Hurry! Run there quickly, for I cannot do anything until you reach it." That is why the town was called Zoar.
This is the question which we are always asking with regard to the events of our lives. Something crosses the stream of our existence and diverts its current into another channel, a trifle we call it, in our blindness; but it is no such thing, there are no such things as trifles; little things make up the history of mankind and the history of individuals, but they are not trifles; the vast machinery of the universe turns upon very little wheels, but they are none the less important for all that. A little message flashed along the telegraph wire plunges two great nations into war, and dislocates half Europe; a little word spoken in anger makes a man a murderer, or loses a prodigal an inheritance; a little look of penitence, a single tear from remorseful eyes, heals the breach between two friends and make them one again; a little plaything or a little trouble alters the whole current of a child's thoughts, so a little larger plaything or a little deeper trouble sweetens or embitters the life of men who are but children of a larger growth, Never, then, underrate the importance of little things; they are to your lives and fortunes what the acorn is to the forest oak, what the little spring in the Cotswold Hills is to the great river at your doors. Look at the little troubles of life; they cause more of the grumbling in the world than its great trials. It is marvellous how wretched and discontented a little change of weather makes us, a shift of wind, a change of temperature paralyzes one, and makes another ill-tempered. God's hand is concerned in the little things, remember, as well as in the great. He makes the grain of sand as well as the mountain, the same hand lets the sparrow fall to the ground, and destroys the armies in the war. Little sins are the most dangerous of all sins, just as some tropical reptiles are the most deadly because difficult to detect from their smallness. Let me try to bring some of these little sins under the microscope, that you may see how dangerous and ugly they look. Grumbling we have spoken of; next look at thoughtlessness, and little sins of commission and omission constantly excused with the words, "is it not a little one?" or "I never thought of it." Again, there is procrastination — some duty is to be done, a little one, some small debt is to be paid, seine small memorandum to be put down, some visit to be made, and we put it off till to-morrow, till the to-morrow which never comes, and when some calamity or loss arises from the neglect our pitiful plaint is "I never thought of it." So with little unkindness; it is not often, I believe, that we wound and injure people of deliberate malice, but many a fair fame is tarnished, many a happy home broken up, many a life-long quarrel caused by thoughtlessly uttered words about our neighbours. We cannot be too careful in judging or giving an opinion of the qualities of others. Let us bring another sin beneath the microscope — bad temper. I know not if I may safely call it a little one, it has an ugly aspect and is capable of an endless amount of mischief. In many a household there is this little bitter drop of bad temper spoiling all the meals, blackening all the social pleasures, fading all the flowers of joy and happiness. It is easy to call it an infirmity of temper, or to say it is only a manner, but it is an infirmity which, if neglected, grows to great lengths, and a manner is all by which we can judge most people; it is the outward man which is presented to us, and although a man's heart may be very kindly disposed to us, it is scarcely likely for us to know it or appreciate it if his manner be unkind. This manner is one of the little things which is of vast importance. Another of the little sins which affect the home circle greatly is want of forbearance; bear and forbear is the best maxim for home; "let them first learn to show piety at home" is the best text. Close akin to this last sin is that of censoriousness, of finding fault perpetually with the details of your home life. There is yet another so-called little sin, of which I must speak — the breaking and re-forming of good resolutions. This is no little sin, believe me, it is the sin which has ruined millions, the sin of trusting in ourselves instead of in God's constant help. But I pass on to say a word, in conclusion, on the exceeding danger of little sins as regards our spiritual life. They sap and undermine it, just as the constant fretting of a tiny stream of water will wear away stone and wooden piers; just as tiny insects will eat through a ship's timbers and destroy her. If a man procrastinates, habitually defers any duty, how will he prepare for the great day, when will he begin to set his house in order? If we indulge in unkindly judgments and remarks about our neighbours, how can we approach the Holy Communion when we are told to be in love and charity with our neighbour; how, if we continually break our good resolutions, can we be said " to intend to lead a new life"? How can we come to Church in a proper frame of mind, how can we hope to get any good from the services, if we have just left a scene of ill-temper, harsh language, and bitter thoughts at home? No, such things cannot be.
