Our post today consists of an excerpt from an address delivered on this day, September 27, in 1874, by the Rev. Dr. Charles Hodge, on the occasion of the re-opening of the chapel at the Princeton Theological Seminary. This discourse was delivered in the same year that saw the publication of Dr. Hodge’s brief work, What is Darwinism?, and just two years after the appearance of his monumental three-volume Systematic Theology. The occasion was also less than four years before his death in June of 1878. We note too that almost certainly among the gathered students that day in the chapel was the young Benjamin B. Warfield, who had entered the Seminary the year before. In his wonderful history of the Princeton Theological Seminary, my dear friend and esteemed professor Dr. David Calhoun sets the scene:

hodgeCharles_grayIn 1874 the seminary chapel was remodeled—”Victorianized” with stained glass windows, carpeting, and upholstered pews—through the gift of trustee John C. Green, a generous benefactor of the seminary who died the following year. At the seminary’s opening in September Charles Hodge gave the sermon. Hodge noted that over 3,000 ministers of the gospel had been trained at Princeton. “With rare exceptions,” he said, “they have been faithful men. They have labored in every part of our own land and in almost every missionary field.” He told the present students that they had assumed “grave responsibilities in coming to this place,” “Your first duty,” he said, “is to make your calling and election sure.” It is important that you seek the ministry, he told them, with pure and honest motives—”love to Christ, zeal for his glory, and a desire to save your fellow men.” “Your second duty,” Hodge said, “is to throw your whole heart into the work and, while here, into the work of preparation and into the life of the Seminary, whether in the classroom, the chapel, the conference, or prayer meeting.” Finally, in the name of his colleagues Hodge made a request of everyone.

“It is a small matter to you, but a great matter to us. We beg that each of you, as long as he lives, would daily pray that the officers and students of this Seminary may be full of faith and of the Holy Ghost. Let others believe and say what they please, we believe and know that God is the hearer of prayer. If each of the two thousand surviving alumni of this Institution would daily offer that prayer, what a place Princeton would be!”
[Princeton Seminary: The Majestic Testimony, 1869-1929. Banner of Truth, 1996, p. 42.]

What a place any seminary would be, if so invested before the throne of Glory with such prayer! Let this be your exhortation to so pray!

The full text of Hodge’s discourse can be viewed by clicking here, but for our purposes today, we will limit our excerpt to his opening words which form at once a brilliant summary of the core of Christian theology and a beautiful presentation of the Gospel of saving grace. 

Princeton Theological Seminary. A Discourse delivered at the re-opening of the chapel, September 27, 1874, by Charles Hodge, the Senior Professor.

It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.—I Cor. 1:21.

The Bible assumes all primary truths—whether principles of reason or facts of consciousness—and by assuming, authenticates them.

It assumes
1. That man has a soul capable of conscious existence and activity without the body; and that the soul is the man—that in which his personality and identity reside. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are alive, and are now the same persons as when they dwelt on earth.

2. It assumes that man is a free moral agent; dependent, responsible and immortal.

3. It assumes that the well-being of all creatures depends on their preserving their normal relation to God.

4. It assumes that man has by sin lost his normal relation to God, and that by no effort of his own, and by no aid from any creature, can he be restored to the divine fellowship and favor.

These are among the assumptions of the Bible; and they are all self-evident truths. They enter into the convictions of all men in all ages of the world.

The Bible teaches concerning fallen men :
1. That it pleased God, out of His mere good mercy, to determine not to leave them in their estate of sin and misery but to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.

2. That the only Redeemer of men is the Lord Jesus Christ, who being the eternal Son of God became man, and so was, and continues to be both God and man, in two distinct natures, and one person forever.

3. That Christ effects our redemption by exercising in our behalf the offices of Prophet, Priest, and King. He is Prophet or teacher, not only as He is the Logos, the Word, the Revealer, the effulgent image of God, but specially as He reveals to us the will of God for our salvation. He is our Priest in that He offered Himself unto God as a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and in that He ever lives to make intercession for us. He is our King because He subdues us unto Himself, rules in, and reigns over us, and conquers all His and our enemies.

4. The Bible further teaches that the divinely appointed means for applying to men the benefits of Christ’s redemption is “the foolishness of preaching.” It is so called because, so far as the method of salvation is concerned, the wisdom of men is foolishness with God; and the wisdom of God is foolishness with man. In the beginning the gospel was a stumbling-block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greek. We ought not, therefore, to be either surprised or concerned when, in our day, we hear the hierarchs of science proclaiming from their high places, that the supernatural is impossible, and that all faith is superstition. It has always been so and always will be so. Nevertheless in spite of the opposition of the Jews and of the contempt of the Greek, the gospel was, is, and will continue to be the wisdom of God and the power of God unto salvation.

To read the entire discourse, click here, It is well worth your time.

Sin and Penalty are Substance and Shadow.

On most Saturdays over the past several months, our guest author Dr. David Hall has explored some of what are known as “election day” sermons. A similar and interesting study might be made of “fast day” sermons, and the most important of these in our national history would be those brought by Presidential request prior to and at the start of the Civil War. One such sermon was delivered on this day, September 26, 1861, by the Rev. J.B. Bittinger [1823-1885]
. His sermon text was from Numbers 32:23, and he spoke before what was apparently a gathering of Presbyterian churches in Cleveland, Ohio. Our post today is heavily edited for length. To read the full text, click here: https://archive.org/details/ASPC0001905400

Numbers 32:23.
—But if ye will not do so, behold ye have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.

In these words of Moses, we recognize a general principle; one that is applicable now as it was then, a principle that is fundamental to all government. It may be stated in these words:


God has breathed a life into every statute that He has enacted, and whenever any of these laws are broken, they will certainly avenge themselves–the mode and time of vindication may differ, but the vindication is sure to come, and when it does come, is sure to be adequate. . . Sanctions are the crown and sceptre of law, not an incident but an element of its royalty,—and to send out His statutes without their penalties, would be to uncrown them, and to degrade them from the dignity of the law, to the humiliation of advice.

We may accept it therefore as a sound inference, that penalties are an essential part of all laws, and that whenever any law is violated, the offender must and will suffer. In the natural world, there is no escape from this irrevocable decree, except by a miracle—some sovereign act of suspension or repeal. In the moral world the same is true. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die;” is the inspired utterance of the law giver Himself, and unless repealed or suspended, the dishonored law will avenge itself.

Now the one great miracle in the moral world, is the death of Christ. It is the source of every arrest of judgment, of ever reprieve, of every acquittal. This is the law in respect to individuals. Of those aggregates of individuals, called nations, it is said, “the nation and kingdom that will not serve God shall perish.” This is a particular form of the text—”and be sure your sin will find you out.” Vengeance is on the track of guilty nations, no less than on that of guilty men—but there is this important difference, the nation must be overtaken in this world. Nations as such have no existence hereafter, and therefore, if their sins find them out, it must be here. If the nation that does not serve God shall perish, it must perish here.

The text suggests another principle—OFFENDERS ARE PUNISHED IN THE LINE OF THEIR TRANSGRESSIONS. Law is not merely vindicative, but it avenges itself in kind, “and be sure
your sin will find you out,”—not other sins, nor other people’s sins—but your sin. The drunkard is not punished for theft, nor the liar for gluttony; but each penalty moves on the track of its own sin. Perfidious nations are punished by perfidy, and for perfidy; covetous nations for covetousness, and by covetousness.

Summoned by the President of the United States, to observe a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, on account of our sins as a people, we must first know what those sins are, before we can rightly confess them, bewail them, and turn from them. Our sins will help us to understand our punishment, as also our punishment will help us to discover our sins—and both, I trust will teach us to abhor and forsake them.

In enquiring, what are national sins, we should make some distinctions. There are national sins, in which many individuals of the nation have no part, and to which they give no countenance. It is also true that there are many individual sins which are not national, and which do not affect the national welfare, nor provoke national judgment. National sins are those in which the great body of the people participate, eiher by committing them, or refusing to protest against their commission. National sins are embodied in the manners, customs and laws of a people; and especially are they such sins as are committed by our rules and approved of, or tolerated by the people. In a government where the subject can vote as well as pray against sin, corrupt rulers are the real and perhaps the truest exponents of national sins. In the light of these views, let us see what are some of our national sins.

It seems to me that, our first national sins is materialism. The habit of the national mind is to give undue prominence to material as opposed to moral interests.

Our next great national sin is licentiousness. The spurning of restraint. Making light of law. Despising authority. Exalting the individual above the state. The same causes which have exposed us to the temptations of materialism, have operated unfavorably on our sentiments of respect for authority and reverence for the law. Independence, amounting to arbitrariness, is the characteristic of the American mind.

From this radical sin have come three plagues to afflict this nation. The first of these is the so-called
freedom of speech and the press. The liberty to say any thing to any body. For fierceness of denunciation, for foulness of vituperation, for meanness of subserviency, and for unblushing mendacity; the campaign political party papers of this country, with few exceptions, have attained an unrivalled, and it is hoped, an unenvied “bad eminence.” So infectious is the malady that not a little of this moral unscrupulousness has trailed its slime even through some of our religious papers . . . If defamation and falsehood are sins, then we have grievously sinned through our freedom of speech and the press.

The next plague coming from our nations of independence, and must fostered by the free press spoken of, is the characteristic of our office-holders. We have for years exalted to office many of the vilest of men. We have made those our rulers whom we would be ashamed to introduce to our families. Self-seeking and unscrupulous men, flattering the people to blind them, have crept into place and power everywhere. Third-rate men intellectually, and men of no rate morally…

The third plague that has smitten us because of our materialism and arbitrary independence, is the kind of legislation we have had and have tolerated. The higher functions of government are seldom carried on on any principles higher than expediency—political expediency, or even partisan expediency . . . The morality of a statute is not its strong recommendation, for not claiming to derive our right to legislate from the divine nature and origin of government, we too generally assume the right to please our party, which is often only another name for benefitting ourselves. Our inalienable legislative rights seem to be: first, to do what we please; and second, to do what we can.

