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This volume contains all that man needs to know of God, of himself, of his wants, and of his destination. It is, moreover, so full and lucid in its disclosures, that the feeblest mind is able to avoid seriously mistaken, or fatal views of it. And yet the same moral torpor, which sealed up to the apprehension of fallen man the book of nature, has, age after age, lest a large proportion of those whose circumstances afforded them an opportunity of knowing the holy scriptures, entirely destitute of any saving acquaintance with them. This was very generally the case with the nation of Israel in the days of our Saviour's incarnation. If they were not wholly inattentive to the word of God, they did not seek the Spirit to aid their examination of it. If they were not wholly unacquainted with the letter, they were surprisingly ignorant of its spiritual import. Indecd, it was their sluggish unconcern about the sacred word, which occasioned their mistaken notions respecting their coming Messiah, and their guilty and ruinous rejection of him. They had some vague impressions that through the disclosures of the law and the prophets, a happy immortality would become theirs. But evidently they concerned not themselves to learn the method devised and revealed by Heaven, through which they might attain unto eternal life. They did not examine the scriptures in reference to this momentous concern. It was on this account, that he, who was at once the great Revealer, and the great object revealed, of their scriptures, exhorted them to attend to this duty. SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES; FOR IN THEM YE THINK YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE; AND THEY ARE THEY WHICH TESTIFY OF NE.

There can be no occasion for attempting to show that very many, who are in possession of the entire canon of scripture, treat it with as much indifference and neglect, as the Jews did the law and the prophets. The fact is so obvious, that it may be safely assumed. Notwithstanding copies of the whole sacred volume are greatly multiplied and placed within the reach of every member of our community, it is not SEARCHED. Not a few causes peculiar to our own age, are allowed to prevent the requisite attention to the bible. With some, attention to the calls to religious action may be permitted to prevent, or to become a substitute for attention to the oracles of God. The number, variety, and interest of books and publications of a nominally religious character, so take up and absorb the attention of others, as to leave but little opportunity for the word of life to come in for its due share of interested regard. So that, as there is certainly no less occasion for this injunction of Christ now, than when he uttered it, we must conclude he intended its application to extend to us. For it is always necessary for sinful man to SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES. Manifestly, however, the Saviour's injunction looks to the manner in which the scripture is to be searched, as well as recognizes the particular ends, for which our minds should be given to its examination. It will be my aim, therefore, in this discourse, after glancing at several considerations, suited to invite our interested attention to the inspired volume, to point out the way in which it should be studied, and the special objects for which it should engage our earnest regard.

I. It is proper to notice a few considerations fitted to interest the mind in an examination of the scriptures. There is enough, indeed, to awaken the liveliest interest in this duty, in the single consideration that God requires it. He who has given us the bible bids us SEARCH it. It can, of course, never cease to be the plain and urgent duty of all who possess it, carefully to examine it. With many, I trust, this is a paramount and prevailing consideration. But I wave this for the present, and commend the sacred scriptures to the studious examination of my fellow men from another class of reasons.

Their antiquity claims regard. They undeniably contain the most ancient authentic record of past events, extant in our world. Indeed, they contain the only history in existence, that deserves the least credence, of

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those early and most deeply interesting events that took place, during the period of twenty or thirty centuries after the creation. But for the bible, we should be wholly in the dark respecting the creation of the world, the origin of our species, their original purity and happiness in their Creator's favor, their subsequent ruinous apostacy, the destruction of the old world by the deluge, the confusion of tongues and the consequent dispersion of men over the face of the earth, the selection of one family as the depositary of the true religion, and nearly the whole chain of their eventful history, for a succession of ages. Now, aside from the importauce and utility of this faithful detail of transactions, so momentous in their nature and consequences, the bare circumstance of its antiquity gives it interest and attractions of no common pow

It belongs to our nature to be susceptible of strong emotions from the contemplation of any object, that has come down to us from ages far back in the dim distance of time elapsed. No one, without emotions of strong and absorbing interest, could stand up amidst the ruins of Palmyra, Babylon, or even of Carthage, and gaze at these mute relics of ages gone.

