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passage, you may have your minds better excuse of difficulty to Ay to ; that the things prepared to hear what is to be spoken. there spoken might be easy to be looked And this is the tliing I have always advised, into by all men ; that the handy craftsman, and shall still continue to exhort you to, the servant, the widow, the most illiterate that
you should not only hear what is said and unlearned among men, might reap in this place, but spend your time at home benefit_and advantage by hearing them continually in reading the Holy Scriptures. read. The apostles and prophets wrote not And here let no one use those frigid and like the pilosophers of the Gentiles, in vain excuses,—I am a man engaged in the obscure terms, but made things plain to the business of the law, I am taken up with understandings of all men, as being the civil affairs, I am a tradesman, I have a common teachers of the word, that every wife and children to breed up, I have the man by himself might learn by reading care of a family, I am a secular man : it alone the things that were spoken. To belongs not to me to read the Scriptures, whom are not all things in the Gospel but to those who have bid adieu to the manifest and plain? Who is there that world, and are retired into the mountains, hearing those sayings, “ Blessed are the and have nothing else to do but to exer meek, blessed are the merciful, blessed are cise themselves in such a way of living.– the pure in heart," and the like, would What sayest thou, O man ? Is it not thy desire a teacher to understand the meaning business to read the Scriptures, because of them? Moreover, the signs and mirathou art distracted with a multitude of cles, and histories, are they not all intelother cares? Yes, certainly it belongs to ligible and plain to any ordinary reader ? thee more than them. For they have not This therefore is only a pretence, and exso much need of the help of the Holy cuse, and cloak for idleness. Thou dost Scriptures as you have, who are tossed in not understand the things contained in the the waves of the multiplicity of business. Scripture ? How shouldest thou understand You have perpetual need of divine reme them, when thou wilt not so much as look dies, as well to cure the wounds you have at them? Take the Book into thy hands, already received, as to ward off those you read the whole history, and remember are in danger of receiving; to quench the those things that are intelligible and easy ; darts of the devil, whilst they are at a dis and those things that are more obscure and tance, and drive them away by continual dark, read over and over again ; and if reading of the Holy Scriptures. For it is thou canst not by frequent reading dive impossible that a man should attain salva into the meaning of what is said, go to a tion without perpetual exercise in reading wiser person, betake thyself to a teacher, spiritual things. But some again will say,
and confer with him about any such paswhat if we cannot understand the things sage ; shew thy diligence, and desire to be that are contained therein ? Why even in informed ; and when God sees thy wil. that case, though you do not understand lingness and readiness of mind, he will not every thing that is contained therein, yet despise thy vigilance and care. But though by reading you shall obtain much sanctifica man inform thee not in the things about tion. For it is impossible that you should which thou makest enquiry, he himself be equally ignorant of all things in those will certainly reveal it to thee. Remembooks : for the grace of the Spirit so ordered ber the Eunuch of the Ethiopian queen, is, that they should originally be composed who though he was a barbarian, and imand written by publicans, and fishers, and mersed in a multitude of cares and busitent-makers, and shepherds, and private ness, and understood not what he read, yet and illiterate men, that none of the most he read for all that, sitting in his chariot. ignorant and unlearned might have this And if he shewed so great diligence by
the way, consider how be behaved himself plative life; therefore it is said in the at last. If he would not omit reading in Psalms, “ The man is blessed who medithe tinie ot'a journey, much less would he tates in the law of the Lord day and night.” omit it, when be sat quietly in his own Reading and prayer are the arms by which house. If when he understood nothing the devil is vanquished ; these are the inof it, he still continued to read; much struments by which eternal life is acquired. more would he do it, when he came to By prayer and reading our vices are deunderstand it. Wherefore because he read
stroyed, and virtues are nourished in the when he had no guile, he quickly found a soul. The servant of the Lord ought alguile. God knew the willingness of his ways to pray and read. Hence it is written mind, and accepted bis diligence, and pre in the Psalmis, 66 Then shall I not be consently sent him a teacher. But Philip, you founded, when I have respect unto all thy will say, does not now stand by us : no; commandments ” Therefore be much in but the Spirit that moved Philip, is still by prayer, persevere in meditation upon the us. Let us not neglect our own salvation, Scriptures, be constant in the law of God, beloved. These things were written for let your study be in the divine laws, be our salvation, upon whoin the ends of the frequent in reading, let your daily reading world are come. The reading of the Scrip be a meditation on the law.
the law. Reading tures is our great guard against sin Our leaves less rood for the follies of life, and ignorance of them is a dangerous precipice, draws us off from the vanity of the world. and deep gulph. It is an absolute betray May God open your hearts to understand ing of our salvation, to know nothing of
his precepts ! the divine law. It is this that has brought forth so many heresies ; this that has brought
St. Barnard. so much corruption into our lives; this that has turned all things into confusion.
