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Peculiar Brother Bird 11 And they championed endless torment 22 And he told 'em he was certain

In a hell the lost to scare, That the Bible was inspired,

And they wondered if without it And preserved both pure and perfet,
1 In the foothills of the Blue Ridge, Why would anybody care? And was all that he desired.
A peculiar Brother Bird
Started teaching a new doctrine 12 Then he took 'em to a passage, 23 “But we thought we knew the meanin'
That no one had ever heard. One of which they were so fond- Long before we ever read
In the sixteenth verse, third chapter Just to find out and be certain
2 For he held that John the Baptist, Of the gospel of St. John. What it really, truly said.”
Who had warned of coming wrath,
Said the Lord His wheat would gather, 13 “For it says, and says so clearly 24 “And is says that sin has wages,
But would “burn up” all the chaff. Life, and everlasting too, And the wages, yes, is death,
Or it's perish-don't you see it - But the gift is life eternal -
3 And he emphasized the “burn up”: That word perish is a clue!” That's exactly what is saith.”
“Yes sir, burn up I have read!”
And he said it was just simply 14 And he emphasized the “perish”: 25And he emphasized the “wages”:
What the Bible clearly said. “Yes sir, perish I have read!” “Yes sir, wages I have read!”
And he said it was just simply And he said it was just simply
4 Then he turned in his old Bible What the Bible clearly said. What the Bible clearly said.
To the book of Malachi,
And he read, “The Day is comin' - 15 “And that final Day of Judgment, 26 And this caused some folks to wonder,
Yes, a comin' by and by.” And that lake of fire,” he saith And this made some folks to squirm,
Is destruction everlasting, And some argued 'bout the rich man,
5 “And The Day that is a-comin' And is called “the Second Death.” And the never-dying worm.
Like an oven it'll burn,
And'll 'burn up' all the wicked- 16”For the punishment eternal 27 Then he showed 'em that the sayin'
Thus from Malachi we learn.” Is an everlasting thing; Of the worms and fire so hot
But it's punish-ment, please notice- Was an excerpt from Isaiah,
6And he emphasized the “burn up”: And it's not a punish-ing.” Yes, Isaiah, was it not?
“Yes sir, burn up I have read!”
And he said it was just simply 17”And the punishment's 'destruction'- 28 And he showed them in the passage
What the Bible clearly said. It's an everlasting death- Of “the carcases of men” -
It's destruc-tion, not destroy-ing - The consuming of the wicked -
7 Then he turned to Jude and Peter, That's exactly what is saith.” And they looked at it again.
Where “eternal fire” had burned
In ol' Sodom and Gomorrah - 18And he emphasized “destruction”: 29 “And our blessed Lord and Master
Yet to “ashes” they were turned. “Yes destruction I have read,” Would not quote a temporal end
And he said it was just simply Out of context as eternal
8 And he said that Jude and Peter What the Bible clearly said. And confuse the minds of men.”
An “example” did proclaim
Of how ashes was the endin' 19 Then they shook their dusty Bibles 30 “For it speaks there of dead bodies,
Of that dread eternal flame. As they murmured and they cried, Of the wicked's certain doom,
“He's a-tamperin' with the Scripture, And how fire and worms undyin'
9And he emphasized the “ashes”: And the truth he has denied!” Will their carcases consume.”
“Yes sir, ashes I have read!”
And he said it was just simply 20 And they said that hell was endless 31 And he answered all their questions
What the Bible clearly said. As recorded in the Word, Of the rich man who did die,
And they told folks not to listen And he showed 'em he was buried
10 And some folks got sorta bothered To that “lib-ral” Brother Bird. E'er he made his painful cry.
At the words of Brother Bird,
And a “heretic” they called 'im, 21 Then he said, “We've all been brought up 32 And he showed 'em how a spirit
And they said he was absurd. To believe the endless way, Does not have a tongue or eyes,
And it's all we've ever thought of Or a bosom or a finger,
Right up to the present day.” Then he caught 'em by surprise:

33 “For it was a buried body, 44 “And, 'what man is he that liveth, 55 “With a plain word such as perish,
Not a disembodied soul - and shall not see death' said he; Could somebody tell me why
And for Pharisees who scorned Him For the Sheol of a grave hole We have turned it inside outward
'Twas a piercing par-a-ble.” Is our common destiny (89:48) Til' it means to never die?”

34 Well, sir, that word fanned their anger 45 “In the belly of the great fish 56 “And we know just what a fire is,
From a flicker to a flame: In the belly of a whale- And we know what it will do-
“It's no par-a-ble-No, never! Is where Jonah cried in anguish And we understand it clearly,
For He used a proper name.” From the belly of a....hell.” And should need no other clue.”

35 Then he showed 'em how “a certain” 46 “And it's perfect in the King James, 57 “When the fire of God has fallen
Was the way the Lord began Just the way they worded it- From the God of fire in wrath,
Oft to tell a pointed story: It is hell if it's the gravedom; It destroyed its prey completely,
“And there was “a certain man.” Otherwise it's grave or pit.” And consumed all in its path.”

36 “And they could not serve their mammon 47 “And of all the Sheol's mentioned, 58 “And the pictures of the judgment
And be servants of the Lord, There's not one in sixty-five Well, I'd say they're clear enough-
Or call Abraham their father That e'er speaks of endless torment, For the chaff and tares and stubble
If ol' Moses they ignored.” Or of souls that are alive.” And the briars will burn up!”

37 “And the name He said was Laz'rus, 48 “Nor do any of the prophets 59 “Now if God had really meant it
And he meant just what He said Though of dearth and death do tell, To be endless, I inquire,
For they all knew it was Laz'rus Ever mention any torments Would he picture only items
Who had risen from the dead.” In a never-ending hell.” That'll burn up in the fire?”

38 “For 'a certain man named Laz'rus' 49 “In the Acts of the Apostles- 60 “As the fire devours the stubble,
From a poorer family, There in sermons quite a few And the flame consumes the chaff,
Had been sick and on his deathbed You will find the gospel message So the tares cast in the furnace
In the town of Bethany.” Doesn't give a single clue.” Will be burned in final wrath.”

39 “And though Laz'rus had arisen, 50 “In the words and in the writings 61 “And if firemen were not able
And had come back from the dead, Of the dear apostle Paul, To put out a fire, let's say -
Those same fellers weren't a-listenin' Though he speaks of wrath and judgment Do you think the thing a-burnin'
Just as Abraham had said.” Never mentions hell at all.” Would burn on and on for aye?”

40 “And the story of the rich man 51 “Don't it seem a bit abnormal, 62 “Thus the quenchless flames of Hades,
Never says that hell's for aye That in all the Word of God, And the fire you can't put out
For it's not the final Judgment That the sum of these is zero? Will not keep these things a-burnin' -
And it's not the final Day.” Don't that seem a little odd?” They'll burn up without a doubt.”

41 And he showed 'em how that Hades 52 “For if hell is really endless, 63 And he emphasized the “burn up”:
Is the Greek word for Sheol, And eternal torment's true, “Yes sir, burn up I have read!”
And can mean a grave or gravedom, It should be a couple hundred, And he said it was just simply
And denote a hole or whole. Or at least a one or two.” What the Bible clearly said.

42 And that “Sheol in the Scripture 53 “And the words that God has chosen 64 In the foothills of the Blue Ridge
Is the Gravedom of the Dead, And the pictures He has drawn, This peculiar Brother Bird
Of the righteous and the wicked” - Were not used to be confusin' Got some fire and brimstone preachers
And he proved just what he said: But to make it clearly known.” Not a little bit disturbed.

43 “In that precious psalm of David, 54 “For they're clear words like destruction 65 And although he'd try to answer
Of God's presence he did tell, That describe the sinner's doom, Just whatever they would ask,
How the Lord would still be with him, Such as end and death and perish, It was clear they weren't as willing
Though he made his bed in hell.” And devour and consume.” To perform a sim'lar task.

66 But they harped on Revelation 77 “And his sheep will 'never perish' 88 “It's a phrase of preposition,
Of the “torment day and night,” For they know and follow Him, As in for a time so long.
And for ever cried “Forever!” And He gives them life eternal - And then ever is indefinite,
As they made an “endless” fight. Yes, He gives it unto them. As in for...and on and on.”

67 And they called the theologians, 78 “For the wicked surely perish, 89 “And the Bible clearly tells us
And they checked the hist'ry book, While the saved know endless joy - What the wicked have in store -
And they even searched the Hebrew Thus we fear naught but the God who How their thoughts will even perish,
And the Greek to take a look. Soul and body can destroy.” And that they will be 'no more.'”

68 And they thought they finally had 'im, 79 And he emphasized “destroy”: 90 And he emphasized the “no more”:
When with glee they did extol “Can destroy the soul,” I've read, “Yes sir, no more I have read!”
How “the Scripture clearly teaches And he said it was just simply And he said it was just simply
Immoral'ty of the soul.” What the Bible clearly said. What the Bible clearly said.

69 And they waited for his answer- 80 Then he scolded torment peddlers 91 And some folks said he was lyin'
Ah! They knew they had him there - With this gravest of concern: And a twistin' up the Word,
When he opened up his Bible, “Are folks truly trusting Jesus, But some folks began to listen
And he asked them, “Show me....where.” Or just tryin' not to burn?” To peculiar Brother Bird.

70 Then they were a good bit puzzled 81 “And your view on Revelation (14:10,11) 92 And the ones who were not Christians
E'er they even took a look, Is a little bit bizarre, Really hoped that it was so,
Yet they said that they were certain For it places hell in heaven 'Cause they didn't want to risk it,
It was written in the Book. Where the Lamb and angels are.” And they didn't want to go.

71 Then they checked in their concordance, 82 And he showed 'em what the “weepin' 93 But the ones who were real Christians,
But they couldn't help but squirm, And the wailin' was about: Also hoped it could be true,
For the best that they could muster “When ye see” the righteous gathered For they loved their Lord no matter,
Was the never-dying worm. And “yourselves” have been “thrust out.” And they had compassion, too.

72 Then he asked them to consider 83 “And thrust out in 'outer darkness' 94 And they could not say for certain
Chapter six of Timothy, And 'the mist of darkness,' well - Whether Brother Bird was wrong,
How's there's one, and just one “only Are not words of endless torment For he raised some valid questions,
Who hath immortality.” In a blazin', fiery hell.” And his faith in God was strong.

73 And he emphasized the “only”: 84 “You can talk of cruelest torture 95 And they would not be like Jonah,
“Yes sir, only I have read!” In the hottest flames of black, And be mad it wasn't so,
And he said it was just simply But the mist of darkness surely But they sorta thought like Spurgeon,
What the Bible clearly said. Means they're never comin' back.” And were hopin' none would go.

