Revelation 12:17

The earth helped the woman. By common consent "the woman" here means redeemed humanity, or the children of God collectively, or, in other words, what is called the Church.

1. Her appearance is wonderful. "Clothed with the sun."

2. Her progeny is wonderful. "She brought forth a man child."

3. Her antagonist is wonderful. The devil is the great enemy of redeemed humanity, and the description given of him indicates that he is a being of stupendous force and malice.

4. Her influence is wonderful. Supernatural beings engage in fierce conflict on her account. There was war in heaven. The subject here is Nature serving Christliness. The earth - nature - "helped the woman" - embodied Christianity. Nature helps Christliness in various ways.

I. BY ITS GRAND REVELATIONS. Nature reveals all the grand subjects that constitute the very foundation of Bible discoveries.

1. There is God. All nature proclaims, not only his existence, but his personality, unity, spirituality, wisdom, goodness, power.

2. There is law. Every part is under the rigorous reign of law. Any infraction of nature's laws carries penalties.

3. There is mediation. The principle of mediation runs through all nature. One element, one agent, one being, everywhere serving another.

4. There is responsibility. In the human world men are everywhere recognized as responsible, men everywhere feel their responsibility.

5. There is mystery. There is a haze over all nature. Every part has arenas which no intellect can penetrate. The whole universe seems to float on the dark sea of mystery. Now, all these subjects which we find in nature we find also in the Bible. Hence nature comes, also, to illustrate the meaning of the Bible and confirm its truth. It is a grand parable. Hence "the earth helps the woman."

II. BY ITS MORAL IMPRESSIONS. Nature is suited to make impressions upon the earth corresponding exactly with those which Christianity essays to produce.

1. The sense of dependence. How infinitesimally little man feels beside the great hills, confronting the ocean billow, and under the awful stars! Amidst the majesty of Nature's appearances he feels himself to be nothing, and tess than nothing. He feels borne along as a straw upon the resistless flood of destiny.

2. Reverence. How great does God appear in nature, in the minute as well as the vast! "An undevout astronomer is mad." There is a spirit in nature that seems to say to every thoughtful soul, "Take thy shoes from off thy feet," etc.

3. Contrition. The streams of Divine goodness seem to well up from every blade, flow down on every ray, beat in every wave of air, and are vocal with reproof to guilty man for his ingratitude and disobedience towards his Maker.

4. Worship. In reason's ear a thousand voices speak to man. "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, sing forth the honour of his Name." Now, these are just the impressions that the gospel aims to produce; and thus nature serves Christianity by endeavouring to produce the same spiritual results; and in this way, again, "the earth helps the woman."

III. BY ITS MULTIPLIED INVENTIONS. Men, by studying nature and employing its laws, elements, and forces for their intellectual and temporal uses, have attained those arts which are highly conducive to the advancement of Christianity.

1. There is merchandise. Trade brings the remotest nations together in a common interest. The means for exporting commodities are available for exporting the Word of God.

2. There is the press. The press is an invention of nature, and an invention which is admirably suited to advance Christianity. It has already borne the gospel to the most distant part of the earth.

3. There is painting. The art by which man transfers the forms of nature, and embodies his own conception of beauty on the canvas. By this noble art the scenes and characters of the Bible, and even our blessed Lord himself, are brought with a vivid reality under the notice of men.

4. There is music. The magic art which catches the floating sounds of nature and weaves them into strains of melody that stir the deepest feelings. Never does truth come with such strange majesty to the heart as when it comes floating on the wave of melody.

5. There is government. Government is of the earth, earthy; but it helps Christianity. The Roman government, in the first ages, did it good service, and all civil governments that keep to their true province serve it now. - D.T.

The earth helped the woman.
I. SOME ILLUSTRATIONS OF THIS HELP. How the earth has rendered help to God's people sometimes by —

1. Its wide extent. The primeval going forth of Abram, the father of the faithful, from Ur of the Chaldees, was in all probability owing to the discomfort, distress, and may be actual danger, for one who had renounced idolatry as he had, should he live any longer in an idolatrous land. And so he went far away westward into the land God showed him. And the Exodus was another going forth into a far-off land, that the people might worship God as they could not do in Egypt. Pharaoh would not let the people go, but God compelled him, and the colonisation of Palestine by Israel, and all that followed from that, was the result.

