Psalm 19:8

The Prophet Isaiah, in his forty-fifth chapter, and in the eighth and ninth verses, refers both to the work of God's hands in the world which he has created, and to the words of his lips in the promises he has made; and in both cases it is said, "not in vain" "Not in vain" is the earth formed; "not in vain" is the promise uttered. In both there is a Divine aim and purpose. That antithesis between the works and the Word of God is more ancient than Isaiah's day. It goes back to the time of Moses, who in the ninetieth psalm speaks to God as the Ever-living One, the Framer of the earth, and yet the Refuge of his people. And between Moses and Isaiah, in this nineteenth psalm we have the like distinction drawn. Its first six verses refer to God's works in the world, the rest, to his words in the Word. Seven lines of exposition are required for their unfolding.

I. THE HEAVENS SPEAK OF GOD; THE WORD DECLARES JEHOVAH. It is too commonly supposed that the use of the several words "Elohim" and "Jehovah" indicates a difference either of date, of document, or of authorship. There does not seem to us to be any adequate ground for such distinctions. As we in one and the same sermon or tract may use a dozen different names for God, why may it not have been so of old? The word "Elohim" indicates God as the God of nature. The word "Jehovah" points to him as the revealed God of our fathers. And it is from our own revealed God that the Word proceeds, from the depths of his heart; it is far more than any works of his hands. Hence the change of the word "God" to the word . "Jehovah."

II. JEHOVAH, THE REVEALED GOD, HAS PUT BEFORE US PRICELESS MATERIAL FOR OUR USE. There are six various terms to indicate this. Law; or the great body of truth in which God would have his people instructed. Testimony; or the Divine declaration as to what he is, has done, is doing, and will do. Statutes; or precepts, which indicate specific duty. Commandments; or rules for the regulation of the entire life. Fear; i.e. that fear of him, so repeatedly enjoined, and which in an infantine age was the predominant view of duty towards God. Judgments; the right-settings, in the Divine declarations pronounced against sin and in favour of righteousness. Let us put all these together, and lo! how rich are we in having all these voices from the eternal throne! But how much richer still are we in having the words of the New Testament economy superadded to those of the old!

III. THE WORDS OF JEHOVAH ARE AS REMARKABLE FOR QUALITY AS FOR VARIETY. The very names given to them are inspiring: "perfect," "sure," "right," "pure," "true," "righteous," "standing fast." These several terms may be gathered up into three - true in statement, right in direction, everlasting in their duration. Even so. In the words of God we have absolute truth. In the precepts of God we have perfect directories for life and duty. And we know that, change what may, time is on our side, for "the Word of the Lord endureth for ever" Note: The words of God in the Bible are the only ones to which these epithets apply. Then it will be a very serious mistake if in school education or family training we ever allow the Bible to be crowded out or set on one side. For we must note -

IV. THAT THE WORDS OF GOD ARE ADDRESSED TO THE INNERMOST PART OF OUR NATURE. (Ver. 7, "the soul.") Although this word, in Hebrew, is very frequently used in as free and popular a sense as it is with us, yet, on the other hand, it often denotes the highest part of our nature - even that which pertains to spirit, conscience, and to the regulation of the moral life of man. Such is the case here; as, indeed, the marvellous effects of the Divine Word (as pointed out under the next heading) plainly indicate. So much is this the case, that the Word is regarded even here as "dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, of the joints and marrow," and as a "discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." The Old Testament conceptions of man and of sin are very deep and very solemn. As the late Dr. Duncan, Professor of Hebrew, rightly remarked, "The Hebrew language is peculiarly rich in religious and moral terms, though scanty enough in others. The reason is evident - it chronicled a revelation."

V. THE EFFECT OF GOD'S WORDS ARE AS MARVELLOUS AS THEIR CONTENTS AND AIM. Some six of these are specified in the psalm. And one other is illustrated by its writer. The six effects referred to are:

1. Converting the soul. Restoring it, calling it back from its wanderings, and causing it to return to God and home.

2. Making arise the simple. Where the words of God arc read, studied, appropriated, by an honest and upright heart, they will lead in the way of understanding, and make wise unto salvation.

