Edward Taylor, Meditation 41.3


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(It’s been a while. The previous post on this poem will be found here:

Stanza 3

Any why thus show? Hark, hark, my soul.  He came

To pay thy debt, and being come most just.

The creditor did sue him for the same.

Did win the case, and in the grave him thrust.

Who having in this prison paid the debt.

And took a ‘quittance, made Death’s Valet fret.


In the first two stanzas, the praises this sight, this man, this “clew of wonders”, the question arises: What precisely is here to be seen and praised. Why is this sight so wonderful:

Any why thus show? The poet is in conversation with his own soul. The soul asks what is here to see, he responds “Hark”. Listen to what I am to tell you.

The image that Christ came to pay a debt owed by sinful humanity was not new with Taylor. Here is just one example of among many prior to Taylor:

that he might become Lord over all sin; he suffered, died and was buried, and made satisfaction for me, paying my debt, not with silver or gold, but with his own most precious blood. And all this that he might become my Lord; for he had no need to do this for himself.

Martin Luther, Luther’s Catechetical Writings: God’s Call to Repentance, Faith and Prayer, trans. John Nicholas Lenker, vol. I, The Precious and Sacred Writings of Martin Luther (Minneapolis, MN: The Luther Press, 1907), 118–119.

But what Taylor does is to not take this image as a threadbare cliché, but rather draws out the image in detail: If Christ really came to pay my debt, how does this work? Yet, rather than describe the process in theological terms, he describes in terms of the commonplace of a debtor’s prison.

A debtors prison works as follows: When one fails to pay his debts he is imprisoned until the debt is paid. How this works in a particular instance may vary. Famously, Charles Dickens’ father was imprisoned for debt, sending the young Charles (12) out to work in a shoe blacking factory. (https://www.charlesdickensinfo.com/life/childhood/)

If Christ came to pay my debt: there could be lawsuit brought to enforce the claim:

                        and being come most just.

The creditor did sue him for the same.

The “being come must just” is bit ambiguous. Christ was just in coming. The creditor is just in bringing suit. The creditor sues Christ on my debt. Not surprisingly:

Did win the case,

At this point, the genius of this passage springs forth. A creditor who wins, places the debtor into jail. What jail was available for this debtor? The grave:

and in the grave him thrust.

This making of the grave, the debtor’s prison for sin combines the theological, the historical, and the poetic.  But Christ could not be kept in the grave. Being just himself and being of infinite merit, he can pay my debt. Moreover, being without debt himself, the jail will not hold:

Who having in this prison paid the debt.

Christ was vindicated legally: he was acquitted and came forth.  Death is the keeper of the jail. Death’s Valet is a wonderful touch: It is as if Death kept a servant in place to make sure the prisoner stayed put. Perhaps this is a wry reference to the guards kept about the tomb.

And took a ‘quittance, made Death’s Valet fret.

Death’s Valet is in then in fear because the grave did not hold. The grave has been the most secure prison in the history of the world. Even the resuscitations of life, such as calling Lazarus forth were only temporary. Lazarus went on to die. It is as if he received a furlough. But Christ came forth with a full vindication and acquittal. Death’s most dangerous enemy was walked out the front door of the prison and is now looking for death.




I am working on something new about Slander. Here is a draft of a chapter:


The Fact of Slander

            Did God actually say?

            -The Serpent

            The first recorded words of any creature are found in Genesis 3:1, “Did God actually say ….” And so, the like the trouble at the beginning of a movie, the plot of history was set into motion. 

            All our history begins with slander. It’s right there in the Book. And so, it is strange that we fail to understand its danger. It comes so easily to us, that often it seems invisible. Therefore, our first task will be dig it up and drag this slimy beast into the light and look upon its glistening, hideous form.

            God create the earth, the sun and moon, the stars also. God created a universe of unimaginable beauty which stretches out in space and time beyond all comprehension. We assign numbers to the years and the numbers to the distance which those with knowledge have sought to calculate, but those number cannot mean anything real to us. We can understand a mile, a year. But who knows what it means to say millions of miles, which can get us to the Sun. But what if you merely wished to go to the nearest star beyond the sun Alpha Centuri, which (I am reliably informed) lies 4.37 light years away. A light year being 5.88 trillion miles. Do the math, it’s a big number. But it means nothing real. What is a trillion in reality? There are more than 3,000,000 seconds in a year. A billion is a thousand million. So, it would take nearly 32 years to reach a billion seconds. A trillion is a thousand billions.

            The universe is unimaginably large. And everywhere we look, it is drawn with colors and shapes which make the most ragged galaxy torn to shreds by an unseen vortex of gravity a sight of beauty.

            Yet, we do not live among the stars. We live on earth. And earth once was a place unimaginable perfection. God planted a garden, the Garden. Water flowed always into this place, drawing from the fount of Eden itself. The Garden must have been a profusion of beauty and well of delight. The ground which now grows rank with thorns then blossomed with fruit.

            Look where you will and there was life and hope and peace and joy.

            And we were not alone. Our parents lived with that perfect person we flatter ourselves to be, to deserve. There they stood, the image of the very God who laid out the stars in their course, shining with the glory of that God.  There were our parents in a world which displayed in every place the glory of God without hint of sin or judgment.

            Yet, that world for all its beauty is not ours today. We no longer live in that Garden, even though the recollection of that Garden continues to haunt our world. The memory is there, in dust, persisting. Even Death Valley, that blistering gouge which runs through the desert beneath the mountains and on the edge of the Great Basin, even that land of rock and merciless sun contains a memory of Eden. When the rain comes after a decade of absence, the valley floods with flowers, yellow and white and purple and red raised upon green stalks pushing through the sand and rock, making a stand for a few, too few days.

            But death returns, the flowers wilt in the sun, the stalks crumble, and again there are miles upon miles of crushed rock in every direction.

            We are no longer there. But the memory of that world persists in our imagination just as it does in the ground. Why else do we long for a world we have never seen? We are we shocked when we hear of death, when what is more certain than death? Why are we stumbled to learn that the entire universe is becoming unwound, when all that we know from experience is that all vain, all is futile, all is always coming undone.

