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A Criticism of Dr. James Mudge's "Growth in Holiness Toward Perfection"

The Great Fallacy of the Book.

THE fallacy that underlies this entire book is the invention of new definitions to suit a predetermined conclusion. These definitions, of which the author specially boasts, thrust into English terms having other meanings, are really a source of deception to the reader, who very naturally, as he advances in the argument, forgets the novelty and retains the established definition. "The arbitrary selection of meanings for Bible words," says Joseph Agar Beet, "has been hitherto the disgrace of systematic theology. It is one chief cause of the present comparative neglect of this all-important study, by making it appear to be nothing else but a series of unproved assertions." This jugglery with words is permissible in a professed humorist — in fact, "juggle" and "joke" are derived from the same Latin word — but in a grave theological treatise it is reprehensible; and where there is an intention to mislead immortal souls — which cannot be predicated of this author — which are to be sanctified through the truth, it is in the highest degree reprehensible. It is a covert and adroit method of "handling the word of God deceitfully," though sometimes there is no such intention, as in the present case. We believe the author himself is deceived by his own definitions. We advise all readers to beware of the writer on moral and religious themes who takes leave of his dictionary and draws on his imagination for his definitions. You can easily prove that the moon is made of green cheese if you can smuggle milk and rennet enough into your astronomical definitions.