The Righteous Symmetry of God’s Judgments

Judges 1:5-7

And they found Adonibezek in Bezek: and they fought against him…But Adonibezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes. And Adonibezek said, Threescore and ten kings, having their thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table: as I have done, so God hath requited me.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): The righteous judgment of God clearly appears in this instance.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The righteous God, in His judgments, often observes a rule of proportion, as in the case of Adonibezek…With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again, Matthew 7:2; perhaps in this world, so that men may read their sin in their punishment.

DAVID DICKSON (1583-1662): His judgments bear the impression of His wisdom and justice, so as the sin may be read written on the rod.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Every sin has one twig in God’s rod appropriated to itself.  Suffice it to say, that in God’s hand there are punishments for each particular transgression; and it is very singular to notice how in Bible history almost every saint has been chastened for the sin he has committed by the sin itself falling upon his own head.  Transgression has been first a pleasure, and afterward it has been a scourge. 

JOHN GILL: Samson walked after his eyes, and therefore the Philistines plucked out his eyes, Judges 16:21.

MATTHEW HENRY: For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways, Job 34:11. This is the standing rule of distributive justice, to give to every man according to his work.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Thou temptest God to suffer thy locks to be cut, when thou art so bold as to lay thy head in the lap of a temptation.

JOHN GILL: The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways. Proverbs 14:14. There may be a backsliding when the heart does not wickedly depart from God; but is through the infirmity of the flesh and the force of temptation; from which backslidings the Lord’s people are recovered, and which are healed by His grace; but here such an one is meant who willingly and heartily backslides; and such shall have the reward of their hands and actions given them, or the full and due punishment of their sins; they shall have their bellyful of their own wicked ways and works, the just recompense of reward for them.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): The terrible and memorable punishments, which are everywhere recounted, instruct us in reverence towards God, and inspire our hearts with awe, lest we should falsely boast ourselves to be His children, whilst indulging in the liberty of sin…“Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him, Isaiah 3:10,11. It may be easily inferred what was the design of the Prophet, namely, to comfort the godly, and to terrify the wicked by the judgment of God.

MATTHEW HENRY: Those who will not observe the judgments of God’s mouth shall not escape the judgments of His hand.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Power belongeth unto God. Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work,” Psalm 62:11, 12. These, then, are the two grand truths that the law, yea, the whole revelation of God, declares through every page. He is the Almighty; He is the most merciful; and hence the inference: The powerful, just, and holy God, the most merciful and compassionate Lord, will by and by judge the world, and will render to man according to his works. How this beautiful meaning should have been unseen by almost every interpreter, is hard to say: these verses contain one of the most instructive truths in the Bible.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Now, the tragedy is that we have been separating these things in the character of God. I have often asserted that the condition of the Church today is due to one major factor: and that is that during the last century, a new attitude towards the Scripture came in, in which men decided that they knew much more about the character of God than what was revealed in this Book. And what they did was to say that God is love and nothing else. So they have put out the justice and the righteousness, and all that God has revealed about Himself, and they have said that God will clear the guilty. ‘God,’ they say, ‘is love.  It does not matter what you do. Go and tell Him you are sorry. Ask for forgiveness, all is well.’ But it is a lie. And the lawlessness we are witnessing in the world, and the lawlessness in the Church, arises from that and nothing else. God will by no means clear the guilty. He is a God of compassion, and of mercy, and of kindness…Yes, but he is still a holy God, remember. He is still the righteous God. And when He forgives, He forgives in a righteous manner.

JOHN CALVIN: God by way of free favour pardons our sins, but only when we renounce them.

ISAAC AMBROSE (1604-1664): True repentance is to cease from sin.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Before you drop on your knees next time and begin to speak to God, try to remember His greatness and His majesty and His might, and then go on to remember that He is life, that He is holy, that He is righteous, that He is just, and that He is of such a pure countenance that He cannot even look upon evil. Remember that you are speaking to the Judge of the whole world.

JOHN CALVIN: 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.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): The judgment of God, in that day, will be according to righteousness.

C. H. SPURGEON: Righteousness is His immutable attribute, and judgment marks His every act.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: He is righteous, He hates sin, and He will punish sin. Do you not have a feeling that this is the one thing that this modern world of ours needs to know? This world that feels that it can dismiss God, and laugh at Him, and break all His laws with impunity. My friends, is not this the thing we need to preach to the world?―That God is holy, that God is righteous, that He hates sin with an eternal hatred, and will punish sin.  That is His own revelation of Himself.

