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bible Summary and Overview

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bible in Easton's Bible Dictionary

Bible, the English form of the Greek name "Biblia", meaning "books," the name which in the fifth century began to be given to the entire collection of sacred books, the "Library of Divine Revelation." The name Bible was adopted by Wickliffe, and came gradually into use in our English language. The Bible consists of sixty-six different books, composed by many different writers, in three different languages, under different circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests, tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at various periods during the space of about 1600 years: and yet, after all, it is only one book dealing with only one subject in its numberless aspects and relations, the subject of man's redemption. It is divided into the Old Testament, containing thirty-nine books, and the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books. The names given to the Old in the writings of the New are "the scriptures" (Matt. 21:42), "scripture" (2 Pet. 1:20), "the holy scriptures" (Rom. 1:2), "the law" (John 12:34), "the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms" (Luke 24:44), "the law and the prophets" (Matt. 5:17), "the old covenant" (2 Cor. 3:14, R.V.). There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament and the New. (See APOCRYPHA T0000263.) The Old Testament is divided into three parts:, 1. The Law (Torah), consisting of the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses. 2. The Prophets, consisting of (1) the former, namely, Joshua, Judges, the Books of Samuel, and the Books of Kings; (2) the latter, namely, the greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets. 3. The Hagiographa, or holy writings, including the rest of the books. These were ranked in three divisions:, (1) The Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, distinguished by the Hebrew name, a word formed of the initial letters of these books, "emeth", meaning truth. (2) Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, called the five rolls, as being written for the synagogue use on five separate rolls. (3) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles. Between the Old and the New Testament no addition was made to the revelation God had already given. The period of New Testament revelation, extending over a century, began with the appearance of John the Baptist. The New Testament consists of (1) the historical books, viz., the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles; (2) the Epistles; and (3) the book of prophecy, the Revelation. The division of the Bible into chapters and verses is altogether of human invention, designed to facilitate reference to it. The ancient Jews divided the Old Testament into certain sections for use in the synagogue service, and then at a later period, in the ninth century A.D., into verses. Our modern system of chapters for all the books of the Bible was introduced by Cardinal Hugo about the middle of the thirteenth century (he died 1263). The system of verses for the New Testament was introduced by Stephens in 1551, and generally adopted, although neither Tyndale's nor Coverdale's English translation of the Bible has verses. The division is not always wisely made, yet it is very useful. (See VERSION T0003768.)

bible in Smith's Bible Dictionary

The Bible is the name given to the revelation of God to man contained in sixty-six books or pamphlets, bound together and forming one book and only one, for it has in reality one author and one purpose and plan, and is the development of one scheme of the redemption of man. I. ITS NAMES.-- (1) The Bible, i.e. The Book, from the Greek "ta biblia," the books. The word is derived from a root designating the inner bark of the linden tree, on which the ancients wrote their books. It is the book as being superior to all other books. But the application of the word BIBLE to the collected books of the Old and New Testaments is not to be traced farther back than the fifth century of our era. (2) The Scriptures, i.e. the writings, as recording what was spoken by God. (3) The Oracles, i.e. the things spoken, because the Bible is what God spoke to man, and hence also called (4) The Word. (5) The Testaments or Covenants, because it is the testimony of God to man, the truths to which God bears witness; and is also the covenant or agreement of God with man for his salvation. (6) The Law, to express that it contains God's commands to men. II. COMPOSITION.--The Bible consists of two great parts, called the Old and New Testaments, separated by an interval of nearly four hundred years. These Testaments are further divided into sixty-six books, thirty-nine in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New. These books are a library in themselves being written in every known form old literature. Twenty-two of them are historical, five are poetical, eighteen are prophetical, twenty-one are epistolary. They contain logical arguments, poetry, songs and hymns, history, biography, stories, parables, fables, eloquence, law, letters and philosophy. There are at least thirty-six different authors, who wrote in three continents, in many countries, in three languages, and from every possible human standpoint. Among these authors were kings, farmers, mechanics, scientific men, lawyers, generals, fishermen, ministers and priests, a tax-collector, a doctor, some rich, some poor, some city bred, some country born--thus touching all the experiences of men extending over 1500 years. III. UNITY.