Where do you Keep your New Testament?
The armies that have sprung into being during the last few months are engaging the philanthropic energies of large numbers of kindly people. Socks, mufflers, belts, shirts, sandbags, packets of food of all kinds, have been provided by the hundred thousand.
Besides all this praiseworthy effort, earnest Christians have been seeking to care for the spiritual welfare of the brave soldiers. And well it is that this should be so.
Alas! the great need of the present day is the sense of SIN; its greatest crime, INDIFFERENCE. How little men think of God, His claims, His abhorrence of sin, the terrible judgment that awaits those who die in their guilt. The late Dr. Dale, of Birmingham, said that the terrible fact of the hour was that no one was afraid of God. Oh! that some mighty voice might awaken sinners from their sleep.
A soldier, sorely wounded in France, his young life barely won from the grave by the skilful surgeons and attentive nurses, told me in an English hospital, three days ago, that the soldiers will pray when faced by death, and promise God to give up swearing, but as soon as the danger is over prayer and promise are alike forgotten, showing there is no reality in either. Thank God, this is not so in every case, but we fear it is so in far too many cases.
One of the chief and the happiest forms of Christian effort lies in presenting the soldiers with pocket Testaments. They fit the pocket admirably, and they have been known to ward off a bullet, and thus save the wearer’s life.
But I would like to ask a serious question. Will the New Testament in the pocket be of any use whatever if its message does not reach the heart? Far rather die a savage, without clothes, without pocket, ignorant of the existence of a New Testament, than die on the battle front with the New Testament in the pocket, carried in much the same way as the savage carries his charm, amulet, talisman, and the message the New Testament contains unknown in the heart.
Can you pity a man, who dies of hunger when his pockets are full of banknotes, and he is living over a large provision store? Can you pity a man, who drowns, when he has refused to accept a life-belt and a place in the lifeboat? And what can be said of a man, possessing a New Testament, and yet who has failed to appropriate the message of forgiveness and salvation that it contains?
If a soldier reads these lines, let me, as an unknown friend, beseech you to face the facts of your sins, death, judgment, the great white throne, and hell. Turn to your New Testament. Take it often out of your pocket. Read such passages as John 3:16; John 5:24; Acts 10:43; Acts 16:31; Romans 3:10-28; 4:5; 4:23—5:2; 10:9; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 John 5:13. See that you get the message of salvation into your heart. See that this most important matter of your soul’s eternal welfare is settled according to God. Then sudden death will be sudden glory. If otherwise, what then? Answer!
Or, are you a civilian? Do you read your Bible? You live in a land of Bibles. What a responsibility!
Are you like the old lady, who was most indignant because a colporteur wished to sell her a Bible? “What!” she exclaimed, “do you think I don’t possess a Bible? Do you think I am a heathen?” and so saying she angrily went into the house, returning to show the colporteur that she possessed a copy of the Scriptures.
Opening its pages, she espied her spectacles. “Why,” she exclaimed, “here are my spectacles, which I have lost over these three years.” She was true when she said she was not a heathen. She was—WORSE THAN A HEATHEN.
I fear the majority in these so-called Christian lands are so. May God graciously use this appeal to reach many. May it reach YOU.
Gospel Tidings Annual 1915, p. 111