March 2018

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At last! Minutes of the Second Presbytery
by Rev. David T. Myers

Today’s post is about the second presbytery ever established on North American soil. In 1707, beginning on March 22, this second presbytery was convened in Philadelphia.  George McNish, one of the seven ministers, was chosen Clerk of the Presbytery, while John Wilson was chosen the Moderator.   Present also were teaching elders Jedidiah Andrews and  Nathaniel Taylor.  Francis Makemie would show up on the 25th of March.  Ruling elders Joseph Yard, William Smith, John Gardener, and James Stoddard were present from several churches within the bounds of the Philadelphia Presbytery.

» Pictured above right, Old Rehoboth Presbyterian Church, Rehoboth, Maryland (1683), which competes with Fairfield Presbyterian Church, Fairton, New Jersey (1680) in the claim for the oldest Presbyterian church in America »

Samuel Davis sent in his excuse as to why he missed the last Presbytery and would not be present at this meeting either. The presbyters did not sustain his reasons for his absence, and sent  a letter to teaching elder Davis requiring him  to be present at the 1708 presbytery meeting.  He did, and they immediately elected him the moderator of the next Presbytery!

The church at Snow Hill, Maryland, had called Mr. John Hampton to be their pastor, but the latter had declined their call.  He gave several satisfactory reasons to the presbytery as to why he was not in favor of going there as pastor.  They nevertheless moved that the call be left in his  hand until the next presbytery in 1708, hoping that the call would be finally accepted by Mr. Hampton.  In the meanwhile, they sent a letter of encouragement to the church to continue in their endeavors for a settled pastor among their ranks.

It was on the 25th of March, 1708, that two biblical sermons were given on Hebrews 1:1 and Hebrews 1:2 by teaching elders Francis Makemie and teaching elder John Wilson, which messages had been approved at the last Presbytery meeting.  These texts were no doubt taken from the Genevan Bible, as that was the version carried over to these shores by the early Presbyterian pilgrims.  And given the practice of early Scottish ministers, the length of the sermons easily could have been two hours long.  We are told  that both sermons were approved by the Presbytery.

Since Francis Makemie had been successful in convincing two ministers to come over and help the infant Presbyterian church previously, the Presbytery urged Makemie again to write to Scotland and a certain minister by the name of Alexander Coldin.   He was to give an account of the state and circumstances of the dissenting Presbyterian interest in and among the people, especially in and about Lewistown, and signify the earnest desires of those members that Mr. Coldin travel over to these shores and become their minister.

We conclude that their meeting was not unlike the gathering of Presbyterians in presbyteries across the modern world now.  Sermons are preached, though not as long as these early expositions of the Word.  Elections are held for presbyterial office.  Excuses are considered as to absences, and approved or disapproved.   Pastors without call are considered for vacant pulpits.  Overtures are recommended, discussed, and voted upon by the presbyters.  (See March 26)  All in all, the work of the Lord began in Philadelphia, 1706,  and continues today in hundreds of presbyteries across the world.

Words to Live By:  Speaking to elders, be faithful to your presbytery meetings, for there the work of the Lord is initiated, issues of interest to the church are  discussed by and for elders, warnings are heeded, encouragements are given, and support is given to the kingdom of grace.

A Child of great promise, and a Child of The Promise.

He was the youngest child of Joseph Courten Hornblower, who served for fourteen years as the Chief Justice of New Jersey. Joseph in turn was the youngest child of Josiah Hornblower, a renowned patriot in the Revolutionary War, a member of the first Congress of the United States of America, and the man who brought the first steam engine to this country!

hornblower_Wm_HAll of which made William H. Hornblower, born on March 21, 1820, a child of promise and expectation.  He graduated at Princeton College in 1838 and began studying law, but within a year or two began to consider the ministry and so entered Princeton Theological Seminary. Graduating from there in 1843, he was soon called to serve as Assistant pastor at the First Presbyterian church of Paterson, New Jersey. When the senior pastor resigned just a few months later, the congregation called Rev. Hornblower to serve as their pastor, and there he served for twenty-seven years.

In those closing years of his life, an honor and a decided change of course came when he was appointed to serve as Professor of Pastoral Theology and Sacred Rhetoric at the Western Theological Seminary, at Allegheny City*, Pennsylvania. In this capacity he served from 1871 until his death on July 16, 1883. One notable student during those years at Western would have been Robert Dick Wilson, whose exceptional abilities in Semitic languages brought him back to teach at Western in 1883, just a few months after Dr. Hornblower died.

[*Allegheny City was a distinct municipality from 1788-1907, located across the river from the city center of Pittsburgh. In 1907 it was annexed and became part of Pittsburgh]

It was said of him in eulogy that “As a preacher, he was instructive and impressive. His life was one of growing usefulness, and he enjoyed the cordial esteem of his brethren, and of the people among whom he lived and labored.”

At the Patterson church, where he had served for so many years, the Session composed their own eulogy on behalf of the church, and stated in conclusion, that,

“In view of the life, labor and character of such a man, the language of the Apostle might not unfittingly have been appropriated as his dying assurance of victory over death: ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course; I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them that love His appearing.”

Words to Live By:
Do you love His appearing? That is, do you look forward to, and long for Christ’s return? If so, that is a very real assurance of your salvation and your hope of glory. But if you find your love is weak, decide now to spend more time seeking the Lord, in His Word and in prayer. Humble yourself and turn to Him. God will surely bless and answer your prayer to draw near.

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.” (Gal. 4:28, KJV)

“He Went About Doing Good”

Our subject today is the Rev. James A. Bryan, known affectionately as “Brother Bryan.” To introduce him, I would like to take the liberty of quoting from the opening three paragraphs in Dr. David Calhoun’s recent article, which appeared in the Fall 2012 issue of PRESBYTERION:

James Alexander Bryan [20 March 1863 - 28 January 1941]“For years James Bryan walked the streets of Birmingham, Alabama, ministering in the name of Jesus to the people of the fast-growing city–not only to respectable people but also to gamblers, drunkards, and prostitutes. He was the pastor of Third Presbyterian Church, a downtown church surrounded by African Americans, poor white families, Jews, and immigrant workers from Italy, Hungary, Greece, and other countries. Bryan knew the people of Birmingham and they knew and loved him. They called him “Brother Bryan.” To him all people, black and white, native-born and immigrants, poor and rich, were his brothers and sisters.

