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his light and guidance. The Apostle's admonition, therefore, may be summed up in these few words: that we labour, under the divine blessing', to make ourselves as thoroughly acquainted, as we can, with the holy Scriptures.
And has not the Apostle repeatedly enforced this same admonition in various other parts of his Epistles? Has not our blessed Lord left a strict injunction unto us to search the Scriptures, an injunction addressed indeed to the Jew, but applying with double force to the Christian? '* Search the Scriptures," saith he, "for in them ye think," and that rightly, «« that ye have eternal life; and they are they that testify of me." Was not David's study, the man after God's own heart, all the day lotig in them? and was not this the solemn command of Moses, uttered indeed by him, but inspired by the Holy Ghost? "Lay up these my words," the words of God's law, in your heart and in your soul; and teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up, that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord swore unto your fathers to give them." Moses not only enjoins in these words, the careful study of the holy Scriptures then existing, but attaches unto this study a temporal promise of the highest value: an earnest of that no less sure, and still higher promise, that awaits the Christian, that truly studies the whole body of them now. And, consider what they are— by whom written, and what containing—written indeed by men, and in the language of men for our understandings—but by men immediately inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, and recording the commands, and threatenings, and promises, the very words and works of God himself. TtK-sc constitute the contents of the Scriptures
contents most intimately concerning every child of eartti, who looks forward after death to live through his Redeemer in heaven.
Consider then, I beseech you, with becoming attention, the expression of the Apostle in the text.
How often is the spiritual husbandman seen sowing the good seed on the hearts of his hearers— but it falls, alas! upon them, as did the seed in the parable on the rocky, and shallow, and thorny soil, where it either abideth not, or taketh no root, or is quickly choked by the cares and vanities of the world ! Or how often in the privacy of the chamber, or in the presence of our families, are the Scriptures taken up and read, and laid down again, and the reader can be compared only after the powerful similitude of St. James, "to a man beholding his natural face in the glass; for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetleth what manner of man he was;" and how many spiritual blemishes, shewn in the mirror of the Gospel, he had to correct. But neither in the hearer, that heareth only with the outward ear, nor in the reader, that readeth only with the outward eye, can the word of Christ be said to dwell. In him alone it dwelleth, on whose memory it is lastingly impressed; on whose heart it is deeply imprinted; whose affections are constantly warmed and purified by its heavenly anticipations, and holy precepts and examples; whose words savour of it; and whose actions are in all things regulated by it—who can truly and practically say of it, with holy David, Lord, what love have I unto thy taw! thy word is a lantern unto my feet, and a light unto my paths I thy testimonies have I claimed as nly heritage for ever; and why? they are the very joy of my heart—/ have applied my heart to fulfil thy statutes alway, even unto the end. In him that can thus heartily feel the excellence, and by the assisting grace of God, can "virtuously transform himself," (to adopt the language of an old Father of our Church,) into the sanctifying spirit of the word of Christ, in him it truly dwelleth—and in him it shall dwell abundantly; for he will read with a hearty desire to know, that he may practise, and thus, through his Redeemer, be made urise unto salvation. He will read carefully, and with a strong and fervent interest in what he reads—and what is thus read will be sure to leave an impression deep and lasting on the mind. He will compare Scripture with Scripture, in the just e\pectation that one part of the same divine volnme may serve to throw light on another ; he will call in to his aid all the learning, that is within his reach, of the living or the dead; he will apply all the powers of his own mind to understand, and will be continually imploring the prevailing light and strength of God's most blessed Spirit—and to the exertions of a man so earnest, so humble, so pious, and yet withal so unwilling to leave any power, with which God may have endowed him, untried, the blessing of our most gracious and heavenly Father will never be denied. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all mm liberally, and it shall be given him."
"I will shew you," saith the Church, in her first Homily, "how you may read the holy Scriptures without danger of error. Read it humbly with a meek and lowly heart, to the intent you may glorify God, and not yourself, with a vain shew of the knowledge of it; and read it not without daily praying to God that he would direct your reading to good effect: and take upon you to expound it no farther than you can plainly understand it. For the knowledge of holy Scripture is a great, and large, and a high place; but the door is very low, so that the high and arrogant man cannot run in; but he must stoop low, and humble himself, that shall enter into it.
Presumption and arrogancy are the mother of all error, and humility needeth to fear no error. For humility will only search to know the truth; it will search and bring together one place with another, and where it cannot find out the meaning, it will pray, it will ask of others that know, and will not presumptuously and rashly define any thing which it knnweth not.
