June 2012

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This Day in Presbyterian History:  

The Christianizing of the Christian

With no relevant date readily associated with historic Presbyterianism on this June 30th day, we turn to the benefit of effectual calling known as sanctification.  Question and answer 35 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks and answers that “Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed, in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live  unto righteousness.”

If you can remember the answers to justification and adoption (S.C. 33 and 34), you see immediately that this benefit is a “work of God’s free grace,” not an “act of God’s free grace.”  The latter definition for justification and adoption spoke of something completed at once by God’s Spirit.  Sanctification is a work, that is, one of progress in this spiritual life.  As our title puts it, it is the Christianizing of the Christian.

The sphere and extent of this work of sanctification is “in the whole man,” or throughout the whole man.  Sanctification, like depravity, is total in extent, though partial in degree. Why is that?  Because sanctification is imperfect in this life.  There abides in each one of His people still some remnants of the corruption of sin in every part of us.  Paul realized this in Romans 7, when he acknowledged in verses 22, 23 “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.” (ESV)  The result of this is continual conflict between the flesh and the spirit, which are two opposite principles.

This work of God’s free grace has two aspects to it.  The first speaks of “dying unto sin.”  To die unto anything is to become indifferent to it, to shake off its power, to be superior to its attractions.  In sanctification, the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed and the several lusts are to be more and more weakened and put to death.

The other aspect of sanctification is “living unto righteousness.”  Holiness is to be our constant aim and lifestyle.  In fact, “sanctification” and “holiness” come from the same root word in the original.

The end of sanctification is “the image of God.”  Through His Spirit and Word, we are seeking to have a better likeness of God in our life.  He is to be seen in our thoughts, words, and actions.  This is the whole issue of sanctification.

Words to Live By: So, how is the work of sanctification going in your life?  Are you going forward or backward?  Two steps forward and one step backward?  This work is a lifelong work.  One day, in glory, we will have the final victory.  Look forward to that day, and be zealous in growing in grace and the knowledge of the LordJesus Christ on this day.

Through the Scriptures: Amos 7 – 9

Through the Standards: The Second Commandment: duties required

WLC 107, S.C. 49 — “Which is the second commandment?
A.  The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”

WLC 108 — “What are the duties required in the second commandment?
A.  The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God has instituted in his word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word; the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God; and vowing unto him; as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing all false worship; and, according to each one’s place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.”

WSC 50 — “What is required in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment requires the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God has appointed in his Word.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History:  

 A National Historic Site for Presbyterians

We may well wonder whether such a historic site would be  established in the twenty-first century, given our anathema and apathy toward spiritual matters in our land.  But it was set apart in the early part of the twentieth century by none other than the United States Congress and signed by President Franklyn D. Roosevelt on June 29, 1936.  It honored Presbyterian home medical missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman, who were martyred for their faith and deeds in 1847 by the very Indian tribe they had gone to evangelize and disciple.  (See August 18 and October 13, for other days regarding their godly faith and deeds.)

The Whitmans had joined the Henry Spaldings (also Presbyterian missionaries with a zeal to win native Indians to Christ) on a trip to the northwest territories.  Accompanying a group of fur traders, they had traveled west across the Continental divide.  The two missionary women were the first white women to do that.  Arriving near present day Walla Walla, Washington, they set up their medical center and mission church.  But growing tensions soon arose due to the presence of Western immigrants, many led by Marcus Whitman himself as “trail boss,” and a measles outbreak, which killed half of the tribe.  Blaming the deaths on the Whitmans, the Cayuse Indians massacred the Whitmans and eleven other people at the mission compound.

The bill signed into law creating the public national site and monument to the Whitman’s has some interesting words for a national historic site.  It reads in part that they “established their Indian missions and school, and ministry to the physical and spiritual needs of the Indians until massacred” by the Indians.

Marcus Whitman saved Oregon for the United States by  developing the Oregon Trail.

Words to Live By: What would you be willing to do for the sake of strangers outside of Christ in undeveloped countries of the world?  Not all of us are called to go, but all of us are to be willing to pray and support  those who are called to spread the unsearchable riches of Christ in these way.  Are you doing so now?  If not, consider beginning today to be “the support staff” of missionaries of the cross at home or in far away places.

Through the Scriptures: Amos 4 – 6

Through the Standards: Proof texts of the first commandment.

