Female Beauty in its Proper Perspective

Proverbs 11:22
       As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): In Asiatic countries the nose jewel is very common: to this the text alludes.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): It is taken for granted here that beauty or comeliness of body is as a jewel of gold, a thing very valuable, and, where there is wisdom and grace to guard against the temptations of it, it is a great ornament.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): Personal beauty is not a thing to be despised: it is a work of God, and none of His works are done in vain…Beauty is a talent, and has a power. Call it, if you will, a power like that of a sharp knife, dangerous in the hands of the weak or the wicked; but still it is a power, the gift of God, and capable of being ranked among the all the things that advance His glory. Like wealth or wisdom, or any other talent, it may be possessed by the humble, and employed for good. If the heart be holy and the aim true, personal beauty will enlarge the sphere and double the resources of beneficence. The same spread full sail may speed the ship on her course, or dash her on the rock of doom. If the beautiful be not also good, beauty becomes an object of disgust and a cause of ruin…When an impure character is clothed in corporeal loveliness, it is the spirit of darkness appearing as an angel of light. A beautiful woman who is proud, flippant, selfish, false, is miserable herself, and dangerous to others. It is a combination to be loathed and shunned.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Let us see things as the Bible shows them to us. If a fair, light-minded young woman should see her own face in this mirror, she might well start aside in horror. Beauty indeed is to be honoured, as the gift of God. Yet in itself, it is a fading vanity, Proverbs 31:30; and without discretion, it is as misplaced, as mis-becoming, as a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): We must remember that the exhortations of the Holy Ghost on the subject of dress are all addressed to women.

WILLIAM ARNOT: Women who have beauty above the average should be peculiarly watchful on that side, lest they sin and suffer there…The dress should be, in the first place, modest. In pure eyes, nothing is aesthetically beautiful which is morally awry.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): A modest woman is known by the modesty of her attire. If the clothing be vulgar or showy the heart is vain.

MATTHEW HENRY: The outward adorning of the body is very often sensual and excessive; for instance―when you dress with design to allure and tempt others, when your apparel is too rich, curious, or superfluous, when your fashions are fantastical, imitating the levity and vanity of the worst people, and when they are immodest and wanton. The attire of a harlot can never become a chaste Christian.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): What difference is there between the fashion parade and the dog show?

CHARLES BRIDGES: Lightness and fantastic garb in apparel is the very bush or sign hanging out, that tells a vain mind lodges within. The soul fallen from God hath lost its true worth and beauty; and therefore it basely descends to these mean things, to serve and dress the body, and take share with it of its unworthy borrowed ornaments, while it hath lost and forgotten God, and seeks not after Him, knows not that He alone is the beauty and ornament of the soul, and His spirit, and the grace of it, His rich attire. Learn then to value far beyond the beauty of face, the inner “ornaments” of grace, “which are in the sight of God of great price,” I Peter 3:4,5. Many a lovely form enshrines a revolting mind. All the charms of beauty are lost upon a foolish woman.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): She disgraceth the beauty of her body by a foolish and filthy soul.

MATTHEW HENRY: It is lamented that beauty should be so abused as it is by those that have not modesty with it. It seems ill-bestowed on them.

J. R. MILLER (1840-1912): Every woman wants to be beautiful. The secret of true beauty is stated in Proverbs 31:30: “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Some women sacrifice everything to win favour, to become popular. This word tells us how worthless, how empty and vain is the world’s favour. Nothing is worth striving for in womanhood, but pure, noble, lovely character. That is gotten only by being a Christian, by loving God and doing His will, and staying near Him all the time.

CHARLES BRIDGES: Let virtue, not beauty, be the primary object.

JAMES PILKINGTON (1520-1576): If women would learn what God will plague them for, and how; let them read the third chapter of the prophet Isaiah. And if they will learn what God willeth them to do, and be occupied withal, though they be of the best sort, let them read the last chapter of the Proverbs. It is enough to note it, and point it out them that will learn.

MATTHEW HENRY: Thus is shut up this looking-glass for ladies, which they are desired to open and dress themselves by; and, if they do so, their adorning will be found to praise, and honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ.


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Pride: The Popular Preacher’s Peril

I Corinthians 4:7; I Corinthians 5:6
       Who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
       Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): Spiritual pride. This is the main door by which the devil comes into the hearts of those who are zealous for the advancement of Christ.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The greatest of all the temptations that assail a preacher is pride.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): They need caution, that have the great presence of God with them as to success, when eminently employed in God’s service. Credit by worldly eminency and esteem falleth in with their services, and secretly insinuates high thoughts of their own excellencies.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): We must not glory if we be extolled unto the skies in the opinion of men, and if by their voices and consents we be judged to be most excellent men.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): It is difficult, I believe, to go through the fiery trial of popularity and applause untainted.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): If opposition has hurt many, popularity has wounded more―It is like walking upon ice. When you shall see an attentive congregation hanging upon your words: when you shall hear the well-meant, but often injudicious commendations, of those to whom the Lord shall make you useful: when you shall find, upon an intimation of your preaching in a strange place, people thronging from all parts to hear you, how will your heart feel? It is easy for me to advise you to be humble, and for you to acknowledge the propriety of the advice; but, while human nature remains in its present state, there will be almost the same connection between popularity and pride, as between fire and gunpowder: they cannot meet without an explosion, at least not unless the gunpowder is kept very damp. So, unless the Lord is constantly moistening our hearts―if I may so speak―by the influences of His Spirit, popularity will soon set us ablaze. You will hardly find a person, who has been exposed to this fiery trial, without suffering loss.

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): I have also, while found in this blessed work of Christ, been often tempted to pride and liftings up of heart; and though I dare not say I have not been infected with this, yet truly the Lord, of His precious mercy, hath so carried it towards me, that, for the most part, I have had but small joy to give way to such a thing; for it hath been my every day’s portion to be let into the evil of my own heart, and still made to see such a multitude of corruptions and infirmities therein, that it hath caused hanging down of the head under all my gifts and attainments; I have felt this thorn in the flesh, the very mercy of God to me, 2 Corinthians 12:7-9.

