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    September 29, 1887

    “‘So Difficult’!” The Signs of the Times 13, 38, p. 599.

    DOCTOR JUDSON, the great missionary, translated the Bible into the Burmese language. It seems that he translated it too, that is, he put into the Burmese language the meaning of the Greek and Hebrew of the original; he used Burmese words instead of Greek or Hebrew in conveying to the Burmese the meaning of the Greek or Hebrew of the Scriptures. In doing so, he honestly translated instead of transferred, into Burmese the Greek word baptize. In causing the word of God to speak to the Burmese, he used a Burmese word instead of a Greek word, and had the word of God to speak to them in Burmese instead of in Greek. It is self-evident, that this is the only thing he could have done, if the Scriptures were to be caused to speak to the people in a tongue that they could understand.SITI September 29, 1887, page 599.1

    This Burmese Bible is owned and published by the American Baptist Missionary Union, and it is the only Burmese translation of the Scriptures that there is in existence. Now other religious bodies contemplate sending missionaries to Burmah, but as they do not baptize, they cannot use the Burmese translation of the Scriptures because their practice does not correspond to the word of God which they profess to teach. But instead of coming into conformity with the word of God, and preaching to the Burmese the word of God in their own tongue, the Bishop of Rangoon, through the British and Foreign Bible Society, asks the American Baptist Missionary Union to “sanction the publishing of an edition of the Burmese New Testament owned by them,” and allow the use “either of a Greek word, or some neutral word in those few passages which make it so difficult for us to use this excellent translation.”SITI September 29, 1887, page 599.2

    That is, these people ask the American Baptist Missionary Union to sanction a translation that is not a translation, or else a translation that is unfaithful to the word of God. In other words, they want to make the Lord speak to the Burmese in Greek, or else speak to them in Burmese with an uncertain sound, so that His word will either be to them meaningless or else “yea and nay” instead of “yea and amen.” For there is no question raised as to the correctness of Doctor Judson’s translation. There is no complaint that the translation is not faithful to the original. There is no charge that the Greek word baptize does not mean “immerse,” as Doctor Judson has translated it into the Burmese language. They themselves pronounce it “an excellent translation.” The only trouble is that it is “so difficult for us to use this excellent translation,” while it speaks to the Burmese in the Burmese language instead of in Greek or in some word that is neither Greek nor Burmese. And what makes it “so difficult” for those “missionaries” to use “this excellent translation?” Oh, their practice is contrary to the precept that is all. And so, they want to fix it so that they can lead the Burmese people to conform to their practice instead of to the precept of Christ. And then they want the American Baptist Missionary Union, not only to “sanction” their disobedience, but also their treacherous dealing with the Burmese! The Union does well to tell them, “No.” Let them obey the precept of Christ, and then they will not find it “so difficult” to use “this excellent translation.”SITI September 29, 1887, page 599.3

    J.

    “The Fifth Commandment. No. 1” The Signs of the Times 13, 38, pp. 600, 601.

    “HONOR thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” This is the first commandment of the second table of the law of God, the first commandment in relation to our duties toward our fellow-men, the first commandment following it with promise, it is in fact the only commandment following it with promise, it is in fact the only commandment of the ten, with promise. To the second table of the law this commandment stands in the same relation that the first commandment stands to the first table. As to honor God alone is the first duty of every conscious, intelligent soul, so to honor parents is the first duty of every man in relation to his fellow-men. To “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength,” is the first of all the commandments; to “love thy neighbor as thyself” is the second of all the commandments, and is “like unto” the first. And to first of all duties under the second of all the commandments is given in this commandment, “honor thy father and thy mother.”SITI September 29, 1887, page 600.1

    Nor does the obligation of this commandment cease when the young man or the young woman becomes “of age.” We know that in the practice of most people nowadays, its obligation ceases long before that time, and we know that this evil will grow worse and worse, because the Scripture has foreseen it so. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, ... disobedient to parents.” And “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” 2 Timothy 3:1, 2, 13. But although this commandment is so regarded in the practice of men, it is not so regarded in the will of God, for it is written, “Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen.” This being so, it is certainly true that this age, and this nation, is fast becoming one of the most cursed ages and nations that time itself has seen. To cite but one illustration out of multitudes that might be given and which will readily recur to any thinking person: It does not require that a person shall be beyond middle age to easily remember the time when a parent’s “last will and testament” was considered a sacred thing and children would hardly think of breaking it any more than they would think of rifling the grave. Whereas now about the least sacred thing that a parent can leave when he dies is his last will and testament. It is only expected and looked upon by the children as a thing to be criticized; it is only heard to be found fault with. It matters not though each of the children may have been left an amount sufficient to make him independently rich, or even a millionaire, it only seems to increase the spirit of vandalism unless they get it all.SITI September 29, 1887, page 600.2

