« ElőzőTovább »
the original languages in the reign of King James I. Where LORD is printed in capital letters, it is, in the original, Jehovah, or the self-existent and independent Being. The word Lord, in the common characters, is, in the original, Adonai,—that is, Ruler or Sustainer. This distinction may be observed, Psa. cx. 1, and elsewhere. Such words as are printed in italics are used to complete the sense in the translation, there being no corresponding original words. In the margin of the larger Bibles there are references to parallel or similar passages, the knowledge of which often helps us in understanding the Scriptures. There are also various readings; for when the excellent translators of the Bible thought any passage might justly bear a different construction, they have put this in the margin. And where they thought that the idioms of the English language would not permit them to translate the Hebrew literally into English, they still put the literal translation in the margin. This is pointed out in the Old Testament by putting Heb. before it,—that is, literally in the Hebrew ; and in the New Testament, Gr.,—that is, literally in the Greek. The books of the Bible, when first written, were not divided into chapters and verses. a modern invention, useful in many respects ; but the sense is frequently obscured by it. Thus the 1st verse of 2d Corinthians, 7th chapter, should be read along with the 6th chapter. In order to obtain a general view of the plan and connexion of any particular book, we should disregard this arbitrary division. The names in the New Testament are sometimes differently spelt from what they are in the Old: thus, Isaiah is called Esaias ; Joshua, Jesus; Hosea, Osee, &c. This should be kept in mind to prevent us mistaking the names that frequently occur in reading.
II.THE CREATION. In the nrogress of the divine works and government, there existence. When the signal moment, predestined from all eternity, was come, the Deity arose in his might; and with a word created the world. What an illustrious moment was that, when from non-existence, there sprang at once into being, this mighty globe, on which so many millions of creatures now dwell !--No preparatory measures were required. No long circuit of means was employed. “He spake ; and it was done : he commanded ; and it stood fast. The earth was at first without form, and void ; and darkness was on the face of the deep.” The Almighty surveyed the dark abyss; and fixed bounds to the several divisions of nature. He said, “ Let there be light: and there was light.” Then appeared the sea, and the dry land. The mountains rose; and the rivers flowed. The sun and moon began their course in the skies. Herbs and plants clothed the ground. The air, the earth, and the waters were stored with their respective inhabitants. At last, man was made after the image of God: He appeared, walking with countenance erect; and received his Creator's benediction, as the Lord of this new worldThe Almighty beheld his work when it was finished ; and pronounced it GOOD. Superior beings saw with wonder this new accession to existence. “ The morning stars sang together; and all the sons of God shouted for joy."
III.-CAUTION TO THE YOUNG AGAINST FALSEHOOD. It is of the utmost importance, my young friends, that you should always speak the truth. If you have the happiness to acquire this good habit, now while you are young, it will probably continue with you afterwards; but if at present you do not scruple to tell lies and to deceive, what can be expected, but that you will become more and more deceitful as you grow
older ? When you have done any thing wrong, you may perhaps be tempted to conceal it, by telling a lie to your parents or masters. But be on your guard against any such artifice. It would be adding one fault to another, and so make an honest confession, it is probable that the less notice will be taken of your fault; whereas, if it be found that you have both committed a fault, and have endeavoured to conceal it by falsehood, your punishment ought to be, and probably will be, the severer. If you wish to be frec from the temptation to conceal your faults by falsehood, study to commit as few faults as you can. Be attentive to your lessons, and to your work. Avoid mischievous tricks, and disorderly behaviour; and be careful to obey your parents and your masters.
If your companions be bad and unprincipled, they will perhaps desire you to conceal their faults by telling lies, and if you do not, they will reproach you, and call
telltales. If you happen to live in a house where there are servants, they may endeavour to make you think that it is generous to depart a little from the truth, when it is to conceal some offence of theirs. It is, to be sure, very illnatured, and very mean, to be always on the watch to disoover faults ; and, when they are discovered, to be eager to let them be known; but when a question about the behaviour of other people is put to you, you should either be silent, or tell the plain and simple truth. If you
should be called a tell-tale on that account, there is no help for it. You will have the satisfaction of thinking that you
have not deserved to be called so, and at any rate to be a liar is still worse than to be a tell-tale.
