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Vol. 5, No. 3
Mar., 1996

The Price of Wisdom

by Glenn Conjurske

“Wisdom is the principal thing. Therefore get wisdom, and with all thy getting get understanding.” (Prov. 4:7). The first thing which we take note of here concerning wisdom is its great value. It is the principal thing. “Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.” (Verses 8 & 9). “Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.” (Vs. 6).

The great value which this scripture sets upon wisdom plainly enough implies that it is not something which is easy to obtain. Rarely does anything of value come easily. The German proverb truly says, “Gold lies deep in the mountain, dirt on the highway.” I am well aware that Scripture says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5). But does this any way imply that wisdom is easy to obtain? Not so----not in the least. Scripture also affirms that God “giveth us all things richly to enjoy,” and yet demands that we obtain our daily bread by the sweat of our face----praying all the while, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Those who suppose that they are to obtain wisdom merely by prayer are not wise, and it is not likely they ever shall be. “With all thy getting get wisdom.” This surely does not indicate any glib or easy process.

No, there is a price to pay for wisdom, and its price is commensurate with its worth. “With all thy getting get wisdom.” This cannot refer to an easy act (or prayer) which is done and finished. “All thy getting” must mean something long-continued, and earnest and arduous. Thus much I take to be self-evident.

Neither is this the only scripture which speaks of the price of wisdom. In Proverbs 2:2-6 we read, “So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding. Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding, if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Observe, the Lord giveth wisdom, yet we must put forth the most earnest endeavors to obtain it, as this passage unquestionably teaches.

First, “incline thine ear unto wisdom.” That is, listen to the voice of wisdom. “Incline thine ear.” Put thine ear where wisdom is, and keep it open there. But here at the outset we are set upon an arduous undertaking, for who among us knows where wisdom is? If we but knew that, the rest would be easy. What an easy thing simply to incline our ear to wisdom----IF we knew where wisdom dwelt. But most of us know no such thing. How many of us spend half our lives inclining our ears to everything but wisdom, ere we learn where wisdom is. He who knows where to find wisdom is half wise already.

But next, “apply thine heart to understanding.” There are two things which stand in the way of the acquisition of wisdom. The first is pride, of which I shall say but little here. The second is lukewarmness, or apathy. Pride and lukewarmness are twin sisters, as the reader may see by consulting the passage on lukewarmness in Revelation 3. The humble are capable of finding wisdom: the proud are not. But my subject here is lukewarmness. “Apply thine heart to understanding.” Those whose hearts are taken up with the pursuit of pleasures and possessions will find but little of wisdom. Those who seek places of prestige or influence are in the wrong way to find wisdom. Those who love wisdom will find her out. They apply their hearts to the pursuit of her. “Wisdom,” they perceive, “is the principal thing,” and therefore they make it their business to find her. Let others have money----pleasures----comforts----ease. Let me have wisdom. “With all thy getting get understanding.” Now the plain fact is, most of the people on earth, and most of the folks in the church of God, have never yet come to this. They do not apply their hearts to wisdom. They do not pursue it as the principal thing. They do not get it with all their getting. And for that reason they shall never possess much of it.

But further, “if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding.” We may surely find prayer in this, for to whom shall we lift up our voice for understanding, if not to God? “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” But observe, this is no glib or lukewarm praying. This is not writing “wisdom” on a “prayer list,” and reading it to God. To cry after knowledge, and lift up our voice for understanding, must surely mean earnest and fervent prayer. This, in short, is the praying of a man whose heart is engaged in the pursuit of wisdom.

And I must point out again how thoroughly humility is woven into the very fabric of a true pursuit of wisdom. This crying after knowledge----this lifting up of our voice for understanding----this is the heart-cry of a man who feels his deficiency. The self-sufficient have little occasion to thus cry for wisdom. They read Neo-evangelical books, which reek of worldliness and intellectual pride, and think they are finding wisdom. They study at intellectual, unspiritual colleges, till they become intellectual and unspiritual themselves, and think this is wisdom. If there were more of earnest and humble crying to God for wisdom, men would be directed into a different path. A painful and lonely path, perhaps. A difficult path, no doubt. But a path in which they might find true wisdom.

But I do not believe that prayer alone will give a man wisdom, any more than prayer alone will give him his daily bread----unless God has shut him up in a position where he can do nothing but pray. The man who has a broken leg and a broken arm may pray for his daily bread, and forbear working. The rest of us are bound to work, though we ought to pray also. We ought to cry to God for wisdom, and we ought to get it with all our getting, for it will not be gotten any other way.

Thus, “if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures.” This is plain and practical. We know how men seek for silver----rising early, working late, working hard, scheming, planning, advertising, competing, investing, venturing, risking, and sacrificing. Time and health and pleasure and family and conscience and morals are all sacrificed in the pursuit of money.

Now the man who would obtain wisdom must seek it as other men seek silver. Not that he should sacrifice conscience or morals in the pursuit of it, but he will have to sacrifice a good many other things. He will surely have to spend his time in the pursuit of it, and no doubt money also.

But I proceed. “If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures.” This again implies the difficulty of obtaining wisdom. Nuggets of gold do not lie on the highway. This treasure is hid. It is “deep in the mountain,” and the mountain is----where? As a plain matter of fact, most of us spend half our lives digging in the wrong mountain. We read the wrong kind of books. We pursue the wrong subjects. We follow the wrong teachers. We pursue the wrong kind of knowledge. We study at the wrong kind of schools. True wisdom is hid. The devil is a liar and a deceiver, who for six millenniums has filled the world with error under the name of truth. For two millenniums he has labored to fill the church with darkness, under the name of light. Many of the best of men have been largely in the dark. A thousand forms of error pose as light and truth on every hand, and somewhere in the midst of all of this clamor is the hid treasure of truth and wisdom. Few enough actually apply their hearts to seek her. Among those who do, few seek in the right places. The most of men incline their ears to those things which are highly esteemed among men, and which are therefore abomination with God (Luke 16:15). How often as a boy in high school was it drilled into my mind to “get a good education,” so that I could get a good job, and make good money. But such an “education,” for such a purpose, is at the farthest remove from wisdom.

Equally far from wisdom is the whole course which will gain the approval and acceptance of the builders, and wipe off the reproach of Christ. “Our faculty has credentials that will turn heads,” said an advertisement in a prominent Fundamentalist journal a number of years ago. Ah, yes. Yet it remains a certainty that those “credentials” will not turn God's head, though they may well turn his stomach----for “that which is highly esteemed among men IS abomination with God.” “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast HID these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.” (Luke 10:21). Now if the wisdom of God is hid from the wise and prudent, it is surely not hid where most folks expect to find it. And this again brings us to the difficulty of finding wisdom. We must search for it as for hid treasure, for that is exactly what it is.

And how do men search for hid treasure? I do not speak of boys who have been reading pirate stories, who may dig a two-foot hole in the back yard, and then leave off. No, I speak of men----of men who are in earnest in the pursuit of hid treasure. I speak of men who are sure of the actual existence of that treasure, and determined to find it. How do they search for hid treasure? With a good deal more of toil and earnestness than they spend in seeking silver. I have spoken above of the time and toil which men expend in their ordinary pursuit of money, but hid treasure is another thing. The toils and hardships which men will endure in the search for hid treasure far exceed their ordinary labors for silver, for the hid treasure is regarded as far exceeding in value any amount of money which we might gain by our ordinary labors.

