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creation around him: 'Whence arc ye? "WTio has created you?' The sun arose in its glory. Abraham prostrated himself. 'This' he exclaimed, 'must be the Creator. Great and beauteous is its appearance; its radiance dazzles my feeble eye.' The sun pursued its course, and set at evestide, to make room for the silvery moon. And Abraham said to himself, 'The luminary which has set cannot be the God of heaven: it yields to yonder lesser light, and to the hosts of stars by which it is attended." But cloud" overspread the sky; the moon and stars were hidden from his sight, and Abraham stood alone in the midst of hi« meditations.
"He went to his father, and asked, 'Who is God, the Creator of heaven and earth?' Tcrah showed him hi' idols. 'I will put their divinity to the test,' said Abraham to himself; and when he was alone, he presented them with the choicest viands, addressed them and said, 'If ye are living 'gods, accept my offering, that I may worship you!' But immoveable stood the idols; no ear had they for his invocations. 'And these,' exclaimed the youth, ' my father considers as gods! But, perhaps, I may show him he is in error.' He took a staff, and shivered the idols into fragments, except one only, within whose bended arm he placed his staff. He then hurried to hi" father, and said, 'Father, thy great God has slain his lesser brethren!' But Terah looked at him in anger, and said, 'Mock me not, boy. How can he do what thou hast said, since mine own hands have fashioned him who is inanimate?' And Abraham replied: 'Be not angry. O my father, but let thine car hear, and thy reason weigh what thine own mouth has uttered. If thou deemest him incapable of a feat which my boyish hand was capable of performing, how can he be the God whose power created thee and me, and the heaven and earth?' And Terdh stood silent before the reproof of his son.
"But the fame of Abraham and of his deed soon reached the ear of the tyrant Nimrod, who summoned the youth before him, and thus sternly spoke, 'My God thou mutt serve, or the burning fiery furnace awaits thee.' 'And who, O king, is thy God?' inquired the undaunted Abraham. 'The fire is my God, the mightiest of all beings!" answered the king. 'Fire,' replied the youth, • is quenched by water. "Water is borne by the clouds. The clouds are scattered by the wind. But man defies the peltings of the storm and the blast of the wind. Thus man is the mightiest of beings.' 'And I am the mightiest of men,' exclaimed the king, 'adore me, then, or the burning fiery furnace awaits thee.' But Abraham fixed his sparkling eye on the king, and said, ' Yesterday, at morn, I beheld the sun arise, and I saw it set in the evening. Command now, O king, that the sun arise at eventide, and set in the morning, then will I worship thee.' The king deigned no further reply; but, at a sign from him, the youth was led off, and hurled into the midst of the fiery furnace. But the force of the fire harmed not the dauntless martyr. An angel of the Lord received him in his arms, and fanned the flames away. They rcfreshedhim like the fragrance of roses. Beauteous and radiant, the youth went forth from the furnace; and soon God appeared to him, and summoned him to forsake Chaldea, and go to the land which he should show him. And Abraham became the founder of the true worship of God, who created heaven and earth, to all the human beings that inhabit the terrestrial globe."
This account of Abraham's deliverance we believe is fictitious, or merely allegorical, but our readers will bear in mind that we have an authentic and inspired account of the " Hebrew children" that were delivered from the fire in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, because they would not bow down to worship the image which the proud king had set up, nor obey the haughty mandate of Nimrod's successor, who thought himself the "mightiest of men." The true God has power over all the elements of nature, and his laws they obey. At his will, fire shall cease to burn; for he who established the course of nature, can suspend his laws, and reverse that course when necessary to demonstrate his Being or his power. Every youth, should, therefore, learn to" Remember his Creator," and to reverence him whose kingdom is everywhere, and endures for ever. "I forewarn you, whom ye shall fear. Fear not them which kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But fear God, who can cost both body and soul into hell.'' Thus eTen, if the body should be destroyed by fire, as were the bodies of many martyrs, consumed because of their stedfastness to the faith of Christ, [God will reward those who faithfully serve him, and resist every temptation to swerve from right principle and conviction of duty, with the blessedness of everlasting life. In this respect may oar sons and daughters be the imitators of the faith and fortitude of Abraham. What a privilege is theirs to be able to sing with gratitude to God—
1' I was not born as thousands are,
Where God Is never known,
To blocks of wood and stone.