Exodus 20:3
“You shall have not other gods before Me.” (NASB)

1 Chronicles 28:9
“As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts.” (NASB)

Isaiah 43:10, 11
“‘You are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘And My servant whom I have chosen, In order that you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He.  Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.  I, even I, am the LORD’ And there is no savior besides Me.'” (NASB)

1 Corinthians 8:4 – 6
“Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” (NASB)

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This Day in Presbyterian History:  

Wonderful Songs Despite a Life of Sorrow

She could have been  bitter.  She could have blamed God for what happened to her.  She could have lived a life of depression and hopeless sorrow.  But Eliza Edmunds Hewitts did not do any of these.  Instead she lived a life of joy in anticipation of heaven’s shores.

Born June 28, 1851, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she attended public schools in the city..  Graduating valedictorian from the Girls Normal School, he became a teacher in the public school system of Philadelphia.  During one of those classes, an unruly student threw a large piece of slate at her.  Her career was cut short in teaching as the effect of that slate gave her a spinal injury.  She was confined to bed at first.  Eventually she was able to be partially restored, but the rest of her life was spent in great pain.

She began to study English literature at that time.  That study enabled her to sing and write Christian hymns and songs.  With the help of several composers, she wrote the words for approximately seventy-one hymns.  Several of her best hymns are “More about Jesus would I know,” “My faith has found a resting place,”  “Stepping in the Light,”  “Sunshine in my soul,”  “When we all get to heaven,” “Give me thy heart, says the Father above,” and “Will there be any stars in my crown?”

Her other field of labor was still in the teaching field.  She became the Sunday School superintendent at Calvin Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.  At one point, she oversaw 200 children. She was a regular contributor to “Sunday School Helps.”

She died on April 24, 1920, to receive the  stars in her crown for her spiritual work, despite a bed and life of pain.

Words to Live By:  The New Trinity Hymnal has only “More about Jesus would I know” on page 538.  The blue (old) Trinity Hymnal has “Give me thy heart” on pg 723.  Other evangelical hymnals will give you other favorites of Eliza (or E.E.) Hewitt. Why not join with a group of  Christians, or on Sunday evening for a hymn sing, to lend your voice to singing her  hymns of the faith?  Then discuss her life, of being by God’s strength, able to write and serve the Lord despite her physical pain.  It would be a profitable study.

Through the Scriptures: 2 Kings 14:26 – 29; Amos 1 – 3

Through the Standards:

WLC 105 — “What are we specially taught by these words [before me] in the first commandment?
A.  These words [before me] or before my face, in the first commandment, teach us, that God, who sees all things, takes special notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God: that so it may be an argument to dissuade from it, and to aggravate it as a most impudent provocation: as also to persuade us to do as in his sight, whatever we do in his service.”

WSC 48 — “What are we specially taught by these words [before me] in the first commandment?
A. These words [before me] in the first commandment teach us, That God, who sees all things, takes notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History:

A Plan of Action for Revival

If you look at some of the early Presbyterian Guardian issues on-line, you will notice on the masthead the name of the Constitutional Covenant Union.  What was this organization?

The Covenant Union was an independent agency organized after the 1935 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.  That national meeting brought some powerful indications that the conservative Presbyterians days were numbered in the visible church.  So there went out a call to the supporters of the true Presbyterians to come to Philadelphia for a meeting on June 27, 1935.  Over one hundred people answered the call.  The Constitutional Covenant Union was organized, with officers elected, an executive committee named, and a constitution adopted.  Chapters were to be organized, and a program of reform of the Presbyterian Church USA promoted.

That program was set introduced by an opening statement.  The purposes were two-fold.  It said, “we, the members of this Covenant Union are resolved, in accordance with God’s Word and in humble reliance upon His grace, to maintain the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the USA, (1) making every effort  to bring about a reform of the existing church organization and to restore the church’s clear and glorious Christian testimony, which modernism and indifferentism have now so grievously silenced, but (2) if such efforts fail, and in  particular, if the tyrannical policy of the present majority triumphs, holding ourselves ready to perpetuate the true Presbyterian Church, USA, regardless of cost.”

