The Bible and Character

The Watchman

There are certain truths which are so very true that we call them truisms; and yet I think we often half forget them in practice. Every thinking man, when he thinks, realizes what a very large number of people tend to forget that the teachings of the Bible are so interwoven and entwined with our whole civic and social life that it would be literally—I do not mean figuratively, I mean literally—impossible for us to figure to ourselves what that life would be if these teachings were removed. We would lose almost all the standards by which we now judge both public and private morals; all the standards toward which we, with more or iess of resolution, strive to raise ourselves. Almost every man who has by his life-work added to the sum of human achievement of which the race is proud, almost every such man has based his life-work largely upon the teachings of the Bible. Sometimes it has been done unconsciously, more often consciously; and among the very greatest men a disproportionately large number have been diligent and close students of the Bible at first hand.

Lincoln—sad, patient, kindly Lincoln, who, after bearing upon his weary shoulders for four years a greater burden than that borne by any other man of the nineteenth century, laid down his life for the people whom living he had served so well—built up his entire reading upon his early study of the Bible. He had mastered it absolutely; mastered it as later he mastered only one or two other books, notably Shakespeare; mastered it so that he became almost "a man of one book," who knew that book and who instinctively put into practice what he had been taught therein; and he left his life as part of the crowning work of the century that has just closed.

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Direct Sun Power
September 5, 1901

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