            Why do we look for love in a world which turns most easily to hate? Why do we wish so badly to be remembered, when we ourselves forget a friend who has merely moved to another city? Why do we look for friendship on a world where even Jesus was betrayed?

            Why did God put eternity in our hearts? Eccl. 3:11.

            How did we suffer such loss? To fall from the universe being our dominion, to creatures who are felled by a virus we cannot see? A scratch can kill us with infection. A fall can break our bones. How did creatures made to display the image of God turn so quickly to image our bitter, selfish fears and lusts?

            What did we do to suffer such loss. What crime could upend the very creation? What act, what words could institute a reign of confusion, a world so upside down that even the “just and righteous” Job would complain

            The arrows of the Almighty are in me

            My spirit drinks their poison

            The terrors of God are arrayed against me.

Job 6:4.

            Adam you will say, and so we lay blame. But Adam had already sought to foist his guilt onto our mother Eve. And Eve in turn pointed to the Serpent. What then did this Serpent do?  Surely, he performed some extraordinary action.

            He talked.

            The only thing the Serpent did was talked.

            Something in those words packed enough power to upend the order of creation. Something in those were the lever which moved the seemingly unmovable good and happiness of the Garden. Think of this: the sorrow of all history began here. When we stand near a bed and hear the wheezing gaping for air of someone we love not gaining another breath, that sorrow began here.

            Why? How did this set all our sorrow into motion? Why does the wicked live a life of ease and the child who does not good or bad dies in the arms of his mother?

            The Serpent spoke.

            Parade every evil, every loss, ever tear, every sleepless night of anxious watch, every horror, every soul crushing depression, every prisoner, every betrayal, every crime, every every every grief.

            At end of King Lear, the foolish king has come to see that he understood the world all wrong; that he had believed the lies told by his daughters and had believed a lie about his sweet Cordelia, when he holds his daughter who has died because he believed a lie, he says

                                    No, no, no life?
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life,
And thou no breath at all? Thou ’lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never.—

There is a lie in the heart of sorrow. There is a seed which grew into the hideous beast of human suffering. Ask the slave from where comes his sorrow. Ask the kidnap victim from where comes her fear. Ask the child who father lies dead in the rubble of battle, a bullet in his head, where comes your life without his care?

            What we always hope to do is to turn our face from looking at these things. But for now, grab ahold of your own sorrows, your own fears, and ask firmly, where did all these monsters come from? What pit spewed this rancid mess upon life?

            And then ask why do I still sometimes hear the murmuring song of Eden? How can life be such a mix of sorrow and hope? If Eden is true then whence comes this pain? Here is the event”

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Genesis 3:1–7. What in this story starts the ball rolling downhill? Slander. The first recorded words of any creature a simple slander,

Did God actually say

We will get to his slander of God, but the Serpent begins with the slander of Adam. Slander is a simple shiv that goes between the ribs of friendship and separates the bonds of love.

            God had told Adam, before Eve had been given to the world, that one tree was to be God’s alone and that Adam was not to eat from it. Adam must have told Eve out of his love for her and his obedience to God. She knows the command and repeats it to the Serpent.

            And so the Serpent’s first words are, Look at that man, Adam. Is he telling you the truth? Did God really tell him about this tree? Can you really trust him? He lied to you. Eve puts a protest, but it is too late. She has listened.

            Slander is a vicious thing. Should it enter the ear, it will slide into the heart. You cannot stop it. Like a malignant parasite it will fasten on your thoughts and suck dry the lifeblood of your home. It will burrow into the recesses of your mind, it grotesque claws, and blind eyes will see a way to unnerve your friendships.

            It is a thief so subtle that it will steal the treasures of a lifetime, and you will fill the thief’s sack and his slobbering jaws beg for more. Mesmerized you will say to him, “Take my wife, my child, my husband, my cousin, my father, my mother, my friend, my job, my trust, my hope,  take all of my love and all that I have spent my life building, take them all for you know best.” We will exchange the truth for a lie, we will empty our soul of all friends to satisfy a slander.

            Oh, and slander is a clever devil. It begins here, wearing the badge of simple desire for truth. The Devil did not begin, God lied. The Devil began, Did God really say? Did Adam really get this straight? The con does not begin with send me all your money. The con always begins with trust me.

            The door having been cracked on, slander marches on. Eve repeats to the Serpent the command she heard, but it is changed. The command was not eat, but she adds, “nor touch.” Perhaps that simple addition was not Eve thinking hard thoughts of God, but it does signal a shift.  A brick has been displaced even if the tower has not yet fallen.

            But there is something even worse which has taken place: Eve listened. Eve is considering the words of the Serpent.

            Had Eve stuffed her ears and rejected the Serpent she would have been safe. Like Joseph, she should have darted from temptations presence. But she did not. And when temptation makes its way past the door, the damage is underway:

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James 1:12–15. When slander slides into the heart it sets up its desire, and that desire now leads you along.

            Think of it: You have heard a rumor, you have been asked a question, you begin to distrust. How that distrust eats at you. The poison of those first words will rot out friendships, ruin marriages, destroy homes.

            The poison of the Serpent’s first words have destroyed our world.

            The Serpent moves from the subtly of questioning to the outright slander of lies:

            You will not surely die.

You think you can hear the slander and digest the slander and live out the slander and you will be unhurt. Slander certainly cannot hurt you, by just hearing. Jesus draws a bright line from the Devils lies to the murder of humanity:

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

John 8:44. To be a liar and to be a murderer: there is slander. It is the murder of another. It is nothing less.

            The Serpent says you will not die. And so the Devil murders Eve. And Eve and then Adam turn the knife upon themselves and murder themselves and cast themselves away from their dearest friend and benefactor, the God who made them.

