January 2014

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On the Death of a Christian.

J.J. JanewayOn Sabbath, January 31, [1858] he was confined to that bed, from which he never arose. Five months of wearying sickness passed away till all was over. He never complained—always said he did not suffer, though it seemed to his attendants almost impossible that he did not. The coloured man who had long lived in his house nursed him faithfully. His children were much with him. At times his disease appeared so violent that it seemed impossible that he could survive. But he rallied again. He insisted that morning and evening worship should be performed in his chamber, and readily detected the absence of any of his servants. Worship was ordinarily performed by one of his sons. If at any time their own duties compelled them to be absent, he would be propped up in his bed, and utter his usual fervent prayers.

Disease obscured his mind, and caused confusion and wandering. But on the subject of religion, or any exposition of the Scripture, he was clear as ever. Not one syllable is he remembered to have uttered which betrayed confusion, where the interests of Christ’s kingdom were concerned. When any of his grandchildren approached him who were not in communion with the church, he faithfully conversed with them—bade them meet him at the judgment-seat, on the right hand. He was remarkably earnest in his appeals, and enforced them with urgency. The ruling passion was strong in death.

When he was told of the occurent revivals of the noon-day meetings for prayer, and of the general interest manifested everywhere in religion, his countenance beamed, and he said there were more glorious days at hand, and that the Redeemer’s kingdom would be ushered in by such displays of grace. Towards the close, he said to his eldest son : ” I am tired of eating—I want to go home!” But still the strong man of his constitution struggled with disease; pin after pin seemed loosening in the tabernacle; symptom after symptom developed unfavourably, but his frame did not succumb. The nature of his disease was such as to prevent such exhibitions as are often seen in God’s dying children. This was the appointment of God, and a life of such eminent holiness did not require any other illustration of the grace of God. At the close of June, he became unconscious, and lay for two or three days without any communion with the outer world. His children were with him, hourly waiting for his departure, and at last, on Sabbath, June 27th, just before the setting of the sun, he entered on his eternal Sabbath, and doubtless, as a good and faithful servant, was received by his Lord, whom he had served earnestly, in as far as the imperfection which cleaves to our nature permitted.

His funeral was attended in the First Presbyterian church, when the Rev. Dr. Hodge, who had been received by him, in the dew of his own youth, into the communion of the church, preached his funeral sermon, full of affection, and replete with memorials of his deceased  and venerable friend.    Devout men carried him to his tomb—Christian ministers who had come at the summons, from their homes, to see the last of one whom they venerated when living, and mourned when removed. After the death of his wife, he had built for himself a family tomb, and was anxious that it should be of capacity sufficient to accommodate the remains of his family, and of his children to the fourth generation. He seemed to take pleasure in the thought that their dust should repose together till the morning of the resurrection, and rise, he trusted, an unbroken family, to the right hand of his Saviour.

[Excerpted from The Life of Dr. J. J. Janeway, pp. 260-261.]

Words to Live By:
May we all die well; may we all die in Christ, our names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life; may we all, in this life and while there is life, seek Christ as our only Savior and Lord.

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The Glory of Christian Fellowship

As the Rev. Dr. William Buell Sprague worked to compile biographies of American pastors, he solicited submissions from other pastors. The famous Princeton Seminary professor Samuel Miller submitted a number of such recollections and among them, this eulogy on the life of the Rev. Alexander McLeod, a most remarkable Reformed Presbyterian pastor. Dr. McLeod died in 1833, the year that the Reformed Presbyterian denomination split. In that division, McLeod’s son, John Niel McLeod, sided with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, General Synod, a denomination which later merged with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church [1956-1965] to form the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES), and the RPCES merged in with the PCA in 1982, thus making all of that history a part of the history of the PCA :—

Neagle-Sartain portraitFROM THE REV. SAMUEL MILLER, D.D.

Theological Seminary, Princeton. January 30,1849.

Rev. and dear Sir : In thinking of the appropriate subjects of the large work on Clerical Biography in  which you have  for some time been engaged, I of course expected you to include a notice of the life and character of the late Alexander McLeod, D.D., of the city of New York.  Few names among the departed have a higher claim to a place in your list, than the name of that distinguished divine.  When, therefore, I was requested, as one who had enjoyed the privilege of an early acquaintance and friendship with him, to make my humble contribution towards embalming his memory, I felt as if an honour had been conferred upon me, which I could not too promptly or cor­dially acknowledge.

You will no doubt be furnished from another source with all the desirable historical notices concerning his nativity, his education, and the leading events of his literary and ecclesiastical life. On these, therefore, I shall not dwell ; but shall content myself with merely stating my general impressions and esti­mate of his character, as a Man and as a Minister of the Gospel.

mcleod01My acquaintance with Dr. McLeod commenced in the year 1801, soon after he had accepted a pastoral charge in the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the city of New York, where I then resided. I had never before heard of him; but my first interview with him gave him a place in my mind seldom assigned to one so youthful.  His countenance beaming at once with intelligence and benevolence, his attractive manners and his conversation, though marked with a modesty becoming his age, yet abounding in evidence of intellectual vigour and unusual literary culture, mature theological knowledge and decided piety, made an impression on me which I shall never forget. This impression was confirmed and deepened by all my subsequent intercourse with him.

At the period of which I speak, there was a Clerical Association in the city of New York, which was in the habit of meeting on Monday morning of each week. This Association comprehended most of the ministers of the different Presbyterian denominations in the city. The exercises consisted of prayer, conversation, both general and prescribed, and reading compositions on impor­tant subjects. In this delightful Association I was so happy as to enjoy, for ten or twelve years, the privilege of meeting with Dr. McLeod weekly, and seeing him in company and conversation with the Pastors venerable for their age and standing, in that day; and I must say that the longer I continued to make one of the attendants on those interviews, the higher became my esti­mate of his various accomplishments as a Scholar, a Christian, and a Divine.

