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it is possible to throttle unconscious deterioration.
To the temptation of using powers and opportunities for ends that disregard God's righteousness, be not slow to say, “ Thou shalt not tempt the Lord Thy God."
To the temptation of success at the price of moral rectitude “ It is written ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord Thy God, and Him only shalt Thou serve.'”
The Son of God goes forth to war
A Kingly crown to gain.
Who follows in His train?"
THE MASTERY OF THE BOOK
“The ears of all the people were attentive unto the reading of the words of the book."--NEHEMIAH 8:3.
LEADING guilty to increasing the agony of a world already surfeited with books, Robert
Burton, the Oxford sage, in his “ Anatomy of Melancholy,” recalls the complaint first uttered by the Wise Man of long ago: “Of the writing of many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness to the flesh." “ 'Tis most true,” slyly comments the quaint Burton. “In this scribbling age, especially, wherein the number of books is without number (as a worthy man saith), presses be oppressed,' and out of an itching humour that every man hath to show himself desirous of fame and honour, he will write no matter what and scrape together it boots not whence."
But what would the Wise Man, who was King in Jerusalem three thousand years ago, and the Other Wise Man, who was King of English literati three hundred years ago, say, if they could see the formidable announcement of ten thousand new books in this country alone each year and listen to the rumbling of the printing presses multiplying
these into ten million copies! And what do we say of such formidable literary output?
We rejoice in the great variety of books that are at our command. Our library is our chief joy. Rich argosies of the poetic and prose treasuries of the past, there lie at anchor awaiting our command. New gems of truth just discovered by some diligent brain-toiler of today are constantly taking their place for enlightenment. Poet and essayist, philosopher and scientist, biographer and humourist, bid us share their wealth without money and without price.
As happy-hearted vacationists we still love to take with us the bright-winged messengers of the books. By the cool ocean or in the depths of mountain retreat we delight to follow Stevenson's " Travels with a Donkey,” or to voyage with him and his companion in the “Cigaret and the Arethuse"; or with Stewart Edward White to feel the mystery of “The Silent Places” or the compelling power of the “ Blazed Trail”; or with Locke taste the romantic life of " The Beloved Vagabond.”
Yes, we rejoice in the wealth of our limitless sea of books. But sometimes the very lavishness of our supply becomes bewildering and the very embarrassment of riches compels a selection and choosing of the most desirable.
An idle summer's day may give a little excuse for McCutcheon's “ Brewster's Millions"
Hand-made Gentleman." But doesn't the universal comment “Of course, it's absolutely improb
able" taboo such a choice for a steady program? What passing folly is there in wasting golden hours by cramming the mind full of the endless supply of novels that will not of themselves have a natural life of more than a few months.
So the wise one tries to choose a few from among the confusing multitude. President Eliot has made his selection. Like the wise man he is, he has made it embrace a large range, but you will notice that most of his choice are biographical or poetic. We do not know what basis he used for selection. But a book that is interesting, human, true to life, of moral worth, that is educative, that is an authority in its line and charming in style surely commends itself.
Many books possess one or the other of these qualities, but few indeed, combine them all. So few are these comprehensive books that where one is discovered, like an unexpected treasure, it should command our immediate interest and attention. For such a book is a masterful book, and can be made to master your life. Such a mastery must have been inherent in that long-lost book at whose public reading it was recorded, “And the ears of all the people were attentive unto the words of the book."
A courageous leader in the fourth century before Christ was triumphantly aiding a handful of returned Jewish exiles in the rebuilding of their sacred ancestral city and its temple. They find a copy of the law, the old book of the Covenant.
Just a portion of what we call the Pentateuch was it, just a portion of the first five books of our Old Testament. So strange was the
So strange was the power and fascination of that book that all the people listened with attentive ears. If even a portion of the book (and that not its most compelling part) could so move men, how great must be its power in all its comprehensive completeness, as we possess it, today?
It is worth while to study the mastery of this book and feel the Bible's imperial sway over conscience, mind, and heart.
No stronger testimony to the mastery of the book could be borne than that which the great English historian, Green, gives in his fascinating history in the eighth chapter, the chapter on Puritan England. Says he, “No greater moral change ever passed over a nation than passed over England during the years which parted the middle of the reign of Elizabeth from the meeting of the long Parliament.
England became the people of a book and that book was the Bible. It was as yet the one English book that was familiar to every Englishman; it was read at church and read at home, and everywhere. Its words as they fell on ears which custom had deadened, kindled startling enthusiasm. When Bishop Bonner set up the first six Bibles in St. Paul's many well-disposed people used much to resort to the hearing thereof; especially when they could get any audible voice to read them; while the