God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,…
God has now ceased to speak in sundry times and in divers manners; there ore, if you dream, you are not to put a construction on your dream as if God inspired it. And hence, if God has ceased thus to speak, we may expect now that the Bible, beginning with Genesis and closing with the Apocalypse, is the completed volume of all God's will and God's ways; and that we are not to expect any additional revelation in the course of this present dispensation; for God has now, says the apostle, in this passage, spoken to us by His Son. Man left to his own fancy falls into all sorts of idolatries and delusions; and it is only when God speaks that man re ponds rationally, and justly, and purely, and worships Him who is a Spirit in spirit and in truth. We must notice here what is very remarkable; God speaks to us by His Son. You must have heard sometimes those who object to the Bible as the only rule of faith argue that they want a speaking judge; they want a living high-priest, or prelate, or pope, who will speak audibly as well as infallibly to them. We answer, though they may feel the want of it, yet if such an officer be not given, it is presumptuous evidence that it is not necessary. But the fact asserted here, that God speaks in the Bible, is evidence that we actually have a speaking tribunal. The Bible is spoken every day; there is a freshness in every chapter of the Bible that makes us feet that we are reading something higher than man's writing, and are in contact with God speaking to us in these last days by His Son. I might argue, in the next place, the great necessity of such a revelation. If this earth were as it once was before sin corrupted it, it would be a lesson-book that any one might adduce as quite sufficient to teach us all we ought to know. But if there were place,! in your hands a book with a great many precious lessons in it, but all stained and blotted with ink, and so stained and blotted that whole pages are illegible, that fragments of other passages only are legible, and those fragments broken sentences, that you cannot fully understand, some of which at times convey meaning positively opposite to that which they originally were designed to convey, you would be very anxious to have some book clearer, distincter, and more intelligible. This world of ours is that blotted book, stained by sin; and what it revealed when it was made in Paradise as the grand and the illuminated lesson-book, it has lost and is now unable to reveal. And if we appeal to the inner page of conscience for an estimate of God, there is in ,he conscience of the holiest up on earth, so much sin, that if we look at God through the m sty and broken atmosphere of our own consciences, our sins will instantly suggest the notion of an angry and an offended God. If, again, we look into the law; if we stand with the Israelites at the bottom of the burning mouser, and see the lightning and hear the thunder, and listen to God's voice as He proclaims, "Thou shalt, and thou shalt not," we like Moses, must quake; and like the children of Israel, we, too, should beg that God would be silent, and not speak any more to us. God in nature is above us, and inscrutable by our investigation to a very great extent; God in the law is against us; but God in Christ is God with us, our Father and our Guide. And, therefore, we rejoice now to hear the apostle say in this passage that God, who spake at sundry times and in divers manners in times pact, has now spoken to us by His Son. But what has He spoken? Words of truth, words of life, words of peace, and happiness, and hope, and joy. The Bible was not written to teach me anything hut religion. If the geologist come and consult it for lessons in geology, the oracle is dumb; if the astronomer come and ask for explanations about the stars, it is dumb; if the philosopher ask it for explanations about metaphysical subjects, the oracle is also dumb. But if the humblest peasant or the poorest mechanic inquire of it the way to heaven, it will tell him in a thousand places, by a thousand different similitudes, so plainly, so intelligibly, that the wayfaring man need not err therein. Now, what He has said m tills blessed book by His Son, and what He still speaks in it, is a word for all; it is an encyclical, addressed from heaven to all that God has made, from the rising of the sun to the going down of the same; so much so, that if you are not acquainted with the Bible, it is not because the Bible was not sent to you, but because you have not studied it. Let us be thankful that God has thus spoken to us; let us study this precious book; let us pray that the Spirit would lead us unto all truth; and especially plead that promise that He will take of whatsoever Christ has said, thai is, whatsoever God has spoken by His Son, and will show it unto us.
(J. Gumming, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,