All subject to bondage -- Victims
of modem environment -- Baffled enquirers -- The wrong key --
A real live message of hope - "Snow-men" objections
melt in the sun.
is vanity and vexation of spirit." -- Solomon.
Do you expect to die at some
time or other? If you do, then this book has been SPECIALLY WRITTEN
It is a reasoned attempt to point the way of escape from a calamity
which, all our life long, hangs over our head, suspended by a
thread, like the sword of Damocles.
Everyone fears death: unbeliever and believer alike; for we notice
that "Christian" believers in heaven-going at death
generally shew little disposition to take the plunge. They regard
their doctor as a better friend than their undertaker, for when
the undertaker is obligingly waiting to conduct them to "realms
of heavenly bliss," they hurriedly send for their doctor,
in undignified haste, in order for him to delay the experiment.
Yes--experiment! That is what they really feel it to be, and
with these anxious misgivings they prefer to remain as long as
possible in this "vale of tears."
There is a strong natural reason for this instinctive fear of
death which no pagan belief in the immortality of the soul can
quieten. It has been truly said: "The strength of natural
instinct can never be overcome by theological fiction. Men will
never practically believe the occurrence of death to be the commencement
of life, when they see it to be the extinction of all they ever
knew or felt of life."
Paul, writing on this subject of universal concern, declared
of all humanity:
"Through fear of death
they were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Heb. 2:15.
And whatever we are, Christian,
Atheist, or Agnostic, that fear is implanted deep in our very
A remedy for this evil state of affairs is either despaired of
or disbelieved. Thus, at times when extremes of danger serve
to force the unwelcome subject on men's attention, we find them
countering its dread by foolish jokes and banter.
Grim jokes, however, are neither a palliative nor a cure, and
one day, in everyone's life, this problem has to be faced in
all its naked terror--this problem which is at once as ancient
as Adam, and as modern as this morning's sunrise.
Indeed, it has ever been a "modern" problem in all
ages, for all are "modern" in their turn. Nelson lived
in a "modern" age in his day. His was an age of great
consequence and importance--to itself. But today the ant-like
activities of Nelson and his contemporaries have passed away
with the stream of time, and today not a soul of his generation
remains alive on the earth. Instead, the world today is being
run by men and women who were then unborn, and who are in the
main as indifferent to Nelson's age and activities as the next
generation will be to theirs.
Thus, you see, the problem is ever modern for every modern man.
The time to face it and, if we can, solve it, is now. Past generations
have no further opportunity, and as for future generations, the
problem for them does not yet exist.
While it would be impossible to write on any other subject and
engage the attention of persons with so many differing interests,
stations in life, and temperaments, here we have a subject which
touches upon something that affects us all in common.
All of us, without distinction of age, sex, or rank, are but
feeble, transient organisms, energised by and depending on the
breath of life to maintain us in hourly being. All of us are
destined to live merely for a short space, and then to pass away
like ephemeral May-flies. For death visits the palaces of kings
and the cottages of shepherds alike; it is indiscriminate, impartial,
impassive, and implacable--death is the common denominator of
the sum of human existence.
Air liners, wireless, television, X-rays, and wonder drugs, make
our modern world very different, outwardly, from those of past
ages. The modern world in which you and I live is a very wonderful
place. Labour saving and time saving devices, in industry and
the home, made possible by the amazing advance of science, have
increased our leisure and contributed to the comfort and pleasure
of countless millions.
In the field of medicine and surgery we see the same revolutionary
progress of recent years, and men now speak as if science bids
fair to introduce a scientific millennium.
A GILDED CONDEMNED
But things are very far from being so progressively promising
as this. It must be apparent to everyone who thinks at all, that
the real need for human happiness is security from suffering,
disease, and death. Without this, every other benefit, relatively
great though it be, is only a palliative to relieve, not a remedy
It is very much like providing more cushions for the chairs,
and dainties for the meals, of men condemned to death and awaiting
the arrival of the hangman. It is very kind of science to make
our brief stay in the condemned cell a little brighter, while
we wait our turn to be hanged. Very nice also of medical science
to relieve the pain of the rope at the last; it makes dying so
much easier than it used to be for our forerunners who never
lived in a fit scientific age."
