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

Q. 55. — What is forbidden in the third commandment?

A. — The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing of anything whereby God maketh himself known.

Scripture References: Mal. 2:2; Isa. 5:12; Ps. 139.20; James 1:13; Matt. 26:74.

Questions:

1. In what ways does God make Himself known?

As we learned in the prior commandment, He makes Himself known by His names, titles, attributes, ordinances, word and works.

2. How are these ways profaned or abused by man?

They are abused “by blasphemy, perjury, sinful cursings, oaths, vows and lots” (Larger Catechism, Question 113)

3. How can man profane God’s names, titles and attributes?

Man can profane these when he thinks hatred toward God; when he speaks irreverently toward God; when he swears by the name of God in a wicked way; when he blasphemes the name of God; when he curses himself or others in the name of God; when he uses the the name of the Lord in superstitious ways.

4. How can man profane His ordinances?

Man can profane the ordinances of God by being irreverent or irreverent or irregular in His attendance upon them; by attending to them not in the spirit but being in the flesh by allowing His mind to wander; by having a false and insincere profession of their faith in Christ and still partaking of them.

5. How can man profane His word?

Man can profane the word of God by denying parts of the Word or by perverting it; by teaching false doctrine as it pertains to the Word; by misapplying the Word of God.

6. How can man profane His works?

Man can profane His works by using His body in the wrong way; by being forgetful of God’s mercy and wonderful works to the children of men; by murmering against the Lord in the midst of adversity.

TAKING HEED TO THE WORD

One of the greatest responsibilities-and privileges-of the born again believer is that of taking heed to the Word. James tells us, “Let every man be swift to hear …. ” (James 1:19). This particular commandment, the third, is pertinent to us as each Lord’s Day and each Wednesday evening we go to hear the Word of God preached. Jeremy Taylor once said, “When the word of God is read or preached to you, be sure you be of a ready heart and mind, free from worldly cares and thoughts, diligent to hear, careful to mark, studious to remember, and desirous to practice all that is commanded, and to live according to it; do not hear from any other end but to become better in your life, and to be instructed in every good work, and to increase in the love and service of God.” (The Rule and Exercises of Holy Living, p. 181).

Many times the Christian misses what the Lord has for him In the worship service because he comes unprepared. In the same first chapter of James there is a suggested outline regarding the duties of the Christian in his attendance at the house of God. Verse 21 tells hlm of his duties before the sermon: that Gf laying apart anything of filth, of sin. Verse 21 also tells him of his duties during the sermon: that of receiving with meekness the engrafted (implanted) word. Verse 22 tells him of his duties after the sermon: that of being a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. God’s people will receive far more benefit from the preaching of the word of God, and will be able to apply it more effectively, if they have prepared their hearts beforehand for the hearing of the word.

How do we prepare ourselves for the hearing of the Word? So many times on the Lord’s Day our preparation consists of reading the Sunday paper, of sleeping late, of neglecting prayer and study of the Word. It is to be wondered what the result would be if the church on the Lord’s Day were filled with Christians who had actively prepared themselves for the preaching of the Word. Christians who had come with willing and obedient heart; with a deep-seated desire to hear the Word; with hearts in tune with the Almighty, Sovereign God. Indeed, the result would be a doing of the duties set forth in the Word, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of God.

Published By: The SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 4 No. 51 (March, 1965)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

In recent weeks at the PCA Historical Center, my assistant, Kent Woodrow has begun processing the Papers of Albert F. Moginot, Jr., a PCA pastor known to all simply as “Bud”.  Rev. Moginot died in December of 2011, at the age of 88, just about a year after the death of his beloved wife Vivian. He was born in 1923, was educated at William Jennings Bryan College and Washington University, and then prepared for the ministry at Dallas Theological Seminary. Upon graduation, he was ordained in the Bible Presbyterian Church and installed as associate pastor to Francis Schaeffer in 1948, right about the time that the Schaeffer’s were preparing to move to Switzerland to begin a ministry of church planting and children’s ministry. Bud’s wife Vivian served as Dr. Schaeffer’s secretary. The picture on the cover of the funeral bulletin dates from about that time with the Schaeffers.