How, then, do men search for hid treasure? Most of us have never searched for hid treasure. We have never known anyone else engaged in the search for it, for most men have never believed in its actual existence. Yet the pages of history give us a glimpse or two of men engaged in the actual pursuit of hid treasure, in the phenomenon known as the “gold rush.” The treasure, they know, is there, though hidden deep in the mountains, and two thousand miles away. But such trifles cannot stop them, and away they go, thousands of them, leaving home and family and friends and all behind them, to traverse on horse or foot thousands of miles of mountains and plains and deserts----to cross numberless rivers without bridges----to sleep under the stars----to press forward through heat and cold and rain and snow----only to get to the place where they might begin to search for the hid treasure.

How many search for wisdom after this fashion? How many men will forsake all and cross a continent to find the place where they might incline their ear to the words of wisdom? The fact is, most men expect to buy wisdom at an easier rate than this. They will not spend their money to buy solid books, though they will spend it for every earthly comfort. They will not spend their time to study solid books, though they will spend it for everything else which the earth can offer. Yet the scripture says, “IF thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures.” Those who think to obtain wisdom on easier terms will never possess much of it.

But I have often enough been accused of being an idealist, and of setting the standard so high as to discourage people. I plead guilty to both charges. I set the standard where the Bible sets it, and this discourages the lukewarm and the lazy. My idealism I have learned from the Bible. From the Bible I have learned to abhor the lukewarmness and compromise which have low ideals, and an easy road to them. Paul's standard was nothing short of “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” He pressed toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God. It is none of my business to lower the mark, to suit the tastes of lukewarmness. It is God who sets the standard high, and if the road be hard, I cannot help it. It is God who says, “IF thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures, then shalt thou . . . find”-------what? Not the highest rung on the ladder of wisdom, but the lowest. “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” “The fear of the Lord,” Solomon tells us, is but “the beginning of wisdom.” (Prov. 9:10). If the lowest round must be sought thus, so much the more the higher rounds. There are, of course, many degrees of wisdom, but ease and apathy are not the road to any of them.

All this is the price which must be paid to obtain wisdom, but there is another price to pay to possess it. The wisest man on the earth had his mouth always full of these words, “vanity of vanities, and vexation of spirit.” It was the wisest man on the earth who wrote, “For in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” (Eccl. 1:18). Though commonly spoken in sarcasm, it is the very truth that “Ignorance is bliss.” The man who has little understanding may laugh his merry way through life, singing “Everything is beautiful, in its own way.” The man who has wisdom can only say, “All is vanity, and vexation of spirit.” His songs are turned to sighs, and his laughter to tears. He looks about him and finds everything out of its course. Where he saw no wrong before, he now sees but little right. He sees that “judgement doth never go forth.” He sees that “Might makes right.” He sees that men call evil good, and good evil. He sees pride called humility, and humility pride. He sees darkness hailed as light, systematized ignorance acclaimed as superior knowledge, and folly pursued as wisdom. He sees old errors revived as new wisdom, and the enamored multitudes gaping after them.

By all of this his spirit is stirred to the depths, and he labors to set things right----only to discover that he cannot. He learns that “That which is crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.” (Eccl. 1:15). He soon learns that reason does not reign among men, but passion----that right does not reign, but interest----and therefore the crooked cannot be made straight. He gets only reproach for his pains, for he labors to set right what others cannot----or will not----see to be wrong. He labors to convince them that it is wrong, but they cannot see it, and he is called “croaker,” “negativist,” “censorious,” “judgemental,” and a host of other hard names. This is the price of wisdom.

But if he cannot set anything else right, he must yet get right himself. He honestly adheres to that which he knows to be the truth, but he shall have no thanks for it. He is soon regarded as an extremist and a radical. His friends that were are friends no more. They cannot understand him.

He then begins to sigh for the days of his ignorance. How he envies the man who has no understanding, who sees nothing but good in the church, who knows nothing of the tears and sorrows of the man who sees things as they are. How keenly he feels the loss of his friends, and the loneliness which belongs to the man whose friends cannot understand him, and who is shunned and distrusted by those whom he loves the most. Then it is that he begins to sigh with the weeping prophet, “Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth!” (Jer. 15:10). Such is the price of wisdom.

But here we may well start back, and ask, Why should we pay so high a price to obtain that which will cost us so much to possess? We might guess in the first place that that which costs so much must be of surpassing worth. “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy is every one that retaineth her.” (Prov. 3:13-18). But this may seem to stand directly against what we have read in Ecclesiastes. Here it is “happy . . . happy,” and there, “much grief” and an increase of “sorrow”----and both of these as the result of wisdom. And yet it is the same God who penned both passages, and the same man also, for Solomon wrote them both. Both are certainly the truth, though we may be at a loss to explain how they can be.

But I may suggest a few things which may serve to reconcile the two. The term “happy” in Proverbs 3 does not necessarily have anything to do with the feelings or emotions, but is the equivalent of the word “fortunate.” If his wisdom sets him at variance with all the world and half the church, yet it sets him at one with God, and thus he is fortunate indeed. This may be applied to a man who has grief enough in his feelings.

Yet if men will insist upon understanding “happy” in the emotional sense, it is also certainly true that wisdom will save a man from a thousand griefs which the unwise must bear. It is wisdom which will preserve health, wisdom which will secure a good marriage, wisdom which will raise good children, wisdom which will stay out of quarrels, and out of debt, wisdom which saves money instead of wasting it, wisdom which puts out the small fire before it becomes a great one. And all of this surely contributes to happiness, in the common sense of the word. Yet a man may secure all of this, and yet find much grief in much wisdom, for those reasons already recited above.

But beyond any and all of personal considerations, it is wisdom which gives a man the capacity to do the work of God. Not that this will always readily appear. It may well be that the man who has much the less of wisdom will find much greater acceptance with the people----but he will not do them nearly so much good. It is wisdom which gives a man the capacity to do good. It is wisdom which makes him a profitable physician, though his prescriptions may be unpopular enough. The true prophet of God is seldom popular, yet he it is who does the good.

But suppose that we cannot say what is the worth of wisdom. Suppose it has no great attraction to us, and that we actually prefer the bliss of ignorance. Yet by faith we ought to rise up and get wisdom with all our getting, for it is God who advises us so to do, and by faith we apprehend that the way of God must be better than our own. Though the price to obtain wisdom is high, and the price to possess it higher still, yet by faith we know that wisdom is worth the price.


The Second Best Bible Version in English

by Glenn Conjurske

I have upon occasion been asked what I hold to be the second best Bible version in English, but I have found myself at a loss to answer. I am obliged to answer as John Newton did when asked who was the second best preacher of his time. Said he, “As a preacher, if any man were to ask me who was the second I ever heard, I should be at some loss; but in regard to the first, Mr. Whitefield exceeded so far every other man of my time that I should be at none.”* So exactly it is with the Bible versions. The King James Version so far exceeds every other version I am aware of that there is no doubt whatever that it is the best. But to try to choose the second best is difficult indeed.

Of the ancient versions, the choice must certainly be between the Geneva Bible and the Bishops' Bible----and the choice must remain between the ancient versions. The modern versions have departed too far from the spirit of the original, substituting intellectualism for spirituality, and this is a fault of such a serious nature as to disqualify them, even if they could demonstrate a gain in small points of accuracy. In some matters they no doubt can, but in many things they are less accurate than the old versions.

