Archive for November, 2015

November 30, 2015

A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel

Treatise on Law and Gospel CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

Martin Luther said that the law ought never to be preached apart from the gospel, and that the gospel ought never to be preached apart from the law. We live in a day when few professing Christians understand either the law or the gospel, much less their relationship to each other.

In this important work, long out of print, the great Scottish preacher John Colquhoun helps eliminate this unnecessary confusion, showing how the law and the gospel differ as well as how they agree. If we do not understand the law and its role, we can never rightly understand the grace of the gospel. Faulty conclusions lead to antinomianism (“the law has no place”) or legalism (“God’s favor comes from doing the right things”). Both are deadly paths off the narrow road.

“The subject of this treatise is, in the highest degree, important and interesting to both saints and sinners. To know it experimentally is to be wise unto salvation, and to live habitually under the influence of it is to be at once holy and happy. To have spiritual and distinct views of it is the way to be kept from verging towards self-righteousness on the one hand and licentiousness on the other; it is to be enabled to assert the absolute freeness of sovereign grace, and, at the same time, the sacred interests of true holiness. Without an experimental knowledge of and an unfeigned faith in the law and the gospel, a man can neither venerate the authority of the one nor esteem the grace of the other.” –John Colquhoun

Source: Back Cover

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
ADVERTISEMENT
CHAPTER 1. The Law of God, or the Moral Law in General

Section 1. The law as inscribed on the heart of man in his creation.
Section 2. The law as given to Adam under the form of the covenant of works
Section 3. The law, in the hand of Christ the Mediator, as a rule of life to believers

CHAPTER 2. The Law of God, as Promulgated to the Israelites from Mount Sinai

Section 1. Of the covenant of grace, and of the Ten Commandments, as the rule of duty to believers according to that covenant, as published from Mount Sinai
Section 2. Of the moral law in the form of a covenant of works, as displayed on Mount Sinai to the Israelites
Section 3. Of the law promulgated from Mount Sinai to the Israelites, as the matter of a national covenant between God and them

CHAPTER 3. The Properties of the Moral Law

CHAPTER 4. The Rules for Understanding Aright the Ten Commandments

CHAPTER 5. The Gospel of Christ

CHAPTER 6. The Uses of the Gospel, and of the Law in Subservience to It

Section 1. The principal uses of the Gospel
Section 2. The uses of the moral law in its subservience to the Gospel

CHAPTER 7. The Difference between the Law and the Gospel

CHAPTER 8. The Agreement between the Law and the Gospel

CHAPTER 9. The Establishment of the Law and the Gospel

CHAPTER 10. The Believer’s Privilege of Being Dead to the law as a Covenant of Works, with a Highly Important Consequence of It

Section 1. What it is in the law as a covenant of works to which believers are dead
Section 2. What is included in the believer’s being dead to the law as a covenant
Section 3. The means of becoming dead to the law as a covenant
Section 4. Of the important consequence of a believer’s being dead to the law as a covenant of works
Section 5. Of the necessity of a beleiver’s being dead to the law as a covenant, in order to his living unto God

CHAPTER 11. The High Obligations under which Believers Lie, to Yield Even Perfect Obedience to the Law as a Rule of Life

CHAPTER 12. The Nature, Necessity, and Desert of Good Works

Section 1. The nature of good works
Section 2. The necessity of good works
Section 3. The desert of good works

John Colquhoun

John Colquhoun (1748-1827)

About the Author

While on a walking tour through Scotland during a College vacation, Alexander Moody Stuart spent a weekend at a country inn on the road between Glasgow and Edinburgh. His interest was aroused in two lads who arrived at the inn late on the Saturday evening. After spending the night there they left early next morning and returned to the inn again that evening. He discovered that they were working lads from Glasgow who, on coming under spiritual concern, had sought for a minister that preached the gospel fully. They eventually found a preacher to their mind in Edinburgh and were determined to wait on his ministry. That preacher was Dr John Colquhoun of the New Church in South Leith. Such value did they set upon Colquhoun’s preaching that they were willing to walk about a hundred miles each weekend to hear him and be back at their work at 6 o’clock on Monday morning. These young Christians were typical of many in Scotland at the beginning of the nineteenth century who had felt the power of the Word and therefore highly prized the full gospel ministry at South Leith. With much of the Church of Scotland lying under the blight of unbelieving Moderatism, ministries like that of Colquhoun and his contemporaries – Dr John Love of Glasgow and Dr MacDonald of Ferintosh – were oases in the desert.

John Colquhoun was born at Luss in Dunbartonshire on 1 January, 1748. The son of a small farmer, he received his elementary education at the local Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) school. The teacher, a Christian, not only instructed the minds of his pupils but sought to impress the truth upon their hearts. It was to his explanation and application of the Westminster Shorter Catechism question, ‘What is effectual calling?’ that Colquhoun afterwards traced his conversion.

On feeling led to devote himself to the ministry he entered Glasgow University in 1768, where he pursued his studies for ten years. The Presbytery of Glasgow licensed him to preach in 1780, and the following year he was ordained to what proved to be his only pastoral charge—the New Church in South Leith (St John’s, Constitution Street). There he exercised an effective ministry until forced to give up through ill-health a year before his death in 1827.

Shortly after his conversion John Colquhoun had walked all the way from Luss to Glasgow, a distance in all of about fifty miles, to buy a copy of Thomas Boston’s Fourfold State. This book had a moulding influence on his early Christian life. He came to esteem it next to his Bible. The influence of Boston’s teaching was later to permeate his ministry and writings. Thomas Boston’s remains had been laid to rest in the beautiful churchyard of Ettrick sixteen years before Colquhoun was born, but few if any of his followers bore such marks of his influence as the minister of South Leith.

