Olde Paths &
Ancient Lndmrks

Christian Issues

Book Room

Tape Corner

Contact us


Vol. 6, No. 9
Sept., 1997

An Old-Time Fast Food Shop

by Glenn Conjurske

Modern technology has flooded the world with a million “time-savers”----with gadgets and appliances and machines of every possible description, which enable us to do almost everything in a small fraction of the time it used to take. We have automobiles and airplanes, sewing machines and washing machines, power saws and copy machines, telephones and computers----in short, some modern convenience with which to do everything which may or must be done, and usually to do it in a small fraction of the time it took our grandparents.

Not only so, but almost everything which our grandparents were required to do for themselves we find already done for us. The pioneers who built America cut their own logs and built their own houses, cleared their own land, raised their own food, raised their own cotton and wool, spun their own thread, wove their own cloth, and made their own clothes, and washed them without a washing machine----and all of these tasks were performed without the aid of electrical power, and certainly without most of the machines and appliances which exist today. We find all of this done for us. We may go to the store and find ready-made clothes and shoes, and ready-made food of every description, boxed, bottled, or canned, so that we have nothing to do but open and eat it, or at the most heat it up first----and that may be done in a minute in a microwave oven. We may, if we please, have “minute rice” and “minute oats,” “instant coffee” and “instant potatoes,” “pre-cooked” meat, and bread and cheese which are already sliced.

In short, everything about us is calculated to save time, so that we may now accomplish a dozen or a hundred tasks in the same time it required for our ancestors to accomplish one. We may now travel in an hour the distance which once required a whole day. We may make a thousand copies of a letter or paper in less time than it once took to make one. Most everything which must be done may now be done by the turn of a switch or the push of a button. Everything is “twist-off,” and “pop-off,” and “snap-on,” and “quick and easy”----or “instant”----and machines and computers and gadgets of every description are all rated by their speed. We must have “drive-up” mail boxes, and “drive-in” banks, for to get out of the car and walk inside is altogether too slow.

Now we might suppose the effect of all this would be to give to modern man an unhurried life, a life of abundant leisure and quiet, but its actual effect has been just the reverse. What have our time-savers saved us?
I once worked a couple of days making hay on a ranch in the mountains of Colorado, and learned that the folks who had claimed their homestead there a generation ago went to town to go shopping once a year. The trip took several days. If we may now make the trip in a tenth or a hundredth of the time, what have we gained if we must make it ten times as often, or a hundred times? The real effect of all of this has been to rob us of quiet and solitude. We may not be able to divine exactly how or why it is, but it is a fact that in spite of all our modern time-savers, modern life is extremely hurried. The whole country is always in a bustle, always rushing, always in a hurry. Half the energies of the nation's police force must be expended in endeavoring to enforce speed limits, and the world is very impatient of a man who actually drives so slow as the speed limit. We must have express lanes and passing lanes. The modern technology which has done so much to conserve man's time has also set him upon such a mad pursuit of goods and pleasures that he scarcely knows what leisure is.

Now the epitome of this modern hurried life is the fast food shop. Restaurants have existed for centuries, but in restaurants men must wait while their food is prepared. This waiting does not very well comport with the bustle and hurry of modern life, so that now most conventional restaurants exist almost exclusively for the purpose of recreational dining out rather than for any necessity. For necessary eating, the fast food shop is the modern way. There we may find every item on the menu ready and waiting. And most of these fast food shops now have “drive-through” lanes, where folks may get their meal in a minute, without ever leaving their automobiles. This is the epitome of the modern hurried life.

But I wish to conduct my readers to an old-time fast food shop, with the hope that it may be my good fortune----and theirs----that I may so present its charms that they may be moved to say with me, The old is better.

We read in Genesis 18, “And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre, and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; and he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him; and when he saw them, he RAN to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the ground, and said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant. Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on, for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And Abraham HASTENED into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready QUICKLY three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham RAN unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man, and he HASTED to dress it. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.”

The first thing which appears here is the unhurried life of those times. Abraham “sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.” This is a thing of the past. The modern hurried life has no place for it----no time for it. Yet here it was that Abraham could think and pray. Here it was that he could be with God and walk with God. And here it was that “the Lord appeared unto him.” Here is the real glory of the simple and unhurried life. It was while he was tending his father-in-law's flock in the backside of the desert that the Lord appeared to Moses. Where does the Lord appear to men today? Not, we may surely say, in the bustle of department stores and fast food shops, not in the midst of whirring machines and ringing irons, not in bustling crowds and traffic jams, nor will his still, small voice compete with the noise and chatter of the radio, whether Christian or secular. “Study to be quiet,” the Scripture says, for this is good for the soul, and the Lord loves quiet. The Lord loves the mountain top, the sea side, the back side of the desert, the door of the tent. The unhurried and uncluttered life opens the door for the visits of the Lord, for it opens our ears and our hearts to his still, small voice.

But Abraham could hurry when occasion called for it. Only let a stranger appear at the door of his tent, and he is all bustle. All of this running and hastening was the expression of the hospitality which belonged to the unhurried life of those times. This is also largely a thing of the past. Men today do not wish their hurried and cluttered lives to be interrupted. A stranger at the door is an unwelcome intruder. He has come to rob us of a bit of that precious time which our myriad of times-savers have saved for us. Men must live by the clock today. We must work by the clock, eat by the clock----even preach by the clock, and worship the Lord by a schedule. The all-night sermon of the apostle Paul would not be tolerated today, nor would the two-hour sermons of Peter Cartwright or Christmas Evans. Men must dole out their time by measure even to their friends, lest their sacred schedule should be interrupted.

Not so the Lord, who always had time for everybody. He lived the unhurried life, and did not regard the many applications to him for help as intrusions or interruptions. He cultivated and encouraged that life in his disciples. He commended his dear Mary, who had chosen the good part, to sit at his feet and hear his word, while he reproved the hurried and cluttered way of Martha, who was “careful and troubled about many things.” Alas, the whole world and the whole church is now careful and troubled about many things. It seems to me that one of the main reasons that life in modern times is so hurried is simply that it is so cluttered----simply that we have so “many things” to be “careful and troubled” about. Modern technology and industry have filled the world with an inundation of goods, such as none of our forefathers ever possessed or dreamed of. It seems to be the universal assumption that since those goods exist, we must have them, and it is a certainty that if we have them, they clutter our lives and hearts and minds. We may now do everything in a fraction of the time it took our ancestors, but we have a thousand things to do which they never dreamed of. No doubt we thereby multiply our experiences and pleasures, but this is at the expense of quiet and solitude, and it is therefore certainly at the expense of the one thing needful. For the sake of what may be good we deprive ourselves of what is certainly better, “for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15). We have a myraid of conveniences and time-savers, every one of which requires money to buy, which requires time to earn. Every one of them requires time to use, time and care and money to maintain, and a place to be kept, and all together they clutter our minds and hearts as well as our houses. Men must now “get away” from home in order to obtain a little of that quiet which home itself ought to afford them.

