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sider what are the faults of the great majority of books and of conversations, it would seem as if the prince of this world should be attacked more immediately in his own dominion; as if our efforts should be especially directed towards fulfilling the spirit of that prophecy, which says that "the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of his Christ." Depend upon it, that the enemy of our souls will be quite content to let us pray as we will, so that we talk and write as he wills. But the common notion is the contrary. For instance, Hume's Essays are spoken of as a dangerous work; but every one reads and recommends Hume's History without scruple. Whereas if men were well accustomed to read history, biography, travels, and works of that supposed neutral character, written in a Christian spirit, they would care little for works like Hume's Essays. It is our judgment of men, and of men's actions, that determines our character: and if this judgment be habitually Christian-if we condemn and approve with a constant eye to the judgment of the Spirit of God, our common habits and temper will be Christian. And what will books of argument against Christ, and against God, do to us then? They will just do nothing: for all that they can show is that we have no certainty for our belief, which we know well enough already : for we live by faith, not by sight; and the cer

tainty of heavenly things will only appear when earthly things are over. But if we are not Christians in our common judgments, if we judge of history like Hume, it is a very little matter to judge of the evidences of Christianity like Hume also. And this is the mischief of many light publications, which are not considered absolutely unfit to read, because they are neither openly blasphemous, nor openly filthy. But yet the view which they take of life is not that of a Christian ; things are spoken of as important, which are of no importance at all; things are laughed at, which as we know are no fit matter for laughter; inasmuch as they are the very things which we find, in our daily life, to be the greatest hindrance to our well-doing. Things are encouraged, which are not sinful, perhaps, in themselves, but which still are dangerous from other circumstances. Amusements which necessarily involve bad company, and which, to the forming character, must be unsafe, even if they could be safely entered into by a formed one.

But what, then, is to be done? for he who would read no history, no biography, no travels, no works of science, moral or physical, but such as are written by Christians, would read, to our shame be it said, but a very meagre and insufficient number. We must read what we find; but it is of the last importance that we carry to the

reading, our own Christian judgment;it might be no unamusing, and no unprofitable employment, to note in any common work that we read, such judgments of men and things, and such a tone in speaking of them, as are manifestly at variance with the Spirit of Christ. This, if done once, and seriously, with almost any popular work, would produce results absolutely surprising. We should see that the very same writer, who spoke most respectfully and in sincerity of Christ and his religion, yet constantly writes on different principles, seemingly ignorant, and indeed really so, of what the Christian judgment of things is: and we should find such a number of unchristian principles in the course of a common volume, as would soon make us cease to wonder how there were such small apparent fruits of Christianity in the world. And, intellectually, the process would be useful, not only as requiring us to read with attention, but as accustoming us to bring familiarly before our own minds what our habitual principles of judgment are; a matter in which, but too generally, men labour under an utter vagueness. Nor need this plan make us intolerant or exclusive; for the excuse of ignorance is so large, that we dare not, individually, judge the writer, however much we may find to blame or to regret in his book; and it is an evil habit of mind that hinders us from sympathizing with what is good and wise

and beautiful, however much of evil or of folly may exist beside it. Thus, then, we may correct for ourselves what is else a daily snare to us; the being obliged to read so many unchristian writings; and instead of their insensibly dulling the quickness of our moral sense, and bringing us down to their level, they may serve continually to keep alive and in vigour our knowledge and love of better things, and so make our daily studies and our prayers agree with and help each other.





By one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are


THE peculiar circumstances of the Epistle to the Hebrews give it, as we might have expected, a peculiar character. For although many points relating to it are, and ever will be, unknown, yet it seems impossible to doubt that it was written to Jewish Christians; and that not only to persons partly of Jewish blood, and acquainted with the Scriptures before their conversion to Christianity, yet, using the language, and, in many points, the customs of the Gentiles; but to those called Hebrews, Jews of unmixed descent, and, like the Jews of the present day, clinging with fondness to

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