Our third great national sin is slavery. It is our greatest national sin, because it is infiltrated with materialism and licentiousness, and because it is the creature of law. It is an iniquity decreed by statute. American slavery is not merely the right of one man to another man’s services; but it is the right of one man to another man; not the right simply to work him, but to sell him. It is the right, by law, to erase the name of his Creator, and write upon him the name of his owner. This terrible forgery carries with it the slave’s wife and children, his limbs and senses, his faculties and earnings, and, if it should please God to convert him his gifts and graces. It takes him out of the category of man and puts him into the schedule of things.

But this is not all. Its power to beget sin has made it more formidable than its own iniquity. It is the snaky head of Medusa, poisoning all it touches, and petrifying all who look upon it. The materialism of our own country readily gathered about it.

But I will leave the sins to consider their visitation upon us. The text says: “be sure your sin will find you out.” The general principle asserted is that law is vindicative. This has been already considered. The special principle asserted is that the law vindicates itself in the line of its violation. This, too, has been partially unfolded, by showing what some of our national sins are. It only remains to show that we are now suffering the penalty of our sins; or, in the words of the text our sins have found us out. Sin and penalty are substance and shadow, each pointing to the other, and each helping to prove the other’s reality.

At length our sins have overtaken us. Our materialism blunted our moral sense so that we would not and could not see its benumbing touch, our fine spiritual discernment seemed gone. It defiled our newspapers, it poisoned our public charities, it infested our pulpits, and it depraved our politics. But we went to our farms, our merchandise, and our coarse pleasures. We grew rich and cared not, and only when taxes became too onerous or official misrule threatened our property, did safety committees spring from indignant communities, and execute a sort of wild justice upon official outlaws. Embezzlements, forgeries, defaultings, dishonest assignments, bankrupt laws, and city and State repudiation, are all proofs of our materialism, and in part the penalties of it. And now comes voracious war to glut itself on our gross wealth—to eat up our selfish gains, and, I trust, to deliver us from the thraldom of national covetousness. We can save our industry, our enterprise, our intelligence and our virtue. It is meant that we shall. We may learn economy, moderation, and trust in God; it is designed that we shall, but the price demanded is our money or our life.

But our sin has already found us out, and what shall we do to avert the full punishment? We must repent, and our repentance must be in line of our sins. If we have been guilty of covetousness, it will not do to confess something else; if we regard iniquity in our heart, the Lord will not hear. If we have worshipped mammon, let us repent of our covetousness. If the love of material interests has made us negligent of our liberty, and forgetful of the liberties of others, let us confess our sin, and be vigilant . . . If we have been faithless to our promises, let us henceforth begin and speak each man truth to his neighbor, and owe no man anything. Let us repent of our pride, our boasting, and our evil inventions. Let us repent of slavery and put it away from us, for “we are verily guilty concerning our brother in that, for centuries, we have seen the anguish of his soul when he besought us, and we would not hear, therefore is this distress come upon us. Let us accept the challenge. It is the crisis in our history—not commercial, nor industrial, but moral. We never had a grander opportunity, nor had any nation, to immortalize itself; to die nobly if die we must, to live nobly if live we may. Once and again this question has come before us. Will we write our name in the golden book of national glory?

One thought more and I have done. By our coming together this day; by our confessions and supplications we profess our faith in God, and the dominion of His justice. We shrink from that justice, and we have appointed a fast to avert our doom; or, if not avert, at least alleviate it. We afflict our souls, and bow down our heads, but shall we call these sorrowful words a fast? or these sings of mourning an acceptable day to the Lord?
Is not this the fast that He has chosen?

To loose the bands of wickedness;
To undo the heavy burdens;
To let the oppressed go free;
And to break every yoke?
Then shall we call, and the Lord will answer.
We shall cry, and He shall say: here I am.

by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn.

Q. 103. What do we pray for in the third petition?

A. In the third petition which is, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” we pray, That God, by His grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey, and submit to His will in all things, as the angels do in heaven.

Scripture References: Matt. 6:10; Ps. 67; Matt. 26:39; Ps. 119:36; 2 Sam. 15:25; Job 1:21; Ps. 103: 20-21.

1. What do we mean by the will of God?

When we pray, “Thy will be done,” we mean by His will two things:
(1) His will of Providence in which He determines what He will do for us and to us. This is His secret will, the will of His decree (Isa. 46:10);
(2) His will that is revealed to us in the Scripture and one for which we should be constantly praying (Acts 21:12-14).

2. When we are praying for His providential will to be done, what is involved in our prayer?

We are praying that we might be made willing to comply with His will in our lives. A good example of this is found in I Sam. 3:18 where it states, “It is the Lord, let Him do what seemeth Him good.” We are willing to see God in the ways He takes us, though sometimes our “seeing” Him is by faith.

3. What is involved in our prayer when we pray for His revealed will to be done?

We are praying that we might understand, through His Word and the help of the Holy Spirit, the ways He would have us to go. We are praying, “Teach me to do Thy will; for Thou art my God; Thy Spirit is good.” (Ps. 143:10).

4. How can we be made willing to do His will?

We should recognize He is our Sovereign God and be willing to let the Holy Spirit lead su within that framework. We should recognize that His will is freer to work in us as our hearts are free from the love of the world. We should recognize that His way is the best for us and that someday we will understand.

5. What sort of obedience do the angels in heaven have toward God’s will?

Our Larger Catechism tells us it is one of “humility, cheerfulness, faithfulness, diligence, zeal, sincerity, and constancy” (Larger Catechism Q. 192).


“Not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” (Eph. 6:6). “I delight to do Thy will, O my God; yea, Thy law is within my heart.” (Ps. 40:8). Two verses from the Word of God and both of them speaking to us regarding the will of God. The first one tells us we have a duty, a privilege, to do the will of God as servants of Christ. The second one informs us we should delight to do that will. Do we have a desire to do the will of God? Is this something that is real to us, day by day?

Whenever I think of finding the will of God for my life, I turn immediately in my mind to my life verses: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6). Many years ago I began to see that knowing the will of God had more to do with identification than with education. The closer I walk to Him the easier it is for me to understand His will.

This is all saying that a knowledge of the will of God is always paralleled with a desire to do the will of God. And a desire to do the will of God comes with an attitude of commitment to our Lord. The desire to know the will of God and the denial of self is beautifully tied together in the hymn:

“Thy will, O Lord, not mine,
Teach me to say;
Not my will, Lord, but Thine,
I would obey;
Then shall I know the joy,
And Thy name glorify,
When I, on earth, shall try
To follow Thee.”

If we expect to know His will for our lives, if we expect to be called by Him to do His work and know–It is His work, we must accept commitment to Him as a prerequisite. The heart that is willing to surrender to Him in self-denial is the heart that will be led by the Spirit of God. Too many times we expect to know His will without being willing to pay the price involved of saying “No!” to self. OUR ways, our understanding, our desires must be submitted to Him and then we can pray the words: “Teach me to do Thy will; for Thou art my God . . .” (Ps. 143:10). And then He will answer our prayer by leading us with His gentle hand.

Published by The Shield and Sword, Inc.
Dedicated to instruction in the Westminster Standards for use as a bulletin insert or other methods of distribution in Presbyterian churches.

Vol. 7, No. 8 (August 1968)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor.

“A Century Sermon of the Glorious Revolution”
by Elhanan Winchester (Nov. 16, 1788)  

Elhanan Winchester (1751-1797) served as a pastor in New England, South Carolina, and even London—ultimately moving from the Baptist faith to Unitarianism later in life. He was also a popular and influential Baptist pastor in Philadelphia for the seven years just prior to the constitutional convention. After his conversion to universalism, he was removed from his pulpit and relocated to a more Unitarian friendly London.

During his London tenure, Winchester published many erudite works. Toward the end of his life, he distilled his political theology into a work that defended “the great principles of liberty and of the federal government,” entitled A Plain Political Catechism. This sermon was clearly as much a celebration of a historic anniversary as it was an exposition of a passage of Scripture.

Winchester began this sermon with a verse from the first song in Scripture (Ex. 15:11). In it, he extols the unrivaled glory and holiness of God. From this theology will come his political theology. He reviews the plagues and the Exodus narrative that led up to this song. It is against this specific backdrop that Winchester draws an important lesson: “For it may be observed, that when God is about to work a great deliverance for his people, he usually first brings them into a great strait, so that destruction seems inevitable.” However, the God of providence stands and fights for certain nations, as he did for Israel against Egypt. A brief overview of the attributes of God shows his greatness in every aspect of his character. Winchester, in the first part of his sermon, provides a straightforward explanation of the terms and phrases in Exodus 15.

Then, he turns abruptly to a historical review. He did not hesitate to cite Philip of Spain, who in 1588 was viewed as “a second Pharaoh for pride and cruelty.” This Spanish empire sought aggressively to expand their imperial reach. With its massive resources and capital (“the sinews of war”), Spain “had the best army, and finest navy in Europe; and the greatest commanders of the age, both by land and sea.” Spain intended to invade England and likely would have overpowered Great Britain.

