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punishment, which will fall upon the unbeliever and the sinner ; and the happiness, which he hath prepared for them that love and obey him. And this is called “ the word,” by way of eminence, because it infinitely surpasses all other words. It is not the word of men :'it is not the word of angels : it is not the word of any created being: but it is the word of almighty God himself, “ who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the Prophets, and hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Sona.” It was God himself, who spake; and it is hence not more fre. quently than properly denominated “ his word :". when therefore we hear it delivered, we are to look upon it and receive it, “not as the word of men, but, as it is in truth, the word of God :" we are still to represent to ourselves the almighty Creator of the world speaking to us his creatures, and telling us what he would have us do.
II. By“ doing the word” we are to understand the regulation of our hearts and
. Heb. i. 1.
lives according to its directions ; the practice of what it commands, and the avoiding of what it forbids : a fear of the threatenings, which it denounces, a trust in the promises, which it makes, and a belief in the truths, which it reveals. To regulate our language and our conduct, our thoughts and our affections, agreeably to the rules, which the word prescribes—this is to be “ doers of the word.”
For example, the word commands that “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind b.” Do you in obedience to the precept, set your affection upon God, as the supreme object of your desires ? Then are ye “ doers of the word.”—The word commands you, “ Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them." Is it your practice to observe in your intercourse with men this golden rule of Christian charity? Then are ye “ doers of the word.”—The word admonishes you, that “ all who know not God
• Matt. xxii. 37.
Matt. vii. 12.
and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, shall be punished with everlasting destruction d.” Do you cherish a holy fear of this alarming denunciation, and do you make it your study and endeavour to know God and to obey the Gospel of Christ? Then are ye
“ doers of the word.” The word assures you,
66 I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee e.” In humble dependance on the truth of the promise, can you
boldly say” with the Apostle, “ The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me f?" "Then are ye
66 doers of the word." - The word saith, “ I and the Father are one." Do you firmly assent to the truth of this proposition upon the word of him who spake it; and do you really believe that the Father and the Son are one Being, one God? Then again are ye “ doers of the word.”— In short, they who hear any part of the word of God declared to them, and believe and live according to what they hear, they are “ docrs of the word, and not hearers only."
Heb. xiii. 5.
'Heb. xiii. 6.
• 2 Thess. i. 8. & John x. 30.
III. But if, on the other hand, when you hear the word read or faithfully expounded to you, you go your way, and suffer it not to influence your hearts and practice :—if, when it tells you to " love God above all things,” you “set your affection upon earthly things ;" if, when it tells you to “ love your neighbour as yourself,” you cherish malice and hatred against him in your heart, and act towards. him with unkindness and injustice; if, when it apprizes you of the terrors of the Lord,” prepared for the wicked, regardless of its admonitions you rush headlong into sin; if, when it encourages you to put your trust in God, you compromise your principles, and renounce your allegiance to him from fear of men; if, when it reveals to you the nature of the supreme Being, you close your eyes to the revelation, and choose to retain “ an evil heart of unbelief :"—then are you,“not doers of the word, but hearers only;" then are you in that state of spiritual delusion, of which the Apostle speaks; then are you “deceiv. ing your own selves.”
But are there any such amongst us, my brethren? Is it possible that there should be? “ Shall the trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid h ?” Shall almighty. God himself speak, and shall men listen with indifference; and neglect or refuse to be guided by what they hear? The case is possible; it is real. It is a fact, and we all know it to be so, that day after day, and year
multitudes continually hear the word of God; but instead of becoming “ doers of the word,” they heed it no more than they do the wind, which passes by them, and they regard it not: they are no more influenced by it in the regulation of their hearts and lives, than they would be by “ sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.”
The question therefore is, not whether the fact be so; but what is the cause of its being so: not, whether there be any, who hear the word and do it not, but what is the reason that there are such. This is the question, which was proposed for the next
Amos ii. 6.