Biblical Repertory

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An Anonymous Author Identified

Henry Rowland Weed was born in Ballston, New York on July 20, 1789. He received his college education at Union College in Schenectady, NY, graduating in 1812, and prepared for the ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating there in 1815. He was ordained by the Presbytery of New York on January 4th, 1816 and installed as pastor of the Presbyterian church in Jamaica, Long Island, NY, where he served from 1816 until 1822.

His next charge was as pastor of the First Presbyterian church of Albany, NY, 1822-1829. Leaving the pulpit ministry for a time, he was employed as an Agent of the Board of Education, 1830-1832, after which he returned to the pulpit, first serving as stated supply for the First Presbyterian church of Wheeling, Virginia (later West Virginia). That arrangement led to his being called by that church and he continued there in Wheeling until 1870, his longest pastorate, though in his final years he was infirm and his associate often took over the duties of the pulpit.

Alfred Nevin notes that “Dr. Weed was an able, earnest, faithful and successful preacher. He contributed occasionally anonymous articles to the religious periodicals of the Church, including the Biblical Repertory, but avoided regular authorship. [Between 1829-1868, there were 39 articles that appeared anonymously in The Biblical Repertory; there was also one article by Rev. Weed which appeared under his own name]. For the use of his own Bible class, he published a series of questions on the Confession of Faith, which was afterwards published by the Presbyterian Board of Publication. Rev. Weed died at Philadelphia, on December 14, 1870.

We may never know which of the otherwise anonymous articles in Princeton’s Biblical Repertory were authored by Rev. Weed, but from another source, we do at least have some interesting insights into the man’s character in his early ministry :

From the Long Island Daily Press, Tuesday, January 29, 1929, Section A.

1815: Rev. Henry R. Weed, fresh from Princeton Seminary was called to the Presbyterian church. Weed discouraged the practice of giving wines and liquors at funerals. Time out of mind, in humbler families rum was handed from one to another as they stood out of doors about the house, each man drinking out of the mouth of the upturned flask. Wine was passed to the women within the house. Captain Codwise who lived at Beaver Pone had a cask of choice wine in his cellar for years, reserved for his funeral. The last and most distinguished occasion in Jamaica for thus regaling the attendants was the funeral of Rufus King, our minister to England, who died April 29, 1827, at the age of 73. It was a warm day and the waiters were kept going about indoors and out with silver saivers before them loaded with decantors, glasses and cigars.

1818: Mr. Weed and Mr. Sayres were chosen inspectors of common schools for Jamaica. They did their duty so strictly and exposed so many shortcomings in the teachers that they were not re-elected.

Those instances strike us as the errors of a young pastor, too often zealous about things that matter, yet without a balancing wisdom and measure of discretion. I think we can assume that he gained that wisdom over time, particularly given his long tenure as pastor in Wheeling.

As a sample of Rev. Weed’s Questions on the Confession of Faith, here are the questions attached to Chapter 1 – Of the Holy Scriptures:—

Question 1. – Do the works of creation and providence, teach us that there is a God? Psalm 19:1Romans 1:20.
Question 2. – Which of His perfections do they manifest?
Question 3. – Do they teach enough of God, to leave man inexcusable? Romans 1:20.
Question 4. – Do they afford all the knowledge that is necessary to salvation? Proverbs 29:181 Corinthians 1:21.
Question 5. – Has it pleased God to reveal Himself and the way of salvation to mankind in any other way? Hebrews 1:1-22 Peter 1:19.
Question 6. – In “what divers manners” did God reveal Himself to His people before the Sacred Scriptures were written?
Answer: By angels, dreams, visions, and voices, by Urim and Thummim and by immediate suggestion to the mind. See Numbers 12:68Exodus 3:1-4.
Question 7. – Why was revealed truth committed to writing? Romans 15:42 Timothy 3:16.
Question 8. – Do the Holy Scriptures now supersede the necessity of all those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people? 2 Timothy 3:15.