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord. The promise to Abraham included -
(1) understanding of God's acts;
(2) that he should become a mighty nation;
(3) that he should be ancestor of the promised Seed;
(4) that he himself should be a blessing to others.
Of these points two at least are not confined to him personally, but belong to all who will. To know what God doeth a man must be taught of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14; cf. Isaiah 7:12). There is a wide difference between seeing an event, or even foreseeing it, and understanding God's lessons therein. To be able in everything to mark the love, and care, and wisdom of God; to walk with him as a child, accepting what he sends not merely as inevitable, but as loving; to learn lessons from all that happens, and through the works of his hands to see our Father's face - this is peace, and this is what the wisdom of this world cannot teach (Matthew 11:25; 1 Corinthians 1:20, 21). Again, Abraham was to be not merely the ancestor of a nation, but the father of a spiritual family by influence and example (Matthew 3:9; Galatians 3:7). In this his calling is that of every Christian (Daniel 12:3; Matthew 5:13, 14). Text connects the godly rule of a family with both these blessings. Christianity is not to be a selfish, but a diffusive thing (Matthew 5:15; Matthew 13:83); and the influence must needs begin at home (cf. Numbers 10:29; Acts 1:8), among those whom God has placed with us.
I. THINGS NEEDFUL FOR THIS WORK.
1. Care for his own soul. If that is not cared for a man cannot desire the spiritual good of others. He may desire and try to train his children and household in honesty and prudence; to make them good members of society, successful, respected; and may cultivate all kindly feelings; but not till he realizes eternity will he really aim at training others for eternity. Might say that only one who has found peace can fully perform this work. A man aroused with desire that his family should be saved. But he cannot press the full truth as it is in Jesus.
2. Love for the souls of others. Christians are sometimes so wrapped up in care for their own souls as to have few thoughts for the state of others. Perhaps from a lengthened conflict the mind has been too much turned upon its own state. But this is not the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:24). It is not a close following of him. It tells of a halting in the "work of faith" (2 Corinthians 5:13, 14; cf. Romans 10:1).
3. Desire to advance the kingdom of Christ. When a man has this he sees in every one a soul for which Christ died (cf. John 4:35), and those with whom he is closely connected must chiefly call forth this feeling.
II. THE MANNER OF THE WORK. Family worship; acknowledgment of God as ruling in the household; his will a regulating principle and bond of union. Let this be a reality, not a form. Let the sacrificial work of Christ be ever put forward in instruction and in prayer. Personal example - constantly aiming at a holy life. To pray in the family and yet to be evidently making no effort to live in the spirit of the prayer is to do positive evil; encouraging the belief that God may be worshipped with words, without deeds; and tending to separate religion from daily life. Prayer in private for each member - children, servants, &c.; and watchfulness to deal with each as God shall give opportunity (Proverbs 15:23). Let prayer always accompany such efforts. - M.
Is it not a little one?
God warns us to flee from the low level life of sin to the mountain of purity and peace. A word spoken by a friend, something read in a letter or book, joy, sorrow, anything God can use as His angel or messenger to call us away from the land of sin. And we are willing to do so on condition that we may keep that one little sin that doth so easily beset us. There is one habit which conscience tells us is not quite right, but which could only be broken by a painful struggle. Oh, let me keep this sin (is it not a little one?), and all other sins I shall put away! But this sort of compromise is impossible. The contagion of any one conscious sin, however small, will poison the whole soul. God will have all of a man's heart, or none of it. Let us think of some of the reasons why we should try by God's grace to put away those little sins which we have been comparing to the little Zoar for which Lot pleaded.
