The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry

“The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry” 1740, was written by Gilbert Tennent.
The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry, Considered in a Sermon on Mark 6:34.
The sermon is related herein by Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia, 1740.
Only lightly edited for sense and readability.


And Jesus, when he came out, saw much People, and was moved with Compassion towards them, because they were as Sheep not having a Shepard. — Mark 6:34

As a faithful Ministry is a great Ornament, Blessing, and Comfort, to the Church of God; even the feet of such Messengers are beautiful: So on the contrary, an ungodly Ministry is a great Curse and Judgment: These Caterpillars labor to devour every green Thing.

There is nothing that may more justly call forth our saddest Sorrows, and make all our Powers and Passions mourn, in the most doleful Accents, the most incessant, insatiable, and deploring Agonies; than the melancholy Case of such, who have no faithful Ministry! This truth is set before our Minds in a strong Light, in the Words that I have chosen now to insist upon; in which we have an account of our Lords Grief, with the Causes of it.

We are informed, that our dear Redeemer was moved with Compassion towards them. The Original Word signifies the strongest and most vehement Pity, issuing from the innermost Bowels.

But what was the Cause of this great and compassionate Commotion in the Heart of Christ? It was because he saw much People as Sheep having no Shepherd. Why, had the People then no Teachers? Oh yes! They had heaps of Pharisee-Teachers, that came out, no doubt after they had been at the feet of Gamaliel the usual Time, and according to the Acts, Canons, and Traditions of the Jewish Church. But notwithstanding of the great Crowds of these Orthodox, Letter-learned and regular Pharisees, our Lord laments the unhappy Case of that great number of People, who, in the Days of his Flesh, had no better Guides: Because that those were as good as none (in many Respects) in our Savior’s Judgment. For all them, the People were as Sheep without a Shepard.

Natural Men have no Call of GOD to the Ministerial Work, under the Gospel-Dispensation.

Isn’t it a principal part of the ordinary Call of GOD to the Ministerial Work, to aim at the Glory of GOD, and, in Subordination thereto, the Good of Souls, as their chief Marks in their Undertaking that Work? And can any natural Man on Earth do this? No! no! Every skin of them has an evil Eye; for no cause can produce effects above its own Power. Are not wicked Men forbid to meddle in Things sacred? Ps. 50. 16. But unto the wicked, GOD saith, What hast thou to do to declare my Statutes, or that thou should take my Covenant in thy Mouth? Now, are not all unconverted Men wicked Men? Does not the Lord Jesus inform us, John 10. I. That he that enters not by the Door into the Sheep-fold, but climbs up some other Way, the same is a Thief and a Robber? In the 9th v. Christ tells us, That He is the Door; and that if any Man enter in by him, he shall be saved, by him, i.e. By Faith in him, says Henry. Hence, we read of a Door of Faith, being opened to the Gentiles. Acts 14. 27. It confirms this Gloss, that Salvation is annexed to the Entrance before-mentioned. Remarkable is that Saying of our Savior, Matthew 4:19. Follow me, and I will make you Fishers of Men. See, our LORD will not make Men Ministers, until they follow him. Men that do not follow Christ, may fish faithfully for a good Name, and for worldly . . . ; but not for the Conversion of Sinners to God. Is it reasonable to suppose, that they will be earnestly concerned for others Salvation, when they slight their own? Our LORD reproved Nicodemus for taking upon him the Office of instructing others, while he himself was a stranger to the New Birth, John. 3. 10. Art thou a Master of Israel, and knowest not these Things? The Apostle Paul (in 1Tim. 1. 12.) thanks GOD for counting him faithful, and putting him into the Ministry; which plainly supposes, That GOD Almighty does not send Pharisees and natural Men into the Ministry: For how can these Men be faithful, that have no Faith? It’s true, Men may put themselves into the Ministry, through Unfaithfulness, or Mistake; or Credit and Money may draw them, and the Devil may drive them into it, knowing by long Experience, of what special Service they may be to his Kingdom in that Office: But God sends not such hypocritical Varlets. Hence Timothy was directed by the Apostle Paul, to commit the ministerial Work to faithful Men. –2 Tim. 2. 2. And are not these Qualifications, necessary for Church-Officers, as specified 1.Tim. 3. 7,8,9,11. & Tit. 1.7,8. plainly suppose converting Grace? How else can they avoid being greedy of filthy Lucre? How else can they hold the Mystery of Faith in a pure Conscience, and be faithful in all Things? How else can they be Lovers of Good, sober, just, holy, temperate? . . .

