Matthew 23:4

The faults of the scribes and Pharisees were not confined to their own private lives. Not only were they formal and unreal themselves, and blameworthy on that account; they were harsh and tyrannical in their treatment of the people. They showed their sanctity in constructing an artificial standard of holiness for other persons to follow. This is a not uncommon fault of professional religionists, and it leads to the imposition of needless burdens of many forms.


1. Their character. These burdens are of various kinds.

(1) Vexatious observances. Rites of religion have been multiplied and elaborated, until, ceasing to serve their true end as instruments of devotion, they have checked the worship they could not sustain.

(2) Difficult doctrines. Notions which were not involved in the scriptural revelation have been added by speculation and handed down by tradition, and belief in them insisted on as essential to salvation.

(3) Fancied duties. An unwholesome casuistry, which neglected the weightier matters of the Law, has been busy in multiplying the petty details of correct conduct.

2. Their origin. These needless burdens were not imposed by God. He is reasonable and merciful. We must look lower for their origin.

(1) From men. Without any Divine authority, though insolently claiming that authority, men have assumed to bind needless burdens on their fellows.

(2) In hypocrisy. The authors of the burdens would not so much as move them with their finger. Inwardly lax, they were externally rigorous. Hypocrites lack the grace of Christian charity.

II. THE CREATION OF NEEDLESS BURDENS. This is one of Christ's happy works.

1. The grounds of the removal of them.

(1) Their needlessness. Christ is practical. He is too real to tolerate artificialities in religion.

(2) Their oppression. The sympathy of Christ was called forth, and his indignation was roused as he saw simple folks tyrannized over by hypocrites.

(3) Their hindrance of necessary duty. Jesus did not desire to see a lax style of living. He himself brought high claims and made great demands - once bidding a rich young man renounce the whole of his wealth (Mark 10:21). Needless burdens would distract the attention and absorb the energy of people to the neglect of important duties. While they are given up to the pursuit of little, insignificant, useless performances, they forget and omit great and weighty obligations.

2. The method of their removal.

(1) On the authority of Christ. He has a right to direct our conduct. Let us go to him and not to man for our "Christian Directory."

(2) By the exposure of the character of the needless burdens. The timid conscience is often scrupulous, just in proportion to the smallness of the fancied duties with which it troubles itself. What it wants is a clear perception of the needlessness of its supposed obligations. Christ was daring in breaking bands which never should have been bound. He who receives the Spirit of Christ receives the Spirit of liberty.

(3) With the revelation of true duty. We are called to leave the slavery of law and of casuistry, that we may have power to accept the great obligations of Christian service; and the realization of these obligations is a means of attaining the desired liberty. They who have taken Christ's yoke cannot allow themselves to be encumbered with the Pharisees' burdens. - W.F.A.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets.
Consider some of the different modes in which the rejection of God's call has been made. Far, all do not reject Him alike.

I. Some will even rise up and say, "I Do NOT CONSIDER THAT I HAVE EVER YET BEEN CALLED."

1. Those who wish they could believe they had been called, but cannot think such good news true.

2. Those who are waiting for a louder, more irresistible call, saying, "Why does not God, if He would indeed save me, make some great interposition on my behalf?" Alas for the guilty unbelief of the one, and the awful, blasphemous presumption of the other!

II. Those who, although conscious of having been called, yet treat the matter with INDIFFERENCE. These are "men at ease in Zion"; familiarized with stifled convictions; of secular habit of mind; to whom invisible things carry no reality in daily life. Three classes of them depicted in Luke 14:18-20.

III. Those who recognize the importance of the Divine call, BUT WHO PUT OFF THE ACCEPTANCE OF IT. Satan decoys them by enticing pictures of their own future. They live in fancies of their own coming holiness, thinking that to-morrow's goodness will make up for to-day's worldliness. Oh the sin l As if they could command the sovereign working of the Holy Ghost! As if — having refused Him their attention now — they may recall Him when they please.

IV. Those who, at the time, receive," welcome, reciprocate the love of God; and then, when the excitement of the moment is past, THEIR FEELINGS EVAPORATE, and nothing remains. Their religion never becomes a principle.

