Jesus at the Feast of BoothsJohn 7 1 After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. 2 Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. 3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. 4 For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For not even his brothers believed in him. 6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. 8 You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After saying this, he remained in Galilee.
10 But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. 11 The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” 12 And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” 13 Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.
14 About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. 15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” 16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching ( In the Greek this is doctrine, not plural, but singular. One doctrine. ) is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” 21 Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. 22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Can This Be the Christ?25 Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? 26 And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? 27 But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” 28 So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. 29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” 30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”
Officers Sent to Arrest Jesus32 The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. 33 Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. 34 You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” 35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36 What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”
Rivers of Living Water37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Division Among the People40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” 53 They went each to his own house,
The Woman Caught in AdulteryJohn 8:1 [[They went each to his own house, 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” ]] 7:53–8:11 These verses are not present in some Greek manuscripts, and in others they appear at different locations, such as after 7:36, or even in Luke. ESV Reformation Study Bible
I Am the Light of the World12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23 He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” 25 So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. 26 I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27 They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
The Truth Will Set You Free31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
You Are of Your Father the Devil39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
Before Abraham Was, I Am48 The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55 But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
ESV Study Bible
What I'm Reading
Is Mark’s Gospel an Early Memoir of the Apostle Peter?
By J. Warner Wallace 1/17/2014
The authorship of the Gospels is a matter of considerable debate amongst skeptics and critics of the New Testament canon. Mark’s Gospel is an early record of Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection, but Mark isn’t mentioned as an eyewitness in any of the Gospel accounts. How did Mark get his information about Jesus? There are several historical clues:
Papias said Mark scribed Peter’s teachings | Bishop Papias of Hierapolis (60-130AD) repeated the testimony of the old presbyters (disciples of the Apostles) who claimed Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome as he scribed the preaching of Peter (Ecclesiastical History Book 2 Chapter 15, Book 3 Chapter 30 and Book 6 Chapter 14). Papias wrote a five volume work entitled, “Interpretation of the Oracles of the Lord”. In this treatise (which no longer exists), he quoted someone he identified as ‘the elder’, (most likely John the elder), a man who held considerable authority in Asia:
“And the elder used to say this, Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order, of the things said and done by the Lord. For he had not heard the Lord, nor had followed him, but later on, followed Peter, who used to give teaching as necessity demanded but not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord’s oracles, so that Mark did nothing wrong in thus writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.”
Irenaeus said Mark wrote his Gospel from Peter’s teaching | In his book, “Against Heresies” (Book 3 Chapter 1), Irenaeus (130-200AD) also reported Mark penned his Gospel as a scribe for Peter, adding the following detail:
“Matthew composed his gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul proclaimed the gospel in Rome and founded the community. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, handed on his preaching to us in written form”
James "Jim" Warner Wallace (born June 16, 1961) is an American homicide detective and Christian apologist. Wallace is a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview and an Adjunct Professor of Apologetics at Biola University in La Mirada, California. He has authored several books, including Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, in which he applies principles of cold case homicide investigation to apologetic concerns such as the existence of God and the reliability of the Gospels.
The War On Wedding Vendors Is Ultimately A War On Free Thought
By James Gottry 11/3/2016
To forbid people from articulating beliefs and peacefully acting consistently with those beliefs is, at its core, an attempt to forbid the beliefs themselves.
Our First Amendment freedom is functionally meaningless when it is reduced to the “right” to express government-approved views. Throw in a simultaneous prohibition on all expression that hasn’t received the government’s stamp of approval, and you have the makings of George Orwell’s “1984,” where even beliefs are controlled.
Indeed, to forbid people from articulating beliefs and peacefully acting consistently with those beliefs is, at its core, an attempt to forbid the beliefs themselves. As the Supreme Court has held, “First Amendment freedoms are most in danger when the government seeks to control thought…The right to think is the beginning of freedom, and speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought.”
It’s one thing to have guiding moral principles. It’s another thing entirely to be able to express those principles and allow them to guide your actions. In Phoenix, two artists who together operate a custom art studio, Brush and Nib Studio, are acutely aware of the distinction.
Compelling Expression, One Brush at a Time | In 2015, Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski launched a business based on their shared passions for Christ, painting, hand-lettering, and calligraphy. As their website states, they seek to “announce and commemorate life’s important moments,” which include weddings. As Christians, Joanna and Breanna seek to create art that is consistent with their beliefs, which includes the belief that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Conservative turned down by photographer but says it’s OK
By Valerie Richardson 1/23/2014
Alan Sears doesn’t know what it’s like to be refused service for being gay, but he does know what it’s like to be refused service for being a conservative. “We’re talking about human dignity. It violates someone’s dignity to require them to create images that violate their core beliefs,” Mr. Sears said. “I think I’m a pretty nice guy, and my family are kind folks, but to require this woman to portray me in a loving, family-centered way that is contrary to her views and her conscience, I think it would be an act of violence against her dignity.”
Six months ago, a Southern California photographer turned him down flat when he asked her to take a Christmas card photo of his family, explaining in an email, “I oppose the goals and objectives of your organization and have no interest in working on its behalf.”
That was fine with Mr. Sears, CEO and general counsel of the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom, who is leading the legal battle on behalf of photographers, florists, cake decorators and others sued for refusing to create products for same-sex weddings.
What applies to wedding cake designers asked to violate their core beliefs, Mr. Sears argues, applies equally to liberals who decline to fill certain orders to conservatives customers.
“We’re talking about human dignity. It violates someone’s dignity to require them to create images that violate their core beliefs,” Mr. Sears said. “I think I’m a pretty nice guy, and my family are kind folks, but to require this woman to portray me in a loving, family-centered way that is contrary to her views and her conscience, I think it would be an act of violence against her dignity.”Click here to go to source
Unsealing of Christ's Reputed Tomb Turns Up New Revelations
By Kristin Romey 10/31/2016
JERUSALEM Researchers have continued their investigation into the site where the body of Jesus Christ is traditionally believed to have been buried, and their preliminary findings appear to confirm that portions of the tomb are still present today, having survived centuries of damage, destruction, and reconstruction of the surrounding Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City.
The most venerated site in the Christian world, the tomb today consists of a limestone shelf or burial bed that was hewn from the wall of a cave. Since at least 1555, and most likely centuries earlier, the burial bed has been covered in marble cladding, allegedly to prevent eager pilgrims from removing bits of the original rock as souvenirs.
When the marble cladding was first removed on the night of October 26, an initial inspection by the conservation team from the National Technical University of Athens showed only a layer of fill material underneath. However, as researchers continued their nonstop work over the course of 60 hours, another marble slab with a cross carved into its surface was exposed. By the night of October 28, just hours before the tomb was to be resealed, the original limestone burial bed was revealed intact.
"I'm absolutely amazed. My knees are shaking a little bit because I wasn't expecting this,” said Fredrik Hiebert, National Geographic's archaeologist-in-residence. "We can't say 100 percent, but it appears to be visible proof that the location of the tomb has not shifted through time, something that scientists and historians have wondered for decades."
In addition, researchers confirmed the existence of the original limestone cave walls within the 19th-century Edicule, or shrine, which encloses the tomb. A window has been cut into the southern interior wall of the shrine to expose one of the cave walls.
She is the former executive editor of Archaeology magazine and a Fellow of the Explorers Club. Romey holds an A.B. in Greek from Vassar College and an M.A. from Texas A&M’s nautical archaeology program. Before joining the National Geographic editorial staff, Romey served as the field operations director for the Society’s multiyear archaeological expedition at Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan.
She’s the proud possessor of a very questionable ducal warrant.
Romey lives in Washington, D.C.
A Generation of Skeptics Are Open to the Resurrection
By Napp Nazworth, Christian Post Reporter 11/3/2016
What do you say to skeptics who refuse to accept that the Gospels were written by their traditional authors? Who insist that the accounts were written long after the eyewitnesses to Jesus’ ministry had all died? Even using only evidence that these critics will accept, Dr. Gary Habermas thinks that the case for the resurrection is still stands, as strong as ever. The discussion, according Dr. Habermas, begins with the Apostle Paul…
CHARLOTTE — Due to the evidence, a generation of skeptics are now open to believing in the resurrection, the foundational event for the Christian faith, Gary Habermas explained at the Southern Evangelical Seminary’s 21st Annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics.
Critics have recently begun to acknowledge facts central to Jesus’ resurrection, he claimed.
Habermas, distinguished research professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University and visiting professor at Southern Evangelical Seminary, is an expert on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He has written 18 books, and over 100 book chapters and journal articles on the topic. His next book will be 3,000 pages compiling his life work. Half of the book will be new material that does not appear in any of his previous books, Habermas announced during his talk.
