Posts Tagged ‘Matthew Henry’

Buy the truth and sell it not, Pro 23:23 – Henry commentary

December 25, 2014 Comments off

Pro 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Matthew Henry commentary:

2. Buy the truth and sell it not, Pro_23:23. Truth is that by which the heart must be guided and governed, for without truth there is no goodness; no regular practices without right principles. It is by the power of truth, known and believed, that we must be kept back from sin and constrained to duty. The understanding must be well-informed with wisdom and instruction, and therefore, (1.) We must buy it, that is, be willing to part with any thing for it. He does not say at what rate we must buy it, because we cannot buy it too dear, but must have it at any rate; whatever it costs us, we shall not repent the bargain. When we are at expense for the means of knowledge, and resolved not to starve so good a cause, then we buy the truth. Riches should be employed for the getting of knowledge, rather than knowledge for the getting of riches. When we are at pains in searching after truth, that we may come to the knowledge of it and may distinguish between it and error, then we buy it. Dii laboribus omnia vendunt – Heaven concedes every thing to the laborious. When we choose rather to suffer loss in our temporal interest than to deny or neglect the truth they we buy it; and it is a pearl of such great price that we must be willing to part with all to purchase it, must make shipwreck of estate, trade, preferment, rather than of faith and a good conscience. (2.) We must not sell it. Do not part with it for pleasures, honours, riches, any things in this world. Do not neglect the study of it, nor throw off the profession of it, nor revolt from under the dominion of it, for the getting or saving of any secular interest whatsoever. Hold fast the form of sound words, and never let it go upon any terms.


Christ quiets the storm – Matthew Henry commentary

July 27, 2012 Comments off

Mat 8:23  And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
Mat 8:24  And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
Mat 8:25  And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
Mat 8:26  And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Mat 8:27  But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

Christ had given sailing orders to his disciples (Mat_8:18), that they should depart to the other side of the sea of Tiberias, into the country of Gadara, in the tribe of Gad, which lay east of Jordan; thither he would go to rescue a poor creature that was possessed with a legion of devils, though he foresaw how he should be affronted there. Now. 1. He chose to go by water. It had not been much about, if he had gone by land; but he chose to cross the lake, that he might have occasion to manifest himself the God of the sea as well as of the dry land, and to show that all power is his, both in heaven and in earth. It is a comfort to those who go down to the sea in ships, and are often in perils there, to reflect that they have a Saviour to trust in, and pray to, who knows what it is to be at sea, and to be in storms there. But observe, when he went to sea, he had no yacht or pleasure-boat to attend him, but made use of his disciples’ fishing-boats; so poorly was he accommodated in all respects. 2. His disciples followed him; the twelve kept close to him, when others staid behind upon the terra firma, where there was sure footing. Note, They, and they only, will be found the true disciples of Christ, that are willing to go to sea with him, to follow him into dangers and difficulties. Many would be content to go the land-way to heaven, that will rather stand still, or go back, than venture upon a dangerous sea; but those that would rest with Christ hereafter must follow him now wherever he leads them, into a ship or into a prison, as well as into a palace. Now observe here,
I. The peril and perplexity of the disciples in this voyage; and in this appeared the truth of what Christ had just now said, that those who follow him must count upon difficulties, Mat_8:20.
1. There arose a very great storm, Mat_8:24. Christ could have prevented this storm, and have ordered them a pleasant passage, but that would not have been so much for his glory and the confirmation of their faith as their deliverance was: this storm was for their sakes, as Joh_11:4. One would have expected, that having Christ with them, they should have had a very favourable gale, but it is quite otherwise; for Christ would show that they who are passing with him over the ocean of this world to the other side, must expect storms by the way. The church is tossed with tempests (Isa_54:11); it is only the upper region that enjoys a perpetual calm, this lower one is ever and anon disturbed and disturbing.
2. Jesus Christ was asleep in this storm. We never read of Christ’s sleeping but at this time; he was in watchings often, and continued all night in prayer to God: this was a sleep, not of security, like Jonah’s in a storm, but of holy serenity, and dependence upon his Father: he slept to show that he was really and truly man, and subject to the sinless infirmities of our nature: his work made him weary and sleepy, and he had no guilt, no fear within, to disturb his repose. Those that can lay their heads upon the pillow of a clear conscience, may sleep quietly and sweetly in a storm (Psa_4:8), as Peter, Act_12:6. He slept at this time, to try the faith of his disciples, whether they could trust him when he seemed to slight them. He slept not so much with a desire to be refreshed, as with a design to be awaked.
3. The poor disciples, though used to the sea, were in a great fright, and in their fear came to their Master, Mat_8:25. Whither else should they go? It was well they had him so near them. They awoke him with their prayers; Lord, save us, we perish. Note, They who would learn to pray must go to sea. Imminent and sensible dangers will drive people to him who alone can help in time of need. Their prayer has life in it, Lord, save us, we perish. (1.) Their petition is, Lord, save us. They believed he could save them; they begged he would, Christ’s errand into the world was to save, but those only shall be saved that call on the name of the Lord, Act_2:21. They who by faith are interested in the eternal salvation wrought out by Christ, may with a humble confidence apply themselves to him for temporal deliverances. Observe, They call him, Lord, and then pray, Save us. Note, Christ will save none but those that are willing to take him for their Lord; for he is a Prince and a Saviour. (2.) Their plea is, We perish; which was, [1.] The language of their fear; they looked upon their case as desperate, and gave up all for lost; they had received a sentence of death within themselves, and this they plead, “We perish, if thou dost not save us; look upon us therefore with pity.” [2.] It was the language of their fervency; they pray as men in earnest, that beg for their lives; it becomes us thus to strive and wrestle in prayer; therefore Christ slept, that he might draw out this importunity.
II. The power and grace of Jesus Christ put forth for their succour: then the Lord Jesus awaked, as one refreshed, Psa_78:65. Christ may sleep when his church is in a storm, but he will not outsleep himself: the time, the set time to favour his distressed church, will come, Psa_102:13.
1. He rebuked the disciples (Mat_8:26); Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? He does not chide them for disturbing him with their prayers, but for disturbing themselves with their fears. Christ reproved them first, and then delivered them; this is his method, to prepare us for a mercy, and then to give it us. Observe, (1.) His dislike of their fears; “Why are ye fearful? Ye, my disciples? Let the sinners in Zion be afraid, let heathen mariners tremble in a storm, but you shall not be so. Enquire into the reasons of your fear, and weigh them.” (2.) His discovery of the cause and spring of their fears; O ye of little faith. Many that have true faith are weak in it, and it does but little. Note, [1.] Christ’s disciples are apt to be disquieted with fears in a stormy day, to torment themselves with jealousies that things are bad with them, and dismal conclusions that they will be worse. [2.] The prevalence of our inordinate fears in a stormy day is owing to the weakness of our faith, which would be as an anchor to the soul, and would ply the oar of prayer. By faith we might see through the storm to the quiet shore, and encourage ourselves with hope that we shall weather our point. [3.] The fearfulness of Christ’s disciples in a storm, and their unbelief, the cause of it, are very displeasing to the Lord Jesus, for they reflect dishonour upon him, and create disturbance to themselves.
2. He rebukes the wind; the former he did as the God of grace, and the Sovereign of the heart, who can do what he pleases in us; this he did as the God of nature, the Sovereign of the world, who can do what he pleases for us. It is the same power that stills the noise of the sea, and the tumult of fear, Psa_65:7. See, (1.) How easily this was done, with a word’s speaking. Moses commanded the waters with a rod; Joshua, with the ark of the covenant; Elisha, with the prophet’s mantle; but Christ with a word. See his absolute dominion over all the creatures, which bespeaks both his honour, and the happiness of those that have him on their side. (2.) How effectually it was done? There was a great calm, all of a sudden. Ordinarily, after a storm, there is such a fret of the waters, that it is a good while ere they can settle; but if Christ speak the word, not only the storm ceases, but all the effects of it, all the remains of it. Great storms of doubt, and fear in the soul, under the power of the spirit of bondage, sometimes end in a wonderful calm, created and spoken by the Spirit of adoption.
3. This excited their astonishment (Mat_8:27); The men marvelled. They had been long acquainted with the sea, and never saw a storm so immediately turned into a perfect calm, in all their lives. It has all the marks and signatures of a miracle upon it; it is the Lord’s doing, and is marvellous in their eyes. Observe, (1.) Their admiration of Christ; What manner of man is this! Note, Christ is a Nonsuch; every thing in him is admirable: none so wise, so mighty, so amiable, as he. (2.) The reason of it; Even the winds and the sea obey him. Upon this account, Christ is to be admired, that he has a commanding power even over winds and seas. Others pretended to cure diseases, but he only undertook to command the winds. We know not the way of the wind (Joh_3:8), much less can we control it; but he that bringeth forth the wind out of his treasury (Psa_135:7), when it is out, gathers it into his fists, Pro_30:4. He that can do this, can do any thing, can do enough to encourage our confidence and comfort in him, in the most stormy day, within or without, Isa_26:4. The Lord sits upon the floods, and is mightier than the noise of many waters. Christ, by commanding the seas, showed himself to be the same that made the world, when, at his rebuke, the waters fled (Psa_104:7, Psa_104:8), as now, at his rebuke, they fell.

