August 2016

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STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 99. What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?

A. The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that form of prayer, which Christ taught His disciples, commonly called The Lord’s Prayer.

Scripture References: II Tim. 3:16-17; I John 5:14; Matt. 6:9.

Questions:

1. How can the whole Word of God be used to direct us in prayer?

The whole Word of God can be of use to us in prayer in that it instructs us of our duties regarding our relationship to God. If we did not have general principles of the Word of God in our minds it would be impossible for us to pray aright (Rom. 10:14).

2. Could you give one example as to how a principle of doctrine helps us in our prayer life?

Yes, a good example would be the offices of Jesus Christ. The knowledge He is our prophet helps us to have the wisdom from Him we need; the knowledge He is our priest enables us to have an intercessor for our prayers; the knowledge He is our King teaches us we should live in submission to Him and this certainly includes our disciplining ourselves in prayer.

3. Why do we need direction in our prayer?

We need direction in prayer because even though the disposition of our souls has been turned into holiness by the Holy Spirit we are still sinners and would not seek after God if left to ourselves.

4. Why is it called “The Lord’s Prayer” In our doctrines?

It is called “The Lord’s Prayer” as it was in answer to the disciple’s plea of “Lord, teach us how to pray.”

5. Does the prayer contain all necessary parts of prayer?

No, it does not contain the confession of our sins and thankfulness of God’s mercies.

6. Is this the form of prayer our Lord would have us use?

No, this is simply a pattern of prayer, a direction of how we should pray.

ELEMENTARY PRAYER

One of the difficulties of the prayer life on the part of many is that they attempt some of the more advanced patterns of prayer before becoming well-versed in elementary prayer. What is elementary prayer?
The simple procedure of making of requests and giving thanks.

There are higher patterns of prayer. There are such things as adoration, communion, spiritual warfare, intercession and contemplation. But so many times the young believer—and many times the believer of many years—will attempt some of these higher patterns, become discouraged, and the prayer life will continue to suffer. How can we train ourselves to reach the higher patterns some day?

One of the simple methods is to keep a “Prayer Card” in your pocket or in your Bible or in your purse and keep an orderly list of things for which you can pray. As new things come to your attention, add them and you will be amazed at how your list will grow. You will also be amazed at the increase in urgency in prayer on your part.

This urgency in prayer is one of our greatest needs. So many times we seem to feel we can only pray when we are in the right mood. We should remember that our Sovereign God knows all about our moods and will give us the grace, as we cast ourselves on Him, to rise above our moods and be regular and urgent in our prayer lives.

Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman tells the story of Praying Hyde (John Nelson Hyde) coming to his room for prayer. Dr. Chapman stated, “He came up to my room, turned the key in the door, dropped on his knees, waited five minutes without a single syllable coming from his lips. I could hear my own heart thumping and his beating. I knew I was with God. Then with upturned face, down which tears streamed, he broke out with, ‘O, God!’ For five minutes he was still again. When he knew that he was talking with God, there came from the depths of his heart such petitions for men as I have never heard before. I rose from my knees knowing what real prayer is.”

We need more Praying Hydes today. Will you join with me with some elementary prayer? (Luke 18:1).

Published By: THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Dedicated to instruction in the Westminster Standards for use as a bulletin insert or other methods of distribution in Presbyterian churches.

Vol. 7 NO.4 (April 1968)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor.

Britain’s Mercies and Britain’s Duty”
by George Whitefield  (Aug. 24, 1746)

Rev. George WhitefieldThe idea of unlimited submission to unjust government, especially to foreign British rule, was ablaze in America several generations prior to the revolution. Even the leading British evangelist of the Great Awakening, having come to America, weighed in on the subject. In a 1746 sermon, George Whitefield (1714-1770) invoked the same vocabulary as the earlier Reformers in speaking of the ruler as “a nursing Father of the church.” His Britain’s Mercies and Britain’s Duty exulted in “Protestant powers” as tokens of blessing given by the King of Kings.[1] Whitefield considered England blessed in having no “popish abjured pretender.” Employing the terminology of the Hebrew Psalter, he said, “if the Lord had not been on our side, Great Britain, not to say America, would, in a few weeks, or months, have been an Aceldama, a field of blood.” Had the “popish pretender” succeeded, Britain would not have been ruled by parliament but by “Arbitrary principles . . . sucked in with his mother’s milk.”[2] Whitefield also viewed his Protestant people as under obligation to hold fast to God’s commands. Like Mayhew, he stated that citizens were not obligated to submit to an unjust government.

But the chasm between Enlightenment conceptions of law and God’s law remained vast. There could be no progress in the future, and the classical models were disdained. Whitefield viewed God’s law as unimproveable, challenging: “Tell me, ye men of letters,” he asked, “whether Lycurgus or Solon, Pythagoras or Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Cicero, or all the ancient lawgivers and heathen moralists, put them all together, ever published a system of ethicks, any way worthy to be compared with the glorious system laid down” in Scripture.[3]

Had the Lord not providentially spared England from theological error, Whitefield thought the universities would have been ruined and pulpits filled with “freewill” and other antichristian doctrines. Protestant charity and influence would have diminished to the levels of impoverished England. Whitefield also associated the tyranny of Arminianism with a theology that worshipped classical idols like Diana and adored “unassisted unenlightened reason.” Like Calvin before him, Whitefield saw God at work throughout British history. He ascribed a military victory in England to the fasting and prayer of repentant Scottish ministers.

Whitefield, contrary to John Wesley, supported the independence of America. On one occasion, he even warned against English efforts to impose a bishop on North America. Prior to leaving America at the end of a 1764 crusade, Whitefield the Calvinist warned his spiritual compatriots that his heart bled for America. “O poor New England!” he exclaimed, “There is a deep laid plot against your civil and religious liberties, and they will be lost. Your golden days are at an end. . . . Your liberties will be lost.”[4] The cause of his fear was that Anglicans hoped to quell American independence by setting up a bishopric in America. That fear, combined with the outrage against the Stamp Act, which followed shortly thereafter, fired American attitudes against Britain even more. Whitefield, it turned out, was more loyal to Calvinism than to his British monarch; and he expected the worst.

