Sunday, April 30, 2023

Hail the day that sees him rise

Charles Wesley wrote “Hail the day that sees Him rise,” which was published in 1739 Hymns and Sacred Poems. In that book it was titled “Hymn for Ascension-Day.” The 8-stanza hymn below shows some alterations from Wesley’s original, including the addition of an “Alleluia” at the end of each line. Commonly only about 4 or 5 stanzas are used in modern hymnals. The hymn meter is 7s, or 11s. ( when the Alleluias are added. Llanfair is usually attributed to Welsh singer Robert Williams (1781-1821). Another common setting for Wesley’s hymn is Essex by Thomas Clark. Clark was an Unitarian non-conformist who conducted the music at Blackfriars at Canterbury over 50 years. Clark was born at Canterbury in 1775. His father William was a cordwainer (a shoemaker and leather-worker). Thomas followed the trade as a cobbler. He married Anne Ledger in 1806. Thomas Clark died in 1859 and was buried in the Wincheap Non-Conformist Burial Ground. The exact location of his grave has been lost through neglect after World War II.

1. Hail the day that sees him rise, Alleluia!
To his throne beyond the skies. Alleluia!
Christ, the Lamb for sinners given, Alleluia!
Enters now the highest heaven. Alleluia!

2. There for him high triumph waits; Alleluia!
Lift your heads, eternal gates. Alleluia!
Wide unfold the radiant scene; Alleluia!
Take the King of glory in. Alleluia!

3. Circled round with angel powers, Alleluia!
Their triumphant Lord, and ours, Alleluia!
Conqueror over death and sin, Alleluia!
Take the King of glory in, Alleluia!

4. Highest heaven its Lord receives; Alleluia!
Yet he loves the earth he leaves. Alleluia!
Though returning to his throne, Alleluia!
Still he calls mankind his own. Alleluia!

5. See! He lifts his hands above; Alleluia!
See! He shows the prints of love; Alleluia!
Hark! His gracious lips bestow, Alleluia!
Blessings on his Church below. Alleluia!

6. Still for us he intercedes; Alleluia!
His atoning death he pleads, Alleluia!
Near himself prepares our place, Alleluia!
He the firstfruits of our race. Alleluia!

7. Master (will we ever say), Alleluia!
Taken from our head today, Alleluia!
See thy faithful servants, see; Alleluia!
Ever gazing up to thee. Alleluia!

8. Lord, though parted from our sight, Alleluia!
Far above the starry height, Alleluia!
Grant our hearts my thither rise, Alleluia!
Following thee beyond the skies. Alleluia!

Saturday, April 29, 2023

In other words, odd tod

  • anthesis, noun. The stage at which a flower is open, allowing fertilization to occur.
  • antithesis, noun. The direct or exact opposite; a figure of speech in which sharply contrasting ideas are juxtaposed in a balanced or parallel phrase or grammatical structure.
  • bach, noun. (New Zealand) A small weekend or vacation house or shack.
  • barney, noun. A noisy argument; altercation; a minor physical fight.
  • borstal, noun. (British) Reformatory; a school providing therapy and vocational training (from the English village Borstal, where the first such institution was set up).
  • cadre, noun. A nucleus of trained personnel around which a larger organization can be built and trained; a tightly knit group of zealots who are active in advancing the interests of a their party.
  • cordon, verb. To surround or blockade with or as with a cordon, a line of guards surrounding an area (usually followed by off).
  • fatberg, noun. A large lump or mass consisting chiefly of cooking fat which has congealed and hardened after being poured down a domestic drain.
  • fracas, noun. A noisy, disorderly disturbance or fight; riotous brawl; uproar.
  • hostel, noun. Inn; an inexpensive lodging facility for usually young travelers that typically has dormitory-style sleeping arrangements and sometimes offers meals; a supervised institutional residence or shelter (as for homeless people).
  • hostile, adjective. Of or relating to an enemy; having or showing unfriendly feelings; openly opposed or resisting; not hospitable.
  • kitsch, noun. Something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste.
  • listicle, noun. A journalistic article or other piece of writing presented wholly or partly in the form of a list.
  • luthier, noun. A craftsperson who builds or repairs stringed instruments (such as violins and guitars).
  • odd, adjective. Deviating from what is ordinary, usual, or expected; strange or peculiar.
  • oeuvre, noun. A work of art; the sum of the lifework of an artist, writer, or composer.
  • pariah, noun. An outcast; any person or animal that is generally despised or avoided.
  • piranha, noun. Any of several small South American freshwater fishes of the genus Serrasalmus that eat other fish and sometimes plants but occasionally also attack humans and other large animals that enter the water.
  • remuda, noun. A herd of horses from which ranch hands select their mounts.
  • smittle, verb (transitive). To infect; to contaminate.
  • subsidence, noun. The act or process of subsiding or the condition of having subsided; (Geology) the gradual sinking of landforms to a lower level as a result of earth movements, mining operations, etc.
  • supercilious, adjective. Feeling or showing haughty disdain; arrogant.
  • tod, noun. (UK informal, on your tod) Alone; all on your own.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Avoiding pejorative labeling

( I avoid eating ice cream on a regular basis.)

I sincerely wish to avoid pejorative labeling, but I simply cannot avoid the parallels. There is massive overlap between the arguments made by those who claim Textual Confidence (those who use NA/UBS and modern translations) and the arguments made by those who are Textual Skeptics (those who hold a postmodern skepticism toward the text of Scripture).
  • Both groups hold that we do not know the original words of the biblical writers.
  • Both groups use the same key words to describe the transmission of the New Testament text: initial text, the evidence, science, academic standards, copyist errors, shortest is best, oldest is best, etc.
  • Both groups agree that inspiration does not demand perfect preservation, and insist that we do not now have a text of exactly what the authors of the New Testament wrote.
  • Both groups insist that preservation of biblical text is natural rather than supernatural, and what we do now have are chance survivals from the past.
  • Both groups surmise that having only one Bible is mala doctrina.
  • Both groups minimize the differences between the various transmitted Greek manuscripts.
  • Both groups call the Textus Receptus corrupt.
  • Both groups functionally resort to anything that is not the TR.
  • Both groups do not put which Greek text in their church (and other institutional) statements and fail to specify on which they rely.
  • Both groups assert intellectualism and credentialism to prop and promote their views.
  • Both groups dismiss and ignore my arguments. Everyone should have to answer to me.
Note: (to make a point) a parody of comments made by Mark Ward HERE.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Metzger on Acts 8:37