Even with the backing of Rome, this ‘invincible armada,’ was thwarted by “the hand of Providence [which] plainly appeared.” Citing the various ways that this Spanish Armada was defeated or distracted, even seeing the Providence of God in the Armada’s taking on disinformation, which led it right into the strength of the British Navy. He stated it this way: “Thus was this formidable armada defeated, without having done the smallest injury to this kingdom, or even landing any troops upon the island. And thus England was miraculously saved from destruction, by the immediate hand of Providence; which was scarcely, ever more visibly manifested in any affair, than in that very great, and singular deliverance of this land, from tyranny, popery, and slavery.”

Winchester next jumps ahead exactly 100 years to 1688. He begins his review with William of Orange, who was a token of God’s providence over human affairs. William of Orange’s Glorious Revolution buttressed the following liberties: (1) the liberty of acquiring and possessing private property; (2) the liberty of personal freedom and safety, guaranteed by jury trials; (3) the liberty and freedom of the press; and (4) the liberty of conscience, including freedom to worship in keeping with that conscience.

On this final point, he amplifies (note the italicized wording that is epexegetical of First Amendment terminology):

There is but one country in the world where liberty, and especially religious liberty, is so much enjoyed as in these kingdoms, and that is the United States of America: there religious liberty is in the highest perfection. All stand there on equal ground. There are no religious establishments, no preference of one denomination of Christians above another. The constitution knows no difference between one good man, and another. A man may be chosen there to the highest civil offices, without being obliged to give any account of his faith, subscribe any religious test, or go to the communion-table of any church.

Winchester blames establishmentarianism (as Constantinianism) for “the almost total cessation of the progress of christianity, the rise of Mahometanism, the rise and spread of deism, the general contempt into which christianity is fallen; all may fairly be laid at the door of that establishment.” He envisioned a better world, once freed of an established church, as in America.

He then issued this distilled proverb: “the greatest maxim in politics that was ever delivered, and which deserves to be written in letters of gold, over the doors of all the state houses in the world. The great secret of governing, consists in not governing too much.”

True liberty, thought Winchester, would depress the love of money, lust for power, and cruelty. While crediting the William III’s accomplishments, this preacher did not fail his calling, when he segued: “As I never shall have a better opportunity, give me leave here to introduce a greater hero on the stage than William the Third; even Jesus Christ, the great deliverer of mankind.” As certain as the historical events were surrounding William III’s rule, more certain were the historical events of Jesus Christ. This impressive apologetic in the midst of this sermon argued that as helpful as William was, Jesus Christ did more. He stated it this way:

William came over here for the benefit of the people of this nation, who were his friends, invited him over, and joined his standard. But Jesus Christ came into the world for the benefit of all mankind, even those who were his enemies; he was hated, despised, opposed and rejected, by his own kindred, according to the flesh; yet still his love and kindness continued to the last towards them.

William did many things for the good of this land; suffered much, and ventured his life for the people of these kingdoms; for which his memory is precious, and ought to be regarded with sincere affection. But O, what love, gratitude and praises, are due to Jesus Christ, who came into the world, and wrought so many works of mercy for mankind?

Coming to the present, the year 1788 saw progress in liberty in many nations. Chief among those tokens of liberty were the US Constitution: “This is such an astonishing event to those who know the situation of the United States of America, that nothing less than a very special Providence, and divine interference could have brought it about. Many instances of the visible protection and goodness of God towards the American states, have appeared from the beginning of the unhappy contest, between them and the ministry of this nation, to the present time; but in no instance has a divine hand so plainly appeared as in the present.”

Winchester believed that one hundred years later, Christianity would continue its spread, the Turks would be in decline, and Jews would be in their own land. His sermon concludes: “When we consider the great things which God hath wrought already; and those greater things which he hath promised to perform in his own time, we may say in the words of my text, with which I shall conclude: ‘Who is like unto thee, O Lord, amongst the gods? who is like thee glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?’”

A version of this sermon is posted online at: http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/816. It also occurs in the published edition by Ellis Sandoz, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998).

By Dr. David W. Hall, Pastor
Midway Presbyterian Church

For others like this order a copy of Twenty Messages to Consider Before Voting from Reformation Heritage Books.


You can’t tell the players without a scorecard. And you can’t really make sense of Presbyterian history if you don’t know something of the various people who played out this grand story.

So Ad fontes! (To the sources!) — There is probably no better way to assess the character and mentality of an era or a group of people than to read what they themselves have actually written. Don’t be satisfied with reading secondary sources! And in the case of Christians, churches, and denominations, read or listen to their sermons, their discourses, and their theology.

The following address, delivered in 1941 by Dr. Carl McIntire on the occasion of the dedication of a new property and home for Faith Theological Seminary, at the beginning of the school’s fourth academic year. The Seminary was later to move to yet another location, the old historical Widener estate. While eventually the school fell on hard times and had to leave the Widener property, it has managed to continue on unto this day. 

Dr. McIntire was always a “scrapper,” ready for a fight and unafraid of any opposition. Clearly he had his faults, some of them glaring, but he was a most remarkable and interesting character in this story that was conservative Presbyterianism in the twentieth century. The address that follows provides us with some rich insights into American Presbyterian history, into the mentality of theological conservatives, and in particular, some better insight into just who Carl McIntire was.


1303 Delaware Avenue, Wilmington, Delaware
September 23, 1941.
President of the Board of Directors.

Text:  “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” (1 Cor. 7:23)

Faith Theological Seminary is not just “another seminary.” It stands as a pivotal citadel against a decaying Protestantism. It is not a small stream off a great river, but it moves in the very center of the current of the Christian faith.

The founding of this institution in 1937 was occasioned by the apostasy in the visible church, particularly the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., and the need for ministers and missionaries would would stand without compromise for the faith once delivered unto the saints. It is not “another seminary” because of its cause. It is not “another seminary” because of its scholarship. It is not “another seminary” because of its consecration.

Faith Theological Seminary, 1303 Delaware Avenue, Wilmington, De
[pictured above, the building donated to Faith Theological Seminary in 1941]


The same motive that led to the establishment of the early schools of theology, such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, which was the need of a trained and sound ministry, was behind the establishment of this institution. The roots of this institution go back to the previous century and can be traced clearly in the rise of what is popularly called Modernism, the infiltration of the conclusions of destructive higher criticism into the theological seminaries, the colleges, and then down into the churches.

Harvard turned aside to another gospel, and the valiants of the faith broke from Harvard and established Andover Theological Seminary, but in time the termites of unbelief left only an outward shell at Andover, and it was joined again to Harvard. Satan focuses his strongest attacks on sound seminaries. Union Theological Seminary, New York City, at the close of the last century, was in the death throes of the same struggle. Men had crept in unawares, even denying the Lord who bought them. Their craft, their wiles gave them that institution, and it has since been a leading spokesman for a naturalizing and humanizing message. The last of these great institutions to fall was Princeton Theological Seminary, and it is in the succession to the stalwart, unyielding Princeton that Faith Seminary stands. But the softening and deadening effect that the infiltration of Modernism has had on Christianity in America had so affected the life of the church that when men objected to the presence of Modernism and cried out against it they could do nothing more than pass resolutions affirming their faith, when what the hour required was the discipline and rejection of those who denied. This was the hour of real defeat, and the fifth column’s victory. The struggle in the Presbyterian Church over the historic Auburn Affirmation was a weak, flimsy struggle compared to what that occasion required,, but the spirit and temper of the church easily explained the result. America in its dismal despair and desperate need can never be saved by that kind of leadership.


It was into this mist, with a deepening fog, that the storm broke over Princeton. God raised up several brilliant leaders, among them Dr. J. Gresham Machen and Dr. Robert Dick Wilson. They cried against Modernism, inclusivism, and indifference. Their cry was protected by a Board of Directors who stood with them. Though the great Northern Presbyterian Church, to which they belonged, straggled in response to their cry, the leadership of that body, under the spell of the voices of inclusivism, found that they could only silence the Princeton testimony by a reorganization. This was done in 1929. Princeton was made subservient to the inclusive trend of the church. Men were placed on the board of control who had said it was not necessary for preachers to believe in the essentials of the evangelical faith, such as the virgin birth, the blood of Christ, the miracles of our Lord, and His bodily resurrection, and they denied the inerrancy of the Bible.


The change in Princeton since 1929 has been obvious to all. It ceased to be a militant contender for the faith; peace and quiet has been the order of the day. The hatchet between Union and Princeton has been publicly buried, and a recent General Assembly delighted in the union in fellowship and purpose of their presidents. Barthianism, with its relativism and subtle denial of the unique authority of the Scriptures as an objective deposit of truth, fills the halls where formerly the voices of the Alexanders, the Hodges, and the Warfields blazed forth in defense of the faith. Inclusivism is victorious.

But at the reorganization in 1929 those who were of the spirit of Athanasius and Augustine, Luther and Calvin, walked out. They could be no party to the capitulation. Fifth columnists had captured Union in New York and Harvard, but it took a siege by politicians of the church to win Princeton.


Princeton was the last of the old-line seminaries to go down, and the hopes of men turned toward Westminster Theological Seminary which was then organized in Philadelphia. There, under the leadership of Dr. Machen, the battle in the church continued. The same issues, loyalty to the Word of God, were raised by the publication of the pagan “Rethinking Missions” and its blanket endorsement by Pearl Buck, Presbyterian missionary. This opened the whole question of Modernism in the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U. S. A. and its loyalty to the Word of God and the constitution of the church. The Presbyterian Assembly refused to reform the Board, or to order an investigation. Thus, in 1933. the famous Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions was organized to receive the gifts of God’s people for the sending forth of missionaries, true and sound, and the lifting up of an uncompromising testimony to the Word of God. In 1936, our own Dr. Harold S. Laird succeeded Dr. Machen in the presidency of this historic and missionary testimony.