Although a minister of the Established Church, Colquhoun was regarded as one of the ablest exponents of ‘Marrow’ theology. By an Act of Assembly on 20 May, 1720 his Church had condemned the book, The Marrow of Modern Divinity, because it maintained that there was a universal call and offer of the gospel to sinners. Defenders of the free offer—nicknamed ‘Marrowmen’—foremost of whom were Thomas Boston and the Erskine brothers, were forced to secede from the Church in 1722. Later, however, as we find in the case of John Colquhoun, upholders of ‘Marrow’ teaching continued to exercise their ministry within the Establishment. How Colquhoun reconciled his respect for an Act of the General Assembly with his uncompromising maintenance of ‘Marrow’ theology is illustrated in some advice he is reported to have given to the students who sought his counsel. ‘Noo, ye ken’, he would say to them in his colloquial tongue, ‘I daurna advise ye to read the “Marrow” for the Assembly condemned it; but though they condemned the “Marrow” they didna condemn Tammes Boston’s notes on the “Marrow”, and that’s a book that ye should read.’

It is not surprising that one of the great characteristics of Colquhoun’s ministry was the emphasis on the duty and necessity of sinners complying with the offers and invitations of the gospel. At the same time he dwelt much on the danger of hypocrisy. The depth of his own spiritual experience, his discriminating views of truth, and his aptitude for religious conversation made him of great use to those in spiritual distress.

Retired and unassuming by nature, he sought no place of distinction in the Church. Indeed, it was in his mature years that he began his career as an author. He wrote seven treatises, all of which are closely related in theme and manner of presentation. The first to appear was on Spiritual Comfort in 1813. It was followed by Law and Gospel (1815), The Covenant of Grace (1818), The Covenant of Works (1822), Saving Faith (1824), The Promises (1825), and Evangelical Repentance (1826; republished by the Trust in 1965 as Repentance).

It was in his writings perhaps more than anything else that Colquhoun came nearest to Boston. They were both at their best in expounding the grand central themes of salvation, and so thoroughly had Colquhoun imbibed The Fourfold State that in cast of thought, mode of development, and turn of expression his own writings bear striking similarities to it. Above all, the works of both are thoroughly experimental and practical. They preached and wrote for the common people, and it was the common people of Scotland for many generations following that loved and valued their works.

[John J Murray in his ‘Biographical Introduction’ to Colquhoun’s Repentance.]

Source: Banner of Truth

Don Kistler

Dr. Don Kistler (1949-)

About the Editor

Dr. Don Kistler, founder of the Northampton Press, was born in California in 1949, the second of five sons of Jack and Faye Kistler. He grew up on a dairy farm in Central California and graduated from Azusa Pacific College in Southern California in 1971 with a double major in public speaking and religion. He holds the M. Div. and D. Min. degrees, and is an ordained minister. Prior to entering the gospel ministry, Dr. Kistler coached high school and college football for over 15 years.

Dr. Kistler pastored a local church for four years. As part of his preaching and teaching ministry, he has spoken at conferences with such notable figures as Dr. John MacArthur, Dr. R. C. Sproul, Dr. D. James Kennedy, Dr. J. I. Packer, Dr. John Gerstner, Elisabeth Elliot, Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, Dr. Michael Horton, Rev. Alistair Begg, Dr. Albert M. Mohler, the late Dr. James Boice, and Rev. Eric Alexander, to name just a few.

Dr. Kistler is the author of the book A Spectacle Unto God: The Life and Death of Christopher Love, and Why Read the Puritans Today? and is the editor of all the Soli Deo Gloria Puritan reprints. He was a contributing author for Justification by Faith ALONE!; Sola Scriptura; Trust and Obey: Obedience and the Christian; Onward, Christian Soldiers: Protestants Affirm the Church; and Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching.

He has edited over 150 books. He currently resides in Orlando, FL.

Source: Don Kistler Online

Hardcover, 320 pages

Publisher: Soli Deo Gloria Publications

Publication Date(s): 1835 (first American edition by Wiley and Long); 1999 (Soli Deo Gloria reprint and modernization)

ISBN: 1-57358-083-X

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

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November 29, 2015

The Church of God as an Essential Element of the Gospel

The Church of God CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

For most readers, holding this new edition of The Church of God represents their first encounter with Stuart Robinson. By comparison, the major contributors to the ongoing discussion of Presbyterianism are readily recognized: the cornerstone Calvin, the Socratic Turretin, the erudite Bavinck, and the inexhaustible Bannerman. Thornwell defended church power in theory, but Robinson defined it in particulars. Hodge traveled the landscape of ecclesiology extensively, but Robinson traversed its terrain proficiently. Bannerman expounded Presbyterianism comprehensively, but Robinson explained it concisely. Although one can understand why historians give more attention to better known thinkers, Robinson was regarded as an equal among and by his contemporary Presbyterian ecclesiologists. He should be given his due when discussing the area of his recognized strength.

In recent years, ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church) has surged ahead of other loci of theology. Many works on ecclesiology have appeared in the developing academic areas of comparative and historical ecclesiology and in the ever-expanding postmodern theologies, particularly the Emergent wing. But not all of these contributions can be regarded as enriching. Despite apparent efforts to revive an ancient faith, some contemporary ecclesiologists betray an eclectic historical consciousness that tends to skip over the Reformation. Inserting The Church of God back into the ecclesiological narrative helps to address the existing need to become better acquainted with what has been said before—and, above all, with what has been said wisely.

