Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 1, 1959

Ignoring Experience

Vaughn D. Shofner, Tucumcari, New Mexico

Experience has been called the mother of science, but like most mothers she has many unruly and disobedient children. More lessons are learned in the school of this thorough matron than are practiced. They are of the most salutary kind, and usually so expensive that it is strange they should be ignored. But our grosser passions take us by storm, self conceit blinds us, self confidence betrays us, our fancy, taste and appetite lead us, we heed not the warning voice of experience, and are hurried on by folly and vice, fully apprised of consequences.

The ambitious man is enraptured with the history of the great men of the past, and burns with the desire to tread in their footsteps. It is vain that experience's voice informs him that Alexander the Great became disgusted with power and killed himself with alcohol, that Julius Caesar was stabbed while in the Roman Senate, and that Bonaparte died a prisoner on a desolate rock in the ocean. His thirst for power cannot be quenched by the shouts from experience, and he tempts fate.

The drunkard commences his career in full view of the wrecks of other drunkards strewed thick about him. He has seen the desolations that alcohol produces, has followed the inebriate to his grave, to the electric chair; yet he turns a deaf ear to the warning voice of experience and plunges headlong into the dark abyss of destruction.

The victims of lotteries, cards, dice and all the demon arts of the underworld, are reduced to the keenest penury among us, and still thousands of others, like the infatuated devotees of mythical Juggernaut, throw themselves before the wheels of this car of hell and are crushed to poverty.

The whirlpool of wild and precarious speculation has often been gorged with ruined adventurers, still others follow in their wakes, regardless of the lessons of experience posted in every generation in glaring capitals. A thirst for gain inspires a blind confidence, a desperate leap at fortune is made, and then caught in the maelstrom they sink to rise no more. The fatal consequences of crime and error, gleaming beacons along the shores of time to warn against peril, are unheeded by millions. The calendar of crime, the penalties of the criminal code, the various punishments that are so certain and frequent, are sufficiently familiar to all to be avoided; yet this voice of experience is unheeded by thousands and their career of crime and folly is arrested only by death.

Through all the multiform concerns of life the human family is constantly taking lessons in the school of experience, but obstinately refusing to profit by them. Self conceit, blind confidence, carnal desires, pampered appetites, tyrannical habit, all combine to bind the captive with chains whose ponderous links are unbreakable.

Gentle reader, it is indeed a sad commentary on the people of God, but following in the wake of digression's destruction and even before all the old soldiers who withstood the onslaught have left the scenes of this earth, another digression is making havoc of the Lord's church. The vicious cycle is being completed as an exact reproduction of the last one, only the names of the innovations have changed.

The Missionary Society, as such, is not arrayed in battle against the church today, but under different names, and with the same disregard for Bible authority, the extra-organizations are entering, pilfering and plundering the church of the living God. Cooperation!' they cry, just simple "universal" cooperation, required to fulfill the great commission! There are those who see through the screen, and realize that the wrecker of old has returned to bring to ruin the simplicity of the church. And it seems that all who are only partially acquainted with the history of the last digression could see that these organizations which fight for existence with exactly the same arguments the advocates of the Missionary Society used, must indeed be exactly parallel in principle!

The efforts of experience to keep the church within the bounds of the ancient landmarks fall in utter defeat. Inspired writers recorded God's dealing with man in the past, that by a look in that direction we might be warned of danger and escape the pitfalls of perdition. Paul says, "These things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted." (I Cor. 10:6.)

The melodeon and organ have not been wheeled into the worship of the church yet; but advocates of benevolent institutions used by the churches to do the work of the churches in benevolence, use as proof for their existence exactly the same arguments the digressives used to prove the right to use instrumental music in the worship! In the past they shouted with a voice of thunder "the silence" of the Bible. In need of the same help, desperately fighting for the existence of the institutions, and with absolutely no scripture to quote for them, the "silence of the Bible" again takes a trumpet-tongue and is heard over all the brotherhood. Defying the voice of experience, and disregarding Bible authority, they thus follow the corrupt circle which occasionally destroys the peace of the Lord's church.

Gentle reader, the evils uncorrected by experience, and their consequences that have now passed in rehearsal, you must admit, involve in one common ruin, wealth, health, reputation, all the sources of human happiness, and turn thousands into the fiery depths of hell. We therefore beg that you listen to the voices of experience, "lust not after evil things, as they also lusted", turn from the wisdom of man and be governed by the all-sufficient will of the Lord, and enjoy heaven at last.