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The Rich and Precious Jewel of God's
ALMIGHTY GOD and most merciful Father, which hast vouchsafed unto us the rich and precious Jewel of Thy Holy Word, assist us by Thy Spirit, we humbly beseech Thee, that it may be written in our hearts, to our everlasting comfort ; to reform us, to renew us after Thine own image ; to build us up and edify us unto the perfect building of Thy Christ, sanctifying us and increasing in us all heavenly virtues. Grant this, we beseech Thee, for Thy dear Son's sake. Amen.
The Holy Scriptures are the bright sun of God, which bring light unto our ways, and comfort to all parts of our life, and salvation to our souls; in which is made known unto us our estate, and the mercy of God in Christ our Saviour witnessed.
The Scriptures are “ The Word of God.” What title can there be of greater value? What may be said of them to make them of greater authority than to say “The Lord hath spoken them?” that “They came not by the will of men, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost ?” At the word or proclamation of an earthly prince
we stand up, and vail our bonnets, and give good ear to it: we are bound so to do; it is our duty; such honour belongeth to the powers that are placed to rule over us, for they are ordained of God, and whosoever resisteth them resisteth the ordinance of God. If we should have a revelation, and hear an angel speak unto us, how careful would we be to mark, and remember, and be able to declare, the words of the angel. Yet is an angel but a glorious creature, and not God. And what is a king great and mighty, yet mortal, and subject to death ; his breath departeth, and his name shall perish. Both he and his word, his power and his puissance, shall have an end.
But the Word of the Gospel is not as the word of an earthly prince. It is of more majesty than the word of an angel. The apostle saith, “If the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be preached by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him ?” God saith by the prophet Esay, “My Word shall accomplish that which I will, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." And the same prophet saith, “ The Word of God shall stand fast for ever.” And, “It is more easy that heaven and earth pass away, than that one tittle of the law should fail,” saith our Saviour. For it is the Word of the living and Almighty God, of the God of Hosts, which hath done whatsoever pleased Him, both in heaven and in earth. By this Word He maketh His will known. “I have not spoken of Myself,” saith Christ, “ But the Father which sent Me gave Me a commandment what I should say and what I should speak.” And again, “ If I had not come and spoken unto them, they should not have had sin; but now have they no cloke for their sin.” No man hath seen God at any time; He is invisible; no eye can reach unto Him. “ The onlybegotten Son, which is in the bosom of His Father, He hath declared Him :" He hath showed us the throne of grace, that we may seek for mercy, and find grace in time of need : He hath disclosed unto us the will of His Father.
He hath left unto us and ordained that we should hear His Holy Word.
This Word is the true manna : it is the bread which came down from heaven : it is the key of the kingdom of heaven : it is the savour of life unto life : it is the power of God unto salvation. In it God showeth unto us His might, His wisdom, and His glory. By it He will be known of us; by it He will be honoured of His creatures. Whatsoever truth is brought unto us contrary to the Word of God, it is not truth, but falsehood and error: whatsoever honour done unto God disagreeth from the honour required by His Word, it is not honour unto God, but blasphemy: as Christ saith, “In vain they worship Me, teaching for doctrines men's precepts. By Esay God saith, “Who required this at your hands?” And by Jeremy, “I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey My voice; and I will be your God, and ye shall be My people, and walk ye in all the ways which I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.” Again, “What is the chaff to the wheat, saith the Lord?” What are your dreams to be weighed with the truth of God? “ Search the Scriptures; in them ye shall learn to know Me, and how you should worship Me; in them
ye shall find everlasting life.” “The Words of the Lord are pure Words, as the silver tried in the furnace:" there is no filth nor dross remaining in them. They are the storehouse of wisdom, and of the knowledge of God; in respect whereof all the wisdom of this world is but vain and foolish.
No force shall be able to decay it. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Cities shall fall; kingdoms shall come to nothing; empires shall fade away as the smoke; but the truth of the Lord shall continue for ever.
Burn it, it will rise again; kill it, it will live again; cut it down by the root, it will spring again. There is no wisdom, neither understanding, nor counsel against the Lord. Prov. xxi,
The Holy Scriptures are the mercy-seat, the registry of the mysteries of God, our charter for the life to come, the holy place in which God showeth Himself to the people, the Mount Sion where God hath appointed to dwell for ever. The more comfort there is in them, so much the more greedily let us desire them; the more heavenly and glorious they are, with so much the more reverence let us come unto them.
All that is written in the Word of God is not written for angels, or archangels, or heavenly spirits, but for the sons of men, for us, and for our instruction; that by them we may receive strength and comfort in all adversities, and have hope of the life to come. It is the Word of God. God openeth His mouth and speaketh to us, to guide us into all truth, to make us full and ready in all good works, that we may be perfect men in Christ Jesus; so rooted and grounded in Him that we may not be tossed to and fro with every tempest.
The master of the ship, when he is in the main sea, casteth his eye always upon the lode-star, and so directeth and guideth his
Even so must we, which are passengers and strangers in this world, ever settle our eyes to behold the Word of God. So shall no tempest over-blow us; so shall we be guided without danger; so shall we safely arrive in the haven of our rest. The prophet David therefore saith, “Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and seek Him with their whole heart.” “Their faces shall not be ashamed; they shall not be confounded which have respect unto His commandments." “Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord; and in that law doth exercise himself day and night.” “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, and giveth wisdom unto the simple." This is the rule of our faith : without this our faith is but a fantasy, and no faith: for "Faith is by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Therefore Christ saith, “Search the Scriptures; they are they that testify of Me." There shall ye find testimony of My doctrine; there shall ye learn what is the will of My Heavenly Father; and there shall ye receive the comfort for everlasting life. Again, “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” “If a man keep My Word, he shall know the truth; he shall never see death.” Therefore Baruch saith, “O Israel, we are blessed; for the things that are acceptable unto God are declared unto us.” This is thy blessedness: herein hath God showed His favour unto thee; He hath revealed the secrets of His will unto thee, and hath put His word in thy mouth. “He showeth His Word unto Jacob; His statutes and His judgments unto Israel : He hath not dealt so with every nation, neither have they known His judgments.” Therefore the prophet David teacheth us to pray unto God for the knowledge of His Word : "Show me Thy ways, O Lord, and teach me Thy paths.” “Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me;" and " Incline my heart unto Thy testimonies.” “Give me understanding, that I may learn Thy commandments :” “Open mine eyes, that I may see the wonders of Thy law: " and "Lighten mine eyes, that I sleep not in death;” that I may discern between safety and danger, that I may know truth to be the truth, and error to be error.
Now let us consider with what fear and reverence we ought to come to the hearing or reading of the Word of God. “The angel of the Lord appeared unto Moses in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.” When Moses turned aside to see, God said unto him, “Come not hither; put thy shoes off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Again, when God had appointed to speak unto the people from Mount Sinai, He said to Moses, “Go unto the people, and sanctify them to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their clothes, and let them be ready on the third day; for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai.”
The Word of the Lord is the bush out of which issueth a flame of fire. The Scriptures of God are the mount, from