2008-12-19

Adams' Popularity

In her thesis Moira P Baker comments on Adams's popularity. She observes that
In his popular compendium of contemporary eloquence, Things Old and New (1658), John Spencer includes more than sixty excerpts from the works of Adams. William London, in addition, lists Adams’ Workes and his Commentary upon the Second Epistle of St. Peter in Catalogue of the Most Vendible Books in England. To his contemporaries, then, Adams was a respected preacher and writer.
Spencer's work has as its full title Kaina kai palaia Things new and old, or, A store-house of similies, sentences, allegories, apophthegms, adagies, apologues, divine, morall, politicall, &c. : with their severall applications / collected and observed from the writings and sayings of the learned in all ages to this present by John Spencer.

2008-12-04

Adams on Psalm 141:2 & 147:3


141:2 As the evening sacrifice. This should be our daily service, as a lamb was offered up morning and evening for a sacrifice. But, alas! how dull and dead are our devotions! Like Pharaoh's chariots, they drive on heavily. Some, like Balaam's ass, scarce ever open their mouths twice.
147:13 He hath strengthened the bars of thy gates. Blessed is the city whose gates God barreth up with his power, and openeth again with his mercy. There is nothing can defend where his justice will strike; and there is nothing can offend where his goodness will preserve.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

Adams on Psalm 139:14

14 I will praise thee, etc. All God's works are admirable, man wonderfully wonderful. "Marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." What infers he on all this? Therefore "I will praise thee." If we will not praise him that made us, will he not repent that he made us? Oh that we knew what the saints do in heaven, and how the sweetness of that doth swallow up all earthly pleasures! They sing honour and glory to the Lord. Why? Because he hath created all things: Rev 4:11. When we behold an exquisite piece of work, we presently enquire after him that made it, purposely to commend his skill: and there is no greater disgrace to an artist, than having perfected a famous work, to find it neglected, no man minding it, or so much as casting an eye upon it. All the works of God are considerable, and man is bound to this contemplation. "When I consider the heavens", etc., I say, "What is man?." Ps 8:3,4. He admires the heavens, but his admiration reflects upon man. Quis homo? There is no workman but would have his instruments used, and used to that purpose for which they were made ... Man is set like a little world in the midst of the great, to glorify God; this is the scope and end of his creation.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

2008-12-01

Adams on Psalm 133:2, 135:6 & 137:8


133:2 That ran down...that went down, etc Christ's grace is so diffusive of itself, that it conveys holiness to us, "running down from the head to the skirts", to all his members. He was not only anointed himself, but he is our anointer. Therefore it is called "the oil of gladness", because it rejoiceth our hearts, by giving us spiritual gladness, and peace of conscience.

135:6 In heaven and in the earth, etc. His power is infinite. He can do what he will do everywhere; all places are there named but purgatory; perhaps he can do nothing there, but leaves all that work for the Pope.

137:8 He that sows evil shall reap evil; he that soweth the evil of sin, shall reap the evil of punishment. So Eliphaz told Job that he had seen (Job 4:8), "they that plough iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same." And that either in kind or quality, proportion or quantity. In kind, the very same that he did to others shall be done to him; or in proportion, a measure answerable to it. So he shall reap what he hath sown, in quality or in quantity; either in portion the same, or in proportion the like. The prophet cursing Edom and Babel saith thus, "O daughter of Zion, happy shall he be that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us." The original is, "that recompenses to thee thy deed which thou didst to us." ... Thus is wickedness recompensed suo genere, in its own kind. So often the transgressor is against the transgressor, the thief robs the thief, proditoros proditor;as in Rome many unchristened emperors, and many christened popes, by blood and treason got the sovereignty, and by blood and treason lost it. Evil men drink of their own brewing, are scourged with their own rod, drowned in the pit which they digged for others, as Haman was hanged on his own gallows, Perillus tormented in his own engine!
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

2008-11-28

Adams on Psalm 128:3 & 130:4


128:3 By the sides of thine house. Not on the roof, nor on the floor; the one is too high, she is no ruler; the other too low, she is no slave: but in the sides, an equal place between both.

130:4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. One would think that punishment should procure fear, and forgiveness love; but nemo majus diligit, quam qui maxime veretur offendere - no man more truly loves God than he that is most fearful to offend him. "Thy mercy reacheth to the heavens, and thy faithfulness to the clouds" - that is, above all sublimities. God is glorious in all his works, but most glorious in his works of mercy; and this may be one reason why St Paul calls the gospel of Christ a "glorious gospel": 1 Tim 1:11. Solomon tells us, "It is the glory of a man to pass by an offence." Herein is God most glorious, in that he passeth by all the offences of his children. Lord, who can know thee and not love thee, know thee and not fear thee? We fear thee for thy justice, and love thee for thy mercy; yea, fear thee for thy mercy, and love thee for thy justice; for thou art infinitely good in both.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

2008-10-13

Adams on Psalm 126:5


5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy

They sow in faith
and God will bless that seed: it shall grow up to heaven, for it is sown in the side of Jesus Christ who is in heaven. "He that believeth on God", this is the seed; "shall have everlasting life" (Joh 5:24); this is the harvest. Qui credit quod non videt, videbit quod credit, —he that believes what he doth not see; this is the seed: shall one day see what he hath believed; this is the harvest.
They sow in obedience
this is also a blessed seed, that will not fail to prosper Wheresoever it is cast. "If ye keep my commandments"; this is the seed: "ye shall abide in my love" (Joh 15:10); this is the harvest. (Ro 6:22), "Ye are become servants to God, and have your fruit unto holiness"; this is the sowing: "and the end everlasting life"; this is the reaping. Obedientia in tetris, regnabit in coelis,—he that serves God on earth, and sows the seed of obedience, shall in heaven reap the harvest of a kingdom.
They sow in repentance
and this seed must needs grow up to blessedness ... Many saints have now reaped their crop in heaven, that sowed their seed in tears. David, Mary Magdalene, Peter: as if they had made good the proverb, "No coming to heaven with dry eyes." Thus nature and God differ in their proceedings. To have a good crop on earth, we desire a fair seedtime; but here a wet time of sowing shall bring the best harvest in the barn of heaven. "Blessed are they that mourn"; this is the seeding: "for they shall be comforted" (Mt 5:4); this is the harvest.
They sow in renouncing the world, and adherence to Christ
and they reap a great harvest. "Behold", saith Peter to Christ, "we have forsaken all, and followed thee" (Mt 19:27); this is the seeding. "What shall we have therefore?" What? "You shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Mt 19:28-29); all that you have lost shall be centupled to you: "and you shall inherit everlasting life"; this is the harvest. "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, and reap in mercy": Ho 10:12.
They sow in charity
He that sows this seed shall be sure of a plentiful crop. "Whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only"—a little refreshing—"in the name of a disciple; verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward": Mt 10:42. But if he that giveth a little shall be thus recompensed, then "he that soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully": 2 Cor 9:6. Therefore sparse abroad with a full hand, like a seeds man in a broad field, without fear. Doth any think he shall lose by his charity? No worldling, when he sows his seed, thinks he shall lose his seed; he hopes for increase at harvest. Do you dare trust the ground and not God? Sure God is a better paymaster than the earth: grace doth give a larger recompense than nature. Below thou mayest receive forty grains for one; but in heaven, (by the promise of Christ,)a hundred fold: a "measure heapen, and shaken, and thrust together, and yet running over." "Blessed is he that considereth the poor"; this is the seeding: "the Lord shall deliver him in the time of trouble" (Ps 41:1); this is the harvest.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

2008-09-20

Adams on Psalm 124:7 & 125:3, 4


7 Our soul is escaped as a bird The snare of the fowler was the lime-twigs of this world; our soul was caught in them by the feathers, our affections: now, indeed, we are escaped; but the Lord delivered us.

3 The rod of the wicked It is, their rod, made for them; if God scourge his children a little with it, he doth but borrow it from the immediate and natural use for which it was ordained; their rod, their judgment. So it is called their cup: "This is the portion" and potion "of their cup." Ps 11:6 (from commentary on 2 Peter)

4 Lastly, they have the lot of heaven. Hell is the lot of the wicked: "Behold at evening tide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us": Isa 27:14. Therefore it is said of Judas, that he went "to his own place": Ac 1:25. "Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup": Ps 11:6. But the lot of the righteous is faith, and the end of their faith the salvation of their souls. God gives them heaven, not for any foreseen worthiness in the receivers, for no worthiness of our own can make us our father's heirs; but for his own mercy and favour in Christ, preparing heaven for us, and us for heaven. So that upon his decree it is allotted to us; and unless heaven could lose God, we cannot lose heaven.
Here, then, consider how the lottery of Canaan may shadow out to us that blessed land of promise whereof the other was a type.

As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

2008-09-08

Adams on Psalm 119:4, 5, 51, 136, 162


4-5 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently; this is God's imperative. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!; this should be our optative.

