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with a desire to profit by it, to receive the instruction of heavenly wisdom, to mix faith with it, to be nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, to hold fast that which is good, to grow up into Christ Jesus in all things.

And further, the true Christian not only looketh into the perfect law of liberty, but he continueth therein. It is not a sudden fancy, which he takes up in a moment, and as speedily relinquishes; but he patiently continues his search of the sacred volume, and his attendance on the means of grace, that through the blessing of God, he more and more of Divine truth, and may be influenced by it to every good word and work. As it was said to Joshua, This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein:16 So the word of God is a lamp unto his feet, and a light unto his path,17 to guide his feet into the way of peace18 and salvation. He is not a forgetful hearer, he endeavours to remember it, he desires to have it written upon his heart, he prays that his memory may be sanctified to retain the precious truths of the everlasting gospel, that his dependence upon his Saviour may be increased, and his expectations from the Spirit of grace may be enlarged. And the consequence is, he becomes a

may know

16 Jos. i. 8. 17 Ps.cxix. 105. 18 Luke i. 79. 19 John vi. 28, 29; iv. 23.

doer of the work. When our Lord Jesus Christ was asked by those who followed Him, What shall we do that we may work the works of God? He answered, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.19 This is the great work which is done by him who looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein. By the knowledge which he obtains of the word of God, through the teaching of the Holy Spirit, he is led to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, to hope for pardon through His blood, to depend for acceptance with God upon His righteousness, to expect every needful blessing through His intercession, and especially the grace of the Holy Spirit, to influence his heart and make him fruitful in every good work.

It is added, This man shall be blessed in his deed; not for his doings, but in them. While he is endeavouring to perform them in obedience to the will of his heavenly Father, he shall be blessed with the enjoyment of the love of God in his soul, as a foretaste of the blessedness which awaits him hereafter in heaven. Thus, while he makes use of the means of grace, the grace of God shall be manifested to his soul, making the means effectual for the end designed by them, the promotion of the glory of God, and his own consolation and blessedness. Let us seek to enjoy this comfort and happiness in the use of the privileges with which we are favoured.

The apostle adds another characteristic of the doers of the word: Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. The possessors of pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father, are those who are described by our blessed Saviour as the true worshippers who worship the Father in spirit and in truth.9 These persons will be imitators of God as His beloved children. They will therefore be kind and compassionate to the needy and destitute, the fatherless and widows in affliction. And they will be careful to avoid the wickedness which is practised by the people of the world. These are two points of the Christian character to which particular regard is needful. While others are hard-hearted, the Christian is to be kind and compassionate. The most destitute are to receive the greatest share of his compassion. And while he is compassionate towards others, he is to be vigilant over himself, that he may not be defiled by the evil with which he is surrounded. Such is the character drawn by the apostle of the doers of the word.

Let us now consider the exhortation in the text, by which the importance of avoiding selfdeception is enforced upon us. Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your ownselves. It becomes us to examine ourselves, and to ascertain which of these characters truly belongs to us. It is said of those who are hearers only, that they are deceiving their ownselves. The word in the original language is exceedingly expressive. It means, satisfying the mind by erroneous and inconclusive reasoning. And is not this the way in which the more thoughtful part of those who are hearers only are accustomed to act? They substitute the means for the end. They think it enough to come to the house of God, and be present during Divine worship. They seem to imagine themselves to be merely spectators of the service which is performed, as though they had no personal interest in it. They do not implore the blessing of God to rest upon them in the use of the ordinances which He has appointed for the edification of His waiting people; but consider all that passes as a matter of course; and imagine that by their attendance in His house of prayer they have done their duty; and that nothing more is requisite. This satisfies their minds, and causes them to entertain a higher opinion of themselves than of others, who neglect these outward duties. Thus they deceive their ownselves; and if Divine mercy prevent not, they carry on this self-deception to the end of their lives; priding themselves on their religious character, because of their attendance on the means of grace; while they neglect the great salvation, which it is the object of the ordinances of the house of God to bring home to their hearts and minds. How dreadful is it to think of people deceiving their ownselves, to their eternal undoing. Yet it is to be feared that this is the case with many who hear the word of God. What searchings of heart should the idea of the possibility of such a thing produce in the minds of all who attend on the ordinances of His house; what fear lest, after having used the means of grace, and having had the hope of glory set before us, we should come short of receiving the eternal blessing. Our Lord Jesus Christ has spoken of some who should say in the great day of God, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets; and should therefore ask Him, Lord, Lord, open to us, admit us into Thy heavenly kingdom. But He shall answer and say unto them, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity.co Outward privileges profit not, unless the end designed by them be answered. Many heard Christ Himself preach, who heard in vain, who were hearers only, deceiving their ownselves. This was the reason why He said so frequently, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear;20 by which He called upon His hearers to consider the meaning of the important words which He addressed to them. Let us pray that we may not be hearers

20 Luke xiii. 26, 27; viii. 8.

21 Romans ii. 13.

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