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one simple proclamation from the Majesty on high, we have sixty or seventy different books, introducing us to the public history of twenty nations, and to minute incidents in the biographies of a thousand men? One reason doubtless is,

that we may be excited by the incident and story; that religion and impiety may be respectively presented to us in living and acting reality; and that the principles of God's government, and of his dealing with men, may come to us in all the vividness of actual fact. If, then, we neglect to understand this history as history, and to enter into all the incidents which are detailed, we lose the very benefit which the Spirit had in view in making the Bible such a volume as it is. Without such an occasional effort to make the Scriptures a study, examining them intellectually, comparing one part with another, and endeavoring to bring vividly to view the scenes which they present to our minds, it may safely be said that no one can truly understand the Bible, or enter into the spirit of its descriptions, its warnings, and its appeals.

But after all, the great object in studying the Bible is not merely to understand it. The revelation which God has made is addressed, not so much to the intellect as to the consciences and hearts of men; and unless it reaches the conscience and the heart, it entirely fails of accomplishing its object. We ought indeed to gain an intellectual knowledge of it, but that is only to be considered as a means to enable us the more fully to apply to our own characters and conduct the practical lessons which it teaches.

All persons, therefore, even if unable to secure time daily for a systematic study of the Bible, should read a portion of it practically every day. This part of my subject does not need so full an illustration as the other, for the great difficulty in regard to reading the Scriptures practically, is a want of disposition to do it. They who really wish to learn their duty and overcome their temptations,

who desire that the sins of their hearts and lives should be brought to their view by the word of God, will be enabled to make for themselves an application of the truths which the Bible contains.

Will not all my readers do this, faithfully and perseveringly? Resolve to bring a short portion of the preceptive or devotional parts of the Scriptures home to your heart every day; and let your object be, not so much to extend your intellectual view of the field opened to you in its pages, as to increase its moral and spiritual influence upon your heart and conduct. Be not so careful, then, to read this exact quantity, or that; but to bring home some portion really and fully to the 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.

Reading 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 almost an 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.

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'Holy Spirit," whispers he, "graciously apply the instructions of this book to my heart, 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; in honor preferring one another." He pauses—his faithful self-applying thoughts run over the scenes through which he is that day to pass, and he considers in what cases this verse ought to influence him. 66 6 'Be kindly affectioned.' I must treat my brothers and sisters, and all my companions, kindly today. 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 industrious, improving all his time in such a manner as to be of the greatest advantage to his master; whether he is fervent in spirit, that is, 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, that is, 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 towards 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.



'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 keeping one day in seven holy 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 afterwards 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,

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