Efectele consumului de pornografie asupra casatoriilor

Photo credit www.myvmc.com

Studiile au arătat că efectele consumului de pornografie pot avea un impact atât de nociv asupra cuplurilor, încât pot conduce chiar la divorț.

Peste jumătate dintre cuplurile căsătorite din SUA au ajuns să se despartă din cauza „interesului obsesiv pentru site-uri pornografice” al unuia dintre parteneri, a reieșit în urma unei cercetări din 2004, scrie dr. Kevin Skinner, terapeut pe probeleme de familie și căsătorie, într-un articol pentru Psychology Today. Un procent asemănător a rezultat și în urma intervievării a 350 de membrii ai Academiei Americane a Avocaților Matrimoniali. Dintre aceștia, 62% au declarat că unul dintre factorii importanți care au stat la baza divorțului a fost internetul, iar una dintre cele mai frecvente probleme a fost „obsesia pentru site-urile pornografice”.

Cercetătorii de la Universitatea de Stat Florida au descoperit că urmărirea de materiale pornografice poate slăbi implicarea partenerilor în relație, scrie dr. Heidi Reeder, de la Universitatea de Stat Boise, într-un articol pentru Psychology Today.

Citeste mai mult aici – http://www.semneletimpului.ro/stiri/Pericolele-ascunse-ale-pornografiei…

Reclame

Florin Ianovici – Mult mai bun si mult mai bine: O casa de jale

photo credit poetry.rapgenius.com

Eclesiastul 7:2

Mai bine să te duci într’o casă de jale de cît să te duci într’o casă de petrecere; căci acolo îţi aduci aminte de sfîrşitul oricărui om, şi cine trăieşte, îşi pune la inimă lucrul acesta.

In timp ce sora Magda canta… m-am gandit ca exista doua finaluri de viata. Indiferent ce ne desparte in viata si indiferent ce ne imparte in viata, nu exista decat doua feluri de a muri. Poti muri strigand sau suspinand: „O, desertaciune. Totul este desertaciune.” Sau poti muri uitandu-te si spunand: „Vad cerurile deschise si vad pe Fiul omului, pe Domnul Isus Hristos la dreapta lui Dumnezeu. Indiferent ce conceptii ai avea in timpul vietii, nu se poate muri decat in aceste doua feluri. Rugaciunea mea si dorinta pentru care aduc acest mesaj inaintea dvs. este sa putem muri bine. Sa putem muri cu un strigat de biruinta. Mi-as dori ca la finalul fiecaruia dintre noi sa putem striga: „O, bucurie a tuturor bucuriilor, cat de mult te-am asteptat! Cat de mult te-am dorit.” In dimineata aceasta mergem la episodul 2. Ciclul de predici se intituleaza: Mult mai bun si mult mai bine.  Prima data am stat de vorba despre ce inseamna un nume bun, un nume bun care este mai de pret ca un untdelemn mirositor si ziua mortii care face mai mult decat ziua nasterii. Astazi, daca Dumnezeu ne va ajuta, vom vedea de ce Dumnezeu si nu omul spune ca este mai bine sa mergi  intr-o casa de jale, decat intr-o casa de petrecere. Daca ai intreba pe orice om de pe pamantul acesta, ti-ar spune ca cea mai frumoasa zi e 31 Decembrie, revelionul, cand tot Romanul petrece. Oamenii iti vor spune intotdeauna: Mai bine intr-o casa de petreceri. Singur e Dumnezeu care spune: „Mai bine intr-o casa de jale.” Acuma, sigur, fie credem pe unul, fie credem pe altul. Acuma, dupa ce am crezut, asa mergem.

Florin Ianovici 3 30Iubitii Domnului, in deschiderea acestei slujbe vreau sa va spun despre un lucru care sa va atraga atentia si sa asezam un pic cuvantul acesta intr-un mod practic. Intr-o imprejurare, cand unul dintre oamenii  insemnati pe pamantul acesta a murit, un rege pamantesc, am fost chemat la un post de televiziune, ca pastor penticostal, sa-mi dau cu parerea despre ce inseamna credinta penticostala, pentru ca facuse valva moartea acestui om si erau niste lucruri amestecate: traditii omenesti, misticisme, ocultisme si lucrurile lui Dumnezeu. Cand am ajuns in studio nu m-a cunoscut nimeni. Si e normal ce treaba am eu cu televiziunea? Si cand am ajuns acolo m-am recomandat, m-au luat, am stat de vorba, mi-au dus un pahar cu apa. In sfarsit, s-au purtat cum se poate mai frumos. Dar la un moment dat, spre bucuria mea, a intrat sora Gabi Lunca. Si dansa cand a intrat, toti s-au ridicat. Au salutat-o, au imbratisat-o. Toti au venit la dansa cu foarte multa bucurie. In schimb, dansa cand m-a vazut pe mine, dansa a venit, m-a imbratisat: „Pastorasul meu!” M-am simtit binecuvantat. Si dansa povestea un lucru care vreau sa vi-l spun si dvs. Poate ca nu stiti cum s-a intor dansa la Domnul, dar are foarte mare legatura cu episodul acesta, sau daca vreti cu mesajul din ziua de astazi.

Dansa fiind o cunoscuta cantareata din muzica lautareasca, la un moment dat, o vecina a invitat-o si a zis: „Hai daraga Gabi [Lunca] sa mergi pana la o inmormantare.” Si dansa s-a lasat induplecata si a mers la acea inmormantare a unui om foarte bogat. Si in timp ce a ajuns acolo, dansa spunea, marturisea, ca a bagat de seama un lucru. Zice: „In timp ce eu stateam si ma uitam, din curtea acelui om ieseau o multime de oamenicu diferite lucruri. Fiecare cu cate ceva in mana. Altii mai harnici, in doua maini. Si atunci am intrebat: ‘Dar ce se intampla aici?’ Cum de fiecare iese din casa acestui om, care a murit, cu cate ceva? La care dansa spune: Pai, n-are urmasi. N-are nici fii, n-are nici fiice si atunci fiecare care a ajuns la acest om decedat, intra in casa, ia ce apuca si pleaca, pentru ca n-are cine sa ceara socoteala. A fost ziua cand Dumnezeu a cercetat-o extraordinar. Marturisea ca s-a dus sub un pom si acolo a plans, pentru ca ea nu putea sa aiba copii. Si a zis: „Daca Tu, Doamne, imi dai urmasi, eu ma voi face urmasa Ta.” Si acolo Dumnezeu a cercetat-o si acolo Dumnezeu a binecuvantat sufletul ei, intr-o casa de jale. Intr-o casa a durerii, ochii ei au privit, inima ei a simtit si pentru prima data in viata, mintea ei a priceput. Dumnezeu nu ne spune intamplator ca e mai bine sa mergem intr-o casa de jale. Pentru ca acolo, spune Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu, iti aduci aminte de sfarsitul oricarui om. Si cine traieste isi pune la inima lucrul acesta.

Acum, cateva lucruri as vrea sa le discut cu dvs. pentru ca cateva precizari, care ne vor ajuta in viata de zi cu zi, noi trebuie sa le facem. Spune Biblia in felul urmator: Mai bine să te duci într’o casă de jale de cît să te duci într’o casă de petrecere; căci acolo îţi aduci aminte de sfîrşitul oricărui om, şi cine trăieşte, îşi pune la inimă lucrul acesta. Va rog sa va uitati bine la ce spune Biblia. Biblia nu spune ca e mai bine sa ai o casa de jale. Ci ca este mai bine sa te duci intr-o casa de jale. Biblia niciodata n-a spus ca oamenii credinciosi trebuie sa fie cu haine cernite. Niciodata, Biblia n-a spus ca noi trebuie sa fim ca niste oameni  care trebuie sa trecem pe pamantul acesta cu durerea zugravita pe inima, plangand, victimizandune sau intotdeauna plangandune de ce ni se intampla noua. Iubitii Domnului, sa credeti ca tuturor oamenilor le este greu. Dar Biblia spune ca El nu-si doreste o casa de jale pentru tine. Ce-ti doreste Dumnezeu? Dumnezeu doreste sa ai o casa a bucuriei. Dumnezeu, de aceea ti-a dat un sot, ti-a dat o sotie, de aceea ti-a dat copii Dumnezeu, ca sa ai bucurie de pe urma lor. Si Dumnezeu spune: „Eu nu doresc ca tu sa ai o casa de jale.” Cum se va chema casa aceasta a lui Dumnezeu? O casa de jale? Nu. O Casa de Rugaciune. O casa a bucuriei, o casa in care Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu, cantarile sa fie inaltate si Dumnezeu sa se coboare  in mijlocul laudei poporului Sau. Amin.

Deci, nimeni sa nu creada ca Dumnezeu vrea casa Lui sa fie o casa a jalei. Dumnezeu vrea insa sa te duci intr-o casa de jale, mai bine decat sa mergi intr-o casa de petrecere. Si despre ce vorbeste Dumnezeu? Despre alegere. Suntem puis in fata alegerilor in fiecare zi si ni se spunea in dimineata aceasta ca toate lucrurile ne sunt ingaduite, dar nu toate ne sunt de folos. Nu toate zidesc. Nu toate rodesc. Si in dimineata aceasta, Dumnezeu ne spune ca aceasta recomandare a Domnului Dumnezeului nostru este: „Sa faci o alegere inteleapta.” Cand ai de ales intre doua drumuri, un drum care duce catre casa de jale, si un drum care duce spre casa de petrecere, sa alegi sa intri in casa de jale. Pot sa va spun un lucru, fara sa va suparati? Bucuresti este un oras frumos si mie imi place si biserica si credinciosii din biserica. Dar noi avem o slabiciune fundamentala care nu-i in alte parti. Cati sunteti din Moldova, din Bucovina? Dvs. stiti cum este in zona aceea. Daca moare un om, tot satul merge la inmormantare. Iar credinciosii, indiferent ca are 80 de ani omul acela, se mobilizeaza pentru ca este un prilej de evanghelizare deosebit. Si tot satul, toata localitatea  merg si conduc pe acel om, pe ultimul drum si mangaie familia respectiva. La noi in Bucuresti, daca moare cineva de 80, 85 de ani ii vezi pe doi oameni sau 3 surori care vin, isi smulg din timpul lor si noi nu dam atentie acestor lucruri.

Biblia ne spune ca Dumnezeu se uita spre noi si ne face o recomandare. Cand ai de ales, mai bine sa mergi intr-o casa de jale, pentru ca acolo Dumnezeu iti va vorbi si acolo Dumnezeu va sta de vorba cu tine.

Vreau sa mai observam un lucru astazi. Nu spune Cuvantul Domnului ca e mai bine sa mergi intr-un loc de jale. Spune Biblia ca e mai bine sa mergi intr-o ‘casa’ de jale, decat intr-o casa de petrecere. Si haideti sa va spun un lucru la care m-am gandit si la care m-am framantat. Inainte in vreme, daca vroiai sa mananci o felie de prajitura, te duceai la cofetarie. Daca vroai sa mananci o pizza, te duceai la o pizzerie. Daca cineva vroia sa mearga la un film, se ducea la un cinematograf. Acuma, nu mai ai nevoie sa te duci la toate aceste locuri. Te duci in mall si acolo le ai pe toate. Acolo le ai ingramadite pe toate, toate distractiile de orice fel le ai ingramadite intr-o casa mare numita mall. M-am gandit: ce inseamna casa petrecerii? Si mi-am dat seama ca in timp ce oamenii evolueaza isi vor construi  aceste case ale placerii. Astazi, eu va spun in Numele Domnului Isus Hristos, mall-ul este locul care mananca foarte multe, absoarbe foarte mult. Duceti-va dvs. in dimineata aceasta oriunde vreti, faceti asa o proba, sa vedeti la ora 11, 12, cati oameni sunt in mall. Mai multi decat in biserici. Exista deja o casa a petrecerii si exista o casa a jalei, pentru ca Dumnezeu ne spune in dimineata aceasta ca nu e vorba de un loc, cat este vorba despre o conceptie. E vorba despre o atitudine. E vorba despre o mentalitate. Modul cum privesti viata este acela de a merge in casa petrecerii sau a merge in casa jalei.

Dupa mine, iubitii Domnului, noi suntem intr-un loc unde Dumnezeu si-a asezat Numele. Si casa aceasta este o casa in care Dumnezeu a asezat intelepciune, ca sa putem invata. Deja lumea isi construieste edificile ei. Deja lumea isi construieste casele ei. Deja lumea isi construieste potrivit cu ceea ce este ea, locul in care sa poata sa-si arate fata. Nu intamplator, ci intr-un mod profetic Dumnezeu vorbeste despre o casa a petrecerii. Cand te vei duce in data viitoare intr-o directie, sa te intrebi: oare n-am o alegere mai buna de facut? Si eu va spun asa. Luni dupa amiaza avem rugaciune. Marti dupa amiaza avem inchinare. Miercuri dupa amiaza avem rugaciune. Joi dupa amiaza avem rugaciune cu cuvant. Vineri dupa amiaza avem rugaciune, avem cuvant. Sambata aveti familii, aveti altar. Duminica, de doua ori, ca sa recuperam si pentru Sambata, care a fost libera. Vreau sa va intreb: oare n-avem in fiecare zi de facut o alegere? Vreau sa va spun ca eu cred in oboseala vietii acesteia. Stiu ca dvs. aveti servicii cei mai multi. Plecati de dimineata, ajungeti dupa amiaza, Dar eu nu va spun sa lipsiti de la serviciu sa veniti la biserica. Dar dupa ce ati terminat, multi dintre noi avem de facut o alegere. Ori ajunge la casa lui Dumnezeu dupa o ora, sau jumatate de ora, ori ma duc si ma relaxez. Si asa ne relaxam, ca plecam cu capul mai ingreunat decat am venit. Dumnezeu sa ne ajute. Astazi, Dumnezeu ne vorbeste despre o conceptie, despre o mentalitate, despre o casa pe care lumea o construieste.

Iubitii Domnului, vreau sa va mai spun inca un lucru. Exista o diferenta in termeni, intre cuvantul durere si cuvantul jale. Nu intamplator Biblia vorbeste despre casa jalei. Putea s-o numeasca casa durerii, fara discutie. Putea s-o numeasca casa suferintei. Dar ce inseamna jalea fata de durere? Jalea, fata de durere, este durerea care se tanguieste. Este durerea care are glas. Este durerea care se exprima. Este acea durere care se exteriorizeaza. In casa de jale omul face un lucru. Isi aduce aminte ca nu traieste singur pe pamantul asta. In momentul acela, cand te duci intr-o casa de jale, in momentul acela reusim sa iesim din ale noastre, reusim sa nu ne mai uitam la noi insine, nu mai suntem noi atat de importanti. Ci ne uitam la rudele celui care a murit. Ne uitam la cel ce este intins si deodata ne apuca o compatimire, ne apuca un sentiment de mila. Poate vezi o mama care-si plange copilul. Poate vezi un sot care si-a pierdut sotia. Poate ca vezi oruda sau poate ca e cineva apropiat  tie. Si in momentul acela, Biblia vorbeste, nu despre o simpla durere, ci durerea impartasita. Durerea care ne face sa ne schimbam din niste oameni care se privesc numai pe ei insisi, spre cineva din afara noastra. Si asta numeste Domnul o alegere mai buna.

