The Two Great Pillars of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation: Part 3: How the Roman Catholic Church Corrupted the Bible

Deuteronomy 4:2; Revelation 22:18
       Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it, that ye may keep these commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.
       I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): This sanction is like a flaming sword, to guard the canon of the Scripture from profane hands. Such a fence as this God set about the law, Deuteronomy 4:2, and the whole Old Testament, Malachi 4:4, and now in most solemn manner about the whole Bible, assuring us that it is a book of the most sacred nature, Divine authority, and of the last importance, and therefore the peculiar care of the great God.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): Thus the holy volume is divinely guarded at both ends. It is securely fenced round about, so that no rude hand should touch its sacred contents. 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.

RENÉ PACHE (1904-1979): Divine inspiration and canonicity are inseparably bound together―the word “canon”―taken from the Greek―means a rule which serves as a measure―By definition, the Scriptures must contain only inspired texts: “all Scripture is inspired by God,” 2 Timothy 3:16. Writings lacking this quality have no place in it.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): 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.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): If the revelation of God were not enough for our faith, what could we add to it? Who can answer this question? What would any man propose to add to the sacred Word?

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): That detestable decree of the Council of Trent is well known.

ROBERT HALDANE (1764-1842): The Council of Trent, in the sixteenth century, in order to check the progress of the Protestant Reformation, pronounced the Apocryphal books to be strictly canonical. From that period they have usurped the name of inspired Scriptures, and have been intermingled with the canonical books in the Bibles of Roman Catholics.

RENÉ PACHE: The word Apocrypha―meaning “secret, hidden”―is the name given to the Jewish [Old Testament] religious books of obscure origin which were never included in the Hebrew canon [of Scripture].

ROBERT HALDANE: Who their authors were is not known. They were not written in the Hebrew language, in which all the books of the Old Testament were originally composed, with the exception of a few passages in Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezra, and Esther, which were written in Chaldee…All the early Christian writers, while they were unanimous in acknowledging the Jewish Scriptures, rejected with one accord the Apocryphal books as uncanonical, or destitute of all claim to inspiration.

RENÉ PACHE: Why, then, did Rome take so new and daring a position?
      Confronted by the Reformation, she lacked arguments to justify her unscriptural deviations. She declared that the Apocryphal books supported such doctrines as prayers for the dead (2 Macc. 12:44); the expiatory sacrifice, eventually to become the mass, (2 Macc. 12:39-46); almsgiving with expiatory value, also leading to deliverance from death (Tobit 12:9; 4:10); invocation and intercession of the saints (2 Macc. 15:14; Bar. 3:4); the worship of angels (Tobit 12:12); purgatory; and the redemption of souls after death (2 Macc.12:42, 46). Here is the list of the Apocryphal books accepted by Rome:
                                    Tobit                                       Epistle of Jeremiah
                                    Judith                                     Song of the Three Holy Children
                                    Additions to Esther              Story of Susanna
                                    Wisdom of Solomon              Bel and the Dragon
                                    Ecclesiasticus                         1 Maccabees
                                    Baruch                                    2 Maccabees

ROBERT HALDANE: Both Philo and Josephus,* who flourished in the first century of the Christian era, are altogether silent concerning these spurious books, which were not contained in the Septuagint version―and they form no part of those sacred writings committed by God to the Jews, universally acknowledged and preserved by them entire. Above all, they have not received the attestation of Jesus Christ, and His Apostles, by whom they have never once been quoted…Jesus Christ, who appeared on earth 1500 years after Moses, the first of the prophets, and 400 years after Malachi, the last of them, bore His testimony to the sacred canon as held by the Jews in His time.

RENÉ PACHE: Now, we must remember that it was the Jews who were called upon to compile the Old Testament. As Paul said, it was to them that the oracles of God were confided, Romans 3:1,2. We received those oracles from their hands and from no one else…They kept it pure, not allowing the addition of any Apocryphal writings.

ROBERT HALDANE: It was not until the fourth century, when the churches had become exceedingly corrupt both in faith and practise, that they came to be permitted to appear with the canon…In his Latin translation, called the Vulgate, Jerome intermingled the Aprocryphal and inspired writings, but, to prevent mistake, he prefixed to each book a short notice, in which the reader was distinctly informed of its character, and that the Aprocryphal writings were not in the canon of Scripture. He says that to meet the prejudices of the ignorant, he retained these “fables”―but he adds that, according to his custom, he had marked these Aprocryphal intruders with a spit or dagger, placed horizontally for the purpose of stabbing them.

JEROME (340-420): The church does not receive them among canonical Scriptures; they may be read for edification of the people, but are not to be esteemed of [any] authority for proving any doctrine of religion.

ROBERT HALDANE: The Apocryphal books, though not admitted by the first Christian writers, or churches, to have any authority in matters of faith, yet [now] claim for themselves authority, and even arrogate an equality with the sacred Scriptures, to which they were at length advanced by the Church of Rome.

JOHN TRAPP: Witness that heathenish decree of the Council of Trent; equalising, if not preferring, the Apocrypha to the canonical Scripture—

ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, COUNCIL OF TRENT (1546): If anyone receive not as sacred and canonical these said books, entire with all their parts…Let him be anathema!

RENÉ PACHE: By this decree, Jerome himself was condemned!

ROBERT HALDANE: Thus, in direct opposition to the command of God, an addition was made to the sacred canon, in the very worst form, of many entire books, and these not corresponding with the inspired writings, but in numerous instances, and most important particulars, directly contradicting them.

CHARLES BRIDGES: The church of Rome—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, in despite of the clearest proof of their human origin.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): No greater mischief can happen to a Christian people, than to have God’s Word taken from them, or falsified, so that they no longer have it pure and clear.
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*Editor’s Note: Philo was a Jewish philosopher who lived at Alexandria in Egypt; Josephus was a Jewish scholar and historian, who was born at Jerusalem.

 

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The Two Great Pillars of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation: The 2nd Pillar: Justification by Grace Alone Through Faith in Christ

Romans 4:3-5
       What saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): If any doctrines within the whole compass of Christianity may be properly termed “fundamental,” they are doubtless these two—the doctrine of justification, and that of the new birth: the former relating to that great work which God does for us, in forgiving our sins; the latter, to the great work which God does in us, in renewing our fallen nature. In order of time, neither of these is before the other; in the moment we are justified by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Jesus, we are also “born of the Spirit.”
      At this time more especially will we speak, that by grace are ye saved through faith, Ephesians 2:8.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): We must also assert in a very special way justification by faith alone, and faith only. We have got to assert that justification is not the result of regeneration, nor does it depend upon our regeneration. That is the Roman Catholic teaching, that we are justified because we have been regenerated as result of our baptism. This error can come in, and is coming in today in very subtle forms, but we must assert that God justifieth the ungodly, that it is entirely a forensic action, a legal pronouncement by God, and that we play no part whatsoever in it.

ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, COUNCIL OF TRENT (1545-1563), CANONS XI & XII: If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema. If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ’s sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): The Papists imagine that sins are only half remitted by God, because He is not willing to absolve sinners gratuitously. But the Scripture speaks far otherwise.

JOHN WESLEY: It is endless to attack one by one all the errors of that Church. But salvation by faith strikes at the root, and all fall at once when this is established.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): Would you know the ground on which this goes, or how it comes to pass, that the just God can justify an ungodly sinner? It is because of Christ’s righteousness, and of His satisfying justice, or paying of the sinner’s debt.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): If you are justified, it is through His righteousness…When we say that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to believing souls, we do not hold forth an exceptional theory, but we expound a grand truth, which is so consistent with the theory of the fall and the plan of pardon, that it must be maintained in order to make the gospel clear. Justification by faith is a matter about which there must be no obscurity.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): The world, I know, is full of wranglers who obscure the doctrine of justification by faith, and of fanatics who persecute it. This doctrine is the head and the cornerstone. It alone begets, nourishes, builds, preserves, and defends the church of God; and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour.

C. H. SPURGEON: Between the Protestant and the Papist there is a controversy of such a character, that he who is saved on the one side by faith in Jesus, dare not allow that his opponent on the opposite side can be saved while depending on his own works. There the controversy is for life or death, because it hinges mainly upon the doctrine of justification by faith, which Luther so properly called the test doctrine, by which a Church either stands or falls.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): No cup of poison is so deadly as that mingled cup of law and grace, of works and faith, which is presented to men by false teachers, instead of the Gospel of the grace of God.

C. H. SPURGEON: I must give up justification by faith if I give up imputed righteousness. True justification by faith is the surface soil, but then imputed righteousness is the granite rock which lies underneath it; and if you dig down through the great truth of a sinner being justified by faith in Christ, you must, as I believe, inevitably come to the doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ as the basis and foundation on which that simple doctrine rests.

MARTIN LUTHER: If the article of justification be once lost, then is all true Christian doctrine lost. And as many as are in the world that hold not this doctrine, are either Jews, Turks, Papists, or heretics. For between the righteousness of the law and the righteousness of Christ, or between active and passive righteousness, there is no mean. He then that strayeth from this Christian righteousness, must needs fall into an active righteousness; that is to say, when he hath lost Christ, he must fall into the confidence of his own works.

BROWNLOW NORTH (1810-1875): There can be no greater deception or lie of the devil than this, for he who depends in part or in whole on his own righteousness will surely be damned. This truth is so important to be received that I can use no other word: it is the truth of God. There are two righteousnesses in which a man can stand before God in judgment, and two only. The one is his righteousness, and the other is Christ’s righteousness―It must be wholly the one, however, or wholly the other; for we cannot stand partly in the one and partly in the other.

C. H. SPURGEON: It is essential that our faith rest alone on Jesus. Mix anything with Christ, and you are undone. If your faith stand with one foot upon the rock of His merits, and the other foot upon the sand of your own duties, it will fall, and great will be the fall thereof.

THOMAS WILCOX (1622-1687): To accept Christ’s righteousness alone, His blood alone for salvation, is the sum of the Gospel.

MARTIN LUTHER: We believe that the commencement of salvation, and the sum of Christianity, is faith in Christ, who by His blood alone, and not by our works, has expiated sin, and destroyed the dominion of death. We believe that this faith is a gift of God, and that it is created by the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and not found by our own exertion. For faith is a living thing, which begets a man spiritually, and makes him a new creature.

LORD SHAFTESBURY (1801-1885): Justification by Faith alone―that grand doctrine, the very life of the Bible and the Keystone of the Reformation.

 

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The Two Great Pillars of the 16th Century Protestant Reformation: The 1st Pillar: The Supreme Authority of the Bible

Matthew 21:42; John 5:19,39
       Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures?
       Then answered Jesus, and said unto them…Search the scriptures; for in them ye think have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

THOMAS CRANMER (1489-1555): Christ sendeth his hearers to the Scriptures, not to the church…The Word of God is above the church.

J. H. M. d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): The infallible authority of the Word of God alone was the first and fundamental principle of the Reformation. All the reformations in detail which took place at a later period, as reformations in doctrine, in manners, in the government of the Church, and in worship, were only consequences of this primary principle. One is scarcely able at the present time to form an idea of the sensation produced by this elementary principle, which is so simple in itself, but which had been lost sight of for so many ages.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Roman Catholicism puts the Church, its tradition and its interpretation of Scripture first.

E. W. BULLINGER (1837-1913): I was examining the ceiling [in the Vatican library], which was arched and was very gaudily painted with pictures of all the Councils of the Church from the Council of Nicea to that of the Council of Trent…In the first, that of the Council of Nicea in 325, no prelate or potentate occupies the chair. The Bishop of Rome and the Emperor Constantine both declined to preside, and the Bible is placed on the chair. In the succeeding pictures man becomes more and more prominent, the Bible more and more insignificant. In the second picture, it is placed by the side of the chair; and it gets smaller and smaller; until, at the Council of Trent in 1545, it vanishes altogether. This is―though doubtless undesigned―a fitting symbolical representation of the relations between the Church and the Bible! As the one increases in authority, the authority of the other decreases.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): The ungodly papists prefer the authority of the church far above God’s Word…These adulators put the pope above Scripture and say that he cannot err. In that case Scripture perishes, and nothing is left in the Church save the word of man.

E. W. BULLINGER: The Inspiration of Holy Scripture, and therefore its Divine authorship and authority, lies at the root and foundation of true Christianity—it was the one great question which underlay all others at the Reformation. For, what was the Reformation in its essence? Was it not just the abandonment of human authority for Divine authority? Was it not all contained in this—the giving up of the authority of the church for the authority of the Word of God?

