The Bible is one of the two or three oldest books in the world, but unlike most of the
ancient books, it is found not only in great libraries, but in almost every home of the
civilized world; and it is not only studied by learned scholars, but read by the common
people; and its many stories grasp and hold the attention of little children. Happy is that
child who has heard, over and over again, the Bible stories until they have become fixed
in his mind and memory, to become the foundations of a noble life.
It is with the desire of aiding parents and teachers in telling these stories, and aiding
children to understand them, also in the hope that they may be read in many schools, that
a few among the many interesting stories in the Bible have been chosen, brought together
and as far as necessary simplified to meet the minds of the young.
WHY JESUS CAME TO THIS WORLD
In the beginning, before the world was made, the Lord Jesus lived in heaven.
He lived in that happy place with God. Then God made the world. He told
the hills to come up out of the earth, and the seas to run down into the deep
places which He had made for them.
He made the grass, the trees, and all
the pretty flowers. He put the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky. He
filled the water with swimming fish, the air with flying birds, and the dry
land with walking and creeping animals. And then He said, ‘Let Us make
man.’ Who were meant by ‘Us’? Who was with God when He made the
world? It was Jesus.
So after He had made everything else, God made a man, and named him
Adam. God put Adam into the beautiful Garden of Eden, and at first he was
good and very happy. God also made a woman, named Eve, to be his wife,
and to help him to take care of the garden. All the fruit in the garden, except
what grew on one tree, was given to Adam and Eve to eat; all the animals
were their servants; and God was their Friend.
BECOMING LIKE CHRIST
“But we all, with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are
changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the
Lord.”--2 COR. iii. 18 (Revised Version).
I suppose there is almost no one who would deny, if it were put to him, that the
greatest possible attainment a man can make in this world is likeness to The Lord
Jesus Christ. Certainly no one would deny that there is nothing but character that
we can carry out of life with us, and that our prospect of good in any future life will
certainly vary with the resemblance of our character to that of Jesus Christ, which is
to rule the whole future.
We all admit that; but almost every one of us offers to
himself some apology for not being like Christ, and has scarcely any clear reality of
aim of becoming like Him. Why, we say to ourselves, or we say in our practice, it is
really impossible in a world such as ours is to become perfectly holy.
One or two
men in a century may become great saints; given a certain natural disposition and
given exceptionally favoring circumstances, men may become saintly; but surely
the ordinary run of men, men such as we know ourselves to be, with secular
disposition and with many strong, vigorous passions—surely we can really not be
expected to become like Christ, or, if it is expected of us, we know that it is
On the contrary, Paul says, “We all,” “we all.” Every Christian has that
for a destiny: to be changed into the image of his Lord. And he not only says so, but
in this one verse he reveals to us the mode of becoming like Christ, and a mode, as
we shall find, so simple and so infallible in its working that a man cannot
understand it without renewing his hope that even he may one day become like
In order to understand this simplest mode of sanctification we must look back at the
incident that we read in the Book of Exodus (xxxiv. 29-35.). Paul had been reading
how when Moses came down from the mount where he had been speaking with
God his face shone, so as to dazzle and alarm those who were near him.
They at once recognized that that was the glory of God reflected from him; and just
as it is almost as difficult for us to look at the sun reflected from a mirror as to look
directly at the sun, so these men felt it almost as difficult to look straight at the face
of Moses as to look straight at the face of God. But Moses was a wise man, and he
showed his wisdom in this instance as well as elsewhere. He knew that that glory
was only on the skin of his face, and that of course it would pass away. It was a
And accordingly he put a veil over his face, that the children of
Israel might not see it dying out from minute to minute and from hour to hour,
because he knew these Israelite thoroughly, and he knew that when they saw the
glory dying out they would say, “God has forsaken Moses. We need not attend to
him any more. His authority is gone, and the glory of God’s presence has passed
from him.” So Moses wore the veil that they might not see the glory dying out. But
whenever he was called back to the presence of God he took off the veil and
received a new access of glory on his face, and thus went “from glory to glory.”
“That,” says Paul, “is precisely the process through which we Christian men
become like Christ.” We go back to the presence of Christ with unveiled face; and
as often as we stand in His presence, as often as we deal in our spirit with the living
Christ, so often do we take on a little of His glory. The glory of Christ is His
character; and as often as we stand before Christ, and think of Him, and realise
what He was, our heart goes out and reflects some of His character.
reflection, that glory, is not any longer merely on the skin of the face; as Paul
wishes us to recognize, it is a spiritual glory, it is wrought by the spirit of Christ
upon our spirit, and it is we ourselves that are changed from glory to glory into the
very image of the Lord.
Now obviously this mode of sanctification has extraordinary recommendations. In
the first place, it is absolutely simple. If you go to some priest or spiritual director,
or minister of the Gospel, or friend, and ask what you are to do if you wish to
become a holy man, why, even the best of them will almost certainly tell you to
read certain books, to spend so much time in prayer and reading your Bible, to go
regularly to church, to engage in this and that good work. If you had applied to a
spiritual director of the middle ages of this world’s history and of the history of
Christianity, he would have told you that you must retire from the world altogether
in order to become holy.
Paul says, “Away with all that nonsense!” We are living in
a real world; Christ lived in a real world: Christ did not retire from men. And He
says all that you have to do in order to be like Christ is to carry His image with you
in your heart. That is all. To be with Him, to let Him stand before you and
command your love, that will infallibly change you into His image.
I do not know
that we sufficiently recognize the simplicity of Christian methods. We do not
understand what Paul meant by proclaiming it as the religion of the spirit, as a
religion superior to everything mechanical and external. Think of the deliverance it
was for him who had grown up under a religion which commanded him to go a
journey three times a year, to take the best of his goods and offer them in the
Temple, to comply with a multitude of oppressive observances and ordinances.
Think of the emancipation when he found a spiritual religion. Why, in those times a
man must have despaired of becoming a holy man; But now Paul says you will
infallibly become holy if you learn this easy lesson of carrying the Lord Jesus with
you in your heart.
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