The meeting in Philadelphia would last from June 11 to June 14.  It was upon its closing promptly attacked by not only the church machine of the denomination, but also from a surprising corner in the Rev. Samuel Craig, editor of Christianity Today.  Remember, the latter magazine had been set up by Samuel Craig to expose the apostasy of the Presbyterian Church USA.  But there were changes being made in his purposes around this time.  Instead of supporting the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, he had resigned from both it, and the Board of Trustees of Westminster Seminary.  Now Craig was advocating the support of sound missionaries of the official Board of Foreign Missions.  When that became known, the Rev. McAllister Griffiths resigned as managing editor of Christianity Today, and became the editor of the Presbyterian Guardian.

Rallies began to be held in all parts of the country sponsored by this Covenant Union, with chapters formed in those areas.  However, even with this remnant meeting, it was obvious that the second purpose of the Covenant Union would be realized.  When the 1936 General Assembly met, and the supporters of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions were disciplined with expulsion, there was a call for another meeting.  Taking place on June 11 – 14 in Philadelphia, the Covenant Union was dissolved and the Presbyterian Church of America came into being.   (See June 11)

Words to Live By: J. Gresham Machen said on this occasion that we cannot trust the world.  We cannot trust civilization.  We cannot trust the visible church.  When God speaks through His Word, we can trust only Him.  His words are still true today.  Make the blessed Book of books your guide this day.

Through the Scriptures: 2 Kings 14:21 – 25; Jonah 1 – 4

Through the Standards: The first commandment: Sins forbidden

WLC 105 — What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?
A.  The sins forbidden in the first commandment are, Atheism, in denying or not having a God; Idolatry, in having or worshipping more gods than one, or any with or instead of the true God; the not having and avouching him for God, and our God; the omission or neglect of anything due to him, required in this commandment; ignorance, forgetfulness, misapprehensions, false opinions, unworthy and wicked thoughts of him; bold and curious searching into his secrets; all profaneness, hatred of God; self-love, self-seeking, and all other inordinate and immoderate setting of our mind, will, or affections upon other things, and taking them off from him in whole or in part; vain credulity, unbelief, heresy, misbelief, distrust, despair, incorrigibleness, and insensibleness under judgments, hardness of heart, pride, presumption, carnal security, tempting of God; using unlawful means, and trusting in lawful means; carnal delights and joys; corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal; lukewarmness, and deadness in the things of God; estranging ourselves, and apostatizing from God; praying, or giving any religious worship, to saints, angels, or any other creatures; all compacts and consulting with the devil, and hearkening to his suggestions; making men the lords of our faith and conscience; slighting and despising God and his commands; resisting and grieving of his Spirit, discontent and impatience at his dispensations, charging him foolishly for the evils he inflicts upon us; and ascribing the praise of any good we either are, have or can do, to fortune, idols, ourselves, or any other creature.”

WSC 47 — “What is forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment forbids the denying, or not worshiping and glorifying the true God as God, and our God; and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.”

This Day in Presbyterian History:  

Sad Schism Among the Saints

They were united in their conviction over the apostasy of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.  A number of the teaching and ruling elders had suffered over expulsion from the rolls of the visible church.  Others had lost church buildings, manses, and pensions.  But in God’s providence, they had gathered in great rejoicing to begin a new church faithful to the Scriptures, the Reformed faith, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They were one in coming out of the apostasy, but it was not too long before the members of the Presbyterian Church of America were divided over other issues.  It was at the third General Assembly of the P.C.A. in Philadelphia, as reported by the June 26th, 1937 Presbyterian Guardian, that these divisive issues came to the floor of the assembly.

The first one dealt with the issue of Independency versus ecclesiastical Presbyterianism within the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions.  Obviously, since 1933 at its organization, this mission board had not been affiliated with any denomination.  It was independent of it.  Independent agencies had always had a place within the American Presbyterian Church.  But now with the advent of the Presbyterian Church of America, the majority of the elders desired that a Presbyterian affiliation be adhered to again.  When Dr. J. Gresham Machen was voted off as president of the Independent Board, his place was filled by an Independent Presbyterian, with no affiliation with the new Presbyterian Church of America.  Further, the vice-president’s position was also filled by an individual who was independent of any ecclesiastical relationship to Presbyterianism.  Many members, including the General Secretary, Rev. Charles Woodbridge, resigned from the Independent Board.

The commissioners to the Third General Assembly, meeting in Philadelphia at the Spruce Street Baptist Church, overwhelmingly voted that the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions was no longer to be an agency for foreign missions by the Presbyterian Church of America.  By that same margin, they voted to endorse a new Committee on Foreign Missions by the P.C.A.

