"And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
 John 3:19

 

 "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."
1 John 4:1

 

MAN THE HARNESS MAKER

FOREWARD 

One statement of this book has been challenged..

Since the articles in the Sunday School Times, a Canadian reader has written to tell me that he knew fishermen in Ireland who bored holes in their boats and put plugs in the holes. Back on shore, the plug was pulled and any water in the boat was permitted to depart. Men I have fished with knew no better than to tilt the boat and rinse out slime, scales, and pieces of bait with pails of water. That took time, and we lost much of next day’s smells.

I have suggested to the cook that we put a hole and a plug in the dish-pan to save the labor of emptying it. I have offered to put a plug in the bottom of a neighbor’s coffee-pot to make it possible to remove the grounds without tilting the pot. If I were not known as a teetotaler, I would be under suspicion.

This cartoon might be framed and given to some Christian girl who is courted by a man who drinks, gambles, swears, and lies. I hope they do not cause those who have already taken vows, to feel sorry for themselves—that would make matters worse. To such I would say, Be such a friend of God that He feels sorrow for you. These cartoons were designed to show the folly of misusing our God-given opportunity of harnessing spiritual forces.

Harnessed forces may enslave and destroy nations; the charnel heaps of the world prove this. Some man of great repute has said, ‘‘Science is the twin sister of religion." The homeless starving of Europe must think this sister is promiscuous in her associations.

If men and monkeys are branches of the same family tree, how fortunate we are (or are we?) that the Santa Claus of evolution did not hang inventive genius on the simian limb, else the apes might be the ones that fight the wars, pay the taxes, take the headache pills, and insist on being our cousins. Some "scientist" has explained that man’s great progress was largely due to the fact that he had thumbs. I have seen apes with twice as many thumbs as the "scientist," so it seems that two thumbs help, but four thumbs hinder.

The paragraph below, was the editorial introduction when "Man, the Harness Maker" was printed in the Sunday School Times.

"If you read the announcement (Nov. 4) of this series by Dr. Shadduck, you may have wondered whether the high praise of his unique style was justified. But you will not read far in this first article of the series, which will extend over several issues, without meeting surprises, and without realizing that his writing is far from commonplace. In his unusual, humorous, clever, and heart-warming manner he shows how utterly foolish it is for man to suppose that he can get along without God, and how much better off all Christians would be if they would yield every last compartment of their lives to God and trust Him completely. Here is material to combat Evolutionism, and entertaining illustrations, ingenious parables, and convincing reasoning, all showing that man is happiest when he casts himself upon the infinite wisdom and love of God. The series will continue next week."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When God made man He made a harness maker. How else could man be in the image of God who had every element and force in the universe geared with something else? How else could man accept the great commission to subdue the earth and have dominion over all living creatures?

Man was not physically equipped to subdue the mosquitoes, if there were any near Eden. Considering his size, he was the physical weakling of the earth and apparently least fitted of all the larger creatures to subdue the earth and dominate its life. He was no match for creatures with horns, fangs, claws, tusks, venom, or crushing power. Hundreds of creatures could run faster, climb higher, swim easier, dig better, jump farther, or strike harder. Other creatures had a covering of shell, a thicker hide, a coat of fur, a protective coloring, or a keener sense of smell. Other creatures were guided by a marvelous instinct. Some creatures were protected from attack by offensive odor, thorn-like surface, or deadly venom. Some could lose a limb and grow another. Some could be frozen stiff and suffer no harm; others could escape the rigors of winter by hibernation or migration.

If angels did not know that man was to be a harness maker and if they were ever surprised, they must have had such an experience when God commissioned a physical weakling to subdue the earth and have dominion over all other life.

Authorities say that a mother wolf may have as many as thirteen young in a litter. [sic.] Assuming that this number is twice the average, yet the potentialities of a wolf family are astounding. If a pair of wolves had been created when Adam was, their unhindered progeny might have numbered a billion when Cain was twenty-one years old. This fact argues that animal life needed to be dominated, and that man could not do it either by increase or by tooth and claw.

