(Taken from Calvin’s commentaries)
“If believers must not neglect to drive away the darkness of others by their own brightness, how much less ought they to be blind as to their own conduct in life? What darkness shall conceal those on whom Christ, the Sun of righteousness, has arisen?
Placed, as it were, in a crowded theater, they ought to live under the eye of God and of angels. Let them stand in awe of these witnesses, though they may be concealed from the view of all mortals. Dismissing the metaphor of darkness and light, he enjoins them to regulate their life circumspectly as wise men, who have been educated by the Lord in the school of true wisdom. Our understanding must shew itself by taking God for our guide and instructor, to teach us his own will.”
By a consideration of the time he enforces his exhortation. The days are evil. Everything around us tends to corrupt and mislead; so that it is difficult for godly persons, who walk among so many thorns, to escape unhurt.
Such corruption having infected the age, the devil appears to have obtained tyrannical sway; so that time cannot be dedicated to God without being in some way redeemed. And what shall be the price of its redemption? To withdraw from the endless variety of allurements.
Let us be eager to recover it in every possible way, and let the numerous offenses and arduous toil, which many are in the habit of alleging as an apology for indolence, serve rather to awaken our vigilance.
He whose “delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates in it day and night,” (Psalm 1:2,) will triumph over every obstacle which Satan can oppose to his progress. When it comes that some wander, others fall, others strike against a rock, others go away, — but because we allow ourselves to be gradually blinded by Satan, and lose sight of the will of God, which we ought constantly to remember? And observe, that Paul defines wisdom to be, understanding what the will of the Lord is.
To psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. These are truly pleasant and delightful fruits. The Spirit means “joy in the Holy Ghost,” (Romans 14:17;) and the exhortation, be ye filled, (Ephesians 5.18,) alludes to deep drinking, with which it is indirectly contrasted. Speaking to themselves, is speaking among themselves. Nor does he enjoin them to sing inwardly or alone; for he immediately adds, singing in your hearts; as if he had said,
“Let your praises be not merely on the tongue, as hypocrites do, but from the heart.” What may be the exact difference between psalms and hymns, or between hymns and songs, it is not easy to determine, though a few remarks on this subject shall be offered on a future occasion.
The appellation spiritual, given to these songs, is strikingly appropriate; for the songs most frequently used are almost always on trifling subjects, and very far from being chaste.
Giving thanks always. He means that this is a pleasure which ought never to lose its relish; that this is an exercise of which we ought never to weary. Innumerable benefits which we receive from God yield fresh cause of joy and thanksgiving.
At the same time, he reminds believers that it will argue ungodly and disgraceful sloth, if they shall not always give thanks, — if their whole life shall not be spent in the study and exercise of praising God.
Not given the times we are in, concerning the Church (Christ’s Body) and the turmoil it is in, it is interesting that most of this Sermon came form John Calvin, written in the mid 1500’s.
As St Peter said: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
By the waters of Babylon we sat down, and wept: when we remembered thee, O Sion.
Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. 1 Chron. xxix. 11.