Page images

grimage." How happy for us, did we conscientiously imitate bis example!

The Spirit breathes upon the word,

And brings the truth to sight;
Precepts and promises afford

A sanctifying light.
A glory gilds the sacred page,

Majestic, like the sun;
It gives a light to every age;

It gives, but borrows none.
The God that gave it still supplies

The gracious light and heat;
His truths upon the nations rise;

They rise, but never set.
Let everlasting thanks be thine,"

For such a bright display,
As makes a world of darkness shine
With beams of heavenly day.

COW PER. His written word, the Bible, is slighted; Christ hath left it to us! as the book of our instructions, to show us what way we must steer our course, if we would come to Emanuel's land. It is a lamp to guide us through a dark world to eternal light. And he hath left it upon us to search it with that diligence wherewith men dig into mines for silver or gold. (John v. 39.) But ab! how is this sacred treasure profaned by many! They ridicule that holy word by which they must be judged at the last day; and will rather lose their soul than their jest; dressing up the conceits of their wanton wits in scripture phrases; in which they act as mad a part, as one who would dig into a mine to procure metal to melt, and pour down his own and his neighbour's throat. Many exhaust their spirits in reading romances, and their minds pursue them, as the flame doth the dry stubble; while they bave no heart for, nor relish of, the holy word; and therefore seldom take a Bible in their hands.

Boston's Four-fold States I request that they would consult their Bible with diligence, as I have done, especially in the places which I have cited; and, like


honest English readers, would look only at the sense as it lies before them, and neither consider nor care whether it be new or old, so it be true; for he that doth this is much more likely to be led into the truth than a greater scholar, full of his own notions, which he has learned in the schools, who brings his own opinions always to direct and determine his own interpretation of scripture, whensoever be reads it; and thus he interprets every text, not so much according to the plain, obvious, and easy sense of it, and in correspoudence with the context, as he does in correspondence with his own opinions and learned schemes.

Watts. And now, my reader, stand still, and consider the wondrous works and words of God! What evidence, what demonstration is here! May I not say, in the words of Dr. Newton, “ It appears next to impossible, that any man should duly consider these prophecies, and the exact completion of them; and if he is a believer, not be confirmed in the faith ; or, if he is an infidel, not be converted." But, alas! alas! men are more stubborn than devils, and harder to be convinced of the truth. Men out-sin devils; and yet they are at the same time the most resolute believers in the world; for they are resulved to believe the vilest lies and the grossest falsehoods, in spite of all the evidence of God's truth, set in a vivid light before their eyes.

But, my friends, let us believe, admire, and adore; let us love the truth, and rejoice in it; let us not only rejoice, but glory in the truth : and, whilst we feel its convincing power, taste its inexpressió ble sweetness, and see its perfect and attractive beauty, let us fall down at the throne of the Most High God, and adore his lovely perfections.


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

A Bible is the precious storehouse and the Magna Charta of a Christian. There be reads of his heavenly Father's love, and of his dying Saviour's legacies.

There he sees a map of his travels through the wilderness, and a landscape, too, of Canaan. And when he climbs on Pisgal's top, and views the promised land, his heart begins to burn, delighted with the glorious prospect, and amazed at the rich and free salva

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

tion. But a mere professor, though a decent one, looks on the Bible
as a dull book, and perusetb it with such indifference as you would
read the title-deeds belonging to another man's estate.

Thy lamp, mysterious word,
Which whoso sees, no longer wanders lost,
With intellects bemazed in endless doubt;
But runs the road of Wisdom.
Till thou art heard, imaginations vain
Possess the heart; and fables, false as hell,
Yet deem'd oracular, lure down to death

The uninform’d and heedless souls of men. What are all other books in the world, compared with these inestimable volumes? no more than an entertaining novel, or a few prue dential rules for domestic economy, compared with a parent's will, a royal charter, or an imperial grant of titles and manors.