“I usually rise at five o'clock. Between ? six and seven I read two chapters of the New Testament, bare-headed, and on my.
kuees." By prayer we are cleansed from sin; by reading we are taught what we ought to
After dinner he took out his Testament, do. Both of them are good, when they
and read a chapter on his knees, bare-head-.. can be practised, But if they cannot both
ed, with extraordinary reverente. be practised, it is better to pray thai to read; for when we pray we speak with God;
Life of Monsieur de Renty. when we read, God speaks witb us. If you would always abide with God, always pray and always read. To read the Scriptures is exceedingly necessary for us: for See here, my dear brother, the form of! by reading we learn what we ought to do, life which you are constantly to practise wbat to avoid, and at what we ought to every day. To the morning, as soon as i aim. Whence it is said, Thy word, is a you are a wakened, prepare yourself to mea! lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my ditate on some mystery of our Lord, begin. paths.” By reading, sense and under ning from his holy nativity, and continuing standing is increased. Readiny furnishes to his glorious ascensioni. Consider every : us for prayer, and for action, Reading day one mystery, in such a manner, that if, qualifies buth for an active and contem). for example, on Monday the birth of our : No 28.
Saviour was the subject of our meditation, should have inherited his honours and mathat of his circumcision should be for Tues nors; so if you apply yourself diligently to day; and so in course, till in the month's this book, seeking to direct your life actime having run through all the actions of cording to the rule of the same, you shall Jesus Christ, you come to contemplate him be an inheritor of such riches, as neither ascending into heaven in triumph! You are the covetous shall withdraw from you, every month to begin these meditations neither the thief shall steal, neither yet again in the same order.
the moths corrupt. Desire with David,
my best sister, to understand the law of After dinner you shall resume your morn. the Lord your God. Live still to die, that ing prayer, and reflect on the same nrystery
you by death may purchase eternal life. half an hour. You are to employ yourself And trust not that the tenderness of your in this manner interiously through all the age shall lengthen your life; for unto God variety of your outward business ; giving an when he calleth, all hours, times, and seahour in every day to the consideration of the
sons, are alike. And blessed are they most holy life of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose lamps are furnished when he cometh; whatsoever affair or in whatsoever incum
for as soon will the Lord be glorified in the brance you are engaged.
young as in the old.” Francis Harier.
Lady Jane Gray.
The night before Lady Jane Gray was executed, she wrote a letter, of which the Were Christians more generally sensifollowing is a part, on the blank leaves at ble of their great need of divine assistance the end of a Greek Testament, which she in order to their attaining to a saving knowbequeathed as a legacy to her sister, the ledge of the Scriptures ; did they by earLady Catharine Gray.
nest prayer apply themselves toGod through
Jesus Christ, for the aids of his Holy SpiI have sent you, my dear sister Catba rit to enlighten their minds, to purify their rine, a book which, although it be not out liearts and affections, to sanctify their wills, wardly trimmed with gold, yet inwardly it to reprove them for their failings, to teach is more worth than all the precious mines them, and to lead them into all truth, and which the vast world can boast of. It is to set home the Scriptures on their conthe book, my only best and best beloved sciences; they would questionless become sister, of the law of the Lord : it is the wise unto salvation, and ready to every Testament and last Will which he be good work. Did Christians spend more queathed unto us wretches and wretched time in reading and comparing the sacred sinners, which shall lead you to the path writings, than in searching after the diffeof eternal joy; and if you with a good rent and disagreeing opinions of expositors, mind read it, and with an earnest desire I am persuaded the way to divine knows follow it, no doubt it shall bring you to an ledge would be both easier, and shorter, immortal and everlasting life. It will teach and more satisfactory, the disputes among you to live, and learn you to die.- It shall Christians fewer, and those which should win you more, and endow you with greato | remain would be managed with a spirit of er felicity, than you should bave gained by meekness and love; the practice of religion the possession of our woeful father's lands. would become more universal, and the For,' as if God had prospered him, you world would feel the benefit of the religion
our blessed Saviour taught men, and be bespoke him to be what he was, God maconvinced of its divine original.
nifest in the flesh, to destroy the works of
the devil. Rev. Francis Fox, A. M.
