THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHIST
by Rev. William Smith

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Questions 57-58

Q.57. Which is the fourth commandment?

A. The fourth commandment is, “Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work : but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God : in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates ; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day : wherefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath-day, and hallowed it,” Exod. xx. 8-11.

EXPLICATION.

Sabbath-day. –The day of holy rest.

Blessed the Sabbath-day. –Appointed it to be a day on which mankind would be blessed or made happy, in a particular manner, by God’s favor, if they continued to observe the Sabbath to keep it holy.

Hallowed it. –Distinguished it from all the other days of the week, by setting it apart for holy uses.

Q.58. What is required in the fourth commandment?

A. The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God, such set times as he hath appointed in his word, expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy Sabbath to himself.

EXPLICATION.

A holy Sabbath to himself. –A day in which mankind were to rest from worldly labors, and to direct all their attention to the holy duties of the immediate service of God.

ANALYSIS.

The duties required in the fourth commandment are twofold :

  1. The keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word. –Lev. xxiii. 37,38. These are the easts [sic: ed.; feasts] of the Lord which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, –beasts the Sabbaths of the Lord.

2.The keeping holy, expressly, of one whole day in seven. –Lev. xix. 30. Ye shall keep my Sabbath and reverence my sanctuary, I am the Lord. Deut. v. 14. The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.

CHURCH OVER ONE HUNDRED YEARS OLD GETS ITS FIRST FULL-TIME PASTOR.

Center Point Presbyterian Church, in Moore, South Carolina, established in 1875, had its first full-time minister installed on the evening of this day, November 2, in 1980, by a commission of the Calvary Presbytery. Their new minister, the Rev. John David Love, was a native of York, South Carolina, and was married to Molly Plexico Love, of Sharon, SC. They had two daughters, Mary Bratton and Caroline Jane. Rev. Love was a graduate of Presbyterian College and Columbia Theological Seminary, having served churches in McConnells and Woodruff, SC. Prior to coming to the Center Point pulpit, his most recent ministry and most fruitful work had been with the management of Camp Eva Good at Cedar Mountain, North Carolina, where he served for many years. There he served both as manager of the property and as counselor and minister to all who had the privilege of coming in contact with him.

Concurrent with a portion of his years as pastor of the Center Point church, Rev. Love also served as pastor of the Reidville Presbyterian church, in Reidville, South Carolina, 1987-1989. His final years of pastoral ministry were spend as Stated Supply for the historic Bullock Creek Presbyterian church of Sharon, South Carolina, 1996-1997. Pastor Love was honorably retired in 1998 and but a few years later, entered into the presence of his Lord and Savior, on September 16, 2002.

Source: The Calvary Link. Published by the Mission to the U.S. Committee of Calvary Presbytery (PCA), Vol. 3, No. 7 (November 1980).

(“Exploring Avenues Of Acquaintance And Co-operation”)
By Chalmers W. Alexander

Jackson, Mississippi
[The Southern Presbyterian Journal 8.11 (1 October 1949): 13-18.]

We are presenting today a portion of a longer work by Chalmers W. Alexander, a very capable ruling elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi. In this portion presented today, he writes of the effort by modernists to drastically reconfigure the mission work of the Church.

II: MODERNISM IN THE FOREIGN MISSIONS WORK

In order to understand why Dr. Machen was booted out of the ministry of the Northern Presbyterian Church in 1936, it is necessary to turn our attention to some events which took place only a few years before that.

Re-Thinking Missions”

In November of 1932, a book entitled Re-Thinking Missions was issued as the report of the “Commission of Appraisal” of the “Laymen’s Inquiry after One Hundred Years.” This report, which was about foreign missions work, was the product of an inter-denominational committee. The Northern Presbyterian Church’s one representative on the Commission of Appraisal was Dr. William P. Merrill, of New York City, a signer of the heretical Auburn Affirmation.

As Dr. Machen pointed out in a 110-page book which will be mentioned presently: “The work of the Commission was financed, to the extent of some half-million dollars, largely by a Modernist layman, Mr. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who in 1918 wrote for the Saturday Evening Post an article which was afterwards circulated in pamphlet form advocating admission to the Church without any profession of belief whatever.”

The Theme Of “Re-Thinking Missions”

Dr. Machen gave this clear analysis of Re-Thinking Missions’ theme and teachings: “The resulting book constitutes from beginning to end an attack upon the historic Christian Faith. It presents as the aim of missions that of seeking truth together with adherents of other religions rather than that of presenting the truth which God has supernaturally recorded in the Bible. ‘The relation between religions,’ it says, ‘must take increasingly hereafter the form of a common search for truth.’ It deprecates the distinction between Christians and non-Christians; it belittles the Bible and inveighs against Christian doctrine; it dismisses the doctrine of eternal punishment as a doctrine antiquated even in Christendom; it presents Jesus as a great Teacher and Example, as Christianity’s ‘highest expression of the religious life,’ but certainly not as very God of very God; it belittles evangelism, definite conversions, open profession of faith in Christ, membership in the Christian Church, and substitutes ‘the dissemination of spiritual influences’ and ‘the permeation of the community with Christian ideals and principles’ for the new birth.”

