Isaiah 8:20

This text is not merely a Divine declaration. It rests upon the great fact that man can never be satisfied until he gets a standard of truth and duty outside of and apart from himself. No man anywhere can reach an intelligent satisfaction by becoming wholly a law unto himself. The moral sense in every man is vitiated, and its attestations are uncertain. The testimony of conscience is variable; it is not now always prompt, decided, and faithful in its judgments. It may appear at first sight as if there were many men who are living entirely according to their own will, following wholly the "devices and desires of their own hearts." But, if we look a little deeper, we shall find that they are all striving after conformity to some standard, bad or good, that is outside them. It is often custom, etiquette, society, the moral level of the age in which they happen to live. There are common fallacies which tone the lives of some, and multitudes are content to make a standard of the teachings of an authoritative priesthood. Even the hermit, dwelling apart, separated from the associations of his fellow-men, cannot be satisfied with his own standard; he even finds an ideal outside himself, in the life, endurance, and suffering of some more saintly fellow-creature. God has graciously considered this common human necessity. He has not left his creatures to search for such a standard in their blindness. In every age, in forms and terms such as at the time they could understand, God has given models of truth and duty. He has never left men to mere abstract speculations; in some kind of ordinarily understood human teaching, by word, or act, or example, God has always set forth a standard; and so in every age he can make his appeal and say, "To the Law and to the testimony." In the first ages of the world the standard was given in personal characters, such as Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Abraham. To this was by-and-by added the revelation of the Divine will in written and spoken words, for which advancing civilization and culture prepared men. At the very beginning, as the written revelation could not get into the hands and use of all men, it was presented for a time in the pictures of an elaborate ceremonial. Later on it was expressed in the free speech of prophets and teachers, and then the pictured ceremonials might fade away. At the very last the Divine standard of truth and morals for humanity was exhibited, in its completeness and perfection, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Truth, duty, virtue, were here among men. Christ was the perfect realization of God's idea of a moral being. The standard man is not on earth now, but his record remains. That record is in all our hands; it is as if we lived our daily life in the presence of the Divine ideal. We have in our Bible God's great rule of truth and duty. Consciously of unconsciously we do test every action by our standard; all the questions arising in connection with our moral life are brought to the test of the "Law and the testimony."

I. THE BIBLE EXERTS ITS MORAL FORCE UPON US BY THE TRUTHS WHICH IT CONTAINS AND REVEALS. These truths test all received opinions. Each man really is according to his opinions and beliefs; the whole temper and conduct are toned by the truths received. If they are according to the "Law and testimony," their fruit will be righteousness and mercy. The Bible does not, indeed, contain any formulated system of theology or of morals, but it does contain such an harmonious setting forth of all necessary truth as, in fact, constitutes a complete system both of doctrine and of duty. The Bible has its own sphere; within this it is infallible. It is the sphere of character; it is no standard of appeal for geographers, or arithmeticians, or astronomers, or ethnologists, or literati, or philosophers. For all such the Bible is a book of the age in which it was written, and it embodies the thought which was the common property of the men of the time. Man does not want a written revelation of science, for he has not lost the key which enables him to unlock its mysteries for himself. Man does need a written revelation of standard morals, because he flung away his key in Eden, and, with ages of painful searching, he has failed to find it again.

II. THE BIBLE EXERTS ITS MORAL FORCE BY THE PRINCIPLES WHICH IT EMBODIES. The structure of the Bible compels us to search out its principles. They do not lie on the surface, like seeds on beaten paths, ready for every passing bird to pick up. They are given to us embodied in history, illustrated in incidents of individual lives, and in phases of personal experience. Nothing seems to be said in the New Testament about ecclesiastical politics, or orders of Church government; but there are to be found great principles, which can be wisely adapted in their practical expression to the varying conditions of men in different ages. There are no announcements concerning social manners; there is nothing taught in a direct way concerning monarchy or slavery, for instance; but the Bible gives principles which, gradually gaining sway over the minds of men, constitutionally attemper monarchy, and will after a while banish slavery from the earth. A principle is more searching than a maxim. Men may think they could have done better with a Bible like the books of Confucius, full of maxims, shaping into order the whole minutiae of life. Such a Bible could only make automata, not living men. God gives a Bible full of quick effective principles; these, getting into the soul, are the seeds whence come flowerings and fruitings of righteousness. A maxim will guide us in one case, a principle will put us right in ten thousand. Circumstances may always limit the application of an express commandment; a principle fits and shapes itself to every new occasion, as the rising tide into every bay and nook and creek of the winding stream.