Dr. McLeod had a remarkably clear, logical and comprehensive mind. As a Preacher, he greatly excelled.  For, although he seldom wrote his sermons, and never read them in public, yet they were uncommonly rich and instruc­tive, and at the same time animated, solemn, and touching, in their appeals to the conscience and the heart.  As a Writer, his printed works are no less honourable to his memory. His Lectures on the Prophecies, his Sermons on the War of 1812, and his Discourses on the Life and Power of true Godliness, to say nothing of other publications of real value, though of minor size, all evince the richly furnished Theologian, the sound Divine, and the experimen­tal Christian, as well as the polished and able Writer. So great indeed was his popularity in the city of New York, far beyond the bounds of his own ecclesiastical denomination, that several of the most wealthy and respectable churches in the city, in succession, invited him to take the pastoral office over them.  His attachment, however, to that branch of the Presbyterian Body in which he began his ministerial career, was so strong that he never could be persuaded to leave her communion.

After I left New York, on my removal to Princeton, in the year 1813, I rarely visited the city, and almost always in the most transient manner, so that, after that year, I seldom saw Dr. McLeod. I had only two or three short interviews with him at different and distant intervals. In a few years his health became impaired, and not long after so fatally undermined, that he exchanged his ministry on earth for the higher enjoyments and rewards of the sanctuary above.  In the retrospect of my life, I often call to mind the image of this beloved and cherished friend, and dwell upon his memory as that of a great and good man, from my intercourse with whom I am conscious of having derived solid advantage as well as much pleasure.  But I, too, must soon ” put off this tabernacle,” and then I trust we shall be re-united in a better world, and be permitted to study and to enjoy together, to all eternity, the wonders and the glories of that redeeming love, which I have so often heard him exhibit with feeling and with power while he was with us.

That  you  and I, my dear Sir, may be more and more prepared  for that blessedness, is the unfeigned prayer of your friend and brother in Christ,

SAMUEL

Words to Live By:
What a wonderful privilege and gift is the fellowship that Christians share with one another. Cultivate it wherever you can, and don’t neglect it. It is a beautiful fruit of our union with Christ, that in our belonging to the Savior, so we belong to one another and share with one another all the joys and all the trials of this life. More than that, we share in our common love of a Savior who first loved us and died for us, that we might have fellowship with Him throughout all eternity. Beloved, pray for one another. Pray particularly for your brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer daily because of the salvation which is found in Jesus Christ alone.

For Further Study:
One of Rev. McLeod’s more notable works, Negro Slavery Unjustifiable, is posted on the PCA Historical Center web site in PDF format. This same text is available elsewhere on the Internet, but this particular edition faithfully retains the pagination of the original 1802 printing line for line, and may be used for citations. Additionally, annotations have been added in a light gray text to illuminate some of Rev. McLeod’s references.

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His epitaph, composed by the Rev. William Arthur of Pequea, read as follows:

lattaJamesIn memory of
THE REV. DR. JAMES LATTA,
Who died 29th January, 1801, in the 68th year of his age.
By his death, society has lost an invaluable member;
Religion one of its brightest ornaments, and most amiable examples.
His genius was masterly, and his literature extensive.
As a classical scholar, he was excelled by few.
His taste correct, his style nervous and elegant.
In the pulpit he was a model.
In the judicatures of the Church, distinguished by his accuracy and precision.
After a life devoted to his Master’s service,
He rested from his labours, lamented most by those who knew his words.
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth;
Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours,
And their works do follow them.”

Having read that assessment of the man, it might easily be said, “There were giants in those days.” James Latta was born in Ireland in the winter of 1732, migrating to this country when he was just six or seven years old. Ordained an evangelist by the Presbytery of Philadelphia in the fall of 1759, he was later installed as pastor of the Deep Run church in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1761. He remained in this pulpit until 1770. resigning there to answer a call to serve the congregation of Chestnut Level, in Lancaster county, PA. One account notes that “the congregation at that time was widely scattered and weak. The salary promised in the call was only one hundred pounds, Pennsylvania currency, which was never increased, and rarely all paid.” Friends prevailed upon him to educate their sons, and the school he reluctantly started prospered, until the Revolutionary war brought things to a close, with many of the older students joining the army.

During the war, Rev. Latta served as a private and a chaplain in the Pennsylvania Militia, and after the war, he returned to his pulpit in Chestnut Level. The first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. convened in 1789. Two years later, Rev. Latta was honored to serve as the Moderator of the third General Assembly, in 1791. Latta continued as the pastor of the Chestnut Level congregation until the time of his death, in 1801.

Words to Live By: Rev. Latta’s biographer says of him, that as a preacher, he was faithful to declare the whole counsel of God. While he comforted and encouraged true Christians, he held up to sinners a glass in which they might see themselves; but, in addressing them, he always spoke as with the compassion of a father. The doctrines of Grace were the burden of his preaching.”  God give us faithful pastors who will minister the Word of God in Spirit and in truth.

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EDWARD PORTER HUMPHREY, D.D., L.L.D., was the eldest son of Rev. Dr. Herman and Sophia Port Humphrey, and was born in Fairfield, Conn., January 28, 1809, and died in Louisville December 9, 1886.