Whitefield retained a great respect for America until the end of his life in 1770. This British Calvinist was eventually buried in an expatriate grave in Newburyport, Massachusetts. It is little wonder that he was still revered at the outset of the Revolutionary war. On one occasion, when a New England militia had set out on a disastrous attempt to invade Quebec, its commander, Benedict Arnold, prior to his traitor days, searched for a Holy Grail to encourage his soldiers. He led his officers down into the crypt where Whitefield’s remains lay. The officers stripped off Whitefield’s clerical collar and wristbands and distributed pieces of these relics to the soldiers as tokens of blessing. James H. Hutson observes of this episode: “The distribution of the Great amulets showed in its eerie way that men facing stress and anxiety wanted links to a preacher of a living God . . . One need look no farther for the reason evangelicalism demolished deism.”[5] Within weeks of his death, scores of memorial services were held for this British Calvinist who evangelized America.[6]

Like so many of these grandchildren of Calvin, he kept Genevan ideas alive and applied them to the American context. Stan Evans writes that American founders “faced the task of establishing a new political order of their own, rather than escaping one controlled by Whitehall; yet the concerns expressed about human frailty, and political power, continued exactly as before. Virtually everyone in our politics, it appears, was a believer in Original Sin, wherever he stood on the specific issues of the day. Simply reading statements on this topic, without other means of identification, one would have no idea at all as to what party or interest was being promoted.”[7] Many of the founders of modern western democracies were children of the Calvinist Reformation, not the Enlightenment Revolution.

This classic sermon is available in Ellis Sandoz, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998). An online version is posted at: http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/Whitefield.html.

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

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

[1] Ellis Sandoz, ed., Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, 1730-1805 (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1991), 125.

[2] Ellis Sandoz, ed., Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, 1730-1805 (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1991), 126. Whitefield detested the Arminian inroads to the Anglican Communion as heretical departures from Calvinism. His revival sermons were little more than “rehearsals of traditional Calvinist doctrine.” Alan Heimert, Religion and the American Mind (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), 1966, 37. He insisted that “the constant Tenour of my preaching in America has been Calvinistical.” Idem. Non-Calvinist ministers were fearful of his emphasis on “Calvinistic Principles and [the] Doctrines of Grace.”

[3] Ellis Sandoz, ed., Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, 1730-1805 (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1991), 134.

[4] Ellis Sandoz, ed., Political Sermons of the American Founding Era, 1730-1805 (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1991), 120.

[5] James H. Hutson, Religion and the Founding of the American Republic (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1998), 35. Geissler also reports that Aaron Burr visited the tomb of Whitefield and left with a relic. See Suzanne Geissler, Jonathan Edwards to Aaron Burr, Jr.: From the Great Awakening to Democratic Politics (New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1981), 138.

[6] See Alan Heimert, Religion and the American Mind (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), 1966, 142-143.

[7] M. Stanton Evans, The Theme is Liberty: Religion, Politics and the American Tradition (Washington, DC: Regnery, 1994), 99.

A Message From a Yankee

Written on the walls of the old church during the War Between the States was the following: “Citizens of this community.  Please excuse us for defacing your house of worship.  It was absolutely necessary to effect a crossing over the creek.  The Rebs had destroyed the bridge.  –A Yankee.”  Well, at least, they now knew after the invasion of Union troops in their area near the Old Brick Church,  who was responsible for tearing up the floor of their sanctuary.

oldbrickchurchARPThe Old Brick Church, or more properly the Ebenezer Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church (sometimes called the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church), had been established in 1770 in Fairfield County, South Carolina, near the town of Jenkinsville, South Carolina.  Scotch-Irish Presbyterian settlers had moved south from the Cumberland County of Pennsylvania to the area to establish up their homes and families in the area.  At first, they worshiped in a log church.  This was replaced in 1788 by a brick church which continues to this day in the area.

Five pastors ministered the Word of God from 1791 to 1899.  They were: James Rogers (1791 – 1830), James Boyce (1832 – 1843), Thomas Ketching (1743 – 1752), C.B. Betts (1755 – 1769), and Allen Kirkpatrick (1896 – 1899)  During this time span,   it became the “mother church” of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod in South Carolina, as other A.R.P. congregations met together to organize as a Synod inside its four walls.  While it is one of a very few which still exists from the eighteenth century in South Carolina, yet the time of the Civil War when many of its sons went off to fight for the Confederacy brought the death knell to the church.  There was some attempt to revive it after 1899, but eventually it was closed due to lack of attendance.

On August 19, 1971, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1973, the local Presbytery of the Associated Reformed Church placed it back on its rolls as a house of worship, even though there is no congregation or pastor currently serving it.  Currently, usage is restricted to commemorative events which take place at the property.  

Words to live by:
Special places of remembrance are highly important to recognize the faith and life of godly men and women and covenant children of  past ages, who made it a priority to worship the Triune God of the Bible in spirit and in truth.  What would be more important however would be to have a living place of worship, with an active congregation and faithful minister to speak to the twenty-first century citizens and church members  with the same message of salvation as was declared in  past centuries.  Pray that the Lord will thrust out laborers into His vineyard, for the fields continue to be white unto spiritual harvest.

Image source: Photograph by Michael Miller, posted at http://landmarkhunter.com/126794-ebenezer-associate-reformed-presbyterian-church/ and also at http://www.panoramio.com/photo/92552837

It Remains a Message for Our Time.

Gardiner Spring

This day, August 18th, marks the death, in 1873, of the Rev. Gardiner Spring. He was already 76 years old when he proposed his “Resolutions” at the General Assembly of the Old School Presbyterian Church in 1861. Those were the Resolutions that split the denomination North and South. But long before Spring achieved infamy with his “Resolutions,” he had been, since 1810, the pastor of the Brick Church in New York City. In fact, his entire ministerial career of 63 years was spent at this one church.

Born in 1785, he was educated at Yale and for a short time practiced law before entering Andover Theological Seminary to prepare for the ministry. A powerful preacher, he became a prominent pastor in that City and in the Church at large. Spring made great use of the press as an auxiliary to his preaching of the gospel, and a number of his works remain in print to this day. In 1816, Rev. Spring brought the following message on New Year’s Day, a message having to do with the subject of the revivals of religion.