74 And he turned to many verses 85 “And that wicked city Bab'lon 96 And at least they weren't offended
With that wiggly little term, In an hour will be gone, At peculiar Brother Bird,
And he showed 'em from the Bible Yet the smoke of their great torment But they thought the subject worthy
That a worm is...well ... a worm. Will ascend up on and on.” Of more study in the Word.

75 “And our hope's in resurrection - 86 “And the smoke tells of consumption - 97 But the preachers and the teachers
'In the twinklin' of an eye' - Somethin's burnin' up for sure - With a thing or two to sell,
And in bodies made immortal And bears witness to destruction, And the great big kingdom builders
Not in souls that never die.” Not more torments to endure.” All defended their own hell.

76 And he showed them “life eternal 87 “And forever in my Bible 98 And they said it was the gospel!
Is a gift that we receive, Is two words: for ever, see And were sure that they were right,
And the gift is in the Giver, And it's not always eternal, But they didn't even bother
Just for those who do believe.” As in Deuteronomy. (15:17) But a verse or two to cite.

99 And they took no time to study, 110 But the Endless Hell Defenders
For I reckon they preferred Were ascendant in the land-
Just to cast a doubtful slander For ol' Plato in the Credo
On the name of Brother Bird. Always had the upper hand.

100 And they shared each other's pulpits, 111 And with Augustine and Calvin
And they shook each other's hand, There to tell 'em what to say
And were thankful for the faithful They could just be good ol' parrots
Who would firmly take a stand. And repeat it all for 'aye.

101 And with hell they'd sell their tickets 112 But the truth is not the treasure
To a mansion up above, Of the great majority,
But they did not know what manner And the truth you cannot measure
Of a spirit they were of. By its popularity.

102 For they'd burn their wood or garbage 113 When a monk named Martin Luther
And they'd feel the heat and say, Nailed his theses to the door,
With a calloused air of surety, They were written in the Latin,
“Folks will have some hell to pay!” And were easy to ignore.

103 And they reasoned of its justice 114 In a time we call “Dark Ages”
As if adding up the math- When the clerics hid the Word,
How a God of love and mercy The prevailin' way of thinkin'
Was a holy God of wrath. Thought that Luther was absurd.

104 (As if love could not be holy, 115 So now who's to say it's doubtless
Or that holy could not love- That the parrots will prevail
Was He Hyde or was He Jeckyl? And the creeds still go unchallenged
How much pain would be enough? On the endlessness of Hell?

105 In the blood stains of the nail scars 116 For perhaps a thoughtful poem
We His wondrous love may learn, Could inspire some hearts to search,
But for those who fail to learn it, And begin a transformation
Well, forever they will burn???) Of this doctrine in the church.

106 Though they'd give God all the credit 117 In the foothills of the Blue Ridge
They'd absolve Him of the guilt, Someone's hopin' to be heard
And they'd blame it on the Devil In this story of the teachin'
For why Hell was ever built. Of peculiar Brother Bird.

107 And some “Hard Shells” said God chose it 118 And to emphasize the “burn up”:
And had picked some folks to go, “Yes sir, burn up I have read!”
While some “Free Wills” said He'd close it And to say it is just simply
If we'd just say yes or no. What the Bible clearly said.

108 But there's been some noble Christians

Through the heretics of time
Who have questioned “endless” reason
And have doubted “endless” rhyme.

109 And though some were sentimental,

And a few perhaps absurd,
There have been some valiant rebels
Who stood firmly on the Word!

HE MEANS IT AS HE'S MEANT IT Then the Doctor stu-stu-stuttered “And it's used in clear distinction
Brother Bird II As he tried to answer Bird - To the term eternal life,
“Pu-Pu-Perish only means...uh - And in contrast to endurin',
In the foothills of the Blue Ridge (It's a very tricky word)- And remainin' and abide.
Our peculiar Brother Bird
Had been diggin' even deeper “And it du-du-doesn't always “The Divine Vocabulary
In the treasures of the Word, Have to mu-mu-mean “to die;” Has thus used it o'er and o'er,
It can mean “be lost” or “ruined” In Its built-in Dictionary
And was surer more than ever As the scholars verify. Of one-hundred fifty-four.
Of the teaching he had spread
Of destruction of the wicked “And I guess you surely know it “Yes, one hundred fifty four times
At the judgment of the dead. Can be fi-fi-figur'tive; You will find it used, my friend,
As in “endless conscious torment And it never means a process
When a scholar of the Sandhills In which lost men ever live.” That will never have an end.
From the seminary came;
A professor, “Dr. Brimstone” - “Ever live? As in for ever?” “But God gives life everlasting
“Farren Brimstone” was his name. Brother Bird then asked the Doc- To all those who are in Christ-
“Ever live?” as in existin' It is these who NEVER PERISH
And he came as a contender Why it seems you mean to mock. Who receive eternal life.
For the credos of the past -
To defend endangered dogmas “That's the OPPOSITE of perish- “Would we charge the Scripture's Author
Was the dogged doctor's task. And if truly “figur'tive,” With such clumsiness of words?
It's not true to any figure The Creator of all language
And a half o' dozen letters To say dyin' means to live. With incompetence? Absurd!
Trailing right beside his name,
On a published dissertation “And moreover,” said our Brother, “If God says, 'the wicked perish,'
Was his pompous claim to fame. “If you read its constant use Then I say they surely do,
Through the length and breadth of Scripture, And He means it as He's meant it
And he mocked the simple reading You will be without excuse. As He's used it through and through!
Of the words within the Word,
And condemned the crude credentials “For it says, 'THE WICKED PERISH'- Then the disconcerted Doctor
Of our lowly Brother Bird. Into smoke they do consume- Interrupted Brother Bird
And it says of 'them that perish' “You are overlooking several
And he lauded old confessions, That destruction is their doom. Abstract uses of the word.
As he chided doctrines “new”,
And he quoted Greek and Hebrew, “If God says, 'The wicked perish,' “Such as bottles that are broken,
Or at least pretended to. Then I say they surely do, But that do not cease to be,
And He means it as He's meant it And of missing sheep and coins-
In command of several cliché's, As He's used it through and through! Well now, that should help you see!”
And control of ancient lore,
And in charge of seven proof-texts, “For it's used of war and famine. “Yes, it helps me see so clearly
He made quick work of his chore. And of dust and death and dearth, That all uses of the word
And of being brought to nothing, Never speak of endless torment,
And he challenged all the “notions” And destroyed from off the earth. And its meaning is not blurred.
Of peculiar Brother Bird,
And he said, “This view on burn up “Of consumption and of fever “For those bottles that were broken-
Is most patently absurd!” And of dung and smoke and end, Those burst wineskins-don't you trust,
And of cut down and of cut off, Do most justly picture perish,
Brother Bird then asked the Doctor And of beasts and wicked men. For they've surely turned to dust.
The word perish to define,
And to use it in a sentence - “And it's paralleled with vanish, “And the lost sheep and the coins
“Well Sir, if you wouldn't mind.” And with withereth and slay, Aptly pictures souls as LOST,
And it's linked with being eat up, And the life lost means to perish,
And with die and fade away. Which is sin's great final cost.”

Farren Brimstone, by then steaming, And just then the highbrow doctor Such a god would be a monster -
Cited each and ev'ry creed, Quite offended and perturbed, Not the Lord we know and love;
From the first church to Westminster, Shook the dust from off his sandals Not the maker of the flowers,
“And all Christians have agreed!” And was done with Brother Bird. Or Creator of the dove.

“The ma-jor-i-ty, yes,” Bird said, But before the dust had settled Brother Bird became determined,
“But, no, not the early church - In came fiery Sister Smoke, Pacing briskly as he spoke,
And dissenters through the ages And encouraged Brother Bird to And he opened up his Bible,
Bore the fruit of honest search. Be more careful how he spoke. And he summoned Sister Smoke.

“But the truth can't be invented, “For you overlook God's judgment And he showed her clear examples
It just is, and that is that - And His wrath,” said she to him, Of God's judgment in the Word,
And majority opinion “And your sentimental longings But she cried out, “They were temporal!”
Never made the round earth flat. Make your sense of justice dim. And his point she hardly heard.

“We must humbly read and study “Yet you feign you know the meaning For his point was that the wording
To find out what we should know; Of each Greek and English word,” Used of temporal wrath-the sum-
We must nobly search the Scriptures And that fiery Smoke of torment Is exactly the same language
And to see if things are so. Nearly burned up Brother Bird. That describes the wrath to come.

“As Arnobius and Clement, For she thundered as she wondered “Whether Sodom and Gomorrah
Guillebaud and Leroy Froom- Of the sense o this and that; Or the judgment of the flood
Who became convinced from Scripture And he wondered as she thundered, Or of those who died with Korah,
Of the fire that will consume. Was it all just tit for tat? Or the Galilean's blood.

“Dear John Wenham faced it squarely, But amid the rank and rankle, “All the Scriptures say such PERISHED,
Pastor Dale his stance confessed; Sister Smoke did yet confess, Were DESTROYED or were CONSUMED,
Joseph Parker saw it fairly, She was not prepared to argue And the same words draw the picture
And John Stott this truth professed. For the point she did profess. Of the sinner's final doom.

“Henry Constable was cogent; Brother Bird by then was puzzled- “'If you don't repent,'” said Jesus,
Basil Atkinson discreet; If she had not searched it out, 'You shall likewise perish, too' -
Edward White was so convincing, Why she spoke of all those “red flags” And we see how Christ meant perish,
And John Pettingell complete. That had filled her mind with doubt? And the likewise is a clue.”

“Bishop Whately wouldn't kowtow; Did she look up every Scripture? And he emphasized the perish -
Samuel Minton wouldn't budge; Did she read just what it said? “Yes Ma'am, perish I have read!”
And we all should be so grateful Or just judge the poem's author And he said it was just simply
For the work of Edward Fudge. And not ponder what she read? What the Bible clearly said.

“These and many others like 'em, Was her problem with the poem, “Would we charge the Scripture's Author
Who have loved and searched the Word, Or just really with the poet? With such clumsiness of words?
Have been logical and lucid, If his points were truly valid, The Creator of all language
And should finally be heard! Would she have the heart to know it? With incompetence? Absurd?

“If the wicked truly perish, Is it 'sentimental longings' “If God says, 'the wicked perish,'
Or if endless torment's true, To reject perpetual wrath? Then I say they surely do,
Neither you nor I can change it- And would 'justice' be neglected And He means it as He's meant it
There is nothing we can do. If Christ burns up all the chaff? As He's used it through and through!

