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A Good Start - Exaggeration

FB Meyer

BENEATH all exaggeration there is a basis of truth. When an American said that the whey which flowed from the making of a large cheese in his country was sufficient to run three sawmills; and when another affirmed that the soil of his farm was so prolific that the tendrils of the vine which he had just sown caught him up and entwined around his legs before he could get over the fence, there was no doubt some truth at the basis of their statements, though only as a drop of homeopathic medicine in a tumblerful of water. And it is this small residuum of truth that veils to the eyes of really good people the evil of this habit. There is no doubt that, in the last analysis, exaggeration must be classed under the head of lying and falsehood. Those that exaggerate are excommunicate from the Temple of Truth.

I heard Mr. Moody say the other day that a lady had come to him, asking how she might be delivered from the habit of exaggeration, to which she was very prone. "Call it lying, madam," was the uncompromising answer, " and deal with it as you would with any other temptation of the devil." A Greater has said, "Let your speech be Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one."

We exaggerate in our narrations. When a little lad, I had been listening with amazement to the description, given by a lady, of some recent experiences, when my grandfather whispered to me slyly, "All her geese are swans." The words have often come back to me. When mothers describe the excellences of their children, their wit, precocity, and beauty; when travellers narrate their hairbreadth escapes, their marvellous experiences by land or water, all of which end so neatly as to resemble the often polished deal; when ministers give themselves up to tell the story of the crowds they address, the magnitude of their church operations, or the deftness with which they have managed to get their own way,- one is inclined to think that, under the idealizing effect of a strong imagination, geese have become swans.

It seems almost impossible for some people to tell an unvarnished tale. The actual is not wonderful enough. They must gild the common sunlight, and paint the familiar petals of the flowers. They think that effect can be produced only by daubing their canvas with great masses of gaudy color. They forget that the quiet shining of the stars is môre healthy and beneficent than the grandest display of fireworks that ever poured in cascades, flashed in wheels, or filled the sky with ten thousand vanishing fairy lights. For my part, I prefer the earlier paintings of Turner to the later, and the stories of George Eliot to those of Disraeli or Bulwer-Lytton; and I think that most ordinary people would concur in the judgment.

We exaggerate in our choice of words.

It is too terrible to hear the young ladies of the period discussing a panorama of Alps, a sunset at sea, a vision like that of Fountains or Clairvaulx under the soft light of the moon. "Awful," "killing," "awfully jolly," "too, too, don't-yer-know," are quite the most refined and moderate that I need cite here; one has no desire to put more of this base coin into circulation. This pernicious habit arises in part from ignorance of the derivation, meaning, and value of words, but particularly from the desire to be conspicuous among the little group around them. Many people mistake bigness for greatness, bulk for value. They resemble the Chinamen in New York, who buy the largest boots procurable for their money, under the impression that in this way they can best obtain their money's worth. It is a cheap and easy manoeuvre to hide the paucity of your ideas beneath the vehemence and loudness of your speech. This accounts for a good deal of loudness in voice and extravagance in phrase.

We also exaggerate in our religious phraseology. In certain prayers we are wont to hear, there is gross exaggeration in the confessions of sin. If all that some men say of themselves in prayer be true, they certainly deserve to be put out of the church, or be interviewed by their ministers. But if you were to take them at their word, and refuse to allow your families to associate with theirs, or withdraw your custom from their stores, on the ground of their confessions of depravity, they would be very much surprised. Many a man would threaten to knock you down if you applied to him the epithets hê applies to himself.

So with expressions of love and devotion to the Saviour. We often hear him addressed in prayer in the most familiar and luscious terms. The tenderest, loveliest names are addressed to him. Of course, where these are flowers gathered from the garden of a holy soul, they are fragrant and delightful, awakening the dull sense, and quickening the flagging zeal of all who hear; but where they are far in advance of the evident personal experience, and are contradicted by the behavior of the utterer, as he forces his way into the tram-car from the drenching shower in which the meeting closes,-you feel that there is an air of unreality and extravagance in the whole thing, which must have a terrible effect on him, while it reacts on others like the heavy air that has fanned acres of poppies.

Exaggeration infects all our life. The bride exaggerates the number and value of her presents. The tradesman's advertisements announce that he has 10,000 bedsteads on view, when he has only 1,000 at the most; that he can offer 1,000 cheeses to choose from, when, with great difficulty, he can get too into his cellar; that he is selling off at an alarming sacrifice, when all in the trade know that he is making large profits. The minister says there are hundreds in his congregation, when, if heads were reckoned, it would be found that there were only four or five score, of whom several were children. Most of us are adepts at drawing the longbow. We are not content with the reflection cast by events on the plain glass of truth, but distort them by the convex or the concave, like the two mirrors which are sometimes placed outside eating-houses to show the effect of a good meal on the face.