Drunkenness – Matthew Henry commentary Proverbs 23:29-35

March 30, 2012 Comments off

Pro 23:30  They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Pro 23:31  Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
Pro 23:32  At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Pro 23:33  Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
Pro 23:34  Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
Pro 23:35  They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

Solomon here gives fair warning against the sin of drunkenness, to confirm what he had said, Pro_23:20.
I. He cautions all people to keep out of the way of temptations to this sin (Pro_23:31): Look not thou upon the wine when it is red. Red wine was in Canaan looked upon as the best wine, it is therefore called the blood of the grape. Critics judge of wine, among other indications, by the colour of it; some wine, they say, looks charmingly, looks so well that it even says, “Come and drink me;” it moves itself aright, goes down very smoothly, or perhaps the roughness of it is grateful. It is said of generous strong-bodied wine that it even causes the lips of those that are asleep to speak, Son_7:9. But look not thou upon it. 1. “Be not ruled by sense, but by reason and religion. Covet not that which pleases the eye, in hopes that it will please the taste; but let thy serious thoughts correct the errors of thy senses and convince thee that that which seems delightful is really hurtful, and resolve against it accordingly. Let not the heart walk after the eye, for it is a deceitful guide.” 2. “Be not too bold with the charms of this or any other sin; look not, lest thou lust, lest thou take the forbidden fruit.” Note Those that would be kept from any sin must keep themselves from all the occasions and beginnings of it, and be afraid of coming within the reach of its allurements, lest they be overcome by them.
II. He shows the many pernicious consequences of the sin of drunkenness, for the enforcement of this caution. Take heed of the bait, for fear of the hook: At the last it bites, Pro_23:32. All sin will be bitterness in the end, and this sin particularly. It bites like a serpent, when the drunkard is made sick by his surfeit, thrown by it into a dropsy or some fatal disease, beggared and ruined in his estate, especially when his conscience is awakened and he cannot reflect upon it without horror and indignation at himself, but worst of all, at last, when the cup of drunkenness shall be turned into a cup of trembling, the cup of the Lord’s wrath, the dregs of which he must be for ever drinking, and shall not have a drop of water to cool his inflamed tongue. To take off the force of the temptation that there is in the pleasure of the sin, foresee the punishment of it, and what it will at last end in if repentance prevent not. In its latter end it bites (so the word is); think therefore what will be in the end thereof. But the inspired writer chooses to specify those pernicious consequences of this sin which are present and sensible.
1. It embroils men in quarrels, makes them quarrel with others, and say and do that which gives others occasion to quarrel with them, Pro_23:29. He asks, Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who has not, in this world? Many have woe and sorrow, and cannot help it; but drunkards wilfully create woe and sorrow to themselves. Those that have contentions have woe and sorrow; and drunkards are the fools whose lips enter into contention. When the wine is in the wit is out and the passions are up; and thence come drunken scuffles, and drunken frays, and drunken disputes over the cups; many a vexatious ruining law-suit has begun thus. There is babbling, quarrels in word and the exchanging of scurrilous language; yet it rests not there: you shall have wounds without cause, for causes are things which drunkards are in no capacity to judge of, and therefore they deal blows about without the least consideration why or wherefore, and must expect to be in like manner treated themselves. The wounds which men receive in defence of their country and its just rights are their honour; but wounds without cause, received in the service of their lusts, are marks of their infamy. Nay, drunkards wound themselves in a tender part, for they have redness of eyes, symptoms of an inward inflammation; their sight is weakened by it, and their looks are deformed. This comes, (1.) Of drinking long, tarrying long at the wine, and spending that time in drunken company which should be spent in useful business, or in sleep, which should fit for business, Pro_23:30. O the precious hours which thousands throw away thus, every one of which will be brought into the account at the great day! (2.) Of drinking that which is strong and intoxicating. They go up and down to seek wine that will please them; their great enquiry is, “Where is the best liquor?” They seek mixed wine, which is most palatable, but most heady, so willingly do they sacrifice their reason to please their palate!
2. It makes men impure and insolent, Pro_23:33. (1.) The eyes grow unruly and behold strange women to lust after them, and so let in adultery into the heart. Est Venus in vinis – Wine is oil to the fire of lust. Thy eyes shall behold strange things (so some read it); when men are drunk the house turns round with them, and every thing looks strange to them, so that them they cannot trust their own eyes. (2.) The tongue also grows unruly and talks extravagantly; by it the heart utters perverse things, things contrary to reason, religion, and common civility, which they would be ashamed to speak if they were sober. What ridiculous incoherent nonsense men will talk when they are drunk who at another time will speak admirably well and to the purpose!
3. It stupefies and besots men, Pro_23:34. When men are drunk they know not where they are nor what they say and do. (1.) Their heads are giddy, and when they lie down to sleep they are as if they were tossed by the rolling waves of the sea, or upon the top of a mast; hence they complain that their heads swim; their sleep is commonly unquiet and not refreshing, and their dreams are tumultuous. (2.) Their judgments are clouded, and they have no more steadiness and consistency than he that sleeps upon the top of a mast: they drink and forget the law (Pro_31:5): they err through wine (Isa_28:7), and think as extravagantly as they talk. (3.) They are heedless and fearless of danger, and senseless of the rebukes they are under either from God or man. They are in imminent danger of death, of damnation, lie as much exposed as if they slept upon the top of a mast, and yet are secure and sleep on. They fear no peril when the terrors of the Lord are laid before them; nay, they feel no pain when the judgments of God are actually upon them; they cry not when he binds them. Set a drunkard in the stocks, and he is not sensible of the punishment. “They have stricken me, and I was not sick; I felt it not: it made no impression at all upon me.” Drunkenness turns me into stocks and stones; they are scarcely to be reckoned animals; they are dead while they live.
4. Worst of all, the heart is hardened in the sin, and the sinner, notwithstanding all these present mischiefs that attend it, obstinately persist in it, and hates to be reformed: When shall I awake? Much ado he has to shake off the chains of his drunken sleep; he can hardly get clear of the fumes of the wine, though he strives with them, that (being thirsty in the morning) he may return to it again. So perfectly lost is he to all sense of virtue and honour, and so wretchedly is his conscience seared, that he is not ashamed to say, I will seek it yet again. There is no hope; no, they have loved drunkards, and after them they will go, Jer_2:25. This is adding drunkenness to thirst, and following strong drink; those that do so may read their doom Deu_29:19, Deu_29:20, their woe Isa_5:11, and, if this be the end of the sin, with good reason were we directed to stop at the beginning of it: Look not upon the wine when it is red.

Mark 5:21-34 – Matthew Henry commentary

January 15, 2012 Comments off

Mark 5:21-34

Mar 5:21  And when Jesus was passed over again by ship unto the other side, much people gathered unto him: and he was nigh unto the sea.
Mar 5:22  And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet,
Mar 5:23  And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
Mar 5:24  And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.
Mar 5:25  And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,
Mar 5:26  And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,
Mar 5:27  When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
Mar 5:28  For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
Mar 5:29  And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
Mar 5:30  And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
Mar 5:31  And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
Mar 5:32  And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
Mar 5:33  But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
Mar 5:34  And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