“And God says, 'the wicked perish,' Does she wonder of the purpose Sister Smoke then turned quite ashen,
Then I say they surely do, Of grim torment without end, As she nearly lost her breath,
And He means it as He's meant it Since it won't reform the sinner, Yet she smoldered one last question
As He's used it through and through! And it can't destroy the sin? Of just what was meant by “death.”

“Isn't death just separation “All transgressions under Moses In the foothills of the Blue Ridge
Of the body and the soul - A just recompense received, Brother Bird began to tire,
To be shut out from God's presence And the loss of life was harshest - And was weary from the Smoke and
While the endless ages roll?” Yes, the harshest one conceived. From the Farren Brimstone ire.

“That's the premise,” Brother Bird said, “And, in fact there were no prisons When a young man with a Bible
“Of the endless torment folks, In the land of Is-ra-el, Came to make our Brother glad -
As if bodies are the egg shells, And no ghastly torture chambers Yes, a youth for truth so hungry
And the souls immortal yolks. Like an endless-torment hell. By the name of Ernest Ladd.

“But when God told father Adam “And the Biblical expressions Ernest Ladd was not a scholar,
How that he would surely die, Of atonement full and free But he had a habit true -
And the serpent said he wouldn't - Are 'Christ died for the ungodly,' For he read his Bible often
Well, we know who told the lie. And 'who gave himself for me.' And had read his Bible through.

“Dust thou art-to dust returnest,” “For sin's penalty was conquered Thus familiar with the wording
Is how God explained it then; Through the blood for sinners shed, Of the words within the Word,
Thus by one man sin had entered, When Christ tasted DEATH for all men, He had ears to hear the teaching
And then death passed to all men. And then rose up from the dead. Of peculiar Brother Bird.

“And we know death is the wages “And although He greatly suffered And he read his Bible over,
And of sin the penalty, All the way to Calvary, And he read it carefully;
But God's gift is life eternal - 'Twas His death that brought redemption, And he said, “This 'Burn Up' Doctrine'
Yes, to live eternally! And that paid the penalty. Sure sounds Biblical to me.”

“And the lost shall one day perish - “And our Lord spoke of His own death And he analyzed destruction,
Not just bodies, but the whole; Of His death upon the tree, And investigated death,
For we know God can destroy When He said His life He giveth; And he scrutinized consumption,
Both the body and the soul. Yes, 'I lay it down,' said He. And the spirit, life and breath.

“Can destroy both soul and body - “This coherent testimony And he found that all the “proof-texts,”
Can destroy them both, he saith; To the penalty of sin (For he took the time to read),
Thus the lake of fire is rightly Shows that perish means - yes, perish, Did not say what most were claimin'
Called by God “the second death.” And not torment without end. In the endless-torment creed.

“Thus we learn the Scripture's meaning “If God says the wicked perish, He conversed with Doctor Brimstone
That in death life has an END - Then I say they surely do, And with Sister Smoke conferred,
Loss of life - not life in torment And He means it as He's meant it And examined all the writings,
Is its meaning, my dear friend. As He's used it through and through. Poems and charts of Brother Bird.

“And this penalty was pictured “Would we charge the Scripture's Author And he came up through the hollers,
In the sacrifices plain, With such clumsiness of words? And he climbed up o'er the knolls,
At the tabernacle altar The Creator of all language To discuss the Scripture's wording,
Where the animals were slain. With incompetence? Absurd!” And di-sect immortal souls.

“For the sheep were not imprisoned, And she contemplated perish - Brother Bird and he would gather
And tormented endlessly, “Yes, it's perish I have read, With a Bible in each lap,
And the oxen were not tortured And it seems that you have shown me And would search with a Concordance
Or confined in misery. What the Bible clearly said.” As if scouring o'er a map.

“God's consistent jurisprudence Sister Smoke had truly listened, And they'd read each pertinent Scripture,
Points to this important truth, And in some points had concurred, And consider what it said,
That the life for life was taken - And it seemed she even kindly And get more and more delighted
Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. Bid farewell to Brother Bird. With each passage that they read.

And the Ladd was such a blessing, “For our Father's not a monster, “Yes, we need discerning brothers
But he could not figure out And His love our hearts has won, Who are careful with their words,
Why so many could not see it, And we've met Him in the Scriptures, Oh, but humor me, my brother-
When to him there was no doubt. And we've seen Him in the Son. We sure need some noisy Birds

For he'd plainly pondered perish, “And how could our God so holy “To keep emphasizing PERISH,
And had found its meaning plain, Author such a thing so bad? 'Yes, it's perish we have read!'
And he couldn't reconcile it And why would our Lord so lovely And to say “It is just simply
With eternal conscious pain. Be eternally so mad? What the Bible clearly said!

So he emphasized the perish - “If folks call that 'sentimental,' “Yes, God says, 'THE WICKED PERISH.'
“Indeed, perish I have read,” Or a 'softening toward sin,' So let's say, 'They surely do.'
And he said it was just purely Their own ghastly view of torment And He means it as He's meant it
What the Scriptures plainly said. They must little comprehend. As He's used it through and through.”

“Since God says the wicked perish, “From His own clear testimony In the foothills of the Blue Ridge
Then I'd say it must be true, God has promised us that He Our peculiar Brother Bird
And He surely must have meant it Will not always keep His anger - Is still hoping that a host of
As He's used it through and through.” Will not always angry be! Ernest Ladds will soon be heard.

Brother Bird's blue eyes then twinkled, “It's a noun and not a verb in
As he stroked his whiskered chin: 'Everlasting punishment -
“This old mountain man's so thankful And the punishment's not torment,
To have met you, my young friend.” But DESTRUCTION, it is writ!

And he was by then so hopeful “Yes, God poureth out His anger
Ernest Ladd would come to be On the 'great and dreadful day,'
A most passionate promoter But it only lasts a moment,
Of the truths he'd come to see. While His mercy is for aye.”

But folks said the Ladd was “smitten And he kept on quoting Scriptures,
With the venom of the Bird,” And with Scriptures he did prod
And had fatally been bitten Brother Ernest not to falter
By “this teaching most absurd.” For the love of our good God.

And they'd say “This is so vital” “Life in Christ is our great gospel -
When in hunt for heresy, Death in Sin our grave refrain;
But when cornered by the Scripture, And in faithfulness to Scripture
“It don't matter much to me.” We must dare to make it plain!

Thus he slowly got discouraged, “And the reason few have bothered?
And disheartened and dismayed, And the reason few have dared?
As he lost his zeal to quarrel It is APATHY, my brother -
In his efforts to persuade. It's because so few have cared!

Brother Bird was yet persistent “And of course we should be prudent

In the truth he did pursue, And not pester or annoy,
And was equally insistent But not treat this as a trifle,
That their efforts they renew. Or dismiss it as a toy.

And he said, “It is so vital “For we need persuaded Sisters

To please God instead of self, Who were skeptical at first,
And to share this truth with others, And we need more Ernest Ladds who
And not hide it on the shelf. For the truths of Scriptures thirst.

THIRD BIRD And the rest of all the Scriptures Then the doctor said to Willie,
John 3:16-What does it mean? Are throughout and in-between “And I'm taking you in, too,
Comprehensively coherent For cavorting with no-Hellers
In the foothills of the Blue Ridge With John three, and verse sixteen. Who've indoctrinated you.”
Our peculiar Brother Bird
Had been napping by a tree stump “Will not perish-oh, how lucid! “Doctri-whata...?” said poor Willie-
When some laurel bushes stirred. Will not perish-oh, how clear! “I'm not sure what I stand for.”
Everlasting life in contrast - “Then you'll come,” said Dr. Brimstone,
And just then sly Willie Waver All we stand for is right here! And we'll help you to get sure!”
Poked his head up looking pale:
“I was comin' out to tell ya, “Is it heresy, dear Willie In the foothills of the Blue Ridge
Ernest Ladd's been put in jail. To believe John 3:16? Brother Bird was thrown in jail;
Or false doctrine to be certain Ernest Ladd and Willie Waver
“Farren Brimstone caught him talkin' That it says just what it means?” Plopped beside him in the cell.
'Bout that endless torment stuff,
And he hauled 'im to the jailhouse, Then they heard some coonhounds barkin' Brother Bird then spoke to Ernest,
For he said he'd had enough! And they saw some lanterns bright - “Bless your heart, O valiant youth,
Farren Brimstone with a posse You are persecuted, brother
“Said he's gonna put an end to Silhouetted in the night. For your faithfulness to truth.
All this nonsense that he's heard -
And he's gonna set a trap for And then Willie said, “Now, Brother, “From a child you've known the Scripture,
That peculiar Brother Bird.” I'm no the-o-lo-ge-un, One of which you are still fond -
But I know enough to tell ya Sixteenth verse of the third chapter
Brother Bird then said to Willie, I believe we better run!” Of the gospel of Saint John.
“It's a most peculiar thing
That we're hounded for believing But by then they were surrounded, “Must have heard it as an infant;
In John three, and verse sixteen. And it was too late to flee; Must have learned it as a tot;
Dr. Brimstone read the charges: But to claim it now as doctrine
“You would think our error graver “Heresy, in first degree. Gets you into water hot!
Than the gravest heresy-
Yet we just believe John's gospel - “And you have no rights - be silent! “Treat it as a gift-shop motto;
Verse sixteen of chapter three. Everything you've said before Twist and wrest its words so clear -
Can and will be used against you, You'll have friends among the scholars,
“In that sixteenth verse, third chapter And we have no need of more.” And approval of each peer.
Of the gospel of Saint John,
Is the purest, plainest statement “What I've said conforms to Scripture,” “Quote it in its simple beauty;
Of the truth we stand upon. Brother Bird began to plead. Preach it in its power plain;
“It is WRITTEN, Dr. Brimstone - Teach it true and unembellished
“It's the 'gospel in a nutshell' And is there for all to READ! And you'll find but sure disdain.
That we've known from early youth;
And in all the Holy Scriptures “Everlasting life or perish “God so loved-O praise the Father!
It's the most familiar truth. Surely say just what they mean That he gave-O praise the Son!
In that memory verse from childhood Inspired words-O praise the Spirit!
“God so loved the world, dear brother, In John three, and verse sixteen. What a precious verse in John!
That He gave His only Son -
Gave His only, His begotten- “Is it heresy, O Doctor “See the text in brilliant context-
And He said, 'For God so loved...' To believe John 3:16? Nicodemus comes by night,
Or false doctrine to be certain Learns the way to life eternal
“That believers will not perish- That it says just what it means?” From the words of Jesus Christ.
But have everlasting life -
That's the clear vocabulary Then the doctor hollered, “Quiet! “Whosoever that believeth
From the lips of Jesus Christ. You will have your day in court, Shall not perish - oh, now see -
So don't waste your whistle whining Shall not PERISH - now the contrast -
Till I've made a full report.” But shall live eternally.

