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Sto ries > An Allegory by William C. Irvine

An Allegory

William C. Irvine

I was walking along the streets of Vanity Fair the other day and had my attention drawn to a huge edifice which was in the course of construction. Apparently there was a strike on, as something had happened greatly to hinder the work. On enquiring what was the trouble, I was told that there was a dispute among the workmen. The men were holding a meeting, and as anyone was admitted, I went inside out of curiosity.

Some had returned to their work, others were divided in opinion as to what was best to be done. It seemed that some were in fear that the building might fall, saying that some of the workmen were tampering with the foundations; the others were laughing them to scorn, vehemently asserting that their friends were but resetting the foundations: which, they said, had never been truly laid.

On further enquiry I found out that the building was called the CHURCH, and that the workmen were divided into two camps which some called "Fundamentalists," and "Modernists." The great fear of the former was that the latter would remove the foundations, and on examining the damage already done I was persuaded that there was much reason for alarm.

I found several of the huge foundation-stones partly out of place. Indeed, one on which I had deciphered the words:

"The Virgin Birth"

was more or less broken, and almost entirely removed from its place: if moved a little more a great part of the building would be in jeopardy. Another had an inscription which was partly obliterated by the workmen's tools; it read:

"..spir.tion of . oly"

A third which appeared to me to be the chief corner-stone was being vigorously attacked with pick and crowbar; it bore the words:

"The Deity of Christ"

I drew the attention of some of those destructive workmen, many of whom appeared to be scholars, to a notice the builder had left nearby. It read:

If the FOUNDATIONS be destroyed,
what can the righteous do?

But they scoffed at me, and muttered something about "Progress" and "Modern Building Methods," and fell to with greater zeal than ever. I turned away sad in heart, feeling that this beautiful building was doomed.

But as I was about to step out into the street, a young man in shining garments touched me on the shoulder, and gave me a letter from the Builder of the edifice, bidding me read it. I broke the seal and read:



Much comforted by these words, I passed on.

-William C. Irvine

Excerpt from "Heresies Exposed" (1917)


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