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Pursuit and Knowledge

Pursuit and Knowledge

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Then shall we know, if we follow on to know
the Lord. — Rosea 6. 3.

Then shall we know, if we follow on to know
the Lord. — Rosea 6. 3.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 19, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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PURSUIT AD KOWLEDGE JOSEPH M. M. GRAY Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord. — Rosea 6. 3. PURSUIT AD KOWLEDGE Among the most interesting accomplishments of photography are pictures taken at night or during a storm. The book of Hosea is very much like them. It is a photograph taken in a tempest. It is the product of a stormy time, and the storm thunders through the book. Ralph Waldo Trine, who is more clever at getting subjects than in saying anything worth while about them, has named one of his fustian volumes The Land of Living Men, though he has failed altogether to give credit for the title to William Morris, who used it years before Trine was heard of. But neither Trine nor Morris is within a world's length of the land of living men. Here is the true land of living men, the Bible. We think of its people as dim literary figures, but they are real folks. They lived and loved as we do; lived longer, and, if the records of the divorce courts are criteria, loved longer than a good many people nowadays do; they sang and suffered as we do; and they sinned. Perhaps the supreme power of the Bible is that it paints sin as not even a problem novelist would dare to do even to-day. And nowhere else in the Bible will you meet so 223
224 THE COTEMPORARY CHRIST much sin all at once as in Hosea: "Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabi- tants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. There is naught but swearing and breaking faith and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery; they break out, and blood toucheth blood." There is a fairly complete indictment  — perjury, murder, theft, and immorality. If there had been newspapers in Jerusalem then, they would have called Hosea a muck-raker and said he was hurting the country. But Hosea went farther than simply to indict society at large. He found the men higher up. "Hear ye this, O ye priests, . . . for unto you pertaineth the judgment; for ye have been a snare at Mizpah and a net spread upon Tabor." "The princes of Judah are like them that remove the landmarks" — the oldest form of dishonesty and simpler than some of our con- temporary transactions. Here is a preacher who ought to have stuck to his text. But he didn't; he filled his preaching, and his book is filled, with this broken, vivid language; with challenge after challenge, and appeal after ap- peal. There are commands in it, and tears, and tragedy, and pathos; insolence and anger; crime and ignorance. There are sublime and PURSUIT AD KOWLEDGE 225 fearful dialogues between a wayward people and an offended God. It is a great cross-
section of superficial and sensual life, and care- less recreant feelings; social sin and individual apostasy, and reprobate priests and treacherous princes. It is a moving picture of the whole surge and stress of a generation that has lost its conscience and relaxed its moral earnestness. And then, in the very midst of it, you come across a prayer, so simple, so direct and ap- pealing, that the Christian Church has para- phrased it into one of its most beautiful hymns of conversion: "Come, and let us return unto the Lord; for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning.' ' Or, as another version has it, "If we seek him we shall find him; — and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain upon the earth." ow, when you get to that prayer you are on one of the undecided battlefields of biblical scholarship; but I will not so much as mention any of the very real problems which are in- volved here. I simply lift up one of its gracious sentences, and set it before you as a fruitful 226 THE COTEMPORARY CHRIST and appealing invitation for this day, and the generation to which we belong: "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord." Then shall we know — know what? Ours is no ignorant age. Can Hosea, twenty-eight

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