1. The first reason is because in God's sight there is no such thing as a little sin. He is of purer eyes than to behold with tolerance any evil. Then we ought to reflect that doing conspicuous good actions and abstaining from great sins cannot prove our love to God as much as doing small duties and abstaining from little sins. The test, therefore, of a fine character is attention to what are called the small matters of conduct.
2. Another reason why we should be afraid to harbour little sins is because they lead to great ones. The very absence of crime and great sin which, it present, might have shocked us into repentance, may lull us into a sleep of fatal security and self-righteousness. To prevent this, let us adopt a high standard of Christian excellence, and endeavour to reach it by attention to small things. Every one who is at all in the habit of self-examination must be conscious of such within him — indolence, vanity, ill-temper, weakness, yielding to the opinion and ridicule of the world, the temptation of bad passions, of which we are ashamed, but by which we are overcome. Let each of us consider what his peculiar infirmity is, and though the Zoar be a little one, and though it be hard to part with, resolutely determine to give it up to destruction. Let us remember, that if ever we are to have a character capable of enjoying the mountain of holiness, we must not now despise the day of small things. Character is built, like the walls of an edifice, by laying one stone upon another. A mountain is ascended by setting one footstep after another up its steep face; if there be an occasional backward slip, a lesson of caution is learned, and the lost path is regained with determination. Holiness is not a rapture; it is a steady living to God, one step at a time, and every one higher up.
The most lamentable consequences in a Christian's life often date their origin from some small act which is suffered to grow into a principle; from some incidental occurrence which ministered temptations that were heedlessly encouraged; or from a failure in habitual watchfulness in something which was considered unimportant in its influence.
I. THIS INATTENTION TO LITTLE THINGS WILL BE DISCOVERED IN THE FREQUENT EXCITEMENTS OF A NATURALLY IRRITABLE TEMPER. That ardour of temperament which gives the ability for great achievements, opens also the source of great sorrows. Our trials of temper are usually found in small incidents; chiefly in the little and private concerns of domestic life.
II. THIS DISREGARD OF LITTLE THINGS WILL BE EXHIBITED IN THE MANY SMALL AND UNNECESSARY INDULGENCES WHICH CHRISTIANS TOO OFTEN ALLOW THEMSELVES FOR APPETITE OR EASE. How often are such indulgences made the substance of a permanent and unchangeable habit?
III. THIS INATTENTION TO SMALLER THINGS WILL BE DETECTED IN THE LIGHT AND UNIMPROVING RECREATIONS AND AMUSEMENTS, WHICH ARE OFTEN ALLOWED,
IV. YOU MAY DISCOVER THIS INATTENTION TO SMALLER MATTERS IN RELIGION, IN AN INCREASING SPIRIT OF IDLENESS AND SLOTH. The Zoar of indolence will be no refuge. It may be made the prison of bondage. It can never be the abode of peace.
()1. With regard, then, to this temptation of Satan concerning the littleness of sin, I would make this first answer: the best of men have always been afraid of little sins. Yea may have read of that noble warrior for Christ, Martin Arethusa, the bishop. He had led the people to pull down the idol temple in the city over which he presided; and when the apostate emperor Julian came to power, he commanded the people to rebuild the temple. They were bound to obey on pain of death. But Arethusa all the while lifted up his voice against the evil they were doing, until the wrath of the king fell upon him of a sudden. He was, however, offered his life on condition that he would subscribe so much as a single halfpenny towards the building of the temple; nay, less than that, if he would cast one grain of incense into the censer of the false God he might escape. But he would not do it. He feared God, and he would not do the most tiny little sin to save his life. They therefore exposed his body, and gave him up to the children to prick him with knives; then they smeared him with honey, and he was exposed to wasps and stung to death. But all the while the grain of incense he would not give. He could give his body to wasps, and die in the most terrible pains, but he could not, he would not, he dared not sin against God. A noble example I Now, brethren, if men have been able to perceive so much of sin in little transgressions, that they would bear inconceivable tortures rather than commit them, must there not be something dreadful after all in the thing of which Satan says, "Is it not a little one?" Men, with their eyes well opened by Divine grace, have seen a whole hell slumbering in the most minute sin.