But the fagots of ecclesiastical persecution were lighted in the Presbyterian Church. Machen and those associated with him on the Independent Board were tied to the stake, branded rebels, “cancers in the life of the church,” and because they would not bow their conscience to a mandate of the Assembly to disband their independent agency and support the compromising Board they were read out of the church, unfrocked, deposed. Some of us standing here have read the church fiats against our souls, telling us that we are no longer worthy to preach the Gospel, and forbidding us to partake of the Communion of Jesus Christ. But we have also read the Word of God telling us of God’s favor in obeying Him and standing for the precious blood of His Son. The Modernists, the inclusivists, the indifferentists, and some trembling, silent “Fundamentalists” joined in thus restoring the “peace,” not by purifying the church, but by disrupting it, and making it secure for the Modernists.

A new church was started and the movement had wide appeal. In the midst of the battle the emphasis of the defenders had been upon the Bible as the Word of God—the faith. But it is one thing to stand against apostasy, and it is another thing to build a church. Church history is replete with this lesson. Dr. Machen’s work was done. God called him Home at this crucial point. Had he lived, perhaps the turn of events would have been different. However, it is clear that God in His providence did not want them to be different.


There were elements smoldering in the movement closely associated with Dr. Machen which were not in accord with the historic position of American Protestantism and particularly of the historic Presbyterian Church in regard to the Christian’s position on certain vital matters of conduct. After Dr. Machen was removed there came to the fore an element in Westminster Seminary which told the students that they were not loyal to Christ if they did not substitute for the ordinary grape juice of the Communion cup fermented, intoxicating wine. Certain professors declared that they used intoxicating beverages, not, of course, to become intoxicated, but for their own pleasure. Under this influence certain students held drinking parties, and some even went so far as to become intoxicated. As this situation became known, the leaders of Westminster Seminary took refuge in the doctrines of Christian liberty. As to the validity and reality of those doctrines none in the movement disputed them, but there was question as to the expedient use of such liberty, particularly in our mechanized, high-tempered, present-day American life. In such an atmosphere the Seminary leaders practically forgot the old issue of Modernism and apostasy, and the young students were filled with the arguments for liberty. They went out as flaming apostles for liberty in the use of intoxicating drinks. Expedience, as taught in the Bible, was buried.

In a near-by community where there was a referendum being held against the saloon, one of the students arose and preached on Sunday morning a sermon in which he explained to the people their liberty in the use of intoxicating beverages. Church members broke down crying, some left never to darken the church door again.


In the midst of such a situation, in love these brethren were approached and talked with, and urged to change their conduct as a matter of expediency, to consider the weaker brother, and to use not their liberty for an occasion of offense. They refused. These matters were raised in the new church, and to the amazement of so many, when a simple resolution by way of counsel and advice was presented, stating that it was the wisest policy for young people to abstain from the use of intoxicating drinks, the Westminster force rose and fought It as Satan. Also in such an atmosphere students who never had smoked began to use cigarettes.

Coupled with this, after the death of Dr. Machen, to the bewilderment of others there came to the fore an intolerance of those who believed in the premillennial return of Jesus Christ, and a Seminary spokesman accused those who loved this view of holding anti- Reformed heresy. Then there was a harsh intolerance for various opinions. The new church, they were determined, would be an amillennial body. The Seminary was going to present the “Biblical view,” which they held to be amillennialism. But many of the churches believed in the premillennial return of Christ, and young men were sent to them who immediately took up the battle against the premillenarians.

It seemed that one cannon after another was exploded by the Seminary to confuse and drive from the movement all who did not agree with the new leadership of the Seminary after Dr. Machen’s removal. A hyper-Calvinism even criticized former students who in their zeal for evangelism gave pulpit invitations for men to come forward and accept Christ. They seemed to make their emphasis on the “Reformed Faith” almost a fetish.

In the midst of such confusion utter despair and defeat seemed imminent. The enemies of the Gospel rejoiced and chortled. This new conflict was minor in comparison to the issues of Modernism, yet it was real and valid, for it represented the birth pangs of a new church, a continuation of the true Presbyterian succession, and a body free from Modernism. The enemies of the faith deliberately misrepresented the facts to justify their unrighteous stand and to misguide uninformed Christians. Many of the weaker brethren who had gone along with the struggle for the faith fell by the wayside, or turned back to the material comforts of an established church organization. But all this was a testing, a sifting, and purging. There were some who were ready to be made a spectacle All this was pain, but also a blessing!


It was in this hour that Faith Theological Seminary was born. There was a Gideon’s band who saw the battle through!

I shall always thank God that I was privileged, together with many of my colleagues here on the Seminary Board and Faculty, to be in the thick of the historic struggle for the faith.

For the most confused hours God gave men faith, and this institution came forth with a conviction that the struggle for the faith against apostasy had to continue, with a proper emphasis on first things, and a sane balance on secondary issues. Faith Seminary would continue the defense of the faith represented by Dr. Machen in his celebrated works, such as “What Is Faith,” “Christianity and Liberalism,” “The Origin of Paul’s Religion,” and “The Virgin Birth.” It would sound the call to a consistent Calvinism, to an appreciation of the Reformed Faith in its warmth and zeal for the salvation of the lost, its implicit reliance on the sovereignty of God, and its full honoring of the grace of God. There is no other institution in existence with this single purpose and clear vision of America’s need. It is important whether ministers drink or do not drink, and whether the influence of the church be on the side of separation from worldliness. Since Westminster took the amillennial position, Faith Theological Seminary would lift a banner in behalf of premillennialism, granting full liberty to those Christians who differ.


Faith Seminary has come through blood and fire, thunder and tears, and in those hours of battle there was one thing that kept and held it. It Was faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, faith in His ultimate victory. Thus the institution was given its name and motto, “Faith Theological Seminary—for the faith—by faith.”

It was in this hour also that the Bible Presbyterian Church, a true successor to the Presbyterian Church, came into being. It has been singularly blessed of God, and many are rallying to its testimony. There is a chapter that perhaps should not be left unmentioned, for the sake of the record. Faith Seminary was not announced until the middle of July, 1937. In June of that year, a month and a half before, plans were being made for a seminary at Wheaton College under the direction of the Board of Directors of the College, but when the plan was presented to the Board they turned it down because they did not want to be too closely associated with the controversy. This action has proved to be a blessing. However, one prominent Philadelphia attorney who knew confidentially of the plans for the Wheaton seminary in June changed his will, leaving a substantial sum for the Wheaton project, and before he heard that the College had turned down the seminary he died. The Wheaton Board lost an opportunity of a century, and then later turned out its fearless leader, Dr. J. Oliver Buswell, for a more mollifying attitude toward the Modernistic larger denominations. Men everywhere seem to be afraid to get too close to the Seminary and the movement which it represents for fear of losing something, or being hurt in some measure. What a compliment to the Seminary! And what a sad commentary upon the superficiality of present-day Fundamentalism. Fundamentalists need to take a deeper view of the Scriptures. There, too, is Elijah versus Ahab, Nathan versus David, John the Baptist versus Herod. This hour, called by some leading liberals the twilight of Christianity, this day of darkening apostasy calls to high heaven for such prophets.


When the decision was made in the middle of July, 1937, that Faith would be started, those who had the institution at heart thought that twelve students would be a token of the Lord’s blessing. It was to open the last of September. He sent twenty-four. We had no buildings, no money, few friends, but a great God, and a group of men who knew how faithful is Elijah’s God. What precious days these were, yea, what precious days these are!

God has given a Faculty—consecrated, scholarly, self-sacrificing. These men see the issue. They love the cause. This is the spirit of our fathers who forsook all and worshiped in caves, and instructed their students in blackouts. That spirit is more priceless than all earth’s treasures. God has given us distinguished men of gifts and vision, willing to suffer and bleed for the truth. Dr. Robert Dick Wilson groomed his successor for Princeton in Allan A. MacRae. He has nobly and ably picked up the mantle that fell from the old prophet’s shoulders, having seen also the chariot of fire. He is excelled by none in America as an Old Testament scholar and authority. Under the careful scholarship of Dr. Machen, Alfred W. Eppard was prepared for a teaching ministry and sent abroad for further preparation. He was ready when the opportunity came to present the historical, exegetical apologetic of the New Testament in the tradition of Machen. A younger, brilliant student, R. Laird Harris, was also being groomed in a similar manner for such a ministry while a student at Westminster, and God gave him to Faith. It was by an irresistible whirl of God’s providence that J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., was available to command the Chair of Theology for which God had qualified him. When God decides to build a Seminary, He first provides for spiritual needs. Buildings come later.

God has provided us directors with a determination, “This one thing I do.”


It is out of the welter, the heat, the smoke of battle that we meet this afternoon to receive this gift of God’s choosing. He makes great and important decisions for us. He wants this Seminary to be here at Wil­mington close to the influences of the ministry of our secretary of the Board, Dr. Harold S. Laird. Here is visible a half million dollar church building from whose pulpit Dr. Laird was ejected—to remain there would have meant to deny Christ—in order to take his flock to an empty church by the railroad where they could worship Jesus Christ freely and fully with no yoke with compromise and unbelief in the Presbyterian Church.

America needs the prophets of Faith Theological Seminary. I see four varieties of seminary students and ministers today, but there is only one of these four that is worth having.


First, there is the young man, trained in a liberal school. He is a liberal and not ashamed of it. He comes from such a school as Union in New York. He does not believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. He cannot accept the virgin birth, and openly says so. He has one credit to himself, and that is, he is honest. But he is doubly dishonest when he goes into a denomination whose creed affirms the things he denies. But there he easily cajoles his conscience, for the leaders of the church in letting him in are just as dishonest as he is in denying the creed; and besides, honesty, like all values in the new order, is only a relative matter. It is just thus with so many of the agreements of the world. They mean nothing more than the moment requires. So it is with the constitution of many of the larger churches. They are words written on paper, but not in the courts of the elders.