The second issue dealt with whether total abstinence from alcoholic beverages was to be the position of the church.  While it was acknowledged that the greater number of delegates to the assembly abstained from alcohol, yet they were  hesitant to make it a rule for the church, but instead leave it as a matter of Christian liberty to its membership.  This position was especially difficult for pastors in the middle west of the country who were fighting the saloon trade in western towns.  Given the national issue then in the country over the temperance issue, it was thought that this would have been a wise decision.  But again the Assembly refused by a wide margin to make total abstinence the only true principle of temperance.

It is interesting that Westminster Theological Seminary, soon after this assembly, stated to its students, that “to avoid any misconception by the public, a rule is established forbidding all beverage use of alcoholic liquors upon the grounds and in the buildings of the seminary.”

At the end of this assembly, those who  had been in the minority on both of these issues, gathered to begin what became the Bible Presbyterian church. (See June 4) What had been a united front before the watching world became two smaller church bodies of Presbyterians.

Words to Live By:   It is easy to look back at a later date and see the “right thing” to do.  But it is obvious that there were unfounded rumors of wild drinking parties on Westminster Seminary grounds as well as  a lack of understanding by some elders of the challenges facing pastors of western churches.  To be sure, the guiding wisdom of a J. Gresham Machen was missing from the assembly with his entrance into the heavenly kingdom earlier that year.  But all elders, both teaching and ruling elders, are to filled with the Spirit.  And working within the framework of love, deal wisely with others who differ from them in points of contention.   Let us learn to do this in our own circles.

Through the Scriptures:  Joel 1 – 3

Through the Standards:  The first commandment: Required duties

WLC 103 — Which is the first commandment?
A.  The first commandment is, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

WLC 104 — “What are the duties required in the first commandment?
A. The duties required in the first commandment are, the knowing and acknowledging of God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly, by thinking, meditating, remembering, highly esteeming, honoring, adoring, choosing, loving, desiring, fearing of him; believing him, trusting, hoping, delighting, rejoicing in him; being zealous for him; calling upon him, giving all praise and thanks, and yielding all obedience and submission to him with the whole man; being careful in all things to please  him, and sorrowful when in any thing he is offended; and walking humbly with him.”

WSC 45 — “Which is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

WSC 46 — “What is required in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment requires us to know and acknowledge God to be the holy true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History:   

A Church Planter Par Excellence

It was one of the longest funeral processions in which I had been privileged to drive.  And as a veteran pastor, I have had my share of those somber experiences.  But this procession of cars on August 23, 2001 stretched completely from the south  end of Leesburg, Virginia to the north end of that same town.  Every intersection was blocked off by members of Leesburg’s finest, so the cars could drive straight through to the cemetery, without stopping.  As I watched the Leesburg citizens go through their daily chores, paying scant attention to this slowly moving cavalcade of cars, I wanted to shout to them from my driver’s seat open window by saying, “Don’t you realize that a prince of Israel has entered heaven’s gates?” But it would have done little good. Then I realized suddenly that the hosts of heaven were already welcoming this child of God into the heavenly streets of gold, that they were singing praises to the King of kings, and Lord of Lords, with Edward Louis Kellogg joining in that praise.

Edward Louis Kellogg was born on June 25, 1912 in Wheaton, Illinois.  With an address like that, you would wonder if he was related in some way to that college.  And he was related, with his great-grandfather being Jonathan Blanchard, the founder and first president of the college.  So of course, after highschool, he went to Wheaton as a student.  Meeting his future wife Eleanor Peterman there, they eventually went to Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia, where Ed sat under J. Gresham Machen, Cornelius Van Til, and John Murray.  Graduating from Westminster, at first they wished to go to the foreign field, but scarcity of funds prohibited that.  It was clearly God’s will that he stay in this country and start churches.

After eight years in Middletown, Pennsylvania at the Orthodox Presbyterian Church there, he moved out to California in 1954.  By this time, he and Eleanor had become parents to three children.  Two more children would be born in California.    Eight daughter churches would be started by the spiritual gifts of this man of God.  He would serve in seven churches (with some overlap to the eight daughter churches) in all.

He went to be with the Lord in 2001 to receive his rewards for service to Christ and Christ’s church.