All the Doings of unconverted Men, not Proceeding from the Principles of Faith, Love, and a new Nature, nor being directed to the divine Glory as their highest End, but flowing from, and tending to Self, as their Principle and End; are doubtless damnably wicked in their Manner of Performance, and do deserve the Wrath and Curse of a Sin-avenging GOD; neither can any other Encouragement be justly given them, but this, That in the Way of Duty, there is a Peradventure or Probability of obtaining Mercy.

And natural Men, wanting the Experience of those spiritual Difficulties, which pious Souls are exposed to, in this Vale of Tears; they know not how to speak a Word to the Weary in Season.

Their Prayers are also cold; little Child-like Love to God, or Pity to poor perishing Souls, runs through their Veins.

Their Conversation hath nothing of the Savior of Christ, neither is it perfumed with the Spices of Heaven. They seem to make as little Distinction in their Practice, as they do in their Preaching. . . .

If it be so, That the Case of those, who have no other, or no better than Pharisee-Teachers, is to be pitied: Then what a Cry and Scene of Mourning, and Lamentation, and Woe, is opened! Because of the Swarms of Locusts, the Crowds of Pharisees, that have as covetously as cruelly, crept into the Ministry, in this adulterous Generation! . . .

If the Ministry of natural Men be as it has been represented; Then it is both lawful and expedient to go from them to hear Godly Persons. . . .

To bind Men to a particular Minister, against their Judgment and Inclinations, when they are more edified elsewhere, is carnal with a Witness; a cruel Oppression of tender Consciences, a Compelling of Men to Sin: For he that doubts, is damned if he eat; and whatsoever is not of Faith, is Sin. . . .

To trust the Care of our Souls to those who have little or no Care for their own, to those who are both unskillful and unfaithful, is contrary to the common Practice of considerate Mankind, relating to the Affairs of their Bodies and Estates; and would signify, that we set light by our Souls, and did not care what became of them. For if the Blind lead the Blind, will they not both fall into the Ditch? . . .

I would conclude my present Meditations upon this Subject, by Exhorting

All those who enjoy a faithful Ministry, to a speedy and sincere Improvement of so rare and valuable a Privilege; lest by their foolish Ingratitude the Righteous GOD be provoked, to remove the Means they enjoy, or his Blessing from them, and so at last to expose them in another State to Enduring and greater Miseries. For surely, these Sins, which are committed against greater Light and Mercy, are more presumptuous, ungrateful, and inexcusable; there is in them a greater Contempt of GOD’s Authority, and Slight of his Mercy; those Evils do awfully violate the Conscience, and declare a Love to Sin as Sin; such Transgressors do rush upon the Bosses of GOD’s Buckler, they court Destruction without a Covering, and embrace their own Ruin with open Arms. And therefore according to the Nature of Justice, which proportions Sinners Pains, according to the Number and Heinousness of their Crimes, and the Declaration of divine Truth, you must expect an inflamed Damnation: Surely, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, in the Day of the LORD, than for you, except ye repent.

And let gracious Souls be exhorted, to express the most tender Pity over such as have none but Pharisee-Teachers; and that in the Manner before described: To which let the example of our LORD in the Text before us, be an inducing and effectual Incitement; as well as the gracious and immense Rewards, which follow upon so generous and noble a Charity, in this and the next State.

And let those who live under the Ministry of dead Men, whether they have got the Form of Religion or not, repair to the Living, where they may be edified. Let who will, oppose it. What famous Mr. Jenner observes upon his Head, is most just, That if there be any godly Soul, or any that desires the Salvation of his Soul, and lives under a blind Guide, he cannot go out (of his Parish) without giving very great Offense; it will be thought a Giddiness, and a Slighting of his own Minister at home. -When people came out of every Parish round about, to John, no Question but this bred Heart-burning against John, ay, and Ill-will against those People, that would not be satisfied with that Teaching they had in their own Synagogues. Thus far he. But though your Neighbors growl against you, and reproach you for doing your Duty, in seeking your Souls Good; bear their unjust Censures with Christian Meekness, and persevere; as knowing that Suffering is the Lot of Christs Followers, and that spiritual Benefits do infinitely overbalance all temporal Difficulties.