One of the critics Habermas mentioned was Bart Ehrman, a former Evangelical Christian who has become an agnostic. Ehrman currently serves as the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has written or edited over 25 books on the life of Jesus and the New Testament. Several of his books have appeared on The New York Times best sellers list, including his most recent book, How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee.
If Sin Is Finite, Why Is Hell Eternal?
By Alan Shlemon 11/2/2016
I’ve been asked more than once: Why would God punish non-believers with an eternity in Hell for a finite amount of sin? It seems unfair. Shouldn’t their duration in Hell be commensurate with the amount and severity of their sin?
People who raise this complaint fail to understand the nature of two things: the nature of the offender and the nature of the offended.
The nature of the offender is obvious: Humans are guilty. Not only are they born with a sin nature, they’ve committed crimes against God throughout their lives. That means they deserve to be punished. Every human being on the planet finds himself in this predicament.
God, though, offers every guilty person a pardon. Those who accept God’s offer are absolved of their guilt and go free. Those who reject the pardon pay for the crimes themselves because they remain guilty. Like human prison, God sentences the guilty to a spiritual quarantine (the Bible calls this place Hell).
Their quarantine in Hell lasts forever because they remain guilty forever. While on earth, they had an opportunity to accept the pardon, but that time has passed. They turned down their chance to be absolved of their guilt. Now, they pay for their crimes by being sentenced to an eternal quarantine. After serving a year of their sentence, they’re still guilty. After serving 1,000 years of their sentence, they’re still guilty. Their guilt never fades.
When You Can't Trace God's Hand, Trust His Heart
By Frank Cox 9/1996
Amidst the celebration and fireworks of Independence Day, 1986, Frank Cox leaned across the hospital bed of his 27-year-old wife, whose unsteady breathing signaled the approaching end of her mortal life. Gripping the one good hand left on a body ravaged by cancer, Cox whispered into Debbie's ear a thank you for being his wife and the mother of their 4-year-old son, Stephen. Within moments she was gone, and Cox, 30, was a widower.
"What do you do when you lose something that is precious to your life?" thought Cox, and it was a thought he would wrestle with for a long time as he sat and cried at the grave of his wife, telling God it hurt so bad that his life was spinning round and round. At one point, Cox demanded that God give him his wife back. "I want her back," he said. "With a full head of hair, and I don't want there to be a bum arm or a splint on her leg. I didn't bargain for this; I just want her back."
But Cox sensed God saying, "If I opened up Heaven and said, 'Okay, Debbie, you can go back,' she wouldn't want to come, Frank. She's enjoying everything I ever prepared for her. Now get up and get on with your life."
And sitting there, Cox remembered a quote from another whose wife was deathly ill during his ministry, "God is too good to be unkind, He is too wise to be mistaken, and when you can't trace His hand, that's when you must learn to trust His heart."
Cox, pastor of North Metro First Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Ga., began to learn that God's sovereignty meant He could do whatever He pleases while always being pleased with whatever He does. "I thought about the last time I lifted Debbie out of bed and carried her to the car to drive her to the hospital for a CAT scan," said Cox. "That was the day we found out the tumor's growth had hopelessly expanded." Yet, God impressed upon Cox that omnipotence and omnipresence are more than just theological terms. He sensed God saying, "Frank, I was there before you put Debbie in that car. I was there before you placed her on the CAT scan table. I knew the length of Debbie's days before the world was formed, and before you ever met her."
Read The Psalms In "1" Year
Psalm 119119 NUN
119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.
107 I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O LORD, according to your word!
108 Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O LORD,
and teach me your rules.
109 I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.
111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
for they are the joy of my heart.
112 I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.
Fox's Book Of Martyrs
By John Foxe 1563The Protestants, in general immediately left the town, and joined Captain Gianavel with great satisfaction, and the few, who through weakness or fear, had abjured their faith, recanted their abjuration and were received into the bosom of the Church. As the marquis of Pianessa had removed the army, and encamped in quite a different part of the country, the Roman Catholics of Vilario thought it would be folly to attempt to defend the place with the small force they had. They, therefore, fled with the utmost precipitation, leaving the town and most of their property to the discretion of the Protestants.
The Protestant commanders having called a council of war, resolved to make an attempt upon the town of La Torre.
The papists being apprised of the design, detached some troops to defend a defile, through which the Protestants must make their approach; but these were defeated, compelled to abandon the pass, and forced to retreat to La Torre.
The Protestants proceeded on their march, and the troops of La Torre, on their approach, made a furious sally, but were repulsed with great loss, and compelled to seek shelter in the town. The governor now only thought of defending the place, which the Protestants began to attack in form; but after many brave attempts, and furious assaults, the commanders determined to abandon the enterprise for several reasons, particularly, because they found the place itself too strong, their own number too weak, and their cannon not adequate to the task of battering down the walls.
This resolution taken, the Protestant commanders began a masterly retreat, and conducted it with such regularity that the enemy did not choose to pursue them, or molest their rear, which they might have done, as they passed the defiles.
The next day they mustered, reviewed the army, and found the whole to amount to four hundred and ninety-five men. They then held a council of war, and planned an easier enterprise: this was to make an attack on the commonalty of Crusol, a place inhabited by a number of the most bigoted Roman Catholics, and who had exercised, during the persecutions, the most unheard-of cruelties on the Protestants.
The people of Crusol, hearing of the design against them, fled to a neighboring fortress, situated on a rock, where the Protestants could not come to them, for a very few men could render it inaccessible to a numerous army. Thus they secured their persons, but were in too much hurry to secure their property, the principal part of which, indeed, had been plundered from the Protestants, and now luckily fell again to the possession of the right owners. It consisted of many rich and valuable articles, and what, at that time, was of much more consequence, viz., a great quantity of military stores.
The day after the Protestants were gone with their booty, eight hundred troops arrived to the assistance of the people of Crusol, having been despatched from Lucerne, Biqueras, Cavors, etc. But finding themselves too late, and that pursuit would be vain, not to return empty handed, they began to plunder the neighboring villages, though what they took was from their friends. After collecting a tolerable booty, they began to divide it, but disagreeing about the different shares, they fell from words to blows, did a great deal of mischief, and then plundered each other.
On the very same day in which the Protestants were so successful at Crusol, some papists marched with a design to plunder and burn the little Protestant village of Rocappiatta, but by the way they met with the Protestant forces belonging to the captains, Jahier and Laurentio, who were posted on the hill of Angrogne. A trivial engagement ensued, for the Roman Catholics, on the very first attack, retreated in great confusion, and were pursued with much slaughter. After the pursuit was over, some straggling papist troops meeting with a poor peasant, who was a Protestant, tied a cord round his head, and strained it until his skull was quite crushed. Captain Gianavel and Captain Jahier concerted a design together to make an attack upon Lucerne; but Captain Jahier, not bringing up his forces at the time appointed, Captain Gianavel determined to attempt the enterprise himself.
He, therefore, by a forced march, proceeded towards that place during the whole, and was close to it by break of day. His first care was to cut the pipes that conveyed water into the town, and then to break down the bridge, by which alone provisions from the country could enter.
He then assaulted the place, and speedily possessed himself of two of the outposts; but finding he could not make himself master of the place, he prudently retreated with very little loss, blaming, however, Captain Jahier, for the failure of the enterprise.
The papists being informed that Captain Gianavel was at Angrogne with only his own company, determined if possible to surprise him. With this view, a great number of troops were detached from La Torre and other places: one party of these got on top of a mountain, beneath which he was posted; and the other party intended to possess themselves of the gate of St. Bartholomew.
The papists thought themselves sure of taking Captain Gianavel and every one of his men, as they consisted but of three hundred, and their own force was two thousand five hundred. Their design, however, was providentially frustrated, for one of the popish soldiers imprudently blowing a trumpet before the signal for attack was given, Captain Gianavel took the alarm, and posted his little company so advantageously at the gate of St. Bartholomew and at the defile by which the enemy must descend from the mountains, that the Roman Catholic troops failed in both attacks, and were repulsed with very considerable loss.
Soon after, Captain Jahier came to Angrogne, and joined his forces to those of Captain Gianavel, giving sufficient reasons to excuse his before-mentioned failure. Captain Jahier now made several secret excursions with great success, always selecting the most active troops, belonging both to Gianavel and himself. One day he had put himself at the head of forty-four men, to proceed upon an expedition, when entering a plain near Ossac, he was suddenly surrounded by a large body of horse. Captain Jahier and his men fought desperately, though oppressed by odds, and killed the commander-in-chief, three captains, and fifty-seven private men, of the enemy. But Captain Jahier himself being killed, with thirty-five of his men, the rest surrendered. One of the soldiers cut off Captain Jahier's head, and carrying it to Turin, presented it to the duke of Savoy, who rewarded him with six hundred ducatoons.
