William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

Search from the Book of the Lord

by Thomas Boston

Several things are implied in Isaiah 34:16, "Search from the book of the Lord,
and read:"

1. That man has lost his way, and needs direction to find it, Psalm 119:176, "I
have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant." Miserable man has
blurred vision in a directionless world, which is a dark place, and has as much
need of the scriptures to guide him, as one has of a light in darkness, 2 Pet.
1:19. What a miserable case is that part of the world in that lacks the Bible?
They are vain in their imaginations, and grope in the dark, but cannot find the
way of salvation. In no better case are those to whom it has not come in power.

2. That man is in danger of being led farther and farther wrong. This made the
spouse say, "Tell me, O you whom I love, Where you feed your flock, Where you
make it rest at noon. For why should I be as one who veils herself By the flocks
of your companions?" Song 1:7. There is a cunning devil, a wicked world, corrupt
lusts within one's own breast, to lead him out of the right way, that we had
need to let go of, and take this guide. There are many false lights in the
world, which, if followed, will lead the traveller into a mire, and leave him

3. That men are slow of heart to understand the mind of God in his word. It will
cost searching diligently before we can take it up, "You search the Scriptures,
for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of
Me," John 5:39.

Our eyes are dim to the things of God, our understanding dull, and our judgment
is weak. And therefore, because the iron is blunt, we must put too the more
strength. We lost the sharpness of our sight in spiritual things in Adam; and
our corrupt wills and carnal affections, that favour not the things of God, do
blind our judgments even more: and therefore it is a labour to us to find out
what is necessary for our salvation.

4. That the book of the Lord has its difficulties, which are not to be easily
solved. Therefore the Psalmist prays, "Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous
things from Your law," Psa 119:18.

Philip asked the eunuch, "Do you understand what you are reading?" and he said,

"How can I, unless someone guides me?" There are depths there in which an
elephant may swim, and will exercise the largest capabilities, with all the
expertise they may be possessed of. God in his holy providence has so ordered
it, to stain the pride of all glory; to make his word the more like himself,
whom none can search out to perfection, and to sharpen the diligence of his
people in their inquiries into it.

5. That yet we need highly to understand it, otherwise we would not be commanded
to search into it. "Of the times and seasons," says the apostle, "you have no
need that I write to you;" and therefore he wrote not of them. There is a
treasure in this field; we are called to dig for it; for though it be hid, yet
we must have it, or we will waste away in our spiritual poverty.

6. That we may gain from it by diligent inquiry. The holy humble heart will not
be always sent empty away from these wells of salvation, when it undertakes
itself to draw. There are shallow places in these waters of the sanctuary, where
lambs may wade.


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