He whom we viewed last evening as opening Scripture, we here perceive opening the understanding. In the first work he has many fellow-labourers, but in the second he stands alone; many can bring the Scriptures to the mind, but the Lord alone can prepare the mind to receive the Scriptures. Our Lord Jesus differs from all other teachers; they reach the ear, but he instructs the heart; they deal with the outward letter, but he imparts an inward taste for the truth, by which we perceive its savour and spirit. ...How many men of profound learning are ignorant of eternal things! They know the killing letter of revelation, but its killing spirit they cannot discern; they have a veil upon their hearts which the eyes of carnal reason cannot penetrate. Such was our case a little time ago; we who now see were once utterly blind; truth was to us as beauty in the dark, a thing unnoticed and neglected. Had it not been for the love of Jesus we should have remained to this moment in utter ignorance, for without his gracious opening of our understanding, we could no more have attained to spiritual knowledge than an infant can climb the Pyramids, or an ostrich fly up to the stars.Our greatest and most passionate, ardent labors in preaching and teaching, pleading and reasoning, warning and encouraging — they're all two things:
- Absolutely necessary
- Utterly inadequate
We must do them, and we mustn't think they're sufficient. We must preach and teach; and when the lightbulb comes on for some soul, we mustn't imagine we turned the switch. We did not. A supernatural hand dimmed the light (2 Cor. 4:3-4), and it must be a greater supernatural hand that flicks it on (2 Cor. 4:6). That hand uses the means of our preaching (2 Cor. 4:5), but apart from that hand, our preaching is in vain.
What a prod to earnest prayer, and abject dependence, is this truth.