Acts 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Bruce Metzger provides an interesting comment on Acts 8:37 in his Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament:
“Although the earliest known New Testament manuscript which contains the words dates from the sixth century (ms. E), the tradition of the Ethiopian’s confession of faith in Christ was current as early as the latter part of the second century, for Irenaeus quotes part of it (Against Heresies, III.xii.8). Although the passage does not appear in the late medieval manuscript on which Erasmus chiefly depended for his edition (ms. 2), it stands in the margin of another (ms. 4), from which he inserted it into his text because he ‘judged that it had been omitted by the carelessness of scribes (arbitror omissum librariorum incuria).’” (A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Bruce Metzger, page 360)
Bruce Manning Metzger (1914–2007) was an American biblical scholar, translator, textual critic, and an instructor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary. By denomination, he was Presbyterian. He served on the board of the American Bible Society and United Bible Societies, and was an editor of the UBS Greek New Testament. He wrote much on the Greek language, the New Testament, and New Testament textual criticism. Metzger is widely respected as a New Testament scholar, though those of us on the right side of the conservative-liberal spectrum consider his outlook liberal. Metzger himself apparently did not accept Acts 8:37 as authentic.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Hills on Burgon

Below we can notice how Edward Freer Hills agrees and differs with John William Burgon regarding the Textus Receptus.

It was Burgon’s high Anglicanism which led him to place so much emphasis on the New Testament quotations of the Church Fathers, most of whom had been bishops. To him these quotations were vital because they proved that the Traditional New Testament Text found in the vast majority of the Greek manuscripts had been authorized from the very beginning by the bishops of the early Church, or at least by the majority of these bishops. This high Anglican principle, however, failed Burgon when he came to deal with the printed Greek New Testament text...

If we believe in the providential preservation of the New Testament text, then we must defend the Textus Receptus as well as the Traditional Text found in the majority of the Greek manuscripts. For the Textus Receptus is the only form in which this Traditional Text has circulated in print. To decline to defend the Textus Receptus is to give the impression that God’s providential preservation of the New Testament text ceased with the invention of printing. It is to suppose that God, having preserved a pure New Testament text all during the manuscript period, unaccountably left this pure text hiding in the manuscripts and allowed an inferior text to issue from the printing press and circulate among His people for more than 450 years. Much, then, as we admire Burgon for his general orthodoxy and for his is defense of the Traditional New Testament Text, we cannot follow him in his high Anglican emphasis or in his disregard for the Textus Receptus.

From The King James Version Defended, page 192 (the 1984 edition by The Christian Research Press)

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

A Simple Soul: Philip Mauro and “Which Version”

“Steadily rising in his profession,” Philip Mauro the Lawyer

On January 7, 1859, Philip Mauro was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He was a son of Charles G. Mauro and Charlotte Emmeline Davis. His grandfather Philip Mauro came to the U.S. from Stuttgart, Germany at some time before 1814, at which time he became a naturalized citizen. Mauro’s grandfather was a printer and his father was a lawyer.

Philip Mauro married Emily Johnston Rockwood (1858–1917) on June 7, 1881. They had two daughters, Margaret and Isabel. Several years after Emily’s death, Mauro married Mary Isobel Woodruff Welch (1854-1929), the widow of William S. Welch. After her death, he married Frances Perry (1880-1952).

Philip Mauro attended the Emerson Institute in Washington, DC.  He was admitted to the bar after graduating from the law department of Columbian University (now George Washington) in 1880. According to his biographer Gordon Gardiner, Philip Mauro was “a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States and one of the foremost patent lawyers of his day.”[i]

Philip Mauro traveled a great deal both in his personal life and ministry – including Belgium, Canada, England, France, Italy, Puerto Rico. He and his daughter Margaret were passengers on the Carpathia during the rescue of the survivors from the Titanic. U. S. Federal Censuses show his residency in the following locations.[ii]

  • 1860 At home, St Louis Ward 2, St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1870 At home, St Louis Ward 3, St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1880 Law student, Washington, District of Columbia
  • 1900 Lawyer, Washington, District of Columbia
  • 1910 Not found in the U. S. Census
  • 1920 Traveling preacher, Sherborn, Middlesex, Massachusetts
  • 1930 Lawyer, Pensacola, Escambia, Florida (counted in two places, 1930)
  • 1930 Patent Attorney, Washington, District of Columbia (counted in two places, 1930)
  • 1940 Lawyer, Washington, District of Columbia
  • 1950 Unable to Work, Culpeper, Culpeper, Virginia

Philip Mauro continued to practice law throughout his life, though the time given to it would decrease and his other pursuits increase. Mauro died in Staunton City, Virginia, April 7, 1952 at age 93. He is buried at the Masonic Cemetery in Culpeper, Culpeper County, Virginia.


“Dear fellow-Christian,” Philip Mauro the Christian

Emily Rockwood was raised in a Presbyterian family. Mauro was a member of the Episcopalian Church of the Epiphany in Washington, DC, which they attended after their marriage. Mauro had been part of this church since around 1876, but he was not converted until 1903 at age 45 at the Gospel Tabernacle in Washington. Albert Benjamin Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, was the pastor. In his Testimony, Mauro wrote:

“I came to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ on May 24, 1903, being then in my 45th year. I did not at that time fully understand what had happened to me on that day, and only learned subsequently through the study of the Scriptures, that, by the grace of God through faith in his Son Jesus Christ, I had then been quickened (Eph. 2:5), and had passed from death unto life (John 5:24).”[iii]

Mauro is not found in the 1910 U. S. Census because he and his family were living in Rapallo, Italy. They moved there to care for his aunt Anna Davis Foster. While living there he wrote a pamphlet titled Trusting God in Sickness. He ministered in Rapallo through writing and speaking, ministered to a flock while there, as well as traveling to preach the word. (Apparently Mauro was not ordained, but possibly consider a lay preacher.) Due to the outbreak of World War I, the Mauro family returned to the United States and brought his aunt with them.

