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Full text of "The Bible and life"



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EDWIN HOLT HUGHES 




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THE BIBLE AND LIFE 



BY 

EDWIN HOLT HUGHES 

Bishop of the Methodist Ep ipcty al Church 




THE METHODIST BOOK CONCERN 

NEW YORK CINCINNATI 



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i 



6 



Copyright, 1915, by 
EDWIN HOLT HUGHES 



First Edition printed February, 1915 
Reprinted June, 1915 



TO 

CHARLES RAISBECK MAGEE 



-n t \ 1 



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9jZ6 
H S7 



CONTENTS 








CHAFTBR PAGE 

Introduction . 9 


Foreword 






11 


Biographical Note 






13 


The Human Outline . 






19 


I. The Bible and Life . . 






21 


II. The Bible and Man 






49 


III. The Bible and Home . 






76 


IV. The Bible and Education 






102 


V. The Bible and Work 






125 


VI. The Bible and Wealth . 






151 


VII. The Bible and Sorrow 






185 


VIII. The Bible and Practice . , 






213 



INTEODUCTION 

By the courteous invitation of the President, 
Faculty, and Trustees of DePauw University, 
the writer had the privilege of delivering the 
first series of lectures under the foundation 
as endowed by his friend, the Kev. Marma- 
duke H. Mendenhall. The following com- 
ments are the only introductory words that 
need be given. 

The terms of the lectures were kept strictly 
within the radius of real life. The author 
does not claim to be a biblical scholar in any 
technical sense. Nor did he deem that the 
primary need of the students whom he ad- 
dressed would be met by a discussion of 
theories of inspiration or of dates and author- 
ships. College students have a passion for 
reality, and the most convincing apologetic 
for them is the argument from actual living. 

Under the instruction of the founder the 
lectures are to be placed in permanent form 
for the students of the University and for the 
wider public. The lecturer having been re- 
warded by the close attention of hundreds of 

9 



10 INTRODUCTION 

youthful hearers, the writer will have a still 
greater reward if those who heard the words 
as spoken in Meharry Hall are joined by the 
larger company who will listen for the voice 
of the Spirit in these pages. 

Edwin Holt Hughes. 



THE MENDENHALL LECTUKES 
FOEEWOKD 

The late Reverend Marmaduke H. Menden- 
liall, D.D., of the North Indiana Conference 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church, donated 
to DePauw University the sum of ten thou- 
sand dollars, the purpose and conditions of 
which gift are set forth in his bequest as 
follows : 

The object of this gift is "to found a per- 
petual lectureship on the evidences of the 
Divine Origin of Christianity, to be known as 
the Mendenhall Foundation. The income from 
this fund shall be used for the support of an 
Annual Lectureship, the design of which 
shall be the exhibition of the proofs, from all 
sources, of the Divine Origin, Inspiration, 
and Authority of the Holy Scriptures. The 
course of lectures shall be delivered annually 
before the University and the public without 
any charge for admission. 

"The lecturers shall be chosen by an elect- 
ing body consisting of the President of the 
University, the five senior members of the 
Faculty of the College of Liberal Arts, and 
the President of the Board of Trustees, sub- 

11 



12 FOKEWORD 

ject to the approval of the Board of Bishops 
of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The lec- 
turers must be persons of high and wide re- 
pute, of broad and varied scholarship, who 
firmly adhere to the evangelical system of 
Christian faith. The selection of lecturers 
may be made from the world of Christian 
scholarship without regard to denominational 
divisions. Each course of lectures is to be 
published in book form by an eminent publish- 
ing house and sold at cost to the Faculty and 
students of the University." 

George R. Grose^ 
President of DePauw University, 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 

Inasmuch as future lecturers on the Men- 
denhall Foundation may not have had the 
privilege of personal acquaintance with the 
founder, it is doubtless good that this first 
volume may record the outlines of his life 
and character. Marmaduke H. Mendenhall 
was born at Guilford, North Carolina, May 
13, 1836. He died at Union City, Indiana, 
October 9, 1905. He was the son of Himelius 
and Priscilla Mendenhall, who, when their 
son was about one year old, came northward 
and settled near Peru, Indiana. Doctor Men- 
denhall did not suggest in manner or bear- 
ing that he was Southern born. Had one 
chosen to judge of his birthplace by the 
man himself, one would have said that he 
was a typical son of New England. His 
deeper self was typified by his personal ap- 
pearance. He was tall, stately, dignified, 
serious, earnest. 

He joined the North Indiana Conference of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1856. 
Those days were still pioneer, and he entered 
gladly into the sacrificial ministry of that 

13 



14 BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 

period. It is a singular coincidence that he 
was doubtless the first minister of his faith 
to begin work near Union City, where he 
closed his earthly labors. It was his privilege, 
also, to build the first Methodist Episcopal 
church in the city where he died. The history 
of his ministry shows that he served all classes 
of charges- — country, city, village, county seat. 
Several times the record is dotted with the 
word "Mission," which would indicate that 
he frequently followed the apostolic fashion 
of building strictly on his own foundations. 
He came to a place of leadership in his own 
Conference. To the day of his death he was 
an influential factor in all its plans and pro- 
grams. Though he had been technically 
"superannuated'' for sixteen years prior to his 
death, his mind kept its full vigor, and his 
word kept its full weight. Twice he was 
elected a reserve delegate to the General 
Conference, while in 1880 he was chosen as 
one of the regular delegates. 

From the beginning of his ministry Dr. 
Mendenhall showed the signs of a remarkable 
mind, and at the end of his ministry he was 
still manifesting a keen interest in current 
questions and in theological problems. His 
library to the last was freshened by the pur- 
chase of new books. When he turned his 
many volumes over to Gammon Theological 



BIOGKAPHIOAL NOTE 15 

Seminary that institution did not receive hun- 
dreds of antiquated volumes, but rather a 
collection brought down to date and selected 
by a master judgment. The intellectual, 
though suffused at times by a proper and 
restrained emotion, was his noticeable char- 
acteristic. He was given to thorough analysis. 
He was markedly painstaking. Eecords that 
he made of the conduct of his public services 
indicate that the final details were all re- 
garded, and that hymns and Scripture lessons 
were chosen with a view to their bearing on 
the instruction of the day. 

Being a vigorous personality, he held his 
views with strength. He was keenly loyal to 
his convictions, whether these related to 
methods of work or to statements of doctrine. 
In his advocacy or in his antagonism he was 
always frank and open. His opponent could 
see him standing out in plain view, with no 
effort to protect himself by secrecy. Men 
could never doubt his sincerity, however much 
they might question the correctness of his 
positions. He knew no sinuous paths. He 
was as direct as sunlight, and he traveled in 
straight lines. 

In all his spheres of work Dr. Mendenhall 
made deep and lasting impressions. Highly 
intellectual as he was, he was still an excellent 
administrator. His business qualifications 



16 BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 

were signal. Every matter committed to Mm 
was cared for with scrupulous nicety. He 
left no loose ends to any of his work. Although 
his salaries were never large, as salaries are 
counted to-day, he secured a comfortable 
property, and this in spite of the fact that 
throughout his lifetime he was a generous 
contributor to good causes. 

He served as a trustee of De Pauw Univer- 
sity longer than other member of his Confer- 
ence had served, up to the time of his death. 
From 1878 to 1887 he served in this capacity, 
while in 1896 he was reelected and was an 
active worker on the board up to the end of 
his life. He aided in pushing the institution 
through its crisis. The files of this writer 
disclose a careful and helpful correspondence 
upon matters vital to the welfare of the Uni- 
versity. In the sessions of the board he was 
always urbane and conciliatory. He crowned 
the work of his life by leaving to the University 
all of his estate. Upon the in .Tease of the 
estate to a certain figure, the income was to 
be used in founding a lectureship on Revealed 
Religion, especially as related to the Holy 
Bible. 

Although the writer was an i itimate friend 
of Dr. Mendenhall, he cannot remember 
any statements made to him which would 
indicate the founder's views of inspiration 



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 17 

or of the other questions that have made the 
biblical problem of the last two decades. But 
his library showed that he was fully aware 
of the modern discussions. Perhaps he felt 
that a lectureship, broadly founded and prac- 
tically directed, would be of special service 
to the church in a time of transition. The 
writer entertains the conviction that, even 
though Dr. Mendenhall might not agree fully 
with all that is found in the following pages, 
he would still appreciate the effort to bring 
the Bible within its divine purpose as a Book 
of Life. 

The home of the founder revealed him as 
a model of courtesy and kindliness. Friends 
who saw him by his own fireside noted the 
benignity that matched his dignity, the ten- 
derness that equaled his seriousness. Those 
who came 'into the nearer circle of his life 
regarded him most highly. To the wife who 
survives him he was in all ways a helper, 
gentle in demeanor and loyally careful in the 
administration of her interests. As the writer 
reviews the drift of these first lectures de- 
livered under this foundation, he is persuaded 
that the founder's relation to Himself, to his 
Home, to his Work, to his Wealth, to his 
Pleasure and Sorrow, and particularly to the 
cause of Education, is not misrepresented 
herein. The Bible was his Book, and its ideals 



18 BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE 

were achieved in his living. It is the sincere 
wish that these pages may accomplish some- 
what the main purpose of the founder's heart 
in making the divine Book a brighter lamp 
for the guidance of youth. 



THE HUMAN OUTLINE 

It may be well to give in human form the 
outline which will be followed in these pages. 
The story is the story of millions of men on 
as many days. 

A man awoke one morning to the conscious- 
ness of himself. Looking about he saw the 
familiar sights of his own home, and soon he 
heard the voices of his wife and children. Ere 
long the little people were on their way to 
school. The man proceeded to his work, while 
Ms wife took up her domestic duties. He 
returned in the evening with the proceeds of 
his day's labor added to his stock of goods. 
He partook of the evening meal and then 
indulged in the pleasure of "the children's 
hour." He later called upon a friend who 
had met with sorrow and in the trouble of 
his friend he found a fresh reminder of his 
own affliction. He retired in due season to 
his slumber and went forth the next morning 
to make the like round of the day. 

This is a piece of constant biography. It 
could be duplicated by reference to many a 
personal journal and diary. If we analyze the 

19 



20 THE HUMAN OUTLINE 

description, we shall find that the man was 
driven to take a relation to Himself, to Home, 
to Education, to Work, to Wealth, to Pleasure 
and Sorrow. 

The aim of this book is to state somewhat 
the bearing that the Bible has upon these great 
departments of our human living. The apolo- 
getic tests the Book under the terms of this 
human Outline. 



CHAPTER I 

The Bible and Life 

The Bible is a book of power. The man 
who would deny this statement would impugn 
his own intelligence. It is to-day the Book 
of the strongest nations. If the strongest 
nations selected it for their inspiration and 
guidance, that fact is significant. If, on the 
other hand, the Bible has trained the strongest 
nations, that fact is more significant. In 
either case power is lodged in the Holy Scrip- 
tures. The miracle is this: That a very 
ancient Book rules a very modern world. 

Various explanations are given. Some men 
say that the Bible is powerful because it has 
been promoted by a powerful organization. 
But this explanation needs explaining. How 
did the Bible secure the aid of this organiza- 
tion? Why did not the organization take the 
Dialogues of Plato and become the evangel of 
Socrates' splendid wisdom? Why did it elect 
one particular volume? And what would 
have been the effect on its own life if it had 
chosen some other book? Would the writings 
of Marcus Aurelius or of Seneca, with their 
.21 



22 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

high moral grade and their marked religious 
insight, have served the holy purpose as effec- 
tively? When we attempt to substitute some 
other book in the Bible's place, our hesitancy 
quickly passes on to positive refusal. The 
Christian Church, with any other volume as 
its textbook, is simply inconceivable. 

Other men will say that the power of the 
Bible has come from its girding by a doctrine 
of authority. This explanation must likewise 
be explained. Could a Book without inherent 
authority be long maintained among intel- 
ligent peoples on the basis of artificial author- 
ity? Why is the Bible the best seller and the 
greatest worker in those lands where it has 
been set free to yield its own message? What 
is the peculiar quality in the Book that has 
saved any theory of its authority from appear- 
ing absurd? The Bible showed its power long 
before men adopted any theory of its power. 
Doubtless the claim of authority has increased 
the influence of the Book over certain types 
of minds. Still it may be confidently asserted 
that the claim of authority has depended far 
more on the power of the Bible than the power 
of the Bible has depended on the claim of 
authority. The effect should not be allowed 
to pass itself off as the main cause. 

Nor does the power of the Bible depend 
upon mere bulk. Shakespeare wrote enough 



THE BIBLE AND LIFE 23 

to make several Bibles. So did Scott. So did 
Dickens. So did Parkman. If the Bible is a 
moral and spiritual Encyclopedia, its material 
has been strangely condensed. It is a brief 
Book, yet out of its small compass men gather 
texts for fifty years of preaching and at the 
close of their life's task feel that the pages 
are still exhaustless. The Bible has inspired 
literature far beyond its own bulk. It is a 
small library of books gathered from many 
authors, but it has filled great libraries with 
commentaries and sermons and discussions. 
Its brevities have provoked measureless pages 
of writing. The world is big, yet it is measur- 
ably ruled by a small Book. 

It would seem likewise that a Book written 
so long ago would fail of the element of time- 
liness. That an old volume should keep its 
place in a ne^v century is in itself an anomaly. 
The last of the Bible was penned hundreds of 
years since. Accepting the most radical views 
as to dates, its youngest book was produced 
quite more than a millennium and a half ago. 
Meanwhile the world has been making amaz- 
ing progress. We boast of our achievements 
in transportation and communication. All 
ancient things seem to be outgrown, save only 
the Bible. The books that were written as 
contemporaries of parts of the great Book 
have either slipped into oblivion or are knowji 



24 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

to-day only by the intellectually elect. The 
classics are studied by a small circle of 
scholars. The average man knows nothing of 
Virgil, or Cicero, or Homer, by any direct 
contact with the works of those authors. But 
the Bible, which is out of date by the calendar, 
is not out of date by its own meaning. It is 
singularly contemporaneous. Its different 
portions were called forth by passing events 
and the Book itself is clearly touched by its 
own times. For all that, eternity appears to 
have lodged itself in it^ contemporaneousness. 
The twentieth century, eager and thrilling as 
it is, accepts a Guide Book from the distant 
years. Koman Law and Greek Art are filtered 
to the new age through modern channels. The 
Bible itself comes to us more simple and more 
powerful than any modern interpretations of 
its messages. There is a sense in which it 
declines to apply to itself its own figure of 
speech about the new wine in the old bottles. 
The Bible defies geographical distance as 
well as calendar distance. For the most part 
its record relates to what happened in a small 
and remote section of the earth. It reaches 
its climax in an obscure province which was 
smaller than many a modern county. The 
customs of which it tells are mostly gone. 
Sandals and tents and camels and parchments 
are curiosities in the new lands and new times. 



THE BIBLE AND LIFE 25 

Much of the setting of biblical events is wholly 
unknown to our day, and so must be repro- 
duced for our children in pictures and for 
our adults in descriptions. An Oriental Book 
is the chief literature of an Occidental world. 

In spite of its small size, its great age, its 
cramped geography, its vivid Orientalism, the 
Bible keeps its mastery. What is the explana- 
tion? 

It must be that the Bible appeals to some- 
thing fundamental in life itself. The final 
test of inspiration must, of course, be found 
in what the Bible does for life. A book that 
is not inspiring cannot be proved to be in- 
spired. It cannot give what it does not have 
and it must surely have received what it gives. 
It would be a mistake, however, to confuse 
formal truthfulness with inspiring vitality. 
The description of a street scene, dealing with 
the passing relations of pedestrians, wagons, 
trees, birds, houses ; the lengths and widths of 
sidewalks and streets; the figures of popula- 
tion ; the social status of the various groups — 
all this may be told with exact and mathe- 
matical truthfulness. It may be correct and 
still not be inspired or inspiring. On the 
other hand, the parable of the prodigal son 
is a story which in its precise detail may 
represent something that never occurred. But 
it has impressed the world as both inspired 



26 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

and inspiring. Its words haunt and pierce 
and coax and subdue men. This indicates 
that a story given for a spiritual purpose 
shows more essential truthfulness than does 
a description given for formal exactness. The 
reason is that the parable appeals to some- 
thing fundamental in life itself. The son and 
the father are ever with us. God and his 
children are the everlasting facts. The story 
is more true than is the description. This 
contrast represents the biblical trend. The 
Book penetrates through the husk to the 
kernel, through superficial facts to deepest 
truths, through passing events to eternal 
meanings. It is the Book of Life. 

What gives the Bible this appeal? Whence 
did it secure its vital quality? The only reply 
is that the appeal to life must be born of life 
itself. Sometimes a bizarre explanation is 
given of the source of a religious volume, the 
assumption being that a human origin denies 
a divine origin. The more men have to do with 
its production, the less may we presume that 
God has touched the work. A curious illus- 
tration of this viewpoint is found in the claim 
for the Book of Mormon. The story is as 
follows: A heavenly visitant appeared to 
Joseph Smith and told him that in a certain 
place he would find the miracle book. Smith 
obeyed the directions and found in the place 



THE BIBLE AND LIFE 27 

named a box of stone. In this box was a 
volume half a foot in thickness. It was writ- 
ten on thin plates of gold, and these plates 
were bound together by gold rings. The writ- 
ing was in a strange language, but with the 
book was found a pair of miraculous eye- 
glasses which conferred the ability to read the 
pages. In other words the Book of Mormon 
was not born of human life under the guidance 
of the divine life. It was the product of a 
straight miracle, and the power to decipher 
its meaning came only by miracle. Such a 
theory of the origin is easy to understand, 
even though it may be dif&cult to believe. It 
represents the extreme form of that faith 
which minimizes the partnership of man with 
God in the making of all genuine gospels of 
life. 

The incarnation was Man and God together. 
The church is being fashioned by man and 
God together; the Spirit and the Bride are 
colleagues. Worship is possible only when 
man and God are together in fellowship. If 
the Bible came by any method other than the 
coworking of man and God, its production 
would stand for a departure from the usual 
divine method. The power of the Bible, how- 
ever, grows out of the fact that it is not an 
abnormal book, fantastically given to men. 
There is a humorous story of an old woman 



28 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

who was discoyered in diligent study of the 
Hebrew alphabet. Asked why at her age she 
was beginning to learn so difficult a tongue, 
she made reply that when she died she desired 
to address the Almighty in his own language ! 
There have been theories of the Bible that 
are scarcely caricatured by this tale. If there 
have been doctrines of the Book that made it 
the product of a lonely man, there have like- 
wise been doctrines that made it the product 
of a lonely God. Neither doctrine is correct. 
The Bible grew out of human life that had 
been touched and glorified by the divine pres- 
ence and power. Because it grew out of life 
it makes its appeal to its native element in 
life itself. It simply claims its own. 

A review of the different parts of the Bible 
will show how true this statement is. Practi- 
cally every book is localized and personalized. 
Something that happened among men called 
forth the writing. The names of the books 
in the Pentateuch show this fact. Genesis 
treats of the origins of the earth and of man, 
and is an answer to the inevitable question 
that springs in the human mind. Exodus 
treats of the going forth of the Hebrew people 
from their Egyptian bondage. Leviticus is a 
description and discussion of the Levitical 
rules. Deuteronomy is a second giving of the 
Law and an enlargement of its sphere as well 



THE BIBLE AND LIFE 29 

as an enforcement of its precepts. The Ten 
Commandments make a human document be- 
cause their sole aim is to ennoble and protect 
human life. 

It is so TNT^th the historical books. They are 
the records of actual human living. Their 
pages are sprinkled with the names of real 
men and women. Joshua, the Judges, Kuth, 
Samuel, the Kings are all there, eager partic- 
ipants in earth's affairs under the sense of 
God. These books are not theoretical dis- 
sertations on life by a dreamer in his closet; 
they are rather the general descriptions of 
life itself as it moved along a period of seven 
or eight centuries. They give us the salient 
and meaningful happenings among God's 
chosen people. They tell the story of a crude 
race as it is being led forward to the heights. 
The pages record limitations and faults simply 
because they tell us of actual life. The sins 
of the Bible's premier heroes are written down 
with entire frankness. The human touch is 
everywhere. We shall not read the historical 
books long ere we find that they, too, are 
human documents. But these human docu- 
ments, covered ^dth the names of men and 
women, are likewise covered with the ever- 
recurring name of Jehovah. In the record 
one discovers man and God. 

In the prophetical books the like fact is 



30 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

apparent. The prophets were men of flesh and 
blood. They rushed into the prophetic work 
from the ordinary occupations of ancient life. 
From the fields they came, and from the vine- 
yards. Perhaps one came from a royal palace. 
Surely not more than one of them came from 
the altar of the priesthood. They were men 
who knew the shame and glory of contem- 
porary life. They did not hesitate to touch 
the politics of their day. They decried kings. 
They denounced landlords. They made 
frontal attacks on all forms of wickedness. 
Their appeal was for reality. They declared 
that God hated all pretense. New moons and 
feasts and fasts that did not grow out of 
devout hearts they declared to be an insult 
and an abomination before a righteous God. 
They talked from life to life. They came in 
response to some human demand in their 
times. They were not theorists, discussing 
academic problems of conduct. They were 
blazing moral realists. We do not need to 
detail the list of those forthtellers of the Word 
of God. Even the book of Jonah is full of 
life. Parable, allegory, history — its descrip- 
tions are based in life and its appeal is to life. 
In its moral lesson for the individual, and in 
its missionary lesson for a narrow race, it 
offers enough duty to keep life busy for a 
million years. If men would heed its lessons 



THE BIBLE AND LIFE 31 

for life and cease their petty debates about 
the anatomy of whales, the Book would meet 
them with vital urgings. The one point now 
is that the prophetical writings grew out of 
life. They did not come encased in stone 
boxes, written on gold leaves, to be read and 
understood only by miraculous spectacles. 
They came from real living, and they claim 
their own wherever real men are living to-day. 
We need not follow the same idea into the 
later books of the Old Testament. The Prov- 
erbs were gathered from the streets of life. 
Ecclesiastes is the pronouncement of life 
vainly satiated. Even the Psalms, classed as 
devotional books, were usually evoked by some 
actual happening. The king goes out to war ; 
a psalm is penned. The ark is moved from 
one place to another; a psalm is written. A 
man is jaded and discouraged; a psalm is 
written to recover him to a consciousness of 
the care of Jehovah. A monarch falls into 
grievous sin ; a psalm is written to express his 
penitence. A study of any Commentary on 
the Psalms will show us that nearly all of 
these devotional utterances were prompted by 
some human experiences. They are the shout- 
ings and sobbings of living men. The book of 
Psalms is not the liturgy of academicians. Its 
processionals and its recessionals show actual 
men and women in the real march of life. 



32 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

In the New Testament this same law of 
life rules. Jesus comes before the Gospels. 
Without the Life there could not have been 
the record of the Life. In any worthy Bible 
life must always come first. This phase will 
be treated later. Now it must be emphasized 
that the entire New Testament sprang from 
a Life that was lived among men. The Word 
must become flesh before it could become 
literary record. Grace and truth walked the 
earth ere they were traced on pages. Here 
again the Bible comes from life in order that 
it may return to life again. 

The statement concerning the New Testa- 
ment will admit of more detail. The Gospels 
grew immediately out of the disciples' life 
with the Lord. The Acts grew out of the life 
of the disciples in their daily contact with 
that ancient world. The Epistles all came 
from some urgency of life. While there were 
minor reasons for writing each of them there 
was still a main purpose that dictated the 
writing in every case. The Epistles to the 
Thessalonians seek to produce a right attitude 
toward the doctrine of the Lord's return. The 
Epistle to the Komans is a discussion of the 
doctrine of justification by faith and the rela- 
tions of that doctrine to Judaism. That to the 
Galatians is both a personal defense of Paul's 
questioned apostleship and a declaration of 



THE BIBLE AND LIFE 33 

freedom from bondage to the law. The Philip- 
pians grew out of an experience of human 
kindness, being an expression of gratitude for 
help in trouble and sympathy in sorrow. The 
Ephesians is a composite of moods — the vic- 
tories of grace, the hope of the heavenlies, the 
expectation of ascension with the glorified 
Christ, the nature and aim of the true church. 
Colossians expresses the universal Lordship of 
Christ and tears down every theory that denies 
the reality of the incarnation and the utter 
preeminence of Jesus. 

Even those Epistles that are personal in 
their character deal with universal life. 
Philemon reappeared in the contests concern- 
ing slavery both in England and America and 
scattered the arguments of Christian democ- 
racy. The bondage of men could not well live 
with the tender brotherhood that breathes in 
the letter which Onesimus carried back with 
him to his former master. Titus and Timothy 
are the pastoral advices sent by the aged 
apostle to his younger sons in the faith, while 
one of the Epistles is the hopeful farewell to 
earth and a glad trust toward the Eternal 
City. Revelation may be filled with strange 
imagery and may be shaken by the tremors of 
a perilous age; but men who know real life 
will say that the Beast and the Lamb are not 
merely wild figures of speech. The writer of 



34 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

the Apocalypse knew the world, and he knew 
the churches in its various cities. 

Thus it seems literally true that all the 
New Testament was penned for the aid of 
life. When life went wrong, warning came. 
When life went aright, encouragement came. 
When life was mistaken, correction came. 
Whether the need was for doctrine, for re- 
proof, or for instruction in righteousness, God 
met the need by the message that he gave to 
his servants. The Book is not a series of in- 
fallible abstractions ; it is rather a vital Guide 
Book won from the experience of life's ways. 
The Bible is not a ready-made product dropped 
down from heaven; it is rather a Library 
made by men in many ages in partnership 
with the God who lives with men in all ages. 
In the best and truest fashion it makes record 
of the life of God in the souls of responsive 
men. Because it came from life it inevitably 
seeks life. It was born of God among men. 
Therefore, it lives among men with God. 

We may carry the relation of life to the 
Bible quite beyond this point. The Bible not 
only grew from life, but it came back to life 
for its testing. Even as there have been 
theories of the making of the Book that ignored 
the element of human living, so have there 
been theories of the canon of Scripture that 
ignored the element of human testing. Years 



THE BIBLE AND LIFE 35 

ago a renowned teacher said to his pnpils, 
"Never go deliberately to work to make a 
book. The only volumes worth while are those 
that grow out of your deepest life." The 
advice was good. In a way it suggests the 
manner of the Bible's making. There is no 
evidence whatsoever that any writer of its 
pages ever thought that his work would be- 
come part of a Bible. No man ever said, "I 
will now write a book of the Holy Scripture." 
Nor did any group of men assign departments 
to each other, saying, "We will prepare a 
divine Book." The Bible came in no such 
mechanical way. Written because of life's 
needs, as seen in the light of God, it was 
tested and collected by life's needs, as seen 
in that same light. It was once strikingly 
said that the words of Jesus were vascular; 
if you cut them they would bleed. One 
shrinks from the metaphor. Yet it presents 
a truth about the whole Bible. A Book 
written by life and selected by life has natu- 
rally a message for life. 

How did the books of the Bible secure their 
place in the canon? The romancer offers his 
tradition here again. We find a very fantastic 
legend coming down from medieval times to 
this effect : In the church at Nicsea one day a 
great mass of religious writing lay in an in- 
discriminate heap beneath the altar. A 



36 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

miracle gave an answer to the question as to 
what books should secure permanent places 
in the Holy Book. The First Ecumenical Con- 
ference was in session. The year was 325 a. d. 
While man wondered and questioned, God 
settled the issue. Suddenly the genuine 
books were lifted from the mass of volumes 
and, without visible power, lay on the sacred 
table. The writings miraculously declared 
uncanonical remained beneath the altar. This 
theory of selection corresponds to the theory 
of dictation. We have in both cases an active 
God and a passive man. While it would be 
unfair to say that this medieval legend has 
any modern following, it is true that certain 
theories of the selection of the canon resemble 
it in that they discount the human factor. 
Even as God and men worked together in the 
writing of the books, so God and men worked 
together in the binding of the books into their 
volume of fellowship. Life that confessed God 
and tried to do his will chose the books and 
decreed that they should dwell in unity. 

As there has been a tendency to overstate 
the miracle feature in the selection of the 
canon, so has there been a tendency to over- 
state the part played by the authoritative 
councils of the church. The assumption has 
been that arbitrariness was the chief feature 
of the whole process. Certain men met in 



THE BIBLE AND LIFE 37 

conference, debated the merits of the several 
books, and finally settled by vote what par- 
ticular writings should have their place in 
the Bible of the church. Now while some- 
thing of this kind did occur, it is far from 
the truth to affirm that the councils lacked a 
representative capacity. The vote may have 
been recorded by theologians, but the vote had 
previously been determined by the Christian 
democracy. Abraham Lincoln wrote the 
Emancipation Proclamation. His predeces- 
sors were the people. In a dignified sense 
Lincoln was their clerk, expressing their will 
after many years of agitation. The wisdom 
of the Great Commoner was shown not only 
by the personal conviction that he put into 
the document, but also by his keen apprecia- 
tion of the will of the multitude. Though the 
parchment of liberty was proclaimed by one 
man, it is a fact that it was dictated by many 
men. Something parallel to this occurred in 
the selection of the material of the Bible. 
Councils played their part; their part, how- 
ever, was the part of agents. 

This was true of the Old Testament. Many 
persons may still have the vision of Jewish 
officials with long robes and sober faces de- 
ciding the ancient canon. Indeed, there was 
for long a tradition that Ezra founded a kind 
of Imperial Synagogue which continued for 



38 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

not less than two hundred years and which in 
that period finished the collection and author- 
ization of the Old Testament. This synagogue 
had various presidents, including Nehemiah. 
No such organization for the selection of the 
Scriptures existed. Accurate ancient history 
gives no trace of its work. The work of test- 
ing the writings was slow. The arbiter was 
life. Life had determined the writing. Life 
must now determine the authority. 

We can catch an interesting glimpse into 
this process by studying for a moment the 
story about Josiah, the young king. Hilkiah, 
the priest, finds the book of the law. Shaphan 
carries the book to the king and reads to him 
from the ancient lore. The book quickens 
the royal conscience. God and the earthly 
ancestors of Josiah speak to him from the 
pages. He is made to feel how far he and his 
people have gone from the will of Jehovah. 
He rends his clothes. He sends for the human 
voices of the Most High. Huldah, the 
prophetess, is the chief instructor. The 
people are called back to their allegiance. The 
land is purged. A manuscript has done all 
this. It inspired the king and his people until 
abominations fled from Israel. The land con- 
tinued in obedience until the archers sent 
King Josiah to his sepulcher. That portion 
of the law that had been read to the king by 



THE BIBLE AND LIFE 39 

Shaphan and had then been delivered to the 
people proved its inspiring quality in its effects 
on life. On that day a portion of the Old 
Testament canon was selected. 

Doubtless this incident is somewhat typical 
of a procedure that was more or less constant. 
The imperial synagogue was the Jewish people. 
The debate that settled issues was the debate 
of experience. Life was electing its own books. 
Words that touched the conscience into an 
impression of God and then worked their way 
outward to the blessing of the multitude were 
gaining for themselves the popular vote. 
Candidates for the canon were rejected. 
Other candidates were held in long suspicion. 
Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Esther, Solomon's 
Song — all these served a long probation ere 
they proved themselves worthy of their place. 
The ancient world, like the modern world, 
was not willing to surrender Proverbs, with 
their homely wisdom; Esther, with its lesson 
of loyalty to race and kindred; Solomon's 
Song, with its refusal to listen to the bland- 
ishments of royal lasciviousness luring to the 
betrayal of a true and humble lover; or even 
Ecclesiastes, with its pessimism uncured until 
the writer once more finds God. 