"And concerning the hardness of Scripture, he that is so weak, that he is not able to brook strong meat, yet he may suck the sweet and tender milk, and defer the rest until he wax stronger, and come to more knowledge. For God receiveth the learned and unlearned, and casteth away none. And the Scripture is full as well of low valleys, plain ways, and easy for every man to use and walk in; as also of high hills and mountains, which few men can climb unto. And whoever giveth his mind to holy Scripture with diligent study and burning desire, it cannot be that he should be left without help. If we read once, twice, or thrice, and understand not, let us not cease so, but still con. tinue reading, praying, asking of others, and so by still knocking, at the last the door shall be opened."
I would add one other remark, which is in some measure anticipated by this extract from the Homily, on the expression "in all wisdom," There are some things in the Scrip* tures, especially in the Epistles of St. Paul, which, as St. Peter says, are hard to be understood; and which there is consequently danger that they that are unlearned—unprepared by a previous course of education, and unstable—not sufficiently grounded in the principles of our holy religion, may unhappily wrest, unto the destruction of their present, if not of their everlasting peace: but then, to our comfort be it remembered, that it is not necessary to the plain Christian to understand every deep and difficult text, and every local allusion, of Which
the learned themselves can scarcely discover a trace. The word of Christ will dwell richly enough in them, if they arc wise in all that is essential to their salvation; this is all the wisdom that they require; and in this wisdom let them pray, and labour earnestly that " the word of Christ may dwell in them." Every Christian should be intimately acquainted, as he may be, with the history of the creation, and with the state of man before and after the fall, as far as it is clearly revealed in the Scriptures; every Christian should have, drawn out in his mind, a chain of the most striking prophecies, with their interpretations and fulfilment in the person of his Redeemer; every Christian should be familiar with the life, and sayings, and actions of his Lord, and more especially with every particular of his death and passion, on which all his hopes of salvation are founded; every Christian should have, stored up in his mind, all those passages of the Epistles in which the essential doctrines of the Gospel are plainly and briefly laid down, together with the numerous and affecting exhortations scattered throughout, to a pious, and holy, and charitable life; and from the Apocalypse itself much may be extracted for the sanctification of his conduct, and the confirmation of his trust in God's overruling providence.
Now for this neither much time nor learning is required. An early education for laying the foundation of good principles, for checking the growth of the tares of evil, and for strengthening and enuring the mind to reflect, and the memory to retain —an ability to read—and a knowledge, not of the words only, but ef the full meaning of that admirable summary of doctrine and practice, the Catechism of ourChurch—these, added to the light continually thrown on the meaning of Scripture in the Liturgy, and the discourses of Cod's ministers, will be abundantly
sufficient to enable the plainest Christian, whose heart is in his duty, to learn out of the Scriptures all that is needful to make him, with God's help, holy and happy here, and to secure for him, through the merits of his Redeemer, eternal happiness hereafter.
And as to the matter of time, there are few, rather I would say none, but can find leisure to read some portion of the Scriptures, before they enter on the business of the day, or lay themselves down to sleep at its close. Joshua, David, and Daniel, men occupied in the weighty affairs of states and kingdoms, could yet find time, amid them all, for the study of God's law. I will not, however, press this farther: my sole object is so to bring before you, from year to year, the duty and benefit of reading and meditating on the holy Scriptures, that you may be led to examine your own conduct on this point; that if you have not hitherto been duly impressed with their value, you may hasten to learn it, by a more intimate acquaintance with them; that if you have not hitherto made a conscience of reading them daily, you may henceforth begin to do so; that if your reading has been hitherto irregular, through the interruption of worldly business, you may henceforth be careful to preserve a strict and unbroken regularity, remembering that the first and last thing in the day that the Christian has to seek, is the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and that these can primarily be found only in the Scriptures—using to the right understanding of the same every help that is' in your power, that the word of Christ may indeed dwell in you richly in all necessary wisdom; and, above all, praying to the Father of lights, in some such words as these:
fl)b cternall and most mercyfull God, whois word is the lyght unto our stappes, and the lanterne unto our fete, We moost humble beseche the to illuminat our invnds that we niaye understand the mysteries couteynyd in thy holye lawe. And into the same selfe thynge that we godlye understond, we may be vertuouslye transformyd, so that of no parte we offend thy hyghe majestic through oure Saviour Jesus Christ *.
* This prayer, which for its forcible simplicity and beauty, is second only to Ibe admirable collect for the second Sun
day in Advent, is found prefixed to a scarce treatise of Bishop Hooper, entitled,
of tie incarnation gf
ttbriate tbal fee tokr, ti*
(utnamte in ano of tbe
XSItjlpO nujinc : mate
He rtoenlitbr oape
of June it 3obn
And as our readers may be pleased to see it in its original form, we have given it in the old spelling.