MATTHEW HENRY: If services persevered in now go unrewarded, and sins persisted in now go unpunished, yet there is a day coming when God will fully render to every man according to his works, with interest for the delay.


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Prayer & Fasting for the Christian Church, the Spiritual Israel of God

Nehemiah 1:4,5; Daniel 9:3-5

The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. And it came to pass, when I [Nehemiah] heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.

And I [Daniel] set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: and I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; we have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments…

SAMUEL MILLER (1769-1850): We have no less reason for fasting and humiliation than our fathers of former ages. Let us not imagine that there was some special character either in the men or the events of ancient times which rendered the exercise in question more needful to them than to us. By no means; human nature is the same, religion is the same, and the causes of Christian mourning are the same now as they were when [Nehemiah and Daniel] fasted and laid in the dust before the mercy-seat.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Why, at this moment we have sin rampant among us almost beyond precedent!

SAMUEL MILLER: Think of the abounding atheism and various forms of infidelity, the pride, the degrading intemperance, the profanations of the Sabbath, the fraud, the gross impiety, the neglect and contempt of the gospel, and all the numberless forms of enormous moral corruption ­which even in the most favoured parts of our country prevail in a deplorable degree.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Look at this attitude towards morality, towards law, and towards the Ten Commandments in particular. People feel that they’re against us, and yet when you come to examine the position, you’ll find that God gave these laws not to hold us down, not to bind us and to band us, but for our good, and for our benefit. Have you ever thought of this? Take the much maligned and criticized Ten Commandments…Thou shalt not kill. Is that a restraint? Is that a grievous band and bond tying you down, and standing between you and a glorious life? Is it wrong to ask you not to kill?

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light…The fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): How great, therefore, the wickedness of human nature is! How many girls there are who prevent conception and kill and expel tender fetuses, although procreation is the work of God! Indeed, some spouses who marry and live together in a respectable manner have various ends in mind, but rarely children.

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.

JOHN CALVIN: We see that many rush into such excesses of lasciviousness, as to glory in their shame.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Their vices not only expose them to the wrath of God in another world, but often bring them to misery and ruin in this life; and surely such impudent offenders, who glory in their shame, and to whom openness in sin is an improvement of the pleasure of sinning, most justly deserve all the plagues of this life and the pains of the next [life].

C. H. SPURGEON: 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 of no mean degree.

HORATIUS BONAR (1808-1889): Nay, we glory in this as “progress,” “culture,” and “enlightenment,” as freedom from the bigotry of other centuries and the narrowness of our half-enlightened ancestors.

SAMUEL MILLER: Think of these abounding sins; and think also in how small a degree multitudes even of the professing people of God seem to be awake to the great responsibilities and duties of their high vocation; and then say whether we have not reason for special humiliation and prayer?

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: It is not difficult for us, therefore, to answer the next question: What is the call for us today? It is obvious that we must concentrate our energies on the church, and that the chief need is the revival and the awakening of the church itself. It is in the church, and often through individuals who belong to the church, that the big spiritual movements have always started…I have no hesitation in asserting that the failure of the church to have a greater impact upon the life of men and women in the world today is due entirely to the fact that her own life is not in order. To me there is nothing more tragic or short-sighted or lacking in insight than the assumption, made by so many, that the church herself is all right and all she has to do is to evangelize the world outside…We have to start with the church, not with the world outside. The chief trouble is in the church.

JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): No careful reader of the New Testament and observer of the present state of the church can fail to be convinced that what is now wanting is a high spirituality.

HORATIUS BONAR: Jude speaks to the Church of the last days. It is against the evils within the Church that he specially warns. What a picture does he draw of error, licentiousness, worldliness, spiritual decay, and ecclesiastical apostasy! Who could recognize the image of the primitive Church in the description he gives of prevailing iniquity?  The world had absorbed the Church, and the church was content that it should be so.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): It is no unusual thing in our day for the service of the sanctuary to be turned into an amusement.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: I ask you solemnly, is this a time for entertainment? Is it not a time, rather, for fasting, for sackcloth and ashes, for waiting upon God in an agony of soul?

