The Gift of God’s Saving Grace Through Faith in Jesus Christ

John 1:16,17; Ephesians 2:8

And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): God alone can give spiritual life at the first, and keep it up in the soul afterwards.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Were it not for the grace of God there would be no such thing as a Christian…A man is not a Christian unless he can say with Paul, “I am what I am by the grace of God.”

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): The law tells me how crooked I am.  Grace comes along and straightens me out.

PHILIP MAURO (1859-1952): But there is, in the heart of man―corrupted as it is by sin―a rooted aversion to being saved by grace alone.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Grace has been defined as the “unmerited favour” of God…An esteemed friend has pointed out that, grace is something more than “unmerited favour.” To feed a tramp who calls on me is “unmerited favour,” but it is scarcely grace. But suppose that after robbing me I should feed this starving tramp—that would be “grace.”  Grace, then, is favour shown where there is positive demerit in the one receiving it.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): Grace is nothing but an introduction of the virtues of God into the soul.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Nature can never do the work of grace…In a state of nature men are a kind of atheists: whatever be their speculative belief, they are practically without God in the world—we may have the form of godliness, but not the power; we may be reformed, but not renewed; we may become other creatures, but not new ones.

A. W. PINK: Nothing short of the regenerating work of the Spirit can make any man a new creature in Christ Jesus.

JOHN L. GIRARDEAU (1825-1898): Regenerating grace is creative power.

A. W. PINK: Divine power was needed to create, but much greater power is required to regenerate a soul: creation is only the beginning of something out of nothing, but regeneration is the transforming not only of an unlovely object, but one who resists with all its might.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Regeneration, or that great change without which a man cannot see the kingdom of God, is the effect of Almighty power.  Neither education, endeavours, nor arguments, can open the eyes of the blind. It is God alone, who at first cause light to shine out of darkness, who can shine into our hearts, “to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” People may attain some natural ideas of spiritual truths by reading books, or hearing sermons, and may thereby become wise in their own conceits; they may learn to imitate the language of an experienced Christian; but they know not what they say, and are as distant from the words “blue” or “red,” as from the ideas which those words raise in the mind of a person who cannot distinguish colours by his sight.

A. W. PINK: Saving faith is not a native product of the human heart, but is a spiritual grace communicated from on high. “It is the gift of God.” It is “the operation of God,” Colossians 2:12. It is by “the power of God,” I Corinthians 2:5. A most remarkable passage on this subject is found in Ephesians 1:16-20. There we find the Apostle Paul praying that the saints should have the eyes of their understanding “enlightened, that they might know what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.” Note the strong expressions here used: not merely the power of God, or the greatness of it, but the “exceeding greatness of His power.” Note too the standard of comparison: we “believe according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead.” God put forth His “mighty power” when He resurrected Christ. There was a mighty difficulty to overcome, even the vanquishing of the grave. There was a mighty result to be achieved, even the bringing to life One who was dead. None but God Himself was equal to a miracle so stupendous.  Strictly analogous is that miracle of grace which issues in saving faith―the sinner is dead in trespasses and sins, and can no more quicken himself than he can create a world.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Men cannot take the grace of God and employ it in turning themselves from darkness to light. The light does not come to the darkness and say, use me; but the light comes and drives the darkness away.  Life does not come to the dead man and say, use me, and be restored to life; but it comes with a power of its own and restores to life. The spiritual influence does not come to the dry bones and say, use this power and clothe yourselves with flesh: but it comes and clothes them with flesh, and the work is done.  Grace is a thing which comes and exercises an influence on us.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Faith does not proceed from ourselves, but is the fruit of spiritual regeneration.

WILLIAM JAY: It is the renewing of the Holy Ghost. It is a new birth, a new creation. The work, though always essentially the same, differs in various individuals. The means also by which it is produced are not the same in all instances. In general, it is accomplished by the preaching of the Word; but sometimes it is effected by reading the Scriptures, by a good book, by pious conversation, by affliction: “Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living,” Job 33:29,30.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The Word of God is the great means of regeneration, James 1:18. The grace of regeneration is conveyed by the gospel…The grace of God works in, and by, the Word of God; it brings that to mind, and sets that home to the conscience.

JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): We do not look for the Spirit to convert souls without the truth; it is by the presentation of this to the judgment, and by the co-working of Divine grace upon the heart, that the great change of regeneration is effected.

C. H. SPURGEON: Even so, we cannot explain conversion and regeneration and the new birth.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): The way of God, in the regeneration of man, is past finding out. One part of it He keeps near Himself, concealed by the clouds and darkness that surround His throne; another part of it He has clearly revealed to our understandings, and pressed on our hearts.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Grace is a ring of gold, and Christ is the sparkling diamond in that ring.


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What Does It Mean to “Abide” in Jesus Christ?

John 15:4,5

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Much depends upon the soil in which a tree is planted; everything, in our case, depends upon our abiding in the Lord Jesus, and deriving all our supplies from Him.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): All our sap and safety is from Christ. The bud of a good desire, the blossom of a good resolution, and the fruit of a good action, all come from Him.

C. H. SPURGEON: Fellowship with the stem begets fertility in the branches. If a man abide in Christ he brings forth much fruit. Those professors who are rooted to the world do not flourish; those who send forth their roots into the marshes of frivolous pleasure cannot be in a vigorous condition; but those who dwell in habitual fellowship with God shall become men of full growth, rich in grace, happy in experience, mighty in influence, honoured and honourable—Without God, we can do nothing; and in proportion as we attempt to live without Him, we ruin ourselves.

IRENÆUS (130-202): To those who abide in His love, He gives communion with Himself…On those who stand aloof from Him, He inflicts the separation which they have chosen for themselves.

C. H. SPURGEON: When may a Christian be safely out of communion with God? Never.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): So, those that are in Christ, must abide in Christ, for it is at their peril if they forsake Him and wander from Him.

J. A. ALEXANDER (1809-1860): There is no danger of going astray, when in your common thoughts and prayers, your whole soul goes forth to a single undivided object—Christ. If you wish to have the grand secret of religion couched in a single maxim; if you would learn how to be reconciled and how to abide so; if you would be strengthened against temptation. if you would be holy and happy, take this rule: Look to Christ!  Just so much piety have you, as you have Christ in your thoughts.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): No man ever thought too much of Christ.

