Adding Members to Christ’s Church

Acts 2:47
       And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): It may be well just to add a word here as to the strict meaning of the term “the Church,” Christ’s body.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Though the word “church” is now expressive of some particular places of worship, it is never, in the New Testament, applied to buildings, but to persons only.

A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): Stating it is just about the most simple terms we know, the Christian church is the assembly of redeemed saints.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I would exhort you to be careful about the admission of members into the church―It is lawful to unite with all sorts of men for good and benevolent and necessary purposes, even as at a fire, Pagan and Papist and Protestant may each one hand on the buckets and in a sinking ship, heathen and Christian alike are bound to take turns at the pumps…But the case before us is that of a distinctly religious communion, a professed fellowship in Christ. Is this to be made so wide that those who contradict each other on vital points may yet pretend to be at one?

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Is it not significant that we hear so very little today about what the Puritans called the “false professor”? Read the history of the Church in [England] and you will find that in great periods such as the Puritan era and the Evangelical Revival they paid great attention to this subject. It is seen in the way in which Whitefield and Wesley and others examined the converts before they admitted them to membership of their classes. The same is seen in the great days of the Church of Scotland, and in the first hundred years of the story of the Presbyterian Church of Wales. Indeed it has always been the most prominent feature among all who think of the Church as “gathered saints.”

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): The church of God is a congregation of men gathered out of the world by effectual grace.

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): The question is not, whether Christ has made converting grace itself the condition or rule of His people’s admitting any to the privileges of members in full communion with them—It is the credible profession that is the church’s rule.

ALEXANDER CARSON (1776-1844): Faith in Jesus Christ is the only bond of the union of Christians, and no questions ought ever to be put to any who seek admission among them, but such as are intended to ascertain this. To refuse any whom Christ has received, is as sinful as to receive those whom Christ has rejected. It is the very spirit of antichrist. Some may think that they discover zeal for the honour of Christ, when they insist on perfect conformity in order to fellowship. But like the Hebrews to whom Paul wrote, they need to be taught the first principles of the oracles of God. Accordingly, we find that when any, in the days of the apostles, confessed their faith in Christ, they were admitted among the disciples.

UNCLE JACK* (174?-1843): If you adopt this method of admitting members, you must see to it that your back door is as wide as the front. You must prepare for dropping them, as readily as you took them up.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: We are not prepared to recognize all who ‘call’ themselves Christians as ‘being’ Christians. This is what these people are doing. They assume that if a man says I am a Christian and he belongs to a church, it does not matter what he believes, it does not matter what he denies, if he regards himself as a Christian then they regard him as a Christian. They say that it is wrong to say that any man is not a Christian if he says he is a Christian, irrespective of his belief…We are fighting a battle for the Church, a true conception of the Christian Church.

C. H. SPURGEON: We wish Christ’s church to be as large as possible. God forbid that by any of our winnowing, we should ever cast away one of the precious sons of Zion…But on the other hand, we have no wish to see the church multiplied at the expense of its purity. We do not wish to have a charity so large that it takes in chaff as well as wheat.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): The excellence of the church does not consist in multitude, but in purity.

G. CAMPBELL MORGAN (1863-1945): Quality is always the thing that counts in the church of God, and among the disciples of Jesus, not quantity. We have such an unholy passion for quantity. We say, “great crowds go to that church; it is a scene of success.” Not at all. It may be that little chapel down in the valley, or on the hillside, away in the Highlands, or in the valleys of Wales where two and three are gathered, is of more use to God than the great congregation.

DAVID LIVINGSTONE (1813-1873): Nothing will induce me to form an impure church. “Fifty added to the church” sounds well—but if only five of these are genuine, what will it profit in the Great Day?

ALEXANDER CARSON: That true faith—as far as it can be ascertained—is required for a right of admission, is clear with respect to the hesitancy of the Church at Jerusalem, in relation to the reception of Paul. They did not take his mere confession, when they had cause of suspicion that his confession was feigned. He was received not simply on his confession, but on the recommendation of Barnabas, Acts 9:26,27. What a providential thing, then, was it that Paul was stopped a moment at the door of the church at Jerusalem! Even an apostle was not received on his mere profession, when there was a ground of suspicion.

UNCLE JACK: The Church will not suffer half as much, by keeping a dozen worthy members out a little too long, as she will by admitting one individual too soon…It is much easier and safer, to keep unworthy persons out of the Church, than to get them out, after they have been once received.

C. H. SPURGEON: Unconverted members lower the whole tone of the church. How low that tone has now become, let spiritual men judge for themselves.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: There are so many people who may be described as spiritual worldlings. If you talk to them about salvation they have the correct view; but if you talk to them about life in general they are worldlings. When it is a matter of the salvation of the soul they have the correct answer; but if you listen to their ordinary conversation about life in this world you will discover a heathen philosophy.

C. H. SPURGEON: Let the door of the church be opened to all sincere souls, but closed against all whose hearts are in the world. It is not even for the worldling’s good that he should hold the form of godliness while he is a stranger to its power. As you love your Lord, and value men’s souls, guard well the entrance of the church.
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*Editor’s Note: Uncle Jack was an American preacher, a former black slave, known by no other name.

 

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The Importance of Jesus Christ’s Atonement in the 21st Century

Leviticus 17:11; I John 1:7; Romans 5:11
       The life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
       The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.
       We also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

JAMES DENNEY (1856-1917): There is in truth only one religious problem in the world―the existence of sin. Similarly there is only one religious solution to it―the atonement.

EDWARD PAYSON (1783-1827): It should be recollected, that immediately after the fall of man, God was pleased to reveal a way, in which sinners might be reconciled, return to Him, escape the punishment which they deserve, and regain His forfeited favour. This way consists in repentance towards God, and faith in a Mediator of God’s providing, and reliance upon an atonement for sin made by that Mediator. This way of salvation was at first revealed to mankind in an imperfect manner, under a veil of types and shadows. This atonement, which Christ, the Lamb of God, intended to make in the fulness of time, was typically represented by the sacrifice of a lamb without spot or blemish.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Isaiah had foretold, that the Lord would lay upon Him the iniquities of us all; that He was to be wounded for our transgressions, and by His stripes we should be healed, Isaiah 53:6. Here then we see the manifold wisdom of God: His inexpressible love to us commended; His mercy exalted in the salvation of sinners; His truth and justice vindicated, in the full satisfaction for sin exacted from the surety; His glorious holiness and opposition to all evil, and His invariable faithfulness to His threatenings and His promises. Considered in this light, our Saviour’s passion is the most momentous, instructive, and comfortable theme that can affect the heart of man.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The doctrine of the atonement is to my mind one of the surest proofs of the Divine inspiration of Holy Scripture. Who would or could have thought of the just Ruler dying for the unjust rebel? This is no teaching of human mythology, or dream of poetical imagination. This method of expiation is only known among men because it is a fact: fiction could not have devised it. God Himself ordained it; it is not a matter which could have been imagined.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Whoever would have imagined that sin was such a vile and dreadful thing in the sight of God that nothing but the precious blood of His own beloved Son could make an atonement for it!