“Everlasting life or perish, Larry Barry, Big “B” Baptist; “And now Ernest Ladd's a zealot,
Endless life or life that ends; “Brother Bob” of Gospel Bright; And it's growing here and there,
Is it not so self-defining? Benton Cherry, of the Presbies, And if we don't stop it promptly
Is it not so clear, my friend? And Professor Malways Wright. It will spread to who knows where!”

“But the doctor with his dogma Clayton Buckett, Bird's first pastor; Then the courtroom shook with grumbling,
Says we speak a dang'rous lie; Early Young, who baptized him; And the jury looked perturbed,
He says none will really perish, Noah Guard, ordaining elder - And all eyes and ears were waiting
But that all will never die. Brother Bird knew all of them. For a word from Brother Bird.

“Turns a word as clear as perish Dr. Ray of Bible College, Brother Bird stood front and center,
Upside down and inside out; And Evangelist O'Wowell; And he beckoned with his hand,
Turns a verse as clear as this one Dandy Redwords, hotshot preacher, “Men and brethren, and dear sisters,
Into one of unclear doubt. All prepared to face him now. I would have you understand

“Is it heresy, dear Ernest Missionary Marty Martin; “That I love the Holy Scriptures,
To believe John 3:16? Sister Mary (Quite) Contraire; And believe them every whit,
Or false doctrine to be certain These the twelve who formed the jury- And concerning hell and judgment
That it says just what it means?” Sure to be most just and fair. I accept just what is writ.

Ernest Ladd then turned to Willie- Brother Bird knew most were good men, “You would think our error graver
“What say you, or will you say? But a few were rude and trite; Than the gravest heresy -
I'll admit I didn't figure And he knew this subject often Yet we just believe John's gospel -
I'd see you locked up this way.” Kindled much more heat than light. Verse sixteen of chapter three.

“Well, now, I don't know,” said Willie, In the room a crowd of people - “In that sixteenth verse, third chapter
“I can't be sure, myself, Sister Smoke sat near the aisle; Of the gospel of Saint John,
And some things are better, I'd say Bishops, elders, priests, and deacons - Is the purest, plainest statement
To be left up on the shelf. All were eager for the trial. Of the truth we stand upon.

“Maybe so, is what I'm thinkin'- Dr. Brimstone asked for silence - “Is it heresy, my brethren
Maybe not, is what I've thought; “We are here today to quell To believe John 3:16?
Bur perhaps the best position Any teaching that would threaten Or false doctrine to be certain
Is to keep from getting caught.” To put out the fires of hell. That it says just what it means?”

Then the three discussed the subject, “This man Bird has spread the error Then the room began to rumble
Without yielding to a yawn, That our creeds are but a lie - With the mumblings of the crowd -
Until Willie started nodding That there is no endless torment, All were musing on the reference,
At the waking of the dawn. And the soul of man can die. Or were quoting it aloud.

That same morning at the courthouse “He contends that God so holy Dr. Brimstone cried, “Objection!
Flocks of folks from hill and dale - Would not torture anyone, What an effort to be slick,
Curious and conscientious - But that wicked men will perish And avoid your actual meaning
Came to fan the fires of hell. In the fire of wrath to come. By a childish little trick!”

Came to watch Doc Farren Brimstone, “He denies the cardinal doctrine “For the verse you've called in question -
Came to hear and to be heard, Of the faith we love so well, Yes, John three, and verse sixteen -
Came to ponder on the puzzle That the whole point of atonement Cannot mean what you are meaning,
Of peculiar Brother Bird. Was to rescue us from hell. That is, what you really mean.”

Brother Bird could see the jury “And he's pushed this point, my brothers, “It is childish, yes, O Doctor,
Had been chosen carefully - And what makes this oh, so bad, For we learned it as a child -
Twelve convinced of endless torment, Is that he has de-ceived others And I only seek to show you
Just as firm as they could be. Like this poor young Ernest Ladd. That my view is not so wild.

And my meaning is of meaning - “For Christ tells us just like Moses “Ask your children, yes, your children,
Of just what plain words do mean, (Numbers, chapter twenty-one); 'What does perish mean to you?'
And I think they're crystal clear, Sir, Lifted up the brazen serpent And if left to answer simply
In John three, and verse sixteen! Even so must be the Son. They will give its meaning true.

“I uphold the Bible's teaching “And the serpent is a type of “Ask your pastor the same question,
Of a dreadful end called Hell, Sin and death, and death by sin, And he'll tell you that you need
But the texts we use to prove it And Christ said to Nicodemus A good lexicon to help you
Do not endless torment spell. That he must be born again. Line up perish with the creed.

“I affirm the resurrection “For our first birth is in Adam, “He'll deny consistent usage
And the judgment of the dead, And brings death, an end of life; As defining of the word,
And maintain what I've been teaching But a new birth of the spirit And then cite presumed exceptions
From the words that I have read. Gives us endless life in Christ! As the meaning most preferred.

“Words like perish and destruction, “Christ was lifted up at Calvary, “Is it heresy, Professor
And devour and consume; And He died the sinner's death; To believe John 3:16?
Words like death and end and burn up, He who knew no sin was made sin, Or false doctrine to be certain
That describe the sinner's doom. That is what the Scriptures saith. That it says just what it means?”

“And I’ve emphasized the perish - “Therefore like the brazen serpent, Then the doctor interrupted,
Yes, sir, PERISH I have read, Christ, who died and rose again, For he saw that some were stirred,
So I've said it is just simply Has been lifted up to look to, And he feared the less committed
What the Bible clearly said. And give life to dying men. Might be swayed by what they heard.

“And God says the wicked PERISH, “So by faith we look to Jesus - “That's enough!” he stomped and sputtered,
So I've said, “They surely do, 'Look and live, O sinner, live!' - “We have heard his heresy -
And God means it as He's meant it And our risen Lord and Saviour His own tongue has tried and found him
As He's used it through and through. Has eternal life to give. Just as guilty as can be!”

“Would we charge the Scripture's Author “Is this not a clear expounding And the jury in agreement,
With such clumsiness of words? Of just what these words must mean? Said a long and loud “Amen!”
The Creator of all language Endless torment's but confounding Larry Barry yelled, “This jailbird
With incompetence? Absurd!” To John three, and verse sixteen. Must not ever chirp again!

And then Malways Wright, Professor, “For all those with but a first birth “This will doom our foreign missions,
After proff'ring his own view, Have not everlasting life, And no one will even go;
Said, “Expound John 3:16, and And they shall most surely PERISH And why even be a Christian
Search the context through and through.” Who do not believe in Christ. If there be no endless woe?”

Sister Smoke could tell that Malways “Perish is the word in focus Then a mob in senseless frenzy
Thought himself to be so smart, In John three, and verse sixteen; Rushed the threesome up a knoll,
But she knew he had it coming, Apollumi in the Greek text, And though Sister Smoke implored them,
When our Brother made his start: And we know just what it means. It was out of her control.

“I believe it as I read it, “God has used this word so often In the foothills of the Blue Ridge,
And no other sense I seek, In His Holy Book divine, How that knoll began to quake -
For its words are self-defining That its meaning is quite easy Brother Bird and Ernest Ladd were
In the English and the Greek. By its usage to define. To be burned there on a stake.

“Shall not PERISH is in contrast “It means perish in the English, For they did not flinch or falter,
To eternal, endless LIFE. And the Greek original, And they would not budge or bend,
And consistent with the context It means perish in the context, And they did not whiffle-waffle
Are these words of Jesus Christ. Both in part and in the whole! To avoid a dreadful end.

Willie Waver said, however, Brother Bird was bravely quoting, THE NEW BOX, THE OLD BOOK,
Right before he up and ran, When a voice did interrupt- AND ONE MORE BEREAN
“I have always, and will ever Was the voice of Willie Waver: Bird the Fourth
Be an endless torment man!” “Brother Bird, Wake up! Wake up!”
In the foothills of the Blue Ridge
Ernest Ladd did testify to Then the flames were disappearing, Our peculiar Brother Bird
Everyone who stood nearby; As his head began to rise, Had grown weary from his effort
“Life in Christ, and death in Adam And the smoke was quickly clearing Just to get his message heard.
Is the truth for which we die. When he opened up his eyes.
For he'd wrote about the wresters,
“And we love our precious Saviour, And he stared for just a moment And the creedalists for hire,
Our dear Lord who gave us life - At the tree stump at his side, And had made a list on perish,
And we long to share the gospel And he looked at Willie Waver, And designed a chart on fire.
Of eternal life in Christ. With his eyes now open wide.
And had proven that our Master
“Read your Bibles! Search the Scriptures! “I've been dreaming? Only dreaming? Did not say the more on hell,
And you'll find our 'heresy' Oh, dear Willie, what a dream! And that “holy wrath” was made up
Is but only the clear wording It was really such a nightmare, And unscriptural as well.
God has used consistently.” And how real it all did seem.
And had labored o'er the rich man
“Malachi and John the Baptist, “You would not believe it, Willie - The real meaning to discern,
Jude and Peter and the law; Off to jail, and then to trial, And had studied smoke and ashes
Psalms and Proverbs and the Prophets, And the jury - what an outfit! - Just to see what he could learn.
Jesus Christ and Brother Paul; Brother Bird began to smile.
And had lengthy conversations
“These have spoken by the Spirit; Then they heard some coonhounds barking, With the gentle and the gruff,
These have told us everyone, And they saw some lanterns bright - And had tried to answer questions
That the unbelieving perish Just some locals on a coonhunt, From the easy to the tough.
In the fire of wrath to come.” And no cause for any fright.
And was quick to quarrel and query
Benton Cherry then beseeched him, Brother Bird enjoys his freedom With the few who pitched a fit,
“Dear young brother, please desist; To discuss God's Word on hell, And debated Benton Cherry
Your immortal soul's endangered And he's thankful he can do so Until Bent just up and quit.
If in error you persist.” And not have to go to jail.
And though Sister Smoke conceded,
“Is it error, Elder Cherry Yet he knows that many brethren And became an ally true,
To believe John 3:16? Are not free to search it out - And though Ernest was a champion
Or a danger to be certain By their creed and in their circle, Of the anti-endless view,
That it says just what it means?” They are not allowed to doubt.
Still it seemed that few had int'rest
Then the doctor struck a match on For they fear their peer group's censor, In the subject anymore,
A big rock he leaned upon; Or the label of a “cult,” And to even read a poem
Then the two began repeating And a feeble acquiescence Was for some an irksome chore.
That dear precious verse in John. Is the pitiful result.
Quite a few, like Willie Waver,
“God so loved the world,” they quoted, Is it heresy, dear reader Said they just could not be sure,
Then some folks began to cry, To believe John 3:16, And in apathy and ignorance
“Oh, we dare not really burn them, Or false doctrine to be certain Were lethargic'ly secure.
And we cannot watch them die.” That it says just what it means?
Thus our Brother greatly wondered
But it was too late for pity, In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Of this lack of thoughtful search,
For the Doctor lit the pyre, Someone's sure it cannot be, And he couldn't help but long for
And the flames crept ever upward, But perhaps he's only dreaming More Bereans in the church.
And the smoke began to spire. To be hoping you'll agree.