This habit may be traced to childhood. The simplicity and naturalness of babe-life is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. We force the growth of heaven's nurselings, encourage them in smartness and old-fashionedness, tell them extravagant fairy stories, rear them in artificial gaslight, and then complain that they have lost the sweet ingenuousness of youth, and grown into young men and women of the period before they have barely reached their teens. It is as if nature should rush into summer without a spring, or the day spring into the glare of noon without morning. We must begin building the Palace of Truth in the earliest impressions of the nursery.

We should accustom ourselves to think and speak accurately. Nothing so tests the quality of our minds as our use and choice of adjectives. When people know all your adjectives they have come to the end of your treasures. It is partly due to our slovenliness in observing and describing that we exaggerate in our speech; and the evil would be remedied if young people would read the best poetry with careful discrimination, asking why Browning or Tennyson uses such a word in such a connection. It is specially valuable, with this object, to translate some foreign author-- Homer, Virgil, Dante, Racine, or Schiller finding an English equivalent for each word, though it consume an hour of thought and research.

Let us, also, in describing anything in which we have taken a part, remember that God is listening, and be on the watch against the natural tendency of our tongue to take its coloring matter from the gorgeous palette of the imagination rather than from the neutral tints of sober fact. Let us ask the Spirit of Truth to set a watch upon the door of our lips, allowing nothing to pass out on which he cannot set his seal. Whatever we do, in word as well as deed, let us do all in the name and for the glory of Jesus. Why should wê seek to attract the attention of men to ourselves, when to do so may detract from the glory of his workmanship in our character? And if, in the heat of conversation, we are betrayed into exaggeration, and are reminded of it afterwards by the Holy Spirit, let us at once make application for cleansing in the precious blood, and confess to others the wrong we have done to the sacred majesty of Truth.


Great Evangelical tool to help you communicate the Gospel.

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The EvangeCube by E3 Resources is a seven-picture cube that simply and clearly unfolds the gospel of Jesus Christ. The eCube Classic (7cm) is made for everyone! Parents, Kids, Pastors, Youth Leaders, Sunday School Teachers, Missionaries, Lay Leaders and more can share this creative, easy-to-use puzzle to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to life.

Assurance of Salvation

Are you saved?



KNOWING THAT YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN and that Jesus lives in your heart.
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Is jy weergebore?



Om te WEET DAT JOU SONDE VERGEWE IS en dat Jesus nou in jou hart woon.
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What Why How..?


What the Bible teaches us about being born again.
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Wat Hoekom Hoe..?



Wat die Bybel ons leer van wedergeboorte.
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Evangelism Explosion South Africa

Evangelism Explosion South Africa

EE SA is your partner in training believers to reach the world with the Gospel.

EE is recognized as a world leader in the training and equipping of believers to JOYFULLY SERVE and WITNESS TO OTHERS in the world today!

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Reach out to your community
Many people today say, "Why should I win souls?" "Isn't the preacher supposed to do that?" Yes! He is but so is every Christian.
Order Gospel Tracts

Experiencing God's Grace

This tract is available in PDF format.

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Gospel Messages with Infographics

Here are three illustrations to easily share the gospel with anyone. Use the images as a visual reference as you present these short messages to groups or individuals.
The Invitation
The Invitation

Matthew 11:28

Jesus said: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

This invitation is extended to all mankind, the invitation is to ‘come to Jesus’.

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The Wall
The Wall

Romans 3:23

In this verse, we see that all people have sinned, and that sin separates us from God. Here we will look at the wrong and the right way of destroying this wall of sin.

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The Sheepfold
The Sheepfold

John 10

In John 10:1-16 Jesus uses the comparison of a shepherd and sheep, He is the Shepherd and we are the sheep.

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Evangelie Boodskappe met Illustrasies

Hier is drie illustrasies om maklik die evangelie met enigeiemand te deel. Gebruik die prente as verwysing saam met die boodskappe om vir groepe of enkel persone aan te bied.
Die Uitnodiging
Die Uitnodiging

Mattheus 11:28

Jesus het gesê: “Kom na My toe, almal wat vermoeid en belas is, en Ek sal julle rus gee.” Hierdie uitnodiging word gemaak vir die ganse mensdom, die uitnogiging is ‘kom na My toe’.

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Die Muur
Die Muur

Romeine 3:23

In hierdie vers sien ons dat alle mense gesondig het en dat sonde ons skei van God. Hier sal ons kyk na die verkeerde en die regte manier om die sondemuur af te breek.

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Die Skaapkraal
Die Skaapkraal

Johannes 10

In Johannes 10:1-16 gebruik Jesus die vergelyking van ‘n herder en skape, Hy is die Herder en ons die skape.

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5 Colour Child Evangelism

Present the Gospel to children

Use this short guide to present the Gospel to Children using 5 colours. This is also called the 'Wordless book'.

Go to guide

5 Kleure Kinderevangelie

Dra die Evangelie oor aan kinders

Gebruik die kort gids om die Evengelie oor te dra aan kinders met die gebruik van 5 kleure. Dit word ook die 'Woordlose boekie' genoem of die 'Kleure evangelie'.