As identified in the 1920 census, Mauro truly was a “traveling preacher” carrying his message across the globe.

Richmond Times-Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia), Saturday, March 20, 1926, p. 8

Free Press Evening Bulletin (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) Saturday, June 05, 1926, p. 24

“The pen was the tongue of a ready writer,” Philip Mauro the Writer

In addition to being a lawyer and itinerant minister of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, Mauro was a prolific writer. His works covered topics such as creation & evolution, eschatology, and Bible versions. Mauro contributed essays to the 12-volume The Fundamentals: A Testimony to The Truth, and produced Which Version in 1924. His motto was “Scripture interprets Scripture.”[iv]  According to “The Philip Mauro Digital Library,” Mauro “wrote 35 books and at least 80 shorter writings.”[v] The first book was Reason to Revelation in 1905. Other books written by Philip Mauro include:

  • Life in the Word, 1909[vi]
  • God’s Pilgrims, 1912
  • Expository Readings in Romans, 1913
  • Baptism: Its Place and Importance in Christianity, 1914
  • Evolution at the Bar, 1922
  • The Chronology of the Bible, 1922
  • The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation, 1923
  • The Gospel of the Kingdom, 1928
  • The Hope of Israel, 1929
  • The Church, the Churches and the Kingdom, 1936

The Digital Library asserts that “a significant library of writings” is Philip Mauro’s “greatest legacy” – and that he was “a ‘simple soul’ who took God at his Word and lived the Word.”[vii]

“Much time with his Bible,” Philip Mauro the Bible Man

Perhaps the biographer Gardiner had little interest in or did not agree with Philp Mauro on Bible versions. At least he only mentions it in passing.

“The year after the publication of this notable and controversial book [The Seventy Weeks and the Great Tribulation, 1923], its author brought out Which Version? Authorized or Revised?[viii]

Yet Mauro through this book became a pivotal link between 19th-century opposition to the Revised Version and modern opposition to new versions seeking to supplant the King James Bible.

In his study of the Bible, Philip Mauro concluded that the Greek text behind the English Revised Version was corrupt and that the Authorized Version translation was “vastly superior” to the RV of 1881.[ix] He considered this textual basis as problematic, thought the issue was important, and set out to inform and warn his readers.

“Why was such as enormous number of changes made? On what authority? What is their general character and effect? Briefly, do they give us a better Version, that is, one that brings us nearer to the original autographs of the inspired Writings? And is the Authorized Version so very defective as implied by such an enormous number of corrections?”[x]

Mauro called this question “a matter of the highest consequence.”[xi] He instructs his readers concerning the Greek text, the translation, and the work of the revision committee. He shows that Dean Burgon and others “brought to light that the Committee had produced, not a ‘Revised’ Version (though that was the name given to it) but a New Version, which was a translation of a ‘New Greek Text.’”[xii]

Mauro admits that changes could be made to the Authorized Version, especially of updating words whose meaning had changed since 1611.[xiii] Mauro’s conclusion was not that the Revised Version was without worth, but that Authorized King James Version was superior in underlying text,[xiv] the quality of translation,[xv] as well as in its style and composition.[xvi]

It is also notable that opponents of the KJV Defenders – such as Gary Hudson and Doug Kutilek – key on and boost up David Otis Fuller’s use of the writing of Benjamin Wilkinson in Fuller’s book Which Bible. This advances their agenda of making so-called “King James Onlyism” evolve from Seventh-day Adventism. However, David O. Fuller also reproduced much of Philip Mauro’s work in the book True or False.[xvii] And, Mauro’s book was published six years before Wilkinson’s. Is there a method in their “madness.” Likely they do not want to attribute the origin of “King James Onlyism,” a position they seem to despise, to a writer who contributed to The Fundamentals! That might not play well in Peoria, neither fly far in Fundamentalville.


“Philip Mauro was to linger on the border of the Promised Land until April 7, 1952. Then, quietly, the valiant champion of the Kingdom laid down his armor and entered into the presence of his King whom he had served so nobly. This he did in the confidence expressed in the verse he had written on the fly-leaf of his Bible many years before:

Lord, I believe thou hast prepared
Unworthy though I be
For me a blood-bought, free reward,
A golden harp for me
’Tis strung and tuned for endless years
And formed by power divine
To sound in God the Father’s ears
No other name than thine.”[xviii]

