So Joshua arose early the next morning and had Israel come forward tribe by tribe, and the tribe of Judah was selected.
I. The crime of Achan was marked by DISOBEDIENCE. And the remembrance of the solemn covenant between God and His people rendered the disobedience very aggravated. The act of Achan was a glaring breach of its conditions.
This leads us to remark that -
I. EVERY SIN IS KNOWN TO GOD. Joshua was ignorant that Achan had secreted spoil, but the searching glances of God reached further than the most watchful oversight of the leader. As afterwards, when the disciples did not suspect the character and intents of Judas, the Lord discerned the sinister proposes of his heart. The omniscience and omnipresence of the Almighty have been strangely disregarded even by His own servants. Witness the curious flight of Jonah, as if he could really "flee from the presence of the Lord." "I know thy works" is the heading to the practical address in nearly each of the seven letters to the Churches of Asia. "Thou God seest me."
II. SIN REVEALED BY FAILURE IN AN UNDERTAKING. The overthrow of Jericho inspired the Israelites with such confidence that they disdained to employ all their forces in assaulting Ai. To their surprise, their attack was repulsed with loss. The greater the previous security, the more intense the subsequent alarm. They were unconscious of the presence of a traitor in the camp. The theft of Achan was a stronger opponent than the men of the city. Sin destroys our power. As one has quaintly observed, "In running a race, an inward pain hinders more than if a dozen men jostled you." When men have taken cold, they immediately reflect where they could have been exposed to draught, and non success in any enterprise causes us to inquire. What have we done amiss? Trouble leads us to scrutinise our past life, conscience accuses of sins which have deserved, if they have not actually drawn upon us, this proof of Divine displeasure. Self examination is healthful if not carried to excessive lengths; it may produce "carefulness, clearing of ourselves," etc. (2 Corinthians 7:11). The effect of sin is not confined to the particular guilty member. Sin taints the community, or often involves it in its suffering. As a drop of ink discolours a whole glass of water, so thousands of innocent persons may be affected by the neighbourhood of one sinner. This concerns us individually, for if one limb offends, the body is defiled; and collectively, as members of Churches, and as belonging to a nation.
III. THE OFFENCE MADE KNOWN IN ANSWER TO PRAYER. Deep was Joshua's solicitude. With the elders of Israel he rent his clothes and fell prostrate before the ark all day. To a lover of God, the belief that His favour is withdrawn is the most overwhelming sorrow. Nor is the grief merely selfish in its origin. Joshua lamented the dishonour which would be affixed to the glorious name of Jehovah when the news of Israel's defeat was bruited abroad. Prayer is the believer's unfailing resource. Receiving any woful tidings, he "spreads the letter," like Hezekiah, before the Lord. He ventures to plead, to expostulate, to argue. And the answer surely arrives though it appear long to tarry. In this narrative we find Joshua reproved for imagining that God would arbitrarily desert His people. He might have known that something was wrong in the conduct of the nation, and his inquiry should have been, Wherein have we offended? We must not at once rush to the conclusion that the events which befal us are "judgments," for when we think God's smile is absent, it may be flint the clouds of our marshy land interrupt the heavenly rays. Nevertheless the advice of the preceding paragraph holds good, and the rebuke administered to Joshua may be often seasonably applied to ourselves.
IV. THE OFFENDER MANIFESTED. The drawing of a lot was the means resorted to on all important occasions for appointment to positions of honour or shame. Picture the gradual contraction of the circle of fire till it enwrapped only "the troubler of Israel," and he stood before all the people as the cause of a national disgrace. The slow and stately discovery, as well as the proceedings of the day before, afforded time to the criminal to reveal himself, if he would. What must have been his feelings as he saw detection drawing nearer and nearer till it pointed its finger to his breast, saying, "Thou art the man!" The method of manifestation also afforded time for the spectators to be thoroughly aroused, so that they might appreciate more deeply the awfulness of the sin committed, and be ready with one shout to inflict the penalty due thereto. God may advance slowly, but His step is sure. Delay is no presumption of final impunity.