From 1948 to 1973, Rev. Moginot was the pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alton, Illinois. He then stepped away from pulpit ministry to serve from 1974 to 1993 at Covenant Theological Seminary. In the latter years of that term, he also began to be active as a chaplain in the Civil Air Patrol. I think he was especially proud of that ministry, serving in that capacity right up until about a year before his death. But it was probably his term of service as Pastor of Visitation at the Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church where Bud really hit his stride. He began that work in 1991, and continued faithfully until forced into retirement by a brain aneurism. Rev. Moginot led many to Christ and pointed everyone to his Savior.

 


Bud Moginot also served as the Stated Clerk for Missouri Presbytery from 1982 to 1995, and from what I can tell, the dear brother never threw anything away. He was the kind of guy that archivists love! Regrettably, not everything has been found in the best shape. Some things were stored in the basement; some things were stored in the attic. Neither location is suited to preservation. But in all, some thirty boxes of documents were retrieved from Bud’s house. An initial sorting of the papers was done at that time, and now finally the better work of arrangement and description has begun in earnest. Much of the material concerns the Missouri Presbytery, as you would expect. But unexpected jewels keep turning up as well. Hopefully we can find time to share some of those things later this year.

Words to Live By:
Bud and Vivian loved the Lord Jesus and served Him faithfully all their years. They did not have much in the way of earthly wealth; their treasures were stored up in God’s kingdom. You don’t have to have a lot of money to serve the Lord. You don’t have to be a standout in any of the ways by which the world judges success. God calls us to simply remain faithful. Keep looking to Christ as your Savior, clinging to the Rock of your salvation, for He is your All in all. And know that the Lord will use you and your gifts in His kingdom.

It wasn’t but a few years ago when Ryan Laughlin, senior pastor at Covenant PCA here in St. Louis, notified me of the availability of the old building on the corner of Union & Enright, in St. Louis, where Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer served as pastor in the 1940’s. Schaeffer was the second pastor of the First Bible Presbyterian Church of St. Louis, following John Sanderson. The building has an interesting history  as detailed below.


The building was originally constructed in 1907 as the fourth location of the Church of the Messiah, a Unitarian congregation led by William Greenleaf Eliot, noted also as the grandfather of T.S. Eliot.  That group moved to 5007 Waterman near Kingshighway in 1917 and it is unclear what the status of the building was between 1917 and 1938, though they did retain ownership of the property. An Orthodox Jewish body, the Agundas Hakhilos Congregation, used the building as their first place of meeting in 1938, but moved out in January of 1939 when they were unable to negotiate a successful agreement for purchase the building from the Church of the Messiah.

Thus in the providence of God, the property became available to the recently organized First Bible Presbyterian Church of St. Louis. Comprised of people who were leaving the Memorial Presbyterian Church, the group had organized on 11 December 1938 at 5849 Cates, in the home of B.E. Fisher, and their first services were held on that day with services led by the Rev. Carl McIntire.  In the early months of 1939, Drs. Harold S. Laird and J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. each came to preach to the young congregation. Then in April of 1939, the building at 800 N. Union was purchased from the Church of the Messiah.

Until 1940, student supplies from Faith Theological Seminary served the church. Boyd Lentz was the first of these men, followed by Phil Lytle and Philip Stutsman. Some improvement on the situation was made when the Rev. Dwight C. Chapin came to serve as supply until the church was finally able to call the Rev. John Sanderson as its first pastor in 1941. In September of 1943 Sanderson left to serve as a professor at Faith Theological Seminary and the church called a young minister by the name of Francis A. Schaeffer as its next pastor. Schaeffer first came to preach for the congregation on 3 October 1943. A call was extended by the congregation on 20 October 1943, with provision for a salary of $175 per month and an allowance of $45 per month for rent [though a decision was soon made to purchase the property at 5842 Waterman Ave. as a manse].

Schaeffer “informed the congregation of his desire to build up and increase attendance, especially at the Sunday evening worship service and the Wednesday evening prayer meetings, emphasizing the importance of both meetings and requesting the elders to give prayerful thought to the matter. He also spoke of the importance of child evangelism and his desire to forward that movement. Children For Christ was one of the key ministries established by Rev. Schaeffer during his time in St. Louis. Much of this ministry was built on the Summer Bible School program established by the Rev. Abraham Lance Lathem, a program which Schaeffer utilized in his first pastorate, at Grove City, PA. His first sermon as the new pastor of the church was on 5 December 1943 and was titled “Believing in the Light of His Coming.”

Pictured above, Rev. Schaeffer and the Summer Bible School,
on the steps of the 800 N. Union property in 1944.
Click here to view a (much!) larger version of the photograph.

