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The Talking Book

Written by: Spurgeon, C.H.    Posted on: 04/07/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN

                                              The Talking Book by C. H. SPURGEON,                                  

              "When thou awakest, it shall talk with thee"Proverbs 6:22.

          IT IS A VERY HAPPY CIRCUMSTANCE when the commandment of our father and the law of our           mother are also the commandment of God and the law of the Lord. Happy are they who have a double           force to draw them to the rightthe bonds of nature, and the cords of grace. They sin with a vengeance           who sin both against a father on earth and the great Father in heaven, and they exhibit a virulence and a           violence of sin who do despite to the tender obligations of childhood, as well as to the demands of conscience and           God. Solomon, in the passage before us, evidently speaks of those who find in the parents' law and in God's law           the same thing, and he admonishes such to bind the law of God about their heart, and to tie it about their neck; by           which he intends inward affection and open avowal. The law of God should be so dear to us, that is should be           bound about the most vital organ of our being, braided about our heart. That which a man carries in his hand he           may forget and lose, that which he wears upon his person may be torn from him, but that which is bound about           his heart will remain there as long as life remains. We are to love the Word of God with all our heart, and mind,           and soul, and strength; with the full force of our nature we are to embrace it; all our warmest affections are to be           bound up with it. When the wise man tells us, also, to wear it about our necks, he means that we are never to be           ashamed of it. No blush is to mantle our cheek when we are called Christians; we are never to speak with bated           breath in any company concerning the things of God. Manfully must we take up the cross of Christ; cheerfully           must we avow ourselves to belong to those who have respect unto the divine testimonies. Let us count true           religion to be our highest ornament; and, as magistrates put upon them their gold chains, and think themselves           adorned thereby, so let us tie about our neck the commands and the gospel of the Lord our God.               In order that we may be persuaded so to do, Solomon gives us three telling reasons. He says that God's law,           by which I understand the whole run of Scripture, and, especially the gospel of Jesus Christ, will be a guide to           us:"When thou goest, it shall lead thee." It will be a guardian to us: "When thou sleepest"when thou art           defenceless and off thy guard"it shall keep thee." And it shall also be a dear companion to us: "When thou           awakest, it shall talk with thee." Any one of these three arguments might surely suffice to make us seek a nearer           acquaintance with the sacred word. We all need a guide, for "it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." Left           to our own way, we soon excel in folly. There are dilemmas in all lives where a guide is more precious than a           wedge of gold. The Word of God, as an infallible director for human life, should be sought unto by us, and it will           lead us in the highway of safety. Equally powerful is the second reason: the Word of God will become the           guardian of our days; whoso hearkeneth unto it shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. Unguarded           moments there may be; times, inevitable to our imperfection, there will be, when, unless some other power protect           us, we shall fall into the hands of the foe. Blessed is he who has God's law so written on his heart, and wears it           about his neck as armour of proof, that at all times he is invulnerable, kept by the power of God through faith unto           salvation.               But I prefer, this morning, to keep to the third reason for loving God's word. It is this, that is becomes our           sweet companion: "When thou awakest, it shall talk with thee." The inspired law of God, which David in the           hundred and nineteenth Psalm calls God's testimonies, precepts, statutes, and the like, is the friend of the           righteous. Its essence and marrow is the gospel of Jesus, the law-fulfiller, and this also is the special solace of           believers. Of the whole sacred volume it may be said, "When thou awakest, it shall talk with thee." I gather four or           five thoughts from this expression, and upon these we will speak.               I. We perceive here that THE WORD IS LIVING. How else could it be said: "It shall talk with thee"? A dead           book cannot talk, nor can a dumb book speak. It is clearly a living book, then, and a speaking book: "The word of           God, which liveth and abideth for ever." How many of us have found this to be most certainly true! A large           proportion of human books are long ago dead, and even shrivelled like Egyptian mummies; the mere course of           years has rendered them worthless, their teaching is disproved, and they have no life for us. Entomb them in your           public libraries if you will, but, henceforth, they will stir no man's pulse and warm no man's heart. But this thrice           blessed book of God, though it has been extant among us these many hundreds of years, is immortal in its life,           unwithering in its strength: the dew of its youth is still upon it; its speech still drops as the rain fresh from heaven;           its truths are overflowing founts of ever fresh consolation. Never book spake like this book; its voice, like the           voice of God, is powerful and full of majesty.               Whence comes it that the word of God is living? Is it not, first, because it is pure truth? Error is death, truth           is life. No matter how well established an error may be by philosophy, or by force of arms, or the current of           human thought, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all untruth shall be as stubble before the fire. The           tooth of time devours all lies. Falsehoods are soon cut down, and they wither as the green herb. Truth never dies,           it dates its origin from the immortals. Kindled at the source of light, its fame cannot be quenched; if by persecution           it be for a time covered, it shall blaze forth anew to take reprisals upon its adversaries. Many a once venerated           system of error now rots in the dead past among the tombs of the forgotten; but the truth as it is in Jesus knows           no sepulchre, and fears no funeral; it lives on, and must live while the Eternal fills His throne.               