Matthew 3:9; John 1:42
God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
And when Jesus beheld him [Peter], he said, Thou art Simon, the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Great is the wisdom wherewith the Lord Jesus Christ builds His Church…He often chooses the most unlikely and roughest stones, and fits them into a most excellent work.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Does the omnipotent Jesus choose fishermen to subdue the world? He does, because He needs no help from them; all power is His. He chose honest, hearty men who were childlike enough to learn the truth, and bold enough so speak it when they knew it.
J. H. MERLE d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): He produces the greatest results by the smallest means. It is thus He acts in nature and in history. When He wishes an immense tree to grow, He deposits a little grain in the earth; and, when He wishes to renew His Church, He employs the humblest instrument to accomplish what emperors and all the learned and eminent in the Church were unable to perform…
To do great things by small means, is the law of God. This law, which appears in every department of nature, is found also in history. God took the Reformers of the church, from where He had taken the Apostles. He selected them from that humble class which, without containing the meanest of the people, is scarcely the length of citizenship. Every thing must manifest to the world that the work is not of man, but of God. The Reformer Zwingli comes forth from the hut of a shepherd of the Alps; Melancthon, the Theologian of the Reformation, from the workshop of an armourer, and Luther from the cottage of a poor miner.
C. H. SPURGEON: Among the leaders of the great revival of the eighteenth century were Captain Joss, a sea-captain, and Captain Scott, a captain of dragoons. Both became famous preachers. Whitefield said of them, “God, who sitteth upon the flood, can bring a shark from the ocean, and a lion from the forest, to show forth His praise.”
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The famous Cornish evangelist, Billy Bray, before his conversion was a pugilist [boxer].
EGERTON RYERSON YOUNG (1840-1909): When God wants a man for peculiar work He knows where to find him. He found Moses among the flocks of Jethro, and Elisha ploughing with the twelve yoke of oxen. Thus has it ever been. When in His infinite wisdom He sees that the time has come to act, His agents are quickly found. He who called Paul and Stephen and Timothy and all the worthies of the apostolic age, has ever been selecting the right men for His glorious work. Augustine, Wycliffe, Tyndale, Latimer, Huss, Luther, Knox, Wesley and Whitefield, and scores of others have by their deeds shown most clearly how the hand of Providence has been at work in their preparation, call, and success, in the varied positions to which they have been assigned. This same providential fitting for some great work, and the clear call to it, is still to be seen. The records of missionary toil are full of it―Carey, Morrison, Judson, Duff, Moffat, and many others.
J. C. RYLE: All is done at the right time, and in the right way. Each stone in its turn is put in the right place. Sometimes He chooses great stones, and sometimes He chooses small stones. Sometimes the work goes on fast, and sometimes it goes on slowly. Man is frequently impatient, and thinks that nothing is doing. But man’s time is not God’s time. A thousand years in His sight are but as a single day. The great Builder makes no mistakes. He knows what He is doing. He sees the end from the beginning. He works by a perfect, unalterable and certain plan. The mightiest conceptions of architects like Michelangelo and Wren are mere trifling child’s play, in comparison with Christ’s wise counsels respecting His Church.
JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): And we may oftentimes mark this also, that God passeth over him which is the chiefest in the sight of men, that he may throw down all pride which is in man.
GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): And, if I am not mistaken, the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls will let the world, and His own children too, know that He will not be prescribed to in respect to men, or garbs, or places, much less will be confined to any order or set of men under heaven.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Some of the prophets were taken at once from following their common occupations, as we see in the instances of Elisha and Amos. Others were taken, and this was more generally the case, from the schools of the prophets; where, by retirement and prayer and meditation and instruction, they were gradually prepared to minister in holy things. Thus God both sanctified the use of means, and showed that He was not confined to them. It is the same now. Some of the most pious, eminent, and useful ministers the churches ever possessed have been educated for the purpose; and we ought to be thankful for such institutions; and on these, for our spiritual supplies, we must principally depend. But we must not limit the Holy One of Israel. He will sometimes take a man out of our rules, and give him acceptance and success. And we must receive a Bunyan as well as an Owen. When will persons allow God to work in His own way, and learn that, because one thing is right, another need not be wrong?
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): He who raises up instruments to preach His Gospel, appoints them their places, and furnishes them with that measure of gifts and sufficiency which He sees requisite and best.
J. H. MERLE d’AUBIGNÉ: Luther, who was to act upon the people, was brought up as a child of the people; Calvin, who was to act chiefly as a theologian, as a thinker, and to become the legislator of the renovated church, received from infancy a more liberal education.
C. H. SPURGEON: The church must get rid of her notion that she must depend on the learning of this world. Against a sound education we cannot have a word to say, especially an education in the Scriptures, but to place learned degrees in the place of the gift of the Holy Spirit, or to value the present style of so-called culture above the spiritual edification of our manhood, is to set up an idol in the house of the living God. The Lord can as well use the most illiterate man as the most learned, if so it pleaseth Him. “Go ye,” He said, “ye fishermen, go ye, and teach all nations.”
MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): If the gospel was of a nature to be propagated or maintained by the power of the world, God would not have entrusted it to fishermen. To defend the gospel appertains not to the princes and pontiffs of this world. They have enough to do to shelter themselves from the judgments of the Lord.