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                       THE BIBLE.

  THIS book of books is God's priceless gift to man. Other
books come and go, but it remains. Others become obsolete,
old-fashioned and go into disuse, but the Bible, always new, is
the text-book of every age and the word of life for every indi-
vidual. It is history, it is law and prophecy, art, science and
ethics. It contains to a most wonderful extent the necessary
rules for right living. If its precepts are followed, it lifts its ad-
herents to the highest point of civilized life. It gives an impulse
to industrial pursuits, and leads mankind on and on to the con-
quest of the world for God, its Divine author.
  But above all things, and most directly to mankind, the Bible
is the word of God, God's revelation of Himself to His creatures,
hence it is pre-eminently a book of theology. Article of Religion
V, of the A. M. E. Discipline, reads : " The Holy Scriptures
contain all things necessary to salvation, so that whatsoever is
not read therein nor can be proved thereby, is not to be required
of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be
thought requisite or necessary to salvation.  In the name of the
Holy Scriptures we do understand those canonical books of the
Old and  New Testament of whose authority was never any
doubt in the Church."
   "Those canonical books" are the important words of this
article. The word canon is from the Greek word Kavav, the
original meaning of which was a straight line, rod or pole.
Sometimes it refers to an instrument used to measure with, and
sometimes to the thing measured. In this way it came to mean an
orderly arrangement, as a catalogue of books; hence, the books
publicly read in the Church. By this means it easily came to
mean a regulating principle, and finally was applied only to the
sacred books. So we find in the writings of the Greek Fathers
such expressions as the kavwv (canon) of the Church; the
kavwv of the truth; the ecclesiastical kavwv. But since the word
canon has come to mean the sacred books, it is bound to carry
with it the idea of credibility, or that which is worthy of belief;
genuineness, or that which is handed down from its original
source without corruption; and authenticity, or that which may be
relied upon as true. Thus the Holy Scriptures are not simply a
compilation of documents that have been worked out, amended
and finally compiled, like the Constitution of the United States,
or some such document; but, claiming to be the word of God, it


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African Methodist Episcopal Church Review, [Vol.08, Num. 4]


Volume:  08
Issue Number:  04
Page Number:  501
Date:  04/1892


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