He was from one of the oldest English-American families.  The first of his ancestors in England were those who followed William the Conqueror from Normandy in 1066.  Dr. Herman Humphrey, the father of Dr. E. P. Humphrey, was for twenty-two years president of Amherst College.  One can trace in the father’s character and career a marked similarity to the character and career of his eldest son, the Rev. Dr. E. P. Humphrey.  Both were eminently successful in the pulpit and in their services among the people.  Both were distinguished teachers, excelling in clearness of mind and in lucidity of statement.  Both were wide in their sympathies, counting nothing beyond them when their fellow-men were concerned.  Each after retiring from active service lived to enjoy the honors and esteem of those whom they had served so faithfully, and yet each was, to the quiet close of an eventful life, untiring in all the labors of which his constitution was capable. One might write of Dr. E. P. Humphrey as was written of his father, “As the years went on the position accorded him in the town was phenomenal.

In connection with many families his relationship was truly patriarchal.  Their homes, their tables, their gardens with all they contained of bounty or fruitage were as open to him as if each had been his own.  The sick and the dying watched eagerly for his coming, and for the comfort of his ministrations, and when some heavy sorrow fell with crushing weight upon a household the most natural cry seemed to be: `Send for Doctor Humphrey.'”

Dr. Edward Porter Humphrey’s youth was spent in Connecticut. He was prepared for college at the academy in Amherst, Massachusetts, and in 1828 he graduated with honor from Amherst College.  In 1831-32 he was principal of the academy at Plainfield, Connecticut.  During this time he pursued his theological studies, and in 1833 graduated at the Andover Theological Seminary.  His inclination led him to begin his ministry in the Southwest, and during the year 1834 he labored in connection with the Presbyterian church in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

In 1835 he became pastor of the Second Presbyterian church in this city.  He gave himself completely up to work in the interest of his church for eighteen years, and his influence was felt, not only in its rapid and permanent growth, but also in a marked degree throughout the city, and in the entire denomination to which he belonged.

Dr. Humphrey, as early as 1852, was elected Moderator of the General Assembly of the then Old School Presbyterian Church, and his sermon, called “Our Theology,” preached at Charleston, S. C., as retiring Moderator, was circulated by the Presbyterian Board of Publication for many years after.  Dr. Humphrey preceded Dr. Stuart Robinson as pastor of the old Presbyterian church on Third street, between Green and Walnut, which was afterward converted into a theater, and is now known as the Metropolitan building.  His eloquence, when pastor of this church from 1835 to 1853, won him great fame.  His discourse at the dedication of the Cave Hill cemetery, in 1848, was rich in eloquence and classical learning, and strong in that faith in immortality which he taught at all time.

In 1852 he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity from Hanover College, Indiana.  In 1853 he was appointed by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, professor in Princeton Theological Seminary.  This he declined, but soon after he accepted the professorship of Church History in the Theological College in Danville, Ky.  It was during the latter years of his residence in Danville, 1851-66, that the exigencies occasioned by the bitter and disastrous civil strife called into prominence many of his distinguishing characteristics.  Among these were his unwavering loyalty to the National Government, together with a magnanimity and conciliation of spirit which were potent influences in hastening the return of concord and amity, both in society and in the church. In 1866, in response to an urgent appeal, he returned to Louisville to take temporary charge of a new church made up of many members of the old Second Church, of which he had been pastor for eighteen years.  The new organization was called the College Street church.  His health, which had begun to fail, rapidly improved on his return to Louisville, and he became permanent pastor of the new church.  Under his ministry it became one of the largest and most influential congregations in the city.  In 1871 his Alma Mater, Amherst College, conferred the degree of L.L. D., on him.  He continued his labors as pastor and preacher until 1880, when he retired from the active duties of his pulpit and was succeeded in the new and handsome church, which his congregation had built, by Rev. Dr. Christie.

After his retirement he engaged in literary and theological work, and spent the remainder of his life among the people to whom he had devoted himself in his early manhood.  The positions which Dr. Humphrey occupied demanded rare qualities and gifts, and with these he was peculiarly endowed.  His preaching, so distinctive as a simple and earnest presentation of the Gospel, enhanced in attractiveness by convincing argument and impassioned eloquence, made him distinguished as an ambassador of Christ.  As a theological teacher his knowledge of history, sacred and profane, and his unique methods of imparting truth not only stimulated the imagination of his pupils, but gave them the philosophy of the subject and stores of definite information.  His life covered a period in the Presbyterian church in which great questions of policy and theology were considered, and his power in the discussion of vital subjects, together with the clear and calm judgment he brought to bear upon them, impressed itself with controlling influence upon the great assemblies of the church.

His power was always the greater because of his kindly nature.  In advocating measures which seemed to him of great importance one felt that his fervor was inspired by the strength and courage of his convictions rather than by any personal considerations.  He was a man greatly beloved by his ministerial brethren and all who knew him, and while zealously devoted to the Presbyterian organization known as the “Old School” so long as it remained separate, he was no less earnest in his work for the unity of the Presbyterian church throughout the land, and foremost in promoting it in special crisis in later life.  His theology was always conservative and fully deserved the eminence be attained by a long life devoted to a cause he loved.  Dr. Humphrey was of slender figure and of about medium height.  His face was expressive of high intelligence.

His general appearance, in spite of his stature, was striking.  His voice, until near the end, was strong and clear, but even as he advanced in years he still retained his powers as an orator.  His last few years were spent with the family of his youngest son, but he was ready on all occasions to assist with his knowledge and experience all who applied to him.  He took the liveliest interest in the College Street Presbyterian church, of which he had been pastor, and the members of that congregation are among those who will most keenly feel his loss.  His last public appearance was at the funeral of the late James F. Hubner, when he assisted in conducting the service.

