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lay in darkness and the shadow of death ; that he might make us children of God, and exalt us to everlasting life'." Meditate also on the object of his second coming, to judge the world in righteousness.

Let the united influence of gratitude and fear arising from both these considerations animate your hearts, and regulate your conduct; render you earnest, and sincere in your en

, deavours, anxious to avail yourselves of all means and to embrace all opportunities, of “ casting away the works of darkness, and putting on the armour of light.”

As means conducing to these ends you pray,

II. Secondly, That you may have grace, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” those holy Scriptures which have been “ written for our learning.” So read them, then, as men really desirous to cast away the works of darkness, and to put upon you the armour of light; to “ embrace,” and to "hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which” has been “ given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.” You are to read them, then (as we have already shewn) not to cavil and object, but to learn, and to obey; not to exhibit your own acuteness, or to gratify your conceit; but to admire, and adore the infinite wisdom of God;

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and to know your own ignorance and littleness; not to pry into what is not revealed; but to receive with faith and humility what is revealed. You are to read them, not to scoff, but to reverence; not to speculate, but to act; not merely to learn your duty, but to do it.

Unless you read with these intentions, vainly do you bless the Lord, who has "caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning." You bless him with your lips, but your hearts are "far from him." You know neither the value, nor the use of the gift, for which you bless him. Vainly, also do you pray him to grant you may so "read, learn, mark, and inwardly digest," those Scriptures, as to embrace and hold fast the hope of everlasting life. They will not thus assist you to "cast away the works of darkness and put upon you the armour of light" in this mortal life: neither will they, when Christ shall come "to judge the quick, and dead," have conducted you to the "life immortal."

III. You pray our "Lord Jesus Christ," to grant" that his ministers may so prepare and make ready his "way," by turning the hearts of the "disobedient to the wisdom of the just," that "at his second coming to judge the world, we may be found an accept

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able people in his sight." If then this prayer is offered with sincerity, you will be in a frame of mind, to profit by our Saviour's caution, "Take heed how ye hear"" You will recollect how much must necessarily depend upon the disposition and attention, with which these ministers are heard. The word, when preached by the Apostles," with great power," with signs, and wonders-nay, even when preached by our blessed Lord himself; was not always successful, but produced fruit according to the soil on which it fell; accordingly as the hearts and affections of the hearers were more or less disposed to receive it. We have the advantage of only the ordinary gifts of the Spirit; of those gifts which, with the proper exertion of our and your abilities, and means, are sufficient to enable us to fulfil the important purposes of our calling. We preach not as our Saviour did, working miracles to confirm the word-we have not the extraordinary gifts which were conferred on the Apostles, we preach not "in demonstration of the Spirit and in power"." Our pretensions are far more humble, our infirmities greater than theirs. How, then, can it be expected that our preaching should avail, unless seconded by your efforts and co-opera

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n 1 Cor. ii. 4.

Luke viii. 18.

tion? If then, I say, you are in earnest in your prayer for God's ministers, you will “ take heed how ye hear.” 66

” Hear us with deference, with allowance, with attention, and with sincerity.

Endeavour to regard with a favourable disposition, and with respect, at least, the sacred office which we hold. Cherish these sentiments in your own hearts.

Do nothing, say nothing, which may tend to weaken them in the hearts of others. Hear us, not to cavil, or to sneer. Hear us, not merely to criticise our discourses. Examine them if you please, (you cannot examine them too closely) examine and

compare

them with the Scriptures. But examine and compare them for these ends, and with these intentions ; not eager to detect, and publish our trivial mistakes; but anxious to prove whether we teach sound doctrine ; and determined, if we shall have spoken

; the word of God in truth, forthwith to comply with our exhortations, and to practise the duties we recommend. Unless

you thus hear us, our preaching will be but as the “ wind :” your prayer for God's blessing an empty formality, an unmeaning mockery. He, who sent his messenger before him to prepare his way, he will not

, consider those as an acceptable people," who

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we be careful for nothing; we must be cautious not to extend the encouragement given us by the Apostle beyond the proper

limits. He says indeed, “ be careful for nothing," be not over-anxious; but he does not here or elsewhere, (I have before pressed, and cannot too strongly press this upon your notice); he does not countenance supineness and inactivity in our spiritual concerns. He does not authorize us merely to “make known' our requests unto God," and then to take no farther trouble in “ working out our salvation.”

66 No. This would be in positive contradiction to the whole tenor of the religion which he preached, and to his own exhortations in various other parts of his writings.

We are taught that we must strive for the mastery; that the race that is set before us. must be run ; that we have impediments to obstruct us, and very formidable impediments; we are taught too that in our difficulties and distresses we may make “known our requests to God, by prayer and supplication.” But they must be such requests as are sanctioned by the Scriptures : not the requests of the idle and supine, who will do nothing for himself; but of the diligent and sincere believer, who exerts himself to the utmost in his Christian calling, and who knowing his weakness

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