Behold the prophet's chamber, which the woman of Shunem designed for Elisha: “Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick; and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither.” (II Kings 4:10). A “little chamber” was sufficient for this, but who could be content with such furnishings today? I am quite amazed at the size of the log cabins in which many of the early settlers of this land lived. I ran across the ruins of one in the woods a couple of years ago, which measured about twelve by fifteen feet. No doubt this little cabin sufficed its inhabitants precisely because they had no superabundance of goods with which to fill it. Yet they doubtless had a quiet and unhurried life, in an idyllic meadow in the woods, where I myself have delighted to spend some hours alone with my God and my books.

What charm there was in the simple life of old times! Yet it is not the charm of such a life which I wish to commend, but the advantage----unhurried and uncluttered, with few goods to care for, with time on our hands to sit in the door of the tent in the heat of the day, or walk in the fields and meditate in the cool of the day, time for thought and time for prayer, time for friends and time for strangers, time for God and time for eternity. There is little of this left on the earth today.

Now to return to the old-time fast food shop, Abraham could hasten to prepare the meal, but this was to gain the more leisure for the enjoyment of it. “Rest yourselves under the tree,” he says, and “Comfort ye your hearts.” Here is unhurried fellowship. I confess that one of the chief longings of my own heart is for unhurried fellowship. We have little of it left on the earth, and this to me is one of the chief charms of heaven. And such fellowship is figured in the Scriptures by dining. I had a teacher at Bible school who used to speak scornfully of church dinners. He would say, “That is not fellowship, it is bellyship.” Yet eating is precisely the figure of fellowship in the Bible. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” So the “church dinners” of the early church were called “love feasts” or “feasts of charity,” for these were times of fellowship. The dinner hour at home was doubtless once upon a time also a time of unhurried fellowship, and we suppose this is the reason the Scriptures employ it as the emblem of fellowship. In modern times, however, the clock and the schedule have so interfered with the dinner hour that it is as hurried as the rest of the day, and there is little fellowship in it. The atmosphere of the fast food shop has too much encroached upon the fellowship hour at home, and members of the same family and household often scarcely know each other. This is really too bad. Perhaps I was born too soon----or too late!----but somehow I feel that “The old is better.”

And I have no doubt that in this I have the mind of the Lord. Do we not certainly know that the old ways will be brought back to the earth under the reign of Christ? The world will be destroyed in the day of the Lord. The description which we have in Revelation 18 of the destruction of Babylon is not a description of the destruction of sinners, but of wealth and luxury, and of “merchandise.” And in Isaiah 2 we are told that “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of man shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low. ... And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all the pleasant pictures; and the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.” The works of man will be destroyed, and the simple life which God established on the earth restored. “They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree.” (Micah 4:4).

What then do I suggest? That we divest ourselves altogether of modern conveniences and appliances, and return altogether to the old ways? No, for such a course would generally be attended with more trouble than it were worth. Yet we may resist the encroachments of modern hurry and bustle, and “Study to be quiet.” We may seek quiet and solitude and leisure----and not to play, I need hardly say, but to commune with our own hearts, to read and meditate and pray, and to walk with God.


The Unhurried Life, and Its Fruits



Dear Sister,

As I have been in the habit of communicating to you the remarkable occurrences which have fallen in my way, from time to time, and believing it will be interesting to you to hear of the prosperity of Zion, I shall, without further remark, lay before you the following narrative.

A young man, who had spent his early years in the bustle and hurry of a city life, had felt, for some time, a desire to seek, in retirement and solitude, that satisfaction he had pursued in vain amidst the busy multitude. Accordingly, he left his parents, his brothers and sisters, his numerous young companions and vain amusements, and sought a home and livelihood among strangers in the country.

Solitude and retirement opened to his mind a different scene from that which had hitherto occupied his thoughts. He cast a retrospective glance over his past life, his present state, and extended his views to future prospects. He saw that he had lived in opposition to the commands of God, and felt the pang of conscious error. He remembered the prayers of his aged father, and the admonitions of his godly mother, and called to mind the instructions he had been privileged to hear from pious ministers. For awhile he attempted to conceal these reflections, but in retirement and solitude they sank deeper and deeper into his heart, and drove sleep from his pillow, and peace from his soul. He felt that the hand of the Almighty was upon him, and on one occasion, under the preaching of the word, his feelings broke over all restraint, and he publicly confessed his guiltiness, and mourned his unhappy situation. From this period, he sought the Lord, in the means of his appointment, nor did he seek in vain. It would swell my narrative to too great a length to enumerate the various exercises of mind which succeeded,----finally, at a prayer-meeting, after two or three hours struggle in prayer, the peace of God visited his heart, and he raised his voice in praises to his God and Saviour.

By this time you are beginning to ask, who is this happy youth?----Oh my dear sister it is your brother himself, who is the happy witness of pardoning love. Yes, blessed be God, I have set my face Zionward, and hope through grace to persevere. I know I have just entered a warfare, and am not unaware that I shall have much to encounter, but while I keep near the Captain of my salvation, I need not fear the fiery assaults of the enemy. Praised be the name of my God, I know well, he has converted my soul, and “saved mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.”

* * *

T. Z. N.

----The Methodist Magazine, New-York: Published by J. Soule and T. Mason, for the Methodist Episcopal Church, Vol. III, 1820, pp. 358-359.


Wait Patiently

Abstract of A Sermon Preached on July 6, 1997

by Glenn Conjurske

Faith and patience are intimately associated together in the Bible. Faith particularly belongs to the time of waiting, and the time of patience is the time of faith. The 37th Psalm is one of the most precious passages in the Bible on faith, but it is also a Psalm of patient waiting. It says, “Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity, for they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good: so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. Fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”

Now why would anyone be envious of the workers of iniquity? It is not their iniquity which we might envy, but their prosperity. Understand, we have two classes of people in this Psalm, the evil-doers, who bring wicked devices to pass, and who prosper in their way----and the righteous, who are deprived and denied, and must patiently wait. We are told in the first verse of the Psalm to fret not ourselves because of evil-doers, and in the seventh verse to fret not ourselves because of him who prospereth in his way. The wicked prosper, the wicked receive the desire of their hearts, while the righteous are deprived and denied, and can only patiently wait. And it is God who requires this of them. It is God who tells them to “wait patiently.” The same God who says in verse 4, “Delight thyself in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart,” requires us in verse 7 to “wait patiently” for them.

And yet when your heart is possessed with strong desires----and right desires, which God himself has planted in your very heart and nature----“wait patiently” is the last thing which you wish to hear. It has always been difficult, for the whole human race, to wait patiently when some strong desire fills the heart, but in the day in which we live it is no doubt more difficult than it has ever been before. We live in the midst of a generation----a crooked and perverse generation, by the way----which has been diligently taught not to wait. You children who have grown up here have been taught better, but all of us who are adults, who were raised in the world, have been diligently taught that we may have what we want now. “Buy now, pay later.” “No down payment.” “No payments till 1998.” You can have whatever you want, and have it now. If you want a car, and have no money, you can buy it “on time.” If you want the delights of marriage, you don't have to wait till you are married. You can take them now. If you want new clothes, or a new appliance, you buy it with a “credit card.” Whatever it is which your heart desires, you take it now.

