July 2019

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The Lord’s Galley Slave
by Rev. David T. Myers

Were you, the reader, aware that the man of the hour in Scotland, John Knox, once rowed a galley ship? No, it wasn’t for exercise. No, it wasn’t for some national pride of the fastest galley ship in a sailing contest. Simply put, John Knox was enslaved on that ship.

Earlier, Knox had entered St. Andrews Castle with three young children in tow. Their parents had entrusted him as a tutor. When events following the murder of a Roman Catholic cardinal went badly for anyone suspected of being part of that deed, they urged him to flee to that Protestant bastion for safety purposes. Knox was not one of the individuals who killed the cardinal. But he did go there for safety. While present, the chaplain to the soldiers at the chapel was urged by the congregation to extend a pastoral call to Knox, recognizing his spiritual gifts. At first, Knox resisted, but finally gave in to the invitation. He began to preach boldly on themes familiar to the Protestant reformation then beginning in the land of Scotland.

At the end of June in 1547, the French fleet besieged St Andrews Castle. On this day, July 31, 1547, victory was gained over the defenders inside its walls. Surrendering were every one in the castle, with promises of lives spared, transportation to France, the opportunity to enter the service of the French king, but if not, then to be conveyed to any country they wished, provided it not be Scotland again. Upon arrival in France, immediately the terms of surrender were annulled, and they became prisoners of war. John Knox became a galley slave for nineteen months.

While there were months in which the slave ship did not sail due to weather and cold conditions, in warmer months Knox labored under cruel conditions, of which he writes in many a book and sermon afterwards. He was loaded with chains. He spoke of the sobs of his heart during the imprisonment. It was in anguish of mind and vehement affliction. There were torments sustained in the galleys.

Amidst all of the physical treatments came the attacks upon their faith. Daily, the Romanist mass was offered, with expected reverence by the prisoners. As soon as it began however, the galley slaves would cover their heads so they wouldn’t hear the words of the service. Daily, there were efforts to get the prisoners to confess the Romanist faith. Once, a figure representing the Virgin Mary, was pressed between the chained hands of a slave, with a command to kiss the figure. The slave, who many believer to be John Knox himself, threw the figure overboard into the sea, loudly proclaiming the Virgin to save herself by swimming! After this, there were no more attempts to convert the prisoners.

John Knox gradually wore down physically from this experience, with a fever near the end of it. Rowing close to the Scottish coast, they raised the feverish Reformer up when the spires of St. Andrews came into view, asking him if he recognized it. He answered, “I know it well; for I see the steeple of that place where God first opened my mouth in public to his glory; and I am fully persuaded, now weak I now appear, that I shall not depart this life, till my tongue shall glorify His godly name in that same place.”

Whatever means was used (and even Thomas M’Crie was not sure what it was), after 19 months in harsh conditions, John Knox was freed to continue his ministry in England and Scotland.

Words to Live By:
It wasn’t God’s will that Knox should be kept forever as a galley slave. It was God’s will to free him so as to allow him to continue his ministry in the Reformation. All of us ever live within the scope of God’s will all of our lives. Let us submit to that will, in large areas as well as small areas.

Edmund Prosper Clowney met his Lord face to face on Sunday, March 20, 2005, having passed into glory at the age of 87. He was survived by his wife of 63 years, Jean Wright Clowney; by his five children: David Clowney, Deborah Weininger, Paul Clowney, Rebecca Jones, and Anne Foreman; by twenty‑one grandchildren; and by eleven great grandchildren.

Born in Philadelphia, on July 30, 1917, Ed received his B.A. from Wheaton College in 1939, a Th. B. from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1942, a S.T.M from Yale University Divinity School in 1944, and a D.D. from Wheaton College in 1966. Ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, he served as pastor of several churches from 1942 to 1946 and was then invited to become assistant professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in 1952. He became that institution’s first president in 1966, and remained there until 1984, when he took a post as theologian‑in‑residence at Trinity Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In 1990 Ed and Jean moved to Escondido, California, where Ed was adjunct professor at Westminster Seminary California. In 2000, he took a full‑time position as associate pastor at Christ the King Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Houston, Texas. After two years, he moved back to Charlottesville, where he once again became part‑time theologian‑in‑residence at Trinity Presbyterian Church. He remained in this role until his death.

Ed was a compassionate counselor; a devoted servant of Jesus Christ, his Word, and his church; a peacemaker; and a true visionary. He dreamed for Christ’s kingdom and was instrumental in the birth or furtherance of such ministries as the Reformed Theological Seminary in Aix‑en‑Provence, France; Westminster Seminary California; Trinity Church, Charlottesville; the Lausanne Conference; InterVarsity ministries, both in the United States and in England; and “The Westminster Ministerial Institute,” an inner‑city training program for pastors in Philadelphia, out of which the Lord developed the Center for Urban Theological Studies. He also had a life‑long interest in children’s Christian education materials.