Also on this day:
The PCUSA’s Donegal Presbytery received a letter of renunciation from George W. Marston, Franklin S. Dyrness and Everett C. DeVelde. These men were standing for the testimony of a faithful witness to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Words to Live By:  God’s overruling providence always gives us peace and contentment as to God’s will for our lives.  Learn to pray for, and live in, the light of that sure direction from your Sovereign God.

Through the Scriptures: 2 Kings 11 – 14:20

Through the Standards:  Sum of the first four commandments, then all of them

WLC 102 — “What is the sum of the four commandments which contain our duty to God?  A.  The sum of the four commandments containing our duty to God is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind.”

WSC 42 “What is the sum of the ten commandments?
A.  The sum of the ten commandments is, To love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.

Image source :
Photograph of Edward L. Kellogg, from page 54 of The First Ten Years: The Orthodox Presbyterian Church, 1936-1946. Philadelphia: The Committee on Home Missions and Church Extension, 1946.

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This Day in Presbyterian History: June 24 

An Honest Man was His Epitaph

He was the fifty-fifth delegate to sign the Declaration of Independence, even though he signed the historic document  three months after July 4, 1776.  He was a Presbyterian, and a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church of Londonderry, New Hampshire.  He was in local, state, and Federal governments, serving his fellow citizens.  But beyond all these kudos, it was said that he was “consistent and zealous Christian.”  He was Matthew Thornton.

Born in Ireland of Scottish ancestry, from the northern Ireland Protestant section of that country, Matthew Thornton was brought to this country by his parents at the age of three.  Settling in what later on became Maine, God’s providence preserved them from hostile Indian attacks.  Once, his parents and Matthew had to flee a burning cabin to save their lives.  They all moved to Worcester, Massachusetts.  Later they moved to Londonderry, New Hampshire in 1740, where Matthew would live for the next four decades.

Studying medicine there, Matthew Thornton became a successful physician.  Even through this, he served his country, accompanying New Hampshire militia as they fought the French.  In other regiments, death came heavily through fighting and disease, but in Dr. Thornton’s regiment, only six soldiers lost their life in the campaign, due to the skill of this man.

With the rise of the American Independence movement, he entered politics, but not in a way so as to divorce his biblical background.  He would serve in local and state government, as justice of the peace, chief justice of the Court of Common Pleas, and a member of the Second,  Third,  Fourth and Fifth Provincial Congress.  In fact, he was the President of the last Provincial Congress.

Elected next to the Continental Congress, he went to Philadelphia where on November 4, 1776,  he signed the Declaration of Independence.  He served his one year but refused a second year in the national body.

As a Christian, it has been said that “no man was more deeply impressed with a belief in the existence and bounties of an overruling Providence” than Matthew Thornton.  He used Providence as a synonym of God here, as many of our forefathers did.

Married to Hannah Jack, the union produced five children.  He died on June 24, 1803.  Upon his grave stone is the epitaph, “An Honest Man.”

Words to Live By: As the country approached war with England, Thomas Thornton wrote a letter to all the citizens of New Hampshire, telling them that they needed to come together as Christians and rest upon their faith.   The separation of church from state did not mean separation of the state from the God of the Bible.  We must be diligent to interpret that familiar expression in the right sense of which it was understood by our forefathers.

Through the Scriptures: 2 Kings 7 – 10

Through the Standards: Preface to the Ten Commandments

WLC 101  — “What is the preface to the ten commandments?
A. The preface to the ten commandments is contained in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of  the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.  Wherein God manifests his sovereignty, as being JEHOVAH, the eternal, immutable, and almighty God; having his being in and of himself, and giving being to all his words and works: and that he is a God in covenant, as with Israel of old, so with all his people; who, as he brought them out of their bondage in Egypt, so he delivers us from our spiritual thraldom; and that therefore we are bound to take him for our God alone, and to keep all his commandments.”

WSC 43 — “What is the preface to the ten commandments?
A. The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” ; S.C. 44 “The preface to the ten commandments teaches us, That because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History: 

The Rebel’s High Priest

On this day of June 23, 1780, an American Revolutionary Battle took place in Springfield, New Jersey.  Ordinarily we might think that this has no place in a historical devotional, but it does, because of the presence of the Rev. James Caldwell, pastor of the Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church.

