And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe…
There are thousands of Jehoiakims yet alive who cut the Word of God with their penknives; and my object is to designate a few of them. The first man I shall mention as thus treating the Word of God is the one who receives a part of the Bible, but cuts out portions of it with his penknife, and rejects them. Jehoiakim showed as much indignity toward the scroll when he cut one way as when he cut the other. You might as well behead Moses as to behead Jonah. Yes, I shall take all the Bible or none. No; you shall not rob me of a single word of a single verse of a single chapter of a single book of my Bible. When life, like an ocean, billows up with Rouble, and death comes, and our barque is sea-smitten, with halyards cracked, and white sails flying in shreds, like a maniac's grey locks in the wind — then we will want God's Word to steer us off the rocks, and shine like lighthouses through the dark channels of death, and with hands of light beckon our storm-tossed souls into the harbour. In that last hour take from me my pillow, take away all soothing draughts, take away the faces of family and kindred, take away every helping hand and every consoling voice — alone let me die, on the mountain, on a bed of rock, covered only by a sheet of embroidered frost, under the slap of the night-wind, and breathing out my life on the bosom of the wild, wintry blast, rather than in that last hour take from me my Bible. Stand off, then, ye carping, clipping, meddling critics, with your penknives! I can think of only one right way in which the Bible may be divided. A minister went into a house, and saw a Bible on the stand and said, "What a pity that this Bible should be so torn! You do not seem to take much care of it. Half the leaves are gone." Said the man: "This was my mother's Bible; and my brother John wanted it, and I wanted it; and we could not agree about the matter, and so each took a half. My half has been blessed to my soul, and his half has been blessed to his soul." That is the only way that I can think of in which the Word of God may be rightfully cut with a penknife. The next man that I shall mention as following Jehoiakim's example is the infidel who runs his knife through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and rejects everything. Men strike their knife through this Book, because they say that the light of nature is sufficient. Indeed! Have the fire-worshippers of India, cutting themselves with lancets, until the blood spurts at every pore, found the light of nature sufficient? Has the Bornesian cannibal, gnawing the roasted flesh from human bones, found the light of nature sufficient? No! I call upon the pagodas of superstition, the Brahminic tortures, the infanticide of the Ganges, the bloody wheels of the Juggernaut, to prove the light of nature is not sufficient. A star is beautiful, but it pours no light into the midnight of a sinful soul. The flower is sweet, but it exudes no balm for the heart's wound. All the odours that ever floated from royal conservatory, or princely hanging gardens, give not so much sweetness as is found in one waft from this scriptural mountain of myrrh and frankincense. All the waters that ever leaped in torrent, or foamed in cascade, or fell in summer shower, or hung in morning dew, gave no such coolness to the fevered soul as the smallest drop that ever flashed out from the showering fountains of this Divine Book. The light of nature is not sufficient. Infidels strike their penknife through this Book because they say that it is cruel and indecent. There are things in Ezekiel and Solomon's Song that they don't want read in the families. Ah! if the Bible is so pernicious just show me somebody that has been spoiled by it. Again, they strike their penknife through the Bible because it is full of unexplained mysteries. What, will you not believe anything you cannot explain? Have you finger-nails? You say, "Yes." Explain why, on the tip of your finger, there comes a nail. You cannot tell me. You believe in the law of gravitation; explain it, if you can. I can ask you a hundred questions about your eyes, about your ears, about your face, about your feet, that you cannot answer. And yet you find fault that I cannot answer all the questions you may ask about this Bible. I would not give a farthing for the Bible if I could understand everything in it. I would know that the heights and depths of God's truth were not very great if, with my poor, finite mind, I could reach everything. Again, the infidel strikes his penknife through this Book because he says, if it were God's Book, the whole world would have it. He says that it is not to be supposed that if God had anything to say to the world He would say it only to the small part of the human race who actually possess the Bible. To this I reply that the fact that only a part of the race receives anything is no ground for believing that God did not bestow it. Who made oranges and bananas? You say, God. I ask, How can that be, when thousands of our race never saw an orange or a banana? If God were going to give such things why did He not give them to all? If all the human race had the same climate, the same harvests, the same health, the same advantages, then you might by analogy argue that if He had a Bible at all He would give it to the whole race at the same time. Again, the infidel strikes his penknife through the Book by saying: "You have no right to make the Bible so prominent, because there are other books that have in them great beauty and value." There are grand things in books professing no more than human intelligence. The heathen Bible of the Persians says: "The heavens are a point from the pen of God's perfection.'' "The world is a bud from the bower of His beauty." "The sun is a spark from the light of His wisdom." "The sky is a bubble on the sea of His power." Beautiful! Beautiful! Confucius taught kindness to enemies; the Shaster has great affluence of imagery; the Veda of the Brahmins has ennobling sentiment; but what have you proved by all this? Simply that the Author of the Bible was as wise as all the great men that have ever lived put together; because, after you have gone through all lands, and all ages, and all literatures, and after you have heaped everything excellent together and boiled it down, you have found in all that realm of all the ages but a portion of the wisdom that you find in this one Book. Take it into your heart! Take it into your house! Take it into your shop! Take it into your store! Though you may seem to get along quite well without this Book in your days of prosperity, there will come a time to us all when our only consolation will be this blessed Gospel.
(T. De Witt Talmage.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they went in to the king into the court, but they laid up the roll in the chamber of Elishama the scribe, and told all the words in the ears of the king.