“Pearls do not lose their worth though swine trample upon them.”
Scriptural truth is none the less worthy to be held and proclaimed because foolish and depraved men pervert it to their own destruction. A knife is a very useful article; and, though some have committed suicide by its means, it is no reason why knives should be discarded. The doctrines of grace are pearls even after Antinomians have turned them over. Justification by faith is the crown-jewel of the gospel, though hypocrites abuse it. Every truth is perverted by polluted minds, but this is no reason for our renouncing what God has revealed; rather is it a strong argument for adorning the doctrine of our Saviour in all things.
My heart, see thou to it that the doctrines of grace are honored at thy hands. Since so many pour contempt upon them, do thou hold them in high esteem, and by thy life make them to be esteemed by others.
—Charles H. Spurgeon
Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden (Passmore & Alabaster, 1883).
No sin is more apt to insinuate itself into our hearts, and duties, than hypocrisy.
We, of all men, are most in danger to be deceived by it: For our employment lying in, and about spiritual things, we are, on that account, stiled spiritual men (Hosea 9:7). But it is plain, from that very place, that a man may be objectively a spiritual, and all the while subjectively a carnal man. Believe it, brethren, it is easier to declaim, like an orator, against a thousand sins of others, than it is to mortify one sin, like Christians, in ourselves; to be more industrious in our pulpits, than in our closets; to preach twenty sermons to our people, than one to our own hearts.
The Whole Works of the Reverend John Flavel, 6:568.
Profession of the life of God passeth with many at a very low and easy rate. Their thoughts are for the most part vain and earthly, their communication unsavoury, and sometimes corrupt, their lives at best uneven and uncertain as unto the rule of obedience; yet all is well, all is life and peace!
The holy men of old, who obtained this testimony, that they pleased God, did not so walk before Him. They meditated continually on the law; thought of God in the night seasons; spake of His ways, His works, His praise; their whole delight was in Him, and in all things they followed hard after Him.
The Works of John Owen, 7:301.
Anger is not to be trusted; it is not so just and righteous as it seemeth to be. Of all passions this is most apt to be justified. As Jonah said to God, ‘I do well to be angry,’ Jonah 4:9, so men are apt to excuse their heats and passions, as if they did but express a just indignation against an offence and wrong received. Anger, like a cloud, blindeth the mind, and then tyranniseth over it. There is in it somewhat of rage and violence; it vehemently exciteth a man to act, and taketh away his rule according to which he ought to act. All violent concitations of the spirit disturb reason, and hinder clearness of debate; and it is then with the soul as it is with men in a mutiny, the gravest cannot be heard; and there is in it somewhat of mist and darkness, by which reason, being beclouded, is rather made a party than a judge, and doth not only excuse our passion, but feed it, as being employed in representing the injury, rather than bridling our irrational excess. Well, then, do not believe anger. Men credit their passion, and that foments it. In an unjust cause, when Sarah was passionate, you see how confident she is, Gen. 16:5, ‘The Lord judge between me and thee.’ It would have been ill for her if the Lord had umpired between her and Abraham. It was a strange confidence, when she was in the wrong, to appeal to God. You see anger is full of mistakes, and it seemeth just and righteous when it doth nothing less than work the righteousness of God. The heathens suspected themselves when under the power of their anger. ‘I would beat thee,’ saith one, ‘if I were not angry.’1 When you are under the power of a passion, you’ have just cause to suspect all your apprehensions; you are apt to mistake others, and to mistake your own spirits. Passion is blind, and cannot judge; it is furious, and hath no leisure to debate and consider.
The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 4:139–140.
No hypocrite under heaven is totally divorced from the love and liking of every known sin. There is still some secret lust or other, which as a sweet morsel he rolls under his tongue, and will not spit it out, Job 20:12–14. Every hypocrite tolerates some evil or other in himself, and takes liberty to transgress. …
Some sin or other always reigns without control in an hypocritical heart. … An hypocrite always reserves one nest-egg or another in his heart or life, for Satan to sit and brood on. Jehu did many brave things, but yet he kept up the worship of his golden calves. Naaman promises high, but yet he is for bowing in the house of Rimmon. The pharisees were very devout, but yet they loved the praises of men, and the upper-most seats in the synagogues.
There is never an hypocrite in the world, but will do what he can to save the life of his sin, though it be with the loss of his soul. O sirs! Satan can be contented that hypocrites should yield to God in many things, provided they will be but true to him in some one thing.
The Complete Works of Thomas Brooks, 3:437–438.