2. The division of the earth into separate states and kingdoms has been another great help to the Church of God in her days of distress. Egypt was a refuge for the infant Christ when Herod would have put Him to death. One of the most awful results of the wide-spread Roman Empire was that its law — which in its evil days was but the will of the reigning emperor, and he too often one of the vilest of men — ran everywhere, and shut off all retreat from its oppression. Its agents met the fugitive on every shore, till the world became one vast prison-house for the oppressed. The shattering, therefore, of that empire, and its division into separate states, were a vast relief for mankind, of which the Church of God often took advantage in her days of trouble. That the rule of that red dragon, like Herod, could not pass beyond the limits of Judaea, was a blessing that Joseph and the mother of our Lord were quick to avail themselves of by fleeing into Egypt. And what a thrilling story of the earth's helping the people of God has been the result of —

3. The earth's varied surface and form. From the days when David clambered up the rocky steeps of the mountains of Judea, and hid himself from Saul in inaccessible caves and fastnesses, in secret places on the mountain sides, and amid their frost-covered summits — places known only to himself and his trusty followers — from those days right down to the days when the Waldenses and the Christians of Piedmont found shelter from the murderous might of Papal Rome — more fierce and dragon-like than even Pagan Rome — amid Alpine snows and crags and cliffs, whither the blood-stained hand of their adversaries could not reach them, though they often tried. Well did the earth's mountain fortresses help God's people then. Nor may we overlook —

4. The earth's natural phenomena. The ten plagues of Egypt were but intensified forms of such phenomena, as any one resident long enough in that ancient land will know. The dividing of the Red Sea was by "a strong east wind." The defeat of the Spanish Armada, like the pestilence which slew the Assyrian army that threatened Hezekiah and his city and people — what were these but earth's phenomena, bidden of God to go to the help of His people, as assuredly they did? And how often have —

5. The politics of earth been Used in a similar way. In , an edict was passed, requiring Christians to deliver up their sacred books under pain of death. This was speedily followed by another, dooming all Christian ministers to prison. And that was immediately followed by a third, authorising the inflicting on them the most savage tortures, unless they would sacrifice to the heathen gods. In the year 304, a fourth edict was issued, ordering the magistrates to force all Christians to offer sacrifices to the gods, and to employ all sorts of torment if they refused. But relief was at hand. In the year 306 Constantine rose to power, and soon after to imperial power. In the year 313 liberty was proclaimed to the Christians, "and in the year 324 the Emperor publicly declared himself a Christian." Thus did the great earthly power of Rome help the people of God by swallowing up for ever the pagan and long-persisted-in persecution, which had been designed to overwhelm them in its full, fierce-flowing flood.

6. Nor have the passions of earth played an unimportant part in this same helping of God's people. God "maketh the wrath of man to praise Him"; and not man's wrath only, but his avarice, and at times even baser passions still. As when that sensual Persian tyrant, for the sake of Esther, hurled down the party of Haman and exalted that of Mordecai. And our own English Henry the Eighth leaned not a little towards the reformed faith because by means of it the beautiful woman he desired might more readily become his. And what a sad and deplorable part did the lust after the Church lands play in persuading the peerage and gentry of that age to pull down the old Church and put up the new. Granted well-nigh all that can be said against that old Church and for the new, still the dark fact remains that avarice and greed were the governing motives of not a few. And that wild outburst of a nation's rage, known as the French Revolution, how that availed to put down the cruelties of the Inquisition, and all those tortures whereby the Church of Rome had been wont to force men to acknowledge her sway. And finally —

7. The men of this world — such as the apostle speaks of as "earthly" and worse — then the very children of earth have once and again helped the children of God, the chosen of the Lord. Even Pilate wanted to. And what a list of like unspiritual, worldly men, who yet have proved friends of Christ, the apostolic records furnish — Gallio, Lysias, Festus, Felix, Agrippa, and the centurions and officers of the guard, who were kind to Paul, and stood between him and his enemies. And it has been so ever since. In the life of Lord Shaftesbury, we find him frequently telling how, in one and another of his benevolent but at that time most difficult enterprises, he was helped far more by those who made no profession of religion at all than by not a few of those who did. And to-day, do we not know many who refuse the Christian creed but who will yet do Christian deeds and help Christians therein? And the reason is that God has implanted in man Conscience, the instinctive love of justice and goodness, and hatred of injustice and oppression; and because the Church appeals to these principles she often gets the good will of worldly men, and their practical help and sympathy.


