May 09

B.T. RobertsI have been reading in ‘Pungent Truths’ off and on for the past week. ‘Pungent Truths’ has over 500 short excerpts from the writings of B.T. Roberts while he was the editor of ‘The Free Methodist’ paper. This would be during the period of 1886 and 1890.

I have enjoyed these so much that I have posted an extract per day on this blog for the month of May. The WordPress software that I use for this blog is programed to post them at 5am each morning.

The first extract is The Importance of Making ACCURATE STATEMENTS. This month there will be articles on Altar Work, Authority, Awakening, Backsliding, Baptized Heathens, Believing and Confessing, The Bible, Blessings of God, Daily Bread, and Campmeetings.

If you don’t want to wait, you can read the Pungent Truths book online.

The following is the ‘Preface and Introduction’, which will give you a good overview of this book.


In compiling this volume, the aim has been to present the pointed truths contained in the briefer editorial paragraphs written by the Reverend Benjamin T. Roberts while editor of The Free Methodist.

The relation which the author sustained to his readers as one of the founders of the church of their choice, and as a spiritual father to many of them — together with the fact that these writings carry the wisdom and experience of one for more than twenty-five years in direct touch with our early denominational history — will make this book of special interest.

The scope of these editorials is exceedingly broad. The compiler was surprised upon bringing the several paragraphs together to find that though the author had written a number of times upon the same subject, and at various intervals during a period of four years, yet each writing presented some phase of the subject not treated elsewhere.

In those rare instances where there may seem to be a similarity of thought, or a scripture passage appears a second time, connected with some subject, the reader will, because of the peculiar setting, commend us for leaving the paragraph as originally written.

Nearly all the titles of subjects have been supplied by the compiler, the original writings having appeared without them. The arrangement of subjects is alphabetical, and that of sub-divisions is designed to be logical and also alphabetical, so far as comports with a logical order.

Each paragraph is numbered. For convenience, two indexes are provided: one being general, though condensed, and the other analytical, but full, in which both subjects and subdivisions are in alphabetical order. All references are to paragraph numbers.

“Pungent Truths” is sent forth with the prayer that these words may again be clothed with the spirit in which they were written, and that so the reader may feel the power of “thoughts that breathe and words that burn.”
–William B. Rose, Chicago, August 17, 1912


“Pungent Truths” is rightly named. It is a compilation from the editorial writings of one of the most pungent of speakers and writers. Benjamin Titus Roberts was not accustomed to speak or write for the entertainment of the public, but rather to produce conviction.

His words generally had the same effect that Saint Peter’s did on the day of Pentecost — those who heard them were “pricked in their heart.” That is the natural effect of pungent discourse, since pungent means “pricking, stinging, piercing.”

Such is the character of the collection of truths herewith presented. They are utterances under the reading of which ordinary mortals will not sleep, any more than a man would sleep with needles or thorns piercing his flesh.

Like the “Word of God,” which they clearly elucidate and forcibly apply, they are “living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12, R. V.).

Truths of this character are greatly needed in this age of indifference to spiritual things, in these times of general paralysis of conscience and of prevailing moral laxity even on the part of professedly religious people. The Laodicean age in which we live needs pungent truths to arouse men from their carnal security, bring them to their senses, and produce within them that deep moral concern without which life would be frittered away in mere trivialities.

The reading of some books tends to produce narrowness of vision: but the perusal of “Pungent Truths” will broaden one’s perspective of Christian life and service. The truths contained in this volume cover an extensive range, including every topic of vital importance in relation to Christian experience, life and service: also numerous paragraphs and articles on educational, sociological, political and reform subjects.

This volume will be especially helpful to those who “hunger and thirst after righteousness” — to those who would excel in holy living. The discussions on Holiness will be instructive, inspiring and otherwise helpful, alike to anxious inquirers and to those farthest advanced in Christian experience.

There is much also that will be particularly quickening and stimulating to the Christian minister. A glance at the index reveals the fact that the number of topics relating to preachers, preaching, pastoral work and kindred duties, is well proportioned to their importance. The hints, suggestions, advices and more extended discussions on these subjects are gems of wisdom. The author of “Pungent Truths” excelled as a writer. His scholarship was deep and broad.

His style was chaste, clear, convincing and highly suggestive. Few writers could say as much as he in so few words: few were so highly gifted in the art of vivid illustration.
While the contents of this volume have been arranged by the compiler with reference to logical order, yet for the most part each item is independent of that which precedes and follows it.

The topics are numbered, and alphabetically indexed. The book therefore may be read with profit, either consecutively or by topic. The numbering and indexing of the nearly 650 topics also renders it convenient for ready reference.

The W. B. Rose, Agent of the Free Methodist Publishing House, as compiler and editor, has rendered a valuable service to the denomination and a most commendable contribution to Christian literature in the production of this work. His work is also a well-deserved tribute to the memory of the chief founder of the Free Methodist Church, who was also its first General Superintendent (Bishop) and, from the date of his election in 1860 to that of his death in 1893, was also under God its chief guiding spirit.

We are much gratified that these editorial productions, covering the four years during which Mr. Roberts was editor of the Free Methodist, have been gathered up and presented to the public in permanent form. “Pungent Truths” will perpetuate the influence of a great and good man. “By it he, being dead, yet speaketh.”
–Wilson T. Hogue, Evanston, Illinois

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