William Jennings Bryan.

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searching find out God?" a negative answer was implied, but we can see
manifestations of God's power everywhere; in the suns and planets that,
revolving, whirl through space, held in position by forces centripetal
and centrifugal; we see it in the mountains rent asunder and upturned
by a force not only superhuman but beyond the power of man to conceive.
Captain Crawford, the poet-scout, in describing the mountains of the
West has used a phrase which often comes into my mind: "Where the hand
of God is seen."

We see manifestation of God's power in the ebb and flow of the tides; in
the mighty "shoreless rivers of the ocean"; in the suspended water in
the clouds - billions of tons, seemingly defying the law of gravitation
while they await the command that sends them down in showers of
blessings. We behold it in the lightning's flash and the thunder's roar,
and in the invisible germ of life that contains within itself the power
to gather its nourishment from the earth and air, fulfill its mission
and propagate its kind.

We see all about us, also, conclusive proofs of the infinite
intelligence and fathomless love of the Heavenly Father. On lofty
mountain summits He builds His mighty reservoirs and piles high the
winter snows, which, melting, furnish the water for singing brooks, for
the hidden veins, and for the springs that pour out their refreshing
flood through the smitten rocks. At His touch the same element that
furnishes ice to cool the fevered brow furnishes also the steam to
move man's commerce on sea and land. He imprisons in roaring cataracts
exhaustless energy for the service of man: He stores away in the bowels
of the earth beds of coal and rivers of oil; He studs the canyon's
frowning walls with precious metals and priceless gems; He extends His
magic wand, and the soil becomes rich with fertility; the early and
the latter rains supply the needed moisture, and the sun, with its
marvellous alchemy, transmutes base clay into golden grain. He gives us
in infinite variety the fruits of the orchard, the vegetables of the
garden and the, berries of the woods. He gives us the sturdy oak, the
fruitful nut-tree and the graceful palm.

In compassion He makes the horse to bear our burdens and the cow to
supply the dairy; and He gives us the faithful hen. He makes the fishes
to scour the sea for food and then yield themselves up to the table; He
sends the bee forth to gather sweets for man and birds to sing his cares
away. He paints the skies with the gray of the morning and the glow of
the sunset; He sets His radiant bow in the clouds and copies its colours
in myriad flowers. He gives to the babe a mother's love, to the child a
father's care, to parents the joy of children, to brothers and sisters
the sweet association of the fireside, and He gives to all the friend.
Well may the Psalmist exclaim, "The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament showeth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech,
and night unto night sheweth knowledge." Surely everything that hath
breath should praise the Lord.

It would seem that a knowledge of nature would be sufficient to convince
any unprejudiced mind that there is a designer back of the design, a
Creator back of the creation, but, for a reason which I shall treat
more fully in a future lecture, some of the scientists have become
materialistic. The doctrine of evolution has closed their hearts to
the plainest of spiritual truths and opened their minds to the wildest
guesses made in the name of science. If they find a piece of pottery
in a mound, supposed to be ancient, they will venture to estimate the
degree of civilization of the designer from the rude scratches on its
surface, and yet they cannot discern the evidences of design which
the Creator has written upon every piece of His handiwork. They can
understand how an invisible force, like gravitation, can draw all matter
down to the earth but they cannot comprehend an invisible God who draws
all spirits upward to His throne.

The Bible's proof of God becomes increasingly necessary to meet the
agnosticism and atheism that are the outgrowth of modern mind-worship. I
shall speak of the Bible in my second lecture; I refer to it here merely
for the purpose of pointing out the harmony between the spoken word and
the evidence furnished by God's handiwork throughout the universe. The
wisdom of the Bible writers is more than human; the prophecies proclaim
a Supreme Ruler who, though inhabiting all space, deigns to speak
through the hearts and minds and tongues of His children.

The Christ of whom the Bible tells furnishes the highest evidence of
the power, the wisdom, and the love of Jehovah. He is a living Christ,
present to-day in the increasing influence that He exerts over the hearts
of men and over the history of nations.

We not only have God in the Bible and God in nature but we have God in
life and accessible to all. It is not necessary to spend time in trying
to comprehend God - a task too great for the finite mind; we can "taste
and see that the Lord is good." We can test His grace and prove His
presence. The negative arguments of the atheist and the indecision of
the agnostic will not disturb the faith of one who daily communes with
the Heavenly Father, and, by obedience, lays hold upon His promise.

Belief in God is almost universal and the effect of this belief is so
vast that one is appalled at the thought of what social conditions
would be if reverence for God were erased from every heart. A sense of
responsibility to God for every thought and word and deed is the most
potent influence that acts upon the life - for one man kept in the
straight and narrow way by fear of prison walls a multitude are
restrained by those invisible walls that conscience rears about us,
walls that are stronger than the walls of stone.