And O! that vacant Congregations would take due Care in the Choice of their Ministers! Here indeed they should hasten slowly. The Church of Ephesus is commended, for trying them which said they were Apostles, and were not; and for finding them Liars. Hypocrites are against all knowing of others, and Judging, in order to hide their own Filthiness; like Thieves they flee a Search, because of their stolen Goods. But the more they endeavor to hide, the more they expose their Shame. Does not the spiritual Man judge all Things? Though he cannot know the States of subtle Hypocrites infallibly; yet may he not give a near Guess, who are the Sons of Seeva, by their Manner of Praying, Preaching, and Living? Many Pharisee-Teachers have got a long fine String of Prayer by Heart, so that they are never at a Loss about it; their Prayers and Preachings are generally of a Length, and both as dead as a Stone, and without all Savor. I beseech you, my dear Brethren, to consider, That there is no Probability of your getting Good, by the Ministry of Pharisees. For they are no Shepherds (no faithful ones) in Christs Account. They are as good as none, nay, worse than none, upon some Accounts. For take them first and last, and they generally do more Hurt than Good. They serve to keep better out of the Places where they live; nay, when the Life of Piety comes near their Quarters, they rise up in Arms against it, consult, contrive and combine in their Conclaves against it, as a common Enemy, that discovers and condemns their Craft and Hypocrisy. And with what Art, Rhetoric, and Appearances of Piety, will they varnish their Opposition of Christs Kingdom? As the Magicians imitated the works of Moses, so do false Apostles, and deceitful Workers, the Apostles of Christ.

I shall conclude this Discourse with the Words of the Apostle Paul, 2 Cor. 11. 14,15.

“And no Marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an Angel of Light: Therefore it is no great Thing if his Ministers also be transformed as the Ministers of Righteousness; whose End shall be according to their Works.”

Understanding John 3:16; and why the term κόσμος (world) may not mean everybody

Written by A.W. Pink

Many people suppose they already know the simple meaning of John 3:16, and therefore they conclude that no diligent study is required of them to discover the precise teaching of this verse. Needless to say, such an attitude shuts out any further light which they otherwise might obtain on the passage. Yet, if anyone will take a Concordance and read carefully the various passages in which the term “world” (as a translation of “kosmos”) occurs, he will quickly perceive that to ascertain the precise meaning of, the word “world” in any given passage is not nearly so easy as is popularly supposed. The word “kosmos,” and its English equivalent “world,” is not used with a uniform significance in the New Testament. Very far from it. It is used in quite a number of different ways. Below we will refer to a few passages where this term occurs, suggesting a tentative definition in each case:

“Kosmos” is used of the Universe as a whole:

Acts 17: 24 – “God that made the world and all things therein seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth.” is used of the Universe as a whole: Acts 17: 24 – “God that made the world and all things therein seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth.”

“Kosmos” is used of the earth:

John 13:1; Eph. 1:4, etc., etc.- “When Jesus knew that his hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world He loved them unto the end.” “Depart out of this world” signifies, leave this earth. “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world.” This expression signifies, before the earth was founded—compare Job 38:4 etc.

“Kosmos” is used of the world-system:

John 12:31 etc. “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the Prince of this world be cast out”— compare Matt. 4:8 and I John 5:19, R. V.

“Kosmos” is used of the whole human race:

Rom. 3: 19, etc.—”Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

“Kosmos” is used of humanity minus believers:

John 15:18; Rom. 3:6 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.” Believers do not “hate” Christ, so that “the world” here must signify the world of unbelievers in contrast from believers who love Christ. “God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world.” Here is another passage where “the world” cannot mean “you, me, and everybody,” for believers will not be “judged” by God, see John 5:24. So that here, too, it must be the world of unbelievers which is in view. is used of humanity minus believers: John 15:18; Rom. 3:6 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.” Believers do not “hate” Christ, so that “the world” here must signify the world of unbelievers in contrast from believers who love Christ. “God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world.” Here is another passage where “the world” cannot mean “you, me, and everybody,” for believers will not be “judged” by God, see John 5:24. So that here, too, it must be the world of unbelievers which is in view.