Pentru ca la casa de petrecere ai anumite ganduri: cu ce sa ma imbrac? Brusc, te duci la sifonier si nimic nu-ti place. Si bine inteles ca vei alege cea mai lunga rochie, care sa-ti acopere toate partile, vei alege cel mai discret machiaj. Sau invers. Cand te duci in casa de petreceri, faci o declaratie: priviti la mine, ce frumoasa sunt eu. Si baietii: ce frumos sunt eu. Cand te duci intr-o casa de petreceri conteaza foarte mult cum te vad oamenii si ce impresii creezi. In momentul cand tu te duci intr-o casa de petrecere, tu vrei sa fi centrul atentiei. Cand intri intr-o casa de jale, tu uiti de tine si intinzi mana altuia. Si Dumnezeu numeste lucrul asta mai bun. Pentru ca avem un egoism inascut. Pentru ca nu ne-am mai da seama ca exista oameni langa noi, cand poate nu-i vedem ca stau intins in sicriu si cineva langa ei plange. Nu ne aducem aminte. Traim intr-un egoism al nostru. Traim intr-o iubire de sine care ne-a uritit si a facut sa dispara chipul lui Dumnezeu.

Ma uit la generatia aceasta care nu realizeaza ca intr-o zi mama aia, tatal acela, care este frana in acest moment distractiei tale v-a sta intins si poate atunci te vei gandi ca poate exista si altceva pe pamantul acesta decat tu. Dumnezeu spune, afla-te intr-o casa de jale, ca nu doar tu traiesti pe pamantul asta. Cand mangai pe cel intristat, cand te duci intr-o casa de jale si deodata uiti de tine- curios, uiti de tine amintindu-ti de tine. Si o sa vedeti de ce uitam de noi, amintindu-ne de noi. Pentru ca noi uitam de Dumnezeul care ar trebui sa locuiasca in noi si ne aducem aminte numai de carnea pe care o imbracam si carui purtam de grija in fiecare zi. Cand tu mangai pe cel intristat, sa stii ce nu e doar vorba de a face un lucru frumos si bun. Dvs. stiti ca e o datorie? Biblia spune asa, Ioan 11:19 Mulţi din Iudei veniseră la Marta şi Maria, ca să le mîngîie pentru moartea fratelui lor. In Israel era o datorie. „Daca a murit, mergem cu totii acolo.” Si cati au venit? Multi au venit. Oamenii acestia au venit. Acuma, vreau sa va intreb un lucru: li s-a intamplat un lucru bun iudeilor care au venit acolo? Li s-a intamplat un lucru bun. A venit Isus. Si cand a venit Domnul Isus Hristos, spune Biblia, ca si Maria si Marta au plans. Erau la picioarele Domnului Isus Hristos. Domnul Isus Hristos S-a infiorat in duhul Lui, Domnul Isus Hristos a inceput sa planga, Domnul Isus Hristos a intins mana si a strigat: „Lazare, iesi afara.” Si ochii lor au vazut o minune.

Poate ca ceea ce lipseste vietii noastre este intalnirea cu Dumnezeu. Si o sa spuneti Dumnezeu e pretutindeni. E o prostie monumentala. Va garantez ca Dumnezeu nu-i pretutindeni. Dumnezeu nu-i in bar; Dumnezeu nu umbla la discoteca. Dumnezeu nu este acolo unde oamenii se apuca sa barfeasca. Pleaca Dumnezeu, ca nu poate sa stea langa acesti oameni. Dumnezeu nu este in moluri (mall), nu peste tot, ca din mol cumparam si hrana. Dar nu este acolo unde iti toci vremea, stai si te uiti la banda rulanta, cine mai urca, cine mai coboara si analizezi tu tinuta si cine stie ce mai altele. Nu-i peste tot Dumnezeu. Dar Dumnezeu spune: „Voi fi in casa de jale, pentru ca eu spun ca e mai bine sa fi tu acolo.” Si poate ca atunci Dumnezeu vrea sa ne dea o intalnire cu o minune. Poate ca in casa aceea de jale, Dumnezeu vrea sa stai langa un pom si sa spui: „Doamne, o sa-mi cada si mie din casa toate lucrurile pe care le-am adunat, pentru ca eu n-am zidit duhovncieste nimic si n-am lasat nimic in urma asa cum trebuie. Dumnezeu sa ne dea intelpciune sa intelegem ca nu e doar bine de facut, ci o obligatie pentru sufletul tau.

Biblia nu vorbeste despre petrecere ca despre un lucru rau, atata vreme cat petrecerea nu inseamna cuvantul ‘distractie’. Casa de petrecere sau locul unde petreci, daca are la baza bucuria este un loc binecuvantat- bucuria din Dumnezeu. Si se refera la distractie si distractia stiti ce este? [Esti] plictisit? Plictisit. Ma duc sa toc timpul. Distractia e acea activitate a multor oameni pe care o fac pentru ca nu stiu ce sa faca cu timpul. Daca intri in casa de jale, deodata te uiti si iti dai seama ca ai ceas la mana, ca tic tacul vietii alearga, si ca mai este putina, foarte putina vreme  si tu insuti te vei prezenta inaintea lui Dumnezeu. Distractia iti fura notiunea de timp. Ma intreba cineva intr-o emisiune: „Pastore, de ce le recomandati dvs. oamenilor sa vina la biserica? I-am spus: „Stiti de ce? Pentru ca in lumea aceasta pe care noi o traversam, in fiecare zi, Satana da un asal puternicasupra mintii noastre sa fure ceva. Sa ne fure sentimentul vesniciei.” Prieteni, suntem vesnici! In momentul in care pe pamantul acesta traiesti din distractie in distractie, distractia functioneaza ca un anestezic asupra sentimentului de vesnicie. Te transforma intr-un om care esti purtat de incolo incoace, si care pur si simplu traiesti de pe o zi pe alta. Cand intri in biserica si vii aici in Casa lui Dumnezeu, ti-aduci aminte ca esti vesnic. Si aici, stand in fata vesniciei spui: „Da-mi Doamne puterea sa ma pregatesc. Pregatiti-va ca nu mai e timp. (Din primele 21 de minute, mai sunt aprox 40 de minute din predica).

Biserica Betel Bucuresti, Crangasi (30.03.2014)
Mesaj din ciclul de predici „Mai mult si mai bine”.
Predici pentru vremuri grele – http://www.fiti-oameni.ro

Ce e NOU la PAGINA Florin Ianovici

 

Conferinta Pastorala Atlanta, Georgia Martie 2014 (VIDEO)

Photo credit Facebook

Photo credit Facebook

28 Martie 2014

Post by Philadelphia Romanian Church – Atlanta.

Doamne, fa ceva…. God, do something..

..un om de bine, in plimbarea lui prin oras, a intilnit o fetita in zdrente care cerea de pomana.

Isi indrepta gindul spre dumnezeu si spuse, „Doamne, cum poti permite asa ceva? Te rog fa ceva.”

Mai tirziu, la jurnalul de seara a vazut diverse secvente cu copii bolnavi, femei lovite si batrini saraci.

Si iar sa rugat, „Doamne, cita mizerie. Fa ceva.” In timpul noptii, Domnul i-a aparut in vis si i-a spus, „Am facut deja ceva, te-am facut pe tine.”

Sursa Ciprian Soare

ENGLISH-

… a well off man, walking in his city, passed a young girl in ragged clothes, begging for money.

He closed his eyes and said a prayer to God, quietly, in his mind, „God, how can you permit such a thing? Please do something!”

Later that night, on the nightly news on his television set he saw different reports with sick children, abused women and poor old people.

Again he prayed, „God, it is so awful. Do something.” He went to bed and that night he had a dream, the Lord came to him in the dream and said, „I already did something. I created you……”

O cronologie istorica si 5 fapte uimitoare ale Bibliei

Niste cercetatori ai Bibliei au pus laolalta niste date foarte importante si de mult interes prin care putem observa cum s-a putut ca datele sau evenimentele importante de la Adam si in continuare sa fi fost transmise din generatie in generatie. De exemplu, Adam a trait noua sute treizeci de ani, si dupa ce s-a nascut Set, a mai trait opt sute de ani. Cel mai mult in Vechiul Testament a trait Metusala, care a avut noua sute sase zeci si noua de ani cand a murit. Lameh fiul lui Metusala la varsta de o suta optzeci si doi de ani l-a nascut pe Noe. Dupa nasterea lui Noe, Lameh a mai trait cinci sute noua zeci si cinci de ani. (O introducere de A.C.- Agnus Dei)

Aceasta diagrama cronologica, este o modalitate foarte buna de intelegere vizuala a Bibliei, in special Vechiul Testament. Va prezentam in continuare unele dintre datele culese prin suprapunerea datelor de nastere si a mortii unor patriarhi din Biblie.

1. Surprize in aceste suprapuneri. Biblia ne da liste cu varsta parintilor si datele in care acestia au murit, dar o cronologie a timplui ne arata cum acestea se suprapun. Metusala, omul din Biblie care a trait cel mai mult, a murit in anul cu potopul. Adam inca era in viata cand Metusala si fiul sau, Lemeh (tatal lui Noe), s-au nascut.

2. Fiul lui Noe, Sem era inca in viata cand Avraam s-a nascut. Avraam a putut invata despre istoria lumii de pana atunci,de la Sem, care a invatat despre Adam si in continuare, de la bunicul sau si apoi acesta a transmis in continuare nepotului, nepotului, nepotului (8 generatii de nepoti) Avraam.

3. Cine a venit primul, Regina Estera, sau Daniel? Amandoi au trait in timpul captivitatii babiloniene. Cartea Estera este prima in Biblie, dar ea a trait cu aproape un secol mai tarziu dupa Daniel – pe la sfarsitul captivitatii din Babilon.

4. Ce se intampla in lume in timpul acestor evenimente importante din Biblie? De exemplu, profetul Daniel a trait in acelasi secol cu filosoful chinez Confucius.

5. Ce s-a intimplat in Biblie in timpul unor evenimente importante ale lumii? Poetul grec Homer, si Solomon, au trait in acelasi secol.

VIDEO by Amazing Bible Timeline

To READ this post in ENGLISH click HERE.

A historical Timeline and five amazing facts about Adam and biblical events

CITESTE acest articol in limba ROMANA aici.

This timeline chart which you can actually purchase here is a great way to visually understand the Bible, especially the Old Testament. Here are some of the facts gleaned by overlaying the births and deaths of some of the biblical patriarchs.

  1. Surprises in the overlap. The Bible lists ages of fathers and their death dates, but a timeline shows us how they overlap. Methuselah, the man in the Bible who lived the longest, died the year of the flood. Adam was still alive when Methuselah and his son Lemech (Noah’s father) were born.
  2. Noah’s son Shem was still alive when Abraham was born. Abraham could have learned about the history of the world from Shem who learned about Adam on down from his grandfather and then passed it on to his great-great-great (8 greats) grandson Abraham.
  3. Who came first, Queen Esther or Daniel? They both lived during the Babylonian captivity. Esther’s book is first in the Bible, but she lived nearly a century after Daniel- toward the end of the captivity.
  4. What was going on in the world during important Bible events? For example, the Biblical prophet Daniel lived during the same century as the Chinese philosopher Confucius.
  5. What was happening in the Bible during important world events?  The Greek poet Homer and Solomon lived during the same century.

VIDEO by Amazing Bible Timeline

Paul Washer – Conformity to Christ is key in marriage

VIDEO by SermonIndex.net

VIDEO – Gheorghe Ignat alias Ursul Carpatin – Marturia la Biserica Harvest Metanoia Arad 1 Martie 2014

Dumnezeu in actiune
Ursul Carpatin (luptator MMA)

După o viață plină de succes, dar și de probleme, după ce a devenit campion al României de opt ori, multiplu campion internațional la lupte greco–romane și luptător de arte marțiale la vestita arenă MMA din San Diego – Gheorghe Ignat, cunoscut în ring sub numele de „Ursul Carpatin” a intrat în ring cu Dumnezeu. Ce a urmat? Ascultă mărturia lui.

Data: 1 Martie, 2014
Locatie: Biserica Harvest Metanoia, Arad

Predici pentru vremuri grele – http://www.fiti-oameni.ro

Nicu wagner Predica, Familia David Susanu canta la Biserica Betel München – 23 Martie 2014

NICU WAGNER si FAMILIA SUSANU

La Biserica Betel München
-Cantari Familia Susanu in primele 43 de minute
-Cantari Nicu Wagner cu Familia Susanu de la min. 43 – min. 50
-Cantari Nicu Wagner min. 54 – 56
– Predica Nicu Wagner la minutul 56

Matei 20:29-34
29 Cînd au ieşit din Ierihon, o mare gloată a mers după Isus.
30 Şi doi orbi şedeau lîngă drum. Ei au auzit că trece Isus, şi au început să strige: ,,Ai milă de noi, Doamne, Fiul lui David!„
31 Gloata îi certa să tacă. Dar ei mai tare strigau: ,,Ai milă de noi, Doamne, Fiul lui David!„
32 Isus S’a oprit, i -a chemat, şi le -a zis: ,,Ce vreţi să vă fac?„
33 ,,Doamne„, I-au zis ei, ,,să ni se deschidă ochii!„
34 Lui Isus I s’a făcut milă de ei, S’a atins de ochii lor, şi îndată orbii şi-au căpătat vederea, şi au mers după El.

VIDEO by Biserica Gloria Salzburg

Cristi Tătar – Gânduri despre „Moștenirea apartenenței la creștinism”

Efeseni 1:3-14
3 Binecuvîntat să fie Dumnezeu, Tatăl Domnului nostru Isus Hristos, care ne -a binecuvîntat cu tot felul de binecuvîntări duhovniceşti, în locurile cereşti, în Hristos.
4 În El, Dumnezeu ne -a ales înainte de întemeierea lumii, ca să fim sfinţi şi fără prihană înaintea Lui, dupăce, în dragostea Lui,
5 ne -a rînduit mai dinainte să fim înfiaţi prin Isus Hristos, după buna plăcere a voiei Sale,
6 spre lauda slavei harului Său, pe care ni l -a dat în Prea Iubitul Lui.
7 În El avem răscumpărarea, prin sîngele Lui, iertarea păcatelor, după bogăţiile harului Său, 8 pe care l -a răspîndit din belşug peste noi, prin orice fel de înţelepciune şi de pricepere; 9 căci a binevoit să ne descopere taina voiei Sale, după planul pe care -l alcătuise în Sine însuş,10 ca să -l aducă la îndeplinire la plinirea vremilor, spre a-Şi uni iarăş într’unul în Hristos, toate lucrurile: cele din ceruri, şi cele de pe pămînt.
11 În El am fost făcuţi şi moştenitori, fiind rînduiţi mai dinainte, după hotărîrea Aceluia, care face toate după sfatul voiei Sale, 12 ca să slujim de laudă slavei Sale, noi, cari mai dinainte am nădăjduit în Hristos.
13 Şi voi, după ce aţi auzit cuvîntul adevărului (Evanghelia mîntuirii voastre), aţi crezut în El, şi aţi fost pecetluiţi cu Duhul Sfînt, care fusese făgăduit, 14 şi care este o arvună a moştenirii noastre, pentru răscumpărarea celor cîştigaţi de Dumnezeu, spre lauda slavei Lui.

