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Most wondrous book! bright candle of the Lord!
Star of eternity! the only star
By which the bark of man could navigate
The sea of life, and gain the coast of bliss
Securely; only star which rose in time
And on its dark and troubled billows, still
As generation driving swiftly by,
Succeeding generation, threw a ray
Of heaven's own light, and to the hills of God-
The everlasting hills—pointed the sinner's eye.
By prophets, seers, and priests, and sacred bards,
Evangelists, apostles, men inspired,
And by the Holy Ghost anointed, set
Apart and consecrated to declare
On earth the counsels of the Eternal one,
This book-this holiest, this sublimest book
Was sent. Heaven's will, Heaven's code of laws entire
To man, this book contained; defined the bounds
Of vice and virtue, and of life and death;
And what was shadow, what was substance taught.
This book this holy book, in every line
Marked with the seal of high divinity,
On every leaf bedewed with drops of love
Divine, and with the eternal heraldry
And signature of God Almighty stamped,
From first to last; this ray of sacred light,
This lamp from off the everlasting throne,
Mercy brought down, and in the night of time
Stands casting on the dark her gracious bow,
And evermore beseeching men with tears
And earnest sighs, to read, believe, and live.
Hast thou ever heard Of such a book? The author God Himself; The subject, God and man, salvation, life, And death-eternal life-eternal death. Pollok.
The priest-like father reads the sacred page,
How Abram was the friend of God on high; Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage
With Amalek's ungracious progeny;
Or how the Royal Bard did groaning lie,
Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire; Or Job's pathetic plaint and wailing cry;
Or wrapt Isaiah's wild seraphic fire;
Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.
Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed; How He who bore in Heaven the second name,
Had not, on earth, whereon to lay His head; How His first followers and servants sped;
The precepts sage they wrote to many a land: How he who, lone in Patmos banished,
Saw, in the sun, a mighty angel stand; And heard great Bab'lon's doom pronounced by · Heaven's command.
Look, Christian! in thy bible, and that glass
Which sheds its sands through minutes, hours, and
And years; it speaks not: yet methinks it says
To every human heart-"So mortals pass
On to their dark and silent grave!” Alas!
For man:-an exile upon earth he stays,
Weary, and wandering through benighted ways; To-day in strengh, to-morrow like the grass That withers at his feet. Lift up thy head,
Poor pilgrim, toiling in this vale of tears; That book declares whose blood for thee was shed,
Who died to give thee life; and though. thy years Pass like a shade, pointing to thy death-bed,
Out of the deep thy cry an angel hears,
And by his guiding hand thy steps to heaven are led.
W. Lisle Bowles.
A book there is, of ancient date,
Wnere all the truly wise and great
Have found the pearls of wisdom spread,
Like gems upon the ocean-bed.
Brighter than Californian gold,
Are deeds inspired apostles told,
Greater than all that Milton thought,
Are truths that saints and prophets taught.
Oh; be it ours from tender age,
To gather wisdom from its page.-J. Burbidge.
The sacred page With calm attention scan! If on thy soul, As thou dost read, a ray of purer light Break in, 0, check it not, give it full scope! Admitted, it will break the clouds which long Have dimmed thy sight, and lead thee, till at last, Convictions like the sun's meridian beams, Illuminate thy mind.
Father! that book With whose worn leaves the careless infant plays, Must be the Bible. Therein thy dim eyes Will meet a cheering light; and silent words Of mercy breathed from Heaven, will be exhaled From the blest page unto thy withered heart.
What is this world? a wildering maze
Where sin hath tracked ten thousand ways,
Her victims to ensnare.
All broad, all winding, and aslope,
All tempting with perfidious hope,
All ending in despair.
Millions of pilgrims throng those roads,
Bearing their baubles or their loads,
Down to eternal night;
Our humble path that never bends,
Narrow, and rough, and steep, ascends
From darkness into light.
Is there a guide to show that path?
The Bible! He alone who hath
The Bible, need not stray;
· Yet he who hath, and will not give
That heavenly guide to all that live,
Himself shall lose the way.-J. Montgomery.
The Bible? That's the Book, The Book indeed,
The Book of Books;
On which who looks,
As he should do, aright, shall never need
Wish for a better light
To guide him in the night.
Or, when he hungry is, for better food
To feed upon,
Than this alone,
If he bring stomach and digestion good:
And if he be amiss,
This the best physic is.
It is the looking-glass of souls, wherein
All men may see,
Whether they be Still, as by nature they are, deform'd with sin;
Or in a better case,
As new adorn'd with grace. 'Tis the great Magazine of spiritual arms, •
Wherein doth lie
Of heaven, ready charged against all harms,
That might come by the blows
Of our infernal foes.
God's cabinet of reveal'd counsel 't is:
Where weal and woe
Are order'd so, That every man may know which shall be his;
Unless his own mistake
False application make. It is the index to Eternity.
He cannot miss
Of endless bliss,
That takes this chart to steer his voyage by,
Nor can he be mistook,
That speaketh by this Book.
A Book to which no Book can be compared
Is proper to it, and cannot be shared.
Belongs to it, or none.
It is the Book of God. What if I should
Say, God of Books!
Let him that looks
Angry at this expression, as too bold,
His thoughts in silence smother,
Till he find such another. George Herbert.
But to outweigh all harm, the sacred book,
In dusty sequestration wrapped too long,
Assumes the accent of our native tongue;
And he who guides the plough, or wields the crook,
With understanding spirit now may look
Upon her records, listen to her song,
And sift her laws-much wondering that the wrong
Which faith has suffered, Heaven could calmly brook.
Transcendent Boon! nobler than earthly King
Ever bestowed to equalize and bless,
Under the weight of mortal wretchedness!
But passions spread like plagues, and thousands wild
With bigotry shall tread the offering
Beneath their feet, detested and defiled.
What household thoughts around thee, 'as their shrine,
Cling reverently! Of anxious looks beguiled,
My mother's eyes upon thy page divine
Were daily bent; her accents, gravely mild,
Breathed out thy love;-whilst I a dreaming child,
On breeze-like fancies wandered oft away
To some lone tuft of gleaming spring flowers wild,
Some fresh-discovered nook for woodland play,
Some secret nest: yet would the solemn word
At times with kindlings of young wonder heard,
Fall on my wakened spirit, there to be
A seed not lost; for which in darker years,
O Book of Heaven! I pour, with grateful tears,
Heart-blessings on the holy dead and thee.