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A Watchful Shepherd After God’s Own Heart
by David Myers

It is true that Today in Presbyterian History has already posted two articles on Robert Smith, one on October 3rd and a second one on December 27th. So why post another one on this early Presbyterian pastor on March 25, 1751? The answer is that he was indeed that important in the church history of early America.

Summing up what we had written before, Robert Smith had been born in Ireland and emigrated with his parents to the American Colonies when he was around seven years of age. His parents were farmers, tilling the rich land around about 40 miles west of Philadelphia along the Brandy wine River. An early conversion to Christ through the Gospel preaching of George Whitefield brought him new life in Christ. An equally early call to be a servant of the Lord brought him to Samuel Blair’s school in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where he received gospel training to prepare him for the pastoral ministry.

It was on this day, March 25, 1751, that Robert Smith was installed the pastor of a double call, in Leacock and Pequea, Pennsylvania. After a while, he left the Leacock congregation to concentrate on the spiritual field ready for harvest in Pequea, Pennsylvania, where he was to minister for the next 42 years.

It was here that the title of our post was proven to be true, as he was “a watchful shepherd after God’s own heart.” It was said that he made it his gospel business to enlighten the understanding . . .

In this ministry, he had the loving support of his wife, Elizabeth Blair, the sister to his friend and former teacher, Samuel Blair. They were married May 22, 1750 and through the years, enjoyed the arrival of seven children. Two died in their early years, two became doctors, and three followed their father into the spiritual ministry of others. The latter three included Samuel Smith, who became the second professor succeeding John Witherspoon at Princeton . His brother John would both pastor and become the first president of Hampden-Sidney College down in Virginia. William served as the pastor of a Presbyterian church before he switched his allegiance to the Reformed Dutch Church in New Jersey. In all three cases, however, the godly ministry of Robert Smith’s echoed in their ministry to saints and sinners alike.

Robert Smith was a strict Calvinist with an earnest adherence to the Westminster Standards. As such, he was recognized for his conviction by becoming the second Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. He was elected a trustee of Princeton after that school of prophets was begun, and was faithful to his call to educate students. In fact, it was after he had been present at such a meeting that he fell from his horse, returning home after the week’s meetings. An elder of a nearby church found him, with his horse grazing near his body, and took him to his own home. He would die soon afterwards and is buried in Pequea’s church cemetery, east of Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Words to Live By:
If you are a member of a Presbyterian church with such a pastor like Robert Smith, pray much for his ministry to you and yours (Remember Ephesians 6:18, 19); serve the Lord in the area of your spiritual gifts, (Remember 1 Peter 4:11), and obey his spiritual leading as Scripture commands. (Remember Hebrews 13:17)

Another post “from the month” but not tied to the day. This particular article appeared while Samuel G. Craig was editor of THE PRESBYTERIAN, a Philadelphia based magazine. Just a very few years later, Mr. Craig started the Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, now known to most as P&R Publishing.

A PLEA FOR THE CATECHISM
by E.P. Whallon
[The Presbyterian 98.10 (8 March 1928): 4.]

A church that educates its children in the doctrines of God’s Word and trains them in the performance of Christian duty, is sure to be a stable and strong organization, and without this there is no promise of abiding strength nor assurance of any real stability. The children and young people must be trained to be intelligent in their conception of Christian truth, and substantial and reliable in their rendering of Christian service, and we may confidently expect the Holy Spirit to bless this to their regeneration.

The children of this generation, even those of our Presbyterian families, are exactly similar to those in corresponding families, are exactly similar to those in corresponding situations in earlier days. Those who are carefully and prayerfully trained up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord will be found, according to the divine promise, not departing when they are old, from the way in which they should go. If they are neglected, they will turn every one to his own way. As ministers of the gospel, as Christian parents, and as professed believers, we cannot afford or consent to believe anything else or less than this. The responsibility is, as it always has been, since the time of Eli, whose “sons were vile and he reproved them not,” largely with the parents, where God first lodged it and from whom he does not remove it. Children must be taught and trained, if they ultimately walk in ways of pleasantness and paths of peace.

No matter what may be said by unpractical and inexperienced theorists, there is no way of teaching the great and essential Christian doctrines comparable with what we know as the catechetical method. In our Westminster Shorter Catechism we have a most valuable and condensed compendium of gospel truth. Those who have been so fortunate as to be possessed of this, by having been taught and encouraged to lay it up in their memory, are greatly rich, and those who are disposed to be good and wise friends of their children will see that they lay this away in memory, that they may treasure it as a great possession, strengthened by it in their minds for the practice of it in their lives.

It is not such a formidable task to “learn by heart” all of the Shorter Catechism. If one has learned it well, it can be gone through with question and answer succeeding one another promptly, in twenty minutes, and that is not an exercise that is at all beyond the reach of any young person of ordinary ability. The mastery of these well-prepared, Scriptural answers is adapted to sharpen the intellect for almost any task, and to fortify the heart and soul for the great conflicts of life as to faith and morals. A catechism drill is a most valuable item for Sabbath afternoon in any Christian home, and children who are thus drilled will rise up in after years and call “blessed” the parents who were forceful and attractive and conscientious enough to make this a part of the program of their life.

We do not overlook the fact that there are two other catechisms that are accessible and valuable. One is the “Catechism for Young Children,” beginning with : “Who made you?  God.” The other is the “Intermediate,” prepared, under the direction of our General Assembly, only a few years ago. These three are adapted to the needs and comprehensions of our children and young people, of all ages. It would be well for everyone to go through all three of these, even if they are not all committed to memory. But it would be greatly advantageous to have every answer of the Shorter Catechism thoroughly memorized and laid away for use all through the life.

Nor do we overlook the fact that the learning of Scripture passages, on the great matters of faith and practice, is supremely valuable, and akin to the catechetical method which has just been considered. Every one should know at least one hundred verses of Scripture as familiarly as the figures of the multiplication table or the letters of the alphabet. Many of the Psalms should be memorized, as well as the great passages from the Gospels and the Epistles.

The one who is thus fortified by a knowledge of precious passages from the Holy Scriptures may say: “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” Those who have learned the Catechisms have come, under God’s good Providence, to know very much as to what we are to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of man.

E.P. Whallon.

Here’s a great sermon illustration, drawn from an earlier time, before GPS navigation.  (Our March date is a bit off, but what can you do?)

WITHOUT POSITION
by C. Laing Herald, Ph.D.
[The Presbyterian 98.10 (8 March 1928): 6-7.]

“Without position” is a nautical term ; it savors of the sea. Years ago, if one sailed the seas on a sailing ship, or wind-jammer, as such vessels were rudely called, one would have become familiar, more or less, with this term. Two vessels at sea, while passing each other within signaling distance, always exchanged the courtesies of the sea by giving their respective nautical positions. Each ship ran her colors to the masthead, thus displaying her nationality; then a board, painted black, was lashed to the shrouds of the mizzen rigging; and on this board was written in large letters, with chalk, the latitude and the longitude each captain thought his ship was in, according to his latest observations. In this way, for the sake of safety, the two captains compared positions. Sometimes, however, especially after a period of heavy or foggy weather, the words written on the board were, “without position.” In other words, the captain of the ship who wrote these words admitted that he did not know where his ship was nautically; that he was really without position; having failed to obtain observations of sun, or the moon, or the stars, so that he might learn from them his latitude and longitude, and being in doubt as to the accuracy of his “dead reckoning,” he was all “at sea” as to his position. Therefore, the words “without position” are significant.  

