What an invaluable blessing it is to have the Bible in our own tongue. It is not only the oldest, but the best book in the world. Our forefathers rejoiced when they were first favoured with the opportunity of reading it for themselves. Infidels may reject, and the licentious may sneer; but no one who ever wished to take away this foundation-stone, could produce any other equal to it, on which the structure of a pious mind, a solid hope, a comfortable state, or wise conduct, could be raised. We are told, that when Archbishop Crammer’s edition of the Bible was printed in 1538, and fixed to a desk in all parochial churches, the ardour with which men flocked to read it was incredible. They who could, procured it; and they who could not, crowded to read it, or to hear it read in churches. It was common to see little assemblies of mechanics meeting together for that purpose after the labour of the day. Many even learned to read in their old age, that they might have the pleasure of instructing themselves from the Scriptures.
It is recorded of 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 near, and, standing upon it, reached down the paper. The King, observing what was done, ran to the place, and taking the Bible in his hands kissed it, and laid it up again. This circumstance, though trifling in itself, showed his Majesty’s great reverence for that best of all books; and his example is a striking reproof to those who suffer their Bibles to lie covered with dust for months together, or who throw them about as if they were only a piece of useless lumber.
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[Illustration: Letter T.]
There’s not a leaf within
There’s not a bird upon the tree,
There’s not a dew-drop on the flower,
But bears the impress, Lord, of Thee!
Thy hand the varied leaf design’d,
And gave the bird its thrilling tone;
Thy power the dew-drops’ tints combined,
Till like a diamond’s blaze they shone!
Yes, dew-drops, leaves, and
buds, and all—
The smallest, like the greatest things—
The sea’s vast space, the earth’s wide ball,
Alike proclaim thee King of Kings.
But man alone to bounteous
Thanksgiving’s conscious strains can raise;
To favour’d man alone ’tis given,
To join the angelic choir in praise!
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The struggling rill insensibly
Into a brook of loud and stately march,
Cross’d ever and anon by plank or arch;
And for like use, lo! what might seem a zone
Chosen for ornament—stone match’d with stone
In studied symmetry, with interspace