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tent knowledge of its contents.-In like manner, it is only by a diligent and unremitting investigation of the scriptures, that we can learn the whole of those truths which they profess to reveal. The bible contains a vast fund of information on many topics, of which we should be informed for establishing our faith, and directing our conduct: and it is only those, who devote regular portions of their time for the study of the scriptures, that can make any proficiency to the knowledge of the subjects which they unfold. Accordingly, it is the practice of every serious man, who would become wise unto salvation, to read a passage of the word of God at least once a day, either by himself or in his family; and a larger portion on the sabbath, before and after the public service of the sanctuary. And surely, no one is so immersed in business, who might not find leisure to read somewhat of the scriptures every day, and thus gain new accessions to his knowledge of divine truths.

But as there are some places more important for our edification than others; we should make a selection of such, and peruse them more frequently in our retirements. With this view, the books of Genesis, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah and the prophets, will be found perhaps more instructive in religious and moral reflections than the other books of the Old Testament, and therefore deserve a more frequent examination ; though the historical books should also be studied at certain seasons. The whole of the New Testament must be carefully perused, and its meaning as clearly apprehended, as our abilities and opportunities enable us.--In order to read the scriptures in such a manner as is suitable to their sacred character, and improving to ourselves, let us study to understand and apply to our use the scope of the passage, we peruse. If it be historical, let us reflect how it sets before us the sovereignty and superintendence, the wisdom and goodness, justice or mercy of God; the amiableness and rewards of virtue, the deformity and punishment of vice; the heights of piety and holiness at which the saints arrived, and the enormous sins into which they fell, that we

If we read a devotional part of scripture, let us endeavour to infuse into our own hearts the spirit of piety which it breathes; if a didactic passage, let us imbibe the sentiments which it contains; and if a prophetical one, let us consider the unerring wisdom of the divine Being, to whom present and future are equally known. If we study the gospels, let us admire the perfect character, heavenly doctrines, and wonderful works of our Redeemer, and imitate him who hath left us an example that we should follow his steps: and if we examine the epistles, let us endeavour to understand those mysteries of the faith once delivered to the saints, and apply to our use those practical rules of life which are adapted to every case and con. dition of the Christian character.

For this purpose, it would be a useful practice to reflect as we read, on the different species of instruction which the passage conveys. Thus, we should consider what acknowledgments of gratitude such a declaration requires; what consolation and joy such a promise imparts; what fear for our safety such a threatening should inspire ; what duty this precept enjoins; and what sin it is intend ed to forbid.-Let us ask ourselves whether our character be agreeable to the standard of obedience prescribed in the scriptures; whether we are arriving at greater conformity to the divine statutes; and yet from a sense of our insufficiency, trusting to the merits of Christ as the sole medium of acceptance with God, and to his intercession for grace here and glory hereafter, Such personal application of the scriptures to our own condition, will have a powerful tendency to convince us of sin and convert us to holiness, and build us up through faith unto salvation.

As there are many subjects which the scriptures unfold of a mysterious nature, and many rules of duty prescribed which are difficult to observe, it is necessary when reading these, that we submit our understandings and wills to the authority which delivers them. For as we are finite creatures, whose minds are incapable of comprehending the deep things of God, therefore it becomes us to believe, that whatever infinite wisdom bath revealed must be true, Let us therefore assent to any doctrine though it be above the reach of our conceptions, and endeavour to obey every precept however opposite to our inclinations; because they are “ the words of that God who cannot lie, and who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth."

Another rule, no less important to enable us to read the scriptures with advantage, is, to divest ourselves of prejudice either for or against certain opinions which we may entertain. Many persons are so far misled by erroneous principles which they have imbibed in their childhood, that they wrest the scriptures to the most unnatural and perverted meaning, in order to support their preconceived sentiments. They will establish some general truth from an ambiguous expression, which they do not understand, and whose signification is entirely different from that which they attach to it. If we would not therefore “ handle the word of God deceitfully,” let us beware of interpreting it in a manner agreeable to our own fancy; let us read it in the spirit of simplicity, and with a sincere desire to comprehend its import.-For this purpose, let us never impose on any text or passage such a sense as is contrary to right reason, or to other texts more clear and numerous; let us consider the intention of the writer, and the subject-matter of discussion, and make every particular phrase consistent with the general topic of the argument.

To assist us in this, we may often derive edification from the exposition of a judicious commentator, with which therefore, we should furnish ourselves for this purpose. But it is advisable that Christians of ordinary talents should rather study the practical places of scripture, than the controversial; and endeavour to instil into their hearts the holy maxims which are therein recommended. The scriptures were written chiefly with the design of renewing us in the spirit of our minds, by prescribing the attainment of such good dispositions as may render us meet for the heavenly inheritance. They contain alsa, indeed, the method of our reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ; but teach us, that “he is become the author of salvation only to those who obey him.” Therefore, as the scriptures describe the measure and extent of that obedience, we should search and examine them for knowing what is therein required of us, and we shall find them " profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, and be thoroughly fur. nished to all good works.”

Let us also try ourselves often by the rules of the gospel, that we may discover wherein we offend, and what we neglect; let us think of these things at our leisure moments, and form a serious and persevering purpose to adhere with greater constancy to every obligation; and never cease our determination after well-doing, till we bé fully confirmed in the practice of virtue.

Finally, as we are insufficient of ourselves to do any thing of ourselves, and as our sufficiency is of God; let us pray for the illumination of the Holy Spirit, that he may shew us wondrous things out of God's law: and let us depend upon divine assistance to perfect strength in our weakness, and enable us to will and to do God's good pleasure.

That we may be induced to apply these rules to practice, consider,

IV. The advantages derived from studying the scriptures successfully

These are many and important. Thereby we shall gain an acquaintance with the various perfections of the Almighty, and the methods which he has adopted to govern mankind in every age of the world. Thereby we shall obtain information respecting our present state and future destiny, with the wonderful scheme of our redemption, undertaken and accomplished by Jesus Christ our Lord. Thereby we may learn, how we may obtain an interest in that covenant of mercy which is well ordered in all things and sure, and how we may regain the favour of God and the kingdom of heaven. Is it not the most signal advantage, that we have such a revelation of the divine will, as informs us with certainty on these important subjects, so that we can now ascertain every thing requi

site for settling our doubts, and “ filling us with peace and joy in believing ?”

If we read the scriptures, and receive them as the word of the living God, we shall rely on every discovery therein made “ as a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation.” If also we read them with the sincere intention of knowing our duty, we shall be instructed in every obligation required of us, and taught what is well-pleasing in the sight of God. By them also inay we understand the privileges and consolations which are the inheritance of the righteous, with the awful doom of the ungodly and impenitent. By reading them daily, we may be induced by the motives and sanctions they contain, to lead the life of the righteous,

“ that our latter end may be peace.” From them we may be furnished with constant subjects of contemplation for our understandings, and of exercise for our dispositions and affections, till we be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and prove what is the good and acceptable, and perfect will of God. Let us then search the scriptures, for therein we shall find directions for the attainment of everlasting life, and by their admonitions be made wise unto salvation.

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