The intellectualism of the modern versions is seen in a thousand small points everywhere. A flagrant example of it appears in Romans 1:20, where the simple, literal, accurate, and perfectly intelligible “the invisible things of him” is turned into “his invisible attributes” in the NKJV and the NASV (and the latter does not even italicize “attributes”), and “his invisible qualities” in the NIV. It would require a degree of hardihood to contend that these new renderings are more accurate than the old one. They just suit the intellectual, unspiritual modern church which produced them, and that is the best that can be said for them.

The Revised Version, the New American Standard and the New King James, insist upon giving a wrong sense to the Greek aorist tense, continually offending English ears and destroying the sense of the original, by exacting definite time out of the indefinite tense----and the word “aorist” means indefinite. Thus “all sinned,” which RV, NASV, and NKJV all exhibit in Romans 5:12. To this often-repeated offence the NASV and the NKJV add the mistranslation of the Greek present tense, with such blunders as “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” in Acts 9:4----obliterating the characteristic sense of the present tense, and replacing it with a continuous sense, which the present tense indeed can bear, but usually doesn't. We do not find these follies in the RSV nor the NIV, for they are less pedantic, and exhibit a little more of common sense, and of respect to the properties of the English language. Alas, they exhibit a good deal less of faithfulness to the original, both of them being replete with unnecessary paraphrasing. The NASV and the NKJV are guilty of this also, but not to the same extent.

If I were forced to choose the best modern version, I suppose I would be obliged to fix upon the NKJV----not that I regard it as being very good, but rather as the least of many evils. Though it followed in the wake of the RSV, the NASV, and the NIV, and adopted many of the blunders, follies, and infidelities of all three of them, yet it is more conservative than any of them, and its conservatism has served to keep it a little more true. It is an old garment covered with new patches, but still the old garment is better than the new ones.

None of the modern versions are to be compared to the best of the ancient ones, but before I turn to those, I mention a couple which are neither very ancient nor very modern, both of them belonging to the year 1881. These are J. N. Darby's New Translation, and the Revised Version (or the old American Standard Version of 1901, which is essentially the Revised Version). When I was a student at Bible school, knowing a little of a few things and a lot of nothing, I abandoned the King James Version for the American Standard----not the New American Standard, which I never could brook. I was thrilled with the fact that I could see through the version to the original Greek. A more mature understanding, however, convinces me that this is no virtue in the version, but only an effect of its pedantry. After a year of using the old American Standard Version, I abandoned that for Darby's version, which I used for a couple of years. But as I gained in spiritual sense, I began to feel more and more the superiority of the King James Version, and to it I returned, more than a quarter of a century ago. The passing of twenty-five years has served to thoroughly settle me in a solid conviction of the real superiority of the King James Version, and I do not expect it to be bettered before the day of judgement. Neither Darby nor the Revised Version can equal the KJV, both of them being too rough, too pedantic, and too regardless of the heritage of English Christianity, as it is found in the older versions. They are superior to the modern versions, but beneath the best of the ancient ones.

I must put the Geneva (1560) and the Bishops' (1568) above all the modern Bibles. In comparing these two, we find them often differing from each other, and one or the other of them superior. In those places, the King James Version almost invariably sides with the superior version. There are also countless places where the Geneva and the Bishops' agree, and the King James Version is superior to both of them. Some have affirmed that the Geneva Bible is much superior to the Bishops', and some have even placed it above the King James Version, but this is the voice of prejudice. The facts will not bear out either position.

I have compared (rather cursorily) several New Testament books in the Geneva and the Bishops' Bibles, and it appears that the one is about as often superior as the other. The points of difference are often small, many of them being matters of style rather than accuracy. I give a few examples:

In First Corinthians 6:6 the Bishops' (revised edition, 1572) is decidedly superior, having, “brother goeth to lawe with brother,” where the Geneva has “a brother goeth to lawe with a brother.” (The 1568 Bishops' had read, “one brother goeth to law with another,” which is good English, and gives good sense, but is not literal.)

In 6:11 the Geneva is better, having “And suche were some of you,” which is clear and forceful, where the Bishops' has “And somme suche like you were,” which is obscure and cumbersome.

Aside from the archaic “but and if,” the Bishops' is decidedly superior in 7:28, with “But and yf thou marry, thou hast not sinned,” where the Geneva has “But if thou takest a wife, thou sinnest not.” The tense is not present as the Geneva has it, though this is a small point, for we often conform the tenses to the rest of the sentence in English. More serious is “takest a wife” for “marry.” This is an unnecessary and unwarranted paraphrase.

In 8:1 the Geneva's “knowledge puffeth vp” is certainly superior to the periphrastic “knowledge maketh a man swel” of the Bishops'.

The Geneva is superior again in 9:2 in a small point of style, with “yet douteles I am vnto you,” over the Bishops' “yet doubtlesse am I vnto you.” The cadence of the Bishops' is poor here.

The Bishops' is superior again in 9:27, having “lest...I mee selfe should be a cast away,” where the Geneva reads, “lest...I my self shulde be reproued.” This change in the Geneva version (all the earlier English versions having “cast awaye”) was no doubt dictated by theological considerations, and a doctrinal note on “reproued” reads, “Lest he shulde be reproued of men when they shulde se him do contrarie, or contemne ye thing which he taught others to do.” “Reproved” in fact meant “rejected” as well as “rebuked,” and might have been taken in the proper sense, if it were not for the doctrinal note in the margin, which reduces it to being reproved “of men.” But at best “reproved” is ambiguous, where “castaway” is clear.

The Bishops' is decidedly superior in 11:32, with “that [ { ] we shoulde not be dampned with the worlde,” where the Geneva has, wrongly, “because we shulde not be condemned with the worlde.”

The case is just reversed, however, in John 5:20, where { is also used. There the Geneva gives us, correctly, “that ye shulde marueile,” and the Bishops', wrongly, “because ye shoulde marueile.”

And so it goes, back and forth, the one being superior about as often as the other. I observe also that the King James Version sides with the superior version in every one of these cases, as in almost all others. There are also places innumerable where the King James is superior to both the Bishops' and the Geneva----as well as a few places where it is inferior to both----but it is not within the scope of my purpose to list them here.

It is possible that after a more thorough comparison I might conclude that the Geneva has a slight superiority in point of accuracy, while the Bishops' has a slight superiority in point of style. I am aware that style is little regarded by the modern versions, but a book which is to be constantly in everybody's hands ought to be smooth and natural.

One evident blemish of the Bishops' Bible lies in its frequent flat and unnecessary additions in brackets. Yet this defect does not properly belong to the Bishops' version itself, for most of those additions were present in the English versions of Tyndale and Coverdale, and the Bishops' Bible did no more than call attention to the fact that they were added words, by putting them in brackets. And the Geneva Bible contains a good number of such flat additions also, though they are not so numerous or conspicuous therein as in the Bishops' version. A few examples of such additions in the Bishops' Bible are:

John 6:27----“whiche [meate] the sonne of man shal geue vnto you.”

John 8:28----“when ye haue lyft vp [an hygh] the sonne of man.”

John 10:31----“Then the Iewes tooke vp stones, to stone hym [withal].”

I Cor. 5:10----“[I dyd not meane] not at al with the fornicatours of this worlde.”

I Cor. 9:25----“but we [to obteyne] an incorruptible [crowne.]”

