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A Typical Military Sermon by a Presbyterian Chaplain
by Rev. David T. Myers

Several Tennents were Presbyterian members of the clergy at the time of the American Revolution. And several of them took time away from their civilian congregations to serve the Lord as Chaplains to the troops. Such a one was William McKay Tennent. We don’t know much about his early life other than the fact that he was born in 1741. He attended and graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) in 1763. Married to a daughter of the Rev. John Rodgers, he was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1776.

Nothing is known of his ministry from that date in history, other than a sermon preached as a military chaplain in the American Revolution at Mount Independence, Sunday, on this day, October 20, 1776. Gathering together American soldiers from the regiments of Col. Motts and Col. Swift, who were waiting for the approach of British troops at Mount Independence, New York, Chaplain Tennent gave the following message: (and this post will only give relevant portions of it)

“(My text is) Nehemiah 4:14 (which says) Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.

“Our text is delivered by good Nehemiah to the Jews when their proud, their haughty, and oppressive enemies were coming upon them for their destruction.

“Be not afraid of them is the voice of heaven, the voice of your bleeding country, the voice of the church, and the voice of all who are dear to you – with respect to the approaching foe.

“There is nothing but victory or an honorable death before you.

“Be not afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible.

“Call to remembrance His almighty name. Let the strength of Israel be your trust. Implore His aid and assistance. Under His banner go forth to battle. In His name and strength, meet the approaching foe. Determine to conquer or gloriously die.

“Be not afraid of them, for they are not invincible. Be not afraid of them, because they are engaged in a wicked and unrighteous cause, which the righteous Lord abhors. Be not afraid of them though their numbers should be superior to yours, because you are possessed of advantages which they have not. You have the ground and all the works you have made on it. Be not afraid of them, because the lack of courage will prove your ruin.

“Fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.

“May He cover your hearts in the day of battle, and crown our arms with victory, and the glory shall be given to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, world without end, Amen.”

Words to Live By:
Such words as these have been the challenge for many an evangelical and Reformed military chaplain in modern times to our troops in various conflicts. Let us pray for our chaplains as they minister the Word of God in perilous times to our brothers and sisters in the ranks.

For our next several posts, we will be reviewing a powerful address by Benjamin B. Warfield, titled THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OF THEOLOGICAL STUDENTS. Dr. Warfield, who was himself a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (class of 1876), served as Professor of Didactic and Polemic Theology there from 1887 until his death in 1921. His address on the religious life of seminary students was originally delivered before the Autumn Conference at Princeton, on October 4, 1911. Today our post will look at an opening portion of the address, in which he discusses what is called the doctrine of vocation, and while his focus is on seminary students and their call to the ministry, this same doctrine of vocation is fully applicable to the rest of us, whatever our calling in life.

 

Perhaps the intimacy of the relation between the work of a theological student and his religious life will nevertheless bear some emphasizing. Of course you do not think religion and study incompatible. But it is barely possible that there may be some among you who think of them too much apart—who are inclined to set their studies off to one side, and their religious life off to the other side, and to fancy that what is given to the one is taken from the other. No mistake could be more gross. Religion does not take a man away from his work; it sends him to his work with an added quality of devotion. We sing—do we not?—

Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see—
And what I do in anything,
To do it as for Thee.

If done t’ obey Thy laws,
E’en servile labors shine,
Hallowed is toil, if this the cause,
The meanest work divine.

It is not just the way George Herbert wrote it. He put, perhaps, a sharper point on it. He reminds us that a man may look at his work as he looks at a pane of glass—either seeing nothing but the glass, or looking straight through the glass to the wide heavens beyond. And he tells us plainly that there is nothing so mean but that the great words, “for thy sake,” can glorify it:

A servant, with this clause,
Makes drudgery divine,
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
Makes that, and the action, fine.

