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wisdom." Continue to "Search the Scriptures." They are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus."
SEARCH them. Never peruse them so carelessly as to leave no ideas in the understanding,- -no impressions on the heart.
Search them DAILY. Not content with having drank yester day; slake your thirst each day at the streams of that river which makes glad the city of GOD,
Search them carefully. By comparing spiritual things with spiritual you may clearly ascertain what is truth and what is duty.
Search them with candour. Do not seek support from the Scriptures for sentiments, merely because they are pleasing to YOU; but repair to the oracles of GoD, determined to adopt no sentiments but what the Scriptures inculcate :-no sentiments displeasing to GOD and ruinous to souls.
Search them with confidence in their authenticity and inspiration. If you view them as "cunningly devised fables" they will profit you nothing.
Search them with the deepest interest. The mathematician collects and binds his wandering thoughts merely to solve a problem in Euclid. How much more profound attention the Scriptures demand. They contain the CHARTER of the Saints' inheritance, and the DEATH WARRANT of impenitent Sinners.
Search them with prayerfulness. Without prayer, the Bible will prove a sealed book. Human wisdom knows not GOD. But if the illuminating influences of the Holy Spirit beam on the page of inspiration, you will understand the truths and discover the beauties of the Sacred Volume.
Search the Scriptures with self-application. Ever bear in mind when perusing the word of God, that Jehovah, whose character is there revealed is your Maker, your daily Benefactor, your Redeemer, and your Judge. Let your mind ever be tenderly alive to the Scriptural exhibition of human depravity,—the requirements and denunciations of God's law, the invitations and promises of the Gospel. Remember that immutable truths are revealed in the Scriptures in which you as individuals are deeply and eternally concerned.
Need I spread before you motives to stimulate you, rightly and devoutly to study your Bible. Thus to "Search the Scriptures is honourable, is useful, is conducive to happiness, and is a command of God." The study of the Scriptures is HONOURABLE. In them the Supreme Ruler of the universe has dictated by his Spirit, and written as with his own hand, epistles of love in characters of blood, offering to the penitent and believing an interest in his holy favour, an adoption into the family of heaven and immortal crowns of righteousness and glory; and are not your honour,
your wisdom, and your interest, concerned that they should daily meet your eyes, affect your hearts, and regulate your lives?
It is highly USEFUL rightly to search the Scriptures. It enlivens the imagination, corrects the taste, enriches the understanding, keeps the heart and mends the life. It will humble you in prosperity, support you in adversity, disarm death of his sting, and the grave of its terrors. And from the armoury of heaven you may replenish your minds with weapons to subdue every inbred corrupt propensity. The "sword of the Spirit" ensures the victory.
Devoutly to study the Scriptures is CONDUCIVE TO HAPPINESS. Wisdom's ways are pleasantness, and ALL her paths are peace. The consolations of God's word are abundant and suited to every circumstance in which the humble believer can be placed. Finally, Search the Scriptures is a command of Christ. He that knows his Lord's will and does it not shall be beaten, shall be beaten with MANY stripes.
My young friends, Is it illusion or are your countenances expressive of a determination devoutly to study your Bibles. I rejoice that the most of you are engaged to become acquainted with the letter of the Scriptures. I more rejoice in the belief that some of you are acquainted with the power and consolation of God's word. I believe that some of you do, and will continue devoutly to search the Scriptures. Through love and obedience to them, I hope to see such shine as the brightness of the firmament for ever.
My fears distress me lest the faint resolutions of some this evening will prove but momentary. I almost tremble lest many of you will never search the Scriptures with faith, self-application, and prayerfulness. The seriousness, the solemnity, which has been manifested by you, my dear young friends, has raised hopes that GOD was about to pluck more of you as brands from everlasting burnings, and put songs of deliverance into your mouths. Must these fond hopes be blasted? By the worth of your immortal souls, by the solemnities of a hastening judgment-by the joys of heaven and the miseries of hell, I beseech you immediately to make your peace with GOD. By the agonies, the groans, and the death of the Son of GOD,-by his ability and readiness to save penitent sinners, and his power and determination to punish the impenitent, I conjure you to flee from impending wrath, and embrace the hope of the Gospel.