III. THE BIBLE EXERTS ITS MORAL FORCE BY THE EXAMPLE WHICH IT PRESENTS. Its men, except the Lord Christ, are fallible, struggling men. Their wrongdoing is never covered over. You never get the impression of a character painted rose-color. The moral quality of a man's action is never confused. Evil is always evil. Wrongdoing in a good man is only worse wrongdoing in view of his goodness; and it is never palliated. There is found in the Bible virtue to incite us and evil to warn us; a great "cloud of witnesses" putting to shame our meaner lives. But the great standard example is the earthly life of our Lord Jesus Christ. He "tries every man that cometh into the world." The final test of moral conduct for us all is the Lord Jesus Christ. Full acceptance with God can come only from being perfectly like Christ. And if the suggestion makes us feel that we are far down below him, only just climbing the first ridge of the mountain-side, this is our encouraging assurance, "Then shall ye know, if ye follow on to know the Lord." - R.T.

To the law and to the testimony.
I. CONSIDER THE PRINCIPLE LAID DOWN IN THE TEXT, namely, that we are to take the Scriptures, the inspired Word of "the true and living God," as the only standard of truth.

II. SEE HOW SADLY THE CHURCH OF ROME, BOTH IN DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE, HAS DEPARTED FROM THIS PRINCIPLE. At the Council of Trent, where the Pope, bishops, and other ecclesiastics were assembled, in the middle of the sixteenth century, to put into definite form the articles of their Church, it was unanimously decreed, that traditions should be received as "of equal authority with the Scriptures": and at the same Council it was also agreed to make all the books, apocryphal as well as others, "of equal authority." The reason of their adding traditions to the Scriptures is given by Pope Plus IV, in these words: "all saving truth is not contained in the Holy Scriptures, but partly in the Scripture and partly in unwritten traditions; which whosoever doth not receive with like piety and reverence as he doth the Scriptures, is accursed." We have a reasonable instance of their readiness to set aside the Bible, in order to establish their own opinions. at the Council of Augsburg. It was there that the Protestant confession of faith, drown: Up by Melancthon, was presented to the Emperor. After the reading of it, the Duke of Bavaria, who was on the Popish side, asked Eckius, one of his party, whether he could overthrow the doctrines contained in it, by the Holy Scripture. "No (replied Eckius), we cannot by the Holy Scriptures, but we may by the fathers."

III. SEE HOW THE ACTING ON THIS PRINCIPLE, IN OPPOSITION TO THE CHURCH OF ROME, LED TO THE REFORMATION, and produced those blessed consequences which we are now reaping the advantage of. It is not a little remarkable that the art of printing, about the year 1450, very greatly contributed to the work which followed. It revived the study of classical literature; and thus the Bible, which even clergymen and others acquainted with learning, had been very little used to read before, was now studied by them; and it was that that led in the first instance to a discovery that the religion in which their fathers had been brought up could not be proved by the New Testament.

IV. TEST THE REFORMED RELIGION BY THIS SCRIPTURAL RULE, AND PROVE THEREBY THE SOUNDNESS OF ITS PRINCIPLES. The Reformation has not founded a new Church, it has corrected an old one; and the religion which we now profess is the religion of primitive Christianity. See, in our sixth article, how the Church of England places herself on the ground of the Scriptures. She says, against the Church of Rome, that "Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation, so that whatever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation."

(W. Curling, M. A.)

This passage embodies the truth that in the difficulties and questions that arise in the Christian Church, and which are frequently presented to the mind of Christian persons, the Holy Scriptures are the last appeal to which the Christian shall have recourse. This subject branches out into a vast variety of inquiries; but we shall consider it in connection with the sixth article of our Church of England.

I. THE AFFIRMATIVE PROPOSITION which asserts the sufficiency of Holy Scripture in all things requisite or necessary to salvation To men who have read the Holy Scriptures, it will seem strange that there ever should have arisen a question, as to their sufficiency in things requisite to salvation. They see that the Holy Scriptures are large and full, that they develop innumerable truths of mighty magnitude — that they unfold mysteries beyond the grasp of the human intellect — that they propound a series of the most pure and hallowing precepts — that they narrate the history of God's dealings with His people, so far as they are known to human knowledge — and that they enter upon an ample detail of all those things which God hath revealed of His future purposes for mankind. They see that the Scriptures unfold the fall of man, God's purpose to save a people to Himself, God's love in the gift of His Son Jesus Christ in order to save them, the incarnation of the Word, the atonement of the Cross, the resurrection and triumph over death, the ascension into heaven, the descent of the Holy Ghost, the judgment of the last day, and the everlasting glories that shall follow. They see that the Holy Scriptures contain all this; and still further, that they contain all those rules and principles that should govern man in his duty to God and in his duty to his fellow man, and entering rote such detail of relative duties, of husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and servants, princes and subjects, that every honest man, from the monarch to the peasant, shall find in the Holy Scriptures a sufficient guide and enlightener in the duties of a Christian life. But in the spirit of the words of our text, let us "to the law and to the testimony." Let us take counsel of our God, and ask of Him in the record of His own Word, whether the Holy Scriptures be sufficient unto salvation (Deuteronomy 11:16-21; Deuteronomy 31:11, 12; Psalm 119:9-11; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 1:1-4; John 5:39; John 20:30, 31 Acts 17:10-12; 2 Timothy 3:14-17). The Romanists reply to these Scriptures in a body by stating that they prove too much, inasmuch as they prove either that the Old Testament Scriptures are sufficient, or that one or more Gospels are sufficient for our salvation. We reply, that, if this be true, then, a fortiori, if a part of the Scriptures contain sufficient unto salvation, the whole of the Scriptures as a matter of course must be admitted to contain all things necessary to salvation.

