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holiness, and the end everlasting life. And the same effects arise from the same doctrines now. For God's grace and God's truth always go together: wherever the Gospel is received, it comes not in word only, but, as the Apostle says, both “in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance." The drunkard becomes sober; the swearer learns to fear an oath; the man who lived in chambering and wantonness, no longer follows the desires of the flesh; the proud are humbled; the avaricious become liberal; and they who walked by sight walk by faith. “ We speak that we do know, and testify that which we have seen."

And we must also observe the value of the Scriptures, as it appears, not only when personally, but relatively considered. You will observe, that where it is not available to renew, it restrains: where it does not sanctify, it civilizes. The Jews had the Oracles of God committed to them; this it was which humanized them. Ahab, and his predecessors, were far from being good men; and yet, you see, they had obtained the character, in all the surrounding nations, of merciful men : “ The kings of Israel are merciful kings:" and so they were comparatively. You might have gone from one end of the pagan world to the other, and not have seen a hospital or a poor-house. What is it that, more than any thing else, has served to soften the fierceness of the passions, and correct the sarageness of the manners of the multitude? What is it that will finally beat the sword into the plough-share, the spear into the pruning-hook, and put an end to war? What is it that has already softened its horrors so? If after a battle now prisoners were ever put to death in cold blood, if the meanest captive after an action now were to be maltreated, the earth would ring from one end to the other with the horror. What is it that will finally banish slavery? (the rectitude of which, by the way, none of the liberals of Rome and Greece ever questioned): yea, what is it that has abolished it, in the noblest and mightiest empire under heaven? I am persuaded, “ the glorious Gospel of the blessed God." What is it that has reduced marriage to its original institution, and by excluding polygamy and divorce, at once has reduced it to a state of purity, and peace, and happiness ? And what is it that has so raised the tone of morals amongst us, that the very vices which the most admired characters of antiquity practised, and dared to avow themselves, now drive a man from the very dregs of society? What is it that makes us revere the memory of a Howard or a Wilberforce, because they pitied and relieved the distressed ?

How precious should the Scriptures be that have closed so many avenues of wretchedness, and opened so many scenes to them of comfort. I would only ask any candid individual, What now would be the state of every family, and every nation, if the precepts of this book were universally obeyed, and the spirit of this book was universally felt? Why our earth would be turned into a paradise. The few words of the apostle, “ By love serve one another," were they enthroned in every heart, soon the wilderness and solitary place would be made glad, and the desert would rejoice and blosson as the rose.

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Thirdly, let us consider THE SEASON OP ITS PRECIOUSNESS. It would be precious in itself, if no one ever regarded it: just as the jewel is equally valuable though the swine trample it under its hoofs. But it is with the word as it is with the Author of it; “ to them that believe he is precious," and to them anat

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believe it is precious Good men have always been fond, (shall I say,) fond of the Word of Gode Job said, “ Y esteem the words of thy mouth more than my necessary food." David says, “ More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold :" he gives it as the character of the godly inan, that “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” “I prefer,” says the Hon. Mr. Boyle, “one sprig of the tree of life to a whole wood of bay." You may meet with a great number of such expressions in “ Simpson's Plea for Religion."

But it would seem from our text, that there are seasons in which the word of the Lord is particularly precious.

“ The word of the Lord was particularly precious in those days.What days? First the days of destitution. Such were the days of Samuel : this was the case also in after times with the church, when they said, “We see not any signs: there is no more any prophet ; neither is there among us, any that knoweth how long." This was implied in the prophecy, “ The Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction; yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers : and thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” It is expressed in the threatening, “ Behold the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst of water, but of hearing the words of the Lord : and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” Josiah had but once seen a copy of the law in his life; but a man who was employed to cleanse the temple found one, and it was soon carried to him, and the young prince ordered it to be read, and wept and wept again. How precious were the Scriptures before their translation; how many were there to whom the sacred treasure was inaccessible. Suppose now the word of God was remaining in the original Hebrew and Greek, what would it then be to you? Why, it would be like a spring shut up, a fountain sealed; like so many fine paintings hung up in a dark room. “ The word of the Lord was precious in those days ;” and therefore upon the completion of Luther's translation, an annual feast was instituted, which was called “ The Feast of the Translation.” And after its translation how precious was it, owing to the trouble and expense of transcription, before the invention of the art of printing. How precious was it in the days of Henry the Eighth; for though it was then in print, this detestable tyrant issued an order, that it should not be read by any children, or apprentices, or husbandmen, or mechanics, or women. In the days of Queen Mary the use of it was absolutely prohibited : we read of one farmer who gave a whole load of hay for a single leaf of one of the epistles. “The word of the Lord was precious in those days." When Elizabeth ascended the throne, the prisons resigned their victims; yet she received a petition, very numerously and respectably signed, beseeching her to release four very worthy and honest men, who were still in confinement, namely, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. When she passed through Cheapside, the citizens presented her with a New Testament; she kissed it, and pressing it to her bosom, said, “ This shall be the rule of my government.” Yet for a considerable time the word of God was so scarce, that a large Bible was ordered to be coained to a ledge in the aisle of every parish church ; and there the

