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What they wrote He indited. | viction, conversion, consolation, and They were but instruments whom He sanctification, may justly be considered condescended to employ. They were in as affording decisive proof that it is the the hands of the Spirit, what the pen is word of God. My brethren, are the Holy in the hands of the writer, and nothing Scriptures given by inspiration of GOD? more. Thus St. Peter speaks in the first With what a voice of authority do they chapter of his second epistle, at the address us! Are any of my hearers twenty-first verse-" Prophecy came disregarding their authority? Are you not in old time by the will of men, neglecting the directions and admonibut holy men of GOD spake as they tions which they convey? Are you were moved by the Holy Ghost" cherishing principles and pursuing a equally applicable is this remark to line of conduct, the very reverse of every part of Scripture. Every part those principles and of that conduct of it bears the lively stamp of inspira- which the Holy Scriptures inculcate tion. The dignity and majesty of its and enjoin? Beware! the day will style are worthy of the Holy Spirit-come, when you must appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of the things done in the body. Ah, what an account will it be if you continue to disregard the authority of the inspired Scriptures! It is GOD that speaks to you in them! "Hear ye him!"
the sublimity and purity of its doctrines show that they could have proceeded from no other source-the agreement and harmony of its several parts furnish additional evidence of its inspiration.
I now proceed to notice in the Third place,
This again is strengthened by the accurate fulfilment of prophecies contained in it. If we refer, for instance, to the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, bearing in mind that it was written nearly eight hundred years before the birth of Christ; then carefully compare it with the account in the Gospels of his sufferings, and the manner in which he bore them, and you cannot fail to perceive that the prophecy could only have been given by inspiration of GOD. Many similar instances might be mentioned, I merely notice this as a specimen.
To be read profitably, the Scriptures must be read with faith; the mere reading of them without this will be productive of no real advantage. What St. Paul says in the fourth chapter of The stupendous miracles also that his Epistle to the Hebrews and second GOD enabled many of the writers of verse, "The word preached did not Scripture to perform, testified its di-profit them, not being mixed with vine inspiration. "God," saith St. Paul, in the second of Hebrews and fourteenth verse, "bearing them witness with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will.” I will only add on this point, that the power and efficacy of the word on the minds of multitudes, as the grand instrument of the Spirit, in producing con
faith in them that heard it," is equally true of the word read. But when the Scriptures are read with faith, and prayer, and dependence on the grace and blessing of the Holy Spirit, they are of the most important use to the reader. They communicate that wisdom to him, by the aid of which he may attain to everlasting salvation. They impart to him a knowledge of
THEIR IMPORTANT USE.
This is stated in the text both generally and particularly-This is the general statement "which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is Christ Jesus."
the way of salvation. They show him | GOD, its baseness as committed against that salvation is through faith in Christ Jehovah in his trinity of persons; and Jesus, and they supply him with the thus do the Holy Scriptures address to most animating motives and the most every creature under the canopy of powerful encouragements to seek sal- heaven the language of reproof, "for vation in that way. Thus it is, that all have sinned." "the Scriptures are able to make wise unto salvation;" the mere act of reading the Bible does not save. Christ is the only Saviour, and that we may not mistake on this point, it is expressly said that the salvation, for the attainment of which the Scriptures supply the necessary wisdom, is " through faith in Christ Jesus." But they are said to make wise unto salvation, because they re-rect the judgment, the affections, and the practice; teaching us what to approve, value, love, and pursue; what we should lightly esteem, hate, forsake, and avoid.
Again, our text informs us, that they are profitable for "correction." They are profitable not only for convincing us of, and reproving us, for the error of our ways, but they show us how to correct them-how to "put away the evil of our designs, and learn to do well"-how, what is amiss in our spirit, temper, or conduct, may be amended. They are calculated to cor
veal the Saviour, unfold the great plan of salvation, through faith in his blood and righteousness, point out our need of him, his suitableness to our wants and necessities, his work and offices as the Prophet, Priest, and King of his church, his ability "to save to the uttermost all that come unto GoD by him."
