“While immortality endures we shall not be done giving thanks” by William Plumer

“While life lasts, we shall not be done praying. But while immortality endures, we shall not be done giving thanks (Ps. 136:1, 2, 3, 26). The cause for this delightful branch of worship will continue forever. And the heart of the pious will always be actuated by love. They will carry on this blessed service in the finest style long after the sun shall cease to rise and set.”

–William Plumer, Studies in the Book of Psalms: A Critical and Expository Commentary With Doctrinal and Practical Remarks (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1867/2016), 1152. Plumer is commenting on Psalm 136.

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“Athanasius announced the singing of Psalm 136” by James Montgomery Boice

“The word that is used for ‘love’ in this refrain is the powerful Hebrew term hesed, which means ‘covenant love’ or the favor God shows to those with whom He has entered into a covenant relationship. Sometimes it is translated ‘steadfast (or ‘enduring’) love.’ It is enduring because God is a God of His word. He is forever good, and He does not break His covenant.

One night in February 358 A.D. the church father Athanasius held an all-night service at his church in Alexandria, Egypt. He had been leading the fight for the eternal sonship and deity of Jesus Christ, knowing that the survival of Christianity depended on it. He had many enemies—for political even more than theological reasons—and they moved the power of the Roman government against him. That night the church was surrounded by soldiers with drawn swords. People were frightened.

With calm presence of mind Athanasius announced the singing of Psalm 136. The vast congregation responded, thundering forth twenty-six times, ‘His love endures forever.’ When the soldiers burst through the doors they were staggered by the singing. Athanasius kept his place until the congregation was dispersed. Then he too disappeared in the darkness and found refuge with his friends.

Many citizens of Alexandria were killed that night, but the people of Athanasius’s congregation never forgot that although man is evil, God is good. He is superlatively good, and ‘His love endures forever.'”

–James Montgomery Boice, Psalms: An Expositional Commentary, Vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1998), 3: 1185. Boice is commenting on Psalm 136.

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“He is the sun of their souls” by John Newton

“The Lord, by His Spirit, manifests and confirms His love to His people. For this purpose He meets them at His throne of grace, and in His ordinances.

There He makes Himself known unto them, as He does not unto the world. There He causes His goodness to pass before them, and opens, applies, and seals to them, His exceeding great and precious promises, and He gives them the Spirit of adoption, whereby, unworthy as they are, they are enabled to cry ‘Abba, Father.’

He causes them to understand that great love wherewith He has loved them, in redeeming them by price and by power, washing them from their sins in the blood of the Lamb, recovering them from the dominion of Satan, and preparing for them an everlasting kingdom, where they shall see His face, and rejoice in His glory.

The knowledge of this, His love to them, produces a return of love from them to Him. They adore Him, and admire Him. They make an unreserved surrender of their hearts to Him. They view Him and delight in Him, as their God, their Saviour, and their portion.

They account His favour better than life. He is the sun of their souls: if He is pleased to shine upon them, all is well, and they are not greatly careful about other things.

But if He hides His face, the smiles of the whole creation can afford them no solid comfort.

They esteem one day or hour spent in the delightful contemplation of His glorious excellencies, and in the expression of their desires towards Him, better than a thousand. And when their love is most fervent, they are ashamed that it is so faint, and chide and bemoan themselves that they can love Him no more.

This often makes them long to depart, willing to leave their dearest earthly comforts, that they may see Him as He is, without a veil or cloud.

For they know that then, and not till then, they shall love Him as they ought.”

–John Newton, The Works of the John Newton, Ed. Richard Cecil (vol. 1; London: Hamilton, Adams & Co., 1824), 309–310.

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“Those are the ingredients of the cake” by Martin Luther

“Faith brings about that Christ is ours, even as His love brings about that we are His. He loves, and we believe, and those are the ingredients of the cake.”

–Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 52: Sermons II (ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann; vol. 52; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 17.

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“Sickbeds and deathbeds” by Herman Bavinck

“The satisfaction of the human heart and conscience are the seal and crown of religion. A religion that has no consolation to offer in time of mourning and sorrow, in life and in death, cannot be the true religion.

From other sciences, from logic, mathematics, physics, etc., we do not expect comfort for the guilty conscience and the saddened heart. But a religion that has nothing to say at sickbeds and deathbeds, that cannot fortify the doubting ones, nor raise up those who are bowed down, is not worthy of the name.

The contrast often made between truth and consolation does not belong in religion. A truth that contains no comfort, which does not connect with the religious-ethical life of human beings, ceases by that token to be a religious truth.

Just as medical science in all its specialties is oriented to the healing of the sick, so in religion people have a right to look for peace and salvation.”

–Herman Bavinck, Ed. John Bolt and Trans. John Vriend, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 1: Prolegomena (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003), 552.

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“The hands that were pierced with the nails of the cross wield the scepter” by B.B. Warfield

“Let us fix our eyes and set our hearts today on our exalted Saviour.

Let us see Him on His throne made head over all things to His Church, with all the reins of government in His hands, ruling over the world, and all the changes and chances of time, that all things may work together for good to those that love Him.

Let us see Him through His Spirit ruling over our hearts, governing all our thoughts, guiding all our feelings, directing all our wills, that, being His, saved by His blood, we may under His unceasing control steadily work out our salvation, as He works in us both the willing and the doing, in accordance with His good pleasure.

As, in our unrighteousness, we know we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,–or, as our own Epistle puts it, a great High Priest who has entered within the veil and ever liveth to make intercession there for us: so let us know that in our weakness we have the protecting arm of the King of kings and Lord of lords about us, and He will not let us slip, but will lose none that the Father has given Him, but will raise them up at the last day.

Having been tempted like as we are (though without sin), He is able to sympathize with us in our infirmities.

Having suffered as we do, He knows how to support us in our trials.

And having opened a way in His own blood leading to life, He knows how to conduct our faltering steps that we may walk in it.

Christ our Saviour is on the throne. The hands that were pierced with the nails of the cross wield the scepter.

How can our salvation fail?”

–B.B. Warfield, “The Glorified Christ,” in The Saviour of the World (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1916/1991), 185-186. This sermon is from Hebrews 2:9.

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“God is a friend you cannot lose” by Thomas Watson

“Are you mourning someone close to you? Look up to heaven and draw comfort from there; your best kindred are above.

‘When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up,’ (Psalm 27:10).

God will be with you in the hour of death: ‘though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me,’ (Psalm 23:4).

Other friends you cannot keep. God is a friend you cannot lose.

He will be your guide in life, your hope in death, and your reward after death.”

–Thomas Watson, The Godly Man’s Picture Drawn with a Scripture-Pencil (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1666/2003), 121.

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