PREFACE TO REVISED EDITION (1918).Life in the Word.
The Book commonly called "The Bible" is radically different to
all other books. It is unique in its contents, in its history,
and in its influence upon mankind. This little volume was put
forth ten years ago, as an attempt to call attention to the
great difference referred to. In revising it for a new edition
the author finds little occasion for change in the text. Except
for the addition of a few sentences, and for a change here and
there in the interest of greater clearness, the text stands as
originally published. 
I N T R O D U C T I O N
I T must be evident to all who pay close attention to the
spiritual conditions of our day that there is being made at this
time a very determined and wide-spread effort to set aside
entirely the authority of the Bible. One of the unique
characteristics of that Book is that it claims the right to
control the actions of men. It speaks "as one having authority."
It assumes, and in the most peremptory and uncompromising way,
to rebuke men for misconduct, and to tell them what they shall
not do. It speaks, not as from the human plane, or even from the
standpoint of superior human wisdom and morality; but as from a
plane far above the highest human level, and as with a wisdom
which admits of no question or dispute. Its attitude throughout
is that of demanding from man unqualified submission.
But this assumption of control over men is in direct antagonism
to the democratic spirit of the times, which brooks no authority
higher than that of "the people," that is to say, of Man
To establish and to make universal the principles of pure
democracy is the object, whether  consciously or
unconsciously, of the great thought-movements of our era; and
the essence and marrow of democracy is the supreme authority of
Man. Hence the conflict with the Bible.
Not only is the Bible, with its peremptory assertion of
supremacy and control over mankind, directly counter to the
democratic movement, but it is now the only real obstacle to the
complete independence of humanity. If only the authority of the
Scriptures be gotten rid of, mankind will have attained the
long-coveted state of absolute independence, which is equivalent
to utter lawlessness.
The state of ideal democracy would be accurately described as
"lawlessness," since it is manifest that an individual or a
society which is under no restraint except such as is
self-imposed, is really under no restraint at all. To attain
this ideal state is the end and purpose of present day
movements; and, in order to promote these movements, that mighty
spiritual Intelligence who is designated "the spirit that now
worketh in the children of disobedience" (Eph. ii. 2) very
wisely, and with consummate subtlety, directs the attack, from
many different quarters, against the authority of the Bible.
The great mass of men, including the majority of the leaders of
the age, are already completely absorbed in the activities of
the world and utterly indifferent to the claims of the Bible. As
to these, it is only necessary to take care that they are not
 aroused from their indifference. But the Bible
nevertheless, by reason of its hold upon the consciences of the
few, exerts, upon society as a whole, a mighty restraining
influence, against which the assaults are now being directed.
In some quarters the authority of the Bible is directly assailed
and its Divine origin disputed in the name of "Science" and of
"Scholarship." Much of the learning and theological activity of
the day are concentrated upon the attempt to discredit the
Bible, and to disseminate views and theories directly at
variance with its claims of divine inspiration and authority.
In other quarters the attack takes the form of a pretence of
conceding the inspiration of the Bible, coupled with the claim
that other writers and other great literary works were equally
inspired. "God is not limited," we are told, "and can speak to
man, and does speak to man, in our day, in like manner as in the
days of Moses, Isaiah, or Paul." This method of assailing the
Scriptures (sometimes called by those who employ it "the
Historical Method") is very successful, and it has the great
advantage of being available to those enemies of the truth who
wish to be called "christians."
Manifestly it makes practically no difference whether the Bible
be dragged down to the level of other books, or other books be
exalted to the level  of the Bible. The result is the same
in both cases, namely, that the unique authority of the Bible is
But even in quarters where the Divine origin of the Bible is
fully recognized, the enemy is actively at work with a view to
weakening its influence. There is much teaching abroad (heard
usually in connection with certain spiritual manifestations
which have become quite common of late) to the effect that those
who have the Spirit dwelling in them, and speaking directly to
and through them, are independent of the Word of God. This is
the form which the idea of a continuing revelation takes in
quarters where a direct attack on the authority of Scripture
would fail. But the result is the same.
In such a state of things it is manifestly of the very highest
importance to insist unceasingly upon the sufficiency, finality
and completeness of the Revelation given by God in His Word.
With the desire to serve this purpose, even though it be in a
very small degree, these pages are written. It would be,
however, a task far beyond the capacity of the writer to present
all the unique characteristics of the Bible, whereby it is so
distinguished from other books that it occupies a class by
itself. The writer has, therefore, singled out for consideration
one special attribute or characteristic of the Holy Scriptures,
namely, that signified by the word "living." For this task the
writer's previous  studies and inquiries in the domain of
the natural sciences have (humanly speaking) in some measure
qualified him; but in entering upon it, his reliance is not upon
these natural qualifications, but upon the Spirit of God, Whom
we (believers) have received in order "that we might know the
things that are freely given to us of God" (I. Cor. 2:12).
If one is able to apprehend, however feebly, the tremendous fact
that the Word of God is a LIVING Word, such knowledge will go
far towards affording him protection from what is perhaps the
greatest danger of these "perilous times."
THE INCARNATE WORD, AND THE
WRITTEN WORD: BOTH ARE "LIVING."
IF the many statements which the Bible
makes concerning the Word of GOD, none is
more significant, and surely none is of greater importance to
dying men, than the statement that the Word of GOD
is a living Word.
Philippians ii. 16 we have the expression, "The Word of
Life." The same expression occurs in
I. John i. 1. It is here used of JESUS
CHRIST, the Incarnate WORD,
whereas in Philippians it is apparently the Written Word that is
spoken of. The Written Word and the Incarnate WORD
are so identified in Scripture that it is not always clear which
is referred to. The same things are said of each, and the same
characters attributed to each. The fundamental resemblance lies
in the fact that each is the revealer or tangible expression of
the Invisible GOD. As the written or
spoken word expresses, for the purpose of  communicating to
another, the invisible and inaccessible thought, so Jesus Christ
as the Incarnate Word, and the Holy Scriptures as the Written
Word, express and communicate knowledge of the invisible and
inaccessible GOD. "He that hath seen Me
hath seen the FATHER." "Believe Me that I
am in the FATHER, and the FATHER in Me" (John
xiv. 9, 11).
Hebrews iv. 12 we find the statement that "The Word of GOD is living and powerful, and sharper than any
two-edged sword" (R. V.). Clearly this refers to the Written
Word. But the very
next verse, without any change of subject, directs our
attention to the SEARCHER of hearts (Rev. ii.
23), saying: "Neither is there any creature that is not
manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and
opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do."
I. Peter i. 23 we read of "the Word of GOD
which liveth," or more literally, "the Word of GOD
living." Here again there might be uncertainty as to whether the
Incarnate WORD or the Written Word be
meant; but it is generally understood that the latter is in
view, and the quotation from
Isaiah xl. 6-8 would confirm this idea.
From these passages we learn that the Word of GOD is spoken of as a "living" Word. This is a very
remarkable statement, and is worthy of our closest examination
and most earnest  consideration. Why is the Word of GOD thus spoken of? Why is the extraordinary property of
life, or vitality, attributed to it? In what respects can it
be said to be a living Word, or Word of Life?
But the expression "living" as applied to the Word of GOD, manifestly means something more than partaking of the
kind of life with which we are acquainted from observation. GOD speaks of Himself as the "LIVING
GOD." The LORD JESUS is the "PRINCE OF LIFE" (Acts
iii. 15). He announced Himself to John in the vision of
Patmos as "He that liveth." Eternal life is in Him (I. John
It is clear, then, that when we read: "The Word of GOD is living," we are to understand thereby, that it lives
with a spiritual, an inexhaustible, an inextinguishable,--in a
word--a Divine life. If the Word of GOD
be indeed living in this sense, then we have here a fact of the
most tremendous significance. In the world around us the beings
and things which we call "living" may just as appropriately be
spoken of as "dying." What we call "the land of the living"
might better be described as the land of the dying. Wherever we
look we see that death is in possession, and is working
according to its invariable method of corruption and decay.
Death is the real monarch of this world, and we meet at every
turn the gruesome evidence and results of the universal sway of
him who has "the power of death,  that is, the Devil" (Heb.
ii. 14). "Death reigned" (Rom. v.
17), and still reigns over everything. The mighty and awful
power of death has made this earth of ours a great
burying-ground,--a gigantic cemetery.
Can it be that there is an exception to this apparently
universal rule? Is there, indeed, in this world of dying beings,
where the forces of corruption fasten immediately upon
everything into which life has entered, and upon all the works
of so-called living creatures,--one object which is really
living, an object upon which corruption cannot fasten
itself, and which resists and defies all the power of death?
Such is the assertion of the passages of Scripture which we have
quoted. Surely, then, if these statements be true, we have here
the most astounding phenomenon in all the accessible universe;
and it will be well worth while to investigate an object of
which so startling an assertion is seriously, if very
Before we proceed with our inquiry let us note one of
many points of resemblance between the Incarnate WORD and the Written Word. When "the WORD
was made flesh and dwelt (tabernacled) among us" (John i.
14) there was nothing in His appearance to manifest His
Deity, or to show that "in Him was life" (John i.
4). The fact was demonstrated, not by His blameless and
unselfish behavior, nor by His incomparable teachings and
discourses, but by His resurrection  from the
dead. The only power which is greater than that of death is
the power of life. He had, and exercised, that power, and holds
now the keys of death and of Hades. (Rev. i.
18, R. V.)
Similarly, there is nothing in the appearance and
behaviour (so to speak) of the Bible to show that it has a
characteristic, even Divine life, which other books have not. It
bears the same resemblance to other writings that JESUS, the Son of Mary, bore to other men. It is given in
human language just as He came in human flesh.1
Yet there is between it and all other books the same difference
as between Him and all other men, namely, the difference
between the living and the dying. "The word of GOD is living."
It will require, therefore, something more than a hasty
glance or a casual inspection to discern this wonderful
difference; but the difference is there, and with diligence and
attention we may discover some clear indications of it. 
1 The parallel goes even further. The LORD JESUS CHRIST,
though of royal lineage according to the flesh, came as one of
the common people and made them His associates. So the Bible,
though the royal Book, comes not in classic Greek--the language
of the scholars and literati--but in the language of the common
people. The words of the street, the home, and the market place
are the "words which the HOLY GHOST teacheth." See The New Archeological Discoveries,
by Camden M. Coberns, published by Frank Magnalls.
DEFINITIONS OF LIFE.
MAN'S wisdom and learning are incapable of
furnishing a definition of life. The attempts of the wisest and
most learned to furnish such a definition only serve to exhibit
the futility of the such efforts.
Herbert Spencer, who has made the most ambitious
attempt of modern times to explain the visible universe, gives
this as the result of his best efforts to define life: "Life is
the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external
This definition manifestly stands as much in need of
explanation as that which it purports to explain. But it will
serve at least to remind us that the wisdom of men is
foolishness with GOD.
Another eminent man of science defined life as "the
twofold internal movement of composition and decomposition, at
once general and continuous."
These modern definitions are scarcely an improvement
upon that of Aristotle, who defined life  as "the assemblage
of the operations of nutrition, growth, and destruction."
What a marvellous thing is life, and how far it
transcends the comprehension of man, since his best efforts to
define it give results so ridiculously inadequate!
The ignorance of scientific men on this subject is
frankly confessed by Alfred Russel Wallace, who in one of his
latest books--"Man's Place in the Universe"--says: "Most people
give scientific men credit for much greater knowledge than they
possess in these matters." And again: "As to the deeper problems
of life, and growth, and reproduction, though our physiologists
have learned an infinite amount of curious and instructive
facts, they can give us no intelligible explanation of them."
But, if none of us can say what life is, we can all
distinguish between that which is living (even in the ordinary
sense of the word) and that which is not living; and our best
idea of the meaning of life is obtained by comparing that which
has life (whether animal or vegetable) with that which has not
life, as minerals, or any non-living matter. We know that,
between the two, there is a great gulf, which only Divine power
can span; for it is only the Living GOD
who can impart life to that which is lifeless.
We look then at the Written. Word of GOD
to see if it manifests characteristics which are found  only
in living things, and to see if it exhibits, not merely the
possession of life of the perishable and corruptible sort with
which we are so familiar by observation, and which is in each of
us, but life of a different order--imperishable and
THE Bible differs radically from all other
books in its perpetual freshness. This characteristic will be
recognised only by those who know the Book in that intimate way
which comes from living with it, as with a member of one's
family. I mention it first because it was one of the first
unique properties of the Bible which impressed me after I
began to read it as a believer in CHRIST.
It is a very remarkable fact that the Bible never becomes
exhausted, never acquires sameness, never diminishes in its
power of responsiveness to the quickened soul who comes to it.
The most familiar passages yield as much (if not more)
refreshment at the thousandth perusal, as at the first. It is
indeed as a fountain of living water. The fountain is the same,
but the water is always fresh, and always refreshing. We can
compare this to nothing but what we find in a living companion,
whom we love and to whom we go for help and fellowship. The
person is always the same, and yet without sameness. New
conditions evoke new responses; and so it is with the Bible. As
a living Book it adapts itself to the new phases of our
experience, and the new conditions in which we find ourselves.
