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THE ORACLES OF GOD

THE ORACLES OF GOD

CHAPTER I

THE BIBLE-INTRODUCTION

"The Law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul."

T

HIS collection of books which we call the Bible occupies a place in our modern life that is entirely unique. They have profoundly influenced our de

velopment in civilization in every feature. They have molded our social order, dominated our ethics and formed our religion. Their teaching has permeated every institution, and to some degree affected the life of every civilized people in the world.

No other books can be compared to these either in the extent or force of the influence exerted on the race. They contain such a treasury of spiritual truth, and such a galaxy of beautiful ideals as could not be duplicated from all the literature of the world besides; and their teaching is so intimately associated with our civilization that a fair knowledge of their contents is absolutely necessary to an understanding of our history, or morals, or art, or literature.

On the first glance at these books we notice three features in which they differ from all other books that we read in our homes or study in our schools. First: they are of foreign origin, an importation, and not the product of our traditional culture.

Our civilization, as a whole, is an Aryan civilization. It is the product of the Indo-European race, originating in prehistoric times and coming down to us through Greece and Rome and Modern Europe. It has developed from age to

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age, and has been modified by various influences from without, but it has never lost its continuity. It is, as it has always been, a body of tradition,-manners and customs, habits of thought, and modes of conduct-handed down from father to son, from generation to generation for thousands of years.

At a definite date, some nineteen hundred years ago, there came into this stream of traditional culture a new current from another source, originating with another race, developed to full maturity along other lines and under different conditions; and this current has blended with the original stream of our civilization and produced our modern world. The channel by which this current came to us is the Bible.

The Bible is the record of those revelations which at sundry times and divers manners God gave to the descendants of Abraham—the Hebrew race.

In the development of the human race, God assigned to different nations special tasks by which they achieved renown and made their contributions to the general welfare. Greece, for example, was "the mother of Arts and Eloquence." Rome, the world's instructor in politics and jurisprudence; and Israel was the great priest nation, “to whom were committed the oracles of God.” “Salvation is of the Jews," and the story of that salvation is in their sacred scriptures which we call the Bible.

The culture symbolized by the Muses who dwelt by “Mt. Parnassus and the sparkling Helicon” is a great inheritance, which was formed by our fathers and handed down to us, but greater yet is that which comes to us from old Mt. Sinai and from Calvary, by the page of sacred scripture and the fervent words of prophets and apostles who wrote “that we might believe that Jesus was the Christ of God, and that believing we might have life through his name.”

Second: the Bible is of peculiar authorship. We call it a book, and so it is, for it has a unity of purpose, a constant point of view and a consistency of teaching that binds all parts

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