[i] Champion of the Kingdom: the Story of Philip Mauro, Gordon P. Gardiner, p. 4. Mauro was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States on April 21, 1892. (p. 5). Which Version? Authorized or Revised?, Boston, MA: Scripture Truth Depot, 1924.
[ii] U. S. Federal Censuses available at
[iii] Champion of the Kingdom, Gardiner, p. 4.
[iv] For example, “…we can interpret Scripture only by Scripture…” Of Things Which Must Soon Come to Pass: a Commentary on the Book of Revelation, Philip Mauro, Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1933, p. 197.
[vi] This was also published in the series called The Fundamentals.
[vii] “Biography of Philip Mauro” |
[viii] Champion of the Kingdom, Gardiner, p. 41.
[ix] Which Version, p. 117.
[x] Which Version, p. 5.
[xi] Which Version, p. 5.
[xii] Which Version, p. 15.
[xiii] Which Version, p. 14.
[xiv] “…the Greek text is so corrupt…” Which Version, p. 117.
[xv] “…in this feature also, the Authorized Version is vastly superior to that of 1881.” Which Version, p. 117.
[xvi] “…it would be little short of a calamity were it [the Old Version] supplanted by the R. V.” Which Version, p. 117.
[xvii] Fuller also reproduced a good deal of the writing of John William Burgon. Peter J. Thuesen writes, “…treatises by the Revised Version’s most colorful opponents—Burgon, Mauro, and Wilkinson—would enjoy a remarkable shelf-life as late twentieth-century Protestant conservatives reprinted them as virtual classics. Equally notable was the ecumenical character of opposition to Bible revision. Wilkinson made no reference to his Seventh-day Adventist affiliation in Our Authorized Bible Vindicated, concentrating instead on issues of broad evangelical appeal. Mauro, who rejected the Episcopal Church in favor of A. B. Simpson’s Christian and Missionary Alliance, cited the Anglican Dean Burgon without compunction, as did Wilkinson. Similarly, David Otis Fuller, a minister in the General Association of Regular Baptists, during the 1970s edited reprints of works by Burgon, Mauro, Wilkinson, and others—all without apparent regard for denominational loyalties. ¶ Such pragmatic alliances among like-minded Protestants would take on additional significance in future Bible battles, for although modern critical consciousness drove conservatives and liberals apart, it also fostered intraconservative and intraliberal cooperation. The legacy of ‘King Truth’ was therefore ambiguous—as relentlessly paradoxical as the legacy of sixteenth century Protestant-Catholic disputation. The old Reformation debates over authority and interpretation would help set the terms of twentieth-century translation controversies, generating in the process rich rhetorical and ecumenical ironies.” In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles over Translating the Bible, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 65.
[xviii] Champion of the Kingdom, Gardiner, p. 50. The hymn is from stanzas 6 and 7 of William Cowper’s “There is a Fountain filled with Blood” (Hymn 79, “Praise for the fountain opened.” Zech. 13:1 in Olney Hymns).

Monday, April 24, 2023

Our sins are many

“Our sins are many, but his mercies are more: our sins are great, but his righteousness is greater: we are weak, but he is power. Most of our complaints are owing to unbelief, and the remainder of a legal spirit. And these evils are not removed in a day. Wait on the Lord, and he will enable you to see more and more of the power and grace of our High Priest.”

John Newton, in The Works of John Newton, pp. 140-141

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Babylon Is Fallen

Babylon Is Fallen is a popular song with Sacred Harp singers (4th song on preceding link, starts about 4:35). The source of the words is Hymn XXII on page 50 of Part I (sub-headed “Babylon is fallen”) in the 1813 hymn book Millennial Praises: containing a Collection of Gospel Hymns, in Four Parts; adapted to the Day of Christ’s Second Appearing. The hymn book was compiled within the Shaker community by Seth Youngs Wells (1767-1847). The words (six stanzas) were written by Richard McNemar.

McNemar (1770-1839) was a Presbyterian minister who became a New Light preacher briefly, then joined the Shakers. He wrote several hymns included in Millennial Praises, some perhaps before his joining the Shakers. The Shakers placed a strong emphasis on an earthly Millennium foretold in the New Testament (Revelation 20:1-6, et al.). This emphasis is repeated in the phrase “Babylon is fallen” (Revelation 14:8; 18:2). There is an urgency about the message, as well as in the tune.

The tune Babylon Is Fallen was written by William Edward Chute (1832-1900), a Canadian-born Baptist, singing master, songwriter, book collector, and family genealogist. He was also a Union soldier during the War Between the States. Some researchers think the tune is an arrangement of a Shaker tune.

Chute chose two stanzas of McNemar’s hymn – McNemar’s stanzas 1 and 3 – and then added a third (the 7th stanza below). Chute possibly wrote this stanza. The song was first printed in The Musical Million in 1875. The new stanza embraces a new tone, a triumphal rejoicing, whereas the original hymn focuses on judgment, retribution, desolation, and destruction.

The meter of the hymn and tune is 8s.7s. in six lines, with a recurring refrain in 12s.10s.

1. Hail the day so long expected,
Hail the year of full release.
Zion’s walls are now erected,
And her watchmen publish peace.
Through our Shiloh’s wide dominion,
Hear the trumpet loudly roar,
Babylon is fallen! is fallen! is fallen!
Babylon is fallen to rise no more.

2. Hark, and hear her people crying,
“See the city disappear!
“Trade and traffic all are dying,
“Lo, we sink and perish here!”
Sailors who have bought her traffic,
Crying from her distant shore,
“Babylon is fallen! is fallen! is fallen!
“Babylon is fallen to rise no more.”

3. All her merchants stand with wonder,
“What is this that comes to pass?”
Murm’ring like the distant thunder,
Crying out, “Alas, alas!”
Swell the sound, ye kings and nobles,
Priest and people, rich and poor;
Babylon is fallen! is fallen! is fallen!
Babylon is fallen to rise no more.

4. Lo! the captives are returning,
Up to Zion see them fly!
While the smoke of Babel’s burning
Rolls across the darken’d sky!
Days of mourning now are ended,
Years of bondage now are o’er,
Babylon is fallen! is fallen! is fallen!
Babylon is fallen to rise no more. 

5. Zion’s children raise your voices
And the joyful news proclaim!
How the heavenly host rejoices,
Shout and echo back the same!
See the ancients of the city,
Terrified at the uproar;
Babylon is fallen! is fallen! is fallen!
Babylon is fallen to rise no more.

6. Tune your harps, ye heavenly choir,
Shout, ye foll’wers of the Lamb!
See the city all on fire,
Clap your hands and blow the flame!
Now’s the day of compensation
On the scarlet colour’d whore:
Babylon is fallen! is fallen! is fallen!
Babylon is fallen to rise no more.

7. Blow the trumpet in Mount Zion,
Christ shall come a second time;
Ruling with a rod of iron
All who now as foes combine.
Babel’s garments we’ve rejected,
And our fellowship is o’er,
Babylon is fallen! is fallen! is fallen!
Babylon is fallen to rise no more.