            You have lost a friend. You know those who have lost friends. You have believed untruths about others. You have spoken untruths about others. You have not been careful with the reputation of others, when you listened to something spoken from cruelty (even when spoken to be just or right or helpful or whatever other miserable excuse you concoct). When you listened, you had blood on your hands. When you spoke, you had innocent blood on your hands.

            When Adam took from Eve and ate, he believed the slander of God and killed himself.  This archetypal sin is etched into our hearts always too quick to bend to sin.

Slander: what should I do?



Cotton Mather introduces the question of how to live with slander:

“The Case is What should good men do when they are evil spoken of?

“Or, What should be the conduct of a Christian when defamations are order for him to exercise his Christianity.

“Upon this general case of all good men, the First Thing that I would propose is this: Let then the defamed Christian set himself immediately to consider, what his carriage ought now to be.”

If someone strikes you, you feel pain and easily feel anger. When someone steals your name and ruins your relationships perhaps even ending your employment, the immediate emotional state is most likely to be fear and or anger.

But Mather says we must think: what should I do?

Z zd That *should* bears a great deal of weight. It requires consideration. How is this should measured? What rule or standard explains what must happen?

John Climacus on the Character of a Pastor


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John Climacus

The second source cited by Oden is from  “John Climacus, St (c. 570–c. 649), ascetic and writer on the spiritual life, so called after his famous ‘Ladder’ (Κλῖμαξ). ..He arrived at Mt *Sinai as a novice when he was 16; after his profession he spent some years as an *anchorite and was later Abbot of Sinai.”

F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford;  New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 894. His major work, The Ladder, concerns among other topics passion/dispassion. Since this is an aspect of the work quoted by Oden, we can start with a brief look at John concerning dispassion (apatheia, from Step 29 of the 30 steps in the ladder)

1. Here are we who lie in the deepest pit of ignorance, in the dark passions of this body and in the shadow of death, having the temerity to begin to philosophize about heaven on earth.

2. The firmament has the stars for its beauty, and dispassion has the virtues for its adornments; for by dispassion I mean no other than the interior heaven of the mind, which regards the tricks of the demons as mere toys.

3. And so he is truly dispassionate, and is recognized as dispassionate, who has made his flesh incorruptible, who has raised his mind above creatures and has subdued all his senses to it, and who keeps his soul in the presence of the Lord, ever reaching out to Him even beyond his strength.

4. Some say, moreover, that dispassion is the resurrection of the soul before the body; but others, that it is the perfect knowledge of God, second only to that of the angels.

5. This perfect, but still unfinished, perfection of the perfect, as someone who had tasted it informed me, so sanctifies the mind and detaches it from material things that for a considerable part of life in the flesh, after entering the heavenly harbour, a man is rapt as though in Heaven and is raised to contemplation. One who had experience of this well says somewhere: For God’s strong men of the earth have become greatly exalted. Such a man, as we know, was that Egyptian who prayed with some people for a long time without relaxing his hands which were stretched out in prayer.

6. There is a dispassionate man, and there is one who is more dispassionate than the dispassionate. The one strongly hates what is evil, but the other has an inexhaustible store of virtues.

7. Purity too is called dispassion; and rightly, because it is the harbinger of the general resurrection and of the incorruption of the corruptible.

It is possible to understand dispassionate as being without all affection, desire; a sort thinking stone and utterly unconcerned. But John does not seem to be making such an argument (I am no scholar of John Climacus). He seems to mean, by passion, a desire for the purely temporal, “who has raised his mind above creatures and has subdued all his senses to it” (3) and an ignorance of the life to come: “Here are we who lie in the deepest pit of ignorance, in the dark passions of this body and in the shadow of death.”  In no. 2, there is a reference to “beauty” and one’s focus being upon the Lord, “who keeps his soul in the presence of the Lord, ever reaching out to Him even beyond his strength” (3) It is a perfect desire, being “rapt” (which is hardly the state of a stone) in the presence of the Lord, “This perfect, but still unfinished, perfection of the perfect, as someone who had tasted it informed me, so sanctifies the mind and detaches it from material things that for a considerable part of life in the flesh, after entering the heavenly harbor, a man is rapt as though in Heaven and is raised to contemplation.”

This understanding is important, because a qualification for being a pastor is to be dispassionate.  In his very short work, “The Pastor [or as Oden has it “The Shepherd”]. An English translation appears here, https://bpotto.github.io/Undusted-Texts/treatises/climacus_001.html. It is in volume 88 of Migne at page 1162.

John begins with a definition of the pastor,

He is properly a pastor who brings the lost rational [logika: rational, spiritual] sheep back to life through guilelessness, through his own eagerness, and through prayer, and who is able to set them straight again. He is a pilot who, having received noetic [noeran, Latin, intelligendi] strength from God and from his own hardships, is able to draw the ship back, not only from the triple wave, but even from the abyss itself. He is a doctor who has acquired an unsickened body and soul, and is not lacking even a single plaster for others. He is truly a teacher who, provided with the noetic tablet of the knowledge of God by a finger, or rather, by the energy of illumination from Him, through himself, and not lacking other books.

He writes of the pastor as a doctor who has medicines to heal.  He writes of the pastor as one able to lead others to the presence of God:

Great is the shame of the leader asked to give something to his subordinate which he has not yet acquired. As those who have seen the king’s face, and have been given his friendship, are therefore able to let all his ministers, and those ignorant of him or his enemies, whomever they so will, to enjoy his glory, so also should you think about the holy things: friends reverence and obey the most intimate friends. 

And then on how the pastor ought to be devoid of passions. The English translation online ends here:

Perfectly ought the doctor to strip off these passions, so that, at the proper time, he might be able to explain some, then others, and especially wrath. For unless he thrust them away to the utmost, he will not be able to plunge into them passionlessly. I saw a horse, still little, serving without training, who, led by a bridle, and bearing it silently, suddenly overthrew his lord, he having relaxed the bridle a little; 

The copy of Migne available from Google is exceptionally difficult to read in places, the copying not have been done well. I have been unable to find the precise section quoted by Oden; it appears to be in the illegible page of my copy. The section quoted by Oden explains that one should not seek to counsel others until he has thoroughly examined his own soul and has found out his passions/anger. And ends with this advice, “See that you are not an exacting investigator of trifling sins, thus showing yourself not to be an imitator of God.”

