By Dr. Robert Love
We understand that people who lived in other centuries did not have certain things that we take for granted today. However, if we consider the life and times in earlier centuries we find that there were some very special events and some very creative people. Great things were accomplished without the aid of modern technology.
Let’s take a look at the 100 year period from 1750 to 1850. Jonathan Edwards was preaching in New England. Mozart, Bach and Beethoven were composing some of the most beautiful music ever written. The arts and sciences were flourishing. The Americans won the Revolutionary War. Thomas Jefferson and others were establishing the United States as a new nation. Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of nation we would have. It is reported that he answered “A Republic, sir, if you can keep it.” George III would rule until his death in 1820 and England would become a constitutional monarchy. The world was changing.
If we look carefully we can see the hand of God in the pivotal events that occurred during this amazing century. Let’s consider three events that are significant examples of the gifts of God though His people:
Our first president, George Washington, was inaugurated in Federal Hall in New York City on April 30, 1789. The new president, and the Senate, and the House of Representatives then walked to St. Paul’s chapel to consecrate the nation’s future into the hands of God. The first collective act of the newly formed American government was to gather for prayer. St. Paul’s chapel exists today, near the 9/11 ground zero and was the only building spared in the general destruction of everything within the area.
The oratorio, “Messiah” was composed in 1741 by George Frederick Handel. The scriptural text was compiled from the King James Bible by Charles Jennens. This oratorio would become one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in all of Western music. Since the time of King George II it had become customary to stand during the Hallelujah chorus. About 100 years later, the aged Queen Victoria, who sat in her wheelchair as the chorus began, struggled to her feet as the choir sang, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” She said, “In no way will I sit in the presence of the King of Kings.”
Robert Hawker was one of the most prominent preachers of his day and thousands came to hear him. For 43 years, from 1784 to 1827, Hawker served as the vicar of the Charles church in Plymouth, England. During this time the Rev. Hawker wrote “The Poor Man’s Commentary” which explained in understandable language the plain meaning of the books of the Bible. The language seems archaic today but the message is abundantly clear: We are in as much danger today as were the children of Israel on the eve of the captivity. We cannot save ourselves and left to ourselves we would never do so. We are indebted more than we can possibly realize to Jesus and His great work on our behalf.
Other examples could certainly be chosen to illustrate the thinking of these bygone days. To be sure, we have many modern advantages today. Our advances in medicine, communication, and transportation would be amazing to the people of the 18th and 19th centuries. But there were those among them who used their talent and creativity to exalt the person and the work of Jesus.
Jesus observed that the men of Nineveh – with all their sins — would rise in judgment against His generation, and condemn it. This was the generation that heard the words of Jesus and saw the works that Jesus did, and did not consider or lay it to heart. And at the end of the day, they crucified him.
It is certainly true that there is no greater name. There is no other name. Let us do all we can to discern the signs of the times, and live our lives in such a way that past centuries will not stand in judgment against us. Let us use, as did our ancestors, every opportunity we have to send the message of our Lord and Savior to the world. And if computers, the Internet, e-mail, and iPads are indeed advantages, let us use them too. I have the feeling that George Washington, G. F. Handel, and Robert Hawker would agree.
Dr. Robert Love serves as the Professor of Education for Global University. To learn more about Global University, please visit www.globaluniversity.edu.