Spurgeon at the New Park Street Chapel: 365 Sermons
“So he giveth his beloved sleep.” Psalm 127:2
Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 4
It is God who steeps the mind in drowsiness, and bids us slumber, that our bodies may be refreshed, so that for tomorrow’s toil we may rise reinvigorated and strengthened. O my friends, how thankful should we be for sleep. Sleep is the best physician that I know of. Sleep has healed more pains of wearied bones than the most eminent physicians upon earth. It is the best medicine; the choicest thing of all the names which are written in all the lists of pharmacy. There is nothing like sleep! What a mercy it is that it belongs alike to all! God does not make sleep the boon of the rich man, he does not give it merely to the noble, or the rich, so that they can keep it as a peculiar luxury for themselves; but he bestows it upon all. Yes, if there is a difference, the sleep of the labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much. He who toils, sleeps all the sounder for his toil. While luxurious effeminacy cannot rest, tossing itself from side to side upon a bed of soft down, the hard-working labourer, with his strong and powerful limbs, worn out and tired, throws himself upon his hard couch and sleeps; and waking, thanks God that he has been refreshed. You know not, my friends, how much you owe to God, that he gives you rest at night. If you had sleepless nights, you would then value the blessing. If for weeks you lay tossing on your weary bed, you then would thank God for this favour. But as it is the gift of God, it is a gift most precious, one that cannot be valued until it is taken away; yea, even then we cannot appreciate it as we ought.
For meditation: Possession of spiritual blessings in Christ should not make us forget to thank God for our continued enjoyment of his common grace (Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:17).
Sermon no. 12
4 March (1855)
The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?
Can we trust the New Testament? Hasn’t it all been disproved? Doesn’t modern scholarship show that it was all made up much later, so that the supposedly historical foundations of Christianity are in fact a figment of the imagination?
This sort of thing is said so often in the media, in some churches, and in public life in general that many people take it for granted that nothing can be said on the other side. But, as so often, this is where careful, accurate historical scholarship of the type in which F.F. Bruce excelled has a quiet, thorough, and complete answer. Yes we can trust the New Testament. For a start, the documents themselves—the manuscripts from which our knowledge of the New Testament comes— are in far, far better shape than the manuscripts of any other work from the ancient world, by a very long way. Examine the New Testament, and you’ll find that our knowledge of it rests on a very large number of manuscripts, several hundred in fact, which go back as far, in some cases, as the early second century, less than a hundred years after the books were first written. There is better evidence for the New Testament than for any other ancient book.
This Modern Classic in the Field of New Testament Studies offers a compelling defense of biblical truth. F. F. Bruce, one of evangelicalism’s most respected scholars, makes a clear case for the historical trustworthiness of the Christian Scriptures, drawing on evidence from the New Testament documents themselves as well as extra-biblical sources. Concise chapters explore the canon and dating of the New Testament, the nature of the Gospels (including a look at miracles), the life and writings of Paul, and archaeological and literary evidence. Including here a completely updated bibliography. Bruce’s long-standing affirmation of the New Testament is still as authoritative and engaging as ever.
“Fred Bruce was a tower of strength in the worlds of scholarship and faith, and in particular to those who, like him, were and are determined not to separate the two. There are many recent books which explore the New Testament from a wide variety of angles. But this book is far from being out of date. Indeed, it remains one of the best popular introductions [to the topic of New Testament critical study] available. Enjoy it; think about it; use it as the basis for further exploration.” —N.T. Wright
Paperback; 149 pages