Rev. 11:11----“the spirit of life [comming] from god, entred into them.”

These were all retained, (or retained with some alteration), from the earlier versions. The Geneva drops all of them but the last one, and it was the first to add that. Indeed, the Geneva is much more guilty than the Bishops' of adding such flat additions, but lest I weary the reader, I give but one example:

I Cor. 2:9----“The things which eye hathe not sene, nether eare hathe heard, nether came into maás heart, are, which God hathe prepared for them that loue him.” This addition is a great blemish.

The King James Version commonly rejects all of these useless additions, thus manifesting again its superiority to both of the versions which contain them.

It would be a great service to the church if somebody would publish a New Testament containing these three versions----the best, and the two which vie for the second position----in parallel columns. This would require a little larger page than that in the reader's hand, but I give below a sample in small type. I have purposely selected for this a passage (Hebrews 1) in which the versions differ more than they usually do.

Ï Geneva (1560)

Ï Common KJV

Ï Bishops' (1572)


1 At sondrie times & in diuers maners God spake in ye olde time to our fathers by the Prophetes:

2 In these last dayes he hathe spoken vnto vs by his Sonne, whome he hathe made heir of all things, by whome also he made the worldes,

3 Who being the brightness of the glorie, and the ingraued forme of his persone, & bearing vp all things by his mightie worde, hathe by him self purged our sinnes, and sitteth at the right hand of the maiestie in the highest places,

4 And is made so muche more excellent then the Angels in as muche as he hathe obteined a more excellent name then thei.

5 For vnto which of the Angels said he at anie time, Thou art my Sonne, this day begate I thee? and againe, I wil be his Father, and he shalbe my sonne?

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?


1 GOD which in tyme past, at sundry tymes & in diuers manners spake vnto the fathers in the prophetes,

2Hath in these last dayes spoken vnto vs in the sonne, whom he hath appoynted heire of al thynges, by whom also he made the worldes.

3Who beyng the bryghtnesse of the glory, & the very image of his substance, vpholding al thinges with the woord of his power, hauing by him selfe purged our sinnes, hath sit on the right hand of the maiestie on high:

4 Beyng so muche more excellent then the angels, as he hath by inheritance obteyned a more excellent name then they.

5 For vnto whiche of the angels sayde he at any tyme, Thou art my sonne, this day haue I begotten thee?

6 And agayne, I wyl be to him a father, and he shalbe to me a sonne?


The Lord's Prayer

by Glenn Conjurske

In entering upon a discussion of the Lord's prayer, I am of course quite sensible of the fact that I may thereby be falling from grace in the eyes of some of my fellow dispensationalists, most of whom will vehemently contend that the Lord's prayer has no application to us, and especially that it is not a model for us to follow----that we are neither to pray its words nor its substance. I am not of their mind. I believe rather that the substance of this prayer is pre-eminently calculated to lead the saints in the way of truth, and build them up in their most holy faith----not that it was ever intended to be said as a form. How constantly, for example, do I have occasion to pray, “Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil.” Have others no need of such praying? Some, no doubt, think that they have, and probably pity my weakness and ignorance----a privilege which I grant them. I am sorry enough for my own weakness, and feel deeply enough my own ignorance.

Yet it is for those who refuse the Lord's prayer for themselves to prove that when the Lord said, “After this manner therefore pray ye,” he meant “ye Jews,” and not “ye saints.” I know their alleged proofs very well, and allege in return that they have overlooked some of the most obvious facts of the matter. But more of that anon. What I must contend here is that it is a plain and indisputable fact that there is very much in the sacred Scriptures which applies to all the saints of all dispensations. It is always true, for example, that “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” There is doctrine in this which concerns the unchanging nature of God, and doctrine which applies to every dispensation. Neither will it do to say that the synoptic Gospels have been superseded by Paul, for the plain fact is, there is very much doctrine concerning both God and man, in both the Gospels and the Old Testament, which has never been either repeated or superseded by Paul. Where does Paul teach anything like “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled”? Paul never once mentions either hunger or thirst, except in the purely physical sense, yet these are great spiritual realities, and shall be as long as God is God and man is man. They are as applicable today as ever they were----and there is certainly nothing in Paul which either repeats or repeals them.

Some dispensationalists, however, following in the wake of Lewis Sperry Chafer, are very determined that the whole sermon on the mount, in which the Lord's prayer occurs, shall be “the law of the kingdom”----that is, that it shall not apply to the church at all, but only to the future kingdom. Such an interpretation, however, is certainly false, for one of the petitions in the Lord's prayer is, “Thy kingdom come,” and it goes without saying that no one will be praying for the coming of the kingdom after it has already come----any more than they will be “persecuted for righteousness sake” in the coming kingdom. It is a little strange to hear men fault their brethren for praying for the Holy Ghost after he has already come, or for praying for a forgiveness which they already have, while they hold a doctrine which has men praying for the coming of the kingdom after the kingdom is already come. This manifests no more intelligence than we see in the hosts of Amillennialists who pray by rote, “Thy kingdom come,” while they believe that it came nineteen centuries ago. It really seems almost unaccountable that such a host of dispensationalists could all together overlook facts so obvious, but I believe there is an explanation for it. If they had been half as determined to understand the true application of the sermon on the mount, as they have been to eliminate any application of it to the church, I believe they would not have overlooked some of its most patent features. Henceforth let all reasonable men set it down as an established fact that whatever the application of the Lord's prayer may be, it certainly cannot have its application during the future kingdom. A man does not keep asking “Will you marry me?” after she has said “I do,” and men will not be praying “Thy kingdom come” when the kingdom has come already. This much I take to be established beyond cavil.

But there is something more. This prayer is Scripture, and it is Paul who informs us that “All Scripture is inspired of God, and profitable.” Whether, then, we are to pray this prayer or not, we are certainly not to ignore it. It is profitable “for doctrine.” Some may most heartily wish that Paul had rather said, “All of my epistles”----or “all of my prison epistles”!----but what he actually did say is, “All Scripture is inspired of God, and profitable for doctrine.” And by “doctrine” he certainly did not mean mere historical or speculative theology, such as satisfies idle curiosity, resides only in the intellect, and bears no relationship to practical godliness. No, “All Scripture is profitable . . . for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” It is profitable, that is, to correct us when we are astray, and to lead us in the way which we should go. And all of this to the end “that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Some, we realize, who have attained “the higher life,” or “the deeper life,” stand in no need of reproof, or correction, or instruction in righteousness. But some of us, who flounder yet between the higher and the deeper, and are too dull to find the way up or down, are glad to avail ourselves of “all Scripture.” Nor will I take it ill if those who are above or below me impute it to my weakness that I am not able to envy them as much as they pity me.

But come along, laying controversy aside for a moment, and “taste and see” that the Lord's prayer is good----harmless, to be sure, but deeply spiritual besides. Its pre-eminent spirituality is just what we would expect from the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and it is its pre-eminent spirituality to which I desire to call particular attention.

It is a very instructive fact that when the Lord teaches his disciples to pray, he begins the prayer with, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matt. 6:9). This is his first petition, and this is no accident, but rather a precious revelation of where his heart was. Let him but begin to pray, and his first thought is not for himself or his own wants, nor for the perishing world around him, but for the name of his Father. “Hallowed be thy name----Let thy name be sanctified.” Let thy name, that is, be treated with reverence. Let thy name be held sacred.

