The Influence Of The Bible Upon The Human Conscience. -- By: J. K. Rankin

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 057:226 (Apr 1900)
Article: The Influence Of The Bible Upon The Human Conscience.
Author: J. K. Rankin


The Influence Of The Bible Upon The Human Conscience.1

President J. K. Rankin, D.D., LL.D.

What differentiates the Hebrew cosmogony from the cosmogonies of the other early nations of the earth is not merely its dignity, its simple and sublime movement of particulars, its flexibility, its facility of adapting itself to the scientific progress of the passing generations of mankind, its freedom from puerilities, but its ethical character. There is a first great Cause: yes; out of nothing, nothing comes. There is a material Sovereign: yes; the world-economy of matter has its supreme ruler. There is providence, superintendence. From atom throughout the vastness of the great whole, one will is formative and regnant. “All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made, that was made.” “By him all things consist” But what of man? More important than nebulae, than star-dust, than day and night, than liquid and solid, than the firmament with its great lights, than the moving creatures in the waters and on the land, than the fowls that fly on strong wing heavenward, than the beast and the creeping things, is the being made in God’s image, on whom rests his original benediction, and whom he makes his vicegerent to subdue the earth and ail the forces that are regal in it. What of man? This is the great problem for solution. The carpenter theory of creation, as it is called, as though the system were nailed together in a car-

penter’s shop, and then set up under the blue concave; the egg theory, the tortoise theory, as against the theory that material things have been evolved from protoplasm, is of comparative unimportance, if man can still discover, not so much what he was made out of, and by what process, but who made him, and what God, that Maker, made him for, and requires at his hands. And here in this Hebrew cosmogony,—if derived from others, why so much wiser than they? and if they are derived from it, why have men eliminated the thing most important?—here in this Hebrew cosmogony, is, at least, an attempted answer to this great ethical question.

The Bible is preeminent in its influence upon the human conscience. It indeed stirs the intellect. It makes a man think: do his best thinking. But it is not thinking that saves men. There is a great deal of thinking done, when it is no longer of avail, when things cannot be remedied. There is more thinking done in penitentiaries than in colleges and universities. The devils believe and tremble. They believe what they are thinking. The rich man, who went to perdition and was in torment there, did more thinking than he had ever done before .in all his life. Faring sumptuously every day,...

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