The science of navigating consists in the knowledge necessary to conduct a ship safely across the ocean, enabling the mariner to determine, from the position of the celestial bodies, with a sufficient degree of accuracy, the position of his vessel at any given time. And while navigation is a science to itself, yet, in a practical sense, it must, of course, be supplemented by seamanship.

There are three ways of determining the position of a ship at sea; namely, by piloting or bearings, by dead reckoning, and by observation of the celestial bodies, the sun, the moon, and the stars. The first is simple, primitive, and answered so long as a ship remained in sight of land. In this way the position of the ship is determined from the visible objects along the shore, and from soundings. Dead reckoning consists in keeping an hourly and careful record of the course the ship is steering from a known point of departure, the rate of speed she is making, with due allowance for leeway, caused by drift, ocean currents and tides. This method of navigation is largely guess-work, and is, therefore, far from being accurate and trustworthy. The science of navigation really consists in the observation of the celestial bodies and the consequent calculations of the ship’s latitude and longitude from these observations.

But even this science is subject to interruption, and, therefore, subject to error and consequent danger and loss. Suppose, for example, that a captain, because of cloudy or foggy weather, cannot obtain an observation of any of these bodies for several days; suppose that tides and ocean currents, unknown or misunderstood by the navigator, carry the ship out of her course; and suppose that magnetic influences due to atmospheric conditions, or particular latitudes, or induced by the nature of the ship’s cargo, affect the ship’s compass, even her chronometer; under these conditions what is to be done? The most careful calculations of the navigator will of necessity be affected by one or by all of these conditions, and, as a result, his calculations will be erroneous. Thus the ship may be entirely out of position.

But when I think of a ship at sea without position, my thoughts turn in particular to that large, important and necessary institution, the Christian church. Now be careful, you say. Yes; I shall be careful. Do not lay profane hands on the Ark of the Lord, you warn. No; I shall not, for I have in mind the fate of Urriah, who forgot himself and profaned the Ark. Notwithstanding, the church of to-day reminds me so forcibly of a ship without position that I cannot refrain from the reference and its necessary implications. Although I shall speak as one outside of the church, yet I shall speak with reverence, for I regard the church as the most necessary institution to our existence as a nation and to our well-being as individuals. And although, in my criticism, I may be severe, yet I shall try to be just.

It is to be admitted, gladly and gratefully, that the church is the largest, the wealthiest, the most intellectual, and the most necessary organization in American life. And this being true, it is only honorable, on the part of the church, that she stand true in her obligations to the people she professes to serve and to save. Malfeasance in office is one thing the American people will not stand for—not on the part of church officials. No later than yesterday, one of the professors in the university was in my home, and when asked his opinion of a certain minister, replied at once, “Oh, he is not reliable.” This unreliability was not applicable to the morals of the minister, but to his theology, his teachings; or, in nautical words, to his science of soul navigation. How long would the owners of a valuable ship tolerate a captain who was unreliable in his knowledge of navigation and seamanship, and who would, consequently, run their ship upon the rocks? No, no, it will not do. Then what is one to think of these unreliable ministers, these “sky-pilots,” as they are called, in navigating our souls to the next world?

Account for it as one may, the feeling is abroad in the land that the church at the present time is without position. She does not have her headings; she is off in her dead reckoning; in other words, she is all at sea in her theology. Therefore, she is not capable of saving the souls of men.

What has caused the church to lose her position? Have murky skies, thick fogs, heavy storms, contrary winds, uncertain tides, treacherous currents, been the cause?

There are probably two principle reasons : First, certain men occupying the pulpits of the church, like some college professors, have become too brilliant intellectually; at least they think they have; second, sinful nature is essentially opposed to the fundamental teachings of the Bible; the devil hates the truth like the devil. As to the first reason, nearly all the ministers occupying our pulpits are college-bred. While in college, they were taught to believe that the Bible was such an old Book it was out of date, behind the times, and that modern philosophy and science were far in advance of what the Bible taught. These men, being weak mentally and morally, and without a deep religious experience, accepted the teachings of these professors, and have carried these superficial unreasonable, skeptical and dangerous notions into their pulpits; thus they have turned from the Old Book to their own superficial thinking and irrational conclusions.

In other words, they have become wiser than what is written. Accordingly, they have thrown the Compass overboard, and are navigating the ship in accordance with what they think is the right course to steer. I cannot imagine the captain of a ship being such a blockhead. When the captain of a ship does such an irrational thing as to throw the compass overboard, the ship is doomed and all hands with her. Second, inasmuch as this is a fast, wealthy, pleasure-loving, luxurious period in the history of the American people; and inasmuch as the Old Book calls for self-denial in the things which are harmful, and for simplicity in living, the pulpit has surrendered to this appeal of the age; the pulpit has conceded, yielded, compromised; and now it is deceiving. Ministers enjoy popularity; to many of them, life without this vanity is drab, colorless. Hence they are making the popular appeal by preaching a supposed new doctrine, a doctrine which never entered the divine mind, and which, therefore, is not found in the Book. They have given up the ship; they have struck their colors to the enemy. Nevertheless, they are deceived themselves; for, instead of their preaching being popular, common-sense, thinking men reject it, lose respect for the minister, ignore and neglect the church.

As an outsider, let me say there are men in our pulpits to-day I would not go to hear, neither would I commit the souls of my family to their guidance in spiritual matters. Moreover, there are millions of men who feel just as I do in this matter, for these ministers are just what the university professor said they were—unreliable. They are wreckers. I should hate to cross the ocean with the captain of a ship who did not understand the science of navigation, and shaped his course according to his notion of things. And how true it is that I will not attend a church the pastor of which does not understand the science of theology, and who is likely, therefore, to wreck my soul and the souls of my family. Enter the different churches to-day—there are noble exceptions, thank God!—and listen to the pseudo-sermons. From these sermons does one receive clear and definite directions of the way to glory? Exactly what course to steer in order to reach that Haven of Rest? Indeed not! Compass overboard, chart torn to pieces, the sky overcast, no observations, contrary winds, treacherous currents, uncertain tides, and the church without position!

As I have said, “without position” is a nautical question. In the sense in which I have tried to elucidate it, it may be a naughty question. Nevertheless, one must grant that it is a knotty question.

Wellston, Ohio.

[Robinson’s Ministerial Directory (1898, p. 306) indicates that Rev. Charles Laing Herald was born in Scotland and educated at Queen’s College, Ontario, B.A., 1884 and McCormick Theological Seminary, 1892. Rev. Herald was ordained May 1892 by the Presbytery of Bloomington and installed as pastor of the Presbyterian church in Wenona, IL, where he served from 1892-94. He then answered a call to serve as pastor of the Tontogany, Ohio church, beginning in 1894. Apparently he remained in the general Ohio area throughout his ministry.]