2. We all see in nature how easily we may prove this — that little things lead to greater things. If it be desired to bridge a gulf, it is often the custom to shoot an arrow, and cross it with a line almost as thin as film. That line passes over and a string is drawn after it, and after that some small rope, and after that a cable, and after that the swinging suspension bridge, that makes a way for thousands. So it is ofttimes with Satan.
3. Another argument may be used to respond to this little temptation of the devil. He says, "Is it not a little one?", "Yes," we reply, "but little sins multiply very fast." Like all other little things, there is a marvellous power of multiplication in little sins. Years ago there was not a single thistle in the whole of Australia. Some Scotchman who very much admired thistles — rather more than I do — thought it was a pity that a great island like Australia should be without that marvellous and glorious symbol of his great nation. He therefore collected a packet of thistle-seeds, and sent it over to one of his friends in Australia. Well, when it was landed, the officers might have said, "Oh, let it in; 'is it not a little one?' Here is but a handful of thistle-down, oh, let it come in; it will be but sown in a garden — the Scotch will grow it in their gardens; they think it a fine flower, no doubt — let them have it, it is but meant for their amusement." Ah, yes, it was but a little one; but now whole districts of country are covered with it, and it has become the farmer's pest and plague. It was a little one; but, all the worse for that, it multiplied and grew. If it had been a great evil, all men would have set to work to crush it. This little evil is not to be eradicated, and of that country it may be said till doomsday — "Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth." Happy would it have been if the ship that brought that seed had been wrecked. No boon is it to those of our countrymen there on the other side of the earth, but a vast curse. Take heed of the thistle-seed; little sins are like it.
4. Once again; little sins, after all, if you look at them in another aspect, are great. A little sin involves a great principle. Suppose that to-morrow the Austrians should send a body of men into Sardinia. If they only send a dozen it would be equal to a declaration of war. It may be said "Is it not a little one? — a very small band of soldiers that we have sent?" "Yes," it would be replied, "but it is the principle of the thing. You cannot be allowed with impunity to send your soldiers across the border. War must be proclaimed, because you have violated the frontier, and invaded the land." It is not necessary to send a hundred thousand troops into a country to break a treaty. It is true the breach of the treaty may appear to be small; but if the slightest breach be allowed, the principle is gone. The principle of obedience is compromised in thy smallest transgression, and, therefore, is it great. Now I am about to speak to the child of God only, and I say to him, "Brother, if Satan tempts thee to say, 'Is it not a little one?'" reply to him, "Ah, Satan, but little though it be, it may mar my fellowship with Christ." Is it a little one, Satan? But a little stone in the shoe will make a traveller limp. A little thorn may breed a fester. A little cloud may hide the sun. A cloud the size of a man's hand may bring a deluge of rain. Avaunt Satan! I can have nought to do with thee; for since I know that Jesus bled for little sins, I cannot wound His heart by indulging in them afresh. Ah, my friends, those men that say little sins can have no vice in them whatever, they do but give indications of their own character; they show which way the stream runs. A straw may let you know which way the wind blows, or even a floating feather; and so may some little sin be an indication of the prevailing tendency of the heart. An eternity of woe is prepared for what men call little sins. It is not alone the murderer, the drunkard, the whoremonger, that shall be sent to hell. The wicked, it is true, shall be sent there, but the little sinner, with all the nations that forget God, shall have his portion there also. Tremble, therefore, on account of little sins.