II. THE NEGATIVE PROPOSITION in the article, namely, that "whatsoever is not read in Holy Scripture, nor may he proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or thought requisite or necessary to salvation." The position upon which the Romanists have erected their whole system has been, that besides the written Word them is also an unwritten word — that besides the Holy Scriptures them is another vehicle for conveying religious truth, and that other vehicle they have named tradition. The nature of tradition is this. They state that our Lord Jesus Christ taught many things to His apostles and disciples, which they did not commit to writing in the sacred Scriptures, but, instead of committing them to writing, they committed them by oral communication to those men whom they appointed as bishops throughout the Church universal; they add that those bishops have in a similar manner communicated these doctrines and practices to the bishops and priests that wore to come after them, and that thus there is a mass of floating doctrine and practice pervading the Church universal, partly written in the books of Romish priests and partly deposited in the breasts of Romish bishops. There are certain difficulties and objections to this system.

1. A historical objection derived from the history of God's dealings with His people. The original revelation made to our first parents, being dependent upon tradition, soon became corrupted and lost. And this inefficacy of tradition is the more remarkable, when we consider that the life of man in the ante-diluvian world was extended far beyond the life of man in the post-diluvian world. Nor is this the whole of the historical argument or objection against tradition, because after the waters of the deluge had rolled away, the first fact that is narrated is that man had so lost the knowledge of the true God again, that he built the tower of Babel; and the next fact we read is that the world was so sunk in ignorance that it was necessary that God should choose Abraham and elect one family to Himself, in order that in that family He might take certain steps, by which to secure forever the remembrance of His name in the earth.

2. A Scriptural objection. This is founded upon a conversation narrated in the Gospel history (Mark 7:1-9). Our Lord states that His disciples were justified in rejecting the traditions of the elders because they made the law of God of none effect.

3. An objection arising out of the nature of tradition. With the most anxious desire only to speak the truth, the best men will sometimes vary in their narrative of facts — there is a defect in human memory; there is in the colouring of the minds of men, and there is in the degree of knowledge or ignorance of various men, that which leads to their varying more or less in their statements of fact. Now, if this be the ease in reference to fact, how much more is it the case in reference to abstract doctrines! In order to show that this difficulty still more exists in reference to doctrine, we have but to reflect how few there are in the world, who agree in all things precisely in the same views of doctrine. We regard, therefore, everything that is purely traditionary as necessarily unsound.

(M. H. Seymour, M. A.)

There is a strong tendency in man to flee from the voice of his Maker. Whey should any of us be afraid to hear the voice of God, or to have either our principles or actions judged by His Word Conscience makes us afraid; it tells us that neither the one nor the other will square with the Divine law. Therefore, man forsakes the Word of his God and has recourse to those who will speak to him "peace, peace, when there is no peace" (ver. 19).

I. OUR POSITION is, that Holy Scripture is the only standard whereby to judge of controversies in matters of faith.

II. We now proceed to ESTABLISH THIS POSITION. It is proved by a two-fold line of argument, — negative, by denying the claims put forward on behalf of the addition to this rule; positive, by bringing evidence in favour of the rule itself.

1. The negative evidence.(1) God's design in furnishing His Word in writing was to guard us against the uncertainty of tradition, and lead us, through the truth revealed in that Word, to eternal happiness.(2) Tradition is an incompetent channel for the conveyance of truth.(3) In all our Lord's discourses, whether to the people or to His apostles, or in His disputation with His adversaries, He never made a single appeal to tradition.(4) Our Lord not only never appealed to tradition, but He expressly condemned it, and that in the most unqualified manner.

