This is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity."

- Daniel 4:24-27


「寧願燒盡,不願朽壞」。最先認識這八個大字是在馬偕醫院大講堂外的牆壁上。由於馬偕博士與長老教會的淵源,所以有相當長的時間都一直以為這是長老會的創會宗旨。直到今早,在長老教會會徽上看到焚而不毀這四個字,才恍然想起「Rather burn than rust out」其實是馬偕博士個人的座右銘。
以內涵而言,「寧願燒盡,不願朽壞」和「焚而不毀」的意思是完全不同的。從許多方面的古今對照,總覺得早期宣教士的宗教精神和今日盛行的一些神學主張有觀念及思想程度上的落差。或許是物質生活的進步,所以現代人更關心的是宗教信仰能給自己什麼,而非求諸自己從生活中去落實宗教實踐。安逸條件下培養出來的神學人格,縱容更多人對神蹟與靈恩的沈溺,想靠著奇蹟就能過著輕鬆生活,而非自己去勞動與思考。教義膚淺化和對價化教導的結果,就是長年因襲累積出這樣的偏差。曾經有過這樣的時代,傳教士同時是科學、醫學、農業、經濟、文化和藝術的傳遞者。如今當大環境的趨勢漸漸演變成教會越來越多,但信徒卻越來越少時。這其中必定是有某個環節為眾多人所一直刻意漠視與忽略。

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