Galatians 4:20

On his first visit to Galatia, St. Paul was received, so he tells us, "as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus." He paid, it appears, a second visit to the province, and then the fickle people treated him with coldness and suspicion because he found it necessary to point out their faults and the danger of them, as though he had become their enemy solely because he told them the truth. This narrow and unfair conduct of the Galatians is only too common to human nature. The causes of it are worth examining, and the evil of it being detected as a warning against a repetition of the same egregious blunder.

I. IT IS SOMETIMES THE DUTY OF THE PREACHER TO TELL UNPLEASANT TRUTHS. It is a mistake to suppose that because he has a gospel to declare he must let only honied phrases fall from his lips. Jeremiah set up the prophesying of smooth things as the one sure test of a false prophet (Jeremiah 28:8, 9). John the Baptist prepared for the gospel by denouncing the sins of his fellow-countrymen. Christ uttered some of the most terrible words ever spoken (e.g. Matthew 23:33). The Church has been too much pampered with comforting words. We need more preaching to the conscience.

1. There are unpleasant truths. Nature is not all roses and lilies; nettles and vipers exist. The page of history is blotted with tears and blood. There are many ugly facts in our own past experience.

2. The great ground on which the preacher is required to utter unpleasant truths is that we are all sinners. The doctor who describes the eases in a hospital must say much about terrible diseases.

3. The purpose for which it is necessary to utter painful truths is to lead to repentance. It is not done merely to give pain nor to drive to despair. The lightning flash reveals the precipice that the unwary traveller may start back from destruction. Until we know ourselves to be in the wrong way we shall not turn to a better.

II. THE PREACHER OF UNPLEASANT TRUTHS MUST EXPECT TO BE TREATED AS AN ENEMY BY THE VERY MEN HE IS TRYING TO HELP. This has been the case all the world over with the prophets of Israel, John the Baptist, the apostles, reformers in every age, and, above all, Christ himself, who was crucified simply because he told truths that stung the Jews to madness. The noblest heroes of the "noble army of martyrs" suffered on this account. It is well to understand and be ready for such treatment even in the milder form which it generally assumes in our own day. it can be explained, though of course it cannot be justified. It may be traced to the following causes: -

1. The influences of association. The messenger of ill tidings is hated for his message. Milton calls the bird that foretells "a hapless doom" "a rude bird of hate."

2. Misinterpretation. It is assumed that the preacher wishes trouble because he predicts it, that he has pleasure in humiliating us by revealing our faults.

3. A corrupt conscience. Men often refuse to admit unpleasant truths about themselves, treat them as libels and the preachers of them as libellers of the race.


1. It is foolish. Truth is not the less true because we are blind to it. The revelation of its existence is not the creation of it.

2. It is unjust. The faithful servant of Christ, like his Master, will wish nothing but good to those whose guilt he denounces. He is the enemy of the sin just because he is the Friend of the sinner.

3. It is ungenerous. It is always a thankless task to tell unpleasant truths. For a man of kindly disposition it is a most painful task. Be undertakes it for the good of his friends. It would have been much more pleasant for St. Paul to have retained his popularity at the expense of the Church's welfare. He is an ungrateful patient who treats as an enemy the surgeon who hurts only that he may heal. - W.F.A.

Until Christ be formed in you.
Now, although the apostle nowhere carries out this into a full allegory, yet it may be clearly seen that this thought dwelt in his mind, viz., that as Christ came into this world, and was first a babe, and then a youth, and finally a man, so there was an order in the stages of our personal experience; and that Christ in us was born, first as a babe, and went on through all the stages of youth up to maturity, so that we have in the spiritual experience of our nature the parallel, the analogue, of that which Christ Himself went through. This great truth, therefore, is to be borne in mind, that Christian life begins at the point of weakness, and goes on by regular normal stages to maturity. It is first a spark, and then a flame, hidden in much smoke, and at last a pure and glowing coal. With this unfolding of the primal idea, I proceed, now, to make some applications.