“James Alexander Bryan was born near Kingstree, South Carolina, on March 20, 1863, two years after South Carolina seceded from the Union. His parents were poor in money, but rich in faith. Every morning and evening the family gathered to sing a psalm or hymn, to read a passage from the Bible, and to kneel in prayer. At his little country school James studied reading, writing, arithmetic–and the Westminster Shorter Catechism. At the town’s Presbyterian church he listened to good sermons. A visiting preacher who made a deep impression on the young boy was Hampden C. DuBose, a student at Columbia Theological Seminary who, during a summer vacation, supplied Bryan’s home church. DuBose became a missionary to China, where he preached, planted churches, and successfully fought the opium trade.

“Bryan studied at an academy in Raleigh and at the University of North Carolina, where he was known for his ability as a public speaker. He went north to Princeton Theological Seminary to prepare for the ministry, arriving in September 1886 with $1.85 in his pocket. The piety of the slim young Southerner earned him the nickname “the saint,” spoken not in mockery but seriously by his fellow students. Bryan loved his professors–William Henry Green, Alexander McGill, Caspar Wistar Hodge, and B. B. Warfield–and loved his studies, especially those in Bible and preaching. In Princeton Bryan worked at the Negro church on Witherspoon Street, teaching Sunday School and often leading the Wednesday prayer meeting. Here among black friends he was at home. Years later when his Princeton Seminary class gathered for its fortieth reunion, Bryan slipped away from the festivities to preach to the people at Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church.”

We have in recent years been able to locate a copy of Brother Bryan’s sermons, which were then added to the PCA Historical Center’s research library. Apparently this was one of three volumes that were published between 1900 and 1930. Few copies have survived. The first was a slim volume of 53 pages, then another of 72 pages, which we have in photocopy, and the last, our recent accession, is a booklet of 111 pages. From that last booklet, I have selected one sermon to post here today, to give a better sense of Brother Bryan’s ministry and also because this particular sermon has some additional biographical insights:

(March 26, 1927)

Prayer to God is the lifting up of the soul to God. It is the pouring out of the heart unto God, our Father, in adoration, praise, confession and submission.

Someone asked the question, “What is the need of the Christian Life?” Another person answered, “Love for Jesus Christ.” We know this is true. You cannot love anyone unless you are acquainted with them. You cannot love Christ unless you are well acquainted with Him. You become acquainted by reading the Bible and especially by communing with Him in prayer. The people whose lives have counted for the most in the world have been people who were intercessors unto God.

Think a minute of Moses, how he interceded for God’s people, who had forgotten God. He spent 40 years in the school of prayer in the desert of Midian. It was his prayer life that made his life powerful. Prayer to God is asking what we wish, expecting to receive the things according to God’s will. We go to our Heavenly Father knowing that He will not withhold from us the best things for us.

Think of Elijah praying to God, the heaven’s being shut for three years and six months. I can hear him praying for rain and the heavens opened and the rain came. God’s people in the time of Samuel sent for him and begged that he not fail to pray for them.

Is your life a life of prayer? We have a great many church workers in this country but we need more church prayers. Praying is not saying your prayers. Christ taught us to enter our rooms and pray to our Father in secret. Christ teaches us to pray always.

Paul writes, pray without ceasing. Then he says: “I exhort first of all the prayers, supplications, intercessions be made for all people.” Do you enjoy praying? How much time a day do you spend in prayer? How many people have you on your prayer list? I am sure that I cannot meet the trials, the temptations, the burdens, the sorrows of life, without spending much time in prayer.

Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do I spend the ealry hours of the morning in prayer to God.” If you haven’t anyone else to pray for, pray for the writer of this note.

The calls come thick and fast, day and night. I have just returned from a cottage over the mountain, a father dying in one room, mother and children in sorrow, in the other. Pray for hundreds in that condition. The phone has just rung bringing the news of old people in a certain section of this city, unable to work, without food or fire. Pray to God that He will supply the needs of hundreds; that He will heal thousands of broken hearts. “There are lonely hearts to cherish, while the days are going by. There are weary souls that perish, while the days are going by.”

If Christ felt the need of spending whole nights in prayer and rising before day and going to the mountainside to pray, do you not feel the same need? Certainly you do. Christ is praying for us now. He is the only advocate between God and man. He presents our case to the Father. One of the sweetest recollections that I have of my earthly father is this: he took me to Charleston, S.C., when I was a small boy. Late at night when everything was still in the hotel, I heard a voice; in the dim moonlight that shone through the window I saw my father on his knees. I heard him praying for me. I think of that scene most every day and think of the prayer that I heard him offer. Maybe our children do not need so many material things but they need our prayers and they need to be taught to pray. You cannot have a spiritual life, without prayer.

Will you not pray more? Will you not pray for your own city, for every man, woman and child, that Christ may take His rightful place in every life? Pray that all of the people will be intercessors unto God.

Words to Live By:
Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained [a]by the world.—James 1:27, NASB.


A distinguished Presbyterian minister appraises the care and use of Reformed distinctives

The Faith in Perspective


The author served as pastor in the Presbyterian Church US and founder of the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship. He is now retired and a member of the Presbyterian Church in America.

A noted Southern Presbyterian theologian of a bygone generation has given a clear and cogent description of the Reformed faith, and the differences between Arminianism and Calvinism in a little book entitled The Gospel as Taught by Calvin. Dr. R. C. Reed wrote briefly but to the point, and he also sounded a note of warning and caution:

“After all, it is largely a difference touching words and names. Arminians believe that the atonement is limited in its application to those who believe; Calvinists believe nothing more and nothing less.

“Inasmuch, however, as Calvinists believe that God makes the application, they say the atonement is limited in design as well as application. But there is nothing in their view to prevent their offering Christ to every sinner and assuring him, on the authority of God, that if he will accept, he shall be saved. ‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.’

“This is good Calvinism; and if anyone holds to a Calvinism that does not square with the widest offers of God’s mercy, then he has gotten hold of a spurious article, and the sooner he flings it away the better. ‘Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’ Any so-called Calvinism that does not chime with this sweet Gospel bell deserves to ‘be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men.’

