Historical Reprints Religion Right and Wrong Uses of the Bible

Right and Wrong Uses of the Bible

Right and Wrong Uses of the Bible
Catalog # SKU3829
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name R. Heber Newton
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


The Right and Wrong
Uses of the Bible

R. Heber Newton

The Bible, and the reading of the Bible as an instrument of instruction, may be said to have been begun on the sunrise of that day when Ezra unrolled the parchment scroll of the Law. It was a new thought that the Divine Will could be communicated by a dead literature as well as by a living voice.



"Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word; it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty concerning the things which thou wast taught by word of mouth."-Luke i. 1-4. This day, in our Church year, calls us to think upon the influence of the Bible on the advance of man into the Kingdom of God.

Since the growth of written language great books have been the well-springs of thought and feeling for mankind, from which successive generations have drawn the water of life. Since the introduction of the printing-press books have been, beyond all other agencies, the educators of men. And of all books of which we have any knowledge, those together constituting the Bible form incomparably the most potent factors in the moral and religious progress of the western world; and as all other progress is fed from moral and religious forces, I may add, in the general advance of Christian civilization. From these books the lisping lips of children have learned the tales of beautiful goodness which have nourished all noble aspirations.

Over these charming stories of Hebrew heroism and holiness the imagination has caught sight of the infinite mysteries amid which we walk on earth. Their touch has quickened conscience into life. Through their voices the whispers of the Eternal Power have thrilled the soul of youth, and men have learned to worship, trust, and love the Father-God. These books have preserved for us the story of the Life which earth could least afford to lose, the image of the Man who, were his memory dropped from out our lives-our religion, morals, philanthropy, laws and institutions would lose their highest force. These books have taught statesmen the principles of government, and students of social science the cardinal laws of civilization. The fairest essays for a true social order which Europe and America have known have laid their foundations on these books. They have fed art with its highest visions, and have touched the lips of poesy that they have opened into song.

They have voiced the worship of Christendom for centuries, and have cleared above progressive civilization the commanding ideals of Liberty, Justice, Brotherhood. Men and women during fifty generations have heard through these books the words proceeding from out the mouth of God, on which they have lived. Amid the darkness of earth, the light which has enabled our fathers to walk upright, strong for duty, panoplied against temptation, patient in suffering, resigned in affliction, meeting even death with no treacherous tremors, has shone from these pages. In their words young men and maidens have plighted troth each to the other, fathers and mothers have named their little ones, and by those children have been laid away in the earth in hope of eternal life. All that is sweetest, purest, finest, noblest in personal, domestic, social and civic life, has been fed perennially from these books. The Bible is woven into our very being. To tear it from our lives would be to unravel the fair tapestry of civilization-to run out its golden threads and crumble its beautiful pictures into chaos.

Yet we are threatened to-day with no less a loss than this. The Bible is certainly not read as of old. It is not merely the distraction of our busier lives, or the multiplicity of books upon our shelves, that turns men and women away from these classics of our fathers. Men and women no longer regard these books as did their fathers. They can no longer use them as their parents did; they see no other way to use them, and so they leave them unopened on their tables.

An intelligent lady said to me some time since: "My children don't know anything about the Bible. I cannot read it to them, for I do not know what to say when they ask me questions. I no longer believe as I was taught about it: what, then, can I teach them?"

A confession which, if all parents were as frank, would have to be made in many other households. Where it is still used in home readings, it is, in hosts of houses, with the pain which mothers know when their children's honest questions cannot be as honestly answered.

Such a state of things is sad and dangerous. Unless some way be found to read these books without equivocation, they will gradually cease to be used in home instruction, and the coming generations will grow up without their holy influence. This state of things ought not to have been brought upon us. The reverent reading of the Bible alone would never have led us into such straits. It is the old story of all human reverence. That which we revere, we exaggerate. Glamor gathers around it. The symbol is identified with the spiritual reality. The image becomes an idol. The wonderful thing becomes a fetish.

So we end in an irrational reverence of that which is worthy of a real and rational reverence. Then we have a superstition. Superstition always results in destroying the rightful belief of which it is the exaggeration and distortion.

192 pages - 7 x 8½ softcover - Print size, 12 point font

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