To read or download the entire message in PDF format, click here.


SOMETHING MUST BE DONE.

2 Chronicles 29:16-17:—
And the Priests went into the inner part of the house of the Lord to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the Lord into the court of the house of the Lord. And the Levites took it, to carry it out abroad into the brook Kidron. Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify.

The passage just recited may give a direction to our thoughts. When Hezekiah came to the throne Aof Judah, he found religion in a low and languishing state. His father Ahaz was not only an idolatrous king, but notorious for his impiety. The torrent of vice, irreligion, and idolatry, had already swept away the ten tribes of Israel, and threatened to destroy Judah and Benjamin. With this state of things, the heart of pious Hezekiah was deeply affected. He could not bear to see the holy temple debased, and the idols of the Gentiles exalted; and though but a youthful prince, he made a bold, persevering, and successful attempt to effect a revival of the Jewish religion. He destroyed the high places; cut down the groves; brake the graven images; commanded the doors of the Lord’s house to be opened and repaired; and exhorted the Priests and Levites to purify the temple; to restore the morning and evening sacrifice; to reinstate the observation of the Passover; and to withhold no exertion to promote a radical reformation in the principles and habits of the people.

The humble child of God in this distant age of the world, will read the account of the benevolent efforts of Hezekiah and his associates, with devout admiration. As he looks back toward this illustrious period in the Jewish history, his heart will beat high with hope. Success is not restricted to the exertions of Hezekiah. A revival of religion is within our reach at the commencement of the present year, as really as it was within his, twenty-five hundred years ago. But to bring this subject more fully before you, I propose to show,

What a revival of religion is;

The necessity of a revival among ourselves;

What ought to be done in attempting it;—and

The reasons why we may hope to succeed in the attempt.

I. What is a revival of religion?

We have never seen a general revival of the Christian interest in this city. In two or three of our congregations, there have been some seasons of unusual solemnity, which have from time to time resulted in very hopeful accessions to the number of God’s professing people. But we have not been visited with any general outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Hence, we talk about revivals of religion without any definite meaning; and hence, many honest minds are prejudiced against them. Some identify them with the illusions of a disturbed fancy; while others give them a place among the most exceptionable extravagancies, and the wildest expressions of enthusiasm. But we mean none of these things when we speak of revivals of religion. It is no illusion—no reverie—we present to your view; but those plain exhibitions of the power and grace of God which commend themselves to the reason and conscience of every impartial mind.

The showers of divine grace often begin like other showers, with here and there a drop. The revival in the days of Hezekiah, arose from a very small beginning. In the early states of a work of grace, God is usually pleased to affect the hearts of some of His own people. Here and there, an individual Christian is aroused from his stupor. The objects of faith begin to predominate over the objects of sense and his languishing graces to be in more lively and constant exercise. In the progress of the work, the quickening power of grace pervades the church. Bowed down under a sense of their own stupidity and the impending danger of sinners, the great body of professing Christians are anxious and prayerful. In the mean time, the influences of the Holy Spirit are extended to the world; and the conversion of one or two, or a very small number, frequently proves the occasion of a very general concern among a whole people.

Every thing now begins to put on a new face. Ministers are animated; Christians are solemn; sinners are alarmed. The house of God is thronged with anxious worshipers; opportunities for prayer and religious conference are multiplied; breathless silence pervades every seat, and deep solemnity every bosom. Not an eye wanders; not a heart is indifferent;—while eternal objects are brought near, and eternal truth is seen in its wide connections, and felt in its quickening and condemning power. The Lord is there. His stately steppings are seen; His own almighty and invisible hand is felt; His Spirit is passing from heart to heart, in His awakening, convincing, regenerating, and sanctifying agency upon the souls of men.

Those who have been long careless and indifferent to the concerns of the soul, are awakened to a sense of their sinfulness, their danger, and their duty. Those who “have cast off fear and restrained prayer,” have become anxious and prayerful. Those who have been “stout-hearted and far from righteousness,” are subdued by the power of God, and brought nigh by the blood of Christ.

The king of Zion takes away the heart of stone and gives the heart of flesh. He causes “the captive exile to hasten, that he may be loosed, lest he die in the pit and his bread should fail.” He takes off the tattered garments of the prodigal; clothes him with the best robe, and gives him a cordial welcome to all the munificence of His grace. He brings those who have been long in bondage out of the prison house; knocks off the chains that bind them down to sin and death; bestows the immunities of sons and daughters, and receives them into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

And is there any thing in all this so full of mystery, that it has no claim to our confidence? Behold that thoughtless man! Year after year has passed aaway, while he has been adding sin to sin, and heaping up wrath against the day of wrath. But the Spirit of all grace suddenly arrests him in his mad career. The conviction is fastened upon his conscience that he is a sinner. Fallen by his iniquity, he views himself obnoxious to the wrath of an offended God. He sees that he is under the dominion of a “carnal mind;” his sins pass in awful review before him, and he is filled with keen distress and anguish. He is sensible that every day is bringing him nearer to the world of perdition, and he begins to ask, if there can be any hope for a wretch like him? But, O! how his strength withers, how his hopes die! He is as helpless as he is wretched, and as culpable as he is helpless. The “arrows of the almighty stick fast within him, the poison whereof drinketh up his spirits.”

But behold him now! In the last extremity, as he is cut off from every hope, the arm of sovereign mercy is made bare for his relief. The heart of adamant melts; the will that has hitherto resisted the divine Spirit, and rebelled against the divine sovereignty, is subdued; the lofty looks are brought low; the selfish mind has become benevolent; the proud, humble, the stubborn rebel, the meek child of God. Jesus tells the despairing sinner where to find a beam of hope; the voice of the Son of God proclaims “forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace;” the Angel of peace invites and sweetly urges the soul, stained with pollution, to repair to the blood of sprinkling; stung with the guilt of sin, to look up to Jesus for healing and life.

