Walking with God in an Ungodly World

Genesis 5:21-24; Jude 14, 15; Hebrews 11:5

And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: and Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: and all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied…saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): What does Enoch’s walking with God imply?

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): He walked “in the fear of the Lord,” as the Chaldee paraphrases it: and this he did without intermission, not for a time or two, but continually, constantly: he walked with God by a humble familiarity, and a holy conformity; as a man doth with his friend.

C. H. SPURGEON: When we read that Enoch walked with God we are to understand that he realized the Divine Presence. You cannot consciously walk with a person whose existence is not known to you. When we walk with a man, we know that he is there…We have some very clear perception that there is a person at our side. Now, if we look to Hebrews again, Paul tells us, “He that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him,” Hebrews 11:6. Enoch’s faith, then, was a realizing faith. He did not believe things as a matter of creed and then put them up on the shelf out of the way, as too many of us do today—he was not merely orthodox in his head—but the Truth of God had entered into his heart. What he believed was true to him, practically true, true as a matter of fact in his daily life.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN (1826-1910): So, then, “practise the presence of God.” An old mystic says: “If I can tell how many times today I have thought about God, I have not thought about Him often enough.”

C. H. SPURGEON: It was not that he merely thought of God, that he speculated about God, that he argued about God, that he read about God, that he talked about God—he walked with God, which is the practical and experimental part of true godliness! In his daily life he realized that God was with him and he regarded Him as a living God, in whom he confided and by whom he was loved―his life must also have been a holy life, because he walked with God, for God never walks out of the way of holiness.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): Enoch’s name—“dedicated, disciplined, well-regulated,”—was significant of his character. He was a dedicated man, whose life was disciplined and his habits regulated by the guiding hand of God. He saw the promises afar off, and was persuaded of them, and embraced them; and by faith lived as one alive from the dead, yielding his members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

C. H. SPURGEON: If we walk with God, we must walk according to truth, justice and love.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): Enoch loved his God―if I may so speak, with all his heart, and mind, and soul, and strength: God would never have given him a special testimony of His approbation, if his heart had been destitute of the sacred flame of love.

C. H. SPURGEON: What circumstances were connected with his remarkable life? These are highly instructive.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Enoch was a prophet.

C. H. SPURGEON: He is called “the seventh from Adam.” He was a notable man and looked up to as one of the fathers of his age. A Patriarch in those days must have been a marked man, loaded with responsibility as well as with honour.

D. L. MOODY: Enoch was translated fifty-seven years after the death of Adam―and the young prophet may have talked with him―perhaps he stood with the ancients round the grave of the father of our race.

C. H. SPURGEON: Enoch must have been a man of profound knowledge and great wisdom as to Divine things. He must have dived into the deep things of God beyond most men.

D. L. MOODY: I will venture to say that Enoch, in his day, was considered a most singular and visionary man—an “eccentric” man—the most peculiar man who lived in that day. He was a man out of fashion—out of the fashion of this world, which passeth away. He was one of those who set their affections on things above. He lived days of heaven upon earth; for the essence of heaven is to walk with God. He did not go with the current and the crowd.

THOMAS COKE (1747-1814): He not only himself lived for God, but he laboured for God.

JOHN TRAPP: He kept a constant counter-motion to the corrupt courses of the times; not only not swimming down the stream with the wicked, but pronouncing God’s severe judgment against them.

D. L. MOODY: Enoch dared to do right. He took his position, and dared to stand against an ungodly generation. There he stood; and he was not ashamed to stand alone. He testified against the sins of a generation which was filling the earth with violence, and crying out for the judgment of God upon it.

C. H. SPURGEON: Enoch lived in a day of mockers and despisers―therefore we may be sure he had his trials and bore the brunt of opposition from the powerful ungodly party which opposed the ways of godliness―he was a man who stood firm amidst a torrent of blasphemy and rebuke, carrying on the great controversy for the truth of God against the wicked lives and licentious tongues of the scoffers of his age.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): A remarkable example is set before us in the person of one man, who stood firmly in the season of most dreadful dissipation; in order that, if we wish to live rightly and orderly, we may learn to regard God more than men.

D. L. MOODY: Now there is one thing we can settle in our minds distinctly: if he pleased God, he did not please men. It is impossible to do the two things. This world is at war with God; it has been for six thousand years, and will be as long as man is on the earth. We cannot please God and man.

CHARLES SIMEON: “Before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” This testimony of His approbation God vouchsafed to Enoch. He was a bold and faithful witness for God, and doubtless incensed many against him. And God took him from a persecuting and ungodly world, who probably enough were seeking to destroy him on account of his pungent admonitions.

D. L. MOODY: Enoch was alone, yet not alone, for he walked with God. And when he was translated, he changed his place, but not his company.

C. H. SPURGEON: Enoch walked with God for many a year till, at last, he walked away with God.


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A New Year’s Lesson From Elijah’s Last Day on Earth

2 Kings 2:1-6

And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head today? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.

And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head today? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.

And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan…

J. R. MILLER (1840-1912): God leads us on step by step, each step a new revelation. He led Elijah on with new calls to new errands, from Gilgal to Bethel, from Bethel to Jericho, from Jericho to Jordan, and then over the river and up among the hills, until at last, as he went on, the chariot came down and lifted him away. In this same beautiful way does God lead each one of His children through life. We know not what any day may bring forth. But He knows; and He calls us forward, to this duty and experience today, to others tomorrow, and so on and on, until we come to the last step, and that will be into glory.

Elijah’s prompt obedience teaches us our side of the lesson. He went swiftly from task to task. He would finish his work before the end came. It was to visit the schools of the prophets that he went to Bethel and to Jericho. He wanted to give his last counsels to the young students whom he had been training and on whom the future religious work among the people would depend.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work,” John 9:4. Saith Christ, I have a set time to work in; that is, that which he here calleth day, the time wherein Christ was to live upon the earth. I am not to be here always, there will come a time when I must be absent from the earth, then none of this work can be done. A good argument to persuade every Christian to work while the time of his life lasts, for the night of death will come.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Are there not twelve hours in the day?” John 11:9. Christ here divides the day into twelve hours, according to ancient custom; for though the days are longer in summer and shorter in winter, yet they had always twelve hours of the day, and twelve of the night.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN (1826-1910): To say to a man, ‘there are twelve hours in the day of life, and then comes darkness, the blackness that swallows up all activity,’ may either be made into a support of all lofty and noble thoughts, or, by the baser sort, it may be, and has been, made into a philosophy of the ‘Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die’ kind; ‘Gather ye roses while ye may’; ‘A short life and a merry one.’