Excerpted from Kentucky: A History of the State, by Perrin, Battle, and Kniffin, 8th ed. (1888). — http://www.rootsweb.com/~kygenweb/kybiog/jefferson/humphrey.ep.txt 


For Further Study:
Archival collections at The Filson Historical Society, in Louisville, Kentucky:
1.  Isaac Shelby Papers, [John Williams Jacobs, Collector], 1792-1893, 0.66 cu. ft.
Abstract:  The collection primarily consists of papers of Isaac Shelby acquired from Shelby’s son-in-law, Charles S. Todd.  Included are letters and autographs of prominent political and military leaders from the late 18th to mid-19th centuries.  The letters discuss Indian hostilities, Ky. politics, and national affairs.  Correspondents include Willie Blount, John Breckinridge, John Brown, Elijah Clark, John C. Calhoun, Henry Clay, Joseph H. Daviess, Felix Grundy, Andrew Jackson, Robert P. Letcher, George Mathew, George Nicholas, Edmund Randolph, Charles Scott, Thomas Todd, Anthony Wayne, Daniel Webster, and James Wilkinson.  Subjects include Humphrey, Edward Porter, 1809-1897.

2.  Pope-Humphrey Family Papers, 1807-1938, 2 cubic ft. [1058 items].
Abstract:  Correspondence, 1807-1859, mainly concerning the family of Alexander Pope, a prominent Louisville lawyer, his son Fontaine, and son Henry Clay Pope during the Mexican War. Correspondence, 1860-1868, regards the family and social lives of Reverend Doctor E.P. Humphrey, a Presbyterian clergyman, his wife Martha Pope Humphrey, their daughters, and sons Edward W.C. Humphrey, and especially Alexander Pope Humphrey who attended Centre College and the University of Virginia from 1862 to 1868.

3.  Yandell Family Papers, 1823-1877, 2.66 cu. ft.
Abstract:  The correspondence, diaries, and medical notes of a family of KY and TN physicians. Most of the letters were written by Wilson Yandell, Lunsford Pitts Yandell, Susan Wendell Yandell, and Lunsford Pitts Yandell, Jr. The letters consist mostly of family news but also contain information relating to a variety of other topics, including medical practice,…slavery, the secession crisis, and the Civil War.  Correspondents or subjects include Edward P. Humphrey.

4.  Lecture notes : manuscript, Edward P Humphrey, 1856-1858, 240pp., in the Reuben T. Durrett Collection at the University of Chicago Library.
Abstract: Student notes from Edward P. Humphrey’s lectures on church history at Danville Theological Seminary in Kentucky. 

Bibliography—
1848
An address delivered on the dedication of the Cave Hill Cemetery : near Louisville, July 25, 1848 (Louisville, Ky. : Printed at the Courier job-room, 1848), 32pp.; 22 cm.  Appendix contains bylaws of the Board of Trustees and rules and regulations of Cave Hill Cemetery.

1849
A discourse of the spiritual power of the Roman Catholic clergy (Louisville, Hull & Brothers, Printers, 1850), 20pp.; 22 cm.  Delivered before the Synod of Kentucky, Oct. 13, 1849.

1850
A discourse on the death of Gen. Zachary Taylor, delivered in the Second Presbyterian Church, Louisville, Saturday, July 13, 1850 (Louisville, Hulls and Shannon, 1850), 16pp.

Breckinridge, W.L. and Edward P. Humphrey, Theological Seminaries in the West (Louisville : Hull & Brother, 1850), 41pp.

1851
A sermon for domestic missions, preached before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, by appointment, at their sessions at St. Louis, Missouri, May 1851 (Philadelphia, Published by the Board of Missions, 1851), 16pp.; 24 cm. “Thoughts on Presbyterian foreign missions”  Supplement to The Home and foreign record.

1853
Address delivered before the Society of the “Phi Delta Theta,” at the Miami University, June 29, 1853 (Cincinnati, C. Clark & Co., Ben Franklin Printing House, 1853), 23pp.

Clarke, John, Robert J. Breckinridge and Edward P. Humphrey, Addresses delivered at the inauguration of the professors in the Danville Theological Seminary, October 13, 1853 (Cincinnati : Printed by T. Wrightson, 1854), 74pp.

“The Tree Known by Its Fruits,” in The Living Pulpit, or Eighteen Sermons by Eminent Living Divines of The Presbyterian Church, with a biographical sketch of the editor, by Geo. W. Bethune, D.D., edited and published by Rev. Elijah Wilson (Philadelphia : For Sale by Wm. S. Martien, 1853), pp. 374-414.

1857
Christian missions in their principles : a sermon for the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church, preached before the General Assembly, at Lexington, Ky., May 25th, 1857 (New York : Printed by E.O. Jenkins, 1857), 31pp. [pp. 157-184]; 22 cm.  “Published by order of the General Assembly.”  Detached from The Foreign missionary, October 1857.

Our theology in its developments (Philadelphia : Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1857), 90pp.

1859
Humphrey, Edward P. and Thomas Horace Cleland [1816-1892], Memoirs of the Rev. Thomas Cleland, D.D., compiled from his private papers (Cincinnati, Moore, Wilstach, Keys & co., printers, 1859), 1 p. l., [9]-199 p.

1861
Robert J. Breckinridge and Edward P. Humphrey, editors, The Danville Quarterly Review (Danville, Ky. and Cincinnati, Ohio : Richard H. Collins, 1861), Vol. 1, no. 1 (March 1861) – Vol. 1, no. 4 (December 1861).

1862 – 1864
Breckinridge, Robert J. and Edward P. Humphrey, Danville Review (Danville, Ky. and Cincinnati [OH] : Moore, Wilstach, Keys & Co., 1862 – 1864), Vol. 2, no. 1 (March 1862) – Vol. 4, no. 4 (December 1864).

1866
Address delivered before the Lexington and Vicinity Bible Society, Lexington, Ky., December 23, 1866 (Lexington? 1866), 16pp.