The Gadarenes having desired Christ to leave their country, he did not stay to trouble them long, but presently went by water, as he came, back to the other side (Mar_5:21), and there much people gathered to him. Note, If there be some that reject Christ, yet there are others that receive him, and bid him welcome. A despised gospel will cross the water, and go where it will have better entertainment. Now among the many that applied themselves to him,
I. Here is one, that comes openly to beg a cure for a sick child; and it is no less a person than one of the rulers of the synagogue, one that presided in the synagogue-worship or, as some think, one of the judges of the consistory court, which was in every city, consisting of twenty-three. He was not named in Matthew, he is here, Jairus, or Jair, Jdg_10:3. He addressed himself to Christ, though a ruler, with great humility and reverence; When he saw him, he fell at his feet, giving honour to him as one really greater than he appeared to be; and with great importunity, he besought him greatly, as one in earnest, as one that not only valued the mercy he came for, but that knew he could obtain it no where else. The case is this, He has a little daughter, about twelve years old, the darling of the family, and she lies a dying; but he believes that if Christ will but come, and lay his hands upon her, she will return even from the gates of the grave. He said, at first, when he came, She lies a dying (so Mark); but afterward, upon fresh information sent him, he saith, She is even now dead (so Matthew); but he still prosecutes his suit; see Luk_8:42-49. Christ readily agreed, and went with him, Mar_5:24.
II. Here is another, that comes clandestinely to steal a cure (if I may so say) for herself; and she got the relief she came for. This cure was wrought by the way, as he was going to raise the ruler’s daughter, and was followed by a crowd. See how Christ improved his time, and lost none of the precious moments of it. Many of his discourses, and some of his miracles, are dates by the way-side; we should be doing good, not only when we sit in the house, but when we walk by the way, Deu_6:7. Now observe,
1. The piteous case of this poor woman. She had a constant issue of blood upon her, for twelve years, which had thrown her, no doubt, into great weakness, had embittered the comfort of her life, and threatened to be her death in a little time. She had had the best advice of physicians, that she could get, and had made use of the many medicines and methods they prescribed: as long as she had any thing to give them, they had kept her in hopes that they could cure her; but now that she had spent all she had among them, they gave her up as incurable. See here, (1.) That skin for skin, and all that a man has, will be give for life and health; she spent all she had upon physicians. (2.) It is ill with those patients whose physicians are their worst disease; who suffer by their physicians, instead of being relieved by them. (3.) Those that are not bettered by medicines, commonly grow worse, and the disease gets the more ground. (4.) It is usual with people not to apply themselves to Christ, till they have tried in vain all other helpers, and find them, as certainly they will, physicians of no value. And he will be found a sure refuge, even to those who make him their last refuge.
2. The strong faith that she had in the power of Christ to heal her; she said within herself, though it doth not appear that she was encouraged by any preceding instance to say it, If I may but touch his clothes, I shall be whole, Mar_5:28. She believed that he cured, not as a prophet, by virtue derived from God, but as the Son of God, by a virtue inherent in himself. Her case was such as she could not in modesty tell him publicly, as others did their grievances, and therefore a private cure was what she wished for, and her faith was suited to her case.
3. The wonderful effect produced by it; She came in the crowd behind him, and with much ado got to touch his garment, and immediately she felt the cure wrought, Mar_5:29. The flux of blood was dried up, and she felt herself perfectly well all over her, as well as ever she was in her life, in an instant; by this it appears that the cure was altogether miraculous; for those that in such cases are cured by natural means, recover their strength slowly and gradually, and not per saltum – all at once; but as for God, his work is perfect. Note, Those whom Christ heals of the disease of sin, that bloody issue, cannot but experience in themselves a universal change for the better.
4. Christ’s enquiry after his concealed patient, and the encouragement he gave her, upon the discovery of her; Christ knew in himself that virtue had gone out of him, Mar_5:30. He knew it not by any deficiency of spirits, through the exhausting of this virtue, but rather by an agility of spirits, in the exerting of it, and the innate and inseparable pleasure he had in doing good. And being desirous to see his patient, he asked, not in displeasure, as one affronted, but in tenderness, as one concerned, Who touched my clothes? The disciples, not without a show of rudeness and indecency, almost ridiculed his question (Mar_5:31); The multitudes throng thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? As if it had been an improper question. Christ passed by the affront, and looks around to see her that had done this thing; not that he might blame her for her presumption, but that he might commend and encourage her faith, and by his own act and deed might warrant and confirm the cure, and ratify to her that which she had surreptitiously obtained. He needed not that any should inform him, for he had presently his eye upon her. Note, As secret acts of sin, so secret acts of faith, are known to the Lord Jesus, and are under his eye. If believers derive virtue from Christ ever so closely, he knows it, and is pleased with it. The poor woman, hereupon, presented herself to the Lord Jesus (Mar_5:33), fearing and trembling, not knowing how he would take it. Note, Christ’s patients are often trembling, when they have reason to be triumphing. She might have come boldly, knowing what was done in her; yet, knowing that, she fears and trembles. It was a surprise, and was not yet, as it should have been, a pleasing surprise. However, she fell down before him. Note, There is nothing better for those that fear and tremble, than to throw themselves at the feet of the Lord Jesus; to humble themselves before him, and refer themselves to him. And she told him all the truth. Note, We must not be ashamed to own the secret transactions between Christ and our souls; but, when called to it, mention, to his praise, and the encouragement of others, what he has done for our souls, and the experience we have had of healing virtue derived from him. And the consideration of this, that nothing can be hid from Christ, should engage us to confess all to him. See what an encouraging word he gave her (Mar_5:34); Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. Note, Christ puts honour upon faith, because faith gives honour to Christ. But see how what is done by faith on earth is ratified in heaven; Christ saith, Be whole of thy disease. Note, If our faith sets the seal of its amen to the power and promise of God, saying, “So it is, and so let it be to me;” God’s grace will set the seal of its amen to the prayers and hopes of faith, saying, “So be it, and so it shall be, to thee.” And therefore, “Go in peace; be well satisfied that thy cure is honestly come by, is effectually wrought, and take the comfort of it.” Note, They that by faith are healed of their spiritual diseases, have reason to go in peace.

