The Baldwin Library
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THE BOOK OF BOOKS
BOOK OF BOOKS:
Storh of the Fnglih iible.
*.'- .' -*. --. --"- ,
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
56, PATERNOSTER Row, 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD,
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
MANCHESTER 100, CORPORATION STREET.
BRIGHTON : 31, WESTERN ROAD.
THE BOOK OF BOOKS 5
How IT CAME .
How IT WAS FIRST WRITTEN 13
THE LANGUAGES IN WHICH IT WAS WRITTEN 18
THE TRANSLATORS OF THE BIBLE 21
THE AUTHORIZED VERSION 30
THE ART OF PRINTING 34
INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE 36
AGREEMENT OF THE SACRED WRITERS 37
TEACHING OF THE BIBLE 38
ITS POWER OVER MEN 40
THE GREAT THEME 4
How TO USE THE BIBLE 47
CIRCULATION OF THE BIBLE 52
CLOSING WORDS 62
BOOK OF BOOKS:
,StArT of the (nglti0h Vibh.
HERE is a song which is called
the Song of Songs, because
of the royal dignity of its
subject. There is a King
who is called the King of
kings, because there is none
like Him. And there is a
book which is often called THE BOOK OF
BOOKS, because it is not only the best book,
but no other comes near it, or can be put
It is the oldest book in the world, and yet.
it is as pleasant to read as the newest. It is
so wise, and yet so simple, that an old writer
has said, "It has shallows where a lamb
may wade, and depths where an elephant
6 The Book of Books.
It may be bought for a few pence, yet it
is worth more than Queen Victoria's crown.
The children love to read its pretty stories
in the nursery; and grandfather, in the arm-
chair, keeps it always beside him. The
mother packs it up in the sailor's chest, or
the soldier's kit, or the apprentice's box, when
she is sending them away into the world to
push their fortune. The dying man lays it
next his heart, and it does him more good
than all the doctor's medicine.
We are going to tell you something about
this wonderful Book, which is sometimes
called the Bible, that is, the Book, as if it were
the only one in the world; sometimes the
Word of God, because God taught the writers
of it what they should set down; sometimes
the Holy Scriptures, that is, holy writings.
The story of such a Book must be very
interesting, for it tells us how the world long
ago was made, the sea and land, the trees
and flowers, the animals and man. How the
world has been managed through great ages.
Of many ancient kingdoms and of famous
cities now in ruins. Of great and good men
that have flourished at various times. Of the
most wonderful miracles God enabled men to
Story of the English Bible. 7
work, to benefit good people or to punish the
bad. There are stories of heroes who did
valiantly, of martyrs who suffered patiently,
of women who were tender and kind, and of
bad false persons who did much harm. There
is an account of the rise and progress of the
Hebrews, or Jews. Then, after many centuries,
the birth and life and life-work of the Messiah,
or Christ. And, lastly, the rise and spread of
the new religion of Christ, which is called
Christianity, or the Gospel Church, or the
.Kingdom of God. Besides, this Book is the
only book in the world that can show you or
me how to become the servants of God, and
to arrive at heaven at last.
Yet many persons do not know how the
Bible came, nor what it is. Strangers who
visit London are sure to go to see the Tower
of London, that curious old place; but many
people living in London itself feel no curiosity
about it, take no interest in it. So, in this
country, we are so accustomed to the Bible,
we have so heard of it and seen it from our
childhood, that we seldom think much about
it, or inquire concerning it. Well now, if you
pay attention, I will try to tell you The 'Story
of the English Bible.
8 The Book of Books:
How IT CAME.
Suppose we found one of these books for
the first time, we open it, and cry, "What is
this, and whence has it come ?"
It is divided into chapters and verses; at
the top of the pages are strange names-
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and others. Is
it all written by one man ? No, it appears to
have been the work of many men. Was it all
made at one time ? No, it was made at various
times. Let us see.
More than three thousand years ago, a man
and prophet, called Moses, chiefly wrote the
first five parts or books. These are:
GENESIS ................... The creation of all things.
D, or the Outgoing. The departure of the Hebrews
EXOUS, oI from Egypt.
LEVITIcUS, or Law for the The way the Jews were to wor-
Levites ................ ship God.
The numbers of the Israelites.
UMBERS...................... and their journeyings in the
DEUTERONOMY, or Second The Law repeated by Moses be-
Law ........................ fore he died.
These five were called by the Jews, Thl,
Story of the English Bible. 9
Then follow by other hands:
JO .................. The conquest of Canaan under
JUDGES. .The history of the Hebrews under
................ ..... certain rulers called Judges.
A woman called Ruth, who be-
>RU H came the great grandmother of
........................ David, and so an ancestress of
I. and II. SAMUEL, History of the Hebrews from
I. and II. KINGS, their first king, Saul, to the
I. and II. CHROIICLES, last king, Zedekiah.
"A priest who led a number of
EzRA ........................ Jewish exiles back to the Holy
NEHEMIAH ".. A Jewish exile who returned and
HEIA .................. rebuilt Jerusalem.
ESTHE .................... A Jewish maiden who became
queen to Ahasuerus.
JO ..An Arab chief who was patient
S......................... ... under great afflictions.
PSAL s .Sacred songs praising God, many
................ of them composed by David.
POVEBS ............... Wie, short sayings of king Solo-
S m.................. on.
EOCLESIASTES, or the A discourse of Solomon's on the
Preacher.................. vanity of mere earthly life.
SONG OF SOLOMON......... A poetical parable.
SProphecies of Isaiah concerning
ISAIAH............ .......... the kingdom of Israel, and the
future kingdom of Christ.
A prophet who lived at the time
JEREMIAH .................. the Israelites were carried cap-
tive to Babylon.
S.......... Jeremiah's sorrow for his people's
LAMENTATIONS ............. sins and sufferings.
10 The Book of Books:
"A prophet who wrote in exile,
EZEKIEL .................... and showed the Jews their
"A Jewish exile who became a
DANIEL ..................... statesman in Babylon, and pre-
dicted the coming of Christ.
HOSEA, Prophets who rebuked the people's
JOEL, sins, and taught them right-
OBAIAH, / eousness.
JONA ................ A prophet sent to Nineveh, who
o ... ... refused to go, andwaspunished.
NAHUM, Prophets. Micah predicted the
HABAKKUK, town where Christ should be
ZEPHANIAH, born. Malachi foretold the
HAGGAI, coming of John the Baptist to
ZECHARIAH, prepare the way for Christ.
There is now an interval of four hundred
MATTHEW, (Four accounts, by these four
MARK, ) disciples, of the sayings and
LUKE, ) doings and sufferings of our
An account of the spread of the
ACTS ....................... gospel by the Apostles, and
written by Luke, Paul's com-
S..................... A letter of Paul to the Christians
ROMANS ................... a Rome.
I at Rome.
I. and II. CORINTHIANS... Two letters of Paul to the Chris-
tians at Corinth.
GALATIANS .............. A letter of Paul to the disciples
S throughout Galatia.
EPHESIANS .................. A letter to the Christians at
PHILIPPIANS .. .......... To the Christians at Philippi.
Story of the English Bible. 11
COLOSSIANS ................. To the Christians of Colosse.