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Our faith is not rightly founded on anything except the sole Word of God…All are ready to declare, that they do not speak except from God. So the Papists at this day boast with magisterial gravity, that all their inventions are the oracles of the Spirit―But to all this I reply, that we have the Word of the Lord―we must inquire from the Scriptures whether these things are so.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): The Protestants in the Reformation began to search the originals, and charged their adversaries thence to produce their proofs.

J. H. M. d’AUBIGNÉ: The bold voices of all the Reformers soon proclaimed this powerful principle: “Christians, receive no other doctrines than those which are founded on the express words of Jesus Christ, His apostles, and prophets. No man, no assembly of doctors, are entitled to prescribe new doctrines.”

JOHN KNOX (1514-1572): Ye shall believe God, that plainly speaketh in His Word.

MARTIN LUTHER: I believe in neither pope nor councils alone; for it is perfectly well established that they have frequently erred, as well as contradicted themselves. Unless then I shall be convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason, I must be bound by those Scriptures which have been brought forward by me; yes, my conscience has been taken captive by these words of God. I cannot revoke anything, nor do I wish to; since to go against one’s conscience is neither safe nor right: here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.

HUGH LATIMER (1483-1555): More credence is to be given to one man having the Holy Word of God for him, than to ten thousand without the Word. If it agrees with God’s Word, it is to be received. If it agrees not, it is not to be received, though a council had determined it.

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): I therefore take little notice of what a man may saith, though he flourisheth his matter with many brave words, if he bring not with him, “Thus saith the Lord.” For that, and that only, ought to be my ground of faith as to how my God would be worshipped by me.

E. W. BULLINGER: Protestants are witnesses for God and His Word…We must refuse to acknowledge an infallible Pope: we cannot believe in an infallible Church or discern its so-called “voice”: we look in vain for infallibility in poor, fallen, human reason, or in the darkened understanding of mortal man, which needs to be illuminated with Divine Light. We must therefore hold fast the faithful Word, or we have nothing, absolutely nothing, to trust to. We must hold fast by the infallibility of the inspired Word, and ever maintain that “The Bible, and the Bible alone, is the Religion of Protestants.”

HULDRYCH ZWINGLI (1484-1531): It is not us that you ought to believe. It is the Word of God. The Scriptures alone never deceive.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): It is here alone that infallibility resides. It is not in the Church. It is not in the Councils. It is not in ministers. It is only in the written Word.

E. J. POOLE-CONNOR (1872-1962): The matter is nothing short of vital: Where is authority for the Christian faith to be found? “In the Scriptures, plus tradition and Papal decrees,” replies the Romanist—Not so was it with our Lord.

WILLIAM FAREL (1489-1565): Christ has given us the most perfect rule of life: no man is entitled to take from it or add to it.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Because the Bible is God’s Word, it is the final court of appeal in all things pertaining to doctrine, duty, and deportment. This was the position taken by the Lord Himself…When assaulted by Satan, three times He replied, “It is written”―When tempted by the Pharisees, who asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” He answered, “Have ye not read?” (Matthew 19:3,4). To the Sadducees He said, “Ye do err, not know the Scriptures,” Matthew 22:29. On another occasion, when speaking of the Word of God, He declared “The Scriptures cannot be broken,” John 10:35. Sufficient has been adduced to show that the Lord Jesus regarded then Scriptures as the Word of God in the most absolute sense.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): It is positively labour lost to be arguing and disputing with a man who does not give Scripture the self-same place that our Lord Jesus Christ gave it.

A. W. PINK: It is not a question of what I think, or of what any one else thinks—it is, what saith the Scriptures? It is not a matter of what any church or creed teaches—it is, What teaches the Bible?

AUGUSTINE (354-430): We must surrender ourselves to the authority of Holy Scripture, for it can neither mislead nor be misled.

 

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What is the Greatest Commandment in the Law?

Matthew 22:37-39
       And Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892):  God asks not thine admiration, but thine affection. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart―Love to God is the root of love to others―Search yourselves, then, and see whether you love God or no.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Most men talk indeed of loving God, and perhaps imagine they do; at least, few will acknowledge they do not love Him: but the fact is too plain to be denied. No man loves God by nature, any more than he does a stone―to love God! it is far above, out of our sight. We cannot, naturally, attain to it.

C. H. SPURGEON: No ungodly man loves God—at least not in the Bible sense of the term. An unconverted man may love a God, as, for instance, the God of nature, and the God of the imagination; but the God of revelation no man can love, unless grace has been poured into his heart, to turn him from that natural enmity of the heart towards God, in which all of us are born.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): It is the love of God which distinguishes true religion from all counterfeits, and from the effects of merely natural principles. It is this that distinguishes repentance from repentance, faith from faith, and fear from fear. Each of these graces has its counterfeit. Wherein consisted the difference between the repentance of Judas and that of Peter? The one was mere remorse of conscience; the other proceeded from love to Him whom he had denied…And wherein consists the difference between the fear that has torment, and godly fear? Is it not that the one is void of love, and the other is not so?

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): To love God is a better sign of sincerity than to fear Him. The Israelites feared God’s justice. When he slew them, they sought him, and inquired early after God, Psalm 78:34. But what did all this come to? Nevertheless, they did but flatter him with their mouth, and lied to him with their tongue; for their heart was not right with him, verses 36 & 37. That repentance is no better than flattery, which arises only from fear of God’s judgments, and has no love mixed with it. Loving God evidences that God has the heart, and if the heart be His, that will command all the rest.

EDWARD PAYSON (1783-1827): We are required to repent of the sin we have committed against Him; but to do this without love is evidently impossible. Can you, my hearers, mourn, can you feel truly grieved, in consequence of having offended a person whom you do not love? You may, indeed, feel a selfish sorrow, if you fear that punishment will follow the offence; but this is not that godly sorrow which works repentance, and which Christ requires.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): “Looking unto Jesus” is the grand specific for producing godly sorrow in a human heart…When Jesus looked on Peter, Peter went out and wept, Luke 22:61,62―God’s goodness, embodied in Christ crucified, becomes, under the ministry of the Spirit, the cause of godly sorrow in believing men.

EDWARD PAYSON: Lovest thou me?” While examining Peter, Christ asked him no other question, John 21:15-17. He did not inquire what Peter believed, or whether he had repented; for He well knew that, where love is present, faith and repentance cannot be absent…Love then, love to Christ, is an essential part of those emotions which the inspired writers call a broken heart and contrite spirit. Again, we are required to believe, to confide, to trust in Christ. But can we confide in a being, or can we trust our all for time and eternity in the hands of a being, whom we do not love? Can a dying man commit his immortal soul with pleasure to the care of one whom he does not love? Can we even firmly believe the promises, and rest with implicit confidence on the assurances, of one whom we do not love? Evidently not. Where there is no love, there will be a want of confidence, there will suspicion.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): There is no true love to God without faith in Jesus Christ.