In material written in 2002 for the publisher of one of his books, Ed revealed his creativity and educator’s heart: “The biggest job of my life was the production of the Vacation Bible School materials for [the original] Great Commission Publications [in the 1950s]…I had valuable assistance [from a number of people]…I wrote and illustrated the workbooks for children and the manuals for the teachers for the grades up to junior high….To strengthen my figure drawing, I [had] attended Saturday classes in the Chicago Museum school of art for two semesters.”

clowneyEP_03Ed will be supremely remembered by many as a preacher, perhaps the most gifted proponent and practitioner of redemptive‑historical preaching of this generation. He was unique in his ability to pick up the threads of redemptive history and to weave a rich expositional tapestry that brought Christ in all his perfections and glory before God’s people so that they were drawn to love and worship the Redeemer.

He was also a faithful churchman, serving first in the courts and many committees of the OPC and then in the courts and several committees of the PCA. He was a tireless proponent of improvement in the inter-church relations among the conservative Presbyterian denominations in this country. He had a significant role in the genesis of the “Joining and Receiving” process whereby the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod joined the PCA in 1982.

His writing displays the great theme of his life, namely Christ’s presence in the whole of Scripture and his present work in the church. His books include Preaching and Biblical Theology, Called to the Ministry, Christian Meditation, Doctrine of the Church, The Message of I Peter, The Unfolding Mystery, and Preaching Christ in all of Scripture. Some of these titles have been translated for the benefit of the worldwide church. His last book, How Christ Transforms the Ten Commandments, was accepted by his publisher only days before his death.

EutychusEd left behind a legacy not only of written books and articles, but a great number of sermons and lectures, as well as magazine columns such as the humor column “Eutychus and His Pin” for Christianity Today and Bible studies for Tabletalk. His sense of humor and his love for people left a mark wherever he went. In the last week of his life, one attending nurse, laughing as she left his room, exclaimed, “What a sweet man!” Those who knew and loved him would agree. His tender‑hearted encouragement and wisdom will be greatly missed, but his work will be established by his Master who has now welcomed him with those reassuring words: “Well‑done, good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of your Lord!”

[The above tribute was compiled at the time of Dr. Clowney’s death by Ms. Mindy Withrow, Associate Director for Communications of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA, with additional material from Rev. Bill Johnson. Used by permission.]

Note: Over 140 sermons by Dr. Clowney are available on SermonAudio. Click here to view a list of those sermons.

A Day of Fasting and Humiliation
by Rev. David T. Myers

It is unheard of in our times, but back in the early part of our nation’s history, when a man was ordained to the gospel ministry, a day of fasting and humiliation took place on account of his calling as a minister of the gospel. Such was the case with William Hollingshead.

Born in Philadelphia in 1748, William Hollingshead joined the communion of the church in his young years. Attending the University of Pennsylvania, he began preparation for the ministry. Licensed in 1772, he was ordained to the gospel ministry on July 29, 1773. It was said that a day of fasting and humiliation accompanied that solemn ordination.

Having been called by the Fairfield Presbyterian Church in New Jersey, Rev. Hollingshead began his ministry in difficult times. Not only was there a need for a new church building, but there was the national need for a new nation. This was the time period of the American Revolution.

A log cabin had been the site of the original church. Then a frame building had been in use since 1717. Now replacing them both was a stone building, which was finally completed in 1780. They had met under an oak tree for six years in the New England Towne Cemetery, near the site of the old church building.  What rejoicing there must have been when on September 7, 1780, they were able to move into the new structure of the church.

This whole time had also been the time of conflict during the War for Independence from England.  Even Rev. Hollingshead had been given leave to become a chaplain for the Continental Army. Many members of the church had given their lives and limbs for the struggle for liberty.  The cemetery gives mute evidence to that fact.

Rev. Hollingshead left the pulpit in Fairfield in 1783 for Charleston, South Carolina. He labored there until January 16, 1817 when he died in the pulpit

Fairfield Presbyterian Church today is the oldest church in the Presbyterian Church in America, dating from 1680.

Words to Live By: There is something very solemn about a day of fasting and humiliation when a minister is set apart for the gospel ministry. It encourages the entire congregation and Presbytery to treat the occasion in an attitude of prayer. It sanctifies the whole process in a holy manner. Let this be an apt suggestion to the Session of Elders when a new pastor is called to your congregation.

THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHIST.
by Rev. William Smith.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 34.

Q. 34. What is adoption?

A. Adoption is an act of God’s free grace, whereby we are received into the number, and have a right to all the privileges of the sons of God.

EXPLICATION.

Privileges of God’s children. –Some of these privileges or advantages, consist in God’s protecting, correcting, and providing for his adopted children ; in his hearing their prayers, giving them his Spirit for their guide, and his angels to guard and defend them while here ; and in securing heaven for their everlasting inheritance hereafter.