At first the fear of God - fear that sin will bring punishment - is
needed; "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." But as one
learns to appreciate the goodness of God and the plenitude of His mercy,
love takes the place of fear and obedience becomes a pleasure; "His
delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day
and night."

The paramount need of the world to-day, as it was nineteen hundred years
ago, is a whole-hearted, whole-souled, whole-minded faith in the Living
God. A hesitating admission that there is a God is not sufficient; Man
must love with _all_ his heart, and with _all_ his soul, and with _all_
his mind, and with _all_ his strength, - and to love he must believe.
Belief in God must be a conviction that controls every nerve and fibre
of his being and dominates every impulse and energy of his life.

Belief in God is necessary to prayer. It is not sufficient to believe
that there is an Intelligence permeating the universe; nothing less than
a _personal_ God - a God interested in each one of His children and ready
to give at any moment the aid that is needed - nothing less than this
can lead one to communion with the Heavenly Father through prayer.
Evolutionists have attempted to retain the form of prayer while denying
that God answers prayer. They argue that prayer has a reflex action
upon the petitioner and reconciles him to his lot. This argument might
justify one in thinking prayer good enough for _others_ who believe,
but it is impossible for one to be fervent in prayer himself if he
is convinced that his pleas do not reach a prayer-hearing and a
prayer-answering God. Prayer becomes a mockery when faith is gone, just
as Christianity becomes a mere form when prayer is gone. If the words of
the Bible have any meaning at all one must believe that God "_is_, and
that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

Belief in God is necessary to that confidence in His providence which is
the source of the Christian's calmness in hours of trial. We soon reach
the limitations of our strength and would despair but for our confidence
in the infinite wisdom of God. David expresses this when he says, "Unto
the upright there ariseth light in the darkness. He ... shall not be
afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord" (Ps.
112).

In my youth, my father often had me read to him Bryant's "Ode to a
Waterfowl" and it became my favourite poem. I know of no more comforting
words outside of Holy Writ than those in the last stanza:

"He who from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight;
In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright."

Belief in God gives courage. The Christian believes that every word
spoken in behalf of truth will have its influence and that every deed
done for the right will weigh in the final account. What matters it to
the believer whether his eyes behold the victory and his voice mingles
in the shouts of triumph, or whether he dies in the midst of the
conflict!

"Yea, tho' thou lie upon the dust,
When they who helped thee flee in fear,
Die full of hope and manly trust,
Like those who fell in battle here.

Another hand thy sword shall wield,
Another hand the standard wave,
Till from the trumpet's mouth is pealed,
The blast of triumph o'er thy grave."

Only those who believe attempt the seemingly impossible, and, by
attempting, prove that one, with God, can chase a thousand and two put
ten thousand to flight. I can imagine that the early Christians, who
were carried into the Coliseum to make a spectacle for spectators more
cruel than the beasts, were entreated by their doubting companions not
to endanger their lives. But, kneeling in the center of the arena, they
prayed and sang until they were devoured. How helpless they seemed, and
measured by every human rule, how hopeless was their cause! And yet
within a few decades the power which they invoked proved mightier
than the legions of the emperor and the faith in which they died was
triumphant o'er all the land. It is said that those who went to mock at
their sufferings returned asking themselves: "What is it that can enter
into the heart of man and make him die as these die?" They were greater
conquerors in their death than they could have been had they purchased
life by a surrender of their faith.

What would have been the fate of the Church if the early Christians had
had as little faith as many of our Christians of to-day? And, if the
Christians of to-day had the faith of the martyrs, how long would it
be before the prophecy were fulfilled - "every knee shall bow and every
tongue confess"?

Belief in God is the basis of every moral code. Morality cannot be put
on as a garment and taken off at will. It is a power within; it works
out from the heart as a spring pours forth its flood. It is not safe for
a weak Christian to associate intimately with the world because he may
be influenced by others instead of influencing others. But one need
not fear when his morality derives its energy from connection with the
Heavenly Father. Just as the water from a hose, because it comes from a
reservoir above, will cleanse a muddy pool without danger of a single
drop of pollution entering the hose, so the Christian can go into
infected areas and among those diseased by sin without fear of
contamination so long as he is prompted by a sincere desire to serve and
is filled with a heaven-born longing for souls.

Joseph gives us a splendid illustration of strength inspired by faith.
Reason fails when one is punished for righteousness' sake; only a belief
in God can sustain one in such an hour of trial and make him enter a
dungeon rather than surrender his integrity.

We need this belief in God in our dealings with nations as well as in
the control of our own conduct; it is necessary to the establishment of
justice. Without that belief one cannot understand how sin brings its
own punishment. Among the beasts strength is accompanied by no sense of
responsibility; only man understands - and then only when he believes in
God - that he must restrain his power and respect the rights of others.
Only man understands - and then only when he believes in God - that the
laws of the Almighty protect the innocent by bringing upon the sinner
the effects of his own sin. No nation, however great, and no group of
nations, however strong, can do wrong with impunity. The very doing of
wrong works the ruin of those who are guilty, no matter how powerless
their victims may be to protect or avenge themselves.

