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Light and Truth: The Old Testament: Chapter 52 - The Book of Books

By Horatius Bonar


      Proverbs 2:1-5

      THE words "my Son" are not spoken at random, or inserted without a meaning. In them God speaks to us as unto children (Hebrews 12). It is a father's voice that speaks to us in the book of Proverbs. Solomon's counsels to Rehoboam are God's messages to us.

      The subject here is the divine Word, its nature and use, with the way in which we are to receive it. It is assumed to be,

      (1.) True. Not partially so, but absolutely and perfectly.

      (2.) Infallible. Not imperious or dictatorial, yet infallible.

      (3.) Precious. Containing infinite treasures.

      (4.) Profound. It will bear searching, digging, meditation. It has much on the surface; far more beneath. Go as deep as you like, the vein is not exhausted.

      (5.) Intelligible. Though spoken by God, it is quite as intelligible as that spoken by man. A father's words to his child are meant to be understood.

      This Word is here called by many names: "my words," "my commandments," "wisdom," "understanding," "knowledge." The way in which we are to deal with it is spoken of under various figures: "receiving," "hiding," "inclining the ear," "applying the heart," "crying after," "lifting up the voice for," "seeking," "searching"; each of these implying honesty, earnestness, perseverance, faith,--each successive word embodying some more meaning, some deeper truth than its predecessor.

      Let us mark then,

      I. Solomon's object in the Proverbs. It is good to go back to the original speaker or writer; to remember the instrument through which the Holy Spirit spoke, whether Moses, or David, or Solomon, or Isaiah. This not only brings out better the human side of the book or passage; not only enables us to realize the words as thoroughly human words; but it gives a point and interest and meaning to them which otherwise is lost. Paul's words are not Peter's, nor John's; yet they are all the words of the Holy Ghost. So the words of Solomon the king, and Amos the Tekoan herdsman, are both the words of God, yet there are differences; and these differences have a meaning. The Proverbs of Solomon would have been equally true, though uttered by Amos, yet they would not have had the peculiar point which they possess when coming from the lips of the greatest, richest, wisest of kings. The royal lessons of this royal teacher and father are summed up in "the fear of the Lord, and the knowledge of God." This is his object, even in that book which seems filled with common life, and its maxims and scenes. Fear God; know the Lord; this is the sum of all that he has to say to us.

      II. God's object in the Bible. To teach us to know and fear Him. Many subordinate things, but this as the main thing; this as the result of all its precepts, warnings, facts, histories. The Bible terminates on God, as it begins with him. It comes from God, and goes back to him, leading us along with it. The Bible has specially to do with the world to come, even in those books which are occupied with the duties and concerns of this. Let your Bible lead you straight to God; let every perusal teach you more of him. As was God's object in writing the Bible, so let yours be in reading it. Be sure to find him everywhere.

      III. The way in which He would have us treat the Bible. (1.) Receive it. Take it as true, divine, infallible. Listen to it, as his voice, his message. Let its words flow in to ear and heart.

      (2.) Prize it. It is no common possession. It is treasure, riches, gold,-- all divine. As such it must be used lovingly, reverently, devoutly, believingly.

      (3.) Study it. It must be "hid," laid up, sought out, searched, weighed. No surface work, no holiday work. Day and night, it must be studied with the whole vigour of our souls.

      (4.) It must be prayed over. In the study of it we must deal with God. He has the key for unlocking its chambers; the light for shewing us all its recesses. We must go to him to be taught: "If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God." Like old Bradford, we must study it on our knees.

      Let us notice in conclusion the connection of all this with Christ. He is "the Word of God," and the Bible is " the word of God." He connects the two things together when he says, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you." The testimony of all Scripture is to Christ; he is its Alpha and Omega. It is through him that we have the knowledge and the fear of God. To know him is to know the Father, and we find him in the word; the more we dig into the word, we find the more of him. They are they which testify of him. Search the Scriptures! They contain life, and they contain THE LIFE. Let us go to them for both. How little of them do we know; how much we ought to know, and might know, if we would search! Would you be wise? Study the Word, and find THE WISDOM OF GOD there. Would you be holy? Study the Word. It sanctifies its readers. Would you be happy? Study the Word. In its words is blessedness,--the peace and joy of God.