C. H. SPURGEON: Through His blood there is forgiveness; and by reason of His vicarious satisfaction, guilt is put away, and the believer is “accepted in the Beloved.”

JOHN NEWTON: But if His substitution and proper atonement are denied, the whole is unintelligible.

EDWARD PAYSON: Hast thou marked the old way, which wicked men have trodden?” Job 22:15.—It consists in rejecting the Mediator, and the atonement which God has provided, and substituting something else in their place. In other words, it consists in presumptuously attempting to approach God in a way of our devising, instead of that way which He has provided. The first wicked man who walked in this way, was Cain. While his righteous brother Abel, agreeably to God’s appointment, offered a lamb in sacrifice as an atonement for his sin, Cain presented nothing but a gift of the fruits of the earth, disbelieving the great truth, that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin; and showing that he did not regard himself as a sinner who needed an atonement. The consequences was such as might have been expected. The sacrifice of Abel, offered in faith and in obedience to the requisitions of God, was accepted; while the offering of the self-righteous Cain was rejected—a circumstance, which led him to murmur against God, to envy, hate, and at length murder his brother.

C. H. SPURGEON: Those who set aside the atonement as a satisfaction for sin, also murder the doctrine of justification by faith. They must do so. There is a common element which is the essence of both doctrines; so that, if you deny the one, you destroy the other.

EDWARD PAYSON: Soon after the death of the apostles, the Christian church began to apostatize from the faith, to forsake the way of life, and to walk in the way we are describing. They lost the power of Godliness, but multiplied its forms, and substituted ceremonies, as a ground of dependence for salvation. Hence the Christian church gradually degenerated into the Church of Rome. Neglecting Jesus Christ, the one Mediator between God and man, they prayed to angels, to the virgin Mary, and to departed saints, as mediators; and instead of relying on His merits and atonement, they substituted in their room penances, bodily austerities, superstitious observances, and the endowment of churches and monasteries, by which they vainly hoped to atone for their sin, and obtain the favour of God. In a way which is essentially the same, many walk at the present day. They depend for salvation on their religious services, their moral duties, their liberality to the poor, their orthodox sentiments, or on a profession of religion, while they neglect the atonement and intercession of Christ, the only sure foundation, the only way of access to the Father.

C. H. SPURGEON: Modern thought is nothing but an attempt to bring back legal system of salvation by works. Our battle is the same as that which Luther fought at the Reformation. If you go the very ground and root of it, grace is taken away, and human merit is substituted. The gracious act of God in pardoning sin is excluded, and human effort is made all in all, both for past sin and future hope.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): The doctrine we teach must be that of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The person and work of Christ have ever been the corner-stone of the Christian fabric…If I really believe the record that God has given of His Son, that is the same thing as to think of His excellencies, in measure, as God thinks of them; and, in that case, I cannot but embrace Him with all my heart, and venture my everlasting all upon His atonement.

A. W. PINK: God is satisfied with the work of Christ, why are not you? Sinner, the moment you believe God’s testimony concerning His beloved Son, that moment every sin you have committed is blotted out, and you stand accepted in Christ! O would you not like to possess the assurance that there is nothing between your soul and God? Would you not like to know that every sin had been atoned for and put away? Then believe what God’s Word says about Christ’s death…There is only way of finding peace, and that is through faith in the shed blood of God’s Lamb. “It is finished,” John 19:30. Do you really believe it? Or, are you endeavouring to add something of your own to it and thus merit the favour of God?

 

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Christ’s Example for Christian Submission to the Will of God

Luke 22:42; John 18:11
         Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done.
         The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The reason of Christ’s submission to His sufferings, was, His Father’s will; He grounds His own willingness upon the Father’s will, and resolves the matter wholly into that; therefore He did what He did, and did it with delight, because it was the will of God, Psalm 40:8. This He had often referred to, as that which put Him upon, and carried Him through, His whole undertaking—My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, John 4:34.

HENRY SCOUGAL (1650-1678): He endured the sharpest of all afflictions and extremest miseries that ever were inflicted on any mortal, without a repining thought or discontented word; for though He was far from a stupid insensibility, or a fantastic or stoical obstinacy, and had as quick a sense of pain as other men, and the deepest apprehension of what He as to suffer in His soul, as His “bloody sweat, and the sore amazement and sorrow” which He professed, do abundantly declare, yet did He entirely submit to that severe dispensation of Providence, and willingly acquiesced in it. And He prayed to God, that “if it were possible,” Mark 14:36, or, as another one of the Evangelists hath it, “if he were willing, that cup might be removed;” yet He gently added, “nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.”

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): And herein He sets us a perfect pattern for our prayers for deliverance from temporal evils, with a submission to the will of God.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): There is no higher aspect of faith than that which brings the heart to patiently submit unto whatever God sends us, to meekly acquiesce unto His sovereign will, to say, “the cup which My Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” Oftentimes the faith which suffers is greater than the faith that can boast an open triumph. Love “beareth all things,” I Corinthians 13:7, and faith when it reaches the pinnacle of attainment declares, “though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,” Job 13:15.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): It is a genuine evidence of true godliness when, although plunged into the deepest afflictions, we yet cease not to submit ourselves to God.

A. W. PINK: Faith is ever occupied with God. That is the character of it; that is what differentiates it from intellectual theology. Faith endures “as seeing Him who is invisible,” Hebrews 11:27—endures the disappointments, the hardships, and the heart-aches of life, by recognizing that all comes from the hand of Him who is too wise to err and too loving to be unkind. But so long as we are occupied with any other object than God Himself, there will be neither rest for the heart nor peace for the mind. But when we receive all that enters our lives as from His hand, then, no matter what may be our circumstances or surroundings—whether in a hovel, a prison-dungeon, or a martyr’s stake—we shall be enabled to say, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant place,” Psalm 16:6. But that is the language of faith, not of sight or sense.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Job eyed God in his affliction, and that meekened his spirit. “The Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord,” Job 1:21. He does not say, “The Chaldeans have taken away,” but “the Lord hath taken away.” What made Christ so meek in His sufferings? He did not look at Judas or Pilate, but at His Father: “The cup which my Father hath given me.”