The death of this gentleman was a signal loss to the Protestants, as he was a real friend to, and companion of, the reformed Church. He possessed a most undaunted spirit, so that no difficulties could deter him from undertaking an enterprise, or dangers terrify him in its execution. He was pious without affectation, and humane without weakness; bold in a field, meek in a domestic life, of a penetrating genius, active in spirit, and resolute in all his undertakings.
To add to the affliction of the Protestants, Captain Gianavel was, soon after, wounded in such a manner that he was obliged to keep his bed. They, however, took new courage from misfortunes, and determining not to let their spirits droop attacked a body of popish troops with great intrepidity; the Protestants were much inferior in numbers, but fought with more resolution than the papists, and at length routed them with considerable slaughter. During the action, a sergeant named Michael Bertino was killed; when his son, who was close behind him, leaped into his place, and said, "I have lost my father; but courage, fellow soldiers, God is a father to us all."
Several skirmishes likewise happened between the troops of La Torre and Tagliaretto, and the Protestant forces, which in general terminated in favor of the latter.
A Protestant gentleman, named Andrion, raised a regiment of horse, and took the command of it himself. The sieur John Leger persuaded a great number of Protestants to form themselves into volunteer companies; and an excellent officer, named Michelin, instituted several bands of light troops. These being all joined to the remains of the veteran Protestant troops, (for great numbers had been lost in the various battles, skirmishes, sieges, etc.) composed a respectable army, which the officers thought proper to encamp near St. Giovanni.
The Roman Catholic commanders, alarmed at the formidable appearance and increased strength of the Protestant forces, determined, if possible, to dislodge them from their encampment. With this view they collected together a large force, consisting of the principal part of the garrisons of the Roman Catholic towns, the draft from the Irish brigades, a great number of regulars sent by the marquis of Pianessa, the auxiliary troops, and the independent companies.
These, having formed a junction, encamped near the Protestants, and spent several days in calling councils of war, and disputing on the most proper mode of proceeding. Some were for plundering the country, in order to draw the Protestants from their camp; others were for patiently waiting till they were attacked; and a third party were for assaulting the Protestant camp, and trying to make themselves master of everything in it.
The last of them prevailed, and the morning after the resolution had been taken was appointed to put it into execution. The Roman Catholic troops were accordingly separated into four divisions, three of which were to make an attack in different places; and the fourth to remain as a body of reserve to act as occasion might require. One of the Roman Catholic officers, previous to the attack, thus haranged his men:
"Fellow-soldiers, you are now going to enter upon a great action, which will bring you fame and riches. The motives of your acting with spirit are likewise of the most important nature; namely, the honor of showing your loyalty to your sovereign, the pleasure of spilling heretic blood, and the prospect of plundering the Protestant camp. So, my brave fellows, fall on, give no quarter, kill all you meet, and take all you come near."
After this inhuman speech the engagement began, and the Protestant camp was attacked in three places with inconceivable fury. The fight was maintained with great obstinacy and perseverance on both sides, continuing without intermission for the space of four hours: for the several companies on both sides relieved each other alternately, and by that means kept up a continual fire during the whole action.
During the engagement of the main armies, a detachment was sent from the body of reserve to attack the post of Castelas, which, if the papists had carried, it would have given them the command of the valleys of Perosa, St. Martino, and Lucerne; but they were repulsed with great loss, and compelled to return to the body of reserve, from whence they had been detached.
Soon after the return of this detachment, the Roman Catholic troops, being hard pressed in the main battle, sent for the body of reserve to come to their support. These immediately marched to their assistance, and for some time longer held the event doubtful, but at length the valor of the Protestants prevailed, and the papists were totally defeated, with the loss of upwards of three hundred men killed, and many more wounded.
When the Syndic of Lucerne, who was indeed a papist, but not a bigoted one, saw the great number of wounded men brought into that city, he exclaimed, "Ah! I thought the wolves used to devour the heretics, but now I see the heretics eat the wolves." This expression being reported to M. Marolles, the Roman Catholic commander-in-chief at Lucerne, he sent a very severe and threatening letter to the Syndic, who was so terrified, that the fright threw him into a fever, and he died in a few days.
This great battle was fought just before the harvest was got in, when the papists, exasperated at their disgrace, and resolved on any kind of revenge, spread themselves by night in detached parties over the finest corn fields of the Protestants, and set them on fire in sundry places. Some of these straggling parties, however, suffered for their conduct; for the Protestants, being alarmed in the night by the blazing of the fire among the corn, pursued the fugitives early in the morning, and overtaking many, put them to death. The Protestant captain Bellin, likewise, by way of retaliation, went with a body of light troops, and burnt the suburbs of La Torre, making his retreat afterward with very little loss.
A few days later, Captain Bellin, with a much stronger body of troops, attacked the town of La Torre itself, and making a breach in the wall of the convent, his men entered, driving the garrison into the citadel and burning both town and convent. After having effected this, they made a regular retreat, as they could not reduce the citadel for want of cannon.
Foxe's Book of Martyrs
By Don Carson 3/18/2018
Two comments on John 8:12-51.
(1) Already in John 7:7, Jesus said to his brothers, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I testify that what it does is evil.” Both in his own person and in his uncompromising words, Jesus is so offensive that the world hates him. He is the very embodiment of 3:19-21: “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”
John 8 now goes further. Jesus insists that when the Devil lies, “he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (8:44). Then Jesus adds, “Yet because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me” (8:45).
That is stunning. The first clause is not concessive, as if Jesus had said, “Although I tell you the truth, you do not believe me.” That would be bad enough. But Jesus says, “Because I tell you the truth, you do not believe me.” What options does that leave him? Should he tell the smooth lies that comfortable people want to hear? That might get him a hearing, but it is unthinkable that Jesus would follow such a course. So he continues telling the truth, and precisely because he tells the truth, he is not believed. To those so blinded, speaking the truth is precisely what hardens their hearts. It ignites the burning hatred that issues in the conflagration of the cross.
(2) Jesus insists that “Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day” (8:56): probably what Jesus has in mind is the promise God made and renewed to Abraham that in his offspring all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12). It is unlikely Jesus is claiming that Abraham had some vision that unfolded the life and times of Jesus in a kind of visionary preview. What he means, rather, is that Abraham knew God, believed God’s promises about the offspring, and in faith contemplated the fulfillment of those promises, rejoicing in the prospect of what he could not yet fully grasp: “he saw it and was glad” (8:56). But at very least this means that Jesus is the object and fulfillment of God’ s promise to Abraham, thus superseding him in importance. More: if the eternal Word (John 1:1) was always with God, and was always God, even Abraham’ s faith-borne contemplation of God was nothing less than a contemplation of him who became Jesus of Nazareth. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am” — the very covenant name of God (Ex. 3:14).
When his opponents pick up stones to kill Jesus because of this second point, they prove his first point.
Don Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and co-founder (with Tim Keller) of The Gospel Coalition. He has authored numerous books, and recently edited The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures (Eerdmans, 2016).Don Carson Books | Go to Books Page
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
Learn to meditate
(Nov 7) Bob Gass
‘On his law he meditates day and night.’
(Ps 1:2) but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. ESV
Butterflies cover more ground, but bees gather more honey. That’s because the butterfly just flies over the flowers, whereas the bee lands on each one and stays there long enough to extract the nectar. That’s the difference between merely reading your Bible for a few hurried minutes, and taking time to meditate on what you’re reading. Meditation isn’t something difficult and mysterious that only scholars and ‘spiritual’ people do. It’s just thinking deeply and continuously about a passage of Scripture, memorising it, letting it take root, and ‘owning it’ until it becomes a life force operating within you each day. The point isn’t how much Scripture you memorise, it’s what happens to you in the process. Meditating on God’s Word clarifies your understanding and corrects your conduct. It enriches your thinking and equips you by making you think different thoughts than if you were watching TV, for example, or texting, or talking on your mobile phone, or shopping. The psalmist writes: ‘The Law of the LORD makes them happy, and they think about it day and night. They are like trees growing beside a stream, trees that produce fruit in season and always have leaves. Those people succeed in everything they do’ (vv. 2-3 CEV). Meditating on God’s Word is the cure for moral and spiritual weakness; for a life with no focus; for a lack of intimacy with God; for chronically weak faith that causes you to fail and keep missing God’s best. So open your Bible, read it, and pray, ‘Lord, what are You saying to me?’ Then meditate on His answer.
