The great means of sanctification!
(Jared Waterbury, "Advice to a Young Christian on the Importance of Aiming at an Elevated Standard of Piety")
"Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth." John 17:17
The Scriptures are the great means of sanctification. This is the charm which so much attracts the pious heart. That heart is not insensible to the elegance of scriptural style, nor indifferent to its bold and beautiful imagery — but these are not the principal attractions. The Bible is the Word of God!
It convinces of sin.
It stimulates to duty.
It rouses from sluggishness.
It warns against danger.
It unfolds the character of God.
It reveals the way of salvation.
It delineates the providence of God.
It presents the Lamb of God slain for our transgressions.
It communicates sweet strains of spiritual devotion.
It brings into view a bright and eternal reward.
It discloses the wounds of our nature, and offers the healing balm.
In short, it embodies all that a Christian in his pilgrimage can need.
It is his only chart through this tempestuous life.
In trouble — it is his consolation.
In prosperity — it is his monitor.
In difficulty — it is his guide.
Amid the darkness of death, and while descending into the shadowy valley — it is the day-star that . . .
illuminates his path,
makes his dying eye bright with hope, and
cheers his soul with the prospect of immortal glory!
The oftener and the more diligently you peruse the Scriptures — the more beautiful will they appear, and the less relish will you have for light and superficial reading. There is, in an intimate acquaintance, and in a daily meditation on the Scriptures — something sanctifying, something ennobling! A satisfaction is felt in perusing them, which no human composition can excite.
You feel as if you were conversing with God.
You breathe a heavenly atmosphere.
The soul is bathed in celestial waters.
It imbibes a sweetness and a composure which shed over it unearthly attractions.
To this fountain of light and life — let us then daily resort.
Here is the healing influence.
Here is the pool of Bethesda.
Here abounds consolation for the afflicted.
Here hope dwells to cheer and to guide.
Bind this precious volume about your neck — write it on the tablets of your heart!
It will prove to be . . .
your shield in conflict,
your guide in perplexity,
your solace in adversity.
If it has been faithfully studied in this life — it will afford themes for heavenly contemplation through eternity.
We should ever approach that Sacred Book with reverence. When we open the Sacred Volume — we listen to the voice of God. Should we not, therefore, give a reverential attention when Jehovah speaks? Should not our posture be that of the deepest humility and awe?
In the written Word, we have God speaking to us as to His children. Go, then, my friend, and diligently listen to the holy oracles. Search the Scriptures. Peruse them systematically. Make them your daily and nightly companions. And may their celestial influence be so infused into your soul — that you shall progressively lose the image of the earthly, and assume the image of the heavenly inhabitants.
Depend upon it, the closer attention you give to the Word — the more precious and interesting will it become, and the more rapidly will you grow in grace and holiness.
The Word of God should grow constantly in your estimation, until you exclaim with David, "O how I love Your law; it is sweeter to my taste than honey and the honey-comb!"