common people, before and after service, pressca to read it over each other s shoulders, as the earth in a drought drinks in the rain. 1° a later, and an unhappy age, two thousand men, of whom the world was not worthy, suffered for conscience' sake, and were deprived of their livings. It is true that the Scriptures continued still in circulation, but they who preached them published them no longer, and the people could no longer hear from them the joyful sound, unless by stealth, and in concealment, and at night. “ The word of the Lord was precious in those days.”

I remember many years ago going over a considerable part of Wales, and I found that the word of God was so scarce in their own language, that it was no uncommon thing for several families to possess one Bible as the common joint property; and each family had the use and the reading of it for a week or a month successively; and I dare say they made a very good use of it. “ The word of the Lord was precious in those days." Nothing, I think, can be more affecting, than the account Mr. Charles, of Bala, gives of the arrival—the first arrival of the Scriptures, from the British and Foreign Bible Society—the noblest institution that has been established since the apostolic days. He tells us, that when the people found that the vehicle laden with Bibles and Testaments, was drawing nigh, they went out in a body, withdrew the horses, and drew the vehicle themselves into the market-place, where the Bibles and Testaments were to be distributed. What a scene was this! I declare before God, I would rather have witnessed such a scene than a Roman triumph. We have seen heroes whose laurels have been drenched in blood; we have seen parliamentary hypocrites, in the kindness of their youth, and the love of their espousals, drawn along by human animals: but here was the Lamb of God; here was the Saviour of the world, drawn in triumph! We are reminded by this circumstance of something that happened at Jerusalem, when the multitude that went before, and the multitude that followed after, cried, “ Hosannah, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” So precious was the word of God, that in a few hours the whole carriage load of Bibles was disposed of. The mechanic took the book along with him into his shop, to dip into it at his leisure: the rustic took it to the field, to soften his toil, and sweeten his homely meeting: the children (blessed be God for Sunday Schools, for they had been prepared by these for reading the Scriptures) the children read the book to their parents, and the aged man shook his hoary locks for joy.

There may be something like these days of destitution existing in some instances now: they may be produced by accidents, by diseases, by deafnesses, and so on. One is deaf, so that he cannot hear the word; another is blind, so that he cannot sec. I remember, some years ago, a farmer in the country, a very pious man, he was advancing in years, and his eyes were growing dim: I often saw him reading the Scriptures at his window, and often sitting at his door, and he seemed to be musing as well as reading; he seemed to be committing it to memory: and when I asked him, I found this was the case: “0," said he, “I am inaking provision for a dark day, that when I can no longer read, in the multitude of my thoughts I shall have comfort left to my soul."

My dear hearers, we all know best the value of a thing by the want of it. A wife may not be undervalued, and yet the importance attached to that relationship is not duly felt until the delight of our eyes is remored by a stroke, and the body is no longer seen moving about, in all the decencies and delights of domestic life: in the garden, and at the table, her seat is empty. Who values health so much as the man who has been made to possess months of vanity, and had wearisome nights appointed him; “ when the soul refuses da’nty meat, and his life draws uear to the destroyers ?" You children do value your mother; but you will value ner more when she is withdrawn, and in vain you look after the boson that has been the asylum of your course. Then you will enter into the meaning of David's words—" As one that mourneth for his mother.”