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
He originally wanted to be a baseball player, but after attending a revival meeting at age 16 his life changed. He has since addressed crowds around the world and was friends with Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton. His name: Billy Graham, and he was born this day, November 7, 1918. Receiving the Congressional Gold Medal in 1996, Billy Graham stated: “As we face a new millennium, I believe America has gone a long way down the wrong road. We must turn around… If ever we needed God’s help, it is now.”American Minute
by C.S. Lewis
Reflections on the Intimate Dialogue
Between Man and God
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
A clergyman once said to me that a railway compartment, if one has it to oneself, is an extremely good place to pray in "because there is just the right amount of distraction." When I asked him to explain, he said that perfect silence and solitude left one more open to the distractions which come from within, and that a moderate amount of external distraction was easier to cope with. I don't find this so myself, but I can imagine it.
The Jones boy's name is Cyril-though why you find it so important to pray for people by their Christian names I can't imagine. I always assume God knows their surnames as well. I am afraid many people appear in my prayers only as “that old man at Crewe" or "the waitress" or even "that man." One may have lost, or may never have known, their names and yet remember how badly they need to be prayed for.
No letter next week. I shall be in the thick of exams.
Thanks to Meir Yona
7. This was Eleazar's speech to them. Yet did not the opinions of all the auditors acquiesce therein; but although some of them were very zealous to put his advice in practice, and were in a manner filled with pleasure at it, and thought death to be a good thing, yet had those that were most effeminate a commiseration for their wives and families; and when these men were especially moved by the prospect of their own certain death, they looked wistfully at one another, and by the tears that were in their eyes declared their dissent from his opinion. When Eleazar saw these people in such fear, and that their souls were dejected at so prodigious a proposal, he was afraid lest perhaps these effeminate persons should, by their lamentations and tears, enfeeble those that heard what he had said courageously; so he did not leave off exhorting them, but stirred up himself, and recollecting proper arguments for raising their courage, he undertook to speak more briskly and fully to them, and that concerning the immortality of the soul. So he made a lamentable groan, and fixing his eyes intently on those that wept, he spake thus: "Truly, I was greatly mistaken when I thought to be assisting to brave men who struggled hard for their liberty, and to such as were resolved either to live with honor, or else to die; but I find that you are such people as are no better than others, either in virtue or in courage, and are afraid of dying, though you be delivered thereby from the greatest miseries, while you ought to make no delay in this matter, nor to await any one to give you good advice; for the laws of our country, and of God himself, have from ancient times, and as soon as ever we could use our reason, continually taught us, and our forefathers have corroborated the same doctrine by their actions, and by their bravery of mind, that it is life that is a calamity to men, and not death; for this last affords our souls their liberty, and sends them by a removal into their own place of purity, where they are to be insensible of all sorts of misery; for while souls are tied down to a mortal body, they are partakers of its miseries; and really, to speak the truth, they are themselves dead; for the union of what is divine to what is mortal is disagreeable. It is true, the power of the soul is great, even when it is imprisoned in a mortal body; for by moving it after a way that is invisible, it makes the body a sensible instrument, and causes it to advance further in its actions than mortal nature could otherwise do. However, when it is freed from that weight which draws it down to the earth and is connected with it, it obtains its own proper place, and does then become a partaker of that blessed power, and those abilities, which are then every way incapable of being hindered in their operations. It continues invisible, indeed, to the eyes of men, as does God himself; for certainly it is not itself seen while it is in the body; for it is there after an invisible manner, and when it is freed from it, it is still not seen. It is this soul which hath one nature, and that an incorruptible one also; but yet it is the cause of the change that is made in the body; for whatsoever it be which the soul touches, that lives and flourishes; and from whatsoever it is removed, that withers away and dies; such a degree is there in it of immortality. Let me produce the state of sleep as a most evident demonstration of the truth of what I say; wherein souls, when the body does not distract them, have the sweetest rest depending on themselves, and conversing with God, by their alliance to him; they then go every where, and foretell many futurities beforehand. And why are we afraid of death, while we are pleased with the rest that we have in sleep? And how absurd a thing is it to pursue after liberty while we are alive, and yet to envy it to ourselves where it will be eternal! We, therefore, who have been brought up in a discipline of our own, ought to become an example to others of our readiness to die. Yet, if we do stand in need of foreigners to support us in this matter, let us regard those Indians who profess the exercise of philosophy; for these good men do but unwillingly undergo the time of life, and look upon it as a necessary servitude, and make haste to let their souls loose from their bodies; nay, when no misfortune presses them to it, nor drives them upon it, these have such a desire of a life of immortality, that they tell other men beforehand that they are about to depart; and nobody hinders them, but every one thinks them happy men, and gives them letters to be carried to their familiar friends [that are dead], so firmly and certainly do they believe that souls converse with one another [in the other world]. So when these men have heard all such commands that were to be given them, they deliver their body to the fire; and, in order to their getting their soul a separation from the body in the greatest purity, they die in the midst of hymns of commendations made to them; for their dearest friends conduct them to their death more readily than do any of the rest of mankind conduct their fellow-citizens when they are going a very long journey, who at the same time weep on their own account, but look upon the others as happy persons, as so soon to be made partakers of the immortal order of beings. Are not we, therefore, ashamed to have lower notions than the Indians? and by our own cowardice to lay a base reproach upon the laws of our country, which are so much desired and imitated by all mankind? But put the case that we had been brought up under another persuasion, and taught that life is the greatest good which men are capable of, and that death is a calamity; however, the circumstances we are now in ought to be an inducement to us to bear such calamity courageously, since it is by the will of God, and by necessity, that we are to die; for it now appears that God hath made such a decree against the whole Jewish nation, that we are to be deprived of this life which [he knew] we would not make a due use of. For do not you ascribe the occasion of our present condition to yourselves, nor think the Romans are the true occasion that this war we have had with them is become so destructive to us all: these things have not come to pass by their power, but a more powerful cause hath intervened, and made us afford them an occasion of their appearing to be conquerors over us. What Roman weapons, I pray you, were those by which the Jews at Cesarea were slain? On the contrary, when they were no way disposed to rebel, but were all the while keeping their seventh day festival, and did not so much as lift up their hands against the citizens of Cesarea, yet did those citizens run upon them in great crowds, and cut their throats, and the throats of their wives and children, and this without any regard to the Romans themselves, who never took us for their enemies till we revolted from them. But some may be ready to say, that truly the people of Cesarea had always a quarrel against those that lived among them, and that when an opportunity offered itself, they only satisfied the old rancor they had against them. What then shall we say to those of Scythopolis, who ventured to wage war with us on account of the Greeks? Nor did they do it by way of revenge upon the Romans, when they acted in concert with our countrymen. Wherefore you see how little our good-will and fidelity to them profited us, while they were slain, they and their whole families, after the most inhuman manner, which was all the requital that was made them for the assistance they had afforded the others; for that very same destruction which they had prevented from falling upon the others did they suffer themselves from them, as if they had been ready to be the actors against them. It would be too long for me to speak at this time of every destruction brought upon us; for you cannot but know that there was not any one Syrian city which did not slay their Jewish inhabitants, and were not more bitter enemies to us than were the Romans themselves; nay, even those of Damascus, 16 when they were able to allege no tolerable pretense against us, filled their city with the most barbarous slaughters of our people, and cut the throats of eighteen thousand Jews, with their wives and children. And as to the multitude of those that were slain in Egypt, and that with torments also, we have been informed they were more than sixty thousand; those indeed being in a foreign country, and so naturally meeting with nothing to oppose against their enemies, were killed in the manner forementioned. As for all those of us who have waged war against the Romans in our own country, had we not sufficient reason to have sure hopes of victory? For we had arms, and walls, and fortresses so prepared as not to be easily taken, and courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty, which encouraged us all to revolt from the Romans. But then these advantages sufficed us but for a short time, and only raised our hopes, while they really appeared to be the origin of our miseries; for all we had hath been taken from us, and all hath fallen under our enemies, as if these advantages were only to render their victory over us the more glorious, and were not disposed for the preservation of those by whom these preparations were made. And as for those that are already dead in the war, it is reasonable we should esteem them blessed, for they are dead in defending, and not in betraying their liberty; but as to the multitude of those that are now under the Romans, who would not pity their condition? and who would not make haste to die, before he would suffer the same miseries with them? Some of them have been put upon the rack, and tortured with fire and whippings, and so died. Some have been half devoured by wild beasts, and yet have been reserved alive to be devoured by them a second time, in order to afford laughter and sport to our enemies; and such of those as are alive still are to be looked on as the most miserable, who, being so desirous of death, could not come at it. And where is now that great city, the metropolis of the Jewish nation, which was fortified by so many walls round about, which had so many fortresses and large towers to defend it, which could hardly contain the instruments prepared for the war, and which had so many ten thousands of men to fight for it? Where is this city that was believed to have God himself inhabiting therein? It is now demolished to the very foundations, and hath nothing but that monument of it preserved, I mean the camp of those that hath destroyed it, which still dwells upon its ruins; some unfortunate old men also lie upon the ashes of the temple, and a few women are there preserved alive by the enemy, for our bitter shame and reproach. Now who is there that revolves these things in his mind, and yet is able to bear the sight of the sun, though he might live out of danger? Who is there so much his country's enemy, or so unmanly, and so desirous of living, as not to repent that he is still alive? And I cannot but wish that we had all died before we had seen that holy city demolished by the hands of our enemies, or the foundations of our holy temple dug up after so profane a manner. But since we had a generous hope that deluded us, as if we might perhaps have been able to avenge ourselves on our enemies on that account, though it be now become vanity, and hath left us alone in this distress, let us make haste to die bravely. Let us pity ourselves, our children, and our wives while it is in our own power to show pity to them; for we were born to die,17 as well as those were whom we have begotten; nor is it in the power of the most happy of our race to avoid it. But for abuses, and slavery, and the sight of our wives led away after an ignominious manner, with their children, these are not such evils as are natural and necessary among men; although such as do not prefer death before those miseries, when it is in their power so to do, must undergo even them, on account of their own cowardice. We revolted from the Romans with great pretensions to courage; and when, at the very last, they invited us to preserve ourselves, we would not comply with them. Who will not, therefore, believe that they will certainly be in a rage at us, in case they can take us alive? Miserable will then be the young men who will be strong enough in their bodies to sustain many torments! miserable also will be those of elder years, who will not be able to bear those calamities which young men might sustain! One man will be obliged to hear the voice of his son implore help of his father, when his hands are bound. But certainly our hands are still at liberty, and have a sword in them; let them then be subservient to us in our glorious design; let us die before we become slaves under our enemies, and let us go out of the world, together with our children and our wives, in a state of freedom. This it is that our laws command us to do; this it is that our wives and children crave at our hands; nay, God himself hath brought this necessity upon us; while the Romans desire the contrary, and are afraid lest any of us should die before we are taken. Let us therefore make haste, and instead of affording them so much pleasure, as they hope for in getting us under their power, let us leave them an example which shall at once cause their astonishment at our death, and their admiration of our hardiness therein."