2. The positive evidence.(1) The Scriptures contain the superstructure that is reared upon faith. They contain exhortations to every possible good word and work. Faith is the means, the foundation, the source of every good word and work.(2) The Scriptures assert their own sufficiency as a rule.(3) Whenever the written Word has been laid aside, everything has gone astray; and whenever a reformation has taken place, all has been restored in accordance with the written Word (2 Kings 22:8; 2 Kings 23:2, 21). Take yet another instance — the re-establishment of the worship of God after the rebuilding of the temple. By perusing the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah you will find that everything was done in accordance, not with any tradition preserved among them, but with the written Word.(4) The greatest question which can concern the human race has ever been decided by an appeal, not to tradition, nor to the priesthood, but to the written Word. The greatest question that can concern us is, whether Jesus is the true Messiah (Matthew 11:2-6). It was as if our Lord had said, Let John bring these, My actions and My preaching to the written Word, and he cannot be mistaken. He will there find whether I am the Messiah or not (Acts 17:2, 11; Acts 18:27, 28).(5) The denial of this truth, that the Scripture is the only rule whereby to judge of controversies in matters of faith, has been the cause of grievous errors and many heresies.(6) The end for which this new rule is pretended is, to say the very least, more than presumptive evidence against it, and consequently in favour of our rule.

III. I proceed now to notice A FEW OBJECTIONS that are brought against our position.

1. "If the Scripture be your rule of faith, there could be no rule of faith, consequently no faith and therefore no salvation, until the canon of Scripture was complete. But for sixty years after the death of Christ the canon was not complete; therefore for sixty years after the death of Christ there could have been no salvation in the Church of God." This plausible; but the reply is simple. We will try the soundness of the argument upon their own principles. If Scripture and tradition be, as they say, their rule of faith, there could not have been a rule of faith until this one was complete. The argument is as good one way as the other. The sophism lies in this, — that, because God may give more light at any particular period, therefore there was no adequate light before!

2. It is objected that controversies cannot be determined by our rule of faith. But, if the Word of God be not competent or sufficient to decide controversies, we ask one simple question — How, then, shall the controversies concerning the Church be determined?

3. "The Scriptures are (say they) difficult and liable to be misunderstood and perverted." We may say the same respecting Scripture and tradition. "But," says Dr. Milner, "we have an unerring judge of controversy" (i.e., they bring in the infallibility of their Church) "to decide in the matter, and he must be understood." But how can he be understood! We must, as Chillingworth remarks, have an infallible interpreter to expound his interpretation, and so on ad infinitum. But this infallible interpreter has never yet spoken. Then, further, if Scripture be so difficult, the interpretation of the judge is not less so; for the decrees of councils and popes cannot possibly be more intelligible than those writings which were read in the hearing of men, women, and children; than the sermons which were addressed by our blessed Lord to the simple and ignorant; than that Word of which we read that it is so plain that a wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein.

(J. R. Page, M. A.)

When men are in some measure impressed with the nature and importance of the end for which they have been made, and when they see that this end respects matters which do not come under the cognisance of their senses and observation, that it has reference mainly to God and to eternity, they will naturally inquire whether any certain rule of standard exists which, when rightly used, and faithfully followed, may guide them to the attainment of this end. Writings possessed of such a character, proceeding from such a source, and resting on such an authority, it must, of course, be most important for us to know, that we may be enabled rightly to apply them for our direction. There are many who profess to regard the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as containing a revelation of God's will, and of course us being so far a rule to guide us in matters connected with our highest interests, who yet deny that they constitute the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy God. There are other rules which they would exalt to a co-ordinate place with the Word of God.(1) The adherents of the Church of Rome add to the Old Testament the apocryphal books, as if they too were inspired. They also believe that oral tradition has conveyed to us truths taught, and observances enjoined, by Christ and His apostles, which are not mentioned in the sacred Scriptures.(2) Those who call themselves rational Christians, practically take their own reason as the chief, if not the only, rule to guide them in matters connected with God and eternity; because, while they may profess to admit that the Scriptures are the Word of God, they practically set up their own reason not only as the instrument of interpreting Scripture, but as entitled to judge of the truth of its doctrines, and to determine what statements of Scripture may be received as true, and what as being irrational and incomprehensible, must be explained away, or virtually denied. There are two general observations deserving of attention, as affording strong presumption against the pretensions which have been put forth.

1. If the Bible be the Word of God, we have no need of any other rule. The Bible is able to make men wise unto salvation.

2. The attempts which have been made to set up other rules as co-ordinate with the Word of God, have generally had the effect of superceding practically the sacred Scriptures; and this constitutes a fair and legitimate presumption against them.

