I. The source of faith.—The sacred Scriptures are the source—the infallible source—of the doctrines of our most holy religion. They are profitable for teaching; they were written for our learning; they, and they alone, are able to make men wise unto salvation.
II. The defence of the faith.—But if the Scriptures are the sacred fount of Divine truth, the Church and the ministers of the Church are the guardians and keepers of that truth.
III. The temper of the faith.—Following the source of the Christian faith and the defence of the Christian faith are the vows reminding us of the temper of the Christian faith—quietness, peace, love.
IV. The discipline of the faith.—There is one more vow to be considered—the vow of obedience—the godly discipline of submission to lawful authority as represented by the bishop and chief ministers of the Church.
‘The attack upon the fortress of revealed truth changes with the ages. Yesterday it was Voltaire and Tom Paine; to-day it is Haeckel, Herbert Spencer, and the Encyclopædia Biblica. Each have their little day and pass away—the truth of God abideth for ever.’
LIFE AND DOCTRINE
‘Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.’
Two outstanding things are to be noted in the text:—
I. The connection between our doctrine and ourselves.—‘Take heed unto thyself and unto thy doctrine.’
II. The connection between two great results.—‘So shalt thou save thyself and them that hear thee.’
That is not the order in which we might put those two pairs of things. Take heed, O teacher, father, mother, counsellor, to thyself, and then to thy doctrine. Take heed in order that thou mayest save thyself.
‘While our doctrine is that by which we influence others, the best way to keep our doctrine true and right is to look after our own heart. Salvation—“save thyself.” What does that mean? Take measures to cultivate submission to God, acceptance of an atonement that shall exempt you from hell hereafter. Do you call that saving yourself? Oh, no; the real salvation that Jesus Christ came and died to give to you and me is a salvation here and now, to-day in your house, among your children, in your heart.’