E. M. BOUNDS (1835-1913): The church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men…The prime need of the church is not men of money, nor men of brains, but men of prayer.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): I had often said that I had rather to be able to pray like Daniel than preach like Gabriel.  What we want is men and women that know how to pray, who know how to call down fire from heaven.

DAVID BRAINERD (1718-1747): Oh, dear sir, let me beseech you frequently to attend to the precious duties of secret fasting and prayer.

SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): Know, therefore, that the best affected of the ministry have thought it convenient and necessary at such a time as this, that all who love the truth should join their prayers together, and cry to God with humiliation and fasting.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: For God’s sake, for the glory of His name, let us intercede and pray for a visitation of God’s Spirit.


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God’s Rod of Correction

Proverbs 22:15; Proverbs 3:11, 12

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of His correction: for whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): To be suffered to go on in sin without a rebuke is a sad sign of alienation from God; such are bastards, not sons, Hebrews 12:8.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Say not therefore, If we belong to Him, why are we thus afflicted? The correction results from the relation: what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): They are the chastisements of a father, in which He deals with them as with children; and uses them for the good discipline and instruction of them, as the word here signifies; and therefore not to be “despised,” or loathed and abhorred, as disagreeable food; or as if they were unnecessary and unprofitable, or unworthy of notice and regard; or as little, slight, and trifling things, without considering from whence they come and for what they are sent.

MATTHEW HENRY: The best of God’s children need chastisement. They have their faults and follies, which need to be corrected. Though God may let others alone in their sins, He will correct sin in his own children; they are of His family, and shall not escape His rebukes when they want them—No wise and good father will wink at faults in his own children as he would in others.

JOHN GILL: The same thing is meant by “correction” as chastening.

MATTHEW HENRY: It is a divine correction; it is the chastening of the Lord, which, as it is a reason why we should submit to it—for it is folly to contend with a God of incontestable sovereignty and irresistible power—so it is a reason why we should be satisfied in it; for we may be sure that a God of unspotted purity does us no wrong and that a God of infinite goodness means us no hurt.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): God deals with us as we do with our children: He first speaks; then gives a gentle stroke; at last, a blow.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): Whatever the providence may be that turns your joy into grief, it is a chastening from the Lord. Taking, in the first place, this more general view of chastening or rebuke, we observe that the command regarding it is twofold: 1. Do not despise it; 2. Do not faint under it. There are two opposite extremes of error in this thing, as in most others; and these two commands are set like hedges, one on the right hand, and another on the left, to keep the traveller from wandering out of the way. The Lord sees that some, when afflicted, err on this side, and some on that; the stroke affects those too little, and these too much.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Of two evils, choose neither.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Despise not.”—Either by making light of it, or not being duly affected with it; or by accounting it an unnecessary thing.

MATTHEW HENRY: It is from God, and therefore must not be despised; for a slight put upon the messenger is an affront to Him that sends him.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): It is of no use to rebel; if thou do, thou kickest against the pricks, and every act of rebellion against him is a wound to thine own soul. God will either end thee or mend thee.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): Correction despised brings sharper correction.

WILLIAM JAY: A natural man is only concerned to escape from trouble, but the Christian is anxious to have it sanctified and improved. He is commanded to hear the rod. While God chastens He teaches. I must therefore be in a learning frame of mind. I must say unto God, “Show me wherefore thou contendest with me.”—“I will hear what, by this event, God the Lord will speak.”

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699):Neither be weary of his correction.” This is the other extreme, despair and despondency of spirit.

JOHN GILL: As if no sorrow was like theirs, and to be quite dejected and overwhelmed with it.

WILLIAM ARNOT: Do not be dissolved, as it were—taken down and taken to pieces by the stroke. Do not sink into despondency and despair. Be impressed by the stroke of the Lord’s hand, but not crushed under it.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Neither esteem it tedious and intolerable.

MATTHEW HENRY: We must not be weary of an affliction, be it ever so heavy and long; not faint under it—so the apostle renders it, Hebrews 12:5—not be dispirited, dispossessed of our own souls, or driven to despair, or to use any indirect means for our relief and the redress of our grievances. We must not think that the affliction either presses harder or continues longer than is meet, not conclude that deliverance will never come because it does not come so soon as we expect it.

WILLIAM JAY: Patience is injured by feeling too little as well as by feeling too much; by despising the chastening of the Lord as well as by fainting when we are rebuked of him.

