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AMIDST the splendid improvements which now dazzle the world, it is our glory to behold the Bible traversing the globe, till the "Sun of righteousness" irradiates alike the palace and the cottage. But while every talent is roused into action, to prepare the way," "-while every hand hand is extended to "exalt every valley, and level every mounain and bill," is it pardonable to suggest, that, even among those who are ambitious to promote the magnificent design, there are many who are but superficially acquainted with the contents of that invaluable book?
Incredible as it may seem, there is certainly an erroneous indifference in many people, who venerate the scriptures as the volume of inspiration, to the study of the Old Testament, especially the writings of Moses. They reverence the New
Testament, as the gospel of glad tidings," without knowing, that if one is the casket, the other is the key, which displays the treasure in the clearest point of view.
The value of scripture history, as the only authentic account we possess of the earliest ages, and the most instructive mirror of man, is, perhaps, not yet estimated as it ought to be; for in it only we contemplate characters and events recorded without prejudice or partiality. To invite young persons, who are yet unapprised of the pleasures and advantages within their reach, to begin the delightful study, the following elements are offered, with the unaffected diffidence which becomes so imperfect a work. A connected view of the principal narrative of the scriptures, with very brief illustrations from authors of acknowledged credit, is all that is attempted. The sublime doctrines of Christianity are stated simply as they occur, without examining the sources from which they are drawn. The answers to questions incidentally thrown in to enliven the story, can hardly pretend to the dignity of argument, to prove what is assumed in these "Conversations," as the corner stone.
To talk of scripture doctrines in our social cir
cles now, is just as fashionable as it is to be a member of a Bible society; for in our age of wonders, we are all philosophers and all philanthropists— the title, therefore, of this little book will lead some to expect that sort of discussion to which they are every day accustomed. They will be entirely disappointed. The flippancy and temerity with which the most abstruse questions of scripture are introduced into familiar conversation, is as irreverent as it is absurd, and ought to be discouraged. Let us endeavour to ascertain, with a seriousness corresponding to the magnitude of the subject, the authority on which these truths are given to us, and if we find, as we certainly shall, that they will bear the severest scrutiny, let us acquiesce in silence, while we humbly feel their superiority to our limited reason.
That faults may be discovered in this performance, there exists not a doubt in the mind of the author. They might, perhaps, be extenuated by adequate apologies: but they who take upon themselves the office of instructors, have but little right to insist on the lenity of the public. An anonymous work may anticipate candour, because it owes nothing to the adventitious weight of reputation,