Not two years later, in September of 1945, the Session Minutes of the First Bible Presbyterian Church record this note:

Our pastor F.A. Schaeffer brought before us a letter he received from Dr. J. Gordon Holdcroft general secretary of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions asking if he would consider or be willing if he felt that the Lord had called him to go to Germany as a missionary to start a work there that would be sound. It was stated that Rev. Carl Straub pastor of the Afton Bible Presbyterian Church might go along as a helper.
There was much discussion about it and it was the general consensus of opinion that the board might have been hasty in the matter and not given it as much thought as it should have, due to the fact that it might have a detrimental effect on the work here in St. Louis.
No concrete action was taken at this time as it was the thought of the session as well as the moderators that the will of the Lord be done and since no one present knew what the Lord would have Mr. Schaeffer do the meeting was brought to a close after a season of prayer asking God for His guidance.

Finally in February of 1947, the Session Minutes record that

“Mr. Schaeffer asked the session for a leave of absence to go to a work located on the continent of Europe for the purpose of starting Bible Presbyterian Churches and getting sound ones to become a part of the American Council and also start children works where possible. After much discussion it was moved and passed to grant Mr. Schaeffer a leave of nine months to go to this work. . .”

Highly reluctant to let him go, when the congregation met to consider the matter, the leave of absence was reduced to three months, to be taken over the summer months. While Schaeffer was gone that summer, the Rev. John Sanderson returned to pastor the congregation in his absence. Then not long after his return, Schaeffer tendered his resignation in December 1947 , the Clerk of Session noting that the Session “voted to receive it with real regret.” After some time of preparation, the Schaeffers said their farewells. His final sermon before the congregation came on the evening of 25 July 1948—”Man’s Greatest Cause for Rejoicing”—and by the fall of 1948 the Schaeffers were getting established in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The First Bible Presbyterian Church of St. Louis left the Central West End district at the end of 1953 and began the new year meeting temporarily at the Maplewood Masonic Hall while construction was underway on their new building on Ballas Avenue. They moved into their new facility in 1954 and in 1961 the church’s name was change to The Covenant Presbyterian Church.

The old building at 800 N. Union was sold in August of 1953 to the Parrish Chapel, an A.M.E. church, for about $64,000. Most recently a congregation of the Church of God in Christ held the property, apparently from 2002 up until the decision to sell just a few years ago.

The realtor had this description of the property when it was listed:

800 N. Union, St. Louis, Mo. 63108 Central West End Price Reduced $100,000 for quick sale! Beautiful building with gorgeous stained glass, handcrafted in Europe, wood beamed ceiling. Handicapped access to sanctuary via left side door ramp. Pew seating for 300+. Features include a Balcony, beautiful chancel/podium area, pastor’s office on main, some finished lower level with fellowship area and warming kitchen. Updates since purchase in 2002 include new roof, all new forced air gas units 2004, and central air fully serviced and functioning.

Augusta County Presbyterians call for independence
by Rev. David T. Myers

It was simple and direct. The mass meeting of people from the Virginia county of Augusta in Stanton chose two delegates to represent them in Richmond, Virginia in the Virginia Convention. One was Thomas Lewis and the other one was Samuel McDowell. That these delegates would faithfully be the representatives of them, the following written instructions were given to them: “Many of us and our forefathers left our native land, and explored this once savage wilderness to enjoy the free exercise of the rights of conscience and of human nature. Those rights we are fully resolved with our lives and our fortunes inviolably to preserve; nor will we surrender such inestimable blessings, the purchase of toil and danger, to any ministry, to any Parliament, or to any body of men upon earth by whom we are not represented and in whose decision, therefore, we have no voice.” These people and delegates were almost all adherents of the Presbyterian faith. How had they come upon it? The only answer is that men of God of Presbyterian convictions were sent by the Holy Spirit of God to teach and train them in the principles of liberty, both spiritually and temporally.

The name which comes to our mind and hearts is that of John Craig. He is described as the first permanent pastor in this county of Augusta, Virgina. Consider the challenges of being an under-shepherd during the years of 1740 and afterwards. Every Lord’s day morning, Pastor Craig would walk five miles to the place of worship. In one hand, he would carry his Bible. In the other hand would be a rifle, for protection against the Indians of that territory. All the men of the congregation brought the same two objects to the worship – a Bible and a rifle. At ten o’clock in the morning, they would be seated to hear the sermon, on rude benches, which would last two hours til the noon time. A break for lunch would then be held, with each family sitting under the trees to partake of their meals. After this break, at one o’clock, the worship would begin again with the same sermon, and continue until sunset.

