July 2019

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A Historian for a Historical Devotional
by Rev. David T. Myers

redWmStuartThe Presbyterian minister was convinced that when young men were called into the ministry, and then left the state of Texas for their religious training, most of them never returned to the Lone Star State.  So there was obviously one solution, namely, begin a theological seminary in Texas.  And he did, even giving the land for it, and today Austin Theological Seminary (a seminary of the PCUSA) is in existence today.

The Texas minister was William Stuart Red. Born in 1857, though some say 1860, in Washington County, Texas, he attended for a while a university in Tennessee before transferring to Austin College in Austin, Texas.  He then studied at Princeton Seminary for one year before transferring to Columbia Theological Seminary in 1884-85.  Finally, he returned back to the Lone Star State to Austin School of Theology and graduated from there in 1886.  After some further study in Germany and Scotland, he returned for licensure and ordination as a Presbyterian minister in the Presbyterian Church in the United States in 1887.

He was the pastor at six Presbyterian churches in Texas.  Beyond his care for the churches, he was also interested in a central depository for Presbyterian and Reformed history.  So, along with the Rev. Samuel Terry, Rev. Red gave funds for the creation of the Historical Foundation of Reformed and Presbyterian Churches at Montreat, North Carolina.

Before he died on July 8, 1933, his project after retirement from the ministry was The History of the Presbyterian Church in Texas.  His family finished up the 500 page book after his death from papers he had written.  Our PCA Historical Center has a copy of it in St. Louis, Missouri.

Words to Live By:
He seemed to be larger than life, but then aren’t all Texans?  Yet it is important to remember that his love for the state of Texas was grounded in Christian Presbyterianism in Texas.  Paul’s haunting question in the New Testament was “How shall they hear without a preacher?”  Rev. Red wanted Presbyterian preachers to train and serve their Lord and God so that his fellow Texans could hear the unsearchable riches of God’s grace.  That is true for all of our states.  Pray for where God has placed you on this day that the everlasting good news of eternal life might impact your state.

THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHIST
The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 31

Q.31. What is effectual calling?

A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.

EXPLICATION.

Convincing us. –Making us sensible, removing all doubt from our minds.

Enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ. –Removing the darkness of ignorance, and making us to understand the way of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Renewing our wills. –Changing our desires and inclinations, from a love of sin, to a love of holiness; or making us to hate sin, which we formerly loved, and to love holiness, or goodness, which we formerly hated.

To embrace Jesus Christ. –To receive him, with affectionate hearts, in all his offices, as our prophet, our priest, and our king.

In the gospel. –In the covenant of grace, or the promise of life and salvation, which God has made to every sinner who repents of his sins, and believes in the name of his Son Jesus Christ.

ANALYSIS.

In this answer there are nine important points of doctrine taught :

  1. That effectual calling is the work of the Spirit of God. –2 Thess. ii. 13. God hath, from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. 2. Tim. i. 9. Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling.
  2. That in this work the Spirit convinces us of our sins. –John xvi. 8. And when he (the Holy Spirit, the Comforter) is come, he will reprove the world of sin.
  3. That in it he produces also a conviction of misery. –Acts ii. 37. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter, and the rest of the Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
  4. That he enlightens our minds in the knowledge of Christ. –Eph. i. 18. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened. Phil. iii.8. I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.
  5. That in the work of effectual calling, the Spirit also renews our wills. –Ezek. xxxvi. 26. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.
  6. That he persuades us to embrace Jesus Christ. –Heb. xi. 13. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, (the promises of Christ,) and embraced them.
  7. That he also enables us to embrace Christ. –John vi. 44. No man can come to me except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him. Phil. ii. 13. It is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure.
  8. That Christ is freely offered for our acceptance. –Isa. lv. 1. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money, and without price. Rev. xxii. 17. Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
  9. That it is the gospel in which this offer of Christ is made. –John vii. 37. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any many thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

Every one of God’s dear children who have ever truly accomplished anything in His kingdom, are found to be those who placed a great emphasis on prayer and made a regular habit of it in their lives.