But the doctrine is the same, and it is the doctrine, the fundamental doctrine, of Protestant morality, from which the whole system of Christian ethics unfolds. It is the great doctrine of “vocation,” the doctrine, to wit, that the best service we can offer to God is just to do our duty—our plain, homely duty, whatever that may chance to be. The Middle Ages did not think so; they cut a cleft between the religious and the secular life, and counseled him who wished to be religious to turn his back on what they called “the world,” that is to say, not the wickedness that is in the world— “the world, the flesh and the devil,” as we say—but the work-a-day world, that congeries of occupations which forms the daily task of men and women, who perform their duty to themselves and their fellowmen. Protestantism put an end to all that. As Professor Doumergue eloquently puts it,

“Then Luther came, and, with still more consistency, Calvin, proclaiming the great idea of vocation, an idea and a word which are found in the languages of all the Protestant peoples—Beruf, Calling, Vocation—and which are lacking in the languages of the peoples of antiquity and of medieval culture. Vocation—it is the call of God, addressed to every man, whoever he may be, to lay upon him a particular work, no matter what. And the calls, and therefore also the called, stand on a complete equality with one another. The burgomaster is God’s burgomaster; the physician is God’s physician; the merchant is God’s merchant; the laborer is God’s laborer. Every vocation, liberal, as we call it, or manual, the humblest and the vilest in appearance as truly as the noblest and the most glorious, is of divine right.”

Talk of the divine right of kings! Here is the divine right of every workman, no one of whom needs to be ashamed, if only he is an honest and good workman. “Only laziness,” adds Professor Doumergue, “is ignoble, and while Romanism multiplies its mendicant orders, the Reformation banishes the idle from its towns.”

Now, as students of theology your vocation is to study theology; and to study it diligently, in accordance with the apostolic injunction: “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord.” It is precisely for this that you are students of theology; this is your “next duty,” and the neglect of duty is not a fruitful religious exercise. Dr. Charles Hodge, in his delightful auto-biographical notes, tells of Philip Lindsay, the most popular professor in the Princeton College of his day—a man sought by nearly every college in the Central States for its presidency—that “he told our class that we would find that one of the best preparations for death was a thorough knowledge of the Greek grammar.” “This,” comments Dr. Hodge, in his quaint fashion, “was his way of telling us that we ought to do our duty.” Certainly, every man who aspires to be a religious man must begin by doing his duty, his obvious duty, his daily task, the particular work which lies before him to do at this particular time and place. If this work happens to be studying, then his religious life depends on nothing more fundamentally than on just studying.

You might as well talk of a father who neglects his parental duties, of a son who fails in all the obligations of filial piety, of an artisan who systematically skimps his work and turns in a bad job, of a workman who is nothing better than an eye-servant, being religious men as of a student who does not study being a religious man. It cannot be: you cannot build up a religious life except you begin by performing faithfully your simple, daily duties. It is not the question whether you like these duties. You may think of your studies what you please. You may consider that you are singing precisely of them when you sing of “e’en servile labors,” and of “the meanest work.” But you must faithfully give yourselves to your studies, if you wish to be religious men. No religious character can be built up on the foundation of neglected duty.

Words to Live By:
Why complicate the matter? Dr. Warfield cuts through all the clutter and puts the simple truth before us: “You cannot build up a religious life except you begin by performing faithfully your simple, daily duties. . . No religious character can be built up on the foundation of neglected duty.” Here it might be important to note that when Dr. Warfield uses the word religious, we might instead use the word spiritual today. But the point stands, and should be taken to heart. More on this as Dr. Warfield continues, tomorrow.

For another examination of this message from B.B. Warfield, see the brief essay from 2014 by Dr. L. Michael Morales, chair of biblical studies at Reformation Bible College..

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Small Things Saved Can Have Real Significance

Rev. Moginot may have been something of a collector of tracts. When we went to gather up and preserve his papers, I did at least find a substantial box full of various tracts in a small room just off from the garage in his basement. It was not covered and so was quite dusty and showed other signs of damage. Still, the box was stuffed full and the resulting compaction saved a lot of the contents from ruin. There were tracts from any number of different evangelical organizations. Some from the school he attended, Dallas Seminary. Some from all manner of evangelical and fundamentalist ministries. And there were some from fellow pastors in the Bible Presbyterian Church. Among these there were a handful of tracts by Francis A. Schaeffer, two of which I had never seen before.