We must now consider that they are also profitable, for instruction in righteousness." They instruct us in the real nature of righteousness; in the obligations, motives, and encouragements to it, and in the way in which alone we can attain to it. My brethren, would you die the death of the righteous? Would you wish your latter end to be like his ? Would you desire to be found among the righteous, when they shall shine forth as the Sun in the kingdom of their Father? Then delay not "to search the Scriptures," make yourselves familiar with the instructions which are to be found in them—lay those instructions to heart-obey them
The important use of the Scriptures is stated more particularly, when it is added, "that they are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." They are profitable for " doctrine," they teach sound doctrine, concerning our state by nature-our need of gracethe way of justification and acceptance with GOD, the necessity and nature of holiness, and the means by which it is to be attained, the future and everlasting state of happiness or misery, and our various duties to GOD-profit by them. and our fellow men. They are profitable for "reproof," being eminently calculated, under the blessing of the Holy Spirit, to convince us of sin, and reprove us for it. They shew the spirituality and extent of the Divine law, and our manifold transgressions of it. They display the evil of sin the odious nature of it, as considered in itself, its hatefulness in the sight of
Remark, in the Fourth place,
THEIR GRAND DESIGN-" that the
man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."
By the expression "the man of GOD," we are to understand, in the first place, especially as it is used by St. Paul in his Epistles to Timothy, the faithful minister of God; but it may with propriety be applied to
every true Christian, as one who loves GOD, lives to GOD, one whom GOD, in the exercise of sovereign grace, power, and mercy, has called out of darkness into his marvellous light, and sealed by his Holy Spirit unto the day of redemption." In like manner, what is here said as to the grand design of the sacred Scriptures is said more particularly with respect to ministers, but may with equal justice be applied to all the people of God. The grand design, then, of the Scriptures, is that the man of God, the real Christian may be perfect, not indeed perfect in the exact sense in which we generally employ the term. In that sense none are perfect on this side of the grave. A state of absolute and sinless perfection is unattainable in this world. The most exalted Christian that ever lived never arrived at this point. No-not even St. Paul himself; for thus he writes in the third chapter of his Epistle to the Philippians, "not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect;" and if such were his case, where is the man whose case it is not?
The word "perfect," as applied to Christians in this, and some other passages of Scripture, denotes an advanced stage of Christian experience. Moreover, the Scriptures possitively assure us, that there are different degrees of growth in grace, different degrees of advancement in the divine and spiritual life. There are those among believers who are called in Scripture "babes in Christ," and there are those who are called "strong men." To the latter class the term
passage before us, throughly furnished unto all good works." This is a distinguishing mark of the man of GoD: he knows that good works are indispensably necessary-not, indeed, as grounds of justification, but as evidences of his faith, and the appointed means of glorifying his God. Knowing this, he abounds in them, and he desires to abound in them more and more. He does not imagine, that because he performs some good works, he is at liberty to neglect others. He desires to be thoroughly furnished unto all good works; and it is the grand design of the Holy Scriptures thus to furnish him. They show him what really are good works; they incite and encourage him to be " zealous of them”
they point to the examples of many faithful servants of GOD in former times, now glorified saints, who were conspicuous for them; and they give him the most plain and weighty directions, by following which he cannot fail to let his light so shine before men that they may see his good works and glorify his Father which is in heaven.
Having attempted to lead your attention to the title, authority, important use, and grand design of the Scriptures, what remains, my beloved brethren, but that I briefly, but earnestly, exhort you to seek to know them.
First-For this purpose, examine them daily. A true Christian-one who desires his soul to thrive and be in health-will no more suffer a day to pass without reading some portion of the word of God, than a man who desires his body to be strong and healthy, will suffer a day to pass with
"" perfect" is applied. When, there-out tasting food. Many think it suf
fore, it is said in my text, "that the
ficient if they read the Bible on the
Holy Spirit; for if they had, they would, "as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that they might grow thereby ;" and such a desire would not allow them to rest satisfied without reading every
desire, and aim to arrive at a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls"
approach the sacred volume with a childlike spirit-say with Samuel, day some portion of the word of GOD."Speak, Lord, for thy servant hear
eth." Let us, then,
My brethren, be assured it is not the ability, it is the inclination alone that is wanting. You can find time for sleep-you can find time for your meals-but, alas! Satan persuades many that they have no time for attending to the concerns of their immortal souls; or, at most, no time except one day in seven, for reading the Bible, the directory to heaven. Permit me to caution such persons of the danger of such gross neglect. Be on your guard, my brethren, against his subtle devices, who, like a roaring lion, goeth about seeking to devour your soul; unless you make this invaluable book your daily study, be assured you will never be wise unto salvation.
