And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho…
In the pulpit of our times we have two different gospels, each calling itself Christian and each asserting its superior excellence. The one is satisfied to rest on the testimony of God, to stand by the old landmarks, to receive the traditions of Scripture as delivered by prophets and apostles, and with these to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. The other, or new gospel, sets out from the principle that Christianity, like any other system of human knowledge, is an evolution and development. There is no absolute standard of truth back in the past; the only standard is in man himself — the highly educated man of the present, the advanced and incomparable man of the future. Some things are all the better for being new. But religion is not one of them. In a world of doubt and uncertainty, it is no small proof of the truth and excellence of the gospel that it is so old, that it has been so long tried and so fully tested — tried and tested in the crucibles of experiment, in the very fires of persecution.
1. This is the gospel which first converted the world. It was not liberalism, but the doctrine of Christ's atonement for sin and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which converted the three thousand sinners of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. Will any one tell us how long it would have taken the rose-water gospel of our modern dilettante to have done this work?
2. It is this old gospel alone that has sustained the Christian martyrs of all ages and all lands under their trials and persecutions. Who cares for science, literature, or art, when racked with pain and passing through the valley and shadow of death? Talk to us of God, tell us of heaven, show us the way to God and heaven, is then the high and only demand.
3. It was the preaching of this old gospel that awakened the Church to new life and produced the great reformation of the sixteenth century. It was as life from the dead, and Pentecostal baptism from heaven, when God raised up the great reformers, and by His grace enabled them, with a restored Bible, to proclaim again from the pulpit and the press the grand distinguishing truths of the ancient faith.
4. This again is the only gospel that has ever founded and sustained missions to the heathen. The new gospel of moderatism, of sentiment and art, or philosophical superiority to all creeds as equally good or indifferent, has never aspired to the dignity of converting the world to Christ.
5. Other grounds might be added for adherence to the old gospel — as that it has produced all the greatest characters in history, has founded all the great institutions of Christendom, has caused all the great revivals of religion in the Church, has been adorned by all the greatest preachers and evangelists of all ages — in a word, has accomplished nine-tenths, if not ninety-nine hundredths, of all the good that has thus far been accomplished in the world.
(Prof. Leroy J. Halsey.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.