The Bible.

The Bible contains the annals Of the heavens, the earth, and the human race; like the Deity himself, It contains all that was, is, and will be. On its first page we read of the beginning of time and of things, and on its last page the end of time and of things. It begins with Genesis, which is an idyll, and ends with Revelation, which is a funeral chant. Genesis is as beautiful as the fresh breeze which sweeps over the world; as the first dawn of light in the heavens; as the first flower that opens in the meadows; as the first word of love spoken by men; as the first appearance of the sun in the east. Revelation is as sad as the last palpitation of nature; as the last ray of the sun; as the last breath of a dying man. And between the funeral chant and the idyll there pass in succession before the eyes of God all generations and all peoples. The tribes and the patriarchs go by; the republics and the magistrates; the monarchies and their kings; the empires and their emperors. Babylon and all its abominations go by; Nineveh and all its pomps; Memphis and its priests; Jerusalem and its prophets and temple; Athens and its arts and heroes; Rome and its diadem of conqueror of the world. Nothing lasts but God; all else passes and dies, like the froth that tips the wave.

A prodigious book, which mankind began to read three and thirty centuries ago, and of which, if it read all day and night, it would not exhaust the wealth. A prodigious book in which all was calculated before the science of arithmetic was invented; in which the origin of language is told without any knowledge of philology; in which the revolutions of the stars are described without any knowledge of astronomy; in which history is recorded without any documents of history; in which the laws of nature are unveiled without any knowledge of physics. A prodigious book, that sees everything and knows everything; that knows the thoughts hidden in the hearts of men and those in the mind of God; that sees what is happening in the abysses of the sea and in the bowels of the earth; that records or foretells all the catastrophes of nations, and in which are accumulated all the treasures of mercy, of justice, and of vengeance. A hook, in fine, which, when the heavens are folded like a gigantic fan, and the earth sinks, and the sun withdraws its light, and the stars are extinguished, will remain with God, because it is his eternal word, echoing for ever in the heights.