1. Children and youth may become disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, and may be safely gathered into the Christian fold, if only their parents and their pastors will be content to receive the babe — Christ in the young convert, or the young Christian. Persons, we all know, are more susceptible at an early age that at any other. Children are not superior to men in knowledge, nor in strength, nor in discrimination. There are a thousand of the acquirements by which a man battles with the world that they are not superior in. But there is one all-important principle which belongs to childhood, and not to any other time, viz.: that peculiar development of the soul by which it knows how to take hold of another, and to borrow its light from that other. To borrow an orchard illustration, there is but one period of the year in which you can graft well. It may be possible to graft successfully at other times; but there is one period when you must make the transfer if you would take a bud from one tree, and graft it into another, and have it produce its kind, and do the best that it is capable of doing. There is but just one season when the bark lifts easy, and the staff is in the right condition. There is a time, also, when the little natures bud- easily, and graft easily. It is possible to graft them at other times, by extra elaboration; but more than half of the grafts will blow out, as the saying is. There is a period, however, in which ninety-nine out of a hundred will stick and grow. For all the adaptations of the child at the time are such as to incline it to borrow its life from another. It feeds upon another instinctively. It is a little parasite. It is but the transfer of that which is its need and instinct to the blessed Saviour. And then it becomes a Christian child. But many people, in bringing up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, look with great suspicion on early Christian experiences. They are afraid of abnormal growths.

2. One may be a Christian who is yet very far from the beauty and symmetry and manhood of piety. We are not to suppose that they only are Christians who are beautiful Christians, or who are embellished with all Christian graces. A man may be a Christian, and his Christ may be a babe. A man may be a Christian, and the Christian nature in him may yet be, as it were, in its boyhood. A man may be a Christian, and yet the Christ in him may have reached only that stage in which it enters upon young manhood. A man may be a Christian, and the Christ in him may have entered upon His ministry, as it were, in the full ripeness of His manhood. We are not, therefore, to suppose that persons are not Christians because they are very imperfect. If a man's heart is in the cause, and he enlists in the army, he is a soldier, not when he is a veteran, but when he enlists. He is a soldier just as really when his name goes down on the roll, and he goes out with the awkward squad to the first drill, as after he has been in the army five years — although he is not a soldier with the same degree and amplitude of experience. He is a soldier, provided his heart is right, and he loves the cause, and he joins in earnest. The degree of imperfection and ignorance that is in him has nothing to do with the fact of his being a soldier. It is that silent other thing, viz, the principle at the core of your life which undertakes to organize your whole being on the law of love. And that may be established in a man without any outward experience. A person may come to a state in which he means to be like Christ, and means to cut off everything that hinders his being like Christ, and to enforce outward and inward compliance to this law of love in Jesus Christ; and yet, he may not have light nor joy. But it is the raising up of that standard, the vindicating of that sovereign law in the soul, which constitutes the beginning of the Christian life. If it comes with joy so much the better. If it does not come with joy it is none the less true conversion.

3. In a Christian life, as in the ordinary life, there are two principles at work — first, the force of nature in the steady growth and unfolding of our normal powers; and secondly, the voluntary drill which, working in harmony with nature, we call education. Christian graces, if I might so say without being misapprehended, are like so many trades. They are not to be learned theoretically; and certainly they are not created in us by the mere operation of the Spirit, nor by the forces of sanctified nature. We learn them just as we learn anything in outward life. It is supposed that the Spirit of God makes men humble; that it, as it were, sends humility into them. Just as dew falls, and orbs itself on the bearded grass, gemmed and jewelled on a summer's morning; so men think that the Christian graces fall down oat of the great heavenly concave above them; and that all one knows is, that he went to sleep violet dry, and woke up a violet wet and beautiful! Many persons think that meekness, and gentleness, and humility, and faith, and patience, and hope, and joy in the Holy Ghost, are Divine gifts. They are Divine gifts, to be sure. So is corn a Divine gift; so is wine a Divine gift; and so are cattle on a thousand hills Divine gifts; but men have to work for them. God gives them to man's industry, and not to his laziness. All gifts are Divine gifts in such a sense as that. If the connection between the soul and God were to stop, these things would never take place; but He works together with us to will and to do these things. No man ever came to a state of Christian eminence by waiting and praying alone.