Where some have seen weakness, Robinson saw strength. Calvin wedded his doctrine of the church to the doctrine of predestination. Some have viewed this as a serious ‘methodological error.’ But Robinson viewed it as a brilliant insight…In the unsearchable counsel of the triune God, the ‘ideal church’ lies anterior to the ‘actual church’ in the history of redemption, preeminently in the Abrahamic covenant. Reformed ecclesiology has been powerful and united because it has insisted on seeing the church in the big picture, through the perspective of God’s eternal decree, and consequently in the sweep of redemptive history. Taking this ‘ideal’ angle inevitably led Robinson to stress the centrality of Christology in ecclesiology and Christ’s ongoing ministry in his threefold office.

This volume was originally published in 1858 and has been retypeset and augmented to include a foreword by Dr. A. Craig Troxel and Thomas E. Peck’s “Memorial of the Life and Labors of the Rev. Stuart Robinson.”

Table of Contents

Introduction
Part I: The Relation of the Idea of the Church to the Eternal Purpose of Redemption
Part II: The Relation of the Idea of the Church to the Manifestation of the Divine Purpose as Revealed in the Scriptures
Part III: The Relation to the Idea of the Church of the Principles of Church Government Set Forth in Scripture
Part IV: The Relation to the Idea of the Church of the Ordinances of Worship Set Forth in Scripture
Concluding Observations
Appendix

The Church of God Cover

Stuart Robinson (1814-1881)

About the Author

Stuart Robinson graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1841. He was licensed and ordained by Greenbrier Presbytery and served pastorates in Malden (West Virginia), Frankfort (Kentucky), Baltimore, and Louisville. Robinson also taught at the Presbyterian Seminary in Danville, Kentucky from 1856-1858. Along with these pastoral and academic positions, Robinson edited the Presbyterial Critic, the True Presbyterian, and the Free Christian Commonwealth. In 1869 he was elected moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States. After twenty-three years as pastor of Second Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Robinson died on October 3, 1881.

Craig TroxelAbout the Editor

A. Craig Troxel (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is the pastor of Bethel Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, Illinois, and serves as Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Troxel has contributed numerous articles to a variety of publications, including the Westminster Theological Journal, Calvin Theological Journal, New Horizons, and Modern Reformation

Source: WTS Books

Hardcover, 229 pages

Publisher: The Committee on Christian Education of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church

Publication Date(s): 1858, Reprinted 2009

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

November 28, 2015

Religious Affections (Classics of Faith & Devotion)

Religious Affections CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

[This abridged edition was part of the Multnomah Press series Classics of Faith & Devotion, with an Introduction by Charles Colson and “Editor’s Note about Jonathan Edwards and the Relevance of This Book” by James M. Houston]

Jonathan Edwards was one of the few truly great theologians of the English-speaking world, an intellectual and spiritual giant. When he began his ministry at Northampton, Massachusetts, New England had drifted from the Puritanism of its founders. Resisting the current trend, Edwards preached the whole counsel of God, and God plainly honoured his testimony. Yet to all appearances his life ended in tragedy; voted out of his pastorate by the people of Northampton, he died of fever at Princeton, only two months after taking over as President of the College. Edwards is perhaps best known as the theologian of revival, a subject on which he was uniquely qualified to write, by reason of his theological grasp and a first-hand experience of awakenings. Of his several treatises in this field, The Religious Affections ranks as the ‘magnum opus’.

The author’s object in this book is to distinguish between true and false religion by showing the marks of a saving work of the Holy Spirit in men. In his Preface, Edwards stresses the importance of using ‘our utmost endeavours clearly to discern…wherein true religion does consist’. For ’till this be done, it may be expected that great revivings of religion will be but of short continuance’.

Source: Banner of Truth

Table of Contents

Preface to the Classics
Editor’s Note about Jonathan Edwards and the Relevance of This Classic
Introduction by Charles W. Colson

Part I: The Nature and Importance of the Affections

Chapter One
THE AFFECTIONS AS EVIDENCE OF TRUE RELIGION—Religious affections are strong and vigorous actions of the will and heart. They motivate the soul either to cleave to and seek or turn away and oppose. Scripture reflects their significance in true religion. Without holy affections, it is impossible to have true faith.

Part II: How the Religious Affections May Be Falsely Appraised

Chapter Two
FALSE SIGNS OF TRUE RELIGIOUS AFFECTIONS—The Pharisees talked much about their religion. Satan, like the Holy Spirit, is able to bring Scripture to mind; he is a master counterfeiter. We need to guard against judging the affections by such false evidences as these.

Part III: The Distinguishing Signs of Truly Gracious and Holy Affections

Chapter Three
HOW TRULY GRACIOUS AFFECTIONS ARE KNOWN—True spiritual affections are divinely given. Only the Holy Spirit can make us spiritual by adopting us and giving us the nature of Christ in His Sonship.

Chapter Four
THE OBJECT AND FOUNDATION OF GRACIOUS AFFECTIONS—The basis of affections is the excellence and nature of divine things. True affections cannot begin with self-love. They begin with delighting in the beauty and holiness of God Himself.

Chapter Five
THE FORMATION OF GRACIOUS AFFECTIONS—Gracious affections are developed from a spiritually enlightened mind. This spiritual light reveals the glory of divine things.

Chapter Six
CERTAINTY AND HUMILITY IN GRACIOUS AFFECTIONS—A true Christian has a conviction of the truth of the gospel and this conviction causes him to see his sinfulness and his need of God to change him.