V. We see lastly, THE FOLLY OF SIN. Achan "wrought folly in Israel" (ver. 15). The word means stupidity - as Abigail uncomplimentarily remarked of her husband, "Nabal is his name and folly is with him." Sin is certain of detection. Known to the Almighty, He often brings it into the light of day here, and will surely manifest it hereafter. Sin imperils real, enduring bliss for the sake of transitory gratifications. A little pleasure, and severest pain; for brief fame, lasting infamy; for temporary wealth, eternal loss. - A
Achan... was taken. 1.
Look at it in itself. It was sacrilege — a robbing God of what He had directed to be devoted to His glory and appropriated to the use of His sanctuary.
2. View it in its circumstances. It was committed immediately after the offender, together with the rest of the people of Israel, had solemnly renewed their dedication to God in the ordinances of circumcision and the Passover, and after the most signal display of almighty power; and it was committed when God had declared that the person who should be found guilty of such a sin should be accursed.
3. Look, too, at Achan's sin in its effects. In consequence of it, God had withdrawn His favour and His help from His people; they had sustained a humiliating defeat, in which six-and-thirty of their number had been slain; and had the sin not been punished, it would have procured the destruction of the whole nation.
A vessel in full sail scuds merrily over the waves. Everything betokens a successful and delightful voyage. The log has just been taken, marking an extraordinary run. The passengers are in the highest spirits, anticipating an early close of the voyage. Suddenly a shock is felt, and terror is seen on every face. The ship has struck on a rock. Not only is progress arrested, but it will be a mercy for crew and passengers if they can escape with their lives. Not often so violently, but often as really, progress is arrested in many a good enterprise that seemed to be prospering to a wish. There may be no shock, but there is a stoppage of movement. The vital force that seemed to be carrying it on towards the desired consummation declines, and the work hangs fire. In all such cases we naturally wonder what can be the cause. And very often our explanation is wide of the mark. In religious enterprises we are apt to fall back on the sovereignty and inscrutability of God. "He moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform." It seems good to Him, for unknown purposes of His own, to subject us to disappointment and trial. We do not impugn either His wisdom or His goodness; all is for the best. But, for the most part, we fail to detect the real reason. That the fault should lie with ourselves is the last thing we think of. We search for it in every direction rather than at home. It was an unexpected obstacle of this kind that Joshua now encountered in his next step towards possessing the land. Hitherto Joshua had been eminently successful, and his people too. Not a hitch had occurred in all the arrangements. The capture of Jericho had been an unqualified triumph. It seemed as if the people of Ai could hardly fail to be paralysed by its fate. The men of Israel were not prepared for a vigorous onslaught, and when it came thus unexpectedly they were taken aback and fled in confusion. As the men of Ai pursued them down the pass, they had no power to rally or retrieve the battle; the rout was complete, some of the men were killed, while consternation was carried into the host, and their whole enterprise seemed doomed to failure. And now for the first time Joshua appears in a somewhat humiliating light. He is not one of the men that never make a blunder. He rends his clothes, fails on his face with the elders before the ark of the Lord till even, and puts dust upon his head. There is something too abject in this prostration. And when he speaks to God, it is in the tone of complaint and in the language of unbelief. Like peter on the waters, and like so many of ourselves, he begins to sink when the wind is contrary, and his cry is the querulous wail of a frightened child! After all he is but flesh and blood. Now it is God's turn to speak. "Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?" Why do you turn on Me as if I had suddenly changed, and become forgetful of My promise? Then comes the true explanation — "Israel hath sinned." Might you not have divined that this was the real cause of your trouble? Is not sin directly or indirectly the cause of all trouble? What a curse that sin is, in ways and forms, too, which we do not suspect! And yet we