After books secured their place in the 
authorized list of the Jews, they had still to 
contest to keep their place. As late as the 



40 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

first century of the Christian era, debate was 
frequent. Life was slow to render its decision. 
There was no hasty authority. The final 
judgment was rendered by the experience of 
a race. When Eck reminded Martin Luther 
that the church had decided what books 
should go into the canon and that Luther 
must accept a quotation from Second Mac- 
cabees as authoritative, the great Keformer 
made reply, "The church cannot give more 
authority or force to a book than it has in 
itself. A council cannot make that be Scrip- 
ture which in its own nature is not Scrip- 
ture." So it came to pass that in due season 
the freed religious consciousness of the church 
took certain apocryphal books from the Old 
Testament canon. That consciousness seemed 
to feel a difference in spiritual power between 
the Apocrypha and the other portions of the 
Old Testament. Life was still coming to the 
polls in order that it, far more than any stately 
council, should elect the true Word of God. 

This same process of selection went on in 
relation to the New Testament. The early 
Christians started with no New Testament 
whatsoever. Their Bible was the Old Testa- 
ment. We do not find any warrant for saying 
that they expected to make additions to the 
Bible. Jesus came first. Then the Gospels 
and Epistles came as natural consequences. 



THE BIBLE AND LIFE 41 

The early Christians, as we shall later see, 
had received the very purpose and climax of 
Revelation, because they had received Christ. 
But the Gospels and Epistles which grew up 
out of life had in their turn to be tested by life. 
Believers began by reading these as if they 
were suggestive; after the writings had 
wrought their full impression upon the minds 
of the believers, they began to consider them 
inspired and holy. This decision did not come 
abstractly, nor did it come quickly. Gradu- 
ally the sense of the value of certain writings 
grew upon the early church. Almost two 
centuries of the Christian era passed ere the 
collection so commended itself to believing 
hearts as to be given definite form. As in the 
case of the Old Testament, so in the case of 
the New, life declined to be hurried into a 
decision. The books must prove their author- 
ity in the experience of the people. The 
Christian republic was engaged in the task of 
choosing its Bible from life. 

We find, too, that certain books appeared as 
claimants for permanent authority that did 
not win their case. The ancient manuscripts 
were passed from church to church and were 
read to the people. The task of sifting went 
surely forward. Directly lists of books that 
peculiarly commended themselves to the 
Christians began to appear. In the first two 



42 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

centuries such leaders as Irenseus, Clement, 
and Tertullian present their lists which show 
some of our present books omitted, some other 
books included, and still other books declared 
as good but inferior. The Christian con- 
sciousness had not yet reached a confident 
verdict. But a review of the period shows the 
Christian leaders verging toward unanimity. 
Slowly some books were eliminated; and 
slowly other books asserted their right to be 
included. By the beginning of the fifth cen- 
tury the canon had been practically deter- 
mined. The great Augustine, with his im- 
mediate predecessors and his close successors, 
reveals the well-nigh unanimous conclusion to 
which the church had come. It may well be 
noted that the voting booth stood open for 
almost four hundred years. The Councils of 
Hippo and Carthage were simply the servants 
of the people. The books that had sprung 
from life had received the testing of life. 

It must be allowed that here, as in the case 
of the Old Testament canon, some books had 
to re-prove their right to the place of authority. 
The Council of Trent may have settled the 
matter for all Koman Catholics, but it did 
not irretrievably close the canon for Prot- 
estants. It is well known that Luther himself 
wished to remove several books from the list, 
and that he called the Epistle of James 



THE BIBLE AND LIFE 43 

"strawlike.'' Luther's reason was a polemical 
one. He felt that the vivid practicalness of 
James conflicted with the principle of justi- 
fication by faith alone. It is only a stronger 
evidence of the demands of life in the selection 
of the final canon that even the powerful in- 
fluence of Luther could not prevail. The 
church well knew that the Epistle of James 
would be a good antidote for any lazy mysti- 
cism. Life voted against Luther in this 
instance, and life won. Zwingli wanted to 
exclude the Book of Revelation from the 
canon. The Christian republic felt that be- 
neath all the weird imagery of the Apocalypse 
God was speaking by his servant to the 
churches of all time. Life voted against 
Zwingli in this instance, and life won. When 
life was given its freedom the most influential 
voices of authority could not prevail against 
its verdicts. This completes the circle. The 
Bible was written by life, and the Bible was 
selected by life. 

Perhaps it is well to note that when any 
portion of the Scripture has been taken away 
from the purpose of life, it has lost its note 
of authority; when it has been brought back 
to that purpose of life, it has regained that 
note. The Song of Solomon illustrates this 
point. It had slight hold on the life of the 
world as long as it was used as a complex 



44 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

allegory or symbol relating to Christ and the 
church. All labored attempts to so construe 
the book did the book itself injury. But when 
the Song was permitted to recover its own 
relation to life, it recovered its own power. 
The lesson of the book, rightly used, may save 
many young women from selling themselves 
to lascivious luxury and may give them 
strength against tempting allurements away 
from loyal love. However old the world may 
become, it will always need that lesson. In 
some way the Song came from life; and when 
it is tested by life, it regains its relation to 
life. Eeleased from the strain of an allegorical 
interpretation, it proves itself a servant of 
one of life's holiest causes. 

We come now to the primary consideration. 
The Bible grew from life. The Bible was 
tested by life. The Bible climaxes in Life. 
Jesus said that the Scriptures testified of him. 
It is even so. In the Sargent pictures in the 
Boston Public Library the prophets are repre- 
sented as pointing forward to him. We may 
even more surely represent the writers of the 
Gospels and Epistles as pointing backward to 
him. The Bible is to be judged by its goal; 
and the goal is Christ. Other sacred books, 
such as the Koran, were written by one 
person; the Bible was written by many per- 
sons for one Person. Jesus himself insisted 



THE BIBLE AND LIFE 45 

on this. He claimed to surpass the old revela- 
tions. With all his reverence for the Old 
Testament, he still put himself above it by 
words like these : "Ye have heard that it hath 
been said by them of olden time, But / say 
unto you." This is as much as to affirm that 
he was the end of a progressive revelation. 
A skeptic once said that the whole Bible turns 
upon Jesus. The skeptic was right. One of 
the Gospels gives a word that may safely be 
applied to the whole trend of the Bible, 
"These things are written, that ye might be- 
lieve that Christ is the Son of God, and that 
believing ye might have life through his name." 
The very purpose is declared to be that men 
may be brought to faith in Christ. 

It would be too much to say that all revela- 
tion ceased with the closing of the canon. 
Lowell's claim that the Bible of the race is 
written slowly, that each race adds its texts 
of hope and despair, of joy and moan, and 
that the prophets still sit at the feet of God, 
cannot be denied. But we may confidently 
assert that revelation came to its culmination 
and crown in Jesus Christ. When once the 
essential things concerning him had found 
place in a Book, the Bible found its consum- 
mation. Thus do we see that the books that 
were written by life, and then were tested by 
life, came to their climax in Life. The only 



46 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

way to secure a book better than the Bible is 
to secure a person better than Jesus. The 
best men entertain no such vain expectation 
because they know that nothing can be more 
perfect than Perfection. 

We have set forth these three main reasons 
for the unique influence that the Bible exer- 
cises over life. Some are fond of saying that 
the Bible is merely one of many sacred books. 
Those who have read the bibles of other races 
will not be misled by the statement. Max 
Mtiller writes that the Sacred Books of the 
East "by the side of much that is fresh, 
natural, simple, beautiful, and true, contain 
much that is not only unmeaning, artificial, 
and silly, but even hideous and repellent." 
Of the Brahmanas he affirms that they 
"deserve to be studied as the physician 
studies the twaddle of idiots and the ravings 
of madmen." The Koran sets forth a very 
fine morality, but it was written by one man 
and really presents a legal religion. More- 
over it offers no perfect example. The author 
of the Koran himself claimed to receive reve- 
lations that opened a path to immorality. One 
voice declared the authority of the book, and 
an obedient people accepted this verdict. The 
Koran was not written by a wide range of 
life, expressing God's dealing with many per- 
sons under diverse conditions. It was not 



THE BIBLE AND LIFE 47 

tested for its authority by the free conscience 
of a people. Mohammed wrote and adopted 
his own canon. The Christian's Bible, written 
by life, tested by life, and culminating in Life, 
has come back to life with transforming 
power. 

The insistence of these chapters is that, 
when the Holy Scriptures are given a free 
opportunity to do their work with life, they 
prove their own inspiration. After all, there 
can be no other proof. The Bible is what it 
is, no matter what theory men may adopt as 
to its formation. It creates its own evidences. 
The argument for its inspiration is the life 
that it inspires. If the Book gives power and 
purity to all departments of life, the Book 
defends itself against attack and makes its 
own conquests. Does the Bible rightly exalt 
man? Does it sanctify the home? Does it 
promote education? Does it glorify work? 
Does it save wealth from greed, pleasure from 
excess, sorrow from despair? These questions 
reach the center of the problem. 

We can go but one step beyond them, and 
that step is most significant. Do we find in 
the Bible not only a way to be followed, and a 
goal of truth to be gained, but a Life that will 
help lives along the way toward the goal? 
Does the Book really reveal the way, the truth, 
and the life? The answer must again be found 



48 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

in life. The evidences of dynamic are in the 
realms of human experience. More and more 
the students of the Holy Scriptures, who seek 
the pages with a religious purpose, will find 
that all the departments of human living wait 
on Jesus for their meaning and come to him 
for their power. He is the Saviour. He lifts 
men out of their sins, up into a trembling and 
glorious idealism, and still up into a passion 
for efficient goodness. The supreme apology 
for the Bible will ever be found in men who 
have been so instructed, reproved, and cor- 
rected, that they may be named as perfect 
men of God, thoroughly furnished unto every 
good work. Given its full right, the Book that 
was born of life, tried of life, glorified of Life, 
will find its own best witnesses in redeemed 
lives. 



CHAPTER II 

The Bible and Man 

The natural outline of a human life which 
has suggested the method of these lectures 
represents a man as awaking each morning to 
the consciousness of himself. Every man lives 
perforce in his own company. He walks with 
himself on every road of life. He sits with 
himself in its resting places. He lies down 
with himself in its slumbers. He is his own 
friend, and his own enemy. Omar Khayyam 
declares that he is his own heaven and his 
own hell. There is a story of a farmer who 
said that when he climbed to the roof of his 
barn and looked about, he always found that 
he himself was the center of the world. The 
roof of the sky at all points was equally dis- 
tant from him; the walls of the world made 
by the dipping horizon showed the same 
length of radius from himself ! The story has 
its serious, as well as its amusing side. Every 
man is the personal center of a world which 
gets its meaning from his own heart. It is no 
wonder that the old Greek motto was "Know 

thyself." 

49 



50 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

Yet the knowledge of self is not easy knowl- 
edge. The fact that no man has ever seen his 
own face, save by reflection in some mirror, 
is a parable. The very eyes that see cannot 
see themselves. They are so near that they 
are hidden. The moral literature of the race 
always emphasizes the difficulty of self-reve- 
lation. Its cry is, "Who can understand his 
errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults." 
It has a yet deeper desire : that it may know 
more of its own essential nature. Each man 
longs for a revelation of God; and each man 
longs for a revelation of himself. The present 
emphasis is that the Bible is the medium of 
this human revelation. 

We do not go far in the reading of its pages 
without discovering that the word "thou'' 
looms large in its spiritual grammar. Those 
curious persons who often bring their arith- 
metic to the Bible could doubtless tell how 
many times "thou" and "thee" and "thy" and 
"thine" are found in its chapters. In the Ten 
Commandments and in the New Command- 
ment "thou" is the recurring word. Personal 
address is prominent everywhere. Indeed, the 
whole Book is a kind of prophet coming into 
the court of each soul and saying, "Thou art 
the man." Sometimes the approach is an ac- 
cusation, sometimes an approbation; in any 
case the note is intensely individual. In the 



THE BIBLE AXD MAX 51 

Xew Commaiidment the "seLf " is made the 
standard bv which the relation to the neighbor 
is to be tested. The implication would seem to 
be that the man who does not love himself 
lacks the law by which his love for other men 
may be made efficient, Polonins was not far 
from the biblical idea when he said : 

To thine own self be tme. 
And it mnst follow, as the nighi the day. 
Thou canst not then be false to any man. 

In daily parlance it is often said. "Pnt your- 
self in his place" ; bnt the value of that trans- 
fer of self is small if you do not tuow what 
the self is after you give it the new place! 
The revelation of self is likewise the revela- 
tion of other meiL We know our neighbors 
only as we know otirselves. 

Presuming, therefore, that we send a man 
to the Scriptures to find the doctrine of his 
own nature, what will be his discovery? The 
question is not a new one, and its answer has 
sometimes been touched by prejudice. Many 
have contended that in its effort to magnify 
God, the Bible is guilty of belittling man. 
Fragments of Scripture might be presented to 
supi)ort this criticism. We must, however, 
insist that the biblical teaching is to be de- 
termined by its main current rather than by 
its eiidies. The Book does present Gk>d as 



52 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

high and lifted up, while man lies with his 
lips in the dust. It does make God a King, 
while it proclaims man a subject. It does 
stress divine sovereignty, while insisting on 
human obedience and reverence. It does call 
for humility on the part of man. We may 
well admit that it is possible to overdo the 
call to humility. That good mood may easily 
pass over into a false mood. Occasionally 
men, in an effort to be humble, speak untruth 
concerning their own souls. It is just here 
that the "worm-of-the-dust" theory gets its 
chance. That phrase was a biblical one, used 
by a character in his moment of self-abase- 
ment. Yet the Concordance will prove that 
this lowly estimate of man is by no means the 
staple of teaching, as well as that much of 
the cheap preaching of human nature is a 
radical departure from the doctrine of the 
Book. It is always good to keep clear the 
distinction between vanity and self-respect, so 
that if a man may not have the right to look 
down on his neighbors he may still have the 
right to look up to himself. Humility must 
ever be based on truth, and self-respect can 
have no other foundation. The two moods are 
not contradictory. The one comes from the 
recognition of the nature of God, in the utter 
and unspeakable perfection of his attributes; 
the other comes from the recognition of the 



THE BIBLE AND MAN 53 

nature of man as being himself a partaker of 
that divine nature. In reality the two moods 
grow out of the same truth. 

A still deeper objection is sometimes offered 
against the scriptural theory of human nature. 
It is charged that the doctrine of the Fall, 
together with the constant emphasis of man's 
"exceeding sinfulness/' deprives man of special 
dignity. Without doubt the theory of the Fall 
has sometimes been presented in such a man- 
ner as to cancel all human claims to great- 
ness. Whenever a religious teacher carries 
his doctrine of the Fall to unjust lengths, we 
must all be tempted to declare that we can 
readily prove an alibi! And if he shall em- 
ploy that doctrine as a vast slur on humanity, 
we shall insist that the length of the fall must 
be the length of the possible rise ! In harmony 
with this idea a great preacher has given the 
w^orld a sermon on "The Dignity of Humanity 
as Evidenced by its Ruins." Much of the 
glory of the Coliseum at Rome has departed, 
but even its ruins are a testimony to its great- 
ness. Seeing its gaunt grandeur in the sun- 
light, or viewing its impressive shadows in 
the moonlight, the tourist gets the shock of 
its glory. The simple truth is that a doctrine 
of the Fall is possible only when you start 
with human greatness. God made one crea- 
ture strong enough to resist Himself — one 



54 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

creature with sufficient self-determination to 
make mutiny in the world. We would not 
torture the doctrine of the Fall into a mere 
compliment for humanity; but we would in- 
sist that the possibility of a Fall implies a 
height to fall from, and that responsibility for 
a Fall implies a nature great enough and free 
enough to make far-reaching choices. The 
evidence of the dignity is still found among 
the ruins. 

We must always supplement any doctrine 
of the Fall with a doctrine of human respon- 
sibility. The Bible is most explicit in this 
insistence. Its pages are crowded with the 
moral imperative for man. The thorn and the 
brier are on the earth ; but they are not blamed, 
because they wait for the era of the good 
people. The whole creation groaneth and 
travaileth together in pain; but the creation 
is not blamed, because it waits for the reveal- 
ing of the sons of God. The lion and the lamb 
do not lie down together; but they are not 
blamed, because they wait for the age of peace 
that can issue only from the hearts of men. 
The coin rolls into dust and shadow and is 
lost; we do not blame the coin. The sheep 
wanders into desert and darkness and is lost; 
we do not blame the sheep. The son goes off 
into the swine field and is lost; and we do 
blame the son. The coin and the sheep have 



THE BIBLE AND MAN 55 

no communings with self, no sense of guilt, 
no road of repentant return; but the son has 
all these. The Bible does utter its vigorous 
charge against man's sin; it is the ever-open 
court room into which the human conscience 
is summoned for judgment. The Book does 
not treat man as a machine whose cogs and 
wheels are moved only by outside force; nor 
does it treat him as a manikin, jerked hither 
and yon by irresponsible sensations ; it rather 
dignifies him with personal responsibility. The 
Fall does not prevent climbing, if only man 
will take advantage of those gracious powers 
that are offered for his help. Emerson saw the 
meaning of this when he wrote his tribute to 
mankind based on its ability to respond to the 
moral order : 

So nigh is grandeur to our dust. 

So near is God to man. 
When Duty whispers low, "Thou must," 

The youth replies, "I can!" 

Words like "ought" and "should" and "must" 
have gone forth from the Bible and have fairly 
penetrated the moral consciousness of the 
race. No other book so honors human nature 
with a sublime call to responsibility. 

We now leave these general considerations 
and take up the several portions of the Scrip- 
tures with a view to ascertaining their con- 



56 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

tributions to a doctrine of man. The founda- 
tion of that doctrine is seen in the account 
of the creation. Whether that account be 
poem, parable, allegory, or history, its mean- 
ing for this special point is the same. The 
climax of the creation is man. God is repre- 
sented as changing chaos into cosmos, sepa- 
rating waters and land, fixing sun and moon 
in their places, bringing verdure to the surface 
of the earth, assigning birds and beasts and 
fishes to their spheres, and then as giving to 
man a wide rulership. "God made man to 
have dominion" — that is the biblical word; 
and the ages have been telling how true that 
word is. The Bible theory and the facts of 
life join in a coronation of man. 

The account of the creation goes deeper 
than this in its estimate of mankind. Its con- 
ferring of power on man is explained by its 
conferring a nature on man. Man is made in 
the divine image. The Word was not content 
with one statement of that fact ; it must needs 
give it double emphasis. "So God created man 
in his own image" — that would seem simple 
and strong enough. But the statement is 
strengthened by repetition, "In the image of 
God created he him." These twice-repeated 
words are the real charter of man's greatness. 
The atheist must admit that man has the 
dominion, but the believer holds that man has 



THE BIBLE AND MAN 57 

the dominion because lie has the birthright. 
Man is not only God's submonarch, he is God's 
image. 

It is interesting and convincing to note how 
soon that primary truth about man's nature 
began to work. In the persecution under 
Diocletian the precious parchments of the 
Bible had been secretly carried from house to 
house. The charge that a Christian had given 
up the sacred Book in order to save himself 
from death was one of the most serious that 
could be presented. Many martyrdoms oc- 
curred because men preferred the Bible above 
their own lives. Though circulated under 
such difSculty, and though made into read- 
able parchments at such expense of labor and 
money, the Bible was slowly impressing^ its 
doctrine of man upon the stubborn period. We 
are often smitten with horror as we read 
stories which show how lightly human life was 
regarded by the Komans. Those dreadful 
scenes in the arena, where thumbs so often 
declined to turn down as a sign of mercy, are 
dire mysteries to men who have gotten the 
biblical standpoint. We are distant from that 
heartless mood because we are near to the 
Bible. The Book and the gladiator could not 
live together in peace. The Book at once 
began to call men from the tiers of bloody 
pleasure. With the conversion of Constantine, 



58 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

superficial as it may have been, the change 
began. The emperor ordered many splendid 
copies of the Bible for the churches of his 
capital. He himself came under the spell 
of its human doctrine. Zealous Christian 
teachers may sometimes overstate the influence 
which the Bible exercised over later Roman 
law. Still there are some undoubted evidences 
of that influence. Constantine made a law 
forbidding that a criminal should be branded 
on the face, and he gave as his reason for the 
law that the image of God should not be 
marred! This leaves us in no doubt as to 
what had inspired the legislation. It was the 
simple beginning of a program that has not 
yet come to its consummation. The biblical 
idea of man routed one form of slavery, and 
it will yet rout all other forms. When men 
come to believe that man is made in the divine 
image all good movements for the betterment 
of life are set in the way to victory. 

The legal portions of the Bible give us the 
like lesson, even though the approach to the 
lesson is different. Here we discover that 
humanity is worthy enough to call for con- 
servation and protection. The legislation 
reaches to hygienic and sanitary details of 
minute character. The whole effort is to build 
a protecting fence about men. The Ten Com- 
mandments, studied in this light, become a 



THE BIBLE AND MAN 59 

very human document. Their harsh and nega- 
tive quality is softened into gentleness. They 
guard the goods of man — his property, his wife 
and children, his body, his good name. It 
would be possible to regard the Decalogue as 
a series of prohibitions in which the word 
"not" occurs with forbidding frequency. In 
this case the appropriate accompaniment is 
thunder and lightning, and the appropriate 
scroll for the writing is stone. This view- 
point is one sided and unfair. The Ten Com- 
mandments are prohibitions only because they 
are protections. They have been through many 
ages the kindly sentinels of society. They 
have taken the side of God, of his dumb 
creatures, and of men and women and little 
children. Considered in any just way, the 
legal portions of the Bible are a tribute not 
merely to divine authority, but to human 
worth. 

The prophetical books add their lesson, and 
from a still different angle. They are filled 
with protests against man's conduct, with 
wrath against his insincerities, and with pre- 
dictions of his coming woe. The mouths of 
the prophets were not filled with compliments. 
Those stern men were not the flatterers of 
their own generations. Their sayings could 
be so elected as to make a degrading estimate 
of men. But here again we must get the full 



60 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

meaning of the message. In their last analysis 
the prophecies are a marked tribute to poten- 
tial man. Beyond the disturbed present they 
see the peaceful future. Beyond the clash of 
swords and the swish of spears they see the 
mild and productive era of the plowshare and 
the pruning hook. Beyond the unreal altars 
they see the incense of true worship arising 
to God. The prophets were, in the best sense, 
optimists, and they were optimists because 
they believed that all men would some day 
yield to the Lord. They beheld the whole 
earth filled with righteousness. They saw the 
stone cut loose from the mountain and filling 
the wide world. The healing river was to 
flow to all peoples. Jerusalem was to be the 
universal joy. The day would dawn when it 
would be unnecessary to say to any man, 
"Know thou the Lord." The most dismal of 
the prophets foretold the perfect day. But 
all this means that the prophets foretold the 
perfect man and the perfect race. To pro- 
claim that humanity, under the guidance of 
God, is so capable is to dignify human life 
beyond measure. 

Nor are we lacking among the prophets an 
individual example of the power of self- 
respect. Nehemiah may not be the premier 
among his fellows, but he talks with a royal 
self-consciousness. When messengers come, 



THE BIBLE AND MAN 61 

desiring that he shall go down into the plain 
for a parley with Sanballat, he declines by 
saying, "I am doing a great work, so that I 
cannot come down." Again he is told that the 
enemy is coming, and he is counseled to go 
into the temple and cling to the altar for 
protection. Once more self-respect comes to 
the rescue; the reply is, "Should such a man 
as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I 
am, would go into the temple to save his life? 
I will not go in." Here the potential man, 
foretold by the prophet, was the actual man. 
He had reached such a high doctrine of Ms 
own nature that the doctrine itself became the 
prevention of triviality and of cowardice. The 
rebuilded walls of Jerusalem arose from that 
spirit. Those walls were likewise an expres- 
sion of the prophet's faith in the future of his 
people. The prophetic confidence in man was 
second only to the prophetic confidence in 
God. This form of tribute to humanity is 
preeminent in the books of the prophets. 

In the devotional part of the Bible we should 
not naturally expect that tribute would turn 
manward. The tendency is seen in those sec- 
tions of prophecy where the prophet himself 
has close dealings with God. When the 
greatest of the prophets sees the ineffable One 
and hears the awful trisagion of the seraphim, 
the prime confession is that his own lips are 



62 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

unclean and that he dwells in the midst of a 
people of unclean lips. Inasmuch as the 
Psalms are in large measure a liturgy of wor- 
ship, their emphasis is on the greatness of 
Jehovah. Yet sometimes the emphasis turns 
toward man. The most striking illustration 
occurs in the eighth psalm. The writer there 
utters the feeling that we have all shared. 
The limitless expanse of the heavens, the 
shining of moon and stars in the far heights, 
the workmanship of the Lord in the vast uni- 
verse — all this makes the psalmist feel that he 
is a mere speck in the scheme. Tried by those 
celestial measurements, he drops into insig- 
nificance. He is rescued from self -contempt 
only by a return to the message of Genesis. 
His despairing cry issues in a shout of per- 
sonal triumph. "When I consider thy 
heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and 
the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is 
man, that thou art mindful of him? and the 
son of man, that thou visitest him?" If 
materialism should conquer the Bible there is 
but one answer. The psalmist is saved by the 
Scripture, "Thou hast made him a little lower 
than God, and hast crowned him with glory 
and honor." It is no marvel that the first 
translators lowered the tribute and substituted 
"the angels" for God. The reverence that so 
often used a sign for the divine name trembled 



THE BIBLE AND MAN 63 

on the verge of such a human tribute. Still 
that tribute was a return to the doctrine that 
God had made man in his own image and had 
given him dominion over the works of his 
hand. In addition to all this, the Psalms are 
girded with the consciousness that man can 
enter into the august presence of the Lord. 
The mutual element in worship is an exalta- 
tion of man. The greatness of Jacob is greater 
when he meets with the heavenly visitant by 
the Jabbok brook. He. becomes a prince. In 
the devotional books man claims his princely 
heritage. He treads the courts of the infinite 
King. 

Moving forward into the New Testament, 
we find that the doctrine of man gathers more 
impressiveness. Jesus never cast any doubt 
upon the supreme place of man in the program 
of God. He put his harshest blame upon those 
who wickedly misled the children of the 
Father. He himself was chided because he 
sought the lowliest and the worst among men 
and women. He ate with the publican and 
gave his choicest lesson to the harlot. He was 
willing to exchange his social reputation for 
the privilege of associating with the humblest 
people. For a woman with a dark past he 
delocalized worship. From another he ac- 
cepted the offering of grateful tears and put 
her conduct in contrast with that of the lordly 



64 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

Pharisee. He was the Prophet for the soul as 
such. He was the Priest who mediated gladly 
between the least one and the greatest One. 
We search his words in vain for anything that 
put contempt on man as man. 

When he compared men to the rest of crea- 
tion it was always to human advantage. He 
told of the care of the shepherd for the sheep, 
and then he asked, "How much is a man better 
than a sheep?" He declared that God noted 
the fall of sparrows, though they brought 
small price in the market place, and then, 
speaking to ordinary men and women, nearly 
all of them ignorant and more than half of 
them slaves, he said, "Are ye not much better 
than they?" Nor were these sayings really 
interrogative; they were exclamatory. Jesus 
knew that every normal man would feel the 
answer in his own soul. The worth of man 
was, in the teaching of Jesus, beyond debate. 

He moved, also, from inanimate things to 
the assertion of man's worth. The lilies and 
grasses were in the care of God and waited on 
him for their vesture. "Will he not much 
more clothe you, O ye of little faith?" He 
made the worth of man the warrant of the 
care of God. At last he put man on one side 
of the scale and the whole world on the other 
side, and he affirmed that man outweighed the 
world. Men may barter themselves for half 



THE BIBLE AND MAN 65 

a township; but Jesus declared that it would 
be a disastrous bargain, if a man should accept 
the world in exchange for himself. "What 
shall it profit a man, if he gain the world and 
lose himself? Or what will a man give in 
exchange for himself?" This is the final 
answer to any paltry teaching about the worth 
of man. 

When choice had to be made between man's 
interests and sacred laws and ordinances, 
Jesus gave preference to man. The shewbread 
was consecrated, but he approved the taking 
of it to satisfy human hunger. The Sabbath 
day was holy, but the Sabbath was made for 
man and not man for the Sabbath; so the 
plucked ears of corn were a testimonial to 
men. 

The attitude of Jesus toward childhood is 
tender evidence of his thought of humanity. 
The child has not yet won any achievement, 
save the loving assertion of its own depend- 
ency. The child in the midst represented 
humanity in its freshest and most natural 
form. It is said that some ancient religion- 
ists were accustomed to debate whether or not 
a child had a soul. Jesus would have scorned 
such a debate. He made the child the model 
of the kingdom. Human life unspoiled was 
lifted up as an example. To offend a little 
one was worse than being sunk by a millstone 



66 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

into the sea. A cup of cold water given to a 
child would win a special reward. The angels 
of the children behold ever the face of the 
Father. Thus the child, in all the teaching 
of Jesus, was made the creditor of the race. 

Jesus carried this doctrine of man on to 
the uttermost issue. We have never yet 
secured the full meaning of that "inasmuch" 
in the account of the final judgment. The 
Lord lives beyond the need of man's overt aid. 
But human beings are his representatives. 
The righteous had so far overlooked this fact, 
that they were forgetful of any ministry to 
him; and what had been the unconscious 
glory of the righteous was the unconscious 
tragedy of the wicked. The judgment day 
will be filled with human tests. He who has 
not acted as if human beings stood for God 
cannot meet the final standards. Jesus's pic- 
ture of the judgment is a statement of divine 
authority ; and it is an appraisement of human 
worth. 

Thus do we see that from whatever side we 
come to the teaching of Christ, we find an 
exalted doctrine of man. The incarnation 
itself is a contribution to that doctrine. If 
we call it "the human life of God'' it was a life 
lived for the sake of man. The Word became 
flesh and dwelt among men, full of grace and 
truth, because men needed the message of that 



THE BIBLE AND MAN 67 

Word. The whole life of Jesus was lived for 
man. He himself said, "For their sakes I 
sanctify myself." All those sacrificial phrases 
that describe the purpose of his coming add 
glory to human life. The joy that was set 
before him was the goal of a redeemed 
humanity. His living for men was simply 
his teaching about men, made over into con- 
crete terms. In the Parable of the Good 
Shepherd he gives the revelation of his own 
attitude toward men. One soul, brought back 
into right relations with God, makes joy in 
heaven. It is the Eternal One who is repre- 
sented as saying, "Kejoice with me." Men 
may deny the doctrine of the only begotten 
Son, but they can scarcely deny that that 
doctrine leads on to a wondrous doctrine of 
human worth. 

The Cross, viewed in one light, becomes the 
very climax of the doctrine of man. Theolo- 
gians have often laid their stress upon some 
single purpose of the divine sacrifice. One 
has said that the Cross appeases the anger of 
God; another that the Cross maintains the 
majesty of the law; another that the Cross is 
a moral influence wooing and winning the 
heart of man to God; another that the Cross 
is the expression of the Father's sorrow with 
the sins and sorrows of his children. But we 
may surely take one meaning of the Cross to 



68 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

be the divine estimate of man. God's sense 
of values must be preserved. He did not 
send his Son to die for worms of the dust. 
That idea may fit an extreme mood of spiritual 
abasement. We may grant all possible con- 
descension in the atoning act of God, but we 
cannot grant a condescension that dedicates 
infinite worth to finite worthlessness. Jesus 
died for men just because men were far more 
than worms of the dust. If we are to keep 
that theory of atonement that has long held 
the heart of the church, we are driven to 
affirm that the Cross gives us a divine estimate 
of mankind. No man ever appreciates the 
worth of himself until he gets the appraisal 
of Calvary. The dying of Jesus is not out of 
harmony with his teaching and his living. The 
whole program is like the garment taken from 
him on the day of crucifixion; it is woven 
throughout without seam. Men may decry a 
doctrine of substitution, but they cannot say 
that such a doctrine is a slight tribute to 
human worth. In such a doctrine thorns and 
nails and spears and all the drama of the 
Cross are made into tributes to the soul of 
man. 

