Wednesday, May 25, 2005

"...Who Lightly Esteem Their Bibles..."

Above: Martin Luther's First Edition of the German Bible

Wow--it's been a while since I last blogged. I thought I'd better post this portion of a book I am reading, while I'm still thinking about it. There are other sections I ought to blog as well, because it's an amazingly rich book, but I'd end up blogging the whole book. (This little section is pretty heavily in accordance to our small group earlier tonight--we took turns reading the portions of Psalm 119.) The book is an autobiography of John Paton, a missionary to the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), which are islands in the South Pacific. The island he was working on, in this section, was called Aneityum. I'd like to point out as well what a change God's power made in their hearts: these people had been cannibals! (I highly recommend this book--of course, I'm not all the way through with it, and it'll take me awhile--it's a big one!) He lived in the 1800s, so his writing style may be different than you're used to seeing in a blog, but what he has to say is a very beneficial reminder to me, and hopefully to you too. Enjoy.

"These poor Aneityumese, having glimpses of this Word of God, determined to have a Holy Bible in their own mother tongue, wherein before no book or page ever had been written in the history of their race. The consecrated brain and hand of their Missionaries kept toiling day and night in translating the book of God; and the willing hands and feet of the Natives kept toiling through fifteen long but unwearying years, planting and preparing arrowroot to pay the 1,200 pounds required to be laid out in the printing and publishing of the book. Year after year the arrowroot, too sacred to be used for their daily food, was set apart as the Lord's portion; the Missionaries sent it to Australia and Scotland, where it was sold by private friends, and the whole proceeds consecrated to this purpose. On the completion of the great undertaking by the Bible Society, it was found that the Natives had earned so much as to pay every penny of the outlay; and their first Bibles went out to them, purchased with the consecrated toils of fifteen years! Some of our friends may think that the sum was large; but I know, from experience, that if such a difficult job had been carried through the press and so bound by any other printing establishment, the expense would have been greater far. One book of Scripture, printed by me in Melbourne for the Aniwans at a later day, under the auspices of the Bible Society too, cost eight shillings per leaf, and that was the cheapest style; and this the Aniwans also paid for by dedicating their arrowroot to God.

"Let those who lightly esteem their Bibles think on those things. Eight shillings for every leaf, or the labour and proceeds of fifteen years for the Bible entire, did not appear to these poor converted Savages too much to pay for that Word of God, which had sent to them the Missionaries, which had revealed to them the grace of God in Christ, and which had opened their eyes to the wonders and glories of redeeming love! They had felt, and we had observed, that in all lands and amongst all branches of the human family, the Holy Bible is, wheresoever received and obeyed, the power of God unto salvation; it had lifted them out of savagery, and set them at the feet of the Lord Jesus. Oh that the pleasure-seeking men and women of the world could only taste and feel the real joy of those who know and love the true God--a heritage which the world and all that pertains thereto cannot give to them, but which the poorest and humblest followers of Jesus inherit and enjoy!"


  • At 6/20/2005 12:54 AM, Blogger Shani said…

    Getting back into having consistent devotions, I was especially impacted by this post reminding us of the value of knowing God and His Word! And yes, hearing my teacher and parents and other family constantly quote Scripture and God's teachings led me away from being a timid, unreasonably frightened little girl and into "[being set] at Jesus's feet"! John Paton's autobiography sounds like a powerful reminder of "Sola Scriptura".
    This post is very appreciated! Keep blogging and keeping on, Gracegirl!


Post a Comment

<< Home