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Bible Dictionaries
God: Vague Conceptions of

Spurgeon's Illustration Collection

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'One day, in conversation with the Jungo-kritu, head pundit of the College of Fort William, on the subject of God this man, who is truly learned in his own shastrus, gave me from one of their books, this parable;: 'In a certain country there existed a village of blind men. These men had heard that there was an amazing animal called the elephant, but they knew not how to form an idea of his shape. One day an elephant happened to pass through the place: the villagers crowded to the spot where this animal was standing. One of them got hold of his trunk, another seized his ear, another his tail, another one of his legs, etc. After thus trying to gratify their curiosity they returned into the village, and sitting down together they began to give their ideas on what the elephant was like: the man who had seized his trunk said he thought the elephant was like the body of the plantain tree; the man who had felt his ear said he thought he was like the fan with which the Hindoos clean the rice; the man who had felt his tail said he thought he must be like a snake, and the man who had seized his leg, thought he must be like a pillar. An old blind man of some judgment was present, who was greatly perplexed how to reconcile these jarring notions, respecting the form of the elephant; but he at length said, 'You have all been to examine this animal, it is true, and what you report cannot be false: I suppose, therefore, that that which was like the plaintain tree must be his trunk; that which was like a fan must be his ear; that which was like a snake must be his tail, and that which was like a pillar must be his body.' In this way, the old man united all their notions, and made out something of the form of the elephant. Respecting God,' added the pundit, 'we are all blind; none of us has seen him; those who wrote the astrus, like the old blind man, have collected all the reasonings and conjectures of mankind together, and have devoured to form some idea of the nature of the Divine being.'


The pundit's parable may be appropriately applied to the essence of theology. Some Christians see one truth and some another, and each one is quite sure that he has beheld the whole. Where is the master-mind who shall gather up the pith out of each creed, and see the theology of the Bible in completeness?: a sublimer sight than the believers in the world have yet been able to imagine.


Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charles. Entry for 'God: Vague Conceptions of'. Spurgeon's Illustration Collection. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​fff/​g/god-vague-conceptions-of.html. 1870.
 
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