Friday, July 3, 2015




Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Gospel According to Luke 14:7-11

7 He spake also a parable to the guests, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms, and said unto them, 8 When thou shalt be bidden of any man to a wedding, set not thyself down in the chiefest place, lest a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him, 9 And he that bade both him and thee, come, and say to thee, Give this man room, and thou then begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room, that when he that bade thee, cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, sit up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at table with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself, shall be brought low, and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.

Brethren:

Above his fellow Christians, or fellow ministers, by entertaining too high an opinion of himself, by boasting of his gifts, as preferable to others, and as if he had not received them; by assuming, or eagerly coveting titles of honour among men, or by affecting honour that do not belong to him, or, abusing what he has: "shall be abased"; or humbled by God, or men, or both; such shall lose the honour they have, and come greatly short of what they are ambitious of; they shall fall into disgrace with men, and are abominable in the sight of God: "and he that shall humble himself"; by entertaining low thoughts, and a mean opinion of himself, behaving modestly among men; not being elated with his gifts, but acknowledging that they are owing to the grace and goodness of God; and using them in an humble manner, for, the advantage of others; not coveting honour from men, nor lifted up with what is conferred on him: "shall be exalted"; by God, or men, or both; if not in this world, yet in the world to come: and indeed, generally speaking, such modest, humble, persons, are most esteemed among men; and God gives more grace unto them, and will at last give them glory. This is a saying, often used by our Lord on different accounts, both with respect to his disciples, for their instruction, and with regard to the scribes and Pharisees, for their mortification; (Read also Luke 18:14 ).  It seems to be a proverbial expression, and much in use among the Jews: it is said in so many words in the Talmud;

 ``whosoever shall humble himself, the holy blessed God shall exalt him; and whosoever shall exalt himself, the holy blessed God shall humble him.''

Our Saviour here refers to that advice of Solomon (Proverbs 25:6-7), Stand not in the place of great men, for better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither, than that thou shouldest be put lower.’’ And Dr. Lightfoot quotes a parable out of one of the rabbin somewhat like this. "Three men,’’ said he, "were bidden to a feast; one sat highest, For, said he, I am a prince; the other next, For, said he, I am a wise man; the other lowest, For, said he, I am a humble man. The king seated the humble man highest, and put the prince lowest.’’ He applied this generally, and would have us all learn not to mind high things, but to content ourselves with mean things, as for other reasons, so for this, because pride and ambition are disgraceful before men: for whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; but humility and self-denial are really honourable: he that humbleth himself shall be exalted,  We see in other instances that a man’s pride will bring him low, but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit, and before honour is humility

Thursday, July 2, 2015



RELIGIOUS MEDITATION
An Essay on‭  ‬Psalm‭ ‬104:34
Part Eight
By William Greenough Thayer Shedd‭; ‬Edited by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades

Psalm‭ ‬104:34‭ " ‬My meditation of Him shall be sweet.‭" 

The success of a Christian mainly depends upon a uniform and habitual communion with his God and Redeemer.‭ ‬No spasmodic resolutions into which he may be exasperated by the goadings of conscience can be a substitute for it.‭ ‬If holy communion and prayer are interrupted,‭ ‬he will surely fall into sin.‭ ‬In this world of continual temptation and of lethargic consciences,‭ ‬we need to be awakened and awed by the serene splendor of God's holy countenance.‭ ‬But we cannot behold‭ ‬that amidst the vapors and smoke of every-day life.‭ ‬We must go into our closets and‭ "‬shut the door,‭ ‬and pray to our Father who seeth in secret.‭" ‬Then shall we know how power to resist temptation comes from fellowship with God.‭ ‬Then shall we know what a sabbath that soul enjoys,‭ ‬which,‭ ‬with open eye,‭ ‬looks long and steadily at the Divine perfections.‭ ‬With what a triumphant energy,‭ ‬like that of the archangel trampling on the dragon,‭ ‬does Moses come down from the Mount into the life of conflict and trial.‭ ‬With what a vehement spiritual force does a holy mind resist evil,‭ ‬after it has just seen the contrast between evil and God.‭ ‬Will the eagle that has soared above the earth in the free air of the open firmament of heaven,‭ ‬and has gazed into the sun with an undazzled eye,‭ ‬endure to sink and dwell in the dark cavern of the owl and the bat‭? ‬Then will the spirit which has seen the glorious light of the divine countenance endure to descend and grovel in the darkness and shame of sin.

