A Book of Boys and Girls
PART 1: The World
A stern-looking gentleman was asked to speak to some boys in a Sunday School, and thinking it was scarcely in his line, he rather unwillingly consented to do so. He began by asking a question, “Boys, who made the world?” Receiving no reply, he repeated the question, this time more loudly. Again there was no reply. Losing patience, he pointed to a boy near the front, and said, “Boy, you must know the answer, stand up, and tell us, who made the world?” The boy replied in a frightened voice, “Please, sir, I didn’t.”
Whether the boy thought it was a disgraceful act to have made the world, I cannot say, but seeing I am writing to you, boys and girls, I expect that you would like me to answer that question. You certainly have been born into a very wonderful world, and you naturally wish to know something about it.
Suppose you were walking in the country one day, and you spied something shining brightly in the grass, and found a gold watch. Putting it to your ear, you heard it making a cheerful little sound, tic! tac! tic! tac! tic! tac! You took it home to your mother, and she opened the watch case, and showed you the pretty little wheels inside, and outside you saw the pointers, or hands, as they are generally called.
I think I hear you saying, “But why tell us so much about a watch, when the question asked was, ‘Who made the world?’” In answer, I know you would be quite sure, that a watch was made by a watch-maker, and I wanted you to be equally sure, that the world was made by a World-Maker. Wonderful as a watch is, it is a simple little affair, compared to the big world, in which you live. Who made the mighty mountains, the rolling plains, the vast seas, the beautiful land? The answer is, God, the great almighty Creator-God.
HOW CAN WE KNOW FOR CERTAIN, THAT GOD MADE THE WORLD?
We know it, because God in His wisdom and kindness has given us a book, the Bible, the Holy Scriptures of truth. In this book God tells us many things which we could never have known, if left to find them out for ourselves. The very first ten words in the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1) is a truly wonderful statement, the seed-plot of the whole Bible. In those ten words we note the word, created. The dictionary defines the word, create, as meaning, “to bring into being, or form, out of nothing.”
Before a watch-maker can make a watch, he must have two things, first the materials wherewith to make the watch, and then the tools whereby to fashion it. The watch-maker can make a watch, but he cannot create one. A watch-maker cannot make a watch out of nothing. The Bible, however, tells us plainly, that God created the world out of nothing. Here are the Scriptures to prove this.
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:3).
“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. . . . He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:6, 9).
“By the word of GOD the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water” (2 Peter 3:5).
In these Scriptures we are plainly told six times over, that all of nature came into being out of nothing by the word of God. The cleverest scientist cannot understand this, but the evidence lies before our very eyes, and facts are facts, and have to be faced.
For instance, on a clear night we see the moon and the stars, as if floating in space. How is it possible for anything the size of our earth to float in space? And yet this is just what the Scriptures affirm, and which we see with our own eyes. We read, “He [God] stretches out the north over the empty space, and hangs the earth upon nothing” (Job 26:7).
It is told of the great Napoleon, that, happening to overhear some of his officers debating whether there was a God or not, he stepped forward, and pointing at the myriad stars, quietly said, “Gentlemen, who made those?” Then turning on his heel he walked away, suggesting that his question was sufficient answer to their questionings, as surely it was.
We are told that the sun is one million, three hundred thousand times greater in volume than the earth. And yet sun, moon and stars, are all upheld in space by God’s almighty power. “The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His ETERNAL POWER AND GODHEAD” (Rom. 1:20).
We have been speaking about the very big things in creation, proofs of God’s glory, and power. The very little things in creation testify to this just as much. For instance, I often read at night. When so engaged on a summer evening, a tiny fly nearly always alights on the page I am reading, attracted by the light and the whiteness of the paper. This tiny creature has four wings and four legs. It can walk briskly, jump several times its own length, and fly at a great speed, and is no bigger than the size of a letter on the printed page.
And yet there are millions and millions of creatures much smaller than this fly, which can only be seen by the help of a powerful microscope. Amazing to relate, there are living creatures in the human blood, so infinitely small, we are told, that 8,000 of them measure only a millimetre, which is the thousandth part of a metre. A metre in English measurement is a trifle over 39 inches. We can well exclaim with the Psalmist, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it” (Ps. 139:6).
WHAT IS THE EARTH LIKE?
It is like an orange, flattened at both ends. Its surface covers 193,836,000 square miles. The flattened top-end is called the North Pole; the flattened bottom-end, the South Pole. They are called Poles, because they are the two ends of an imaginary line, stretching from north to south, and round which the earth revolving once every twenty-four hours gives us day and night. This imaginary line is called THE AXIS.
At these Poles there is nothing but snow and ice with intense frost, summer and winter alike. There are no cultivated fields, no towns, no villages, not even an odd cottage here and there, nothing but dreary solitude for hundreds of miles. We read, “Out of the south comes the whirlwind and cold out of the north. By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened” (Job 37:9-10).
Halfway between the Poles a very different climate is found. Instead of great cold, there is overpowering heat. An imaginary line, passing round the earth, equally distant from the Poles, travelling from east to west, is called THE EQUATOR, meaning that day and night are equally divided all the year round. Temperature rises to a very high level. Natives have black skins and black, frizzy hair, and practically wear no clothes day and night, summer and winter, so great is the heat.
In these parts there are immense forests, dating from ages past, the home of wild and savage beasts, such as the lion, tiger, leopard, jackal, zebra, elephant, rhinoceros, etc. Most beautiful birds abound—the gaudy parrot with its scarlet, blue and green feathers, birds of paradise with most beautiful plumage; the delightful humming birds with their exquisite colouring. Hordes of monkeys with their unmeaning gibberish make their homes in the trees. The rivers are infested by huge, ugly and savage beasts—the crocodile, alligator and hippopotamus.
The intense cold of the Poles, and the great heat of the tropics, combine to bring about stormy winds, blowing innumerable clouds over the land, which descending in rain refresh the earth, and stimulate food production. In all this we see the wisdom of God in His wonderful provision for man’s support, comfort and happiness.
THE WONDERFUL OCEANS, AND THE GREAT PART THEY PLAY
The sea is wonderful. The big seas are called oceans. There are the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Indian, the Southern, the Arctic, the Antarctic oceans, etc.—vast stretches of salt water. Why should there be salt in the oceans? We know that salt preserves food from going bad and decaying.
Scripture gives a striking case of this. We read, “The men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus says the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death, or barren land” (2 Kings 2:19-21).
