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growth in ġrace : and if it becomes us to peruse them with a spirit of faith, of humility, and of prayer ; then our subject furnishes believers with a very satisfactory test of their religious character: Let us, my Christian brethren, apply it to ourselves with “sear and trembling.” On the sacred pages of Revelation, we find written every thing that can animate our hopes, and alarm our fears. There we see pourtrayed the character of that awful and holy Being, who permits us to call him our Heavenly Father. Do we love to trace the operations of his power, his wisdom, his justice and his grace, as recorded in his revealed word ? There we have drawn out, in living colours, the features of Him who is “ the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person.” Do we often unfold the Gospels, that we may admire this heavenly portrait of our Divine Master ? Do we endeavour to assimilate our characters to his ? Do we find ourselves, in the frequent perusal of his history, imbibing more and more of his spirit; and thus “ with open face beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, do we become changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord. Do we, with the holy monarch of Israel, delight in the law of the Lord, and meditate thercin day and night ? Do we, as he did, find it" perfect, converting the soul ; sure, making wise the simple; right, rejoicing the heart ; pure, enlightening the eyes ?" Do we desire with his ardour of affection, this letter of love, written as it were by the finger
of God, more than gold, yea, than much fine gold? Is it sweeter to us than honey and the honey-comb? Is it the only oracle of our faith to which we resort for instruction ; the only guide of our conduct, to which we look for direction; the balm of our souls, which we use for consolation ; the light, whose piercing ray we are not anxious to avoid, lest our deeds should be reproved, but to which we cheerfully come, that our deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God! In one word, do we daily, in the spirit of faith, of humility, and of prayer,
66 receive with meekness the ingrafted word;" and learn by happy experience the truth of what an inspired Apostle has declared concerning it, that it is the power of God to salvation ?"
Finally; They who neglect the frequent and prayerful perusal of the holy Scriptures, have no reason to hope that they are interested in its “ many great and precious promises.” Indeed, they have every reason to fear, lest against them will finally be executed its awful and tremendous threatenings. What would you say, my brethren, of that Son who should refuse to receive and read an epistle from his father, containing the most salutary advice and directions respecting his conduct; nay, offering to him the entire forgiveness of all his past ingratitude, and an interest in the choicest privileges and expectations of his father's house ? What would you say of that sick man, who, although on the verge of death, should decline hearing the prescriptions of his kind and affectionate physician? What would
you think of that traveller, who should shut his eyes against the way-side monitor, placed to direct him in his path, and wander on careless of his journey's end, and about to suffer perplexity, distress, and ruin ? Would you not call these persons weak, foolish, and wicked ? How much wiser or better than they, are those to whom the bible is a sealed book? Nay, are they not of all men the most unwise and sinful ? Holding in their hands a revelation of the will of their Heavenly Father, they treat it with contempt and neglect. Sick, even unto death, their ear is deaf to the voice of the only Physician of their souls. Walking in the path which leads to the chambers of woe, they turn from that Guide who points the sure way to the mansions of everlas. ting peace. They are urged to open the sacred volume, by the express command of that Saviour, the history of whose dying love it contains. By all the light which it casts upon their condition in this life, and upon their future destiny ; by all the solemn motives it holds forth derived from every thing that is attractive in the mercy, and awful in the justice, of their final Judge, are they incited to a speedy repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And yet, in violation of duty, in opposition to their best interests, day after day passes by, and they read any thing else but the Bible: they think and converse abont any thing else rather than its sacred contents.
My dear hearers, do any of you habitually neglect the perusal of the sacred Scriptures ? Consider, I
pray you, that there can be no stronger proof of your having no interest in the blessed hopes which they hold forth to all whose delight is in the law of the Lord. Consider, that if you finally perish, this Book, which God, in his wise providence, has denied to so many of your fellow-men; this Book, which you possess in
you possess in your own language, and which, nevertheless, you treat with careless indifference, nay, with contemptuous neglect; this Book will testify against you at that dreadful day, “ when God shall judge the secrets of men, by Jesus Christ,” according to the Gospel which this very Book contains; and you will receive the aggravated condemnation of that servant " who knew his Master's will, and did not obey it." From such a doom may we all be delivered by the mercy of God! May his grace so incline us to search the Scriptures, and his Spirit so enlighten our minds in the perusal of them, that their solemn truths may be received into good and honest hearts, and bring forth fruit unto eternal life! Amen.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath
sent me, draw him.
Perhaps there is scarcely any doctrine of Scripture more repugnant to the feelings of sinful man, than the necessity of a Divine influence in whatever relates to the salvation of the soul. And yet there is none, which, when rightly understood and duly appreciated, is more full of encouragement and consolation. How it happens, that we, worms of the dust, ignorant, weak, and wicked, are unwilling to be enlightened by that Being whose understanding is infinite; to be “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;" and to have him 66 work in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure ;" how this happens, is surely to be accounted for in no other way, than that sin, the most deep and dreadful, hath “darkened our foolish hearts," rendered us blind to our own true interest, and urged us to rush onward to perdition ; refusing to be rescued by that arm which alone is mighty to save. This opposition to the doctrine of Divine