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Vol. 7, No. 5
May, 1998

A Tooth for a Tooth

by Glenn Conjurske

We have all seen, in so-called “science” books, encyclopedias, etc., lines of pictures of supposed prehistoric men, those at the beginning looking more like apes, but each one looking more human, until we arrive at man as he is. This line of pictures is supposed to depict the upward evolutionary progress of the human race, from its subhuman origins, to its present state of advancement. This, of course, is not “science” in any sense of the word, for it is based upon no facts at all. One of the men in this chain, the Piltdown man, was a deliberate fraud, and the others are merely artist's conceptions, the product of the mistakes and the imaginations of the evolutionists. The Neanderthal man and the La Quina woman were both crafted from the same small handful of bones, and then presented as two distinct links in the chain. The evolutionists were evidently desperate for evidence. All the actual bones which went to make up this evolutionary chain would be insufficient to make a good pot of soup. The only real basis for the whole menagerie is the will of the so-called scientists to believe in it.

The sort of mistakes and imagination which form the basis of this unscientific science are thus described by Harry Rimmer:

“One such case is clearly illustrated by the famous Nebraska Man. ...

“It was Mr. Harold Cook who discovered this famous fossil man, and the new race was named Hesperopithecus Haroldcookii in honor of the discoverer. There is a tremendous literature built up around this fossil man of North America, and the most conservative estimate of the age of this creature is one million years. ...

“What was this find, and just what did Mr. Harold Cook discover in the State of Nebraska? One tooth. Yes, you read it aright the first time: one (1) tooth. Just a tooth! No, not teeth; tooth. This famous tooth was examined by the greatest scientists in the United States, and was accepted as proof positive of pre-historic man in America, and beyond the shadow of a doubt he lived here at least one million years ago.

“One of the great specialists who examined the tooth was the eminent Dr. William K. Gregory, a man of unimpeachable standing in the sphere of science that deals with the age of man and his supposed evolution from an ape-like ancestor. He is Curator of Comparative Anatomy in the American Museum of Natural History and also Curator of Fishes; he is also Professor of Vertebrate Paleontology at Columbia University. He is the author of many scientific works, and his next volume for the which the world of evolution waits is entitled 'Our Face From Fish to Man.' He is undoubtedly the greatest living champion of the theory of a simian ancestry for man.

“It was Dr. Gregory who named the Hesperopithecus tooth, 'the million dollar tooth.' He studied it, examined it, and 'experted' it from every possible angle, and attested it as a tooth from a human of such vast antiquity one million years was a conservative guess.

“Another great scientist who accepted all the conclusions of this tooth and its exponents is the eminent Dr. Fairchild Osborn. In his tremendous address before the American Philosophical Society at Philadelphia on April 28, 1927, Dr. Osborn placed Hesperopithecus at the very bottom of the tree depicting the ascent of man, and called him the oldest. He says this Hesperopithecus find is the most ancient evidence of man in the year 1927, and places him far down below Neanderthal, or Eoanthropus, or even the famous Pithecanthropus Erectus of recent lamented memory.

“It would be utterly impossible in the scope of such a paper as this to review the extensive literature and multiplied references to this evidence of man's antiquity from this one find alone; and equally useless. For now the rest of the skeleton of this famous pre-historic man of Nebraska has been found, and it turns out to be an extinct peccary, a species of pig that is now extinct in the territory covered by the United States, but once found here in large numbers. The solemn array of experts, the doctors, the specialists, the comparative anatomists, the eminent authorities and the curators who agreed that this was a man were all wrong; it was the tooth of a pig. What supreme confidence we may enjoy in the future, when this same imposing array of brains attest the next wonderful find! Solemnly, with every assurance that their science justified their dogmatic conclusions, they made a whole race of men from the tooth of a pig long since dead, and even found that man's age to be one million years back. ...

“This is not the only case where this had been done, and far-reaching conclusions have been based on such insufficient evidence. Another famous scientific balloon, filled with hot air, has been deflated now that the much advertised 'Southwest Colorado Man' has been shown to have been entirely constructed from a tooth of a small horse of the Eocene period. 'Give us a tooth!' seems to be the cry of the experts; and they will supply all the rest from imagination and plaster of paris.”

We pause here just long enough to point out how all of this exposes the real basis of evolutionary “science.” That basis is prejudice, or the determination to believe in evolution, and of course to find the “missing links.” When a miner goes a digging, in the settled belief that “There's gold in them there hills,” every piece of fools' gold which he unearths will of course be gold in his mind. So the evolutionist turns every buried tooth, though it belonged to a pig or a horse, into a million-year-old cave man. “Give me a tooth!” is their cry, and they will make what they will of it.

Well, then, let us by all means give them a tooth----a tooth for a tooth. Let us put away the tooth of the pig, from which the imaginations of the scientists have leaped into cloud land, and put in its place a real human tooth----a tooth which can easily be verified to be a real human tooth, even by the most prejudiced and dishonest scientist. This we may do with ease, for all of us have teeth. Select any tooth in your own mouth. No, don't pull it out and hand it over to the scientists, for then it might soon be written up in the scientific journals as the tooth of a million-year-old duck or goose----the evidence being not quite sufficient to determine which. No, by all means leave the tooth firmly planted in your own jaw, where even a scientist must surely acknowledge it to be a real human tooth.

Having each selected a tooth, we may now begin to extrapolate from that tooth, to prove a few other things. No, we do not mean to extrapolate after the manner of the scientists. We will need no wild imagination, no invention of evidence, no reveries in cloud land, no plaster of paris, no cunning artists, no conjectures about the size of your brain or the curve of your spine----nothing of the sort. We will proceed entirely upon the ground of known and observable facts. This, after all, is science. Reveries in the land of unproved theories and missing links are just tomfoolery, and to call them “science” is just dishonesty. We want nothing of that. We want only solid and demonstrable facts, and such conclusions as an honest consideration of those facts may legitimately force upon a reasonable mind.

Now then, having selected a tooth in your own mouth, suffer me to direct your thoughts to a few solid facts about that tooth. The first fact is this: that tooth (as either blind chance or intelligent design would have it) does not exist alone. No, it is but one in a long row of teeth. That row exists in the form of an elongated semicircle, containing biting or cutting teeth at the center, and crushing or grinding teeth at either end, with teeth rather suited to tearing at the corners. This is not theory, but fact.

A single tooth, we may observe, would be of little use, whether it were a cutting, tearing, or grinding tooth, but any one of the three, positioned as it is in such a row of teeth, immediately becomes a most useful item.

Or does it? Not really----unless, of course, we happen to have another such row of teeth, positioned exactly above or below it. A cutting tooth could cut but little, and a grinding tooth could grind but little, if they were positioned above a soft gland or muscle. Neither would it be of any use if it were found protruding from your knee cap, or your rib cage. The usefulness of this row of teeth is absolutely dependent upon its being positioned adjacent to another such row, which is its exact counterpart. And my reader knows very well that it is so positioned. This is another fact.

But have these facts no significance? Do they not indicate design? Given only the facts----no theories, no prejudices----do not the facts themselves argue in favor of design? I think they do. But as yet we have only scratched the surface. We must proceed further, and we shall find hundreds more of such facts, all of them equally certain with those few which we have mentioned already, and all of them pointing just as surely in the direction of design.