--And yet the Bible is but one book, because God was its real author, and therefore, though he added new revelations as men could receive them, he never had to change what was once revealed. The Bible is a unit, because (1) It has but one purpose, the salvation of men. (2) The character of God is the same. (3) The moral law is the same. (4) It contains the development of one great scheme of salvation. IV. ORIGINAL LANGUAGES.--The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, a Shemitic language, except that parts of the books of Ezra #Ezr 5:8; 6:12; 7:12-26| and of Daniel #Da 2:4-7,28| and one verse in Jeremiah #Jer 10:11| were written in the Chaldee language. The New Testament is written wholly in Greek. V. ANCIENT MANUSCRIPTS OF THE ORIGINAL.--There are no ancient Hebrew manuscripts older than the tenth century, but we know that these are in the main correct, because we have a translation of the Hebrew into Greek, called the Septuagint, made nearly three hundred years before Christ. Our Hebrew Bibles are a reprint from what is called the Masoretic text. The ancient Hebrew had only the consonant printed, and the vowels were vocalized in pronunciation, but were not written. Some Jewish scholars living at Tiberias, and at Sora by the Euphrates, from the sixth to the twelfth century, punctuated the Hebrew text, and wrote is the vowel points and other tone-marks to aid in the reading of the Hebrew; and these, together with notes of various kinds, they called Masora (tradition), hence the name Masoretic text. 0f the Greek of the New Testament there are a number of ancient manuscripts They are divided into two kinds, the Uncials, written wholly in capitals, and the Cursives, written in a running hand. The chief of these are-- (1) the Alexandrian (codex Alexandrinus, marked A), so named because it was found in Aiexandria in Egypt, in 1628. It date back to A.D. 350, and is now in the British Museum. (2) The Vatican (codex Vaticanus, B), named from the Vatican library at Rome, where it is kept. Its date is A.D. 300 to 325. (3) The Sinaitic (codex Sinaiticus) so called from the convent of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai, there it was discovered by or Tichendorf in 1844. It is now at St. Petersburg Russia. This is one of the earliest best of all the manuscripts. VI. TRANSLATIONS.--The Old Testament was translated into Greek by a company of learned Jews at Alexandria, who began their labor about the year B.C. 286. It is called the Septuagint, i.e. the seventy, from the tradition that it was translated by seventy (more exactly seventy-two) translators. The Vulgate, or translation of the Bible into Latin by Jerome, A.D. 385-405, is the authorized version of the Roman Catholic Church. The first English translation of the whole Bible was by John de Wickliffe (1324-1384). Then followed that of William Tyndale (1525) and several others. As the sum and fruit of all these appeared our present Authorized Version, or King James Version, in 1611. It was made by forty-seven learned men, in two years and nine months, with a second revision which took nine months longer. These forty-seven formed themselves into six companies, two of whom met at Westminster, two at Oxford and two at Cambridge. The present English edition is an improvement, in typographical and grammatical correctness, upon this revision, and in these respects is nearly perfect. [See VERSIONS] A REVISED VERSION of this authorized edition was made by a group of American and English scholars, and in 1881 the Revised New Testament was published simultaneously in the United States and England. Then followed the Revised Old Testament in 1885, and the Apocrypha in 1894. The American revision committee was permitted to publish its own revision, which appeared in 1901 as the American Standard Version. Modern-speech translations have been made from time to time between 1898-1945. Among these were Moulton's Modern Reader's Bible, the Twentieth century New Testament, Weymouth's, Moffatt's, and the American translation. As a result of the modern-speech translations that have appeared and been widely received, the American Revision Committee set to work again, and in 1946 the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament was published. VII. DIVISIONS INTO CHAPTERS AND VERSES.--The present division of the whole Bible into chapters was made by Cardinal Hugo de St. Gher about 1250. The present division into verses was introduced by Robert Stephens in his Greek Testament, published in 1551, in his edition of the Vulgate, in 1555. The first English Bible printed with these chapters and verses was the Geneva Bible, in 1560. VIII. CIRCULATION OF THE BIBLE.--The first book ever printed was the Bible; and more Bibles have been printed than any other book. It has been translated, in its entirety or in part, into more than a thousand languages and dialects and various systems for the blind. The American Bible Society (founded in 1816) alone has published over 356 million volumes of Scripture.

