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salvation by the gospel ;- nor even to give direct precepts and commandments for the regulation of his conduct. Its grand and ultimate object lies above and beyond all this. These are merely the materials by which the Spirit works,--the means which Infinite Wisdom has thought proper to use, --for the purpose of attaining the final issue, the grand consummation of all God's dealings with man.
Nature, reason and revelation, all concur in establishing, that the well-being and happiness of every rational intelligence are in exact proportion to his virtue ;-or, in other words, to his likeness to God, and the nearness to which he approaches, in his disposition and conduct, to God's moral image. This moral image, once perfect in man, has been defaced by the fall. All the miscries of humanity have been the consequence of its loss ; and not a shadow of hope remains for man, except in connexion with its restoration. When this is again restored, he will again be happy;-but, till it be obtained, he must remain wretched and miserable.
The sanctification of our nature, then, is the great end which the Almighty has in view, in every one of his gracious dealings with man.
The whole economy of both Old and New Testament
dispensations, in so far as man is concerned, is * intended purely and simply to raise the ruins of the fall, and to stamp anew on the soul the moral image of God. For this purpose was the covenant of grace revealed ; and rites and ceremonies, and types, and prophecies, promulgated under the Old Testament: For this purpose the Son of God descended to earth; and, by his obedience and
o the sa
death, cleared the way for the accomplishment of this great renovating work in man. This work is now committed to the operation of the Holy Spirit, and is effected solely by the truths of the word. This gradual renovation of the fallen ‘nature of man, then, for the purpose of fitting him for the enjoyments of heaven, is the great end which God has in view in giving us the Bible. When it is, in any case, so used as to promote and accomplish this object, it proves to that person vour of life unto life;" but when it fails in this, however much it may be read, or however laboriously it may be used, it is, and will be, to every such soul," the savour of death unto death."
That this conversion from the power and pollution of sin, and the gradual sanctification of our nature, is the great and ultimate object intended by the Holy Spirit in the use of the Bible, is obvious from the whole analogy of Scripture, and from innumerable passages scattered throughout both the Old and the New Testaments. It is, therefore, a matter of deep interest to all who are in possession of the Bible, and especially to parents and teachers, who have to communicate the knowledge of its contents to others, to know whether they are using this best of all temporal blessings in such a manner as is most likely to accomplish, iu themselves and others, the great end which God had in view in bestowing it. Is the manner in which we generally use and teach the Bible best calculated for this end? Will it be attained by merely reading it? By learning it? By frequently repeating it? No. Our Lord tells us, that all this may be done, and done with much show of piety and zeal, and yet the house which has been thus
built and which may have perhaps taken a whole life-time to finish, when it comes to be tried, “shall fall; and great shall be-the fall of it."-How awfully important then is it, to make sure of a good and solid foundation, upon which we are to build, and on which others are made to build for eternity! lest, by the superficial manner in which we use and teach the Bible,-the only instrument made use of by the Spirit for our salvation, -we be deceiving them, and deceiving ourselves, by a fair show during the noonday of health and prosperity, without thinking of the hail and the rain which are destined at last to sweep away all the refuges cf lies.
Let us then inquire how the Bible is to be used, and how we are to teach others to use it, so that it may, by the blessing of God, become to them, and to us,
“the savour of life unto life." Our Lord himself, and his apostles, have repeatedly given us this information. In the parable of the wise and foolish builders, above alluded to, we are told, that it is not a mere knowledge, or even an understanding, of the word which will accomplish the designs for which it is intended; for it is not he that heareth those sayings of Christ that is the wise man, but he only that “ THEM.” The apostle James, in the same manner affirms, that it is not the mere hearer” of the Bible, that uses it aright; nor those who superficially glance at its words, like a man who looketh for a moment at his face in a glass, his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was;” but it is he, and he only, that is
DOER OF THE WORD, that is blessed in his deed :" And he accordingly enjoins all Chris
" and goeth
tians to be “ doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving their ownselves.'
From these, and many similar passages, we are led to conclude, that we ourselves are to learn, and the young are to be taught, not merely to read, or to repeat the word, nor even to understand it, but " TO DO IT ;"_to know and to learn its truths, for the express purpose of making use of them. In other words, the Religious Education of the Young must consist in training them, not only readily to perceive the meaning of the verses and chapters which they read, but also to turn all the precepts, parables, examples, and warnings, into a practical channel. We are to communicate these truths in such a manner, as that they shall be so orderly laid up in the head and the heart, as to be ready when required, to be introduced into all the ramifications of active life and daily practice. They must, no doubt, understand the truths thus taught them ; but these truths, like those of every science, must be communicated and understond, only to be put to use; and it is the use the practice of what they learn that is their EDUCATION, and all that preceded it is but preparatory. As the possession of the quadrant, the transittube, the chronometer, and the telescope, does not make an astronomer; so the possession of the Bible does not make a Christian. And as a person may have an intimate knowledge of all the parts of each of those instruments, and yet never know how to conjoin their use, or to employ them in the calculation of an eclipse, or for the finding of his longitude; so, the contents of the Bible may be well understood, while their use in ordinary life may be totally unknown. The reading, the learning, the repeating, and even the understanding of the truths of Scripture, are merely means appointed by God for the attainment of an end,and that end is “the doing of them.” Whatever advance then is made towards this point,-how near soever the pupil may be made to approach it, -yet, if in reality he comes short of this, all his previous labour is in a great measure lost; he is but a “hearer” of the word, but has not been taught to be a "doer" of it. He may be almost a Christian, but he is not yet a Christian; he may be not far from the kingdom of God, but he-God himself affirms it-will never reach it!- -O that Parents and Teachers would but reflect on this, and remember, in connexion with it, the terrible consequences which must result to themselves, however self-confiding and satisfied they may at present feel, while pursuing a course of barren and superficial teaching of the Scriptures to the young! -consequences impressively alluded to by the apostle when he says, “The fire shall try every man's work [in teaching] of what sort it is;' and “If any man's work shall be burnt, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as
That any one at all interested in the present or eternal welfare of the young, should continue indifferent to a subject of so much importance, is matter of regret and sorrow. For it every real and acknowledged improvement in legislation, in science, or in mechanical philosophy is, by every wise and good man, received with promptitude, and hailed as a blessing ; surely any suggestion, or probable improvement in the important-science of education,
and especially in religious education,