4. The experiences of Christian life are not promiscuous. They stand in a certain order of nature. Just as in summer all flowers do not blossom in spring, nor wait till autumn; as there is a regular succession, according to the temperament of the year, following a line of increasing heat; as there is an order of development in the tree; as there is first the leaf, and afterwards the green fruit, and then the ripe fruit, so is it in Christian life. Christ begins with us at the infant point, and develops in us steadily; and the later developments cannot be had until the intermediate ones are passed. We are steadily to grow; but at each point of growth we are, as it were, to seize the experiences of that point. When first people think they are delivered from the power of sin and Satan and death; when they first have a triumphant feeling that Christ loves them, and they know they love Christ, there is something wonderful and beautiful in it, and they should remember it as long as they live; but, after all, is that the best? And do you look back and say, "I never again had such experiences of love; I never again was so happy; I never again was so near to Christ?" Oh I what a life you have been living! Why, how far have you been? Is your Christ a babe yet? Born into your soul, did you turn the key of the chamber where He was? And did you send no schoolmaster and no nurse there? Did you starve the infant child? And has there never been any growth in that child? Is it but a phantom or vision in you? That child Jesus, born into your soul, should have grown, and should little by little have expelled the natural man, and swollen to all the proportions of your being, until he became Christ formed truly and perfectly in you. How is it with you, dear Christian brethren? Have you grown in that part of your being which is represented by Christ's love, and humility, and disinterestedness? Have you imitated Him in going about doing good? Have these elements of the Divine nature in you severally grown and cohered symmetrically, and swollen to the proportions of full manhood? On earth there is no sight more beautiful, and there never will be a sight more beautiful till He comes to reign a thousand years, than a character which has been steadfastly growing in every direction, and has come to old age rich and ripe. I am sorry to say that such characters are rare.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. THE APOSTLE'S MINISTRY. He takes the condition of a mother to express his most tender affection. If this be the case with Paul, how great is the compassion of God (Isaiah 49:15).

2. He signifies the measure of his ministerial pains (2 Corinthians 11:23). Those who take most pains are most successful.

3. He signifies the dignity of his ministry that it is the instrument of the new birth.

II. ITS END. "Till Christ," etc. This conformity to Christ is two-fold.

1. In quality.

(1)To the death of Christ.

(2)To the resurrection life of Christ.

2. In practice.

(1)As prophets; confessing Christ; teaching and admonishing one another.

(2)As priests; to offer spiritual sacrifices.

(3)As kings; to have sway over the corruptions of our own hearts.

(W. Perkins.)

They are weak, humble, teachable, obedient, hopeful, and progressive; and hence are called children.

(Thomas Jones.)

It is a common saying that a letter is a dead messenger, for it can give no more than it hath. And no epistle or letter is written so exactly that it is not lacking in some respect. For the circumstances are divers; there is diversity of times, places, persons, manners, and affections, all which no epistle can express; therefore it moveth the reader diversely, making him now sad, now merry, as he himself is disposed. But if anything be spoken sharply, or out of time, the living voice of a man may expound, mitigate, or correct the same. Therefore the apostle wisheth that he were with them, to the end he might temper and change his voice, as he should see it needful, by the qualities of their affections. As, if he should see any of them very much troubled, he might so temper his words that they should not be oppressed thereby with more heaviness; contrariwise, if he should see others high-minded, he might sharply reprehend them, lest they should be too secure and careless, and so at length become despisers of God. "Wherefore he could not devise how he, being absent, should deal with them by letters. As if he should say: If my epistle be too sharp, I fear I shall more offend than amend some of you. Again: If it be too gentle, it will not profit those who are perverse and obstinate; for dead letters and words give no more than they have. Contrariwise, the living voice of a man, compared to an epistle, is a queen; for it can add and diminish, it can change itself into all manner of affections, times, places, and persons.


I. PAUL'S DESIRE. This presence of pastors among their people is most necessary.

1. To prevent spiritual dangers; whence they are called watchmen and overseers.

2. To redress wrongs.

3. To recover backsliders.

II. THE END of this desire — "That I may change my voice."

1. From that of seeming rebuke to that of tender entreaty.

2. From that of the hard controversialist to that of the loving teacher and friend. Learn that frequent conference between pastor and people is most desirable —

(1)That pastors may know better how to teach.

(2)That people may know better what is taught.

(3)That both may live in peace and goodwill.

III. THE OCCASION of the desire.

1. The apostle's perplexity was real.

2. He took steps to relieve his doubts by this Epistle.

3. He left events to God.

(W. Perkins.)

