Thursday, June 4, 2015
To Quiet the Dry Bones of Liberty
The written word is a powerful thing. Words have changed the course of human events. They have formed nations and destroyed them. Words have spread tyranny and have been the agents of liberty. Words have bound men and set men free. Words are as mighty as a two-edged sword.
Often, I have wondered why I continue to write. This world, this broken nation, doesn't see what I see, they don't hear what I hear. Why do I continue shouting into the abyss when no one is listening? And then I remember. People do hear. They do listen. And the words of liberty and truth, the words of freedom, will live on, long after I am but dry bones.
The words of truth are eternal. They can't be silenced. God spoke words of life. He spoke of man's liberty and man's sinfulness. He spoke of eternity and salvation. And in spite of man's best efforts, His Words will not be silenced. His truth continues to speak through the centuries. His Word continues to give men liberty and set their souls free. No matter how many of His books are burned, no matter how many dictators have tried to silence His voice, the truth of His Words continue to be etched in the hearts of men. Mightier than any sword, His Word continues.
John Wicklif, a pastor and contemporary of Geoffrey Chaucer, spoke against the Pope and the Church in the days before the reformation. He wrote books and essays claiming that the bishops and priests and even the Pope himself were but men, accountable to law of God, not above it. He taught that all men, even peasants, had natural rights afforded them by God. He claimed that rights were not granted by the Pope or the King, but by God himself! Doctor Wicklif even had the audacity to translate the bible into the people's language (middle English), rather than Latin, which at that time, only the church leaders could read. Through his writings, he ignited a hunger for truth and knowledge that could not be extinguished. So persuasive were his teachings that forty years after his death, his bones were dug from their grave and burned in an effort to silence his words.
It was in 1385 that Doctor Wicklif died. The grass grows over his grave. Forty-one years pass, pilgrims come from afar to visit the spot where he is buried; they break off pieces of his tombstone, and carry them away as relics. The monks and friars will have no more of that. They will not have a man who has been dead nearly half a century keep on preaching if they can prevent it, for the doctor has a great following; half of England, and nearly all of Bohemia, have accepted his teachings. The Great Council of Constance, has ordered that the doctor's bones shall be dug up and burned; and the monks execute the order. They cast the ashes into he river, and the river bears them to the sea. They have got rid of Doctor Wicklif. Have they? Not quite!
The Story of Liberty
Charles C. Coffin
Do not be silenced! Speak the truth with conviction and courage. Although your words may cost you your life, the souls of men hang in the balance. Death cannot silence truth, and your very bones will shout "Liberty"!