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BY EZRA SAMPSON,
1 I bese words which I command thée this day, sball be in thine heart;
and thou svalt teach them diligently unto thy children." Moses.
IN a few instances, for obvious reasons, the words and phrases of the Bible translation are altered in this work, while the sense or meaning is carefully pre. served ; and this alteration is marked with Italic characters: And also, where a word, or phrase is added for explanation, such addicions are in the Italic cha. racters, and are included in parentheses.
THE title " BEAUTIES of the BIBLE," that has been given to this Selection, only means that it con. tains a part of those matchless beauties, with which that Divine Volume abounds.
Ir would be improper to apologise for undertaking a work, which
is designed to be useful to the best interests of mankind. That a book of this kind is necessary will be generally allowed by Christian's of every denomination, who have thought carefully on the subject.
Time was in our country, when the Bible was almost the only school book. By freqnently reading the sacred writings in schools, a large portion of the doctrine and precepts of our holy religion was imperceptibly lodged in the memory, and often continued there through life, as the seed of piety, and as a happy preventive to error and vice,
At length, objections were started against the use of the Bille in schools. Other books were introduced, and the sacred writings for several years past, have been almost to:ally excluded from having any share in school instruction : and by reason of this almost toial disuse of the bible in schools, thousands of children have grown, and are growing up in gross ignorance of the contents of that sacred book.
It is an astonishing thought and should be humbling to Christians, that while we have neglected to make the knowledge of the bible any part of the school education of our children, the Mahom. eians have been teaching their children the Alcoran with most diligent care. Will not Mabomerans rise up in judgment against us and condemn rs?
“ While men slept the enemy came and sowed tares." Besides innumerable other books of pernicious tendency, it has been asserted ihat twen:y thousand copies of what some have called “ Thomas Paine's bible" were imported into this country at one time. They have been distributed over the country, and have been read wih ea. gerness : their poison bas s!ruck deep, particularly into those minds which had not been sown with the seeds of religious instruction. Thus multitudes have been desperately wounded, not indeed by the paw of the lion, but by the sting of the despicable asp.
" As we sow we may expect to reap." if the bibie should continue to be excluded from schools, and the religious instruction of children be reglected, the bitter fruits will be experienced in the demoralized condition of ail classes of people. To obviate, in some degree, this threatening evil, is the object of the present publication.
This selection is not liable to any of those objections which have been urged against the scholastic use of the wbole bible. Such ma
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Inaccuracies in point of grammar, it may be pronounced a com plete standard of pure English.
We read or hear, not for the sound of words, or for the sake of observing a stately structure of language, but to obtain information : so that, in general, that is the best style, by which thoughts are communicated with the greatest plainness and in the fewest words. And the scripture language, in our English translation, is, in a remarkable degree, both concise and clear. ? It may justly be called the perfection of style, to speak or write in buch a manner that the hearer, or reader, without noticing the lana guage, is led to yield up his whole attention to the thoughts which it communicaies. And this is the case, when we read the Bible in its English dress : while the thoughts strike our minds, we scarcely think of the language in which those thoughts are conveyed to us : whereas an affected style ever turns the attention on itself rather than on the sentiment. Every attempt to embellish the sublime thoughts of scripture, by divesting them of their simple dress, and adding the decorations of forid language, has debased the sacred writings, and manifested the folly of the attempter. As well might one attempt to varnish the colours of the rainbow.
The language of our Bible translation may, in particular, be con. sidered as a very excellent model for youth. An affectation in language is no less disgusting than an affectation in dress and inaoners; “ forlanguage is the dress of thought."-Now it is observable that youth who have an ambition to excel, are very apt, through a desire to distinguish thenrselves, to run into an affectation in language; or to endeavor to make their style glitter with ornaments. It is therefore proper that their style should at first be formed upon a most simple plan.
I will subjõin some remarks of Mr. Addiso11, whose authority, in point of language, is indisputable. Spectator No. 405.
- There is a certain coldness and indifference in the phrases of our European languages, when they are compared with the oriental forms of speech ; and it happens very luckily, that the Hebrew idis oms run into the English tongue with a particular grace and beauty. Our language has received innumerable elegancies and improve. ments, from the infusion of Hebraisms which are derived to it out of the poetical passages in Holy Writ. They give a force and energy to our expression; warm and animaie our language, and convey our thoughts in more ardent and intense phrases than any that are to be met with in our own tongue.
« There is something so pathetic in this kind of dichon, that it often sets the mind in a flame, and makes our hearts burn within us. How cold and dead does a prayer appear, that is composed in the most elegant and polite forms of speech, which are natural to our tongue, when it is not heightened by that solemnity of phrases which may be drawn from the sacred writings."!
A SELECTION FROM TIE OLD TESTAMENT.
HISTORY OF THE CREATION.
A. C. or before Chrift, 4004 Years.
I 1..... N the beginning God created the leaves and the earth. And ihe earth was without form, and void ; and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, and God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good: and God divided the light trom the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night : and the evening and the morning were the first day.
2....And God faid, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters froni the waters. And God made the firmament and divi. ded the waters which were under the firmarent from the waters which were above the firmament : and it was lo. And God called the firmament heaven ; and ihe evening and the morning were the second day.
3.... And. God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear, and it was fo. And God called the