The word here translated “search” signifies a strict, close, assiduous, diligent search – such as people make when they are seeking gold or when hunters are in earnest after game. We must not be content with having merely superficially read a chapter or two of the Bible, but we must deliberately seek out the intended meaning of the Word with the candle of the Spirit.
Holy Scripture requires searching. Much of it can only be learned by careful study. There is milk for babies, but there is also meat for strong men. The rabbis wisely say that a mountain of matter hangs upon every word of Scripture. Tertullian exclaims, “I adore the fullness of the Scriptures.” No one who merely skims the Book of God can profit thereby. We must dig and mine until we obtain the hidden treasure. The door of the Word only opens with the key of diligence.
The Scriptures require searching. They are the writings of God, bearing the divine stamp and approval. Who will dare to treat them lightly? He who despises them despises the God who wrote them! God forbid that any of us should let our Bibles become swift witnesses against us in the great day of judgment!
The Word of God will reward searching. God does not have us sift a mountain of chaff to look for an occasional grain of wheat, for the Bible is winnowed grain. We only have to open the granary door and find it. Scripture grows upon the student. It is full of surprises. To the searching eye that is under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God glows with the splendor of revelation, like a vast temple paved with gold and adorned with rubies, emeralds, and all manner of precious gems. There is no merchandise like the merchandise of Scripture truth.
Lastly, the Scriptures reveal Jesus. The Scriptures testify about Him (John 5:39). No more powerful motive can be urged upon Bible readers than this. He who finds Jesus finds life, heaven, and all things. Happy is he who searches the Bible and discovers his Savior!
“Those who have no master are slaves to themselves. Depend upon it, you will either serve Satan or Christ, either self or the Saviour. You will find sin, self, Satan, and the world to be hard masters; but if you wear the livery of Christ, you will find him so meek and lowly of heart that you will find rest unto your souls. He is the most magnanimous of captains.
“There never was his like among the choicest of princes. He is always to be found in the thickest part of the battle. When the wind blows cold he always takes the bleak side of the hill. The heaviest end of the cross lies ever on his shoulders. If he bids us carry a burden, he carries it also. If there is anything that is gracious, generous, kind, and tender, yea lavish and superabundant in love, you always find it in him. These 40 years and more have I served him, blessed be his name! and I have had nothing but love from him. I would be glad to continue yet another 40 years in the same dear service here below if so it pleased him. His service is life, peace, joy. Oh, that you would enter on it at once! God help you to enlist under the banner of Jesus even this day! Amen.”
“Persons go out on Monday to business who cannot go out on Sunday. It is raining on Sunday, and it is very curious how rain on Sunday will keep some people in; their health is so weak, though the same rain on Monday does not affect them at all in that particular way. Have you never observed how some persons appear to be periodically ill on Sundays? That seems to be a favourite day for being ill; and then they will say that they cannot walk so far, and they would object to ride, the objection being, probably, to going at all, at the bottom.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
What I regard as a terrible evil, is abounding unbelief. I am not speaking now of that coarse kind of infidelity which rails at the Scriptures, and blasphemes the Name of the Lord our God. There is not much mischief in such a devil as that; he is too black, too plainly a fiend of hell! There is a more dangerous spirit now abroad, entering into Nonconformist churches, climbing into their pulpits, and notably perverting the testimony of some who count themselves somewhat, and are regarded as leaders by those who reckon themselves to be men of culture and intellect. Macaulay rightly said that theology is immutable; but these men are continually contradicting that opinion in the most practical manner, for their theology is fickle as the winds. Landmarks are laughed at, and fixed teaching is despised. “Progress” is their watchword, and we hear it repeated ad nauseam. Very far are we from denying that men ought to make progress in the knowledge of the truth, for we are aiming at that ourselves; and by daily experience, by study, and by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, we trust that, in some humble measure we are gaining it. But words need interpreting,—what is intended by “progress” in this case? Which way does it go?