This instruction reminds me of something from Sibbes:

The second point is, that Christ will not ‘break the bruised reed.’ Physicians, though they put their patients to much pain, yet they will not destroy nature, but raise it up by degrees. Chirurgeons* will lance and cut, but not dismember. A mother that hath a sick and froward child will not therefore cast it away. And shall there be more mercy in the stream than in the spring? Shall we think there is more mercy in ourselves than in God, who planteth the affection of mercy in us? But for further declaration of Christ’s mercy to all bruised reeds, consider the comfortable relations he hath taken upon him of husband, shepherd, brother, &c., which he will discharge to the utmost; for shall others by his grace fulfil what he calleth them unto, and not he that, out of his love, hath taken upon him these relations, so thoroughly founded upon his Father’s assignment, and his own voluntary undertaking? Consider his borrowed names from the mildest creatures, as lamb, hen, &c., to shew his tender care; consider his very name Jesus, a Saviour, given him by God himself; consider his office answerable to his name, which is that he should ‘heal the broken-hearted,’ Isa. 61:1.

Richard Sibbes, The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, ed. Alexander Balloch Grosart, vol. 1 (Edinburgh; London; Dublin: James Nichol; James Nisbet and Co.; W. Robertson, 1862), 45.

Unintended Consequences 1


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Researchers found that exposure to the blue light from a smart device altered the hormone levels in female rats

We have found that blue light exposure, sufficient to alter melatonin levels, is also able to alter reproductive hormone levels and cause earlier puberty onset in our rat model. In addition, the longer the exposure, the earlier the onset,” saysendocrinologist and lead author Aylin Kilinç Uğurlu from Gazi University.


Now you may not care about the hormone level in rats. But this suggests that mammals like us are susceptible to significant hormonal effects from our phones

The researchers were seeking to find out why girls worldwide were reaching puberty worldwide at an earlier age. The rats exposed to the blue light seemed to mature faster than the other rats

This then raises questions such as does this apply to human beings? What other effects does the hormone change result in?

Polycarp on the Character of a Pastor

I am now working through Thomas C. Oden’s Classical Pastoral Care Vol. 1, looking particularly at the sources cited by Oden.

Polycarp: The Character of a Pastor

The first matter raised by Oden is the character of the pastor. The first source referenced is Polycarp’s Epistle to the Philippian Christians. Working with Lightfoot’s translation:

Chapter 2, he distinguishes his position from that of the Apostles:

For neither am I, nor is any other like unto me, able to follow the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul, who when he came among you taught face to face with the men of that day the word which concerneth truth carefully and surely; who also, when he was absent, wrote a letter unto you, into the which if ye look diligently, ye shall be able to be builded up unto the faith given to you

Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers (London: Macmillan and Co., 1891), 178. This evidences humility. He defines end for all Christians:

love toward God and Christ and toward our neighbour. For if any man be occupied with these, he hath fulfilled the commandment of righteousness; for he that hath love is far from all sin.

Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers (London: Macmillan and Co., 1891), 178. This provides a telos for pastoral care: building up one in love toward God and others. While this may result in happiness for the one counseled, that happiness is a byproduct. He then raises another general rule for Christian behavior, which although not directed toward pastors alone, is certainly a concern of ministry:

But the love of money is the beginning of all troubles. Knowing therefore that we brought nothing into the world neither can we carry anything out, let us arm ourselves with the armour of righteousness, and let us teach ourselves first to walk in the commandment of the Lord

Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers (London: Macmillan and Co., 1891), 178. Following references to the conduct of individuals withini the church, he turns to ministry more directly and in a close paraphrase of Paul writes:

In like manner deacons should be blameless in the presence of His righteousness, as deacons of God and Christ and not of men; not calumniators, not double-tongued, not lovers of money, temperate in all things, compassionate, diligent, walking according to the truth of the Lord who became a minister (deacon) of all.

Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers (London: Macmillan and Co., 1891), 178. Giving a reminer to abstain from sin (particularly sexual sins), he gives the instruction:

Wherefore it is right to abstain from all these things, submitting yourselves to the presbyters and deacons as to God and Christ.

Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers (London: Macmillan and Co., 1891), 179. And which point he turns to the presbyters (elders) as follows (which is the point raised by Ogden):

[General Command]

And the presbyters also must be compassionate,

merciful towards all men,

[specific acts of service]

turning back the sheep that are gone astray, visiting all the infirm,

not neglecting a widow or an orphan or a poor man:

but providing always for that which is honorable in the sight of God and of men,

[Sins to avoid]

abstaining from

[1] all anger,

[2] respect of persons,

[3] unrighteous judgment,

[4] being far from all love of money,

[5] not quick to believe anything against any man,

[6] not hasty in judgment,

[7] knowing that we all are debtors of sin.

[Forgiving. This is a sort inclusion, an echo of the first point of compassion]

If then we entreat the Lord that He would forgive us,

we also ought to forgive:

for we are before the eyes of our Lord and God, and we must all stand at the judgment-seat of Christ, and each man must give an account of himself

Joseph Barber Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers (London: Macmillan and Co., 1891), 179. Thus, the pastor is to be compassionate and forgiving. He is to be in services to the spiritual and physical needs of the people. The sins to avoid are relational (even the love of money would like show itself in seeking to manipulate others or to be manipulated, because pastoral work does not produce money in the same way a fisherman or tanner would have made money).

The Wonderful Combat, Sermon 7.6


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We Must Worship and Serve Only the True God

Only. The Devil himself would grant that God is to be served, his meaning was, that a man might serve God, and him too: but Christ says, God only. But it may be said, this word Only is not in the Scripture whence Christ cites this sentence, and so Christ hath added to the word of God. Indeed, in Deuter. 6. 13. Alone is not, but in the next verse it is said, Do not follow after other Gods, which is in effect God only[1].

