Jottings About the Bible

Table of Contents

1. Jottings About the Bible: Its Power and Authority
2. Jottings About the Bible: Old Testament Prophecies Concerning Christ
3. Jottings About the Bible. On Reading the Holy Scriptures
4. Jottings About the Bible: The Tenderness and Mercy of the Bible
5. Jottings About the Bible: Prophecy a Proof of the Divine Origin of Scripture
6. Jottings About the Bible: The Book of Books
7. Jottings About the Bible: The Influence of the Word
8. Jottings About the Bible: The Wonderful History of the Book.
9. Jottings About the Bible: A Power Behind the Book
10. Jottings About the Bible: When the Morning Stars Sang Together
11. Jottings About the Bible: The Supreme Authority of the Bible
12. Jottings About the Bible: Jonah and the Whale

Jottings About the Bible: Its Power and Authority

CHRISTIAN workers are apt to find many who, without looking into the claims of the Book itself, simply decide from hearsay or newspaper reports of addresses given by followers of the higher criticism that they do not believe in the Bible at all.
In one of our meetings I met this sort of a young man. He had remained to the after-meeting, and when I sought to deal with him he at once said: “But I don’t believe in the Bible.” I said: “What part of it don’t you believe in?” And he answered: “None of it.” Then I said, in as kindly a way as I could summon (for I think we need to be very tender and sympathetic with just such cases as this): “Have you ever read the Bible through?” He replied: “No, sir.” Then I said: “Did you ever read the Old Testament through?” And again he replied: “No, sir.” Then I continued: “Have you ever read the New Testament through?” Again he answered: “No, sir.” Then I said: “Did you ever read one book through?” And he answered at once: “Yes, sir.” “Which one?” I asked. “Well,” he said, “I am not sure: it was one of the Gospels.” “How long since you read it?” And with a blush mantling his cheek, be it said to his credit, he answered: “About eight years ago.” “So,” I said, “you went through one of the Gospels about eight years ago in Sunday School, did you not?” “Who told you that?” was his question. I said: “Never mind who told me; it is a fact, is it not?” And he admitted that it was. “Now,” I said, “surely you cannot recall very much in that book, can you, after eight years?” And again he admitted that he could not.
Looking at him, I said: “My friend, just think of your position. You started by saying that you didn’t believe in any part of the Bible, and you have now admitted to me that you know nothing about it whatever, except what you may have gleaned eight years ago, while attending Sunday School. Now, is it fair to say that you don’t believe in a thing about which you know no more than you do about this? Let me ask a favor of you. Will you promise me that you will never again look into the face of one of your fellow-men and tell him that you do not believe in the Bible until you have read it through, or at least part of it? Will you promise me that?” And in the most manly fashion he said: “I will.”
This young fellow was a very interesting type of a large class of intelligent mechanics who get their theology mainly from the newspaper reviews. About a month or two afterwards, in conducting a meeting, to my great delight I saw him in the audience, and hastening to him, at the close of the meeting, I extended my hand and gave him a cordial greeting. He at once asked if I remembered him. And having answered that I did, I asked: “Do you remember your promise to me? Have you fulfilled it?” He answered: “Yes, sir, in the main I have. A short time after our conversation together,” he continued, “I borrowed a New Testament from the landlady at our boardinghouse, and on an afternoon when I was unable to work, on account of the condition of the weather, I read it almost through, and later I finished the rest of it.” “What was the result?” I queried. Looking at me with a face in which the very light of heaven shone, he said: “You know, sir, what the result would be, as well as I do.” Of course I did, and I feel sure that a great many persons who imagine themselves to be skeptical, having difficulties and doubts, would have them cured very speedily if they really read and studied the Word of God and were prepared to bow to its absolute authority.

