God Has Only One Bible
By Radio Pastor Perry F. Rockwood
Published by The Peoples Gospel Hour
1. A Pure Language
“For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent” (Zephaniah 3:9).
At first glance this verse might seem to say that the Lord will turn the people to a pure language by the influence of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. But what it says is, that the Lord will turn a pure language to the people. This speaks of the purifying doctrines of the Gospel, or the pure language of the grace of the Lord, that would lead men to call upon Him in humility, repentance, and faith.
The greatest need today is for a pure language without any mixture of error or attempt at correction. When we consider the language of men we see the effect sin has had upon it since the fall of Adam. In responding to God’s questions: “Has THOU eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?”, Adam replied: “The woman whom THOU gavest to be with me, she gave me…”, implying that God was responsible for his sin. So many today think that God is to blame for the evil things that happen in the world. Man’s language is impure and has been since the fall.
In Zephaniah 3:9 the Lord speaks of a remedy for sin, foreordained and perfect. He says here that He will “turn to the people a pure language.” That “pure language” has been given to us in the Bible, the written Word of God. The Lord’s purpose in giving the Scriptures in the original tongues by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, was that we might have a pure Bible. Paul describes the inspired scriptures as “words…which the Holy Ghost teaches” (1 Cor. 2:13).
We are thankful for the inspiration of God that reaches to the very words of the Bible. In Psalm 12:6 we read: “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” The picture here is of the purifying of silver. In the process, all the dross was consumed and only the bright and precious metal remained. The Bible has passed through the furnace of persecution, literary criticism, philosophic doubt, and scientific discovery, and has lost nothing but those human interpretations which clung to it, as alloy to precious silver. The Bible is free from all alloy of error.
Every word of God is pure. Purity admits of no degrees. If there is any mixture then it is no longer pure. Many members of the tribe of Ephraim perished because they omitted one particular letter which they could not pronounce (Judges 12:6). Paul attaches great weight to the absence of a single letter in God’s promise to Abraham: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). Paul here refers to the Old Testament Scriptures and implies their preservation.
The process of inspiration was concluded when the New Testament was completed. God has not given any further inspiration of Scripture since that time. We believe we have here in the Authorized King James Version the very Word of God preserved to this day.
The Devil has always opposed the Bible in his effort to put it out of existence. Often the opposition has come from outside the churches, as in Russia. Today, the Devil is working primarily within religious circles through modern versions.
Modern translators of the Bible are true successors of Jehoiakim, the king of Jerusalem, whose mutilation of Scripture is given in Jeremiah 36:22,23. A message from the Lord was dictated by Jeremiah to Baruch, son of Nerah, who carefully wrote it in a roll. Jehoiakim came to know of this divine oracle and sent Jehudi to get it and read it to him. As Jehudi read, whatever did not please the king he would cut out with his penknife and cast it into the fire, burning on the hearth. Jehoiakim continued with his mutilation of the written Word of God until nothing was left but a heap of smouldering ashes.
Let us notice, however, how God dealt with the penknife king. He had the burial of an ass (Jer. 22:18,19). The king was denied the glamorous burial belonging to a good sovereign. He was drawn outside the gates of Jerusalem, as the body of a dead ass is dragged and left to corruption and the beaks of the vultures.
Surely such a record constitutes a warning not to tamper with the Word of God. Yet many modern translators have used the penknife of liberalism and the penknife of the ecumenical movement to tamper with the inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God. Yes, but the end is not yet in sight. As modern translators continue to ct out, rearrange, and change Scripture, and produce versions to suit themselves, remember, God’s eye is upon it all. He is preserving His Word which shall never pass away.
The attack that is now being made on the Bible is not a new thing. Satan tried to change God’s Word at the very beginning when, in the Garden of Eden, he challenged Adam and Eve to disobey God’s command. And there have always been false prophets. In Jeremiah 23:30 we read: “Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbour.” The many modern versions being promoted today truly steal God’s Word from the people.
Peter has a special warning for those who bring in heresies. Man’s opinions which are substituted for the Word of God lead to ruin. Let us read 2 Peter 2:1,3: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily (secretly, to escape notice as spies) shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them…And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you…”
There were many in Paul’s day corrupting the Word of God and the apostle took his stand against them. We read in 2 Corinthians 2:17: “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God.” The word “corrupt” as it is used here is illustrated by a merchant who corrupts his wares by an admixture, and sells them with an ingredient included which is not part of the professed substance. It means to huckster, to do something for dishonest gain. These new versions have “profit” behind them as they present SOMETHING NEW to the people – not an honest translation of the Bible. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col. 2:8).