We could talk about the usual biographical information, like the fact that Ashbel Green was born on this day, July 6, in 1762, in Hanover, Morris county, New Jersey. Or we could mention that Green, at the urging of his mentor, Dr. John Witherspoon, accepted a call to serve as pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia. Or we could even discuss how, by some accounts, it was Green’s motion at General Assembly that eventually led to the formation of the Princeton Theological Seminary.

But I think it is more telling of the character and worth of a pastor to hear just what sort of man he was. And who better to tell us that information than his close associate, the Rev. Jacob J. Janeway, who first served as his associate pastor and then remained a close friend until the day that Rev. Green died, on May 19, 1848. Dr. Janeway writes:—

“In imitation of his teacher, Dr. Witherspoon, for whom he always entertained a high veneration, he observed the first Monday of every month as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. At what time he commenced this practice I do not know. The fact first came to my knowledge in 1802, when, during the prevalence of the yellow fever in Philadelphia, we were both staying at Mr. Ralston’s country seat, Mount Peace, from which we went on the Sabbath and preached to that portion of our people, who were willing to assemble in the church. He had, it is probable, commenced the habit years before; and I think he continued it till the close of his life.”

“Three times in the day, he retired to converse with his Heavenly Father, by prayer and supplication, thanksgiving and praise. His love for social prayer was manifested by his inviting his ministerial brethren to meet at his house every Monday morning for the purpose of reading the Scriptures, offering united prayer to God, and singing His praises.”

“His piety prompted him to acts of charity. He was ready, according to his ability, to relieve the needy, and aid in the accomplishment of all benevolent purposes. He settled in his mind what proportion of his income he ought to consecrate to benevolent purposes. One tenth he deemed the proper proportion for himself. On occasions he went beyond this rule. Warmly attached to the Theological Seminary at Princeton, and ardently desiring its enlargement and prosperity, he purchased and gave to the Trustees two acres of ground additional to what they held, for that valuable institution.”

Or for a different take on Dr. Green’s life and ministry, we might turn to an interesting volume, acquired last year by the Historical Center, namely Recollections of Useful Persons and Important Events, within Seventy Years, by the Rev. S.C. Jennings, D.D. [Vancefort, PA: J. Dillon & Son, 1884]. Rev. Jennings was a member of the Presbytery of Pittsburgh (PCUSA), and over the term of his long life apparently had opportunity to meet and get to know just about everybody in early nineteenth-century Presbyterianism. Here are his recollections regarding the Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green, the prominent Philadelphia pastor who was so instrumental in the establishment of the Princeton Theological Seminary:—

“Dr. Ashbel Green was chaplain to Congress during the Revolutionary war, and was once a pastor in Philadelphia. He was for a time President of Princeton College, New Jersey; which position he resigned, and was elected Moderator of the General Assembly in 1824, where I heard him deliver the opening sermon the next year with a good deal of vigor and oratorical power. He became the editor of the Christian Advocate, a sound, conservative monthly magazine, which had great influence in the Church, though the editor was not so severe in his condemnation of error as some when the troubles were brewing which divided the Presbyterian Church. He was paternal and mild. In person he was rather large, with full face and swarthy complexion, wearing his diminished hair (not entirely gray) somewhat long. Though I had often seen him at the Princeton Seminary, I found when in the Assembly with him in 1834, that he was enfeebled. He sat thoughtfully and moved his face as though he was chewing, and yet I believe he eschewed the vile stuff—tobacco.”

Words to LIve By:
A life of prayer. Every one of God’s dear children who have ever truly accomplished anything in His kingdom, are found to be those who placed a great emphasis on prayer and made a regular habit of it in their lives. A life of prayer exhibits, first and foremost, a dependence upon our heavenly Father.  Note the examples of the Psalmist, who rose early to pray (Ps. 5:3) and Jesus, who also rose early to pray (Mk. 1:35). Our time with the Lord in prayer should come first, because truly it is the most important thing we can do each day; because it orders and sets the tone for each day; and because, if delayed, it is all too quickly crowded out by both the regular and unexpected concerns the day may bring.