Rev Caldwell was known as “the Rebel’s High Priest.”  His congregation in present day Elizabeth, New Jersey, had provided forty line officers to the American Continental army.  And Caldwell himself was the chaplain of  Col. Elias Dayton’s Regiment in George Washington’s army.

This military campaign by the British and their German Hessian compatriots was a major push into New Jersey.  They had a total of 6000 men.  George Washington’s army, faced with diminishing supplies and desertions of men,  had only about 3500, and not all of them  at Springfield, New Jersey.  So they were outnumbered 5 to 1 in their battles.

At the key point outside of Springfield, N.J., the American troops were out of wadding, the paper necessary to fire their muskets accurately.  All along the line, there came cries of “Wadding!  Give us wadding.”  Rev. Caldwell was then riding  up on his horse to encourage his men when he heard the cry for wadding.  Riding back to the Springfield Presbyterian church and manse, he gathered the psalm hymn books, and threw them to the men.  Referring to English hymn writer Isaac Watts, he called out “Give ’em Watts, boys, give ’em Watts boys.”

That line of “given them Watts, boys” has become the symbol of the forgotten battle of Springfield.  The British eventually retreated from the battlefield, making the battle of Springfield an American victory.  British troops never again entered New Jersey, with this battle being the last one up north in the Colonies.

Words to Live By: Rev. Caldwell would be killed a little over a year later, just as his wife had been killed at this battle.   The sacrifices of all our American Revolutionary forefathers involved much sacrifice.  The question naturally arises, what are we willing to give up for the sake of the victory of the gospel over the enemies of the faith?

Through the Scriptures: 2 Kings 4 – 6

Through the Standards: Rules to rightly understand the moral law

WLC 99  — “What rules are to be observed for the right understanding of the ten commandments?
A. For the right understanding of the ten commandments, these rules are to be observed: 1. That the law is perfect, and binds every one to full conformity in the whole man unto the righteousness thereof, and unto entire obedience for ever; so as to require the utmost perfection of every duty, and to forbid the least degree of every sin. 2. That it is spiritual, and so reaches the understanding, will, affections, and all other powers of the soul; as well as words, works, and gestures. 3. That one and the same thing, in diverse respects, is required or forbidden in several commandments. 4. That as, where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden; and, where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded: so, where a promise is annexed, the contrary threatening is included; and, where a threatening is annexed, the contrary promise is included.  5. That what God forbids, is at no time to be done; what he commands, is always our duty; and yet every particular duty is not to be done at all times. 6. That under one sin or duty, all of the other kind are forbidden or commanded; together with all the causes, means, occasions, and appearances thereof, and provocations thereunto. 7. That which is forbidden or commanded to ourselves, we are bound according to our places to endeavor that it may be avoided or performed by others, according to the duty of their places.  8. That in what is commanded to others, we are bound, according to our places and callings, to be helpful to them; and to take heed of partaking with others in what is forbidden them.”

WLC 100 — ” What special things are we to consider in the ten commandments?
A. We are to consider in the ten commandments, the preface, the substance of the commandments themselves, and several reasons annexed to some of them, the more to enforce them.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History:  

A Strange Name Merits our Attention

He was a tent-maker church planter in the latter part of the sixteen hundreds in what is now Virginia.  Born in Ireland, this unmarried  Presbyterian pastor came over to our shores to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ to the lost souls of the colonies. He found countless Scotch – Irish immigrants who valued his ministry as they were sheep without a shepherd. The earliest record we have of him is June 22, 1692 in the county records of what later became Norfolk, Virginia.  Who was he?

If you answered Josias Mackie, you would be right on target.  What is interesting about him is that he was not a member of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, which began in 1706.  His name is not listed on any Presbytery back in Ireland.  But we have a reference to his request that he be allowed to preach at three houses in the Norfolk, Virginia area, namely,  the houses of Thomas Ivey, Richard Phillpot, John Roberts, and adding a fourth in 1696, the house of  John Dickson.  Eventually these four house churches were brought together into a small congregation.  He was to proclaim God’s Word to these hardy Scotch-Irish Presbyterians for two plus decades.

We know from his will, which was left to his three sisters in Ireland, that he owned both land and horses.  We know that he was a planter and a merchant.  Somewhere around 1716, there is a mention by the Philadelphia Presbytery of “melancholy circumstances” in his life, to which they gave their sympathy.  The overall conclusion of later Presbyterians was that he was “a good man, a true Presbyterian, bold, active, and laborious.”