Moștenirea apartenenței la creștinism… mulți ne luptăm cu asta.

Ne-am trezit cei mai mulți dintre noi, aici în frumoasa Românie, sau în alte părți ale lumii, că facem parte dintr-o biserică, de care o fi ea… una cu calea mai strâmtă, alta cu calea mai largă, de diferite nume, nuanțe și idei, uneori doar religioase, fără să aibă legătură cu adevărata credință dată sfinților odată pentru totdeauna, cum spune Biblia.

Că veni vorba de Biblie, și evreii aveau moștenirea lor, se lăudau cu asta, deși Ioan botezătorul, Domnul Isus Hristos, și mai târziu apostolii au afirmat cu tărie că nu prea ai ce face cu istoria denominațiunii tale, dacă tu nu mai trăiești în limitele adevărului scriptural și în voia lui Dumnezeu.

– „Și să nu credeți că puteți zice în voi înșivă: „Avem ca tată pe Avraam!” Căci vă spun că Dumnezeu din pietrele acestea poate să ridice fii lui Avraam.” (Mat.3:9)

– „Și a zis iudeilor care crezuseră în El: „Dacă rămâneți în Cuvântul Meu, sunteți în adevăr ucenicii Mei;

veți cunoaște adevărul, și adevărul vă va face slobozi.” Ei I-au răspuns: „Noi suntem sămânța lui Avraam și n-am fost niciodată robii nimănui; cum zici Tu: „Veți fi slobozi!?”

Așadar, nu te baza pe trecut, nu te baza că te-ai născut bine unde te-ai născut,  ci caută să înțelegi voia lui Dumnezeu, citește Biblia, și roagă-te ca Fiul Său, Isus Hristos Domnul să te facă liber. 

Dacă El te eliberează, ești bine, dacă nu…

Citeste si – Cristi Tătar – Gânduri despre eşec!

Paul Washer – Is Jesus Christ the Emphasis of Your Christianity?

VIDEO by I’ll Be Honest

God’s Book, the Bible By John Charles Ryle

photo credit regenerationandrepentance.wordpress.com

A little bit about J C Ryle from Wikipedia:

Ryle was a strong supporter of the evangelical school and a critic of Ritualism. He was a writer, pastor and an evangelical preacher. Among his longer works are Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century (1869), Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (7 vols, 1856–69), Principles for Churchmen (1884). Ryle was described as having a commanding presence and vigorous in advocating his principles albeit with a warm disposition. He was also credited with having success in evangelizing the blue collar community. His second son, Herbert Edward Ryle also a clergyman, became Dean of Westminster.

Ryle, J.C (John Charles) (1816-1900)

Thoroughly evangelical in his doctrine and uncompromising in his principles, J.C. Ryle was a prolific writer, vigorous preacher, and faithful pastor.

He was born at Macclesfield and educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. He was a fine athlete who rowed and played Cricket for Oxford, where he took a first class degree in Modern Greats and was offered a college fellowship (teaching position) which he declined. The son of a wealthy banker, he was destined for a career in politics before answering a call to ordained ministry.

He was spiritually awakened in 1838 while hearing Ephesians 2 read in church. He was ordained by Bishop Sumner at Winchester in 1842. For 38 years he was a parish vicar, first at Helmingham and later at Stradbrooke, in Suffolk. He became a leader of the evangelical party in the Church of England and was noted for his doctrinal essays and polemical writings. In 1880, at age 64, he became the first bishop of Liverpool, at the recommendation of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. He retired in 1900 at age 83 and died later the same year.

In his diocese, he exercised a vigorous and straightforward preaching ministry, and was a faithful pastor to his clergy, exercising particular care over ordination retreats. He formed a clergy pension fund for his diocese and built over forty churches. Despite criticism, he put raising clergy salaries ahead of building a cathedral for his new diocese. Ryle combined his commanding presence and vigorous advocacy of his principles with graciousness and warmth in his personal relations. Vast numbers of working men and women attended his special preaching meetings, and many were led to faith in Christ. (Source http://www.anglicanlibrary.org)

 

God’s Book, the Bible [An undated booklet published in the 1890’s.]

By John Charles Ryle,

First Bishop of Liverpool in 1880

“Search the Scriptures.”—JOHN 5:39

“How readest thou?”—LUKE 10:26

NEXT to praying there is nothing so important in practical religion as Bible-reading.  God has mercifully given us a book which is “able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  (2 Tim. iii. 15.)   By reading that book we may learn what to believe, what to be, and what to do; how to live with comfort, and how to die in peace.  Happy is that man who possesses a Bible! Happier still is he who reads it! Happiest of all is he who not only reads it, but obeys it, and makes it the rule of his faith and practice!

Nevertheless it is a sorrowful fact that man has an unhappy skill in abusing God’s gifts.  His privileges, and power, and faculties, are all ingeniously perverted to other ends than those for which they were bestowed.  His speech, his imagination, his intellect, his strength, his time, his influence, his money,—instead of being used as instruments for glorifying his Maker,—are generally wasted, or employed for his own selfish ends.  And just as man naturally makes a bad use of his other mercies, so he does of the written Word.  One sweeping charge may be brought against the whole of Christendom, and that charge is neglect and abuse of the Bible.

To prove this charge we have no need to look abroad: the proof lies at our own doors.  I have no doubt that there are more Bibles in Great Britain at this moment than there ever were since the world began.  There is more Bible buying and Bible selling, more Bible printing and Bible distributing,—than ever was since England was a nation.  We see Bibles in every bookseller’s shop,—Bibles of every size, price, and style; Bibles great, and Bibles small,—Bibles for the rich, and Bibles for the poor.  There are Bibles in almost every house in the land.  But all this time I fear we are in danger of forgetting, that to have the Bible is one thing, and to read it quite another.

This neglected Book is the subject about which I address the readers of this paper today.  Surely it is no light matter what you are doing with the Bible.  Surely, when the plague is abroad, you should search and see, whether the plague-spot is on you.  Give me your attention while I supply you with a few plain reasons why every one who cares for his soul ought to value the Bible highly, to study it regularly, and to make himself thoroughly acquainted with its contents.

1.  No Book like the Bible

I.  In the first place, there is no book in existence written in such a manner as the Bible.

The Bible was “given by inspiration of God.”  (2 Tim, iii. 16.)  In this respect it is utterly unlike all other writings.  God taught the writers of it what to say.  God put into their minds thoughts and ideas.  God guided their pens in setting down those thoughts and ideas.  When you read it, you are not reading the self-taught compositions of poor imperfect men like yourself, but the words of the eternal God.  When you hear it, you are not listening to the erring opinions of short-lived mortals, but to the unchanging mind of the King of kings.  The men who were employed to indite the Bible, spoke not of themselves.  They “spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”  (2 Peter i. 21.)  All other books in the world, however good and useful in their way, are more or less defective.  The more you look at them the more you see their defects and blemishes.  The Bible alone is absolutely perfect.  From beginning to end it is “the Word of God.”

I shall not waste time by attempting any long and laboured proof of this.  I say boldly, that the Book itself is the best witness of its own inspiration.  It is utterly inexplicable and unaccountable in any other point of view.  It is the greatest standing miracle in the world.  He that dares to say the Bible is not inspired, let him give a reasonable account of it, if he can.  Let him explain the peculiar nature and character of the Book in a way that will satisfy any man of common sense.  The burden of proof seems to my mind to lie on him.

It proves nothing against inspiration, as some have asserted, that the writers of the Bible have each a different style.  Isaiah does not write like Jeremiah, and Paul does not write like John.  This is perfectly true, and yet the works of these men are not a whit less equally inspired.  The waters of the sea have many different shades.  In one place they look blue, and in another green.  And yet the difference is owing to the depth or shallowness of the part we see, or to the nature of the bottom.  The water in every case is the same salt sea.—The breath of a man may produce different sounds, according to the character of the instrument on which he plays.  The flute, the pipe, and the trumpet, have each their peculiar note.  And yet the breath that calls forth the notes, is in each case one and the same.—The light of the planets we see in heaven is very various.  Mars, and Saturn, and Jupiter, have each a peculiar colour.  And yet we know that the light of the sun, which each planet reflects, is in each case one and the same.  Just in the same way the books of the Old and New Testaments are all inspired truth, and yet the aspect of that truth varies according to the mind through which the Holy Ghost makes it flow.  The handwriting and style of the writers differ enough to prove that each had a distinct individual being; but the Divine Guide who dictates and directs the whole is always one.  All is alike inspired.  Every chapter, and verse, and word, is from God.

Oh, that men who are troubled with doubts, and questionings, and skeptical thoughts about inspiration, would calmly examine the Bible for themselves! Oh, that they would act on the advice which was the first step to Augustine’s conversion,—“Take it up and read it!—take it up and read it!” How many Gordian knots this course of action would cut! How many difficulties and objections would vanish away at once like mist before the rising sun! How many would soon confess, “The finger of God is here! God is in this Book, and I knew it not.”

This is the Book about which I address the readers of this paper.  Surely it is no light matter what you are doing with this Book.  It is no light thing that God should have caused this Book to be “written for your learning,” and that you should have before you “the oracles of God.”  (Rom. iii. 2; xv. 4.)  I charge you, I summon you to give an honest answer to my question.  What art thou doing with the Bible?—Dost thou read it at all?—HOW READEST THOU?

2.  Bible Sufficient for Our Salvation

II.  In the second place, there is no knowledge absolutely needful to a man’s salvation, except a knowledge of the things which are to be found in the Bible.   

We live in days when the words of Daniel are fulfilled before our eyes.—“Many run to and fro, and knowledge is increased.”  (Dan. xii. 4.)  Schools are multiplying on every side.  New colleges are set up.  Old Universities are reformed and improved.  New books are continually coming forth.  More is being taught,—more is being learned,—more is being read,—than there ever was since the world began.

It is all well.  I rejoice at it.  An ignorant population is a perilous and expensive burden to any nation.  It is a ready prey to the first Absalom, or Catiline, or Wat Tyler, or Jack Cade, who may arise to entice it to do evil.  But this I say,-we must never forget that all the education a man’s head can receive, will not save his soul from hell, unless he knows the truths of the Bible.

A man may have prodigious learning, and yet never be saved.  He may be master of half the languages spoken round the globe.  He may be acquainted with the highest and deepest things in heaven and earth.  He may have read books till he is like a walking cyclopaedia.  He may be familiar with the stars of heaven,—the birds of the air,—the beasts of the earth, and the fishes of the sea.  He may be able, like Solomon, to “speak of trees, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows on the wall, of beasts also, and fowls, and creeping things, and fishes.”  (1 King iv. 33.)  He may be able to discourse of all the secrets of fire, air, earth, and water.  And yet, if he dies ignorant of Bible truths, he dies a miserable man! Chemistry never silenced a guilty conscience.  Mathematics never healed a broken heart.  All the sciences in the world never smoothed down a dying pillow.  No earthly philosophy ever supplied hope in death.  No natural theology ever gave peace in the prospect of meeting a holy God.  All these things are of the earth, earthy, and can never raise a man above the earth’s level.  They may enable a man to strut and fret his little season here below with a more dignified gait than his fellow-mortals, but they can never give him wings, and enable him to soar towards heaven.  He that has the largest share of them, will find at length that without Bible knowledge he has got no lasting possession.  Death will make an end of all his attainments, and after death they will do him no good at all.

A man may be a very ignorant man, and yet be saved.  He may be unable to read a word, or write a letter.  He may know nothing of geography beyond the bounds of his own parish, and be utterly unable to say which is nearest to England, Paris or New York.  He may know nothing of arithmetic, and not see any difference between a million and a thousand.  He may know nothing of history, not even of his own land, and be quite ignorant whether his country owes most to Semiramis, Boadicea, or Queen Elizabeth.  He may know nothing of the affairs of his own times, and be incapable of telling you whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or the Commander-in-Chief, or the Archbishop of Canterbury is managing the national finances.  He may know nothing of science, and its discoveries,—and whether Julius Caesar won his victories with gunpowder, or the apostles had a printing press, or the sun goes round the earth, may be matters about which he has not an idea.  And yet if that very man has heard Bible truth with his ears, and believed it with his heart, he knows enough to save his soul.  He will be found at last with Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, while his scientific fellow-creature, who has died unconverted, is lost for ever.

There is much talk in these days about science and “useful knowledge.”  But after all a knowledge of the Bible is the one knowledge that is needful and eternally useful.  A man may get to heaven without money, learning, health, or friends,—but without Bible knowledge he will never get there at all.  A man may have the mightiest of minds, and a memory stored with all that mighty mind can grasp,—and yet, if he does not know the things of the Bible, he will make shipwreck of his soul for ever.  Woe! woe! woe to the man who dies in ignorance of the Bible!

This is the Book about which I am addressing the readers of these pages today.  It is no light matter what you do with such a book.  It concerns the life of your soul.  I summon you,—I charge you to give an honest answer to my question.  What are you doing with the Bible? Do you read it? HOW READEST THOU?

3.  No Book Contains Such Important Matters

III.  In the third place, no book in existence contains such important matter as the Bible.

The time would fail me if I were to enter fully into all the great things which are to be found in the Bible, and only in the Bible.  It is not by any sketch or outline that the treasures of the Bible can be displayed.  It would be easy to fill this volume with a list of the peculiar truths it reveals, and yet the half of its riches would be left untold.

How glorious and soul-satisfying is the description it gives us of God’s plan of salvation, and the way by which our sins can be forgiven! The coming into the world of Jesus Christ, the God-man, to save sinners,—the atonement He has made by suffering in our stead, the just for the unjust,—the complete payment He has made for our sins by His own blood,—the justification of every sinner who simply believes on Jesus, the readiness of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to receive, pardon, and save to the uttermost,—how unspeakably grand and cheering are all these truths! We should know nothing of them without the Bible.

How comforting is the account it gives us of the great Mediator of the New Testament,—the man Christ Jesus! Four times over His picture is graciously drawn before our eyes.  Four separate witnesses tell us of His miracles and His ministry,—His sayings and His doings,—His life and His death,—His power and His love,—His kindness and His patience,—His ways, His words, His works, His thoughts, His heart.  Blessed be God, there is one thing in the Bible which the most prejudiced reader can hardly fail to understand, and that is the character of Jesus Christ!