Re-Thinking Missions revealed clearly that its authors had no conception at all of the finality and the exclusiveness of the Christian Faith as it was revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ when He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but to me.”

Now two members of the official Board of Foreign Missions of the Northern Presbyterian Church were members of the original Laymen’s Foreign Missions Inquiry, which appointed the Commission of Appraisal which, in turn, produced Re-Thinking Missions. When this book, which was the official report of the Commission, was issued by the Laymen’s Foreign Missions Inquiry, and when it presented a clear-cut view of what missions are and what the Christian religion is, the members of the Northern Presbyterian Church had a right to know whether its Board of Foreign Missions rejected or accepted that view. The Board issued a statement, which was vague in nature, about “the evangelical basis of missions,” on November 21, 1932, after Re-Thinking Missionsappeared. The Board, however, did not let the people know that it considered the book as being hostile to the very roots of the Christian religion, and nothing was done to remove from the Board the two members of it who were members of the original Laymen’s Foreign Missions Inquiry.

Our own Southern Presbyterian denomination, on the other hand, expressed itself in no uncertain terms regarding Re-Thinking Missions. Our General Assembly of 1935 declared it to be “a monumental folly” miscalled Rethinking Missions and stated that “its true title should rather be rejecting missions and crucifying our Lord afresh.”

Re-Thinking Missions did serve one good purpose. It immediately aroused countless thousands of Bible-believing Christians who felt that something should be done at once to stem the fast-rising tide of unbelief in the Christian Church. And the leader among those who shared this feeling was Dr. Machen.

Dr. Machen Proposes An Overture

Accordingly, in 1933, the year following the publication of Re-Thinking Missions, Dr. Machen proposed to the presibytery of which he was a member, the Presbytery of New Brunswick, an Overture which was to be presented to the General Assembly of the Northern Presbyterian Church at its next meeting.

This Overture asked the General Assembly to see to it that members of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Northern Presbyterian Church be believers, in the absolute exclusiveness of Christianity and, that they be persons “who are determined to insist upon such verities as the full truthfulness of Scripture, the virgin birth of our Lord, His substitutionary death as a sacrifice to satisfy Divine justice, His bodily resurrection and His miracles, as being essential to the Word of God and our Standards and as being necessary to the message which every missionary under our Church shall proclaim.”

The points of doctrine set forth in this Overture were the well-known “Five Points” of doctrine which had been declared as essential by the General Assembly of 1923, and which had been declared not to be essential at all by the heretical Auburn Affirmation in 1924.

Dr. Machen’s 110-Page Book

In connection with this proposed Overture, Dr. Machen very carefully prepared an Argument to accompany it; and this Argument named names and cited specific instances of Modernism in the foreign missions work. Both the Overture and this Argument were published in the form of a book 110 pages in length entitled Modernism and the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. This book, which was issued in the early part of 1933, was widely distributed, free of charge, throughout the Northern Presbyterian Church. In its opening pages, Dr. Machen began his Argument by discussing Re-Thinking Missions.

Words to Live By:
The Church has one commission from her Lord and Savior, to faithfully declare the Gospel of salvation by Christ alone, through faith alone. When we fall away from that sacred obligation and duty, we suffer and the Church suffers.

“The first and chief article is this: Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 3:24-25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23-25). This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law, or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us…Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls (Mark 13:31).”
—Martin Luther

 

You Have to Admit, She Chose Her Husbands Well.

The Bride of the Reformation
by Rev. David T. Myers

Her name was Wibrandis Rosenblatt.  Born in 1504 in Sackingen, Germany, she would marry four times, three of the four to leading Protestant reformers, with all  of them dying on her, until she herself eventually passed into eternity.  This led one writer to speak of her as “the bride of the Reformation,” which we have borrowed for our title.