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness, and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.
--- Og Mandino
When a man begins to apprehend the first approach of grace, pardon, and mercy by Jesus Christ to his soul; when he is convinced of his utter unworthiness and desert of hell, and can never expect anything from a just and holy God but damnation, how do the first dawnings of mercy melt and humble him!
--- John Flavel
You are forgiven for your happiness and your successes only if you generously consent to share them.
--- Albert Camus The Fall
The only weapon that becomes sharper with constant use is the tongue.
... from here, there and everywhere
by D.H. Stern
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
11 The rich man is wise in his own view,
but the poor who has discernment sees through him.
12 When the just are triumphant, there is great rejoicing,
but when the wicked rise up, people hide.
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
My Utmost for His Highest
The undetected sacredness of circumstances
All things work together for good to them that love God. --- Romans 8:28.
The circumstances of a saint’s life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you cannot understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God is bringing you into places and among people and into conditions in order that the intercession of the Spirit in you may take a particular line. Never put your hand in front of the circumstances and say—‘I am going to be my own providence here; I must watch this, and guard that.’ All your circumstances are in the hand of God, therefore never think it strange concerning the circumstances you are in. Your part in intercessory prayer is not to enter into the agony of intercession, but to utilize the commonsense circumstances God puts you in, and the commonsense people He puts you amongst by His providence, to bring them before God’s throne and give the Spirit in you a chance to intercede for them: In this way God is going to sweep the whole world with His saints.
Am I making the Holy Spirit’s work difficult by being indefinite, or by trying to do His work for Him? I must do the human side of intercession, and the human side is the circumstances I am in and the people I am in contact with. I have to keep my conscious life as a shrine of the Holy Ghost, then as I bring the different ones before God, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for them.
Your intercessions can never be mine, and my intercessions can never be yours, but the Holy Ghost makes intercession in our particular lives, without which intercession for someone would be impoverished.
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
Never known as anything
but an absence, I dare not name him
as God. Yet the adjustments
are made. There is an unseen
power, whose sphere is the cell
and the electron. We never catch
him at work, but can only say,
coming suddenly upon an amendment,
that here he has been. To demolish
a mountain you move it stone by stone
like the Japanese. To make a new coat
of an old, you add to it gradually
thread by thread, so such change
as occurs is more difficult to detect.
Patiently with invisible structures
he builds, and as patiently
we must pray, surrendering the ordering
of the ingredients to a wisdom that
is beyond our own. We must change the mood
to the passive. Let the deaf men
be helped; in the silence that has come
upon them, let some influence
work so those closed porches
be opened once more. Let the bomb
swerve. Let the raised knife of the murderer
be somehow deflected. There are no
laws there other than the limits of
our understanding. Remembering rock
penetrated by the grass-blade, corrected
by water, we must ask rather
for the transformation of the will
to evil, for more loving
mutations, for the better ventilating
of the atmosphere of the closed mind.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
Regarding the talmudic statement in Sotah, “By the standard with which a man measures, with it shall he be measured,” which suggests that God intervenes in history by rewarding or punishing men in accordance with the nature of their deeds, Maimonides writes:
This is a matter that is apparent to the inner eye in every time, in every period, and in every place—that everyone who will do evil and devise forms of wrongdoing and vices, he himself will be injured by those evil deeds themselves which he devised, for he taught the art which will do harm to him and to someone else. Thus, whoever teaches virtue which brings into being any manner of good act, he will attain the benefit of that act, for he taught the matter which will do good to him and to someone else. The words of Scripture pertaining to this are excellent, he said, “The work of a man will He requite unto him (and according to the way of a man will He cause him to find).”
The language of reward and punishment need not imply divine miraculous intervention. An understanding of the social consequences of human action is one way Maimonides tries to have his reader understand the language of reward and punishment.
Maimonides constantly attempts to interpret the seemingly miraculous in natural terms. Vertical actions of God are not understood in isolation from the ordinary structure of nature or human action. Biblical descriptions of divine actions in history, which appear to suggest that divine working is independent of human action, are understood by Maimonides in a manner making God similar to a perceptive prognosticator of human events:
But is it not written in the Torah, “And they shall be enslaved and oppressed” (Gen. 15:13)? Did not then the Almighty decree that the Egyptians should do evil? It is also written, “This people will thereupon go astray after the alien gods in their midst (Deut. 31:16). Did He not decree that Israel should worship idols? Why then did He punish them? [The answer is] that He did not decree concerning any particular individual that that individual should be the one to go astray. Any one of those who went astray and worshiped idols, had he not desired to commit idolatry, need not have done so. The Creator only instructed Moses as to what the future course of history would be, as one might say, “This people will have among them righteous and wicked persons.” A wicked man has no right, on that account, to say that it had been decreed that he should be wicked, because the Almighty had informed Moses that among Israel there would be wicked men, just as the text, “For there will never cease to be needy ones in your land” (Deut. 15:11) does not imply that any particular individual is destined to be poor.
This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.
--- Jeremiah 23:6.
Self-righteousness is the last idol that is rooted out of the heart. Classic Sermons on The Names of God (Kregel Classic Sermons Series) (Classic Sermons) And we have contracted such a devilish pride by our fall from God that we would, in part at least, glory in being the cause of our own salvation. It is true we disclaim the doctrine of merit and are ashamed to say we deserve any good at the hands of God. Therefore, as the apostle observes, we seek to establish a righteousness of our own and, like the Pharisees of old, will not wholly submit to God’s righteousness that is through Jesus Christ.
The righteousness of Jesus Christ is one of those great mysteries that the angels desire to look into and seems to be one of the first lessons that God taught people after the Fall. For what were the garments that God made to put on our first parents but types of the application of the merits of the righteousness of Jesus Christ to believers’ hearts? We are told that those garments were made of skins of beasts, and as beasts were not then human food, we may fairly infer that those beasts were killed in sacrifice, in commemoration of the great sacrifice, Jesus Christ, to be offered later. And the skins of those beasts thus killed being put on Adam and Eve, they were by this taught how their nakedness was to be covered with the righteousness of the Lamb of God.
This is what is meant when we are told Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. In short, this is it of which both the law and all the prophets have spoken, especially Jeremiah in the words of the text: “The LORD Our Righteousness.”