It should,‭ ‬therefore,‭ ‬be a diligent and habitual practice with us,‭ ‬to meditate upon God and divine things.‭ ‬Time should be carefully set apart and faithfully used for this sole purpose.‭ ‬It is startling to consider how much of our life passes without any thought of God‭; ‬without any distinct and filial recognition of his presence and his character.‭ ‬And yet how much of it might be spent in sweet and profitable meditation‭? ‬The avocations of our daily life do not require the whole of our mental energy and reflection.‭ ‬If there were a disposition‭; ‬if the current of feeling and affection set in that direction‭; ‬how often could the farmer commune with God in the midst of his toil,‭ ‬or the merchant in the very din and press of his business.‭ ‬How often could the artisan send his thoughts and his ejaculations upward,‭ ‬and the work of his hands be none the worse for it.‭ "‬What hinders,‭" ‬says Augustine,1‭ "‬what hinders a servant of God while working with his hands,‭ ‬from meditating in the law of the Lord,‭ ‬and singing unto the name of the Lord most high‭? ‬As for divine songs,‭ ‬he can easily say them even while working with his hands,‭ ‬and like as rowers with a boat-song,‭ ‬so with godly melody cheer up his very toil.‭" ‬But the disposition is greatly lacking.‭ ‬If there were an all-absorbing affection for God in our hearts,‭ ‬and it were deep joy to see him,‭ ‬would not this‭ " ‬sweet meditation‭ " ‬of the Psalmist be the pleasure of life,‭ ‬and all other thinking the duty—a duty performed from the necessity that attaches to this imperfect mode of existence,‭ ‬rather than from any keen relish for it‭? ‬If the vision of God were glorious and ravishing to our minds,‭ ‬should we not find them often indulging themselves in the sight,‭ ‬and would not a return to the things of earth be reluctant‭? ‬Would not thought upon God steal through and suffuse all our other thinking,‭ ‬as sunset does the evening sky,‭ ‬giving a pure and saintly hue to all our feelings,‭ ‬and pervading our entire experience‭? ‬So it works in other provinces.‭ ‬The poet Burns was so deeply absorbed in the visions,‭ ‬aspirations,‭ ‬and emotions of poetry,‭ ‬that the avocations of the farmer engrossed but little of his mind,‭ ‬and it has been said of him,‭ ‬that‭ "‬though his hand was on the plough his heart was with the muse.‭" ‬Were the Christian as much absorbed in the visions,‭ ‬aspirations,‭ ‬and emotions of religion,‭ ‬it would be said of him,‭ ‬too:‭ "‬His hand is on the plow but his heart is with his God‭; ‬his head is in his worldly business,‭ ‬but his heart is with his God.‭" ‬Finally,‭ ‬let us be urged up to the practice of this duty.


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Gospel According to Luke 13:35

35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I tell you, ye shall not see me until the time come that ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Brethren:

Signifying that the city in which they dwelt, where they had their ceiled houses, and stately palaces, would, in a little time, within the space of forty years, be destroyed, and become a desert; and the temple, formerly the house of God, but now only their's, and in which they trusted, would be abandoned by God, he would grant his presence no more in it; and the Messiah, the proprietor of it, and who was now in it, would then take his leave of it, and never more return to it; and that also should share the same fate as the city, and at the same time. Our Lord seems to have in view those passages in ( Jeremiah 12:7; 22:5 ) and which the Jewish writers understood of the temple. The author of the apocryphal the second book of Esdras has much such an expression as this: ``Thus saith the Almighty Lord, Your house is desolate, I will cast you out as the wind doth stubble.'' (2 Esdras 1:33) 

Meaning in a very little time after the passover, from the time of his crucifixion and death; otherwise they saw him many times after this, as in the palace of the high priest, in Pilate's judgment hall, and on the cross; but not after his resurrection. This shows the reason of their house being desolate, and in what sense it should be so, and immediately became so; namely, by being then directly, and ever after, destitute of his presence: and though they might afterwards seek for, and expect the Messiah in it, yet they would never be able to see him, nor throughout their long captivity: till ye shall say, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; that is, until the time comes, that the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in, and all Israel shall be saved, the Jews shall be converted, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; when they shall readily and cheerfully say these words to Christ, who will then appear in his glory; which they were now displeased at in the multitude that followed him, and the children in the temple. Though some think this is said by way of threatening, since the rest that is spoken to them by Christ is of that sort, and regards the men of that generation; and is given as a reason of their house being left desolate: and the sense is, that they should never see him with joy and pleasure; since, though they would be obliged to confess that he was Lord and Christ, they would never say the above words to him in faith, and holy reverence of him. The Cambridge exemplar of Beza's, and the Persic versions, read, "in the name of God

Not they themselves in person, but their posterity, who will be converted in the latter day: and shall acknowledge the Messiah, the blessed of the Lord, who will come in his name, to judge the world in righteousness: or else the meaning is, that when Christ shall come a second time, and every eye shall see him, these Jews, among the rest, shall behold him, whom they have pierced, and mourn; and wish themselves among those, that shall receive him with joyful acclamations; and however, will be obliged to own him as the Messiah, and to confess that he comes in the name, and with the authority of the Lord, and that he is blessed for evermore.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015



Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Gospel According to Luke 13:24

24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.