MATTHEW HENRY: It is not enough to bear the cross, but we must take it up, we must accommodate ourselves to it, and acquiesce in the will of God in it. Not, “this is an evil, and I must bear it, because I cannot help it,” but “this is an evil, and I will bear it, because it is the will of God.”

MATTHEW POOLE: I delight to do thy will, Oh my God, Psalm 40:8. This, though in a general sense it may be true of David and of all God’s people, yet it must be appropriated to Christ, of whom it is eminently true, and it is here observed as an act of heroical obedience, that He not only resolved to do, but delighted in doing, the will of God, or what God had commanded Him and He had promised to do, which was to die, and that a most shameful, and painful, and cursed death.

MATTHEW HENRY: We then are disposed as Christ was, when our wills are in every thing melted into the will of God, though ever so displeasing to flesh and blood.

JOHN CALVIN: It is the height of piety to be submissive to the sovereignty of God.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): An acquiescence in the Lord’s will is founded in a persuasion of His wisdom, holiness, sovereignty, and goodness. This is one of the greatest privileges and brightest ornaments of our profession. So far as we attain to this, we are secure from disappointment. Our own limited views, short-sighted purposes and desires, may be, and will be, often over-ruled; but then our main and leading desire, that the will of the Lord may be done, must be accomplished. How highly does it become us both as creatures, and as sinners, to submit to the appointments of our Maker! And how necessary is it to our peace! This great attainment is too often unthought of, and overlooked; we are prone to fix our attention upon the second causes and immediate instruments of events; forgetting that whatever befalls us is according to His purpose, and therefore must be right and seasonable in itself, and shall in the issue be productive of good. From hence arise impatience, resentment, and secret repinings, which are not only sinful, but tormenting.

SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): It is impossible to be submissive and religiously patient, if ye stay your thoughts down among the confused rollings and wheels of second causes, as O, the place! O, the time! O, if this had been, this had not followed! O, the linking of this accident with this time and place! Look up to the master-motion and the first wheel; see and read the decree of heaven and the Creator of men.

JOHN NEWTON: If all things are in His hand, if the very hairs of our head are numbered; if every event, great and small, is under the direction of His providence and purpose―and if He has a wise, holy, and gracious end in view, to which everything that happens is subordinate and subservient―then we have nothing to do, but with patience and humility to follow as He leads, and cheerfully to expect a happy issue. The path of present duty is marked out; and the concerns of the next every succeeding hour are in His hands. How happy are they who can resign all to Him, see His hand in every dispensation, believe that He choses better for them than they possibly could for themselves.

JEREMY BURROUGHS (1599-1647): Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.

 

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Considering God in the Midst of Our Adversities

Job 2:10; Ecclesiastes 7:14
       What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?
       In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Consider. Consider what? This, that “God also hath set the one over against the other,” and, therefore, thou must take the one as well as the other.

WILHELMUS à BRAKEL (1635-1711): Consider where your affliction originates. It does not originate with yourself, for you love yourself too much for this. It does not originate with men, for they cannot so much as move without the will of God, nor pull one of your hairs out. Rather, it is the Lord Himself who sends this upon you—the sovereign Lord whose hand none can stay and to whom no one can say, “What doest Thou?” It is your reconciled Father in Christ who sends this upon you in His wisdom, goodness, and love, doing so to your advantage. “For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth,” Hebrews 12:9.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): All the injuries and unkind usages we meet with from the world, do not fall out by chance, but are disposed of by the all-wise God for our good. Many are like the foolish cur that snarls at the stone, never looking to the hand that threw it—if we looked higher than instruments our hearts would grow meek and calm. David looked beyond Shimei’s rage: “Let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him,” 2 Samuel 16:11. What wisdom for Christians to see the hand of God in all the barbarisms and incivilities of men! Job eyed God in his affliction, and that meekened his spirit: “The Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord,” Job 1:21. He does not say, The Chaldeans have taken away, but “The Lord hath taken away.”—Whoever brings an affliction, it is God that sends it.

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): I would therefore take all things as coming from God, that they may lead me to God.

WILLIAM CAREY (1761-1834): God has sovereign right to dispose of us as He pleases. We ought to acquiesce in all that God does with us and to us.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Shall we poor worms give laws to our supreme Lord and Governor, and oblige him always to bless and favour us, and never to afflict us?

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): Observe from the words: “Should it be according to thy mind?” Job 34:33. Folks would have God guiding the world according to their mind and will. There is not a more unreasonable thing to seek to take the guiding of the world out of God’s hand, and yet this is the ground of our fretting and complaining, and not submitting to God, because we get not our will. Therefore when the heart rises, say to yourselves, “Should dispensations come as you would, or as God would?”

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): We must bear our daily afflictions with submission to His will; We are bid to expect trouble in the flesh, something or other happens every day that grieves us, something in our relations, something in our callings, events concerning ourselves, our families, or friends, that are matters of sorrow: perhaps we have every day some bodily pain or sickness; or, some cross and disappointment in our affairs; now in these we must wait upon God. Christ requires it of all His disciples, that they take up their cross daily, Matthew 16:24…It is not enough to bear the cross, but we must take it up, we must accommodate ourselves to it, and acquiesce in the will of God in it. Not, “this is an evil, and I must bear it, because I cannot help it,” but “this is an evil, and I will bear it, because it is the will of God.”

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Consider the design of affliction. Without this, you cannot discharge the duty of the condition. For what is this duty? It is not only to possess your souls with patience―it is not only to submit yourselves under the mighty hand of God―but to acquiesce in the pleasure of the Almighty. It is not to say, “This is my grief, and I must bear it;” but, “Here I am, let him do what seemeth Him good,” 2 Samuel 15:26. Nothing less is required of you, as Christians, than a willing, cheerful resignation. But this can only flow from a knowledge of Him that smiteth you. You may yield, but you cannot acquiesce, without confidence in Him.

