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"When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee." Prov. 6:22.
Here is companionship, faithful and true, a blessed guide and guardian and friend.
"Holy Bible! book divine!
Precious treasure, thou art mine!"
God Its Author
The sixty-six books of Holy Scripture were written by many penmen, over a space of fifteen centuries; yet it is one book, and one voice speaks through all its pages. Spurgeon once said of his experience with this book:
"When I see it, I seem to hear a voice springing up from it, saying, 'I am the book of God; man, read me. I am God's writing; open my leaf, for I was penned by God; read it, for He is my author.
This book declares of itself: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God." 2 Tim. 3:16. "The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1:21. As the rugged verse of the old hymn puts it:
"Let all the heathen writers join
To form one perfect book:
Great God, if once compared with Thine,
"Not the most perfect rules they gave
Nor lead a step beyond the grave;
But Thine conducts to heaven."
It is the voice of the Almighty. Very different it is from the sacred books of the non-Christian religions. In those writings it is man speaking about God; in the Holy Scriptures it is God speaking to man. The difference is as great as heaven is higher than earth. Here it is not man grop
ing in the darkness after God. In this book of God's revelation we see the divine arm reaching down to save the lost,
and hear the voice of the loving Father calling to His children, every one and everywhere. "Incline your ear," He calls; "hear, and your soul shall live." Isa. 55:3.
The Word That Creates
We must have something more than instruction; we must have a word of power that is able to tell of sins forgiven, and to conduct us beyond the grave to heaven. One of the greatest of China's sages, Mencius, said, "Instruction can impart information, but not the power to execute." That touches the crucial point. We must have instruction that can come with power divine to execute. We have it only in God's words. Christ said: "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63.
The words of God are living words. When God spoke in the beginning, "Let there be light," lo, the light sprang out of the darkness. There was power in the word spoken to bring forth. "Let the earth bring forth grass," was the word of the Lord: and the earth was carpeted with its first rich greensward. So through all the work of creation, the creative power was in the word spoken.
"By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth." "He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast." Ps. 33:6, 9.
Even so, when this word speaks instruction to man, there is creative power in the word, if received, to work mightily in the soul that is dead in trespasses and sins. Man must be born again, be re-created. That we know; for Christ says, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again ["from above," margin], he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3.
And the word of God- the Bible from heaven ceived by faith, is the agency by which this new birth "from
above" is wrought. This is the declaration of our text: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." 1 Peter 1:23.
The Word That Works Within
Not only does the word of God give the new birth, making the believer a new man,- the past forgiven and a new heart within, but the word that re-creates abides in the believing heart that studies it and clings to it, to work in the life with actual power that is not of the man himself. To the Thessalonians, who had "turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God," the apostle wrote:
"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." 1 Thess. 2:13.
The word itself works within, and works effectually. There is nothing mechanical about it. The mere letter profits nothing. The Bible on the center table, unstudied and unloved, has no magic power. But God promises to abide by His Spirit of power in the heart that listens to His voice and trembles at His word. Jesus Himself tells us the secret of this power of the word to work in the believing heart:
"If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:23.
No wonder, then, that believing and receiving the word brings divine power into the life, making it possible for transformations of character to be wrought, for victories to be won and obedience rendered to every command of God.
Simply believing God's word touches the current of everlasting power, even as the trolley arm of the electric car reaches up and touches the current of power flowing through
the wire overhead. The faith that takes the living word brings the power divine into the heart to move all the spiritual mechanism of life's service.
The Word Our Safety and Defense
When Christ came to live as our example in the flesh, and to give His life a sacrifice for sin, He, the divine Son of God, made Himself like unto His brethren. "I can of Mine own self do nothing," He said. John 5:30. Tempted and tried, He found His defense in the Holy Scriptures. When Satan came to tempt Him to sin, the Saviour said, "It is written." He clung to the sure defense. Again the tempter came. He was met with the word, "It is written again." The third time it was the same weapon of defense, "It is written." Matt. 4:1-11.
Christ found safety only in the Scriptures of truth. So the Bible is the Christian's shield against the enemy's attacks. As Jesus studied the Scriptures and kept the words ever in His heart for a defense against temptation, so must every Christian study and meditate upon God's Holy Word if its counsels and precepts are to be his defense in the moment of sudden temptation to sin. "Thy word have I hid in mine heart," said the psalmist, "that I might not sin against Thee." Ps. 119: 11. It was the only way for Christ, our Pattern; it is the only way for us.
The Bread of Life
The word of God is the daily food for the soul. "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proccedeth out of the mouth of God." Matt. 4:4.
Who has not, in hurried times, missed a meal, working on through the day, never thinking of the prolonged fast? But after a time there came a sense of weakening force, a lack of physical power. What was the trouble? At once the reason was evident- -one had not taken food, and the