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rience that every thing but holiness and virtue was vanity and vexation of spirit:
The remainder of the canonical books, (or those of divine authority,) in the Old Testament, are the writings of the Prophets. They consist of the four greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, (the Lamentations of that prophet during the captivity,) Ezekiel, and Daniel ; and the twelve lesser ones,--Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Na. hum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zacchåriah, and Malachi. They are all, more or less,“ profitable for doctrine, for reproof, “ for correction, for instruction in righteous“ ness ;” and are full of wonderful prophecies respecting the Jewish nation, the advent, and sufferings and glories, of Christ; of the establishment of his kingdom upon earth; and the future fortunes of his church.
To these scriptures, which make the Old Testament, are added the books of the Apocrypha, of which one of the Articles of our Church speaks in the following terms: " these “ the Church doth read for example of life, “ and instruction of manners ; but yet doth it “ not apply them to establish any doctrine;' and they are consequently uf far less authority than those books which are properly called the Holy Scriptures, and are our rule of faith, as well as our rule of conduct.
The books of the New Testament, which contain the covenant in Jesus CHRIST, consist, first, of the four Gospels, or the history of our blessed Saviour, (accompanied with that of John the Baptist; the messenger who was sent before him ;) of his birth, ministry, miracles, discourses, passion, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension: Secondly, of the Acts of the Apostles, or the history of those venerable men, more particularly of St. Paul, the great apoștle of the Gentiles, and of the early church for about thirty years after Christ's ascension : Thirdly, of fourteen Epistles by St. Paul to particular churches, to certain individuals, and to the Jewish converts at large: one by St. James, two by St. Peter, three by St John, and one by St. Jude; all, except the second and third of St. John, addressed to the general body of christians. Of all which epistles it may be briefly observed, that they contain much soựnd doctrine, 'moral instruction, solemn admonition, and wise advice, mixed with many encouraging promises; and some passages, which, as St. Peter says, are the more “ difficult to be understood,” because they relate to questions, and heresies, and disputes among the early christians, the history of which is now but little known. The fourth and last part of the New Testament is the book of the Revelations of St. John, filled with awful prophecies respecting the future fortunes of the church of Christ, and of different nations of the world, from the period when it was written, to the end of time.
Such, my friends, are the books, and their chief contents, of the Bible; or, those sacred scriptures, which, in the collect of the day, we pray to God to "give us grace to
s read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest;' and which, if " searched,” believed, and practised, will fill our souls with “patience, , 56 comfort, and hope.'
Let us, then, proceed to point out, first, how they will fill us with patience. You may remember that the Psalmist says, man that " is born of woman, is but of few days, and 6 is full of trouble;" and that Jacob's answer to Pharaoh, when he desired to know the patriarch's age, was, “ few and evil have 6 the days of the years of my life been ;' and your own experience will have convinced you, that both these declarations are true. Pains of body, and sorrows of mind, the death of friends, the loss of property, disappointment, trials, and vexations, are the common lot of mankind; they were brought into the world by the fall of Adam, and will continue in it as long as his posterity shall dwell therein. To beings placed in
such circumstances as these, how « far bea
yond all price” and value must the holy scriptures be, which offer to them a multityde of bright examples, to encourage them to meet all their trials with pious resignation and humble submission to the will of God. We there see men of all ranks and conditions, “ the glorious company of the apostles, the “goodly fellowship of the prophets, the noble
army of martyrs,” struggling with suffering under every shape; but, supported by faith, and a conscierice void of offence, “ enduring . “patiently.unto the end.” Are we afflicted by the loss of children, or those who are dear to us as our own souls ; we there see the example of Levi's patience, who, when he heard of his son's sudden death, meekly bowed his head, and said, “ It is the LORD, 6 let him do what seemeth him good.” Do we groan under sufferings of body, or grieve for the loss of our worldly goods; we have there the example of Job's patience, who, when“ sitting in dust and ashes," covered with painful sores, and deprived of all his substance, humbled himself under the mighty "hand of God with these words, “ Naked came I out of my mother's womby 6 and naked shall I return thither; the LORD
gave, and the LORD hath taken away; u blessed be the name of the LORD." We
have there the patience of Moses, harassed, perplexed, and distressed, by the obstinacy and ingratitude of a stiff-necked people; the patience of David persecuted by Saul, driven from his throne by his son Absalom, and deprived of the child for whose life he " had fasted, and prayed, and laid upon " the earth ," and above all, the patience of him who was infinitely greater than Moses, or Job, or David, even Jesus Christ our LORD, who endured " such contradiction “ of sinners;" who,“ when he was reviled, “ reviled not again; when he suffered, he " threatened not; but committed himself to “ him that judgeth righteously; leaving us
an example ihat we should follow his “ steps ;” and teaching us,
" that as the “ husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit " of the earth, and hath long patience for it, “ until he receive the early and latter rain ; so ought we to " be patient, to establish “ our hearts; for the coming of the LORD “ draweth nigh.”
The Holy Scriptures will, secondly, fill us: with comfort. As it would only be mocking a man in distress, to bid him to be patient, without, at the same time, giving him some reason why he should exercise this virtue; so the Bible holds out to us many very important ones, which, while they shew us the