are usually so very careless about it. How little pains we take to ascertain its presence, or to drive it away from among us! How little tenderness of conscience we show, how little burning desire to be kept from the accursed thing! And when we turn to our opponents and see sin in them, instead of being grieved, we fall on them savagely to upbraid them, and we hold them up to open scorn. How little we think, if they are guilty, that their sin has intercepted the favour of God, and involved not them only, but probably the whole community in trouble! How unsatisfactory to God must seem the bearing even of the best of us in reference to sin! The peculiar covenant relation in which Israel stood to God caused a method to be fallen on for detecting their sin that is not available for us. The whole people were to be assembled next morning, and inquiry was to be made for the delinquent in God's way, and when the individual was found condign punishment was to be inflicted. The tribe is taken, the family is taken, but that is not all; the household that God shall take shall come "man by man." It is that individualising of us that we dread; it is when it comes to that, that "conscience makes cowards of us all." But before passing on to the result of the scrutiny, we find ourselves face to face with a difficult question. If, as is here intimated, it was one man that sinned, why should the whole nation have been dealt with as guilty? We are to remember that practically the principle of solidarity was fully admitted in Joshua's time among his people. The sense of injustice and hardship to which it might give rise among us did not exist. Men recognised it as a law of wide influence in human affairs, to which they were bound to defer. Let us think of Achan's temptation. A large amount of valuable property fell into the hands of the Israelites at Jericho. By a rigorous law, all was devoted to the service of God. Now a covetous man like Achan might find many plausible reasons for evading this law. "What I take to myself (he might say)will never be missed. Nobody will suffer a whir by what I do — it cannot be very wrong." Now the great lesson taught very solemnly and impressively to the whole nation was, that this was just awfully wrong. The moral benefit which the nation ultimately got from the transaction was, that this kind of sophistry, this flattering unction which leads so many persons ultimately to destruction, was exploded and blown to shivers. That sin is to be held sinful only when it hurts your fellow-creatures, and especially the poor among your fellow-creatures, is a very common impression, but surely it is a delusion of the devil. That it has such effects may be a gross aggravation of the wickedness, but it is not the heart and core of it. And how can you know that it will not hurt others? Not hurt your fellow-countrymen, Achan? Why, that secret sin of yours has caused the death of thirty-six men and a humiliating defeat of the troops before At. More than that, it has separated between the nation and God. Many say, when they tell a lie, it was not a malignant lie; it was a lie told to screen some one, not to expose him, therefore it was harmless. But you cannot trace the consequences of that lie, any more than Achan could trace the consequences of his theft, otherwise you would not dare to make that excuse. Is there safety for man or woman except in the most rigid regard to right and truth, even in the smallest portions of them with which they have to do? Is there not something utterly fearful in the propagating power of sin, and in its way of involving others, who are perfectly innocent, in its awful doom? Happy they who from their earliest years have had a salutary dread of it, and of its infinite ramifications of misery and woe!
II. It was also an act of THEFT, a breach of the eighth commandment. There was, on the part of Achan, a definite and deliberate breach of trust; as much so as if the crime had been embezzlement or forgery. And it is very plain that this act was deliberately planned and carried out. Achan's action was not that of a man suddenly overcome by temptation. His act was most deliberate. It was also inexcusable. There was no pressing want or demand upon him to coerce right principle.
III. DECEIT also characterised Achan's conduct. So is it always. Lying and stealing are twin brothers, inseparable. The words "committed a trespass" might be more literally translated, "deceived a deceit." The whole transaction occurred under cover of a cloud of guile. He not only stole, but also tried hard to cover his offence with craft.