3. Rejoicing the heart, by their disclosures of God's glory, grace, wealth, and love. To those who drink in the Word, God is their "exceeding Joy."

4. Enlightening the eyes. This may mean either illumination or refreshment, restoring life and fainting energies (cf. 1 Samuel 14:24, 29). The former meaning, "illumination," is triply true; tot God's commandments enlighten a man concerning God, duty, and himself. There is nothing like the searching Word to reveal to us what we are.

5. Warning is another effect. The exhortations to good and the dissuasion from evil are standing menaces of the peril of refusing the one and choosing the other.

6. Reward. No one can follow the commandments of God without ensuring a rich, ample, constant recompense. Another effect of the Word of God is illustrated by the writer of this very psalm, who shows us the influence it had upon him. It awoke from him an earnest, prayerful response, awakened by the sight of himself which the commandment gave. The prayer is threefold - against involuntary, secret, and presumptuous sins. It is:

1. Cleanse me, which has a double meaning of" Pronounce me clean, and keep me so."

2. Keep me back. It is a prayer that the restraining grace of God may keep in subjection a wayward and impulsive nature.

3. Accept me. (Ver. 14.) It is an earnest prayer that at the moment the Word reveals his guilt, the grace of God may cover it with the mantle of forgiving love, and receive him in spite of all his guilt. And to this prayer there is appended an earnest plea. The praying one invokes two of the names of God in which the Old Testament saints were wont most to delight, "My Rock" and "my Redeemer." The word translated "Redeemer" is specially noticeable. It is Goel. (For illustrations of the use of the former word, see Deuteronomy 32:4, 31; 2 Samuel 22:32; Psalm 62:2, 6, 7; Psalm 73:26; Isaiah 26:4. Of the latter, see (in Hebrew) Numbers 35:12, 19, 21, 24, 25, 27; Job 19:25; Isaiah 41:14; Isaiah 43:14; Isaiah 60:16; Isaiah 63:16.) Note:

(1) How unspeakable is the mercy that, though our guilt might welt make us dread the approach to a holy God, yet his grace is such that we may flee to him and find deliverance there! The same Word which unbares our sin also reveals his grace.

(2) The revelation of God through the stars will not suffice for us; we want the word of promise too.

(3) Those who most luxuriate in the Word should also, more than others, luxuriate in the works of God.

(4) Those who accept both know perfectly well that nothing in the book of nature can run counter to the book of grace. - C.

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart.
Not content with celebrating the eternal fitness and rectitude of the Divine statutes, the Psalmist recommends them by an argument of a less abstract nature, more closely adapted to our feelings and interests, by adding that in consequence of their inherent rectitude they tend to rejoice the heart. The word "statutes" includes the whole system of Divine precepts contained in the Scriptures. Such is the goodness and condescension of God, that with our duty He has strictly connected not only our happiness in general, but even our present pleasure. Two things are necessary ill order to produce true and rational joy in the human mind, namely, objects suited to its faculties, and faculties in proper disposition to receive impressions from them. In each of these views the Holy Scriptures, as they contain the Divine laws, are calculated to produce this happy temper. What has here been asserted of all the discoveries and demands of God's revealed will is particularly applicable to its perceptive part, which has a tendency to rejoice the heart of the sincerely pious, in theory, in practice, and on reflection. What further evinces the excellence of the Divine statutes is, that the joy they inspire is pure and unmixed. The religious joy which arises immediately from reflection on a virtuous practice increases the sublime pleasure which springs up in the mind of a good man when he contemplates his relation to his God and Saviour.

(P. C. Sowden.)

Old books go out of date. Whatever they were about, men no longer care for them. Books are human; they have a time to be born, they grow in strength, they have a middle life of usefulness, then comes old age, they totter and they die. Many of the national libraries are merely the cemeteries of dead books. Some were virtuous, and accomplished a glorious mission. Some went into the ashes through inquisitorial fires. Not so with one old book. It started in the world's infancy. It grew under theocracy and monarchy. It withstood the storms of fire. It grew under the prophet's mantle and under the fisherman's coat of the apostles. In Rome, and Ephesus, and Jerusalem, and Patmos tyranny issued edicts against it, and infidelity put out the tongue, and the papacy from its monasteries, and Mohammedanism from its mosques, hurled their anathemas; but the old Bible lived. It came across the British Channel and was greeted by Wycliff and James

