As I consider the faithful men and women of old, particularly from the 1500’s to the early-to-mid 1800’s (given their highly edifying written work), I cannot help but wonder what it would be like for them if we could transport them, for a fortnight, to present-day America and Great Britain. What would the overall effect on them be mentally, emotionally, and more importantly…. spiritually?
Though they would no doubt be amazed by our great discoveries, our great advancements (scientific, technological, medical, geographic, etc.), I wonder what they would think of our society at large. I wonder if they would trade their lives in the harsher (significantly less scientifically advanced) conditions that they faced, for ours, knowing the degree of distraction, violence, debauchery, etc. we endure today.
I can only imagine what they would think of the progressive (post-modernist / socialist) takeover of their once great colleges and universities. I wonder what they would think concerning all the vileness that we teach in our schools, and that can be imported directly into our homes by way of radio, television, film, and Internet.
Would modern hygiene, sanitation, medicine, transport, energy distribution, appliances and other household goods, etc. (and all of the spectacular benefits that accompany them), be worth the great degradation and degeneration of our collective morals, ethics, and far more importantly, our biblical worldview? Would the allure of our modern-day equivalent of Egypt (in Hebrew 11:24) or Babylon (Revelation 18:2), prove too enticing? Or, like Moses, would they choose ‘rather to suffer affliction [including now-preventable hardships, obstacles, and losses] with the people of God [in their day], than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season [or, if not the pleasures of sin outright, the pleasures of all of our modern-day enjoyments, as immersed in a more manifestly sinful/depraved age]?’
I often consider that one of the main reasons God’s people of old were so much better at exhorting, encouraging, admonishing, and reproving, compared to most in our day, was their comparative lack of carnal distractions and temptations. They did not have the entertainment and amusement to the degree that we do, and they especially did not have it, right in their own homes. They would often have to go into town, or even further away, into the ‘large cities,’ to be daily exposed to much of the worst man has to offer.
So again, would they (like godly Lot in his day) prefer the advantages that our modern cities (modern life) have to offer (even though “…that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds…), or would they prefer the comparatively quieter, less “sophisticated,” life (metaphorically-speaking) of his uncle Abraham.
Finally, I guess the more important question for me is, would I (if transported back into their time) prefer to stay with them in their state, lacking the aforementioned benefits of modern life, but being enriched in the soul by the level of teaching such provided… Or would I prefer to listen to them via YouTube, enjoying these modern comforts far too much to forsake them? I would hope that I would go back with them (all other things aside), i.e., to the place that was most edifying to the spirit, despite there being the greater discomfort to the flesh… However, we have no time machine’s, this is all a ‘thought experiment,’ a musing of the mind — we will never know, I will never know.
It seems more than reasonable, that the key now is to have the best of both worlds: (1) their great preaching and teaching; (2) our modern benefits, comforts, and advantages; but (3) striving to abstain from all that they would rightfully find revolting (if transported here), seeing that God Himself sees these things as such, even according to His own word (Ephesians 5:8-16).
May all of God’s people come to a more abundant understanding and application of such passages as:
Proverbs 4:20-27 “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22 For they [are] life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life. 24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.“
1 John 2:15-17 “Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that [is] in the world, thelust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
Psalm 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; [it] shall not cleave to me.”
Psalm 119:36-37 “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. 37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; [and] quicken thou me in thy way.”
To God be the glory, forever and ever.