THOMAS WATSON: What made Christ so meek in His sufferings? He did not look at Judas or Pilate, but at His Father.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): We forbid not the consideration of instruments and secondary causes. Let them be observed―but do not stop there. Do not finish off with these dumb messengers whom the Lord sends; they are sent for the very purpose of inviting you to a conference, secret and personal, with Himself.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): When faith is not in exercise, the heart is occupied with the things which are seen and temporal: only the creature’s hand or the creature’s treachery is viewed, and peevishness and resentment prevail; or worse still, we are tempted to entertain hard thoughts against God, and to say “the Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): The Scripture gives us ground of comfort from the Author of our afflictions, who is our Father, and never manifests the comfort of adoption so much as then when we are under chastening: “The exhortation which speaketh unto you as children,” Hebrews 12:5. And again, “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:11. It is a bitter cup, but it is from a father, not from a judge or an enemy. Nothing but good can come from Him who is love and goodness itself; nothing but what is useful from a father, whose affection is not to be measured by the bitterness of the dispensation, but by His aims, what He intends.

MATTHEW HENRY: Good men, even when God frowns upon them, think well of Him.

BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): Does He not love us, and does He not know what is best for us? Oh, for grace to remember, not only when His dispensations are agreeable to the flesh, but also when they are painful and flesh-crucifying, that the Lord reigneth, that the Lord is our Father, and to praise the Lord. I believe that there is nothing that honours God more, or that God more honours, than praising Him in tribulation; and few men know what a talent He commits to their charge when He gives them bitter water. When did Paul ever honour God more than when at midnight, in the inner prison, his back cut to pieces by the Roman whips, and his feet made fast in the stocks, he prayed, and sang praises unto God? And when did God ever honour Paul more than when, through the instrumentality of those prayers and praise, he brought the jailor to his feet with question, “What shall I do to be saved?”

 

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Sermon Preparation: Saturday Night in Spurgeon’s Study

Haggai 1:13
       Then spake Haggai the LORD’S messenger in the LORD’S message unto the people, saying…

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Brethren, it is not easy for me to tell you precisely how I make my sermons. All through the week I am on the look-out for material that I can use on the Sabbath; but the actual work of arranging it is necessarily left until Saturday evening, for every other moment is fully occupied in the Lord’s service.

MRS. SUSANNAH SPURGEON (1832-1903): Up to six o’clock, every Saturday evening, visitors were welcome…At six o’clock, every visitor left. Mr. Spurgeon would often playfully say, “Now, dear friends, I must bid you ‘Good-bye’ and turn you out of this study; you know what a number of chickens I have to scratch for, and I want to give them a good meal tomorrow.”

WILLIAM WILLIAMS (circa 1895): Sometimes he would ask me to wait a little while alone with him, and we would talk some subjects over; then he would say, “You had better go now, my sermon pangs have come.”

MRS. SUSANNAH SPURGEON: So, with a hearty “God bless you!” he shook hands, and shut himself to companion with his God. The inmates of the house went quietly about their several duties, and holy silence seemed to brood over the place. What familiar intercourse with the Saviour he so greatly loved, was then vouchsafed to him, we can never know, for, even while I write, I hear a whisper, “The place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” No human ear ever heard the mighty pleadings with God, for himself, for his people, which rose from his study on those solemn evenings; no mortal eyes ever beheld him as he wrestled with the Angel of the covenant until he prevailed, and came back from the brook Jabbok with the message he was to deliver in his Master’s name. His grandest and most fruitful sermons were those which cost him most soul-travail and spiritual anguish; not in their preparation or arrangement, but in his own overwhelming sense of accountability to God for the souls to whom he had to preach the gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.

C. H. SPURGEON: I have often said that the difficulty is to fix my mind upon the particular texts which are to be the subjects of discourse on the following day; or, to speak more correctly, to know what topics the Holy Spirit would have me bring before the congregation. I confess that I frequently sit hour after hour praying and waiting for a subject, and that this is the main part of my study; much hard labour have I spent in manipulating topics, ruminating upon points of doctrine, making skeletons out of verses and then burying every bone of them in the catacombs of oblivion, sailing on and on over leagues of broken water, till I see the red lights and make sail direct to the desired haven. I believe that almost any Saturday in my life I make enough outlines of sermons, if I felt at liberty to preach them, to last me for a month, but I no more dare to use them than an honest mariner would run to shore a cargo of contraband goods.

E. J. POOLE-CONNOR (1872-1962): With all his great gifts, he could not preach with ease or power—sometimes he felt he could not preach at all—without the assurance that he was then and there the Divine mouthpiece. When preparing for public service, a dozen subjects would present themselves to his mind; but he must needs wait until some Scripture was impressed upon him as the paramount theme for the occasion, one from which without disobedience he could not escape. It was this feature of his ministry which gave his utterances their peculiarly prophetic character. Like Haggai, he was supremely “the Lord’s messenger in the Lord’s message.”

MRS. SUSANNAH SPURGEON: Sometimes, but not often, he would leave the study for a few moments, to seek me, and say, with a troubled tone in his voice, “Wifey, what shall I do? God has not given me my text yet.” I would comfort him as well as I could; and, after a little talk, he would return to his work, and wait and watch for the Word to be given. It was, to me, a cause for peculiar thankfulness when I was able to suggest to him a passage from which he could preach; and, afterwards, in referring to the sermon, he seemed pleased to say, “You gave me that text.”

C. H. SPURGEON: As soon as any passage of Scripture really grips my heart and soul, I concentrate my whole attention upon it, look at the precise meaning of the original, closely examine the context so as to see the special aspect of the text in its surroundings, and roughly jot down all the thoughts that occur to me concerning the subject, leaving to a later period the orderly marshalling of them for presentation to my hearers.
       When I have reached this point, I am often stopped by an obstacle which is only a trouble to those of us whose sermons are regularly printed. I turn to my own Bible, which contains a complete record of all my published discourses; and, looking at those I have preached upon the text, I find perhaps that the general run of thought is so similar to that which I have marked out, that I have to abandon the subject, and seek another. Happily, a text of Scripture is like a diamond with many facets, which sparkles and flashes whichever way it is held, so that although I may have, already printed, several sermons upon a particular passage, there is still a fresh setting possible for the priceless gem, and I can go forward with my work. I like next to see what others have to say about my text.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): It is a great privilege to have the thoughts that these men have been digging for all their lives.

C. H. SPURGEON: As a rule, my experience is that, if its teaching is perfectly plain, the commentators, to a man, explain it at great length whereas, with equal unanimity, they studiously avoid or evade the verse which Peter might have described as “things hard to be understood.” I am much obliged to them for leaving me so many nuts to crack; but I should have been just as grateful if they had made more use of their own theological teeth or nut-crackers. However, among the many who have written upon the Word, I generally find some who can at least help to throw a side-light upon it; and when I have arrived at that part of my preparation, I am glad to call my dear wife to my assistance.