How encouraging are the examples the Bible gives us of good people! It tells us of many who were of like passions with ourselves,—men and women who had cares, crosses, families, temptations, afflictions, diseases, like ourselves, and yet “ by faith and patience inherited the promises,” and got safe home.  (Heb. vi. 12.)  It keeps back nothing in the history of these people.  Their mistakes, their infirmities, their conflicts, their experience, their prayers, their praises, their useful lives, their happy deaths,—all are fully recorded.  And it tells us the God and Saviour of these men and women still waits to be gracious, and is altogether unchanged.

How instructive are the examples the Bible gives us of bad people! It tells us of men and women who had light, and knowledge, and opportunities, like ourselves, and yet hardened their hearts, loved the world, clung to their sins, would have their own way, despised reproof, and ruined their own souls for ever.  And it warns us that the God who punished Pharaoh, and Saul, and Ahab, and Jezebel, and Judas, and Ananias and Sapphira, is a God who never alters, and that there is a hell.

How precious are the promises which the Bible contains for the use of those who love God! There is hardly any possible emergency or condition for which it has not some “word in season.”  And it tells men that God loves to be put in remembrance of these promises, and that if He has said He will do a thing, His promise shall certainly be performed.

How blessed are the hopes which the Bible holds out to the believer in Christ Jesus! Peace in the hour of death,—rest and happiness on the other side of the grave,—a glorious body in the morning of the resurrection,—a full and triumphant acquittal in the day of judgment,—an everlasting reward in the kingdom of Christ,—a joyful meeting with the Lord’s people in the day of gathering together; these, these are the future prospects of every true Christian.  They are all written in the book,—in the book which is all true.

How striking is the light which the Bible throws on the character of man! It teaches us what men may be expected to be and do in every position and station of life.  It gives us the deepest insight into the secret springs and motives of human actions, and the ordinary course of events under the control of human agents.  It is the true “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  (Heb. iv. 12.)  How deep is the wisdom contained in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes! I can well understand an old divine saying, “Give me a candle and a Bible, and shut me up in a dark dungeon, and I will tell you all that the whole world is doing.”

All these are things which men could find nowhere except in the Bible.  We have probably not the least idea how little we should know about these things if we had not the Bible.  We hardly know the value of the air we breathe, and the sun which shines on us, because we have never known what it is to be without them.  We do not value the truths on which I have been just now dwelling, because we do not realize the darkness of men to whom these truths have not been revealed.  Surely no tongue can fully tell the value of the treasures this one volume contains.  Well might old John Newton say that some books were copper books in his estimation, some were silver, and some few were gold;—but the Bible alone was like a book all made up of bank notes.

This is the Book about which I address the reader of this paper this day.  Surely it is no light matter what you are doing with the Bible.  It is no light matter in what way you are using this treasure.  I charge you, I summon you to give an honest answer to my question,—What art thou doing with the Bible?—Dost thou read it?—HOW READEST THOU?

4.  No Book Has Ever Produced Such Wonderful Effects on Mankind

IV.  In the fourth place, no book in existence has produced such wonderful effects on mankind at large as the Bible.

(a)  The Doctrines of the Bible Turned the world Upside Down

(a)  This is the Book whose doctrines turned the world upside down in the days of the Apostles.

Eighteen centuries have now passed away since God sent forth a few Jews from a remote corner of the earth, to do a work which according to man’s judgment must have seemed impossible.  He sent them forth at a time when the whole world was full of superstition, cruelty, lust, and sin.  He sent them forth to proclaim that the established religions of the earth were false and useless, and must be forsaken.  He sent them forth to persuade men to give up old habits and customs, and to live different lives.  He sent them forth to do battle with the most grovelling idolatry, with the vilest and most disgusting immorality, with vested interests, with old associations, with a bigoted

priesthood, with sneering philosophers, with an ignorant population, with bloody-minded emperors, with the whole influence of Rome.  Never was there an enterprise to all appearance more Quixotic, and less likely to succeed!

And how did He arm them for this battle? He gave them no carnal weapons.  He gave them no worldly power to compel assent, and no worldly riches to bribe belief.  He simply put the Holy Ghost into their hearts, and the Scriptures into their hands.  He simply bade them to expound and explain, to enforce and to publish the doctrines of the Bible.  The preacher of Christianity in the first century was not a man with a sword and an army to frighten people, like Mahomet,—or a man with a license to be sensual, to allure people, like the priests of the shameful idols of Hindustan.  No! he was nothing more than one holy man with one holy book.

And how did these men of one book prosper? In a few generations they entirely changed the face of society by the doctrines of the Bible.  They emptied the temples of the heathen gods.  They famished idolatry, or left it high and dry like a stranded ship.  They brought into the world a higher tone of morality between man and man.  They raised the character and position of woman.  They altered the standard of purity and decency.  They put an end to many cruel and bloody customs, such as the gladiatorial fights.—There was no stopping the change.  Persecution and opposition were useless.  One victory after another was won.  One bad thing after another melted away.  Whether men liked it or not, they were insensibly affected by the movement of the new religion, and drawn within the whirlpool of its power.  The earth shook, and their rotten refuges fell to the ground.  The flood rose, and they found themselves obliged to rise with it.  The tree of Christianity swelled and grew, and the chains they had cast round it to arrest its growth, snapped like tow.  And all this was done by the doctrines of the Bible! Talk of victories indeed! What are the victories of Alexander, and Caesar, and Marlborough, and Napoleon, and Wellington, compared with those I have just mentioned? For extent, for completeness, for results, for permanence, there are no victories like the victories of the Bible.

(b)  This Book Made the Protestant Reformation

(b)  This is the Book which turned Europe upside down in the days of the glorious Protestant Reformation.

No man can read the history of Christendom as it was five hundred years ago, and not see that darkness covered the whole professing Church of Christ, even a darkness that might be felt.  So great was the change which had come over Christianity that if an apostle had risen from the dead he would not have recognised it, and would have thought that heathenism had revived again.  The doctrines of the Gospel lay buried under a dense mass of human traditions.  Penances, and pilgrimages, and indulgences, relic-worship, and image-worship, and saint-worship, and worship of the Virgin Mary, formed the sum and substance of most people’s religion.  The Church was made an idol.  The priests and ministers of the Church usurped the place of Christ.  And by what means was all this miserable darkness cleared away? By none so much as by bringing forth once more the Bible.

It was not merely the preaching of Luther and his friends, which established Protestantism in Germany.  The grand lever which overthrew the Pope’s power in that country was Luther’s translation of the Bible into the German tongue.—It was not merely the writings of Cranmer and the English Reformers which cast down popery in England.  The seeds of the work thus carried forward were first sown by Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible many years before.—It was not merely the quarrel of Henry VIII and the Pope of Rome, which loosened the Pope’s hold on English minds.  It was the royal permission to have the Bible translated and set up in churches, so that every one who liked might read it.  Yes! it was the reading and circulation of Scripture which mainly established the cause of Protestantism in England, in Germany, and Switzerland.  Without it the people would probably have returned to their former bondage when the first reformers died.  But by the reading of the Bible the public mind became gradually leavened with the principles of true religion.  Men’s eyes became thoroughly open.  Their spiritual understandings became thoroughly enlarged.  The abominations of popery became distinctly visible.  The excellence of the pure Gospel became a rooted idea in their hearts.  It was then in vain for Popes to thunder forth excommunications.  It was useless for Kings and Queens to attempt to stop the course of Protestantism by fire and sword.  It was all too late.  The people knew too much.  They had seen the light.  They had heard the joyful sound.  They had tasted the truth.  The sun had risen on their minds.  The scales had fallen from their eyes.  The Bible had done its appointed work within them, and that work was not to be overthrown.  The people would not return to Egypt.  The clock could not be put back again.  A mental and moral revolution had been effected, and mainly effected by God’s Word.  Those are the true revolutions which the Bible effects.  What are all the revolutions recorded by Vertot,—what are all the revolutions which France and England have gone through, compared to these? No revolutions are so bloodless, none so satisfactory, none so rich in lasting results, as the revolutions accomplished by the Bible!

This is the book on which the well-being of nations has always hinged, and with which the best interests of every nation in Christendom at this moment are inseparably bound up.  Just in proportion as the Bible is honoured or not, light or darkness, morality or immorality, true religion or superstition, liberty or despotism, good laws or bad, will be found in a land.  Come with me and open the pages of history, and you will read the proofs in time past.  Read it in the history of Israel under the Kings.  How great was the wickedness that then prevailed! But who can wonder? The law of the Lord had been completely lost sight of, and was found in the days of Josiah thrown aside in a corner of the temple.  (2 Kings xxii. 8.)—Read it in the history of the Jews in our Lord Jesus Christ’s time.  How awful the picture of Scribes and Pharisees, and their religion! But who can wonder? The Scripture was “made of none effect by man’s traditions.”  (Matt. xv. 6.)—Read it in the history of the Church of Christ in the middle ages.  What can be worse than the accounts we have of its ignorance and superstition? But who can wonder? The times might well be dark, when men had not the light of the Bible.

This is the Book to which the civilized world is indebted for many of its best and most praise-worthy institutions.  Few probably are aware how many are the good things that men have adopted for the public benefit, of which the origin may be clearly traced up to the Bible.  It has left lasting marks wherever it has been received.  From the Bible are drawn many of the best laws by which society is kept in order.  From the Bible has been obtained the standard of morality about truth, honesty, and the relations of man and wife, which prevails among Christian nations, and which,—however feebly respected in many cases,—makes so great a difference between Christians and heathen.  To the Bible we are indebted for that most merciful provision for the poor man, the Sabbath day.  To the influence of the Bible we owe nearly every humane and charitable institution in existence.  The sick, the poor, the aged, the orphan, the lunatic, the idiot, the blind, were seldom or never thought of before the Bible leavened the world.  You may search in vain for any record of institutions for their aid in the histories of Athens or of Rome.  Alas! there are many who sneer at the Bible, and say the world would get on well enough without it, who little think how great are their own obligations to the Bible.  Little does the infidel workman think, as he lies sick in some of our great hospitals, that he owes all his present comforts to the very book he affects to despise.  Had it not been for the Bible, he might have died in misery, uncared for, unnoticed and alone.  Verily the world we live in is fearfully unconscious of its debts.  The last day alone, I believe, will tell the full amount of benefit conferred upon it by the Bible.

This wonderful book is the subject about which I address the reader of this paper this day.  Surely it is no light matter what you are doing with the Bible.  The swords of conquering Generals,—the ship in which Nelson led the fleets of England to victory,—the hydraulic press which raised the tubular bridge at the Menai—each and all of these are objects of interest as instruments of mighty power.  The Book I speak of this day is an instrument a thousand-fold mightier still.  Surely it is no light matter whether you are paying it the attention it deserves.  I charge you, I summon you to give me an honest answer this day,—What art thou doing with the Bible? Dost thou read it? HOW READEST THOU?

5.  No Book Can Do So Much for Those who Read It Rightly

V.  In the fifth place, no book in existence can do so much for every one who reads it rightly as the Bible.

The Bible does not profess to teach the wisdom of this world.  It was not written to explain geology or astronomy.  It will neither instruct you in mathematics, nor in natural philosophy.  It will not make you a doctor, or a lawyer, or an engineer.

But there is another world to be thought of, beside that world in which man now lives.  There are other ends for which man was created, beside making money and working.  There are other interests which he is meant to attend to, beside those of his body, and those interests are the interests of his soul.  It is the interests of the immortal soul which the Bible is especially able to promote.  If you would know law, you may study Blackstone or Sugden.  If you would know astronomy or geology, you may study Herschel and Lyell.  But if you would know how to have your soul saved, you must study the written Word of God.

The Bible is “able to make a man wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  (2 Tim. iii. 15.)  It can show you the way which leads to heaven.  It can teach you everything you need to know, point out everything you need to believe, and explain everything you need to do.  It can show you what you are,—a sinner.  It can show you what God is,—perfectly holy.  It can show you the great giver of pardon, peace, and grace,—Jesus Christ.  I have read of an Englishman who visited Scotland in the days of Blair, Rutherford, and Dickson, three famous preachers,—and heard all three in succession.  He said that the first showed him the majesty of God,—the second showed him the beauty of Christ,—and the third showed him all his heart.  It is the glory and beauty of the Bible that it is always teaching these three things more or less, from the first chapter of it to the last.

The Bible applied to the heart by the Holy Ghost, is the grand instrument by which souls are first converted to God.  That mighty change is generally begun by some text or doctrine of the Word, brought home to a man’s conscience.  In this way the Bible has worked moral miracles by thousands.  It has made drunkards become sober, unchaste people become pure,—thieves become honest; and violent-tempered people become meek.  It has wholly altered the course of men’s lives.  It has caused their old things to pass away, and made all their ways new.  It has taught worldly people to seek first the kingdom of God.  It has taught lovers of pleasure to become lovers of God.  It has taught the stream of men’s affections to run upwards instead of running downwards.  It has made men think of heaven, instead of always thinking of earth, and live by faith, instead of living by sight.  All this it has done in every part of the world.

All this it is doing still.  What are the Romish miracles which weak men believe, compared to all this, even if they were true? Those are the truly great miracles which are yearly worked by the Word.

The Bible applied to the heart by the Holy Ghost, is the chief means by which men are built up and established in the faith, after their conversion.  It is able to cleanse them, to sanctify them, to instruct them in righteousness, and to furnish them thoroughly for all good works.  (Psalm cxix. 9; John xvii. 17; 2 Tim. iii. 16, 17.)  The Spirit ordinarily does these things by the written Word; sometimes by the Word read, and sometimes by the Word preached, but seldom, if ever, without the Word.  The Bible can show a believer how to walk in this world so as to please God.  It can teach him how to glorify Christ in all the relations of life, and can make him a good master, servant, subject, husband, father, or son.  It can enable him to bear afflictions and privations without murmuring, and say, “It is well.”  It can enable him to look down into the grave, and say, “I fear no evil.”  (Psalm xxiii. 4.)  It can enable him to think on judgment and eternity, and not feel afraid.  It can enable him to bear persecution without flinching, and to give up liberty and life rather than deny Christ’s, truth.  Is he drowsy in soul? It can awaken him.—Is he mourning? It can comfort him.—Is he erring? It can restore him.—Is he weak? It can make him strong.—Is he in company? It can keep him from evil.—Is he alone? It can talk with him.—(Prov. vi. 22.)  All this the Bible can do for all believers, for the least as well as the greatest,—for the richest as well as the poorest.  It has done it for thousands already, and is doing it for thousands every day.