bible in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

THE HOLY BI'BLE is the name given to the collection of books which contains the revelation of God in the creation, redemption, and sanctification of the world; a history of the past dealing of God with his people; a prophecy of coming events till the final consummation; and a living exhibition of saving truth in doctrine, precept, and example for all men and all time. The name is from the Greek (biblia, "the books"), and means the Book of books, the best of all books (so used since the fifth century in distinction from heretical and all uninspired writings). The collection is likewise spoken of as the "Scriptures," "the word of God." The Bible embraces the work of about forty authors from all classes of society, from the shepherd to the king, living during an interval of sixteen hundred years, but all of the Hebrew extraction, with the single exception of Luke, whose Gospel, however, came from Jewish sources, and whose fame from his association with Paul. All forms of literary composition unite to give the Bible its unique interest, aside from its religious importance. These books, though differing in age, contents, and style, represent one and the same system of truth as revealed by God in its various aspects and adaptations to the existing wants and progressive understanding of his people. The Bible is not a book simply; it is an institution. It never grows old; it renews its youth with every age of humanity, and increases in interest and importance as history advances. It is to the Christian the only infallible source and rule of his faith and conduct; it is his daily bread of life, his faithful guide in holy living and dying, his best friend and companion -- far more precious than all other books combined. It is now more extensively studied than ever, and its readers will continue to multiply from day to day to all parts of the earth and to the end of time. Let us add some testimonies to its importance. The eloquent F. W. Robertson says: "This collection of books has been to the world what no other book has ever been to a nation. States have been founded on its principles; kings rule by a compact based on it; men hold it in their hands when they give solemn evidence affecting death or property; the sick man is almost afraid to die unless the Book be within reach of his hands; the battle-ship goes into action with one on board whose office is to expound it; its prayers, its psalms, are the language we use when we speak to God; eighteen centuries have found no holier, no diviner language. The very translation of it has fixed language and settled the idioms of speech. It has made the most illiterate peasant more familiar with the history, customs, and geography of ancient Palestine than with the localities of his own country. . . . The orator holds a thousand men for half an hour breathless, a thousand men as one listening to his single word. But this word of God has held a thousand nations for thrice a thousand years spell-bound -- held them by an abiding power, even the universality of its truth; and we feel it to be no more a collection of books, but the Book." The translators of the A. V., in their Address unto the Reader (reprinted in the Cambridge Paragraph Bible), say of the Bible: "And what marvel? -- the original thereof being from heaven, not from earth; the author being God, not man; the inditer, the Holy Spirit, not the wit of the apostles or prophets; the penmen, such as were sanctified from the womb and endued with a principal portion of God's Spirit; the matter, verity, piety, purity, uprightness; the form, God's word, God's testimony, God's oracles, the word of truth, the word of salvation, etc.; the effects, light of understanding, stableness of persuasion, repentance from dead works, newness of life, holiness, peace, joy in the Holy Ghost; lastly, the end and reward of the study thereof, fellowship with the saints, participation of the heavenly nature, fruition of an inheritance immortal, undefiled, and that shall never fade away. Happy is the man that delighteth in the Scripture, and thrice happy that meditateth in it day and night!" The Bible is ordinarily divided into two parts, called the Old and New Testaments. But it would be more accurate to say "the Old and New Covenants," inasmuch as "testament" implies the idea of a will and the death of the testator. In the present article the general questions in regard to the Bible will be discussed. The matters relating to the formation of the collection will be found under Canon, and the particulars of the different books under their respective names.