Ecclesiastes 7:11-22 – Matthew Henry commentary

January 1, 2012 Comments off

Solomon, in these verses, recommends wisdom to us as the best antidote against those distempers of mind which we are liable to, by reason of the vanity and vexation of spirit that there are in the things of this world. Here are some of the praises and the precepts of wisdom.
I. The praises of wisdom. Many things are here said in its commendation, to engage us to get and retain wisdom. 1. Wisdom is necessary to the right managing and improving of our worldly possessions: Wisdom is good with an inheritance, that is, an inheritance is good for little without wisdom. Though a man have a great estate, though it come easily to him, by descent from his ancestors, if he have not wisdom to use it for the end for which he has it, he had better have been without it. Wisdom is not only good for the poor, to make them content and easy, but it is good for the rich too, good with riches to keep a man from getting hurt by them, and to enable a man to do good with them. Wisdom is good of itself, and makes a man useful; but, if he have a good estate with it, that will put him into a greater capacity of being useful, and with his wealth he may be more serviceable to his generation than he could have been without it; he will also make friends to himself, Luk_16:9. Wisdom is as good as an inheritance, yea, better too (so the margin reads it); it is more our own, more our honour, will make us greater blessings, will remain longer with us, and turn to a better account. 2. It is of great advantage to us throughout the whole course of our passage through this world: By it there is real profit to those that see the sun, both to those that have it and to their contemporaries. It is pleasant to see the sun (Ecc_11:7), but that pleasure is not comparable to the pleasure of wisdom. The light of this world is an advantage to us in doing the business of this world (Joh_11:9); but to those that have that advantage, unless withal they have wisdom wherewith to manage their business, that advantage is worth little to them. The clearness of the eye of the understanding is of greater use to us than bodily eye-sight. 3. It contributes much more to our safety, and is a shelter to us from the storms of trouble and its scorching heat; it is a shadow (so the word is), as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. Wisdom is a defence, and money (that is, as money) is a defence. As a rich man makes his wealth, so a wise man makes his wisdom, a strong city. In the shadow of wisdom (so the words run) and in the shadow of money there is safety. He puts wisdom and money together, to confirm what he had said before, that wisdom is good with an inheritance. Wisdom is as a wall, and money may serve as a thorn hedge, which protects the field. 4. It is joy and true happiness to a man. This is the excellency of knowledge, divine knowledge, not only above money, but above wisdom too, human wisdom, the wisdom of this world, that it gives life to those that have it. The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and that is life; it prolongs life. Men’s wealth exposes their lives, but their wisdom protects them. Nay, whereas wealth will not lengthen out the natural life, true wisdom will give spiritual life, the earnest of eternal life; so much better is it to get wisdom than gold. 5. It will put strength into a man, and be his stay and support (Ecc_7:19): Wisdom strengthens the wise, strengthens their spirits, and makes them bold and resolute, by keeping them always on sure grounds. It strengthens their interest, and gains them friends and reputation. It strengthens them for their services under their sufferings, and against the attacks that are made upon them, more than ten mighty men, great commanders, strengthen the city. Those that are truly wise and good are taken under God’s protection, and are safer there than if ten of the mightiest men in the city, men of the greatest power and interest, should undertake to secure them, and become their patrons.
II. Some of the precepts of wisdom, that wisdom which will be of so much advantage to us.
1. We must have an eye to God and to his hand in every thing that befals us (Ecc_7:13): Consider the work of God. To silence our complaints concerning cross events, let us consider the hand of God in them and not open our mouths against that which is his doing; let us look upon the disposal of our condition and all the circumstances of it as the work of God, and consider it as the product of his eternal counsel, which is fulfilled in every thing that befals us. Consider that every work of God is wise, just, and good, and there is an admirable beauty and harmony in his works, and all will appear at last to have been for the best. Let us therefore give him the glory of all his works concerning us, and study to answer his designs in them. Consider the work of God as that which we cannot make any alteration of. Who can make that straight which he has made crooked? Who can change the nature of things from what is settled by the God of nature? If he speak trouble, who can make peace? And, if he hedge up the way with thorns, who can get forward? If desolating judgments go forth with commission, who can put a stop to them? Since therefore we cannot mend God’s work, we ought to make the best of it.
2. We must accommodate ourselves to the various dispensations of Providence that respect us, and do the work and duty of the day in its day, Ecc_7:14. Observe, (1.) How the appointments and events of Providence are counterchanged. In this world, at the same time, some are in prosperity, others are in adversity; the same persons at one time are in great prosperity, at another time in great adversity; nay, one event prosperous, and another grievous, may occur to the same person at the same time. Both come from the hand of God; out of his mouth both evil and good proceed (Isa_14:7), and he has set the one over against the other, so that there is a very short and easy passage between them, and they are a foil to each other. Day and night, summer and winter, are set the one over against the other, that in prosperity we may rejoice as though we rejoiced not, and in adversity may weep as though we wept not, for we may plainly see the one from the other and quickly exchange the one for the other; and it is to the end that man may find nothing