JOHN CALVIN: God doth not prolong the lives of His people, that they may pamper themselves with meat and drink, sleep as much as they please, and enjoy every temporal blessing.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): Christ’s saying is one which should be remembered by all professing Christians. The life that we now live in the flesh is our day. Let us take care that we use it well, for the glory of God.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): We are not sent here to eat, and to drink, and to pass our time in pleasure; but to do the work assigned to us. Every moment of our time is given us for that purpose, and should be employed for that end. When we rise in the morning, we should inquire, What duties have I to perform this day? And, when we lie down again at night, we should inquire, how far we have executed the will of our heavenly Master. The performance of our work should supersede every thing else.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): This made John Calvin answer his friends with some indignation, when they admonished him, for his health’s sake, to forbear studying so hard, “What! would you that Christ when He cometh should find me idle?”

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Man goeth forth to his work and to his labour until the evening,” Psalm 104:23. There is the work of every day, which is to be done in its day, which man must apply to every morning―for the lights are set up for us to work by, not to play by―and which he must stick to till evening; it will be time enough to rest when the night comes.

CHARLES SIMEON: Through the mercy of our God, the day is yet continued to you; that day, which, within the last year, has closed on thousands, who, humanly speaking, were as likely to live as you. And, to multitudes of them, how dreary a night has commenced!

MATTHEW HENRY: The night comes―it will come certainly―may come suddenly―and is coming nearer, and nearer…The consideration of our death approaching should quicken us to improve all the opportunities of life.

JOHN CALVIN: So, when we see that a short period of life is allotted to us, we ought to be ashamed of languishing in idleness.

J. R. MILLER: The nearing of the end of life should intensify our earnestness.

J. C. RYLE: Our time is very short. Our daylight will soon be gone. Opportunities once lost can never be retrieved. A second lease of life is granted to no man. Whatever our hand findeth to do, let us do it with our might.

CHARLES SIMEON: Those who are more advanced in years—much of your day is obviously gone: and little, according to the course of nature, remains. Your glass is well nigh run down. Is it not then time for you to awake, and to begin the work which God has sent you to perform?

A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): We have much to do and little time in which to get it done!

CHARLES SIMEON: Let me entreat you, beloved brethren, to be of that happy number; that, when you come to die, you may be able to adopt the words of our blessed Lord, and say, “Father, I have glorified thee on earth; I have finished the work which thou hast given me to do,” John 17:4.


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No Room for Jesus Christ

Luke 2:7

And [Mary] brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Jesus was laid in a manger because there was no room for Him.

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Now also, there is seldom room for Christ in an inn.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Now, they are frequently haunts for the idle and the profligate, the drunkard and the infidel―in short, for any kind of guests except Jesus and His genuine followers.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Here I am induced to relate a memorable story. While we were supping in a certain inn, and speaking of the hope of the heavenly life, a profane despiser of God happened to be present, who treated our discourse with derision, and now and then mockingly exclaimed, “The heaven of heavens is the Lord’s.” Instantly afterwards he was seized with dreadful pain, and began to vociferate, “O God! O God!” and, having a powerful voice, he filled the whole apartment with his cries. Then I, who had felt indignant at his conduct, proceeded in my own way, to tell him warmly that now at least he perceived that they who mocked God were not permitted to escape with impunity.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): And this leads us to the second remark, that there were other places besides the inn which had no room for Christ. Might there not be found some room for Christ in what is called good society? Were there not in Bethlehem some people that were very respectable, who kept themselves aloof from the common multitude; persons of reputation and standing—could not they find room for Christ?

Ah! dear friends, it is too much the case that there is no room for Him in what is called good society. There is room for all the silly little forms by which men choose to trammel themselves; room for the vain niceties of etiquette; room for frivolous conversation; room for the adoration of the body, there is room for the setting up of this and that as the idol of the hour, but there is too little room for Christ, and it is far from fashionable to follow the Lord fully. The advent of Christ would be the last thing which society would desire; the very mention of His name by the lips of love would cause a strange sensation. Should you begin to talk about the things of Christ in many a circle, you would be tabooed at once. “I will never ask that man to my house again,” so-and-so would say, “if he must bring his religion with him.” Folly and finery, rank and honour, jewels and glitter, frivolity and fashion, all report that there is no room for Jesus in their abodes.

THOMAS WATSON (1620-1686): Christ, who had all riches, scorned earthly riches; He was born poor, the manger was His cradle, the cobwebs His curtains: He lived poor, He had not where to lay His head: He died poor, He had no crown-lands, only His coat was left, and that the soldiers parted among them: and His funeral was suitable, for as He was born in another man’s house, so He was buried in another man’s tomb.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): When the love of money begins to creep over us, let us think of the manger at Bethlehem, and of Him who was laid in it.

C. H. SPURGEON: Who would think of finding Christ there?

A. W. PINK: He was laid in a manger to show His contempt for worldly riches and pomp. We might think it more fitting for the Christ of God to be born in a palace and laid in a cradle of gold, lined with costly silks.

C. H. SPURGEON: Alas! my brethren, seldom is there room for Christ in palaces! How could the kings of earth receive the Lord? He is the Prince of Peace, and they delight in war!…How could kings accept the humble Saviour? They love grandeur and pomp, and he is all simplicity and meekness. He is a carpenter’s son, and the fisherman’s companion. How can princes find room for the new-born monarch? Why He teaches us to do to others as we would that they should do to us, and this is a thing which kings would find very hard to reconcile with the knavish tricks of politics and the grasping designs of ambition…State-chambers, cabinets, throne-rooms, and royal palaces, are about as little frequented by Christ as the jungles and swamps of India by the cautious traveler. He frequents cottages far more often than regal residences, for there is no room for Jesus Christ in regal halls.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): As there was no room for Him in the inn in Bethlehem, so there was no quiet room for Him in the land of Judea.

