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I'm not so much interested in what the prophet said as I am in what God meant when he spoke throught those lips of clay. It's the voice of God that I desire to hear, and I hear him speaking when I read my Bible. To properly understand a building one must converse with the architect, and to fully comprehend the Bible we must be in touch with the divine. The lexicographer can't explain the Word of God, and the grammarian, as such, will never be able to understand the prophet. The Bible is God speaking to humanity, and if we should start to study our Bible for any other purpose than to hear him, we'll soon be lost in details. I go to the infidel for infidelity, but to the Book for truth, for it's a

Revelation from God...

The Bible's a living fact. It exists. It's been printed and read in more than one hundred and fifty languages. Its power has everywhere been felt, by individuals, communities, governments, and nations. It's fruits have been gathered in all climes. Its doctrines have enlightened, its teachings have purified, and its promises have comforted millions of the human family. Many of the wisest and most influential men and women of all ages have been throrughly convinced that it's the Word of God, and this conviction has increased as their virtues, the excellence of their characters, and the spirituality of their lives have increased. Countless multitudes of them have been ready to die rather than to deny this truth. Thousands have suffered maryrdom rather than deny it.

No other book in the world, indeed all the other books in the world have not imparted to the dying "a tithe" of the support, consolation, and hope that the Bible has given. It's taken away the terrors of death. It's sent its light across the dark valley. It's brought God, Christ, and heaven near, and made the future, with its ineffable glories, a present reality to the departing saint. These are facts in the history of the Bible that can't be wiped out. If the book could be destroyed by its enemies today, what it has done in the past would remin untouched and wouldn't be disturbed in the slightest degree.

If the Bible's not of God, if its promises have no basis, then it plunges us into a darker sea of doubt and perplexity than before, and only adds to the mysteries of existence, to the gloom of life, and to the terrors of death. But if it is the Word of God, it speaks with an authority that none can safely disregard; its messages are solemn beyond all human expression. It pours light through a darkened world, scatters the clouds of doubt, solves the problems of human life and history, and gives to mankind an infallible teacher and guide. We hail it as a revelation of our Father to his children, a revelation of his character, his will, his grand purposes, and his boundless love.

Outlives its Enemies...

The fact that the Bible has survived the ravages of time and the efforts of wicked men to destroy it...is proof that it's a divine revelation. While the greatest human productions after exerting a controlling influence in the world gradually lose their power and pass out of the current of literature, the Bible not only continues to be a living force, but it increases in power with the progress of time. It hasn't come to us like the shrunken mummies of Egypt, but full of vitality, freshness, and beauty. As it quickens the intellects and purifies the hearts of men, they're better able to understand its messages, apprehend its doctrines, and appreciate its exceeding great and precious promises. And thus the Bible creates the means for its own development and augmenting power.

It can't grow old. It can't become obsolete. There's nothing that can be substituted for it. There's nothing that can compete with it in the race of usefulness. It not only keeps in advance of all other forms of literature and systems of philosophy and ethics, but it's constantly gaining upon them. It never controlled, guided, and benefited so many millions of the human family as it does today. Its doctrines and precepts and prophecies were never better understood than now. There never were so many facilities for studing the Bible as exist at the present moment.

The Bible, like its Author, is inexhaustible. It has resources in reserve yet to be brought out. God's behind his own Book, pushing it forward and onward, multiplying copies of it the same as he produces the leaves upon the trees in the springtime. It's waters of life flow from a perennial fountain, for the word of God liveth and abideth forever.

The Bible is more than ancient literature or abstract philosophy, for it appeals to the inner and indestructible part of men. Silently behind its pages there stands motive, thought, impulse, and the quenchless immortality, foe which there's no words or language to express. One may dissect the body, but he can't dissect the life. The botanist may analyze the flower, but he can't analyse the fragrance, and so it is with the Word of God. It's infinitely more than literature, for it's the divine revelation. It's not only discipline, it's also holiness. The altar may be measured in cubits, but no measuring rod can be laid upon the quality of the sacrifice. The Word of God deals with infinite, immortal qualities. One may take issure with the newsparer, or the almanac; but he who takes issue with the Bible, the Word of God---does so at the peril of his soul.

Its Astonishing Accuracy...

An astonishing feature of the Word of God is that, notwithstanding the time at which its compositions were written, and the multitude of topics to which it alludes, there's not one physical error---not one assertion or allusion disproved by the progress of modern science. There's none of those mistakes which the science of each succeeding age discovers in the preceding, and, above all, note of those absurdities that are found in such great numbers in the writings of the ancients, in their sacred codes and in their philosophies, and even in the finest pages of the Church Fathers---not one of these errors is to be found in the Word of God.

