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else. "Then he said unto them, go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy unto our Lord, neither be ye sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.' "For the joy of the Lord is your strength." If you will show me a Bible Christian living on the word of God, I will show you a joyful man. He is mounting up all the time. He has got new truths that lift him up over every obstacle, and he mounts over difficulties higher and higher, like a man I once heard of who had a bag of gas fastened on either side, and if he just touched the ground with his foot over a wall or a hedge he would go; and so these truths make us so light that we bound over every obstacle.
And when we have those truths our work will be successful. Just turn over to Jeremiah xx. 9, to this blessed old prophet. There was a time when he was not going to speak about the word of God any more. Now, I just want to show you this, when a man is filled with the Word of God you cannot keep him still. If a man has got the Word, he must speak or die. "Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name, but His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay." It set him on fire, and so a man filled with the Word of God is filled as with a burning fire, and it is so easy for a man to work when he is filled with the Word of God. I heard of a man the other week who was going to preach against the blood. I was very anxious to see what he would say about it, and I got the paper next morning and I found there was nothing else there than Scriptural quotations. I said that was the very best thing he could do. As we see in the twentythird chapter of Jeremiah: "Is not my word like as a fire, saith the Lord, that breaketh the rock in pieces ?" Those hard, flinty rocks will be broken if we give them the Word of God. Those men in the North-west that we cannot reach by our own words, give them this and see if they cannot be reached. Not only that if we are full of Scripture ourselves, give them what God says you will find it easy to preach-you will say we haven't to get up so many sermons. It seems to me if we had more of the Word of God in our services and give up more of our own thoughts, there would be a hundred times more converted than there is. A preacher, if he wants to give his people the Word, must have fed on the Word himself. A man must get water out of a well when there is water. He may dip his bucket in if it is empty, but he will get nothing. I think the best thing I have heard in Chicago, I heard the other day, and it has fastened itself upon my mind, and I must tell it to your ministers. We had for our subject in Farwell Hall the other day, the seventh
chapter of John, when the Rev. Mr. Gibson said if a man was to come among a lot of thirsty men with an empty bucket they wouldn't come to him to drink. He said he believed that was the trouble with most of the ministers, as that had been the trouble with himself. He hadn't got a bucket of living water, and the people wouldn't come to him to drink. Just look at an audience of thirsty men, and you bring in a bucket of clear sparkling water, and see how they will go for it. If you go into your Sunday schools and the children look into your buckets and see them empty, there is nothing for them there. So, my friends, if we attempt to feed others we must first be fed ourselves.
There is another thing which has wonderfully helped me. That is to mark my Bible whenever I hear anything that strikes me. If a minister has been preaching to me a good sermon, I put his name down next to the text, and then it recalls what has been said, and I can show it to others. You know we laymen have the right to take what we hear to one another. If ministers saw people doing this they would preach a good deal better sermons. Not only that, but if we understood our Bibles better, the ministers would preach better. I think if people knew more about the Word than they do so many of them would not be carried away with false doctrine. There is no place I have ever been in where people so thoroughly understand their Bibles as in Scotland. Why, little boys could quote Scripture and take me up on a text. They have the whole nation just educated, as it were, with the Word of God. Infidelity cannot come there. A man got up in Glasgow at a corner, and began to preach universal salvation. Oh, sir," said an old woman, "that will never save the like of me." She had heard enough preaching to know that it would never save her. If a man comes among them with any false doctrine, these Scotchmen instantly draw their Bibles on him. I had to keep my eyes open, and be careful what I said there. They knew their Bibles a good deal better than I did. And so if the preachers would get the people to read the Word of God more carefully and note what they heard, there would not be so much infidelity among us.
I want to tell you how I was blessed a few years ago, upon hearing a discourse upon the thirtieth chapter of Proverbs. The speaker said the children of God were like four things. The first thing was, "The ants are a people not strong," and he went on to compare the children of God to the ants. He said the people of God were like ants. They pay no attention to the things of the present, but go on steadily preparing for the future. The next thing he compared them to was the conies. "The conies are but a feeble folk." It is a very weak little thing.
