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Application

Now let us apply these things to ourselves.

Christ’s answer does import two words, and so two mouths, and two breaths, or spirits: and these two be as two twins.[1] He that will be maintained by the one, must seek after the other. The first word is the same decree, whereby the course of nature is established, according to Psalm147. 15. He sendeth foorth his commaundement vpon the earth, and his word runneth verie swiftly: he giueth snow lyke wool, &c.[2]

Secondly, the other is that whereof James cap. 1. vers. 18. speaks: to wit, “the word of truth, wherewith (of his own will) he begat vs.”[3] The one proceeds from the mouth of God’s providence, creating and governing all things, Psalm. 33.6[4] he but speaking the word, and it was done.

The other proceeds out of the mouth of Gods Prophets, who are (as it were) his mouth, Jer. 15. 19. Thou standest before mee, as if thou wert my mouth.[5]

From the first word, all things have their beginning and being; as when he sent forth his spirit or breath, they were created & had their beginning: So Psalm. 104. 29. he teaches us, that so [as] soon as God hides his face, they are troubled. And if he takes away their breath, they die, and return to dust.[6]

The other spirit[7], that is, the sanctifying Spirit, ministers unto vs supernatural life, Isaiah 59. 21.[8] Now therefore to set them together, every man is thus to think with himself.

If I get my living contrary to God’s word, that is, by any unlawful means; surely God’s other word will not accompany such gotten goods That is, these two words be twins: if we get not our goods by the one word, we shall want the blessing of the other word and then we were as good eat stones: it will be but gravel in our mouths, or quails. We are then to see the means, according to the second word.[9]

Abraham (we see) went forth to sacrifice, according to Gods appointment, Gen. 22[10] the Word was his direction: therefore when Isaac asked where was the Sacrifice? He might boldly answer, God would provide one; as we see even at the very pinch he did: whereupon it came to be a proverb, that even In monte, Iehoua prouide bit.[11]

The Israelites went out of Egypt, by the warrant and appointment of God’s Word.[12] How then? First, they had a way made them (where never was any before) through the Red-sea, Ex cap. 14. vers. 21[13]. They had bread downwards out of the clouds, whereas it used to rise upwards out of the earth[14]: Their garments in forty years never waxed old, Deut. the eight chapter, third and fourth verse.[15]  They had water whence water used not to come, by striking the rocks, water gushed forth[16]: so that it is true which the Prophet David saith in the ninth verse of the four and thirty Psalm, There is no want to them that feare God[17].

Though GOD (peradventure [perhaps]) will not use the same means he did for the Israelites; yet the Children of GOD (walking after his will) shall have some way of relief a-ways.[18]

And therefore, Christ would not distrust the providence of GOD: for he knew he was in the work and way of GOD.[19] For we read, that he was led into the Wilderness by the Spirit[20], and therefore could not lack; as indeed he did not, for the angels came and ministered unto him: as it follows in the eleventh verse of this chapter.[21]

So, either the crows shall minister to our wants, as they did to Elijah[22]; or our enemies, as the Egyptians did to the Israelites[23]: or else the angels themselves, as they did here.

But to grow to a conclusion, Let us seek the Kingdom of God, and all other things shall be ministered unto us.[24] And in all like [similar] temptations, we may learn a good answer out of Dan. cap. 3. vers. 17. That God that we serue is able to releeue & deliuer vs, euen from the burning fire:[25] But if it should not be his will so to doo, yet we will not use unlawful means [sinful actions] or fall to idolatry or turn stones into bread.[26]

In this answer (again) Christ would teach us here to be resolute, howsoever God’s blessing does not concur with our gettings, as it doth not when wee get them by indirect means, contrary to God word. To goods so gotten, God will add sorrow: for The blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and he doth adde no sorrowes with it. Proverb. 10. 22.[27] When GOD gives riches, he gives quietness withal: but if God give them not, we were as good be without them, whether they bee gotten by oppression or violence, Proverbs 4. 17[28] or by fraud & deceit, Proverbs 20. 17.[29]

For these two be the quick-silver and brimstone of the Devil’s Alchymistry.[30] God will add sorrow to them: for though they be pleasant at the first, Proverbs 20. 17. and money gotten by stinking means, smells like other money (as an Emperor said)[31]: and bread so gotten, taste like other bread: yet in the end a plain conclusion and experiment [the result of experience] will make it manifest, that it was made of stones, and had sorrow mingled or added to it.