 From the most familiar passage there comes again and again
a new message; just as our most familiar friend or
companion will have something new to say, as new situations
This is true of no other book. What man's book has to
say we can get the first time; and the exceptions arise merely
from lack of clearness on the writer's part, or lack of
apprehension on the part of the reader. Man can touch only the
surface of things, and he cares only about surface appearances.
So, in all his writings, whatever substance they contain lies on
the surface, and can be gathered by a capable reader at once. If
the Word of GOD may be compared in this
particular to a living person, the books of men may be compared
to pictures or statues of living persons. However beautifully or
artistically executed, a single view may readily exhaust the
latter, and a second and third look will be mere repetitions.
The difference is that which exists between the living and the
dead. The Word of GOD is living.
But while the Bible resembles, in this important
respect, a living person, who is our familiar, sympathetic, and
responsive companion, it differs from such a human companion in
that the counsel, comfort, and support it furnishes are far
above and beyond what any human being can supply; and the only
explanation of this is that the source of its life and powers is
not human, but Divine. 
DOES NOT BECOME
ONE of the most prominent characteristics
of books written by men for the purpose of imparting information
and instruction is that they very quickly become obsolete, and
must be cast aside, and replaced by others. This is particularly
true of books on science, text-books, school-books and the like.
Indeed it is a matter of boasting (though it would be hard to
explain why) that "progress" is so rapid in all departments of
learning as to render the scientific books of one generation
almost worthless to the next. Changes in human knowledge,
thought and opinion occur so swiftly, that books, which were the
standards yesterday, are set aside to-day for others, which in
turn will be discarded for yet other "authorities" to-morrow. In
fact, every book which is written for a serious purpose begins
to become obsolete before the ink is dry on the page. This may
be made the occasion of boasting of the great progress of
humanity, and of the wonderful advances of "science"; but the
true significance  of the fact is that man's books are all,
like himself, dying creatures.
The Bible, on the other hand, although it treats of the
greatest and most serious of all subjects, such as GOD, CHRIST, eternity, life, death,
sin, righteousness, judgment, redemption--is always the latest,
best, and only authority on all these and other weighty
matters whereof it treats. Centuries of "progress" and
"advancement" have added absolutely nothing to the sum of
knowledge on any of these subjects. The Bible is always fresh
and thoroughly "up to date." Indeed it is far, far ahead of
human science. Progress cannot overtake it, or get beyond it.
Generation succeeds generation, but each finds the Bible waiting
for it with its ever fresh and never failing stores of
information touching matters of the highest concern, touching
everything that affects the welfare of human beings. 
HUMAN teachers and teachings have, indeed,
frequently set themselves in opposition to some of the
statements of the Bible; and it has often been announced, upon
human authority, that errors in history and in matters of
science had been detected in the Bible. Some, indeed, have
endeavoured to save the reputation and authority of the Bible by
saying that it was not written to teach men "science." In a
sense this is true. The Bible was not written to impart that
kind of knowledge which "puffeth up"; but just the contrary. It
was written to impart that kind of information which takes man
down, by showing him his true position as a ruined, perishing
creature, under the condemnation and power of death, and utterly
"without strength," that is to say, incapable of doing
anything to deliver himself out of this deplorable
condition. It declares that, "if any man think that he knoweth
ANYTHING, he knoweth
NOTHING yet as he ought to know" (I Cor.
Such is the plain declaration of Scripture as to the
limitations of all human knowledge; and he  who knows the
most is most conscious of those limitations. But if, by the
statement that the Bible was not written to teach "science," it
be meant that the Bible is unscientific, that statement is not
true. On the contrary, the Bible is the only Book in the world
that is truly "scientific"; for it is the only Book which gives
precise, accurate, and absolutely reliable information
upon every subject whereof it treats. It is the only Book in the
world upon every statement of which one may safely put
implicit confidence. Countless millions have believed the
statements of the Word of GOD, every one
of them to his unspeakable advantage, not one of them to his
We used to hear a great deal, some thirty years ago,
about the many "mistakes of Moses," and the errors which
"science," with her keen eye, had detected in the Scriptures.
But we hear very little to-day from scientists themselves, about
the "conflicts between science and religion." These conflicts
have, one by one, ceased as "science" has revised her hasty
conclusions and corrected her blunders. The writer has been a
diligent student of the physical sciences and of the
philosophies based on them, for upwards of twenty-five years,
and a practising lawyer for a still longer period, and having
now acquired a fair knowledge of the text of Scripture, he can
say that he is aware of no demonstrated fact of science which is
in conflict with a single statement of the Bible. Among  all
the "assured results of science" there exists not, to his
knowledge, evidence sufficient in character and amount to
convict the Bible of a single error or misstatement. Of course,
such evidence could not exist. The LORD JESUS said of the Word of GOD, "Thy
Word is truth" (John
xvii. 17); and of course, true knowledge of GOD'S creation cannot conflict with His Word.
A recent book by Alfred Russel Wallace entitled
Man's Place in the Universe (1904) furnishes a striking
illustration, on a large scale, of the way in which "science"
after leading the thought of cultured and highly educated minds
away from the truth revealed by Scripture, sometimes leads it
Before referring to what Mr. Wallace says, we would
point out that the reading of Scripture undoubtedly gives, and
was clearly intended to give, the impression that the earth is
the centre of interest in the universe, and the object of the CREATOR'S special care; that it was fitted with elaborate
pains to be the habitation of living creatures, and especially
of man; and that the sun, moon and stars were created with
special reference to their service to the earth. Hence, for many
centuries, man believed that the earth was the centre of the
universe, and (though the Bible does not say so) that the sun
and stars were relatively  small bodies which moved around
and waited upon it.
But these ideas have been completely upset by the
discoveries (or supposed discoveries) of modern astronomers, who
ascertained, at least to their entire satisfaction, that not
only is the sun enormously larger than the earth, but that it is
attended by other planets, the largest of which is twelve
hundred times larger than the earth. Moreover, it has also been
learned, so we are told, that our sun itself is but one of an
almost infinite number of stars, many of which are immensely
greater in size, and which, it may be assumed, are themselves
the centres of planetary systems on a much grander scale than
our little solar system.
In such a universe as modern astronomy has presented to
the view of man, our little earth, once thought to be its centre
of interest and importance, shrinks into utter insignificance.
In proportion to the vast universe of which it is a member, its
size is represented as being relatively less than that of a tiny
particle of dust in proportion to the mass of the earth itself.
How, therefore, can it be supposed that the CREATOR
of so inconceivably great and complex a universe, would have a
special regard for this insignificant attendant of a fourth-rate
sun, and for the still more insignificant creatures who dwell
upon it? The earth with all its occupants could drop out of the
universe and be no more missed than a single grain of sand from
 the seashore or a single drop of water from the ocean.
It is inevitable that these teachings of astronomy
concerning the universe should have produced impressions
directly opposite to those produced by Scripture, and should
have placed obstacles in the way of believing the doctrine of
redemption by the incarnation and sacrificial death of the SON OF GOD. For it almost incredible
that the ALMIGHTY CREATOR
of the heavens and the earth should have such intense love for a
microscopical fragment of this universe.
But now comes Mr. Wallace, the contemporary of Charles
Darwin, and probably at the present day one of the most
prominent men of science, and reverses the ideas which have been
so widely disseminated in the name of science. Mr. Wallace
masses a great body of evidence, derived both from astronomy and
physics, to support the propositions, first, that the
solar system occupies (and always has occupied) approximately
the central portion of this vast universe, getting all the
advantages due to such favourable position; second, that
the earth is certainly the only habitable planet in the solar
system, and presumably the only habitable spot in the whole
universe. Mr. Wallace, by a vast accumulation of facts and
inferences, shows that the physical conditions necessary for the
maintenance of life, depend upon a great variety of complex and
delicate adjustments,  such as distance from the sun, the
mass of the planet, its obliquity to its orbit, the amount of
water as compared with land, the surface distribution of land
and water, the permanence of this distribution, the density of
the earth, the volume and density of the atmosphere, the amount
of carbon-dioxide therein, etc. These, and other essential
conditions, are met (says Mr. Wallace) only in a planet such as
this earth, situated and constructed as it is. From Mr.
Wallace's premises, if the universe is assumed to be the work of
an intelligent CREATOR, it would follow
that everything in this inconceivably vast and complex universe
has been planned and arranged with special reference to making
this little earth of ours a place suitable for the habitation of
living beings, and especially of mankind.
We give Mr. Wallace's conclusions in his own words. He
"This completes my work as a connected
argument, founded wholly upon the facts and principles
accumulated by modern science; and it leads, if my facts are
substantially correct and my reasoning sound, to one great and
definite conclusion--that man, the culmination of conscious
organic life, has been developed here only in the whole
vast material universe we see around us."
Thus we have the surprising fact that one of the
foremost living exponents of the teachings of science, a man who
certainly attaches no  importance to the teachings of
Scripture, has been at great pains to show that the earth is,
after all, the centre of and most important place in the whole
universe; and that, so far as any purpose can be detected in it,
the universe may well be supposed to exist for the sole benefit
of the earth, and for the sake of producing therein those
peculiar conditions which are necessary for the existence and
maintenance of life.
We may say then that, considered merely as a Book of
instruction, the Bible is, as to every subject whereof it
treats, not merely abreast of, but far ahead of, the learning of
these and all other times, whether past or future. The
impressions it makes upon believing minds are the impressions of
truth, even though (as in the instance we have just been
considering) contemporary science may give, as its settled
conclusions, impressions directly to the contrary.
Unlike other books of instruction the Bible does not
become obsolete. This is a fact of immense significance; and
its only explanation is that the Bible is a living Book,
the Word of the living GOD. The books of
man partake of the infirmity of their authors, and are either
dying or dead. On the other hand, "The Word of GOD
is living." 
THE Bible manifests the possession of
inherent and imperishable life in that it survives all the
attempts that have been made to destroy it.
The Bible is the only Book in the world that is truly
hated. The hatred it arouses is bitter, persistent, murderous.
From generation to generation this hatred has been kept alive.
There is doubtless a supernatural explanation for this
continuous display of hostility towards the Word of GOD, for that Word has a supernatural enemy who has
personally experienced its power (Matt.
But the natural explanation of this hatred is that the
Bible differs notably from other books in that it gives no
flattering picture of man and his world, but just the reverse.
The Bible does not say that man is a noble being, ever aspiring
towards the attainment of exalted ideals. It does not describe
the career of humanity as "progress," as the brave and
successful struggle of man against the evils of his environment;
but quite the contrary, declares it to be a career of 
disobedience and departure from GOD, a
preference for darkness rather than for light, "because their
deeds are evil."
The Bible does not represent man as having come,
without any fault of his own, into adverse circumstances, and as
being engaged in gradually overcoming these by the development
and exercise of his inherent powers. It does not applaud his
achievements, and extol his wonderful civilization. Quite the
contrary. It records how GOD saw that the
wickedness of man was great in the earth (nothing else of
man is described as "great") and that every imagination of the
thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Gen. vi.
5). It speaks of man as "being filled with all
unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness,
maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, guile, evil
dispositions; whisperers, slanderers, hateful to GOD, insolent, proud, vaunting, inventors of evil things,
disobedient to parents, without understanding, perfidious,
without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful" (Rom.
i. 29-31 Gr.). It says that "They are all under sin,"
that "There is none righteous, no not one. There is none that
understandeth, there is none that seeketh after GOD. They are all gone out of the way, they are together
become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no not one"
iii. 10-12). Man's condition by nature is described as "dead
in trespasses and sins," "children of disobedience;  among
whom also we all had our conduct in times past in the
lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of
the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath " (Eph.
The Bible has nothing to say in praise of man or of his
natural endowments. On the contrary, it derides his wisdom as
"foolishness with GOD." It declares that
GOD has made foolish the wisdom of this
age (I. Cor.
i. 20); that the natural man is incapable of receiving the
things of the SPIRIT OF GOD
ii. 14); and that if any man thinks that he knows anything,
he knows nothing yet as he ought to know (I. Cor.
Nor does the Bible predict the ultimate triumph of
"civilization." It does not say that the progress of humanity
shall bring it eventually to a vastly better state of things. It
does not say that human nature shall improve under the
influences of education and self-culture, even with that of
Christianity added. On the contrary it declares that evil men
"shall wax worse and worse" (II.
Tim. iii. 13).
Even of "this present evil age" (Gal. i. 4),
during which the professing church is the most conspicuous
object on earth, and during which the world has the enormous
benefit resulting from the light of revelation and an open
Bible, it is not predicted that man and his world would undergo
any improvement, or that the developments of the age  would
be in the direction of better conditions on earth. On the
contrary, the Bible declares that "in the last days perilous (or
difficult) times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their
own selves, lovers of money, vaunting, proud, evil speakers,
disobedient to parents, untruthful, unholy, without natural
affection, implacable, slanderers, inconsistent, savage, not
lovers of good, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up, lovers of
pleasure rather than lovers of GOD;
having a form of piety, but denying the power of it" (II.