The word of God is living, because it is the utterance of an immutable, self-existing God. God doth not           speak to-day what He meant not yesterday, neither will He to-morrow blot out what He records to-day. When I           read a promise spoken three thousand years ago, it is as fresh as though it fell from the eternal lips to-day. There           are, indeed, no dates to the Divine promises; they are not of private interpretation, nor to be monopolised by any           generation. I say again, as fresh to-day the eternal word drops from the Almighty's lips as when He uttered it to           Moses, or to Elias, or spake it by the tongue of Esaias or Jeremiah. The word is always sure, steadfast, and full of           power. It is never out of date. Scripture bubbles up evermore with good matters, it is an eternal Geyser, a spiritual           Niagara of grace, for ever falling, flashing, and flowing on; it is never stagnant, never brackish or defiled, but           always clear, crystal, fresh, and refreshing; so, therefore, ever living.               The word lives, again, because it enshrines the living heart of Christ. The heart of Christ is the most living of           all existences. It was once pierced with a spear, but it lives on, and yearns towards sinners, and is as tender and           compassionate as in the days of the Redeemer's flesh. Jesus, the Sinner's Friend, walks in the avenues of Scripture           as once He traversed the plains and hills of Palestine: you can see Him still, if you have opened eyes, in the           ancient prophecies; you can behold Him more clearly in the devout evangelists; He opens and lays bare His inmost           soul to you in the epistles, and makes you hear the footsteps of His approaching advent in the symbols of the           Apocalypse. The living Christ is in the book; you behold His face almost in every page; and, consequently, it is a           book that can talk. The Christ of the mount of benedictions speaks in it still; the God who said, "Let there be           light," gives forth from its pages the same divine fiat; while the incorruptible truth, which saturated every line and           syllable of it when first it was penned, abides therein in full force, and preserves it from the finger of decay. "The           grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever."               Over and above all this, the Holy Spirit has a peculiar connection with the word of God. I know that He           works in the ministries of all His servants whom He hath ordained to preach; but for the most part, I have           remarked that the work of the Spirit of God in men's hearts is rather in connection with the texts we quote than           with our explanations of them. "Depend upon it," says a deeply spiritual writer, "it is God's word, not man's           comment on it, which saves souls." God does save souls by our comment, by still it is true that the majority of           conversions have been wrought by the agency of a text of Scripture. It is the word of God that is living, and           powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. There must be life in it, for by it men are born again. As for           believers, the Holy Spirit often sets the word on a blaze while they are studying it. The letters were at one time           before us as mere letters, but the Holy Ghost suddenly came upon them, and they spake with tongues. The           chapter is lowly as the bush at Horeb, but the Spirit descends upon it, and lo! it glows with celestial splendour,           God appearing in the words, so that we feel like Moses when he put off his shoes from his feet, because the place           whereon he stood was holy ground. It is true, the mass of readers understand not this, and look upon the Bible as           a common book; but if they understand it not, as least let them allow the truthfulness of our assertion, when we           declare that hundreds of times we have as surely felt the presence of God in the page of Scripture as ever Elijah           did when he heard the Lord speaking in a still small voice. The Bible has often appeared to us as a temple God,           and the posts of its doors have moved at the voice of Him that cried, whose train also has filled the temple. We           have been constrained adoringly to cry, with the seraphim. "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of Hosts." God the           Holy Spirit vivifies the letter with His presence, and then it is to us a living word indeed.               And now, dear brethren, if these things be soand our experience certifies themlet us take care how we           trifle with a book which is so instinct with life. Might not many of you remember your faults this day were we to           ask you whether you are habitual students of holy writ? Readers of it I believe you are; but are you searchers; for           the promise is not to those who merely read, but to those who delight in the law of the Lord, and meditate therein           both day and night. Are you sitting at the feet of Jesus, with His word as your school-book? If not, remember,           though you may be saved, you lacked very much of the blessing which otherwise you might enjoy. Have you been           backsliding? Refresh your soul by meditating in the divine statues, and you will say, with David, "Thy word hath           quickened me." Are you faint and weary? Go and talk with this living book: it will give you back your energy, and           you shall mount again as with the wings of eagles. But are you unconverted altogether? Then I cannot direct you           to Bible-reading as being the way of salvation, nor speak of it as though it had any merit in it; but I would,           nevertheless, urge upon you unconverted people great reverence for Scripture, an intimate acquaintance with its           contents, and a frequent perusal of its pages, for it has occurred ten thousand times over that when men have been           studying the word of life, the word has brought life to them. "The entrance