Chapter Seven
GRACIOUS AFFECTIONS CHANGE US TO BE MORE CHRIST-LIKE—If a person’s conversion is real, it will bring about deep and abiding changes throughout his life. He will be more holy, gentle, and forgiving. He will become more and more like Christ.

Chapter Eight
GRACIOUS AFFECTIONS ARE BALANCED, YET DYNAMIC IN GROWTH—The balance of the affections in true saints is a reflection of the balance of the affections in the image of Christ. The affections are dynamic in their growth. As the saint longs and thirsts after God, his spiritual appetite enlarges and he longs for more of God.

Chapter Nine
GRACIOUS AFFECTIONS ARE INTENSELY PRACTICAL—It is our practice of Christianity that makes our profession of it credible. True affections motivate the Christian to be diligent and earnest in living out his beliefs.

Chapter Ten
THE AFFECTIONS ARE THE CHIEF EVIDENCE OF A SAVING SINCERITY IN TRUE RELIGION—Christian practice is the most preferred evidence of salvation. This practice proves godliness and repentance and gives evidence of God’s presence.

Appendix

A Guide to Devotional Reading

Indexes

Scripture Index

Subject Index

Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

About the Author

Jonathan Edwards was born a little over seventy years after the first Puritan settlement of New England and, at the time of his birth, October 5, 1703, there were some 130 towns in the colony. Some were well established, others were small and on the frontiers of the wilderness. He spent his first twelve years in his parents’ home at East Windsor, close to the Connecticut river. His father, Timothy Edwards, was pastor of the local church, a good student and preacher, as well as a part-time school teacher and farmer. His mother, Esther, had eleven children—four girls, then Jonathan, to be followed by six more girls, and all of them six feet in height. Of the larger family circle, his maternal grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, was pastor of the largest church in New England, some thirty-five miles away at Northampton.

Jonathan Edwards would appear to have had a healthy and happy childhood, spent largely in female company. When he was not quite thirteen he was sent down river to the Collegiate School of Connecticut. Two years later the School settled at New Haven and became Yale College. The Head was one of Edwards’ many cousins, Elisha Williams. Edwards graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1720, and it was decided he would stay a further two years to become a Master of Arts. One year later, however, in the spring of 1721, something far more important happened.

Edwards at this time was already religious but despite ‘repeated resolutions’ it was not a religion that had changed his heart or humbled his natural pride. But now, he says, ‘I was brought to that new sense of things’, to an ‘inward, sweet delight in God and divine things . . . quite different from any thing I ever experienced before.’ ‘I began to have a new kind of apprehensions and ideas of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by him.’

It was now that Edwards’ concern to see Christ’s kingdom extended was born. Before concluding his M.A. studies he went to serve First Presbyterian Church in New York at the age of nineteen. This was a joyful time for him and sermons he preached in New York show him to be remarkably mature. But there were those, including his father, who wanted him back in Connecticut and from 1724 to 1726 he joined the staff at Yale as a tutor. These were years of preparation and 1726 brought the great milestone of his life, for that year saw him invited to join his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, now aged eighty-three, and still the minister at Northampton.

Meanwhile something even more significant had happened. As a teenager, Edwards had fallen in love with a girl who lived with her mother close to the College Green in New Haven. She was Sarah Pierrepont, and, on July 28, 1727, seventeen years old and dressed in pea-green satin brocade, she married Jonathan and became his inseparable helper.

Northampton, a town of some 200 homes, mostly clustered together for defence, had a population of about a thousand men, women and children. The couple set up home on a rural lane (later King Street), and were given ten acres and a further forty, five miles away. A year later the first of their children was born, and in the next twenty-two years the family grew until there were eight daughters and three sons.

The first seven years at Northampton were ones of hard work and happiness as Edwards settled into the habits of a lifetime. One concern, however, was to deepen as he grew to understand his congregation. His people made up the only church in the town and—according to the early New England pattern—the whole population regarded it as their own. When Stoddard died in 1729 the oversight fell entirely on Edwards.

The Northampton church was as eminent as any in the land but it seems that it had come to rely too much on what it had been. Its spiritual condition did not come up to Edwards’ expectation and his sermons increasingly revealed that he saw too many of his hearers as no more than nominal believers: ‘They come to meeting from one Sabbath to another and hear God’s word, but all that can be said to ’em won’t awaken ’em, won’t persuade ’em to take pains they may be saved.’ Often, he feared, such people were not even listening, ‘They are gazing about the assembly minding this and the other person that is in it, or they are thinking of their worldly business.’

This state of affairs came to an end in one of the best-known events of Edwards’ life, the revival of 1734–5, when, in his words, ‘A great and earnest concern about the great things of religion, and the eternal world, became universal in all parts of the town.’ He thought it probable that 300 had been converted within six months, and it was his hope that ‘the greater part of persons in this town, above sixteen years of age, are such as have the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.’ These were months when the crowded meetinghouse was filled with praise.

Edwards wrote an account of the awakening which was published under the title, A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God. The book drew widespread attention and instantly put Edwards and the Northampton church on the world stage. This appears to have been the occasion of a family quarrel that was to go on through the rest of Edwards’ lifetime, particularly involving cousins on his mother’s side, the Williamses. The revival did not continue. It is clear that by 1736 Edwards was again struggling with the difficulties of more normal church life, and there was cause for some disappointment as his anticipations of the permanent results of the revival were not all fulfilled. Party strife, long endemic in the village, reappeared.