Tim. iii. 1-5 Gr.).
Such is the character of man, and such is to be the
result, as Scripture foretells it, of all his schemes of
betterment, education, development, self-culture, civilization,
and character-building. And because of this the Bible is
heartily detested. Men have sought nothing more earnestly than
they have sought to destroy this appallingly accurate portrait
of themselves and their doings. How astonishing it is that any
intelligent person should suppose that man himself drew this
picture of his own character and doing, and predicted this as
the outcome of all his own efforts! No wonder the Bible is
hated, and for the simple and sufficient reason that it declares
the truth about man and his world. The LORD
JESUS set forth clearly both the fact and
its explanation when He said to His unbelieving brethren, "The
world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it
that the works thereof are evil" (John
vii. 7). 
Again, the Bible is hated because it claims the right
to exercise, and assumes to exercise, authority over man.
It speaks as one having authority. It issues commands to
all. It says, "Thou shalt" and "Thou shalt not." It does not
simply advise or commend one course of action rather than
another, as one would address an equal, but it directs men
imperatively what they shall do, and what they shall not do. In
this manner it addresses all ranks and conditions of men--kings
and governors, parents and children, husbands and wives, masters
and servants, rich and poor, high and low, free and bond. In
this too we have a characteristic of the Bible which
distinguishes it from all other books. It is no respecter of
persons. But for this cause also it is hated; for men are
becoming more and more impatient of all external authority. The
principles of democracy, the essence of which is the supremacy
(virtually the divinity) of man, has thoroughly leavened
all society in the progressive nations of the earth. There is a
sentiment abroad, which finds frequent expression and meets
always with a sympathetic reception, to the effect that Man has
been shackled through the ages by narrow theological ideas
whereof the Bible is the source, and that the time has arrived
for him to throw off this bondage, to arise in his true might
and majesty, and to do great things for himself.
It is a most impressive fact that, in all the visible
universe, there is nothing that assumes  authority over man,
or that imposes laws upon him, except the Bible. Once
thoroughly rid of that troublesome book, and man will be finally
rid of all authority, and will have arrived at that state of
lawlessness predicted in the New Testament prophecies, wherein
society will be ready to accept the leadership of that "Lawless
One," whose coming is to be after the working of Satan, with all
power, and signs, and wonders of falsehood, and with all deceit
of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received
not a love of the truth that they might be saved (II.
Thess. ii. 7-10).
This is perhaps the main purpose of the persistent
attempts in our day, mostly in the name of scholarship and
liberal theology, to break down the authority of Scripture; and
we may see with our own eyes that the measure of success of this
great apostasy is just what the Bible has foretold.
Other books arouse no hatred. There may be books which
men dislike, and such they simply let alone. But the Bible is,
and always has been, hated to the death. It is the one Book
that has been pursued from century to century, as men pursue a
mortal foe. At first its destruction has been sought by
violence. All human powers, political and ecclesiastical, have
combined to put it out of existence. Death has been the penalty
for possessing or reading a copy; and such copies as were found
have been turned over to the public executioner to be treated as
was the Incarnate WORD. No  expedient
that human ingenuity could devise or human cruelty put into
effect, has been omitted in the desperate attempt to put this
detested Book out of existence. But the concentrated power of
man utterly failed in the attempt. Why?
Here is one Book among countless millions which is
singled out for relentless hatred, and that fact alone is
sufficient to provoke astonishment and invite the closest
scrutiny to ascertain the explanation of the unique phenomenon.
What characteristic is it that distinguishes this Book from all
other books in so strange a fashion? Has its influence upon men
been corrupting or otherwise evil? Does it teach doctrines
dangerous to individuals or communities? Does it promote
disorder, vice or crime? On the contrary, it will not be
questioned that its influence, wherever it has gone, has been
beneficial beyond that of all other books combined, and that the
most fruitful human lives are those which have been moulded by
its teachings. One explanation alone will account for the
astounding fact that such a Book should be the only one now or
ever in existence to provoke active and persistent animosity
among men who refuse to acknowledge it as from GOD,
namely that it declares man to be a fallen creature, and
his whole career to be the mere out-working of his corrupt
nature in the path of disobedience; and that it predicts in
plain  language what the end of that path will be for all
who do not accept GOD'S' way of
deliverance out of it through JESUS CHRIST.
But, violence having failed to rid man of the Bible,
other means have been resorted to in the persistent effort to
accomplish that object. To this end the intellect and learning
of man have been enlisted. The Book has been assailed from every
side by men of the highest intelligence, culture and
scholarship. Since the art of printing has been developed there
has been in progress a continuous war of books. Many books
against the Book--man's books against GOD'S'
Book. Its authority has been denied, and its veracity and even
its morality have been impugned, its claims upon the consciences
of men have been denounced and ridiculed; but all to no purpose,
except to bring out more conspicuously the fact that the "Word
of GOD is living," and with an
Should any other book incur the hatred of man (which no
other book ever has, seeing that all others are man's own
productions) it would not be necessary to take measures for its
destruction. A book produced by dying men need only be let alone
to die of its own accord. The seeds of death are in it from the
start. One Book alone has incurred man's hatred, because it is
the one Book that is not his own. It is the only thing in
 the whole world that is hostile to the whole
world-system. One Book only has man attempted to destroy; and
yet, in this attempt, though in it all his powers and resources
have been employed, he has most conspicuously and ignominiously
A little less than a century and a half ago a book made
its appearance which attracted wide attention, particularly in
the upper circles of intellect and culture. It was vauntingly
entitled the Age of Reason, and its author, Thomas Paine,
was probably without superior in intelligence among his
contemporaries. So confident was the author of this book that
his reasonings proved the untrustworthiness of Scripture, and
destroyed its claim upon the consciences of men as the
revelation of the Living GOD, that he
predicted that in fifty years the Bible would be practically out
of print. But nearly thrice fifty years have passed since this
boast was uttered. The boaster and his book have passed away;
and their very names are well-nigh forgotten. But the Word of GOD has maintained its place, and not by human power. They
who believe and cherish it are a feeble folk. Not many wise, not
many mighty, not many high-born are among them. They have no
might of their own to stand against the enemies of the Bible.
The situation resembles a scene recorded in
I. Kings xx. 27, where the Israelites went out against the
Syrians, and we  read that "The children of Israel pitched
before them like two little flocks of kids; but the Syrians
filled the country."
But notwithstanding such great odds, the victory is
certain. The enemies of the Bible have indeed filled the
country. "Yet they shall all pass away; but the Word of the LORD shall not pass away."
Again, in more recent times, a book of man was put
forth, and was hailed as a work which would quickly destroy the
credibility of Scripture and put an end to its authority and
influence. This was Charles Darwin's Descent of Man, a
book whose influence has been greater, doubtless, than any other
that has made its appearance during a century past. The main
feature of this work was that it set forth an explanation of the
origin of living beings, including man, radically different from
that of Genesis, and propounded a theory of propagation of
living species directly contrary to the great and immutable law
declared nine times over in the
first chapter of the Bible in the words "after his kind."
The delight which Darwin's book caused among the
enemies of the Bible, and the spirit in which its appearance was
welcomed, are well illustrated by the title bestowed upon it by
the eminent naturalist Haeckel, who called it the
"Anti-Genesis," declaring that by a single stroke  Darwin
had annihilated the dogma of Creation. But it was not because of
its supposed contribution to truth that Darwin's book was so
widely and cordially received, and his utterly unproved
hypothesis so readily accepted as an "assured result of
science." Its vogue was largely due to the fact that it struck
at the very foundation of Scripture. It is useless to pretend
that Darwin's theory might be true, and the Bible nevertheless
entitled to respect. The LORD JESUS said to a learned man of His day, "If I have told you
earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe
if I tell you of heavenly things" (John
iii. 12). If the Bible does not give us a truthful account
of the events of the six days recorded in its
first chapter, it is not to be trusted as to any of
But we have now the record of about half a century
since the publication of Darwin's book; and though the great
movements of unbelief and apostasy are swiftly running their
predicted course, there never was a time when the absolute and
Divine accuracy of Scripture, from beginning to end, was more
firmly grasped and tenaciously held by those who know it best,
and never a time since "science" began to be looked to as an
authority and instructor of men when there was less "scientific"
basis for the prevalent questioning of the statements of the
There can be, of course, no real conflict  between
the Bible and any true discovery of science. Such conflicts as
have been supposed to exist arose from hasty and incorrect
conclusions, whose chief value in the eyes of many lay in the
fact that they contradicted the Bible. As science has been
compelled, however reluctantly, to correct her blunders, or to
acknowledge that supposedly demonstrated truths were at best but
unproved conjectures, the "conflicts" have died out; so that, at
the present time, the assured teachings of "science" afford no
weapons against the statements of the Bible. On the contrary,
the investigations of men, in fields of geology, physics, and
palæontology, have brought into view much information recorded
ages ago in the Bible, information which, at the time the latter
was written, was not in the knowledge of man. As has been
already said, there is not a single assertion of the Bible that
is in conflict with any demonstrated fact of science. All the
investigations, of all the searchers, in all the various fields
of search, have not availed to produce evidence sufficient in
character and amount to convict Scripture of a single false
But it is time to bring to a close our remarks under
this heading though they might be greatly extended.
We have called attention to the strange fact that, of
all the millions of books that have existed, the Bible is the
only one that has excited  deep and persistent hatred, the
only Book which men have sought to get rid of, and that by every
conceivable means. We have further called attention to the still
stranger fact that, in this attempt to destroy the Bible, the
powers of state, of religion, and of learning have all been
enlisted, and that, nevertheless, the number of copies of the
Bible goes on steadily increasing. How can these facts be
explained except by the statement that "the Word of GOD is living" and that the source of its life is
beyond the reach of man--in the very Being of the Living GOD? 
IS A DISCERNER OF HEARTS.
THE power of discernment belongs only to an
intelligent living being; and the power of discernment possessed
by man does not go beneath the surface of things. Yet the
passage in Hebrews, already quoted (iv. 12),
asserts that the Word of GOD is a
"discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
This is a very remarkable statement, yet it is true,
and millions of men have felt and recognized the searching and
discerning power of the Word of GOD. We
go to it not so much to learn the thoughts of other men, as to
learn our own thoughts. We go to other books to find what was in
the hearts and minds of their authors; but we go to this Book to
find what is in our own hearts and minds. To one who reads it
with ever so little spiritual intelligence, there comes a
perception of the fact that this Book understands and knows all
about him. It lays bare the deepest secrets of his heart, and
brings to the surface of his consciousness, out of the
unfathomable depths  and unexplorable recesses of his own
being, "thoughts and intents" whose existence was unsuspected.
It reveals man to himself in a way difficult to describe, and
absolutely peculiar to itself. It Is a faithful mirror which
reflects us exactly as we are. It detects our motives, discerns
our needs; and having truthfully discovered to us our real
selves, it counsels, reproves, exhorts, guides, refreshes,
strengthens, and illuminates.
It has been pointed out that the Greek word rendered
Heb. iv. 12, means literally "critic" (kritikos), and
that this is its only occurrence in Scripture. How very
significant is it that the designation "higher critics" has been
assumed by that little coterie of presumptuous men who claim to
be able, by their own powers of literary discernment, to assign
the dates of production of books and parts of books of
Scripture, to detect spurious passages, alleged interpolations,
and the like, and to split up books into fragments, assigning
bits to one imaginary author and other bits to another; whereas
it is the Bible that is the "Critic" of men.
This is in keeping with the subversive principles of
this present evil age, wherein man is seeking to put himself in
the place of GOD. This is "man's day."
Man is now the critic of everything, and particularly of GOD'S Word. Of that he is a "higher critic." 
There is, however, no external evidence to support the
higher critical views as to the late origin of the Pentateuch,
Daniel, the latter part of Isaiah, etc. Per contra every
pertinent discovery in the ruins of ancient cities corroborates
the statements of Scripture. These theories rest entirely upon
the alleged intuitive perceptions of sinful men, compassed about
by infirmity, who claim to be able to pass infallibly upon the
style and contents of each book of the Bible, to decide when it
was written, by whom it could not have been written, and even to
divide it up into various portions, assigning each to a
But high scholarship is not incompatible with belief in
the full inspiration and accuracy of Scripture. Dean Burgon, one
of the famous scholars of Oxford, says:
"I must be content with repudiating, in the most
unqualified way, the notion that a mistake of any kind whatever
is consistent with the texture of a narrative, inspired by the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD.
"The Bible is none other but the Word of GOD, not some part of it more and some part of it less so,
but all alike the utterance of Him that sitteth upon the throne,
absolute, faultless, unerring, supreme. 'The witness of GOD which He hath testified of His SON.'"
The time is at hand when the haughtiness of man shall
be brought low, and the LORD alone shall
 be exalted in that day. Then the Word of GOD
shall judge the critics.