I and II. THESSALONIANS Two letters t tthe saints at
Letters from Paul to a young
I. and II. TIMOTHY ...... minister at Ephesus, named
Timotheus, or Timothy.
TIT ........................ A similar letter to a disciple
ITUS .. named Titus.
A letter of Paul to a Christian
PHILEMON .................. gentleman on behalf of his ser-
vant whom Paul had converted.
A letter to the Jewish or Hebrew
HEBREWS..Christians showing that the Old
.................... Testament system is fulfilled in
Christ and Christianity.
JAMS A letter from James at Jerusalem
"JAMES .. ... to all Christians.
I. and II. PETER ...... .. Letters of Peter to the Christians
of Asia Minor.
I. JOHN ... .................A letter from John the apostle to
II. JOHN ..................... A letter of his to a Christian lady.
III. JOH .................. A letter to a disciple named
A letter to Christians generally,
JUDE ........................ from Jude, or Judas, brother
i of James.
RVATION A...............A vision, or discovery made to
............... John, in the island of Patmos.
The first five parts or books were, as we
have said, composed by Moses more than three
thousand years ago. Then, five hundred years
after that, David wrote the Psalms, or many
of them. Then, three hundred years after,
12 The Book of Books:
came Isaiah, and wrote his prophecies. Then,
three hundred years after, came Malachi, and
closed the prophetical writings that went be-
These books, from Genesis to Malachi, it is
thought, were arranged and put together by
Ezra, so forming what has since been called
the Old Testament. Then four hundred years
passed without any more holy writings.
About thirty eight years after Christ,
Matthew wrote his Gospel, or his story of
Christ. And, sixty years or so afterwards,
John wrote the Revelation, or Apocalypse.
These books, from Matthew to Revelation,
when put together, form what is called the
The Old Testament, or Old Covenant, is so
called because it is about the former dispensa-
tion, or the Jewish religion. The New Testa-
mrent, or New Covenant, is so called because
it displays the new dispensation of grace, or
the Christian religion.
The Old Testament foretold how Christ
should come, and commanded priests to offer
sacrifices of animals to represent Him. The
New Testament declares Christ has come, and
offered Himself a sacrifice for our sins.
Story of the English Bible. 13
Both Testaments together form one complete
revelation-one Holy Bible.
Holy Bible, book divine,
Precious treasure, thou art mine!
Mine to teach me whence I came,
Mine to tell me what I am;
Mine to show a Saviour's love,
Mine to chide me when I rove;
Mine to tell of joys to come,
And the rebel sinner's doom.
How IT WAS WRITTEN AT FIRST, AND PRE-
"We have now seen that this whole Book is
made up of the separate writings of very dif-
ferent men, at widely different times. In the
Old Testament are thirty-nine parts or books;
m the New Testament twenty-seven; making
altogether sixty-six books or parts.
Among the various writers of these there
were two kings and one cupbearer to a king,
one law-giver, one judge, one scribe, many
prophets (one of whom was a king's chief
minister, another a missionary, and another a
farmer's man). Then, in the New Testament,
we have three fishermen, a publican, or tax-
gatherer, a tent-maker, and a physician."
14 The Book of Books:
[Classes might be asked to name the books
which were severally composed by these.]
Some of the books were written at Jerusalem,
two of them at Babylon; some in Rome;
some in Ephesus; and one in a desolate
island of the sea.
[Classes might give examples.]
How long has it taken me to write this
little book for you ? Parts of some days. But
the writing of the Book of Books was spread
over-how long do you suppose ?-fifteen
hundred years and upwards. Put it this way
-one thousand five hundred years! So
that the Bible is in reality a bundle of
sixty-six tracts, written by about thirty-two
persons, who lived and wrote at different
places, at different times, over a period of
fifteen hundred years.
Have you ever seen a piece of parchment ?
It is the skin of some animal, smoothed and
dressed. The ancients had no paper made of
linen rags, such as we use for writing letters.
They either employed the leaves of the papy-
rus, or paper-plant, which formerly grew abun-
dantly by the river Nile, in Egypt; or they
prepared the skins of sheep for writing on,
which were called parchment or vellum. Our
Story of the English Bible. 15
lawyers still use vellum and parchment for
important writings that are meant to last a
At one time each book of the Bible was
written by hand, on a parchment skin, which
was tied up in a roll. The word volume means
roll, for every book in ancient times was a roll
of parchment,-not a number of leaves sewed
together as with us. Thus we read in Ezra
vi. 1: "Search was made in the house of the
rolls, and there was found in the palace a
roll, and therein a record written." And in
Isaiah viii. 1: "Take thee a great roll, and
write in it with a man's pen." Each roll was
latterly coiled around a stick of wood or
ivory, as our maps often are. And thus the
Bible would be a box, or basket, full of
parchment rolls. But, for convenience, the
Old Testament was grouped into three great
divisions or parts:
(1.) The Law: that is, the Five Books of
Moses. (2.) The Prophets: including all pro-
phetical books, from Isaiah to Malachi. (3.)
The Psalms: including all sacred songs or
The New Testament is now divided by us
into two great parts:
16 The Book of Books:
(1.) The Gospels: the four accounts of the
Life of Christ. (2.) The Acts and Epistles:
the latter being letters from various ministers
to various churches, etc.
But parchment rolls may be burnt or lost.
Many have perished one way or another.
How does it happen that these holy books
have not been lost, but preserved to us
through so many years and so many dangers ?
God has preserved them very simply, without
any special miracle. How then? Copies of
them were made from time to time, so that
when an original roll was destroyed by age
or accident there remained several copies of
it here and there. The tables with the Ten
Commandments, put into the Ark, are lost
long since. The roll we found Isaiah writing
in is lost. And so far as we know, none of
the parchments on which Paul wrote can be
found now. But we have copies of all.
Every Jewish king, when he came to the
throne, was obliged to copy out the Law of
Moses that was a wise way of preserving the
first five books. Doubtless, in the schools of
the prophets, the young students, who were
called sons of the prophets, made copies of
the prophetical books and the Psalms. The
Story of the English Bible. 17
scribes were constantly employed either writ-
ing out or explaining the sacred books.
Then for the New Testament. Copies were
made of Gospel or Epistle by devout disciples.
And in the middle ages there were men
called monks, who lived by themselves and
had leisure time. These men had generally a
room in the monastery called the scriptorium,
or writing-room, where copies were made of
both Old and New Testaments.
You ask, did these copyists not make mis-
takes, so as to spoil the text? They may
occasionally have made very slight mistakes;
but we are glad to tell you they were so care-
ful and so very painstaking, that we may
have confidence that the Bible is now the
same as it was at first. The Jews were so
careful and so reverent in copying, that, when
they came to the sacred name of God, they
used to wipe the pen and take fresh ink, and
go about it very religiously. The monks also
employed gold and silver to make the name
of God or of Christ more rich and reverend.
And there are now in Rome, Paris, London,
and other places, precious copies of the Holy
Scriptures called Manuscripts, made four
hundred and five hundred years after Christ.
18 The Book of Books:
carefully and beautifully illuminated with
gold and silver and bright colourings.