    The obligations of this commandment do not cease, neither when children become “of age,” nor at the death of the parents, nor at any other time while men live. And these obligations and the way in which we have met them will meet us in the Judgment. Even though we have no parents living, the obligation to honor them still remains, because we should constantly honor their memory, and seek ever to do that which will be an honor to them were they living, and men may at any time do that which would disgrace their parentage, and thousands often do. The commandment to honor thy father and mother is of no narrower compass, nor of any shorter duration, than is any other part of the law of God, and blessed is he who does it.SITI September 29, 1887, page 600.3

    Yet it is clear from the word of God that the responsibility for the transgression of this commandment rests not altogether upon the children, but it does rest in a much greater measure than is generally supposed up the parents themselves. Nor is it alone from the word of God that this may be discerned. Let a child or a youth publicly commit some act of impropriety, and instantly it reflects upon the parents, in the question, “Whose boy is that?” or, “Whose girl is that?” and, when the information is given, in the remark, “Well, he [or she] has been very poorly brought up.” This is exactly the way in which the word of God views it. That word is, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. Now the commandments of God are “the way” in which every person “should go,” and this shows that whether men will go in that way or not depends much upon the way in which they are trained, and the training devolves altogether upon the parents. Therefore we say it is clear by the word of God that the responsibility for the wickedness of children rests not altogether nor even in the greatest measure, upon themselves, but that it does rest in a much greater measure than many realize upon the parents. This is shown by many instances in the Bible, of which we shall give two—one on each side of the question.SITI September 29, 1887, page 600.4

    Eli was high-priest over the house of God. He had two sons. “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord.” “Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord; for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.” “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress.” 1 Samuel 2:12, 17, 22-24. “And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house; when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.” Chap. 3:11-14.SITI September 29, 1887, page 600.5

    “His sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.” Why, did he not talk to the young men? Of course he did. Did he not tell them not to do so? Undoubtedly. Did he not tell them they were doing wrong? To be sure he did. But this was not enough. Although he did all this, yet “he restrained them not.” Something more than mere words was needed there, as is often the case in many other families. No doubt Eli used enough words, too many, in fact, under the circumstances, but he did not use enough authority. He seems to have been one of those parents who love (?) their children so much that they cannot bear to correct them in any other way than by smooth, would-be-persuasive words, and so in reality let the children take the reins into their own hands and drive everything before them, doing as they please. But to all such parents God says, as he did to Eli: “Therefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offerings, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honorest thy sons above me?” While children must honor parents, the parents must honor God; but when parents honor their children above God, there is then neither honor of God, nor parental authority in the family—the children have then usurped both. “Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me forever; but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” 1 Samuel 2:29, 30.SITI September 29, 1887, page 600.6

    Now here is the other case. “And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Genesis 18:17-19.SITI September 29, 1887, page 601.1

    “He will command his children, ... and they shall keep the way of the Lord.” Eli “said unto them” and “his sons made themselves vile.” Abraham “will command his children ... and they shall keep the way of the Lord ... that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Eli “said unto them,” and “his sons made themselves vile,” and the Lord could not bring upon him that which he had spoken of him and his house; for, although the Lord had said indeed that his house should walk before him forever, “but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me.” If Abraham had not commanded his children and his household, they too would not have kept the way of the Lord, and then the Lord could never have brought upon Abraham that which he had spoken of him.SITI September 29, 1887, page 601.2

    And in all this there is inculcated the additional and important lesson, that, although the commandment demands of the children that they honor their parents, it equally demands of the parents that they by an assertion of parental authority, in the fear of God, shall show themselves worthy of honor, and not, by lack of proper discipline, honor their children above God, and so cause themselves to be despised by their children.SITI September 29, 1887, page 601.3

    J.

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