In short, whatever be the circumstances that might tempt you to falsify, nerer yield to them. Falsehood is the mark of a mean and despicable spirit. If it should sometimes screen you
any inconvenience, and sometimes bring you a little gain, it would be an advantage not worth having; and you would not obtain even that advantage long. Persons who tell lies cannot fail to have their falsehood detected, and then nobody will believe them, or trust them. Falsehood, besides, is the source of many other vices; it renders the character a!together hollow and heartless ; and would at last sink
you down in worthlessness and contempt.
Consider, on the other hand, the advantages of trutlı. What think you of the satisfaction of your own minds? Will it not be very pleasant for you to reflect that you have not descended to so mean a thing as falsehood ? The very countenance of a liar often betrays him ; he looks down, he is confused, he is afraid to meet your eye, his whole aspect shows how much he is troubled within, and how conscious he is of his guilt. But a person who speaks the truth needs not be afraid, and his eart is comforted, because he knows that he is sincere. Is it not pleasant also to gain the esteem of others ? and what is more estimable than truth? What can we say more honourable of any boy or girl, of any man or woman, than when we say, This is one whose word may be trusted in every thing, and who scorns to deceive.
You are young, and perhaps you do not know the comforts and advantages of a good character; but, believe me, if, by the blessing of God, the foundation be now laid of an upright and sincere character through life, you will all your days have cause to rejoice, that you were early taught to scorn a lie, and to love the truth. Above all
, remember what is said respecting falsehood in the word of God. If you consider the history of the Jews, you will find that lying and deceit were a principal cause of the heavy calamities which they suffered. “They will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth : they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity. Shall I not visit them for these things, saith the Lord ; shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" You are told, in the book of Proverbs, that lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, and in the book of Revelation, that whosoever loveth and maketh a lie, cannot enter into heaven. Lay to heart, my young friends, these impressive declarations, and never forget, that unless you love truth, and hate every false
way, you cannot please God, nor be received into his glorious kingdom.
IV.—THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD AN INCENTIVE TO
DILIGENCE. Most difficult it is to the children of men, to attend at once to thegreat and the little. The pursuit of the one, appears almost to disqualify us for dealing with the other. But to the Almighty all things are not only possible, but easy. Thy hand, O Lord, moves a world as readily as an atom; and measures an atom as exactly as a world. The least is not too small for thy inspection; the largest not too great for thy control. Why, then, should we doubt or fear? The very
hairs of our head are all numbered. The tears which no man sees, and the sighs which no man hears, are discerned and registered by Thee. The sighing of the prisoner cometh up before Thee. Too long have we been reluctant to lay open to the Lord the recesses of our souls. Let us now spread before him every want and wish, our guilt, our hopes, our joys, our anxieties. Our fellow-creatures may mistake us, or, occupied too intensely with themselves, they may disregard us. The Lord searcheth the chambers of the heart, and all our secret thoughts and devices are known to him. He spares us, and loves us, as a father spareth and loveth his own son!” Oh! the wretchedness of those who have no belief, but in a providence general and indiscriminate, and indifferent to ourwants and interest. To live from hour to hour upon
of God; to be borne upon his wings; to be watched over at all moments, and guided in every step; to feel Him surrounding us on all sides, and tending us at every point; to hear his voice in the music of Nature, and see his hand in movements of providence and grace in the very joy of our hearts to such a providence, minute, vigilant and tender, we say, It is our rest, here will we dwell, for we have desired it. This God is our God for ever and ever; and he shall be our guide even unto death. Let not, however, the vigilance of God dispose us to sloth and carelessness, but rather stimulate us to watch for ourselves. Let our eye be unceasingly turned to our own duties, and to the wants and miseries of others. The God of Israel does not sleep; the spirits who surround his throne, are ever upon the wing; the whole universe is in motion. Let us not slumber in the lap of indulgence, lest the lock of our strength be removed, and when the enemy cometh, he bind us in his fetters, and bear us away to destruction.