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EDITED BY THE REV. H. BURGESS, L.L.D., Ph. D.
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PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES & SONS, STAMFORD STREET,
AND CHARING CROSS.
No. X I. - APRIL 1854.
THE BIBLE AND THE COMMON PEOPLE.
FROM the time of the Reformation, England may properly be termed a land of Bibles. On the knowledge of Holy Scripture that great event was founded, and the people could not fail to love the instrument of their deliverance from Papal tyranny. But the Bible has been to them more than the venerated agent of temporal liberty ; it found its way to the depths of their souls, engaged their holiest affections, and elevated their moral and religious character. Unlike the Ephesians, who worshipped the image that fell down from Jupiter, as a mere talisman destitute of all vital energy, Britons have respected the Holy Scriptures for their continued and permanent blessings. As the hand which first struck off their fetters, the Bible has since conferred on them those benefits which alone can make liberty honourable and pleasant; and many of our national characteristics at the present moment are to be attributed to our giving due honour to the Word of God.
But within the last half century, the close of which has been celebrated as a jubilee by the British and Foreign Bible Society, this national attachment to the Scriptures has taken a new form, suggestive of many important reflections to the thoughtful, many of them of a delightful, but others of a somewhat mingled character. We hope it may not be found that a Bibliolatry has been allowed to take the place of the deep respect and love by which, for ages, the Bible had been received by our countrymen. One thing is certain, that through this half century THE BOOK ITSELF has had an
* We have used this word from the want of a better, although we are not quite satisfied with it. We mean what are often termed the million, or the masses.
VOL. VI.-10. XI.