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By W. H. GROSER, B.Sc.-No. IV.

AVING thus tried to show how many, and what kinds of writings compose the divine assemblage of Books, to which we give the name of "the Scriptures," and to impart to the young reader some idea of the vast period during which these inspired truths were in course of publication, I now proceed to offer some hints on MODES OF STUDYING THE BIBLE with intelligence and profit.

No book receives treatment so varied and dissimilar as the written Word of God. Let us take two extremes. A youth has to "get up" nofor an examination three or four books of the Old Testament. He buys a "crib," in which the said writings are analysed, tabulated, and boiled down to the barest, dryest collection of hard facts. Thus: DOL SAMUEL, s. of Elkanah and Hannah, b. Ramah, cir. 1171, brought up Nazarite (cf. Samson, Judg. xiii.), set apart to tabernacle service at Shiloh as attendant on h.-priest Eli. Miraculously called. Made Judge after death of Eli," and so forth, imparting to the study of Scripture about as much interest and flavour as are found in a multiplication table. That is one extreme. At the other end of the scale is one who, like Cowper's cottager,

"Knows, and only knows, her Bible true." Bending reverently over the sacred page, the unlettered yet heaven-taught student slowly spells out verse by verse, and sentence by sentence, lingering fondly over each expression, and drinking sweetness and life from every statement recorded there. Of that particular Book, as a whole, the reader knows but little of its chronological place in the Canon, or the circumstances under which it was composed, still less. But she knows by happy experience that it is a portion of the bread of life, and she would not let a single crumb fall wasted to the ground.

Or take two other widely separated yet perfectly legitimate methods of studying the Bible. One man may devote himself to a critical investigation of the text in the original tongues, with the object, purely and simply, of discovering the precise shade of meaning of every passage in the Old or New Testament. Another may devote himself with equal assiduity and ability to the study of Scripture for the sake of discovering its moral and spiritual teachings, and the arranging of these into a system of theological doctrines. Of the former, a valuable example will be found in Dean Alford's "Greek Testament;" of the latter, in Dr. Pye Smith's "Scripture Testimony to the Messiah."

Now, neither of these four modes of studying the Bible is exactly what my young readers would find

suited to their own cases. The first is to be avoided at all times, except it be absolutely necessary; the second is needlessly narrowing what present advantages enable us to broaden; while the third and fourth are manifestly out of their reach at present. Surely there is some middle course for the senior scholars in our Sunday-schools, the members of pastors' Bible-classes, and other intelligent young people so largely represented among the readers of this Magazine?

This intermediate course I take to comprise such plans and methods of Scripture study as our English Version itself will enable you to pursue, unassisted by any other helps than marginal references and a Cruden's Concordance. Along these lines I propose to offer to my young friends a few hints to be worked out by themselves, as their respective tastes and preferences may lead them.



I remember well how, during one school term, when I was a boy, a Bible-reading fit attacked a number of my class-mates. In the brief intervals of our lessons, Bibles were produced from desks, and industriously perused, and while some still used their play-hours for sport, others were seen crouched in corners of the ground, or propped up against the walls, reading, with apparent earnestness, page after page of the sacred Book.

Unhappily, it was no religious awakening which prompted a course so unusual; some one had started the idea of reading the entire Bible through, as an exploit rarely performed; and the imitative ambition of boyhood soon made the whole thing a competitive effort. A few struggled on to the end of the race, others dropped off one by one, and in a month or so the whole matter was forgotten.

"Is it not, then, a good thing to read the Bible through? I have often heard it recommended," a reader may ask.

Surely it is. If one text, rightly received, may be the germ of everlasting life, undoubtedly the whole Bible, so received, cannot fail to instruct and to profit. But there are not a few portions of the prophetical writings which in the Authorised Version are almost unintelligible to an ordinary reader; and again, parts of the legal writings of Moses are as unsuitable for young people to dwell upon as certain enactments in the criminal law of our own country, though pure, just, and beneficial in themselves.

But, above all this, the books of the Old and New Testaments are not arranged either in the order in which they were written, or in that of the events to which they refer. This applies to the historical narratives, the prophecies, and the Epistles. Job, one of the oldest books, is placed immediately after Esther, one of the latest; the prophecy of Daniel, who wrote after the captivity, precedes that of Hosea, who lived in the reign of Hezekiah. The

first Epistle to the Thessalonians, supposed to have been written as early as A.D. 52, stands later in the printed Canon than that to the Philippians,-written some ten years afterwards. The Psalms range over several centuries, and the other Poetical books are connected with different historical epochs.