51 The proud have had me greatly in derision The saints of God have complained of this in all ages: David of his busy mockers; the abjects jeered him. Job was disdained of those children whose fathers he would have scorned to set with the dogs of his flock, Job 30:1. Joseph was nicknamed a dreamer, Paul a babbler, Christ himself a Samaritan, and with intent of disgrace a carpenter ... Michal was barren, yet she hath too many children, that scorn the habit and exercises of holiness. There cannot be a greater argument of a foul soul, than the deriding of religious services. Worldly hearts can see nothing in those actions, but folly and madness; piety hath no relish, but is distasteful to their palates.

136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law The vices of the religious are the shame of religion: the sight this hath made the stoutest champions of Christ melt into tears. David was one of those great worthies of the world, not matchable in his time yet he weeps. Did he tear in pieces a bear like a kid? Rescue a lamb will the death of a lion? Foil a mighty giant, that had dared the whole of God? Did he like a whirlwind, bear and beat down his enemies below him; and now, does he, like a child or a woman, fall weeping? Yes, he had heard the name of God blasphemed, seen his holy rites profaned, his statutes vilipended (treated with contempt), and violence offered to the pure chastity of that virgin, religion; this resolved that valiant heart into tears: "Rivers of waters run down mine eyes."

162 I rejoice at thy word "Euripides," saith the orator, "hath in his well composed tragedies more sentiments than sayings;" and Thucydides hath so stuffed every syllable of his history with substance, that the one runs parallel along with the other; Lysias's works are so well couched that you cannot take out the least word but you take away the whole sense with it; and Phocion had a special faculty of speaking much in a few words. The Cretians, in Plato's time (however degenerated in St Paul's), were more weighty than wordy; Timanthes was famous in this, that in his pictures more things were intended than deciphered; and of Homer it is said that none could ever peer him for poetry. Then how much more apt and apposite are these high praises to the book of God, rightly called the Bible or the book as if it were, as indeed it is, both for fitness of terms and fullness of truth, the only book to winch (as Luther saith) all the books in the world are but waste paper. It is called the word, by way of eminency, because it must be the butt and boundary of all our words; and the scripture, as the lord paramount above all other words or writings of men collected into volumes, there being, as the Rabbins say, a mountain of sense hanging upon every tittle of it, whence may be gathered flowers and phrases to polish our speeches with, even sound words, that have a healing property in them, far above all filed phrases of human elocution.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

Adams on Psalm 116:16

16 I am thy servant The saints have ever had a holy pride in being God's servants; there cannot be a greater honour than to serve such a Master as commands heaven, earth, and hell. Do not think thou dost honour God in serving him; but this is how God honours thee, in vouchsafing then to be his servant. David could not study to give himself a greater style than - "O Lord, or, truly I am thy servant, and the son of thy handmaid," and this he spake, not in the phrase of a human compliment, but in the humble confession of a believer. Yea, so doth the apostle commend this excellency, that he sets the title of servant before that of an apostle; first servant, then apostle. Great was his office in being an apostle, greater his blessing in being a servant of Jesus Christ; the one is an outward calling, the other an inward grace. There was an apostle condemned, never any servant of God.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

2008-07-30

Adams on Psalm 109:10-13, 16

10-13 Many penurious fathers are so scraping for their children, that they ravish the poor children of God; but the hand of the Lord shall be against their young lions. Na 2:13. They join house to house and field to field but their children shall be "vagabonds and beg", "seeking their bread out of their desolate places." How many a covetous mole is now digging a house in the earth for his posterity, and never dreams of this sequel, that God should make those children beggars, for whose sake their fathers had made so many beggars! This is a quittance which the sire will not believe, but as sure as God is just the son shall feel. Now if he had but leave to come out of hell for an hour, and see this, how should he curse his folly! Sure, if possible, it would double the pain of his infernal torture. Be moderate, then, ye that so insatiately devour, as if you had an infinite capacity: you overload your stomachs, it is fit they should be disburdened in shameful spewing. How quickly doth a worldly minded man grow a defrauder, from a defrauder to a usurer, from a usurer to an oppressor, from an oppressor to an extortioner! If his eyes do but tell his heart of a booty, his heart will charge his hand, and he must have it, Mic 2:2. They do but see it, like it, and take it. Observe their due payment. Let the extortioner catch all that he hath: they got all by extortion, they shall lose all by extortion. They spoiled their neighbours, strangers shall spoil them. How often hath the poor widow and orphan cried, wept, groaned to them for mercy, and found none! They have taught God how to deal with themselves; let there be none to extend mercy to them. They have advanced houses for a memorial, and dedicated lands to their own names, Ps 49:11; all to get them a name; and even in this they shall be crossed: In the next generation their name shall be quite put out.
16 But persecuted the poor If any man will practice subtraction against the poor, God will use it against him, and take his name out of the book of life. If he be damned that gives not his own, what shall become of him that takes away another man's? (Augustine) If judgment without mercy shall be to him that shows no mercy (Jas 2:13) where shall subtraction and rapine appear?
Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let strangers spoil his labour, Ps 109:11: there is one subtraction, his estate.
Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out, Ps 109:13: there is another subtraction, his memory.
Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children, Ps 109:12: there is another subtraction, a denial of all pity to him and his.
Let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin, Ps 109:7: there is another subtraction, no audience from heaven.
Let another take his office; there is a subtraction of his place: let his days be few, Ps 109:8: there is a subtraction of his life.
Let him be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous, Ps 69:28; there is the last, the subtraction of his soul.
This is a fearful arithmetic: if the wicked add sins, God will add plagues. If they subtract from others their rights, God shall subtract from them his mercies.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-07-23

Adams on Psalm 106:6,13,15

6 We have sinned with our fathers. Let us look a little further back, to find the age of sin; even as far as the original, from whence comes all the copy of imitation. Be they never so new in act, they are old in example: "We have sinned with our fathers." God tells them they had rebelled of old; "As your fathers did, so do ye" (Acts 8:51). Antiquity is no infallible argument of goodness: though Tertullian says the first things were the best things; and the less they distanced from the beginning, the poorer they were; but he must be understood only of holy customs. For iniquity can plead antiquity: he that commits a new act of murder finds it old in the example of Cain; drunkenness may be fetched from Noah; contempt of parents from Ham; women's lightness from the daughters of Lot. There is no sin but hath white hairs upon it, and is exceeding old. But let us look further back yet, even to Adam; there is the age of sin. This is that St Paul calls the old man; it is almost as old as the root, but older than all the branches. Therefore our restitution by Christ to grace is called the new man.
13 They soon forgat his works They forgat, yea, "soon"; they made haste to forget, so the original is: "They made haste, they forgat." Like men that in sleep shake Death by the hand, but when they are awake they will not know him.
15 And he gave them their request, etc The throat's pleasure did shut up paradise, sold the birthright, beheaded the Baptist and it was the chief of the cooks, Nebuzaradan, that first set fire to the temple, and razed the city. These effects are,
1. Grossness; which takes away agility to any good work; which makes a man more like a tun upon two pottle pots. Caesar said he mistrusted not Antony and Dolabella for any practices, because they were fat; but Casca and Cassius, lean, hollow fellows, who did think too much. The other are the devil's crammed fowls, too fat to lay. Indeed, what need they travel far, whose felicity is at home; placing paradise in their throats, and heaven in their food?
2. Macilency (leanness) of grace; for as it puts fatness into their bodies, so leanness into their souls. God fatted the Israelites with quails, but withal sent leanness into their soul. The flesh is blown up, the spirit doth languish. They are worse than man eaters, for they are self eaters: they put a pleurisy into their bloods, and an apoplexy into their souls.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

Adams on conversion as a miracle

"Yea, even still God works miracles, though we take no notice of them. That our hearts should be converted by preaching, this is a miracle. That our faith should believe above reason, this is a miracle. If he does not fetch water out of a rock, yet he fetcheth repentance out of sin, and makes the stony heart gush out tears; this is a greater miracle. If he does not turn water into wine, yet he turns our sorrow into joy; as great a miracle. If he does not feed five thousand bodies with a few loaves, yet he feeds five thousand souls with one sermon; as great a miracle."
"It is a great miracle to convert a wicked man, greater than rending of rocks. Moses' rod struck a rock thrice, and did it. Ministers have struck men's rocky hearts three hundred times, and cannot."

