6. By what has been said we may see the usefulness and excellency of the Old Testament. Some are ready to look on the Old Testament as being, as it were, out of date and as if we in these days of the gospel had but little to do with it; which is a very great mistake, arising from want of observing the nature and design of the Old Testament, which if it was observed it would appear full of the gospel of Christ, and would in an excellent manner illustrate and confirm the glorious doctrines and promises of the New Testament. Those parts of the Old Testament which are commonly looked upon as containing the least divine instruction are, as it were, as mines and treasures of gospel knowledge, and the reason why they are thought to contain so little is because persons do but superficially read them. The treasures that are hid underneath are not observed. They only look on the top of the ground, and so suddenly pass a judgment that there is nothing there, but they never dig into the mine; if they did they would find it richly stored with silver and gold, and would be abundantly requited for their labors.
What has been said may show us what a precious treasure God has committed into our hands in that he has given us the Bible. How little do most persons consider how much they enjoy in that they have the possession of that holy book the Bible which they have in their hearts and may converse with as they please. What an excellent book is this, and how far exceeding all human writings: that reveals God to us and gives us a view of the grand design and glorious scheme of his providence, from the beginning to the end of the world, either in history or prophecy, that reveals the great Redeemer and his glorious redemption, and the various steps by which God accomplishes it from the first foundation to the topstone. Shall we prize a history that gives us a clear account of some great earthly prince or mighty warrior, as of Alexander the Great or Julius Caesar, or the duke of Marlborough, and shall we not prize the history that God has given us of the glorious kingdom of his son, Jesus Christ, the prince and savior of the world, and the wars and other great transactions of that king of kings and lord of armies, the lord mighty in battle, the history of the things he has wrought for the redemption of his chosen people.
7. What has been said may make us sensible how much most persons are to blame for their inattentive, unobservant way of reading the Scriptures. How much does the Scripture contain if it was but observed the Bible is the most comprehensive book in the world. But what will all this signify to us if we read it without observing what is the drift of the Holy Ghost in it. The psalmist, Psalms 119:18, begs of God, that he would enlighten his eyes that he might “behold wondrous things come of his law.” The Scripture is full of wondrous things. Those histories that are commonly read as if they were only histories of the private concerns of such and such particular persons, such as the histories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Joseph, and the history of Ruth, and the histories of particular lawgivers and princes, as the history of Joshua and the judges, and David and other Israelitish princes, are accounts of vastly greater things, things of greater importance and more extensive concernment than they that read them are commonly aware of. Scripture histories are very commonly read as if they were stories written only to entertain men’s fancies, and to while away their leisure hours, when the infinitely great things contained or pointed at in them are passed over and never taken notice of.
Whatever treasures the Scriptures contain we shall be never the better for them if we don’t observe what is there. He that has a Bible, and don’t observe what is contained [in] it, is like a man that has a box full of silver and gold, and don’t know it, don’t observe that it is anything more than a vessel filled with common stones. As long as it is thus with him, he’ll be never the better for his treasure. For he that don’t know he has a treasure will never make use of what he had, and so had as good be without it. He that has plenty of the choicest food stored up in his house and don’t know it, will never taste what he has and will be as likely to starve as if his house were empty.
Jonathan Edwards (1703-58), A History of the Work of Redemption, Sermon 13, 290-92.