So, though it was fifteen hundred years
from the writing of Genesis to the writing of
Revelation, and though it is now eighteen
hundred years since Revelation was written
in Patmos; yet God has preserved His own
precious word for us through all chances and
changes, and we have it this day pure and
entire. Let us keep it pure and entire, and
preserve it with the same care for those who
come after us.
We won't give up the Bible,
God's holy Book of truth;
The blessed staff of hoary age,
The guide of early youth.
The sun that sheds a glorious light
O'er many a dreary road;
The voice that speaks a Saviour's love,
And calls us home to God!
THE LANGUAGES IN WHICH THE BIBLE WAS
The Book of God was not composed in
English, and for this very good reason, there
was no English language at that time. Yet it
was written in such language as was com-
monly spoken and generally understood.
Story of the English Bible. 19
The Old Testament was composed in a
very ancient language, called Hebrew. Would
you wish to see a specimen, so as to know
what it was like ? Here is the first verse in
the Old Testament.
Gen. i. 1.
V ._ TT k.
It reads from right to left, just the opposite
to our way. The word at the right hand,
with the capital, means In the beginning."
The square black letters are the consonants;
the little dots or points are the vowels. And
this is how it would sound when read:-
"Bereshith bara Elohim eth hashamaim veeth
haaritz." Now fancy a roll of yellowish parch-
ment closely written with these characters,
but without any vowels, and you will know
what the Book of Moses was like when he
left it to the world.
But when the New Testament came to be
written, the prevalent language used in
writing books was the Greek. Some of my
readers may be learning a little Greek at
school, and know what it is like. But, for
the sake of others, here is a sample of that
20 The Book of Books:
language. The first verse in the New Testa-
Matt. i. 1.
BIBAOI yEviawc 'Iacroi Xpwtrou, viov Aavti,
This reads in our way from left to right;
and the first word at the left is Biblos, that
is, Book, from which comes our word Bible.
This is the sound of it when read: "' Biblos
genese6s Jesou Christou, uiou Dauid, uiou
Most, if not all, of the New Testament was at
the first composed in this language-Greek;
and it was the common everyday Greek spoken
in the market-places, and in the people's homes,
just as our newspapers are in the English that
is commonly spoken. Thus we have learned
something more, that not only was THE BOOK
written by various men at various times, and
on separate rolls of parchment; but that it
appeared at first in two languages-Hebrew
and Greek-which are now dead languages;
that is, no living people use them in common
Here we shall just rest a while, and think.
What may our thoughts be ? What are yours?
Story of the English Bible. 21
We will tell you ours. Our thoughts are
these: If the Book of God, the only book
that can show us the way to heaven, the way
home to God our Father, is written in two
strange tongues-how ever shall the common
people know what it says? Indeed, the
great bulk of people have not time to learn
Hebrew and Greek; how shall they read of
the love of Christ and the way to be saved ?
Something must be done. We told you the
Bible was at the first composed in the common
tongue that everybody understood. But those
two sorts of speech are not now used by any-
body for common. Well, we must just turn
THE BOOK into the common speech of the
different people, that all may read and under-
stand. This is the Translation of the Bible,
or making versions of it in various languages,
to suit the people of different countries.
THE TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE.
We know a spa or healing well-spring which
of old gushed out of the very brow of a high
mountain. Lofty and steep, and nothing but
a rough and stony track to get up to it, many
of the old and weakly people who needed it
22 The Book of Books:
most could not climb to it nor reach it. The
owner of that place was a good Christian
lady, and she had the health-giving water
brought down to the village below, to the
very street-side, and seats made round the
fountain, and vessels provided to drink with,
so that all might receive and rejoice.
Such a good work has been done for us by
the translators of God's Word. And as we
drink freely, and without trouble, the water
of life, let us thank God, who, by means of
good and learned men, has brought it down
THE VENERABLE BEDE.
The earliest translation we notice was of
the New Testament, by Beda, or Bedan, called
the Venerable Bede on account of his great
virtues. He was born at Jarrow, near the
mouth of the Tyne, in Northumberland, and
flourished in the eighth century. It was
towards the end of his life that he came to
the close of the Gospel by St. John. He was
in his monk's cell dictating to a pupil who
was his scribe or secretary. The pupil said,
"Dear master, one sentence is still wanting."
Story of the English Bible. 23
He replied, Write quickly." The young man
soon wrote down the last word, and then said,
"It is finished." The dear old man replied,
"It is finished indeed, lift up my head, let
me sit where I have so often prayed; and now,
glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the
Holy Ghost-" And so he died happy.
After this the Bible was rendered into
KING ALFRED THE GREAT.
He died in the year of our Lord 900. Look
at this specimen of old English as it was in
the days of the good Alfred.
Fader uren thu arth in Heofuum, Our Father who art in
sic gehalqud noma thiu; Hallowed be Thy name;
to-cymeth sic thiu. Thy kingdom come.
This great and wise king was not able to
overcome the great difficulties that lay in his
way; so that he succeeded in translating only
a part of the Scriptures. He was busy with
the Book of Psalms when death put an end
to his useful efforts.
But a great while after this, in the four-
teenth century, the whole Bible was done
into English about 1380, by
24 The Book of Books:
Wycliffe is called the "morning star of the
Reformation," because he was the first and
earliest in England to catch the light of the
pure Gospel, and to shine and shed that
lovely light upon others. He saw that the
Book of books was meant to enlighten every
man that cometh into the world; but how
could it be an universal blessing while it was
in whole or in part shut up in a foreign
tongue. His motto was, "the truth shall
prevail." So to make it prevail, he began
and finished the English Bible. Thus he
has the honour of being the first to bring the
whole Scriptures home to Englishmen in
their mother tongue. This was five hundred
years ago. Here is a specimen of Wycliffe's
MATT. ii. 1, 2.
Therefore whaune Jhesus was borun in Bethleem of Juda,
in the dayes of king Eroude lo astronomyens camen fro the
eest to Jerusalem & seiden where is he that is borun King of
Jewis for we hau seen his sterre in the eest & we comen for
to worschipe hym.
JOHN i. 1.
In the bigynnvnge was the word and the word was at God
and God was the word.
Story of the English Bible. 25
You see the spelling is strange, and there are
no stops used.
Some years before his death, he had an
illness, and four Roman Catholic friars visited
him on his sick-bed, thinking that in the
pangs of sickness and alarm of dying they
might get him to change his Reformed opi-
nions. But Wycliffe, propped up in the bed,
looked stedfastly at them, and said, I shall
not die, but live; and shall again declare the
evil deeds of the friars." These friars hated
the Gospel, and the man who was giving the
Gospel in English to the people.
The next English copy of the Scriptures
was brought out by
who lost his life in doing this good work
Wycliffe, the morning star, was gone; but
now the sun was up-risen, for we are come to
the glorious times of the Reformation in the
sixteenth century. Tyndale was converted
to Christ by reading the New Testament in
Greek. Then, anxious to save other men, he
preached the truth in Jesus, opposed in every
direction by the priests of Rome. Oh," said
2G The Book of Books:
he, "if the people had the Scriptures in their
own tongue, they could withstand these
priests; without the Bible it is impossible to
establish the laity in the truth." He also said
to the priests: "By God's grace I will make
the ploughman in the fields know the word
of God better than your bishops." So he did.
