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Useless reading.

The Apprentice.

heart and to the conscience-to do it so forcibly, that the influence of those few verses read and pondered in the morning, will go with you through the day.

Habitual reading of the Bible, is however sometimes practised with a very different spirit from this. A boy, for example, whose parent or whose Sabbath-school teacher has convinced him that he ought to read the Bible daily, takes his book and sits down by the fire, and reads away, rapidly and thoughtlessly, the portion which comes in course. He looks up occasionally, to observe the sports of his brothers and sisters, or to join in their conversation, and then returns again to the verse he left. In fifteen minutes he rises from his seat, shuts his book, and pushes it into its place upon the shelf, saying, "There--I have read my chapter;" and this is the last he knows or thinks of the Bible during the day.

Consider now another case. In an unfurnished and even unfinished little room, in some crowded alley of a populous city, you may see a lad, who has just arisen from his humble bed, and is ready to go forth to his daily duties. He is a young apprentice,—and must almost immediately go forth to kindle his morning fire, and to prepare his place of business for the labors of the day. He first, however, takes his little Testament from his chest-and breathes, while he opens it, a silent prayer that God will fix the lesson that he is about to read, upon his conscience and his heart. 66 "Holy Spirit!" whispers he, "let me apply the instructions of this book to myself, and let me be governed by it to-day; so that I may perform faithfully all my duties to myself, to my companions, to my master, and to Thee." He opens the book, and reads perhaps as follows:-"Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love, with honor preferring one another." He pauses-his faithful self-applying thoughts run through the scenes through which he is that day to pass, and he considers in what cases this verse ought to influence him. "Be kindly affectioned!" I must treat my brothers and sisters, and all my

Reading two verses aright.

companions, kindly to-day. I must try to save them trouble, and to promote their happiness. "In honor preferring one another." As he sees these words, he sighs to reflect how many times he has been jealous of his fellow apprentices, on account of marks of trust and favor shown to them, or envious of the somewhat superior privileges enjoyed by those older than himself, and he prays that God will forgive him, and make him humble and kind-hearted. in future, to all around him.

"Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." He stops to consider whether he is habitually in→ dustrious, improving all his time in such a manner as to be of the greatest advantage to his master;-whether he is fervent in spirit; i. e. cordially devoted to God's service, and full of benevolent desires for the happiness of all;whether he serves the Lord in what he does, i. e. whether all his duties are discharged from motives of love to his Maker and Preserver. While he thus muses, the fire burns. He shuts his book, and asks God to protect him, as he now must go out into the labors and temptations of the day. God does bless and protect him. He has read indeed, but two verses; but these verses he carries in his heart, and they serve as a memorial of kindness and love to man, and fidelity toward God, which accompanies him wherever he goes, and keeps him safe and happy. The Bible is thus a light to his feet and a lamp to his paths. Which, now, of these, do you think, reads the Bible aright?

Let no child who reads this understand me to say that I consider two verses enough of the Bible to read each day. What I mean by this case is, that so much more depends upon the spirit and manner with which the Bible is read, than the quantity—that a very small portion, properly read, may be far more useful than a much larger quantity hurried over in a careless and thoughtless manner. No precise rules can be given in regard to quantity; it must vary with circumstances, and of these the individual must, in most cases, be the judge.

The Sabbath.

CHAPTER IX.

THE SABBATH.

"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy."

My readers are undoubtedly generally aware that the present obligation to keep the Sabbath has been, by some persons, denied, on the ground that the keeping of one day in seven is a sort of ceremony, and that it was only intended to be required of the Jewish nation. I do not intend, in this chapter, to enter at all into a discussion of that subject. Most, if not all of those who will read this book, are undoubtedly satisfied in regard to it. I will, however, simply state the facts, on the ground of which the present binding authority of the Lord's-day is generally admitted by Christians.

As soon as God had finished the creation, it is stated that he rested on the seventh day and sanctified it; that is, he set it apart for a sacred use. The time and the circumstances under which this was done, sufficiently indicate that it was intended to apply to the whole race, and to extend through all time. A ceremony solemnly established at the foundation of an empire, would be universally considered as designed to extend as far and continue as long as the empire itself should extend and continue, unless it should be distinctly repealed. And so with a duty established at the foundation of a world.

Many years afterward the Creator gave a very distinct code of laws to his people, the Jews. These laws were of two kinds, ceremonial and moral. It was the design of the former to be binding only upon the Jewish nation; the latter are of permanent and universal authority.

The ceremonial laws were merely repeated to Moses, and he made a record of them; you will find them in nearly all the chapters of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. All the

Change from Saturday to Sunday.

regulations relating to sacrifices are of this character. The moral laws were, however, given in the most solemn manner from Mount Sinai. They are the ten commandments, and they were written, by the direct power of God himself, upon tablets of stone, which were carefully preserved.

Now, as if to remove all possible ground of doubt in regard to his design, the observance of the Sabbath was made the subject of one of these ten commandments; and it has been observed from that day to this, by a vast majority of all those who have wished to obey their Maker's commands.

These facts are abundantly sufficient to convince those who are willing to keep the Sabbath, that God intended. that all men should keep it. They who are not convinced, reveal by their doubts their unwillingness to obey. I would advise, therefore, any one who has doubts about the divine authority of the Sabbath, not to spend his time in looking for the arguments for and against, in this controversy, but to come at once to his heart. Ask yourself this question: "Do I fully understand what it is to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy, and am I cordially and sincerely willing to do it?" In the affirmative answer to this question you will find the solution to all your doubts.

The Sabbath was observed, from its establishment down to the coming of Christ, on the seventh day of the week, that is our Saturday. Our Savior rose from the dead on the day after the Sabbath, and we find, soon after his resurrection, that Christians observed that day instead of the former one, as sacred time. There is no direct command to do this, and no indication that there was any controversy about it at the time. They all at once simultaneously change. They keep one day in seven as before, but it is a different day. We infer that they had some authority for so doing, though it is not at all necessary that that authority should be specified. It is the custom in most of the schools in New England to consider the afternoon of

Beginning of the Sabbath.

Saturday a half-holiday. Now, suppose a boy should leave this country to go on a foreign voyage, and after being absent many months, should return, and find, when Saturday afternoon comes, that all the boys in his native town go to school as usual, but that on Monday afternoon the schools are all suspended. He sees that this is the universal custom, and it continues so permanently. Now it is not, under these circumstances, at all necessary that the original vote of the school committee by which the change was made should come before him. The universality of the practice is the best of evidence in such a case. No boy would wish for more. It is just so with the evidence we have that the Sabbath was changed. Suddenly all Christians changed their practice; they changed together, and without any evidence of a controversy, and the new arrangement has been adopted from that day to this.

But yet some persons are not quite satisfied about it, and there are various other questions connected with the time of the Sabbath, which have occasioned in the minds of many Christians serious doubt and perplexities. Some imagine that they ought to have more evidence of the change from the seventh to the first day of the week; they think too, that the Sabbath is intended to be commemorative of God's rest after finishing the creation, and that this object is lost by altering the day; and some lose themselves in endless arguments on the question whether sunset, midnight, or morning, marks the beginning of the sacred day. The difference of views on this subject, produces some difference of practice. There are denominations of Christians who prefer to keep Saturday as holy time, and not Sunday, regarding the former as the seventh day meant by the commandment. There is a difference of practice, too, in regard to the time of commencing the holy day. In some portions of our land the Sabbath is understood to begin on the evening of Saturday, so that when the sun goes down on Sunday evening, they return

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