The person mentioned in the text under the character of Lord is Jesus Christ. By “righteous Branch” (Jer. 23:5), all agree that we are to understand Jesus Christ. He it is who is called “the LORD” in our text. If there were no other text in the Bible to prove the divinity of Christ, that is sufficient. For if the word Lord may properly belong to Jesus Christ, he must be God. For as you have it in the margins of your Bibles, the word Lord is in the original Jehovah, which is the essential title of God himself. It is plain that by the word Lord we are to understand the Lord Jesus Christ who here takes to himself the title of Jehovah and therefore must be very God of very God, or, as the apostle devoutly expresses it, God over all, forever praised.
--- George Whitefield
Passages of Trouble
The Scottish Reformation came painfully, costing the lives of many staunch Protestants, including John Nisbet, whose 16-year-old son later penned this account in a “neat old-fashioned hand”:
On the 7th of November, 1685, my father, with other three, desired to go and end a controversy in one of their Christian societies; upon which he left me to the kind care of Providence, and went on his intended journey. But early on Sabbath Morning, he and the other three were seized by forty of the enemy. The night before, I had gone to the Earl of Loudon’s house; and in my sleep I dreamed of all the passages of trouble my father was in. I awoke with much sorrow of spirit, and immediately rose and essayed prayer. But alas, alas, I was dead, lifeless and overwhelmed with such a flood of sorrow that I could do nothing all that day but sigh to the breaking of my heart. At night, two young ladies came and sat down by me, and seeing me in such sorrow, asked me if I had got any meat. It was told them I would eat none all that day. Upon which they opened their skirts wherein they had some meat, and both very kindly urged me to eat. But I would eat none. At which the young ladies burst into tears; and one of them says, “This Morning, forty of the enemy came upon your father near to Fenwick Kirk; they have killed the other three and your father has received seven wounds and is prisoner.” At the hearing of which sad news I was struck to the heart. I arose immediately and went out to the fields. But kind Providence ordered the matter so, that though very dark, I met an eminent Christian, William Woodburn, my father’s friend, who counseled me to acquiesce in and submit to the sovereign will of God who is a father to the fatherless. Upon this blessed advice and seasonable counsel, the weight of my burden was much taken off, my sorrow alleviated, and all fretting at the dispensation prevented. I spent this night looking to the Lord, that my father might be strengthened to be faithful unto the death.
Our LORD, you will always rule,
But nations will vanish from the earth.
You listen to the longings of those who suffer.
You offer them hope,
And you pay attention to their cries for help.
You defend orphans and everyone else in need.
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - November 7
“Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” --- Isaiah 49:16.
No doubt a part of the wonder which is concentrated in the word “Behold,” is excited by the unbelieving lamentation of the preceding sentence. Zion said, “The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me.” How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief! What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God’s favoured people? The Lord’s loving word of rebuke should make us blush; he cries, “How can I have forgotten thee, when I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands? How darest thou doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?” O unbelief, how strange a marvel thou art! We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of his people. He keeps his promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt him. He never faileth; he is never a dry well; he is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapour; and yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears, as if our God were the mirage of the desert. “Behold,” is a word intended to excite admiration. Here, indeed, we have a theme for marvelling. Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain so great a nearness to the heart of infinite love as to be written upon the palms of his hands. “I have graven thee.”It does not say, “Thy name.” The name is there, but that is not all: “I have graven thee.” See the fulness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there. Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when he has graven thee upon his own palms?
Evening - November 7
“And ye shall be witnesses unto me.” --- Acts 1:8.
In order to learn how to discharge your duty as a witness for Christ, look at his example. He is always witnessing: by the well of Samaria, or in the Temple of Jerusalem: by the lake of Gennesaret, or on the mountain’s brow. He is witnessing night and day; his mighty prayers are as vocal to God as his daily services. He witnesses under all circumstances; Scribes and Pharisees cannot shut his mouth; even before Pilate he witnesses a good confession. He witnesses so clearly, and distinctly that there is no mistake in him. Christian, make your life a clear testimony. Be you as the brook wherein you may see every stone at the bottom—not as the muddy creek, of which you only see the surface—but clear and transparent, so that your heart’s love to God and man may be visible to all. You need not say, “I am true:” be true. Boast not of integrity, but be upright. So shall your testimony be such that men cannot help seeing it. Never, for fear of feeble man, restrain your witness. Your lips have been warmed with a coal from off the altar; let them speak as like heaven-touched lips should do. “In the Morning sow thy seed, and in the Evening withhold not thine hand.” Watch not the clouds, consult not the wind—in season and out of season witness for the Saviour, and if it shall come to pass that for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s you shall endure suffering in any shape, shrink not, but rejoice in the honour thus conferred upon you, that you are counted worthy to suffer with your Lord; and joy also in this—that your sufferings, your losses, and persecutions shall make you a platform, from which the more vigorously and with greater power you shall witness for Christ Jesus. Study your great Exemplar, and be filled with his Spirit. Remember that you need much teaching, much upholding, much grace, and much humility, if your witnessing is to be to your Master’s glory.
FOR ALL THE SAINTS
William How, 1823–1897
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race that is marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)
Someone has described a “saint” as any Christian who makes it easier for others to believe in God. One of the neglected liturgical days in many Protestant churches is All Saints Day, which occurs on the first Sunday in November. This neglect is understandable because the tradition of the day is rooted in medieval Catholicism. Homage is given on this day to the departed canonized saints of the church.
There is, however, an underlying meaning to this day that evangelical Christians should use and recognize. Here, for example, are some lessons it can teach us:
• Every believer whom God has called by His grace and sanctified by His Spirit has been called to sainthood.
• A thankful spirit for the memories of those believers from our local church who were called to their heavenly home during the past year.
• Then, for many of us, there has often been one particular individual who has especially influenced our lives—directing us to God, tutoring us in truth, and modeling the virtues of the Christian life.
Bishop William W. How wrote the text of “For All the Saints” in 1864, for use in the Anglican church liturgy commemorating All Saints Day. It was originally titled “Saints Day Hymn—Cloud of Witnesses—Hebrews 12:1.”
How do we best honor the memory of loved ones and friends who have contributed to our lives? By rededicating our own life to God, obeying Him implicitly, and reaching out to the needs of others.
For all the saints who from their labors rest, who Thee by faith before the world confessed, Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest: Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might; Thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight; and Thou, in darkness drear, their one true light: Alleluia! Alleluia!
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast, thru gates of pearl streams in the countless host, singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: Alleluia! Alleluia!
For Today: Psalm 22:4, 5; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–17; Revelation 6:11; 7:9
Recall the various individuals who have especially influenced your life for God. Breathe a prayer of thanks for their memory. ---
Use I. Of information and instruction.
Instruct. 1. If incomprehensible and infinite power belongs to the nature of God, then Jesus Christ hath a divine nature, because the acts of power proper to God are ascribed to him. This perfection of omnipotence doth unquestionably pertain to the Deity, and is an incommunicable property, and the same with the essence of God: he, therefore, to whom this attribute is ascribed, is essentially God. This is challenged by Christ, in conjunction with eternity (Rev. 1:8); “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” This the Lord Christ speaks of himself. He who was equal with God, proclaims himself by the essential title of the Godhead, part of which he repeats again (ver. 11), and this is the person which “walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks,” the person that “was dead and now lives” (ver. 17, 18), which cannot possibly be meant of the Father, the First Person, who can never come under the denomination of having been dead. Being, therefore, adorned with the same title, he hath the same Deity; and though his omnipotence be only positively asserted (ver. 8), yet, his eternity being asserted (ver. 11, 17), it inferreth his immense power; for he that is eternal, without limits of time, must needs be conceived powerful, without any dash of infirmity. Again, when he is said to be a child born, and a son given, in the same breath he is called the Mighty God (Isa. 9:6). It is introduced as a ground of comfort to the church, to preserve their hopes in the accomplishment of the promises made to them before. They should not imagine him to have only the infirmity of a man, though he was veiled in the appearance of a man. No, they should look through the disguise of his flesh, to the might of his Godhead. The attribute of mighty is added to the title of God, because the consideration of power is most capable to sustain the drooping church in such a condition , and to prop up her hopes. It's upon this account he saith of himself, “Whatsoever things the Father doth, those also doth the Son likewise” (John 5:19).