ANDREW FULLER: Hence the want of faith in Christ is alleged in proof of the want of love to God: “I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you; I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not,” John 5:43…Wherein consisted the difference between the belief of those, who, because of the Pharisees, did not confess the Saviour, lest they should be put out of the synagogue, and that which was to the saving of the soul? The one was a conviction which forced itself upon them, while their hearts were adverse from it; the other was “receiving the love of the truth, that they might be saved,” 2 Thessalonians 2:10.

C. H. SPURGEON: Jesus is the Truth―John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

EDWARD PAYSON: Can any man prefer the interest of Christ to his own, and the honour of Christ to his own reputation, unless he loves Christ more than he loves himself?

STEPHEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680): The sovereign law given by God to all His creatures is, to love Him above all things.

MATTHEW HENRY: Love is the leading affection of the soul; the love of God is the leading grace in the renewed soul. Where this is not, nothing else that is good is done, or done aright, or accepted, or done long.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): And we may say that love is in a manner the hand of faith, or rather like the fingers upon the hand of faith, whereby it handles everything tenderly, even out of love to God in Christ.

MATTHEW HENRY: Faith in Christ works love to God, and love to God must kindle love to the brethren.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): You cannot love your neighbour as yourself until you love God…We have to take these things in the right order. We must start with God.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Of what importance, then, is the love of God. And how carefully should we inquire whether it be shed abroad in our hearts. Nothing can be a substitute for this affection.

JOHN FLETCHER (1729-1785): Examine thy heart, and see if thou canst discover there a real love to God, and a living faith in His Son.

 

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The Judicial Hand of God in the Wars of Nations

Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it…My four sore judgments…the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence.

EDWARD PAYSON (1783-1827): National judgments are always the consequence of national sins.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): God has a variety of sore judgments wherewith to punish sinful nations, and He has them all at His command and inflicts which He pleases.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): War is one of God’s judgments.

MATTHEW HENRY: God often chastises sinful nations by bringing a sword upon them, the sword of a foreign enemy, and He gives it its commission and orders what execution it shall do.

WILLIAM GREENHILL (1591-1677): It is God that calls out the sword, and causeth it to come; When I bring the sword upon a land, Ezekiel 33:2. He is the Lord of hosts, and commissions armies to make invasions where He please.

GEORGE LAWSON (1749-1820): Does God punish nations for their wickedness under the Christian dispensation as He did during Old Testament times?

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): I repeat again what I have often said, that I regard the two World Wars which we have experienced in [the 20th] century as God’s punishment of the apostasy of the last century. I see no other adequate explanation.

EDWARD PAYSON: It is indispensably necessary to the perfection of God’s moral government that it should extend to nations and communities, as well as to individuals. This, I conceive, is too evident to require proof; for how could God be considered as the moral Governor of the world, if nations and communities were exempt from His government? Again, if God is to exercise a moral government over nations and communities, by rewarding or punishing them according to their works, the rewards and punishments must evidently be dispensed in this world; for nations and communities will not exist, as such, in the world to come.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): There cannot be an eternal damnation of nations as nations, the destruction of men at last will be that of individuals, and at the bar of God each man must be tried for himself. The punishment, therefore, of nations, is national. The guilt they incur must receive its awful recompense in this present time state.

JAMES HERVEY (1713-1758): How can the justice of God, with regard to a wicked nations, be shown, but by executing His vengeance upon them, in temporal calamities? Consider, Sirs, the very essence of political communities is temporal, purely temporal. It has no existence but in this world…How then shall He that is Ruler among the nations, maintain the dignity of His government over the kingdoms of the earth, but by inflicting national punishments for national provocations?

GEORGE LAWSON: If He did not, we should have to discontinue the use of many of the Psalms in the praise of God. David often speaks of the righteousness of God’s judgment against the nations, and if it were a glorious expression of the Divine justice in the days of old to punish guilty nations, why is it to be thought that He is now weary of exhibiting such specimens of the excellency of His administration?

JOHN CALVIN: He is not negligent of human affairs, and, as He watches for the salvation of the faithful, so He is intent on observing the wickedness of the ungodly. He does not so repose in heaven, as to cease to be the Judge of the world; nor will He be unmindful of the execution of His office, in due time.

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

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Proverbs 14:34. There I read that “righteousness exalteth a nation, and that sin is the reproach,” and if persisted in, the ruin of any people.

C. H. SPURGEON: For nations there is a weighing time. National sins demand national punishments. The whole history of God’s dealings with mankind proves that though a nation may go on in wickedness; it may multiply its oppressions; it may abound in bloodshed, tyranny, and war; but an hour of retribution draweth nigh. When it shall have filled up its measure of iniquity, then shall the angel of vengeance execute its doom.

JOHN KNOX (1514-1572): The justice of God is such, that He will not pour forth His extreme vengeance upon the wicked, until such time as their iniquity is so manifest, that their very flatterers cannot excuse it.

DAVID DICKSON (1583-1662): The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth, Psalm 9:16. His judgments bear the impression of His wisdom and justice, so as the sin may be read written on the rod.

WILLIAM GREENHILL: Eminent wickedness brings eminent judgments…Wars come not upon any people casually, but by the providence of God.

GEORGE LAWSON: Remember, the sword of war is the sword of the Lord: He musters the hosts of battle—that when mighty conquerors go forth they are the instruments of His Providence for accomplishing those overturnings which for wise ends He determined before any of us were born.

AUGUSTINE (354-430): Nothing, therefore, happens unless the Omnipotent wills it to happen.

GEORGE LAWSON: With the same disposition we should read or hear the accounts which we receive daily of those events which are now happening in the world. Let us not forget that all men and their actions are under the superintendence of One who never errs. “I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things,” Isaiah 45:7. If we hear of awful events we ought to admire that Providence which will bring order out of confusion and make darkness light to those who love Him.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): God’s government will never fail in any part of the world, in any event of life, or in any tumult of the nations.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Sinners may oppose God’s ways, but not His wrath.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): Therefore, let us stay our faith here, that our Lord is still working in all these confusions. And when matters are turned upside down to human appearance, our blessed Lord is not nonplussed and at a stand when we are; He knows well what He is doing, and will make all things most certainly, infallibly, and infrustably to work for His own glory, and for the good of His people.

