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" Preach the Word "

One of the latest injunctions of the aged Paul, just before his martyrdom, was that to Timothy: "Preach the Word!"...lt is called the Word of God, because it is not of man. As God's [Word] it has both authority...to demand attention, and power to convert and save the soul....lt is not to be twisted and fitted to man's preconceived ideas. It is not to be filtered through man's strainer, nor mixed with man's conceits. It is God's and as God's let no man dare add to it, or take from it, or alter it in any way....

God has not given us a doubtful and deceitful light for our path. He has not given us a bundle of truth and fable tied up together. He has not left us to our weak and discordant reason.. and on this sure Word is His Church built. The doctrines of grace have neither human origin nor human support. They are altogether Divine, and are received only by the soul that becomes partaker of the Divine nature. To go, therefore, to human philosophy or to man's inner consciousness for their confirmation or explanation, is to go to the sentenced criminal to understand the excellences of criminal law....

If we honor God, we shall honor the Word He has sent, and we shall be jealous for the Word, that not one jot or one tittle of it be disturbed.... It is the Word of God, and, as such, we shall not allow, for a moment, the speculations, imaginings, and guesses of men, ever so learned, to weigh a feather's weight against it....

The preacher is a proclaimer, a herald, not a college professor or an originator of theories. He has the Word given him, and that he is to proclaim. He is not to draw from the wells of human philosophy, but from the stream that flows directly from the throne of God. He is to tell the people what God has said. He is to hide himself behind his message, and to receive it equally with those he addresses....He is responsible as a herald to God and not to the Church....

Success is not to be reckoned by full houses and popular applause, but by converted hearts, and by the strengthening of the faith and piety of God's people. A holier life, a more pronounced separation from the world, a stainless integrity in business pursuits, a Christly devotion to the interests of others, a more thorough knowledge of the Word-these are the true signs of success which the preacher may justly seek, even though ..his people meet in a barn...and in them he will rejoice with a purer, holier joy than that which comes from numbers, wealth, or popular admiration....

If the preacher preach the Word only, he.. will bathe in God's revelation and be permeated by it; and so be proof against all the shafts of ignorance and conceit.... He will not go to Pope or Council to Calvin or Schleiermacher, to know what to preach, but his delight will be in the law of the Lord, and in His law will he meditate day and night... The Word is supernatural, and woe to the preacher who leaves the supernatural for the natural; who sets aside the sword of the Spirit to use in its stead a blade of his own tempering!

--Howard Cosby (19th century)


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