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Comment By Torchlight

Dead Sea Scrolls

The arrival in London of the Dead Sea Scrolls for exhibition in the British Museum, and later in some provincial cities, has aroused public interest in these priceless manuscripts. The scrolls are a collection of ancient Hebrew and Aramaic documents discovered in recent years in caves in the area lying north-west of the Dead Sea. The earliest find was made by a Bedouin goatherd in 1947. The account of this is given by Mr. G. Lankester Harding, Director of Antiquities in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, as follows:

One of the goats strayed in search for better pastures, and the goatherd, looking for it up the steep rock hillside, chanced upon a small circular opening in a rock face. With pardonable curiosity he looked in cautiously, but could make out only a large dark cavern; so he picked up a stone and threw it in-and heard something crack and break. Nervously apprehensive at the unexpected result of his effort he withdrew, and returned later with a friend. Each made brave by the presence of the other, they wriggled through the small aperture into the cavern, and in the dim light could distinguish some large jars standing on the floor, one of them broken by the rccently4hrown stone. Fragments of others were lying all around, but they quickly proceeded to examine the contents of the intact jars.

Instead, however, of the expected golden treasure they drew forth a number of leather rolls covered in, to them, an unknown writing-had they known it, a treasure far greater than any gold.

Later the whole area was carefully combed, and in other caves large numbers of ancient manuscripts of various kinds were discovered. They are all said to be of pre-Christian origin. The entire collection has now become known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Among these manuscripts are copies of a number of parts of the Old Testament in Hebrew and several non-Biblical books. Scholars have been studying these documents for several years and the varying views advanced have caused considerable controversy. In spite of all the study that has been given to them some questions raised by these manuscripts remain unanswered. Further study and, possibly, more discoveries may cast further light on these problems.

Some of the non-Biblical books in the collection have been interpreted by some scholars as casting doubt on the historic origins of Christianity. One non-Christian scholar, in particular, has made an unfair attack on Christian scholars who draw different conclusions from the Scrolls to those he advances. His arrogant pleading for his own view has evoked correspondence in the Press, and one contributor said pertinently:

How delightful to be Doctor A. And so charmingly able to say

"All these Christians are blind;

Only I and my kind

See the Scrolls by the clear light of day".

We need have no fear that the historic foundations of the Christian faith will be disturbed. They rest securely on divine revelation. One does not need to be a scholar to discover that the New Testament documents bear the hall-mark of truth. They are self-authenticated and divinely inspired. The secular scholar, without the witness of the Spirit of Truth, may make a critical evaluation of these writings as literature but he cannot discover the secrets which, our Lord said, are hidden from the wise and understanding and revealed unto babes (Matthew 11.25).

The series of articles on the Holy Scriptures which began in last month's issue of Needed Truth is relevant to the comment we have made above. We commend these articles to our readers for serious thought. The internal evidence of Holy Scripture to its origin and purpose is of the greatest importance and, we believe is irrefutable.

The Logic of Faith

Paul wrote that in the last days "men shall be lovers of self... lovers of pleasure" (2 Timothy 3.1,4). These are prominent features of modern society. "What's in it for me?" is the yardstick frequently applied by men of the world. The disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ has a different philosophy. Self denial must displace self love. Not, "what can I get? " but "what can I give?" is the logic of faith. The argument is forcibly applied in the following extract.

"People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a part of a great debt owing to God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own best reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and the bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view, and with such a thought! Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences, and charities of this life, may make pause and cause the spirit to sink, but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared to glory which shall be revealed hereafter in and for us. I never made a sacrifice. It has been nothing but privilege to live, love, and to glorify God." (David Livingstone)

Action this day!

"Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves. For if any one is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was" (James 1,22-24).

"When all is said and done, so much more is said than done!"

(Wayside Pulpit)