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of the South Sea Islands, one said :-"When I look at myself I find I have got hinges all over my body; legs, hands, jaws. Now, here,” said he, “is wisdom, in adapting my body to the various functions it has to discharge. And I find that the wisdom which made the Bible, exactly fits with this wisdom which made my body.” Another convert said: "I believe the Bible because of the pure system of religion it contains.” The human mind cannot easily divest itself of the idea that the word of God ought to be pure. Another said :-"I believe the Bible true because it has had the power to overthrow my own false system of religion, which no human argument could have done.”
Said Naimbanna, a prince of Sierra Leone :---- When I found all good men minding the Bible, and calling it the word of God, and all bad men disregarding it, I then was sure that the Bible must be what good men called it."
Such artless testimonies, coming from men in a state of nature, show, that the Bible must be true, from its adaptation the rational and moral nature, God has given us.
4. The Bible finds something in the minds of the most profligate and abandoned, that responds to its holy sentiments.
In one of the prisons of India, a murderer, under sentence of death, confessed that he had had a Bible :-"But oh !” said he, “I sold it for drink. It was the companion of my youth. I brought it with me from my native land, , and I have since sold it for drink. Oh, if I had listened to my Bible, I should not have been here !!!
A man in Manchester, England, who had burned the
Bible, was, in the hour of death, directed to its precious and saving truths, when he cried out in despair :-" That book might have done for me once, but I have burnt it! I can't pray, and won't pray!" So saying he expired.
We have no time to cite the numerous examples of wayward youth in whose minds the precious seed of God's word has sprung up and yielded the fruits of righteousness, after having for a long time been buried. Often has the weather beaten and hard-hearted sailor, in an hour of leisure, thought to beguile the time by looking over the pages of a Bible, which a pious mother had carefully stowed away in his trunk, and his eye has chanced to rest upon some passage that proved like the fire and the hammer that broke his rocky heart in pieces, and brought him trembling to the footstool of Divine mercy.
5. The Bible yields the richest consolation to the distressed and dying
One of the most remarkable cases of Christian resignation under the severest aflliction, we remember ever to have met with, is that of James Kennard, Jr., of Portsmouth, N. II. :-“When just entering upon active life, and the full duties of manhood, he was attacked by the terrible disease which physicians call anchylosis, or stiffening of the joints. First, one knee refused its office, and as this was accompanied with great pain, and perhaps the nature of the complaint was mistaken, the leg was amputated, in the hope that the evil would stop there. But the disease soon passed into the other limb, stiffened the remaining knee, and then crept on slowly from joint to joint, making each inflexible as it passed, till the whole lower portion of the body was
nearly as rigid as iron, and the muscles had no longer any office to perform. Gradually, then, it moved upward, leaving the vertebral column inflexible; the arms and hands, which, in anticipation of its approach had been drawn into a position most convenient for the sufferer, stiffened there; the neck refused to turn or bend; and the body became almost as immovable as if it had been carved out of the rock.
Years passed between the first appearance of the disease, and this awful completion of its work. Years elapsed after the hapless patient was thus hardened into stone, and still he lived. Nor was this all; his eyes were attacked; the sight of one was wholly lost, and the other became so exquisitely sensitive, that it could seldom be exposed to the light, and never but for a few moments at a time. And thus he remained for years, blind, immovable, prisoned in this house of stone, and echoing, we might suppose, the affecting exclamation of the Apostle, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death ???
But no word of impatience escaped him; the mind was clear and vigorous, the temper was not soured, the affections were as strong and clinging as ever. His good sense, his wit, his knowledge of books, his interest in the passing topics of the day, made his chamber a favorite resort even of those who might not have been drawn thither merely by sympathy for his sufferings; for not unfrequently he was still exposed to agonizing pain. But in the intervals of this distress, his active mind sought and found employment, and numerous contributions which this living statue dictated for a periodical work are now in print. The secret of his wonderful composure and gentleness,
may be told in two words, -religious resignation."* His religion was based upon the Holy Scriptures, in which he had been faithfully instructed from early childhood, and from the time he ceased to be a pupil, he performed the duties of Sunday-School teacher, till he was no longer able to go to the house of worship. In a lecture entitled “The Way,” we hear him give this testimony in favor of the sacred volume, “For us, then, the Bible is the way, or rather it is the guide which points the way to heaven. But are its directions, its advice, always given so plainly, that the wayfaring-men, though fools, never err therein ? I contend that they are in all essential points.” Again, he says:-"The Bible is a glorious book. Its truths are revelations from God. It is of vital importance to all to whom it has been given.”
Such are a few of the testimonies from various characters, and such the examples proving the truth of the text :“ Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God." The soul finds in the Bible its natural food, and hence it is a book of truth.
What book is there that soothes the humble poor,
The hidden ones, to the proud world unknown,
It is the precious Bible !
The widow, lonely, desolate and sad,
With bursting heart, and eyes bedewed with tears,
* Lowell Lectures on the Application of Metaphysical and Ethical Science to the Evidences of Religion. By Francis Bowen,
Seizes a well-worn book-now she is glad,
That word, the Holy Bible !
The mourning captive, in his lonely cell,
Takes up a book, left there by Christian hands, He reads of one who conquered earth and hell, The great Deliverer, who shall burst his bands,
He reads it in the Bible !
The sufferer, on the bed of sickness laid,
With pain and anguish, gasping out his breath, What book shall soothe him on that dying bed, Cause him to triumph at the thought of death ?
It is, it is the Bible !
Even the poor slave, clanking his galling chains,
Sold far away from wife and children dear, Writhing with torture, cries amid his pains, 0, read the blessed word, that brings Heaven near,
O, read to me the Bible !
The giddy youth, in folly's mazes snared,
Is rushing headlong on the downward road, When, lo, a warning voice cries out, beware! A light divine directs him heavenward,
It is the blessed Bible !
The man of riper years, whose heart is proud,
With worldly cares, honors and riches filled,
He reads it in the Bible !
The man of hoary locks, and withered brow,
Finds words of comfort sweet to soothe his soul,