Now I have not the slightest doubt that all of this is directly inspired by the devil. It is directly against the way of faith, as well as the way of righteousness, and it is directly against the way of God. It is always the way of God to require us to wait for things, and always the devil's way to give them now. Look at the dealings of God and of the devil with Eve. Eve was deprived of something even in paradise. She was deprived of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and of the knowledge of good and evil. Now I do not believe that God intended permanently to deprive the human race of the knowledge of good and evil. This knowledge is so foundational to all the principles of morality and holiness, that it is simply unthinkable that God would permanently withhold such knowledge from man. Yet he chose to withhold it for the time then being. He would give that knowledge in his own way, and in his own time. You may ask, if God intended to give that knowledge at some future day, why did he give no indication of this, why no promise of it? Would it not have been easier for Eve to resist the devil's temptations if she had had a promise from God for the future possession of the fruit of that tree? Perhaps, but God rarely concerns himself with making things easy for man. He expects man to trust him. The relationship of Adam and Eve to the forbidden tree required not only obedience of them, but faith. It required the faith that God was good, that God was for them, and that God would give them what was good for them, whether now or later. Therefore God gave them not so much as a promise of future possession, but only a present prohibition.

But you observe that the devil proceeded upon just the opposite plan. His plan was to give it to them now. And the devil always uses the thing which God has denied us to insinuate himself upon our hearts. Essentially what he said to Eve was, My way is better than God's way, and I will treat you better than God does. I will give you what God has denied you, and I will give it now. This is the primary means by which the devil gains the allegiance of the human race, by giving them what God withholds----or by giving them now what God requires them to wait for. Faith resists all of this, and “waits patiently for him”----that is, for God----for faith understands very well that God's way is better than the devil's, and that if God requires me to wait for something, it is good for me to wait.

And the fact is, God usually does require us to wait patiently even for the dearest desires of our hearts. He promises in verse 4, to those who delight themselves in the Lord, that he will give them the desires of their heart. He promises in verse 5, to those who commit their way unto the Lord, that “he shall bring it to pass”----that is, whatever your heart desires. He will bring it to pass. But in verse 7 he requires you to wait patiently.

Now observe what this entails. In verse 6, “He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.” What does “thy righteousness” have to do with the matter? Much every way. Remember, there are two classes of men in this Psalm, the wicked, who prosper in their way, and the righteous, who are denied and deprived. It is the will of God which denies and deprives them. They cannot obtain the desire of their heart without departing from the way of the Lord. It is precisely their righteousness which requires them to wait patiently. The man who brings wicked devices to pass is the man who prospers in his way. He gets what he wants, by fair means or foul. The righteous man, who will not depart from the will of the Lord and the way of faith, must do without. Ahab may have Naboth's vineyard, while Naboth must give up both his vineyard and his life.

And you must understand that there is always a certain amount of reproach involved in being deprived. You claim that God is your father, and yet he denies you the desires of your heart. To bring forth your righteousness as the light is to take away that reproach. When God at length grants your desires, this is not only your joy and your satisfaction, but your vindication. This is bringing forth your righteousness as the light. When God brought Joseph out of the prison and made him the ruler of the land, he not only fulfilled the dreams which he had given to Joseph years before, but also brought forth his righteousness. He took away his reproach, so far as it came from Egypt and the Egyptians. It was another step to bring forth his righteousness in the face of his own brethren, and God did that also. While Joseph waited patiently in the prison, God was devising a plan by which he might bring forth his righteousness. That plan involved a grievous famine from Egypt to Canaan. It involved a great deal of trouble and suffering for many thousands of people----so careful was God to bring forth the righteousness of his righteous servant.

But understand this: if it is God's business to bring forth your righteousness as the light, in his own time and way, it is your business to maintain that righteousness, while you “wait patiently” for the Lord to act in your behalf. During the long course of patient waiting, there will always be temptations enough to let go that righteousness, in order to obtain the desire of your heart. David might have obtained the throne of Israel by killing Saul. He might even have pled the sanction of the will of God for his wrong, as compromisers usually do. He was anointed to be king of Israel when a mere lad----called home from tending the sheep to be anointed king of Israel. But years passed, and still he was no king. Not only so, but he was driven out into the wilderness, and hunted as a dog or a flea on the mountains. He would hardly have been faulted if he had killed Saul, who was seeking so diligently to kill him.

But see how David maintained his righteousness, in the face of such a temptation. He had fled to the wilderness, and was dwelling in a cave. Saul and his men came into that very cave, and went to sleep. David's zealous disciples regarded this as an opening of providence. “Behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thy hand.” So say David's men, but David would not kill Saul. He only cut off the skirt of his robe, in order to be able to use it to prove to Saul his innocence, and his heart smote him for doing even that. But mark, when he accosted Saul, with the skirt of his robe in his hand, Saul was obliged to say, “Thou art more righteous than I.” And yet once again David spared Saul's life, when Saul was in his power, and said to Abishai, “Destroy him not, for who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed, and be guiltless? David said furthermore, As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall descend into battle, and perish. The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the Lord's anointed.” David took his spear and his cruse of water, and spared his life. And when he accosted him, with his spear in his hand, he said, “Behold the king's spear! and let one of the young men come over and fetch it. The Lord render to every man his RIGHTEOUSNESS and his faithfulness, for the Lord delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the Lord's anointed.” (I Sam 26:22-23). Thus did David maintain faith that the Lord would look after his interests, and thus was he careful to maintain his righteousness, while he waited patiently for the Lord. He would not sully his own righteousness in order to obtain the desire of his heart. When God at length gave him the kingdom, this was his vindication. This proclaimed his righteousness, and proclaimed that God was for him.

Now when a man maintains his own righteousness after this fashion, even at the expense of the desires of his heart, you may be certain that God will bring forth his righteousness as the light. You have the express promise of God that he will do so. “He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.” But when you compromise, when you let go or let down your righteousness in order to obtain the desire of your heart, then God has no more to do with the business. You may have the desire of your heart, but without the Lord's blessing, and you have no righteousness for him to bring forth.

The third verse of this Psalm says, “Trust in the Lord, and do good.” This is faith, and this is maintaining righteousness. These two are intimately bound together. Paul charges us to hold fast faith and a good conscience (I Tim. 1:19), and if we let go either one of these, the other will soon slip also. Eve was talked out of her faith in the goodness of God, and from there it was but a small step to eat the forbidden fruit. On the other side, I believe it is a simple impossibility to maintain faith if we let go of righteousness. An accusing conscience destroys faith. With what confidence could David “trust in the Lord” to judge Saul and bring him to the throne of Israel, so long as he refrained his hand from Saul's blood. If he had defiled his conscience by killing Saul, the whole case would have been altered, and he must now look for chastening instead of blessing from the hand of the Lord.

When God deprives us of the desires of our hearts, it is often within our power to take them ourselves. The young man who has no prospect for marriage among the godly might easily enough take a wife from among the ungodly----and many do so. But in so doing they give up both faith and righteousness----both faith and a good conscience. Faith would “wait patiently for him.” Righteousness would refuse to compromise. And those who do these two things actually put God under obligation. He must and will keep his promises. Those who “trust in the Lord and do good” engage the powers of heaven in their behalf, to give them the desires of their heart. Not necessarily today or tomorrow. Abraham waited many years for Isaac, David many years for the throne of Israel, and Joseph many years for the fulfillment of his God-given dreams. Of how long you must wait for the desire of your heart you know nothing. You do know this, that God has promised it. “Wait patiently for him.”