I. It came across the Atlantic and struck Plymouth Rock, until, like that of Horeb, it gushed with blessedness. Churches and asylums have gathered all along its way, ringing their bells, and stretching out their hands of blessing. But it will not have accomplished its mission until it has climbed the icy mountains of Greenland, until it has gone over the granite cliffs of China, until it has thrown its glow amid the Australian mines, until it has scattered its gems among the diamond districts of Brazil, and all thrones shall be gathered into one throne, and all crowns by the fires of revolution shall be melted into one crown, and this Book shall at the very gate of heaven have waved in the ransomed empires — not until then will that glorious Bible have accomplished its mission.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

I. THE BIBLE IS RIGHT IN ITS AUTHENTICATION. I say, if the Bible had been an imposition; if it had not been written by the men who said they wrote it; if it had been a mere collection of falsehoods, it would have been scouted by everybody. If that book has come down through the centuries without a scar, it is because there is nothing in it disturbable. When men began their opposition to it there were two or three thousand copies; now there are two hundred millions, so far as I can calculate. Would that have been so had it been an imposture? Further, suppose there was a great pestilence, and hundreds of thousands of men were dying of that pestilence, and someone should find a medicine that in one day cured ten thousand people, would not all men say that was a good medicine? But just so it has been with the Bible. It has cured men of the worst leprosy, the leprosy of sin. Modern discoveries in Petra, Nineveh, Palestine have all gone to prove its truth.

II. THE BIBLE IS RIGHT IN STYLE. I know there are a great many people who think it is merely a collection of genealogical tables and dry facts. That is because they do not know how to read the Book. You take up the most interesting novel that was ever written, and if you commence at the four hundredth page today, and tomorrow at the three hundredth, and She next day at the first page, how much sense or interest would you gather from it? Yet that is the very process to which the Bible is subjected every day. An angel from heaven reading the Bible in that way could not understand it. The Bible, like all other palaces, has a door by which to enter and a door by which to go out. Genesis is the door to go in, and Revelation the door to go out. These Epistles of Paul the Apostle are merely letters written, folded up, and sent by postmen to the different Churches. Do you read other letters the way you read Paul's letters? Suppose you get a business letter, and you know that in it there are important financial propositions, do you read the last page first and then one line of the third page, and another of the second, and another of the first? Besides that, people read the Bible when they cannot do anything else. It is a dark day and they do not feel well, and they do not go to business, and after lounging about awhile they pick up the Bible — their mind refuses to enjoy the truth. Or they come home weary from the store or shop, and they feel, if they do not say, it is a dull book. While the Bible is to be read on stormy days, and while your head aches, it is also to be read in the sunshine and when your nerves, like harp strings, thrum the song of health. While your vision is clear, walk in this paradise of truth; and while your mental appetite is good, pluck these clusters of grace. Note its conciseness. Every word is packed full of truth. Nine-tenths of all the good literature of this age is merely the Bible diluted. See also its variety; not contradiction or collision, but variety. Just as in the song, you have the basso and alto, and soprano and tenor — they are not in collision with each other, but come in to make up the harmony — so it is in this book, there are different parts of this great song of redemption. The prophet comes and takes one part, and the patriarch another, and the evangelist another, and the apostles another, and yet they all come into the grand harmony — the song of "Moses and the Lamb." God prepared it for all zones — arctic and tropics, as well as the temperate zone. The Arabian would read it on his dromedary, and the Laplander seated on the swift sledge, and the herdsman of Holland, guarding the cattle in the grass, and the Swiss girl, reclining amid Alpine crags. Thus suited to all is it, and hence I cannot help saying, The statutes of the Lord are right.

III. AND THE BIBLE IS RIGHT IN ITS DOCTRINES. Man, a sinner; Christ, a Saviour — the two doctrines. All the mountains of the Bible bow down to Calvary.

