what to hear

Brownlow North was one of Scotland’s most influential preachers, if slightly irregular in that he was never actually ordained to the ministry. He was the great-grandson of Lord North (Prime Minister during the American War of Independence) and lived a life of aristocratic privilege – Eton, Grand Tour, country gentleman lifestyle – until he was converted, dramatically, at the age of 44, when he was suddenly taken ill and thought he was about to die. His career as a lay preacher after his conversion was first occasional and reluctant, but increasingly beneficial, and he was involved in the 1859 revivals in Ulster and Scotland.

There are at least a couple of small books of the sermons he preached – The Rich Man and Lazarus, and Wilt Thou Go with This Man? and possibly others for all I know. The following excerpt is from The Rich Man and Lazarus, in connection with the answer given to the rich man, that his five brothers wouldn’t be convinced even supposing someone was raised from the dead to speak to them – ‘they have Moses and the prophets – let them hear them.’

~ ~ ~

The whole spirit of the Scriptures is the testimony of Jesus. For this one purpose, and for this one purpose only, were they written – that they might testify of Jesus Christ the Son of God; and had God not so loved the world as to give us Jesus, not only there never would, but there never could have been a Bible.

From Genesis to Malachi, and again from Matthew to Revelation, the Bible is one continuous testimony of God manifest in the flesh: a Saviour promised, and a Saviour given. No matter who is the author of the particular book or portion, the one theme of all Scripture is Jesus. Sometimes he may be spoken of typically, sometimes spiritually, sometimes literally, but still it is Jesus.

Jesus ordained to come, Jesus coming, Jesus come; Jesus living, Jesus tempted, Jesus suffering; Jesus fulfilling all righteousness, Jesus forsaken of God and man; Jesus dying, Jesus buried, Jesus rising, Jesus ascending, Jesus exalted at the right hand of God; Jesus a Prince, Jesus a Saviour; Jesus receiving from the Father the Holy Ghost, and shedding him forth on men, that the Lord their God might dwell among them; Jesus able to save, Jesus willing to save: to save not only the rich man’s brothers, but all who come unto God by him; Jesus the Alpha, Jesus the Omega; Jesus the Beginning, Jesus the Ending; Jesus the Author, Jesus the Finisher; Jesus the First, Jesus the Last.

No matter whether written by Moses, the Prophets, or the Apostles of our Lord and Saviour, the one subject of the Bible is the Man Chrsit Jesus, who is over all, God blessed for ever. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, therefore thus saith the Lord himself, ‘Search the scriptures,’ for Moses wrote of me, David wrote of me, the prophets wrote of me, and they are they which testify of me.

… ‘To him,’ says Peter, ‘give all the prophets witness, that through faith in his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins;’ and, ‘Now the righteousness of God without the law,’ says Paul, ‘is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all them that believe…’ And more than that, what was offered to these five brethren [in Moses and the prophets] is offered to all who have a Bible. … Jesus Christ, a person – God manifest in the flesh, living and dying for sinners …

[Banner of Truth, 1960, p108f]

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