What we should appreciate far more, however, would
be the king's reprieve. We should then enjoy the simple things
of life, if only assured of their continuance, so much better
than an electric-lit, cushioned, and gilded condemned cell.
But, of course, the most optimistic scientist holds out no such
visionary hope. He says, "We belong to a condemned race,
and no reprieve need be expected; suffering and death are inevitable,
and we must make the best of it." Very practical words,
very philosophical words, but very comfortless words. Never mind,
science has not said the last word on the subject by any means,
as you will see later on.
We must acknowledge, however, that while all goes reasonably
well with us and our loved ones, the scientific amenities which
minister to our comfort and pleasure do induce a feeling of well-being
and peace towards the world -- the modern world that science
has given us.
But even assuming that settled and happy conditions at present
prevail in our domestic circles, it is not possible to count
on their indefinite continuance. Human affairs are, of all things,
the most subject to change, and one day, in my life and in yours,
they will change for the worse--accident, ill-health, bereavement.
Then what has science to offer us? Science gave us the cinema
and the wireless, very good narcotics to soothe the vexations
and frets of the daily round, if our tastes should run in those
directions. But for the greater ills of life, which come to us
all in turn, they are mocking, ineffective, and unavailing. Moving
pictures won't mend broken hearts.
Our modern grief, despite our modern progress, is as deep and
poignant in this respect as was the sorrow of our forebears in
the days of Elizabeth and Drake. In spite of living in a modem
age, we are still no better placed in this matter than were the
"IS LIFE WORTH
Now, if you are a man or woman given to thought, however casual
or infrequent it may be, you must realise the unpleasant truth
of our remarks. At times, at least, you have experienced a feeling
of frustration, a feeling of the futility of life, which has
found expression in a sigh and the exclamation, "Is life
You may even have gone on to think a little deeper. You may have
got as far as yearning for something to fill a gap, which, although
you cannot define it, yet you feel to exist -- a something which
would not only give life a meaning but a purpose also, something
which would recompense you for all the suffering and sorrow which
you perforce have to undergo. And then, somehow the problem remained
unsolved, and was dismissed with a shrug, which was a mixture
of resignation and despair -- "Oh, well, I suppose what
is to be will be."
Of course you will probably realise that there are people who
have not so despaired, people who have opinions concerning
these ills and their remedy? They are not so numerous as they
once were, but that is because we are living in an age which
is so markedly different.
Without committing ourselves to the religious opinions of the
Victorians, we can look back, in order to see the contrast between
their age and ours. In the days of our grandfathers, people in
general were satisfied that the reason of, and the cure for,
our ills was to be found in the Bible. The present generation,
on the contrary, will look to any other authority except the
We have travelled a long way since those days when a Bible was
to be found in railway station waiting rooms, and hotel bedrooms;
when Bible discussion was a regular feature of the daily press
and periodical magazines; discussion in which the leading statesmen
of the day and other public figures enthusiastically joined.
All this has passed now and given place to a new order and a
new outlook. Bible discussion today sends everyone into a strained
silence. It is as if a Wellsian ape-man suddenly made his appearance
at an Embassy reception at the height of its refined festivities-just
the last thing to be thought about, and entirely out of place.
Bible discussion causes embarrassment and uneasiness; a loss
to know what to do or say next, or how to turn the conversation.
The Bible introduces principles and subjects of which most people
have only imperfect knowledge, and, if argument is persisted
in, it usually results in bad feeling and frayed tempers.
Thus we find that in books which teach the art of social success
and popularity, we are specifically warned against religious
discussion, as a thing "not done in the best circles,"
and one which we must avoid like the plague if we wish to cultivate
and retain our popularity.
The reasons for this striking contrast between our own age and
that of our grandfathers are known to most. The Bible has fallen
into disrepute owing to attacks which have been made upon it
by various writers. Its authority has now become so weakened
as to lose the influence it once had on men and nations; so that
today men are one of three things on Bible matters--ignorant,
apathetic or rebellious.
You and I who live in this age cannot escape being affected by
it, and, maybe, influenced by it. It is the psychological principle
of environment. If we had been born in an age predominantly religious,
then it would be comparatively easy to be religious also. Everything
around would encourage and foster religious thought and devotion.
