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The Presbyterian of the South : [combining the] Southwestern Presbyterian, Central Presbyterian, Southern Presbyterian. [volume] (Atlanta, Ga.) 1909-1931, October 06, 1915, Image 2

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/10021978/1915-10-06/ed-1/seq-2/

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2 (668) THE
REV. D. M. TALMAGE.
David Mather Talinage was born February
4, 1852, in Amoy, China, of missionary parents.
He was educated in Rutger's College and
New Brunswick Seminary, of the Reformed
Church of America, of which his father was a
minister and missionary. After his graduation,
he spent two or three years in the missionary
hoik in unina ana men returned to tins country.
ile served three churches in the Reformed
Church of America, all in New Jersey, one of
them near Bound Brook, another near Nyack,
and the third, where lie served for more than
twenty years, at Westbrook. Six years ago
he accepted a call from the Home Missions Com
mittee of New Orleans Presbytery, to become
pastor-evangelist of the Hammond-Poncbatoula
field, in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. In
this last field he labored faithfully until his
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fore liis death, was complaining only a day or
two, and came to a sudden end on Friday,
September 10, 1915. He was married twice, his
tirst wife being Mrs. Katherine Kipp, who lived
but a short time, and his second being Mrs.
Ilattie Hopper, who survives him. He was
moderator of New Orleans Presbytery two
years ago. lie was of a family distinguished
for its ability and devotion to the cause of
Christ. Perhaps the most noted of the family
was his uncle, the famous preacher, T. DeWitt
Tahnage. Two sisters are engaged in the missionary
work in China, continuing their honored
father's work. Two nephews are in the
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J. V. N. Talmagc, of Korea. A brother is one
of the most active and useful ruling elders of
New Orleans Presbytery, a member of the Session
of the Canal Street Church. His consecrated
spirit, ability of mind, and genial ways
won to him the sincercst affection of a large
circle of friends. His brother ministers of
Hammond, of six different faiths, bore his body
tenderly to the church, where some of them
took nart with his nn-Mroshvtprs in *]>? fn?
eral service, and then to its resting place in
the cemetery.
IT IS WRITTEN.
The frequency with which this phrase occurs
in the New Testament, especially in the public
utterances of Christ give it groat significance.
T?i -?i i ^
y? t Hud uur uurii quoted xwenty-mne times,
and the inspired writers of the New Testament
as using these words forty-two times. Christ
says it is written when defending his conduct
against the false charges of his adversaries,
when arguing to prove his sonship to God,
when describing his Messianic Mission, and
when contending with the Devil in the famous
temptation in the wilderness, "It is written,"
is his constant argument, and he seems to imply
that it was sufficient to end all controversy
on any question, to quote as hearing upon it
passages from certain highly esteemed hooks.
It implies two things (1) That the people to
whom he was speaking acknowledged the authorities
he quoted, as it would have been use
less to quote them, and (2) That he himself admitted
the authority of these hooks. This was
the one and almost only common standing
ground on which Christ and the Jews could
meet,?they all acknowledged the authority of
the books he referred to when he said "It is
written."
To what authoritative writing does he refer?
What is "It?"
We find that he refers to a certain collection
of Hebrew writings called "The Scriptures,"
divided into three groups, "The Law," "The
Prophets," and "The Psalms." These make up
what we now call "The Old Testament," to
PRESBYTERIAN OF THE SO
distinguish it from later writings called "The
New Testament."
These ancient volumes had been written by
many different persons, at different times and
places, and they had been carefully preserved
by Israel and the Jews as their most precious
national inheritance. We need not take time
to name these ancient books, for you all know
their titles and to a large extent their contents.
These books treat of subjects of the very utmost
importance to man as a thinking and
moral being, and claim to settle for him, questions
of infinite consequence, which if left to
Himself lie could never determine. The first
of these is to account for the universe. Man
lias been for generations endeavoring to account
for what he sees around, beneath and
above him. He lias formed many theories, but
they have never satisfied man himself, for he
has gone on making new hypotheses. In these
books at the very first sentence he reads, "In
the beginning God created the heavens and
the earth." It does not say when he did it, this
is not a matter of much importance, nor how
but only the fact that he did and the order in
which he did it. The statement is made with
the simplicity of a calm uncontradictable confidence
that is sublime. Of course the consequences
of this statement are most far reaching
for it introduces the idea of the ownership
and consequent government of God over all
that is.
