'LET US CONSTANTLY READ THE SCRIPTURES. Let us read them, I would say, in preference to other books. There is a great, deal of reading nowadays, and a great deal of that is a kind of chaff-cutting, and nothing more. Why, even in religious newspapers and magazines they cannot command readers and make them pay, so they say, unless they include a religious novel. People’s minds must be in a queer state, when they can relish nothing but these whipped creams, and juvenile syllabubs. If they were robust and healthy, with a good appetite for divine things, they would demand something far more solid and satisfying. You will never grow sturdy men and women on such poor stuff as that: you may rear lackadaisical imitations; but the thinking soul with something in it, the Christian woman who serves God and is a true helper to the Christian ministry, the young man who is fired with the longing to proclaim Christ and win souls to him, must have stronger nutriments than this, that modern religious journalism ladles out so plentifully! Oh! my brethren and sisters, read the Bible, read the Bible’; and these things that enfeeble, will lose all their attraction for you.
If the worldling must have these things, let him; but if you have a soul that is above rubbish, and has been accustomed to live on great, solid verities and substantial truths, you scarcely need that I should say, "Search the Scriptures diligently, and your joy shall spread and deepen."
Be this your happy confession,-
“Lord, I have made thy Word my choice,
My lasting heritage;
There shall my noblest powers rejoice
My warmest thoughts engage.”
We say further, prefer the Scriptures even to all religious books. We say this of the best book, and sermons. We do our best to teach you God’s truth: but we are, like gold-beaters, we get a little bit of truth, and we hammer it out so thin. Some of us are mighty hands at this, and can make a tiny fragment of truth-gold cover an acre of talk. But the best, of us, those who really do seek to bring out the doctrines of grace and love, are but poor workers at it. Read the Bible more, and do not care so much about us. If my sermons kept people from reading the Bible for themselves, I would like to see the whole stock in a blaze and burned to ashes’. But if they serve as finger-posts, pointing to the Scriptures and saying, “Read this, and this, and this;” then I am thankful to have printed them. But if they keep you from your Bibles, burn them, burn them, burn them. Do not let them overlay the Scriptures, but lie beneath them, for that is their proper place. Keep you first, to God’s revealed Word.
Let me here say, that when you read the Bible, remember there are several ways of doing it. There is the superficial reading: being satisfied with the mere letter of it. There is, however, a diving into it, a going deep down into the soul of it. Read it in natural sections. What would Milton’s “Paradise, Lost “ be if you only read one line a day, and began at the middle and went back to the first line? You would never understand his meaning thus. Read the Bible through. Read Johns gospel: not a bit of John and then a snippet of Mark, but read John through, and find out what John is at. Remember that Matthew-, though he speaks of the same Savior as Mark, yet he does it not in the same style, nor for the same purpose; as he. There is a very distinct purpose in each gospel. Matthew tells of Jesus, the King; the parables he records all hold references to the King. “Then shall the kingdom, of heaven be likened,” Mark show us Christ as the Servant devoted and tireless in his activity of loving toil; Luke as the Man Christ Jesus, full of human tenderness and sympathy, and his parables begin “A certain man.” John reveals to us Christ in his true Deity and God-head; and gloriously does he preface it, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Get a hold of what the books mean, and may the Holy Spirit to show you the aim of each writer’-the one book, and that studied, not scampered through, and you shall stand firm where others fall.'
Spurgeon, C. H., 'How To Become Full of Joy'. 1865.
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