ANALYSIS.

The information here received may be divided into three parts:

  1. We are first taught that adoption is an act of God’s free grace. –1 John iii. 1. Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.
  2. That by this act we are received into the number of God’s sons. –John i. 12. As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.
  3. That this act of adoption secures to us a right to all the privileges of God’s sons. –Rom. viii. 17. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.

Rebuilding the Walls of Zion.

Our post today comes from the pen of guest author Dr. Nick Willborn, an excerpt from a longer article. Here Dr. Willborn tells of the return of the Rev. Dr. John L. Girardeau in 1865, to serve as pastor of the Zion Presbyterian Church in Charleston, South Carollina.  

girardeau05According to a longtime friend of the Rev. John L. Girardeau, it was about this time that “[Girardeau] began to receive overtures from the Presbyterian young [black] men in Charleston” to return to his pulpit. His sense of duty and love for “the holy city” hastened his return. As Girardeau disembarked the train in the Charleston depot the “colored members of the church” greeted their pastor with “superabounding enthusiasm.” While this does not agree with the banalimage often portrayed of the Africans’ lackluster enthusiasm for white Southerners, it is no doubt true.Girardeau found a considerable number of black Carolinians anxiously awaiting his return to the pulpit.

They were awaiting his return for indeed they had summoned him in a letter dated July 27, 1865. This was shortly after his grueling return from war and imprisonment. The letter speaks of their concern for Girardeau’s well-being and their desire for his return to them. It reveals a love for the man and his family that few textbooks recognize as having existed between whites and blacks, masters and slaves.

Revd Sir & pastor

We the undersigned members of Zion Presbyterian Church embrace this opportunity, as one among the many good ones we have engaged in the past and in doing so you have our best wishes for your health & that of your loving family hoping all are engaging that blessing of good health and realizing that fulfillment of good words those that put their trust in Him shall never want.

This love for Girardeau is further expressed in their longing for him to return to them and resume his pastoral labors in their midst. “The past relations,” wrote the Zion members, “we have engaged together for many years as pastor and people are still in its bud in our every heart therefore we would well come you still as our pastor.”

From the time Girardeau returned to Charleston until he was able to reoccupy the Zion pulpit, fifteen months had elapsed. Finally, “on Sabbath, December 23rd, 1866, the Rev. John L. Girardeau re-commenced services in the building.” Girardeau’s text for the occasion was “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servant for Jesus’ sake,” (2 Corinthians 4:5). While no manuscript exists of this sermon there are a few points that appear obvious. First, he preached Christ. There can be little doubt that Girardeau reminded his listeners that he had always been faithful in preaching Jesus to them. He was no moralizer or politician in the pulpit. Indeed, he may have reminded his black brothers that his catechism was replete with the gospel, without mention of master-slave relations. Second, in preaching Christ, Girardeau was also sending a message to the Northern detractors that their harassment over the past fifteen months or so was unjust. That Jonathan Gibbs(the Northern missionary) would choose the property of Zion Presbyterian Church to occupy was a clear indication that he, and by association, the Committee that sent him, did not believe the South had been adequately preaching the gospel to the African-Americans. Girardeau’s first sermon in the Zion pulpit issued a resounding “Not true!” to such an implication. Third, it would not be far-fetched to assume that Girardeau reminded his hearers that, while they were no longer slaves, he would continue to be their slave for Christ’s sake.He was not free to do otherwise.

zionPC_CharlestonSCGirardeau wasted no timerebuilding the walls of Zion. First, a meeting was held to determine the total black membership that wished to continue as Freedmen in the Zion Presbyterian Church. Much to Girardeau’s disappointment, only one hundred sixteen indicated their desire to remain in Zion. This reflected the influence of Reconstruction and the less than enthusiastic attitudes of many Southerners toward their black brothers.

Nevertheless, Girardeau proceeded with the one hundred sixteen faithful, and on March 25, 1867, the session nominated seven men to serve as Superintendents over the new congregation. The election of Superintendents, rather than elders as Girardeau desired, was in accordance with the resolution of the 1866 General Assembly. The men were all members of Zion before the war and some had served as Watchmen or Leaders of the Classes. “In 1867,” wrote Girardeau, “a fresh start in the teeth of many difficulties was made with 116 members of the 500.

Later in the year, with Joseph B. Mack at his side, Girardeau began rebuilding the infrastructure of old Zion. The 1867 records indicate a total membership—Zion Church, Calhoun Street and Glebe Street—of four hundred forty. This included the one hundred sixteen freedmen. By March of 1868, the church had added sixty members. Fifty-one of the new additions came through profession of faith in Christ. There were nineteen infants baptized and seventeen adults. By March 1869 total communicants numbered five hundred sixty-one in Zion. Sabbath schools were once again instituted with two hundred enrolled. This number swelled to 750 scholars by 1875. While other conditions were still chaotic throughout the city, the South, and the Southern Presbyterian Church, there were some hopeful signs as evidenced by Zion.