Preuse with care the Scriptures from end to end, and while you apply yourself to the examination, remember that it's a book that speaks of everything---that describes nature, tells us of the water, of the atmosphere, of the mountains, of the animals, of the planets,etc. It's a book that tells us of the first reveloution of the world, and that also foretells the last. It Speaks of the beginning of time and of its end. It recounts the history of the earth and sky in the circumstantial evidence of history; it extols them in the sublimest strains of poetry; and it chants them in the charms of glowing songs. It's a book that's full of Oriental rapture, elevation, variety, and boldness. It's a book that speaks of the heavenly and invisible world, while also speaks of the earth and things visible.

The Bible 's a book that thirty-five or more writers of every degree of cultivation, of every state, of every condition, and living through the couse of fifteen hundred years, have contributed to make. It's a book that was written in the center of Asia, in the sands of Arabia, and in the deserts of Judea; in the court of the temple of the Jews; in the schools of the prophets of Bethel and Jericho; in the sumptuous palaces of Babylon; on the idolatrous banks of the Chebar; and, finally, in the center of western civilization among the ignorant Jews and in the midst of the learned polytheistic Greeks. It's a book whose first writer had been a pupil of the magicians of Egypt, magicians in whose opinion the sun, the stars, and the elements were endowed with itelligence and reacted upon the elements and governed the world by a perpetual alluvium. It's a book whose first writer preceded by more than nine hundred years the ancient philosophies of Asia and Greece---of Confucious, of Thales, Pythagoras, and Socrates. It's a book that carries its narrations even to the hierarchy of the angels; even to the most distant epochs of the future; and the glorious scenes of the last days. Holy men were inspired by God to compile it. It's the voice of God speaking from behind the curtain. Eternity whispered the secret things to holy men, and inspiration gave them suitable language.

The Beauty of Bible Language...

The beauty of the Bible language is universally acknowledged, and this is mainly due to its exquisite use of natural objects for illustration. It draws from every field in God's vast domain. When an appeal is to be made to the emotional part of men, the references are at once to natural objects; and throughout all its books, the stars, the mighty sea, the flowers, and rushing armies are prominent illustrations of the beauties of religion and the glories of the church. Examples: "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose." "The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir-tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree." The power and beauty of similar objects appear in the Savior's teachings. The fig and the olive and the lily of the valley and the sparrow gave peculiar force and beauty to the great truths they were used to illustrate. The Bible throughout is remarkable in this respect.

One of the Bible's adaptations to the nature of man is found in the sublime and perfect representation of the natural world, by which nature is ever made to proclaim the character and perfection of God. No language can be written that so perfectly sets forth the grand and terrible as references to nature and its forces, as we hear when God answers Job out of the whirlwind. No higher appreciation of the beautiful, and of God as the Author of beauty, was ever expressed than when our Savior said of the lillies of the field, "I say unto you, That even Soloman in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these," and then adds, "If God so clothe the grass of the field," ascribing elements of beauty to every leaf and opening bud of the Creator's skill and power.

Its Wonderful Harmony...

The bible's a book of wonderful harmony, pointing us away from the mean and transitory things of earth to the invisible God, without a shape on which to rest our enquiring eyes or line on which ot lay our trembling hand. It's forever pointing us upward and onward through a silence that makes our very hreat-beats a conscious trespass, and through a light that makes us shrink unless we're pure in heart and life. The moral code of the Bible is complete. It's a perfect law of liberty. We can't add to its perfection. There's no short cut upon a straight road. Can anyone add to it an appendix of omitted morals?

In the Bible we find a wonderful unity in variety. Job, Daniel, and Hebrews differ in style, but in all it's man who's tempted, the devil who's the tempter, and God who delivers those who trust him and obey his laws. Some people regard the Word of God as a mere miscellaneous collection of disjointed fragments, but they could scarcely make a more serious mistake. The whole composition hangs together like a fleece of wool. It begins with the creation of the world, the beginning---that dateless date, that time so remote that the mind staggers at the thought. It ends with the winding up of all things earthly and the opening scenes of vast eternity. The Old Teatament is the vestibule through which we enter the matchless Parthenon of the New. The Old Testament is mainly the history of God's covenant people. Through all this history, the nearly forty centuries, are interspersed the sublime conversations of Job, the pithy proverbs of Solomon, and the predictions of the prophets We hear, at the proper intervals, the timbrel of Miriam, the harp of the Psalmist, the plaintive wail of Jeremiah, and the sonorous triumphs of Isaiah and Habakkuk.

