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The Unchangeable Word.

The Unchangeable Word.

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It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to
fail." — Luke xvi. 17.

It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to
fail." — Luke xvi. 17.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 30, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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THE UCHAGEABLE WORD. BY THOMAS GUTHRIE, D.D. It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail." — Luke xvi. 17. The " law " stands here, as in some other places of Scripture, for the whole revealed will of God. The heavens where, after the lapse of many thousand years, the stars are burning as bright as the day they were kindled ; and the earth, whose hoar mountains have looked down unchanged on successive generations flow- ing on to the grave, as the river that washes their feet flows on to the sea, stand here the symbols of perpetu- ity. And thus, by declaring that heaven and earth shall sooner pass, these lofty hills be sooner levelled with the plain, these stars sooner drop, or that sun be be blotted from the sky, than God's word, or any part of it, fail of fulfilment — our Lord by the boldest figures and in the strongest manner asserts its perpetuity. This law or will of God has been revealed to us in two ways — First, by conscience, which works after the manner so beautifully set forth in the ring that a great ma- gician, according to an eastern tale, presented to his prince. The gift was of inestimable value ; not for the diamonds, and xubies, and pearls, that gemmed it, (86) THE UCHAGEABLE WORD.
81 but for a rare and mystic property in the metal. It sat easily enough on the finger in ordinary circum- stances ; but so soon as its wearer formed a bad thought, designed or committed a bad action, the ring became a monitor. Suddenly contracting, it pressed painfully on his finger, warning him of sin. Such a ring, thank God, is not the peculiar property of kings ; all, the poorest of us, those that wear none other, pos- sess and wear this inestimable jewel — for the ring of the fable is just that conscience, which is the voice of God within us ; which is his law, engraven by the fin- ger of God, not on Sinai's granite tables, but on the fleshy tablets of the heart ; which, enthroned as a sov- ereign in every bosom, commends us when we do right, and condemns us when we do wrong. But this con- science, as an expression of the law or will and mind of God, is not now to be implicitly depended on. It is not infallible. What was true to its office in Eden, has been deranged and shattered by the Fall ; and now lies, as I have seen a sun-dial in the neglected garden of an old, desolate ruin, thrown from its pedestal, pros- trate on the ground, and covered by tall, rank weeds. So far from being since that fatal event an infallible directory of duty, conscience has often lent its sanction to the grossest errors, and prompted to the greatest crimes. Did not Saul of Tarsus, for instance, hale men and women to prison ; compel them to blaspheme ; and imbrue his hands in saintly blood, while conscience ap- proved the deed — he judging the while that he did God service ? What wild and profane imaginations has it accepted as the oracles of God ! and, as if fiends had 88
THE UCHAGEABLE WORD. *aken possession of a God-deserted shrine, have not the foulest crimes as well as the most shocking cruel- ties, been perpetrated in its name ? Read the Book of Martyrs, read the sufferings of our own forefathers ; and, under the cowl of a shaven monk, or the trappings of a haughty churchman, you shall see conscience per- secuting the saints of God, and dragging even tender women and children to the bloody scaffold or the burn- ing stake. With eyes swimming in tears, or flashing fire, we close the painful record, to apply to Conscience the words addressed to Liberty by the French heroine, when, passing its statue, she rose in the cart that bore her to the guillotine, and throwing up her arms, ex- claimed, " Liberty, what crimes have been done in thy name ! " And what crimes in thine, Conscience ! deeds from which even humanity shrinks ; against which religion lifts her loudest protest ; and which furnish the best explanation of these awful words, " If the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that larkness ! " So far as doctrines and duties are concerned, not conscience, but the revealed Word of God, is our one, only sure and safe directory. " Search the Scriptures," Bays our Lord, " for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me." " To the law and to the testimony," says another, " if they speak not according to these, there is no truth in them." However honest people may be, with whatever halo piety has surrounded them, however burning the zeal that inspires them, though they walk the world in robes of light, speak with the tongues of angels, give theb-

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