All the books in the world cannot afford 2009
any thing comparable to what this divine
book treats of; and that in the most movThere is in the Holy Scriptures, such a ing manner too, without the least appearvast variety of entertainment for a well-dis ance of artifice or affection, and with a posed reader, that the Bible is not only the natural majestic gracefulness in all its varimost excellent and useful, but really the ous turns. most diverting book in the world. And would we but bestow as much time and But it is not every reader that will have application of mind upon it, as we do up this taste for the Scriptures; and 'tis not on other considerable authors; we should running through a single chapter now and soon discover such excellencies in it, as then, without order and connection, and would even chain us to it, but with a most with all the baste that may be, and then delightful captivity, and make us relish no laying the book aside, and thinking no thing like it.
more of the matter, that will do us any
considerable good; for no book whatever What a noble account, for instance, does of any value, that is huddled over at this it give of the first formation of the world; heedless rate, would be read to any purpose, the origin of the human race; the un much less the Book of God. happy fall of our common ancestors from the favour of their Creator; and the hopes No; we must dwell upon it, and, with that were graciously given them of a reco holy David, make it our meditation day
and night, comparing carefully one pas
sage with another, and reading not scatterHow affecting is the history of the holy ingly here and there a little, but perusing and venerable patriarchs ; their intercourse what is of the same nature and tendency with God and heavenly spirits; their great together; and then fixing it in our minds simplicity, piety and generosity; the won by serious meditation, and above all, ena derful providence of God towards them and deavouring to improve it to what is the their posterity; and the admirable steps and great end, as to us, of its being written, advances that were made from age to age the increase of a true sense of religion in us; to the happy times of the Messias !
and sincere holiness of life, that we may
grow wise by it to salvation. For whoever And how surprizing is the relation we reads the Scriptures out of curiosity only, have of his conception, and birth, and life, or vain-glory, or for any purpose or design and death, who was the desire of all na that does not tend to this in the conclusion, tions !
does highly profane and abuse them, and
will.sadly repent it at last. How mean was bis outward appearance ! And yet how did his divinity break through But he that with due reverence, humiall the clouds and vails that he was pleased lity and pious intention, takes the course to put upon it to conceal it! He seemed I mentioned just now, in bis sacred studies, to be no other than a poor, despised, af will in a little time have a true relish for flicted man; and yet the wondrous things the Holy Writings; and the seeming dryhe did, and heavenly doctrines he taught, ness and obscurity of them at first, will
soon, wear off, and they will grow more: cover the tender heart of Christ; the efficapleasant and beneficial every day than су
of his blood to cleanse from all uurighother; especially, and which should never teousness; and a variety of spiritual blesbe omitted, if we add prayer to our medita- sings, which are the present reward of betions, before we begin, while we are read- ing true hearted in his service. I am at a ing, and when we have done.
loss for words to express how much solid
knowledge, transforming your mind into Rev. Francis Bragge, B. D. the Divine image, you will certainly gain
by persevering in diligent prayer year after year, for the true interpretation of God's
blessed word, that you may be made wise The Gospels are by no means to be look
and holy. ed upon as so many detached pieces, com
Rev. Henry Venn, M. A. posed by persons totally ignorant of each others intention : but rather as one com
eeeeeeeeee plete entire system of divinity, supported O what a sweet and spacious field is the by the strongest proofs, that the subject is
Holy Scripture, my soul, in which thou capable of, and defended against all the
mayest traverse about, and entertain thyobjections which either Jews or Gentiles, self with the greatest variety of wonders or even its most dangerous heretical profes- and delights! Î'his letter of love from beasors, could make to the truth and certainty
ven thou canst not peruse too often; but of it. If we read them in proper order, mayest make soine of the best employment we shall find thein improving one upon of thy time, to' meditate in it day and night. another, and yet all conspiring to the same There thou shalt find the noblest histories, end-to a perfect representation of revealed the greatest remarks, the wisest counsels, religion.
the sublimest truths, the most surprising pas
sages, the most momentous concerns, the Rev. Henry Owen, D. D.
exactest rules, the holiest precepts, the
then with all the impertinent writings, To secret prayer, you will join devout
the stained papers, that do but abuse, if not study of the Bible; because it is our iufal
debauch, the readers. O dear Book of all lible guide, and the treasury of all truth
books! that has God himself for the blessed necessary to salvation. But the riches laid
Author, and eternal salvation for the subject up there are not to be found by proud or
matter! Nothing comes with such power upon careless minds; none possess them, till they the heart; nothingyives such satisfaction and dig for them as for silver, longing to know
assurance to the mind. When 'tis " Thus the will of God, that they may do it. To
saith the Lord,” 'tis beyond all the saysu perficial readers of the Bible, it presents ings and confidence, of the greatest men in little more than a great number of duties,
the world. To this test I bring all that I whieh must be performed ; and sins, wbich
hear or read elsewhere; and in this centre must be renounced; with insupportable I lix, and find sure footing. Amidst all pains, in failure of obedience: passages of
the uncertainty and contradiction of septiexcellent use, when believed ; as they at
ments in the world, I am easy, that I have once rouse the selfish soul of man to seek
the Divine Oracles, by wbich I can safely reconciliation with God, and help from
abide. beaven. But earnest and devout readers of the Bible discover much more-they dis
Reo. Benjamin Jenks, A. M.