Elisha performed this miracle on a small stream of water in little Palestine. The Creator-God bade the mighty oceans to be salt, and the waters at His command became salt, just as of old, He decreed, “Let there be light: and there was light” (Gen. 1:3). The addition of salt to the waters of the oceans and seas is most beneficial for the health of the world. Without salt the earth would go to corruption. No wonder the Bible speaks of God, as the One, “which does great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number” (Job 9:10). “How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out” (Rom. 11:33).
The God with whom we have to do is indeed most wonderful. A great many people tell us they cannot believe in miracles, but they cannot help believing in miracles, because creation is one vast miracle, which cannot be explained away by man, or imitated by him, whether it is seen in the tiny fly, or the great sun in the heavens, giving light and heat to the whole earth.
THE FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD
The average height of land above water is 2,300 feet. The average depth of water is 13,000 feet. God in His wisdom planned the right proportion of land and water, maintaining the true balance of nature. If there had been more land and less water, long-continued drought would have been the consequence. Farmers would have been unable to produce good crops. Cattle would have died for want of pasture and water. The earth would have been scorched. On the other hand, if there had been more water and less land, constant floodings would have been the result. The land would have been destroyed and rendered unfit for human habitation. We read, “He [God] looks to the ends of the earth, and sees under the whole heaven; to make the weight for the winds; and He weighs the waters by measure” (Job 28:24-25).
EVAPORATION AND ITS ABSOLUTE NECESSITY
Some of you may be wondering why there should be so much more water than land. It is quite true, there is much more water than land. The surface land measurement is 51,375,000 square miles; that of water is 141,050,000 square miles, nearly three times more surface measurement of water than of land. This vast amount of water is mostly found in the hottest or tropical parts of the earth, and on which the sun’s rays have been beating ever since the creation of the world. What does evaporation mean? It is the process by which the sun’s heat-rays turn water into vapour, or steam, which is lighter than air, and therefore ascends, thus forming clouds.
I once saw a very striking example of this in the West Indies. A sharp shower of rain, followed by the sun’s rays, beating on the wet ground, resulted in dense volumes of vapour rising up in the air. Vapour being lighter than air, the process at work over vast stretches of water results in clouds in immense quantities. This is the wonder of evaporation. The earth could not continue, did evaporation not take place. There would be no rain, if there were no evaporation. Hence its absolute necessity.
RAIN AND ELECTRICAL DISCHARGE
You may ask, How do the clouds, lighter than air, fall on the earth as rain? We have just seen how water is turned into vapour, but now how does vapour turn into water? How does rain fall? There was immense interest aroused when that great scientist, Lord Kelvin, announced his discovery that it is only by electrical discharge that vapour is turned into water, and so rain falls. He discovered that it is by lightning the necessary electrical discharge is produced, and only by lightning.
It may be rain is gentle, so much so that we cannot hear the electrical discharge, but it is there all the same. At other times we have a most vivid and dramatic display of electrical discharge, when we see blinding flashes of lightning chasing each other wildly across the skies, followed by bursts of thunder, with terrific noise, and torrential rain.
At the time when Lord Kelvin’s startling discovery was made, an officer of the British Army was lecturing to a class at the Staff College on this very subject. He explained Lord Kelvin’s discovery, and then to the utmost surprise of the class he announced that he had for years in his possession an ancient book, which antedated Lord Kelvin’s discovery by thousands of years. At the close of his lecture his class wished to know what wonderful ancient book it was, that had antedated Lord Kelvin’s discovery. The officer then drew out of his pocket a Bible, and read the following Scriptures in their hearing:
“He [God] made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder” (Job 28:26).
“He causes the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries” (Ps. 135:7).
“When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and He causes the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings with rain, and brings forth the wind out of His treasures” (Jer. 10:13).
How correctly scientific are these ancient Scriptures. They speak of the vapours being collected from the ends of the earth—a worldwide area; of their ascending quality, and of electrical discharge, turning the vapour into a multitude of waters in the heavens. It is indeed most striking! It has often been said, that the Scriptures are not given to teach science, but when they do touch on science, they make no mistakes, and are of course in full agreement with TRUE science, at the same time exposing “oppositions of science FALSELY SO CALLED” (1 Tim. 6:20).
THE MIRACLE OF THE RAINFALL
The weight of water falling from the clouds is amazing. One inch of water on an acre of ground weighs no less than 101 tons. If the area were enlarged to 100 square miles, the weight of water would be 6,464,000 tons. When rain falls on a really great area of ground, the weight of water runs into perfectly huge figures.
We remember saying to a gentleman, after a very welcome and heavy shower of rain, following a long period of drought, “Is it not wonderful that God has watered all the thousands of thirsty gardens in Edinburgh in one short half-hour? If man had sought to do this, it would have meant the employment of huge gangs of labourers, over a long space of time, at the expense of tens of thousands of pounds; and even then the watering of the gardens by hand would not be nearly so effective as the fall of drops of rain from the skies.” We take God’s wonderful way of doing things too much as a matter of course. If the wisdom and kindness of God were generally understood and appreciated, there would not be a single infidel in the land.
The annual rainfall for the British Isles is 41.41 inches, whereas in the Himalayan mountains, the highest range in the world in the far north of India, an almost unbelievable annual rainfall of 464 inches is recorded. When we reflect that India, as the result of this abnormal rainfall, has rivers of immense size and length, watering vast and thirsty plains, which without this provision of God would be but one immense desert, we can see how grand is the planning of God in this way. The very word, “Punjab,” the name of a great part of the sub-continent of India, means the place of five rivers. How thankful we may be for God’s faithful promise, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Gen. 8:22).
Years ago I travelled from Colombo, Ceylon, to Freemantle, Australia, a sea journey of 3,126 miles. Day after day, looking north, south, east, and west, there was nothing to be seen but water everywhere. This immense stretch of water was most impressive. “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep” (Ps. 107:23-24).
THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION, A GREAT DELUSION
There are foolish men who tell us this beautiful and well-ordered earth of ours came into existence by blind chance. They claim that at the beginning there were a few simple forms of life, which in the course of thousands of millions of years developed into mature animals, reptiles, birds, insects, fishes. They called this theory evolution, a process by which, they claimed, the higher forms of life have gradually arisen from lower forms of life.
This theory exists only in their imagination. Even Charles Darwin, who revived the idea of evolution, had to admit, “If we must marvel, let it be at our own PRESUMPTION in imagining for a moment, that we understand the many complex contingencies on which the condition of each species depends” (Origin of Species, p. 279). “We may well suppose,” and similar expressions, occur hundreds of times in Mr. Darwin’s well-known book, The Origin of Species. How much belief should we have in the Bible, if it said only once, “We may well suppose.”