IV. AND IN ITS EFFECTS. I do not care where you put the Bible, it just suits the place. Whether in the hands of a man seeking salvation, or one discouraged, or one in trouble, or one bereaved — it is the grand catholicon for them all. Father and mother, take down that long-neglected Bible. Where is it now? Is it in the trunk, or on the upper shelf, or is it in the room in the house where you seldom go save when you have company, and then not to read the Bible? In the name of the God who will judge the quick and the dead, and by the interests of your immortal soul and the souls of your children, I charge you today to take up that old Bible, open it, read for your own life, and read for the life of your children. How can you go out on the dark mountains of death, and take your children along with you, when you have such a glorious lamp to guide you? Put that Bible on every rail train, until all the dark places of our land are illuminated by it. Put it on every ship that crosses the sea, until the dark homes of heathenism get the light. While I speak, there comes to us the horrid yell of heathen worship, and in the face of this day's sun gushed the blood of human sacrifice. Give them the Bible. Tell them, "God so loved the world that He gave," etc.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

I. THE STATUTES OF GOD ARE THE FIRST PRINCIPLES OF RELIGIOUS DUTY, or the means of grace. They are rules of life and action relating, first, to our communion with God, our religious service; and then, to our intercourse with one another. And they are "right" in many different senses — counteracting the tendency of man's sinful heart, supplying a stimulant to duty; right, too, in their operation and in their consequences, both as to this world and the next. What they engage to do they accomplish. Infidelity can make no such boast.


1. What is rejoicing, the joy of the heart? We should base it upon natural affection, mutual harmony and confidence, rendering and receiving to and from all what is due. It operates in the home, and amongst our neighbours, and throughout society. Such are a happy people.

2. And the statutes of the Lord do effect this; hence God's statutes have been our songs in the house of our pilgrimage.

(Thomas Dale, M. A.)

If my compass always points to the north I know how to use it; but if it veers to other points of the compass, and I am to judge out of my own mind whether it is right or not, I may as well be without the thing as with it. If my Bible is right always, it will lead me right; and as I believe it is, so I shall follow it and find the truth.

It is stated that when the United States Government's dock at Brooklyn was finished, on inspecting it, it was found to be two feet too short to take in the vessels which needed repairs. This involved a reconstruction of the work at great expense. How it occurred was a mystery, but it appeared on investigation that the contractor, in making his measurements, used a tape line which was a fraction of an inch too short. Either it had shrunk, or it was imperfectly made at first; in some way the tape was too short, and so the dock was too short also. The importance of a correct standard can hardly be exaggerated. Whether it be a standard of weights, measures, values, or moral qualities, a slight variation from that which is right and true produces disastrous results.

As a mirage is mistaken for a reality, because of the effect of the sun's rays upon the organs of vision; so with those that are detecting flaws in the Bible. It is because the eye is diseased, and sees double where the object is single. The fault is in the eye, not in the Bible.

The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The purity of the law, if there were no other evidence, is sufficient to establish the fact, that it is the commandment of the Lord. We wish to set before you the moral law in its essential and Divine purity. During the patriarchal ages there was no written document bearing the sanction of a Divine moral law. Tradition, so long as man is eider fallible or fallacious, cannot possibly, for any length of time, from a channel for truth. By and by it pleased God to inscribe with His own finger upon tablets of stone the substance of those floating intimations which He had made from time to time to His servants of old. The law was ordained for something beyond the mere curbing of transgressions; its further object was to detect, expose, and condemn the transgressing principle; in other words, by the purity which it developed and enforced to enlighten man's eyes upon the character of God, the extent of his own moral ruin, and the absolute necessity of the restoration of the moral principle. The human soul never was suffered to lose an intuitive sense of the simple fact that there is a God; but having assented to this simple fact, the human mind, by its own light, made no further progress towards the discovery of the Divine character. We attribute this failure to moral rather than physical causes. The intellect was not so much in fault as the heart. Man's favourite sins were thought by him not only to experience the Divine toleration, but even to form no insignificant elements in the Divine character, so that he had nothing to do but to turn over the records of the pagan theology, whensoever he wished to place some act of crime under the protection and the patronage of the god of lust, or fraud, or violence. It was in order to afford some remedy for this dreadful evil — in order to vindicate His own character as well as to elevate that of His creatures, that God published His moral law. The tenor of the law proclaimed at once the high strain of moral perfection belonging by right of nature to the God with whom we have to do. But does man like these ordinances? Do these definitions of duty suit his feelings? If he confess the truth he will confess that he hates such instruction. Many, however, even with the law of God in their hands, are never brought to this confession. They have not been led to see the mighty moral difference between the mind that originated and the minds that received the law. This comes of carelessness and prejudice. Upon the careless generalising of human with Divine systems of law the whole mistake hinges about Christian morals. But human laws only touch actions. Divine laws touch morals, that is, touch motive and action in conjunction. Therefore I am a transgressor of Divine laws if motive as well as action do not tender homage and obedience. Bring human perfection, of whatever nature, side by side with the perfection of the moral law, and of the first the end appears at once. The law shows us our moral ruin, our spiritual death But "Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth."