Hence, if we propose to read the Bible through in the same intelligent manner, and with the same orderly sequence with which we should peruse Stanley's History of the Jewish Church," or Motley's "Rise of the Dutch Republic," we shall need first to re-arrange the several Books, and portions of Books, in a new and chronological succession. To do this would be a study in itself, and a most instructive and helpful study too. You would need to examine each inspired writing with special care and attention, and enter the results of such examination in a memorandum-book, out of which you would eventually be able to prepare a table of contents for a "Chronological Bible," and I am sure that a book so arranged would be read with greatly increased attention, interest, and profit.


Recalling a phrase already used to describe the Holy Scriptures, -a "Divine Library," it was suggested by the late accomplished Dr. James Hamilton, that it would be a good plan to have the Bible so re-arranged that the writings of each author should be bound up separately. Thus, one volume would be labelled 66 Moses," another " Paul," another 66 John," another " David ;" some would be "books" of average size, but the majority would appear as mere "pamphlets" in dimensions; while some, as our readers already know, are of uncertain authorship.

The idea, however carried out, is a fruitful one. We can read the Bible, not in chronological order, but according to its (human) authorship, and so get to perceive and recognise the differences in their respective styles of writing. Paul's style is thoroughly unlike John's; Matthew, Mark, and Luke are equally dissimilar; and this is especially noteworthy where, as in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, the matter is to a large extent identical.

Again, in style we see the reflection of the age as well as of the writer. A literature ranging over fifteen centuries must exhibit wide differences. Contrast the " Church History" of the Venerable Bede with the "Ecclesiastical Histories" of Dean Milner or Dean Milman; the poems of Spenser or Herbert with those of Wordsworth or Robert Browning; the sermons of Wycliffe with those of Robertson or Farrar; and then remember that wider intervals divided Moses and Luke, David and Habakkuk, Isaiah and Paul. Not only does a great author influence the age in which he lives, the age also influences him. To a certain extent, a writer is the product of his surroundings, taken as a whole; the time, place, domestic and social conditions, and educational advantages which compass him about. Even those holy men of God who spake and wrote as moved by the Holy Ghost, were not thereby lifted into an independence of their personal and earthly circumstances, and hence their language and style reflect such conditions, while the truths which they utter raise them far above them.

Of course, niceties of style are somewhat obscured by a translation, however accurate, but not to any vital extent. The styles of Homer and Horace shine through many an ill-executed version in English, and no critic of any authority or taste ventures to call our Authorized Version an ill-executed one, though the Revision of the New Testament has given us many improved renderings, and that of the Old will doubtless give us a much greater number.

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As an example of this kind of investigation, I may remind my readers of a work written by Dean Howson, and entitled "The Metaphors of St. Paul." this work the comparisons, allusions, and various figures of speech employed by the great Apostle are examined, and the light which they cast on his life is strikingly shown.

Now, the same method may be adopted in relation to the figurative language of any other of the sacred writers, as illustrating their history and surroundings. Let me mention two or three :-Moses (figures drawn from Egyptian life; the desert; the borders of Palestine). David (his metaphors as throwing light on his history). The Minor Prophets (in connection with their native districts). Our Lord's own comparisons and illustrations; St. Peter's; St. John's (Epistles and Revelation: compare the latter with the imagery of the Hebrew prophets); and so on.

In like manner, we may take the various allusi 042 & to customs, and habits, and other everyday events, ix the writings of Moses, Joshua, or Paul, and note how they confirm what is known of the writers.


Some very valuable little books have lately been prepared and issued for the use of schools and colleges, dealing with the particular periods in ancient or modern history, such as "The Age of Pericles," im Greece, or "The Reign of Queen Anne," or "The Age of Shakespeare," in England; and there can be no mode of studying history. It narrows our range of doubt that there are many advantages in this limited vision, but it gives us a better perception of that which we contemplate. So, in sacred history, we may with profit take up the age of the Judges, the life and reign of Solomon, or the age of the Captivity; and fix our attention upon that period alone, bringing to bear upon it all the side-lights which we can find in other parts of Scripture.


Some portions of sacred history are given in a double form, and one is related in a fourfold narrative To take up these contemporary histories and examine them side by side, comparing, contrasting, and supplementing one by another, will bring out many striking and interesting points. This plan is, of course, adapted chiefly to the Books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, in the Old Testament, and the four Gospels in the New. But there are other and more limited examples, as the reign of Hezekiah (2 Kings and Isaiah); and St. Paul's own accounts of his conversion, as compared with St. Luke's earlier narrative (Acts ix, xxii, xxvi.).

