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up among so many vexations which would otherwise depress it? What is it that can give that joy and animation to the believer as he walks through this world of trouble? Nay more, when his delighted spirit glances through eternity, what is it, I ask you, which gives him such an air of triumph in anticipating all its wonders? It is because his blessed Master has secured for him all that is good here, and all that is glorious hereafter; it is because he sees the impress of divine love on the least of those blessings which he enjoys daily, and every one of which, even the meanest, is the pledge that the mercy will never be exhausted, of a GOD perfectly suitable to his wants. But this is not all. The believer will come to die, do his hopes not forsake him then? It is an hour often of trial, he is weak in body, and he is weak in mind, and with diminished strength of mind and body he has to wrestle with pain. Friends may pity him, may love, may venerate, but they cannot relieve him; and then oh eternity comes very near, and the life is passed in rapid review by him; conscience becomes now more than usually sensitive, and every where sin, sin, only sin, meets his glance, and he finds an effect in all enough to weigh down his spirit beneath the grave. And where can he then have hope-where can he then have peace? A few more hours and a sentence irreversible will be passed, and that sentence by a Being infinitely holy; and the thought must be solemn, can the believer meet it can he now have peace? Go sit beside the death-bed of the experienced saint; mark him, and see whether his peace is still retained. Learn there *that faith can triumph over fear-the merit of Christ is enough to sustain his spirit then the presence of Christ can lighten every pain-the hope of being with him can make him surmount beforehand, and swallow up in
victory, as it were, the death which is anticipated. And as he could through his life say, " To me to live is Christ;" he can, in the hour when he needs it most, repeat, "To die is gain." So the believer finds that Christ is allsufficient to him in all those different emergencies when he needs his aid the most.
In conclusion, the Lord Jesus is thus an all-sufficient Saviour, and more and more perceptibly, so as your way is glorious. Then I earnestly desire for you and myself that he may be such to us. May he be to us a being who bears away our guilt! May we find victory in temptation, through the grace which he supplies! May we have our sorrows consoled by his presence as the presence of a friend! May we have our joy sanctified and enhanced by being all resigned to him; and when you and I each press, in succession, the pillow of death, may we find the presence of our Saviour is even then to us, dear brethren, enough to carry us through the struggles of the death-bed.
But, if we would have these blessings of Christ in death and in life, we must know him-we must be familiar with his glory-we must think often-we must meditate much-we must entreat the Spirit of GOD to enlighten us more and more—the apostle's words must sound often to our consciences "the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ." We must remember he himself has said, "Abide in me:" we must walk with him as a friend; you must daily,-hourly, as you commence the business of each day, remember you go forth to that business with Christ by your side; his eye is watching you-his arm is beckoning you forward; it is he who sustains you: you must have recourse to him in prayer. Abide in Christ, then you will experience all those blessings which Christ can, and unquestionably will, bestow. Amen.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. S. ROBINS, AT THE ASYLUM FOR FEMALE ORPHANS, WESTMINSTER ROAD, DECEMBER 9, 1832.
Acts, xvii. 11.-" These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things
THE difficulties with which the ministry of St. Paul was encompassed, arose, I think, not so much from the severity of his labours, or the wideness of the field over which they were extended, as from the perversity and waywardness of those to whose benefit they were directed; the hardness of heart which he encountered on every side; and the prejudices, partly national, partly personal, with which the minds of his hearers were fenced in. There were few who listened to the new and unaccustomed doctrines which he brought to their ears: and of those who listened there were fewer still who were willing to give time, and thought, to the examination of the important subjects which were presented to them. In Thessalonica he was charged with being one of those who, having "turned the world upside down, were come thither also, to do contrary to the decrees of Cæsar." In the metropolis of Greece, the city of learning, and luxury, he was called "a babbler, a setter forth of strange gods." When, with all simplicity and faithfulness, he spoke of Jesus, and the resurrection, by some he was disregarded, and to others he became a mark for mockery to point at. And when, upon another occasion, he brought the resources of human learning, and the cogency of powerful argument to bear upon the subject of his preaching, it
was imputed to him that his "much learning had made him mad.”
And yet there were seasons when the heart of the apostle was cheered with better omens of success; there were spots of a kindlier soil whither his Master sent him to labour, and where he might scatter the seed of everlasting life, with the hope that an abundant harvest should be gathered in. Berea appears to have been such a place. The people were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they were more candid, more ingenuous, more open to conviction. They were not willing, on the one hand, to condemn the preacher unheard; nor would they, on the other hand, refuse to ascertain by their own research, on what foundation his statements rested.