Brethren:

By the "strait gate" is meant Christ himself; who elsewhere calls himself "the door", ( John 10:7-9 ) as he is into the church below, and into all the ordinances and privileges of it; as also to the Father, by whom we have access unto him, and are let into communion with him, and a participation of all the blessings of grace; yea, he is the gate of heaven, through which we have boldness to enter into the holiest of all by faith and hope now; as there will be hereafter an abundant entrance into the kingdom and glory of God, through his blood and righteousness. This is called "strait"; because faith in Christ, a profession of it, and a life and conversation agreeable to it, are attended with many afflictions, temptations, reproaches, and persecutions. "Entering" in at it is by faith, and making a profession of it: hence it follows, that faith is not the gate itself, but the grace, by which men enter in at the right door, and walk on in Christ, as they begin with him.

What is meant by the strait gate, and by entering in at it. To "strive", is to be diligent in the use of means; to search the Scriptures with care; to attend on the preaching of the word with constancy, neglecting no opportunity; to pray earnestly for spiritual light, knowledge, and grace; to contend with every enemy that opposes the salvation of the soul, as sin, Satan, and the world; to bear all reproaches and persecutions, and press through all difficulties, for the prize of the incorruptible crown: the metaphor seems to be taken from the striving, wrestling, and combat in the Olympic games, for a corruptible crown.

Many therefore will seek to try to enter either when it is too late, when the door is shut; or else before, very faintly, in a superficial manner, from a mere natural affection, from a principle of self-love, which leads every one to desire happiness; and by very indirect and improper methods, by their own civility, morality, and righteousness; by works of the law, moral, or ceremonial; or by a profession of religion, and an outward compliance with the ordinances of the Gospel, and not by Christ, and faith in him.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Gospel According to Luke 12:40

40 Be ye also prepared therefore: for the Son of man will come at an hour when ye think not.

Brethren:

This may be understood either of a readiness to meet the Lord in the way of his judgments, and  of a preparation for death, and the last judgment, which lies in the righteousness of Christ imputed, and his grace imparted: and to have a comfortable view of the one, and a gracious experience of the other, as they will engage to the performance of good works, to which such are ready; so they make meet for the coming of Christ, be it in what way, and whensoever it will: and the rather, a concern should be had for such a preparation.

Which as it is said to be like a thief in the night, expresses the suddenness of it, may excite to watchfulness and readiness; which readiness is to be understood, not of a readiness to do the will and work of God, though this is absolutely necessary; as to watch and pray, to hear the word preached, to confess Christ, and give a reason of the hope that is in us, to communicate to the support of the cause and interest of Christ, and to suffer for his sake; but of a preparedness to meet the Lord in the way of his judgments, when desolating judgments are coming on the earth, such as these in Jerusalem; by faith and trust in the power, providence, and care of God; by humiliation before him, and resignation to his will: and if this can be applied to a readiness for a future state after death; for the second coming of Christ, and last judgment,  This lies not in a dependence on the absolute mercy of God; nor in an external humiliation for sin; nor in an abstinence from grosser sins, or in mere negative holiness; nor in any outward, legal, civil, and moral righteousness; nor in a submission to Gospel ordinances; nor in a mere profession of religion; but in being in Christ, having on his righteousness, and being washed in his blood; and also in regeneration and sanctification, in having true knowledge of Christ, and faith in him; for all which it becomes men to be concerned, as also all believers to be actually, as well as habitually ready; being in the lively exercise of grace, and cheerful discharge of duty, though without trusting to either. And such a readiness in either branch of it, is not of themselves, but lies in the grace of God, which gives a meetness for glory; and in the righteousness of Christ, the fine linen, clean and white, which being granted by him, his people are made ready for him: and as for their faith, and the exercise of it, and their constant performance of duty, these are not from the strength of nature and the power of freewill, but from the Spirit of God and his grace; who makes ready a people prepared for the Lord, and all according to the ancient settlements of grace, in which provision is made for the vessels of mercy, afore prepared for glory: though there should be a studious concern in men for such readiness, for nothing is more certain than death, and nothing more uncertain than when it will be; and after death, no readiness can be had, but he that is then righteous, shall be righteous still, and he that is filthy, shall be filthy still, and a deathbed is by no means to be trusted to; and though a person may not be snatched away suddenly, but may have space given him to repent, yet if grace is not given him, to repent and believe in Christ, he never will; the grave is ready for men, and in a little time all will be brought to this house, appointed for all living, where there is no wisdom, knowledge, and device; and therefore whatever we are directed to do, should be now done, with all that might, and strength, and grace, that is given us; to which may be added, that after death comes judgment; the day is fixed, the judge is appointed, and all must stand before his judgment seat; and nothing is more sure than that Christ will come a second time, to judge both quick and dead; and happy will those be that are ready; they will be received by Christ into everlasting habitations, and be for ever with him: and miserable will those be, who will not be ready, who will not have the oil of grace in their hearts with their lamps, nor the wedding garment on them; they will be shut out, and bid to depart into everlasting burnings: how fit and proper is such an advice and exhortation as this, "be ye also ready"