What stands out about his life and ministry is the prayer when he went home to glory.  He said on that occasion, “Being heartily sorry for my sins past, and most humbly desiring forgiveness of the same, I commit my soul to Almighty God, trusting to receive full pardon, and free justification, through the merits of Jesus Christ.” In these words, we have a strong hint of his spiritual life and public preaching, all of which we can emulate to the glory of God and the good of His people.

Words to Live By: There are countless in the history of the church who are totally unknown to the members of that same church. By this, I mean, how many of you knew the name of Josais Mackie before this historical devotional?  And yet, laboring in difficult circumstances in the earliest days of this country, he was faithful to his calling. Let us pray for all those laborers in God’s kingdom of grace, who are unrecognized by God’s people, but still persevere  in the work of the gospel.

Through the Scriptures: 2 Kings 1 – 3

Through the Standards: Moral law summarized in Ten Commandments

WLC 98 “Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A.  The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments, which were delivered by the voice of God upon Mount Sinai, and written by him in two tables of stone; and are recorded in the twentieth chapter of Exodus.  The first four commandments containing our duty to God, and the other six our duty to man.”

WSC 41 “Where is the moral law summarily comprehended?
A.  The moral law is summarily comprehended in the ten commandments.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History: 

Rescue on Their Honeymoon

The seminary president had finally tied the knot in marriage with his secretary Grace Sanderson.  The happy couple went west from the campus in Delaware to the Grand Canyon for their honeymoon.  It was a trip which included the joys of married love, the rapture of God’s creation in the Canyon, the thrill of hiking on  the trails of that part of the state of Colorado, the rescue of the World War II flyers who had crashed in their bomber over the Canyon . . . wait, the rescue of crashed flyers on their honeymoon?  Yet that was the experience of Allan and Grace MacRae on their honeymoon on June 21, 1944.

The event was widely reported in newspapers around the country. Even a year later, the daring rescue was still being talked about. We quote from an article written by the Rev. Donald E. Hoke (later to become one of the founding fathers of the PCA), that appeared in the June 1945 issue of Sunday magazine :

When he rescued three army airmen from the depths of the Grand Canyon last summer, the Philadelphia Bulletin headlined him as “Bearded, Bespectacled, Theological Bridegroom.”
The editor’s description was timely, but by no means exhaustive of the versatile mountain-climber’s talents and appearance. For by profession, Allan A. MacRae is a semitic scholar, archaeologist, teacher, and president of a fast-growing interdenominational seminary with a nation-wide influence.
Front page publicity sky-rocketed him into prominence last June when together with a veteran ranger he descended the heretofore unscaled north wall of the Grand Canyon (Ariz.) and led out three fliers who had been marooned in the inaccessible gorge for a week.
Pictures of him, looking more like a Forty-niner than a dignified theologian as he brought the men out, made the front page on all big city dailies and news reels, for the marooned fliers had been spot news for a week. And the circumstances surrounding his presence in the canyon made a human interest story the news hounds devoured.
For Allan MacRae and his bride of less than a month were honeymooning in the beautiful but desolate valley where he was drafted for the rescue….
Rushed to the opposite side of the canyon by army jeep, MacRae and a veteran ranger studied maps of the steep north wall and started down. Soon they discovered a narrow deer trail, invisible on air maps, and followed it 550 feet down the famous precipitous  Red wall. Camping over night at its base, they found the three men the following day and started back the miraculous route they had discovered.

Words to Live By:

Back in Wilmington, Delaware a few weeks later, MacRae was besieged with invitations to tell his story. At first he demurred, then decided that there might be an unparalleled opportunity to give a gospel message…
Like the fliers, all men are lost, in the abyss of sin. For them there is no way out. Their need? A revelation from above, like the messages parachuted to the marooned men. But it is not enough to then just know your lost condition, some one must help you out. And Jesus Christ, he concludes, is God’s rescuer to lost men—He descended to our level that He might bring us back to His.

Through the Scriptures: 1 Kings 20 – 22

Through the Standards: Proof texts of the law of God, in general

Deuteronomy 29:29
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (ESV)

Micah 6:8
“He has told  you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (ESV)

1 Samuel 15:22b
“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (ESV)

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