GEORGE SWINNOCK (1627-1673): To lengthen my patience is the best way to shorten my troubles.

R. C. CHAPMAN: Impatience under God’s corrections only shows our need of the discipline He is pleased to visit us with.

JOHN WYCLIFFE (1330-1384): What is patience?—a glad and willing suffering of troubles. He that is patient murmurs not at adversity, but rather, at all times, praises God.

JOHN TRAPP: Count it not a light matter, a common occurrence, such as must be borne by head and shoulders, and when things are at worst, they will mend again. This is not patience but pertinacy; strength, but stupidity—“the strength of stone, and flesh of brass.”

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): Of all things in the world to be avoided, a stony heart, or a stupidity under God’s afflicting hand, is most to be deprecated.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): The sound discipline of heavenly guidance is our Father’s best blessing. His most fearful curse, is to be given up to our own ways, “to walk in our own counsels,” Psalm 81:12.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Woe, woe to that soul that God will not spend a rod upon. This is the saddest stroke of all, when God refuses to strike at all…God is most angry when He shows no anger. God keep me from this mercy; this kind of mercy is worse than all other kinds of misery.

WILLIAM JAY: “Bastards may escape the rod,

Sunk in earthly, vain delight;

But a true-born child of God

Must not, would not, if he might.”

JOHN NEWTON: Let us therefore pray for grace to be humble, thankful, and patient.


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Is Fasting a Christian Duty for Protestant Evangelicals?

Matthew 9:14,15; Matthew 6:16

When came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites….

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): For Evangelicals, this whole question of fasting has almost disappeared from our lives and even out of the field of our consideration. How often and to what extent have we thought about it?  What place does it occupy in our whole view of the Christian life and of the discipline of the Christian life? I suggest that the truth probably is that we have very rarely thought of it at all. I wonder whether we have ever fasted?  I wonder whether it has even occurred to us that we ought to be considering the question of fasting?

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Our Lord Jesus Christ never made much of fasting. He very seldom spoke about it; and when the Pharisees exaggerated it, He generally put them off by telling them that the time had not come for His disciples to fast, because the Bridegroom was still with them, and while he was with them their days were to be days of joy. But, still, Holy Scripture does speak of fasting, in certain cases it advises fasting, and there were godly men and godly women, such as Anna, the prophetess, who “served God with fastings and prayer night and day,” Luke 2:37.

ANDREW FULLER (1754-1815): Fasting is supposed to be the ordinary practice of the godly. Christ does not make light of it, but merely cautions them against its abuses.

LANCELOT ANDREWES (1555-1626): “Moreover, when ye fast,” I say first, this very “when” shows Christ’s liking of it, that there is a time allowed for it, else He would allow it no “when”―no time at all; this “when” is a presupposing, at least, for can any man fancy that Christ would presuppose aught that were not required of us by God?

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): This exercise hath still the warrant and weight of a duty, as well from precepts as examples in both Testaments.

HENRY SCUDDER (died 1659): In the sacred Scriptures we have manifold examples of private fasts, and examples and commandments for public ones. Our Lord and Saviour said that His disciples after His departure from them should fast, and gave directions to all concerning private fasts. The apostle Paul spoke of husbands and wives abstaining from conjugal embraces that they might give themselves to fasting and prayer, I Corinthians 7:5. And we have repeated examples of the apostles and primitive Christians [practising] religious fasts, Acts 13:3. All of which prove fasting to be a Christian duty.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): It is a laudable practice, and we have reason to lament it, that is so generally neglected among Christians…Paul was “in fastings often,” 2 Corinthians 11:27.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: The fact is, is it not, that this whole subject seems to have dropped right out of our lives, and right out of our whole Christian thinking.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Let us, therefore, make some observations on fasting, since very many, not understanding, what utility there can be in it, judge it not to be very necessary, while others reject it altogether as superfluous. Where its use is not well known it is easy to fall into superstition…

Fasting is commended to us, but not on account of itself…Fasting does not of itself displease God; but it becomes an abomination to Him, when it is thought to be a meritorious work, or when some holiness is connected with it―the Papists have this in common with the Jews, that they think that they serve God by it, and that it is a meritorious work. Yet fasting is not the worship of God, and is not in itself commanded by Him―it is an external exercise, which is auxiliary to prayer, or is useful for subduing the flesh, or testifying our humiliation, when, as guilty persons, we implore that the wrath of God may be turned away in adversity.

