Imágenes de páginas

the exercise is of such a nature as to be adapted to every age and capacity.


A woman belonging to one of the tribes of the Israelites, from a mistaken idea of true religion, resolved to procure some images for her household worship, intending to consecrate her son to act as priest. She accordingly dedicated to the Lord the sum to be paid for making the images, and laid it aside for the purpose. This money was stolen from her by Micah, the very son for whose benefit chiefly she had formed the plan. Upon missing the money, she was greatly enraged; and pronounced, in the hearing of her son, the severest imprecations upon the sacrilegious thief. This so terrified Micali, that he confessed his crime, and restored the money to his mother. Her joy was very great, at receiving again her treasure. She told her son to what purpose it was appropriated; and they accordingly procured the images. It was agreed, that, instead of Micah, one of his sons should act as priest, until a more suitable person could be obtained. The son was accordingly provided with sacerdotal apparel, and consecrated to the priesthood.

Under these circumstances, the idol worship went on for some time; until there came one day to the house of Micah a wandering Levite, by the name of Jonathan. This man seemed to be out of employment; and being of the Levites, the tribe set apart for the holy offices, Micah thought he should do well to retain him as his family priest. Accordingly, he made to him proposals to this effect, offering him, for his services, his board, one suit of clothes, and a small sum of money, a-year. Jonathan very gladly agreed to these terms, and was forthwith constituted priest.

It happened, soon after, that there came to Micah's house a number of men, who had been sent out by the tribe of Dan to survey the adjacent country, with a view to enlarging their own territories. When these men came to Micah's house, they recognised with surprise the voice of the newly-consecrated priest. They inquired how he came there, and what he was about. The Levite told them his story; and the Danites seem to have regarded the circumstances of the affair as perfectly proper; for they even requested that he would inquire of the Lord for them, if they should meet with success in their present expedition. The Levite pretended to make the inquiry, and returned to them a favourable answer. The event was such as the Levite predicted: the Danites succeeded in driving before them the inhabitants of the territories they wished to possess. After the conquest, as the army were passing the house of Micah, the five men who had first been sent out, and who had stopped at this house, informed the others that there were in it a graven

and a molten image, and a priest with an ephod; and perhaps intimating that in their new settlement they would themselves need such an establishment, they inquired what had best be done. After some deliberation, it was agreed to take forcibly from Micah his images and the sacerdotal garments, and to entice the priest to go with them. Accordingly, while the rest of the army remained as guards at the entrance of the house, the five men before mentioned went in and commenced their depredations. The priest inquired, in amazement, what they were about. "Hush!" said the men; say nothing, and go with us. Will it not be more to your advantage, to be the priest of a whole tribe than of only one man?" The Levite was overjoyed at the proposal, and prepared immediately to set out with them.

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Great was the dismay of Micah, upon finding himself thus robbed of priest and gods. He called his neighbours to his assistance; and collecting a small company together, he went in pursuit of the depredators. As he approached the army, they inquired of him why he had come out with such a company. What ails you?" said they. "What ails me !” replied Micah ; you have taken from me my priest and my gods, and now you ask what ails me."-" You had better return to your house,' said some one of the number, or you will lose your life."Seeing that there was no possibility of prevailing against hundreds of armed men, Micah took the advice of the Danite, and returned home.

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Meanwhile the army of the Danites pursued their way to the place of their destination; where they established the worship of their stolen images, under the direction of the runaway priest.

The two following are upon the same subject; but the writers were seventeen and eleven years of age. They are accordingly very different in their style and character.


The king of Babylon, named Belshazzar, made a great feast for all his lords, his wives and concubines. And he sent and took from the House of the Lord the golden and silver vessels; and he and his company drank wine out of them. While, in impious mirth, they were enjoying the feast, the fingers of a man's hand were seen on the plastering of the wall, over against the candlestick. Then was the king very much frightened, and his knees smote against each other: he sent for all the wise men in the kingdom, to read the writing; but they could not. Then he called aloud again: If any man can read it, he shall be clothed in scarlet, and have a chain of gold around his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom. Then came in his wife the queen, to tell him that there was a man who could interpret,


whose name was Daniel. He read the writing:-Mene: God hath finished thy kingdom. Tekel: Thou art weighed, and art found wanting. Peres: Thy kingdom is given to the Medes and Persians. Then was proclamation made, that he was the third ruler in the kingdom.

And the same night the king died.