(The Bereans were “more noble,” And our brother was discouraged “With a blue glow in its belly
In the book of Acts, you know, As the snow turned into sleet, It would shine its light about,
For they searched the Scriptures daily When a sudden thought inspired him Which would flicker even brighter
Just to see if things were so.) To take victory from defeat. When the lamps were all put out.

So he up and went to visit So when Okie went to find some “Oh, the memories made around it -
Okie Dokey in his home, Cherry cough drops for his cough, How it filled the room with light,
And though Okie was quite cordial, Just like that the lights and TV And they could not live without it
Still he left the TV on. And electric heat went off. On a boring winter's night.

Okie was a friendly brother - “Must be ice,” said Okie Dokie, “Yes, that box gave such a pleasure
Never meant or did no harm; “Downin' limbs upon the lines - With its flicker and its glow,
Had a way with dogs and children So let's get a fire a-blazin' - And that box was such a treasure
On his modest little farm. And'll be just like old times.” In the days of long ago.

First they talked about the weather, Well, that fire sure did some kindlin' “Oh, the stories in its presence,
Of the recent ice and snow; In the mind of Brother Bird, And the laughter in its view,
Then they couldn't help but comment And his mem'ry went a-driftin' And the many an adventure,
On the funny TV show. As his heart was greatly stirred. And a tear a time or two.

Then our Brother said to Okie, And he reminisced of childhood, “Dad would be the first to start it
“What I've come to talk about Of a box inside the den - Not to miss his favorite show,
Is why many Christians never How it captured the attention And he'd be the last to watch it
Ever search a subject out.” Of the people way back when. Just to keep it all a-glow.

And then Okie said, “It's shameful Thus inspired by his nostalgia “And the mother loved it dearly,
How when Pastor reads the Book, From the point the fire was lit, And it kept the children in,
That so few who brought their Bibles And with joy of grand discovery, And the family all together
Even turn to take a look. Brother Bird exclaimed, “That's it!” As a true and trusted friend.

“But not me,” said Okie Dokey, “Yes, a box could be the secret “And was on most ev'ry morning -
Ev'ry Sunday I expect, Of a captivated mind, What a way to start the day -
I have always read the verses And a box could be the answer There to fill you with its vision,
Of the pastor's sermon text.” I was hoping I could find.” And to warm you on your way.

Then the flicker from the center And the fire in that old wood stove “And the news was heard each evening
Captivated once again, Glowed a mellow yellow red And the scores of ev'ry game,
And the two friends watched the TV That reflected on the dark screen And sometimes the kinfolk joined 'em,
'Til the news came to an end. Of the TV set now dead. And sometimes the neighbors came.

And then Brother Bird continued, And he thought of how the TV “And sometimes they'd pop some popcorn,
And he would have said much more Interfered that very night, And sometimes they'd pop some more,
Had not Okie changed the channel And divided their attention And just sit and look at pictures
To check out the latest score. In its hypnotizing light. By that box upon the floor.

And just then this one commercial And he looked right at that TV - “And a way up on the rooftop
Took the brethren by surprise Like a looking glass it seemed - Was a thing to let you know
For a couple awkward seconds And as though he saw a picture, That by looking in the window
'Til they turned away their eyes. He then spoke as if he dreamed: You could see its glory glow.

Thus for just about an hour “All the family sat around it “But that box has been forsaken -
Brother Bird and Okie met, Once the sun had settled down, Oh, I wonder where it's gone;
With their visit dominated And it warmed them while they watched it There's a new box in the house now,
By that crazy TV set. As they gathered all around. There's a new one in the home.”

And then Okie said, “Now brother, “And the mother should see clearly “In the room we call the 'living'
I had thought I got your gist, What its doing in the end - We could have some heat and light
But now speakin' of a new box That it's harming all her children If we'd bring back that old woodstove
Makes me wonder what I missed.” And is not the family's friend! With its fire a-burning bright.

In the foothills of the Blue Ridge “When it's on most ev'ry morning “Swap that new box and its pleasure,
On that white and wintry day At the start of ev'ry day, With its flicker and its glow,
Brother Bird knelt by the firelight, It will fill you with a vision For that old box and the treasure
And to Okie he did say: That won't help you on your way. Of a life of long ago.”

“Yes, that old box is discarded “And to hear its news each evening, And so Brother Bird completed
As a relic from the past, And the scores of ev'ry game His oration on the box
And you've asked me of the new box, Will just cripple any Christian As a somber Okie Dokey
So, I'll tell you, since you asked. 'Til his walk with God is lame. Fiddled with his thermal socks.

“All the family sits around it “And that dish upon the rooftop In the foothills of the Blue Ridge
From the dawn 'til set of sun, Might link up the satellite, Our peculiar Brother Bird
But it chills them while they watch it, But the blue glow in the new box Is sure that entertainment
And it numbs them every one. Will black out your gospel sight. Hinders searching of the Word.

“With a blue glow in its belly “And the pictures you are filing “Entertainment is the culprit,
It still shines a light about, In the cabinet of your mind And amusement is the cause
With a flicker most bewitchin' Will just cater to the carnal Why so many Christians seldom
When the lights are all turned out. And will make the spirit blind. Take a meditative pause.

“But the memories made around it “But that old box was a dandy - “Yes, it's true that most are fearful
Are the kind that fill the sight Was a wonderful delight - Of the label 'heresy,'
With a thousand scenes of evil For that old box was a woodstove But it seems that entertainment
In the middle of the night. With its fire a-burning bright. Is the root of apathy.

“Now this box will render pleasure “Was a blessin' to the family - “Internet and big-screen movies,
With its flicker and its glow, Brought 'em all around the heat, Videos and DVD's,
But this box is not the treasure As they'd read or sew or whittle Radio and sporting contests,
Of that box of long ago. With the fellowshippin' sweet. And of course the Dish TV.

“Many stories in its presence, “But this new one's a disaster, “Why, if evolution's truthful,”
Lots of laughter in its view, And companionship it drains, Brother Bird said, and I quote:
While it's undermining values And it teaches what it shouldn't “We would all be one big eyeball,
Of the good and of the true. While it crudely entertains. With one finger for remote.”

“And in many an adventure, “And it keeps us from our Bible, Okie Dokey curled one finger,
Many kill and many die, Squanders time and pilfers home, As his eyes expanded wide,
And while watchin' folks pretendin' For this new box is a TV, Glancing at his handy remote
Men and women sit and cry. And it's almost always on. And disheveled TV Guide.

“And they lose their sense in sensing “We could truly live without it - Then he eyed his idle Bible,
What is real and what is right, Truly live is what I say, Where some sneaky little runt
And get used to all the darkness For it's not a life we're livin' Had wrote “Read Me” with his finger
In the absence of the light. Watchin' that thing ev'ry day! On the dusty Bible front.

“Dad should be the first to stop it, “We could get to know each other, And he wondered who had done it,
And be wise enough to know Have more time to sit and talk; For it cut him to the quick,
That it's dang-er-ous to watch it Be a blessing to a brother, But that two-word admonition
When it really ought to go. Read a book or take a walk. Was a sermon that would stick.

Then he stirred the amber embers, “Keep a Bible in our bedroom “It is filled with laws and lessons
And put on another log, And a Testament close by; And with poetry and psalms,
While our brother was still musing And another in our pocket And it's proved itself a blessing,
As he patted Okie's dog: So it oft will catch our eye.” With its words of healing balm.

“The word muse, it means to think, see - And then looking out the window “And its stories of adventure,
A means no, and as a link, At a water drop so clear, And of triumph of the right,
You can see what it's suggestin - Dripping from the frosty rooftop, And of romance of redemption
Yes, amuse just means no think! Musing on the Word so dear: Bring the love of God to light.

“Thus amused by entertainment, “It is water, pure clear water, “It's my Bible, wondrous Bible,
And entranced with silly show, And it washes from within; It's the truth that makes me free -
We no think about the sober, And it cleanses, yes, it cleanses It's the library of the ages,
But embrace the status quo. All the heart and mind of sin. And it is the Book for me!

“And the precious Holy Scriptures “It's a hammer, such a hammer, “Oh, its author is the Father,
Should receive its due respect, And it comes down with a quake, And its subject is the Son,
But the dust upon our Bibles And however hard the rock is, And 'twas written thru the Spirit,
Testifies to our neglect. Into pieces it will break. And the Three agree in One.

“Have we less days in our years now? “It's a sword, and even sharper “Brings salvation to the sinner
Or less hours in our days? Than the finest, sharpest sword, As it quickens from the dead;
Do we labor even longer And it pierces soul and spirit Doesn't need to be rewritten -
In our fast, indulgent ways? By the spirit of the Lord. Only needs to be reread.

“No, there's time for Bible study, “It's my Bible, Holy Bible, “So I'll read it, yes, I'll read it -
And there's time to read the Word Perfect law of liberty; Oh, such pleasure there I'll find!
If above our entertainment It's the book above all others, And I'll hide it, memorize it -
It was something we preferred. And it is the Book for me! What a treasure that is mine!

“If we spent just half an hour, It's a lamp that burns so brightly “It's my Bible, precious Bible,
Just the time of one short show, For the pathway of my feet, Helps me live, dear Lord, for Thee,
We could read all of Colossians, And it's sweeter than the honey, And I love it, yes, I love it,
And could read it good and slow. And the honeycomb so sweet. Oh, it is the Book for me!”

And Philemon we could handle “It's the sincere milk of newborns, And then Okie clutched his Bible,
In the time that it would take It is meat for those with age; As he made a gritty face -
To see sev'ral advertisements It is bread for all believers, “I am really gonna read it -
In a short commercial break. Full of life on ev'ry page. May the good Lord give me grace!”

“Just ten minutes ev'ry morning “It's a mirror, God's clear mirror Then the two friends read together,
In the Scripture cheers and calms - That reflects the image true, And did muse and meditate,
In a month we thus could finish Guides the pilgrim on his journey - And got out a Strong's Concordance,
All one hundred-fifty Psalms. Tells the puzzled what to do. And the fellowship was great.

