The Bible – A Mine
by A.R. Wright
Most children are born treasure hunters. They enjoy reading stories about the finding of hidden treasure. A book like R. L. Stevenson’s Treasure Island is always sure to make a great appeal. Now I would like you boys and girls to think of the Bible, not as a dry dust heap, but as a rich mine which yields treasure to those who dig deep, and search diligently.
We are told that in the Dresden gallery of Royal Gems there is a wonderful silver egg. Touch a spring and the egg opens, disclosing a Golden Chicken. Touch the crown, and it opens, disclosing and magnificent diamond ring. So it is with the Bible. As we study it, we touch successive springs, disclosing inexhaustible treasure.
In one of the copies of “The Morning Watch”, J. P. Struthers tells the story of a great Indian missionary called Bartholomew Ziegenbalg. Bartholomew, when only 6 years old, lost his father. A year or two later his dear mother passed away also. “My children”, she said to the sorrowful girls and boys weeping around her bed, “I have laid up a great treasure for you.” “Dearest mother”, said Gretchen, the eldest girl, “where can you have gathered treasure?”, for she knew how poor they were. And the answer came, “Seek it in the Bible, you will find it there. I have marked every leaf with my tears.” And today, the same treasure is laid up for us.
Thy Word is like a deep, deep mine,
And jewels rich and rare
Are hidden in its mighty depths
For every searcher there.
The Bible is:
A Mine To Be Discovered
Did it ever strike you that some of the most precious things we possess come from mines? The coal we burn, the metal utensils and implements we use, the salt we eat, the coins we spend, the jewels we wear- these all, in their original form, came from mines. Now these mines, before they could be of any service, had to be discovered. And what a thrill there often has been in connection with the discovery of a mine, especially of one containing precious metal!
A slave was one day climbing a mountain when his foot slipped and he fell. To break his fall, he caught a sapling but it gave way and he and the sapling rolled down to the bottom. When he got up, he noticed some curious white particles sticking to the roots of the sapling. They looked like silver. He hastened back to the spot where the young tree had grown, commenced digging and lo! he had discovered the famous Silver Mines of Potosi. Prior to that discovery, the owners of the Silver Mountain, as it is now called, were poor men. They owned the mountain, but they didn’t possess its hidden wealth simply because they hadn’t discovered it.
And it is possible for us to be like those owners. We all own Bibles, I expect, but do we know that the Bible is a mine? Have we discovered that there is treasure in it? It is a great thing when a boy or girl discovers that the Bible contains the best stories. It is an even greater thing when they discover that it contains the best news, news of a Savior who has come to seek and to save that which was lost, and who invites them to come to Him for pardon and peace and joy. Have you made that discovery? Have you responded to the Savior’s invitation to come to Him? Have you found in him the pearl of great price? If so, the Bible will become really precious to you and you will naturally go to make other discoveries there, the discovery of precious commands, precious promises, precious truths.
A Mine To Be Worked
When a mine has been discovered it must be worked if it is to yield up its treasure. Machinery must be set up, workers must be employed, pits must be dug. There can be no gain without labour.
And when we have discovered the Bible mine, we must commence working it. There was a time when young boys were forced to work in British coal mines. This was a very wrong practice. It often ruined physical health, and is now rightly forbidden. Needless to say, it is not wrong for boys and girls to work in the Bible mine. In fact, to do so is one of the great helps toward spiritual health. And how should we work the mine?
Well, we should work it diligently. The mines of a country only yield their resources to laborious toil, and the precious things of Scripture can only become ours through diligent search. As one has said, “The finest gold lies deep, and has to be dug for. It is hidden in the rocks and has to be quarried out. We can never get the best the Bible has to give us, until we learn to search through its chapters as the miner searches with pick and hammer, shovel and lamp, in the dark mines for the precious treasure that is concealed there”. I trust that you young people will discover some precious gems of truth from the Bible mine.
And again we should work this mine extensively. We should not confine our attention to certain books which appeal to us. We should go right through the Bible. And sometimes in what seems to be the dullest portions, precious jewels are to be found. For example, the opening chapters of 1 Chronicles are mainly lists of names, and yet these names have their special purpose, and embedded amongst them are some bright gems of spiritual teaching. Where can we find anything more beautiful than the prayer of Jabez in chapter 4, and the expression of Amasai’s loyalty in chapter 12?
Further, we should work this mine constantly. We should be exploring it seven days of the week, and at the end of a long life, if God so spares us, we should not have commenced to exhaust its riches. The longer we study it, the more we will be amazed at the wealth it contains. When someone remarked of a certain clergyman that he had confessed that he knew next to nothing of the Word of God, my friend remarked significantly, “He must be an aged minister, for it takes many years and much study to learn that lesson!” The Bible mine is inexhaustible.
A Mine To Be Enjoyed
When owners of mines work them and see the precious ore being produced, the result is joy to themselves and to others. And the same is true regarding the mine of God’s Word.
There is joy when we discover in this mine the precious Savior. Many years ago a young man visited the Bible Society’s branch in Montreal. He produced a Bible and asked the clerk how much it was worth. “About 50 cents,” was the answer. “You could not buy it from me for $500,” replied the young man, and then went on to say that the Bible had belonged to his father and that he had, by a strange coincidence, discovered it in a room of a hotel, some 12 years after his father’s death. Inside the flyleaf were written a few lines which said that a careful study of the book would be amply rewarded. Struck by the find, the young man replaced the Bible by another, and, acting on the advice given, began to study it carefully, with the result that before long he had the joy of finding the Pearl of great price.
And then there is also a joy when we discover in the mine precious truths and promises. The psalmist says “I rejoice at Your word, as one that finds great spoil.” John “Rabbi” Duncan, the famous Hebrew professor at New College, Edinburgh, once remarked, “I remember when that 10th chapter of Genesis gave me a fortnight’s joy.” To us it may seem, at first sight, a list of names, but to Rabbi Duncan it was a mine of precious truth, the discovery which meant joy which lasted for a whole fortnight. May we, each one, know something of this joy as we explore the Bible and make discoveries ourselves.
Dig deep in this precious golden mine,
Toil, and its richest ore is thine;
Search, and the Savior will lend his aid
To draw its wealth from its mystic shade;
Strive and His Spirit will give thee light
To work in this heavenly mine aright.
Pray without ceasing, in Him confide,
Into all truth His light will guide.
 German Lutheran missionary (1682-1719)
 Hymn by Charles F. Roper.
 Now located in Bolivia, while formerly part of the Viceroyalty of Peru.
 Matthew 13:45f.
 Psalm 119:162
 2 weeks
 A poem found in “Lilies of the Valley” (1857), by Elizabeth Cory.