1. How inevitably it will be needed. God's faithful people being what they are, and Satan being what he is, how can it but be that he should persecute the Church of God?

2. It will surely be forthcoming. All men and all material agencies are ministers of God for good to His people, if He pleases to make them so. And He will do this if need arise.

3. How blessed to be of the number of those for whom God will do this. It is His faithful Church, His true people, for whom He will do this. Are we of their number?

(S. Conway, B. A.)


1. There is God. All nature proclaims not only His existence, but His personality, unity, spirituality, wisdom, goodness, power.

2. There is law.

3. There is mediation.

4. There is responsibility.

5. There is mystery.


1. Sense of dependence.

2. Reverence.

3. Contrition.

4. Worship.


1. Merchandise.

2. Press.

3. Painting.

4. Music.

5. Government.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

The "woman" mentioned here is a symbol of the New Testament Church. She is represented as pursued by the devil, who ejects from his mouth a river of water after her. Just then the earth opens; the deluge is swallowed up; so the woman is saved. Hence we catch from so rapidly flitting a vision at least as much as this welcome proposition: Nature is on the side of genuine religion; science is ready now to be helpful to the Church when it needs succour.

I. Hence it might be wise for us, in the first place, to allude to THE SOMEWHAT UNGENEROUS WAY IN WHICH THE WOMAN HAS BEEN TREATING THE EARTH IN MODERN TIMES. There is a violence of prejudice in the minds of a great many of God's people which is almost inexplicable. From the outset they suspect all offers of help from the world of natural research. Now the day has passed for a mere show of bigotry. Whoever considers that his opinions are settled beyond modification is simply a conceited or obstinate debater. Now if skilled philosophers have to be modest in dealing with each other, how much more wary ought the rank and file of mere theologians to be! For they are a class of scholars who do not claim to be experts in the details of the material sciences. Is it not time that religious people recognise the lapse of time and the growth of ages? Some things have come to light which Turretin and Luther and Calvin did not know, or they very likely would never have written what they did. The true prudence for us all would be to welcome aid in any difficult field of labour, no matter whence it comes. A fact is a fact, as a diamond is a diamond, and both are valuable; and it would be sheer waste of time to inquire jealously the colour of the first searcher who found either. There was a day when the gold and silver of Pharaoh's people went into the heaps of money contributed for building the tabernacle of God in the wilderness; there need be no fear but that all the discoveries of every science in turn, as soon as they have become fixed and tabulated by scientists themselves, will range their valuable brightness where they can best beautify the temple of God's Word.


1. To begin with, let us consider its answer to what have beech termed the "unconscious prophecies" of the Bible.

2. In the second place, the Church has occasion to thank science for its help in giving a constant rebuke to impertinent cavils which petulant objectors are in the habit of urging. Voltaire founded an argument against the truthfulness of the Old Testament upon what he termed the ignorant mistakes of the writer who composed the various books. Among these he instanced the expression of Solomon in the Proverbs, "Look not upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the glass." Now, said this witty Frenchman, Solomon could not have been the wise man he was reputed to be, or else he would have been fully informed that glass was not known as a substance until long after he was dead; it was invented subsequent to the date of his somewhat fragmentary book. Now science stepped into the controversy, not precisely for the Bible's sake in that sceptical age, but for its own. Chronology settled that Solomon lived about Then a historian proved that glass was in use among the Egyptians far before that time, for he had found pictures of glass-blowing in the ruins of the temples sculptured on the stone slabs. Archaeology followed with an exhibition of a glass signet engraved with a monarch's name, and dated ; this was discovered in ancient Thebes. And to this there was added the fact, announced by the expedition just returning from Egypt, that there were glass beads buried with the mummies they began to unroll. At this moment also came in philology to say that Solomon had not in fact mentioned the name of glass at all in his proverb; the original Hebrew word meant "cup," a mere drinking-vessel of any material; the wise man had warned against wine "when it giveth its colour in the cup." Thus, again, four distinct sciences in turn took up the contemptible little cavil and silenced it. It seems a waste of energy; but this has often been the result of such a demonstration.