1873
Africa and colonization : an address delivered before the American Colonization Society, January 21, 1873 (Washington, D.C. : M’Gill & Witherow, 1873), 14pp.

1877
The color question : a letter written for the sixtieth annual meeting of the American Colonization Society, Washington, D.C., January 16, 1877 (Washington, D.C. : Colonization Building, 1877), 10pp.

1883
Believe! only believe (Philadelphia, Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1883), 14pp.; 19 cm.  Tract no. 322 in the series Presbyterian Tracts.

The dead of the Presbyterian church in Kentucky : address delivered before the two synods of Kentucky at their joint centennial, held at Harrodsburg, October 12, 1883 (s.l., s.n., 1883), 20pp.

1888
Sacred history from the creation to the giving of the law (New York : A.C. Armstrong, 1888), xiii, 540pp.

Undated—
The inspiration of the scriptures (Philadelphia, Presbyterian Board of Publication, n.d.), 23pp.; 19 cm.  Alliance of Reformed Churches Holding the Presbyterian System. Council paper,; no. 2; Reprinted from Report of proceedings of the Second General council of the Presbyterian Alliance (September 1880).

Contemporary interaction—
Wilson, Samuel R. and Edward P. Humphrey, Rev. Dr. Wilson’s reply to the address of Rev. Dr. E.P. Humphrey, delivered in the First Presbyterian Church, Louisville, Ky., on the evening of July 27, 1866 (Lousiville, Ky., Louisville Courier Steam Press, 1866), 20pp.

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Birth of William Henry Green

GreenWmH02William Henry Green was born on this day, January 27th, in 1825—born into a family which possessed traditions and ideals, born an heir to definite high opportunities of life, and born a child of the covenant. Though his family had ancestral ties to Princeton, William was sent to the classical school in Easton, and from there he entered Lafayette College at the age of sixteen. “He was a sunny-faced, bright-eyed, pure-minded boy in college, and led a blameless and winsome life.” By the time he was twenty, he had settled on serious study of theology. Upon graduation from seminary, he was invited to assist in teaching and spent the next two years teaching Hebrew grammar, before answering a call to pastor the Central Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, 1849-1851.

That pastorate was terminated in 1851 when the General Assembly elected him to the chair of Biblical and Oriental Literature in the Theological Seminary at Princeton, when he was but twenty-six years old. He began those labors on August 28th of that year and continued there until his death in 1900. Once during his Princeton career he prayerfully considered leaving for missions work in India. Some fourteen years later he also declined to serve as president of the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University). He remained where he was needed.

When he began his work as Professor of Biblical and Oriental Literature, his faculty colleagues were Archibald Alexander, Charles Hodge and Joseph Addison Alexander. Dr. Samuel Miller had died the year before, in 1850, and Dr. Archibald Alexander was soon called home to glory on October 22, 1851, three weeks after Professor Green’s inauguration. “In outward appearance he was tall, straight, strongly knit, energetic; with brown hair, firm mouth, piercing blue eyes that looked out from under heavy brows; dignified in manner, reserved, modest, at times almost to diffidence, earnest, reverent, and without self-seeking; thorough in his own work and rigorous in the recitation room, meeting his classes with unfailing regularity, going straight from the lecture-room to the study, evidently swayed by the sense of duty. These characteristics, apart from the external change seen in growing grayness of the hair, whitening of the beard and stoop of the shoulders due to advancing age and years of study, marked him to the end.”

Professor Green brought to the study of Biblical literature a sincere faith in the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God. He came to the work of criticism “convinced by the most abundant evidence that these Scriptures are the infallible Word of God.” We are not left in the dark as to the nature of that “abundant evidence.”  It was the common evidence which has convinced the Church: the claim of the Scriptures themselves to have divine authority, the heavenliness of their matter, the efficacy of their doctrine, their adaptation exactly to meet the needs of sinful men, the fulfillment of their prophecies, the constant appeal of prophets and apostles to historic objective revelations of Almighty God as the basis of their work, the attributes of Christ, and the persuasion which the Holy Spirit produces in the heart that the Scriptures are divinely true. These considerations and others of like character constituted the abundant evidence.

Shortly after Professor Green had entered upon his work, the first low mutterings of a coming debate regarding the origin of the Old Testament were heard. The storm burst in its full fury toward the end of the 1870′s. The new theory let loose at that time could not maintain itself without first ridding itself of much of this “abundant evidence;” and when Dr. Green saw that it required, to quote his own pregnant statement, “a new doctrine of the province of reason, a new doctrine of inspiration, a new doctrine of the evidential value of miracles, a new doctrine of the fulfillment of prophecy, a new doctrine of the infallibility of the Bible,” he saw that the new theory bears on its face the marks of desperation. He suspected that its principles are wrong or its methods perverted. And he said in his own modest way :“There can be no impropriety in subjecting novelties to careful scrutiny, before we adopt conclusions at war with our most cherished convictions and with what we hold to be well-established truths.”

To a large body of earnest scholars, Dr. Green has done yet more than vindicate the scholarliness of conservative criticism.  In their opinion, after they have weighed all the evidence adduced by both parties to the controversy, he has demonstrated in general and along certain lines in particular, that the Bible’s own account of itself satisfies the actual phenomena involved better, to say the least, than does any other theory, with less constraint upon text and exegesis and the acknowledged course of Hebrew history; that it is further supported by unbroken and unanimous testimony reaching back from Christ and His apostles into the earliest literature, and that it and it alone requires no rejection and no minimizing of well-ascertained truths.