Meanwhile the living Word shall continue to be the
discerning companion of all who resort to it for the help which
is not to be had elsewhere in this world of the dying. In going
to the Bible we never think of ourselves as going back to
a Book of the distant past, to a thing of antiquity; but we go
to it as to a Book of the present--a living Book. And so
indeed it is, living in the power of an endless life, and able
to build us up and to give us an inheritance among all them that
are sanctified (Acts
xx. 32). 
TRANSLATABILITY OF SCRIPTURE.
THE Word of GOD
manifests itself as a living Word in the very unique property it
has of adapting itself and its message to all peoples, and of
speaking in all languages, tongues and dialects. The extreme
mobility and adaptability of Scripture, as manifested in this
way, is comparable only to the power which a living being has of
making himself at home in different countries from that in which
he was born.
We have here again a characteristic which distinguishes
the Bible from all other books, as any one may, with a little
attention, clearly perceive. It is a universal rule that a book
does not thrive except in the language in which it was written.
Men's books will not always bear translation; and the greater
the literary value of a book the more it is likely to suffer
loss in being translated from one language into another. Change
of locality is, to the great majority of books, absolutely
But to this rule the Bible is a marvellous exception.
It seems to run freely into the mould of every language, to
adapt itself perfectly thereto, and to  speak with equal
directness, clearness and authority to all peoples and tribes
and nations, in their mother tongue. It does not occur to us
that, in reading our common English Bible, we are reading a
translation of an Oriental Book; and indeed, when an example of
the purest and best English is desired, men go with one
accord to the Bible.
Considered merely as a poem, there is nothing more
exquisite in the English language than the
Twenty-third Psalm; and it has been stated that in other
languages besides English this Shepherd Psalm is a model of
poetical excellence. It never occurs to one reading it that he
is reading a translation from another and very different
Is not this indeed a very extraordinary fact, and the
more so when we consider that the Bible, though a unit, is at
the same time highly composite? It comprises specimens of every
kind of literature, historical, poetical, biographical,
didactic, prophetic, epistolary, etc.
Moreover, it is not the production of a single human
being, clothed in an uniform literary style or dress. On the
contrary, its several parts were penned by men in widely varying
stations in life, from herdsmen and unlearned fishermen, to
kings and statesmen; and its styles are as divergent as its
Nor was it the product of one era or period, which
would tend to impart some common characteristics, and to prevent
wide divergencies. On  the contrary, as much as fifteen
hundred years elasped between the writing of its first and its
last pages. Yet all parts and styles alike accommodate
themselves to the change of language far more readily and
perfectly than any human being is able to do when acquiring
The property we are now considering is the more
remarkable when we consider also the nation from which this
unique volume has come. The Jews were anything but a literary
people. They were not at all remarkable for culture, learning,
art, or philosophy; and they were quite cut off by their
peculiar customs, traditions, and religious institutions, from
the progressive nations around them. There is no other Jewish
literature that is worth talking about. Yet from such a people
has come a volume whose sixty-six books, now that we have them
all together, evidently constitute one complete structure,
unitary in design, yet which was fifteen centuries in attaining
its completed state. This Book, after the Jewish people were
disintegrated and scattered (even as that very Book had
distinctly foretold), and after they had become the most
despised and persecuted people on earth, has entered into the
place of supremacy in every nation which has attained to any
degree of civilization, and has held that place without a rival
for eighteen centuries during which every human
institution has been overturned again and again. 
Why is it that the universal Book did not have its
origin in the literature of Greece, or of ancient Rome, or in
the Elizabethan epoch of English literature? Why is it that
nations which have been famed for their culture and literary
genius have produced nothing comparable to the Bible? What
collection of sixty-six books from the writings of about thirty
authors of any nation could be made that would present any of
the characteristics we have been noticing? Yet it is certain
that, if the Bible had a natural, instead of a supernatural
origin, it would be far surpassed by the literary product of the
literary nations of the earth.
This property of adaptability to all languages and
peoples will impress us still more if we compare the Bible in
this respect with other Oriental books. The mere fact that it
is an Oriental Book makes its career among the Occidental
nations still more miraculous. All attempts to domesticate other
Oriental books, particularly sacred books, have been complete
failures. Other Oriental books are sought by scholars only, or
by others who have a special interest for inquiring into their
contents. Such books have no message at all for our day, or for
the common people of any era in any part of the world. The
contrast with the Bible in this regard is most impressive.
Already the Bible, or portions of it, has been
translated into upwards of four hundred languages  and
dialects; so that it is revealing the grace of GOD
in the gift of His SON, to practically
every nation, kindred, tongue and tribe throughout the world,
and is speaking to all peoples in their own native tongues.
Like a living person, the Bible has made its way into
all lands, has adapted itself to all environments, entered into
relations of the most intimate kind with all peoples, and has
spoken directly to the hearts of all sorts and conditions of
men, and has exerted upon them all its own unique influences. It
makes no difference what the people are to whom it goes, how
radically different all their customs and institutions from
those of that very peculiar people Israel; the Bible makes
itself perfectly at home, and takes its own place without delay.
Can this, or anything remotely approaching it, be said of any
other book? and if not, are we not compelled, if we would have
an explanation of this extraordinary difference, to fall back
upon the statement that the "Word of GOD
is living"? No other explanation will account for any of
the facts we have been considering. This explanation accounts
for them all.
The fact which has been before us in this chapter, that
is to say, the career of the Bible among the peoples of the
earth, is, indeed, a stupendous and continuing miracle. Why has
this particular Book gone to the ends of the earth, and assumed
 everywhere, and maintained against all opposition, the
place of supremacy? What has given to this collection of
writings, coming from an insignificant, peculiar, narrow-minded
and isolated and pastoral people, its universal
character? Why is it that all other books, or collections of
books, including the productions of the mightiest intellects and
embodying the most superb and lofty specimens of human thought,
wisdom, learning and experience, have been narrowly
circumscribed in their area of influence, both as to time and
space? Why has this particular Book continued ever widening its
sphere of influence as the centuries pass, while every other
book, after its first vogue, steadily contracts and dwindles?
Why does this Book increase while all others decrease?
There is no natural explanation for these
remarkable facts. In this day, when a natural explanation is
sought for all things, the wise men can advance no theory to
account for these facts. We sometimes hear, from the enemies of
the truth, the admission that the Bible is inspired, but coupled
with the statement that other books are equally inspired. For
example, a prominent preacher in New York City recently said in
an article published in a popular magazine, "GOD
spake to Abraham, and to Samuel and to Isaiah. He has spoken to
Henry Ward Beecher, to Tennyson, and to Ruskin." But neither
this prominent  preacher, nor any other man who is trying in
like manner to put the Word of GOD on the
same level as other books, is able to tell us why the writings
of these other "inspired" men do not afford some indications of
their Divine origin similar to those characteristics of the
Bible to which we are now calling attention.
The Apostle Paul, in the last of his writings (II.
Tim. ii. 8, 9), said: "Remember that JESUS
CHRIST of the seed of David was raised
from the dead according to my gospel; wherein I suffer as an
evil-doer even unto bonds; but THE WORD OF GOD IS NOT BOUND."
In these words we have the sufficient and the only
explanation of the extraordinary and unique career of the Bible.
The human custodian of the Word of GOD
may be bound, and may be treated as a malefactor for merely
being the bearer of the message; but the living Word of the
living GOD is not, and cannot be, bound.
JEHOVAH Himself has said, "So shall My
Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth. It shall not return
unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and
it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isa.
But there is more to be noted under this heading. The
Bible is the universal Book also in that it not only speaks to
all peoples in their own mother tongue, but it addresses itself
to all classes of  society. Missionaries from every part of
the world have reported how the most depraved, ignorant and
vicious people will listen at once to the words of Scripture as
to no other book, and will recognize them as "good words." Like
GOD Himself His Word is no respecter of
persons. Indeed its sternest denunciations are addressed to
persons of rank and of social, ecclesiastical, or political
prominence. Its best promises are for the poor, the meek, and
lowly. It has a message for all men, and to the highest as well
as the lowest it speaks "with authority," never exhorting from
the standpoint merely of superior human wisdom and intelligence,
but always as delivering the message of GOD.
The Bible adapts itself thus to successive generations
of men, exhibiting to each individual human being an intimate
knowledge of his characteristics, trials and needs. It seems to
be waiting for an opportunity to become acquainted with each
child of Adam, to direct the steps of his life-journey through
this great and terrible wilderness, to warn him of dangers and
pitfalls, and to be the man of his counsel to every one who
wills not to reject its offer of fellowship. And above all, it
seeks to secure the confidence of the children of men, in order
to lead them to the ONE Who died and rose
again, and Who is the AUTHOR of eternal
salvation to all them that obey Him. Does not this warrant us in
saying that "the Word of GOD is
CHARACTERISTIC OF GROWTH.
GROWTH is one of the characteristics of a
living being. The Word of GOD lodges and
grows in human hearts, for there is its real lodgment, rather
than in the printed page. The Psalmist says, "Thy Word have I
hid in my heart" (Psa.
The book of Deuteronomy has much to say about the Word
of GOD. In chapter xxx. it declares (verse
14) that "The Word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth and
in thy heart." This is repeated in
Romans x. 8 with the addition "that is, the word of faith
which we preach."
I. Thessalonians ii. 13 Paul says to the Thessalonians,
"When ye received the Word of GOD which
ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it
is in truth, the Word of GOD, which
effectually worketh also in you that believe." The believing
heart is its lodgment, and there it works to effect some
Colossians iii. 16 we have the admonition "Let the word of CHRIST dwell in you richly in  all wisdom." It is
in the believing heart that the Word dwells richly.
The LORD JESUS,
in explaining the parable of the sower said: "The seed is the
Word of GOD" (Luke
viii. 11); and again, "The sower soweth the Word" (Mark iv.
14). (A seed, of course, is worthless except it have life in
it.) And He further explained that the seed which fell on good
ground, "are they which, in an honest and good heart,
having heard the Word keep it, and bring forth fruit with
viii. 15). To the unbelieving Jews the LORD
said: "And ye have not His Word abiding in you; for whom
He hath sent, Him ye believe not" (John v.
Colossians i. 5, 6, Paul speaks of the "Word of the truth of
the Gospel, which is come unto you, as it is in all the world
and bringeth forth fruit."
In these passages we have presented to us the thought
of the Word as a living seed or germ, first finding lodgment in
the heart of man, and then abiding and growing there, and
finally bringing forth its own peculiar "fruit."
The growth of the Word of GOD is
specifically mentioned in several striking passages in the Acts
of the Apostles.
Acts vi. 7: "And the Word of God increased; and the
number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly."
Here we are told specifically that the Word of  GOD increased. We learn from this that the mere
multiplication of copies of the Scriptures is in itself of no
importance. It is of no avail to have the Book in the house, and
on the shelf or table, if it be not taken into the heart. But
when so received into the heart, the Word of GOD
grows and increases. It is assimilated into the life of him who
receives it, and henceforth is a part of himself.
It is important to note what stimulated this recorded
increase of the Word of GOD. The
apostles, who were its custodians or depositories, had found
themselves taken up with ministering to the material wants of
the flock, and they brought this matter before the body of
disciples saying: "It is not reason that we should leave the
Word of God and serve tables" and they asked that suitable
men be appointed for that service while they should give
themselves continually "to prayer and the ministry of the Word."
The growth of the Word then, which was evidenced by a
great multiplication of the number of disciples, was the result
of faithful ministry of the Word sustained by prayer.
This method of promoting the growth of the Word of GOD is highly important. Every believer, having the Word in
his heart and in his mouth, may be and should be the means of
its propagation; and the extent to which the Word has been
spread abroad in this inconspicuous way  will not be known
until the time when all things shall be manifested. There are
great multitudes who would never get the Word from the printed
page, or from the spoken sermon or address. Hence the importance
of these epistles of CHRIST written not
with ink, but with the SPIRIT of the
living GOD, not in tablets of stone, but
in the fleshy tablets of the heart (II. Cor.
iii. 3). Such epistles are read by many who never read the
printed page; and the eternal destiny of many souls may depend
upon the distinctness and legibility of that writing. May our
lives, as believers, be so transparent that the Word written in
our hearts may be distinctly seen; and thus, as sons of GOD, we shall shine "as lights in the world holding forth
the Word of life" (Phil.
ii. 15, 16).
The second passage which speaks expressly of the growth
of the Word of GOD is
Acts xii. 21-24. In this chapter are narrated the last
episodes in the life of Herod Agrippa I. In the
first part of the chapter we read how he killed James, the
brother of John, with the sword, and finding this course to be
popular with the Jews, he apprehended Peter also, and put him in
custody, intending after the passover to make this leader of the
apostles the object of a public demonstration, which doubtless
would have strengthened Herod still further in the regard of the
people. But Peter was delivered from prison by an angel of the LORD who was sent for that purpose. 
closing verses of the chapter tell of a disagreement between
Herod and the citizens of Tyre and Sidon, some undescribed
incident having occurred which caused the former to be highly
displeased with the latter. But they, having gained the favour
of King Herod's chamberlain, one Blastus, made overtures of
peace and sent a delegation to the King. The reception of this
embassy was made an occasion of much pomp and circumstance.