JOHN NEWTON: Sometimes, if His ministers are not watchful against the first impressions of pride, He permits it to gather strength; and then it is but a small thing that a few of their admirers may think them more than men in the pulpit, if they are left to commit such mistakes, when out of it, as the weakest of the flock can discover and pity. And this will certainly be the case, while pride and self-sufficiency have the ascendant.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Pride of gifts. If once, like Hezekiah, we call in spectators to see our treasure and applaud us for our gifts and comfort, then it is high time for God to send some messengers to carry these away from us, which carry our hearts from Him, 2 Chronicles 32:31…Great gifts lift a saint up a little higher in the eyes of men, but it occasions many temptations―envy from their brethren, malice from Satan, and pride in their own hearts, I dare say none find so hard a work to bear up against those waves and winds.

JOHN NEWTON: Beware, my friend, of mistaking the ready exercise of gifts for the exercise of grace. The minister may be assisted in public for the sake of his hearers; and there is something in the nature of our public work, when surrounded by a concourse of people, that is suited to draw forth the exertion of our abilities, and to engage our attention in the outward services, when the frame of the heart may be far from being right in the sight of the Lord. When Moses smote the rock, the water followed; yet he spoke unadvisedly with his lips, and greatly displeased the Lord. However, the congregation was not disappointed for his fault, nor was he put to shame before them; but he was humbled for it afterwards.

THOMAS ADAM (1701-1784): A heart full of pride is but a vessel full of air; this self-opinion must be blown out of us.

WILLIAM GURNALL: Pride of gifts robs us of God’s blessing in the use of them. The humble man may have Satan at his right hand to oppose him; but be sure the proud man shall find God Himself there to resist him, whenever he goes about any duty. God proclaims so much, and would have the proud man know that He will oppose him; He “resisteth the proud,” James 5:6. Great gifts are beautiful as Rachel, but pride makes them also barren like her. Either we must lay self aside, or God will lay us aside.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): There are many people who start out with idea that they are great and other people are small, and they are going to bring them up on the high level with themselves. God never yet used a man of that stamp.

WILLIAM GURNALL: While thou art priding in thy gifts, thou art dwindling and withering in thy grace. Such are like corn that runs up much into straw, whose ear commonly is light and thin. Grace is too much neglected where gifts are too highly prized…Art thou humble under the assistance and strength God hath given thee? Pride stops the conduit. If the heart begin to swell, it is time for God to hold His hand, and turn the cock, for all that is poured on such a soul runs over into self-applauding, and so is as water spilt, in regard of any good it doth the creature, or any glory it brings to God.

THOMAS CHALMERS (1780-1847): Guard against that vanity which courts a compliment, or is fed by it.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The success of the ministry must be derived from the divine blessing: Neither he that planteth is any thing, nor he that watereth, but God who giveth the increase, I Corinthians 3:7. Even apostolic ministers are nothing of themselves, and can do nothing with efficacy and success unless God give the increase. The best qualified and most faithful ministers have a just sense of their own insufficiency, and are very desirous that God should have all the glory of their success.

AMY CARMICHAEL (1867-1951): Those who think too much of themselves don’t think enough.


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The Reality of the Existence of Satan, the Devil of the Bible

Job 1:6,7
       Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.
       And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou?
       Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and for in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): I am certain that one of the main causes of the ill state of the Church today is the fact that the devil is being forgotten. All is attributed to us; we have all become so psychological in our attitude and thinking. We are ignorant of this great objective fact—the being, the existence of the devil.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Is the Devil a living reality, or is he nothing more than a figment of the imagination? Is the word “Satan” merely a synonym for wickedness, or does it stand for a concrete entity?
      In cultured circles it has become the custom to return a negative answer to these questions, and to flatly deny the existence of the Tempter. Among such people it is regarded as a mark of intellectual superiority to repudiate the personality of the Devil. By many, Satan is now looked upon as a product of priestcraft, a relic of superstition, the myth of a bygone age. With others, Satan is simply an abstraction, a mere negation, the opposite of good. “All the Devil there is, is the devil within you,” is the last word of “modern thought.” The words which Goethe puts into the mouth of Mephistopholes—“I am the Spirit of Negation”—is accepted as a good workable definition of the Devil. He is regarded as a mere abstract principle of evil. As someone has quaintly put it, “They spell Devil without a ‘d’, as they spell God with two ‘o’s’. Good and evil is their scheme.”

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Away with the silly thought!―It is he, who is continually going to the ears of intellectual and highly educated people, persuading them that the old Bible is not true, and advising them to be content with Atheism, Agnosticism, Secularism, and a general contempt for the world to come.

A. W. PINK: But the more general conception of Satan is different from the above. The popular idea, the one that prevails among the masses, may be gathered from the pictorial representations of him which appear on the street posters, which are to be met with in our illustrated magazines, and which are displayed upon the stage—where he is pictured as a grotesque monster in human form, having horns, hoofs and forked tail. Such a conception is an insult to intelligent people, and in consequence, the Devil has come to be regarded either as a bogey with which to frighten naughty children, or as a fit subject for jest and joke.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: So at this point we must assert our faith. We shall be regarded as fools. Any man who believes in the devil today is regarded as almost unintelligent, yet if you believe the Bible you must believe in [the existence] of this tremendous person and his awful power.

A. W. PINK: Thirty-five times [in the Bible] he is denominated “The Devil,” which means “The Accuser” or “Slanderer”—accusing the saints before God and traducing the character of God before men. Fifty-two times he is called “Satan,” which means “Enemy” or “Adversary.” He is God’s enemy and man’s adversary. “Satan” refers to his character: the malignant Adversary of all good—in God or His creatures. “Devil” refers to his mode of carrying out his evil designs: by lying slanders, false accusations, evil traducings.
      He is termed “The Prince of this world,” John 14:30, which defines his position in relation to our earth. He is named “Beelzebub,” Matthew 12:27, which regards him as the head of the demons. He is spoken of as the “Wicked One,” Matthew 13:19 which refers to him as the prime mover of all wickedness. He is styled “Apollyon,” that is “Destroyer,” Revelation 9:11, which links him with the Bottomless Pit. He is referred to as “The Prince of the power of the air,” Ephesians 2:2, which points to his present home and sphere of operations—cf. Ephesians 6:12. He is termed “Lucifer” which means “Morning Star,” Isaiah 14:12, a title which seems to have belonged to him before his apostasy. He is called “The god of this world,” 2 Corinthians 4:4, because he is the inspirer and director of all spurious religion. He is termed “Liar, and the father of it,” John 8:44, because he is the inveterate opposer of the truth. These and other titles of Satan are meaningless unless he is a personal being.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): I believe Satan to exist for two reasons: first, the Bible says so; and second, I’ve done business with him.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Those of us who have passed through any spiritual conflicts know that Satan is a terribly real personage.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): The first act of the ministry of Jesus Christ was a combat with Satan.

