A Hunger for the Word

On the 17th May, 1881, Oxford University Press published the Revised Edition of the New Testament which was awaited by the public with great interest and one million copies were sold in that one day!

Special arrangements were made with the railway companies for early delivery on the morning of 17th in all the towns and villages throughout the kingdom. As the clock of St Paul’s struck midnight the doors of the two University Press warehouses were opened and delivery to the London trade began. Extra police were called in to control the traffic, and before noon there was not a bookseller in the land without the New Testament.

A contemporary report in the leisure Hour told the story.

‘The excitement in the forenoon in Paternoster Row was intense, and the public were literally scrambling for copies. The shilling size was being sold at the Underground bookstalls as rapidly at one-and-sixpence per copy as by the discount booksellers at ninepence. One City bookseller alone sold during the day 15,000 in single copies ranging in price from a shilling to a guinea. In every omnibus, in every railway compartment, and even while walking along the public thoroughfare, people were to be seen reading the New Testament. It was the universal subject of conversation throughout the land. On the evening of that memorable day the newspapers were full of it The whole nation seemed to be reading the word of God’.

Oh, that today such a hunger for the word existed in our nation. Alas, many have turned their back on God and His word.


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