The first of these, “The Bible-believing Christian and the Jew”, can be approximately dated, since it was published in The Independent Board Bulletin, a publication of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, in October of 1943 and under the title “The Fundamentalist Christian and Anti-Semitism.” In a subsequent issue, the editor noted that Schaeffer’s message had been well received by the readership of The Bulletin. So either the tract was a subsequent publication, or it was the prior publication. Either way, we have a rough dating for it. This message would have been composed while he was still serving as the associate pastor to the Rev. Abraham Lance Lathem, and just before his leaving to take the pastorate of the First Bible Presbyterian Church of St. Louis. The content of Rev. Schaeffer’s message against anti-Semitism is reproduced below and can also be found here.

Physical details:
1. “The Bible-believing Christian and the Jew” — Single-sheet, folded tract, 15 cm. x 23 cm. (6″ x 9″). Medium blue-gray paper with a basis weight of approximately 30-40 lbs. Dark blue text printed in four panels, including the title panel, on the obverse and a large single panel of text on the reverse or interior of the tract.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN
AND ANTI-SEMITISM

by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer

[reprinted from The Independent Board Bulletin, October 1943, pp. 16-19.]

—o—

THE INDEPENDENT BOARD BULLETIN
“I will make of thee a great nation.” Gen. 12:2.

We thoroughly approve the viewpoint of this paper. If its attitude were
the attitude of all Christians the fear in which even American Jews live would
vanish and many would turn to Christ at once.–Editor.

We live in an age in which anti-Semitism is a powerful force. In many lands it has resulted in the death of countless Jews. Even in our own land it shows itself in various guises from time to time. Even among those who call themselves fundamentalist Christians we find an occasional individual who spends a large portion of his time assailing the Jews.

Considering anti-Semitism, the first thing that fixes itself in my thinking is the fact that Christ was a Jew. When we open the New Testament to Matthew 1:1, we find the very first claim made concerning Christ is that he sprang from Abraham and was a descendant of David. The Bible does not say that Jesus just happened to be a Jew, but the Word emphasizes over and over again that he was a Jew.

When He was eight days old, He was taken to the Temple and circumcized as was every Jewish male. Therefore, we must remember that Jesus bore in His body the physical mark of the Jewish people. When He was twelve, He was dedicated at the Temple, again emphasizing that His Jewish race and Jewish faith were not incidental to Him, but that from His early training they were His vital human background. During His public ministry, as an adult man, the Bible teaches that while repudiating purely human Jewish traditions, His life carefully conformed to Old Testament standards. In fact, He lived in such a way that even the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah were fulfilled fully in Him. He was the Jew of all Jews.

In His public ministry we find Him dealing almost exclusively with the Jews. Hardly ever did He touch a Gentile life. The twelve disciples were all Jews. The earliest church consisted completely of Jews. It was Peter, the Jew, who spoke to the proselyte, Cornelius. It was the believing Jews, scattered abroad by the persecution following the death of Stephen, who took the Good News to Antioch of Syria where the first Gentile Christian Church was formed. The missionary who opened up the heathen Roman Empire to the preaching of the Gospel was the Jew, Paul.

And if we ask ourselves why it was that the Jews received such an important place in the early Christian Church, we must realize that it was not an afterthought in the plan of God, but that for two thousand years God had been working in history to bring forth this very fact. God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees as the first Jew when the earth had completely apostasized from the living God. He promised him that the land should be his, that he should have numerous seed, but above all things, that all the world should be blessed through him. God called forth Abraham for this specific purpose, that through him the Messiah should come. The Jews for two thousand years, in the providence of God, were the cradle of the coming Redeemer.

As we examine the history of that two thousand years, we find God constantly reaffirming the promise of the coming Messiah to the Jews, so that not only was the promise made to Abraham but to Isaac and Jacob, and then it was narrowed down to the tribe of Judah, and then to the royal family–the family of David. As the years passed by it was also promised that He should be born in Bethlehem, that He should be a suffering Messiah, but also that He should rule in Palestine on behalf of His people, the Jews.

In these two thousand years in which the way was prepared for the coming of the Messiah, all the earth was in darkness but for the light that shone in Israel. While our ancestors worshipped we know not what, but certainly not the living God, the Jews were called God’s chosen people. They were separated from all other peoples of the earth. They were loved of God, a kingdom of priests. And even in their times of sin, God kept His hand upon them in order that a remnant should be His from which the Anointed One should come. Nay, Jesus was not a Jew by accident, nor as an incidental thing in the plan of God; if Jesus had not been born a Jew, according to both the Old Testament and the New, He could not have been our Saviour.

