the magazine. He strongly disclaimed any likeness
to some of these men, characterizing them with some rather strong language,
which I need not here repeat.
I am glad to correct any mistakes I may make in the magazine, but frankly,
after listening to all that Mr. Van Kleek had to say
had a lengthy conversation ----I am not able to see any difference
in principle between his doctrines and those of the rest of the King-James-Only
men. He may differ from many of them in details, but I already allowed
that in my article, saying I doubted that many of the others would follow
him in his position. Yet as to their foundation principles, I can see
no difference at all. He holds the King James Version to be perfect ----says
he holds this by faith in revelation, and even bases it upon the infallible
teaching of the Holy Ghost. When I affirmed that Burgon did not believe
the King James Version to be perfect, he disagreed, and for information
on that referred me to D. A. Waite, another King-James-Only advocate.
He would not allow the Latin Vulgate to be the word of God, but called
it rotten. I am reluctant to say more, as I have nothing of
this in writing, and am not willing to trust my memory too far. Suffice
it to say, I could find no difference in principle between Mr. Van Kleek
and the rest of the King-James-Only men, and little difference in detail.
However, as all are aware who write controversy, it is not always easy
to exercise proper restraint when dealing with principles which are so
obviously false, and yet advocated with such certainty, and I regret that
in my former article, in my zeal to overturn Mr. Van Kleek's principles,
I handled Mr. Van Kleek himself rather roughly. For that I did apologize
to him, and do apologize to my readers. That, however, apparently did
not concern him. His concern was that I should correct the impression
which I gave by lumping him together with the other King-James-Only men.
I would gladly oblige him in this if I could, but the most I can do in
that direction is to inform my readers that he objects to being so associated.
He may differ from some of them in his spirit, or in other doctrines,
but in the principles which he holds on this subject I can see no difference.
But we had a cordial conversation, which I sincerely hope will not be
Ï Book Review Ï
by the Editor
Life at Threescore and Ten, by Albert Barnes
(New York: American Tract Society, 1871, 148 pp.)
Albert Barnes (1798-1870) was a popular preacher and author among the
New School Presbyterians. His large set of Notes on the New Testament
has been reprinted numerous times down to the present day, and is still
used by many. The book before us gives some interesting information on
these Notes. He refers to this commentary as what in fact has proved
to be the principal work of my life, though For this work
I had made no special preparation, and it never entered into my early
plans or expectations. I was led to it as a side-work altogether, and
pursued it as a pleasurable occupation from day to day. I began merely
with the design of preparing a few plain and simple notes on the gospels
for the benefit of Sunday-school teachers. (pg. 73.) Barnes is not
deep, but is evangelical in theology.
The present book is the substance of a discourse delivered at the age
of 70, two years before his death. Much of the early part of the book
is taken up with thoughts on how it feels to have reached the age of 70
of which thoughts I cannot relate to at the age of 48, and some of which
I never expect to be able to relate to. He says, for example, The
first thought is, that one who has reached this period has come to an
end of all his plans, arrangements, and purposes, in regard to this world.
The schemes of life, whatever they may have been, are ended. (pg.
29.) This, I say, I cannot relate to. Indeed, I know an ungodly man who
is in his eighties, who at this moment is building a multi-million-dollar
motel a half mile from where I sit. And shall I serve God with less zeal
than he serves money? Let such an end as Barnes speaks of come at death,
but hardly before.
As the book proceeds, however, the author recedes from that which is strictly
personal, and takes up his view of the progress of the human race, and
a rosy picture indeed he paints. All his talk is of world progress, the
advance of science, modern civilization, and a bright hope for the world
in general. In the progress of human affairs, he says, nothing
is lost that is of value. We have all now that was valuable in Egyptian,
Grecian, Roman, Alexandrian, or Arabian civilization, alike in their philosophy,
their science, their arts, their jurisprudence, their principles of freedom.
Nothing that was ever of value to mankind has been lost; there is nothing
which has been lost of which the world would be the gainer now if it could
be recovered; there is nothing which has been dropped which has not been
superseded by something better, and superseded by it because it is better.