Those who teach this unproved theory are often learned scholars from the universities and colleges of the different countries of the world. It reminds us of the Scripture, which says so sweepingly, “Professing themselves to be wise, they become FOOLS” (Rom. 1:22). We shall see this amply confirmed as we proceed.
“THE SPONTANEOUS GENERATION OF LIFE”
The teaching of evolutionists was marked by confident assertions without proof, by grand words and high-sounding phrases. “The spontaneous generation of life” was one of their confident assertions, which meant, according to them, that matter, which never had life at any time, such as stone, rock, minerals, etc., would in the course of time become alive, and that without any intervention on the part of the Creator.
This strange theory was confidently asserted again and again, till a French scientist, Professor Pasteur of Paris, made careful and exhaustive tests. He boiled water, so that any trace of animal life, however minute, would be destroyed, and then with great care he chemically purified the air, that had access to this water, so that absolutely pure water and absolutely pure air combined in making reliable tests. These exhaustive tests abundantly proved that there was no such thing as “spontaneous generation of life.” This was generally acknowledged as proved by the scientific world, and was a staggering blow to the evolutionists in their attempt to present creation without a Divine Creator.
Professor Haeckel, widely known in the circle of his scientific friends as being none too careful of the accuracy of his statements, and of being violently anti-Genesis and anti-Bible, was the very last man, we should suppose, to make an admission. He was constrained to acknowledge that “Pasteur showed convincingly that organisms never appear in infusions of organic substances when they are sufficiently boiled, and the atmosphere that reaches them has been chemically purified.”
Charles Darwin announced his considered belief that “spontaneous generation of life” was “absolutely inconceivable.” Lord Kelvin, a prince among scientists, declared, “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.” The late Sir Ambrose Fleming, one of the world’s most prominent scientists, said, “It could be asserted with the utmost confidence, that there is no contradiction or discrepancy, between the certainly ascertained facts of scientific investigation, and the statements of the inspired Scriptures.”
“THE FORTUITIVE CONCOURSE OF ATOMS” THEORY
The late Herbert Spencer, a very prominent evolutionist, put forward a strange theory, that creation came by “a fortuitive concourse of atoms.” The idea of millions of atoms coming together by blind chance, for that is the meaning of that phrase, and after millions of years of haphazard motion, emerging as fully matured, animals, reptiles, birds, insects, and fishes, sounds as if the theory had been concocted in a mad-house by a self-appointed committee of hopeless lunatics; nay, worse, the theory blasphemously gives the lie direct to the God-inspired record of creation (Gen. 1 and 2).
Moreover, it should be carefully noted that evolutionists often contradict each other, which would have the effect on their non-scientific readers of making them wary as to receiving what they put forward so dogmatically. In sharp contrast to this, you will not find one single contradiction in the Bible, though many were the writers employed by God in producing the sixty-six books, that make up the Bible. Seeing the writers lived in different centuries, and in different countries, and were generally not aware of each other’s writings, the fact of no contradiction in the Bible is surely the most evident hall-mark of Divine inspiration. In one sense there was only one writer God, who controlled the different writers He employed.
Moreover, when fresh archaeological discoveries threw light on questions, where science and Scripture were contradictory, the Bible was always found to be right, and science to be always wrong. This is an established fact! Of course the Scriptures and TRUE science never contradict each other, but are always found in full agreement, because God is the Author of them both. Scripture, however, warns us to avoid “profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called” (1 Tim. 6:20). These are but of mushroom growth, nowhere yesterday, here today, gone tomorrow. In happy contrast, “THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURETH FOR EVER” (1 Peter 1:25).
THE FINAL ADMISSION OF DEFEAT
Finally these teachers of evolution have had a most painful and humiliating task to perform. They have had to confess that after all their loud assertions and dogmatic statements, their theory of evolution is still unproved. Two leading evolutionists, Professor Geddes of St. Andrew’s University, and Sir J. Arthur Thomson of Aberdeen University, have published a joint book in which they say, “We must leave that rich mastery of the evolution secret we once hoped for to the successors we would fain send out better equipped.” So at last the evolution bubble has been pricked, and that by their own hands. We admire their great courage in making this open confession of disappointed hope, but we find it difficult to understand how they can discover a secret, that exists only in their own imagination. They are not one whit better off than a traveller consumed by thirst putting his lips to an absolutely empty glass without a single drop of water in it, with the hope of allaying his thirst. Nor can we quite see the honesty of some school-teachers, clergymen and ministers still speaking of evolution as a proved fact, in face of the frank disavowal that has been made.
These attempts to discover the riddle of the universe, the secret of creation, without due acknowledgment of God as the great Creator, have only recoiled on their own heads, and that by their own confession. Evolutionists have a great deal to answer for. Their unproved theory has undermined the confidence of multitudes in God as Creator; in Christ as Saviour and Lord; in the Bible as God’s inspired message to man. This is a most serious charge, but who can measure the spiritual havoc that has been wrought in the souls of multitudes to their everlasting loss? It is a spectacle enough to make angels in high heaven weep.
THE WONDER OF THE BIBLE PROPHECIES, AND THEIR FULFILMENTS
If there is one thing above another, that demonstrates the Divine inspiration of Scripture, it is the striking place given to prophecy and its fulfilment in the Scriptures. The subject is of the very greatest importance, and we ask each reader to ponder over, and meditate upon, what we are about to put before them. In this small volume we are unable to do more than touch the fringe of a subject covering so much ground. We choose, however, the most important of the prophecies, viz., those that concern our Lord Jesus Christ-His Person, His Godhead, His Manhood, His perfect life, His atoning death on the cross, His triumphant resurrection and glorious ascension to heaven. The Scriptures quoted will speak for themselves.
PROPHECY, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14).
FULFILMENT, “Then Joseph. . . did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn Son: and he called His name JESUS” (Matt. 1:24-25).
PROPHECY, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Mic. 5:2).
FULFILMENT, “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
PROPHECY, “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6).
FULFILMENT, “Of whom [Israelites] as concerning the flesh [manhood] Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever [Deity]. Amen” (Rom. 9:5). It is to be carefully noted, that prophecy presents our Lord as being both God and Man in one blessed Person—the Child of days, yet at the same time the mighty God; the Son given, yet at the same time the everlasting Father. The prophet Micah brings out the same thought, that the One to be born at Bethlehem was “from everlasting,” never having a beginning, which could only be said of God, and no one else. Who can understand this wonderful mystery? It is a foundation upon which all truth rests.
PROPHECY, “They pierced My hands and My feet . . . They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture” (Ps. 22:16, 18). This prophecy was uttered a thousand years before its fulfilment, and at a time when there was not the remotest sign to suggest the prophecy.