3. Once more: consider science as exemplifying its friendliness for the Church in the illustration of difficult doctrines which it furnishes. It does not matter where we seek for examples. The resurrection of the body, perhaps one of the doctrines of the New Testament the most mysterious, was quite a fresh revelation to the world at large. It is a hard matter of belief to many a perplexed mind now. But it is no harder than the mystery of a tree's growth from the seed; and this is the figure which the Apostle Paul used for his help in explaining it. There are reserves in science into which the all-wise Creator retires as He does in revelation.

4. In the fourth place, let us be ready to acknowledge the help we receive in the reconciliation which science offers concerning the paradoxes of reason and faith in the Scriptures. We find in the revealed Word the statement that our Maker is "the Light of the world." Vivid indeed is the illustration offered by optical science just at this point. Here are three primary colours entering in to produce perfect white — the blue, the yellow, and the red. The natural philosopher places before our eyes a broad disk of metal; he paints on it segments of colour in due proportion, running from circumference to centre and ending at a point; then he whirls the disk like a wheel on its axis; the colours disappear, and the metal shines whiter than a silver shield. We cannot understand it; but the fact is the three elements have blended into one whole: three are one, and one is three. Then the lecturer tells us that the red gives off all the heat in the sun's ray, the yellow spreads all the illumination, the blue effects the chemical changes in living organisms. He says we read by the yellow ray, but we should shiver without the red, and we should wither and die without the blue. They are all needed as colours, and they all work together as one beam of sunlight. Now it is not contended that this is an explanation of the Scriptural doctrine of the trinity of God's being; but this we do insist upon: whenever cavillers demand scientific reasoning, because they cannot believe what they do not understand, R does seem as if we might wait for them to play their little arithmetical puzzles about three are one and one is three off upon the spectrum before they try them on the Trinity. And we go a single step farther. We cannot help thinking, in view of such astonishing analogies, that it must have been infinite wisdom which said, "God is light."

5. Finally, let us consider the friendliness of science as manifested in the positive help which it offers in the interpretation of obscure passages in the Word itself. Think of the helpfulness of Layard's discoveries at Nineveh to the students in explaining the books of Jonah and Nahum. So of the other forgotten cities and empires; we are to read concerning the fall of Tyre, the overthrow of Egypt, the extinction of Edom, the destruction of Babylon, in the light of late investigations of the ruins in those lands, all made in the interest of science.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

The names of worldly-minded subscribers to religious societies prove how greatly the earth helps the woman.

(W. Wayte Andrew, M. A.)

The dragon... went to make war with the remnant
1. We see that the dragon's wrath against the woman breaks out in war: which shows us, that even so wrath or any sin harboured in the heart, will at last break forth in action. Cain.

2. We see who is the principal author of the bloody wars and massacres that have been in sundry nations.

3. It is said that he went to make war with the remnant of her seed: to show us hereby the insatiable blood-thirstiness of Satan and his instruments: who, when they had killed the Lord's witnesses and so many more, yet cannot rest till in like manner they have killed the remnant.

4. This seed of the woman is described from keeping of the commandments of God, and having the testimony of Jesus Christ: by this mark, therefore, let us try ourselves if we be of this number who are the members of Christ's true Church; to wit, if we hold fast, the profession of the truth constantly, and make our practice or conversation conform thereunto.

(Wm. Guild, D. D.).

A beast rise up out of the sea.
I. IT HAS A MANIFOLD DEVELOPMENT. In the commerce of the world, in the government of the world, in the campaigns of the world, in the literature of the world, in the religions of the world, antichrist appears in aspects as hideous, and in a spirit as savage and blasphemous as the monsters depicted in this vision.


