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    May 15, 1893

    “The Secret of Reformation” The Signs of the Times, 19, 28.

    E. J. Waggoner

    When Wycliffe was translating, or was about to translate, the Bible into the English language, he wrote these words:—SITI May 15, 1893, page 420.7

    As the faith of the church is contained in the Scriptures, the more these are known in their true meaning the better, and inasmuch as secular men should assuredly understand the faith they profess, that faith should be taught them in whatever language may be best known to them. Forasmuch, also, as the doctrines of our faith are more clearly and exactly expressed in the Scriptures than they may probably be by priests-seeing, if I may so speak, that many priests are but too ignorant of Holy Scripture, while others conceal many parts of it; and as the verbal instructions of priests have many other defects,-the conclusion is abundantly manifest that believers should ascertain for themselves what are the true matters of their faith, by having the Scriptures in a language which they fully understand. For the laws made by prelates are not to be received as matters of faith, nor are we to confide in their public instruction, nor in any of their words, but as they are founded in Holy Writ,-show the Scriptures contain the whole truth. And this translation of them into English should therefore do at least this good, namely, placing priests and bishops above suspicion as to the parts of it which they profess to explain. Other means, act as the friars, prelates, the pope, may all prove defective; and to provide against this. Christ and his apostles evangelized the greater portion of the world, by making known the Scriptures to the people in their own language. To the end, indeed, did the Holy Spirit endow them with the knowledge of tongues. Why, then, should not the living disciples of Christ do in this respect as they did?SITI May 15, 1893, page 420.8

    The work of translating the Scriptures into the language of the people has now been almost completed. Since the days of Tyndale it has been an easy matter for anyone to get a copy of the Bible in the English language, and the Book has been translated into almost every language under heaven. Still the work of the Reformation is not complete. It is not enough that the Bible should be furnished in the language of the people; it must be read and studied by the people. It is of little use to have the Bible if the words of man are to be taken as to what it means, instead of reading it for one’s self. To too great an extent at the present day, as in the days of Christ, when the people had the Bible in their own tongue, the fear of God is taught by the commandments of men, rather than by the word of God. So the work of the true teacher is to take the Bible which the people have ready to their hand, and bring them face to face with it.SITI May 15, 1893, page 420.9

    To be a follower of the Reformers does not mean to believe just what they believed, and nothing more. To be a worthy follower of the Reformers is to be actuated by the same spirit that moved them. That was loyalty to the word of God. Their principle was that the Bible should settle all questions; that it, and it alone, was the truth. They did not know all that the Bible teaches. No man has ever yet known it all. Sometimes, also, they were mistaken in their views of Scripture, and made the common mistake of teaching what they thought instead of what they knew. Whether a man is right or wrong; if we follow the man, we shall surely go wrong; for at the best we shall get only partial truth; but if we follow the Scriptures just as they read, we cannot make a mistake. Only they are true followers of the Reformers who have the same loyalty to the word that they had, regardless of what the thought about certain points.SITI May 15, 1893, page 420.10

    Let the question which Wycliffe asked be pondered well. Why should not the living disciples of Christ do as the disciples of old did in bringing the Bible to the people, that he may read it without the interpretations of men? When this is done as it should be, there will be a greater reformation than has ever yet been known.SITI May 15, 1893, page 420.11

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