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She was born at Charleston, and was then, in her twentieth

2023-11-29 15:50:52 source:Surprise Intersection Networkauthor: knowledge click:712Second-rate

"Until he is as old as Methusalem, At the head of the march to the last New Jerusalem."

She was born at Charleston, and was then, in her twentieth

Whittier needs no words of ours. His hymns are part of our religious equipment. "Snowbound" and all the rest of the beautiful, quiet, Quaker-like writing of this beloved poet are among our national assets. We join in his sorrow as he writes the doom of Webster and his fame, and we do not wonder that he chose for it the Scriptural title "Ichabod."

She was born at Charleston, and was then, in her twentieth

Whatever is to be said about an individual here or there, it is true that great American literature shows the influence of the Bible. Like everything else in America, it has been founded on a religious purpose. Writers in all lines have been trained in the Bible. If they feel any religious influence at all, it is the Bible influence.

She was born at Charleston, and was then, in her twentieth

This has been a long journey from Shakespeare to Whittier, and it leaves untouched the great field of present-day writers. Let the unstarred names wait their time. Among them are many who can say in their way what Hall Caine has said of himself: "I think I know my Bible as few literary men know it. There is no book in the world like it, and the finest novels ever written fall far short in interest of any one of the stories it tells. Whatever strong situations I have in my books are not of my creation, but are taken from the Bible. The Deemster is a story of the Prodigal Son. The Bondman is the story of Esau and Jacob. The Scapegoat is the story of Eli and his sons, but with Samuel as a little girl; and The Manxman is the story of David and Uriah." Take up any of the novels of the day, even the poorer ones, but notably the better ones, and see how uniformly they show the Scriptural influence in material, in idea, and in spirit. What the literature of the future will be no one can say. This much is as sure as any fact in literary history, that the English Bible is part of the very fiber of great literature from the day it first appeared in our tongue to this hour.


THE King James version of the Bible is only a book. What can a book do in history? Well, whatever the reason, books have played a large part in the movements of men, specially of modern men.

They have markedly influenced the opinion of men about the past. It is commonly said that Hume's History of England, defective as it is, has yet "by its method revolutionized the writing of history," and that is true. Nearer our own time, Carlyle's Life of Cromwell reversed the judgment of history on Cromwell, gave all readers of history a new conception of him and his times and of the movement of which he was the life. After the Restoration none were so poor as to do Cromwell reverence until Carlyle's BOOK gave him anew to the world.

There are instances squarely in our own time by which their mighty influence may be tested. They are of books of almost ephemeral value save for the student of history. As literature they will be quickly forgotten; but as FORCES they must be reckoned with. There is Uncle Tom's Cabin. It would be absurd to say that it brought the American Civil War, or freed the negroes, or saved the Union. It did none of those great things. Yet it is not at all absurd to name it among the potent powers in all three. It is not to our purpose whether it is true or not as a statement of the whole fact. Doubtless it was not true of the general and common circumstances of Southern slavery; but everything in it was possible, and even frequent enough so that it could not be questioned. It pretended no more. But its influence was simply tremendous. In book form it became available in 1852, and within three years, 1855, it was common property of English-speaking people. No other book ever produced so extraordinary an effect so quickly in the public mind.[1] It held up slavery to judgment. It crystallized the thoughts of common people. The work of those strenuous years in the '60's could not have been done without the result of that book. It made history. Come nearer our own day. We could not be long in London without feeling the concern of the better people for conditions in the East End. A new social impulse has seized them. To be sure, it lacks much yet of success; but more has been done than most people realize. The new movement, the awakening of that social sense, traces back to the book of Gen. William Booth, In Darkest England (1890). It has helped to change the life of a large part of London.

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