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Child Evangelism Fellowship

Child Evangelism Fellowship

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CEF Resources

Personal Work

Personal Work is reaching out to people one on one in stead of groups, building a relationship and over time leading them to salvation in Christ Jesus. But it does not end there, this newly saved person now needs to be guided and taught and that is where Discipleship comes in.
Qualifications for Soul Winning

by Dwight L. Moody

1. Shake off the vipers that are in the Church, formalism, pride, and self-importance, etc. 2. It is the only happy life to live for the salvation of souls. 3. We must be willing to do little things for Christ. 4. Must be of good courage. 5. Must be cheerful.

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by Prof. Johan Malan

The Godly mandate of the mission command embraces three different activities that must be carried out. The mission of the Christian church for the whole period between Christ’s first and second comings comprises of an assurance, three commands and a promise.

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by Dr. R. A. Torrey

"He first findeth his own brother Simon…. And he brought him to Jesus."–John 1:41,42. The one who brought his brother to Jesus was Andrew. We are not told that Andrew ever preached a sermon. If he did, the Holy Spirit did not think it worth putting on record. But this brother whom he brought to Jesus preached a sermon that led three thousand people to Jesus in one day.

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Helps for new believers

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How To Give Your Testimony

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I want to testify

I am a new Christian

What do I do now?

Eternal life is a gift received from God by faith. You cannot buy it, you cannot earn it, neither can you work to keep it. It is all by grace. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9. However, there are certain things God expects from you now.

What must I do?

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you need to make decisions about difficult issues. This is very useful for youth groups and guiding others.
Ons sien die vrug wat by die bekering pas in ons hele lewenswandel - in ons optrede, gesindhede, woorde, dade, denkwyse, voorkoms ens… Die mense naaste aan ons kan die maklikste beoordeel of ons goeie of slegte vrugte dra.
Ons moet God toelaat om in ons te werk. Hierdie voorbeelde wys ons dat dit moontlik is. Ons moet bid dat die Here ons harte en gedagtes sal verander en om aan ons te skaaf. Dit berei ons voor vir die werk wat Hy vir elkeen in gedagte het – om siele te win.

Guidance for New Believers

These cards are made to give to new Christians and contain some helpful tips and advice. Printed on conveniently sized bookmarks to keep in your Bible and easily hand out.
How to Start Reading Your Bible
How to Start Reading Your Bible

Info Card - Bookmark

This card contains some helpful tips and advice on where to start reading their Bible and how to go about it. Especially when someone receives a Bible for the first time.

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Quiet Time

Info Card - Bookmark

This card contains some helpful tips and questions to help young Christians make the most of their time with God. Especially when someone receives a Bible for the first time. Using these questions in your quiet time will be beneficial to anyone.

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Rev. Shadrak Maloka

Listen to this powerful testimony of salvation. Late rev. Maloka was an orphaned baby who seemed to have no hope of a future until he met Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He went on to becoming a great evangelist of his time in South Africa.
Luister na hierdie kragtige getuienis van redding. Wyle ds. Maloka was as baba verwerp en wees gelaat. Dit het vir die kind gelyk of daar geen hoop of toekoms vir hom sou wees nie totdat hy die Here Jesus ontmoet het. Hy het op die ou end 'n groot evangelis en prediker geword van sy tyd in Suid Afrika.


Luister na hierdie prediker se getuienis van redding en heiligmaking.

Wyle Prof. Johan Malan, is skrywer van vele artikels en boeke. Hy het homself as 'n evangeliese Christen beskou wat die letterlike, grammaties-historiese vertolking van die Bybel voorstaan.

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Die pad van redding word duidelik beskryf uit die Bybel in hierdie artikel.
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by R. A. Torrey

That question is this, "What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" "What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Matthew 27:22 A right decision to that question hangs everything that is really worth having for time and for eternity for each one of us. Let us look at some of the things that we will get if we do the right thing with Jesus Christ.

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by Prof. Johan Malan

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Deur Ds. N A J van Rensburg

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Stappe van redding uit die lewe van Saggeüs

deur Madelein Wolfaardt

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Lees artikel

Read and download these free booklets

Also great for group or personal Bible study.
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Exactly how should you go about making good, God-honoring decisions?

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Dinge van Belang vir jong Christene
Hulp en raad aan jong Christene. Die boekie is vol waardevolle wenke en waarskuwings om jou te help op jou pad saam met die Here.

Lees boekie

Identifying False Teachers
A Biblical Checklist for Identifying False Teachers in the Church
The purpose of this booklet is simple: to give you a checklist so that you can identify and avoid Christian leaders whom God would call false.

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Testing Today's Prophecy
Does today's "prophecy" measure up to biblical standards?
Should Christians accept the modern prophecy movement as a new work of God’s Spirit?

Read booklet