Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Bible : The Book That Lives On

THROUGH the ages of history no other book has been studied so prayerfully by its friends, or so critically by its foes, as the Bible. 

For eighteen centuries the storm of persecution has raged with unceasing fury around it: but, from this seething tempest it has emerged triumphant. 

The Bible has been refuted more times than any other book in the world. But every indignity offered has in some mysterious way helped to further its life-giving mission. 

A little more than a century ago, Voltaire said, "The Bible is an exploded book, and in less than a hundred years it will have ceased to exist; and will be an unknown book." But has it ?—The printing press on which Voltaire's infidel works were printed has since been used to print the Word of God ; and the house where he lived is today a depot for the Geneva Bible Society. It is of interest to note that in the centenary year of Voltaire's boast, ten thousand copies of the Scriptures were sold in Paris, the city in which he lived. 

Twenty-five years ago Ingersoll said, " In ten years the Bible will not be read." 

Tom Paine, on landing at New York, was foolish enough to prophesy that in five years not a Bible would be found in the United States. Bat the fact remains that there are more Bible Societies today in America, than in any other country in the world. 

We might quote statements such as these indefinitely; but let us look at the other aspect of the question, and call for the testimony of men who have made the Bible a companion. 

The most gifted and renowned of German men of letters, Goethe, says, " No criticism will be able to perplex the confidence I have entertained in a writing whose contents have stirred up and given life to my energy by its own." 

Napoleon, the greatest of modern conquerors, says, " Unique Book ! Who but God could produce that idea of perfection equally exclusive and original. The Gospel is more than a book ; it is a living thing—active, powerful, overcoming every obstacle in its way! " 

Benjamin Franklin, the father of American science and statesmanship, says, "Young man, my advice to you is that you cultivate an acquaintance with, and a firm belief in, the Holy Scriptures. This is your certain interest." 

Gladstone, statesman and Prime Minister of England, says, "The historical development of our religion is one of the most wonderful parts of human history, and, in my opinion, affords one of the strongest demonstrations of its truth." 

Lord Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton, Guizot, and many other of the world's famous men, bear the same testimony. 

The infidel speaks of the Bible as a " dead book." Not very long ago a number of learned men were at work revising the New Testament. At last the book was ready for the press, and men offered as much as £100 for a copy in advance of its publication; and on the morning of its issue the streets were blocked with express wagons, waiting for copies of that "dead book." They telegraphed that book, from the first chapter of Matthew to the end of Romans, from New York to Chicago, about 118,000 words—the longest message ever sent over the wires—for the sake of getting it there twenty-four hours sooner than steam could carry it. What infidel speech has ever been treated like this ? They would not pay to telegraph the greatest infidel oration ever delivered. 

That old Book seems to show signs of considerable life yet. It is like Aaron's rod, possessed of a life that time cannot destroy.

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