2008-07-21

Adams on Psalm 105:17

Joseph may be a fit type to us of our spiritual deliverance. Consider him sold into Egypt, not without the determinate counsel of God, who preordained this to good; "God did send me before you to preserve life," Gen 45:5. Here is the difference, the brethren sold Joseph, we sold ourselves. Consider us thus sold unto sin and death; God had a purpose to redeem us; there is election. Joseph was delivered out of prison, and we ransomed out of the house of bondage; there was redemption. Joseph's cause was made known, and himself acquitted; we could not be found innocent ourselves, but were acquitted in Christ; wherein consists our justification. Lastly, Joseph was clothed in glorious apparel, and adorned with golden chains, and made to ride in the second chariot of Egypt: so our last step is to be advanced to high honour, even the glory of the celestial court; "This honour have all the saints, " Ps 149:9.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-07-18

Adams on Psalm 103:13, 14, 19

13, 14. The good father doth not turn off the child for being weak and sickly; but is so much the more indulgent as his necessity requires succour. If his stomach refuse meat, or cannot answer it with digestion, will he put him out of doors? No; when the Shunamite's son complains of his head, she lays him in her bosom. A mother is good to all the fruit of her womb, most kind to the sick infant: when it lies with its eyes fixed on her, not able to declare its grief, or to call for what it desires, this doubles her compassion: "So the Lord doth pity us, remembering our frame, considering that we are but dust"; that our soul works by a lame instrument; and therefore he requires not that of an elemental composition, which he doth of angelical spirits. The son is commanded to write out such a copy fairly; he doth his best, far short of the original; yet the father doth not chide, but encourage him. Or he gives him a bow and arrows, bids him shoot to such a mark; he draws his utmost strength, lets go cheerfully: the arrow drops far short, yet the son is praised, the father pleased. Temptation assaults us, lust buffets us, secular business diverts us, manifold is our weakness, but not beyond our Father's forgiveness: "He will spare us, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him," Mal 3:17.
19 His kingdom ruleth over all. His Lordship is universal.
First, over all time: other lords die, but he is eternal. Eternity is properly the duration of an uncreated Ens. It is improperly taken, either for things that have both beginning and end, as everlasting mountains; divers such phrases in Scripture; or for things that have a beginning but shall have no end; so are angels and men's souls eternal; so, eternal life, eternal fire. But God calls himself, "I AM," Ex 3:14: I am what I have been, I have been what I am, what I am and have been I shall be. This attribute is incommunicable: all other things had a non esse preceding their esse;and they have a mutation tending to nothing. "They that war against thee shall be as nothing," Isa 41:12: all come to nothing unless they be upheld by the manutency (maintenance) of God: but "Thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end," Ps 102:27. Thou turnest man to destruction, and again sayest, Return: "even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God," Ps 90:2; the sole umpire and measurer of beginning and ending.
Secondly, over all places, heaven, earth, hell, Ps 135:6. Kings are limited, and cannot do many things they desire: they cannot command the sun to stand still, nor the wind to blow which way they would: in the lofty air, in the depths of the sea no king reigns. They fondly flatter the pope with his long arms that they reach to purgatory; (but indeed both power and place are alike imaginary;) it is Christ alone that hath the keys of all places.
Thirdly, over all creatures; binding the influences of Pleiades, and loosing the bands of Orion, Job 38:31; commanding the fire against the nature of it, to descend, 2 Kings 1:12; creating and ruling the stars, Am 5:8; overruling the lions, Dan 6:22, sending the meteors, Ps 148:8, hedging in the sea, lapping it up like a child in swaddling-clothes, Job 38:8, dividing, diverting, filling it. In both fire and water, those two raging elements that have no mercy, he shows mercy; delivers us from both in both. He calls the fowls, and they come; the beasts, and they hear: the trees, and they spring to obey him. He hath a raven for Elijah, a gourd for Jonah, a dog for Lazarus. Makes the leviathan, the hugest living creature, preserve his prophet. That a terrible lion should be killed, as was by Samson; or not kill, as they forbore Daniel; or kill and not eat, as that prophet, 1 Kings 13:1-29: here was the Lord. Over metals; he makes iron to swim, stones to cleave asunder. Over the devils; they must obey him though unwillingly. But they continually rebel against him, and break his will? They do indeed against his complacency, not against his permission. There is then no time, not the hour of death; no place, not the sorest torment; no creature, not the devil; but the Lord can deliver us from them. Therefore at all times, in all places, and against all creatures, let us trust in him for deliverance.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-07-16

Adams on Psalm 99:1 & 102:26


99:1 Holy arm. The creation was the work of God's fingers: "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers," Ps 8:3; redemption a work of his arm, "His holy arm hath gotten him the victory"; yea, it was a work of his heart, even that bled to death to accomplish it.

102: 26 They shall perish. The greater the corruption, the vaster the destruction. Some think that the fiery deluge shall ascend no higher than did the watery. It may be the earth shall be burned, that is the worst guest at the table, the common sewer of all other creatures, but shall the heavens pass away? It may be the airy heaven; but shall the starry heaven where God hath printed such figures of his glory? Yes, caelum, elementurn, terra, when ignis ubique ferox ruptis regnabit habenis. The former deluge is called the world's winter, the next the world's summer. The one was with a cold and moist element, the other shall be with an element hot and dry. But what then shall become of the saints? They shall be delivered out of all; walking like those three servants in the midst of that great furnace, the burning world, and not be scorched, because there is one among them to deliver them, "the Son of God," Dan 3:25, their Redeemer. But shall all quite perish? No, there is rather a mutation than an abolition of their substance. Thou shalt change them, and they shall be changed, not abolished. The concupiscence shall pass, not the essence; the form, not the nature. In the altering of an old garment, we destroy it not, but trim it, refresh it, and make it seem new. They pass, they do not perish; the dross is purged, the metal stays. The corrupt quality shall be renewed, and all things restored to that original beauty wherein they were created. "The end of all things is at hand," 1 Pet 4:7: an end of us, an end of our days, an end of our ways, and end of our thoughts. If a man could say as Job's messenger, I alone am escaped, it were somewhat; or might find an ark with Noah. But there is no ark to defend them from that heat, but only the bosom of Jesus Christ.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-07-10

Works of Adams available

The works of Adams in three volumes are currently available from Reformation Heritage. See here.

2008-07-07

Adams on Psalm 94:19

19 Thy comforts Troubles may be of our own begetting; but true comforts come only from that infinite fountain, the God of consolation; for so he hath styled himself.
Because the malignant host is first entered into the ground of my text, consider with me:
1. The rebels, or mutineers, "thoughts."
2. The number of them, no less than a "multitude."
3. The captain whose colours they bear; a disquieted mind; "my thoughts."
4. The field where the battle is fought; in the heart; apud me, "within me."
In the other army we find,
1. Quanta, how puissant they are; comforts.
2. Quota, how many they are; indefinitely set down; abundant comfort.
3. Cujus, whose they are; the Lord's, he is their general; thy comforts.
4. Quid operantur, what they do; they delight the soul. In the nature of them being comforts, there is tranquillity; in the number of them, being many comforts, there is sufficiency; in the owner of them, being thy comforts, there is omnipotence; and in the effect of them, delighting the soul, there is security.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-07-01

Adams on Psalm 91:11

11 To keep thee in all thy ways How should those heavenly spirits bear that man in their arms, like nurses, upon earth living; or bear up his soul to heaven, like winged porters, when he dies, that refuseth the right way? They shall keep us in all our ways. Out of the way it is their charge to oppose us, as to preserve us in the way. Nor is this more a terror to the ungodly, than to the righteous a comfort. For if an angel would keep even a Balaam from sinning, how much more careful are all those glorious powers to prevent the miscarriages of God's children! From how many falls and bruises have they saved us! In how many inclinations to evil have they turned us, either by removing occasions, or by casting in secretly good motions! We sin too often, and should catch many more falls, if those holy guardians did not uphold us. Satan is ready to divert us, when we endeavour to do well; when to do ill, angels are as ready to prevent us. We are in Joshua the high priest's ease, with Satan on the one hand, on the other an angel, Zec 3:1: without this, our danger were greater than our defence, and we could neither stand nor rise.
... We have the safeguard of the empire; not only the protection of the King, from which the wicked as outlaws are secluded; but also the keeping of angels, to whom he hath given a charge over us, to keep us in all his ways. So nearly we participate of his Divine things, that we have his own guard royal to attend us.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-06-30

Adams on Psalm 90:10


10 Their strength is labour and sorrow Most commonly old age is a feeble estate; the very grasshopper is a burden to it. Ecc 12:5. Even the old man himself is a burden, to his wife, to his children, to himself. As Barzillai said to David, "I am this day fourscore years old: and can I discern between good and evil? Can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? Can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women?" 2 Sam 19:35. Old age, we say, is a good guest, and should be made welcome, but that he brings such a troop with him; blindness, aches, coughs, etc; these are troublesome, how should they be welcome? Their strength is labour and sorrow. If their very strength, which is their best, be labour and grief, what is their worst?
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-06-28

Adams on Psalm 86:13 & 16


13, 16 There is no stronger argument of God's infallible readiness to grant our requests, than the experience of his former concessions. So David reasons, "The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine", 1 Sam 17:37. This is the argument a priori, the voice of a strong faith, that persuades the conscience God will be gracious to him, because he hath been gracious. The prophet thus often comforted his soul: "Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress"; therefore, "have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer", Ps 4:1. So, Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell; therefore, O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me. Let the justiciaries deduce arguments from their own present merits, my soul from God's former mercies. Thou, O Lord, madest me good, restoredst me when I was evil; therefore have mercy upon me, miserable sinner, and give me thy salvation. Thus Paul grounded his assurance: because the Lord had stood with him, and delivered him out of the lion's mouth; therefore the Lord shall deliver me still, from every evil work, and preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom. 2 Tim 4:17, 18.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.
(For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; ... give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid.)
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-06-23

Adams on Psalm 84:11 & 85:8

84:11 No good thing will he withhold, etc This is an immense fountain; the Lord fill all the buckets of our hearts at the spring, and give us capacious souls, as he hath a liberal hand.