In 1869, the General Assembly, following Girardeau’s lead, made it possible for freedmen to be ordained as elders. Just as Girardeau had quickly moved to install superintendents in the newly restored work in 1867, he wasted little time in organizing the black membership into a “branch congregation” of Zion,complete with ordained elders. On Tuesday, July 27, 1869, the Session of Zion Presbyterian Church dismissed three hundred forty-five members to form the Zion Presbyterian Church (Colored), Calhoun Street. From this we learn that in two years the black membership of Zion under the beloved white pastor had grown from one hundred sixteen to three hundred forty-five. Thus, in 1869 the black membership constituted more than one-half the total membership of Girardeau’s flock. This example offers some evidence that the integration of whites and the newly freed blacks into one church could have worked if it had been zealously pursued along the lines Girardeau recommended.

Upon the recommendation of Girardeau and the Zion Session, the following Freedmen were nominated to serve in the office of Ruling Elder—Paul Trescot, William Price, Jacky Morrison, Samuel Robinson, William Spencer, and John Warren. On “Sabbath August 15, 1869, 8 ½ P.M.” the congregation of Zion Presbyterian Church (Colored) met for worship and the ordination and installation of their Ruling Elders. Girardeau chose for his text on this occasion Acts 14: 23“And when they had appointed for them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting…they commended them to the Lord.” The records tell us, “Session did then with prayer and the imposition of their hands ordain the persons… and install them in the same.” Thus, Zion became the first Southern church governed by black elders. Girardeau had done what Dabney and a host of other Southern churchmen would not consider doing. He had admitted that black men could be qualified to rule in the church. He had exhibited his approbation by participating in the holy service, even the laying on of hands. What Dabney and others doubted possible, Girardeau confirmed as real.

Sadly, Girardeau’s experiment did not gain prominence in the Southern Church.In 1874, the Presbyterian Church US, under political and social pressures from within and without, voted to segregate their communion into black and white churches. Girardeau opposed the move, lost the vote, and lost his beloved Zion.Within a few short years many black Presbyterians across the South affiliated with the Presbyterian Church USA, leaving the Presbyterian Church US.

Conclusion
All human errrors, sins, and weaknesses aside, the heritage of Davies, Jones, Adger, Smyth, and Girardeau is a good one. Their sacrificial labors could and should serve as a model for many today. Our elders and deacons should adopt a caring, serving model toward the precious sheep entrusted to them by our heavenly Father. A great sensitivity and shepherd-like service would follow. The men we have considered above loved their black brothers and gave themselves to the good work even in the face of social, political, and ecclesiastical difficulties. No doubt there are many rejoicing in the presence of our LORD today because of the loving ministries of these men and countless others like them.

ZionPC_CharlestonSC_02

[Note: Of our two photographs of the Zion edifice, it would appear that one of the two images is reversed and does not appear as it should.]

Donald Bray Patterson was born in Quitman, Georgia, July 26, 1923, to James Hastings Patterson and Ethel Bray Patterson. He was raised in the Presbyterian Church, and professed faith in Jesus Christ as a boy.

During World War II, he served as a bombardier on a B-24 Liberator in the Army Air Corps in the Southwest Pacific. After the war, he returned to Wheaton College (Ill.), graduating from there in 1948. In 1951, Don Patterson received his theology degree from Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Ga. Belhaven College granted him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 1972.

In 1947, he married Jeanne Taber in Hackensack, N.J. Three children were born to them: Elizabeth, James, and Shirley.

Don Patterson was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in the United States by Athens Presbytery; and his first pastorate was in Commerce, Ga., where he served from 1951 to 1953. He pastored in Perry, Ga., from 1953 to 1958. In 1958, he was called to West End Presbyterian Church, Hopewell, Va., to succeed the Rev. Bill Hill, who had by then gone into full-time evangelistic work. Four years later, Don Patterson became Pastor of McIlwain Memorial Presbyterian Church, Pensacola, Fla. Seven years after that, in 1969, he became Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Miss.

Dr. Patterson retired from the pastorate in 1983, and became Minister-at-Large for Mission to the World (MTW), the world missions arm of the Presbyterian Church in America. In 1993, his job description changed to that of Representative for MTW.

Don Patterson was one of several key leaders who brought about the formation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). He served on the Steering Committee for a Continuing Presbyterian Church as one of three representatives of Presbyterian Churchmen United. When the announcement was made at Presbyterian Journal Day in August, 1971, that a continuing church, loyal to Scripture and the Westminster Standards, would be a reality, Dr. Patterson was the churchman who introduced the men on the Steering Committee.

