Of what use is the Bible? This question is asked from a purely utilitarian standpoint, in the same way that one would ask, Of what use is a steam-engine? What can I do with it?

Let us suppose that a man, ignorant of mechanics, comes upon a steam-engine in perfect order, but without fire or water—technically called "dead." He has read of its power and of the wonderful things it has done, but all the engineers are dead and gone and he knows of no one who can make it work. Of what use is this steam-engine to him? None. As he stands there wondering, and wishing that he knew how it worked, along comes a woman and says, "I have studied long and hard, and have learned how this engine works: you put water in the boiler, fire in the grate, touch this lever and that, and it will work and do the work of a thousand horses." If the man is foolish, he may reply, "Pooh, you are a woman; what can a woman know of such things! All the engineers I ever read about were men." Then he continues to wonder and doubt, and for him the engine is still useless. If, on the other hand, he is wise, he does not stop to think whether it is a man or woman who speaks, but quickly replies, "I doubt if fire and water can move so ponderous a machine, but what you say is easily proved and is worth the trying." He quickly gets fire and water, follows closely the directions given, starts the engine, and, lo, he has a machine doing such work as he never thought possible. The engine to this man is henceforth a thing for daily use. Why? Because he had enough sense to investigate, even though he doubted.

February 20, 1909

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