Herod put on his royal apparel, sat upon his throne, received
the delegation, "and made an oration unto them." This oration
was received with extravagant demonstrations. "The people gave a
shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man."
Herod accepted this tribute, and no doubt was highly
pleased therewith. But it is a dangerous thing for mortal and
sinful man, however high his station, to accept glory which
belongs to GOD alone. For"immediately
the angel of the LORD smote him, because
he gave not GOD the glory: and he
was eaten of worms and gave up the ghost. BUT THE WORD OF GOD
GREW AND MULTIPLIED."
There is a tremendous lesson here for the many who, in
these closing days of the age, are participating in the various
movements which, however diverse in appearance, have all the
common object of putting man in the place of GOD,
and the word of man in the place of the Word of GOD. Herod was not stricken down for persecuting the Church,
 for imprisoning Peter, or for putting James to death. He
was smitten for permitting his word to be acclaimed as the Word
The angel of JEHOVAH had two
ministries which are recorded in that chapter. One was to
deliver Peter who, according to the word of his LORD, was to serve Him to old age (John
xxi. 18). The other was to declare, by smiting the King, the
difference between the Word of GOD and
that of the most important man of the country.
Doubtless that was a great oration which Herod
delivered on that day. Most probably it contained striking
utterances, pregnant with wisdom and garbed in the attractions
of human eloquence. It was, moreover, the King on his throne who
spoke; and we know how the throngs gather to listen on such
On the other hand, and in striking contrast, the Word
of GOD was in the charge of "unlearned
and ignorant men," a despised and persecuted company, whose
Leader had recently suffered the ignominious death of a
malefactor. What then has become of the words of King Herod? All
have utterly perished, centuries ago, from the memory of men. He
himself was eaten of worms; which is the end only of that which
dies and turns to corruption. "But the Word of GOD
grew and multiplied," and has continued so to do from that time
to the present.
A short time ago, at the convening of the  American
Congress, a message from the President was addressed to that
body. Much comment was made on that message because of its great
length. Some industrious person counted the words, and found
them to be upwards of thirty thousand. They were serious words,
too, and weighty, as human utterances go. They dealt with the
most important affairs and interests of the nation that regards
itself as the greatest on earth. But they were not "the words of
eternal life." And for all that the occasion was so recent, and
the subject matter so important, it is doubtful if any person
can now recall a single sentence of that great message. Few,
indeed, would care to do so, or would receive the slightest
benefit therefrom, if they could.
The words of kings, and emperors, and presidents are
dying words. From the moment of their utterance they begin to
perish; but "the Word of GOD is living."
Being the utterance of the Living GOD
that Word can never pass away.
The last of the three passages which speaks of the
growth of the Word of GOD is in
Acts xix.; and again the context adds greatly to the
impressiveness of the lesson taught by the passage.
The scene of the first of the three incidents was in
Jerusalem, of the second in Cæsarea, just west of Galilee, and
of the third in Ephesus, a Gentile city. Thus there is special
mention made of the growth of the Word of GOD
in Judea, in Palestine outside of Judea, and in the Gentile
regions  beyond. This would seem to signify that the Word of
GOD was to spread and grow in every part
of the earth.
The Apostle Paul had spent two years in Ephesus,
preaching to such purpose that "all they which dwelt in Asia
heard the Word of the LORD JESUS, both Jews and Greeks." And GOD,
moreover, "wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul" (Acts
xix. 10, 11).
One result of this ministry was that "many of them
which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned
them before all men; and they counted the price of them and
found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. SO
MIGHTILY GREW THE WORD OF GOD AND PREVAILED" (verses
This is, indeed, a very notable event--a grand
demonstration of the power and sufficiency of the Word of GOD. These books, intrinsically worth so great a sum as
fifty thousand pieces of silver, became worse than worthless in
the hands of their owners after the latter had received the Word
of GOD. The books thus destroyed had been
held in the highest estimation, because they were the manuals of
necromancy, or occult arts. They instructed their readers in
just such things as are coming into great favour in the present
day. But when their owners "believed," they could no longer
practise the "curious arts," or even retain the books that
described them. 
It is very easy to destroy the books of men. Great and
mighty as are the powers of darkness which were back of the
books burned at Ephesus, those evil powers are not comparable to
that which has directed the career of the Word of GOD. Many have been the attempts to consume it in the
flames, but in vain; for the Word of GOD
This scene at Ephesus has been re-enacted in many a
human life. When men are pressed to seek help, enlightenment,
wisdom, guidance, and knowledge of the unseen, men turn to
books; and though disappointed again and again, the
inquiring mind, which has felt the need of a source of light
external to itself, and has realized that there must be such a
source somewhere, never shakes off the habit of seeking it in
books. There appears to be a deep-seated consciousness that the
desired help is to be found in some book. But mere human authors
cannot impart to the books written by them what is not in
themselves; and so they who gather many books gain little to
compensate for their cost and labour. Conjectures and human
opinions, philosophies and vain deceits, with all the
obscurities and contradictions contained in them, do but leave
the mind in perplexity and bewilderment concerning every matter
of real importance. And after all, if one cannot have
certainties, but must put up with mere opinions, why
should he not prefer his own to another man's, seeing that all
are at the best but mere guesses,  whereof one Is as likely
to be true as another? The "wise men" can tell us nothing, for
"lo, they have rejected the Word of the LORD;
and what wisdom is in them?" (Jer.
But when, to one who has undergone this weariness of a
vain quest for something sure and satisfying in the books of
men, the Word of GOD comes with the
convincing power which it alone possesses, and with the restful
assurance which it alone can impart, the books of men become
worthless--mere rubbish, fit only to be food for flames.
Conjectures are now exchanged for certainties, and profitless
speculations for knowledge certified by the sure testimony of
Him who knoweth and understandeth all things.
The writer lately heard a servant of CHRIST
relate an incident in his own life which aptly illustrates what
we have been saying. Speaking on the injunction of
Ephesians vi. 10, "Be strong in the LORD,"
he said: "I well remember a section in my bookcase long ago
which contained a highly prized set of Emerson's works. One
essay in particular I read and reread, and had marked favourite
passages in it. The burden of it was, 'Young man, be strong.'
This phrase occurred again and again, and it thrilled and
excited me. But it pointed me to no source of strength,
for the writer knew of none. He never once said 'Be strong in
the LORD'; and the time came when,
realizing the cruel mockery of the words, and the emptiness of
 this entire system of philosophy, I put the set of
well-printed and choicely bound volumes into the flames." He
discovered in the Bible the Source of all strength, and the
Book displaced the entire set of man's philosophies and empty
deceits. "So mightily grew the Word of GOD
Happy is the man who has "received the Word of GOD" (Acts
viii. 14; xi. 1, etc.), who has made room for it in his
life, and in whose heart and mind it has mightily grown and
WE come now to something higher and deeper.
The great mystery of a living thing is the power it possesses of
propagating its kind. To trace the stream of life to its source
is confessedly impossible to man, nor does any philosophic
theory account for that stream. The attempt made in recent years
to explain life as a mere property of atoms of non-living matter
grouped in certain complex combinations, has been confessedly a
failure. Professor Huxley, probably the ablest defender of this
theory, and who at one time predicted that "protoplasm" (as he
named the physical basis of life) might one day be produced in
the laboratory, was constrained to admit, before his death, that
there was no known link between the living and the not-living.
In the era of great scientific activity which marked
the last half of the nineteenth century, many and persistent
efforts were made to bring about spontaneous generation; that is
to say, to demonstrate that life could be caused by human
manipulation to spring up out of non-living matter,  and
apart from antecedent life. Great was the desire of unbelieving
men of science to find a support for this theory, for if
established it would flatly contradict the
first chapter of the Bible, and thus discredit the
statements of the latter upon a subject of the highest
importance. In that chapter the first law of biology is
enunciated in the words "after his kind"; and this law is
applied both to the vegetable kingdom and to the animal--to
grass, and herb, and fruit tree, to fowl and fishes, and
creeping things, to wild beast and tame beast. Each was
commanded to bring forth "after his kind"; and it is needless to
say that each has strictly obeyed that Divine command.
The inspired account of Creation does not describe the
method whereby GOD brought into existence
the several species of living creatures, and gave to each the
distinct characteristics which were to be its perpetual and
unvarying endowment. This question, therefore, of the precise
method of creation of the original members of the several
species, belongs to the realm of speculation, into which it is
unprofitable to enter. What concerns us is the fact, distinctly
stated, and manifestly deemed by the SPIRIT
of GOD to be of great importance for our
instruction in the truth, that GOD, in
creating the numerous species of living creatures, vegetable and
animal, put a permanent difference between them, rigidly
confining each species to the reproduction of its own kind. 
So important was this law in the mind of the CREATOR, and so careful was He to impress it upon the mind
of man, that the formula is stated nine times in the
first chapter of Genesis. There is an emphasis in this which
has great significance in view of the theory of organic
evolution, which, but a few years ago, was advanced as a
"scientific" explanation of the origin of species of living
beings, and was accepted as such by nearly all the wise and
learned of this world. That theory, however, stands before men
without a scintilla of proof to support it.
I speak here not of "evolution" as that word is
appropriately used to designate the progressive changes
constantly taking place in human affairs. On the
contrary, I concede fully that all human progress is
characterized by evolutionary changes; for I know of no human
institution that has not been subject to such changes. This
indeed is precisely what we should expect to characterize all
the works and operations of human beings; since it is the
natural consequence of the act of man (Adam) in departing from GOD'S purpose for him, and entering upon a career prompted
by Satan. The career of humanity, or "the course of this world"
2), has always been (so far as we have any record of it)
"evolutionary" in the method and character of its progress.
Whatever man does, or makes, or sets up, the forces of decay
begin immediately to destroy and pull down; and  this leads
man to attempt one experiment after another in the vain effort
to establish something that shall endure and accomplish the
object desired of it.
But the intelligent and learned who are wise in the
wisdom of this world (which is "foolishness with GOD") have been led by the "spirit of error" into an error
of the first magnitude in supposing that "evolution"--the method
of procedure of fallen man--is the method of creation employed
by the DIVINE CREATOR.
Against this grave error I would most earnestly warn the reader,
and to that end repeat that, after many years' investigation of
the philosophy of evolution, an investigation carried on in full
sympathy with the widest application of that captivating theory,
I have yet to see proof of a single fact showing, or
tending to show, the operation of the so-called "law" or
"principle" of evolution outside of human affairs. The writer
has dealt quite fully with this important distinction between
evolution in human affairs, and the acts of Divine Creation (as
in the origin of the species) in The World and its God,
chapters xvi. et seq. It is sufficient here to say that
no instance has ever been found of a living thing of one species
coming from ancestors of another species; and there is not the
slightest ground for the belief that such a thing ever happened.
On the other hand, every one of the countless billions of
reproductions of living creatures--the grass, the herb 
yielding seed, and the fruit-tree yielding fruit--which occur
every year, are in accordance with the Divine command recorded
first chapter of Genesis. Oak trees have never betrayed the
slightest tendency to produce any fruit but acorns, nor acorns
to produce any trees but oaks. The theory of organic evolution,
promulgated by Darwin and Wallace, has nothing to commend it
except that it offers an alternative to the acceptance of the
account of the origin of species given in the Bible.
The attempts made by the empiricists of the last
century to bring about, or to demonstrate the possibility of,
spontaneous generation of living organisms by human manipulation
apart from pre-existing organisms of the same species, were at
first thought to have been successful. Infusions of hay were
prepared which, after being tightly sealed in suitable flasks,
were heated to a temperature sufficiently high (as was supposed)
to destroy all life within the flasks. These were then set aside
for awhile, and kept under observation; and in the course of
time they were found to contain minute living organisms. These
"results of science" were heralded far and wide, and great was
the rejoicing occasioned thereby.
But other men of science, among whom the most prominent
was Liebig, went over the ground again, repeating the
experiments more carefully; and their results showed that, in
the earlier  experiments, either the flasks had not been
tightly sealed, or else the heat to which they were exposed had
not been sufficiently great to destroy all the living organisms
therein. So conclusive were these later experiments that the
theory of spontaneous generation (or "abiogenesis") has had no
standing whatever from that time to the present.
The following quotations will accurately inform the
reader as to the best scientific opinion on this subject.
Lord Kelvin who, until his recent death, held the
leading place among scientific men, used this positive language:
"Inanimate matter cannot become living except under the
influence of matter already living. This is a fact in science
which seems to me as well ascertained as the law of
Again he said:
"I am ready to accept as an article of faith in
science, valid for all time and in all space, that life is
produced by life and only by life."
Professor Huxley, the advocate of the theory of "animal
automatism," who at one time contended earnestly that vitality
was merely a property of "protoplasm," (that is to say, the
property of a particular chemical compound of carbon, oxygen,
hydrogen and nitrogen) left this record before his death: 
"The present state of knowledges furnishes us with no
link between the living and the not-living."
