2005-10-25 - The Hidden Bible
Originally Published 2001-11-07
Matthew 19:29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, shall receive many times as much, and shall inherit eternal life.
Previously I began to relate the story of a prisoner in France in the 17th century. He was not a murderer, drunk, wife-beater, or thief. He was a Christian, and in France during the time that he lived, that meant prison. He could leave the prison anytime, if he would abjure, which means to deny his faith. He would not do so. His name was Louis Mauriac. It is not a name remembered today, but it should be. God provided him with a Bible, which he had to hide in the wall of the prison, and in it, he kept a crude journal which spoke of his trials, but in truth, really speaks of his remarkable faith. The question I have asked myself and now ask you is; "Do you have this faith? Can you forsake all for Christ?"
After 15 years in prison, he wrote in October, 1702, "All this time I know nothing of my wife, or my poor children. Do they sometimes think of me as I do of them? Every time I speak of them, they (his captors) only reply, 'Abjure.' Alas! My children! Perhaps they have been taken from their mother's care, and educated in a religion which is the enemy of the Gospel, and the persecutor of God's saints; perhaps even they have been taught to curse their father. O, my God! take from me such bitter thoughts as these; I cannot bear them."
April, 1709: "The terrible cold of this winter has nearly killed me. I am now 54 years old, and have passed 22 years in the Bastille."
July, 1714: "God be praised! I begin to die to the world. If they came to take me hence, I should not be much moved. I hope to see in Heaven those who were with my family on Earth."
September, 1715: "The King is dead. 72 years has he reigned, and at this moment, perhaps, he would gladly exchange his lot with mine. This may bring changes; but peace, my poor heart! I said I was dead to the world, yet I begin again to hope."
March, 1717: "A young author paid me a visit and showed me things he had written concerning the persecuted Protestants. I was astonished at the changes which have taken place in our language. They speak and write very differently in the French of my old Bible. To him, I must have appeared a person of another age, and almost of another world."
July, 1720: "I have been ill several times; but the lamp burns still, though not for long, I think. I am now so weak I can hardly turn the stone which shuts in my treasured Bible. A terrible edict has been published, and the Governor had the cruelty to bring me a copy. God's will be done!"
May, 1723: "There is no more room to write, my hand trembles, and I can hardly see; yet I want to record this, that I would not have escaped this imprisonment if I could. 36 years has my God sheltered me here from temptation, with nothing to do but prepare to meet Him. I heartily forgive my enemies, and pray God to forgive all my sins for His dear Son's sake."
A month later, the brave old man takes his pencil in hand for the last time. He says, "I wanted to see my Bible once more, though I cannot see to read what I have written, I know not if I have strength enough left to replace it. Salutation! then, and benediction to whoever may find it. I kiss the Book! Again adieu! Adieu! I shall read God's blessed Word no more; but I go where I shall hear it from His own mouth."
These were the last words and were almost illegible from the tears that had fallen on them, and were written with a trembling hand. This story really moved me, and I still ask myself the question, "Can I forsake all for Christ, when all really is all?" It is a soul-penetrating question, and I invite you also to consider it.
Behold, we count those blessed who endured. James 5:11
Soli Deo Gloria,