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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Truly Great Christian Women

Mark 10:45; Acts 9:36; Luke 2:36, 37; 2 Kings 4:8-10
       Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister.
       Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds.
       And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
       And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by , he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall come to pass that he shall in thither.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): “A great woman.” The Hebrew word is used in varied connections. In Genesis 1:16,21 and many other passages it refers to material or physical greatness. In Exodus 32:21―“great sin”―it has a moral force. In 2 Kings 5:1, Job 1:3, and Proverbs 25:6, it is associated with social eminence…This woman was one of substance or wealth, as is intimated by the servants her husband had, and their building and furnishing a room for the prophet.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Great in wealth, and great also in virtue.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Instead of “great woman,” the Chaldee has it, “a woman fearing sin;” the Arabic, “a woman eminent for piety before God.” This made her truly great.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The true hallmark of greatness is simplicity―simplicity is not incompatible with depth.

A. W. PINK: This Shunammite woman was also “great” spiritually. She was great in hospitality; in discernment, perceiving that Elisha was “a holy man of God;” in meekness, by owning her husband’s headship; in thoughtfulness for others, the care she took in providing for the prophet’s comfort; in contentedness, 2 Kings 4:13; in wisdom, realizing Elisha would desire retirement and quietness; and in faith, confidently counting upon God to show Himself strong on her behalf.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The world’s idea of greatness is to rule, but Christian greatness consists in serving.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Dorcas was constantly employed in doing good; her works were both many and good; she was very kind and beneficent to the poor, she wrought with her hands much for their sakes―made coats and garments for them, and clothed them, Acts 9:39.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Anna, who was a prophetess in the temple, “gave thanks to the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem,” Luke 2:38.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Perhaps no more is meant [by a prophetess] than that she was one who had understanding in the scriptures above other women, and made it her business to instruct the younger women in the things of God, I Timothy 5:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:3-5…She was always in a praying frame, lived a life of prayer, gave herself to prayer, was frequent in ejaculations, large in solemn prayers, and very particular in her intercessions. And in these she served God; that was it that put a value upon them and an excellency into them.

JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): Women may, yea―ought to pray.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Here another great test of the Christian life and professions emerges…The Bible surely teaches us very plainly and very clearly that it’s true to say that the greater the saint, the greater the amount of prayer in his life.

JOHN GILL: The name Anna is the same with Hannah―and it signifies “grace;” or “gracious:” and as was her name, so was she, a gracious woman; one that had the grace of God herself, and was a publisher of the glad tidings of grace and redemption by Christ to others.

JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): Every woman, whether rich or poor, married or single, has a circle of influence, within which, according to her character, she is exerting a certain amount of power for good or harm. Every woman, by her virtue or vice; by her folly or her wisdom; by her levity or her dignity, is adding something to our national elevation or degradation.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Women can be as powerful for evil as for good.

JOHN TRAPP: Nothing hath ever so enriched hell as the whorish woman.

MATTHEW POOLE: She “increaseth the transgressors among men,” Proverbs 23:28; she is the cause of innumerable sins against God, and against the marriage-bed, against the soul and body too, and by her wicked example and arts involveth many persons in the guilt of her sins.

C. H. SPURGEON: Seeing, then, that the devil employs women in his service, let those women whom God has called by his grace be doubly earnest in seeking to prevent or undo the mischief that others of their sex are working. If not called to public service, all have the home-sphere wherein they can shed forth the aroma of a godly life and testimony.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): If they have not authority, they have influence, which is far better and more deeply effective.

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

MATTHEW POOLE: Such a person is hardly to be found.

MATTHEW HENRY: Good women are very scarce, and many that seem to be so do not prove so…Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is above rubies, Proverbs 31:10. A virtuous woman; a “woman of strength”―so the Hebrew word is. Though the weaker vessel, yet [she is] made strong by wisdom and grace, and the fear of God.

JOHN TRAPP: A woman that feareth the Lord―That is indeed the crown of all commendation, as that which makes one “all glorious within,” amiable and admirable beyond belief.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): No treasure is comparable to her.


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Perception in Reception

John 12:21
       We would see Jesus.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): The Lord’s Supper is the most spiritual ordinance ever instituted.

AUGUSTUS TOPLADY (1713-1758): A formal professor does not look upon ordinances as means of inward religion, and as steps to communion with God, through the Spirit: but having skimmed the surface of outward duties, he sits down satisfied with externals, and aims at nothing higher. Not so are the conduct and views of one, whose heart God hath touched―the Christian is sensible that, not a bare attendance on outward duties, but the presence of God enjoyed under those duties, is that which nourishes the believing soul, and renews the believer’s strength.

JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): God hath instituted every ordinance, and duty, whether public or private, to beget, and maintain communion betwixt Himself and our souls. What are ordinances, duties, and graces, but perspective-glasses to give us a sight of God, and help us to communion with Him? God never intended His ordinances to be our rest, but mediums, and instruments of communion with Himself, which is our true rest. When we go into a boat, it is not with an intention to dwell, and rest there, but to ferry us over the water, where our business lies. If a man miss of communion with God in the best ordinances, or duty, it yields him little comfort. He comes back from it, like a man that hath travelled a great many miles to meet a dear friend, upon special and important business; but met with disappointment, and returns sad and dissatisfied. God appoints ordinances to be meeting-places with Himself in this world, Exodus 25:21,22.

WILLIAM STRONG (circa 1656): To converse with ordinances, and not to converse with God; to have to do with ordinances, and not to have to do with God, alas!―Ordinances without God are but like bones that have no marrow in them; they are but like shells without a kernel.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The Lord Jesus Christ well knew the weakness and infirmity even of the holiest believers. He knew the absolute necessity of keeping them in intimate communion with His own vicarious sacrifice, as the fountain of their inward and spiritual life. Therefore, He did not merely leave them promises on which their memories might feed, and words which they might call to mind. He mercifully provided an ordinance in which true faith might be quickened by seeing lively emblems of His body and blood, and in the use of which true Christians might be “strengthened and refreshed” as the Catechism says, and realize close communion with their Saviour in heaven. The strengthening of the faith of believers in Christ’s atonement was one great purpose of the Lord’s Supper.

OCTAVIUS WINSLOW (1808-1878): The sincere and devout communicant approaches the Lord’s table with this language breathing from the heart―“I would see Jesus.” For what other purpose was the Lord’s Supper instituted, but that through this window of grace we might behold the Lord Himself?

THOMAS WATSON: Here we have to do more immediately with Christ. In prayer, we draw near through Christ: in this ordinance we become one with Him. In the Word preached we hear of Christ; in the Supper we feed on Him.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): We know what it is to feed on Jesus, but we cannot speak it or write it.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): The Lord’s Supper is a duty which is mainly dispatched by our thoughts; there we come to put reason to the highest use, to be the instrument of faith and love; of faith in believing applications; of love, in resolutions of duty and thankfulness. In that one ordinance there is a union of mysteries, which we take abroad in holy and serious thoughts. To have an unfruitful understanding then, is a great damp and deadness to the heart.

JEREMIAH DYKE (1584-1639): Therefore a special duty to be done at the Lord’s supper is to take up our hearts with serious meditation.

C. H. SPURGEON: Eat and drink so as to discern the Lord’s body. Having the mind awake to see Jesus symbolized in this ordinance.

J. C. RYLE: A right reception of the Lord’s Supper has a humbling effect on the soul. The sight of these emblems of Christ’s holy body and blood, reminds us how sinful sin must be, if nothing less than the death of God’s own Son could make satisfaction for it, or redeem us from its guilt…A right reception of the Lord’s Supper has a sanctifying effect on the soul. The bread and wine remind us how great is our debt of gratitude to our Lord, and how thoroughly we are bound to live for Him who died for our sins. Right reception of the Lord’s Supper has a restraining effect―he is reminded what a serious thing it is to be a Christian, and what an obligation is laid on him to lead a consistent life. Bought with such a price as that bread and wine call to his recollection, ought he not to glorify Christ in body and spirit, which are His? The man that goes regularly and intelligently to the Lord’s Table finds it increasingly hard to yield to sin and conform to the world.

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

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): As we come to this holy table, we ought to be confirmed in this, that our Lord Jesus Christ is made one with us, and that we can never be sundered from Him.

J. C. RYLE: A right reception of the Lord’s supper has a cheering effect on the soul. The sight of the bread broken, and the wine poured out, reminds us how full, perfect, and complete is our salvation. Those lively emblems remind us what an enormous price has been paid for our redemption. They press on us the mighty truth, that believing on Christ, we have nothing to fear, because a sufficient payment has been made for our debt. The “precious blood of Christ” answers every charge that can be brought against us.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The great desire of our souls should be to see Jesus; to have our acquaintance with Him increased, our dependence on Him encouraged, our conformity to Him carried on; to see Him as ours, to keep up communion with Him, and to derive our communications of grace from Him; we miss our end in coming if we do not see Jesus.

J. C. RYLE: He that eats the bread and drinks the wine in a right spirit, will find himself drawn into closer communion with Christ, and will feel to know Him more, and understand Him better.

C. H. SPURGEON: Come, eat His flesh, and drink His blood. There, on the table, thou wilt see nothing but the emblems of His flesh and blood; but, if thou believest, Christ will feed thee spiritually upon Himself.