“And the time to watch a movie “It's my Bible, perfect Bible, And they studied 'bout the judgment,
Of a moderate duration, Just as pure as it can be- And of hell, and death, and life,
Could be used to read and study Filled with timely truths eternal, And of perish, and destruction,
Half the book of Revelation. And it is the Book for me! And eternal life in Christ.

“In a year, if we are willing, “It is called the Holy Scriptures, And they searched the text and context
This is what we each could do - It is called the Word of God, All around and in-between,
In but fifteen minutes daily And its words paint such a picture And of course they did some musing
We could read the Bible through. Of the paths the saints have trod. On John three, and verse sixteen.

By the firelight of the wood stove And find joy in Bible study
They delighted in the Word, And the wonders it unlocks,
And ol' Okie the Berean And choose truth above their pleasure
Sure delighted Brother Bird. And the Book above the box.

Then they heard somebody knockin'

On the icy window pane-
Ernest Ladd had come a-callin'
Through the snow and freezin' rain.

And he came in with a “howdy,”

And then asked the two of them
Why the neighbors all had power,
Yet the Dokey house was dim.

And then Okie said, “Oh, really?

Well, I'd say that's strange indeed,
But it's truly been a blessin',
And has helped me see my need.”

Then he told him of the boxes,

And then said to Brother Bird,
“Let's show Ernest what we're findin'
In our searchin' of the Word.”

So the three continued reading

In the Scriptures for a while,
And the taste of buttered popcorn
Brought a satisfying smile.

And the firelight from their wood stove

Was reflecting in their eyes,
When the time came for departing,
And for saying their “goodbyes.”

So then Okie Dokey thanked 'em

And he said, “I feel most blessed,”
Which made Brother Bird uneasy,
And he more or less confessed.

For he reached down in his pocket,

And took out a fuse or two,
And revealed a dusty finger
As he bid his friends adieu.

And as Okie took the fuses,

He responded with a grin,
And he still could see the “Read Me”
On his Bible in the den.

In the foothills of the Blue Ridge

Our conniving Brother Bird
Is still huntin' more Bereans
Who will read and search the Word,

Micro Chip and Mocking Bird And inserted works related, So they quizzed it and they queried,
Peculiar Brother Bird #5 Dante, Milton, and their lore, And they zipped from link to link,
Bavink, Munsey, Pink and Spurgeon, And it was so interactive
In the foothills of the Blue Ridge Walvoord, Bartlett, and much more. That they couldn't help but think.
Our peculiar Brother Bird
Met his match on being thorough Peterson and Harry Buis, Benton Cherry was elated
In a young computer nerd, Edwards, Gerstner, G.T. Shedd, With this high-tech priest of proof,
John R. Rice and J.N. Humphrey, And was sure that what it stated
Who was quite a whipper-snapper Both the living and the dead. Was the everlasting truth.
Just as smart as, well, a whip,
And his name was Chip McMaster Put in per-ti-nent ideas, Okie Dokie throught it nifty -
But his friends all called him Chip. Greek and Hebrew language rules; A Berean treasure chest! -
Vines & Wuest & Strong's Concordance, And was sure it would be useful
Micro Chip as some had dubbed him, And more cool and brainy tools. In a Bible study quest.
Big of brain, but small of size -
He could e-mail, surf, and download Poems and tracts and polls and surveys, Sister Smoke was soon enamored
Without o-pen-ing his eyes. Art and myth and movie clips, With the throng of able minds,
Documents and songs and clichés, And rethought the subject matter
Was a high-tech, hard-drive whiz kid Cartoons, jokes, and comic strips. Down more systematic lines.
And so clever, yes he was-
That he built his own Computer Chronologic'lly he built-in Willie Waver loved the graphics,
That he named the Wiz of Oz. Ev'ry creed of Christian truth, And the clever pop-ups, too,
And a detailed sermon index And was certain that it maybe
Didn't have to go to college, Analyzing all the proof. Absolutely might be true.
For the college came to him,
To upgrade their old computers Alphabetic'lly he listed Ernest Ladd was duly cautious,
And to train and tutor them. Ev'ry worthwhile art-i-cle, And though bias made him doubt,
And more relevant quotations He was willing to continue
Farren Brimstone was quite certain 'Til it was completely full. Searching all the data out.
Micro Chip and Wiz of Oz
Would enchant the local young folks Then he organized it neatly, Mocking Bird was quite impressive
And convince their Ma's and Pa's. Each and ev'ry font and file, With its output and its speed,
In a handy-dandy format And its answers were persuasive,
And so Dr. Brimstone hired 'im And a user-friendly style. As most everyone agreed.
To bring falsehood to an end,
And design a fail-safe program And he tied it all together And of any other effort
Endless torment to defend. With internal master links, It was certainly the best,
And examined it intently And was ready for the challenge
And so Chip took up the challenge, Just to work out any kinks. Of its full and final test.
With his genius juices stirred,
And created all new software Then there came the time to test it, And so Dr. Brimstone scheduled
That he called the Mocking Bird. Check its ease of function, too; A debate with Brother Bird,
Ask it any kind of question - But of Micro Chip's creation
With his quick-draw browser finger See what Mocking Bird could do. He had told him not a word.
On his high-speed DSL,
He downloaded tons of info Micro Chip and Farren Brimstone Handbills posted through the foothills
Off the web concerning hell. Fed it info from the cults, Advertised the coming duel,
And the Doctor was delighted And invited all the Blue Ridge
Ev'ry council and confession, With the pow-er-ful results. To the Element'ry School.
Quenchless fire and deathless worms,
Etymologies of key words, And invited Benton Cherry, And anticipation swelled up
And a glossary of terms. Willie Waver, Ernest Ladd, Like a bullfrog 'bout to bust,
Sister Smoke and Okie Dokie 'Til the dirt lot by the old gym
To come see just what they had. Was just one big cloud of dust.

And the crowd filled up the bleachers “If the life is 'everlasting' “Everlasting modifies it,
As the doctor took the stage, Then the punishment is too, But the point I hope you get -
And our brother sat behind him, For the same word modifies it, Is just what is it describing;
Like a bird inside a cage. And thus proves it to be true. Of just what is meant by it.

While the doctor gave his “Welcome,” “So the torment's everlasting - “It's the noun that we're debating,
And his “Introduct'ry Word,” Without end without a doubt - Not the adjective, you see,
Micro Chip snuck in the back way Everlasting as forever It's a noun, and not a verb, Sir
With the cryptic Mocking Bird. Isn't hard to figure out! Upon which we disagree.

And he stayed behind the curtain, “And the torment is 'forever' - “It is punish-ment eternal,
Our of everybody's sight, 'Day and night,' to say the least - Not eternal punish-ing -
And installed a power-booster, Of the Devil (that is, Satan), It's destruction everlasting,
And was raring for the fight. The false prophet and the beast. Not an endless suffering.

Larry Barry, Big B Baptist, “And just where does all this take place? “It is final, full consumption;
Had agreed to act as though Well... where is it? I inquire - It is called the 'second death;'
He was their side's chosen spokesman, It's the same place where the lost go - It is what is meant by perish;
And was really “in the know.” In that dreadful 'lake of fire.' It is what the Scriptures saith.

And the Doctor orchestrated “And the smoke ascends forever “We agree on everlasting,
Ev'ry detail from the start From the torment mentioned in But an everlasting what?
As the MC-Moderator Revelation, chapter fourteen, Is the punishment destruction,
To co-or-dinate each part. Where it's obvious again. Is it that, or is it not?

And he had a sand-filled timer “And the fire is everlasting - “You assume that it is torment -
And he'd turn it upside-down, Everlasting fire its name - But you should not so assume,
And when all the grains had emptied And unquenchable, eternal, For the Scriptures say DESTRUCTION
He would start another round. Say identically the same. Is the sinner's final doom.

Micro Chip would slip the answers “And as Gerstner oft has stated, “For a similar expressing
To the waiting Larry B, Sins against the Infinite, You may readily consult,
Who would read them off so smoothly Or an infinite transgressing, How 'redemption' is 'eternal,'
Like a great authority. Demands endless punishment. Not the process, but result.

And the Mocking Bird was brilliant, “And philosophy and reason, “For Christ 'once for all' obtained it
Reeling off the facts so fast, And just jurisprudence side ONCE for all, and in the past,
And providing quick quotations With the Biblical expressions And that it is past-tense purchased,
From the heroes of the past. Of a wrath that will abide. Yet that it will ever last!

Everlasting was the key word “So the torment's everlasting - “Thessalonians confirms it,
Larry Barry harped upon, Without end without a doubt - Just the way it's worded there -
Everlasting and eternal, Everlasting as forever 'Punished with, yes, EVERLASTING...'-
And forever, on and on. Isn't hard to figure out!” But now notice this with care:

“And the creeds and great confessions In the foothills of the Blue Ridge “Everlasting modifies it-
Larry said, “Do all confirm With the help of Mocking Bird, Punished with what punishment?-
That the soul is as immortal A whole gym of all the hill folk, Yes, destruction everlasting;
As the never-dying worm. Were impressed with what they heard. Thus DESTRUCTION is the it!

“And the story of the Rich man “I agree,” our Brother answered, “And it's not the word 'destroying,'
And of Lazarus, as well, That the PUNISHMENT, indeed, For it's 'punished,' as in past;
Clearly speak of endless torment Is eternal, everlasting - The destruction thus resulting
In an everlasting hell. That's exactly what I read. Is the it that e'er will last!

“And the fire is everlasting - And they focused on the wording Larry: “Will our children follow Jesus
Yes, the fire, without a doubt - Of the legendary creeds If Hell's torments have an end?”
But the chaff is said to burn up As the fruit of Bible doctrine Bird: “Do you think they're truly Christians
In the fire that won't burn out. And the root of noble deeds. If they wouldn't then, my friend?”

“Yes, God's fire is everlasting, “These were hammered by the faithful,” Larry: “From the presence means away from-
And it shouldn't be thought odd Larry Barry said with pride, It's away- so face the facts!
That the fire of God's eternal, “On the anvil of conviction Bird: “From the presence means He's present-
For it is the fire of God! Of the martyrs who have died. In the context and in Acts!” (3:19)

“It does not need to be started - “Godly pastors; gifted teachers; Larry: “But the WORM - it never dieth -
And you couldn't if it would - Theologians of renown - Not a worm down in a hole!”
But it falls already blazing, Have the truth of endless torment Bird “It is carcases the worms eat -
Without earthly fuel or wood, To their children handed down. And the worm is not the soul!” (Is. 66:24)

“And God's fire is called eternal, “Are we smarter than our fathers, Larry: “What of weeping and of wailing?
Not the cities which it burned, The reformers, wise and good? And it says, 'where there shall be' -
As in Sodom and Gomorrah, Do we know more than our elders? Bird: “It says 'there shall be,' my brother,
For to ASHES they were turned. Do we really think we could?” And yet not eternally!”