In the creation of heaven, earth, sea, and the preservation of all creatures, the Son works with the same will, wisdom, virtue, power, as the Father works: not as two may concur in an action in a different manner, as an agent and an instrument, a carpenter and his tools , but in the same manner of operation, δυοίως, which we translate likeness, which doth not express so well the emphasis of the word. There is no diversity of action between us; what the Father cloth, that I do by the same power, with the same easiness in every respect; there is the same creative, productive, conservative power in both of us; and that not in one work that is done, ad extra, but in all, in whatsoever the Father doth. In the same manner, not by a delegated, but natural and essential power, by one undivided operation and manner of working.
1st. The creation, which is a work of Omnipotence, is more than once ascribed to him. This he doth own himself; the creation of the earth, and of man upon it; the stretching out the heavens by his hands, and the forming of “all the hosts of them by his command” (Isa. 45:12). He is not only the Creator of Israel, the church (ver. 12), but of the whole world, and every creature on the face of the earth, and in the glories of the heavens; which is repeated also ver. 18, where, in this act of creation, he is called God himself, and speaks of himself in the term Jehovah; and swears by himself (ver. 23). What doth he swear?
“That unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear.” Is this Christ? Yes, if the apostle may be believed, who applies it to him (Rom. 14:11) to prove the appearance of all men before the judgment- seat of Christ, whom the prophet calls (ver. 15) “a God that hides himself;” and so he was a hidden God when obscured in our fleshly infirmities. He was in conjunction with the Father when the sea received his decree, and the foundations of the earth were appointed; not as a spectator, but as an artificer, for so the word in Prov. 8:30, signifies, “as one brought up with him;” it signifies also, “a cunning workman” (Cant. 7:1). He was the east, or the sun, from whence sprang all the light of life and being to the creature; so the word קדם (ver. 22), which is translated, “before his works of old,” is rendered by some, and signifies the east as well as before: but if it notes only his existence before, it is enough to prove his Deity. The Scripture doth not only allow him an existence before the world, but exalts him as the cause of the world: a thing may precede another that is not the cause of that which follows; a precedency in age doth not entitle one brother, or thing, the cause of another: but our Saviour is not only ancienter than the world, but is the Creator of the world (Heb.1:10, 11). “Who laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of his hands.” So great an eulogy cannot be given to one destitute of omnipotence; since the distance between being and not being is so vast a gulf that cannot be surmounded and stepped over, but by an Infinite Power: he is the first and the last, that called the “generations from the beginning” (Isa. 41:4), and had an almighty voice to call them out of nothing. In which regard he is called the “everlasting Father” (Isa. 9:6), as being the efficient of creation; as God is called the Father of the rain, or as father is taken for the inventor of an art; as Jubal, the first framer and inventor of music, is called “the father of such as handle the harp” (Gen. 4:21). And that Person is said to “make the sea, and form the dry land by his hands” (Psalm 95:5, 6) against whom we are exhorted not to harden our hearts, which is applied to Christ by the apostle (Heb. 3:8); in ver. 3, he is called “a great King,” and “a great God our Maker:” The places wherein the creation is attributed to Christ, those that are the antagonists of his Deity, would evade by understanding them of the new, or evangelical, not of the first, old material creation: but what appearance is there for such a sense? Consider,
(1 ) That of Heb. 1:10, 11, it is spoken of that earth and heavens which were in the beginning of time; it is that earth shall perish, that heaven that shall be folded up, that creation that shall grow old towards a decay; that is, only the visible and material creation: the spiritual shall endure forever; it grows not old to decay, but grows up to a perfection; it sprouts up to its happiness, not to its detriment. The same Person creates that shall destroy, and the same world is created by him that shall be destroyed by him, as well as it subsisted by virtue of his omnipotency.
(2.) Can that also (Heb. 1:2), “By whom also he made the worlds,” speaking of Christ, bear the same plea? It was the same Person by whom “God spake to us in these last times,” the same Person which he hath constituted “Heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds:” and the particle also, intimates it to be a distinct act from his speaking or prophetical office, whereby he restored and new created the world, as well as the rightful foundation God had to make him “Heir of all things.” It refers likewise, not to the time of Christ’s speaking upon earth, but to something past, and some thing different from the publication of the gospel: it is not “doth make,” which had been more likely if the apostle had meant only the new creation; but “hath made,” referring to time long since past, something done before his appearance upon earth as a Prophet: “By whom also he made the worlds,” or ages, all things subjected to, or measured by time; which must be meant according to the Jewish phrase of this material visible world: so they entitle God in their Liturgy, the “Lord of Ages,” that is, the Lord of the world, and all ages and revolutions of the world, from the creation to the last period of time. If anything were in being before this frame of heaven and earth, and within the compass of time, it received being and duration from the Son of God. The apostle would give an argument to prove the equity of making him Heir of all things as Mediator, because he was the framer of all things as God. He may well be the Heir or Lord of angels as well as men, who created angels as well as men: all things were justly under his power as Mediator, since they derived their existence from him as Creator.
(3.) But what evasion can there be for that (Col. 1:16)? “By him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, all things were created by him and for him.” He is said to be the Creator of material and visible things, as well as spiritual and invisible; of things in heaven, which needed no restoration, as well as things on earth, which were polluted by sin, and stood in need of a new creation. How could the angels belong to the new creation, who had never put off the honor and purity of the first? Since they never divested themselves of their original integrity, they could not be reinvested with that which they never lost. Besides, suppose the holy angels be one way or other reduced as parts of the new creation, as being under the mediatory government of our Saviour, as their Head, and in regard of their confirmation by him in that happy state. In what manner shall the devils be ranked among new creatures? They are called principalities and powers as well as the angels, and may come under the title of things invisible: that they are called principalities and powers is plain (Eph. 6:12): “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world; against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Good angels are not there meant, for what war have believers with them, or they with believers? They are the guardians of them, since Christ hath taken away the enmity between our Lord and theirs, in whose quarrel they were engaged against us: and since the apostle, speaking of “all things created by him,” expresseth it so, that it cannot be conceived he should except anything; how come the finally impenitent and unbelievers, which are things in earth, and visible, to be listed here in the roll of new creatures? None of these can be called new creatures, because they are subjected to the government of Christ; no more than the earth and sea, and the animals in it, are made new creatures, because they are all under the dominion of Christ and his providential government. Again, the apostle manifestly makes the creation he here speaks of, to be the material, and not the new creation; for that he speaks of afterwards as a distinct act of our Lord Jesus, under the title of Reconciliation (Col. 1:20, 21), which was the restoration of the world, and the satisfying for that curse that lay upon it. His intent is here to show that not an angel in heaven, nor a creature upon earth, but was placed in their several degrees of excellency by the power of the Son of God, who, after that act of creation, and the entrance of sin, was the “reconciler” of the world through the blood of his cross.
(4.) There is another place as clear (John 1:3): “All things were made by him, and without him was nothing made that was made.” The creation is here ascribed to him; affirmatively, “All things were made by him;” negatively, there was nothing made without him: and the words are emphatical, οδ , nνot one thing; excepting nothing; including invisible things, as well as things conspicuous to sense only, mentioned in the story of the creation (Gen. 1.); not only the entire mass, but the distinct parcels, the smallest worm and the highest angel, owe their original to him. And if not one thing, then the matter was not created to his hands; and his work consisted not only in the forming things from that matter: if that one thing of matter were excepted, a chief thing were excepted; if not one thing were excepted, then he created something of nothing because spirits, as angels and souls, are not made of any pre-existing or fore-created matter. How could the evangelist phrase it more extensively and comprehensively? This is a character of Omnipotency; to create the world, and everything in it, of nothing, requires an infinite virtue and power. If all things were created by Him, they were not created by him as man, because himself, as man, was not in being before the creation; if all things were made by him, then himself was not made, himself was not created; and to be existent without being made, without being created, is to be unboundedly omnipotent. And if we understand it of the new creation, as they do that will not allow him an existence in his Deity before his humanity, it cannot be true of that; for how could he regenerate Abraham, make Simeon and Anna new creatures, who “waited for the salvation of Israel,” and form John Baptist, and fill him with the Holy Ghost, even from the womb (Luke 1:15), who belonged to the new creation, and was to prepare the way, if Christ had not a being before him? The evangelist alludes to, and explains the history of the creation, in the beginning, and acquaints us what was meant by God, said so often, viz. the eternal Word, and describes him in his creative power, manifested in the framing the world, before he describes him in his incarnation, when he came to lay the foundation of the restoration of the world (John 1:14), “The Word was made flesh;” this Word who was “with God, who was God, who made all things,” and gave being to the most glorious angels and the meanest creature without exception; this Word, in time, “was made flesh.”
(5.) The creation of things mentioned in these Scriptures cannot be attributed to him as an instrument.