Through all the Old Testament there flows one warm and mighty current---like the water of the Gulf Stream through the Atlantic---setting toward Jesus Christ. In Genesis he appears as the seed of the woman that should bruise the serpent's head; the blood that stained the Jewish lintels on the night of the exodus is but a type of the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world; the brazen serpent pointed toward him. Moses and the prophets testify of Christ. Just as the rich musical blast of the Alpine home in Wengern is echoed back from the peaks of the Jungfran, so every verse of the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah is echoed in the New Testament of Immanuel.

After a silence of about four hundred years, the New Testament begins, with the genealogy of the Savior. The first four books are occupied with the earthly life and sacrificial death, the resurrection, and ascension of the Incarnate One. The four independent narratives of the evangelists, like the four walls of a church edifice, contain and enclose a practically complete narrative of Christ's life. Each one has its place and purpose: Matthew wrote for the Jews, and in his gospel, Christ is represented as King; the book describes his kingdom and its laws. Mark describes his wonderful deeds as a man of action---the Christ as a servant doing his Father's will. Luke wrote for the Gentiles, and of Jesus as the Son of man. John occupies his rich, aromatic pages with the wonderful word of the Son of God. He defines the special purpose and object of his narrative at the close of the twentiesth chapter as follows: "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."

The book of Acts, written by Luke, continues to relate what Christ does and teaches through his apostles and representatives. It's devoted to the founding of Christian churches in certain great centers of influence like Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome. The Epistle to the Romans is the grand argument for justification by faith. That to the Galatians treats of deliverance from bondage of the law. The letter to the Philippians is redolent of gratitude and of joy. The Epistle to the Ephesians is the setting forth of the "heavenlies." That to Philemon is the chart of human rights and the seed of emancipation proclamations. The Epistles to the Corinthians are manuals of personal conduct and the government of churches. When Paul wrote to Timothy and to Titus he furnished manuals for Christian pastors. John's letters are all love-letters, and needful. Hebrews sets forth the priestly office of Jesus. Peter utters practical precepts and warnings that are needful for the followers of Christ until the end of time.

When the life, the death, and the mightry works and divine instructions of Christ (by his apostles) have been completed, there bursts upon us the magnificent panorama of the Apocalypse. This is the book of sublime mysteries. But through all the apparent confusion of vials, horned beasts, marching armies, and winged angels, we can distinctly trace the progress of the glorious chuch of God, and her final victory, led by King Jesus. The long earthly battle terminates in the overthrow of Satan; the final resurrection of all the dead; the general judgment; the awful separation of those who have been companions upon earth; the last call, "Come," to those who are saved, and the final, "Depart from me," to those who close their life's work in rebellion against the throne of God. Oh, awful day!

What the Bible Has Done...

There's an influence about this book which none other possesses. This message from heaven, of peace and pardon and friendliness and kindness and goodwill to all men, has, by the heralds of salvation, been actually girdling the whole of this globe of ours. Unrelaxed by sorrid heat, unbenumbed by artic cold, it can point to trophies of the cross in every clime. It's entered the palaces of kings and the castellated mansions of great chiefs. It's controlled the deliberations of senates. It's settled the uproar of tattoed warriors, yielding their murderous spears. It's pierced into the coarsest heathen intellect and roused into action its slumbering faculties and quickened them into spiritual activity. It's melted into contrition the most obstinate savage heart and enchained its wayward, roving desires and imperious impulses; yea, and purified and regulated them with a fascination and a power vastly transcending anything that hope ever imagined or fear conceived.

In a thousand instances the Bible has made the thievish, honest; the lying, truthful; the churlish, liberal; the extravagant, frugal. It's in numberless instances, converted the cruel, unfeeling heart into kindliness and good will; it's turned discord and revelry into harmony and sacred song; it's wrought its way into the darkest caverns of debasing ignorance and illuminated them with rays of celestial light; it's gone down in the foulest infamy and reared altars of devotion there; it's mingled its voice with the raging tempest; it's alighted upon the battle-field and poured the balm of consolation into the soul of the dying hero; it's, on an errand of mercy, visited the loathsome dungeon, braved the famine, confronted the pestilence and plague. It's wrenched the iron rod from the grasp of oppression, and dashed the fiery cup from the lips of intemperance. It's strewn flowers over the grave of old enmities, and woven garlands around the altar of the temple of peace. These are but a few of the mighty achievements that follow as a retinue of splendor in the train of this blessed book, which circulates all over the world. The Bible doesn't go around simply hinting at sin and wrong-doing, but denounces it in thunder-tones. The trumpet sounding forth in the Word of God makes no uncertain sounds.

The Bible Is an Infallible Guide...