As for the present time in which we live, Romans 11:17 – 24 teaches that we Gentile believers should not boast against the Jews, the natural branches, for if God spared not the natural branches, we are told to take heed lest He spare not us. How clearly it is emphasized that if we who were wild branches by nature, were grafted contrary to nature into the good olive tree, much more shall the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree. And what does Ephesians 2:14 stress to us but that at Jesus’ death the middle wall of partition was broken down between Jew and Gentile–not that the Jew should be cast aside, but that we should have place with the Jew by faith. Abraham is now our father, and as we have put our faith in Christ, we are now spiritual Jews.

For the future the Word of God is explicit still. In Romans 11:25 it is made clear that the blindness which now in part is happened to Israel is not forever bu until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And then what is to come to pass? The 26th verse tells us that all Israel shall then be saved, when the Deliverer shall turn away all ungodliness from Jacob. The 29th verse is a verse that we love and use for ourselves, “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” We may take it to ourselves because God never breaks any promise, but let us notice that the primary application in this place is to the Jew. God has promised great things for Israel as a nation, and this Word here tells us that He will bring them to pass. If He does not bring them to pass, then the gifts and calling of God are not without repentance. Clearly again, in Zechariah 12:10 it is stated that the day will come when the Jews “shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son.” In the day when Israel shall be saved they shall look upon Jesus and know that in His first coming He was their true Messiah. Again, it is not only the Old Testament which promises that the land of Palestine will once more belong to the Jews, but in the New Testament, in Luke 21:24, we are told that Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles only until the time of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled. Therefore, the Word tells us that the day will come when all Israel shall be saved, and the Jews will look upon Jesus as their true Messiah, and also that the Promised Land will be theirs once more. It is not only for the past, not only for the present, but also for the future, that we who are now Christ’s should love the Jew.

We cannot expect the Gentile, who merely uses the term “Christian” to designate the difference between Gentile and Jew, to love the Jew, but we who are Christians indeed, in that we have been saved through faith in Christ, should love His ancient people. Above all things in this regard we should keep constantly in our minds that our Lord Himself was a Jew—born a Jew, lived a Jew, died a Jew. Also, the great majority of those heroes of the faith I personally long to see when I go to be with that Lord are Jews. I want to see Abraham; and he is a Jew. And I want to see Isaac; he is a Jew. I want to see Jacob; and he is a Jew. I want to see Joseph; and he is a Jew. I want to see Moses; and he is a Jew. I want to see Joshua; and he is a Jew. I want to see Gideon and the other judges; and they are Jews. I want to see the prophets–Isaiah, Elijah, Elisha, and all the rest; and they are Jews. I want to see Daniel and Ezra and Nehemiah; they are Jews. I want to see John; and he is a Jew. I want to see James; and he is a Jew. I want to see Peter; and he is a Jew. I want to see Paul; and he is a Jew. These are only some of those I long to meet who bear the name of Jew. How could I hate the Jew?

And if this is not enough for those of us who are Bible-believing Christians, let us note the command of God in Romans 11:31. It tells us clearly what our attitude in this age should be to natural Israel. We should have mercy unto them. And, my friends, mercy and anti-Semitism in any form do not live in the same household. We cannot seek to win them individually to the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour if we despise them as a people in our hearts.

Not long ago an influential Jew in New York City, the Labor Editor of one of the New York papers, quoted to me a little poem which he said was widely repeated among the Jews of that city. As I have considered this rhyme, I have found it more than an interesting jingle. It speaks wisdom concerning the man who bears the name of Christian and yet is anti-Semitic in his thinking.

“How odd of God to choose the Jew,
But not so odd as those who choose
The Jewish God and hate the Jew.”

Today marks the 451st anniversary of the Massacre of French Huguenots at Fort Caroline on September 20, 1565. This representation of the event by Theodore de Brys (based on the work of French Huguenot painter, and survivor of the colony, Jacques le Moyne) shows the tragedy that occurred on the shores of Florida centuries ago. The Spanish commander had a plaque put up after he was finished with his bloody work explaining why he killed the colonists, which included men, women and children: “Not as Frenchmen, but as Lutherans [Protestants].”