()I. LITTLE SINS LEAD ON TO GREAT ONES. Some years ago the Bradfield reservoir sprang a tiny leak. It was so small that it was disregarded. Neglected, it grew larger, until one night the bank was swept away, and a mighty torrent let loose that destroyed houses and mills, an immense amount of property and many lives, flooded the town of Sheffield, and has left a burden of debt on that town to this day. Not long ago a gentleman, hurrying along one of the streets of Manchester, slipped and fell, slightly grazing one of his fingers. He saw the wound, but thought it too slight for care. The blood was poisoned by contact with some rubbish on which he had fallen, and in a few weeks his whole system became charged with it, and he expired in terrible agony. Little sins indulged, spared, neglected, have shown equal power of growth. A little leaven has leavened the whole lump. Learn the story of the inmates of our jails, workhouses, lunatic asylums, and you will see how little sins end in great sins; in poverty, crime, insanity and utter ruin.
II. LITTLE SINS DESTROY OUR PEACE AND HINDER OUR GROWTH IN GRACE. A little splinter of wood, a tiny thorn buried in the flesh and neglected will produce intense agony. The story is told of a whole train being stopped on the railway between Perth and Aberdeen by the loss of one little pin. And equally sad results are produced in us by little sins.
III. LITTLE SINS DESTROY OUR INFLUENCE. We are Christ's "living epistles," known and read of all men. Many a man has lost all influence for good, undone his own efforts, through little slips and want of care about the minor moralities. It was not the Philistines but Delilah that robbed Samson of his power.
IV. LITTLE SINS NEED MORE EFFORT AND WATCHFULNESS TO OVERCOME THAN GREAT ONES.
()The natural conclusion from God's mercy, which he acknowledges, would have been trust and obedience. "Therefore I can escape," not "but I cannot escape," would have been the logic of faith. The latter is irrationality of fear. When a man who has been cleaving to this fleeting life of earthly good wakes up to believe his danger, he is ever apt to plunge into an abyss of terror, in which God's commands seem impossible, and His will to save becomes dim. The world first lies to us by "You are quite safe where you are. Don't be in a hurry to go." Then it lies, "You never can get away now." Reverse Lot's whimpering fears, and we get the truth. Are not God's directions how to escape promises that we shall escape? Will He begin to build, and not be able to finish? Will the judgments of His hand overrun their commission, like a bloodhound which, in his master's absence, may rend his friend? "We have all of us one human heart," and this swift leap from unreasoning carelessness to as unreasoning dread, this failure to draw the true conclusion from God's past mercy, and this despairing recoil from the path pointed for us, and craving for easier ways, belong to us. "A strange servant of God was this," say we. Yes, and we are often quite as strange. How many people awakened to see their danger are so absorbed by the sight that they cannot see the cross, or think they can never reach it? God answered the cry, whatever its fault, and that may well make us pause in our condemnation. He hears even a very imperfect petition, and can see the tiniest germ of faith buried under thick clods of doubt and fear. This stooping readiness to meet Lot's weakness comes in wonderful contrast with the terrible revelation of judgment which follows. What an idea of God, which had room for this more than human patience with weakness, and also for the flashing, lurid glories of destructive retribution! Zoar is spared, not for the unworthy reason which Lot suggested, — because its minuteness might buy impunity, as some noxious insect too small to be worth crushing; but in accordance with the principle which was illustrated in Abraham's intercession, and even in Lot's safety; namely, that the righteous are shields for others, as Paul had the lives of all that sailed with him given to him. God's "cannot" answers Lot's "cannot." His power is limited by His own solemn purpose to save His faltering servant. The latter had feared that, before he could reach the mountain, "the evil" would overtake him. God shows him that his safety was a condition precedent to its outburst. Lot barred the way. God could not "let slip the dogs of" judgment, but held them in the leash until Lot was in Zoar. Very awful is the command to make haste, based on this impossibility, as if God were weary of delay, and more than ready to smite. However we may find anthropomorphism in these early narratives, let us not forget that, when the world has long been groaning under some giant evil, and the bitter seed is grown up into a waving forest of poison, there is something in the passionless righteousness of God which brooks no longer delay, but seeks to make "a short work" on the earth.