V. Those who listen to the heavenly call, draw nigh, taste the heavenly gift; and then the old, carnal nature asserts its sway, and they draw back again.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Oh that "how often"! Do not let it be a mere impassioned exclamation. Make it what it is, a distinct, definite question put to you this day — "how often?" And what arithmetic can write the answer? I never yet visited a man upon a sick-bed — I never talked with a single person in any of those moments which unlock the breast, and set it free to speak its secrets — that I did not receive this confession: "I have been greatly conscious all my life of the inward striving, and the oft-repeated calls of God in my soul." Sometimes, doubtless, those calls fall louder and deeper upon the spiritual ear than they fall at other times. They lie thickest, I believe, in early life. There are states of mind we can scarcely say how, and there are providential scenes we can scarcely say why, which give an intensity to those many voices, when a verse of Scripture will sometimes roll its meaning like thunder, or when a whisper of the soul will carry an accent tenfold with it. But the call is not confined to those specialities. There is a "finger of a man's hand" which is always waking the strings of thought. It is when we lie down; it is when we rise up; it is when we sit in the house; it is when we are walking by the way. We can see it on the little face of early childhood, before the date when our utmost memories reach; we can trace it in ourselves back to the utmost dawn of rising reason. Perhaps not a room in which we have ever laid down to sleep; perhaps not a church into which we have ever entered, even with careless foot; perhaps not a sin which we ever deliberately went and did; perhaps not an incident for weal or woe that lies on the chequered path of life, but there was something there which swelled that "how often?"

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Of all the refusals of God's grace, the real secret is the same. They may cover themselves with various pretexts — just as persons, having made up their mind to decline an invitation, begin to look out for some convenient excuse — but the cause is one. It is not in any outward circumstances; it is not in any particular temperament; it is not in the want of power; it is not in the straitenings of Divine grace: but the Saviour points to it at once with His omniscient mind — "ye would not." It is the absence of the will; it is the want of that setting of the mind to God's mind; that conformity of the affections to God's promises; that appreciation of unseen things; that spiritual sense, which is the essence and the beginning of a new life. Therefore they cannot come.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Scripture is full of the sublime and pathetic. It opens to us the very heart of the Redeemer. Observe here —

I. THE CRUELTY AND WICKEDNESS OF THE JEWS. They paid no regard to the character and Divine commission of God s prophets.

1. An act of great injustice and ingratitude.

2. An act of rebellion against God.

II. CHRIST'S TENDERNESS AND CARE. The hen an affectionate creature to her young. When justice pursues, Satan assaults, and hosts of enemies compass us round about; if we can but get under the shadow of Christ's wings we are safe, and, being safe, may be content. The wings of Christ are so large, they are sufficient to cover the whole Church. They are also strong and impenetrable, and ever stretched out to screen us from danger.

III. CHRIST'S EARNESTNESS AND IMPORTUNITY. "Jerusalem, Jerusalem." "How often."

IV. STUBBORNNESS AND PERVERSENESS OF THOSE SO TENDERLY REGARDED. "Ye would not." Not a want of power, but of will.

1. None continue the slaves of Satan and sin but with their own consent.

2. Every man may be saved if he wilt.

3. Divine influence necessary to overcome the sinner's enmity.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

I have been raising chickens this year, and have devoted a part of my pear-orchard to the chicken-coops; and I have been accustomed to go out mornings and evenings to see that the boy took care of the chickens. I think I have now about ten or fiften broods. The old hen, when watching them, would cluck; and it was to them a warning of danger, I suppose. They understand it to mean that they are to come in. I could not understand that language; but these little things that had never been to school understood instantly just what she said. She gave her whole self to them; and their instinct was to run under her; and when there to lift themselves close up to her body, and get their warmth from her. I have watched them as they did this again and again. What an idea of the intimate and endearing relationship between the soul and the Lord Jesus Christ is conveyed in that figure.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I remember some few years ago meeting a young woman at a mission, who said that for two years she had been trying to make herself feel her sins, and could not. This was to her a great grief. I had been preaching on the words of Christ in this verse; so I said to her, "Suppose a little chick were half frozen in a barn-yard, and could scarcely feel itself alive from numbness, what would be the best thing for it to do? Would it not be to flee at once to the warmth of the hen's wing?" I think she saw her mistake. I think she learnt that those who would learn more of their sin, and who desire a more contrite spirit, can find it nowhere so surely and fully as in nearness to Jesus, trusting only in His grace, and finding their shelter beneath His merciful wings.

(G. Everard, M. A.)