of thy word giveth light." Like Elijah           and the dead child, the word has stretched itself upon them, and their dead souls have been made to live. One of           the likeliest places in which to find Christ is in the garden of the Scriptures, for there He delights to walk. As of           old, the blind men were wont to sit by the wayside begging, so that, if Jesus passed by, they might cry to Him, so           would I have you sit down by the wayside of the Holy Scriptures. Hear the promises, listen to their gracious           words; they are the footsteps of the Saviour; and, as you hear them, may you be led to cry, "Thou Son of David,           have mercy upon me!" Attend most those ministries which preach God's Word most. Do not select those that are           fullest of fine speaking, and that dazzle you with expressions which are ornamental rather than edifying; but get to           a ministry that is full of God's own Word, and, above all, learn God's Word itself. Read it with a desire to know its           meaning, and I am persuaded that, thereby, many of you who are now far from God will be brought near to him,           and led to a saving faith in Jesus, for "the Word of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." "Faith cometh by           hearing, and hearing by the word of God."               II. If the text says, "When thou awakest, it shall talk with thee," then it is clear THE WORD IS PERSONAL.           "It shall talk with thee." It is not written, "It shall speak to the air, and thou shalt hear its voice," but, "It shall talk           with thee." You know exactly what the expression means. I am not exactly talking with any one of you this           morning; there are too many of you, and I am but one; but, when you are on the road home, each one will talk           with his fellow: then it is truly talk when man speaks to man. Now, the word of God has the condescending habit           of talking to men, speaking personally to them; and, herein, I desire to commend the word of God to your love.           Oh! that you might esteem it very precious for this reason!               "It shall talk with thee," that is to say, God's word talks about men, and about modern men; it speaks of           ourselves, and of these latter days, as precisely as if it had only appeared this last week. Some go to the word of           God with the idea that they shall find historical information about the ancient ages, and so they will, but that is not           the object of the Word. Others look for facts upon geology, and great attempts have been made either to bring           geology round to Scripture, or Scripture to geology. We may always rest assured that truth never contradicts itself;           but, as nobody knows anything yet about geologyfor its theory is a dream and an imagination altogetherwe           will wait till the philosophers settle their own private matters, being confident that when they find out the truth, it           will be quite consistent with what God has revealed. At any rate, we may leave that. The main teachings of Holy           Scripture are about men, about the Paradise of unfallen manhood, the fall, the degeneracy of the race, and the           means of its redemption. The book speaks of victims and sacrifices, priests and washings, and so points us to the           divine plan by which man can be elevated from the fall and be reconciled to God. Read Scripture through, and you           shall find that its great subject is that which concerns the race as to their most important interests. It is a book that           talks, talks personally, for it deals with things not in the moon, nor in the planet Jupiter, nor in the distant ages long           gone by, nor does it say much of the periods yet to come, but it deals with us, with the business of to-day; how sin           may be to-day forgiven, and our souls brought at once into union with Christ.               Moreover, this book is so personal, that it speaks to men in all states and conditions before God. How it           talks to sinnerstalks, I say, for its puts it thus: "Come, now, and let us reason together; though your sins be as           scarlet, they shall be as wool; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as snow." It has many very tender           expostulations for sinners. It stoops to their condition and position. If they will not stoop to God, it makes, as it           were, eternal mercy stoop to them. It talks of feasts of fat things, of fat things full of marrow; and the book, as it           talks, reasons with men's hunger, and bids them eat and be satisfied. In all conditions into which the sinner can be           cast, there is a word that precisely meets his condition.               And, certainly, when we become the children of God the book talks with us wondrously. In the family of           heaven it is the child's own book. We no sooner know our Father than this dear book comes at once as a love           letter from the far-off country, signed with our own Father's hand, and perfumed with our Father's love. If we           grow in grace, or if we backslide, in either case Scripture still talks with us. Whatever our position before the           eternal God, the book seems to be written on purpose to meet that position. It talks to you as you are, not only as           you should be, or as others have been, but with you, with you personally, about your present condition.               Have you never noticed how personal the book is as to all your states of mind, in reference to sadness or to           joy? There was a time with some of us when we were very gloomy and sore depressed, and then the book of Job           mourned to the same dolorous tune. I have turned over the Lamentations of Jeremiah wrote. It mourns unto us           when we lament. On the other hand, when the soul gets up to the exceeding high mountains, to the top of Amana           and Lebanon, when we behold visions of glory, and see our Beloved face to face, lo! The word is at our side, and           in the delightful language of the Psalms, or in the yet sweeter expressions of the Song of Solomon, it tells us all           that is in our heart, and talks to us as a living thing that has been in the deeps, and has been on the heights, that           has known the overwhelmings of affliction, and has rejoiced in the triumphs of delight. The word of God is to me           my own book: I have no doubt, brother, it is the same to you. There could not be a Bible that suited me better: it           seems written on purpose for me. Dear sister, have not you often felt as you have put your finger on a promise,           "Ah, that is my promise; if there be no other soul whose tearful eyes can bedew that page and say, 'It is mine,' yet           I, a poor afflicted one, can do so!" Oh, yes; the book is very personal, for it goes into all the details of our case, let           our state be what it may.               