A. W. PINK: No unbiased mind can read carefully the fourth chapter of Matthew without coming to the conclusion that we have recorded there a real conflict between two persons—our Lord Jesus Christ and Satan…To say, in reply, We admit that Christ there is a real person but that “the Devil” must be regarded as a personification of evil, is blasphemy, for it impugns the character of our blessed Lord. Unlike every fallen son of Adam who is shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin, the Lord Jesus Christ was sinless…He declared, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me,” John 14:30. As then there was no evil in our blessed Saviour, the one who tempted Him must have been external and personal. To deny that Matthew 4 presents Satan as a personal entity is either to traduce our Lord’s character, or, it is to reduce the entire narrative to meaningless jargon. Everything that is said of Satan in this chapter indicates and intimates that he is as real and actual a person as the Lord Jesus Himself. The tempter “came to Him.” He spoke, yea, reasoned and argued. He took Christ up into the holy city. He quoted to Him from the Psalms. He showed Him all the kingdoms of the world. He sought worship from the Saviour. At His word “he departed from Him for a season.” All of which is proof positive—to one that believes in the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures—that Satan is a living person.

J. C. RYLE: Does anyone foolishly suppose that the devil is asleep, or dead, or less mischievous now than in the past? Nothing of the kind! He is still “walking about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour,” 1 Peter 5:8; He is still “going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it,” Job 1:7…It is he, above all, who persuades foolish people that there is no such person as a devil, no future judgment after death, and no hell.


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A Christian’s Best Revenge

Ephesians 4:26; Psalm 37:8; Romans 12:19-21
       Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.
       Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
       Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Revenge is a passion unbecoming the children of God.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven, Matthew 5:44. This is the most sublime piece of morality ever given to man. Has it appeared unreasonable and absurd to some? It has. And why? Because it is natural to man to avenge himself, and plague those who plague him; and he will ever find abundant excuse for his conduct, in the repeated evils he receives from others; for men are naturally hostile to each other.

WILLIAM BUELL SPRAGUE (1795-1876): Look at the revengeful man. He has received, or supposes he has received, some injury; and he imagines that his honour is tarnished; and he cannot rest till he has made provision to brighten it up by some revengeful act—perhaps by attacking his adversary in the street—perhaps by calling him into the field, in the hope of shedding his blood. Rely on it, there is, in all these cases, not only mental excitement but mental agony: the spirit which can prompt to such an act or such a project, is worthy of a fiend; and it cannot have possession of a human bosom without being a tormentor. And even where from considerations of timidity or of policy, there may be no external demonstration of the revengeful spirit—though it may never be felt in any offensive act, nor heard even in a whisper, yet it will be nothing better in the soul than an imprisoned fury; or, if you please, a serpent holding the whole inner man continually in his deadly coils.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Malice is mental murder.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): Liquors are soured when long kept; so, when we dwell upon discontents, they turn to revenge. Purposes of revenge are most sweet and pleasant to carnal nature: “Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually,” Proverbs 6:14―that is to say, he is full of revengeful and spiteful thoughts.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): We must rid ourselves of the spirit of retaliation, of the desire to defend ourselves and to revenge ourselves for any injury or wrong that is done to us―“Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

RICHARD ROGERS (1550-1618): Many a man might have eschewed murder, if he could have withdrawn his heart from wrath and revenge.

J. C. PHILPOT (1802-1869): We need patience when anything is said or done to hurt our minds, wound our feelings, irritate our tempers, and stir us up to revenge.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Call to remembrance God’s infinite patience and longsuffering with yourself.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): The best practical specific for the treatment of anger against persons is to “defer it.” Its nature presses for instant vengeance, and the appetite should be starved…When your clothes outside are on fire you wrap yourself in a blanket, if you can, and so smother the flame: in like manner, when you heart within has caught the fire of anger, your first business is to get the flame extinguished.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): This is hard work indeed, in the very fire to keep the spirits cool, and clear of wrath and revenge. But it makes him that by grace can do it, a glorious conqueror. Flesh and blood would bid a man call fire from heaven, rather than mercy to fall upon them that so cruelly handle him. He that can forgive his enemy is too hard for him, and gets the better of him; because his enemy’s blows do not bruise his flesh, but the wounds that love gives, pierce the conscience.

DAVID DICKSON (1583-1662): The most satisfactory revenge which the godly can desire of their persecutors and mockers, is to have them made converts, to have them recalled from the vanity of their way and brought to a right understanding of what concerns their salvation.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Let me give you two illustrations of men who, we must all agree, put this teaching into practise. The first is about the famous Cornish evangelist, Billy Bray, who before his conversion was a pugilist, [a boxer], and a very good one. Billy Bray was converted; but one day, down in the mine, another man who used to live in mortal dread and terror of Billy Bray before Bray’s conversion, knowing he was converted, thought he had at last found his opportunity. Without any provocation at all he struck Billy Bray, who could very easily have revenged himself upon him and laid him down unconscious on the ground. But instead of doing that Billy Bray looked at him and said, “May God forgive you, even as I forgive you,” and no more. The result was that that man endured for several days an agony of mind and spirit which led directly to his conversion. He knew what Billy Bray could do, and he knew what the natural man in Billy Bray wanted to do. But Billy Bray did not do it; and that is how God used him.