But the bible is in some sense a relic of those ages, that followed the very

birth of time. Some portions of it were written by holy men, under a divine inspiration, three or four thousand years ago. They who believe this, must feel drawn to an examination of it with a livelier interest and a keener zest, than even the most enthusiastic virtuoso feels in exploring the ruins and scrutinizing the material relics of antiquity. Here are facts older than even creation itself. Here stand memorials of events that transpired before sin had an existence in the universe of God-memorials transmitted, not to nourish a curiosity merely to pry into the wonders of past ages, but to explain and clear up difficulties apparent in the existing phenomena of the natural and moral world, that must otherwise have remained painfully inexplicable.

The sublimity of the scriptures invites attention. The

Author of the bible has formed us with minds that are strongly affected by exhibitions of the sublime, either in thought, in conduct, or in the forms of inanimate nature. It is impossible to survey the awful features of his power, which are impressed on his material works, without strong emotion. It is for the purpose of enjoying the luxury of such deep excitement, that the scenes of this marvellous display of almighty power are thronged with eager beholders. Some millions have been drawn to that spot, where are to be witnessed in the surrounding agitations, the deafening thunder, and the dizzying pour of awful Niagara, those solemn interrogatories in which, for ages, deep has been calling unto deep. Still more absorbing and thrilling a: e emotions from the contemplation of those lofty acts--those moral wonders, which are sometimes achieved by men. Yet there is nothing within the range of finite minds, of a character so fitted to raise these high emotions, as the sublimity of thought, of language, and of imagery, with which the scriptures abound. In this respect, they surpass all that can be found in the field of human literature. This point is very generally conceded by those best qualified to judge in the case. Indeed, when it is considered who are the writers, and what are the subjects of the bible, it might be expected that its sublimity would be without a parallel. "Holy men, inspired by the divine Spirit for this very purpose, wrote the bible. Their views partook of a grandeur which no mere elevation of intellect or vigor of imagination attains. They took their views from an eminence to which the pinions of fancy never carries men. And then their subjects—the theme of angel songs and angel minds—the perfections of the Eternal developed in the work of creative might and redeeming mercy! Thus lifted up to the mount of vision, and dwelling on themes from which their own inspiration came, it is surprising that their thoughts should ever move on the level of common minds, and that their descriptions of the things of God should not, in thought,

expression, and imagery, more frequently rise to a character of grandeur with which our minds have little

power to sympathize. That they have a şublimity, so unearthly, and yet so intelligible, imparts to the bible a peculiar interest, and invests it with attractions which we may well feel. To share the rapturous emotions which are excited by objects of peculiar grandeur, we have no need to go and listen to the voice of many waters, to gaze at the great and marvellous in the Creator's material works, or to witness the lofty efforts of his creatures. We may taste this luxury, by opening the bible. There is more sublimity in its still small voice, than in the roar of deafening cataracts; there is more in its descriptions of spiritual things to thrill the soul with sublime emotions, than in all the awful lineaments stamped on the face of inanimate nature : there is more of true sublimity in the simple story of the incarnation and sufferings of Jesus, than in all the records of human achievements, magnanimous daring, and uncomplaining suffering.

The purity of the scriptures recommends them to our interested notice. Written by holy men, inspired by the Holy Spirit

, the bible itself is holy. It is holy, not simply in that sense in which things are holy that are devoted to a holy purpose. The bible, indeed, is holy in this respect; but apart from the purpose for which it was given, and separate from the agency it exerts, it is in itself absolutely and exclusively holy. The men who wrote it were holy in an inferior sense—they were partially sanctified believers, and devoted to this holy service. But the scriptures derived not their holy character from those by whose agency they were handed down from heaven. They came from that high world of light and purity, bearing its image, possessing its character, and diffusing its spirit

. Now a volume clearly bearing the holy impressions of its heavenly character and origin, must possess incomparable value any where. It could be sent to no portion of Jehovah's moral creation, to whom it would not come as a treasure of great

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