()"When a man cleaves a block he first pierces it with small wedges, and then with greater; and so doth the devil make entrance into the soul by degrees. Judas first purloineth and stealeth out of the bag; then censureth Christ as profusely lavishing. What needs this waste? This was not only a check to the woman, but to Christ Himself. Lastly, upon Christ's rebuke, he hates Him, and then betrays Him to His enemies." There is no dealing with the devil except at arm's length. Those little wedges of his are terribly insinuating because they are so little. Keep them out or worse will follow. Occasional glasses lead on to drunken orgies; occasional theatre-going grows into wantonness and chambering; trifling pilfering soon grows to downright theft; secret back-slidings end in public abominations. The egg of all mischief is as small as a mustard-seed. It is with the transgressor as with the falling stone — the further he falls the faster he falls. Again we say beware of the little wedges, for they are in crafty hands, and our utter destruction may be compassed by them. Even iron safes have been forced when little wedges have made room for the burglar's lever. Take heed of the plea, "Is it not a little one?" O my Saviour, let me net fall little by little, or think myself able to bear the indulgence of any known sin because it seems so insignificant. Keep me from sinful beginnings, lest they lead me on to sorrowful endings.
()Camping down upon the edges of a sin from which a man has just escaped, is dangerous work. A person in such a position is like one who, upon finding himself in the running current of a river which is rising, swollen by heavy rains, struggles desperately until he reaches its banks, and there settles himself in false security. In the morning the waters of the freshet are booming about him, and he flies to the meadow, a little higher. But the floods are out, and they rise and rise, faster than he can run, and the man who, by fleeing at once to the mountains when he came up from the river, would have been saved, by tarrying upon the lowlands, perished.
PeopleAbraham, Ammonites, Ben, Benammi, Lot, Moabites, Zoar
PlacesGomorrah, Sodom, Sodom and Gomorrah, Zoar
TopicsAble, Anything, Arrive, Calleth, Can't, Entering, Escape, Hast, Haste, Hasten, Hurry, Named, Nothing, Quickly, Reach, Reason, Thither, Till, Town, Zoar, Zo'ar
Outline1. Lot entertains two angels.
4. The vicious Sodomites are smitten with blindness.
12. Lot is warned, and in vain warns his sons-in-law.
15. He is directed to flee to the mountains, but obtains leave to go into Zoar.
24. Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed.
26. Lot's wife looks back and becomes a pillar of salt.
29. Lot dwells in a cave.
31. The incestuous origin of Moab and Ammon.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 19:1-29
4224 cities of the plain
5044 names, giving of
LibraryThe Swift Destroyer
'And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest them be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that He said, Escape for thy life; look not …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
The Ship on Fire --A Voice of Warning
"Thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life."--Genesis 19:19. HERE IS THE ALARM of mercy declaring the sinner's duty--"Escape for thy life." Here is the work of grace, and the gratitude of the sinner after he is saved. "Thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life." The other day, there sailed down the Thames as stout a vessel as had ever ploughed the deep. The good ship "Amazon," had sailed the broad Pacific many a time, and …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 10: 1864
It shall be my business this morning to answer this temptation, and try to put a sword in your hands wherewith to resist the enemy when he shall come upon you with this cry;-- "Is it not a little one?" and tempt you into sin because he leads you to imagine that there is but very little harm in it. "Is it not a little one?" With regard then to this temptation of Satan concerning the littleness of sin, I would make this first answer, the best of men have always been afraid of little sins. The holy …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859
Some Man Will Say, "So Then any Thief Whatever is to be Accounted Equal...
19. Some man will say, "So then any thief whatever is to be accounted equal with that thief who steals with will of mercy?" Who would say this? But of these two it does not follow that any is good, because one is worse. He is worse who steals through coveting, than he who steals through pity: but if all theft be sin, from all theft we must abstain. For who can say that people may sin, even though one sin be damnable, another venial? but now we are asking, if a man shall do this or that, who will …
St. Augustine—Against Lying
As Concerning Purity of Body; Here Indeed a Very Honorable Regard Seems to Come...