“We ask for no leniency of judgment on any argument or inference that would tend to make the strait gate straiter, or the narrow way more narrow. Above all things, let us believe that ‘Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners,’ and that ‘him that cometh to him He will in nowise cast out.’ ”

My father, grandfather and great-grandfather, ministers in the Presbyterian Church, warmly embraced the Reformed faith and I fully concur with Dr. Reed’s thesis and warnings as they did.

Like them, I hold firmly to the Reformed faith by heritage, education and conviction. I learned the Shorter Catechism as a lad; in seminary I rememorized it as a part of a required course on the Westminster Standards, taught by a professor who had spent a lifetime teaching theology with emphasis upon the Reformed faith. Later I spent more than five years studying the Scriptures and teaching the Westminster documents to Sunday school teachers and officers. Thus I became a hearty advocate of the Reformed faith by conviction as well as by heritage and education.

Today we hear much discussion about the Reformed faith. Some of it comes from seminaries like Westminster, Reformed and Covenant. Good! But we ought to be very careful when we hear such talk to keep our views in proper perspective.

The term “Reformed faith” is not definitive. It has many variations in its use and meaning, running all the way from the form held by the Primitive Baptists, to the Dutch form with the famous five points of Calvinism, to the Scottish form which is distinctly Presbyterian.

Presbyterians in America, both North and South, held strongly to the last mentioned form until the Northern Church began to slip in the late twenties and thirties. The Southern Church soon followed, although it had held to a moderate Calvinism from its beginning through its first 75 years of life.

We find many variations of the meaning of “Reformed faith,” not only in denominations but also in great theologians. The two Hodges at Princeton disagreed between themselves on certain points, and also with Warfield, with Kuyper and the Dutch Reformed group. All these differed somewhat from the early Southern Presbyterian theologians, such as Dabney, Peck, R. C. Reed, J. B. Green and others.

None of these looked at the “Reformed faith” in exactly the same way. Indeed, the discussion about the proposed Book of Confessions—recently rejected by the Presbyterian Church US but already adopted in another form by the United Presbyterian Church USA—brings to light vast differences between the confessional statements of Reformed groups, the Dutch, the Scots, Huguenots and others.

The Westminster documents, embodying the Reformed faith, present the best summary ever written of the teachings of Scripture. Yet even the Westminster documents do not cover the whole teaching of the whole Scripture. In at least two important points, very vital teachings of Scripture are neglected. Although the Confession of Faith contains one chapter on God the Father and one on Christ the Redeemer, it has none on the person and work of the Holy Spirit.

The Westminster documents do say much about the Holy Spirit, His work in salvation and in Christian growth. But there is no complete chapter in these documents where the person and work of the Holy Spirit, as presented in the whole Scripture, are brought together to form a complete picture—and this despite what they teach (and we believe) about the Trinity, “these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.”

In a second vital omission, the Confession of Faith does not include the whole teaching of the whole Scripture about missions and evangelism.

Furthermore, adherents to the Reformed faith appropriately base some doctrines upon what they call “necessary, logical implications of the Scripture.” But the moment when we start talking about “logical implications,” we enter the human realm where the remnants of our fleshly natures can corrupt our thinking. That which is based on the clear teaching of the Scripture is divinely inspired; but anything based on man’s concept of “logical implications” is open to question.

Sometimes our Reformed faith loses its Biblical perspective. It does so if it opposes foreign missions and Sunday schools, as does the Primitive Baptist doctrine, or when it says, “I cannot tell a man God loves him because I don’t know if he is elect.”

Hair-splitting and quarreling are prevalent in Reformed circles. A casual glance at the history of Reformed Churches will show that the reputation they have gained through the years for being overly contentious is, sadly, all too well justified. This kind of faith fits rather well the old cliche, “. . . rather argue than eat.”

Biblical perspective is lacking when the Reformed faith lays almost exclusive preaching emphasis on teaching the Reformed faith but uses the Scripture only as a sort of proof text to support the main subject. If a seminary graduate conceives the major purpose of his ministry to be getting all the members of his church to understand and embrace the Reformed faith, he has somehow gotten off center. He is ignoring a higher priority—to teach the members of his congregation the Scriptures.

Students from some seminaries are thoroughly indoctrinated in the Reformed faith, and this is good. But many do not know the Scriptures nor how to apply them. People need to know Scripture before they can begin to understand the Reformed faith.

Being Reformed does not necessarily mean being a mature Christian, as some seem to imply. If the Reformed faith has value—and it does—all of that value is derived from the Scriptures and the place to start preaching and teaching is with the Scriptures, not with a system derived from them.

Recently, two young ministers whom I know personally have said to me, “I am starting to preach a sermon series on Sunday mornings on the five points of Calvinism. My new congregation does not seem to know too much about the Reformed faith.”

To both these ministers I replied, “Brother, you have gotten hold of the wrong end of things. What your people need to know is Scripture, and you should press diligently toward training your people in the Scriptures. Important though it may be, the Reformed faith is a derivative.”

The Reformed faith has lost its Biblical perspective when a church or a denomination becomes sterile. Strangely enough, extreme emphasis on the Reformed faith—without putting it into proper perspective—can and too often does result in spiritual sterility. Statistics on professions of faith can reveal a very sad picture. True, there are other causes of Church and congregational sterility, but failing to keep the Reformed faith in perspective can be and often is a major factor.

It is also possible for an adherent of the Reformed faith to use the term too often, like the very “Baptistic” Baptist who can hardly open his mouth without saying Baptist. We who know and love the Reformed faith should remember that this term is not used in the Bible. Any people we seek to influence can get to the place where they say, as one member said to me not long ago, “I am sick and tired of hearing about the Reformed faith. I am fed up to the ears with it.”

Thus we can tend to judge everything by how “Reformed” it is, rather than by Christ’s standards. By such an approach we can leave the impression that doctrinism is more important than Christ Himself. If we are not careful, we can glorify a theological system above the Head. When that happens, our interpretation of the system is out of focus.

Moreover, preoccupation with Reformed theology makes theological snobs of us and creates pressure groups within a denomination. We who hold the Reformed faith should do so with humility instead of being lifted up with pride, arrogance and bigotry. We need to humble ourselves, get down on our faces before God and mourn because of our own sins. The Reformed faith is out of perspective when pride takes over, when it becomes a point of contention which splits churches and denominations because of an arrogant and “holier than thou” attitude.