Second, there is the young man who comes out of a compromising seminary, such as Princeton. He wants to be fundamental. He has learned the lingo of the Fundamentalists, but he has caught a vision of a great church, a church which is the hope of the hour. He sees great buildings and equipment ready for his use. He does not think they should be turned over to Modernists. He is ready to go in and work With them, to be a fellow traveler with the Modernists. He is willing to vote along with them, to keep the peace of the church. Such & person is a miserable servant of man. His vision is of the glory of the church, of the great good he can do, and not of Christ. He is no servant of Christ. He must take his cue from the higher authorities or make his own. He cannot take his orders from the Word of God. If he did, he would be out and be done with the wicked, adulterous fellowships of Modernists and believers. He would see that obedience to the commands of Christ calls for separation.


Third, there is the young man who is outside of the present modernistic and compromising denominations. He delights to be called a Fundamentalist. He even loves to preach the premillennial return of Christ. But he is done with any controversy of any kind. That word is poison. He wants to be left alone to carry on his own work quietly here or there and not to worry about what is taking place elsewhere. Such a young man is to be commended in his separation from the sinful yoke of indifference and apostasy, but he has only embraced half of the demands of the Gospel. He does not stand in the succession with an Isaiah or a Jeremiah, an Augustine or a Savonarola, a Luther or a Knox. He will have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, nor will he reprove them. He will not lift up his voice like a trumpet and cry aloud and spare not, showing God’s people their transgressions. He wants only a so-called positive Gospel. He fails to see that his mission is only partially fulfilled. There are many today who would delight to see Faith Seminary turn out such men, and see the leadership of the Seminary change to that end. But pray God that we may never fall in that slough!


The fourth man, the kind of man we have envisioned stepping through the corridors of this institution in Wilmington, has vision which is not limited to the few square feet upon which his own little church will stand. Here we see young men trained to face the issues of our day, disciplined in study, drilled in doctrine, experienced in sacrifice, separated in life, going out to build a new church. The status quo of a decaying Protestantism must be changed. That sturdiness, that drive, that passion which have been absent from American Protestantism for so long must be rekindled and restored in Faith. The future of our democratic liberty in America is involved also! Faith is not ashamed to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

We must have men who can say with Paul when life’s journey is nearing its end, “I have fought a good fight,” and not be ashamed of the word “fight”; “I have finished my course”—and know that he has had a course, straight and clean; “I have kept the faith,” and rejoice that God’s grace enabled him to recognize the subtle forms of compromise and denial of our day. We are not ashamed of controversy, when it is in behalf of the honor and glory of Christ. We are not afraid to be despised, abused, When it is in behalf of the Gospel of Christ. We are not afraid to be poor, locked out, and alone, when it is in behalf of the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

It takes men such as these to turn the world upside down, to endure afflictions, to do the work of an evangelist. These are dark days, and they are getting darker. It is more difficult as the days go by to be Christians. The harder the times, the stronger the leadership needed. It is not saying too much to say that the hope of American Protestantism at the present time rests in the type of leadership that Faith Theological Seminary is able to give—leadership in evangelizing the lost; leadership in establishing new churches; leadership in opening new mission fields; leadership in preaching on the streets and in halls; leadership in calling people out of sin unto Christ; leadership in exposing apostasy and Modernism in the visible church; leadership that convinces those of the faith that they are a heavenly and a peculiar people; and leadership which lifts the eyes of born again ones into the heavens from whence they look for their Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ!


But, now, God has given us some property. It feels strange to have some. There are many perils in this. Do not think we are going to return the prop­erty, for God who gave it will give the grace to keep it in its proper place while we look away from things that perish. May the lessons which have been learned in the brief period of fiery trial ever be kept paramount in the hearts of those who teach in these halls and those who study here.

The struggle to maintain this institution true to the faith must ever be vigorous. The men who lead must be those who know the issues and see the de­mands of God’s Word. The future is challenging and commanding. We must occupy until Christ comes. We thank God for Faith Theological Seminary. He established it. He undergirded it. He leads it. We thank Him for the property. We thank Him for those who have been His instruments in giving it. May He give us faith to endure to the end. Amen.

McIntire, Carl, Address at the Dedication of the Property given to Faith Theological Seminary, 1303 Delaware Avenue, Wilmington, Delaware, September 23, 1941. [Collingswood, N.J. : Christian Beacon Press,
1941. [14] p. : ill. ; 20 cm.  A published copy of this address is preserved in Box 458 at the PCA Historical Center, St. Louis, Missouri.

The Last of An Amazing Family

hodgeCasparJrHas there every been an equal to one family name serving the same educational institution in the history of American Christianity? We would be hard pressed to find a similar example to the Hodge family at Princeton Theological Seminary.

First, there was Charles Hodge, serving the Lord as a professor from 1820–1878. There is fifty-eight years of continuous service, preparing ministers for the gospel ministry. His “Systematic Theology” has stood the test of time as being the greatest exposition of Reformed theology in America.

Charles Hodge had eight children, including two sons who also taught at Princeton Seminary. Caspar Wistar Hodge taught from 1860 to 1891, while Archibald Alexander Hodge taught from 1877–1886. Both carried on the line of the family name, but more importantly, carried on the same committed to the infallible Word of God as summarized up in the Westminster Standards.

The grandson of Charles Hodge, and son of Caspar Wistar Hodge, was Caspar Wistar Hodge, Jr. He was born this day, September 22, 1870, in Princeton, New Jersey. Studies at Princeton College, the Seminary, and overseas schools at the Universities of Heidelberg and Berlin, this grandson of Charles Hodge taught on the collegiate level at Princeton and Lafayette. It was noted that he had a deep Christian spirit and a breadth of learning and scholarship in those assignments.

It was no wonder that he was asked then by the Board of Directors to take over the Chair of Systematic Theology to which his immediate family had made so much a blessing to students down the ages. His inauguration to that post took place on October 11, 1921. It seemed fitting that the grandson of Archibald Alexander, Maitland Alexander, who was the president of the Board of Directors of Princeton, be the one who gave the charge.

This second decade of the twentieth century was a challenging one, in that, at the end of the decade, Princeton Seminary would suffer the loss of both J. Gresham Machen and Robert Dick Wilson. The former would grieve over the fact that Caspar Hodge would stay on at the faculty of Princeton, after the board was reorganized to allow two signers of the infamous Auburn Affirmation to sit on it. Yet, while Caspar Hodge did stay on, his heart was at Westminster Seminary, in that time and time again, he would send financial contributions to the new seminary. Further, he spoke of the fact that he would openly defend the name of Dr. Machen in conversations, sometimes with heated exchanges. He would go to be the Lord in 1937, having spend thirty-six years at Princeton Seminary, and the last of the famous Hodge family to be associated with this school.

Words to live by:
Doctrinally, this last of the Hodge line at Princeton Seminary was in complete agreement with every other Hodge family of professors, that is, adherence to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as well as adopting the Reformed faith of the Westminster Standards. It is to be both a prayer request as well as a praise item that the message of the gospel goes on through generations. Let us commit ourselves to the family and its spiritual growth in the things of the Lord.

When Madness Rules the Streets

“The whole tribe of libertines are so many vultures upon the body politic. Religion, patriotism, domestic peace, and public tranquility, are strangers to their bosoms. There is nothing lovely, nothing valuable on earth with which they are not at war. Beauty, health, reputation. The marriage covenant–that strong defence and glory of society–and all the tender sympathies and relations of social life, wither and die under their blighting touch.”

Samuel Clark Aiken (1790-1879) was born in Windham, Vermont on the 21st day of September, 1790. Educated at Middlebury College and Andover Theological Seminary, he served the First Presbyterian Church of Utica, New York for seventeen years before answering a call to serve the only Presbyterian church in Cleveland, Ohio. The remainder of his years were spent serving the Old Stone Church, from 1835 until his retirement in 1861. He died in the first hour of the first day of the first month of 1879, at the age of 88. While serving faithfully and efficiently as the pastor of the church, Rev. Aiken was also quite active in civic affairs, while also addressing a number of societal issues.

Here today we present the opening portion of one of Rev. Aiken’s sermons. In this sermon, he addresses the growing problem of prostitution in America in the 1830’s. As then, so today it seems we think that such things cannot be spoken of in polite society, and that in turns becomes a shielding cover for the problem. His description of Paris in the early nineteenth-century sounds all too familiar. Rev. Aiken’s sermon is wrapped in some of the typically elaborate nineteenth-century style, but cut past that to read the crux of what he is saying. That encumbrance aside, you don’t hear sermons on such subjects today. Why is that?

Moral Reform: A Sermon delivered at Utica, on Sabbath evening, February 16, 1834.

Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” – Proverbs 7:27.

What a picture this book gives of the crime of lewdness! The painter threw upon canvas the reality as it existed three thousand years ago, and it worthy of notice, that since that period it has undergone no essential change. I question, whether in the infancy of the world, and in the days of ignorance that followed, this vice was generally more prominent or prevalent, even among gentiles, than it is at present moment, in some towns and cities in these United States.

I make no apology for bringing this subject before a Christian congregation. I give no pledge to hold my peace, even after speaking once, unless the friends of virtue pledge themselves to act.

