James H. Cagle
The Bible (KJV) says, “. . . be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them” (Jer. 1: 17b).
Physiognomy is a universal language spoken and understood by all. It’s the “shorthand of the mind” and “the index card or a title page to the soul.” It’s reading the face or the surface to determine what is beneath. The face is the part that reveals the whole.
Physiognomy was once a very important science. The physiognomist was a very highly respected individual whose gift was greatly appreciated. Andrew Murray (1828-1917) a South African Dutch Reformed pastor was a much sought out physiognomist because of his ability to read the disposition of young children by reading their face.
Physiognomy is the reading of a person’s countenance to determine their character. It should not be confused with physiognomia, which is used to determine the race of a certain person by the peculiarities of the body. It’s the fallible practice of measuring the proportion of the head and nose and ears to determine ones race. This practice was carried out by Hitler against the Jews and was proved time and time again to be inaccurate. No race is capable of reproducing exact duplicates. There will always be some variation from the norm because there is no pure race.
We express our feelings of anger, care, compassion, or fear, and irritableness with our face. This is part of our total body language which sometimes speaks louder than words. Body language is used to turn people away as well as attract without a word being spoken. We often see the plain truth on the face but have to sifter through words to get it. It’s no coincidence that we say “the eyes are the windows to the soul.”
God told Jeremiah (1:17) and Ezekiel (2:6, 3:9) to not be afraid of the faces or looks of the people of Israel to whom they were sent with a message of repentance. God said that Israel was stubborn and rebellious toward Him and His Word, and the faces of the men of Jerusalem would reflect the animosity of their wicked personalities. This adamant attitude showed on their faces and the looks they gave when these prophets spoke for God. But God told the prophets to declare His Word in spite of the resistance, rebellion, and defiance that showed on the peoples faces. God told them to face the people and faithfully speak God’s Word and to not lose face even when the faces of the people revealed they hated them and God’s Word.
Physiognomy is a science,
Whereby we read another soul.
By reading pulls, lines, and twitches,
We have revealed to us the whole.
For ev’ry little pull and twitch,
That’s seen on the outer face,
Is intertwined with the heart,
Reflecting what’s on the inner face.
If our inner man’s at war,
The rage will show upon the face.
But if the war is over and done,
Our countenance will showcase grace.
If there’s a habitual pull,
That constantly tugs at the heart,
There soon will be a pull on the face,
As it reflects the state of the heart.
A person’s eye can also be read,
And plays an important role.
For through them others see inside,
Through the windows of our soul.
The face is the very index card,
To all that is hidden within.
All that’s scribed upon the heart,
Is spoken through the skin.
Our face will always tell the truth,
Though with our lips we lie.
For our face will always honor our heart,
And expose each pain and sigh.
The affections of the inner man,
Are marked upon the countenance.
Our face reflects our love and hate,
Our face is our transparence.
If we’d show peace and love to the world,
They must appear real on our face.
But they must first be real in our hearts,
Only through knowing God’s saving grace.
James H. Cagle