Finally, the Reformed faith has lost its Biblical perspective when it tends to rule out all whom we consider to be not truly Reformed. Many of our churches today are being split on this account, torn apart by ministers or elders who push the “Reformed” approach out of perspective. For instance, in two recent papers, the authors seemed to look upon the Reformed faith as representing some kind of perfectionism, and they opposed or pitied people who did not measure up to their idea of perfectionism.

Some try to rule out what God is doing through Billy Graham and Campus Crusade, saying they make salvation “too simplistic.” But we should beware lest our presentation becomes too complicated. It may not even touch base with the ordinary fellow, and even dedicated Christians are alienated as well, because they do not understand what the preacher is talking about.

Disagreements between those espousing the Reformed faith and other evangelical conservatives weaken the testimony of the Gospel. Such polarizations are unnecessary. “Reformed” and “evangelical” are not mutually exclusive nor should they be made so.

If we begin to think that our major mission in life is to “convert” sincere Christians of differing persuasions to the Reformed faith, we are out of perspective. Those who know the Reformed faith well can and do have deep convictions. We also need to have a becoming humility, not looking with pity or scorn upon Christian brethren who are not Reformed.

To keep our Reformed faith in perspective, we should remember that He who said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” also said, “Ye should go and bring forth fruit” (John 15:16). Some suggest this fruit is the “fruit of the Spirit” mentioned in Galatians 5. If that were all, why did our Lord give us the word “go”? Polarization often occurs when one person does not understand another.

The evangelical should be willing to give close attention to the study of the Reformed faith. Likewise, the Reformed minister should try to understand evangelicals. The evangelical should be more evangelical because he is also Reformed. The Reformed man should also be more evangelical because he is Reformed. Too often, however, it does not seem to work this way. May God help us!

The Reformed faith is in proper Biblical perspective when it:

—Evangelizes vigorously, weeping over lost souls of men as did our Saviour over Jerusalem and is moved with compassion, as was our Lord when He saw the multitudes.

—Demonstrates becoming humility, “esteeming another better than self,” as the Apostle Paul said. Surely Reformed people ought to be more humble than people holding any other system of doctrine.

—Talks more of Christ than of the Reformed faith, and more of the Scripture than of doctrinal distinctives.

—Is more concerned for the salvation of a man’s soul than for teaching him the intricacies and details of what is “truly Reformed.”

—Brings forth much fruit. We who are Reformed should not forget that He who said, “I came to save the lost” also said, “I came to seek the lost.” We must follow the example of the Apostle Paul who said, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men, for the love of Christ constraineth us, as though God did beseech you by us,

we pray you in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God” (II Cor. 5:11, 14, 20).

Our Lord also said, “Herein is my father glorified, in that ye bring forth much fruit and that your fruit should remain.” We who make much of the sovereignty of God and declare the chief end of man is to glorify God must never forget that God is most glorified by our bringing forth “much fruit.” Our Lord, remember, cursed the barren fig tree.

—Preaches the Gospel in simplicity and in the Spirit as our Lord did, not as a demonstration of our scholarship or intellect. The seminaries should turn out men with burning hearts, not men educated away from the people; men with a passion for souls, not just intellectuals.

Brethren, let us glory not so much in the Reformed faith as in the cross of Christ by which we are crucified to the world and the world to us (Gal. 6:14).

The Christian faith is balanced in every respect. Every passage of Scripture has its balance. Error in interpretation occurs when we lose sight of that balance. God is one and yet three persons. Christ our redeemer has two natures, but one in person. Salvation comes by faith but faith is dead if works do not follow.

God’s sovereignty in election is balanced by man’s responsibility. When things get out of balance in any one of these paradoxes, they are out of perspective and error results. The same is true of the Reformed faith. It is good, but when it gets out of perspective, it can work much mischief.

Brethren, let us keep our Reformed faith in perspective, just as we claim to do carefully in interpretation of the Scriptures.

by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

Q. 59. — Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly Sabbath?

A. — From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of world, which is the Christian Sabbath.

Scripture References: Gen. 2:3; Luke 23:56; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1,2; John 20: 19-26


1. Why was the seventh day appointed by God as the Sabbath day?

The seventh day was appointed as the sabbath day because it was the day he rested from the works of creation.

2. When did God appoint that day as the sabbath?

He appointed the seventh day as the sabbath right after his works of creation. (See Gen. 2 :2).

How long was the seventh day to be observed as the sabbath day?

It was to be observed as the sabbath day until Christ rose from the dead. (See Matt. 28:1).

4. What day was to be observed from that time, according to the Word of God?

The first day of the week was to be observed and is to be observed by Christians until the end of the world.

5. How can we be sure that the first day is to be observed as the sabbath?

We can be sure because it was instituted by Jesus Christ and has been observed by Christians ever since that time.

6. Is there any correlation between the sabbath of the Old Testament and the sabbath instituted after the resurrection of Christ?

Yes, there is a correlation in that God rested on the seventh day after his work of creation and Christ rested on the first day after going through the suffering that brought about man’s redemption. (Heb. 4:10).

7. Are there other Scriptural proofs of the first day of the week being the new Sabbath?

Yes, there are other proofs such as the Lord putting his name on the first day; Paul speaking of taking the collection on the first day of the week; the disciples being assembled together on the first day of the week. (Rev. 1:10; I Cor. 16:1,2; John 20:19; Acts 20:7).


“Remember the sabbath day … ” It is true that so many people today are forgetting this commandment. Times have certainly changed since Emperor Constantine declared the first Sunday blue laws in 321 A.D. He required all courts, towns, and workshops to be at rest on the Lord’s Day. Today the church has a new ritual. It is the Sunday Absentee ritual of the lake, of the open road, of amusements, of army drill. Relatively few seem to be remembering the sabbath and to be concerned with the fourth commandment.

There is still another meaning to the world “Remember”. It is quite significant that this is the only commandment that begins. with this word. It is as if God knew this was one man would tend to forget. But in addition to how we should spend the day, the word “remember” should bring to our minds two great works: creation and redemption.

The work of creation should be brought to our minds since the sabbath of the Old Testament started when the Lord God rested the seventh day. Every sabbath day it would be good for us to start the day by meditating on creation. Our Shorter Catechism’s definition puts it so well: “The word of creation is God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of His power, in the space of six days, and all very good.” How wonderful it is to think on His power and this beautiful world He created.

