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are many of these poble specimens of manhood who peruse the word of God from year to year, without coming to recognise, that, with all their pomp and splendid accomplishments, they are hateful in the sight of God, and will be dismissed for ever from his righteous presence. But the word of God, though they catch not its meaning, is not veiled from their apprehension, but their apprehension Satan darkeneth and veileth so that no ray of its piercing intelligence can reach them through the veils of the world, the devil, and the flesh.

This brings us to the true form in which the evangelical preacher should put this position; not, that the word of God is unintelligible to nature, but, that the mind may be so occupied with a thousand possessors as not to apprehend it. He should lay the blame, not upon the obscurity of the word, but upon the occupations of the mind. Then he should set forth, as our I.ord doth in the parable of the sower, the various enemies which hinder its influence, carefully detecting and uncovering the veils which Satan casteth over each class of readers while they peruse the holy text, obscuring all its light, and leaving the spirit in as great ignorance of God as it found him. The Jew readeth, but there is a veil over his eye while he readeth Moses and the prophets; the Mahomedan readeth, and blasphemes while he readeth; the Hindoo readeth, but gathers no savour of truth. When Missionaries deal with the Jew, the Mahomedan and the Hindoo, what method do they follow!--they do not blast their purpose by telling the people the book has no meaning in it to their unregenerate eye, but they compare texts with the Jew, they outargue the Mahomedan, and they try to rouse the slumbering reason of the Hindoo; they deal skil. fully with the men, studying their several dilemmas of ignorance and prejudice, and doing their endeavours to extri. cate them into the clear apprehension of truth. Now, in the name of consistency, I ask, why we should not employ the self-same method with those at home? to whom, however dark the Word may be supposed, it surely speaks a more intelligible language, being believed by them, revered by them, and written in the language of their mother, than it doth to these foreigners, who know not its language, believe not its divine original, and hate those who seek to persuade them of its truth. And yet with the foreigner you take wise and skilful measures to couch the eye of his ignorant mind; to the man at home you present the cold blank coverlet of

the book, saying, 'The inward spirit of it is to him quite incomprehensible.

Oh! I hate such ignorant prating, because it taketh the high airs of orthodoxy, and would blast me as a heretical liar, if I go to teach the people that the word of God is a well-spring of life, unto which they have but to stoop their lips in order to taste its sweet and refreshing waters, and be nourished unto life eternal. But these high airs and pitiful pelting words are very trifling to me, if I could but persuade men to dismiss all this cant about the mysteriousness and profound darkness of the word of God, and sift their own inward selves to find out what lethargy of conception or blind of prejudice, what unwillingness of mind, or full possession of worldly engagements, hath hitherto hindered them from drinking life unto their souls from the fountain of living waters. But if I go about to persuade my brethren against the truth of experience, against the very sense and meaning of revelation, against my own conviction, that they may read till their eye grows dim with age without apprehending one word, unless it should please God by methods unrevealed to conjure intelligence into the hieroglyphic page; what do I but interpose another gulf between man and his Maker, dash the full cup of spiritual sweets from his lips, and leave him as lonely, helpless, and desolate, as he was before the lion of the tribe of Judah did take the book of God's hidden secrets, and prevail to udloose the seals thereof.

Therefore, I cast off their ignorant and scholastic methods, and expound to my brethren, for whose regeneration I travail as one in birth, that if they will but approach this book of the Lord's in a reverent, humble, and teachable disposition, it will correct, reprove, and instruct them in righteousness, and lay the seeds of that everlasting life which we have undertaken in the strength of God to disclose. This book is the voice of the Spirit of God, which, if we disrespect, we cut ourselves off from all his further communings. They talk as if a stroke of the Spirit were needed before the Word can be perused. I say, no. The Word, which is the legible Spirit, must be had in reverence, and perused and thought on, and altogether treated as it deserves, or esle God will give no further inspirations. What, in the name of divine wisdom and of common sense, will God allow all the visitations of his Spirit to prophet, priest and seer, which were committed to writing, that men might know and stand in awe of him will he allow the

visitation of his own Son, his doctrines, his death, his resurrection, and his salvation—will he allow the legacy of spiritual gifts and graces promised and pressed upon the children of men will he allow all this record and testament of divine gifts to go into a kind of dissuetude, to die into obscurity and death, to be misused, neglected and spurned, and to one that is so holding them in contempt and neglect, come with a divine and masterful effusion of his grace, and enforce upon his unwilling soul that understanding and regard of his Word which heretofore he had not, nor cared not to have? I say not. But, upon the other hand, he will honour his Word by testimonies of his Spirit, the residue of which he retaineth in order to honour the record which he hath given. He will give us his Spirit just in proportion to our reverence and use of his Word. The Word is the first thing, the Spirit is the next thing, or rather they are two things which should never be parted. Keep aloof from the oracles of God, keep aloof from the . places where they are discoursed of, from the companies which fulfil them, and you are not far from the kingdom of Satan. Come to the Word, and meditate thereon; go where its truths are proclaimed, watch at the gates where divine wisdom speaketh, and look upon the men whose lives she adorneth, and you are not far from the kingdom of God. Think you not, that because the Ethiopian eunuch read in Isaiah that Philip was ordered to join himself to his chariot, and preach unto him Christ, so if you read, as he read, seeking intelligence, God will send an interpreter of what is dark to your hand, or send the unction and teaching of the Spirit over your very bosom?

