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existed in a greater number of copies and languages, it has touched more minds, and has been accepted by a greater variety of men than any other book. As a fact in the life of the world it is altogether unique. Theodore Parker, who was not always very reverent in his treatment of the Bible, yet spoke of it in words which are as true as they are beautiful :“ This collection of books has taken such a hold on the world as no other. The literature of Greece, which goes up like incense from that land of temples and heroic deeds, has not half the influence of this book from a nation alike despised in ancient and modern times. It is read of a Sunday in all the ten thousand pulpits of our land. In all the temples of Christendom is its voice lifted up week by week. The sun never sets on its gleaming page. It goes equally to the cottage of the plain man and the palace of the king. It is woven into the literature of the scholar, and colours the talk of the street. The bark of the merchant cannot sail the sea without it; no ship of war goes to the conflict but the Bible is there. It enters men's closets; mingles in all the grief and cheerfulness of life. The affianced maiden prays God in Scripture for strength in her new duties; men are married by Scripture. The Bible attends them in their sickness, when the fever of the world is on them; the aching head finds a softer pillow when the Bible lies underneath. The mariner, escaping from shipwreck, clutches this first of his treasures, and keeps it sacred to God. It goes with the pedlar in his crowded pack; cheers him at eventide when he sits down dusty and fatigued; brightens the freshness of his morning face. It blesses us when we are born; gives names to half Christendom; rejoices with us; has sympathy for our mourning; tempers our grief to finer issues. It is the better part of our sermons. It lifts man above himself ; our best of uttered prayers are in its storied speech, wherewith our fathers and the patriarchs prayed. The timid man, about awaking from this dream of life, looks through the glass of Scripture and his eye grows bright; he does not fear to stand alone, to tread the way unknown and distant, to take the death-angel by the hand and bid farewell to wife, and babes, and home. Men rest on this their dearest hopes. It tells them of God and of His blessed Son; of earthly duties and of heavenly rest.”

In speaking of this Bible let me take some outside matters first, touching upon deeper and more spiritual questions afterwards. And first as to the form in which the Bible has come down to us. Because it happens to be bound up in one cover it is difficult not to think of it as one book. But really it is made up of sixty-six books, written by at least forty men at different times, stretching over a period of sixteen hundred years. In the fourth century it was called Divina Bibliotheca—the Divine Library; then the Greeks began to use the plural word Bibliathe Books; afterwards the word was taken in the singular, and usage settled down by common consent to call it the Book. All three are good names. It is a Divine Library, it is many books yet but one. Like the world in which God has placed us, it is marked by wonderful variety. Among its writers were renowned leaders and lawgivers like Moses and Samuel, great kings like David and Solomon, men of princely rank like Isaiah and Daniel, men of intellectual culture like Luke the physician and Paul the Apostle ; among them are found also the herdsman of Tekoa and the peasants and fishermen of Galilee. The writings themselves are as diversified as were the training and social standing of the writers. We have poetry and prose and a mingling of both. Large portions of the book are historic records. In Job we have a dramatic poem of wonderful depth and insight. In the Psalms we have the hymn book of the Bible, and in the Proverbs we have pithy sayings of wisdom and virtue for the people. There are bold and fervid strains of imagination, simple biographies, public and private letters, glowing prophecies and forecasts of the future. Thus in this nature-like variety we have something for everyone

for the man and for the little child; for nations wide apart, for

ages far remote. And there is this to be noted, because it is one book made up of many, the value of the rest is not taken away, even if one should be lost. Supposing it could be shown that the Book of Esther or Solomon's Song had no business in the Bible the rest of the book would not be affected by that. Discrepancies in the Chronicles, even if proved, would not shake the trustworthiness of the Gospels any more than the loss of some books from a library would render the rest useless. If it were to be destroyed, it would have to be destroyed in detail, book by book, and everyone of them.

Passing from the Form of the Book let me refer to its Trustworthiness, still keeping for the present to outside matters only. And I may say what I have to say on this point by asking and trying to answer these two questions :(1) Have we the actual manuscripts written by the sacred writers ? (2) If we have not the actual manuscripts have we the actual books?