Jottings About the Bible: Old Testament Prophecies Concerning Christ

PASSING by many prophecies that might be chosen, we will first examine the predictions concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Let it be remembered that every part of the Old Testament was written 400 years before Christ was born. The most captious criticism admits that all the books were in circulation at least two centuries before the birth of Christ.
Now standing back among the vanished centuries what are some of the predictions? That a certain illustrious character shall come who will be known as the Messiah. He will bring salvation from sin. A herald will come before Him crying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!” He will be born of a virgin mother. At Bethlehem. While the second Temple is yet standing. Of the tribe of Judah. Of the family of David. His ministry will begin in Galilee.
He will be a wonderful teacher. Teaching in parables. Possessing “the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and of might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” Teaching as one having authority, as the infallible guide of men. Preaching good tidings. Binding up the broken-hearted. A friend of the wretched, He will give eyes to the blind, ears to the deaf, a tongue to the dumb, feet to the lame. He will be meek and gentle and tender and loving. A rebuker of sin, incorruptible, the champion of righteousness. He will claim to be God. His followers will be poor and lowly. He will be unattractive to the world. He will have many enemies who will hate and persecute Him. He will be a great sufferer. His visage will be marred. He will be a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He will enter Jerusalem in triumph upon an ass’s foal. He will be betrayed by a pretended friend. He will be sold for 3o pieces of silver. The 30 pieces will be paid to a potter. He will give His back to be scourged and His cheek to be smitten. He will be spit upon. Like a sheep before its shearers He will be dumb and submissive. He will be pierced in His hands and feet. He will be put to death. Not a bone will be broken. His enemies will taunt and deride Him in the midst of His sufferings. In His thirst they will give Him vinegar to drink. His clothing will be divided into parts and be distributed, for His coat they will cast lots.
In addition to His physical suffering, His mental anguish, will be intense, being forsaken as it were of God, wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities: He will cry out “My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Thus He will forgive sins and justify many. He will die as a malefactor yet have His grave with the rich. He will not see corruption, but rise from the dead and ascend to Heaven. The plain references in the Old Testament to the coming of Christ into this world number 333. I have only given sixty of them, and these wonderful prophecies relate simply to the Divine Personality of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jottings About the Bible. On Reading the Holy Scriptures

SOMETIMES we read the Bible with a view to obtain comfort, and at others for instruction. One aim before us, when searching the Scriptures for instruction, should be to learn in what portions of the Bible we shall find the special and varied unfoldings of God’s mind as He has chosen to give them to us. For example, we should open the New Testament in order to search out the truths relating to eternal life: while if we desired to know God’s ways in His governmental dealings with us, as to the manner in which we spend our lives here, we should turn rather to the Old Testament.
The habit of searching out for the occurrence of some word in our English Bibles, and interpreting different verses in the same way, because the same word occurs in each, is not only a mechanical, but hardly a discerning method of Bible study.
We have observed this habit become a very great hindrance to the believer in grasping the truth. Picking out several words in short portions of verses from different parts of the Bible, and stringing them all together, is likewise not the way to interpret the Word of God, though very striking Gospel testimony is often thereby obtained. If this way of looking over the Bible be adopted as a system for interpretation, it will be fatal to our growth in the knowledge of the truth.
Another method of reading Scripture is that of searching for what we do not find in a chapter or portion. It is very useful to know that such and such a truth does not lie in such and such a part of the Bible, just as it would be useful, if in a coal mine, to know that neither lead nor gold was there. But the miner does not go into the mine to find out what is not there, but to find what is there. “We do not get this in this portion, or that in that portion,” does not build up souls in Christ: the practical question for us is, “What do we get?”
A most important consideration in searching the Scriptures is to find something, and one equally important is to carry away with us what we do find. After all, it is but meagre profit to be able to say such and such things are in that chapter! The question which should exercise our hearts is, “How much of that verse or chapter have I got into my heart?” We may see Christ set forth as Saviour, or Lord, or Son, or High Priest, but how much of Christ, as Saviour, Lord, Son, or High Priest, have we got out of the portion into our hearts? That much, so gotten, is our own blessed treasure. Nothing, unless practically made our own, makes us really rich.
Whatever we win out of a mine is gone: no one else can win it: but whatever we are the richer for by searching the Scriptures in no way impoverishes the mine of God’s Word. The more we win out of God’s Word, the richer does it appear in our eyes.
Some read the Bible to know doctrine, some to know Christ and God: if we know a little more of Christ or God by one verse, we shall surely know the doctrine also: but we may find the doctrine and yet not Him of whom the doctrine speaks! Herein is a terrible miss, both for time and eternity. This is the result of reading the Bible with our natural understanding, and not looking to God to teach us by His Spirit.
A man may study the Bible in order to show people how much he knows: but of what avail would that be to him for time or eternity? The letter of the Bible is insufficient unless the unction of the Spirit be communicated with the word. An old minister said to us, the other day, “The unction of the Spirit cannot be bought.” No, never: it is of God and from God, and its results are to God.
We would say to our Christian friends who desire to teach others, be it by the sick bed, or with a companion, or in any kind of service for Christ— tell others what God has taught you. Do not attempt to teach what you do not know in your own soul. If we are walking with God, there is always unction in telling others what God has taught us, and that which we have made our own. The simplest truth of the Bible, if declared in the power of the Spirit, will move men’s souls. Has God taught you by His Spirit that He is love? or has He taught you that “the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin”? or that Christ is coming? Very well, these blessed truths will be for you like the pebbles in David’s satchel were for him when he arose against the giant. But if you try to use truths you have not experienced, they will be like Saul’s armor, too heavy, for you “have not proved” them.