IV. Achan's conduct also revealed UNBROTHERLINESS. He wished in an underhand way to get the better of his brethren, and that was bad enough; it showed how utterly selfish he was. But he had also been warned that such conduct would be visited not only on the perpetrator himself, but on all the people (Joshua 6:18). Accordingly his act was unbrotherly and unpatriotic. The real enemy of God's people is not opposing strength but inner corruption; not the quibbles of the infidel but the carelessness of the Christian. Achan's wedge of gold was a more formidable weapon against Israel than all the swords of the aliens. The grand lessons here taught are, that while the holy are invincible, the defiled must be defeated; and "He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house."
V. Still further, Achan's conduct revealed INGRATITUDE. And this was all the more sad, because Jehovah was no hard master, eager to gather all to Himself and leave His servants as little as possible. Each of them will have plenty in good time. There is sufficient for each and all, and for their children after them. Surely He may well demand the firstfruits as His due.
VI. Achan's deed betokened IMPIETY. It was the act of a godless heart. Could Achan have believed that God spoke true, when He warned the army of the evil that would come upon them if they disobeyed His command? Nay, he did not believe the Divine word. Neither did he believe in the Divine knowledge. Whom did Achan conceive the God of Israel to be? One like the blind and deaf deities of Canaan — a god who could not see and understand. His act was an invasion of God's rights before His very face; the alienation of His property under His very eyes; the devoting to private use that which He had devoted to His glory, and therefore it amounted to daring and impudent sacrilege. Is such a sin as Achan's extinct? Is there no unjust getting in these days? no "getting of treasures by a lying tongue"? Is there no undue grasping in these days? Has God no claim on any portion of what we possess?
()One man spoiled the unity, spoiled the success. It is put in plain English: for the sin of one man the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and they all suffered. For that unity, that solidarity, is a reality far more than we think. God counts a great deal upon it. If one member suffer, the whole body suffers. If there is health, there is general health. If there is sickness, we are all enfeebled and hurt by that sickness. It is somewhat like what takes place in connection with our electric telegraph system. Messages and communications are flying to and fro, say, between the different parts of an army in a foreign country engaged in foreign campaign, one being in complete accord and close communication with the other, when suddenly there is a breakdown. Suddenly the generals in each host cease to be able to communicate with each other. United movement is impossible: united counsel is impossible. Why? Because, at some one place the enemy, by means of a spy, has tapped the wire; and all this communication of theirs is being turned not for them, but against them. At some place the wire is tapped and the communication is taken off and is used by the enemy. So with Israel. At one point the tide of the Spirit's power that was circulating through them all was deflected. By one unfaithful man the whole tide of God's energy was shed helplessly down to the earth. The problem on that day was this. There was one man who had broken the chain. A leakage was taking place at one point, at one particular man, an ordinary man, a man who but for his sin would never have been heard of in the world. Oh, see how staring, glaring, conspicuous a man becomes by sin; not by cleverness, not by intellectuality, not by wealth, not by culture, not by rank, not by wearing clothes, and taking positions, but by this dirty thing — sin. Sin makes a man conspicuous who otherwise, as I have said, would not have been heard of — an ordinary man in the ranks of men. There is that missing link; there is that break; there is that leakage; there is that sinner. The problem is, how to find him out — how to have the damage repaired, how to have that man detected, and either put right or put out. And the problem is intensified thus. The man knows what he has done, and the man will not tell. We have the same thing still. This accursed thing is in us, namely, that our heart shall depart from the living God; our heart