Two years before the PCA celebrated her silver anniversary in 1998, Dr. Patterson was chosen as one of two Co-Chairmen of the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Celebration Committee. That 24th General Assembly would be the last one he attended. Suffering from illness, he could not make it to the 25th Assembly in 1997. Nor could he attend the 26th General Assembly in the summer of 1998. The Anniversary Committee had hoped to nominate him for Moderator, but his weakened condition caused his absence from the court of the church he loved. The Assembly unanimously bestowed on him the title of Honorary Moderator, and news of this honor was conveyed to him as he lay in bed.

Don Patterson continued to fight the illness, but finally succumbed on the evening of December 25, 1998, with his wife of fifty-one years at his side. His passing came exactly three weeks after the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the PCA.

Don Patterson Remembered

Atlanta, Georgia (January 3, 1999)—

The classic church structure pointed its steeple into the gray skies. Outside, it was a cold Sabbath afternoon in Atlanta.

Inside, the atmosphere was serious, and respectful, but not gloomy. A crowd of worshippers had gathered to bow before the Lord, and pay respects to one of the faithful warriors of the church militant, who had now entered the church triumphant.

Donald Bray Patterson-World War II veteran, Presbyterian minister, church statesman, missions spokesman, pastor to missionaries-had fought the good fight, and had now gone home. Denominational leaders and friends came to remember him and his labors.

Several days before, First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, Mississippi, where Dr. Patterson had pastored, was the scene of a memorial service. For this memorial service in Atlanta, Westminster Presbyterian Church was a fitting site. It was here, twenty-six years ago, that the Convocation of Sessions was held which determined to found a new denomination through withdrawal from the Southern Presbyterian Church. And it was Don Patterson who was one of the key players in the Continuing Presbyterian Church movement. Indeed, he was nicknamed the “Mother Bird” by the leaders who looked to him for guidance in those turbulent years prior to the painful ecclesiastical separation.

Conducting the service was Dr. Paul Kooistra, Coordinator of the Mission to the World (MTW) Committee of the Presbyterian Church in America. His selection reflected the commitment to world missions by Dr. Patterson, who had served both as a Committee member and an employee of MTW.

The first eulogizer was his long-time friend Kennedy Smartt. The present Moderator of the General Assembly, Dr. Smartt was elected to that post only because Don Patterson, who would have been nominated, was too weak to attend the Assembly. Moderator Smartt read Philippians 1:20-23. He told the congregation that “the testimony of the Apostle Paul was the same which we would expect from our friend, Don Patterson.” His theme was that of “Have thine own way, Lord.” Referring to Philippians 1:21a (“For to me to live is Christ”), Dr. Smartt said of Don Patterson: “That was his desire and his ambition-to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ.”

To Kennedy Smartt, Don Patterson was akin to Mr. Great Heart, the character in Pilgrim’s Progress who tore down Doubting Castle and slew the giant. The contemporary Mr. Great Heart was, said Dr. Smartt, Mr. PCA. He was “a champion not only for the Bible to be the Word of God, but also a champion for a denomination that would put world missions and evangelism at the forefront.”

That burning passion for world missions had led Dr. Patterson and Dr. John Kyle, the first Coordinator for Mission to the World Committee, to pioneer the notion of cooperative agreements, whereby people from the Presbyterian Church in America could serve simultaneously as denominational missionaries and as missionaries with other, independent agencies. Unique at the time, this type of arrangement has been employed by other churches.

Pastor Smartt read also II Timothy 4:6-8. The Apostle’s familiar words in verse 7-“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”-characterized Don Patterson, said the preacher. He recounted how the two of them started rooming at Presbyterian General Assemblies even before the PCA came into existence. They “used to pray and read the Bible together,” he recalled. And then he said of his old friend: “He fought a good fight all through his life, but he fought a good fight the last eight months. . . . Don Patterson finished the race with his torch burning, aflame for God.”

Verse 8-“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 also that love his appearing”-also was apropos. “How eloquent that was to describe Don Patterson,” Kennedy Smartt averred. “A champion for God! A gentleman! There aren’t many gentlemen left in this world today. . . . An encourager!”

On that last point, Dr. Smartt referred to an email sent recently to Don and his wife Jeanne Patterson, by Don and Carol Iverson. Those MTW missionaries to Japan expressed great appreciation for the encouragement which the Pattersons had been to them, not only while on the mission field, but also when they were deliberating where the Lord would have them serve.
Kennedy Smartt concluded: “Praise God that He gave us an encourager in these days. And as they sang in Jackson, ‘Hallelujah! The Lord God omnipotent reigneth!’”

