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|From Egyptian Rubbish Heaps: Five Popular Lectures on the New Testament, with a Sermon, delivered at Northfield, Massachusetts, in August, 1914
by James Hope Moulton
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On July 31, 1914, the ill-fated Lusitania landed at New York after what proved her last peace voyage. A week later two of her passengers proceeded to the Conference at Northfield, where some two thousand Christian people were gathered in sight of the grave of D. L. Moody. It was very hard for us all, doubly hard for Britons, to detach our thoughts even partially from the horrors that were already beginning—horrors which will long make it impossible to name even the best of Germans without a sharp stab of pain. But we were studying the only Book that can ever bring peace and comfort to men in their direst need, and there is no fear that those who know will think we were ‘fiddling while Rome burned.’
There is, however, a very obvious apology due for the publication of this little book. Every scholar will see at once its scrappiness and imperfection, leaving out so much that seems to call for mention, and recording many personal speculations and theories which my better-qualified fellow-craftsmen will perhaps want to cancel. I can only insist on the implications of the word Popular in the sub-title. Popular lectures to audiences deeply interested in the subject, but including few experts, should aim at stimulating further study by freshness of treatment, and presentation of matter which will capture attention, even if not claiming a place in any systematic handbook. I confess there are a good many things in this little book which ought to have seen the light first in technical journals, well provided with proofs and references. I can only plead that I am overloaded just now with the production of technical matter, and must offer these hints to the wider public if they are to appear at all. Both the scholar and the general reader are at least warned. I am correcting the press thousands of miles away from my library, and other shortcomings may well be due to this disadvantage. The lectures were originally taken down by a stenographer for the Northfield Record of Christian Work, and freely corrected by myself to make them read better. I had no time to do more, but the time I had to spend suggested the possibility that without further polishing they might interest a larger circle. Hence the kind permission to reprint was sought and readily given.