One of those killed in the second phase of the massacre was Admiral Jean Ribault. His last words were to chant Psalm 132, changing the words slightly, “Lord remember the afflictions of your servant Jean. How he swore. . . not to give rest to his eyes, nor slumber to his eyelids, until he found a dwelling place for the mighty God of Jacob.”

May we remember the Huguenot sacrifice for Christ’s kingdom in America on this September day.

Today marks the 449th anniversary of the Massacre of French Huguenots at Fort Caroline on September 20, 1565. This representation of the event by Theodore de Brys (based on the work of French Huguenot painter, and survivor of the colony, Jacques le Moyne) shows the tragedy that occurred on the shores of Florida centuries ago. The Spanish commander had a plaque put up after he was finished with his bloody work explaining why he killed the colonists, which included men, women and children: "Not as Frenchmen, but as Lutherans [Protestants]."</p> <p>One of those killed in the second phase of the massacre was Admiral Jean Ribault. His last words were to chant Psalm 132, changing the words slightly, "Lord remember the afflictions of your servant Jean. How he swore. . . not to give rest to his eyes, nor slumber to his eyelids, until he found a dwelling place for the mighty God of Jacob." </p> <p>May we remember the Huguenot sacrifice for Christ's kingdom in America on this September day.

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He Seemed But a Little Boy

It was only a year before that Archibald Alexander had been taken under care of the Presbytery of Lexington, Virginia.  He was young and extremely small in stature.  In our day, such a move of spiritual oversight is usually granted by a Presbytery after it has heard your personal testimony, what God has done for you in Christ in your spiritual life, and an expression of your call to the ministry.  In the eighteenth century however, it included all  that, no doubt, and also a sermon preached over the presbytery.

On that occasion in 1890, the month of October, Archibald Alexander stood before the esteemed member of this presbytery.  The fact that a candidate before him had utterly failed to utter anything approaching a sermon, much less give any orderly address, didn’t seem to faze him.  He stood up, without any idea of what he was going to say, and delivered an exhortation which astonished everyone present.    In fact, after that occasion, he delivered “exhortation” after “exhortation” several times a week.

In the spring of 1791, Alexander was examined by the Presbytery of Lexington in his Latin and Greek knowledge.  He had prepared an exegesis upon an assigned topic, and read it to the brethren.  He delivered a speech to the Presbytery as well.  It was then moved that he be assigned a text to preach at the next meeting of the Lexington Presbytery.

At that time, on September 20, 1791, the time had arrived for his proclamation before his elders, both in age and office, on the assigned theme, which was Jeremiah 1:7, “Say not, I am a child.”   And indeed, he seemed but a little boy, but the effect of his trial sermon, quickly put that to rest.  There was authority in the proclamation of the Word of God.  It was no wonder then that at the next presbytery meeting in Winchester, he was licensed to preach the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Words to live by:  If you have an opportunity, attend a Presbytery meeting as a visitor soon, especially one in which a candidate is brought under care, or licensed for the gospel ministry, or ordained by one of our conservative presbyteries.  You will see the care which the church gives to its candidates, that they be sound in doctrine, proficient in the Westminster Standards, and practical in their understanding of their calling.  It will be a day well spent.

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Someone has asked a while back about the history of the PCA’s motto, the one you see every year at General Assembly, emblazoned on various banners around the room, “True to the Scriptures, the Reformed Faith and obedient to the Great Commission.”

Apparently that motto has gone through some changes over the years!

One of the earliest examples of the phrase, perhaps the first, is provided by the Rev. Don Patterson, as he announced the formation of the Steering Committee, in 1971, leading to the eventual formation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

Rev. Patterson said, in part,

“These groups have reached a consensus to accept the apparent inevitability of a division in the Presbyterian Church U.S. cause by the program of the radical ecumenists, and to MOVE NOW toward a continuing body of congregations and presbyteries loyal to the Scriptures and the Westminster Standards…”

In that same issue [Bulletin no. 22, September 1971] of The Concerned Presbyterian, the masthead motto changed from the previous motto,

“Dedicated to Returning the Presbyterian Church, U.S. to its Primary Mission—Winning the Unsaved for Christ and Nurturing all Believers in the Faith.”

into a new motto, reflecting Patterson’s words :

“Dedicated to the Formation of a Continuing Church True to God’s Word and Loyal to Historic  Presbyterian Doctrine and Polity.

