“God Spake all these Words”

By James H. Brookes

Chapter 11



“The Lord said unto Satan,” Job i. 7, 8, 12; ii. 2, 3, 6; “I have not concealed the words of the Holy One,” Job vi. 10; “I would know the words which He would answer me,” Job xxiii. 5; “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food,” Job xxiii. 12. Unto man He said, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,” Job xxviii. 28; “Moreover, the Lord answered Job, and said, . . . Then answered the Lord unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Job xl. 1, 6; “After the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite,” Job xlii. 7.

Let the reader compare this book, or any of the five books here classified, with the Apocryphal writings, and he will instantly detect a flavor about the former, which is totally lacking in the latter. Or let him contrast them with the literature of any other religions, and even if he is an unbeliever, he will see that the poetical books of the Bible tower above all the rest, as high as' heaven is above the earth. Carlyle, for example, who pronounced the Koran unmeaning and unreadable jargon, was never weary of reading the book of Job as the sublimest poem of the ages. Any one •who has descended into the dreary bathos of Buddhism and Confucianism, when he turns back to the Bible, will feel like a man emerging from a tangled wilderness of swamps and malarial poisons into a lovely park with its sunlight and fragrant flowers and smooth walks.

“Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer,” Ps. xvii. 4; “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple: the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes: the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are truth and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sw sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb,” Ps. xix. 7-10.

Of the twenty-third Psalm Mr. Beecher has said, not in extravagant language, what he might have said of the Psalms in general:

It has charmed more griefs to vest than all the philosophy of the world. It has remanded to their dungeon more felon thoughts, more black doubts, more thieving sorrows, than there are sands upon the seashore. It has comforted the noble host of the poor. It has sung courage to the army of the disappointed. It has poured halm and consolation into the heart of the sick, of captives in their dungeons, of widows in their pinching griefs, of orphans in their loneliness. Dying soldiers have died easier as it was read to them; ghastly hospitals have been illuminated. . . . Nor is its work done. . . . No other such Hymnals ever went sounding on through three thousand years of the world’s history, developing power and sweetness as they went. They sang, and taught the world to sing.

Mr. Gladstone, in his address before the University of Edinburgh, uttered this true testimony:

There is one history, and that the most touching and profound of all, for which we should search in vain through all the pages of the Classics—I mean the history of the human soul in its relations with its Maker; the history of its sin, and grief, and death, and of the way of its recovery to hope and life, and to enduring joy... All the wonders of Greek civilization, heaped together, are less wonderful than is the single book of Psalms.

‘‘Wherewith shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word,” Ps. cxix. 9; “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” Ps. cxix. 11; “This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me,” Ps. cxix. 50; “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven,” Ps. cxix. 89: * ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” Ps. cxix. 105; “the entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple,” Ps. cxix. 180; “Thy word is very pure; therefore thy servant loveth it,” Ps. cxix. 140; “Thou art near, O Lord; and all thy commandments are truth, Ps. cxix. 151; “Thy word is true from the beginning,” or “From the first word,” Ps. cxix. 160.

Here is a Psalm containing 176 verses, every one of which is written in praise of God’s Word except one, and that praises Jesus Christ as our ‘‘Surety.” This marvelous Word is mentioned as the Word 42 times; as the Law 25 times; as Testimonies 23 times; as Statutes 22 times; as Commandments 22 times; as Judgments 21 times; as Precepts 21 times. Because it is an alphabetical Psalm, it has in the German Version the striking inscription, “The Christian’s golden A B C of the praise, love, power, and use of God’s Word.”

John Buskin says, “It is strange that of all the pieces of the Bible which my mother taught me, that which cost me most to learn, and which was to my childish mind most repulsive—the 119th Psalm—has now become of all the most precious to me in its overflowing and glorious passion of love for the law of God.” William Wilberforce records in his diary, “Walked from Hyde Park corner, repeating the 119th Psalm in great comfort.” Carlyle had the good sense to write, as suggested by the confession in the last verse of this Psalm, “I have gone astray”:

David, the Hebrew king, had fallen into sins enough—blackest crimes—there was no want of sin. And, therefore, unbelievers sneer, and ask, “Is this your man after God’s own heart?” The sneer, it seems to me, is but a shallow one. What are faults, what are the outward details of a life, if the inner secret of it, the remorse, the temptations, the often-baffled, never-ended struggle of it, be forgotten? . . . David’s life and history, as written for us in those Psalms of his, I consider to be the truest emblem ever given us of a man’s moral progress and warfare here below. All earnest souls will ever discover in it the faithful struggle of an earnest human soul towards what is good and best. Struggle often baffled—sore baffled—driven as into entire wreck; yet struggle never ended, ever with tears, repentance, true unconquerable pur. pose begun anew.—Heroes and Hero-Worship.

It is only as we follow this word we are guarded on every side. “When thou goest, in 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,” Prov. vi. 22, 23; “For every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar,” Prov. xxx. 5, 6. Without exhausting the various names by which the Word of God is called in these Poetical Books, it is mentioned 196 times; and he who reads them with a heart touched by the Holy Spirit will have no hesitation in believing that “God spake all these words.”