For up to his time the common people knew
nothing of the Bible; and the clergy, most of.
them, knew less than the children in our
Sunday-schools do now,-they could do little
more than recite the Creed and the Lord's
Humphrey Monmouth, a devout alderman
of London, gave him a room to himself in his
house, where he worked day and night at the
translation. Then, when the priests threatened
his life, he fled to Flanders and Germany; and
there, where Protestantism was stronger, he
found shelter, and worked steadily. The New
Testaments of Tyndale were sent over sea to
England, and spread the Gospel there. So
Tonstal, the Romish bishop, thought to stop
the Reform by buying up all the books, and
burning them at Paul's Cross. What a
capital thing this was for the Bible; for the
money so paid enabled Tyndale to go on with
Story of the English Bible. 27
his new editions of the work faster than
before. Here are verses from Tyndale's New
Jom i. 1-3.
1. In the h 'ainun111 e 1 tas the boDrbe anb the
tomrbe tas tbith (Bob, aub the btorbe was Qob.
2. Zhe same Iaes in the beginngnge With Gob :
3. lt things toere maybe bg it, anb toithont it,
toas mabe nothing that boas maybe.
In 1526 there was a great burning of Bibles
at Paul's cross, north side of St. Paul's Cathe-
dral, in London; and now, near that very spot,
stands the Depository of the Religious Tract
Society, which carries on a similar work to
Tyndale's on a large scale. "The counsel of
the Lord that shall stand, the thoughts of His
heart to all generations." But Tyndale's
enemies, and the enemies of the Gospel, pre-
vailed. He died a martyr's death at the
stake; and his last words were, "Lord, open
the king of England's eyes." Let us pray
that the eyes of all rulers may be opened to
the truth of the Gospel, and the dangers of
Tyndale's work, interrupted by his death,
was carried on and completed by
28 The Book of Books:
assisted by John Rogers, afterwards a martyr
in the reign of Queen Mary. Coverdale's
Bible was issued in 1535, and dedicated to
Henry vIII: oure Moses," who brought us
out of Egypt, "from the cruell hands of our
spiritual Pharao." For Henry was so much
changed and come round to the Reformation,
that he ordered this Bible to be placed in the
churches that the people might come to read
it. "The Boke of the whole Bible in English,
for every man that willed to look and read
thereon." (See frontispiece.) He also said of
this Book, "Let it go abroad among my people."
"It was wonderful," says Strype, "to see
with what joy this Book of God was received,
not only among the learneder sort, and those
that were noted for lovers of the Reformation,
but generally all England over, among all the
vulgar and common people; and with what
greediness God's word was read, and what
resort to places where the reading of it was.
Everybody that could, bought the Book, and
busily read it, or got others to read it to
them, if they could not themselves; and
divers more elderly people learned to read
Story of the E',glish Bible. 29
on purpose, and even little boys flocked
among the rest to hear portions of the Holy
Scriptures read. One William Maldon men-
tions, that when the king had allowed the
Bible to be set forth to be read in the
churches, immediately several poor men in
the town of Chelmsford in Essex, where his
father lived, and he was born, bought the
New Testament, and on Sundays sat reading
it in the lower end of the church. Many
would flock about them to hear their reading;
and he among the rest, being then but fifteen
years old, came every Sunday to hear the glad
and sweet tidings of the gospel. But his
father, observing it once, angrily fetched him
away, and would have him say the Latin
matins with him, which grieved him much.
And as he returned at other times to hear the
Scriptures read, his father still would fetch
him away. This put him upon the thought
of learning to read English, that he might
read the New Testament himself, which when
he had by diligence effected, he and his
father's apprentice bought a New Testament,
joining their stocks together; and, to conceal
it, laid it under the bed straw, and read it at
30 The Book of Books:
During Edward via's reign of seven years, this
Bible was eagerly read by all sorts of people,
who seemed never to get enough of its blessed
words. Then, in Queen Mary's time, it was
put down, and shut out of the churches; but
again, under Elizabeth, it was restored as the
Book of the church and of the household.
In the persecutions by Mary some Protes-
tants who were taking refuge in Geneva, in
Switzerland, published a version called from
that circumstance, "The Genevan Bible." After
Mary's death it came into England, in 1560,
and got into general use among Christians. It
is the first Bible which was divided into
verses. After this came the Bishop's Bible,
which was just a revision of Tyndale's and
Coverdale's, a work that occupied three years.
Then came, in the time of king James, in the
THE AUTHORISED VERSION.
Forty-seven of the best scholars and divines
of that day were chosen for the work. They
took Tyndale's version, improved andcorrected
it. They began in 1607, and finished in
1611. Other previous versions fell out of use,
Story of the English Bible. 31
and this one came in, and has continued till
now the Bible authorised in England, and used
by all English-speaking people in America,
and Australia, and India. This is the Bible
you take with you to the house of God and to
It is not a perfect version, for that is
scarcely possible. But it is a very beautiful
translation of God's pure word, and makes
known to all English-speaking nations the
true God and eternal life.
Prize it, young friends, prize it highly and
Precious Bible what a treasure
Does the Word of God afford!
All I want for life or pleasure,
Food and medicine, shield and sword !
Let the world account me poor,
Give me this, I need no more.
Of course you recollect that other people
need the Book of books as much as the
English,-and so it was translated into Ger-
man by Luther; into Welsh by Dr. Morgan;
into Persian by the good missionary, Henry
Martyn; into the various tongues of India by
Dr. Carey, Dr. Marshman, and Rev. W. Ward,
missionaries. Dr. Morrison, and after him
32 The Book of Books:
Dr. ledhurst, have made versions in Chinese,
and that gives the word of salvation to four
hundred millions of people. And we suppose
it has been translated on the whole into more
than one hundred and fifty languages, or
varieties of human speech; so that almost
every man can hear in his own tongue in which
he was born the wonderful works of God.
But another thing still was needed to allow
the common people everywhere to know the
Book of books. Wycliffe's Bible was all written
by hand with the pen. Well, what of that ?
Why, that made it very dear, and, therefore,
very scarce. So scarce was it that there might
be one copy in a college, or a great man's
house, but none elsewhere. In one village,
among the Waldenses, we read, there was only
one Testament, and even that was in danger
of being seized by the priests and soldiers.
After much anxiety the people thought a good
place to hide it would be a baby's cradle So
they put the baby and the Book into the care
of a little girl eight years old; and when she
saw any one coming that she suspected she
hastened and wrapped up both together; and
as she rocked and sang the little one to sleep,
no one guessed what was under the coverlet.
Story of the English Bible. 33
The written Bible was so dear in Wycliffe's
time that a single copy would cost thirty
pounds, which money would have built two
arches of London Bridge. Very few noblemen
would buy a whole Bible,-they were generally
content with portions. Many a yeoman gave
all his savings for the Book of Psalms or
Paul's Epistles. A small farmer would barter
a cartload of hay for a few chapters of St.
James or St. Paul.
How shall the Book be made so quickly
and easily as to be cheap? that was the
A man was in a wood one day with his
children; to amuse them he cut the letters of
their name in the bark of a tree. He found
that when a piece of paper was pressed against
the letters, the paper took off an impression
of the letters, and could be read. The man
took a slice of the bark with the letters home,
and perceived that he could put ink on the
letters, and stamp them on paper once, twice,
-indeed, as often as he liked. In this simple
way, it is said, the art of printing was dis-
covered. Afterwards, single letters, or type,
made of metal, were used.