Jottings About the Bible: The Tenderness and Mercy of the Bible

THE Bible tells us that God’s tender mercy is over all His works. But the tenderness of the Bible does not depend for its proof upon a statement—IT IS THE VERY SPIRIT OF THE SCRIPTURE: it belongs to it, as light belongs to the sun. Its opening words tell how every living thing is God’s creation. It was, first of all, a thought in the Divine mind, a purpose in the Divine heart. God planned it, its structure, and its environment. He gave it its power, implanted its instincts, and in its very needs opened gateways by which the world’s fulness might flow in upon its life.
Science, which shows us the wonders of animal lire and of its adaptations to the external world, is only emphasizing a tale already told us by the Bible. God’s hand has made everything, and how can it fail to be wondrous? And as we drink into the Scripture, this truth grows brighter yet.
God’s tender mercy is over and around us and everything that lives, like the air we breathe. In Him we live and move and have our being. He clothes the lilies of the field with their splendor. He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing. Not a sparrow falls to the ground till God has said that its time has come to die.
The nations that have forgotten God are not forgotten by Him. Though they knew it not, He guided them in their wanderings and appointed the bounds of their habitation. Though trust reposed upon and praise ascended to them that were no gods, He still did good, giving rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, and filling men’s hearts with food and gladness: and on those who seek God’s face all Heaven waits. He gives His angels charge concerning us. The mightiest of the spirits who behold God’s face are sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.
This tender mercy is, in short, the very soul and purpose of the Book. The Bible is for the poor and the sorrowing. It is the book of the weak, the downtrodden, the despairing. It dries the tears of those that weep, and stills their sighs. WE OPEN THE GATE OF NEED, AND, LO! GOD, IN ALL HIS CREATOR-MIGHT, IS THERE. “He executeth judgment for the oppressed: He giveth food to the hungry. The Lord looseth the prisoners: the Lord openeth the eyes of the blind; the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord preserveth the strangers: He relieveth the fatherless and the widow.”
And even that is not all. There is a still deeper depth of compassion in the Book. It is found— where we least expect it—in the face of sin. The very object and purpose of the Book is redemption —a plan of unimaginable mercy. It glories in forgiveness. Its biggest trophies are those plucked from the lowest depths. There is one that is saved from the doom of Jericho. It is Rahab the harlot. There are two foremost men in the apostolate: who are they? Peter that denied his Master, and Paul that destroyed the Church of God! Can you think of any other book of which tender mercy is thus from first to last the very breath and life? We grow hard in our righteousness: we do not reinstate broken men and treat them as if they had never sinned. No: the fallen are trampled down into the mire, and those who struggle out and rise again have a wide berth given them, as if the foul odor of the past clung to them. We break the bruised reed, and quench the smoking flax. This tender mercy, deep as creation’s want and as man’s necessity, is not in us. How, then, is it here, and here from the first page to the last?
Can that grand, consistent testimony, that jubilee trumpet note that sounds on, clear, sustained, waking hope in every age and clime—can it be of man? If it cannot be, then whence is it? Shall we say, “We cannot tell?” or shall we let the heart’s cry leap forth and say, “IT IS, AND MUST BE, OF GOD ALONE?”