The work of redemption should be brought to our minds since the Lord Jesus rose from the dead on the first day after going through the suffering. He shed His blood on Calvary’s Tree for you and me. In one way we can say that redemption exceeds creation. Creation was a monument of God’s power; redemption was a monument of God’s love. Think once again: “He was made sin for us.” (2 Cor. 5:21). He died willingly. He loved us. His death, His redemption is everlasting~ These things should melt our hearts, should cause tears to come to our eyes, as we think of how very many times we neglect Him and dishonor His Name. The mediation of Christ and His wonderful love manifested in His redeeming us is something for us to think about on the Lord’s Day.

“Remember the sabbath day … ” This is a good way to start the Lord’s Day. Possibly if more would start the day remembering the works of creation and redemption there would be less breaking of the Sabbath!

Published By: The SHIELD and SWORD, INC.
Vol. 4 No. 54 (June 1965)
Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn, Editor

Continuing our brief series on the “TR” controversy in the 1970s, this was the second article published on the pages of The Presbyterian Journal.


If you want your people genuinely Reformed, deal gently and in the Spirit

How To Reform the Church


The author is a student at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Miss.

Nearly everywhere in the South in the two main Presbyterian denominations can be found many men whose chief desire is to reform their denominations and their individual congregations. They want the Presbyterian Church US or the Presbyterian Church in America to be confessional Churches, subscribing to the Reformed faith as it is presented in the Confession and Catechisms of the Westminster Assembly. More than they want a “broadly evangelical” or “conservative” Church, they want a Church which strives for purity in doctrine and practice—the Reformed faith.

The desire itself is to be heartily commended; in fact, the wish is entirely Biblical. How this can be accomplished, however, is a question which demands careful thought and close attention. Viewpoints vary, and much damage can be done in and to congregations and denominations if care is not used.

I think the Church can be reformed without needless division and hurt if we avoid two extreme positions in approaching the problem.

Certainly we cannot demand and should not expect immediate reformation, separating ourselves from all who fail to heed the call to reform. Many times in youthful zealousness, young pastors see their task to be the overnight transformation of their congregation from “conservative” to “Reformed” Christians.

The change would be a good one, of course, but no one should expect the transformation immediately. Just as people cannot be forced into receiving the Christian faith, they cannot be forced into embracing the Reformed faith or be given the ultimatum, “Shape up or ship out.”

On the other hand, a person true to the Reformed faith cannot be content to sit back and not seek the reformation of the Church, content merely with a congregation of “evangelical” members. If the Reformed faith is the purest form of Christianity, then all of us must seek its infusion into the people of God.

A study of Church history and the Scripture suggests two basic ways a reformation of the Church can be accomplished.

First, the reforming of the Church must be done by a gradual process of education. For example, let’s say most PCA members are very conservative but not Reformed in theology and practice. This was characteristic of these members long before they left the PCUS. On the whole, these people were not concerned with gaining an understanding of the Reformed faith; they were caught up in the battle in which lines were clearly and easily drawn: conservative versus liberal.

To put it as some see it, the situation is this: As a result of the theological climate during past generations, many Presbyterians just do not know the teaching and practice of the Reformed faith. They must be taught. But they must be taught slowly. One does not stuff a 12-ounce sirloin down the throat of a babe, and many members are babes regarding the Reformed faith. Some may even be hostile at first, choking on the Reformed teachings. Yet this is no reason to separate from them or to write them off as wild-eyed Arminians.

Hence I would plead with those who are and will be in teaching positions to learn to be patient, to be gentle, to love as you have been loved. Teach the congregations the Reformed faith; they need it, but give them a spoonful at a time.

Second, we who claim to follow men like Calvin and Kuyper have too often forgotten their great emphasis upon the work of the Holy Spirit. To reform the Church, we must pray that the eyes, ears and minds of our people will be opened so that God might convince them of the truth of the Reformed faith. To use Kuyper’s example, we must pray that the Spirit of God would produce that beautiful music upon the harp of the Reformed faith.

We must pray for ourselves, that God would grant us patience, love and concern, that He would teach us to lead our people gently, that He would grant us discernment as to where our people are and how we should lead them.

With these two thoughts in mind, the Church may indeed be reformed.

There is no need for bitterness, hatred and distrust to arise in the Church. PCUS and PCA congregations can become Reformed congregations in doctrine and practice. This will not happen if the babes are forced or ignored. They must be nurtured and taught slowly, with love. We must pray for and with them that the Holy Spirit will bring about this transformation which is reformation.

It may have fallen into disuse (praise God if it has), but at one time the designation “TR” was constantly in the air. The letters stand for “Truly Reformed” and it is a phrase that has been controversial most of its life. For some it has been a term of pride and arrogance (“I am and you’re not”).  For others it has been a handy derogatory expression (“You are and I’m glad I’m not”). It may even surprise some to find out that this all goes back about forty years or more. By several accounts, “TR” was an expression coined in the early 1970’s on the campus of Reformed Theological Seminary, in Jackson, MS.  Initially it was more an aspiration—a goal—namely, we want to be thoroughly or consistently Reformed. But it quickly became a label, and as with most labels, there was little good that came from use of the stereotypes that attached on either side of the expression. After boiling around on the RTS campus for a while, the controversy finally appeared on the pages of The Presbyterian Journal in 1977.

First up was Dr. Jack Scott, a much-loved Old Testament professor at RTS, whose chapel talk was transcribed and published.  Dr. Scott was seeing a problem on the RTS campus, and he spoke to the matter. Dr. Scott’s address forms our post for today. Next, The Presbyterian Journal published articles by David R. Gillespie, a student at RTS, and by William E. Hill, Jr., founder of the Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship, an organization that was important to the subsequent formation of the PCA. Those articles we will post in following days (Sat. & Mon.). The last article on this topic was by the editor of The Presbyterian Journal, Dr. G. Aiken Taylor, who wrote an editorial titled “Lo, the TR”.  (We will post Dr. G. Aiken Taylor’s article on Tues.) After that, three or four succeeding issues of the magazine displayed letters to the editor on the matter, with all sides (and then some) covered as debate continued. (to be posted Wed.)


Is the truth of the Reformed faith still true when it is not loving?