1. God's sovereignty of Israel. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem." Why should Jerusalem be singled out from all other nations. He had a right to select the depositaries of His truth.

2. God's grace in the messages which He sent to this people. "Them which are sent unto thee."

3. God's mercy manifested in His dealings towards them.

4. God's love.

5. God's unchangeableness — "How often."

6. God's justice" Behold your house is left unto you desolate."

7. God's faithulness in the final issue of His dealings with Israel.

II. THE SPECIAL INSTRUCTION TO OURSELVES. Learn what we have to do with the purposes, messages, salvation of God. Like Christ, Christians should desire and seek the salvation of men.

(W. Cadman, M. A.)

In this invective two things are to be considered, the rebellion of Jerusalem, in ver. 37; the punishment of this sin, ver. 38. Touching the rebellion itself, three things are set down —(1) the place and persons;(2) the degree and practice of rebellion;(3) the manner and form of their rebellion. In this example of Jerusalem's rebellion we learn many things.(a) The vileness of man's nature, and our violent proneness to sin.(b) To exercise ourselves in the duties of goodness, meekness, peace to all men.(c) Not to oppose ourselves against the ministers of God.

(W. Perkins.)

I. God has desired to gather you to Himself. Have you not had gathering mercies, invitations, appeals, providences, seasons?

II. But you have often rejected the overtures of Divine mercy. Your unwillingness is the result of your ignorance of your real state, unbelief, love of the world, dislike to Christ's terms.

III. The obstinate rejection of the Divine mercy must involve the sinner in irreparable ruin. Application: In order to salvation your will must harmonize with the will of God. The entire responsibility is with you.

(J. Burns, LL. D.)

I. Jerusalem's PRIVILEGES. The natural advantages of Jerusalem were very great. Typical of higher spiritual privileges — the goodly fellowship of the prophets; the extraordinary ministrations of special men, raised up and qualified by God, and sent to warn people from their sins, and to bid them repent and live; the personal ministry of the Son of God. The mind involuntarily turns to the privileges of England, and of London.

II. Jerusalem's SINS. Ingratitude and cruelty. Illustrates the lengths which those will go in sin who cherish affection for forbidden sins, and who harden their hearts against Divine things.

III. Jerusalem's DOOM. Warn against hardness of heart and contempt of the word and doctrine.

(J. J. Sargent.)I. Men, while they are in a state of nature, are exposed to imminent danger. As transgressors of the law of God they are liable to its penalty. They overlook this danger, but it is real, and it is terrific.

II. Our Lord Jesus Christ offers Himself as a shelter against this danger. If He had been a mere man He could not have been the Saviour.

III. He fulfils this function with condescending tenderness.

IV. He delivers His people by the substitution of His own life for theirs.

V. The immediate result of application to Him is safety.

VI. Men are responsible in the matter of their own salvation.

(President Davies.)

Such is the affecting apostrophe in which our Lord's faithful denunciations of "Woe, woe!" terminate. Like the thunder-cloud, which, having discharged its bolt at the earth, weeps itself away — exhausts itself in a healing shower, which closes the rent it had made — so His pity commiserates, and pours itself forth over those whom, in the same breath, He had felt Himself called to rebuke.

(Dr. J. Harris)

As much as to say, as the parent bird, when she sees some bird of prey hovering over her helpless young, gives them the signal, which nature teaches them to understand, and spreads her wings to protect them, resolved to become a prey herself rather than her tender brood; or, as she shelters them from the rain and cold, and cherishes them under her friendly feathers, — so, says the compassionate Redeemer, so, O Jerusalem! I see thy children, like heedless chickens, in the most imminent danger; I see the judgments of God hovering over them; I see the Roman eagle ready to seize them as its prey; I see storms of vengeance ready to fall upon them; and how often have I invited them to fly to me for shelter, and gave them the signal of their danger I how often have I spread the wings of My protection to cover them, and keep them warm and safe as in My bosom! but, O lamentable I O astonishing I ye would not! I was willing, but ye would not! The silly chickens, taught by nature, understand the signal of approaching danger, and immediately fly for shelter; but ye, more silly and presumptuous, would not regard My warnings; would not believe your danger, nor fly to Me for protection, though often — oh, how often — warned and invited!

(President Davies.)

I. WHAT IT IS CHRIST PROPOSED TO CONFER UPON HIS PEOPLE. Christ not only willing but tenderly anxious to confer the various privileges of light and grace.

