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À TRUE faith in the Scriptures must have its strength in the Scriptures themselves. This would seem to be a proposition of the clearest reason. If the Bible be the word of God with a human voice, then must it speak to the human soul directly as no other word, no other voice, can speak. Too much have we relied on outward helps. Not casting away, then, but leaving behind our Apologies for the Bible, our Philosophies of the Bible, our Reconciliations of the Bible with Science, we should come directly to the Scriptures, with the rational as well as reverent belief, that if they are divine they must contain within themselves their own strong self-evidencing power. We would say to the young man disturbed with scepticism, Read your Bible. We would say to all who have difficulties which they honestly wish removed, Study the Scriptures, meditate therein by day and by night
Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna.
It is the only true and lasting cure of scepticism, whether for an individual or an age. It might be thought that there is some risk in the prescription, and doubtless it may be so with its first effects ; for the difficulties and stumbling-blocks may show themselves before the deep verities have begun to arrest and amaze the soul : but let there be perseverance, and the divine medicine will reveal its power ; “ the sun of righteousness will at length arise with healing in its wings.”
At no time, we believe, are such thoughts more important
than at present. Faith is weakened by habitual reliance upon outward props, even when sound. The age, and all serious minds of the age, are called to the inward study of the word itself. In the signs of the times we seem to hear the voice that came to Augustine in his memorable conversion-struggle in the garden, " Take up the book and read-take up the book and read.” It seems to say to us with a new emphasis, Epevvõte Tàs ypadás, “Search the Scriptures,” explore the Scriptures, there are hidden treasures there, there are living waters there study the Scriptures, they contain more than knowledge, the words they speak unto you,“ they are spirit and they are life.”
The above thoughts are not made directly the subject of the following book, but they suggestively pervade it, and may, therefore, justly occupy its prefatory page.
The writer would merely add, that the present volume has grown out of what was intended as an introduction to another work on the Figurative Language of the Scriptures, and which, with the divine permission, he hopes soon to give to the public. Some of the thoughts in such intended introduction were deemed worthy of being treated at greater length, and with more liberty. Hence the expansion which has resulted in the book here offered to the Church. It is hoped that it will be found to occupy that ground of our common Christianity which carries us above all narrow sectarianism. Whatever may be its defects, in other respects, it is believed to be evangelical, churchly, catholic in that true sense of catholicism which is acknowledged by all true believers.