THE Bible is a universal book. It is applicable to all classes and all countries. The Hindoo of India and the highly civilized Caucasian of Europe and America alike find in its teachings a responsive cord. It is equally interesting to the children and adults. Where else can be found such fascinating stories as in the pages of this old Book? Baby Moses in the bulrushes. The innocent, pathetic figure of the little Ishmael, left to die by himself in the wilderness, but lifting up his little voice to God and not in vain! Joseph, the loving son and true brother, and David, the shepherd lad who became a great King — what endless charm these stories of real life, when the world was young, hold for the mind and heart of both young and old! A young collegian, writing of a charming, restless boy of nine years, temporarily under his charge, says, "I am reading the story of Joseph to H — out of the Bible. It is wonderful to see the little fellow with his eyes fixed upon me, never speaking, — scarcely moving for as long a time as I choose to read!" What entrancing pictures of real life we find in the Bible: Old and young pressing close to the Christ as he sits by the wayside, to win a word of love and blessíng from his gracious lips. People of all ages waving their palm-branches and singing Hosannas to the King whom they understood and loved, as he rode in triumph toward Jerusalem. The beloved daughter of Jairus called back from her dreamless sleep by the Master's voice. The healing of the nobleman's boy, and the quick response of the little lad who cheerfully parted with his midday lunch at the word of the great Teacher whom he had doubtless learned to love. These, and many another picture of child life adorn the pages of this greatest of Books, and assure us that the Bible is indeed "for the child," and should therefore be brought easily within his reach.
It follows that any winning and reverent device which may serve to attract young minds and hearts to the priceless truth hidden away in the Holy Book, deserves a welcome.
Such a device is presented in these pages, where Bible narrative and precept are brought before the eye in symbol form, and the eager, questioning mind of the child is led through the pictured word to a real interest in and love for the words which Christ declared are "spirit" and "life."
"Through the eye to the heart," has long been a recognized principle in primary teaching. Hence, the use of the blackboard and of everyday objects by primary teachers. The untrained thought must be caught and held, if it is to be directed rightly.
The home is the starting place in the race of life, and the mother is the starter. The old song says truthfully:
Are mother's eyes."
As mother frowns or smiles, so does baby. As mother thinks and feels, so does baby, during the most impressible period of his life. Great is the mother's responsibility! Great is her opportunity! When she realizes the one or the other, how gladly she hails any help in molding the young lives entrusted to her care! And there is no such helper as the Word of God. Happy is that home in which it is known and loved and reverenced as being God's own Book!
But how are the children to become acquainted with its sacred sweetness and life-giving power except as the parents introduce it to them? If father and mother are acquainted with its hidden treasures, and show by word and by deed, that they delight to turn to it for counsel and for comfort, then the children will in the great majority of cases learn to love and prize it too.
A book largely made up of strong, clear pictures, setting forth through forms of life already known to the children, many of the precepts and promises of the Bible, as well as many of the striking stories told in its pages, can hardly fail to at least assist in making it known to the child.
The little one who bends his brow in earnest thought over a pictured text, calling upon mother again and again for help, will thenceforth carry a picture in his thought which will help to imprint the words upon his mind, — to come forth perhaps some future day in a time of stress and supply the needed bread of God for his soul's famine!
And the mother, — what opportunities are thus afforded her for speaking the "word in season," opening the low door to some rich, sweet truth, or clothing, with life the story which is here but outlined!
In confident belief that this fascinating volume will prove a safe and strong helper in many a home, leading by pleasant paths to an interest in and love for the Word of God, it is sent forth on its mission.
"The paths that lead us to God's throne
Are worn by children's feet."