The Papists ask, where we find Only in justification by faith[2]: indeed we do not find it, but we do find that by faith and nothing else we are justified, Rom.3:28. and so we may well collect it, by Faith only.[3] By grace are we saued through faith: and that not of our selues, it is the gift of God, Eph. chapt. 2. verse 7. [4]And on this warrant have many ancient Fathers been bold, to add the word Only: as Origen[5] upon Rom. 3. 28. Hilary[6] upon Mar. 8.[7] and divers [various] other say, Faith only justifies.

God is only to be worshipped & served, and none besides him. Zephaniah prophesizes against them that serve the host of heaven upon the house top, and swear by Milcom, Sophon. 1. 5.[8] But Jacob swore by the fear of his father Isaac: and it is said, they feared the Lord, and served their idols also, Gen. 31. 53[9]. 2. King. 17. 41.[10]

It is the property of Aaron’s rod, that being turned into a serpent, if the Magicians turn theirs also into serpents, Aaron’s will devour the rest, Ex. 7. 15.[11] Bring the ark into the Temple of Dagon, Dagon will fall down, & break his face; and though it were lifted up again, yet it fell down again. 1. Sam.•. 3[12]. The stories bear witness, that the God of the Hebrews would not come into Pantheon[13]. Samuel bad [asked] the people, if they were come again to the Lord with all their hearts, to put away their strange gods from amongst them, 1. Sa. 7. 4.[14] If there were any other (beside him) that were able to hele up, we might have some reason to serve other: but since it is he that must help us in all necessities, we must worship him alone.[15]

Otherwise, when we pray to him, he may send us to the gods which we have chosen to serve for our help, Judg. chapt. 10. vers. 14.[16] If we could find an equal, or a better than God, we had some reason to make him a partner in his worship: but if none be worthy once to be named with him, (so far is all beneath him) we shall offer him too much disgrace and injurie in so doing.

It is an embasing of gold [it debases gold] to have any other metal joined with it: yea, though it be silver. The sonne (saith Malachi, chapt. 1. vers. 6.) honoureth his father, and the seruaunt his Lord: if I bee your Father, where is your honour which you doo mee? If your Lord, where is your reverence?[17] Whether we account of God as of our Lord and Master, a man can have but one Lord or master; or whether we take him for a father, a man can have but one Father, except he be a bastard, Es. chapt. 2. vers. 14.[18] and so be Filius populi[19]: If for a husband, not two husbands, for he is a jealous God, and cannot abide that. No man can serue two masters, but he must loue the one, and despise the other: no man can loue GOD and Mammon.[20]

Verse 11. Then the Diuell left him, &c.

Blessed is the man (saith James, cha. 1. vers. 12.) that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, hee shall receiue the crowne of life:[21] Christ hath endured the Temptation, now follows the blessing.

Jacob would not let the Angel depart (with whom he strove) before hee had blessed him, Genes. chapt. 32. vers. 26[22]. Job (after his affliction) received his twofold blessing, Job. 42.[23] The woman of Canaan first heard herself accounted a dog: but at last she heard, Fiat tibi[24], &c. Paul was first buffeted by the prick of the flesh: and after heard, My grace is sufficient for thee.[25]

So here at last, when the Devil saw it was bootless [ineffective] to stay any longer, there was no good by him to be done[26], he leaves our Savoir. But yet he went not away willingly of himself, but was sent away with an Avaunt[27]: which is a comfort to us, to think we stand not at the Devil’s courtesy, and that he shall not tempt us so long as he list [desires/wishes] for God has the Devil in a chain, Apoc. 20. 2.[28] and will not suffer him to tempt us above our strength, 1. Corinth. chapt. 10. ver. 13[29]. For the rod of the wicked shall not rest on the lot of the Righteous, least the Righteous put foorth their hand to wickegdnesse, Psalm. 125. 3.[30]

To have the Devil not to come to us, is a great favor: but to have him come and go away conquered, is exceeding mercy. For Tribulation brings patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope makes not ashamed, Rom. chap. 5. vers. 4.[31] As God said of Job, chap. 2. vers. 3. Hast thou markt my seruant Iob, who keepeth still his integritie?[32]

The Temptation of Christ on the Mountain, Duccio Di Buoninsegna

And behold the Angels came, and ministered unto him.

And as Luke: sayth, chapt. 15. verse. 10. There is like ioy with the Angels in heauen, vpon the conuertion of euerie sinner[33]. For we are made a spectacle unto men and angels, 1. Corinth. chap. 4. verse. 9.[34] Before God are saod to stand ten thousand Angell, Dan. cha. 7. vers. 10. and to minister before him. He has a greater preeminence, but we are also herein partakers of the divine nature, 2. Pet. chapt. 1. ver. 4. either because we are fed by angels, as Elias was, 1. King. 19. 5. or defended by them, or watched of them.

But says Esay, chapt. 18. vers. 28. He that beleeueth makes not haste.

Christ was not hasty but stayed God’s good time: he would not make his own bread, but staid till the Angels ministered unto him. Then there appeared an Angell to comfort him, Luke. 22. 43.

This wisdom must wee learn by holding our tongue, Job. chapt. 33. ver. 33. otherwise, one of these two extremes shall we come to: either Extremum luctus gaudium occupat, or Extrema gaudii luctus occupat,[35] says Barnard. Luke 16. 25.[36]

The world is like Jael, who meets Sisera, Iudg. chapt. 4. ver. 19. and entertains him at first very friendly, she allures him to her and gives him drink, and lays him down: but so soon as he was a sleep, she smites a nail into his temples.[37] The world begins with milk and ends with a hammer: but our Savior’s meaning is clean contrary [exactly the opposite]. The world first gives[38] good wine: & when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. Iohn chapt. 2. ver. 10.[39] But Christ hath kept back the good wine till now, chapt. 2. vers. 9. as Matthew says, chap. 13. vers. 41. The Sonne of man shall sende foorth hys Angells and they shall gather out of his kingdome, al things that offend, and them which doe iniquitie, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall bee weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the iust shine as the Sunne in the kingdome of theyr Father.[40]

Our Savior’s method is, to give bitter first, and sweet after: wherefore we are to wish, that here we may suffer affliction, that we may after be crowned by him.