How this sets him apart from the rest of the human race! The men of the world scarcely ever think to pray at all, unless they have some pressing need. Others pray indeed----that the fish will come to their hook, that it may not rain for their picnic, that the police may not catch them speeding, or that they may win the lottery. As for the name of God, they have no care for that. It may be on their lips a hundred times a day, but only as profanity. “Oh, my God,” they say, or “Oh, Lord,” every time they wish to express themselves forcibly. Thus speak thousands of those who yet regard themselves as Christians, and thus do they prove that their hearts are at the very opposite extreme from the heart of him whom they profess to follow. Thus do they daily prove how little concerned they are to hallow the great and glorious name of God. They rather take his name in vain upon every occasion, or no occasion, using it as a mere interjection or expletive. Such ought to consider that the first and dearest thought of Christ is to hallow the name of God, and that this Christ is the soon-coming judge of the world. How will men fare under his judgement, who daily trample under their feet that which is dearest to his heart?

But this petition of Christ sets him apart not only from the men of the world, but from most of the saints of God as well. When we approach the throne of God to pray, how often is it our first thought to pray that the name of the Lord may be sanctified? Do we not usually pray rather after the manner of Jabez, who “called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh, that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me”? (I Chron. 4:10). I would not so much as hint that there was anything wrong with the prayer of Jabez. God approved of this prayer, for the next words tell us, “And God granted him that which he requested.” Nor can I be content merely to contend that God approved of this prayer. I further contend that he was well pleased with it. This was a prayer of faith, which gave God his place as God, as the great fountain of every blessing, and the giver of every good gift, “who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” Jabez expected no rebuff for this prayer which was so full of “me” and “my”----and he received none. Indeed, much of the Lord's prayer, which he gave as an example to teach us to pray, is occupied with petitions for ourselves, and God is surely pleased if we pray after the manner in which the Savior taught his apostles to pray.

But for all that, the prayer of Jabez did not rise to the level of spirituality which we see in the Lord's prayer. The Lord had needs also----knew what it was to be hungry, and no doubt brought all such needs to his heavenly Father, as he teaches us also to do----but his first thought was for the glory of the name of God. Is this our first thought also? Zealous we may be for the name of our God, and sincerely devoted to his cause, but all of this may exist on a much lower level than that which the Lord here enjoins upon us.

And next, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Nothing yet for ourselves, but only for the cause and purpose of our God. Amillennialists might be taught by this petition that the kingdom of God is not yet come, but many premillennialists, who expect and await that kingdom, might here be taught how distant their hearts are from that spirituality which pervades all of this prayer. If their first thought is not for the name of God, no more is their second thought for the coming of his kingdom. The bank account, the house and yard, the automobile, the job, the family and friends----with all of these the heart is so engrossed that the kingdom of God has but little place in it. There is, it must be understood, a certain spirituality of heart and mind requisite before a man can sincerely pray as the Lord here directs. Before we are moved to pray “Thy kingdom come,” we must first begin to feel the darkness, the wickedness, and the hopelessness of this present evil age. Professing Christians who take pleasure in what they suppose to be the progress of modern civilization, the enlightenment of modern times, and all such chimeras, are in no condition to pray, “Thy kingdom come.” The Lord Jesus felt the real state of things upon this earth, and no doubt felt it deeply and keenly, and his heart turned instinctively to the coming kingdom, when the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven. His first longing was to see the name of God, which is every day profaned, to be held sacred, and his next longing was for the will and authority of God, which are every hour spurned, to be established in the earth.

But though this prayer is pre-eminently spiritual, it is not hyperspiritual, and the Lord therefore next directs us to petition for ourselves. “Give us this day our daily bread.” This is the only petition in the Lord's prayer which relates to our temporal concerns, and the petition is exactly suited to that spirituality of mind which can say, “Having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.” Nothing here about houses and lands, nothing about stocks and bonds, nothing about fine furnishings and wardrobes, but “this day our daily bread.” And not only is this petition exactly suitable to the real desires of individual spirituality, but exactly suitable also to the spiritual condition of the primitive church. When the church was a sect everywhere spoken against, the outcasts of Society, hated and persecuted by the world, and therefore necessarily poor, with what life and power must this simple petition have risen to the throne of God from their lips and hearts. “Give us this day our daily bread!” Is it so that the church of God has forever passed beyond its primitive condition, in which such a petition could be its daily heart-felt cry? If it has, there are doubtless few who will regret it.

From this single, simple request for our temporal welfare, he turns to our spiritual state. And first, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” Sin is the great issue of human life, the great matter which requires all of our attention and all of our exertion, the vast theme, in fact, of the one Book which God has given to man. We have sinned, and above all things we want mercy and forgiveness. But sin is not so light a matter as men suppose. “Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” (Luke 13:24). Men may fail to enter in for many reasons, but the sum of all of them is sin. Here the Lord tells us specifically, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

And here, no doubt, is the real difficulty which men have with the Lord's prayer. Here is the real reason why they reject the Lord's prayer, as well as the whole Sermon on the Mount. As for the doctrine involved in Christ's words, it is surely no different from that of the epistle of James, which says, “He shall have judgement without mercy that hath showed no mercy.” Neither is Christ's doctrine anything different in essence from that of the apostle John, who tells us, “He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (I John 3:14). No man who will not forgive his brother can pretend to love him, and “He that loveth not, knoweth not God.”

(I John 4:8). This is surely plain enough, but those who are determined to find only differences will never see similarities.

We have been told, of course, and that a thousand times, that such a statement as “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,” is law----pure law----nothing but law----and law heightened beyond anything that Moses dreamed of. To all of this we reply simply that those who affirm it know nothing of what they affirm. The law knows nothing of the forgiveness of sins, on any terms whatsoever. The forgiveness of sins belongs to grace, and to grace alone.

But I pass beyond controversy, and call attention again to the spirituality of this prayer. How does such a petition as this go to the depths of our souls. How does this cultivate meekness, humility, and love. How does it light up the candle of the Lord, to search all the inward parts of the belly. Any man who can sincerely pray so is sincere indeed.

But I proceed. “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Those who know their own weakness will enter heartily into the spirit of this petition. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.” So said the Lord to his disciples on that solemn night in Gethsemane. But Peter was too self-confident to watch and pray. He had no fear of entering into temptation. “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.” “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.” Yet the same night he denied him thrice. And we, beloved, have every bit as much need to watch and pray, lest we should enter into temptation, as Peter had. I know, it will be said that the indwelling Spirit had not then come, and Peter was therefore left to himself. What then? Did the Lord advise him to “watch and pray” for nothing? Must he be left to himself whether he prayed or not, because the Spirit was not yet given? This is foolishness. And Peter was indwelt by the Spirit at Antioch in Galatians 2, when he was to be blamed, when he led away the Jews and even Barnabas with dissimulation, when he walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel. It is self-sufficiency which feels no need for such praying. Yet so long as sin so easily besets us, we have no right to such self-sufficiency, and every reason to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” This it is which ought to be our great concern. Nothing can hurt us but sin, and sin can hurt us indeed.

I suppose it is scarcely necessary to remind ourselves that the Lord is not praying here, but teaching his disciples how to pray. The whole is introduced with “After this manner therefore pray ye.” And having thus taught them to pray for their own great necessities----that is, for their daily bread, for the forgiveness of their sins, and for the securing of their holiness----his heart immediately returns to its own element: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen.”

