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Watson's "CHRISTIAN SOLDIER,” ETC. 9 the “Dairyman's Daughter” aniong the last : these little volumes being in their turn the means of awakening religious feeling during the author's life-time, and to his own knowledge, in not fewer than thirty persons.
Colonel Gardiner took up in an idle moment, while waiting to gratify some sinful indulgence, Watson's "Christian Soldier ; or, Heaven taken by Storm,” hoping to find something that might afford him diversion. The perusal of part of it broke off his purpose, and produced ultimately a permanent and most remarkable change. Dr. Chalmers, again, is said to have groped his way into truth while preparing his treatise on the Evidences of Christianity; more especially on such evidence as is supplied by its influence upon the hearts of its disciples.
How suggestive are associations of this kind with the volumes we read | Genius has spent its power on the life of a “Looking Glass," of a “Guinea," of an “Old Chest," and each has had a strange story to tell. But of all lives of inanimate things, the biography of a great book, could it be written, would be among the most instructive. It might be made, in truth, an epitome of the natural history of man ; not perhaps in his outward condition, but in what is more important, the moral and spiritual changes he has undergone.
Of all books, the most remarkable in its history, the mightiest in its influence, as the noblest in its origin, is THE BIBLE. Coming 10
BIOGRAPHY OF THE BIBLE. into the world in successive portions, it yet forms a consistent whole, and has received in different ages every kind of treatment. It has been studied with devoutest love, and persecuted with bitterest hatred. Revered, neglected, admired, abhorred, it has pursued its course; enlightening the ignorant, convicting the guilty, comforting the sorrowful, encouraging and strengthening the resolute and manly. It has guided millions on earth, and has led millions to heaven. It is a book for every age; is adapted in its method and contents to influence all, and has proved the teacher both of the barbarous and of the civilized portions of our race.
Whether it is contemplated by us in its parts or as a whole, it is equally rich in historical interest. If we turn, for example, to Rom. xii. 1, where we are besought “by the mercies of God to present our bodies a living sacrifice," we find the passage marked with the name of Usher, who ascribed to it his conversion.
Toplady points, for the same purpose, to Eph. ii. 13. An Ethiopian eunuch, riding home from Jerusalem, in the first age of the church, found the gospel in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah ; and sixteen hundred years later, an English earl—the earl of Rochester-once a profligate infidel, finds the same message in the same chapter. The twenty-third Psalm was probably the death-song of David, and has been the death-song of many besides. This Psalm Bp. Sanderson died repeating. A single verse from the Gospel of John, “God so loved the ITS ATTRACTIVE ASSOCIATIONS. 11 world,” commenced the work of evangelization in the South Seas; as another on the crucifixion produced the same effect in Greenland, after long years of comparative failure, though in the latter case, the rudiments of natural religion, and the acts of handicraft skill, had been taught with the utmost assiduity. Another verse, “It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners," has afforded comfort in prospect of coming judgment to thousands, and among them to Andrew Fuller and Dr. McAll. Indeed, it may be affirmed that, of the nearly eight thousand verses of which the New Testament is composed, there are few that have not touched the hearts, or aroused the conscience, or confirmed the faith of some now in glory; portions even unimpressive having met the feelings of peculiar classes of readers, and suggested lessons, or supplied evidence, as in the case of the genealogies, which might otherwise have been concealed.
If we look at larger divisions of the volume, the associations are no less attractive. The Psalms were the favourite, book of Hooker, of Horne, and of Luther, who regarded them as the choicest trees in the garden of the Lord. The Epistles of Paul were seldom out of the hands of Chrysostom, the “golden-mouthed” orator of the early church. The martyr Ridley tells us incidentally, in his farewell to his friends, that he had learned nearly the whole us them in the course of his solitary walks at
12 BIOGRAPHY OF THE BIBLE. Oxford. Boyle could quote, in the original Greek, any passage of the New Testament that might happen to be named. On Daniel and Revelation, sir Isaac Newton spent some of the ripest hours of his life. Locke devoted twelve years to the study of the Epistles and of the whole Bible, which he has carefully analyzed. It is a proof of the esteem in which Leighton held the whole book, that his French Bible (preserved in the Library at Dumblane) is filled with manuscript extracts from ancient commentators ; while in an English copy he was accustomed to use, there is hardly a line unmarked by his pencil.
The historian Foxe tells us that Tyndale owed all his knowledge of Divine truth, and hi conviction of its value, to the study of those Scriptures which he was the first to set forth” or publish in his own tongue. Wycliffe, his predecessor in the work of translation, and the i Evangelical Doctor" of his day, ascribed his conversion to the same cause. Luther was first impressed by the writings of Huss ; but he learned the gospel and the first principles of the Reformation from the Epistles to the Galatians and the Romans. Bishop Bedell seems, from Burnett's account, to have studied the Bible from his earliest childhood, and gathered from it all his religious knowledge. Carey was taught the Scriptures, like Timothy, from his youth, and has himself ascribed his religious decision to their influence. How instructive to notice that the men who have
TESTIMONY OF LITERARY MEN. 13 done most since the Reformation for the translation of the Bible-Tyndale in England, Bedell in Ireland, Luther in Germany, Carey in India—all received their deepest religious impressions from its sacred page.
The testimony borne to its influence and beauties by literary inen is also worthy of remark. Petrarch thinks, “ that if all books were destroyed, this one retained would be a greater treasure than all the millions ever published by mortal man." Sir Matthew Hale deems it “full of light and wisdom.” Milton 6 admires, and loves to dwell upon it for its clearness and truth." Steele sees something more than human even in its style. Addison recommends the frequent perusal of it as the surest way to make life happy. Sir William Jones finds in it " more true sublimity, more exquisite beauty, more pure morality, more important history, and finer strains, both of poetry and eloquence, than can be collected from all other books that were ever composed in any age or in any idiom.” As Mrs. Hemans lay on her death-bed, she repeated whole chapters of Isaiah with rejoicing lips; and in the imperfect mutterings of the closing scenes of sir Walter Scott's life, his friends caught the sound of broken verses of Isaiah, and now and then the simple lines of a Scottish psalm, themselves suggested by its truths. In both these instances, it may be hoped that it was not the literary beauty, but the moral and spiritual