I never had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Gregg Singer, but he will always hold a special place in my life. His papers were the first collection that I ever attempted to process. As I confidently opened the box and opened one large envelope, the first thing I saw read:

I might as that I amtill mysitifed ax  p why you noukdfinnd my feeble efforts and writig of value to the Church But I wllstill try to coopeate as be t Ican. I may be able to sendyou a copy of over ure whichIhave drfated for a commite of Central CArolina Presbyery for the BCO.

Dismayed and defeated, I put Singer’s papers back on the shelf for some braver day.

But where I thought it was because of his age, it turns out his foibles in typing were a life-long affliction. His friends would tease him about it. Aiken Taylor once replied, “I was able to read your last letter with the help of a ouija board and a crystal ball.”

Charles Gregg Singer was born in Philadelphia on June 3, 1910. His parents were Arthur Gregg and Edith Elizabeth Singer. He graduated magna cum laude from Haverford College in 1933 and received his Masters (1935) and Doctorate (1940) from the University of Pennsylvania. At one point during his years at the University, he served as chauffeur for Dr. J. Gresham Machen, when Machen was speaking on campus.

During World War II, Dr. Singer was the director of the War Manpower Commission in Illinois, and later was appointed to serve on the staff of the US Senate Commission investigating the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Dr. Singer was a highly skilled historian and an excellent teacher. His academic career included posts at Wheaton College, Salem College, the University of Pennsylvania, Belhaven College, Montreat-Anderson, Catawba College, Furman University, and the Atlanta School of Biblical Studies. He was also among the founding faculty at the Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and he was teaching there at the time of his death, on March 22, 1999.

Dr. Morton H. Smith, first Stated Clerk of the PCA, said of Dr. C. Gregg Singer, that he “was committed to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. He sought to live his faith as well as to teach it. He was a loving and faithful husband, and a loving father to his children. …[H]e was always a warm friend, and an example of what a teacher should be. He was the dean of church historians. His loss will be greatly felt by all who knew him.”

Dr. Singer taught history with a moral purpose. Another account of his life remembers that he would typically lecture using a tall stack of 3 x 5 cards, supplying students with lengthy quotations, often involving original languages, all touching on the major themes and personalities of church history. Whether he was covering Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Luther or Calvin, it was clear that he had a close familiarity with the works of each of his subjects. More than simply relating dates and events, Singer’s teaching culminated with interpretation. On that note, it should be mentioned that Dr. Singer’s book, A Theological Interpretation of American History remains in print to this day. [http://www.solid-ground-books.com/detail_1362.asp?flag=1]

It should also be noted that Dr. Singer had long been active as a ruling elder in the context of the old Southern Presbyterian denomination. Singer was also active in the renewal groups which worked to stem the tide of modernism in that denomination and he was the last president of the Concerned Presbyterians organization, staying to man the ship after most left with the formation of the PCA. He was himself received into the PCA in 1987, with ordination as a teaching elder under the authority of Central Carolina Presbytery.

A Sample of his Writing:

A Cultural Intrusion
by C. Gregg Singer

The intrusion into Christian life and thought of cultural influences originating in a non-Christian environment has been a continuous factor in the history of the Church. At no time in its history has the Church been free from the effects of its necessary contact with various forms of pagan culture, and the more highly civilized the paganism, the more insidious have been the results of these contacts.

The Church was brought face to face with the almost overpowering influences of Greece and Rome when it was most zealous for the purity of the Gospel message and when it was most acutely aware of the great chasm between the message of the Scriptures and Greek-Roman thought.

…Today in the contemporary Church modern paganism may well be invading Christian thought and practice in much the same way as its ancient counterpart infiltrated the early Church. The ecumenical movement stands in relation to Christian orthodoxy today in many respects as cultured paganism in its Greek trappings stood to the Church of the first four centuries. This movement represents a kind of synthesis between Christian and non-Christian thought.

The ecumenical attack on the pure Gospel is much more dangerous because it is more subtle. Although some who are active in the movement would openly sacrifice the supernaturalism of the Gospel in the interests of religious inclusiveness, they are in the minority.

The great majority would prefer a blend of Christian and humanistic elements with a synergistic conception of redemption exalting the value of human effort. In either case they resort to Christian verbiage, thus concealing from the unwary the non-Christian elements in their thinking.

The contemporary invasion of paganism into the Church is not confined to doctrine, it includes government and polity. In fact, there is a curious and remarkably close similarity between the rise of the papacy as the embodiment of absolutism within the Christian community during the Middle Ages and the increasing interest in the ecumenical movement of the present day.

Both developments are but the lengthened shadow of the theory of the corporate state and society over the life of the Church. It was against this heresy that the Reformers brought forth the Biblical doctrine of the priesthood of the believer.

The ecumenical movement reflects the dual trend in modern society toward a consolidation and centralization of power. No sphere of American life has been immune to this disease.

In the area of politics it has taken the form of the constant attempts of the federal government to claim for itself those powers reserved to the states by the Constitution. In the realms of business and commerce it is seen in the continuing trend toward mergers and combination. In the field of labor it has been signaled by the emergence of huge organizations which claim jurisdiction over large numbers of trade unions.

In this country there is an inclination toward bigness for its own sake, to look upon bigness in government, industry, labor and the Church with awe and to regard it as necessarily more efficient. Whether arising in the state, the labor unions, business or education, corporations must inevitably snuff out liberty in the interests of some form of absolutism.

However disastrous its appearance in government may be, its entrance into the life of the Church must be regarded as even more dangerous. The intrusion of absolutism into the Christian community under the guise and cloak of the ecumenical movement is not only the entrance of an essentially pagan political philosophy into the government of the Church but also of paganism itself into the Church’s doctrine and practice.

[excerpted from The Presbyterian Journal, 32.5 (30 May 1973): 7-8. There is more to this article, but it is too lengthy to reproduce here.]

Words to Live By:
Dr. Singer knew the value of history for the Christian. The Christian faith is historically based, being particularly founded on the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is eternally the Second Person of the one Triune God. History matters, as it is the unveiling of God’s redemptive and providential plan.

For Further Study:
I did in fact get back to the arrangement and description [aka, processing] of Dr. Singer’s papers. There are still some items to add to that collection, but the bulk of it is described here.

Today, through an address delivered by Dr. Alexander Whyte in 1902, we will examine closer a pivotal moment in the life of the great Scottish pastor Thomas Boston, and by his actions, a moment of immense importance that has rippled down through the centuries. Dr. Whyte provides a wonderful introduction to the subject, and while this post is a bit long, I think you will profit from the reading.

THE “MARROW MEN”

A sermon preached before the Baptist Union on Wednesday, October 9th, at St. George’s United Free Church, Edinburgh (1902).

By Dr. Alexander Whyte.

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness.”—Psalm lxiii. 5.

