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brought forward the assistance of the Spirit: at least, this appears to be the tendency of his comparison between the Romanist and the Enthusiast, and other observations. We plead not for any supernatural apostolic inspiration; we plead not for any who claim infallibility, whether Papist or Protestant, but we do plead against the idea that reason and learning can of themselves guide us to the full meaning of scripture. We do plead against a mere general admission, that our endeavours are fruitless without the ordinary influence of the Holy Spirit, while the tendency of the jobservations is to show, that reason and learning are every thing. The teaching of the Holy Spirit is of main and vital importance, and should therefore be prominently urged, and not casually admitted.
The promises of this teaching belong to ALL THE "CHILDREN OF GOD. (Isa. liv. 13. Acts ii. 39.) They are not confined to holy prophets and apostles; they are not confined to the time of miracles and the first ages of the church; they belong to all ages, and are (a part of the new covenant (Jer. xxxi. 33, 34.), be
longing to the church from the first outpouring on the day of Pentecost, to the final consummation of all things (John xiv. 16.) Wherever any one comes to Jesus Christ, and relies on him, and thus lays hold of the new covenant, there is this divine teaching. The most ungifted and unlearned, the most guilty and the most polluted, may apply for, and, if they ask in the name of Jesus, shall receive, this teaching, and be enlightened and instructed.
How delightful, then, that most encouraging declaration, If ye being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him. You
can make out no reason why you should not go to the Saviour for this gift. All your unworthiness, your sins, your corruptions, your hard heart, your backslidings, do but show your need of this resource. Just such sinners He came to save. 1. Let us then cast away all pride, and renounce all self-sufficiency. Let remember His promises. Good and upright is the Lord, therefore will he teach sinners in the way; the meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way. Let us urge the earnest prayer, Show me thy way, O Lord; teach me thy paths, lead me in thy truth, and teach me : for thou art the God of my salvation ; and we shall ourselves be living witnesses of the fulfilment of His declaration to his church, All thy children shall be taught of me. , 3. And if we are seeking and have received this divine gift, let us ever remember the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal, The Holy Spirit imparts His gifts, not for self-exaltation, vain glory, or self-aggrandizement, but for the salvation of our souls, for the edification of all around us, and the general good of our fellow-creatures. Just as God hath set the members every one of them in the body as-it pleases him—that the members should have the * same care one for another; so the Holy Spirit divides His gifts to each individual believer, for the general good of the whole church. 3.1. If divine teaching is so ' necessary,
IS THE GREAT PREREQUISITE IN ALL OUR STUDIES. We need to have this urgently enforced, as we suffer the greatest loss in our everlasting concerns by reading - without prayer. We read much, we pray littlę. (The best proficients have been those who have prayed most.
Dr. Dóddridge used frequently to observe, that he
never advanced well in human learning without prayer, and that he always made the most proficiency in his studies when he prayed with the greatest frequency and fervoůr.' Lord Bacon's acquirements were preceded by prayer (see his prayer, chap. x.) Milton's Paradise Lost' was not written without prayer.' His thoughts on planning it were these: This is not to be attained but by devout prayer to the Eternal Spirit, that can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases.' To this must be added industrious and select reading, steady observation and insight into all seemly and generous arts and affairs; tihl which in some measure be compassed I refuse not to sustain this expectation.' " Dr. Johnson infers, . From a promise like this, at once fervid, pious, and rational, might be expected the Paradise Lost.' How earnest are David's prayers for divine teaching, through the 119th Psalm. How distinctly the Apostle adds prayer to meditation, when he prays for Timothy, Consider these things, and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
In fact, all our knowledge of every kind should be made the subject of prayer, both as to its attainment and its application, or we have no security that it will not be perverted rather than improved, and draw the heart from God rather than draw it near to Him; be used against Him rather than for him ; and puff up with pride rather than humble us in the deeper discovery of our ignorance. But knowledge which is preceded by prayer for its acquisition and right application, will be a real blessing to ourselves and to others, will not deaden but promote spiritual affections.
PRAYER FOR DIVINE TEACHING.
FATHER of Lights, and God of all grace! Thou hast promised that Thou wilt give wisdom to them that ask Thee. Feeling my own ignorance, I now ask of Thee to impart out of the fulness of Him in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom, the gift of heavenly wisdom.
I live in a world full of error and full of sin; and to whom can I look with any certainty but unto thee, O Lord. Enlighten my understanding, purify my af fections, and guard me from error. Let not the wicked delude me, and let not the mistakes even of the righteous lead me astray. I am as fallible and liable to error aş others, leave me not therefore to myself, but enable me to adhere to Thy word, and give me the abundance of thy Spirit to guide me into all truth, and make me wise unto salvation, for Jesus Christ's sake, Amen.
THE study of the scriptures is so essential a part of the work of the Christian student, that it requires distinct and primary consideration. Let us never forget in all our studies, that there is but one book of supreme, and paramount, and incalculable value
THE WORD OF GOD-A book to be constantly studied by all ranks and all classes. This is admitted by Protestants ; but it is to be feared that the admission has hardly sufficient influence on any of our minds and practice. - The best students have agreed in asserting that the Holy Scriptures claim the first attention. Melancthon, in his brief method of studying theology, recommends as the first requisite, a familiarity with the text of the Sacred Scriptures, and in order to this, that they should be read daily both morning and evening. The testimonies of men of the greatest learning in their last moments afford strong
· The Reformers insisted much on the general reading of the Scriptures. Harding, the antagonist of Bishop Jewell, having brought various objections against this general study as unnecessary, inconvenient, unprofitable and dangerous, and if not that, still that the translations were unsound; Jewell replies, These deep considerations were never devised, neither by Moses, nor by Christ, nor by the Apostles, nor by any ancient Fathers; but are brought in now at last by them that have of long time deceived the world by ignorance, and yet labour by the same to deceive it still. Christ says, “He that does ill, flies the trial of the light;' and Mr, Harding's own Amphilochius says, “It is the natural provision of them that be wilfully deceived to convey out of sight all proofs and testimonies of the truth.' So the Philistines, the better to keep the Jews thrall and in subjection, utterly bereaved them of all manner of weapon and artillery, and left them naked, and no doubt bear them in hand, as Mr. Harding does now the people of God, that it was neither necessary nor convenient, nor profitable for them to have armour. Verily Chrysostom says,
It is more necessary, more convenient, and more profitable for the lay people to read God's word, than for monks, priests, or any others. Thus he writes, “This it is, that, as it were with a pestilence, infects all things, that ye think that the reading of the Scriptures pertains only unto monks; whereas it is much more necessary for you than for them. It is more wickedness to think God's law is superfluous, than if ye should never read it, for these be words that no doubt came from the study of the devil:- Thus, much therefore we learn here by Chrysostom, that Mr. Harding's profound considerations come from the study and closet of the devil.'