Elsewhere in that same issue of the Bulletin, there was mention of “. . . Presbyterians who will be forming a continuing Church faithful to God’s Word and loyal to historic Presbyterian doctrine and polity.”

But surprisingly, even in the very first Bulletin issued by the Concerned Presbyterian group, in March of 1965, there were hints of this motto, as yet unformed. Announcing their organization they issued a statement of core concerns, and said this in summary :

“This is the avowed purpose to endeavor to return the control of our Church once more to those who believe that the Bible is the Word of God and the only infallible rule of faith and practice, that unswerving loyalty to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms is vital and essential to the work of our Church, and that leading the unsaved to Christ and nurturing believers in the Faith should take precedence even over every other proper activity in the Church’s program.

Because Ruling Elder Ken Keyes was the editor of The Concerned Presbyterian Bulletin, he was probably the author of the lead article in that first issue and so it is probably safe to attribute the above statement, and thus the root form of the motto, to Mr. Keyes.

[If you want to do your own research, all of the Bulletins issued by the Concerned Presbyterian group can be viewed here. The URL for that first issue is http://www.pcahistory.org/findingaids/concerned/bulletin01.pdf]

A later variation of the motto, perhaps the more familiar version, appears in Paul Gilchrist’s last letter as Stated Clerk (1998), where he reported:

26th GENERAL ASSEMBLY IS HISTORY
Our hearts were blessed as we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the PCA at the General Assembly in St. Louis, Missouri. How good it was to hear how the Lord moved in the hearts of our founding fathers to establish a “continuing Presbyterian Church” that would be true to the Scriptures and to the Confession, and obedient to the Great Commission.”

Obviously we could probably track some variations on the motto through the years, from 1971 to present, but most of those variations probably appeared because someone was working from memory.  For one thing, the motto was never officially adopted, so far as I can determine. If I’m wrong about that, please let me know. For now, barring other input, I’m satisfied that the motto was first envisioned by RE Kenneth S. Keyes, and later refined and voiced by TE Donald Patterson.

Words to Live By:
And more than all that history, the important thing is that we should pray and strive to remain faithful to that covenant, enabled by the Holy Spirit, always seeking to be true to the Scriptures and to the Confession, and obedient to the Great Commission.

He Shouldn’t Have Been Elected
by Rev. David T. Myers

Given his political choice of party, which was Federalist, in the early nineteenth century in Delaware, he should have been a Methodist or an Episcopalian.  Those denominations usually won office to the position of governor in the state.  But John Clark was a Federalist Presbyterian, an oddity to be sure.  Obviously Someone higher than those in earthly roles was directing this race and subsequent win to the governor’s chair.

John Clark was born in 1761 on the family farm in New Bristol, north of Smyrna, Delaware.  He had limited schooling in his younger days, but made up for it with an insatiable desire for the knowledge in books.  He was “well read,” as the papers put it at that time.  In 1784, he married Sarah Corbit, a daughter herself of a governor of Delaware.  They had one daughter and possibly others, which history doesn’t name for us.

John Clark obviously had the gifts of leadership.  He was the Colonel of the Third Regiment of Militia for a year in 1807 – 1808.  He served as a sheriff, a state treasurer, a member of the State House, and then as governor of Delaware.  His accomplishments included improvements in educational opportunities.  His argument was that Delaware is a small state and not suitable for increased opportunities in business.  Better plans must to be made to develop the mental capabilities of its citizens.

After serving for his term as governor, he became involved in banking business in Smyrna, Delaware.  He died on August 14, 1821 and is buried in the cemetery of Duck Creek Presbyterian Church in Smyrna.

This contributor looked in vain for any quotable quotes on the significance of personal Christianity in the state or country, and his beliefs on those topics.  The only hope we have for a credible profession of faith is that his membership was in the Presbyterian church and his burial was in a Presbyterian cemetery.  Usually in those days, such inclusion would not have taken place unless there was a credible testimony in Christ as Lord and Savior.