HAVE YOU "GONE
WITH THE CROWD"?
So it is with our present irreligious age. People are largely
not responsible for their mental outlook. Early education and
environment have made them what they are. They, of course, see
no reason to lament the fact. We, however, knowing their true
position, feel sorry for them. We can see how they have been
deceived, and how that deception, if continued in, can have far-reaching
and evil consequences for them.
You may be, you probably are, a product of this modern age of
which we speak, and if we are going to arouse your interest in
the Bible, we realise that we have to adopt different methods
from those successfully used in a more religious age. A "Thus
saith the Lord" is no longer good enough for you. You would
just smile at us, if you were polite, for you, in common with
your contemporaries, no longer believe that God has spoken at
Before you will even listen, we have to create in your mind a
confidence which training, and maybe personal inclination, has
destroyed. We believe that we can do this, but not without your
willing co-operation; YOU MUST BE PREPARED TO RECONSIDER THE
POSITION IN THE LIGHT OF WHAT WE SHALL HAVE TO TELL YOU.
Now, we live in this modern world with you. We, too, are exposed
to the apathetic, ignorant, and rebellious spirit of the age.
We, too, have access to modern works on evolution, philosophy,
and religion. We know your point of view, because we once shared
it. But upon a reconsideration our views underwent a change--a
After a thorough investigation of the Bible's claims, we believe
the Bible to be what it claims, an inspired and infallible revelation
from God, the Creator of the Universe.
You doubtless do not agree with us--this was to be expected;
but you will allow that our views were formed after personal
enquiry and not at the behest of others. Has your antagonistic
opinion been formed by the same process? Have you enquired and
investigated the Bible's claims, and found them wanting? OR HAVE
YOU RATHER TAKEN THE LINE OF LEAST RESISTANCE, AND GONE WITH
"THE BURNING SANDS
You may not agree with the Victorians, you may not agree with
us, but it is a poor life which is guided by reasonless opinions.
A man who has a reason for his opinion, even though it differs
from ours, commands respect; but not so a sheepish follower of
But may be at some time you did get as far as actively looking
into the claims of religion, only to discover that the only apparent
alternative to your state of uncertainty was the acceptance of
the teaching of the church. You then found yourself rebelling
at its ritual, dogmas, and self-contradictory creeds; and the
faint hope that you had of finding a reasonable or satisfying
explanation of life and its problems was abandoned as but the
mirage vision of a thirsty soul, condemned to walk the burning
sands of life until his strength fails and his parched tongue
is stilled in death.
Or it may be that in your enquiry you were discouraged by the
seeming complexity of the whole problem. You saw a multiplicity
of denominations, each with clever men as their leaders, who
differed radically among themselves, and you despaired of unravelling
a tangle which seemed to baffle greater minds than yours.
This is a pity, a great pity; but would it give you fresh heart
to be told that most of your fears are without real foundation,
and that the subject is not nearly so involved or complicated
as you think?
A man with a large bunch of keys, all of which refuse to open
a lock, might feel quite justified in believing this particular
lock to be extremely complicated, and impossible to open.
The lock could be anything but complicated. It could be a perfectly
simple two-lever lock which, although resisting the efforts of
complicated keys, would respond to a very, very simple key--if
it were the right one.
Whether, therefore, you are just drifting in apathetic indifference,
or whether you have made the unsuccessful effort of which we
have spoken, and have now relapsed into a state of indifferent
resignation, just try to remember that you are the product, or
shall we say victim, of this modern age. You need some outside
help with that "lock." We appeal to you to reconsider
your position, and indeed the whole problem, in the light of
recent knowledge. It is then to be hoped that we shall be able
to re-arouse your interest, and restore your confidence in the
Bible, by a reasoned, methodical setting forth of its claims.
If upon examination it is found to be true, then a study of it
will prove of more than mere academic interest, for it will be
found to contain the very solution of the practical problems
which you despair of being solved.
This book is not a despairing effort to restore the waning influence
of church religion; indeed, if it does its intended work it will
help the church to wane. Neither is it just another "religious
book," in the accepted sense of the term. We have nothing
to sell; we leave "benefices" and "livings"
to an apostate clergy. Freely have we received, freely we give,
"without money and without price."