We know next to nothing about her young years, her family, or her salvation.  But she must have had some early training which led her to the Savior, judging from her actions later on.  In 1524, she at the age of twenty, first married Ludwig Keller,  It was a short lived relationship as at age twenty-two, she became a widow, with a young daughter.
It was providential that with the rise of the Reformation, clerical marriage was becoming an allowed, even preferred status for pastors.  Among this new rising generation of Reformers was Johannes Oecolampadius.  It was pointed out to him that having a mate of like zeal was a glory to the Lord. So at the right time, the young widow Wilbrandis was pointed out to him, though he was 45 years of age. In God’s providence, the two were married in 1528, with three children quickly added to their union, for just a few years later, he would go home to glory, in 1531, leaving to her, among his other possessions, his books.
But God had had a greater care for Wibrandis; He had not forgotten her. In August 1532, she would again tie the proverbial knot and marry another Reformer, Wolfgang Capito, whose first wife had died. The new family was known for their hospitality to fellow Reformers and others. But a devastating plague came through the area and claimed both her husband and three of her children in 1541. Wibrandis and the remaining children continued, trusting the Lord for His provision. And Capito’s library went with his widow.
The last of the husbands was Martin Bucer, who was a Protestant pastor in Strassburg. From this union in 1542, they added two children to the family. Martin moved to England to teach and the family followed, as did the substantial library. Martin died in 1551, at which point Wibrandis, the rest of the family, and all those books moved back to Strasburg. It was there that she also died of the plague in 1564.
Even today, it is said that many descendants of this family still live in the Strassburg region. Where the books are is anybody’s guess.
Words to Live By:
Who dares to suggest that one must leave the home to be really a servant of God! There is a special reward in heaven for faithful wives and mothers who bear and serve Christ in the home.  Addressing the men of this website, take special care to speak highly of your wives and mothers who serve faithfully the family members under their care. You may lavish great attention on your libraries, but you know full well that your wife is the real treasure the Lord has entrusted to you.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Despise not the day of small beginnings. It was on this day, October 30, in 1973 that a small group of men representing just three churches came together to form the Presbytery of Texas, soon to become part of the National Presbyterian Church on December 4, 1973. The young denomination would be renamed the Presbyterian Church in America a year later, and the Presbytery itself would be split into North Texas and South Texas on January 1, 1985. Houston Metro Presbytery would later be formed from South Texas Presbytery on January 1, 2004. The other three Presbyteries with churches in Texas—Korean Southern, Korean Southwest, and Southwest—are multi-state presbyteries, and these latter three were not formed from the original Presbytery of Texas.

Our post today focuses on the minutes of that first Stated meeting of the Presbytery of Texas:—

FIRST STATED MEETING

THE PRESBYTERY OF TEXAS

October 30, 1973

The first stated meeting of the Presbytery of Texas was held in the First Presbyterian Church of Paris, Texas, October 30, 1973. A quorum was present.  The meeting was opened with prayer by the Moderator, the Rev. Dan McCown [1924–1979]. A Welcome was given by the Pastor of the Host Church, the Rev. Eric McQuitty.  The docket was adopted.

Jimmy Stewart, a candidate for the ministry, delivered a thoughtful ser­mon on the subject “The Measureless Love of God”, using John 3:16 as a text. He was examined by the Committee on Reception of Ministers and was received in the Presbytery as such. November 18, 1973 was set as the time for his or­dination and installation as Minister of Youth for the Fifth Street Presbyterian Church of Tyler.

The Rev. John Knox Bowling of Adamsville, Texas and the Rev. Lardner W. Moore of Sherman, Texas were examined and received into the Presbytery. Both men are honorably retired. The Rev. Bill Buckner of Strawn, Texas was examin­ed. He passed the examination but was not ready to join the Presbytery until he had taken care of two obligations.

The Treasurer, Alex McKenzie, gave his report and stated the Presbytery has received $300.00 and spent $63.50.

The Moderator gave a sunmary of the progress of the Continuing Church and discussed the forthcoming meeting of the General Assembly to be held December 4th in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Oaklawn Presbyterian Church of Houston was received as a member of the Presbytery. Possible new churches and mission work was discussed and it was moved and adopted that a Home Mission chairman be appointed by the Moderator.

A commission to ordain and install James H. Stewart, composed of the following was elected: Presiding Officer, Rev. Dan McCown; Sermon, Rev. Carl Wilson; Charge to the Minister, Rev. Eric McQuitty; Charge to the Congregation Elder A. H. Burton; Prayer, Elder Jack Treloar, Raymond, Miss.

The next stated meeting of the Presbytery was set for January 29th, 1974 at the Oaklawn Presbyterian Church in Houston, the meeting to be called to order at 12:00 Noon.

The meeting was closed with prayer by Rev. Eric McQuitty.                                       ­­­­­­­­­

Dan H. McCown, Moderator

A. H. Burton, Clerk

Where are they now?
The Rev. James H. (Jimmy) Stewart was for many years a missionary in Taiwan and Hong Kong, then associate pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS, and now works with Evangelism Explosion.

Many of the above mentioned men have now passed on to glory. They include:
Rev. John Knox Bowling [1904-1983]
Rev. Dan McCown [1924–1979]
Rev. Eric McQuitty [1930-2009]
Rev. Lardner Moore [1922-1987]

And the churches?

