The Pure Fountain of Truth
In the New Testament writings we have, not indeed an equivalent, but a reliable substitute for the personal presence and the oral instruction of Christ and his apostles. The written word differs from the spoken only in form; the substance is the same, and has therefore the same authority and quickening power for us as it had for those who heard it first.
Although these books were called forth apparently by special and accidental occasions, and were primarily addressed to particular circles of readers and adapted to peculiar circumstances, yet, as they present the eternal and unchangeable truth in living forms, they suit all circumstances and conditions. Tracts for the times, they are tracts for all times; intended for Jews and Greeks of the first century, they have the same interest for all humanity in the nineteenth century. They are to this day not only the sole reliable and pure fountain of primitive Christianity, but also the infallible rule of Christian faith and practice.
From this fountain the church has drunk the water of life for more than fifty generations, and will drink it till the end of time. In this rule she has a perpetual corrective for all her faults, and a protective against all error.
Theological systems come and go, and draw from that treasury their larger or smaller additions to the stock of our knowledge of the truth; but they can never equal that infallible word of God, which abideth forever.
“Our little systems have their day,
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of Thee,
And Thou, O God, art more than they.”