“[S]ince none . . . have been altogether exempt from temporal punishments, let us learn to bear them patiently. God did not spare Moses; what wonder if our condition is no better than his? Moreover, in the opinion of men it was a trifling offence, for the sake of which he was so severely chastised; for, carried away by indignation, he had been so irritated against the people that he had attributed less power to God than was due to Him. Now, those errors, into which we fall through thoughtless impetuosity, are more easily pardoned; but hence it is manifest how precious to God is His glory, when He does not suffer it to be obscured with impunity even by inadvertence. At the same time, also, we are taught that nothing is more irrational than to assume to ourselves the judgment respecting sins, and to weigh them in our own balance, when God is their only legitimate assessor.” John Calvin (Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Form of a Harmony, vol. 4, p. 378)
Our Saviour did not promise wealth and honour to his followers, nor did he think it worth his pains of coming and dying, to bestow such gifts upon his children. He made heaven their happiness, and the earth their hell; the cross was their badge here, and the crown their reward hereafter; they seemed not to be a purchase congruous to so great a price of blood. Stephen Charnock (The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock, vol. 1, p. 34)
“[O]bserve how the Scripture sets out the spirits of men after their Idoll gods, in regard of the cost they are willing to bestow upon them. Isa. 46:6. They shall lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the ballance, and hire a goldsmith, and he maketh it a god. They care not what cost they are at to worship their Idols. O what a shame would it be if we should not be willing to part with much of our estates for the true worship of the true God: and though we should lose our estates, yet if we can serve God better, and in a purer way, we should be content; for Idolaters will lavish gold out of the bag upon their Idols. Now there is none like to our God; therefore it is a shame that they should doe more for their gods then we doe for ours. And then what are Idolaters willing to suffer for their gods? 1 Kings 18:28 how did Baals Priests there cut themselves after their manner, with Knives and Lancers, till the blood gushed out, to shew their respect to their Idols! let us then be willing to suffer any thing that God calls us to. And how constant were they to their Idols! therefore sayes God, Jer. 2:10, 11. Consider diligently and see, if there be such a thing: hath a Nation changed their gods which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit; how ill doth God take this that Idolaters should not change their gods that are infinitely below him, and yet that his people should change their God who is infinitely above them?” Jeremiah Burroughs, The Saints Treasury (London: T. C. for John Wright, 1654), 11.
“Wilt thou presently give a bill of divorce to all other lovers, and keep the bed of thy heart wholly for [Christ]? Shall the evil of sin never more have a good look from thee; but, as Amnon served Tamar, shall the hatred wherewith thou hatest those filthy strumpets—with whom thou hast had cursed dalliances, and committed spiritual fornication—be greater than the love wherewith thou hast loved them? Canst thou pack away the bondwoman and her son, and these things not at all be grievous in thy sight; that thy whole joy and delight may be in, and all that thou art worth preserved for, the true Isaac? Shall this Sun reign alone in the heavens of thy heart without any competitor? As when a dictator was created at Rome, there was a supersedeas to all other authority; so if Christ be exalted in thy soul, there must be a cessation of all other rule and power. Christ will not be a king merely in derision, as the Jews made him; nor as the stump of wood was to the frogs in the fable, whom every lust may securely dance about and provoke.” George Swinnock (Works, vol. 3, p. 464)
“Every good fear endeth in duty; it ariseth from faith, and ends in duty; it stirs up the soul to use all the means to prevent the danger. If Noah had not believed, he had never feared; if he had not feared, he had never prepared an ark. The fear of the wicked ends in irresolution, perplexity, and despair; their terrors differ only in degree and duration from the pains of hell—mere involuntary impressions, whose end is not duty, but despair and torment; but the fear of the godly sets them a-work.” Thomas Manton, The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, vol. 14 (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1973), 196–197.
“Sanctification is the work of the Lord, and specially of the Lord when people meet on his day. He gave them ‘sabbaths,’ and they were called holy convocations, because on them the people met, Lev. 23.3. And why did he give them those days? that they might know that he was the Lord, which sanctified them. There is none which can sanctify persons by way of separation or inherent holiness, but the Lord; he assumes this power and privilege to himself; see Lev. 20.8; Ezek. 37.28; and his sanctifying is chiefly when people meet on his day. Then the law was read and opened unto them, Acts 15.21; Neh. 8.8; then did God appear amongst them, and work by the means he appointed for their sanctification. what their carriage was towards him therein, and Psal. 89.7, ‘God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,’ there he convinces them of their sinfulness and sinful practices; there he beats down their strong holds, and captivates their thoughts to the obedience of his will. What was it [that] made David openly to proclaim it, that ‘a day in God’s courts was better than a thousand?” one sabbath day, wherein he had communion with God, and found him sanctifying his head and heart, was more esteemed of him than a thousand other days: ‘For the Lord,’ saith he, ‘is a sun and shield,’ he enlightens me, he strengthens me, and so separates my darkness and weakness from me, and makes me more holy. Let us, therefore, look unto God alone for sanctification, and wait upon him on his days in the solemn assemblies, and he will sanctify us; those are days of his special presence, power, and blessing.” William Greenhill (An Exposition of the Prophet Ezekiel, pp. 497-498)
“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)
“[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)
“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.
Death among saints drives but a poor trade; it may destroy the body, and when that is done, it hath done all its feats; like a fierce mastiff whose teeth are broken out, it may bark and tear thy tattered coat, but cannot bite to the bone. This bee fastened her sting in Christ’s blessed body, and is ever since a drone to his members. George Swinnock, Works, vol. 3, p. 451