The single tooth with which we started is not alone, but exists as part of a well formed row of teeth. That row is not alone either, but is placed adjacent to another row, which is its exact counterpart. This is marvellous, but it is not enough. If both of those rows of teeth were fixed and immobile, they would be of no use at all. But here is the next fact: (as blind chance, we are told, has arranged the matter), the lower row of teeth is set in a hinged jaw, so that it can be moved. The hinges themselves are marvellous also. They are not like door hinges, which allow only the opening and shutting of the door, but are in fact universal joints, which allow free movement up and down, and from side to side, thus facilitating both biting and grinding. They even allow a slight movement (just enough, as chance or design would have it) from front to back, giving the lower teeth a comfortable position of rest inside the upper row, but allowing the front teeth to be lined up exactly for the purpose of biting.

Ah, but I have caught myself using the word “purpose.” I assure my readers it was entirely undesigned, and yet the simple facts so effectually force upon the mind the conviction of design and purpose, that it is difficult to avoid the terminology. Even the biology teacher which I had in high school, while teaching us evolution, constantly spoke of the “purpose” of the various bodily organs, directly in the teeth of his own doctrine. An evolutionist can consistently speak of function, but not of purpose. Does chance operate with purpose?

But more. Even given the marvellous facts which we have examined already, these rows of teeth, hinges and all, would be of precious little use if they were not surrounded as they are with muscles. Take away your cheeks, and see what you can chew. Besides being as pretty as skeletons, we would likely be as gaunt as skeletons also, for all the food would fall out the sides while we endeavored to chew it.

Well, but we suppose that man, intelligent as he is, might figure out how to wrap a hand around his rows of teeth, to keep the food from falling out while the grinders grind it, but what is to keep it from falling in? We need a muscle inside the rows of teeth as well as outside, and (as chance or design would have it), we have one. We have in fact, a most marvellous muscle there, most flexible and dexterous. Now the result of all of this is the ability to chew. Two rows of teeth, exact counterparts to each other, positioned exactly adjacent to each other, one of them hinged so as to allow free movement in all directions, with flexible muscles both inside and outside those rows of teeth, so as to keep the food between the grinders----all these are facts. All these facts point to design, and the more of such facts we pile one on top of the other, the less chance remains that chance can have had anything to do with the matter. When Aaron claimed that he cast a heap of gold into the fire, “and there came out this calf,” he claimed what no sober mind will believe. A golden calf is not made by chance, but by design. How much more a living, moving set of teeth, such as we have described thus far.

Yet still we have only scratched the surface. Those marvellous muscles called cheeks entirely flank the rows of grinders but there they end. The cutting teeth have some marvellous muscles flanking them also, but they are not solid as the cheeks, but are made to open. (And I catch myself again, saying “made,” but how can I help it, with such facts before me?) If we had but one cheek, extending entirely around our rows of teeth, this would serve admirably to keep the food in while we chewed it, but it would of course serve also to keep the food out, so that we could never chew it at all. We must have some muscles on the front side which will part and open, or the whole scheme will be useless. And there those muscles are, as if by unerring design.

But we are not finished yet. We observed before that these rows of teeth form elongated semicircles. The back end of this semicircle is open. Through this open end the food may pass without hindrance, when once it is chewed. This looks like design also.

Observe then that the whole mouth, which we have now fairly well described, has every part which is necessary for its function, and every part in its proper place. The mouth is a passage way for food. The muscles at the beginning of the passage way are made to open to admit the food. One row of the teeth is hinged to open for the same purpose. Observe also that the cutting or biting teeth are just inside the opening----exactly where we would put them if we were to design this mouth----while the grinding teeth are further back, just before the opening at the other end, which allows the finished product to pass out of the mouth. Indeed, so marvellous is the whole design, that if this is the work of chance, it appears to be actually miraculous. But the plain fact is, it is very much easier to believe that such miracles are the work of an intelligent Designer, than that they are the work of blind and unguided chance.

But still we have scarcely begun. This mouth also contains a number of marvellous little glands, which produce a wet and slippery lubrication for the whole process. The process of chewing would perhaps be possible without that lubrication, but it would not be very comfortable, nor very efficient. Imagine chewing a soda cracker or a sugar cookie with a mouth wholly dry, without a drop of saliva. Your teeth would not smoothly glide against your cheeks and tongue, but would chafe and stick. Your snack would not be formed into a smooth paste, but only dust and powder. You would find it dangerous, in fact, even to breathe while chewing such a mouthful, for you would be inhaling dust and crumbs with every breath.

But happy for us, we do have such glands for lubrication in our mouths, and if design did not put them there, then surely chance did as well in the matter as design could have done, and we may believe also that Aaron cast a heap of gold pieces into the fire, and there came out a golden calf, crafted by neither God, man, nor devil, but purely the result of chance. Evolutionists like to hide behind “hundreds of millions of years”----as though that would help their case at all. How many hundreds of millions of times must we cast a heap of gold into the fire, before we will see a perfect calf come out? We are not dealing here with what is improbable, but with what is impossible. And yet a golden calf is the very extreme of simplicity compared to a living, functioning human body.

But on to a few more facts. One of the most marvellous things about these lubrication glands is that they know when to work----or something which runs them knows when to work them. Only think about salted peanuts, only look at them, with the intention of putting them into your mouth, and immediately your salivary glands begin to pour forth their lubrication. This is marvellous indeed, and it is but one among a thousand of facts equally marvellous.

Another fact more marvellous still is this: that same tongue which makes it possible to grind our food, by keeping it between our grinders, makes it possible also to taste and enjoy that food. How it does this we cannot now inquire. We all know that it does, and in this surely we may see the evidence not only of design, but also of goodness. In plain English, we see here the evidence of God.

But perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. Perhaps I am getting ahead of my reader's faith also. Perhaps his faith will allow him only to believe in those things which are supported by no evidence whatever (unless we admit the tooth of the pig). Perhaps his faith cannot rise so high as to believe in the existence of intelligent design and purpose, on the basis of known facts. Far be it from me to tax his faith. I will simply proceed to more facts, for we have scarcely scratched the surface as yet.

We have proceeded through the lips, past the biting teeth, between the cheeks and tongue, through the grinders, to the opening at the back. Now all of this ingenious structure would be of no worth whatever if the opening at the back simply dumped the food out the back of our heads. But no, the opening at the back (by chance or design) leads directly into a tube, which leads directly into a sack, filled with juices designed to digest that food.

But I see that I have slipped again, all unintentionally, and used that word “designed.” But who could resist? Who could believe anything else? Who could believe that those “digestive juices” come by chance to be in the stomach, or that they happen by chance to possess those properties which make them “digestive”? He who believes this must at any rate grant that in this case, as in a thousand others, chance has worked veritable miracles, and certainly done as well as design possibly could have.

