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exactly suited to his wants. It makes known to him the power, goodness, and sufficiency of Christ; the glory of his person as God and man, the purpose of his coming into the world, to save sinners; the fulness of that atonement which he has made for sin on the cross; that perfect righteousness, which he has wrought out for every believing soul; his merciful calls to the weary and the heavy-laden: and his readiness to receive and pardon, and cleanse every penitent sinner who comes to him. These great and seasonable truths are revealed in the Word, while the Spirit effectually applies them to the heart. The sinner, burdened with a sense of guilt, receives with joy the tidings of a Saviour; listens with eagerness to the account of his power, grace, and goodness; longs to be found among the number of those, whom he came to save; calls eamestly upon him for mercy; is gradually taught to lay hold of his precious promises; in proportion as he simply trusts to him for grace and righteousness, finds his hopes revived; and thus at length, obtains solid comfort, and is filled with peace and joy in believing.

And are there not some among us, who can testify to this work also of the Spirit on their own souls; who have felt the blessed influence of the Word in binding up the broken heart, and in filling it with comfort and hope, with peace and joy? May the Lord grant us to abound more and more in these proofs of the efficacy of his Word! May he greatly increase among us these glorious instances of his grace and love, and send forth his Spirit to carry the Word with life and power to every heart !

Such is the description here given of the Word of God. We consider,

II. In what manner it ought to be received.

It must be clear, that the word cannot be properly received, unless it be received in a manner suitable to its character and importance. It was 'thus that the Thessalonians received it. The Apostle bears testimony to them, that they received it," not as the Word of Man, but (as it is in truth) the Word of God.”—Thus, if we would receive it as we ought, we must receive it. If we hope to profit by the Word, to give to it, that reception which it deserves, we must receive it as the Word of God.-This general direction contains several particulars, which may be shortly noticed.

i. To receive the word as the word of God, means, that we receive it with attention and reverence. Does God indeed speak, and shall not man listen ; attentively listen ; reverently listen! The majesty and the perfections of Him who speaks, demand this of them. If the High and Lofty One, whose Throne is in heaven, who inhabiteth Eternity, so wonderfully stoops as to address himself to guilty, polluted, perishing sinners; the least which Hecan expect, is that they should lend an attentive, a reverential ear to what He says. God himself frequently claims to be heard on this very ground, that He is "the Lord," who speaketh. Nor can any claim be better founded. He is the Lord who made us; the God, in whose band our breath is, and whose are all our ways: The God, who, in an instant, can destroy both body and soul in hell. Surely, then, when He humbles himself to speak to us, it may with reason be said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."-But, my brethren, how seldom is this admonition obeyed. With how little attention, with how little reverence is the word of God often heard in this favoured land! How many persons are there, who never read the written word, and who seldom put themselves in the way of hearing it preached! How many persons are there, who, when sitting in God's house, listen to his word read and preached with a stupid indifference and an ungodly unconcern: who suffer their thoughts to be wholly fixed on other things: and while they profess to hear the truths of Scripture, are inwardly turning a deaf ear to all that is said ! Surely this is not to receive the Word as the Word of God. Can we wonder that few reap any lasting profit from the ministry of the Gospel, when they listen to it with minds so senseless and hardened; so little touched by a sense of the Presence and Majesty of Him, whose Word they are called to hear!

2. The general direction before us means, that we receive the Word with humility and teachableness. It is God who speaketh. Does it become, us to cavil at his word? God is infinitely wise, and knoweth all things. He is true and faithful, and cannot deceive. Shall we then be so absurd, so impious, as to object to any revelations, which He is pleased in mercy to vouchsafe to us? Shall we say, “This doctrine cannot be true, for I cannot understand it.'• This command cannot be right, for I cannot see the reason of it; - True it is that there may be many things in Scripture, which we can neither explain nor understand. But instead of being surprised that this is the case,

we might rather have wondered had it been otherwise : for God's thoughts and ways are far above ours. The angwer to every objection is this: God has said it. What further proof can I require? It is His word, therefore I give full credit to it!! It is on this ground that God himself demands our faith and obedience. He does not say : Believe this truth, because you see it to be true: but because I tell you that it is so.'-Obey this precept, not because you perceive the reason of it; but because I enjoin it'-To receive then the Word as the Word of God, is to receive it with an humble mind; with a disposition to believe and obey it, on the authority of Him, whose Word it is: with a full conviction, that whatever is either plainly revealed in it, or justly to be drawn from it, is most certainly true; whatever objections may appear to us to lie against it. This is the disposition which St. James recommends, when he directs us to receive with meekness the ingrafted word;"* and without thus receiving it, we can neither benefit ourselves, nor glorify God: nay, we dishonour him, and shall surely ruin our own souls.

3. To receive the Word as the Word of God, means that we receive it as his appointed instrument for the conversion and edification of our souls. We have seen that the Word effectually worketh in them that believe.

* James, i. 21.

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