C. H. SPURGEON: But there were senators, there were forums of political discussion, there were the places where the representatives of the people make the laws. Was there no room for Christ there? Alas! my brethren, none, and to this day there is very little room for Christ in parliaments. How seldom is religion recognised by politicians! One or two will give Him a good word, but if it be put to the vote whether the Lord Jesus should be obeyed or no, it will be many a day before the ayes have it.

WILLIAM GREENHILL (1591-1677): Politicians think it weakness, foolishness, to suffer for religion. They can change it at pleasure, and fall in with that which hath most pomp and applause in the world.

C. H. SPURGEON: But is there not room for Him on the exchange? Cannot He be taken to the marts of commerce?―Ah! dear friends, how little of the spirit, and life, and doctrine of Christ can be found here! The trader finds it inconvenient to be too scrupulous; the merchant often discovers that if he is to make a fortune he must break his conscience…Bankruptcies, swindlings, frauds are so abundant that in hosts of cases there is no room for Jesus in the mart or the shop.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): And now, universities and schools of learning have too little.

C. H. SPURGEON: There is very little room for Christ in colleges and universities, very little room for Him in the seats of learning―universities and colleges often obscure the truth by their modes of speech.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): I much fear the universities will become wide gates to hell.

A. W. PINK: How solemnly this brings out the world’s estimate of the Christ of God―there is no room for Him in the schools, in society, in the business world, among the great throngs of pleasure seekers, in the political realm, in the newspapers, nor in many of the churches. It is only history repeating itself. All that the world gave the Saviour was a manger, a cross on which to die, and a borrowed grave to receive His murdered body.

C. H. SPURGEON: ‘Ye are not of the world, even as Christ is not of the world,’ John 15:19. Thank God, you need not ask the world’s hospitality. If it will give you but a stage for action, and lend you for an hour a grave to sleep in, ’tis all you need; you will require no permanent dwelling-place here, since you seek a city that is to come, which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.


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Angelic Messengers

Genesis 16:7-12

And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go?

And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands…

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Here is the first mention we have in Scripture of an angel’s appearance.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Hagar, being hardly used by her mistress, runs away. She is met by an angel, and counselled to return to her mistress…Angels are in a peculiar sense the attendants and messengers of the Almighty.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): The word מלאך, malak, means a messenger; and angels are called מלאכים, melakim.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The Bible teaches us that God uses the angels as the instruments of His will.  How has he done so?  Well, here are some of the ways in which He has done so―First of all, we are told that the law was given to the children of Israel through the medium of the angels. If you want the authority for that, you’ll find it Galatians 3:19, in Acts 7:53, and in Hebrews 2:2―Indeed, in Galatians we are told that the law was “ordained by angels.

JOHN CALVIN: Angels were the messengers of God and His witnesses in publishing the law, that the authority thereof might be firm and stable.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Another function of the angels is make known and to reveal God’s purposes.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Sometimes such are God’s messengers, sent by Him on errands to men, and are interpreters of things to them, as Gabriel was to Daniel (Daniel 8:16; 9:21).

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: We are told about Gabriel that he “stands in the presence of God,” waiting, as it were, to be given a message. And he has been given messages. It was he, you remember, that was given the special message to tell Mary what was to happen to her, and how she was to become the mother to the Son of God…It was he who gave the message to Zacharias―remember that Zacharias was told about the birth of his son, who became known as John the Baptist, through an angel that appeared to him when he was in the temple? God tells His people what He’s going to do, and His purposes, through angels…And, of course, we have this crucial statement in that last verse of the first chapter of Hebrews, where they are described as “ministering spirits”―“Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

MATTHEW HENRY: They are employed by the Redeemer as His messengers, and they go cheerfully on His errands, because they are His Father’s humble servants, and His children’s hearty friends and well-wishers.

JOHN GILL: And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip,” Acts 8:26. This angel was one of the ministering spirits sent forth by Christ, to serve a gracious purpose of His, and for the good of one of the heirs of salvation.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): How ready are the holy angels to serve the saints, rejoicing more in their names of office than of honour, of employment than preferment―so those heavenly courtiers rejoice rather to be styled angels―that is, “messengers,” and “ministering spirits,” than thrones, principalities, powers.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Do you remember how God revealed His will to Abraham His purpose with regard to Sodom and Gomorrah through angels? Read it in Genesis 18. Do you remember how He revealed His will to Jacob more than once through the medium of angels? Do you remember how He told Gideon what he’d got to do and what God purposed through an angel?

ADAM CLARKE: An angel appears to the wife of Manoah, foretells the birth of her son, and gives her directions how to treat both herself and her child, who was to be a deliverer of Israel. She informs her husband [and] Manoah prays that the Angel may reappear; he is heard, and the Angel appears to him and his wife, and repeats his former directions concerning the mother and the child, Judges 13:2-14.

ROBERT HAWKER (1753-1827): Angels―and it should seem a multitude, though one only came forward to the shepherds to be the speaker―came from heaven to proclaim the wonders of Christ’s birth, Luke 2:8-14.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): This publication of His birth is made by an angel, but whether the angel Gabriel before mentioned, or another, is not certain.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Let me remind you also how it was an angel that told Joseph that he needn’t worry about the condition of his espoused wife Mary; it was an angel that told him to flee to Egypt; it was an angel that told him to come out of Egypt―all along this intimation was given through the medium of an angel.

ADAM CLARKE: See the case of Cornelius, Acts 10:3―an angel appears to Cornelius, a centurion, and directs him to send to Joppa, for Peter, to instruct him in the way of salvation.

MATTHEW HENRY: The orders are given him from heaven, by the ministry of an angel, to send for Peter to come to him, which he would never have done if he had not been thus directed to do it…How far God may now, in an invisible way, make use of the ministration of angels, for extricating His people out of their straits, we cannot say; but this we are sure of, they are all ministering spirits for their good.

JOHN CALVIN: Though the angels are not nigh us, or at least do not appear to us in a visible form, yet God can by other means afford us help when there is any perplexity in His Word: He promises to give us the spirit of understanding and wisdom, whenever there is need.