The Bible can be nothing less than our unfailing guide, because of its origin. Every one who would learn the way of life must resort to it...not to obtain support to opinions previously adopted, but to receive meekly, unreservedly, and unhesitatingly whatever is really taught therein. For instruction, for conviction, for reformation, and for education in righteousness the Scriptures given by the inspiration of God are profitable and suffiecient. No tenet is true, no principles are sound, no motives are pure, no conduct is correct, no hope is well founded, no precepts are binding, no ordinances or rites or ceremonies are becoming, and no worship is acceptable, except such as are in harmony with this sacred volume. The Bible alone is the standard of morals and prescriber of piety. It's not a book of science, yet every science is false that's contradictory to it. It's not a book of politics, yet all politics that are adverse to its principles are unjust and mischievous. It's a book for time, to guide through it; a book for earth, directing to life above it; a book for society, to regenerate and elevate it. It's a book for man in relation to man his brother, and for man the sinner in relation to his God. It's the book of Jehovah, because it and it only, teaches us of the true eternal Being, who, of himself, alone, is immutably existent; who in himself alone is absolute perfection; who is the first-cause of all things good, and the end of all things, both in the way of terminating what's to be concluded and consummating what's to be completed. It's the word of Christ. It's the word of truth, because its records are facts. Its gifts are substantialities; its requirements are righteous; its predictions and promises are anticipations of Providence, which, without exception, in due time and order become verities. It's a book of certainties, not experiments; of realities, not fancies; and of positives, not possibilities. It's the book of the law, because it admits no appeal from its decision.

All Classes May Read It With Profit...

No other book is so wide in its range, so lofty in its aim, so benevolent in its spirit, so dignified in its character, and so productive of happiness in its influence. It's depth is the mystery of truth; its height is the splendor of purity; its mission is the mercy of love; its course is the path of wisdom; its sphere is the world of fallen mankind; and its end is the glory of God. It, therefore, and it only, is of universal utility. The philosopher, by the study of it, may extend his knowledge of the laws of matter and the properties of mind: the statesman may learn from it precedents and principles applicable to national government; the poet may find in it inspiring aids to his noblest conceptions; the painter may depict from it scenes of the loftiest grandeur and holiest awe, or portraits of goodness and beauty affording the fullest scope to his artistic genius; while the plowboy and "the man behind the mill" may, by means of it, learn the most exalted lessons of divine wisdom.

It Leads Us Safely Home...

Whoever is humbly led by it, is led safely to heaven. To obey it is to be useful, happy, and safe. I believe the Bible today just as my mother taught me it in the long ago. She told me the story of Lot's wife's turning to a pillar of salt, of the great flood, of Job, and of Jesus Christ...just as though she believed it to be true. She didn't doubt the truths she read to me; nor did I doubt that God heard my mother's prayer when I used to kneel at my first altar---my mother's knee. She never told me of "tentative suggestions," nor of "future excavations." I never heard her mention the "philosphy of the plan of incarnation," or spurious chapters in the book of Mark." She told me that the Bible was the Word of God, and that if I believed and obeyed it, I should be saved now and in the hereafter.

The Bible confounds the conceited, baffles the speculative, rebukes the proud, frowns upon the formal, denounces the ungenerous, withstands the profligate and the impenitent, smiles upon the meek and self-denying, assures the contrite in heart, and refreshes the wayworn traveler with words of encouragement and good cheer. Like all other works of God, his Word is diversified and harmonious, plain and profound, simple and sublime, suitable and sericeable. It contains the developments of the eternal will, the outpourings of righteous favor, the rebukes of fatherly fidelity, the beauties of holiness, the glowings of love, the councils of wisdom, and the index of futurity. By it, faith unto slavation is authorized, penitence is evoked, prayer is instructed, affliction is eradicated, zeal is animated, praise is inspired, and death, thank God, is conquered.

Finally...

The Word of God is the depository of the crown jewels of the universe; it's the lamp that kindles all other lights; it's the home of all majesties and splendors; it's the marriage-ring that unites the celestial and terrestrial, while all the clustering white-robed denizens of the sky are hovering around, rejoicing at the nuptials. It's the dissector of the human heart; the charter of the chuch of God; the specula of the Deity; the telescope of eternity. It's the wreath into which are twisted all garlands; it's the song into which strike all harmonies; it's the river into which are poured all the great tides of halleluiahs; it's the firmament in which suns and moons and stars are constellations, and where galaxies and immensities and universes and eternities wheel and blaze and triumph. Such is the wonderful volume God has given to men, and which outweighs all the libraries on the globe. It contains many writings, yet is one book. If has many writers, yet all is from one Author, the Almighty God. It's divine in its origin, in its unity. And it will be our judge on that day when granite rocks shall burst asunder, and all mankind shall stand in the presence of the great God.

The Bible's the most wonderful book in the world. We should read it every day. It points us to our home beyond the sky.

 

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