Most of the crimes committed by nations are due to an attempt on the
part of those in authority to establish for nations a system of morals
totally different from that which is binding upon the individual.
Nothing but a real belief in God and confidence in the immutability of
His decrees can stay the arm of strength in individual or nation.

Belief in God is the basis of brotherhood; we are brothers because we
are children of one God. We trace through the common parent of all
the tie that unites the offspring in one great family. The spirit of
brotherhood is impossible without faith in God, the Father, and peace,
at home and abroad, is impossible without the spirit of brotherhood.

One must believe in God in order to be interested in the carrying out of
the Creator's plans. In the prayer which Christ suggested as a form for
His followers, interest in the coming of God's kingdom stands first.
The petition begins with adoration of the Supreme Being and in the next
sentence the heart pours out its desire in an appeal for the coming of
that day when the will of God shall be done in earth as it is done in
heaven. It is proof of the supreme importance of this attitude that this
petition comes before the request for daily bread; it comes even before
the appeal for forgiveness. How quickly the prayer would be answered if
all who utter it would rise from their knees and make the hastening of
God's kingdom the uppermost thought in their minds throughout the day!

Finally, belief in God is necessary to belief in immortality. If there
is no God there is no hereafter. When, therefore, one drives God out of
the universe he closes the door of hope upon himself.

A belief in immortality not only consoles the individual, but it exerts
a powerful influence in promoting justice between individuals. If one
actually thinks that man dies as the brute dies, he will yield more
easily to the temptation to do injustice to his neighbour when the
circumstances are such as to promise security from detection. But if
one really expects to meet again, and live eternally with those whom he
knows to-day, he is restrained from evil deeds by the fear of endless
remorse even when not actuated by higher motives. We do not know what
rewards are in store for us or what punishments may be reserved, but
if there were no other it would be no light punishment for one who
deliberately wrongs another to have to live forever in the company of
the person wronged and have his littleness and selfishness laid bare.

The Creator has not left us in doubt on the subject of immortality. He
has given to every created thing a tongue that proclaims a life beyond
the grave.

If the Father deigns to touch with divine power the cold and pulseless
heart of the buried acorn and to make it burst forth from its prison
walls, will He leave neglected in the earth the soul of man, made in
the image of his Creator? If He stoops to give to the rose-bush, whose
withered blossoms float upon the autumn breeze, the sweet assurance of
another springtime, will He refuse the words of hope to the sons of men
when the frosts of winter come? If matter, mute and inanimate, though
changed by the forces of nature into a multitude of forms, can never
die, will the imperial spirit of man suffer annihilation when it has
paid a brief visit like a royal guest to this tenement of clay? No, He
who, notwithstanding His apparent prodigality, created nothing without
a purpose, and wasted not a single atom in all His creation, has made
provision for a future life in which man's universal longing for
immortality will find its realization. I am as sure that we shall live
again as I am sure that we live to-day.

In Cairo, I secured a few grains of wheat that had slumbered for more
than thirty centuries in an Egyptian tomb. As I looked at them this
thought came into my mind: If one of those grains had been planted
on the banks of the Nile the year after it grew, and all its lineal
descendants had been planted and replanted from that time until now,
its progeny would to-day be sufficiently numerous to feed the teeming
millions of the world. An unbroken chain of life connects the earliest
grains of wheat with the grains that we sow and reap. There is in the
grain of wheat an invisible something which has power to discard the
body that we see, and from earth and air fashion a new body so much
like the old one that we cannot tell the one from the other. If this
invisible germ of life in the grain of wheat can thus pass unimpaired
through three thousand resurrections, I shall not doubt that my soul has
power to clothe itself with a body suited to its new existence, when
this earthly frame has crumbled into dust.




II

THE BIBLE


Jesus Christ not only endorsed the Old Testament as authoritative, but
bore witness to its eternal truth. "Think not," He said, "that I am come
to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to
fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot
or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled"
(Matt. 5: 17, 18).

When one's belief in God becomes the controlling passion of his life;
when he loves God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his
mind and with all his strength he is anxious to learn God's will and
ready to accept the Bible as the Word of God. All that he asks is
sufficient evidence of its inspiration.

After so many hundreds of millions have adopted the Bible as their guide
for so many centuries, the burden of proof would seem on those who
reject it.

The Bible is either the word of God or the work of man. Those who regard
it as a man-made book should be challenged to put their theory to the
test. If man made the Bible, he is, unless he has degenerated, able to
make as good a book to-day.