C. H. SPURGEON: The road on which tread makes me think of Christ—the way. The door through which I pass makes me think of Christ—the door.  I cannot handle money but what I think I am bought with a price.  I do not receipt a bill without recollecting that He has blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against me. I cannot talk to my fellow-man, and receive answers, without thinking how I talk with God, and how He answers me.

G. CAMPBELL MORGAN (1863-1945): Abiding [in Christ] does not mean that we necessarily are always conscious of our position in the upper reaches of our consciousness…Years ago a girl who had given herself to Christ came to see me one day and she said, “I am going to give it all up, I cannot be a Christian.”

“Why not?” I asked.

She said, “I made up my mind this week I would never forget Christ, and I got up in the morning and thought about Him as I dressed, and I had my breakfast and travelled down to work.  Then I got to business, and lunch time came, and I had never given Him a thought.”

I said to her, “Do you know Mrs. Morgan?”


“Well,” I said, “she is my wife. I am a busy man, but I don’t go about all time saying, ‘I am Annie Morgan’s husband.’ There are hours when I never think of her; but do you think I ever forget it?”

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): To abide in Christ, I John 2:6, is to continue in that state of salvation, growing in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…He who professes to abide in Christ ought to walk as Christ walked, I John 2:6

JOSEPH CARYL (1602-1673): They who separate themselves from whatsoever is unholy, have Him nearest them, who is altogether holy.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): The exhortation is, without doubt, to a holiness of life and conversation, by which our union and communion with Christ is upheld and maintained, and which is in itself an abiding in the love of Christ. Continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love, John 15:8,9.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, verse 7. Abiding in Christ is here explained by His words or doctrines abiding in His disciples; by which are meant His Gospel, and the truths of it—when they hold fast the profession of it, stand fast in it, steadfastly abide by it, and constantly attend on it—to continue in the exercise of faith and love upon Christ, holding to Him with full purpose of heart, and so deriving life, grace, strength, and nourishment from Him.

MATTHEW HENRY: If the Word be our constant guide and monitor, if it be in us as at home, then we abide in Christ, and He in us.

C. H. SPURGEON: He that dwelleth, in the secret place of the most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty, Psalm 91:1. The blessings here promised are not for all believers, but for those who live in close fellowship with God. Every child of God looks towards the inner sanctuary and the mercy-seat, yet all do not dwell in the most holy place; they run to it at times, and enjoy occasional approaches, but they do not habitually reside in the mysterious presence. Those who abide in Christ and Christ in them, become possessors of rare and special benefits, which are missed by those who follow afar off, and grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

MATTHEW HENRY: The blessed privilege which those have that abide in Christ, John 15:7: “If my words abide in you, you shall ask what you willof my Father in my name—and it shall be done.

JOHN GILL: But this must be understood not of temporal things, as riches, honours, profits, pleasures, or whatever even the carnal mind of a believer himself may sometimes desire; but of things spiritual, and with such limitations and restrictions as these: whatever is according to the will of God, for the Spirit of God Himself asks for no other for the saints; whatever is for the glory of God, and for their own spiritual profit and edification; and whatever is agreeably to the words and doctrines of Christ, which abide in them. Every thing of this kind they ask in faith, and with a submission to the divine will, they may expect to receive.

MATTHEW HENRY: God takes notice of the smallest number of those who abide with Him; and the fewer they are the more precious in His sight.


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The Mercy & Truth of God to Unworthy Sinners

Genesis 32:10

I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant.

COTTON MATHER (1663-1728): When Thomas Hooker was dying, one said to him, “Brother, you are going to receive the reward of your labours.”  He humbly replied, “Brother, I am going to receive mercy.”

AUGUSTINE (354-430): No one is redeemed except through unmerited mercy.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Mercy is not a right to which man is entitled. Mercy is that adorable attribute of God by which He pities and relieves the wretched. To speak of deserving mercy is a contradiction of terms.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Those are the best prepared for the greatest mercies that see themselves unworthy of the least.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies”—Here is mercies in the plural number, an inexhaustible spring, and innumerable streams. There is an inexhaustible fulness of grace and mercy in God, which the prayers of all the saints can never draw dry.  Whatever we may ask, or think to ask, still God is still able to do more, abundantly more, exceedingly abundantly more.

MARY WINSLOW (1774-1854): What a God is ours!  He loves to pardon, and delights in mercy.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth, Psalm 86:15.  What a wonderful character of God is given in this verse!

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): He is a God of compassion, and of mercy, and of kindness—Yes, but He is still a holy God, remember.  He is still the righteous God.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): We have spoken of mercy—but not of judgment…Establish it in your mind as a fixed principle, that God is a God of justice as well as of mercy; and that the same everlasting counsels which laid the foundation of the bliss of Heaven, have also laid the foundation of the misery of Hell.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): You cannot paint an angel upon light: so mercy could not be represented—mercy [itself] could not be, unless there were judgment without mercy, a ground of deep darkness lying beneath, to sustain and reveal it.

A. W. PINK: Even the casting of the reprobate into the Lake of Fire is an act of mercy. The punishment of the wicked is to be contemplated from a threefold viewpoint.  From God’s side, it is an act of justice, vindicating His honour.  The mercy of God is never shown to the prejudice of His holiness and righteousness.  From their side, it is an act of equity, when they are made to suffer the due reward of their iniquities.  But from the standpoint of the redeemed, the punishment of the wicked is an act of unspeakable mercy. How dreadful would it be if the present order of things, when the children of God are obliged to live in the midst of the children of the devil, should continue forever!  Heaven would at once cease to be heaven if the ears of the saints still heard the blasphemous and filthy language of the reprobate.  What a mercy in the New Jerusalem, “there shall in nowise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither worketh abomination,” Rev. 21:27!

Lest the reader might think in the last paragraph we have been drawing upon our imagination, let us appeal to Holy Scripture in support of what has been said.  In Psalm 143:12, we find David praying, “And of thy mercy, cut off mine enemies, and destroy all of them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant.”  Again, in Psalm 136:15, we read that God “overthrew Pharaoh and his hosts in the Red Sea; for His mercy endureth forever.”  It was an act of vengeance upon Pharaoh and his hosts, but it was an act of “mercy” unto the Israelites.

DAVID DICKSON (1583-1662): Neither justice against the wicked, nor mercy toward the godly is idle, for God’s Word and works speak mercy to the one and wrath to the other, every day, Psalm 7:11.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): God is as faithful in His menaces as in His promises.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Much injury is done by separating what the Scripture has joined together. Some view God’s mercy as separate from His justice, and some His justice as separate from His mercy: the one of these partial views genders presumption, the other despair.  These extremes would be avoided by our considering God as at once the righteous Governor and the tender Father.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): The name Jehovah carries majesty in it; the name Father carries mercy in it.