MATTHEW HENRY: Though angels were not employed to preach the gospel, they were often employed in carrying messages to ministers for advice and encouragement. We cannot now expect such guides in our way; but doubtless there is a special providence of God conversant about the removes and settlements of ministers, and one way or other He will direct those who sincerely desire to follow Him.

JOHN CALVIN: If any man object, that angels come not down daily from heaven to reveal unto us what we ought to do, the answer if ready, that we are sufficiently taught in the Word of God what we ought to do, and that they are never destitute of the counsel who ask it of Him, and submit themselves to the government of the Spirit.


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The Difficulties of Consistent & Inconsistent Preaching

Acts 20:27

I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): Is the doctrine I preach truly evangelical? Let me not take this matter for granted; but examine whether it quadrates with the Scriptures.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): There is nothing so dangerous as to exaggerate a part of truth into the whole of truth.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Take any doctrine, and preach upon it exclusively, and you distort it.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): There is a balance of truth to be observed―why? Because it is required of the Christian minister that he should declare “all the counsel of God,” and not only favourite portions thereof…When the Son of God became incarnate He came here in “the form of a servant,” Philippians 2:6; nevertheless, in the manger He was “Christ the Lord,” Luke 2:11! “All things are possible with God,” Matthew 19:26, yet God “cannot lie,” Titus 1:2. Scripture says, “Bear ye one another’s burdens,” Galatians 6:2, yet the same chapter insists “every man shall bear his own burden,” verse 5. We are enjoined to take “no thought for the morrow,” Matthew 6:34, yet “if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel,” 1 Timothy 5:8. No sheep of Christ’s can perish, John 10:28,29, yet the Christian is bidden to make his “calling and election sure,” 2 Peter 1:10. And so we might go on multiplying illustrations. These things are not contradictions, but complementaries: the one balances the other.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Balance is all-important.

JOHN CLAYTON (1754-1843): The faithful preacher may bear harder on one string than another: but he has respect unto all.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): We should endeavour to maintain a consistency in our preaching; but unless we keep the plan and manner of the Scripture constantly in view, and attend to every part of it, a design of consistency may fetter our sentiments, and greatly preclude our usefulness.

JONATHAN EDWARDS: If half my time be taken up in beating off the rough edges of certain passages, to make them square with my principles, I am not in the gospel scheme. If one part of scripture requires to be passed over, lest I should appear inconsistent, I am not sound in the faith, in God’s account, but have imbibed some false system instead of the gospel.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Have you ever seen the hard work that some brethren have to shape a Scripture to their mind? One text is not Calvinistic, it looks rather Arminian—of course it cannot be so and, therefore, they twist and tug to get it right. As for our Arminian brethren, it is wonderful to see how they hammer away at the ninth Chapter of Romans—steam-hammers and screwjacks are nothing to their appliances for getting rid of election from that chapter! We have all been guilty of racking Scripture, more or less, and it will be well to have done with the evil, forever!

JOHN NEWTON: We need not wish to be more consistent than the inspired writers, nor be afraid of speaking as they have spoken before us. We may easily perplex ourselves and our hearers, by nice reasonings on the nature of human liberty, and the Divine agency on the hearts of men; but such disquisitions are better avoided. We shall, perhaps, never have full satisfaction on these subjects, till we arrive in the world of light.

A. W. PINK: That there are difficulties in an attempt to set forth the truth of God’s sovereignty is readily acknowledged. The hardest thing of all, perhaps, is to maintain the balance of truth. It is largely a matter of perspective. That God is sovereign is explicitly declared in Scripture: that man is a responsible creature is also expressly affirmed in Holy Writ. To define the relationship of these two truths, to fix the dividing line betwixt them, to show exactly where they meet, to exhibit the perfect consistency of the one with the other, is the weightiest task of all. Many have openly declared that is impossible for the finite mind to harmonize them.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: But of course there is no contradiction here―there is no contradiction in Biblical teaching.

C. H. SPURGEON: If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is fore-ordained, that is true; and I find that in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other.

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

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): Let every thing be received from Him with the simplicity of little children. And if there be in His word things which you cannot understand, sit not in judgment upon them with unhallowed confidence; but spread them before the Lord, saying, “What I know not, teach thou me,” Job 34:32.

WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Pray, observe―Paul doth not say he “hath de­clared all the counsel of God.” No; who can, but God Himself? The same apostle saith, “We prophesy but in part,” 1 Corinthians 13:9. There is a terra incognita—an unknown land, in the Scriptures, mysteries that yet were never fully discovered. We cannot declare all that know not all. But Paul saith, he “shunned not to declare all.” When he met a truth, he did not step back to shun it; as when we see a man in the street with whom we have no mind to speak, we step into some house or shop till he be past. The holy apostle was not afraid to speak what he knew to be the mind of God; as he had it from God, so should they from him. He did not balk in his preaching what was profitable for them to know.

C. H. SPURGEON: We cannot know everything and we cannot understand even half what we know! I have given up wanting to understand. As far as I can, I am content with believing all that I see in God’s Word. People say, “But you contradict yourself.” I dare say I do, but I never contradict God to my knowledge, nor the Bible. If I do, may my Lord forgive me…The sin of being inconsistent with my poor fallible self does not trouble me a tenth as much as the dread of being inconsistent with what I find in God’s Word!

CHARLES SIMEON: Those who are disposed to follow the counsel of their God—Remember to follow “the whole of it,” “without partiality and without hypocrisy,” 1 Timothy 5:21, James 3:17.

LORD SHAFTESBURY (1801-1885): Consistency is a noble thing in a right cause, but sinfulness in error.

C. H. SPURGEON: Mind that you are always consistent with yourselves. Yet not like the woman who, when in court, was asked by the judge, “How old are you?”

“Thirty,” she replied.

“Why, I heard you give the same age three years ago.”

“Yes, yer honour, but I am not one of those people who say one thing today, and another tomorrow.”


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Lesson 2 From the Life of Lot: Lot’s Influential Achievements

Genesis 13:10-13; Genesis 19:1

And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan and Lot journeyed east…and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom…

And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN (1826-1910): Lot began with choosing the plain; then he crept a little nearer, and pitched his tent ‘towards’ Sodom; next time we hear of him, he is living in the city, and mixed up inextricably with its people. The first false step leads on to connections unforeseen, from which the man would have shrunk in horror, if he had been told that he would make them.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Step by step he “entered into temptation.”