One of Pastor Craig’s sermon has been kept in written form. It had, for the readers who are pastors, fifty-five divisions in it! No wonder this was a sermon for a day, instead of just an hour. We might wonder whether there was any spiritual fruit to his labors, yet the truth is that multitudes were brought into the kingdom of God. He is described as a man whose heart was always full of tenderness.

John Craig would live until 1774, just two years shy of the American Revolution. Yet his proclamations of the gospel and presentation of the Word was to bear fruit in the call for Independence by the descendants of his congregations in Augusta County, Virginia. The Augusta County Presbyterians voted for independence from England on February 22, 1775.

A friend who knew him well observed that James never wrote out his name in full. It wasn’t that he disliked his name, but that he was scrupulously modest. For you see, his father—the Rev. Dr. Matthew Wilson—was not only a noted surgeon and pastor, but also a decided republican patriot. And so when his son was born on February 21 in 1769, he named him James PatriotWilson.

James grew to become an excellent student, graduating with honors from the University of Pennsylvania. He then devoted himself to the study of law and was admitted to the bar in 1790. But the death of his first wife and the assassination of his brother before his eyes turned his focus to eternal matters.  Convinced of the truth of the Gospel, he then pursued the ministry and was ordained in 1804 and installed as pastor in Lewes, Delaware. In 1806, he became pastor of the First Presbyterian church of Philadelphia, and remained pastor of this church until his death in 1830.

Several men answered William B. Sprague’s request for accounts of James Patriot Wilson’s life and ministry. Albert Barnes, who succeeded Wilson as pastor, wrote in reflection on Wilson as a preacher:

“On the only occasion on which I ever heard him preach, several circumstances struck me as remarkable. His personal appearance was very impressive and solemn. He was very pale and apparently feeble. He sat in the pulpit, and as he was accustomed to do, used a large fan. He had a very dignified air, and his whole manner was calm, collected, and solemn.

“What first arrested my attention particularly in his pulpit performances, was the manner in which he read the Scriptures. It was a chapter in the Gospel by John. His reading was accompanied by brief explanatory remarks,—I thought the most clear and interesting exposition of the Bible that I had ever witnessed. It was so simple, so plain, so striking, that at the time it occurred to me that he could better prepare a Commentary for the use of Sunday Schools, than any man I had ever met with.

“His sermon was equally clear, impressive and solemn, and what was most remarkable about it, was a very clear and beautiful exposition of the ninth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, which he quoted from memory, and commented on as accurately as if he had had the passage before him. He used no notes of any kind. His preaching at first seemed to be merely conversational. He sat and talkedto the people before him, as a gentleman might be expected to do in his own parlor.

“Soon, however, I forgot entirely the man—his fan, his sitting, and his somewhat singular habit of lifting up and down his watch chain; when, for a moment, he laid down his fan, and I became wholly absorbed in what he was saying, and to me it was then of no importance what he was doing, or whether he made many gestures or none. I have never in my life found myself more absorbed in the subject on which a public speaker was discoursing, than I was on that occasion. And what was true of myself seemed to be true of the entire congregation.”

Words to Live By: Many speakers can hold the attention of a crowd, but when God truly calls a pastor to preach the Gospel, the power of the message resides not in the man, but in the Holy Spirit who works sovereignly upon the hearts of sinners.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18)

Image source: Frontispiece portrait from An Essay on the Probation of Fallen Men: or, The Scheme of Salvation, founded in Sovereignty and Demonstrative of Justice, by James Patriot Wilson. Philadelphia: Printed by William F. Geddes, 1827. Image scan prepared by the staff of the PCA Historical Center.

The Rebel Clergyman of New Jersey
by Rev. David T. Myers

With half of inhabitants of New Jersey being Scotch-Irish Presbyterians during the American Revolution, it is not surprising that the British labeled our focus today as “the famous rebel clergyman of New Jersey.” Certainly, the Rev. Azel Roe, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Woodbridge, New Jersey preached independence from tyranny in the pulpit. And that made him a target of British forces in the area.