Dr. John Kyle also gave a message. He began by reading II Corinthians 5:1-10. Dr. Kyle said that Don Patterson was a “multi-faceted person.” He was “a world Christian” (even before that term was coined), for he had “a burden for the world.” After his retirement from the pastorate at First Presbyterian in Jackson, he became MTW’s Church Relations Director and assumed other responsibilities, including ministering to missionaries and to fifty organizations “with which we have cooperative agreements.” Dr. Kyle continued that “Don Patterson was known around the world, not just by Presbyterian and Reformed people.”

In Dr. Kyle’s eyes, “Don Patterson was like a diamond-you turn it one way and you get this reflection, and you turn it another way and you get another reflection.” His was an Open Door policy, and staff people were continuously ministered to by him.

The end of the service featured a litany of short speeches by a variety of people who wanted to express their thoughts about the man. The first to come to the microphone was Dr. Kyle’s son, Jay. He said of Dr. Patterson: “His commitment to the Word of God was paramount.” Dr. Patterson’s commitment to world evangelization was summed up by the sentence, “We must tell the next generation that people do not know Jesus Christ.”

Dave Smith, missionary to Ukraine, said that he would remember Don Patterson for three things. First, with regard to vision, he said, “Don had a vision-even for plumbing, so we could house more people.” His vision extended to the nationals who were being trained as church leaders. Second, with regard to caring, “Don Patterson really cared. . . . He wanted to know what was going on with [the missionaries].” Third, Don Patterson was an example, in the way that he lived his life.

John Rollo, who worked for MTW in Atlanta, stated that Don Patterson was the one who got him involved in missions. Ron Shaw said that Don Patterson was a pastor of pastors.

Marcus Kyle, another son of Dr. Kyle; Gerald Morgan, who worked as an administrator for MTW; Jim Hughes of Insurance, Annuities and Relief; and Mrs. Strom, retired missionary to India, also shared their thoughts.

After the service, the Patterson family, including his widow, graciously received the many congregants who had come.

Don Patterson’s Last Letter

The following is a letter dictated by Don Patterson to one of his daughters, dated December, 1998.

Dear Praying Friends:

Although I had intended to write this letter a long time ago, I left it to the very end. The Doctor doesn’t give me much encouragement for a future life, and I’m taking him at his word. Although none of us know when our time has come, still we know that death is inevitable.

Since February, 1997, I have struggled with cancer, then radiation, but worst came when I came back from Ukraine with a solid case of pneumonia. My heart couldn’t take the load and got weaker and weaker. Now it is about to give out. Without your heart, you don’t function very well.

My hope is in Jesus Christ, my Savior, who gave His life for me. I stand firm on the promises that God gives in His word. I’m claiming the verse, “Faithful is He who calls you Who will also do it.” I praise Him for the years of service He was allowed me both in this country and overseas. He has been gracious and loving throughout it all. What a joy to know Him as Lord!
Jeanne and the children stand beside me constant and caring. I see the love in their eyes. I wish I could greet each one of you personally. I would thank you for all the cards, letters, e-mails and gifts that have poured in during the last year and a half of illness.

May our God who made Christmas possible be with you. I soon will see Him face to face.  Glorious!

Don Patterson

By Rev. David T. Myers.

It was an astonishing request by the Secretary of War in Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet. Unable to join the Pennsylvania Reserves in the Civil War due to an abundance of volunteers, a captain in the western part of Pennsylvania had requested Secretary Cameron for permission to raise an independent regiment for the war effort. To Captain (and later Colonel) Leisure, the Secretary had responded to the question with “Yes, Captain, if they will be men that will hold slavery to be a sin against God and a crime against humanity, and will carry their Bibles into battle.” Carry their Bibles into battle? What military recruiter today lays down that requirement? The good captain answered “I have no other to bring.” And with that, what became known as the Roundheads, the One-Hundreth Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment came into existence in 1861.

From a love of their country, some 1400 men from the counties of Washington, Lawrence, Butler, Beaver, Mercer, and Westmoreland in western Pennsylvania, all of them being Psalm-singing Presbyterians and Covenanters, entered the Union war effort to fight for their country. They were to fight in some of the bloodiest contests of the entire war, engaging the Confederates at Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Knoxville, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and Appomattox. During this time, they kept their biblical faith.

In Horatio Hackett’s book “Christian Memorials of the War,” we read the following account of a chaplain’s worship service on page 28: “It was my lot to meet the Roundheads, officers and men, for the first time in the house of God, the Sabbath after I landed in Beaufort, December twenty-second. The chaplain of the regiment, Rev Robert A. Brown, of Newcastle, Pa, lay ill of fever at that time, and the colonel had invited me to preach to them at the usual hour of morning worship. The appointment was made accordingly; and at bell-ringing the colonel marched his men, nine hundred strong, into the Baptist meeting-house, under arms, and with measured tread; but quiet and reverent, as became the place, the service, and the day. It was an impressive spectable. The soldiery, intermingled with members of other corps, filled the entire area of the lower floor, and most of the spacious galleries, which projected on either side. At the end stood, close crowded together, groups of ‘colored people.’ There, listening to the word of God, or rising in prayer, or singing, after their ancient metrical version, some of the Psalms of David, the Roundheads joined in worshiping the God of their Fathers, – their God and our God, – just as they had been wont to worship, in their several sanctuaries, with kindred and friends at home.”