ANDREW FULLER: It is an appendage to prayer, and designed to aid its importunity. It is humbling, and in a manner chastising, ourselves before God.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Christ fasted in the wilderness.

JOHN TRAPP: All Christ’s actions are for our instruction, not all for our imitation.

MATTHEW HENRY: The reference which the Papists make of their lent-fast to this fasting of Christ forty days, is a piece of foppery and superstition.

JOHN CALVIN: It is plain that Christ did not fast to set an example to others―and it is strange how men of acute judgment could fall into this gross delusion, which so many clear reasons refute: for Christ did not fast repeatedly―which He must have done had He meant to lay down a law for an anniversary fast―but once only, when preparing for the promulgation of the gospel. Nor does He fast after the manner of men, as He would have done had He meant to invite men to imitation.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): He was not an hungred till “he had fasted forty days and forty nights, Matthew 4:2. Here was the Divine power miraculously seen, in upholding the human nature of Christ without anything to eat: this was a miracle…

Nor did He fast as the Jews were wont, of whom we sometimes read that they kept fasts several days; they only fasted in the day time, but ate their food at night―but Christ fasted from all food, and that not only forty days, but forty nights also; from whence may be easily gathered, how idly, if not impiously, the Papists found their forty days fasting in Lent…There can be nothing more sottish than for us to think that because Christ―supported by the Divine nature―fasted forty days, therefore we are obliged to do it; and because we cannot fast forty days and forty nights, without eating something, therefore we may eat fish, though no flesh; or that we are obliged to fast in the day time, though not at night; and because Christ once in His lifetime fasted forty days and forty nights, therefore we must do so every year, or that the church hath any power to enjoin any such thing.

JOHN TRAPP: They ascribe merit unto it, even to the mere outward abstinence, as the Pharisees did, and these hypocrites in Isaiah (Isaiah 58:3).

ANDREW FULLER: There has doubtless been much formality and hypocrisy in some who have attended to it; but it does not follow that the thing itself should be neglected.

JOHN TRAPP: Now since we cannot but condemn their superstition, so neither is our forlorn indolence and dulness to this duty to be excused…So many are departed so far from Popish fasts, that they fast not at all―and He that blamed the Pharisees here for fasting amiss, will much more blame those that fast not at all.

ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER (1772-1851): Because the practice has been turned to superstition, Protestants have too much neglected this duty. But eminently devout men in all ages have found fasting an auxiliary to devotion and to the mortification of sin.


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The Abuse of God’s Grace

Romans 6:1,2,15

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Shall we hence take encouragement to sin with so much the more boldness, because the more sin we commit the more will the grace of God be magnified in our pardon? Is this a use to be made of it?” No, it is an abuse. Those opinions that give any countenance to sin, or open a door to practical immoralities, how specious and plausible soever they be rendered, by the pretension of advancing free grace, are to be rejected with the greatest abhorrence; for the truth as it is in Jesus is a truth “according to godliness,” Titus 1:1.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Grace is the mother and nurse of holiness, not the apologist of sin.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Persons may be said to be “dead to sin,” both as justified and sanctified: justified persons are dead to sin, inasmuch as that is not imputed to them to condemnation and death; they are discharged from it; it cannot hurt them, or exert its damning power over them; it is crucified, abolished, and made an end of by Christ: sanctified persons are dead to sin; sin is not made their business, it is not their course of life; it is no longer a pleasure to them, but is loathsome and abominable; it is looked upon, not as a friend, but an enemy; it does not reign, it has not the dominion over them; it is subdued in them, and its power weakened; and as to the members of the flesh, and deeds of the body, it is mortified.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Saving grace makes a man as willing to leave his lusts as a slave is willing to leave his galley, or a prisoner his dungeon—or a beggar his rags…Sin may rebel in a saint, but it shall never reign in a saint.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Even Christians, therefore, are not so perfect as to be free from “infirmities.” Only let us take care to understand this word aright: let us not give that soft title to known sins, as the manner of some is.  So, one man tells us, “Every man has his infirmity, and mine is drunkenness;” another has the infirmity of [sexual] uncleanness; another, that of taking God’s holy name in vain; and yet another has the infirmity of calling his brother, “Thou fool,” or returning “railing for railing.” It is plain that you who thus speak, if ye repent not, with your infirmities, will go quick into hell!