And, how very faithful it always is. You never find the word of God keeping back that which is profitable to           you. Like Nathan it cries, "Thou art the man." It never allows our sins to go unrebuked, nor our backslidings to           escape notice till they grow into overt sin. It gives us timely notice; it cries to us as soon as we begin to go aside,           "Awake thou that sleepest," "Watch and pray," "Keep thine heart with all diligence," and a thousand other words           of warning does it address personally to each one of us.               Now I would suggest, before I leave this point, a little self-examination as healthful for each of us. Does the           word of God after this fashion speak to my soul? Then it is a gross folly to lose by generalisations that precious           thing which can only be realised by a personal grasp. How sayest thou, dear hearer? Dost thou read the book for           thyself, and does the book speak to thee? Has it ever condemned thee, and has thou trembled before the word of           God? Has it ever pointed thee to Christ, and has thou looked to Jesus the incarnate Saviour? Does the book now           seal, as with the witness of the Spirit, the witness of thine own spirit that thou art born of God? Art thou in the           habit of going to the book to know thine own condition, to see thine own face as in a glass? Is it thy family           medicine? Is it thy test and tell-tale to let thee know thy spiritual condition? Oh, do not treat the book otherwise           than this, for if thou dost thus unto it, and takest it to be thy personal friend, happy art thou, since God will dwell           with the man that trembles at His word; but, if you treat it as anybody's book rather than your own, then beware,           lest you be numbered with the wicked who despise God's statutes.               III. From the text we learn that HOLY SCRIPTURE IS VERY FAMILIAR. "When thou awakest, it shall talk           with thee. To talk signifies fellowship, communion, familiarity. It does not say, "It shall preach to thee." Many           persons have a high esteem for the book, but they look upon it as though it were some very elevated teacher           speaking to them from a lofty tribunal, while they stand far below. I will not altogether condemn that reverence,           but it were far better if they would understand the familiarity of God's word; it does not so much preach to us as           talk to us. It is not, "When thou awakest, it shall lecture thee," or, it shall scold thee;" no, no, "it shall talk with           thee." We sit at its feet, or rather at the feet of Jesus, in the Word, and it comes down to us; it is familiar with us,           as a man talketh to his friend. And here let me remind you of the delightful familiarity of Scripture in this respect           that it speaks the language of men. If God had written us a book in His own language, we could not have           comprehended it, or what little we understood would have so alarmed us, that we should have besought that those           words should not be spoken to us any more; but the Lord, in His Word, often uses language which, though it be           infallibly true in its meaning, is not after the knowledge of God, but according to the manner of man. I mean this,           that the word uses similes and analogies of which we may say that they speak humanly, and not according to the           absolute truth as God Himself sees it. As men conversing with babes use their broken speech, so doth the           condescending word. It is not written in the celestial tongue, but in the patois of this lowland country,           condescending to men of low estate. It feeds us on bread broken down to our capacity, "food convenient for us".           It speaks of God's arm, His hand, His finger, His wings, and even of His feathers. Now, all this is familiar           picturing, to meet our childish capacities; for the Infinite One is not to be conceived of as though such similitudes           were literal facts. It is an amazing instance of divine love, that He puts those things so that we may be helped to           grasp sublime truths. Let us thank the Lord of the word for this.               How tenderly Scripture comes down to simplicity. Suppose the sacred volume had all been like the book of           the prophet Ezekiel, small would have been its service to the generality of mankind. Imagine that the entire volume           had been as mysterious as the Book of Revelation: it might have been our duty to study it, but if its benefit           depended upon our understanding it, wew should have failed to attain it. But how simple are the gospels, how           plain these words, "He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved"; how deliciously clear those parables about the           lost piece of money, the lost sheep, and the prodigal son. Wherever the word touches upon vital points, it is as           bright as a sunbeam. Mysteries there are, and profound doctrines, deeps where Leviathan can swim; but, where it           has to do immediately with what concerns us for eternity, it is so plain that the babe in grace may safely wade in           its refreshing streams. In the gospel narrative the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err. It is familiar talk; it is           God's great mind brought down to our littleness, that it may lift us up.               How familiar the book is tooI speak now as to my own feelingsas to all that concerns us. It talks about           my flesh, and my corruptions, and my sins, as only one that knew me could speak. It talks of my trials in the           wisest way; some, I dare not tell, it knows all about. It talks about my difficulties; some would sneer at them and           laugh, but this book sympathises with them, knows my tremblings, and my fears, and my doubts, and all the storm     &n

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