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in us richly, in all wisdom, certainly involves the study of it, because it involves a remembrance and love of the things which it contains; a delight to meditate upon them ; and to make them the frequent subject of reflection and conversation. Are there not many present then, to whom our subject brings reproof? Suffer me, my friends, faithfully to address the question to your consciences. Do you study the holy scriptures ? Are you familiar with the word of Christ? Is it the great and daily business of your lives, to increase in the knowledge of it, that it may dwell in you richly, in all wisdom? On the contrary, do not many of you treat it with almost total neglect? Is it not the case with some of you, who have advanced into the middle, or decline of life, that your thoughts are absorbed, from day to day, and from week to week, and even upon the Lord's day, by the cares and pursuits of the world the thoughts of your farms, merchandize, luxuries, diversions, and pleasures? and that you are more delighted with these things, and make greater progress in the knowledge of them, than in the knowledge of the scriptures ? Is it not also the case with many of who are in youth, and in childhood, that your minds are more engaged in the various pursuits and amusements of the world, than in the study of God's word? Though God has made you rational creatures, preserved you in life, surrounded you with blessings, put his word into your hands, and given you opportunity, even from your early childhood, to know the holy scriptures; yet have you not neglected them, and taken more pleasure in other studies, and other objects, even in vanity and folly? Now if
admit the scriptures to be from God, and that they reveal a way of life and salvation, and testify of Jesus-his person, offices, and works, as it is presumed you do, after the abundant evidence which has beon set before you of their divinity, surely you must stand reproved by our subject, even the bar of your own
consciences, as guilty of great impiety and ingratitude, and extreme foily! " And how can you escape, if you neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was afterwards confirmed by them that heard him, God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders and divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his will."
Again, are not many of you, my brethren, who profess to be Christians, to be disciples, or learners, in the school of Christ, greatly deficient in the knowledge of his word ? Are you not guilty of involving yourselves too much in the cares of the world; so as to neglect reading and meditating upon the scriptures, and of losing a sense of your dependence, and the importance of fervent prayer for divine teaching? In consequence of this, are there not some of you, who, for the time, ought to be able to teach others, yet almost need, that one should teach you again, which be the first principles of the oracles of God?
Are there not some also, who profess to be Christians, and to love the truth, who yet say by their conduct, that they have no delight in it? Who rarely open their bibles, except upon the Lord's day, and even then, with cold indifference, ard a spirit of bondage? Who are backward to unite in Christian conversation, or conference upon religious subjects, not only at.common times, but even upon the sabbath, in the interim of divine worship; and are more forward to join with, or at least to draw near and listen to those circles and groups of persons, who openly profane the sabbath, by conversing upon the business, the news, and the politics of the times, than to listen to, or converse with those, whose delight is in the word of God, and in the prosperity of Zion ? And who, upon other days or evenings, if their brethren convene for social prayer, and to confer up
on the word of Christ, and hear it opened and expounded, are rarely or never present; but, if persons of a very different description meet, and for very different purposes, will suffer no small obstacle to prevent their attendance ?
If this be the case with any among us, I would take occasion, from our text and subject, to exhort them, to relinquish their hope, and no longer to consider themselves Christians, or as having any preparation of heart, to enjoy the kingdom of God ! Let me ask such, what ground have you to hope? What reason have you to conclude, that you have been born of the Spirit, and that you possess any true conformity of heart to God, or delight in his character, if you let not the word of Christ dwell in you, if you seldom read it, or reflect upon it, and are better pleased with the company and conversation of persons of loose moral sentiments, than of your brethren, or those who fear the Lord, think upon his name, and speak often to one another ? Surely you have none ! Be not, therefore, deceived. The tree is known by its fruit; and the man, by whatever truly indicates his moral taste. The description given by the inspired psalmist of the godly man, as distinguished from the wicked, is that “he walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful ; but, his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night." Let all, therefore, whose character is greatly diverse from this, give up their vain confidence, and remember, that they carry in their foreheads the mark of the ungodly, who are like the unprofitable chaff, which the wind driveth away, and which the fire of divine wrath will consume.
I add once more-our subject carries reproof to those parents, who neglect to instruct their children, in the knowledge of the truth, and to inculcate upon them the importance of prayerfully studying the
scriptures, for this end. The divine command is : “ Thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, and shalt talk of them, when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way; when thou liest down.”-If parents neglect a prayerful daily reading of the scriptures, they have to answer for their own sins, and for the evil which their example brings upon their children. Let us then examine ourselves. Do you who are parents teach your children, and all under your care, the importance of studying the word of Christ, with prayer, as they would have it dwell in them richly, in all wisdom ? Do you teach them by example, as well as precept? Do you daily read the scriptures in your families ? Do you call them around you, to hear the oracles of God, and to unite with you in looking up to your Heavenly Father, for divine teaching? If you neglect this, you may be sure your children will discover your inconsistency, in teaching them to do it, and your wickedness, in neglecting it your selves. Yea, you will probably feel the inconsistency, and soon neglect to inculcate, by precept, what you deny by your example; and the probability is, (awful thought !) that parents and children, in such case, will go on together, in the neglect of the great salvation, till they meet at the barof their Judge!
To conclude ; I would urge upon all, the exhortation in the text : “ Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom :” for “ blessed is the man, whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who, in his law doth mcditate day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season ; his leaf also shall not wither ; and. whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so ; but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous ; but the way of the ungodly shall perish !"
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ESTABLISHED IN THE
HEBREWS XII. 9.
Be not carried about with divers and strange docs
trines : för it is a good thing that the heart be estab: lished with grace:
INSTABILITY, either in the doctrines or practice of Christianity, is both sinful and dangerous. If the scriptures be the word of God, in which all relia gious truths, of essential importance, are revealed with sufficient clearness, then all who, either through inattention or prejudice, or any other means, adinit erronenous ideas ; or who halt between two or many opinjons, on any important points ; or who adopt first one sentiment and then another, accordingly as they meet with persons of different ways of thinking, are criminal indeed, and in continual danger. A man who is thus of a wavering mind, ready to embrace every plausible error that presents, is fitly compared, by the apostle James, to a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. Such an one is unworthy of any confidence, and unlikely to accomplish any thing valuable in the concerns of this life, but much more in the things of religion. It is