If any one of the larger animals is less equipped for offense and defense, than the others, it must be a sheep, and yet, in competition with a man who was not a harness maker, the advantages would be with the sheep. The sheep could eat dry grass, go through the winter without fire or garments, be almost wholly free from vermin and blood-sucking insects, and its progeny would mature sixteen tines as fast as humans. Indeed, a sheep with a man’s brain would be much more likely to survive than a man with a sheep’s brain. I hesitate to say this because a man with a really good sheep’s brain would not poke money into a gambling machine, be afraid of black cats, or get drunk the second time.

Yet God chose man to subdue the world. If there had been angels who were top-heavy with academic freedom, they must have doubted that God could bring to fulfillment His plans, even as now, in these days when military bullies seek to rule the world, it is difficult for many to believe that the meek shall inherit the earth—and they shall not, unless the prophecies of the Bible are true. It must be difficult just now to be modernistic and optimistic, yet you can do it if you have a differential in your mind. I remember how surprised I was when the rear end of my first car was hoisted on a jack and the two wheels could go in opposite directions at the same time. The mechanic said it was the differential that did it. They build some brains that way. The Head Mouse said to the group about him, "Cheer up. The world is getting better. Some day our brothers, the cats, will see how unsocial it is to annoy us."

The Harness Maker at Work

If man could not run as fast as the deer, he harnessed an arrow to a bow, under high tension, and the arrow went faster than the deer. If he could not strike a hard blow with his soft hand, he tied a stone on the end of a stick and with it crushed the skull of a bear.

If he could not move a heavy object, he contrived a lever and fulcrum and multiplied his power a hundredfold. If fruit was beyond his reach, he did not need to climb, as other creatures; he devised a ladder or used a long pole. What mattered if the ox were stronger? He harnessed the ox and used its strength. Not having a fang, he made a spear. Being no match for the best swimmers, he fashioned a canoe. Observing the action of the wind on floating objects, he fashioned a sail of skin or put a thick bush in the prow of his canoe. He dammed up the stream and forced the falling water to turn a wheel to saw his logs or grind his corn. In harnessing wind and water, he scarcely realized that he harnessed the sun that set these elements in motion.

Though all other creatures feared fire, he used it to clear his land, warm his cabin, cook his food, smelt his metals, light his path in the night, frighten away wild beasts, signal to distant hilltops, and later to drive his engines. He harnessed the tides before he knew that in reality he was harnessing the moon.

Harnessing the Moon

Some years ago a bridge builder found it necessary to pull up a great pipe line that had settled in the, mud of a river bottom near the sea. Without the removal of the pipe line he could not make a foundation for the piers of the bridge. With the help of a dredge, divers fastened a great chain about the submerged pipe and a crane mounted on a barge undertook the task of winding up the chain and lifting the pipe. The engine was started, and as the stretch of chain between the pipe line and the crane was shortened, it was soon evident that the strain would sink the barge rather than lift the pipe. All work was stopped, and a conference was called. The problem was, how to lift the pipe line without expending a great sum of money. Someone in the crowd of spectators called out, "Why don’t you hitch the moon to it?"

This was taken as a joke and occasioned some laughter, but one of the engineers suspected that perhaps this was indeed the solution of the problem and he inquired "Who said that?"

A young man stepped forward and said, "If you will give me the material and help I need, I will hitch the moon to it." He explained his plan and they accepted it.

Two great barges were fastened together with great timbers holding them a few feet apart. These barges were anchored where the chain could be brought up between them and wrapped around the middle timbers at low tide. Then the engineers sat down to wait. You can’t hurry the tide; it depends on the moon. Nor will there be peace on earth while the world is at war with God.

When the tide came in, it was clear that the pipe line would be lifted, the barges would sink, or the chain would break; no one feared that the moon would let go. Silently they waited the outcome, and just before the water went over the sides of the barges, the pipe line let go and the moon went on unwearied with its task.

Harnessing the Force of Gravity

To a really consistent atheist, gravity is as impossible as God. It is unwearied, invisible, unreasonable, and so far as human observation goes, eternal. It exerts a pull between objects, though they are separated by thousands of miles. You may cut the cable by which one ship tows another, but the leash by which the earth keeps the circling moon tagging after it in its journeys about the sun is hidden in mystery. A sheet of black paper will cut the rays of light; a sheet of lead will cut off the emanation from radium, but gravity is balanced only by other forces equally mysterious.

