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heard a voice say unto him, 'Take up and read, take up and read.' And he forthwith took up the Epistles of St. Paul, and opened them, and secretly read the chapter which he first lighted on, even these words: "Not in gluttony and drunkenness, neither in chambering and wantonness, nor in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and take no thought for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts of the same." (Rom. xiii.)
'I would read no farther (saith he,) for I needed For when I had read to the end of this sentence, all the darkness of doubtfulness vanished away, as if some clear light of security were poured into my heart.' It was as if it had been said, O man, acknowledge thy misery; thou art naked, cover thy filthiness; put upon thee Jesus Christ. And forthwith I felt a fire within me, my heart was lightened, the scales fell from mine eyes, I was able to see. Thus he was comforted and stayed by this, the word of God.
This profit of the word St. Cyprian declareth: 'If we return to the head, and the beginning of the Lord's traditions, all error of man must needs give place.' Theophylactus, writing upon these words in the Gospel of St. John, "He that entereth not in by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, he is a thief and a robber," saith, He entereth not in by the door, that is, by the Scriptures; for he doth not use the Scriptures nor the Prophets as witnesses. For indeed the Scriptures are the door by which we are brought to God, and they suffer not the wolves to come in; they keep off hereties, that we may be in safety; and they teach as
the reason of any thing, wherein we would be instructed; therefore he is a thief which entereth not into the sheep fold by the Scriptures.'
And by the Scriptures it appeareth he is a thief that climbeth up another way, that is, maketh himself another way, a way which was not known, nor beaten such a one shall antichrist be.' What greater profit? They bring us to God, teach us the truth, and give us reason of all things; they keep us in safety, suffer not wolves to devour us, keep off heretics, bewray a thief, and make known who is antichrist.
Therefore, upon the Gospel by St. Luke, he expoundeth these words, "Let your lights be burning;" that is, have not your being in the darkness, and be ye not void of judgment; but take unto you the light of God's word, which will teach you what things you should do, and what things you ought not to do.
And as the word of God is the light to direct us, and to bewray errors, so is it also the standard and beam to try the weights of truth and falsehood. Chrysostom, writing upon the 24th of Matthew, sheweth it were impossible for a man to stay himself, and find out which is the true Church, but by the word of God. For it could not be tried by working of miracles, because the gift of working miracles is taken away; and such false miracles as carry some show, are rather to be found among false Christians; nor yet by their conversation and life, because Christians live either as ill or worse than heretics.'
There can be no trial of true Christianity, and Christians which desire to know the truth, whereupon
they may build their faith, have no other refuge, but to try and learn this by the Scriptures. For (saith he) heretics have the counterfeit and likeness of those things which are proper to Christ; they have churches, they have the Scriptures of God, they have baptism, they have the Lord's supper, and all other things like the true Church; yea, they have Christ himself. He therefore that will know which is the true Church of Christ, how may he know it, but by the Scriptures?'
'Therefore our Lord, knowing that there should be such confusion of things in the latter days, commandeth that Christians, which live in the profession of Christian faith, and are desirous to settle themselves upon a sure ground of faith, should go to no other thing, but to the Scriptures. Otherwise, if they had regard to other things, they should be offended and perish, and not understand which is the true Church.'
The master of a ship, when he is on the main sea, casteth his eye always upon the load-star, and so directeth and guideth his ways. Even so must we, which are passengers and strangers in this world, ever settle our eyes to behold the word of God; so shall no tempest over-blow us; so shall we be guided without danger; so shall we safely arrive in the haven of our rest.
The Prophet David therefore, saith, "Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and seek him with their whole heart. Their faces shall not be ashamed, they shall not be confounded, which have respect unto his commandment. Blessed is the man, whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and in that law doth
exercise himself day and night.
The law of the
Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, and giveth wisdom unto the simple."
This is the rule of our faith. Without this, our faith is but a fantasy, and no faith; for faith is by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Therefore Christ saith, (John v.) " Search the Scriptures; they are they that testify of me." There shall ye find testimony of my doctrine; there shall ye know what is the will of my heavenly Father, and there shall you receive the comfort for everlasting life.
Again, (John viii. 12,)" He that followeth me, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. If a man keep my word, he shall know the truth, he shall never see death." Therefore Baruch saith, (chap. iv.) "O Israel, we are blessed, for the things that are acceptable unto God are declared unto us.' This is thy blessedness; herein hath God shewed his favour unto thee, he hath revealed the secrets of his will unto thee, and hath put his word in thy mouth. He shewed his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel; he hath not dealt so with every nation, neither have they known his judgments.
Therefore the Prophet David teacheth us to pray unto God for the knowledge of his word. "Shew me thy ways, O Lord, and teach me thy paths; take not thy holy Spirit from me, and incline my heart unto thy testimonies. Give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. Open mine eyes, that I may see the wonders of thy law." And, "Lighten mine eyes, that I sleep not in death "that I may know truth to be the truth, and error to be error.
RECOLLECTIONS OF NEW ZEALAND, IN 1833.
By a Staff Officer of the Indian Army.
(Continued from page 278, Vol. VIII.)
Having seen the manner in which the Lord's day is spent at Paihia, I now prepared myself to view the same community when engaged in the ordinary pursuits and employments of the week. Rising at 5 o'clock, I attended the usual morning prayers of the settlement in the church. As I entered, I found a native New Zealander commencing the service, by giving out the verses of a native hymn, which was sung by the whole congregation to the tune of the old hundreth psalm, without the aid of the organ; and certainly with far more harmony than is usual in country churches in England. The whole then knelt, and, in a devout and solemn manner, followed the native (who, I was told, was a baptized convert, and an excellent man) in the morning prayers of our church, repeating after him sentence by sentence. I was here forced upon the reflection of the excellence of our admirable liturgy, and from all I subsequently saw in New Zealand, I am more than ever convinced of its peculiar adaptation to the circumstances of the rising churches of that interesting country, no less than to the more ancient ones of the western world; all of whom, however remote, are thus bound together, as it were, by this form of sound words, under the blessing of the Holy Ghost, "in the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace." I am aware of the opinion