In asking the first question-Have we the actual manuscripts written by the sacred writers ? one can only answer- -It would be very wonderful if we had. It is a mere question of strength and endurance of material. The usual material for writing upon the prepared leaf of the papyrus plant—was of so frail and brittle a quality that hardly any ancient specimens of it have been preserved, except those hidden away for centuries in Egyptian tombs or other safe places. Vellum or the manufactured skins of antelopes was very costly, and was only used for exceptional purposes. Moreover, because the Christians of the first century had the living presence and voice of the Apostles with them, they would not value their actual writings as much as those who came after them. And even if this had not been the case the manuscripts of those early times had to run the gauntlet, not only of the action of time, and accident, and use, but also of persecution. In the shameful ten years of the Roman


Empire, from A.D. 303–312, the tyrant Diocletian, with a sort of instinct of their value, made a determined attempt to root out the Christian faith by destroying the Christian Scriptures. On pain of death, every one having a copy was commanded to deliver it up to be burnt. The number of those who were weak enough to do this was so considerable that they formed a class and were called traditores or ་ “deliverers up,” and the question of dealing with them when the persecution was over led to a schism in the Church. The result was deplorable, we may be sure. Great numbers of the copies of the Gospels and Epistles were hopelessly gone. But they were not all gone, and as soon as the storm was over the surviving manuscripts were copied with zeal and loving care, and one of the oldest manuscripts we have was probably made about that time. After that an orderly succession of copy after copy was kept up. Sometimes they were made by private Christians for their own use, but more often by professional scribes. Every 'monastery had its scriptorium where the important work was carried on by some of the brethren. Two of the oldest manuscripts we have go back to the fourth century. Several others to the fifth and sixth centuries, and then they grow more and more numerous. The number of manuscripts of the New Testament in public and private libraries probably amounts to nearly two thousand. There are great numbers in Roumania in the possession of noble families whose ancestors fled from Constantinople centuries ago, before the last agony of the Imperial city. The copying of such manuscripts was kept up till the invention of printing, when the slow and laborious process of writing out the Scriptures naturally came to an end.

Passing by the case of the Old Testament and referring only to the New it may be interesting just to mention that the manuscripts are divided into two classes—the Uncial, that is, those written in capital letters, and the Cursive, or those in running hand. The uncial are the oldest, and there

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are five of these which stand out from the others in value. One of them is in Rome, one in St. Petersburg, one in London, one in Cambridge, and one in Paris, so that many nations divide the honour of their possession. The most valuable of the five is the one in the Vatican library at Rome, which from the fact of its being there is called the Codex Vaticanus. It is written on seven hundred and fifty-nine thin and delicate vellum leaves. It is thought by the best authorities to have been written before the Council of Nicæa A.D. 325, because it has a division into chapters and paragraphs which became obsolete after the adoption of the sections and canons of Eusebius, and Eusebius died A.D. 340. Till twenty years ago this manuscript was unrivalled, but in 1859 Professor Tischendorf of Leipsic, in a very remarkable way which has often been told, discovered a manuscript of the New Testament in the Convent of St. Catherine, on Mount Sinai, which is now known as the Codex Sinaiticus. This though almost certainly of the fourth century, is divided according to the sections of Eusebius, and therefore later than the one in the Vatican library. This second manuscript is kept in St. Petersburg. The one in London is called the Codex Alexandrinus, and is in the British Museum, where it may be seen in a glass case. It was presented to Charles I. by the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1628, but originally came from Alexandria.

The fourth great manuscript is in Cambridge, and was presented to the University in 1581 by the French Protestant leader Theodore Beza. It was taken from the monastery of St. Irenæus in Lyons, in 1562, during the French Huguenot wars. It is splendidly bound in a quarto volume of 406 vellum leaves, has lost 128 leaves, and is remarkable as having additions not found in any other manuscript. The cursive manuscripts are as a rule later and therefore less valuable; but there is one in the library of the Town Hall of Leicester, which is interesting and valuable. It is written apparently with a reed, on inferior vellum and coarse paper, and was

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