THOMAS FULLER (1608-1661): The noblest revenge is to forgive.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The other is a story of a very different man. Hudson Taylor, standing on a river bank in China one evening, hailed a boat to take him across a river. Just as the boat was drawing near, a wealthy Chinese came along who did not recognize Hudson Taylor as a foreigner because he had affected native dress. So when the boat came he struck and thrust Hudson Taylor aside with such force that the latter fell into the mud. Hudson Taylor, however, said nothing; but the boatman refused to take his fellow-countryman, saying, “No, that foreigner called me, and the boat is his, and he must go first.” The Chinese traveller was amazed and astounded when he realized he had blundered. Hudson Taylor did not complain but invited the man into the boat with him and began to tell him what it was in him that made him behave in such a manner. As a foreigner he could have resented such treatment; but he did not do so because of the grace of God in him. A conversation followed which Hudson Taylor had every reason to believe made a deep impression upon that man and upon his soul.

STEPHEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680): Upon what stock does revenge grow, but upon a false idea of the nature of honour?

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): It is more honour to bury an injury than to revenge it.


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The Means & Source of True Spiritual Light

Psalm 119:105; Psalm 19:8; Psalm 119:130; Psalm 36:9
       Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
       The commandment of the LORD is pure enlightening the eyes.
       The entrance of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
       For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): If there be such a light in the Scriptures, what need is there of the Spirit? I answer, the Scriptures are the means of light, the Spirit is the Author of light; both together enlighten the eyes. These two must be taken in conjunction, not in exclusion.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The work of the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential to an understanding of the Scriptures. I don’t care who are nor what you are, if you are not enlightened by the Holy Spirit you will not understand the Scriptures. You cannot; it’s impossible!

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Indeed, how should it be otherwise, for God being a Spirit, He cannot communicate Himself any otherwise than in a spiritual manner to the hearts of men; and consequently if we are strangers to His Spirit, we must continue strangers to His Word, because it is altogether like Himself, spiritual.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): If men understand it not, the veil is not drawn over it, but over their hearts, 2 Corinthians 3:15.

GEORGE OFFOR (1787-1864): The unawakened sinner has no pleasure in the Holy Scriptures; they are to him like old, rent, torn law parchments, which are written in a language that he cannot understand.

THOMAS MANTON: There is a literal understanding of the Scriptures and a spiritual understanding, I Corinthians 2:14. Now, as to the spiritual understanding of them, there needs the Spirit; for the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit; so that here is a fair correspondence between the Word and the Spirit.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD: It was the want of the assistance of this Spirit, that made Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, and a ruler of the Jews, so utterly ignorant in the doctrine of regeneration: for being only a natural man, he could not tell how that thing could be: it was the want of this Spirit that made our Saviour’s disciples, though He so frequently conversed with them, daily mistake the nature of the doctrines He delivered; and it is because the natural veil is not taken off from their hearts, that so many who now pretend to search the Scriptures, yet see no farther than into the bare letter of them, and continue entire strangers to the spiritual meaning couched under every parable, and contained in almost all the precepts of the book of God.

STEPHEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680): A man may be theologically knowing and spiritually ignorant.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): A man may look upon the letter, and never understand the sense, any more than the Philistines did Samson’s riddles: there may be a well of water hard by him, and he perceive it no more than Hagar did, till God had opened her eyes. “Have you not read? and did you never read?” saith our Saviour to the scribes, Matthew 12:3; 14:14; 21:16,42. Yes, none more; but they searched not into the heart of the sense, but stuck in the back of the letter.

JOHN OWEN (1616-1683): The bare letter of the New Testament will no more produce faith and obedience in the souls of men, than the letter of the Old Testament does among the Jews, 2 Corinthians 3:6,8.

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): Bibles alone will not convert men, excellent as they are, but as the spirit, life, and power of the Scriptures is brought home to the heart; it is otherwise but a dead letter to them that are “dead in trespasses and sin.”

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The Bible is a sealed book, till the heart be awakened; and then, he that runs may read.

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): Persons, after their conversion, often speak of religious things as seeming new to them; that preaching is a new thing; that it seems to them they never heard preaching before; that the Bible is a new book: they find there new chapters, new psalms, new histories, because they see them in a new light.

WILLIAM FAREL (1489-1565): Now everything presents itself in a new light. The Scriptures are made clear, the Prophets are opened, the Apostles shed great light upon my soul. A voice, hitherto unknown, the voice of Christ my Shepherd, my Master, my Teacher, speaks to me with power.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): Christ can be known only through divine revelation.

J. C. PHILPOT (1802-1869): Immediately that, by the power of divine grace, a poor sinner turns to the Lord, the Spirit of revelation removes the veil off the Scriptures, and off his heart. Have we not found it so? What a sealed book was the Word of God once to us! How we read or heard without one real ray of light to illuminate the dark page; and what a thick veil was there of ignorance, unbelief, prejudice, self-righteousness, and impenitence on our heart. But the gracious Spirit of revelation took this double veil away, and by giving us the light of life, made the Word of God a new book, and gave us a new heart; and ever since the day when the entrance of His Word gave us light, God’s Word has been a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path.

THOMAS BRADBURY (1831-1905): The Bible is God’s Word, God’s testimony. It is unlike every other book. In the hands of the blessed Spirit it is quick and powerful.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): There is in the conversion of sinners, an immediate, real, powerful, and peculiar work of the Spirit that accompanies the Word…It is a distinct work of the Spirit, distinguished and separable from the Word; though it goes along as He pleases with the Word, yet it is not as if there were some power infused into the Word, and went always and necessarily along with the Word, which is the foolish and groundless conceit of some…Wherever faith is begotten, these two go together: the Word without, and the power of grace within, the one of which is distinct from the other.

JOHN OWEN: He that would utterly separate the Spirit from the Word, had as good as burn his Bible.


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The Creation of Man in the Image of God, or Evolution?

Genesis 1:26,27; Genesis 2:7
       And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
       And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): “Let us make man.” The three Persons of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, consult about it, and concur in it; because man, when he was made, was to be dedicated and devoted to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. That man was made in God’s image, and after His likeness, are two words to express the same thing.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Wherein doth the image of God in man consist?

JOHN WESLEY: God’s image upon man, consists in his nature, not that of his body, for God has not a body, but that of his soul.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): The image and likeness must necessarily be intellectual; his mind, his soul, must have been formed after the nature and perfections of his God. The human mind is still endowed with most extraordinary capacities; it was more so when issuing out of the hands of its Creator. God was now producing a spirit, and a spirit, too, formed after the perfections of His own nature. God is the fountain whence this spirit issued, hence the stream must resemble the spring which produced it. God is holy, just, wise, good, and perfect; so must the soul be that sprang from Him: there could be in it nothing impure, unjust, ignorant, evil, low, base, mean, or vile. It was created after the image of God; and that image, Paul tells us, consisted in righteousness, true holiness, and knowledge, Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10. Hence man was wise in his mind, holy in his heart, and righteous in his actions.

