Will the Old Book Stand?

J.D. Tant

No grander subject ever engaged the mind of man than the one we have before us now. The question of the inspiration of the Bible is not one of minor importance, asked by a few men only, but the ablest men of all ages have taught on all sides of the question. More has been written, said, and thought of this Book than all other books given to the children of men.

It is the Book, alone, that deals with men as they are. All human-made books are made either by friends or enemies. When written by a friend, virtues are extolled and faults covered up; when by an enemy faults are magnified and virtues unknown. This Book is different from all these for it claims to come from God. Written by friends, yet it shuns not to tell the whole truth, and represents men as they are. It tells of Solomon wandering off after strange women, of David ruining Uriah’s wife, and of Peter cursing and denying his Lord. Yet not one of these books was written by an enemy of the transgressors, and how strange to see the facts told as they are!

The Book claims to be the word of the Lord, and upon the truthfulness of this statement it must stand or fall. If it is the word of the Lord its statements are true, and it will finally lead us to heaven when we die. If it is not the word of the Lord it is false, its teachings are deceptive, and no one can hope to be benefited in being governed by it. But one says, “The Bible is a good book. Its lessons of moral instruction are grand, and Jesus was a great reformer and a good man, but that is all. He is not the Son of God—only a good man—and there have been many other men good besides him. Christ said, “I came forth from the Father, and am come into this world.” Again He says, “Oh, Father, glorify Thou me with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was!” Do you say He was a good man, yet He told lies, and built up His religion in a false book? What is your idea of a good man!

Suppose a man comes to your country, claims to be a son of your old friend you have known days, makes you a long visit, has a good time generally, leaves, then you find out all he said was false—that he was only the friend of your greatest enemy. Would you call him a good man ?

You say the Bible will do for old women and children, but it will not stand public criticism. Certainly not. But did you know that every few years some man comes along, upsets the Bible, entirely demolishes it, proves that it is all untrue, and explodes the whole thing from every standpoint; but that every piece of the exploded Book comes together again and runs faster than ever before?

Voltaire demolished the whole Bible, then wrote over its ruins, “In less than a hundred years Christianity will have been swept from existence, and will have passed into history.” Voltaire has gone, the hundred years have gone; yet it is said that his old printing press, used to print his infidel literature, has since been used to print the word of God; and even the very house in which he lived has since been used as a depot by the General Bible Society in which to store the word of God.

Next came Tom Paine, and demolished the Bible again, and even buried, its ruins; but after Paine crawled into a drunkard’s grave in 1809, the Bible took a greater leap than ever known before.

Ingersoll comes upon the stage of action and overthrows the Bible again; counts many mistakes of Moses—provided he is paid $200 a night for the job. Perhaps it would be amusing to bear Moses on the mistakes of Ingersoll. Moses was a military leader; so was Ingersoll. Moses, though, was a man of God, and after he was eighty years old commanded, for 40 years, an army of six hundred thousand men, freed them from Egyptian bondage, and gave them a law that has bound them together as a separate nation for almost 3,500 years. Nations, once prosperous, have gone down; kings, great leaders, have been forgotten; cities, once populous, have been vacated; temples and buildings of magnificence have given way to the ravages of time; yet the law that Moses gave remains to this day.

This is the military life of Moses, a man of God. What would he have to say of the mistakes of Ingersoll, who was a colonel, and whose fighting career consisted of one engagement only? He was then run down by a sixteen-year-old boy and captured in a hog-yard. Certainly the contrast is great.

Certainly the Book is great, its character is great, and it has come to stay. If all the books that have been written against this Book could be gathered, no building is large enough to contain them; yet every time the Bible is demolished it is only a few years till some other man has to rise up and demolish it again.

But still its enemies tell us that it is untrue in history, contradictory in statements, unsafe in morals, and is a great mountain in the way of progress and true development. Why do they not demonstrate their faith by their works? It is much easier to build a house on a smooth foundation than it is to work for fifty or a thousand years, tearing away old tottering buildings, in order to get to build your house there. If the Bible represents these old buildings in the way of true infidelity, why do not infidels go to those countries where the Bible is not known, and its principles are not taught? There are many places of that kind. Did you ever hear of an infidel going to a heathen country to build up an orphan school, or to erect an asylum for the needy? No. To those countries he does not go. Why ? Because in some of them the natives kill and eat men, and the infidel is not willing to be made into sausage meat to be fed to his infidel heathen who do not believe the Bible.