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Prayer, The Master Key to Profitable Bible Study, Part 2

Psalm 19:18
       Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): As God will be inquired of for blessings, it becomes him to seek God’s blessing previous to reading, and also, while reading.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Intersperse short ejaculations whilst you are engaged in reading; pray over every word and verse, if possible.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Every verse read and meditated on furnishes material for prayer. Every text prayed over opens a mine of “unsearchable riches,” with a light from above, more clear and full than the most intelligent exposition.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): You will frequently find fresh streams of thought leaping up from the passage before you, as if the rock had been struck by Moses’ rod; new veins of precious ore will be revealed to your astonished gaze as you quarry God’s Word and use diligently the hammer of prayer. You will sometimes feel as if you were entirely shut up, and then suddenly a new road will open before you.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): The Bible is always a new book to those well acquainted with it.

AUGUSTINE (354-430): And there is such a depth therein, that a man may daily profit in the knowledge thereof, though he studied nothing else all the days of his life, yea, as long as the days of heaven shall last, without any intermission or remission of his utmost endeavour.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): But it is to be observed, that the Spirit doth not make revelations of new notions; it only brings to our remembrance what Christ hath said, and further revealeth what was before in the Word revealed, though possibly particular persons were ignorant of such revelations of the Word: so things may be new, and newly revealed to us, which in themselves are not so. There are no new truths.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): When God is said to enlighten us, it is not that we should expect new revelations, but that we may see the wonders in His word, or get a clear sight of what is already revealed.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Although one may know, word for word, the entire contents of some chapter of Scripture, and although he may have taken the time to ponder thoughtfully every sentence therein, yet, on every subsequent occasion, provided one comes to it again in the spirit of humble inquiry, each fresh reading will reveal new gems never seen there before and new delights will be experienced never met with previously. The most familiar passages will yield as much refreshment at the thousandth perusal as they did at the first.

C. H. SPURGEON: Let me tell you a little secret; whenever you cannot understand a text, open your Bible, bend your knee, and pray over that text; and if it does not split into atoms and open itself, try again. If prayer does not explain it, it is one of those things God did not intend you to know, and you may be content to be ignorant of it. Prayer is the key that openeth the cabinets of mystery. Prayer and faith are sacred picklocks that can open secrets, and obtain great treasures. There is no college for holy education like that of the blessed Spirit, for He is an ever-present tutor, to whom we have only to bend the knee, and He is at our side, the great expositor of truth.

JOHN ROBINSON (1575-1625): And so some special instruments of renewing the gospel’s light in the former age, have professed, that they learned more this way by prayer, than by much study otherwise.

ROWLAND HILL (1744-1833): You never read God’s Word to profit but as it teaches you to pray while you read.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): When Daniel was at private prayer, God dispatched a heavenly messenger to him, and his errand was to open more clearly and fully the blessed Scripture to him. Some comfortable and encouraging knowledge this holy man of God had attained unto before by his frequent and constant study in the word, and this eggs him on to private prayer, and private prayer sends an angel from heaven to give him a clearer and fuller light. Private prayer is a golden key to unlock the mysteries of the word unto us. The knowledge of many choice and blessed truths, are but the returns of private prayer. The word most dwells richly in their hearts who are most in pouring out their hearts before God in their closets.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): A tender, humble, holy frame is perhaps of more importance to our entering into the mind of the Holy Spirit than all other means united. It is thus that, by “an unction from the Holy One, we know all things.”

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): A humble and prayerful spirit will find a thousand things in the Bible which the proud, self-conceited student will utterly fail to discern.

GEORGE MÜLLER: He should have it, moreover, settled in his mind, that, although the Holy Spirit is the best and sufficient teacher, yet that this teacher does not always teach immediately when we desire it, and that, therefore, we may have to entreat Him again and again for the explanation of certain passages; but that He will surely teach us at last, if indeed we are seeking for light prayerfully, patiently, and with a view to the glory of God.

ROWLAND HILL: Wait on the Lord, and He will teach you all things, in such degree and time as He sees best.

MATTHEW HENRY: God gives knowledge and grace to those that search the Scriptures, and wait at wisdom’s gates.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): I have also felt the advantage of being able to pause, and think, as well as pray; and to inquire how far the subject is any way applicable to my case, and conduct in life.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): There should be a definite asking Him to graciously anoint our eyes Revelation 3:18, not only that we may be enabled to behold wondrous things in His law, but also that He will make us of quick discernment to perceive how the passage before us applies to ourselves—what are the particular lessons we need to learn from it. The more we cultivate this habit, the more likely that God will be pleased to open His Word unto us.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD: And when you close up the book, most earnestly beseech God, that the words which you have read, may be inwardly engrafted into your hearts, and bring forth in you the fruits of a good life. Do this, and you will, with a holy violence, draw down God’s Holy Spirit into your hearts; you will experience His gracious influence, and feel Him enlightening, quickening, and inflaming your souls by the Word of God; you will then not only read, but mark, learn, and inwardly digest what you read: and the Word of God will be meat indeed, and drink indeed, unto your souls: you then will be, as Apollos was, powerful in the Scriptures; scribes ready instructed to the kingdom of God.


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