Is this an idle tale? Nay, believer, you have felt it all. And if there is no mystery in this, why should it be thought incredible, that instances of the same nature should be multiplied, and greatly multiplied in any given period? If there are dispensations of grace above the ordinary operations of the Spirit, they may exist in very different degrees at different times. And if the immediate and special influences of the Holy Ghost are to be expected in the edification of a single saint, or the conversion of a single sinner, why may they not be expected in the edification and conversion of multitudes? It is not above the reach of God’s power; nor beyond the limits of His sovereignty. God can as easily send down a shower, as a single drop; He can as easily convert two as one; three thousand as one hundred.

Now this is a revival of religion. We do not pretend to have traced the features it uniformly bears, because it bears no uniform features. God is sovereign. “The wind bloweth where it listeth.” Still, wherever God is pleased to manifest His power and grace, in enlarging the views, in enlivening and invigorating the graces of His own people, and in turning the hears of considerable numbers of His enemies, at the same time, to seek and secure His pardoning mercy, there is a revival of religion.Read the rest of this entry »

Dangerous Times Demand Vigorous Faith

The Protestant Reformation had been a long time in coming to Scotland. But finally, that reformation which had begun in Germany and Switzerland under Martin Luther and John Calvin hit the shores of Scotland under the spiritual leadership of John Knox. His presence was not without its suffering. which we have seen thus far in these pages to Knox and other Protestants before him. But in 1560, members of the Protestant faith took control of the Scottish Parliament. Then, Knox and others wanted a Protestant nation from the top down. And this Reformation parliament agreed, instructing Knox and six other ministers to prepare a creed summarizing of the faith and life of the Scottish church.

This group of ministers led by John Knox had met before to hammer out a book of discipline for the Kirk. Their names were: John Winram, John Spottiswoode, John Willock, John Douglas, and John Roe. Along with John Knox, they were famously known as “the six John’s.” They returned back to the Parliament with the doctrinal statement after just  four days, on August 17, 1560. Obviously, they were at home with the Scriptural truths and texts within this document.

It consisted of twenty-five chapters, supports with Scriptural texts, strengthened by words such as “cleave, serve, worship, and trust.” They had to be some knowledge of church history by its readers in the distant past, as it condemned the heresies of Arius, Marcion, Eutyches, and Nestorius by name. Obviously, Roman Catholicism was thoroughly denied in the confession. It was read twice, first to the Lords of the Articles, and second to the whole Parliament, with members of the “Six John’s” standing up to answer any and all protestations. Very few were enunciated. The votes of every member of the Parliament were then recorded. While there were a few negatives, the majority in the affirmative was clear and strong. Scotland has a Reformation Creedal standard.

Two acts, as John Knox wrote in his History of the Reformation, were passed in additions to the Scots Confession. The one was against “the Mass and the abuse of the Sacrament, and the other against the Supremacy of the Pope.” (pg. 233) All laws at variance to the Reformed faith were set aside.

The entire Scot Confession of 1560 can be read online here.

This Reformation Confession would provide the spiritual foundation of the Scottish Reformation until the Westminster Confession and Catechisms would replace it in 1648.

Words to Live By:
This author in his forty years of ministry within Presbyterian churches has often heard visitors, upon hearing of our Confessional Standards, reply that they hold to “no creed but Christ.” Now that succinct statement sounds good, but in truth even the apostate would affirm it.The only difference would be that his “Christ” is very much different from the Christ of the Bible. And that is the reason why a Confessional standard is needed by the true church today. To be sure, it is never held above the Bible. It is always a subordinate standard. We receive and adopt it as elders of the church. We look upon it as a summary of the teachings of the Old and New Testaments.  Reader, if you haven’t cracked open its pages for a long time, spend some time this week in reading again its chapters. You will be thankful again of this historic standard of our Presbyterian and Reformed churches.

Back When Presbyterians Seemed to Run Everything

Dartmouth College, located in Hanover, New Hampshire, was founded in December of 1769 (We will mention in passing that Samuel Miller was born that same year, less than two months earlier). Eleazar Wheelock served as the first president of the school and when he died in 1779, his son John Wheelock took up the mantle and served as the second president of Dartmouth. From there, the succeeding list of presidents came to be known as the “Wheelock Succession.”

Francis Brown was next called from his church in North Yarmouth, Maine, serving as the third president (1815-1820), during a particularly interesting crisis for the school. It was at this time that a legal challenge to the school arose, eventually coming before the Supreme Court. This was the famous Dartmouth College Case:

“The contest was a pivotal one for Dartmouth and for the newly independent nation. It tested the contract clause of the Constitution and arose from an 1816 controversy involving the legislature of the state of New Hampshire, which amended the 1769 charter granted to Eleazar Wheelock, making Dartmouth a public institution and changing its name to Dartmouth University. Under the leadership of President Brown, the Trustees resisted the effort and the case for Dartmouth was argued by Daniel Webster before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1818. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the historic decision in favor of Dartmouth College, thereby paving the way for all American private institutions to conduct their affairs in accordance with their charters and without interference from the state.”

But the whole affair was taxing and Rev. Brown died at the young age of 35. His successor, the Rev. Daniel Dana, lasted just one year before he too was worn out and resigned the post. Bennet Tyler and Nathan Lord, the next two presidents, faired better. While Tyler served just four years, Nathan Lord’s term as president ran from 1828 to 1863. His term might have run longer, but as events unfolded in the 1860’s, the Trustees of Dartmouth were forced to finally deal with the fact that the school’s president was a strong pro-slavery advocate.

smith_asa_dodgeSo it was that in 1863, the Rev. Asa Dodge Smith became the seventh president of Dartmouth College. Inaugurated in 1863, he served as president until his death on August 16, 1877, at the age of 73.

Asa Dodge Smith was born in Amherst, Massachusetts on September 21, 1804, the son of Dr. Roger and Sally (Hodge) Smith. He was himself a graduate of Dartmouth College (1830), and in the year or so following graduation he worked as the principal of an academy in Limerick, Maine. Preparing to enter the ministry, he studied at Andover Theological Seminary and graduated there in 1834. He was then ordained and installed as pastor of what was then the Brainerd Presbyterian church (later renamed as the 14th Street Presbyterian church) in New York City. Rev. Smith also served as a professor of pastoral theology at the Union Theological Seminary, NY, 1843-1844.