In 1740, however, a work of grace, much wider in scale than in 1734–5, began along the eastern seaboard. It was the beginning of ‘the Great Awakening’, which would touch several places in the thirteen colonies of the fledgling nation. For Edwards, the Great Awakening years were exhausting times which brought him ‘to the brink of the grave’. Besides the care of his own people, he was now itinerating widely to preach for other men. Correspondence multiplied, and yet somehow he was also preparing two of the most significant books ever written on the subject of revival, Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, and Thoughts on the Revival in New England. Yet these were happy years, indeed, at one point, there was fear lest his wife Sarah would die of sheer joy!

The blessing of the early 1740s was followed by a longer period of difficulty when two major problems confronted Edwards almost simultaneously. First, in the wider scene in New England, opposition developed to the very idea of the Awakening as a ‘work of the Spirit of God’. Some, by foolish behaviour and lives lacking in Christlikeness gave just cause for criticism. Some of these people were fanatics, people who saw physical phenomena as sure proof of the Spirit’s work and presence. The ‘wild fire’ they represented gave support to the arguments of those who wished to discredit the whole work. In addition to this, in every revival there is a work of the Spirit on large numbers of individuals who express spiritual concern and their lives take on a new seriousness but it does not last, and in time there is a return to their former indifference and formal religion. With pain, Edwards had to recognize that in Northampton itself the number of true converts was not what he had once hoped.

The other great difficulty which Edwards now experienced was that support from his own congregation was weakening and one cause of this was the hostility of certain members of his wider family circle. During the 1740s Edwards had come to disagree with his grandfather Stoddard’s long-established practice of not requiring a profession of saving faith in Christ in order to be a communicant; communicants, Edwards came to see, ought to be believers. But Stoddard’s name was already a legend, and when his grandson’s disagreement with the great man became known there was uproar in the town, with the Williams family involved as usual. The final extraordinary outcome was his being voted out of his church. The great majority of the 230 male communicants voted for his removal. The tragedy deepens when Edwards writes that ‘most of them esteemed me to be the chief instrument in the hand of God of the eternal salvation of their souls’.

Thus one of the most fruitful pastorates in history ended on June 22, 1750. Edwards was now forty-six. No financial arrangement was offered to help them and for the best part of a year, apart from some temporary engagements, he remained unemployed. Then he accepted a call to an improbable situation. Stockbridge was a village in the frontier wilderness, forty miles from Northampton, and with a congregation of only about a dozen white families. One factor that added to the appeal of Stockbridge was the presence of Indians and the existence of a school for Indian children. So, after difficulties in selling their Northampton home, the whole family was eventually settled on the frontier by October 1751.

For Edwards Stockbridge was a haven of peace compared with the turmoil he had left behind. But it was not long before the family of Williamses at Stockbridge were showing all the prejudice and hostility that had marked the other members of the same clan. The Stockbridge Williamses had their own ambitious plans, in which material gain seems to have played no small part, and they wished for no oversight from anyone of Edwards’ stature. For three years there was to be another painful struggle, but this time the congregation stood with their pastor, and so did the Indians, whom the Williamses had antagonized. Only in 1754 did the Williamses in Stockbridge give up, and the strife was over.

Yet there were other trials, including persistent financial constraints, and, then, with the outbreak of war with the French, the whole frontier situation became exposed to attack. One of Edwards’ daughters, Esther, visited her parents and family at Stockbridge in the summer of 1756 and was filled with alarm at the danger of their situation.

The next year Esther’s husband, Aaron Burr, President of Nassau Hall, the College of New Jersey recently established at Princeton, died and Edwards was surprised to learn that the decision of the College trustees was that he should be his son-in-law’s successor. He did not wish to accept, and when the approaches to him continued, Edwards referred the decision to a council of friends. They concluded he should go to Princeton, the only time in his life that we read he shed tears. One major reason for his reluctance was that he now believed that he could be more useful by writing than by speaking and he had a number of potential books in hand. Given the urgency of the need at Princeton, Edwards left Sarah and most of his family behind at Stockbridge when he left in January 1758.

As he left the home for the last time, his daughter remembered, ‘When he had got out of doors he turned about,—“I commit you to God”, said he.’ Edwards was now fifty-four and he spoke of his health being stronger than previously, but the next month an inoculation against smallpox went wrong, and on March 22, 1758, he died at Princeton. Sixteen days after her father, Esther also died at Princeton, leaving two orphaned children. Sarah hurried down from Stockbridge to care for them, only to die herself and be buried with her husband at Princeton in October 1758.

[See Iain H. Murray’s ‘Jonathan Edwards: The Man and the Legacy’ in Heroes (Banner of Truth, 2009); and his Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography (Banner of Truth, 1987). There is also a series of 7 articles by Kenneth D. Macleod on the life of Edwards on the Trust’s website – http://www.banneroftruth.org/pages/articles/article_detail.php?1080 (the remaining articles in the series can be referenced from here). Sereno E Dwight’s ‘Memoirs of Jonathan Edwards’ appears in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 1, edited by Edward Hickman (Banner of Truth Trust reprint, 1974).]

Source: Banner of Truth

James M Houston

Dr. James M. Houston (1922-)

About the Editor

Dr. James M. Houston was born to missionary parents who served in Spain. Dr. Houston served as University Lecturer at Oxford University, England, from 1949-1971. He was a Fellow of Hertford College during the period between 1964-1971, and held the office of Principal of Regent College from 1969-1978. From 1978 to the present, he has served as Chancellor of Regent College. He is also Professor of Spiritual Theology for the College.