As if when it is said, “God created all things by him, and by him made the worlds,” we were to understand the Father to be the agent, and the Son to be a tool in his Father’s hand, as an axe in the hand of a carpenter, or a file in the hand of a smith, or a servant acting by command as the organ of his master. The preposition per, or διὰ, doth not always signify an instrumental cause: when it is said, that the apostle gave the Thessalonians a command “by Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 4:2), was Christ the instrument, and not the Lord of that command the apostle gave? The immediate operation of Christ dwelling in the apostles, was that whereby they gave the commands to their disciples. When we are called “by God” (1 Cor. 1:9), is he the instrumental, or principal cause of our effectual vocation? And can the will of God be the instrument of putting Paul into the apostleship, or the sovereign cause of investing him with that dignity, when he calls himself an “Apostle by the will of God” (Eph. 1:3)? And when all things are said to be through God, as well as of him, must he be counted the instrumental cause of his own creation, counsels, and judgments (Rom. 11:36)? When we “mortify the deeds of the body through the Spirit” (Rom. 8:13), or keep the “treasure of the word by the Holy Ghost” (2 Tim. 1:14), is the Holy Ghost of no more dignity in such acts than an instrument? Nor doth the gaining a thing by a person make him a mere instrument or inferior; as when a man gains his right in a way of justice against his adversary by the magistrate, is the judge inferior to the suppliant? If the Word were an instrument in creation, it must be a created or uncreated instrument: if created, it could not be true what the Evangelist saith, that “all things were made by him,” since himself, the principal thing, could not be made by himself: if uncreated, he was God, and so acted by a Divine omnipotency, which surmounts an instrumental cause. But, indeed, an instrument is impossible in creation, since it is wrought only by an act of the Divine will. Do we need any organ to an act of volition? The efficacious will of the Creator is the cause of the original of the body of the world, with its particular members and exact harmony. It was formed “by a word, and established by a command” (Psalm 33:9); the beauty of the creation stood up at the precept of his will. Nor was the Son a partial cause; as when many are said to build a house, one works one part, and another frames another part: God created all things by the immediate operation of the Son, in the unity of essence, goodness, power, wisdom; not an extrinsic, but a connatural instrument. As the sun doth illustrate all things by his light, and quickens all things by his heat, so God created the worlds by Christ, as he was the “brightness or splendor of his glory, the exact image of his person;” which follows the declaration of his making the worlds by him (Heb. 1:3, 4), to show, that he acted not as an instrument, but one in essential conjunction with him, as light and brightness with the sun. But suppose he did make the world as a kind of instrument, he was then before the world, not bounded by time; and eternity cannot well be conceived belonging to a Being without omnipotency. He is the End, as well as the Author, of the creatures (Col. 1:16); not only the principle which gave them being, but the sea, into whose glory they run and dissolve themselves, which consists not with the meanness of an instrument.
2d. As creation, so preservation, is ascribed to Him (Col. 1:17). “By him all things consist.” As he preceded all things in his eternity, so he establishes all things by his omnipotency, and fixes them in their several centres, that they sink not into that nothing from whence he fetched them. By him they flourish in their several beings, and observe the laws and orders he first appointed: that power of his which extracted them from insensible nothing, upholds them in their several beings with the same facility as he spake being into them, even “by the word of his power” (Heb. 1:3), and by one creative continued voice, called all generations, from the beginning to the period of the world (Isa. 41:4), and causes them to flourish in their several seasons. It is “by him kings reign, and princes decree justice,” and all things are confined within the limits of government. All which are acts of an Infinite Power.
3d. Resurrection is also ascribed to Him. The body crumbled to dust, and that dust blown to several quarters of the world, cannot be gathered in its distinct parts, and new formed for the entertainment of the soul, without the strength of an infinite arm. This he will do, and more; change the vileness of an earthly body into the glory of an heavenly one; a dusty flesh into a spiritual body, which is an argument of a power invincible, to which all things cannot but stoop; for it is by such an operation, which testifies an ability “to subdue all things to himself” (Phil. 3:21), especially when he works it with the same ease as he did the creation, by the power of his voice. (John 5:28), “All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth:” speaking them into a restored life from insensible dust, as he did into being from an empty nothing. The greatest acts of power are owned to belong to creation, preservation, resurrection.
Omnipotence, therefore, is his right; and, therefore, a Deity cannot be denied to him that inherits a perfection essential to none but God, and impossible to be entrusted in, or managed by the hands of any creatures. And this is no mean comfort to those that believe in him: he is, in regard of his power, “the horn of salvation;” so Zacharias sings of him (Luke 1:69). Nor could there be any more mighty found out upon whom God could have “laid our help” (Psalm 89:19). No reason, therefore, to doubt his ability to save to the utmost, who hath the power of creation, preservation, and resurrection in his hands. His promises must be accomplished, since nothing can resist him: he hath power to fulfil his word, and bring all things to a final issue, because he is Almighty: by his outstretched arm in the deliverance of his Israel from Egypt, (for it was his arm, 1 Cor. 10.) he showed that he was able to deliver us from spiritual Egypt. The charge of Mediator to expiate sin, vanquish hell, form a church, conduct and perfect it, are not to be effected by a person of less ability than infinite. Let this almightiness of His be the bottom, wherein to cast and fix the anchor of our hopes. Instruct.
2. Hence may be inferred the Deity of the Holy Ghost. Works of ommpotency are ascribed to the Spirit of God: by the motion of the wings of this Spirit, as a bird over her eggs, was that rude and unshapen mass hatched into a comely world. The stars,— or perhaps the angels, are meant by the “garnishing of the heavens” in the verse before the text,—were brought forth in their comeliness and dignity, as the ornaments of the upper world, by this Spirit; “By his Spirit he bath garnished the heavens.” To this Spirit Job ascribes the formation both of the body and soul, under the title of Almighty (Job 33:4), “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” Resurrection, another work of ornnipotency, is attributed to him (Rom. 8:11). The conception of our Saviour in the womb; the miracles that he wrought, were by the power of the Spirit in him. Power is a title belonging to him, and sometimes both are put together (1 Thess. 1:5, and other places). And that great power of changing the heart, and sanctifying a polluted nature, a work greater than creation, is frequently acknowledged in the Scripture to be the peculiar act of the Holy Ghost. The Father, Son, Spirit, are one principle in creation, resurrection, and all the works of omnipotence. Instruct.
3. Inference from the doctrine. The blessedness of God is hence evidenced. If God be Almighty, he can want nothing; all want speaks weakness. If he doth what he will, he cannot be miserable; all misery consists in those things which happen contrary to our will. There is nothing can hinder his happiness, because nothing can resist his power. Since he is omnipotent, nothing can hurt him, nothing can strip him of what he hath, of what he is. If he can do whatsoever he will, he cannot want anything that he wills. He is as happy, as great, as glorious, as he will; for he hath a perfect liberty of will to will, and a perfect power to attain what he will; his will cannot be restrained, nor his power meted. It would be a defect in blessedness, to will what he were not able to do: sorrow is the result of a want of power, with a presence of will. If he could will anything which he could not effect, he would be miserable, and no longer God: he can do whatsoever he pleases, and therefore can want nothing that pleases him. He cannot be happy, the original of whose happiness is not in himself: nothing can be infinitely happy, that is limited and bounded.
Instruct. 4. Hence is the ground for the immutability of God. As he is incapable of changing his resolves, because of his infinite wisdom, so he is incapable of being forced to any change, because of his infinite power. Being almighty, he can be no more changed from power to weakness; than, being all-wise, he can be changed from wisdom to folly; or, being omniscient, from knowledge to ignorance. He cannot be altered in his purposes, because of his wisdom; nor in the manner and method of his actions, because of his infinite strength. Men, indeed, when their designs are laid deepest, and their purposes stand firmest, yet are forced to stand still, or change the manner of the execution of their resolves, by reason of some outward accidents that obstruct them in their course; for, having not wisdom to foresee future hindrances, they have not power to prevent them, or strength to remove them, when they unexpectedly interpose themselves between their desire and performance; but no created power has strength enough to be a bar against God. By the same act of his will that he resolves a thing, he can puff away any impediments that seem to rise up against him. He that wants no means to effect his purposes, cannot be checked by anything that riseth up to stand in his way; heaven, earth, sea, the deepest places, are too weak to resist his will (Psalm 135:6). The purity of the angels will not, and the devil’s malice cannot, frustrate his will; the one voluntarily obeys the beck of his hand, and the other is vanquished by the power of it. What can make him change his purposes; who (if he please) can dash the earth against the heavens in the twinkling of an eye, untying the world from its centre, clap the stars and elements together into one mass, and blow the whole creation of men and devils into nothing? Because he is almighty, therefore he is immutable.
The Existence and Attributes of God