The Excellencies of The Bible
“Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Me.”
I. I have sometimes thought that a Nation must be truly BLESSED if it were governed by no other laws than those of that blessed Book (Deuteronomy 4:5-6). It is so complete a system that nothing can be added to it (Deuteronomy 4:2), nor taken from it (Revelation 22:19). It contains everything needful to be known and done (Acts 16:30-31). It affords a copy for a King (Deut. 17:18) and a rule for a Subject (1 Peter 2:13-14). It gives instruction and counsel to a Senate (Psalm 105:22); authority and direction for a Magistrate (Ezra 7:25-26). It cautions a Witness (Exodus 23:1); requires an impartial verdict of a Jury (Leviticus 19:15), and furnishes the Judge with his sentence (Deuteronomy 16:19-20). It defends the rights Of ALL (Exodus 22), and reveals vengeance to every defrauder (1 Thessalonians 4:6), over-reacher (Isaiah 49:26), or oppressor (Ecclessiastes 5:8). It prescribes and limits the sway of the Sovereign (2 Samuel 23:3), the rule of the Ruler (Romans 13:3-4), and the authority of the Master (Ephesians 6:9), commands the Subject to honour (Romans 13:1), and the Servant to obey (Colossians 3:22), and pro-mises the blessing and protection of its Author to all who walk by its rules (Leviticus 26:3-12; John 16:23).
II. It sets the Husband as lord of the household (1 Peter 3:5-7), and the Wife as mistress of the table (Proverbs 31:15); tell Him how to rule (Colossians 3:19) and HER how to manage (Proverbs 31). It entails honour to Parents (Ephesians 6:2) and enjoins obedience to Children (Colossians 3:20). It gives directions for Weddings (Luke 14:8; John 2:2) and for Burials (Genesis 23:8-9); regulates Feasts (Luke 14:10-15) and Fasts (Isaiah 58:6-7), mournings and rejoicings (Romans 12:15), and orders Labour for the day (Exodus 20:9) and Rest for the night (John 9:4). It promises Food and Raiment (Luke 12:22), and limits the use of both (Romans 13:13; 1 Peter 3:3). It points out a faithful and an Eternal GUARDIAN to the departing Husband and Father (Exodus 22:22-24); tells him with whom to leave his, Fatherless Children (Psalm 146:9), and in whom his Widow is to trust (Jeremiah 49:11), and promises a Father to the former (Psalm 68:5) and a Husband to the latter (Isaiah 54:5). It teaches a man how to set his House in order (Isaiah 38:1), and how to make his Will (Proverbs 13:22). It appoints a dowry for the Wife (Genesis 34:12), entails the right of the first-born (Genesis 48:18), and shews how the younger Branches shall be left (Genesis 49:13).
III. It is the FIRST Book (John 1:1), the BEST Book (Proverbs 30:5), and the OLDEST Book in all the world (Genesis 1:1). It contains the Choicest matter (Psalm 12:6), gives the best instruction (Psalm 19:7-11), and affords the Greatest Pleasure and Satis-faction that ever was revealed (Jeremiah 15:16). It contains the best Laws (Psalm 119:72) and profoundest Mysteries that ever were penned (Romans 11:33). It brings the best of tidings (Luke 2:10-15), and affords the best of Comfort to the enquiring and disconsolate (1 Timothy 1:15). It exhibits Life and Immortality from everlasting (Romans 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:10), and shews the way to Eternal Glory (Psalm 16:11). It is a brief Recital of all that is PAST (Acts 7), and a certain Prediction of all that is to COME (Revelation 1:19). It settles all matters in debate (Isaiah 8:20), resolves all Doubts (Proverbs 22:21; Daniel 5:12), and eases the mind and conscience of all their scruples (Isaiah 55:1; Matthew 11:28). It reveals the Only Living and true GOD (Exodus 34:6-7), and shews the way to Him (John 14:6); it sets aside ALL OTHER gods (Acts 4:12), and describes the Vanity of them (Isaiah 44:9-20), and of all that trust in them (Psalm 97:7).
In short, it is a Book of LAW, to show right (Psalm 19:8; 119:128) and wrong (1 Corinthians 1:19-27).
A Book Of WISDOM, that condemns all folly (Ecclesiastes 7:25) and makes the foolish wise (Psalm 19:7; 1 Corinthians 1:72).
A Book of TRUTH (John 17:17), that detects all lies (1 John 2:4, 22) and confutes all errors (Galatians 1:8).
And a Book of LIFE (Revelation 20:12), that giveth life (John 5:24), and shows the Way from everlasting death (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
IV. It is the most Compendious Book in all the world (Hebrews4:12), the most ancient (Hebrews 11:3), authentic (2 Peter 1:21). and the most entertaining history that ever was published (Ps. 105). It contains the most ancient Antiquities (Genesis 11:4), strange Events (Psalm 78), wonderful Occurrences (Acts 5:15; 19:12), heroic Deeds (1 Samuel 17:49), and unparalleled Wars (Judges 7:19-20). It describes the Celestial (Job 38:31-33), Terrestrial (Genesis 1), and Infernal worlds (Revelation 19:20); and the origin of the Angelic myriads (Hebrews 1:7), Human tribes (Genesis 9:19), and Devilish legions (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 12:7).