From here, the history states that,

“After the forced resignation of Nathan Lord in 1863 over his support for slavery, the Trustees wanted a more conservative president to take his place. As a preacher for 29 years at the 14th Street Presbyterian Church in New York City, Asa Dodge had developed a reputation as a religious man with abolitionist beliefs.

“Smith’s presidency was a period of great growth for the College, including the establishment of two new schools within Dartmouth. The New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts, later moved to Durham, New Hampshire and renamed the University of New Hampshire, was originally founded in Hanover in 1866. One year later, the Thayer School of Engineering was founded. Over the course of his presidency, enrollment at the College was more than doubled, the number of scholarships increased from 42 to 103, and Dartmouth benefitted from several important bequests.”

Some of the honors conferred on the Rev. Asa Dodge Smith during his lifetime included the Doctor of Divinity degree, awarded by Williams College in 1849, and from the University of New York he received the Doctor of Letters degree in 1854. It was also during his tenure that the school celebrated its centennial anniversary, a momentous time nearly ruined by an unexpected thunderstorm. But ultimately the affair was not ruined for the participants, with attendees including Supreme Court Justice Salmon P. Chase, from the Class of 1826, and U.S. General William Tecumseh Sherman.

Words to Live By:
Perhaps covenant faithfulness is the lesson to take away from this account. A life lived apparently without amazing exploits or heart-rending stories, but lived faithfully before the Lord, using his God-given gifts and talents to the best of his ability, and all for the glory of God. So too most Christians live fairly average lives, undistinguished except for this one vital thing: Because of the finished cross-work of Jesus Christ, each one of His blood-bought children stands in a living, vital relationship with the God of creation, the Lord of all glory. On the surface, our lives may seem quite average, but the reality is far more exciting, far more glorious than even we can imagine.

Q. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.—1 Corinthians 10:31, ESV.

For Further Study:
To view the grave site of Rev. Smith, click here.

penningtonJWC_1809-1870“I am an American to the Backbone.”

My time of late simply does not permit the writing of a proper biographical account of the remarkable life of James W.C. Pennington, who  was born in 1809 and who died in 1870, at the age of 63. To my knowledge, his exact birth and death dates are lost to us. But it was on this day, August 15th, in 1849, that he penned the Preface to his autobiography,“” THE FUGITIVE BLACKSMITHan account of his time as a slave, his subsequent escape, and his eventual preparation for the Gospel ministry and his service as a pastor of several churches, among them the Shiloh Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, New York. It was during an earlier pastorate that Rev. Pennington wrote what is acknowledged as the first history of African Americans, THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE COLORED PEOPLE. (1841).

The following letter to his family, whom he had not seen in many years, is excerpted from the appendix to THE FUGITIVE BLACKSMITH (1849):—   

APPENDIX

These two letters are simply introduced to show what the state of my feelings was with reference to slavery at the time they were written. I had just heard several facts with regard to my parents, which had awakened my mind to great excitement.

To my Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters.

[The following was written in 1844]:

DEARLY BELOVED IN BONDS,

About seventeen long years have now rolled away, since in the Providence of Almighty God, I left your embraces, and set out upon a daring adventure in search of freedom. Since that time, I have felt most severely the loss of the sun and moon and eleven stars from my social sky. Many, many a thick cloud of anguish has pressed my brow and sent deep down into my soul the bitter waters of sorrow in consequence. And you have doubtless had your troubles and anxious seasons also about your fugitive star.

I have learned that some of you have been sold, and again taken back by Colonel _____. How many of you are living and together, I cannot tell. My great grief is, lest you should have suffered this or some additional punishment on account of my Exodus.

I indulge the hope that it will afford you some consolation to know that your son and brother is yet alive. That God has dealt wonderfully and kindly with me in all my way. He has made me a Christian, and a Christian Minister, and thus I have drawn my support and comfort from that blessed Saviour, who came to preach good tidings unto the meek, to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives; and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that he might be glorified.

If the course I took in leaving a condition which had become intolerable to me, has been made the occasion of making that condition worse to you in any way, I do most heartily regret such a change for the worse on your part. As I have no means, however, of knowing if such be the fact, so I have no means of making atonement, but by sincere prayer to Almighty God in your behalf, and also by taking this method of offering to you these consolations of the gospel to which I have just referred, and which I have found to be pre-eminently my own stay and support. My dear father and mother; I have very often wished, while administering the Holy Ordinance of Baptism to some scores of children brought forward by doting parents, that I could see you with yours among the number. And you, my brothers and sisters, while teaching hundreds of children and youths in schools over which I have been placed, what unspeakable delight I should have had in having you among the number; you may all judge of my feeling for these past years, when while preaching from Sabbath to Sabbath to congregations, I have not been so fortunate as even to see father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, or cousin in my congregations. While visiting the sick, going to the house of mourning, and burying the dead, I have been a constant mourner for you. My sorrow has been that I know you are not in possession of those hallowed means of grace. I am thankful to you for those mild and gentle traits of character which you took such care to enforce upon me in my youthful days. As an evidence that I prize both you and them, I may say that at the age of thirty-seven, I find them as valuable as any lessons I have learned, nor am I ashamed to let it be known to the world, that I am the son of a bond man and a bond woman.

Let me urge upon you the fundamental truths of the Gospel of the Son of God. Let repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ have their perfect work in you, I beseech you. Do not be prejudiced against the gospel because it may be seemingly twisted into a support of slavery. The gospel rightly understood, taught, received, felt and practised, is anti-slavery as it is anti-sin. Just so far and so fast as the true spirit of the gospel obtains in the land, and especially in the lives of the oppressed, will the spirit of slavery sicken and become powerless like the serpent with his head pressed beneath the fresh leaves of the prickly ash of the forest.

There is not a solitary decree of the immaculate God that has been concerned in the ordination of slavery, nor does any possible development of his holy will sanctify it.