“Kosmos” is used of Gentiles in contrast from Jews:

Rom. 11:12 etc. “Now if the fall of them (Israel) be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them (Israel) the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their (Israel’s) fullness.” Note how the first clause in italics is defined by the latter clause placed in italics. Here, again, “the world” cannot signify all humanity for it excludes Israel!

“Kosmos” is used of believers only:

John 1:29; 3:16, 17; 6:33; 12;47; I Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19. We leave our readers to turn to these passages, asking them to note, carefully, exactly what is said and predicated of “the world” in each place. is used of believers only: John 1:29; 3:16, 17; 6:33; 12;47; I Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19. We leave our readers to turn to these passages, asking them to note, carefully, exactly what is said and predicated of “the world” in each place.

Thus it will be seen that “kosmos” has at least seven clearly defined different meanings in the New Testament. It may be asked, Has then God used a word thus to confuse and confound those who read the Scriptures? We answer, No! nor has He written His Word for lazy people who are too dilatory, or too busy with the things of this world, or, like Martha, so much occupied with “serving,” they have no time and no heart to “search” and “study” Holy Writ!

Should it be asked further, But how is a searcher of the Scriptures to know which of the above meanings the term “world” has in any given passage? The answer is: This may be ascertained by a careful study of the context, by diligently noting what is predicated of “the world” in each passage, and by prayer fully consulting other parallel passages to the one being studied.

The principal subject of John 3:16 is Christ as the Gift of God. The first clause tells us what moved God to “give” His only begotten Son, and that was His great “love;” the second clause informs us for whom God “gave” His Son, and that is for, “whosoever (or, better, ‘every one’) believeth;” while the last clause makes known why God “gave” His Son (His purpose), and that is, that everyone that believeth “should not perish but have everlasting life.”

That “the world” in John 3:16 refers to the world of believers (God’s elect), in contradistinction from “the world of the ungodly” (2 Pet. 2:5), is established, unequivocally established, by a comparison of the other passages which speak of God’s “love.” “God commendeth His love toward US”—the saints, Rom. 5:8. “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth”—every son, Heb. 12:6. “We love Him, because He first loved US”—believers, I John 4:19. The wicked God “pities” (see Matt. 18:33). Unto the unthankful and evil God is “kind” (see Luke 6:35). The vessels of wrath He endures “with much long-suffering” (see Rom. 9:22). But “His own” God “loves”!!

Hypocrisy; And the beginning of the Ministry of Thomas Scott



By experience, I am well acquainted with Satan’s intention in employing so many of his servants to invent and propagate those pestilential errors, whether in speculation or practice, that have, in all ages, corrupted and deviated from the pure and powerful doctrine of the gospel; for they lead to forgetfulness of God, and security in sin, and are deadly poison to every soul that drinks of them, unless a miracle of grace prevents it.

Such, on the one hand, are all the superstitious doctrines of popery: purgatory, penances, absolutions, indulgences, merits of good works, and the acceptability of will-worship and uncommanded observances. What are these but engines of the devil to keep men quiet in their sins? Man, resolved to follow the dictates of his depraved inclination, and, not bound in his pursuits and enjoyments by the limits of God’s holy law, catches at anything to soften the horrible thought of eternal misery. This is the awakening reflection, God’s sword in the conscience, which it is Satan’s business, by all his diabolical tricks, to endeavor to sheath, blunt, or turn aside; knowing that while this alarming thought is present to the soul, he can never maintain possession of it in peace.

By such inventions, then, as these, he takes care to furnish the sinner with what he seeks, to enable him to walk according to the course of this wicked world and the desires of depraved nature, without being disturbed by such dreadful thoughts. The same, on the other hand, is the tendency of all those speculations of reasoning men, which set God’s attributes to contradict each other; which represent the Supreme Governor as so weakly merciful, that he regards neither the demands of his justice, the glory of his holiness, the truth of his Word, nor the peaceable order and subordination of the universe; which explains away all the mysteries of the gospel, and represents sin, that fruitful root of evil, that enemy of God, that favorite of Satan, as a very little thing, scarcely noticed by the Almighty, and which, contrary to the Scriptures and universal experience and observation, would persuade us that man is not a depraved creature.

