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“From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith, which is in Christ Jesus." --PAUL.
OLOMON says, “ Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it." We conclude, therefore, that an acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures at an early period of life is desirable, and that it is conducive to the highest and most enduring interests of man. Nor are we
left to draw this conclusion from an isolated text; for the same Sacred Record informs us that Moses, the lawgiver to the descendants of the patriarch Jacob, when reminding them of the mighty deliverance which had been wrought in their behalf from the iron bondage of the Kings of Egypt, and recounting all the acts of mercy and goodness which God had exercised towards them, and the commandments He had given for their observance, exhorts them to obedience in these words : “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates : that your days may be multiplied and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.” (Deut. xi., 18-21.) And in like manner the great apostle of the Gentiles, writing to his son Timothy, reminds him of the advantage which had already accrued to bim on this account, where he says, “ From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” And he then declares that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Tim. iii., 15, 16.) These and other declarations of similar character and import, we receive as possessing that indisputable authority to which we are constrained implicitly to bow, and which must therefore be amply sufficient in the estimation of all considerate parents to prompt them to the use of every legitimate aid in their efforts to bring up their children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” and in an intimate acquaintance with Holy Writ.
To aid these efforts is the object of the present work which is not intended to supersede other publications having in view the same object. We desire, rather, to place in the hands of parents and others having the care and education of youth, a concise yet complete account of all the transactions recorded in the Old and New Testaments. Most of the works to which allusion has been made rely for their efficiency chiefly upon illustrative engravings ; and it must be admitted that a * Picture
Book” does, in the estimation of most children and young persons, possess attractions to which none others can advance an equal claim, however excellent. In such works, the letter press portion is necessarily subsidiary, supplying little more than a description of the accompanying illustrations. That they are, notwithstanding, extensively useful, will be conceded by all who cherish the fond reminiscences of their childish days. Yet, when the child becomes a youth, it will be profitable to place in his hands a work such as the present, which, while it possesses the attraction of illustrations representing some of the most important events recorded in the text, together with other objects of interest to the youthful mind, relies for its value, chiefly, on the instruction to be derived from what is written ; since it contains, not as in the case of those works of which mention has been made, accounts only of well known events, but a continuous narrative ; thus placing before the youthful reader a large amount of interesting and instructive matter with much of which many even of mature years may be unacquainted :—a circumstance which may render the work profitable to them also.
Many parents will have observed the reluctance which a child generally manifests to read any considerable portion of the Scriptures, arising no doubt, from the fact that it is interspersed with much which, however useful and indeed necessary to those of adult age, is uninteresting to young minds, which have not yet the discriminating power to select those portions which are most suitable for their perusal. Our endeavour in the present undertaking has been to do this for them, and to write in language adapted to their years, yet such as we trust may be perused with advantage even by adults.
We have been constantly mindful, too, that our chief work has been to state facts. Children are eminently practical ; they deal with facts. And although it has been considered desirable occasionally to introduce a passing moral observation, none need be under any apprehension that doctrines distasteful to them have been advanced. Indeed no Christian will have any reasonable ground for taking an exception against any thing that has been written. How far the work will subserve the purpose for which it was undertaken will be proved by the measure of its acceptance amongst those whom it is especially designed to assist. Should it be instrumental in leading many of its youthful readers, and of those, also, more advanced in years, to a prayerful and attentive study of the Word of God, and, as we venture to hope, conducive also to their present comfort and eternal happiness, we shall consider it an honour to have been made instrumental in advancing their welfare, and be rewarded also for the study and labour we have unsparingly devoted to the accomplishment of the undertaking.
J. A. N. M.