It is said that in New York City there is a rogues’ museum—a place where all kinds of tools, keys, and rogues’ weapons are found; but in the number not a single New Testament can be found. If it is such a bad book, why is it not placed there?

This Book bears marks of divinity in that it foretells things that shall come to pass. This Book tells things that will come to pass next week, or next year. You can not do that. You may tell of the past, but you must guess at the future. But turn to this Book and thirty-five hundred years have not been able to fulfill all things that have been predicted there.

A few lessons along the line of prophecy may do us good (Isa. 13:19-22; 14; Jer. 1).

Prophecy concerning Babylon:

  1. It was to be overthrown as Sodom and Gomorrah.

  2. It should never be re-inhabited from generation to generation.

  3. The Arab should not pitch his tent there.

  4. The shepherds should not make their folds there.

  5. Wild beasts of the desert should He there. Owls and doleful creatures should infest it.

  6. It should become the possession of the bittern and pools of water.

  7. It should be a target for the nations. All who plundered it should be satisfied.

  8. Her walls and foundations should be overturned.

  9. The sower and the harvester should be cut off.

  10. Those who passed by should be astonished at her plagues.

Babylon was built 2,200 years before Christ. Its walls were 350 feet high, 87 feet thick; it had 100 gates with as many roads from all the world leading into it; had the rich valley of the Euphrates to support it and there was no sign of decay. Yet this prophecy was spoken nearly 1,000 years before destruction came Now many centuries have looked down on its ruins, and every prophecy has been literally fulfilled.

Moses concerning Israel prophesied (Deut. 28):

  1. That God would bring against the Jews a nation from afar, whose language they could not understand.

  2. This nation should be of fierce countenance, not caring for the person of the old, and showing no mercy to the young.

  3. That this nation should besiege Jerusalem in all her gates till all the walls should fall, and the last hope of Israel’s escape perish.

  4. That in this siege they should suffer untold horrors; that a man’s eye should be evil against his own child

  5. or his wife; that they should eat human flesh, and that the delicate woman, who would not so much as put

  6. her foot on the ground, would secretly kill and eat her child.

  7. That great numbers of the Jews should perish in the siege.

  8. That multitudes would be carried into Egypt and sold, till no purchaser could be found.

  9. That the Jews should be plucked off their own land which God had given them.

  10. That the conquered Jews should be carried throughout all nations.

  11. That among these nations they should find no rest, neither should the soles of their feet find rest.

  12. That they should be oppressed and despoiled evermore.

  13. That they should become an astonishment, a byword, and a proverb to all nations.

  14. That their plagues should be wonderful and of a long continuance.

  15. That, notwithstanding all these, God would not destroy them utterly, nor cast them entirely away.

So well is this destruction of Jerusalem known that I need not write of it. 1,240,000 were slain; 99,000 were carried to Egypt and sold as long as purchasers could be found. Women killed and ate their children in the siege. They could not understand the talk of the Romans and from then till now the Jews have been scattered in all nations of the earth.

These are only samples of some things said in the Bible. I look upon this book as being divine from the effect it produces upon men.

Did you ever hear a man say, “I used to steal, swindle, get drunk, abuse my wife, provide not for my children, was a terror to my community; but I studied geography, philosophy, astronomy; and then after studying geology for a while it worked a revolution in me. I now sing all the day, work hard to have plenty, love my wife, treat my children kindly, go to church, all my neighbors love me, and I am respected as a leader in my community?” A thousand times, no! But that is the way this old Book serves those who obey it.

Suppose all the people of some town should say, “We will commence on New Years morning, and practice the teaching of the Bible for one year.” What would be the result?

There would be no Lying, no stealing, no selling whiskey, no tattling, no hungry, unclothed children, no vice, no debauchery, and no innocent ones ruined. Every man would be a good man, every woman a good woman, every father a good father, every mother a good mother. Hard times would trouble no more, jails would be converted into church houses, court rooms into places of learning; judges would have to go to farming, and lawyers to some other work; for their services would end. Land would advance in value, hard times be past, and all would be happy.

Finally, so long as the Bible tells the end from the beginning, so long as Babylon is in heaps, so long as Nineveh lies empty, void and waste, so long as Tyre is a place for the spreading of nets, so long as the Jews remain scattered among all nations, so long as Jerusalem remains trodden under foot of the Gentiles, so long as the meanest men on earth are made good men by obeying the word of God—I must conclude from these things that the Bible is from God, and am sure the old Book will stand.

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Author: Editor

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