Religious Items

The Bible has perhaps been read by more persons in proportion to the population of English-speaking countries in other days than now. We believe it is being studied more generally and thoroughly to-day than ever before. The numbers of students of Bible courses in colleges and universities, the increase of Bible students and classes, and the preparation being made for Bible study the coming season in communities and in local churches is greater than we have ever known. We have no doubt that were the opportunity given, under competent teaching, many thousands of persons would gladly enter on such study in many sections of our country. The London Sunday School Union recently planned for a correspondence class in the study of Greek with a view the reading of the New Testament in the original language. It was not expected that the numbers would be large, but the applications from the time of the announcement have averaged one hundred a day from all parts of the United Kingdom. The edition of the text-book chosen was quickly exhausted, and the arrangements were inadequate to register the applications which poured in. We are informed that the American Institute of Sacred Literature has this season enrolled in the United States some ten thousand students, and no doubt the numbers will be much increased. With all the vast outflow of literature, there is still no book which can compare in popularity with the Bible. The Congregationalist and Christian World.

The Gospels, and for that matter the Scriptures as a whole, are quite as unique in what they suggest as in what they affirm. In an ordinary conversation with a friend he may utter a sentiment that throws a clear and penetrating light into the recesses of his inner life, because you instinctively ask how could he have said that, what was his point of view? And on thinking it over you conclude that he could only have expressed that sentiment because he held certain convictions and looked at a number of questions from a certain angle. He revealed far more of himself than he imagined in that casual observation.

Now the Gospels are full of such illuminating self-disclosures, both on the part of Jesus and on the part of his disciples. Take, for example, our Lord's replies to Pilate. Only a few sentences fell from his lips, but each one of them opens a vista into his own consciousness of his nature and his own view of his mission. They are like the three points for which the mathematician asks to construct a circle. Those brief sentences give us the data for constructing a circle that sweeps through the vast spaces from the Incarnate Life before creation to the consummation of his mission. The Watchman.

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November 14, 1901

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