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and, much fine gold. But even this fell short of conveying the full meaning of the Psalmist. Men may highly esteem what they are still unable to love. But the word of God is not only to be esteemed as gold, but to be delighted in more than the most refined pleasures of sense. Honey, proverbial as it is for its sweetness ; yea the honey-comb, or, as it is in the margin, the droppings of honey, that which flows of itself and bursts from the comb, and is therefore most clear and refined—is but a faint image of the treasure which the Christian finds in the Holy Bible. He esteems the words of God's mouth more than his necessary food. His soul is satisfied thereby as with marrow and fatness, whilst his mouth praises God with joyful lips. Yes, there is a delight in the prospect of salvation, in the discoveries of faith, in the contemplation of the promises, in the intimacies of communion, which no words can express. There is not only the knowledge of Christ, but the savour of that knowledge, in the sacred Volume. The name of the Redeemer is as ointment poured forth. All his garments smell, as it were, of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces whereby they have made him glad. Such language expresses the joy of the Christian in the knowledge of his Saviour, the relish and repose and refreshment and reviving of soul which he derives from the knowledge of him; and therefore the
delight with which he loves the word of the truth of the Gospel. This is a point, I am aware, which worldly persons can little understand. They have never felt the burden of their sins, and never been converted and enlightened by the means of the Holy Volume; and therefore have never been in circumstances to experience this delight in the words of pardon and salvation. Like persons with a diseased taste, the sweetest food has no relish to them. But the fact is not, on this account, either the less true or the less important, that, to the awakened and illuminated mind, there is an inexpressible savour and unction and fragrance in the truths of the sacred Scriptures.
But this leads me, in conclusion, to apply the whole of what has been said, by
I. INQUIRING WHAT WE OURSELVES KNOW OF THE WORD OF GOD, AND WHAT EFFECTS IT HAS PRODUCED UPON US.
Have we submitted to the AUTHORITY of Holy Scripture? Have we read and prayed over our Bibles? Do we implicitly bow to the authority of revelation? Do we see that the word of God is perfect and sure and right and pure and eternal? Do we silence the vain reasonings of our corrupt hearts, and simply follow the teaching of the Sacred Volume? Or, instead of doing this, do we satisfy ourselves with
loose and general notions about religion? Do we follow the fashionable standard of opinion around us, and virtually disregard or deny the authority of revealed truth?
What are the EFFECTS which the Bible has produced in us? Supposing that we read our Bibles, which I will now take for granted, let me inquire if we read them seriously and practically, with the express design of saving our souls? Have they been the means of turning us from sin and folly to God? Have they made us wise unto salvation? Have they communicated to us a holy joy? Have they enlightened our eyes? Have they implanted and nourished in us the fear of the Lord ?
If they have not done something of all this for us, I need not ask what VALUE you put on them. I need not ask whether you desire them more than gold, and find them sweeter than the honey-comb. Alas! in this case you are as yet dead to God and religion. No book is probably so dull and uninteresting to you as the Bible. No book so little prized, and so little read. Whilst the royal Psalmist esteemed so highly the small portion of the Scriptures which was extant when he wrote the words of my text, and which was probably little more than the five books of Moses; you disregard the Sacred Volume, now that it contains the full and perfect revelation of the will of God. You are ready
to part with the true riches for the earthly mammon, and to barter away the joys of salvation for the gratifications of sense. But beware: the very Bibles which are in your houses condemn you: the very blessings of revelation increase your guilt : your negligence and unbelief have this aggravation in them, that you
sin against light. Awake then to your duty. Receive not the grace of God in vain. Cast not behind you the invitations of mercy. Consider the plain and striking language of the text. Consider what it states of the PROPERTIES and EFFECTS and VALUE of the Holy Scriptures. Never be satisfied till you have cordially admitted their AUTHORITY and felt their EFFICACY; and then you will begin to understand their VALUE. To this end, implore the teaching and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Beseech him to illuminate your eyes by his heavenly light to see the wondrous things of God's law. Quench not his holy motions; retire from the noise of the world to meditation and prayer; sanctify the Sabbath ; attend with seriousness the public worship of God. Hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the portions of Holy Writ which abound in our Liturgical services. Receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to suve your soul. Thus shall you know yourself and your lost condition. Thus shall you discover your ignorance and folly. Thus shall you feel
your weakness and insufficiency. Thus shall you be directed to the way of pardon, peace, wisdom, and joy.
But I turn from these exhortations to the impenitent, that I may,
II. URGE THE SINCERE CHRISTIAN TO A MORE DEVOUT REGARD TO THE HOLY SCRIPTURES,
The little progress we make in religion is very much to be ascribed to our comparatively low esteem of the Word of God. We read other books and neglect the Bible. We hear what our fellow-creatures say, and forget the authority of revelation. We listen in some degree to our own vain reasonings and suppositions, and virtually dispute with God. We take this or the other part of Scripture, and neglect insensibly the large remainder. We deduce consequences from the Bible, and consider those consequences as of divine authority, and then substitute them tacitly for the Bible itself. We explain away passages of the gravest import, or pass them over cursorily, because they suit not our system or temper of mind. Thus the authoritative declarations of God are imperceptibly questioned; and what wonder, if the EFFECTS of the Bible upon us are so little like those of the text? Let us then study the Bible with silent reverence, with unlimited subjection of understanding and heart, with deep humility, with