Satan attacked the Bible, in one way or another, even in the early church. Paul points this out in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
God’s children are not to sit back as if the Devil no longer existed, believing that he no longer attacks God’s Word; that he no longer has false ministers in the pulpits preaching from Bibles that are not Bibles at all; and that he no longer seeks to change the Gospel, which when changed of course, becomes no Gospel at all.
Galatians 1:6-8: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed (transplanted from one place to another) from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed (come under the judgment of God).”
To depart from the truth as it is in Christ, and as it is revealed in the Word of God, is a very serious matter in God’s sight. The Devil is working overtime to deceive God’s people and nowhere is he doing a better job than in the modern versions of the Bible.
“In all he did, in all he taught,
He kept this aim in sight;
To get the deeds of darkness done,
Disguised as works as light.
He spread his poison, slow and sure,
Through many a specious sect,
And made the evil seem the good,
Bamboozling God’s elect.”
2. The Old Testament Text
The Apostle Paul, in Romans 9:6, refers to the great promises made by God to the Jewish people and their leaders when he said: “Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect…”
In the many perverted versions that are on the market today, God’s Word is being rendered as ineffective by being substituted with words that come from the most corrupt manuscripts. The result is that these versions are not the Word of God at all.
Let us compare, for an example of this, some verses from the New American Standard Version (NASV) with the Authorized King James Version (KJV).
NASV: Isaiah 53:10: “…if he would render himself as a guilt offering…”
KJV: Isaiah 53:10: “…when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin…”
There is a tremendous difference here in the basic meaning of this verse.
In Luke 23:42 the NASV leaves out the word Lord: “And he was saying, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The KJV definitely and accurately says: “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” The Word of God is thrown out for something much inferior.
The verbal inspiration of the Bible is involved in this whole matter. Jesus said in Matthew 5:18: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
Here we have a very clear statement for the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures. Even the smallest Hebrew letter shall come to pass. Not even the least letter can be set aside. Every word is divine and infallible. This teaching is in full harmony with the entire testimony of the Bible. “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). In the 119th Psalm the perfection and excellence of the Word of God is mentioned in every one of the 176 verses, except two. It is here declared: “Thy word is true from the beginning” (verse 160).
When our Lord was here upon the earth He constantly referred to the exact words of the Old Testament. For example, let us read Matthew 22:41-45: “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose son is He? They say unto Him, The son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son?” Here our Lord quotes directly from Psalm 110.
Let us read also John 10:34-36: “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” This quotation is from Psalm 82.
Our Lord here sanctions the Old Testament scriptures that were in common use among the Jews during His earthly ministry as a trustworthy reproduction of the original text written by Moses and other Old Testament writers.
What is the source of the text here used? It is known as the Masoretic or Traditional Hebrew Text which was used from the first century right through to the Reformation. Throughout the years this Masoretic Hebrew Text was not tampered with. From the time of Christ the Old Testament was accepted as such. The Jews were able to transmit perfect Hebrew Manuscripts from generation to generation until the time of printing, about 1540 A.D. The English Revised Version of 1881 used primarily the Masoretic Text and where some corruptions did creep in they printed the changes in the margins only.
Dr. Robert Dick Wilson, who mastered some 45 ancient languages and dialects declared his belief in the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Old Testament. “I can affirm that there is not a page of the Old Testament concerning which we have need doubt.”
The Bible teaches us that once the Hebrew Scriptures were written by Moses, the prophets, and other inspired men, the preservation of the Scriptures was the responsibility of the priests. We read in Deuteronomy 31:24-26: “And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.” The priests also had the job of making correct copies of the law or at least of supervising the scribes to whom the king would delegate this work. Deuteronomy 17:18: “And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites.” Without a doubt the other books of the Old Testament were preserved by the priests also.
God made every provision for the faithful preservation of His Word. The Lord Jesus Christ accepted the Old Testament Scriptures in their literal historical testimony. We need have no doubt about the authority and inspiration of the Old Testament as set forth in the King James Version.
