One of the marvels of the Bible is its singular fulness. It is not a book of gold-leaf beaten thin, as most books are as to thought; but its sentences are nuggets of unalloyed truth. The Book of God is clearly the god of books, for it is infinite. Well said a German author, “In this little book is contained all the wisdom of the world.”
“We search the world for truth; we cull The good, the pure, the beautiful From graven stone and written scroll, From all old flower-fields of the soul; And, weary seekers of the best, We come back laden from the quest, To find that all the sages said Is in the Book our mothers read.”
Two literati held a brief discussion as to which of all books they would prefer in prison if they were shut up to the choice of one, and could not obtain another for twelve months. The first made a sensible selection when he proposed to take Shakespeare as his companion; for that great author’s works are brimming with fresh thought and masterly expression: but we think the second man gave an unanswerable reason for preferring the Bible. “Why,” said his friend, “you do not believe in it!” “No,” said he, “but whether I believe in it or not, it is no end of a book.“
We thank him for that word: it is indeed “no end of a book.” Its range of subjects is boundless, and its variety of treatment is indescribable. Its depth of thought and height of expression are immeasurable. It is altogether inexhaustible. It is a million-times magnified Bodleian of teaching, and its Bibline or book-essence, is of the most concentrated kind. The Scripture has incidentally suggested masses of human literature; and it is the actual material of books to an extent that few would credit. It contains vast stores of what we may call mother-of-thought.
After having been catechized, criticized, caricatured, and crucified, for all these centuries, it still remains a new book, commencing its circulation rather than ending it. When the world grows older and wiser, and attains to the sixth form of its school, the sacred volume will be its final classic, just as it was its first handbook when the new-born Hebrew nation began to spell out the rudiments of truth and righteousness.
The Clue of the Maze.
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