W. E. Chute, his sister Sarah, and niece Susanna
From his 1894 Chute family book

Saturday, April 22, 2023

In other words, -able

  • arable, adjective. Of soil, land: capable of producing crops; suitable for farming; suitable for the plow and tillage.
  • cogitable, adjective. Thinkable; conceivable, able of being conceived.
  • coursable, adjective. Of money, forms of payment, etc.: able to be used as currency; in circulation as a medium of exchange.
  • fundable, adjective. Capable of being funded, or converted into a fund; convertible into bonds.
  • impassable, adjective. Not passable; not allowing passage over, through, along, etc.; unable to be surmounted.
  • implacable, adjective. Impossible to placate or appease; having determined feeling that will not change.
  • inscrutable, adjective. Incapable of being investigated; difficult to understand or interpret; impenetrable.
  • portable, adjective. Carried or moved with ease; able to be transferred from one employer to another. 
  • potable, adjective. Of water, liquid: fit or suitable for drinking.
  • ratable, adjective. Capable of being rated, estimated, or appraised.
  • tenable, adjective. Capable of being held, maintained, or defended, as against attack or dispute.
  • votable, adjective. Capable of voting, eligible to vote; capable of being voted upon.
  • washable, adjective. Capable of being washing without damage.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Christopher Yetzer on the KJV Preface

The Translators to the Readers link

Historically speaking the KJV preface was the work of one translator, Miles Smith.29 To understand it best, one must understand the context in which it was written. That context was first and foremost a commercial product of the early 17th century. As such Smith had several important audiences and for each one different objectives to accomplish. He had to prepare the general public for the acceptance of a new translation without maligning the ones which they believed to have been accurate representations of the words of God and which were defended as such.30 He also had to prepare them for the criticisms which Smith knew would come, as well as inform them on some particulars of the book. The most consuming portion of the preface was a defense against the Anglicans’ primary rivals whom Smith calls “Adversaries”, “Papists”, “Romanists” and not without objection “Catholics”. Smith also had to create unity among the theologians of differing positions in England whom he refers to as “brethren”, “Puritans” and twice describes them as “scrupulous”. 

Apart from those audiences which Smith was actively working to refute or convince, he also had a few audiences which he was simply trying to honor. Possibly the most important of these was King James who had his own dedication printed separately from the general preface, but also had a place in that preface where Smith referred to him as “Majesty”, “King” and “Sovereign”. Lastly Smith had to represent the other translators. The word “we” appears 143 times in the text, although a fair amount of them are simply inclusive with the general Christian reader.31


29 “...this Reverend Bishop, Doctor Smith, ...who happily concluded that worthy Labour. Which being so ended, for perfecting of the whole worke as now it is; he was commanded to write a Preface, and so he did in the name of all the Translators, being the same that now is extant in our Church Bible, the Originall whereof I have seene under his owne hand.” Smith, Miles. “The Preface.” Sermons of the Right Reverend Father in God Miles Smith, Elizabeth Allde, London, 1632.
30 Fulke, William. A Defence of the Sincere and True Translations of the Holy Scriptures into the English Tongue. Henrie Bynneman, 1583.
31 Throughout this article the preface I am using for the text is found at
Preface as well as images of a 1611 KJV preface found at

Christopher Yetzer, The Very Vulgar, pp. 3-4

Thursday, April 20, 2023

The Little Baptist: Postcript

I am posting here a little more detail about my reasoning and how I came to the conclusion that the novel The Little Baptist by James M. Martin was written sometime between May 22, 1869 and May 27, 1871. I have interpreted the information that I have in light of the sequence of events that M. P. Lowrey lays out in The Baptist on March 18, 1876. He starts in the present, then moves backwards, relating prior events. The events surrounding J. M. Martin writing The Little Baptist unfold in the following chronological order.

References from The Baptist periodical[i]

1869, May

J. R. Graves: “Glancing over the book that lay upon the center table in the parlor of Bro. S., one small nicely bound one attracted our eye. We looked at the title page. ‘The Little Episcopalian’…There should be a prize of $100 offered for the best book written under this title: ‘The Little Baptist.’ Is there not a brother, or a church that will do it?” “Editorial Hurrygraphs,” The Baptist, Saturday, May 22, 1869, page 4.

1869, June

J. R. Graves: “Sunday-school Books wanted on the following subjects… ‘The Little Baptist’—(Engaged)…Now, who will write and give one of these books to the Board, as a contribution to the Sunday-school cause?...And the Board will offer a prize of $200 for the best MSS. on ‘The Little Baptist,’ we are confident. If it will not, we will ourself. Who will write?” “Items,” The Baptist, Saturday, June 19, 1869, page 5.[ii]

1869, July

J. R. Graves: “Miss Mary Lane, Tenn.—It will be for the S. S. Board to decide on the MSS. offered for ‘Little Baptist.’ 100 pages MS. will be quite enough matter. Let all who feel like it try, and forward MS. to S. C. Rogers, Dep. Agent.” “Letter Box,” The Baptist, Saturday, July 24, 1869, page 5

1871, May

T. C. Teasdale: “Sunday School Report…In the Publications Department considerable advance had been made over any previous year…Several books designed for Sunday-school libraries had been stereotyped and others were ready. Among those ready for the publication rooms were…’The Little Baptist,’ by Eld. J. M. Martin, of Rienzi, Miss…” “Annual Session of the Southern Baptist Convention,” The Baptist, Saturday, May 27, 1871, page 4. [This is probably a summary of the report rather than the exact words written in the report.]

1876, March

M. P. Lowrey: “Years ago Bro. Graves, in his travels, saw a little book entitled ‘The Little Episcopalian.’ He was impressed with the ingenuity and simplicity of the book, and made a call at once for some one to write a book to be entitled ‘The Little Baptist.’” “More About Our Recent Visit To Memphis,” in “Mississippi Department,” The Baptist, March 18, 1876, page 264.

1876, April

M. P. Lowrey: “Our readers will be interested in extracts from a letter just received from an able minister and valued friend of our youthful days: … “Am glad to hear that Bro. Martin’s ‘Little Baptist’ will be published. Hope he will write something else as good. God bless him. (This brother has read a part of the manuscript of Bro. Martin’s book.) “Notes,” in “Mississippi Department,” The Baptist, April 22, 1876, page 344.

1876, June

W. D. Mayfield: “’The Apostolic Church’… ‘History of Sunday Schools’ … And these splendid works will be followed by ‘Little Baptist,’ a charming story by Bro. Martin and Dr. Lowrey.” “Great Debate,” The Baptist, Saturday, June 3, 1876, page 436.