 

 

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Missionary Requirements Part 2: The Missionary At Work

Mark 16:15
       Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

HUDSON TAYLOR (1832-1905): The “Great Commission” is not an option to be considered, but a command to be obeyed.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): The actual constitution, establishment, and maintenance of this kingdom belong to the Lord; yet He will use human means in the whole administration of His government. His Word must be distributed, and that Word must be preached. Hence, under God, bibles and missionaries are the grand means to be employed in things concerning His kingdom. Bibles must be printed, sent out, and dispersed; missionaries, called of God to the work, and filled with the Divine Spirit, must be equipped, sent out, and maintained; therefore expenses must necessarily be incurred. Here the people now of the kingdom must be helpers. It is the duty, therefore, of every soul professing Christianity to lend a helping hand to send forth the Bible; and wherever the Bible is sent, to send a missionary, full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, to enforce its truths.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): Yet we may not omit mentioning a frequent, and often involuntary, drawing of the mind to the great subject of missions, the awakening of a lively interest in their success, the granting of the spirit of special prayer for their increase and prosperity.

ROBERT MOFFAT (1795-1883): My thoughts became entirely occupied with the inquiry how I could serve the missionary cause. No missionary society would receive me. I had never been to college or to an academy. I, however, began to devise plans. I had been for a short time a sailor, and I resolved to go to sea again and get landed on some island or foreign shore, where I might teach poor heathen to know the Saviour.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): It is very remarkable, that in the book of life, we find some almost of all kinds of occupations, who notwithstanding served God in their respective generations, and shone as so many lights in the world.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER: It is certainly true that farmers, printers, mechanics of many kinds, teachers, male and female, and physicians are required to perfect the organization, and especially to the enlargement of missionary enterprise.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Paul, having in his youth learned to make tents, did not by disuse lose the art. Though he was entitled to a maintenance from the churches he had planted, and from the people to whom he preached, yet he worked at his calling to get bread, Acts 18:3.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): I should advise every man to engage in Christian work, but not to give up all other occupations and live by the pulpit. All are called to be disciples and witnesses, but there needs to be a special call to be an apostle. 

ADAM CLARKE: In a thousand instances an apostolic preacher, who goes to the wilderness to seek the lost sheep, will be exposed to hunger and cold, and other inconveniences; he must therefore resign himself to God, depending on his providence for the necessaries of life. If God have sent him, He is bound to support him, and will do it: anxiety therefore, in him, is a double crime, as it insinuates a bad opinion of the Master who has employed him. Every missionary should make himself master of this subject.

AMY CARMICHAEL (1867-1951): The great lesson we can’t learn too well is that of adaptability—the faculty of fitting oneself quite happily into one’s circumstances, be they ever so uncomfortable and changeable…I would advise missionary candidates to practise balancing themselves on pinpoints—it will come in useful!

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): We want men of good plain sense in their heads and plenty of grace in their hearts―men who can make a good wheelbarrow and talk to the inquisitive heathen about the love of Christ, all the time they are knocking it together.

D. L. MOODY: Men who can think on their heels.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Our business is to preach the gospel and to bring this message of salvation to all.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Our missionary societies need continually to be reminded of this; they get so busy with translations, so diligently employed with the different operations of civilization, with the founding of stores, with the encouragement of commerce among a people, that they seem to neglect—at least in some degree—that which is the great and master weapon of the minister, the foolishness of preaching by which it pleases God to save them that believe.

WILLIAM CAREY (1761-1834): Is not the commission of our Lord still binding upon us? Can we not do more than now we are doing?

C. H. SPURGEON: There is not enough preaching by ministers and missionaries. They sit down interpreting, establishing schools, and doing this, that, and the other. We have nothing to find fault with in this; but that is not the labour to which they should devote themselves; their office is preaching, and if they preached more, they might hope for more success…Moffat preached wherever he went, and his labours were owned. Now we have our churches, our printing presses, about which a great deal of money is spent. This is doing good, but it is not doing the good. We are not using the means which God has ordained, and we cannot therefore expect to prosper.

JOHN BERRIDGE (1716-1793): I preach only at two times—in season and out of season, 2 Timothy 4:2. Such are my orders, and my Master has also said, “preach the gospel to every creature.”

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): The first thing to be gained from people is their heart, and for this it is necessary to preach the gospel.

C. H. SPURGEON: When the Moravian missionaries first went to Greenland, they tried to tell the Greenlanders about the existence of a God, and they spent some months in such preliminary subjects before they came to the gospel; but they never gained the attention of the people. Discourses upon such necessary subjects as the Godhead, and the immortality of the soul, and the like, were flavourless to the Greenlanders. It happened one day that one of the missionaries, translating the gospel according to John, read out these words: God so loved the world, that he gave his Only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. “What is that?” said the Greenlanders. “What is that? We never heard the like of that. Why have you not told us that before?” Nothing had been done till the missionaries came to the gospel itself. Then they reached the Greenlander’s heart—awakened his dormant intellect, and led him to Jesus.

HUDSON TAYLOR (1832-1905): Not by discussions nor by argument, but by lifting up Christ shall we draw men unto Him.

ROBERT MURRAY M’CHEYNE (1813-1843): This was the grand work of Paul and all the apostles; for this was our Lord’s command: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel.” Oh, brethren, this is our great work!

WILLIAM CAREY: My business is preaching the gospel, and I cobble shoes to pay expenses.

 

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Missionary Requirements Part 1: The True Missionary Spirit

Acts 13:13; 2 Timothy 4:10
       Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.
       Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica.

ADONIRAM JUDSON (1788-1850): The motto of every missionary, whether preacher, printer, or schoolmaster, ought to be “Devoted for life.”

WILLIAM S. PLUMER (1802-1880): Truth requires the statement that persons have gone on foreign missions who were certainly never called to that work.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): The idea of being a missionary, abroad or at home, may feed the vanity of some minds; and, indeed, there is no man that is proof against such temptations.

WILLIAM S. PLUMER: It is necessary, for the comfort of the honest inquirer and for the glory of God, that it be distinctly stated that perhaps all who have erred in going abroad have been influenced by some wrong motive, or some want of reflection, as they themselves might have learned, if they had with sufficient care examined the whole matter.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): We all know what the missionary spirit is, and yet we could not any of us exactly describe it. It is a sort of thing that sets a man longing to see others saved, and makes him pant especially for those who have no means of grace in their own lands, that they may have those means carried to them, that they may be saved.

ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER (1772-1851): Before conversion, the soul is sordidly selfish, but no sooner does this change take place than the heart begins to be enlarged with an expansive benevolence. The whole world is embraced in its charity. “Good will to man” is a remarkable characteristic of the “new creature;” and this intense desire for the salvation of our fellow-men, and ardent wish that they may all become interested in that Saviour whom we have found to be so precious, is the true source of the missionary spirit.

HENRY MARTYN (1781-1812): The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.

GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): Although I was still very weak and ignorant in faith, I longed to win souls for Christ. Every month I circulated about three hundred missionary papers, distributed many tracts, and wrote letters to some of my former companions in sin.

C. H. SPURGEON: The very first service which my youthful heart rendered to Christ was the placing of tracts in envelopes, and then sealing them up, that I might send them, with the hope that, by choosing pertinent tracts, applicable to persons I knew, God would bless them. And I well remember taking other tracts, and distributing them in certain districts in the town of Newmarket, going from house to house, and telling, in humble language, the things of the Kingdom of God.

COUNT NIKOLAUS VON ZINZINDORF (1700-1760): I have but one passion―it is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): “Go ye into all the world,” Mark 16:15. Well then, you say, “Where am I to go?”
       Oh, that is very easy…There is nothing easier in the world than to know where you ought to begin missionary work. You have it in the first chapter of Acts and the eighth verse: Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem―that is the city in which they were; and in all Judea―that is the State in which their city was; and in Samaria―that is the adjoining State; and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
       If you want to begin missionary work, you have to begin it in your home-town, and my friends if you are not interested in the salvation of the Chinese [here], then you are not really interested in the salvation of the Chinese in China, and you are only fooling yourselves if you think you are! Oh, I am calling a spade a spade tonight. If you are anxious about the souls of the Chinese in China, then you will be equally anxious about the souls of the Chinese here!―and I wonder how many of you have bought a thousand or a hundred Gospels of John, and then have gone round to the houses in the Chinese quarter and have said, “My friend, this is a little gift that will do your soul good if you will read it.” Ah, my friends, we are playing at missions, it is just a farce, that is all! “Go ye” is the first command. Go where? To those around me first.

C. H. SPURGEON: Rest assured that no missionary ardour really burns in the breast of that man who does not love the souls of those who live in the same house and dwell in the same neighbourhood. Give me that man for a missionary of whom it is said, that when he took a lodging in a house, all the other inhabitants were brought to God within six months; or he was a son, and his father was unconverted, but he gave the Lord no rest till he saw his parent saved; or he was a tradesman, and while he was pushing his business earnestly, he always found time to be an evangelist. That is the man who will maintain missionary fervour alive at home, and that is the man who will help to promote missionary effort abroad.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): I made it a rule that I wouldn’t let a day pass without speaking to some one about their soul’s salvation; and, if they didn’t hear the gospel from the lips of others, there will be three hundred and sixty-five in a year that shall hear the gospel from my lips.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter of an hour without speaking of Christ to them.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): There is no better test of our spiritual state and condition than our missionary zeal, our concern for lost souls. That is always the thing that divides people who are just theoretical and intellectual Christians from those who have a living and a vital spiritual life.

C. H. SPURGEON: Every Christian here is either a missionary or an impostor. Recollect that. You either try to spread abroad the kingdom of Christ, or else you do not love Him at all…If every one of you Christians would every day make Christ known to somebody, what a missionary organization we should be!

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Let me look at my condition, my resources, my opportunities. How can I glorify God and promote the welfare of my fellow-creatures? Is there not a Bible to circulate? Are there not missionaries to support? Are there none perishing for lack of knowledge that I can myself instruct? Have I no irreligious neighbours to reclaim?

 

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Ask Yourself: What Really Motivates Me to Worship God?

Malachi 3:14
       What profit is it that we have kept his ordinance?

STEPHEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680): Self is the chief end of every natural man…It is natural for man to worship God for self; self-righteousness is the rooted aim of man in his worship since his revolt from God, and being sensible it is not be found in his natural actions, he seeks for it in his moral and religious [acts]…Self is the measure of a world of seeming religious actions; while God seems to be the object, and His law the motive, self is the rule and end, Zechariah 7:5.

JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): It is not the matter of any duty that distinguishes the sound and unsound professors; but the motives, designs, and ends of the soul in them.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): May we not learn from hence that we should always have an end in view in repairing to the ordinances of religion, and be able to answer the question, why we attend the ministrations of the word?

STEPHEN CHARNOCK: Some present themselves to God, as poor men offer a present to a great person: not to honour him, but to gain for themselves a reward richer than their gift―“What profit is it that we have kept his ordinance?” Some worship Him, intending thereby to wipe off their scores and satisfy their debts; as though a spiritual wrong could be recompensed with a bodily service, and an infinite Spirit be outwitted and appeased by a carnal flattery. Self is the spirit of carnality; to pretend a homage to God, and intend only the advantage of self, is rather to mock Him than worship Him.

J. H. M. d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): The sovereign law given by God to all His creatures is, to love Him above all things, Deuteronomy 6:5. Now if a man, in doing what God commands, does it not from love to God, but from love to self, will God approve of his presuming to prefer himself to His infinite majesty, and will there be nothing vicious in an act containing indirect rebellion against his supremacy?

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Whatever is devoid of love is of no account in the sight of God.

STEPHEN CHARNOCK: Whatsoever any man aims at in worship above the glory of God, that he forms as an idol to himself instead of God, and sets up a golden image; God counts not this as a worship. The offerings made in the wilderness for forty years together, God esteemed as not offered to Him, Amos 5:25: “Have you offered to me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?” They did it not to God, but to themselves; for their own security, and attainment of the possession of the promised land.

JOSEPH ALLEINE (1634-1668): Wrong motives in holy duties―this was the bane of the Pharisees. Oh how many a poor soul is undone by this, and drops into hell before he discerns his mistake! He performs his “good duties” and so thinks all is well, but does not perceive that he is actuated by carnal motives all the while. It is too true that even with the really sanctified many carnal ends will often creep in; but they are the matter of their hatred and humiliation, and never come to be habitually prevalent with them, and bear the greatest sway. But when the main thing that ordinarily moves a man to religious duties is some carnal end—as to satisfy his conscience, to get the reputation of being religious, to be seen of men, to show his own gifts and talents, to avoid the reproach of being a profane and irreligious person, or the like—this reveals an unsound heart. Oh Christians, if you would avoid self-deceit, see that you mind not only your actions but your motives.