“It's the fire that's everlasting, And then Brother Bird retorted, Larry: “Pain is what the fire pictures -
Not the stubble or the chaff - “These dear 'fathers' weren't the norm, Pain is what the flames will bring.”
It's the fire that is eternal, For they challenged creeds in their day, Bird: “But the objects in the picture
Not the objects in its path.” And were agents of reform. Illustrate a different thing!”

Then a flustered Farren Brimstone “Would they say that they had figured Larry: “In the book of Revelation
Was a little more than gruff, Ev'ry single doctrine out - It is un-mis-tak-a-ble!”
When the sand-filled timer emptied, When with teachings of their own time Bird: “It's the last and not the first book,
And the Doctor growled, “Enough!” They had entertained some doubt? And most al-le-gor-i-cal!”

And while Brother Bird was talking “And we're not in full agreement Micro Chip was working gamely
Micro Chip was on the sly With their words upon our shelves, Just to keep up with the flow,
Tweaking Mocking Bird to come back and these 'fathers,' bless their memory, But at times he needed Larry
With a dynamite reply. Disagreed among themselves!” Just to go a little slow.

And ol' Larry was imposing Then it heated up intensely, Then our brother had an idea,
As he read the slipped-in notes, Back and forth and toe to toe, Since computers cannot lie,
And he sounded real convincing And the Birdies and the monkeys He would ask of certain details
In repeating others' quotes. Really put on quite a show! That it wouldn't dare deny.

But he got a mite-bit haughty Larry: “It's no PUNISHMENT to perish- “It's repeated by so many
And a little debonair, That's just what the sinners want!” That our Lord said more of hell
When he gestured with such gusto, Bird: “Ask the inmates out on death row Than he ever did of heaven -
That he tumbled in his chair. And they'll tell you that they don't!” Is it true, or can you tell?”

And he landed on the curtain, Larry: “But a final, swift destruction Micro Chip zoomed through the program
And the curtain slightly stirred, Cannot be the word's intent.” And slipped Larry this on cue:
And revealed the monkey-business Bird: “The destruction of Gomorrah “Forty-seven different writers
In the sight of Brother Bird. Scriptures calls a punishment!” All confirm that it is true.”

But the monkeys were uncertain Larry: “But annihilation isn't But then Brother Bird responded,
If the bird had seen or not, Anything of which to fear!” “I’m not asking the amount
So they awkwardly proceeded Bird: “If we thought a bomb were present, Of the parrots who have said it -
With their sneaky little plot. We'd be getting' outta here!” But a real objective count

“And with judgment as their message, Micro Chip then saw the wording But the rest he safely put out,
And repentance as their goal, Of the Scriptures disagreed While the Mocking Bird burned on,
Did the prophets ever speak of With these LIFE and DEATH descriptions And its smoke rose up for...ever,
Endless torment of the soul? In the sermons and the creeds. Though it burned up and was gone.

“And with Paul and the apostles And our brother sensed the tension In the foothills of the Blue Ridge,
When they preached the gospel plain, When he dealt the fatal blow: This peculiar Mocking Bird
Did they mention hell or torments, “I have only one more question- Found DESTRUCTION EVERLASTING
Or a place of endless pain? Just one more before we go.” As the punishment incurred.

“In John's gospel is there any “If God says, 'The wicked perish: Benton Cherry was deflated;
Word of endless hell to fear? Then I say they surely do, Ernest Ladd was not surprised;
It's the one book in our Bibles And He means it as He's meant it Farren Brimstone, aggravated;
There to make the good news clear.” As He's used it through and through!” Willie Waver hypnotized.

And the prophets and apostles “And I've emphasized the perish: Larry Barry was defensive;
Do...not warn...of endless hell, For it's PERISH I have read! Okie Dokie was amazed;
And then Paul...and in John's gospel And I've said it is just simply Sister Smoke was apprehensive;
There' word...of it, as well.” What the Bible clearly said. But so many were unfazed.

“And pray tell me,” begged our brother, “Can you give me one example But young Micro Chip upgraded,
“And please open up my eyes Of a use of perish when Through this endless torment strife,
If the unbelieving sinner Scripture means it as a process To a high-tech, hard-drive whiz kid
Ever really truly DIES?” That will never have an end?” Holding forth the Word of Life!

And then Micro Chip was stymied Then he took the sand-filled timer And he built a new computer,
By the contradict'ry words And he turned it upside-down, And a clever CD-Rom,
From the hundreds of quotations And he said, “Let's all be patient And he's helping on the website
In the files of Mocking Bird. Until one such use is found.” Of our

For McCheyne (yes, Robert Murray), And the seconds trudged to minutes,
Said, “Eternal hell's the death And the minutes slowly passed,
That the sinners are to die, and As the grains of sand fell downward
Yet they never die,” he saith. From the first until the last.

And the words of Jeremy Taylor: Speedy Micro Chip was flying
“They shall burn eternally”- On the keyboard and the mouse,
But now listen to his statement: While a nervous Dr. Brimstone
“Without dying,” so saith he. Tried to occupy the house.

“You will live,” yes, “live forever, Then an “error” message came up
But just where?” asks Ricky Jones; Right before the screen went dark
John L. Barry is just as certain And the hard drive went ka-plooey,
That “in Hell men will live on!” And shot out a blinding spark.

William Dowell said “souls and bodies... And the spark ignited wiring,
Souls and bodies that CANNOT... And a fire began to rage,
Cannot perish, but will suffer... And the Doctor, Chip, and Larry
Suffer in a hell so hot.” Promptly exited the stage.

“For the wicked live forever,” But our brother, now in danger,
One J. Angus is so sure, Grabbed a fire ex-tinguish-er,
And “alive all o'er” quotes Wesley, But he couldn't quench the burning
And feel pain “at ev'ry pore.” Of the red-hot Mocking Bird.

Brother Bird and the Man from Hell
Peculiar Brother Bird #6

In the foothills of the Blue Ridge And it seemed that Dives was eager
With our brother to converse, “But this story of the rich man
Our peculiar Brother Bird Never says that hell’s for aye,
Took some time to do some writing Almost like he had to do it
To remove some awful curse. And it’s not the final Judgment
Which is what he most preferred. And it’s not the final Day.
Willie Waver was now married, And by then he was much calmer
As he said with certainty, “Otis Sellers has a notion
Farren Brimstone done and gone, He delineates with zest,
And the Big Feud just a mem’ry “I must tell you that my story
Is most lit-er-al, you see!” That the story Jesus crafted
When the “rich man” came along. Is pure satire at its best.
Well, the rich man was a poor man, “But it’s not,” our brother told ‘im,
Sort o’ playing right along, “It’s a literary method
Or at least he so appeared, That our Lord has used before,
Clothed in rags all singed and blackened “And to prove you are the rich man
You must prove that I am wrong.” And it’s not far-fetched to figure
With a long white ashen beard. That He used it here once more.
And he smelled of burning sulfur, “Oh, most gladly,” said the rich man,
“I can prove just what I claim, “Whether parable or satire,
And he reeked of soot and smoke, Either-or, I know it’s not
With his face and arms all blistered, For a par-a-ble can never
Ever use a proper name.” Some newspaper-headline-story:
Wildly coughing when he spoke. When? & Where? & Who? & What?
And he said he was the rich man Bird: “Ah, the law of proper names, eh?
And just when was that law writ? “But a pointed poignant message
Who was sent back from the dead, From the Lord in simi-les
Just to warn of endless torment- And by who was it enacted?
And just who enforces it? To the covetous and scornful
Well, at least that’s what he said. Mammon-serving Pharisees.
And he stood out in the graveyard, Dives: “In the Scofield Reference Bible
It is manifestly claimed, “For they could not serve their mammon
Shrieking madly with each breath, And be servants of the Lord,
“You will burn in Hell forever!” In no par-a-ble, his note says
Is an individual named.” Or call Abraham their father
Scaring some folks half to death. If ol’ Moses they ignored.
But most people thought ‘im crazy, Bird: “Yet another chapter, Scofield,
Heads surprisingly enough “So the po-int of the story
While some others thought ‘im true, Is of negligence and greed,
And a few were pretty shook up, As The Par’ble of A-ho-lah
And (the name) A-ho-li-bah. Not a cutaway of Hades
And not sure just what to do. For the endless torment creed.
That’s when Sheriff Roscoe Ramey “And it’s not coincidental
In each ‘Gospel Harmony’ “And when Pharisees and chief priests
Hauled the rich man off to jail, Heard some other such from Him-
And he asked him where he came from, Luke sixteen and John eleven
Are in close proximity. Well, they didn’t take it lit’ral,
And he said, “I came from Hell!” But ‘perceived he spake of them.’
And he asked him what his name was, “For a name Christ used was Laz’rus, “And in fact, one place, it tells us,
And he said, “My name is Dives,” And he planned just what He said,
For His list’ners knew ‘twas Laz’rus Of our Lord so wise and meek,
And said, “Abraham’s my father, That without such kind of stories
And of brothers I have five.” Who had risen from the dead.
Unto them He didn’t speak(Mk 4:11, 34)
And whatever Roscoe asked ‘im, “For a certain man named Laz’rus’
from a poorer family, “If it’s concrete detailed data,
He would answer just that way, Such could hardly be believed;
And keep crying, “Hell’s eternal!” Had been sick and on his deathbed
In the town of Bethany. But as lessons in a picture
And that’s all he’d ever say. They are readily received.
Then the Sheriff asked our brother “And though Laz’rus had arisen,
And had come back from the dead, “Would the wedding of a king’s son
If he’d come down to the jail, Not at least appeal to some?
And attempt a conversation Those same fellers weren’t a-listenin’,
Just as Abraham had said. Would the ones who were invited
With the man who came from Hell. Kill the ones who bid them come?

“Would a man choose ten to marry “And ‘a certain priest and Levite,’ “Of your body?” asked our brother,
Five of whom he never knew? And a couple certain kings, “Of your body?” Why, do tell
Could they purchase oil at midnight? And a nobleman and farmer, How it joined your soul in torments
Could this possibly be true? And some other certain things. In the nether world of Hell?

“Would the owner of a vineyard “And then five times in the gospels “Has there been a resurrection
Send his own beloved son These two words are in a mull, To restore your flesh and bones?
To some mean and wicked servants Where the Lord would say ‘a certain’ Are there skeletons in spirits
After all that they had done? When he ‘spake a par-a-ble.’ To hang tongues and eyeballs on?”