Not long after Dr. Green’s death, a pastor of wide experience, a close friend of Dr. Green’s for more than fifty years, said of him, “A more humble and holy-hearted man I never knew.” Side by side with this tribute to his humility and holiness of heart there comes to mind another characteristic of Dr. Green : his sense of sin and his apprehension of the grace and amazing love of God in Christ…It was this that made him frequently rise very early in the morning that he might enjoy a season of undisturbed communion with God. It was this that sent him daily to the Scriptures for devotional reading, outside of his professional work. (He once alluded to his practice of reading the Book of Psalms through devotionally, generally once a month.) It was this that sank personal ambition and made him labor for the glory of God alone. It was this that made him feel his own need for that system of theology, known as Calvinistic, Augustinian, Pauline, which he found in the Bible. It was this that added such strength to his intellectual faith in the fact of a supernatural revelation.

Words to Live By: It was also said of Dr. Green that “He rose to the dignity of the great issues at stake, and conducted his debate with truth and honor. He was a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, who, when He was reviled, reviled not again.” Speaking of Dr. Green, “The pure-minded boy had become a man advanced in years, and he was still the simple-hearted child of God. He was an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile.”

We live in an age when truth is under assault from all sides, and must be defended. Yet we can and must stand for truth in a way that observes and honors the Lord of all truth. The Lord’s work must be done in the Lord’s way. At best we are only sinful witnesses to His truth, and so we speak with humility and in love, remembering all the while that God alone is Judge. He will uphold His truth. His Word will not fail.

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More than an ordinary man?

Alexander Peden was born sometime during the year 1626 in Scotland.  His father was a small business man who left  him a small inheritance.  He could  have entered into any of the social positions in the area, but a call from God came to him early to seek the proclaim the good news of everlasting life to his neighbors.  Graduating from the University of Glasglow, he was ordained and became the pastor of New Luce, in Galloway, in his native Scotland.  It was here that his congregation discovered that Pastor Peden was more than an ordinary man.

Let Rev. J.M. Dryerre sum it up for us.  He writes, “his prayers were conversations with a personal friend.  His sermons were visions of the glory of God which had come to him in his meditations, and filled his people with awe.  His talk was about God and His will in regard to downtrodden Scotland.  Tall in stature and well-built, he proclaimed his message from God.”  (Heroes and Heroines of the Scottish Covenanters, Rev. J.M. Dryerre, Religious Tract and Book Society of Scotland, 1907, p. 100)

But these were times in the kingdom which were not easy for anyone to bear.  The infamous ejection of ministers from their pulpits by the Crown included the removal of  Pastor Peden from his pulpit after his first three years.  With great sorrow, he left the people he loved to begin a ministry in the fields and pastures of the countryside.  Under an indictment from the king of England for that, he made many marvelous escapes from the soldiers, sleeping in caves and barns.

Once when a group of soldiers appeared at one of the country spots where he was proclaiming the Word, he began to pray. His prayer went something like this: “Lord, we are ever needing at Thy hand, and if we had not Thy command to call upon Thee in the day of trouble, and Thy promise of answering us in the day of our distress, we know not what would become of us.  If Thou hast any more work for us in Thy world, twine them about the hill, Lord, and cast the lap of Thy cloak over poor old Sandy (himself, he meant) and these people, and we will keep it in remembrance and tell it to the commendation of Thy goodness, pity, and compassion, what Thou didst for us at such a time.”  It was said that a dense white cloud of mist appeared, enveloping the troop of soldiers and the worshiping Covenanters alike.  The latter was able to escape through the midst, with the soldiers not able to advance to find the Covenanters.

Later, Alexander Peden was captured, tried, and cast into the  infamous Bass prison where he suffered greatly for several years.  Removed from there, he was placed in the hold of a ship with sixty other Covenanters to be sold as slaves to owners in the American colonies.  However, when the ship’s  captain found out the reason for their captivity, he released them all.  Peden went back to his Scottish home, and spent the last years of  his life among his friends, spending days and nights in a nearby cave when the soldiers came too close. He died on January 26, 1686.

In a final act of atrocity, the authorities dug up his  body and hung it on a tree.  After that symbolic act, they buried him at the base of the tree on which his body had hung, thinking that it would become a tree of shame to his memory.  But the Sovereign God overruled their evil intentions.  Even though there was a graveyard around the local church, his friends would bring their loved ones to be buried at the foot of the hanging tree. It became the resting place of countless of the people of God to whom he had ministered during his life.

Words to Live By:  To some faithful servants of the King of kings, they are set apart to serve their Lord and Master in the great halls of learning and wide open fields of opportunity in this world.  Others, though equally called by the same Spirit of God, are set to minister in obscure places of ministry.  In both cases, we are to be faithful to minister in large or small opportunities.  The former is not to belittle those in the latter callings, but each should serve faithfully according to the Lord’s calling. Support the work of Christ by your spiritual gifts and prayers, dear reader. 

From the Writings of Alexander Peden:—
The following is something of a curious piece, some might even say a bit controversial given the way it is phrased, as if written from the perspective of the Trinity. I would understand this short article as a teaching tool, explaining the nature and content of what theologians term the “covenant of redemption,” which is the covenant between the Persons of the Trinity, designed to effect our salvation:—

