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by Thomas Boston
Several things are implied in Isaiah 34:16, "Search from the book of the Lord, and read:"
1. That man has lost his way, and needs direction to find it, Psalm 119:176, "I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant." Miserable man has blurred vision in a directionless world, which is a dark place, and has as much need of the scriptures to guide him, as one has of a light in darkness, 2 Pet. 1:19. What a miserable case is that part of the world in that lacks the Bible? They are vain in their imaginations, and grope in the dark, but cannot find the way of salvation. In no better case are those to whom it has not come in power.
2. That man is in danger of being led farther and farther wrong. This made the spouse say, "Tell me, O you whom I love, Where you feed your flock, Where you make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself By the flocks of your companions?" Song 1:7. There is a cunning devil, a wicked world, corrupt lusts within one's own breast, to lead him out of the right way, that we had need to let go of, and take this guide. There are many false lights in the world, which, if followed, will lead the traveller into a mire, and leave him there.
3. That men are slow of heart to understand the mind of God in his word. It will cost searching diligently before we can take it up, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me," John 5:39.
Our eyes are dim to the things of God, our understanding dull, and our judgment is weak. And therefore, because the iron is blunt, we must put too the more strength. We lost the sharpness of our sight in spiritual things in Adam; and our corrupt wills and carnal affections, that favour not the things of God, do blind our judgments even more: and therefore it is a labour to us to find out what is necessary for our salvation.
4. That the book of the Lord has its difficulties, which are not to be easily solved. Therefore the Psalmist prays, "Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law," Psa 119:18.
Philip asked the eunuch, "Do you understand what you are reading?" and he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" There are depths there in which an elephant may swim, and will exercise the largest capabilities, with all the expertise they may be possessed of. God in his holy providence has so ordered it, to stain the pride of all glory; to make his word the more like himself, whom none can search out to perfection, and to sharpen the diligence of his people in their inquiries into it.
5. That yet we need highly to understand it, otherwise we would not be commanded to search into it. "Of the times and seasons," says the apostle, "you have no need that I write to you;" and therefore he wrote not of them. There is a treasure in this field; we are called to dig for it; for though it be hid, yet we must have it, or we will waste away in our spiritual poverty.
6. That we may gain from it by diligent inquiry. The holy humble heart will not be always sent empty away from these wells of salvation, when it undertakes itself to draw. There are shallow places in these waters of the sanctuary, where lambs may wade.
The Beauties of Boston a list of other extracts from Thomas Boston here at Fire and Ice.
About "The Beauties of Boston" A note about Thomas Boston and how his "Beauties" came to be collected.
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