I. THE APOCRYPHAL BOOKS are certain writings composed in the interval between the time of Malachi and our Saviour's appearance in the flesh. They were not written in the Hebrew language, like the books of the Old Testament Scriptures, and exist only in Greek. The Jewish Church never acknowledged them as inspired; and when the apostle says (Romans 3:2), "that unto the Jews were committed the oracles of God," he seems to intimate, not merely that the possession of the sacred oracles was conferred on them as a privilege, but that the custody and preservation of them was imposed upon them as a duty, so that they being, as it were, the authorised depositories of the oracles of God, their testimony as to their authenticity is to be regarded as essentially important, if not of itself absolutely conclusive. The authority of these books was not in any instance acknowledged, directly or by implication, by our Saviour or His apostles, while they plainly acknowledged the authority of the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets, the three classes into which the Jews usually distributed the canonical Scriptures. There is not a vestige of evidence that these books were composed by men who wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, or that their authors were regarded in that light by any of their contemporaries. There are not a few statements in these books which, by no skill and learning, can be reconciled with each other, and which, therefore, cannot have proceeded from one and the same Spirit of truth.

II. The Church of Rome further professes to receive and venerate APOSTOLICAL TRADITIONS with equal piety and reverence as the written Word. In support of the authority of tradition, Papists commonly refer to the injunction of the apostle (2 Thessalonians 2:15), "to hold fast the traditions which they had been taught, whether by word, or by his epistle." Of course, it was the duty of the Thessalonians to hold fast all that they had been taught by the apostle, whether orally or by writing. And our answer to Papists, when they urge from this passage the authority of tradition, is just this, that if the Church of Rome will put us in the same situation with regard to her pretended traditions as the Thessalonians were in regard to the traditions to which the apostle refers; i.e., if she will give us as good evidence as the Thessalonians had that these traditions really came from an apostle, and were delivered by him as public instruction to the Churches, we will implicitly submit to them, but not otherwise.

III. Let us now advert to the claims which some who call them. selves rational Christians put forth in behalf of HUMAN REASON, to be received along with the Word of God as a rule of faith and practice. Men are certainly bound to exercise their reason most fully upon a matter so momentous as the end for which they were made. It is by their reason alone that they come into contact with truth, so as to discover, to apprehend, and to establish it. When the Bible is pressed upon their attention, as containing a revelation from God, they are bound to bring their whole faculties to bear upon the examination of the evidence on which its claim to that character rests, and to come to a clear and decided determination upon that point. If they come to the conclusion that the Bible does contain a revelation from God, then they are further bound to use their reason in discovering the meaning and import of its statements, and in ascertaining from them what is the standard of belief and practice which they ought to follow. And here in right reason the province of reason ends. There can be no more satisfactory reason for believing any doctrine, no more conclusive evidence that it is true, than the fact that God has revealed it. This is a position to which the reason of every rational man assents, and it plainly supersedes the mere unaided efforts of our own reason upon any point on which God has made known to us His will. Men have no right to regard their own reason as the measure or standard of truth, or to suppose that they are capable of discovering much, by its unaided efforts, in regard to an infinite God and an invisible world.

(W. Cunningham.)

? — There is, indeed, another notion very prevailing in the present day, which seems to hold up conscience as the supreme rule by which men ought to be guided in regard to religion, although it has scarcely been propounded as a distinct and definite doctrine. This is evidently a mere fallacy, although we fear it produces extensively very injurious affects. When men talk of their own conscience as being the rule which they are bound to follow, they can mean by their conscience only the opinion which they sincerely entertain, and seem to forget that while, in a certain sense, they may be bound to follow their own conscientious convictions, and while it is undoubtedly true that God alone is Lord of the conscience, that is, is alone entitled to exercise jurisdiction over their opinions, or to require them to believe and act in a certain way merely because they are so required, it may still be a question, whether their conscience is well or ill informed, whether the opinions they conscientiously entertain are well or ill founded. Now this very obvious consideration shows that there must be a higher standard than conscience by which men should try all their opinions, however conscientiously they are held, and that therefore conscience cannot be regarded as a standard of opinion and practice in any such sense as to interfere with the supreme and exclusive authority of the Word of God, or to release men from the obligation to regulate their whole opinions and practice by its statements.

(W. Cunningham.)


1. The ideas engendered in you by your early training.

2. The preachers of the Gospel.

3. There is another class of men. These men are their own preachers; they believe no one but themselves.

4. Just do the same with all books that you read.

II. THE GOOD EFFECTS that you will derive from a careful study of the law and testimony of God.

1. Unless you study the Word of God you will not be competent to detect error.

2. When you are in a matter of dispute you will be able to speak very confidently.

3. Search the Scriptures, because in so doing you win get a rich harvest of blessing to your own soul.

III. OTHER REASONS. Many false prophets are gone forth into the world. There is a solemn danger of being absolutely misled. Read your Bibles to know what the Bible says about you.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

There are three erroneous principles of morality prevalent among ourselves, expediency, honour, and custom.

