TEMPERANCE is another fruit of the Spirit. This consists in the proper control of all our desires, appetites, and passions. The exercise of this grace is of vital importance, not only as it concerns the glory of God, but our own health and happiness.
I have felt much straitened in giving a description of the fruits of the Spirit in a single letter. I have not pretended to do justice to the subject. My principal object has been to show the beautiful symmetry of the Christian character, as it extends from the heart to all our actions, in every relation of life. And this will serve as an introduction to the more particular consideration of the various Christian duties.
Your affectionate Brother.
On the Reading and Study of the Holy Scriptures
“Search the Scriptures.”—JOHN 5:39.
I feel persuaded that you will take a deep interest in the subject of this letter; for, to a true child of God, nothing is so precious as the volume of inspiration. It is like rubies in a case of gold. That which is most valuable for practical use lies on the surface; while every examination discovers new gems of surpassing beauty.
There is this difference between the devotional reading and the thorough study of the Holy Scriptures,—that the object of the former is to affect the heart, while that of the latter is chiefly to inform the understanding. Although this blessed book should never be used without practical application, yet, when all the powers of the mind are taxed to ascertain the critical meaning of the text, there is less opportunity for the exercise of the affections of the heart than when the mind is suffered simply to dwell upon obvious truth. For the systematic study of the Bible, portions of time should be set apart, if possible, separate from our regular seasons of devotion; or, perhaps, immediately after. For the former, a small portion should be selected from the more practical and devotional parts of the Bible.
We are commanded to search the Scriptures. Searching is a difficult and laborious work. To induce us to engage in it, we must have a strong desire for something valuable. Here is a treasure of sufficient value to call forth this desire. This blessed book contains the revealed will of God. All who love God will be anxious to know his will. They will make it the rule of their conduct. “Thy word,” says the Psalmist, “is a lamp, unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” The will of God, as made known in his word, is like a lantern, which sheds a light on our path, and directs the steps of our feet. The sincere Christian will search after a knowledge of God’s will, with more eagerness than he would search for hidden treasures of gold and silver. He will set his heart