Jottings About the Bible: Prophecy a Proof of the Divine Origin of Scripture

AS miracle is the intervention of God’s grace in act, prophecy is the intervention of God’s grace in testimony. Both appear on the background of man’s failure: both are intended by the Divine wisdom, which educates His children and rules the world, as a help and consolation to the flock, and the hardening of the wicked.
But prophecy—and this is our chief point here—is a proof of the Divine origin of Scripture. Its force is, unlike that of a miracle, not dependent on the credibility of testimony. It is its own evidence. It is fulfilled before the eyes of the world. The Jews, Tyre, Babylon, Nineveh, demonstrate to all who have eyes to see that we have a sure word of prophecy, and that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken. The words of the prophets find their best explanation in the actual condition of the nations and lands of which they spake: and all men may see it, that the Lord God, who alone can see the end from the beginning, hath revealed these things to His servants the prophets.
Dr. Keith says:— “All the nations which in ancient times were the enemies of Israel have been utterly destroyed, the Arabs excepted, who still dwell in the presence of their brethren. The Jews have been scattered over all nations, are yet dispersed in all countries, and distant from every people. Judea, Ammon, Moab, Edom, and Phalestis bear their brand in every feature. A plain, whereon fishermen spread their nets, is the prophetic representative of princely Tyre. . . . The chief city of Ammon is a stable for camels, that of Moab is a ruinous heap: the temples of Petra are courts for owls, and the word of the Lord against the capital of Edom is written with a pen of iron on the rock for ever. Babylon the Great has been converted into heaps. . . . The spirit of prophecy, which gave forth the anticipated history of the world, and which pointed to cities in their utmost desolation, while they yet blazoned in all the pride of their power, has never been known to lie: and predicted judgments have been fulfilled to the very letter, till the truth of every jot and tittle has been confirmed by its effect.”
The most striking fulfilment of prophecy is seen in the existence of the Jewish nation. Forty centuries have run their course since the first promise of the nation was given unto Abram. As Balaam predicted, the people dwell alone, and are not reckoned among the nations. While the ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Romans—the mightiest nations the world ever saw—have disappeared, Israel lives, and has survived all the fearful calamities and persecutions which came upon them. Driven from their own land, dispersed among the nations, for centuries denied the privilege of possessing land, subjected to insult, robbery, and persecutions of the greatest cruelty, they still exist—numerous, energetic, in vigor of body and mind, mysterious alike in their preservation as in their isolated position.
In the midst of the numerous changes which have occurred in the history of nations, Israel is the historical nation, “a nation scattered and peeled,” it is true, and yet her people are even now a witness of the sacred history recorded in Scripture, a pledge of the fulfilment of a yet greater and more glorious theocracy. And when the metaphysical subtleties, as well as the refined secularism of our age, turn with aversion from all direct interference of God, whether in the past, as recorded in the history, or in the future, as recorded in the prophecy of Scripture, the Jews are a living sign and irrefutable evidence of the truth of the Bible. Miracle and prophecy find in them their living monuments.
No wonder that the greatest philosopher of our age (Hegel) felt the Jewish history a dark and perplexing enigma. It is the miracle of history as it is the history of miracle: its exposition is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel.
A living God, as distinguished from idols, whether the idols of heathenism or the idol of the abstract god of philosophy, appeals to this as one of His attributes, that He revealeth future things. “Bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth and show us what shall happen: show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods.” And again, “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them” (Isa. 41:21-23: 45:18-21: 48:5, 14-16). Even the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, a heathen, exclaimed, “Of a truth it is that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.”
BY-AND-BY, Jesus, who died for us, the Lamb, and with God, will be the light of glory. How happy to have followed Him in this dark world, and to see Him shine in glory— our beloved Saviour, the Lamb who was slain for us.