shall forget its purpose; our heart shall turn aside to sin, and outwardly we shall brazen it out with our very Leader and defy Him, and deny so far as we are concerned, that we are responsible — that the blame lies at our door. There was no confession. The Lord was not helped in the least. He had to take judgment in hand. Joshua was nonplussed; and if God Himself had not come, Israel's history as a successful people would have come to a close at this very point. We talk in our homely proverb of the difficulty, the impossibility, of finding a needle in a haystack. That familiar phrase receives a moral illustration here. What God has to do is to find out the one sinner among these assembled thousands, when he is keeping as dark as the grave. God could have come and simply taken that unclean thing, Achan. He could have taken him "neck and crop" without all this process. God could have gone straight to him, and put His hand upon his shoulder, and hurled him out into the outer darkness at once. Why take all this time — tribe by tribe, family by family, man by man? Surely that was mercy. That was in Achan's interest. He gave the poor, infatuated fool time, space, place, room to repent; and as he saw Nemesis evidently on his track he had time to cast himself down before Joshua, and to exclaim, "Stop! I confess! I am the man." Had he done so, this story, I am convinced, would have been one of the brightest stories of mercy in God's book, instead of one of its darkest, almost without a ray of light. Achan was taken. That same God is the God of the New Testament Church. I do not know how it may be with you: but this is the kind of preaching I was brought up under, and I have seen no reason to turn from it — a God of inflexible righteousness and holiness, who will not allow sin to go unpunished. Now do not stand up blatantly and ask whether I have ever heard of the Cross and the New Testament. I have been to the Cross. This story is intensified by the Cross. At the Cross we behold at once the goodness and the severity of God. At the Cross we learn the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the dazzling, blinding holiness of God, as well as the mercy that is intershot through all. Sin is no metaphysical abstraction. It is not a mere arrangement of the letters of the alphabet. It is not a mere thing of theology or of philosophy. It is a deep, dark, abominable thing found in the hearts of men; and if God spared not the angels that sinned, how shall He spare us? No, it was no exaggeration. It was no "trouble for nothing." It was no mere cry. God was justified. There was a stone in the machine, and God found out the stone and took it away; and then the wheels ceased to grate and jar and move heavily. There is a stone in the machine yet, in the moral machinery of God's Church and of God's world. I may be that stone, and I may be concealing what I am — concealing it behind the profession of the ministry, concealing it behind preaching to you on this very subject. You may be concealing it behind the office of the elder. You may be concealing it behind a great anxiety to keep the table of the Lord and the communion roll pure; and I say that this is needful, and it is a good sign and a good thing that the Church should conserve and be anxious about her purity before God and man; and yet it may be part of the dress that we put on, to look as Achan looked. For while the judgment processes were going on Achan, very likely, held up his head and looked round. "It is not I, at any rate"; and the nearer it came the more brazen he looked; "It is not I." So our very scrupulosity and care in connection with God's house and book and day may belong to the Pharisee within us, the Achan, the hypocrite. God Almighty alone could have detected this man, and God Almighty Himself had to take the judgment work in hand. I am speaking to Achan here, and I want to let you know that you will get all you are working for. The day comes when the sweet gales of mercy no longer shall blow — when you will hear no more about cleansing blood — when there will be nothing but "a fearful looking for of judgment and of fiery indignation that shall devour the adversaries" — when your sin shall be proved on you, and in you, and to you, and before an assembled world, with no chance for ever of getting its curse and its power lifted away. It is coming. God will here lead us now to confession, or there to too late confession and doom beyond remedy.