Dr. Houston has been active in the establishment and encouragement of lay training centers across the continents. These include the C. S. Lewis Institute in Washington, D.C., and The London Institute for the Study of Contemporary Christianity. In addition to his work with the Classics series, he has published abook entitled, I Believe in the Creator (Eerdmans, 1978).

Hardcover, 226 pages

Publisher: Multnomah Press

Publication Date(s): 1984

ISBN: 0-88070-064-5

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

November 27, 2015

Keeping the Heart: How to maintain your love for God

Keeping the Heart CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

“The heart of man is his worst part before it is regenerated, and the best afterward; it is the seat of principles, and the foundation of actions. The eye of the God is, and eye of the Christian ought to be, principally set upon it. The greatest difficulty in conversion is to win the heart to God’ and the greatest difficulty after conversion is to keep the heart with God.” –John Flavel (1627-1691)

“Flavel is clear-headed and eloquent in the plain Puritan style, orthodox, Christ-focused and life-centered in his subject-matter, with his mind always set on advancing true godliness, with peace and joy in the Lord.” – J. I. Packer

This is John Flavel’s classic work on union and fellowship with God. In a comprehensive and helpful manner Flavel helps us understand better what ‘keeping the heart’ means. He tells us why we should take this commission seriously and speaks about there being particular times when we need to be especially wary of being distracted from our goal. He then shows how we can go on to develop a greater ability in keeping our hearts in tune with God. His advice is timeless, sensitive and profound.

Table of Contents

Introduction by J.I. Packer
Flavel’s Introduction
1. What the Keeping of the Heart Supposes and Imports
2. Assign Some Reasons Why Christians Must Make This the Great Business of Their Lives
3. Special Seasons in the Life of a Christian which Require our Utmost Diligence in Keeping the Heart

1. The time of prosperity
2. The time of adversity
3. The time of Zion’s troubles
The time of danger and public distraction
5. The time of outward wants
6. The season of duty
7. When receiving injuries and abuses from men
8. When we meet with great trials
9. The hour of temptation
10. The time of doubting and of spiritual darkness
11. When sufferings for religion are laid upon us
12. When we are warned by sickness that our dissolution is at hand

4. Improving and Applying the Subject

John Flavel

John Flavel (1627-1691)

About the Author

[John] Flavel was an English Puritan who was forced out of the Church of England in 1662 after Charles II was restored to the throne. Supported by his people he went on to preach illegally in private houses, woodlands and even on a rocky island in the middle of the Salcombe river estuary. When the restrictions were lifted by James II in 1687 his still-loyal congregation in Dartmouth, Devon immediately erected a large Church for him to continue his ministry, which he did until his death in 1691.

Source: Christian Focus

Paperback, 128 pages

Publisher: Christian Focus

Publication Date(s): 1999; reprinted with introduction by J.I. Packer in 2012

ISBN: 978-184550-648-3

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

November 26, 2015

The Mortification of Sin (Abridged)

Mortification of Sin CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

In this abridgement of a classic work, the famous Puritan John Owen shows the need for Christians to engage in a life-long battle against the sinful tendencies that remain in them, despite their having been brought to faith and new life in Christ.

Owen is very insistent that believers cannot hope to succeed in this battle in their own strength. He sees clearly that the fight can be won only through faith in Christ, and in the power of the Spirit. Fighting sin with human strength will produce only self-righteousness, superstition and anxiety of conscience. But with faith in Christ, and with the power of the Spirit, victory is certain. The temptations in times like Owen’s and ours are obvious on every side; the remedy to them is clearly pointed out in this practical and helpful book.

Table of Contents

Preface
Publisher’s Foreword
1 Introduction
2 Why the Flesh Must Be Mortified
3 The Work of the Spirit in Mortification
4 How Life and Comfort Depend on Mortification
5 What Mortification Is Not
6 What Mortification Is
7 Only Believers Can Mortify Sin
8 God Requires Universal Obedience
9 The Dangerous Symptoms of Sin
10 Seeing Sin for What It Is
11 A Tender Conscience and a Watchful Heart
12 Humility
13 Wait for the Verdict of God
14 The Work of Christ and the Power of the Spirit

John Owen

John Owen (1616-1683)

About the Author

John Owen was born in 1616 in Stadhampton, Oxfordshire and died in Ealing, West London, in 1683. During his sixty-seven years he lived out a life full of spiritual experience, literary accomplishment, and national influence so beyond most of his peers that he continues to merit the accolade of ‘the greatest British theologian of all time.’

No outline of Owen’s life can give an adequate impression of the stature and importance to which he attained in his own day. He was summoned to preach before Parliament on several occasions, most notably on the day after the execution of Charles I. During the Civil War, Owen’s merit was recognized by General Fairfax, then by Cromwell who took him as a Chaplain to Ireland and Scotland. He was adviser to Cromwell, especially though not exclusively on ecclesiastical affairs, but fell from the Protector’s favour after opposing the move to make him King. In 1658 he was one of the most influential members of the Savoy Conference of ministers of Independent persuasion. After the Ejection he enjoyed some influence with Charles II who occasionally gave him money to distribute to impoverished ejected ministers. All in all, he was, with Richard Baxter, the most eminent Dissenter of his time.

Despite his other achievements, Owen is best famed for his writings. These cover the range of doctrinal, ecclesiastical and practical subjects. They are characterized by profundity, thoroughness and, consequently, authority. Andrew Thomson said that Owen ‘makes you feel when he has reached the end of his subject, that he has also exhausted it.’ Although many of his works were called forth by the particular needs of his own day they all have a uniform quality of timelessness. The Trust has reprinted his Works in twenty-three volumes.