Also See: The Bible The Text of the Bible The Hebrew Bible The Greek New Testament The Original Languages of the Bible The Original Language of the Old Testament The Original Language of the New Testament


bible in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

THE Book by preeminence. "Next to God the Word," says Fuller (Pisgah Sight), "I love the word of God. I profess myself a pure leveler, desiring that all human conceits, though built on specious bottoms, may be laid flat, if opposing the written word." The term "Bible," though dating only from the 5th century in its sacred and exclusive use, is virtually expressed in the designations occurring in itself: "The Scripture" (John 10:35; John 20:9; Romans 4:3; 2 Peter 1:20); "the Book" (Psalm 40:7, cepher); "the Scripture (kithab) of truth" (Daniel 10:21). The books composing it are not isolated, but form together an organic unity, one whole made up of mutually related parts, progressively advancing to the one grand end, the restoration of the fallen creature through the love and righteousness of our God. The Lord comprehends and stamps with divine sanction the whole Old Testament, under the threefold division recognized by the Jews, "the law, the prophets, and the psalms" (including all the holy writings not included in the other two, namely, the Hagiographa) (Luke 24:44). The Torah, or law, is mentioned as a book (including the five books of the Pentateuch) (Joshua 1:8; Joshua 8:31-35; Joshua 24:26). The Hebrew names of the five books of the Pentateuch are taken from the initial words of the several books. The names we use are from the Greek Septuagint: "Genesis" (creation) answering to bereeshit ("in the beginning".) And so the rest: Exodus (Israel's departure from Egypt) answering to weeleh shemot ("and these are the names"), etc. "The prophets" comprise the former (Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings), and the latter, comprising the greater (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel) and the less (the twelve minor prophets). The including of histories among the prophets arose from the fact that they were the inspired productions of such prophetic men as Samuel, Gad the seer of David (1 Chronicles 29:29), Nathan, Ahijah, and Iddo (2 Chronicles 9:29). The schools of the prophets trained such men as Isaiah for the office of historian (2 Chronicles 26:22; 2 Chronicles 32:32). Daniel is not included among the prophets, because he did not hold the prophet's office among the chosen people. The Hagio-grapha, or "sacred writings" (kethubim, from kathab, to write), include (1) Psalms, Proverbs, Job; (2) The Song of Solomon of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther; (3) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 and 2 Chronicles. The first three, from their initial letters, were called meth, "truth." The second five were called "the five rolls" (chamesh megillot), written for use in the synagogue on special feasts. Ecclesiastes (qoheleth) means "The Preacher." Chronicles bear the Hebrew name "words of days," i.e. records, the Greek paraleipomena, "things omitted" in Kings and here supplied as a supplement. The apocryphal books are never found in the Hebrew canon, and exist only in the Greek Septuagint. The Second Epistle of Peter (2 Peter 3:16) shows that the epistles of Paul were recognized as part of "Scripture" at the time when Peter wrote: "in all his epistles are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned ... wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures;" compare 2 Peter 3:2; "be mindful of the words ... spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior." Justin Martyr (Apology 1:66) states that "the memoirs of the apostles" were read side by side with the scriptures of the prophets. Clement of Alexandria speaks of the New Testament making up with the Old Testament "one knowledge." Tertullian terms them together "the whole instrument of both Testaments," "the complete-together Scripture." The Syrian version (Peshitto) at the close of the 2nd century contains the New Testament with the Old Testament. The eastern churches set the catholic epistles before the Pauline. The quotations, Luke 20:37, "at the bush," i.e. the section concerning the flaming bush; Romans 11:2 margin, "in Elias," i.e. in the passage concerning Elias; Acts 8:32, "the place of the Scripture"; show that some divisions of the Old Testament existed, with titles from their subjects. A cycle of lessons is implied in Luke 4:17; Acts 13:15; Acts 15:21; 2 Corinthians 3:14. The law was divided into 54 Parshioth or sections; a section for each sabbath in the year. Shorter Parshioth also existed, subdivided into open sections (Petuchoth) like our paragraphs, marking a change of subjects; and shut ones (Satumoth) or less divisions. The divisions of the prophets were called Haphtaroth, from