THE COVENANT OF REDEMPTION
Be it known to all men, that, in the presence of the Ancient of Days, it was finally contracted, and unanimously agreed, betwixt these honourable and royal persons in the God-head, to wit, the great and infinite Lord of Heaven and earth, on the one side; and Jesus Christ, God-man, his eternal and undoubted heir, on the other side, in manner, form and effect, as follows; That forasmuch as the Lord Jesus Christ is content and obliges himself to become surety, and to fulfil the whole law; and that he shall suffer and become an offering for sin, and take the guiding of all the children of God on him, and make them perfect in every good word and work; and that of his fulness they shall all receive grace for grace; and also present them, man, wife and bairns [i.e., children], on Heaven’s floor, and lose none of them; and that he shall raise them up at the last day, and come in on Heaven’s floor with all the bairns at his back: therefore, the noble Lord of Heaven and earth, on the other side, binds and obliges himself to Christ, to send all the Elect into the world, and to deliver them all fairly to Christ; and also to give him a body, flesh of their flesh and bone of their bone; and to carry Christ through in all his undertaking in that work, and to hold him by the hand; and also, let the Holy Ghost, who is our equal, go forth into the world, that he may be sharer in this great work, and also of the glory of this noble contrivance; and let him enlighten the minds of all those whom we have chosen out of the world, in the knowledge of our name; and to convince them of their lost state; and perswade and enable them to embrace and accept of his free love offer; and to support and comfort them in all their trials and tribulations, especially these for our name’s sake; and to sanctify them, soul and body, and make them fit for serving us, and dwelling with us, and singing forth the praises of the riches of our free grace in this noble contrivance, for ever and ever. Likewise the same noble Lord of Heaven and earth doth fully covenant grace and glory, and all good things, to as many as shall be perswaded and enabled to accept and embrace you, as their Lord, King and God; and moreover, he allows the said Jesus Christ to make proclamations by his servants, to the world in his name, that all that will come and engage under his colors, he shall give them noble pay in hand for the present, and a rich inheritance for ever; with certification, that all those who will not accept of this offer, for the same cause, shall be guilty and eternally condemned from our presence, and tormented with these devils, whom we cast out from us, for their pride and rebellion, for the glory of our justice, through eternity.

In testimony whereof, he subscribes thir presents, and is content the same be registrate in the Books of Holy Scripture, to be kept on record to future generations. Dated at the throne of Heaven, in the ancient records of eternity.

[excerpted from Six Saints of the Covenant: Peden, Semple, Welwood, Cameron, Cargill, and Smith, by Patrick Walker. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1901, pp. 114-115.]

For Further Study:
A Brief History of Covenant Theology,”  by Dr. R. Scott Clark
and for more specifically about the covenant of redemption, click here to read Paul Helm’s discussion of Robert Letham’s criticism of that theological concept.

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The Pastor to the Confederate States of America

palmerBM_02The guest preacher in the pulpit of the First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was closing out his prayer when the cannon shot hit outside the window of the church.  Union forces of the Northern states were known to be advancing, but it was thought that Confederate forces were blocking their entrance to the city.  They were wrong, as the cannon shot proved.  But the Rev. Benjamin Morgan Palmer was not about to let anything hinder his prayer to the God of providence, But when he finally finished that long prayer and looked up, he found the pews empty with the congregation fleeing to safer places.

We could describe Benjamin Palmer in countless ways during his lifetime of 84 years.  He was a faithful pastor,  powerful preacher, theological professor, a Presbyterian of the Presbyterians, and a symbol of the immutability of the great essentials of the Christian religion.  Let’s take just three of these descriptions.

Palmer was the teaching elder at three Presbyterian churches during his pastoral ministry.  It was at this last one — the First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans, Louisiana — that he would reach the zenith of his influence.  The congregation increased in size under his ministry until it became the third largest Presbyterian church in the South.  He feared no one or nothing.  Once when a yellow fever epidemic hit the town, and most of the other pastors fled, he stayed on to minister in home and hospital to  those stricken with the disease. In later years, Palmer almost single-handedly brought an end to the practice of lottery in Louisiana. Click here to read his famous sermon on that subject.

Palmer’s preaching stirred many a soul.  Here were the fruits seen of his mother’s home-school training.  He could quote Biblical passages and Shakespeare with equal ease.  In fact, it was his Thanksgiving message in 1860 on secession and slavery which stirred the southern states to rise up and defend their homes against the threat of Northern aggression.  That one message caused him to become the pastor of the Confederacy. It convinced Louisiana to join the other seceding states.  And when after four hard fought years ended in defeat, he became the high priest of the Lost Cause.

Named after his uncle, who was himself a Congregational pastor, Benjamin Morgan Palmer was born on January 25, 1818, in a family full of ministers, including his own father. In schools and congregations, in seminary as a student and professor, as the first moderator of the Presbyterian Church of the Confederate States of  America, as the chaplain to the Army of the Tennessee (C.S.A.), as the spiritual comforter of the defeated South, Palmer served God and his generation as a symbol of the immutability of the great essentials of the historic Christian faith.  He possessed a life-long commitment to Reformed theology.

Words to Live By: Can it be said of you that you are known by your unswerving commitment to the essentials of historic Christianity? If you can, give praise to God for it, and if not, resolve to have it be your testimony from this day forward.

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God’s Great Blessing & Provision in Marriage

brumbaughRoyT Roy T. Brumbaugh was raised in a Christian family with godly parents and proper training. He once said that his mother had prayed him into the Kingdom and then into the ministry and that his father had made generous provision for his education.

Little was recorded of his early life, but it is known that he graduated from Northeast Manual Training High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 25, 1908, and commenced studies at Lehigh College the next year. He was there for one year and then went to Gettysburg College, where he graduated in 1912. It was during this time at Gettysburg that he met Margaret Valentine, who was the granddaughter of the President of the school. They were married on January 24, 1911.

She would prove to be the greatest single influence in his life and was the epitome of grace and friendliness to everyone she met. She had a quality of never getting upset about anything and always being positive and confident in the Lord’s blessing.