To these latter sentiments, I agreed, and maintained them as long as I could; and I did it most certainly because they soothed my conscience, freed me from the intolerable fears of damnation, and enabled me to think favorably of myself. For these reasons alone, I loved and chose this ground: I fixed myself on it, and there fortified myself by all the arguments and reasons I could find. These things I wished to believe; and I had my wish: for, at length, I most confidently believe in them. Being taken captive in this snare of Satan, I should here have perished with a lie in my right hand, had not the Lord, whom I dishonored, snatched me as a brand from the burning!

In this awful state of mind, I attempted to obtain admission into Holy Orders! Wrapped up in the proud notion of the dignity of human nature, I lost sight of the evil of sin, and thought little of my own sinfulness. I was filled with a self-important opinion of my own worth, and the depth of my understanding, and had adopted a system of religion accommodated to that foolish pride; having almost wholly discarded mysteries from my creed, and regarded with supreme contempt those who believed them.

As far as I understand such controversies, I was nearly a Socinian and Pelagian, and wholly an Arminian: yet, to my shame may it be said, I sought to obtain an acceptance. Possibly some readers may not fully understand the importance of these terms: and, for their benefit, I would observe that the Socinians consider Christ as a mere man, and his death merely as an example of patience, and a confirmation of his doctrine, and not as a real atonement satisfactory to divine justice for man’s sins. They deny the Deity and personality of the Holy Spirit, and will not admit that all Christians experience his renewing, sanctifying, and comforting influences; and they generally reject the doctrine of eternal punishment.

The Pelagians deny original sin, and explain away the scriptural history mission into the ministry, in a church whose doctrines are diametrically opposed to all three; without once concerning myself about those barriers which the wisdom of our forefathers has placed around her, purposely to prevent the intrusion of such dangerous heretics as I then was.

While I was preparing for this solemn office, I lived as before in known sin, and in utter neglect of prayer; my whole preparation consisting of nothing else than an attention to those studies which were more immediately requisite for a good pass in the previous examination.

Thus, with a heart full of pride and wickedness, my life polluted with many unrepented and unforsaken sins, without one cry for mercy, one prayer for direction or assistance, or a blessing upon what I was about to do; after having concealed my real feelings under a mask of general expressions. After having subscribed to articles directly contrary to what I believed; and after having blasphemously declared, in the presence of God and of the congregation, in a most solemn manner, sealing it with the Lord’s Supper, that I judged myself to be “inwardly moved by the Holy Spirit to take that office upon me” (not knowing or believing that there was a Holy Spirit!).

On Sept. 20th, 1772, I was ordained a Deacon. Forever blessed be the God of all long-suffering and mercy, who had patience with such a rebel and blasphemer; such an irreverent trifler with his Majesty; and such a presumptuous intruder into his sacred ministry! I never think of this daring wickedness without being filled with amazement that I am out of hell; without admiring that gracious God, who permitted such an atrocious sinner to live, yes, to serve him, and with acceptance, I trust, to call him Father; and as his minister to speak in his name.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities, and healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies.” (Psalm 103:1-4)

May I love, and very humbly and devoutly serve that God, who has multiplied his mercies in abundantly pardoning my complicated provocation!

Thomas Scott (1747–1821) was an influential preacher and author who is principally known for his best-selling work “A Commentary On The Whole Bible” and “The Force of Truth” and as one of the founders Scott was, with Newton, and its first Secretary. of the Church Missionary Society. However, in 1772, Scott became ordained as an Anglican priest at the age of 25. As he afterwards admitted, he went into the ministry for a comfortable career, and did not believe in most of the doctrine he was required to preach. Scott began a friendship and correspondence with the hymn writer John Newton who was curate of neighboring Olney. This instigated the examination of his conscience and study of the scriptures that were to convert him into an evangelical Christian, a conversion he related in his spiritual autobiography The Force of Truth published in 1779. This excerpt comes from his book “The Force of Truth.”

8 Ways to Profit from the Scriptures

Written by J.C. Ryle


(1) For one thing, begin reading your Bible this very day.

The way to do a thing — is to do it; and the way to read the Bible — is actually to read it! It is not merely meaning, or wishing, or resolving, or intending, or thinking about it — which will advance you one step. You must positively read. There is no royal road in this matter, any more than in the matter of prayer. If you cannot read yourself, you must persuade somebody else to read it to you. But one way or another, through eyes or ears — the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind.

(2) For another thing, read the Bible with an earnest desire to understand it.

