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Therefore Christ calleth all : “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden :" i young men and old men, men and women, rich and poor, come to me. “God is no respecter of persons.
“ It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven," saith Christ, " that one of these little ones should perish.”!
" Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”m God “ will look to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at his word:"n God will regard such a one, and make him a fit vessel to receive his truth. Upon him that is such an one shall the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of God, rest : not only upon the rich, the wise, the learned, but upon him that is poor, and of a contrite heart, and trembleth at his words; upon him that “ humbleth himself under the mighty hand of God;" he is the temple and tabernacle of the Holy Ghost. He that is humble in heart shall be saved ;9 “God resisteth the proud and viveth grace unto the humble.”
Therefore Christ said, “ I thank thee, O Father, LORD of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes," even to such as have no learning, which rejoice in nothing but in thee. The wise and learned of the world cannot hear them, cannot see them; but they to · whom it pleased thee to give understanding. It is thy mercy. Flesh and blood cannot reach the knowledge of thy will. The SPIRIT of the Father hath revealed it. CHRIST saith, “ My sheep hear
my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; they will not follow a stranger.”u My people are simple as sheep, they are rude and know not what they do; yet they know my voice, and follow me; they know their shepherd from a thief; they follow not the call and voice of a stranger.—So we see that God chaseth no man away from hearing his word : he loatheth not the poor, because of his poverty: he
i Matt. xi. 28.
* Acts x. 34. - 1 Tim. ii. 4.
Isa. lxvi. 2. p 1 Cor. vi. 19. Isa, lvii. 15. + James iv. 6.
• Matt. xi. 25. • John x. 3, 4, 5.
1 Matt. xviii. 14. o 1 Pet. v. 6. ų Job xxii. 29. 1 1 Cor. ii. 9, 10.
refuseth him not; for he is the God of the poor; they be his creatures. St. AUGUSTINE saith, 6 Almighty God, in the Scriptures, speaketh as a familiar friend, without dissimulation, unto the hearts both of the learned and of the unlearned.” He abaseth himself, and speaketh to their capacity ; for his will is, that all should come to the knowledge of the truth, and be saved.
Now let us consider with what fear and reverence we ought to come to the hearing or reading of the word of God.
“ The angel of the LORD appeared unto Moses in a flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush :"w when Moses turned aside to see, God said unto him, “Draw not nigh hither : put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”* Again, when God had appointed to speak unto the people from Mount Sinai, he said unto Moses: “Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their clothes, and be ready against the third day; for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai.” y
The word of the LORD is the bush, out of which issueth a flame of fire. The Scriptures of God are the mount, from which the Lord of Hosts doth show himself. In them God speaketh to us : in them we hear the words of everlasting life. We must be sanctified, and wash our garments, and be ready to hear the LORD. We must strip off all our affections : we must fall down before him with fear: we must know who it is that speaketh; even God the maker of heaven and earth ; God the Father of our LORD JESUS CHRIST ; GOD which shall judge the quick and the dead-before whom all flesh shall appear.
This word is holy. Let us take heed into what hearts we bestow it. Whosoever abaseth it, shall be found guilty of high trespass against the LORD. We may not receive it to blow up our hearts, and wax
“Deus in Scripturis quasi amicus familiaris loquitur ad cor doctorum et indoctorum.” August. Ep. 3 ad Volusianum,
Exod. iii. 2. - Exod. üi, 3, 5. » Exod. xix. 10, 11.
proud with our knowledge. We may not use it to maintain debate and contention. We may not use it to vaunt ourselves, or to make show of our cunning. The word of God teacheth lowliness of mind ; it teacheth us to know ourselves. If we learn not humility, we learn nothing. Although we seem to know somewhat, yet know we not in such sort as we ought to know.z
The Scriptures are mysteries of God; let us not be curious ; let us not seek to know more than God hath revealed by them. They are the sea of God; let us take heed we be not drowned in them. They are the fire of God; let us take comfort in their heat, and warily take heed they burn us not. They that gaze over-hardly upon the sun, take blemish in their eyesight.
When the people of Israel saw the manna in the desert, they said, Man-Hu? What is this? So they reasoned of it when they took it up in their hands, and beheld it. They asked one another what good it would do.--The Scriptures are manna,b given to us from heaven, to feed us in the desert of this world. Let us take them, and learn one of another what profit may come to us by them : let us know that they are written for our sake, and “ for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”c They are given us to instruct us in faith, to strengthen us in hope, to open our eyes, and to direct our going.
If we withhold the truth in unrighteousness—if we know our Master's will, and do it not;d if the name of God be ill spoken of through us,e the word of God shall be taken away from us, and given to a nation which shall bring forth the fruits thereof. God shall send us strong delusions, that we shall believe lies ;8 our own hearts shall condemn us,h and we shall be beaten with many stripes.
“ Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to those things which we have heard." We must
1 Cor. viii. 2. a Exod. xvi. 15. b John vii. © Rom. xiv. 4. d Luke xii, 47. e 2 Pet. ii. 2. * Matt. xxi. 43. & 2 Thess. ii. 11. h 1 John iii. 20. Tit. ü, 11. i Luke xii. 47. k Heb. ii. 1.
consider them, we must chew the cud : 6 beast that cheweth not the cud is unclean,'
91 and not fit for the sacrifice. Let us be poor in spirit, and meek in heart : let us be gentle, as becometh the lambs of CHRIST ; and as his sheep, let us hear his voice, and follow him : let us be of a contrite spirit, and tremble at the words of God: let us, when we know God, glorify him as God.m
So shall God look upon us. So shall the spirit of wisdom, and understanding, and of counsel, and of knowledge, and of the fear of God, rest upon us. So shall we be made perfect to all good works. So shall we rejoice in his salvation, and “ with one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our LORD JESUS CHRIST.'
Lev. xi. 26. [This may be regarded as a happy allusion : but surely it is of exceeding little value in confirmation of the argument !] m Rom. i. 21.
• Rom. xv. 6.
END OF VOL. III.