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Vol. 5, No. 2
Feb., 1996

Another Methodist Revival on a Dance Floor

[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. ----editor.]

[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----and 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] E[piscopal] church.


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.


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----if 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----time reading through lengthy book lists, to find perhaps one or two books worth ordering, time travelling to bookstores, and much time combing through their shelves.

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 misled you----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 may be----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----primarily 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----and 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 Fundamentalists----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 and evangelists.

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 category.

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 is worth.

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 all.

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 large cities.

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 my library.

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 books themselves----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----capable of 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----turns 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”----as 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 autograph.”

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 answer----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----why 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----one 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. Observe:

“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 me.


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----and we 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 our last.

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----some 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----and 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.” (pp. 123-124).

“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 of post-millennialism----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 literature.”

Ï Stray Notes on the English Bible Ï
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 Septuagint.

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.

John 3:35----“The Father loveth the Son,” j v .

John 5:20----“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 choice.

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.

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