Do not think for a moment, that the great object is to turn over a certain quantity of printed paper, and that it matters nothing whether you understand it or not. Some ignorant people seem to imagine, that all is done if they advance so many chapters every day, though they may not have a notion what they are all about, and only know that they have pushed on their bookmark ahead so many pages. This is turning Bible reading into a mere ritual form. It is almost as bad as the Popish habit of ‘buying indulgences’ — by saying an astounding number of ‘Ave-Marias’ and ‘Pater-nosters’ (Hail-Mary’s and Our-Father’s — on their ‘rosary beads’.) It reminds one of the poor Hottentot who ate up a Dutch hymn-book because he saw it comforted his neighbors’ hearts! Settle it down in your mind as a general principle, that a Bible not understood — is a Bible that does no good! Say to yourself often as you read, “What is this all about?” Dig for the meaning like a man digging for gold.

(3) For another thing, read the Bible with child-like faith and humility.

Open your heart — as you open God’s book, and say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening!” Resolve to believe implicitly whatever you find there, however much it may run counter to your own desires and prejudices. Resolve to receive heartily every statement of truth — whether you like it or not. Beware of that miserable habit into which some readers of the Bible fall — they receive some doctrines because they like them; and they reject others because they are condemning to themselves, or to some relation, or friend. At this rate, the Bible is useless! Are we to be judges of what ought to be in God’s Word? Do we know better than God? Settle it down in your mind — that you will receive all and believe all, and that what you cannot understand — you will take on trust. Remember, when you pray — that you are speaking to God, and God hears you. But, remember, when you read Scripture — that God is speaking to you, and you are not to “dictate,” but to listen!

(4) For another thing, read the Bible in a spirit of obedience and self-application.

Sit down to the study of it with a daily determination that you will . . .
live by its rules,
rest on its statements,
and act on its commands.

Consider, as you travel through every chapter, “How does this affect my thinking and daily conduct? What does this teach me?” It is poor work to read the Bible from mere curiosity, and for speculative purposes — in order to fill your head and store your mind with mere opinions; while you do not allow the book to influence your heart and life. That Bible is read best — which is practiced most!

(5) For another thing, read the Bible daily.

Make it a part of every day’s business to read and meditate on some portion of God’s Word. Private means of grace are just as needful every day for our souls — as food and clothing are for our bodies. Yesterday’s food will not feed the laborer today; and today’s food will not feed the laborer tomorrow. Do as the Israelites did in the wilderness. Gather your manna fresh every morning. Choose your own seasons and hours. Do not scramble over and hurry your reading. Give your Bible the best, and not the worst part of your time! But whatever plan you pursue, let it be a rule of your life to visit the throne of grace and God’s Word every day.

(6) For another thing, read all of the Bible — and read it in an orderly way.

I fear there are many parts of the Word which some people never read at all. This is to say at the least, a very presumptuous habit. “All Scripture is profitable.” (2 Timothy 3:16.) To this habit may be traced that lack of well-proportioned views of truth, which is so common in this day. Some people’s Bible-reading is a system of perpetual ‘dipping and picking’. They do not seem to have an idea of regularly going through the whole book. This also is a great mistake.

No doubt in times of sickness and affliction, it is allowable to search out seasonable portions. But with this exception, I believe it is by far the best plan to begin the Old and New Testaments at the same time — to read each straight through to the end, and then begin again. This is a matter in which every one must be persuaded in his own mind. I can only say it has been my own plan for nearly forty years, and I have never seen cause to alter it.

(7) For another thing, read the Bible fairly and honestly.

Determine to take everything in its plain, obvious meaning — and regard all forced interpretations with great suspicion. As a general rule, whatever a verse of the Bible seems to mean — it does mean! Cecil’s rule is a very valuable one, “The right way of interpreting Scripture is to take it as we find it, without any attempt to force it into any particular theological system.”

(8) In the last place, read the Bible with Christ continually in view.

The grand primary object of all Scripture, is to testify of Jesus! Old Testament ceremonies are shadows of Christ. Old Testament deliverers are types of Christ. Old Testament prophecies are full of Christ’s sufferings, and of Christ’s glory yet to come. The first coming and the second; the Lord’s humiliation and His glorious kingdom; His cross and the crown — shine forth everywhere in the Bible.

Keep fast hold on this clue, if you would read the Bible aright!