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ROMANS XV. 4.-" For whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope."

In this comprehensive verse, there is matter for much serious meditation: much more than can well be considered in the limits of a single sermon. But as it forms part of the epistle that you have already heard, and is, moreover, intimately connected with the collect for to-day-a collect from its frequent use by the preacher familiar to you all—I am induced to attempt some short explanation of it.

First, then, the Apostle says, " Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning." That is, all Holy Scripture,—both what we read in the Old and in the New Testament,—was

written for our instruction.

It was written under

God's direction, and the inspiration of His Holy Spirit.

This is a fact to which allusion is often made by the writers of the epistles. Thus, St. Paul, in this very letter from which my text is taken, speaking of Abraham's justification, after quoting from the book of Genesis what is there said of him, "Abraham believed in the Lord, and it was counted to him for righteousness," remarks, "Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him: but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." And in another epistle, (the First to the Corinthians,) after passing in review the privileges granted of old to the Israelites, and their unworthy use of them: after speaking of their ungrateful behaviour toward the High God who had redeemed them from bondage; their idolatry, their fornication, their murmurings, and the punishments which they in consequence brought down upon their guilty heads; the Apostle sums up with this application of their history : "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the world are come."

Again, in that well-known passage, in St. Paul's

Second Epistle to Timothy, in which we have, in the compass of two verses, an account of the whole purpose for which the Holy Scripture was given us "All scripture was given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works." From this passage we may gather some notion of the value-the inestimable value-of the Bible. We see how St. Paul regarded it-as the book of God—the book in which He has caused to be set down a record of his dealings with, and purposes towards, mankind; the book wherein we hear the voice of God speaking audibly to men; giving them laws; directing their lives; ordering their conversation; reproving and punishing their sin; proving their faith; rewarding their obedience; exhibiting in the history of one chosen race, what He requires of all men in order to their true happiness. In short, a book which is able to make us "wise unto salvation, through faith that is in Christ Jesus." Well may we bless God for His goodness in bestowing upon us so rich a treasure. Well and truly does it become us to pray for grace that we may" read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest it."

And this brings me to another part of our subject to consider how we may most profitably learn out of God's word; and this is told us in the latter

portion of the text. We are to read and meditate therein; and for this express end, "that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope." Through "patience and comfort."— Yes, it is by the exercise of patience, by the experience of comfort, that we shall at length attain to a good hope. In, and by these, we shall possess our souls, and keep ourselves in the love of God.

First, by the exercise of patience. By which I would understand, not only a quiet and uncomplaining bearing under the pressure of calamity-that ready acquiescence to the will of God, which He requires of us all-but farther: the submitting to the reproofs and exhortations of the Bible. It is the taking to ourselves, and applying to our several infirmities, what is there spoken of sin, and of the necessity of being holy. Thus the Holy Scripture saith, "the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God." That if we would obtain salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we must not only call Him"Lord, Lord," but take up our cross and follow Him; follow after Him in the path wherein He walked while in the world; in lowliness, meekness, piety, purity, and compassionate love for the souls and bodies of our brother men. Again, the Holy Scripture declares," that if our hand or our eye offend us," we must" cut it off and cast it from us." That is, if we have a besetting sin, (and who

has not?) some vicious inclination that clings to us so closely as to seem part of ourselves; we must get rid of it, root it out, cost the struggle what it may : and for this reason; because unless we do, it will be our ruin-it will destroy both body and soul in hell. So again, the Holy Scripture tells us, that the way to heaven is straight and narrow, and that few there be that find it very few compared with the vast multitudes who miss the road and wander into the broad and easy road that leadeth to destruction.

These are some of many passages of Holy Scripture (and your own memories can easily suggest others) which at first sight appear hard sayings, and repulsive to our natural feelings. But, my brethren, we know that they are true sayings,sayings of Him who is "the Truth;" who would never mislead us in a matter of such infinite moment; and therefore we must not shrink from them, but nourish them and cherish them in our hearts, and seek by the help of His grace to bring our lives into agreement with them. For so we shall find in due time," after we have endured awhile," that" patience worketh experience, and experience hope."

The more we become impressed with the teaching of our blessed Redeemer; the stronger the marks which we bear in our body, of that deadness to this world, and its sinful lusts to which we are

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