ADAM CLARKE: God shall send forth his mercyand his truth, Psalm 57:3. His truth binds him to fulfill the promises or engagements His mercy has made, both to saints and sinners.

JOHN TRAPP: His mercy is ever bounded by His truth.

WILLIAM ARNOT: Mercy and truth meet in the person and sacrifice of the Son. Without the Saviour, we cannot conceive of mercy and truth being displayed by God to the rebellious. We could at least conceive of mercy without truth; but then it would admit the unclean into heaven: we could also conceive of truth without mercy; but then it would cast mankind without exception into hell. In order that there might be mercy and truth from the Judge to the sinful, Christ obeyed, and died, and rose again. God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son; but God so hated sin, that He gave Him up to die as an expiation to justice. Mercy reigns, not over righteousness, but through righteousness.

MATTHEW HENRY: In Him who is both our salvation and our glory “mercy and truth have met together;” God’s mercy and truth, and His “righteousness and peace, have kissed each other, Psalm 85:10; that is, the great affair of our salvation is so well contrived, so well concerted, that God may have mercy upon poor sinners, and be at peace with them, without any wrong to His truth and righteousness. He is true to the threatening, and just in His government, and yet pardons sinners and takes them into covenant with Himself.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The gate of mercy is opened, and over the door it is written, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” 1 Timothy 1:15—for the particular mercy of justification and pardon, the blood of the Mediator is the only plea.

RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): Cast yourself into the arms of Christ—if mercy is to be found anywhere, it is there.

WILLIAM JAY: Neither should a sense of our unworthiness weaken our expectation from Him: we were unworthy when He first took knowledge of us; and He deals with us not according to our desert, but His own mercy and grace.

C. H. SPURGEON: You never have to drag mercy out of Christ, as money from a miser.

JOHN TRAPP: Because He delighteth in mercy, Micah 7:18. And hence He pardoneth iniquity of free grace…If God so delight in mercy that He will save for His name’s sake, who or what shall hinder Him?


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C. H. Spurgeon’s Pulpit Ministry in the Eyes of His Contemporaries

Isaiah 58:1

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression.

WILLIAM WILLIAMS (1895): On May 30, 1857, a brother minister was standing with Mr. Spurgeon under a tree. The atmosphere was so calm and still that scarcely a leaf trembled; suddenly a gentle zephyr stirred the leaves above their heads, then there was a rustling sound. Mr. Spurgeon suddenly interrupted [their] conversation with, “Stop! Keep quiet! Don’t speak!—There! My sermon for tomorrow; ‘The sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees,’ 2 Samuel 5:24.” The friend looked up and saw they were standing under a mulberry tree. The sermon was preached on the following evening…A gentleman who served as deacon at the Tabernacle for many years, but now has been dead some time, told me that this sermon won him to the Saviour.

DINSDALE YOUNG (1861-1938): To my mind, Spurgeon is the greatest of all preachers the world has known during the [19th] century, if not during any century. None can measure the good those matchless discourses have accomplished and will accomplish.

THOMAS COLLINS (1810-1864): I heard Spurgeon preach at the Surrey Gardens [in 1857]. He did three capital things: he spoke vital truth, he spoke out, and he spoke home.

E. J. POOLE-CONNOR (1872-1962): The Royal Surrey Gardens Music Hall―a letter to the Times described the scene: “Fancy a congregation of 10,000 persons, streaming into the hall, mounting the galleries, humming, buzzing, and swarming like bees, eager to secure, at first, the best places, and at last, any place at all.”

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): In that edifice [at age 23] I had such a congregation, and so diversified, as few men ever had regularly to minister to. God only knows what anxiety I have experienced in selecting my subjects and arranging my appeals for such a vast fluctuating assembly. There was a time when my brain whirled at the very thought of ascending that pulpit.

E. J. POOLE-CONNOR: “After waiting more than half an hour―for if you wish a seat you must be there at least that space of time in advance―Mr. Spurgeon ascended his [pulpit]. To the hum, and rush, and trampling of feet, succeeded a low, concentrated thrill and murmur of devotion, which seemed to turn at once, like an electric current, through the breast of everyone present; and by this magnetic chain the preacher held us fast bound for about two hours…It is enough to say of his voice, that its power and volume are sufficient to reach everyone in that vast assembly; of his language, that it is neither high-flown nor homely; of his style, that it is at times familiar, at times declamatory, but always happy and sometimes eloquent―it is enough to say of the man himself that he impresses you with a perfect conviction of his sincerity.”

LORD SHAFTESBURY (1801-1885): All must acknowledge that he is a wonderful preacher―and what is his great secret? It is simply and solely that he preaches from the heart ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified.’

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): I have often thought that one great secret of the marvellous honour which God has put on [him] is the extraordinary boldness and confidence with which he stands up in the pulpit to speak to people about their sins and their souls. It cannot be said he does it from fear of any, or to please any. He seems to give every class of hearers its portion—to the rich and the poor, the high and the low, the king and the peasant, the learned and the illiterate. He gives to every one the plain message, according to God’s Word. I believe that very boldness has much to do with the success which God is pleased to give to his ministry. Let us not be ashamed to learn a lesson from him in this respect. Let us go and do likewise.

WILLIAM WILLIAMS: The world knows how strongly he opposed Roman Catholicism, as subverting some of the first and most vital principles of the Gospel. One Sunday morning a deacon said to him, “Last Sunday, sir, I was in France and I went to the Roman Catholic mass, and I never felt the presence of God more than I did there.”  “It only proves Scripture true,” said Spurgeon, “Psalm 139:8―‘If I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.’”―What a bubbling fountain of humour Mr. Spurgeon had! I have laughed more, I verily believe, when in his company than during all the rest of my life besides.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): Yes, but better still, I heard him pray.

DINSDALE YOUNG: It was memorable to hear him when he preached.  It was often even more memorable to hear him pray…His congregational prayers—and I heard many—are always echoing in my grateful heart.  They are sweet and luminous in the memory as angel presences.  Never did I hear him pray without adoringly saying, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.”  The quivering sympathy of Mr. Spurgeon’s prayers thrilled all who heard them. You felt the throbbing of that mighty heart. He was royal in his tenderness―how ardent where those incomparable prayers! No hint was there of the dull, slumberous, tedious quality which too often has vitiated pulpit prayer―the prayers at the Tabernacle kindled countless cold hearts.