Jottings About the Bible: The Book of Books

AS the Bible speaks the first word about man, so it utters the last. Nowhere else can we learn of his destiny: no man knows what will come after death but those who have this divine revelation, in which are taught the Alpha and Omega of everything. God is not only the sublimest, but the most indispensable object of knowledge; yet of God man is most ignorant. He knows but little of himself, but far less of God.
Consider the notions of God held by the greatest of the heathen philosophers. They did not know whether there was one God or many; whether there was a Supreme Deity who made the world, or whether all the gods were themselves created beings: whether He was blind fate, or subject to human passions: whether religion and virtue were closely united or entirely separated.
Amid this babel, listen to the clarion voice of the inspired Word, which tells us there is but One only, the living and true God: that He made all things for Himself: that His providence is over the works of His hands. It is only in the Bible that God proclaims Himself “merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin.” Here, only, do we learn that “God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” From nothing but the study of this Book could have been derived the statement that “God is a Spirit,” infinite, eternal, unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth. Thus it is that God has magnified His Word above all His name. Creation, providence, and conscience proclaim His majesty and glory, but the Word reveals His inmost heart.
The Bible is that immortal Word of God; though it may be obscured at times by the mist of human error, by the fog of human doubt, by the storm of human passion, it remains fixed and immovable. The polar star may be hidden from our view by the exhalations of earth, by clouds in the sky, by the black wings of the tempest, but these pass away, and the great sentinel of the heavens still beams upon us with celestial radiance. In like manner, amid the gloom of sin, folly, and doubt, this divine luminary enlightens the world.
“All else may fade away: but the Word of the Lord endureth for ever” (1 Peter 1:25).

Jottings About the Bible: The Influence of the Word

A YOUNG man in America was once at work upon his farm. He was careless about religion—indeed, nobody had ever said a word to him about it: and as he had no Bible, and only worldly friends, there seemed little chance of his ever hearing of Christ and salvation, and of heaven and hell.
On this particular day—it was a bright morning in early summer—he had to take his cart, drawn by oxen, along the high road. He was thinking of nothing except his daily work and his, daily bread. A gentle breeze was blowing, and as he went along it stirred a little piece of paper which had been lying by the roadside, so that it fluttered in front of him. But on went the young man, the oxen and the cart, all the same.
When he had gone a short way farther, however, a thought came over him: “I wonder what that bit of paper was? I’ve a great mind to go back and see.” And, stopping his team, he did go back. He picked it up and read it as he walked along. It was a leaf out of the Bible.
The summer passed away, with its flowers and sunshine, and the corn grew ripe and was gathered into the garner. There was another harvest, too, standing ready for the sickle. The young man who had found the leaf lay upon a sick and dying bed. A sore disease had smitten him, and his parents knew there was no hope of his life. They were stricken with grief, but he—oh, he was rejoicing! And now his lips were open to tell them what he had never told before.
The leaf out of the Bible had brought to him first the knowledge that he was a sinner, and then the knowledge of a Saviour. He sought for a whole Bible, and ever since it had been his constant companion: and now, although he might be called suddenly away from life, with all its happiness, he knew whom he had believed, and he was ready. He had an anchor sure and steadfast: for he had believed the Word of God. He had trusted Christ for his eternal salvation: and without a fear or a doubt he entered into rest.
This is the way God is using His Word by the Holy Spirit. Just causing, it may be, one verse to reach the conscience and heart of a man, and thus altering by its power and influence the entire trend of his life. The entrance of Thy Word giveth light. It giveth understanding unto the simple. Thy Word have I hid in my heart.