1. Expediency, borrowed from the storehouse of sceptical philosophy, and placed, by its wisest defenders, as nearly as might be done, on a Christian foundation, pronounces that an action is right or wrong according as it tends to promote or to diminish general happiness. Whatever is expedient is right. Every moral precept is subject to exceptions. And of the expediency of regarding or disregarding the precept every man is in every case to judge for himself.

2. Honour, as a principle of action, refers to the estimation of the class of society in which the individual moves, and especially to the sentiments of the higher ranks, whose opinions will ever be of the most preponderating influence. Its concern respecting moral actions is limited to such as are useful in fashionable intercourse: and is particularly bestowed on those which have somewhat of splendour, commonly of false splendour, in their exterior appearance.

3. Custom is the general guide of those persons who give little thought to the investigation of principles, and take their moral opinions upon trust from others. No one of these is the Scriptural standard of conduct. They all depart from "the law and the testimony." "They speak not according to this word": therefore "there is no tight in them." Let us now advert to their effects.

I. One effect will be this: THE MORALITY PRODUCED WILL BE UNCERTAIN AND VARIABLE. From a survey of the variable morality produced by these false principles of morals, turn to the morality of the Scriptures. Behold it firm, consistent, immutable: not committing its precepts to the jurisdiction of man, and investing him with a dispensing power to suspend or to abrogate them at his discretion; but commanding him universally to be faithful in obeying them, and to leave consequences with God.

II. Another effect of the erroneous principles under examination is, that THE MORALITY PRODUCED IS LOW IN DEGREE. From the view of the debased morality originating in false principles direct your eyes again to the Word of God. Behold the morality which it teaches, worthy of Him, suited to man I Behold it manifesting itself by its holiness to be a transcript of the holiness of God! Behold it as a branch of that "godliness," which "has the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come": behold it conducing to the happiness of men, present no less than future. Behold it not partially confining its benefits to select classes of society; but with outspread arms showering them down upon all. Behold it displaying from age to age its hallowed truths, uncorrupt, unsullied, as the source from which it flows. Behold it exemplified in the fulness of perfection, by, Him who is the cornerstone of Christian morality; by the incarnate Son of God, even by Him who was "God manifest in the flesh."

III. THE MISCHIEF PRODUCED BY FALSE PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY WILL BE BEYOND MEASURE EXTENSIVE. it is on moral dispositions and moral conduct that these principles operate. And it is in the government of moral dispositions, and in the exercise of them in moral actions, that much of the employment of life consists. If religion be weakened in one point, it is weakened in all points, it is endangered in all. Ii then you are anxious, in discharging the duties of morality," faithfully" to follow the. Divine commandments, and to tread in the steps of your Lord, "search the Scriptures. By them shall every moral deed be tried at last: by them let it be directed now.

(T. Gisborne.)

Gates of Imagery.
When Sir David Wilkie was setting out for an artistic tour in the Holy Land, he was asked what guide book he was taking with him. He held out the Bible, saying, "This is the best guide book." We are pilgrims to the heavenly Canaan. What guide book will be so helpful to us as the Bible? It will shed light on our way.

(Gates of Imagery.)

After Henry the Eighth's rupture with the Pope the following order was issued, to counteract if possible" the advance of sacerdotal superstition: Every parson or proprietary of every parish church within this realm, shall provide a book of the whole Bible, both in Latin and in English, and lay the same in the choir, for every man that will to read and look therein; and shall discourage no man from reading any part of the Bible, but rather comfort, exhort, and admonish every man to read the same, as the very Word of God and the spiritual food of man's soul."

(H. O. Mackey.)

Immanuel, Isaiah, Jacob, Jeberechiah, Mahershalalhashbaz, Remaliah, Rezin, Uriah, Urijah, Zechariah
Assyria, Damascus, Euphrates River, Jerusalem, Judah, Mount Zion, Samaria, Shiloah
Dawn, Daybreak, Faith, Instruction, Law, Manner, Morning, Speak, Surely, Teaching, Testimony, Turn, Wherein, Witness
1. In Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, he prophesies Syria and Israel shall be subdued by Assyria
5. Judah likewise for their infidelity
9. God's judgments shall be irresistible
11. Comfort shall be to those who fear God
19. Great afflictions to idolaters