1876, June

W. D. Mayfield: “We want all agents to canvass also for ‘History of Sunday-schools,’ ‘Apostolic Church,’ and ‘Little Baptist.’ These books are all going into type now. They will have a large sale.” “The Great Debate and Other Books,” The Baptist, Saturday, June 10, 1876, page 453. [iii]

1877, April

Southern Baptist Publication Society: “Little Baptist, by J. M. Martin. Revised and corrected by M. P. Lowrey, D.D., price in cloth 1.00 Morocco 2.00.” “Condensed List of Our New and Popular Publications,” The Baptist, Saturday, April 7, 1877, page 287.


M. P. Lowery, “More About Our Recent Visit To Memphis,” in “Mississippi Department,” The Baptist, March 18, 1876, page 264.

Order of events

  • 1. In his travels, J. R. Graves saw the book The Little Episcopalian and called at once for someone to write The Little Baptist. This is what Graves relates in The Baptist, May 22, 1869 concerning his travel to Georgia.
  • 2. J. M. Martin went to work and soon offered the manuscript to the Sunday-school Board. This was done while T. C. Teasdale was Corresponding Secretary of the Board, which is September 1869-Sept 1871. The Little Baptist by Martin was “ready for the publication rooms” in May 1871.
  • 3. According to Lowrey, a few copies of Martin’s material was published in The Baptist. I am not sure what to make of this – either what or when. Is it possible it was published separately as a sort of newspaper serial, and not in the regular issues of The Baptist? Or is Lowrey mistaken? Did he mean by” rather than “in”? I have not found material from this novel published in The Baptist.[iv]
  • 4. The Sunday School Board “went down” and the (rights to) the manuscript went back to J. M. Martin. Lowrey seems to imply the book was never published. According to J. M. Frost’s book, The Sunday School Board: Its History and Work (p. 8), the first Sunday School Board was discontinued by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1873.
  • 5. M. P. Lowrey, acting for J. M. Martin, and sold the rights to the book to W. D. Mayfield on behalf of the Southern Baptist Publication Society.
  • 6. After revision by Lowrey and Martin, the book is going to print by the Southern Baptist Publication Society in the Spring of 1876.
  • 7. The book The Little Baptist is available for purchase from the Southern Baptist Publication Society at least by April 1877.

If M. P. Lowrey’s comments are accurate, and considering other information found in issues of The Baptist, then J. M. Martin wrote The Little Baptist after Graves called for it in May 1869, and before May 1871 when it is described as ready for the publication rooms.”

[i] I have not had access to other Baptist periodicals of this time period.
[ii] It is not clear to me how to understand “(Engaged)” beside the titles in the June 19, 1869 article. Does that just mean that the Board has agreed I was confused by that as well, but thought the best possible interpretation might be that someone had already engaged in writing it.
[iii] Around this same time, 1876. the SBPS started or attempted to start a periodical called The Little Baptist. It should not be confused with the novel The Little Baptist.
[iv] However, M. P. Lowrey is closely associated with the publication of The Baptist in this period, so should be a reliable witness.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

J. M. Martin and “The Little Baptist”

“and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:15

“Oh, Mamma! look here! This Bible that brother gave me, is a Baptist Bible.”

What is The Little Baptist?

The Little Baptist is a religious novel that critiques infant baptism and teaches Baptist distinctives. The primary audience is children, but it may be read with profit by adults. The story follows 10-year-old Mellie Brown. Though her family is Presbyterian, through reading a Bible given to her by her brother, she sees the mode of baptism is immersion. The novel is built around the discussions and interactions of Mellie, her parents, her friends, Dr. Farnsworth (a Presbyterian minister), Dr. Atwood (a Christian/Campbellite minister), and others. The blurb on the back of the Bogard Press printing explains:

The title is derived from the taunting nickname given a bright girl of ten years, because of her inquisitiveness in reading the Bible. Mellie Brown, child of a Presbyterian family, received a Bible as a gift and upon reading it came to the story of the baptism of Jesus. When she had finished this story, she protested to her mother that a mistake had been made and that a Baptist Bible had been given to her. This started conversations in the home, on the school grounds, and among Mellie’s friends on such subjects as baptism—form, subject, design; communion, as they called it; and a scriptural church. In easy language throughout Mellie supports her positions by the use of the text of the Bible; she cites no so-called authorities. A most convincing story.

The popularity of The Little Baptist can be seen in its being kept in print from the 19th century to the present by various publishers, such as Baptist Book Concern, Louisville, KY (1898);[i] Broadman Press, Nashville, TN (no date); Bogard Press, Texarkana, AR-TX (no date);[ii] and Parker Memorial Baptist Church, Lansing, MI (no date). Besides remaining in print, the public domain book is available online in assorted locations. 

About 1876, J. R. Graves’s paper The Baptist began to advertise a version edited by M. P. Lowrey, a Baptist preacher in Ripley, Mississippi. A statement by Lowrey in the “Mississippi Department” of The Baptist suggests this edition was printed by the Southern Baptist Publication Society. The 1898 Baptist Book Concern printing includes a “Preface to New Edition,” which indicates some minor editing by T. T. Eaton of Louisville, Kentucky. Also, an appendix on baptism from the periodical The Baptist Outlook was probably added at that same time (1898).[iii] At least one printing has the subtitle “A Young Girl’s Look at Plain Truth.”

Who wrote The Little Baptist?

J. M. Martin of Rienzi, Mississippi.

In his “Preface” to the book, Martin apprises his readers:
I have written a book; not for the student of classic lore, but for the young, to whom plain truths are of more value than polished style. Should it serve the cause of truth, I shall be content for critics to exercise their talents upon its imperfections. The object of the book is to give a plain, common sense view of the doctrines of the gospel, and to present, in a simple style, the peculiar features distinguishing Baptists from all other Christian denominations. I have no design against the Presbyterians, as such, but select them only as representatives of the great Pedo-baptist family. The expressions that Dr. Farnsworth is made to use, are generally the stereotyped sentences used by Methodist and Presbyterian controversialists with whom I am acquainted. The trial and expulsion of Mrs. Brown from the church, is introduced merely to form a basis from which to present the Communion question in its true light, and not with a view to show intolerance in the Presbyterian church.

