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The Excellency of the Word


Before going to worship on the Lord’s Day, we ought to prepare our minds to receive the Word. Toward that end, George Swinnock suggests three things to consider: “Before thou goest to hear, labour to affect thine heart with the necessity, excellency, and efficacy of the word.” On the second:

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Consider its excellency; it is the word of God. Though thou dalliest when men are speaking, yet surely it becomes thee to be serious when the great God is speaking. . . . ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, which is the power of God to salvation,’ Rom. i. 16. What wonders hath the great God wrought by his word! He hath given eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, ears to the deaf, life to the dead, by his word. What legions of devils and lusts hath he unkennelled and cast out with his word! . . . He hath caused many a soul to hear and live by his word; he hath awakened many a soul that was asleep in sin by the voice of the Scriptures, and caused them to arise and work out their own salvations; thousands of poor creatures, who were sinking into the bottomless hell, have, by God’s hand stretched out in his word, been delivered from going clown to the pit, and lifted up to heaven.

It is a word of divine institution and of divine benediction. Rev. i. 3. It is the word in which the Father speaketh: John vi. 45, ‘Every one that hath heard and learned of the Father cometh to me.’ It is the word of Christ, Heb. xii. 25; Col. iii. 16. In it the Spirit speaketh to the churches, Rev. ii. 11. The pearl hid in it, (the Scriptures are ‘they that testify of Christ,’ John v. 39,) the price paid for it, (both Testaments are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus, Heb. ix. 27,) do fully speak the excellency of it.

Now, reader, think with thyself thus: I am going to hear that word which hath God for its author, Jesus Christ for its matter, and eternal life for its end. Shall I, like a beastly swine, trample these invaluable jewels under my feet? Shall that which is infinitely more precious than fine gold be esteemed by me as dirt? It is the picture of God’s own excellencies . . . Ah, how tender should I be of that glass which hath wine in it more worth than heaven and earth! Would it not be a thousand pities that I should suffer the flies of my wandering thoughts to corrupt and spoil this box of precious ointments?

—George Swinnock, The Christian Man’s Calling, Works of George Swinnock (Banner of Truth, 1992), 1:150–151



Posted 2014·07·24 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Efficacy · George Swinnock · The Christian Man’s Calling · The Trinity · To the Sheep · Works of George Swinnock

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