And therefore, it shall be either an occasion or matter of the disease called the stone [kidney stones, gall stones, etc] or it shall turn [make putrid] his meat [food] in his bowels [guts], & fill him with the gall of asps, Job. 20. 14. or as As••s [the text here is missing] oppression by delicacy, became an occasion of the dropsy or gout: or else shall the executioner catch all that he hath, & the stranger spoil [take his property] him. Psa. 109. 11[32] or spend them upon Phisitions [physicians], Mar. 5. 26[33]; or on lawyers[34]: or else, though God suffer them to enjoy them quiet all their lifetime, and even to die by their flesh-pots[35]; yet on their death-bed they shall find such a grudging and torment in their conscience, that they will wish that they had starved for hunger, before they had begun to use any such means.[36] Or if God in his judgements (for their greater torment) suffer them to die in their beds, without any remorse of conscience[37], like blocks, or like an ox dying in a ditch[38]; at the last day they shall feel a gnashing in their teeth, and then they will know it was made of stones.[39]

Notes

God’s Word has two basic aspects. First, is the Word of God which creates and sustains this universe. All things have come into existence as the result of God speaks. All things continue to exist by operation of God’s Word:

Hebrews 1:1–3 (ESV)

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

Second, God’s Word is given to know how to live. Westminster Catechism question 5: “What do the Scriptures principally teach? Answer: The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.”

If we live in this world sustained by God’s Word without living according to the direction given by God’s Word, we live at odds to God and to the world. To live without reliance upon God’s direction tells two things about our heart:

1 To live contrary to God’s direction is to without faith. We strike out on our own because we do not believe God will provide for us. Such thinking is foolish. The whole created order exists and continues by God’s power. To trust in our wits and the creature’s regular function is to deny that God has power over all things, and to not realize that God can direct all things at his own power.

2 To live contrary to God’s direction is to live in idolatry. It is to trust the creature rather than the Creator.

Moreover, to live contrary to God’s direction will eventually result in our loss. We may think that sin has brought us prosperity, but it has only brought us deceit. Perhaps in this world and certainly in the judgment we will learn that if we seek to turn stones into bread contrary to God’s direction.

The use of this information is to examine our own hearts. Sin is always a way to avoid some consequence of the fall without trusting in God’s goodness and direction. We may have many justifications for our sinful behavior, but the purpose is always to live without God, which makes us faithless idolators. Where then am I not trusting in God’s direction? What excuse have I made to justify this rebellion? And also, to think upon the consequences which will befall us if we do not repent. Consequences for sin are a kindness of God to stop our sin. Consider the consequences before they are suffer. Repent and avoid the injury which is sure to come.


[1] There are two ways in which God may be said to speak. One form of speech, is the speech which creates and and maintains creation and manages providence. The second form of speech is speech which comes from a prophet. This discussion of the two forms of God’s speech is meant for us to understand what is meant when Jesus answers the Devil and explains that we live by the Word of God. Before we can understand his response, we must understand what is meant by “every word which proceeds from the mouth of God.”

[2] Psalm 147:14–15 (ESV)

                  14               He makes peace in your borders;

he fills you with the finest of the wheat.

                  15               He sends out his command to the earth;

his word runs swiftly.

[3] James 1:18 (ESV) “Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”

[4] Psalm 33:6 (ESV)

                                  By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,

and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

[5] Jeremiah 15:19–20 (ESV)

                  19               Therefore thus says the Lord:

                                    “If you return, I will restore you,

and you shall stand before me.