Do any of you weep in view of your guilty, wretched, helpless condition. God grant that the tears of penitence may flow from your eyes, and the consolation of the Gospel be poured into your bosoms. Ye dear youth, It is my heart's desire and prayer to God for you all, that you may be saved.
While the CREATURE is committing the sacred Scriptures to memory, who knows but the CREATOR may renew the heart?
2 Tim. 3. 14, 15. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned, and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ.
Eccl. 11. 6. In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper; either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.
Deut. 11. 18, 19. Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart, and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
Ps. 34. 11. Come, ye children, hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord. (a)
Question 1. What END should regulate all OUR conduct ?
Ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel.- Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, DO ALL to the glory of GOD. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as unto the Lord, and not unto men.- For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever, Amen. 1 Sam. 6. 5. 1 Cor. 10. 31. Col. 3. 23. Rom. 11. 36. (b) || Is. 48. 11. Ps. 29. 2. Mal. 2. 2. 1 Pet. 4. 11. Rom. 12. 1, 2. 1 Cor. 6. 20. Rev. 4. 11.
(a) See Appendix, Note A.
(b) See Appendix, Note B.
Is it wise or safe to disregard this END? Have you regarded, or disregarded it? WHY will you not daily regard it?
2. How can feeble, polluted worms, promote the declarative glory of God?
Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me.- Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.- Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit. Ps. 50. 23. and 29. 2. Phil. 2. 11. Mat. 5. 16. John. 15. 8.
1 Chron. 16. 28. Phil. 1. 11. Rom. 15. 5, 6. 2 Cor. 4. 15.
Have you attempted, or even desired, thus to glorify God? Or have you sought only your own selfish honour, interest, and pleasure?
3. How do you prove from the light of nature that there is a God?
The heavens declare the glory of GoD; and the firmament sheweth his handy work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.- Because that which may be known of GOD, manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. Ps. 19. 1-3. Rom. 1. 19, 20. Ps. 8. 3, 4. and 33. 5-9. and 104. 24-31. || Is. 40. 26. Jer. 10. 10-13.
Have you traced the perfections of God in creation and providence? Have you LOVED this employment?
4 What general duties are obvious from the light of nature?
Ascribe ye greatness unto our GOD.- Praise him according to his excellent greatness.- Fear before him, all the earth.- He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall be not see? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know? O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all the earth is full of thy riches.Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord. Deut. 32. 3. Ps. 150. 2. 1 Chron. 16. 30. Ps. 94. 9, 10. and 104. 24. and 107. 43.
1 Chron. 16. 25. Ps. 145. 3. and 107. 31.
Have you been led by the works of God, to adore, fear, and praise him? Where have any sinful beings been induced by the light of nature alone to exercise any truly devout affections?
5. By whom, and for what purpose, were the Scriptures given?
All scripture is given by inspiration of GOD, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of GOD may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of GoD spake as they were moved by the HOLY GHOST. But these are written, that ye might believe that JESUS is the CHRIST, the SON OF GOD; and that believing ye might have life through his name, 2 Tim. 3. 16, 17. 2 Pet. 1. 20, 21. John 20. 31. || Ps. 119. 105. Heb. 1. 1, 2. Acts 20. 32. John 17, 26.
Have you treated the Bible as a message from God to you? Has it made you wise unto salvation?
6. What are the INTERNAL evidences that the Scriptures are the word of God?
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul, the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: Sweeter also than honey, and the honey-comb.- Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. This is my comfort in my affliction; for thy word hath quickened me. Ps. 19. 7-10. and 119, 129, 130, 50. || and 119. 103-105. Evidences may be drawn from the effects produced by Divine truth. Heb. 4. 12. Jer. 5. 14. and 23. 29. Ps. 119. 98, 99. The unrivalled sublimity of their language, harmony of their doctrines, and purity of their precepts, prove them of Divine origin. Deut. 4. 8.
Have you felt that you have a soul which needs CONVERTING grace? Have you esteemed the word of God precious, because it is pure, and purifying?
7. Have we EXTERNAL evidence that the Scriptures were given by inspiration of God?
1. WE HAVE PROPHECY AND ITS FULFILMENT.
The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet cometh to pass, then shall the prophet be known