PHILIP MAURO (1859-1952): The words, “Let Us make man, in Our image, after Our likeness” reveal a truth of fundamental importance. Against this foundation truth of Scripture―which is closely linked to that of redemption by Him Who came in the likeness of man―evolution raises the monstrous and impious fiction that man was made in the image and likeness of the ape, by means of an unbroken continuity of changes imperceptibly small.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I do not know, and I do not say, that a person cannot believe in Revelation and in evolution, too, for a man may believe that which is infinitely wise and also that which is only asinine. In this evil age, there is apparently nothing that a man cannot believe.

PHILIP MAURO: There is nothing in all the animal creation which answers to the mental, moral and spiritual nature of man; or to his power of verbal expression of thought; nothing from which those marvellous and godlike attributes and powers could conceivably be derived by evolution…The real problem of the evolutionist is not to account for man’s physical being by evolution―impossible as that is―but to account for the origin of his mental, moral and spiritual attributes which are his real distinguishing characteristics. As to those, the facts all bear witness that evolution is a monstrous delusion―doubtless a phase of that “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie,” to which, according to the prophetic Scriptures, they of the last days were to be given over, who “received not the love of the truth that they might be saved,” 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12.

C. H. SPURGEON: In all its bearing upon scriptural truth, the evolution theory is in direct opposition to it. If God’s Word be true, evolution is a lie. I will not mince the matter: this is not the time for soft speaking.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): If you believe in evolutionary theory, you are really saying that God never made man perfect, but is bringing him to perfection. Therefore there is no true sin. But the Bible teaching is that man was made perfect and that he fell from that perfection, with the result that this power, this canker, has entered human nature and is there as an evil force within.

JOHN WESLEY: The Scripture avers, that “by one man’s disobedience all men were constituted sinners;” that “in Adam all died,” spiritually died, lost the life and image of God; that fallen, sinful Adam then “begat a son in his own likeness”―that every man may say, “I was shapen in wickedness, and in sin did my mother conceive me;” that “there is no difference,” in that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,”―of that glorious image of God wherein man was originally created.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The lie of evolution strikes at the very foundations of Truth, for it repudiates man’s fall, and sets aside his need both of redemption and regeneration.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: If we say that we do not believe in the account of the creation―if we say that, we are in fact flatly contradicting everything our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ said about Himself, the law, and the prophets. Everything in the Old Testament, according to Him, is the Word of God.

PHILIP MAURO: To say that Jesus Christ was evolved, and that He was the product of His environment, is both to repudiate Christianity, and also to reject the plainest facts of history. Here we reach the climax of the matter. Christ is “the Truth,” John 14:6; and the conclusive test of every doctrine and every system is to bring it into the presence of Christ. When subjected to that test, evolution fades into nothingness like the mists in the presence of the sun. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead was not an evolution. It was a complete reversal of the course of nature. The people who are “quickened together with Christ” are not an evolution, but a “new creation,” Ephesians 2:5,6; 2 Corinthians 5:17

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): It is a change by which we once more recover something of the divine nature, and are renewed after the image of God. It is a complete transforming and altering of all the inner man.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, John 20:22. Jesus breathed on [his disciples] in allusion to God’s breathing the breath of life into man, at his creation; or rather, to the Spirit Himself, Who is the breath of God, and proceeds from Him, as from the Father.

ADAM CLARKE: He breathed on them, intimating by this that they were to be made new men.

HENRY SCOUGAL (1650-1678): It is a union of the soul with God, a real participation of the Divine nature, the very image of God drawn upon the soul, or, in the apostle’s phrase, “it is Christ formed within us,” Galatians 4:19.

ISAAC AMBROSE (1604-1664): As the print of the seal on the wax is the express image of the seal itself, so Christ is the “express image,” the perfect representation of God, Hebrews 1:3.

PHILIP MAURO: The supreme disproof of evolution then is the risen Christ, and the results which have everywhere followed the preaching of the risen Christ.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Let us seriously consider it, and say, to our Creator’s praise, We are fearfully and wonderfully made, Psalm 139:14. Elihu, in the patriarchal age, refers to this history when he says Job 33:6, I also am formed out of the clay, and Psalm 139:4, The breath of the Almighty hath given me life, and Job 32:8, There is a spirit in man.


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How Old Are You?

Genesis 47:8, 9
       And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou?
       And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of the my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): Once, seeing an old man―I suppose he must have been seventy or eighty years of age―I asked him how old he was. He looked at me for a time, and faltered in his voice, the tears trickling down his cheeks, and says he, “I am two years old.”
      “Two years old?” says I.
      “Ah, sir,” says he, “till a little time ago I lived the life of a dead man; and I never knew what life was till I met the life which is ‘hid in Christ in God.’”
       Oh, it is a glorious truth; we have a life in God.

RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): There are several stages in Christians.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): There are degrees amongst true believers―all have not the same degree of grace, though all have the same grace for kind, and though all be in the same covenant; there are old men, or fathers, young men, and little children or babes, I John 2:12, 13.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): There is a difference in age, growth, and experience―some are babes, and some grown in years, in Christianity.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The first thing that we have to realize is that we all start as children in this Christian life. We are all born again, born anew, we start as babes, as infants. It doesn’t matter what we were before. The greatest intellect in the world when he becomes a Christian starts as a babe, and all his knowledge, and all his learning in other realms is really of no value to him directly in this life. Not that it means that God doesn’t use these gifts later―He does―but a man has to start at the beginning, he starts as a babe. And that is why he needs instruction and teaching just as everybody else needs it. We must realize that we are children.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): Receptiveness is a characteristic of the new heart; the new-born babe desires the sincere milk of the word, that it may grow thereby.

GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): I fell into the snare, into which so many young believers fall, the reading of religious books in preference to the Scriptures―and thus, like many believers, I practically preferred, for the first four years of my [converted] life, the works of uninspired men to the oracles of the living God. The consequence was, that I remained a babe, both in knowledge and grace.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Search the Scriptures with an humble childlike disposition. For whosoever does not read them with this temper, shall in no wise enter into the knowledge of the things contained in them. For God hides the sense of them from those that are wise and prudent in their own eyes, and reveals them only to babes in Christ; who think they know nothing yet as they ought to know; who hunger and thirst after righteousness, and humbly desire to be fed with the sincere milk of the Word, that they may grow thereby.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Regenerate persons are not at their full growth at once; they are first children, then young men, and then fathers in Christ.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Now, it is, I say, essential to our growth that we realize these things about ourselves, because if we don’t we’ll never learn, and we will remain children. And it’s tragic! There is nothing I know of that is more tragic than to see Christian people who remain exactly where they always were. They end as children―they end where they began. They thought they’d got everything at the beginning; they’ve never grown. They are spiritual children throughout their lives. And it’s a tragedy! There’s no greater tragedy. They don’t seem ever to have understood the teaching of all these New Testament epistles, the purpose of which is, every one of them, to help us grow.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): There is nothing more distressing in our day than the want of growth among the children of God. They do not seem to press forward, they do not seem to be running a race.

VERNON J. CHARLESWORTH (1839-1915): Once, entering the house of one of his congregation, Rowland Hill saw a child on a rocking-horse. “Dear me,” exclaimed the aged minister, “how wondrously like some Christians! there is motion, but no progress.” The rocking-horse type of spiritual life is still characteristic of too many Church members in the present day. “Grow in grace” is an exhortation but little regarded.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): They who would grow in grace must be inquisitive.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The intellectual lethargy of many Christians today is undoubtedly their greatest sin.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Who desires to be forever a babe in grace, with a half-awakened dreamy twilight consciousness of the Redeemer?

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): We are not to stand at a stay, but grow to maturity.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: It seems obvious, doesn’t it? And yet, this is the thing that we are always forgetting. That we henceforth be no more children, Ephesians 4:14; no longer children―we start as children.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): We Christians are miserable indeed if we grow old in making no improvement.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE: I am persuaded that nothing is thriving in my soul unless it is growing.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): When we stop growing, we stop living and start existing.

C. H. SPURGEON: Why remain a babe in grace? Grow up. Young calves grow fast, especially if they are stall-fed; and thou hast the choice care of thy Redeemer. Grow, then, in grace, and in the knowledge of thy Lord and Saviour.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Communion with Christ is the privilege of those who are continually striving to grow in grace, and faith, and knowledge, and conformity to the mind of Christ in all things,—who do not “look to the things behind,” and “count not themselves to have attained,” but “press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 3:13 & 14.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): How much soever any man has attained, or in how high a degree soever he is perfect, he hath still need to “grow in grace,” and daily to advance in the knowledge and love of God his Saviour.

OCTAVIUS WINSLOW (1808-1878): “How old art thou?” A solemn question to ask ourselves. How old are you in nature? How old in grace?


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The Historical Books of the Old Testament

Psalm 102:18
       This shall be written for the generation to come.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): There are many foolish people who say that there is no point in a Christian reading the Old Testament. “Ah,” they say, “we have finished with that, we are in the New Testament. Old Testament Jewish history is quite interesting in its way, but it has nothing to give us as Christians.” That is not what the New Testament says about the Old Testament―Paul, for instance, in 1st Corinthians 10.

ROBERT HALDANE (1764-1842): In the tenth chapter of 1st Corinthians, the essential importance of the historical parts of the Old Testament Scriptures is placed beyond all doubt. After referring to the recorded history of Israel, concerning their passage through the Red Sea, and the manner in which they were conducted in the wilderness, the apostle adds, “Now all these things happened unto them for examples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” Here the purpose and value of the historical parts of Scripture are demonstrated. They are intended for the admonition of the people of God. Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope, Romans 15:4. In this passage it is expressly affirmed that every part of the Old Testament Scriptures was written for the use and edification of believers.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I have heard very stupid people say, “Well, I do not care to read the historical parts of Scripture.” Beloved friends, you do not know what you are talking about when you say so. I say to you now by experience that I have sometimes found even a greater depth of spirituality in the histories than I have in the Psalms.
      You will say, “How is that?” I assert that when you reach the inner and spiritual meaning of a history you are often surprised at the wondrous clearness—the realistic force—with which the teaching comes home to your soul. Some of the most marvellous mysteries of revelation are better understood by being set before our eyes in the histories than they are by the verbal declaration of them. When we have the statement to explain the illustration, the illustration expands and vivifies the statement. For instance, when our Lord himself would explain to us what faith was, he sent us to the history of the brazen serpent; and who that has ever read the story of the brazen serpent has not felt that he has had a better idea of faith through the picture of the dying snake-bitten persons looking to the serpent of brass and living, than from any description which even Paul has given us, wondrously as he defines and describes. Never, I pray you, depreciate the historical portions of God’s word―hidden within their letter, like pearls in oyster shells, lie grand spiritual truths couched in allegory and metaphor.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): And it is the application of all the doctrinal and historical parts of Scripture, when we are reading them, that must render them profitable to us, as they were designed for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, and to make every child of God perfect, thoroughly furnished to every good work.

C. H. SPURGEON: Remember that the historical books were almost the only Scriptures possessed by the early saints; and from those they learned the mind of God. David sang the blessedness of the man who delighted in law of the Lord, yet he had only the first five books, and, perhaps, Joshua, Judges, and Ruth, all books of history, in which to meditate day and night. The psalmist himself spoke most lovingly of these books, which were the only statutes and testimonies of the Lord to him, with, perhaps, the addition of the Book of Job. Other saints delighted in the histories of the word before the more spiritual books came in their way at all. If rightly viewed, the histories of the Old Testament are full of instruction. They supply us both with warnings and examples in the realm of practical morals.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): By not taking pains to discover the practical lessons which may be drawn from historical events, we are greatly the losers.

RICHARD STEELE (1629-1692): Some parts abound with the most entertaining histories, which are the more instructive, as they not only relate the external actions of men, but the internal motives from whence they proceeded, free from all fiction and falsehood.