Let the reader recall, we began with one tooth, precisely as the scientists have done in some notorious cases. From that one tooth we have proceeded, not with plaster of paris and imagination, not into the regions of unproved assertions, which have not one shred of evidence behind them, but entirely upon the ground of well known facts. Our contention is that the further we proceed along that road of facts, the more powerful becomes the conviction that all of this is the result of intelligent design. At length, as one solid fact is piled upon another, this conviction becomes so overwhelming that we are forced to cry out in absolute wonder, with a wise man of old times, “I am fearfully and wonderfully MADE.” (Psalm 139:14). Yes, “MADE,” by a wise and skillful MAKER, who proceeded on the basis of an intelligent design. But perhaps my reader has not yet come to that point. Perhaps his faith is so great that he is able to believe the impossibility that all of this marvellous design is the result of blind chance, rather than the probability that it is the work of an intelligent designer. About that I trouble myself but little, for we have scarcely begun to consider the evidence as yet. The whole array of facts, most of which are yet to come, may perhaps bring his great faith down to the level of reason, and compel him to believe in an intelligent Creator.

To proceed, then, the whole of this wonderful apparatus which we have described thus far would be entirely worthless, except for the presence of a vast network of blood vessels filling every part of it, and all of those blood vessels of course filled with blood----blood to pick up the food broken down by the digestive system, and carry it away to the rest of the body. Now it so happens, as if by design, that such a system of blood vessels actually exists, many thousands of miles of them, extending to every cell in the body, carrying a constant supply of food to those cells, in order that they might live and work. This indeed is more marvellous than our hinged rows of teeth, but it is just as much a fact, and surely just as much an indication of design.

And here I must point out that I am forced by lack of space, and indeed by lack of ability, to very much simplify the entire system. I can state nothing more than its most prominent features. I must pass over hundreds of details, though as a matter of fact every one of those details would strengthen my case. For example, I have passed over already the fact that the long tube which leads from the mouth to the stomach is so designed and constructed, by means of various muscles, as to move the food from one end to the other, so that we may swallow standing up, sitting down, lying on our backs, lying on our stomachs, or standing on our heads. We may even drink water standing on our heads, if we can once get the water into our mouths. I also passed over the fact that the stomach itself leads into a long intestine, filled with the same sort of digestive juices, and so constructed as to keep the food moving along its length, meanwhile absorbing the good and useful, till at length the waste is deposited at the end, and held there by a circular muscle, over which we have conscious control. All the intervening process, I need hardly say, from the throat through the long intestine, is entirely independent of any conscious thought or action on our part, but continues just the same whether we think or not, and whether we wake or sleep. All this is most marvellous. Yet even this leaves many of the most interesting details untouched, and I can only beg the reader who knows something of the human anatomy to think concerning those details, and to say honestly whether they do not all point invariably in the direction of intelligent design, and an intelligent Designer.

But I must return to this intricate network of blood vessels. The Bible says “The life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11), and this is a fact. Cut off the blood supply from any part of the body, and that part will shortly die. Every cell in the body must have a continuous supply of blood, to carry away wastes and toxins, and to bring fresh supplies of food and oxygen. The food nicely digested in the stomach is of no use to the brain or the big toe, unless we have also a vast network of blood vessels to make the connections between them. Now it so happens (by chance or design) that just such a network of blood vessels actually exists----50,000 miles of them----extending to every cell in the body. Is it possible to honestly believe that all of this came about by chance?

But more marvellous things are yet to come. The cells of the body cannot live upon stagnant blood. Even this vast and intricate network of blood vessels would be of no worth whatever, if it did not both begin and end at a pump. And marvellous to relate, as chance or design would have it, that pump actually exists, pumping away night and day, “whether we wake or whether we sleep,” whether we think about it or not. Every cell in the body needs a constant supply of blood, and this pump is constantly pumping, 70 times a minute, 4000 times an hour, a hundred thousand times a day, thirty-five million times a year, and all this without a single conscious thought on our part.

But more. The living cells of your body need more than food. They must also have a constant supply of oxygen. The cells of your brain cannot live for more than a few minutes without it. But never fear, for the same heart that pumps your blood throughout your body is made up of several chambers and valves, which serve a marvellous purpose----and this time I used the word on purpose. The blood which is returned to your heart is not sent immediately on its rounds again. No, it is first pumped to your lungs for a fresh supply of oxygen, then back to your heart the second time, and then on its rounds to the rest of your body. Without this additional step, your body could not live at all.

And observe, those lungs, which are absolutely necessary to put oxygen into your blood, just happen (by chance or design) to exist, and to be connected to the heart by blood vessels, and to be themselves riddled with tiny capillaries, by means of which the oxygen may pass into the blood, and the carbon dioxide pass out of the blood into the lungs, to be breathed out into the air.

All this is most marvellous, but observe, even all of this----this whole digestive system, connected to this whole circulatory system----would all be worthless, if these lungs were stationary. We must have another pump to work them, to draw the fresh air in, and pump the stale air out. And that pump just happens to exist----as if Someone had put it there by design. This pump is simpler than the heart, but quite as marvellous in its own way. It works away day and night, whether we wake or whether we sleep, with or without any conscious thought on our part.

Now it is time to stop and survey the field. We have very briefly, and with very much oversimplification, looked at three bodily systems, the digestive, the circulatory, and the respiratory, and I am confident that one thing has been evident to all who will think. That thing is this, that every part is exactly in its place, performing its function, exactly as it was (most obviously) designed to be. This is not the work of chance. It is not the work of blind forces, but of infinite wisdom.

I cannot go on in detail. We have seen already that as we think our way through each bodily organ and system, at every step we are forced to conclude that, marvellous as these bodily systems are, they are all absolutely worthless unless they are connected to some further organ or system which will utilize or sustain them, and at every point we find that just what is required is actually there. No matter where we start in the system, the result will be just the same. Whether we begin with a tooth, or an eye lash, or an ear, and proceed as we have done, we shall find in every case that the whole is worthless unless all is present and operating. This marvellous system must have come into being all together and all at once. It could not have evolved. It was made. Every part of it displays the most exquisite design and purpose. The most wonderful parts of the system we have not so much as mentioned as yet, but we must proceed to mention a few of them, briefly.

The whole body is in constant danger from harmful bacteria. But when those harmful bacteria enter the body, the body actually makes antibodies----and a distinct and different kind of antibody for every different kind of bacteria. Those antibodies exist for the sole purpose of destroying those harmful intruders----and here I use the word “purpose” designedly, for who could doubt it? How does your body know when and how to make those antibodies? The fact is, your body “knows” nothing about it. This is the very wisdom of God, built into our bodies in a way that is absolutely inscrutable to us.

We likewise have a whole system of glands and organs in our bodies, which all work together to maintain a delicate chemical balance. Too much sugar in the blood stimulates one gland (in some inscrutable manner) to produce a substance which stimulates another organ to turn that sugar into starch. Too little sugar, and another gland is stimulated to produce the substance which will secure the turning of that starch back to sugar, and releasing it into the blood. Too little oxygen in the blood, and the heart increases its speed. Our blood flows through kidneys, which remove the toxins and impurities from it. There are literally hundreds of such operations going on in our bodies continuously, day and night, without a single conscious thought from us----and all of those operations necessary for our continued existence. All of this so powerful a proof of design that we can only stand in awe and say, “I am fearfully and wonderfully MADE.”