85:8 I will hear, etc The eye as a mere organ of sense must give place to the ear. Therefore it is wittily observed, that our Saviour commanding the abscession of the offending hand, foot and eye, (Mr 9:43-47), yet never spake of the ear. If thy hand, thy foot or thine eye, cause thee to offend, deprive thyself of them; but part not with thine ear, for that is an organ to derive unto thy soul's salvation. As Christ says there, a man may enter into heaven, lamed in his feet, as Mephibosheth, blind in his sight, as Barzillai, maimed in his hand, as the dry handed man in the gospel; but if there be not an ear to hear of the way, there will be no foot to enter into heaven. If God be not first in the ear, he is neither sanctifiedly in the mouth, nor comfortably in the heart. The Jews had eyes to see Christ's miracles, but because they had no ears to hear his wisdom, therefore they had no feet to enter into his kingdom. The way into the house is by the door, not by the window: the eye is but the window of the heart, the ear is the door. Now Christ stands knocking at the door, not at the window. Re 3:20. And he will not come in at the window, but at the door. "He that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep." Joh 10:2. He comes now in by his oracles, now by his miracles. "To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice" Joh 10:3. The way to open and let him in is by the door; to hear his voice. There was a man in the gospel blind and deaf; blind eyes is ill; but deaf ears, worse. It is bad to have the eyes seeled (Seel, to close up: a term in falconry), but worse to have the ears sealed up. Open your ears therefore to this heavenly voice. Bernard hath this description of a good ear: Which willingly hears what is taught, wisely understands what it heareth, and obediently practises what it understandeth. O give me such an ear, and I will hang on it jewels of gold, ornaments of praise.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-06-19

Adams on Psalm 80:4

4 Lord God of hosts All creatures are mustered, and trained, and put into garrison, or brought forth into the field, by his command. Which way can we look beside his armies? If upward into heaven, there is a band of soldiers, even a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, Lu 2:13. If to the lower heavens, there is a band of soldiers, Ge 2:1; it was universa militia caeli, to which those idolaters burnt incense. On the earth, not only men are marshalled to the service; so Israel was called the "host of the living God; "but even the brute creatures are ranged in arrays. So God did levy a band of flies against the Egyptians; and a band of frogs that marched into their bed chambers. He hath troops of locusts, Pr 30:27, and armies of caterpillars. Not only the chariots and horsemen of heaven to defend his prophet; but even the basest, the most indocible, and despicable creatures, wherewith to confound his enemies. If Goliath stalk forth to defy the God of Israel, he shall be confuted with a pebble. If Herod swells up to a god, God will set his vermin on him, and all the king's guard cannot save him from them. You have heard of rats that could not be beaten off till they had destroyed that covetous prelate; and of the fly that killed Pope Adrian. God hath more ways to punish than he hath creatures. "The Lord God of Hosts" is not properly a title of creation, but of Providence. All creatures have their existence from God as their Maker; but so have they also their order from him as their Governor. It refers not so much to their being as to their marshalling; not to their natural but militant estate; not only as creatures do they owe him for their making, but as they are soldiers for their managing. Their order is warlike, and they serve under the colours of the Almighty. So that here, God would be respected, not as a creator, but as a general. His anger, therefore, seems so much the more fearful, as it is presented to us under so great a title: "the Lord God of Hosts" is angry. They talk of Tamerlane that he could daunt his enemies with the very look of his countenance. Oh! then what terror dwells in the countenance of an offended God! The reprobates shall call to the rocks to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb. Re 6:16. If ira agni doth so affright them, how terrible is ira leonis, the wrath of the lion? It may justly trouble us all to hear that the Lord, "the Lord God of Hosts," is angry; in the sense whereof the prophet breaks forth here into this expostulation: "O Lord God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry with thy people that prayeth?"
Angry against the prayer of thy people There may be infirmities enough in our very prayers to make them unacceptable. As if they be Exanimes, without life and soul; when the heart knows not what the tongue utters. Or Perfunctoriae, for God will have none of those prayers that come out of feigned lips. Or Tentativae, for they that will petere tentando, tempt God in prayer, shall go without. Or Fluctuantes, of a wild and wandering discourse, ranging up and down, which the Apostle calls "beating the air, "as huntsmen beat the bushes, and as Saul sought his father's asses. Such prayers will not stumble upon the kingdom of heaven. Or if they be Preproperae, run over in haste, as some use to chop up their prayers, and think long till they have done. But they that pray in such haste shall be heard at leisure. Or sine fiducia; the faithless man had as good hold his peace as pray; he may babble, but prays not; he prays ineffectually, and receives not. He may lift up his hands, but he does not lift up his heart. Only the prayer of the righteous availeth, and only the believer is righteous. But the formal devotion of a faithless man is not worth the crust of bread which he asks. Or sine humilitate, so the pharisee's prayer was not truly supplicatio, but superlatio. A presumptuous prayer profanes the name of God instead of adoring it. All, or any, of these defects may mar the success of our prayers.
As quoted in Spurgeon'sTreasury of David.

2008-06-17

Adams on Psalm 73:18, 20; 77:10

18, 20 Their banqueting house is very slippery, and the feast itself a mere dream.
10 I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High Not the moments, nor the hours, nor days of a few short afflictions, that his left hand hath dealt to me: but the years of his right hand; those long, large and boundless mercies wherewith he hath comforted me.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-06-13

Adams on Psalm 71:18

18 Forsake me not; until, etc Apostasy in old age is fearful. He that climbs almost to the top of a tower, then slipping back, hath the greater fall. The patient almost recovered, is more deadly sick by a relapse. There were stars struck from heaven by the dragon's tail (Re 12:4); they had better never have perched so high. The place where the Israelites fell into that great folly with the daughters of Moab, was in the plain, within the prospect of the Holy Land; they saw their inheritance and yet fell short of it. So wretched is it for old men to fall near to their very entry of heaven, as old Eli in his indulgence (1 Samuel 2); old Judah in his incest (Genesis 38); old David with Bathsheba; old Asa trusting in the physicians more than in God (2 Chr 16:12); and old Solomon built the high places. Some have walked like cherubs in the midst of the stones of fire, yet have been cast as profane out of God's mountain. Eze 28:14, 16. Thus the seaman passeth all the main, and suffers wreck in the haven. The corn often promises a plenteous harvest in the blade, and shrinks in the ear. You have seen trees loaden with blossoms, yet, in the season of expectation, no fruit. A comedy that holds well many scenes, and goes lamely off in the last act, finds no applause. Remember Lot's wife (Lu 17:32): think on that pillar of salt, that it may season thee.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-06-12

Adams on Psalm 69:28

28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, etc We come to the question, Whether to be written in heaven be an infallible assurance of salvation; or, whether any there registered may come to be blotted out? The truth is, that none written in heaven can ever be lost; yet they object against it this verse. Hence, they infer, that some names once there recorded are afterwards put out; but this opinion casteth a double aspersion on God himself. Either it makes him ignorant of future things, as if he foresaw not the end of elect and reprobate, and so were deceived in decreeing some to be saved that shall not be saved; or, that his decree is mutable, in excluding those upon their sins whom he hath formerly chosen. From both these weaknesses St Paul vindicates him (2 Tim 2:19): "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his." First, "The Lord knows them that are his; "this were not true if God's prescience could be deluded. Then, his "foundation stands sure;" but that were no sure foundation, if those he hath decreed to be his should afterwards fall out not to be his. The very conclusion of truth is this impossibilis est deletio; they which are "written in heaven" can never come into hell. To clear this from the opposed doubt, among many, I will cull out three proper distinctions:
1. One may be said to be written in heaven simpliciter, and secundum quid. He that is simply written there, in quantum praedestinatus ad vitam, because elected to life, can never be blotted out. He that is written after a sort may, for he is written non secundum Dei praescientiam, sed secundum praesentem justitiam - not according to God's former decree, but according to his present righteousness. So they are said to be blotted out, not in respect of God's knowledge, for he knows they never were written there; but according to their present condition, apostatising from grace to sin. (Nicholas of Lyra)
2. Some are blotted out non secundum rei veritatem, sed hominum opinionem - not according to the truth of the thing but according to men's opinion. It is usual in the Scriptures to say a thing is done quando innotescat fieri, when it is declared to be done. Hypocrites have a simulation of outward sanctity, so that men in charity judge them to be written in heaven. But when those glistening stars appear to be only ignes fatui, foolish meteors, and fall from the firmament of the church, then we say they are blotted out. The written ex existentia, by a perfect being, are never lost; but ex apparentia, by a dissembled appearance, may. Some God so writes, in se ut simpliciter habituri vitam - that they have life simply in themselves, though not of themselves. Others he so writes, ut habeant non in se, sed in sua causa; from which falling they are said to be obliterated. (Thomas Aquinas)
3. Augustine says, we must not so take it, that God first writes and then dasheth out. For if a Pilate could say, Quod scripsi, scripsi - "What I have written, I have written," and it shall stand; shall God say, Quod scripsi expungam - What I have written, I will wipe out, and it shall not stand? They are written, then, secundum spem ipsorum, qui ibi se scriptos putabant - according to their own hope that presumed their names there; and are blotted out quando ipsis constet illos non ibi fuisse - when it is manifest to themselves that their names never had any such honour of inscription. This even that Psalm strengthens whence they fetch their opposition: Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. So that to be blotted out of that book, it is, indeed, never to be written there. To be wiped out in the end, is but a declaration that such were not written in the beginning.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-06-09