The text, which describes the conduct of the Bereans, suggest two distinct points to our consideration. First, The duty of searching the Scriptures. Secondly, The special application of that duty, in bringing doctrines which are promulgated to an unerring test. Either of these topics is sufficient to open before us a wide field of inquiry. Let the second be for the present postponed; when we are next permitted to meet in this place we may speak of the word of GoD as the measure of truth to which all public, and private teaching must be referred.
adding to the number of the witnesses who shall come from the remote places of the earth, to the confusion, and condemnation of those, whose fuller knowledge, and mightier opportunities were not proportionally improved. To participate in giving the blessing to others while we refuse to appropriate it also to ourselves, is as though the adventurous traveller, plunging into a deep, dark cavern, should place in another's hand the torch, on which his own safety, and his own life depended; and should take his separate way, heedless of the unseen danger which he might encounter, the subterranean river on the one hand, or the precipitous abyss on the other. The madness of such a one would be sense and reason compared with the insane folly of those who, while they minister the word of GOD to the heathen, suffer not its rays to fall upon their own dark path.
That which we take as our subject | homes. By the very act in which we for to day, The duty of searching the participate, we are sealing a testiScriptures, is indeed one which mi-mony against ourselves; and we are nisters of the gospel have need to bring very earnestly, very fully, and very frequently before their people, for it is a duty which is, I fear, at present, greatly neglected, and the importance of which is far more generally underrated than would seem to consist with the spread, and in- | crease of religious inquiry. These are indeed the days of very wide, and very plausible profession, but what the stream has gained in superficial extent, it has probably lost in volume, and depth. There are many with whom the Bible is an ordinary topic, with respect to whom, it is yet to be feared that they make it but little the subject of closet search, and secret meditation. The age is emphatically one which loves excitement, and this is suffered to have a preponderating influence, in the estimate of the comparative value of spiritual things. Hence the public means of grace which minister somewhat to the gratification of taste and feeling are sought with eagerness; while those of a more private character, which the Lord hath appointed for the strengthening of souls, "the small rain upon the tender herb," are suffered too much to fall into disuse, and are placed far below their due rank in the scale of Christian ordinances. Much praiseworthy zeal is expended in societies which have undertaken the business of enlightening the gentile world; but is it not to be feared that while we are engaged, some in making, some in hearing speeches on the subject of sending the Bible to the heathen; and while we are contributing our money and our influence to the promotion of so blessed an object, we may be suffering the page of GoD's life giving word to remain unread in our own
We may think lightly, brethren, of the duty of searching the Scriptures, but it was not so with our pious ancestors. During the days of bitter persecution, when the reading of the Bible was a forbidden thing, those were faithful servants of Jesus Christ who would brave the extremity of danger, and go unshrinking to the scaffold and the stake, rather than | have the word of God, or the little fragment of that word which they might possess, wrenched from their grasp; who rather than resign that which was the joy, and the comfort, and strength of their souls, were willing to wear the crown of martyrdom, and that their emancipated spirits should rise to heaven in the chariot of flame. And when the capriciousness of royal tyranny permitted the unhindered reading of God's word,
we know that throughout the length, and the breadth of the land, the people flocked to their churches; and gathered about the desks to which the precious volume was chained; that the aged, and the unlettered stood around while their kinsfolk, and neighbours were reading to them the pages of Gon's book; and that they drank this refreshment | for the soul, as eagerly as the faint and weary footed pilgrim would drink the crystal water of a well spring in the desert. They gathered comfort and refreshment; many a dark mind was enlightened; many a broken spirit bound up; and many a burdened heart relieved. Again and again, did they come with willing feet where they might be fed and nourished, and go strengthened on their way.
by a long distance from that friend, and he sent you a letter of kindness which might tell you that his love was unabated by time; that his power to serve you was still unweariedly exerted; and that he had been preparing for your permanent happiness with himself; what would you say, if that letter were laid, unread, to gather dust upon the shelf? Would you not say that the man must be stony hearted indeed, who, having had such long experience of kindness, and easily guessing what the letter must contain, could thus fling back cold neglect in requital of affection? Just such a charge will lie against us, if we suffer the Bible to be unread. We are closing, and laying by, our Father's letter-the letter which he sends to his children; wherein he tells them of the love which has been towards them from eternity, and shall endure unto eternity;-wherein he tells them how he has provided for their comfort and peace, during their trial time; and how he has prepared an everlasting resting place in his own kingdom, which is sealed and secured to them by the blood of his dear Son.