It was night: but the usual stillness of that hour was broken by the sounds of feasting and revelry. It had been a festivalday in Babylon, and the inhabitants had not yet sunk into repose. The song and the dance still continued, and the voice of music was heard. All seemed in perfect security; and no precautions had been taken to avoid the danger which hung over their devoted heads. An invading army was, even then, surrounding the walls of the city; but those who ought to have defended it, confident and secure, left it unguarded, and exposed to the attacks of the enemy. Fear was excluded even from the walls of the palace; and the monarch was giving his own example of rioting and mirth to his subjects. A thousand of the noblest lords in his kingdom were feasting with him, as his invited guests. They had already tarried long at the wine;" when Belshazzar, in the pride and impiety of his heart, commanded his servants to bring the silver and golden vessels, which had been taken by his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar from the Temple at Jerusalem. They were brought, and filled with wine; and as they drank it, they extolled their gods of wood and of stone. But while they were thus sacrilegiously employed, their mirth was suddenly changed into amazement and consternation. A hand, like that of a man, was seen to write upon the wall of the palace; and as they gazed upon it, it traced the sentence, 'Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin." No one among that vast company understood its meaning; but to their affrighted imagination it was full of portentous import. The king, who was exceedingly terrified, sent, in haste, for all the astrologers, and those persons in whose powers of divination he had been accustomed to place confidence; but none could explain the mysterious warning. At this juncture, the queen entered; and informed the king that Daniel was in the city, and that he was supposed to possess the wisdom of the gods. He was hastily summoned into the royal presence; and, after reproving the trembling and condemned monarch for the pride of heart which he had manifested, he revealed to him the doom which was pronounced upon him. He told him that his kingdom and his own life were nearly at a close; that his empire should be divided between the Medes and Persians; and, also, that his own character had been examined, and found lamentably deficient. The reward which had been promised was now bestowed upon

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Daniel. He was arrayed in a kingly robe, adorned with a golden chain, and proclaimed the third in authority in the kingdom.-Ere the next rising sun, Belshazzar was numbered with the dead.


At what time, and under what circumstances, had the golden and silver vessels been taken from the Temple at Jerusalem ? In what language was the writing upon the wall? and why could no one of the wise men of Babylon interpret it?

Why were the Chaldeans included among the astrologers and soothsayers?

The original writing was, "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin:" why, in the interpretation, is Peres substituted for Upharsin ?

It is a very good plan to write questions at the close of such an exercise, as in the last specimen; bringing up difficulties which have occurred to the writer, while reading and writing the account. These questions can be subsequently proposed to some person qualified to answer them. The whole plan may be adopted more or less extensively, according to the time and the task of the individual. I knew a young man who re-wrote the whole Book of the Acts in this way. The result he preserved in a neat manuscript; and the effort undoubtedly impressed the facts on his memory, with a distinctness which remained for years.

4. Collating the Scriptures.-The next method I shall describe, by which variety and efficiency can be given to your study of the Scriptures, may be called collation. It consists of carefully comparing two or more different accounts of the same transaction.

To illustrate it, I will imagine that two young persons sit down on a Sabbath afternoon, by their fireside, to read the Bible; and they conclude to collate the several accounts of Paul's conversion. To shew that this exercise does not require any advanced age or maturity of mind, I will imagine that the scholars are quite young; and will give in detail the conversation, as we might

imagine it in such a case to be. to be thirteen or fourteen years

years younger.

We will suppose James


age, and John some

John. "Well, what shall we read?”

James. "I think it would be a good plan for us to read and compare the two accounts of the conversion of Paul. Here is the first account, in the ninth chapter of the Acts and I believe he afterwards gave some account of it himself, in his speech."

John. "What speech ?"

James. "Some speech he made at his trial. I will try to find it. It is somewhere in the last part of the Book of Acts."

The boys turn over the leaves of their Bibles; until, at last, James says,

"Here it is. I have found it. It is in the 26th chapter."

"No," says John, " it is in the 22d: it begins at the 4th verse.

James. "Let me see it. Oh! there are two accounts in his speeches. That makes three, in all. Would you compare them all?”


John. Yes we can put our fingers into all the places, and read one verse of one, and then one verse of another; and so go through."

James. "

were made."

Well; let us see where these two speeches

The boys then examine the introductory remarks connected with these two addresses of the Apostle; and learn, before whom, and under what circumstances, they were made; and then proceed with their comparison.

James. "I will read first in the 9th chapter:

1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the High Priest; 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus, to the synagogues;

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