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Isaiah 8:20

     1690   word of God
     4811   darkness, symbol of sin
     4918   dawn
     8674   study
     8749   false teachers

Isaiah 8:19-20

     4155   divination
     5780   advisers
     8128   guidance, receiving

Isaiah 8:19-22

     4132   demons, malevolence
     4824   famine, spiritual
     5864   futility

Shiloah and Euphrates
Forasmuch as this people refuseth the waters of Shiloah that go softly ... the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many.' ISAIAH viii. 6, 7. The kingdom of Judah was threatened with a great danger in an alliance between Israel and Damascus. The cowardly King Ahaz, instead of listening to Isaiah's strong assurances and relying on the help of God, made what he thought a master-stroke of policy in invoking the help of the formidable Assyrian power. That ambitious military
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Search the Scriptures
I feel at this particular crisis of religious affairs, it is imperative upon the Christian minister to urge his people to hold fast the doctrines of the truth--the words of God. This seems likely to become the age of preaching, rather than the age of praying. We now see everywhere large congregations assembling in halls and abbeys to listen to the Word preached; and it is an ominous sign of the times, that these preachings are not only espoused by the orthodox, but even by those whom we have considered
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 4: 1858

Exposition of the Doctrines of Grace
? Perseverance of the Saints--"The Final Perseverance of Believers in Christ Jesus," by William O'Neill (message 5). The Rev. C. H. SPURGEON took the chair at 3 o'clock. The proceedings were commenced by singing the 21st Hymn-- Saved from the damning power of sin, The law's tremendous curse, We'll now the sacred song begin Where God began with us. We'll sing the vast unmeasured grace Which, from the days of old, Did all his chosen sons embrace, As sheep within the fold. The basis of eternal love
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 7: 1861

Prefatory Scripture Passages.
To the Law and to the Testimony; if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.-- Isa. viii. 20. Thus saith the Lord; Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.--Jer. vi. 16. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. But
G. H. Gerberding—The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church

Of the Scriptures
Eph. ii. 20.--"And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." Believers are "the temple of the living God," in which he dwells and walks, 2 Cor. vi. 16. Every one of them is a little sanctuary and temple to his Majesty, "sanctify the Lord of hosts in your hearts." Though he be "the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity," yet he is pleased to come down to this poor cottage of a creature's heart, and dwell in it. Is not this
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Gihon, the Same with the Fountain of Siloam.
I. In 1 Kings 1:33,38, that which is, in the Hebrew, "Bring ye Solomon to Gihon: and they brought him to Gihon"; is rendered by the Chaldee, "Bring ye him to Siloam: and they brought him to Siloam." Where Kimchi thus; "Gihon is Siloam, and it is called by a double name. And David commanded, that they should anoint Solomon at Gihon for a good omen, to wit, that, as the waters of the fountain are everlasting, so might his kingdom be." So also the Jerusalem writers; "They do not anoint the king, but
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

Trials of the Christian
AFFLICTION--ITS NATURE AND BENEFITS. The school of the cross is the school of light; it discovers the world's vanity, baseness, and wickedness, and lets us see more of God's mind. Out of dark afflictions comes a spiritual light. In times of affliction, we commonly meet with the sweetest experiences of the love of God. The end of affliction is the discovery of sin; and of that, to bring us to a Saviour. Doth not God ofttimes even take occasion, by the hardest of things that come upon us, to visit
John Bunyan—The Riches of Bunyan

That it is not Lawful for the Well Affected Subjects to Concur in Such an Engagement in War, and Associate with the Malignant Party.
That It Is Not Lawful For The Well Affected Subjects To Concur In Such An Engagement In War, And Associate With The Malignant Party. Some convinced of the unlawfulness of the public resolutions and proceedings, in reference to the employing of the malignant party, yet do not find such clearness and satisfaction in their own consciences as to forbid the subjects to concur in this war, and associate with the army so constituted. Therefore it is needful to speak something to this point, That it is
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Universality of Actual Grace
The gratuity of grace does not conflict with its universality. Though God distributes His graces freely, He grants them to all men without exception, because He wills all to be saved. This divine "will to save" (voluntas Dei salvifica) may be regarded in relation either to the wayfaring state or to the status termini. Regarded from the first-mentioned point of view it is a merciful will (voluntas misericordiae) and is generally called first or antecedent will (voluntas prima s. antecedens)
Joseph Pohle—Grace, Actual and Habitual

