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any times be more appropriate than these? Can we hope for the blessing of our God upon our day's employment, or look for his gracious protection through the hours of the night, if we do not at least meditate for a short time upon His law, before we go forth to the duties and the temptations and trials of the day, or before we lay down our heads to rest in the evening, not knowing what shall happen to us before the morrow? And we ought not merely to "meditate," but to exercise" ourselves, or examine ourselves, by the "law of the Lord." We ought to compare our conduct with what is required of us, and see wherein we have been most wanting during our past lives; that so our confessions and prayers may have especial reference to those things. This is the way, my brethren, to "exercise" ourselves in the law of God; it is not by being able to turn to any particular part of it with ease, or being able to repeat many texts: but by applying it to our several wants and circumstances, and so

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making it our own-"profitable" to us "for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Blessed is he who thus delights in the law of the Lord, and exercises himself therein day and night. Again, let me remind you, that we are not to understand by this that a man is to do nothing else, nor to delight in nothing else. Man has other duties to perform towards God, and towards man: he is not to neglect his daily business, or to decline necessary dealings with the world, but he is to do nothing which the law of the Lord forbids or disapproves; and whatever pleasure he may draw from other sources, his chief delight should be in the unchangeable perfection of God's laws. Such is the character which holy Scripture pronounces" blessed." Mark it well, brethren, for according to that rule of righteousness shall we all be judged"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the

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seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law doth he meditate and exercise himself' day and night."

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II. Wherein that blessedness consists, is explained further by a similitude and by a promise. And, first, by a similitude.

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1." And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season. He will not then content himself with abstaining from evil: nor will he be satisfied with hearing or reading the law of the Lord; he will be "a doer of the word," and not a hearer only; he will " bring forth his fruit in his season." As a tree which has the advantage of moisture will flourish; not in leaves only, but in fruit, even so, he who standeth by the "pure river of the water of life," and drinketh freely of it, will abound in good fruits also. My brethren, we, as Christians, are like "trees planted by the rivers of waters." We are not in "a barren and dry land" of heathenism, "where no water is"-where the water

of life is unknown, and where Christ, who can make men drink thereof, has not yet cried by His messengers-" Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money!" Ours is a "land well watered everywhere, even as the garden of the Lord." We live in times of much knowledge and much privilege. We have not to go long journeys in search of the water of life; it is at our doors-it is in our houses"a well of living water, springing up into everlasting life!" To speak plainly, we have great reason to say that the "word of truth-the gospel of our salvation”—is well known among us. We cannot plead ignorance; nor shall we dare hereafter to excuse ourselves for our sins, by saying that we had no opportunity of knowing better. Let us beware of becoming gospel-hardened. If, as I believe, you, my brethren, know what is your duty, and believe the word of God, remember that it is expected of you that you should bring forth fruits worthy of the knowledge

you possess.

And what are those fruits? The apostle St. Paul tells us, "The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance ;" and "if these things be in us and abound, they make us that we shall be neither barren nor unfruitful" in the way of godliness. Each of these "in its season," according as circumstances require and call it forth, should be ready to appear in us. And if we act as the text directs, there is no reason to fear that we shall fail, for the manner in which this similitude is expressed gives a promise that it shall be fulfilled. "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of waters." Let us trust to this promise; and thus, striving daily to bring forth fruit according to the nourishment which our souls have already drawn from meditation " upon the law of the Lord," and at the same time "exercising ourselves" yet more in it, lest the graces of the Spirit should

* Gal. v. 22.

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