E. J. POOLE-CONNOR: In March, 1861, Metropolitan Tabernacle was opened, free of debt, at a cost of ₤31,000. It seated six thousand people, and for over thirty years it never ceased to be filled…[In 1882], when about ten years of age, I shook hands with the great preacher, and the mingled goodness and kindness of his face left an indelible impression…His greatest natural asset was his incomparable voice.

W. Y. FULLERTON (1857-1932): The adjective most frequently employed to describe his vocal tones was “silvery,” though some spoke of them as “flute-like.”

CHARLES RAY (1903): At the Tabernacle a shorthand writer was always in attendance to take down the sermon as delivered, and the reporter found C. H. Spurgeon an ideal speaker for this purpose.

THOMAS ALLEN REED (1826-1899): When a speaker has a distinct articulation, combined with a clear, strong voice, the reporter who has to follow him is in Elysium; that is, if the utterance is not too rapid, or the style of composition too difficult.  The combination, however, is rare.  It has a very striking example in Mr. Spurgeon―to a clear, ringing, musical voice he adds an almost perfect articulation. The average rate of public speaking is about 120 words a minute. Some speakers vary greatly in their speech. I have, for example, a memorandum of a sermon by Mr. Spurgeon, showing that during the first ten minutes he spoke at the rate of 123 words a minute; the second ten minutes, 132; the third ten minutes, 128; the fourth ten minutes, 155; and the remaining nine minutes, 162; giving an average of about 140 words a minute.

JOHN BROADUS (1827–1895): I was greatly delighted with Spurgeon, especially with his conduct of public worship. The congregational singing has often been described, and is as good as can well be conceived. Spurgeon is an excellent reader of Scripture…The whole thing―house, congregation, order, worship, preaching, was as nearly up to my ideal as I ever expect to see in this life.


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The Soul of the Spiritual Sluggard

Proverbs 13:4; Proverbs 21:25,26

The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing…The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour. He coveteth greedily all the day long.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): God never sent a man into the world to be idle.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Man is born and designed for labour, and not for sloth and idleness: in his innocent state he was set to dress the garden and keep it; and, after the fall, his doom was to get his bread by the sweat of his brow; and he is to work while the day lasts, till the evening and night come on, when he betakes himself to sleep and rest again. So the believer, though the work of redemption and salvation is wrought for him, and the work of grace is wrought in him, each by another hand; yet he has work enough to do, which he is created for, and under obligation to perform; and in which he is to continue steadfast and immovable, while the day of life lasts, till the night of death comes, and no man can work; and then he rests from his labours, and his works follow him.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): All that have a place in the world should have an employment in it according to their capacity, some occupation or other, mental or manual. Those that need not work for their bread must yet have something to do, to keep them from idleness…See here the evil of slothfulness and the love of ease.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): The sluggard and the prodigal belong to the same family. The man who “hid the Lord’s talent,” was equally unfaithful with him who “wasted his goods,” Matthew 25:25; Luke16:1―Observe God’s estimate of him, marking him as “wicked, because [he is] a slothful servant,” Matthew 25:26.

JOHN GILL: He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster, Proverbs 18:9. The sluggard and the prodigal are brethren in iniquity; for, though they take different courses, they are both sinful.

MATTHEW HENRY: One scatters what he has, the other lets it run through his fingers. The observation is too true in the affairs of religion; he that is trifling and careless in praying and hearing is brother to him that does not pray or hear at all; and omissions of duty and in duty are as fatal to the soul as commissions of sin.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Lazy spirits aspire not to immortality.

JOHN GILL: The sluggard desires heaven and happiness, but does not care to do the duties of religion; he would die the death of the righteous, but is unwilling to live his life; to abstain from sin, and live soberly and righteously.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): The soul of the sluggard desireth and hath nothing.” We often hear many religious people expressing a desire to have more of the Divine life, and yet never get forward in it. How is this? The reason is, they desire, but do not stir themselves up to lay hold upon the Lord.

JOHN TRAPP: Grace grows by exercise, and is impaired by idleness.

CHARLES BRIDGES: All experience and observation attest the fact, that slothful habits destroy mental energy.

JOHN GILL: He desires knowledge, but does not care to be at any pains to get it, and so has it not―Now such is the conceit of an ignorant sluggard, that he thinks himself the wisest man, inasmuch as he enjoys ease and quiet in his stupid sottish way, while [others] are toiling and labouring, and taking a great deal of pains to get knowledge; and that he sleeps in a whole skin, and escapes the censure and reproaches of men, which they endure for being precise in religious duties, and constant in the performance of them; and fancies he can get to heaven in an easier way, without all this care and toil and trouble, only by saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on me,’ at last.

MATTHEW HENRY: Thus “the sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason,” Proverbs 26:16. This servant thought that his account would pass well enough, because he could say, “There thou hast that is thine,” Matthew 25:25. “Lord, I was no spendthrift of my estate, no prodigal of my time, no profaner of my sabbaths, no opposer of good ministers and good preaching; Lord, I never ridiculed my Bible, nor set my wits to work to banter religion, nor abused my power to persecute any good man; I never wasted God’s good creatures in drunkenness and gluttony, nor ever to my knowledge did I injury to any body.” Many that are called Christians, build great hopes for heaven upon their being able to make such an account; yet all this amounts to no more than “there thou hast that is thine;” as if no more were required, or could be expected.

CHARLES BRIDGES: Meanwhile, with all his inactivity, he is a prey “all day long to a greedy covetousness; tantalized with insatiable desires; while the hope of enjoyment, though not out of sight, yet, from want of exertion, is out of reach…Oh! be industrious—if anywhere—in religion. Eternity is at stake. Hours, days are lost. Soon they come to years; and for want of energy, all is lost…a few minutes’ cold prayers will not seize the prize. To expect the blessing without diligence is delusion—Is it a time to stand idle, when we stand at the door of eternity?

JOHN GILL: Some make it an excuse for their laziness, that they have not the opportunities of serving God that others have―and so sit down and do nothing; it is really an aggravation of their sloth, that when they have but one talent to take care about, they neglect that one.