HENRY FOSTER (1760-1844): The unregenerate man does not sift his motives, and, therefore, is satisfied with himself; but the spiritual man, the more progress he makes, then more deeply does he see the corruption of his motives; and the more his need of Christ.

STEPHEN CHARNOCK: Such base scents will rise up in our worship from the body of death which cleaves to us, and mix themselves with our services, as weeds with the fish in the net. David, therefore, after his people had offered willingly to the temple, begs of God that their “hearts might be prepared to him,” I Chronicles 29:18…Without the heart it is no worship. It is a stage play.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Love to God evidences sincerity. The upright love thee, Song of Solomon 1:4. Many a child of God fears he is a hypocrite. Do you love God?―To love God is a better sign of sincerity than to fear Him. The Israelites feared God’s justice: When he slew them, they sought him, and inquired early after God, Psalm 78:34. But what did all this come to? Nevertheless, they did but flatter him with their mouth, and lied to him with their tongue; for their heart was not right with him, verses 36, 37. That repentance is no better than flattery, which arises only from fear of God’s judgments, and has no love mixed with it. Loving God evidences that God has the heart, and if the heart be His, that will command all the rest.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Where love is, duty follows of course, and is easy and natural, and flows from a principle of gratitude.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): I am tired of the word “duty”—tired of hearing, duty, duty, duty! Men go to church because it is their duty. They go to prayer-meeting because it is their duty…Suppose I told my wife that I loved her because it was my duty—what would she say? Every year I go up to Connecticut to visit my aged mother. Suppose when I go next time, I should tell her that I knew she was old, and that she was living on borrowed time; that I knew she had always done a great deal for me, and that I came to see her every year because it was my duty. Don’t you think she would say, “Well, then, my son, you needn’t take the trouble to come again”? Let us strike for a higher plane.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Unless the soul shall truly love, and really adore, and sincerely bow, our worship will be as unacceptable as though it were formal and outward…Dost thou love God, not with lip-language, but with heart-service? Dost thou love to pay Him homage?

ABRAHAM BOOTH (1734-1806): No worship is agreeable to the Messiah’s kingdom, which is not animated by heavenly affections.

WILLIAM BATES (1625-1699): Therefore let us exercise this duty―this affection, that so we may be truly wise―wise for ourselves, and wise towards God.

C. H. SPURGEON: Search yourselves, then, and see whether you love God or no. Put your hands on your hearts, and as in the sight of Him whose eyes are as a flame of fire, answer to Him; make Him your confessor at this hour; answer this one question: “Lovest thou me?”

 

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The Peevish, Discontented, Nagging Wife

Proverbs 21:9; Proverbs 19:13; Proverbs 27:15; Proverbs 21:19
       It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.
       The contentions of a wife are a continual dropping…A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
       It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Christian women! Think not these Proverbs unworthy of your attention.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): What a great affliction it is to a man to have a brawling scolding woman for his wife, who upon every occasion, and often upon no occasion, breaks out into a passion, and chides either him or those about her, is fretful to herself and furious to her children and servants, and, in both, vexatious to her husband.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): She is never at rest, always agitated.

MATTHEW HENRY: A cross peevish wife is a great affliction: her contentions are continual; every day, and every hour in the day, she finds some occasion to make herself and those about her uneasy. Those that are accustomed to chide never want something or other to chide at; but it is “a continual dropping,” that is, a continual vexation, as it is to have a house so much out of repair that it rains in and a man cannot lie dry in it.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): A quarrel between a man and his wife is, as to the torment which it inflicts, the nearest thing to a quarrel between the man and his own conscience. Next to himself, she lies closest to him, and the pain of a disagreement is proportioned accordingly.

CHARLES BRIDGES: A solitary life without would be better than a quarrelsome life within. Some intervals of comfort might be abroad; none at home. Infinitely greater is this trial, when it comes from a man’s own flesh; when she, who ought to “a crown to her husband,” becomes “rottenness to his bones,” Proverbs 12:4; when she that his bound to be his choicest treasure, becomes his piercing scourge. It cannot be but a miserable thing to behold, that yet they are of necessity compelled to live together, which yet cannot be in quiet together.

J. R. MILLER (1840-1912): A woman’s voice is a wonderful revealer of her character.

ADAM CLARKE: Vain, empty women are those that make the most noise.

J. R. MILLER: The “law of kindness” is on the tongue of the excellent woman, Proverbs 31:26. She has trained her speech to gentle tones.

MATTHEW HENRY: The finest ornament of Christian women is a meek and quiet spirit, a tractable easy temper of mind, void of passion, pride, and immoderate anger, discovering itself in a quiet obliging behaviour towards their husbands and families.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): Earth has nothing gentler than the female heart in which piety dwells.

CHARLES BRIDGES: Her glory is departed from her, should she lose “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,” lovely in the sight of man, and “in the sight of God of great price,” I Peter 3:4…The brawling woman, revolting against her Maker’s rule of subjection, is no less a tormentor to herself than to her husband―the intent of the Divine ordinance is here contravened. For it would seem “good for the man to be alone” rather than that his “help-meet” (Genesis 2:18) should turn to be his hindrance, and his curse.

WILLIAM ARNOT: Specifically, this contention is a continual dropping.
      Let a wife note well that the resulting mischief does not depend on the degree of furiousness which may characterize the conflict. It depends on length rather than loudness. A perennial drop may do more to drive a man to extremities than a sudden flood. A little for ever is more terrible to the imagination than a great outpouring at once. A “continual dropping” is said to have been one of the engines which the wit of man contrived when it was put upon the stretch for the means of torturing his fellows. The victim was so placed that a drop of water continued to fall at regular intervals on his naked head. With length of time, and no hope of relief, the agony becomes excruciating, and either the patient’s reason or his life gives way.
      Let a wife, or a husband, beware. Don’t make home miserable by gloomy looks and taunting discontented words. Don’t deceive yourself with the pleas that your complaints were never immoderate: if your moderate complaints never cease, they will eat through a man’s life at last…Though words of discontent should never rise into the violence of a passion―although they should never be heavier than drops of water―yet, if they continue to drop, drop―dropping so that he sees no prospect of an end, his heart will either be hardened into indifference, or broken into despair. Love cannot be sustained by dislike, administered in moderate quantities; if it does not get positive, manifest, gleaming love to live upon, it will die.