Fifth Street Presbyterian Church, Tyler, TX was organized in 1954.
Oaklawn Presbyterian Church, Houston, TX was organized in 1917.
First Presbyterian Church, Paris, TX, identified in the above minutes, was unable to retain its property and identity as First Presbyterian, so the congregation joining the PCA officially became Faith Presbyterian Church and is recognized as having been organized in 1973.

But look at what has happened in the years since, and how God has blessed:
When the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) began, just a small handful of churches left the mother church to form the new Texas Presbytery.
There are now 97 PCA churches in the State of Texas. Of these
16 are in Houston Metro Presbytery
17 are in Korean Southern Presbytery
39 are in North Texas Presbytery
23 are in South Texas Presbytery, and
2 are in Rio Grande Presbytery [RGP was formed this past Jan. 1, 2018]

Words to Live By:
Clearly the Lord has blessed as His Word has been faithfully proclaimed. May we never rest in our vigilance to remain try to God’s Word in the faithful proclamation of the Gospel of saving grace in Jesus Christ along, by faith alone, and all the glory of God alone.

A Trinity Hymn Written by a Ten Year Old
by Rev. David T. Myers

We really don’t know when Joseph Griggs was born. One source suggests 1720, but others deny any knowledge of his birthday. We do know that his parents were very poor. We know that he was trained for mechanical pursuits.  We know that he became the assistant pastor of an English Presbyterian Church in 1743. There is no mention however of ministerial training or what Presbytery licensed and ordained him. So there is much which is unknown about him,

Four years after joining the ministerial team in London, the senior minister of that church died. With no explanation, Joseph Griggs resigned his position as assistant minister. The next fact we have about him was his marriage to a wealthy widow, with whom he devoted himself to literary pursuits. He would write some forty-three hymns for the church. His hymns were first published in 1756, and republished in 1765, 1806, and 1861!

The one hymn  which is found in the Trinity Hymnal (no. 511) is entitled “Jesus, and shall it ever be.”  What is interesting about this hymn is that Joseph Griggs wrote it at ten years of age! It was altered by Benjamin Francis in 1787. Its words  come from Luke 9:26 where Jesus states, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him.”  The verses in the hymn from this young lad speak with conviction to many an adult.

Note verse 1, “Jesus, and shall it ever be, a mortal man ashamed of thee?  Ashamed of thee whom angels praise, whose glories shine through endless days!

Or verse 4: “Ashamed of Jesus, that dear Friend on whom my  hopes of heav’n depend! No, when I blush, be this my shame, that I no more revere his name.

And verse 6, “Till then — nor is my boasting vain — till then I boast a Savior slain; and O may  this my glory be, that Christ is not ashamed of me.”

Joseph Gregg died on this day in Presbyterian history, October 29, 1768.

Words to Live By:
Who has not  had the experience of seeing covenant children be an effective testimony to their own parents in our churches? As a retired pastor, I have seen that in a number of my charges. Certainly young Joseph Griggs had a testimony which speaks to adults then and today. Readers, our covenant children are precious  in His sight and are to be ministered to by church officers and lay people. Pray for the covenant children in  your church, for their salvation and spiritual growth.

A Fine Commentator In His Day

JacobusMWTHE DUTY OF DEDICATING OUR SONS TO GOD, FOR THE GOSPEL MINISTRY.
By the Rev. M. W. Jacobus, D. D.

Theme—” That Christian parents be exhorted to give their sons to God with a view of their being trained by the Spirit and by the Church to the work of the Gospel Ministry.”

There are certain cardinal truths affecting most deeply the life of the Christian church, which, by reason of long neglect, have died out from the common recognition, and need at intervals to be re-argued and re-established. Such a truth, we take it, is this duty of Christian parents to dedicate their sons to God, with a view to the Gospel ministry. Like most other great practical truths, it has had its counterfeit in systems of formalism ] and the false practice has prevailed instead of the genuine, until the very abuse has thrown discredit upon the true doctrine. So that even now, at the suggestion of so important a topic, we think it needful to vindicate it against any suspicion of fellowship with that absurd system of designating a particular son of the family to the ministry, just as another is set apart to the army or navy.

It should not be forgotten, however, that the counterfeit points to the true ; and it is our business to inquire what is the truth, in doctrine and practice, which is disguised under this empty formalism.