It needs not that I should enforce, by lengthened argument, the duty which they performed with such devotedness of spirit, or the privilege which they held so precious: the latter, though it be lightly esteemed, hath not been hidden; the former, though it has been neglected, has not been unknown. None of you can be ignorant, how mighty a demonstra- But I need not dwell at greater tion it was of the love of Gon, that length on the enforcement of the He put into our hands the record of duty; arguments and motives, in sufour gospel hopes, the title deeds of a ficient number, will occur to your own covenanted inheritance. And shall minds: I would rather suggest to you this this book be neglected? While two points of consideration connected we are giving our days unreluctantly with the performance of it.-First, the to other pursuits, and consecrating manner of reading God's word: Secondbodily and mental faculties to the en-ly, the benefits which will result from it. grossing claims of an earthly service, With respect to the first,-The
shall we spare no secret, solitary hours, to commune in our chamber with our GOD, and to read of his dealings with a lost and ruined world. What would you say, if any one of you had a friend who watched over your interest with unceasing care, whose sympathising tenderness never varied, and when you were separated
manner of reading the word of God. It must be continual. They who at Berea "received the word with all readiness of mind, searched the Scriptures daily."
It was not an occasional desultory occupation, but it was one which every day brought with it. Other engagements were made to yield; the con
cernments and interests of earth were not permitted to intervene for the interruption of an employment of far deeper importance than any with which the world could furnish them. Now if we read the word of God only when other subjects have remitted their claim upon our time and thought, and have left us a season of leisure; we contravene the command which bids us "seek first the kingdom of GOD and his righteousness:" and there is hazard that the interest excited by the study being broken, and interrupted, the profit which might have resulted should be altogether lost. David, the man after GOD's own heart, he who advanced so far in the way of faith, and holiness, and service, read the divine. testimonies by day, and meditated on them by night. If we would advance to his high attainments in spiritual knowledge and experience, we must use constantly, and unweariedly, that means of grace, to the efficacy of which he has borne his willing testimony. It is a study which we shall not exhaust; it will leave a blessing with the meanest and most unlearned disciple; and it will abundantly repay the devotion of years by those who occupy the higher grades of intellect and genius. The world cannot, indeed, furnish forth a spectacle more beautiful or noble, than that which is beheld when men of the mightiest minds, whose researches have been into the very depths of science, and who have rifled all the stores of literature and learning, are receiving with all simplicity of spirit their daily lesson of Divine wisdom; and as they advance to deeper experience of their own hearts, and a truer estimate of the comparative value of present and future things, become more and more the men of one book. The Bible, to be read profitably, must be read with reverence. It is
the word of the living God. It is the word which he speaks to his poor, lost, unworthy creatures; let them receive it with the deepest humility. It is the word of the King of kings; let his subjects be prostrate while he addresses them. If we follow the study of Scripture with reverence for its authority, we shall be infinitely far from attempting, nay, even from desiring to bring down its requirements, and lower its standard, to the measure of our own inclinations. We shall rather learn continually to set our mark high, and becoming more dissatisfied with low attainments in holiness, in proportion as we see more of the searching demands of a spiritual law, we shall aim at greater eminence of piety. Neither shall we be inclined to single out any isolated parts, on which to fix our exclusive attention, leaving the remainder unheeded, as though it concerned not us. The believer knows that his Father has given him the whole book as his privilege and his portion. This feeling of reverence will also prevent us from cavilling at some apparent difficulties which the Bible contains. There are, indeed, many things, fully to follow out, and to appreciate which does not fall within the compass and the power of human reason, and does not belong to a condition of so much darkness, as that which we at present occupy. But so far from suffering this to lie as a stumbling block in our path, we may use it rather as an additional testimony that the book is the book of GOD. If it contained nothing but what the finite might grasp, and comprehend; if there were nothing in it but what human intellect might span, and measure, the opponents of revelation would not have failed to seize on this as ground for the assertion that it was of earthly origin; and the weight, indeed, of an additional argument on the other side, would seem