He has permitted us to be enslaved according to the invention of wicked men, instigated by the devil, with intention to bring good out of the evil, but He does not, He cannot approve of it. He has no need to approve of it, even on account of the good which He will bring out of it, for He could have brought about that very good in some other way.

God is never straitened; He is never at a loss for means to work. Could He not have made this a great and wealthy nation without making its riches to consist in our blood, bones, and souls? And could He not also have given the gospel to us without making us slaves?

My friends, let us then, in our afflictions, embrace and hold fast the gospel. The gospel is the fulness of God. We have the glorious and total weight of God’s moral character in our side of the scale.

The wonderful purple stream which flowed for the healing of the nations, has a branch for us. Nay, is Christ divided? “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to (for) all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”–Titus ii: 11-14.

But you say you have not the privilege of hearing of this gospel of which I speak. I know it; and this is my great grief. But you shall have it; I will send it to you by my humble prayer; I can do it; I will beg our heavenly Father, and he will preach this gospel to you in his holy providence.

You, dear father and mother cannot have much longer to live in this troublesome and oppressive world; you cannot bear the yoke much longer. And as you approach another world, how desirable it is that you should have the prospect of a different destiny from what you have been called to endure in this world during a long life.

But it is the gospel that sets before you the hope of such a blessed rest as is spoken of in the word of God, Job iii. 17, 19. “There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest; there the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressors. The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.”

Father, I know thy eyes are dim with age and weary with weeping, but look, dear father, yet a little while toward that haven. Look unto Jesus, “the author and finisher of thy faith,” for the moment of thy happy deliverance is at hand.

Mother, dear mother, I know, I feel, mother, the pangs of thy bleeding heart, that thou hast endured, during so many years of vexation. Thy agonies are by a genuine son-like sympathy mine; I will, I must, I do share daily in those agonies of thine. But I sincerely hope that with me you bear your agonies to Christ who carries our sorrows.

O come then with me, my beloved family, of weary heart-broken and care-worn ones, to Jesus Christ, “casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.”–2 Peter v. 7.

With these words of earnest exhortation, joined with fervent prayer to God that He may smooth your rugged way, lighten your burden, and give a happy issue out of all your troubles, I must bid you adieu.

Your son and brother,

JAS. P.  Alias J. W. C. PENNINGTON.

For Further Study:
Pennington, James W.C., The Reasonableness of the Abolition of Slavery at the South : A Legitimate Inference from the success of British emancipation : an address, delivered at Hartford, Conn., on the first of August, 1856.
Webber, Christopher L., American to the Backbone: The Life of James W.C. Pennington, the Fugitive Slave Who Became One of the First Black Abolitionists(New York: Pegasus Books, 2011).

STUDIES IN THE WESTMINSTER SHORTER CATECHISM
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 98
What is prayer?

A. Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of His mercies.

Scripture References: Ps.62:8; I John 5:14; Matt. 26:39; John 16:23; Daniel 9:4; Phil. 4:6.

Questions:

1. Some feel that prayer is simply petitions of God. Is this the only part of prayer?

No, petitions are certainly not the only part of prayer though they are basic to prayer as we offer up our desires to Him.

2. What other kinds of prayer are legitimate?

We can confess in prayer and we can give our thanksgivings to God.

However, the matter of our supplications to God are important in His sight.

3. When we say we are to offer up our desires to God do we simply mean the Father?

Certainly we do not mean simply God the Father though most prayers are offered in that way, in the name of Jesus Christ. How- ever, when we pray to God it is understood that all members of the Trinity are being addressed.

4. Could you list some of the things that would be agreeable to His will in our prayers?

As we pray we can ask Him for spiritual grace and strength for each day, for deliverance from temptations, for the pardon of our sins, for the vision of that wonderful day we will be with Him, for our brethren in the Lord.

5. Why is it necessary that we pray in the name of Jesus Christ?

We must pray in the name of Christ because our sinfulness is 80 great that we have no ability to reach God without the Mediator that has been supplied for us.

6. Why is it necessary to confess our sins in our prayers?

It is necessary for us to confess our sins for He will not hear us if there is inlqulty in our hearts. (Ps. 66:18)

7. What are the mercies for which we should be thankful?

These mercies are His free gifts to us, both spiritual and temporal. His mercy is great and free and we could not live without it.

PRAYER IS VITAL

In the year 1898 two members of the Presbytery of New York returned to their work from a Bible conference. A called meeting of Presbytery was held. One asked a question concerning the prayer life of the brethren. “Brethren, let us today make confession before God and each other. It will do us good. Will everyone who spends half an hour every day with God in prayer regarding His work hold up his hand? Fifteen minutes?” Not a hand went up. The minister then said, “Prayer, the working power of the Church of Christ, and not one person spends fifteen minutes a day!”

We all know that our Bible reading and our Bible study is important to us. But supremely important is our regular, earnest, daily prayer. There is a parallel here between the spiritual and the physical. So far as our bodies are concerned we must have air to breathe. The spiritual air we have to breathe is our prayer life. When prayer dies out spiritual life dies out and becomes feeble.

E. M. Bounds, a great prayer warrior, once said, “Prayer is a privilege, a sacred, princely privilege. Prayer is a duty, an obligation most binding, and most imperative, which should hold us to it. But prayer is more than a privilege, more than a duty. It is a means, an instrument, a condition. Not to pray is to lose much more than to fail in the exercise and enjoyment of a high or sweet privilege. Not to pray is to fail among lines far more important than even the violation of an obligation.”

Time and time again in the history of the Christian Church it has been proven that the thing of supreme importance is the practice of daily, private prayer. God has used those who make use of this privilege before Him. We do not mean to intimate that Bible study is not important. But the more a believer knows of the Word of God the more he will know the important of his prayer life. J. Sidlow Baxter once said that the Christian service was the “Outer Court” of the Tabernacle. Bible study was the “Holy Place” of the Tabernacle. But prayer was the “Holy of Holies” and must be carried on without ceaSing.

How much time do we spend in prayer? Have we developed the sacred habit of daily prayer? May we read Rev. 5:8 and ask God to give us no rest until we are consistent in our prayer lives!