H. A. IRONSIDE (1876-1951): What shall we say of those who hope to be delivered and who profess to be Christians, but who are now seeking to get all the pleasure and good times the world can give them? One thinks of Lot and his family so long ago. They moved down to Sodom in order that they might participate in worldly things, tired of the life of separation lived up there on the hills of Palestine.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN: Lot’s history teaches what comes of setting the world first, and God’s kingdom second. For one thing, the association with it is sure to get closer.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): The two angels found Lot sitting in the gate of Sodom.

G. CAMPBELL MORGAN (1863-1945): By this time Lot had attained to a position of eminence in Sodom. The phrase, “sitting in the gate,” indicates that.

A. W. PINK: Behold how great a fire a little matter kindleth. From a lifting up of the eyes to behold the land and seek pasturage for his flocks, to becoming an official in the city of wickedness!―And in response to Lot’s request that they partake of his hospitality, the angels said, “Nay, but we will abide in the street all night.” Their reluctance to enter Lot’s dwelling intimates the condition of Lot’s soul.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Lot “pressed upon them greatly,” Genesis 19:3; partly because he would be no means have them to expose themselves to the inconveniences and perils of lodging in the street of Sodom, and partly because he was desirous of their company and converse. He had not seen two such honest faces in Sodom this great while.

THOMAS COKE (1747-1814): As Lot pressed them vehemently, and they knew him to be a righteous man, but not yet willing to make themselves known, they consented to take shelter under his hospitable roof. The men of this abandoned city, being informed of the arrival of these strangers―who probably were of a very beautiful appearance―flocked from all quarters of the town, numbers of every age, with the most infamous purpose, shocking to relate or think of.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): The men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them,” Genesis 19:4,5. Their meaning was, that they might commit that unnatural sin with them they were addicted to, and in common used, and which from them to this day bears the name of Sodomy.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him. And said unto them, I pray you, brethren, do not do so wickedly,” Genesis 19:6,7. It appears from the fact that Lot went out and exposed himself to danger, how faithfully he observed the sacred right of hospitality. It was truly a rare virtue, that he preferred the safety and honour of the guests whom he had once undertaken to protect, to his own life. As the constancy of Lot, in risking his own life for the defense of his guests, deserves no common praise, so now Moses relates that a defect was mixed with this great virtue―Lot devises an unlawful remedy: “Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof,” Genesis 19:8.

JOHN GILL: This was a very great evil in Lot to make such an offer of his daughters; it was contrary to parental love and affection, and exposing the chastity of his daughters, which should have been his care to preserve; nor had he a power to dispose of them in such a manner: and though fornication is a lesser evil than sodomy, yet all evil is to be avoided, and even it is not to be done that good may come: nothing can be said to excuse this good man, but the hurry of spirit, and confusion of mind that he was in, not knowing what to say or do to prevent the base designs of those men.

JOHN CALVIN: Others would excuse Lot by a different pretext, namely, that he knew his daughters would not be desired. But I have no doubt that, being willing to avail himself of the first subterfuge which occurred to him, he turned aside from the right way…He should rather have endured a thousand deaths, than have resorted to such a measure.

G. CAMPBELL MORGAN: It is evident how he had failed in the life of faith…Moreover, the deterioration of his own character is vividly portrayed.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): Now see how much influence he has got: “And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door,” verse 9.

G. CAMPBELL MORGAN: The man who had attempted to compromise with principle is here seen hated of the world, having lost his personal peace, his testimony paralyzed, and utterly unable to influence his city toward righteousness.

H. A. IRONSIDE: How many other dear children of God since, who have sought and obtained positions of power and influence in this poor “Christ-less world,” hoping thereby to be used in its improvement, only to be bitterly disappointed at last, besides being degraded themselves.

D. L. MOODY: These worldly Christians that talk about having an influence over the world—where is it? I would like to see it.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): To attempt to reprove the world’s ways, while we profit by association with it, is vanity; the world will attach very little weight to such reproof and such testimony.


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The Financial Security & Freedom of Individuals & Nation States

Proverbs 22:7; Deuteronomy 28:12; Deuteronomy 15:5,6

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow…Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day. For the LORD thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.

H. A. IRONSIDE (1876-1951): The matter of debt should be of greater concern among Christians.

CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Such obligations as that of the borrower to the lender, often force the dependant to a servile bondage…Often also the influence of capital is an iron rule of the rich over the poor. Many, who profess to resist conscientiously state-interference, have little regard for the consciences of their dependants.

H. A. IRONSIDE: The rich almost invariably lord their position over the poor, except where grace intervenes to check the potential pride of the human heart. Therefore it is natural that he who lends should consider himself superior to the borrower. The borrower destroys his own freedom by his neglect of the divine command―he who obeys the Scriptural injunction to “owe no man any thing, but to love one another,” Romans 13:8, will escape the awful bondage of the debtor.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): A borrower is another name for a beggar.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): Some sell their liberty to gratify their luxury.

WILLIAM ARNOT (1808-1875): This disease is prevalent in the community―If at the first they took borrowed money, as they might take opium, as a medicine to relieve an acute disease which would not yield to other means, they chew it now every day and all day, as the staff of their life―they count debt their element; they live in it; they do not expect to get out of it; they scarcely wish―at least, they never energetically strive to get out.

C. H. SPURGEON: The Bible never tells us to get out of debt; it tells us we are not to have any.

MATTHEW HENRY: To be able to lend, and not to have need to borrow, we must look upon as a great mercy―Therefore it is part of Israel’s promised happiness that they should lend and not borrow. And it should be our endeavour to keep as much as may be, out of debt.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): 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.

MATTHEW HENRY: Thou shalt lend to many nations”―upon interest―which they were allowed to take from the neighbouring nations―“but thou shalt not have occasion to borrow.” This would give them great influence with all about them; for the borrower is servant to the lender. It may be meant of trade and commerce, that they should export abundantly more than they should import, which would keep the balance on their side.

WILLIAM ARNOT: We are met here by the old cry, that business cannot be conducted at all if these principles are closely insisted on.