Professor Tyndall says:
"Every attempt made in our day to generate life
independent of antecedent life has utterly broken down."
Such has, indeed, been, and such must ever be, the
result of all human attempts to start the flow of a stream of
life, or to divert one which GOD has
started, so as to change the form of manifestation which the
Author and Giver of life has given to each species of living
We wish the reader to understand that we rest nothing
whatever upon the outcome of the foregoing scientific
controversy, nor upon the above quoted (or any other) statements
of human opinion, however high their source. Faith has no
foundation other than the Word of GOD.
Men of science may be right or wrong in their
deductions from the fragmentary information possessed by them.
Generally they are wrong; as is clearly enough shown by the fact
that a large part of the work of each generation of men of
science consists in overturning or modifying the theories of
their predecessors. The foregoing is given as an illustration of
the utter futility of setting up the deductions of the human
reason against the assertions of the Word of GOD,
and as a caution to the reader, if he be a child of GOD  through faith in JESUS CHRIST, not to give the slightest credence to any statements
made in the name of "science" or "scholarship," which call into
question what is written in the inspired Scriptures.
We may ask then, Is the Word of GOD
a living Word in this particular sense? Does it have the
mysterious power of imparting life; and if so, is the life it
imparts of the same sort as its own? Does it reproduce "after
This brings up the great subject of spiritual
conception and generation, concerning which the Scripture gives
not a little information. Into this highly interesting but
difficult subject we will not now enter. Even the beginning and
maintenance of physical life in plants and animals
(including man) are great and inscrutable mysteries. This is
true in all stages of the process, particularly in the initial
stage of germination, which is the beginning of a new individual
existence by the quickening of a seed derived from a previously
existing individual of the same species. How much more
mysterious, then, must be the process of spiritual
generation! The LORD JESUS,
in His conversation with the learned and intellectual Pharisee,
Nicodemus, indicated that the subject was a very mysterious one,
by the words, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou
hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it
cometh, and whither it goeth: so  is every one that
is born (or begotten) of the SPIRIT."
Therefore, even after we have learned all that is given
us to know concerning the beginning of physical life in
the naturally begotten, and of spiritual life in the
supernaturally begotten, the subject remains as mysterious as
ever, since the Author of life has reserved it among the "secret
things" which "belong unto the LORD our GOD" (Deut.
But the fact of natural generation cannot be
questioned, though the process be involved in
unfathomable mystery. The fact of spiritual generation is
equally sure to all who believe the Word of GOD.
The Bible plainly declares it, and those who believe on the CHRIST OF GOD know also by experience
the beginning of a new kind of life in their own souls.
For present purposes it is sufficient to point out that
spiritual generation is analogous (as might be expected) to
natural generation, being effected by means of a seed, which,
having been deposited in a prepared place, is quickened by the SPIRIT OF GOD, and becomes itself
"spirit"--that is to say, a new nature which is spiritual in its
character; for "that which is born (or begotten) of the SPIRIT is SPIRIT" (John
The fact of spiritual conception, and the nature of the
seed whereby it is effected, are plainly declared in
I. Peter i. 23: "Being born (or  having been begotten)
again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,
by the Word of God which LIVETH and
abideth forever"; and he adds, "And this is the Word which by
the Gospel is preached unto you."
There is an immense amount of truth of the highest
importance contained in this passage; but the statement which
especially concerns us is that the seed of the new birth is from
the living Word ("the Word which LIVETH").
This statement plainly teaches that the Word of GOD possesses the highest endowment of a living being,
namely, that of imparting life. And with this agrees the
teaching of the LORD JESUS
in the parable of the sower, in the explanation of which He
said, "The SEED is the Word of GOD (Luke
In consequence of the transgression and fall of the
first man, who was the original depository of the life of
humanity (Gen. ii.
7), the life in him, being "corruptible," became vitiated.
Hence, by inexorable law, the seed of his generations also
became corrupted. It follows that all men in their natural
generation are begotten of corruptible (and corrupted) seed; and
have received (and hence must impart to their succeeding
generations) a corrupted life. What, therefore, was needed, in
order to bring into existence a human family answering to GOD'S purpose in the creation of man (Gen. i.
26), was a new and incorruptible seed. This has been
supplied in the Word of GOD. All  who
believe that Word are begotten again (or from above); not this
time of corruptible seed, "but of incorruptible, by the Word of
GOD WHICH LIVETH." It is a living Word.
It is to be noted that this Scripture testifies that
the seed of the living Word is not merely uncorrupted, but is
"incorruptible." It partakes, therefore, of the nature of the
"uncorruptible GOD" (Rom. i.
This is the guaranty to us that the Word of GOD is not subject to the corrupting influences of the
corrupted and decaying world into which it is come. It is the
only thing which has not succumbed to the forces of decay
and death which reign universally in the earth. Indeed it has
not been affected in the slightest degree by those forces. This
has been pointed out at length in the foregoing pages; but the
grand truth comes to us with peculiar force in connection with
the passage in
I. Peter. We need not be at all concerned as to whether the
truth of GOD, embodied by Him in His
Word, has been corrupted, for it is incorruptible. And by that
Word they who believe are begotten again through the operation
of the HOLY SPIRIT.
To them "the SPIRIT is life" (Rom.
The same truth is declared in
James i. 18, in  the words, "Of His own will begat He us
with the Word of Truth."
Such is the spiritual conception of the "sons of GOD." These are born, or begotten. In no other way is a
"son" brought into existence save by being begotten of a father.
The sons of GOD must be begotten of GOD. The Apostle John tells us that they are begotten, "not
of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man" (John i.
13). The Apostle
James tells us that "of His own will" they are begotten.
Therefore, though the process be inscrutably mysterious, there
can be no doubt as to the fact. When the Word of GOD is truly "heard" and thereby received into a prepared
heart, that Word becomes truly a seed, spiritual and
incorruptible in nature, which, when quickened by the Spirit of
GOD, becomes the life-germ of a new
creature--a son of GOD.
The same truth is very clearly taught in our LORD'S explanation of His
parable of the sower, to which reference has already been
made. Inasmuch as we have His own interpretation of this
parable, we need be in no uncertainty as to its meaning. He
says, "Those by the wayside are they that hear; then cometh the
devil and taketh away the Word out of their hearts, lest
they should believe and be saved" (Luke
viii. 12). And
again: "But that on the good ground are they which, in an
honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it and
bring forth fruit with patience." 
The method of spiritual conception set forth in these
Scriptures, which is effected in a manner quite analogous to
natural conception, furnishes the explanation of the connection
between "believing" and "life" referred to in many passages of
Scripture. One of the most familiar of these is
John v. 24 where the LORD JESUS states in the simplest language that the man who hears
His Word and believes on Him Who sent Him has everlasting life,
and is passed out of death into life. Such a man receives the
seed in his heart, and the seed is there quickened into life.
Indeed, the great purpose of the Written Word is to
impart life--even eternal (that is to say, Divine) life--to
those who are dead through trespasses and sins. The Gospel of
John, which is devoted largely to the great subject of eternal
life, and from which a large part of our information concerning
it is derived, was "written that ye might believe that JESUS is the CHRIST, the SON OF GOD, and that believing
ye might have life through His name" (John
The same truth is declared in the familiar passage in
Romans x. 9. That passage sets forth very definitely the
special truth which constitutes the substance and marrow of GOD'S revelation in His Word, and which He calls upon men to
believe and obey through the preaching of the Gospel, namely
that JESUS CHRIST,
who died for sinners,  has been raised from the dead,
and that He is LORD of all, to the glory
of GOD the FATHER.
One point to be apprehended in this connection is that
a certain state of preparedness of heart is necessary in order
that the "good seed" of the Word may germinate and grow there.
Such a prepared heart is described in Scripture as a
believing heart. That prepared state is manifested when a
man believes God, as Abraham did (Rom. iv.
17); or, in other words, when a man is ready to receive the
Word of GOD as the Word of GOD, as the Thessalonians did (I.
Thess. ii. 13).
When a man has been brought, by the operation of the SPIRIT OF GOD, who is the "SPIRIT OF LIFE in CHRIST
viii. 2, 10), into this state of preparation, then the Word
of GOD, being received into the heart,
acts as a seed falling into good soil. Though it be (as we might
say) but the tiniest portion of GOD'S
truth as revealed in His Word which is thus received by faith,
yet it suffices through His power as the means whereby He may
quicken a dead soul. For surely the life of the Word is in every
Such is the power of the living truth to impart
life; and herein lies the difference between the truth which GOD has revealed in His Word, and truth which may be found
elsewhere. For there is much truth which is not living
truth. The multiplication table is truth; but it is not
living truth. It has no quickening power. The theorems of
 geometry are truth; but they are not living truth. Never
yet has any man been heard to testify that he had been the
wretched and hopeless slave of sin, and had continued in
spiritual darkness, fast bound in misery and vice until his eyes
were opened by the great truth that two and two make four, or
that the three angles of a triangle are equal to two right
angles; and that thereby his life had been transformed, his soul
delivered from bondage, and his heart filled with joy and peace
in believing. On the other hand, in the case of a true
conversion, it may have been but the shortest and simplest
statement of "the Word of the truth of the Gospel" (Col. i.
5) that was heard and believed, such as that "CHRIST died for the ungodly" (Rom. v. 6),
yet it suffices, through the mighty power of Him Who raised up CHRIST from among the dead, to quicken together with CHRIST a soul that previously was dead in trespasses and
i. 20; ii. 5). Thus the Word of truth becomes, in some
inscrutable way, the vehicle for imparting that life of which
the risen CHRIST, the INCARNATE
WORD, is the only Source. Eternal life
for the individual soul begins through believing "the testimony
of GOD" (I. Cor.
ii. 1), and the testimony of GOD
which He has in grace given to perishing sinners that they may
believe and be saved, is "CONCERNING HIS SON" (Rom.
i. 3; I. John v. 10). "And this is the record (or testimony)
that GOD hath given to us eternal life,
and this life is in His SON"  (I John
v. 11). Therefore it is written of those who are begotten
again, "For ye are all the children of GOD
by faith in CHRIST JESUS"
The teaching and preaching of the day are largely
permeated by a notion to the effect that "science" is in some
undefined way supplying to a greater or less extent new
foundations for religious faith. We cannot, therefore, insist
too strongly upon the vital difference (--for it is
vital--being a difference upon which life depends) between truth
revealed by GOD through His WORD, and truth discovered by the investigations of man, and
generally spoken of as "scientific" truth. Truth thus obtained
has no relation whatsoever to faith and eternal life; and
the effort to substitute it for, or to oppose it to, the truth
revealed in GOD'S WORD
as the basis of faith, must be ascribed to the activity of the
"spirit of error."
Many unspiritual teachers in these last days, and many
superficial readers of Scripture, deem it incredible that
salvation, which is the beginning of the life of the risen CHRIST in the heart of a perishing man, should be wrought
through an operation so apparently simple as that of receiving GOD'S WORD, through faith, into the
The clear declarations of GOD'S
WORD on this subject are indeed
frequently ridiculed in pulpit  utterances. But to such
minds the germination of a seed by merely casting it into the
ground would be equally incredible. These spiritually-blinded
ones, wise in their own conceits, miss altogether the teaching
of the Bible concerning the wonderful process of spiritual
conception and generation, which, in view of the equally
mysterious process of natural conception, should not be deemed
"a thing incredible." "For the invisible things of Him from the
creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the
things that are made" (Rom. i.
The passage in
I. Peter i. sets forth, moreover, the fact that spiritual
generation through the Word of GOD
conforms to the great biological law stated with such emphatic
iteration in the
first chapter of Genesis, namely, that the life imparted
is the same in kind as that of its source, all the
characteristics of the latter being reproduced in it. Emphasis
is laid on the fact that the seed is incorruptible, and that the
WORD, which is its source, is eternal.
Moreover, as in John's Gospel the new, incorruptible, and
eternal life, which proceeds from spiritual conception by the
Word of GOD, is put into direct contrast
with the natural life or "flesh." "For," continues the Apostle
Peter, "all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man
as the flower of grass." The prominent characteristic of grass
is that it withereth, and of the  flower of grass, or of
plant life, is that it falleth away. "The grass withereth, and
the flower thereof falleth away: but"--in direct contrast with
this--"the Word of the LORD endureth
forever." So it does, and so do all they who are begotten of the
incorruptible seed of the Word.
The passage closes with the unmistakably plain
statement, "And this is the Word which, by the Gospel, is
preached unto you."
The result of spiritual generation is, of course, a
spiritual infant--a babe. Consequently the next words of the
inspired Apostle are in full keeping with, and in confirmation
of, the truth we have been considering. "Wherefore, laying aside
all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all
evil speakings (which are characteristics of the "old man") as
new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word that
ye may grow thereby" (I.
Pet. ii. 1, 2). We all know that it is of the first
importance that a babe should have appropriate nourishment in
order that it may grow; but this belongs to the subject of
spiritual nutrition, which will be considered later on.