[See also Andrew Thomson’s ‘Life of Dr Owen’ in Volume 1 of The Works of John Owen.]

Richard Rushing

Richard Rushing

Richard Rushing is a graduate of Northwest Baptist Seminary, Tacoma, Washington (now Corban University School of Ministry). He was a pastor in eastern Washington for seven years and now ministers at Bethany Baptist Church, Martinez, California. He and his wife, Diane, have two married children. Richard Rushing had abridged and edited the work of John Owen for some of the Trust’s ‘Puritan Paperbacks’ series, and has also compiled the devotional Voices from the Past, based upon Puritan writings.

Source: Banner of Truth Trust

Paperback, 130 pages

Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust

Publication Date: ©Richard Rushing 2004; Fifth reprint 2009

ISBN: 978-0-85151-867-1

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

November 25, 2015

God Transcendent

God Transcendent CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

J. Gresham Machen ‘was one of the most colourful and controversial figures of his time, and it is doubtful that in the ecclesiastical world of the twenties and thirties any religious leader was more constantly in the limelight’. Machen was a scholar, Professor at Princeton and Westminster Seminaries, church leader, apologist for biblical Christianity, and one of the most eloquent defenders of the faith in the twentieth century.

God Transcendent is a collection of Machen’s addresses. It shows, perhaps more clearly than any of his books, why he was such a great man. In these messages, Machen expounds the greatness and glory of God, the wonder and power of the gospel and the exhilaration of serving Christ in the front line of spiritual warfare.They show why Machen fought so tenaciously for biblical truth against error: ‘It is impossible to be a true soldier of Jesus Christ and not fight’.

This series of popular messages includes Machen’s famous address, “The Active Obedience of Christ,” delivered only weeks before his death on January 1, 1937.

Table of Contents:

Introduction
1. God Transcendent
2. Isaiah’s Scorn of Idolatry
3. The Fear of God
4. Sin’s Wages and God’s Gift
5. The Issue in the Church
6. The Letter and the Spirit
7. The Brotherhood in Christ
8. The Claims of Love
9. The Living Saviour
10. Justified by Faith
11. The Gospel and Modern Substitutes
12. The Separateness of the Church
13. Prophets False and True
14. The Good Fight of Faith
15. Constraining Love
16. The Creeds and Doctrinal Advance
17. Christ Our Redeemer
18. The Doctrine of the Atonement
19. The Active Obedience of Christ
20. The Bible and the Cross

J Gresham Machen

J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)

About the Author

John Gresham Machen was born at Baltimore on July 28, 1881, the middle of three sons born to a southern lawyer, Arthur Machen, whose brother had fought for the Confederates in the Civil War. Some time in his youth Machen came to a personal faith in Christ, but there was no dramatic conversion experience. In later years he was not even able to recall the date (4 January 1896) when he had publicly professed faith and become a church member in Franklin Street Presbyterian Church. He was educated at Johns Hopkins and Princeton Universities, Princeton Theological Seminary and the Universities of Marburg and Göttingen in Germany.

Machen taught at Princeton Seminary from 1906 until its reorganisation in 1929. Then he left to help found Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he served as professor of New Testament until his death from pneumonia on New Year’s Day, 1937. In 1936 Machen was instrumental with others in founding what became the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and was its first Moderator.

[See also Ned B. Stonehouse, J. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir (Banner of Truth, 1987); Geoffrey Thomas, ‘J. Gresham Machen’, The Banner of Truth, No. 214 (July 1981), pp. 12-20 and Nos. 233-238 (February-July 1983) .]

Source: Banner of Truth Trust

Paperback, 206 pages

Publisher: Banner of Truth Trust

Publication Date(s):

1949 (Wm. B. Eerdman’s Edition)
1982 (First Banner of Truth Edition)
2002 (Banner of Truth Edition Reprinted)

ISBN: 0-85151-355-7

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

November 24, 2015

The Christian View of Man

Christian View of Man CoverStatus: Available

Book Description

The question: What is Man? which arose centuries ago in the Psalms remains one of the most vital issues faced by present-day man.

Bewildered by technological advance, alienated from the convictions and lifestyle of his forefathers, modern man has lost his place in the universe. The echoes of his bewilderment can be heard everywhere, from the city graffiti to the rock songs, subcultures and new religions of our time.

Yet there is an answer to man’s identity crisis. Man is made by God, in his image, for his glory. This truth with all its implications is the theme of J. Gresham Machen’s popular presentation of The Christian View of Man. It explains, for Christians and non-Christians alike, how the Bible serves as a mirror to show us who we are. In simple yet careful language, Machen deals with such subjects as creation, man as the image of God, the fall, sin, God’s providence and care, and God’s restoring grace.

Table of Contents

FOREWORD
AUTHOR’S PREFACE
1 The Living and True God
2 The Decrees of God
3 God’s Decrees and Man’s Freedom
4 What is Predestination?
5 Does the Bible Teach Predestination?
6 Objections to Predestination
7 God’s Works of Creation and Providence
8 God’s Works of Providence
9 Miracles
10 Did God Create Man?
11 How Did God Create Man?
12 God’s Image in Man
13 The Covenant of Life
14 The Fall of Man
15 What is Sin?
16 The Majesty of the Law of God
17 Is Mankind Lost in Sin?
18 The Consequences of the Fall of Man
19 What is Original Sin?
20 Sinners Saved by Grace
INDEXES

J Gresham Machen

Dr. J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937)

About the Author

John Gresham Machen was born at Baltimore on July 28, 1881, the middle of three sons born to a southern lawyer, Arthur Machen, whose brother had fought for the Confederates in the Civil War. Some time in his youth Machen came to a personal faith in Christ, but there was no dramatic conversion experience. In later years he was not even able to recall the date (4 January 1896) when he had publicly professed faith and become a church member in Franklin Street Presbyterian Church. He was educated at Johns Hopkins and Princeton Universities, Princeton Theological Seminary and the Universities of Marburg and Göttingen in Germany.