Under the old economy, the original ordinance required the first horn son to be set apart for the priesthood, or rather this sacerdotal office was one of the birthright privileges. The principles underlying this arrangement, were,

1. That God’s service at the altar was the highest and best;
2. That this sacred office required the first and best of the offspring;
3. That they who had been pre-eminently spared—as their first born had been in the Egyptian scourge—should be solemnly dedicated to God as his of double right ; while thus also they should point to him who is the great

First Born among many brethren. Reasoning from all analogy, these principles are of full force under the Christian dispensation ; and are even expected to prevail more specially, as the shadow merges into the substance. Do Christian parents doubt that God’s service at the altar is still the highest and the best ? Or is this indeed the lurking /a/^ac^^, the worm at the root of our ministerial supplies, that fathers and mothers in the Church seek worldly avocations for their sons, as more lucrative, or more honourable ? Have they, indeed, ceased to regard the sacred office as the birthright privilege of their Samuels, and Johns, and Timothys, which it were profane to part with for a mess of pottage ? And will it be for one moment disputed by Christian parents that this service of God in the sacred office, calls for the first and best of their offspring ? And if this be so, then does it not in effect set up the first claim to each one of those who, as sons, are able to serve Him in the ministry ? Or, for which of their sons shall they make out an exemption on the ground of inferiority ? Does not this principle, so essentially belonging to both economies, of consecrating to God’s altar the best of its kind, cut off the plea that any son is too talented, or too promising, or too useful in a worldly point of view, to be given up to this religious work ?

And further ; as ” the first born” were claimed, as a class, for the ancient ministry because these, as a class, had been savingly distinguished from Egypt’s first born, who were swept off by the destroying angel, does not God’s effectual call to any of our sons, so far set a mark upon them as being claimed for his service in the New Testament priesthood ? Let it not be answered that under the New Testament the priesthood is only the common Christian vocation, inasmuch as every believer under this economy is ordained to be a priest ; for the same argument, if pressed, would abolish the sacred office altogether, and merge the christian ministry into the common christian discipleship. If, then, we see our sons hopefully converted to Grod, does not this so far indicate that He who separated them from their birth, would put them into the ministry ? Is there any provision made under the New Testament, for their redemption with money, from so blessed and privileged a service ? If so, where is the family of Aaron, upon whom, in their stead, the office can fall ? And if there be misconception here, may not the church be failing of her supplies, and the ministry of its reinforcements, just because this family resource is neglected, and there is none appointed in its stead ? Christian parents do rather ignore their own priesthood when they deny the duty of their sons, and God’s claim upon them as the pro-per sons of Levi. Should they not ask importunately for their new birth, as Hannah asked for Samuel, with the pledge, that if God would but convert them, they should be dedicated to his service in the gospel ministry ? ” For this child I prayed, and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him. Therefore, also, I have lent him to the Lord. As long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord.”—1 Sam. i. 27, 28. But it may be contended that we should rather dedicate our sons to God’s service in general, without any special reference to the work of the ministry ; that we ought rather to leave it to

his providence to indicate their function, lest we seem to dictate to God. But if it be conceded that the sacred office is that in which ordinarily God may be most eminently served ; and if our dedication of sons to such service supposes always his effectual preparation of them for the work, and the inward call of his Spirit as a special personal requisite, and if also it implies a submission to the order of his providence as to the outward call, then surely there can be no danger here of trenching upon the divine prerogative. But, consider 1. that the pressing wants of the field are such as to call for such a system of recruits. If the whole tribe of Levi was needed for the old temple service, and all the sons of Aaron for the priesthood, it is quite as necessary now that all the sons of Christian parents be separated for this work, if they can have the requisite qualification. And whence should the recruits be looked for more appropriately than from this very quarter ? And is not this always the fair presumption in the case, that the ministry will be taken from families of the covenant ? And if Christian parents have any right to presume upon their children being owned as the Lord’s, have they not a corresponding obligation to devote them as the Lord’s, to his most eminent service in the ministry ? Is not the presumption then always on this side, that while this immense want continues^ if our sons are owned by God as his children, through his converting grace, they should be consecrated to his highest service, to be his gospel ministers if he so please f And how can Christian parents respond to the divine command, and with an eye upon the whitened harvest, pray that the Lord would send forth labourers into his harvest, if, at the same time, they are not using their proper influence with God and with their sons, to put those of their own household into the harvest field ? Who shall tell how many loud prayers in our church assemblies, for the reinforcement of the ministry, have been powerless, just because of this lurking self-deception in many a parent’s heart ? Amidst all the crying demands of the foreign and domestic field, the sad deficiency of labourers, and the dismal prospect for any forthcoming supplies, worldly parents have rather sought for their sons the position of merchant princes than of ministers of Christ.

And what wonder, that God often as now, rebukes such worldliness, and shows them that this, their birth-right, has been profanely parted with for a mess of pottage ? May we not presume then, that while such immense destitutions in the harvest field continue—while the Master is so urgently calling for men—while the church is trembling before the gates of hell, just for lack of some such systematic reinforcement of her troops, the sons of the church are demanded for the ministry, and Christian parents ought so to calculate, and to train them with this in view ?

Consider also the positive power in the household of such parental dedication. Can it be doubted that our sons, thus set apart, and instructed, and prayed for, with a view to such a holy service, would be placed at every advantage for their early conversion to God? What a train of pious influences would needs go forth from such a parental aim in the daily education! What fervency in prayer would come from such a prospect and hope of seeing these sons ministering in holy things ! What lofty Christian conversation and example would naturally ensue! And have we not reason to believe that the prayers which look toward such a dedication would be heard, and that thus our sons would be converted much more commonly than at present ?

