"HOW READEST THOU?"
'Tis one thing now to read the Bible through,
And another thing to read, to learn, and do;
'Tis one thing now to read it with delight,
And quite another thing to read it right.
Some read it with design to learn to read,
But to the subject pay but little heed;
Some read it as their duty once a week,
But no instruction from the Bible seek.
Whil'st others read it without common care,
With no regard to how they read nor where.
Some read it as a history to know
How people lived three thousand years ago.
Some read to bring themselves repute,
By showing others how they can dispute;
Whil'st others read because their neighbors do,
To see how long t'will take to read it through.
Some read it for the wonders that are there,
How David killed a lion and a bear:
Whil'st others read--or rather in it look,
Because, perhaps, they have no other book.
Some read the blessed Book--they don't know why,
It somehow happens in the way to lie;
Whil'st others read it with uncommon care,
But all to find some contradictions there.
Some read as though it did not speak to them
But to the people at Jerusalem;
One reads it as a book of mysteries,
And won't believe the very thing he sees.
One reads with father's specs upon his head,
And sees the thing just as his father did;
Another reads through Campbell or through Scott,
And thinks it means exactly what they thought.
Whil'st others read the Book through H. Balou,
And if it cross his track it can't be true!
Some read to prove a pre-adopted creed,
Thus understand but little what they read.
For every passage in the Book they bend
To make it suit that all important end.
Some people read as I have often thought
To teach the Book instead of being taught.
And some there are who read it out of spite,
I fear there are but few who read it right,
So many people in these latter days
Have read the Bible in so many ways,
That few can tell which system is the best
For every party contradicts the rest.