1. When our Saviour declares He would have collected them, He means He would bless them with all the privileges common to that Church, of which He was the head, and which He came to construct.

2. The moral state of the people when our Saviour stated His willingness to receive them to Himself. The readiness of Christ to receive any class of sinners. The haughty Pharisee. The infidel Sadducee. They had rejected the ministry of Christ. Divine love goes out towards these.

3. Their danger.

II. THE DECLARATION of Christ respecting the means employed for our salvation — "I would have gathered you."

1. Tenderness.

2. Long-suffering.

3. A time will come when He will leave us to our sins if we continue to spurn Him from us.

(J. Dixon, D. D.)

The reasons of this special sympathy.

I. Christ as our Redeemer knows the dreadfulness of sin, and therefore pities those to whom it clings.

II. He pities the sinner, knowing all that is involved in his final doom.

III. Christ is the exponent of God's infinite love to man.

IV. There is a ground for this compassion of Christ, growing out of His knowledge of the completeness of His salvation and the security of those who accept it.

V. The Saviour's compassion is founded upon His knowledge of what the gospel cost Him to achieve. But if Christ's power is boundless and His pity so great, why does He not interfere to save us anyhow? God deals with man as a free agent.

1. The loss of the soul is self-caused.

2. How great the sin of refusing the gospel.

(B. F. Palmer, D. D,)

Abel, Barachias, Berechiah, Hen, Jesus, Zachariah, Zacharias, Zechariah
Backs, Bear, Bind, Borne, Burdens, Choose, Cumbrous, Finger, Fingers, Grievous, Heavy, Laws, Lay, Lift, Load, Loads, Men's, Move, Shoulders, Themselves, Tie, Unwilling, Weights, Willing, Yea
1. Jesus admonishes the people to follow good doctrine, not bad examples
5. His disciples must beware of their ambition.
13. He denounces eight woes against their hypocrisy and blindness,
34. and prophesies of the destruction of Jerusalem.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 23:4

     4696   yoke
     5152   fingers

Matthew 23:1-4

     2009   Christ, anger of

Matthew 23:1-7

     5514   scribes
     8822   self-justification

Matthew 23:1-32

     8767   hypocrisy

Matthew 23:1-33

     5381   law, letter and spirit
     8749   false teachers

Matthew 23:1-36

     5379   law, Christ's attitude
     7552   Pharisees, attitudes to Christ

Matthew 23:2-4

     2363   Christ, preaching and teaching

Matthew 23:2-12

     7759   preachers, qualifications

Matthew 23:2-33

     7464   teachers of the law

Matthew 23:4-15

     7734   leaders, spiritual

The Morality of the Gospel.
Is stating the morality of the Gospel as an argument of its truth, I am willing to admit two points; first, that the teaching of morality was not the primary design of the mission; secondly, that morality, neither in the Gospel, nor in any other book, can be a subject, properly speaking, of discovery. If I were to describe in a very few words the scope of Christianity as a revelation, [49] I should say that it was to influence the conduct of human life, by establishing the proof of a future state
William Paley—Evidences of Christianity

Jesus' Last Public Discourse. Denunciation of Scribes and Pharisees.
(in the Court of the Temple. Tuesday, April 4, a.d. 30.) ^A Matt. XXIII. 1-39; ^B Mark XII. 38-40; ^C Luke XX. 45-47. ^a 1 Then spake Jesus ^b 38 And in his teaching ^c in the hearing of all the people he said unto ^a the multitudes, and to his disciples [he spoke in the most public manner], 2 saying, ^c 46 Beware of the scribes, ^a The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat: 3 all things whatsoever they bid you, these do and observe: but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Christianity Misunderstood by Believers.
Meaning of Christian Doctrine, Understood by a Minority, has Become Completely Incomprehensible for the Majority of Men-- Reason of this to be Found in Misinterpretation of Christianity and Mistaken Conviction of Believers and Unbelievers Alike that they Understand it--The Meaning of Christianity Obscured for Believers by the Church--The First Appearance of Christ's Teaching--Its Essence and Difference from Heathen Religions-- Christianity not Fully Comprehended at the Beginning, Became More and
Leo Tolstoy—The Kingdom of God is within you