Their service brought casualties to their ranks, with nearly as many dying of disease as from the wounds of war. And at the end of the war, on this day, July 24, 1865, they were mustered out, to go home to their loved ones and friends, mindful of their faithful service to God and their chosen country.

Words to Live By:
Sometimes our convictions of faith brings us into difficult days associated with conflict. Our faithfulness to God does not end on those occasions with regards to God and His Word. It continues to persevere in difficult days as well as peaceful days. Let us be faithful to bring God’s Word, the Bible, with us everywhere we go, but especially in our hearts. In fact, prepare today, or continue today, by memorizing significant texts and chapters of God’s Word. In that way, you will have this means of grace available for your spiritual needs when you need its comforting words.

The Day of Small Beginnings

Drawing from three separate quotations, we have in short compass the story of Jenny Geddes and her little wooden stool, which God used to bring about a revolution and return to biblical truth. 

*    *    *

Two years ago, while walking about in Old St. Giles’ church in Edinburgh, with Dr. W. G. Blaikie, whose fame as author, scholar, and preacher, is known throughout the Presbyterian Church, he said, ― this is the first time I have been here in seventeen years. And yet this is the church in which Knox preached and where Jennie Geddes worshiped. Here she threw the famous stool at the head of the Dean who was reading the liturgy, under orders from King Charles. The outburst of popular indignation, occasioned by this act, was the beginning of the great struggle for religious liberty in Scotland.

*    *    *

The war in behalf of purity in religion began in Scotland. Archbishop William Laud [1573-1645] prepared a new Prayer-book and sent it to Edinburgh for the use of the churches. On July 23, 1637, the priest of St. Giles Church came forth in white surplice to read the new ritual. Jennie Geddes flung her stool at his head, and a riot drove the minister from the chancel. All Scotland arose in arms against Laud’s innovations, and in 1638 the National Covenant was signed, binding the Scottish people to labor for the purity and liberty of the gospel. In the same year, at Glasgow, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland deposed the bishops and re-established the Presbyterian system.

Two brief wars with Scotland were waged by King Charles, but the lack of money compelled him to summon the representatives of the people. The combatants stood face to face in the arena of debate. The issues of religious and of civil liberty were at length to be decided in a conflict between Charles Stuart and the English Parliament.

*    *    *

It has been said, and not without a show of propriety, “that the First Reformation in Scotland was commenced by a stone cast from the hand of a boy, and the Second Reformation by a stool from the hand of a woman.” By causes in themselves so insignificant does God often produce the grandest results. Detach them from their connections, and they are nothing. Associate them with the other links in the chain of providential influence to which they belong, and they become mighty for good or for evil. The bite of a spider has caused the death of a monarch, and the monarch’s death a revolution in his empire.

*    *    *

Words to Live By:
The Lord delights to use the weak things of this world to accomplish His purposes.

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. (1 Corinthians 1:26-29, NASB)

And in closing, we would direct your attention to a book that many might enjoy reading—Jenny Geddes, or, Presbyterianism and Its Great Conflict With Despostism (1869), by William Pratt Breed [1816-1889].

John, Father of Samuel

You see it in the Bible—when you wanted to bless someone, you looked to bless their father (1 Samuel 17:56). Conversely, a curse on a son was understood as a curse on the father (Gen. 9:25; 1 Kings 11:9-12). All Christians want their children to grow strong in the Lord, to be greatly used in His kingdom. So when we see such a child now grown, it is understandable that we might look to the parents, to see their character and method with their children, that we might learn and profit from their wisdom. Dr. Samuel Miller, of Princeton, was a man greatly used of the Lord, and so it fitting that we should look at the life of his father, the Rev. John Miller. This day, July 22, 1791, marks the date of Rev. John Miller’s passing.

John Miller was born in Boston, on December 24, 1722. By ancestry, he was the great-great-grandson of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. His father, John Miller, Senior, had immigrated from Scotland in 1710 and found remarkable success as a manufacturer, refining sugar. The Millers had two children, John, the eldest, and Joseph, who never married and who, in early adulthood, was lost at sea during a voyage to Great Britain. John, the subject of our post today, never graduated from any college, but did manage to obtain an excellent classical education at a public school of high reputation in Boston. Here he became proficient in Latin and Greek, and it was during this time that he also came to faith in Christ and began to aim toward the pulpit ministry.

