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tament in English to themselves, or to any other person, privately or openly. With what pleasure ought we to reflect on our deliverance from those times of darkness, and that now we live in a land of Bibles, and in a time when they are still on the increase.
It is recorded of our Edward VI, that, upon a certain occasion, a paper which was called for in the council chamber happened to be out of reach: the person concerned to produce it took a Bible that lay by, and, standing upon it, reached down the paper. The king, observing what was done, ran himself to the place, and, taking the Bible in his hands, kissed it, and laid it up again. This circumstance, though trifling in itself, shewed his majesty's great reverence for and affection to that best of all books; and whose example is a striking reproof to those who suffer their Bibles to be covered with dust for months together, or throw them about as if they were of little value, or only a piece of useless lumber.
Robert, King of Sicily, thus said : “ The holy books are dearer to me than my kingdom ; and were I under any necessity of quitting one, it should be my diadem.” And even the haughty Louis XIV sometimes read his Bible, and considered it as the finest of all books.
Dr. Harris, in all his wills, always renewed this legacy :-Item, I bequeath to all my children, and to my children's children, to each of them, a Bible, with this inscription, “None but Christ.” A noble legacy, truly! If parents were to leave such a boon as this to all their children, with an earnest request that they should constantly read and study it, it might, under the divine blessing, be
the mean of enriching them more than if they left them thousands of gold and silver.
We are informed of Dr. Marryat, that after he was someu hat advanced in youth, having a strong memory, he thought it his duty to make it a secret repository of the words of divine revelation.
Accordingly " he treasured up," says one,“ a larger portion of the scriptures than, perhaps, any one besides, whom we have known, ever did: for there are some who can assure us they had the account immediately from himself,—that he has committed to memory not a few whole books, both of the Old Testament and the New. When he mentioned this, he named distinctly, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, with all the minor Prophets : and every one of the Epistles likewise in the New Testament, with the book of the Revelation, and that he might carefully retain the whole of what he had thus learnt, he declared, it was his practice to repeat them memoriter once a year.–The special reason or mo. tive which he assigned for his entering upon this method deserves a particular notice. He began it in the younger part of life, when, being under a decp sense of the evil of sin, and his mind sadly ignorant of God's way of salvation by the righteousness of the glorious Messiah, or being in the dark as to his own personal interest in it, he was sorely distressed with fears that hell must be his portion. At that time it was put into his heart, îhat, if he must go to hell, he would endeavour to carry with him as much of the word of GOD as possibly he could. And it seems to me to have been a secret latent principle of the fear and love of God that established him in this purpose.
For it looks as if he desired to have a supply of scripture materials for his mind to work upon, chusing it should ever be employed in recollecting and reflecting upon those records, that hereby, if possible, it might be kept from blaspheming God, like the rest of the spirits in the infernal prison.”
The society which has been lately formed for the purpose of circulating the sacred scriptures through the British dominions and other countries, whether Christian, Mahometan, or Pagan, we trust will be of incalculable benefit. A clergyman in Wales gives us the following interesting account. “ I cannot express,” says he,“ the joy I felt on receiving the information of a society being formed for supplying various nations of the world with Bibles. The Sunday Schools have occasioned more calls for Bibles, within these five years, than perhaps ever was known before among our poor people. The possession of a Bible produces a feeling among them, which the possession of no one thing in the world besides could produce. In many houses they have but one Bi. ble for the use of a numerous family; of course every one cannot obtain the free use of it at all va. cant seasons, when they might read it ; and frequently, the young people and the menial servants, who are debarred the use of it, are the most anx.. iously desirous for the reading of it. The last Oxford edition was bought up by them principally, in every parish where dispersed, with the greatest avidity; and there was not half enough to answer the demand for them. I have seen some of them overcome with joy, and burst into tears of thank. fulness on their obtaining possession of a Bible as their own property, and for their free use. Young
females in service have walked thirty miles to me, with only the bare hope of obtaining a Bible each, and returned with more joy and thanksgiving than if they had obtained spoils. We, who have a half a dozen Bibles by us, and are in circumstances to obtain as many more, know but little of the value those put upon one, who before were hardly permitted to look into a Bible once a week."
Bible the best Book. A society of gentlemen, most of whom had enjoyed a liberal education, and were persons of polished manners, but had unhappily imbibed infidel principles, used to assemble at each other's houses, for the purpose of ridiculing the scriptures, and hardening one another in their unbelief. At last, they unanimously formed a resolution solemnly to burn the Bible, and so to be troubled no more with a book which was so hostile to their princi. ples, and disquieting to their consciences. The day fixed upon arrived ; a large fire was prepared; a Bible was laid on the table, and a flowing bowl ready to drink its dirge. For the execution of their plan, they fixed upon a young gentleman of high birth, brilliant vivacity, and elegance of manners. He undertook the task, and after a few enlivening glasses, amidst the applauses of his jovial compeers, he approached the table, took up the Bible, and was walking leisurely forward to put it into the fire; but, happening to give it a look, all at once he was seized with trembling: paleness overspread his countenance, and he seemed convulsed. He returned to the table, and, laying down the Bible, said, with a strong asseveration, “ We will not burn that book till we get a better."
Soon after this, the same gay and lively young gentleman died, and on his death-bed was led to true repentance, deriving unshaken hopes of for. giveness and of future blessedness from that book he was once going to burn. He found it indeed, the best book, not only for a living but a dying hour.
BIGOTRY, PREJUDICE, &c. NOTHING is more opposite to the spirit of christianity than bigotry. “ This,” as one observes, arraigns, and condemns, and executes, all that do not bow down and worship the image of its idolatry. Possessing exclusive prerogative, it rejects every other claim. How many of the dead has it sentenced to eternal misery, who will shine for ever as stars in the kingdom of their Father ! How many living characters does it reprobate as enemies to the cross of Christ, who are placing in it all their glory!
A bigotted“ litigious Christian, if he be right in his opinions (which is much to be doubted,) is wrong in his way of defending them : he keeps a doctrine, and breaks a commandment."
Wollaston, the learned author of the Religion of Nature delineated, once asked a bigot, “ How many sects he thought there might be in the world ?"? " Why,” says he, “I can make no judgment; I never considered the question.” “ Do you think,” said Wollaston, “there may be a hundred ?” “ O yes, at least," cried the bigot. “ Why, then,” replied the philosopher, “it is ninety-nine to one that you are in the wrong.")