Isaiah xxx. 6.
The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels.
The whole caravan being now assembled, consists of a thousand horses, mules, and asses, and of five hundred camels. These are the ships of Arabia; their seas are the deserts. A creature created for burthen: six huudred weight is his ordinary load, yet will he carry a thousand. Having with two days rest refreshed them, now to begin the worst of our journey, on the 10th of March we entered the main deserts, a part of Arabia Petraea, so called of Petra, the principal city, now Rathalalah. On the north and west it borders on Syria and Egypt, southward on Arabia Felix, and the Red Sea, and on the east it hath Arabia the Desert; a barren and desolate country, bearing neither grass nor trees, saving only here and there a few palms, which will not forsake those forsaken places. That little that grows on the earth is wild hyssop, whereupon they do pasture their camels, a creature content with little, whose milk and flesh is their principal sustenance. They have no water that is sweet, all be
ing a mere wilderness of sand, the winds having raised high mountains, which lie in drifts, according to the quarters from whence they blow. Sandy's Travels.
St. Luke i. 80.
And was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
We came to the cave where John the Baptist is said to have lived from the age of seven years, until such time as he went unto the wilderness by Jordan, sequestered from the abode of men, and feeding on such wild nourishment as these uninhabited places afforded. This cave is seated on the northern side of a desert mountain, hewn out of the precipitating rock. Over this, on a little flat, stand the ruins of a monastery, on the south side naturally walled with the steep of a mountain, from whence there gushes a living spring, which enters the'rock, and again bursts forth beneath the mouth of the cave, a place that would make solitude delightful, and stand in comparison with the turbulent pomp of cities. This overlooks a profound valley, on the far side hemmed with aspiring mountains, whereof some are cut (or naturally so) in degrees like alleys, which would be else inaccessibly fruitless, whose levels yet bear the stumps of decayed vines, shadowed not rarely with olives. And surely I think that all or most of those mountains have been so husbanded, else could this little country have never sustained such a multitude of people. After we had eaten of such provision as was brought us from the city, by others of the fraternity that there met us, we turned towards Jerusalem, leaving the way of Bethlehem on the right hand, and that of Emmaus on the left. The same.
1 Kings xviii. 42, 43.
And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and be cast himself down upon the earth, aud put bis face between his knees,
And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea.
Mount Carmel stretches from east to west, and has its uttermost basis washed with the sea, steepest towards the north, and of an indifferent altitude; rich in olives and vines, when husbanded, and abounding with several sorts of fruits and herbs, both medicinal and fragrant, though now much overgrown with woods and shrubs of sweet savour. It is celebrated for the habitation of Elias. The Same.
Jeremiah xlvi. 18.
Surely as Tabor is among the mountains, and as Carmel by the sea, so shall be come.
We passed Mount Hermon and Mount Tabor at a considerable distance on our left. The latter is a dark looking insulated conical mountain, rising like a tower to a considerable height above those around it. Advancing a little further we came to a well of excellent water which we found extremely refreshing after the tepid waters of Gennesa. ret. After this the country became better inhabited, and we passed several comfortable villages with considerable cultivation on the hills and valleys around them, aud in
about Ave hours and a half from Tiberias reached Couvercane or Cane Galil; it receives both names in the country, and is the Cana of Galilee, where Christ performed his first miracle of turning water into wine. The Same..
- St. John ir. 20.
Oar fathers worshipped in this mountain.
Sebaste, as we learn from the XVth Book of Josephus on the Antiquities of the Jews, is the name that Herod gave to the ancient city of Samaria, when he rebuilt and fortified it, and converted the greater part of it into a citadel, and ornamented it with all sorts of decorations, and erected in it a noble temple, which was illustrious, both on account of its size and beauty, and which was intended to exhibit to after-ages a specimen of his taste and beneficence, and, therefore, he named it Sebast6, which is but the Greek word for Augusta, in honor of-the Roman Emperor. The same historian says, that it was twenty furlongs in circumference, and that it was one day's journey from Jerusalem. According to our rate of travelling it is sixteen hours, or about eight and forty miles; but in both statements I think the historian correct. The situation is extremely beautiful, and strong by nature; more so, I think, than Jerusalem. It stands on a fine large insulated hill, compassed all round by a broad deep valley, and when fortified, as it is stated to have been by Herod, one would have imagined that, in the ancient system of warfare, nothing but famine could have reduced such a place. The valley is surrounded by four hills, one on each side, which are cultivated in terraces up to the top, sown with grain, and planted with fig and olive trees, as is also the valley. The hill of Sa. maria likewise rises in terraces to a height equal to any of the adjoining mountains. The Same.