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.


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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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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