Somewhat similar are the references to OK Testament history which are found in the New, as ir

the address of Stephen at Jerusalem (Acts vii.), and "grace,' of Paul at Antioch (Acts xiii.).


Again, we may take up a single book of the Old or New Testament, and make it an object of special investigation, placing it in the centre, as it were, and seeking to master its contents. A twofold method will be needed here: examination of all that can be got out of the book itself, its internal evidences; and (as in the foregoing plan of study) collecting all the external evidence concerning it to be found in other inspired books.

If a Psalm or a prophetical book be selected, the Jewish history will prove its best commentary; if an Epistle, the Acts of the Apostles will generally supply some striking illustrations (see especially Ephesians, Corinthians, and Philippians).

An exceedingly interesting study would be to take up the Psalms one by one, and endeavour, from the internal evidence they furnish, to allot to each its historical and chronological place, so far as can be ascertained by such method.


The lives of the chief characters of Old and New Testament story have been many times studied and many times written But there is still a fund of interest and instruction in the lives of such persons as played but minor parts on the stage of Hebrew and Christian history. To take up one of these, and, with the help of a "Cruden," to trace the career of the man or woman from first to last, as recorded in the sacred page, examining all passing references and allusions which can be brought to bear on the central figure,-this is a form of Bible study which is replete with lessons for daily use even in these modern days, and under conditions so different from those under which we live.


That which has been said of Bible persons applies also to Bible places. Let some town or city be chosen as the subject of investigation, and its fortunes. traced through the generations or centuries of its history. Its situation, commercial relations, productions, climate, vicissitudes of peace or war, and the notable characters born within its precincts; these, and many other items, will furnish materials for miniature pictures which can hardly fail to be bright and vivid.


There is a vast variety of objects, both natural and artificial, mentioned in the Bible again and again in various connections, which, whether in their historical, economic, or figurative aspects, supply us with facts and lessons. The furniture of the tabernacle and the Temple, the implements of husbandry, weapons of war, instruments of trade and manufacture, minerals, plants, and animals, objects of natural scenery, musical instruments, clothing and ornaments, and even household goods, are SO presented in Scripture that we are able to make them our teachers. "The common coin is turned into the shekel of the sanctuary."


Mr. D. L. Moody's favourite plan of Scripture study is to take a moral or spiritual subject, such as

"grace," "love," "peace," "faith," "justification," &c., and follow it, by the help of the Concordance, through all the divine teaching on that special topic. cludes several modes of procedure. Such topics as This plan is a somewhat broad one, and really inthe above when traced in chronological order, exemplify the progress of revelation, the gradual unfolding of God's will to man.

This in itself is a distinct line

of inquiry. Then, again, we may take some good or bad quality, and seek for examples of its manifestation in human character; just as in our biographical studies we draw out the principal qualities which different characters exhibited.

And, again, we may take some Bible word, and find, if we can, a precept, a prophecy, a prayer, and a promise having reference to it.

Such are some of the ways in which a young and earnest Bible-reader, with little or no assistance from other books (for a Concordance is but a classified Bible), may be able to explore the sacred mine with pleasure and profit. The more we so explore it, the more we shall be struck with its richness and depth. The amount of information on geography, customs, natural history, and similar topics, generally supposed to be found only in Bible cyclopædias and dictionaries, which we can glean from the unassisted Book itself, is perfectly astonishing; and should make us less inclined to envy the possessors of great libraries. An earnest and prayerful, yet inquiring spirit, anxious to learn, and humbly willing to be taught, will seldom fail to find, in almost any portion of Scripture, or by almost any definite method of studying it, both food for the mind and blessing for the heart and life.

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And with this impressive conclusion the worthy Captain turned on his heel and walked off.

We had run three parts of the way down the Red Sea, and were anchored close to the Arabian shore, just off the Turkish fort of Koomfidah, the low massive wall of which stood out white and bare in the blistering sunshine, while beyond it stretched, far as the eye could reach, the dim immensity of the great central desert.

Our vessel lay fully a mile and a half from the shore, although it seemed within a stone's-throw in the clearness of that wonderful atmosphere. But between us and the interminable waste of flat sandy beach the clear bright water was flecked with a broad band of white, very much like a streak of thick cream, marking the whereabouts of one of those treacherous coral reefs which make the Red Sea as dangerous a place as any in the world.