Adams on Psalm 66:12, 13

12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads The agents are men. Man is a sociable living creature and should converse with man in love and tranquillity. Man should be a supporter of man; is he become an overthrower? He should help and keep him up; doth he ride over him and tread him under foot? O apostasy, not only from religion, but even from humanity! Quid homini inimicissimum? Homo (Seneca.) The greatest danger that befalls man comes whence it should least come, from man himself. Caetera animantia, says Pliny, in suo genere, probe degunt, &c. Lions fight not with lions; serpents spend not their venom on serpents; but man is the main suborner of mischief to his own kind ...
1. They ride. What need they mount themselves upon beasts, that have feet malicious enough to trample on us? They have a "foot of pride" Ps 36:11, from which David prayed to be delivered; a presumptuous heel, which they dare lift up against God; and, therefore, a tyrannous toe, to spurn dejected men. They need not horses and mules, that can kick with the foot of a revengeful malice, Ps 32:9.
2. Over us. The way is broad enough wherein they travel, for it is the devil's road. They might well miss the poor, there is room enough besides; they need not ride over us. It were more brave for them to justle with champions that will not give them the way. We never contend for their path; they have it without our envy, not without our pity. Why should they ride over us?
3. Over our heads. Is it not contentment enough to their pride to ride, to their malice to ride over us, but must they delight in bloodiness to ride over our heads? Will not the breaking of our arms and legs, and such inferior limbs, satisfy their indignation? Is it not enough to rack our strength, to mock our innocence, to prey on our estates, but must they thirst after our bloods and lives? Quo tendit saeva libido? Whither will their madness run? But we must not tie ourselves to the letter. Here is a mystical or metamorphical gradation of their cruelty. Their riding is proud; their riding over us is malicious; and their riding over our heads is bloody oppression.
... The time was when the Bonners and butchers rode over the faces of God's saints, and madefied (Madefy, to moisten, to make wet) the earth with their bloods, every drop whereof begot a new believer.
... This verse is like that sea (Mt 8:24) so tempestuous at first, that the vessel was covered with waves; but Christ's rebuke quieted all, and there followed a great calm. Here are cruel Nimrods riding over innocent heads, as they would over fallow lands; and dangerous passages through fire and water; but the storm is soon ended, or rather the passengers are landed. Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. So that this strain of David's music, or psalmody, consists of two notes - one mournful, the other mirthful; the one a touch of distress, the other of redress: which directs our course to an observation of misery and of mercy; of grievous misery, of gracious mercy. There is desolation and consolation in one verse: a deep dejection, as laid under the feet of beasts; a happy deliverance, broughtest us out into a wealthy place. In both these strains God hath his stroke; he is a principal in this concert. He is brought in for an actor, and for an author; and actor in the persecution, and author in the deliverance. Thou causest, etc; Thou broughtest, etc. In the one he is a causing worker; in the other a sole working cause. In the one he is joined with company: in the other he works alone. He hath a finger in the former; his whole hand is in the latter. We must begin with misery before we come to mercy. If there were no trouble, we should not know the worth of a deliverance. The passion of the saints is given, by the hearty and ponderous description, for very grievous; yet it is written in the forehead of the text, "The Lord caused it." Thou causest men to ride, etc. Hereupon, some wicked libertine may offer to rub his filthiness upon God's purity, and to plead an authentic derivation of all his villainy against the saints from the Lord's warrant: He caused it. We answer, to the justification of truth itself, that God doth ordain and order every persecution that striketh his children, without any allowance to the instrument that gives the blow. God works in the same action with others, not after the same manner. In the affliction of Job were three agents - God, Satan and the Sabeans. The devil works on his body, the Sabeans on his goods; yet Job confessed a third party: "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away." Here oppressors trample on the godly, and God is said to cause it. He causeth affliction for trial (so Ps 66:10-11: Thou hast tried us, etc.); they work it for malice; neither can God be accused nor they excused.
... But thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place Every word is sweetly significant, and amplifies God's mercy to us. Four especially are remarkable:—
1. The deliverer
2. The deliverance
3. The delivered
4. Their felicity or blessed advancement.
So there is the deliverer, aliquid celsitudinis, Thou; in the delivery, certitudinis, broughtest out, in the delivered, solitudinis, us; in the happiness, plenitudinis, into a wealthy place. There is highness and lowness, sureness and fulness. The deliverer is great, the deliverance is certain, the distress grievous, the exaltation glorious. There is yet a first word, that like a key unlocks this golden gate of mercy, a veruntamen: BUT. This is vox respirationis, a gasp that fetcheth back again the very life of comfort. But thou broughtest, etc. We were fearfully endangered into the hands of our enemies; they rode and trod upon us, and drove us through hard perplexities. But thou, etc. If there had been a full point or period at our misery, if those gulfs of persecution had quite swallowed us, and all our light of comfort had been thus smothered and extinguished we might have cried, Periit spes nostra, yea, periit salus nostra - Our hope, our help is quite gone. He had mocked us that would have spoken, Be of good cheer. This same but is like a happy oar, that turns our vessel from the rocks of despair, and lands it at the haven of comfort.
13 You see all the parts of this song; the whole concert or harmony of all is praising God. You see quo loco, in his house; quo modo, with burnt offering; quo animo, paying our vows.
Burnt offerings For ourselves, be we sure that the best sacrifice we can give to God is obedience; not a dead beast but a living soul. The Lord takes not delight in the blood of brutish creatures. It is the mind, the life, the soul, the obedience, that he requires: 1Sa 15:22, "To obey is better than sacrifice." Let this be our burnt offering, our holocaust, a sanctified body and mind given up to the Lord, Ro 12:1-2. First, the heart: "My son, give me thy heart." Is not the heart enough? No, the hand also: Isa 1:16, Wash the hands from blood and pollution. Is not the hand enough? No, the foot also: "Remove thy foot from evil." Is not the foot enough? No, the lips also: "Guard the doors of thy mouth; " Ps 34:13, "Refrain thy tongue from evil." Is not thy tongue enough? No, the ear also: "Let him that hath ears to hear, hear." Is not the ear enough? No, the eye also: "Let thine eyes be towards the Lord." Is not all this sufficient? No, give body and spirit: 1Co 6:20, "Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." When the eyes abhor lustful objects, the ear slanders, the foot erring paths, the hands wrong and violence, the tongue flattery and blasphemy, the heart pride and hypocrisy; this is thy holocaust, thy whole burnt offering.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

2008-05-30

Adams on Psalm 58:4

4 Poison There is such a thing as poison; but where to be found? Ubicunque fuerit, in homine quis quaereret? Wheresoever it is, in man who would look for it? God made man's body of the dust; he mingled no poison with it. He inspires his soul from heaven; he breathes no poison with it. He feeds him with bread; he conveys no poison with it. Unde venenum? Whence is the poison? Mt 13:27 "Didst not thou, O Lord, sow good seed in thy field?" Unde zizaniae — "From whence then hath it tares?" Whence? Hoc fecit inimicus — "The enemy hath done this." We may perceive the devil in it. That great serpent, the red dragon, hath poured into wicked hearts this poison. His own poison, malitiam, wickedness. Cum infundit peccatum, infundit venenum —"When he pours in sin he pours in poison." Sin is poison. Original depravity is called corruption; actual poison. The violence and virulence of this venomous quality comes not at first. Nemo fit repente pessimus — No man becomes worst at the first dash. We are born corrupt, we have made ourselves poisonous. There be three degrees, as it were so may ages, in sin. First — secret sin; an ulcer lying in the bones, but skinned over with hypocrisy. Secondly — open sin, bursting forth into manifest villany. The former is corruption, the second is eruption. Thirdly - frequented and confirmed sin, and that is rank poison, envenoming soul and body.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-05-29

Google Books

Books by Adams available on Google Books
Exposition of 2 Peter
Three Divine sisters etc