This last clause, I suppose, must not be regarded as praying at all by a good many Fundamentalists, since they have heard so often from John R. Rice that “prayer is asking,” with thanksgiving and other matters explicitly excluded. Yet the Lord says, “After this manner pray ye.” Some also speak rather forcefully against telling God what he already knows in our praying, but this is exactly what the Lord teaches us here to do. This clause is neither petition, nor thanksgiving, nor exactly even praise, but simply telling God something about himself. Yet this is no empty operation, but is precisely the way of love. This is not merely an objective rehearsal of facts, but the heart's expression of its delight in those facts. This is the way of love. The Song of Solomon is full of it. Though that book consists very largely of romantic talk, yet the bridegroom never comes down to anything so commonplace as “I love you.” His mouth is full of “thou art”----along with “thy locks are,” “thy lips are,” “thy love is”----to his heart's content. He is not merely rehearsing facts, but expressing his delight in those facts.

So exactly does the Lord do when he teaches us to pray, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.” Not that we ought to address the Lord as the lovers in the Song of Solomon address each other. God forbid. I once heard a woman address the Lord in prayer as though she were talking to her lover, and I never wish to hear it again. There is a vast and very obvious difference between “Thou art all fair, my love,” and “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever.” Both exhibit the delight and admiration of love, but they are two different kinds of love.

And there, brethren, I rest my case, and only ask in conclusion, laying theological notions aside, Where shall we find another prayer so practical and so spiritual as this one?


The Doxology in the Lord's Prayer

by Glenn Conjurske

I suppose it is well known to most in our day that the so-called “doxology” in the Lord's prayer----“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever”----is omitted by many critical Greek texts, and by many English versions. As to whether it ought to be omitted, I give first of all F. H. A. Scrivener's statement of his opinion on the text, as also an abbreviation of his statement of the evidence.

“It is right to say that I can no longer regard this doxology as certainly an integral part of St Matthew's Gospel: but (notwithstanding its rejection by Lachmann, Tishcendorf, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort) I am not yet absolutely convinced of its spuriousness. It is wanting in the oldest uncials extant, aBDZ, and since ACP (whose general character would lead us to look for support to the Received text in such a case) are unfortunately deficient here, the burden of the defence is thrown on the later uncials EGKLMSUV (hiat ), whereof L is conspicuous for usually siding with B. Of the cursives only five are known to omit the clause. . . . Versions have much influence on such a question, it is therefore important to notice that it is found in all the four Syriac..., the Thebaic..., the Æthiopic, Armenian, Gothic, Slavonic, Georgian..., Erpenius' Arabic, the Persic of the Polyglott from Pococke's manuscript, the margin of some Memphitic codices, the Old Latin k (quoniam est tibi virtus in sæcula sæculorum) f. g1 (omitting amen). q. The doxology is not found in most Memphitic...and Arabic manuscripts or editions, in Wheelocke's Persic, in the Old Latin a.b.c.ff1.g1.h.l., in the Vulgate or its satellites the Anglo-Saxon and Frankish.”

Of the quotations (or absence of them) in the church fathers, he says, “The earliest Latin Fathers naturally did not cite what the Latin codices for the most part do not contain. Among the Greeks it is met with in Isidore of Pelusium (412), and in the Pseudo-Apostolic Constitutions, probably of the fourth century: soon afterwards Chrysostom...comments upon it without showing the least consciousness that its authenticity was disputed. The silence of earlier writers, as Origen and Cyril of Jerusalem, especially when expounding the Lord's Prayer, may be partly accounted for on the supposition that the doxology was regarded not so much a portion of the prayer itself, as a hymn of praise annexed to it; yet this fact is so far unfavourable to its genuineness, and would be fatal unless we knew the precariousness of any argument derived from such silence. The Fathers are constantly overlooking the most obvious citations from Scripture, even where we should expect them most, although, as we learn from other passages in their writings, they were perfectly familiar with them.”

On the argument that the doxology interrupts the context----(for the “for if ye forgive men,” &c., of verse 14 obviously refers back directly to verse 12)----Scrivener says, “I cannot concede to Scholz that it is `in interruption of the context,' for then the whole of ver. 13 would have to be cancelled (a remedy which no one proposes), and not merely this concluding part of it.”3

Scrivener concludes, “It is vain to dissemble the pressure of the adverse case, though it ought not to be looked upon as conclusive,” and prays that he “may be excused for regarding the indictment against the last clause of the Lord's Prayer as hitherto unproven.”4

After Scrivener's death Edward Miller edited the Fourth Edition of his Introduction, in which he added the testimony of three additional uncial manuscripts in favor of the clause, and supposed “the genuineness of the clause to be proved when the additional evidence is taken into consideration.”5

The evidence added by Miller is, first, “Wf is a palimpsest fragment of St. Matt. xxv.31-36, and vi.1-18 (containing the doxology in the Lord's Prayer), of about the ninth century.”6

Codex F also contains the doxology. As to its date, “the Codex Beratinus (F) may probably be placed at the end of the fifth century.”7

The fifth-century Codex contains the text, just as it appears in modern printed editions. I give a facsimile in the adjacent column, from Plate XIV, Scrivener's 4th Edition. The doxology lies in the first six lines, which in modern Greek characters, with spaces between the words, read thus:


Thus much was given by Miller in Scrivener's 4th Edition, but stronger evidence was yet to come to light. Since then the Washington Manuscript (designated W) has been discovered and published. W is believed to be nearly contemporary in date with a and B. Henry Sanders, who published the MS., says in a discussion of its date, “In determining the date of W most of the evidence thus seems to point to the fourth century, though the beginning of the fifth must still be admitted as a possibility.”8 W contains the doxology just as it appears in the common text, except for one spelling variation, having for . A facsimile follows, reworked by my rude hand to secure legibility, from Sanders' photographic edition.9



Over against these four additional uncials which contain the text, modern editions list another which omits it, 0170, of the 5th or 6th century.

The case, then, in favor of this text is as strong as anything which lies against it, both in numbers, and variety, and weight, and antiquity. There is nothing inherent in the clause to weigh against it. Its doctrine is good, and its sentiment spiritual. If the judicious and weighty Scrivener had reason to regard the case against it as “unproven,” so much more do we today, who have in our hands strong evidence of which Scrivener knew nothing.


C. H. Spurgeon on the Pulpit Tone

[I regret that I found the following paragraph too late to insert it in my article on “Quiet Preaching.” It is excellent, and exactly to the purpose. ----editor.]

Of all things that we have to avoid, one of the most essential is that of giving our people the idea, when we are preaching, that we are acting a part. Everything theatrical in the pulpit, either in tone, manner, or anything else, I loathe from my very soul. Just go into the pulpit, and talk to the people as you would in the kitchen, or the drawing-room, and say what you have to tell them in your ordinary tone of voice. Let me conjure you, by everything that is good, to throw away all stilted styles of speech, and anything approaching affectation. Nothing can succeed with the masses except naturalness and simplicity. Why, some ministers cannot even give out a hymn in a natural manner! “Let us sing to the praise and glory of God,” [spoken in the tone that is sometimes heard in churches or chapels]----who would ever think of speaking like that at a tea-table? “I shall be greatly obliged if you will kindly give me another cup of tea,” [spoken in the same unnatural way]----you would never think of giving any tea to a man who talked like that; and if we preach in that stupid style, the people will not believe what we say; they will think it is our business, our occupation, and that we are doing the whole thing in a professional manner. We must shake off professionalism of every kind, as Paul shook off the viper into the fire; and we must speak as God has ordained that we should speak, and not by any strange, out-of-the-way, new-fangled method of pulpit oratory.