MATTHEW HENRY: Those of eminent gifts, that are capable of directing others, must not think that these will excuse them in idleness. Many are ingenious enough in cutting out work for other people, and can tell what this man and that man should do, but the burdens they lay on others they themselves “will not touch with one of their fingers.” These will fall under the character of slothful servants.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Surely God has no delight in idleness and sloth…Hence it follows, that there is no time for idleness. 

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): Of all the diseases a man can die of, to die of fat and laziness is the worst…I would sooner wear out, then rust out.

JOHN TRAPP: This made John Calvin answer his friends with some indignation, when they admonished him, for his health’s sake, to forbear studying so hard, “What! would you that Christ when He cometh should find me idle?”

CHARLES BRIDGES: Child of God! beware of a sluggish spirit…Let thy Master’s life be thy pattern and thy standard. Not a moment with Him was slothfully neglected; not a moment unprofitably wasted. Equally fervent was He in daily work, as in nightly prayer. Follow Him in his work, and thou wilt be honoured with His reward.


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Shall We Know One Another in Heaven?

Ephesians 3:14,15; Exodus 33:17

I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.

And the LORD said unto Moses…Thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name.

AMY CARMICHAEL (1867-1951): Shall we know one another in heaven?

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I have heard of a good woman, who asked her husband, when she was dying, “My dear, do you think you will know me when you get to heaven?” “Shall I know you?” he said, “why, I have always known you while I have been here, and do you think I shall be a greater fool when I get to heaven?” I think it was a very good answer. If we have known one another here, we shall know one another there.

AMY CARMICHAEL: I do not think anyone need wonder about this or doubt for single moment. We are never told we shall, because, I expect, it was not necessary, for if we think for a minute, we know. Would you be yourself if you did not love and remember?―We are told that we shall be like our Lord Jesus―and does not He know and love and remember?  He would not be Himself if He did not, and we should not be ourselves if we did not.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): I want to examine the question, “Shall we know one another in heaven?” Now, what saith the Scripture on this subject? This is the only thing I care to know. I grant freely that there are not many texts in the Bible which touch the subject at all.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): If you turn to that wonderful scene that took place on the Mount of Transfiguration, you will find that Moses, who had been gone from the earth 1,500 years, was there; Peter, James and John saw him on the Mount of Transfiguration; they saw him as Moses; he had not lost his name. God says, “I will not blot your names out of the Lamb’s book of life,” Revelation 3:5…We have names in heaven; we are going to bear our names there; we will be known.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Did not Peter, James, and John know Moses and Elias?

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714) It was said in Matthew and Mark that Moses and Elias “appeared to them;” But in Luke’s gospel it is said that they “appeared in glory,” to teach us that saints departed are in glory―Moses and Elias appeared to the disciples; they saw them, and heard them talk, and, either by their discourse or by information from Christ, they knew them to be Moses and Elias; glorified saints shall know one another in heaven.

C. H. SPURGEON: And mark the good company they sit with. They are to “sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,” Matthew 8:11. Some people think that in heaven we shall know nobody. But our text declares here, that we “shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob.” Then I am sure that we shall be aware that they are Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob. Would not that be a dreary heaven for us to inhabit, where we should be alike unknowing and unknown? I would not care to go to such a heaven as that. I believe that heaven is a fellowship of the saints, and that we shall know one another there.

MATTHEW HENRY: Abraham gave up the ghost…and was gathered to his people,” Genesis 25:8. If God’s people be our people, death will gather us to them…Holy society is a part of the felicity of heaven; and they on whom the ends of the world are come, and who are most obscure, shall share in glory with the renowned patriarchs.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): All the saints shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, having communion with them, not only as godly men, but as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And if with them, why not with others?

J. C. RYLE: We shall see all of whom we have read in Scripture, and know them all, and mark the peculiar graces of each one. We shall look upon Noah, and remember his witness for God in ungodly times. We shall look on Abraham, and remember his faith; on Isaac, and remember his meekness; on Moses, and remember his patience; on David, and remember all his troubles. We shall sit down with Peter, and James, and John, and Paul, and remember all their toil when they laid the foundations of the Church.

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (347-407): We shall point them out, and say, “Lo, yonder is Peter, and that’s Paul, and there are the prophets.”

C. H. SPURGEON: I have often thought I should love to see Isaiah; and, as soon as I get to heaven, methinks, I would ask for him, because he spoke more of Jesus Christ than all the rest. I am sure I should want to find out good George Whitefield—he who so continually preached to the people, and wore himself out with a more than seraphic zeal. O yes! We shall have choice company in heaven when we get there.

WILLIAM JAY: It has been asked, “Shall we know each other in heaven?” Cease your anxieties.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ on the earth, the spirits of just men made perfect  and all the holy angels in heaven, make up but one family, of which God is the Father and Head.

J. C. RYLE: They that enter heaven will find that they are neither unknown nor unexpected…Let us hear what the apostle Paul said to the Thessalonians: “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him,” 1 Thessalonians 4:13,14. There would be no point in these words of consolation if they did not imply the mutual recognition of saints. The hope with which Paul cheers wearied Christians is the hope of meeting their beloved friends again.

PHILIP DODDRIDGE (1702-1751): These very scriptures assure us we shall meet with them again; for they and we being with the Lord, we must be with each other. What a delightful thought is this! When we run over the long catalogue of excellent friends which we are rash to say we have “lost,” to think―each of us―“I shall be gathered to my people.”

RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691): I know that Christ is all in all; and that it is the presence of God that makes Heaven to be Heaven. But yet it much sweetens the thoughts of that place to me that there are there such a multitude of my most dear and precious friends in Christ.

AUGUSTINE (354-430): Heaven is the perfectly ordered and harmonious enjoyment of God―and, of one another in God.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): It was a sweet speech of a dying saint that he was going to change his place but not his company.


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The Sad Lament of Balaam

Hebrews 9:2; Numbers 23:10

It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): There are many who desire to die the death of the righteous, but do not endeavour to live the life of the righteous. Gladly would they have their end like theirs, but not their way. They would be saints in heaven, but not saints on earth.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Death is the end of a man in this world; and the end of a righteous man in it is peace, rest, salvation, and eternal life―truly gracious persons, who have the truth of grace, and the root of the matter in them, die as well as others, yet their death is different from others―they die in the Lord, in union to Him, in faith of Him, in hope of eternal life by Him, and their death is precious to Him, Psalm 116:15; and in consequence of this they are carried by angels to glory at death are immediately in heaven with Christ, and it will be well with them to all eternity.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Their happiness begins where the happiness of other people ends.