Monday, June 29, 2015


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Gospel According to Luke 12:11-12

11 And when they shall bring you unto the Synagogues, and unto the rulers and Princes, take no thought how, or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall speak. 12 For the holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour, what ye ought to say

Brethren:

Today we resume our study of the Gospel of Luke.

The apostles hearing that they should be delivered up to councils, and brought before governors and kings, might be under some concern how they should behave, and what they should be able to say in vindication of themselves and truth, before such great persons; they not being used to converse with men in such high stations: they were illiterate men, and of no elocution; men of mean birth, low life, most of them poor fishermen; and might fear, on these accounts, that the Gospel would suffer for want of able persons to defend it before the great ones of the earth. Now,  in order to remove these their fears and objections, and to strengthen and comfort their minds, our Lord bids them, when this would be their ease, that the Jews would deliver them to the Roman magistrates, to not be anxiously concerned, neither as to the matter, or manner of what they should say in their defence: they should have no occasion, as orators do, to take pains, and rack their thoughts, to prepare a studied, elaborate oration, dressed with all the flowers of rhetoric, filled with the most moving and powerful arguments, and clothed with diction of the strictest propriety and elegance; for they should want neither words, nor things; they should have arguments put into their mouths, and helped to proper language to express them in for immediate assistance should be afforded them either by his father, or himself; or rather, the blessed Spirit, who would suggest unto them, at once, things, the most proper to be said, and help them to deliver them in the most proper manner: and these are the most convincing arguments, and that the best elocution, which the Spirit of God helps men to; these vastly exceed all the art of men, and strength of nature. This was greatly verified in Peter and John, two poor fishermen, when before the council, and in Stephen the protomartyr.

Not but that they were to speak the words, and did; but then both the things they spoke, and the very words in which they spoke them, were not of themselves, but were suggested and dictated by the Spirit of God; for as "the preparation of the heart" in them, so "the answer of the tongue" by them, were both "from the Lord": the Spirit, he was the efficient cause, they were only instruments; for not they of themselves spoke. That is not so much what they should say was not to be dictated by their own spirit or natural understanding, nor by an angel, but by the Spirit of God; called the "Spirit of" their "father", because he proceeds from him, is of the same nature with him, and is the reason of his being given to them: and this character of him might, nay would serve to strengthen their faith in the expectation of him, and in the assistance promised, and to be had by him; since he was the spirit of him, who stood in the relation of a father to them, and bore a paternal affection for them.

Sunday, June 28, 2015



Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Second Epistle General of Peter 3:9-11

9 The Lord of that promise is not slack (as some men count slackness) but is patient toward us, and would have no man to perish, but would all men to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a noise, and the elements shall melt with heat, and the earth with the works that are therein shall be burnt up 11 Seeing therefore that all these things must be dissolved, what manner persons ought ye to be in holy conversation and godliness

Brethren:

We are digressing for this one day from our reading of the Gospel of Luke for it is felt that this scriptural truth needs to be reinforced to all people.