Pastor Witherspoon Goes Off to War
by Rev. David T. Myers

Like many clergymen of the South, Thomas Dwight Witherspoon entered Confederate service in the War Between the States in 1861.  First as a common soldier with the rank of Private, the young twenty-five year old eventually became a chaplain with the Forty-Second Mississippi of A.P. Hill’s Corps.

Thomas Witherspoon was born in 1836 of two godly parents, Franklin and Agnes Witherspoon. They were described as Presbyterian in principle and Christians of ardent piety.  Thomas’s father died when he was four years of age.  It was left up to his mother to rear him in the principles and practices of the Christian faith.  At age 12, he professed Christ as his Lord and Savior.

Education at the University of Mississippi brought him  Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in 1856 and 1858.  Studying under Dr. James H. Thornwell at Columbia Theological Seminary, he was enabled to graduate in 1859.  By 1860, he was ordained by the Chickasaw Presbytery into the Presbyterian ministry.

He only had one pastorate before the Civil War broke out in 1861.  Entering the 11th, the 2nd, and finally the 42nd Mississippi Infantry Regiments brought him all the challenges of a soldier and then as a Christian chaplain.  Described as an able and attractive preacher of the soul-saving truths of the gospel, he found himself a prisoner of Union forces after the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Let him relate the story:

“I was captured in the afternoon of a beautiful Sabbath day, the fifth of July, 1863, in a hospital tent, in the midst of a religious service, surrounded by the wounded on every hand, to whom I was ministering, and at whose urgent solicitation I had voluntarily remained within the enemy’s line.”

Accompanying the body of his commander who was killed during Pickett’s charge,  down to Baltimore, for transport to Richmond, Virginia, Chaplain Witherspoon was imprisoned for a time at Fort McHenry, Baltimore, before being paroled in 1863.  Eventually he would return to the Confederate army, where he would fight until surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

Rev. Dr. Thomas D. Witherspoon served five more Presbyterian churches after the War.  He was recognized by his fellow ministers in the Presbyterian Church, U.S., by being elected moderator in 1884. His final post was as the professor of homiletics at the newly formed Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.  Rev. Witherspoon died on November 3, 1898 and is buried in Louisville, Kentucky.

Words to Live By: You might have to re-read his own statement of his capture on July 5, 1863. He said, “. . . at whose urgent solicitation (the Confederate wounded) I had voluntarily remained within the enemy’s (Union) lines.” Further, it was “in the midst of a religious service” that the Union forces captured him. It is no wonder that he was described as one of the most devoted, untiring, self-sacrificing efficient chaplain in the Confederate army. We may not be in an army, but we all are members of the militant church of Jesus Christ. Devoted? Untiring? Self-sacrificing? Efficient? Are they traits which are seen by our fellow-soldiers in the army of the Lord Jesus?

The Thomas Dwight Witherspoon Manuscript Collection is preserved at the PCA Historical Center. To read more about this Collection, click here.

Happy “Presbyterian Rebellion” Day
by Rev. David T. Myers

If you are reading this July 4, 2015 post as an ordained minister, you can simply turn to Loraine Boettner’s book “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination,” Chapter 28, Section 7, on page 383 for what I am about to write. Don’t have the book in your pastoral library! Go out and buy the book immediately, and let the following quotations be a incentive to do so.

Or if you are reading this national holiday post as a member in a Presbyterian church, borrow the book by Boettner on “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination” from your pastor, turn to Chapter 28, Section 7 entitled “Calvinism in America,” and read the rich history of the beginning of your country which past and current school books have left out of the beginnings of our country. Then go out and buy one for your home and office!

The Reformer theologian Loraine Boettner writes “It is estimated that of the three million Americans at the time of the American Revolution, nine hundred thousand were Scotch or Scotch-Irish origin,” or Presbyterians.

Further Boettner writes on page 383 that “Presbyterians took a very prominent part in the American Revolution.” Quoting Bancroft, he writes “The Revolution of 1776, so far as it was affected by religion, was a Presbyterian measure.” Further, Boettner states “So intense, universal, and aggressive were the Presbyterians in their zeal for liberty that the war was spoken of in England as ‘The Presbyterian Rebellion.’ An ardent supporter of King George III wrote home that he fixed all the blame for these extraordinary proceedings upon the Presbyterians. The prime minister of England, Horace Walpole said in Parliament that ‘Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson,’ referring to John Witherspoon, signer of the Declaration of Independence.”

