The Egg Examination: or, the Critics Confounded

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
SOME months ago the question was raised in a police-court case as to whether it is possible to tell the nationality of an egg. A Lancashire tradesman was alleged to have sold foreign eggs labeled "Irish." Witnesses for the prosecution declared that it is possible to tell, by means of certain tests, the country from which an egg has come. This was strenuously denied by others, who gave evidence for the defendant, and the case was dismissed.
The incident, however, had a curious sequel. A discussion took place as to the matter in dispute upon the premises of a firm near London Bridge, which imports something like two million eggs weekly. To settle the question, a test was arranged by the senior partner. Six eggs were to be selected by him, and four experts were to decide their nationality. The four experts were the junior partner of the firm, a member of the staff, and two neighboring egg dealers. Each of these was asked to write down the name of the country from which they judged each of the six eggs had come.
The four experts scrutinized the shells with great care. Then they took them to an electric light appliance in a dark corner, used for examining eggs.
Their respective reports were as follow:
(1) The junior partner's report: Three of the selected eggs Russian, two Danish, one Styrian.
(2) The member of the staff's report: Three Russian, one English, two Italian.
(3) The first egg dealer's report: Two Russian, two Italian, one Irish, one English.
(4) The second egg dealer's report: One Russian, two Styrian, two Dutch, one Irish.
The senior partner then announced: "All the six eggs were laid by my own fowls at Peckham, London.”
Thus was the wisdom of the wise confounded!
My reason for mentioning this incident in a magazine which deals with spiritual subjects is that it exactly illustrates the methods of those who arraign the Holy Scriptures at the bar of human criticism, subject them to learned scrutiny, and announce the results of their examination with the utmost assurance.
To take an instance, the Pentateuch (the name given to the first five books of the Bible) has been dissected with a great show of learning, and the critics have proclaimed upon the housetops their imagined discovery that it is the work of several authors. These authors are named respectively E, J, P, D¹, D², &c. The various books of the Pentateuch are cut up into fragments, and the "experts" profess to be able to tell just which fragments are the work of E, which the work of J, and so on. Strangely enough, these "experts" no more agree in their verdicts than did the egg examiners. There are as many lists as there are experts, each of them at variance with all the others.
Can the truth be known? Yes, just as the senior partner of the egg-importing firm revealed the fact, which threw utter discredit upon the methods adopted by the "experts," so by one flash of God-given light we know the truth as to the origin of the Pentateuch, and all the rest of the Bible. "Holy men of God spake... MOVED BY THE HOLY GHOST." (2 Peter 1:2121For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:21).) As to the pen used for the writing of the Pentateuch, our Lord Himself bears witness that it was that of one man, Moses. (See John 5:4646For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. (John 5:46), Luke 16:29; 24:4429Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. (Luke 16:29)
44And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44)
, &c.) But the all important fact is that it was by inspiration of the Holy Ghost that the Scriptures were written. He was their real Author.
A book, which comes to us with a claim like this, must surely be accorded a most careful consideration. Even if its claims are regarded with skepticism, no wise man will refuse to read and examine it. He will say to himself, "Suppose after all it turns out to be true; how I shall regret my folly if I neglect it!”
Many a man will read books about the Bible; many, very many, will read what is written against it; but how many are serious enough to sit down, and give the Bible itself a thorough study?
At a meeting of Bible students, a Christian gentleman referred to something that had happened in his early youth. "I remember,” said he,” in my boyhood an old minister asking me a question, which did me much good, though it greatly annoyed me at the time. I had had little or no access to general literature, but my father's house was rich in religious and Bible literature. It was no merit of mine (for there were no counter-attractions); I had to read that or nothing. So, for a youth, I had read a good deal on Scripture subjects; and I suppose, in my folly, I had been parading my remarkable learning in this department, no doubt to the great amusement of the old minister. Presently he said, My boy, you seem to have read a lot about the Bible; but, tell me, do you ever by any chance read the Bible itself?' That was an annoying question, because he had put his finger on something I had not noticed. I knew a great deal of what people had said and written about the Bible, but I knew very little of personal, first-hand touch with the Bible.”
Is it too much to hope that the reading of these pages may lead some to search the Scriptures for themselves? Of most other things it may be said: "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity," but of this God-given book we can say "Verity of verities, all is verity.”
May I point out some of the great verities, the cardinal truths of tremendous import, to which the Bible bears witness?
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2. There is no exception to the foregoing statement. “There is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:22, 23.)
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3. The sinner is unable to better his condition in the smallest degree.
"We... are as water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again." (2 Sam. 14:14.) "Without strength." (Rom. 5:6.)
4. It was for helpless, undone, guilty sinners that Christ died.
"Christ died for the ungodly." (Rom. 5:6.) "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust." (1 Pet. 3:18) "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." (1 Tim. 1:15.)
5. Free and instant forgiveness is offered on the ground of what Christ has done.
“Repentance and remission of sins... preached in His Name among all nations.”
(Luke 24:47.) “Through His Name, whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins." (Acts 10:43.)
6. Faith is the way of blessing.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."(Acts 16:3131And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31).)" By grace are ye saved, through faith." (Eph. 2:8.) Of many other things the Scriptures testify. They teach the necessity of the new birth, the fate of the rejector of the glad tidings, justification from all things of those who believe.
But enough has been said to show the folly of neglecting the Scriptures.
It is not that the Bible reader is saved thereby.
A man may read every word of it, from Genesis to Revelation, a hundred times and yet remain unsaved. But in the Bible the way to be saved is revealed, and the Savior is made known.
To Him, the One to whom all the prophets bear witness, the sinner is invited to turn. To Him the Scriptures point, from first to last.
May God grant mercy to the reader of these pages to be
A Believer in Christ,
A Bible Student, and thus
A Blessing to others. H. P. B.