With whatever imperfections this book may have, and with a just feeling of responsibility for the result of its teachings, I send it forth, attended by a fervent prayer that it may be instrumental in the accomplishment of much good.
Rienzi, Miss.

Who was J. M. Martin?

From the book itself, we can determine J. M. Martin (1) lived in Rienzi, Mississippi, (2) was a Baptist.[iv] Beyond that he is not identified. However, the specification of Rienzi, Mississippi as his residence helps us narrow down and identify the author. He is sometimes misidentified. For example, Lives of Mississippi Authors, 1817-1967 has this entry for J. M. Martin.
MARTIN, JAMES M: ?-1900. James M. Martin was for many years a Baptist minister in Rienze, Mississippi. He was present at the founding of the Tishomingo Baptist Association in 1860 and served as its first secretary. In 1898 appeared Martin’s The Little Baptist, designed to present to children the doctrines of the Baptist Church. F; A Complete History of Mississippi Baptists by Zachary Taylor Leavell. 

The Little Baptist. Louisville: Baptist Book Concern, 1898.

Which Way, Sirs, the Better? A Story of Our Toilers. Boston: Arena Publishing Company, 1895.

- From Lives of Mississippi Authors, 1817-1967, James B. Lloyd, Editor. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1981, page 326.
This entry contains at least two errors (and maybe more). Assuming the book first appeared in 1898, the compilers apparently looked for a J. M. Martin who died after 1898, but a 1900 death date is wrong. The second book listed was written by J. M. Martin of New Castle, Pennsylvania, not J. M. Martin of Alcorn County, Mississippi. Thirdly, it is not certain that Martin was an ordained minister. Most likely he was not.

Statements about the book and its author by M. P. Lowrey in the “Mississippi Department” of The Baptist provide information to identify the author, as well as roughly when The Little Baptist was written. Lowrey explains:
Acting for Bro. J. M. Martin, lately of Rienzi, but now of Corinth, we sold to Bro. Mayfield, for the Publication Society, the manuscript of a little book, entitled ‘The Little Baptist.’ Years ago Bro. Graves, in his travels, saw a little book entitled ‘The Little Episcopalian.’ He was impressed with the ingenuity and simplicity of the book, and made a call at once for some one to write a book to be entitled ‘The Little Baptist.’ Bro. Martin’s ready mind and ready pen were soon at work, and the manuscript was soon offered to the Sunday-school Board. While Dr. Teasdale was Corresponding Secretary of the Board he examined the manuscript and was much pleased with it. A few copies of it were published in The Baptist, and, we think, met a general approval. The Sunday-school Board went down and the manuscript fell back to Bro. Martin. He put it in our hands for examination and revision. We returned it to him with some suggestions. He re wrote it, then returned it to us, we carefully examined and revised it again, and now it is gone to the Publication Society, and will soon go to the public, printed and bound in that handsome style so characteristic of our new Society. It will be an attractive book to children; but if our Pedobaptist people do not want their children to take a common sense view of Bible teaching on baptism and communion they would better keep that book out of their hands. We shall have more to say about it (D. V.) when it is published.
- “More About Our Recent Visit To Memphis,” M. P. Lowrey in “Mississippi Department,” The Baptist, March 18, 1876, page 264.
Lowrey provides a bit of extra information that is important.[v] J. M. Martin had lived in Rienzi, but had recently moved to Corinth, Mississippi. This movement is consistent with a particular J. M. (James M.) Martin who is found in Rienzi in the 1850-1870 censuses, but is living in Corinth in 1880. J. M. Martin was still living in Rienzi in March of 1875 when a tornado hit the town and destroyed his home.[vii]  By March of 1876 he had moved to Corinth. Censuses show his occupation as farmer, clerk of a dry goods store, and circuit clerk of Alcorn County. At the time of his death, he was apparently publisher of the Corinth Herald newspaper.[vii]

In 1860, this J. M. Martin was appointed secretary of a convention called at Burnsville for the purpose of organizing a new Baptist Association. He was later elected the first clerk of the Tishomingo Baptist Association. He attended as a delegate of the Baptist Church at Rienzi. M. P. Lowrey was his pastor. As clerk, Martin was given responsibility to superintend the printing of the minutes and their distribution. He was paid $10 for his services.[viii]  Other accessible minutes suggest he probably served as clerk until around 1874.[ix]  He was a very active member of the association, writing reports, participating in union meetings, etc. At the 1866 associational meeting, J. M. Martin was one among thirteen men assigned to write essays to be read at the union meeting of the first district of the association in July of 1867. His topic was “The Kingdom of Christ.”[x] He was elected treasurer of a Sunday School Convention organized at Corinth Church in 1871.[xi] M. P. Lowrey describes Martin as a “frequent correspondent” of The Baptist.[xii] However, despite sometimes being identified as “Rev.” or “Eld.” in various media, he apparently was a layman (or perhaps a deacon) rather than a preacher. That he is never included in Tishomingo Baptist Association list of either ordained or licensed ministers should be sufficient evidence of that. Oddly enough, he is listed as “Eld. J. M. Martin” in the 1894 Tishomingo Association minute book that includes his name in the deaths from Corinth Baptist Church.

J. M. Martin was born February 26, 1827 in Alabama, apparently the son of John Martin and Elizabeth Norman. His middle name may have been “Monroe.”[xiii] Martin married Eliza (last name unknown) circa 1847, and they had at least seven children.[xiv] J. M. Martin died of the results of a stroke October 28, 1893, and was buried beside his wife in the Henry Cemetery at Corinth.
J. M. Martin died at Corinth last week, having suffered a stroke of paralysis. He was 66 years old, served the county in the capacity of circuit clerk for eight years.[xv] 
Available testimony concerning James M. Martin distinguishes him as an honorable member of the Baptist brotherhood and respectable citizen of Alcorn County, Mississippi. Though The Little Baptist has remained a popular book, it seems its author—at least as an author—has been largely forgotten. Though he wrote for the faith rather than fortune and fame, perhaps it is time to render honour to whom honour is due.