MRS. SUSANNAH SPURGEON: I always found, when I went into the study, an easy chair drawn up to the table, by his side, and a big heap of books piled one upon the other, and opened at the place where he desired me to read. With those old volumes around him, he was like a honey-bee amid the flowers; he seemed to know how to extract and carry off the sweet spoils from the most unpromising-looking tome among them. His acquaintance with them was so familiar and complete, that he could at once place his hand on any author who had written upon the portion of Scripture which was engaging his attention; and I was, in this pleasant fashion, introduced to many of the Puritans and other divines whom, otherwise, I might not have known.

C. H. SPURGEON: She reads to me until I get a clear idea of the whole subject; and, gradually, I am guided to the best form of outline, which I copy out, on a half-sheet of notepaper, for use in the pulpit.

 

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The Eternal Pure Perfection of the Word of God

Proverbs 30:5; Psalm 12:6
       Every word of God is pure.
       The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

ISAAC WATTS (1674-1748): The Word of the Lord is pure and perfect.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Of what other book in the world can this be said?

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): “Thy Word is very pure,” Psalm 119:140. It is truth distilled, holiness in its quintessence. In the Word of God there is no admixture of error or sin. It is pure in its sense, pure in its language, pure in its spirit, pure in its influence, and all this to the very highest degree―“very pure.”

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): The expression may import two things: first, the infallible certainty of the Word; and secondly, the exact purity.

WILLIAM PERKINS (1558-1602): The excellency of the nature of Scripture can be described in terms of its perfection, or purity, or its eternity. Its perfection consists either in its sufficiency or its purity, its sufficiency is such that as the Word of God it is so complete that nothing may be either added to it or taken from it which belongs to its proper purpose: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul,” Psalm 19:7; “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; ye shall not add to it, nor take away from it,” Deuteronomy 12:32. The purity of Scripture lies in the fact that it stands complete in itself, without either deceit or error.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): These words involve two grand facts with regard to the Word of God. It is not to be added to, for the simplest of all reasons, because there is nothing lacking; it is not to be diminished, because there is nothing superfluous. Everything we want is there, and nothing that is there can be done without. To suppose that aught can be added to God’s Word is, upon the very face of it, to deny that it is God’s Word; and, on the other hand, if we admit that it is the Word of God, then it follows of necessity that we could not afford to do without a single sentence of it.

CHARLES BRIDGES: Hence, to add to His words, stamped as they are with His Divine authority, will expose us to His tremendous reproof, and cover us with shame. The Jewish church virtually added their oral law and written traditions. The church of Rome is not less guilty, and as a church has been found a liar; adding to the inspired canon a mass of unwritten tradition, and apocryphal writings, with all their gross errors, and in despite of the clearest proof of their human origin.

ROBERT HALDANE (1764-1842): Not a word of it can be altered, because it is the Word of Him with whom there is no variableness.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Not only that, it is all going to stand until it has all been fulfilled.

WILLIAM PERKINS: The eternity of the Word is its quality of remaining inviolable. It cannot pass away until everything it commands has been fully accomplished, Matthew 5:18.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): His Word cannot fail.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Now. The Lord God is perfect in all His works. He does nothing by chance. He caused no part of the Scriptures to be written by chance. In all His dealings you may trace design, purpose, and plan. There was design in the size and orbit of each planet. There was design in the shape and structure of the least fly’s wing. There was design in every repetition of a verse, wherever it took place…Nothing is written by chance in the Word of God. There is a special reason for the selection of every single expression.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Every jot and tittle, everything has meaning.

ROBERT HALDANE (1764-1842): In the Scriptures there are many things which, considered only in themselves, appear to be of no value, or, at least, of very little importance; but in reality the Bible contains nothing superfluous—nothing which does not contribute to its perfection, and to the evidence of its divine origin.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Nothing is so amazing about the Bible as its wholeness, the perfect interrelationship of all the parts.

A. P. GIBBS (1890-1967): The Bible is not a collection of isolated texts, but is an organic whole.

RICHARD ROGERS (1550-1618): We may therefore note the great care that the Holy Ghost had in setting down the Scriptures, freeing them from error, and making one to agree with the other: so that if men were able to discern, they might ever see it to be so.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The Bible consists of many parts, exquisitely correlated and vitally interdependent upon each other. God so controlled all the agents which He employed in the writing of it, and so coordinated their efforts, as to produce a single living Book. Within that organic unity there is indeed much variety, but no contrariety…The rainbow is but one, nevertheless it reflects distinctly the seven prismatic rays, yet they are harmoniously blended together. So it is with the Bible: its unity appears in the perfect consistency throughout of its teachings.

C. H. SPURGEON: The books of Scripture are many, yet the Book, the Bible, is one.

CHARLES BRIDGES: But if “every word of God is pure,” take care that no word is lighted. How few range over the whole revelation of God!

J. C. RYLE: Read all the Bible, and read it in an orderly way. I fear there are many parts of the Word which some people never read at all. This is to say the least, a very presumptuous habit. “All Scripture is profitable,” 2 Timothy 3:16. To this habit may be traced that want of broad, well-proportioned views of truth, which is so common in this day.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): All the sacred sentences contained in the blessed book are pure, precious, and profitable.

RICHARD ROGERS: Seeing the Lord hath the Scriptures so pure and free from all error―the matters in them being so profitable and heavenly―I conclude that if we desire to live comfortably by the benefit of them, let them be our treasure, while the world tramples them underfoot. And let our meditation and delight be so much the more in them, and that continually, Psalm 1:2.

C. H. SPURGEON: The word―the simple, pure, infallible word of God―we must live upon if we are to become strong against error and tenacious of truth.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): The Bible is not antique, or modern; it is eternal.

 

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Why There Will Always Be Wars in the World

Romans 5:19; I John 2:16; 2 Timothy 3:1-4
       By one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners.
       All that is in world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
       This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.

STEPHEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680): How came it to pass that man’s wickedness should rise so high? Whence did it spring?

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The whole case of the Bible from beginning to end is this: that life, and man, and the world simply cannot be understood until we see everything in the light of, and in the context of the truth of God…Now, you cannot begin to solve the problems of mankind until you know what man is like. How futile it must be to attempt it! You must start with the character, the nature, the being of man―what sort of a creature is he?

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Man is a reeking mass of corruption…As the salt flavours every drop in the Atlantic, so does sin affect every atom of our nature.

