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George SwinnockPilgrim's Progress

Death is to Thee Only a Servant

“When thou liest on thy dying bed, and physicians had given over thy body, Christ would visit and give thy soul such a cordial that thou mightst walk in the valley of the shadow of death and fear none ill. How willingly mayest thou part with the militant members of Christ for the triumphant saints! How cheerfully mayest thou leave thy nearest relations for thy dearest Father and elder brother! How comfortably mayest thou take thy leave of all the riches, honours, and pleasures of this life, knowing that though death cometh to others with a voider to take away all their fleshly comforts and carnal contentments, nay, all their hopes, and happiness, and heaven, and hereby, when they break at death, they are quite bankrupts for ever; yet it is to thee only a servant, to remove the first course of more gross fare, of which thou hast had thy fill, and to make way for the second, which consisteth of all sorts of dainties and delicates.” George Swinnock (Works, vol. 3, p. 452)

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Pilgrim's ProgressThomas Manton

Can You Reason as Noah Did?

“[Noah’s preparation for the coming judgment] was a work of great labour and trouble; and so is the work of mortification, strictness, and the spiritual life; it is a work of labour and trouble to weaken carnal desires, to subdue your affections to the just temper of religion; yet, though it be harsh to nature, can you say, Heaven will make amends for all? can you say, It is better to take pains than suffer pains? can you say, If I digest the severities of religion, ‘if I mortify the deeds of the flesh, I shall live?’ Rom. 8:13. Can you reason as Noah did?” Thomas Manton (Works, vol. 14, p. 194)

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Lewis BaylySabbath

The Mother of All Religion

The conscionable keeping of the Sabbath is the mother of all Religion, and good discipline in the Church. Take away the Sabbath, and let every man serve God when he listeth, and what will shortly become of religion and that peace and order which God will have to be kept in his Church? The Sabbath day is God’s Market day, for the week’s provision, wherein he will have us to come unto him, and buy of him without silver or money, the bread of Angels, and water of life, the wine of the Sacrament, and Milk of the Word to feed our fouls; tried gold, to enrich our faith; precious eye-salve to heal our spiritual blindness; and the white raiment of Christ’s righteousness, to cover our filthy nakedness. He is not far from true piety, who makes conscience to keep the Sabbath day, but he who can dispense with his conscience to break the Sabbath for his own profit or pleasure, his heart never yet felt, what either the law of God, or true Religion meaneth. For of this Commandment may that speech of St. James be verified, “He that faileth in one is guilty of all.” – Lewis Bayly, (The Practice of Piety, pp. 229, 230)

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Christian WorshipThomas Manton

Judgments of Deadness

“[T]hough judgments be not so rife and visible now upon our unhallowed approaches to God, yet he smiteth us with deadness where he doth not smite us with death: for a man is punished otherwise than a boy; and judgments are now spiritual, which, in the infancy of the church, were temporal and bodily.” – Thomas Manton, Puritan Sermons, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Richard Owen Roberts, Publishers, 1981), 402.

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Matthew HenryPilgrim's Progress

God’s Law, a Covenant with His People

“When those that have walked contrary to God in a way of sin return to him by sincere repentance, though he has walked contrary to them in a way of judgment he will return to them in a way of special mercy, pursuant to the covenant of redemption and grace. None are so ready to repent as God is to forgive upon repentance, through Christ, who is given for a covenant . . . . His communion with his church is kept up by his law. He manifests not only his dominion over them, but his favour to them, by giving them his law; and they manifest not only their holy fear, but their holy love, by the observance of it; and thus it is made between them, rather as a covenant than a law; for he draws with the cords of a man.” Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994), 185.

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Andrew BonarCovenant

Bonar: Are You Willing?

The Gospel warrant is, “Whosoever will, let him come.” There must be a willing soul; none but a soul made willing in the day of his power pays any regard to atonement. The Lord allows all that are willing to come to the atoning provision. “Are you thirsty for the living God? for yonder altar’s sacrifice?” might some son of Aaron say to a fearful soul. The fearful conscience replies, “I cannot well tell if I be really thirsty for him.” “But are you, then, willing to go to yonder altar?” “Yes, I am.” “Then you may come; for read Leviticus 1:3, and see that it is neither riches, nor poverty, moral attainment nor deep experience, but simply a conscience willing to be bathed in atonement, that is spoken of by the God of Israel.” Andrew A. Bonar, A Commentary on the Book of Leviticus, Expository and Practical (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1851), 20–21.

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Stephen Charnock

Charnock: A Better Covenant, a Surer Stock

The breach of the first covenant was an occasion of introducing a better. Man’s sinning away his first stock, was an occasion to God to enrich him with a surer. The loss of his original righteousness made way for a clearer and more durable. The folly of man made way for the evidence of God’s wisdom, and the sin of man for the manifestation of his grace; and by the wise disposal of God, opens a way for the honour of those attributes which would not else have been experimentally known by the sons of men. Stephen Charnock, The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock, vol. 1 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson; G. Herbert, 1864–1866), 22.

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Christian WorshipGodly MagistracyZachary Crofton

Crofton: God’s Order, Civil & Ecclesiastical

“My muddy brains could never yet conceive the God of Order to make Office and Authority essential to political transactions in Kingdoms and Commonwealths, and yet to leave his Church in such confusion, that the great Affairs of Salvation shall be dispensed by every common hand, as if his care were more for the world [than] the Church; which if it be, I will never go to the House of God to behold the beauty of his Holiness, which shines more brightly in the wide Wilderness.” The Rev. Zachary Crofton (The Vertue and Value of Baptism. London, 1663. p. 9)

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Confessing the Christian Faith