Ï Stray Notes on the English Bible Ï

by the Editor


Shall Not Make Haste

Isaiah 28:16 reads, in the common English version, “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” The last expression is somewhat strange, at least to those who do not understand it. The temptation has therefore been strong to alter the verse instead of translating it. Certain modern translations have yielded to that temptation, and in so doing have obscured some precious doctrinal truth. Of that truth we shall speak by and by, but first we must deal with the meaning of the verse. Whoever translated the Septuagint yielded to the temptation to alter the verse, turning the Hebrew vWj, to make haste, into the Greek '/, to be put to shame. Unless we believe the Septuagint inspired, and hold its departures from the Hebrew to be new revelation, there is really no justification for this. The Hebrew vWj appears twenty-five times in the Old Testament, and in all but one of them is rendered in our English Bible by some form of the word “haste.” The only exception is Numbers 32:17, where the participle is translated “ready.” The Vulgate properly translates Isaiah 28:16 with festinet, meaning to hurrry or hasten.

The place is twice quoted in the New Testament, however, and both times from the Septuagint. Thus we read in the English version, in Rom. 9:33, “Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed,” and in I Pet. 2:6, “He that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” Some may suppose on this basis that the apostles (and the Holy Ghost) give their sanction to the alteration made by the Septuagint. I think not. They adopt that alteration, no doubt, and it is surely therefore the word of God in the New Testament, but this gives us no right to adopt it when translating the Old Testament. The fact is, the apostles often quote from the Septuagint, and take it as they find it, though it is often inaccurate. Yet they surely did not regard it as inspired or infallible, for where the point they have to make is obscured by its inaccuracies, they do not hesitate to correct it, or depart from it altogether. Judicious and spiritual men have used the King James Version in exactly the same manner for centuries.

Turning to the English Bible, we find that some equivalent of “make haste” has generally been its rendering in Isaiah 28:16.

The early Wycliffe Bible, derived from the Vulgate, has “hee3e he not.” “Hee3e” is an old form of “hie,” to hasten. The later Wycliffe Bible reads “schal not haaste.”

The first Protestant version of the book of Isaiah was The Prophete Isaye/ translated into englysshe/ by George Ioye, “Printed in Straszburg by Balthassar Beckenth in the year of our lorde 1531. the .x. daye of Maye.” Joye was not very learned, and a very loose and capricious translator, who nevertheless did some good in his time. His version reads, “so yt whosoevr beleueth & cleueth to this stone/ shall not lightly slyde.” Joye did not translate from the original, nor would it likely have helped if he had, for in this we may see as much of paraphrase as of translation. “Lightly” is of course to be taken in its old sense of “easily,” but whence comes “shall not lightly slide”? Not from the Vulgate, nor Luther, nor the New Testament, and certainly not from the Hebrew. This is caprice.

The next English version to appear was Myles Coverdale's, in 1535. This was rendered from several sources, German and Latin, and reads, “whoso putteth his trust in him, shal not be confouded [sic],” obviously following the New Testament quotations of the place.

Matthew, 1537, follows Coverdale with “shall not be confounded.” So also Taverner, 1539.

The Great Bible also first appeared in 1539. This was also the work of Coverdale, who apparently knew little or no Hebrew. Yet he made good use of the work of others, and somewhere gained the knowledge that the Hebrew word means to be in haste. He rendered the verse, “Who so beleueth, let him not be to haistie,” that is, “too hasty.”

The Geneva Bible, 1560, corrected this to “He that beleueth, shal not make haste.”

The Bishops' Bible, 1568, retains the rendering of Coverdale.

The King James Version, of course, follows the Geneva, and “shall not make haste” has held its place from that time to the present generation.

Darby----“shall not make haste.”

Young, Second Edition, 1863----“doth not make haste.”

Revised Version, 1881----“shall not make haste.”

American Standard Version, 1901----“shall not be in haste.”

Revised Standard Version, 1952----“will not be in haste.”

My four Jewish versions have:

Isaac Leeser----“will not make haste.”

Jewish Publ. Soc. of America----“shall not make haste.”

Alexander Harkavy----“shall not make haste.”

I. M. Rubin----“will not make haste.”

Now in the light of the well established meaning of the Hebrew word, and in the face of this long sequence of testimony, both Jewish and Christian, we would hope that the modern revisers of the Bible would have restrained their liberal tendencies in this verse, and let the old reading stand. Some of them have almost done so. The rather liberal Berkeley Version reads, “will not be hurried,” while the more conservative but overly fastidious New King James Version reads, “will not act hastily.” The NIV, however, has “will never be dismayed,” and the NASV, “will not be disturbed.” This is in keeping with the usual tendency of both of these versions to interpret or paraphrase instead of translating, and thus our boasted modern scholarship has set the translation back more than four centuries, for neither of these renderings is one whit more accurate or more valid than George Joye's “shall not lightly slide.”

In this case their paraphrases may give a good sense, but still these men are not wiser than God. “Shall not make haste” is the word of God, and these translators really have no right to alter it, for though their paraphrases may give a good sense, they do not give the true sense, and are not the word of God. Moreover, by abandoning the true sense they have discarded some very precious doctrine.

“He that believeth shall not make haste” is one of those nuggets which lie scattered throughout the Old Testament, which are true not only in the limitations of their own context, but are of wide application, to the whole of the life of faith. This nugget of truth may be lightly thrown away by those who do not understand it, but it yet remains precious to those who do.

He that believes will not make haste, but will wait upon the Lord. It was Abraham's lapse of faith (or Sarah's, at any rate) which moved him to take Hagar in order to procure the promised seed. In so doing, he made haste. It was God's will that he should wait yet fifteen years for the promised seed. There are many, likewise, who will “make haste” to marry, and in so doing will not marry what they actually need, nor what the Lord designs they should have, but whatever they can get, and this they do precisely because they have no faith that God will provide a better. Others will “make haste” to take the first position which presents itself, and perhaps compromise their principles in the process, precisely because they have no faith that God will provide another, or a better. He that has faith can wait. “He that believeth shall not make haste.”


Expensive Books

by Glenn Conjurske

Most booksellers sell books for the purpose of making money. To that end they usually sell their books for as high a price as they can command. This is unfortunately true of most of those who sell Christian books, especially those who sell books which are “out-of-print,” “scarce,” or “rare,” and the prices asked for some of these are high indeed. This can make things rather difficult for some of us who have little money, and yet who have a very strong desire for some of those books. There have been many times when I have been obliged to allow good books to slip away from me because I could not afford them. Alas, I have allowed some to slip away from me which I could have bought with a little more self-denial, but was not sure at the time that I ought to. For a mere $7.50----when I was very poor----I let go the life of Ann Judson. Someone else bought it, and I never saw another for many years. In the years that followed I could replace the $7.50 ten thousand times over, but could not replace the book at all. For a mere $6 I let go the original edition of Burgon's Last Twelve Verses of Mark, and have never seen another, though I have a modern reprint, badly bungled by the publisher.

A number of experiences of this sort have taught me in general to pay the price when I find a valuable book, unless that price is quite beyond me, or really unconscionable. When I found John Gillies' Historical Collections (the original edition, newly rebound) for $85, I bought it without hesitation. I confess I hesitated a little when I found Asbury's Journal in three volumes (original edition, newly rebound) for $75, but I bought it, and have never regretted it. I hesitated also when I found William Orme's Life and Writings of Richard Baxter for $100, but I bought it, and have never been sorry for it. When I found the third edition of Scrivener's Introduction for $63, I bought it without a moment's hesitation, and would certainly do so again. When a friend told me he had found the Bagster reprint of Coverdale's Bible for sale, for $350, he told me that he could not justify spending the money for it. I told him I could not justify letting the book slip away from me, and I bought it. I happened to have plenty of money at the time.

