THERE is plenty of drama in the
dictionary. If you don't believe it, try reading the
derivations of words given in the "big dictionary"óWebster's
Unabridged. Recently I was seeking the exact meaning of
"steward" and paused to read the history of the word
preceding the definition. Then I laughed. "Steward" comes
from the Anglo-Saxon words "sty" and "ward" (guardian). The
"steward" is the "sty warden."
In Anglo-Saxon times the "sty" did not
mean the domicile of the swine as it does today. The title
used today for the gentleman, who is the manager of a great
estate or a wealthy menage, or the nobleman who superintends
a royal household, anciently meant the warden of a sty. But
the word "sty" anciently meant a home, a house, a nobleman's
hall, a palace. It is we who have narrowed down the
application of the word to the malodorous environs of the
The whole human race are the guardians of
the home the Creator gave them. When man was created, he was
endowed with dominion over all the lower life. He was the
"sty warden" of God's creation. And it was no sty, in the
modern sense, over which he was given the responsibility of
care and management. There were no death, no decay, no
filth, no defilement, no bad odors, no carrion, no garbage,
no stockyards to mis-scent a whole city, no contagion, no
poison-secreting fear and hate.
But what a sty (in the modern meaning)
man has made of the sty (Anglo-Saxon meaning) that God gave
him! "The earth is defiled under the inhabitants thereof."
The soil is soaked with blood, the ground littered with
corpses. The air has become death laden, the waters so
polluted that they destroy their indwellers. In many parts
of the earth one smells the cities afar off. Good grain and
fruit, God-given to feed earth's billions, man rots into
alcohol that turns human beings into sots more filthy than
wild beasts, which are naturally clean.
The pigsty itself is a human invention.
Wild animals do not live in such filth as do "domesticated"
hogs. Only those animals which, as a result of the sin
introduced by man, have become carnivorous are filthy and
malodorous in their living surroundings. The rookeries of
the fish-eating water-birds are sties, but not the nests of
the seed-eating and insect-eating songsters. The unpleasant
defense mechanism of the peaceable skunk is the adaptation
of a harmless creature to the conditions resulting from
Man has been a pretty poor sty warden of
creation. The Owner is going to disinfect the premises soon
and rebuild according to the original blueprint. He is
advertising now for sty wardens for His new earth who will
not degrade His sty (home) into a sty (a place defiled by
sin). Prospective applicants are expected to practice now
cleaning up their present sties.