Thomas Boston [1676-1732]When Thomas Boston, our Scottish Father-in-God, was still in a half-converted state, and when he was still on the scent for salvation—to employ his own graphic expression about himself —in the course of his pastoral visitation, he made a call one day at the house of an old soldier, who had served in the great Civil War in England. The old Covenanter-soldier had brought home with him a little book that was an immense favourite with the puritan people of England at that period; and the little book lay on the old soldier’s window-sill when Boston made his visit that day. Boston was a great lover of books—he had very few of them—and he instinctively took up the little volume to see what it was.  “The Marrow of Modern Divinity,” by Edward Fisher, M.A., of Oxford.  Boston had never seen the little book before, nor so much as heard the name of its author, but the striking title-page, and the glance that Boston took at the contents of the book, led him to ask for a loan of the little volume, and for weeks and months to come the “Marrow” was never out of Boston’s hands till he had the  great evangelical classic by heart, and till, by the grace of God to Boston, Edward. Fisher had finished what Henry Erskine had long ago begun. Boston’s best people soon began to see that some great change had come over their minister. Boston had always been a powerful and a pungent preacher. Like John Bunyan, in his early ministry also, Boston had always preached sin with great “sense.” Boston’s early preaching, he tells us in his “Autobiography,” had “terrified the godly,” but that had been nearly all it had hitherto done. But, after the “Marrow” had done its work in Boston, his preaching began to take an entirely new character. He did not preach sin with any less “sense”—with any less passion, that is—but

HE NOW PREACHED SIN, AND EVERYTHING ELSE, WITH FAR MORE SOLEMNITY, AND TENDERNESS, AND LOVE.

His whole pulpit and pastoral work took on from that time an entirely new earnestness, an entirely new scripturalness, richness, inwardness, and depth, all of which was as new and as sweet to Boston himself as it was to his spiritually-minded people. Wherever Boston went to preach, and he was now more than ever sought after for communion seasons all over the south of Scotland, a special blessing went everywhere with him. And when any of his brethren ventured to remark on the new power of his preaching, Boston immediately attributed it all to the Marrow.

Having prevailed on its owner to part with the little book for its price, Boston lent the volume to friend after friend, till, at last, it fell into the hands of James Hog, of Carnock. James Hog of Carnock was one of the ablest divines, and one of the best preachers of his day, in Scotland, and, on reading the “Marrow,” the saintly scholar thought he saw his opportunity. Hog sat down and wrote a strongly-worded introduction to the hitherto unknown little book, and an enterprising and sympathising Edinburgh publisher put a Scottish edition of the “Marrow” upon the northern market; and the venture at once repaid both its editor and its publisher, for the “Marrow” was soon as well known in Scotland as the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” and the “Saint’s Rest,” and “Rutherford’s Letters”—and what more can be said about the best success of any book?

THEN AROSE THE GREAT “MARROW CONTROVERSY,”

as it was called, a controversy in which the leaders of the General Assembly played such a deplorable part, and a controversy in which Thomas Boston and James Hog and Gabriel Wilson and Ralf and Ebenezer Erskine bore such a noble and ever-honourable part. That was a great day for the Gospel of the Grace of God in Scotland, when the “Twelve Marrow Men,” as they were called, stood at the bar of the General Assembly, and when Boston, as their spokesman, addressed the Moderator of the hostile house and said: ‘“Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.” And from that notable day the doctrines of Grace took root again in the pulpits of Scotland, as those doctrines had first taken root two centuries before in the pulpits of Knox and Brown, and Balloch, and Welsh, and as those same doctrines again took foot during the “ten years’ conflict” of our fathers’ day, and during the memorable years that followed that conflict, and which are still following it down to this day. That great conflict is already arising in its deepest springs when we read in Thomas Chalmers’s diary such entries as these:

“I am reading the ‘Marrow,’ and I am deriving from it great light and satisfaction. It is a masterly performance.”

“August the 24th. Finished the Marrow. I feel a growing delight in the fulness and all-sufficiency of Christ. O, my God! Bring me nearer and nearer to Thy Son!”

And Chalmers’s reading of the Marrow was blessed to him, and his prayer was answered in the creation of the Free Church of Scotland, and in many other things that we see around us and before us in Scotland to-day. Read Dr. Chalmers’s Life by Dr. Hanna, and get your children to read it. The book is a masterpiece in literature, and its noble evangelical lessons cannot fail to impress, and quicken, and strengthen both the mind, and the heart, and the character of everyone who reads it. All ministers especially should have Chalmers’s Life by heart.

It was

THE FASHION OF THE DAY

to cast the teaching of the day into the form of a dialogue. William Law, among others, has made splendid use of that literary device. Law has immortalised that literary device in more than one of his immortal works. And Edward Fisher, being a man of letters as well as of religion, determined to cast his apostolical doctrine into the same dialogue device. And he accordingly makes his dialogue to be carried on between Evangelista, a minister of the Gospel; Nomista, a legalist; Antinomista, an anti-nomian, and Neophitus, a young and, as yet, an uninstructed Christian. If you can lay your hands on a copy of Edward Fisher’s Marrow, edited by Thomas Boston and enriched with his notes, you will have in your possession a very complete and a very ably-reasoned-out statement of apostolical, evangelical, and experimental truth. And if you add to Boston’s edition of the Marrow John Brown of Whitburn’s most valuable book, entitled, Gospel Truth Accurately Stated and Illustrated, you will possess in those two treatises, taken together, very masterly and a conclusive discussion of the whole “Marrow Controversy.” The exact scholarship, the wide reading, the intellectual power, and the spiritual fervour of both these books will be a great surprise and a great delight to everyone who has the mind and the heart to master them. I open the Marrow anywhere and I immediately come on something like this :

“ But, sir,” says the neophyte to his minister, “Has such an one as I am any title, or invitation, or warrant to come to Christ, and to claim him as my Redeemer?” “Your warrant to claim Christ as your Redeemer,” says Evangelista, “is just God’s call on you to do so. For this is His commandment that I we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, as He gave us commandment. And, furthermore, we have God’s sure and infallible promise that whosoever believeth on His Son shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life.” “Listen to Luther,” says the minister : “ ‘He saw in me,’ says Luther, ‘nothing but wickedness, nothing but a lost sheep going astray. Yet the good Shepherd had mercy on me ; and of His pure and undeserved grace He loved me, and gave Himself for me. But who is this me?’ exclaims Luther. ‘Even Martin Luther, a wretched and already condemned sinner, was so dearly loved by the Son of God, that He gave Himself for me! O!’ cries Luther in every Reformation sermon of his, ‘O, print this word ME in your heart, and apply it to yourself, not doubting but that you are one of those to whom this ME belongs.’ ” “Indeed, sir,” replies the neophyte, “if I were as good as some men are, then I could easily believe what you say. But, alas, sir, I am such a sinful wretch, that I cannot believe that Christ will accept of me till I am much better than I am.” “Alas, man!” the minister replies, “in thus speaking, you take it upon you to correct and contradict, not Paul and Luther only, but Christ Himself. For, whereas Paul says that Christ Jesus came into the world to save the chief of sinners,

YOU SEEM TO HOLD THAT HE CAME TO SAVE SUCH AS WERE NOT REALLY LOST.