34 The Book of Books:
THE ART OF PRINTING.
This is the one thing that was needed to
make the Bible cheap. When once the types
or metal letters are put together into words,
and made up into pages, we have only to put
fresh ink on every time, and they will print off
hundreds of thousands of copies.
This so startled the folks in old times that
they thought Dr. Faustus, one of the earliest
printers, made his books by the help of the
devil, because he could bring out numerous
copies in a short time, and all nice-looking in
In the year 1450 the first printed book ap-
peared, and it is pleasant to think that book
was the Bible. It was in Latin, and was
printed on vellum, or fine smooth parchment-
skin, and appeared at Paris. It was so beauti-
ful, and so easily reproduced, that Dr. Faustus
was about to be prosecuted for dealing with
familiar spirits and magic. But when his
secret was revealed the authorities ordered
Him to be let alone.
The first English Bibles printed were by
Story of the English Bible. 35
Tyndale; and it was thus, by means of the
printing press, that he fulfilled his promise
of making the very ploughmen know the
Since his day great improvements have been
made. The press is moved by steam, and
there is even a machine for picking up and
placing the letters. So now-a-days the Word
of God is printed and bound and sold for a
shilling or less. Every child can have his own
Bible. It has become like a wayside well,
where the poorest traveller along the dusty
road of life can quench his spiritual thirst.
Mr. Foxe mentions that at one time two
apprentices joined their little purses, and
between them bought a Bible, which, when
they got a chance, they would read; but being
afraid of their master, who was a zealous
Papist, they kept it under the straw of their
bed. How much happier are we !
We must not forget to tell you how that
the Bible has been printed in a peculiar way
for the use of blind people. The letters are
embossed, that is, raised and roughened on
the paper. The blind can tell these raised
characters with their fingers, and so read al-
most as well as other people do with their eyes.
36 The Book of Books:
But if Moses and Paul and others wrote
this Book, how does it come to be called the
Word of God ?
Let us suppose a king sitting in his palace,
and he wants to make known to the people
his wishes. He commands one of his servants:
"You shall write and publish a proclamation
to my people to-day, and tell them so and so."
The next year he says to a different servant:
Make another proclamation, and tell the
people such a thing." These proclamations are
written by different men at different times,
each in his own style or manner; yet all
are the proclamations of the king, and convey
This may help you to understand what we
mean by the
INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE.
"Holy men of old spake as they were moved
by the Holy Ghost ... All Scripture is given
by inspiration of God." God, the great King,
makes known His will to us. By His Holy
Spirit he taught Moses and David, Paul
and Peter, what things to write. Yet Moses
wrote in his own manner, and Peter wrote in
Story of the English Bible. 37
his. David says, "The Spirit of the Lord spake
by me, and His word was in my tongue."
Paul declares the things he taught he received
from Christ by revelation, and that even the
words he used were given him by the Holy
This inspiration makes the Bible so different
from any other book. It comes to us through
men, but it comes from God. Whatever the
Bible teaches we should entirely believe, for
it is altogether true. Whatever the Bible
commands we should at once do, for it is
God's wish and will.
All the Bible writers being taught by the
same Spirit of God, this accounts for the next
thing we are to tell you, and a very wonderful
thing it is. The whole Bible is of one mind;
and one thought, one meaning, and one pur-
pose run through the entire book. Isaiah does
not contradict Moses; John does not say
against Peter. Have you ever thought of
AGiEEMENT AMONG THE SACRED WRITERS.
It was one thousand, five hundred years
and more from the time when the first chapter
38 The Book of Books:
of Genesis was written to the writing of the
last chapter of Revelation. During that time
there were thirty different penmen. Some of
these were learned, some unlearned. Some
wrote in very ancient times in Asia, some in
comparatively modern times in Europe. Some
never saw Christ Jesus, some lived familiarly
with Him, and some only heard of Him after-
wards from others. Yet they all agree in
what they say
That He is One. A Spirit, holy, wise, and
That he was formed good, is now bad, and
will be for ever, in another world, either happy
That He is the Son of God and Son of Man,
the only Saviour of lost sinners.
ABOUT THE WAY TO BE SAVED:
That it is through faith in Christ, a faith
which shows itself in a holy life and character.
Story of the English Bible. 39
ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD:
That there shall be a general judgment, when
the wicked shall be punished, and the pious
shall be rewarded. All these revelations are
not always found in the same book, but some
of them are in every book.
Now the Bible contains History, or the ac-
count of what has been; Prophecy, or foretell-
ing of what will be; Poetry, such as the Book
of Job, the Psalms, and Isaiah; Philosophy,
such as Ecclesiastes; Proverbs, as Solomon's;
Parables, as Christ's; long arguments on deep
subjects, as Paul's Epistles; and precious sweet
promises of all good things. Yet, with all this
variety, there is but one sense or meaning.
Just as in a wood: here is the oak, with tufted
leaves; there the cedar, with dark layers;
there the hawthorn, with blossoms like tinted
snow; and below, blue violets, and sour wood-
sorrel, and pinkish wind-flower, and silky
moss clothing the rough stones. Yet all these
grow on one plan, and according to one law;
and all say the same thing:
"The Hand thai made us is Divine !"
40 The Book of Books:
This inspiration of the Bible accounts for
another thing we wish to mention, and that
ITS POWER OVER MEN.
M. L. Bantain, a professor of philosophy at
Strasburg, has left this record: "A single
book has saved me; but that book is not of
human origin. Long had I despised it; but
when I examined it earnestly, faith, hope, and
charity were enkindled in my bosom, and
every advancing step strengthened me in the
conviction that this book is superior to any-
thing of man's."
You have heard of John Locke, one of the
greatest Englishmen. A friend asked him
once which was the shortest and surest way
for a young gentleman to get a true know-
ledge of the Christian religion ? Locke an-
swered: "Let him study the Holy Scriptures,
especially the New Testament. It has God
for its author, salvation for its end, and truth,
without any mixture of error, for its matter."
Martin Luther found a Bible in his monas-
tery, and the reading of it changed him from
a superstitious monk into a reformer of re-
htory of the English Bible. 41
At a single warning of the Epistles Augus-
tine's hard heart melted beneath the fig-tree
at Milan. A single chapter of Isaiah turned
the wicked Earl of Rochester into a penitent
The Persian mollah, Mahomet Ramah, by
reading the Scriptures with Henry Martyn,
the missionary, was converted to the Chris-
tian faith. In the Sandwich Islands an idol
could hardly be found now, save as a curio-
sity. The cannibals of Fiji have left off eating
human flesh. The great island of Madagascar
is changed. And all through the teaching of
the Bible. Millions of saved men and women
are now in glory to bear witness to the power
of the Book of books in turning us from dark-
ness to light, from evil to good, from death to
How precious is the Book Divine,
By inspiration given;
Bright as a lamp its doctrines shine,
To guide our souls to heaven.
This lamp through all the tedious night
Of life shall guide our way,
Till we behold the clearer light
Of an eternal day.
42 The Book of Books:
THE GREAT THEME.