Jottings About the Bible: The Wonderful History of the Book.

A Marvelous History.
I ASK you to consider the wonderful history of the Book, taking that only since it appeared in its present completed form. For many centuries the world has been doing its utmost to get rid of it, but has utterly failed: kings, priests, and people have united in trying to banish it from the earth, but without avail: they have cursed it and burned it, they have caviled at it and maligned it: worse still, they have imprisoned and tortured and put to the most cruel deaths men, women, and little children for the sole crime of loving it and avowing their belief in its blessed truths, in their blind hatred of the Book and of the God Whom it reveals. But all to no purpose: God has sent the Book into the world, and it remains unto this day. He has planted it and no man can uproot it: it is charged with the message of His wonderful love and His glorious salvation: and men may hate it and scorn it and reject it, but He has said, My Word “shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”
Is there another Book on all the earth that would have withstood this terrible opposition? Nay, not the works of the world’s greatest thinkers would have stood it for a single decade, but in a few years of such persecution they would have passed into utter oblivion. What other book in the world is there for which men would willingly have suffered the loss of all things and counted their lives not dear unto them?
But the Bible has not only remained in the world, but it has prospered exceedingly, so that now it is spread over the greater part of the earth and is translated into more than three hundred languages. This, moreover, has not been done by the great man and rich men, or by powerful Governments, but chiefly by the poor and obscure ones, who were rich in faith and noble in purpose, of many of whom it may truly be said “this world was not worthy.”
A Marvelous Power.
If the history of the Book in the world has been wonderful, its power over men is more wonderful still. Of all the multitudes who have loved the Bible and have believed its truths there are very few who have not first had to be conquered by it: comparatively few have known and believed and loved the Scriptures from childhood: the natural heart has no desire for God or the things of God, and in all ages it has only been through reading or hearing the truths of God’s Word that men have “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God: and to wait for His Son from Heaven, Whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, Who delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:1). This is what we call “conversion,” and is not a mere outward profession of Christianity when “religion walks in silver slippers,” as Bunyan puts it, and there has been no sifting process of persecution to test its reality. Many of the bitterest enemies of the Bible have become its devoted friends, not a few who have sat down to examine it and prove its falsity have seen their error, believed its truth, and become its firm adherents: many, after having persecuted those who believed in it, have themselves become believers and willingly laid down their lives in its cause.
This article about the Bible is taken from a book we have just published, by the author of “What Christ Taught,” entitled “GOD HATH SPOKEN.” It is a very opportune publication as to the Divine origin and character of the Word of God, and we are sure it will be vastly appreciated by our readers, and widely circulated. It is a book of sixty-four pages, and is published cheaply at rd., post free rid., or .r.s. 3d. for twelve copies.

Jottings About the Bible: A Power Behind the Book

THE power of the Word of God is shown in the changed lives of the drunkard, the harlot, the thief, and of men and women previously sunk in the most debasing forms of vice and crime: witness its power over savages of the very lowest type, as for instance among the Terra del Fuegans and the cannibals of the New Hebrides, eighteen thousand of whom have been converted to Christianity through its teachings within a single generation. Witness its wonderful power of sustaining heart and mind in the midst of the sorest trials and when face to face with death even in the most terrible form, while at the same time multitudes of the noblest, the purest, the most cultured of men and women have found inexpressible delight in perusing its pages and meditating upon its sublime truths.
Consider these things and say why it is that this ancient Book is able to do what no other book in all the world has done or can do: what is the secret of its mighty power? There is but one answer: there is a Power behind the Book manifesting Himself in the Book and through the Book, and that Power is God, the Author of the Book. If you believe not this, reader, try to account for it in some other way. You may be told that it is the “religious instinct in man” that accounts for it but it is an undeniable fact that no “religion” in the world except the Christian religion has ever withstood the fire and the sword and still survived the flames of prolonged persecution. No, the Bible in its very existence, in its wonderful history and Divine power, stands absolutely alone, in sublime isolation as manifestly the very Word of God.
The Bible reveals truths so deep and high that the mightiest intellects on earth cannot comprehend them, yet the way of salvation is made so plain that “the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein,” and the most ignorant and uneducated can drink as deeply of its spiritual joys as the most enlightened and cultured. Scholars and peasants, civilized and barbarians, when converted through its truths, have each and all found in it the fullest satisfaction for their soul’s intensest desires. In it we hear, as it were, two voices, as “deep calleth unto deep,” and as we listen with reverent attitude we hear the voice of God speaking to man, and the voice of man speaking to God.