The fact is, I am a firm believer in the solid good sense of the old proverb, “Cheat me in the price, but not in the goods.” Any price is too high for a book which is worthless, but a good book is priceless. I can look back upon certain of my purchases and say, “I was cheated in the price, but not in the goods”----and I look back upon such buys without regret. If the book has watered my soul, if I may use it to bless the church of God, it is a priceless treasure, and I would much sooner cry over spilled milk than over the money laid out for such a treasure.

But another difficulty arises. Unless we have an experienced and trusted teacher to tell us what to buy, buying books is too much like buying watermelons. We cannot tell how good they are until we have opened and eaten them. I have spent good money for bad watermelons, and my readers may be sure I have spent good money for worthless books. Having had none to guide me, this was hardly to be helped----though I do my utmost to save others from the same disappointments. It yet remains, however, that for myself buying books is often something like gambling. 'Tis true, there are many factors which to an experienced hand will give a good indication as to the value of a book----such as its date, publisher, or denominational connections----yet none of these are infallible. If we could read the books before we bought them, all would be safe, but this is rarely possible.

I once sought an easy way out of the difficulty. I had before me (in a bookseller's catalog, so that I could not examine the book beyond its title) the biography of an old Methodist preacher. I know that many of these are most excellent, though some are mediocre. The price was a little high, and money was scarce. I did not want to spend anything for a mediocre book, but neither did I wish to let a good book slip away from me. In this exigency I determined to appeal to God by casting lots. The lot told me to buy the book. I bought it----and found it to be of very little worth. But the lesson I learned in the business was worth the money I threw away for the book, for I learned by this means that I was not to cast lots in such a case----that I am to use all the wisdom I can muster at such a time, but that God does not intend to communicate his wisdom by supernatural means. The buying of books must remain as the buying of melons.

I have bought many books as we must all buy melons----“at a venture”----and have had the happiness thus to acquire some of the best books in my library, as the lives of David Marks and Jabez Swan, and the matchless Down in Water Street, by Sam Hadley. Yet the fact is, I ventured on these because the price was low----$2 for Hadley, $3 for Marks, and $4.50 for Swan. The case was quite otherwise with a book which I more recently bought “at a venture.” This is The Life of Kah-ge-ga-gah-bowh, a converted Indian, and Methodist missionary to his own people. I found this months ago in a little book shop, without a price. I wanted it, and asked the proprietor if it was for sale. He told me it was probably worth a great deal, and that he wanted to try to sell it for a high price to some who were interested in Indian culture. I returned after a number of months, and found the book still there. I reminded him that he had been unwilling to sell it to me before, and that he still had it. He said he had gotten three separate appraisals for it, and that they averaged about $100. I said, “Give me a firm price.” He told me that if I bought it then and there, I could have it for $80. I bought it then and there, telling him I wanted it for its spiritual content, not for Indian culture. Nor have I been disappointed with the book, nor sorry that I spent the money, though it was a sort of a gamble at the time, and the price was indeed exorbitant. But if I was cheated in the price, yet I was not cheated in the goods, and I am content.

But look at the matter this way. Here are four treasures, Hadley, Marks, Swan, and Kah-ge-ga-gah-bowh. For these four I spent $89.50, or a little over $22 apiece. A little expensive, even at that price, but no matter. For a little money, which is soon to perish----for a little money, which I might soon spend for goods to be used up or eaten up, the very remembrance of which will soon be gone----for a little of that money I may procure solid substance which is as enduring as eternity.

And the fact is, if a book yields to me but one treasure, with which I may feed the church of God or establish the truth of God, I am well content, no matter what the book may have cost me. Most of my readers can doubtless have but little conception of either the time or the money which I must spend to produce a single article such as that on “The Mark of an Awakening”----to say nothing of “202 Biographies.” That time and money were expended over a period of twenty-five or thirty years, and I am not sorry for it. This is my life, to feed the flock of God, and do we not all spend our money to sustain our lives? To be sure, I have been cheated in the price many times. I have been robbed. I have sometimes gone to the cashier at a certain Christian bookstore and said, “I hope you have your six-shooter, for you are about to rob me.” Yet I was a willing victim of the robbery. I am content to be robbed of my temporal goods, if I may but thereby obtain those which are spiritual. Is this not as it should be?

But let it be understood that the examples of “expensive books” which I have noted in this article are extreme cases. I have hundreds of excellent books for which I have paid only five or ten dollars. Throw Kah-ge-ga-gah-bowh in with the books mentioned above, and add a half-dozen more of my most valued books----Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, at $2.95, Finley's Sketches of Western Methodism, at $3.50, Adoniram Judson, by his son, at $3.50, Gibson's Year of Grace, at $4.50, Gipsy Smith's Autobiography, at $5, and Reuben Archer Torrey, by Robert Harkness, at $6----and the average for all ten will be only $11.50. And is it so, that professed servants of Christ, who can buy good clothes and cars and houses and drapes and carpets----who can spend freely to take expensive vacations----who can feed dogs and cats and canaries---cannot afford to buy good books?

I am frankly scandalized to see Christians spend so much for temporal goods and temporal pleasures----so much even for mere show----and stint to spend anything for good books to feed their souls. I cannot understand this. Have they no command of God to seek first the kingdom of God? Has God never enjoined upon them that they get wisdom with all their getting----that they “buy the truth, and sell it not?” Would they rather have fine carpets and drapes and furniture, than a treasure in heaven? Would they rather wear beautiful clothes, than have a beautiful soul? Would they rather drive a fine automobile, than invest in the souls of men? And all this while they profess to be Christians, yea, and servants of Christ and preachers of the word of God? I cannot understand this. There are many Christians who will frequently spend as much for an automobile as would purchase a sizable library. They will routinely spend ten times as much for one automobile as I have spent for all the cars I have owned in a period of thirty years. Meanwhile they “cannot afford” to buy books. The fact is, they do not choose to buy books.

But the automobile, I shall be told, is a necessity. Yes, some sort of an automobile. But this is as much a necessity to me as to anyone, and I own an automobile also----and my old and inexpensive automobile serves me as well as their new and expensive one. I have driven everywhere from Maine to Washington in an old Ford with over 200,000 miles on it, and generally without the least kind of trouble.

But why do I write all of these things? I have hope that my example may be of use to some. I aim to inspire my readers. There are some who doubtless have some proper spiritual desires, who with a little encouragement might choose to spend their money for good books, instead of for the perishing goods and pleasures of this life. But they are ashamed to drive an old car, and buy good books. They are ashamed to live in a shabby house, and buy good books. They are afraid of the reproach which this will bring upon them. That reproach may come from the church as well as the world. It may come from their parents, or brothers and sisters, who cannot bear to see the family pride lowered. Alas, in some cases it may come from their own wives, who pine for the good things of this life, and reproach their husbands for denying themselves in order to feed their souls. Men would do well to bestow some solemn admonition, some tender entreaty, and some earnest prayer upon such wives. But I wish my readers to understand that nothing which I say here is to be taken as any kind of reflection upon my wife, from whom I have never heard one word of reproach on the subject. Though I have an income smaller than most Americans, and though I spend more for books than most do, and though we have a larger family than most, and more books in the house, and less of most everything else, yet in twenty-five years I have never heard one word of censure or discontent from my wife for the money which I spend for books, for she is committed to the same cause that I am. She lives as I do for the cause of Christ, for the souls of men, for God, and for eternity.