10. As concerning purity of body; here indeed a very honorable regard seems to come in the way, and to demand a lie in its behalf; to wit, that if the assault of the ravisher may be escaped by means of a lie, it is indubitably right to tell it: but to this it may easily be answered, that there is no purity of body except as it depends on integrity of mind; this being broken, the other must needs fall, even though it seem intact; and for this reason it is not to be reckoned among temporal things, …
St. Augustine—On Lying
The Heavenly Footman; Or, a Description of the Man that Gets to Heaven:
TOGETHER WITH THE WAY HE RUNS IN, THE MARKS HE GOES BY; ALSO, SOME DIRECTIONS HOW TO RUN SO AS TO OBTAIN. 'And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain: escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.'--Genesis 19:17. London: Printed for John Marshall, at the Bible in Gracechurch Street, 1698. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. About forty years ago a gentleman, in whose company I had commenced my …
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3
But Some Man Will Say, Would Then those Midwives and Rahab have done Better...
34. But some man will say, Would then those midwives and Rahab have done better if they had shown no mercy, by refusing to lie? Nay verily, those Hebrew women, if they were such as that sort of persons of whom we ask whether they ought ever to tell a lie, would both eschew to say aught false, and would most frankly refuse that foul service of killing the babes. But, thou wilt say, themselves would die. Yea, but see what follows. They would die with an heavenly habitation for their incomparably more …
St. Augustine—Against Lying
The Debt of Irenæus to Justin Martyr
If we are to proceed with safety in forming a judgment as to the relation between Justin and Irenæus in respect of the matter which they have in common, it will be necessary not merely to consider a number of selected parallels, but also to examine the treatment of a particular theme in the two writers. Let us set side by side, for example, c. 32 of Justin's First Apology with c. 57 of the Demonstration. Justin has been explaining to his Roman readers who the Jewish prophets were, and then …
Irenæus—The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching
The Sea of Sodom
The bounds of Judea, on both sides, are the sea; the western bound is the Mediterranean,--the eastern, the Dead sea, or the sea of Sodom. This the Jewish writers every where call, which you may not so properly interpret here, "the salt sea," as "the bituminous sea." In which sense word for word, "Sodom's salt," but properly "Sodom's bitumen," doth very frequently occur among them. The use of it was in the holy incense. They mingled 'bitumen,' 'the amber of Jordan,' and [an herb known to few], with …
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica
How the Married and the Single are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 28.) Differently to be admonished are those who are bound in wedlock and those who are free from the ties of wedlock. For those who are bound in wedlock are to be admonished that, while they take thought for each other's good, they study, both of them, so to please their consorts as not to displease their Maker; that they so conduct the things that are of this world as still not to omit desiring the things that are of God; that they so rejoice in present good as still, with earnest …
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great
The Disciple, -- Master, what is the Real Meaning of Service? is it that We...
The Disciple,--Master, what is the real meaning of service? Is it that we serve the Creator and then His creatures for His sake? Is the help of man, who is after all but a mere worm, of any value to God in caring for His great family, or does God stand in need of the help of man in protecting or preserving any of His creatures? The Master,--1. Service means the activity of the spiritual life and is the natural offering prompted by love. God, who is Love, is ever active in the care of His creation, …
Sadhu Sundar Singh—At The Master's Feet
Jesus, My Rock.