And whereas Christ Himself says that the whole need not a physician, you hold that a sinner must be well on the way to .recovery before he need call for Christ to come and heal him. You seem to think that the spouse of Christ must be adorned and perfumed with robes and ointments of her own providing before her husband will receive her. Whereas He Himself says to her, ‘No eye pitied thee to do any of these things unto thee. But when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold! thy time was a time of love. And I spread my spirit over thee: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a sure covenant with thee, and thou becamest Mine. And I will marry thee to Me in righteousness and in mercy and in everlasting faithfulness, and thou shalt be Mine.’” “Why, sir, then, it seems that the vilest sinner in this whole world ought not to be discouraged in coming to Christ.” “Surely not!” replies the minister. “Nay, let me say one word more : the greater, the more awful any man’s sins have been and still are, either in their nature or their number, the more haste that man should make to say with David, ‘for Thy Name’s sake, O, Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.’”

There was nothing that the Reformers in Germany and in Switzerland and the Marrow men in Scotland preached with more ability and eloquence and success, than just the particular and personal offer of Christ to every individual sinner. The Marrow men were very bold in this matter. They possessed a free and a full salvation in their own souls, and, in the name of God, they held out the offer of that same salvation to every man. Who are you? and what is your name? they demanded as they preached. Because we have a message from God immediately and personally to you. Is your name David in the matter of Uriah? Or Peter after his fall? Or Mary Magdalene, and she still possessed with seven devils? Or Saul still breathing out threatenings and slaughter? Is your name Luther the monk? or Bunyan the tinker? or Boston still in a half- converted state? You! they cried, singling out each individual hearer.

You! and you! and you!

TO YOU IS THE WORD OF THIS SALVATION SENT.

Here is a sample of their fine pulpit work taken out of Walter Marshall, that great master in Israel, that perfect Euclid of evangelical sanctification, as I am wont to call him to myself. Oh! where are such masterly books as the Marrow? Is the Gospel mystery to be found again on every window-sill in Scotland and England as was once the case? “You are to be fully persuaded,” says Marshall, “and in your own particular case, that if you trust in Christ sincerely and perseveringly you shall have eternal life in Him, as well as the greatest saint in all the world. For the promise is universal, that whosoever believeth on Him shall not be put to shame. Conclude within yourself, then, that, howsoever vile and wicked and unworthy you may be, yet, if you come, you also shall be accepted. It is this that hinders so many wounded consciences and broken hearts from coming to the Great Physician. They are so dead in sin, they are so corrupt in heart, they are so without the least spark of any grace or goodness in themselves, that they think it to be nothing short of sheer presumption in them to expect to be saved. But why so? They can be but the chief of sinners; and is this not a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save the chief of sinners? If they that are dead in sin cannot be saved, then all men must despair and perish; for no man has one spark of spiritual life in him till he comes for it, and receives it from Christ. Others think that they have outstayed their time, till there is no place of repentance left for them. But, behold, to every sinner still out of hell, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation.” And as Marshall and Fisher, following Luther and Knox, preached that personal, and individualising, and immediate Gospel of free grace, a great multitude of our own forefathers believed unto everlasting life.

But to my mind,

THE MARROW MEN EXCELLED THEMSELVES IN THE WAY THEY PREACHED THE ASSURANCE OF FAITH.

Both in Germany, and in Switzerland, and in France, the full assurance of faith was splendidly preached in those first days of a recovered Gospel. And to acknowledge his sources, and to confess his indebtedness, and to assure his readers concerning his doctrine of the assurance of faith, the author of the Marrow actually gives his readers the names of some sixty-four theologians and preachers in all the Reformed Churches of Christendom, out of whose writings he had drawn this substance of his great evangelical dialogue. Now, what exactly is the assurance of faith? Well, it is, in short, just this—that all true faith has its witness in itself. All true faith is its own best evidence and surest proof. As thus—a minister preaches Jesus Christ and Him crucified to his people. He takes of the things of Christ and shows them to his people. And he pleads with them as an ambassador to be reconciled to God. The people listen; they attend; they begin to think; they begin to believe. One thing, another thing, many things, all work together to lead them to believe. A bad conscience, a bad heart, trials in life and losses, approaching old age, fear of death and judgment—all these things, under the hand of the Holy Ghost, work together till the people are led to rest all their trust and hope on the Lord Jesus Christ. And, already, as they begin to believe and trust and hope, the peace of God begins to be shed abroad in their hearts, and their minister’s Gospel preaching leads the people on from faith to faith, and from strength to strength, till they are able to certify and assure their own hearts, till the Holy Ghost is able to assure and seal their hearts, as He sealed and assured Paul’s heart, into this full assurance of faith. “I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him.” And as faith grows, its full assurance will grow till the true believer is able to say with the Apostle, “He loved me, and gave Himself for me.” It is something not unlike this. A man loves a woman. He has long loved her unknown to her, till one day he takes her and opens his heart to her. She listens to him. She believes him, till her heart is carried captive to him. And from that great espousal day she has his promise, and he has hers. And from that day she has an assurance of his truth and his love that nothing will shake. Absence, distance, land and sea between her and him—her assurance only the firmer holds her heart. No news, bad news even; other lovers approaching her lonely heart—No! In all these things her faith, her full assurance of faith in her espoused husband, conquers all. Now, the believing heart is just like that. Nothing can ever pluck the true believer out of Christ’s hands, nor Christ out of the true believer’s heart. He may not be always sensibly near you. He may be away in a far country. He is away, but, then, He is away preparing a place for you. Then He will come again, and receive you to Himself. Therefore make yourself ready. Keep yourself ready. Have your lamp burning. Have your heart waking. For, at any moment, the shout may be heard in heaven.

Boston, Thomas [1676-1732]_3d_imageI began with Boston, and I will end with him. Now, Boston was not a man of genius. He was not a Rutherford, nor a Bunyan, nor a Baxter, nor an Edwards, nor a Chalmers. Boston was

AN ORDINARY MAN LIKE ANY OF OURSELVES,

till his doctrine, and his life adorning his doctrine, made him what he became. For one thing, Boston was a true student all his days. He husbanded his time. He plied his books. He plied his pen. Like Goodwin, he studied down “his subjects, as a hunter starts and runs down his quarry.” My scarcity of books was a kind of providence to me, for it made me think out the thing.” “I plied my books” comes in continually. By plying his books he drove away headaches, and moroseness, and parish worries, and worse things, so he testifies. And both the substance and the style of his then classical, and still not unclassical, books was the reward of his incessant plying of his few great books and of his pen among them. In his pulpit “the salvation of the hearer was the one motive of the preacher. He always preached his sermon first to himself, and this made his preaching ever fresh, ever pungent, ever full of “sense.” As often as he got good in the preparation of his sermon, he argued from that that his people would get good next Sabbath. And all this made him feel keenly, as his preaching and pastoral life went on, “a preacher’s need of Christ’s imputed righteousness.” As to his pastoral work, he began it at home, and practised it every morning and every night upon his family. He prepared for the exercise, till this entry continually recurs in his diary, how he got this and that good this morning and this evening at the “exercise.” And then, on the same faithful principle, he catechised his parish twice in the year till “he found that he had enough to do among his handful.” “Yes, Simprin is small, but then it is mine.” And then, to seal all, Boston was a man of prayer, if ever there was one in a Scottish manse. “I consulted God.” He continually made that consultation, as a student, as a probationer, as a lover, as a husband, as a father, as a preacher, as an author, with the result that is to be read in his memoirs of himself and in all his works. And then, out of all that he became such a theologian also that Jonathan Edwards discovered him from New England and described him as “Thomas Boston of Scotland, that truly great divine.” As high a seal, surely, as this world could set, according to the Ciceronian principle, Laudari a viro laudato—to be so praised by a man whom everybody praises. Two truly great divines.