ROBERT HALDANE: In those histories, the thoughts and secret motives of men are often unfolded and referred to.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): And in this the Bible excels. The sacred writers describe to the very life. They fear no displeasure; they conceal no imperfection; they spare no censure. And while they discover their impartiality, they equally prove their wisdom and prudence. This appears from the examples they delineate…we are led into private life; we contemplate ordinary scenes; we see goodness in our own relations and circumstances; we behold blemishes which we are to avoid, excellencies which we are to pursue, advantages which we are to acquire. Thus, the Scripture becomes not a glaring comet, but a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path, Psalm 119:105.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: And when you read about some of these characters in the Old Testament, David and so on, you’re not reading a history book, you’re reading about yourself. You say, “That’s me! It’s all very well; it looks terrible in David, but I’ve got that sort of thing in me.”

C. H. SPURGEON: In the case of every errant course there is always a first wrong step. If we can trace that wrong step, we may be able to avoid it and its results.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: A wise man always learns from the mistakes of others who are in the same business, whatever it may be. He sees a man going to disaster, and he asks, “Well, what exactly did that man do that he should not have done? Where did he go wrong, where did he make a mistake? Ah,” he says, “it was at this or that point. Very well, I am going to watch that point.” Now that is wisdom…We can learn, and learn tremendously, from the Old Testament. Let us make use of it, let us read it, let us take it in; and it will make us strong. As we see warnings, and the dangers, we are strengthened, we are on guard, and we are ready to quit ourselves as men.

WILLIAM JAY: Christians stand in the same relation to God now, as the Jews of old. And are we better than they? In no wise. And were not God’s dealings with them designed to be typical of His dealings with us? They were: and in reading their history, we may peruse our own.

STEPHEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680): The Old Testament is therefore to be read for the strengthening of our faith.


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The Roots of Error & Heresy

Matthew 22:29; 2 Peter 3:16
        Ye do err not knowing the scriptures.
       In which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Editor’s Note: In the first text, Christ refers to the Old Testament; in the second text, the Apostle Peter refers to Paul’s New Testament epistles and validates them as being scripture writings equal to the Old Testament scriptures.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): All fundamental errors and heresies in the Church may be traced to this source—“Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.”

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Ignorance of Scripture is the root of all error.

ROBERT HALDANE (1764-1842): Ignorance of the Scriptures is the cause of high-mindedness in Christians. They are often arrogant and contemptuous through want of knowledge. In the absence of real knowledge, they often suppose that they have a true understanding of things with which they are still unacquainted, and are thus vain and conceited.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Now the Bible itself tells us this. You remember the apostle Peter’s famous remark with regard to the writings of the apostle Paul. What he means is this. They read these Epistles of Paul, yes; but they are twisting them, they are wresting them to their own destruction. You can easily read these Epistles and be no wiser at the end than you were at the beginning because of what you have been reading into what Paul says, wresting them to your own destruction. Now that is something which we must always bear in mind with regard to the whole of the Bible. I can be seated with Bible in front of me; I can be reading its words and going through its chapters; and yet I may be drawing a conclusion which is quite false to the pages in front of me.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): There are many causes of men’s mistakes. Some come to the word with a presumption of their own wit and leaning upon their own understanding, as if that should discover the whole counsel of God; and these God never undertook to teach.

WILLIAM TYNDALE (1490-1536): The source of all heresies is pride.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): This has been a principle source of those various heresies and mistakes which are the reproach of our holy profession―that vain man, though born a mere “wild ass’s colt,” Job 11, has undertaken by his own strength and wisdom to decide authoritatively on the meaning of Scripture; without being aware of the ignorance, prejudice, and weakness, which influence his judgment.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Make not your own reason the rule by which you measure Scripture truths.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Search the Scriptures with an humble childlike disposition. For whosoever does not read them with this temper, shall in no wise enter into the knowledge of the things contained in them. For God hides the sense of them from those that are wise and prudent in their own eyes, and reveals them only to babes in Christ; who think they know nothing yet as they ought to know…Fancy yourselves, therefore, when you are searching the Scriptures, especially when you are reading the New Testament, to be with Mary sitting at the feet of the Holy Jesus; and be as willing to learn what God shall teach you, as Samuel was, when he said, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.”

WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): Many fail in their studies because of the power of prejudice.

THOMAS MANTON: Many bring their prejudiced opinions along with them, and are biased and prepossessed before they come to the word of God, and so do not so much take up the sense which the Scriptures offer, as seek to impose their own sense on them…While we look through the spectacles of our own fancies and preconceptions, the mind, poisoned with error, seemeth to see what we see not.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): When we think the Scripture must be made to agree with the false ideas we have imbibed, no wonder that we complain of difficulty—how apt we are to misunderstand Scripture—to understand that literally which is spoken figuratively, and to expound Scripture by our schemes, whereas we ought to form our schemes by the Scriptures.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The commonest cause of all this is our tendency so often to approach the Bible with a theory. We go to our Bibles with this theory, and everything we read is controlled by it. Now we are quite familiar with that. There is a sense in which it is true to say that you prove anything you like from the Bible. That is how heresies have arisen. The heretics were never dishonest men; they were mistaken men. They should not be thought of as men who were deliberately setting out to go wrong and to teach something that is wrong; they have been some of the most sincere men that the Church has ever known. What was the matter with them? Their trouble was this: they evolved a theory and they were rather pleased with it; then they went back with this theory to the Bible, and they seemed to find it everywhere. If you read half a verse and emphasize over-much some other half-verse elsewhere, your theory is soon proved. Now obviously this is something of which we have to be very wary. There is nothing so dangerous as to come to the Bible with a theory, with preconceived ideas, with some pet idea of our own.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): You cannot find a man who holds any false doctrine of religion who is not proud of it.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): It is a common fault that ignorance is closely followed by obstinacy.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER: When one is in such a state that he will not examine evidence and truth with a good degree of impartiality, it is certain that he will go astray. When men come to God’s Word, not to be taught, but to teach; not to learn the mind of the Spirit, but to find some way of supporting error, or of evading unwelcome truths; when with avidity they seize any thing favouring their dogmas, but carefully avoid whatever wars against their preconceived opinions, they effectually exclude themselves from the highway to any large attainments in theology. The light that is in them becomes darkness…Whatever our education may have been, we will find it no easy task to eradicate prejudices.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Nevertheless, this is essential if we would learn the mind of God.