He did graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Illinois during 1914 and 1915. The Gettysburg yearbook, The Spectrum, states that he was a talkative, stuttering, effervescent youth who was very casual about his studies but that after his marriage, he became a candidate for valedictorian. His athletic achievements were legendary. He was the “shining star” and was elected captain of both the basketball and football teams. He was not large, but fiercely competitive and disciplined—qualities that would manifest themselves in his latter life In 1916, he commenced studies at Princeton Theological Seminary. He was a married man with children, and his education was largely financed by his father. At this time, Princeton Theological Seminary represented the conservative side of the above mentioned controversy and Union Theological Seminary the more liberal or modernist position. It was during his time at Princeton that Roy became involved in the issues of the day. The faculty at Princeton included men who were to be influential in the struggle, on both sides of the issues. They included J. Ross Stevenson, John D. Davis, Geerhardus Vos, W. P. Armstrong, Frederick W. Loetscher, Caspar Wistar Hodge, Benjamin B. Warfield, Robert Dick Wilson, J. Ritchie Smith, J. Gresham Machen, and William Brenton Green.

Words to Live By:
Regrettably, we could not locate a photograph of Mrs. Brumbaugh. Perhaps that is to be expected, and may even be fitting, for so often, those who are most influential are those same ones who work quietly in the background, never seeking attention for themselves.

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.—(Proverbs 18:22, KJV)

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Our Ability is Ever from God, Not from Ourselves.

The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:14 – 3:5 (read please) spoke for every Christian when he acknowledged that, regardless of the effect of the gospel on people’s hearts, we in spreading that good news, are “a sweet fragrance to God.” He goes on to spell out that our spiritual aroma is a “smell of doom” to those who are lost, but a “vital fragrance, living and fresh” to those who are found in Christ. And then, in the latter part of verse 16 of 2 Corinthians 2, he asks the question which all soul-winners have asked of themselves, “And who is qualified, fit and sufficient, for these things? (Who is able for such a ministry? We?” (Amplified Bible)

brainerd02David Brainerd, missionary to the Indians in the middle part of the seventeen hundreds, asked the same question on June 23, 1743 in his diary. Listen to his words:

“I scarce ever felt myself so unfit to exist as now: saw I was not worthy of a place among the Indians, where I am going, if God permit. Thought I should be ashamed to look them in the face, and much more to have my respect shown me there. Indeed I felt myself banished from the earth, as if all places were too good for such a wretch. I thought I should be ashamed to go among the very savages of Africa. I appeared to myself a creature fit for nothing, neither heaven nor earth. None know but those who feel it, what the soul endures that is sensibly shut out from the presence of God. Alas! It is more bitter than death.”

This Presbyterian missionary was feeling what the apostle Paul was feeling as to his inadequacy of being a instrument of the gospel. Thankfully, he continued on his mission, even as Paul did, recognizing that “our power and ability and sufficiency are from God.” (Amplified)

Words to Live By: “It is God who has qualified us, making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient. . . .” Second Corinthians 3:5 (Amplified Version) Let us each one go forth in service to Christ in the knowledge of that truth.

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Birth of Francis Landey Patton

pattonFLBorn in Warwick, Bermuda on January 22, 1843 to George John Patton and his wife, Mary A. Steele Patton, Francis L. Patton never became an American citizen, though most of his adult years were spent in the United States.

Nevin’s Presbyterian Encyclopedia indicates that he received his education at the University College in Toronto, followed by preparation for the ministry at both Knox College, Toronto and Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey, graduating there in 1865. Rev. Patton was ordained by the Presbytery of New York on June 1st, 1865 and installed as pastor of the 84th Street Presbyterian Church, and then served two other Presbyterian churches in the New York City area before moving to Chicago in 1873 to pastor the Jefferson Park Presbyterian Church. Dr. Patton also served concurrently as editor of The Interior, 1873-76 and as professor at what is now McCormick Seminary, 1871-1881. Capping his ministry in Chicago, he was honored to serve as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. in 1878.

During those busy years, Dr. Patton was engaged as the prosecutor in the heresy trial of the Rev. David Swing, in 1874. The national attention given to this trial may in part have led to the call issued by Princeton Theological Seminary, where Dr. Patton then served as professor of apologetics from 1881 until his retirement in 1913.

In 1932, Edith Bane, a Pittsburgh native, paid a visit to Dr. Patton at his home in Bermuda. She wrote of that visit :

patton_carberry“When I met him last August, he was in his 90th year, yet seemingly in good health, unbowed in stature and alert of mind. Although handicapped by loss of eyesight, years had not dimmed his spirit, his well-known keen sense of humor, or his interest in old friends, his beloved Princeton and the work of the Presbyterian Church. He and Mrs. Patton were living with their son and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. George S[tevenson] Patton, at “Carberry Hill,” the stately old mansion in Warwick, Bermuda, where Dr. Patton was born and where he has lived since his retirement . . .

“. . . he was presented by his parents in Christ Church, Bermuda. It is significant that this child destined to be the powerful supporter and valiant defender of the faith of his fathers, should have been dedicated to the Lord in this historic church—the oldest Presbyterian church in the British overseas empire. Who can doubt that this great life work was but an answer to the prayers offered by his godly parents on that day? . . .

patton01” . . . In 1913, because of advancing years and failing eyesight, he resigned from the seminary and returned to his Bermuda home. It was surely the hand of Providence that led him back to these quiet coral gardens of the Atlantic to spend the evening of his life. As he looked out upon those cedar-covered hills and walked along the shores of the undescribable opalescent sea, he must often have repeated, with a thankful heart: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters . . . ”

“. . . November 25, 1932, after a short illness, he died, and the Presbyterian Church throughout the world faltered at the loss of its beloved patriarch.

Words to Live By:  Truly our lives are in the Lord’s hands. He guides and equips us to proclaim His glory in the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus alone. Our lives may have their disappointments, frustrations and failures, but God’s love for each of His children is unshakable and His plan is sure. What may seem an unprofitable failure will be used of the Lord as He refines us for greater service. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” (Psalm 37:23, KJV).

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