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): Where you die—when you die—or by what means is scarcely worth a thought, if you do but die in Christ.

JOHN GILL: Balaam had some notion of this; and though he did not care to live the life of such, he wished to die their death, or that he might be as happy at death as they; by which he bears a testimony to the immortality of the soul, to a future state after death, and to an eternal life and happiness to be enjoyed by good men.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Turn to the book of Numbers, the 22nd chapter and the 34th verse: “And Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, I have sinned.” “I have sinned,” said Balaam; but yet he went on with his sin afterwards. One of the strangest characters of the whole world is Balaam. I have often marvelled at that man; he seems really in another sense to have come up to the lines of Ralph Erskine—

“To good and evil equal bent,

And both a devil and a saint.”

For he did seem to be so. At times no man could speak more eloquently and more truthfully, and at other times he exhibited the most mean and sordid covetousness that could disgrace human nature.

RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): A man may be a false prophet and yet speak the truth.

C. H. SPURGEON: See Balaam; he stands upon the brow of the hill, and there lie the multitudes of Israel at his feet; he is bidden to curse them, and he cries, “How shall I curse whom God hath not cursed?” And God opening his eyes, he begins to tell even about the coming of Christ, and he says, “I shall see Him, but not now. I shall behold Him, but not nigh.” And then he winds up his oration by saying—“Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!” And ye will say of that man, he is a hopeful character. But wait till he has come off the brow of the hill, and ye will hear him give the most diabolical advice to the king of Moab which it was even possible for Satan himself to suggest. Said he to the king, “You cannot overthrow these people in battle, for God is with them; try and entice them from their God.” And ye know how with wanton lusts they of Moab tried to entice the children of Israel from allegiance to Jehovah; so that this man seemed to have the voice of an angel at one time, and yet the very soul of a devil in his bowels.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): In general, the proper evidence of true Christians is, not merely that they can talk about Divine things, but that, by the grace of God, they live and act agreeable to the rules of His Word, in the state in which His providence has placed them, whether as masters or servants, husbands or wives, parents or children; bearing rule, or yielding obedience, as in His sight.

RICHARD SIBBES: Balaam here wishes, “Oh, that I might die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be as his!” It was a strange speech of such a man as this, that his soul should be rapt up in this manner―But God will sometimes even stir the hearts of wicked men to a sight and admiration of the excellence of God’s children. What a thing is this, that a wicked man should see such an estate and not take it!

MATTHEW POOLE: But it was a vain wish; for as Balaam would not live as God’s people did.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Carnal men care not to seek that which they would gladly find. Some faint desires, and short-winded wishes, may be sometimes found in them, but the mischief is, they would break God’s chain, sunder happiness from holiness, salvation from sanctification, the end from the means; they would dance with the devil all day, and then sup with Christ at night; live all their lives in Delilah’s lap, and then go to Abraham’s bosom when they die.

EDWARD TAYLOR (1793-1871): I hope none of my people calculate on serving the devil all their lives and cheating him with their dying breath. Don’t look forward to honouring God by giving him the last snuff of an expiring candle.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): He who would die well should live well; for a bad death must be the issue of a bad life.

BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): A Christian is not afraid of death, but of sin; an unconverted man is not afraid of sin, but of death.

C. H. SPURGEON: Balaam was a terrible character; he was a man of two things, a man who went all the way with two things to a very great extent. I know the Scripture says, “No man can serve two masters.” Now this is often misunderstood. Some read it, “No man can serve two masters.” Yes he can; he can serve three or four. The way to read it is this: “No man can serve two masters,” They cannot both be masters. He can serve two, but they cannot both be his master. A man can serve two who are not his masters, or twenty; he may live for twenty different purposes, but he cannot live for more than one master purpose—there can only be one master purpose in his soul. But Balaam laboured to serve two; it was like the people of whom it was said, “They feared the Lord, and served other gods,” 2 Kings 17:33.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Purify your hearts, ye double-minded,” James 4:8. Be no more double minded, vainly endeavouring to serve both God and mammon.

MATTHEW HENRY: Therefore, if you resolve to serve God, you must renounce all competitors with Him.



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Proverbs 13:11; 28:22; 28:20; 1 Timothy 6:10; Ephesians 4:28
       Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase…He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him…A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
       For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some have coveted after, they have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
       Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I noticed, some time ago, that a learned prelate said that he could not find any Commandment against gambling. Where were his eyes? Is it not plainly written, “Thou shall not covet”? What is gambling but covetousness in action?

G. CAMPBELL MORGAN (1863-1945): The whole habit of gambling is of the essence of theft, and this for the reason that it is a means of coming into possession of property for which one has done no honest work.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Wealth that is not the result of honest industry and hard labour is seldom permanent. All fortunes acquired by speculation, lucky hits, etc., soon become dissipated―God’s blessing is not in them, because they are not the produce of industry…A speculation in trade is a public nuisance and a curse. How many honest men have been ruined by such!

C. H. SPURGEON: When business is mere gambling, it ceases to be legitimate. Let speculators take heed of those dangers which necessarily attend all games of chance. I believe that every form of gambling, though it may take a business shape, tends more or less to harden the heart—Nobody but gamblers could have cast the dice, all blood bespattered, at the foot of the cross of our Redeemer. Gambling brings men into a state of heart worse than almost any other form of sin. When a man is willing to risk his all practically on the mere toss of a halfpenny whether goods shall go up or down, he is usually a bad man. And if he is not, he will be so before long.

AUGUSTINE (354-430): The devil invented gambling.

C. H. SPURGEON: I hold it to be fraught with more deadly evils than anything else that could be invented, even by Satan himself. I saw an old respectable-looking man put down ten pounds [in a casino]. He won, and he received twenty. He put down the twenty; he won again, and he had forty. He put down the forty, and received eighty. He put down the eighty, and took up one hundred and sixty pounds. Then he put it all in his pocket, and walked away as calmly as possible. The man would lose money by that transaction, because he would go back on the morrow, and probably play till he would sell the house that covers his children’s heads, and pawn the very bed from under his wife.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Such is the madness to which their greed carries them.

C. H. SPURGEON: The worst thing that can happen to a man who gambles is to win. If you lose, it serves you right, and there is hope that you will repent of your folly; if you win, the devil will have you in his net so thoroughly that escape will be well-nigh impossible…A young gambler is sure to be an old beggar if he lives long enough.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): In gambling there is a secret enchantment. A man will play a little, and only venture a small sum—but soon he is enticed in, and more and more entangled. Just so, men think it is no great matter to sin a little—and yet that little leads on to more!

