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There should be a distinction made between the manner of reading the Bible on the Sabbath and during the bustle of the week. The two objects to be accomplished and the method of accomplishing them I shall describe.

1. On the Sabbath, the Bible should be studied. Every person, old or young, ignorant or learned, should devote a portion of time every Sabbath, to the study of the Scriptures, in the more strict and proper sense of that term. But to show precisely what I mean by this weekly study of the Bible, I will describe a particular case. A young man, with only such opportunities as are possessed by all, resolves to take this course. He selects the Epistle to the Ephesians for his first subject. He obtains such books and helps as he finds in his own family, or as he can obtain from a religious friend, or procure from a Sabbath school library. It is not too much to suppose that he will have a sacred Atlas, some Commentary, and probably, a Bible Dictionary. He should also have pen, ink and paper, and thus provided, he sits down, Sabbath morning, to his work. He raises a short but heart-felt prayer to God that he will assist and bless him, and then commences his inquiries.

The Epistle to the Ephesians I have supposed to be his subject. He sees that the first question evidently is, “who were the Ephesians?" He finds the city of Ephesus upon the map, and from the preface to the Epistle, contained in the Commentary, or from any other source to which he can have access, he learns what sort of a city it was,--what was the character of the inhabitants, and if possible, what condition the city was in at the time this letter was written. He next inquires in regard to the writer of this letter, or Epistle as it is called. It was Paul; and what did Paul know of the Ephesians? had he ever been there? or was he writing to strangers? To settle these points, so evidently important to a correct understanding of the letter, he examines the Acts of the Apostles, which contains Paul's life, to learn whether Paul went there; if so, what happened while he was there. He finds that many interesting incidents occurred during Paul's visits, and his curiosity is excited to know whether these things will be alluded to in the letter. He next endeavours to ascertain where Paul was when he wrote the letter; and after having thus ascertained every thing relating to the circumstances of the case,

he is prepared to come to the Epistle itself, and enter with spirit and interest into an examination of its contents.

He first glances his eye cursorily through the chapters of the book, that he may take in at once a general view of its object and design-perhaps he makes out a brief list of the topics discussed, and thus has a distinct general idea of the whole, before he enters into a minute examination of the parts. This minute examination he comes to at last-though perhaps the time devoted to the study for two or three Sabbaths is spent in the preparatory inquiries. If it is so, it is time well spent, for by it he is now prepared to enter with interest into the very soul and spirit of the letter. While he was ignorant of those points, his knowledge of the Epistle itself must have been very vague and superficial. Suppose I were now to introduce into this book a letter, and should begin at once, without saying by whom the letter was written, or to whom it was addressed. It would be preposterous. If I wished to excite your interest, I should describe particularly the parties, and the circumstances which produced the letter originally. And yet, how many Christians there are who could not tell whether Paul's letter to the Ephesians was written before or after he went there, or where Titus was when Paul wrote to him, and for what special purpose he wrote.

Take another case. The father or mother whom Providence has placed at the head of a family contrive to close their worldly business at an early hour on Saturday evening, and gather around the table, at their fireside, all those who are committed to their charge. They choose some subject for examination,-real, thorough examination. Perhaps it is the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the captivity. The various books calculated to assist their inquiries are distributed among the members of the group. The reference Bible is given to one-the Concordance to another-Scott or Doddridge, or Henry, to the third-the Bible Dictionary to the fourth; and then, when all are seated, and the Divine blessing has been asked upon their labours, the father asks them all to turn to any part of the Scriptures which gives information upon the subject. They examine first the account of the destruction of the city, when the Jews were carried captive, that they may know in what condition it was probably found on their return. They search in everal books for an

account of the first movements in Babylon of those who were desirous of return-examine the plans they formedcompare one account with another;-every question which occurs is asked, and the information which it seeks for obtained. The two expeditions of Ezra and Nehemiah are examined the object of each, and the connexion between them. Under the control of a judicious parent, even secular history might be occasionally referred to, to throw light upon the subject. We e may properly avail ourselves of any helps of this kind, so far as their tendency is really to throw light upon the sacred volume. The children of the family soon take a strong interest in the study, their inquiries are encouraged their curiosity is awakened, they regard it a pleasure, not a task. Instead of the evening of Saturday, the afternoon or the evening of the Sabbath, if more convenient, may be used; and if the children are members of a Sabbath school, their next lesson may be the subject. Those accustomed to the use of the pen will derive great advantage from writing, each evening, notes or abstracts, expressing in a concise and simple style the new knowledge they have acquired; and every difficulty should be noted, that it may be presented at some convenient opportunity to some other Christian student, to the superintendant of the Sabbath school, or to a minister of the gospel.