1. He is endowed with tremendous power.

2. His grand pursuit is moral mischief. He promotes —



(3)Destruction. He has no fight with fiends, but with saints.

3. His sphere is co-extensive with the world. Wherever falsehood, dishonesty, impurity, revenge are, there he is. And where are they not?

4. However great his influence, he is under a restraining law.

5. His mission will ultimately prove self-ruinous. In every act the devil performs, he is forming a link in that adamantine chain that shall bind him, not merely for a thousand years, but for ever.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. THE ANTICHRISTIAN WORLD answers to the first of the wild beasts of which we here read. See the resemblance. Rome and Nero's were not more exact.

1. It has assumed successive forms. "Seven heads" we read of, and they denote the multiplication and succession of hostile powers arrayed against the Church of God.

2. And it has ever had immense strength. "Ten horns," and these encircled with diadems, telling how the world spirit has ever made use of the princes and potentates of earth to work his will.

3. And it has ever raged against the Church as a wild beast. Under all its forms it has hated the people of God. From Pharaoh even to the last of the persecutors it has been the Same.

4. And its deadly wounds heal (ver. 3). If its dominion be overthrown in a given locality, or in your heart, do we not know how the evil spirit, who has left for a while, comes back?

5. It is popular. "All the world wondered after," and "worshipped."

6. And it blasphemes still, It claims Divine power.

7. And it wages war and wins (ver. 7). Let families, Churches, congregations, tell how this war has been waged in their midst, and how some, often many, of their most hopeful members have fallen.

8. And none but those who are really Christ's withstand (ver. 6). Yes, we are sent forth as sheep amid wolves.

II. THE WISDOM OF THIS WORLD answers to the second "beast." St. James tells us that "this wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish." This monster (ver. 11) is seen to ascend from "the earth," as St. James tells. In Revelation 19:20 it is called the "false prophet."

1. It is said to have "deceived." It deceives —(1) By its innocent appearance, its lamb-like look. True, it had ten horns, but they meant nothing, so small, so slight, so incapable of injury. So this wisdom. No one would ever suspect it of being a fierce beast. It is known as modern thought, science, philosophy, liberal culture — lamb-like words whom none would suspect to harbour ill.(2) By its words, so subtle and serpentine. "He spake as a dragon," that is, as a serpent, as did the "old serpent." So this wisdom of the world is plausible, popular, prevalent. But it further deceives —(3) By its "lying wonders" (ver. 14). The juggleries and tricks of heathenism, its magic and sorcery, explain St. John's words. Have not most eminent names, most wonderful discoveries, most famous reputations, been amongst the rewards it has given?

2. Its falsity may be detected. See, then —(1) It is an alliance with the God-defying world (cf. vers. 12-15). Mere brute force could not get on without the tricks and frauds which this lamb-like, lying thing concocts and displays. The first beast would be powerless without the cunning of the second. And here is a test for us. Do we find that any set of opinions, any new beliefs and maxims we may have adopted, are such as the godless and antichristian world choose and cherish as of great advantage to them? Can they claim them as on their side? If so, that is a very suspicious fact.(2) It transforms you into the world's likeness (see ver. 16). On the forehead or on the right hand the mark of this beast was to be.

(S. Conway, B. A.)

His deadly wound was healed
Who would have suspected this inference from these premises? But is not this the lively emblem of my natural corruption? Sometimes I conceive that, by God's grace, I have conquered and killed, subdued and slain, maimed and mortified the deeds of the flesh: never more shall I be molested or buffeted with such a bosom sin: when, alas! by the next return the news is, it is revived and recovered. Thus tenches, though grievously gashed, presently plaster themselves whole by that slimy and unctuous humour they have in them; and thus the inherent balsam of badness quickly cures my corruption — not a scar to be seen. I perceive I shall never finally kill it, till first I be dead myself.

(Thomas Fuller, D. D.)