Fellowship of souls does not consist in the proximity of persons. There are millions who live in close personal contact — dwell under the same roof, board at the same table, and work at the same shop — between whose minds there is scarcely a point of contact, whose souls are far asunder as the poles; while contrariwise there are those Who are separated by oceans and continents, ay, by the mysterious gulf which divides time and eternity, between whom there is constant; intercourse, a delightful fellowship. In truth, we have often more communion with the distant than with the near.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I stand in doubt of some of you. I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. And if there be no ground for it, you will forgive me; for if it be an error, it is the error of love. Even the apostles, the most select society that ever was formed, had a Judas among them. Even a judicious Christian may suspect that your whole hearts are not engaged, that the vigour of your spirits is not exerted, and that there is no spiritual life in your devotions. This man may suspect; and he who searches the heart may see it is so in fact. I also stand in doubt of some of you, that you have worn off your religious impressions before they ripened to a right issue. This is a very common case in the world, and therefore it may be yours. The temper of a Christian has such a resemblance to Christ's, that it was called Christ in embryo, spiritually formed within us. It is indeed infinitely short of the all-perfect original, but yet it is a prevailing temper, and habitually the governing principle of the soul. That filial temper towards God, that humble veneration and submission, that ardent devotion, that strict regard to all the duties of religion, that self-denial, humility, meekness and patience, that heavenly-mindedness and noble superiority to the world, that generous charity, benevolence and mercy to mankind, that ardent zeal and diligence to do good, that temperance and sobriety which shone in the blessed Jesus with a Divine incomparable splendour: these and the like graces and virtues shine, though with feebler rays, in all His followers. They have their infirmities indeed, many and great infirmities — but not such as are inconsistent with the habitual prevalency of this Christ-like disposition. You may make what excuses you please, but this is an eternal truth, that unless you have a real resemblance to the holy Jesus, you are not His genuine disciples. Pray examine critically into this point. Have you a right to take your name Christian from Christ, by reason of your conformity to Him? Again, if Christ be formed in your hearts, he lives there. The heavenly embryo is not yet complete, not yet ripe for birth into the heavenly world, but it is quickened. I mean, those virtues and graces above-mentioned are not dead, inactive principles within you, but they operate, they show themselves alive by action, they are the governing principles of your practice. Before I dismiss this head, I must observe that the production of this Divine infant, if I may so call it, in the heart, is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit. Ii; is not the growth of nature, but a creation by Divine power. But you would inquire farther, "In what manner does this Divine agent work; or how is Christ formed in the hearts of His people?" I answer, the heart of man has a quick sensation. Nothing can be done there without its perceiving it, much less can Christ be formed there, while it is wholly insensible of the operation. There is indeed a great variety in the circumstances, but the substance of the work is the same in all adults. Therefore, if ever you have been the subjects of it, you have been sensible of the following particulars.

1. You have been made deeply sensible of your being entirely destitute of this Divine image. Your hearts have appeared to you as a huge, shapeless mass of corruption, without one ingredient of true goodness, amidst all the flattering appearances of it.

2. You have hereupon set yourselves in earnest to the use of the means appointed for the renovation of your nature.

3. You have been made sensible of your own weakness, and the inefficacy of all the means you could use to produce the Divine image upon your hearts; and that nothing but the Divine hand could draw it there.

4. Hereupon the Holy Spirit enlightened your mind to view the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and the method of salvation revealed in the gospel. You were enabled to cast your guilty corrupt, helpless soul upon Jesus Christ, whom you saw to be a glorious all-sufficient Saviour; and with all your hearts you embraced the way of salvation through His mediation. The view of His glory proved transformative: while you were contemplating the object, you received its likeness; the rays of glory beaming upon you, as it were, rendered your hearts transparent, and the beauties of holiness were stamped upon them.

5. If Christ has ever been formed in you, it is your persevering endeavour to improve and perfect this Divine image. You long and labour to be fully conformed to Him, and, as it were, to catch His air, His manner and spirit, in every thought, in every word, and in every action. As far as you are unlike to Him, so far you appear deformed and loathsome to yourselves. While you feel an unchristian spirit prevail within you, you seem as if you were possessed with the devil. And it is the labour of your life to subdue such a spirit, and to brighten and finish the features of the Divine image within you, by repeated touches and retouches.

