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If you are not one of the fallen, the Scriptures are not true. If you are one of them, then you cannot by nature receive truth so aptly and so eagerly as falsehood. If you are ever saved, it will require an effort and a struggle. Then, for the sake of undying existence, continue the labour which you have commenced. Go on and read many other books, an hundred of them. Notice the truth proved a thousand ways and a thousand times. But begin to pray. Ask the Spirit thạt made your spirit, to cause truth to have its proper work of killing falsehood in your heart and soul."
I never saw him afterwards; he went the way of all the earth. I never heard from his state of mind after. wards, whether he continued to read or not. From his conduct during our last interview, I have some hope, which I would not sell, that he may have continued his research and his meditations on these things. I have a hope from which I would not part, when I remember how candidly he confessed it, when his argument was truly prostrated, that he may, before his departure, have asked the Maker of suns to be his Redeemer. This is the history of one case where the powerful remedy, sober investigation, may have failed to cure, for aught I was able afterwards to learn.
A SECOND EXAMPLE.
CASE 2.-I had an acquaintance, in days of boyhood,
rith an amiable young man, who was liberally educated. After sixteen years of separation, we met again. He had become thorough in his profession (the law) by un.
ceasing practice. He was an unbeliever, and the society with which he had commonly mingled at the bar, was of that description. After some long and friendly inter . views, he promised me to read on the evidences of Christianity, and I engaged to provide him with books. I had stronger hopes of success in this case, from the fact, that the law was his profession. I do not know why it is so, but it is the result of eighteen years'experience, that lawyers, of all those with whom I have examined, exercise the clearest judgment, whilst investigating the evidences of Christianity. It is the business of a phy. sician's life, to watch for evidence and indication of dis. ease, sanity, or of change; therefore I am unable to account for the fact, yet, so it is, that the man of law excels. He has, when examining the evidences of the Bible's inspiration, shown more common sense in weighing proof and appreciating argument, where argument really existed, than any other class of men I have ever observed. It is no easy matter to prevail upon these men to think about eternal things. They float along on the surface of secular schemes and political turmoil, they have little time, they think, for any thing but business, and they look surprised for a moment when they are told that they are ignorant of Bible liter. ature ; but when they do read thoroughly, and examine faithfully, they are better than ordinary judges of what is weakness, or what is force in reason.
Concerning the man of whom I have been writing, I am unable to remember distinctly the authors he read, or how many were furnished him. I never saw him afterwards, but so arranged, that certain books were put into his hand. Of one volume I remember that I heard distinctly and accurately the result of its perusal.
The book was the first volume of Horne's Introduction. A brother of the bar came upon him, just as he was finishing the concluding page. This friend, knowing the nature of the study which had employed him, being himself a sceptic, asked as to his impression concerning its contents. Whilst shutting the book slowly and gravely, he made the following reply, and said no
“ Were I a juror, and sworn the ordinary oath, and were you, as one of the parties to establish just this amount of evidence, nor more, nor less, I should declare, by my verdict, that your point was proved." I never heard from him again. When he died, his mind was impaired; but I have not been entirely without hope, that perhaps, his reading was not altogether in vain.
These cases are the only two remembered through long observation, where, after ample research and full inquiry, a total cure did not seem to be the result. Ma. ny will promise to read, but will never perform. Others will begin with considerable earnestness, but soon de. sist. Others will pass on as with a task, and under. standing the discussion with difficulty, find the labour very toilsome, and after a while, begin to shun it. But there are others, thank God, who believe that it would be well for them to know, with some degree of certainty, whether they are, or are not, to live for ever. They seem resolved to find out either the truth, or falsity of the pages of inspiration, even should it cost them some labour. When they begin, if they find much of the subject dark, they re-peruse the same treatises, or they ask after other authors on the same points, until they are capable of comprehending. Of such an effort as is
made by these, I have ever known but one termination, That was a perfect cure. They have said uniformly, af. ter a thorough study, “ this is the book of God.”
AVERSION TO COMMENTARIES,
Reader, our natural tendency toward falsehood, or the secret suggestions of the evil One, often cause men to object against the perusal of notes on the Bible. The sophism used as an excuse and subterfuge in this case, is often plausible. “We wish to judge for ourselves," say they; 6 commentators dispute between each other, but we will read and decide on our own account.” Those who speak thus, obtain information, generally speaking, from no source whatever. Dear reader, there are some Bible facts concerning which men do not dispute. Again, doctrinal controversy you may neglect if you choose. Notice it not, if you are so disposed; but neglect not certain knowledge which is within your reach, and which you must acquire at the risk of your soul. Men do not refuse to read the notes of others on chemistry, astronomy, or philosophy, because writers have disputed here; but the author is willing to avail himself of the assistance of others: to use that which may seem to him valuable, and cast the rest away. We have determined, dear friend, to give you plain examples of the fact, that you may avail yourself of the toil of others, and that you need their labours. Commentators can
point you to facts most valuable, and such as you may see as soon as named, but such as you would not have noticed had they not been remarked. The first case we give by way of illustration, shall be one which happened in connection with the seventeenth chapter of Revela. tion. And furthermore, dear reader, this chapter may be one of interest to you, for it speaks of the events of eighteen centuries. It is a chapter which concerns you much, for it also describes certain political events of Europe, which are taking place at the present time, and it goes on to mention some affairs which are to happen in approaching years. Thus you may receive a double benefit by noticing the verses of this chapter. They exhibit the necessity of commentaries for the ig. norant, they also inform us what the Lord has recently done, and shortly will accomplish. Lest you should fail to read the passage named, we will transcribe verse after verse as needed, so that each section shall be on the page fairly before us.
1. “ And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters.
2. With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
3. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wil. derness ; and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
4. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and