The Aramaic - English translation uses the word “discovered”. It is the feeling of this writer that this word is more applicable, for it indicates that the sinful nature of all men shall be revealed for ALL to see. That all works done in the sinful pride of man shall be made known and that the righteous word of God, as many doubt exists, or worse yet deny will be opened before their eyes and they shall be ashamed. (See also Ezekiel 18:20-32)

 Man has always charged God with slackness and dilatoriness; whereas the true reason of the delay of it is, that there might be time for the gathering in of his elect among them by his angels, or apostles and ministers, sent into the several parts of the world, that so none of them might perish, but be brought to faith and repentance; and thus as the time of Christ's coming was prolonged more than was thought it would, so when the days of afflictions were come, they were shortened also for these elect's sake.  This promise regards the second coming of Christ, to judge the quick and dead at the last day, of which the former was a prelude, presage, and pledge; that Christ would come again, and appear a second time in person, was promised by himself, and often spoken of by his apostles; and although many of the primitive Christians thought it would be very soon, and which might be occasioned by the hints that were given of his coming in the other sense. Now this being deferred longer than was expected, the scoffers or mockers take upon them to charge the Lord with slackness in the fulfillment of his promise.

If he had either changed his purpose, or had prolonged it beyond the appointed time, or was unmindful of his promise, and would never fulfill it; whereas he is in one mind, and none can turn him, nor will he delay the fulfillment of his promise beyond the set time; he has fixed a day for his coming, in which he will judge the world in righteousness, and he will keep it: he is not dilatory.


The sense then is,  that the delay of Christ's coming is not owing to any slackness in him, but to his longsuffering to his elect among man, being unwilling that any of that number among them should perish, but that all of them repent of their sins, and believe in him; and therefore he waits till their conversion is over, when a nation shall be born at once, and they that have pierced him look on him and mourn, and so all Israel shall be saved; or rather of the elect in general, whether among Jews or Gentiles, upon whom the Lord waits to be gracious, and whose longsuffering issues in their conversion and salvation. And upon account of these the Lord stays his coming till their number is complete in the effectual calling; and for their sakes he is longsuffering to others, and bears with a wicked world, with the idolatry, superstition, heresy, profaneness, and impiety, with which it abounds; but when the last man that belongs to that number is called, he will quickly descend in flames of fire, and burn the world, and the wicked in it, and take his chosen ones to himself. The Alexandrian copy reads, "for you", or your sakes; and so the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions. A passage somewhat like to this is met with in a book of the Jews, esteemed by them very ancient that reads:

``God prolongs or defers his anger with men; and one day, which is a thousand years, is fixed, besides the seventy years he delivered to David the king.--And he does not judge man by his evil works which he continually does, for if so, the world would not stand; but the holy blessed God defers his anger with the righteous, and the wicked, that they may return, by perfect repentance, and be established in this world, and in the world to come.''

And it is an observation of theirs, that when God is said to be "longsuffering", it is not written, but intimating, that he is longsuffering both to the righteous and the wicked; but then he bears with the latter, for the sake of the former which can be compared with this passage found in Revelation 6:9-11: 

“9 And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were killed for the word of God, and for the testimony which they maintained. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, Lord, which art holy and true! dost not thou judge and avenge our blood on them, that dwell on the earth? 11 And long white robes were given unto every one, and it was said unto them, that they should rest for a little season until their fellow servants, and their brethren that should be killed even as they were, were fulfilled.”

These, though they were lost in Adam, did not perish; and though in their own apprehensions, when awakened and convinced, are ready to perish; and though their peace, joy, and comfort, may perish for a while, and they may fear a final and total perishing; yet they shall never perish as others do, or be punished with everlasting destruction: and that this is the will of God, appears by his choice of them to salvation; by the provisions of grace for them in an everlasting covenant; by the security of their persons in the hands of Christ; by sending his Son to obtain salvation for them, and his Spirit to apply it to them; and by his keeping them by his power, through faith.

And so, it behooves us that all should come to repentance; not legal, but evangelical, without which all must perish; and which all God's elect stand in need of, as well as others, being equally sinners; and which they cannot come to of themselves, and therefore he not only calls them to it, in his word, and by his spirit and grace, but bestows it upon them; he has exalted Christ at his own right hand, to give it to them; and repentance is a grant from him, a free gift of his grace; and the Spirit is sent down into their hearts to work it in them, to take away the stony heart, and give an heart of flesh; without which, whatever time and space may be given, or means afforded, even the most awful judgments, the greatest mercies, and the most powerful ministry, will be of no avail.

Therefore brethren, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation
and godliness? Not as the scoffers and profane sinners, who put away this evil day far from them, but as men, who have their loins girt, and their lights burning, waiting for their Lord's coming; being continually in the exercise of grace, and in the discharge of their religious duties, watching, praying, hearing, reading; living soberly, righteously, and godly; guarding against intemperance and worldly mindedness, and every worldly and hurtful lust. Hence let His return find us ready with hearts beating for Him and for the promise of the kingdom wherein we shall live with Him forever.