(President Davies, M. A.)

There are minerals which exhibit different colours on different faces. Thus dichroite, or iolite, is often deep blue along its vertical axis; but, on a side perpendicular to this axis, it is brownish yellow. The phenomenon results from the manner in which the particles are arranged for' reflecting and transmitting light. The whole internal structure must be changed before the same colour shall be presented on all the faces. There is a moral dichroism. It consists in a man's being Janus-faced — that is, double-faced — both in his principles and his practice, in order to secure popular favour and avoid odium. The chameleon is said to have the power of assuming the colour of the object on which it fastens; so this man means to conform his creed and his practice to those which are most popular in the community where he happens to abide or sojourn. In one place he is orthodox; in another, heterodox; in one, an advocate for temperance; in another, loose in this matter, both in theory and practice: in one place, proslavery; in another, antislavery. His moral and religious principles are not settled, or, rather, he makes them bend to his worldly interest, and you have no way of determining where to find him in any circumstance, except to inquire what aspect self-interest will require him to put on. Nor will it ever be essentially better until Divine grace shall have transformed and re-arranged the elements of his character.


Mr. Camden reports of one Redwald, king of the East Saxons, the first prince of this nation that was baptized, yet in the same church he had one altar for Christian religion, another for that of the heathens. And many such false worshippers of God there are to be found amongst us — such as divide the rooms of their souls betwixt God and the devil, that swear by God and Malcham, that sometimes pray and sometimes curse, that halt betwixt God and Baal — mere heteroclites in religion. But God cannot endure this division: He will not have thy threshold to stand by His threshold; He will have all thy heart; He cares not for half, if it and the devil have the other.


Agar, Galatians, Hagar, Isaac, Paul
Galatia, Jerusalem, Mount Sinai
Change, Changed, Desire, Doubt, Perplexed, Present, Stand, Tone, Troubled, Truly, Using, Voice, Wish, Wishing
1. We were under the law till Christ came, as the heir is under the guardian till he be of age.
5. But Christ freed us from the law;
7. therefore we are servants no longer to it.
14. Paul remembers the Galatians' good will to him, and his to them;
22. and shows that we are the sons of Abraham by the freewoman.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Galatians 4:19-20

     5781   affection
     8239   earnestness

May 7. "I Travail in Birth Again Until Christ be Formed in You" (Gal. Iv. 19).
"I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you" (Gal. iv. 19). It is a blessed moment when we are born again and a new heart is created in us after the image of God. It is a more blessed moment when in this new heart Christ Himself is born and the Christmas time is reproduced in us as we, in some real sense, become incarnations of the living Christ. This is the deepest and holiest meaning of Christianity. It is expressed in Paul's prayer for the Galatians. "My little children, for whom I
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Fourth Sunday in Lent
Text: Galatians 4, 21-31. 21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, one by the handmaid, and one by the freewomen. 23 Howbeit the son by the handmaid is born after the flesh; but the son by the freewoman is born through promise. 24 Which things contain an allegory: for these women are two covenants; one from mount Sinai, bearing children unto bondage, which is Hagar. 25 Now this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

The Allegories of Sarah and Hagar
We shall attempt this morning to teach you something of the allegories of Sarah and Hagar, that you may thereby better understand the essential difference between the covenants of law and of grace. We shall not go fully into the subject, but shall only give such illustrations of it as the text may furnish us. First, I shall want you to notice the two women, whom Paul uses as types--Hagar and Sarah; then I shall notice the two sons--Ishmael and Isaac; in the third place, I shall notice Ishmael's conduct
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 2: 1856

Adoption --The Spirit and the Cry
The divinity of each of these sacred persons is also to be gathered from the text and its connection. We do not doubt tee the loving union of all in the work of deliverance. We reverence the Father, without whom we had not been chosen or adopted: the Father who hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We love and reverence the Son by whose most precious blood we have been redeemed, and with whom we are one in a mystic and everlasting union: and
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 24: 1878

God's Inheritance
GAL. iv. 6, 7. Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. This is the second good news of Christmas-day. The first is, that the Son of God became man. The second is, why he became man. That men might become the sons of God through him. Therefore St. Paul says, You are the sons of God. Not--you may be, if you are very good: but you are,
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

