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COTTAGE LECTURES;

OR,

TRACTS

INTENDED TO LEAD THE POOR TO THE STUDY OF

THE HOLY BIBLE.

"Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."-ST. JOHN V. 39.

"Hearken, my beloved Brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him."-ST. JAMES II. 5.

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HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO., PATERNOSTER ROW.
W. ROWBOTTOM, DERBY.

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PREFACE.

THESE Cottage Lectures are solely intended for the use of the poor, and are designed to induce them, under God's blessing, to search the Scriptures, and to assist them in that good work, so that they may derive greater benefit from it. The Bible is eminently-The Book: and other books, however excellent they may be, can only feebly reflect its glorious light: the best service which they can render us, is, to help us in gaining a clearer and sounder knowledge of the sacred volume. That volume may now be in the hands of all; for it may be said that we live in the age of Bibles: and it were well if the poor duly considered their privilege, in being called, and even urged, to possess and to study that book, which, through the blessed influence of the Spirit of truth, makes man "wise unto salvation."

These papers were originally published in 1822 and some following years; and they are now re-published with only a few slight verbal alterations. After the lapse of nearly thirty years, the writer finds that his views have undergone no material change. He might indeed wish that his work had been written with greater

care, variety, and elegance: but he only wrote for unlearned persons, who, as he presumed, care little for polished diction and musical periods: and he is willing to hope that his pages contain plain, sober, scriptural, and practical truth; most profitable to every one who brings it home to his own heart and conduct.

Many are the remarks, both dark and bright, both painful and pleasing, which might have been here addressed to that class of persons for whom these pages are designed: but it may suffice at present to say, in few words, that the poor (and it might be justly said that the rich,) will not be happy until they become religious; and that they will not become religious until they give a due regard to God's word. Learn and obey that word, and the Sabbath will be kept holy; and every family will be a family of daily prayer: and, the of religion being felt, the sins and vices that now abound will be extirpated and banished, and every holy and amiable virtue will be cultivated and flourish. Sin is the parent of misery; piety is the parent of happiness.

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Knowledge is increasing in our land: much attention is given to the instruction of the young: but to whatever extent this may be carried, it will always be found, that, with regard to the real excellence and true happiness of man, there is no subtitute for that sound, vital religious principle which is to be obtained and nourished, under the influence of Him who is "the Lord and Giver of life," in the use of "the means of grace;" among which means the study of God's word will always hold a primary place.

One plain remark may deserve and repay the consideration of the reader: it is this; Whatever may be

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effected, towards the improvement of man's condition, by the diffusion of knowledge, the dictates of legislation, and the inventions of art, his real excellence and happiness will always depend on plain, sound, practical piety; on himself, and not on others; on what he himself is and does, not on what others may say to him, or do for him. His God and Saviour-the obedience of faith

"Subjection to the Father of spirits"-according to to the Scriptures—this is, and ever will be, all to man. Such a remark may be accounted cold, tame, and flat, old and obsolete: but fact and experience will (either joyfully or painfully) prove its truth to every son and daughter of Adam—to the highest of us and to the lowest of us.

Nations might be good and happy; so might families; so might individuals-even the poorest among us: and so they all would be, if they rightly used the great and good gift of our Heavenly Father-the inspired volume. He, in giving us the light of Revelation, has put happiness within our reach. Men and women, (both rich and poor, both young and old,) are wicked and miserable because, and only because, "they do not delight in the law of the Lord, and do not meditate in it day and night."

What plans, dreams, counsels, and efforts in our day; what calculations, hopes, and fears! How much of this amounts to very little! How much of it is vain and worthless! We ought, indeed, to counsel and act, to plan and execute all that we can, for God's glory and man's good: for we have ability and means, and it is our duty to use our talents as responsible beings: at the same time we should remember, that all success

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