Published By THE SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Dedicated to instruction in the Westminster Standards for use as a bulletin insert or other methods of distribution in Presbyterian churches

Vol. 7 No. 5 (March 1968)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

“As government is the pillar of the earth, so religion is the pillar of government. Take away the fear of God’s government and judgment and human rule utterly falls, or corrupts into tyranny.”

hallDWGuest author Dr. David W. Hall, pastor of Midway Presbyterian Church, returns today with the next post in his series of Election Day Sermons. We’re running this series for the obvious reason that we’re in an election year, and one clear lesson from these sermons is that in an earlier day, pastors routinely applied Biblical truths to the political situation at hand.

“Government the Pillar of the Earth”
by Benjamin Colman (Aug 13, 1730)

Another echo of Calvin’s continuing influence can be seen in the works of Benjamin Colman (1673-1747). Colman was an esteemed preacher who was offered the presidency of Harvard in 1724. He declined, however, preferring to devote himself to pastoral ministry. But in a 1730 sermon, Colman preached that, “Civil government is of divine institution.” Moreover, he maintained that God “commissions and entrusts” certain rulers by his sovereign will. In other words, the providence of God was a continuing reality in earthly politics, as it “disposed persons and offices” at God’s beckon. Colman called on political officials to “consider their obligations to be pillars in the places wherein Providence hath set them.”

The sermon outline, drawn from1 Samuel 2:8, is:

DOCTRINE. The Great GOD has made the Governments and Rulers of the Earth its Pillars, and has set the World upon them.

I. The Governments and Rulers of the Earth are its Pillars.

II. These Pillars of the Earth are the LORD’s.

III. GOD hath set the World upon the Governments and Rulers, whom He has made the Pillars of it.

USE. I shall now make a few Reflections, by way of practical Inference and Improvement.

It was preached before the local magistrate in August 1730, long before the revolutionary fervor reached its zenith. As such, it is a calm discourse, perhaps closer in tenor to Reformation political tracts than to the fiery preaching of the 1770s. He began with the observation about Samuel, to wit: “Great things are here said of God and of His Government in the families and kingdoms of men, and such wise and just observations are made as are worthy of deep contemplation by the greatest and best of men.”

He preached:

We see then that the natural Earth has no pillars in any proper sense; neither has the moral Earth (i. e., the inhabitants of it) any, but in a metaphorical sense: And so the princes and rulers of it are called its pillars because the affairs of the world lie upon their shoulders and turn upon their conduct and management, in a very great degree. And thus the text explains itself and is to be interpreted from the scope of our context, which speaks of “the bows of the mighty men” and of “the thrones of princes,” and then adds: “the pillars of the earth.” So that by pillars we are to understand Governors and Rulers among men, but not the persons that bear rule so much as the order itself—government and magistracy [judgeship]. For the persons may be weak and slender reeds, little able of themselves to bear up anything, and here and there they may fall, but the order stands and does indeed uphold the world.”

Faithful ministers are pillars for the church. Correspondingly, in the civil realm,

“The governments and rulers of the Earth are its pillars or ornaments, to adorn it. Pillars in a fine building are made as beautiful as may be; they are planned and polished, wrought and carved with much art and cost, painted and gilded for sight as well as use.” He continued: “So those in power and magistracy are to be supposed men adorned with superior gifts, powers, and beauties of mind: Men that adorn the world wherein they live and the offices which they sustain. And then their office adorns them, also, and sets them in conspicuous places, where what is great and good to them is seen of all. To be sure, government and magistracy adorn the world as well as preserve it. Magistrates uphold and adorn the world as pillars do a fabric, by employing their superior wisdom and knowledge, skill and prudence, discretion and judgment for the public good. These accomplishments are to be supposed in the civil order, and they render them the pillars of the Earth.”

Colman mentioned biblical characters like Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Jehoiada, Hezekiah, and Nehemiah, concluding that

“All that rule over men should be like to these, just men ruling in the fear of the Lord, and then they are to the world as the light and rain, without which the Earth must perish.” Colman defined a pillar in these words: “A pillar implies fortitude and patience, resolution, firmness, and strength of mind under weight and burden: Not to be soon shaken in mind, nor moved away from what is right and just, but giving our reason in the meekness of wisdom and hearing the reasons of others in the same spirit of meekness to form an impartial judgment and abide by it, but yet with submission to the public judgment and determination. The unstable are as water, and more fitly likened to the waves of the sea, than to a pillar on shore. And the irresolute, discouraged, and sinking mind is at best but a pillar built upon the sand which falls when the wind blows and the storm beats upon it, because of its weak foundation.”

God’s sovereignty also meant that these pillars belonged to the Lord:

“The Lord makes these pillars, forms [and] fashions them, polishes and adorns them. He gifts, qualifies, and furnishes all whom He calls out to public service.” “Thus,” he preached, “the Sovereign God forms the pillars of the Earth, prepares them, sets them up, ordains the places and times of their standing, takes them down and puts others in their room.” If governors are the pillars of the earth, as to one duty, Colman asked: “Are they the Lord’s? And has He set the world upon them? Let us then devoutly observe the governing Providence of God in the disposing of persons and offices, both with respect unto ourselves and others.” Moreover, he rightly assigned the places for the rulers and the ruled: “Let people reverence and honor their worthy rulers, and let the highest among men be very humble before God. They are pillars, but of the Earth. The Earth and its pillars are dissolving together. Government abides in a succession of men, while the Earth endures, but the persons, however good and great, must die like other men. We must not look too much at the loftiness of any, nor lean too much on any earthly pillar.”

Before his concluding application section, Colman summarized:

In a word, magistracy, like the other ordinances of Heaven, stands by the power and blessing of God, who effectually owns it and works by it, establishes the Earth and it abides. He has graven it deep in the hearts of men, even as the desire of happiness and self-preservation. He has as much ordained that while the earth remains civil order and government shall not cease, as He has sworn “that seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night,” shall not. Both the one and the other equally continue to the world’s end absolutely necessary to the life, comfort, and welfare of mankind.”