Outside the reef where we lay the sea was still heaving restlessly from the effects of the gale that had blown overnight; but the broad shallow lagoon within was as calm as a mill-pond. Half a dozen gaunt, swarthy Arabs were splashing and wallowing in the smooth water with shouts of delight, which were very tantalising to us as we "stood on the burning deck," with the very pitch melting between the planks

under the intolerable heat. Others still were trooping down to the beach in their long white robes, like a train of ghosts, from the little group of tumble-down mud hovels which, clustering around the outer wall of the fort, represented the "town" of Koomfidah.

Their bathing-place was, of course, safe enough, for no shark could enter there; but as if on purpose to show us how little they cared for this, several of the nearest Arabs scrambled across the reef and began to swim towards us; and in a twinkling the water around our ship swarmed with dusky figures (including not a few round-faced "pickaninnies," who could not have been more than six or seven years old at the outside), plashing and paddling about as merrily as if no such thing as a shark had ever been heard of. "Some o' them chaps 'll be gettin' picked up, if they don't

bulwarks, watched with a look of quiet amusement the whirl of lean brown limbs that kept darting to and fro like shoals of fish through the cool, clear water.


You see," remarked No. 1, "there ain't a sign o' their bein' touched, and yet there's lots o' sharks close by, I'll be bound. But if you or me, Bill, was to jump in there, we wouldn't ha' touched the water afore there'd be 'arf a dozen o' them sea-lawyers at us all to once."

This conversation, following so closely upon the Captain's warning, certainly did not encourage me to try a swim in these perilous waters, and a little incident which occurred that very afternoon encouraged me still less.

I was standing near the binnacle, watching the bursting of the waves upon the reef, when one of them suddenly broke into a high jet of glittering spray, flinging off a shower of

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look out," said a young sailor, looking down at them over the bows. "Not they!" rejoined a veteran "salt," who had made the Red Sea voyage many a time before. "Sharks never touches a Harab."

"Nor a darkey neither," added another. "I've eed the darkies in the West Injies, jist afore they dived, put tar on the palms o' their 'ands where they was rubbed white, so as to give the sharks nothin' to aim at, like."

"I take it them Harabs ain't good enough to suit Mr. Shark's taste, and mayhap it's the same way with the darkies," said No. 1, with a grin.

And the two old sea-dogs, perching themselves upon the

tiny rainbows in every direction. A second glance showed me that the rainbows were a shoal of flying fish, which plunged again the next moment, and then leaped a second time into the air, flashing and sparkling till the whole sea appeared to be on fire.

All of a sudden, just as the graceful little sea-fairies were passing close to our stern, up through the bright, smooth water shot a huge shovel-like snout and sharp three-cornered back fin, seeming to come right from under the ship itself, and in the very midst of the fluttering column appeared a monstrous black shark, at least sixteen feet from snout to tail. One snap of his powerful jaws took in a round dozen of the terrified fish, which scattered in all directions, two or three of


them leaping even clear over our bulwarks, and falling upon the deck, where the sailors inhospitably seized and cooked them for supper.

This last incident was more effectual in keeping me from risking a "dip" than either the Captain's warning or that of the sailors. But what was to be done? To be roasted as if by a slow fire for six or seven days together in a temperature of 117 in the shade, with this splendid cool sea always before me to invite me to a bath, was not to be thought of, while to escape this martyrdom by going down the throat of a shark would be a case of "out of the frying pan into the fire."

At last a bright idea struck me. One of our quarter-boats, which was getting rather shaky, had been moored astern, and allowed to fill with water, in order to keep it from being split by the heat of the sun. Here, then, was a first-rate bath ready-made, which, if not exactly big enough for a swim, would serve admirably for every other purpose. The first experiment was a complete success, and from that time regularly every morning I slid down the mooring-rope, and had a duck in my floating tub, to the unbounded amusement of the Arab boys, who came splashing and chattering around


In this way things went on up to the very day of our departure from Koomfidah. That morning I rose earlier than usual from my "luxurious couch" (which consisted of a spare sail on the planks of the after-deck) to have just one more both before leaving. But it is always that "just one more which does all the mischief; and, as a matter of course, after being prudent and cautious up to the very last moment, I anded by committing an imprudence which all but cost me my


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The sea, as I well remember, seemed cooler and more tempt ing than ever that day, and since the appearance of that gentleman who had such a good appetite for flying-fish, no sharks had been seen except at a great distance. In short, I got tired of wallowing from side to side of my boat-bath, like a hippopotamus in a tank, and decided to scramble out of it, and have a swim round the ship itself.

Twice, thrice, four times, I made the circuit of the vessel, and then, seeing no sign of danger, determined to strike farther out to sea. I was already about a hundred yards from the ship's bow, when I suddenly heard a shout that made me feel eveepy all over.

"Look out! here's a shark!"