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): Yet you question not but it will be well with you, and never once feared to go to hell.  And is that faith, think you?  Alas no, it is a plain counterfeit, and a very cheat.

RICHARD SIBBES (1577-1635): To plead for an “infirmity” is more than an infirmity; to allow ourselves in weaknesses is more than a weakness. The justification of evil shuts our mouths, so that the soul cannot call God Father with child-like liberty, or enjoy sweet communion with Him, until peace be made by shaming ourselves, and renewing our faith. Those that have ever been bruised for sin, if they fall, are soon recovered.  Peter was recovered with a gracious look of Christ, David by Abigail’s words.  If you tell a thief or a vagrant that he is out of the way, he pays no heed, because his aim is not to walk in any particular way, except as it suits his purpose.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): Fall into sin we may and shall; but it is not the falling into the water that drowns, but lying in it; so it is not falling into sin that damns, but living in it.

JOHN GILL: To live in sin, is to live after the dictates of corrupt nature; and persons may be said to live in it, when they give up themselves to it, are bent upon it; when sin is their life, they delight in it, make it their work and business, and the whole course of their life is sinful: now those who are dead to sin, cannot thus live in it, though sin may live in them; they may fall into sin, and lie in it some time, yet they cannot live in it: living in sin, is not only unbecoming the grace of God revealed in the Gospel, but is contrary to it; it is detestable to gracious minds, yea, it seems impossible they should live in it.

THOMAS BROOKS: Sin and grace are like two buckets at a well; when one is up the other is down. A man may find out many ways to hide his sin, but he will never find out any way to subdue his sin, but by the exercise of grace.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Were it not for the grace of God there would be no such thing as a Christian.

RICHARD SIBBES: If Christ should not be merciful to our weaknesses, He should not have a people to serve Him.  Suppose therefore we are very weak, yet so long as we are not found amongst malicious opposers and underminers of God’s truth, let us not give way to despairing thoughts; we have a merciful Saviour. But lest we flatter ourselves without good grounds, we must know that weaknesses are to be reckoned either imperfections cleaving to our best actions, or actions proceeding from immaturity in Christ, whilst we are babes, or the effects of want of strength, where ability is small, or sudden unintended breakings out contrary to our general bent and purpose, whilst our judgment is overcast with the cloud of a sudden temptation, after which we feel our infirmity, grieve for it, and from grief, complain, and, with complaining, strive and labour to reform; finally, in labouring, we make some progress against our corruption.

DAVID CLARKSON (1622-1686): Get mortifying graces, especially love to God, for those who love the Lord, hate evil. And the more they love Him, the more they will hate it.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): The Lord’s grace is promised to him that resisteth. God keepeth us from the evil one, but it is by our watchfulness and resistance; His power maketh it effectual. We are to strive against sin and keep ourselves, and God keepeth us by making our keeping effectual.

THOMAS BROOKS: The life of grace is the death of sin, and the growth of grace the decay of sin.


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Old & New Testament Harmony on the Doctrine of the Trinity

Matthew 3:16,17

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): It would be almost unpardonable, not to take notice of the testimony here given to the doctrine of the Trinity; since a voice was heard from the “Father” in heaven, bearing witness to “the Son” in human nature on earth, on whom “the Spirit” had descended and now abode. The ancients looked upon this as so clear and full a proof of this truth, that they were wont to say, “Go to Jordan, and there learn the doctrine of the Trinity.”

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all, 2 Corinthians 13:14. This text, as well as that, strongly marks the doctrine of the holy Trinity. And had not the apostle been convinced that there was a personality in this ever-blessed and undivided Trinity, he could not have expressed himself thus.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): Now you would not expect to find the doctrine of the Trinity expounded as clearly in the Old Testament as in the New―but it is there in the Old Testament. In the very first chapter of Genesis you will find the doctrine of the Trinity quite plainly, if you will look for it. Take that name of God―Elohim. It is a plural term. God speaks of Himself in the plural.