Of whom do you think the whole Book is
chiefly about? We will tell you. Whether
story, or song, or letter, or parable, or sermon,
it is about CHRIST! Christ expected, and
Christ come, and Christ expected again the
second time. Christ, the Son of David, and
Son of God. Christ healing the sick, and feed-
ing the hungry, and teaching the ignorant.
Christ taking little children in His arms, and
blessing them. Christ dying for our sins, and
rising again for our complete salvation.
So soon as man had fallen into sin God
promised a Saviour. Then, when the world
grew very dark and ignorant of the truth,
God chose Abraham, and told him that the
Saviour would arise out of his family; and
Abraham saw that day afar off, and was glad.
Then the prophets rose one after another, and
showed where and how the Saviour should be
born, and what sort of a person He should be.
Then, when He came, the four Evangelists
wrote each an account of this Saviour's life,
and death, and resurrection. Then, the apostles
come last, and tell us the meaning and in-
Story of the English Bible. 43
tention of His life and death, and being the
servants of the Most High God, they show
unto us the way of salvation." Let me try
to show to you,
THE WAY OF SALVATION.
The Bible says we are all sinful and bad.
Yes, even a child is known by his doings;"
and you know your doings are not always
good. The Bible says, "God is love;" and
He loves us even when we are foolish and
forgetful, and do not love Him as we ought
to, but grieve and vex Him. The Bible also
says, God is just, and cannot let His holy
laws be broken without punishment falling
on the guilty.
When we see that we are wicked, and be-
lieve that God is so pitiful and kind, and
willing to forgive, that makes us sorry for
offending Him. This sorrow for sin, or re-
pentance, is a right thing to feel. We can
never begin to be good unless we are first
sorry, truly sorry, for being bad. Hence, the
very first gospel sermon ever preached was,
"Repent, and believe the gospel."
The. Bible says, God so loved us that He
gave His only Son to die for us; and His
44 The Book of Books:
Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, took our sins
and wrong-doings on Himself, and answered
for them by bearing the sentence on the cross.
He died that we might be forgiven. He
took our place in dying, that we might take
His place in glory. When we truly believe
that, and put our whole trust in Christ, we
have true faith.
The Bible says that it is the Holy Spirit
of God who gives us a new heart. Without
that new heart we cannot do any good thing
really pleasing to God.
The Bible directs us to go on all our days
trusting in the Lord Jesus for the salvation
of our souls, living in the Holy Spirit, walk-
ing in love and peace, and doing good to our
neighbours. And that if we do so, we are in
a saved state now, and when we die we shall
be taken home to God, and made like holy,
happy angels in Paradise.
Here you can read and learn
How Christ, the Son of God,
Did undertake our great concern:
Our ransom cost His blood.
And now He reigns above,
He sends His Spirit down
To show the wonders of His love,
And make His Gospel known.
Story of the English Bible. 45
Oh, young friends, pray for the new heart,
and begin at once to walk in this way. We
know a minister of the gospel who one day
received a-letter from a lady, a very joyful
and thankful letter, to say that her little
daughter had truly become a child of God.
The minister inquired about it, and found,
to his delight, that she was altered at home,
better tempered, more obedient, a useful
daughter of the house, trying to please Jesus.
This made the pastor thankful and glad.
The Jews, especially the Rabbis, or learned
doctors, knew the Scriptures in one way very
well. They could tell how many words were
in the Bible; how many letters; which was
the middle word and letter of the book, and
such things. But they failed to find Christ
in it: when Jesus came they knew Him not,
but rejected Him, and He rebuked them for
You see we may learn a great deal about the
Bible, who wrote it, who translated it, who
printed it, and so forth. But how sad, if after
all, we should miss the Saviour and His
salvation, for that is all in all to us.
Jesus said, "Strive to enter in at the strait
gate, because strait is the gate and narrow is
46 The Book of Books:
the way that leadeth unto life." The strait
gate is faith in Christ, and repentance toward
God; the narrow way is self-denial and ho-
There is a path that leads to God,
All others go astray ;
Narrow, but pleasant is the road,
And Christians love the way.
It leads straight through this world of sin,
And dangers must be past;
But those who boldly walk therein
Will come to heav'n at last.
Oh, lest my feeble steps should slide,
Or wander from Thy way,
Lord, condescend to be my guide,
And I shall never stray.
Thus may I safely venture through,
Beneath my Shepherd's care,
And keep the gate of heaven in view
Till I shall enter there.
Once again, when the apostle Thomas asked
to know the way, the Master told him, "I
am the way." By Jesus we return to God,
and get home to Heaven. Christ is the
Ladder Jacob saw reaching from heaven to
earth, from earth to heaven. It is by Jesus
the prodigal is restored and reconciled to his
offended Father. Believe in Him, walk in
Story of the English Bible. 47
Him, put your hand in His; and He will
kindly and safely lead you through life, through
death, up to glory.
How TO USE THE BIBLE.
We do not wish you to read the Book of
books as if it were a hard, dry task. We wish
you to enjoy it. You have heard of Lady
Jane Grey, who was for nine days Queen of
England. She was very fond of the Bible;
and often, while all her family were out hunt-
ing, she stayed at home with her Bible, and
declared she enjoyed reading in it more than
they did the chase.
Read it regularly, a little every day. Dr.
Johnson, a great and learned man, when on
his death-bed was visited by a young gentle-
man. The doctor said, "My young friend,
attend to the voice of one who has had some
fame in the world, and who will shortly ap-
pear before his Maker-Read the Bible every
day of your life."
David Saunders, not a learned man, but a
vlain shepherd, said, "Blessed be God, I learned
to read when a boy. I believe there is no day,
for the last thirty years, that I have not
48 The Book of Books:
peeped into my Bible. If we can't find time
to read a chapter, I defy any man to say he
can't find time to read a verse; and a single
text well followed and put in practice every
day, would make no bad figure at the year's
end-three hundred and sixty-five texts would
make a pretty stock, a golden treasury, from
new year's day to new year's day. If children
were brought up to it, they would come to look
for their text as naturally as they do for their
breakfast. I can say the greatest part of the
Bible by heart." If we read it in this way
we shall enjoy it, and not feel it a task.
And what pleasant company we find in it.
"By opening this Book, we may at any time
walk in the garden of Eden with Adam, sit in
the ark with Noah, share the hospitality of
Abraham, journey through the desert with
Moses, listen to king David playing and sing-
ing, or stand by and hear Paul preaching at
Athens. Nay more, we can converse with Him
who spake as never man spake, and join in
the society and songs of the redeemed in
Read it so as to understand it. You might
look at a sun-dial on a dark day, and read
off all the figures; yet you would not know
Story of the English Bible. 49
the hour unless the sun shone upon the dial,
and threw the shadow on the figures. And
the Bible will be like a dial on a dark day,
until the Holy Spirit shine upon it, and help
us to understand it.
The treasurer of queen Candace, of whom
you read in the Acts of the Apostles, (chap.
viii.,) had little understanding in reading till
Philip got up beside him, and told him the
sense and meaning of the passage. Then he
believed what it taught of Christ, and he was
baptised, and went on his way rejoicing. Read-
ing the Bible will not benefit us as by magic
or as a charm,-it must be taken into the
mind, and dwell in the heart. The ancients
had a fable about a mirror, which, if a man
used it in the right way, he could see anything
in it which it was necessary for him to see.