Other Scriptures testify with equal clearness to the
great and glorious truth that those who are begotten of the SPIRIT, through the incorruptible seed of the Word, receive
a nature of the same sort as that of the Divine Source of their
life. In the
eighth chapter of Romans there is a section devoted to the
"sons of GOD," in whom the  SPIRIT dwells (verses
9-16); and of these it is declared that GOD
predestinated them "to be conformed to the image of His Son,
that He might be the first-born among many brethren" (verse 29).
Here the truth of likeness with the SON
OF GOD is broadly stated. Other
passages declare specific features included in this general
I. John iii. 9 states that "whosoever is born of GOD doth not commit (or practice) sin; for His (GOD'S) seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin because he
is born (begotten) of GOD. In this the
children of GOD are manifest." The new
nature which characterizes the new creature is one that cannot
sin; and hence, when this new nature begins to manifest itself
in the quickened soul, there is a struggle between its desires
and those of the old nature ("the flesh"); for the flesh has
desires against the spirit, and the spirit has desires against
the flesh, and these are directly opposed, the one to the other
17). Every one who has been begotten from above knows what
this struggle means.
I. John iii. 2, 3, it is stated that now, even at the
present time, are we (believers) the sons of GOD,
though we appear so little like it. What we shall be does not
yet appear; but we know, upon the clear testimony of Scripture,
that "when He shall appear we shall be LIKE
HIM; for we shall see Him as He is."
These statements are so clear that it is not 
necessary to cite to those who believe the Word of GOD other passages which declare that spiritual procreation
is according to the law repeated nine times in
Genesis I., "after his kind."
In closing this important section of our subject (which
might be greatly amplified if our purpose were to treat
exhaustively the great truth of spiritual generation) it will be
profitable to notice briefly the close relation between the
Written Word and the Incarnate Word in the matter of the
impartation of spiritual life.
This truth brings before us the SON OF
GOD in His wonderful and unique character
of the Source of Life to a world and to human beings, which had
fallen under the power and dominion of death.
"Through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and
death through sin, and so death passed upon (lit. passed
through to) all men" (Rom. v.
12). Thus death entered and established its universal
sovereignty over all men. Such expressions as "death reigned,"
"sin reigned unto death" (Rom.
v. 14, 17, 21), state a fact whereof the evidences meet our
eye whichever way we look.
Therefore, after Adam's transgression and the ruin
wrought by it, the most urgent need of the world was
LIFE. To this end the SON
OF GOD became a partaker of flesh
and blood, "that through death He might destroy him who had the
power  of death, that is the Devil" (Heb.
ii. 14). "I am come," He said, "that they might have life"
In the Gospel by John, the first thing asserted of Him,
after setting forth His eternal Deity, and His mighty work as CREATOR, is the significant statement "In Him was
LIFE" (John i.
4). This is He Who "cometh down from heaven and giveth life
unto the world" (John
We need not cite the many passages of Scripture which
witness to CHRIST as the new Source of
life to a world that had fallen under the power of death; but
would call attention only to a few of those which connect Him
directly with the wonderful process of spiritual generation.
The very first of all prophecies, that concerning the
woman's "seed" (Gen.
iii. 15) is thus fulfilled in Him; and the designation
"seed," thus at the very beginning applied to Him as coming in
flesh and blood, carries with it the great promise of a new
humanity which was to spring up from and out of Himself.
Again, as the "seed" of Abraham, He is the inheritor
(for Himself and for His generations) of all the promises made
"to Abraham and his seed." That we might not miss the meaning of
this truth, so precious to those who, through faith, "are the
children of Abraham" (Gal. iii.
7), it is expressly stated as follows: "Now to Abraham
and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And 
to seeds, as of many; but as of ONE, And
to thy SEED, which is CHRIST"
Finally, as David's seed He is the rightful Heir to the
kingdom, which He will establish on the earth in the coming age.
In promise of this there are many passages such as these: "I
will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons;
and I will establish his kingdom" (I.
Chron. xvii. 11). "Upon David, and upon his seed and upon
his house, and upon his throne, shall there be peace forever
from the LORD" (I.
Kings ii. 33). "I have made a covenant with My chosen, I
have sworn unto David My servant, thy seed will I establish
forever, and build up thy throne to all generations" (Psa.
lxxxix. 3, 4). "His seed shall endure forever, and his
throne as the sun before Me" (Psa.
Thus CHRIST is set forth as the
Seed of the woman, as the Seed of Abraham, and as the Seed of
But the great purpose of a seed, and its marvellous
inherent power, is to reproduce its kind; and the designation
"seed" as applied to the SON OF MAN has this significance also. He Himself takes up this
great lesson when He refers to Himself as the kernel of wheat,
saying: "Verily, verily I say unto you, Except a corn (kernel)
of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if
it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" (John
Thus the ONE who alone had a
title to live as  a man of flesh and blood, laid that
life down, submitting voluntarily to the power of death, in
order that, instead of dwelling forever "alone" (as man) He
might bring forth "much fruit." These are His generations, the
"many sons" which He is bringing unto glory (Heb.
ii. 10), the "children" of whom He speaks saying, "Behold I,
and the children which GOD hath given Me"
If we keep in mind the fact that the grains of wheat in
the ear are all reproductions of the original seed, we shall see
how forcibly and beautifully the
parable of the "corn of wheat" teaches the lesson of
spiritual generation. The life in those who have been quickened
together with CHRIST (Eph. ii.
5) is truly His life reproduced in them by the HOLY SPIRIT, who is the SPIRIT of life in CHRIST JESUS, and whose law sets us free from the law of sin and
viii. 2). We may thus say, "CHRIST
who is our life" (Col.
iii. 4); and as this new life unfolds itself in the being of
the believer, and manifests the characteristics of the ONE Who is its Source, the former is able to say, "For me to
live is CHRIST" (Phil. i.
21). Whether, therefore, we are regarding the Written Word
or the INCARNATE WORD,
it is true (as has been well said) that "the Word" is the whole
matter or substance of what GOD has
revealed; but it is also true that any portion of that matter or
substance which enters into a human heart, and  which, as a
seed, germinates and performs there the stupendous miracle of
reproduction, is also the Word imparting life "after His
kind"--life incorruptible and everlasting as the Word itself.
Thus, in the highest sense of which we can take
knowledge, the Word of GOD is a "Word of
Life"--living and reproducing its kind; and thus is being
fulfilled the promise to Him who died that we might live, of
Whom it was said of old, "He shall see His seed, He shall
prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD
shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His
soul and shall be satisfied" (Isa.
liii. 10, 11).
The believer too may say with David: "As for me, I will
behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I
awake, with Thy likeness" (Psa.
xvii. 15). That will be glory for us; but, what is more
important, it will be glory also for Him. 
THE life possessed by human beings is not
only a derived life, that is, a life obtained from an external
source, but it is a dependent life, requiring continual
sustenance. It must be sustained by constant and suitable
nutrition, received into the body at short intervals. Man's
strength whereof he boasts, and indeed his very existence in the
body, are dependent on food, and this food itself must be
organic matter, that is to say, matter which has once been
living. The fact of man's dependence upon food for the
continuance of his life, and upon food which man is utterly
unable to make for himself out of inorganic matter, though all
the materials are within his reach, should teach him a lesson in
humility; but it seems not to have that effect.
We say that man is utterly unable to produce food-stuff
though all the materials whereof it is composed are abundantly
at hand. This is a pertinent and obvious fact, though one
whereof little account is taken. GOD has
imparted to the lowly plant the ministry of supplying food to
all the  animal creation, and has taught to it, and to it
alone, the marvellous secret of converting the minerals of the
earth and air--inert, lifeless elements, utterly incapable of
furnishing nourishment to animals or man--into living tissue,
endowed with the property of nourishing living creatures higher
in the scale of life. "He causeth the grass to grow for the
cattle, and herb for the service of man; that HE
MAY BRING FORTH FOOD OUT OF THE EARTH" (Psa.
The humble vegetable organism knows how to extract the
nitrogen from the earth, and the carbon from the carbon-dioxide
in the atmosphere, and to combine these, in exactly the proper
proportions, with the oxygen and hydrogen in water, and with
traces of lime and other elements taken from the soil, forming
with the aid of heat and light from the sun, living tissue,
suitable and necessary for food. This wonderful operation of
chemical synthesis is carried on by the modest vegetable so
unostentatiously as to attract little notice; and though it has
been under the observation of inquisitive and imitative man for
thousands of years, he has not the faintest notion of how it is
done. All the learning and skill of all the chemists in the
world, with the resources of all the laboratories in the world,
could not produce an ounce of food, though the elements out of
which it is made exist everywhere, and in the greatest
But GOD, having imparted
physical life to His  creatures, has also made ample
provision for the maintenance of that life, by supplying through
the inscrutable synthesis carried on unceasingly by the
vegetable kingdom, abundant food capable, when taken into the
body and properly assimilated, of supplying the waste that is
constantly in progress in every part of the body, and of
maintaining the strength thereof.
Furthermore, if the conversion of minerals into
food-stuff by the members of the vegetable kingdom is a process
displaying the marvellous wisdom of GOD,
the process of digestion and nutrition is not less so. Nothing
could be more improbable than that food, taken into the body by
way of the mouth, should, without any attention or supervision
from the tenant of that body, be digested, the valuable parts
separated from the worthless, the latter discharged from the
body, the former converted into tissue, muscle, bone, sinew,
nerve-cell, blood-corpuscle, hair, nails, etc., and distributed
automatically throughout the body, each to the place requiring
it, and all in due proportion.
In this we have again a process far transcending the
comprehension of the most learned men, who must eat and be
nourished like other men, and who are equally ignorant of the
process whereby their lives are sustained, and whereby they gain
the strength to deny GOD and glorify man.
Men boast in these days of their  "independence,"
and make much of "self-reliance." But this is the height of
presumptuous folly; for man is a most helplessly dependent
creature, not even able, like the plant, to prepare his own food
from the mineral elements, but dependent daily upon living
creatures much lower than himself in the scale of being. And so
far from having a basis for self-reliance, he does not know how
to conduct the simplest of the vital processes of his own body.
If his CREATOR, of Whom principally man
loves to fancy himself independent, should turn over to him the
operation of the least of those essential processes for the
briefest time, the poor creature would miserably perish.
As with the physical life, so is it with the spiritual
life of those who have been begotten again of the incorruptible
seed of the Word. These spiritual beings require appropriate
food; and GOD has abundantly provided for
this need. In studying the important subject of spiritual
nutrition we shall learn again the relation between CHRIST, the INCARNATE WORD, and the Written Word. Both are spoken of repeatedly as
food for the children of GOD.
third, fourth, and fifth chapters of the Gospel by John
treat of the imparting of eternal life as the free gift of GOD through JESUS CHRIST,
the SON OF GOD, to
all who believe on Him; and the
sixth chapter treats of spiritual nutrition.  Therein,
after feeding the multitude miraculously, thus showing Himself
as the ONE by Whose power food is
multiplied in the earth, He reveals Himself as "the BREAD OF LIFE." Twice He says, "I am
that bread of life" (verses
35 and 48) and in
verse 33, "For the bread of GOD is He
which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world."
He who gives the life is the One Who sustains it. Again He says:
"I am the living bread which came down from heaven" (verse
51). And of His words He says, "It is the spirit that
quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I
speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (verse
These sayings are, of course, meaningless to the
natural mind; but they are addressed to faith. "How can this man
give us His flesh to eat?" is the question which the unbelieving
heart asks. How CHRIST can impart Himself
to sustain the "inner man" is a question to which no answer can
now be had. The process is incomprehensible to man. But we have
seen that the process of physical nutrition is equally
beyond human comprehension and contrary to all a priori
Looking more particularly at what is said in this
connection concerning the written or spoken Word of GOD we find that the Word of GOD is
"living" in the sense that, like other living substance, it has
the property of furnishing nutrition, and thereby sustaining
life. It is a life-sustaining Word. But  here a notable
difference attracts our attention. Physical food comes up out of
the earth (Psa.
civ. 14), while spiritual food comes down out of heaven (John
Reference has already been made to the fact that, after
setting forth the great truth of spiritual conception and
generation through the incorruptible seed of the Word of GOD, the Apostle Peter enjoins attention to spiritual
nutrition. "Wherefore," he says, "as new-born babes desire the
sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby" (I.
Pet. ii. 1, 2). Evidently His LORD'S
threefold injunction, "Feed My sheep," "Feed My lambs," had
impressed upon him the importance of spiritual nutrition. But
proper feeding requires appetite for wholesome food, and so he
seeks to excite a desire in young christians for that whereby
they may grow. And he immediately connects the Word with CHRIST saying, "If so be ye have tasted that the LORD is gracious."
The importance of nourishing and sustaining the new
life received upon coming to CHRIST, and
the unhappy consequences which always result from neglect of the
appropriate diet, have been so often and so forcibly stated by
the servants of CHRIST that it seems
hardly necessary to dwell upon this matter. What our subject
specially calls for is to note the correspondence between GOD'S way of sustaining man's physical life by food
derived from a living source, and His way of  sustaining
the believer's spiritual life by food from a living
source, that is to say from the living Word.