after him, that he may not be at any certainty concerning future events or the continuance of the present scene, but may live in a dependence upon Providence and be ready for whatever happens. Or that man may find nothing in the work of God which he can pretend to amend. (2.) How we must comply with the will of God in events of both kinds. Our religion, in general, must be the same in all conditions, but the particular instances and exercises of it must vary, as our outward condition does, that we may walk after the Lord. [1.] In a day of prosperity (and it is but a day), we must be joyful, be in good, be doing good, and getting good, maintain a holy cheerfulness, and serve the Lord with gladness of heart in the abundance of all things. “When the world smiles, rejoice in God, and praise him, and let the joy of the Lord be thy strength.” [2.] In a day of adversity (and that is but a day too) consider. Times of affliction are proper times for consideration, then God calls to consider (Hag_1:5), then, if ever, we are disposed to it, and no good will be gotten by the affliction without it. We cannot answer God’s end in afflicting us unless we consider why and wherefore he contends with us. And consideration is necessary also to our comfort and support under our afflictions.
3. We must not be offended at the greatest prosperity of wicked people, nor at the saddest calamities that may befal the godly in this life, Ecc_7:15. Wisdom will teach us how to construe those dark chapters of Providence so as to reconcile them with the wisdom, holiness, goodness, and faithfulness of God. We must not think it strange; Solomon tells us there were instances of this kind in his time: “All things have I seen in the days of my vanity; I have taken notice of all that passed, and this has been as surprising and perplexing to me as any thing.” Observe, Though Solomon was so wise and great a man, yet he calls the days of his life the days of his vanity, for the best days on earth are so, in comparison with the days of eternity. Or perhaps he refers to the days of his apostasy from God (those were indeed the days of his vanity) and reflects upon this as one thing that tempted him to infidelity, or at least to indifferency in religion, that he saw just men perishing in their righteousness, that the greatest piety would not secure men from the greatest afflictions by the hand of God, nay, and sometimes did expose men to the greatest injuries from the hands of wicked and unreasonable men. Naboth perished in his righteousness, and Abel long before. He had also seen wicked men prolonging their lives in their wickedness; they live, become old, yea, are mighty in power (Job_21:7), yea, and by their fraud and violence they screen themselves from the sword of justice. “Now, in this, consider the work of God, and let it not be a stumbling-block to thee.” The calamities of the righteous are preparing them for their future blessedness, and the wicked, while their days are prolonged, are but ripening for ruin. There is a judgment to come, which will rectify this seeming irregularity, to the glory of God and the full satisfaction of all his people, and we must wait with patience till then.
4. Wisdom will be of use both for caution to saints in their way, and for a check to sinners in their way. (1.) As to saints, it will engage them to proceed and persevere in their righteousness, and yet will be an admonition to them to take heed of running into extremes: A just man may perish in his righteousness, but let him not, by his own imprudence and rash zeal, pull trouble upon his own head, and then reflect upon Providence as dealing hardly with him. “Be not righteous overmuch, Ecc_7:16. In the acts of righteousness govern thyself by the rules of prudence, and be not transported, no, not by a zeal for God, into any intemperate heats or passions, or any practices unbecoming thy character or dangerous to thy interests.” Note, There may be over-doing in well-doing. Self-denial and mortification of the flesh are good; but if we prejudice our health by them, and unfit ourselves for the service of God, we are righteous overmuch. To reprove those that offend is good, but to cast that pearl before swine, who will turn again and rend us, is to be righteous overmuch. “Make not thyself over-wise. Be not opinionative, and conceited of thy own abilities. Set not up for a dictator, nor pretend to give law to, and give judgment upon, all about thee. Set not up for a critic, to find fault with every thing that is said and done, nor busy thyself in other men’s matters, as if thou knewest every thing and couldst do any thing. Why shouldst thou destroy thyself, as fools often do by meddling with strife that belongs not to them? Why shouldst thou provoke authority, and run thyself into the briers, by needless contradictions, and by going out of thy sphere to correct what is amiss? Be wise as serpents; beware of men.” (2.) As to sinners, if it cannot prevail with them to forsake their sins, yet it may restrain them from growing very exorbitant. It is true there is a wicked man that prolongs his life in his wickedness (Ecc_7:15); but let none say that therefore they may safely be as wicked as they will; no, be not overmuch wicked (Ecc_7:17); do not run to an excess of riot. Many that will not be wrought upon by the fear of God, and a dread of the torments of hell, to avoid all sin, will yet, if they have ever so little consideration, avoid those sins that ruin their health and estate, and expose them to public justice. And Solomon here makes use of these considerations. “The magistrate bears not the sword in vain, has a quick eye and a heavy hand, and is a terror to evil-doers; therefore be afraid of coming within his reach, be not so foolish as to lay thyself open to the law, why shouldst thou die before thy time?” Solomon, in these two cautions, had probably a special regard to some of his own subjects that were disaffected to his government and were meditating the revolt which they made immediately after his death. Some, it may be, quarrelled with the sins of their governor, and made them their pretence; to them he says, Be not righteous overmuch. Others were weary of the strictness of the government, and the temple-service, and that made them desirous to set up another king; but he frightens both from their seditious practices with the sword of justice, and others likewise from meddling with those that were given to change.
