Saturday, October 07, 2006

Bernard: "the Father has given to the Son, the Son has given to his servants, the words of truth and life"

"John 17:8: 'I have given them the words that you gave me.' On the truth of this saying stands the whole fabric of creeds and doctrines. It is the ground of authority to the preacher, of assurance to the believer, of existence to the Church. It is the source from which the perpetual stream of Christian teaching flows. All our testimonies, instructions, exhortations, derive their first origin and continuous power from the fact that the Father has given to the Son, the Son has given to his servants, the words of truth and life.

“...Our first charge is, “Go stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” We go; and our words not only meet the wants of conscience, but stir the activities of thought; and a cloud of questions rises round us, which must be dissipated while it is gathering, but which will still gather while it is being dissipated. Thus the preaching of the words of life to the people is evermore attended by an incidental necessity for extensive and various discussion.

“...Into all our parishes and all our missions the thousands of evangelists, pastors, and teachers are sent forth with the Bible placed in their hands, and with solemn charges to draw from its pages the Gospel which they preach. But when those pages are opened, they present, not the exposition of a revelation completed, but the records of a revelation in progress. Its parts and features are seen, not as arranged after their development, but as arranging themselves in the course of their development, and growing, through stages which can be marked, and by accessions which can be measured, into the perfect form which they attain at last. Thus the Bible includes within itself a world of anticipation and retrospection, of preparation and completion, whereby various and vital relations are constituted between its several parts. These relations enter as really into the scheme of Scripture as do the several parts themselves; and must be rightly understood and duly appreciated, if the doctrine, which the Book yields upon the whole, is to be firmly grasped by the student or fairly presented by the preacher.

“In this way the subject of progressive teaching in Scripture is implicated with the living ministry of the Church.” – Thomas Dehany Bernard, “The Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament”


Ruben said...

Wow, when you said Bernard at the top I was thinking 'Bernard of Clairvaux' and wondering when he had said such things.