Moses, David, Isaiah, Paul and John. These men
and the others wrote as they were moved by the Holy
Ghost. The messages of the Bible are the loftiest
in the range of human thought. There have been
many magnificent periods like the age of Elizabeth,
the time of the Renaissance and the age of Victoria,
but no other single century has ever done anything
equal to the production of the New Testament in the
first century. The Bible has a sound psychology.
It seeks to influence the whole man. It pours
white light into the intellect. It grapples
with the great themes upon which thinkers stretch their
minds. John Fiske’s three subjects are
all familiar themes to the readers of the Bible.
Its style is incomparable in grandeur and variety.
It approaches the intellect with every form of literary
style. It is the supreme intellectual force
in the life of the common people. It has been
teacher and school for the millions. The Puritans,
for example, used it as a poem, story book, history,
law and philosophy. Out of it New England was
born. It has been the chief representative of
the English language at its best. Anglo-Saxon
life and learning are saturated with it. The
literature of England and America is full of the Bible.
Shakespeare and Tennyson are specimens. Each
of these authors quote from nearly every book in the
Bible, and each of them refers to the Bible not less
than five hundred times. Herbert Spencer admits
that it is the greatest educator. It is winning
its place in school and college. No education
is complete without a knowledge of this literature.
It is the privilege of Odd-Fellowship to enthrone
the Bible in the lodge-room, and in the home.
It teaches the intellectual life from above and lifts
it to the Bible’s own level.
Dean Stanley was visiting the great scholar, Ewald,
in Dresden, and in the course of the conversation,
Ewald snatched up a copy of the New Testament and
said, in his impulsive and enthusiastic way, “In
this little book is contained all the wisdom of the
world.” There is a sense in which this
statement is not extravagant. The book contains
the highest and fullest revelation of truth the world
has known. The greatest themes man’s mind
can ponder are here presented. The most profound
problems with which the human intellect has ever grappled
are here discussed. We maintain that a mastery
of the contents of this book will in itself provide
an intellectual discipline no other book can give.
Refinement of character, refinement of thought, refinement
of speech, all of the essential characteristics of
the intellectual as well as of the spiritual life,
have been found in our own church from the beginning,
among those whose only advantages have been a personal
religious experience and the consequent love and continuous
study of God’s word as well as among those who
have had all the advantages of the schools.
No man need be afraid of exhausting the truth in the
Bible. No man can ever flatter himself that he
has got beyond it. Whatever his intellectual
attainments may be, the Bible will still have further
message for him.