(T. E. Hankinson M. A.)

David, Psalmist
Command, Commandment, Commands, Enlightening, Giving, Glad, Heart, Holy, Joy, Making, Orders, Precepts, Pure, Radiant, Rejoicing, Rule, Statutes, Upright
1. The creatures show God's glory
7. The excellence of the divine law
12. David prays for grace

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Psalm 19:8

     4835   light, spiritual
     4836   light, and people of God
     8128   guidance, receiving
     8287   joy, experience
     8419   enlightenment

Psalm 19:7-8

     8297   love, for God
     8349   spiritual growth, means of

Psalm 19:7-10

     1403   God, revelation
     5036   mind, of God
     8404   commands, in OT

Psalm 19:7-11

     1100   God, perfection
     1613   Scripture, purpose
     4303   metals
     5548   speech, divine
     8236   doctrine, purpose
     8409   decision-making, and providence

Psalm 19:7-14

     5376   law, purpose of
     5830   delight

Psalm 19:8-9

     1125   God, righteousness

Secret Faults
'Who can understand his errors? cleanse Thou me from secret faults.' PSALM xix. 12. The contemplation of the 'perfect law, enlightening the eyes,' sends the Psalmist to his knees. He is appalled by his own shortcomings, and feels that, beside all those of which he is aware, there is a region, as yet unilluminated by that law, where evil things nestle and breed. The Jewish ritual drew a broad distinction between inadvertent--whether involuntary or ignorant--and deliberate sins; providing atonement
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Open Sins
'Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.'--PSALM xix. 13. Another psalmist promises to the man who dwells 'in the secret place of the Most High' that' he shall not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the pestilence that walketh at noonday,' but shall 'tread upon the lion and adder.' These promises divide the dangers that beset us
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"The Sun of Righteousness"
WE SHOULD FEEL QUITE JUSTIFIED in applying the language of the 19th Psalm to our Lord Jesus Christ from the simple fact that he is so frequently compared to the sun; and especially in the passage which we have given you as our second text, wherein he is called "the Sun of Righteousness." But we have a higher justification for such a reading of the passage, for it will be in your memories that, in the 10th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul, slightly altering the words of this
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

Secret Sins
Now, David, having seen God's law, and having praised it in this Psalm, which I have read in your hearing, he is brought, by reflecting on its excellency, to utter this thought, "Who can understand his errors?" and then to offer this prayer, "Cleanse thou me from secret faults." In the Lateran Council of the Church of Rome, a decree was passed that every true believer must confess his sins, all of them, once a year to the priest, and they affixed to it this declaration, that there is no hope of pardon
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857

Presumptuous Sins
I shall this morning, first of all, endeavor to describe presumptuous sins; then, secondly, I shall try, if I can, to show by some illustrations, why the presumptuous sin is more heinous than any other; and then thirdly, I shall try to press the prayer upon your notice--the prayer, mark you, of the holy man--the prayer of David: "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins. " I. First, then, WHAT IS PRESUMPTUOUS SIN? Now, I think here must be one of four things in a sin in order to make it
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857

Sin Immeasurable
The subject of this morning--our own sin, and the error of our own hearts, is one which we sometimes think we know, but of which we may always be quite sure that we have only began to learn, and that when we have learned the most we shall ever know on earth, the question will still be pertinent, "Who can understand his errors?" Now, this morning I propose first of all, very briefly indeed, to explain the question; then at greater length to impress it upon our hearts; and lastly we will learn the
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 6: 1860