JOHN GILL: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, Genesis 1:1. The original Hebrew word אלהים Elohim, God, is certainly the plural form of אל El, or אלה Eloah, and has long been supposed, by the most eminently learned and pious men, to imply a plurality of Persons in the Divine nature…He must be strangely prejudiced indeed who cannot see that the doctrine of a Trinity, and of a Trinity in unity, is expressed in the above words. The verb ברא bara, He created, being joined in the singular number with this plural noun, has been considered as pointing out, and not obscurely, the unity of the Divine Persons in this work of creation.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Do you remember what He says about the creation of man in Genesis 1:26? “Let us make man in our image.” Why is that? There is only one adequate explanation; it is because of the blessed Holy Trinity. It is stated of man in Genesis 3:22: “Behold, the man is become as one of us.” And then in connection with the Tower of Babel, in Genesis 11:7, we read: “Let us go down, and there confound their language.”

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Let Israel rejoice in Him that made him,” Psalm 149:2. Let Israel “rejoice in his Makers”―so it is in the original Hebrew―for God said, “Let us make man;” and in this, some think, is the mystery of the Trinity.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): “Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out,” Isaiah 42:5. In Hebrew, it is “and they that stretched them out;” noting the Trinity in unity…The prophets and patriarchs of old did well understand the mystery of the sacred Trinity. Elihu speaks of the Almighty his “makers,” Job 35:10. Solomon does the same, Eccelesiates 12:1, “Remember thy Creators.

MATTHEW HENRY: “Thy Creators.” The Hebrew word is plural, as it is in Job 35:10, Where is God my Makers?

JOHN GILL: But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God,” Jeremiah 10:10 . The words are in the plural number, “He is the living Gods;” as denoting a trinity of Persons in the unity of the divine essence: for though the words אלהים חיים, “living Gods,” that is, living divine Ones, or Persons, are in the plural number, yet הוא, “He,” is in the singular; which is worthy of observation.

ANDREW BONAR (1810-1892): The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken,” Psalm 50:1.―“El, Elohim, Jehovah has spoken!” So reads the Hebrew.

JOHN GILL: Some have observed that these three names, El, Elohim, Jehovah, here mentioned, have three very distinct accents set to them, and which being joined to a verb singular דּבּד, hath spoken, contains the mystery of the trinity of Persons in the unity of the divine Essence.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): While He proclaims His unity, He distinctly sets it before us as existing in three persons.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: And then you find it in Isaiah chapter 6:8: “I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” You see, these very terms suggest the Trinity.

JOHN TRAPP: So, Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD,” when Moses begins to rehearse the law, and to explain it, the first thing he teaches them is the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity.

JOHN GILL: There is an entire harmony and agreement between the writings of Moses, and the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles of the New, in all the doctrines of the Gospel revelation; in the doctrine of a trinity of persons in the unity of the divine essence, and of the proper deity of each person.

B. B. WARFIELD (1851-1921): Thus the Old Testament revelation of God is not corrected by the fuller revelation which follows it, but only perfected, extended and enlarged―and it is important that the continuity of the revelation of God contained in the two Testaments should not be overlooked or obscured…

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” Matthew 28:19. It does not say, “In the names of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” as if we had to deal with three separate Beings…With stately impressiveness it asserts the unity of the three by combining them all within the bounds of the single Name; and then throws up into emphasis the distinctness of each by introducing them in turn with the repeated article: “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” These three, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, each stand in some clear sense over against the others in distinct personality.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): As the Father is mentioned, and as the Son is mentioned, so is the Holy Ghost; and the whole is summed up as being a Trinity in unity, by its being said, not the names, but the “name” the glorious name, the Jehovah name, “of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

ADAM CLARKE: And had not our Lord intended to be understood in this way, He would not have given such a commission to His apostles, to baptize the nations “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” The doctrine is the teaching of God, let men make of it what they please.


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Spiritual Medicine & Preventative Prescriptions

I Peter 1:6

Now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM (347-407): God measures out affliction to our need.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): If need be”―if such proves needful—if God, in looking upon us as our Father, sees that this is just what we need at that moment.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): For it is not always needful. If God sees it to be the best means for your spiritual profit.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: So we start with this great principle, that God sees and knows what is best for us and what is needful. We do not see, but God always does, and, as our Heavenly Father, He sees the need and He prescribes the appropriate trial which is destined for our good.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Sometimes there is a kind of necessity that the followers of God should be afflicted; when they have no trials they are apt to get careless, and when they have secular prosperity they are likely to become worldly-minded. “God,” said a good man, “can neither trust me with health nor money; therefore I am both poor and afflicted.”