Azel Roe was born on Long Island, New York on February 20, 1738. Little is recorded of his early life, but there must have been some spiritual upbringing in that he graduated from the College of New Jersey, later Princeton, when he turned eighteen years of age. Later in his ministry, he would receive the Doctor of Divinity from Yale College, but for now, it was the pastorate that he committed his life and soul in ministry. Called to the First Presbyterian Church in Woodbridge, in New Jersey, he was to serve there as shepherd of their souls, for fifty-two years.

In the history and indeed church history of that church on-line, he was called to be the ninth pastor of the church in this congregation located between New York City and Philadelphia. And yet, his confines of ministry were not restricted to its boundaries. So often did he hold private meetings in a near by area, that its people united with Woodbridge Presbyterians in 1769, a union which would hold until the 1790’s when that portion of the congregation started their own church.

This devoted patriot pastor was “a man of commanding presence and excellent address, energetic and zealous in the Master’s work.” His style of preaching was “argumentative” and yet very effective, it was said. And it didn’t matter what color the people were. Way before his time, he received in men and women of color, or Negroes, baptizing and receiving them as members of the flock.

There was initially a militia among the members of the local church. There must have been some hesitation, despite the pastor’s preaching and urging to the cause of liberty, to get fully engaged in the struggle. So Rev. Roe, in a fire-fight with the British forces, put himself under enemy fire and refused to retire from the battle, until the Presbyterian militia promised to join him in that endeavor. They did finally, and the die was cast for the church to be heavily involved in the American independence. However, Rev. Roe was eventually captured, and spent time in the infamous Sugar House prison of New York, a virtual concentration camp for captured Americans. It was surely due to the providence of God that he came out of that experience alive, for countless Americans died in its squalid conditions.

After the war, he continued on his preaching and teaching ministry at Woodbridge, New Jersey. It was said that after the revolutionary war, his salary was paid in firewood and food, with the provision that his cows could be able to graze in the church cemetery! And it was in that cemetery, he is buried with his wife.

Words to Live By: This is not the first time this author has written on this Presbyterian pastor (See Feb 20, 2013), but it is the first time we have seen his commitment to the cause of liberty in the American Revolution. It is true that much prayer must go into a national commitment. Once that was over, he and his people made their commitment to liberty, and a wiliness to fight to gain it. We thank them for this commitment to God and Country.

When God Prepares a Vessel

Charles Hodge wrote one of the first major histories of the Presbyterian Church in America, which was published in 1851. A year later, the Presbyterian Historical Society was established, and the first major publication of that organization was another major work, this time by Richard Webster, issued in 1857. Where Hodge was more interested in the polity of the Church, alongside its history, Webster devoted a substantial portion of his work to biographical accounts of notable pastors.  The text of today’s post is excerpted from Webster’s work,  A HISTORY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN AMERICA, pp. 549-550—

<

p style=”text-align: justify;”>Rev. Samuel Davies [3 November 1723 - 4 February 1761]Samuel Davies was born near Summit Bridge,  in the Welsh Tract, in New-castle county, Delaware, November 3, 1723.  His father, David Davies, was a Welshman, a plain, pious planter.  His mother was an eminent saint; and having, like Hannah, asked a son of the Lord, and having in her heart dedicated him to the ministry, she named him Samuel.  She was his only instructor for the first ten years, and early imbued him with her prevailing desire that he might be a minister.  Though otherwise careless of divine things, he was mindful of his nearness to death, and daily prayed to be spared to preach the gospel.  He was sent to receive the rudiments of classical learning, under the Rev. Abel Morgan, afterwards the Baptist minister at Middletown, New Jersey.  Away from home-influences, he became more estranged from God; but, at the age of twelve, he was awakened to see his guilt, vileness, and ruin.  After much and long-continued distress, he obtained peace in believing.  This great event took place in 1736, probably under the preaching of Gilbert Tennent, whom he called his spiritual father.  It was a day of great deadness; but God was then preparing many wonderful men for the good day that was at hand.

He commenced keeping a diary, which, after his death, was examined by President Finley: it is a record of great distress relieved by large measures of heavenly comfort.

