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not the poor because of his poverty; he refuseth him not, for he is the God of the poor, they be his creatures.
St. Augustine saith, Almighty God in the Scriptures speaketh as a familiar friend, without dissimulation, unto the hearts both of the learned and of the unlearned.' He abaseth himself, and speaketh to their capacity; for his will is that all should come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved.
Now let us consider with what fear and reverence we ought to come to the hearing or reading of the word of God. "The angel of the Lord appeared unto Moses in a flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush," Exodus iii. When Moses turned aside to see, God said unto him, "Come not hither, put thy shoes off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."
Again, when God had appointed to speak unto the people from mount Sinai, he said to Moses, "Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their clothes, and let them be ready on the third day; for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai," Exodus xix.
The word of the Lord is the bush, out of which issueth a flame of fire. The Scriptures of God are the mount from which the Lord of Hosts doth shew himself. In them God speaketh to us; in them we hear the words of everlasting life. We must be sanctified, and wash our garments, and be ready to hear the voice of the Lord, and to follow him. We must strip off all our affections; we must fall down before him with fear; we must know who it is that
speaketh; even God the maker of heaven and earth; God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; God which shall judge the quick and the dead, before whom all flesh shall appear.
This word is holy. hearts we bestow it.
Let us take heed into what Whosoever abuseth it shall be
found guilty of high trespass against the Lord. We may not receive it to blow up our hearts, and wax proud with our knowledge; we may not use it to maintain debate and contention; we may not use it to vaunt ourselves, or to make shew of our cunning. The word of God teacheth lowliness of mind; it teacheth us to know ourselves. If we learn not humility we learn nothing. Although we seem to know something, yet know we not in such sort as we ought to know.
The Scriptures are the mysteries of God; let us not be curious; let us not seek to know more than God hath revealed by them: they are the sea of God; let us take heed we be not drowned in them: they are the fire of God; let us take comfort by their heat, and warily take heed they burn us not. They that gaze over-hardly upon the sun take blemish in their eyesight.
When the people of Israel saw the manna in the desert, they said, Man Hu?-what is this? So they reasoned of it when they took it up in their hands, and beheld it. They asked one another what good it would do. The Scriptures are manna, given to us from heaven, to feed us in the desert of this world. Let us take them, and behold them, and reason of them, and learn one of another what profit may come to us by them; let us know that they are written for
our sake, and for our learning, that through patience and comfort of the Scriptures we may have hope. They are given us to instruct us in faith, to strengthen us in hope, to open our eyes, and to direct our going. If we withhold the truth in unrighteousness; if we know our master's will, and do it not; if the name of God be ill spoken of through us, the word of God shall be taken away from us, and given to a nation which shall bring forth the fruits thereof. God shall send us strong delusions, that we shall believe lies; our own heart shall condemn us, and we shall be beaten with many stripes.
Therefore we ought diligently to give heed to those things which we hear, we must consider of them, we must chew the cud." Every beast that cheweth not the cud is unclean," Levit. xi., and not fit for the sacrifice. Let us be poor in spirit, and meek in heart ; let us be gentle as becometh the lambs of Christ; and as his sheep let us hear his voice and follow him; let us be of a contrite spirit, and tremble at the words of God; let us, when we know God, glorify him as God. So shall God look upon us; so shall the spirit of wisdom, and understanding, and of counsel, and of knowledge, and of the fear of God, rest upon us; so shall we be made perfect to all good works; so shall we rejoice in his salvation, and with one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
LIKE as wicked boys, when they are bent upon mischief, shut out the schoolmaster; so the Papists, when they would make a traffic of their own trumpery among the people, take special oare that the word of God should be withheld from them.
EFFECT OF THE GOSPEL.
INSTANCES are not wanting to prove that "the word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than the two-edged sword," achieving conquests where moral suasion and human efforts are unavailing. By its peaceful yet constraining influence guilty man is restored to his God; the weapons of his rebellion are thrown away; he that stole, steals no more; the once dishonest no longer attempts to go beyond and defraud his brother, but pays to every man" his own, and "labours" to "owe no man any thing." We have scarcely ever known a more pleasing and powerful instance of the triumph of the gospel over the selfishness of man, than is evinced in the following letter, sent to us for insertion by a Clergyman, intimately acquainted with Mr. Thos. Jelly, of King's Cliffe, Northamptonshire, to whom it was addressed. The writer, twenty-seven years ago, granted a bill of sale of his property, of which Mr. Jelly availed himself, and considered all claims against him as legally settled. Nothing further was heard of him from 1812 till the following communication reached Mr. Jelly in March last, who feels it to be but justice to the Christianity of his long-forgotten debtor to give it all possible publicity, earnestly trusting that all similarly circumstanced with the writer, under whose notice it may fall, will "Go and do likewise."
My dear Friend,
March 10th, 1840.
The Lord knoweth that it hath long been the desire of my heart to do what I am now about to do,
but it has not been in my power; even now I am hiring upon my premises, and to keep my business in good credit, more than £500, I was for some weeks past thinking of paying you £50; but while hearing our faithful Minister (the Clergyman of the parish) last Thursday week giving a lecture on one of the miracles of our blessed Saviour, showing how little he valued the dross of this world, it taught me to feel that if I do in heart desire to be one of his followers, I must obey his commands, however much it may be against my temporal views; viz. "Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them;" not that I am resting my hopes of salvation on acts like these, but I wish to let you know what the religion of Christ has done for me. But it is so many years since I have either seen or heard of you, that I know not whether I am addressing one on this side eternity. I have for a long time been carrying on business without an assistant, in order that I might give you all in my power, which I trust will be the whole amount, viz. £182. The work has been a long time in hand: I have often had the will to do it, but not the power; and now, in some measure, I have to ascribe it all to him "from whom cometh every good and perfect gift." If you could meet at Thursday, the 12th inst., and bring the accounts as they stand, and the amount my goods made in 1812, I shall feel obliged.' I am, Sir,
The debt of £182 was paid to Mr. Jelly on the 26th of March, 1840, a fortnight after the receipt of the letter. J. C. G.