Image sources: 
Interestingly enough, both portraits are of the Rev. Thomas Boston. The latter looks nothing like the former, in my estimation. The first portrait is the frontispiece in A General Account of My Life, by Thomas Boston, A.M., Minister at Simprin, 1699-1707 and at Ettrick, 1707-1732 (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1908). The second portrait comes from The Life and Times of Thomas Boston of Ettrick, authored by Andrew Thomson (T. Nelson & Sons, 1895).

For Further Study: If you would like to read more on this important subject, we would point you to Dr. Sinclair Ferguson’s recent book, The Whole Christ.

We continue with our program for each Lord’s Day, reviewing the studies on the Westminster Shorter Catechism prepared by the Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn. Rev. Van Horn was one of the founding fathers of the PCA, and he pastored churches in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, Mississippi., and Tennessee. He served for a time as Vice President at Covenant Theological Seminary and served as a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary. Rev. Van Horn wrote these studies while serving as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Port Gibson, MS.    

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

Vol. 1 No. 2, February, 1961

Question 2. —  What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him?

Answer — The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glori­fy and enjoy Him.

Scripture References: 2 Tim. 3:18. Isa. 8:20. I John 1:3. Luke 16:29,31.

Study Questions :

1. What is the meaning of the word “rule” in this question?

When this word is used in a religious sense it means a direction or a command. It naturally implies the idea of straightness by which a man may attain the best possible end.

2. Why is it necessary to have such a rule?

It is necessary as man needs an objective standard by which he may pattern his life. The Word of God, as his rule, must be the supreme authority in the life of the man. It should be noted that if man has placed something else above the Word of God, whether it is con­science or tradition or the church, he will tend to use that authority to interpret the Word of God in many facets of his life.

3. What do we mean when we say the Scriptures are the Word of God? We mean that they aie the Word of God in written form. We place no limitations on that statement. We mean that the Bible is the Word of God and the words in the Bible are the very words of God. We mean that the Bible is trustworthy because God inspired it and inspiration includes the very words of Scripture.

4. Some say that the Bible “contains” the Word of God. Is this true?

If they mean by it that the word of God forms the contents of the Bible it is true. But if they mean that the word of God forms only a part of the contents of the Bible and the rest makes up the words of men, they are not speaking the truth. Or if they mean by it that the Bible only becomes the Word of God when the Holy Spirit makes some portions of it applicable to the hearer, they are not speaking the truth. This would make man the judge of the Word of God. When’our Shorter Catechism speaks of “the word of God” it means what the Westminster Standards have historically meant, that is, the Bible, is the Word of God as to both its contents and its form, so that there is nothing in it that God did not want to be in it, and reversely, it contains all that the Lord wanted to be contained therein.

5. Since this Word of God is to be our only rule, how can we know that it is the Word of God?

We know it by our simple acceptance of God’s statement that it is the word of God and that it is perfect. The Holy Spirit shows us Christ as our Saviour and brings the conviction to our hearts that it is the Word of God and we accept it by faith. Our Confession teaches us that our full assurance of the fact that the Bible is in­fallible and has the authority of God is the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

It is strange that so often the Christian who realizes the theological fact of the authority of the Scripture is the very person that does not live under that authority as he should. There is a great need today for Christians who do not only believe in the authority of the Scriptures but who live as the Scriptures command them to live.

It has been said by many that one of the hardest places for a Bible- believing Christian to live in a way that is consistent with the Word of God is in a conservative Seminary. This sounds surprising and yet so many times it is true. A Professor in a theological seminary once said he thought the reason for this was that there was indeed a concentrated study of theology but not enough concentrated devotional study of the Jesus Christ of the Scriptures. Possibly what is true of many of our semi­naries is equally true of many of our churches. Lip service to our creeds is present but heart service to our Saviour is sometimes missing.

Our church today is in the midst of many problems. There are the inroads of a subjective theology where man becomes the judge of Scripture; the cry that is being raised against the conservative position; the emphasis on organizational unity. All of these should motivate us to examine once again our position regarding the authority of Scripture. And in the midst of our examination we should realize that Scripture holds for us a high standard of personal holiness. It is good to be able to say that we believe in our Westminster Standards. It is good to be able to say that we have a great heritage from our forefathers of the Reforma­tion. The danger with us today is the danger of insisting we believe, in­sisting we have a great heritage without insisting in our daily living that we practice what we say we believe.

The authority of the Scripture is just as effectual, just as binding, in our practice as it is in our principles. There is great danger that the whole tone of the Christian mind in regard to practical Christianity is being lowered. The danger of lowering it in daily, personal living. The danger of lowering it in the concessions we are making to those who deny the faith, who deny it in their actions and aims if not in their statement of belief. The danger of lowering it in the talking a lot about God without walking with Him day by day, moment by moment. Sepa­rated Christian living, according to the authority of Scripture, is not present as it should be.

Dr. J. L. Packer says it this way, “To accept the authority of Scrip­ture means in practice being willing, first to believe what it teaches, and then to apply its teaching to ourselves for our correction and guid­ance.” (Fundamentalism and the Word of God, Pg. 69).

We have a rule by which we may glorify and enjoy Him. Possibly we should remember that Scripture is profitable not only for “doctrine” but also for “instruction in righteousness.”

The Rev. George H. Seville wrote the following little tract, found among the Papers of the Rev. Albert F. (“Bud”) Moginot, Jr.

Born March 19, 1876, near Bellevue, PA, he later graduated from the Shadyside Academy in Pittsburgh, from Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA, and from Allegheny Seminary (UPCNA), Pittsburgh. He served as a high school teacher for a brief time before taking additional studies at the Moody Bible Institute, in preparation for ministry in China, beginning in 1902, serving under the auspices of the China Inland Mission. While stationed there, he met and later married a fellow missionary, the former Jessie Maud Merritt Greene, in 1905. [Mrs. Seville was born Oct. 15, 1874 and died on Jan. 2, 1960 in Wilmington, Delaware.]

The couple had four children, all born in China. Three daughters, Janet (Mrs. Ralph M. Bragdon), Elsa (Mrs. Roger B. VanBuskirk) and Edith (Mrs. Francis A. Schaeffer), and a son, John, who died in infancy.