“About sixteen years ago,” he said, in 1757, “in the northern colonies, when all religious concern was much out of fashion, and the generality lay in a dead sleep of sin, having at best but the form of godliness and nothing of the power,—when the country was in peace and prosperity, free from the calamities of war and epidemic sickness,—when, in short, there were no external calls to repentance,—suddenly a deep general concern about eternal things spread through the country; sinners started from their slumbers, broke off from their sins, began to inquire the way of salvation, and made it the great business of their life to prepare for the world to come.  Then the gospel seemed almighty, and carried all before it.  It pierced the very hearts of men.  I have seen thousands at once melted down under it, all eager to hear as for life, and scarcely a dry eye to be seen among them.  Thousands still remain shining monuments of the power of divine grace in that glorious day.”

Amid such animating scenes, under the preaching of Whitefield, Blair, Robinson, Tennent, and Rowland, Davies pursued his studies.  There were obstacles in his way, but his uncommon application was followed by surprising progress.  Robinson supplied his wants.  Blair taught him, not only by his words, but by his holy example, as a man and his inimitable excellencies as a preacher.  He was licensed by Newcastle Presbytery, July 30, 1746, at the age of twenty-three, and ordained an evangelist, February 19, 1747.  He was desired by all the vacant congregations.  He was manly and graceful; he had a venerable presence, commanding voice, emphatic delivery; his disposition sweet, dispassionate, tender.

Words to Live By:
Real revival brings lasting change. May the Gospel again in our day be seen as almighty; may it again carry all before it, to the piercing of the hearts of men. Pray that the power of divine grace would again melt sinful hearts, to His greater glory.

For Further Study:
The original publishing of Richard Webster’s A History of the Presbyterian Church in America was an inexpensive production and not many copies have survived in good condition. Thankfully, the work was reprinted just a few years ago by Tentmaker Publications in England, and copies may still be available.

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

Q. 53. — Which is the third commandment?

A. — The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. (Ex. 20:7).

Q. 54. — What is required in the third commandment?

A. — The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names, title, attributes, ordinances, word, and works.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES: Ps.29:2; Matt. 6:9; Rev. 15:34; Mal. 1:14; Ps. 138:2; Ps. 107:21,22.

Questions:

1. What do we mean by the “name of the Lord thy God”?

We mean by the name of “the Lord thy God” any way in which God makes himself known.

2. How is it that God makes himself known?

He makes himself known: by his names, such as God, Lord, I am, Jehovah; by his titles such as Lord of Hosts, Holy One of Israel, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and others; by his attributes which are his perfections and properties (see Question 4); by his ordinances which are the reading, preaching and hearing of the Word, prayer, thanksgiving, praise, the administration of the sacraments; by his word, the scriptures of the Old and New Testament; by his works, which are the works of creation and providence.

3. What is our responsibility toward these general ways by which He makes himself known?

Our responsibility is to show a reverent attitude toward all of them in our words, our thoughts and our actions. We should meditate on o His names and titles. We should make holy use of God’s ordinances seeking God in them. We should be obedient at all times to His Word and recognize His works of creation and providence, blessing Him and praising Him for His mercies and submitting to Him in all things.

4.
Does this question pertain at all to legal oaths and vows to God?

Since the name of God is used in oaths and vows, there is a connection. The reader is urged to consider prayerfully the section of the Confession of Faithentitled: “Of Lawful Oaths and Vows

THE GOD OF ABRAHAM

One of the titles ascribed to God as the God of grace is “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Ex. 3:6). Even as He is the God of grace, even as we experience it day after day, we should praise Him for His wonderful works to the children of men. We should never let a day go by without lifting up voices in praise to that Blessed Name! The hymn writer said:

“The God of Abraham praise!
Who reigns enthroned above,
Ancient of everlasting days,
And God of Love!
Jehovah, great I AM!
By earth and Heaven confest!
I bow, and bless the sacred name,
For ever blest!

The God of Abraham praise!
At whose supreme command
From earth I rise, and seek the joys
At His right hand:
I all on earth forsake,Its wisdom, fame, and power,
And Him my only portion make,
My Shield and Tower.
The God of Abraham praise!

Whose all-sufficient grade
Shall guide me all my happy days
In all my ways:
He called a worm His friend!
He calls Himself my God!
And He shall save me to the end
Through Jesus’ blood!
The whole triumphant host

Give thanks to God on high:
Hail! Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
They ever cry:
Hail! Abraham’s God and mine!
I join the heavenly lays;
All might and majesty are Thine,
And endless praise!”

Abraham bowed in heart and mind before the Lord even after his faith had been sorely tried by the long delay in the fulfilment of the promise. Abraham rested upon the divine pledge, and the sufficiency of the divine power and grace of his Lord. We should do the same-recognize who He is and then remember to give praise to His holy name.