patar, to "dismiss"; as Missa or "Mass" comes from the dismissal of the congregation on its completion. Verses (Pecuqiym) were marked by the Masoretic editors of the text in the 9th century A.D. Stephens adopted them in his Vulgate, 1555; the English translation in the Geneva Bible of 1560. Our arrangement has adopted Cardinal Hugo's chapters and the Masoretic verses. Tartan, in the 2nd century, formed the first harmony of the four Gospels, called the Diatessaron. The elder Stephens, in a riding journey from Paris to Lyons, subdivided the New Testament chapters into verses, and the first edition with this division appeared in 1551. In reading the Bible we should remember these divisions have no authority; and where they break the sense, or mar the flow of thought, they are to be disregarded. The Four Gospels stand first in the New Testament, setting forth the Lord Jesus' ministry in the flesh; the Acts, His ministry in the Spirit, His church's (the temple of the Holy Spirit) foundation and extension, internally and externally. To the histories succeed the epistles of Paul the apostle of faith, Peter of hope, and John of love, unfolding the gospel facts and truths more in detail; just as in the Old Testament the histories come first, then the inspired teachings based on and intimately connected with them, in Psalms, Proverbs, the Song of Solomon of Solomon, and the Prophets. Finally comes Revelation, answering to Daniel, the prophetic Apocalypse of the Old Testament The first three Gospels are called "the synoptical Gospels," giving a synopsis of Christ's ministry in Galilee; John's gives His ministry in Judea. They dwell more on Christ's Spirit-filled humanity; He on His Divinity, from everlasting one with God. The New Testament 27 books, emanating from nine different persons, and the Old Testament 39 books, separated from each other by distances of time, space, and character, yet form a marvelously intertwined unity, tending all to the one end. Internal and external evidence disprove the possibility of their being written by several authors combining to palm an imposture on the world. How are we to account for the mutual connection and profound unity? The only answer that meets the exigencies of the case is, the word of God "came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21). Rationalists try to disintegrate the parts of the sacred volume, but the more they do so the greater is the need for believing in one divine superintending Mind to account for a unity which palpably exists, though the writers themselves did not design it (see 1 Peter 1:10-12). If the parts of a watch be disconnected, it needs only for the maker to put them together again, to show their unity of design. However widely apart the makers of the several parts may live, the master mind used the makers as his workmen, and contrived and combined the parts into one. Infinite intelligence alone could combine into one the works of men of so various minds and of ages so. wide apart as the sacred writers, beginning with Moses the legislator and ending with John the divine. Moreover, anyone book cannot be taken from the canon without breaking a link in the complete chain. Inspiration was needed alike in producing each sacred book, and in guiding the church (while it was still possessing the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit) which to omit of even inspired books. Whatever was not necessary for all ages, though needed for the church's good for a time, were omitted (see Colossians 4:16). The credibility of the Old Testament is established by establishing that of the New Testament, for the Lord quotes the Old Testament in its threefold parts, "the law, the prophets, and the psalms," as the word of God. The sacred Canon of the Old Testament was completed under Ezra. frontCANON.) We find Daniel shortly before having in his hands the book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 9:2). Paul says that one grand preeminence of the Jews was that unto them were committed the oracles of God (Romans 3:2), and they are never accused of unfaithfulness in their trust. The monotheism of the Old Testament is the very opposite to the tendencies of Gentile and Israelite alike to idolatry. Again the Bible inverts the relative importance of events as men commonly regard them. Its sole aim is the honor of God, contrary to man's inclination. The great events of ordinary history are untouched, except in so far as flier bear upon the kingdom of God. Yet God is throughout represented as ruling in the kingdoms of men, Gentiles as well as Jews (Daniel 4:17). Pharaoh, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus while doing their own will, appear in the Bible as God's instruments, overruled to carry out His purposes. It is no Jewish vanity which causes the Bible to be silent about most of the great political