But once more, and I have done. This body is marvellous in its construction if we consider only those glands, organs, and systems which work together to maintain our health and our life, but the body contains something far more wonderful than this. We have also a vast array of organs and systems which exist primarily for the purpose of our enjoyment. These are a greater proof than the other of the design of God. “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath MADE even both of them.” (Prov. 20:12). This is not only miraculous wisdom, but supreme goodness. The Lord has made the hearing ear, and the singing bird, the tasting tongue, and all the delicious fruits of the earth, the seeing eye, and all the thousands of flowers which fill the earth, the smelling nose, and the fragrance of all of those flowers. And to crown all, “Male and female, CREATED he them,” with all the delights of the physical and emotional relationship between them. Who but God could have designed all of this? I must say that anyone who is capable of believing that all of this came into being by chance has an uncanny ability to believe the miraculous, which he probably claims he cannot believe. With all the evidence of the human body before us, it is every way more reasonable to believe that God is the author of it all, than chance. With all of this before us, we can only humbly bow before our Maker, and affirm from the depth of our soul, “I am fearfully and wonderfully MADE.”

But with all of this evidence of design in our hands----or rather in our whole bodies----we are left with two questions: Why do men believe in evolution by chance? and indeed, how can they? The answers to those two questions are not difficult. The Bible provides them both. The plain fact is, if I am made, then I have a Maker, and if I have a Maker, then I am responsible to him. This man does not like. He does not choose to submit to the will of his Maker, and he therefore finds it very inconvenient to believe that he has a Maker. The Bible says, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19).

This still leaves us, however, with the second question. How can men believe in evolution? With a mountain of evidence for creation by design before their very eyes, in their own bodies----and in this article we have scarcely scratched the surface of that mountain of evidence----and with no evidence at all for evolution, every creature in the fossil records being perfect and complete in itself, every one of them replete with the evidence of design, with no three-legged or one-winged creatures among them, every one of them as fit to survive as those which have survived, with no “missing links” among them, and no evidence that any creature either has evolved or can evolve into another----with such evidence before them, how can men believe in evolution? The Bible tells us that also. “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind” (Rom. 1:28)----an unsound mind, which is ruled by passion, not reason. Once more, “...because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved, ... God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (II Thes. 2:10-13). When men knew the truth, or might have known it, had they chosen to do so, they did not love the truth. God therefore gave them up to an unsound mind, to believe a lie----to be willingly brainwashed by men who are determined to put God out of his own creation. One of those lies is evolution. Men do not believe this because it is true, or because there is any evidence to support it, but because it suits the state of their heart, which chooses to live in sin, rather than submit to the will of their Maker.

Easy Translations

by Glenn Conjurske

One of the strong arguments of the advocates of the modern Bible versions is that the old version is too difficult to understand. It is taken for granted by them that the great need of the hour is an easier translation----or rather, an easy translation. The result of this is that we have a vast array of new translations, in “basic English,” “today's English,” “modern English,” “common English,” “contemporary English,” “up-to-date English,” “the language of modern America,” “the language of the newspaper,” etc., etc.

Now the reader will observe that in most of this terminology the primary suggestion is the elimination of the archaic English. If that were all that were meant by it, I would still find it objectionable, but judging from the nature of the new translations, that is certainly not all that is meant. The modern translations go much beyond the removal of archaic language, and actually alter the nature of Scripture itself, and the easier the translation desired, the more the nature of Scripture must be altered to attain it.

But evidently the makers of the new Bibles have never thought of this. They are bent on making an easy translation, and it is taken for granted that this is the proper thing to do. Everything else must give way before this. Their course, however, is as directly against the nature of Scripture, as it is against the ways of God. But the modern church knows almost nothing of the ways of God. Its course is dictated by the spirit of the age, an age in which everything must be made easy, an age which has done all that science, technology, and wisdom can do to reverse and annul the old proverb which says, “Gold lies deep in the mountain, dirt on the highway.” This age has determined to strew the gold on the highway, to give everything to every man on a silver platter, to eliminate as far as possible any necessity either to work or to think. The whole age is “consumer oriented.” Every product on the market must be “user friendly”----and I apologize for lowering the dignity of this magazine with such terminology. Children must have “math made easy”----”as easy as watching television.” Everything must be done for us, at the touch of a button----or done automatically, without so much as a thought on our part.

And as it is in the world, so it is in the church. We must have a translation that every careless, lukewarm sinner may understand at first reading, without diligence, effort, or study. Every hurdle must be removed out of the way. A correspondent grants that people can overcome the difficulties in the old translation, but adds, “They should not have to.”

I am of another mind, and it is my firm persuasion that God is of another mind. The nature of Scripture itself presents great and numerous difficulties which must be overcome if we are to understand the book. The ways of God, in both the natural and spiritual realms, have placed the gold deep in the mountain, to be dug out by labor and diligence. “Easy come, easy go,” says another old proverb, and this is a simple fact of human experience. Whatever is easily attained is lightly esteemed and loosely held. God knows this, and God makes nothing easy. To do so would be in fact to destroy all the strength and vitality of his people. This is evident throughout the church of God today. An easy gospel and an easy Christian life, which demand nothing of self-denial, nothing of taking up the cross, nothing of reproach or persecution, have destroyed the very life of the church. And easy translations are but one more plank in the same platform.

And here as elsewhere, “The children of this world are wiser in their own kind than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8). Paul says, “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.” They deny themselves and labor to the utmost of their strength, to win a game or a gold medal. “Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.” (I Cor. 9:25). But the modern church is wiser than Paul, and thinks to obtain all without either labor or self-denial. This is the spirit of the age, and it is against the ways of God.

The Bible says, “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.” (Prov. 13:4). God himself has ordained it so, and this is in precise accordance with his wisdom and his will. He would not have it otherwise. It is not his will to put the things of God within reach of the sluggard, who will not labor for them, and who does not so much as desire them. These are reserved for the diligent.

If any man ever needed an easy translation, that man was Gipsy Smith, who never went to school for a day in his life, who could not read at all when he was converted, and who could scarcely do so when he began to preach. He says, “My first books were the Bible, an English Dictionary, and Professor Eadie's Biblical Dictionary. That last volume was given to me by a lady. I expect my father had told her that I desired to preach. These three mighty volumes----for they were mighty to me----I used to carry about under my arm. My sisters and brothers laughed at me, but I did not mind. 'I am going to read them some day,' I said, 'and to preach, too.' I lost no opportunity of self-improvement and was always asking questions. I still believe in continually asking questions. If I came across anything I did not understand, I asked what it meant----I did not mind. If I heard a new word I used to flee to my dictionary. I always kept it beside me when I read or tried to read.”

Of a later time, when he had begun to preach, he writes, “When I was called upon to conduct a service alone I had to face a very serious difficulty----how to deal with the lessons. I had spent as much time as I could find in learning to read, but my leisure and my opportunities were very severely limited, and I was still far from perfection in this art.

I certainly could not read a chapter from Scripture right through. What was I to do with the big words? First of all, I thought I would ask a good brother to read the lessons for me. 'No,' I said, 'that would never do. I think that the people would prefer me to read them myself.' Then I thought I should get over the difficulty by spelling out to them any word that was too difficult for me. But I felt this would be like an open surrender. The plan I adopted was this----I went on reading slowly and carefully until I saw a long word coming into sight. Then I stopped and made some comments, after the comments I began to read again, but took care to begin on the other side of the long word. I used to struggle night after night in my lodgings over the hard words and names in the Bible.”