FULFILMENT, “And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots” (Matt. 27:35). Crucifixion involved the piercing of the hands and feet of our beloved Lord. The callous Roman soldiers had no idea they were fulfilling prophecy, when they gambled for our Lord’s garments at the foot of the cross.
PROPHECY, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5).
FULFILMENT, “Who [the Lord Jesus Christ] His own Self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Pet 2:24). Isaiah’s prophecy is the clearest and fullest presentation of the atoning sacrifice of our Lord on the cross to be found in the whole of the Scriptures. In Old Testament times it must have been used to give many a weary seeker peace of soul; and it is as much used today in pointing anxious enquirers to the only Saviour. It very clearly teaches that our Lord died, as bearing the judgment our sins deserved, affording God a righteous ground for offering the forgiveness of sins through faith in the One who died on the cross.
PROPHECY, “When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, 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. 53:10-11). This most plainly points to our Lord’s resurrection, that which was said of Him referring to happenings to take place after His atoning death on the cross, after His soul had been made an offering for sin.
FULFILMENT, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the Firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order; Christ the Firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming” (1 Cor. 15:20-23). “And they sung a new song. . . Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9).
A CHALLENGE WITH ONLY ONE ANSWER
With the foregoing prophecies and fulfilments before us, we can positively issue the challenge, that there is no other book in all the literature of the world, save the Bible, in which detailed prophecies have been made at a time when there was not the slightest indication of their fulfilment, and yet in due time the prophecies were fulfilled to the very letter. Many attempts have been made to explain away these miracles, which attempts in the end demanded belief in impossible, and sometimes completely foolish, explanations, far more difficult to believe, than the claim made by the prophecies themselves.
Believing as we do, that there is a Supreme Being, and that He created man with intelligence far beyond the beasts of the field, it is not difficult to believe that He would seek the spiritual blessing of His creatures, and so give to us the one inspired book, the Bible, the Holy Scriptures of truth. Nor has there been any book, save the Bible, that has had and still has even today, a tithe of its influence in the world. That cannot be denied! How completely satisfying is the Bible’s account of the origin of prophecy, “Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21). “All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by His hand upon me” (1 Chr. 28:19). The Scriptures carry their own conviction, that they are inspired of God.
There is a story told in a parable form of a great debate taking place between those who believed in the inspiration of the Bible, and those who did not, as is the case with modernists at the present time. When the noise and din of wordy battle ceased, the sixty-six books of the Bible advanced with smiling faces and triumphant voices, saying, “Do thyself no harm: for we are all here” (See Acts 16:28). How true it is, that “we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Cor. 13:8). “His truth endures to all generations” (Ps. 100:5).
PART 2: THE WONDER OF OUR BODIES
We have been considering the wonders of the world, let us now consider the wonders of our own bodies. Have you, boys and girls, ever thought of the many twos, or pairs, we have in our bodies, such as two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs, etc.? The members of our bodies are generally called organs. In everyday life we find that all our organs are necessary, and that they form one harmonious whole. We need our eyes to see with, our ears to hear with, our hands to work with, our legs to walk with; and all the time our hearts are busy pumping blood through our veins from the crown of our head to the soles of our feet; and our lungs are continually supplying us with the necessary air. We may well sing with the Psalmist, “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are Thy works . . . and in Thy book all my members were written” (Ps. 139:14, 16).
We have two eyes, the organs of sight. They are most scientifically constructed, so much so that Charles Darwin wrote, “To suppose that the eye with its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic abberations, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.” To the last he admitted this, though it gave him “a cold shiver,” and well it might, for it did not fit in with his theory of evolution. Why have we two eyes? Would not one be sufficient to see with? It would, but we heard recently of a man, who was chopping wood, when a sharp-pointed splinter flew up, and struck him in an eye. Instantly the eye was destroyed, trickling down his cheek in a watery fluid. How deeply grateful must that man have been to the Creator, that He had given him two eyes, so that in losing one, he was not totally blind.
There is, however, a very good reason why we should have two eyes. Place your hand over one of your eyes, and you will find you have lost half your vision on that side of your face, whereas with two eyes you have full vision, which enables you to see on either side of your head.
A special covering for our precious eyes is given to us in eyelids, which protect our eyes when we are asleep, or can come to our help when our eyes are in sudden danger. Our eyes are necessary for our everyday life, and give us pleasure as well. We see the faces of our loved ones and friends, and then how often do we feast our eyes in looking at lovely scenery—the mighty mountains, the rolling plains, the vast oceans, the stately trees, the beautiful flowers, the wonderful sunsets of autumn skies in all their glorious colouring, and lastly the amazing sight of the heavens with their myriad stars shining through the dark night, all reflecting the glory of our great Creator-God.
We have two ears, the organs of hearing. We are apt to forget what we owe to them, for they never fail to warn us of approaching danger. How often we might have been knocked down by a passing vehicle, and killed on the spot, but for the warning our ears give. It is the silence of the bicycle, which makes them a great danger on the road. So much so, that when our ears do not give us warning, as in this case, we have to depend on our eyes to do so. Partially deaf people experience painfully how their infirmity exposes them to greater danger; besides which their pleasure is greatly lessened when they cannot join freely in conversation with their friends. The ears are models of wonderful contrivance. We have all heard of the ear-drum, or tympanum. How happy it would be, if we all could join with the youthful Samuel’s prayer, “Speak, LORD, for Thy servant hears” (1 Sam. 3:9).
We have two arms, but what use would they be, had we no hands? And what use would our hands be, had we no fingers? And what use would our fingers be, had they no joints, enabling us to get a grip of the tool we work with, or to enable us to carry heavy weights.
And then how useful and ornamental are the nails on the tips of our fingers in such matters as picking up small objects, opening a pocket knife, untying knots, and in other ways. They are made of a horny substance, and trimming them every now and again with a pair of scissors is a painless operation. That it is painless, shows how kind and thoughtful our Creator is, who ordains these details for our comfort, ease and benefit.
We have two hands, and on each of them five fingers. The second, third, fourth and fifth fingers are in a straight line of slightly unequal length, but all arranged with care, so as to fit them for the work the hand is designed to do. The hand is jointed on to the arm at the wrist, so that it can bend easily, and that in more than one direction. In addition to this each of the four fingers has three joints, one at the junction of the hand and finger, the other two joints are in the fingers themselves, all making bending easy.
Of the first finger, which has a special name, the thumb, we must take a fuller notice. It has three joints, one near the wrist, another making the junction of the thumb to the hand, and one joint in the thumb itself. The thumb is set at some distance from the four fingers, and at a different angle. How wondrously planned is the human hand for the use it is designed.
