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Lord’s Day 49, 2005

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. Psalms 122:1, (Geneva Bible)

The God of Tempest and Earthquake
by Mather Byles (1706-1788)

Thy dreadful pow’r, Almighty God,
Thy works to speak conspire;
This earth declares Thy fame abroad,
With water, air, and fire.

At Thy command, in glaring streaks,
Thy ruddy lightning flies;
Loud thunder the creation shakes,
And rapid tempests rise.

Now gathering glooms obscure the day,
And shed a solemn night;
And now the heav’nly engines play,
And shoot devouring light.

The attending sea Thy will performs,
Waves tumble to the shore,
And toss, and foam amid the storms,
And dash, and rage, and roar.

The earth and all the trembling hills,
Thy marching footsteps own;
A shuddering fear her entrails fills,
Her hideous caverns groan.

My God, when terror thickest throng,
Through all the mighty space,
And rattling thunders roar along,
And bloody lightning blaze.

When wild confusion wrecks the air,
And tempests rend the skies,
While blended ruin, clouds and fire
In harsh disorder rise.

Amid the hurricane I’ll stand
And strike a tuneful song;
My harp all trembling in my hand,
And all inspired my tongue.

I’ll shout aloud, “Ye thunders, roll,
And shake the sullen sky;
Your sounding voice from pole to pole
In angry murmurs try.”

Thou sun, retire, refuse thy light,
And let thy beams decay;
Ye lightnings, flash along the night,
And dart a dreadful day.

Let the earth totter on her base,
Clouds heavens wide arch deform;
Blow, all ye winds, from every place,
And breathe the final storm.

O Jesus, haste the glorious day,
When Thou shalt come in flame,
And burn the earth, and waste the sea,
And brake all nature’s frame.

Come quickly, blessed hope, appear,
Bid Thy swift chariot fly;
Let angels warn Thy coming near,
And snatch me to the sky.

Around Thy wheels, in the glad throng,
I’d bear a joyful part;
All hallelujah on my tongue,
All rapture in my heart.

Proverbs 31 (Geneva Bible)

1 The words of king Lemuel: The prophecie which his mother taught him.
2 What my sonne! and what ye sonne of my wombe! and what, O sonne of my desires!
3 Giue not thy strength vnto women, nor thy wayes, which is to destroy Kings.
4 It is not for Kings, O Lemuel, it is not for Kings to drink wine nor for princes strog drinke,
5 Lest he drinke and forget the decree, and change the iudgement of all the children of affliction.
6 Giue ye strong drinke vnto him that is readie to perish, and wine vnto them that haue griefe of heart.
7 Let him drinke, that he may forget his pouertie, and remember his miserie no more.
8 Open thy mouth for the domme in the cause of all the children of destruction.
9 Open thy mouth: iudge righteously, and iudge the afflicted, and the poore.
10 Who shall finde a vertuous woman? for her price is farre aboue the pearles.
11 The heart of her husbande trusteth in her, and he shall haue no neede of spoyle.
12 She will doe him good, and not euill all the dayes of her life.
13 She seeketh wooll and flaxe, and laboureth cheerefully with her handes.
14 She is like the shippes of marchants: shee bringeth her foode from afarre.
15 And she riseth, whiles it is yet night: and giueth the portion to her houshold, and the ordinarie to her maides.
16 She considereth a field, and getteth it: and with the fruite of her handes she planteth a vineyarde.
17 She girdeth her loynes with strength, and strengtheneth her armes.
18 She feeleth that her marchandise is good: her candle is not put out by night.
19 She putteth her handes to the wherue, and her handes handle the spindle.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poore, and putteth foorth her hands to the needie.
21 She feareth not the snowe for her familie: for all her familie is clothed with skarlet.
22 She maketh her selfe carpets: fine linen and purple is her garment.
23 Her husband is knowen in the gates, when he sitteth with the Elders of the land.
24 She maketh sheetes, and selleth them, and giueth girdels vnto the marchant.
25 Strength and honour is her clothing, and in the latter day she shall reioyce.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdome, and the lawe of grace is in her tongue.
27 She ouerseeth the wayes of her housholde, and eateth not the bread of ydlenes.
28 Her children rise vp, and call her blessed: her husband also shall prayse her, saying,
29 Many daughters haue done vertuously: but thou surmountest them all.
30 Fauour is deceitfull, and beautie is vanitie: but a woman that feareth the Lorde, she shall be praysed.
31 Giue her of the fruite of her hands, and let her owne workes prayse her in the gates.