Luther -- the Method and Fruits of Justification
Martin Luther, leader of the Reformation, was born at Eisleben in 1483, and died there 1546. His rugged character and powerful intellect, combined with a strong physique, made him a natural orator, so that it was said "his words were half battles." Of his own method of preaching he once remarked: "When I ascend the pulpit I see no heads, but imagine those that are before me to be all blocks. When I preach I sink myself deeply down; I regard neither doctors nor masters, of which there are in the church
Various—The World's Great Sermons, Volume I

The Faithful Steward
We are now prepared to present in detail that general system of beneficence, demanded alike by Scripture and reason, and best fitted to secure permanent and ever-growing results. While universal, it must be a system in its nature adapted to each individual, and binding on the individual conscience; one founded on, and embracing, the entire man,--his reason, his heart and will, including views and principles, feelings and affections, with their inculcation, general purposes and resolutions, with corresponding
Sereno D. Clark—The Faithful Steward

"Ye are not in the Flesh," Says the Apostle...
"Ye are not in the flesh," says the apostle, "but in the Spirit"; but then he adds, as the only ground of this, "if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you"; surely he means, if so be ye are moved, guided, and governed by that, which the Spirit wills, works and inspires within you. And then to show the absolute necessity of this life of God in the soul, he adds, "If any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." And that this is the state to which God has appointed, and called all
William Law—An Humble, Affectionate, and Earnest Address to the Clergy

Here are Two Most Important and Fundamental Truths Fully Demonstrated...
Here are two most important and fundamental truths fully demonstrated, First, that the truth and perfection of the gospel state could not take place, till Christ was glorified, and his kingdom among men made wholly and solely a continual immediate ministration of the Spirit: everything before this was but subservient for a time, and preparatory to this last dispensation, which could not have been the last, had it not carried man above types, figures and shadows, into the real possession and enjoyment
William Law—An Humble, Affectionate, and Earnest Address to the Clergy

But one Sometimes Comes to a Case of this Kind...
24. But one sometimes comes to a case of this kind, that we are not interrogated where the person is who is sought, nor forced to betray him, if he is hidden in such manner, that he cannot easily be found unless betrayed: but we are asked, whether he be in such a place or not. If we know him to be there, by holding our peace we betray him, or even by saying that we will in no wise tell whether he be there or not: for from this the questioner gathers that he is there, as, if he were not, nothing else
St. Augustine—On Lying

Introductory Note to the Epistle of Barnabas
[a.d. 100.] The writer of this Epistle is supposed to have been an Alexandrian Jew of the times of Trajan and Hadrian. He was a layman; but possibly he bore the name of "Barnabas," and so has been confounded with his holy and apostolic name-sire. It is more probable that the Epistle, being anonymous, was attributed to St. Barnabas, by those who supposed that apostle to be the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and who discovered similarities in the plan and purpose of the two works. It is with
Barnabas—The Epistle of Barnabas

The Gospel Message, Good Tidings
[As it is written] How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! T he account which the Apostle Paul gives of his first reception among the Galatians (Galatians 4:15) , exemplifies the truth of this passage. He found them in a state of ignorance and misery; alienated from God, and enslaved to the blind and comfortless superstitions of idolatry. His preaching, accompanied with the power of the Holy Spirit, had a great and marvellous effect.
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

How Can I Obtain Faith?
May the Spirit of God assist us while we meditate upon the way by which faith cometh. This shall be followed by a brief indication of certain obstructions which often lie in that way; and then we will conclude by dwelling upon the importance that faith should come to us by that appointed road. I. First, then, THE WAY BY WHICH FAITH COMES TO MEN. "Faith cometh by hearing." It may help to set the truth out more clearly, if we say, negatively, that it does not come by any other process than by hearing;--not
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

The Blood of Sprinkling
Our apostle next tells us what we are come to. I suppose he speaks of all the saints after the death and resurrection of our Lord and the descent of the Holy Ghost. He refers to the whole church, in the midst of which the Holy Spirit now dwells. We are come to a more joyous sight than Sinai, and the mountain burning with fire. The Hebrew worshipper, apart from his sacrifices, lived continually beneath the shadow of the darkness of a broken law; he was startled often by the tremendous note of the
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 32: 1886