But the final and most formidable source of the reproach which men feel for spending their money for books will doubtless be their own imagination. Men fear that reproach which they will never feel. Yet whether real or imagined, I aim to encourage them to embrace that reproach as “the reproach of Christ,” for they will find it “greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.” Let them by all means let the treasures of Egypt go, for the greater treasure of the reproach of Christ----and the treasures which they find in the books they may have in the bargain.


The Term “Worldview”

by Glenn Conjurske

A reader has written me a few comments on my observations on the word “worldview,” which lead me to suppose a few more remarks may be profitable. My correspondent suggests that “worldview” is not in the dictionary because it ought to be written “world view.” This, of course, is true, but it is not the whole story. “World view” is not in the dictionary either, though there are hundreds of two-word expressions in all dictionaries, from “food poisoning” to “world power.” The term “world view” is a new one, however written.

As for “worldview,” it is a fad of these “endtimes” to combine adjectives and nouns into compound words. However, such compounds are usually formed only of two words which are commonly used together. We have nothing to object in principle to many of the modern compounds----though some of them are certainly improper----and if the modern generation decides to write “eggcrate” or “ballgame,” this will be as acceptable in principle as “bookstore” or “oatmeal,” which have been in use for years. Nevertheless, it appears that only such words are thus combined as are commonly used together. When two words have been long associated together in the mind, it seems quite natural to make one word of them. But this certainly is not the case with “world view,” unless with those modern Evangelicals who are generally preoccupied with the world. The rest of the world has no occasion to use such a term at all.

Well, but does the church have occasion to use it? My correspondent asks whether it is not proper to have a Biblical view of the world. Most certainly it is, but very frankly, those who do have a Biblical view of the world have little occasion for such a term as “worldview,” or “world view” either. The Biblical view of the world is this, that “The whole world lieth in the wicked one,” that the devil is its ruler and its god, that “whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God,” and “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” This is clear and simple----surely nothing so complex or difficult as to occasion all the discussion which centers around the word “worldview.” The theological discussions of nearly twenty centuries found no occasion for such a term as “world view.” And “world view” aside, why “view” at all? The truth is objective, but this word is subjective, referring not to what the world is, but to how we see it. The Bible never once uses such a term. It speaks of the truth, not of our “view” of things. The word “view” just suits the uncertainty and the individualism of modern Evangelicalism, but it is altogether foreign to the vocabulary of Scripture.

“Worldview” is a new term, lately coined, and called into being by new thoughts and discussions, and the new spirit which is embodied in Neo-evangelicalism. We do not object to the term because it is new, but because the thoughts and discussions which are embodied in it are a departure from the spirit of Christianity. The old men of God found no occasion for such a term, though many of them----not all----had clear and decided views of what the world is. It was no great issue to Abraham to have “a godly Sodomview,” though he no doubt had a view of Sodom which was decided enough. But Lot, who must have been continually occupied with exactly how to relate to Sodom----with knotty questions concerning how far he could go with Sodom and still maintain his pilgrim character----he is the man who would have been greatly occupied with “a godly Sodomview.”

Let me be very frank here. The plain fact is, all of this discussion about a “Christian worldview” is not carried on by those who have such a view, but by those who profess to be struggling to attain it. The column from which I culled this term is entitled “Toward a Biblical Worldview.” But why all of this discussion and uncertainty concerning something which is so clear in the Scriptures? The simple fact is, those who have invented and popularized this terminology are not so much struggling to attain a “Biblical worldview,” as they are to depart from one. I do not accuse all who use this terminology of such a purpose, or of such a spirit. I do not accuse Charity Christian Fellowship of this, nor The Heartbeat of the Remnant. I suppose them to be no more than the victims of reading the wrong kind of literature, and of reading it with little discernment. I do affirm of those Neo-evangelicals who have brought this terminology into being, and filled the church with discussion on the matter, that their view of the world is not dictated by an adherence to the Scriptures at all, but by a vain attempt to reconcile the plain statements of the Bible with a spirit of worldliness. A single eye would do more to give people a “Biblical worldview” than all of this modern discussion.

Allow me to illustrate the same kind of tendency in another sphere. The Scripures admonish a woman to have long hair. This is simple enough, and the woman who understands and submits to it wears her hair long and flowing----wears it as her covering and her glory. But when women begin to engage in discussion about exactly what “long” means, it is usually when their real purpose is to reconcile the Bible's instruction to wear their hair long with their own desire to wear it short, and the result of the discussion is likely to be that “long” means a little longer than a crew-cut.

Once more: the church of God has held to the inspiration of Scripture since the days of the apostles. It was not a subject which required much discussion. The real church of God held the Scriptures to be the word of God, and bowed to them as to the authority of God himself. When the church began to be flooded with discussions of various “views” of inspiration, as though it were incumbent upon us to clarify our views on the subject, this was the work of liberal minds whose real concern was not to attain the Biblical view, but to depart from it. So I believe is this flood of discussion in the present day concerning our “worldview.” This discussion is not initiated by the Abrahams in the plains of Mamre, but by the Lots in Sodom. They “view” the world from within, rather than from the place of separation from it. It has too large a place in their hearts and minds. Hence comes all of this modern discussion, not so much to endeavor to conform their position to the Bible, as to reconcile the Bible's statements with their own position.

“The whole world lieth in the wicked one.” “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate.” “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” “All that is in the world...is not of the Father.” This is my “view” of the world----not, mind you, my humble contribution “toward a Biblical worldview,” but my settled and dogmatic position, which has not changed for more than twenty-five years, and which is not about to change for the next twenty-five centuries----though I have hope that long ere then the world will be no more, for it will surely be destroyed by Christ at his coming.

But say, reader, do you ordinarily see these scriptures quoted by those who talk so much about a “Christian worldview”? If they quote these scriptures at all, it is usually only to weaken and explain them away.


The Truth and the Facts

by Glenn Conjurske

The truth and the facts are both of course true----both therefore in some sense the truth----but I do not mean the same thing by them. In one point of view they are but the same thing under different names, yet they may be distinguished thus: the facts are the things that are or have been----historical events, or present phenomena. The truth consists of conclusions, principles, or generalizations derived from those facts----or it may be revealed truth, particularly in those spheres into which the investigations of man cannot penetrate. The truth is doctrinal truth. The facts we learn by personal observation, or by the testimony of others, whether by the living voice or in written books. The truth engages our reason and our faith.

The truth and the facts are both true, and cannot contradict each other. They serve, therefore, as very effectual checks upon each other. That cannot be the truth which contradicts the facts. That cannot be a fact which contradicts the truth. These are axioms. In any sphere whatsoever, the truth absolutely must coincide with the facts.