This carries us on to the biblical teaching 
of man's permanent worth. The doctrine of 
immortality makes its incalculable addition 
to the doctrine of man. There is a story, for 



THE BIBLE AND MAN 69 

which the writer cannot vouch, that Thomas 
Carlyle in a mood of pessimism one day wrote 
this peevish estimate of man: 

What is man? A foolish baby! 

Vainly strives and fumes and frets! 
Demanding all, deserving nothing, 

One small grave is all he gets! 

Language like this is certainly no contribu- 
tion to the literature of self-respect. The story 
proceeds to relate that Oarlyle's wife found 
this poetic depreciation lying on the table, 
and that she wrote the following confession 
and correction: 

And man? O hate not, nor despise 
The fairest, lordliest work of God! 

Think not he made thee good and wise 
Only to sleep beneath the sod! 

Doubtless the tale is apocryphal. In any case 
the latter estimate is far nearer to the biblical 
conception, and it is altogether worthy of a 
woman's moral instinct. If man is to live 
forever, as the climax of Revelation insists, 
it is quite impossible for him to "think too 
much" of himself, unless he indulges in com- 
parison of himself with others. An argument 
for immortality does not fall within the scope 
of this lecture ; but the bearing of immortality, 
as declared in the Holy Scriptures, on the 
view that men must take of human nature, 



70 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

touches our purpose in a radical way. A 
deathless person must respect himself. A 
deathless person must command the respect 
of a world — and of God. The doctrine of im- 
mortality adds an infinite measure to the 
doctrine of human worth. 

Even the biblical representation of heaven 
secures a relation to this subject. The abode 
for immortal life, as well as immortal life 
itself, may be turned into a human estimate. 
The book of Revelation declares that the 
nations shall bring "their glory and honor" 
into the Eternal City. This can only mean 
that men shall make some contribution to the 
eternal life. What they are and what they 
have done shall fill heaven with added value. 
The cities of earth shall transport treasures 
to the Heavenly City. Here, again, we come 
upon a reason based on the divine sense of 
values. God will not provide an Eternal Home 
that is any better than the Eternal Beings 
for whom he makes it ready. The gem is to be 
better than the setting. In a certain sense, 
therefore, jasper walls and pearl gates and 
gold streets, as seen in the descriptions of 
heaven, are tributes to human souls. The 
Bible tells us that "greater than the house is 
he that built it,'' and the Bible would tell 
us, also, that the occupant of the house is 
greater than the house. God will provide no 



THE BIBLE AND MAN 71 

everlasting dwelling that is better than the 
everlasting dwellers. Heaven is made for 
man, and not man for heaven. The many- 
mansions are tributes to the people that shall 
live in the Father's house. The Scriptures 
are reserved in their revealings of the other 
land ; but their descriptions of celestial glories 
may be united with those other portions of 
the Bible that dignify the human spirit and 
may be taken as standing for the divine valu- 
ation of the essential selves of men. 

This review of the teaching of the several 
sections of the Bible has confessedly sought 
for the words and ideas that exalt the doc- 
trine of man. Allowing all possible discounts, 
and admitting all possible offsets, the resi- 
duum of instruction tending to glorify human 
nature is significant. We need not wonder 
that some thoughtful men have affirmed that 
the chief characteristic of Christianity is the 
value that it places on man. If we do not 
accept this statement, we can still declare 
that the Bible is the supreme Book when 
judged by its emphasis on human values. 

Nor can there be any doubt of the need of 
this emphasis in our own age. As men crowd 
more and more into the great centers of popu- 
lation, the tendency will be to hold men 
cheaply. In former times man was often 
highly valued because of his rarity. On the 



72 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

far Eastern plains a new face, not being often 
seen, was regarded with curious interest. Thus 
Abraham stood in the door of his tent in the 
heat of the day and welcomed the stranger, 
because the stranger was an event. But in the 
modern city the stranger is no longer an event ; 
he is only an episode, or perhaps an incident. 
We pass him on the dense street, and we do 
not notice him at all. There are so many of 
him that, unless we are heedful, we shall come 
to regard him lightly just because he is hidden 
by the crowd. When factories grow so huge 
that men are known, not by their names, but 
by their numbers, only the scriptural emphasis 
upon men as such can save human beings from 
being deemed "hands" rather than souls. If 
the sin of the countryside is an excessive 
social interest that makes for gossip, the sin 
of the city is a social carelessness that makes 
for indifference. The various problems of our 
social life wait for their solution upon the 
Christian doctrine of man. When that doc- 
trine has done its full service, race problems, 
labor problems, liquor problems, and all their 
dreadful accompaniments will issue into a 
righteous and intelligent peace. An immortal 
son of God, knowing himself, cannot be unjust 
to another immortal son of God, when once 
he knows his Brother. 

This hints at the personal bearing of the 



THE BIBLE AND MAN 73 

doctrine. As men grow in moral and spiritual 
experience, they find themselves using more 
and more the test of self-respect. Knowing that 
the reaction of certain behaviors makes them 
feel that a fragment of the soul has slipped 
away from them, so that they have the sense 
of smallness, they guard their natures lest 
legitimate pride should be destroyed. Andrews 
Norton once wrote to his son, Charles Eliot 
Norton, who was about to go abroad for an 
important service, telling the young man that 
his family and friends recognized that he had 
special powers for doing large and worthy 
things. Then he added that "this ought not 
to make one vain. On the contrary, their true 
tendency is to produce that deep sense of 
responsibility — of what we owe to God, to our 
friends, and to our fellowmen — which is 
wholly inconsistent with presumption or 
vanity." It was a wise father who wrote thus 
to his son. If the Christian doctrine of man 
be true, no man can think too much of himself. 
There is a type of saving pride. Clough stated 
it in his well-known lines : 

Then welcome, Pride! and I shall find 
In thee a power to lift the mind 
This low and groveling joy above — 
'Tis but the proud can truly love. 

The pride that comes from the consciousness 



74 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

of the divine image has power to restrain from 
sins and trivialities, and it has power like- 
wise to constrain toward holiness of character 
and largeness of service. One who has come to 
believe that he is made in the divine image, 
that he is one of the divinely appointed rnlers 
of the world, that the great laws are designed 
for his protection, that the alluring prophecies 
of the future are declarations of his coming 
power, that his worship is the symbol of his 
partnership with the Most High, that the in- 
carnation is in his interest, that the Infinite 
Teacher brought him matchless tributes, that 
the Cross of Calvary is an expression of his 
own valuation, that immortal life is his des- 
tiny, and that a glorious heaven is the fitting 
place for his final dwelling — such a one has 
gained all the preventions and all the inspira- 
tions of the Christian doctrine of self-respect. 
Sins and trivialities cannot flourish when one 
thinks so much of oneself ; great affections and 
lasting consecrations seem natural to one so 
highly endowed. The conception that makes 
for the dignity of self makes also for the con- 
sideration of others. He who entertains this 
view begins to 

Find man's veritable stature out, 
Erect, sublime, the measure of a man, 
And that's the measure of an angel, 
Says the apostle. 



THE BIBLE AND MAN 75 

To such a one life becomes solemn and beau- 
tiful. He is now the son of God. While he 
knows not yet what he shall be, he sees the 
vision of the Elder Brother and so purifies 
himself even as he is pure. The world needs 
the gospel of the Son of God in order that it 
may learn the gospel of the sons of God. 



CHAPTER III 

The Bible and Home 

The significance of the home is seen in the 
fact that every human being is a son or a 
daughter. This ordinary statement at once 
insists on becoming extraordinary. It is diffi- 
cult to think what life would have been, or 
even how it could have been, if children had 
been pushed upon the earth from some mys- 
terious void and had been nurtured without 
the providential agency of fathers and 
mothers. So much do we realize the impor- 
tance of the home that where it is impossible 
to maintain one, owing to the death, or inabil- 
ity, or worthlessness of parents, we still make 
provision for an institution that shall provide 
as many domestic features as can be won for 
the orphaned. This we call an Orphans' Home. 
It is significant that the sociological tendency 
of the period drifts away from even this insti- 
tution. The effort now is to bring the child- 
less and the parentless together. Goldsmith 
said that the nakedness of the indigent world 
might be clothed with the trimmings of the 
vain. There are those who affirm that, if the 

76 



THE BIBLE AND HOME 77 

parentless and the childless could be brought 
into the company of homes, the Orphan 
Asylum would be no longer needed. 

Our imaginations may make an easy test. 
Let an authoritative edict go forth that after 
the approaching midnight the home would be 
banished, and that each community must ad- 
just itself to some other form of social life. 
What would such an edict mean? The homes 
from which students have come are no more 
responsible for them. They constitute no 
longer the bases of supplies on which they can 
draw, nor the alluring hearthstones to which 
they can return. The workman turns no more 
his eager feet toward the lights of his cottage. 
The prince finds his palace removed and all 
its splendor ceases to invite him. Little chil- 
dren are herded into impersonal surroundings 
and become public rather than domestic 
charges. The scene of disaster could be de- 
scribed without merciful stint. These sugges- 
tions are enough to show that society could 
scarcely escape chaos if the home were to be 
destroyed. How much do the words father, 
mother, brother, sister, wife, husband, son, 
daughter mean? Empty out their closer sig- 
nificance, and you vacate much of life's 
meaning. 

Nor is this the narrow word of an ecclesi- 
astic or theologian. Drummond in The 



78 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

Ascent of Man claims that the evolution of a 
father and mother was the final effort of 
nature. John Fiske, as scientist and historian, 
points out the helplessness of infant life as 
binding parents into unity that grows out of 
responsibility. Soon after its birth the wee 
animal runs and leaps, while the wee bird 
does not wait long ere it flies from limb to 
limb ; but the human babe in the ancient forest 
lies helpless in its log cradle for many months. 
Both Drummond and Fiske agree that by this 
program the God of nature was introducing 
patience, devotion, and sacrifice into the world 
and was making ready for the kingdom of 
heaven. It is plain that Drummond does not 
state it too strongly when he says that "the 
goal of the whole plant and animal life seems 
to have been the creation of a family which 
the very naturalist had to call Mammals," or 
Mothers. 

This represents somewhat the divine history 
of the home. The prophecy of the home like- 
wise does some convincing work. The truth is 
that the home as an institution plants itself 
squarely in the path of some modern social 
theories. Some of those theories have begun 
by boldly demanding that the home be abol- 
ished because it has been made a buttress of 
private life and property. Not only has this 
suggestion been met with a horror that in 



THE BIBLE AND HOME 79 

itself expresses the instinctive conviction of 
the sacredness of the home, but it has been 
met with the insistence that the prophets 
should name their substitute for the hearth- 
stone. This insistence has received nothing 
more than hazy and vague replies. The 
prophet stammers out some dark saying about 
"something better" or about the home as hav- 
ing fulfilled its mission in "the evolution of 
society''; and by the very helplessness of his 
speech he really becomes an advocate of closer 
domestic relations! It is interesting to note 
how these reformers seek to find a good path 
back from their social desert! They soon de- 
clare that the new regime must keep the home 
intact, and that only sporadic and irrespon- 
sible voices from their camp are lifted against 
the home's sanctity! The antihome prophet 
always has a hard task. He collides with one 
of the granite convictions of humanity. If he 
would save the rest of his theory he must save 
the home from the proposed destruction. God 
has set the solitary in families. Men look in 
vain for a better setting for the jewel of life. 
From all their seeking they come back in due 
season to the truth that, imperfect as the home 
may often be, it is still rooted and grounded 
in outer life and in inner instinct, and that 
it is futile to try to make better what God has 
made best. 



80 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

All this will serve for emphasizing the im- 
portance of the home, though much more might 
be added. When the man awakes in the morn- 
ing, becomes aware of himself, and then hears 
the voices of his wife and children, he is 
immediately related to one of the fundamental 
institutions of society. If the Bible be, as we 
have claimed, preeminently the Book of Life, 
it must relate itself vitally to the home. Our 
inquiry, therefore, is, What bearing does the 
Book have upon the home? The answer must 
necessarily be sketchy and incomplete ; but we 
can soon gather an answer that will establish 
the biblical drift of teaching. 

The Bible begins with an impressive lesson 
of monogamy. In the Eden life one man and 
one woman join hands as partners in joy and 
work. Let the account be poetry, allegory, 
parable, the lesson is the same. In that inti- 
mate communion with God that found him in 
the garden in the cool of the day, bigamy and 
polygamy are not represented as being at 
home. Even the Fall is not described as 
quickly dropping man low enough to reach the 
dreadful level of promiscuity or of any of the 
approaches to so-called free love. It required 
time ere that downward journey could be 
made. Humanity in its innocence is not 
described as starting from the dens of polyg- 
amy. 



THE BIBLE AND HOME 81 

But in season the Bible gives us some dis- 
concerting facts. Bigamy and polygamy con- 
front us in the lives of some worthies. Let it 
be allowed that sometimes the motive is the 
perpetuation of the home itself. Provision is 
sought against the curse of barrenness. Let 
it be allowed, also, that the Bible does not 
represent bigamy as working well. It brought 
discord into Abraham's tent. The peevish 
wife drives her own wretched substitute from 
the door, until the desolate Hagar stands in 
her loneliness and repeats the comforting 
ritual of the seeing God. The son of bigamy 
goes off into his wild life, with his hand 
against every man and every man's hand 
against him. The admirable thing about the 
second patriarch is his devotion to one woman. 
Neutral and characterless as Isaac seems to 
be, he still won a mention in the marriage 
service of the ages by his faithfulness to 
Rebecca alone. Upon the third patriarch 
bigamy was forced by a cruel deception. In 
truth a review of the Old Testament will 
show that any departure from the unity of 
the home made for trouble. It filled the 
moving tabernacles of the patriarchs with 
quarrels. It led David on to murder. It 
drenched Solomon in debauchery. It de- 
graded the successive kings until it destroyed 
their power and ruined the nation. Its in- 



82 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

evitable end was the loss of the land and the 
sadness of captivity. 

The Old Testament records polygamy, but 
it does not applaud polygamy. When once a 
polygamist stood in the halls of Congress and 
defended his right to a seat by quoting the 
examples of the patriarchs, his plea did not 
avail. Not only was the conviction of the 
nineteenth century against his contention, but 
the mood of the very Book from which he 
quoted was his enemy. So far as we can judge, 
monogamy was the general rule among the 
Jewish people. The exemplars of bigamy and 
polygamy were mainly those whose position 
enabled them to flaunt the public sentiment 
of their day. The history of Old Testament 
polygamy is so sorrowful that the Hebrew 
people have reacted from it into a stanch 
defense for the monogamic home. The seduc- 
tion of Tamar, the murder of Amnon, the 
unfilial licentiousness of Absalom, the sordid 
road of impurity trod by the later monarchs 
of Israel, and the despair of the Babylonish 
captivity, make a piercing case against polyg- 
amy. On the other hand, the unwavering 
faithfulness of the maid in the Song of Solo- 
mon, the patience of Hosea with his prodigal 
wife, the idyllic story of Kuth, all these be- 
came persuasive pleas for a home wherein one 
man and one woman should live together in 



THE BIBLE AND HOME 83 

loyal love even until death. When Jesus came 
to give his message contemporaneous polyg- 
amy had all but ceased in Palestine. But 
easy divorce, sometimes called "consecutive 
polygamy," had become prevalent. The world 
was waiting for the voice of authority, and it 
heard that voice when Christ began to teach. 

The teaching of Jesus in reference to mar- 
riage is unmistakable. It may impress many 
as severe; it cannot impress any as doubtful. 
If we accept him as the Supreme Teacher we 
receive a decision given with no equivocal 
terms. It is often said that the method of the 
Lord was to offer general principles and to 
leave his followers to carry out these prin- 
ciples in the spirit of loving discipleship. 
Thus he declined to give detailed rules for 
the observance of the Sabbath, explicit in- 
structions for the division of estates, definite 
laws for prayer and worship and almsgiving. 
Yet when he discussed marriage he gave both 
general principles and specific rules. If this 
was not the only case where he became sponsor 
for a rule it was surely the most emphatic 
case. He seemed to feel that concerning mar- 
riage and the home he must give a mass of 
distinct precepts. It was as if he deemed the 
home so sacred and its enemies so subtle and 
powerful as to make necessary some particular 
instruction. 



84 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

Perhaps we shall not err in saying that 
Jesus found in his time argent reasons for 
specific and strong teaching about marriage. 
The Jews, who went to a mechanical extreme 
in their observance of the Sabbath law, had 
gone to an opposite extreme in their attitude 
toward the law of the home. In this regard 
the period was worse than our own, but it 
was not unlike our own. The domestic con- 
science of the Jews had been more or less 
weakened. Mere trifles were made excuses for 
the breaking up of home. Doubtless the in- 
fluence of the Eomans was making itself felt 
among the Hebrews. Professor Sheldon 
quotes Dorner as showing the reckless ease of 
divorce among leading Romans. One man 
divorced his wife because she went unveiled 
on the street; another because she spoke 
familiarly to a freedwoman; another because 
she went to a play without his knowledge. 
Even Cicero, proclaimed a very noble Roman, 
divorced his first wife that he might marry a 
wealthier woman, and his second wife because 
she did not seem to be sufficiently afflicted over 
the death of his daughter! "In fine," says 
Professor Sheldon, "it was not altogether 
hyperbole when Seneca spoke of noble women 
as reckoning their years by their successive 
husbands rather than by the Consuls" (His- 
tory of the Early Church, pages 29, 30). 



THE BIBLE AND HOME 85 

The records of this same period among the 
Romans will rout the claim that easy divorce 
tends to purity. Faithlessness to marriage 
vows was not seriously regarded, and there 
were instances of so-called noble women 
registering as public prostitutes in order that 
they might thus avoid the penalties of the 
laws ! Easy divorce seemed to be accompanied 
by easy virtue, as if, indeed, both evils grew 
naturally out of the same soil. The Roman 
fashions were having their influence on the 
Jews. The sacred law was searched and was 
explained away with evil subtlety in order 
that men might be religiously released from 
the marriage bond. 

Evidently, then, the times demanded that 
Jesus should save the marriage law from 
looseness. The ease of divorce was not un- 
like that in our own land to-day. If the 
teaching of Jesus was needed then it is needed 
now in order that marriage may recover its 
binding solemnity. On general principles we 
must all rejoice that Jesus did not give a 
dubious word on this sacred matter. It may 
be doubted whether any man who did not have 
the cause of his own pleasure to serve and 
who was not willing to subordinate a social 
law to the superficial joy of his own life, would 
be willing to modify the Saviour's teaching. 
Certainly that teaching has long been the firm 



86 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

bulwark of the married life. Had Jesus spoken 
with doubt, or had he given sanction to easy 
divorce, what would the results have been? 
Our homes would have been builded upon the 
sands of freakish impulses and of hasty tem- 
pers. But Jesus's word puts rock into the 
domestic foundation. When it was given it 
was met by all of the objections which it still 
evokes. Some said that the teaching was ex- 
treme in its severity, quite outdoing the law 
of Moses in its demands. Others said that 
rather than to submit to a bond so unbreak- 
able, it would be better not to marry at all. 
Still Jesus did not lower his teaching. God 
was the author of marriage; man must not 
assume to be its destroyer. God takes two 
persons and makes them one flesh; man must 
not cut that vital bond. 

Plainly, then, Jesus felt that marriage 
established a family relationship which was 
to resemble other family relationships in its 
indissolubleness. How can a man get rid of 
his brother, or his sister, or his father or 
mother, when God has decreed a relation in 
the flesh that cannot be severed? One may 
live apart from brother or sister, or father or 
mother, as a matter of convenience or peace; 
but how can one destroy the relationship? In 
spite of angry decrees, is not the brother still 
a brother, and do not father and mother re- 



THE BIBLE AND HOME 87 

main father and mother in defiance of all 
unfilial pronouncements of divorce? In 
Jesus's view the second family relationship 
was as indissoluble as the first. If one were 
to argue from a certain standpoint it might 
be easy to claim that it must be even more 
indissoluble. A man does not choose his first 
home. It represents a necessity against which 
he may not strive. But he does choose his 
second home, and it represents a union for 
which he is himself distinctly responsible. 
Why should a man be allowed to divorce him- 
self from the home which is founded by his 
liberty while still being inexorably bound to 
the home which was founded without his 
choice? Jesus taught that the very constitu- 
tion of society, as resting on the word of God, 
demanded that the second home be as sacredly 
unbreakable as the first. The "one flesh" 
must not be severed in either case. 

Hence it comes about that, while the law of 
Jesus does not allow divorce, unless for the 
one reason mentioned later, it does not forbid 
separation. The sin does not consist in put- 
ting away the mfe when conditions are un- 
bearable ; it does consist in marrying another. 
He does not insist that the quarrelsome shall 
live amid their brawls ; but he does insist that 
they shall not go into another experiment that 
degrades a sacred covenant. We do not long 



88 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

listen to the specious arguments for easy 
divorce, with the privilege of remarriage, 
without discovering that these arguments 
affirm either that personal purity is impos- 
sible or that personal convenience and pleasure 
are the primary demands of life. Jesus did 
not so teach. Dr. Peabody, in his matchless 
discussion of Jesus's teaching about the fam- 
ily, well says : ^^The family is, to Jesus, not a 
temporary arrangement at the mercy of un- 
controlled temper or shifting desire; it is or- 
dained for that very discipline in forbearance 
and restraint which are precisely what many 
people would avoid, and the easy rupture of 
its union blights these virtues in their bud. 
Why should one concern himself in marriage 
to be considerate and forgiving, if it is easier 
to be divorced than it is to be good?" (Jesus 
Christ and the Social Question, p. 159. ) That 
these words touch the evil heart of many 
modern divorces there can be no doubt. The 
emphatic teaching of Jesus was that marriage 
should not be regarded as a breakable agree- 
ment of convenience, but rather as an indis- 
soluble pledge of permanent union. 

Whether Jesus allowed any exception to 
this law remains a debatable matter among 
the scholars. Some contend that the "save 
for fornication" clause is an interpolation, 
and that the teaching of Jesus admitted no 



THE BIBLE AND HOME 89 

divorce whatsoever. Others contend that the 
gospel writers who omit this clause regarded 
the one reason for divorce as so certain that 
it was not deemed necessary to mention its 
legitimacy. It may be claimed with a show 
of reason that the regarding of adultery as 
an exceptional sin against the married life 
stands for something instinctive in human 
nature. Notwithstanding all statements that 
desertion and abuse and drunkenness may be 
so aggravated as to constitute offenses worse 
than fornication, normal men and women con- 
tinue to assign a lonely infamy to the sin of 
carnal unfaithfulness. If Jesus did use the 
exceptional clause there is not wanting evi- 
dence that his word is confirmed by an all 
but universal feeling. Many races have been 
disposed to decree that the sin of adultery is 
the one iniquity sharp and incisive enough to 
sever the "one flesh." Perhaps it is safe to 
affirm that the great majority of good men and 
women do not shrink from the exception as 
being unworthy of Jesus's teaching. But, the 
exception being granted, that teaching is 
clear and uncompromising. When that teach- 
ing becomes the law of the world divorce 
courts will be largely emptied and the mar- 
riage vows will be assumed with less haste 
and with more solemnity. 
The New Testament is thus seen to be the 



90 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

headquarters of that conception of marriage 
that alone gives a firm foundation to the home. 
It is impossible to conceive what would have 
been the dismal statistics of divorce, if Jesus 
had made the marriage bond of slender 
strength. Truly the situation is bad enough 
as it is. Often the causes for divorce are 
trivial; sometimes they are deliberately ar- 
ranged by the separating parties! and occa- 
sionally the much-married comedian is hailed 
on the stage with a joking tolerance. But 
when more than ninety per cent of the mar- 
riages of the land stand the tests of time and 
are kept in fidelity until the "one flesh" is 
severed by death, it is evident that some strong 
force still guards the home from desecration. 

We need not inquire what that force is; it 
is the Word of Christ. Among those who 
follow him least, he has made divorce "bad 
form''; among those who follow him some- 
what, he has made it doubtful morals; while 
among those who accept him as Lord and 
Master, he has made it sacrilege and blas- 
phemy. The devotees of pleasure and con- 
venience and lust may well quarrel with the 
decree of Christ. The devotees of compromise 
may seek to refine and discount his explicit 
law. Yet all those who see in the home the 
very center and heart of a properly organized 
society, as well as the very ordination of the 



THE BIBLE AND HOME 91 

Lord God Almighty, will not cease to be grate- 
ful that Christ spoke so unmistakably con- 
cerning its solemn sanction. He fixed forever 
the difference between the civil marriage and 
the Christian marriage. He filled the mar- 
riage service with religious terms. "The sight 
of God/' "instituted of God/' "mystical 
union/' "holy estate/' "Cana of Galilee/' 
"reverently, discreetly, and in the fear of 
God," "God's ordinance," "forsaking all 
other," "so long as ye both shall live," "for 
better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in 
sickness and in health," "the name of the 
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost," "God hath joined together," "in holy 
love until their lives' end" — all these words 
are Christ's words, his Spirit confirmed them 
in the service of his church. That service may 
well close with the prayer which declares that 
his is "the kingdom, and the power, and the 
glory/forever." 

More and mare careful students of both 
sociology and Christianity will see that no 
safe conception of marriage can be found save 
in the words of the Lord. The civil contract 
idea is full of peril. The case of Percy Bysshe 
Shelley, the English poet, is in evidence. The 
illustration may be extreme, but it will the 
better show the sure goal of that theory of 
marriage that forgets God. Shelley, for a 



92 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

time at least, was an outright atheist. Bow- 
ing God out of the universe, he could not 
consistently leave God in his theory of mar- 
riage. His college thesis was an argument for 
atheism. Given sufficient provocation and 
motive, Shelley was sure to reach the limit of 
a godless idea of marriage. It seems almost 
impossible for men with a literary mania to 
see social or moral fault in their heroes, and 
their tendency often is to absolve writers of 
genius from the usual laws. Shelley married 
the daughter of a retired innkeeper. In two 
years he separated from his wife and two 
children. Three years later the wife drowned 
herself, meeting voluntarily a fate which 
Shelley was to meet involuntarily. An apolo- 
gist for Shelley says, "The refinements of 
intellectual sympathy which poets desiderate 
in their spouses Shelley failed to find in his 
wife, but for a time he lived with her not un- 
happily; nor to the last had he any fault to 
allege against her, except such negative ones 
as might be implied in his meeting a woman 
he liked better.'' The more we study this 
language the more does its superficiality im- 
press us. Let it be said that Shelley was 
young and heedless when he first married; 
let it be said, also, that he was in general 
strangely lovable and warmly philanthropic; 
and let it be said^ even, that he was in his 



THE BIBLE AND HOME 93 

lifetime execrated beyond Ms deserts. But it 
would not be so easy to palliate his conduct 
if one's own daughter had drowned herself to 
end her sorrow, or if one's own daughter had 
traveled with him, unmarried, over France 
and Switzerland! Somehow literary admira- 
tion plays tricks on moral natures. Doubtless 
the judgment of Shelley on the basis of his 
boyish poem "Queen Mab" was unfair, even as 
its surreptitious publication without his con- 
sent was unfair. None the less one may trace 
a connection between his college production 
in defense of atheism and his later domestic 
conduct. No marriage has a sure foundation 
apart from a religious sanction. The more 
we consider the possibilities suggested by this 
confessedly extreme illustration, the more 
will we cling to the strict theory of Jesus 
as against the limping logic of any loose 
sociologist. 

We have thus seen that the foundation of 
the home comes to the Bible, and particularly 
to the goal of the Bible's revelation in Christ, 
for its solidity. Other foundations are 
fashioned of yielding sand. The marriage 
ceremony might well be modified in some 
minor regards; but the word of Christ will 
insist that the ceremony shall represent no 
flimsy contract. While he rules the pronounce- 
ment will be, "God hath joined together"; 



94 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

and the human response will remain, "till 
death us do part." 

The relation of Jesus to the home goes 
farther than his word about marriage, deep 
and far-reaching as that is. His life empha- 
sized the sacredness of the family relation. 
He went back from the scene in the Temple 
to be "subject unto his parents." He wrought 
his first miracle on the occasion of a mar- 
riage. Many of his miracles of mercy were 
performed in answer to a family plea. He 
heard the cry of a mother when he healed the 
daughter of the Syrophcenician woman, and 
again when he raised up the son of the widow 
of Nain. He heard the cry of a father when 
he cast out the evil spirit and restored a 
stricken son, clothed and in his right mind. 
He heard the cry of sisters when he stood 
weeping at the grave of Lazarus. The domes- 
tic plea quickly reached his heart and sum- 
moned his aid. It was so even in the personal 
sense. In the agony of the crucifixion he did 
not fail to commend his mother to the care of 
his best-to-do disciple, and to cause the writ- 
ing of that simple statement, "From that day 
that disciple took her into his own home." 

Indeed, through all the life of Jesus he 
glorified the family, unless the family stood 
in the way of his truth or work. Emerson 
said once, "I will hate my father and my 



THE BIBLE AND HOME 95 

mother when my genius calls me." We all 
know where Emerson got those words; they 
were not written on his own authority. Jesus 
made our human ancestry subject to our 
divine ancestry. Above the earthly parents 
he saw the heavenly Father. The God who 
ordained the home was above the home. But 
Jesus would allow no other exception. He 
himself lived by that supreme law. He was 
homeless in obedience to his own divine mis- 
sion. There is a peculiar illustration of this, 
hidden somewhat by our awkward distribution 
of the Bible into chapters and verses. The 
seventh chapter of John ends with the words, 
"They went every man to his own house." It 
is not difficult for us to reproduce the scene, 
even with its Oriental touches. The discus- 
sion of the day is over. The hearers did what 
men and women have been doing ever since — 
they turned to the twinkling lights of their 
homes. Soon the crowds had disappeared and 
the various persons had joined themselves to 
their family groups. The homeless One was 
left alone. The first verse of the eighth chap- 
ter of John says, "Jesus went unto the mount 
of Olives." It was just an instance of his 
tragedy, "The foxes have holes, and the birds 
of the air have nests ; but the Son of man hath 
not where to lay his head." The homelessness 
of Jesus was vicarious. Sometimes still he 



96 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

calls his own into the same vicariousness. He 
separates sons and daughters from their 
fathers and mothers and sends them afar to 
preach his kingdom. Wherever those home- 
less ones may go, the meaning of home takes 
on a new and sacred meaning. They carry 
with them the Word and Spirit of him who, 
being weary, invited the weary ones to come 
to him for rest; being thirsty, invited the 
thirsty ones to drink of the water of life ; being 
poor, invited the poor to come to him for 
riches; being dead, invited the dying ones to 
look to him for eternal life; and, being home- 
less, still commands the world to look to him 
for the spirit of home. Even though he him- 
self went down into the darkness of the Mount 
of Olives, ever since his day the people that 
have heard and heeded his word have found 
the lights of home more inviting and the mis- 
sion of the home more divine. 

There is yet another consideration which 
must be noted ere we receive the full message 
of Jesus about the home. The teaching of 
Jesus concerning God was almost wholly 
based on a figure of speech derived from the 
home. In the Old Testament God is men- 
tioned under the title of fatherhood but seven 
times. Five times he is spoken of as the father 
of the Jewish people; twice he is spoken of 
as the father of individual men. Only once 



THE BIBLE AND HOME 97 

in the sweep of the ancient Scriptures is there 
found a prayer addressed to God as Father. 
God was the King of kings, and the Lord of 
hosts; he was Creator and Lawgiver. But in 
the knowledge of the people he was not yet 
Father. The world waited long ere men found 
an Elder Brother who could break the spell 
of their orphanhood and reveal to them a 
Father. When Jesus desired to tell men what 
God was like he went to their homes and found 
therein the form of his teaching. He sprinkled 
the New Testament with the domestic name 
of God. Two hundred and sixty-five times 
God is spoken of under the title of Father- 
hood. The sacredness of the home relation 
could not receive holier emphasis. 