The man who has the Bible, and the Holy Spirit in his heart, has everything which is absolutely needful to make him spiritually wise.  He needs no priest to break the bread of life for him.  He needs no ancient traditions, no writings of the Fathers, no voice of the Church, to guide him into all truth.  He has the well of truth open before him, and what can he want more? Yes! though he be shut up alone in a prison, or cast on a desert island, though he never see a church, or minister, or sacrament again,—if he has but the Bible, he has got the infallible guide, and wants no other.  If he has but the will to read that Bible rightly, it will certainly teach him the road that leads to heaven.  It is here alone that infallibility resides.  It is not in the Church.  It is not in the Councils.  It is not in ministers.  It is only in the written Word.

(a)  The Bible’s Saving Power

(a)  I know well that many say they have found no saving power in the Bible.  They tell us they have tried to read it, and have learned nothing from it.  They can see in it nothing but hard and deep things.  They ask us what we mean by talking of its power.

I answer, that the Bible no doubt contains hard things, or else it would not be the book of God.  It contains things hard to comprehend, but only hard because we have not grasp of mind to comprehend them.  It contains things above our reasoning powers, but nothing that might not be explained if the eyes of our understanding were not feeble and dim.  But is not an acknowledgment of our own ignorance the very corner-stone and foundation of all knowledge? Must not many things be taken for granted in the beginning of every science, before we can proceed one step towards acquaintance with it? Do we not require our children to learn many things of which they cannot see the meaning at first? And ought we not then to expect to find “deep things” when we begin studying the Word of God, and yet to believe that if we persevere in reading it the meaning of many of them will one day be made clear? No doubt we ought so to expect, and so to believe.  We must read with humility.  We must take much on trust.  We must believe that what we know not now, we shall know hereafter; some part in this world, and all in the world to come.

But I ask that man who has given up reading the Bible because it contains hard things, whether he did not find many things in it easy and plain? I put it to his conscience whether he did not see great landmarks and principles in it all the way through? I ask him whether the things needful to salvation did not stand out boldly before his eyes, like the light-houses on English headlands from the Land’s-end to the mouth of the Thames.  What should we think of the captain of a steamer who brought up at night in the entrance of the Channel, on the plea that he did not know every parish, and village, and creek, along the British coast? Should we not think him a lazy coward, when the lights on the Lizard, and Eddystone, and the Start, and Portland, and St. Catherine’s, and Beachy Head, and Dungeness, and the Forelands, were shining forth like so many lamps, to guide him up to the river? Should we not say, Why did you not steer by the great leading lights? And what ought we to say to the man who gives up reading the Bible because it contains hard things, when his own state, and the path to heaven, and the way to serve God, are all written down clearly and unmistakably, as with a sunbeam? Surely we ought to tell that man that his objections are no better than lazy excuses, and do not deserve to be heard.

(b)  Some Read and Are Not Changed

(b)  I know well that many raise the objection, that thousands read the Bible and are not a whit the better for their reading.  And they ask us, when this is the case, what becomes of the Bible’s boasted power?

I answer, that the reason why so many read the Bible without benefit is plain and simple;—they do not read it in the right way.  There is generally a right way and a wrong way of doing everything in the world; and just as it is with other things, so it is in the matter of reading the Bible.  The Bible is not so entirely different from all other books as to make it of no importance in what spirit and manner you read it.  It does not do good, as a matter of course, by merely running our eyes over the print, any more than the sacraments do good by mere virtue of our receiving them.  It does not ordinarily do good, unless it is read with humility and earnest prayer.  The best steam-engine that was ever built is useless if a man does not know how to work it.  The best sun-dial that was ever constructed will not tell its owner the time of day if he is so ignorant as to put it up in the shade.  Just as it is with that steam-engine, and that sun-dial, so it is with the Bible.  When men read it without profit, the fault is not in the Book, but in themselves.

I tell the man who doubts the power of the Bible, because many read it, and are no better for the reading, that the abuse of a thing is no argument against the use of it.  I tell him boldly, that never did man or woman read that book in a childlike persevering spirit, like the Ethiopian eunuch, and the Bereans (Acts viii. 28; xvii. 11),—and miss the way to heaven.  Yes, many a broken cistern will be exposed to shame in the day of judgment; but there will not rise up one soul who will be able to say, that he went thirsting to the Bible, and found in it no living water,—he searched for truth in the Scriptures, and searching, did not find it.  The words which are spoken of Wisdom in the Proverbs are strictly true of the Bible: “ If, thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”  (Prov. ii. 3, 4, 5.)

This wonderful Book is the subject about which I address the readers of this paper this day.  Surely it is no light matter what you are doing with the Bible.  What should you think of the man who in time of cholera despised a sure receipt for preserving the health of his body? What must be thought of you if you despise the only sure receipt for the everlasting health of your soul? I charge you, I entreat you, to give an honest answer to my question.  What dost thou do with the Bible?—Dost thou read it?—HOW READEST THOU?

6.  Bible the Only Standard by which All Doctrines Are Tested

VI.  In the sixth place, the Bible is the only rule by which all questions of doctrine or of duty can be tried.

The Lord God knows the weakness and infirmity of our poor fallen understandings.  He knows that, even after conversion, our perceptions of right and wrong are exceedingly indistinct.  He knows how artfully Satan can gild error with an appearance of truth, and can dress up wrong with plausible arguments, till it looks like right.  Knowing all this, He has mercifully provided us with an unerring standard of truth and error, right and wrong, and has taken care to make that standard a written book,—even the Scripture.

No one can look round the world, and not see the wisdom of such a provision.  No one can live long, and not find out that he is constantly in need of a counselor and adviser,—of a rule of faith and practice, on which he can depend.  Unless he lives like a beast, without a soul and conscience, he will find himself constantly assailed by difficult and puzzling questions.  He will be often asking himself, What must I believe? and what must I do?

(a)  Difficulties about Doctrine

(a)  The world is full of difficulties about points of doctrine.  The house of error lies close alongside the house of truth.  The door of one is so like the door of the other that there is continual risk of mistakes.

Does a man read or travel much? He will soon find the most opposite opinions prevailing among those who are called Christians.  He will discover that different persons give the most different answers to the important question, What shall I do to be saved? The Roman Catholic and the Protestant,—the Neologian and the Tractarian,—the Mormonite and the Swedenborgian, each and all will assert that he alone has the truth.  Each and all will tell him that safety is only to be found in his party.  Each and all say, “Come with us.”  All this is puzzling.  What shall a man do?

Does he settle down quietly in some English or Scotch parish? He will soon find that even in our own land the most conflicting views are held.  He will soon discover that there are serious differences among Christians as to the comparative importance of the various parts and articles of the faith.  One man thinks of nothing but Church government,—another of nothing but sacraments, services, and forms,—a third of nothing but preaching the Gospel.  Does he apply to ministers for a solution? He will perhaps find one minister teaching one doctrine, and another another.  All this is puzzling.  What shall a man do?

There is only one answer to this question.  A man must make the Bible alone his rule.  He must receive nothing, and believe nothing, which is not according to the Word.  He must try all religious teaching by one simple test,—Does it square with the Bible? What saith the Scripture? I would to God the eyes of the laity of this country were more open on this subject.

I would to God they would learn to weigh sermons, books, opinions, and ministers, in the scales of the Bible, and to value all according to their conformity to the Word.  I would to God they would see that it matters little who says a thing, whether he be Father or Reformer,—Bishop or Archbishop,—Priest or Deacon,—Archdeacon or Dean.  The only question is,—Is the thing said Scriptural? If it is, it ought to be received and believed.  If it is not, it ought to be refused and cast aside.  I fear the consequences of that servile acceptance of everything which “the parson” says, which is so common among many English laymen.  I fear lest they be led they know not whither, like the blinded Syrians, and awake some day to find themselves in the power of Rome.  (2 Kings vi. 20.)  Oh, that men in England would only remember for what purpose the Bible was given them.

I tell English laymen that it is nonsense to say, as some do, that it is presumptuous to judge a minister’s teaching by the Word.  When one doctrine is proclaimed in one parish, and another in another, people must read and judge for themselves.  Both doctrines cannot be right, and both ought to be tried by the Word.  I charge them, above all things, never to suppose that any true minister of the Gospel will dislike his people measuring all he teaches by the Bible.  On the contrary, the more they read the Bible, and prove all he says by the Bible, the better he will be pleased.  A false minister may say, “You have no right to use your private judgment: leave the Bible to us who are ordained.”  A true minister will say, “Search the Scriptures, and if I do not teach you what is Scriptural, do not believe me.”  A false minister may cry, “Hear the Church,” and “Hear me.”  A true minister will say, “Hear the Word of God.”

(b)  Difficulties about Practice

(b)  But the world is not only full of difficulties about points of doctrine; it is equally full of difficulties about points of practice.  Every professing Christian, who wishes to act conscientiously, must know that it is so.  The most puzzling questions are continually arising.  He is tried on every side by doubts as to the line of duty, and can often hardly see what is the right thing to do.

He is tried by questions connected with the management of his worldly calling, if he is in business or in trade.  He sometimes sees things going on of a very doubtful character,—things that can hardly be called fair, straightforward, truthful, and doing as you would be done by.  But then everybody in the trade does these things.  They have always been done in the most respectable houses.  There would be no carrying on a profitable business if they were not done.  They are not things distinctly named and prohibited by God.  All this is very puzzling.  What is a man to do?

He is tried by questions about worldly amusements.  Races, and balls, and operas, and theatres, and card parties, are all very doubtful methods of spending time.  But then he sees numbers of great people taking part in them.  Are all these people wrong? Can there really be such mighty harm in these things? All this is very puzzling.  What is a man to do?

He is tried by questions about the education of his children.  He wishes to train them up morally and religiously, and to remember their souls.  But he is told by many sensible people, that young persons will be young,—that it does not do to check and restrain them too much, and that he ought to attend pantomimes and children’s parties, and give children’s balls himself.  He is informed that this nobleman, or that lady of rank, always does so, and yet they are reckoned religious people.  Surely it cannot be wrong.  All this is very puzzling.  What is he to do?

There is only one answer to all these questions.  A man must make the Bible his rule of conduct.  He must make its leading principles the compass by which he steers his course through life.  By the letter or spirit of the Bible he must test every difficult point and question.  “To the law and to the testimony! What saith the Scripture?”  He ought to care nothing for what other people may think right.  He ought not to set his watch by the clock of his neighbour, but by the sun-dial of the Word.

I charge my readers solemnly to act on the maxim I have just laid down, and to adhere to it rigidly all the days of their lives.  You will never repent of it.  Make it a leading principle never to act contrary to the Word.  Care not for the charge of over-strictness, and needless precision.  Remember you serve a strict and holy God.  Listen not to the common objection, that the rule you have laid down is impossible, and cannot be observed in such a world as this.  Let those who make such an objection speak out plainly, and tell us for what purpose the Bible was given to man.  Let them remember that by the Bible we shall all be judged at the last day, and let them learn to judge themselves by it here, lest they be judged and condemned by it hereafter.

This mighty rule of faith and practice is the book about which I am addressing the readers of this paper this day.  Surely it is no light matter what you are doing with the Bible.  Surely when danger is abroad on the right hand and on the left, you should consider what you are doing with the safe-guard which God has provided.  I charge you, I beseech you, to give an honest answer to my question.  What art thou doing with the Bible?—Dost thou read it? HOW READEST THOU?

7.  Bible Is Only Book by which All True Servants of God Have Lived by

VII.  In the seventh place, the Bible is the book which all true servants of God have always lived on and loved.  Every living thing which God creates requires food.  The life that God imparts needs sustaining and nourishing.  It is so with animal and vegetable life,—with birds, beasts, fishes, reptiles, insects, and plants.  It is equally so with spiritual life.  When the Holy Ghost raises a man from the death of sin and makes him a new creature in Christ Jesus, the new principle in that man’s heart requires food, and the only food which will sustain it is the Word of God.

There never was a man or woman truly converted, from one end of the world to the other, who did not love the revealed will of God.  Just as a child born into the world desires naturally the milk provided for its nourishment, so does a soul “born again” desire the sincere milk of the Word.  This is a common mark of all the children of God—they “delight in the law of the Lord.”  (Psalm. i. 2.)   Show me a person who despises Bible reading, or thinks little of Bible preaching, and I hold it to be a certain fact that he is not yet “born again.”  He may be zealous about forms and ceremonies.  He may be diligent in attending sacraments and daily services.  But if these things are more precious to him than the Bible, I cannot think he is a converted man.  Tell me what the Bible is to a man, and I will generally tell you what he is.  This is the pulse to try,-this is the barometer to look at,—if we would know the state of the heart.  I have no notion of the Spirit dwelling in a man and not giving clear evidence of His presence.  And I believe it to be a signal evidence of the Spirit’s presence when the Word is really precious to a man’s soul.

Love to the Word is one of the characteristics we see in Job.  Little as we know of this Patriarch and his age, this at least stands out clearly.  He says, “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”  (Job xxiii. 12.)

Love to the Word is a shining feature in the character of David.  Mark how it appears all through that wonderful part of Scripture, the cxixth Psalm.  He might well say, “ Oh, how I love thy law!” (Psalm cxix. 97.)

Love to the Word is a striking point in the character of St. Paul.  What were he and his companions but men “mighty in the Scriptures?”  What were his sermons but expositions and applications of the Word?

Love to the Word appears pre-eminently in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  He read it publicly.  He quoted it continually.  He expounded it frequently.  He advised the Jews to “search” it.  He used it as His weapon to resist the devil.  He said repeatedly, “The Scripture must be fulfilled.”—Almost the last thing He did was to “open the understanding of His disciples, that they might understand the Scriptures.”  (Luke xxiv. 45.)   I am afraid that man can be no true servant of Christ, who has not something of his Master’s mind and feeling towards the Bible.

Love to the Word has been a prominent feature in the history of all the saints, of whom we know anything, since the days of the Apostles.  This is the lamp which Athanasius and Chrysostom and Augustine followed.  This is the compass which kept the Waldenses and Albigenses from making shipwreck of the faith.  This is the well which was re-opened by Wycliffe and Luther, after it had been long stopped up.  This is the sword with which Latimer, and Jewell, and Knox won their victories.  This is the manna which fed Baxter and Owen, and the noble host of the Puritans, and made them strong to battle.  This is the armoury from which Whitefield and Wesley drew their powerful weapons.  This is the mine from which Bickersteth and M’Cheyne brought forth rich gold.  Differing as these holy men—did in some matters, on one point they were all agreed,—they all delighted in the Word.

Love to the Word is one of the first things that appears in the converted heathen, at the various Missionary stations throughout the world.  In hot climates and in cold,—among savage people and among civilized,—in New Zealand, in the South Sea Islands, in Africa, in Hindustan,—it is always the same.  They enjoy hearing it read.  They long to be able to read it themselves.  They wonder why Christians did not send it to them before.  How striking is the picture which Moffat draws of Africaner, the fierce South African chieftain, when first brought under the power of the Gospel! “Often have I seen him,” he says, “under the shadow of a great rock nearly the live-long day, eagerly perusing the pages of the Bible.”—How touching is the expression of a poor converted Negro, speaking of the Bible! He said, “It is never old and never cold.”—How affecting was the language of another old negro, when some would have dissuaded him from learning to read, because of his great age.  “No!” he said, “I will never give it up till I die.  It is worth all the labour to be able to read that one verse, ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.’”