Would it not oftener occur, as with Hannah, that the vow accompanying the petition would draw down a gracious answer from a covenant God? But we have staggered at this point! We have hesitated to say, “If thou wilt give unto thy servant this son, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life;” and therefore often our sons have grown up unconverted for lack of this very parental dedication.

Observe : We do not contend that all our sons should be put into the ministry, whether converted or not. Nor even that all of them who are hopefully the Lord’s should be, of course and at any rate, absolutely designated to that office. God must call them as he called Aaron. But we urge that, on our part, we should hold them as devoted to the Lord for this work^ as that to which we may fairly hope that God will call them; and that, with this view, we should train them, and pray for them, and lead their minds, and direct their course, looking to his providence and his Spirit to second our efforts and open the way. This would contemplate quite a different course of conduct from that which most commonly obtains in our households, with respect to our sons. It would point to the highest aims for their usefulness and their devotedness, and it would call for an exalted Christian culture, such as a mere passive dedication could never reach. We would not, by any means, maintain any such presumption as would dispense with a particular, personal call, in any case. But we believe that this call more often comes to our converted sons than is commonly admitted. And we believe that among them at least, the misapprehension is much more often against the caP than for it, and keeps out of the ministry more of these who are called, than it brings into the ministry of those who are not called.

But this view of the subject has not been overlooked by the General Assembly of our church. In 1840, we find them using such language as this : “We suggest to Christian parents the important duty of dedicating their children to God, and especially of pleading continually with the Most High, in subordination to his holy will, to sanctify their sons and prepare them for the sacred ministry. Our feelings (they add) have been deeply enlisted in this subject by the statements laid before us from the Board of Education, which show that the number of our candidates for the ministry is decreasing. We call upon all the pious parents in our communion to consider this affecting circumstance. We have hundreds of vacant churches in our connection. Several millions of the population of the Union are believed to be destitute of the stated means of grace; the heathen world spread out before us in one vast scene of crime, and cruelty, and woe, appeals to us with an unyielding and soulpiercing importunity, to send them relief. And yet our candidates for the ministry are fewer now than they have been for some years. Will you not lay this to heart? Will you not bring your sons and consecrate them anew to your covenant God ? Will you not give over seeking for them the transitory honours and riches of this world, and pray the Lord of the harvest, if it seem good in his sight, to anoint them with his Spirit, and send them forth into his harvest which is perishing for lack of labourers V—Minutes 1840, p. 310.

We would only urge, in conclusion, the striking facts which so attest the importance and value of such parental dedication. The celebrated John Newton testifies : ” I have been told, that from my birth my pious mother had, in her mind, devoted me to the ministry ; and that, had she lived until I was of a proper age, I was to have been sent to St. Andrews, in Scotland, to be educated. But the Lord had appointed otherwise. She died before I was seven years of age.” Yet, mark the training of which he testifies :

“When I was four years old, I could repeat the answers to the questions in the Shorter Catechism, with the proofs, and all Dr. Watts’s smaller catechisms, with his children’s hymns.” This was the power of that parental dedication in such daily training, not only for the ministry, but for heaven. How the hand of a covenant God wrought with him through all his after impieties, and with all the persistency of a divine ordination, checked, disciplined, and reclaimed him, till he became an able and faithful minister of the New Testament, according to that pious mother’s prayer, is a notable chaptei in the annals of the church.

Of Rev. John Belfrage, his biographers remark that his Christian mother laboured to prepare him for the sacred office, to form pious sentiments in his mind, and to cherish devout feelings in his heart. She marked, with pleasure, her son’s early inclination for the ministry, which had been awakened by means of her own early religious influences upon him. Accordingly, when, at a suitable age, he was sent to the College of Edinburgh, it pleased God to work in him the graces of a Christian character, and he became a devoted and faithful minister of Christ, after his pious mother had been laid in the dust.

Dr. Claudius Buchanan was, from his childhood, devoted by his parents to the ministry. He was, however, a reckless youth, and pursued a course of wandering through several years, until, at length, the God of Newton brought him to attend on the ministry of that reclaimed wanderer, and he was led to Christ. It was on hearing a sermon from the passage in Isaiah : ” How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,” that all his early parental dedication to the ministry forced itself upon his heart. He became, at length, a preacher of the gospel in England, and afterwards filled an important post in India, as a herald of the Cross.

It is recorded, also, of the celebrated Philip Henry, that his godly mother devoted him, in his tender years, to the service of God in the work of the ministry, and though she died before he was fourteen years of age, he always spoke of her as being to him, what Timothy’s mother and grandmother were to him—acquainting him with the Scriptures from his childhood. She prayed with him daily ; catechized him, and thus laid the foundation for his future usefulness in the great and holy work to which she had devoted him.

