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he prays; "to cast off the works of darkness, and to put on the armour of light," must not content himself with general resolutions. He must minutely acquaint himself with the nature of those works he is to cast off, and of that armour he is to assume. He must take a view of the difficulties he will have to encounter, and of the means of overcoming them. He must understand the strength of the enemy with whom he has to contend, and his own particular weakness, which it will be necessary to guard. He must know what assistance he is to expect; he must confirm his faith; he must invigorate his hope; that he may be encouraged to persevere strenuously in his important work, and not be daunted or depressed by any sufferings, difficulties, or trials, by which his path may happen to be obstructed. Whither is he to resort for information, and for the supply of his necessities, in all these respects? Whither, but to the Scriptures";

"For in holy Scripture is fully contained what we ought to do, and what to eschew; what to believe, what to love, and what to look for at God's hands at length. In these books we shall find the Father from whom, the Son by whom, and the Holy Ghost in whom, all things have their being and keeping up; and these three persons to be but one God and one substance. In these books we may learn to know ourselves, how vile and miserable we be; and also to know God, how

which are "able to make us wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus"." For "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." Accordingly, the words of the text set before us by the Church, in the Epistle appointed for the second Sunday in Advent, declare to us, upon the authority of St. Paul,

good he is of himself, and how he maketh us and all creatures partakers of his goodness.

We may learn also, in these books, to know God's will and pleasure, as much as for this present time, is convenient for us to know. And, as the great clerk and godly preacher, St. John Chrysostom, saith, Whatsoever is required to the salvation of man, is fully contained in the Scripture of God: he that is ignorant, may there learn and have knowledge; he that is hard-hearted and an obstinate sinner, shall there find everlasting torments, prepared of God's justice to make him afraid, and to mollify or soften him; he that is oppressed with misery in this world, shall there find relief in the promises of everlasting life, to his great consolation and comfort; he that is wounded by the devil unto death, shall find there medicine whereby he may be restored again unto health. If it shall require to teach any truth or reprove false doctrine, to rebuke any vice, to commend any virtue, to give good counsel, to comfort or to exhort, or to do any other thing requisite for our salvation; all those things, saith St. Chrysostom, we may learn plentifully of the Scripture."-Homily on Reading the Holy Scripture. Part I.

92 Tim. iii. 15-17.

that "whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning; that we, through patience and comfort of the Scriptures, might have hope." And in unison with this declaration, are the main propositions and petitions of the collect.

Proceed we now to consider them.

The collect opens by suggesting to us fresh causes of love and gratitude. "Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning." Well may the Christian take up the language of the Church; well may he exclaim, "Blessed Lord." O,

that men would consider the inestimable value of these Scriptures-would make themselves sensible of the mercy which gave them! How would they then "praise the Lord for his goodness, and declare the wonders that he doeth for the children of men'!"

But to have a due sense of this goodness, does require consideration; without some degree of reflection and meditation we hardly perceive the value of those Scriptures.

It is remarked (and there are, I believe, few, if any cases, to which the remark does not apply,) that we seldom form a just estimate of the advantages we possess, till we

Psalm cvii. 8. version of the Liturgy.

know what it is to be deprived of them. We have then a double experience. Our perception of the value of blessings is much quickened by regret, and by the contrast, and the inconveniences which we feel upon the loss of them. Who enjoys the pure light of heaven as he does, that has just emerged from the gloom of a dungeon? How exultingly, how gratefully does he hail that sun, which we behold every day with indifference, and with scarcely one thought upon the God who made it! Even so in the full enjoyment of the light of Revelation, it sometimes requires an effort, to make ourselves sensible of its importance. We know not how to form an adequate conception of the gross darkness which enveloped the heathen world.

They knew not the Scriptures. They felt the weakness and the corruption of our nature, but were at a loss whither to turn for assistance. They perceived darkly, that they were liable to the just vengeance of an offended Deity. They had some notion, whether deduced or traditional, of the necessity of an atonement and expiation, to avert the punishments due to guilt, which they knew not how to deprecate. But whence were they to look with any certainty, for that atonement? To them no Saviour had appeared-they had

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heard of no atoning blood, no all-sufficient sacrifice. They "looked, and there was none to help." They ran to and fro seeking for knowledge. The dim and feeble light that gleamed upon them only served to render visible, and more dreadful the gloom which surrounded them; and to fill it with shapeless and indistinct forms of terror. Hence we find them harassed by superstitious horrors-resorting to every, even the most unnatural expedients, for propitiating their gods. We find their altars streaming, and polluted with human gore, and even the "fruit" of their body" offered, "for the sin of their soul." How different" is our situation, through the publication of those holy Scriptures, which our "Blessed Lord" has caused to be written "for our learning." For spiritual knowledge the thirst need never remain unsatisfied. The "living waters have gushed in boundless

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Isaiah Ixiii. 5.

وو

Magee on Atonement, vol. i. p. 96, et seq. edit. 4. "Ibid. vol. i. P. 382-384.

▾ Micah vi. 7.

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"Well might the Apostle say, This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus came into the world to save sinners. How dry and sapless are all the voluminous discourses of Philosophers, compared with this sentence! How jejune and unsatisfactory are all the discoveries, they had of God and his goodness, in comparison of what we have by the Gospel of Christ."-Stilling fleet Orig. Sac. p. 565.

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