“But those stories have a message; “So a certain doesn’t mean it’s Then the rich man hesitated
Yes a point so plain to see Not a par-a-ble, you see- In a puzzled sort o’ way,
When they’re understood as pictures, It’s a means of introduction, As he ob-vi-ous-ly didn’t
And not taken li-t’ral-ly. Not a lit’ral guarantee. Know exactly what to say.

“Yes, our Father to His vineyard “And the story of the rich man And then Bogus Campbell stammered
Sent the prophets who were slain, Does not teach that hell’s for aye- As he stumbled to a post-
And the precious son is Jesus- On the subject of duration “Bru- bru- brother, are you saying
Now, you see, it is so plain. It has nary word to say.” He’s some kind of gu- gu- ghost?”

“And so many of Christ’s sayings And then Sheriff Roscoe Ramey “Well…. exactly!” snapped the rich man,
Are constructed like this too, Brought some vittles in a trunk, “I’m a phantom from Sheol:
Where we know that they’re not lit’ral With an inmate, Bogus Campbell, I’m a disembodied spirit;
Yet the points they make are true. Who was drunker than a skunk. I’m a never-dying soul!

“No one really swallows camels; In the trunk there was a pitcher “But my mind and sense and mem’ry
No one really strains at gnats; And some Mason jars of tea, And awareness I retain,
But it’s so true to the figure And some chicken, beans and taters And the essence of my spirit
That they really do do that. From the Sheriff’s “Auntie Bea.” Truly feels and suffers pain.”

“Who has wood beams in their eyeballs? And ol’ Bogus wobbly anchored “But how could it be your spirit?”
Or casts pearls before swine? On the cot inside the cell, Brother Bird asked half amused,
Wolves don’t really wear sheep’s clothing, And lay staring weirdly wide-eyed But the rich man didn’t answer,
And the Lord is not a vine. At the man who came from hell. But seemed cornered and confused.

“And yet spir-it-ual-ly speaking, When they all had finished supper Then our brother said, “A spirit
Doesn’t ‘vine’ make perfect sense? Brother Bird explained to them Does not have a tongue or eyes,
Thus these stories and these sayings Of the contest now a-stirrin’ Or a bosom or a finger,
Are con-du-its to convince! ‘Tween the crazy man and him. As the Scripture testifies:

“And when people heard the Savior Then the rich man said, “The ‘great gulf’ “When the Lord had resurrected,
did they ask for facts or proof? Is a proof for endless hell; he said, ‘Handle me, and see,
No, they knew He spoke in pictures It is ‘fixed’ and can’t be conquered, For a spirit doesn’t have the
To point out a certain truth.” Thus continuous as well.” Flesh and bones ye see in me.’

Then the rich man said, “A certain- Bird: “If I spoke of ‘here to Venus’ “And it says you saw ol’ Laz’rus
‘Twas a certain rich man, see, As impossible to climb, And your father Abraham-
So ‘a certain’ means it’s certain It is relative to distance, Were they only apparitions
That it is a certain-ty!” But irrelevant to time.” In a nightmare of the damned?

Brother Bird then said, ‘A certain Then the rich man said, “In torments “And just when did your free spirit
Was the way the Lord began Of my body and my soul Find itself in Hades’ fire?
Oft to tell a pointed story: I have been and ever will be Was it instantly or shortly
‘And there was a certain man…’ While the ceaseless ages roll.” When at last you did expire?”

“Well… it was,” the rich man muttered, “And it’s perfect in the English, “From burn-victim testimonies
“When I closed my eyes in death, Just the way they worded it- There is one thing we have learned:
I im-me-di-ate-ly looked up, It is hell if it’s the gravedom; They can’t formulate a sentence
And in hell took my next breath.” Otherwise it’s grave or pit.” In the midst of being burned.

“But the order of the story,” “And of all the Sheol’s mentioned, “And how is it ‘outer darkness’
Brother Bird at once replied There’s not one in sixty-five In such fiery flames so bright?
States the fact that you were buried That e’er speaks of endless torment, Or how is it “mists of darkness’
E’er before you even died.” Or of souls that are alive.” In the midst of blazing light?

“Oh, that’s nonsense,” said the rich man, “And the story of the rich man “Since you’re sure it is so lit’ral
As if taken by surprise- Never says that hell’s for aye And of stark reality,
“First I died, and then was buried, For it’s not the final Judgment Then my questions are most proper
And in hell lift up my eyes.” And it’s not the final Day.” To see if it’s ‘verily’!

“Ah… you’re right!” our brother told ‘im, “But it is a picture story, “No, the texture of your story
Yes, of course, I must admit- And not lit’ral as you tell, In the very warp and woof
First you died, and then were buried- For the Lord used allegory, Of its contrasts, names, and features
That’s exactly how it’s writ. When He spake in par-a-ble, Speaks of metaphoric truth.

“So that means that you were buried Then the rich man interrupted, “Why, the preachers do not preach it
Then, before you were inflamed- “I was there so I should know- As a text on saving grace-
Not the instance that you died, hmm? It’s an actual and a factual That to go to Abram’s bosom
As you earlier had claimed. Picture of the world below.” ‘Evil things’ you have to face!

“For it was your buried body, It was then that Bogus cried out “Or that angels transport spirits,
Not your disembodied soul From the window ledge in dread, And then when they make it through
In the grave and in the gravedom “There’s another spa- spa- spirit Abraham’s the first to greet ‘em
Of both Hades and Sheol.” Ca- ca- come back from the dead!” With the other side in view!

Then he showed ‘im how that Hades But the Sheriff only figured “And if Laz’rus heard your pleading
Is the Greek word for Sheol, It was spirits from a flask, Clear across the gulf in hell,
And can mean a grave or gravedom, When about the rich man’s entry Then he must have heard the screamin’
And denote a hole or whole. Brother Bird was quick to ask: Of a million more as well!

And that “Sheol in the Scripture “In the instance that you entered “If such sights and sounds surround ‘im
Is the Gravedom of the Dead, Would you not have been confused? That are anything but nice,
Of the righteous and the wicked”- Overwhelmed in shock and terror,” Could you say that he finds ‘comfort’?
And he proved just what he said: Solemnly our brother mused. Would you call it ‘paradise’?

“In that precious psalm of David, “So just how could you have known it And then someone went to bangin’,
Of God’s presence he did tell, Was your father Abraham? Loudly bangin’ on the door,
How the Lord would still be with him, How’d ya know it wasn’t Isaac, And the Sheriff let him enter
Though he made his bed in hell” Or Bartholomew or Sam? Lest he bang on it some more.

“And, ‘what man is he that liveth, “In the throes of fiery torment Who then said, “My name is Laz’rus,
And shall not see death’ said he; And the grasp of ghastly pain, And I’ve come back from the dead
For the Sheol of the grave hole Could you have a conversation To refute this lyin’ con man”-
Is our common destiny. (89:48) So coherent and so plain? Well, at least that’s what he said.

“In the belly of the great fish; “Could you frame a fluid sentence, Bogus Campbell was a-frightened,
In the belly of a whale- Or just weep and wail and groan? And he slunk back in the cell
Is where Jonah cried in anguish And ar-tic-u-late petitions, From the man who came from Heaven
From the belly of a…hell.” Or just shriek and flail and moan? And the man who came from Hell.

“Laz’rus” looked just like a mummy “It’s a pointed picture story, “If it’s true it can’t be altered
Wrapped in gauze from head to toe, And it paints the picture well; By a question or a doubt,
And he smelled just like a dishrag, Illustrative allegory, And my tiny little squirt gun
And his eyes were all aglow. Not a window into hell.” Will not ever put it out.

In the foothills of the Blue Ridge And that’s when the rich man figured “If it’s not you can’t create it
People came from hill and dale Who this “Laz’rus” really was, Through a vote or by a creed,
To see Laz’rus and the rich man And remembered a computer So relax and get your Bible
In the Surry County Jail. That was named the Wiz of Oz. And just open it, and read.

Willie with his darlin’ Daisy, So he pulled one piece of wrapping “No one’s dug down to the center
Ernest Ladd and Sister Smoke, With which Laz’rus had been bound, Of the earth so they can know,
Ida Clara, Ima Vera, ‘Til the beggar went to whirlin’ But we can dig in the Scriptures
And a bunch of other folk. Round and round until unwound. For to see if things are so.

Like detective Diddy Doright, Bogus Campbell’s head was spinnin’ “And this story of your ‘rich man’
And ol’ Fetch, his blue tick hound, And he blamed the whole affair Never says that hell’s for aye,
Okie Dokie and his neighbors, On an impure run of moonshine And it’s not the final judgment,
With ol’ Bogus gathered round. Which he swore off then and there. And it’s not the final day.

That’s when Laz’rus started listing Then the beggar was the focus “But it is a picture story
Useful facts from A to Z- In the Surry County pen Of the mammon-servers greed,
Fascinating information In his night shirt and his long johns, Not a cutaway of Hades
Versus endless misery. And an impish little grin. For the endless torment creed.

Of the contrast in the Scriptures Willie whispered to sweet Daisy, “No, the story of the rich man
Of eternal life and death, “What a clever little sneak;” Does not teach that hell’s for aye-
And of perish and destruction, While the rich man roared in fury, On the subject of duration
And of how the Scripture saith “It is Micro Chip the geek!” It has nary word to say.”

That the chaff will surely burn up Well, I guess that was a miscue; In the foothills of the Blue Ridge
In a fire you can’t put out, Yes, a careless little slip, Bogus Campbell sobered up,
And that perish means, well, perish For our brother asked the rich man, And you won’t find bootleg whiskey
With no shadow of a doubt. “How do you know Micro Chip?” In the bottom of his cup.

How the pictures in the Scriptures And just then ol’ Fetch the coon hound And our brother hopes that others
And the words within the Word Toward the rich man quickly veered Will respond as soberly,
Fully verify the teaching Lickin’ greasy scraps of chicken And soon learn that endless torment
Of peculiar Brother Bird. Tangled in the ashen beard. Is as bogus as can be.

And he pondered how the story And the beard and wig fell off ‘im,
Could have ever come to be And to ev’ryone’s surprise
Any proof for endless torment It was Doctor Farren Brimstone
When it’s just not there to see. In that soot and smoke disguise!

“This account our Lord has given How he wished he were a spirit
Does not state that hell’s for aye- And could quickly disappear,
On the topic of duration But he wasn’t and he couldn’t
It has not a word to say. And then Brother Bird drew near.

“And it was a buried body, “And said, Farren, oh poor Farren,

Not a disembodied soul, What you’ll do your case to win,
And between his death and entrance And with such determination
Was a proper fun-er-al. That the torments never end.