Jottings About the Bible: When the Morning Stars Sang Together

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” —Gen. 1:1
“Where coast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding.”—Job 38:4.
I. The Story of Creation (Gen. 1).
ALL readers must admire the simple majesty of this remarkable chapter. Three times the word “create” is used in it (verses 1, 21, 27), and each time it marks an epoch or era in the sublime process of the Almighty’s work. Some timid Christians have been not a little disturbed by alleged scientific discoveries which appeared to antagonize if not demolish this Mosaic account of creation. They were needlessly alarmed. As time goes on and thoughtful men come to know more about the truth of this marvelous universe in which we dwell, they approach closer and closer to Moses’ record. Never, perhaps, in the history of scientific investigation did Genesis 1 stand so solidly and triumphantly as now! “In the year 1806 the French Institute enumerated not less than eighty geological theories which were hostile to the Scriptures: but not one of those theories is held today” (Prof. Lyell).
If the Bible is God’s book, we may settle it definitely in our minds that it will come forth out of the smoke of battle with a luster all the brighter for the conflict. This account of creation reveals the unity, power, and personality of God. It denies polytheism—one God creates. It denies the eternity of matter— “in the beginning” God made it. It denies pantheism—God is before all things, and apart from them. It denies fatalism— God here as everywhere acts in the freedom of His Eternal Being.
2. The Story of the Fall (Chap. 3).
“The story of the fall, like that of creation, has wandered over the world. Heathen nations have transplanted and mixed it up with their geography, their history, their mythology, although it has never so completely changed form and color and spirit that you cannot recognize it” (Delitzsch).
One of the strange proofs of the truthfulness of this account, if proof were needed, is found in the universal presence of serpent worship in the olden times. It was practiced in China, India, Palestine, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Africa—in short, all over the world. No other religious form was more common, save sun-worship, with which this was usually associated.
Our own continent bears testimony to its presence in some of the ancient remains. In southern Ohio there exists a huge snake made out of earth and stones, a thousand feet long or more, and which was once an object of homage on the part of the aborigines. The savage of Louisiana carried a serpent and sun, the symbols of his religion, and tattooed them on his skin. In Mexico the serpent is found in the rude pictures of that strange people, the Aztecs, entwined with their most sacred symbols. The main elements of serpent worship were a tree, a woman, and a serpent. George Smith, in his “Chaldean Account of Genesis,” presents his readers with a facsimile of a drawing found in the excavations about Babylon which has two figures sitting on either side of a tree, holding out their hands toward the fruit, while back of one of them is stretched a serpent. Singular that rational beings should pay their highest honors to a repulsive snake!
It was one aim of the old Serpent, the Devil, in the temptation of our first parents, to put himself in the place of God as an object of worship. How well he succeeded the universality of this form of idolatry attests, and this is certainly a striking verification of the truth of the account of creation and the fall of man as given in the Book of Genesis.