Love to the Bible is one of the grand points of agreement among all converted men and women in our own land.  Episcopalians and Presbyterians, Baptists and Independents, Methodists and Plymouth Brethren,—all unite in honouring the Bible, as soon as they are real Christians.  This is the manna which all the tribes of our Israel feed upon, and find satisfying food.  This is the fountain round which all the various portions of Christ’s flock meet together, and from which no sheep goes thirsty away.  Oh, that believers in this country would learn to cleave more closely to the written Word! Oh, that they would see that the more the Bible, and the Bible only, is the substance of men’s religion, the more they agree.  It is probable there never was an uninspired book more universally admired than Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.  It is a book which all denominations of Christians delight to honour.  It has won praise from all parties.  Now what a striking fact it is, that the author was pre-eminently a man of one book! He had read hardly anything but the Bible.

It is a blessed thought that there will be “much people” in heaven at last.  Few as the Lord’s people undoubtedly are at any one given time or place, yet all gathered together at last, they will be “a multitude that no man can number.”  (Rev. vii. 9; xix. 1.)   They will be of one heart and mind.  They will have passed through like experience.  They will all have repented, believed, lived holy, prayerful, and humble.  They will all have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  But one thing beside all this they will have in common: they will all love the texts and doctrines of the Bible.  The Bible will have been their food and delight in the days of their pilgrimage on earth.  And the Bible will be a common subject of joyful meditation and retrospect, when they are gathered together in heaven.

This Book, which all true Christians live upon and love, is the subject about which I am addressing the readers of this paper this day.  Surely it is no light matter what you are doing with the Bible.  Surely it is matter for serious inquiry, whether you know anything of this love to the Word, and have this mark of walking “in the footsteps of the flock.”  (Cant. i. 8.)   I charge you, I entreat you to give me an honest answer.  What art thou doing with the Bible?—Dost thou read it?—HOW READEST THOU?

8.  Bible Is the Only Book that can Comfort in the Last Hours of Life

VIII.  In the last place; the Bible is the only book which can comfort a man in the last hours of his life.  Death is an event which in all probability is before us all.  There is no avoiding it.  It is the river which each of us must cross.  I who write, and you who read, have each one day to die.  It is good to remember this.  We are all sadly apt to put away the subject from us.  “Each man thinks each man mortal but himself.”  I want every one to do his duty in life, but I also want every one to think of death.  I want every one to know how to live, but I also want every one to know how to die.

Death is a solemn event to all.  It is the winding up of all earthly plans and expectations.  It is a separation from all we have loved and lived with.  It is often accompanied by much bodily pain and distress.  It brings us to the grave, the worm, and corruption.  It opens the door to judgment and eternity,—to heaven or to hell.  It is an event after which there is no change, or space for repentance.  Other mistakes may be corrected or retrieved, but not a mistake on our death-beds.  As the tree falls, there it must lie.  No conversion in the coffin! No new birth after we have ceased to breathe! And death is before us all.  It may be close at hand.  The time of our departure is quite uncertain.  But sooner or later we must each lie down alone and die.  All these are serious considerations.

Death is a solemn event even to the believer in Christ.  For him no doubt the “sting of death” is taken away.  (1 Cor. xv. 55.)   Death has become one of his privileges, for he is Christ’s.  Living or dying, he is the Lord’s.  If he lives, Christ lives in him; and if he dies, he goes to live with Christ.  To him “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  (Phil. i. 21.)   Death frees him from many trials,—from a weak body, a corrupt heart, a tempting devil, and an ensnaring or persecuting world.  Death admits him to the enjoyment of many blessings.  He rests from his labours: the hope of a joyful resurrection is changed into a certainty:—he has the company of holy redeemed spirits: he is “with Christ.”  All this is true, and yet, even to a believer, death is a solemn thing.  Flesh and blood naturally shrink from it.  To part from all we love is a wrench and trial to the feelings.  The world we go to is a world unknown, even though it is our home.  Friendly and harmless as death is to a believer, it is not an event to be treated lightly.  It always must be a very solemn thing.

It becomes every thoughtful and sensible man to consider calmly how he is going to meet death.  Gird up your loins, like a man, and look the subject in the face.  Listen to me, while I tell you a few things about the end to which we are coming.

The good things of the world cannot comfort a man when he draws near death.  All the gold of California and Australia will not provide light for the dark valley.  Money can buy the best medical advice and attendance for a man’s body; but money cannot buy peace for his conscience, heart, and soul.

Relatives, loved friends, and servants, cannot comfort a man when he draws near death.  They may minister affectionately to his bodily wants.  They may watch by his bed-side tenderly, and anticipate his every wish.  They may smooth down his dying pillow, and support his sinking frame in their arms.  But they cannot “minister to a mind diseased.”  They cannot stop the achings of a troubled heart.  They cannot screen an uneasy conscience from the eye of God.

The pleasures of the world cannot comfort a man when he draws near death.  The brilliant ball-room; the merry dance,—the midnight revel,—the party to Epsom races, the card table,—the box at the opera,—the voices of singing men and singing women,—all these are at length distasteful things.  To hear of hunting and shooting engagements gives him no pleasure.  To be invited to feasts, and regattas, and fancy-fairs, gives him no ease.  He cannot hide from himself that these are hollow, empty, powerless things.  They jar upon the ear of his conscience.  They are out of harmony with his condition.  They cannot stop one gap in his heart, when the last enemy is coming in like a flood.  They cannot make him calm in the prospect of meeting a holy God.

Books and newspapers cannot comfort a man when he draws near death.  The most brilliant writings of Macaulay or Dickens will pall on his ear.  The most able article in the Times will fail to interest him.  The Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews will give him no pleasure.  Punch and the Illustrated News, and the last new novel, will lie unopened and unheeded.  Their time will be past.  Their vocation will be gone.  Whatever they may be in health, they are useless in the hour of death.

There is but one fountain of comfort for a man drawing near to his end, and that is the Bible.  Chapters out of the Bible,—texts out of the Bible,—statements of truth taken out of the Bible, books containing matter drawn from the Bible,—these are a man’s only chance of comfort when he comes to die.  I do not at all say that the Bible will do good, as a matter of course, to a dying man, if he has not valued it before.  I know, unhappily, too much of death-beds to say that.  I do not say whether it is probable that he who has been unbelieving and neglectful of the Bible in life, will at once believe and get comfort from it in death.  But I do say positively, that no dying man will ever get real comfort, except from the contents of the Word of God.  All comfort from any other source is a house built upon sand.

I lay this down as a rule of universal application.  I make no exception in favour of any class on earth.  Kings and poor men, learned and unlearned,—all are on a level in this matter.  There is not a jot of real consolation for any dying man, unless he gets it from the Bible.  Chapters, passages, texts, promises, and doctrines of Scripture,—heard, received, believed, and rested on,—these are the only comforters I dare promise to any one, when he leaves the world.  Taking the sacrament will do a man no more good than the Popish extreme unction, so long as the Word is not received and believed.  Priestly absolution will no more ease the conscience than the incantations of a heathen magician, if the poor dying sinner does not receive and believe Bible truth.  I tell every one who reads this paper, that although men may seem to get on comfortably without the Bible while they live, they may be sure that without the Bible they cannot comfortably die.  It was a true confession of the learned Selden,—“There is no book upon which we can rest in a dying moment but the Bible.”

I might easily confirm all I have just said by examples and illustrations.  I might show you the death-beds of men who have affected to despise the Bible.  I might tell you how Voltaire and Paine, the famous infidels, died in misery, bitterness, rage, fear, and despair.  I might show you the happy death-beds of those who have loved the Bible and believed it, and the blessed effect the sight of their death-beds had on others.  Cecil,—a minister whose praise ought to be in all churches,—says, “I shall never forget standing by the bed-side of my dying mother.  ‘Are you afraid to die?’ I asked.—‘No!’ she replied: ‘But why does the uncertainty of another state give you no concern?’——‘Because God has said, Fear not; when thou passest through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.’” (Isa. xliii. 2.)   I might easily multiply illustrations of this kind.  But I think it better to conclude this part of my subject by giving the result of my own observations as a minister.

I have seen not a few dying persons in my time.  I have seen great varieties of manner and deportment among them.  I have seen some die sullen, silent, and comfortless.  I have seen others die ignorant, unconcerned, and apparently without much fear.  I have seen some die so wearied out with long illness that they were quite willing to depart, and yet they did not seem to me at all in a fit state to go before God.  I have seen others die with professions of hope and trust in God, without leaving satisfactory evidences that they were on the rock.  I have seen others die who, I believe, were “in Christ,” and safe, and yet they never seemed to enjoy much sensible comfort.  I have seen some few dying in the full assurance of hope, and like Bunyan’s “Standfast,” giving glorious testimony to Christ’s faithfulness, even in the river.  But one thing I have never seen.  I never saw any one enjoy what I should call real, solid, calm, reasonable peace on his death bed, who did not draw his peace from the Bible.  And this I am bold to say, that the man who thinks to go to his death-bed without having the Bible for his comforter, his companion, and his friend, is one of the greatest madmen in the world.  There are no comforts for the soul but Bible comforts, and he who has not got hold of these, has got hold of nothing at all, unless it be a broken reed.

The only comforter for a death-bed is the book about which I address the readers of this paper this day.  Surely it is no light matter whether you read that book or not.  Surely a dying man, in a dying world, should seriously consider whether he has got anything to comfort him when his turn comes to die.  I charge you, I entreat you, for the last time, to give an honest answer to my question.  What art thou doing with the Bible?—Dost thou read it? —HOW READEST THOU?

I have now given the reasons why I press on every reader the duty and importance of reading the Bible.  I have shown that no book is written in such a manner as the Bible,—that knowledge of the Bible is absolutely necessary to salvation,—that no book contains such matter,—that no book has done so much for the world generally,—that no book can do so much for every one who reads it aright,—that this book is the only rule of faith and practice,—that it is, and always has been, the food of all true servants of God,—and that it is the only book which can comfort men when they die.  All these are ancient things.  I do not pretend to tell anything new.  I have only gathered together old truths, and tried to mould them into a new shape.  Let me finish all by addressing a few plain words to the conscience of every class of readers.

9.  Exhortations Regarding the Bible

(1)  If You Never Read the Bible

(1)  This paper may fall into the hands of some who can read, but never do read the Bible at all.  Are you one of them? If you are, I have something to say to you.

I cannot comfort you in your present state of mind.  It would be mockery and deceit to do so.  I cannot speak to you of peace and heaven, while you treat the Bible as you do.   You are in danger of losing your soul.

You are in danger, because your neglected Bible is a plain evidence that you do not love God.   The health of a man’s body may generally be known by his appetite.  The health of a man’s soul may be known by his treatment of the Bible.  Now you are manifestly labouring under a sore disease.  Will you not repent?

I know I cannot reach your heart.  I cannot make you see and feel these things.  I can only enter my solemn protest against your present treatment of the Bible, and lay that protest before your conscience.  I do so with all my soul.  Oh, beware lest you repent too late! Beware lest you put off reading the Bible till you send for the doctor in your last illness, and then find the Bible a sealed book, and dark, as the cloud between the hosts of Israel and Egypt, to your anxious soul! Beware lest you go on saying all your life, “Men do very well without all this Bible-reading,” and find at length, to your cost, that men do very ill, and end in hell! Beware lest the day come when you will feel, “Had I but honoured the Bible as much as I have honoured the newspaper, I should not have been left without comfort in my last hours! “Bible neglecting reader, I give you a plain warning.  The plague-cross is at present on your door.  The Lord have mercy upon your soul!

(2)  Advice on Reading the Bible

(2)  This paper may fall into the hands of someone who is willing to begin reading the Bible, but wants advice on the subject.  Are you that man? Listen to me, and I will give a few short hints.

(a)  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 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 to you.  But one way or another, through eyes or ears, the words of Scripture must actually pass before your mind.

(b)  For another thing, read the Bible with an earnest desire to understand it.  Think not 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 fancy that all is done if they clear off 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 mark so many leaves.  This is turning Bible reading into a mere form.  It is almost as bad as the Popish habit of buying indulgences, by saying an almost fabulous number of ave-marias and paternosters.  It reminds one of the poor Hottentot who ate up a Dutch hymn-book because he saw it comforted his neighbours’ 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 all this about?”  Dig for the meaning like a man digging for Australian gold.  Work hard, and do not give up the work in a hurry.

(c)  For another thing, read the Bible with child-like faith and humility.  Open your heart as you open your book, and say, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.”  Resolve to believe implicitly whatever you find there, however much it may run counter to your own prejudices.  Resolve to receive heartily every statement of truth, whether you like it or not.  Beware of that miserable habit of mind into which some readers of the Bible fall.  They receive some doctrines because they like them: they reject others because they are condemning to themselves, or to some lover, or relation, or friend.  At this rate the Bible is useless.  Are we to be judges of what ought to be in the 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, you are speaking to God, and God hears you.  But, remember, when you read, God is speaking to you, and you are not to “answer again,” but to listen.

(d)  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 position and course of 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 opinions, while you do not allow the book to influence your heart and life.  That Bible is read best which is practised most.

(e)  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 bread will not feed the labourer today, and today’s bread will not feed the labourer 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 the Bible every day.

(f)  For another thing, read all 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 the least, a very presumptuous habit.  “All Scripture is profitable.”  (2 Tim. iii. 16.)   To this habit maybe traced that want of broad, 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.

(g)  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 system.”   Well said Hooker, “I hold it for a most infallible rule in the exposition of Scripture, that when a literal construction will stand, the furthest from the literal is commonly the worst”

(h)  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 judges and deliverers are types of Christ.  Old Testament prophecies are full of Christ’s sufferings, and of Christ’s glory yet to come.  The first advent and the second,—the Lord’s humiliation and the Lord’s kingdom,—the cross and the crown, shine forth everywhere in the Bible.  Keep fast hold on this clue, if you would read the Bible aright.

I might easily add to these hints, if space permitted.  Few and short as they are, you will find them worth attention.  Act upon them, and I firmly believe you will never be allowed to miss the way to heaven.  Act upon them, and you will find light continually increasing in your mind.  No book of evidence can be compared with that internal evidence which he obtains who daily uses the Word in the right way.  Such a man does not need the books of learned men, like Paley, and Wilson, and M’Ilvaine.  He has the witness in himself.  The book satisfies and feeds his soul.  A poor Christian woman once said to an infidel, “I am no scholar.  I cannot argue like you.  But I know that honey is honey, because it leaves a sweet taste in my mouth.  And I know the Bible to be God’s book, because of the taste it leaves in my heart”

(3)  If You Only Read the Bible a Little

(3)  This paper may fall into the hands of some one who loves and believes the Bible, and yet reads it but little.  I fear there are many such in this day.  It is a day of bustle and hurry.  It is a day of talking, and committee meetings, and public work.  These things are all very well in their way, but I fear that they sometimes clip and cut short the private reading of the Bible.  Does your conscience tell you that you are one of the persons I speak of? Listen to me, and I will say a few things which deserve your serious attention.