Jesus constantly referred to the Old Testament Scriptures. In His struggle with the Devil he answered three times from Deuteronomy chapters 6 and 8. In His discussions with the Jews he repeatedly asked, “Have ye not read?” (Matthew 12:3,5; 19:4; 21:16; etc.) He affirmed many of the Old Testament events which proves that they are historical facts: The creation of the first couple (Matt. 19:4,5); the murder of Abel (Luke 11:51); Noah, the ark and the flood (Matt. 24:37); the role of Abraham and his faith (John 8:56); the destruction of Sodom, the salvation of Lot, and the loss of Lot’s wife (Luke 17:29,32); the manna (John 6:31-51); the brazen serpent (John 3:14); the queen of Sheba (Matt. 12:42); Elijah and the widow of Zarepath (Luke 4:26); Elisha and Naaman the leper (Luke 4:27); and many more.
As a summary, we may say that 10% of Christ’s words were taken directly from the Old Testament. This is the Hebrew Received Text or the Masoretic Text from which the King James Version was translated.
3. New Testament Manuscripts
The Bible is the plenary inspired Word of God. This means that every word of the Bible is inspired. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” When we speak of “verbal inspiration” we refer to the “words” of the Bible. “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:21).
This view is contrary to the new-evangelical outlook of our day. They teach that God inspired only the thoughts of the writers. They also teach that the Bible merely contains the Word of God. Fundamentalists believe that the Bible is God’s verbally inspired Word and that He has preserved it through all the ages of time.
We have today a growing variety of corrupt versions which are being used in pulpits, Sunday schools, Bible colleges, seminaries, and other places. They are being presented as reliable, accurate, scholarly translations of the Bible. But they are not!
There are two main sources of manuscripts from which the New Testament has been translated. First, there is the Traditional Text which is also known as the Majority Text or Received Text or Textus Receptus. It is this Text that was used in the translation of the Authorized King James Bible of 1611, and it is for that reason that this Bible is the most accurate translation.
The second source of texts is basically of two groups: The Latin Vulgate and Alexandrian Texts. The latter, followed by Westcott and Hort, is also referred to as the “Be” and “Aleph,” or Vatican and Sinai or Minority Texts.
These Greek Texts were used in the New Testament translation of the English Revised Version of 1881. This translation is almost the same as the American Standard Version of 1901, and indeed, as the New American Standard Version of our day. These Greek texts were also the basis for the Jehovah’s Witness Bible and nearly all other versions of our day.
The Traditional Text or Textus Receptus held sway in the Greek church from about 312-1453 A.D., and in the Protestant church as a whole from 1453 until 1881 (about 1569 years). The other texts have held sway in liberal and neo-evangelical groups from about 1881 till the present time.
The Alexandrian Texts go back to the days of Clement (200 A.D.), who founded the “Catechetical School” at Alexandria. He brought the wisdom of the world into the teachings of the Christian faith and began to collect a group of corrupt manuscripts. The New American Standard Version of the Bible is based on these texts. Scholars tell us that these texts are the “oldest” and therefore the most “accurate.” But if the oldest are “corrupt” texts, how can Bible believers accept them as coming from God?
The best known graduate of this Alexandrian School was Origen who followed Clement as the head of the school. He became the most influential leader of this generation. He edited a six-column Bible called the Hexapla. Each of the columns had a different version of the Bible. He continually changed Bible verses that did not agree with his liberal ideas. He spiritualized God’s Word. He believed Christ to be a created being just as the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach today. It is clear that Origen is not a safe guide in textual criticism any more than in theology.
The next historical step in corrupting the Bible was taken in the time of Constantine. He accepted the Christian faith for political purposes and ordered a Bible that would appeal to the masses. Eusebius, a follower of Origen, was chosen for this task. This was the beginning of the Arian controversy concerning the Deity of our Lord and the spirit of ecumenism.
The corruption of God’s Word was taken over by Jerome who was called upon by the Pope to prepare a Bible that would favor the Roman Catholic teaching. This Bible was officially accepted by the Church at the Council of Trent in 1546. It was through Jerome that the seven Apocryphal books were placed in the Bible. These were soon accepted by the Roman Catholic Church as authoritative. From 1546 onward tradition was accepted as equally authoritative as the Scriptures.
In 1881 there appeared in England a two volume edition of the New Testament in the Original Greek. This was the product of thirty years of work by two professors at Cambridge. They were Brooke Foss WESTCOTT and Fenton John Anthony HORT. They used the Origen-Eusebius-Jerome corrupted texts as the basis of their New Testament. Most all of the work in textual criticism over the past thirty years at least has a Westcott-Hort foundation. It is from this source that we have the New American Standard Bible and other versions.
Westcott and Hort were liberal theologians. Here are some quotations from Hort:
“Evangelicals seem to be perverted rather than untrue…”
“But the book that has most engaged me is Darwin…My feeling is strong that the theory is unanswerable.”