Today’s exposition
is brought to us by
John Bunyan (1628-1688)

We began John Bunyan’s Exposition of Genesis on Lord’s Day 47. Chapter I began with: I. Of God, and II. Of the Persons or Substances in the Godhead. On Lord’s Day 48, we began III. Of the Creation of the World. We continue…

III. Of the Creation of the World (Gen 1) (continued).

“And God called the firmament heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day” (v 8).

After the waters were divided from the waters, God called the cause of dividing, heaven; and so concluded the second day’s work. And indeed it was a very great work, as in the antitype we feel it to this very day. Dividing work is difficult work, and he that can, according to God, completely end and finish it, he need do no more that day of his life.

“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so” (v 9).

Although in the second day’s work, the waters above the firmament, and those that be under, are the two peoples, or great families of the world (Pro 8:31); yet because God would shew us by things on earth, the flourishing state of those that are his (Hosea 10:12; Joel 2:21-23; Psa 91:1; Heb 6:7), therefore he here doth express his mind by another kind of representation of things (Jer 4:3,4): “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place; and let the dry land appear.” The waters here signifying the world; but the fruitful earth, the thrifty church of God. That the fruitful earth is a figure of the thriving church of God in this world, is evident from many scriptures, (and there was nothing but thriftiness till the curse came). And hence it is said of the church, That she should break the clods of the ground; that she should sow righteousness, and reap it; that she should not sow among thorns; that if this be done, the heart is circumcised, and spiritual fruit shall flow forth, and grow abundantly: And hence again it is that the officers and eminent ones in the church, are called vines, trees, and other fruitful plants. And hence it is said again, When the Lord reigneth, let the earth (that is, the church) rejoice. That earth which bringeth forth fruit meet for him by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God. In all which places, and many more that might be named, the earth is made a figure of the church of God; and so I count it here in this place.

“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered into one place.”

Let them be together: It is not thus of all waters, but of the sea, which is still here a type of the world. Let them be so together, that the earth may appear; that the church may be rid of their rage and tumult, and then she will be fruitful, as it follows in this first book of Genesis. The church is then in a flourishing state, when the world is farthest off from her, and when the roaring of their waves are far away. Now therefore let all the wicked men be far from thence (Ezra 6:6): The Lord gather these waters, which in another place are called the doleful creatures, and birds of prey; Let these, O Lord, be gathered together to their own places, and be settled in the land of Shinar upon their own base (Zech 5:11): Then the wilderness and the solitary places shall be glad for them; that is, for that they are departed thence, the desert shall rejoice and blossom as a rose (Isa 34 and 35).

“And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he seas: and God saw that it was good” (v 10).

God saw, that to separate the waters from the earth was good: And so it is, for then have the churches rest. Then doth this earth bring forth her fruit, as in the 11th and 12th verses may here be seen.

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven” (v 14).

The wisdom of God, is there to make use of figures and shadows, even where most fit things, the things under consideration, may be most fitly demonstrated. The dividing the waters from the waters, most fitly doth show the work of God in choosing and refusing; by dividing the waters from the earth, doth show how fruitful God’s earth, the church is, when persecutors are made to be far from thence.

Wherefore he speaketh not of garnishing of his church until he comes to this fourth day’s work: by his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens, that most fitly showing the glory of the church.

Let there be lights; to wit, the sun, the moon, and the stars.

The sun is in this place a type of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness: The moon is a type of the church, in her uncertain condition in this world: The stars are types of the several saints and officers in this church. And hence it is that the sun is said not only to rule, but it, with the moon and stars, to be set for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years, &c. (Rev 1:20). But if we take the heaven for the church, then how is she beautified, when the Son of God is placed in the midst of her! (Rev 1:12,13). And how plainly is her condition made out, even by the changing, increasing, and diminishing of the moon! And how excellent is that congregation of men, that for light and glory are figured by the stars! (Matt 28:20).

