Inaugural Lecture - Center for Classical Theology - REGISTER
Skip to content
warfield on chorazin

B.B. Warfield on “Chorazin Hearts”

By Fred Zaspel

In 1889 a little devotional work entitled Lile’s Golden Lamp was published by the New York Observer. The book consists of very brief daily devotional entries of one small page each, by various authors, one for each day of the year. The entry for January 13 is by B.B. Warfield — a little piece that has never seen the light of day since, and which should be of interest to our readers here.

The piece reflects very well Warfield’s fervent, gospel-centered heart. Brief and to the point, but full of pathos and the sense of urgency that accompanies the gospel every time it is preached. Here it is, as it appeared in 1889 —

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?
Heb. 2:3

Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. — Matt. 11:21-22.

THE sinner to whom no opportunities of repentance come is lost. Tyre and Sidon stand in the text as the terrible examples whose judgment measures the intolerable. But of how much sorer punishment is he worthy who has trodden under foot the Son of God! The sinner to whom opportunities come but pass unheeded, has his part in the more intolerable lot of Chorazin. Tyre and Sidon are cities in Satan’s land; Chorazin and Bethsaida are Satan’s strongholds, which he can trust to fortify themselves against every approach of the Saviour, and to repel his every advance. God grant that we have not Chorazin hearts!

How infinitely solemn a crisis the gospel brings to every city, household, life, to which it gains access! A sweet savor of Christ unto God, it is in all; but to one it is a savor from life unto life, to another a savor from death unto death. What a spectacle of mercy and judgment! Alas to us who have seen these mighty works, if they remain to us but a spectacle without us, and not a living power within!

Benj. B. Warfield (signature)

Depth of mercy I can there be
Mercy.still reserved for me?
Can my God his wrath forbear,
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?
C. Wesley


Fred Zaspel holds a Ph.D. in historical theology from the Free University of Amsterdam. He is currently a pastor at the Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA. He is also the author of The Continuing Relevance of Divine Law (1991); The Theology of Fulfillment (1994); Jews, Gentiles, & the Goal of Redemptive History (1996); New Covenant Theology with Tom Wells (New Covenant Media); The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary (Crossway, 2010). Fred is married to Kimberly and they have two grown children, Gina and Jim.

Back to Top