"Well," said I, “I wouldn't like to be as a coney." But he went on to say that it built upon a rock. The children of God were very weak, but they laid their foundation upon a rock. "Well," said I, "I will be like a coney, and build my hopes upon a rock. Like the Irishman, who said he trembled himself, but the rock upon which his house was built never did. The next thing the speaker compared them to was a locust. I didn't think much of locusts, and I thought I wouldn't care about being like one. But he went on to read, they have "no king, yet they go forth all of them by bands." There were the Congregationalist, the Presbyterian, the Methodist bands going forth without a king; but by and by our King will come back again, and these bands will fly to Him. "Well, I will be like a locust; my King's away," I thought. The next comparison was a spider. didn't like this at all; but he said if we went into a gilded palace filled with luxury, we might see a spider holding on to something, oblivious to all the luxury below. It was laying hold of the things above. "Well," said I, "I would like to be a spider." I heard this a good many years ago, and I just put the speaker's name to it, and it makes the sermon. But take your Bibles and mark them. Don't think of wearing it out. It is a rare thing to find a man wearing his Bible out now-a-days-and Bibles are cheap, too. You are living in a land where there are plenty. Study them and mark them, and don't be afraid of wearing them. Now don't you see how much better it would be to study it? And if you are talking to a man instead of talking about your neighbours, just talk about the Bible, and when Christian men come together just compare notes, and ask one another: "What have you found new in the Word of God since I saw you last ?" Some men come to me and ask me if I have picked up anything new, and I give them what I have, and they give me what they have. An Englishman asked me some time ago, "Do you know much about Job ?" "Well, I know a little," I replied. "If you've got the key of Job you've got the key to the whole Bible." "What!" I replied; "I thought it was a poetical book." "Well," said he, "I will just divide Job into seven heads. The first is the perfect man-untried-and that is Adam and Eve before they fell. The second head is tried by adversity—Adam, after the fall. The third is the wisdom of the world-the three friends who came to try to help Job out of his difficulties. They had no power to help him at all. He could stand his scolding wife, but he couldn't stand them. The fourth head takes the form of the Mediator, and in the fifth head God speaks at last. He heard Him before by the ear, but he hears Him now by the soul, and he fell down flat upon his face. A good many men in Chicago are like Job. They think
they are mighty good men, but directly they hear the voice of God they know they are sinners: they are in the dust. There isn't much talk about their goodness then. Here he was with his face down. Job learned his lesson. That was the sixth head, and in these heads were the burdens of Adam's sin. The seventh head was when God showed him His face." Well, I learned the key to the Bible. I cannot tell how this helped me. I told it to another man, and he asked me if I ever thought of how he got his property back and his sheep back. He gave Job double what he had, and gave him ten children besides, so that he should have ten in heaven besides his ten on earth.
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place."-II. Peter i. 19.
ETERNAL Spirit! 'twas thy breath
Fill'd with thy great almighty power,
With gladsome hearts they spread the news
The powers of earth and hell, in vain
Thee, its great author, source of light,
How to Study the Bible, II.
GREAT many are asking the questions, Will this work hold out? Are these young converts going to stand? Now I am no prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but one thing I can predict; that every one of these new converts that goes to studying his Bible, and loves this book above every other book, is sure to hold out. The world will have no charm for him, he will get the world under his feet, because in this book he will find something better than the world can give him. Now what I want to say to these young converts, and to old converts, is to love the Word of God. Set more and more store by it. Then the troubles in your Christian life will pass away like a morning cloud. You will feed and live on the Word of God, and it will become the joy of your soul.
Now, to help some of you to a right course in studying God's word, I want to point out a number of texts that you might begin with, and then, in the same way, you can collect others. I want to call your attention first to a part of the fourth chapter of Matthew. A little boy in the seat there, while giving his experience the other day, felt so sure about his strength that he defied Satan. I trembled. Those of you who are older, and know more about the devil's power, know that we can only meet him with the Word of God. We can't withstand him by our feelings or by our being converted; he only laughs at such weapons. Read in this fourth chapter, from the third verse on, and see how Christ overcame Satan. Not by His feelings, not because He had been baptized of John in Jordan, but by the word of the living God. Three times Satan advanced to the charge, but every time he was thrust through by the sword of the Spirit. And that must be your sword. Don't say, like the little boy in Scotland, "Old Nick, just you get behind me," but say, "O Lord, just put him behind me. You can't do anything against Satan of yourself; you can only overcome him through Christ and by the word of the living God.
Then take Romans, x., 15. It shows there was a work done for you on Calvary, but that there is another work quite distinct from that. "How shall they preach except they be sent?" "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." How many mourning Christians there are who know little about