From this day’s work much might be observed.

First, That forasmuch as the sun was not made before the fourth day, it is evident there was light in the world before the sun was created; for in the first day God said, Let there be light, and there was light. This may also teach us thus much, That before Christ came in person, there was spiritual light in the saints of God. And again, That as the sun was not made before the fourth day of the creation, so Christ should not be born before the fourth mystical day of the world; for it is evident, that Christ, the true light of the world, was not born till about four thousand years after the world was made. Second, As to the moon, there are four things attending her, which fitly may hold forth the state of the church. (1.) In that she changeth from an old to a new, we may conceive, that God by making her so, did it to show he would one day make a change of his church, from a Jewish to a Gentile congregation. (2.) In that she increaseth, she showeth the flourishing state of the church. (3.) In her diminishing, the diminishing state of the church. (4.) The moon is also sometimes made to look as red as blood, to show how dreadful and bloody the suffering of the church is at some certain times.

Third, By the stars, we understand two things. (1.) How innumerable the saints, those spiritual stars shall be (Heb 11:12). (2.) How they shall differ each from other in glory (1 Cor 15:41).

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, to divide the day from the night.”

For though before the light was divided from the darkness, yet the day and night was not so kept within their bounds, as now by these lights they were: probably signifying, that nothing should be so clearly distinguished and made appear, as by the sun light of the gospel of Christ: for by that it is that “the shadows flee away” (Song 2:17). The light of the sun gathers the day to its hours, both longer and shorter, and forceth also the night to keep within his bounds.

“And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night” (v 16).

Signifying, That Christ should be the light and governor of his church, which are the children of the day; but the church, a light to the children of the night, that by them they might learn the mysteries of the kingdom. Saith Christ to his own, “Ye are the light of the world”: And again, “Let your light so shine, - that men may see,” &c., for though they that only walk in the night, cannot see to walk by the sun, yet by the moon they may. Thus the heaven is a type of the church, the moon a type of her uncertain state in this world; the stars are types of her immovable converts; and their glory, of the differing degrees of theirs, both here, and in the other world. Much more might be said, but I pass this.

“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life” (v 20).

The sea, as I said, is a figure of the world; wherefore the creatures that are in it, of the men of the world (Zech 13:8; Isa 60:5). This sea bringeth forth small and great beasts, even as the world doth yield both small and great persecutors, who like the fishes of prey, eat up and devour what they can of those fish that are of another condition. Now also out of the world that mystical sea, as fishers do out of the natural; both Christ and his servants catch mystical fish, even fish as of the great sea.

In the sea God created great whales, he made them to play therein.

Which whales in the sea are types of the devils in the world: Therefore as the devil is called, the prince of this world; so the whale is called, king over all the children of pride (Job 41:33,34).

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind” (v 24).

Of the beginning of this sixth day’s work that may be said which is said of the fishes, and the rest of the sea; for as there is variety of fish in the one, so of beasts and cattle in the other, who also make a prey of their fellows, as the fishes do; a most apt representation of the nature and actions of bloody and deceitful men: Hence persecutors are called bulls, bears, lions, wolves, tigers, dragons, dogs, foxes, leopards, and the like.

Next week: “And God said, Let us make man”

It should not be assumed that I agree with everything written in this commentary. In this portion, Bunyan has made some parallels that are, in my opinion, odd, to say the least. For now, I will leave them alone. Sometime this week, I will question some of Bunyan’s statements.

These entries are quite lengthy, I know. I am breaking Bunyan’s commentary into as small segments as I believe I can without losing continuity. I realize that many people lack the attention span to read them. I hope those of you who persevere to the end are blessed by the work of this great Puritan.

Heidelberg Catechism for Lord’s Day 49 from CoffeeSwirls.

Grace and peace to you this Lord’s Day.

2005-12-04 at 12:01 AM MT | |