When was The Little Baptist written?

If you check on the internet, you will find claims that The Little Baptist was written in 1848. For example, “The Little Baptist has been out of print since 1848. It was written by J. M. Martin of Rienzi, Mississippi, and was published by the Baptist Book Concern well before the Civil War.” This statement is incorrect. There is a misprinting of the date in some Baptist Book Concern editions – 1848 rather than 1898.[xvi] 1898 is the correct date and is properly printed in other editions. That the 1848 date is incorrect may be seen in the following facts:
  • The Baptist Book Concern of Louisville, Kentucky was formed about 1890 by W. P. Harvey and T. T. Eaton. It did not exist in 1848.[xvii] 
  • The Little Baptist was written after The Little Episcopalian, which was published in 1854.[xviii] 
  • The first printer of the book, Southern Baptist Publication Society, was not chartered until 1871.[xix] 
  • The book first printed after March 1876, with the possible exception of some excerpts running in The Baptist.[xx] 
These facts demonstrate that the book could not have been written in 1848. Its time of writing may be narrowed by two points made by M. P. Lowery. The Little Baptist was written by James M. Martin (1827-1893) of Alcorn County, Mississippi between May 1869 and May 1871. In May 1869, J. R. Graves recounts seeing the book The Little Episcopalian, and asks, “Is there not a brother, or a church that will write” a book under the title The Little Baptist? T. C. Teasdale received a copy while he was corresponding secretary of the Sunday School Board. He served in that position in September 15, 1869 to September 15, 1871. On May 27, 1871 (The Baptist, page 4), The Little Baptist is described as being “ready for the publication rooms.” However, there are currently no extant advertisements of the book for sale by the Sunday School Board. The Little Baptist was evidently first printed and sold by the Southern Baptist Publication Society circa 1876-77. More information on the printing by SBPS is doubtless out there somewhere, but I have yet to find it.

The Southern Baptist Publication Society…Condensed List of Our New and Popular Publications
The Baptist, Saturday, April 14, 1877, page 303

[i] In the “Preface to New Edition,” T. T. Eaton says that over 100,000 copies has been issued before the printing of this new edition in 1898.
[ii] The Bogard Press states they took up printing The Little Baptist because “the former publishers elected not to reprint it.” This probably most immediately was Broadman Press. They also have a note “No changes have been made in the present edition.”
[iii] I do not have first edition, circa 1876, and so cannot determine whether the “Appendix” was added in 1898 or was part of the first printing.
[iv] Though in his preface Martin does not specifically state that he is a Baptist, his book promoting and defending Baptist principles makes that conclusion obvious.
[v] Mark Perrin Lowrey labored with Martin in the Tishomingo Association, so was personally acquainted with him.
[vi] As well as other homes, and the church buildings of the Baptists and Presbyterians.
[vii] An obituary of Judson Martin, J. M.’s son, says his father established the Herald and that the son took over as publisher after the death of his father. Jackson Daily News, Saturday, August 14, 1909, p. 3.
[viii] A Complete History of Mississippi Baptists, Volume II, Zachary Taylor Leavell; Bailey, Thomas Jefferson Bailey; Jackson, MS: Mississippi Baptist Publishing Co., 1904, pp. 894-896. Minutes of the Convention Organizing the Tishomingo Baptist Association, November 9-10, 1860, pp. 1-3, 8.
[ix] A number of early minutes of the Tishomingo Baptist Association can be found at The association likely did not meet in some of the years during the War.
[x] Minutes of the Sixth Anniversary of the Tishomingo Baptist Association, September 1866, p. 4.
[xi] “S. S. Conventions. Corinth,” in “Mississippi Department,” The Baptist, Saturday, May 27, 1871, p. 3.
[xii] “Summary,” by M. P. Lowrey in “Mississippi Department,” The Baptist, Saturday, March 27, 1875, p. 3.
[xiii] His parents and middle name come from family tree information posted on – some of which is unsourced. A newspaper obituary confirms that Thomas Norman Martin of Driftwood Springs, Hays County, Texas is his brother (The Weekly Corinthian, July 24, 1901, p. 3). There is no obvious kinship to well-known Mississippi Baptist preachers M. T. Martin and T. T. Martin.
[xiv] Found in censuses are: Nancy, Betty, Laura, Margaret, Catherine (Kitty), Martha, Judson, and Mary. Based on age, Margaret and Catherine may be the same person. There might be other children who died between censuses. As a Baptist father of many daughters, he was no doubt uniquely qualified to write the story of heroine Mellie Brown.
[xv] “Miscellaneous,” The Grenada Sentinel, Saturday, November 11, 1893, p. 2.
[xvi] “In some copies of the Baptist Book Concern’s printing of The Little Baptist, the publication date mistakenly is typed as 1848…” Email from Adam G. Winters (Archivist, James P. Boyce Centennial Library) 17 April 2023.
[xvii] “My understanding is that the Baptist Book Concern launched in January 1890, according to two editorials (January 9 and 30 of 1890) in the Western Recorder, led by the financial backing of W. P. Harvey and the publishing experience of T. T. Eaton.” Email from Adam G. Winters (Archivist, James P. Boyce Centennial Library) 17 April 2023.
[xviii]“More About Our Recent Visit To Memphis,” M. P. Lowrey in “Mississippi Department,” The Baptist, March 18, 1876, page 264. The Little Episcopalian: Or, the Child Taught by the Prayer Book, M. A. C. (Mary Ann Cruse). New York, NY: General Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Union, 1854.
[xix] Big Hatchie Association approved the idea of the Southern Baptist Publication Society at its fall session in 1870. The Society was chartered in 1871 and possibly did not publish any books until around 1874.
[xx] Lowrey writes, “. A few copies of it were published in The Baptist, and, we think, met a general approval.” I have not located anything in The Baptist.