The passages which present the Word of GOD as the food for His children are very familiar; and in
bringing them to mind again we would impress it upon our readers
that these statements are not to be taken as if they were
poetical or figurative, but as very literal, practical, and
immensely important. In making man it was not GOD'S
plan that he should live by bread, or physical food alone, but
"by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD" (Deut.
viii. 3). The manna was given to His people in the
wilderness to teach them this lesson, and that they might learn
their dependence upon GOD. Hence this
passage was used by the Second Man in His combat with the Devil
in the wilderness, it being the purpose of the latter to
inculcate in man the idea of independence of GOD.
Thus did the Man JESUS CHRIST,
with the Sword of the Spirit, strike sure and true at the
central purpose of His great adversary.
It is by every word of GOD that
man is to be fed. No part of the Bible can be neglected without
loss and detriment; and it will be observed that there is, in
the Bible, a variety of physical food which GOD
has provided for the needs of the physical man. If there be
"milk" for babes, there is also "strong food" for those who are
mature. And there is the penalty of arrested growth paid by
those who remain content with the relatively weak  diet
suitable for infants, who know, perhaps, only that their sins
are forgiven; as the Apostle John says: "I write unto you,
little children, because your sins are forgiven you" (I. John
ii. 12). But those who have to be fed on a milk diet, that
is to say, the simplest elementary truths of the Gospel, are
unskillful in the word of righteousness. Infants cannot do
anything for themselves, much less can they prepare food, or
render any other service to others. Hence the Apostle Paul,
writing to the Hebrews, upbraids some of them because, at a time
when they ought to have been teachers, they had need to be
taught again the first principles and were become "such as have
need of milk and not of strong food. For every one that useth
milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a
babe. But strong food belongeth to them that are of full age" (Heb.
Jeremiah says, "Thy words were found and I did eat
xv. 16). Thereby he found spiritual strength to sustain him
in his most difficult and trying ministry, from which, because
of his timid and sensitive disposition, he shrank back in agony
of soul. To be a good and effective minister of CHRIST it is necessary that one be well nourished through
partaking largely of the abundant spiritual food which the
living Word supplies. Thus Paul admonished his child in the
faith, Timothy, to whom he wrote, "If thou put the brethren in
remembrance of these things thou  shalt be a good minister
of JESUS CHRIST,
nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine"
One practical point with reference to the process of
nutrition should be noted. While the living creature cannot
comprehend the process, and has no part whatever in supervising
it, or carrying it on, and while he is therefore not responsible
for the results, the process cannot be carried on unless he
takes the food into his being and properly masticates it.
Therefore, up to the point of swallowing the food, the living
being is responsible, and his volition is exercised. After that
the process passes beyond his knowledge and control. Food may be
of the best quality, and may be in greatest abundance, but it
imparts no nourishment while it remains in the pantry, or on the
In like manner the responsibility is with the child of
GOD to partake of the spiritual food so
plentifully provided, and to meditate therein day and night (Psa. i. 2).
Meditation upon what is read is to spiritual nutrition what
mastication is to physical nutrition; and it takes time. The
result, however, is ample compensation for time so occupied, for
we read of him who observes this simple rule of spiritual
dietation that "He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of
water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf
also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall 
prosper" (Psa. i. 3).
It means a fruitful life, a vigorous and healthful life, and a
These results are just as sure to follow obedience to
the laws of spiritual diet as physical nutrition is to follow
attention to the proper reception of material food; and the
contrary results are just as sure to follow neglect of those
laws in the one case as in the other. The natural mind would be
likely to demand an explanation; but faith does not require to
know the process, it being sufficient to hear the command. If
one refused to partake of his natural food until instructed as
to the process of digestion he would starve. In each case the
process is inscrutable, but the fact is certain. 
FEEDING upon the Word of GOD,
the Bread of Life, must necessarily be beneficial to the whole
man, including his intellectual and physical being as well as
Much deference is paid in these days to the "powers of
the mind." Intellectual prowess is what wins the victories in
the fierce commercial struggle of the times. Business men are,
of course, keen to take advantage of this condition, as may be
seen by the many and costly advertisements of "brain foods"; and
many millions of dollars are annually acquired by the shrewd
exploiters of these preparations. This, of course, could not be
unless there were multitudes who give heed to the assurances
that, by the use of the advertised article, it is possible to
produce "a new set of brains."
The Bible does not speak of a new set of brains, but it
does say to believers, "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind" (Eph.
iv. 23) and "Be not  conformed to this world (or age),
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Rom.
xii. 2). The new man requires a new mind, and provision is
made to that end. The old mind, with all its habits of
self-occupation (a sure breeder of unhappiness and discontent),
its morbid tendencies, its craving for excitement and sensation,
its imaginations, appetites, tastes, inclinations and desires,
and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge
of GOD, is to be displaced, and a new
mind substituted; for godliness has the promise of the vigour of
the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come.
How, then, is this injunction to be carried out? It is
of importance to millions of anxious souls to have a clear
answer to this question. And it may be had. The every-day
incidents and the atmosphere amid which the average man and
woman spend their time are such as to produce mental
disturbances and disorders to an extent which, if understood,
and if anything could impress this thoughtless and excited age,
would create wide-spread alarm. It was stated recently that
there were twenty-eight thousand inmates of the insane asylums
of New York State (a single state of the Union) prior to
October, 1907, and that in six months following the industrial
convulsion of that month the number of inmates was increased by
three thousand. The startling increase in the number of suicides
adds its forcible testimony;  and the frequency with which
one encounters cases of mental depression, insomnia,
melancholia, and other nervous and mental disorders, tells of
wide-spread and insidious foes which attack the seat of reason,
and which call for methods and means of defence and repair which
are beyond the resources of medicine.
The writer knows by experience the indescribable
horrors of depressed and morbid mental states, and knows too
what a transformation is effected by the "renewing of the mind"
according to the biblical injunction. Full provision is made for
this marvellous transformation, and the conditions wherein it is
effected are accessible to every believer.
In this case the study of the word used in the command
("be transformed") will make us acquainted with the conditions
essential to the transformation. The word in question seems to
have been set apart by the HOLY SPIRIT for the purpose of teaching the important and
wonderful secret of the transformation of the believer, during
his existence in the body, into the likeness of CHRIST; so that all believers might be able to say with
Paul, "We have the mind of CHRIST."
It will, therefore, surely repay the reader to note
carefully the usages of this particular word. Its first
occurrence is in the Gospel narratives of the Transfiguration of
JESUS CHRIST, and
is in fact the very word there translated "transfigured"  (Matt.
xvii. 2; Mark ix. 2). The word is literally "metamorphosed."
"His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the
light." This may well serve to teach the nature of the change
contemplated. It is one that brings the radiance of heaven into
the mind and tinges even the commonplace things with a glow of
The next occurrence of the word is, as we have already
Romans xii. 2, where believers are enjoined to be not cut
out on the pattern of this age, but to be metamorphosed
or transfigured by the renewing of their minds.
The third and last occurrence of the word tells us
plainly how this great transformation is brought about.
For the Bible is a very practical Book. It comes, moreover, from
One Who understands perfectly the limitations of man, Who knows
and declares that the latter is, in his natural state, "without
strength," that is to say, utterly impotent (Rom. v. 6).
We may be sure, therefore, that when GOD
calls upon the quickened soul to do a thing, He puts the means
required for it within his reach. And so, in these plain words
we read the conditions requisite for effecting the desired
transformation: "We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a
mirror the glory of the LORD,
ARE CHANGED into the same image from
glory to glory, even as by the SPIRIT of
the LORD" (II Cor.
iii. 18). 
The word here translated "are changed" is the same word
(metamorphosed or transfigured) used in the other passages
cited; and these are the only occurrences of that word in the
The teaching is very clear. When the Jews read the Word
of GOD a veil is over their hearts, their
minds being blinded (verse
14). Or, as stated in
Romans xi. 25, "blindness in part is happened to Israel,
until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in." Hence, they do
not behold there Him of whom the Scriptures testify. But, for us
who believe, the veil is done away in CHRIST,
and consequently, all we beholding are transfigured into
the same image by the DIVINE and
irresistible operation of the HOLY SPIRIT.
If, when we look into the Word of GOD,
we do not see Christ there, we look to no purpose, for He
is everywhere in the Book.
Let it be carefully noted that this transformation is
not the work of the man who beholds CHRIST
in the Word; for the process is carried on while the former is
not occupied with himself at all, or with his transformation,
but is absorbed in the contemplation of the glory of the LORD. The transformation is effected by the power of the SPIRIT of GOD; and we may learn from
this passage the important lesson that occupation with, and
concern about, the work of the SPIRIT in
us can only hinder that work. Let it suffice us that  He
Who has begun a good work in us will perform it until the
day of CHRIST (Phil. i.
6). Our part, and it should be also our delight, is to be
continually beholding or contemplating the glory of the LORD; and while so doing we "are changed" into the
same image, and all the more if we are unconscious of ourselves.
Let, it be also noted that the transformation is a
gradual operation, calling for steadfastness in contemplating
the Object placed before us by the HOLY SPIRIT. Little by little, as our gaze is fixed upon Him, the
old traits and dispositions which are unlike Him are replaced by
His own characteristics. Thus the work proceeds "from glory to
glory." The conformation to His image, which is GOD'S' purpose for all the sons of GOD
viii. 29), is not accomplished, as some would have it, by an
instantaneous transfiguration, a convulsive upheaval and
displacement of the old nature, brought about by working one's
emotions into an ecstatic state; but is accomplished gradually,
bit by bit, while the believer is continually occupied with CHRIST ("beholding"). There is no hysterical short-cut to
the desired result. For CHRIST must be
known from the Written Word under the tuition of the HOLY SPIRIT; and the process should
continue during the whole term of the believer's existence in
Thus the living Word becomes the regulator and
transformer of the minds of those who  diligently seek it.
Under its potent influence confusion of thought, perplexities,
depressed mental states, and other hurtful conditions are
dissipated, and the serene tranquillity and repose of "the mind
of CHRIST" are reproduced in those who
are redeemed by His precious blood.
The people of GOD are passing
through the domain of death, the country of the last enemy that
is to be destroyed, and who has put all things in this scene
under his feet (I.
Cor. xv. 26, 27). On every hand our eyes meet the
unmistakable evidences of the supreme sovereignty of death. But
in this domain of death there is a Living Word;--a living Word
in a dying world. The forces of corruption and decay cannot
fasten upon it, and it laughs at the attacks of its enemies.
But that Word is here, not merely to manifest life, but
rather to impart life to those who are perishing, and to bring
them into vital contact with the new Life-source of humanity,
the SON OF GOD,
the Second MAN, the LORD
from heaven, Who liveth and was dead, and behold He is alive for
evermore, and has the keys of death and of Hades (I.
Cor. xv. 47; Rev. i. 18). He, as MAN,
has crossed the gulf between the realm of death and that of
life. To that end He became "a partaker of flesh and blood," not
to improve flesh and blood, but in order that "through death He
might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the
Devil; and deliver them who through fear of  death were all
their lifetime subject to bondage" (Heb.
ii. 14, 15). Having Himself crossed that gulf He is the Way
of life to all who believe on Him, who, having heard His
Word--the Word of life--have likewise passed out of death into
life (John v.
This is the wonderful provision of GOD
for the deliverance of dying men. In order that they might not
die, and because GOD wills not that any
should perish (II. Pet.
iii. 9), He has sent into this dying world a Word of Life.
For GOD is not the GOD
of the dead, but of the living (Matt.
In comparison with this provision of DIVINE
wisdom, power and grace, from the GOD Who
quickeneth the dead (Rom. iv.
17) how pitifully foolish and vain are all human schemes for
the betterment, reform, and cultivation of that old man who has
fallen under the sovereignty of death! Men are very ingenious,
but none has yet brought forward a scheme for abolishing or
escaping death, or for raising the dead. Without that, of what
avail are plans of improvement? And what end do they serve but
to blind men's minds to the truth that they are dead, and so are
beyond all but the power of a GOD who
raises the dead? Surely these schemes are the most successful
devices of "the god of this age."
What men need is not morality, but life; not to make
death respectable, but to receive the gift of eternal life; not
decent interment but a  pathway out of the realm of death.
Many men have brought forward their schemes for the "uplift of
humanity" (though the results thereof are not yet discernible);
but there is only One MAN Who makes, or
ever made, the offer of eternal life. None other has ever said,
"I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth on Me
though he were dead yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and
believeth on Me shall never die" (John
xi. 25, 26). He only claims to be the "Fountain of Living
ii. 13; John iv. 14; vii. 37), and says to all who are
suffering the thirst of death, "Come unto Me and drink" (John
Therefore, in concluding these reflections upon the
Living Word, we obey the command, "Let him that heareth say
Come," and would lovingly repeat the last invitation of grace
recorded in that Word of life:
|LET HIM THAT IS ATHIRST COME.
|AND WHOSOEVER WILL,
|LET HIM TAKE
|THE WATER OF LIFE