And yet, while I will continue so long as I live to oppose this scarfing up of the glory of the everlasting Word, I will do justice to the motive which moves the evangelical preachers to this unwary and most ruinous procedure. They think that they secure to God the entire glory of the conversion of all men out of darkness into light, by stripping the word of God of all intrinsic 'efficacy. Now, sooner than divide the glory between God and another, might the tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth! But what, do they mean to say, that the word of God is not a power of God, or that the glory given to the Word is abstracted from himself? The word of God I hold to be the sum total of all the world knows of God. It is his picture, his procedure, his mind, his will, his truth. It is the annals of our cxcation, our providence, our redemption. It is his book of ar

guments, his book of persuasions, his book of promises. The knowledge which is in it, is the food of the new man; the acts of divine love which are in it, are the consolation of the new man; the assurances of divine aid which are in it, are his strength and his consolation. And they are guilty of the most daring profanation who would take the glory from the Word, wherever they may please to bestow it. They that shut it either by force of power or by force of persuasion, or by force of a refined theology, against any mortal, do make themselves obnoxious to the first and last imprecations of the New Testament, and ten thousand denunciations of the Old. But do I, in thus giving a seat of highest honour and most powerful authority to the word of God, abstract honour and influence from God himself or the Spirit of God? God forbid! Every truth in the revealed Word is a treasure sent from God to a needy world, for the want of which that world would fare the worse; and whatever benefits it doth impart are to be ascribed to God, as simply as if they had been imparted at first hand, and visibly from heaven. God, knowing human nature, that it was a fine intellectual, moral structure, capable of being moved by ethereal and lofty truth, and of being won over to right by argument and affection rather than tyrannic force, hath, out of a high respect and in wise accommodation to our faculties, presented in his Word such aliment as the soul of man rejoiceth in. For the soul, like the body, hath its wise and intricate structure, and that knowledge which it taketh in, like the food which we eat, setteth on work a thousand organs, which, healthily acted upon by the wholesome nour. ishment, do digest and transform the same, and bring forth strength and beauty and grace. And as to God, who sen. deth food, we ascribe the glory of our bodily strength which that food refresheth and upholdeth, so to God who hath sent his Word to be the food of the divine life, we ought equally to ascribe the divine life which that Word engenders and maintains. I do allow, at the same time, that as unwholesome food and irregular living do corrupt the body, and make all its organs sickly and diseased; so the use of this world's ungodly maxims, and the observance of their evil customs, as well as the natural corruption of the soul itself, have communicated various disorders and derangements to the frame-work of the spirit of man. And I am far from alleging that there is no necessity for a divine regeneration of human nature by the Spirit of God. On the office of the Spirit in building up spiritual life I shall im

mediately speak. My argument now is not against his operation, but in behalf of the operation of the Word. I do not wish to disparage the Spirit, but I will not have the Word disparaged as it is wont to be. For the Word is the audible voice of the Spirit, his letter to us of remonstrance, of love, of entreaty; which neglecting, we shall have no closer, more inward admonition; which paying respect and giving heed to, as to a light that shineth in a dark place, the day shall dawn, and the day-star arise on our hearts.

Therefore, if those that are meditating to stand in the day of judgment, would prosper in their hearts' desire, they must address their souls to the perusal of God's word, and meditate it with their whole hearts; believing all its representations of God's goodness, and justice, and truth; receiv. ing all God's gifts of creation, and providence, and redemption, as an earnest of his further gifts of sanctification and everlasting life. They must not only read, but reflect; they must not only reflect, but they must discourse and entertain discourse upon it. They must not only receive it, but reject that which opposeth it, with all the habits which contravene it; in desiring and doing which, they should repose their trust upon God, and give praise to him, for they are reading, reflecting, and acting upon that which he bestowed. Their travelling with his word they ought to regard as a travelling with himself

. If ever they detach the word from the mouth and heart of him that speaketh it, then it will become a snare to withdraw them from God; but if they keep in mind, that when it instructs, God instructs; when it entreats, God entreats; when it breathes tenderness, God breathes tenderness; when it offers, God offers; when it threatens, God threatens: then I declare before all wise, and pious men, I see not what evil can accrue; I rather wonder that all good should not accrue from the greatest and the closest travelling with the word of God.

While the soul inhereth in the word, dwelling and feeding thereon, it ought to inhere in the Spirit of God, with whose word it communeth; just as when you hear a man speak, you do not separate his words from the soul which utters them, unless you believe him a deceiver, which, if you believe God to be, I pray you to cast his word aside. For what are words? Words, if I may so speak, are a body to the soul; finer, more expressive, more varied than the fleshly body. By them she doth express her unseen emotions and passions to another soul, which, catching the meaning of the same, reacheth forth a kindred implement of be

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