This method of studying the Scriptures, which I have thus attempted to describe, and which I might illustrate by supposing many other cases, is not intended for one class alone. Not for the ignorant peculiarly-nor for the wise : Not for the rich- -nor for the poor; but for all.

The solitary widow, in her lonely cottage among the distant mountains, with nothing but her simple Bible in her hand, by the light of her evening fire, may pursue this course of comparing Scripture with Scripture and entering into the spirit of sacred story-throwing herself back to ancient times, and thus preparing herself to grasp more completely and feel more vividly the moral lessons which the Bible is mainly intended to teach. And the most cultivated scholar may pursue this course, in his quiet study, surrounded by all the helps to a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures which learning can produce or wealth obtain.

I hope the specimens I have given are sufficient to convey to my readers the general idea I have in view, when I

speak of studying the Bible in contradistinction from the mere cursory reading of it, which is so common among Christians. But I must illustrate in minute detail the various methods of doing this; for there are many persons who really wish to study the Bible more intellectually, and to receive more vivid impressions from it, but who really do not know exactly what they are to do to secure these objects. I shall therefore describe some of the means which can easily be adopted, and which will be very efficient for this purpose.

1. Picturing to the imagination the scenes described.There is a very common difficulty felt by multitudes in reading the Bible, which admits of so sure and easy a remedy by the above direction, that I cannot avoid devoting a few paragraphs to the formal consideration of it. A person who is convinced that it is his duty to read the word of God, and who really desires to read it, and to receive instruction from it, sits down on the Sabbath to the work. He opens, perhaps, to a passage in the gospels, and reads on, verse after verse. The phraseology is all perfectly familiar. He has read the same passage a hundred times before, and the words fall upon his ear like an old familiar sound, producing no impression, and awakening no idea. After going on a few verses, he finds that he is making no real progress; perhaps his mind has left his work altogether, and is wandering to some other subject. He begins back therefore a few verses, and endeavours to become interested in the narrative; but it is to little purpose, and after spending half an hour in his reading, he shuts his book, and instead of feeling that renewed moral strength and peace of mind which comes from the proper use of the word of God, he feels disappointed and dissatisfied, and returns to his other duties more unquiet in spirit than before. What a vast proportion of the reading of the Bible, as practised in Christian countries, does this description justly pourtray.

Now, some one may say that this careless and useless study of God's word arises from a cold and indifferent state of heart towards God. It does unquestionably often arise, to a great degree, from this source, but not entirely. There is another difficulty, not connected with the moral state of the heart. It is this:

Words that have been often repeated gradually lose their

power to awaken vivid ideas in the mind. The clock which has struck perhaps many thousand times in your room, you at last cease even to hear. On the walls of a schoolroom there was once painted in large letters, "A PLACE FOR EVERY THING, AND EVERY THING IN ITS PLACE," but after a little time, the pupils, becoming familiar with the sight of the inscription, lost altogether its meaning, and a boy would open his disorderly desk, and look among the confused mass of books and slates and papers there, for some article he had lost, and then as he looked round the room, his eyes would fall on the conspicuous motto without thinking a moment of the incongruity between its excellent precept and his own disorderly practice. It is always so. The oft-repeated sound falls at last powerless and unheeded on the ear.

The difficulty, then, which I am now to consider is, that in reading the Bible, especially those portions which are familiar, we stop with merely repeating once more the words, instead of penetrating fully to the meaning beyond. In order to illustrate this difficulty and its remedy more fully, let me take a passage, for example the sixth chapter of St. John, to which I have opened at random.

"After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.

"And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased."

How familiar, now, this sounds to every reader. Every phrase comes upon the ear like an oft-told tale, but it makes a very slight impression upon the mind. The next verse, though perhaps few of my readers know now what it is, will sound equally familiar when they read it here.

"And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples."

Now, suppose this passage, and the verses which follow it, were read at morning prayers by the master of a family, how many of the children would hear it without being interested in it at all, or receiving any clear and vivid ideas from the description. And how many would there be, who, if they were asked two hours afterwards what had been read that morning, would be utterly unable to tell.

But now suppose that this same father could, by some magic power, show to his children the real scene which these

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