As one set for the defence of religion and public morals, I acknowledge my error in having remained silent so long. I am happy to make the confession; for, with my present convictions of duty, whatever may be the views of my respected fellow-laborers in the ministry, until I expose the nakedness of this vice, and sound a note of alarm in this community, I can never say with the apostle, that “I am pure from the blood of all men,” and, that “I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”

My office out of the question, I hold no parley with that morbid fastidiousness which trembles and shrinks from any open and manly effort to cure the evil. Nor have I the least regard or veneration for that artificial and sickly delicacy, which, for ages, has bound the friends of virtue in fetters of iron, and charmed them into a most fatal silence and apathy. I believe it to be in part the creature of a false education, and in part the wily policy of the devil, to maintain his empire of pollution, by assuming so great and over-weening a regard for purity, as to be unable to endure the disclosures of vice. To cover up, to cover up, is the master policy of the prince of darkness. “He that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” Well fitted to sustain and advance his nefarious purposes, is the doctrine, coolly and deliberately advocated by the friends of virtue, yes, and by the pimps of vice also, that here is an immorality not to be spoken of in public. We may contemplate it in pictures, in books, in caricatures, as drawn by the moralist, the satirist, and the artist; we may see innocence seduced and ruined, and the villain walking the street and receiving the courtesies of the virtuous; we may know that haunts of crime are standing by day and night under the shade of our church-steeples; we may see our sons and daughters entering them, never to return, and in secret lamentation spend the residue of life, and finally sink in sorrow to our graves; we may see that cloud of wrath gathering over our land, which overthrew Sodom, the nations of Canaan, Babylon, and Nineveh; we may hear the dark waters rumbling beneath our feet, and breaking up the foundations of personal, domestic, and civil happiness; in short, we may see the monster invade the sanctity of the church, and plant his foot upon the very altar of God; but we must say nothing; we must do nothing. The habits of society–the claims of modesty demand silence, forbid action. Our lips are hermetically sealed, while the heart is bursting with anguish! The principle is absurd and cruel; unnatural, irrational, and anti-Christian. True virtue spurns its aid. Unaffected, native, heaven-born delicacy contemns the simpering smiles of the serpent, which, under the pretence of great regard for virtue’s cause, allows the young and beautiful of our land to rush in untold numbers, unheeded and unwarned, down to the bottomless pit.

I have not come here to portray the evils of lewdess as they exist in our cities. Were it proper or practicable, I have not the vanity to believe it to be within the compass of my talent to do it. Nor is the genius of Milton, or the pencil of Raphael competent to the task. It is a mystery of iniquity that must, to a great degree, remain hidden till the judgment, because it beggars description.

These remarks are not made on the strength of report. The Providence of God once placed me as a missionary in the city of New York. In company with the friends of humanity, I have visited the abodes of abandonment to attend upon the dead, and to preach the gospel to the living; and I should as soon think of drawing a picture of hell itself, as giving a complete view of one of its outer courts.

Were it my object to depict the demoralising influence of the crime of lewdness upon society, perhaps it could not be done better than by holding up the history of France, in the days of her pollution and blood. “In that reign of infidelity and terror,” says an eloquent writer, “it should never be forgotten, that contempt for the laws of chastity, and breaking loose from the legalized restraints of virtue, were the order of the day, and of the night. A republican or infidel marriage was in derision, and, by the vile themselves, denominated the sacrament of adultery! Prostitutes were enthroned–borne in triumph–and even worshipped as the goddesses of reason and the guardians of public morals and happiness. Lust and rapine, hand in hand, waded through clotted blood in the streets of Paris. Thus, when the ten commandments, and especially the fourth and seventh, were publicly abrogated in France, the mighty God stood aloof, and a scene of proscription, of assassination and woe ensued, unparalleled in the annals of the civilized world. In the city of Paris, there were, in 1803, eight hundred and seven suicides and murders. Among the criminals executed, there were seven fathers who had poisoned their children–ten husbands who had murdered their wives–six wives who had poisoned their husbands, and fifteen children who had assassinated their parents! Within eighteen months after the abrogation of the marriage covenant, in that reprobate kingdom, twenty thousand divorces were effected. In the space of ten years, three millions of human beings, as is computed, perished by violence, in that land of infidelity and lust.” [Waterman’s Address to the friends of moral reform in Providence.]

France discarded the Bible. The Almighty withdrew His restraining hand, and permitted a nation to try the experiment of living without religion. Human passions broke loose from moral responsibility, and flowed in torrents of pollution and blood. The world stood aghast, and trembled at the spectacle, and the result stands out in bold relief upon the records of that ill-fated kingdom. Let us mark it well, and remember the fearfl denunciation of Jehovah: “Ye shall not commit any of these abominations, that the land spew not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spewed out the nations which were before you.”

The whole tribe of libertines are so many vultures upon the body politic. Religion, patriotism, domestic peace, and public tranquility, are strangers to their bosoms. There is nothing lovely, nothing valuable on earth with which they are not at war. Beauty, health, reputation. The marriage covenant–that strong defence and glory of society–and all the tender sympathies and relations of social life, wither and die under their blighting touch. One house of abandonment in a community, is worse than the cholera. The noxious miasma perpetually issuing from it, poisons all the fountains and streams of life. It is impossible to estimate its baneful influence upon private and public morals. If the fire consumes your dwelling or merchandise, it is a loss which industry and economy will restore. If the pestilence removes our friends to another world, it permits them to leave behind a good name. If the pirate seizes upon his victim, he either kills or sends him adrift upon the high seas. If the robber or assassin enters a shop or family, they can at the most only take a little property, or the lives of a few individuals; and when the deed is committed, public indignation stands ready to burst upon them, and to hand them over to justice. But the libertine–more horrible than the pestilence, the pirate, the robber, or the boa-constrictor–rushes from his ambush, throws his deadly coils around his victim, not to give repose in death, but to bury alive in the grave of infamy. In what a fearful condition must be that town or city, where such demons in human shape collect and roam at large! Where is safety or happiness in the midst of such prowling wolves, and especially, when the public mind is overawed by their number and reputed respectability, and no voice dares utter a complaint . . .?

To read the entire sermon, click here.

WILLIAM H. CHISHOLM, M. D. [1894 — 1977]

chisholmWHWilliam Hugh Chisholm was born February 1, 1894 in Emerson, Michigan to Godly parents, Hugh and Mary MacLennan Chisholm, who had immigrated here to the United States from Scotland, bringing with them their Scottish Presbyterian background. Hugh Chisholm was a man of considerable initiative. He and his brother owned the main store in their town of Breckinridge, selling “Dry Goods, Groceries, Boots, Shoes, Furniture and Undertaking”! Later on Hugh Chisholm was elected to the State Legislature and the following incident gives a picture of the Reformed and Puritan morality visually portrayed in young William’s life as a Covenant Child, Soon after father Hugh had been elected to the legislature, as the custom was then, the railroad sent a pass to each member of the legislature. Dr. Chisholm’s father quickly put that pass back into the envelope together with a curt note, “I will not be bought”, and sent it back to the railroad!

Dr. Chisholm’s father had asthma. Yes, this was a great problem, but it was also used in God’s Providence to be a blessing, for it required the family to move all over the West looking for that ideal climate where father, Hugh, could work and live more comfortably. The year of his graduation from High School, when Will had hoped to enter college, his father was so ill that he had to stay home and work the farm, An apparent set back…but this was the time used richly of God to build young Will’s faith. He evidently was concerned with questions about the certainty of the Christian faith. He spent much of his free time up in the hay loft reading God’s Word and praying. During this year he had a deep spiritual experience, and after considerable searching, he knew God’s Word was true. (“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13)

The next year he started out for college—but with no money for tuition! He found a job stoking coal, having to rise very early to get the building warm by morning! This was heavy work requiring a lot of strength and discipline. Later on while young Will was still in college, his father became very ill again. Immediately relatives and friends insisted that Willie be told and brought home. And here enters a first “nobody”, a lovely lady who was very much a “somebody”, who changed the course of Will’s life. His older sister, Ellen, a mild mannered girl, sternly told them all, “Willie will not come home.” She did the farm work herself so Willie could stay in school!

Another “nobody” in the eyes of the world enters the life of Dr. Chisholm, a man named Mr. Stout. A number of students would go to his home for Bible study and prayer. They loved and respected this man for they could see he was mighty with God, a man of prayer whose prayers God heard. One day the thought passed Will’s mind, “I bet Mr. Stout is praying that I will be a medical missionary.” He felt quite indignant and his first impulse was to go and ask Mr. Stout to stop praying! Then, on second thought, he said to himself, “I can’t call myself a Christian and ask a man to stop praying for me.” Knowing the power Mr. Stout had in prayer he then said to himself almost dejectedly, “I just wonder if I won’t end up on some mission field because of this man!”

Through the fellowship of this wonderful man, Bill learned to pray. He started praying for his pastor, an unbeliever in a modernist church. Some weeks later this man received Christ as his Saviour, openly rejected the unbelief he had been preaching, and came out totally for Christ and the Word of God. Other wonderful answers to prayer were experienced at this time.

Another move was made because of his father’s health, and now we find Bill in California attending the University of California at Berkeley and then the University of California Medical School. While in medical school he became acquainted with some young men who were very active at San Francisco’s “City Mission.” There he started preaching to the “down-and-outers” and joined the Mission’s Street preaching efforts. From these experiences he developed a great love for street preaching and sharing the Gospel with all he met. This was to develop into a way of life for Bill Chisholm and in the many years to follow he was always busy “in season and out of season” to give the Gospel of God to all he would meet.

At this time World War I was raging and the government decided to draft young men out of medical school to go to war. Bill Chisholm was ordered to Camp Lewis. And it is here we come to a most important spiritual experience which God used mightily to affect the rest of his life and ministry. He was confronted with a struggle against sin and temptation, the struggles against the world and the prince of this world. While being confronted with this struggle, and searching the Word pf God for help, the great verse of the Reformation came to him in new light and power, “And now the just shall live by faith.” (Heb. 10:38). He realized right there that the battle was not his but the victory was his! His life was transformed; he experienced a new power which was never to leave him. Shortly after this the government changed its mind and ordered the medical students back to school!

