1 Chronicles 4:22
And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubilehem. And these are ancient things.
The ancient is no use except it be also modern. This is the true test of antiquity. Things are not valuable simply because they are ancient; they may be ancient and dead. We have nothing to do with that kind of antiquity — it is the antiquity of mythology, not of history.
1. All the greatest things are ancient. All you can do is to modernise their form. The telegraph is older than the garden of Eden — not under that name: nothing new has been invented, except combination, adaptation; all the elements and factors are as old as God.
2. Where usefulness is proved antiquity becomes an argument and an illustration. This is the true root and the true use of history. Where usefulness has not been proved, to refer to antiquity is to invoke the sophistical assistance of superstition. We must insist on living usefulness. We must not prop up tottering walls because the copestones are covered with grey moss. This doctrine of the usefulness of antiquity must be applied ruthlessly:(1) To churches.
(2) To men. Many men would like to live upon their reputation. It is poor living. You cannot live upon your old prayers; it is the prayer of this morning that fed your soul. Not the feast you had in childhood, but the bread you brake this very dawn is sustaining your frame.
(3) To the Bible. Would you burn the Bible? Yes, if it has been superseded, if it has proved itself to be useless, if it can no longer direct men to God, if it has ceased to be the messenger of salvation; but if it contain the living God, it it reveal the living Saviour and breathe the eternal Holy Ghost, then it is not ancient in any sense of obsoleteness, it is ancient in the sense of eternity.
3. Antiquity without Christianity dies. Any civilisation that has not in it the living spirit, the living God, dies. What is the proof? History is the elucidation and history is the evidence. Civilisation will be of no use to you when you lose the risen Christ. Non-spiritual civilisation is useless. Look at China — aa infinite death — the hermit of the globe — a living extinction. China was printing from type five hundred years before Caxton was born; she had the mariner's compass before England was a nation. There was a time when our forefathers were clothed in sheepskins, when they dyed and painted their whole bodies; and at that time the Chinese were blasting their rocks with gunpowder. Before Daniel saw his visions China had a constitutional government. Then what makes China, this great cipher of the globe, a burden to civilisation? Because its civilisation is only ancient; she has not the Cross. Without that all things tend to decay. Greek — Roman — European civilisation have all gone down in the proportion in which they were not vitally connected with the Cross.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubilehem. And these are ancient things.