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Origin, Nature, and Development
Of the Religion of the Bible
“Religion's all. Descending from the skies
To wretched man, the goddess in her left
THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 915047
ASTOR, LENOY AND TILDEN FOUNDATIUNS R
by Gospel Trumpet Company.
PREFACE. Believers in Christianity usually appeal to the Bible as the source of authority for their religion. Such appeal is all that is essential wherever the divine Authorship of the Bible is recognized. In the present work, however, I have dealt with the subject of revealed religion from the standpoint of man's moral and mental necessities, showing his need of divine illumination, and arriving at the conclusion that CHRISTIANITY is the only religion adapted to his requirements and must therefore be the true religion and the only successful religion for the moral elevation and redemption of mankind. Contrasted with all other forms of religion, Christianity, because of its beautiful nature and marvelous success, is in a class by itself, thus clearly demonstrating the fact that it proceeded from a source higher than human.
I have endeavored to show that there has, from the earliest period, been a constant unfolding and developing of the religion of the Bible in accordance with a prearranged plan. That such a revelation from God to man was essential was made clear by a consideration of the natural constitution of man himself. As this revelation increased from age to age, the rocord of its progress was written by living witnesses, and thus we have our Bible, the Book of Life for the world. So, after all, the authority for the Christian religion lies, not in the Bible itself as a book, but in the source from which the Bible came. “For 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 Ghost."
The beneficial effect of revealed religion is shown by the mental and the moral elevation of mankind wherever the Bible has gone with its message of mercy. By imposing wholesome restraints upon human pride and selfishness true religion has conserved the natural energies of man and contributed powerfully toward the refining, purifying, and elevating results manifested in the highest type of modern civilization. Let the work of evangelizing the world with the pure religion of Jesus go forward!
"Thou whose Almighty word
And took their flight,
'Let there be light!'"
Yours in the interest of the Truth,
F. G. Smith. Grand Junction, Mich., Oct. 1, 1910.
INTRODUCTION. Christianity is a mighty factor in the history of world-progress. Believing her origin to be divine, and fully convinced of the truth and justice of her claims, millions have arrayed themselves under her banner; and every passing year multitudes still join her ranks. Exclusive in her claims and opposed to every principle of human selfishness, she has successfully fought her way against contending rivals and the antagonizing forces of evil men, and today she stands crowned triumphant—the most brilliant example of endurance and of glory in the entire history of religious phenomena. Whence came this wondrous moral force?—from heaven, or from men? To consider the origin, the nature, and the development of this religion of the Bible is the object of the present work.
Man possesses a religious nature. He intuitively desires to worship something. This has been his uniform experience in all countries and in all ages. It is on account of this universality of religious sentiment that philosophers have applied to man the generic appellation “the religious animal.” But his conception of spirit-powers and of divine worship, independent of direct revela