C. H. MACKINTOSH (1820-1896): We do not enter into the question as to how far persons engaged in trade can carry out this holy and happy rule. There are certain terms―such as “cash in a month,” or the like, and so long as these terms are observed, it may be questioned how far one is actually in debt.

WILLIAM ARNOT: In some cases it may be right to borrow, and in others it is certainly wrong.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The magnitude of our National Debt is a frequent topic of conversation. We have, indeed, but an indistinct idea of a number not very far short of two hundred millions; yet we can form some conception of it…What is commonly called our National Debt, is swelled to an enormous greatness. It may be quickly expressed in figures; but a person must be something well versed in calculation to form a tolerable idea of accumulated millions.*

C. H. SPURGEON: We know many persons who are always doing a great deal and yet do nothing—just before a general election there is a manifestation of most remarkable men—generally persons who know everything and a few things besides, who, if they could but be sent to Parliament, would turn the whole world upside down and put even pandemonium to rights! They would pay the National Debt within six months and do any other trifle that might occur to them.

JOHN NEWTON: Some people are startled at the enormous sum of our National Debt: they who understand spiritual arithmetic may be well startled if they sit down and compute the debt of national sin…But what arithmetic is sufficient to compute the immensity of our national debt in a spiritual sense? or, in other words, the amount of our national sins? The spirit of infidelity―like a river―which was restrained within narrow bounds, has of late years broken down its banks, and deluged the land. This wide-spreading evil has, in innumerable instances, as might be expected, emboldened the natural heart against the fear of God, hardened it to an insensibility of moral obligation, and strengthened its prejudices against the Gospel. The consequence has been, that profligate wickedness has become almost as universal as the air we breathe; and is practiced with little more reserve or secrecy than the transactions of common business.

JOHN ANGELL JAMES (1785-1869): It is an observation of Benjamin Franklin, “that one vice costs more to keep, than two children.” True piety is the most economical thing in the world—and sin the most expensive thing in the world. How much do the drunkard, debauchee, and frequenter of theaters—pay for their sinful gratifications! What is spent in this nation every year in the grosser sensual indulgences, would pay the remainder of the National Debt. Piety would save all this to the nation.

C. H. SPURGEON: Lying pays no tax. The more’s the pity. It might bring in enough to pay the National Debt.

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

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


*Editor’s Note: In John Newton’s day, a British National Debt of £200,000,000 represents a modern equivalent of about $70 billion in 2017 US dollars. However, in 2017, the actual US National Debt is $21 trillion―an amount of financial debt 300 times greater than that which concerned John Newton. This US National Debt, as well as its spiritual component, grows higher every single second, while the inevitable day of reckoning draws ever closer. It takes time for great nations to destroy themselves with the accumulated interest of continued folly; but time is all that it takes.


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A Reason for Thankfulness: God’s Enduring Mercy & Goodness

Psalm 136:1

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Editor’s Note: The phrase “for He is good; his mercy endureth forever,” is found 10 times in the Old Testament, counting Jeremiah 33:11, where it reads “the LORD is good; for His mercy endureth forever.” The phrase “his mercy endureth forever” is found a total of 41 times in the Bible, 26 times in Psalm 136 alone.


HENRY SMITH (1560-1591): Many sweet things are in the Word of God, but the name of mercy is the sweetest word in all the Scriptures, which made David harp upon it twenty-six times in this Psalm.

JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Why should we object to the reiteration in this instance, for which the best reasons can be shown?

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): All repetitions are not vain―this repetition is not to be disapproved when there is a special emphasis, and spiritual elegancy in it, because there was a special reason in it, the Psalmist’s purpose there being to show the unweariedness, and the unexhausted riches of God’s free grace; that notwithstanding all the former experiences they had had, God is where He was at first.

THOMAS SCOTT (1747-1821): The frequent repetition of this sentence shews how greatly the Lord delights in mercy, and deems Himself honoured by the exercise of it.

ROBERT HARRIS (1578-1658): Mercy pleaseth Him. It is no trouble for Him to exercise mercy. It is His delight: we are never weary of receiving, therefore He cannot be of giving; for it is a more blessed thing to give than to receive; so God takes more content in the one than we in the other.

THOMAS SCOTT: And it teaches us that this attribute should be peculiarly dear to us, being the source of all our hopes and comforts.

JOHN CALVIN: The recollection of God’s mercies should flourish throughout all ages.

CHARLES SIMEON (1759-1836): See how the mercy of God wrought in all the days of old, even from the foundation of the world! Precisely in the same manner it still operates, and shall ever continue to operate, towards all who fear His name, Psalm 103:17. God will not withdraw it from those who are united unto Christ by faith, Psalm 89:28-36. He may hide His face from them for a season; but with everlasting mercies will He gather them, Isaiah 54:7-10. The repetition of this truth twenty-six times in as many verses is a very sufficient pledge to us that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” Romans 11:29; and that “whom he loveth, he loveth to the end,” John 13:1.

THOMAS SCOTT (1747-1821): By “mercy” we understand the Lord’s disposition to be compassionate and to relieve those whom sin has rendered miserable and base; His readiness to forgive and to be reconciled to the most provoking of transgressors, and to bestow all blessings upon them; together with all the provision which He has made for the honour of His name, in the redemption of sinners by Jesus Christ.

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Time would fail us to tell of His preserving, sustaining, pardoning, supplying mercy. Unto His own, God is “the Father of mercies,” 2 Corinthians 1:3.

CHARLES SIMEON: We would more particularly recommend to every one to consider the mercies which he himself has received: we would have every one trace them from his earliest infancy to the present moment: and, in reference to those interpositions of the Deity which appear to have been more conspicuous, we would recommend that they be inspected with peculiar care, entering minutely into all the particulars of each, and viewing in each distinct particular the transcendent mercy of God.

ROBERT HAWKER (1753-1827): It is very sweet and blessed; under present troubles, to call to remembrance former mercies. Asaph found this, Psalm 77:3-6―Reader, let you and I look back, under any new troubles, to past deliverances, and behold the many Ebenezers which we have set up, that we may say, “Hitherto hath God helped us.”