events of the world and to dwell so much on Israel; for what the Bible records redounds to Israel's shame as an apostate people, and its allusions to surrounding nations are often to record their being made God's instruments to chastise themselves. Yet it is to the Bible alone we have owed for ages almost all that is most certain of the history of Moab (since confirmed by the Moabite stone), of the Amorites, and even of Nineveh and Babylon. The two latter were entombed for thousands of years until lately, and the discovery of their monuments has remarkably confirmed holy writ. The analogies of nature and of history to Bible truths powerfully confirm its emanation from the same God. The gradual development of the divine plan of redemption answers to the gradual development of God's design in the formation and in the moral government of the world. The historic development of the Bible scheme corresponds to God's working out His plans in the world by moral agents. And His revealing His will "in many portions" (polumeros; Hebrews 1:1, one prophet or inspired person or writer receiving one portion of revelation, another another: to Noah the quarter of the world where Messiah should appear, to Abraham the nation, to Jacob the tribe, to David and Isaiah the family, to Micah the town, to Daniel the time), and "in divers manners," corresponds to tits sending from time to time a Bacon, Newton, Shakespeare, etc., into the social world for the advancement of mankind in science and civilization. As to natural science, the Bible is so framed in language as to adapt itself (on being closely examined) to advancing intelligence, according as the ruder theories are superseded by the more accurate. The language being for all classes, not merely the so-called scientific, is phenomenal; it speaks by appearances, which even philosophers must often do, as in the phrase "sunrise," "sunset." The tongue through which the Old Testament revelation of God speaks is the Hebrew, that of the chosen nation, except parts of Ezra and Daniel and Jeremiah. The tongue of the New Testament is the Greek, best adapted of all languages for expressing most accurately the nicest and most delicate shades of thought and doctrine. A very remarkable proof of the Divinity of the New Testament is the marked difference between it and the writings of even the apostolic fathers that immediately succeeded: Clement of Rome, Ignatius, and Polycarp. Daille remarked, "God has allowed a fosse to be drawn by human weakness round the sacred canon, to keep it from invasion." How remarkably too God kept the Jews, our librarians of the Old Testament, from altering, to meet their prejudices, the sacred books that record their sins and national disgrace. Though they hated and killed the prophets, they never mutilated their prophecies. King Jehoiakim alone cut a roll of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 36:23-24), and burnt it in the fire. But the act is recorded as one of exceptional profanity; and immediately the same words were written again with added woes, to show man's impotence against the word of God. Also for 14 centuries the church, though in various sections of it falling into various unscriptural heresies, has never added to, nor taken from, the New Testament canon. How natural it, would have been for the church of Rome to have added something favorable to her pretensions. She has burnt saints, with their writings hung round their neck. She has shown her will to add to Scripture itself adding the Apocrypha to the Old Testament just where her addition cannot prejudice the cause of truth fatally, for the Jews witness against her in this. But in the New Testament, where she might have done mischief, she has been divinely constrained to maintain, without addition or subtraction, the canon which testifies against herself. The exact adaptation of the Bible to man's complex being, body, soul, and spirit -reason, emotion, conscience -and to outward nature in its varied aspects, confirms its divine authorship. It stands in marked contrast to all Gentile cosmogonies, in its majestic simplicity and evidently unmythical character. Of all other nations the oldest writings are poems, and they abound in poetic inventions. In the Bible, on the contrary, poetry is least found in the earliest books. Not until the broad midday light of David's reign does the first collection of poems, namely, his psalms, appear. The pagan ancient sacred stories, as those of the Hindus, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, present scenes of the unseen world merely gratifying idle curiosity and a prurient imagination. The same is true of the Koran. The Bible, with its old law of the Ten Commandments, gives the most perfect manifestation of the divine character and requirements from man, and this at a time when the human legislator, Moses, had just