Thus the homes which are founded by the 
Lord become revelations of the Lord. Domes- 
tic relations are teachers of theology. Well 
may we speak of a Family Bible! There is 
such a Bible. The illustration of theology is 
the family illustration. Some day we shall 
recover that theology, and we shall place the 
theologies that have superseded it in their 
secondary place. Jesus was the final Teacher 
of theology, and we must give him the primacy. 
Under his teaching every true home is a symbol 
of the divine household; every true parent is 
a limited representative of God; every true 
son is an example of the filial spirit that is 



98 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

religion. The path of prayer starts with the 
word Father. The doctrine of providential 
care is explained by the word Father. The 
call to obedience refers to the will of the 
Father. The deeper tragedy of sin comes from 
the fact that the offense is against the Father. 
Conversion is a return to the Father. 

Taking, then, the direct teaching of Jesns 
with reference to marriage as the founding of 
the home, taking his life in its merciful rela- 
tion to the home, and taking his teaching 
about God as based on the home, we are justi- 
fied in saying that Jesus was the Prophet 
and Saviour of the Family. The vision that 
he gave of the other life took on that form 
again. He declared that he was preparing a 
place for his own, and he called that place 
the "Father's house." He was likewise pre- 
paring a home this side of the many mansions. 
A Carpenter he was. He has builded many 
sanctuaries, some for worship, and some for 
the mercy that we show to the sick, and aged, 
and destitute. But the Carpenter of Nazareth 
is the builder of the true home. His word 
lays its foundations, raises its walls, places 
its capstone, and furnishes its atmosphere of 
peace and love. The home that is placed on 
any other word cannot stand the shock of the 
tempest. It is based on sand; and when the 
winds and rains and storms of passion come, 



THE BIBLE AND HOME 99 

the home will fall, and great will be the fall 
thereof. The world needs to-day the lesson 
of Jesus about the home; and it needs, also, 
the spirit of Jesus in the home. When men 
and women yield to that spirit, extravagance 
will be checked, forbearance will be increased, 
love will be promoted, peace will be estab- 
lished. Husband and wife will not then plead 
that Jesus's strict decree concerning marriage 
may be annulled. Earthly homes will be like 
vestibules of the Father's House. 

There remains for brief discussion the rela- 
tion of the Epistles of the New Testament to 
the home life of the people. The tendency 
here has been to give undue emphasis to cer- 
tain phases of Paul's teaching. Some re- 
formers, especially some radical feminists, 
have spoken of the great apostle's teaching 
with scant respect. The command to wives 
to obey their husbands has been kept apart 
from the command to husbands to love their 
wives even as Christ loved the church. Christ 
loved the church so that he gave his life for 
it ; and when husbands love their wives to that 
sublime extent, obedience is no longer de- 
manded for tyranny. All technical matters 
aside, it will be seen that the apostolic treat- 
ment of the domestic relations, touching the 
relative duties of husbands and wives, parents 
and children, and masters and servants, shows 



100 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

a marked balance. When each party keeps 
his portion of the precepts, and is strictly 
minded to fulfill precisely his part of the 
apostolic contract, debates about primacy and 
authority find their gracious solution in 
mutual love. Unless we should wish to make 
undue account of Saint PauFs doctrine of the 
husband's primacy, we cannot say that his 
attitude toward womankind was marked by 
anything other than utmost respect. Just 
what his own domestic experiences were is 
a question of age-long doubt. If we study his 
actual references to women we shall find a 
series of compliments too deep to serve as the 
expression of a superficial gallantry and too 
genuine to allow the author to be classed as a 
hater of the mothers and sisters and wives of 
the race. Near the end of his life Paul caught 
the vision of his Master. Beyond his wander- 
ings he saw a destination ; above his imprison- 
ments he saw a freedom ; after his shipwrecks 
he saw a haven ; and the destination and free- 
dom and haven were all expressed in the words 
"at home." "At home," "at home with the 
Lord," this was PauFs conception of the wait- 
ing heaven. He, too, exalted the home by 
making it the f orefigure of heaven. 

We have now presented enough to justify 
the statement that the Bible is the stanch 
friend of the home. As long as men and 



THE BIBLE AND HOME 101 

women read and obey the Book, and love and 
follow the Lord of the Book, their feet will 
turn reverently homeward as to the place of 
God's appointing, as to the school of God's 
own discipline, as to the place of God's own 
joy, and as to the anteroom of God's own 
heaven. 



CHAPTER IV 

The Bible and Education 

The man whose program of daily life sug- 
gests the outline of these chapters awakes in 
the morning to the consciousness of himself. 
He is soon aware of the presence of his family 
and catches the sense of home. Directly the 
children are made ready for school and join 
that romping procession that moves each day 
at the joint command of parents and teachers. 
In the normal Christian community this fact 
of school-going is all but universal. In such 
a community the illiterate person is so excep- 
tional as to be a curiosity; he is marked by 
separateness if not by distinction. All of us 
have marched to school; all of us have had 
teachers. 

The fact is still more significant. School- 
going is not merely a general experience ; it is 
a long experience. It controls about one fourth 
of life. Indeed, if we figure the average span 
of life, the school claims more than one fourth 
of the individual career. Many persons con- 
tinue formal school work into the third dec- 
ade, while many give a score and a half of 

102 



THE BIBLE AND EDUCATION 103 

years in making educational preparation for 
the remaining twoscore years of the allotment. 
Beyond this, the whole educational scheme 
involves countless millions of dollars. Our 
bookkeeping is scarcely rapid enough to keep 
up mth the finances of the system. In our 
own country it really seems as if education 
had become a primary passion. Our school 
buildings yearly become more imposing and 
more costly. Our college endowments an- 
nually leap to more generous figures. Our 
largest philanthropies seek the privilege of 
enlarging educational opportunity. It thus 
requires no long observation to convince any 
thoughtful man that our educational program, 
involving every young life in the nation and 
ideally every young life on the planet, is of 
incalculable meaning. Each morning an army 
of many millions, ranging from wee kinder- 
gartners up to adult postgraduates, moves to 
the schoolroom door. The whole scene is as 
impressive as it is human. The question 
naturally comes. What started that proces- 
sion? What inspiration keeps it moving 
through the years? Is there one Book that 
leads in some forceful way to the study of 
many books? Does the Bible have any sure 
relation either to the enthusiasm or to the 
efficiency of our educational life? If our 
friend of the day's program could discover the 



104 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

intricate influences that unite in sending his 
children to the school, would he find that any 
large credit must be assigned to the Book? 

The aim now is not to show the place that 
the Bible has had in the curriculum of the 
world's education; nor yet is it to show the 
direct effect that the Bible has had upon the 
world's instruction. The Bible has been the 
supreme text-book, even as it has been the 
supreme force, in the schools of nearly two 
millenniums. These facts have been well set 
forth in many treatises. The purpose now is 
simpler and more meaningful: to trace to its 
main sources the influence which the great 
Book has had upon the intellectual life of 
the race. 

We are met at the outset by the singular 
fact that the Bible has .little to say specifically 
concerning education. Nowhere in its pages 
do we read the command, "Thou shalt found 
schools." The literalist who started out to 
find a biblical order for education, as such, 
would come back from an unrewarded search. 
But we have long ago discovered that the 
silence of the Bible does not constitute a com- 
mandment. There are some things that are 
stronger than detailed orders. An outer law 
that has fought an inner sanction has usually 
fared badly in history. On the other hand, 
the inner sanction, unenforced by any objec- 



THE BIBLE AND EDUCATION 105 

tive form of obligation, has won some big 
victories. An explicit command to act as an 
immortal is not so powerful as the implicit 
conviction that we are immortal. It is safe 
to declare that the implications of Scripture 
are often as deep and influential as its expli- 
cations. If, then, the flowers of knowledge 
bloom not by command in the fields of the 
Bible, may we still find there the seeds out 
of which such flowers inevitably grow? If the 
school building is not definitely prescribed, as 
was the Temple of Solomon, does the Book 
yield in a deeper sense the wood and stone 
and mortar by which the building must surely 
rise? Answers to these figurative questions 
will go far toward determining the relation 
of the Bible to education. The contention now 
is that the Bible has been the fountain whence 
streams of intellectual life have flowed, and 
that, minor influences being freely admitted, 
these streams may be traced to the Scripture's 
implicit doctrine of human responsibility. 

In discussing the bearing of the Bible on 
learning much has been made of the example 
of the Bible's mightiest characters. This fact 
is striking, and it lends itself to popular treat- 
ment. The average man takes a truth more 
readily when it is offered to him in a human 
setting. Hence it may be granted that the 
spirit of the Book in its influence on educa- 



106 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

tion has been supplemented by its concrete 
examples. In the patriarchal era the majestic 
figure is that of Abraham. Whatever the 
critics may say about the historicity of his 
person, they can hardly doubt the historicity 
of the intellectual process by which some 
^^Father of the Multitude" must have reached 
the creed of the divine unity and spirituality. 
We could not expect, of course, to find organ- 
ized education in the primitive days of reli- 
gious history. But, after all, education is 
relative. An eminent American graduated 
from Harvard in 1836 when he was sixteen 
years of age. In this day his sixteen years 
and his completed course of study would 
barely admit him to the Freshman class. So 
Abraham's education must be graded by the 
standard of his dim and far day. Tradition 
represents him as reaching the central doc- 
trine of the Jewish, Mohammedan, and Chris- 
tian faith by a method of reasoning. You 
may say of his physical journey that he went 
out, not knowing whither he went, but you 
cannot say that of his intellectual journey. 
While his feet pressed an unknown way, his 
mind and heart traveled straight toward the 
discovered God. If the best educated man of 
a period is he who sees most deeply and clearly 
into its essential truths and problems, then 
the "Father of the Faithful," whoever he was 



THE BIBLE AND EDUCATION 107 

and whenever he came, was the supreme 
scholar of his generation. 

As the life of the chosen people reaches more 
definite form, the place of education is more 
plainly seen. Doubtless most men would 
agree that Moses was the arch figure of the 
Old Testament. He is represented, both by 
the Scripture and by the tradition given 
among the Jewish historians, as having the 
best mental furnishing of his day. The book 
of the Acts says of him that he "was learned 
in all the wisdom of the Egyptians." Clemens 
Alexandrinus records that Moses had the 
finest teachers in Egypt, and that the choicest 
scholars were imported from Greece and 
Assyria to instruct the adopted prince in the 
arts and sciences of their respective countries. 
Perhaps we must allow something for the 
idealizing habit here ; but it is significant that 
both sacred and secular history unite in de- 
claring that the Lawgiver was learned. 

In the era of Prophecy we find the same 
development, only it is more speedy. Elijah 
may have been the crude and forceful son of 
mountain and rock, but his successor is the 
product of one of the numerous "schools of 
the prophets." Although intellectual training 
might be presumed to have little to do with 
the stern function of Old Testament prophesy- 
ing, the "school" arrived quickly and began 



108 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

the training of the young men. Criticism has 
not attacked the view that the book of Isaiah 
bears marks of high culture. If that book had 
two authors, the ancient world is entitled to 
the credit of a second scholar. When the 
radical is done with the story of Daniel we 
have left at least the schoolroom in which the 
youthful prophet gained his superior wisdom. 
It would appear that the examples of the 
worthies of the Old Testament give slight en- 
couragement to the idea that any type of 
selection or any mood of afllatus may not be 
supplemented by trained intellect in the king- 
dom of God. 

We need not halt long with the like lesson 
from the New Testament. Much has been 
made of the fact that the twelve apostles were 
uneducated men. Doubtless we often do their 
intellectual life scant justice. Desiring to 
score in an argument, we give it out as an 
evidence of the divinity of the faith that it 
conquered in spite of the disciples' lack of 
education. The truth is that the New Testa- 
ment does not warrant the application to the 
apostles of such words as "illiterate.'' Some 
of them wrote books that have moved the ages. 
But, whatever the fact be here, he would be 
wild indeed who would find in ignorance any 
explanation of the gospel's victory. Let us 
remember, moreover, that, when the "unlet- 



THE BIBLE AND EDUCATION 109 

tered'' Twelve were cramping the universal 
faith into a local religion, the corrector of 
their blunder was the "lettered" Paul. In 
his statement of experience he was ever ready 
to say that he had sat at the feet of Gamaliel, 
the greatest Jewish teacher of the day. After 
Christ Paul is the colossal figure of the New 
Testament; and there are those who would 
confidently declare him the greatest man who 
has walked the earth since Calvary. For a 
review of his education, let anyone read a 
standard Life of the Apostle. We thus gather 
the one result from both the Old and the New 
Testament. Moses was the mightiest person- 
ality of the one, and Paul was the mightiest 
human personality of the other ; and both were 
highly educated. The signal examples of the 
Bible range themselves on the side of educa- 
tion. 

As in all things else, so in the relation of 
the Bible to the intellectual life we reach 
the climax only when we come to Christ. 
Here, too, we find in the life of Christ that 
same element of paradox that we often find 
in his words. That saving was losing, giving 
was getting, and dying was living were ap- 
parently contradictory statements that real 
life proved to be true. Where words seemed 
to fight each other, the deeper facts were found 
to live in peace. So Jesus in his personal 



110 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

influence was ever reaching goals of which 
the paths did not give promise. This is seen 
peculiarly in his relation to the intellectual 
life. He left no manuscripts. The only time 
he is represented as writing was when he 
wrote the sentence of the sinning woman on 
the forgetful sands of the earth. Yet he who 
wrote no books has filled the world with books. 
Something in him quickly evoked Gospels and 
Epistles which were forerunners of a mar- 
velous literature. Even this moment thou- 
sands of pens are being moved by him. He 
wrote no books, and still he writes books 
evermore. 

It was so with his relation to the schools. 
Men tell us that the incarnation imposed a 
limitation on intellect — that it involved a 
kenosis, an emptying of knowledge even as of 
power. Be that as it may, our human ex- 
planations do not easily reach the mystery of 
his influence on the schools of the world. Did 
the boy Jesus go to school in Nazareth? Was 
his mother his only earthly teacher? Did his 
neighbors speak literal truth in the question, 
"Whence hath this man wisdom, having never 
learned''? The silent years give no answer to 
the questions. But this we do know : He who 
went to school slightly or not at all has sent 
a world to school. He who founded no im- 
mediate institution of learning has dotted the 



THE BIBLE AND EDUCATION 111 

planet with colleges. His schoolroom was 
itinerant and unroofed. It moved quickly 
from town to city, from capital to desert, from 
mountain to seashore. We have dignified, it 
with a great name. The school of Jesus, whose 
plant and endowment and faculty all centered 
in one life, is named "the College of Apostles." 

He said to them, "Go, teach." They went 
and they taught. They were not deliberate 
founders of schools. But the heart of Jesus 
contained schools, and they, having gotten 
their hearts from him, carried schools with 
them. When the gospel reached England and 
Germany, education reached those countries 
and began to thrive. The vast majority of 
the first one hundred colleges founded in 
America were builded by the followers of the 
Great Teacher. 

Now, this unique relation of Jesus to the 
educational life of men is not accidental. 
Subtle as are the laws which determine it, 
those laws work effectively. They are elusive, 
but once in a while we glimpse their ways 
and meanings. The New Testament seems to 
feel their presence. It calls Christ a Teacher. 
Forty-three times it uses his name in connec- 
tion Tsdth the word "teach" in its various 
forms. The world gets the same impression. 
It persists in calling Jesus the Greatest 
Teacher. It must note the schoolroom phrases 



112 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

with which the account of his life is filled. 
The prologue of his wonderful message on 
the Mount illustrates this. "And seeing the 
multitudes, he went up into a mountain : and 
when he was set, his disciples came unto him ; 
and he opened his mouth, and taught them." 
The posture of Jesus was that of the teacher. 
His audience was made up of "disciples," that 
is, of pupils. He "taught" them. All this 
might be called a superficial play upon mere 
words. But we may go further and discover 
that the method of Jesus was the method of 
the teacher. He put his effort into other lives 
in order that these lives might, within their 
various limitations, duplicate his own. His 
work was largely devoted to the preparation 
of a select few. Often he left hundreds and 
thousands that he might be alone with Twelve. 
He poured himself into his disciples, his 
scholars. He thus did what every true teacher 
must do : He committed the cause of his life to 
those whom he schooled into faith and charac- 
ter and power. 

Nor did the teaching method halt here. The 
good teacher makes the things of the earth 
serve as approaches to the highest develop- 
ments. This Jesus did supremely. Long 
before men made "nature study" an educa- 
tional fad, Jesus made it an ethical and 
spiritual service. He pressed flowers, mus- 



THE BIBLE AND EDUCATION 113 

tard seeds, grapes, wine, thistles, corn, figs, 
into the lessons of his roving school. He 
made nature study so effective that along a 
path of lilies men walked to God. When it 
was necessary to individualize in order to come 
to this high result, Jesus took up that burden 
of teaching. His school, like all other schools 
since its day, enrolled "a son of thunder." 
It took the love that suffered long to 
make John, the son of thunder and light- 
ning and vaulting ambition, into the son of 
tender love. It took the patience that knows 
no failure to change the shifting sand of 
Simon's nature into the rock of Peter's char- 
acter. All these considerations will convince 
us that we may go to Christ with the peda- 
gogical, as well as with the religious motive. 
We do not wonder that a man should have 
crept to him in the darkness and should have 
said, "We know that thou art a teacher." 

There is yet another side of the subject that 
calls for emphasis. The Bible and Jesus give 
the ideal of the intellectual life, an omniscient 
God. The God who is perfect in character is 
often lifted before us. We hear the voice 
saying, "Be ye holy; for I the Lord your God 
am holy." Yet we interpret the call narrowly. 
Christ has come to us with the call to purity. 
To the attentive he comes just as truly with 
the call to knowledge. He has given us a 



114 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

gospel for the body, and that gospel teaches 
that drunkards and other defilers of the human 
temple of God cannot inherit his kingdom. He 
has given us a gospel for the spirit, and that 
gospel commands that the inmost realm of life 
be given to his sway. He has likewise given 
us a gospel of the mind, and that gospel cannot 
be omitted from the fullness of the blessing of 
Christ. The God revealed in Christ knows all 
things. He counts the hairs of our heads. He 
marks the petals of the flowers. He notes 
the fall of the sparrows. He is all-knowing 
and all-wise. 

Even though the ideal be a staggering one, 
we are still told to be like God. Some day 
we shall appreciate more the duty that speaks 
to us in Jesus's revelation of an omniscient 
God. As yet we hardly dare press to its full 
meaning the call implied in that revelation. 
We have said that the man who neglects and 
stunts and poisons his body is a sinner. We 
have said that the man who dwarfs and re- 
presses his spirit is a sinner. Are we ready 
to say that the man who gives his mind no 
chance, the man who fails to move on to the 
ideal of an omniscient God, is likewise a 
sinner? Is God's perfect spirit a goal for his 
children, and is God's perfect mind removed 
from our vision of duty? If we are to start 
on the endless march that leads to the purity 



THE BIBLE AND EDUCATION 115 

of God, are we freed from the obligation of 
starting on the endless march that leads to 
his knowledge? We may shrink from the con- 
clusion that is here involved; and our shrink- 
ing may be only an added evidence that we 
have omitted one element from the divine 
ideal. 

Just here we are struck with the conscious- 
ness that we shall need some great dynamic, 
if we are ever to start toward this unspeak- 
able goal. Evidently we have not reached the 
last thing in Christ's relation to education. 
Confucius was a great teacher, but his system 
has not produced schools. Mohammed was a 
great teacher, but his system has left his 
followers wallowing in ignorance. Though 
Mohammedanism has proclaimed an omnis- 
cient God, somehow that beacon on the infinite 
height has not coaxed the Turk on to its shin- 
ing. Mohammedanism has offered the ideal, 
but it has lacked the power. On the contrary 
the system of Jesus seems to have had a genius 
for diffusing education. It has been a vast 
normal school. The purer and freer and more 
spiritual its form, the mightier has it been as 
an educational force. If we list the nations 
of the earth in classes with reference to 
literacy and illiteracy, we shall find that the 
farther the nations are from the Bible, the 
more dense is their ignorance. We shall find, 



116 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

too, that where the people are the freest in 
their relation to the Bible, there the ignorance 
is least. Plainly the Bible with its crowning 
revelation in Christ does furnish something of 
a dynamic toward education. The school has 
been the inevitable companion of the church. 
This is because the church, in addition to 
giving a list of inspiring examples, and in 
addition to lifting up the uttermost ideal, has 
also emphasized an obligation under the 
leadership of the ever-present Spirit. It re- 
mains to show the nature of the obligation 
which the Spirit has enforced with reference 
to knowledge. Perhaps this can be done more 
clearly by taking the attitude of the Scrip- 
tures toward slavery as illustrating their atti- 
tude toward ignorance. 

When Jesus faced his audiences he looked 
upon men who were in bondage as well as 
upon men who were in ignorance. It is fre- 
quently said that Christ did not attack slavery. 
In the days before the war the biblical literal- 
ist, who believed in freedom, had a hard time 
with his Bible. He found that the Bible did 
not condemn slavery, but that the Bible did 
give concerning it certain regulations. The 
pro-slavery orators made good use of the letter 
to Philemon. The people who believed in 
human liberty, and who likewise believed in 
a mechanical and verbal theory of biblical in- 



THE BIBLE AND EDUCATION 117 

spiration, passed through intellectual agony 
in the period of anti-slavery agitation. If 
human bondage was the sum of all villainies, 
why did not Jesus condemn it with unsparing 
invective? Why did not the apostles enter 
upon an immediate crusade for its downfall? 

The answer is that Christ in the deepest 
way did condemn slavery, and that the apostles 
in the realest way did begin their crusade. 
They gathered no visible army, and they en- 
forced no written statute, but Christ stated 
and his followers promulgated a conception 
of humanity that prophesied the melting of 
all chains. Usually the claim is that the 
Golden Kule was the primary foe of slavery, 
but the Golden Kule is of little force, apart 
from that doctrine of human personality that 
pervades the New Testament. Give that doc- 
trine power, and it would refuse to live in the 
same world with slavery. That doctrine, 
under a Captain, was a delivering army. That 
doctrine, under a King, was an Emancipation 
Proclamation. The Golden Rule had been 
given in negative form by Confucius, and it 
went to sleep in his maxims. That rule had 
been uttered negatively by Plato, but it nestled 
quietly in his poetry. Hillel approached the 
positive statement of the rule, but he does not 
get credit for being its author. The glory of 
a truth lies with the one who gives it power. 



118 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

Jesus made the Golden Rule leap to its feet. 
He turned it into a most effective traveler. 
It praised God on its wide journeys. It began 
to work wonders. 

That work was slow, but it was both sure 
and thorough. The Rule had power behind its 
saying. At length the Spirit carried that 
gracious weapon over the seas and laid it in 
the hearts of Clarkson and Wilberforce. Soon 
the English flag floated over freemen every- 
where. Again the Spirit carried the doctrine 
over other seas and lodged it in the hearts of 
Love joy, Phillips, and Garrison. Directly 
four million sable faces were glowing with the 
light of liberty. Jesus had said, "If the Son 
therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free 
indeed." The word had essentially a spiritual 
meaning, but it was worked out, also, in a 
splendid literalness. The Son made men free, 
not primarily by the force of law, nor yet 
primarily by the violence of armies, but rather 
by the conquest of disposition. The honor of 
the victory is with the Bible theory of human- 
ity, made strong with the power of Christ. 

Now what the truth of the Bible did in 
tearing down slavery, it is continually doing 
in routing ignorance. The connection is 
subtle, but it is vitally real. The doctrine of 
personal responsibility is atmospheric in the 
Bible. It is equally comprehensive. Men are 



THE BIBLE AND EDUCATION 119 

held responsible for their bodies. Drunken- 
ness, adultery, and all forms of sensuality are 
condemned. This is at the bottom of life. But 
at the top of life firmer stress is j laced. The 
spirit of man is made a field of reckoning. 
The divine dominion over motive is strongly 
asserted. And that comprehensive responsi- 
bility claims the mind. The first great com- 
mandment of the new dispensation is that we 
must "love God mth all the strength, with 
all the soul, with all the mind" Men may 
differ about the precise meaning of the mind's 
love for the Lord, but the Christian sense of 
duty has asserted it in strange fashions. 
From vast revivals young men and women have 
gone forward intellectually and have sought 
the higher education. Conversion has set free 
their intellects and has made them feel the 
duty of intellectual development. The pressure 
of the Christian ideal has been on them. They 
have answered the call of the God who is 
infinitely good, and they must now answer the 
call of the God who is infinitely wise. An 
elusive intellectual law is written sure and 
large in the code of the Great Kingdom. It is 
as certainly a commandment of God as if it 
had been thundered among the crags and 
lightnings of a new Sinai. 

The conviction of the church at this point 
has not always come to definition; nor has it 



120 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

always risen even to consciousness. For all 
that, it has risen to practical life and has 
struggled always for outward expression. 
Feeling t'\. t the empire of God is over all of 
life, man must submit his mind to the divine 
rule. Hence it follows that the man who is 
intellectually lazy, as well as the man who is 
intellectually dishonest, is a sinner. This 
statement may shock those who have a surplus 
of caution, but these may reassure themselves 
with the conviction that any theory may be 
fearlessly accepted, if it brings us face to face 
with God at any point of our total life. The 
failure to follow this biblical idea has brought 
a penalty always. No denomination that has 
fought or slurred education has led a large 
and victorious life; on the contrary it has in- 
variably become one of the fading and dwin- 
dling forces of God's work. The God of wisdom 
is evermore against the promoters of igno- 
rance. So do we find that, by the examples of 
its greatest characters, by the life of its 
Greatest Teacher and its ruling Lord, by the 
vision of its supreme ideal, by the assertion 
of its inclusive theory of consecration, and by 
the divine dynamic which it brings to bear 
upon the mind, the Bible has become the 
steadfast friend of proper education. It has 
opened the doors of countless schools and has 
bidden the children of men to enter the portals 



THE BIBLE AND EDUCATION 121 

of learning with the assurance that all truth 
is of God. 

The Bible renders education the service of 
inspiration, and it renders it the service of 
proper restraint. When any one faculty of 
human life becomes a monarch it always makes 
for trouble. Zeal without knowledge tends to 
breakage; knowledge without zeal tends to 
waste. The Bible does not make intellect all. 
Man has mind, and he must use that. Man 
has sensibility, and he must use that. Man 
has will, and he must use that. Man must 
get the truth out of his integral self rather 
than out of his fractional self. The man who 
does not use his heart and will in the gaining 
of truth is just as faithless as is the man who 
will not use his mind. Without attempting to 
use psychological terms with exactness, we 
may say that Jesus brought in the reign of 
the practical intellect, which gets truth from 
all there is of man. Even as truth comes not 
from the naked will of God, nor yet out of his 
cold thought, but rather out of the full nature 
of the Infinite, so truth finds man, not at some 
one point of his being, but in the glowing 
center of his whole life. 

We may assert, also, that the Bible saves 
education from frigidity. Tennyson speaks of 
"the freezing reason's colder part.'' We all 
know the meaning of the phrase. Jesus put 



122 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

into the search for truth the mood of humility. 
The method of learning was obedience. Obedi- 
ence is the organ of intellectual vision as well 
as of spiritual vision. The method of Jesus 
was not merely for the spiritual life, as men 
speak in their fragmentary way; it was a 
universal method. It takes humility to make 
the beginnings of a scholar, and weariness and 
shame of ignorance, and faith in an intel- 
lectual empire, and a high trust that the mind 
is made for truth, and the truth for mind. 
Ere we have done, we have a huge creed 
wrapped up in our intellectual processes. But 
the creed has been saved from its cold pride. 
The Bible says in one of its marginal readings, 
"Knowledge puffeth up; love buildeth up." 
Knowledge alone may be swollen with pride, 
and the higher demand of the Bible would 
save from that disaster. This gives us the 
clue to more than one biblical sentence. There 
is a "science falsely so called." There is a 
sense in which "not many wise after the flesh 
are called." These implied warnings are not 
the cries of prejudice. They stand for the 
effort to touch learning with humility, which 
alone can save it from being distant and icy. 

The good Book rescues education from a 
selfish inaction. There was a living and serv- 
ing element in Jesus's relation to the intel- 
lectual life. He did not deal in barren meta- 



THE BIBLE AND EDUCATION 123 

physics or in helpless abstractions. His truth 
went to work. He fastened it to life's burdens, 
and they were lifted. He dropped it amid 
life's problems, and they were solved. He cast 
it against life's temptations, and they were 
defeated. He attached it to life's duties, and 
they were fulfilled. He sought those truths 
with which men had to dwell. He never at- 
tempted to set forth the essential mystery of 
things. He was no dealer in an intellectual 
cure-all. He spoke with authority and yet 
with reverent limitation. There was a great 
reserve in his explanations. Yet in the realm 
where men must live their present lives, Jesus 
gave enough truth to keep men busy all their 
days. Here again comes in the question of 
dynamic. Men sometimes prate about their 
"love of truth." The intellectual life, like the 
religious life, may be guilty of cant. It takes 
more than an open mind to get the truth; it 
takes a working mind. Truth does not come 
to the passive man by way of transfer. One 
teaching of the parable of the virgins is that, 
while the coarser goods of life may be trans- 
ferred, the finer goods of life must be won by 
spiritual effort. It takes dynamic to secure 
a real intellect. Perception may see a truth, 
but only inward power can use the truth. 
Jesus conferred that power. He gave us the 
truth in the doctrine about God. He gave us 



124 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

the way in the spirit of obedience. He gave 
us the life in the willingness to make the truth 
the servant of the world for the sake of Christ. 
This leads us to the biblical idea of conse- 
crated intellect. As we have often failed to 
indicate the sin of needless ignorance, so have 
we failed to point out the sin of an unconse- 
crated mind. All truth can be dedicated to 
Christ. His great call to-day is for more men 
with the highest culture placed under the 
thrall of his grace and under the guiding 
power of the Spirit whom he sends — more 
Luthers from Wittenberg, more Wesleys from 
Oxford, more Pauls from Gamaliel's school; 
more men from all our modern seats of learn- 
ing who will know that gifts of learning can 
be placed at the service of the King and that 
all science and philosophy and literature may 
be placed at the foot of the Cross. In the 
coming day of the Christian intellect 

Mind and heart, according well 
May make one music as before. 
But vaster. 



CHAPTER V 

The Bible and Work 

The frank purpose of the present lecture is 
to discuss the relation of the Bible to the moral 
and spiritual aspects of work. The aim is not 
a study in economics. Without doubt the 
Bible stands for justice; and without doubt, 
also, the intent of the Bible is to make just 
men. But the great Book does not give an 
infallible table of wages; neither does it offer 
any sure rules v/hereby we can determine the 
working value of any particular individual. 
It declares that "the laborer is worthy of his 
hire," and it leaves the details to be wrought 
out by men whom it summons to the spirit of 
justice and love. Interested as we may be in 
the economic problems of our day, we must 
still rejoice that the Bible does not surrender 
its work of inspiration in an effort at mechan- 
ical guidance. The wage scale must neces- 
sarily vary with the conditions of living; and, 
therefore, a textbook of money wages would 
have made a cumbersome volume with most 
of its pages as lifeless as the Book of the 
Dead. The very suggestion ends in ridiculous- 

125 



126 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

ness. The effort of the Bible is not to give 
directions for working machines, but to give 
motives to working men. It is not a task- 
master, but a task-inspirer. 

