"The New Testament is an invaluable book, though I confess to having been slightly prejudiced against it in my very early days by the church and the Sabbath-school, so that it seemed, before I read it, to be the yellowest book in the catalogue. Yet I early escaped from their meshes. It is hard to get the commentaries out of one's head and taste its true flavor.... It would be a poor story to be prejudiced against the Life of Christ because the book has been edited by Christians. In fact, I love this book rarely, though it is a sort of castle in the air to me, which I am permitted to dream."
"A healthy man, with steady employment, as wood-chopping at fifty cents a cord, and a camp in the woods, will not be a good subjectfor Christianity. The New Testament may be a choice book to him on some, but not on all or most of his days. He will rather go a-fishing in his leisure hours. The Apostles, though they were fishers too, were of the solemn race of sea-fishers, and never trolled for pickerel on inland streams."
"We know of no scripture which records the pure benignity of the gods on a New England winter night. Their praises have never beensung, only their wrath deprecated. The best scripture, after all, records but a meagre faith. Its saints live reserved and austere. Let a brave, devout man spend the year in the woods of Maine or Labrador, and see if the Hebrew Scriptures speak adequately to his condition and experience."
"For eighteen hundred years, though perchance I have no right to say it, the New Testament has been written; yet where is the legislator who has wisdom and practical talent enough to avail himself of the light which it sheds on the science of legislation?"
"Is it not singular that, while the religious world is gradually picking to pieces its old testaments, here are some coming slowlyafter, on the seashore, picking up the durable relics of perhaps older books, and putting them together again?"
"The newspaper is a Bible which we read every morning and every afternoon, standing and sitting, riding and walking. It is a Biblewhich every man carries in his pocket, which lies on every table and counter, and which the mail, and thousands of missionaries, are continually dispersing. It is, in short, the only book which America has printed, and which America reads. So wide is its influence."
"He has the earnestness of a prophet. In an age of pedantry and dilettantism, he has no grain of these in his composition. There isnowhere else, surely, in recent readable English, or other books, such direct and effectual teaching, reproving, encouraging, stimulating, earnestly, vehemently, almost like Mahomet, like Luther.... His writings are a gospel to the young of this generation; they will hear his manly, brotherly speech with responsive joy, and press forward to older or newer gospels."
"After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the Bulrushers; and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long time; so then I didn't care no more about him; because I don't take no stock in dead people."
"Protestant parents still keep a Bible handy in the house, so that the children can study it, and one of the first things the little boys and girls learn is to be righteous and holy and not piss against the wall. They study those passages more than they study any others, except those which incite to masturbation. Those they hunt out and study in private."
"... no book ... ever competed with the Bible. The story of Ruth was better than Ramona, and the poetry of Job was better than Longfellow. I still have my first big Bible, carefully underlined through with red and black ink, and interleafed [sic] with painfully written manuscript pages.... Margery and I earned our five cents a week for church and a penny for Sunday school by learning three verses of the Bible a day and six on Sunday. We learned dozens and dozens of chapters. I supposed "Evangeline" and "Hiawatha" were better poetry, but I didn't like them so well."
"The Bible is good enough for me, just the old book under which I was brought up. I do not want notes or criticisms, or explanations about authorship or origins, or even cross- references. I do not need, or understand them, and they confuse me."