You are the man that is likely to get little comfort from the Bible in time of need.  Trial is a sifting season.  Affliction is a searching wind, which strips the leaves off the trees, and brings to light the birds’ nests.  Now I fear that your stores of Bible consolations may one day run very low.  I fear lest you should find yourself at last on very short allowance, and come into harbour weak, worn and thin.

You are the man that is likely never to be established in the truth.  I shall not be surprised to hear that you are troubled with doubts and questionings about assurance, grace, faith, perseverance, and the like.  The devil is an old and cunning enemy.  Like the Benjamites, he can “throw stones at a hair-breadth, and not miss.”  (Judges xx.  16.)   He can quote Scripture readily enough when he pleases.  Now you are not sufficiently ready with your weapons to be able to fight a good fight with him.  Your armour does not fit you well.  Your sword sits loosely in your hand.

You are the man that is likely to make mistakes in life.  I shall not wonder if I am told that you have erred about your own marriage,—erred about your children’s education,-erred about the conduct of your household, erred about the company you keep.  The world you steer through is full of rocks, and shoals, and sandbanks.  You are not sufficiently familiar either with the lights or charts.

You are the man that is likely to be carried away by some specious false teacher for a season.  It will not surprise me if I hear that some one of those clever, eloquent men, who can “make the worse appear the better cause,” is leading you into many follies.  You are wanting in ballast.  No wonder if you are tossed to and fro, like a cork on the waves.

All these are uncomfortable things.  I want every reader of this paper to escape them all.  Take the advice I offer you this day.  Do not merely read your Bible” a little,” but read it a great deal.  “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.”  (Coloss. iii. 16.)  Do not be a mere babe in spiritual knowledge.  Seek to become “well instructed in the kingdom of heaven,” and to be continually adding new things to old.  A religion of feeling is an uncertain thing.  It is like the tide, sometimes high, and sometimes low.  It is like the moon, sometimes bright, and sometimes dim.  A religion of deep Bible knowledge, is a firm and lasting possession.  It enables a man not merely to say,” I feel hope in Christ,”—but “I know whom I have believed.”  (2 Tim. i. 12.)

(4)  If You Read the Bible a Lot But Don’t Think You are Being Helped

(4)  This paper may fall into the hands of some one who reads the Bible much, and yet fancies he is no better for his reading.  This is a crafty temptation of the devil.  At one stage he says, “ Do not read the Bible at all.”  At another be says, “Your reading does you no good: give it up.”  Are you that man? I feel for you from the bottom of my soul.  Let me try to do you good.

Do not think you are getting no good from the Bible, merely because you do not see that good day by day.  The greatest effects are by no means those which make the most noise, and are most easily observed.  The greatest effects are often silent, quiet, and hard to detect at the time they are being produced.  Think o£ the influence of the moon upon the earth, and of the air upon the human lungs.  Remember how silently the dew falls, and how imperceptibly the grass grows.  There may be far more doing than you think in your soul by your Bible-reading.

The Word may be gradually producing deep impressions on your heart, of which you are not at present aware.  Often when the memory is retaining no facts, the character of a man is receiving some everlasting impression.  Is sin becoming every year more hateful to you? Is Christ becoming every year more precious? Is holiness becoming every year more lovely and desirable in your eyes? If these things are so, take courage.  The Bible is doing you good, though you may not be able to trace it out day by day.

The Bible may be restraining you from some sin or delusion into which you would otherwise run.  It may be daily keeping you back, and hedging you up, and preventing many a false step.  Ah, you might soon find this out to your cost, if you were to cease reading the Word! The very familiarity of blessings sometimes makes us insensible to their value.  Resist the devil.  Settle it down in your mind as an established rule, that, whether you feel it at the moment or not, you are inhaling spiritual health by reading the Bible, and insensibly becoming more strong.

(5)  If You Love the Bible

(5)  This paper may fall into the hands of some who really love the Bible, live upon the Bible, and read it much.  Are you one of these? Give me your attention, and I will mention a few things which we shall do well to lay to heart for time to come.

Let us resolve to read the Bible more and more every year we live.  Let us try to get it rooted in our memories, and engrafted into our hearts.  Let us be thoroughly well provisioned with it against the voyage of death.  Who knows but we may have a very stormy passage? Sight and hearing may fail us, and we may be in deep waters.  Oh, to have the Word “ hid in our hearts “ in such an hour as that! (Ps. cxix. 11.)

Let us resolve to be more watchful over our Bible reading every year that we live.  Let us be jealously careful about the time we give to it, and the manner that time is spent.  Let us beware of omitting our daily reading without sufficient cause.  Let us not be gaping, and yawning, and dozing over our book, while we read.  Let us read like a London merchant studying the city article in the Times,—or like a wife reading a husband’s Letter from a distant land.  Let us be very careful that we never exalt any minister, or sermon, or book, or tract, or friend above the—Word.  Cursed be that book, or tract, or human counsel, which creeps in between us and the Bible, and hides the Bible from our eyes! Once more I say, let us be very watchful.  The moment we open the Bible the devil sits down by our side.  Oh, to read with a hungry spirit, and a simple desire for edification!

Let us resolve to honour the Bible more in our families.  Let us read it morning and evening to our children and households, and not be ashamed to let men see that we do so.  Let us not be discouraged by seeing no good arise from it.  The Bible-reading in a family has kept many a one from the gaol, the workhouse, and the Gazette, if it has not kept him from hell.

Let us resolve to meditate more on the Bible.  It is good to take with us two or three texts when we go out into the world, and to turn them over and over in our minds whenever we have a little leisure.  It keeps out many vain thoughts.  It clenches the nail of daily reading.  It preserves our souls from stagnating and breeding corrupt things.  It sanctifies and quickens our memories, and prevents them becoming like those ponds where the frogs live but the fish die.

Let us resolve to talk more to believers about the Bible when we meet them.  Alas, the conversation of Christians, when they do meet, is often sadly unprofitable! How many frivolous, and trifling, and uncharitable things are said! Let us bring out the Bible more, and it will help to drive the devil away, and keep our hearts in tune.  Oh, that we may all strive so to walk together in this evil world; that Jesus may often draw near, and go with us, as He went with the two disciples journeying to Emmaus!

Last of all, let us resolve to live by the Bible more and more every year we live.  Let us frequently take account of all our opinions and practices,—of our habits and tempers,—of our behaviour in public and in private,—in the world, and by our own firesides.  Let us measure all by the Bible, and resolve, by God’s help, to conform to it.  Oh that we may learn increasingly to “cleanse our ways” by the Word! (Ps. cxix. 9.)

I commend all these things to the serious and prayerful attention of every one into whose hands this paper may fall.  I want the ministers of my beloved country to be Bible-reading ministers, the congregations, Bible-reading congregations,—and the nation, a Bible-reading nation.  To bring about this desirable end I cast in my mite into God’s treasury.  The Lord grant that it may prove not to have been in vain!

The Classical Library (http://www.anglicanlibrary.org)

The Names of God – El-Shaddai

Source http://www.brandonweb.com

(Exodus 6:2-3) And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty [El-Shaddai], but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.

The Patriarchs did not know God by His name Jehovah (the Ever Becoming One, or Revealing One) but by His name El-Shaddai – God Almighty. El-Shaddai is first used in Genesis 17:1-5.

„And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God [El-Shaddai]; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.”

Remember that Abraham, as far as producing a son, was „as good as dead.” God had promised Abraham a son in Genesis 12 but his faith was faltering. So El-Shaddai comes and reveals Himself to Abraham as the El-Shaddai – the Almighty God.

I. The Meaning of the Name – Almighty God

A. „El” is found 250 times in the Bible.

1. The word „El” is the root of Elohim from which we get „mighty, power, omnipotence, the strong one.”

(Psalms 18:2) The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

(Psalms 68:35) O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.

2. The name El describes God as the strength giver to His people.

B. Shaddai is translated 48 times in the Bible as „Almighty,” and 24 times as „Breast.”

1. As the El-Shaddai God is described as the One who nourishes and supplies the needs of His people.

2. He is the Almighty One who supplies and satisfies our every need.

II. The Use of the Name El-Shaddai

A. Remember the ‘law of the first mention’?

1. We learn a great deal about El-Shaddai by looking at the first time it occurs in Scripture

2. In Genesis 17, Abraham had taken matters into his own hand and by fleshly means had a son, Ishmael.

3. But God had promised a seed for Abraham.

4. Both of them laughed at this promise, but El-Shaddai comes and both Abram and Sarah receive faith.

(Romans 4:19-21) And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

(Hebrews 11:11) Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

B. El-Shaddai is the All Sufficient One…He doesn’t need our help!

1. Abraham and Sarah had to learn that what God promises He will give. He needs no fleshly help.

(Hebrews 11:12) Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

2. Abraham’s and Sarah’s bodies were as good as dead…

3. But El-Shaddai needs no help from the works of man.

C. The Application for Today

1. Religion seeks to ‘help God out’

2. But He is El-Shaddai the Almighty God.

3. He doesn’t need our help.

4. This is certainly true in the area of salvation!

5. Jesus Christ saved us totally apart from works.

III. El-Shaddai is the One who Blesses Us and Makes Us Fruitful

A. We must be careful not to get ahead of God.

1. Biblical example of Naomi.

2. Like Abraham, she and her husband didn’t trust God to take care of their needs.

3. They made the choice to relocate in the heathen land of Moab.

4. There her husband died, as well as her two sons.

5. She returns to Israel a bitter woman.

(Ruth 1:20-21) And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

B. God sometimes uses circumstances to chasten us and teach us that He is El-Shaddai.

1. Naomi serves as an example to us.

2. Before we can be filled we must be empty.

3. We have already seen how he took Abraham who was childless, and blessed him so that he would be the father of a great nation.

4. Naomi shows us that it sometimes takes chastening to make us realize our insufficiency and to make us empty of pride and self-sufficiency.

5. Another biblical example would be Job.

a. Job was a good man.

b. But he was made to see his own self-righteousness by El-Shaddai.

(Job 5:17) Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

(Job 42:5-6) I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

C. The application for us.

1. God desires fruitfulness in our lives.

(John 15:16) Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

2. God is the All-Sufficient One.

(John 15:5) I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

3. When we do not realize our total dependence on Him He purges or chastens us.

(John 15:2) Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

So we see that the name El-Shaddai speaks to us of God’s power and sufficiency. It also speaks to us of the inexhaustible supply of God’s riches and strength. And it reminds us that His strength is made perfect in our weakness and His fullness in our emptiness. Do we long to be filled with His power?

Do we have needs that must be supplied? We must empty ourselves of our own pride and self-sufficiency and let El-Shaddai fill us and make us fruitful.

El Shaddai – NOU de la Biserica Baptista Speranta Oradea

Geneza 17:1-2
Cînd a fost Avram în vîrstă de nouăzeci şi nouă ani, Domnul i S’a aratat, şi i -a zis: ,,Eu sînt Dumnezeul Cel atotputernic [El-Shaddai]. Umblă înaintea Mea, şi fii fără prihană. 2 Voi face un legămînt între Mine şi tine, şi te voi înmulţi nespus de mult.

Geneza 28:3
Dumnezeul cel atotputernic [El-Shaddai] să te binecuvinteze, să te facă să creşti şi să te înmulţeşti, ca să ajungi o ceată de noroade!

Exod 6:2-3
Dumnezeu a mai vorbit lui Moise, şi i -a zis: ,,Eu sînt Domnul. Eu M’am arătat lui Avraam, lui Isaac şi lui Iacov, ca Dumnezeul Cel Atotputernic [El-Shaddai]; dar n-am fost cunoscut de el subt Numele Meu ca ,Domnul.„

BBSO: Dumnezeu rămâne Același de-a lungul istoriei. Necredincioșia poporului Israel a atras mânia și pedeapsa lui Dumnezeu. De la perindare prin pustie timp de 40 de ani până la fărmițarea statului, de la ducerea în robie până la decret de exterminare, de la distrugerea Ierusalimului până la Holocaust, poporul evreu a suferit pentru nesocotirea lui Dumnezeu. Același Dumnezeu care îi pedepsește însă, este Dumnezeul care restaurează. Când speranța dispare și soarta lor pare pecetluită, primesc o nouă șansă. Poporul persecutat este restaurat pentru că El Șadai, Dumnezeul Atotputernic, conduce istoria în suveranitatea Sa. Și viața ta este în mâna Aceluiași, El Șadai.

Un clip înregistrat live în timpul programului din 23 Martie 2014 de la Biserica Baptistă Speranța.

Ne întâlnim în fiecare duminică de la ora 10:00 AM la Casa Tineretului din Oradea

http://www.bbso.ro

VIDEO by Biserica Speranta Oradea 3/23/2014

El-Şadai, El-Şadai, El-Eliona Adonai
Neschimbat eşti din vecii
Neschimbat în veci rămâi.
El-Şadai, El-Şadai, El kamkana Adonai
Slava numai Tu o ai, El-Şadai.

Ai dat Fiul Tău pe-altar
Şi-ai salvat pe-ai lui Avraam,
Pe Israel prin pustiu
Cu putere l-ai condus.
Marea Tu ai despărţit,
Flăcările-ai răcorit,
Pe Mesia să ne mântuie-ai trimis.

Peste vremi ai prevestit că Mesia va veni,
Dar ei nu l-au cunoscut,
L-au respins şi l-au vândut.
El păcatul a purtat, a murit şi-a înviat,
El e Cel ce vine iar în curând.

Versuri de la http://www.versuricrestine.ro

VEZI Cor si Orchestra BBSO – [OFFICIAL VIDEOS] 2013 si 2012

The Apostle Paul would not feel welcome in many evangelical churches today

photo credit centralumcatl.org

photo credit centralumcatl.org

BY NAPP NAZWORTH, from the CHRISTIAN POST
Worship services in evangelical churches do not mention sin, a major part of the Gospel message, Dr. Cornelius Plantinga, senior research fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, said Monday at the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s Faith Angle Forum.

„In very many evangelical and confessionally Reformed churches these days, sin is a rare topic,” he said.

Cornelius Plantinga via calvinseminary.edu

He came to this conclusion from his experience of speaking in different churches most Sundays for the past 30 years, talking to evangelical friends, observing the content of worship music used by evangelical churches, and reading the books and articles of Dr. David Wells, distinguished senior research professor at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Plantinga explained to the conference of journalists.

Anglicans, Catholics and Lutherans continue to include confession or a rite of penitence as a regular part of their worship services, he noted. But in evangelical and Reformed churches, he sees „less and less” sin-related material every year.

