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weakness seize our frail bodies--and when we pass through the gloomy vale of death, we shall feel it a time of need. But let us not yield to anxious thoughts about these things. It will be time enough when they come to look for helping grace: nor shall we look in vain, for “as thy day is, so shall thy strength be.
Thanks be to God for such a high priest, and for such a thronė of grace! Let us improve our privileges, bear up under our calamities, and endure to the end. Then, after having been conversant with God upon the throne of his grace, we shall see and enjoy him for ever
upon the throne of his glory. Amen.
The duty of searching the Scriptures.
John V. 29.
THOSE men who deny the divine authority of the bible, are unacquainted with its excellences. Were they to bestow half the pains in searching this blessed volume, that they do in searching for arguments against it, they would soon acknowledge, with that correct reasoner, Mr. Locke, that "it hath God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth (without a mixture of error) for its matter.”
When Christ appeared in our nature, he gave evident proofs that he was sent of God; but the unbelieving Jews rejected him. To convince them that he was indeed the Christ, the Son of the living God, he referred them to the scriptures. “Search the scriptures; (said he) for in-them ye think ye have eternal life : and they are they which testify of me.”
Let us, first, make a few general observa' tions upon the scriptures; and, secondly, consider the duty of searching them.
I. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS UPON THE SCRIPTURES.
1. The scriptures referred to in our text, are the books of the old testament; for, when Jesus spake these words, the books of the new testament were not written. The new testament, however, is of equal authority with the old; and they will either stand or fall together. The old testament without the new is uncomplete; but both contain a full and sufficient revelation of the will of God to man. Whatever, therefore, may be said in this discourse, must be understood of all the scriptures:
2. The scriptures are called by several names, which we should endeavour to understand. The word bibte signifies the book, and this name is given to the scriptures by way of eminence and distinction. The bible is the book of books. The word testament signifies a will or covenant. This name is given because these books contain the substance of God's covenant with the Jews under the legal dispensation, and the
ubstance of the christian covenant, which was sealed by the blood of Christ. The word scripture signifies å writing. This name is given, because the mind of God, being written in these books, is not left to uncertain tradition. These books are called the oracles of God, because they contain those
wise and certain answers which God has given, from his holy place, to the enquiries of his people. These books are called the word of God, because they were written by his authority, and under his direction. The word holy is often connected with other titles, to express the pure quality, and the holy tendency of these books.
3. The scriptures are divinely inspired. The men who wrote them professed to be inspired; and they have left such proofs of their honesty, wisdom, and integrity, that we cannot doubt their profession. The matter contained in the scriptures is so pure, and its tendency so good, that it must needs have God for its author. T'he mighty miracles which were wrought to prove the truths which are recorded in the scriptures, afford a strong proof that they have God for their author. The prophecies contained in these books are so numerous, clear, and certain, that they could not be the production of mere men. Every prophecy discovers the wisdom of that God who declares 6 the end from the beginning." These books, like the works of creation, will bear repeuted examination ; and the more industriously we search, the more beauties we discover. And, what convinces me as much as any thing that they are inspired of God, is, that the pious and good always relish them; but that they
are always offensive to the impious and wicked. Infidels, actuated by the spirit of the devil, have endeavoured to overthrow the sacred scriptures; but, after every daring attempt, they still stand firm, being built upon the rock of truth.
II. THE DUTY SCRIPTURES.
While others search the works of nature, and the laws of nations, let us search the infallible records of truth. Do we want wisdom to guide our steps through this dark world? Do we want consolation in distress? Do we want to find bright examples of piety? Do we want rational amusement? Let us search the scriptures. Let us search them in our closets, where all is calm and still; in our families, that our children and servants may be instructed; and in the public assemblies of religious worship, that all may learn. Let us lay down rules to ourselves, in searching the scriptures, and endeavour to abide by them. The following rules may be useful :
1. Search seriously and reverently. God is so serious in all his commands, promises, and threatenings, that a light and trifling mind cannot receive the word. Every thing in the scriptures is of serious importance. Reverence the Author while thou readest the word! Look upon the book