Monday, October 17, 2011

Questions we should not ask #5

It is not safe to ask such a question as that: “Lord, and what shall this man do?” (John 21. 21). Some that are attached to a respect of persons in order to follow them may be ready to say, What will this man or that man do? What course will this minister or that minister take? What side will this or that man turn to, when debatable things cast up? But such a question is justly answered with another, such as Christ put to Peter in that place: “What is that to thee? follow thou Me.” Take you the plain road of duty, without troubling yourself with what this or that man will do. Blessed are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. Follow none but as they follow Christ.
Ralph Erskine

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

the position that our Authorised Version has won

What is this Book which has been enthroned so high above all other literature and is the crowned queen among the grandest works of the ages? What is this Book that is receiving the homage of all ranks and classes, from the King to the peasant, from the university scholar to the backwoodsman in the wilds of the West? They tell us that it contains the purest English ever written. Of the words that go to make pure English it has 97 per cent., as against 85 per cent in Shakespeare and 81 per cent. in 'Paradise Lost.' And yet it has so entered into the language of the people, and exercised such a formative influence upon their everyday utterances, that of its six thousand words only about two hundred are not in common use. Writers of all kinds have extolled the beauty of its diction, the felicity of its phrases, and the sublimity of its style. But true as this is, it could never account for the position that our Authorised Version has won. Pious friends do not bestow this gift-book upon children simply to teach them elegancy or to save them from barbarities of speech. When the mother, with a teardimmed eye, begs her boy to remember his Bible and to read if only a few verses every day in the far-off land to which he is going, she is thinking of something very different from the dignified preservation of his native tongue. When the Book goes down with the mourner into the abyss of sorrow and keeps him from sinking into despair, it is not alone by the music of its sentences and the rhythm of its cadences that it speaks to his riven heart. When the aged saint reads over again the familiar passages on which his mind is wont to dwell, the mere felicity of the phrases will not account for the light that kindles on his face like a ray from the sunshine of heaven. No, we yield to none in our admiration of the English of the Authorised Version, but we are not foolish enough to imagine that this has been the sole secret of its power.

There is something more, then, in the old Book, which has been working in the nation for three [now four] hundred years and is working still, whose light is not yet dim nor its natural force abated. Yes, there is something more. It is the Word of God, and it has proved its origin by its achievements. The Holy Spirit, using it as His instrument, has enlightened the darkness of untold multitudes, pointed them to the Saviour, shown them the path of life, guided them in their pilgrimage, strengthened them to overcome temptation, implanted in them the principles of truth and righteousness, made them missionaries to others, consoled them in their sorrows, and filled them with the hope of immortality. By these glorious achievements He has set the English Bible on its throne and bent the minds of myriads to pay their tribute to it to-day.

The English Churchman, in a leading article (23rd March, 1911)