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The Bible and the Common People.

The Bible and the Common People.

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Published by glennpease

" The entrance of Thy Word giveth light."— PsaZms 119 : 130.

" The entrance of Thy Word giveth light."— PsaZms 119 : 130.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 15, 2013
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THE BIBLE AD THE COMMO PEOPLE.By DAVID SWIG" The entrance of Thy Word giveth light."— PsaZms 119 : 130.THE Sunday having come upon which this con-gregation has been accustomed to contributetoward a wider circulation of the Bible, my remarksthis morning will be upon " The Bible and theHumbler Classes." The Bible Society does notpretend to exhaust its money and solicitude upon* those who stand high in either riches or education.Its work is among the lowly, and hence we maywell inquire into the relations of the Book to thepeople. This Church has, in that ten years of itslife known to me, shown a deep interest in thisbranch of Christian beneficence, and may I not hopethat its last contribution under this pastorate maybe marked by the old generosity and by the oldfaith in the Book of books?Inasmuch as the Bible is destined soon to beomitted from the list of books taught in the public11162 THE BIBLE AKB THE COMMO PEOPLE.schools, tlie work of disseminating the truths of theScriptures will soon devolve wholly upon theChurch, and this fact will make the Bible Society agreater instrument of good in the future than ithas ever been in the past. We can not hope muchfrom any compulsory reading of morals. While theBible held its place in the schools by power of conscience, or by a cheerful public consent, all waswell. Its lessons fell on good ground like seed
sown upon rich soil in the sunshine of Spring.When these divine lessons at last need the strongarm of law, and of doubtful or unjust law, tosustain them in public schools, then they cease tofall upon the heart as dew from Heaven, but cometo the ear more as orders from a powerful despotwhose potency is to be found in the police. In aew England village, two weeks ago, in a schoolwhere half were Catholic and half were Protestantchildren, the village schoolmaster and village priestfell to fighting in the school room as to the readingor the not reading of the Sermon on the Mount.It is said that much of German infidelity hascome from an enforced religion. Compulsory Biblesand compulsory prayers have never proven a valu-able element in the spread of religion. Much lesscan they prove valuable in a land whose greatTHE BIBLE AD THE COMMO PEOPLE. 163motto is liberty, and of which liberty religiousfreedom is a most conspicuous part. An enforcedreading of the Bible would only make its pagesabsolutely hateful to Catholic and Jew and skeptic,and thus as legal power should come to the supportof the book, its intrinsic moral power would passaway. For many reasons the Bible will be withdrawnfrom the public schools as rapidly as any religiousopposition may demand such a withdrawal, and in afew years the Church will remain the chief moralhope of the country.Religion, from its very nature, must work its wayforward only by love. Its power lies not in legis-latures, but in persuasion, and the more gently theBible comes to people's homes and to the children,the more divine will the book appear.
Among the peaceful agents in the instruction of the humbler classes we must to-day mention theAmerican Bible Society. The society is composedof all the denominations of Protestants, and itdistributes the book without note or comment.There is in such a society something broad thatought to captivate the heart of this congregationthat glories in broadness, and that cordially hatesthe fog that hangs over the low coast of religioussectarianism.164 TEE BIBLE AD THE COMMO PEOPLE.1. Permit me to remind you, first, that the cold-ness toward the Scriptures now existing in the worldis limited to certain classes. There are thousands of scientific minds who have been led by their studiesto feel that there is a discord between the Book of Revelation and the Book of ature. In this dilemmathey cling to their idol, nature, and look withCQntempt upon the book of paper and ink. otbeing able to serve two masters, and assuming thatthe masters disagree, they naturally confess theirallegiance to the world of hill and vale, and oceanand rock, and air and light; and neglect the worldof St. John, and St. Paul, and Magdalen, and Christ.What causes may have led to this defection on thepart of science we can not here inquire. We mayaccept of the defection as a fact, as a temporaryfact, and thus pass it by.2. There is a second sedition or rebellion existingamong the more highly educated, be they scientific,or metaphysical, or philosophic, or simply well-informed minds. This rebellion against the Bible isvery extensive, and is, perhaps, somewhat on theincrease. It has come in its wide and sad extent

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