We could lose one, or even two of the four fingers, and yet possess a fairly serviceable hand, but if we lost the thumb we should indeed be crippled. We should not be able to handle a tool, saw a piece of wood, dig with a spade, carry heavy weights, or even write a letter with ease and comfort. Without the help of two arms, two hands, two thumbs and fingers father would not be able to perform the daily task of fastening his collar and necktie when dressing, nor would the daily domestic task of washing-up be performed.
MAN ONLY HAS AN OPPOSABLE THUMB
The thumb has a special adjective attached to it. It is called opposable, which means that the four fingers and the thumb are so planned in relation to each other in size and position that they easily touch each other from opposite directions. Without this arrangement we could not get a firm grip on anything held in the hand. Just try to carry a book without using your thumb, and you will quickly realise what an important place the thumb has in the hand.
And please make a careful note, that man is the only part of God’s creation with an opposable thumb. You may perhaps point out that apes and monkeys have thumbs as well as man. That is of course quite true, but there is a great difference between the human thumb, and those of apes and monkeys. Their thumbs are not opposable. The next time you visit the Zoological Gardens examine carefully their thumbs and fingers. You will notice two thing—their thumb is set at a good distance from the fingers, and is also short in length. In such a case it is impossible for their thumb and fingers to meet, but they can grasp the branches of the trees in which they make their home, fitting them for the life their Creator has designed for them.
We have two legs, enabling us to walk, jump and run. If we were to lose a leg, we should be unable to walk, save with the help of a wooden leg and the like. We remember a friend returning from work at the close of a busy day, tired out and exhausted, and covered by perspiration, unscrewing his heavy wooden leg, weighing several pounds. We were very sorry to see him in this sad condition.
But even if we had two good legs, what use would they be, if we had no feet on which to stand, and wherewith to walk? On each foot we have five jointed toes whereby to grip the ground. The first toe of the five is called the great toe, because of its size and importance. We might lose one, or even two, of our five toes, and yet be able to walk fairly well, but the loss of the great toe would render us severely crippled. I had a friend, who had half his toes cut off in a railway accident, and it was a pitiable sight, to mark how slowly he walked with difficulty and distress.
In ancient times the special place and usefulness of the thumb of the hand and the great toe of the foot were fully recognised. We read in the Bible of a great king, Adoni-bezek, who was defeated in battle, and in attempting to escape was captured, and his thumbs and great toes were cut off. When he was thus mutilated, he exclaimed, “Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God has requited me” (Judges 1:7). Without the thumbs and great toes a warrior would be unable to fight, and escape from the enemy would be made most difficult.
The nose is the organ wherewith we smell, and with its two nostrils is an important part of the body, both for use and adornment. If you put your finger to your nose, you will feel hard, unyielding bone, which presently gives place to a soft, yielding substance called gristle or cartilage, which feels like something halfway between flesh and bone. Here is another striking case in which God cares for our comfort and well-being in little things, as well as in great. That God takes note of little things, as well as of great ones, is a mark of His greatness.
If the unyielding bone were to continue to the tip of our nose, the humble but necessary operation of blowing the nose would be difficult, awkward, and perhaps painful, especially in the case of a running cold, when this operation must be often repeated. The yielding gristle or cartilage at the tip of the nose makes the blowing of the nose a simple and effective operation. How design marks everything in God’s creation!
How remarkably Scripture points out the lessons we have been putting forward. We read, “The body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased Him” (1 Cor. 12:14-18). And surely as it has pleased Him, on our side we may well praise Him for the wonders of our bodies, everything designed by God for our comfort, well-being and happiness.
EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT AT THE START
A motor to travel the roads, an aeroplane to fly through the air, the submarine to move under the water, even the everyday “push-bike,” were never perfect at the start. Defects were discovered and remedied, improvements were added, till at last the invention could be acclaimed as sufficiently perfect. But when God created, everything that came from His blessed hands was perfect from the very first.
THE ORGANS INSIDE OUR BODIES
We have two lungs, the organs for breathing. Here we find a very arresting example of God’s wonderful arrangement. When you breathe in, or inhale, you breathe in oxygen, a gas without smell, colour or taste, and absolutely necessary for man’s existence. When we breathe out, or exhale, we do not breathe out oxygen, as we might expect, but we find a chemical change has taken place in the act of breathing, and we breathe out carbonic gas, which is poisonous to man. If you breathe through a tube into water, you would find it turning cloudy and chalky in appearance, showing the presence of carbonic gas.
Here comes the wonderful provision in nature. Trees, shrubs, plants, vegetables, act in exactly the opposite way. They inhale carbonic gas, and exhale pure oxygen, thus keeping up an unending supply of oxygen for human consumption; just as at the other end, human beings provide an unending supply of carbonic gas for the vegetable world. Thus the balance of nature is preserved by an all-wise Creator. We have two lungs, and when one is attacked by pleurisy or pneumonia, how thankful we may be to have a second lung to put up a fight for life. When both lungs are involved, it is serious indeed.
We have two kidneys, organs charged with the task of throwing out of the system the waste secretions of our bodies. When the nutritious part of our food is separated from that which cannot be used for the building up of our bodies in strength and health, this matter is known as waste secretions. The kidneys have a very important work to do, if we are to retain health. I know a dear friend, who, years ago, had to have a diseased kidney removed by a surgeon. How thankful she was, and all her friends, that the second kidney has gallantly performed the work of two kidneys from that day to this, maintaining her in health.
THE STRONGEST ORGAN OF ALL, THE HUMAN HEART
The human heart is the strongest organ in the body. It is the citadel of life. It pumps blood through numberless veins, maintaining circulation throughout the whole body. The heart beats about seventy times to the minute. At that rate, counting seventy years as the allotted span of life, the heart would beat about 2,500,000,000 times. It goes on unceasingly, whether we are waking or sleeping, day after day, week after week, year after year. It dare not take five minutes rest, for that would mean sudden death. It never knows a holiday. It battles bravely when we are ill, in which case the heart beats faster. Who started the heart to beat? Who decreed that life should be in the blood (Lev. 17:11)? God, and only God!
We have looked with admiration and wonder at the powerful machinery of a cross-channel steamer. We have watched with fascination the mighty steel piston-rods, with their mighty thrust forward and backward, driving the great steamer through the water, often against wind and tide. And yet in the course of twenty or thirty years this powerful machinery will be worn out and scrapped, whilst the little human heart will beat on for seventy or eighty years or more, and in some cases even over one hundred years, and that without once stopping. It is perfectly amazing, a miracle of the first order.