There is a story of a fire that started in the shipping yards of a railroad. The pipes underneath a tank car of gasoline were leaking, and the under part of the car was wrapped in flames. The fire department had only a stream of water to fight the blaze and this seemed utterly useless. There was grave danger that the car would explode disastrously. It was then that a high school boy who applied his knowledge to the problems of life said to the chief, "Why don’t you open the tank at the top and put the water in the tank?"

"Because the fire is not in the tank," replied the chief.

"Water is heavier than gasoline," said the boy; "if you put the water in the tank it will leak water instead of gasoline."

If the brains of all the apes on earth were in one ape, how long would it take that ape to see what was immediately obvious to a thoughtful schoolboy? Man is the only creature on earth that really makes harness.

The spider uses a spinning equipment, but the Creator, not the spider, designed the spinneret. A beaver can cut down a tree, but the cutting equipment of a beaver is a part of the beaver. There are plants that fasten tiny balloons or parachutes to their seeds, but the arrangement is as much a part of the life cycle of the plant as are the roots and leaves. Birds, beasts and bugs have many items of equipment, but they invent nothing and do not need to. Man was created with many needs that could be met only by invention, and man was given the ability to invent. Unfortunately that gift has often been misused.

Evolutionists ought to thank whatever god or law they credit with supervising the evolution of creatures, that harness-making ability was withheld from the apes; else they might have made a cage before man did. Even so, I doubt if more intellectual apes would have gone so far as to claim kinship.

The First Law of the Harness

Before man can successfully harness the things and forces about him, he must discover and respect the WANT-TO in such things and forces.

I used the expression want-to in much the same sense that the Bible used the word listeth in the statement. "The wind bloweth where it listeth." I refer to the pulls and pushes, active or potential, in the material world, and the bent or urge or driving desire in the realm of life.

The Want-to in Matter

Oil will rise in the wick of a lamp, and sap in the stalk of a plant. Salt is hungry for water. Freezing water will burst an iron container, because of the urge of its particles to readjust themselves as ice. When the same particles of water are superheated in a boiler they became explosive in their efforts to get away from each other. The pull of the hot air is upward, at least it seemed so to the early pioneer when he kindled a fire, and he built a chimney for the smoke instead of piping it into his well. Even in "the horse and buggy days," careless thinkers knew better than to bore holes in the bottom of a boat to let the water out.

It is said that long before Darwin determined our caste level some man sat on the limb of a tree while he sawed it off. Well, what of it? I have known a Doctor of Theology to sit on the place after he sawed it off. Perhaps you have known a preacher who discredited the Bible and held his job as a professed disciple of its central figure.

A teacher of religion may be consistent and popular, but the man who builds a lopsided harness, or an engine with parts that do not fit each other, will have little success.

The Want-to in Living Creatures

As a, farmer boy, I learned to adjust my activities to fit the WANT-TO in the domestic animals and fowls. When the ducks were lost, I did not look for them on the hilltop. When eggs were to be hatched, I put them under what was called, in farm parlance, a "settin’ hen." I heard of a woman who tried quite another plan.

She was obsessed with the idea that all males were shirkers, and the burdens of life were carried by the females. She delighted in bees, because they killed their drones, but a peacock was to her an abomination. She lived on a small farm and made life miserable for the barnyard rooster. To her, he was the symbol of all that was selfish, lazy, bombastic, and masculine. She cut off the plume feathers of his tail and threw stones at him when he dared to crow within heaving distance. He was abashed in her presence, as she told herself a man would be if she had one.

One day it occurred to her that the rooster ought to take his turn at incubating eggs, giving each brooding hen an occasional vacation. Of course the rooster would not stay on a nest willingly, and she devised a plan for enforcing her will. She bored two holes through the bottom of the nest box, put his legs through the holes and tied them together underneath the box. The brooding hen was frantic in her desire to get back to her nest; the rooster exhausted himself in his struggles to get free; only the woman was happy, and her happiness abated somewhat when the eggs, that were not broken, failed to hatch.