PHILIP MELANCTHON (1497-1560): Original sin is an inclination born with us, a kind of impulse which is pleasing to us, a kind of force which draws us into sin, and which has been transmitted by Adam to all his posterity. As there is in fire a native force which carries it upward, as there is in the magnet a natural power to attract steel, so there is in man a primary force disposing him to evil.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Here we are given the only real and adequate explanation of why there are such things as wars―Why is it that men kill one another, and have even gloried in war. Why? What’s the explanation of it all? Well, there’s only one answer: it’s because man is like this―you remember how James puts it in that fourth chapter of his epistle? Whence come wars among you? And he answers the question: Even of your lusts, that war in your members. That’s the cause of war. It’s man in his fallen condition.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Here is the first seat of war. Hence proceeds the war of man with man, king with king, nation with nation.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Man today is as rotten as he was the moment he fell in the Garden of Eden…
      Now I say that this is something that is absolutely vital for us as a starting point. This is true of nations, it’s true of classes, it’s true of individuals. And surely there is nothing that is quite so pathetic, as the way in which people think along one line when they’re thinking of nations, and along another line when they’re thinking of individuals. It’s no use talking eloquently about the sanctity of international contracts, while you are dealing with people who break their own marriage contracts, and other personal contracts. Because nations consist of individuals; a nation is not something abstract; you cannot expect conduct from a nation which you do not have from an individual. Now this is a principle which operates from top to bottom, from the individual, to the nation, to the continent, to the whole world itself. And you see the explanation is this: that man is governed by these desires of the flesh and of the mind. He isn’t so interested in whether a thing is right or not, he’s interested in that he wants it, that he likes it, and that he must have it.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Lusts. This was the principle from which all the wars that have afflicted and desolated the world have proceeded. One nation or king covets another’s territory or property; and, as conquest is supposed to give right to all the possessions gained by it, they kill, slay, burn, and destroy, till one is overcome or exhausted, and then the other makes his own terms.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Of course, we stand back aghast when a nation does that. When Hitler walks in and annexes Austria, we are horrified! Yes, people are horrified, who do that very thing in their personal lives. They do it, I say, in the matter of another man’s wife; they do it in the matter of a man’s post or position. It’s the same thing exactly. There is the principle then: it is this lust that governs mankind. The first deduction therefore is, that here and here alone do we have an adequate explanation of, and an adequate understanding, of why things are as they are.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): Man in his best day, under the most favourable circumstances, is nothing but a failure.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Very well, let’s leave that. The second deduction I think follows very logically, which is this: while man continues to be like that, the world will continue to be as it is. I think it’s obvious if it is the state of man in sin that has been responsible for the history of the past, then obviously while man remains like that the history of the future is going to be the same…And we have specific teaching from our blessed Lord Himself, who said there will be “wars, and rumours of wars,” Matthew 26:6.

D. L. MOODY: I don’t find any place where God says the world is to grow better and better―I find that the earth is to grow worse and worse.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Here we come face to face with the optimism of the natural man, who is always so sure and confident that somehow or another we in our generation can put things right. Whereas all other generations have failed who have gone before us, we are in a different position, we’re in a superior position; we are educated, we are cultured, we know―they didn’t―but we’ve advanced so much, we must do it, we’re going to do it! Now I say if you believe this Biblical doctrine of man in sin you must see at once that that’s a fatal fallacy. It’s impossible! If it is this question of the lusts that are in man in sin, while they are there, there will be wars.

C. H. SPURGEON: It is not the nature of sin to remain in a fixed state. Like decaying fruit, it grows more rotten. The man who is bad today will be worse tomorrow.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: “As they were in the days of Noah” Christ says, “even so they shall be in the days of the Son of Man,” Luke 17:26-30; “As they were in Sodom,” He says, “even so they shall be.”

C. H. SPURGEON: Worse still, if worse can be: those who dare walk our streets after sundown tell us that Sodom, in its most putrid days, could scarce exceed this metropolis for open vice…Deep is our shame when we know that our judges are not clear in this matter, but social purity has been put to the blush by magistrates.

 

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The Dangers of Profaning the Lord’s Day

Isaiah 58:13,14; Nehemiah 13:17,18
       If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
       What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? Yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The Lord makes the sacred observance of His Day of special blessing; and contrariwise, He visits the profanation of the Sabbath with special cursing…It is significant to note that this is the only one of the Ten Commandments which opens with the word “Remember,” as though men had the greatest tendency to forget it!

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): It is a sacrilege, the worst of theft, to profane the Sabbath Day. It is a robbing of God, a stealing from Him of time that is consecrated to Him, and that is dangerous.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): The law of the land lets Sabbath-breakers alone, but God will not. No sooner did Christ curse the fig-tree, but it withered. God will take the matter into His own hand; He will see after the punishing of Sabbath violation.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): You show me a nation that has given up the Sabbath and I will show you a nation that has got the seed of decay.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Where no Sabbath is observed, there disease, poverty, and profligacy, generally prevail. Had we no Sabbath, we should soon have no religion.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): It is not too much to say that the prosperity or decay of English Christianity depends on the maintenance of the Christian Sabbath…As a general rule, there is a regular flight of steps from ‘no Sabbath’ to ‘no God.’

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): The public ordinances on the Lord’s Day, whatever else they do, they keep up a standard for Christ in the world; and to slight them is the way to fill the world with atheism and profaneness.

A. W. PINK: As our guilty land is now proving to its bitter cost.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): I need not enlarge on this painful subject, which forces itself upon the mind if we only walk the streets or look into the newspaper. It is not necessary to inform my hearers that infidelity, licentiousness, perjury, profaneness, and the neglect and contempt of God’s Sabbath and worship abound.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Profaning of the Lord’s Sabbath is as great an argument of a profane heart as any that can be found in the whole book of God.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): All backslidings begin with the heart, Jeremiah 2:19. From hence are “the issues of life,” Proverbs 4:23. Private prayer, it may be, at first becomes wearisome; no communion with God in it; it is then occasionally neglected: hence public ordinances cease to afford their wonted pleasure; Christian society is dropped; the world takes up your attention, and you have little or no time to spare for religion; some carnal acquaintance, perceiving you to be coming, draws you on; recommends you read some one of the liberal productions of the times, by which you are to learn that there is no need to be so rigid in religion, and no harm in frequenting the theatre, or in devoting a part at least of the Lord’s day to visiting or amusement.

