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Horatius Bonar on Truth

In my reading this week I ran across another “excerpt” that I want to share with you. It is a little lengthy and was written in 1868 so it can be a little more difficult to read than what we are used to today.  But it is well worth working your way through.  Horatius Bonar was a contemporary of Charles Spurgeon.  Spurgeon insisted that Bonar was one of those 17th century writers that must be read and on one occasion stated: Unlike many writers of the Evangelical school Dr. Bonar is not content with baling out milk for babes, but gives us real thought and teaching.”  

The excerpt that I want to share with you comes from the works of Bonar, Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes, Vol. I, 1868.  It is keeping with the theme, truth, which we began last week with the prayer of Charles Spurgeon.  Hear Bonar – he will bless you and teach you.  He is one of those great Christian ministers who, though dead, still speaks.  Thanks be to God.

“O Lord, are not Your eyes upon the truth?” –Jeremiah 5:3

“The word “truth” in Scripture refers both to doctrine and practice. It points both to the “error” and the “lie.” It classes both together. It condemns both. False speaking, whether in reference to teaching or witness-bearing, is declared to be abominable to God. His eyes are upon the truth. They watch over it, to guard it and to maintain it.

The theory of many is that God’s eyes are not upon the truth, and that therefore a man may believe what he pleases, and say what he likes, without fearing God’s displeasure. It is only when the untrue thing which he thinks and says interferes with human rights, or social privileges that he is to be visited with punishment. Jehovah’s eyes, then, are upon the truth,–the truth as found on earth among the sons of men.

In this watchfulnesss, this discernment, this justice, there are some things specially to be observed.

1. There is but one standard of truth. God fixes the standard and acts on it, without caprice, or partiality, or compromise. Error is a thousandfold,–pliable, moveable, uncertain,–truth is ONE. On this God calls on us to act, on this he acts himself. So that man cannot excuse his error or his falsehood on the ground that there were more standards than one.

2. This one standard is definite. It is not vague or shadowy. It does not merely settle certain great principles, but smaller ones as well. It is so very definite and precise as to leave man without excuse. It lets man know explicitly God’s present estimate of truth and falsehood, as well as his future judgment on these. It is so distinct that no one with an open ear and eye can hesitate about it. In our day men call this narrowness, bigotry, littleness. But if we only insist on being of one mind with God, he that condemns us condemns God himself. Let us be as broad as he is, but no broader; that is enough, whatever the age may say.

3. That one standard is universal. It is for every age and time. It never becomes obsolete. It is like God himself,–unchangeable; like the Christ of God,–the same yesterday, today, and forever. It was given to our fathers, it is given to us. It suited the East, it suits the West. It suited the Jew, it suits the Gentile also; barbarian, Scythian, bond, or free. It suited the Asian, it suits the European. It suits the Briton, it suits the Indian, and the African. It suits the unlearned, it suits the learned too. One standard for all! One universal test or measurement of truth.

4. That one standard is the Bible. It is no secret standard that He judges us by, or by which He tests truth and error. The test which He gives to us He acts upon himself. The Bible is His book of truth as well as ours. That book contains what God calls truth,–truth definite, fixed, certain, not moveable, nor waxing obsolete, nor falling behind the age. The Bible is the one book of the age, nay, of the ages,–of all ages and all climes. Man’s present unbelief seeks to loosen its authority, to dilute its statements, to render indefinite its doctrines. But the word of the Lord endureth forever. God is not a man that he should lie. His word is sure, his truth is everlasting, his book is like the sun in the firmament; a light for all ages and lands.

Thus God’s eyes are on the truth. It is truth that he delights in, it is error that he abhors. It is truth that he is seeking for among the sons of men. What a condemnation to the laxity of thought in the present day! As if man were at liberty to think as he pleases, irrespective of God and his book! God watches over the truth; he marks each error, each deviation from his one standard.

O man, hast thou received the very truth, and the whole truth of God? He has given man a book for a standard, not that he may speculate, but that he may not speculate, but believe. What God, in and by that book, demands of men is not criticism, opinion, speculation, but BELIEF. God’s eyes are on the truth, to see if men believe it.

The day is at hand, the great day of the Lord, when TRUTH only shall be set on high, and error put to shame. O man, God’s eyes are on the truth, let yours be on it too. Be true to truth; be true to yourself; be true to God.”

Read . . . meditate . . . rejoice!!!