Here was a man who thirsted, and who was therefore diligent, and the soul of the diligent was made fat, with no easy translation to help him. If the same thirst and the same diligence existed in the church today, I believe the clamor for easy translations would cease tomorrow. Moreover, I believe that that thirst and that diligence would actually answer the end desired, while an easy translation will not answer it at all.

God says, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” (John 7:37). God says, “And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17). That thirst is the necessary condition, but the modern church has determined to make it easy for all to drink, though they have no thirst at all.

God says, “If any man is willing to do his will, he shall know of the doctrine” (John 7:17), but the modern church has determined that it must be easy for all to know, whether they have any desire to do the will of God or not.

God says, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14), but the modern church has determined to make it easy for “the man in the street”----”the average American”----that is, “the natural man,” to understand the things of God.

Before we yield to the popular clamor for an easy Bible version, we ought to pause long enough to ask why “the average person” cannot understand the old one. The plain fact is, he has no interest in it. He has none of that thirst which must be the foundation of our coming to Christ, and of every step we take in the path of faith. He has no will to do the will of God, and so no will to understand his word. Till his heart is changed he cannot understand it. A few years ago I was out knocking on doors, and had some conversation with an ungodly young woman. She agreed, at my prodding, to begin to read the Bible. I told her to begin with the New Testament. In two weeks I went to see her again, and asked her if she had read the Bible. She told me, “I started to. I read about a dozen verses, and all it said was 'begat, begat, begat,' so I threw the Bible across the room, and never looked at it again.” Such a woman would doubtless be held up by the modern church as an example of one who tried to understand the Bible, and could not. Yet the plain fact is, she never tried at all. She had no interest in the word of God. She did not stumble over the translation, but over the substance. The easiest translation would not have helped her an iota. Yet I am pretty sure that if she had had some smutty romance in her hands, containing impure portions which were purposely written in veiled or cryptic language, she would have read and reread and studied those very portions, in order to understand them and feast her impure soul upon them. Men will understand what they wish to.

But we must look at the nature of Scripture itself, and in so doing we will find it to be an exact reflection of the ways of God in general. The plain fact is, God never wrote an easy-to-understand Bible. He plainly affirms that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, ...neither can he know them.” It ought to go without saying, then, that “the average American” and “the man in the street” cannot understand the Bible as God gave it. It is none of our business to make a Bible which they can understand.

The Lord himself had no such concern. He operated upon just the opposite plan. He purposely concealed the truth from the lukewarm and careless multitudes. His disciples did not understand this. “And his disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, BUT TO THEM IT IS NOT GIVEN. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. THEREFORE speak I unto them in parables, because they seeing see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. ... For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matt. 13:10-15).

The Lord here takes just the opposite ground from that taken by the modern church. If we have a generation whose heart is waxed gross, and their ears dull of hearing, the modern church says, “Give them an easier translation.” The Lord said, “Speak to them in parables, so that they cannot understand.” “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them.” (Matt. 13:34). And observe, it was not merely the higher truths of revelation which he thus concealed from them, but the very gospel.

The modern church has turned “the great and terrible God” into a bleeding-heart liberal, softer than Santa Claus, who freely lavishes all things upon the evil and undeserving, without stint or condition. He lavishes his salvation upon the impenitent, and his truth upon the careless, who neither thirst, nor fear God, nor will to do his will. It is this liberal and man-centered thinking which has produced the clamor for easy translations of the Bible. The Lord's thoughts run a contrary way. He says, “Unto you”----who thirst for the things of God, who have taken up the cross and forsaken all to follow me----”Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables, that seeing they may see, AND NOT PERCEIVE, and hearing they may hear, AND NOT UNDERSTAND, lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins be forgiven them.” (Mark 4:11-12). And once more, “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to others in parables; that SEEING THEY MIGHT NOT SEE, and HEARING THEY MIGHT NOT UNDERSTAND.” (Luke 8:10). These are awfully solemn words, but they clearly set forth the ways of God. Those ways are unknown to the present soft and man-centered age, and they have apparently never once entered the minds of the makers of the easy Bible versions. These solemn words teach us that God is not mocked----that man may not sow to the flesh and reap of the Spirit----that he may not live in careless lukewarmness, and yet understand the word of God. God himself has secured, by the very nature of his own word and doctrine, that the careless and lukewarm shall not understand it.

But further, God never wrote a Bible which was easy for his own saints to understand. Peter tells us plainly, concerning Paul's epistles and the other Scriptures, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (II Pet. 3:16). Surely God could have inspired a book which was not hard to be understood, but he chose not to do so. He surely knew that men would wrest those hard-to-be-understood things to their own destruction, but that did not move him to alter the nature of the book. It remains “hard to be understood”----things in all of Paul's epistles, and also the other Scriptures.

Those who are determined to make an easy translation of all this, “in common speech,” such as “the common man” can easily understand, demonstrate only how far their thoughts are from the thoughts of God. The only way they can make an easy translation is to alter the nature of the book. And that most of the modern translations have freely done. The easier the translation, the less there is of translation in it, and the more of explanation, or paraphrase. Many of the modern translations consist largely of rewriting the Bible instead of translating it.

Now consider. The truths which I have set forth above, concerning the ways of God and the nature of Scripture are crystal clear in the King James Version, as indeed they are in the modern versions also. How is it that the modern church is so entirely ignorant of them? How is it that pastors of churches, Bible school professors, missionaries and all are generally ignorant of these simple principles, which are so clear in the word of God? One thing we may say for certain is that the difficulty of the translation has nothing to do with the matter. The reasons lie in the lukewarmness, apathy, shallowness, worldliness, lack of diligence, lack of meditation, and lack of prayer in the modern church. “An ill workman quarrels with his tools,” when he ought to blame himself. In better hands the tools which he blames would prove perfectly adequate. And do we not have an ocular demonstration before our very eyes that an easy translation is not the need of the church? We have easy translations on the market, enough to fill a bushel basket. What good have they done in the church of God? The plain fact is, as a general rule, those who are addicted to the new versions know less of the ways of God, and are every way farther from the spirit of Christianity, than those who adhere to the old one. The liberals, the Neo-evangelicals, the unspiritual intellectuals----all these will almost invariably be found toting some new and easy version, but it has not helped their knowledge of the ways of God or their spiritual condition a whit.

The advocates of a Bible in common English of course contend that the New Testament was originally written in the common language of the day----what is called the koinh Greek, which means the common Greek. We deny the truth of this. The New Testament was written in a language of its own, a combination of the common Greek of the day with the language of the Septuagint. But I have fully treated that subject before, and will not repeat myself here.

Another of the strong arguments of the advocates of easy translations is that children cannot understand the old version. This argument is plausible, but false. The plain fact is, children cannot understand “See Dick run” unless they are taught to, and they can be taught to understand the old version just as easily as they can be taught to understand a new one. I recall an incident which took place twenty years ago, when my oldest daughter was six or seven years old. We went to the house of a couple of young women for supper. They were sisters, daughters of missionaries in Japan. They were Reformed Baptists, and it was their custom after supper to read the Bible at the supper table. They “read around,” each taking a verse in turn. We joined with them, and my daughter Timia read her verses as did the rest of us. One of the verses which fell to her lot contained the word “righteousness.” While she was reading the verse, one of our hosts was poised and ready to help her over the word “righteousness,” but Timia read it as though it had been “Run, Dick, run.” Our host was amazed, and commented on it afterwards. But the plain fact is, a child may be taught to read the word “righteousness,” and to understand it too, with the same ease that they may be taught any other word. Watts and Wesley each wrote hymns for children. In comparing them someone has said that Watts's hymns will leave children children, while Wesley's will make them men. We do not want a Bible which will leave children children, but one which will make them men. Much less do we want a Bible which will make children of men.