Judged by human standards, man is far better prepared to write a Bible
now than he was when our Bible was written. The characters whose words
and deeds are recorded in the Bible were members of a single race; they
lived among the hills of Palestine in a territory scarcely larger than
one of our counties. They did not have printing presses and they lacked
the learning of the schools; they had no great libraries to consult, no
steamships to carry them around the world and make them acquainted with
the various centers of ancient civilization; they had no telegraph wires
to bring them the news from the ends of the earth and no newspapers to
spread before them each morning the doings of the day before. Science
had not unlocked Nature's door and revealed the secrets of rocks below
and stars above. From what a scantily supplied storehouse of knowledge
they had to draw, compared with the unlimited wealth of information at
man's command to-day! And yet these Bible characters grappled with
every problem that confronts mankind, from the creation of the world to
eternal life beyond the tomb. They gave us a diagram of man's existence
from the cradle to the grave and set up warning signs at every dangerous
point.

The Bible gives us the story of the birth, the words, the works, the
crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension of Him whose coming
was foretold by prophecy, whose arrival was announced by angel voices,
singing Peace and Good-will - the story of Him who gave to the world a
code of morality superior to anything that the world had known before or
has known since.

Let the atheists and the materialists produce a better Bible than ours,
if they can. Let them collect the best of their school to be found among
the graduates of universities - as many as they please and from every
land. Let the members of this selected group travel where they will,
consult such libraries as they like, and employ every modern means of
swift communication. Let them glean in the fields of geology, botany,
astronomy, biology, and zoology, and then roam at will wherever science
has opened a way; let them take advantage of all the progress in art and
in literature, in oratory and in history - let them use to the full every
instrumentality that is employed in modern civilization; and when they
have exhausted every source, let them embody the results of their best
intelligence in a book and offer it to the world as a substitute for
this Bible of ours. Have they the confidence that the prophets of Baal
had in their god? Will they try? If not, what excuse will they give? Has
man so fallen from his high estate, that we cannot rightfully expect as
much of him now as nineteen centuries ago? Or does the Bible come to us
from a source that is higher than man?

But the case is even stronger. The opponents of the Bible cannot take
refuge in the plea that man is retrograding. They loudly proclaim that
man has grown and that he is growing still. They boast of a world-wide
advance and their claim is founded upon fact. In all matters except
in the "science of how to live," man has made wonderful progress. The
mastery of the mind over the forces of nature seems almost complete, so
far do we surpass the ancients in harnessing the water, the wind and the
lightning.

For ages, the rivers plunged down the mountainsides and exhausted their
energies without any appreciable contribution to man's service; now they
are estimated as so many units of horse-power, and we find that their
fretting and foaming was merely a language which they employed to tell
us of their strength and of their willingness to work for us. And, while
falling water is becoming each a day a larger factor in burden-bearing,
water, rising in the form of steam, is revolutionizing the
transportation methods of the world.

The wind, that first whispered its secret of strength to the flapping
sail, is now turning the wheel at the well, and our flying machines have
taken possession of the air.

Lightning, the red demon that, from the dawn of Creation, has been
rushing down its zigzag path through the clouds, as if intent only
upon spreading death, metamorphosed into an errand-boy, brings us
illumination from the sun and carries our messages around the globe.

Inventive genius has multiplied the power of a human arm and supplied
the masses with comforts of which the rich did not dare to dream a few
centuries ago. Science is ferreting out the hidden causes of disease and
teaching us how to prolong life. In every line, except in the line of
character-building, the world seems to have been made over, but these
marvellous changes only emphasize the fact that man, too, must be born
again, while they show how impotent are material things to touch the
soul of man and transform him into a spiritual being. Wherever the moral
standard is being lifted up - wherever life is becoming larger in the
vision that directs it and richer in its fruitage, the improvement is
traceable to the Bible and to the influence of the God and Christ of
whom the Bible tells.

The atheist and the materialist must confess that man should be able to
produce a better book to-day than man, unaided, could have produced in
any previous age. The fact that they have tried, time and time again,
only to fail each time more hopelessly, explains why they will not - why
they cannot - accept the challenge thrown down by the Christian world to
produce a book worthy to take the Bible's place.

They have begged to their God to answer with fire - appealed to inanimate
matter with an earnestness that is pathetic; they have employed in the
worship of blind force a faith greater than religion requires, but their
God is asleep. How long will they allow the search for strata of stone
and fragments of fossil and decaying skeletons that are strewn around
the house to absorb their thoughts to the exclusion of the architect
who planned it all? How long will the agnostic, closing his eyes to
the plainest truths, cry, "Night, night," when the sun in his meridian
splendour announces that noon is here?

Those who reject the Bible ignore its claim to inspiration. This in
itself makes them enemies of the Book of books, because the Bible
characters profess to speak by inspiration, and what they say bears the
stamp of the supernatural. "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by
the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21).


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