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bread that cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world.”
Whether morning, or evening, or any other portion of the day, shall be chosen for consulting the Word, by diligent and faithful observance of the season, we shall be led to welcome it as one in which our soul is delighted and refreshed, and carried onward in spiritual improvement and holiness.
As we choose a special time for consultation with the Scriptures, it will be well to observe, also, some system in reading them. Improvement is our object; and all that conduces to this should be sought. Cursory reading will not be of such permanent benefit as that which is systematic. A little truth gathered up in this way, is worth much, because it is more likely to be kept in mind.
It is confidently believed, that by heeding the directions here given, the Christian believer will find entrance into the glorious pathway of EVERLASTING Light, where he shall behold the mysteries and admire the perfections of God, and rejoice in the work of duty to himself and his fellow-men.
In closing this chapter, we would appeal to every reader, in favor of the Scriptures. Make the Bible the man of your counsel. Take it to your heart; and let it be your meditation day and night while you live on the earth. Pagan, Mahometan, Jew, Christian, skeptic, - study the Bible, — candidly, diligently, thoroughly. It will bring you righteousness, joy, peace, and salvation! In the beautiful description of another; “It reveals the only living and true God. It is a book of laws to show right and wrong; a book of wisdom, that condemns all folly, and makes the foolish wise ; a book of truth, that detects all lies, and confutes all errors; a book of life, that shows the way from ruin and death. It is the most compendious book in all the world, the most interesting history that ever was published; it contains the most ancient antiquities, strange events, wonderful occurrences, heroic deeds, unparalleled wars. It is a complete code of laws, a perfect body of divinity, a book of lives, a book of travels, and a book of voyages. It is the best covenant that ever was agreed on, the best deed that ever was sealed, the best evidence that ever was produced, the best will that ever was made, and the best testament that ever was signed. To understand it, is to be wise indeed; to be ignorant of it, is to be destitute of wisdom. It is the king's best copy, the magistrate's best rule, the housewife's best guide, the servant's best directory, and the young man's best companion. It affords knowledge of witty inventions for the airy, dark sayings for the grave, a sure reward to the excellent, and is its own interpreter. The crowning value of this precious Book is, that the AUTHOR is without partiality, and without hypocrisy, in whom there is no variableness, or shadow of turning."
Will not the devout mind, as it comes to the Holy Scriptures, join in this petition to their all-wise and beneficent Author ?
Eternal Source of all Truth! Praised be thy name, for the manifestation of thyself to thy children in this Holy Word, which is able to make them wise unto salvation. So cause me to read as to learn wisdom. So teach me to understand, that my life may be given to righteous
May I be taught my relationship to Thee; the object and end of my existence; and thy purposes and promises, in wliich my soul takes delight, and which honor thy sacred character and name. Teach me those precepts which I should observe and follow in my daily intercourse with the world ; and learn me how I may do good according to the ability given me.
Instruct me, gracious Father, in thy dealings with thy creatures in past ages ; and in those laws which change not, as the generations of men pass away. In thy visible dealings with the wicked, may I learn to shun vice; in thine acceptance of virtue, may I learn to deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thee. May this thy revelation of truth, be my counsellor in all things, directing me from darkness to light, and from earth to heaven.
May the message of thy well beloved Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, found in this revelation, be received into my heart, and manifest its purifying influence in my life; teaching me to live, not unto myself, but unto him who died for me and rose again; looking to him as the great pattern of Christian life; and having his spirit of wisdom, meekness, and love.
So teach me to live, that in every change of earthly circumstances, thy word may be precious unto me; and in death, may its blissful promises, living and abiding in my soul, take away the bitterness of mortal dissolution, and give me the victory, through Christ, my Redeemer. Amen.
Those who enjoy true gospel faith will honor and seek to support all institutions which they believe conduce to its advancement. The Christian cannot stand alone and do all his duty; he cannot shut himself up from his fel
with others, in the use of means, for the upbuilding of the Redeemer's kingdom in the earth. Hence he will duly appreciate those institutions which have given, and are still giving, success and stability to Christianity, and which, if rationally observed, will continue to be among the greatest blessings to mankind.
There are some Christian professors so strongly tinctured with what may be termed, religious radicalism, that the Sabbath, a stated ministry, the Lord's Supper, Sabbath Schools, and other kindred institutions and observances, are considered by them as of little worth. They think, that so far as outward observances are concerned, each one should be a law unto himself. It need only here be said of such Christians, that, however sincere and honest they may be, they would not be satisfied to behold
their peculiar notions universally prevalent. They run into the doctrine of extremes. They place themselves on the list of exceptions. From their “ peculiarities” every lover of Christian order and combination will turn away.
To those who seek the honor of Christianity in the
rational and scriptural observance of its useful institutions, the subjoined considerations are presented.
The Christian Sabbath is one of the most important of our religious institutions. No occasion will here be taken to search for the authority by which it is observed. This may
be left to the controversies of the theological world. It is enough for our present purpose to understand, that the Sabbath now observed by us, is not that of the Jews, but of the early Christians, who chose the first day of the week, to commemorate the resurrection of their Lord. They were accustomed to meet on that day, and engage in religious services, and exchange salutations of love and peace, and promise fidelity in the cause of their Master. The religious observance of the day has thus been kept through all ages of the church, down to the present time. And nearly all Christians agree in commending and practising the observance of it; so that the Christian Sabbath has become, in a certain sense, interwoven with the institutions of nearly all the civilized world.
Christians justly regard this day. They know its beneficial tendency. It is designed as a season of cessation from the toils of six days; a time for repose and tranquil thought ; a pleasant resting-place in the monotonous journey of life, where, while the body rests, the mind may refresh and expand itself, and make new acquisitions in knowledge and happiness.
Intimately connected with the Sabbath is the public worship of God. In this, every believer in Gospel truth must assuredly feel interested ; else he has not yet made himself acquainted with the best means and influences of Christianity. Many are the advantages of public meet