5. Wisdom will direct us in the mean between two extremes, and keep us always in the way of our duty, which we shall find a plain and safe way (Ecc_7:18): “It is good that thou shouldst take hold of this, this wisdom, this care, not to run thyself into snares. Yea, also from this withdraw not thy hand; never slacken thy diligence, nor abate thy resolution to maintain a due decorum, and a good government of thyself. Take hold of the bridle by which thy head-strong passions must be held in from hurrying thee into one mischief or other, as the horse and mule that have no understanding; and, having taken hold of it, keep thy hold, and withdraw not thy hand from it, for, it thou do, the liberty that they will take will be as the letting forth of water, and thou wilt not easily recover thy hold again. Be conscientious, and yet be cautious, and to this exercise thyself. Govern thyself steadily by the principles of religion, and thou shalt find that he that fears God shall come forth out of all those straits and difficulties which those run themselves into that cast off that fear.” The fear of the Lord is that wisdom which will serve as a clue to extricate us out of the most intricate labyrinths. Honesty is the best policy. Those that truly fear God have but one end to serve, and therefore act steadily. God has likewise promised to direct those that fear him, and to order their steps not only in the right way, but out of every dangerous way, Psa_37:23, Psa_37:24.
6. Wisdom will teach us how to conduct ourselves in reference to the sins and offences of others, which commonly contribute more than any thing else to the disturbance of our repose, which contract both guilt and grief.
(1.) Wisdom teaches us not to expect that those we deal with should be faultless; we ourselves are not so, none are so, no, not the best. This wisdom strengthens the wise as much as any thing, and arms them against the danger that arises from provocation (Ecc_7:19), so that they are not put into any disorder by it. They consider that those they have dealings and conversation with are not incarnate angels, but sinful sons and daughters of Adam: even the best are so, insomuch that there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not, Ecc_7:20. Solomon had this in his prayer (1Ki_8:46), in his proverbs (Pro_20:9), and here in his preaching. Note, [1.] It is the character of just men that they do good; for the tree is known by its fruits. [2.] The best men, and those that do most good, yet cannot say that they are perfectly free from sin; even those that are sanctified are not sinless. None that live on this side of heaven live without sin. If we say, We have not sinned, we deceive ourselves. [3.] We sin even in our doing good; there is something defective, nay, something offensive, in our best performances. That which, for the substance of it, is good, and pleasing to God, is not so well done as it should be, and omissions in duty are sins, as well as omissions of duty. [4.] It is only just men upon earth that are subject thus to sin and infirmity; the spirits of just men, when they have got clear of the body, are made perfect in holiness (Heb_12:23), and in heaven they do good and sin not.
(2.) Wisdom teaches us not to be quicksighted, or quickscented, in apprehending and resenting affronts, but to wink at many of the injuries that are done us, and act as if we did not see them (Ecc_7:21): “Take no heed to all words that are spoken; set not thy heart to them. Vex not thyself at men’s peevish reflections upon thee, or suspicions of thee, but be as a deaf man that hears not, Psa_38:13, Psa_38:14. Be not solicitous or inquisitive to know what people say of thee; if they speak well of thee, it will feed thy pride, if ill, it will stir up thy passion. See therefore that thou approve thyself to God and thy own conscience, and then heed not what men say of thee. Hearkeners, we say, seldom hear good of themselves; if thou heed every word that is spoken, perhaps thou wilt hear thy own servant curse thee when he thinks thou dost not hear him; thou wilt be told that he does, and perhaps told falsely, if thou have thy ear open to tale-bearers, Pro_29:12. Nay, perhaps it is true, and thou mayest stand behind the curtain and hear it thyself, mayest hear thyself not only blamed and despised, but cursed, the worst evil said of thee and wished to thee, and that by a servant, one of the meanest rank, of the abjects, nay, by thy own servant, who should be an advocate for thee, and protect thy good name as well as thy other interests. Perhaps it is a servant thou hast been kind to, and yet he requites thee thus ill, and this will vex thee; thou hadst better not have heard it. Perhaps it is a servant thou hast wronged and dealt unjustly with, and, though he dares not tell thee so, he tells others so, and tells God so, and then thy own conscience will join with him in the reproach, which will make it much more uneasy.” The good names of the greatest lie much at the mercy even of the meanest. And perhaps there is a great deal more evil said of us than we think there is, and by those from whom we little expected it. But we do not consult our own repose, no, nor our credit, though we pretend to be jealous of it, if we take notice of every word that is spoken diminishingly of us; it is easier to pass by twenty such affronts than to avenge one.
(3.) Wisdom puts us in mind of our own faults (Ecc_7:22): “Be not enraged at those that speak ill of thee, or wish ill to thee, for oftentimes, in that case, if thou retire into thyself, thy own conscience will tell thee that thou thyself hast cursed others, spoken ill of them and wished ill to them, and thou art paid in thy own coin.” Note, When any affront or injury is done us it is seasonable to examine our consciences whether we have not done the same, or as bad, to others; and if, upon reflection, we find we have, we must take that occasion to renew our repentance for it, must justify God, and make use of it to qualify our own resentments. If we be truly angry with ourselves, as we ought to be, for backbiting and censuring others, we shall be the less angry with others for backbiting and censuring us. We must show all meekness towards all men, for we ourselves were sometimes foolish, Tit_3:2, Tit_3:3; Mat_7:1, Mat_7:2; Jam_3:1, Jam_3:2.