My God I thank thee, who hast plann'd,
This better lot for me,
Where 1 may hear of thee."
"A young man who has an insatiable thirst for knowledge, but whose time and means ore limited, is desirous of knowing the class of books best suited for general improvement."
In the Manuscript Magazine for March, 1850, of the Wesleyon Methodist Association Sondboch Sunday-school Teachers, appears the preceding quotation. I am the more disposed to attempt a reply to the inquiry, because it is stated that the young man "has an insatiable thirst for knowledge." This is an indispensable requisite for improvement. Without it, a young man will be like the school-boy "who creeps unwillingly to school," and who learns, not because he has a love to learning, but because either by shame or the lash he is compelled to go to school. The man who is thirsty needs not to be compelled to drink. He drinks freely and heartily, because he needs to drink. So in learning, only beget an ardent desire for knowledge, and it will be sought after, and pursued with avidity. This
view of the subject is deserving of the consideration of every teacher of youth.
But to the point. We take it for granted that the "young man" is well able to read his Bible. We also take it for •ranted that he has read some useful books, such as are to he met with in most houses, and in Sunday-school libraries for young persons. In giving advice on the books to be read, we would caution the "young man" against imagining that he will be wise in proportion to tho number of books he has read There cannot be a greater mistake. Reading alone will never make a learned man, in the proper sense of the term, that in, a man of knowledge, judgment, and worth. There must be reason, reflection, discrimination, and mental labour, in addition to reading, to make an intelligent man. Let, then, "a young man" read, "Watts, on the Improvement of the Mind." This is a work of sterling value. It has never been superseded. It has in every respect never been equalled. Many young men have read it to profit. Numbers, now in prominent stations, are indebted to it for their position and influence. It teaches much in relation to mind, particularly in what mental improvement consists, and how knowledge is obtained, namely, by observation, reading, instruction by lectures, conversation, and meditation or study.
Bead the above invaluable book over again and again. Todd's Student's Guide or Manual, is of a similar character, and will be of considerable service in mental improvement. It is very stimulating, and contains many valuable directions far obtaining knowledge; which, if acted upon, will lead to the desired end. It is true it was written for students at college, and appears in some places encumbered with Latin phrases. As to the first of these objections, you must regard yourself as a student, for such you must be if you would attain to excellence, and as to the second they are for the most part translated.
Other works of a similar character might be mentioned, bat these two well read, properly digested, and persevertngry acted upon, will help "a young man" materially to accomplish his object of general improvement.
We come now to another class of books of a higher range, for we must ascend step by step to the summit. Watts' Logic, will be of great service in assisting you to reason logically or correctly on all subjects, and aiding you to distinguish truth from error, and true reasoning from sophistry. It may appear dry at the onset, but when you come to understand it, its apparent dryness will disappear. It will help you to detect error in every guise, and save you from being imposed upon by mere words. Logic means the art of reasoning, and it is important to be able to reason correctly.
For general information, in a comparatively small compass, I would recommend Chambers' Information for the People. It contains excellent articles on almost all subjects, well written; and contains the latest discoveries in science, and the best information on those matters on which it treats. Though ;' of limited means," "a young man" should consider whether, by a little self-denial in some things, he could not possess such a work, which is a library in itself of no contemptible order.
As to History, abridgments will bo the best for the present. Afterwards more enlarged works may be profitably read.
With respect to Voyages and Travels, you may read all you can that are well written; as such works will expand your mind, increase your knowledge, and make you familiar with the world.
Geographies especially you may consult; smaller ones first, larger ones afterwards.
As to Poetry, Milton's Paradise Lost stands pre-eminent. Young's Night Thouglds, and James Montgomery's Poems. will please and profit.
For lighter reading, such works as the Spectator and Rambler may be read. The real classical English language is said to bo contained in the former work.
The Bible, although lost mentioned, is, of all books, the most important, and demands our most careful and diligent study. If "a young man," when he has read and studied the above works, is desirous of information on what he should do next, I shall be happy to render him any further help which I may be able to give.
A Young Man's Friend.