[1] Deuteronomy 6:13 does not have the word “only” limiting the word “God.” But in the next verse, the idea is made plain by the prohibition on serving other gods.

[2] Andrewes here takes an aside on the question of “only” as it appeared in a dispute between Protestants and Roman Catholics in the 16th Century. However, the question still exists.

[3] Martin Luther translated Romans 3:28, “One is justified by faith alone” (allein durch den Glauben). The ‘alone‘ is not in the Greek text. An internet search will demonstrate that Luther’s translation at this point is still a point of contention.

[4] Andrewes answers, this ‘only’ is proved by other citations, such as from Ephesians (written by Paul as was Romans),

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:4–9 (ESV)

[5] “ORIGEN (Ὠριγένης, Ōrigenēs). Also known as Origen of Alexandria. A prolific and influential church father who lived ca. AD 185–254.” Justin M. Gohl, “Origen,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).

[6] “HILARY OF POITIERS (c. 315–67). Hilary was born of a pagan, noble family. Like Augustine after him, he found pagan philosophy a useful preliminary to the Christian gospel. Shortly after his conversion he was made Bishop of Poitiers. Subsequent resistance to Arianizing trends within the Gallic church led to a term of banishment in Asia Minor.” Sinclair B. Ferguson and J.I. Packer, New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 301.

[7] I am not certain of Andrewes’ citation at this point.

[8] The people of Israel were judged for worshipping other gods rather than the true God:

                                  “I will stretch out my hand against Judah

and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem;

                                    and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal

and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests,

                                  those who bow down on the roofs

to the host of the heavens,

                                    those who bow down and swear to the Lord

and yet swear by Milcom,

                                  those who have turned back from following the Lord,

who do not seek the Lord or inquire of him.”

Zephaniah 1:4–6 (ESV)

[9] Jacob swore by the “fear of Isaac”, that is, he worshipped the God his father worshipped. But those in Jacob’s household included people worshipping idols. At one point, Jacob tells the people to put away their idols.

[10]  Following the deportation of Israel, Assyria resettled the land with people from other regions. These people continued with their previous worship, but also added the worship of the “local god,” the Lord:

35 The Lord made a covenant with them and commanded them, “You shall not fear other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them, 36 but you shall fear the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm. You shall bow yourselves to him, and to him you shall sacrifice. 37 And the statutes and the rules and the law and the commandment that he wrote for you, you shall always be careful to do. You shall not fear other gods, 38 and you shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you. You shall not fear other gods, 39 but you shall fear the Lord your God, and he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” 40 However, they would not listen, but they did according to their former manner.

41 So these nations feared the Lord and also served their carved images. Their children did likewise, and their children’s children—as their fathers did, so they do to this day.

2 Kings 17:35–41 (ESV)


Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’ ” 10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. 12 For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

Exodus 7:8–13 (ESV)


When the Philistines captured the ark of God, they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. Then the Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it up beside Dagon. And when the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and put him back in his place. But when they rose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon had fallen face downward on the ground before the ark of the Lord, and the head of Dagon and both his hands were lying cut off on the threshold. Only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. This is why the priests of Dagon and all who enter the house of Dagon do not tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod to this day.

1 Samuel 5:1–5 (ESV)

[13] The true God will not willingly come into the Pantheon with the false gods.


And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord. From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.

1 Samuel 7:1–4 (ESV)

[15] If any of these other gods were able to provide some help, perhaps we could serve them. But they can do nothing. Moreover, the true God provides for us all the help which we could need.


10 And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, “We have sinned against you, because we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals.” 11 And the Lord said to the people of Israel, “Did I not save you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites, from the Ammonites and from the Philistines? 12 The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, and you cried out to me, and I saved you out of their hand. 13 Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. 14 Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” 15 And the people of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day.” 16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and he became impatient over the misery of Israel.

Judges 10:10–16 (ESV)


 “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If then I am a father, where is my honor? And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name?’

Malachi 1:6 (ESV)

[18] I’m not sure of the reference here.

[19] Latin, Son of the people.


No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and [Mammon].

Matt. 6:24 (ESV)


[22] Andrewes here provides examples of how God provided blessing to those who had suffered some struggle. First, Jacob wrestles with an Angel, but will not let the Angel go until he provides a blessing.

And Jacob was left alone. And ga man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, h“I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

Ge 32:24–26.

[23] At the end, Job having suffered the Devil’s assaults is blessed by God:

10 And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Job 42:10 (ESV)

[24] Latin, let it be done, let it be for you.

22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

Matthew 15:22–28 (ESV)


So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12:7–9 (ESV)

[26] When it became clear he would not succeed.

[27] Be gone, hence! Away!

[28] And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,

Revelation 20:2 (ESV)


No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV)


                                  Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,

which cannot be moved, but abides forever.

                                  As the mountains surround Jerusalem,

so the Lord surrounds his people,

from this time forth and forevermore.

                                  For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest

on the land allotted to the righteous,

                                    lest the righteous stretch out

their hands to do wrong.

Psalm 125:1–3 (ESV)


Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Romans 5:1–5 (ESV)

[32] Will we be one to have our integrity after Satan has come?

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.”

Job 2:1–3 (ESV)

[33] “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Luke 15:10 (ESV)


I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

1 Corinthians 4:6–13 (ESV)

[35] Latin, freely: The end of sorrow turns to [overtakes] joy; or the end of joy turns to [overtakes] sorrow.


But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.

Luke 16:25 (ESV) If this life is all “joy” it will end in sorrow. But the end of our sorrow here will be the joy of heaven.