“I have been persuaded for many years that Mary-worship and Jesus-worship have very much in common…”
“I am inclined to think that such a state as Eden (I mean the popular notion) never existed.”
“The Romish view seems to be nearer, and more likely to lead to the truth than the Evangelical…We dare not forsake the sacraments or God will forsake us.”
Let me now give you some quotations from Dr. Westcott:
“It is very small, with one kneeling-place; and behind the screen was a ‘pieta’ (Mary and a dead Christ)…Had I been alone I could have knelt there for hours.”
“No one now, I suppose, holds that the first three chapters of Genesis, for example, gives a literal history.”
These are the two men that most of the scholars of our generation are following. The Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament is the foundation text of various modern versions of the New Testament.
The Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament was primarily based on the Vaticanus (B) and Sinaiticus (Aleph) manuscripts of the fourth century, both of which originated from the Alexandrian School.
Many Bible believers today, having been reared on Westcott and Hort, have accepted the theory without independent examination. Those who, like us, believe the Textus Receptus and King James Version of the Bible, as over against all other texts and versions, are looked upon as grossly ignorant.
The whole Westcott-Hort viewpoint is basically rationalistic for it exalts the judgment of the individual scholar. These two men were greatly influenced by the liberalism of their day. They lived at a time when evolution was widely accepted as a result of Darwin’s Origin of the Species, written in 1859. Both Westcott and Hort had theistic evolutionary ideas of creation.
When Westcott and Hort started their popular revision of the Bible they used the words “presumption” and “if such there be” as a basis for their procedure. Hort said, “The only safe order of procedure therefore is to start with the reading suggested by a strong genealogical presumption, if such there be: and then inquire whether the considerations suggested by other kinds of evidence agree with it, and if not, whether they are clear and strong enough to affect the prima facie claim of high attestation” (Introduction, p. 63).
The whole problem and main error of Westcott and Hort procedure was their starting principle that the textual criticism of the New Testament was to be conducted in exactly the same way as that of any other book. This is false because the New Testament is the Word of God and as such is subject both to Satanic attack and to the protection of God. Their principal method, an extreme reliance upon the internal evidence of readings, is dangerous because it makes the mind of the critic the arbiter of the text of the Word of God.
The philosophy of these two men cannot be accepted by Bible Christians. The reason we reject the many modern versions is that they are based on Westcott-Hort scholarship and sources of texts.
What have all these versions done for our Lord and for His Church? Are more people reading and practicing the Bible? Are more souls being saved? Is there less confusion regarding the inspiration of the Scriptures since they have appeared on the scene? You know as well as I do that modern versions have brought confusion and compromise concerning the verbally inspired Bible. They have a false textual foundation that has come the way of Westcott and Hort.
4. The Textus Receptus
We have now seen that the problem with modern version is that they originate from corrupted manuscripts. This includes the New American Standard Bible which is acclaimed by certain scholars as being equal to – if not better than – the King James Bible. Let me point out just a few of the more serious errors of the New American Standard Version.
NASV: John 6:69: “And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”
KJV: John 6:69: “And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.”
NASV: John 7:53: “And everyone went to his home.”
The marginal note in the NASV says that John 7:53-8:11 is not found in the oldest manuscripts. This is not true. The British museum has 73 manuscripts and 61 have this passage.
Quite a few verses are left out in the NASV because according to their marginal notes they do not appear in the “older manuscripts” (for example, Acts 8:37; 28:29; Rom. 16:24, etc.). This is a direct attack upon the inspiration of the Bible. The “older manuscripts” they refer to are corrupted manuscripts and they are being promoted by so-called scholars today.
NASV: 1 Corinthians 5:7b: “For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.”
KJV: 1 Corinthians 5:7b: “For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.”
If there is no “for us” we cannot be saved. The NASV omits the blood in Colossians 1:14. The translators leave out the names of Christ in many, many passages. In Ephesians 3:14 “Lord Jesus Christ” is left out. “Lord” is left out in Galatians 6:17b. They leave out “Christ” in 1 Corinthians 5:4 and 9:1b. Over and over again they show their hatred for the precious name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Because the so-called scholars are following corrupted “ancient” manuscripts. These scholars are not the friends of the plenary inspired Word of God.
The history of the Received Text or the Traditional Text or the Textus Receptus is easy to trace. From 33-100 A.D. we have the original texts of the New Testament written by the Apostles during the Apostolic Age of Church history.
From 100-312 we have that period of Church history during which the original texts were corrupted by the Alexandrian scribes.