Prayer and the Word of God (Continued)
"Some years ago a man was travelling in the wilds of Kentucky. He had with him a large sum of money and was well armed. He put up at a log-house one night, but was much concerned with the rough appearance of the men who came and went from this abode. He retired early but not to sleep. At midnight he heard the dogs barking furiously and the sound of someone entering the cabin. Peering through a chink in the boards of his room, he saw a stranger with a gun in his hand. Another man sat before the fire.
Edward M. Bounds—The Necessity of Prayer

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God. --Ps. xix.
The Heavens declare the Glory of God.--Ps. xix. Thy glory, Lord, the heavens declare, The firmament displays Thy skill; The changing clouds, the viewless air, Tempest and calm Thy word fulfil; Day unto day doth utter speech, And night to night Thy knowledge teach. Though voice nor sound inform the ear, Well-known the language of their song, When one by one the stars appear, Led by the silent moon along, Till round the earth, from all the sky, Thy beauty beams on every eye. Waked by Thy touch,
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

The Law and the Testimonies. --Ps. xix.
The Law and the Testimonies.--Ps. xix. Thy law is perfect, Lord of light! Thy testimonies sure, The statutes of Thy realm are right, And thy commandments pure. Holy, inviolate Thy fear, Enduring as Thy throne: Thy judgments, chastening or severe, Justice and truth alone:-- More prized than gold,--than gold whose waste Refining fire expels; Sweeter than honey to my taste, Than honey from the cells. Let these, O God! my soul convert; And make Thy servant wise; Let these be gladness to my heart,
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

the Spacious Firmament on High
[970]Addison's: John Sheeles, c. 1720 Psalm 19 Joseph Addison, 1712 The spacious firmament on high, With all the blue ethereal sky, And spangled heavens, a shining frame, Their great Original proclaim. The unwearied sun from day to day Does his Creator's power display, And publishes to every land The work of an almighty Hand. Soon as the evening shades prevail, The moon takes up the wondrous tale, And nightly to the listening earth Repeats the story of her birth; Whilst all the stars that round
Various—The Hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA

The Promises of the Law and the Gospel Reconciled.
1. Brief summary of Chapters 15 and 16. Why justification is denied to works. Argument of opponents founded on the promises of the law. The substance of this argument. Answer. Those who would be justified before God must be exempted from the power of the law. How this is done. 2. Confirmation of the answer ab impossibili, and from the testimony of an Apostle and of David. 3. Answer to the objection, by showing why these promises were given. Refutation of the sophistical distinction between the intrinsic
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Letter xxii. St. Ambrose in a Letter to his Sister Gives an Account of the Finding Of...
St. Ambrose in a letter to his sister gives an account of the finding of the bodies of SS. Gervasius and Protasius, and of his addresses to the people on that occasion. Preaching from Psalm xix., he allegorically expounded the "heavens" to represent the martyrs and apostles, and the "day" he takes to be their confession. They were humbled by God, and then raised again. He then gives an account of the state in which their bodies were found, and of their translation to the basilica. In another address
St. Ambrose—Works and Letters of St. Ambrose

The Progress of the Gospel
Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the end of the world. T he heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1) . The grandeur of the arch over our heads, the number and lustre of the stars, the beauty of the light, the splendour of the sun, the regular succession of day and night, and of the seasons of the year, are such proofs of infinite wisdom and power, that the Scripture attributes to them a voice, a universal language, intelligible to all mankind, accommodated to every capacity.
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

The Dryness of Preachers, and the Various Evils which Arise from their Failing to Teach Heart-Prayer --Exhortation to Pastors to Lead People Towards this Form Of
If all those who are working for the conquest of souls sought to win them by the heart, leading them first of all to prayer and to the inner life, they would see many and lasting conversions. But so long as they only address themselves to the outside, and instead of drawing people to Christ by occupying their hearts with Him, they only give them a thousand precepts for outward observances, they will see but little fruit, and that will not be lasting. When once the heart is won, other defects are
Jeanne Marie Bouvières—A Short Method Of Prayer And Spiritual Torrents