THE POWER OF SPEECH
There is one thing that most pre-eminently marks the difference between man and the lower creation, and that is the power of speech. This accomplishment is wonderful beyond words. Lions roar, elephants trumpet, horses neigh, cattle low, dogs bark, cats mew, monkeys gibber, parrots screech, and birds sing. Man alone stands out unique in all the creation of God as having the amazing power of speech. This demands power of mind far beyond those of the lower creation. The following table will prove this, giving the proportion between brain and spinal column:
In fishes 2 to 1
In reptiles 2.5 to 1
In birds 3 to 1
In animals 4 to 1
IN MAN 33 to 1
Note the slow upward gradations from fishes to animals, and then the perfectly astonishing jump from animals to man, a number multiplied no less than over eight times. Can this be called comparison? It is stark contrast! Surely we have here a great gulf fixed between the empty imagination of the evolutionists, and the majestic and dignified account of creation, as presented in the Bible.
HOW HUMAN SPEECH BEGINS
It is very interesting to trace how speech begins with an infant. First there are the baby gurglings and babblings, so dear to every mother’s heart. With opening intelligence the child begins unconsciously to copy its elders. The child with British parents will speak English; another with French parents will speak French; another with Indian parents will speak an Indian language; another with Chinese parents will speak Chinese. The child picks up a word here and a word there, and gradually puts words and then sentences together, till at last the child can speak intelligently and freely. Quite unconsciously the child has mastered the elements and structure of grammar. This is nothing short of amazing, and in the end prepares man to hear God speak.
THE PRONUNCIATION OF WORDS
Speech comes from the combined movements of the mouth—tongue, teeth, lips, palate, that is the roof of the mouth. Take for instance the big word, civilisation, consisting of five syllables. In order to pronounce this word five distinct movements must be made by different members of the mouth, in order to mould the word into definite speech. The child has no idea of this, and even a grown-up person may try to understand how speech is formed by pronouncing words very slowly, and taking careful note of the way the word is spoken, and yet when he is actually speaking he is no more conscious of how the words flow from his lips, than the infant just beginning to speak.
ONLY SPEAKING MAN CAN ORGANIZE
Intelligence and speech enable man to organize. This no animal can do. You may reply that animals are intelligent. Yes, but the wonderful things they do, are accomplished by instinct. You ask me, What is instinct? Instinct is a natural impulse, born in the animal, not acquired by copying others, or by training.
For instance beavers, as large as dogs, and not unlike in appearance, live in the neighbourhood of streams and rivers, catching fish for their food. They build marvellous dams across streams to protect their living quarters. The parent-beaver does not hand on this knowledge to her offspring by teaching them how to do it, but when the time comes for the offspring to make dams, they do so by instinct in exactly the same way as their ancestors have done for generations. Birds build their nests, each kind in its own way, and we marvel how beautifully they are constructed, and yet birds have no hands. The tiny little ants build huge ant-hills, where they can be in safety. I have seen these ant-hills by the score in the course of a mile or two in Australia, some of them two feet and more high, made of materials baked in the sun to a compactness that even a pick-axe finds it hard work to break up. The honeycombs of bees are built upon highly scientific principles.
None of these activities can be described as being under the head of intelligent organization, as we use the word. These activities are all connected with their own comfort and safety. In no way do they threaten mankind, and are always instinctive. If animals had the power of speech and organizing ability, man would be in great and constant danger, for many animals are stronger than man.
A HORRIBLE DREAM
For instance, suppose you fell asleep, and had a horrible nightmare of a dream. You dreamed that you were in a field in which was a raging bull and a few cows. Your greatest desire would be to escape from the bull into a place of safety. You looked anxiously at the gate, that gave entrance to the field, and you hoped you might escape that way. Imagine your horror when you dreamed that you heard the bull speaking, ordering two cows to guard the gate immediately, and prevent escape that way. Then you thought of a gap in the hedge, but to your dismay you found that was already guarded by cows. Then the most awful part of your dream came. You dreamed that the wild bull, roaring and bellowing with rage, was just about to gore you and toss you up with his terrible horns. You awoke screaming, trembling from head to foot, and covered with perspiration. How deeply thankful you would be that it was only a dreadful dream, and not a grim reality. How rejoiced you would be that animals could not speak, nor were possessed of organizing ability.
PART 3: MAN’S SPIRITUAL BEING AND DESTINY
Now we come to a most important part of our talks together, and I greatly hope that you, boys and girls, will read again and again what we write on this subject, and think about it. We will begin by pointing out three outstanding things that mark the creation of man. The creation of man was not a mass movement, as was the case of the lower creation. We read, “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so” (Gen. 1:24). This is the description of a mass movement, and whilst it takes in the whole of living things on earth, yet there is one great exception—MAN. On the contrary (1) man was a SPECIAL creation of God from the first. We read, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). There is no mass movement here. A single individual was in view.
And further we read, “And God said (2): Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). This is an amazing privilege, plainly not shared by the lower creation. It is not a question of ape developing into an ape-man, and then into a man-ape, and finally into man, the evolution of which, they tell us, taking millions of years, and even then not taking into account the spiritual nature of man, which evolutionists admit, but cannot explain.
Furthermore (3) God placed man to be the Head of the lower creation, and to have dominion over the same. We read, “And God said . . . let them [Adam and Eve] have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26). What an absolutely different story is this from the idea of evolution. Lastly the New Testament puts very high honour upon man, saying, “Who is the figure of Him [the Lord Jesus Christ] that was to come” (Rom. 5:14). Could honour be higher? This account of creation has the true marks of divine inspiration upon it.
MAN IS MADE UP OF SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY
Scripture is very plain, that man is made up of three parts—spirit, soul and body. The beautiful prayer is recorded in the Holy Scripture, that “your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23). Our spirit and soul are unseen; the body is seen. Yet the unseen is more important than the seen, for the Scriptures tell us, “The body without the spirit is dead” (James 2:26).
All life is mysterious, and must ever remain so, for in its essence and origin, it is God’s secret. In the British Association meetings the most difficult section they have to deal with is confessedly that of the “biological,” which deals with life and its manifestations. It is only Scripture that throws real light on the subject, and to refuse or neglect what the word of God teaches, is only to go far astray, as we have seen in the case of the evolutionists. There is a solemn warning in Scripture, which tells us of men not liking to retain God in their knowledge, being given over by God to “a reprobate mind” (Rom. 1:28).
