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communication of the Lord of nature to the creatures of his forming hand. He shows them “ what is good,” that they may pursue and obtain it : He gives them light, that they may walk in the light: He affords them a perfect rule, that they may be perfect in their generation.
For, Thirdly, the end, the ultimate design, of all scripture, is to establish and confirm believers in the constant practice of holiness and universal righteousness of life and manners. This is the consummation of every thing that is truly called religion :-to this it points, in this it terminates. Every doctrine to be believed, every ordinance to be observed, is to sway, fashion, and regulate our hearts and lives; to restrain our passions, subdue our appetites, and direct our behaviour in our commerce with each other. ture, given by inspiration of God,”—every tenet and commandment, proceeding from infinite Wisdom and Goodness, has this sole object in view, to render “the man of God perfect,"—to restore the fallen child of Adam to his primal dignity,—to “the image of Him who created him;"—to make the adopted child of God as perfect as the present state of trial will allow ;perfect in will and intention, if not in actual
“ All Scrip
performance, free from every sin, but what is absolutely involuntary ; “ thoroughly furnished unto all good works ;" —ever alive to the calls of charity and virtue-while in this school of progressive discipline;—that, when his great Master shall proclaim his task fulfilled, his work accomplished, he may advance, from the childhood of existence, to a more exalted rank in the scale of beings, and be admitted into the everlasting habitations of spirits,—the “spirits of just men made perfect," — durably and unalterably perfect.
Strive, then, man of God!—if to that high title you aspire,—strive to “be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works:" and that you may indeed attain to that degree of perfection which your mortal nature admits, which the faith you profess requires, which the Author and Finisher of your redemption demands,“ read, mark, and inwardly digest,” the Holy SCRIPTURES,—the unerring Law,—with which He, your Lord, your Saviour, your Sanctifier, and your Judge, condescends to instruct and to bless you. If you embrace, reverence, and obey it, happy shall you be in life, thrice happy in death. If you reject, or disgrace it by licentious practice,
“ wretched man!” who shall give you peace in life,“ who shall deliver you from the body of death ?” In the hurry of business, or the intoxication of pleasure, the sacred monitor, “ the Gospel of salvation,” may be slighted and forgotten; but in the still and sober hours of leisure, in calamity, in sickness, in the decay of age, and in the approach of dissolution, its longneglected warnings will find their way to the darkened chamber,—the dying couch.
couch. And, when you
awake to the decision of the great day, its awful “ doctrine,” its searching " reproof,” its paternal “correction,” its righteous “ instruction,” shall rise up in witness against you! “He that receiveth not my words,”--though he, perhaps, receive them hypocritically, or carelessly, but not in honest simplicity of heart, to make them a standing principle of action,—“He that receiveth not my words,” to reformation of manners,“ hath one that judgeth him : the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”
THE DIVINE NATURE UNSEARCHABLE.
JOB, CHAP. XL. VER. 4.
Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay
mine hand upon my mouth.”
Towards the conclusion of this very ancient poetic drama,--for such, by eminent critics, it is conceived to be,—the Deity is brought forward as condescending to argue with Job, and to convince him of the utter incapacity of human agents to judge of the ways and works of the Divine Providence. The patriarch, humbled in the dust, replies, “ Behold, I am vile ; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.” I am a thing of nought, a reptile, crawling for a season on the earth, out of which I was taken, and quickly returning to it again. Shall such a creature pretend to dispute and remonstrate with its Maker, fathom his counsels, or dive into his nature ? Surely, on themes so high,-on subjects, so infinitely beyond the compass of man's ability, -his proper part is to wait, in mute attention, and receive such instruction as God may be pleased to impart. “I will lay mine hand upon my mouth;" I will listen submissively, and learn in silence.
Few men, perhaps, are sufficiently acquainted with themselves : they may have a general notion of their prevailing dispositions, their peculiar habits, and outline of character; but they seldom enter into those minutive, which mark the individual, and distinguish him from his associates. Nor are the bulk of mankind well acquainted with the human mind itself, as belonging to the species : they perceive not accurately the extent of its faculties, and what subjects are really within its grasp. Young men, when they first engage in the pursuit of knowledge, are apt to form very exalted notions of the
of intellect; but, as they advance, they find deficiencies in themselves, and difficulties in their way, of which they had no conception; and the more they learn, the more they discover beyond, still remaining to be learned. He who knows the