In May of 1748, John was licensed to preach by the Congregational association in Boston and soon began to travel throughout the Delaware and Maryland colonies. When a call came to serve the Presbyterian church in Dover, Delaware, John returned to Boston to secure ordination. Once installed in the Dover church, it was not long before an additional call came, to also serve the Presbyterian church in Smyrna (also known as Duck Creek), which was twelve miles north of Dover. Rev. Miller’s solution was to pastor both churches concurrently, establishing his home between the two churches, some four miles from Dover. And in this arrangement he spent the remaining years of his ministerial career, serving as pastor of these two churches for over forty years.

As seems so often to have been the pattern in those times, Rev. Miller had deferred marriage until he was established in a charge. But now, wasting no time, he courted and then married Margaret Millington, the daughter of a successful planter.  Dr. John Rodgers of New York was  on one occasion heard to pay the compliment that she was one of the most beautiful women that he had ever seen. Yet her physical beauty was exceeded by her moral beauty, and she proved to be a great blessing to her husband, to her children, and to all who knew her. Margaret was known for her good sense, for her prudence, for her skill and wisdom in keeping her home, and for her active engagement in charity towards others. Above all, Margaret’s life was characterized by an honest and sincere love of her Lord.

Not long after having been settled as a pastor, Rev. Miller purchased a farm of 104 acres, and here he resided for the remainder of his life. Never a man of great means, the farm allowed him to supply many of the basic needs of his family, and by careful husbandry, allowed Rev. Miller to eventually send four sons to college.

“On this estate his children were born, and from here they went forth to do good.” Of his children, two sons died in infancy, and one son died before his own passing—John, a medical doctor, who died in 1777,  at age 25. The remaining children were present at his beside when the Rev. John Miller died, at the age of 69, and in the 44th year of his ministry. These were: Elizabeth [1755-1817], wife of Col. Samuel McLane; Mary [1762-1801, wife of (1) Vincent Loockerman, Jr. (he died in 1790,) and (2) wife of Major John Patten; Edward [1760-1812]Joseph [1765-1798], who married Elizabeth Loockerman;Samuel [1769-1850],  who was twenty years pastor of the Wall Street Church in New York, then Professor of Theology in Princeton Seminary; and lastly, James [1772-1795]. Thus Samuel, who never enjoyed robust health himself, was the last surviving child of the Rev. John Miller, and that by over thirty years and more.

Words to Live By:
What distinguished the rearing of the Miller children? There are undoubtedly many things that we could look at and discuss. But one moment in their parents’ lives seems particularly significant. Ten years before Samuel Miller was born, his parents lost their first child, Joseph. A few days following, Joseph’s death, his father made this entry in his journal:

“October 5th, 1759. Last night my son Joseph, a promising child, aged nineteen months and eight days, departed this life, after a short but violent illness in the lungs. My heart was far too much bound up in the child. His little, pretty ways insensibly stole my affections from objects infinitely superior to all earthly comforts; the parting stroke has given me a much more affecting view of this than I had before. Oh that I may see the rod and him that has appointed it—see that God has a controversy to plead with me and my house.”

Our children belong to the Lord, and they are His alone. Perhaps what the Rev. John Miller learned is summed up in the words of Psalm 127:

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

God gives us a great blessing in our children, but they belong to Him. And as difficult as it may be, our hearts must never be set upon His gifts, but always only upon the Giver.

THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHIST.
by Rev. William Smith

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 33.

Q. 33. What is justification ?

A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us, and received by faith alone.

EXPLICATION.

An act. –Justification (or the declaring of a sinner to be righteous in God’s sight,) is called an act because it is a deed done, or passed, in the sinner’s favor, in an instant, and is not a work of time.

Free grace. –Free and undeserved favor, and not occasioned by any thing which the sinner either has done, or can do, for himself.

Pardoneth all our sins. –Frees us from being liable, or bound over, to everlasting punishment on account of our sin.

Accepteth us as righteous. –That is, God receives us into his favor, as if we had been entirely free from sin, and bestows upon us a full title to everlasting life and happiness.

Righteousness of Christ. –The holiness of his nature as man, the obedience of his life, and his satisfactory death.

Imputed to us. –That is, God places Christ’s righteousness to our account, or considers it as our own, and deals with us as righteous persons.

By faith. –By believing in the all-sufficiency and efficacy of Christ’s imputed righteousness.

ANALYSIS.

The information here received concerning the nature of justification, may be divided into six particulars :–

  1. We are first told that justification is an act of God’s free grace. –Rom. viii. 1. There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. –Rom iii. 24. Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
  2. That in this act, God pardons all our sins. –Psalm ciii. 2, 3. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, and healeth all thy diseases.
  3. That in it he likewise accepts us as righteous in his sight. –2 Cor. v. 21. He hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
  4. That he accepts us only for the righteousness of Christ. –Rom. v. 19. As by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  5. That Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us. –1 Cor. i. 30. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
  6. That this righteousness can be received by faith alone. –Gal. ii. 16. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ.

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