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wrought make him fear to transgress. “Thy word,” said the Psalmist, “have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”ı And then, what support and what encouragement there is in the promises of God's word! “I had fainted,” said David, “ unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living Oh, yes ! when trials thicken, when temptations roll in as with the force of mighty breakers on the soul, when heaviness settles upon the spirit, these are seasons when nothing can so strengthen for conflict as the power of the divine promises. But they are adapted, blessed be God! to every case, and to every emergency. They speak of God's presence in the season of affliction,
God is a very present help in trouble ;”. “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned,
1 Ps. cxix. 11 2 Ps. xxvii. 13. 3 Ps. xlvi. 1.
neither shall the flame kindle upon They speak of God's power to succour the tempted,—" When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him ;"! “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able to bear, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”3 For the spiritually oppressed the Scriptures have also a message of promise : “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light ? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." ”+ “Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise ; when I sit in darkness the Lord shall be a light unto me.” It is thus that the Scriptures, through the instrumentality of the
1 Isa. xliii. 2.
3 1 Cor. x. 13. 2 Isa. lix. 19.
4 Isa. L. 10. 5. Micah, vii. 8.
promises or the threatenings which they contain, become effectual through the Spirit's grace to quicken, to uphold, to comfort, and to guide the believer. Who can survey them under this aspect, and not perceive how well fitted they are to produce and to carry forward the work of grace in the soul of man?
We might easily adduce further illustrations of the method in which the study of God's word subserves this mighty design. The Scriptures furnish a perfect rule of conduct,—“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.”? Nor only do they present us with a perfect rule ; they afford noble examples, to serve as patterns for imitation, and surround us, as it were, with a great cloud of witnesses, who beckon and stimulate us onward in the race that lies
We are content, however, to leave the subject at this point, believing that enough
1 Psalm, xix. 7.
has been said to establish the claim of the study of the Scriptures to be regarded as an important mean of grace, and enough to point out the method in which they be
One word in closing the present discourse of practical exhortation with respect to the manner of using this mean of grace-A mean so important cannot with safety be neglected; the soul, like the body, stands in need of sustenance. God could, indeed, if He pleased, support the natural life by miracle, without the employment of food : but such is not the ordinary method, nor have we any warrant to expect that it should be so. The same thing holds with respect to the soul: man is to live
every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” The Bible is the great storehouse of spiritual food ; let us search it, then, with diligence, as expecting to find therein that which will enrich us for eternity. To profit by the reading of Scripture, it is imperative to read it with prayer for
the teaching of God's Spirit. With reading you must combine meditation : seek to study the volume as if each moment expecting to hear a voice from God addressed to your soul. Be not so much in earnest to read a vast deal, as to read a little well; one text prayed over and pondered upon, its precepts reduced to practice, or its promise applied and remembered, will be of more benefit than a whole chapter hastily perused without prayer, meditation, or recollection. What does this verse, or what does this chapter, teach me? These are questions that should be always present to the mind of the student of Scripture; and oh, bear in mind that the end of studying the Bible is that you may “grow in grace. To study merely to acquire knowledge is not to study so as to advance your eternal welfare ; to study the Scriptures merely to impart knowledge to others may be good as far as it goes, but you may do this and yet gain no spiritual benefit. But to study