No. 12. Worldly Customs.Issued 6th mo. 1935 by
Kenneth S. P. Morse
Reformed spelling used herein: words should be spelled so as to sho sound..
Men take off their hats to God, as the apostle directed, I Cor. 11:4, It is, therefor, not right to take the hat off to wimmin, the flag, corpses, bildings, etc., for God has sed, "I will not give my glory to another" (Is. 42:8).
Read Math. 23: 8-10. Here Christ forbids his disciples to use titles of respect: father, rabbi, kathegetes. The literal meaning of rabbi is my great one: in idiomatic English, reverend. Kathegetes means teacher; D.D., Father, or Reverend are out of the Truth.
As to Mister, it is a way of saying Master. We ar in onnor to prefer one another, but as it is rong to call men Teacher, so it is rong to call men Mister. ONE is our Mister. Math. 223:8 by implication condems Mr., Mrs., and Miss.
The word sir is a short form of seigneur, meaning lord. In the bible, sir is used to translate kurie (lord). The translators have unjustly made Paul say sirs when he really said men (andres, not kurioi). In German, Polish, Romanian, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and other languages, the very same word is used as a title to man, and to mean the Lord: Herr, Pan, Domnul, Kurios, Signor, Senor, Senhor. Thus, as with the hat, so with the title, man is put on a level with God.
The use of you to mean one person originated in respect of person, hence is improper, and should not be used. We have in English a perfectly good word thou, which we use in our prayers, which was formerly used on all occasions. All translations of the new testament ar made directly or indirectly from the Greek, according to which thou was the language always used by Jesus and his disciples. Centuries later fallen man adopted a polite speech, marked by the avoidance of thou. Some form of this word is found in most of the European languages: in Icelandic it is thu, in Norse, Danish, Swedish, German du, in Russian, Polish, Czech, Serb, Bulgarian ty, in Latin, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Lithuanian tu, in Welsh ti, Manx oo, Greek su. Note that these ar all forms of the same sord. it is not thot respectful to say thou to man in any of the following languages. read what they say insted: in German and Norse they, in French, Greek, Czech, Swedish, Icelandic you, in Polish Lord, Portuguese your lordship or excellency, in Spanish your grace, in Italian she to eether sex (!).
Strange it is, thou, altho in these tungs considered disrespectful to man, is used when one speaks to God! Good enuff for Christ and his apostles, for the Creator of the universe, but not for modern man (?)! In Icelandic, it is not deemed sufficient to address a man thidh, as if he were two men, but one says thjer, as if he were at least three. In Polish, man is put on a level with God: noth ar called Pan, Lord. In English, old writings, such as Thomas Ellwood's Autobiography, sho that thou was considered disrespectful, its use provoking violence.
Hence we see that in English, as in other tungs, respect of persons, which is sin [James 2:9], is the cause of the use of you to one. By much use evil practices do not become good. It is true that most peeple in speaking English now use you to one without intending respect of persons, and without knowing how it began, but we who kno it was begotten in sin, ar accountable. Some claim that the use of thou or thee does more harm than good. i reply, what God leads into, can harm no one. It is disobeying God's voice that does thee harm. Many, as also I, have felt God requires this, that we never use you to mean but one person, but that we say thou, thee, thy, thine. I hope thee, too, will obey the Lord's leading in thy heart as to this and everything else. Christians ought to forsake every evil, and not just what seem the most glaring evils. Has thee given thy heart to Jesus, and promised him to live the rest of thy life as his obedient servant? that's what he wants thee to do, that's what real repentance leads to.
Note. With the exception of a few persons, Americans professing to be Friends use thee in place of thou. People who call this incorrect or barbarous do not realize that correct simply means accepted by some group. If nominative thee is a barbarism (which I deny), so is nominative you. Historically you is the plural not of thou, but of thee. K. Morse.
I am not Amish or Mennonite, but some people who come to my website are interested in knowing more about these groups. I can recommend these books as authoritative and relatively inexpensive sources of further information.