A Letter About Letters

As you can guess, I am going to write about the a-b-c’s. Our alphabet which consists of twenty-six letters which can be combined into thousands of ways, words and, of course, sentences. You probably learned your a-b-c’s from your Mom and Dad; or if you are a younger child in a family, from your older brother or sister. At first you wrote them in block letters like, ABC. And soon you began writing them like, a b c. And can you imagine that you used to spell out each word and say, c,a,t = cat; d,o,g = dog; b,o,y = boy. But soon you learned to see the whole word at a glance. Now when you see the word, cattle, you are not confused by the first three letters, you know it has nothing to do with a cat, but with cows. When you see the word, dogwood, you know it has nothing to do with dogs, but with the trees which have such pretty blossoms in the Spring.

Then we got older, and got better and better at reading; and when there was so much to read in preparing our school lessons, we learned to scan whole sentences at a glance. I suppose that in your work for school you spend much time in writing. Older people (like you know who) spend very little time in writing and very much time in reading.

I don’t know how much you appreci­ate the invention of writing and of the printing press. But you might think about that and wonder what we would ever do without writing. We do not know when the first writing was done, but it was a very long time ago; even long before your

Gramps’ grandpa. Nor do we know what those first letters looked like. Have you ever seen Hebrew in print? Or the Egyptian? Or the Greek? You probably have seen on the newscasts some of the squiggles of the language of the Moslems or the Mohammadens. The Chinese language is very difficult to master. They draw their letters with a fine brush dipped in ink. They must be very carefully drawn in the school room.

Looking at those awful squiggles which are somebody’s alphabet reminds me of a book I read when I was your age. In that story, a few people would communicate with a code of letters they invented. With that code they could write to their buddies and no one else could read it. It was a sort of picture-alphabet in which the letters were pictured with stick-figures something like human be­ings. The A was. ^ , the G was, , the M was, ^ , the P was, ^ , the R was, . So, if you look carefully at these figures, noting the different positions of the arms and legs you will be able to read this sentence: “I gave to you HTX and your % a X *rf to find the X ^ in the fence where the XXX broke out.” Check each figure carefully and you will find that the message was, ‘‘I gave to your Pa and your Ma a map to find the gap in the fence where the ram broke out”. So you see that any coded alphabet may be made to write to your pals that understand the code. In my childhood, we had no radios or television sets to entertain us so we had lots of time to figure out codes and other puzzles. We thought it great fun!

Have you ever wondered how dull life would be without reading and writing? We would not be able to communicate with anyone outside our family and immediate friends. We would not know about the mighty oceans, the majestic mountains, the huge deserts – and we probably would still believe that the moon was made of green cheese. We would not know about penguins, polar bears, elephants, giraffes and other animals outside our vicinity. Your Mom would not be able to write to your aunt to come for a visit. You would not have a single book to read. No magazines, no newspapers, no advertise­ments to buy clothes, cars, or carpets. Remember the bedtime stories your parents read to you: Remember that silly little rhyme-riddle about Humpty Dumpty, and the question, Who is Humpty Dumpty? Do you remember Mrs. Vos’ Bible Story Book from which your Mom read as you cuddled up to her on the davenport just before she tucked you in bed? Those interesting stories about Adam and Eve in their beautiful Paradise; the bad lie the Serpent told Eve, and their subsequent Fall into sin. The exciting stories of David and Goliath and the thrilling story of Samson! The fascinating continued story of Joseph and his brothers; how they sold him to be a slave in Egypt, and his life in prison, his rise to be the man next to the king; the history of his brothers’ visits and the reunion with his aged father. Talk about a rags-to-riches story!

I bet you have already guessed why the invention of writing was given by God in time. I can point to one of the prime reasons. Remember how Moses was hidden in the reeds by the riverside to be hidden from the death ruling of the king; how the king’s daughter found him and adopted him. The reason in God’s Providence for that find was that Moses might be instructed in the schools of in order that he might write the first five Books of the Bible. Moses, the servant of God must write, “In the beginning God’’ and all that follows in those five Books. Without that record we would not know of the Garden of Eden, our Fall, the Mother Promise that Christ would come to save us from the death of sin. And the New Testament writers told us about the star above the fields of Bethlehem to guide the shepherds to the stable to find the baby Jesus. They also told us about His life, His burial, His resurrection. Without that written record we would not know of His glorious resurrection to ascend into the Heaven of glory, and the promise of the Angel that He would someday come back to take us up into heaven with Him. Dull, did I say? Not dull, but dead! It is by the gift of writing to the Holy writers of the Bible that we learn of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by which we must be saved to Life Everlasting! I find that the Bible has but two stories that are so very important. The First is the creation of the world. The second is that of the destruction of that world by the Flood. The third must still be written. But I think instead of reading that one: that of the New Heavens and the New Earth we will not read, but we will experience it!

Now that it is a fact we can read and write, it is very important that we read the right material. We must choose and reject the abundance of print that comes to us. We can read good books, news maga­zines, Readers Digest (but we must even be careful of that one), and other materials from which we learn about the world round about us. If for no other reason than to learn how rapidly the world is developing in sin. One can compare it to Noah’s time when it was ripe for destruction. Then God could not stand it any longer but prepared a great Flood to destroy the earth and all life thereon. In our newspapers, we can see that this, our world is getting ripe for judgment-this time not by water, but by fire.

We are surrounded by printed mater­ial and TV entertainment that is so vile that if we should find enjoyment in that we would grieve the Holy Spirit of God. So we must pick and choose. But we are too young to do that faithfully, so we must ask our parents and teachers to help us find the good and reject the evil. We are told that if you read some of the vile stuff the world puts out one cannot rid one’s mind of it, it sticks there! So don’t take the risk.  Read only what is edifying, that which is to the glory of God and for your eternal welfare. So, read, read, and read some more. There is always room in your head for more. It never gets too full. Read for pleasure, read for education, read for your welfare. And lastly, read your Bible every day. That is a must!