The Good Old Days
Apparently men have talked about the good old days for a long time, for Solomon had this to say: "Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? For thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this" (Eccl. 7:10).
So in Solomon's time it was not wise to say that the old days were the good days. What about now?
I am going to suggest that what was true in Solomon's time is true in our time. That some things were better in the old days we shall have to admit but the general picture is not better. I remember the day that war was declared in 1914 with the terrible war that continued for more than four years. We could hardly call that the good old days. I remember the grinding years of the depression when my wife made our own mattresses. She made shoes for her boys. With seven children we lived in a house that was so cold that my wife stayed up nearly all night to keep the fires burning. Even then it froze in the house. I was in Ontario in a meeting and all five boys had small pox. The depression began to lift when World War II began. We could hardly call those the good old days.
You say that people were more moral then than now. Ever since I was born there has been murder, suicide, rape and self-abuse among people. These things may have increased and the attitude of the general public towards them has grown worse, but I worked among the men of the world for several years, and any one that would talk about the good old days does not know or has a poor memory. Men beat their wives when they were drunk. Children were starved by drinking fathers in what was called the good old days. I remember my father served on a jury when a man and his two sons were tried for abusing 12 and 14 year-old girls that had been adopted. Our attitude toward foreigners was certainly not as good as it is today.
You say spiritually things were better. Were they? That some things were better we would have to admit but what about the general picture? There were some who argued that a nigger did not have a soul. There were some who argued that we did not need to preach to the heathen. Some white churches would not even let their baptistry be used to baptize black people. That was in the good old days. Black people could not attend school with white people and we could go on and on. Many believed in the superiority of the white race. In the light of our actions in those days of yesteryear we can hardly say those were the good old days.
A brother recently died in India. He was a little younger than I am. Yet, he was the first person to go to school in his village. He went on to be a school teacher, and was the first person to embrace Christianity in that village. There are now some 80 churches of Christ in the area. What a change from the good old days.
There have been efforts before the present one, to evangelize India but in the good old days two of the preachers left the truth and joined a denomination. In the good old days we were told that we did not need to send missionaries to India. We could leave it to the native preachers when there was work only among one tribe and that represented less than one tenth of one per cent of the population of India. In the good old days, we did not have any work in Nigeria and now there are tens of thousands of members of the church. I am told there are churches that have as many as 1000 members.
In the good old days there was work only in a few of the countries of Central and South America. Back in the good old days there were works in Brazil but they joined a denomination. In the various countries of the world there are thousands of native preachers who were not there in the good old days.
The Spanish Literature Ministry puts out more material to Latin America than was put out in all the world except the U.S.A. in the good old days.
It is true that it may be harder to win souls for Christ in Canada or the United States than it was 50 years ago, but in a great part of the world it is much easier.
More people will obey the gospel now than ever in the history of the world. These are the good days. Jesus could have said of now, "Lift up your eyes unto fields that are white unto harvest." It was not yesterday, it is not tomorrow, it is now. These are the good days. How good? Our faith will answer that question.
J. C. Bailey, 1986, Bengough, Saskatchewan
Published in The Old Paths Archive