----Third Series of Lectures to My Students. The Art of Illustration, by C. H. Spurgeon. London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1894, pp. 33-34.

Ï Stray Notes on the English Bible Ï
by the Editor

No Other Gods Before Me

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” So we read in Ex. 20:3. This is seemingly simple, and yet I suppose there are not many Christians who can give an intelligent account of its actual meaning. A conjunction of circumstances conspire together to produce such a state of things. The first is the fact that the verse itself is not translated literally. Another is found in the common terminology of modern evangelicalism.

To take the last first, it is very common to hear exhortations to “put God first in your life,” and so to allow nothing else to “come before him.” Such terminology being well established in most evangelical minds, I suppose it is natural enough to associate it with Exodus 20:3. The commandment is thus understood to mean to “put God first”----to have no other gods before him. Such an understanding, however, is certainly, and I should think obviously, false. The one and only true God has certainly never commanded mankind to have no other gods before him, in such a sense of the words, for the plain fact is, he commands us to have no other gods at all.

What, then, does he mean by “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”? He means precisely, “Thou shalt have no other gods at all.” This will be plain enough if we but translate the verse literally, thus: “Thou shalt have no other gods before my face.” This yields a perfectly good sense----indeed, a sense which is clear and unmistakable----yet I have never seen the verse so translated in any English version. In William Tyndale we read, “Thou shalt haue none other goddes in my sight.” This is not literal, but it gives the true sense with vigor and clarity. The readings of Tyndale's successors follow:

Coverdale, 1535----“none other Goddes in my sight.”

Matthew, 1537----“none other goddes in my syght.”

Taverner, 1539----“none other Goddes in my syght.”

Great Bible, 1539----“none other goddes in my syght.”

Geneva Bible, 1560----“none other gods before me.”

Bishops' Bible, 1568----“none other Gods in my sight.”

The Bishops' Bible has this note in the margin: “It is a great spurre, to consider that God is styll present, and seeth al yt we do.” But this note is purely practical, adding nothing to clarify the text, and indeed, the text stands in need of nothing. The Geneva Bible's “before me” may not be quite so clear, and the margin adds, “To whose eies al things are open.”

Since the appearance of the King James Version, “before me” has been the rendering of most English versions, including the Revised Version, Darby's New Translation, my four Jewish versions (Leeser, Jewish Publ. Soc., Rubin, and Harkavy), and the Revised Standard Version, which has “besides me” in the margin. Henry Alford insists upon “beside me” in distinction from “before me,” though there is little practical difference if “before me” is properly understood, and “beside me” is no more literal.

Yet why should we depart from the literal at all? “Thou shalt have no other gods before my face” is as forceful and explicit as it is literal. To be sure, it is not always possible (nor always wise when it is possible) to render this word literally in English, yet we have it literally translated in many places similar to this one.

Gen. 1:2----“darkness was upon the face of the deep.”

Gen. 16:8----“I flee from the face of my mistress.”

Jud. 6:22----“I have seen the Lord face to face.”

Psalm 34:16----“The face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”

And if our version had said in Gen. 4:16 that “Cain went out from the face of the Lord,” this would now be as familiar, intelligible, and unexceptionable as “Cain went out from the presence of the Lord.” And if we had read in Ex. 20:3, “Thou shalt have no other gods before my face,” I suggest that this would be more intelligible than what we now have.


Calvinistic Bigotry Not Dead Yet

by the Editor

I had no sooner compiled the January issue of this magazine, in which I inserted my review of Spurgeon's Two Wesleys, than I received in the mail a living exhibition of the Calvinistic bigotry which Spurgeon (and I) had spoken of. This came in a little paper called “Will the real John Wesley, please stand!” by Ed Vrell of Longmont, Colorado, who says his denomination is “Absolute Predestination Independent Baptist Churches.” The paper consists of three pages of abuse of John Wesley, most of the latter portion of it referenced to page numbers in the works of Augustus Toplady. I quote a couple of the earlier paragraphs, exactly as they appear, without altering jot or tittle.

“Second, some little known facts about John: He tampered with `tongues' and other occult-practices thru his contacts with the `French Prophets'/Cathari(?), He tried shock treatments on the mentally ill, and mesmerizing others, John was legalistic from his mothers training & tried to make that strange `warming' with the moravian mystics----his conversion?, John flipped a coin to choose between `Calvinism & Arminianism', he cast lots to find God's guidance about preaching against George's Predestinarianism and other key decisions that manifested his heresy and aberrant ideas, he lied about Toplady's faith and character, he plagerized many articles from Toplady, politicians, etc. to discredit The Anglican's Faith in Calvinism, he immersed a lady in a bath tub & then denied it, He was a dictator, mean, and vindictive,, He was the key man to turn the Church from truth to the error of Arminius, his `perfectionism' failed as it should, when his perfect society disbanded a month later as all these perfect ones could not get along with each other. and finally, John used others to defend him and they could not because his lies were so bold and well-known.

“Charles was OK, but when the controversy came up about `Election', he denied this truth that we sing so well, and followed his brothers double talk. They put different theological meaning to the words so as to avoid election. Documented from Dalimore's `George Whitfield.”'

I must frankly doubt that much of this can be “documented” from “Dalimore”----though Dallimore's Whitefield is warped enough, and a poor source from which to document anything, even if we know how to distinguish between evidence and opinion----for though the book contains a great show of documentary evidence, its presentation is partial, and prejudice remains the only basis for many of the author's statements, there being no connection between the opinions expressed and the facts adduced.

As for Mr. Vrell's performance, we wonder why he does not also inform us that Wesley was a thief and an adulterer. He had already affirmed in his first paragraph that “John was worse than Bakker, Falwell, Roberts, and Swaggart all rolled into one.” We might be ready to hope that something worse than Calvinism was the real source of such bigotry, but no, for a hand-written note atop the paper informs me, “I wrote this as a Calvinist.” This is that Calvinistic bigotry which I mentioned in my review of Spurgeon, which has been passed down from generation to generation, and will be, I suppose, till the day of judgement. Then, we may suppose, the day will come when all the godly will be ashamed of it----and we fondly hope that Mr. Vrell himself would be ashamed of it today, could he but see now as he will see then. Meanwhile, we are sure that there are plenty of Calvinists, of Spurgeon's stamp, who are ashamed of it already, and nothing which we say herein is to be taken as any reflection upon them.

As for Charles being “OK,” I have given Spurgeon's estimate of that notion already. Whatever John was, Charles was also. We might suppose that if these folks would but read Charles Wesley, they would soon alter their opinion of him, for it is doubtful the man has ever walked the earth who abhorred Calvinism so much as Charles Wesley did. But such views are no more based upon any good in Charles than they are upon any evil in John. These folks speak well of Charles only to blacken John by the comparison. And they will evidently not believe Spurgeon----much less will they believe me----but perhaps they might believe Charles Wesley. I give some extracts from one of his rather lengthy Hymns on God's Everlasting Love. Endeavoring to speak, as he says in the third verse of the piece, “With calm and temper'd zeal,” he prays,


Increase (if that can be)
The perfect hate I feel
That genuine child of hell;
Which feigns Thee to pass by
The most of Adam's race,
And leave them in their blood to die,
Shut out from saving grace.

