Make Use Of The Scriptures
An Excerpt From A Sermon By William Jay
Preached on March 11, 1832
Make use of the Scriptures yourselves, and apply them to all the purposes for which they were given. You cannot destroy the Bible, but the Bible may destroy you; yea—it will destroy you with—the sorest destruction, and prove the savour of death unto death unless you receive the love of the truth that you may be saved. “The words that I have spoken,” says the Saviour, “the same shall judge you in the last day.” Your coming in contact with the Scripture is the most awful thing in your existence. You can never shake off the connection you have had with it. It will be always true that you have had the Bible in your house, in your hand; that you have read, that you have heard it. Through endless ages it will adhere to your very soul in remembrance, in accusation, in effects.
What then should be your serious, your immediate, your supreme concern? This can only be determined by the design of God in the unspeakable gift. And was this to amuse your curiosity? To furnish you with “a form of knowledge?” To make you “vain talkers?” or skillful disputers? No; but to turn your feet into the way everlasting. The Scriptures are “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.” “Whatsoever things were written aforetime,” says the Apostle, “were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” The Evangelist also tells us that “these things are written that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing we might have life through his name.” You are therefore only trifling with the blessed Book, unless you come to it with the question, “What must I do to be saved?” unless it brings you to the foot of the cross: unless you can say, with Paul, that I may win Christ and be found in him; that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death, if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Embrace therefore its promises. Obey its commands. Be swayed by its authority. Let it regulate your worship, your lives, your callings. Take these testimonies as an heritage for ever. Make these statutes your song in the house of your pilgrimage. “Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.”