True toil of whatever sort is in need of 
inspiration. It must go by system and by 
schedule, and the element of monotony makes 
itself felt. The man leaves his home six morn- 
ings of the week and takes up his accustomed 
task. The bell calls him to work at an ap- 
pointed hour, and it dismisses him by the 
demand of the clock. The husband goes to 
the store or office or factory to do the same 
things again and ever again, while the wife 
goes about the household duties that have en- 
grossed her on thousands of previous days. 
One of the victories of life is to be a worker 
and not to be a drudge. We have all known 
people who have not won that victory. Their 
work is a grim necessity. It is not acquainted 
with poetry or with music. When the idealist 
speaks of the man who sings at his toil, they 
sneer at his sentimentalism or they doubt his 
sincerity. Work is a ceaseless grind; it is a 
dreary round; it is a hard compulsion. The 
poet who wields a pen may tell the man who 
wields a pick that work is joy and refreshment 
and liberty, but the sour toiler will regard his 
teacher as a condescending comforter. The 
complaint of many people is not simply that 



THE BIBLE AND WORK 127 

they must make bricks without straw, but that 
they must make bricks at all. In their vocabu- 
lary pleasure contrasts with labor because 
labor itself is pain. They are weary in their 
work and weary of their work. The only ideal 
for this sort of laborer is that he may labor so 
successfully as to be able some day to get on 
without labor. This man is the drudge. 

Oddly enough, he has had his theological 
partners. There have been Bible students who 
have held that all work is a penalty of the 
Fall. They say that when God said to Adam, 
"In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat 
bread,'' he entered toil among the punish- 
ments of life. Undoubtedly sin adds to the 
hardship of work, especially if the sin be the 
sin of a wrong attitude. Thorns and thistles 
do prosper more around the broken gate of 
the sluggard. The earnest expectation of a 
groaning and travailing creation does wait for 
the revealing of the sons of God. Discontent 
puts its evil reflex on the muscles. The re- 
bellious worker is ever the tired worker. But 
even the literal story of Eden does not give the 
ideal of worklessness. Adam had been placed 
in the garden "to dress it and to keep it." 
Wherever God places the man, he places the 
task for the man. Any other conception of 
life is unworthy and utterly irreligious. A 
silly theology that puts a premium on idle- 



128 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

ness is not born of the God that "worketh 
hitherto." Still the view that work is a curse 
persists even after the theory that encouraged 
the view has gone to the discard. The sancti- 
fied escape the fret of work, but they do not 
escape its fact. The Perfect Life, as we shall 
later see, was the life of a Worker. 

Admitting, as we all must, that work is 
sometimes tragic because it lacks its proper 
outer reward, we may still contend that often 
its deepest tragedy is a wrong attitude of 
spirit. Doubtless much of this comes from 
maladjustment. Some idealists believe that 
if every man were given his own task, every 
man would be happy at that task. Kipling so 
states it in the "L'Envoi" of "The Seven 
Seas." He sees the good time when there 
shall be an adjustment between man and his 
task. The lower motives for work shall all 
be done away, and the one satisfying motive 
shall abide. 

And only the Master shall praise us, and only the Master 

shall blame, 
And no one shall work for money, and no one shall 

work for fame, 
But each for the joy of the working, and each in his 

separate star, 
Shall draw the thing as he sees it, for the God of things 

as they are. 

Ideal as this is, it gets a response from us all. 



THE BIBLE AND WORK 129 

Besides there are some foretokens of this age 
of joyful toil. Usually these are seen most 
clearly in work that has a relation to beauty. 
The woman works cheerfully at her fine em- 
broidery, and she works just as cheerfully 
over the flowers in her garden. With men 
the form of toil that stands for genuine 
achievement often becomes not only a pleasure 
but a veritable passion. Where a spiritual 
motive allures, work frequently becomes the 
gladness of life. Agassiz declined to accept 
the remunerative call to lecture by saying, "I 
am only a teacher. I cannot afford to make 
money." Wesley poured back into his work 
all the results of his work and died a poor man 
whereas he might have become rich. In 
America college professors have been known 
to save their meager salaries in order that 
they might return their slight estates to endow 
more fully the institutions for which they 
labored. They received from their work so 
that they could give back to their work. 

The more we study cases of this fine sort, 
the more will we be impressed that the workers 
labored under the biblical sense of life. The 
men just mentioned were all profound be- 
lievers in God, and they lived their lives as 
under his eye. Hence they saw their portion 
of work as a part of the infinite whole that 
makes for the kingdom of God. There is a 



130 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

story of a workingman who, standing on the 
street opposite the Cathedral of Cologne, was 
overheard saying, "Didn't we do a fine job 
over there?" Turning about, the listener saw 
a rough hand pointing at the wonderful 
cathedral. "What did you do?'' he asked the 
man. The reply was, "I mixed the mortar for 
several years." The tale was told by the 
thoughtless as being humorous. It is, how- 
ever, serious and beautiful. That workman 
had gotten the vision of himself as a partner 
in a plan that covered centuries of grand toil. 
He was a helper of God in the fashioning of 
his temple. In reality he had joined the com- 
pany of Hiram and of Solomon. Now all 
honest work must have a direction that is 
both long and high. It reaches down into the 
years of men. It reaches upward into the 
heart of God. Precisely this idealism is 
needed in order that toil may be redeemed 
from its drudgery. George Eliot gives us a 
striking illustration of it in her tribute to 
Stradivari, the maker of violins. This im- 
mortal mechanic is said to have had a rever- 
ence for his labor. He felt that, whereas God 
gave men skill to play, God depended on 
Stradivari to furnish the instruments. He 
was the partner of the Most High. God had 
chosen Stradivari as a helper. Hence he 
could say, 



THE BIBLE AND WORK 131 

Grod be praised, 
Antonio Stradivari has an eye 
That winces at false work and loves the true, 
"With hand and arm that play upon the tool 
As willingly as any singing bird 
Sets him to sing his morning roundelay. 
Because he likes to sing and likes the song. 

We may not all have this attitude toward our 
work, but we are all idealists enough to wish 
that we felt just that way. The singing work- 
man is not altogether a figment of the imag- 
ination ; neither is his spirit impossible in the 
day that now is. The men who regard work 
as a blessing, and not as a penalty and a curse, 
are found in many trades and professions. 
They are the forerunners of the Eden life. 
Certainly the main teaching of the Bible, that 
labor is designed to aid in the bringing in of 
the kingdom of God, must give to the honest 
laborers in every realm an exalted joy. 

This primary consideration is joined by the 
human examples of the Bible. We find in its 
pages a procession of workers, and from this 
procession God selects many of his chosen 
leaders. Moses was tending his flock on the 
hillside when the voice of the Lord summoned 
him to his manifold leadership. Saul was 
seeking his father's cattle when he found the 
kingdom of which he was to be king. David 
was busy in the sheepfold when the prophet 
called him to his work as warrior and mon- 



132 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

arch. Ruth was gleaning in the fields, in her 
pathetic effort to care for her widowed 
mother-in-law and herself, when she found her 
way into happiness and into the ancestry of 
our Lord. Gideon was beating out wheat in 
the wine press when he was drafted for the 
campaign that was to break the power of the 
Midianites. Elisha was plowing with twelve 
yoke of oxen when the mantle of Elijah was 
cast over his shoulders. Nehemiah was serv- 
ing as cupbearer to the king when he evoked 
from Artaxerxes the permission to return and 
rebuild the walls of his beloved city. Amos 
was among the herdsmen of Tekoa when the 
word of God took him captive and sent him to 
his prophetic career. These are the instances 
in the Old Testament where mention is made 
of the form of toil from which God called men 
to some spiritual service. Without doubt the 
full record would show that other signal 
servants received their commissions while they 
were faithfully performing their duties on 
threshing floors, out in the fields, and within 
counting-rooms. 

The New Testament is less specific in its 
descriptions, but it often gives us the like hint. 
Matthew was at the seat of custom when he 
was invited into the fellowship of the dis- 
ciples that he might tell men of the eternal 
exchange. James and John were engaged in 



THE BIBLE AND WORK 133 

their occupation as fishermen when they 
heard the voice on the shore and pulled their 
boat over the blue waves that they might be- 
come fishers of men. The shepherds were in 
faithful watch over their flocks by night when 
they heard the evangel of song and were 
startled by the message of peace. The illus- 
trations make us feel that the favorite meeting 
place of God with man is the meeting place of 
man with his work. A motto says that "the 
best reward of good work is more good work 
to do." The providence of God upholds the 
motto. The Bible shows a preference for the 
workers as against the shirks. It puts the 
premium on industry, whether the type of toil 
be manual or spiritual. 

Here, as in all other themes of real life, we 
come to Christ for our highest teaching and 
our best example. We have noted elsewhere 
that he made the home the illustration of our 
relations with God; and we now note that he 
made the common work of earth the illustra- 
tion of our responsibility for service to God. 
This he did so often and so urgently that we 
are driven to feel that work was not only the 
form of illustration but also the form of 
service itself. How many parables did he 
gain from the ways of toil? He would say, 
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto — ," and 
straightway his hearers' minds were sent to 



134 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

the places where men wrought for their daily 
bread. In most places the blanks can be sup- 
plied by some form of employment. "The 
kingdom of heaven is like unto — " a merchant 
and his pearls ; a sower and his field ; a woman 
and her leaven; a fisherman and his net; a 
husbandman and his vineyard; a merchant 
traveler and the intrusted talents. Where his 
words were used as deft and quick illustra- 
tions rather than as lengthy and formal para- 
bles, he gathered his material from the realms 
of toil. The builder and the house; the 
shepherd and the sheep; the axman and the 
tree; the tailor and the cloth; the housewife 
and the coin; the rich man and his steward; 
the woman and her grinding ; the man and his 
plowing ; the watchman and his vigil ; the hus- 
bandman and the vine; all these entered into 
his speech as showing what God would expect 
of men. Here we have almost a cyclopedia 
of labors. Inasmuch as Jesus commended the 
qualities shown in these various phases of 
service, we are allowed to think that he re- 
garded the legitimate occupations of everyday 
life as both representing and fulfilling the 
kingdom of God. Nor will reverent thought 
be satisfied with any less comprehensive view. 
There would be a dread of living if we were 
made to feel that the work which we must do, 
both to meet our own sense of self-respect and 



THE BIBLE AND WORK 135 

to provide for the needs of ourselves and our 
beloved, was either in opposition to the grace 
of God or stood for neutral territory between 
the realms of good and evil. The teaching of 
Jesus saves us from that practical atheism. 
He allows every honest man to take the oft- 
repeated phrase, "The kingdom of heaven is 
like unto — ," and to complete a portion of its 
meaning from his own form of labor. If a 
man is engaged in any task that makes sacri- 
lege and blasphemy when it is used to fill 
out the sentence, then let that man look well 
to his own heart and life. Every man's work 
should serve as a parable of Christ. 

But Jesus was not simply the doctrinaire 
of toil; he was its exemplar. The emphasis 
here is usually placed upon the fact that Christ 
was a carpenter. He transformed crude 
materials into useful tools. An overdone 
stress on this point is itself a confession that 
manual toil needs an apologist! The signifi- 
cant thing is that such a stress is wholly 
absent from the speech and attitude of Jesus. 
With him carpentry seems to have been a 
natural part of life. He never refers to it as 
something that he had outgrown. His back- 
ward look toward the occupation of his youth 
betrays no condescension, like to that occa- 
sionally seen in so-called self-made men! 
After he had left the carpenter's bench he 



136 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

said, "I work." When he saw the night clos- 
ing down about him, the brevity of the working 
day became an incentive to more work, and 
he said, "I must work." Even in the agony 
we can catch the exultation of the cry, "I 
have finished the work which thou gavest me 
to do." It was his meat to finish his "work." 
Jesus did the appointed task for each period 
of his life. Then he passed on to the task of 
the next period without the least hint that 
the varying tasks were not joined in the har- 
mony of the divine purpose. The work of 
his life was like his garment; it was all of 
one piece. From the building of the Nazareth 
cottage on to the building of the "many man- 
sions," there is no consciousness of contradic- 
tion. With Jesus the working life was a 
unity. 

And at the risk of being mechanical in the 
use of bungling divisions we may declare that 
Jesus entered into all the large divisions of 
toil. The note of universality is seen here as 
it is seen elsewhere. We have been told that 
the three forms of temptation that Jesus en- 
countered on mountain top and temple pin- 
nacle exhaust all the types. It has been said, 
too, that the thankfulness of Jesus is directed 
toward all the channels by which the good of 
life can flow in upon us. This same charac- 
teristic of universality appears in the work 



THE BIBLE AND WORK 137 

of Christ. As a carpenter hie worked upon 
material things. As a healer he worked upon 
the bodies of men. As a teacher he worked 
upon the minds of men. As a preacher he 
worked upon the souls of men. All the workers 
of the world can be brought into one of these 
divisions, and so all true workers can enter 
into partnership with Jesus. We call him the 
Carpenter, the Great Physician, the Greatest 
Teacher, the World's Saviour! The manual 
toilers claim him. The doctors claim him. 
The teachers claim him. The evangelists 
claim him. He is at home in the shop, in the 
hospital, in the schoolroom, and in the temple. 
All the classes of toilers can appeal to the 
sanction of his example. 

Still we must again assert that these clumsy 
divisions were not emphasized by Jesus him- 
self. There has been an age-long debate, oft- 
times degenerating into a wrangle, as to the 
relative hardships of the different forms of 
labor. Men who cling to their occupations will 
still declare that those occupations have trials 
beyond all others. Into this debate Jesus did 
not enter. He never set one form of toil 
against another by entering into any compari- 
sons or contrasts. As he experienced all the 
general forms of labor, so did he honor all 
forms. In his view they were all good and 
all cooperative. On the surface they may seem 



138 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

to be rivals, but in the center they are actual 
partners in the divine program. Hence Jesus 
passed from one realm of work to another 
with little sense of transition. Carpenter, 
Healer, Teacher, Preacher, he was ever the 
servant of the Kingdom. Faithfulness, honor, 
industry, efficiency, patience — in short, all the 
virtues were possible in any good way of work. 
The life of Jesus unites all our types of labor 
in a divine purpose and rebukes that quarrel- 
some spirit which so often sets the manual 
laborers and the mental and moral laborers 
in opposition. The hand cannot say to the 
head, "I have no need of thee," nor can the 
head utter the like speech of egotism and self- 
sufficiency. The workers are all one body, and 
every one members of another. 

So do we find Jesus putting himself with 
willing sacrifice into his varying tasks. He 
had said to his parents in Jerusalem, "Wist 
ye not that I must be amid my Father's mat- 
ters?" and then he went into what men call 
the silent years. But they were not wholly 
silent. The attentive can hear the sound of 
the hammer. The point is that in passing 
from the Jerusalem temple to the Nazareth 
shop Jesus did not depart from his Father's 
business. We may all resent the particular 
descriptions of the quality of his work as a 
carpenter; and we may be quite content in 



THE BIBLE AND WOKK 139 

our faith that all his work was done faith- 
fully and well. Holman Hunt's "Shadow of 
the Cross'' relates Jesus's work in the shop 
to his sacrificial character. At the end of a 
weary day the Nazareth Carpenter extends his 
arms to relieve his weariness. The sunshine 
coming through the window casts his shadow 
on the wall in the form of a Cross. His 
mother glancing in through another window 
sees the Cross foreshadowed there and gets 
her glimpse of the sword that should enter 
her own heart. Nor did Jesus escape hard- 
ship and exhaustion when he became a healer 
and teacher of the people. The crowds 
thronged him wherever he went. The hillside 
became like an open-air hospital. The multi- 
tudes hung upon his words of instruction. 
Some have said that one reason why he com- 
manded men who were healed or who were 
told the deeper secret of his nature that they 
"should tell no man," was that he might avoid 
the greater press of the throngs. Be that as 
it may, we are surely justified in saying that 
he gave himself lavishly to the work of each 
period. In each section of his life his action 
said, "I must work." 

It would be easy, however, to overstate 
Jesus's relation to work. He did not labor 
all the time. Knowing how to toil he knew 
likewise how to rest. Men may plead the ex- 



140 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

ample of Satan against a vacation season, but 
they cannot plead the example of Christ ! He 
rested after he had worked and in order that 
he might work again. When the crowd became 
importunate and the drain upon his power had 
become severe, he sought the desert and in 
its quiet restored himself for the new labors. 
He bade his weary disciples to come apart to 
the spot of respite. He was the exemplar of 
proper rest even as he was the exemplar of 
proper work. Industrious men often need one 
lesson even as lazy men need the other. There 
are persons who are greedy of toil. They are 
as avaricious for it as the miser is for gold. 
They are what Carlyle would call "terrible 
toilers.'' They die before their time because 
they work after their time. Jesus knew this 
danger. He wished to guard against it by 
keeping the Sabbath for man. He wanted to 
save the resting place between the weeks be- 
cause he wanted to save man to his best self 
and work. He prescribed the working day 
and the shop, and he prescribed the resting 
day and the desert. 

We need not be surprised, then, to find that 
the new day puts the emphasis on the sancti- 
fication of common work. Professor Peabody 
gives the contrast between two well-known 
poems as illustrating a change that has come 
over the personal side of the social question. 



THE BIBLE AND WORK 141 

A generation since Lowell gave us his "Vision 
of Sir Launfal." The hero of this poem, after 
traveling in many lands, finally finds the holy 
grail in the cup which he had filled for a way- 
side beggar, while the more personal presence 
of Jesus is discovered in the beggar himself 
to whom the searcher has given alms. The 
characteristic of the new day is seen in Van 
Dyke's "The Toiling of Felix." The hero of 
this later poem, after seeking the direct vision 
of his Lord in caves and deserts of idle con- 
templation, at last secures the coveted revela- 
tion as he enters gladly into a life of toil 
and particularly as he flings himself into the 
swollen river to rescue a fellow laborer. Felix 
finds that there is a holy literalness in the 
words which he found on the piece of papyrus 
as a recovered gospel of Christ: 

Lift the stone, and thou shalt find me; 
Cleave the wood, and there am I. 

The ranks of labor are "the dusty regiments 
of God." The Lord, being a worker, is mind- 
ful of his own : 

Born within the Bethlehem manger where the cattle 

round me stood, 
Trained a carpenter of Nazareth, I have toiled and 

found it good. 

The good work of the world is the work of 



142 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

Christ. There is really no contrast between 
sacred and secular; the actual contrast is 
between the sacred and the wicked. 

They who tread the path of labor, follow where Christ's 

feet have trod, 
They who work without complaining, do the holy will 

of God. 

This is the Gospel of labor — ring it, ye bells of the kirk, 
The Lord of Love came down from above to live with 
the men who work. 

The inevitable drift of this emphasis on the 
working experience of Jesus has swept admir- 
ation away from the monastic life. The 
"religious" are not those who shun the world 
of toil in order that they may gain the world 
of personal peace and salvation. The modern 
saint is not a Simon the Stylite. Saint Francis 
of Assisi projects himself into the admiration 
of the twentieth century because he was a 
worker rather than a recluse. The attitude 
toward monasticism among the healthier and 
more energetic peoples goes further than this : 
there is a feeling that in the last analysis the 
religious hermit is spiritually selfish. That is 
deemed a poor kind of religion which forsakes 
a world in order to save one's soul. The 
argument that the recluses may render the 
world the service of constant prayer does not 
appeal to those who know that work is itself 



THE BIBLE AND WORK 143 

a form of prayer; and that in Jesus prayer 
and work lived together in harmony. A better 
understanding of the religion of Christ de- 
mands that its followers shall be socially 
efficient. If Jesus is to be the world's ex- 
ample, more and more men and women will 
find in their legitimate toil one of the sacra- 
ments of life. 

Already we have come to feel that the Bible 
doctrine of work, especially as that doctrine 
is incarnated in Christ, lays stress upon the 
man as well as upon his task. It asks, "What 
is the man doing with his work?" It also 
asks, "What is the work doing with the man?" 
The reflexes of activity often become a topic 
of teaching. Paul said that the man reaps the 
harvest of his own sowing. Jesus said, "With 
what measure ye mete, it shall be measured 
to you again." This is much as if he had said 
that in the upper realms of living action and 
reaction are equal and in opposite directions. 
He told his disciples that, if they pronounced 
the benediction of peace upon a house unfit or 
unwilling to receive it, the benediction should 
return to them again. The meaning is that 
no work done with the right spirit can really 
fail. The poets give this idea currency. 
George Herbert declares that a servant with 
the proper clause in his creed makes "drudgery 
divine" : 



144 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

Who sweeps a room as to thy law 
Makes that and the action fine. 

He had already implied that such a servant 
made himself fine. Mrs. Browning emphasizes 
the need of a serious purpose in work when 
she uses her picturesque description: 

I would rather dance at fairs on tight rope 
Till the babies dropped their gingerbread for joy, 
Than shift the types for tolerable verse, intolerable 
To men who act and suffer. Better far 
Pursue a frivolous trade by serious means 
Than a sublime art frivolously. 

It is "better far" because our seriousness 
comes back to dwell with us; and our frivo- 
lousness does the same. Many of the parables 
get their meaning from this certainty of re- 
action. The good shepherd is good because he 
does his work well, and the return of his work 
makes him better still. Just as physical work 
reacts on the muscles, so that sometimes men 
exercise without any outward object in view, 
even so does- the moral spirit of work come 
back to dwell with the man and to make his 
last estate either better or worse. Our bodies 
are built into strength by a series of reactions, 
and our spirits evermore receive their own 
with usury. 

This idea, as we have observed in another 
connection, has wrought some marked changes 



THE BIBLE AND WORK 145 

in the social program. It has largely super- 
seded almsgiving by workgiving. Scientific 
charity seeks to remove the causes of poverty, 
knowing that this is the sure way to remove 
poverty itself. The conviction is that a day's 
w^ork with a day's pay is far better for the 
man than a day's pay without the day's work. 
In the latter case the man loses both inde- 
pendence and self-respect, while in the former 
case he keeps both of these and gains in addi- 
tion the rebound of faithful labor. The tramp, 
or the man with the heart of a tramp, always 
fails. Outwitting others, he outwits himself 
more truly. He plays tricks on his own soul. 
The weakness of his life settles back into his 
spirit. He drags with him always his evasions 
and neglects. Scamping his toil, he scamps 
his own soul. All shoddy material gets built 
into his own being. He erects a dishonest 
house for another, but Tvi-th it he erects an evil 
structure in which he himself must live. So 
it is that a man's work may be his blessing, 
or it may be his vengeance. 

While this idea has its terrible side, it has 
also its side of glory and comfort. It provides 
amply for the failure of the faithful. Gold- 
smith says that "Good counsel rejected re- 
turns to enrich the giver's bosom,'' just as 
Jesus says the declined benediction of peace 
comes back to the true disciple. It follows 



146 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

that for the good workman there is no real 
failure. The house that he has builded may 
go up in smoke and flame, but the industry 
and honor that fashioned its walls and fash- 
ioned themselves in the making of the walls 
cannot be destroyed. The fortune that he has 
gathered may take wings and fly away, but 
the deeper treasures that have been garnered 
by fair-dealing in the marketplace abide in 
the deposit of the heart. Jesus said, "Your 
hearts shall rejoice, and your joy no man 
taketh from you." We see here that there are 
possessions that human power cannot remove. 
They have been woven into the self. The 
treasure house is too deep for the touch of 
man. A minor poet tells us : 

I've found some wisdom in my quest 

That's richly worth retailing; 
I've found that when one does his best 

There's little harm in failing. 

He corrects this mild statement in his con- 
cluding verse. He wanted riches, but he was 
rich without them; he wanted to sound the 
depths with his philosophy, but his ship sailed 
on anyhow ; he wanted fame ; but he discovered 
the secret of greatness without it; and so he 
adds the lines which declare that the failing 
of the faithful not only does "little harm," but 
even that it furnishes its own enrichment of 
the real life : 



THE BIBLE AND WORK 147 

I may not reach what I pursue, 

Yet will I keep pursuing; 
Nothing is vain that I can do; 

For soul-growth comes from doing. 

David "does welF' that it is in Ms heart to 
build the Lord's house, even though the honor 
be passed on to another. The good purpose 
helps to make the good man; and the good 
purpose that expresses itself in work is sure 
of the inner reward. This conception may be 
tT\dsted into a soft gospel for the inefflcient; 
but the evident purpose of the Bible is to offer 
it as a comforting gospel for the faithful. 

It would be easy to follow the guidance of 
the Concordance as it notes the word "work'' 
in the Epistles. All of the conceptions that 
have thus far been treated reappear in the 
apostolic writings. The symbol of everyday 
work is constantly lifted to the highest. We 
do not need to see Paul bending over the sail- 
cloth and thrusting his needle into the canvas 
ere we know that he is a worker. His whole 
life was one of toil. He was not slothful in 
his apostolic business; and the fervor of his 
spirit would have been a good example to the 
ancient mechanic or merchant. He saw good 
men as his colaborers with God. He saw the 
men that he helped to make good as a hus- 
bandry that he was cultivating for the Lord, 
as a building that he was fashioning for 



148 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

Christ^s sake. The cure for thieving was 
work. He that stole was to steal no more, 
but was to work with his hands the thing that 
was good; and the benevolent motive was to 
impel to work that the former thief might 
have something to give to the needy. It was of 
the hard toil of servants that Paul said, 
^^Whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the 
same shall he receive of the Lord." It is the 
idea of reaction again ; God suffers no faithful 
worker to lose his reward. The apostolic rule 
is very thoroughgoing in dealing with laziness. 
^^If any will not work, neither shall he eat." 
This rule may be an offense to the idle rich, 
but it appeals to the sense of justice. Perhaps 
some day society will be skillful enough to 
starve its tramps and shirks until they flee 
to toil as to a refuge. 

It is peculiar that the end of the Bible should 
have been misconceived, even as the beginning, 
in its teaching concerning work. We have 
discussed the heresy that declares that work 
is a penalty of sin. There is another heresy 
which pictures heaven as a place of everlast- 
ing idleness. If we select certain of the de- 
scriptions of Revelation, it is easy to see how 
the error arose. Yet in each of the weird 
pictures of the eternal city there is one sen- 
tence at least that hints at heavenly service. 
For energetic souls no other conception will 



THE BIBLE AND WORK 149 

be satisfying. Surely inactivity is not the 
goal of a redeemed race. Shortly before his 
death Mark Twain published in a magazine 
a satire on the usual idea of heaven. Intro- 
duced in a dream to the city of our hope, he 
was told by an attending angel to take his 
seat on a cloud and to occupy himself by 
wearing a crown and holding a harp. Soon 
becoming weary of this do-nothing life, he came 
down to the golden streets. He was asked to 
keep for a time the crowns and harps of the 
passers-by, and he noted that the way was 
strewn with these rejected ornaments! Some 
good people may have been offended by the 
satire; and some whose life has been filled 
with weariness will insist that heaven must 
offer rest. So indeed it must. One suggestive 
passage says concerning the souls of those that 
were slain for the testimony of Christ that 
they should "rest yet for a little season.'' 
Those that have come out of great tribulation 
are given service as a reward of their tribu- 
lation. "Therefore are they before the throne 
of God and serve him day and night in his 
temple." In the later description the land of 
rest is seen as a land of work, and "his serv- 
ants shall serve him.'' The race does not look 
back to a workless Eden; neither does it look 
forward to a workless heaven. Kipling puts 
it well for either here or there ; 



150 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it, 

Lie down for an eon or two, 
Till the Master of all good workmen 

Shall set us to work anew. 

The ideal of the Bible is service, and that 
ideal is not rejected when life comes to its 
crowning. 

One of the great hymns of the church gives 
to the worshipers in a sanctuary the Bible's 
Gospel of Work : 

Yet these are not the only walls 
Wherein thou mayst be sought; 

On homeliest work thy blessing falls 
In truth and patience wrought. 

Thine is the loom, the forge, the mart, 

The wealth of land and sea; 
The worlds of science and of art, 

Revealed and ruled by thee. 

Then let us prove our heavenly birth 

In all we do and know. 
And claim the kingdom of the earth 

For thee, and not thy foe. 

Work shall be prayer, if all be wrought 

As thou wouldst have it done; 
And prayer, by thee inspired and taught; 

Itself with work be one. 

The biblical ideal for earth sends men forth 
to their daily tasks, while the biblical ideal 
for heaven breaks its reserve sufl&ciently to 
show us a City wherein the saints at rest are 
likewise the saints at work. 



CHAPTER VI 

The Bible and Wealth 

The word "wealth" as used in this discus- 
sion does not mean simply great riches; it 
rather means those outer and visible means 
which have a certain purchasing power and 
which gain their value from that fact. The 
word is relative at best. A wealthy man of 
fifty years ago would by many be deemed a 
poor man now; while, in the individual esti- 
mate, one man's poverty would be another 
man's riches. We have all discovered, too, 
that persons may be tested by their attitude 
toward little as well as by their attitude to- 
ward much. The man who breaks down in 
his use of a thousand dollars is not likely to 
recover his conscience in his use of a million 
dollars. There is high authority for the belief 
that he that is faithful in a few things can 
be trusted with rulership over many things. 
This principle will apply to riches quite as 
well as to cities. We must necessarily take 
at large discount the vigorous attack that is 
made on great wealth by the man who is nar- 
row and selfish in his use of moderate wealth. 

151 



152 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

One ray of light falling into a dark dungeon 
will test a man's attitude toward light; and 
so the real personal attitude toward one coin 
may become the revelation of a human heart. 

All of us must live within the realm of 
material endeavor. Six days of the week are 
given by the average man in an effort to win 
worldly goods. If, as is generally supposed, 
Jesus went back from the temple scene in 
Jerusalem when he was twelve years of age 
and worked in the village carpenter shop until 
he was thirty, he spent eighteen years in a 
remunerative employment ere he entered upon 
the three years of public ministry. It is a 
mechanical conception again; but it is inter- 
esting to observe that the proportion of his 
years spent in his trade is the same six 
sevenths of the time that most men must spend 
in the effort to gain the necessaries or luxuries 
of life. One has only to stand on the streets 
of the city in the early morning and see the 
throngs as they move to their places of work 
to appreciate how large a part the wage motive 
plays in actual living. Each day many mil- 
lions of men and women go down to the 
various marts in order that in the evening 
time they may come back from the struggle 
with increased gains. If the Bible takes an 
attitude toward the spirit that dominates 
work it must also take an attitude toward the 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 153 

spirit that dominates the object of work. It 
would be small use to have men made right 
toward toil if they were to be twisted in their 
relation to the proceeds of toil. We should 
expect, then, that the Bible would give some 
explicit teaching to individual men concern- 
ing the right attitude toward wealth; and 
when we turn to the Holy Book this expecta- 
tion is fully met. 

Beyond this, the social consequences of 
wealth are manifold and important. To see 
this point clearly exemplified in a wide field, 
we have but to study the history of the wars 
waged by our own nation. At some point 
every one of these great struggles has been 
caused by a false relation to wealth. Just 
where we locate that false relation will depend 
somewhat upon our prejudices; but the di- 
lemma in each case is such that we are driven 
to locate it somewhere. The French and 
Indian War was a military debate as to 
whether the English or the French should 
gather the furs in the region of the Upper 
Ohio and should secure the profits in the 
world's markets. In the settlement of that 
issue many lives were sacrificed. The War 
for Independence was caused by taxes — not, 
as many people suppose, by a tax on tea alone, 
but by a long series of taxes covering many 
years. If the English had a right to levy the 



154 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

tax and if the tax was just, then the colonists 
were greedy. If, on the other hand, the 
Americans refused to pay an unjust tax, in- 
spired in their rebellion by a lofty spirit of 
liberty, then the English were the greedy 
party. The War of 1812 was caused by the 
seizure of our vessels on the French coast and 
related to freedom of commerce. The dilemma 
is the same as before. Some one was at fault 
in that commercial war. A wrong attitude 
toward property caused the long-drawn-out 
struggle. 

Our later wars show the same form of con- 
test. Historians declare that the war with 
Mexico was occasioned by the desire to extend 
slavery territory; by the nation's lust for the 
enlargement of her borders; and by certain 
debts owed to citizens of the United States 
by citizens of Mexico. All of these motives 
touch somewhere on gold. The Civil War 
grew from the same "root of all evil." 
Northern men aided in bringing African 
slaves to this land in order to turn forced 
labor into money, while Southern men con- 
tinued African slavery because it was deemed 
necessary for the production of cotton. The 
cry "Cotton is king'' was not always spoken 
above a whisper, but as a slogan it caused 
some fierce struggling. Boston merchants 
helped to mob Garrison. The sentiment of 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 155 

England flowed against the North because it 
was thought that the abolishing of slavery 
would demoralize the markets of the world. 
The hooting crowds that Beecher faced in 
England were unconsciously influenced to 
their hostile attitude by a commercial argu- 
ment. The whole struggle was broadened and 
heightened until words like "liberty" and 
"unity" put a moral passion into the fray. 
But, while the nature of the government and 
the question of human rights were to be 
settled, the primary occasion of the contest 
was commercial. 

Nor was the war with Spain any exception 
to this rule. If we absolve the United States 
from any motive of greed in our claim that 
the struggle was purely humanitarian in its 
character, we must still grant that the heavy 
taxes assessed against her Western colonies 
by the Spanish government led to the series 
of revolutions that occasioned our interfer- 
ence. Thus do we find that somewhere in the 
heart of each war there was the lurking 
passion for gold. When we make up the 
mournful lists of the many thousands whose 
lives have gone out in these contests, we can 
debit them against the spirit of greed. Milton 
in Paradise Lost represents that the rebellion 
in heaven was caused by the like lust, and 
that Satan's eyes were ever bent in anxious 



156 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

desire toward the very gold of the streets! 
Milton's imagination concerning heaven 
stands for the historical fact about earth. The 
demon of greed is usually the demon of war. 

The great problems of current national life 
all trench upon the same influence. If money 
be not the principal in each of them it comes 
in as an important confederate. The tariff 
problem, the currency problem, the canal tolls 
problem, the trust problem — all these are 
quickly classified by their names. The cleav- 
age between American political parties for the 
last fifty years has been made by a wedge of 
gold. Tariff, or coinage, or trusts — these have 
been the large words of political speech. In 
the problems that have a more apparent moral 
bearing the same commercial element appears. 
The Labor Problem is with us quite as acutely 
as it was with the Komans when long ago the 
plebeians left the city and camped on the hill- 
sides, leaving the patricians to do their own 
manual toil. Whether the employer gives too 
little or the employee asks too much in any 
given struggle, the demon of greed plays his 
part again. In the Temperance Problem the 
case is even clearer. Distillers and brewers 
and saloonists do not enter their trade because 
they thereby add either to their social stand- 
ing or to their moral peace. We cannot elim- 
inate from the problem the factor of the human 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 157 

appetite that craves a stimulant; at the same 
time we know that the motive for the business 
itself comes from the lure of gold. That gleam 
invites many men into a path which, as they 
themselves know well, cannot lead to any large 
political preferment or to any great personal 
admirations. 

The problem of social purity is, of course, 
related to another human passion. But there 
has crept into the vocabulary of the people 
a suggestive phrase, "commercialized vice." 
There is the general feeling that, if the element 
of monetary profit could be taken from the 
loathsome trade, the problem would be much 
nearer its solution. Hence we have our Red 
Light Abatement Laws by which we seek to 
make it dangerous for men to rent their prop- 
erty for the traffic in virtue. On the legal 
side the present efforts at the solution of the 
problem all strive to fix a set of conditions, 
making commercially unprofitable the house 
of her whose feet take hold on death. If, as 
is earnestly contended by some, low wages 
tend to furnish the recruits for the pitiable 
ranks of the trade in bodies, we have another 
commercial factor in the campaign. Explain 
it as we may, it is still true that money makes 
the unholy alliances. It is no marvel that 
the Bible has sent down to all the centuries its 
phrase, "the mammon of unrighteousness." 



158 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

Of course, many will overstate the case of 
American greed. The Almighty Dollar is not 
our God. Our passing celebrities may be mere 
millionaires, but our permanent heroes were 
quite more than traders. If we have seemed 
more commercial than other peoples it has 
been because a new continent gave such sweep- 
ing opportunities for wealth. Some one has 
said that it is an evidence of the degeneracy 
of our period that the word "worth," which 
once had a noble and inner significance, is 
now controlled by the market. The fact that 
the word has gone downhill is taken to mean 
that the people who use it so have gone down- 
hill too ! But these verbal arguments are not 
reliable. While the word "worth" has dropped 
somewhat from its old glory, the word 
"talent," which once had merely a monetary 
significance, has mounted to a higher meaning. 
The one word is just as good a witness as the 
other. The truth is that we meet to-day the 
world-old problem. The evidence of this lies 
in the fact that the Bible dealt with the prob- 
lem in emphatic fashion. It lists for us the 
victims of greed: Lot, Gehazi, Ananias and 
Sapphira, Simon Magus, the young ruler, 
Judas. We shall find in its pages some gen- 
eral principles by which it seeks to warn 
wealth alway from pitfalls and to send it 
forth to service. 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 159 

The first of these principles is that God is 
the only and absolute Owner. Our human 
conceit makes for us another theory, and our 
legal codes write out that theory in compli- 
cated formulas. We have our "clear titles" 
and our "quitclaim deeds." Formal records 
at a courthouse tell men that we "own" houses 
and lands, while formal certificates assert 
our right to so many shares of stock or so 
much value in bonds. The Bible confronts 
our complacency with its plea for the owner- 
ship of Another. God has the only clear 
titles! God has never put his signature to a 
quitclaim deed! The courthouse record is a 
temporary convenience; the higher record 
gives the eternal fact. "The silver and the 
gold" are God's. "The cattle on a thousand 
hills" are God's. "The earth is the Lord's, 
and the fullness thereof; the world, and they 
that dwell therein." There is here not merely 
the assertion of a property ownership, but an 
assertion of the ownership of the very men who 
think that they own the property! The sea 
and the land are the possessions of God. So 
spiritual a prelude as that to the Gospel of 
John claims a divine dominion, while many 
words could be quoted from both Testaments 
which make God the one august Possessor. 
The history of all our materials leads us back 
to God alone. He fashioned the wood in the 



160 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

forests. He stored the coal and iron in the 
hills. He packed the fertility in the soil. 
When we look for the source of the medium of 
exchange we must go back of men to God 
himself. We pursue the gold coin to the bank, 
and then to the mint, and then to the mine, 
only to hear the silent proclamation of the 
gold itself that it is of God. When congrega- 
tions sing : 

All things come of thee, O God, 

And of thine own have we given thee, 

it is not an instance of poetic license in rever- 
ence; it is sober fact expressed in worship. 

The claim of the Bible for the divine owner- 
ship is still more comprehensive. All prop- 
erty is his; all men are his. There is, too, a 
bent of human power which God confers. We 
are in the habit of speaking of "gifted" men. 
The meaning of the word in its usual connec- 
tion must be that God gives certain powers to 
men — to one the power of poetry, to another 
the power of moving speech, and to another the 
power of scientific and inventive insight. Now 
there is a suggestive verse in Deuteronomy 
which declares that it is the Lord God that 
"giveth thee power to get this wealth." The 
"thee" is collective and refers to the people; 
but the rule applies as well to the individual. 
There is no reason for supposing that poetic 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 161 

genius or oratorical genius or inventive genius 
is a gift, while financial genius is an achieve- 
ment. Yet there are probably no men who are 
more inclined to call themselves "self-made" 
than are the men who pass from poverty into 
vast wealth. Their complacency would be di- 
minished, and their humility would be in- 
creased, if they perceived that all property 
belongs to God, that they themselves belong to 
God, and that their "power to get this wealth" 
comes from God. We find, then, that the first 
sweeping principle which the Scriptures give 
concerning wealth is that God is its inclusive 
and ceaseless owner. 

The second principle follows as a matter of 
course. God being the absolute owner, man 
is a trustee, a lessee, a borrower. When the 
man in the New Testament asked, "Is it not 
lawful for me to do what I will with mine 
own?" he may not have reached a worthy 
definition either of "lawful" or of "mine own." 
He may have deemed a loan a final gift, a 
lease a purchase, a possession a creation, a 
stewardship an ownership. It is just this 
error that more than any other leads to the 
abuse of wealth. We treat it as "personal 
property," and the "personal" looks selfward 
rather than Godward. This was the blunder 
of the foolish rich man. His ground brought 
forth plentifully. His crops could not be 



162 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

crowded into his granaries. He resolved to 
tear down his barns and to bnild greater. He 
told his soul to eat, drink, and be merry, for 
that it had much goods laid up for many 
years. Then came the sentence of eviction. 
In a moment the man discovered that he was 
a tenant and not an owner. "Whose shall 
those things be which thou hast provided?'^ 
This is the question that every man of means 
must ask. Wills are never shrewd enough to 
secure the property for the dead. Jesus said 
that the man who acted on the idea that wealth 
was his own was a "fool." He missed the 
primary point of the divine ownership, and 
he missed the secondary point of the human 
trusteeship. All his work was based on im- 
possibilities ; and surely this is the supreme 
foolishness. 

This lesson is impressed upon men when they 
return to their former places of residence after 
an absence of many years. They recall who 
"owned" yonder house, yonder farm, yonder 
lot, yonder block. The old "owners" are gone, 
and the new "owners" have come. Changes 
of apparent ownership have been entered in 
the civil records; but these in their turn will 
be changed. The procession of trustees moves 
down through the millenniums; above the 
trusteeships is one changeless Owner. "We 
brought nothing into this world, and it is 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 163 

certain we can carry nothing out" — this is the 
surest of edicts. It is said that one of the 
wealthiest of men in our nation called his 
wife to his bedside just before he passed away 
and asked her to sing to him, "Come, ye sin- 
ners, poor and needy." The man knew that 
in a few moments he would be stripped of 
every earthly possession. It was a pungent 
reply made when one man asked another how 
much a certain rich man had left — "All he 
had !" was the response. Even so. Whenever 
any person shall make a stout claim for his 
ownership of property, it is a wholesome 
lesson if he be asked to postpone the discussion 
for a hundred years ! 

The law of giving is compulsory. We may 
defer surrender, but we cannot avoid surren- 
der. The hand may grasp for fourscore years, 
but its final act will be to "let go" of every 
earthly object. The loan must be returned. 
The trusteeship must be dissolved. The lease 
must be transferred. The account must be 
rendered. Directly all that remains of the 
gold is the reflex of gold. We may decide 
when to give, to what to give, in what spirit 
to give; but we may not decide whether we 
shall give. There is lasting truth in the much- 
quoted epitaph : "What I spent I had. What 
I saved I left behind. What I gave away I 
took with me." In this respect the whole 



164 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

problem of life is the problem of a faithful 
stewardship. This is the teaching of what we 
may call the commercial parables. We are 
responsible for the use of our talents and 
pounds to an authority higher than our own. 
The trustees pass away. The Owner abideth 
forever. 

The third biblical principle declares that 
this stewardship is attended by grave tempta- 
tions. For a hasty reading the New Testa- 
ment judgment will seem like a reversal of 
the Old Testament judgment. The ancient 
record often traces a relation between piety 
and prosperity. Jacob's proposal at Bethel 
reads like a bargain struck in the market 
place. The book of Job was meant to correct 
this error and to drive from the world those 
needless suspicions that would be directed 
against the sick and the poor. In the vigorous 
debate with his friends the patriarch declines 
to plead guilty to the charge that his bodily 
ills and property losses are the results of his 
sins. But although the commercial value of 
piety may often be found among Old Testa- 
ment motives, still there is a constant offset. 
The period of plenty is described as accom- 
panied by a "leanness of soul." The deeper 
insight of the psalmist saw the end of the 
man "who made not God his strength, but 
trusted in the abundance of his riches." Then 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 165 

there stood before Mm the perplexing sight of 
prosperous wickedness, the bad man spreading 
himself as the green bay tree and having 
everything that heart could wish. Slowly the 
artificial nexus that had been fashioned be- 
tween piety and prosperity and wickedness 
and misfortune was broken, and men began to 
seek for the different types of reward in their 
own fields. More stress was laid upon the 
methods by which wealth was gained, and 
more upon its charitable uses. The prophets 
came to thunder against a false outer pros- 
perity and to give their advance hints of the 
wealth of the kingdom of God. 

In its warnings the New Testament is still 
more emphatic. The word "riches" becomes 
most often a symbol of the higher wealth of 
spirit. It is made over into deeper meaning. 
Besides, the early Christian leaders saw the 
enticing dangers of wealth. Visits to Ephesus 
or Corinth or Rome made them see how multi- 
tudes could be caught in the snare of riches, 
while examples among the Jews gave them the 
same lesson with a personal emphasis. There 
were likewise some concrete illustrations of 
a most forbidding kind. Judas betrayed Jesus 
for thirty pieces of silver. The lust of the 
treasury had betrayed him ere he betrayed his 
Lord. The first persecution of the Christian 
Church was caused by greed. It is written, 



166 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

"And when her masters saw that the hope of 
their gains was gone, they caught Paul and 
Silas, and drew them into the market place 
unto the rulers." Soon the two missionaries 
are beaten with rods and are taken to the 
inner prison. The second persecution of the 
church was caused by the same spirit of greed. 
Demetrius, the silversmith, makes his appeal 
to his fellow-craftsmen: "Sirs, ye know that 
by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover 
ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, 
but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath 
persuaded and turned away much people, say- 
ing that they be no gods, which are made with 
hands : So that . . . this our craft is in danger 
to be set at naught." As is the custom of 
men with the commercial heart, he lifted the 
issue to a specious height and made his plea 
for Diana of the Ephesians! 

With the memory of Christ's betrayal and 
of the first two persecutions of their brethren 
fresh in their memories, it is no marvel that 
the New Testament writers began to stress the 
perils of greed. The work of Luke as a physi- 
cian had doubtless given him an intense 
sympathy with the poor, and his Gospel 
records eagerly our Lord's warnings to the 
rich. James in his Epistle fairly bristles with 
indictments against the rich. He asks: "Do 
not rich men oppress you, and draw you be- 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 167 

fore the judgment seats? Do not they blas- 
pheme that worthy name by the which ye 
are called?" When he wrote thus did he 
have visions of Ephesus and Philippi? Later 
he breaks into violence, "Go to now, ye rich 
men, weep and howl for your miseries that 
shall come upon you. Your riches are cor- 
rupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 
Your gold and silver is cankered; and the 
rust of them shall be a witness against you, 
and shall eat your flesh as it were fire." The 
later verses indicate that he saw their injustice 
to the poor laborers and heard the cries which 
these poor had sent "into the ears of the Lord 
of Sabaoth." Severe as the indictment is, we 
can see how it was prompted by memory as 
well as by scenes of recent greed. Moreover, 
we have all known modern cases to which the 
language would apply. If the Bible is to be 
complete, it must give room to such indignant 
words as these. 

The records would show that Paul included 
among his friends men and women of worldly 
means ; still his words of chiding and warning 
are not withheld. He writes of a "cloak of 
covetousness." He had seen men don that 
cloak — by their paltry excuses for withholding 
gifts ; by their effort to make an intent for the 
future stifle a present cry for help; by a deft 
transfer of income to principal which "must 



168 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

not be disturbed''; by the plea that luxuries 
were necessities ; by a recital of past generosi- 
ties ; by setting one good cause against another. 
All these modern cloaks Paul doubtless found 
in the wardrobes of long ago. He carries the 
charge against covetousness on until he identi- 
fies it with heathenism. He writes of the 
"covetousness which is idolatry," and in yet 
another place he speaks of the "covetous man 
who is an idolater," as if he wished to make 
the charge personal. Idolatry is the worship 
of something less than God. When, therefore, 
any man bows down to idols of silver and gold 
erected in banks rather than by temple altars, 
he joins the ranks of the idolatrous. He may 
be even worse than those idolaters who strive 
to reach beyond their hideous images if haply 
they may feel after God and find him. These 
words of Paul are urgent warnings that covet- 
ousness may destroy personal genuineness and 
may defeat spiritual worship. Greed may 
shut us away from both man and God. 

But the apostle's strongest word is given in 
his counsel to Timothy, a young man whose 
ideals he would seek to mold. We can imagine 
the impression the advice made upon the sus- 
ceptible youth when he read Paul's letter in 
rich and worldly Ephesus. "They that will 
be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and 
into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 169 

drown men in destruction and perdition. For 
the love of money is the root of all evil : which 
while some coveted after, they have erred from 
the faith, and pierced themselves through 
with many sorrow^s." It is a modern account 
again. The twentieth century has already 
given thousands of illustrations of the same 
apostasy. As for the wide statement that 
*^the love of money is the root of all evil," 
we have but to review these pages to find the 
commentary. Every item in the catalogue of 
crimes finds a partner in greed. Intemper- 
ance, lust, war, thieving, murder, betrayal, 
persecution, untruthfulness — all these grow 
from the root of greed. No heedless joking 
about the "root" can vacate the language or 
permit "the love of money" to declare its 
innocence. 

In addition to these positive statements 
sprinkled throughout the Book, there is a 
negative testimony that may well be given a 
hearing. If we were to search the pages for 
warnings against poverty we would find that 
the search was dififtcult and that it met with 
slight returns. The prayer of Agur in the 
book of Proverbs is, perhaps, the only assured 
instance. He pleads: "Give me neither pov- 
erty nor riches; feed me with the food that is 
needful for me : Lest I be full, and deny thee, 
and say. Who is Jehovah? or lest I be poor, 



170 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

and steal, and use profanely the name of my 
God." There is here a recognition of the 
peril of discontent in poverty, as well as of 
the peril of dishonesty, and the peril of a 
blasphemous indictment against God. We 
may take the warning at its full value. Some 
people of every age will need its plain speak- 
ing. But what shall we say of the biblical 
idea of the peril of wealth, when its chapters 
yield many scores of warnings as contrasted 
with this lonely warning about poverty? It 
would seem permissible to paraphrase a Bible 
comparison of persons and to say that poverty 
has slain its thousands but wealth its tens 
of thousands! Even this comparison falls 
short, if we measure it by the biblical propor- 
tion of teaching. The silence of the Bible 
gives us here a significant lesson. 

We now approach the supreme authority 
in the teaching and example of Jesus. The 
elective method here will give a man the result 
he most wishes. The boisterous agitator can 
make choice of passages that will serve his 
harsh purpose, while the defender of his own 
unconsecrated surplus may quote us passages 
that give him great comfort. The one will 
tell us of Jesus's words to the young ruler; 
of his command against laying up treasures 
on earth; and of a hard-and-fast interpreta- 
tion of the parable of Dives and Lazarus. The 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 171 

other will tell us of the praise bestowed on 
successful traders; of the inclusion of the 
wealthy among Christ's friends and disciples ; 
and of the law of the larger returns for the 
larger powers and larger industry so plainly 
enunciated in the parables of the talents and 
the pounds. The fragmentary method leads 
here to confusion and to the wildest partisan- 
ship. The teaching of Jesus must be taken in 
its completeness. 

That teaching must, also, be judged by the 
attitude of Jesus toward men. The well-to-do 
were in his band of disciples. The father of 
John and James had servants; and when 
Jesus died on the Cross John had evidently a 
comfortable home to which the mother of 
Jesus was taken. Nicodemus was rich. Yet 
in his conversation T\4th him Christ is not 
represented as making a demand that the 
ruler of the Jews should give up his wealth. 
The demand was far more comprehensive. 
Zaccheus was rich. But in the table conver- 
sation with the publican there is no call to 
voluntary poverty. Joseph of Arimathea was 
rich. Still he appears to have been numbered 
with the disciples and to have had the honor 
of providing the sepulcher for the body of 
Christ. All this would make it certain that 
some of our Lord's teaching was directed to- 
ward an individual danger and so was not 



172 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

meant for a universal application. The fact 
that Peter said to Simon Magus, "Thy money 
perish with thee/' does not warrant us in 
repeating the same words to every man who 
possesses some wealth. The rebuke was evoked 
by a personal and peculiar attitude. If the 
teaching of Jesus, as he dealt with rich men, 
varied in a marked degree, it is only reason- 
able to suppose that he was fitting his message 
to the individual subject. The fallacy of the 
universal has not yet departed from our treat- 
ment of the words of Christ. 

But even when we take the whole of Jesus's 
teaching rather than any fraction thereof, and 
after we have given full consideration to the 
personal element in his method, there is still 
a sobering remainder with which we must 
deal. The attempt to make the parable of Dives 
and Lazarus a straight contrast between 
the final fate of a rich man and that of a poor 
man cannot succeed. Lazarus was not sent 
to heaven because he was poor. He was not 
given a place in Abraham's bosom on the 
ground of his poverty of circumstances, but 
on the ground of his wealth of character. Any 
other conclusion is abhorrent to the moral 
sense. Should poverty admit to heaven, some 
of the most unmitigated rascals are sure to 
meet the conditions of entrance. Nor was 
Dives sent to hell because he was rich. The 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 173 

contrast in earthly conditions of which 
Abraham reminds him cannot fairly be taken 
to mean that the reward of poverty is heaven 
and the penalty of wealth is hell. The mean- 
ing is that earthly plenty and earthly want 
cannot prevent the rounding out of God's 
purposes. Condition will inevitably come to 
correspond with real character. Should any 
rich man be minded to plead with himself 
that his wealth was, in itself, any evidence 
that its owner was entitled to special privi- 
leges in the next world corresponding to 
his special privileges in this world, this 
parable would meet him with its needed 
corrective. 

The command, "Lay not up for yourselves 
treasures upon earth, where moth and rust 
doth corrupt, and where thieves break through 
and steal," has been taken by many as a literal 
command. Usually, however, those who so 
take it are ready to substitute a theory which 
would ask the community to break the literal 
demand by laying up treasures for us. We 
must read to the end of the passage. Jesus's 
concern is about the heart. He wishes to 
establish the direction of the treasure because 
he knows that in this way the direction of the 
heart will be established. If money is hoarded 
with a selfish purpose, the heart goes to selfish- 
ness. If money is given for a holy cause, the 



174 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

heart goes into the cause. On the other hand, 
if money is saved in order that the provident 
parent may give his child a better fitness for 
life, the parental heart is invested in the child. 
If money is not hoarded at all, but is given 
for an evil cause, the heart takes that same 
evil direction. The emphasis of Jesus is 
spiritual again. The money does something 
with the heart, and the motive of either saving 
or giving determines the "heart action." It 
is the law of action and reaction at work in 
another realm. Men say that the way to a 
man's purse is through his heart; and men 
say well. Jesus, while accepting the statement 
that there can be no true benevolence that does 
not come from the heart, still says that often 
the way to a man's heart is through his purse. 
It is one of those practical rules whose work- 
ing w© have seen many times. We persuade 
a man to send his money into a hospital, a 
college, a library, and his heart follows his 
money. The terrible thing that Jesus saw in 
selfish hoarding was just that ; and the glorious 
thing that he saw in generous giving was 
just that. The good and the evil of earthly 
treasure is that it fixes the journeys of the 
heart; it makes a spiritual geography. 

There is another word of Jesus about "the 
deceitfulness of riches.'' The phrase piques us 
into a search for its meaning. There is no 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 175 

evidence that Christ meant that riches de- 
ceived us by flying away. The tricks which 
they play upon men are far more subtle than 
sudden departure. Jesus meant that riches 
remained with men and still carried on the 
deceiving work. We have all seen enough of 
life to know some of the deceptions. One 
friend began his business career with the idea 
that he would be content with a hundred 
thousand; he is now utterly restless with his 
million. Another friend gave to worthy causes 
a far larger proportion of his meager income 
in the day of struggle than he now gives of 
his plethoric income in the day of prosperity. 
Still another friend in the old days was simple 
and humble in all his attitudes toward life, 
while in the new days of wealth he has become 
proud in spirit and complex in his living. We 
have all seen men whose souls lessened as their 
riches gr eaten ed. All these are illustrations 
of Jesus's teaching about "the deceitfulness 
of riches." The tragic thing is that the men 
who are the victims of the deceitfulness are 
not aware of the sad inner effects. Men do 
not know that they are stingy; they are only 
prudent and economical! So runs the miser- 
able deceit. It requires a moment of marked 
self -revelation to enable these men to classify 
themselves with truth. Over the Bank of 
England men read the words, "The Earth is 



176 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

the Lord's." This describes the source of 
wealth. Over many financial institutions it 
might be good to put another motto as a re- 
minder of a possible effect of wealth, "The 
Deceitfulness of Riches.'^ 

We now face the utterance of Christ with 
reference to a double mastery over life. He 
asserts that "no man can serve two masters," 
without love for the one and hatred for the 
other. When he seeks for the power that is 
most likely to contest with God for the al- 
legiance of man he selects Mammon. Hence 
he states the dilemma without modification, 
"Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." He 
did not select Pleasure as the opponent of 
God, nor Ambition, nor Impurity, nor Dis- 
honesty. He saw clearly that Mammon had 
the greatest power to draw men into life-long 
"service." Other sins might be occasional 
contestants, but the sin of greed was the con- 
stant foe seeking to cleave the loyalty of men. 
Jesus did not say that we could not serve God 
with Mammon. Elsewhere he says the very 
opposite of that. But he did say unequivo- 
cally, "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." 
Perhaps these six words, more nearly than 
any other, give us the heart of Jesus's teach- 
ing about wealth. They state in simple and 
direct form the alternatives for many lives. 
We can serve God with Mammon. We can 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 177 

serve God or Mammon. We cannot serve God 
and Mammon. What Christ states as an im- 
possibility many men try to accomplish. We 
see the vain efforts daily — men putting their 
greatest diligence into the market place as an 
end, with an occasional tribute to the temple. 
This is the most frequent form of the "double 
life." It is the poor compromise of a half- 
hearted or tenth-hearted service. Jesus said 
that God or Mammon must win the whole 
man. The God and the god cannot dwell in 
the same heart. Jesus here thrusts us back 
to the original biblical principle: God is the 
Absolute Owner. He will not share his rule. 
He will not partition his empire. Mammon 
must yield to God. Thus Jesus enters all 
markets and counting rooms and banks with 
his demand for undivided hearts and undi- 
vided lives. 

There is another saying of Jesus which is 
more frequently quoted, both because it is i 
itself so radical and because it is accompanievl 
by a vigorous figure of speech. Besides these 
two attractions, the words have an appealing 
setting in a human life. The young ruler 
comes to Jesus with his eager question. He 
stands before the Lord as a fine type of promis- 
ing manhood — fresh, alert, clean, and even 
reverent. He is able to say, without rebuke, 
that from his youth up he has kept the com- 



178 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

mandments and that his life has moved on a 
high grade of morals. The record tells us 
that "Jesus, looking upon him, loved him." 
But in this instance, instead of meeting the 
young man's question with the demand for a 
new birth, as Jesus did with Nicodemus, or 
with the acceptance of hospitality, as Jesus 
did with Zaccheus, Jesus asked that he sell 
all his goods and give to the poor, and that 
then he should follow the Lord in his home- 
less life. Often the comment omits this last 
demand. It may be that it is the more im- 
portant demand, and that it is the reason for 
the minor requirement. Other disciples had 
left all in order to follow Jesus ; and this man 
was now asked to do likewise. Evidently the 
teaching here has the individual quality. 
Christ knew that the young man had set his 
heart on his riches, and that the only way to 
a true discipleship was through utter sur- 
render. 

We cannot read the story without feeling a 
measure of sympathy for the young ruler ; and 
we may confess that we ourselves would 
scarcely have been equal to the severe test. 
The situation, however, can be estimated in 
another way — not by our imagination, but by 
our admiration. Certain men in Christian 
history have done exactly what Jesus asked 
this young man to do. John Wesley did it; 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 179 

making much money, lie continued to live on 
his allowance of twenty-eight pounds a year 
and gave the rest to a needy world. When he 
was an old man he wrote to the assessor that 
his taxable property consisted of two silver 
spoons at Bristol! Saint Francis of Assisi 
gave up all his earthly possessions. At the 
altar of the church he deliberately took 
poverty as his bride. The heroes of complete 
renunciation have been many ; and the world's 
verdict has not been that they were fanatics. 
They heard the call of God that they should 
surrender all and give to the various kinds of 
poor ; they heeded the command, and they won 
their fame by their surrender. We can make 
a more direct test than this. If this young 
man had heeded Christ's word, and had given 
all that he had to the poor, and had followed 
the Lord — what would have been the result? 
Would he have won the world's admiration by 
his self-renunciation? Would he now be 
known only by the virtually anonymous title 
of "a certain ruler"? We can see that he was 
offered a wonderful opportunity. He would 
have been enrolled among the saints of the 
early church, if he had risen to the higher 
choice. An English writer has pointed out 
that the young man was not angered by the 
word of Christ ; he was "saddened.'' He went 
away "sorrowful," and his sorrow was for 



180 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

himself. He went back to his riches and was 
lost to the sight of the world. He is now 
known even anonymously only because he had 
a brief conversation with One who had not 
where to lay his head. 

Jesus saw the young man's retreating figure 
and then spoke his own "sorrowful'' exclama- 
tion, "How hardly shall they that have riches 
enter into the kingdom of God !" The account 
in the Gospel of Mark indicates that the dis- 
ciples were "amazed" by the saying, just as 
the men of the world have wondered ever 
since. Seeing this amazement, Jesus added, 
"Children, how hard is it for them that trust 
in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye 
of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into 
the kingdom of God." It was a startling 
figure of speech — an hyperbole, as the later 
conversation with the disciples would show, 
unless, indeed, the saying refers to a certain 
gate of the city through which only the un- 
burdened camel could enter. This figure of 
speech has held the attention of the world for 
centuries. Strangely enough, the nineteenth 
century had a peculiar illustration of an 
accommodated meaning of the word "needle." 
We cannot help wondering what the people 
of many generations hence would think if they 
were to read in ancient history that in the 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 181 

latter part of the nineteenth century a certain 
millionaire paid more than one hundred thou- 
sand dollars for bringing Cleopatra's "needle" 
to America. Superficial as the suggestion is, 
it illustrates the manner in which a figure of 
speech could easily be pulled off into a path 
of false literalism. 

But if we take the view that the expression 
was either a vivid hyperbole or the description 
of a local gate, the warning still abides in 
strength. It is hard for a rich man to enter 
into the kingdom of God. It is sometimes very 
hard for him to remain there when his en- 
trance into the kingdom preceded his entrance 
into wealth. Experienced pastors will tell 
us that not many wealthy are called. Yet 
Jesus distinctly declared that the rich could 
enter into the Kingdom. The disciples, "aston- 
ished out of measure," said, "Who, then, can 
be saved?" Jesus replied, "With men it is 
impossible, but not with God: for with God 
all things are possible." It is not right that 
the man who clamors against the rich should 
omit this assurance from the teaching. Jesus 
says that a rich man can be brought into the 
Kingdom. He offers this as one of the evi- 
dences of the divine omnipotence — that the 
power of God can break through the com- 
placency, the self-content, the tangle of 
materialism, and can win men from the 



182 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

idolatry of gold to the love and worship of 
God. 

This message of Jesus to the young ruler, 
and through him to the world, is not always 
welcome to the ears of the rich. The religious 
teacher may be tempted to discount its mean- 
ing and to relieve in some way the severity of 
the words. Yet an age of growing wealth 
needs this lesson, and needs it with an in- 
creased emphasis. The trend of the Bible 
serves as a commentary on the same lesson. 
If the Bible is to serve as the book of guidance, 
then we are justified in saying that the path 
of material wealth is the path of spiritual 
peril. 