The full text of Rev. Weed’s Questions on the Confession of Faith and Form of Government of the Presbyterian Church (1842) is available in digital format.

Words to Live By:
Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
(1 Timothy 4:12).

How can a young pastor earn the respect due to his office as pastor? By being an example of the Christian faith, in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. Occasionally you may see young pastors who have a tendency to be overbearing, perhaps thinking that a show of strength or adamant will is necessary to accomplish their goals for the church. But as Francis Schaeffer was good to remind us, “the Lord’s work must be done in the Lord’s way.”

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A Life of Selfless Service.

If you have any appreciation for Presbyterian works that came out of the nineteenth-century—works by men like Archibald Alexander, Samuel Miller, Charles Hodge, and so many more—then you owe a debt of gratitude to the Rev. William M. Engles. From 1838 until 1863—key years in Presbyterian publishing—Rev. Engles selflessly served as the head of the Presbyterian Board of Publication, and it was under his leadership that this institution produced some of the very best works issued in that era. No rash claim, it was said at his funeral that, “So far, indeed, as any one man can deserve such preeminence, he might justly be called the founder of the Presbyterian literature of this country.”

William Morrison Engles was born in Philadelphia on October 12th, 1797. His father was Captain Silas Engles, of the Revolutionary Army; his mother was Anna (Patterson) Engles, a lady from a distinguished family. Both parents were noted for their intelligence and for their accomplishments. William graduated at the University of Pennsylvania in 1815, studied theology with Dr. Samuel Brown Wylie, of the Reformed Presbyterian denomination, and was licensed by the Presbytery of Philadelphia on October 18th, 1818. Then on July 6th, 1820, he was ordained and installed as pastor of the Seventh Presbyterian Church, also known as the Tabernacle Presbyterian Church. Here his ministry was faithful and successful, but in 1834 he was obliged to resign, on account of a diseased throat.

From the pulpit he stepped into the editorial chair, succeeding Dr. James W. Alexander as editor of The Presbyterian, in which post he continued, until the day of his death, for thirty-three years. Under his supervision this newspaper attained an increased circulation and a high reputation as the leading organ of the Old School party. Then in May of 1838, Rev. Engles was appointed editor of the Board of Publication for the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., which post he held for twenty-five years, while yet retaining the editorship of The Presbyterian. In 1840, he was chosen to serve as Moderator of the General Assembly for the Old School wing of the PCUSA, and then filled the office of Stated Clerk for six years. His death, from an obscure disease of the heart, occurred on November 27, 1867, passing into glory at the age of 71.

Dr. Engles owed his reputation more to his pen than to his pulpit. He was too quiet and didactic to be a popular preacher. But to say nothing of his editorial success, to him the Board of Publication was more indebted than to any other individual, according to its own acknowledgment. He took an active part in its inception and progress. He not only rescued from oblivion various valuable works, in danger of becoming obsolete, but added to the Board’s issues a number of treatises from his own prolific pen. As these were published anonymously, they cannot here be specified. Mention, however, may be made of the little volume, entitled Sick Room Devotions which has proved of inestimable service, and The Soldier’s Pocket Book, of which three hundred thousand copies were circulated during the war.

Words to Live By:
“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” – 1 Peter 5:4.

Of Rev. Engles, it was noted that he “was exceedingly averse to anything that savored of mere eulogy or panegyric upon his own services”, so much so that even his own funeral service would not have been attempted but for the urgings of numerous friends.

Let your eye be fixed upon the heavenly goal; let your work here on earth, whatever that may be, be a work done as unto the Lord, and not with an eye to the applause of the world.

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An Anonymous Author Identified

Henry Rowland Weed was born in Ballston, New York on July 20, 1789. He received his college education at Union College in Schenectady, NY, graduating in 1812, and prepared for the ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating there in 1815. He was ordained by the Presbytery of New York on January 4th, 1816 and installed as pastor of the Presbyterian church in Jamaica, Long Island, NY, where he served from 1816 until 1822.