Adams on Psalm 50:15, 18, 21

15 Call upon me in the day of trouble, etc The Lord hath promised his children supply of all good things, yet they must use the means of impetration; by prayer. He feed the young ravens when they call upon him. Ps 147:9. He feeds the young ravens, but first they call upon him. God withholds from them that ask not, lest he should give to them that desire not (Augustine). David was confident that by God's power he should spring over a wall; yet not without putting his own strength and agility to it. Those things we pray for, we must work for (Augustine). The carter in Isidore, when his cart was overthrown, would needs have his god Hercules come down from heaven, to help him up with it; but whilst he forbore to set his own shoulder to it, his cart lay still. Abraham was as rich as any of our aldermen, David as valiant as any of our gentlemen, Solomon as wise as any of our deepest naturians, Susanna as fair as any of our painted pieces. Yet none of them thought that their riches, valour, policy, beauty or excellent parts could save them; but they stirred the sparks of grace and bestirred themselves in pious work. And this is our means, if our meaning be to be saved.
18 Thou consentedst with him To give entertainment to them we know to be dissolute, is to communicate with their sins.
21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence Neither sleep nor slumber, nor connivance, nor neglect of anything can be incident to God. Because he doth not execute present judgment and visible destruction upon sinners, therefore blasphemy presumptuously infers - will God trouble himself about such petty matters? So they imagined of their imaginary Jupiter. Non vacat exiguis rebus adesse Jovem. What a narrow and finite apprehension this is of God! He that causes and produces every action - shall he not be present at every action? What can we do without him, that cannot move but in him? He that taketh notice of sparrows and numbers the seeds which the very ploughman thrusts in the ground, can any action of man escape his knowledge, or slip from his contemplation? He may seem to wink at things but never shuts his eyes. He doth not always manifest a reprehensive knowledge, yet he always retains an apprehensive knowledge. Though David smote not Shimei cursing, yet he heard Shimei cursing. As judges often determine to hear, but do not hear to determine; so though God does not see to like, yet he likes to see.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treaury of David.

2008-05-28

Adams on Psalm 49:17

17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away The form of money agrees well with the condition of it; it is stamped round, because it is so apt to run away. Could we be rich so long as we live, yet that were uncertain enough for life itself is but a dream, a shadow, but a dream of a shadow. (Augustine). Rich men are but like hailstones; they make a noise in the world, as the other rattle on the tiles of a house; down they fall, lie still, and melt away. So that if riches could stay by a man, yet he cannot stay by them. Spite of his teeth, he shall carry away nothing when he dies. Life and goods are both is a vessel, both cast away at once; yea, of the two, life hath the more likelihood of continuance. Let it fly never so fast away, riches have eagles' wings, and will outfly it. There be thieves in the highways that will take our moneys and spare our lives. In our penal laws there be not so many ways to forfeit our lives as our goods. Rich Job lived to see himself poor to a proverb. How many in this city reputed rich, yet have broken for thousands! There are innumerable ways to be poor; a fire, a thief, a false servant, suretyship, trusting of bad customers, an unfaithful factor, a pirate, an unskilful pilot hath brought rich men to poverty. One gale of wind is able to make merchants rich or beggars. Man's life is like the banks of a river, his temporal estate is the stream: time will moulder away the banks, but the stream stays not for that, it glides away continually. Life is the tree, riches are the fruit or rather the leaves; the leaves will fall, the fruit is plucked and yet the tree stands. Some write of the pine tree, that if the bark be pulled off, it lasts long; being on it rots. If the worldling's bark were stripped off, he might perhaps live the longer, there is great hope he would live the better.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-05-19

Adams on Psalm 39:10 & 45:10

39:10 Remove thy plague away from me thy plague and mine; thine by affliction, mine by passion; thine because thou didst send it, mine because I endure it; thine because it comes from thy justice, mine because it answers my injustice; remit what I have done, and remove what thou hast done. But whosoever laid it on, the Lord will take it off.

45:10 Forget If thou be on the mountain, have no love to look back to Sodom. If thou be in the ark, fly not back to the world, as the raven did. If thou be set on Canaan, forget the flesh pots of Egypt. If marching against Midian, forget stooping to the waters of Harod. Jud 7:1-25. If on the house top, forget that is below thee. Mk 13:15. If thy hand be put to the plough, forget that is behind thee. Lk 9:62. Themistocles desired rather to learn the art of forgetfulness than of memory. Philosophy is an art of remembering, divinity includes in it an art of forgetting. The first lesson that Socrates taught his scholars was, Remember; for he thought that knowledge was nothing else but a calling to remembrance of those things the mind knew ere it knew the body. But the first lesson that Christ teacheth his scholars is, Forget: Forget thine own people; "Repent" Mt 4:17; first, "eschew evil, "1 Pet 3:11.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

2008-05-08

Adams on Psalm 38:2

2 Thy hand presseth me sore Not the hand of Egypt or Ashur; then it were hand for hand, a duel of some equality: hand to hand; here forces and stratagems might achieve a victory: but Thy hand. The weight of a man's blow is but weak, according to the force and pulse of his arm; as the princes of Midian answered Gideon, when he bade his son try the dint of his sword upon them; "Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength." Jud 8:21. But "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Heb 10:31. As Homer called the hands of Jupiter ceirez aeptoi, hands whose praise could not be sufficiently spoken; which some read ceires aaptoii, hands inaccessible, irresistible for strength: all the gods in heaven could not ward a blow of Jupiter's hand. This hand never strikes but for sin; and where sin is mighty his blow is heavy.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-05-07

Adams on Psalm 37:25, 26, 37


25-26 I have been young, and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, and I never saw his seed begging their bread: Many persons are solicitously perplexed how their children shall do when they are dead; yet they consider not, how God provided for them when they were children. Is the Lord's arm shortened? Did he take thee from thy mothers breasts; and when thy parents forsook thee (as the psalmist saith), became thy Father? And cannot this experienced mercy to thee, persuade thee that he will not forsake thine? Is not "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever?" "I have been young," saith David, "and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken," that is granted, nay, "not his seed begging bread."
Many distrustful fathers are so carking for their posterity, that while they live they starve their bodies, and hazard their souls, to leave them rich. To such a father it is said justly, Dives es haeredi, pauper inopsque tibi. Like an over kind hen, he feeds his chickens, and famishes himself. If usury, circumvention, oppression, extortion, can make them rich, they shall not be poor. Their folly is ridiculous; they fear lest their children should be miserable, yet take the only course to make them miserable; for they leave them not so much heirs to their goods as to their evils. They do as certainly inherit their fathers' sins as their lands: "God layeth his iniquity for his children: and his offspring shall want a morsel of bread." Job 21:19
On the contrary, the good man is merciful and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. What the worldling thinks shall make his posterity poor, God saith shall make the good man's rich. The precept gives a promise of mercy to obedience, not confined to the obedient man's self, but extended to his seed, and that even to a thousand generations, Ex 20:6. Trust, then, Christ with thy children; when thy friends shall fail, usury bear no date, oppression be condemned to hell, thyself rotten to the dust, the world itself turned and burned into cinders, still "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever."

37 The end All wise men affect the conclusion to be best: to ride two or three miles of fair way, and to have a hundred deep and foul ones to pass afterward is uncomfortable; especially when the end is worse than the way. But let the beginning be troublesome, the progress somewhat more easy, and the journey's end happy, and there is fair amends. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. Mark him in the setting out, he hath many oppositions; mark him in the journey, he is full of tribulations; but mark in the conclusion, and the end of that man is peace.

