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bible presentation to a newly raised brother

My Brother, through the courtesy of the Worshipful Master and on behalf of your Lodge, it is my privilege to present you with the Holy Bible upon which you took your obligation in this and the preceding degrees and as you were instructed in the "Great Light" in Masonry.

We are accustomed to think of the Holy Bible as one book because it is bound between two covers, but it is not one book but a vast Library, sometimes called the Divine Library, and rightfully so. It is composed of sixty-six books, thirty-nine in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New Testament. It was over fifteen hundred years in the making. A period of four hundred years passed between the history of the last book of the Old Testament and the first book of the New Testament. Another four hundred years passed before they were translated into a common language and assembled into one book by St. Gerome. It was known as the Latin Vulgate. Then ten centuries passed before we received the first crude and partial English translation which resulted in the authorized King James Version in 1611 A.D.

The Holy Bible contains ethics, history, law, letters, medicine, morals, philosophy, prophecy, and a revelation of divine light and truth.

Its authorship is no less varied. Its contributors were collectors of internal revenues, fishermen, historians, kings, lawgivers, mystics, poets, preachers, prophets and tentmakers.

Diverse are its subject matter and authorship, remote are its allegories, figures, legends, myths, types, and unique styles of expression. The intelligent reader discerns running through it an increasing purpose, a progressive revelation of truth. As a silver thread runs through a darker fabric appearing here and there prominently on the surface, so flashes of light arise from its pages revealing the mind and character of God and his unfailing love toward mankind.

Everything that could be done through the ages of intolerance to destroy it, was done. Men were imprisoned, tortured and burned at the stake for confessing and defending its teaching. When Latimer and Ridley were burned at the stake in front of Old Balliol College in Oxford for what they believed to be its teachings, Latimer cried as the flames licked his feet, "Fear not Ridley, our blood will this day light a torch that will never go out." And so it was, in that unyielding principle of survival, not of man but of God.

Through these hundreds of years, its pages have been moistened with tears of joy and tears of sorrow. They have been thumbed through and soiled by Kings in their palaces and penitent prisoners in their cells. Monarchs and peasants alike, strong men and sinners have found it a source of courage, consolation, hope and strength.

Sir Walter Scott on his deathbed called to Lockhart, "Bring me the Book," Lockhart inquired, "Which book?" Scott replied, "There is but one BOOK," and the great bard passed away with one hand on the Holy Bible.

In presenting this to you, your Lodge bids you read it frequently not with your eyes but with your heart, devotionally. It will be an increasing source of guidance and "Light" in your efforts to become a better man and a better Mason. Other lights might fail, and as you increase your knowledge of it, it will become a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014