Summary: The famous saying, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, applies to our subject. There is only one way to overcome and defeat the darkness of sin and ignorance, and that is by turning on the light of the lamp of God. The Bible alone can give us the light we need for guidance.
Almost everyone knows of Lazarus, the man whose name has become immortal because of his
experience of being raised from the bondage and darkness of death to the liberty and light of life.
Few people are conscious, however, of the Jewish woman by the name of Lazarus. Her poem is
engraved on the pedestal of the Statue Of Liberty. When France made known it was going to give
this colossus of "Liberty Enlightening The World" to America, a committee was formed to raise
money to build a pedestal for it. One of the fund raising projects was to sell manuscripts of
Longfellow, Walt Whitman, Bret Harte and Mark Twain. The chairman of the committee asked his
friend Emma Lazarus to also contribute a manuscript. Little did Lazarus realize when she submitted
her sonnet that it would one day be engraved on that great statue. Listen to this poem she wrote in
1883 called The New Colossus.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose fame
Is the imprisoned lightening, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teaming shore.
Send this, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
This poem and the Statue Of Liberty have turned on a light for all the world to see. Millions
have seen it and have come out of bondage into the light of liberty which our great nation offers.
They are still coming today, and that great lamp of liberty in New York Harbor is the greatest
symbol of what America has been, and what we hope it will ever be-a land where the light of liberty
burns brightly for all people.
It is fitting that a Jew should be the author of the poem at the base of that great lamp of liberty.
The Jews have also been the authors of that lamp of liberty even more notable than the Statue Of
Liberty. We are referring, of course, to the Bible. It has been a lamp unto the feet and a light unto
the path of God's people all through history. Our heritage as Christians is greater and older, and
more noble than our heritage as Americans. In fact, it is our Christian heritage that has made our
American heritage the great value it is. As proud as we are of the Statue Of Liberty, we must
recognize that the real honor goes to this book of liberty-the lamp of God's light-the Bible. It's flame
will never flicker and go out, but will continue to shine forever.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but not the Word of God. Sun moon and stars do not provide
light for guidance equal to that of the Bible. Pollok wrote,
Most wondrous book!
Bright candle of the Lord!
Star of eternity!
The only star
By which the bark of man could navigate
The sea of life, and gain the coast of bliss securely.
God's lights in the heavens can guide our feet on earth,
but only His light on earth can guide our
steps to heaven.
Isaac Watts put it-
The stars, in their courses roll,
Have much instruction given;
But thy good Word informs my soul
How I may climb to heaven.
A Christian never needs to be like the man who could read numbers but not letters. He said that
when he travels he always knows how far but he never knows where to. Every man knows he is in a
certain year along the path of history, but only those who walk in the light of God's lamp know
where the path is going. He has turned on the light of God's lamp, and all the darkness of hell cannot
Men tried to turn off this light and keep the masses in the bondage of ignorance, but it was as
hopeless as trying to turn off the Sun. Once men saw the light of God's truth, and the glorious
message of salvation in Christ, by faith, and for all men, they could never again tolerate the
darkness. Great were the struggles to keep the light on, and many died as martyrs in the struggle,
but they died victors for they died in the light, and not in the night.
William Tyndale translated the Bible into English, and by using the new invention of
Gutenburg's printing press he was able to print large quantities. He was strangled to death for his