Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 15, 1966

The Exactly Right Word

Pryde E. Hinton

Somewhere, at some time in the past, I read, or heard, that Mark Twain once said, "The difference between the right word and the nearly right word is the same as the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug;" or something like that. I notice that an article in a slick paper magazine wanted to exalt Chief Justice Earl Warren and belittle those who criticize; so the author said something like this: The Chief Justice seems to antagonize all the bigots and extremists and radicals in the Land, This doesn't say that all who oppose Mr. Warren are bigots, radicals, etc. , but it adroitly infers it or suggests it . This is much more effective than emphatically affirming it. Nobody can say that you have named anybody, or actually called anybody names; and he who is chagrined by the nasty inferences, virtually admits that he is one of the bigots. Yes, indeed, the Devil has been at it a long time. He's adept. Then we can always say: "It's the hit dog who 'hollers'!"

But we often have the bad taste, or something, to use the wrong words. I was in a "Gospel Meeting" in eastern Alabama a few years ago. The preacher there would scold the few faithful ones who came every day (day-time preaching) because we have a "duty" or a "fearful responsibility" or something like that, to attend these daytime meetings. I said to him one day: Would it not be better, and more encouraging, if we would say, "We have a glorious opportunity, a precious privilege, to come together, to sing together God's praises, study together His Word, and in unison, as we pray, call Him Our Father? Have you ever noticed that when God commands some difficult thing, like Titus 2:11,12, He nearly always accompanies such with a beautiful prospect, like "looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"? The way to Hell may be partly paved with good intentions; but the most effective paving are defeat and discouragement — how we glide DOWN over these!

-Dora, Alabama