JOHN WESLEY: Generally prosperity is a sweet poison, and affliction a healing, though bitter medicine.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): Afflictions are useful, and in a degree necessary, to keep alive in us a conviction of the vanity and unsatisfying nature of the present world, and all its enjoyments; to remind us that this is not our rest, and to call our thoughts upward, where our true treasure is, and where our conversation ought to be. When things go on much to our wish, our hearts are too prone to say, “It is good be here.”  It is probable, that had Moses, when he came to invite Israel to Canaan, found them in prosperity, as in the days of Joseph, they would have been very unwilling to remove; but the afflictions they were brought into made his message welcome. Thus the Lord, by pain, sickness, and disappointments, by breaking our cisterns and withering our gourds, weakens our attachment to this world, and makes the thought of quitting it more familiar and more desirable.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Afflictive dispensations, in whatsoever form, are necessary―on account of Christ the head, to whom there must be a conformity of His members; and likewise on their own account; for the humbling of their souls; for the weaning of them from the things of this world; for the restraining, subduing, and keeping under the corruptions of their nature; and for the trial of grace: and it is only “if,” and when there is a necessity for them, that they are in heaviness by them; otherwise God does not delight to afflict and grieve the children of men, and much less His own.

JOHN NEWTON: The Lord loves His children, and is very indulgent to them so far as they can safely bear it, but He will not spoil them. Their sin-sickness requires medicines, some of which are very unpalatable; but when the case calls for such, no short-sighted entreaties of ours can excuse us from taking what He prepares for our good. But every dose is prepared by His own hand, and not one is administered in vain, nor is it repeated any oftener than is needful to answer the purposed end. Till then, no other hand can remove what He lays upon us; but when His merciful design is answered, He will relieve us Himself; and in the mean time He will so moderate the operation, or increase our ability to bear, that we shall not be overpowered.  It is true, without a single exception, that all His paths are mercy and truth to them that fear Him…The Lord afflicts us at times; but it is always a thousand times less than we deserve.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): His conduct is very gentle; as Jacob drove on as the little ones were able to bear, Genesis 33; so God doth with great deal of moderation measure out our sufferings in a due proportion, not to our offences only, but to our strength; as a father in correcting his children, regards their weakness as well as their wantonness, laying less upon the more infirm, though alike faulty.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): In chastising the faithful, God does not consider what they deserve, but what will be useful to them in future; and He fulfills the office of a physician rather than of a judge. Therefore, the absolution which He imparts to His children is complete and not by halves. That He nevertheless punishes those who are received into favour is to be regarded as a kind of chastisement which serves as medicine for future time, but ought not properly to be regarded as the vindictive punishment of sin committed.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Many-sided is the character of our heavenly Father, for, having forgiven as a judge, He then cures as a physician.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): As a physician, “He knoweth my frame,” Psalm 103:14—what is, what is not, expedient for me. “As a Father, He pitieth,” my weakness, Psalm 103:13. As a God, He fully supplies my real need, Philippians 4:19.

JOHN NEWTON: Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise physician prescribes, because we need them; and He proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires.

C. H. SPURGEON: Jesus is a physician who knows every case; nothing is new to Him.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The physician’s care is to cure the patient’s disease, not to please his palate…He will deal out afflictions to them as the wise physician prescribes medicines to his patients.

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

C. H. SPURGEON: The good Physician understands the symptoms of our disease and sees the hidden evil which they reveal, hence our case is safe in His hands…The medicine cup is not for rebels, but for those whom Jehovah Rophi loves.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): God had a hand in the mingling of thy cup; who, being a wise and gracious physician and father, would be sure not to overdo; for “He knoweth our frame, He remembereth that we are dust.”—Set down proud flesh when it bustles and bristles under God’s fatherly chastisements, and say soberly to yourselves, “Shall I not drink of the cup that my Father, who is also my physician, hath put into mine hands?”

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Afflictions are called chastenings and rebukes, which he is neither to despise nor faint under. They have been the experience of all God’s children from age to age. They are not wantonly inflicted; but there is a needs-be for them, of which their heavenly Father is the unerring Judge.

JOHN GILL: The will of God has appointed them—and therefore, [they] must be, and ought to be, quietly submitted to, and patiently borne, on that consideration.


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

John 1:16,17; Ephesians 2:8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

John 15:4,5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why not?” I asked.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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The Mercy & Truth of God to Unworthy Sinners

Genesis 32:10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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