Machen taught at Princeton Seminary from 1906 until its reorganisation in 1929. Then he left to help found Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he served as professor of New Testament until his death from pneumonia on New Year’s Day, 1937. In 1936 Machen was instrumental with others in founding what became the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and was its first Moderator.

Machen’s books published by the Trust are The Christian View of Man, What is Faith?, God Transcendent, and New Testament Introduction.

[See also Ned B. Stonehouse, J. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir (Banner of Truth, 1987); Geoffrey Thomas, ‘J. Gresham Machen’, The Banner of Truth, No. 214 (July 1981), pp. 12-20 and Nos. 233-238 (February-July 1983) .]

Source: Banner of Truth

Paperback, 254 pages

Publication Dates:

The Trustees u/w J. Gresham Machen, 1937;
First Banner of Truth Edition, 1965;
Reprinted, 2015

ISBN: 978 0 85151 112 2

Library patrons who have read this book are invited to share their comments, reviews, questions or criticisms for discussion in the comments below this post.

November 23, 2015

By Grace Through Faith (Galatians 2:15-21)

IMG_0686

Pastor Joe Troutman preaching at San Antonio Reformed on June 21, 2015. HT: Billie Moody

On Sunday, November 15, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “By Grace Through Faith” from Galatians 2:15-21.

You are justified in God’s sight not because of what you have done, but only by what Christ has done for you, and imputed to you by God’s free grace.

1. By God’s Free Grace—It doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, all are justified by grace through faith in Christ. Justification is, in God’s Court, your being declared righteous. If our righteousness is filthy rags, then justification by God is a gift.

2. He Pardons All Our Sins—In the case of your standing before the Lord, it is impossible to plead innocence. If you only ever committed the least sin, you stand condemned by the Law, because it is holy, good and demands perfection from you. Your heart is sinful and wicked, so every good thing you do is marred by your own self-seeking interests. These acts come from a state of sin. They cannot prove that you are righteous, because you are not so in and of yourself. They only prove your unrighteousness. But the Bible says that those who repent of their sins and believe will receive a pardon.

3. He Accepts Us as Righteous in His Sight—When you are justified, Jesus Christ’s righteousness is imputed to you. The holy God chose to love elect sinners and so imputes his Son’s righteousness to them.

Listen to “By Grace Through Faith (Galatians 2:15-21)” at mcopc.org.

November 21, 2015

Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism and the Decline of Conciliar Orthodoxy

Pelagius

HT: Wikipedia

On Sunday, November 15, 2015, Elder Wayne Wylie lead a discussion on the heresies of Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism, and the decline of conciliar orthodoxy.

Pelagianism—A teaching, originating in the late fourth century, which stresses man’s ability to take the initial steps toward salvation by his own efforts, apart from special grace. Belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil with Divine aid (from class handout).

The class discussed Pelagius’ first principle that man is able to obey God’s commands, and that Adam sinned only for himself, not humankind. This was followed by a discussion of the orthodox doctrine of original sin (See Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 6).

Next, Semi-Pelagianism was defined, and it was explained that this heresy persists in various forms to the present.

Semi-Pelagianism or Massilianism—Semi-Pelagianism involved doctrines upheld during the period from 427 to 529 that rejected the extreme views both of Pelagius and of Augustine in regards to the priority of divine grace and human will in the initial work of salvation. The beginning of faith springs from the free will of nature, and that the essence of “prevenient grace” consists in the preaching of the Christian doctrine of salvation. On the basis of such faith, man attains justification before God (“prevenient grace” allows persons to engage their God-given free will to choose the salvation offered by God in Jesus Christ or to reject that salvific offer) [from class handout].

With the fragmentation of the Christian Church due to the Great Schism between the Eastern (“Orthodox”) and Western (“Catholic”) Churches and the Protestant Reformation, the Christian Church could no longer speak with one voice to formally condemn heresies. Subsequently, heresy abounds today due to the lack of universally authoritative accountability.

Listen to “Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism and the Decline of Conciliar Orthodoxy” at mcopc.org.

November 19, 2015

For God’s Glory, and for Our Good (John 11:1-16)

Sermons JohnOn Sunday, November 8, 2015, Pastor Joe Troutman preached “For God’s Glory and For Our Good” from John 11:1-16.

Lazarus’s deliverance from death was, and your salvation from eternal damnation is, accomplished by Jesus Christ for the glory of the Triune God.

1. Expression of Love—Because of his love for Mary, Martha and Lazarus, Jesus stayed two days longer upon reports that Lazarus was ill. They benefited more by his delay than if he had healed Lazarus immediately.

2. Walking in the Day—Jesus knows there’s no safer plae for him to be than right where the Father planned for him to be. The divine nature of Jesus knows his Father’s secret will. There was still time for Jesus to work.

3. For Your Sake, For God’s Glory—Jesus wants his disciples to have true faith in him. His delay in going to Lazarus was for their spiritual good. Sometimes for the sake of God’s glory, people must endure suffering.

Listen to “For God’s Glory and For Our Good” (John 11:1-16) at mcopc.org.