All the world wondered after the beast
Can you not hear the words coming across all these centuries from the lips of two Roman youths, talking with each other, as they lounge together in the Forum? They had noble thoughts once; they had heard of the deeds of their fathers; they had dreamed that there might be some possible good for their age. But they had become sottish, licentious, gamblers. And one more gigantically sottish, licentious, gambling than themselves has become their ideal of what is desirable and possible. Who is like to him? Who can make war with him? These two youths fairly represent the age on which they have fallen. There is no originality in them. They think what every one else thinks., Their private opinion is the public opinion of the city and of the world.

(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)

John, Michael
Angry, Bear, Christ, Commandments, Commands, Dragon, Elsewhere, Enraged, Fast, Furiously, God's, Grew, Hold, Keeping, Obey, Offspring, Orders, Remnant, Rest, Sand, Seed, Stood, Testimony, War, Waxed, Witness, Wroth
1. A woman clothed with the sun travails.
4. The great red dragon stands before her, ready to devour her child;
6. when she is delivered she flees into the desert.
7. Michael and his angels fight with the dragon, and prevail.
13. The dragon, being cast down into the earth, persecutes the woman.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Revelation 12:17

     5724   offspring
     6157   fall, of Satan
     8405   commands, in NT
     8483   spiritual warfare, causes
     8484   spiritual warfare, enemies
     8787   opposition, to God
     9155   millennium

Prevailing Prayer.
Text.--The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.--James v. 16. THE last lecture referred principally to the confession of sin. To-night my remarks will be chiefly confined to the subject of intercession, or prayer. There are two kinds of means requisite to promote a revival; one to influence men, the other to influence God. The truth is employed to influence men, and prayer to move God. When I speak of moving God, I do not mean that God's mind is changed by prayer, or that his
Charles Grandison Finney—Lectures on Revivals of Religion

The Third
refers to Exodus. The promise is, "I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it" (ii. 17). It is in this third Epistle, which refers to the wilderness period and Balaam's counsel, that we have a special reference to the manna, the wilderness sustenance, of which Exodus contains the record. "Bread from Heaven" and "Angels' food" (Ps. lxxviii. 24,25) are set over against the lusts of the
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

The Glory of Jesus and Mary.
Before entering upon the contemplation of the excellent glory which surrounds the blessed in heaven, we must endeavor to form a correct idea of God's grace, which enabled them to perform the great and noble actions we are now to consider. They were all, except Jesus and Mary, conceived in sin, and, therefore, subject to the same temptations that daily assail us. They never could have triumphed and reached the supernatural glory which now surrounds them, had they been left to their own natural strength,
F. J. Boudreaux—The Happiness of Heaven

The Work of Christ.
The great work which the Lord Jesus Christ, God's well beloved Son, came to do was to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. This finished work of the cross is the basis of His present work and His future work. What mind can estimate the value and preciousness of that work in which the Holy One offered Himself through the eternal Spirit without spot unto God! He procured redemption by His death on the cross. In His present work and much more in the future work, He works out this great redemption
A. C. Gaebelein—The Work Of Christ

A Discourse of the House and Forest of Lebanon
OF THE HOUSE OF THE FOREST OF LEBANON. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. That part of Palestine in which the celebrated mountains of Lebanon are situated, is the border country adjoining Syria, having Sidon for its seaport, and Land, nearly adjoining the city of Damascus, on the north. This metropolitan city of Syria, and capital of the kingdom of Damascus, was strongly fortified; and during the border conflicts it served as a cover to the Assyrian army. Bunyan, with great reason, supposes that, to keep
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Voluntary Suffering
I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. T hat which often passes amongst men for resolution, and the proof of a noble, courageous spirit, is, in reality, the effect of a weak and little mind. At least, it is chiefly owing to the presence of certain circumstances, which have a greater influence upon the conduct, than any inherent principle. Thus may persons who appear to set death and danger at defiance in the hour
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

The Fourth vision "In Heaven"
H^4, chap. xii. 1-12. A Great Sign. We now come, not only to the great central subject of the whole Book, but to the central pair of the seven Visions, and to the actual literary centre of the Book. All this shows us that we are on the threshold of an important part of Scripture which relates to the actual Revelation or Unveiling of the glorious Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The whole section (chaps. xii.--) is not only Episodal in subject and Parenthetical in form, but is a good example of historical,
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