()There is nothing old in these words. Achan is "taken" every day. Achan is sure to be "taken." If we are practising the policy of Achan, the fate of Achan we can never avert. What a representative man is Achan! Does he not represent those, for example, who are continually taking great risks? What a life some men lead I But the mystery of it is that Achan represents also men who have no need to take risks. They have plenty; they have sweet homes. They need not go out of their own doors for a single pleasure. Yet they covet just a little more: it is only one acre to complete the estate. Achan committed a sin which is common to us all, in so far that he felt it extremely difficult to subordinate the personal to the communal. He might have said — and in so saying he would have talked good, round English" — What can a wedge of gold matter in all this great heap of wealth? What is the difference one Babylonish garment more or less? Who will be the worse for my taking it? Nobody need know. I want a relic of this event, I want a keepsake; this has been a very wonderful miracle, and I want to keep in my house some memorial of it; I could turn these things into good, moral uses: I could preach sermons upon them, I could derive lessons from them. It cannot make any difference where thousands of men are concerned if I take one wedge of gold, two hundred shekels of silver, and a goodly Babylonish garment — they are all but a handful, and who will miss them? In fact, there will be no reckoning; things in connection with a battle are done so tumultuously and so irregularly that none will ever think of looking up such a handful of spoil as I may seize." That is the exaggeration of individualism; that is the lie which man is always telling to himself. It is the falsehood which enables him to cheat the body politic: "What can it matter if I do not vote? There are thousands of people who want to vote, let them enjoy themselves, and I will take mine ease. What can it matter if I do not keep the laws of the company — the municipal or other company? The great majority of the neighbours will keep them, and as for any little infraction of them of which I may be guilty, it is mere pedantry to remark upon it. Who cares for the body politic — the body corporate?" We are being taught to respect that so-called abstraction; but the lesson is a very difficult one to learn. When shall we come to understand fully that there is a corporate humanity, a public virtue, a body politic, with its responsibilities, laws, duties — a great training-school in which individualism is subordinated to the commonwealth? Does not Achan represent those who create unnecessary mysteries in the course of Divine providence? It is the concealed man who could explain everything. It is the thief behind the screen who could relieve all our wonder, perplexity, and distress. We have to search him out by circumstantial evidence. If he would stand up and say, "Guilty!" he would relieve our minds of many a distressing thought even about the Divine government. We wonder why the people are delayed, why the battle goes the wrong way, why the heathen pursues the chosen man, and beats him down, and scorns his assaults. We speak of God's mysterious way. It is a mistake on our part. The silent man, skulking behind the arras, could explain the whole affair, and relieve Divine providence of many a wonder which grows quickly into suspicion or distrust. Look at the case in one or two remarkable aspects.
1. Consider Achan, for example, as a solitary sinner. He was the only man in the host who had disobeyed the orders that were given. "Why arrest a whole army on account of one traitor? Let the host go on." So man would say. God will not have it so. He does not measure by our scale. One sin is a thousand.
2. Think of Achan as a detected sinner. For a time there was no prospect of the man being found out. But God has methods of sifting which we do not know of.
3. Then look at Achan as a confessing sinner. He did confess his sin, but not until he was discovered. And the confession was as selfish as the sin.
4. The picture of Achan as a punished sinner is appalling. Who punished the sinful man? The answer to that inquiry is given in ver. 25, and is full of saddest yet noblest meaning. Who punished the thief? "All Israel stoned him with stones" — not one infuriated man, not one particularly interested individual, but "all Israel." The punishment is social. It is the universe that digs hell — the all rising against the one.
My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord.There was infinite kindness in that word "my son." It reminds us of that other Joshua, the Jesus of the New Testament, so tender to sinners, so full of love even for those who had been steeped in guilt. It brings before us the great High Priest, who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, seeing He was in all things tempted like as we are, yet without sin. A harsh word from Joshua might have set Achan in a defiant attitude, and drawn from him a denial that he had done anything amiss. How often do we see this! A child or a servant has done wrong; you are angry, you speak harshly, you get a flat denial. Or if the thing cannot be denied, you get only a sullen acknowledgment, which takes away all possibility of good arising out of the occurrence, and embitters the relation of the parties to each other. But not only did Joshua speak kindly to Achan, he confronted him with God, and called on him to think how He was concerned in this matter. "Give glory to the Lord God of Israel." Vindicate Him from the charge which I and others have virtually been bringing against Him, of proving forgetful of His covenant. Clear Him of all blame, declare His glory, declare that He is unsullied in His perfections, and show that He has had good cause to leave us to the mercy of our enemies. No man as yet knew what Achan had done. He might have been guilty of some act of idolatry, or of some unhallowed sensuality like that which had lately taken place at Baal-peer; in order that the transaction might carry its lesson it was necessary that the precise offence should be known. Joshua's kindly address and his solemn appeal to Achan to clear the character of God had the desired effect.