If we halted our lesson here, we should be 
guilty of a partial use of the Bible. The 
fourth principle of the great Book is that the 
stewardship of wealth offers glorious oppor- 
tunities. It offers the opportunity of aiding 
the poor. John wrote, "Whoso hath this 
world's good, and seeth his brother have 
need, and shutteth up his bowels of compas- 
sion from him, how dwelleth the love of God 
in him?'' It offers the opportunity of caring 
for the unfortunate, as illustrated in the par- 
able of the good Samaritan. When Jesus 
uttered this parable, he laid the foundations 
of many hospitals. It offers the opportunity 
of paying personal tributes of affection, as 



THE BIBLE AND WEALTH 183 

exemplified in the offering to the Lord of the 
precious ointment. It offers the opportunity 
of furnishing honest employment as a field of 
personal fidelity, as taught in the parables of 
the talents and the pounds. It offers the 
opportunity of projecting our influence to the 
ends of the world, as taught by those who 
aided Paul on his missionary journeys and by 
those who sent gifts whereby the gospel should 
be promoted in all the earth. But the Bible 
does not give any set of rules for the use of 
wealth. It asserts the primacy of God. It 
commands the spirit of love. It stresses the 
probationary character of possessions. It de- 
clares in the word of Christ that any man 
makes a disastrous bargain who gains the 
whole world and in the transaction loses 
himself. 

Finally Jesus relates our use of money to 
the eternal issues. He does this in a very 
simple and direct way, and in the form of an 
imperative. In the more skilled translation 
of the Revised Version we read, "Make to 
yourselves friends by means of the mammon 
of unrighteousness, that when it shall fail, 
they may receive you into the eternal taber- 
nacles." It appears here that worldly posses- 
sions may be either "the mammon of un- 
righteousness" or the maker of everlasting 
friendships. By the right use of gold and 



184 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

silver men can people the gates of heaven 
with welcomers. "It shall fail," says Christ, 
referring to wealth. "They may receive you," 
he says, referring to those human lives that 
are our only permanent investments. The 
final emphasis of Jesus in giving the very 
crown of the Bible teaching concerning wealth, 
great or small, is that his followers shall so 
use the coin stamped with the image of some 
earthly Caesar as to produce in men and 
women and children the image of the heavenly 
Lord. The lower commerce is to serve the 
higher commerce. Faneuil Hall may keep its 
market place, but it must be subordinated to 
that upper room wherein men learn the les- 
sons of truth and liberty and righteousness. 
The Age of Gold can help to make the Golden 
Age. The problem of wealth will not be solved 
until all men hold their riches as willing 
trustees of Him who himself was rich and 
who for our sakes became poor, that we 
through his poverty might be rich. 



CHAPTER VII 

The Bible and Sorrow 

One who is jealous for the reputation of 
the Bible as a complete Book of life must 
sometimes feel that undue emphasis has been 
placed upon its messages for the sorrowing. 
If the jealousy does not entertain just this 
feeling, it has the resembling fear — that the 
biblical message for sorrow has been empha- 
sized until it has hidden the message for glad- 
ness. As a necessary prelude to a discussion 
of the Bible^s relation to the sorrow of the 
world, we shall treat its meaning for the 
world's gladness. We are willing to use the 
word "pleasure" in this connection, though 
pleasure is classed as representing a mood 
less deep than the mood of joy. Some of us 
can recall the surprise we experienced in read- 
ing Lubbock's The Pleasures of Life. One 
chapter dealt with "The Pleasure of Duty." 
This title caused us no wonder. But the 
next chapter astonished us with the heading, 
"The Duty of Pleasure." We quickly found 
ourselves asking whether there was such a 
duty. Is it an obligation laid on men and 

185 



186 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

women to seek for a proportion of pleasure? 
Are the light joys of life to be classed with 
our duties? Lubbock answered these ques- 
tions in the affirmative. What reply does the 
Bible give? 

Certainly we can say in the beginning that, 
if we take a review of its pages, the Bible 
does not impress us as being a mournful book. 
This is significant when we note the fact that 
its pages were all written by mature and 
serious persons. Even more, the pages were 
written with reference to some of the most 
serious and sacred elements and events in life. 
Vast solemnities evoked many sections of the 
Bible. We should expect that the seriousness 
of the authors and the critical importance of 
the events would touch the Book and would 
dominate its spirit. It is even so. Our 
worthier thought would not have it otherwise. 
If the Bible had been simply the inspiration 
and guide for the world's playgrounds, it 
would have lost the most of its soul. 

For a volume whose materials were jokes 
and whose primary purpose was laughter 
might have a legitimate mission, but it would 
have difficulty in being rated as redemptive 
literature. The real humorist is doubtless 
one of God's agents in lifting the troubles of 
mankind; but Providence sees to it that 
humorists are not so plentiful as to destroy 



THE BIBLE AND SORKOW 187 

our sense of proportion. Each generation is 
granted a small group of men who set the 
world aglee and become the distributors of 
smiles and laughter. The appreciation of 
humor, also, is placed in the nature of each 
normal person; but the continual demand for 
humor becomes a plague. Men know instinc- 
tively that for the greatest things it will not 
suffice. There is a story to the effect that one 
of the most renowned Americans was not 
allowed to write the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence because it was feared that he might 
work a joke into the historic document. True 
or false, the story stands for a fact — that 
humor is a secondary form of service and that 
the big crises insist that humor shall stay in 
its own realm. 

None the less the Bible is not a stranger to 
the play element. As we march through its 
life we see smiles and hear laughter. Children 
are there in their careless gladness. Young 
men and maidens are there in their innocent 
pleasures. Games are there with their de- 
light of striving. Parties are there with their 
gayety and music. We pass through pages 
of darkness only to emerge into pages of sun- 
shine. We sit down at Marah and find the 
brackish and bitter waters and hear the mur- 
muring of the Israelites. But the next day 
we come to Elim, with its twelve pure and 



188 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

gushing wells and its threescore and ten palm 
trees. This transition is what we would 
anticipate in a Book of real life, and it is what 
fits the Bible to be the guide of total life. A 
joyless book could not control a joyful world; 
neither could a sorrowless book control a sor- 
rowful world. The Bible must have a message 
for both types of experience. 

There is a theological reason for this two- 
fold message. We have been told by our reli- 
gious teachers that Christ, being tempted, can 
succor those that are tempted. The Man of 
Sorrows can save the people of sorrows. The 
High Priest is touched with the feeling of 
our infirmities. The Captain of our salva- 
tion was made perfect through suffering. He 
learned obedience through the things he suf- 
fered. The world is made acquainted with 
the sorrowing Saviour of the sorrowing world. 
Still we have been slow to apply our theology 
to the other side of life. The forged letter of 
Publius Lentulus stated that Jesus had often 
been seen to weep, but never to smile! The 
mischief of such a misconception is apparent. 
It provides for a mutilated theology. It gives 
the world a fractional Christ. It leaves the 
hour of gladness without its Exemplar. It 
gives comfort for a funeral, but no companion- 
ship for a feast. In the average life the realm 
of joy is larger than the realm of sorrow. 



THE BIBLE AND SOEROW 189 

Few people would declare that with them sad- 
ness had exceeded gladness. The world needs 
to-day the Saviour of the joyful, even as it 
needs the Saviour of the sorrowful. Joy that 
refuses to be curbed needs saving power just 
as does sorrow that refuses to be comforted. 
We need not enter into any needless com- 
parison and try to state which has the more 
need. It is sufficient to affirm that a com- 
plete Bible must take account of pleasures and 
joys, if these are to be counted among the 
divinely appointed experiences of life. 

We do not long study the Bible without 
becoming aware of its law of proportion. It 
gives the word in season, and it gives the word 
in measure. Hence its aim is to cultivate pro- 
portion in human lives. Its ideal is the ideal 
of a holy God, that is, of One with a perfect 
balance of the infinite nature. Its ideal for 
man must, therefore, be that man shall gain 
for himself that balance in the human realm 
that God has in his divine realm. For this 
reason the Bible is a curber of excesses, a 
restorer of proportions. It gives here its 
largest lesson for pleasure. Recognizing its 
legitimacy, it recognizes its limits as well. As 
an example from both Testaments we may 
give a statement of conduct that receives re- 
buke from Moses and from Paul. It is re- 
corded in Exodus that, after their riotings 



190 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

with the golden calf, the Israelites proceeded 
to engage in riotings of pleasure. The ancient 
account puts it, "The people sat down to eat 
and to drink, and rose up to play.'^ Saint 
Paul quotes it in First Corinthians in pre- 
cisely its original form. In the early account 
the rebuke of the Lord awaits the people. In 
the later account the apostle makes the con- 
duct the natural accompaniment of idolatry, 
as if indeed the worship of an image would 
issue into the idolatry of the table and the 
playground. Now eating and drinking are 
not only good; they are necessary. Play is 
not only good; it is necessary. The Bible 
declares that food and water are the gifts of 
God, and it makes them symbols of God's 
deeper benevolence. Nor does the Bible ever 
condemn play. On the contrary, it represents 
the streets of the Holy City as filled with 
playing children. The trouble, then, must 
have been in the lack of proportion as well 
as in the lack of a good motive. The people 
sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up 
to play. This is to say that the two con- 
stant movements of life were monopolized by 
appetite and sport. The Israelites ate to play, 
and they played to eat. Two things intended 
to be legitimate portions of life became its 
illegitimate entirety. Designed to be preludes, 
eating and drinking and playing became the 



THE BIBLE AND SORROW 191 

whole program. Life consisted in the satisfac- 
tion of two ranges of desire. The demand of 
Moses and Paul was not that eating and drink- 
ing and playing should be abolished, but that 
they should be pushed back into their just 
proportions as worthy departments of living. 
The glutton of food and the glutton of play 
are both condemned by the Bible. 

There are those who say that one of the 
crying evils of our own day is that the people 
are appetite-mad and pleasure-mad. Probably 
some men in every age have brought this 
charge against their time; and the charge is 
true as applied to some persons in each period. 
For such the Bible has its repeated warning. 
They who are lovers of pleasure more than of 
God fall under condemnation. Mankind has 
never long admired the eaters and players of 
history. If it remembers Beau Brummel and 
Beau Nash at all, it enrolls them in its lists 
of ridicule. An epitaph which recorded that 
"He ate much of the time and played the 
rest of the time," would not serve to enroll a 
man among the earth's heroes! The Bible 
and humanity are against the unbalanced de- 
votees of the table and the parlor and the 
field of sports. 

But the Bible and humanity unite again in 
their estimate of the other extreme. The mere 
ascetic secures curiosity rather than admira- 



192 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

tion. He has not learned how to follow Him 
who often went to feasts and who sat down 
with his friends at the supper which they 
gave him at Bethany. It is said of him that 
"he was anointed with the oil of joy above 
his fellows." Jesus entered into the normal 
joys of life. He came eating and drinking, 
until his enemies seized upon his conduct and 
exaggerated it into a charge against him. He 
was present at weddings where joy reigned 
supreme. In all his teaching and by all his 
example he never proved himself an enemy to 
the normal pleasures of life. This particular 
emphasis is occasionally needed. It may not 
have as large a mission as has the warning 
against overdone appetite and play ; but it has 
its message to that smaller circle of the de- 
ceived who would drive joy from the world 
in the name of Christ. One of the hymns 
declares : 

The brightest things below the sky 
Yield but a flattering light; 

We should suspect some danger nigh 
Where we possess delight. 

There is something morbid in this conception. 
The invitation to the religious life becomes 
gruesome. The sister of Pascal cared for him 
through a long and serious illness. Pascal 
came to love her so much that he feared that 
his affection was wicked. In a gloomy hour 



THE BIBLE AND SOEROW 193 

he wrote in his diary these words, "Lord, for- 
give me for loving my dear sister so much!" 
Afterward his abnormal conscience worked 
again, and Pascal actually erased the word 
"dear." For such moods the Bible has a 
lesson. God "giveth us richly all things to 
enjoy." We would think it small glory for 
ourselves if our children should push our gifts 
away from their little hands with the idea that 
those selected gifts were perilous. God fills 
the world with possibilities of pleasure. Food 
and drink are not negative and tasteless. The 
paths of earth are not flowerless. Voices are 
not without music. Companionship is not life- 
less. The Bible is the foe of wicked pleasure. 
The Bible is the foe of excessive pleasure. The 
Bible is the friend of legitimate and propor- 
tionate pleasure. 

But while pleasure needs to be guarded 
and curbed, it is not either a burden to be 
lifted or a pain to be endured. Sorrow is 
both. Therefore sorrow demands some posi- 
tive services from the Bible. We may be im- 
patient with those doleful folks who speak of 
this world as a vale of tears or as a wilderness 
of woe! We may be inclined to quote the 
lines : 

I think we are too ready with complaint 
In this fair world of God's. 

On the other hand, it is well to remember 



194 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

that the young, especially, see life almost ex- 
clusively from the standpoint of hope and 
courage. The minister of the gospel begins to 
feel, when he reaches the age of forty, that he 
has not given enough comfort to his people. 
As he identifies himself closely with their lives 
he finds that most homes carry some secret 
sorrow and that most men and women have 
their own personal tragedies. You will recall 
the myth about the boatman whose duty it was 
to carry over the Styx the souls who departed 
from earth. He noticed that these souls 
mourned much and took the voyage unwill- 
ingly. He thought that it must be a very 
beautiful and joyful land that laid such hold 
on their hearts. So he secured leave of 
absence from his post of duty and made an 
excursion into the world. He discovered that 
for every birth there must eventually be a 
death; that every home that was made must 
in due season be broken ; that men and women 
were troubled and maimed and sick. On all 
sides he saw the evidences of sorrow. He 
went back to his ferry greatly wondering why 
people should be sad because they left a sad 
world. This mythical picture is overdrawn, 
but it has its suggestion of truth. Earth does 
have its manifold sorrows. If all the burdens 
and pains and problems and anguishes of a 
single day could focus their influence upon 



THE BIBLE AND SOEKOW 195 

any single life, the result would be either a 
broken heart or an insane mind. 

The Bible does not make light of sorrows. 
Its heroes have their troubles. Call the roll of 
its sons and daughters and you will find that 
at some time each one of them was a child of 
grief. The Book does not assign burden and 
pain and sorrow to the class of unrealities. 
Neither does it assign them to the class of 
negations. In the Bible sorrow is real and 
sorrow is positive. When Kachel weeps for 
her children, the scene is real. When David 
goes into the room in the tower over the gate 
and utters his pitiful lament over Absalom, 
the Book does not describe his anguish as an 
illusion. Paul's hunger and thirst, and stripes 
and shipwrecks, and perils and imprison- 
ments were not the vain froth of a mortal 
mind. Jesus's cross, and the thorns and the 
nails and the spear, and the tauntings of the 
passers-by, and the thirst, and the darkened 
face of the Father were not swept into the 
void by reciting a formula about the All. 
Jesus gave a promise to his disciples, "In the 
world ye shall have tribulation.'' He kept that 
promise. They walked the ways of martyr- 
dom. Their spirits won victories over their 
flesh. Yet there is no hint that their persecu- 
tions and deaths were the fictions of error or 
the dreams of a night that did not exist. The 



196 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

Bible, being real, ministers to sorrow that is 
real. 

The Book, too, touches on all the phases of 
comfort that we may gather from the surface 
of life, only it does not make them either a 
full gospel of consolation or a large part of 
that gospel. Sometimes a word of Scripture 
will suggest the method of comparison implied 
in the statement, "It might be worse." Paul 
does this with one quick word. "Our light 
affliction," he puts it. We have lost one hand ; 
we might have lost two! We have lost one 
eye ; we might have lost both ! We have been 
sick one week; it might have been a year! 
Sometimes this method carries us off into 
rather graceless comparisons of ourselves with 
other people as if, indeed, we were divine 
favorites. Can a man prove more divine provi- 
dence for himself by assuming that there is 
less for another person? This road of com- 
parison leads to phariseeism unless we watch 
carefully against a despicable by-path. Tenny- 
son in his "In Memoriam," which is a poem 
of comfort, shows much impatience with this 
false form of consolation : 

One writes, "that other friends remain," 
That loss is common to the race; 
And common is the commonplace. 

And vacant chaff well meant for grain. 



THE BIBLE AND SOKROW 197 

That loss is common would not make 

My own less bitter, rather more; 

Too common! Never morning wore 
To evening but some heart did break. 

This method of comparison is inadequate. 
Whether the word "light" makes our imagina- 
tion furnish the details of the worse affiction, 
or whether it contrasts our sorrows with the 
greater sorrows of others, it does not do 
enough for our smitten hearts. 

Nor are we fully satisfied with the plea that 
sorrow is but "for a moment'' and that we 
can be thankful for its brevity. There is 
comfort here, to be sure, but it has no final 
quality. Paul knew that, and so he gave the 
idea an incidental part of a sentence, and then 
went on to the deeper consolation. One poet 
puts it : 

Since the scope 
Must widen early, is it well to droop 
For a few days consumed in loss and taint? 
O pusillanimous heart! be comforted; 
And like a cheerful traveler, take the road. 
Singing beside the hedge. What if the bread 
Be bitter in thine inn, and thou unshod 
To meet the flints? At least it may be said, 
"Because the way is short, I thank thee, God." 

The truth is that there is real comfort in all 
this only when pain's brevity contributes 
something to the good of the years and even 
to eternity. Thus the Bible does not give much 



198 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

space to the slight comforts of either compari- 
son or brevity. These fiave their function, but 
they are the small helpers of the larger 
consolations. 

The Bible likewise gives as one of the com- 
forts of sorrow that sorrow^ prepares us to 
console others' sorrows. Saint Paul uses this 
in his message to the Corinthians: "Blessed 
be Gad, even the Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God 
of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our 
tribulations, that we may be able to comfort 
them which are in any trouble, by the comfort 
wherewith we ourselves are comforted of 
God.'' Here we are pushed back to the 
deepest sources of comfort. God comforts the 
sorrowful in order that other sorrowful ones 
may have comfort. The consolers are dele- 
gated by the great Consoler. It requires this 
reach clear back to the heart of God to rescue 
this suggestion from the superficial. One man 
has sorrow. He consoles others who have 
sorrow. Then you have two sorrows in your 
problem. In this way you would keep playing 
off sorrow against sorrow, without any funda- 
mental explanation of any sorrow. The ques- 
tion is. Why any sorrow at all? If one of the 
by-products of sorrow is the power to comfort 
the sorrowing, we must still find some main 
product that will put the two sorrows to- 



THE BIBLE AND SORROW 199 

gether in a meaning of good. The God of 
comfort must preside over both sorrows ere 
either sorrow shall yield its contribution to 
the sufferer. Paul saw this, and so he re- 
lated our power to comfort others to the fact 
that we had gotten our comfort from the 
Father of all consolation. 

It is thus clear that the Scriptures give 
place to all the minor elements in the ministry 
of sorrow. Its comparative lightness, its sure 
brevity, and its tuition for sympathy have 
their part in the Bible curriculum. The 
Scriptures also move onward to the vision of 
a God who cares. "Like as a father pitieth" 
— this is the message even of the Old Testa- 
ment. It gives an answer to that piercing cry : 

What can it mean? Is it aught to Him 
That the nights are long and the sun is dim? 
Can he be touched by the griefs I bear 
"Which sadden the heart and whiten the hair? 
Around his throne are eternal calms, 
And glad, strong music of happy psalms, 
And bliss unruled by any strife! 
How can he care for my little life? 

The answer of the Bible is the vision of the 
pitying God. Our earthly friends have helped 
us in our sorrows by simply caring. They 
have come to us in the shadows, and their 
words and faces have told us that they cared. 
It is a strange feature of human psychology 



200 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

that just this gives us comfort. Our friends 
do not solve the problem for us. They do not 
remove the cause of our pain. But they feel 
with us, and this is aid. Every sympathizer 
seems to lift a bit of the weight from our own 
hearts. When the Bible gives us the revela- 
tion of One who pitieth ^^like as a father 
pitieth," it brings God into that circle of 
helpfulness. 

The lesson goes farther and deeper than this. 
Though we have not here used the words 
technically, the soul's dictionary draws a 
distinction between pity and sympathy. The 
pitier may never have walked the way that 
allows him to understand our grief; the sym- 
pathizer comes to us from some experience 
that permits him to remember those that are 
in bonds as bound with them. We cannot 
read the Bible long ere we discover that there 
is in God the capability of joy and sorrow. 
The passages are abundant that justify this 
statement. God can be pleased. God can be 
grieved. If men and women have been made 
in his image, and if we find in them the capa- 
bility of pain and sorrow, we are driven to 
the conclusion that something corresponding 
thereto must be in the divine nature. The 
father in the parable of the prodigal son, 
sitting lonely and mournful in his home, 
represents God. The father in that same 



THE BIBLE AND SORROW 201 

parable meeting Ms son in the roadway and 
giving Mm glad welcome, and calling to his 
neighbors, "Rejoice with me," likewise repre- 
sents God. The truth seems to be that the 
farther up we go in the grade of being, the 
more capability of pain and of pleasure do 
we find. The polyp can neither suffer much 
nor enjoy much. The oyster can enjoy more 
and suffer more. The bird has its note of joy 
and its note of pain. Human beings have 
exquisite powers of enjoyment and equally 
exquisite powers of suffering. We may well 
believe that when we reach the perfect being 
of God both of these capabilities come to their 
highest. This is the meaning of that verse: 

Can it be, O Christ Eternal, 
That the wisest suffer most? 
That the mark of rank in nature 
Is capacity for pain? 
That the anguish of the singer 
Makes the sweetness of the strain? 

We are allowed to believe, then, that the pity 
of God passes over into sympathy. We are 
visited in our sorrows not by a God whose 
mood toward us is abstract, but whose own 
infinite heart knows grief. "The human life 
of God" is a phrase that has been used to 
describe the incarnation. That phrase enters 
into our problem here. If Jesus shows us 
what God is like, then the Christ who wept 



202 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

over Jerusalem brings us one revelation of the 
divine life. The pitying God becomes the 
sympathizing God. 

The biblical lesson of comfort does not halt 
even here. It is given a closer and more 
personal quality. A pitier and sympathizer 
may be very distant, and his aid may reach 
us over the abysses. If the Bible gives us the 
vision of a pitying father, it gives us also the 
vision of the God who comforteth even as a 
mother comforteth. In the various kinds of 
trouble men become aware of reserve forces 
in their nature. They endure what they 
thought they could not endure. In crisis times 
the muscles secure extra strength, the mind 
secures extra alertness, and the spirit secures 
extra power either to do or to bear. These 
reserves must be of God's giving, whether they 
lie ready in the nature always, or are special 
gifts sent direct to help us in the troublous 
hours. There is, however, a still more per- 
sonal interpretation that the Bible offers for 
these experiences. They are the special visits 
of God to the afflicted. If the creed of the 
divine sympathy gets its meaning from "the 
human life of God" as seen in the incarnation 
of Christ, this part of the creed gets its mean- 
ing from the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. It 
is true that the Greek word which is translated 
"Comforter" might be given other meanings 



THE BIBLE AND SORROW 203 

such as Adviser or Helper. But this does not 
change the point for the present discussion. 
An Adviser in sorrow is a Comforter, and a 
Helper in sorrow is a Comforter. It is sig- 
nificant that the consciousness of the church 
followed the translators eagerly and adopted 
the word Comforter as if it met some need of 
life and as if it answered to some deep ex- 
perience of life. We may not go into a labored 
discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity. We 
may affirm that a humanity that sorrows is 
glad for a doctrine of the Godhead that magni- 
fies the office of consolation. The comforting 
quality in Barnabas led the early disciples to 
change his name from Joses to Barnabas be- 
cause he was a "son of consolation." They 
rejoiced in their human comforter. The 
church has ever found satisfaction in the 
revelation of a divine Comforter. In this 
revelation it sees the pitying God and the 
sympathizing God become the Comforting 
God. 

Related to this is the scriptural idea that 
God conquers our sorrow not by removing it 
but by making us equal to its burden. The 
clearest concrete illustration of this is seen 
in Paul's words about his "thorn in the flesh." 
His thrice-repeated prayer was that the thorn 
might be removed ; his answer was that, while 
tbe difficulty would not be taken away, he 



204 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

would be given grace sufficient for Ms triaL 
Paul's experience has impressed men as being 
typical of the inner kind of divine aid. The 
sorrow may be of many kinds ; but the powers 
of resistance are strengthened by the grace of 
God and the sorrows are borne in a brave and 
patient spirit. Although the idea be trite, it 
claims a place in the discussion, as indeed it 
was worthy of a place in the ritual of com- 
fort. We are not dealing with any mere law 
of reaction. It was not the thorn that was 
making Paul strong; it was God who was 
making Paul strong to endure the thorn. He 
himself describes the transaction as if it had 
involved a direct gift of the divine grace, as 
it had involved a direct message from the 
divine heart. 

Yet great as are all these types of biblical 
consolation, we all feel that we have not 
reached the conclusion of the matter. Com- 
parison is not enough. Brevity does not ex- 
plain why sorrow should be just brief. Pity 
does not tell us why we should need to be 
pitied. Direct spiritual reserves do not fully 
justify the hard experience that calls for them. 
Direct and personal comfort does not solve 
the problem since no one would seek trouble 
in order to have the "visits of a comforting 
friend. The gaining of inner strength comes 
nearer to a positive warrant for the sorrows 



THE BIBLE AND SOEEOW 205 

of life; yet it does not quite reach the satis- 
fying conception. All these things are parts 
of the program, but they are not its conclu- 
sion. The tale of life's sorrow is not all told 
by their recital. The full story we cannot 
understand now; still we may be able to 
glimpse its meaning. In the epic of Job there 
are traces of the revelation. The patriarch 
gathers a harvest out of his troubles. They 
never reach the uttermost extreme. They do 
not last forever. They bring him pity, however 
crude; sympathy, however bungling; com- 
forters, however mistaken; reserve forces, 
however tardy; inner strength, however won. 
But his sorrows do more than this; they are 
represented in the last chapter as having been 
made the servant of Job. The richer and 
stronger man returns to the richer and 
stronger life. The testings have been turned 
into gains. 

This deeper lesson of comfort is often given 
to us in the Bible by means of a very positive 
verb. Our afllictions "work" for us. All 
things "work" together for us. As men are 
sent to the fields, and as the forces of nature 
are sent along the wires, so sorrows are sent 
to become our servants. This service is not 
inevitable; it is conditioned on the attitude 
of the sorrowing life; but it is a very real 
service when the conditions are met. Our 



206 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

afflictions work for us — when we get the 
spiritual vision so that we can receive the 
things that are eternal. All things work to- 
gether for good for us — when we fulfill the 
innermost requirement of loving God. The 
condition in both cases is located within the 
spiritual life. This condition being met, the 
promise of the Bible is that sorrow is made 
our efficient servant. Paul in his famous 
verse of consolation states the case with 
marked confidence. The afflictions work for 
us until they produce "a far more exceeding 
and eternal weight of glory." Language could 
scarcely be stronger. Nor were the words 
used by one who lolled in the high places of 
ease and delight and shouted down his ab- 
stract comforts to the strugglers in the vale. 
The assurance to the sorrowing comes from 
their comrade. His experiences ranged all the 
way from the petty hardships of a wandering 
life on to the Appian Way and the block of 
death. It was the sure faith of the apostle 
that all his sorrows had been made to work 
for him. He was not their victim; he was 
their master and their beneficiary. 

The persons who have seen much of the 
world's better living will not deny this con- 
ception. Le Gallienne in his booklet, If I 
Were God, admits that suffering does often 
work toward the making of character and be- 



THE BIBLE AND SOEEOW 207 

comes a real servant. His skepticism does 
not lie at this point. His inquiry is whether 
a just and good God could not have found 
some easier way, some servant for which we 
would not have to render such a painful cost. 
This, of course, is that old method of debate 
that flees for refuge to some imaginary world 
and conceives of people who do not exist. Our 
task is with the people now on earth, and with 
them we must deal in our efforts at consola- 
tion. Some of them we have seen driven to 
bitterness of spirit by their sorrow. They 
themselves made sorrow an evil servant which 
filled the garden of life with noxious weeds, 
shut the windows of hope in the home of life, 
put the poison of despair into the water of 
life, and spread the clouds of gloom over all 
the sky of life. Others we have seen mellowed 
and sweetened by the servantship of sorrow. 
All our visits to them showed clearly that 
sorrow was doing gracious service. The 
"weight of glory" was more and more ap- 
parent. The "good" produced by the "all 
things" gave increasing evidence that the 
"servant" was doing his work. When any 
close observer of life writes down his lists of 
saints he will always find that he has been 
compelled to canonize many who, like their 
Master, have been made "perfect through 
suffering." 



208 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

The quotation of these words about Christ 
reminds us that the world turns to him as to 
the last resort for the sorrowing. Here, as 
in all other studies, we find the climax in him. 
As he entered into all forms of work, so did 
he enter into all forms of sorrow. Is it home- 
lessness? Is it privation? Is it misunder- 
standing? Is it anxiety for others? Is it 
anticipated suffering? Is it evil accusation? 
Is it ridicule? Is it shame? Is it mockery? 
Is it torture? Is it utter disgrace? Is it 
abandonment? Is it denial? Is it betrayal? 
Is it death? All these he knew. If the wisest 
and holiest suffer most, he knew all these 
sorrows at their deepest. None could really 
join with him in chanting the real De Pro- 
fundis. He trod the winepress alone, and of 
the people there was none with him. The 
world that left him alone in his sorrow does 
not wish him to leave it alone in its sorrow. 
It seeks him then. It hears him as he promises, 
not immunity from suffering, but the experi- 
ence of overcoming in suffering : "Be of good 
cheer: I have overcome the world." He put 
a deeply personal quality into his assurance, 
"I will not leave you comfortless; I will come 
to you." "I am with you always, even unto 
the end of the aeons." So runs the promise. 
It is no wonder that the troubled flee to him. 
The Man of Sorrows draws the men of sor- 



THE BIBLE AND SORKOW 209 

rows. His benediction of peace is not formal. 
With the authority and with the reserves of 
comfort at his command, he still says, "Let 
not your heart be troubled." 

To the usual messages of consolation he now 
adds the eternal reason, "In my Father's house 
are many mansions : if it were not so, I would 
have told you. I go to prepare a place for 
you." Well did Carlyle say that if Jesus were 
only man, he had no right to utter these words. 
But Jesus said much more. He would pre- 
pare the place. He would come again. He 
would receive them into his company. If some 
doubter shall ask about the way, his reply 
shall be the same as of old, "I am the way." 
Through 'him alone we come to the Father. 
Full trust in him removes all bitter tears: 
and the remainder of tears he does not rebuke. 
He inspires the visions wherein we see those 
who have come up out of great tribulation 
hungering no more, nor thirsting any more, 
nor smitten by the sun or any heat; but fed 
by the Lamb and led by him amid fountains 
of living waters, while God wipes away all 
tears from their eyes. 

This doctrine of heaven as a consolation 
for sorrow is not born of selfishness, as is 
often charged. The rankest of infidels said, 
"In the night of death, hope sees a star, and 
listening love can hear the rustle of a wing." 



210 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

Not "listening selfishness," but "listening 
love" ! The love that we bear to our own and 
to all mankind seeks this vision and finds it 
waiting in the divine plan. Is it selfish to 
desire that for ourselves which will injure 
none others? Is it selfish to long for that 
which will meet the longings of the whole 
world? Verily some critics discover strange 
dictionaries when they define words in refer- 
ence to the holy faith. But all the while the 
afflicted seek the face of Christ. Troubles 
look unto him and are lightened. The poor 
man cries and the Lord still delivers him out 
of his troubles. Our Bibles and our Hymnals 
personalize the haven for us. He is the Rock 
of Ages. His bosom is the Refuge. To him 
we go when shadows darkly gather. A present 
help is he. The last low whispers of our dead 
are burdened with his name. The suffering 
world states its comfort in terms of Christ 
himself. 

For the final sorrow of death he offers the 
full consolation. The tragedy of separation 
remains. Our indictment against death is 
that of Tennyson: 

He puts our lives so far apart. 
We cannot hear each other speak. 