It is too often progress from the truth, which, being interpreted, is progressing backwards. They talk of higher thought, but it is an ascending downwards. I must use their terms, and talk of progress; but their progress is a going from, and not a going to, the place of our desires. Evidently, it is progress from usefulness. They invite us to follow them in their advance towards a barren Socinianism, for thither the new theology tends, or to something worse. Now, we know, at the present time, certain ancient chapels shut up, with grass growing in the front of them, and over the door of them is the name Unitarian Baptist Chapel. Although it has been said that he is a benefactor of his race who makes two blades of grass grow where only one grew before, we have no desire to empty our pews in order to grow more grass. We have in our eye certain other chapels, not yet arrived at that consummation, where the spiders are dwelling in delightful quietude, in which the pews are more numerous than the people, and although an endowment keeps the minister’s mouth open, there are but few open ears for him to address.
We should be crying, praying, and pleading that the church may continually grow. We must preach, visit, pray, and labor for this end. May the Lord add unto us daily such as are saved! If there is no harvest, can the seed be the true seed? Are we preaching apostolic doctrine if we never see apostolic results? Oh, my brethren, our hearts should be ready to break if there is no increase in the flocks we tend. Oh Lord, we plead with you, send increase!
The best of men are but men at the best, and the brightest saints are still sinners, for whom there is still a fountain open, but not opened, mark you, in Sodom and Gomorrah, but the fountain is opened for the house of David, and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that even they may still continue, with all their lofty privileges, to wash therein, and to be clean. This is the kind of humility, then, which is consistent with the highest moral and spiritual character, nay, it is the very clothing of such a character, as Peter puts it, “Be clothed with humility,” as if, after we had put on the whole armour of God, we put this over all to cover it all up. We do not want the helmet to glitter in the sun, nor the greaves of brass upon the knees to shine before men; but clothing ourselves like officers in mufti, we conceal the beauties which will eventually the more reveal themselves.
WE WILL begin with OUR ARMOURY. That armoury is to me, at any rate—and I hope it is to each one of you—THE BIBLE. To us Holy Scripture is as “the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.” If we want weapons we must come here for them, and here only. Whether we seek the sword of offence or the shield of defence, we must find it within the volume of inspiration. If others have any other storehouse, I confess at once I have none. I have nothing else to preach when I have got through with this book. Indeed, I can have no wish to preach at all if I may not continue to expound the subjects which I find in these pages. What else is worth preaching? Brethren, the truth of God is the only treasure for which we seek, and the Scripture is the only field in which we dig for it.
We need nothing more than God has seen fit to reveal. Certain errant spirits are never at home till they are abroad: they crave for a something which I think they will never find, either in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth, so long as they are in their present mind. They never rest, for they will have nothing to do with an infallible revelation; and hence they are doomed to wander throughout time and eternity, and find no abiding city. For the moment they glory as if they were satisfied with their last new toy; but in a few months it is sport to them to break in pieces all the notions which they formerly prepared with care, and paraded with delight. They go up a hill only to come down again. Indeed, they say that the pursuit of truth is better than truth itself. They like fishing better than the fish; which may very well be true, since their fish are very small, and very full of bones. These men are as great at destroying their own theories as certain paupers are at tearing up their clothes. They begin again de novo, times without number: their house is always having its foundation digged out. They should be good at beginnings; for they have always been beginning since we have known them. They are as the rolling thing before the whirlwind, or “like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” Although their cloud is not that cloud which betokened the divine presence, yet it is always moving before them, and their tents are scarcely pitched before it is time for the stakes to be pulled up again. These men are not even seeking certainty; their heaven lies in shunning all fixed truth, and following every will-o’-the-wisp of speculation: they are ever learning, but they never come to the knowledge of the truth.
“The Greatest Fight in the World: A Final Manifesto.”
