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living way" which is opened up to us, through the sufferings and death of the Lord our rigliteousness.” Nothing but a righteousness absolutely perfect can justify us before the throne of God; and unless we are simply depending on Christ as our only and all-sufficient Saviour, we do not believe
him at all, in the Scripture sense of the term. And there is no middle way.
“ He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life : and he that believeth not shall not see life ; but the wrath of God abideth upon him," John iii. 36. If endeavouring in any degree to establish your own righteousness, you are not submitting to the righteousness of God: see Rom. x. 3, 4. You are not trusting to Him whose righteousness is “imputed," that is, placed to the account of “them that believe;" you are not taking hold of the way of life, you are in a wrong way; you must return.
Once more: although you have a correct notion of the gospel plan of salvation, and rank among the professed disciples of Christ; if you have never experienced that change of heart which the Bible declares to be necessary, whatever light may have shone upon you from without, you are not, you cannot be, in the right way; for that is the way of filial fear and love toward God as to the heart, as well as of holy obedience in the life. Yours may seem, more than any, both to yourselves and to others, to be the right way; but oh! it is the most fearful of all-it is the way of the hypocrite ; and what is his hope when God taketh away his soul ? Job xxvii. 8. “Then I saw," it is said in the conclusion of one of the most instructive and impressive of all uninspired books, " that there was a way to hell, even from the gates of heaven:" see the end of Pilgrim's Progress, Part I. You are indeed in a wrong way; you must return.
See, then, “ that ye refuse not him that speaketh." Lo! a voice comes from heaven; God himself condescends to address his wandering, guilty creatures. He addresses you. It is not, however, as it might have been, in anger, and wrath, and fiery indignation. It is not, as it might have been, simply to utter the dreadful sentence, Depart from me for ever. No! far otherwise. It is a word of pity and long-suffering, lovingkindness and tender mercy.
RETURN! You have wandered far from me; you have wilfully forsaken me; you have preferred the gratification of your vilest lusts and passions to the fulfilment of my will._Yet have I "thoughts of peace towards you, and not of evil."
and not of evil.” For “ I am God, and not man. “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die ? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live ?” Ezek. xviii. 23.
RETURN! Your sins are more in number than you are I will yet WHY SHOULD I STUDY THE BIBLE ?
think they are, they deserve everlasting punishment; yet there is hope; "only acknowledge thine iniquity.”. “ Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts : and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon," Isa. lv. 7.
Return! for I have found a ransom, through the atonement of my beloved Son, who died that you might live; I will “ blot out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me, for I have redeemed thee,” Isa. xliv. 22.
Return unto me, and I will return unto you in lovingkindness, and in faithfulness, and in tender mercies. bestow upon you all the blessings of my love; for I will be your God, and ye shall be my people, when ye return unto 'me with your whole heart, Jer. xxiv. 7.
RETURN! and you shall be guided by a right way, far different from that in which you have been hitherto, to that blessedness for which man was at first created, and which shall satisfy to the utmost every desire of your renewed soul. For “the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away,” Isa. xxxv. 10.
Oh! what a blessed turning point in life it is, when this gracious invitation is heartily accepted and complied with. This is indeed conversion—a turning "from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God”—a turning from self, and vanity, and sin, " to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, even Jesus, who delivereth us from the wrath to come,” 1 Thess. i. 10.
Reader ! can you withstand such Divine compassion and lovingkindness? Are you not ready at once to say--for be assured you cannot return in your own strength—"Turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God,” Jer. xxxi. 18–20.
If you are still determined not to return unto the Lord according to his gracious invitation, then there is but one message more for
will find in the 4th chapter of the prophecy of Amos. God is there represented as speaking to his people by his providence as well as his word; but it is added, “Yet have ye returned not unto me, saith the Lord.” He speaks again, and again, and again ; and after every time it is added, “ Yet have ye returned not unto me, saith the Lord.” What then follows ? The Divine declaration and the Divine punishment: “Therefore, thus will I do unto thee; and because I will do this unto thee, PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD!"
1. Because it is the word of God, my best Friend, and the study of it is enjoined by him." All Scripture is given by inspiration of God," 2 Tim. ii. 16. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost," 2 Pet. i. 21. “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul,” Deut. xi. 18.* “ To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them," Isa. viii. 20. “ Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me," John v. 39.
2. Because of its wonderful and perfect character. Thy testimonies are wonderful ; therefore doth my soul keep them, Psa. cxix. 129. “Thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth," Isa. xxv. 1. “ The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword; piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart,” Heb. iv. 12. “The word of the Lord endureth for ever," 1 Pet. i. 25. 3. Because of its gracious design and tendency.
6. The law of
the Lord is perfect, converting the soul : the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honey-comb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward,” Psa. xix. 7, 10, 11. " Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope," Rom. xv. 4. “ Which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus," 2 Tim. iii. 15.
4. Because it is necessary to my spiritual nourishment and stability. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” Mat. iv. 4. “ Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” “ That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ,” Eph. vi. 16, 17; iv. 14, 15.
5. Because it will enlighten my mind. “ The commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life,” Prov. vi. 23. “ The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple," Psa. cxix. 120. “Meditate on these things; give thyself wholly to them ; that thy profiting may appear to all," 1 Tim. iv. 15.
6. Because it will preserve me from sin. 6 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” Psa. cxix. 9, 11. “ Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips have I kept me from the paths of the destroyer," Psa. xvii. 4. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth,” John xvii. 17.
7. Because it will cheer my soul in affliction and death. the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul,” Psa. xciv. 19. Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction," Psa. cxix. 54, 92. “ Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me,” Psa. xxiii. 4.
8. Because it will promote my eternal welfare. “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life," John
hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel," 2 Tim. i. 10.
. 9. Because the neglect of it will subject me to God's righteous condemnation. “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven," Heb. xii. 25. “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels,” Luke ix. 26.
If you are convinced that you should study the Scriptures, you will be anxious to inquire,
HOW SHOULD I STUDY THE BIBLE ? Dependently." Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the Lord thy God, which teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go," Isa. xlviii. 17. “ The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God," 1 Cor. ii. 10.
Prayerfully.—"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart," Psa. cxix. 18, 31.
Constantly." This book of the law shall not departout of thy mouth ; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein : for then shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success," Josh. i. 8.
Meekly.--"As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby," 1 Pet. ii. 2. “Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls," James i. 21.
Retentively." And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart,” Deut. vi. 6. “Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart, Job xxii. 22. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,” Col. iii. 16.
Practically.-"Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed," James i. 22, 25. For
your encouragement, notice the following
EXAMPLES OF REGARD TO THE BIBLE,
Jerome said, he never went to meals without some part