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we are crowned in the day of our espousals, and in the day of the gladness of our heart; and it is quite impossible to mistake it for the delusions of fancy, as it is only to be obtained by long, patient, and sincere observance of scriptural ordinances, espe
Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour, praise, and glory, might, majesty, dominion, and thanksgiving, for ever and ever. Amen.
ON THE ANALOGY BETWEEN SPIRITUAL AND
Matthew iv. 4.
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that
proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
THESE words suggest a comparison between the life of the soul and the life of the body. The analogy is elsewhere noticed in Scripture. Our Lord calls himself the bread of life. Our dependence on Him as to the life of the soul, as to the strengthening and refreshing of the soul is signified by eating bread and drinking wine. St. Peter compares the word of life to the milk which is the food of babes. · In this analogy first it is to be observed, that the life of the soul, like the life of the body requires constant food and nourishment, and that without food and nourishment it dies. The death of the soul is not indeed so obvious to sense as the death of the body, yet, as surely as a branch will die if severed from the root, so surely will that soul
) become dead in trespasses and sins, which does not seek the preservation of its life by communion with Christ and nourishment from his word.
It is also to be observed that the life of the soul like the life of the body requires abundance of food. Now He who hath given us all things necessary for life has given us all things necessary for godliness, and the plenteousness wherewith He hath furnished the earth will sooner be exhausted than the spiritual food which His word contains.
It is also to be observed that the life of the soul like that of the body must remain in continual dependence on the Lord of Life. We can never say soul thou hast much goods laid up for many years. Give us this day our daily bread is a prayer as necessary for the wants of the soul as for the wants of the body.
It is also to be observed that the life of the soul like that of the body requires food of a like nature to itself. The food of the body being corruptible shows that the body itself is corruptible; but the food of the soul, which is the word of God, being incorruptible, shows us that the soul is also incorruptible.
It is also to be observed that the life of the soul like that of the body requires food which is good and nourishing. Now the word of God satisfies the soul as with marrow and fatness. The word of God is the only food which keeps the soul in life and hope, in health and strength. The word of God is sweeter to the soul than honey and the honeycomb.
It is also to be observed that the life of the soul like that of the body requires not only that its food be good and nourishing, but that the person that receives it be in a healthy condition. As the best food is rejected by a person in a fever, so will the bread of life be loathsome to persons of vain, impure, malignant hearts. If we wish to be nourished by this word of life we must have an appetite for it, by casting out from our heart all that with which this word will not mix. As throughout nature one thing is so set over against another as to require the concurrence of two corresponding objects to produce any effect, (for instance appetite with regard to food in order to uourishment,) so it is in regard to the life of the soul. There must be the food itself, there must be the inclination for the food, and there must be the nourishment from the food; in the language of Scripture, we must desire the sincere milk of the word that we may grow thereby; we must desire it as babes, that is, with a heart cleansed from all evil affections.
It is also to be observed that the life of the soul, like that of the body, requires, in order to the digestion of its food, that it have vital warmth imparted to it. What exercise is to the body, prayer, reading, and meditation is to the soul. These ordinances, however, avail not otherwise than as the channel by which the Lord imparts that vital warmth to the soul which keeps in it life and health.
It is also to be observed that the life of the soul like that of the body requires that we so prepare
our food for our reception as that we may receive it to our nourishment. As no man can satisfy his hunger by gazing on a field of corn, so, no one can derive
nourishment to the soul from reading a chapter in the Bible, going his way, and straightway forgetting his case, what manner of person he is, and what manner of
person to be. The corn must be reaped, gathered into a barn, threshed, winnowed, and ground in a mill before it can be converted into bread for our nourishment. The word of life requires as much pains as this if it be converted into the food and nourishment of the soul. We must not look on the Bible as one thing and on our soul as another. The Bible is our food, the food of our soul. It must be engrafted within us. Now there is a faculty, my brethren, which He who commanded the Bible to be written has given unto us that we might engraft it within us, a faculty universally bestowed, and of wonderful power for conveying and engrafting this word into the heart, in regard to all persons in all conditions and circumstances of life, from the king on his throne to the beggar in the streets,- I mean memory. Having learned by heart any part of the Bible, psalm, hymn, or spiritual song, the soul may feed upon it at ease and at leisure, in times, and in places in which it otherwise would be feeding on husks, wasting or misemploying its power. The camel which traverses the desarts is furnished by the Lord with a kind of natural vessel in which the animal carries