2008-05-05

Adams on Psalm 35:3, 16

3 Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation

Observe, 1. That salvation may be made sure to a man. David would never pray for that which could not be. Nor would Peter charge us with a duty which stood not in possibility to be performed. 2 Pe 1:10. "Make your election sure." And to stop the bawling throats of all cavilling adversaries, Paul directly proves it: "Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" 2 Cor 13:5. We may then know that Christ is in us. If Christ be in us, we are in Christ; if we be in Christ, we cannot be condemned, for Ro 8:1, "There is no damnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." But I leave this point that it may be sure, as granted; and come to ourselves, that we may make it sure. The Papists deny this, and teach the contrary, that salvation cannot be made sure; much good do it them, with their sorry and heartless doctrine! If they make that impossible to any which God hath made easy for many, "into their secret let not my soul come." Ge 49:6.
Observe, 2. That the best saints have desired to make their salvation sure. David that knew it, yet entreats to know it more. "I know thou favourest me" Ps 41:11; yet here, still, dic animae, "Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation." A man can never be too sure of his going to heaven.
Say unto my soul God may speak with his own voice; and thus he gave assurance to Abraham, "Fear not, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Gen 15:
1. If God speak comfort, let hell roar horror.
2. He may speak by his works: actual mercies to us demonstrate that we are in his favour, and shall not be condemned. "By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me."
3. He may speak by his Son. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Mt 11:28.
4. He may speak by his Scripture; this is God's epistle to us, and his letters patent, wherein are granted to us all the privileges of salvation. A universal si quis; "Whosoever believes, and is baptised, shall be saved."
5. He may speak by his ministers, to whom he hath given "the ministry of reconciliation." 2 Cor 5:19.
6. He doth speak this by his Spirit: he "sendeth forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father."
Ga 4:6. By all these voices God says to his elect, I am your salvation. ...
My There is no vexation to the vexation of the soul; so no consolation to the consolation of the soul. .. .Let this teach us to make much of this My. Luther says there is great divinity in pronouns. The assurance that God will save some is a faith incident to devils. The very reprobates may believe that there is a book of election; but God never told them that their names were written there. The hungry beggar at the feast house gate smells good cheer, but the master doth not say, "This is provided for thee." It is small comfort to the harbourless wretch to pass through a goodly city, and see many glorious buildings, when he cannot say, Haec mea domus, I have a place here. The beauty of that excellent city Jerusalem, built with sapphires, emeralds, chrysolites, and such precious stones, the foundation and walls whereof are perfect gold Rev 21:1-27, affords a soul no comfort, unless he can say, Mea civitas, I have a mansion in it. The all sufficient merits of Christ do thee no good, unless, tua pars et portio, he be thy Saviour. Happy soul that can say with the psalmist, "O Lord, thou art my portion!" Let us all have oil in our lamps, lest if be then to buy, beg, or borrow, we be shut out of doors like the fools, not worthy of entrance. Pray, Lord, say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. ... Who? What? To whom? When?
WHO? The Lord! To the Lord David prays. He hath made a good choice, for there is salvation in none other. "Thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help." Ho 13:9. The world fails, the flesh fails, the devil kills. Only the Lord saves.
WHAT? Salvation. A special good thing; every man's desire. I will give thee a lordship, saith God to Esau. I will give thee a kingdom, saith God to Saul. I will give thee an apostleship, saith God to Judas. But, I will be thy salvation, he says to David, and to none but saints.
TO WHOM? My salvation. Not others only, but "thine." A man and a Christian are two creatures. He may be a man that hath reason and outward blessings; he is only a Christian that hath faith, and part in the salvation of Christ. God is plentiful salvation, but it is not ordinary to find a cui - to whom. Much of heaven is lost for lack of a hand to apprehend it.
WHEN? In the present, "I am." Sum, non sufficit quod ero. It is comfort to Israel in captivity that God says, Ero tua redemptio, I will redeem thee; but the assurance that quiets the conscience is this, I am thy salvation. As God said to Abraham, "Fear not, I am with thee." Deferred hope faints the heart. Whatsoever God forbears to assure us of, oh, pray we him not to delay this, "Lord, say to our soul, I am thy salvation."
(Drawn from Adams' sermon Heaven made sure)
17 Satan no sooner spies our wanderings, but he presently runs with a complaint to God, filing bills against us in the star-chamber of heaven, where the matter would go hard with us, but for the Great Lord Chancellor of peace, our Advocate Jesus Christ. As God keeps all our tears in a bottle, and registereth the very groans of our holy passion in a book, so Satan keeps a record of our sins, and solicits justice against us. Were God like man, subject to passions, or insensible by the suggestions of the common berater, woe were us. But he will hear one son of truth before ten thousand fathers of lying. No matter what the plaintiff libelleth, when the judge acquitteth. We have forfeited our estates by treason, and the busy devil begs us; but there is one that steps in, and pleads a former grant, and that both by promise and purchase. ["Lord, rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions."] Lord Jesus, challenge thy own; let not Satan enter upon by force or fraud, what thou hast bought with thine own blood.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

2008-05-01

Adams on Psalm 34:14, 19

14 Seek peace, and pursue it Yea, do well, and thou shalt not need to pursue it; peace will find thee without seeking. Augustine says, Fiat justitia, et habebis pacem - Live righteously, and live peaceably. Quietness shall find out righteousness wheresoever he lodgeth. But she abhorreth the house of evil. Peace will not dine where grace hath not first broken her fast. Let us embrace godliness, and "the peace of God, that passeth all understanding, shall preserve our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ." Php 4:7.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, etc Be our troubles many in number, strange in nature, heavy in measure; yet God's mercies are more numerous, his wisdom more wondrous, his power more miraculous; he will deliver us out of all.
As quoted by Spurgeon in the Treasury of David

2008-04-28

Adams on Psalm 33:12

12 Blessed - whom he hath chosen. A man may have his name set down in the chronicles, yet lost; wrought in durable marble, yet perish; set upon a monument equal to a Colossus, yet be ignominious; inscribed on the hospital gates, yet go to hell; written in the front of his own house, yet another come to possess it; all these are but writings in the dust, or upon the waters, where the characters perish so soon as they are made; they no more prove a man happy than the fool could prove Pontius Pilate because his name was written in the Creed. But the true comfort is this, when a man by assurance can conclude with his own soul that his name is written in those eternal leaves of heaven, in the book of God's election, which shall never be wrapped up in the cloudy sheets of darkness but remain legible to all eternity.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

2008-04-26

Adams on Psalm 32:9

9. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, etc. How many run mad of this cause, inordinate and furious lusts! The prophet Jeremiah, Jer 2:24, compares Israel to "a swift dromedary, traversing her ways," and to "a wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure." Be ye not, said the psalmographer, "as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle." Men have understanding, not beasts; yet when the frenzy of lust overwhelms their senses, we may take up the word of the prophet and pour it on them: "Every man is a beast by his own knowledge." And therefore "man that is in honour and understandeth not, is like unto beasts that perish" Ps 49:20. Did not the bridle of God's overruling providence restrain their madness, they would cast off the saddle of reason, and kick nature itself in the face.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-04-25

Adams on Psalm 27:4

4. It was David's earnest prayer, One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. There are many that pray David's words, but not with David's heart. Unum petii, one thing have I desired, de praeterito, for the time past; et hoc requiram, this I will seek after, de futuro, for the time to come: I have required it long, and this suit I will urge till I have obtained it. What? To dwell in some of the houses of God all the days of my life, and to leave them to my children after me; not to serve him there with devotion, but to make the place mine own possession? These love the house of God too well; they love it to have and to hold; but because the conveyance is made by the lawyer, and not by the minister, their title will be found naught in the end; and if there be not a nisi prius to prevent them, yet at that great day of universal audit, the Judge of all the world shall condemn them. By this way, the nearer to the church, the further from God. The Lord's temple is ordained to gain us to him, not for us to gain it from him. If we love the Lord, we "will love the habitation of his house, and the place where his honour dwelleth;" that so by being humble frequenters of his temple below, we may be made noble saints of his house above, the glorious kingdom of Jesus Christ.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

Adams on Psalm 26:4,10

4 Dissemblers. The hypocrite has much angel without, more devil within. He fries in words, freezes in works; speaks by ells, doth good by inches. He is a stinking dunghill, covered over with snow; a loose hung mill that keeps great clacking, but grinds no grist; a lying hen that cackles when she hath not laid.
10 Bribes. They that see furthest into the law, and most clearly discern the cause of justice, if they suffer the dust of bribes to be thrown into their sight, their eyes will water and twinkle, and fall at last to blind connivance. It is a wretched thing when justice is made a hackney that may be backed for money, and put on with golden spurs, even to the desired journey's end of injury and iniquity. Far be from our souls this wickedness, that the ear which should be open to complaints should be stopped with the earwax of partiality. Alas! poor truth, that she must now be put to charges of a golden ear pick, or she cannot be heard!
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

2008-04-24

Adams on Psalm 22:16, 20

16 They pierced my hands and my feet. That evangelical prophet testifies it, "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands." Isaiah 49:16. Were we not engraven there when his hands were pierced for us? "They digged my hands and my feet." And they digged them so deep, that the very prints remained after his resurrection, and their fingers were thrust into them for evidence sake. Some have thought that those scars remain still in his glorious body, to be showed at his second appearing: "They shall see him whom they have pierced." That is improbable, but this is certain; there remains still an impression upon Christ's hands and his heart, the sealing and wearing of the elect there, as precious jewels.

21 Save me from the lion's mouth. Satan is called a lion, and that fitly; for he hath all the properties of the lion: as bold as a lion, as strong as a lion, as furious as a lion, as terrible as the roaring of a lion. Yea, worse: the lion wants subtlety and suspicion; herein the devil is beyond the lion. The lion will spare the prostrate, the devil spares none. The lion is full and forbears, the devil is full and devours. He seeks all; let not the simple say, He will take no notice of me; nor the subtle, He cannot overreach me; nor the noble say, He will not presume to meddle with me; nor the rich, He dares not contest with me; for he seeks to devour all. He is our common adversary, therefore let us cease all quarrels amongst ourselves, and fight with him.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

2008-04-23

Adams on Psalm 18:38-40 & 19:12

18:38-40 I have wounded them, etc. Though passion possess our bodies, let "patience possess our souls." The law of our profession binds us to a warfare; patiendo vincimus, our troubles shall end, our victory is eternal. Hear David's triumph, "I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet. Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast given me the necks of mine enemies," etc. They have wounds for their wounds; and the treaders down of the poor are trodden down by the poor. The Lord will subdue those to us that would have subdued us to themselves; and though for a short time they rode over our heads, yet now at last we shall everlastingly tread upon their necks. Lo, then, the reward of humble patience and confident hope!
19:12 Who can understand his errors? Who can tell how oft he offendeth? No man. The hairs of a man's head may be told, the stars appear in multitudes, yet some have undertaken to reckon them; but no arithmetic can number our sins. Before we can recount a thousand we shall commit ten thousand more; and so rather multiply by addition than divide by subtraction; there is no possibility of numeration. Like Hydra's head, while we are cutting off 20 by repentance, we find a hundred more grown up. It is just, then, that infinite sorrows shall follow infinite sins.
Cleanse thou me from secret faults Learn to see thy spots. Many have unknown sins, as a man may have a mole on his back and himself never know it. Lord, cleanse me from my secret faults. But have we not spots whereof we are not ignorant? In diseases sometimes nature is strong enough to put forth spots, and there she cries to us by these outward declarations that we are sick. Sometimes she cannot do it but by the force of cordials. Sometimes conscience of herself shows us our sins; sometimes she cannot but by medicines, arguments that convince us out of the holy word. Some can see, and will not, as Balaam; some would see, and cannot, as the eunuch; some neither will nor can, as Pharaoh; some both can and will, as David. ... We have many spots which God does not hear from us, because we see them not in ourselves. Who will acknowledge that error, whereof he does not know himself guilty? The sight of sins is a great happiness, for it causeth an ingenuous confession.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David

