I took a bit of time just now to type up the following text from an 1817 volume I downloaded from Google Books on 4-21-10. It may be harder to read than modern devotional fluff, but once you’ve gotten the message, it should be of great help and encouragement spiritually:
Bishop Horsley, Sermon I. Psalms, xcvii.7 (Ps 97:7): “Worship him, all ye gods.” pp. 223 to 228 (this sermon extends from page 223 to 248). Cited from Bishop Samuel Horsley, Nine Sermons, on the Nature of the Evidence by which The Fact of our Lord’s Resurrection is Established; and on Various Other Subjects, Second Edition, London, 1817.
All that follows was the first paragraph of this sermon; I have taken the liberty to break up the text into shorter paragraphs for easier reading. This is one of the best, and most remarkable, commendations of cross reference Bible study ever written, but the modern reader will have to focus hard to get the message. The message is exceedingly important, and once grasped, simple. If Bishop Horsley is correct, and I am sure he is, it is clear what we must do in the light of the truth he presents. Read it, then do it! Bishop Horsley wrote in long paragraphs: I shortened those for your benefit. He also wrote in long sentences: I did not modify that.
It should be a rule with every one who would read the Holy Scriptures with advantage and improvement, to compare every text, which may seem either important for the doctrine it may contain, or remarkable for the turn of expression, with the parallel passages in other parts of holy writ; that is, with the passages in which the subject-matter is the same, the sense equivalent, or the turn of the expression similar.
These parallel passages are easily found by the marginal references in the Bibles of the larger form. It were to be wished, indeed, that no Bibles were printed without the margin. It is to be hoped that the objection obviously arising from the necessary augmentation in the price of the book may some time or other be removed by the charity of religious associations. The Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge could not more effectually serve the purpose of their pious institution, than by applying some part of their funds to the printing of Bibles, in other respects in an ordinary way, for the use of the poor, but with a full margin.
Meanwhile those who can afford to purchase the larger Bibles should be diligent in the improvement of the means with which Providence has furnished them.
Particular diligence should be used in comparing the parallel texts of the Old and the New Testaments. When you read the Old Testament, if you perceive by the margin that any particular passage is cited in the New to which the margin refers, that you may see in what manner, in what sense, and to what purpose, the words of the more ancient are alleged by the later writer, who in many instances may be supposed to have received clearer light upon the same subject: On the other hand, when in the New Testament you meet with citations from the Old, always consult the original writer, that you may have the satisfaction of judging for yourselves, how far the passage alleged makes for the argument for which it is brought to support.
In doing this you will imitate the example of the godly Jews of Berea, which is recorded with approbation in the Acts of the Apostles, who, when Paul and Silas reasoned with them out of the Scriptures of the Old Testament, clearly setting before them the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and the accomplishment of those prophecies in Jesus, whom they preached, “searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
These Berean Jews compared the parallel passages of St. Paul’s oral doctrine with the written Scriptures of the Old Testament. And we now should with equal diligence compare the written doctrine of St. Paul, and of his fellow-laborers, with the writings of the Old Testament. It is incredible to anyone, who has not in some degree made the experiment, what a proficiency may be made in that knowledge which maketh wise unto salvation, by studying the Scriptures in this manner, without any other commentary or exposition than what the different parts of the sacred volume mutually furnish for each other. [bold emphasis added]
I will not scruple to assert, that the most illiterate Christian, if he can but read his English Bible, and will take the pains to read it in this manner, will not only attain all that practical knowledge which is necessary to his salvation, but, by God’s blessing, he will become learned in everything relating to his religion in such degree, that he will not be liable to be misled, either by the refined arguments or by the false assertions of those who endeavor to ingraft their own opinion upon the oracles of God.
He may safely be ignorant of all philosophy except what is to be learned from the sacred books; which indeed contain the highest philosophy adapted to the lowest apprehensions. He may safely remain ignorant of all history, except so much of the history of the first ages of the Jewish and of the Christian church as is to be gathered from the canonical books of the Old and New Testament.
Let him study these in the manner I recommend, and let him never cease to pray for the illumination of that Spirit by which these books were dictated; and the whole compass of abstruse philosophy and recondite history shall furnish no argument with which the perverse will of man shall be able to shake this learned Christian’s faith.
The Bible thus studied will indeed prove to be what we Protestants esteem it, a certain and sufficient rule of faith and practice, a helmet of salvation, which alone may quench the fiery darts of the wicked. My text, I trust, will prove a striking instance of the truth of these assertions. (page 228)