First Attempts on Jerusalem.
Jesus, almost every year, went to Jerusalem for the feast of the passover. The details of these journeys are little known, for the synoptics do not speak of them,[1] and the notes of the fourth Gospel are very confused on this point.[2] It was, it appears, in the year 31, and certainly after the death of John, that the most important of the visits of Jesus to Jerusalem took place. Many of the disciples followed him. Although Jesus attached from that time little value to the pilgrimage, he conformed
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

For which Cause Our Lord Himself Also with his Own Mouth Saith...
4. For which cause our Lord Himself also with His own mouth saith, "Cleanse what are within, and what are without will be clean." [1813] And, also, in another place, when He was refuting the foolish speeches of the Jews, in that they spake evil against His disciples, eating with unwashen hands; "Not what entereth into the mouth," said He, "defileth the man: but what cometh forth out of the mouth, that defileth the man." [1814] Which sentence, if the whole of it be taken of the mouth of the body,
St. Augustine—On Continence

Relation of the Pharisees to the Sadducees and Essenes, and to the Gospel of Christ
On taking a retrospective view of Pharisaism, as we have described it, there is a saying of our Lord which at first sight seems almost unaccountable. Yet it is clear and emphatic. "All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do" (Matt 23:3). But if the early disciples were not to break at once and for ever with the Jewish community, such a direction was absolutely needful. For, though the Pharisees were only "an order," Pharisaism, like modern Ultramontanism, had not only become
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Among the People, and with the Pharisees
It would have been difficult to proceed far either in Galilee or in Judaea without coming into contact with an altogether peculiar and striking individuality, differing from all around, and which would at once arrest attention. This was the Pharisee. Courted or feared, shunned or flattered, reverently looked up to or laughed at, he was equally a power everywhere, both ecclesiastically and politically, as belonging to the most influential, the most zealous, and the most closely-connected religions
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

The General Service to a Prophet.
At the Vespers, for O Lord, I have cried, the Stichera, Tone 4. Similar to: Called from above... Thou that hast in the purity of thy mind received the reflex of the God-emitted light and wast the herald of the divine words and seer and divine prophet, thou appearedst as the God-moved mouth of the Spirit, conveying that which was shewn by Him unto thee, O all-honoured (mentioned by name), and declaring unto all the peoples the salvation that was being granted and the Kingdom of Christ; do entreat
Anonymous—The General Menaion

Of the Power of Making Laws. The Cruelty of the Pope and his Adherents, in this Respect, in Tyrannically Oppressing and Destroying Souls.
1. The power of the Church in enacting laws. This made a source of human traditions. Impiety of these traditions. 2. Many of the Papistical traditions not only difficult, but impossible to be observed. 3. That the question may be more conveniently explained, nature of conscience must be defined. 4. Definition of conscience explained. Examples in illustration of the definition. 5. Paul's doctrine of submission to magistrates for conscience sake, gives no countenance to the Popish doctrine of the obligation
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Hints to Teachers and Questions for Pupils
Teacher's Apparatus.--English theology has no juster cause for pride than the books it has produced on the Life of Paul. Perhaps there is no other subject in which it has so outdistanced all rivals. Conybeare and Howson's Life and Epistles of St. Paul will probably always keep the foremost place; in many respects it is nearly perfect; and a teacher who has mastered it will be sufficiently equipped for his work and require no other help. The works of Lewin and Farrar are written on the same lines;
James Stalker et al—The Life of St. Paul

On Attending the Church Service
"The sin of the young men was very great." 1 Sam. 2:17. 1. The corruption, not only of the heathen world, but likewise of them that were called Christians, has been matter of sorrow and lamentation to pious men, almost from the time of the apostles. And hence, as early as the second century, within a hundred years of St. John's removal from the earth, men who were afraid of being partakers of other men's sins, thought it their duty to separate from them. Hence, in every age many have retired from
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

Machinations of the Enemies of Jesus.
Jesus passed the autumn and a part of the winter at Jerusalem. This season is there rather cold. The portico of Solomon, with its covered aisles, was the place where he habitually walked.[1] This portico consisted of two galleries, formed by three rows of columns, and covered by a ceiling of carved wood.[2] It commanded the valley of Kedron, which was doubtless less covered with debris than it is at the present time. The depth of the ravine could not be measured, from the height of the portico; and
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

