TRIBUTES TO CHRIST AND THE BIBLE
By INTELLIGENT MEN WHO WERE NOT KNOWN AS ACTIVE CHRISTIANS
"Their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges."-Deut 32:31.
"Young man, my advice to you is that you cultivate an acquaintance with and firm belief in the Holy Scriptures, for this is your certain interest. I think Christ's system of morals and religion, as He left them with us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see."
"I have said and always will say that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make better citizens, better fathers, and better husbands."
"If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but, if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity. The Bible is the book of all others for lawyers as well as divines, and I pity the man who cannot find in it a rich supply of thought and rule of conduct. I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God. The miracles which He wrought establish in my mind His personal authority and render it proper for me to believe what He asserts."
"Jesus is the most perfect of all men that have yet appeared."
"I know men, and I tell you Jesus Christ was not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and other religions the distance of infinity. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and myself founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon sheer force. Jesus Christ alone founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men will die for Him. In every other existence but that of Christ how many imperfections! From the first day to the last He is the same; majestic and simple; infinitely firm and infinitely gentle. He proposes to our faith a series of mysteries and commands with authority that we should believe them, giving no other reason than those tremendous words, 'I am God.'
"The Bible contains a complete series of acts and of historical men to explain time and eternity, such as no other religion has to offer. If it is not the true religion, one is very excusable in being deceived; for everything in it is grand and worthy of God. The more I consider the Gospel, the more I am assured that there is nothing there which is not beyond the march of events and above the human mind. Even the impious themselves have never dared to deny the sublimity of the Gospel, which inspires them with a sort of compulsory veneration. What happiness that Book procures for those who believe it!"
"It is a belief in the Bible which has served me as the guide of my moral and literary life. No criticism will be able to perplex the confidence which we have entertained of a writing whose contents have stirred up and given life to our vital energy by its own. The farther the ages advance in civilization the more will the Bible be used."
"Jesus is our divinest symbol. Higher has the human thought not yet reached. A symbol of quite perennial, infinite character: whose significance will ever demand to be anew inquired into and anew made manifest."
"The most perfect being who has ever trod the soil of this planet was called the Man of Sorrows."
"I commit my soul to the mercy of God, through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and exhort my dear children humbly to try to guide themselves by the teachings of the New Testament." (in his last will and testament)
"I commend my soul into the hands of God, my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting."
(in his last will and testament)
"If ever man was God, or God man, Jesus Christ was both."
"To the Bible men will return because they cannot do without it. The true God is and must be pre-eminently the God of the Bible, the eternal who makes for righteousness, from whom Jesus came forth, and whose spirit governs the course of humanity."
"No better lessons can I teach my child than those of the Bible."
"I have always been strongly in favor of secular education without theology, but I must confess that I have been no less seriously perplexed to know by what practical measures the religious feeling, which is the essential basis of moral conduct, is to be kept up in the present utterly chaotic state of opinion on these matters without the use of the Bible."
"Who among His disciples, or among their proselytes, was capable of inventing the sayings of Jesus, or imagining the life and character ascribed to Him? Certainly not the fishermen of Galilee; as certainly not Saint Paul, whose character and idiosyncrasies were of a totally different sort; and still less the early Christian writers. When this pre-eminent genius is combined with the qualities of probably the greatest moral reformer and martyr to His mission who ever existed upon earth, religion cannot be said to have made a bad choice in pitching on this man as the ideal representative and guide of humanity; nor even now would it be easy, even for an unbeliever, to find a better translation of the rule of virtue from the abstract into the concrete, than to endeavor so to live that Christ would approve his life."