The Seville family returned from China in 1919, whereupon Rev. Seville studied at Gordon College and then served as pastor of the Westminster Presbyterian church, Newburgh, NY, from 1923-1930. From 1931-1935, Rev. Seville served in the publishing department of the China Inland Mission, based initially in Toronto, Ontario and later in Philadelphia, PA. It was during this period that his alma mater Westminster College awarded him the Doctor of Divinity degree, in 1932. He was next one of the founding professors at the Faith Theological Seminary, teaching Greek and Practical Theology. Retiring from that service in 1955, this was also about the same time that Francis and Edith Schaeffer founded the L’Abri ministry, and Dr. Seville served as treasurer for the ministry from 1955-1967.  Dr. Seville lived to be 101 years of age, and died on March 21, 1977.

Minced Oaths

Rev. George H. Seville, D.D.

A visiting minister was asked to lead in prayer in Sunday school, and when he had finished, a teacher heard one of her girls whisper, “Gosh, what a prayer!” Such an exclamation seems incongruous in expressing one’s appreciation of a prayer, but a little thought will lead anyone to the conclusion that “gosh” is not an appropriate word for a Christian to use on any occasion whatsoever. When we look into the original meaning of such interjections, we may be surprised that even some Christian people are habitual users of expressions which the dictionary terms “minced oaths.”

A very commonly used interjection is “Gee.” It is capitalized in Webster’s New International Diction­ary and given this definition: “A form of Jesus, used in minced oaths.” This derivation is even more ap­parent when the form “Geez,” now frequently heard, is used. Two other common words and their defini­tions are these: “Golly—a euphemism for God, used in minced oaths; gosh, a substitute for God, used in minced oaths.” “Darn, darned, darnation” are said to be “colloquial euphemisms for damn, damned, dam­nation.” Persons who allow their lips to utter “Gosh- darned” quite freely would be shocked if they realized the real meaning of the word.

A certain minister, professor in a sound seminary, when he was a child was not allowed to use “good­ness,” “mercy,” or “gracious” as exclamations. He was inclined to think the restrictions a family peculi­arity, merely a parental overcarefulness, but now he can see that it had a sound Calvinistic basis. The Shorter Catechism asks, “What is required in the third commandment?” and then gives this answer: “The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordi­nances, words, and works.” Certainly goodness is an attribute of God. That this is so is recognized by Webster in the latter part of his definition: “The word is used colloquially as an exclamation, or in various exclamatory phrases, as “for goodness sake! goodness gracious 1”—the reference being originally to the goodness of God.”

The use of minced oaths is quite contrary to the spirit of the New Testament teaching. For example, our Lord Jesus said: “But I say unto you, Swear not at all. . . . But let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: and whatsoever is more than these is of the evil one” (Matt. 5:34, 37, R. V.). The phrase “whatsoever is more than these” suggests the mean­ing of expletives, or exclamations: an expletive is defined as “something added merely as a filling; especially a word, letter, or syllable not necessary to the sense, but inserted to fill a vacancy.”

James in writing his Epistle repeats almost exactly the words of the Lord Jesus quoted above: “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by the heaven, nor by the earth, nor by any other oath: but let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay; that ye fall not under judgment” (Jas. 5:12). That last word recalls our Lord’s declaration: “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt. 12:36). The result of this judgment is given in the following verse, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be con­demned.”

If we try to excuse ourselves by saying that these exclamations slip through our lips unawares, we need to heed the Holy Spirit’s warning in the Epistle of James: “If any man thinketh himself to be religious, while he bridleth [or, curbeth] not his tongue, but deceiveth his heart, this man’s religion is vain” (1:26). Even though we do not intend these minced oaths to bear the meaning the words originally had, we certainly cannot truthfully say that the use of them accords with Christ’s command, “Let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay.”

James seemed puzzled by the same anomaly that puzzles us, namely, the presence of minced oaths on the lips of Christians. Writing of the tongue as “a restless evil . . . full of deadly poison,” he said: “Therewith bless we the Lord and Father; and there­with curse we men, who are made after the likeness of God: out of the same mouth cometh forth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (Jas. 3 : 8-10).

While no attempt has been made to give a complete list of all the words in the vocabulary of near-pro­fanity, enough has been said to indicate that present- day speech has fallen below that standard which Christ Jesus set for his disciples.

The tendency in the use of expletives is to find the milder ones becoming less expressive of our feel­ings, to discard them, and use stronger ones in their stead. A careless following of others in the use of these common minced oaths will dull our own spiritual sensitiveness, and will weaken our Christian testimony.

To gain the victory in this matter of full obedience to our Lord Jesus, we need to make the prayer of David our daily petition: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer” (Psa. 19: 14).

Image source : Sixteenth Annual Catalog of Faith Theological Seminary, Elkins Park, PA, Summer 1953, page 7.

We have two different printings of this tract preserved at the PCA Historical Center, both indicating that the tract was originally self-published; one tract gives Rev. Seville’s address in Wilmington, while the other lacks any address, indicating that it was probably distributed among closer associates and thus this latter example is probably the first printing. Subsequently, the tract was reprinted as “Minced oaths : a vital message for every Christian.” by the Good News Publishing Company, in 1944  and then again by the same publisher in the 1960s. It has additionally been reprinted in at least one periodical: The Projector. (Spring 1989). The tract remains in print to this day, currently available from Bible Truth Publishers [http://bibletruthpublishers.com/minced-oaths-leaflets/george-h-seville/communication-speech/pd5591]

The bulk of Dr. Seville’s published writing, so far as I’ve been able to discover, appeared on the pages of The Bible Today, a publication of The National Bible Institute in New York City. These articles appeared during the years when Dr. J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. was serving as president of that school. The PCA Historical Center has a complete run of this periodical from May 1941 to September 1951, and is currently searching for issues prior to May 1941. Dr. Seville appears to have written exclusively on the subject of missionary biography, and the articles included the following titles:

Hugh Adoniram Judson : The Apostle of Burma, 38.4 (January 1944) 75-80.
“And Some, Evangelists” Charles Grandison Finney, 41.3 (December 1946) 563-574.
“And Some, Evangelists” Dwight Lyman Moody, 41.4 (January 1947) 585-597.
“And Some, Evangelists” George Whitefield, 40.9 (June-September 1946) 486-495.
“And Some, Evangelists” Henry Moorhouse, 41.8 (June-September 1947) 719-729.
“And Some, Evangelists” J. Wilbur Chapman, 41.7 (April 1947) 672-681.
“And Some, Evangelists” John Wesley, 41.2 (November 1946) 544-555.
“And Some, Evangelists” Reuben Archer Torrey, 41.5 (February 1947) 608-617.
“And Some, Evangelists” William Ashely Sunday, 41.8 (May 1947) 686-697.
Bartholomew Ziegenbalg : The Apostle of India, 39.2 (November 1944) 42-47.
Christian Friedrich Schwartz : The Founder of the Native Church in India, 39.3 (December 1944) 68-74.
George and Grace Stott : Pioneers in Wenchow, China, 39.1 (October 1944) 14-20.
Glimour of Mongolia, 39.6 (March 1945) 158-167.
James Chalmers, 38.7 (April 1944) 164-171.
James Hudson Taylor, Part I : The Apprentice, 38.5 (February 1944) 120-124. [author’s name not provided]
James Hudson Taylor, Part II : The Master Workman, 38.6 (March 1944) 139-146.
John Evangelist Gossner : the Father of Faith Missions, 40.1 (October 1945) 284-287
John Williams : The Apostle of the South, 39.8 (May 1945) 217-226.
Mary Slessor of Calabar : Pioneer Missionary of Okoyong, 38.9 (June-September 1944) 227-235.
Men We Should Know : Adolph Saphir: Hebrew Christian Preacher, 43.8 (May 1949) 249-258.
Men We Should Know : Albert B. Simpson: Founder of the C. and M. Alliance, 45.3 (December 1950) 68-77, 87.
Men We Should Know : Charles Simeon, Leader of the Low-Church Party, 42.7 (April 1948) 188-192; 42.9 (June-September 1948) 268-273.
Men We Should Know : Francis Asbury, the Homeless Bishop, 44.1 (October 1949) 5-12, 27, 32.
Men We Should Know : George Fox: Founder of Quakerism, 43.3 (December 1948) 77-84.
Men We Should Know : John Nelson Darby, 43.5 (February 1949) 139-144.
Men We Should Know : John Newton: a Brand from the Burning, 42.3 (December 1947) 89-93; 42.4 (January 1948) 103-109. Men We Should Know : Richard Baxter: a Protestant Saint, 43.4 (January 1949) 107-112, 136.
Men Worth Knowing : August Hermann Francke: Pastor, Professor, Philanthropist, 42.5 (February 1948) 137-147.
Men Worth Knowing : Philipp Jakob Spener, 42.1 (October 1947) 27-31; 42.2 (November 1947) 46-50.
Missionary Builders : Guido Verbeck : A Pioneer in New Japan, 40.7 (April 1946) 427-433.
Missionary Builders : John Wilkinson : Founder of the Mildmay Mission to the Jews, 40.8 (May 1946) 475-483.
Missionary Builders : Pastor Louis Harms : Founder of a Unique Enterprise, 40.3 (December 1945) 350-354, 364.
Missionary Builders : Robert Moffat: Builder of the Bechuana Missions, 40.5 (February 1946) 396-402.
Missionary Builders : Robert Morrison: The Pioneer of Modern Missions in China, 39.9 (June-September 1945) 251-258, 264, 267.
William Carey : Founder of a Missionary Society and a Mission, 38.2 (November 1943) 36-40.
William Carey : One of the Serampore Brotherhood, 38.3 (December 1943) 54-59.
William Chalmers Burns: Evangelist and Missionary, 39.4 (January 1945) 89-95; 39.5 (February 1945) 126-129.

The Morning Watch was published, edited, and primarily written by the Rev. J. P. Struthers, minister of the Greenock congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland. From a small collection of juvenile literature at the PCA Historical Center, the following artwork is from that Scottish publication, in an issue dated 1910. The caption reads: 

“These young Scottish theologians are settling the point as to whether the Shorter Catechism says the Sum of the Ten Commandments is . . .  to love our NEIGHBOR, or, our NEIGHBORS. The upper boy says it’s the plural, the under says it’s the singular, each of them, especially the upper one, forgetting that the important thing in the sentence is not the letter S, but the word LOVE. But so did their fathers before them!

youngTheologians

 

A Victory in Defeat

The British Parliament member, upon hearing of the “victory” in the colonies by the British army that day of March 15, 1781 has commented “another such victory would ruin the British army.” What did he mean?

In the southern campaign of the American Revolutionary War, Lord Cornwallis was doing his best to defeat the stubborn American forces.  Specifically, he was doing his best to punish those pesky Scot – Irish Presbyterians who  possessed a fervor of opposition to his military units.  Whenever he found a church building connected with them, the psalm books and Bibles would be burned.  That punishment would extend to the church building as well.  It was very much a battle against Presbyterians in the southern colonies.  In fact, they would meet on many a battle field, and one of the more fiercest times was this battle at Guildford Court House, North Carolina.

It was in the morning of March 15, that nineteen hundred British regulars and German allies attacked 4500 American militia members and seasoned Continental men.  The whole battle was fierce by any man’s standards.

The American commander, Maj. General Nathaniel Green, had positioned his troops in three lines.  First, one thousand militia from North Carolina formed the first line.  They were to fire two shots and retire from the battle field.  One half of the British Highlanders fell from that fire.  Green’s second line was composed of Virginia marksmen, both militia and seasoned Continentals.  They twice checked the British line, but eventually retired as well.  The third line of the Americans were fourteen hundred Continentals.  At this point, the fight grew desperate.  Cornwallis himself said, “I never saw such fighting since God made me.  The Americans fought like demons.”

After two and one half hours, Green retreated from the field, seeking to keep his army intact for future battles.  Cornwallis, on the other hand, lost in his “victory” over 25% of his officers and men.  Here he was, in enemy territory, without supplies, and with heavy loss of men.  He quit the area with the remnants of his army, marching to Yorktown.  Exactly seven months later, he would surrender his army to General George Washington.

The soldiers who composed the American army in the field were the members of Presbyterian congregations in the southern colonies.

Words to Live By:  There is a time when Christians must act their part in defense of truth and righteousness, peacefully if they can, with violence if they must.  In such an endeavor, they can with the help of the Lord win the battle.

Our time is short today, and while this particular entry is not quite in synch with the calendar, it remains a very good word from the esteemed Dr. Archibald Alexander, first professor at the Princeton Theological Seminary. In addition to his many years of service at Princeton, he was also quite dedicated in the work of writing evangelistic tracts, many of which were later gathered and published in the volume, Practical Truths. The following short quote is taken from one such tract:

THE GOSPEL PRECIOUS.

Oh, precious gospel! Will any merciless hand endeavor to tear away from our hearts this best, this last, and sweetest consolation? Would you darken the only avenue through which one ray of hope can enter? Would you tear from the aged and infirm poor, the only prop on which their souls can repose in peace? Would you deprive the dying of their only source of consolation? Would you rob the world of its richest treasure? Would you let loose the flood-gates of every vice, and bring back upon the earth the horrors of superstition or the atrocities of atheism? Then endeavor to subvert the gospel; throw around you the fire-brands of infidelity; laugh at religion; and make a mock of futurity; but be assured, that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. I will persuade myself that a regard for the welfare of their country, if no higher motive, will induce men to respect the Christian religion. And every pious heart will say, rather let the light of the sun be extinguished than the precious light of the gospel.—[Dr. Archibald Alexander.

Dearly beloved, is this the testimony of your heart? Is the Gospel truly precious in your sight? Do you hunger and thirst after that righteousness which can be yours through Christ alone?

[Excerpted from THE CHRISTIAN OBSERVER, Vol. XXXI, No. 13 (27 March 1852): 49, column 3.]

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