From 312-1453 we have the Byzantine Period of history when the original texts were recovered and used by the Greek Church for 1000 years.
Then we have that early period of history, 1453-1831, when the original texts became the source of the King James Version of the Bible.
The total number of manuscripts in existence today amount to well over 5,000. It is important to keep this in mind when discussing the authority of the King James Version. There are not merely TWO MANUSCRIPTS, namely “B” and “Aleph” which Westcott and Hort promote and which are the basis of all perverted translations today. There are over 5,000 MANUSCRIPTS IN THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT.
We do not believe that the Textus Receptus, which has guided the true people of God throughout the years, can now be set aside for MANUSCRIPT ALEPH now in a monastery and MANUSCRIPT B which has lain for long years upon a shelf in the Pope’s palace. Both these manuscripts are of questionable history and are corrupted texts.
Professor Zane C. Hodges of Dallas Theological Seminary has estimated that 80%-90% of the Greek New Testament Manuscripts in existence today are of the traditional variety, upon which the KJV was based. He says, “It is also well known among students of textual criticism that a LARGE MAJORITY OF THIS HUGE MASS OF MANUSCRIPTS, somewhere between 80%-90% (this would be 4,200 to 4,730 out of a possible 5,255 copies of manuscripts) contain a Greek text which in most respects resembles the king of texts which was the basis of our KING JAMES VERSION.”
One of the arguments against the King James Version and Textus Receptus from which it was translated, is that more manuscripts have been discovered or catalogued since its translation in 1611. This is true. Thousands of manuscripts have been brought to light since 1611, but the GREAT MAJORITY OF THESE ARE IN SUBSTANTIAL AGREEMENT WITH THE TRADITIONAL RECEIVED TEXT UNDERLYING THE KING JAMES VERSION.
Before 1611, from 312-1453, the vast majority of these Greek New Testament manuscripts agree so closely that they can be counted on as being the same New Testament Text.
Professor Zane Hodges shows clearly that the TEXTUS RECEPTUS being the MAJORITY TEXT is the Text nearest the “Autograph” of the New Testament:
“The manuscript tradition of an ancient book will, under any but the most exceptional conditions, multiply in a reasonable regular fashion with the result that the COPIES NEAREST THE AUTOGRAPH WILL NORMALLY HAVE THE LARGEST NUMBER OF DESCENDENTS. The further removed in the history of transmission a text becomes from its source the less time it has to leave behind a large family of offspring. Hence, in a large tradition where a pronounced unity is observed between let us say, EIGHTY PERCENT of the evidence, a very strong presumption is raised that this NUMERICAL PREPONDERANCE IS DUE TO DIRECT DERIVATION FROM THE VERY OLDEST SOURCES. In the absence of any convincing contrary explanation, this presumption, is raised to a very high level of probability indeed. Thus the MAJORITY TEXT, UPON WHICH THE KING JAMES VERSION IS BASED, HAS IN REALITY THE STRONGEST CLAIM POSSIBLE TO BE REGARDED AS AN AUTHENTIC REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL TEXT. This claim is quite independent of any shifting consensus of scholarly judgment about its readings and is based on the objective reality of its DOMINANCE IN THE TRANSMISSIONAL HISTORY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT TEXT. This dominance has not and – we venture to suggest – cannot be otherwise explained.
“It is hoped, therefore, that the GENERAL CHRISTIAN READER WILL EXERCISE THE UTMOST RESERVE IN ACCEPTING CORRECTIONS TO HIS AUTHORIZED VERSION WHICH ARE NOT SUPPORTED BY A LARGE MAJORITY OF MANUSCRIPTS. He should go on using his KING JAMES VERSION WITH CONFIDENCE. New Testament Textual criticism, at least, has advanced no objectively verifiable reason why he should not.”
God has only one Bible. All the other version are perversions. They are not Bibles, but books of men. They add nothing to the authority of God’s Word, nor do they encourage obedience.
The question is often asked, “What about Bibles in other languages?”
Nearly all of the Bible Societies today are producing Bible from the corrupted Westcott-Hort texts, therefore they are not truly God’s Word. Others, however, like the Trinitarian Bible Society, are printing Bibles in many, many languages of the world from the Textus Receptus only. They are truly God’s own inspired Word.
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” – Matthew 24:35
Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers worn with beating years of time.
“How many anvils have you had?” said I.
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eyes,
“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
And so, I thought, “the anvil of God’s Word
For ages skeptic blows have beat upon:
Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed, the hammers GONE.”