Last, Boettner quotes a J.R. Sizoo who tells us that “when Cornwallis was driven back to ultimate defeat and surrender at Yorktown, all of the colonels of the Colonial army but one were Presbyterians elders. More than one-half of all the soldiers and officers of the American Army during the Revolution were Presbyterians.”

Loraine Boettner concludes on page 386 by simply stating “The United States of America owes much to that oldest of American Republics, the Presbyterian Church.”

Words to Live By:
How many of our readers were instructed with these truths in their schooling in either the public school or colleges and universities when they studied American History? I dare say not many would assent to the question. But it is time that we re-study the question, and rejoice in God-glorifying Presbyterian elders and people who sought at the expense of their own lives and liberties to proclaim liberty throughout the land. Let us be knowledgeable descendants of them this Happy “Presbyterian Rebellion” Day, July 4, 2015.

“Why Should I Worship a Dead Jew?”
by Rev. David T. Myers

The Presbyterian evangelist in Los Angeles never forgot the callous challenge of the young Jewish man.  And yet every Christian can be grateful that the questioning man attending the evangelistic meeting of the Rev. Alfred Ackley asked this question.  For it produced in evangelist Ackley the desire to compose a hymn of confidence in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.

To the immediate question of our title, Alfred Ackley had responded, “But Jesus lives!  He lives, I tell you.  He is not dead, but lives here and now. Jesus Christ is more alive today than ever before.  I can prove it by my own experience, as well as by the testimony of countless thousands.”  Those words were enough to convince the young man, and he received Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior that very evening.

Going home that night, Rev. Ackley couldn’t get the questioning words of doubt out of his heart.  So the veteran hymn writer, who  had already penned some 1500 spiritual songs and hymns during his lifetime, went home and wrote the words of “He lives.”  In fact, on his grave stone in Los Angeles, above his name is the score of beginning  musical notes from the chorus of this hymn, and the two words “He lives!”  Ackley died on June 3, 1960.

Words to Live By:  Not found in our Trinity Hymnal , review the familiar words (maybe sing them?) of the hymn.  You might find them in an older hymnal, or you can find them on the web. The point is, all of us from our own experience, the spiritual experiences of others, and most important, the testimony of Scripture, can be sure that we worship and serve, not a dead Savior, but One who is living yesterday, today, and tomorrow, until He comes.

It was on this day, July 2d, in 1824, that the Rev. Dr. Samuel Miller delivered what was termed an Introductory Lecture, at the opening summer session of the Princeton Theological Seminary. The title and subject of his lecture was THE UTILITY AND IMPORTANCE OF CREEDS AND CONFESSIONS. Dr. Miller had by this time been serving as a Professor at Princeton for over a decade. He was settled both in his theology and in his views of what the students must learn as they prepared for ministry in the Presbyterian Church. So, as this was his Introductory Lecture, we should most likely understand this message as one which Dr. Miller considered particularly foundational both for the  Seminary curriculum and for the future ministry of the Princeton graduates.

After presenting Dr. Miller’s opening remarks, his seven main points in support of creeds and confessions will be provided, though in their barest form and without supporting arguments, since space is limited. Much of the rest of the work will then be skipped, and we will jump to Miller’s concluding comments. If you would like to read the entire work [it’s not long—only 84 pages], there will be a link at the end of this post.

Neagle-Sartain portraitThe character and situation of one who is preparing for the sacred office are interesting beyond the power of language to express. Such a one, like the Master whom he professes to love and serve, is “set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel” (Luke 2:34). In all that he is, and in all that he does, the temporal and eternal welfare not only of himself, but of thousands, may be involved. On every side he is beset with perils. Whatever may be his talents and learning, if he has not genuine piety, he will probably be a curse instead of a blessing to the church. But this is not the only danger to which he is exposed. He may have unfeigned piety, as well as talents and learning; and yet, from habitual indiscretion; from a defect in that sobriety of mind, which is so precious to all men, but especially to every one who occupies a public station; from a fondness for novelty and innovation, or from that love of distinction which is so natural to men; after all, instead of edifying the “body of Christ,” he may become a disturber of its peace, and a corrupter of its purity; so that we might almost say, whatever may be the result with respect to himself, “it had been good for the church if he had never been born.”