"But Ye have Received the Spirit of Adoption, Whereby we Cry, Abba, Father. "
Rom. viii. 15.--"But ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God," 1 John iii. 1. It is a wonderful expression of love to advance his own creatures, not only infinitely below himself, but far below other creatures, to such a dignity. Lord, what is man that thou so magnified him! But it surpasseth wonder, that rebellious creatures, his enemies, should have, not only
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"For as Many as are Led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God. For Ye have not Received the Spirit of Bondage
Rom. viii. s 14, 15.--"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." The life of Christianity, take it in itself, is the most pleasant and joyful life that can be, exempted from those fears and cares, those sorrows and anxieties, that all other lives are subject unto, for this of necessity must be the force and efficacy of true religion,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Moral Reactions of Prayer
The Moral Reactions of Prayer All religion is founded on prayer, and in prayer it has its test and measure. To be religious is to pray, to be irreligious is to be incapable of prayer. The theory of religion is really the philosophy of prayer; and the best theology is compressed prayer. The true theology is warm, and it steams upward into prayer. Prayer is access to whatever we deem God, and if there is no such access there is no religion; for it is not religion to resign ourselves to be crushed
P. T. Forsyth—The Soul of Prayer

Christ's Humiliation in his Incarnation
'Great is the mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh.' I Tim 3:16. Q-xxvii: WHEREIN DID CHRIST'S HUMILIATION CONSIST? A: In his being born, and that in a low condition, made under the law, undergoing the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, and the cursed death of the cross. Christ's humiliation consisted in his incarnation, his taking flesh, and being born. It was real flesh that Christ took; not the image of a body (as the Manichees erroneously held), but a true body; therefore he
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Her virginity Also Itself was on this Account More Pleasing and Accepted...
4. Her virginity also itself was on this account more pleasing and accepted, in that it was not that Christ being conceived in her, rescued it beforehand from a husband who would violate it, Himself to preserve it; but, before He was conceived, chose it, already dedicated to God, as that from which to be born. This is shown by the words which Mary spake in answer to the Angel announcing to her her conception; "How," saith she, "shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" [2031] Which assuredly she would
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

But if Moreover any not Having Charity, which Pertaineth to the Unity of Spirit...
23. But if moreover any not having charity, which pertaineth to the unity of spirit and the bond of peace whereby the Catholic Church is gathered and knit together, being involved in any schism, doth, that he may not deny Christ, suffer tribulations, straits, hunger, nakedness, persecution, perils, prisons, bonds, torments, swords, or flames, or wild beasts, or the very cross, through fear of hell and everlasting fire; in nowise is all this to be blamed, nay rather this also is a patience meet to
St. Augustine—On Patience

Therefore at that Time, when the Law Also...
27. Therefore at that time, when the Law also, following upon the days of the Patriarchs, [2010] pronounced accursed, whoso raised not up seed in Israel, even he, who could, put it not forth, but yet possessed it. But from the period that the fullness of time hath come, [2011] that it should be said, "Whoso can receive, let him receive," [2012] from that period even unto this present, and from henceforth even unto the end, whoso hath, worketh: whoso shall be unwilling to work, let him not falsely
St. Augustine—On the Good of Marriage

Letter xiv (Circa A. D. 1129) to Alexander, Bishop of Lincoln
To Alexander, [15] Bishop of Lincoln A certain canon named Philip, on his way to Jerusalem, happening to turn aside to Clairvaux, wished to remain there as a monk. He solicits the consent of Alexander, his bishop, to this, and begs him to sanction arrangements with the creditors of Philip. He finishes by exhorting Alexander not to trust too much in the glory of the world. To the very honourable lord, Alexander, by the Grace of God, Bishop of Lincoln, Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, wishes honour more
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Eighth Sunday after Trinity Living in the Spirit as God's Children.
Text: Romans 8, 12-17. 12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: 13 for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

No Sorrow Like Messiah's Sorrow
Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Behold, and see, if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow! A lthough the Scriptures of the Old Testament, the law of Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophecies (Luke 24:44) , bear an harmonious testimony to MESSIAH ; it is not necessary to suppose that every single passage has an immediate and direct relation to Him. A method of exposition has frequently obtained [frequently been in vogue], of a fanciful and allegorical cast [contrivance], under the pretext
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

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