There was an African prince who came to England and was presented to Her Majesty Queen Victoria. This prince asked a very significant question, “What is the secret of England’s greatness?” The queen got a beautifully bound copy of the Bible and presented it to the prince with this statement, “This is the secret of England’s greatness.” I wonder, friend, if England’s decline to a second-rate and then third-rate nation may be tied up in the fact that England has gotten away from the Word of God.
Gladstone, statesman, prime minister, probably one of the greatest legal minds Britain ever produced, said, “Talk about the questions of the day! There is but one question, and that is the Gospel. That can and will correct everything. I am glad to say that about all the men at the top in Great Britain are Christians.” That was way back in the 1800s. Gladstone continued, “I have been in public position fifty-eight years, all but eleven of them in the Cabinet of the British Government, and during those forty-seven years have been associated with sixty of the master minds of the century, and all but five of the sixty were Christians.” I personally think that part of the problems we are having in the world today is that we have too few Christians at the top, too few who are acquainted with the Word of God.
Michael Faraday, perhaps the greatest scientific experimenter back in the 1800s, said, “But why will people go astray, when they have this blessed book of God to guide them?” Sir Isaac Newton, a scientist in the preceding century, said, “If the Bible is true, the time is coming when men shall travel at fifty miles an hour.” And Voltaire, the French skeptic, commented, “Poor Isaac. He was in his dotage when he made that prophecy. It only shows what Bible study will do to an otherwise scientific mind.”
It might be interesting to note what some of our early Presidents had to say about the Bible. John Adams, our second President, said, “I have examined all [that is, all of Scripture] as well as my narrow sphere, my straightened means, and my busy life will allow me, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world. It contains more of my little philosophy than all the libraries I have seen, and such parts of it I cannot reconcile to my little philosophy I postpone for future investigation.” Then President John Quincy Adams said, “I speak as a man of the world to men of the world; and I say to you: search the Scriptures. The Bible is the book above all other to be read at all ages and in all conditions of human life; not to be read once or twice through and then laid aside, but to be read in small portions every day.” And the Presidents back in those days, who made our nation great, did not get us into foreign wars and were able to solve theproblems of the streets. Someone may counter, “But the problems weren’t as complicated then as they are now.” They were for that day, friend. Not only England but also the United States has gotten away from the Word of God. And the farther we get, the more complicated our problemsbecome. Right now there are men in positions of authority in this land who are saying that thereis no solution to our problems. That is the reason I am teaching the Word of God in its entirety—I believe it is the only solution. And, frankly, friend, we had better get back to it.
Another President, Thomas Jefferson, said this about the Bible, “I have always said, and always will say, that the studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make better citizens, better husbands, and better fathers.” This is something to think over today when our citizens are burning down the cities in which they live and when divorce is running rife.
It was Daniel Webster who made this statement, “If there be anything in my style or thoughts to be commended, the credit is due to my kind parents for instilling into my mind an early love of the Scriptures.” What about you today, Christian parent? Are you making a Daniel Webster in your home or a little rebel? Webster also made this statement, “I have read it [the Bible] through many times. I now make a practice of going through it once a year. It is the Book of all others for lawyers as well as divines. I pity the man who cannot find in it a rich supply of thought and rules for conduct.”
Words From The Past
In order to examine ourselves thoroughly, let the case be proposed in the strongest manner. What, if I were to see a Papist, an Arian, a Socinian casting out devils? If I did, I could not forbid even him, without convicting myself of bigotry. Yea, if it could be supposed that I should see a Jew, a Deist, or a Turk, doing the same, were I to forbid him either directly or indirectly, I should be no better than a bigot still.
O stand clear of this! But be not content with not forbidding any that casts out devils. It is well to go thus far; but do not stop here. If you will avoid all bigotry, go on. In every instance of this kind, whatever the instrument be, acknowledge the finger of God. And not only acknowledge, but rejoice in his work, and praise his name with thanksgiving. Encourage whomsoever God is pleased to employ, to give himself wholly up thereto. Speak well of him wheresoever you are; defend his character and his mission.Enlarge, as far as you can, his sphere of action; show him all kindness in word and deed; and cease not to cry to God in his behalf, that he may save both himself and them that hear him.
I need add but one caution: Think not the bigotry of another is any excuse for your own. It is not impossible, that one who casts out devils himself, may yet forbid you so to do. You may observe, this is the very case mentioned in the text. The Apostles forbade another to do what they did themselves. But beware of retorting. It is not your part to return evil for evil. Another’s not observing the direction of our Lord, is no reason why you should neglect it. Nay, but let him have all the bigotry to himself. If he forbid you, do not you forbid him. Rather labour, and watch, and pray the more, to confirm your love toward him. If he speak all manner of evil of you, speak all manner of good (that is true) of him. (John Wesley from here)
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