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See Also:
   Preface
   Chapter 1 - The Old and New Creation
   Chapter 2 - The Link Between Being and Non-Being
   Chapter 3 - A Happy World
   Chapter 4 - The Sin, the Sinner, and the Sentence
   Chapter 5 - Man's Fig-Leaves
   Chapter 6 - Expulsion and Re-Entrance
   Chapter 7 - The Blood of Sprinkling and the Blood of Abel
   Chapter 8 - The Way of Cain
   Chapter 9 - The Man of Rest
   Chapter 10 - Going Out and Keeping Out
   Chapter 11 - The Shield and the Recompense
   Chapter 12 - Liberty and Service
   Chapter 13 - The Day of Despair
   Chapter 14 - The Blood of Deliverance
   Chapter 15 - How God Deals with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 16 - The Fire Quenched
   Chapter 17 - The Vision from the Rocks
   Chapter 18 - The Doom of the Double-Hearted
   Chapter 19 - Be Not Borderers
   Chapter 20 - The Outlines of a Saved Sinner's History
   Chapter 21 - Divine Longings Over the Foolish
   Chapter 22 - What a Believing Man Can Do
   Chapter 23 - Song of the Putting Off of the Armour
   Chapter 24 - The Kiss of the Backslider
   Chapter 25 - The Priestly Word of Peace
   Chapter 26 - Human Anodynes
   Chapter 27 - Spiritual and Carnal Weapons
   Chapter 28 - Divine Silence and Human Despair
   Chapter 29 - Jewish Unbelief and Gentile Blessing
   Chapter 30 - The Restoration of the Banished
   Chapter 31 - The Farewell Gift
   Chapter 32 - God's Dealing with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 33 - God Finding a Resting-Place
   Chapter 34 - The Moriah Group
   Chapter 35 - Diverse Kinds of Conscience
   Chapter 36 - The Soul Turning from Man to God
   Chapter 37 - Man's Dislike of a Present God
   Chapter 38 - True and False Consolation
   Chapter 39 - Gain and Loss for Eternity
   Chapter 40 - Man's Misconstruction of the Works of God
   Chapter 41 - The Two Cries and the Two Answers
   Chapter 42 - The Knowledge of God's Name
   Chapter 43 - Deliverance from Deep Waters
   Chapter 44 - The Excellency of the Divine Loving-Kindness
   Chapter 45 - The Sickness, the Healer, and the Healing
   Chapter 46 - The Consecration of Earth's Gold and Silver
   Chapter 47 - The Gifts of the Ascended One
   Chapter 48 - The Speaker, the Listener, the Peace
   Chapter 49 - The Believing Man's Confident Appeal
   Chapter 50 - The Love and the Deliverance
   Chapter 51 - The Sin and Folly of Being Unhappy
   Chapter 52 - The Book of Books
   Chapter 53 - The Secret of Deliverance from Evil
   Chapter 54 - The Voice of the Heavenly Bridegroom
   Chapter 55 - The Love that Passeth Knowledge
   Chapter 56 - The Vision of the Glory
   Chapter 57 - Man's Extremity and Satan's Opportunity
   Chapter 58 - The Day of Clear Vision to the Dim Eyes
   Chapter 59 - The Unfainting Creator and the Fainting Creature
   Chapter 60 - The Knowledge that Justifies
   Chapter 61 - The Heritage and its Title-Deeds
   Chapter 62 - The Meeting Between the Sinner and God
   Chapter 63 - God's Love and God's Way of Blessing
   Chapter 64 - Divine Jealousy for the Truth
   Chapter 65 - Divine Love and Human Rejection of it
   Chapter 66 - God's Desire to Bless the Sinner
   Chapter 67 - The Resting-Place Forgotten
   Chapter 68 - The Day that Will Right all Wrongs
   Chapter 69 - The Glory and the Love
   Chapter 70 - False Religion and its Doom
   Chapter 71 - No Breath No Life
   Chapter 72 - Every Christian a Teacher
   Chapter 73 - Work, Rest, and Recompence
   Chapter 74 - Human Heedlessness and Divine Remembrance
   Chapter 75 - Lies the Food of Man
   Chapter 76 - The Love and the Calling
   Chapter 77 - The Anger and the Goodness
   Chapter 78 - Darkness Pursuing the Sinner
   Chapter 79 - Jerusalem the Centre of the World's Peace
   Chapter 80 - Jerusalem and Her King
   Chapter 81 - Looking to the Pierced One
   Chapter 82 - The Holiness of Common Things
   Chapter 83 - Wearying Jehovah with our Words
   Chapter 84 - Dies Irae

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