Take one example. Certain enemies of Christianity have often affirmed that there have been found primitive tribes, untainted by contact with civilization, who live in peace and happiness, without war or fighting, or any of the vices common to Society. These supposed facts are alleged in order to overturn the truth of the depravity and evil of the heart of man. If those “facts” are facts indeed, then that “truth” is not true. The difficulty lies in the fact that most of us are in no position to investigate those facts. We must rely upon testimony. But in receiving testimony, we are always obliged to consider the character (and the animus, if any) of the witnesses. We know (or may know) that hundreds of Christian missionaries have gone to live among primitive tribes, where they had abundant opportunity, from one end of the globe to the other, to know those peoples intimately. Those missionaries bear one uniform testimony of war and fighting, theft and murder, revenge and cruelty----so that if these happy and harmonious peoples actually exist, we must certainly regard them as exceptional. We may also very legitimately suspect that these alleged facts are the result of very brief and superficial observation, coupled with a bias against the truth, while the actual facts concerning these supposed harmless tribes are either unknown or suppressed.

Now it so happens that I read a year or so ago, in a dentist's office, an article on this very subject in a national news magazine.1 The article affirmed concerning these happy and harmonious peoples, that they do not exist. The former assertions concerning their existence were based upon superficial knowledge of the facts. Further investigation has uniformly disproved those rosy assertions.

And to superficial acquaintance with the facts the article might have added a bias against the truth. And by “the truth” I do not mean merely the truth concerning the actual state of some particular primitive peoples, but the truth of the Bible. The Bible asserts categorically, “There is none that doeth good, no, not one. ... Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known.” Now if the Bible speaks the truth on this subject, then of course the facts must coincide with it. But this truth concerning the depravity of man is not very palatable to men. Hence their animus to disprove it. Hence their diligent quest for facts which will overturn it----for we all know instinctively that the truth and the facts must stand or fall together. Yet that quest has failed, as thoroughly as the quest of unbelieving geologists for facts which would undermine the truth of the Bible.

But we must delve deeper into the principles involved in this relationship between the truth and the facts. Men know instinctively that the two cannot contradict each other. So long, then, as no contradiction appears, no difficulty arises. The real question is, where an apparent contradiction exists between them, which of these is to serve as the check upon the other? Which side shall have the power to disallow the other? Shall the truth disallow what is alleged as fact, or shall the facts disallow what is alleged as truth? The answer is, that which is the most easily or the most surely attainable must have the power to disallow that which is more difficult or obscure. This is only common sense. The side on which we are least likely to err must serve as a check to the side on which we are more likely to err.

But which side is which? There can be no doubt that in general the facts are more easily learned than the truth. The facts may be learned by mere observation. The truth requires understanding. The facts lie more within the realm of knowledge, while the truth lies more in the realm of wisdom. Most facts may be easily learned by most everybody, while there are various qualifications, intellectual or spiritual, requisite to understand the truth. As a general rule, then, it must be the facts which hold the power to disallow those things which profess to be the truth. This is precisely the meaning of the common proverb, “Facts are stubborn things.” The doctrine may be, Men cannot be healed by faith in this age. The fact is, Such and such persons have been healed. To that fact belongs the province to disallow that doctrine. The doctrine may be, The popes of Rome are infallible. The fact is, Those popes have often contradicted each other. To that fact belongs the power to disallow that doctrine. The doctrine may be, The Textus Receptus and the King James Version are perfect and without error. The fact is, The two often disagree with each other. To that fact belongs the province to disallow that doctrine. The doctrine may be, The King James Version is the perfect word of God in English, and Luther's Bible the same in German, both translated from God's preserved text. The fact is, (in addition to numerous other differences) there are whole verses in the King James Version which neither are nor ever have been in Luther's German. This fact overturns that doctrine. To step forward and ask us to hold those doctrines by faith, in the teeth of plain facts, is to make a travesty upon both truth and faith.

Now it will be observed in all of the examples which I have given that the facts involved are such as can be easily and certainly ascertained, by mere study or observation, whereas the doctrines must be the result of reasonings and conclusions, based upon various assumptions or interpretations of Scriptural statements, a mistake in any one of which may lead to a false result. It must be evident therefore that we must employ the facts as the check upon the doctrine. To reverse the process were to make the complex and difficult the test of the simple and the easy. It goes without saying, it is self-evident, that this cannot be right.

All men understand this principle instinctively. They all know very well that to the facts belongs the power to overturn those principles which profess to be the truth. This is precisely why men go to such great lengths to rid themselves of the facts, when they are determined to uphold a pet theory which stands against those facts. We all know what twisting and turning men will do to evade the force of the facts. Why do they do this, except that they understand very well that ascertained facts are fatal to any proposition which they may stand against? No doctrine, theory, principle, or proposition can maintain any claim to be the truth while it stands in contradiction to plain observable or demonstrable facts.

Some of the King-James-Only advocates, weary as I suppose they must be with constantly endeavoring to turn aside the force of plain facts, have found a shorter way, claiming to hold their doctrines by faith, and decrying the recognition of facts as rationalism. This is really a pernicious principle, and it is as directly against faith as it is against Scripture and reason. Any faith which sets facts at defiance is no faith at all, but only superstition. The Bible squarely bases faith upon facts, and faith cannot exist without them. To believe on the basis of instinct, without a factual basis, opens wide the door to every vagary and false doctrine in existence. This is the faith of Mormonism, the early preachers of which, having no facts to offer, always appealed to the inner consciousness of their hearers, and so moved them to believe in the existence of golden plates which no man ever has seen nor can see. Even one of the professed witnesses of the Book of Mormon affirmed that he saw the golden plates “by the eye of faith,” which is the same as affirming that he did not see them with his natural eyes. Another of the three witnesses plainly declared that he had never seen them. But faith which demands no foundation in facts, but believes on the basis of instinct, may well believe anything.

Mohammedanism stands upon the same shaky basis. Herbert Marsh says, “To those especially, who seek for conviction in certain inward feelings, which the warmth of their imaginations represents to them as divine, I would recommend the serious consideration of this important fact, that the foundation, which they lay for the Bible, is no other, than what the Mahometan is accustomed to lay for the Koran. If you ask a Mahometan, why he ascribes divine authority to the Koran, his answer is, Because, when I read it, sensations are excited, which could not have been produced by any work, that came not from God. But do we therefore give credit to the Mahometan for this appeal? Do we not immediately perceive, when the Mahometan thus argues from inward sensation, that he is merely raising a phantom of his own imagination? And ought not this example, when we hear a similar appeal from a Christian teacher, to make us at least distrustful, not indeed with respect to Christianity itself, but with respect to his mode of proving it? He may answer indeed, and answer with truth, that his sensations are produced by a work, which is really divine, while the sensations excited in the Mahometan are produced by a work, which is only thought so. But this very truth will involve the person, who thus uses it, in a glaring absurdity. In the first place he appeals to a criterion, which puts the Bible on a level with the Koran: and then to obviate this objection, he endeavours to shew the superiority of his own appeal, by presupposing the fact, which he had undertaken to prove. Let us leave then to the enthusiast these imaginary demonstrations, while we are seeking for proofs, which will bear the test of inquiry, and satisfy the demands of reason.”