Paragon of Orthodoxy


The author, professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Miss., is author of the Journal’s Sunday school lessons. This message originally was given as a seminary chapel talk.

The portion of Scripture taken from the first speech of Eliphaz to Job surely commends itself as a paragon of orthodoxy:

“But as for me, I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: Who doeth great things and unsearchable; marvelous things without number: Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields: So that He setteth up on high those that are low; and those that mourn are exalted to safety.

“He frustrateth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.  He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the cunning is carried headlong. They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope at noonday as in the night.

“But He saveth from the sword of their mouth, even the needy from the hand of the mighty. So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth. Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth:  therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty” (Job 5:8-17). First comes a clear call to seek God: “As for me, I would seek God” (v. 8). The prophets also called for men to seek God while He may be found. In the New Testament, our Lord likewise taught that we are to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and seeking, we shall find.

Eliphaz praised God in clear, certain terms, speaking of the marvelous deeds of God, the unsearchable quality of God (vv. 9-16). Paul also concluded a part of his letter to the Romans with a clear statement of the unsearchable knowledge and wisdom of God (Rom. 11). Then Eliphaz spoke of the providence of God, of a God who gives rain on the earth and sends water upon the fields.

Next, he told of the exaltation of the lowly (v. 11), in words much like those of Hannah. When she received the answer to her earlier prayer for a son, Hannah praised God who exalts the lowly.

Eliphaz declared that God will and surely does oppose His enemies. He frustrates the devices of the crafty. Again, he declared that God overturns the wisdom of this world; Paul’s words in I Corinthians are not unlike these.

Eliphaz showed something of God’s love and concern for the needy: “Even the needy, He saves from the hand of the mighty, so the poor hath hope and iniquity stops her mouth” (w. 15-16).

He concluded this portion by exhorting Job and those listening to him to accept the correction of God:  “Happy is the man whom God corrects, therefore, despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty.” These words, very much like those of Proverbs 3:11, are echoed in the New Testament. The author of Hebrews exhorts us all to accept the chastening of God, declaring that whom the Lord loves, He chastens (Heb. 12).

Thus it is with Eliphaz’ speech—sound, orthodox, solid theology! Right? Wrong!

Before this speech he heaped ridicule upon Job, “Now it is come unto thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled” (Job 4:5). He also was guilty of judging Job:  “Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? Or where were the upright cut off? According as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow trouble, reap the same. By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of His anger are they consumed” (Job 4:7-9).

Here Eliphaz put himself in the place of God and made a judgment about Job, not understanding at all the real problem which Job faced. Looking at external circumstances, he immediately came to certain conclusions. He presumed that because Job was suffering—as he surely was suffering because of his circumstances—he was clearly displeasing God.

Taking the same truth which Paul later declared, “Whatsoever a man sows, that he will also reap,” Eliphaz reversed it and made of it something which cannot be upheld. He was saying, in effect, “When we see trouble in a man’s life, we can know that he’s getting what he justly deserves from God.” However, Eliphaz indicated that this wisdom had a source other than the Lord: “Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and my ears received the whisper thereof, and thoughts from the visions of the night” (Job 4:12-13). What he pronounced so eloquently was based on his visions, the whisperings, the secretly brought things. He also showed a facility for speaking to that which was not at issue: “Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?” (Job 4:17). He spoke as though Job had affirmed this; of course Job had not. Eliphaz simply put up a straw man he could easily knock down.

Later Eliphaz’ speech moved into the realm of cruelty. “I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation. His children are far from safety, they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them” (Job 5:3-4). “Job,” he was saying, “you just lost your children because of your sin. Because you sinned against God and displeased Him, you have been crushed and destroyed.” What a thing to say to a man who endured the great hardship and suffering of Job!

Finally, Eliphaz came to an arrogant, dogmatic conclusion: “Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good”—as if to say, the last word has been said, the book is closed, this is it!

Elsewhere in the book of Job, God made His own assessment of these words: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2), and He said to Eliphaz, “My wrath is kindled against thee and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath” (Job 42:7).

Eliphaz and his friends may have known many truths, but they did not know how to speak the truth in love, as Scripture requires of those called to speak the Word of God. Paul exhorted us to speak the truth in love, reminding us that we are about the business of building up the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in love (Eph. 4:15).

Now it pains me to say this, but I almost have come to the point where the term “TR” makes me sick! I don’t mean the concept. I believe that the concept of being thoroughly Reformed is a commitment everyone of us should have. I believe every seminary should stand for doctrines that are thoroughly Reformed. But that term “TR” has become heinous to those out in the Church. The two basic reactions to it are fear and laughter. In one week in two states, I have heard the term joked about and laughed at. I have talked to people who are filled with fear because of associations they have with that expression. And whether we like it or not, we have made it so. Shame on us! There’s nothing wrong with the term, but truth can never be honored when it is not spoken in love. You might even ask if it can still really be called truth.

James had a lot to say about the use of the tongue. “Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive the heavier judgment. For in many things we all stumble. If any man stumbleth not in word, the same is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body, also” (Jas. 3:1-2).

James was awed by his responsibility, and his “we” included himself. We who are called to the heavy responsibility of teaching the Word of God stand under a heavier judgment.

We are always in danger of stumbling in the Word, of bringing dishonor to God where we would bring honor, of bringing confusion in the minds and hearts of men where we would clarify, of bringing laughter and jokes when we would instead bring serious contemplation of the truth.

Eliphaz is a very good example of James’ illustration, “Doth the fountain send forth from the same opening sweet water and bitter?” (Jas. 3:11). Eliphaz did just that, praising God eloquently but condemning Job wrongly, speaking, as it were, the truth without love. This is not acceptable in the sight of God. Watch out, brethren! God’s Word admonishes us!

Moreover, in Churches and our congregations many people are grieved and fearful and hurt, although we did not intend it so. I stand second to no man in my devotion to orthodoxy and to the Reformed faith, like Paul who was not ashamed to call himself a Pharisee of the Pharisees.

Yet our Lord reserved some of the sharpest words of His earthly ministry for just such people. Because they did not know how to handle the truth, they did great damage to the Word of God and to the people of God.

There is nothing wrong with being thoroughly Reformed, but perhaps we need to keep in mind some other words of James. “Thou believest that God is one” (now, nothing is more orthodox than that!) “thou doest well: the demons also believe, and shudder” (Jas. 2:19).