Neither are we going to treat you to the exposition of
some vague philosophy, or a metaphysical disquisition on "Holy
mysteries." Rather are we going to treat of things tangible,
of things solid, of things alive. Something that will not leave
you in two minds as to what we are driving at.
Our testimony will be plain testimony, a trumpet with no uncertain
sound. We are going to talk to you as we ourselves like to be
spoken to, in plain language. We are going to talk of many things
which you may already know, but have not yet seen the true significance.
Other things you may learn for the first time.
But it is our intention that they shall be made crystal clear
to you, in A PLAIN STRAIGHTFORWARD APPEAL FOR A RECONSIDERATION
OF YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARD THE BIBLE. We are going to submit, not
opinions, but evidences for our unqualified belief that the Bible
today, in this modern world, is THE INSPIRED AND INFALLIBLE WORD
OF THE LIVING GOD.
It is regarded as anything but this in our present age. The modern
temper wants to know what an ancient book, written by primitive
Hebrew shepherds, can have to do with modern problems, in a modern
world. Its right place, they say in effect, is in the museum
along with other archaic musty manuscripts. In saying this the
modern man thinks he has everything to justify him in his opinion.
But what evidence has he?
Nothing should be simpler to test today than the teaching of
this ancient book whose origin is obscured in the mists of time.
If it is just a product of primitive religious thought, expressing
primitive beliefs, and reflecting primitive science -- then surely
in the full glare of modern enquiry, its early barbaric flaws
should stand out in bold relief. Modern knowledge of ancient
customs and literature should have found more than sufficient
evidence for exposing the Bible for what it is, and for putting
it in its place -- the museum, as a useless archaic exhibit.
Far from this being the case, however, modern science and modern
research have served to illustrate, amplify, and confirm the
Bible record, in most unlooked-for and remarkable ways.
Now in order more effectively to correct the erroneous views
of our contemporaries on Bible matters, it is well that their
views be summarized. Reasons they themselves give for their indifference
to, or unbelief of, the Bible, might be fairly summed up under
the following sections:
FOUR IMPOSING "SNOW-MEN"
(1) That the Bible is a book of ancient Jewish literature, how
and when written no one really knows; but probably collected
or composed by designing priests in order to impose their will
upon a credulous people, by claiming the book to be of divine
origin. Whereas, in fact, it is now known to be a crude mixture
of fact and fiction, folk-lore and legend.
(2) That the claim of the Bible to be an inspired revelation
is simply out-of-date, fit only for belief in earlier ages which
were ignorant of ancient history and archaeology. In any case,
there are no means at our disposal for testing such an impudent
(3) That if it could be proved the Bible as first written was
an inspired message from God, even then the repeated copying
of it, by hand, for centuries, its translation into other languages,
and its constant revisions, have finally destroyed any reasonable
hope that our present Bible would be recognised by a man who
had seen the first original books. Therefore it is useless as
a standard of appeal.
(4) That Christianity is another world religion arising out of
man's fear of the "unknown," and the desire to placate
the gods of whom he stood in awe. Modern study has confirmed
This appears to be a very formidable list, but it is surprising
what a little sun will do to quite a big snow- man. In the chapters
which follow, we shall invite you to watch these objections one
by one "melt away" like snow-men in the sun.
The first statement, that the Bible is unhistorical fable and
legend, will be decisively "melted" in Chapter Two
by the penetrating rays of Modern Archaeology.
The second statement, which affirms that the Bible's claims to
inspiration cannot be tested, will be effectively "melted"
right away when, in Chapter Three, we consider Prophecy.
The third, which says that the Bible's transmission has altered
its message beyond recognition, will suffer a like fate with
the other two "snow-men" when we consider the Manuscripts,
in Chapter Four.
Whilst the remaining fourth objection will be effectively disposed
of when we come to consider the doctrinal teaching of true Christianity
at the end of the book.
You may hold us to our promise; we have no fear of the outcome.
We now invite you to watch our first "snowman" -- the
Bible unhistorical and fabulous -- dissolve as we turn on the
heat in the following chapter.