“The attentive study of the Scriptures” by Charles Bridges

“Let the Theologian ascend from the lower school of natural study, to the higher department of Scripture, and, sitting at the feet of God as his teacher, learn from His mouth the hidden mysteries of salvation, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard which none of the princes of this world knew which the most accurate reason cannot search out; which the heavenly chorus of angels, though always beholding the face of God, desire to look into.

In the hidden book of Scripture, and nowhere else, are opened the secrets of the more sacred wisdom. Whatever is not drawn from them—whatever is not built upon them—whatever does not most exactly accord with them—however it may recommend itself by the appearance of the most sublime wisdom, or rest upon ancient tradition, consent of learned men, or the weight of plausible argument—is vain, futile, and, in short, a very lie.

To the law and to the testimony. If any one speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Let the Theologian delight in these sacred oracles: let him exercise himself in them day and night, let him meditate on them, let him live in them, let him derive all his wisdom from them, let him compare all his thoughts with them, and let him embrace nothing in religion which he does not find here.

Let him not bind his faith to a man— not to a Prophet—not to an Apostle—not even to an Angel himself, as if the dictum of either man or angel were to be the rule of faith. Let his whole ground of faith be in God alone. For it is a Divine, not a human faith, which we learn and teach; so pure that it can rest upon no ground but the authority of God, who is never false, and never can deceive.

The attentive study of the Scriptures has a sort of constraining power. It fills the mind with the most splendid form of heavenly truth, which it teaches with purity, solidity, certainty, and without the least mixture of error. It soothes the mind with an inexpressible sweetness.

It satisfies the sacred hunger and thirst for knowledge with flowing rivers of honey and butter. It penetrates into the innermost heart with irresistible influence. It imprints its own testimony so firmly upon the mind, that the believing soul rests upon it with the same security, as if it had been carried up into the third heaven, and heard it from God’s own mouth.

It touches all the affections, and breathes the sweetest fragrance of holiness upon the pious reader, even though he may not perhaps comprehend the full extent of his reading.”

–Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1830/2005), 58-59.

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