G. CAMPBELL MORGAN: There is no more insidious evil sapping away the integrity and uprightness of the nation today than this lust for possession without toil, which lies at the root of all gambling.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): Vast schemes of lotteries under various pretexts have been introduced into society, and have greatly corrupted the morals of the people.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): There are lotteries, for instance, that we have in many churches. If a man wants to gamble, he doesn’t have to go to some gambling den; he can stay in the church. And there are fairs—bazaars, as they call them—where they have raffles and grab-bags…I believe all these things grieve the Spirit of God.

C. H. SPURGEON: The Bishop of Gibraltar did well to address his clergy in words such as these―“What is wanted of us all is that we should endeavour to form a healthy and righteous public opinion on the subject of gambling, draw away the veil which hides its guilt, and exhibit it to our congregations in its real deformity.”

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): Money won by gambling is not won without self-seeking sin.

C. H. SPURGEON: And yet many say, “Well, I only play for the fun of it—you know there is nothing in it.” Of course there is nothing in it, but look at the connection of it.

JEREMY TAYLOR (1613-1667): If a man be willing or indifferent to lose his own money, and not at all desirous to get another’s, to what purpose is it that he plays for it? If he be not indifferent, then he is covetous or a fool.

WILHELMUS à BRAKEL (1635-1711): Gambling and lotteries are sin…It is an abomination before God to give a portion to the poor from that which we have obtained through unrighteous means or by way of gambling, doing so to quiet the conscience somewhat―this is no more pleasing to God than “the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog” (Deuteronomy 23:18), God forbidding that such funds would come into the treasury.

C. H. SPURGEON: No sin hardens the heart like gambling. Inhumanity is only a natural result of it. The play burns the heart, and dries up the milk of human kindness. While it renders a man weary of ordinary labour, for he fancies he has found a swifter road to riches, it makes him fit for any villainy and vice. It arouses covetousness, creates a selfish excitement, unfits for duty, and prepares for every iniquity. Need we say more against it? Can more be said?

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Of all gambling in the world, there is none so reckless as that of the man who lives unprepared to meet God, and yet puts off repentance―Break off from those sins, cast away your transgressions, and turn away from them without delay―Apply to Christ at once.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): What shall it profit a man to win the whole world and lose his own soul?


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Is Every Affliction a Judgment of God Upon Sin?

John 9:1-3
       And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): The disciples’ question supposed two things for truth: That all bodily punishments and afflictions come upon men for sin, [and] that as some come upon them for personal sins, so others come upon them for the sins of their parents. The latter is unquestionably true: so is the former, but not universally: as there are afflictions which are punishments of sin, so there are some that are trials.

AUGUSTUS TOPLADY (1713-1778): King Charles II once said to that great man, John Milton, “Do not you think your blindness is a judgment upon you for having written in defence of my father’s murder.” “Sir,” answered the poet, “it is true, I have lost my eyes; but, if all calamitous providences are to be considered as judgments, your majesty should remember that your royal father lost his head.”

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Extraordinary afflictions are not always the punishment of extraordinary sins, but sometimes the trial of extraordinary graces…Christ, who perfectly knew the secret springs of the divine counsels, told them two things concerning such uncommon calamities: that they are not always inflicted as punishments of sin [and] that they are sometimes intended purely for the glory of God, and the manifesting of His works.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Afflictions are often the black foils in which God doth set the jewels of his children’s graces, to make them shine the better.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): In the darkness of our miseries the grace of God shines more brightly.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The Gospel reveals the one thing needful, the pearl of great price; and supposes, that they who possess this are provided for against all events, and have a ground of unshaken hope, and a source of never-failing consolation under every change they can meet with during their pilgrimage state. When His people are enabled to set their seal to this, not only in theory, when all things go smooth, but practically, when called upon to pass through the fire and water; then His grace is glorified in them and by them; then it appears, both to themselves and to others, that they have neither followed cunningly devised fables, nor amused themselves with empty notions; then they know in themselves, and it is evidenced to others, that God is with them of a truth.

RICHARD CECIL (1748-1810): Often is trial great as an honour, to illustrate the strength of the grace given.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Stars shine brightest in the darkest night.

C. H. SPURGEON: There are some of thy graces which would never be discovered if it were not for thy trials…It was but a little while ago that on thy knees thou wast saying, “Lord, I fear I have no faith: let me know that I have faith.” Was not this really, though perhaps unconsciously, praying for trials?―for how canst thou know that thou hast faith until thy faith is exercised? Depend upon it, God often sends us trials that our graces may be discovered, and that we may be certified of their existence.

THOMAS BROOKS: Grapes come not to the proof till they come to the press.

JOHN NEWTON: Affliction is a touchstone that discovers what spirit a man is of. The hypocrite may keep up a fair semblance of true piety, while all things go smooth and to his wish; but in sharp troubles the mask will drop off. When faith endures the fire, we know it to be of the right kind; and others, who see we are brought safe out, and lose nothing but the dross, will confess that God is with us of a truth. Surely this thought should reconcile us to suffer, not only with patience but with cheerfulness, if God may be glorified in us. This made the Apostle rejoice in tribulation, that the power of Christ might be noticed, as resting upon him, and working mightily in him.

C. H. SPURGEON: Besides, it is not merely discovery, real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials.

THOMAS BROOKS: Afflictions ripen the saints’ graces.

SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): Some graces grow best in winter…Faith is the better of the free air, and of the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withereth without adversity.

DANIEL ROWLAND (1711-1790): The lowly graces of the Spirit thrive best under crosses.

JOHN NEWTON: Many of our graces likewise cannot thrive or shew themselves to advantage without trials; such as resignation, patience, meekness, long-suffering—it is by our own sufferings we learn to pity and sympathize with others in their sufferings: such a compassionate disposition, which excites our feelings for the afflicted, is an eminent branch of the mind which was in Christ. But these feelings would be very faint, if we did not in our experience know what sorrows and temptations mean.

THOMAS BROOKS: Gold looks the brighter for scouring…Afflictions, they are but our Father’s goldsmiths who are working to add pearls to our crowns.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): It seems also from the teaching of the Scriptures and the lives of saints, that God sometimes prepares a man for a great trial in this way. I mean that He prepares him for a great trial by giving him some lesser trials.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): The Lord’s jewels need grinding, and cutting, and polishing.