                                    If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,

you shall be as my mouth.

                                    They shall turn to you,

but you shall not turn to them.

                  20               And I will make you to this people

a fortified wall of bronze;

                                    they will fight against you,

but they shall not prevail over you,

                                    for I am with you

to save you and deliver you,

declares the Lord.

[6] Psalm 104:27–29 (ESV)

                  27               These all look to you,

to give them their food in due season.

                  28               When you give it to them, they gather it up;

when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

                  29               When you hide your face, they are dismayed;

when you take away their breath, they die

and return to their dust.

[7] The two ways in which we consider the proposition that God speaks. On one hand there is the maintenance of life. If God withdraws his Spirit, all things die. Second, the prophetic word administers sanctification and brings about eternal life.

[8] Isaiah 59:21 (ESV) “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from this time forth and forevermore.”  This verse is a reference to the work of God done through Jesus, “Two items in this verse come without forewarning: the covenant which the Lord grants to them, and the covenant mediator, the singular you, through whom the promised blessings of the divine Spirit and word are secured for endless generations. The situation, however, is parallel to the covenant references, equally unheralded, in 42:6; 49:8; 54:10; 55:3. All these are directly related to the Servant and his work. According to 49:8 and 54:10, it is through the Servant that the people of Jacob/Zion enter into the blessings of restoration and peace; according to 42:6 and 55:3, blessings are covenanted world-wide through the Servant. The singular you thus stands in a Servant position. Divine action has secured a world-wide reverential people and a company of penitents in Jacob, and there is a person whom we may call the Anointed One, for the Lord’s Spirit is upon him, through whom their relationship with the Lord is eternally secure. Like the Servant (53:10), those to whom he secures these covenant blessings are his ‘seed’. The emphatic pronoun, As for me, underlines divine commitment. The covenant does not rest on human wish or need but on divine determination.” J. A. Motyer, The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 492–493.

[9] We can live contrary to the word of God which is given to guide our action and understanding. But when we do so, we cannot expect that God will bless our actions.

[10] God commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac the child of promise as a sacrifice. The event is confusing and striking on many grounds, and the understanding of has provoked enormous commentary.

[11] Latin, roughly, “On the mountain, the Lord provided by foresight.” When it came to offer up Isaac, the Lord stopped Abraham and provided a substitute. The Lord had the foresight to provide that substitute.

[12] Warrant and appointment means by right and command or right and direction of.

[13] Exodus 14:21 (ESV) “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.”

[14] The Manna God provided in the wilderness fell from the sky. But wheat used to make bread grows upward from the earth.

[15] Deuteronomy 8:3–4 (ESV)  “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.” The power of God causes all things. Rather than rely upon the creature, you should rely upon the Creator.  This raises the question of primary and secondary causes: God is the primary/first cause of all things. He causes gravity to work. He causes wind to move by means of atmospheric pressure, et cetera. The Westminster Confession states this as follows: “I. God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass;1 yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.” Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, with a History and Critical Notes: The Evangelical Protestant Creeds, with Translations, vol. 3 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1882), 771. Clothing normally wears out following in a secondary cause established by God. But God, as the primary cause is free to alter the functioning of the secondary cause.  There is a strange idea that if God were to do something, it would have any apparent secondary cause. That is not the Christian understanding. It is actually more akin to a pagan theology, where a god keeps winds in a bag (for instance); or a drunk god hurls lightening at the earth.

[16] Numbers 20:10–11 (ESV) “10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.”

[17] Psalm 34:9 (ESV)

                                  Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,

for those who fear him have no lack!

Since God is sovereign over all things, and is not bound by the secondary causes, God will always do what is needed for his people. Jesus by refusing to take matters into his own hand and being willing to submit to God’s will demonstrates his faith toward God. Jesus trusted the providence and goodness of God even to the point of death. For this, Jesus was exalted.