CHARLES SIMEON: Perhaps it will be said by some, I have not yet obtained an interest in Christ: how then can I render thanks for what I have never received? To this we reply, Have you no temporal mercies for which to give thanks? And, if you are not yet partakers of spiritual mercies, have you no reason to thank God for the offer of them, and for not having been yet visited with the judgments which you have so richly merited? Think what is the state of millions who have not committed either more or greater sins than you; and what might at this moment have been your state also, if God in his infinite mercy had not spared you; and given you space for repentance?

A. W. PINK: Unspeakably solemn is it to see so many abusing this Divine perfection. They continue to despise God’s authority, trample upon His laws continue in sin, and yet presume upon His mercy. But God will not be unjust to Himself. God shows mercy to the truly penitent, but not to the impenitent, Luke 13:3. To continue in sin and yet reckon upon Divine mercy remitting punishment is diabolical. Christ is the spiritual Mercy-seat, and all who despise and reject His Lordship shall perish.

CHARLES SIMEON: Do but think of this, and you will want no further incentive to gratitude and thanksgiving. But think also of the offers of salvation now made to you, a salvation free, and full, and everlasting: O! what thanks does this call for at your hands! What if one such offer were now made to those who are shut up under chains of everlasting darkness and despair; would no thanks be expressed by them? I call upon you then to give thanks unto the God of heaven, who yet waiteth to be gracious unto you, and whose long-suffering you should account to be salvation.

A. W. PINK: But let our final thought be of God’s spiritual mercies unto His own people. “Thy mercy is great unto the heavens,” Psalm 57:10. The riches thereof transcend our loftiest thought. “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him,” Psalm 103:11. None can measure it. The elect are designated “vessels of mercy,” Romans 9:23. It is mercy that quickened them when they were dead in sins, Ephesians 2:4,5. It is mercy that saves them, Titus 3:5. It is His abundant mercy which begat them unto an eternal inheritance, I Peter 1:3.

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): His mercy in providing heaven for His people is more than all the rest.

ROBERT HARRIS: It is everlasting―Everlasting mercy, then, is perfect mercy, which shuts out all the imperfections of time, beginning, end, succession, and such is God’s mercy, chiefly to his church, an endless mercy; it knows no end, receives no interruption.

ROBERT HAWKER: O give thinks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever,” verse 26. The Psalm sweetly ends as it began―And therefore we may find cause to give thanks to our God in Christ, and join the song, for His mercy endureth forever!


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The Power of Praise in the Midst of Persecution & Peril

Psalm 40:3; Psalm 146:2

He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

THOMAS MANTON (1620-1677): A Christian is a bird that can sing in winter, as well as in spring.

JOHN FOXE (1517-1587): In the year 1527, there happened a rare and marvellous example, and spectacle, in the town of Munich in Bavaria; a certain man, named George Carpenter, of Emerich, was there burnt—he was desired by certain Christian brethren, that as soon as he was cast into the fire, he should give some sign or token what his faith or belief was. To whom he answered, “This shall be my sign and token; that so long as I can open my mouth, I will not cease to call upon the name of Jesus.”

JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): The first that were burnt for religion, since the Reformation began, are said to be Henry and John, two Augustinian monks at Brussels, in 1523, under James Hogostratus the Dominican Inquisitor. The executioner, asked if they had recanted in the flames, denied there was any such thing, but said that when the fire was put to them, they continued singing the creed, and Te Deum, till the flame took away their voice. All this Erasmus testified, though he was no Lutheran.

J. C. PHILPOT (1802-1869): Martin Luther wrote a hymn upon their death, full of fire and energy which, in a short time, was sung everywhere in Germany and the Netherlands, the beginning of which has been thus translated:

No, their ashes will not die;

Abroad their holy dust will fly,

And scatter’d o’er earth’s farthest strand,

Raise up for a God a warlike band.

Satan, by taking life away,

Make keep them silent for a day;

But death has from him a victory rung

And Christ in every clime is sung.

MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546): Let us sing Psalms and spite the devil.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Luther’s translations of the psalms were of as much service as Luther’s discussions and controversies―his translation of the Psalms and his chorales did more, perhaps, to make the Reformation popular than even his preaching, for the ploughman at his field-labour, and the housewife at the cradle, would sing one of Luther’s Psalms; so, too, in our own country, in John Wycliffe’s day, fresh psalms and hymns were scattered all over the land.

J. H. M. d’AUBIGNÉ (1794-1872): From the days of Luther the people sang; the Bible inspired their hymns. It was impossible, in celebrating the praises of God to be confined to mere translations of the ancient hymns. Luther’s own soul, and that of several of his contemporaries, raised by faith to the sublimest thoughts, and excited by the battles and perils which incessantly threatened the rising church, soon gave utterance to their feelings in religious poems, in which poetry and music were united and blended.

MARTIN LUTHER: After theology, it is to music that I give the first place and the highest honour.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN (1826-1910): All intense emotion seeks expression in poetry, and music is the natural speech of a vivid faith. Luther chanted the Marseillaise of the Reformation, “A safe stronghold our God is still,” and many another sweet strain blended strangely with the fiery and sometimes savage words from his lips. The Scottish Reformation, grim in some of its features as it was, had yet its “Gude and Godly Ballads.”

C. H. SPURGEON: Methinks, in a spiritual sense, when Martin Luther first bowed his knee, the Church began to chant, “Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered,” Psalm 68:1. When John Knox in Scotland upheld the glory of Jesus’ name, was it not once again, Psalm 68:1, “O God arise, let them that hate Him, flee before Him?

WILLIAM TAYLOR (1821-1902): Praise and power go ever hand in hand. The two things act and react upon each other. An era of spiritual force in the Church is always one of praise.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): It is said of Luther, that when he heard any discouraging news, he would say, “Come, let us sing the 46th psalm.”