And observe, if we give the child an “easy” translation, it will yet contain the word “righteousness.” If it does not, the book ought by all means to be thrown in the waste basket. Nay more, it is a plain fact that the modern translations, so often recommended for the sake of the children, actually contain numerous hard expressions of which the old version is entirely innocent. This is the fruit of the unspiritual intellectualism which has played so largely in their production. To take one example only, in Romans 1:20 the old version's “the invisible things of him” is turned into “his invisible attributes” in the NASV and the NKJV, while the NIV and the Berkeley version convert it to “God's invisible qualities.” Such examples might be multiplied. We fear that the argument in favor of the new versions for the sake of the children is mostly ignorance and empty rhetoric.

Nevertheless, we grant that there is some difficulty with the archaic words and ancient grammatical forms. It is a small difficulty, however, and such as may be easily overcome by the thirsty and the diligent.

But this brings us to another of the grave misunderstandings which lie beneath the clamor for easy translations of the Bible. The cry is for a Bible which every man, and every child, may understand independently, without the aid of anyone to teach him. It is thought to replace the evangelist and the teacher with the Bible, a thing which God certainly never intended. The evangelist and the teacher are as much the gifts of God as the Bible is, and they are not useless or unnecessary gifts. Yet if it had been God's intention that every lost sinner should read and understand the Bible for himself, what were the use of the evangelist? If it had been God's intention that every saint should read and understand the Bible independently of any human teacher, why did he give teachers to the church? The gifts of God are not mistakes, nor useless appendages either. They are necessary for the prosperity of his work, and the very existence of evangelists, pastors, and teachers is proof enough that God never intended that the Bible should be understood by everybody without them.

But I must delve a little deeper here. The principle that every man is able to understand the Bible independently is one of the most detrimental of all those involved in this question. It is the fruit of the unholy principles of democracy, and their accompanying pride, which have taken possession of the world in these latter days. But in spite of all the prevailing notions of democracy and independence, the fact remains that as a general rule it is not possible to fully and rightly understand the Bible in independence of the gifts which God has set in his church. God himself has filled his book with things hard to be understood----things which are to be understood only by deep spiritual experience, by long meditation, and by habitual walking with God. Those who have that experience and that understanding he sets in the church as pastors and teachers, to lead the others in the right way. But when democratic principles and democratic pride prevail, and every man thinks himself competent to understand the Bible independently, the result is ten thousand opinions and ten thousand sects, all of them wandering in the mazes of error, while all of them are filled with the conceit that they have the truth.

I do not contend that no man can ever understand the Bible without the aid of a human teacher. In some rare cases this doubtless actually occurs, especially in cases of uncommon thirst and diligence. But then it is a certainty that the independent acquisition of the truth will be a very long and arduous process, the work of decades and not months, the issue of long walking with God and being scourged by his hand, and certainly not something to be brought about by the reading of an easy translation.

But I must address one final question. Granting that the Bible itself, as given of God, is not easy to understand, it will be said that the translation ought not to be more difficult than the original. The King James Version, it will be said, because of its archaic language, is actually more difficult than the original. I grant the force of this objection. I am not against a revision of the old version. I could endorse a conservative and competent revision. I am only against a liberal and incompetent revision, and I am fully persuaded that the present generation can produce no other kind. Neither is the ease or difficulty of the translation the most important thing to be considered in its revision. There are numerous things more important than this, but I have dealt largely with those elsewhere. Moreover, I believe that the difficulty of the old version is very much exaggerated by the present liberal generation, as it is the way of liberals always to magnify difficulties. It may be that the old version will actually become unintelligible in time, but that time is a long way off.

The quarrel which the present generation has with the old version is a simple matter of an ill workman quarrelling with his tools. So far as vocabulary and grammar are concerned----I do not speak of its spiritual substance----I believe that the most shallow and ignorant among us can understand most of the old version, though I grant that there are some archaic forms which will require the use of a dictionary----a thing which we suppose must be avoided at all cost by a generation which must have gold strewn on the highway. But even here it is a fact that most of the archaic forms in the old version are self-explanatory in their context, and if not in one context, then in another, so that what is actually unintelligible in the old version will boil down to almost nothing, if the book is seriously studied. If a man has no helps or teachers at all, and must therefore spend his whole earthly life in ignorance of those few and insignificant things which are actually lost to him because of the unintelligibility of the old version, he will be very little inconvenienced by it. His spirituality and usefulness will not suffer if he cannot tell what ouches and taches are, or if he cannot tell the exact meaning of “Woe worth the day.”

When the clamor for a new version began to be heard, about a century and a half ago, it was seriously suggested that the result of a revision would be a revival. An article in The Edinburgh Review in 1855 says, “With all our anxiety to witness the issue of a corrected translation of the Sacred Scriptures, which, we believe, would most powerfully serve to direct attention to them, and produce among us the most wholesome kind of religious revival; we should deeply regret to find it attempted without authority,” &c. And again, “By the help of Divine Providence to the labours of so competent a body, we might reasonably hope to find ourselves eventually in possession of such a version of the Bible as should correctly represent the sense of its inspired authors; and we do most seriously believe, that the piety of the people would increase, and their unchristian differences diminish, as the sense of the authorities to which they all appeal was set more fully and distinctly and accurately before them.” But frankly, in the light of subsequent events, the serious belief of this editor appears to be nothing short of ridiculous. This was no more than another case of an ill workman quarrelling with his tools----as though he did not already have in his hands a Bible which correctly represented the sense of its inspired authors, and as though the old version was the thing which stood in the way of the coveted revival. At any rate, since that day we have had almost innumerable revisions of the Bible, all of them professedly more accurate and more intelligible than the old one, and no revival has followed. As an almost invariable rule, such revivals as have existed in the church have been brought into being by the use of the old version.

A dozen years earlier another advocate of revision had written, “But we contend for the translation of these terms ['baptize' and 'baptism'], in order that the people of God may be united in one holy brotherhood” ----that is to say, that the whole body of English Christians might be Baptists, and so the unity of the church be secured. So it is the old version which stands in the way of the unity of the church! The author fails to tell us, however, whether this unified body would be Strict Baptists, General Baptists, Free-Will Baptists, Six-Principle Baptists, Seventh-Day Baptists, Anti-Missions Baptists, Campbellites, or something else. All these hold immersion, but where is their unity? The plain fact is, anybody who expects any substantial gain, whether of unity, or revival, or sound doctrine, by means of a revision of the Scriptures, is greatly deceived. The problems in the church are not due to the current translation of the Bible, and will not be solved, or any way affected, by revising it.