Such a mirror is the Bible, when rightly used.
We see in it all we need to know of God and
of our duty towards Him.
Again,when we read it we should believe and
obey it. All else is little worth without this.
If you were shipwrecked on some foreign shore,
and left poor and miserable and desolate, and
if your father sent you a letter explaining how
you should act, and desiring you to embark
50 The Book of Books:
in a particular ship and return home to him,
you would read that letter, you would under-
stand it, and you would lovingly obey its
directions, so as to find your way home. Treat
the Bible in the same way. It is not to be
prettily bound and gilded, and laid away on
a shelf, but to be loved and put in practice.
Some time since, at the coronation of a new
queen ii Madagascar, a Bible was carried in great
state upon a cushion. But it was not a Bible
on a cushion that changed so much of wild
heathen Madagascar into a Christian land. It
was because the missionaries lived according to
the Bible, and persuaded the Malagasy people
to do the same. Jesus has taught us that
he who heareth His sayings, and doeth them,
is a wise man, and his house will stand.
A sailor once returned to London, and,
having plenty of money, went to see all the
sights. He went to one of the churches and
heard a sermon on the text, "Pray without
ceasing;" but, at the time, it seemed to make
no impression. Afterwards, when at sea, one
evening, as he paced the deck, the words came
into his -mind, "Pray without ceasing !" He
thought to himself that these were the words
Story of the English Bible. 51
of God's Book, and felt how wicked he was,
for he never prayed at all.
"Oh !" said he, "if I had a Bible now, or
some good book." He rummaged his chest,
when lo, he found a Bible placed at the bottom
by his mother when he went first to sea, but
which he had never opened till now. He read
it with anxious tears, believed its truths, and
found a Saviour and peace of mind.
There is another thing we sometimes forget,
we should apply the Scriptures. That is, have a
text ready and use it, when in need of Divine
help. When Joseph was tempted to sin, he
at once thought of God. "How can I do this
great wickedness, and sin against God."
When Jesus Christ was tempted He had ever
a text of Scripture at hand, replying to the
tempter with-" It is written It is written !"
King Alfred the Great copied out the book
of Psalms, and carried it in his bosom, that he
might read it at every opportunity. Keep
God's Word near you.
Oliver Cromwell, when the war began be-
tween the king and his parliament, saw that
drunken, swearing troopers would never be
good soldiers. So he tried to train the men to
sobriety and godliness; and in order to this he
52 The Book of Books:
gave a Bible to be carried in every soldier's
pocket. We need to keep the Word very near
Let this blest volume ever lie
Close to my heart and near my eye,
To life's last hours my thoughts engage,
And be my chosen heritage.
It is not enough to put the Book in our
pocket when we travel, or on our pillow when
we are sick. It needs to be in our heart so as
to rule and regulate our everyday life. For
so says the Psalmist: "Thy Word have I hid
in my heart, that I might not sin against
CIRCULATION OF THE BIBLE.
By this we mean the giving it or selling it
to all the world. As it has been translated, or
is being translated, into all tongues, so it
should be sent to all tribes. Think of it in
All men need the Bible;
It is intended for all;
Therefore, let all have it.
Societies have been formed, called Bible
Societies, for this very purpose-To send the
Story of the English Bible. 53
Word of salvation to "all people that on earth
These Societies exist in Great Britain and
in America. The work is also carried on upon
the Continent of Europe. These Societies are
Christian men, and with Christian women
helping them, trying to do the work of the
Lord. For it is the Lord's desire that His
"Word may have free course," may "run
speedily" throughout all the earth.
If the manna lies all around our tent, and
others have none, should we not send a part
of it to our less favoured neighbours ? Better
still, if the doctor gave you a prescription that
made you well, would you not feel bound to
give every one who was similarly suffering a
copy of that prescription ?
The Bible is the best cure for the sins and
sorrows of the world. It is the Great Phy-
sician's own remedy. We should pity those
countries and nations that are perishing for
want of knowing the remedy.
Even young people can do something for
the Bible; and I want to interest you in the
grand work of Bible circulation. Let us see
how much has been done, and how much re-
mains yet to be done.
54 The Book of Books:
In the year 1804 the greatest of all the
Societies for this purpose was commenced-
The British and Foreign Bible Society,-and
in 1806 the first supply of Bibles in the Welsh
language arrived in Wales. When the cart
which carried the sacred load was announced,
the Welsh country-people came out in crowds
to meet and welcome it. They hailed it as
the Israelites did the ark of old, drew it into
the tovvn, and eagerly bore off all the copies
as quickly as they could be given out. The
young people were to be seen spending the
whole night in reading it. Labourers carried
it with them to the field that they might
enjoy it when off work, and so lose no
Long after this it reached the Harvey Islands
in the Pacific Ocean,-first in portions, as it
could be translated and printed in their lan-
guage. When the people had been somewhat
instructed in 'Christianity, they came to love
the gospel very much; and so the first time
the whole Bible arrived, the islanders were
overjoyed. Young and old poured down to
the beach, shouting and leaping for gladness.
They could scarcely wait for the great boxes
from the Bible Society's house to be taken
Story of the English Bible. 55
out. Very soon they were to be seen march-
ing up to the mission-house, half-a-dozen
carrying each box-even little children lend-
ing a hand-and all singing in their language
a song which one of them had made for the
The Word is come,
The Volume complete;
Let us learn the good Wold,
Our joy is great.
The whole Word is come!
The whole Word is come!
These are but examples, one at home and
the other abroad, to show you how the Book
of books is being sent everywhere, and how
welcome it is to those who wish to know the
way of salvation.
One chief way of sending the Bible among
all people is by means of book-hawkers of a
peculiar kind, who are called
Among the first to make use of this plan
were the Waldenses, or Vaudois Christians,
who inhabit the Italian valleys of the Alps.
Up amongst the great mountains they wor-
shipped God, and many loved Jesus when
56 The Book of Books:
the rest of Europe was for the most part in
They sent out these Christian packmen,
(who were called colporteurs, because they
carried a bundle strapped round the neck,)
and their duty was to offer, with or without
other goods, the Word of God to all who
would buy. These men were admitted where
other and regular missionaries might not have
been, and they had opportunities of bringing
the Book of God into the homes of many per-
sons who perhaps would never in any other
way have heard or learned the gospel.
There is a very nice account of a Vaudois
colporteur in verse, which we will now give
"0 lady fair, these silks of mine
Are beautiful and rare-
The richest web of the Indian loom,
Which beauty's self might wear;
And these pearls are pure and bright to behold,
And with radiant light they vie-
I have brought them with me a weary way,
Will my gentle lady buy ?"
The lady smiled on the worn old man
Through the dark and clustering curls
"Which veiled her brow, as she turned to view
His silks and glittering pearls;
Story of the English Bible. 57
And she placed their price in the old man's hand
And lightly she turned away,
But paused at the wanderer's earnest call,
"Will my gentle lady stay ?"
"0 lady fair, I have yet a gem
"Which a purer lustre flings
Than the diamond flash of the gilded crown
On the lofty brow of kings-
A wonderful pearl of exceeding worth,
Whose virtue shall not decay-
Whose light shall be as a spell to thee,
And a blessing on thy way."