THOMAS WATSON: It is not said, Keep a part of the Sabbath holy, but the whole day―such as care not for ordinances, but say, When will the Sabbath be over? plainly discover a want of love to God.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): If we employ the Lord’s Day to make good cheer, to sport ourselves, to go to the games and pastimes, shall God in this be honoured? Is this not a mockery? Is this not an unhallowing of His name?

THOMAS WATSON: It is not said, Keep a part of the Sabbath holy, but the whole day.

J. C. RYLE: How many make the Lord’s Day a day for giving dinner parties―a day for quietly transacting worldly business―a day for reading newspapers or novels―a day for talking politics and idle gossip―a day, in short, for anything rather than the things of God…These ways of spending Sunday are none of them works of necessity or works of mercy. There is not the slightest likeness between them and any of the things which the Lord Jesus explains to be lawful on the Sabbath Day. To heal a sick person, or pull an ox or ass out of a pit, is one thing: to travel in excursion trains, or go to concerts, theatres, dances and cinemas, is quite another. The difference is as great as between light and darkness. These ways of spending Sunday are none of them of a holy tendency, or calculated to help us heavenward.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): We must turn away our foot from the sabbath―from trampling upon it, as profane atheistical people do…we must turn away our foot from doing our own pleasure on that holy day, that is, from living at large, and taking a liberty to do what we please on sabbath days, without the control and restraint of conscience.

THOMAS WATSON: To profane the Sabbath is a great sin; it is a wilful contempt of God; it is not only casting His law behind our back, but trampling it under foot. He says, “Keep the Sabbath holy;” but men pollute it. This is to despise God, to hang out the flag of defiance, to throw down the gauntlet, and challenge God Himself. Now, how can God endure to be thus saucily confronted by proud dust? Surely He will not suffer this high impudence to go unpunished. God’s curse will come upon the Sabbath-breaker.

GEORGE SWINNOCK (1627-1673): The [judgment] day of the Lord is likely to be a dreadful day to them that despise the Lord’s day.

G. S. BOWES (circa 1820’s-1880’s): A man was introduced by a gentleman to a minister with the remark, “He never attends public worship.”
      “Ah!” said the minister, “I hope you are mistaken.”
      “By no means,” said the stranger, “I always spend Sunday in settling my accounts.”
      “Then, alas!” was the solemn reply, “you will find, sir, that the day of judgment will be spent in the same manner.”

J. C. RYLE: Common sense, reason, conscience, will combine, I think, to say that if we cannot spare God one day in a week, we cannot be living as those ought to live who must die one day.

EDMUND CALAMY (1600-1666): Shall God allow thee six days, and wilt not thou afford Him one?

 

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The Blessings of Observing the Lord’s Day As God Commanded

Mark 2:27; Isaiah 58:13,14
       The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.
       If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The Sabbath was made for man’s blessing.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): It is not only a day of honour to God, but a day of blessing to us.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): The sabbath was made for man―for his good, and not for his hurt; both for the good of his soul, that he might have an opportunity of attending divine worship, both in public and private; and for the good of his body, that he might have rest from his labour; and this was the end of the original institution and appointment of it.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The Sabbath is God’s merciful appointment for the common benefit of all mankind…The Sabbath is good for man’s body. We need a day of rest. On this point, at any rate, all medical men are agreed. Curiously and wonderfully made as the human frame is, it will not stand incessant work without regular intervals of repose.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): God did design it to be an advantage to us―He made it for man. He had some regard to our bodies in the institution, that we might rest, and not be tired out with the constant business of this world; that thy man-servant and thy maid-servant may rest, Deuteronomy 5:14.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Remember that thou wast a servant―therefore art highly obliged not to grudge thy servants their rest upon that day.

J. C. RYLE: One plain rule about the Sabbath is that it must be kept as a day of rest. All work of every kind ought to cease as far as possible, both of body and mind…Works of necessity and mercy may be done. Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us this, Matthew 12:1-8; Luke 14:1-6.

THOMAS WATSON: Except in these two cases, of necessity and charity, all secular work is to be suspended and laid aside on the Lord’s-day. ‘In it thou shalt do no manner of work.’―To do servile work on the Sabbath shows an irreligious heart, and greatly offends God…God will not have His day entrenched upon, or defiled in the least thing. The man that gathered sticks on the Sabbath he commanded to be stoned. Numbers 15:35. It would seem a small thing to pick up a few sticks to make a fire; but God would not have this day violated in the smallest matters. Nay, the work which had reference to a religious use might not be done on the Sabbath, as the hewing of stones for the building of the sanctuary. Bezaleel, who was to cut the stones, and carve the timber out for the sanctuary, must forbear to do it on the Sabbath, Exodus 31:15. A temple is a place of God’s worship, but it was a sin to build a temple on the Lord’s-day.

J. C. RYLE: Many are raising a cry in the present day, as if we were inflicting a positive injury on them in calling on them to keep the Sabbath holy. They talk as if the observance of the day were a heavy yoke…When I speak of public desecration of the Sabbath, I mean those many open, unblushing practices, which meet the eye on Sundays in the neighbourhood of large towns. I refer to the practice of keeping shops open, and buying and selling on Sundays.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The Sabbath was made for man, that he might be a man in the highest sense of the word―something nobler than a beast of burden; something more than a cash register. The Sabbath was made for man because he needed it: his body needs it, his soul needs it.

J. C. RYLE: The other great rule about the Sabbath is, that it must be kept holy. It is not to be a carnal, sensual rest, like that of the worshippers of the golden calf, who “sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play,” Exodus 32:6. It is to be emphatically a holy rest. It is to be a rest in which, as far as possible, the affairs of the soul may be attended to, business of another world minded, and communion with God and Christ kept up. In short, it ought never to be forgotten that it is “the Sabbath of the Lord our God,” Exodus 20:10.

MATTHEW POOLE: God made it a day of blessing; as well of receiving blessings and praises from men, as of conferring His blessings and favours upon those that religiously observe it.

MATTHEW HENRY: Those that honour God and His Sabbath, He will thus honour. If God by his grace enable us to live above the world, and so to manage it as not only not to be hindered by it, but to be furthered and carried on by it in our journey towards heaven, then He makes us to ride on the high places of the earth…In order that we may depend upon it, it is added, The mouth of the Lord has spoken it; you may take God’s word for it, for He cannot lie nor deceive; what His mouth has spoken His hand will give, His hand will do, and not one iota or tittle of his good promise shall fall to the ground.