Today we have a whole bushel of new versions----all easier, more accurate, and more intelligible than the old one, if we are to believe their makers----and yet the church is farther than ever from revival, farther from sound doctrine, and farther from the spirit of Christianity. Verily, those who expect to work wonders----and those who expect any substantial gain at all----by securing an easier version of the Bible, are barking up the wrong tree, while those who seek an easy version of the Bible actually stand against the ways of God and the nature of Scripture itself.



o Old - Time Revival Scenes o


I will begin with Brier Island. This place was notorious for irreligion, perhaps as much so, in proportion to its magnitude, as was Sodom, on the morning of Lot's escape. Last autumn, or winter, brother Peter Crandal, moved by their forlorn condition, visited the Island, and preached to as many of the shy Islanders as he could collect within hearing of his voice. He was threatened with death, if he ventured to preach on this Island again. However, he loved their salvation more than he feared their threatenings; he ventured, the people collected, he spoke, and the Lord spoke too. At a late hour the assembly was dismissed. He retired, but ere soft sleep had closed his eyes, a messenger requested that he would visit a house distrest. Without gain-saying, he arose and followed the messenger. Whilst on his way, in the first house he passed, he discovered a light; it came into his mind just to call in and see how they did. He found them in the agonies of dying unto sin; an household distrest for sins committed, and for salvation infinitely needed. He saw their anguish manifestly such, as all must feel, or die forever; and observing their exercises and situation such as he judged not expedient to be interrupted, retired in silence. The next house he found and left in a very similar condition. Going a little farther, he heard a person in the field manifesting by his sighs and groans, bitterness of spirit. Mr. Crandal turned aside, and in silent wonder beheld and left the sin-sick man. He was soon at the house whence they had sent for him. Here he found a company sorely opprest with their load of sin, burdened by it, and longing to be free. Here he broke silence, and pointed dying sinners to a living Saviour.

On this never to be forgotten Island, in sixteen of the eighteen families which reside on it, were thirty-three hopefully born from above. The reformation had reached the Main, so that when I saw him, he had baptized between fifty and an hundred.

----The Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Magazine. Boston: Published by Manning & Loring, and Lincoln & Edmands, Vol. III, No. 1 (March, 1811), pg. 36.

Deaf and Dumb Preachers

by the editor

Isaiah 56:10 calls the blind and ignorant watchmen “dumb dogs,” that “cannot bark.” Nearly thirty years ago I heard J. Vernon McGee comment on this, that in these “dumb dogs” we find the origin of the D.D. degree. This is doubtless more often true than not, but I have a more edifying theme to present to my readers. I speak not of the spiritually deaf and dumb, but of those who are literally so. The God who ordinarily chooses the weak and the foolish and the base and the despised has sometimes chosen even the impotent. The God who ordinarily chooses the improbable sometimes chooses the impossible. The God of Gideon's army, the God of Samson's jawbone, the God of David's sling, the God of the unlearned and ignorant apostles, has sometimes chosen even the deaf and dumb to preach the gospel of Christ----and to preach it effectively, too.

A quarter century's reading has put in my way a few examples of this, and I pass them on to my readers.

”Elder William Creath and myself have been on a long tour, in the midst of these great revivals. ... Elder Creath baptized one on this tour who had never spoken a word in his life, being born deaf and dumb: yet Jesus spoke to his soul. He was a noted gamester, and was at his cards; when suddenly he threw them down, arose from the table, and withdrew. His companions went to see what he was about, and found him on his knees, evidently praying to the Lord. Many will doubtless ask how he could tell his experience. Ah! brother, it would have moved an infidel, to see him by signs give such striking representations of Christ.” We heartily wish the writer had given more detail, but such as he gives is precious enough. We note at any rate that the testimony of the dumb man was very moving.

”There is one Isaac Oliver here, whose history, could I write it intelligibly to you, would be very entertaining. He has been deaf and dumb from his birth, and yet I have the utmost reason to believe he is truly gracious, and also acquainted with most of the doctrines, and many of the historical facts of the Bible. I have seen him represent the crucifixion of Christ in such significant signs, that I could not but understand them. Those that live in the house with him can hold conversation with him very readily. There is so much of the devout ardour of his soul discovered at times, as is really affecting, and I have seen him converse in signs about the love and sufferings of Christ, till he has been transported into earnestness, and dissolved in tears.” Again, we are sorry the writer gives no description of the effect of this preaching. We might guess, however, that his devout ardor of soul and his accompanying tears would be of greater effect than articulate words could be without them.

Charlotte Elizabeth raised and taught a deaf and dumb boy. He could not speak at all, but communicated entirely by signs. She gives the following precious account of his preaching. (The reader should note that the deaf boy is referred to in this account as both Jack, and John B--------.)

“His sublime idea of the 'red hand' was ever present. He had told me some years before that when he had lain a good while in the grave, God would call aloud, 'Jack!' and he would start, and say, 'Yes, me Jack.' Then he would rise, and see multitudes standing together, and God sitting on a cloud with a very large book in his hand----he called it a 'Bible book'----and would beckon him to stand before him while he opened the book, and looked at the top of the pages, till he came to the name of John B--------. In that page he told me, God has written all his 'bads,' every sin he had ever done; and the page was full. So God would look, and strive to read it, and hold it to the sun for light, but it was all 'No, no, nothing, none.' I asked him in some alarm if he had done no bad? He said yes, much bads; but when he first prayed to Jesus Christ he had taken the book out of God's hand, found that page, and pulling from his palm something which he described as filling up the hole made by the nail, had allowed the wound to bleed a little, passing his hand down the page so that, as he beautifully said, God could see none of Jack's bads, only Jesus Christ's blood. Nothing being thus found against him, God would shut the book, and there he would remain standing before him, till the Lord Jesus came, and saying to God, 'MY Jack,' would put his arm around him, draw him aside, and bid him stand with the angels till the rest were judged.

“All this he told me with the placid but animated look of one who is relating a delightful fact: I stood amazed, for rarely had the plan of a sinner's ransom, appropriation, and justification been so perspicuously set forth in a pulpit as here it was by a poor deaf and dumb peasant boy, whose broken language was eked out by signs. He often told it to others, always making himself understood, and often have I seen the tears starting from a rough man's eye as he followed the glowing representation.”

David Marks relates the following:

“Having retired from the assembly a small distance, I heard a very singular sound in the barn where they were convened, that excited anxiety and alarm. I returned in haste; and on entering the meeting, saw a young man standing before the assembly in a flood of tears; who, by signs and gestures, was attempting to describe the joys of heaven, and the horrors of hell. The sound of his voice was inarticulate, but varied with his signs to express happiness and misery. The whole assembly was deeply affected; to my astonishment, I found that this young man, though deaf and dumb, had opened his mouth to persuade the wicked from the way to hell. He had lately experienced a hope in God, and related his experience by signs; showing his fears of punishment by looking at the fire, and then pointing downward; and his views of heaven, by touching things that were bright, or of the color of gold, and pointing upward. He desired and received baptism, and became a faithful member of the church. The exercises of the meeting appeared to interest him, as much as any one; and, though he could neither hear words, nor articulate them, yet he had sounds peculiar to exhortation, prayer and singing, accompanied by suitable gestures. I understood his public exercises had been blessed to the conversion of several. This was loud preaching, and many said, 'If the Lord hath opened the mouth of the dumb, it is time for us, who have the use of speech, to confess Christ with the mouth unto salvation.”'


n Book Review n

by Glenn Conjurske


Monumental Facts and Higher Critical Fancies, by A. H. Sayce

London: The Religious Tract Society, 3rd ed., 1904, 128 pp.

