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heartily repent of, and forsake them, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, they shall through his death“ become as white 66 ás snow.”
And with respect to afflictions in general, the Scriptures tell us, that calamities are not to be considered as happening by chance;' that “affliction cometh not forth of the dust, as neither doth trouble spring out of the 6 ground, but proceeds from him by whom the $ hairs of our head are all num6 bered;" from him without whose permis. sion even - a sparrow doth not fall to the 66 ground ;” and that he means them for our good, that "he chastens us for our profit.”. The sacred volume accordingly assures us, that afflictions are not to be regarded as marks of God's displeasure, but rather as tokens of his love ; that “whom the Lord 's loveth he correcteth, even as a father the 6 son in whom he delightetho; that as many 6 as he loves he rebukes and chastens ;”. that consequently “happy is the man whom 66 God correctethP; blessed is the man
w Isaiah i, 18. P Job v. 17.
6 whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and “ teachest in thy way." The Scriptures instruct us, like all the distinguished servants of God, to bow ourselves with meek resignation under his hand, to submit ourselves entirely to his good pleasure, to be prepared to say from our hearts, “ it is 66 the Lord, let him do what seemeth him “ good 9:" “ Lord, not my will, but thine “ be done.” Above all, the Scriptures furnish the most strong consolation and the most animating hope, hope full of immortality, by directing our view beyond this lower world, to that world where sorrow hath no place. Afflictions here, however painful, are to be regarded as light, because they endure but for a moment. If they last our whole life, that still is but as a mo, ment, when compared with eternity. The word of God accordingly teaches us to set our hearts upon that place, " where only “ true joys are to be found;" that place where God shall “ wipe away all tears from - the eyes of his servants; where there 6 shall be no more death, neither sorrow, “ nor crying, neither shall there be any. “ more pain".” A hope of entering into this state is set before us in the Scriptures; a hope founded on the promises of him who cannot lie, and therefore to be taken as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast.
Such then are some of the reasons for searching the Scriptures. We should read and hear them because they are the word of God, the message from God to man; because they declare unto us the way of salvation ; because they make known unto us the will of God; because they are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness ; because they furnish us with ground for patience, consolation, and hope.
II. I will now, in the second place, pro. ceed to say a few words on the manner in which this duty of searching the Scriptures should be performed.
Read them then frequently; read them with humility; read them with attention, and a desire to practise what you read ; read them with fervent prayer to God, by whose Spirit they were indited, that he
Rev. xxi. 4.
would assist you in understanding them, and in making them contribute to the sal. vation of your souls.
First, read them frequently. It is a reproach-_and a heavy reproach-justly cast on some people, that the Bible,, the book of God, lies unopened in their houses. Let not this reproach be cast on you. You know how strictly God enjoined the study of his law under the Mosaic dispensation. “ The words which I command thee this 6 day shall be in thine heart, and thou “ shalt teach them diligently unto thy chil6 dren, and shalt talk of them when thou “ sittest in thine house, and when thou 66 walkest by the way, and when thou liest 66 down, and when thou risest up; and thou
shalt bind them for a sign upon thine 66 hand, and they shall be as frontlets be66 tween thine eyes. And thou shalt write " them upon the posts of thy house, and “ upon thy gates $.” And again in his charge to Joshua ; 45. This book of the law 66 shall not depart out of thy mouth, but " thou shalt meditate therein day and night, " that thou mayest observe to do according
.. Deut. vi. 6—9.
6 to all that is written thereint." If the law deserved to have this diligent and constant study—and most certainly it did, inasmuch as it proceeded from God himself-how much : rather does the Gospel ? This careful study of the revealed will of God was always a mark of his faithful ser: vants. In the description of a good man, in the first Psalm, it is said, “ His delight “ is in the law of the Lord, and in his law 66 will he exercise himself day and night.” The 119th Psalm abounds in passages expressing the like sentiment. Thus in the 9th verse, “ Wherewithal shaļl a young man 66 cleanse his way!-- even by ruling himself “after thy word.” Again; “My delight so shall be in thy statutes, and I will not for“ get thy word.” And again; “My delight “ shall be in thy commandments, and my 66 study shall be in thy statutes.". It was the praise of the Bereans, that upon the first preaching of the Gospel, “they searched “ the Scriptures daily whether these things 56 were so."." The consequence was, that “ many of them believed.” And it is recorded to the honour of Timothy, the fellow
Joshua i. 8. "Acts xvii. 11.