To most, as devils teach,
(Get thee behind me, fiend!)
To most Thy mercies never reach,
Whose mercies never end:
“Millions of souls Thy will
Delighted to ordain
Inevitable death to feel,
And everlasting pain.”

In vain Thy written Word
The hellish tale gainsays,
Bids all receive their common Lord,
And offers all Thy grace:
Prophets, apostles join,
And saints and angels call,
And Christ attests the love Divine
That sent Him down for all.

Yet still, alas! there are
Who give their God the lie,
The Saviour of the world they dare
With all His truths deny:
A monstrous two-fold will
To God the Just they give;
“His secret one ordain'd to kill
Whom His declared bids live.

“The God of truth commands
All sinners to repent,
And mocks the work of His own hands
By what He never meant;
Commands them to believe
An unavailing lie,
Him for their Saviour to receive,
For them who did not die.”






Loving to every man,
Of tenderest pity full,
Did God, the good, the just, ordain
To damn one helpless soul?
“He did! the Just, the Good,
(Hell answers from beneath,)
Spite of His word, His oath, He would,
He wills, the sinner's death.”

. . . . . .

“He gives them damning grace,
To raise their torments higher,
And makes His shrieking children pass
To Moloch through the fire;
He doom'd their souls to death
From all eternity.”
This is that wisdom from beneath,

. . . . . .

Some men of simple heart
The devil's tale believe;
Beguiled by the old Serpent's art,
His saying they receive:
For fear of robbing Thee
They rob Thee of Thy grace,
And (O good God!) to prove it free,
Damn almost all the race.

Pity their simpleness,
O Saviour of mankind;
Scatter the clouds of smoke that press
Their weak, bewilder'd mind;
The other gospel chase
To hell, from whence it came,
And let them taste Thy general grace,
And let them know Thy name.

O all-redeeming Lord,
Our common Friend and Head,
Thine everlasting gospel word
In their behalf we plead:
If they have drank the bane,
Do Thou the death remove,
The venomous thing drive out again
By universal love.1




Charles wrote a good deal more of exactly the same sort, but this should be a great plenty to prove that indeed, “Charles was OK.” May his loving prayer be answered upon those whose souls are warped and withered by Calvinistic bigotry.


The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley, edited by G. Osborne, London: Wesleyan-Methodist Conference Office, vol. III, 1869, pp. 80-83.

The Last Great Awakening

by the editor

Two centuries ago America was known as “the land of revivals,” but the last Great Awakening in America took place nearly 150 years ago, in 1857. Humanly speaking it may be traced to the burden, the vision, and the labors of one man, and he an obscure and ordinary man. His name was Jeremiah Lamphier. Converted in 1842, “He joined the North Dutch church [in New York City] in 1857, and in July 1st of the same year, entered upon his work as the missionary of that church.”1 He was a man of prayer, and “day after day, and many times a day, this man was on his knees, and his constant prayer was `Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' The oftener he prays, the more earnest he becomes. He pleads with God to show him what to do, and how to do it.”2 “The more he prayed the more encouraged he was in the joyful expectation that God would show him the way, through which hundreds and thousands might be influenced on the subject of religion. But though he prayed and believed, he had not the remotest idea of the methods of God's grace which were about to be employed. The more he prayed, however, the more confident he became that God would show him what he would have him do.”3

The result of this praying in faith was: “Going my rounds in the performance of my duty one day, as I was walking along the streets, the idea was suggested to my mind that an hour of prayer, from twelve to one o'clock, would be beneficial to business men, who usually in great numbers take that hour for rest and refreshment. ... Arrangements were made, and at twelve o'clock noon, on the 23d day of September, 1857, the door of the third story lecture-room was thrown open.” He prayed for the first half hour alone, but----“At half-past twelve the step of a solitary individual was heard upon the stairs. Shortly after another, and another; and last of all, another, until six made up the whole company! We had a good meeting.”4 “The second meeting was held a week afterwards, on Wednesday, September 30th, when twenty persons were present. It was a precious meeting. There was much prayer, and the hearts of those present were melted within them. The next meeting was held October 7th.”5 Between thirty and forty were present. “This meeting was of so animated and encouraging a character, that a meeting was appointed for the NEXT DAY,”6 and from that day forward the meetings were held daily, with increasing attendance, and much humble, fervent prayer. Lamphier's journal records of the meeting on Oct. 14th, “Over one hundred present, many of them not professors of religion, but under conviction of sin, and seeking an interest in Christ; inquiring what they shall do to be saved.”7

Thus it appears that the awakening had actually begun. What Lamphier's journal does not record is that on that very day, “On the 14th of October, 1857, the financial disorder which had prevailed with increasing severity for many weeks, reached its crisis in an overwhelming panic that prostrated the whole monetary system of the country, virtually in one hour.”8 And Prime records, “That calamity was so speedily followed by the reports of revivals of religion and remarkable displays of divine grace, that it has been a widely received opinion, that the two events stand related to one another as cause and effect.”9 Such we verily believe to be the case. But if the financial panic was the cause of the awakening, no doubt the prayer meetings were the cause of the financial panic. This was no doubt the means by which God answered the prayer. Prime adds further, “These pious people had been gathering in meetings for prayer, before the convulsion began. Now, indeed, the meetings received large accessions of numbers in attendance, and a new infusion of life from above. More meetings were established, and larger numbers attended. ... Christians in distant parts of the country heard of them. They prayed for the prayer-meetings. When they visited the city, the prayer-meeting was the place to which they resorted. The museum or the theatre had no such attractions. Returning, they set up similar meetings at home. The spirit followed, and the same displays of grace were seen in other cities, and in the country, that were so marvellous in New York.”10 The awakening spread throughout America, and, in 1858, across the Atlantic to Scotland and Ireland.

A few extracts out of many will denote the nature of the work: “The Cincinnati Gazette says, `that the attendance at the daily prayer-meetings in this city is so large that the room in which they are held is not sufficient to accommodate the multitudes that flock to the place.”'11 “The religious interest now existing in [Chicago] is very remarkable. More than 2,000 business men meet at the noon prayer-meeting. The Metropolitan Hall is crowded to suffocation. ... Some who have come to the city on business, have become so distressed about their condition, as sinners against God, that they have entirely forgotten their business.”12 “At Louisville, Ky., the daily Union prayer-meeting numbers 1,000 in attendance.”13 “In St. Louis, Mo., an unusual interest has recently been manifested in the churches and in the business circles of the city. Daily prayer-meetings are held, which are well attended by all classes of people, and great seriousness exists; all the churches are crowded.”14 “A gentleman from Ohio lately stated, that by adding his personal observations to those of a friend, he could say, that from Omaha City, Nebraska, to Washington, there was a line of prayer-meetings along the whole length of the road; so that, wherever a Christian traveller stopped to spend the evening, he could find a crowded prayer-meeting, across the entire breadth of our vast republic.”15


8Narratives of Remarkable Conversions and Revival Incidents, by Wm. C. Conant. New York: Derby and Jackson, 1858, pg. 357.

9Power of Prayer, pg. 14. 10 ibid., pp. 15-16. 11Narratives, by Conant, pg. 373. 12 ibid., pp. 373-374. 13 ibid. pg. 374. 14 ibid. 15 ibid. pp. 374-375.

Editorial Policies

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.