There’s more to orthodoxy than technically correct words. Sound orthodoxy and thoroughly Reformed faith have to do with the life we live and the manner in which we teach the Word of God, and with the love in our hearts as we deal with people, speaking to them of the great mysteries of God’s revelation.

And it is incumbent upon us to do this in the way God’s Word says it must be done. When “TR” becomes synonymous in the minds of people with factious, cruel, arrogant, judgmental, abusive, overbearing, it’s time for us to take note and do something about it.

This is a call for all of us to search our souls, to repent if need be. We can do something; nobody else but us can do anything about this. We can make the term “thoroughly Reformed” a beautiful concept again among the people of God. I will even say, indeed we must do so.

Train Up a Child

Robert Baird [6 October 1798 - 15 March 1863]Concerning the Rev. Robert Baird, we read in Nevin’s Presbyterian Encyclopedia, that he was born on October 6th, 1798, in the neighborhood of Uniontown, Fayette county, Pennsylvania,; that he graduated from Jefferson College with high honors in 1818 and then studied theology at Princeton Seminary. In his final year there, he was a tutor in Nassau Hall. Immediately upon graduation in 1822, he took charge of an Academy which had just been established in Princeton and oversaw that work for five or six years. He had been licensed to preach in 1822, and in 1828 was ordained by the Presbytery of New Brunwsick and called to serve as an Evangelist. A year later, he accepted a post to serve as General Agent for the American Sunday School Union, a post which he held for six years. Finally, in 1835, he began the work which consumed the remainder of his life, seeking to advance the cause of the evangelical Christian faith in various countries in Europe. For twenty-eight years this was his life’s passion. Finally, returning from London in 1862, his last year was spent at home in New Jersey, and on March 15, 1863, he breathed his last.

Baird’s greatest work was most likely his treatment on Religion in America. Written while he was residing in Geneva, it is a work which remains quite useful to this day. The full title of the work is Religion in America; or an account of the Origin, Progress, Relation to the State, and Present Condition of the Evangelical Churches in the United States. With notices of the Unevangelical Denominations. First published in 1842, Baird continued to rework and expand the book, and the final 1856 edition is the most complete.

Some three years after his death, Baird’s son, the Rev. Henry Martyn Baird, wrote a biography of his father, and in the following passage, Henry speaks of Robert’s childhood and how he was raised in the Christian faith by a father who was careful to catechize his children:

“His father was a man of staunch integrity and of exemplary deportment; and, as such, he had won the esteem and confidence of all his neighbors. Unostentatious, but with very decided views, which he never avoided expressing on all suitable occasions, he was a man who left his imprint upon all with whom he came in contact. His habits of industry and thrift, formed in youth, he strove to inculcate in connection with the higher obligations of religion. Often did his children, in later years, advert with pleasure to the instruction given to them in the Westminster catechism under the parental roof. On Sabbath evenings, when the entire family was gathered around the blazing hearth, the father was accustomed to hear his children recite that admirable summary of the great truths of the Gospel. His memory was extraordinarily tenacious, and he had himself been so thoroughly drilled in his childhood, that he experienced no difficulty in conducting the exercise, and never required a book in order to recall either the form or the order of the questions. He always began at the very commencement of the catechism, and went regularly through it to the last answer with those of the older children who had advanced so far. His son Robert often blessed God for the familiarity which he thus acquired with the matchless compendium of Biblical theology of the Westminster divines; and expressed regret that Christian parents generally are not more faithful in laying in the minds of their offspring, at an early age, the foundations of an intimate acquaintance with the all-important doctrines of the Christian religion.”

Words to Live By:
Catechising your children may not always be easy, but it can be enjoyable, if conducted lovingly and in a firm yet patient way. Start when they are very young, and build a family habit around the time, whether over the dinner table, at bed time or in the morning. Any discipline involves effort, but this is something which will bear a good—even an eternal—blessing.

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:14-15, NASB)

For Further Study:
Last October 6th, we first looked at the life of Robert Baird. To review that post, click here.

To read The Life of the Rev. Robert Baird, by Henry Martyn Baird, click here.

To read the review of Religion in America written by James W. Alexander, click here.

“When I look for the acquaintances of my youth, alas! they are almost all gone. I have been led, for the most part, along a smooth path.

Browsing through an old issue of THE ST. LOUIS EVANGELIST some time ago, I spotted the following brief article reporting on a letter from Dr. Archibald Alexander, dated 1822. Dr. Alexander was born in 1772 and would have been fifty years old when he wrote this letter. Given his age at that writing, his opening sentence is particularly striking, from a modern perspective. Equally intriguing are the biographical insights provided in this letter and the view expressed by Dr. Alexander on providing for one’s family and later years.


We have in our possession a long and interesting letter written by Rev. Dr. Archibald Alexander, from Philadelphia, while attending the meeting of the General Assembly, dated May 27, 1822, addressed to “Rev. Robert Marshall, near Lexington, Ky.,” sent by his son, Rev. James Marshall, upon his leaving Princeton Theological Seminary for his home and a field of labor in Kentucky. Most of it is in reference to his “unexceptionable conduct,” his “strength and originality of mind,” and the prospect that “he will be a forcible speaker, a useful man, and become an important member of the Church in the Western country.” We give an extract of general interest:

When I look for the acquaintances of my youth, alas! they are almost all gone. I have been led, for the most part, along a smooth path. External circumstances have been favorable, but I have been subjected often and long to severe conflicts. Perhaps in prosperity I have endured as much pain as those who have passed through many external afflictions. I have now a large family, and have made scarcely any provision for their subsistence when I shall be taken from them; but I am not troubled on this account. “The Lord will provide.” I have seen in so many cases the little benefit which has resulted from the fruit of anxious toil for posterity, that I feel content with my situation and prospects.

Such views from one so revered, so wise and so spiritual as was Dr. Archibald Alexander, we doubt not will be read with interest and profit by all. If we are in moderate circumstances, and our children promise to be upright, useful, respectable in life, we should be more than content; we should be joyful and grateful. People in affluent circumstances have more to fear than others for their descendants. “The lust of the world, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life” accomplish their slaughter chiefly among the rich. This is plain to all who are old enough to have observed the histories of households for forty years; and it is not surprising when we remember that evils in the heart are not so ruinous as when both in the heart and the life.–Herald and Presbyter.