()God's omniscience should indeed make us ashamed to commit sin, but it should embolden us to confess it. We can tell our secrets to a friend that does not know them; how much more should we do it to Him that knows them already? God's knowledge outruns our confessions and anticipates what we have to say. As our Saviour speaks concerning prayer, "Our heavenly Father knows what you have need of before you ask," so I may say of confession, your heavenly Father knows what secret sins you have committed before you confess. But still He commands this duty of us; and that not to know our sins but to see our ingenuity. Adam, when he hid himself, to the impiety of his sin added the absurdity of s, concealment. Our declaring of our sins to God who knows them without being beholden to our relation; it is like opening a window to receive the light which would shine in through it howsoever. Now there is no duty by which we give God the glory of His omniscience so much as by a free confession of our secret iniquities. Joshua says to Achan, "My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto Him."
PeopleAchan, Amorites, Canaanites, Carmi, Israelites, Joshua, Zabdi, Zarhites, Zerah, Zerahites, Zimri
PlacesAi, Beth-aven, Bethel, Jericho, Jordan River, Shebarim, Shinar, Valley of Achor
TopicsBringeth, Captured, Caused, Early, Forward, Got, Joshua, Judah, Morning, Riseth, Rose, Selected, Tribe, Tribes
Outline1. The Israelites are smitten at Ai
6. Joshua's complaint
10. God instructs him what to do
16. Achan is taken by the lot
19. His confession
24. He and all he had are destroyed in the valley of Achor
Dictionary of Bible ThemesJoshua 7:1-16
6024 sin, effects of
6173 guilt, and God
8479 self-examination, examples
8716 dishonesty, examples
LibraryAchan's Sin, Israel's Defeat
'But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel. 2. And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Beth-aven, on the east side of Beth-ei, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. 3. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Whether one Can, Without a Mortal Sin, Deny the Truth which Would Lead to One's Condemnation?
Objection 1: It would seem one can, without a mortal sin, deny the truth which would lead to one's condemnation. For Chrysostom says (Hom. xxxi super Ep. ad Heb.): "I do not say that you should lay bare your guilt publicly, nor accuse yourself before others." Now if the accused were to confess the truth in court, he would lay bare his guilt and be his own accuser. Therefore he is not bound to tell the truth: and so he does not sin mortally if he tell a lie in court. Objection 2: Further, just as …
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica
Contention Over the Man Born Blind.
(Jerusalem.) ^D John IX. 1-41. [Some look upon the events in this and the next section as occurring at the Feast of Tabernacles in October, others think they occurred at the Feast of Dedication in December, deriving their point of time from John x. 22.] ^d 1 And as he passed by, he saw a man blind from his birth. [The man probably sought to waken compassion by repeatedly stating this fact to passers-by.] 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
The Eighth Commandment
Thou shalt not steal.' Exod 20: 15. AS the holiness of God sets him against uncleanness, in the command Thou shalt not commit adultery;' so the justice of God sets him against rapine and robbery, in the command, Thou shalt not steal.' The thing forbidden in this commandment, is meddling with another man's property. The civil lawyers define furtum, stealth or theft to be the laying hands unjustly on that which is another's;' the invading another's right. I. The causes of theft.  The internal causes …
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments
Confession of Sin --A Sermon with Seven Texts
The Hardened Sinner. PHARAOH--"I have sinned."--Exodus 9:27. I. The first case I shall bring before you is that of the HARDENED SINNER, who, when under terror, says, "I have sinned." And you will find the text in the book of Exodus, the 9th chap. and 27th verse: "And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked." But why this confession from the lips of the haughty tyrant? He was not often wont to …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857
Restraining Prayer: is it Sin?