In like manner, nothing can hereafter destroy those great improvements
and inventions which have contributed so much to the world's progress
in our time. Combined with that which the past has transmitted to us,
these things go into that vast accumulation of forces which are to mould
and bless the world in all time to come. What can now destroy the printing-press,
the telescope, the microscope, the railroad, the steamboat, the magnetic
telegraph? What can now obliterate from the memory of mankind those great
principles of justice, of liberty, and of law, which enter into modern
civilization? (pp. 121-122.)
This rosy picture is certainly not true, for though it would be folly
to deny that many of the technical advancements of science and invention
are in some sense a blessing to mankind, yet the fact remains that almost
every one of those blessings brings a curse on its back. As for nothing
being lost which is not replaced by something better, this brings to mind
a book which my fourth-grade teacher read to the class. I remember nothing
of the book, not even the title, except one incident, which made a solid
impression upon my mind at the time. A little girl was sent to the sun
dial by her grandmother to see what time it was. The girl, used to a clock,
could not read the sun dial. I declare, said Grandma, every
time one of these new inventions comes in the door, half our wits go out
the window. This is the very truth, and we now have a generation
which knows how to do almost nothing, and which has little ability to
think. When the thing which is lost and replaced is our wits, then whatever
has replaced it is certainly not better. But I am primarily concerned
with the spiritual ramifications of such doctrine. Barnes evidently has
no sense whatsoever of the fact that the whole world lieth in the wicked
one, and shall do so until the coming of Christ. Nor has he the slightest
notion that in the last days perilous times shall come.
He proceeds, The old systems that have tyrannized over men have
lost their power, and have died out, or are dying out never to be revived.
This is true alike in religion and in all forms of civil government.
(pg. 122). This, of course, was written before the advent of communism
likewise before the advent of the one world church and one world government
which are yet to come, and which will wear out the saints of God in days
yet future, if Bible prophecy is true. Of pagan religions Barnes says,
The systems of ancient Paganism have died out never to be revived.
. . . All that there was in those religions to degrade mankind, or to
pander to vice, has passed away never to be revived.
The same is true of the existing systems of Paganism. Whatever may
be the power or influence of such systems on the world up to a certain
period in society, a time comes when that power ceases, and when they
show themselves not to be adapted to an advanced period of the world.
The same is true of the Papal power. It has had its day. Does any
one now believe that the power which was wielded over the nations of Europe
by Gregory VII., by Innocent III., or by Boniface VIII., can be revived?
(pg. 125). As a matter of fact, all those who understand the prophecies
of the book of Revelation do most assuredly believe that that power can
and will be revived, in the woman who rides the beast.
But Barnes again: I look, then, at the accumulation of these things
in their relation to Christianity, and to the probability of its prevalence
in the world. It might be shown, I think, that this is the only existing
form of religion that promises to be permanent on the earth, or that if
there is to be ultimately a universal religion, this is the only one that
would be adapted to such universality in the higher forms of progress
to which the race will rise. (pp. 129-130).
These pipe dreams of the progress of the world are of course the staple
----a doctrine which the two world wars had
practically driven out of the church, but it is being revived in our day.
It is doctrinal worldliness, and is certain to be either the parent or
the child of practical worldliness. Those who believe such doctrine cannot
have the first notion of the actual condition of the world, lying in the
wicked one, nor of the nature of its coming judgement, nor of the purposes
and workings of Satan, nor of the fact that the devil's greatest victories
on the earth are yet to come ----and they must therefore be an easy
prey to some of his wiles.
Barnes was a good man, and not alone in such views, for most of the church
in his day shared the same empty dreams. Those who use Barnes' Notes should
be aware of his deficiencies here, for such views must of necessity have
a very deleterious effect upon his interpretation of a great deal of Scripture.
With such rosy views of the progress of the race, how can he believe that
in the last days perilous times shall come? The plain fact
is, he cannot
----and he does not. On that text (II Tim. 3:1), he
says, Paul reminds Timothy of the great apostasy which was to be
expected in the church, and states some of the characteristics of it.
In ver. 9, he says that that apostasy would not always continue; but would
be at some time arrested, and so arrested as to show to all men the folly
of those who were concerned in it. How then is that apostasy in
the last days?
