Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Father of mercies! in thy word

Father of mercies! in thy word
What endless glory shines!
For ever be thy name ador'd
For these celestial lines.

Here, may the wretched sons of want
Exhaustless riches find;
Riches above what earth can grant,
And lasting as the mind.

Here, the fair tree of knowledge grows,
And yields a free repast;
Sublimer sweets than nature knows
Invite the longing taste.

Here, the Redeemer's welcome voice
Spreads heavenly peace around;
And life, and everlasting joys,
Attend the blissful sound.

O may these heavenly pages be
My ever dear delight;
And still new beauties may I see,
And still increasing light!

Divine Instructer, gracious Lord!
Be thou for ever near;
Teach me to love thy sacred word,
And view my Saviour there!
             Anne Steele

.....Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth
out of the mouth of God.   Matthew 4:4

.....If the miser's folly is great, who starves amid his chests of treasure,
—if the sailor's folly would be great, who tried to steer without chart or
compass,—if the farmer's folly would be great, who left his fields unsown,—
how much greater must your folly be, who make no use of the charts and
compass God has given you to guide you through the shoals of this world,
who let your minds lie fallow of holiness, and who, with the food of angels
on your shelves, starve your souls to death.  Remember, man does not live
by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 
God's word is a portion of the food he has given to man to live by.  It is the
spiritual sustenance he has provided to support the spiritual part of us, the soul. 
For the soul, as well as the body, requires its fitting food.  Both must be
supported and nourished, if we would have them thrive.  Were a man to feed
nothing but the spiritual part of him, were he to do nothing but read and think
and pray, we all know he would die of hunger.  His body would pine away for
want of bodily sustenance.  And think you, if a man feeds nothing but his body,
that his soul does not in like manner fall away and grow weaker and weaker for
want of that spiritual food, which is its proper nourishment?  I tell you, at last it
would become so feeble, were it to go without all spiritual food, that a mere straw
of a temptation would be strong enough to overthrow its strongest resolution. 
The truth however is, that a man's soul is never left quite without all spiritual
nourishment, so long as he comes to church, and attends to what goes on there. 
But church comes only once a week: and if the soul gets no spiritual food,
beyond what it may pick up there, I leave you to judge whether it is likely to
shoot up into a strong and healthy growth of godliness.
     Wonder not that I speak to you of spiritual food.  Does not all nature cry,
from every part of the creation, that everything earthly must be fed?  Fire must
be fed: water must be fed: even the earth itself, which feeds all things, must be
fed: else it will crumble into dust, or harden into a rock.  So is it with the soul. 
That too, as well as the body, must be fed with food suited to its nature.....We
have been taught that man does not live by bread alone:  we have been exhorted
by Christ himself not to labour only for the meat that perisheth, but rather for
that good meat which endureth to everlasting life.  Thus we have not been left
to find out of ourselves, that our souls need support:  we have this truth declared
to us; and a command has been given us to feed them.  Moreover the food is
set before us.  Those who have Bibles or New Testaments have it on their shelves:
they have only to take and eat.....
     For the Bible is not a charm, that keeping it on our shelves, or locking it up
in a closet, can do us any good.  Nor is it a story-book to read for amusement. 
It is sent to teach us our duty to God and man, to show us from what a height
we are fallen by sin, and to what a far more glorious height we may soar, if we
will put on the wings of faith and love.  This is the use of the Bible; and this use
we ought to make of it.
                                                                  Augustus W. Hare

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