Sayce was “Professor of Assyriology in the University of Oxford” a century ago. He was obviously learned in his field, and the author of several books which maintain the truth of Scripture on the basis of archaeological discoveries. As the title indicates, that is the main purpose of the book before us. There are some things which are of value in the book, but it seems to me that its negative value is greater than its positive. In several respects it illustrates the fruitlessness and the danger of bolstering the Bible from archaeology.

The positive value of the book lies in the fact that it demonstrates by actual examples that time and again the “critics” have been discomfited by the discovery of archaeological facts. It reveals also the tactics of the “critics,” who, driven by facts from one refuge of lies, invariably flee to another. More on that anon.

One weakness of the book lies in the fact that most of the particular facts which are rehearsed are presented in such broad generalities as to be of little actual interest. We are informed that writing was common centuries before Moses, that culture was highly developed, etc., but are given almost nothing in the way of detail.

But the greater weakness lies in the author, who is so leavened with unbelief himself that any positive good in the book is practically nullified by his rationalism. This is typical of men of this stamp, and ought to serve as a warning beacon to others who are enamored with this sort of studies. Faith is not cultivated in archaeological digs. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rationalism is a very subtle thing, and those who delve deeply into the “higher critical fancies,” even for the purpose of refuting them, seldom come away unleavened. It is wisdom here to “Be simple concerning evil.” Sayce everywhere gives away too much to the rationalists. Indeed, he does not so much as aim to establish the divinity of the Scriptures, but only what is called their “historicity.” He explicitly disclaims verbal inspiration, saying (pp. 124-125),

“There was a time when the Christian regarded his Bible as the orthodox Hindu regards his Veda, as a single indivisible and mechanically-inspired book, dictated throughout by the Deity, and from which all human elements are jealously excluded.

“But heathen theories of inspiration ought to have no place in the Christian consciousness. Christ was perfect Man as well as perfect God, and in the sacred books of our faith we are similarly called upon to recognize a human element as well as a divine. The doctrine of verbal inerrancy is Hindu and not Christian, and if we admit it we must, with the Hindu, follow it out to its logical conclusion, that the inerrant words cannot be translated into another tongue or even committed to writing.”

Most of this is foolishness. His logical conclusions are not logical at all. He establishes guilt by association, after the manner of all who have no better arguments. He might have told us also that the Mormons believe precisely in the mechanical inspiration of the Book of Mormon. This proves nothing. He sets up a false extreme on the one side, so that we will allow him to conduct us to another extreme on the other side. He aims to excite our abhorrence on the one side by setting up a bearded lady, so that we will embrace the emasculated, beardless man which he sets up on the other. The lady's beard, however, was pasted on by his own hand. This is the usual way of error, and of modernism in particular.

The author repeatedly affirms that Moses copied from the Babylonian account of creation, adapting and modifying it so as to exclude its superstition and idolatry. “The Hebrew writer,” he says, “must have had the Babylonian version before him, and intentionally given an uncompromising denial to all in it that impugned the omnipotence and unity of God.” (Page 108). This is infatuation. There is so little resemblance between the two accounts that we might just as well say that Moses must have had Shakespeare before him. And though he here tells us that Moses excluded the superstition and idolatry, yet in the next paragraph he tells us that Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image,” is “derived from the polytheism of its Babylonian prototype”!! If so, Moses must have so “adapted and modified” the Babylonian epic as to thrust in “polytheism” where it was not, for the Babylonian account says, “Verily I will cause Lilû (man) to stand forth.” “I will create Lilû, man.”

The oracles of God need no such support as this, and if we are not greatly mistaken the overall effect of such a book will be decidedly in the direction of rationalism, though this was far from the author's intent. His assertion (pp. 108-109) that “the cosmology of Genesis is the cosmology of Babylonia in a fundamentally changed form,” reveals how far his own mind is subject to the influence of the criticism which he aims to overturn. Why must the Mosaic account be derived from the Babylonian? It will be said that the Babylonian is some centuries earlier. What of that? The true account may have been passed down from the ancient patriarchs, through Noah, Shem, and Abraham. But we do not trouble ourselves about that. It is just as possible that God, who spoke face to face with Moses, gave the creation account directly to him, as the Lord gave the account of the institution of the Lord's supper directly to Paul, in the very same words in which he had given it to the other apostles in the days of his flesh----and on the other hand, it is about as likely that Moses would borrow from the inane and frivolous Babylonian epic as it is that the editor of Olde Paths & Ancient Landmarks would borrow from Huxley's Brave New World.

But I must turn to the spirit and the tactics of the critics. These are aptly described by the author on pages 55-56: “And the increase of knowledge has not been favourable to the results of 'criticism.' It has proved them to be nothing but the baseless fabric of subjective imagination. It is the Book of Genesis, and not the works of the modern German critic, whose claim to credence has been vindicated by the discoveries of archaeology. It is true that the discoveries have been disputed by the 'critic' inch by inch, that first the philological scholarship of the Assyriologist, and then his good faith was questioned, and that now, when at length a grudging assent to undeniable facts has been extorted, we are told that the 'critical position' still remains unaffected. Unaffected! When the foundation upon which it rested is absolutely gone!”

Here, if anywhere, whatever truth there is in the old adage, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still,” finds its full illustration. But this also indicates how ineffectual Mr. Sayce's method is doomed to be, even in the hands of a man who has more faith than Mr. Sayce has. There may be some value in refuting the critics, but after all the critic's problem is not in his mind, but in his will, and to convince him of any or all of the facts will leave him just where he was, so long as his will remains in opposition to God. Beaten out from one refuge of lies, he will always find another----even if it must be at last in the smug hypocrisy which claims its position is unaffected, when it is in fact demolished. On the other hand, the man who has faith in God stands in no need of any defense of the Bible from archaeological discoveries. I do not say that such things are of no value at all. They may have some use as helps to an honest doubter, though we really suppose them unnecessary in his case, for if a doubter is honest, there is a much shorter route to faith for him. That route is repentance. If he will not repent, he is hardly an honest doubter, for he is not honest with himself, nor true to the monitor within. Whatever he need besides, it is certain he does not need archaeological confirmation that writing existed in the time of Moses, ere he can repent and believe. The man who requires this is no honest doubter, but a caviller.

It is undoubtedly true that the facts will sustain the truth, and anything which the facts will not sustain is certainly not the truth, but then men who know the truth, and believe in God, certainly know how to distinguish between demonstrable facts and baseless assumptions. If a thousand critics----if “the unanimous consent of modern criticism”----affirms that such and such things must have been, or that some other thing could not have been, the man who has faith is neither moved nor troubled. His language is, “I know that God speaks in the Bible, and I know that what God speaks must be true.” This is enough for him, whereas an ocular demonstration of the facts will not be sufficient for the skeptic and the critic. Faith, after all, though certainly standing upon facts, comes not from archaeology, but from the word of God. The skeptic's problem is not in his head, but in his heart, and no mere operation on his head will cure him. A hefty dosage of conviction of sin will drive infidelity out of a man quicker and better than a hundred such books as this one.

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 position is to be learned from his own writings.