Richard Owen Roberts, incidentally (Revival Literature, #317), calls this
book A more complete edition of his life, etc., but he had
evidently never examined the book beyond the title page, for it is in
no sense an edition of the author's life. Neither is it revival
Ï Stray Notes on the English Bible
by the Editor
Lovest Thou Me?
Three times in John 21 the Lord asks Peter, Lovest thou me?
and three times Peter responds with, Thou knowest that I love thee.
So it is in the common English Bible. It is well known, however, that
the Greek uses two different words in the passage for love.
The first two times the Lord questions Peter, he uses the word j v (agapáo).
Peter responds both times with v (philéo). In the third instance
the Lord adopts Peter's word v , and Peter responds again with the same.
Now what is the significance of this? It seems that the explanation of
it which is common and current in the modern evangelical church is mistaken.
We commonly hear that j v (the noun form of the verb j v , and pronounced
ah-gah-pay) is divine love, while Peter's word
----the noun forms
of which may mean kiss or friendship ----expresses
human love. The Lord's word, it is said, speaks of a higher love, which
Peter could not or would not profess.
My first business here must be to dispel the myth that j v and j v designate
divine love. We need only consult the Septuagint to prove that this myth
is wholly baseless. I cite a few passages from the English Bible, assuring
the reader that love in every instance is j v or j v in the
In Genesis 29:18, And Jacob loved Rachel, and in verse 20,
And Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed unto him
but a few days, for the love he had to her. Was this divine
love? Some will no doubt contend that it was, but was it then divine
love in verse 30, where we read, he loved also Rachel more than
Leah, or in verse 32, where Leah says, now therefore my husband
will love me?
In II Samuel 1:26 David says of Jonathan, thy love was wonderful
to me, passing the love of women. No doubt some will contend that
the love of David and Jonathan was divine, but will they say
the same of David's love for all of his wives and concubines?
In II Sam. 13:1 & 15 Absalom the son of David had a fair sister,
whose name was Tamar, and Amnon the son of David loved her. But
when this divine love had so far possessed and vexed him that
he had raped her, Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the
hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had
loved her. Samson loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose
name was Delilah. (Judges 16:4).
Again, (Gen. 25:28), And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of
his venison, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Is this then the basis of
divine love, because he did eat of his venison? We could cite
examples enough of this sort to thoroughly weary the reader, but these
are sufficient to establish the point.
My next business must be to dispel the other myth, that v expresses mere
human love. This I suppose I may do in short order.
----The Father loveth the Son, j v .
----The Father loveth the Son, v .
This ought to put the matter out of dispute. The fact is, both words are
used for both divine and human love. Nevertheless, there must be some
difference between them, or John would not vary the word in John 21, but
that difference evidently does not lie where our modern teachers have
put it. Where, then, does the difference lie?
Let me suggest in the first place, that we would hardly expect Peter to
use a lower word, when the Lord questioned him with a higher one. This
was not Peter's way. Wherever he was, he was there with all his heart.
He is the man who protested, Though all should deny thee, yet will
not I. He it was who said, Thou shalt never wash my feet,
and in a moment altered it to Lord, not my feet only, but also my
hands and my head. Peter it was who dove into the sea to meet the
Lord, the boat being too slow for him. Peter it was who said, Lord,
if it be thou, bid me come to thee on the water. We would hardly
expect Peter to be so cautious and calculating as to answer with a lower
word, when the Lord questioned him with a higher, for fear of professing
too much. This was not Peter's nature.
As to the words themselves, I do not pretend to be an authority. I know
my Greek New Testament, a little of the LXX, and little Greek beyond that.
But I can offer the testimony of a man who was an authority on words,
a man whose knowledge in this field has rarely been equalled. I speak
of R. C. Trench, in his Synonyms of the New Testament. In the first place,
he grants that there are aspects in which j v is more
than v . The first expresses a more reasoning attachment,
while the second implies more passion. While v , then, is
not necessarily a higher word, it is a warmer word
----a word, therefore,
more suited to Peter's nature. Speaking of the usage of the words in this
passage, Trench says, In that threefold `Lovest thou me?' which
the risen Lord addresses to Peter, He asks him first, j /' ; At this moment,
when all the pulses in the heart of the now penitent Apostle are beating
with a passionate affection toward his Lord, this word on that Lord's
lips sounds far too cold; [seems, that is] to very imperfectly express
the warmth of his affection toward Him. So far Trench. And Peter's
response, I add, is Yea, Lord, that is, Yes, Lord,
where he ought rather to have said, No, Lord, if he meant
to profess something less than was asked of him.