CHARLES BRIDGES: Whether the woman lusts for rule, or repines under the obligation to submit, either principle breaks the rank, in which God has placed her. Occasions always present themselves for the display of this unhappy temper. After the attempts to soothe and pacify her, the “return of clouds after rain” betokens more showers, and dispels the hope which a passing sunbeam may have raised. Unrestrained by Divine grace, she becomes her husband’s torment, and her own shame.

MATTHEW HENRY: It is better to be alone than to be joined to one who, instead of being a meet-help, is a great hindrance to the comfort of life.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Be resolved not to be of a contentious spirit.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): In June, 1742, I rode over to a neighbouring town, to wait upon a justice of the peace, a man of candour and understanding; before whom―I was informed―their angry neighbours had carried a whole wagon-load of [recent Methodist converts]. But when he asked what they had done, there was a deep silence; for that was a point their conductors had forgot. At length one said, “Why, they pretended to be better than other people; and besides, they prayed from morning to night.”
      “But have they done nothing besides?” asked the justice.
      “Yes, sir,” said an old man, “an’it please your worship, they have converted my wife. Till she went among them, she had such a tongue! And now she is as quiet as a lamb.”
      “Carry them back, carry them back,” replied the justice, “and let them convert all the scolds in the town.”

 

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The Spiritual Checks & Balances of Proper Bible Study

John 17:17; John 10:35
       Thy Word is truth.
       The Scripture cannot be broken.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): The Scripture “cannot be broken,” or be made null and void; whatever that says, it is true.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Nothing which is written therein can be censured or rejected.

JOHN GILL: There is no contradicting it, or objecting to it. It is a Jewish way of speaking, much used in the Talmud; when one doctor has produced an argument, or instance, in any point of debate, another says, איכא למיפרך―“it may be broken;” or objected to, in such and such a manner, and be refuted: but the Scripture cannot be broken―that is, it is not to be objected to, and there can be no confutation of that.

ROBERT HALDANE (1764-1842): On what principle but that of verbal inspiration of Scripture, can we explain our Lord’s words “the Scripture cannot be broken”?―By often referring to the “Scriptures,” which He declared “cannot be broken,” the Lord Jesus Christ has given His full attestation to the whole of them as the unadulterated Word of God…He told the Jews that they made “the Word of God of none effect through their traditions,” Mark 7:13. By calling them “the Word of God,” He indicated that these Scriptures proceeded from God Himself.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Christian simplicity will teach us to receive every Divine Truth upon this formal ground―that it is the Word of God.

RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691): You should argue thus: This is God’s Word, therefore it is true.

JOHN WESLEY: Consequently, all Scripture is infallibly true.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): The truths revealed in Scripture are of two sorts: some are plain doctrines, fit for the entertainment of novices, and may be called the porch and entrance; others are deep mysteries, to exercise the wits of the strongest.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The Bible would not be the Book of God if it had not deep places here and there which man has no line to fathom.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Plain places are for our nourishment, hard places for our exercise; these are to be masticated as meat for men, those to be drunk as milk for babes…Some things in God’s Word are folded up in obscurity, to tame the pride of our natures, and to sharpen the edge of our industry, in searching the Scriptures, and seeking out the sense, by comparing one place with another.

RICHARD ROGERS (1550-1618): It is true indeed, that many things in them are hard to be understood, which the wicked pervert, as Peter saith, to their own destruction, 2 Peter 3:16. But where care is joined with gifts of knowledge, there may be seen a most sweet agreement betwixt them, and no one either to jar with another, or any one to be frivolous, or absurd, as some are bold to affirm, but “seven times tried in the fire, and pure,” and holy, as the Psalmist saith, Psalm 12:6.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Scripture is the best interpreter of itself.

THOMAS MANTON: Nothing is more profitable to dissolve doubts and objections raised from Scripture, than to compare one Scripture with another. For Scripture is not opposite to Scripture. There is a fair agreement and harmony between the truths therein compared; and one place doth not cross another, but clear and explain another.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Scripture is the best expounder of Scripture. The diamond is not to be cut except with a diamond. We shall not understand one passage in the Word without another to explain it. That book has keys in its own self for all its own locks, and keys that fit every ward…A reference Bible is the best commentator in the world; and the most heavenly exposition is the searching out of kindred texts, and comparing their meaning.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): “Comparing spiritual things with spiritual,” I Corinthians 2:13—one part of revelation with another—In Paul’s epistles there is that which is hard to be understood; but to those who, being well-versed in the Scriptures, know how to compare spiritual things with spiritual, they will be easy and safe.

JOHN ROBINSON (1575-1625): Like as the lamps in the golden candlestick did one help another’s light, so doth one place of holy Scripture, another’s. And though a thing be found in one place, to insist upon it, in a difference, as to neglect others, is the highway to error and to lose the right sense, by breaking the scripture’s golden chain, whose links are all fastened together.

CHARLES BRIDGES: So wisely has God linked together the several parts of His system, that we can receive no portion soundly, except in connection with the whole. The accuracy of any view is more than suspicious, that serves to put a forced construction upon Scripture, to dislocate its connection, or to throw important truths into the shade. Apparently contradictory statements are in fact only balancing truths; each correcting its opposite, and, like the antagonal muscles, contributing to the strength and completeness of the frame. Every heresy probably stands upon some insulated text or some exaggerated truth, pressed beyond “the proportion of faith”—They are mostly based on partial or disjointed statements of truth. Truth separated from truth becomes error.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Compare Scripture with Scripture. False doctrines, like false witnesses, agree not among themselves.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): There is nothing so dangerous as to exaggerate a part of truth into the whole of truth…Scripture, you see, must be interpreted by Scripture; we must never interpret Scripture in such a manner as to contradict other Scriptures―if our interpretation of any one of these things contradicts the plain and obvious teaching of Scripture at another point, again it is obvious that our interpretation has gone astray. Scripture must be taken and compared with Scripture. There is no contradiction in Biblical teaching.

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): There is not in the Bible a single essential truth that is not comparatively plain.

JOHN KNOX (1514-1572): The Word of God is plain in itself. If there appear any obscurity in one place, the Holy Ghost, which is never contrarious to Himself, explaineth the same more clearly in other places; so that there can remain no doubt, but unto such as obstinately will remain ignorant.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): There is such a harmony in Divine truth, that a proper view of any one branch of it will lead on to a discovery of others.

 

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