“ The word of the Lord was precious in those days." What days? The days of conviction. You remember, Christians, such seasons : you remeinber the wormwood and the gall : you remember how, by some Scripture, or by some sermon, or by some providence, your carnal heart was broken up, and conscience, which had been a slave, grew into the majesty of a judge, and summoned you to his bar. You have felt that your case was desperate as to yourselves, that it was beyond the reach of men and angels. And who told you that there was hope in Israel concerning this thing? You say,

" 'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,

And grace that fear removed.
How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed !" If you were sick unto death, and you saw a number of books in a room upon a table where you were seated, and you should ask, “ What are these?” and a person should say, “0, one of them treats of your very disorder, and announces a remedy for it that was never received in vain.” “0,” you would say, “ bring that book here ; read that book to me; that is the most precious book for me." How did the Bible fill your minds, awakened and enlightened, at first ! O, how above every other book were the Scriptures regarded : how precious was the word of the Lord then: how often your tear dropped upon the page then: how you delighted to hear the word: how you numbered the days and the hours before you repaired to the house of God to hear the words of eternal life!

“ The word of the Lord was precious in those days." What days? The days of affliction. Who is free from affliction? “ Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.” Who is free from it even in this assembly? Is he free who is saying, “ My purposes are broken, even the thoughts of my heart?" Is he free who, bereaved of his connexions, is saying, “ Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness ?” Is he free whose eye rests upon the shadow of death, and, under the influence of a noisome disease, is saying, “I shall behold man no more?" With the inhabitants of the earth in such days what is precious? Is not the word of God? Ask David, an old and a great sufferer : “ Ah," says he, “ unless thy law had been my delight, I should then have perished in mine affliction. This is my comfort in my affliction-thy wora has quickened me." The Scripture is never so precious as it is in the hour of trouble: I have been there; I am there.

This blessed Book says, as its Author did, “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but in ne ye shall have peace." It assures us that nothing occurs by chance, that all is the act of litaien.y arrangement—the arrangement of our Father and our Friend: that all will be well, for that all is well now: that all our woes and all our mercies tend—that all things work together, for good to them that love God. “0,'

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said Bolingbroke under his affliction, “ my philosophy forsakes me in my affliction.” But did Sir Philip Sidney's philosophy forsake him, when, after a hattle. he having to undergo a dreadful operation, said to the surgeon, “Sir, you are come to a poor timid creature in himself; but to one who, by the grace of God, is raised above his own weakness : and therefore, do not dishonour your art in sparing the patient ?" Did the philosophy of the Church forsake her, when she said, “ Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls : yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation ?"

I do not know how others feel, but I am never more struck with any thing than with the cruelty of infidels. Here are persons that this Book must comfort, or nothing can do it; and yet these wretches would rob them as sufferers of this only comfort. The afflicted man goes to the house of God, and he finds God, in his affliction, to be a refuge ; these wretches would pull down that refuge, and leave him without an asylum, and his poor head bare to the pelting of the pitiless storm. The widow begins to hope when she reads, “ Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them; and let thy widows trust in me:" the wretched infidel comes, and dashes away this only cup of consolation from her parched lips. Never persecute, infidels ; leave them to that God whose unspeakable gift they despise. Give not your countenance to them; rather consider them as robbers and murderers, and robbers and murderers of the worst kind. Do not consider them friends to liberty: they friends to liberty, who would banish the Bible that is the charter of our everlasting privilegesthat Gospel that makes us free indeed! They triends to freedom! Fes, to their own.

As Milton says:

“ They bawl for freedom in a senseless mood,

But still are slaves where truth would set them free.
Licence they want who cry for liberty,
For who loves freedom must himself be free."

6 Tie word of the Lord was precious in those days.” What days? Dying days. These you have not experienced; but you must experience them. What was it that enlightened and comforted so many, while they were passing through the valley of the shadow of death? They had hope in their end. What inspired this hope? The blessed Gospel of our salvation. What taught them to sing, “O) death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ?" What was it that taught them that to die was gain; that the enemy was transformed into their best friend? What, but the Scriptures of truth? I was one day called in, to sce a poor man on his dying bed ; and he began, the moment I entered the room, to address me in these words : “Sir," said he, “I have a long journey before me, and I don't know one step of the way." Hobbes of Malmesbury, when he was dying, said, “I leave my body to the grave, and my soul to the great Perhaps. I am taking," says he, “ a step in the dark." This was not the worst of it; he was not only taking a step in the dark, but a step into the uark. Cowper, in dying, said, “I take a step in the dark, but not a step into

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