Of Deeper Matters, and God's Hidden Judgments which are not to be Inquired Into
"My Son, beware thou dispute not of high matters and of the hidden judgments of God; why this man is thus left, and that man is taken into so great favour; why also this man is so greatly afflicted, and that so highly exalted. These things pass all man's power of judging, neither may any reasoning or disputation have power to search out the divine judgments. When therefore the enemy suggesteth these things to thee, or when any curious people ask such questions, answer with that word of the Prophet,
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

The Pietist and the Perfectionist.
"He chastens us for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness."--Heb. xii. 10. Sanctification is a gracious work of God, whereby in a supernatural way He gradually divests from sin the inclinations and dispositions of the regenerate and clothes them with holiness. Here we meet a serious objection which deserves our careful attention. To the superficial observer, the spiritual experience of God's children seems diametrically opposed to this professed gift of sanctification. One says:
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Concerning Continence Also Itself Hath it not Been Most Openly Said...
43. Concerning continence also itself hath it not been most openly said, "And when I knew that no one can be continent unless God give it, this also itself was a part of wisdom, to know whose gift it was?" [2177] But perhaps continence is the gift of God, but wisdom man bestows upon himself, whereby to understand, that that gift is, not his own, but of God. Yea, "The Lord maketh wise the blind:" [2178] and, "The testimony of the Lord is faithful, it giveth wisdom unto little ones:" [2179] and, "If
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

In the examination of this subject I will-- I. Point out the common distinction between regeneration and conversion. 1. Regeneration is the term used by some theologians to express the divine agency in changing the heart. With them regeneration does not include and imply the activity of the subject, but rather excludes it. These theologians, as will be seen in its place, hold that a change of heart is first effected by the Holy Spirit while the subject is passive, which change lays a foundation for
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

The Knowledge of God Conspicuous in the Creation, and Continual Government of the World.
1. The invisible and incomprehensible essence of God, to a certain extent, made visible in his works. 2. This declared by the first class of works--viz. the admirable motions of the heavens and the earth, the symmetry of the human body, and the connection of its parts; in short, the various objects which are presented to every eye. 3. This more especially manifested in the structure of the human body. 4. The shameful ingratitude of disregarding God, who, in such a variety of ways, is manifested within
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Need of Scripture, as a Guide and Teacher, in Coming to God as a Creator.
1. God gives his elect a better help to the knowledge of himself--viz. the Holy Scriptures. This he did from the very first. 2. First, By oracles and visions, and the ministry of the Patriarchs. Secondly, By the promulgation of the Law, and the preaching of the Prophets. Why the doctrines of religion are committed to writing. 3. This view confirmed, 1. By the depravity of our nature making it necessary in every one who would know God to have recourse to the word; 2. From those passages of the Psalms
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Word
The third way to escape the wrath and curse of God, and obtain the benefit of redemption by Christ, is the diligent use of ordinances, in particular, the word, sacraments, and prayer.' I begin with the best of these ordinances. The word . . . which effectually worketh in you that believe.' 1 Thess 2:13. What is meant by the word's working effectually? The word of God is said to work effectually when it has the good effect upon us for which it was appointed by God; when it works powerful illumination
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

The Shepherd-King
'And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt them mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel! fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Beth-lehemite: for I have provided Me a king among his sons. 2. And Samuel said, How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord. 3. And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Conversion of all that Come.
"Turn Thou me and I shall be turned." --Jer. xxxi. 18. The elect, born again and effectually called, converts himself. To remain unconverted is impossible; but he inclines his ear, he turns his face to the blessed God, he is converted in the fullest sense of the word. In conversion the fact of cooperation on the part of the saved sinner assumes a clearly defined and perceptible character. In regeneration there was none; in the calling there was a beginning of it; in conversion proper it became a
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Effectual Calling
'Them he also called.' Rom 8:80. Q-xxxi: WHAT IS EFFECTUAL CALLING? A: It is a gracious work of the Spirit, whereby he causes us to embrace Christ freely, as he is offered to us in the gospel. In this verse is the golden chain of salvation, made up of four links, of which one is vocation. Them he also called.' Calling is nova creatio, a new creation,' the first resurrection. There is a two-fold call: (1.) An outward call: (2.) An inward call. (1.) An outward call, which is God's offer of grace to
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

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