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to pass so many agreeable hours, that I could have wished, when it was near coming to an end, that it would recommence, and never cease until it shall please the First Author of this book to call me to witness the full accomplishment of the promises which he has given us in it. To confess the truth, I am so weary of all those other labours, to which the condition of human things often calls literary men in spite of themselves, that the pen has a thousand times dropped from my hand while employed upon them, and I have inwardly said: When will that happy day arrive, when we shall no more be occupied in any pursuit unworthy either of the excellence of that nature which we have received from God, or of those Divine promises which he has made to us in his Gospel ?
When shall we cease to study the opinions and the language of men, and to read the chimerical notions which they have left, or the scandalous history of their disorders and their crimes? How long shall we see the sun rise and set upon labours of which we shall be ashamed, when that light arises that will never set ?”
Is not this, My Brethren, the language of an overflowing heart ?—May each of you, at the close of your ministry, be entitled to apply it to himself!
1st Timothy, iv. 16.
Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in
them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
BRETHREN, I endeavoured, last year, to show you of how great consequence the assiduous study of the Scriptures was to you, and how sacred a duty it was; but I did not conceal the fact, that the result of your labour would materially depend upon the method employed. I therefore announced my intention, to enter with you, at a future time, upon an examination of the latter subject.
* Delivered upon the same occasion as Sermon V., in the following year.