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While this series of devotional comments on the chapters of the Bible was in course of serial publication the author received letters from hundreds of his readers (nearly two thousand), telling him that they were following the course of Bible reading and meditation. These letters came from every State of the United States except Nevada, from every Province of Canada, from Porto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, Hawaii, Chile, Australia, France, Turkey, Germany, Holland, England, Finland, Syria, South Africa, China, and Japan. Those that hereafter may use the book will be interested to know of the wide circle that made up its constituency.
Many of these letters came from husbands and wives who were reading the Bible through in this way together. In many cases the Bible chapters, with the comments upon them, were made the basis of family prayers. The series has been used in sick-rooms, and many shut-ins have found it useful. Sunday-school teachers have read it with their classes. Ministers have found in it subjects for talks and sermons. My readers have ranged from young children to an old lady of eighty-six and from missionaries to an army colonel.
These comments have been translated into Spanish, and perhaps into other languages. The readers have used different languages and versions for the sake of adding to the interest.
Many pleasant methods of using these meditations have come to me in these letters. One correspondent has a separate copy of the Scriptures which he calls "The Living Bible," and into this he has pasted the comment for each chapter, clipped from the paper, placing each beside the chapter to which it refers, fastening the clippings by one edge. Another has read with pen in hand, underscoring the principal verses. Another has chosen a verse from each chapter, copying the verse into a blank book and writing his own comment thereon. Another has read each chapter first, getting his own thought upon it, and afterwards reading my comment. Still another has read my comment first, then the chapter, and then has set himself to recalling my comment. Yet another has written in his Bible, as a chapter title, the heading given each comment. The use of these titles for recalling different chapters has been a valued feature with many.
The thought of personality has proved most helpful to the majority of my readers-the pro- noun "my" used in the heading of each comment. "I make every paragraph a prayer," writes one friend. Thus the series of meditations has accomplished what I hoped it might accomplish: it has made the Scriptures "the Living Bible" in the experience of many readers.
I think that perhaps the method of one of my correspondents will be likely to prove most helpful to the users of this book. It was his habit first to read the chapter for the day, considering carefully as he read what was the key-note of the chapter, the predominant thought, the most striking or central expression. With this in mind he would take up my comment and read it with care, noting the difference, if any, between his thought of the chapter and mine, and comparing the two where they differed. This process could hardly fail to fix in mind the thought of the chapter.
The prayer element enters into most of these tiny meditations, and it is hoped that they will be read, as they certainly have been written, in the spirit of prayer. We are often ready enough to talk with God, but not often are we eager and patient to listen and hear what He would say to us. Let our communion with the Most High be genuine communion, our talking with our Father, and-wonder of wonders!-His talking with us. It is by means Of this true prayer that the Bible becomes a Jiving book, and we enter into the life which is life indeed. AMOS R. WELLS. Tremont Temple, Boston.
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