Yet this is just the sort of faith which is demanded by the King James Only doctrine, and explicitly preached by many of its advocates. I read in a King James Only publication, “I instinctively know that the King James Version is the inerrant, preserved, immutable Word of God.” Yes, he knows instinctively a doctrine which overturns both the truth and the facts. Now very frankly, the church of God ought to be able to reject the King James Only and Received Text Only doctrines purely on the basis of truth----purely on the basis of doctrine. I do not mean merely upon the basis of proof-texts, valuable as that method may be in its place, but on the basis of a general understanding of the whole truth of God. They ought to perceive at first sight----instinctively, if you will----that this system is false, for it undermines at every turn the Bible doctrines of faith and of human responsibility. Yet aside from my own occasional endeavors I have never seen an attempt by anybody to deal with the system on a doctrinal basis, and I fear that the Bible doctrines of faith and of human responsibility are generally too little understood in this day to be used effectually against these errors. But if so, so much the more valuable are the facts. If the doctrinal truth which would overturn these errors is not easily attained, yet the facts are plain to all who care to know them.

And this system is as much against the facts as it is against the truth, and this case will well illustrate the extreme value of facts in establishing the truth. There are many who lack the capacity to deal with this system on a doctrinal basis----for doctrine is a complex thing, not easily attained----who yet have the honesty to face the facts (which are very easily apprehended), and so can overturn the system purely on the basis of facts. This is the proper province of the facts, to act as a check upon false doctrines and false theories, and as such those facts are of extreme value, and the more so because they are within our easy reach. Some men who are really very shallow in doctrinal understanding have yet done very well in opposing the King James Only doctrines, simply on the basis of facts which are easily attainable. On the other side, the advocates of the King James Only doctrines have constantly misstated, ignored, and shunned the facts, and many of them have gone so far as to disallow an appeal to facts at all. Their treatment of the facts presents the strongest presumption that what they call the truth is in fact error. Those who have the truth court the facts, while those who have not the truth shun them----and both sides do so instinctively. We have no respect for a lawyer who endeavors to suppress the evidence, by keeping certain facts out of court, but here are men who profess to teach the truth of God, who with one stroke disallow all the facts. Any appeal to the facts is labelled with the reproachful name of rationalism. If they condescend to deal with the facts, it is often only to misrepresent them. This is the way of error. Truth has no need to proceed after this fashion, for the facts are the strongest ally of the truth.

In days gone by there were some who denied the Messiahship of Christ, and of course his resurrection. To convince them of their error on a doctrinal basis were a very long and laborious process, and perhaps impossible in the face of the pride and prejudice which were at the bottom of it. Yet against this error stood one stubborn fact----the empty tomb. We all know, however, that pride and prejudice can be just as stubborn as the facts, and these men must therefore exert themselves to explain away the empty tomb. “His disciples came and stole away his body by night.” But against this falsehood stood some other facts, equally stubborn. The presence of the guard was the first one, and any man who could believe the idle story about the guard being all asleep thereby manifested only the determination of his heart to resist the truth. It lies, no doubt, within the realm of remote possibility that the guard had actually fallen asleep, but how did the disciples roll away the stone without waking any of them? And supposing that were possible, we are at once confronted with another stubborn fact: “the empty tomb” was not empty at all. No, it contained the grave clothes in which the body of Jesus had been wrapped. No honest man could believe that the disciples came to steal away the body of their Lord, and, as their great good fortune would have it, finding the guard all sleeping, rolled away the stone without waking them, and then (trembling all the while lest the guard should wake), took the time to unroll all those yards of cloth in which the body was wrapped, so that they might leave them in the tomb, and carry away the naked body. Such an act would have been foolish and purposeless under any circumstances, but it would have been insane in the presence of a sleeping guard.

The facts, then, serve as a most effectual ally in establishing the truth, and in disallowing everything which is not the truth. This is not rationalism, but reason. It is Scriptural also. The apostles' first faith in the resurrection of Christ stood upon those grave clothes which they found in “the empty tomb,” though they had “many infallible proofs” to confirm that faith afterwards. “And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they KNEW NOT THE SCRIPTURE, that he must rise again from the dead.” (John 20:5-9). The doctrine of the resurrection of Christ in the Scriptures----such Scriptures as they then had----was an obscure and complex thing, certainly not easily grasped. The facts lay nearer at hand. The empty tomb and the empty grave clothes were facts which they could see in a moment, and on the basis of those facts the truth was established.

This is the proper province of facts. They are always the best ally of truth, and always the best check to error. No doctrine can be the truth which will not square with the facts. Let its reasonings and interpretations of Scripture be ever so plausible, and its adherents ever so confident, yet if it stands in contradiction to plain facts, it cannot be the truth.

Yet we must allow that in certain spheres the case is reversed, and it is the province of the truth to disallow alleged facts. In those spheres in which the truth is plain and the facts elusive or unavailable, it is certainly the province of the truth to disallow supposed facts, which are alleged against it. In the matter of creation, the truth is plain, not only by revelation, but by reason also, whereas the “facts” which men allege on the other side are but guesses and theories----and in some cases deliberate frauds. Here it is certainly the province of truth to disallow such “facts.”

Yet in most matters the facts are certainly more easily and surely attained than the truth. They therefore act as a constant and most legitimate check upon whatever professes to be the truth.

Too Late to Alter Spurgeon and Moody?

by the editor

My readers are doubtless aware that I speak forcefully enough on many subjects. My trumpet gives a certain sound, and though my readers may not always relish it----though they might sometimes prefer a lullaby to a battle call----they at any rate know what is piped or harped. But I am not omniscient, and occasionally I forcefully affirm something which is not true. So I affirmed in my note on “The Holy Ghost” in the June issue of this magazine that it is “too late to alter Bunyan and Baxter and Wesley and Spurgeon and Moody.” My readers are doubtless also aware that I am “behind the times,” and perhaps it is a mistake for one so far behind the times as I am ever to affirm that it is too late for anything. At any rate, I received in the mail yesterday a catalog of “Summertime Specials from Uplook Minstries” (Open Brethren), and learned that the time has come not only to alter Bunyan and Baxter and Moody and Spurgeon, but even Harry Ironside----a man who finished his course during my own lifetime. This catalog advertises a reprint of a book by Ironside, entitled Unless You Repent. But however ignorant this editor may be of when it is too late for what, he does know that Harry Ironside never wrote a book entitled Unless You Repent. The book which Ironside wrote is Except Ye Repent, but it would seem that these Brethren are too modern to allow such words as “except” and “ye” to stand. But if modern readers cannot understand “Except Ye Repent” on the title page, how are they to understand it in the text? If two thirds of the title of the book must be altered, this leaves us wondering what transformations may have taken place between the covers. The book is obviously not a photographic reprint of the original, for it is advertised as having 151 pages, whereas the original has 191.

But who would ever have dreamed of “Harry Ironside in modern English”? But the reader will observe that it is not Ironside's own language which has been modernized in this new title, but the language of the old English Bible. This was as unnecessary as it is unjustifiable. Ironside used the old version. Let those who reprint him reprint him as he was. If he is not satisfactory as he was, let them write their own books. But to print as Ironside's what he never penned is hardly right. If you tell me it is a common practice to print old books under new titles, I tell you that is no justification whatever.

As for Ironside's book----I speak of the original, for I have no idea what this “reprint” may contain----I may as well take this occasion to affirm that though it does a good job of establishing the necessity of repentance, it is very deficient in establishing what repentance is.

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.