Hence it is, that every part of the character of him who is coming forward to the holy ministry; his opinions; his temper; his attainments; his infirmities; and above all, his character as a practical Christian;—are of inestimable importance to the ecclesiastical community of which he is destined to be a minister. Nothing that pertains to him is uninteresting. If it were possible for him, strictly speaking, to “live to himself,” or to “die to himself,” the case would be different. But it is not possible. His defects as well as his excellencies, his gifts and graces, as well as the weak points of his character, must and will all have their appropriate effect on everything that he touches.

Can you wonder, then, that employed to conduct the education of candidates for this high and holy office, we see ourselves placed under a solemn, nay, an awful responsibility? Can you wonder that, having advanced a little before you in our experience in relation to this office, we cherish the deepest solicitude at every step you take? Can you wonder, that we daily exhort you to “take heed to yourselves and your doctrine,” and that we cease not to entreat you, and to pray for you that you give all diligence to approve yourselves to God and his church able and faithful servants? Independently of all official obligation, did we not feel and act thus, we should manifest an insensibility to the interests of the church, as well as to your true welfare, equally inexcusable and degrading.

It is in consequence of this deep solicitude for your improvement in every kind of ministerial furniture, that we not only endeavor to conduct the regular course of your instruction in such a manner as we think best adapted to promote the great end of all your studies; but that we also seize the opportunity which the general Lecture (introductory to each session) affords us, of calling your attention to a series of subjects which do not fall within the ordinary course of our instruction.

A subject of this nature will engage our attention on the present occasion: namely, the importance of creeds and confessions for maintaining the unity and purity of the visible church.

This is a subject which, though it properly belongs to the department of Church Government, has always been, for want of time, omitted in the Lectures usually delivered on that division of our studies. And I am induced now to call your attention to it, because, as I said, it properly belongs to the department committed to me; because it is in itself a subject highly interesting and important; because it has been for a number of years past, and still is, the object of much severe animadversion on the part of latitudinarians and heretics; and because, though abundantly justified by reason, scripture, and universal experience, the spontaneous feelings of many, especially under the free government which it is our happiness to enjoy, rise up in arms against what they deem, and are sometimes pleased to call, the excessive “rigor” and even “tyranny” of exacting subscription to articles of faith.

It is my design, first, to offer some remarks on the utility and importance of written creeds; and secondly, to obviate some of the more common and plausible objections which have been urged against them by their adversaries.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF CREEDS

I. By a creed, or confession of faith, I mean an exhibition, in human language, of those great doctrines which are believed by the framers of it to be taught in the holy scriptures; and which are drawn out in regular order, for the purpose of ascertaining how far those who wish to unite in church fellowship are really agreed in the fundamental principles of Christianity. Creeds and confessions do not claim to be in themselves laws of Christ’s house, or legislative enactments, by which any set of opinions are constituted truths, and which require, on that account, to be received as truths among the members of his family. They only profess to be summaries, extracted from the scriptures, of a few of those great gospel doctrines which are taught by Christ himself; and which those who make the summary in each particular case concur in deeming important, and agree to make the test of their religious union. They have no idea that, in forming this summary, they make anything truth that was not truth before; or that they thereby contract an obligation to believe what they were not bound by the authority of Christ to believe before. But they simply consider it as a list of the leading truths which the Bible teaches, which, of course, all men ought to believe, because the Bible does teach them; and which a certain portion of the visible church catholic agree in considering as a formula, by means of which they may know and understand one another.

Now, I affirm that the adoption of such a creed is not only lawful and expedient, but also indispensably necessary to the harmony and purity of the visible church. For the establishment of this position, let me request your attention to the following considerations.