Jottings About the Bible: The Supreme Authority of the Bible

“Take heed WHAT ye hear.”—Mark 4:24.
“Take heed How ye hear.”—Luke 8:18.
GOD has spoken in His Word. Our duty is to hear and obey. The Bible is not simply a book of opinions; it is not only true, it is THE truth, absolute and final. Nothing is to usurp its functions or authority; nothing must be suffered to become its rival. Man’s reason and word lead to darkness and infidelity: man’s word mixed with God’s is superstition; God’s Word alone is the exact truth, from which there is no appeal.
Whatever this Book repudiates is heresy; whatever it condemns is sin; whatever it is silent on is not essential to salvation. Of all preached from the pulpit, spoken from the platform, read from the press, the prescription is, “TAKE HEED WHAT YE HEAR.” Of all spoken by the Lord, recorded by the Spirit, written in the Bible, the injunction is, “TAKE HEED HOW YE HEAR.” The first may be truth mingled with error, and the duty is to sift it, and to separate what is precious from what is vicious. The last is the pure truth, and the duty lies, not in discriminating where there is nothing to discriminate, but in the posture of mind we maintain toward it.
To allow the Book to have supreme sway over us is a vital point. Obedience to the Word as we come to know the Word is an essential element in Bible study. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself” (John 7:17.) This “obedience is the organ of spiritual knowledge.” Singleness of heart to please God is the grand inlet for further knowledge. He that honestly uses the light he has shall have more light, and still more. “Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord.” He who refuses to do God’s will, as he comes to know that will, need not be surprised if in process of time the Bible becomes to him a sealed book, and the light that was in him becomes darkness.
The Bible touches all human knowledge. But for the Bible we would know nothing of the origin of the universe. This Book, only, unfolds the sublime panorama of creation, in which we behold worlds roll from the plastic Hand of the Creator, and begin their mighty revolutions. The Bible utters the first syllable in the history of the human race. Neither human history nor human nature can be explained except in the light of Scripture; unless man was at first holy, then fell through sin, and now has a Redeemer, we fail to comprehend how or what he is. Philosophy has stumbled just here: she has omitted to notice that he is in an abnormal state: that his soul is disturbed by a malign influence, and, “like sweet bells, jangled and out of tune,” no longer gives forth it pristine harmonies. Apart from the Bible, man knows nothing of his origin. The wisest of the Ancients failed to indicate the source of the stream of humanity, but indulged in wild, vague guesses. It is only in this Book we learn that God created man in His own image, that his body was formed of the dust of the ground, and that God breathed into him the breath of life.

Jottings About the Bible: Jonah and the Whale

(Jonah 1:17; 2:1-10)
THE miraculous preservation of Jonah is a marvelous account, but in no sense absurd and incredible, as we are often told. It is quite fashionable, of course, to sneer at it, and treat it as a fable, a myth, too gross and monstrous to be for a moment believed. Even some professing Christians smile incredulously when “Jonah and the whale” are mentioned: they cannot well conceal their contempt for the story. The early Christians believed it, for they painted the prophet and the fish in the rough frescoes they made in the catacombs at Rome.
Our Lord Jesus Christ believed it, and has set the seal of His almighty approbation and confirmation on it once and again (Matt. 12:39-41; 16:4: Luke 11:29, 30, 32). Christ declares that Jonah was a type of His own death and resurrection. His words are precise and emphatic, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth,” and that as the prophet was a “sign” to Nineveh, so was He a “sign” to the people of Israel. The Lord prepared or appointed (lxx.), a fish which swallowed down the recreant prophet.
It is not said He created it at the moment: He ordained that it should be in readiness to receive Jonah into its capacious maw. In Matthew the word is translated “whale”: but more properly, it was a sea monster, as the revision has it in the margin, that is meant. In all likelihood, it was a species of shark (pesce-cane, the dog fish, Italian sailors call it), which is common in the Mediterranean, which has an enormous throat, and which sometimes attains a length of twenty-five feet or more, with space in its bulk ample enough to contain the prophet’s body. The miraculous element lies, not in his being swallowed alive, but in his being kept alive in his moving grave for three days. Great, indeed, too great for mere nature, but not too great for Him who is above nature, the Almighty.
“There’s a bright day coming,
A bright day coming,
There’s a bright day coming by and by,
But its brightness shall only come to them that love the Lord,
Are you ready for that day to come?
Are you ready, are you ready
For the Judgment day?”