Philippians 2:5–11 (ESV)  “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

[18] God may not provide for us in the same miraculous way in which he provided for the Israelites in the wilderness, but he will provide for us that which we need.

[19] Jesus acted according to the will of God did not fear what would happen. This caveat, being in God’s will, is an answer to Andrews’ previous point that when we sin against God we have no basis to hope God will bless it.

[20] The Scripture says explicitly that the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness. The figure of speech is quite striking. The language typically refers to an involuntary forcing another to go somewhere.

[21] Matthew 4:11 (ESV) “Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.”

[22] 1 Kings 17:1–7 (ESV) “Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” And the word of the Lord came to him: “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.”

[23] When it came time for the Israelites to flee their slavery, the Egyptians provided them with gold, silver, and clothing. Ex. 12:35.

[24] Matthew 6:25–34 (ESV) 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

[25] Daniel’s three friends were threatened with being cast into a fire because they refused to worship an idol set up by the king of Babylon. They refused saying they trusted God to provide for them, Daniel 3:17 (ESV) “If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.”

[26] To rely upon the creature, the things made, rather than the Creator is idolatry:

Romans 1:21–25 (ESV)

“21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” In idolatry, the idol is a means of achieving some desired end by using the idols a means to that end. A statute of Baal together the property ritual was able to compel/intice Baal into making it rain, so that my crops would grow. Baal, and all gods, are simply the various powers in the world. If you think of idolatry as bad science, it makes sense.

[27] Proverbs 10:22 (ESV)

                  22               The blessing of the Lord makes rich,

and he adds no sorrow with it.

[28] Proverbs 4:13–17 (ESV)

                  13               Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;

guard her, for she is your life.

                  14               Do not enter the path of the wicked,

and do not walk in the way of the evil.

                  15               Avoid it; do not go on it;

turn away from it and pass on.

                  16               For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;

they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.

                  17               For they eat the bread of wickedness

and drink the wine of violence.

[29] Proverbs 20:17 (ESV)

                  17               Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man,

but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.

[30] These are the elements which are produced or are used by Devil. The Devil is pictured as an Alchemist who had the knowledge to turn one-thing into another. Alchemistry was associated both with magic and with science. Again, you should think of magic as bad science.

[31] “Pecunia non olet — meaning “money does not stink” or “money is not tainted” — is a famous phrase attributed to the Roman emperor Vespasian. The meaning behind the words is fairly simple: it doesn’t matter how you got your money, because it all has the same value.” https://allthatsinteresting.com/pecunia-non-olet

[32] Psalm 109:1–11 (ESV)

                                  Be not silent, O God of my praise!

                                  For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,

speaking against me with lying tongues.

                                  They encircle me with words of hate,

and attack me without cause.

                                  In return for my love they accuse me,

but I give myself to prayer.

                                  So they reward me evil for good,

and hatred for my love.

                                  Appoint a wicked man against him;

let an accuser stand at his right hand.

                                  When he is tried, let him come forth guilty;

let his prayer be counted as sin!

                                  May his days be few;

may another take his office!

                                  May his children be fatherless

and his wife a widow!

                  10               May his children wander about and beg,

seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!

                  11               May the creditor seize all that he has;

may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!

[33] Mark 5:24–27 (ESV) “24 And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26 and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27 She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment.”

[34] Perhaps their sinful conduct will result in troubles which will force them to spend their money on doctors and lawyers.

[35] There bowls of food.

[36] Even if one avoids God’s immediate judgment for sin, conscience may find them as they lie on their deathbed.

[37] The trouble of conscience may bring one to repent; thus, if they do not have this warning, their end will be worse.

[38] To live and die without conscience is to have the life a block of wood or a cow.

[39] Even if one avoids all troubles in this life, the sinner will learn in hell that he was deceived and the bread he stole was made of gravel.