April 22: The Depths Of Scripture

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Tim. 3:16, 17

IT has seemed good to the Holy Spirit, the Divine Author of the Bible, to embody and exhibit some of the most important spiritual and magnificent truths of His word in the form of type, symbol, and similitude. Neither His wisdom nor His love, in thus throwing a veil of apparent obscurity around revelations so momentous, can be questioned.

It cannot be reasonably denied that God, who saw proper to unveil His own mind, and in a way of extraordinary relation communicate His will to man, could as easily, if so it pleased Him, not only have accompanied that revelation with the self-evident assurance that He, and no other, was the speaker; but that also He could have cleared away whatever was mysterious and obscure from each truth, causing it to stand forth, palpable and demonstrative, bathed in the splendor of its own Divine effulgence. But with a view, doubtless, of simplifying the meaning, of heightening the grandeur, and of deepening the solemnity of truth in the estimation of the human mind, this peculiar mode of conveying it is, in part, adopted.

Nor for these reasons alone. The spirit of earnest and persevering research is the spirit which a proper and successful study of the Bible demands. It is not everywhere upon the surface of God’s word, that the most important instruction is found; though even there truths the most spiritual and precious are sometimes scattered, like brilliant constellations pendant from the firmament, and visible to the naked eye, or as gems detached from the ocean’s cave are sometimes thrown upon the shore, and gathered up by the passing traveler. But in most cases the truth of God lies deep and invisible.

A superficial and careless research will not conduct the investigator to its richest revelations. The mine must be excavated, the firmament must be explored, the ocean must be fathomed—in other words, the Scriptures must be searched with much prayer for the Spirit’s teaching, and with “patient continuance,” or their greatest beauties and their costliest treasures will remain concealed. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” and there is no type, nor symbol, nor parable, nor story, nor song, which enfolds not some profound truth, and which conveys not some deep practical lesson of wisdom, some rich word of comfort, or some precious unfolding of Jesus, the “price of which is above rubies.”

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Fan The Most Holy Flame

Cultivate frequent and devout contemplations of the glory of Christ. Immense will be the benefit accruing to your soul. The mind thus preoccupied, filled, and expanded, will be enabled to present a stronger resistance to the ever advancing and insidious encroachments of the world. No place will be found for vain thoughts, and no desire or time for carnal enjoyments.

Oh, how crucifying and sanctifying are clear views of the glory of Emmanuel! How emptying, humbling, and abasing! With the patriarch, we then exclaim, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” And with the prophet, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” And with the apostle, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

Oh, then, aim to get your mind filled with enlarged and yet expanding views of the glory of the Redeemer. Let it, in all the discoveries it affords of the Divine mind and majesty, be the one subject of your thoughts — the one theme of your conversation. Place no limit to your knowledge of Christ. Ever consider that you have but read the preface to the volume; you have but touched the fringe of the sea. Stretching far away beyond you, are undiscovered beauties, and precious views, and sparkling glories — each encouraging your advance, inviting your research, and asking the homage of your faith, the tribute of your love, and the dedication of your life.

Go forward, then! The glories that yet must be revealed to you in a growing knowledge of Jesus — what imagination can conceive, what pen can describe them? Jesus stands ready to unveil all the beauties of His person; and to admit you into the very pavilion of His love. There is not a chamber of His heart that He will not throw open to you — not a blessing that He will not bestow upon you — not a glory that He will not show to you.

You shall see greater things than you have yet seen:
greater depths of your sin shall be revealed,
deeper sense of the cleansing efficacy of the atoning blood shall be felt,
clearer views of your acceptance in the Beloved,
greater discoveries of God’s love, and
greater depths of grace and glory in Jesus shall be enjoyed.

Your communion with God shall be closer, and more the fruit of adopting love in your heart. Your feet shall be as hinds’ feet, and you shall walk on high places. Your peace shall flow as a river, and your righteousness as the waves of the sea.
Sorrow shall wound you less deeply,
affliction shall press you less heavily,
tribulation shall affect you less keenly,
all this, and infinitely more, will result from your deeper knowledge of Jesus.