Was the woman lacking in sagacity? Not more than the man who will compel his stomach, heart, brain, liver, and nerves to suffer from alcohol and other poisons that interfere with their normal functions. I have known a stomach to rebel as vehemently as the rooster did, and with better success.

Back in those days on the farm, we owned a horse of considerable potential value that had almost no market value. She was known as a "balky" horse. At times she had a negative want-to, or shall we say a "don’t-want-to?" She was given to me to drive, because, if anyone must wait for her change of mind it might as well be a boy. I never knew a horse more willing to work, but she wanted liberty to do her work without interference of the Official Board. What I mean is, that she didn’t want to be bossed too much by someone who did not help with the load. She wanted to go up a hill faster than she did on the level, and rest when she found rest needed. I did not use a whip, and by kindness convinced her that the Official Board was as necessary as her will to work, and she came to trust me. She never balked with me. Like a favorite grandma, I found out what she wanted to do and told her to do it, a split second before she did it. Eventually, I harnessed her temperament as well as her strong shoulders.

The Second Law of the Harness

The ability to make harness, if misused, may destroy the harness maker or his neighbors. Blessings may be turned into curses.

What men call science will work for a bad man in a bad cause as well as for a good man in a good cause. Dynamite will blow up a rocky obstruction or a tenement building. Serfdom, slavery, military conquest, tyranny, and the plundering of nations may result from the misuse of harnessed forces. When God put man in the garden of Eden "to dress it and to keep it," his task was no more burdensome than that of a woman tending her flowers. Then man sinned and became the sweat-wiper of the universe. Of all creatures on earth, man is the only one who really toils, excepting, of course, the domestic animals that are compelled to toil.

God made man a harness maker; sin has made him a harness wearer. Some sixty centuries have gone by since man, bored by the restraints of God, believed the lying promise that disobedience to God would procure a more abundant life; and now, most of the race is in some degree of bondage to alcohol, narcotics, vice debt, high tax, dictators, taskmasters, military service, racketeers, extortionists, caste barriers, race prejudice, or physical disability. Even the Christian who has been industrious, temperate, frugal, and law-abiding may reflect that nine-tenths of his taxes go to pay for someone’s bad behavior in the past, or to prevent someone’s bad behavior in the future. Sin is the worst enemy of liberty. How long will it take the nations to find it out?

Civilization without God is only a veneer, and when this is written (1942), that kind of civilization threatens to destroy itself and turn the world into ash heaps and rubble. Though modern destruction of women and children is far worse than that of Indian massacres, yet we have preserved some refinements of culture: the killers do not proudly display the scalps of their victims.

Self-Imposed Bondage

Man suffers not only from the bondage imposed by others; he enslaves himself by selling eternal opportunities to buy some hilarity for the dying shell of himself. The so-called "bum" who sleeps in a box car and begs from door to door is a slave or a symbol of liberty—it depends on your definitions. Of course, only a comparatively few people go so far with their "freedom," but eventually the hilarity-centered life loses its glamour, and then the next mistake is to blame unhappiness on the neighbors, the government, the selfishness of others, or bad luck. In some cases, folk wonder why God has not done better by them.

The Parable of the Hound and the Ram

I had a friend whose favorite sport was fox bunting. Being a man of some wealth, he longed for a hound that was better than dogs of other members of his clan. To get such a dog, he paid more money for a pup than it takes to keep a family in China for a year. This pup had a pedigree that was somewhat better than that of his master. My friend assured me that if the pup knew how well-bred he was, he would not associate with his master’s family. It was a pedigree that promised perfect behavior—and that is some pedigree.

When the pup was nearly full grown, my friend took him to train with other hounds on the trail of a fox. Very soon the young dog showed remarkable fox hunting ability, but to the dismay of his owner, he chased sheep. Every hunter knows that such a dog will make serious trouble for the hunters, and every woman who can read tea leaves could see an unhappy future for such a dog, if she knew it had wool between its teeth.