JOHN LELAND (1754-1841): Grievous afflictions are not always sent as a scourge for crimes committed, but sometimes as preventatives from crimes. Paul’s thorn prevented his pride.

C. H. SPURGEON: God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians. He trains his soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long mile with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs.

JOHN NEWTON: It is so in the Christian life: activity and strength of grace is not ordinarily acquired by those who sit still and live at ease, but by those who frequently meet with something which requires a full exertion of what power the Lord has given them.

C. H. SPURGEON: However, let us remember that grace is increased, in the exercise of it, not by virtue of the exercise itself, but as Christ by His Spirit flows into the soul and brings us nearer to Himself, the fountain, so instilling such comfort that the heart is further enlarged. The heart of a Christian is Christ’s garden, and his graces are as so many sweet spices and flowers, when His Spirit blows upon them, to send forth a sweet savour.

THOMAS BROOKS: Spices smell sweetest when pounded—and juniper smells sweeter in the fire.

C. H. SPURGEON: Well, Christian, may not this account for the troubles through which thou art passing? Is not the Lord bringing out your graces, and making them grow?


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False Foundations of “Faith” that are Certain to Fail

John 14:6; I Corinthians 3:11
       Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
       For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

ALEXANDER COMRIE (1706-1774): Each one who lives under the Gospel and has a concern over his soul for an approaching eternity, has a foundation, good or bad, upon which he is building his hope of salvation, upon which he rests his comfort in a dying hour. And of a truth, experience teaches us, that men lay foundations which are so precarious that a perceptive eye looking upon them must tremble on their behalf. It is impossible for any man to name all these foundations, since each has something peculiar to itself; yet they all coincide in this, that they build upon another foundation than Christ the Lord.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Men may attempt to lay other foundations than Christ, and build upon them, but to no purpose; they will be of no avail. All besides Him are sandy foundations—such as fleshly privileges, a carnal descent, a religious education, an external profession of religion, a man’s own righteousness, and the absolute mercy of God.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): They think God loves them because they love themselves; and though they know they have sin, yet they think God will not be so ill, as to reckon with them; they think they are sure that God loves them, but they cannot give a ground for it.

ALEXANDER COMRIE: Many mistake as a basis the convictions, the concerns, the continual accusations of their conscience, thinking these come from the Lord, and are a sign that God is working in them, and that they possess something different from their neighbours who live untroubled. But Saul (I Samuel 15:24) cried out, “I have sinned,” as also did Pharaoh and Judas. O! it is no good sign if a man places his convictions for a “foundation” without considering whether the blood of Jesus is ever applied to the soul to make its peace with God.

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): Others come forth too soon; they are born, like Ishmael, before the time of the promise. They take up with a mere Law work, and stay not till the time of the promise of the Gospel. They snatch at consolation, not waiting till it be given them; and foolishly draw their comfort from the Law that wounded them. They apply the healing plaster to themselves before their wound is sufficiently searched.

MATTHEW MEAD (1629-1699): Never rest in convictions till they end in conversion. This is that wherein most men miscarry: they rest in their convictions, and take them for conversion, as if sin seen were therefore forgiven, as if a sight of the want of grace were the truth of a work of grace.

ALEXANDER COMRIE: Others place as their “foundation” their peace of mind; heretofore they have indeed had troubles and have long mourned, but now they are quiet, which is a sign of peace with God, since the wicked are like the troubled sea; however, the young man in Luke 18 was also at peace.

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): It is manifest, therefore, that too much stress has been laid by many persons on a great work of the law preceding their comforts, who seem not only to have looked on such a work of the law as necessary to precede faith, but also to have esteemed it as the chief evidence of the truth and genuineness of succeeding faith and comforts. By this means it is to be feared very many have been deceived and established in a false hope.

ALEXANDER COMRIE: Many place as their “ground” the good opinion of others. In their perplexity they have spoken to this or that minister or godly person, relating to them their pathway; and these appeared by their utterances to place the seal of approval upon it; now all is well, no trouble, no arrow can now hit them; such a one has said it; therefore, others may think and say what they will, they take no notice, but go to perdition with a lie in their right hand.

JAMES DURHAM: A second sort are they that take the legal way for making their peace with God. Not as if they thought to appear before God without sin, and holy, as the covenant of works requires; but if they sin, they will make amends. And it is either something negative that they have not done, or something positive that they have done, or some internal qualifications, that they rest upon.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): We all naturally are legalist, thinking to be justified by the works of the law. When somewhat awakened by the terrors of the Lord, we immediately, like the Pharisees of old, go about to establish our own righteousness, and think we shall find acceptance with God, if we seek it with tears; finding ourselves damned by nature and our actual sins, we then think to recommend ourselves to God by our duties, and hope, by our doings of one kind or another, to inherit eternal life.

ALEXANDER COMRIE: Many place as their “foundation” that their convictions have been followed by some breaking off and changing of their deeds, so that they not only forsake former sins, but practise the contrary virtues; just as Herod did many things through the powerful ministry of John (Mark 6:20). Many use for their “foundation” their holy life in the practice of the duties of worship, their hearty prayers, their regular attendance on the means, their love to the ministers, having nothing more than Micah in the book of Judges, who thought that all would be well because he had a Levite to his priest, Judges 17:13. Many set down not only their knowledge of historical truths, but their skill in the knowledge of God and their understanding of God’s word for their “foundation;” however, there is a knowledge with puffeth up, and a wisdom which is not of God.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Most that perish, it is not their disease that kills them, but their physician; they think to cure themselves, and this leaves them incurable.

ALEXANDER COMRIE: Since a man must have a foundation which is sound, he is now out to make provision to have one that is good, so that he partly settles upon the rock of Christ, while there is another part which rests upon a sandy foundation; such are they who receive Christ in part—they are sinners and cannot stand before God, so they receive Jesus for guilt which is past, but now they will by the goodness of God live for Him; just as thousands receive Christ as Priest, but not as King. The Galatians would also lay Christ thus as their foundation, building part upon His righteousness and partly upon their own.

BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): He who depends in part or in whole on his own righteousness will surely be damned.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Jesus is the only door, the only way of a sinner’s access to the knowledge and favour of God. This is the precious and sure foundation which He has laid in Zion (I Peter 2:6); and to presume to build our hope upon any other, is to build upon a quicksand.


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