But another question arises. Why is not the distinction between the two
words expressed in the English version? We may perhaps best answer that
question with another: namely, How is such a distinction to be expressed
in English? Reduce either one of these Greek words to anything less than
our English love, and we have really vitiated it. None of
the early English versions made any attempt to distinguish between these
words in this passage. Yet, as often, what may appear at first sight to
be incompetence or caprice, is really wisdom of the best sort. We are
hardly to suppose that all of the translators and revisers from Tyndale
to the King James Version failed to weigh this matter, or to wrestle with
the difficulty, and yet they all determined to use love for
both Greek words. They all saw two words in the Greek, and all chose to
use but one in the English. But again, what choice did they have? Anything
which might be gained by distinguishing the words in English, would fail
to compensate for the loss involved in the necessary vitiating of one
or the other of them.
The Latin language allowed the Latin Bible to maintain the distinction,
and in both the Old Latin and the Vulgate the Lord asks, diligis me, and
Peter answers with the warmer, more personal, amo te. But English makes
no provision for this, and even the Wycliffe Bible, which was translated
from the Vulgate, chose the single word love for both Latin
words, reading (in verse 16), Jhesus seiê to Simount Petre,
Symount of Joon, louest êou me more êan êese? He seiê
to him, 3he, Lord, êou woost êat Y loue êee. The
Anglo-Saxon, though also translated from the Vulgate, took the same course,
exhibiting in verse 16, lufest ìu me and êu
wast êæt ic ìe lufige. There was really little
The sister German is apparently just as the English in this, and Luther
handled the matter the same way in his German Bible. Where the Lord asks,
hastu mich lieb? Peter answers, Ja HErr, du weissest, das ich dich lieb
habe. The same course was followed also by an early manuscript German
version (Codex Teplensis), also translated from the Latin, and dated about
1400. The Lord asks, hastu mich lieb? and Peter answers, Ja Herr/ du waist
daz ich dich lieb hab.
All of this I believe to have been the best sort of wisdom, and the force
of reason was apparently so strong in the matter that we are happy to
see that it has prevailed even where pedantry has more often ruled. Even
the Revised Version refuses to distinguish the words, merely stating in
the margin that they are different. The New American Standard version
does the same. The New King James version follows suit, and does not even
apprise us of the distinction in the margin.
Some versions have attempted to maintain the distinction in English. Darby
has, lovest thou me? answered by thou knowest that I
am attached to thee. In the NIV the Lord asks, do you truly
love me? and Peter answers, you know that I love you.
Suffice it to say that the loss is much greater than the gain in Darby's
version, and the distinction which the NIV makes is imaginary and false.
I contend, then, that it is our best wisdom not to distinguish the words
in the English Bible. And it seems that this wisdom is borne out by the
text itself, for Peter's Yea, Lord, with his thrice-repeated
thou knowest, was evidently intended to be affirmative, whereas
to pare down the word he used to anything less than love makes
his response something less than affirmative
----makes him to affirm,
that is, something less than was asked of him. Further, we are told in
verse 17, Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time,
Lovest thou me. Now as a matter of fact, in the third instance the
Lord had dropped his own word, and adopted Peter's ----said no more
j /' as before, but now ' ----so that this was actually the first
time the Lord had asked that exact question. Yet the text calls it the
third time, as the repetition of the first question, though with
some variation, was called the second time, for in essence
the question was one and the same, whichever word was used, and though
there was some variation in incidental matters. The essence of the question
is of course the main matter, and I judge it more important to maintain
that essence, than to maintain the distinction in the words used ----and
in English we are really shut up to one or the other.
For whatever it may be worth, I find that the two words for love
are not distinguished in the passage in any of the versions which I possess
in French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Danish, or Norwegian, nor in the older
Swedish, though they are distinguished in a more modern Swedish Bible,
published in 1897.
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.