2008-04-15

Adams on Psalm 15:5

5 He that doeth these things shall never be moved. The holy soul is the love of God, the joy of angels; her eyes dare look upon the glorious Judge whom she knows to be her Saviour. Her heart is courageous; she dares stand the thunder; and when guilty minds creep into corners, she is confident in him that will defend her. She challengeth the whole world to accuse her of injustice, and fears not the subornation of false witnesses, because she knows the testimony of her own conscience. Her language is free and bold, without the guiltiness of broken stops. Her forehead is clear and smooth, as the brow of heaven. Her knees are ever bent to the throne of grace; her feet travelling toward Jerusalem; her hands weaving the web of righteousness. Good men bless her; good angels guard her; the Son of God doth kiss her; and when all the world shall be turned to a burning pile, she shall be brought safe to the mountain of joy, and set in a throne of blessedness for ever.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-04-14

Adams on wealth

All our pieces of gold are but current to the grave; none of them will pass in the future world. Therefore as merchants when they travel make over their monies here, to receive them by bills of exchange in another country; let us do good with our goods while we live, that when we die, by a blessed bill of exchange, we may receive them again in the Kingdom of heaven (Luke 16:9). To part with what we cannot keep, that we may get that we cannot lose, is a good bargain. Wealth can do us no good, unless it help us toward heaven.
Quoted here

2008-04-11

Adams on Psalm 14:1

They are corrupt, they have done abominable works. Sin pleaseth the flesh. Omne simile nutrit simile. Corruption inherent is nourished by the accession of corrupt actions. Judas's covetousness is sweetened with unjust gain. Joab is heartened and hardened with blood. 1 Kings 2:5. Theft is fitted to and fatted in the thievish heart with obvious booties. Pride is fed with the officious compliments of observant grooms. Extortion battens in the usurer's affections by the trolling in of his moneys. Sacrilege thrives in the church-robber by the pleasing distinctions of those sycophant priests, and helped with their not laborious profit. Nature is led, is fed with sense. And when the citadel of the heart is once won, the turret of the understanding will not long hold out. As the suffumigations of the oppressed stomach surge up and cause the headache, or as the thick spumy mists, which vapour up from the dark and foggy earth, do often suffocate the brighter air, and to us more than eclipse the sun, the black and corrupt affections, which ascend out of the nether part of the soul, do no less darken and choke the understanding. Neither can the fire of grace be kept alive at God's altar (man's heart), when the clouds of lust shall rain down such showers of impiety on it. Perit omne judicium, cum res transit ad affectum. Farewell the perspicuity of judgment, when the matter is put to the partiality of affection.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Popery has not won to itself so great wits as atheism; it is the superfluity of wit that makes atheists. These will not be beaten down with impertinent arguments; disordered hail-shot of Scriptures will never scare them; they must be convinced and beaten by their own weapons. "Hast thou appealed to Caesar? To Caesar thou shalt go." Have they appealed to reason? Let us bring reason to them, that we may bring them to reason. We need not fear the want of weapons in that armoury, but our own ignorance and want of skill to use them. There is enough even in philosophy to convince atheism, and make them confess, "We are foiled with our own weapons;" for with all their wit atheists are fools.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-04-10

Adams on Psalm 12:2 & 13:5

12:2 They speak with a double heart. The original is, "A heart and a heart:" one for the church, another for the change; one for Sundays, another for working-days; one for the king, another for the pope. A man without a heart is a wonder, but a man with two hearts is a monster. It is said of Judas, "There were many hearts in one man;" and we read of the saints, "There was one heart in many men." Acts 4:32. Dabo illis cor unum; a special blessing.
13:5 I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. Though passion possess our bodies, let "patience possess our souls." The law of our profession binds us to a warfare; patiendo vincimus, our troubles shall end, our victory is eternal. Here David's triumph (Psalm 18:38-40), "I have wounded them, that they were not able to rise; they are fallen under my feet. Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the neck of mine enemies," etc. They have wounds for their wounds; and the treaders down of the poor are trodden down by the poor. The Lord will subdue those to us that would have subdued us to themselves; and though for a short time they rode over our heads, yet now at last we shall everlastingly tread upon their necks. Lo, then, the reward of humble patience and confident hope. Speramus et superamus. Deuteronomy 32:31. "Our God is not as their God, even our enemies being judges." Psalm 20:7 "Some put their trust in chariots, and some in horses." But no chariot hath strength to oppose, nor horse swiftness to escape, when God pursues. Verse 8 "They are brought down and fallen; we are risen and stand upright." Their trust hath deceived them; down they fall, and never to rise. Our God hath helped us; we are risen, not for a breathing space, but to stand upright for ever.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

2008-04-09

Adams on Psalm 10:5, 9, 10, 13


5 The judgments of God are far above out of his sight. Out of his sight, as an eagle at her highest towering so lessens herself to view, that he sees not the talons, nor fears the grip. Thus man presumes till he hath sinned, and then despairs as fast afterwards. At first, "Tush, doth God see it?" At last, "Alas! will God forgive it?" But if a man will not know his sins, his sins will know him; the eyes which presumption shuts, commonly despair opens.


9 He doth catch the poor. The poor man is the beast they hunt, who must rise early, rest late, eat the bread of sorrow, sit with many a hungry meal, perhaps his children crying for food, while all the fruit of his pains is served into Nimrod's table. Complain of this while you will, yet, as the orator said of Verres, pecuniosus nescit damnari. Indeed, a money-man may not be damnified, but he may be damned. For this is a crying sin, and the wakened ears of the Lord will hear it, neither shall his provoked hands forbear it. Si tacuerint pauperes loquentur lapides. If the poor should hold their peace, the very stones would speak. The fines, rackings, enclosures, oppressions, vexations, will cry to God for vengeance. "The stone will cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it." Habakkuk 2:11. You see the beasts they hunt. Not foxes, not wolves, nor boars, bulls, nor tigers. It is a certain observation, no beast hunts its own kind to devour it. Now, if these should prosecute wolves, foxes, &c., they should then hunt their own kind; for they are these themselves, or rather worse than these, because here homo homini lupus. But though they are men they hunt, and by nature of the same kind, they are not so by quality, for they are lambs they persecute. In them there is blood, and flesh, and fleece to be had; and therefore on these do they gorge themselves. In them there is weak armour of defence against their cruelties; therefore over these they may domineer. I will speak it boldly: there is not a mighty Nimrod in this land that dares hunt his equal; but over his inferior lamb he insults like a young Nero. Let him be graced by high ones, and he must not be saluted under twelve score off. In the country he proves a termagant; his very scowl is a prodigy, and breeds an earthquake. He would be a Caesar, and tax all. It is well if he prove not a cannibal! Only Macro salutes Sejanus so long as he is in Tiberius's favour; cast him from that pinnacle, and the dog is ready to devour him.

He draweth him into his net. "They hunt with a net." Micah 7:2. They have their politic gins to catch men; gaudy wares and dark shops (and would you have them love the light that live by darkness, as many shopkeepers?) draw and tole customers in, where the crafty leeches can soon feel their pulses: if they must buy they shall pay for their necessity. And though they plead, We compel none to buy our ware, caveat emptor; yet with fine voluble phrases, damnable protestations, they will cast a mist of error before an eye of simple truth, and with cunning devices hunt them in. So some among us have feathered their nests, not by open violence, but politic circumvention. They have sought the golden fleece, not by Jason's merit, but by Medea's subtlety, by Medea's sorcery. If I should intend to discover these hunter's plots, and to deal punctually with them, I should afford you more matter than you would afford me time. But I limit myself and answer all their plans with Augustine. Their tricks may hold in jure fori, but not in jure poli - in the common-pleas of earth, not before the king's bench in heaven.

10 If you take a wolf in a lambskin, hang him up; for he is the worst of the generation.

13 He hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it. As when the desperate pirate, ransacking and rifling a bottom was told by the master, that though no law could touch him for the present, he should answer it at the day of judgment, replied, "If I may stay so long ere I come to it, I will take thee and thy vessel too." A conceit wherewith too many land-thieves and oppressors flatter themselves in their hearts, though they dare not utter it with their lips.
As quoted in Spurgeon's Treasury of David.