Of the Rev. John Bailey, who was a faithful minister of the gospel in Ireland, and in New England, it is recorded that his godly mother dedicated him to the service of God in the gospel ministry, from his earliest moments. He was accordingly trained in a way befitting such a sacred aim, and from being reared like Timothy, he became, like him, an eminent minister of the New Testament. We add the name of the celebrated President Davies. His mother, says his biographer, took example from the mother of the prophet Samuel, and vowed a vow unto the Lord, that if he would indeed give her a man-child, she would devote him to his service all the days of his life. Hence he was called Samuel. At twelve years of age, it is remarked that he was more ardent in his supplications for being introduced into the gospel ministry, than for any other thing. ‘^ The event proved,” says President Finley, in his sermon on his death, ” that God accepted the consecrated boy—took him under his special care—furnished him for, and employed him in, the service of his church—prospered his labours with remarkable success, and not only blessed him, but made him a blessing.” To the same effect, is the case of Rev. Dr. Mc Millan, as narrated in The History of Jefferson College, by Rev. Joseph Smith, D. D. “In a manuscript of Dr. Mc Millan, found among his papers, there is the following statement which he makes of his history:

“Before my birth my parents had some children, I think two sons, who died while they were young. My father told me that he had promised to Grod that if he would give him another son, he would call his name John, and devote him to his service in the ministry of the gospel. Accordingly, as soon as I had acquired a sufficient degree of English literature, I was sent to the grammar school, &c. While there the Lord poured out his Spirit upon the students. I went to College on a day which had been set apart by a number of the students to be observed as a day of fasting and prayer. While the others were at dinner, I retired into my study, and while trying to pray, I got some discoveries of divine things which I had never had before. I felt it now easy to submit to the gospel plan of salvation, &c. I had great difficulties in my own mind about undertaking the work of the gospel ministry. However, I at last came to this determination, to leave the matter wholly with God : if he opened the way, I would go on—if he shut it, I would be satisfied ; and I think if ever 1 knew what it was to have no will of my own about any matter^ it was about this.’

God has not left himself without witness. His faithfulness to his household covenant, and to his New Testament Church, has been signally manifested in a long line’ of ministers, parentally dedicated to him in this holy work. From Samuel, and those that follow after, a great cloud of witness-bearers have testified of these things. Many ministers now living could testify to the same effect, of such early parental dedication in their case. It has always pleased God to propagate his church by means of the descendants of a pious ancestry.

He has transmitted his gospel ministry by this means. The sanctity of the domestic relation, and the power of parental influence and prayer, have been employed by him for so momentous a result as the recruiting of labourers for the harvest field of the world. And by all the necessities of his church, and of perishing millions in all lands, he calls upon Christian parents to lay their sons at the foot of his altar, and to crave for them, as their high Christian birthright, the distinguished honour of serving him in the ministry of reconciliation. Where are our sons who have attained to years of maturity, or who are fitting for their stations in life? Have we honestly devoted them to the sacred ministry, and then, in good faith, pleaded with God to train them up for so high and holy a calling, if it were his will? Or have we borne no testimony in the household, and used no influence with God toward this result ? Might it not be expected that the Christian ministry would be recruited from our families ? Does not God’s service need them?

Are not the churches calling for men ? Are we not now to labour and pray that the promise may soon be fulfilled, as the glory of the latter days, that our sons and our daughters shall prophesy, and that our young men shall see visions, as well as our old men dream dreams; and that, ‘^ in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning, the church shall have the dew of her young men V Ps. ex. 3. After the reading of this paper before the Synod of Pittsburgh, one of the most experienced among the pastors rose, and, with much emotion, made the following statement, illustrating the influence of parents in the training of their sons for the ministry :

“I once knew a young man of fine talents, whom I tenderly loved. He started in his preparatory course for the ministry. His father was a praying man, and his mother devotedly pious. The mother would have made any sacrifice ; but the father could not bear the idea of spending so much money, as well as losing the time of his son. After a while the young man became disheartened, and gave up his studies, with the hope that he could make money and educate many poor young men to take his place. He did get wealthy and was tolerably liberal, but a sad mistake was made. One of the brightest young men I ever knew, was stopped in his course by the continued opposition of his brother. Once a father said to me, I have educated my son to be useful to me in my profession ; and just when he has begun to be useful, he has abandoned me, and chosen the life of a beggar. That father had long been a professor of religion, and a trustee of the church. Even the mother regretted her son’s course. She had pictured to herself a son, talented, wealthy, &c., and now, she said, he would be nothing but a minister!

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THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHIST
by Rev. William Smith

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 55 & 56

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

A. The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing of any thing, whereby God maketh himself known.

EXPLICATION.