When the storm and the tempest are raging around me, Oh! where shall I flee to be safe from their shock? There are walls which no mortal hands built to surround me, A Refuge Eternal,--'Tis JESUS MY ROCK! When my heart is all sorrow, and trials aggrieve me, To whom can I safely my secrets unlock? No bosom (save one) has the power to relieve me, The bosom which bled for me, JESUS MY ROCK! When Life's gloomy curtain, at last, shall close o'er me, And the chill hand of death unexpectedly knock, I will …
John Ross Macduff—The Cities of Refuge: or, The Name of Jesus
The Apostles Chosen
As soon as he returned victorious from the temptation in the wilderness, Jesus entered on the work of his public ministry. We find him, at once, preaching to the people, healing the sick, and doing many wonderful works. The commencement of his ministry is thus described by St. Matt. iv: 23-25. "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout …
Richard Newton—The Life of Jesus Christ for the Young
And for Your Fearlessness against them Hold this Sure Sign -- Whenever There Is...
43. And for your fearlessness against them hold this sure sign--whenever there is any apparition, be not prostrate with fear, but whatsoever it be, first boldly ask, Who art thou? And from whence comest thou? And if it should be a vision of holy ones they will assure you, and change your fear into joy. But if the vision should be from the devil, immediately it becomes feeble, beholding your firm purpose of mind. For merely to ask, Who art thou  ? and whence comest thou? is a proof of coolness. …
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius
Epistle iv. To Cyriacus, Bishop.
To Cyriacus, Bishop. Gregory to Cyriacus, Bishop of Constantinople. We have received with becoming charity our common sons, George the presbyter and Theodore your deacon; and we rejoice that you have passed from the care of ecclesiastical business to the government of souls, since, according to the voice of the Truth, He that is faithful in a little will be faithful also in much (Luke xvi. 10). And to the servant who administers well it is said, Because thou hast been faithful over a few things, …
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great
Letter Xlv (Circa A. D. 1120) to a Youth Named Fulk, who Afterwards was Archdeacon of Langres
To a Youth Named Fulk, Who Afterwards Was Archdeacon of Langres He gravely warns Fulk, a Canon Regular, whom an uncle had by persuasions and promises drawn back to the world, to obey God and be faithful to Him rather than to his uncle. To the honourable young man Fulk, Brother Bernard, a sinner, wishes such joy in youth as in old age he will not regret. 1. I do not wonder at your surprise; I should wonder if you were not suprised [sic] that I should write to you, a countryman to a citizen, a monk …
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux
Triumph Over Death and the Grave
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin: and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. T he Christian soldier may with the greatest propriety, be said to war a good warfare (I Timothy 1:18) . He is engaged in a good cause. He fights under the eye of the Captain of his salvation. Though he be weak in himself, and though his enemies are many and mighty, he may do that which in other soldiers …
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2
Journey to Jerusalem. Ten Lepers. Concerning the Kingdom.
(Borders of Samaria and Galilee.) ^C Luke XVII. 11-37. ^c 11 And it came to pass, as they were on their way to Jerusalem, that he was passing along the borders of Samaria and Galilee. [If our chronology is correct, Jesus passed northward from Ephraim about forty miles, crossing Samaria (here mentioned first), and coming to the border of Galilee. He then turned eastward along that border down the wady Bethshean which separates the two provinces, and crossed the Jordan into Peræa, where we soon …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
The Covenant of Works
Q-12: I proceed to the next question, WHAT SPECIAL ACT OF PROVIDENCE DID GOD EXERCISE TOWARDS MAN IN THE ESTATE WHEREIN HE WAS CREATED? A: When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him upon condition of perfect obedience, forbidding him to eat of the tree of knowledge upon pain of death. For this, consult with Gen 2:16, 17: And the Lord commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
The Hindrances to Mourning
What shall we do to get our heart into this mourning frame? Do two things. Take heed of those things which will stop these channels of mourning; put yourselves upon the use of all means that will help forward holy mourning. Take heed of those things which will stop the current of tears. There are nine hindrances of mourning. 1 The love of sin. The love of sin is like a stone in the pipe which hinders the current of water. The love of sin makes sin taste sweet and this sweetness in sin bewitches the …
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12
The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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