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Eph 2:4-10 – Matthew Henry commentary

April 22, 2011 Comments off

Eph 2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Eph 2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Eph 2:6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Eph 2:7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Here the apostle begins his account of the glorious change that was wrought in them by converting grace, where observe,

I. By whom, and in what manner, it was brought about and effected. 1. Negatively: Not of yourselves, Eph_2:8. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not the mere product of any natural abilities, nor of any merit of our own: Not of works, lest any man should boast, Eph_2:9. These things are not brought to pass by any thing done by us, and therefore all boasting is excluded; he who glories must not glory in himself, but in the Lord. There is no room for any man’s boasting of his own abilities and power; or as though he had done any thing that might deserve such immense favours from God. 2. Positively: But God, who is rich in mercy, etc., Eph_2:4. God himself is the author of this great and happy change, and his great love is the spring and fontal cause of it; hence he resolved to show mercy. Love is his inclination to do us good considered simply as creatures; mercy respects us as apostate and as miserable creatures. Observe, God’s eternal love or good-will towards his creatures is the fountain whence all his mercies vouch-safed to us proceed; and that love of God is great love, and that mercy of his is rich mercy, inexpressibly great and inexhaustibly rich. And then by grace you are saved (Eph_2:5), and by grace are you saved through faith – it is the gift of God, Eph_2:8. Note, Every converted sinner is a saved sinner. Such are delivered from sin and wrath; they are brought into a state of salvation, and have a right given them by grace to eternal happiness. The grace that saves them is the free undeserved goodness and favour of God; and he saves them, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus, by means of which they come to partake of the great blessings of the gospel; and both that faith and that salvation on which it has so great an influence are the gift of God. The great objects of faith are made known by divine revelation, and made credible by the testimony and evidence which God hath given us; and that we believe to salvation and obtain salvation through faith is entirely owing to divine assistance and grace; God has ordered all so that the whole shall appear to be of grace. Observe,

II. Wherein this change consists, in several particulars, answering to the misery of our natural state, some of which are enumerated in this section, and others are mentioned below. 1. We who were dead are quickened (Eph_2:5), we are saved from the death of sin and have a principle of spiritual life implanted in us. Grace in the soul is a new life in the soul. As death locks up the senses, seals up all the powers and faculties, so does a state of sin, as to any thing that is good. Grace unlocks and opens all, and enlarges the soul. Observe, A regenerate sinner becomes a living soul: he lives a life of sanctification, being born of God; and he lives in the sense of the law, being delivered from the guilt of sin by pardoning and justifying grace. He hath quickened us together with Christ. Our spiritual life results from our union with Christ; it is in him that we live: Because I live, you shall live also. 2. We who were buried are raised up, Eph_2:6. What remains yet to be done is here spoken of as though it were already past, though indeed we are raised up in virtue of our union with him whom God hath raised from the dead. When he raised Christ from the dead, he did in effect raise up all believers together with him, he being their common head; and when he placed him at his right hand in heavenly places, he advanced and glorified them in and with him, their raised and exalted head and forerunner. – And made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This may be understood in another sense. Sinners roll themselves in the dust; sanctified souls sit in heavenly places, are raised above the world; the world is as nothing to them, compared with what it has been, and compared with what the other world is. Saints are not only Christ’s freemen, but they are assessors with him; by the assistance of his grace they have ascended with him above this world to converse with another, and they live in the constant expectation of it. They are not only servants to the best of masters in the best work, but they are exalted to reign with him; they sit upon the throne with Christ, as he has sat down with his Father on his throne.

III. Observe what is the great design and aim of God in producing and effecting this change: And this, 1. With respect to others: That in the ages to come he might show, etc. (Eph_2:7), that he might give a specimen and proof of his great goodness and mercy, for the encouragement of sinners in future time. Observe, The goodness of God in converting and saving sinners heretofore is a proper encouragement to others in after-time to hope in his grace and mercy, and to apply themselves to these. God having this in his design, poor sinners should take great encouragement from it. And what may we not hope for from such grace and kindness, from riches of grace, to which this change is owing? Through Christ Jesus, by and through whom God conveys all his favour and blessings to us. 2. With respect to the regenerated sinners themselves: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, etc., Eph_2:10. It appears that all is of grace, because all our spiritual advantages are from God. We are his workmanship; he means in respect of the new creation; not only as men, but as saints. The new man is a new creature; and God is its Creator. It is a new birth, and we are born or begotten of his will. In Christ Jesus, that is, on the account of what he has done and suffered, and by the influence and operation of his blessed Spirit. Unto good works, etc. The apostle having before ascribed this change to divine grace in exclusion of works, lest he should seem thereby to discourage good works, he here observes that though the change is to be ascribed to nothing of that nature (for we are the workmanship of God), yet God, in his new creation, has designed and prepared us for good works: Created unto good works, with a design that we should be fruitful in them. Wherever God by his grace implants good principles, they are intended to be for good works. Which God hath before ordained, that is, decreed and appointed. Or, the words may be read, To which God hath before prepared us, that is, by blessing us with the knowledge of his will, and with the assistance of his Holy Spirit; and by producing such a change in us. That we should walk in them, or glorify God by an exemplary conversation and by our perseverance in holiness.