His next charge was as pastor of the First Presbyterian church of Albany, NY, 1822-1829. Leaving the pulpit ministry for a time, he was employed as an Agent of the Board of Education, 1830-1832, after which he returned to the pulpit, first serving as stated supply for the First Presbyterian church of Wheeling, Virginia (later West Virginia). That arrangement led to his being called by that church and he continued there in Wheeling until 1870, his longest pastorate, though in his final years he was infirm and his associate often took over the duties of the pulpit.

Alfred Nevin notes that “Dr. Weed was an able, earnest, faithful and successful preacher. He contributed occasionally anonymous articles to the religious periodicals of the Church, including the Biblical Repertory, but avoided regular authorship. [Between 1829-1868, there were 39 articles that appeared anonymously in The Biblical Repertory; there was also one article by Rev. Weed which appeared under his own name]. For the use of his own Bible class, he published a series of questions on the Confession of Faith, which was afterwards published by the Presbyterian Board of Publication. Rev. Weed died at Philadelphia, on December 14, 1870.

We may never know which of the otherwise anonymous articles in Princeton’s Biblical Repertory were authored by Rev. Weed, but from another source, we do at least have some interesting insights into the man’s character in his early ministry :

From the Long Island Daily Press, Tuesday, January 29, 1929, Section A.

1815: Rev. Henry R. Weed, fresh from Princeton Seminary was called to the Presbyterian church. Weed discouraged the practice of giving wines and liquors at funerals. Time out of mind, in humbler families rum was handed from one to another as they stood out of doors about the house, each man drinking out of the mouth of the upturned flask. Wine was passed to the women within the house. Captain Codwise who lived at Beaver Pone had a cask of choice wine in his cellar for years, reserved for his funeral. The last and most distinguished occasion in Jamaica for thus regaling the attendants was the funeral of Rufus King, our minister to England, who died April 29, 1827, at the age of 73. It was a warm day and the waiters were kept going about indoors and out with silver saivers before them loaded with decantors, glasses and cigars.

1818: Mr. Weed and Mr. Sayres were chosen inspectors of common schools for Jamaica. They did their duty so strictly and exposed so many shortcomings in the teachers that they were not re-elected.

Those instances strike us as the errors of a young pastor, too often zealous about things that matter, yet without a balancing wisdom and measure of discretion. I think we can assume that he gained that wisdom over time, particularly given his long tenure as pastor in Wheeling.

As a sample of Rev. Weed’s Questions on the Confession of Faith, here are the questions attached to Chapter 1 – Of the Holy Scriptures:—

Question 1. – Do the works of creation and providence, teach us that there is a God? Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:20.
Question 2. – Which of His perfections do they manifest?
Question 3. – Do they teach enough of God, to leave man inexcusable? Romans 1:20.
Question 4. – Do they afford all the knowledge that is necessary to salvation? Proverbs 29:18; 1 Corinthians 1:21.
Question 5. – Has it pleased God to reveal Himself and the way of salvation to mankind in any other way? Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 Peter 1:19.
Question 6. – In “what divers manners” did God reveal Himself to His people before the Sacred Scriptures were written?
Answer: By angels, dreams, visions, and voices, by Urim and Thummim and by immediate suggestion to the mind. See Numbers 12:6, 8; Exodus 3:1-4.
Question 7. – Why was revealed truth committed to writing? Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16.
Question 8. – Do the Holy Scriptures now supersede the necessity of all those former ways of God’s revealing His will unto His people? 2 Timothy 3:15.

The full text of Rev. Weed’s Questions on the Confession of Faith and Form of Government of the Presbyterian Church (1842) is available in digital format.

Words to Live By:
Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
(1 Timothy 4:12).
How can a young pastor earn the respect due to his office as pastor? By being an example of the Christian faith, in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. Occasionally you may see young pastors who have a tendency to be overbearing, perhaps thinking that a show of strength or adamant will is necessary to accomplish their goals for the church. But as Francis Schaeffer was good to remind us, “the Lord’s work must be done in the Lord’s way.”

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