[excerpted from The St. Louis Evangelist, Vol. 1, no. 3 (March 1875): 19, columns 3-4. Reprinted from The Herald and Presbyter]

Words to Live By:
I suppose one reason the above quote seems noteworthy to me is that it bears a note of similarity to a statement which Dr. Francis Schaeffer made, in a letter to Dr. Robert Rayburn, when both men were fighting cancer:

In my own case, of course, if I could wave a wand and be rid of the lymphoma I would do it.  Yet in my own case, in looking back over the whole two and a half years since I have known I have lymphoma, there has been more that has been positive than negative.  That is true on many levels and I am not just thinking of some vague concept of understanding people better, though I guess that is true as well.  Rather, in the total complex of everything that has happened I am convinced that there is more positive than negative.  I am so glad that though I increasingly am against any form of theological determinism which turns people into a zero and choices into delusions, yet I am also increasingly conscious of the fact that Edith and I have been, as it were, carried along on an escalator for the entirety of our lives.  I am left in awe and wonder with all this, and I very much feel the escalator is still in operation, not just in this matter of health, but in the battles that beset us on every side.
[emphasis added]

By itself, Alexander’s statement sounds like that of a charmed life, though I’m certain he suffered problems just like we all do. But what I see here is two Christians, separated by over one hundred years, each giving basically the same testimony, namely that regardless of the trials we may experience, God bears us up, carrying us through those times, drawing us nearer in love, comforting and protecting us. As the Psalmist says, the Lord God is our fortress, our strong Protector and our Deliverer. Truly, He smooths our paths.

Student Days at Princeton, 1822

James Waddel Alexander was the eldest son of the Rev. Archibald and Janetta (Waddel) Alexander, and he was born in Louisa county, Virginia on March 13, 1804. The young parents had wed in April of 1802 and a month later relocated to Hampden Sydney, where Rev. Alexander resumed his duties as the President of the College there. When James was about two years old, his father was called to serve as the pastor of the Third Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Then another six years later, the family moved for the last time, relocating to Princeton, New Jersey, where in 1812 Archibald Alexander became the first professor at the newly organized Princeton Theological Seminary.

Growing up, James had every encouragement for learning, and while the youngest in his class at college, he made friends easily. Upon graduation from the College of New Jersey, he next entered upon his preparations for ministry at the Seminary, beginning those studies in 1822. By this time, Charles Hodge was already numbered among the faculty, joining Professors Archibald Alexander and Samuel Miller.

For forty years, James Waddel Alexander kept up a correspondence with his friend John Hall (he later became pastor of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City). Not long after J.W. Alexander died, in 1859, the surviving correspondent gathered up the letters for publication, and the resulting two volume set was issued in 1860 by Charles Scribner of New York. The set has been reprinted at least once in more recent times.

Among the many letters, there is this very interesting look at James as he settled into his time at the Seminary in 1822.

“I said I was happy,—never more so in my life. I enjoy good health, good spirits, and I have a most comfortable room, and a most delightful room mate. I never had so great a variety of excellent company before: Metaphysicians, Wits, Theologians, &c, &c. I have here dearly prized friends, who endear Princeton to me. Books in the greatest abundance, as I have access to six public libraries, as well as my father’s. Our studies are not burdensome, and far from being irksome. I saw a letter the other day from an alumnus of this institution to a member of it, in which he says: “My dear C________, you are now enjoying your happiest days, and whether you realize it now or not, you will feel it deeply when you are cast out upon the world.” These sentiments are not peculiar to this individual, I hear them from every one who has ever been here. Indeed, the greatest cares I experience, are such as arise from an oration to be spoken, or a tedious lecture. Will you not say with Virgil, O fortunati nimium sua si bona norint. I will now proceed to give you some account of my course of life. I rise at half after six. Public prayers in the Oratory at 7. Breakfast at 8. From 9 to 9:30, I devote to bodily exercise. From 9:30 to 12, Study. 12-1, Exercise. Dine at one. 2-3, I usually devote to works of taste, and to composing. 3-4:30 at Lecture. 4:30 Prayers. Until tea, at Exercise. After tea, until 12 (at which time I close my eyes) Societies, study, &c.

“Perhaps you think I exercise my body sufficiently. I find it absolutely necessary to my well-being, or almost to my being at all. You may think, too, that I do not study a great deal; true—and moreover that I need not complain of want of time for correspondence; true, at present I need not complain; I have plenty of time for writing, and general reading. At the beginning of the term, before I had fairly got into the harness, our business appeared too much to grasp; but it is now methodized, and I find that I am quite a gentleman of leisure. To proceed: we recite twice in the week on Hebrew, once on Greek, once on the Confession of Faith, once on Biblical History. Hear Lectures once on Theology, (preparatory to the full and regular theological Lectures,) twice on Biblical history, once on the Criticism of the Bible; President, Mr. Hodge. On Tuesday night, the Theological Society, where every student delivers once in six weeks an original oration. On Thursday night, I am at liberty to attend an evening lecture at the college. On Friday night, Theological Society, where questions in ethics and divinity are discussed. On Saturday night, a weekly prayer meeting. On Sunday, we have sermons from our three professors, and Prof. Lindsly, in rotation.” [Philip Lindsly, D.D., was the Vice President of the College of New Jersey at that time.]

Words to Live By:
We all live very busy schedules, but every Christian should spend regular, consistent time in prayer and in the Word of God. This is one reason why we present a daily reading plan in the margin column of this blog. Slowly, a little at a time, you will grow in your understanding of the Scriptures and in your ability to share your faith. Persistence and consistency pay off in their cumulative effect. James Alexander succeeded in his studies because within a short time he had his demanding schedule “methodized,” making an appropriate allowance of time for everything that needed to be done.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NASB)

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; (1 Peter 3:15, NASB)

Early this year I read An Able and Faithful Ministry: Samuel Miller and the Pastoral Office, by Jim Garretson. It was a particularly edifying work. As a result, I’m now looking forward with anticipation to reading Garretson’s more recent work, Thoughts on Preaching and Pastoral Ministry: Lessons from the Life and Writings of James W. Alexander, and would encourage our readers to take up and read either of these books. It will be time well spent.

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