My friend wished very much to save his dog from death and he hired a teacher for his dog. He bargained with a farmer to furnish a hilltop and a very large ram to be the teacher. The ram was blindfolded, and a rope was fastened, one end to the sheep harness, the other end to the dog’s collar. When the proper adjustments were made, the dog was released and the blindfold removed from the ram.

The ram ran down the hill with the dog in hot pursuit, testifying to his hilarity with yelps of joy. It was a great race, with the dog winning, until the ram went on one side of a brier patch and the dog on the other. When 200 pounds of ram, plunging downhill, dragged that dog through the briers, the yelps of joy turned to howls of terror. Thereafter the dog, quite against his will, went rolling and bouncing down the hill, over stones and through briers, till at the bottom of the hill the ram jumped the fence and the dog didn’t. They carried him home and it was two weeks before he fully recovered. He never more had a hankering for sheep, and if by chance the fox trail went through a sheep pasture, the dog made a detour.

Fortunate would it be for millions if when they harness sin for its thrills they found its thorns as speedily; but in most cases, by the time the sinner finds more thorns than thrills, he is convinced that something else is to blame.

"Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." (Eccles. 8:11).

The Third Law of the Harness

When a man uses harness, he must be in some measure yoked with the thing harnessed. Man is eager to harness other things, but he resorts to many devices to escape the restraints and discomforts of sharing the harness.

Some years ago, I invited a dairyman to come to church. He replied: "Go to church? I can’t even go to a circus. I have sixty Holstein cows in the barn. I am janitor, butler, valet, waiter, doctor, and nurse. The neighbors think I own the cows; the cows think they own me. From four in the morning till ten at night, I leave the barn only to eat and take an afternoon nap on the couch."

So it is with other human contrivances. The driver of an automobile has meters, gauges, gadgets, road signs, and road conditions to watch. He must be a part of the ensemble or be a poor insurance risk. And then there are so many things to get out of order; manmade machines are not self-repairing as God’s creatures are. I have been using my heart for many years, and it has never had anything done to it; well, nothing more than some romantic adjustments, but a score of times I have had trouble with an automobile engine. How often I have been willing to be helped by an automobile and even more willing to escape doing anything disagreeable for it.

On a recent speaking tour, the transportation committee arranged for me to ride between "settlements" with a young woman who was a rural missionary. They accepted her offer to make the drive because I was to cross her field of labor, and she knew the roads. Now it seems that the cars of rural missionaries are not nearly so good as those of liquor dealers. I do not mean to speak disrespectfully of the car, but the missionary, who knew it better than I did, suggested that we engage in prayer before we started. The farther that car went that night, the more I was convinced that it was accustomed to being prayed for. Service stations were few and far between, and I said to the missionary, "What do you do when something goes wrong with the car, and there is no service station near?"

She replied, "When there is no man in the car, a woman driver only needs to get out and stand in the road looking as despondent as possible. Some passing motorist will always help her."

"But there is a man in the car," I said, "and I am wearing my very best clothes. Even if I had the garments of a mechanic, I am not a mechanic."

She agreed that if anything went wrong, I could get over the fence and hide in the bushes until the car was fixed. I have known pastors who would have fared better if they could have hidden some parishioners in the bushes, and sometimes it would work well the other way. How many nominal Christians in trouble would get help from God and perhaps the neighbors, but for hindering companionships? I have related this incident to lead up to the next phase of discussion.

The Harnessing of Material Forces is not Enough

A thousand times I have felt that I needed the help of one of whom His disciples said, "The winds and the sea obey him." In all ages men have found that harnessing material things and forces was not enough to meet the deeper needs of humanity. Man has a sense of the supernatural, and in times of danger, suffering, sorrow, and remorse, human contrivances are woefully inadequate.

It has been urged that if there is no God, there is urgent need to invent one. I am not so sure of that. Most of the invented gods are cruel swindles. The inventors cannot be trusted to impose disagreeable restraints on themselves, though they may victimize others. When a religion worships sacred monkeys and enslaves women you may be sure that either the monkeys or the men invented it. It is characteristic of ancient religions other than that of the Bible that women were put on the level of domestic animals or below. In some cases, a girl baby was considered a misfortune or at best a chattel. It would be difficult to name an ancient religion that required continuous decency on the part of the men. It is true that some more recent custom-built creeds imitate, in theory, Christian standards.