Over 158,000 churches in North America get the music for their worship services from Christian Copyright Licensing International, Plantinga explained. CCLI provides a valuable service to churches by streamlining the process of obtaining licenses for their worship music. Churches can pay a single fee and obtain all the licenses from CCLI’s library.

Looking at the content of CCLI songs, Plantinga observed that there are „very few penitential songs.” The „biblical tradition of lament, which is all through the prophets and the Psalms is gone, just not there,” he said.

One of the reasons Plantinga believes evangelical worship leaves out sin is a desire to be „seeker friendly” and avoid topics that may turn off non-Christians or new Christians.

„Mindful that seekers come to church in American no-fault culture in which tolerance is a big virtue and intolerance a big vice, worship finders in evangelical churches often want nothing in the service that sounds judgmental,” he said. And for that reason „lots of evangelical churches these days are unrelievedly cheerful.”

Quoting Wells, Plantinga argued that leaving sin out of worship is consistent with the theology of many evangelical churches in which „God is on easy terms with modernity” and mostly concerned with „church growth and psychological wholeness.”

The Apostle Paul would not feel welcome in many evangelical churches today, he added. „Where is [Paul’s] easy smile? Why does he want to discipline people? Why is he so doggone dogmatic? Where are the stories in his sermons? And where does he get off implying that the woman singing special music in church should not do so while also lying on top of the church piano?”

During the panel’s question and answer period, Plantinga clarified that he is not only talking about non-denominational congregations but the „old confessional Protestant forms” as well, such as the Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America, and United Presbyterian Church.

This was not always the case with evangelical churches, Plantinga explained. „They used to be champions of the holiness of God, of contrition for sins against God’s holiness, and therefore grace that justifies sinners,” but „a lot of that has dissipated.”

When churches leave the topic of sin out of worship, they are not relevant to the lives of their congregants, Plantinga believes, because people encounter sin and sin’s consequences daily.

„Ceasingly cheerful worship does not fit with the lives of people who come to worship,” he said. „… Churches that silence the biblical message of sin and grace simply aren’t anywhere near where people actually live their lives, including people in their own congregations.”

Read the entire article here – http://www.christianpost.com/news/evangelical-worship-is-too-cheerful-neglects-sin

 

VIDEO Studenti ITP – ‘De ce Teologie?’ la Friday Night Show Radio CBEE

STUDENTI ITP CBEE

Photo captura CBEE

Friday Night Show emisiuni de Vineri Seara orele 21:30 a Colegiul Biblic Est European.
In aceasta emisiune mai multi studenti de la Institutul Teologic Penticostal din Bucuresti discuta Teologia si Pregatirea lor la ITP.

Photo credit Facebook

radio.cbee.ro – Astăzi,la Friday Night Show vorbim despre perspectiva absolventului de teologie din România. Tinerii aleg o facultate creștină, cu profil teologic, însă suntem interesați care sunt șansele unui absolvent de teologie să își împlinească cu succes chemarea.

Invitații noștri sunt studenți ITP București.

  • Sebastian Sidei
  • Doru Andrei
  • Pastravanu Daniel
  • Gog Andrei
  • Divile Cosmin
  • Madalin Tarau
  • Panc Narcis
  • Samuel Bulzan
  • Bitis Natanael
  • Adelin Duca
  • Suteu Adrian
  • Petru Onciu
  • Adrian Ana

VIDEO by by Media CBEE (2 ore)

Marius Livanu – Pune-ţi viaţa în rânduială

photo credit medlive.hotnews.ro

Isaia 38:1-8

În vremea aceea, Ezechia a fost bolnav pe moarte. Proorocul Isaia, fiul lui Amoţ, a venit la el, şi i -a zis: ,,Aşa vorbeşte Domnul: ,Pune-ţi în rînduială casa, căci vei muri, şi nu vei mai trăi.„
2 Ezechia s’a întors cu faţa la părete, şi a făcut Domnului următoarea rugăciune:
3 ,,Doamne, adu-Ţi aminte că am umblat înaintea Ta cu credincioşie şi inimă curată, şi am făcut ce este bine înaintea Ta!„ Şi Ezechia a vărsat multe lacrămi.
4 Atunci cuvîntul Domnului a vorbit lui Isaia astfel:
5 ,,Du-te, şi spune lui Ezechia: ,Aşa vorbeşte Domnul, Dumnezeul tatălui tău David: ,Am auzit rugăciunea ta şi am văzut lacrămile tale. Iată că voi mai adăuga încă cincisprezece ani la zilele vieţii tale.
6 Te voi izbăvi pe tine şi cetatea aceasta, din mîna împăratului Asiriei; voi ocroti cetatea aceasta.
7 Şi iată semnul din partea Domnului după care vei cunoaşte că Domnul va împlini cuvîntul pe care l -a rostit:
8 voi întoarce înapoi cu zece trepte umbra treptelor cu care s’a pogorît soarele pe cadranul lui Ahaz.„ Şi soarele s’a dat înapoi cu zece trepte de pe treptele pe cari se pogorîse.

marius livanuAm vorbit si Duminica trecuta despre Ezechia, acest mare om a lui Dumnezeu. Dumnezeu a venit intr-o zi  cu un mesaj, chiar cand era el in culmea gloriei si a succesului, atunci cand a avut biruinta, atunci cand Dumnezeu l-a ajutat in atatea lucruri, a venit dintr-o data spunandu-i: „Nu vei mai trai.” Dar Dumnezeu a avut un mesaj. Acesta este de fapt esenta mesajului: „Pune-ti casa in randuiala. Pune-ti viata in randuiala.”  Si intrebarea noastra este, care ne-am pus-o noi,  si care ne-o punem: Ce inseamna, practic, sa-ti pui viata in randuiala? Ce inseamna, concret, sa-ti pui casa in randuiala? Ce inseamna randuiala? Uitandu-ne la Ezechia am vazut un om care a facut  o mare reforma spirituala atunci cand parintii sai s-au inchinat zeitatilor de acolo, ca s-au departat de Dumnezeu cand au inchis templul. Omul acesta a facut o reforma. A pus din nou cantarea in templu. A deschis din nou usile templului. A sarbatorit din nou Pastele. S-au dedicat lucrarii lui Dumnezeu si omul acesta a facut o mare reforma, cum n-a mai fost nici un imparat ca el, sa faca asa o reforma si trezire. A umblat pe calea stramosului sau David. A fost un om placut lui Dumnezeu. A avut mari reusite ca om. Foarte multe si mari realizari a avut omul acesta. Cand au venit acei din Babilon, ar fi avut ce arata pentru ca omul acesta a avut proiecte marete pe care le-a implinit si multe lucruri extraordinare care le-a facut omul acesta. A avut succes asupra armatei Asirienilor. Nimeni n-a putut sta impotriva acestei armate. Dar in urma rugaicunii si in urma Cuvantului lui Dumnezeu, Dumnezeu i-a dat biruinta si intr-o singura noapte 185,000 de oameni din armata Asiriana mor si Ierusalimul rezista in fata celui mai mare imperiu, in fata celei mai mari armate, in fata carora n-au putut sta celelalte natiuni. din timpul acela. A fost acea buturuga mica ce a rasturnat carul mare. Si toate acestea le-a facut Dumnezeu prin Ezechia.

Ba, diferit de ceilalti imparati, Ezechia a facut inca un lucru extraordinar pentru ca probabil a vrut sa semene cat mai mult cu David. Ezechia este unul din imparati care a scris cantari. Daca va uitati pe paginile sfintelor Scripturi, nu veti gasi in istorie prea multi imparati care au scris cantari, care ar fi iubit asa mult arta, muzica. David a fost unul din ei si iata ca si Ezechia scrie o cantare. Si imediat urmeaza, n-am mai citit pasajul, dar urmeaza o cantare, un psalm al lui Ezechia, o cantare de lauda. Un om care a vrut sa aduca lauda lui Dumnezeu. Un alt motiv pentru care Ezechia a fost un om deosebit, a avut prieteni preoti si prooroci, pentru ca acestia erau reprezentantii lui Dumnezeu pe pamant, in tara lui Israel. Era imparatul, liderul conducatorul. Era preotul, cel care mijlocea si aducea jertfe in numele poporului pentru Dumnezeu, si era proorocul, profetul care aducea mesajul de la Dumnezeu catre om. Si cel mai bine lucrurile merg, cand acestia trei reprezentanti traiesc in unitate, se roaga impreuna, sunt prieteni, traiesc in pace, aceasta e cea mai mare realizare. Domnul Isus Hristos a fost reprezentantul care a unit toate aceste functii, daca vreti, intr-unul singur. Dar El isi doreste ca si biserica sa traiasca in aceasta armonie sfanta.

Dar in culmea gloriei si a succesului, omul acesta s-a imbolnavit si si-a pus intrebarea, ca toti oamenii. De ce asta? Si si-a mai pus o alta intrebare, pe care oamenii si-o pun de obicei. Ce se va intampla in urma acestei boli? Ce se va intampla cu viata mea? A stat inaintea lui Dumnezeu si Dumnezeu l-a trimis pe proorocul Isaia, care i-a spus: „Nu mai este nimic de facut. Doar pregateste-te de moarte, pune-ti casa in randuiala, ca nu vei mai trai, nu te vei ma vindeca. Vei muri. Acesta este mesajul lui Dumnezeu. Si Ezechia mijloceste inaintea lui Dumnezeu.

In aceasta dimineata, as vrea sa ma opresc asupra acestui mesaj a lui Dumnezeu: Pune-ti casa in randuiala. Pune-ti viata in ordine. Fa ordine in viata ta. Ce inseamna, de fapt, randuiala? M-am uitat si in DEX pentru ca e un cuvant vechi, mai greu, poate cei tineri nici nu stiu bine ce inseamna randuiala. Randuiala este un fel de a aranja lucrurile intr-un fel ordonat. Un fel in care se desfasoara, o actiune programata, planificata. Randuiala este un sistem de organizare statornicit sau impus. Randuiala este o masura directiva sau dizpozitie, sau angajament, o disciplina, ordine, o norma, un precept, un principiu sau o regula. Asta-i randuiala. A randui inseamna a pune  in ordine lucrurile. De-a face ordine. Asta vrea Dumnezeu astazi de la noi. SI vrea Dumnezeu sa punem in ordine multe lucruri din viata noastra. Ne cheama Dumnezeu  si pe noi astazi, in acest secol, in care toate lucrurile se fac in viteza, in care oamenii nu se mai gandesc mult, in locul nostru gandesc computerile, in locul nostru gandesc masinile. Pentru ca in locul nostru gandesc altii, gandesc sefii, gandesc patronii, gandesc altii pentru noi, gandesc institutiie statului, asupra multor lucruri gandesc altii, planifica altii. Si este destul de greu astazi cand munca ta depinde de altul, planificarea care ti-o face seful sau statul.

Insa nu avem nici o scuza sa stam inaintea lui Dumnezeu si sa nu ne punem viata noastra in randuiala. De aceea, daca ne intereseaza in dimineata aceasta sa ne punem viata in randuiala, sa-i placa lui Dumnezeu cand se uita inspre noi, sa putem fi pregatiti pentru moarte, si e adevarat ca e cel ma groaznic eveniment pentru cei care nu-L cunosc pe Dumnezeu. Dar Scriptura spune in cartea Apocalipsei: Ferice de-acum de mortii care mor in Domnul. Atunci cand mori cu inima impacata, atunci cand ti-ai terminat viata asa cum trebuie si esti cu inima impacata, cand conturile vietii tale cu Dumnezeu sunt in ordine, cand conturile cu familia ta sunt in ordine, cu prietenii tai, cu anturajul tau, cu biserica, cu toate sunt in ordine si nu datorezi nimanui nimic, pentru ca ai stiut pentru ce traiesti, pentru ca ai facut ceea ce trebuia sa faci ca si om inaintea lui Dumnezeu. De aceea, as vrea ca in primul rand sa intelegem ca noi avem un Dumneze al randuielii. Avem un Dumnezeu al ordinii si El doreste copiii Sai sa traiasca in ordine, in randuiala. Ordine in viata lor, ordine in familia lor, ordine in slujirea lor, Dumnezeu vrea ordine in biserica, randuiala in biserica si pentru aceasta avem nevoie de Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu pentru ca doar aici putem gasi acele norme care ne pot ajuta pe noi, sa ne punem  viata in randuiala.

Omul care isi face randuiala isi stabileste prioritati. Omul acesta se gandeste la viitor si duce la indeplinire angajamentele care le-a luat si asteapta rasplatirea. Sunt sase lucruri, care pentru noi ca si oameni, ca si crestini,  inseamna a ne pune viata in randuiala cu Dumnezeu. (Din primele 10 minute, mai sunt 45 de minute din predica)

Biserica Philadelphia din Mansuè (TV), Italia.
23 martie 2014 VIDEO by philadelphiamansue

Marius Livanu – 4 Cantari la Biserica Baptista Emanuel Bucuresti

marius livanu„Marius Livanu – Din neam in neam esti adapost” la Biserica Crestina Baptista Emanuel din Bucuresti – 10 februarie 2013 (incarcate pe Youtube Martie 2014)
VIDEO by Biserica Crestina Baptista Emanuel Bucuresti

Din neam in neam esti adapost

Din neam in neam esti adapost
Celor ce se incred in Tine,
Tu vietii mele scut ai fost
Cand vanturi au batut in mine.

R:Tu esti cetatuia mea, Tu esti adapostul meu
O lumina’n noaptea grea, Tu o doamne,
Imi esti scapare, in ceasul greu
Esti zidul tare, din jurul meu!

O mie cada’n preajma mea,
Si zeci de mii pot chiar sa fie,
Raman sub ocrotirea Ta
Din Tine fac, nadejde vie.

Eu niciodata nu ma tem
De groaza noptii ce’o sa vie,
Nici de sageata celui rau,
Si nici de’aprinsa lui urgïe.

Versuri de la: http://www.versuri.ro/

Tatal nostru

1. Tatăl nostru cel ceresc
Ce în slavă-mpărăţeşti
Tatăl nostru, Dumnezeu
Azi la Tine vin şi eu
Sfânt e numele Tău

2. Vie-mpărăţia Ta
Astăzi în inima mea
Facă-se doar voia Ta
În toată viaţa mea
Sfânt e numele Tău

3. Pâinea noastră să ne-o dai
Astăzi să putem trăi
Iar pentru eternul rai
Pâinea vieţii ne-o hrăni
Sfânt e numele Tău

4. Iartă-mi Tu păcatul greu
Iartă Tu greşeala mea
Tot aşa cum iert şi eu
Tot aşa cum voi ierta
Sfânt e numele Tău

5. Ţine-ne sub scutul Tău
Şi-n ispite nu ne du
Ci ne scapă de cel rău
Şi ne-ajută Doamne Tu
Sfânt e numele Tău

6. Este-a Ta împărăţia
Slava, cinstea şi puterea
Laudă-n cer şi pe pământ
Tată, Fiu şi Duh preasfânt
Sfânt e numele Tău

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