October 1: The Law Of The Lord

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Psalm 19:7

Emanating from a Being infinitely perfect in every moral perfection, it follows as a natural sequence from this truth, that the law, designed to be a transcript of what God is—a copy of Himself—must be in every respect a most perfect law. How could it be otherwise?

Is it rational to suppose that a Being of infinite holiness, wisdom, and goodness would form a rule for the government of moral creatures, that would fail to place before their eye the loftiest standard of excellence, and that should not demand and secure their supreme obedience and happiness? It follows, then, that the law being essentially and perfectly holy, all its requirements must be equally so. It cannot change, nor compromise, nor soften down either the nature or the outline or the enforcement of a single enactment. It demands of every creature the profoundest homage, the most implicit obedience, and the most perfect love. In requiring this, the creature shall have no ground for impeaching the Divine goodness.

He shall have no reason for alleging of God that He is harsh and austere. As if fearful of perplexing the mind with a multitude of enactments, our Lord has presented one precept of the law, the perfect keeping of which resolves itself into a virtual fulfillment of all—”Jesus said unto him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.”

Who but an infinitely wise Lawgiver could have embodied all the requisitions of an extended code in a single one? What an unfolding of the wisdom of God is here! In securing to Himself the supreme love of His creatures, He wins a willing obedience to every precept of His law.

Such is the all-commanding, all-constraining power of love to God! Employing no other than this gentle and persuasive motive, God asks your intellect—your time—your service—your rank—your substance—your person—your life—your all. In demanding this complete surrender, His law stands forth, in view of all created intelligences, as a rule worthy of Him from whom it emanates. Oh yes! it is a most righteous law.

November 3

“Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.” John 17:17

“HOW may I know,” is the anxious inquiry of many, “that sin is being mortified in me?” We reply—by a weakening of its power. When Christ subdues our iniquities, He does not eradicate them, but weakens the strength of their root. The principle of sin remains, but it is impaired. See it in the case of Peter. Before he fell, his easily besetting sin was self-confidence: “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.” Behold him after his recovery, taking the low place at the feet of Jesus, and at the feet of the disciples too, meekly saying, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” No more self-vaunting, no more self-confidence: his sin was mortified through the Spirit, and he became as another man. Thus often the very outbreak of our sins may become the occasion of their deeper discovery and their more thorough subjection. Nor let us overlook the power of the truth, by the instrumentality of which the Spirit mortifies sin in us: “Sanctify them through Your truth.” The truth as it is in Jesus, revealed more clearly to the mind, and impressed more deeply on the heart, transforms the soul into its own divine and holy nature. Our spiritual and experimental acquaintance, therefore, with the truth—with Him who is essential truth—will be the measure of the Spirit’s mortification of sin in our hearts. Is the Lord Jesus becoming increasingly precious to your soul? Are you growing in poverty of spirit, in a deeper sense of your vileness, weakness, and unworthiness? Is pride more abased, and self more crucified, and God’s glory more simply sought? Does the heart more quickly shrink from sin, and is the conscience more sensitive to the touch of guilt, and do confession and cleansing become a more frequent habit? Are you growing in more love to all the saints—to those, who, though they adopt not your entire creed, yet love and serve your Lord and Master? If so, then you may be assured the Spirit is mortifying sin in you. But oh, look from everything to Christ. Look not within for sanctification; look up for it from Christ. He is as much our “sanctification” as He is our “righteousness.” Your evidences, your comfort, your hope, do not spring from your fruitfulness, your mortification, or anything within you; but solely and entirely from the Lord Jesus Christ. “Looking unto Jesus” by faith, is like removing the covering and opening the windows of a conservatory, to admit more freely the sun, beneath whose light and warmth the flowers and fruits expand and mature. Withdraw the veil that conceals the Sun of Righteousness, and let Him shine in upon your soul, and the mortification of all sin will follow, and the fruits of all holiness will abound.