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): The Lord will make it even a spring of temporal blessings. He will not let the day of blessing be a curse to people in their temporal affairs. They shall be at no loss in their worldly things by the Sabbath rest, Leviticus 25:20-22. Conscientious keepers of the Sabbath will be found to thrive as well in other ways as those who are not.

J. C. RYLE: The sabbath is good for nations. It has an enormous effect both on the character and temporal prosperity of a people. I firmly believe that a people which regularly rests one day in seven will do more work, and better work, in a year, than a people which never rest at all. Their hands will be stronger; their minds clearer; their powers of attention, application, and steady perseverance will be far greater.

THOMAS ADAM (1701-1784): Sunday—in our rest from bodily labour and employment, in the thoughts it suggests, the prospect it opens, the hope it confirms—is a day taken from time, and made a portion of eternity.

ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER (1772-1851): The best preparation for the week’s work is the communion of the Sabbath.

A. W. PINK: A Sabbath well spent, brings a week of content,
                                       And strength for the toils of the morrow.
                                But a Sabbath profaned, what e’er may be gained,
                                          Is a certain forerunner of sorrow.

 

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How Do We Sanctify the Sabbath & Keep the Lord’s Day Holy?

Exodus 20:8; Deuteronomy 5:12; Revelation 1:12
       Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee.
       Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
       I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): This word, ‘remember,’ shows that we are apt to forget Sabbath holiness; therefore we need a memorandum to put us in mind of sanctifying the day.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): What then appears to be the will of God about the manner of observing the Sabbath Day?

EDMUND CALAMY (1600-1666): Make the Lord’s day the market-day for thy soul―lay aside the affairs of the other part of the week.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): When our shop windows are shut on the Lord’s Day…this is to the end that we should have more liberty and leisure to attend on that which God commandeth.

THOMAS WATSON: The business of week-days makes us forgetful of God and our souls: the Sabbath brings Him back to our remembrance…It is good to rest on the Sabbath day from the works of our calling; but if we rest from labour and do no more, the ox and the ass keep the Sabbath as well as we; for they rest from labour. We must dedicate the day to God; we must not only ‘keep a Sabbath,’ but ‘sanctify’ a Sabbath.

THOMAS BOSTON (1676-1732): What are the parts of the sanctification of the Sabbath? They are two―holy rest, and holy exercise.

THOMAS WATSON: We keep the Sabbath day holy, by consecrating and dedicating this day to the service of the high God…Sabbath sanctification consists in two things, in resting from our own works, and in a conscientious discharge of our religious duty.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The Sabbath was made a day of rest, only in order to its being a day of holy work, a day of communion with God, a day of praise and thanksgiving; and the rest from worldly business is therefore necessary, that we may closely apply ourselves to this work, and spend the whole time in it, in public and in private.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): David went [into the house of God] to get bread for himself and his men, being hungry, I Samuel 21:6: so in a spiritual sense, where should such go, who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, but into the house of God? Here is bread enough, and to spare; here is a table furnished with excellent provisions; here the Gospel is dispensed, which is milk for babes, and meat for strong men; here Christ, the bread of life, is set forth, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed; here the ordinances are administered, which are breasts of consolation to the children of God―and this was on the sabbath day that David went into the house of God―and so under the Gospel dispensation, on the Lord’s day, the day set apart for public worship, it becomes the saints to go up to the house of the Lord, and feed upon the provisions of it.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): The Lord’s people in the olden time welcomed the times appointed for worship; let us feel the same exultation, and never speak of the Sabbath as though it could be other than a ‘delight’ and ‘honourable.’

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): What attitude did the incarnate Son of God take to the Sabbath? How did He act in regard to it, and what was His teaching concerning it? We answer, unhesitatingly, He honoured it; He kept it; He upheld its claims upon men.

MATTHEW HENRY: Christ chose to work his cures on the Sabbath day to dignify and sanctify the day, and to intimate that spiritual cures should be wrought mostly on the Christian Sabbath day. How many blind eyes have been opened by the preaching of the gospel, that blessed eye-salve, on the Lord’s Day!

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): “As His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read,” Luke 4:16. Our Lord regularly attended the public worship of God in the synagogues; for there the Scriptures were read.

MATTHEW HENRY: The reading of the scripture is very proper work to be done.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): Read the Bible. If ye be led by the Spirit, ye will love the Bible.

JOHN DUNCAN (1796-1870): Those who love Christ Himself truly, have also an high esteem of His Word, and are much delighted with that; and where there is little esteem of His Word, there is but little esteem of Himself: they who have tasted the sweetness of the Word, do highly esteem of Christ Himself.

THOMAS WATSON: God made this day on purpose to raise the heart to heaven, to converse with Him.

JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): A Sunday that commences without prayer, is likely to be spent without pleasure, and closed without profit.

RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691): The Lord’s day is exceeding seasonable for this exercise…It being a day appropriated to spiritual duties, methinks we should never exclude this duty, which is eminently spiritual. I verily think this is the chief work of a Christian Sabbath, and most agreeable to the design of its positive institution. What fitter time to converse with our Lord, than on the Lord’s day? What fitter day to ascend to heaven, then on that which He arose from earth, and fully triumphed over death and hell.

J. C. RYLE: The soul has its wants just as much as the mind and the body. It is in the midst of a hurrying, bustling world, in which its interests are constantly in danger of being jostled out of sight. To have those interests properly attended to, there must be a special day set apart.

MATTHEW HENRY: The sabbath is a sacred and divine institution; but we must receive and embrace it as a privilege and a benefit, not as a task and a drudgery. First, God never designed it to be an imposition upon us, and therefore we must not make it so to ourselves. “Man was not made for the sabbath,” for he was made a day before the Sabbath was instituted. Man was made for God, and for His honour and service, and so we must make it.

J. C. RYLE: I do not tell anyone that he ought to pray all day, or read his Bible all day, or go to church all day, or meditate all day, without let or cessation, on a Sunday. All I say is, that the Sunday rest should be a holy rest. God ought to be kept in view; God’s Word ought to be studied; God’s House ought to be attended; the soul’s business ought to be specially considered; and I say that everything which prevents the day being kept holy in this way, ought as far as possible to be avoided.

IGNATIUS of ANTIOCH (circa 50-108): Let every one of us keep a spiritual Sabbath.

RICHARD BAXTER: The fittest temper for a true Christian is, like John, to be in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.

MATTHEW HENRY: Let us who call him our Lord honour Him on His own day, the day which the Lord hath made and in which we ought to rejoice.

 

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