[37] The general of the army who has come out against Israel is routed in battle. He runs from the battle and comes to the tent of someone he thinks will be his friend and hide him. Jael, brings in the general Sisera gives him milk ot drink, which leaves him sleep. She allows him to go to sleep. She then kills him with a tent stake through his head.

[38] The original text is unclear at this point.

[39] Jesus performs a miracle, and the best wine comes last:

And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

John 2:8–10 (ESV)

[40] We will not see the true value of anything until the end.

36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

Matthew 13:36–43 (ESV)

The Wonderful Combat, Sermon 7.5



How we Traffic With the Devil

There bee two ways whereby we may have traffic[1] with the Devil, either of both will serve his turn: first, homage: secondly, sevice of the body;[2] and both these doth God require, even when we are in the dark, or in our chamber, Ezech. cha. 8. vers. 12.[3]

Indeed might the Devil say,

This mountain is very open[4]: but how say you?[5] will you be content closely in a corner to worship me?[6] If you will not wear my cognizance on your forehead, yet ye may take my mark in your hand; then shutting your hand, nobody can perceive it[7]. If ye will not take the mark, yet take the number of the Beast.s name, that is, six hundred threescore and six, Apocalip. chapt. 13. vers. 17. 18[8]. Will you do none of these? What then? Will you serve me? Rom. chapt. 16. vers. 18[9]. Thus ye see how glorious terms he uses, but if one should seem to do one of these on courtesy, he will not be content till he do it of duty.[10]

What is it to Worship

Now let us see first what it is to worship. It is that which Cornelius did to Peter, he met him, fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. Act. 10. 25.[11] And that which John did to the Angell: that is, he fell down before his feet to worship him, Apocalips. 19. 10.[12] It is, when one on the knees doth a bodily worship. I will show it you in David’s words: for I cannot tell it ye better. When Michel scoffed at David, for being bare-headed before the ark, he said I will be more vile than thus, and will be low in mine owne sight, 2, Sa. 6. 22.[13]

A man can never be too reverent to God: we think it a great disgrace and debasing of ourselves, if we use any bodily worship to God. It may be said to then, as it was to him, that feared to do too much reverence to Caesar, Hic Caesarem[14]. Our Religion & Cultus[15] must be uncovered, and a bare-faced religion: we would not use to come before a mean prince[16], as we do before the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, even the God of heaven and earth.

The four and twenty Elders fell down before him that sat on the Throne, and worshipped him that lives forever, and cast their crowns before his Throne[17].

The wandering eye must learn to be fastened on him, Luk. ch. 4. ver. 20,[18] and the work of justice and peace, Es. chapt. 32. vers. 17.[19] the worship of the knees to bow, Ephes. chapt. 3. ver. 14[20]. and kneel before the Lord their Maker, Psalme. 95. verse. 6.[21] Out feet are to come before his face: for the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all Gods, Psalm. 95. vers. 2. and 3[22]. Jacob, though he were not able to stand or kneel yet (because he would use some corporal service) leaned upon his staff, and worshipped God, as appears in the nine & fortieth chapter of Genesis the three and thirtieth verse, and the eleventh to the Hebrues, the one and twentieth verse.[23]

This must be done as duty due unto God, and in regard of those that be strangers.

What it is to Serve

Secondly, What it is to serve.

This is to bow the soul as the other is to bow the body. For[24] the King to serve and speak kindly to the people, that they may serve him forever after, 1. King. 12. 7[25]. is not the service he means, not to do all that the king commands, 2. Sam. chapt. 15. vers. 15.[26] For God must be above all: and of whomsoever a man is overcome, to him he is in bondage. 2. Pet. cha. 2. ver. 19.[27] We must serve God with our sacrifices, but not with our sins, nor wear him with our iniquities Es. chapt. 43▪ vers. 23[28]. We may not make a dung-cart of him, to load him with our sin and filth[29], Amos chapter second, verse thirteen[30]: and when he comes again, to have as much more for him.

[1] Traffic means business or interaction. We use this word at present only for negative or illegal commerce, drug trafficking, sex trafficking. That connotation is useful here.

[2] There are two forms of service to the Devil, homage: paying honor to the Devil. Service: performing actions which are of use to him. Our subjective existence, our internal life; and our objective existence, what can be seen are both of use to him.

[3]  “Then he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the dark, each in his room of pictures? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’” Ezekiel 8:12 (ESV)  God knows what is done in private as well as public. Moreover, our private life is to be dedicated to God as is our public.

[4] There are many ways you can be of service to me.

[5] What do you say?

[6] Are you willing to worship me in private?

[7] If you don’t want to wear my mark on your forehead, where everyone will see it; I will be satisfied if you put on your hand where no one will notice.

[8] If you don’t want to wear my name, at least where my number, 666.  

16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

Revelation 13:16–18 (ESV)


17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

Romans 16:17–18 (ESV)

[10] The Devil will obtain his service from one willingly; but if not willingly, he will compel his service. The life of addiction may be seen as a vivid example. At first, the behavior is willingly. Then, when it becomes settled, it is compelled and demanded even while the addict wishes to stop.


24 And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.”

Acts 10:24–26 (ESV)


And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Revelation 19:9–10 (ESV)


20 And David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” 21 And David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes. But by the female servants of whom you have spoken, by them I shall be held in honor.” 23 And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.

2 Samuel 6:20–23 (ESV)

[14] Latin, the sentence is incomplete: This …. Caesar, here Caesar.

[15] The “cultus” refers to the activities which are particularly performed in worship in church: praying, singing, Lord’s Supper, baptism, preaching.

[16] Here “mean” does not mean cruel, it means lowly or unimportant.


From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,

                                    “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,

who was and is and is to come!”

And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

                  11               “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

                                    for you created all things,

and by your will they existed and were created.”

Revelation 4:5–11 (ESV)

[18] He takes an illustration of Jesus preaching in the synagogue. When Jesus finished his words, the people in the room were transfixed upon him:

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.

Luke 4:20 (ESV)

[19] The work of the Spirit is to create justice:

                  14               For the palace is forsaken,

the populous city deserted;

                                    the hill and the watchtower

will become dens forever,

                                    a joy of wild donkeys,

a pasture of flocks;

                  15               until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,

and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,

and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.

