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worth. But what must be its worth to a fallen worldto a race like our own, who, through sin, have lost not only the image of God, but their original instinctive perception of the immutable standard of heavenly rectitude, and the image of heavenly purity ? Left without the bible, not one of our species could have known how far we have fallen by transgression, and how high we need to be raised, in order to enjoy the bliss of hea

Without the bible, we have no measure by which to estimate the guilt and misery of sin, and the purity and blessedness of a state of perfect exemption from both. The bible affords this knowledge, and furnishes this measure, by revealing a law which bears a full impression of Jehovah's character, and by showing throughout its pages, that entire obedience to that law, or perfect holiness, is the lowest service that is required of us, and the lowest point of moral excellence at which we can be capacitated for the felicities of Heaven. In the scriptures, and there only can we see

How fair
The creature is whom God pronounces good-

How lovely in itself what pleases him. Amidst the darkness, pollution, and misery of a fallen world, we can look into the sacred scriptures, and take some correct views of the light, and purity, and joy of a sinless state.

The power of the scriptures commends them to our serious regard. We may learn the greatness of their power from the extent of their effects. Though include ed in comparatively a small volume, wherever they have gone abroad among the inhabitants of our world, they change the aspect, new-mould the habits, and give to the pursuits of a community, a new and more elevated direction. The slightest glance at two separate communities, one of which is favored with the word of God, and the other is not, will reveal the mighty influence of that word. It will be seen in whatever tends to elevate, refine, and dignify our species. It will be seen in the progress of science and the arts, of taste and literature, of liberty and free institutions. In a word, it will be seen in the universal improvement of the outward condition of man. But the influence which the scriptures are thus seen to exert, is incidental, indirect, and apart from the specific field, the appropriate sphere of their operations. That they effect these favorable changes in the outward condition of man, is because they achieve still greater wonders in his inward and spiritual condition. Here they are subduing, transforming, and purifying. Indeed, it is to man as a sinner and heir of endless retribution, that the scriptures are especially adapted. Their grand errand is to the human heart. They have power to find their way to the heart through the foldings of every disguise, and through the panoply of the most finished obduracy. They are the sword that pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. They are like as a fire, and like a hammer, that breaketh the rock in pieces. They are that voice of the Lord that is powerful—that voice of the Lord that is full of majestythat voice of the Lord that breaketh the cedars-yea, that breaketh the cedars of Lebanon. But I need not dwell on this characteristic of the scriptures. Witnesses of their power are found wherever there are subdued wills, purified affections, submissive tempers, and obedient lives. Nay, heaven itself is thronged with the trophies of the scripture's subduing, purifying, and consoling power. They can do that for lost and perishing men, which the whole created universe cannot.

The perpetuity of the scriptures presents a reason why they should receive attention. They are essential truth, and truth is indestructible and eternal. Objects are usually deemed worthy of regard which are not only of present importance, but of a permanent and abiding character. Such are the scriptures. They abide for

The word of our God shall stand forever. Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall never pass away. These same scriptures, which are now open to our inspection, and soliciting our caresul notice, in all their great truths and developements, will remain the field for the deathless spirit's contemplation forever. It is not, then, a volume like the ephemeral works of men, which we are required to SEARCH, but one as enduring as the throne of God, and of as perpetual interest to our immortal minds. Does it not, then, deserve to be searched ?

ever.

II. I come now to point out in a few words the way in which the scriptures should be searched. The very term employed by our Saviour in this injunction, shows that something more than the bare perusal of the scriptures is intended. Among the Jews, to whom the text was originally addressed, there was the form of an attention to the law and the prophets. It is known they gloried in their knowledge of the letter of their scriptures, and their ability to repeat them with great accuracy. But this was not searching them. I may, therefore, observe, that

The scriptures should be studied and examined with great reverence. Objects of great antiquity awaken our veneration. We cannot contemplate those of great sublimity without sentiments of awful regard. Those of high moral elevation and purity, are viewed with instinctive emotions of respect. Nor can such as possess the character of mighty efficacy, and ever during importance, fail to excite within us feelings of reverence and awe.

Now all of these considerations are combined in our contemplation of the inspired volume. And these may well inspire our bosoms with reverential dread, when we look into its sacred pages. But there is another, in some degree, distinct from these, which ought to secure our devout reverence in all our examinations of the bible. It is this: The bible is the word of the great and eternal Jehovah! How fitting, then, that we should bring to its perusal, a deep and tender awe of spirit.

The.scriptures should be searched with earnest diligence. The bible, though a plain book, treats of the deep things of God. Of course it contains many things too hard to be understood by those who give it only a hasty and careless perusal. It must be studied. It must be searched.. It must be examined with a careful notice of the mutual connexion and dependence of its several parts. Its true meaning must be searched for as for hid treasure. There must be a diligent invesligation—a cautious tracing of its great truths throughout its separate portions. With time for such studious application of mind to the bible, and the means requisite for its critical investigation, no one has a right to expect he shall become mighty in the scriptures, if these means are not improved. And who has not time enough to be a diligent student of the sacred word ?

The scriptures should be searched with feelings of cordial dependence on divine teaching, in order to understand them. Needful as it is that the scriptures be searched with diligence, it is equally so that they be searched under the guidance and illuinination of the Holy Spirit. The bible can never be understood by the mere dint of study. It is a spiritual book, and if we are ever able to understand it as we ought, it will te owing to the teaching of the Holy Spirit-comparing spiritual things with spiritual. A sense of dependance on the Spirit, must then, accompany our diligence; fervent prayer must go along with our study. Why is that man who has undertaken to interpret and preach the gospel, as ignorant of its spiritual import as though he had never read it ? Simply because he has not sought and obtained divine teaching, in his investigation of the lively oracles. So that in this department of inquiry, it is eminently true that "to have fervently prayed, is to have successfully studied.”

The scriptures should be searched with a heart-felt confidence in the truth and reality of all the great things they reveal. Has God spoken to man? Was all scripture given by inspiration of God? Then there is

broad and unshaken ground of confidence in all its disclosures. This confidence should be cherished in the mind through all its careful investigations of the divine word. Unbelief will suggest difficulties at every step The inexplicable things in this wonderful book, will come up to narrow the ground of this confidence. The great foe of God and his truth, will dart his cruel intimations into the mind, that some easier and safer method of salvation may be found, than the bible discloses. Such fiery darts, may at times, almost shake the whole foundation of this confidence. But it must not be cast away, for it hath great present recompense of reward. According to its strength will be the benefits, derived from each successive investigation of the inspired record. And does not the unerring word of God deserve confidence? Shall not the testimony which the living God, the God of truth has given of his Son, be believed ?

The scriptures should be searched with a spirit of practical obedience to their holy requisitions. În vain do we SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES, if the examination is not attended with obedience. Obedience is the grand secret and test of a profitable investigation of the bible. Whoso will do the will of God, shall know of the doctrines of his word. To the obedient student of the divine word, however limited his opportunities or feeble his powers, that word shall not be a sealed book. For the things concerned in the ETERNAL LIFE, which the scriptures bring to light, intricate and difficult as they are to the disputers of this world, are plain to him that so believes as to obey. And what profit can it be to us to search for treasures, which we will not improvewhat benefit to explore the field of everlasting truth, if we will not receive and obey it—what advantage that we examine the chart that accurately marks the dangers, and points out the course along a perilous voyage, if we heedlessly disregard its directions ? This brings me to observe,

III. There are certain leading objects to be kept in

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