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judgment, the memory, and the affections are suffered to lie unoccupied, or only directed towards trilling objects, they must continue weak, and 'tis no wonder that persons who never seek for wisdom, should mistake in their notions and conduct. Now let us brieflyconsider what the best of all books teaches us, and what subjects it holds up for our meditations. It teaches us, in the first place, to form a just view of our own characters. The Apostle James compares theword ofGod, that is the holy Scriptures, to a glass, in which every man may behold himself. And if he does not go his way forgetting what manner of man he is, this knowledge of himself will be of daily advantage, for it will produce humility, watchfulness, and tenderness of heart towards his sinful brethren. Next to the knowledge of ourselves,' the most desirable is to know the consequences of our actions, whether good or bad as they affect our interests both here and hereafter.
The histories given us in the Bible of nations and individuals, convey in a rich abundance this useful knowledge. They warn, they encourage, or they teach by their examples, lessons which will never become old or of private interpretation : for however the face of the world or the manners of its inhabitants may change, the law of God, being founded on the immoveable basis of truth, must remain, and happiness or misery, attend the obedience, or neglect of it. To the instructions given
us from histories in the Scriptures, are added line upon line and precept upon precept, adapted to every possible condition of life. What prudence and worldly wisdom is taught in the book of Proverbs! A due attention even to this single book, would ensure the person who studied it, the character of being wise. But the subjects which the Bible holds up for our meditations, respecting the being and perfections of God, the wonders of his
power in the works of creation and Providence, and our interests in them, if duly considered, would enlarge our understandings more than all the advantages derived by the rich and great from their learned instructors.
And does the Bible contain all this instruction, of which the half has not been told by me? then surely ignorance is inexcusable. The wisdom which comes from above is now every where offered to the poor, without money and without price ; and I indulge the pleasing hope, that all my readers are in possession of, or desirous to possess the invaluable treasure. But while I am pointing out to them the advantage they may derive from their knowledge of the Scriptures for worldly purposes, let me guard them from the sad error of studying them for no higher a purpose.
It is to be feared that numbers have had their understandings enlightened, their minds enlarged, and.even their conduct in many respects regulated by reading their Bibles, who yet
were never made by them “wise unto salvation.” This proves the sacred book to be only the means of conversion, not the cause, for such readers have neglected to pray for the teachings of the Holy Spirit, to give his word success in writing upon the heart the truths revealed to their understandings.
T'he Reflecting Child.
From the earnest recommendation contained in my last to study the holy Scriptures, my readers may suppose me a warm advocate also for the instruction of youth, and that I am desirous of proving my allegiance to our present beloved sovereign, by aiding as much as possible the accomplishment of his expressed wish, “ That every poor child in the kingdom should be taught to read the Bible.” But when I assemble my numerous little flock around me in my office of Sunday-school teacher, I consider the importance of teaching to think as well as read, and of instilling principles for the guidance of their future lives. In my observations on the character of childhood, I find much to grieve, to surprize, and to please me. I am constrained to apply the humiliating declaration of Scripture—"Man is a transgressor from the womb, as soon as he is born he goeth astray speaking lies!
Cruelty is bound up in the heart of a child, and the imagination of his heart is only evil, and that continually.” Leaving the study of his heart, I examine his head, and here is subject for almiration as well as surprise. Before he is capable of expressing himself in plain language, he proves himself gifted with reason, genius, and a peculiar sort of art, which may almost be called judgment. On these three qualities the teacher may rely for success, in every impression he wishes to make on his understanding--the avenue at every age to the heart and affections. But what pleases me most in the character of childhood, and affords me the greatest hope of benefit from my instructions, is its simplicity, or that readiness of belief, which causes it never to dispute the truth of my arguments or assertions. From this well-known siinplicity of childhood our Lord draws 'the important comparison—"Except ye receive the kingdom of heaven as a little child, ye shall in no wise enter therein."
" What occasions that melancholy look ?" questioned I to one of my young favourites one morning. He turned away his face to hide a tear ready to. start from his eye. His brother answered for him. “ Mother is very angry with him,” said he, “because he would not say his prayers last night; and cried all day because a sparrow died that he was fond of.” The little mourner hastily tựrned round,