Words to live by:  Both words and spiritual fruits  must be found in Christians to declare that redemption has taken place in a believer’s life.  They may have been found at the time with respect to John Clark, but were simply not recorded in the usual sources we  have available today.  Let it not be said of you though, that no expressions of Christianity are found lacking in your mouth.  Let there be no doubt that you are a professing and confessing Christian to all who observe what you say and do.

LAYMEN, BEWARE !
[excerpted from Biblical Missions, newsletter of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, vol. 1, no. 9 (September 1935) 3-4.]

The persecution of the Independent Board goes on apace. On August 2, 1935, the session of Harriet Hollond Memorial Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, voted to place on trial two of its members, Miss Mary Weldon Stewart and Murray Forst Thompson, Esq., “because of their refusal to resign from the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions.”

On September 9, at 8 o’clock P.M., the session met in the church “for the presentation and reading of the charges and specifications and to deliver a copy to the accused.” This action has evoked great interest. It marks the first time in many years that a woman has been brought to trial in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.  Furthermore, the defendants are only unordained communicant members of the church; and the nature of the charges filed against them is intensely interesting since neither Miss Stewart nor Mr. Thompson has taken any ordination vows which (however erroneously) could be made the basis of a charge of an offense.

When the Presbytery of Philadelphia referred their cases to the session of Holland Church, Miss Stewart and Mr. Thompson issued a joint statement in which they said: “We desire to make plain our reasons for not obeying the mandate of the General Assembly.

That mandate was unlawful and unconstitutional because the Assembly sought to bind men’s consciences in virtue of its own authority and because it sought to deal with an organization which is not within the church.

That mandate was un-Presbyterian and un-Christian because it condemned members of the church without a hearing and without a trial.“No real Christian could obey such a command, involving as it does implicit obedience to a human council and involving also the compulsory support of the Modernist propaganda of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.

This whole issue involves the truth and liberty of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The question is whether members of a supposedly Christian church are going to recognize as supreme the authority of men or the authority of the Word of God, whether they are going to obey God rather than men.

We refuse to obey men when we believe their commands are contrary to the Bible.  We are thus taking our stand for the infallible Word of God, and in doing so, we plant ourselves squarely upon the Bible and the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.”

This proceeding against lay members of the Independent Board in obedience to the unconstitutional action of the General Assembly should make it perfectly plain that the liberty of the rank and file in the church is threatened just as much as that of ministers and other office-bearers.

THE TRIAL ITSELF
The first session of the Stewart-Thompson trial was characterized by a series of legal errors on the part of the session which was trying the case.  For example, before the court was properly constituted it decided to go into executive (secret) session. For a while it seemed that the entire procedure would end in confusion.  It is rather difficult, you see, to try two lay members of the church whose sole “sin” is their refusal to compromise with Modernism! But at last the charges and specifications were read, and the court adjourned to meet again on September 23.

Words to Live By:
Acts 5:27-29 was their guiding principle, as it remains ours today:
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

 

 

Knox’s Number Two
by Rev. David T. Myers

We begin, readers, with a quick quiz this day.  Name the Reformers who followed men like Luther, Calvin, and Knox in their respective countries of ministry.  In other words, who was number two?  In Germany, it was Martin Luther and ________________,  Geneva’s John Calvin was followed by ________________.  And in our country of interest, Scotland, it was John Knox and _________________.

If you answered Martin Luther and Phillipp Melanchthon for Germany, John Calvin and Theodore Beza for Geneva, and John Knox and Andrew Melville for Scotland, give yourself a treat, for all three of these are the identities for Number Two Reformers.

melvilleAndrewOur focus today is Andrew Melville, who was born this day, August 1, 1545 in Baldovy, Scotland.  He had more than a little hardship in that before  he was five years old, both his father and mother died.  One of his nine brothers, Richard, took charge of Andrew, giving him the best schooling he could bring to bear upon the situation.  By the age of 14, Andrew went to and graduated from St. Andrews University, having the reputation of being “the best philosopher, poet, and Grecian of any young master in the land.”

In 1564, Andrew left Scotland to study in France, and after training in Hebrew and the legal profession, went to Geneva, where he sat under Theodore Beza.  At the urging of his fellow students, he returned to Scotland.  He was influential of introducing European methods of education, where one professor taught only those students who were interested in his expertise, rather than having one professor teaching every topic to a group of students.  The reputation of the Scottish universities grew until students from all over flocked to the schools.

