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may truly say with St. Paul, Heb: 1 xi. 32. That "the time would fail
me to talk of Gideon, and of * Barak, and of Sampfon, and of
Jeptha, of David also, and of Sa" muel, and of the prophets,” (I may add also) of Stephen, and of Paul, and of Silas, and of Peter, and of the Apostles, " Who through faith - subdued kingdoms ; wrought righ
teousness; obtained promises; stop
ped the mouths of lions," &c. But, far above all these, of the blessed Jefus, " who endured the cross, despi
sing the shame, and is fat down çe on the right hand of the throne of 4
All parts of the holy seriptures, as they relate more or less to the doce trine of a future state, are justly to be
recommended to the perufal of a Chriftian ; but if I
be allowed to prefer any one part to another, I would take upon me more particularly to recommend you to the xwth chapter of St. Paul's ist epiftle to the Corinthians; and to the eleventh chapter of his epiftle to the Hebrews; in the former of which the whole mystery of the resurrection is openly revealed, and its reality established on invincible arguments; and in the latter is fet down a long (though imperfeet) catalogue of worthies, who sealed their faith with their deaths, and left us fo many animating examples of piety, courage and patience ; as cannot faib to strengthen our faith, and comfort us under the severeft trials and afflictions.
: And this, that great apostle assures us, was the principal intention of all the scriptures : " Whatsoever things were
written aforetime, were written for
our learning; that we, through pas tience and comfort of the scriptures,
might have hope."
Having thus considered the scriptures relative to this one point, a future ftate; I cannot think of difmissing you, without some short instructions for your profitable reading of them, with the fame view, extracted from the collect for the second Sunday in Advent. · And,
First, we should premise, that it is necessary for you to read them, according to that facred injunction, S 3
" search the scriptures ;" and with all that diligence and attention that you would naturally apply to the investigation of the moft interesting truth;
" for in them ye think” (or are sure) that“ ye have eternal life :” a point of the greatest consequence to a rational soul.
2dly. We should not only read, but mark what we read; more particularly those passages which contain not only the clearest discoveries, but even the remotest hints of this important truth ; that the light collected from all parts may blaze out into a clearer conviction.
3dly. After reading and marking, bę diligent to learn, or retain what you have read; that ye may be able
to produce, upon every occasion, arguments of comfort for yourself, or others; and to convince, or confute all gainsayers.
: 4thly. What ye have thus read, , marked, and learned, take all the pains you can to digest, or to put into such order in your memories, or in writing, that one part of scripture may follow and agree with another. For as in the human body, if the stomach be loaded with food of disagreeing qualities, a dangerous fickness must necessarily ensue, through the want of a due concoction :-so, if various doctrines, be not properly distinguished, and reduced to method and order and consistency, the like confusion and distemperature may affect our spiritual health, our eternal salvation.