"Thou restrainest prayer before God."--JOB xv. 4. "What profit should we have, if we pray unto Him?"--JOB xxi. 15. "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you."--1 SAM. xii. 23. "Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you."--JOSH. vii. 12. Any deep quickening of the spiritual life of the Church will always be accompanied by a deeper sense of sin. This will not begin with theology; that can only give expression to what God works …
Andrew Murray—The Ministry of Intercession
The Practice of Piety in Glorifying God in the Time of Sickness, and when Thou Art Called to Die in the Lord.
As soon as thou perceivest thyself to be visited with any sickness, meditate with thyself: 1. That "misery cometh not forth of the dust; neither doth affliction spring out of the earth." Sickness comes not by hap or chance (as the Philistines supposed that their mice and emrods came, 1 Sam. vi. 9), but from man's wickedness, which, as sparkles, breaketh out. "Man suffereth," saith Jeremiah, "for his sins." "Fools," saith David, "by reason of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities, …
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety
Exposition of the Moral Law.
1. The Law was committed to writing, in order that it might teach more fully and perfectly that knowledge, both of God and of ourselves, which the law of nature teaches meagrely and obscurely. Proof of this, from an enumeration of the principal parts of the Moral Law; and also from the dictate of natural law, written on the hearts of all, and, in a manner, effaced by sin. 2. Certain general maxims. 1. From the knowledge of God, furnished by the Law, we learn that God is our Father and Ruler. Righteousness …
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Of a Private Fast.
That we may rightly perform a private fast, four things are to be observed:--First, The author; Secondly, The time and occasion; Thirdly, The manner; Fourthly, The ends of private fasting. 1. Of the Author. The first that ordained fasting was God himself in paradise; and it was the first law that God made, in commanding Adam to abstain from eating the forbidden fruit. God would not pronounce nor write his law without fasting (Lev. xxiii), and in his law commands all his people to fast. So does our …
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety
The Knowledge of God
'The Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.' I Sam 2:2. Glorious things are spoken of God; he transcends our thoughts, and the praises of angels. God's glory lies chiefly in his attributes, which are the several beams by which the divine nature shines forth. Among other of his orient excellencies, this is not the least, The Lord is a God of knowledge; or as the Hebrew word is, A God of knowledges.' Through the bright mirror of his own essence, he has a full idea and cognisance …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
Josephus thus describes the land of Benjamin; "The Benjamites' portion of land was from the river Jordan to the sea, in length: in breadth, it was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." Let these last words be marked, "The breadth of the land of Benjamin was bounded by Jerusalem and Beth-el." May we not justly conclude, from these words, that Jerusalem and Beth-el were opposite, as it were, in a right line? But if you look upon the maps, there are some that separate these by a very large tract of land, …
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica
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 Holiness of God
The next attribute is God's holiness. Exod 15:51. Glorious in holiness.' Holiness is the most sparkling jewel of his crown; it is the name by which God is known. Psa 111:1. Holy and reverend is his name.' He is the holy One.' Job 6:60. Seraphims cry, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.' Isa 6:6. His power makes him mighty, his holiness makes him glorious. God's holiness consists in his perfect love of righteousness, and abhorrence of evil. Of purer eyes than …
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity
Second Great Group of Parables.
(Probably in Peræa.) Subdivision F. Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. ^C Luke XVI. 19-31. [The parable we are about to study is a direct advance upon the thoughts in the previous section. We may say generally that if the parable of the unjust steward teaches how riches are to be used, this parable sets forth the terrible consequences of a failure to so use them. Each point of the previous discourse is covered in detail, as will be shown by the references in the discussion of the parable.] …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
The book of Joshua is the natural complement of the Pentateuch. Moses is dead, but the people are on the verge of the promised land, and the story of early Israel would be incomplete, did it not record the conquest of that land and her establishment upon it. The divine purpose moves restlessly on, until it is accomplished; so "after the death of Moses, Jehovah spake to Joshua," i. 1. The book falls naturally into three divisions: (a) the conquest of Canaan (i.-xii.), (b) the settlement of the …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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