THE SOUL OF MAN EXISTS AFTER THE DEATH OF THE BODY
We can of course take notice of that within our observation, how life begins with an infant, develops into manhood and womanhood, passes on to old age with its decreasing powers, and ends in the death of the body. The animal dies, and ceases to exist, as if it had never existed, but when a human being dies, the body dies, but the spirit and soul continue to exist, but in another sphere than that of earth.
Who shall draw back the curtain, and show us what lies beyond this life? Certainly no mere man! Can anyone be better qualified to enlighten us, than the One who came down from heaven to earth in order to die an atoning death on the cross of Calvary, so that the offer of forgiveness of sins might be made to all mankind through faith in Him, and by the efficacy of His most precious blood. Our Lord spoke of a rich man and a beggar. Here are His own words, “It came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:22-23). Our Lord used symbolic language to emphasize and make vivid the truth He wished to convey to the minds of His hearers, and in no wise to lessen its solemn meaning. His words most clearly teach the survival of the soul after the death of the body, and that in two conditions. The beggar went to heaven and was comforted; in contrast the rich man went to hell, and was tormented. Scripture throws great light on the truth of the survival of the soul after the death of the body. There lies ahead for everyone of us the resurrection of the body, which cremation of the dead, so popular in these days, does not and cannot set aside.
The Sadducees, a Jewish sect, did not believe in the resurrection of the body, and brought forward the supposed case of a woman, having had seven husbands, eventually dying. They thought to trap the Lord in His speech, when they asked the question as to this woman, “In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife” (Mark 12:23).
Our Lord answered to their confusion, saying, “Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I AM the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err” (Mark 12:24-27).
At the time our Lord spoke these words, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as to their bodies, had been dead for hundreds of years, yet our Lord did not say, I WAS (past tense), but “I AM (present tense) the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Our Lord clearly claimed they were alive spiritually at that very moment, even if their bodies had crumbled long since into dust.
We cannot find any reference to the resurrection of the spirit and soul in the Scriptures, for the plain reason that spirit and soul do not cease to exist when the body dies. Of what use would resurrection be, if there were not living spirits and souls to be reunited to resurrected bodies? Read our Lord’s own words. “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29). How truly kind and merciful is God to give us these warnings as to the future, so that we should not go blindly and unwarned into the eternity that lies before each one of us.
At a later date in our Lord’s life, Scripture records the presence of Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration in the company of our Lord, and in conversation with Him. Moses had been dead, and Elijah had been translated to heaven without dying, centuries before, and here they were alive, a perfect demonstration of uninterrupted and continuous life of the spirit and soul after the death of the body.
HOW TO BE SURE OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE INVISIBLE
We remember being asked by a lad, how could he be sure, that he had a spirit, seeing it is invisible? We asked him how he could be sure that there was a wind, seeing it is invisible? He replied that it was true, he could not see the wind, but he was sure there was a wind for he often felt it blow on his face, and sometimes so strongly, as to blow his cap off his head. We replied that was just the way we know that we have a spirit, because we have felt God’s inward voice speaking to us, telling us when we do right, and when we do wrong.
Scripture itself uses the illustration of wind in connection with the Holy Spirit of God. We read, “The wind blows where it lists, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it comes, and whither it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). It is remarkable that in this Scripture in the Greek New Testament the word for Spirit and wind is the same, so we felt our illustration of the wind was happily used.
On the great day of Pentecost the divine record tells us, that the descent of the Holy Spirit of God was accompanied by “a sound from heaven, as of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they [the disciples] were sitting” (Acts 2:2). Surely all felt the presence and influence of the Holy Spirit of God on that day, one of the most eventful in the history of the world.
WHAT IS THE SOUL?
What is the soul? It is the living, vital part of man, that thinks, desires, feels and loves, the power that directs all the movements of our bodies. If we only had a body, we should have no thinking, no speaking, no seeing, no hearing, and no loving, and what use would that be? But when the soul is in the body, how different everything is. We think, we desire, we speak, we see, we hear, we love. The Bible says, “The LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). Our every action is a proof that we have a soul, though invisible. How very favoured we are, and responsible, too, for this precious gift of life from God.
WHAT IS THE SPIRIT?
The soul is not the highest part of man. The soul is linked up with our bodies, and our natural desires, as we have just seen. The spirit has a special link with God, as the following Scriptures will clearly show. We read
“And they fell upon their faces, and said O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh” (Num. 16:22).
“Thus says God the LORD, He that created the heavens, and stretched then out; He that spread forth the earth, and that which comes out of it; He that gives breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein” (Isa. 42:5).
“The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, says the LORD, which stretches forth the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man, within him” (Zech. 12:1).
“The word of God is quick [literally, living] and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
“We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Heb. 12:9).
We gather from these Scriptures very clearly, that a man’s spirit has a special relation to God, not shared by the lower creation. As we study Scripture referring to the spirit, we learn three things of outstanding importance.
First, man alone has the capacity to realize the existence of a Creator-God. The existence of God does not remotely pass through the mind of an animal. Throw a Bible into the cage of the most intelligent ape that ever existed, and what will be his reaction? He will examine it to see if it is eatable, and not finding it to be so, might proceed to lighten the boredom of his existence behind bars by tearing it to pieces page by page. But present the Bible to an ordinary man, he has no difficulty in reading it and perceiving that the Bible presents the thought of a Creator-God.
Second, the discovery that man owes his existence to God, leads to the truth of his accountability to Him. We read, “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he has done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).
THE SPIRIT GIVES TO MAN A CONSCIENCE
Third, and this is of the very highest importance. (1) The capacity to realize the existence of God as Creator; (2) carrying with it as a consequence our accountability to Him; (3) leads us to a further fact of supreme importance, viz., that God in His wisdom and kindness has bestowed upon man a spirit, which shows itself, as giving him a conscience. You ask, What is conscience? Do you remember, boys and girls, when you were really very naughty, that an inward voice told you how wrong you were? That inward voice was conscience. When I was a boy, I often heard that voice, and now I am grown up, and sometimes get impatient, in plain language lose my temper, the inward voice speaks up, and tells me how wrong I am, and wise am I, if I pay attention, and listen gratefully to this wise voice, that would preserve me from evil doing. It is not that I hear an actual voice, but a thought suddenly comes to me, which is the voice of conscience. The Bible tells us of those who show “the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” (Rom. 2:15).