Profaning or abusing of any thing, whereby God maketh himself known. –To speak in a light, or in a reproachful manner of the Great and Holy God, or to use his ordinances, word, and works, for any trifling or sinful purposes, or, in any other way, to cast dishonor upon them.

ANALYSIS.

The sins forbidden in the third commandment are of two kinds :

  1. All profaining of any thing, by which God maketh himself known. –Mal. i. 7, 12. Ye offer polluted bread upon mine alter. –Ye have profaned it, in that ye say, the table of the Lord is polluted, and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible.
  2. All abusing of any thing by which he makes himself known. –Mal. ii. 2. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of Hosts, I will even send a curse upon you.

Q.56. What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?

A. The reason annexed to the third commandment is, that however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment.

EXPLICATION.

The breakers of this commandment. –All those who swear in their ordinary conversation, or when a passion, occasioned by any real or supposed injury, or in any other way, when not lawfully called to give an oath in a solemn manner before a judge.

ANALYSIS.

The information received in this answer is two-fold :

  1. That the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men.

2. That God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment. –Deut. xxviii. 58, 59. If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, the Lord thy God, then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful.

A Christian Patriot Who Suffered During the American Revolution
by Rev. David T. Myers

We are more apt to recognize the New Jersey delegates like the Rev. John Witherspoon, or maybe Richard Stockton, as signers of the Declaration of Independence.  But joining them was one Abraham Clark.

Born February 15, 1726 in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, his family was solid Presbyterians in their denominational affiliation.  Baptized as an infant by the Rev. Jonathan Dickinson, first professor of the College of New Jersey, he grew up in the thrilling but dangerous days of increasing agitation of separation from England.  With his inclination to  study civil law and mathematics, he became known to his neighbors. Popular as “the poor man’s counselor,” he refused to accept any pay for his helpfulness to his neighbors. He further served them as High Sheriff of Essex County.

But it was as a member of the Continental Congress on June 21, 1776, that he became interested in the issues of liberty and justice. Penning his name to the Declaration of Independence, representing New Jersey, he states that he and his fellow signers knew that “nothing short of Almighty God can save us.”

He knew full well the cost of liberty. To a friend serving as an officer in the Jersey contingent of troops, “this seems now to be a trying season, but  that indulgent Father who has hitherto preserved us will I trust appear for our help and prevent our being crushed. If otherwise, his will be done.” There is no doubt with convictions like this that he saw himself and his country safely within the sovereign providence of God.

His two sons were captured by the British and put into the prison hold of a notorious prison ship called “Jersey.”  Fellow prisoners fed one of the sons by squeezing food through a key hole.  Abraham Clark did not wish to make his personal suffering public, so he told no one about his family stress.  When they found out about it from other sources, the American authorities contacted the British and told them that as they were treating prisoner of war Clark, so they were going to retaliate against a British officers in captivity.  Only then did the brutal treatment of Clark’s sons ease up.

Abraham Clark was recognized as the member of Congress who moved that a chaplain be appointed for the Congress of the  United States. And ever since then, a chaplain has been elected for that spiritual position.

But there were religious responsibilities which Abraham Clark also kept. From October 26, 1786 to 1790, Abraham Clark was a trustee for the Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church of which Pastor Caldwell was the minister. Abraham Clark died in his sixty-ninth year on September 15, 1794.

Words to live by:  It was said that Abraham Clark was a Christian, a family man, a patriot, a public servant, and a gentleman. That about covers the sphere of influence which all Christians are to serve both God, the church, and our country. Once, he was offered freedom for his sons from their British captivity if . . . if he turned colors and became a Tory, or become loyal to England.  He responded “no.” He was convinced, as he said to a friend in a letter in 1776, “Our fate is in the hands of an Almighty God to whom I can with pleasure confide my own. He can save  us or destroy us. His counsels are fixed and cannot be disappointed and all his designs will be accomplished.” Amen, and Praise God!

SIX INTERCHURCH GROUPS MEET

The interchurch relations committees of six denominations met together on October 25 -26 [1974] in Pittsburgh, Penna. Represented were the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Christian Reformed Church, Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, and Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America. The joint group also invited the Reformed Church, U.S. (Eureka Classis) to participate in later such meetings.

A sub-committee was established to prepare a plan for cooperation among the respective churches, drawn from proposals suggested in the joint meeting. Such a plan would be presented to the full body for possible recommendation to the denominations themselves.

Among the proposals made was one urging the various churches to cooperate in world-wide relief services; the Christian Reformed Church has the most extensive such service now. Another proposal recommended publication of a directory of all the co-operating churches.

It was also proposed that there be a federation of Presbyterian and Reformed churches that would include coordination of agencies and the holding of consultative assemblies. The ultimate goal of union into one church was urged.

The Presbyterian Guardian, 43:10 (December 1974): 167.

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