Love to the Word — a Source of Peace
James Smith, 1861
"Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble." Psalm 119:165
The Lord's people must not expect outward ease and prosperity in this present evil world. The present life is like a journey through a parched desert, or a voyage over a stormy sea. Changes, frequent changes, are to be expected. But amidst all — we may enjoy peace. The mind may be kept calm and tranquil, while we pass through the troubles and trials of life. Let us exercise our thoughts upon this subject a little, as placed before us in the words of the Psalmist, "Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble."
The Characteristic.They love God's law. By the law, we understand the whole Word of God — all that was then written — all that is now written. Scripture is one of God's best gifts — and one of man's choicest blessings! It is to be loved, believed, and obeyed.
They love God's law — they perceive its dignity and excellence, for the impress of its Author's mind is upon it. The illumination of the Holy Spirit reveals to them its superiority to all other works, and it stands out before them as a sun among ten thousand stars; as a clear, bright, flowing spring, among many dirty puddles. There is none like it — they see, they feel, they confess this.
They believe in its inspiration. They may not understand exactly how divine inspiration works — but they believe that the contents of the book were in the mind of God, who communicated them to the mind of man, and that holy men spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
They perceive that "the law of the Lord is perfect," that it contains all that is necessary to be known, believed, and practiced on spiritual subjects; and so believing and perceiving — they love the truth, not only for its author's sake — but also for its own sake. To their minds, there is none like it.
They love it for its simplicity, especially on all essential points, so that he who runs may read, and the wayfaring man may understand.
They love it for its purity, reflecting as it does the pure and lovely mind of God.
They love it for its fullness, containing as it does all that is necessary for man to know, all that God sees fit to impart to man on spiritual subjects this side Heaven.
They love it for its variety, for it is not a monotonous essay on one subject, or a number of essays on many subjects. It is full of variety — a variety of subjects, conveyed in a variety of styles, bearing the impress of a variety of minds. Here are hills and valleys, mountains and oceans, mines and fields, clouds and sunshine, fruits and flowers. All we can want, and all we can wish for.
They love it for its suitability, for it just . . .
meets their case,
suits their condition, and
satisfies the craving of their souls.
This leads them at times to cry out, "O how I love your law, it is my meditation day and night!"
The Privilege."Great peace have those who love your law."
They have PEACE with God, for through the word they come to enjoy pardon, and are released from guilt.
They enjoy SAFETY, for they see and know their way.
They enjoy divine FRIENDSHIP, for they commune with God. They see the road home, know God as their friend, and perceive that their resources are boundless. They are in union with the Prince of peace, they have fellowship with the God of peace, through the teaching of the Spirit of peace.
They have "great peace," for it is deep and profound — passing all understanding; it is settled and abiding — being supported by the covenant, the oath, and the promise of God.
"Nothing can make them stumble." Many stumble at the word, fall in the way, and perish in their own deceivings. But the lovers of God's word shall never finally stumble — but walk in a plain path, enjoying the light.
They do not stumble at the doctrines, because they are high, or mysterious, or difficult to harmonize — but believe them on divine authority.
They do not stumble at persecution, because they see that it is predicted, and therefore to be expected.
Nor do they stumble at the worldly conduct of professors, because the word declares that they would act so.
Nor do they stumble at the falls of believers, for they find that many have fallen — and have risen again.
At these things many do stumble — but those who love God's word, revering its authority, and believing its teachings — are prepared for such things, and therefore are not taken by surprise.
Do we love God's law? Love it, so as to . . .
read it daily,
believe it heartily,
meditate on it devoutly, and
walk by it as our directory and guide?
Are we fully persuaded of its authenticity and inspiration, and therefore receive it as . . .
from God's hand,
revealing God's mind, and
intended for our everyday use through life?
Have we peace? Great peace? Peace amidst all the troubles of life? Peace notwithstanding temptation and opposition? Peace though all things within and without us change?
Peace may be maintained, as says the prophet, "You will keep him in perfect peace — whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."
Do we go on in our journey without stumbling? But for the word of God, there is much to stumble us . . .
in the state of the church,
in the conduct of the Lord's people,
in the condition of the world,
in the dispensations of divine providence,
and even in what we discover in our own hearts!
But the bible explains the whole, accounts for the whole, and tells us, that thus it must be.
Let us therefore keep close to the word of God.
Let us love it more than ever.
Let us read it more than ever.
Let us believe it more than ever.
Let us meditate upon it more than ever.
And let us walk by its directions more carefully and constantly than we have hitherto done; thus shall we prove in our own experience the truth, "Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble."