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HE word bible means “ book.” Once the
Not many people could read and write. I Books were written painstakingly by learned men; and any man who could read and write was looked upon as educated so you 9 Naturally when a book was made, there was a desire to put into it all the wisdom the writer could gather together. Long years were required to make one copy of the Old and the New Testament, and the book was very precious. The men who worked upon it were set apart for this sacred task. Reverence for the man and his work increased as he continued to give his life for it. 9 Then, too, he who could read possessed secrets which ordinary men could not know. In England, a few hundred years ago, a man was exempt from punishment if he could read and write. Often the judges who tried the prisoner could do neither.
G Superstition has ever been a strong factor in influencing the actions of people. It has been the strongest force in attracting man to a particular religious belief. The book which was accepted by people in authority as containing the most wisdom was the most holy book and became The Book, or the Bible. A king appointed a committee to decide upon what was holy in it. The Bible of the Hebrews and of the Christians is now only one of many books that contain wisdom and good counsel. American people who live on the fortieth parallel, in the Twentieth Century, need a book-many books of truth, for truth is relative, not fixed or static. This book, which we call An American Bible, is for people on this continent se de I This American Bible is fitted to the needs of men and women now on earth, and the hope is that it will help them to live we can die without assistance. Any one may accept or reject it, may add to it or subtract from it. I As the years go by, there will be constructed other bibles and better bibles.
MERICAN people have distinct needs. They think,
and have a thinking, unfolding world with which
to deal. I There have been no new religions since religions were new; but in Seventeen Hundred Seventy-six there began to grow an American religion--not a religion of gods, but a religion for men. And in Eighteen Hundred Seventy-six there began to grow the religion which is for all women and all men som Americans need a practical bible which will inspire them
for their day's work. We need a bible that shall give us facts concerning business principles, acceptable and honorable principles that apply to new methods, new morals, new needs. We need a bible that shall teach us to be well, and how to keep well; that will inspire us to obey the common laws of health; that will teach us how to exercise, work, play, think; how to breathe and to eat. We need instruction in the democracy of man's own self, the family, the town, the State, the general government. Europeans say that America has no poor. Americans want to make this literally true. America demands that man shall be economically free, and she gives the opportunity. So the American Bible must treat of Economics—the highest science man has yet discovered. g This bible must teach the philosophy of business and show how it benefits man. g It must show, too, the beauty and poetry of business, as well as that it is the means by which man has evolved. The American Bible must show us that life is very simple, and that all the beauty and luxury we can use, all of anything and everything we can use, is right at hand. It must be a book that does not require a priesthood to explain and expound. It must be a book that appeals to common sense, and one that requires neither apology nor defense sosem It will teach us that to eat more than the body uses brings disease and then death-also, that to read and study and not use the knowledge brings auto-intoxication or ankylosis. This American Bible will teach us that every energy of man was made to use, and that death follows disuse and misuse. 9 It will teach the practical application of the Golden
Rule; that women were born free and equal with men in every and all natural right; that woman has every right, as has man, to life, liberty and happiness. 9 This American Bible must be simple and practical, in order to meet the needs of Americans, who are essentially a plain, practical, upright, progressive, evolving people, intent on obeying the divine law of self-preservation. For these reasons we have selected practical truth concerning every-day life, from the writings of eight Americans sa
ENJAMIN FRANKLIN was the man of energy,
the typical American, one of the few educated men
of all history. I He was the youngest son of Josiah and Abiah Franklin, and one of a family of seventeen children. His father was a poor candle-maker and soap-boiler of Boston. g Benjamin Franklin became a businessman, a financier, an inventor, a philosopher, a statesman, a diplomat-a man of affairs. I He lived obedient to the simple rules that bring to man the best results in liberty and happiness. He made his own opportunities! He started with the capital of health, good-will, determination to win success, and an energy which never flagged. And be it said to his credit as a teacher, he kept this capital to the end of his life. In business he laid well the foundation for every man's success-economic independence. When he had all the experience he wanted in business, and had money besides, he gave his time and energy to public interests. He founded the first public library in America. While he was Postmaster-General for the Colonies, he
founded our postal system. He established the University of Pennsylvania. It was he who first demonstrated that lightning and electricity are the same. g America needed him to represent her in Europe, and he went se He was statesman, diplomat, financier, for a new nation and a people in trouble so He was always a philosopher, and he was ever a student. He had the “four habits” which are necessary to develop Americans: the health habit, the work habit, the study habit, the play habit. He was a cultured gentleman, at home with any class of people. His society was sought in the court of France, and he was welcomed in the most popular salons of Paris se sien g So great was he in personality that he could set the fashion of homespun, Deborah-made clothes. Franklin indeed was always the honest, simple, democratic, American gentleman, who loved truth above all else.
He believed that for man to develop his body, his brain, his sense of beauty and refinement, was the best use to which he could give his life. I He knew various countries, all peoples, all types of men and women, therefore he knew Americans as few Americans could se lom I He knew the principles upon which this country is founded. Deep in his heart he held noble ideals. The intent of his writings is to teach and to inspire us to live with these sentiments clearly before us.