Secondly-Read the Scriptures with seriousness; when you open your Bible reflect that it is the word of GoD-the revelation of his mind and will to you -the guide to heaven. Beware of a careless and trifling spirit-the reading of the Scriptures is not a light and trifling spirit-remember it is for your life!
Thirdly-Read them with simplicity. Do not bring to the study of Scripture, as is the manner of some, your preconceived notions, views, or prejudices--come to it with a simple
Fourthly, read the Scriptures with earnest prayer for the teaching and blessing of the Holy Spirit. It is solely through his teaching and blessing that the Scriptures are able to make wise unto salvation. They are but the instrument, He is the Agent; the Bible is a sealed book till Hɛ unseals it. The reading of it is profitable to none but those who are enlightened and instructed by Him. He only, by whose inspiration it was given, can impart to us a spiritual and saving understanding of its blessed truths. Whenever, therefore, we open the Bible, let us lift up our hearts in humble prayer, that we may be enlightened and taught by the spirit of GoD, that we may understand and profit by what we read. Let us pray with holy David: "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." Plead the precious promise "they shall be all taught of GOD"-thus shall you assuredly receive the blessing out of Zion, even life for evermore, for Jehovah himself hath declared, for your encouragement, “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find❞—and thus shall ye become wise unto salvation.
London: Published for the Proprietors, by T. GRIFFITHS, Wellington Street, Strand; and Sold by all Booksellers in Town and Country.
Printed by Lowndes and White, Crane Court, Fleet Street.
SERMON BY THE REV. E. IRVING.
DELIVERED BY THE REV. E. IRVING, M.A.
Genesis, xxiv. 63.-" And Isaac went to meditate in the fields at the eventide.”
WHOSOEVER hath walked forth, like the Patriarch, about the eventide, into the silent and retired places of nature, and seen the dusky mantle of twilight falling upon the earth, must have felt stealing over his own breast, a state of repose and a sober shade of thought in harmony with the aspect of nature around him; for there is a twilight of contemplation in the soul, midway between the excitement of action, and the deadness of slumber-the stir of passion is at rest, and the noisy calls of interest have sub sided—and a pensive mood cometh on rich with sober reflections-and the soul careth not for a companion to express herself before; and if, by chance, she hath one by her side, both she and her companion steal into themselves, and though they love each other dearly, they fear to intrude upon the sweet and unperturbed work, which the soul is carrying on in her sacred recesses :— and the soul being left alone peruseth herself, and meditates her condition, and the body keepeth harmony with the deep and solemn occupation of the mind by a slow and solemn pace; and the eye to catch no disturbance casteth itself upon the ground, and the ear is conscious only to the stillness of nature,
and we seem to hear the stream of time flowing past us. When outward nature is so stripped of its gay colouring, and divested of its turbulent and noisy agitation, and the body hath also attuned itself to the mood of the soul, then cometh to the breast some of the most profitable and delightful moods, which it ever partakes in this changeful being. The good and ill of the past come before us, dressed in sober colours, the gay divested of vain glory, the evil divested of remorse; everything sobered down like nature in its twilight varieties of dress, its splendours shaded, its defects veiled, its asperities smoothed, and altogether softened and harmonised by the witching influence of the solemn hour;—and our present occupation cometh up for judgment before us, and we meditate its usefulness and its end; then errors are not ashamed to confess themselves, and the soul not averse to consider them, and better purposes and resolutions are engendered. The vanity of life now showeth itself without a preacher, its speedy passage, like a morning. cloud, its disappointments, and its sorrows, and all its troubles. The soul becomes philosophical of her own accord, she wonders at her thoughtfulness, and the