A number of months had passed from the time that Bill was drafted to the time he was able to return to medical school. He had to study hard to catch up to the other students who had remained in school. At this time there was a Jewish professor who knew of Bill’s Street preaching with the City Mission and of his Christian testimony;—and he did not like it! He wanted Bill out of the Medical School. Again we see prayer so magnificent in the life of Bill Chisholm. Bill Was ordered to face an oral examination the next day before the Dean of the medical school. The examination could contain anything within the whole corpus of medical knowledge they had studied to date. How could Bill study for this? How could he review everything? Bill went to prayer and asked God to guide his study. He set upon a plan to study in depth a few areas and really be competent in them. He crammed and crammed and studied. The next day he faced the Dean with the Jewish professor at his side. The Dean walked up to a patient in the ward and began to ask Bill questions about the patient’s condition. And it “just happened” this patient had the very disease about which Bill had studied so hard the previous day! As the Dean asked questions, Bill answered with confidence and accuracy. After some time of this the Dean turned suddenly to the Jewish professor and said, “This man certainly knows all that you would expect at this stage of training, doesn’t he?” The Jewish professor answered meekly, “Well, yes, sir.” Bill was never again troubled by that man but became quite friendly with the Dean! Once again he experienced, “The just shall live by faith.”

In 1921 he graduated from Medical School and did his internship and residency in San Francisco, specializing as a surgeon. By the summer of 1923 he had been appointed as a missionary to Korea (Mr. Stout’s prayers were answered!) under the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. He was to go to the Board headquarters in New York and to take a brief course in linguistics. Bill spent a day or so studying the linguistics course but decided that this was not for him. He decided, instead, to go to Philadelphia to hear the report of the great Dr. Clarence Macartney about the General Assembly. This was the time of the Auburn Affirmation dispute. There was great division in the church over the matters of liberalism, supernaturalism, the inerrancy of the Scriptures, the Virgin Birth, and the Deity of Christ. These issues were raging.

And so Bill went with an old California friend, Hall Griffiths, to the Tenth Presbyterian Church to hear Dr. Macartney’s report. Bill happened to notice in front of him a lovely young lady wearing a most attractive hat! And after the meeting he was introduced to this young lady wearing the hat, by his friend, Hall. She was none other than Bertha Cowell—the wonderful woman who would soon be his wife and be a vital part of his testimony and ministry throughout these many decades.

In September 1923, Dr. and Mrs. Chisholm sailed for Korea, and in October they arrived in the small city of Sun Chun near the Manchurian border where they were to labor for many years in medical missionary work. It was not long before Bill realized that he had come to an impasse. The senior missionary did not believe in any Gospel preaching in the hospital; instead, good works were to lead the patients to God! Again Bill went back to prayer saying, “Lord, open up a way to present the Gospel to these patients.” Shortly thereafter the senior missionary came down with an acute pain that could not be diagnosed and lie had to return to America. Thus this obstacle was removed and Bill had free course to give out the Gospel! ____ —Some ugly accusations began to arise in his ministry—questions about his professional competency. After all, could anyone so interested in evangelism be a good doctor? Bill sent some of the cases that he had worked on, along with photographs, back to the United States. His work was found to be so excellent that in 1932, really as a very young man, he was admitted as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Later, he was to be admitted to the International organization as well, speaking thus to his professional competence as a first class surgeon whose work had to be reckoned with. All criticism of professional competence stopped!

What were some of his missionary methods? Well, his week went like this:

They would work hard all week in the hospital, and then when the weekend would come a group would take off for the country—Dr. Chisholm, an evangelist, and a mechanic, because the car kept breaking down! There is an interesting Story about their going over a bridge—just after the car reached the other side, the whole bridge collapsed! They had all kinds of exciting experiences! Bill would not start his medical work in these rural areas until the people first heard the Gospel message. The Gospel message was especially directed to those who had never heard of God, Jesus Christ, of the Bible. The interest and response was amazing. After the meeting he would attend to their medical needs. He would then leave the Evangelist in the area to tell more of the Gospel. Between forty and fifty groups and churches were formed in this way. At that time when the doors were so wide open to give out the Gospel, Dr. Chisholm felt compelled to work as hard as he could. The verse in John 9:4 often came to him, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work.”

There was opposition. His life was not easy. The life of the family was not easy. There were basically two opposing forces: political opposition and ecclesiastical opposition. Politically, this was the time of the Japanese occupation of Korea. The Korean people were ordered to bow at the Shinto Shrine. The Christians objected to this, knowing that this was a violation of the Second Commandment. The ecclesiastical opposition came from his own church. When the whole Shinto Shrine question became so strong, Bill sent a telegram to the Mission Board asking for advice on this difficult problem. The Board replied that he should send his hospital staff up to bow to the Shinto Shrine—it was only patriotism! But Bill knew it was not patriotism; it was a religious matter, and he would not cause his Korean brethren to sin against God. He closed the hospital and resigned from the USA Presbyterian Mission Board, joining The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, and, later, World Presbyterian Missions.

Life was in danger at that time, and they constantly had to bank on the protection of God. One night he was called down to the hospital and on his return two thugs (at the instigation of political forces) tried to hit him on the head with a huge club. He ducked, was hit on the shoulder, and turned around yelling, “Thief, thief!” The thugs became rattled and began to run, and he began to chase them! The verse came to him, “The wicked fleeth when no man pursueth”! As the political situation grew more and more precarious, the U.S. Government finally ordered its citizens back home. Even in leaving Korea, we see the protective and sovereign hand of God. Bill Chisholm was a strict Sabbatarian. As they planned their departure from Korea during these very tense days when their lives were in danger, Bill would not travel on the Sabbath. And so all arrangements were changed so they would leave two days earlier and thus avoid Sabbath travel. If the original arrangements had stood, he would have been apprehended by the police and incarcerated! But be-cause of his desire to keep the Sabbath even in times like this, the police got there one day too late!

Just as they were to board their ship in Japan to return home, God led Bill in a most amazing way. At a missionary prayer meeting in Japan, Bill met a Mr. Opper, an India missionary, recognizing him as the author of an article he had read some years before in the “Sunday School Times.” Bill told this man a little about their precarious position, asking him to pray for their protection. The missionary accompanied Bill to the ship to say goodbye. As they were ready to get on Board, Bill turned to Bertha saying, “You know, we have some money that may be frozen anyway outside of the Japanese Empire. Why don’t we give it to Mr. Opper?” Bertha agreed. Some of the other missionaries became interested and increased the amount. Some months later (because of war-time mail delays) they received Mr. Opper’s side of the story: He was taking a band of younger missionaries to India. The ship upon which they were to sail had been cancelled. They were forced to stay in Japan with bills rising daily. Mr. Opper had run out of money. He prayed that God would somehow meet this need, and each time the Devil would come to him saying, “You really are out of luck now. No one can help you here!” That afternoon at shipside he was given just enough money to pay his bills, and suddenly an opening was granted to sail to India—the last ship out before the war cancelled all shipping!

Bill Chisholm was a patient man. One of the great leaders of the Conservative Presbyterian Movement was very critical of this missionary doctor in Korea who stayed in the liberal church and wrote him up unceremoniously in his religious newspaper. When the family became upset and asked Bill what he was going to do about this, he answered, “If what he says is right, it is God speaking. If what he says is wrong, it is only a man speaking and it does not matter.” What a tremendous attitude!

When Dr. Chisholm returned to the United States during the war years, one of his former professors pressured him to join his lucrative medical practice. However, as Bill prayed about this, he felt God would have him continue on as a missionary—this time as Field Secretary for The Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. He traveled all over the United States presenting the Gospel and the need for conservative foreign missions.

After World War II he returned to Korea, in the Pusan area, staying there from 1948 to 1955. His ministry now seems even larger than it was in the former days in North Korea. The Lord opened up a radio ministry where he was able to speak over the whole Korean network, never paying a penny for it! This reached into Communist occupied North Korea as well as all of South Korea. He was active in the starting of a large Conservative Bible School and Seminary. Syngman Rhee, the president of Korea, was his friend and he was able to talk with him about the things of the Lord. When the Korean War started in 1950, his ministry enlarged again. He was given free access to give the Gospel to literally hundreds of thousands of North Korean POWs (sometimes he would find among them former patients on whom he had operated!). He was active in giving the Gospel to South Korean troops on the way to the front as well as the wounded who had returned from battle. Also, Bill and Bertha worked among the U.S. troops and opened their home to them. These were terribly busy days and richly rewarding in God’s service.

Dr. and Mrs. Chisholm returned to the United States in December 1955 because their youngest daughter, Mary, had contracted polio while in Korea. After returning to the States he again represented foreign missions around the country. He also helped out as an ad interim pastor to churches. He was always eager to give out the Gospel of God in any way possible. At gas stations, restaurants, barber shops, anywhere he was, he was always alert for every opportunity to give out a Gospel of John, tell the recipient about God’s offer of salvation, and urge him to read and re-read the little Gospel he had given him.

Dr. Chisholm undertook the representation of World Presbyterian Missions on the West Coast. His health was failing but he still joyfully accepted the opportunity to become Visitation Pastor at the Valley Presbyterian Church in California. He loved people and loved most the opportunity of ministering to them the things of God. Because of Bertha’s constant help, he was able to continue on in this work until 1973. For the last year and a half he was very sick. But even from his convalescent hospital bed, he radiated the love and joy of the Lord. On September 17, 1977 his earthly ministry ended and he entered into the glorious presence of his great Lord and Saviour. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. . .that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.” (Rev. 14:13). The Just shall live by faith!