I said promises and privileges; for these I look upon as imparting the most sovereign worth to the scriptures; agreeably to our Lord's testimony,“ Search the scriptures." Why, what recommends them to our regard ? Because they give the noblest display of the divine perfections, and the truest estimate of nature ? Because they open the invisible world, and discover the secrets of eternity; present us with the most refined rule of duty, and press upon us the most forcible motives to obedience? All this they unquestionably do. Yet this is not their most distinguishing excellence. “Search them," says our blessed Lord, with a close, an exact, an unwearied assiduity; “ because they testify of ME;" of my all-surpassing dignity and infinite merits; of free justification through my blood; and everlasting life through my righteousness. This is their crowning perfection : from hence they derive the most exalted merit.

All these circumstances remind me of a very empbatical attestation, borne to the exalted merit of the Bible, which, though quite artless, is, I think, abundantly more expressive, than the most laboured efforts of panegyric. It came from the lips of a martyr, who, being condemned to die, for his inviolable adherance to the doctrines of scripture, when he arrived at the stake, and had com

posed himself for execution, took his final leave in these affecting words : “ Farewel, sun and moon; farewel, all the beauties of creation, and comforts of life ; farewel, my honoured friends; farewel, my beloved relations; and farewel, thou precious, precious Book of God!



use they

I am a creature of a day, passing through life, as an arrow through the air. I am a spirit come from God, and returning to God; just hovering over the great gulf: till a few moments bence, I am no more seen! I drop into an unchangeable eternity! I want to know one thing—the way to heaven : how to land safe on that bappy sbore. God himself has condescended to teach the way; for this very end he came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. Oh, give me that book! At any price, give me the Book of God! I have it. Here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius libri. Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone-only God is here. In his presence I open, I read his book, for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read ? Does any thing appear dark or intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of Lights. Lord, is it not thy word, “ If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God ?" Thou “ givest liberally, and upbraidest not.” Thou hast said, “ If any be willing to do thy will, be shall know.” I am willing to do: let me know thy will. I then search after and consider parallel passages of scripture, “ comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

Wesley. The Christian rule of right and wrong is the Word of God, the writings of the Old and New Testament; all that the propbets and boly men of old” wrote “as they were moved by the Holy Ghost;” all that scripture which was given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, or teaching the whole will of God; for reproof of what is contrary thereto; for correction of error; and for instruction, or training us up in righteousness. 2 Tim. iii. 16.

This is a lantern unto a Christian's feet, and a light in all his paths. This alone he receives as his rule of right or wrong, of whatever is really good or evil. He esteems nothing good, but

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


what is here enjoined, either directly or by plain consequence; be accounts' nothing evil, but what is here forbidden, either in express terms, or by undeniable inference. Whatever the scripture neitbet forbids nor enjoips, either directly or by plain consequence, he bea lieves to be of an indifferent nature; to be in itself neither good nor evil ; this being the whole and sole outward rule, whereby he is to be directed in all things.

Here are my choicest treasures hid ;

Here my best comfort lies;
Here my desires are satisfied ;

And hence my hopes arise.
Here would I learn how Christ has died

To save my soul from hell;
Not all the books on earth beside

Such heav'nly wonders tell.
Then let me love my Bible more,

And take a fresh delight,
By day to read these wonders o'er,
And meditate by night.



ORIGINAL SIN Upon the evidence of the preceding authors, and many other good men ; upon the evidence of the Scriptures themselves, and the evidence of my own reasoning powers that I feel within, 1 have long since set to my seal that the Scriptures are truth. It now behoves me to read them, and believe in them, and to make that use of them for which, according to my judgment, they appear to be originally designed.

I read in Gen. ii. 7, that God made man of the dust of the earth, and breathed into bis nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. But did God breathe into him evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, prides and all kind of wickedness ? No: "an enemy bath done this.”

God having formed the human body out of the ground, animated the structure with a living soul, and transcribed upon this soul the

« PreviousContinue »