1. Without a creed explicitly adopted, it is not easy to see how the ministers and members of any particular church, and more especially a large denomination of Christians, can maintain unity among themselves.

2. The necessity and importance of creeds and confessions appear from the consideration, that one great design of establishing a church in our world was that she might be, in all ages, a depository, a guardian, and a witness of the truth.

miller_1824_creeds3. The adoption and publication of a creed is a tribute to truth and candor, which every Christian church owes to the other churches, and to the world around her.

4. Another argument in favour of creeds, publicly adopted and maintained, is that they are friendly to the study of Christian doctrine, and, of course, to the prevalence of Christian knowledge.

5. It is an argument of no small weight, in favor of creeds, that the experience of all ages has found them indispensably necessary.

6. A further argument in favor of creeds and Confessions may be drawn from the remarkable fact that their most zealous opposers have generally been latitudinarians and heretics.

7. The only further argument in support of creeds on which I shall dwell is that their most zealous opposers do themselves virtually employ them in all ecclesiastical proceedings.

Concluding Comment:

The church is still “in the wilderness”; and every age has its appropriate trials. Among those of the present day is a spirit of restless innovation, a disposition to consider everything that is new as of course an improvement. Happy are they who, taking the word of God for their guide, and walking in “the footsteps of the flock,” continually seek the purity, the peace, and the edification of the Master’s family; who, listening with more respect to the unerring Oracle, and to the sober lessons of Christian experience, than to the delusions of fashionable error, hold on their way, “turning neither to the right hand nor the left,” and considering it as their highest honor and happiness to be employed as humble, peaceful instruments in building up that “kingdom which is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost!.” May God grant to each of us this best of all honors! And to his name be the praise, forever! Amen!

To read the entire work by Dr. Miller, click here.

“To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”

The Christian Faith According to the Shorter Catechism is the title of a small booklet published in 1950. Authored by Dr. William Childs Robinson, the work had first appeared in serial fashion on the pages of The Southern Presbyterian Journal. Reproduced here is Dr. Robinson’s short but eloquent introduction to his subject :—

The Shorter Catechism is the work of the Westminster Assembly of Divines which [initially] met at the call of Parliament in Westminster Abbey, London, on July 1, 1643, and continued in session for six years. The Assembly was composed of about a hundred and fifty English ministers and lay assessors and eight Scottish ministers and elders. They met to bring the worship, the doctrine, the government and the discipline of the Churches of Great Britain into closer conformity with the Word of God.

The Shorter Catechism is the final and finest work of that great Assembly. The work on the Catechism was undertaken early but in its final form was approved last. All the fine Lutheran and Reformed Catechisms from the days of the Reformation were at hand to draw upon. In the Assembly itself there were at least a dozen members who had written catechisms. Calvin’s Catechism, one by Herbert Palmer, a member of the Assembly, and a Manual by Archbishop Ussher influenced the work. In addition to Palmer, “the best catechist in England,” Dr. John Wallis, the mathematician, and Rev. Samuel Rutherford of Scotland seem to have shared in the preparation of this work. Our Shorter Catechism ranks with Luther’s Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism and is described as “one of the three typical Catechisms of Protestantism which are likely to last to the end of time.”

The purpose of the authors of the Catechism was to frame the answer, not according to the model of the knowledge the child has, but according to what the child ought to have. Thus it is a pre-eminently instructive work. It places thoughts in the mind and heart of the child which grow with him, which indeed help the child to grow in wisdom and in grace. Thomas Carlyle, the great Scottish thinker, said: “The older I grow, and I now stand on the brink of eternity—the more comes back to me the first sentence in the Catechism which I learned when a child, and the fuller and deeper its meaning becomes: ‘What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.’ ”

Words to Live By:
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.—Matthew 6:33, KJV.

Image source: Title page of a facsimile of the first edition of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, as ordered by the House of Commons on November 25th, 1647 to be printed for their use. This facsimile was published in London by the Publication office of the Presbyterian Church of England, in 1897. A copy of this work is preserved at the PCA Historical Center. To view this book online, click here.

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