come from a nation sunk in the most debasing pollution and superstition. Another striking fact is, Israel has left scarcely any remains of art, and certainly nothing comparable to the masterpieces of the pagan; but it has handed down the Book which infinitely excels all that the genius of the whole world beside has produced. Pantheism, and the worship of nature as an abstract entity, lay at the root of all pagan idolatries. The Bible alone reveals the holy, just, loving, omnipotent, omniscient, personal, one and only God. Whenever their gods became personal, they ceased to be ONE; they were mere personifications of various powers of nature; fate, not the will of God, ruled all. But the word reflects the moral character of the perfectly holy God, and requires His worshippers to be what He is, holy. That such a book should originate among a small and rather perverse people, surrounded by idolatrous nations, and that it should receive additions in successive ages of the same people, harmonizing marvelously with the earliest books, in spite of frequent apostasy in the nation, can only be accounted for by believing its authorship to be divine. The Koran's moral precepts are at variance with its picture of the sensual heaven which awaits its votaries. The pagan mythologies in their indecent histories of gods counteracted their moral precepts. The morality of the Bible rests on the infinitely pure attributes of the God of the Bible. The Bible faithfully portrays man's universal corruption, its origin, and at the same time the sure hope of redemption, thus meeting fully man's profoundest wants. It gives peace to the conscience, without lowering the holy strictness of God's justice, but, on the contrary, in Christ "magnifying the law and making it honorable." There is an entire correspondence between the gospel way of salvation and the soul's deep conviction of the need of atonement for guilt. The lovely character of Christ in the Bible, the perfect manhood and Godhead combined, above whatever uninspired man conceived not to say attained, the adaptation of the Bible to man's varied distresses (which occupy the larger part of it), and to his circumstances in all times and places, the completeness wherewith the end corresponds to the beginning, the close presenting before us man enjoying God's presence and marriage-like union with Him, no curse, no sin, no pain, no death, and the tree of life and waters of life which the beginning represented him as possessing before the fall, all assure us that "the words of the Lord are pure, as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times" (Psalm 12:6). There is a break in revelation now, just as there was for 400 years between the Old Testament and the New Testament, after the outburst of them in connection with the rearing of the second temple. John the Baptist, at the close of the 400 years, ushered in the brightest light yet manifested. This period of New Testament revelations lasted for one century. Then have followed the 18 centuries which walk in the light of that last manifestation. The silence has been longer than before, but it will be succeeded by a more glorious revelation than all the past. The former 400 years' break directed the world's undivided attention to Messiah, so that His identity could not be mistaken. The Jews scattered providentially over the world by the captivity, and everywhere bearing the Old Testament, matured the universal expectancy during the silent centuries. Their present longer dispersion, and the diffusion of the whole Bible in all lands, are preparing for Messiah's manifestation in glory. Finally, the miracles wrought in connection with the Bible, and attested on infallible proofs, and the prophecies of the Old Testament (proved to have been given when they profess to be, by the fact that the Jews who oppose Christianity attest their age, and fulfilled minutely in the New Testament) establish the inspired truth of the Bible. Bad men could never have written so holy a book, and good men would never have written it if it were an imposture. Its sobriety and freedom from fanaticism and mysticism preclude the idea of its being the production of self deceiving fanatics. The national prejudices of all the New Testament writers, as Jews, were in behalf of an immediate temporal kingdom and an outwardly reigning Messiah, the very reverse of what His actual manifestation was. Nothing but superhuman inspiration could have turned them to write so spiritually and so at variance with all their early prejudices. Reader, if you want to know the divinity of the Bible, experimentally taste and feed upon it. The best defense of the Bible is the Bible itself. The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. "Diamonds alone cut diamonds" (Fuller). "Have thou the palate of faith, that thou mayest taste the honey of God" (Augustine).