                  16               Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,

and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.

                  17               And the effect of righteousness will be peace,

and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.

                  18               My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,

in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

Isaiah 32:14–18 (ESV)

[20]  “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father.” Ephesians 3:14 (ESV)


                                  Oh come, let us worship and bow down;

let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

Psalm 95:6 (ESV)


Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;

let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

                                  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;

let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

                                  For the Lord is a great God,

and a great King above all gods.

Psalm 95:1–3 (ESV)

21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.  Heb. 11:21. This is described in Genesis 49.

[24] Andrewes takes two illustration of the nature of the relationship between the king and his subjects. In one, the people demanded the King treat them well. In the second, the servants do whatever is commanded. The service the Devil seeks utter subservience.

[25] When Solomon’s son became King, the people asked for a reduction of the taxes and forced labor of Solomon.

He said to them, “Go away for three days, then come again to me.” So the people went away.

Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” And they said to him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.”

1 Kings 12:5–7 (ESV)  He chose to threaten the people and so lost the kingdom.


13 And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.” 14 Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Go quickly, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down ruin on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” 15 And the king’s servants said to the king, “Behold, your servants are ready to do whatever my lord the king decides.” 16 So the king went out, and all his household after him. And the king left ten concubines to keep the house. 17 And the king went out, and all the people after him. And they halted at the last house.

2 Samuel 15:13–17 (ESV)

[27] Whatever controls your decisions controls you:  “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”  2 Peter 2:19 (ESV)

[28] Isaiah 43:23 (ESV)

                  23               You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings,

or honored me with your sacrifices.

                                    I have not burdened you with offerings,

or wearied you with frankincense.

[29] This is a remarkable image: you God, carry off my filth. As if God were a dumpster service.


“Behold, I will press you down in your place,

as a cart full of sheaves presses down.”

Amos 2:13 (ESV)

The Wonderful Combat, Sermon 7.4



Worship is not Mere Words

The Scripture whereby Christ answers the Devil, is in the sixteenth of Deuteronomy, and thirteenth verse, Thou shalt feare the Lord thy God, and serue him.[1] If any fantastical spirit oppose itself against Moses, let it be accursed.[2]

There is in this answer two things set down, Worship and Service: both which are due to God only. Covetousness ends in idolatry[3], and fitly is so termed: if Christ had been covetously minded, then he must needs have fallen down, and worshipped the Devil for covetousness and idolatry being joined together, we would not have parted from so great a benefit.

Christ hath here changed a word, which the Septuaginta[4] translators has: which signifies, a service with an open testimony. So that, will you know if a man do believe? Hee beleeueth vnto righteousnes with the heart, that with the mouth confesseth to saluation, Roman. chapt. 10. vers. 10.[5] Such as glorify God as well in their members[6], as in their spirit, 1. Corinth. cha. 6. verse. 20[7]. As Saint James saith of Faith, Shew me thy faith by thy works[8]: so may it be said of fear[9]. You say you have fear, can you show me your fear? If it be not a dead fear, it is to be seen: as Dan. chapt. 3. verse 5[10]. it must be shewed by falling down, and worshipping.

The servant that feared, fell down and besought [begged] his master, Matth. chapt. 18. verse. 26[11]. Do you fear? then where is the outward reverence? The inward affection must appeareby the outward action: Religion is outward, as well as inward, 1. Kings 19. 18.[12]

[1]  10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.   Deuteronomy 6:10–13 (ESV)

[2] It seems that Andrewes here makes an aside condemnation of those persons who try to separate the Old Testament from Christianity, as Marcion did in the Second Century: “Marcion’s central thesis was that the Christian Gospel was wholly a Gospel of Love to the absolute exclusion of Law. This doctrine, which he expounded esp. in his ‘Antitheses’, led him to reject the OT completely. The Creator God or *Demiurge, revealed in the OT from Gen. I onwards as wholly a God of Law, had nothing in common with the God of Jesus Christ.” F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford;  New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 1040.

[3] “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5 (ESV)

[4] The Septuagint is a translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek. Greek was known by far more Jews than Hebrew by the time of Jesus. The text of the Septuagint differs in places from the Hebrew Bible. Here the Septuagint reads as follows: “1You shall fear the Lord your God and serve him, and you shall cling to him, and you shall swear by his name.” Deuteronomy 6:13 (LES) The difference between the Hebrew and Greek text of this verse is the verb κολλάω, which means to be joined to, or to cling to. The argument must be that by being joined to the Lord’s name, one makes an open profession. Jesus has the word “worship” in place of the Hebrew “fear,” which is an appropriate exchange.

[5]  “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:10 (ESV)

[6] “Members” is a reference to part of the body. This word is used by Paul to refer to one’s own body (Col. 3:5), or individual Christians who are “members” of the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 6:15)


15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 6:15–20 (ESV)


18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

James 2:18–26 (ESV)

[9] The fear of the Lord is known by the manner of life, not by a mere verbal claim. It is easy to say something; but the truth is in how one lives.

[10] The King of Babylon created an enormous statute and required that everyone was to bow down to the statute when they heard the music played. The three devout Hebrews refused to worship the idol because they feared God. Their fear was shown in their worship. Since they feared God, they would not worship the false god. Likewise, Jesus feared God and thus would worship no other.

[11]  “So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’” Matthew 18:26 (ESV) Andrewes is using the parable of the unforgiving servant as an illustration as to who one who asks of a greater will make his request upon his knees. To be down on the ground in a submissive posture is a posture “worship.” The word in Matthew translated worship refers to this posture, “Freq. used to designate the custom of prostrating oneself before persons and kissing their feet or the hem of their garment, the ground, etc.; the Persians did this in the presence of their deified king, and the Greeks before a divinity or someth. holy.” William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 882.

[12] God speaking to Elijah uses the image of physical submission to demonstrate one’s worship: “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:18 (ESV)