V. It will instruct the most accomplished Mechanic (1 Kings 6:7) and the profoundest Artist (Psalm 139:15-16); it will teach the best Rhetorician (Exodus 4:12), and exercise every power of the most skilful Arithmetician (Revelation 13:18); puzzle the wisest Anatomist (Ecclesiastes 11:5), and exercise the nicest Critic (Matthew 7:4-5). It corrects the vain Philosopher (Colossians 2:8; Job 38), and confutes the wise Astronomer (Job 22:12); it exposes the subtle Sophist (1 Corinthians 3:19), and makes Diviners mad (Isaiah 44:25). It is a complete Code of Laws (Exodus 22), a perfect Body of Divinity (Romans 8), an unequalled narrative (John 21:25), a book of Lives (Hebrews 11), a book of Travels (Numbers 33), and a book of Voyages (Jonah 1; Acts 27).
VI. It is the best COVENANT that ever was agreed on (Jeremiah 32:40), the best DEED that ever was sealed (Isaiah 8:16), the best EVIDENCE that ever was published (John 5:39), the best WILL that ever was made (John 14:27), and the b-‘St TESTAMENT that ever was signed (Hebrews 9:15). To understand it is to be Wise indeed (Proverbs 2:6-7); to be ignorant of it is to be Destitute of wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:14).
VII. It is the King’s best copy (1 Kings 9:4), the Magistrate’s best RULE (Romans 13:1-8), the Housewife’s best GUIDE (Proverbs 31), the Servant’s best DIRECTORY (Ephesians 6:5-8), and the Young Man’s best COMPANION (Psalm 119:9). It is the School-boy’s SPELLING-BOOK (2 Timothy 1:5), and the Learned Man’s MASTERPIECE (1 Corinthians 2:6-7). It contains a choice GRAMMAR for a novice (Matthew 21:16) and profound MYSTERY for a sage (Job 40:4). It is the ignorant man’s DICTIONARY (Isaiah 35:8), and the wise man’s DIRECTORY (Job 28:12-28). It affords knowledge of witty inventions (Proverbs 8:12), and dark Sayings for the GRAVE (Proverbs 1:6); and is ITS OWN INTERPRETER (Genesis 40:8; 1 Corinthians 2:13).
VIII. It is Little Faith’s choice Breast (Isaiah 66:11 ; 1 Peter 2:2), and the strong man’s substantial Dish (Hebrews 5:14). It is the Lady’s best LOOKING-GLASS (2 Corinthians 3:18), in which she may see both her heart and her face (James 1:23-25), and the face and heart of everybody else (Psalm 14:2, 3; Romans 3:12). It is an exact BALANCE (Proverbs 16:11), in which a man may weigh both his spirit and his actions (Job 31:6), and tell the exact weight of himself (Psalm 22:6; 1 Peter 1:24) and of all Mankind (Psalm 62:9; Ecclesiastes 1:13-14; Jeremiah 17:9-10). It is the Astro-nomer’s best TELESCOPE (1 Con 13:12), in which he may see the Sun (Malachi 4:2), Moon (Can. 6:10), and seven Stars (Revelation 2:1), and an awful Eclipse of the damned (Matt. 25:30); and it reveals a World of which no Geographer could ever give a map (Revelation 22:2); and a way to it which no lion hath ever trod (Isaiah 35:9), and which the Vulture’s eye hath never seen (Job 28:7).
IX. It promises —FREEDOM INDEED to all who embrace its truths (John 8:32-36); Freedom from the reign of sin (Romans 6:14), of Satan (Acts 26:18), and of death (Romans 6:9); and except a man receive the TRUTH, the real TRUTH (John 16:13), and that IN THE LOVE OF IT (2 Thessalonians 2:10), he never shall be able to govern himself (Proverbs 16:32), or to bridle his Temper (Colossians 3:12-13), his Passions (Romans 6:12-13), his Tongue (Psalm 39:1; 141:3), or his Sin (Psalm 119:133).
X. It encourages the Wise (Proverbs 2; 16:16), the Warrior (1 Timothy 6:12), the Swift (Hebrews 12:1), and the Overcomer (Revelation 3:5), and promises an eternal reward to the Excellent (Matthew 25:21), the Conqueror (2 Timothy 4:7-8), the Winner (1 Corinthians 9:24), and the Prevalent (Matthew 24:13). And that which crowns all is, that THE AUTHOR is without Partiality (Acts 10:34), and without Hypocrisy (James 3:17); IN WHOM IS NO VARIABLENESS (Malachi 3:6), NOR SHADOW OF TURNING (James 1:17).
By William Huntington (1745-1813)