THE SOUL AND THE SPIRIT BEING “DIVIDED ASUNDER”
The Scripture we have quoted, speaks of soul and spirit being divided by the two-edged sword of the Spirit, the word of God (Heb. 4:12). What can this mean? It certainly speaks of inward conflict. It is happy indeed when the soul and the spirit in man are of one mind. But it is not always so. Have we not experienced this conflict between spirit and soul? Have we not had the experience of the soul desiring some gratification of the flesh, something dishonouring to the Lord, and the voice of the spirit plainly saying that was wrong, and should not be indulged in. Sometimes we feel as if soul and spirit were having an argument within us, and if we did not pay heed to the voice of the spirit, we would surely go astray. The Word of God through the spirit is “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart,” telling us what is right, and what is wrong. How wise and good of God to give us this inward voice, the higher part of man’s being, that only man possesses, for man alone is held responsible for all that he does.
We have in the Scriptures an interesting case, where conscience worked. The Pharisees caught a woman guilty of a very serious sin, the punishment of which under the law of Moses was death. They dragged her into the presence of the Lord with the base object of entrapping Him in His speech. If He said, “Stone her, and carry out the law,” where would His character for love be? If, on the other side, He said, “Forgive her,” where would His character for righteousness and truth be? Thus they argued, but the Lord brought dismay into every Pharisee’s heart when He said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her . . . and they, which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last” (John 8:3, 11). Such was the power of accusing conscience in the presence of Him who knew the innermost secrets of their hearts. This leads us to a very instructive lesson.
THE GIVING OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
To give man a standard whereby to measure conduct, God gave to the children of Israel the Ten Commandments, when they were journeying in the desert of Sinai on their way to the promised land of Canaan.
This occasion was one of the utmost importance, not only for the children of Israel, but in the history of the whole world. It was marked by great happenings. Moses, the leader of the children of Israel, was told to ascend to the top of Mount Sinai, where he would meet God. We read, “There were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled . . . and Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly” (Ex. 19:16, 18). God’s own fingers wrote the Ten Commandments upon tables of stone, as a standard of life in relation to God, and to each other, whilst finally the lesson stretched out to the whole world, as we read, “Now we know that what things soever the law says, it says to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and ALL THE WORLD may become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19).
When our Lord was here on earth, He summed up the law most beautifully under one word, LOVE. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22:37-39). What a happy world this would be, if this law of love were faithfully carried out! Do we love God with all our heart? Do we love our neighbours as oneself? We are commanded not to kill, not to commit adultery, not to steal, not to bear false witness, not to covet. We would certainly not do any of these forbidden things, did we love our neighbour as oneself.
But what do we really find? The law is like a plumb-line, which, showing the crookedness of the wall, has no power whatever to make the wall straight. One, who most earnestly sought to keep the whole law, and who was blameless in his outward life, had to confess, “The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death” (Rom. 7:10). Nor was this alone the experience of Saul of Tarsus, afterwards known as the Apostle Paul.
It is the experience of all who earnestly endeavour to keep the Ten Commandments. The law is not satisfied, unless it be kept perfectly in all its parts, for “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). It is like a man hanging over a precipice on a chain of ten links. It matters not which link is broken, the man is dashed to pieces on the rocks below. Who amongst us has kept the law perfectly? Have you? Have I? The nearer we get to the light, the more we shall realize how much we have failed.
The plumb-line of the law shows how every wall is crooked without exception. There is nothing wrong with the law, it is good, true and holy, but we are weak and sinful and needy, shut up to the mercy of God, if we are to be eternally blessed. The law was given to the children of Israel, but their inability to keep it, even in one solitary exception, suffices to embrace the whole world in its condemnation, and that the only way of escape from the judgment our sins deserve, lies in the grace of God, and in His provision of a Saviour. We read, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:21-23).
A GOD-PROVIDED SAVIOUR
How thankful we may be that the Saviour has been provided for us by God Himself, that the One, against whom we have sinned, and from whom we might have expected judgment on account of our sins, has Himself acted on our behalf. We read, “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14). There was not one good enough, or great enough, to take the sinner’s place, not one able to bear the judgment, but “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
A SOLEMN AND MUCH-NEEDED WARNING
But here a solemn word of warning is necessary. It is alas! widely held, and preached too from many pulpits, that because our Lord died on the cross of Calvary, and “gave Himself a ransom FOR ALL” (1 Tim. 2:6), that therefore everybody is thereby saved, and that without any repentance, or act of faith on their part. This is Satan’s deadly deceit, luring multitudes to eternal destruction. Nothing is further from the truth. By it multitudes are given a false security, as to how they stand in relation to God, and are indulging in a false hope, that when they die, they are assured of an entrance into eternal bliss.
Well might the late General Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, give a most solemn warning, that the great spiritual danger of the present time is:
Religion without the Holy Ghost,
Christianity without Christ,
Forgiveness without repentance,
Morality without God,
Heaven without hell.
A missionary, who worked in a large seaport town, visiting all the incoming steamers, climbed up the rope ladder to pay a visit. As he stepped on board the steamer, he asked the first sailor he met, if there were any Christians on board. With a vile and shocking oath, he replied, “What do you take us for? Are we Turks, infidels or Jews?—we are all Christians here!” Could anything be more lamentable? Not only the foul-mouthed sailor, but many a good-living clergyman, or minister, repeating this lie of the devil, priding themselves on their breadth of mind, and freedom from narrow ideas, will wake up to find out at the last the bitterness of their delusion, when death shall have put them beyond the opportunity of rectifying their mistake. Let us be warned in time.
Scripture makes it abundantly plain: the distinction between believer and unbeliever, between a true Christian, and a mere nominal professor. There is no mistaking the meaning of these words. We read, “He that believes on Him [the Lord Jesus Christ] is NOT CONDEMNED: but he that believes not is CONDEMNED ALREADY, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). We are emboldened to trust the Saviour, for we have His own reassuring word, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Our Lord does not go back on His word. It is Christ’s atoning work on the cross of Calvary that saves, and not any works that we can do; it is God’s word, and not our feelings, that make us sure of the blessing received. How comforting are the words of Scripture to true believers. We read, “These things have I written unto you, that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye HAVE eternal life” (1 John 5:13). KNOW means positive assurance; HAVE means present possession here and now of the untold blessings of the gospel of the grace of God.
WHAT IS CONVERSION?
The person, who from the heart believes on the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, and confesses Him as Lord, experiences an inward change. This is very evident, and the change cannot but be seen by those who come into contact with such. That is the meaning of the word, conversion, that inward change, that takes place when “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21) have wrought their blessed work in the soul.
We must ever remember that, “faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). We are utterly powerless to do works to procure salvation, for salvation is “the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). Works acceptable to God are the evidence of faith, working out in life, “faith which works by love” (Gal. 5:6). Thus it must ever be. May this priceless salvation, boys and girls, be yours in the great mercy of God, and through the merits of His blessed Son, who died to save us. Surely such love calls for a response on our part. Shall we give it to Him?