"Can it be possible that the sacred personage whose history the Scriptures contain should be a mere man? Where is the man, where the philosopher, who could so live and so die without weakness and without ostentation? When Plato describes his imaginary righteous man, loaded with all the punishments of guilt, yet meriting the highest rewards of virtue, he exactly describes the character of Jesus Christ. What an infinite disproportion between the son of Sophroniscus and the Son of Mary. Socrates dies with honor, surrounded by his disciples listening to the most tender words-the easiest death that one could wish to die. Jesus dies in pain, dishonor, mockery, the object of universal cursing-the most horrible death that one could fear. At the receipt of the cup of poison, Socrates blesses him who could not give it to him without tears; Jesus, while suffering the sharpest pains, prays for His most bitter enemies. If Socrates lived and died like a philosopher, Jesus lived and died like a god.
"Peruse the books of philosophers with all their pomp of diction. How meager, how contemptible are they when compared with the Scriptures! ... The majesty of the Scriptures strikes me with admiration."
"Christ's moral character rose beyond comparison above that of any other great man of antiquity. No one was ever so gentle, so humble, so kind as He. In His spirit He lived in the house of His heavenly Father. His moral life is wholly penetrated by God. He was the master of all, because He was really their brother."
"All history is incomprehensible without Him. He created the object and fixed the starting point of the future faith of humanity. He is the incomparable man to whom the universal conscience has decreed the title of Son of God, and that with justice. In the first rank of this grand family of the true sons of God we must place Jesus. The highest consciousness of God which ever existed in the breast of humanity was that of Jesus. Repose now in Thy glory, noble founder! Thy work is finished, Thy divinity established. Thou shalt become the cornerstone of humanity so entirely that to tear Thy name from this world would rend it to its foundations. Between Thee and God there will no longer be any distinction. Complete Conqueror of death, take possession of Thy kingdom, whither shall follow Thee, by the royal road which Thou hast traced, ages of adoring worshipers. Whatever may be the surprises of the future, Jesus will never be surpassed. His worship will grow young without ceasing; His legend will call forth tears without end; His sufferings will melt the noblest hearts; and all ages will proclaim that among the sons of men there is none born greater than Jesus. Even Paul is not Jesus. How far removed are we all from Thee, dear Master! Where is Thy mildness, Thy poetry? Thou to whom a flower didst bring pleasure and ecstasy, dost Thou recognize as Thy disciples these wranglers, these men furious over their prerogatives, and desiring that everything should be given to them? They are men; Thou art a god."
"The wildest dreams of their rabbis have been far exceeded. Has not Jesus conquered Europe and changed its name to Christendom? All countries that refuse the cross wither, and the time will come, when the vast communities and countless myriads of America and Australia, looking upon Europe as Europe now looks upon Greece, and wondering how so small a space could have achieved such great deeds, will find music in the songs of Zion and solace in the parables of Galilee."
"The experiences of life, its sufferings and grief, have shaken my soul and have broken the foundation upon which I formerly thought I could build. Full of faith in the sufficiency of science, I thought to have found in it a sure refuge from all the contingencies of life. This illusion is vanished; when the tempest came, which plunged me in sorrow, the moorings, the cable of science, broke like thread. Then I seized upon that help which many before me have laid hold of. I sought and found peace in God. Since then I have certainly not abandoned science, but I have assigned to it another place in my life."
When a man of brains speaks well of the Bible and Christ he consciously or unconsciously bears tribute to the inspiration of the one and the deity of the other.
The Bible claims to be a revelation from God, and its character sustains its claim. "The Word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel" (Ezek 1:13). "The Lord said unto me," exclaimed Jeremiah (Jer 1:7). "Hear the Word of the Lord," says Isaiah (Isa 1:10). "Thus saith the Lord," rings through the Old Testament. And the New Testament puts the seal of inspiration upon the Old. "The Holy Spirit spake by the mouth of David" (Acts 1:16). "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim 3:16). "The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:21).
If the men who wrote this Book were not inspired, they were liars, and we have to explain how the Book which contains the highest morality ever given to earth could be written by a set of liars. And these bad men at the same time wrote their own doom, for there is no vice more severely condemned in the Bible than deception. To claim that good men wrote the Bible, and deny its inspiration, is on a par with the claim that Christ was a good man, while He pretended to be what He was not.
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