C. H. SPURGEON: Do you desire a far nobler example? Your great Lord and mine, when He went to His last tremendous conflict where the powers of darkness marshaled all their strength against Him, and He strove until He sweat, as it were, great drops of blood—how did He go? Here is the answer: After supper, they sang a hymn, Mark 14:26; “After they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives,” that is, to Gethsemane—He went to His agony singing! He was about to be deserted by His friends and even forsaken of His God, but into that deadly contest, wherein He must be cast into the disgrace and dishonour of scourging and shameful spitting—even to that, our Champion went with a song upon His lips because the LORD was His song! So, my friends, while we are working, let us sing! You will do your work much better if your hands keep time to a cheery strain. While we are fighting let us sing and plant our blows while we chant our hallelujahs.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1901): This is the greatest challenge that comes to us. We are standing for the truth, we are fighting for the truth, but are we rejoicing?―If we really believe what we read we must praise Him…His high praises should be on our lips because of what He has done in His Son. We must praise Him for whatever may be happening to us. We do not wait for a mood or a state, we do not wait for results; we praise Him for what He has done, and for the wonderful works of God. What are we? We are sons of God! We are the children of the living God! And the exhortation that comes to us is this:

“Children of the heavenly King,

As ye journey sweetly sing…”

MARTIN LUTHER: The Christian ought to be a living doxology.

WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): Nothing tends so much to animate to courage and confidence, and therefore it has always been employed in warfare. On a similar principle, there has never been a revival of religion, in any country or in any neighbourhood, but has been attended with a fondness for psalmody. Luther knew the force of it, and much and successfully encouraged it in the beginning and progress of the Reformation in Germany. It is also a very enlivening exercise. Nothing is so adapted to excite holy affections. Let any one, in order to prove this, read only, and then sing the very same words, and what a difference will he feel in the effects of the two.

 THOMAS KEN (1637-1711): Praise God from whom all blessings flow;

                  Praise Him, all creatures here below;

               Praise Him above, ye heav’nly hosts:

               Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.



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Prophetic Symbolism: The Two Pillars of Solomon’s Temple

2 Chronicles 3:3,17; Matthew 12:42; Matthew 16:13-18

Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God…And he reared up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of that on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz.

[Jesus said:] And, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): The Church is a temple which Christ is the Builder of, Zechariah 6:11-13. Herein Solomon was a type of Christ.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN (1826-1910): Jesus Christ is the Son of God―the Temple Builder. In this respect “a greater than Solomon is here,” inasmuch as Jesus is Himself the true Temple, being for all men, which Solomon’s structure only shadowed, the meeting-place of God and man, in whom God dwells and through whom we can draw near to Him, the place where the true Sacrifice is once for all offered, by which Sacrifice sin is truly put away. And, further, Jesus is greater than Solomon in that He is, through the ages, building up the great Temple of His Church of redeemed men, the eternal temple of which not one stone shall ever be taken down.

THOMAS COKE (1747-1814): Perhaps there may be an allusion to the two pillars of Solomon’s temple, Jachin and Boaz.

ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): These were no doubt emblematical.

MATTHEW HENRY: Their significancy is intimated in the names given them: Jachin―“He will establish;” and Boaz―“in Him is strength”…The gospel church is what God will establish, what He will strengthen, and what the gates of hell can never prevail against.

ADAM CLARKE: I will strengthen them in the LORD; and they shall walk up and down in his name, saith the LORD,” Zechariah 10:12.―I, the God of Israel, will strengthen them in the Lord Jesus, the Messiah.

ROBERT HAWKER (1753-1827): We here discover where the strength of the Church lies, and in Whom alone she finds victory, even in Christ.

JOHN GILL (1697-1771): Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength,” Isaiah 26:4. Christ is the LORD JEHOVAH, which is, and was, and is to come, self-existent, eternal, and immutable; and in Him is strength, as well as righteousness for His people; and that for everything it is wanted for, to bear up under temptations and afflictions, to withstand every spiritual enemy, to exercise every grace, and discharge every duty: and this strength is everlasting; it always continues in Him, and is always to be had from Him; He is the “eternal” God, who is the refuge of His people, and His “arms” of power and might “underneath” them are “everlasting:” the words may be rendered, “for in Jah” is “Jehovah, the Rock of ages;” Jehovah the Son is in Jehovah the Father, according to John 10:38.

MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): God and Christ are the strength of the church, and of all believers.

ALEXANDER MacLAREN: Christ is, in inmost reality, all which the Temple was but in the poorest symbol―And He is the Lord of the Temple.

THOMAS GOODWIN (1600-1679): As the Son of God indeed speaks of building and contriving anew of His house, as a prerogative proper to Him as the Son, which to the same purpose the apostle Paul in like manner allegeth: “Christ as the Son over his own house, is the builder thereof,” Hebrews 3:3-5―which prerogative Christ here holds forth, saying, “I will build my church.

MATTHEW HENRY: The foundation on which it is built is “this Rockand it must be meant of Christ, for “other foundation can no man lay,” 1 Corinthians 3:11; see Isaiah 28:16Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.”

H. A. IRONSIDE (1876-1951): Strange that anybody would think that our Lord meant He would found His church on a mere man. Not Peter, but Christ is the “Rock.” Peter agrees with this, for in his first epistle he speaks of Christ as the living stone, and of himself and all believers as living stones who have come to Christ and are built upon Him, 1 Peter 2:4-8.

JOHN GILL: Christ is the “Rock” on which the church and every believer is built, against which “the gates of hell cannot prevail;” and He has been the Rock of His people in ages past, and will be in ages to come.

MATTHEW HENRY: “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it;” neither against this truth, nor against the church which is built upon it…This assures us that the enemies of the church shall not gain their point. While the world stands, Christ will have a church in it, in which His truths and ordinances shall be owned and kept up, in spite of all the opposition of the powers of darkness.

THOMAS COKE: Our Lord’s meaning therefore is, that the Christian church shall never be annihilated; no, not by the united force of men and devils combined against it.

MATTHEW HENRY: And it is against the mind of Christ, that His people should have troubled hearts even in troublous times.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): I will build my church.” See how positively He speaks. Not, “I think I will.” Not, “I may,” but “I will.” Beloved, these “shalls” and “wills” are the very marrow of the Gospel! They make the strength of it. Take the “shalls” and “wills” out of the Bible and put in conditional “ifs” and “buts” and “perhaps,” in their place—what a desolate appearance it would present! These “shalls” and “wills” stand like Jachin and Boaz, the great pillars of the Temple, right at the entrance, and we must see to it that we never give up these potent “shalls” and “wills,” but hold fast and firmly to them!

MATTHEW HENRY: This is our comfort―though the times will be very troublous, and this good work will meet with great opposition, yet it shall be carried on, and brought to perfection at last.


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