The next thing the Scriptures account for is
sin. It tells how sin came into the world. God
did not make the world sinful and create mau
for degradation and sulVering. On the con
trarv when CJod had made all things "he saw
that they were very good." The divine creator
was satisfied with his work. The book tells us
that sin was imported from another world, and
in spite of the quarantine of a law and awful
penalty. It does not tell us how it began in
that other world; that has no bearing upon the
question and intention of the book.
The third thing written, is how mankind can
escape from the direful consequences of sin,
and from sin itself. This is the theme of these
books, and for this they were written. The
question these books set out to answer is what
must 1 do to be saved? The plan of escape
from sin, we call it the plan of salvation, is
broached at the very point where the history
of sin begins. It would seem that the very day
when man sinned first, God immediately revealed
the way of escape for he would not that
any should perish, but rather that all should
turn unto him and live.
The plan involved the necessity for a Saviour
who should redeem sinners from guilt and pollution
by giving himself to suffer in their place.
This was not to be done at once but in God's
own time and in the meanwhile all who believed
in the promised redemption should be cleared
of guilt. To help men believe these books were
written, and to advertise them of what God bad
promised. Moreover certain forms and ceremonies
were established, especially the sacrifices
and an organization called the church was
developed to maintain them, and all that men
might know how to be saved.
The coming of salvation was associated with
the church of which Israel was the visible ex
ponent, and so the Scriptures are largely a history
of the church, showing the development of
God's plan of salvation and gradually leading
up to its consummation. A Saviour was to
come who should save his people from their
sins and certain signs were laid down by which
he was to he recognized when he came.
Who wrote these Scriptures which Christ
and others quoted?
We find out from the books themselves. Tlicy
u T H. [ October 6, 1915
were written by a number of persons living in
different countries and at times far separated,
and some of them had never seen the writings
of the others who had preceded them.
The striking thing about them all is that
they dovetail into one another, constituting a
perfectly harmonious whole. There are no-contradictions
and there is one theme. They are
all on the same subject and all lead forward,
one after the other, towards a troal that is
never lost sight of. This unity and harmony of
design are entirely inexplicable except on the
theory that there was one real author who
guided the minds of the writers. This inference
is irresistable, and the question as to who
this Author was, is too obvious for discussion,
because there was no one but God who could
have done it. So the real author of the Scripture
books was God, and we learn from the
books themselves that it was God the Holy
Spirit, the Third Person of the Adorable Trinity.
In the New Testament we find the direct.
statement made that "Holy men of old spake
as they were moved by the Iloly Ghost," and
therefore all "Scriptures are given by inspiration
of God."
This then is the reason why Christ quotes
from the Scriptures?because they were the inspired
and authoritative word of God and
were rightly considered by the Jews as infallible.
Christ's endorsation of the Old Testament
scriptures is the best proof of their inspiration.
A new Jersey elder said in a speech
before one of our general assemblies, that "The
higher critics say Moses did not write the
Penteteuch, and Isaiah did not write Isaiah,
out (jurist says they did: and I will take
Christ's word for it rather than that of the
critics." The Jersey elder was right; who can
gainsay it? The very books most condemned
by the critics, the Penteteuch. Isaiah and
Jonah are the ones Christ is most pronounced
in approving. So if the question reduces itself
to this?Do the higher critics know more
than Christ knew? If so we haven't any Christ
for he was only a man, and was mistaken in
matters of the greatest importance. This aues
tion is easly answered.
Why did God have Ins word "written," instead
of merely giving it by word of mouth?
Because words merely spoken would inevitably
be changed as they passed from one
person to another. Tradition is not a safe
guide. It is almost impossible for any person
to repeat correctly the words of another, and
wnen anything has passed through the minds
and mouths of a dozen persons it is hardly
recognizable to the man from whom it started.
Then God wished the people to be able to
read each one for himself what he has to say
to men. To read and study the Scriptures has
ever been one of the highest privileges and duties
of men. It falls in with God's principle of
individual responsibility, that every mortal is
directly responsible to God for his conduct.
Man wants an authoritative guide. The fact
that the Scriptures claim authority over the
conscience is the reason that man accents them.
Man is made to serve and to obey. His soul
demands an authoritative standard. There
must be an ultimate test of truth and conduct.
The reason the morals of Socrates, Plato,
Aristotle, Zeno and Epicurus failed, and failed
utterly to control the minds and morals of
men was not because they were not good. They
were good in the main, but they had no authority
and claimed none. It was simply o?,e
man speaking to another man. The soul is
listening for a higher voice. That is the rea
son they hear and heed Moses, Isaiah, the
evangelists and St. Paul, and turn away from
Socrates, Aristotle, Plato and Zeno. The sacred
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