Jesus' Temporary Residence at Capernaum.
^A Matt. IV. 13-16. ^a 13 And leaving Nazareth [This expression means that Jesus now ceased to make Nazareth his home. For description of Nazareth, see page 60], he came and dwelt in Capernaum [See page 119. Capernaum means city of Nahum, or village of consolation. Its modern name, "Tel-Hum," means hill of Nahum. The word "dwelt" means that Jesus made this town his headquarters. He owned no house there (Matt. viii. 20). He may have dwelt with some of his disciples--for instance, Simon Peter--Matt.
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Of the Character of the Unregenerate.
Ephes. ii. 1, 2. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. AMONG all the various trusts which men can repose in each other, hardly any appears to be more solemn and tremendous, than the direction of their sacred time, and especially of those hours which they spend in the exercise of public devotion.
Philip Doddridge—Practical Discourses on Regeneration

To Pastors and Teachers
To Pastors and Teachers If all who laboured for the conversion of others were to introduce them immediately into Prayer and the Interior Life, and make it their main design to gain and win over the heart, numberless as well as permanent conversions would certainly ensue. On the contrary, few and transient fruits must attend that labour which is confined to outward matters; such as burdening the disciple with a thousand precepts for external exercises, instead of leaving the soul to Christ by the
Madame Guyon—A Short and Easy Method of Prayer

"But if we Walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, we have Fellowship one with Another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His
1 John i. 7.--"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." Art is the imitation of nature, and true religion is a divine art, that consists in the imitation of God himself, the author of nature. Therefore it is a more high and transcendent thing, of a sublimer nature than all the arts and sciences among men. Those reach but to some resemblance of the wisdom of God, expressed in his works,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Wicked Husbandmen.
"Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: and when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto
William Arnot—The Parables of Our Lord

Letter xix (A. D. 1127) to Suger, Abbot of S. Denis
To Suger, Abbot of S. Denis He praises Suger, who had unexpectedly renounced the pride and luxury of the world to give himself to the modest habits of the religious life. He blames severely the clerk who devotes himself rather to the service of princes than that of God. 1. A piece of good news has reached our district; it cannot fail to do great good to whomsoever it shall have come. For who that fear God, hearing what great things He has done for your soul, do not rejoice and wonder at the great
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

First Sunday in Lent
Text: Second Corinthians 6, 1-10. 1 And working together with him we entreat also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain 2 (for he saith, At an acceptable time I hearkened unto thee, and in a day of salvation did I succor thee: behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation): 3 giving no occasion of stumbling in anything, that our ministration be not blamed; 4 but in everything commending ourselves, as ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities,
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Covenanting a Privilege of Believers.
Whatever attainment is made by any as distinguished from the wicked, or whatever gracious benefit is enjoyed, is a spiritual privilege. Adoption into the family of God is of this character. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power (margin, or, the right; or, privilege) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."[617] And every co-ordinate benefit is essentially so likewise. The evidence besides, that Covenanting
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

Christ's Prophetic Office
'The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet,' &c. Deut 18:85. Having spoken of the person of Christ, we are next to speak of the offices of Christ. These are Prophetic, Priestly, and Regal. 'The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet.' Enunciatur hic locus de Christo. It is spoken of Christ.' There are several names given to Christ as a Prophet. He is called the Counsellor' in Isa 9:9. In uno Christo Angelus foederis completur [The Messenger of the Covenant appears in Christ alone].
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

A Treatise of the Fear of God;
SHOWING WHAT IT IS, AND HOW DISTINGUISHED FROM THAT WHICH IS NOT SO. ALSO, WHENCE IT COMES; WHO HAS IT; WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS; AND WHAT THE PRIVILEGES OF THOSE THAT HAVE IT IN THEIR HEARTS. London: Printed for N. Ponder, at the Peacock in the Poultry, over against the Stocks market: 1679. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," and "a fountain of life"--the foundation on which all wisdom rests, as well as the source from whence it emanates. Upon a principle
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

That the Employing Of, and Associating with the Malignant Party, According as is Contained in the Public Resolutions, is Sinful and Unlawful.
That The Employing Of, And Associating With The Malignant Party, According As Is Contained In The Public Resolutions, Is Sinful And Unlawful. If there be in the land a malignant party of power and policy, and the exceptions contained in the Act of Levy do comprehend but few of that party, then there need be no more difficulty to prove, that the present public resolutions and proceedings do import an association and conjunction with a malignant party, than to gather a conclusion from clear premises.
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

History of the Interpretation.
1. AMONG THE JEWS. This History, as to its essential features, might, a priori, be sketched with tolerable certainty. From the nature of the case, we could scarcely expect that the Jews should have adopted views altogether erroneous as to the subject of the prophecy in question; for the Messiah appears in it, not in His humiliation, but in His glory--rich in gifts and blessings, and Pelagian self-delusion will, a priori, return an affirmative answer to the question as to whether one is
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

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