The more worthy of immortality our beloved 



THE BIBLE AND SOEROW 211 

seems to be, the keener is the pang of parting. 
Lowell felt it so "After the Burial" : 

Immortal! I feel it and know it. 
Who doubts it of such as she? 

But that is the pang's very secret — 
Immortal away from me. 

The Bible has no rebuke for the sorrow of 
separation. But it does have the healing hope 
of eternal reunion. Jesus said: "I am the 
resurrection, and the life: he that believeth 
on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live : 
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall 
never die." These words, fully believed, still 
our fear, confirm our hope, and comfort our 
final sorrow. 

To all the burdened, Jesus says, "Come unto 
me, and I will give you rest." To all the 
joyless he says, "I will see you again, and your 
heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh 
from you." To all the lonely and mourning 
he comes with the message, "Let not your 
heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe 
also in me." The world may have difficulty in 
securing that belief ; but the world knows well 
that this belief alone is the defeat of sorrow. 
In their best and most desperate and most 
hopeful hours men flee to the Bible as to the 
only tent in which their anguish can be 
soothed. Within that tabernacle walks the 



212 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

form of the Fourth. When they turn from 
him, they must return with the question, 
"Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the 
words of eternal life." The eternal life that 
he gives is the only consolation for our passing 
sorrows. 



CHAPTER VIII 

The Bible and Practice 

When men separate the Bible from deyo- 
tion and practice they are guilty of the final 
heresy in relation to the Book of Life. The 
previous pages have shown that the Bible has 
a real message for actual living. While the 
larger departments have been treated, it is 
still true that the message of the Scriptures 
for other sections of life is vital and funda- 
mental. Whatever we may say about the 
message of the Bible in regard to chemistry, 
or biology, or geology; whatever we may say 
about its inspiration for the literature of the 
world; and whatever we may say about its 
accuracy in matters of ancient history and 
geography — the Book holds a lonely primacy 
as the Book of Duty. The scientist may not 
get from it a full revelation; the litterateur 
may be tempted to omit certain portions from 
his "choice selections''; the historian may not 
find in it a full or chronological list of events ; 
but the man with a moral and spiritual pas- 
sion, the man bent on finding his duty that he 
may do it faithfully, will discover ample 

213 



214 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

material in its pages. Indeed, he will have a 
sense of surplus. The ideals of the Book will 
be so far beyond his performance as to give 
him the feeling of a gentle rebuke. As a Book 
of moral science, moral literature, moral his- 
tory, the Bible has no competitors. As a 
revelation of the heart of God, of the heart of 
man, and of the way in which the heart of God 
and the heart of man are brought into loving 
harmony, the Bible is supreme. 

The great difficulty in the use of the Bible 
has come from wrenching it from this main 
purpose. Confusion is sure to arise when- 
ever any volume is employed apart from its 
primary intent. If one wishes to learn mathe- 
matics, and his foolish teacher shall give him 
a book of music, the result is not edifying. 
The pages of the book may be properly num- 
bered, and the scales of music may be denoted 
by the correct fractions; but mathematics 
represents a thoroughly subordinate purpose, 
and the volume does not lead easily on to 
Calculus. The result is even more confusing 
if the arithmetic be handed to a pupil who 
wishes to study versification. The multiplica- 
tion table may look like verses when seen at 
some distance; still the arithmetic's main in- 
tent is not the teaching of poetry. The illus- 
trations of possible confusion could be taken 
from all fields. The common sense of the race 



THE BIBLE AND PRACTICE 215 

saves it from the blunder of misapplying the 
most of its books. The Bible, however, has 
been subjected to misapplication because the 
theory of its infallibility has often been made 
to cover a wide, not to say a universal, range. 
The student who goes to the Bible with a pur- 
pose that is mainly historical, or scientific, or 
geographical, or genealogical, or mathematical, 
or even poetical and literary, may not find all 
his wishes gratified. But the student who 
seeks its pages under a profound sense of God 
and with an equally profound will to do God's 
will is certain to find material for all his moral 
and spiritual ambitions. 

Consequently when the religious attitude 
toward the Bible is changed into a profes- 
sional or critical or debating attitude, the 
Book is deflected from its intent. Doubtless 
we must have in the realm of scholarship some 
men who give themselves to a technical dis- 
cussion of the Bible. These men may be 
charged with the duty of recovering portions 
of the Book to reality; and they may have an 
important, but secondary, relation to its 
primary purpose. Nevertheless their attitude 
is not the final one. It would be useless to 
deny that the last generation has witnessed a 
changed attitude toward the Holy Scriptures. 
One result has been that two camps have been 
formed, and that doughty champions of a view 



216 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

have sallied forth from each camp to do war- 
fare. The missiles have been verbal. Some- 
times they have been abusive. Each champion 
has believed himself a David and his opponent 
a Goliath. The unprejudiced observer of the 
conflict has had difficulty in deciding which 
champion has been most guilty of a wrong 
spirit. The conservative has called the pro- 
gressive various names, infidel, atheist, de- 
stroyer, betrayer, a successor of Judas in spirit 
and of Celsus in method! The progressive 
has responded in kind and has named the 
conservative a reactionary, an intellectual 
coward, a defender of a discredited theory, a 
foe of liberty, and a traitor to the truth. The 
conservative has often become a spiritual 
Pharisee and has ruled the progressive out of 
court on the ground that the progressive 
lacked piety, while the progressive has often 
become an intellectual Pharisee and has ruled 
the conservative out of court on the ground 
that the conservative lacked scholarship. 
There have, of course, been conspicuous in- 
stances of breadth and catholicity on both 
sides, but occasionally the spirit of the contest 
has not tended to exalt the mood of the con- 
testants or to glorify the divine Book. 

The results of such a spirit could easily be 
predicted: they cannot make for edification. 
If we list on one side the radical conservatives 



THE BIBLE AND PRACTICE 217 

and on the otlier side the radical progressives, 
we shall discover an evangelical helplessness 
in both lists. In each case a conception of the 
Bible supplants the purpose of the Bible. The 
champion defends a doctrine more than he 
promotes a life. The apologist overcomes the 
preacher. The theorist destroys the evangelist. 
All this is not a denial that the speculative 
emphasis has its place. The defender of the 
faith will always have his place. Usually he 
must work in the background, in some point 
of scholarly retreat. The pastor and preacher 
who goes into a community with the idea that 
his main mission is to promote a special view 
of inspiration is doomed to failure, while he 
who goes into a community with the idea that 
his main mission is to preach the salvation of 
the Bible as it climaxes in Christ cannot fail 
utterly. There are conservatives and pro- 
gressives whose ministry is pitiably weak, and 
there are progressives and conservatives whose 
ministry is grandly strong. The difference 
comes from the point of emphasis. If a man 
is more anxious to prove that Moses was the 
sole author of the Pentateuch than he is to 
prove that Jesus is the sole author of salvation, 
his ministry will answer to his own emphasis. 
If a man is more anxious to prove that there 
were two Isaiahs than he is to show that there 
is one only name given among men whereby 



218 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

we may be saved, his ministry will be no more 
important than is his contention. The primary 
purpose of the Bible is not the revelation of 
the single authorship of one of its sections or 
the dual authorship of one of its books; its 
primary purpose is to declare that One is our 
Master, even Christ. 

It must be plain that, as the divine revela- 
tion of the Bible culminates in a Life, so the 
human intent of the Bible can culminate only 
in lives. The purpose of the Bible is met in 
Practice. If we adopt the military figure of 
life, the Bible is a weapon given to men for 
moral warfare. Sometimes in its own pages 
the Word of God is presented under the figure 
of a Sword. The writers could not have had 
in mind the Scriptures as we have them now; 
but the principle applies to every revelation by 
which God seeks to bring men to the under- 
standing and doing of his own will. When 
Isaiah felt divine messages burning in his 
heart he said, "He hath made my mouth like 
a sharp sword." The writer of Hebrews took 
the same nervous metaphor and wrote, "The 
word of God is quick, and powerful, and 
sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing 
even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, 
and of the joints and marrow." Paul in his 
description of the Christian armor speaks of 
"The sword of the Spirit, which is the word 



THE BIBLE AND PKACTICE 219 

of God." It may not be amiss, then, to take 
this highly authorized figure of speech and to 
employ it once again — not claiming, of course, 
that our particular applications were in the 
thought of the first users. The point is that 
under the ancient military system the sword 
had its main intent, and that it never did its 
real work as long as it was divorced from that 
intent. There were wrong uses of the sword, 
and there were secondary uses of the sword; 
and there was but one primary use of the 
sword. 

We can conceive of an actual sword as being 
used in different ways by different people. A 
robber seizes it, defends himself against just 
arrest, and slashes the representatives of a 
righteous law. Evidently the sword was not 
made for that purpose. The sportsman takes 
the sword, tests its handle, polishes its blade, 
tries its resiliency, purchases a manual of 
arms, secures the best teacher, drills himself 
in its use. On holidays he wears a fiashy 
uniform, marches through the streets, waves 
the glittering thing over his head, and so 
makes it an instrument of personal flourish. 
This use is not evil, but it does not stand for 
the weapon's first intent. A third man, with 
a more serious mien, secures the sword. He 
is enlisted in the militia, and the time may 
come when it T\dll be necessary for him to go 



220 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

into real war. He tests its handle and polishes 
its blade; he studies the manual of arms; he 
seeks the best masters; he practices its use 
through many months. When the time of war 
actually comes this man draws the sword from 
its scabbard and goes out to do service in his 
country's cause. The primary purpose of the 
sword is met only in this earnest use. 

The three men may represent three classes 
in their attitudes toward the Bible. The 
Bible is often used for defense in immorali- 
ties. It is often used as a means of that cheap 
skill that comes near to personal display. It 
is often used for spiritual defense and war- 
fare. The robber's use is evil. The parader's 
use is secondary. The warrior's use is 
primary. 

Many illustrations of the immoral use of 
the Bible could be given. In the story of the 
temptation of Jesus the devil is pictured as a 
user of the Scriptures, and he has not been 
without his followers in an unholy use of a 
holy record. The Bible covers a wide range 
of thought and experience. It tells of all 
manner of sins. It deals with all classes of 
characters. It presents the lives of bad men 
who were sometimes good, and of good men 
who were occasionally bad, and of other men 
who were quite steadily bad or good. Thus the 
Bible gives us all sorts of examples. The 



THE BIBLE AND PKACTICE 221 

record, distorted and misapplied, may be made 
to justify the baldest of sins. In matters of 
questionable morality men are ever ready to 
appeal to the divine Book, and even for ac- 
tions condemned by all enlightened moral 
judgment the Bible is sometimes summoned 
as an advocate. There is scarcely a sin which 
has not had a passage of Scripture presented 
as its excuse. Men have justified rash murder 
on the ground that Moses killed the cruel 
Egyptian taskmaster. As was shown in a 
previous chapter the practices of the patri- 
archs have been quoted, even in the halls of 
Congress, as a warrant for bigamy and polyg- 
amy. Men in the midst of unreasoning anger 
have condoned their madness by reciting the 
words, "Be ye angry, and sin not." Jesus 
himself named to the Jews a sacrilegious mis- 
use of a Bible phrase by which heartless chil- 
dren excused themselves from filial duties. 
Illustrations might be given touching almost 
every phase of personal life. Even as in old 
days the wicked sometimes fled to a city of 
refuge, so now do men caught in an evil mood 
hide themselves behind a biblical rampart. 

In larger social matters this use of the Bible 
has been fully as striking. Human slavery 
felt secure within a scriptural fortress. Wil- 
berforce and Clarkson in England, and Garri- 
son and Phillips in America were compelled 



222 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

to reply to biblical arguments. Charles 
Sumner, at a meeting in Massachusetts, spent 
an entire evening in replying to a proslavery 
discussion based on PauFs letter to Philemon, 
arriving duly at the conviction that the only 
logical and religious result of the apostle's 
words to Philemon would be the freeing of 
slaves in the name of Christian brotherhood. 
So pieces of Mosaic legislation and scraps of 
Pauline regulation were used to conceal the 
Golden Kule and the law of fraternity. It is 
easy to observe here, too, that as men advance 
in ethical life this use of the Bible ceases. 
Doubtless in twenty years no one has heard 
the Bible quoted in behalf of slavery. Yet the 
biblical argument would serve quite as well 
for reinstating slavery as it did for continu- 
ing slavery. The argument dies not only be- 
cause the moral consciousness of man lives, 
but also because the moral judgment of man 
perceives that the general principles of the 
Bible are utterly opposed to human slavery. 
The man who proposed to bring the bondage 
of men back into the social life of the world 
by means of the biblical argument would be 
deemed as much an anachronism as his 
method of debate. 

This same evil use of the Bible proceeds to- 
day among the opponents of the temperance 
reform. Our debate with the saloonist or 



THE BIBLE AND PRACTICE 223 

brewer or mne maker never goes far ere we 
are told of biblical examples of drinking, as 
well as that Christ turned water into wine in 
his first miracle at Cana of Galilee. Saloon 
keepers have framed and have placed upon 
the walls of their alluring palaces Paul's 
advice to Timothy, "Take a little wine for thy 
stomach's sake, and thine often infirmities." 
They do not quote the verdict that wine is a 
mocker, with a bite like that of a serpent and 
a sting like that of an adder — the cause of 
woes and sorrows and redness of eyes; nor 
the pronouncement that no drunkard can in- 
herit the Kingdom ; nor the condemnation laid 
upon him that putteth the bottle to his neigh- 
bor's lips. Nor do they put forward the in- 
evitable drift of Paul's law of charity which 
commands men to do naught that will make 
their brothers to offend. Nor yet do they heed 
the sure drift of the Bible's teaching as it 
comes to its crown in Christ himself. The 
man who would claim that Jesus would ap- 
prove the modern traffic in intoxicating 
liquors would convict himself of amazing per- 
versity and ignorance. There are increasing 
evidences that the Master of life is now finding 
an effective use for his whip of cords and that 
there is beginning a retreat greater than that 
of the ancient thieves and dove sellers. The 
time will come when men will marvel that an 



224 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

attempt was ever made to use the Bible as a 
foundation for the trade in alcoholics. 

In Scott's Ivanhoe there is given an example 
of this misuse of the Bible, as well as an ex- 
ample of its effective rebuke. Rebecca the 
Jewess is beautiful in person, as she is in 
character. Brian de Bois-Guilbert is a member 
of the Order of the Holy Temple. He is a 
dashing, handsome, hypocritical crusader, 
both a military and a moral adventurer. He 
turns his lewd eye toward Rebecca. She 
stands by an open window, ready to throw 
herself to death upon the rocks far beneath 
rather than to submit herself to his wicked- 
ness. To justify his black intention Guilbert 
mentions the conduct of David and Solomon, 
and then says to the tempted one, "The pro- 
tectors of Solomon's Temple may claim license 
by the example of Solomon." The beautiful 
woman makes a worthy retort, one that de- 
serves frequent repetition: "If thou readest 
the Scriptures and the lives of the saints only 
to justify thine own license and profligacy, 
thy crime is like that of him who extracts 
poison from the most helpful herbs." No 
honest person can believe in Guilbert's use of 
the Bible; nor can any honest person escape 
the truth of Rebecca's reply. The murderer's, 
the bigamist's, the slaveholder's, the rum- 
seller's, the sensualist's method of employing 



THE BIBLE AND PRACTICE 225 

the Bible is the final blasphemy against the 
Holy Word. The robbers of life simply steal 
the sword of the Spirit in order that they may 
use it in the service of hell. Wolves in sheep's 
clothing and devils clad in the livery of heaven 
are apt figures of speech for the description of 
this perversity. The Bible itself speaks of 
those who wrest the Scriptures to their own 
destruction ! 

The second use of the sword moves into the 
realm of the legitimate, but not into the realm 
of the final. Expert swordsmanship is no 
crime, even as it is not the highest morality. 
The Bible has long been one of the favorite 
fields of the critical scholar. Very often the 
search has been for technical truth rather than 
for vital truth. Heated discussions have re- 
lated to questions of dates and authorship. 
These questions are not to be ruled out as 
useless. Sometimes technical truth gives the 
vital truth of the Bible a setting that makes 
it more forceful and persuasive. It was in- 
evitable that both the higher critics and their 
opponents would sometimes go to great ex- 
tremes — the critics to an idolatry of intellect, 
their opponents to an idolatry of literalness. 
We must all have been impressed that at times 
w^hen the spiritual battle has been intense the 
warriors have stepped aside from the main 
conflict in order that they might discuss how^ 



226 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

and when and by whom the Sword and its 
parts were fashioned ! 

We may change the figure of speech for a 
moment and modify for the present purpose 
a borrowed illustration. A man finds a 
casket buried deeply in his yard. The vessel 
appears to have been constructed a long time 
ago. It bears upon its sides characters that 
are difficult of translation. There is even 
doubt as to the nature of the metal. The 
man summons the other members of the fam- 
ily. They open the vessel and discover that 
it is filled with gold. At once a warm dis- 
pute begins over several questions. Who 
made the casket? When was it made? How 
many persons took part in its fashioning and 
its filling? From what precise mintage did 
the coins come? What is the meaning of the 
peculiar hieroglyphics found upon its sides? 
Are all the coins of equal value? Whose 
images are stamped upon them? The debaters 
become excited over these mooted matters. 
At last one sensible member of the family 
suggests that it is apparent that by right of 
finding this particular household owns the 
casket; that the needs of the members are 
many; that the gold, even though the coinage 
be ancient, can be turned to modern use; that 
the questions which they are debating can be 
settled only by metallurgists and historians 



THE BIBLE AND PEACTICE 227 

and philologists, if they are to be settled at 
all; and that, pending the settlement of in- 
cidental issues, the wants of the family may 
be richly met by appropriating the contents 
of the casket ! The illustration scarcely needs 
any interpretation. It surely does represent 
the attitude which the devout and obedient 
heart may take in this period toward the 
Holy Book. The ancient casket that we call 
the Bible is full of treasures. This much lies 
beyond doubt or debate. While the learned 
philologists and historians and exegetes sur- 
round the casket and try to ascertain the 
dates of its parts, the names of its authors, 
the meaning of its obscurities, the family of 
God may continue to draw on its exhaustless 
treasures. Nor are there wanting signs that 
more and more our age is adjusting itself to 
this reverent and practical use of the Word 
of God, and that Professor Dobschtitz rightly 
contends in his new volume that the Bible is 
again becoming the Book of Devotion. 

There is likewise what we might well call 
the "lowest'' criticism — the spirit that uses the 
Bible as a volume of puzzles rather than as a 
volume of directions. Many a man has spent 
more time in speculating about where Cain 
got his wife than he has in trying to find out 
how to make his own wife happy. Many a 
man has spent more time in trying to find out 



228 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

about the Witch of Endor as an excuse for 
his consulting some vulgar fortune-teller of 
modern time than he has spent in trying to 
learn the will and secure the guidance of the 
good and wise God. Many a man has spent 
more time in discussing Melchizedek, who had 
neither ancestors nor descendants, than he has 
spent in trying to learn from the Bible how 
he himself may honor his forbears and may 
train his own children in righteousness. Many 
a man has been so piqued by curiosity about 
the exact nature of Saint Paul's "thorn in the 
flesh" as to forget the teaching that the grace 
of God can make us equal to any burden and 
torment of life. The men of this type will 
not allow the Bible the use of hyperbole. 
When it suits their contentious mood they 
become strict literalists. Even though they 
themselves may declare that it is "raining 
pitchforks" or that the waves are dashing 
"mountain high," they will insist that Christ's 
words about the two coats and the two cloaks 
and the two miles are not the strong urging 
of much forbearance and generosity, but the 
counsel of literal folly. Meanwhile the cer- 
tainties and duties of the Bible outnumber its 
riddles and its curiosities many-fold. The im- 
portunate call to holy practice ceases not. 
From each of a thousand passages of the Good 
Book there issues a patient rebuke for the 



THE BIBLE AND PKACTICE 229 

curiosity monger, "What is that to thee? 
Follow thou me." 

This leads us to the third use of the sword 
as seen in our illustration. The gallant 
soldier took the weapon and used it in har- 
mony with its intent. So the Bible should 
be employed preeminently as a means of 
spiritual defense and warfare. The Scriptures 
are profitable, not for immoral justification, 
not for mere criticism however exact and 
searching, not for the solving of superficial 
riddles, but "for doctrine, for reproof, for in- 
struction in righteousness: that the man of 
God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished 
unto all good works.'' To go to the Bible with 
the motive revealed in these great words is 
to recover the Bible to its divine purpose as 
the book of human practice. Such a motive 
lifts the volume above any mere literary or 
historical aspects. There is, for example, the 
oft-quoted story about Benjamin Franklin's 
experience at the Court of France. He was 
passing an evening with a company of cultured 
ladies and gentlemen. The conversation 
turned to the subject of Oriental life. Frank- 
lin read aloud to the company the book of 
Ruth. Struck by the beautiful simplicity and 
spirit of the narrative, his hearers expressed 
their delight and desired to know in what book 
the charming pastoral could be found! It is 



230 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

safe to say that these men and women needed 
the lesson of fidelity in the book of Kuth far 
more than they needed the sense of its literary 
merit. 

We must always return to the idea that the 
key to the Bible is the deeply religious in- 
stinct and motive. Nothing else will really 
open its pages. Nor does the Bible herein 
wholly differ from other literature. There 
are men and women so thoroughly cultivated 
on the so-called practical side of their natures 
that it would be punishment for them to read 
Whittier, or Longfellow, or Lowell, or Tenny- 
son for a full hour. The demands of business 
or social life have killed the poetic impulse. 
So many persons may crush from their natures 
the religious instinct and then wonder why 
the Bible does not appeal to them ! The truth 
seems to be that a person gets from the Bible 
about what he seeks. It takes divinely opened 
eyes to see the wondrous things in the law. 
The psalmist, therefore, prayed that the 
change might come over himself rather than 
over the parchment. The way to illumine the 
sacred page was to illumine him. The Book 
may lie in a great light, but what can the 
Book do for a man with closed eyes? Seneca 
tells of an idiot child in his home who, be- 
coming blind, insisted always that the room 
was dark! Herein is another parable. 



THE BIBLE AND PKACTICE 231 

It is only this disposition of the seeing eye 
and the obedient hand that can bring the 
Bible to us in its main purpose. Having this 
disposition we shall not suffer ourselves to be 
lured into interesting byways. We shall have 
a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. 
Our spiritual purpose will defeat all needless 
criticism and all needless dissection. Having 
this purpose, we will turn to the early chap- 
ters of Genesis. Instead of debating whether 
in a literal garden Adam and Eve were 
tempted by a literal serpent to the eating of 
literal fruit, and were driven through a literal 
gate, while a literal angel with a literal flame 
running along a literal blade guarded against 
reentrance, we shall be moved by the thought 
that we have lifted ourselves in puny rebel- 
lion against God, and that we have gone forth 
from our place of innocence, and that the third 
chapter of Genesis recounts the essential his- 
tory of our souls. Having this religious pur- 
pose, we shall read the story of Job with a view 
to securing its spiritual lesson. We shall not 
permit any critical arguer to confine us to 
the question of the historicity of Job himself. 
We shall rather lay hold of the teaching of 
that marvelous book, with its colossal debate, 
and we shall see that, whether the book be a 
history or a parable or an allegory, it drives 
crushing suspicion from the world by teaching 



232 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

that suffering is not always the result of sin, 
and brings cheerful trust into the world by 
teaching that afflictions bravely endured must 
have their reward. The man who back in that 
dim and far age got hold of the teaching of 
the book of Job must have somehow caught 
the inspiration of God himself. The common 
ground in all these mooted portions of Scrip- 
ture is really a large and wealthy place; but 
only a common spiritual purpose will ever 
bring conservatives and progressives together 
in the knowledge and peace of God. 

One almost hesitates to discuss the book of 
Jonah in this connection because petty de- 
bates have robbed it of much of its deeper 
meaning. The nature of the book doubtless 
lies beyond earthly settlement. Whether we 
declare that Jonah's journey was as historical 
as those of Saint Paul, or that it was as para- 
bolic as the journey of the prodigal son, we 
can find no sure end of the debate. But all 
the while the teaching of the book waits for 
our obedience. The individual lesson seems 
to be that whenever a man turns his ship from 
the Nineveh of duty toward the Tarshish of 
pleasure he will directly come to rough and 
perilous seas. In other words, the man who 
flees from his God-assigned work sooner or 
later gets into trouble. The missionary lesson 
is just as plain. Back yonder in a time of 



THE BIBLE AND PKACTICE 233 

racial narrowness, some one caught the in- 
spiration from God and declared that the 
Lord of all the earth cared for all the people 
of the earth. The infinite love traveled be- 
yond all our little boundaries. The personal 
lesson and the missionary lesson of the book 
of Jonah are sufficient to keep individuals and 
churches busy for a thousand years to come. 
The spirit with which we approach the book 
of Jonah will decide whether we shall become 
petty debaters, or men and women with dutiful 
purpose and missionary zeal. 

The conclusion is that when we seek the 
Bible with the motive of holy practice we 
never meet with disappointment. The reli- 
gious purpose saves the Book for us and saves 
us by the Book. This purpose will likewise 
bring us face to face with the Hero of the 
Divine Word. Other sacred literatures may 
offer us high moral precepts, and they may 
occasionally give us glimpses of spiritual 
ideals. But one Book alone gives us Christ. 
One Book alone reveals the Redeemer. The 
climax of practice to which the Scriptures 
call us is the following of Christ. In all our 
studies in these chapters we have found that 
the supreme lessons centered in his teaching 
and in his example. The Man, the Home, the 
School, the Workshop, the Market Place, the 
Playground, and the Hospital all wait upon 



234 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

him for their guidance and their warning. 
But Jesus is more than the way and the truth ; 
he is the Life. He is more than the Exemplar 
of Practice ; he is the Helper in Practice. He 
walks the pages of the Bible even as he walked 
the ancient paths, and his disciples may still 
say, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh 
away the sin of the world.'' Other sacred 
books may offer revelations of morality; the 
Bible offers the revelation of a Saviour. The 
Bible is not its own goal. Jesus is the end of 
its revelation. The devout in all ages have 
been ready to use the heart of the verse of a 
familiar hymn: 

Beyond the sacred page, 

I seek thee, Lord; 
My spirit pants for thee, 

Thou living Word. 

If men seek the Exemplar who will give them 
a goal for their practice, they find such an 
Exemplar in the Christ of the Bible. If they 
seek the Inspirer who will give them a longing 
for the perfect practice, they will find that 
Inspirer in the Christ of the Bible. If men 
seek the Saviour who will help them on to the 
perfect practice, they will find that Helper in 
the Christ of the Bible. 

Indeed, it may be said to be characteristic 
of the Bible that it not only offers the perfect 



THE BIBLE AND PKACTICE 235 

program, but that it offers the perfect help. 
This was true even of the Old Testament. 
Jehovah was the strength of life. His power 
was as immediate as his presence. He was a 
present help in time of trouble. He was a 
present Guide in time of perplexity. The 
Christian revelation seems to bring that con- 
sciousness of divine help nearer to men, and 
to make it more real. Hence the Christian 
faith goes over all the world seeking to win 
men to God and his righteousness. Every- 
where it proclaims a redeeming God. An 
ideal mthout a Saviour may become a de- 
spair — a tormenting impossibility, the lure of 
the final falsehood. The Bible gives the ideal 
and then it adds, "It is God which worketh in 
you both to will and to do of his good 
pleasure.'' The Bible warns against tempta- 
tion, and then it tells of One who was himself 
tempted in all points like as we are, yet with- 
out sin, of One who is able to succor them 
that are tempted. The religion of the dead 
code becomes the religion of the living Person. 
The Ideal becomes Example, and both Ideal 
and Example are found in a Saviour. 

With all this in our purpose, as well as in 
our creed, we come to the Bible in full har- 
mony with its primary intent. We find now 
that for every moral and spiritual emergency 
the Book has its message. If it were neces- 



236 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

sary we could list these emergencies and show 
the word that the Bible has for each of them. 
Here is an illustration that serves as well as a 
thousand for making the main point. The 
Gideons have been placing the Bibles in the 
hotels of America. Travelers seldom go to 
their rooms without seeing upon the table a 
copy of the Book. The organization that has 
done this good work often receives accounts, 
anonymous or otherwise, of the help given by 
the Bibles that its work has supplied. Here 
is a letter received from a young woman : 

Perhaps a word will help you to realize that the little 
"Good Book" on the table in a lonely hotel room helps 
some. Last night, after fighting the fight that any 
young woman with any appearance fights, I found my- 
self in Chicago at this hotel. I had papers, magazines, 
books, and other reading matter, but for a joke — yes, 
joke — I picked up the Bible. It fell open at the seven- 
tieth psalm. Can you imagine the impression it made 
on me? I read it again and again. Needless to say, 
it helped and I feel better, happier, and not so much 
alone. 

Picture the full circumstances, and we may 
feel that the help went deeper and wrought 
more than this letter indicates. If this young 
woman was at the beginning of that dreadful 
path of death that invites careless travelers, 
how much must these ancient words, so 
graciously modern, have meant to her? *^Make 
haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to 



THE BIBLE AND PRACTICE 237 

help me, O Lord. Let them be ashamed and 
confounded that seek after my soul : let them 
be turned backward, and put to confusion, that 
desire my hurt. Let them be turned back for 
a reward of their shame that say, Aha, Aha. 
Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be 
glad in thee: and let such as love thy salva- 
tion say continually, Let God be magnified. 
But I am poor and needy; make haste unto 
me, O God : thou art my help and my deliverer ; 
O Lord, make no tarrying." Any study of 
the authorship or date of this seventieth 
psalm, or any theorizing as to the identity of 
"The chief musician," or even any discussion 
of the particular circumstances under which 
the words were originally written would not 
have solved the life problem of a young woman 
coaxed on toward carelessness. The psalm 
was penned to make God real, and his help 
real. Doubtless it performed that office long 
ago; and surely it performs that office now 
whenever a needy heart supplicates the good 
God by means of the ancient prayer. "Thy 
word have I hid in my heart, that I might not 
sin against thee" — this was the psalmist's 
statement as to the reason for carrying por- 
tions of the ancient revelation with him on 
all his journeys. "Wherewithal shall a young 
man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto 
according to thy word" — this was the use of 



238 THE BIBLE AND LIFE 

God's Word prescribed for all time. The 
writer of the one hundred and nineteenth 
psalm did not have our Bible, but when he 
wrote these two verses he had within him the 
purpose of our Bible. He brought the ancient 
law within its primary intent, and he gave 
the principle by which all later Scripture 
should be employed. The Bible is to be placed 
in the heart as a defense against sin. The 
Bible is intended to cleanse the ways of life. 
The Bible is given to lead us to Him who is 
himself the Perfect Life and who offers the 
Divine Grace. 

All this means that the best apologetic for 
the Bible is the earnest and honest use of the 
Bible. We may well use the apostle^s fine 
phrase and say that those persons who follow 
the ideals of the Bible under the inspiration 
of the Saviour of the Bible are "living epistles 
known and read of all men." They are the 
modern evidences for the ancient Book, the 
human and divine proofs of the human and 
divine Book. The Bible does not fail the soul 
that searches its pages for the paths of truth 
and righteousness. The prayer of the ritual 
is that we may "read, mark, learn, and in- 
wardly digest, that by patience and comfort of 
thy Holy Word we may embrace and ever hold 
fast the blessed hope of everlasting life.'' In 
everything that bears on making men worthy 



THE BIBLE AND PRACTICE 239 

subjects of everlasting life the Bible is the 
sure guide. All sincere souls that come to its 
chapters with this primary and spiritual in- 
tent will find their due reward. They may 
stand before the open Book confident that the 
voice of God will speak through the written 
Word and determined that they themselves 
shall ever be in the attitude of eager listeners, 
saying, ^^Speak, Lord; for thy servants hear." 



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