THE value and importance of the Word of GOD cannot be over-estimated at the present moment. Its integrity and authority are being assailed from almost every quarter and in every form of attack.
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3).
Infidel thoughts and principles are not limited to a few literary and speculative minds, as they were fifty years ago, but are now asserted by many who ought to be the true guardians of Christianity and the defenders of the Bible as a revelation from GOD.
In this way the multitude of the simple and unsuspecting are deceived. If the style of address be pleasing, few care to compare what they have been hearing with the holy Scriptures. The conscience not being aroused, they take no further trouble.
But what of the state of immortal souls, under such a ministry, in view of eternity? On whom does the weight of responsibility rest? Fine-spun theories will never awaken a soul asleep in sin: the lost sinner must be brought face to face with the plain Word of GOD and the solemn realities of eternity. His voice must be heard. All is absolute, positive, and definite here, whatever infidelity may say. "The Word of the Lord endureth forever."
The burden of the following pages, I am thankful to find, is well calculated to meet and counteract the looseness and indefiniteness of the prevailing teaching of the present day.
And this, I may also say, is the burden of the book of Deuteronomy.
The Jewish lawgiver presses with great earnestness the Word of the Lord on the heart of Israel. It is not a book of ceremonials, but the reminding of the people of their obligation to keep the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments of the Lord.
This is the first moral duty of man in every age - implicit obedience and submission to the revealed will of GOD.
Moses speaks to the children of Israel as a father, and appeals to them in the most tender and loving way. "Hearken, O Israel," he says, "unto the statutes and unto the judgments which I teach you . . . ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." And again, he says, "Thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates."
The welfare of the people individually and nationally depended on their faithfully observing these oft-repeated laws. To neglect them was to bring upon themselves the displeasure and chastening of the GOD of Israel.
But more need not be said here on these subjects. The reader will find in the following pages the most ample unfolding and practical application of these divine exhortations and warnings. But the writer has not confined himself to what Deuteronomy teaches, but has enlarged on what it suggests. In this way we have brought before us the grand cardinal truths of Christianity: a wide circle of truth is embraced, and much that applies to the individual Christian, the family, the household, and the Church of GOD will be found in the accompanying book.
It now goes forth with the earnest desire that the Lord may be graciously pleased to use it for the glory of His own name, the help of His people, and the eternal blessing of many precious souls.
London, November, 1880