The Early Ministry in Judea
113. We owe to the fourth gospel our knowledge of the fact that Jesus began his general ministry in Jerusalem. The silence of the other records concerning this beginning cannot discredit the testimony of John. For these other records themselves indicate in various ways that Jesus had repeatedly sought to win Jerusalem before his final visit at the end of his life (compare Luke xiii. 34; Matt. xxiii. 37). Moreover, the fourth gospel is confirmed by the probability, rising almost to necessity, that
Rush Rhees—The Life of Jesus of Nazareth

The Crossing of the Jordan
THE CROSSING OF THE JORDAN Just how did you feel at the time you were sanctified? I have heard some tell of how the holy fire of the Spirit seemed to go all through them. Others have told of a deeper, more complete peace. Some have shouted for joy. Others have wept for joy. And I am wondering how one ought to feel. Can you tell me? And how can I know that I am consecrated? Every teacher of entire sanctification that I ever heard says that the consecration must be complete; but how am I to know when
Robert Lee Berry—Adventures in the Land of Canaan

Subjects of Study. Home Education in Israel; Female Education. Elementary Schools, Schoolmasters, and School Arrangements.
If a faithful picture of society in ancient Greece or Rome were to be presented to view, it is not easy to believe that even they who now most oppose the Bible could wish their aims success. For this, at any rate, may be asserted, without fear of gainsaying, that no other religion than that of the Bible has proved competent to control an advanced, or even an advancing, state of civilisation. Every other bound has been successively passed and submerged by the rising tide; how deep only the student
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Letter Xliv Concerning the Maccabees but to whom Written is Unknown.
Concerning the Maccabees But to Whom Written is Unknown. [69] He relies to the question why the Church has decreed a festival to the Maccabees alone of all the righteous under the ancient law. 1. Fulk, Abbot of Epernay, had already written to ask me the same question as your charity has addressed to your humble servant by Brother Hescelin. I have put off replying to him, being desirous to find, if possible, some statement in the Fathers about this which was asked, which I might send to him, rather
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Number and Order of the Separate Books.
The number of the books was variously estimated. Josephus gives twenty-two, which was the usual number among Christian writers in the second, third, and fourth centuries, having been derived perhaps from the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Origen, Jerome, and others have it. It continued longest among the teachers of the Greek Church, and is even in Nicephorus's stichometry.(83) The enumeration in question has Ruth with Judges, and Lamentations with Jeremiah. In Epiphanius(84) the number twenty-seven
Samuel Davidson—The Canon of the Bible

I. (Who first propounded these heresies, p. 11.) Hippolytus seems to me to have felt the perils to the pure Gospel of many admissions made by Clement and other Alexandrian doctors as to the merits of some of the philosophers of the Gentiles. Very gently, but with prescient genius, he adopts this plan of tracing the origin and all the force of heresies to "philosophy falsely so called." The existence of this "cloud of locusts" is (1) evidence of the antagonism of Satan; (2) of the prophetic spirit
Hippolytus.—The Refutation of All Heresies

"The Carnal Mind is Enmity against God for it is not Subject to the Law of God, Neither Indeed Can Be. So Then they that Are
Rom. viii. s 7, 8.--"The carnal mind is enmity against God for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." It is not the least of man's evils, that he knows not how evil he is, therefore the Searcher of the heart of man gives the most perfect account of it, Jer. xvii. 12. "The heart is deceitful above all things," as well as "desperately wicked," two things superlative and excessive in it, bordering upon an infiniteness, such
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

We are not Binding Heavy Burdens and Laying them Upon Your Shoulders...
37. We are not binding heavy burdens and laying them upon your shoulders, while we with a finger will not touch them. Seek out, and acknowledge the labor of our occupations, and in some of us the infirmities of our bodies also, and in the Churches which we serve, that custom now grown up, that they do not suffer us to have time ourselves for those works to which we exhort you. For though we might say, "Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the
St. Augustine—Of the Work of Monks.

Repentance and Impenitence.
In the discussion of this subject I shall show,-- I. What repentance is not. 1. The Bible everywhere represents repentance as a virtue, and as constituting a change of moral character; consequently, it cannot be a phenomenon of the intelligence: that is, it cannot consist in conviction of sin, nor in any intellectual apprehension of our guilt or ill-desert. All the states or phenomena of the intelligence are purely passive states of mind, and of course moral character, strictly speaking, cannot be
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

Second Sunday after Trinity Exhortation to Brotherly Love.
Text: 1 John 3, 13-18. 13 Marvel not, brethren, if the world hateth you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath the world's goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. III

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