by T. De Witt Talmage

T. DeWitt Talmage
Matt. 23:24

A proverb is compact wisdom, knowledge in chunks, a
library in a sentence, the electricity of many clouds
discharged in one bolt, a river put through a mill-race.
When Christ quotes the proverb of the text, he means to set
forth the ludicrous behavior of those who make a great
bluster about small sins and have no appreciation of great
ones. In my text a small insect and a large quadruped are
brought into comparison - a gnat and a camel. You have in
museum, or on the desert, seen the latter, a great awkward,
sprawling creature, with back two stories high, and stomach
having a collection of reservoirs for desert travel, an
animal forbidden to the Jews as food, and in many
literatures entitled "the ship of the desert." The gnat
spoken of in the text is in the grub form. It is born in
pool or pond, after a few weeks becomes a chrysalis, and
then after a few days becomes the gnat as we recognize it.
But the insect spoken of in the text is in its very
smallest shape and it yet inhabits the water - for my text
is a misprint and ought to read "strain out a gnat."

My text shows you the prince of inconsistencies. A
man after long observation has formed the suspicion that in
a cup of water he is about to drink, there is a grub or the
grandparent of a gnat. He goes and gets a sieve or
strainer. He takes the water and pours it through the sieve
in the broad light. He says, "I would rather do anything
almost than drink this water until this larva be
extirpated." This water is brought under inquisition. The
experiment is successful. The water rushes through the
sieve and leaves against the side of the sieve the grub or
gnat. Then the man carefully removes the insect and drinks
the water in placidity. But going out one day, and hungry,
he devours a "ship of the desert," the camel, which the
Jews were forbidden to eat. The gastronomer has no
compunctions of conscien ...

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