Apostles To-Day?
"Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are ye not my work in the Lord?"--1 Cor. ix. 1. We may not take leave of the apostolate without a last look at the circle of its members. It is a closed circle; and every effort to reopen it tends to efface a characteristic of the New Covenant. And yet the effort is being made again and again. We see it in Rome's apostolic succession; in the Ethical view gradually effacing the boundary-line between the apostles and believers;
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Poor in Spirit are Enriched with a Kingdom
Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 Here is high preferment for the saints. They shall be advanced to a kingdom. There are some who, aspiring after earthly greatness, talk of a temporal reign here, but then God's church on earth would not be militant but triumphant. But sure it is the saints shall reign in a glorious manner: Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.' A kingdom is held the acme and top of all worldly felicity, and this honour have all the saints'; so says our Saviour, Theirs is the
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate,
CLEARLY EXPLAINED, AND LARGELY IMPROVED, FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL BELIEVERS. 1 John 2:1--"And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." By JOHN BUNYAN, Author of "The Pilgrim's Progress." London: Printed for Dorman Newman, at the King's Arms, in the Poultry, 1689. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. This is one of the most interesting of Bunyan's treatises, to edit which required the Bible at my right hand, and a law dictionary on my left. It was very frequently republished;
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Protevangelium.
As the mission of Christ was rendered necessary by the fall of man, so the first dark intimation of Him was given immediately after the fall. It is found in the sentence of punishment which was passed upon the tempter. Gen. iii. 14, 15. A correct understanding of it, however, can be obtained only after we have ascertained who the tempter was. It is, in the first place, unquestionable that a real serpent was engaged in the temptation; so that the opinion of those who maintain that the serpent is only
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

A Discourse of Mercifulness
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7 These verses, like the stairs of Solomon's temple, cause our ascent to the holy of holies. We are now mounting up a step higher. Blessed are the merciful . . '. There was never more need to preach of mercifulness than in these unmerciful times wherein we live. It is reported in the life of Chrysostom that he preached much on this subject of mercifulness, and for his much pressing Christians to mercy, he was called of many, the alms-preacher,
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The rule of obedience being the moral law, comprehended in the Ten Commandments, the next question is: What is the sum of the Ten Commandments? The sum of the Ten Commandments is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind, and our neighbour as ourselves. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.' Deut 6: 5. The duty called for is love, yea, the strength of love, with all
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness.
^A Matt. IV. 1-11; ^B Mark I. 12, 13; ^C Luke IV. 1-13. ^c 1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, ^b 12 And straightway the Spirit driveth him forth ^c and ^a 1 Then [Just after his baptism, with the glow of the descended Spirit still upon him, and the commending voice of the Father still ringing in his ears, Jesus is rushed into the suffering of temptation. Thus abrupt and violent are the changes of life. The spiritually exalted may expect these sharp contrasts. After being
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

A Preliminary Discourse to Catechising
'If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled.' - Col 1:23. Intending next Lord's day to enter upon the work of catechising, it will not be amiss to give you a preliminary discourse, to show you how needful it is for Christians to be well instructed in the grounds of religion. If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled.' I. It is the duty of Christians to be settled in the doctrine of faith. II. The best way for Christians to be settled is to be well grounded. I. It is the duty of Christians
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Its Meaning
Deliverance from the condemning sentence of the Divine Law is the fundamental blessing in Divine salvation: so long as we continue under the curse, we can neither be holy nor happy. But as to the precise nature of that deliverance, as to exactly what it consists of, as to the ground on which it is obtained, and as to the means whereby it is secured, much confusion now obtains. Most of the errors which have been prevalent on this subject arose from the lack of a clear view of the thing itself, and
Arthur W. Pink—The Doctrine of Justification

An Appendix to the Beatitudes
His commandments are not grievous 1 John 5:3 You have seen what Christ calls for poverty of spirit, pureness of heart, meekness, mercifulness, cheerfulness in suffering persecution, etc. Now that none may hesitate or be troubled at these commands of Christ, I thought good (as a closure to the former discourse) to take off the surmises and prejudices in men's spirits by this sweet, mollifying Scripture, His commandments are not grievous.' The censuring world objects against religion that it is difficult
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

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