The age-old issue of Presbyterianism versus Anglican government and doctrine was still being debated in the land.  Who was the head of the church?  Was it the king of England, or was it King Jesus?  Melville clearly believed the latter and was prepared to oppose the former all of his days of ministry in the land.

Andrew Melville went on to serve the Lord of the church as an educator, pastor, and churchman as the Apostle of Presbyterianism.  Elected Moderator of the General Assembly five times, he was the key author of the Second Book of Discipline.   Unmarried,  his life and ministry was always for the glory of Jesus and the advancement of His church.

He is the author of that famous “Two Kingdom” speech which he delivered to King James the Sixth.  While this author will treat it by a separate post, a few words will keep us in anticipation now.  Taking the king by the sleeve, he said “Sire, I must tell  you that there are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland: there is King James, the head of the Commonwealth, and there is Christ Jesus, the Head of the Church, who subject King James VI is, and of whose kingdom he is not a head, nor a lord, but a member . . . .”

Sent to the Tower of London as a prisoner for four years for alleged wrongs to the king, he was let out only to be banished to France, where he lived the rest of his life as a professor at the University of Sedan.  He died in 1622.

Words to Live By: Wylie paid Andrew Melville the tribute that Protestantism would  have perished were it  not for the incorruptible, dauntless and  unflinching courage of Andrew Melville.  King Jesus, give us men and women today in our land who will stand up for the gospel, come what may.  Reader, pray much for the church, your particular congregation, the churches of your presbytery, and the national denomination of which you are a part, that they will stand up for the Scriptures, the Reformed Faith, and the Great Commission.

Not Works But Christ’s Merits Alone
by Rev. David T. Myers

From day one of this historical devotional, we have recorded several experiences of David Brainerd, the Presbyterian evangelist to the Indians in the early part of the eighteenth century in America. What made this young man go so courageously to their villages  and witness to the sovereign and saving grace of God in Christ? The only answer, beyond his call to do just that, was his own experience of saving grace and a desire to spread that message of eternal life.

David Brainerd was born on  April 20, 1718 to a religious family. Yet while ministers were among his relatives, he didn’t receive or respect the true way of eternal life. He thought almost all of his young life that salvation was through a life of good works. And he did live such a life.  Prayer, fasting, personal duties to God and man, all were his to show to God.  When he still couldn’t get any real peace with God,  he went to a spirit of real antagonism with this God of the Bible.

As he tells in his diary, he was irritated with the strictness of the divine law against sin. Then the condition of salvation by faith alone bothered him.  Couldn’t there be another way, he thought?  Then, just how does one find saving faith? He didn’t know, nor could he find faith at all.  Last, the sovereignty of God was a troubling idea to him.

All of these questions were answered on this day July 12, 1739 when God’s convicting Spirit fell upon him powerfully  and saved his soul.  Listen to his words in his celebrated diary: “By this time the sun was scarce half an hour high, as I remember, as I was walking in a dark thick grove, ‘unspeakable glory’ seemed to open to the view and apprehension of my soul.  By the glory I saw I don’t mean any external brightness, for I saw no such thing, nor do I intend any imagination of a body of light or splendor somewhere away in the third heaven, or anything of that nature. But it was a new inward apprehension or view that I  had of God; such as I never had before, nor anything that I had the least remembrance of it.  I stood still and wondered and admired.”

Now David Brainerd was qualified to take the unsearchable riches of the gospel to the tribes of hostile Indians.  Commissioned by the Scottish Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, he served his blessed Lord and Savior for three years until on October 9, 1747, he went to glory.  But his diary has remained in print and has effectively influenced countless people with missionary zeal to spend and be spent with the call of the Lord to reach the unsaved people of the world with Christ and Him crucified.

Words to Live By: 
It may be that some of you readers have never responded to the gospel call of the Spirit of God.  It may be that some of you are still trying to claim that your religious works will save your soul.  Learn from the experience of David Brainerd of old that all the testimony of Scripture is that eternal life is only by Christ alone, through faith alone, by grace alone.  Repent, and believe the blessed gospel.

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