Instantly came a rush in the water beside me, and up started between me and the ship the big ungainly head, the grinning teeth, the small, narrow, cruel eye, the huge pointed fin, like some ugly vision in a nightmare.

Luckily the shark's overlapping snout forces him to turn on his side in order to bite, or all would have been over at the first rush. A sudden turn foiled the monster, but the next moment he was round and at me again like an arrow. And so we went plunging to and fro, churning the smooth blue water into foam, while the shouts of the sailors (who had clustered like bees along the ship's side) seemed to rend the very sky. But my enemy was too hungry to be scared by noise, and although we were gradually nearing the ship, always kept himself between. My breath began to fail, and I felt that before the boat could be lowered I should be past help, for the shark had turned short round and met me front to front.

There was a loud hallo from above-something splashed heavily into the water-and then the sea all round me became a whirl of foam. A billet of wood, flung from the upper deck, had hit the shark on his tenderest point, the snout; and before he could rally from this stunning blow, I had seized the anchorshain and was safe on board.

"Captain," said I, as the worthy man came up just in time to witness my ascent, "I shall certainly take your advice after


"Dare say you will, when it's too late to be of any use!" growled the uncourteous skipper. "I always thought you was a fool, and now I'm sure of it."

This was certainly not complimentary, but on reflection was much of the same opinion myself. Harper's Young People.

A SOCIABLE man is one who, when he has ten minutes to spare, goes and bothers somebody who hasn't. THE most direct method of determining horse-power Stand behind and tickle his hind legs with a briar.

As an old woman was lately walking through one of the streets in the country at midnight, a patrol called out, "Who's there?" "It is I, patrol," she replied; "don't be afraid!" A RESIDENT in Epsom says he only backed one horse in his life, and that was into a shop-window.

A PAPER says of a contemporary that "it has doubled its circulation; another man takes a copy now."

"Is that a friend of yours?" asked a gentleman, pointing to a party who was sailing rapidly down the street. "Can't tell you till next Saturday," returned the individual addressed. "I've just lent him a sovereign."

ALL the great Powers declare that they are anxious to secure the peace of Europe, but the trouble is that each of them wants to secure the biggest piece for itself.

A YOUNG lady, whose scholars were about to separate for a long vacation, felt anxious to say something to them that might lead them to try and live good and useful lives. So she talked very earnestly to them about the future that was before them, telling them how much more valuable and upright honourable character would be to them than wealth or fame. When she thought she had deeply impressed them with the importance of the good name, which Solomon says is better than great riches, she said, "Now, boys, tell me what you most want to have when you grow to be men. Think a moment before you answer." Up came several hands, and she called on the first boy for his choice. "Whiskers!" shouted the boy, with such emphasis that it put an effectual stop to any further questions.

A DOCTOR recently possessed a pet magpie, which, constantly hearing his master's advice-gratis patients repeat, in answer to the solicitous inquiries of a valet, "Ah, Henry, I'm very ill!" learnt the phrase by heart, so as to speak it with surprising distinctness. It was, in fact, his unique form of expression. The magpie escaped to the neighbouring rural district, and was shot by a sporting peasant. The latter ran said, looking up dolefully at its murderer, "Ah, Henry, I'm to pick up his prize. The dying bird opened his eyes, and very ill!" The peasant's name was Henry. He dropped his victim and his gun, and took to his heels.

"Look here, Matilda," said a Galveston lady to the coloured must have heard those thieves stealing the chickens." "Yes, cook; "you sleep right close to the chicken-house, and you ma'am; I heerd de chickens holler, and heerd de voices ob de bursting into tears-"case, ma'am, I knowed my old fadder 'Why didn't you go out then?" "Case, ma'am'


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was out dar, and I wouldn't hab him know I'se los' confidence and kotched him, it would have broke his ole heart, and he in him foah all de chickens in de world. If I had gone out dar would have made me carry de chickens home foah him besides."

AN Irish girl who was very anxious that her scatterbrained brother should not be refused by a demure young Englishwoman with whom he had fallen desperately in love, implored Ision. He vowed solemnly that he would behave as if he were him to try and propose with a seriousness becoming the occa acting the part of chief mourner at his father's funeral. The demure young lady, in imitation of many of her country women, graciously accepted her wild Irish lover. She, however. confided to her bosom friend that Edmund had proposed in rather an odd way. He had taken her after church to see the family vault, and had there, in a sepulchral voice, asked her if she would like to lay her bones beside his bones. This he evidently thought was a fitting manner in which to fulfil the promise made to his sister of treating the matter with becoming solemnity.

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