The lady glanced at the mirroring steel,
Where her youthful form was seen-
Where her eyes shone clear and her dark locks waved
Their clashing pearls between.
"Bring forth thy pearl of exceeding worth,
Thou traveller grey and old,
And name the price of the precious gem,
And my page shall count thy gold."
A cloud passed off from the pilgrim's brow,
As a small and meagre book,
Unchased with gold or diamond gem,
From his folding robe he took;
"Here, lady fair, is the pearl of price,
May it prove as such to thee-
Nay keep thy gold, I ask it not,
For the word of God is free."
The hoary pilgrim went his way,
But the gift he left behind
Hath had its pure and perfect work
On that high-born maiden's mind,
58 The Book of Books:
And she hath turned from the pride of sin
To the lowliness of truth,
And given her human heart to God
In its beautiful hour of youth;
And she hath left the old grey halls
Where an evil faith hath power,
The courtly knights of her father's train,
And the maidens of her bower;
And she hath gone to the Vaudois' vale,
By lordly feet untrod,
Where the poor and needy of earth are rich
In the perfect love of God.
Such was the colporteur's work on the south-
ern slopes of the Alps.
Here is the way a similar Christian worker
was treated lately in Spain: "I want to tell
you how I fared in Olot. I set up my book-stall
(a portable one he carries with him), while
the fair was going on. Soon the students
bought some of my books, which they after-
wards burnt in the square. One man threw
one of the books in my face. I tried to copy
the example of my Redeemer, taking it pa-
tiently. I read in a loud voice the fifth
chapter of Romans. This led them to a sort
of conference. One of the students asked me
for other portions of the Scripture; and the
end was that many gave up their opposition,
Story of the English Bible. 59
and even asked me to explain the Gospel in
the evening, which I consented to do." Spain
needs many faithful men like that to go
among the villages and vineyards with the
precious seed of truth.
Here again is the account of a colporteur
in America. He called at a farm-house, where
he met with an angry rebuff. The man of the
house was "full of cursing and bitterness;" he
would not suffer a Bible to be left at his
house. Said he, "If left anywhere it shall be
left at the barn." Very well," said the col-
porteur, modestly, "a very good place. Our
Saviour once lay in a manger, and I will leave
my book in the barn." He placed it there,
not forgetting to pray that God would bless
it to some one, even to the man of the house
himself. The farmer was struck with the
conduct and reply of the stranger, and especi-
ally what was said of Christ in a manger. He
began to reflect on his own folly and rash-
ness. At last, growing uneasy and unhappy,
he went out to the barn, and found the Bible,
and read the story of Jesus. The result was
the once despised book got a place in his
house and in his heart too.
Listen to the account given by a colporteur
60 The Book of Books:
in Ireland. "Last year I happened to get
into a wild mountainous country where I
think the foot of a stranger never stood.
About fifteen miles from my home, I was
almost afraid to venture up, but thought it
my duty. The first house I happened to get
into I found five men, and no other person.
After a little talk I opened my pack and
showed some picture books. By and by I
picked up a Testament. I happened to open
it at 1 Tim. vi. 7: For we brought nothing
into this world, and it is certain we can carry
nothing out.' After some remarks among the
men that it was a true saying, one of them
bought the Testament. I said nothing now,
for I saw the single text was doing its work
without any help from me. This spring I
was going through a village near that place,
when a man asked me if I had ever sold a
book on the mountains ? I said I had.
He told me the old man who bought the
book was his father, that he died shortly
after, that he got his daughter to read it to
him frequently, and at his death left it to her.
That she went to America, and took it with
her; and has since written, asking for more
Bibles, and advising her friends to buy and
Story of the English Bible. 61
read for themselves. He told me his father
never could forget the words I had read from
the 1st of Timothy."
Thus we are encouraged "to sow beside all
waters;" and to be always sowing. "In the
morning sow thy seed, in the evening with-
hold not thine hand: for thou knowest not
whether shall prosper, either this or that, or
whether they both shall be alike good."
When Victor Emmanuel marched into
Rome, the Bible marched in along with him;
and now, in the very city of the Pope, there is
a shop or dep6t of the Bible Society, selling
the Word of life to Romanists in Rome. And
this, although the Pope (Pius Ix.) warned
the people against "the poisonous reading"
furnished by the Bible Society, and con-
demned the modern art of printing."
Madagascar, being converted largely to the
Christian faith, two Bibles were sent out for
presentation, one for the Queen, and the other
for the prime minister, together with a large
parcel for general circulation. The prime
minister wrote back to London: "The Queen
directed me to thank you for sending that
good Book to her, and for printing and send-
ing so many of those Gospels here, for well
62 The Book of Boolcs:
she knows that the Gospel is the foundation
of good to her people, causing them to know
God, and Jesus Christ our Saviour.
"And the arrival of the Gospels here has
caused great joy to the people, for there are
still many who desire to possess them. And
I make known to you that many of the people
are striving to learn to read, that they may be
able to read the Gospel. May you live, may
the blessing of God be with you, saith your
Thus have we told you'how the Book of'
books was first written: how it has been
translated into many kinds of speech; how it
is made cheap and plentiful by the art of
printing; how it tells us of Jesus, and the
way to heaven through Him; and how, on
that account, it has been circulated in many
lands, carrying blessings with it wherever it
goes. But much remains to be done. When
queen Elizabeth came to the throne, some
state prisoners were let out of jail in honour
Story of the English Bible. 63
of the event. A clergyman wittily asked a
boon of Elizabeth, saying, "There were four
notable prisoners that he hoped her Majesty
would command to be released, namely, Mat-
thew, Mark, Luke, and John, who had been
kept imprisoned for a long while, shut up
from coming abroad among the people." He
meant the Gospel was kept from the common
people too long.
Now those Four Evangelists, and all other
of the sacred writers, have been set free. It is
our duty and delight to give them free course,
and so help on the day when the dear Saviour
will be known and loved all the world over.
Put to your hands in this good work. Pray
for all Bible Societies and colporteurs, all
Missionaries and Religious Tract Societies.
And help them all you can, for there are
many dark places yet where the Bible has
From Greenland's icy mountains,
From India's coral strand,
Where Afric's sunny fountains
Roll down their golden sand ;-
From many an ancient river,
From many a palmy plain,
They call us to deliver
Their land from error's chain.
64 The Book of Books.
What though the spicy breezes
Blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle
Though every prospect pleases,
And only man is vile:
In vain with lavish kindness
The gifts of God are strown,
The heathen in his blindness
Bows down to wood and stone.
Shall we, whose souls are lighted
With wisdom from on high,--
Shall we to men benighted
The lamp of life deny
Salvation oh, salvation !
The joyful sound proclaim,
Till each remotest nation
Has learned Messiah's name.
Waft, waft, ye winds, His story,
And you, ye waters, roll;
Till, like a sea of glory,
It spreads from pole to pole;
Till, o'er our ransomed nature,
The Lamb for sinners slain,
Redeemer, King, Creator,
In bliss returns to reign.
LONDON: KNIGHT, PRINTER, BARTHOLOMEW CLOSE.
~I -'"C .7