However, this commandment has a reverse side to it. As Calvin puts it so well, “The purpose of this commandment is: God wills that we hallow the majesty of his name. Therefore, it means in brief that we are not to profane his name by treating it contemptously and irreverently.” (Institutes, II, viii, 22). We should always remember that by not standing in awe of Him, by not blessing His name, we can break this commandment.

A good discipline for us would be to promise God that we shall read Psalm 139 at least once each week in order that we might keep ourselves in the right perspective and have the reverent attitude we should have toward the God of Abraham.

A Famous Hymn for Sailors
by Rev. David T. Myers

The Presbyterian pastor was asked to compose a hymn verse for the anniversary of the Seamen’s Friend’s Society meeting. Instead, he brought the verse for a hymn which he had anonymously written eight years before, which was “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me.” And so his secret was revealed to the Christian public at last.

Edward Hopper was born on February 17, 1816 in New York City. The son of a merchant and a mother who descended from French Calvinist Huguenots, he ministered all his life, except for twelve years elsewhere, in New York City. After graduating from New York University (1839) and Union Theological Seminary (1842), he became the pastor of the Church of the Sea and Land, a church for sailors. He would remain there all his life and die in 1888.

Consider the words of this famous hymn which was a perfect application for those who made their living on the sea or those in military service on the sea. In fact, you are invited to sing it or hum it for your loved ones and friends who may be this very day on the sea.

“Jesus, Savior, pilot me”

Jesus, Savior, pilot me Over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll, Hiding rock and treach-‘rous shoal;
Chart and compass came from thee: Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

As a mother stills her child, Thou canst hush the ocean wild;
Bois-t’rous waves obey thy will When thou sayest to them, “Be still.”
Wondrous Sovereign of the sea, Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

When at last I near the shore, And the fearful breakers roar
‘Twixt me and the peaceful rest, Then, while leaning on thy breast,
May I hear thee say to me, “Fear not, I will pilot thee.” Amen.

[ Click the link to hear the hymn sung: Jesus, Savior, pilot me. ]

Hopper would write three more verses of this hymn, comprising the second, third, and fourth verses, though these additional verses did not become part of the final version that appeared in most church hymnals. What was published  rang true, even for the non-sailor, with its comparison of life with the stormy sea, filled with dangers and temptations. Jesus is described as the Pilot who guides godly men and women through that stormy sea. The whole concept of the hymn comes from Matthew’s gospel, chapter 8, verses 23 – 27 where we have the occasion of Jesus calming the Sea of Galilee on behalf of his terrified disciples.

The last verse, which is in the form of a prayer, was uttered and answered in the life of Edward Hopper. On April 22, 1888, the text of his sermon had been “Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” The next day at noon as his niece came to call him for lunch, she discovered him sitting in his chair in his study, slumped over from an apparent heart attack, with pen still in hand, for he had been working on a verse entitled “Heaven.”

Words to Live By: Live this day in dependence on Jesus Christ and Him crucified, risen, and coming again.  It is only when we live in this way, that we will be ready to persevere through life, and be content in death.

 

riceJohn Holt Rice, the second son of Benjamin and Catherine Rice, was born near the small town of New London, in the county of Bedford, on the 28th of November, A.D. 1777. From the first dawn of intellect, he discovered an uncommon capacity for learning, and a still more uncommon disposition to piety. We have seen some reason to believe that like Samuel, he was called in the very morning of his life; at so early an hour indeed that he could not distinguish the voice of God from that of his own mother—-so soft and so tender was its tone. It was, in truth, the first care of this excellent woman to train up her infant child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and you might have seen the weak and sickly boy always at her knee, reading his Bible or Watt’s Psalms, to her listening ear, and catching the first lessons of religion from her gentle tongue. No wonder that he ever retained a most grateful sense of her special service in this respect, and warmly cherished her sacred memory in his filial heart.

As a further evidence of his early piety, we are told that whilst he was yet a boy, and hardly more than seven or eight years old, he established a little private prayer-meeting with his brothers and sisters, and led the exercises of it himself with great apparent devotion. We are not informed however, at what time exactly he made a public profession of religion; but we understand that it was probably when he was about fifteen or sixteen years of age.

[excerpted from The Charleston Observer, VII.7 (16 February 1833): 27, column 2.]

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