Plan Seeks to Harness the Supernatural

If man would harness the power of God, he must not ignore the laws of the harness. He must understand what God is for and against; he must fear the displeasure of God; he must seek to work with God.

Because men are irked by restraint, bored by piety, or bent on a program of their own, they go shopping for gods. More people than suspect it, go after a bargain-counter religion or one that has been marked down. They want a religion that offers the most indulgence here, and the easiest readjustment hereafter. And so we find multitudes relying on everything from prayer wheels to totem poles; from medium to medicine man; from witch doctor to itch doctor (2 Tim. 4:3). Sin neutralizers and god fixers will not lack followers, if they offer indulgence here and some sort of pleasant surprise in the hereafter.

The Great Swindle

Millions of people have invested their time and eternity in the swindles of Baal, Dagon, Chemosh, Rimmon, Molech, Diana, or other gods that the Bible classifies as "abominations" (1 Kings 13:7). Far more people than are now living have been promised a celestial harem with angel-like wives, or have been terrorized with the fear that they might live again as bugs, or bats, or buzzards. If you think such conditions are possible only among the ignorant, it would amaze you to discover that widely divergent and bizarre religions can incubate in a university atmosphere. The Negro spiritual, "Everybody talkin’ ‘bout Heaven ain’t goin’ there," may not be grammatically correct, but the logic of its meaning is obvious.

There is only one God who fits all the facts of history, mathematics, unmistakable science, and human needs. There is only one God who has the same moral standards for both Heaven and earth, yet offers no compromise with anything that unfits humanity for either place. Nothing is clearer in the Bible than the eagerness of God to undertake for any one who will comply with the laws of the harness. "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him" (2 Chron. 16:9). Why should people who accept that statement of the eagerness of God, insult Him and disgust the angels by seeking help from charms or spooks or gestures to insure good luck?

The eagerness of God is shared by the angels. Of them the Bible says, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?" (Heb. 1:14). Not only to minister to the heirs, but to do service for them. An angel touched Peter in prison, and his chains fell off. To that angel the iron gate of the prison opened, and Peter was free. Can you imagine Peter thereafter being interested in reading tea leaves or seeing the new moon over the wrong shoulder? An angel rolled back the stone from the sepulcher of Christ and sat upon it. "His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men."

Are There Enough Angels?

If only we had enough angels! Do you entertain such a wish? The Bible speaks of one group of angels as "ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands" (Rev. 5:11). When I reflect that one angel will some day wrap a chain about the Devil and cast him into the pit, and when I read the words of the Lord Jesus, "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?"—twelve legions and more, twelve legions more than were needed and more,

I conclude that humanity has not used a hundredth part of the available power of God, and yet men turn to everything from wishbones to wizards—anything that will save them from trouble and let them keep their favorite sins.

Before I turn to trouble doctors, that have failed these 6000 years, let me first be convinced that God and the angels are overworked and I am far down on the waiting list.

Power Unknown to Many

Some years ago the writer camped near a great hydroelectric powerhouse in Canada. The high tension wires stretching across the country from that powerhouse carried electric current that lighted cities and turned the wheels of industry a hundred miles away. Canada is pre-eminently the land of swallows, and I have seen thousands of them resting on those wires quite unaware that between their toes was passing force-enough to destroy the nations of the world, if they were lined up for electrocution. To those swallows the wires, were only wires; as for hidden power the swallows were, shall we say, agnostics. I am told that sometimes a larger bird with a long neck rests on the wire. It is also an unbeliever, until it stretches its neck and touches another wire, and then it somewhat resembles a puff of smoke. By the time the evidence is all in, the bird is all out.

To our finite minds it seems that most of the power of the material universe is unused. Not a billionth part of the rays of the sun is absorbed by the earth. If all the sunlight were focused on a million worlds, it would burn the surface of all to a crisp.

Back of the material forces is the spiritual world. God is a Spirit and by His word were the heavens called into existence. Instead of there being a shortage of power, "it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed" (Lam. 3:22).

SHADDUCK TOC  Part 2