1Jn 5:18-21 – Matthew Henry commentary

November 12, 2010 Comments off

1Jn 5:18  We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
1Jn 5:19  And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
1Jn 5:20  And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
1Jn 5:21  Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
Here we have,
I. A recapitulation of the privileges and advantages of sound Christian believers. 1. They are secured against sin, against the fulness of its dominion or the fulness of its guilt: We know that whosoever is born of God (and the believer in Christ is born of God, 1Jo_5:1) sinneth not (1Jo_5:18), sinneth not with that fulness of heart and spirit that the unregenerate do (as was said 1Jo_3:6, 1Jo_3:9), and consequently not with that fulness of guilt that attends the sins of others; and so he is secured against that sin which is unavoidably unto death, or which infallibly binds the sinner over unto the wages of eternal death; the new nature, and the inhabitation of the divine Spirit thereby, prevent the admission of such unpardonable sin. 2. They are fortified against the devil’s destructive attempts: He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, that is, is enabled to guard himself, and the wicked one toucheth him not (1Jo_5:18), that is, that the wicked one may not touch him, namely, to death. It seems not to be barely a narration of the duty or the practice of the regenerate; but an indication of their power by virtue of their regeneration. They are thereby prepared and principled against the fatal touches, the sting, of the wicked one; he touches not their souls, to infuse his venom there as he does in others, or to expel that regenerative principle which is an antidote to his poison, or to induce them to that sin which by the gospel constitution conveys an indissoluble obligation to eternal death. He may prevail too far with them, to draw them to some acts of sin; but it seems to be the design of the apostle to assert that their regeneration secures them from such assaults of the devil as will bring them into the same case and actual condemnation with the devil. 3. they are on God’s side and interest, in opposition to the state of the world: And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness, 1Jo_5:19. Mankind are divided into two great parties of dominions, that which belongs to God and that which belongs to wickedness or to the wicked one. The Christian believers belong to God. They are of God, and from him, and to him, and for him. They succeed into the right and room of the ancient Israel of God, of whom it is said, The Lord’s people is his portion, his estate in this world; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance, the dividend that has fallen to him by the lot of his own determination (Deu_32:9); while, on the contrary, the whole world, the rest, being by far the major part, lieth in wickedness, in the jaws in the bowels of the wicked one. There are, indeed, were we to consider the individuals, many wicked ones, many wicked spirits, in the heavenly or the ethereal places; but they are united in wicked nature, policy, and principle, and they are united also in one head. there is the prince of the devils and of the diabolical kingdom. There is a head of the malignity and of the malignant world; and he has such sway here that he is called the god of this world. Strange that such a knowing spirit should be so implacably incensed against the Almighty and all his interests, when he cannot but know that it must end in his own overthrow and everlasting damnation! How tremendous is the judgment of God upon that wicked one! May the God of the Christian world continually demolish his dominion in this world, and translate souls into the kingdom of his dear Son! 4. They are enlightened in the knowledge of the true eternal God: “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given as an understanding, that we may know him that is true, 1Jo_5:20. The Son of God has come into our world, and we have seen him, and know him by all the evidence that has already been asserted; he has revealed unto us the true God (as Joh_1:18), and he has opened our minds too to understand that revelation, given us an internal light in our understandings, whereby we may discern the glories of the true God; and we are assured that it is the true God that he hath discovered to us. He is infinitely superior in purity, power, and perfection, to all the gods of the Gentiles. He has all the excellences, beauties, and riches, of the living and true God. It is the same God that, according to Moses’s account, made the heavens and the earth, the same who took our fathers and patriarchs into peculiar covenant with himself, the same who brought our ancestors out of Egypt, who gave us the fiery law upon mount Sinai, who gave us his holy oracles, promised the call and conversion of the Gentiles. By his counsels and works, by his love and grace, by his terrors and judgments, we know that he, and he alone, in the fulness of his being, is the living and true God.” It is a great happiness to know the true God, to know him in Christ; it is eternal life, Joh_17:3. It is the glory of the Christian revelation that it gives the best account of the true God, and administers the best eye-salve for our discerning the living and true God. 5. They have a happy union with God and his Son: “And we are in him that is true, even (or and) in his Son Jesus Christ, 1Jo_5:20. The Son leads us to the Father, and we are in both, in the love and favour of both, in covenant and federal alliance with both, in spiritual conjunction with both by the inhabitation and operation of their Spirit: and, that you may know how great a dignity and felicity this is, you must remember that this true one is the true God and eternal life” or rather (as it should seem a more natural construction), “This same Son of God is himself also the true God and eternal life” (Joh_1:1, and here, 1Jo_1:2), “so that in union with either, much more with both, we are united to the true God and eternal life.” Then we have,
II. The apostle’s concluding monition: “Little children” (dear children, as it has been interpreted), “keep yourselves from idols, 1Jo_5:21. Since you know the true God, and are in him, let your light and love guard you against all that is advanced in opposition to him, or competition with him. Flee from the false gods of the heathen world. They are not comparable to the God whose you are and whom you serve. Adore not your God by statues and images, which share in his worship. Your God is an incomprehensible Spirit, and is disgraced by such sordid representations. Hold no communion with your heathen neighbours in their idolatrous worship. Your God is jealous, and would have you come out, and be separated from among them; mortify the flesh, and be crucified to the world, that they may not usurp the throne of dominion in the heart, which is due only to God. The God whom you have known is he who made you, who redeemed you by his Son, who has sent his gospel to you, who has pardoned your sins, begotten you unto himself by his Spirit, and given you eternal life. Cleave to him in faith, and love, and constant obedience, in opposition to all things that would alienate your mind and heart from God. To this living and true God be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”