Colman also acknowledged the devotion and virtue of the New England settlers before him. From their example, he drew this lesson:

“As government is the pillar of the earth, so religion is the pillar of government. Take away the fear of God’s government and judgment and human rule utterly falls, or corrupts into tyranny.”

Colman, like most Calvinists of his day, remained suspicious about ecclesiastical aspirations to political power, and he thought the Reformation had delivered Europe from such bondage. At one point, he alluded to the long shadow of Swiss churches, citing the Helvetic Confession and commending the Reformed churches for impeding such ecclesiastical abuse of power.1

Nonetheless, the political themes of Geneva echoed in American sermons of the first half of the eighteenth century. A survey2 of Connecticut sermons leading up to 1776 dealt with these topics near to the heart of any pious Genevan:

  1. Civil Rulers are God’s Ministers” (1712, John Woodward); also “Civil Rulers are the Ministers of God” (1749, Jonathan Todd)

  2. Practical Godliness, the Way to Prosperity” (1714, Samuel Whitman)

  3. God’s Providence” (1722, William Burnham)

  4. Obedience to the Divine Law” (1724, Samuel Woodbridge)

  5. Jesus Christ Doth Actually Reign” (1727, Timothy Woodbridge)

  6. The Legislature’s Right” (1746, Samuel Hall)

  7. Civil Government the Foundation of Social Happiness” (1750, Noah Hobart).

Until the end of the Revolutionary period, Connecticut legislatures were addressed with sermons on topics such as “Christ, the Foundation” (1767), “Civil Rulers an Ordinance of God” (1774), “Christian and Civil Liberty” (1776), and “The Importance of Religion” (1778). As late as 1809 the Connecticut legislature was enjoined to view “Prayer [as] Eminently the Duty of Rulers.”

From 1634, Massachusetts preserved a tradition of preaching to the legislatures until the nineteenth century (until 1884). Various preachers from the Mather family addressed the legislatures into the early eighteenth century. Moreover, Samuel Cheever preached “God’s Sovereign Government” (1712), John Hancock preached “Rulers Should be Benefactors” (1722), Jeremiah Wise preached “Rulers are Ministers of God” (1729), John Webb preached “The Government of Christ” (1738), and Nathanael Eells preached “Religion is the Life of God’s People” (1743). With additional charges to deem “God as the Strength of Rulers” (1741) and to view “Good Rulers the Fathers of their People” (1748), Bostonians became accustomed to hearing themes first proclaimed in Geneva repeated from the Old North Church pulpit. If the common man accepted these sermons on political topics as fitting and proper, so did sitting legislatures.

This sermon is available in printed form in the excellent anthology by Ellis Sandoz, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998) and online at: http://www.belcherfoundation.org/pillar.htm.

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

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

1 Whitefield preached at Benjamin Colman’s church in 1740. Suzanne Geissler, Jonathan Edwards to Aaron Burr, Jr.: From the Great Awakening to Democratic Politics (New York: The Edwin Mellen Press, 1981), 36.

2 See R. W. G. Vail, “A Check List of New England Election Sermons,” Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 45 (Oct. 1935), 233-266.

Christ Himself Is Our Comfort.

A difficult lesson, and a deep theology here, from the diary of the Rev. J. J. Janeway, a prominent Philadelphia pastor in the early 19th-century. 

Sabbath, August 12, 1810. 

“I have been examining myself with respect to my growth in grace, and I find, that although I have reason to mourn, that with the privileges I enjoy I make so small improvement in the Divine life, yet I make some. Blessed be God for it! Oh, to make more rapid advances! On Friday evening I felt much assisted in conducting worship in Mr. Bradford’s family. This day I preached on the great duty of forgiving our enemies. Oh, for a heart truly to forgive mine!

“The Lord was pleased to assist me at His table. I felt some movements of the affections, though not much. I was, however, enabled to act faith in the sacrifice of Christ, so as to have communion with Him in His broken body and shed blood, receiving them as broken and shed for me. My mind was composed, so that I was able to meditate. My confession respected sins, which I have for some time been in the habit of confessing, and my petitions respected blessings, which have for some time formed the burden of my prayers. I hope I prayed in faith, pleading the fulness, the death of Christ, the promises, and oath, and covenant of God, and my future destination to perfect purity. My mind one day last week seemed turned toward the grave, and it seemed that it would be a sweet resting-place. My heart is dreadfully depraved. What envy! What selfishness! I have endeavoured to mourn over them, and nail them to the cross of my Saviour. I pray to be delivered from them. Victories over them, I have, I trust, gained by divine grace, and this is my encouragement to carry on the conflict. Happy period, when I shall be freed from them entirely, and from all other sin!”

The first breach in Dr. Janeway’s family occurred at this time. A child of uncommon loveliness and promise was removed by death. His father returned from church in time to see him expire. There was much of comfort in his departure, and his father was enabled to resign him with humble confidence, into the hands of a gracious God. The lessons of submission which he had enforced on others, he now learned, and all the recorded exercises of his heart were in accordance with the calm dignity of his piety. Gone, but not lost! In glory before the throne, and not amid the sins of earth. On the next Sabbath he endeavoured to improve it to his people’s good, and to profit himself by God’s dealings.

The year closed by asking himself the question, “What comfort do I derive from religion?” and his answer was, that he was not favoured with those lively consolations which are the lot of some of God’s dear people; yet he could share in various ways in its comforts. He blesses God for the steady hope that he enjoyed, and that uneasy doubts seldom disturbed his serene peace. While God’s grace was the cause of this, yet, as a means to this blessed end, he recognizes frequent self-examination, and searching into the nature and evidences of a gracious state. Casting himself, and all his cares and anxieties upon God, with all the unfeigned resignation of a child who trusted in its father, he prays—God’s will be done, and give me grace to acquiesce.

Excerpted from THE LIFE OF DR. J. J. JANEWAY, pp. 176-177.

Words to Live By: 
Dearly beloved, are you pressing to know the Lord Jesus Christ better, to love Him more? Are you seeking after Him with your whole heart? He is your Comfort. Bring all your cares and anxieties and cast yourself upon God, “with all the unfeigned resignation of a child” who trusts in the Father, praying, “God’s will be done, and give me Thy grace.”

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