WILLIAM GURNALL: Take heed you come not with a judgment pre-engaged to any party and opinion.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER: Of all the dispositions requisite to success in the study of religious truth, none is more important than a sincere, constant, and ardent love of truth. No qualification before this. He who loves his opinions because they are his, or is greatly attached to views which are of high esteem in his sect or party because they are a Shibboleth, is a candidate for shame and error. Without strong love for the truth, no man has ever made any considerable progress in knowledge. It is indispensable. Nothing can compensate for the want of it.


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Considering the Love of Jesus Christ in the Lord’s Supper

Hebrews 3:1
       Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Jesus Christ.

JEREMIAH DYKE (1584-1639): It is good, when we are come to the Lord’s Table, to do as Solomon wishes us to do in that case: When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee, Proverbs 23:1.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The object of this Supper is to commemorate His dying love.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): See here a great evidence of the love of God, and of the Mediator.

EDWARD PAYSON (1783-1827): If the Jews exclaimed, Behold how He loved Lazarus! merely because they saw Him weeping at his tomb, John 11:36, with how much more reason may we exclaim, “Behold how He loved us!” when we behold Him in Bethlehem, in Gethsemane, and on Calvary! Indeed, an apostle tells us, that the love of Christ “passeth knowledge,” Ephesians 3:19; and at the same time intimates that it is exceedingly important to know as much of it as is possible, and that, in proportion as we know it, we shall be filled with the fullness of God. Let us then, before we approach the table of our Lord, spend a few moments in meditating upon His unsearchable, unconquerable love.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): “Who gave Himself for us,” Titus 2:14. This was a remarkable proof of the highest love. Forgetful, as it were, of Himself, Christ spared not his own life, that He might redeem us.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): There is no greater love amongst men, than when one layeth down his life for his friends; but herein Christ’s love excelled, that He gave His life for His enemies.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): He loved us, when we had no love for Him, when we lay in our guilt, misery, and blood, when we were undeserving, ill-deserving, polluted, and unclean, and wanted to be washed from our sins in sacred blood.

C. H. SPURGEON: I would like you, brothers and sisters, tonight, to remember the proofs of Christ’s love. You were far off, but He sought you, and brought you back. You were deaf, but He called you, and opened your ear to hear His loving call. You came trembling, and afraid, but He cheered you; and in a moment He took your burden from you, and set you free. Do you remember it?

THOMAS WILCOX (1622-1687): Treasure up the manifestations of Christ’s love.

EDWARD PAYSON: At the table of our Lord, each of us should recollect the personal favours and marks of kindness, which he has himself received from Christ, or through His mediation. Our temporal mercies, our spiritual privileges should all pass in review.

C. H. SPURGEON: Since Jesus first came to you, and saved you, many a time you have been in trouble, and He has comforted you…Let your memory begin to run over the pages of your diary. Turn over the leaves that record your Lord’s favour to you.

EDWARD PAYSON: We should remember how often He has since healed our backslidings, pardoned our sins, borne with our unbelief, ingratitude, and slowness to learn; supplied our wants, listened to our complaints, alleviated our sorrows, and revived our drooping spirits when we were ready to faint. In short, we must remember all the way by which He has led us, these many years, through a wilderness of sins, sorrows, trials and temptations. Thus we shall be convinced that no sickly infant ever cost its mother a thousandth part of the care, and labour, and suffering, which we have cost our Saviour; and that no mother has ever shown her infant a thousandth part of the watchful tenderness, which our Saviour has shown to us.

C. H. SPURGEON: The wonderful part of all this to me is that it should be the love of such an one as Christ is. That ever so Divine a person set His love on us is very wonderful. I can understand my mother’s love, I can understand my child’s love, I can understand my wife’s love; but I cannot understand Christ’s love. Oh brothers, we are nothings, we are nobodies; yet this glorious Everybody, this All in All, did actually set His love upon us!

COLONEL JAMES GARDINER (1688-1745): Oh, how good a master do I serve! but alas, how ungrateful I am! what can be so astonishing as the love of Christ to us, unless it be the coldness of our sinful hearts towards such a Saviour?

RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): And when we feel ourselves cold in affection and duty, the best way is to warm ourselves at this fire of His love and mercy in giving Himself for us.

ISAAC WATTS (1674-1748): Love beyond degree!

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): Never think of the atonement of Christ without thinking, ‘That costly sacrifice was necessary for me.’

SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): Look to the Supper and ye shall find it very expensive to Christ, for the fire that made it ready was the wrath of God; the fuel and the wood was Christ, and a great burden of sins of the elect on His back…He was roasted and burnt on the cross, and carved all to pieces with nails, spears, and buffetings, to make Him God’s bread for the mouth and stomach of believers. And the sourest sauce in this supper to Christ, was His dear Father hiding Himself. And when all this was done ye cannot do Him a worse turn than not to eat heartily.

ROWLAND HILL: May God help us to think more of the sufferings of Christ, and may His love melt down our hearts.

JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): The frame of mind in which we should receive the memorials of redeeming love, is that of a humble, thankful, and peaceful reliance upon the mediation of our Divine Lord for pardon and eternal life.

C. H. SPURGEON: Much of the influence of this ordinance is found in its simplicity. How beautifully simple the ceremony is—bread broken and wine poured out…Note again, the mighty pregnancy of these signs—how full they are of meaning. Bread broken—so was your Saviour broken. Bread to be eaten—so His flesh is meat indeed. Wine poured out, the pressed juice of the grape—so was your Saviour crushed under the foot of divine justice: His blood is your sweetest wine. Wine to cheer your heart—so does the blood of Jesus. Wine to strengthen and invigorate you—so does the blood of the mighty sacrifice. Oh! make that bread and wine to your souls a sweet and blessed help of remembrance of that dear Man who once on Calvary died.

SAMUEL RUTHERFORD: Now, for the Lord’s sake, beloved, please the good Man of the house, and eat and welcome.

EDWARD DENNY (1796-1889): Sweet feast of love divine!
                                                                  ’Tis grace that makes us free,
                                                               To feed upon this bread and wine,
                                                                     In mem’ry, Lord, of Thee.


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