Let us all feel, dear brethren, that, though we have each one a work to do, and are personally fitted to do it, we are not the only workers in the world. Brother, you are not the only lamp to enlighten earth’s darkness, you are not the only sower to sow the field of the world with the good seed, you are not the only trumpet through which God proclaims His jubilee, yours is not the only hand by which He feeds the multitudes. You are only one member of the mystic body, one soldier of the grand army. This thought should encourage you, and relieve the despondency engendered by loneliness. When God sent the flies, and locusts, and caterpillars to conquer Egypt, Pharaoh might have ridiculed any one of those insignificant warriors, and said, “What can this caterpillar do? I defy the Lord and His caterpillars.” But the caterpillar might have answered, “Beware, O king, for there are ten thousand times ten thousand of us! We come in mighty armies, and will cover all the land. Weak as we are one by one, the Lord will evidence His omnipotence by the multiplication of our numbers.” Thus was it in the early days of Christianity. Christians came into Rome,—a few poor Jews they were, and they dwelt in the Ghetto, in obscurity; by-and-by, there were more. Meanwhile, a few had passed over into Spain; soon there were more. A few had reached Britain; soon there were more. The nations, angry at this invasion, set to work to destroy those pests of society, which turned the world upside down. They tormented, burned, and destroyed them; but they continued to come in shoals and swarms, and though they were slain without mercy, there were always more to follow. The foes of God could not possibly stand against the vast host that pressed forward. “The Lord gave the Word: great was the company of those that published it.” Even so it is at this day. You are not alone in sounding the praises of Christ, your voice is but one, of a mighty orchestra. The whole world is full of the praises of God: “their line is gone out through all the earth; and their words to the end of the world.”
I think that, to any young man, or any young woman either, who has had a godly father and mother, the best way of life that they can mark out for themselves is to follow the road in which their father’s and mother’s principles would conduct them. Of course, we make great advances on the old folks, do we not? The young men are wonderfully bright and intelligent, and the old people are a good deal behind them. Yes, yes; that is the way we talk before our beards have grown. Possibly, when we have more sense, we shall not be quite so conceited of it. At any rate, I, who am not very old, and who dare not any longer call myself young, venture to say that, for myself, I desire nothing so much as to continue the traditions of my household. I wish to find no course but that which shall run parallel with that of those who have gone before me. And I think, dear friends, that you who have seen the holy and happy lives of Christian ancestors will be wise to pause a good deal before you begin to make a deviation, either to the right or to the left, from the course of those godly ones. I do not believe that he begins life in a way which God is likely to bless, and which he himself will, in the long run, judge to be wise, who begins with the notion that he shall upset everything, that all that belonged to his godly family shall be cast to the winds. I do not seek to have heirlooms of gold or silver; but, though I die a thousand deaths, I can never give up my father’s God, my grandsire’s God, and his father’s God, and his father’s God. I must hold this to be the chief possession that I have; and I pray young men and women to think the same. Do not stain the glorious traditions of noble lives that have been handed down to you; do not disgrace your father’s shield, bespatter not the escutcheons of your honoured predecessors by any sins and transgressions on your part. God help you to feel that the best way of leading a noble life will be to do as they did who trained you in God’s fear!
If I were to see a needle running across the table all by itself, I should know that under-the-table a magnet was at work out of sight. When I see a sinner running after Christ, I feel certain that divine love is drawing him: the cords may be invisible, but we are quite sure that they are there. If you are seeking Christ, it is because he is seeking you. The desire for grace is caused by the very grace which we desire. You must not dare to charge the Lord Jesus with unwillingness to save, seeing he has laid down his life to prove his eagerness to redeem. No, it is not possible that there can be any backwardness with the Saviour; the backwardness lies with you. Get rid of the unbelieving in dishonouring notion that Jesus is unwilling to forgive, and at once throw yourself into his arms. He thirsts to bless men; it is his meat and his drink in this respect to do the will of him that sent him. You were being drawn by his loving hands; those warm desires for salvation are created in you by his Holy Spirit: believe this, and thus recognize the bond which unites you to the Lord; by faith that bond will become consciously stronger from day-to-day. Trust wholly and Jesus, and the work is done. Trust him simply, trust him solely, trust him without hesitation and you are saved.
Spurgeon, Only a Prayer Meeting: Studies on Prayer Meetings and Prayer Meeting Addresses