Remarks made by Rev. Louie M. Barnes, at the funeral service for Dr. Chisholm,
September 20, 1977 at Valley Presbyterian Church, Sepulveda, California.

How can we find benefit in times of affliction, frailty and illness? For one, the Lord can use such times to “teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Ps. 90:12). There is the means—affliction, but note also the purpose—to apply our hearts unto wisdom, and also the method—teaching us to number our days. When we are well and prospering, it is so easy to rely upon our own efforts and to forget God. But He would have us to redeem the time, for the days are evil. (Eph. 5:16). Our Lord would have us to remember Him daily—constantly—to live our lives resting upon Him for all that we are and have.
The following material comes from 
THE NEW YORK OBSERVER, a 19th-century Presbyterian newspaper. The PCA Historical Center has a modest collection of these newspapers, and these two articles recently caught my eye.

“Words of a Childless Widow on the Benefit of Affliction.”

[excerpted from The New York Observer, 18.38 (19 September 1840), p. 1, columns 4-5.]

My husband died, and then disease seized on my children, and they were taken one by one. In the course of a few years, I had lain those in whom my heart was bound up, in the grave. Oh! They were many, many bitter tears that I shed. The world was dark. The very voice of consolation was a pain. I could sit by the side of my friend, but could not hear him speak of my departed ones. My affliction was too deep to be shared. It seemed as if God himself had deserted me. I was alone. The places at the table and the fireside remained—but they who filled them were gone. Oh the loneliness, as it had been a tome, of my chamber. How blessed was sleep! For then the dead lived again. They were all around me. My youngest child and last, sat on my knee—she leaped up in my arms, she uttered my name with infant joyousness; and that sweet tone was as if an angel had spoken to my sad soul. But the dream vanished, and the dreary morning broke, and I waked and prayed—and I sought forgiveness even while I uttered it for my unholy prayer—prayed that God would let me lie down in the grave side by side with my children and husband.

But better thoughts came. In my grief I remembered that though my loved ones were separated from me, the same Father—the same Infinite Love, watched over them as when they were by my fireside. We were divided, but only for a season. And by degrees my grief grew calmer. But since then, my thoughts have been more in that world, where they have gone, than in this. I do not remember less, but I look forward and upward more. I learned the worth of prayer and reliance. Would that I could express to every mourner how the sting is taken away from the grief of one, who with a true and full heart puts her trust in God. I can never again go into the gay world. The pleasures of this world are no longer pleasures to me. But I have trust and hope and confidence. I know that my Redeemer liveth. I know that God ever watches over his children. And in my desolation, this faith of the heart has long enabled me to feel a different kind of pleasure indeed, but a far deeper, though more sober joy, than the pleasures of this world ever gave me even when youth, and health, and friends all conspired to give them their keenest relish.

‘You have learned in your own heart,’ I said, ‘that all trials are not evils.’

It was with eyes up-turned to heaven, and gushing over with tears, not tears of sorrow, but gratitude, and with a radiant countenance, that she answered, in a tone so mild, so rapt, as if her heart were speaking to her God,—‘It has been good for me that I have been afflicted.’


And from that same issue of The New Yorker Observer, there is this under the title of:—
“The Test of Death.”

Death should ever be to us the memento, and the test of the true value, and the great ends of life. So prone are we to be engrossed with the world, to yield ourselves to its allurements and temptations, that we are often in danger of forgetting our mortality and the judgment, and of living unworthily of ourselves and below the great ends of our being. It is true, indeed, that serious reflection now and then comes, in pensive moments, to make us ponder the future; to wake us, as with an angel touch, to a full sense of all that we are, and of all to which God is calling us. And in such moments, how often do we resolve that we will live more for our immortality. But soon the current of earth again sweeps over us; soon we are walking over the very wreck of our solemn resolutions, planning as eagerly, grasping as largely as though we were to live here forever! and we need something, some ever-living monument, like the flaming sword of Eden to our first parents, to warn us away from our danger, to impress the lesson that here we are to live but a little while. And this DEATH is ever doing,—coming upon us suddenly, like the thunder-crash in the clear sky, or in the silent, steady progress of his ever destroying work. We are just on the point of yielding to temptation; and death echoes to our ears that he is bearing us tot he judgment, where, if we yield, a fearful account may be ours. We are strongly tempted to a course, to enter upon which would practically be saying that pleasure is our chief good; and death whispers to us, that he will soon touch with his blighting finger, every pleasure whose sources are below the skies. We are planning as earnestly, grasping as eagerly, as though the world might yet be ours; and, as we look up, death is standing by our side, telling of his claim from God upon us, and that in a little while he will crumble to the dust our every plan that takes not hold on heaven. We are neglecting growth in grace; and death, in solemn accents, warns us that we shall soon be where nothing will seem worthy of a thought compared with progress in holiness. We are living for the objects of time and sense—living in continued impenitence; and death, from the opening graves of those cut down by our side, thunders to us, that we too soon must follow, and that if we seek not God’s favor we are lost; that if we repent not, we perish!

Thus does death, ever beside us, like our own shadow, warn us to live in consistency with our probation, and for the great ends of our existence. Like the truest friend—not the one who merely amuses us in an idle hour, but who sternly rebukes our errors, and seeks our highest improvement, and whispers to us of heavenly purposes and of high and holy efforts,—like such a friend, death is ever calling us away from folly and sin, to all that is holy, to all that will fit us for heaven. Standing beside us, not with sombre, but ever with serious aspect, pointing us with deep solemnity to the grave—whither he will so soon bear us—reminding us that there is the test of life, surely it is wise for us to learn the lesson he is ever striving to impress. As the banner of the dying Saladin was borne through his armies with the monition, “This is all that remains of Saladin the great,” so should death impress upon our hearts, how little of earth will soon be left to us! As the herald was commanded by Philip daily to cry before him, “Remember, Philip, that thou art mortal,” so should death ever remind us of our mortality, and lead us to live for  a brighter and a better state! Death—DEATH, this is the TEST of LIFE!

T.E., September, 1840.


by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 102. What do we pray for in the second petition?

A. In the second petition, which, “Thy kingdom come,” we pray, that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed, and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it, and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.

Scripture References: Ps. 68:1; II Thess. 3:1; Ps. 51:18; Ps. 67:1-3; Rom. 10:1.


1. What is meant by “Thy kingdom” in this question?

The word “kingdom” in this question has a twofold meaning:
(1) The kingdom of grace in which He exercises His work in the hearts of His people.
(2) The kingdom of God’s glory in the other world. The first is the beginning of the second.

2. What does our petition involve when we pray “Thy kingdom come” to our Lord?

First, we are praying that God’s kingdom of grace might have free course in this world and that God might be glorified. Further, we are praying that Satan’s kingdom on this earth might be destroyed. Further, we are praying that His kingdom of grace might make those of us who are believers as those who are strengthened and established here on this earth. Second, we are praying that the second coming and appearance of our Lord may be hastened. We should be earnestly praying that this will come in His time and that we will be ready for it.

3. What is the “kingdom of Satan” referred to in the above answer?

The “kingdom of Satan” is everything in the whole universe that is contrary to the will of God. Satan has as the seat of his kingdom the heart of every man and woman by nature.

4. How can Satan’s kingdom be destroyed?

It can be destroyed only by the work of Christ, the Son of God, who came to destroy it (I John 3:8). It is destroyed partially when the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of sinners, through the Word of God, and conversion takes place. It will finally be destroyed when Jesus Christ comes again.

5. What would be one good test that our prayer, “Thy kingdom come” is sincere?

When we delight to do the will of God (Ps. 40:8).


One of the Puritans used to say that these words are “pinned as a badge to the sleeve of every true believer.” Indeed, such should be our badge and should be our daily prayer to Him. Every time we pray this portion of the Lord’s Prayer (“Thy kingdom come”) we should be thinking, in part, of that wonderful Day. The poet states it:

“What am I waiting for?—Jesus my Lord.
He’s coming to take me, so says the Word.
To be with Himself in the mansions above,
Enjoying forever His infinite love.”

How can we be certain that our lives are consistent with this wonderful prayer that is a badge on our sleevesd, by His grace? How can we prepare ourselves for the return of Jesus Christ?

First, we can have an expectancy of His coming that will enable us, motivate us, to flee from sin in our lives and hate it. Speaking of the return of Christ, Paul tells us, “. . .but let us watch and be sober.” We should be watchful regarding where we go, what we do and how we act in every situation. As we enter every situation, every conversation, our approach should be one that is in keeping with the sincere prayer, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

Second, we can be making each moment count for Him. We should be “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph. 5:16). We should (as the word “redeem” means here) be “buying up the time.” We should be convinced by Him that each moment is important in our testifying for Jesus Christ in our lives. As we are busy about our Master’s work indeed we will be praying with our lives, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

Third, we can be proving our relationship with Him by our concern for others. Herein lies one of the greatest faults of the average believer. He is a man that is certainly concerned with his own salvation but not too concerned for those about him. Matthew 25: 34-36 are words we need to take to heart and as we actively live them we are indeed crying out with words that show up in deeds, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

There are ever so many other methods we could mention. The question comes to us: Do we really want Him to come? Another question is asked with it: Is our desire for Him to come so firmly implanted as a badge on our sleeves that we are always ready for Him? May it be so, all to His glory.

Published by The Shield and Sword, Inc.
Dedicated to instruction in the Westminster Standards for use as a bulletin insert or other methods of distribution in Presbyterian churches.

Vol. 7, No. 7 (July 1968)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor.

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