Dec 31, 2011

William Button Books (-1785-)

The Nature of Special Faith in Christ Considered [A Reply to Andrew Fuller] (67 pages)

"Mr. Thomas Goodwin, in his address to the reader, annexed to his discourse on the true nature of the gospel, observes, “It concerns every minister of the gospel to put a stop to any opinion which hath the least tendency to Arminianism. We are not as idle spectators, to stand by with patience to see the truths of the gospel either openly invaded, or secretly supplanted, but as long as we are able to frame a thought, or hold a pen, it is our duty to make a vigorous opposition.” This consideration, together with the pressing solicitations of some intimate friends, have been the occasion of these letters being presented to the public." -William Button

When a child of GOD can truly call GOD, his GOD - Philippians 4:13, 19 - Robert Hawker

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me... my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." [Philippians 4:13, 19]

I admire the confidence with which Paul speaks, that their want should be all supplied. My GOD; saith he, shall supply. Observe the ground; My GOD. When a child of GOD can truly call GOD, his GOD, in Covenant; he brings in all Covenant-engagements as security, on which he bottoms all, for time, and for eternity. GOD hath engaged to be his people's GOD in CHRIST. And, therefore, they do but give him the credit of a faithful Covenant GOD, when they lay hold of him by faith, and depend upon him for the accomplishment. GOD'S promises, are not as some mens' faith is, a yea, and nay gospel; but all his promises are, yea, and Amen, in CHRIST JESUS. 2 Corinthians 1:20. Let not the Reader overlook this for himself, if so be, his faith is grounded on the same security as the Apostle's. When a child of GOD can say, my GOD! like Paul, a fullness of earthly accommodations, or a scantiness, will both be sanctified. CHRIST, in a providence of good things below, will then bring no danger. And, if JESUS comes to any of his redeemed ones with a cross with him, the child of GOD will find a blessedness, in lodging both: Paul could do all things through CHRIST. And blessed be GOD, from the same cause, so can you, and I!

What a mystery are you! - J.C. Philpot

Romans 7:21 - "I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me." Are you not often a mystery to yourself? Warm one moment—cold the next! ...

Abasing yourself one hour—exalting yourself the following! Loving the world, full of it, steeped up to your head in it today—crying, groaning, and sighing for a sweet manifestation of the love of God tomorrow! Brought down to nothingness, covered with shame and confusion, on your knees before you leave your room—filled with pride and self-importance before you have got down stairs! Despising the world, and willing to give it all up for one taste of the love of Jesus when in solitude—trying to grasp it with both hands when in business!

What a mystery are you! Touched by love—and stung with hatred! Possessing a little wisdom—and a great deal of folly! Earthly-minded—and yet having the affections in heaven! Pressing forward—and lagging behind! Full of sloth—and yet taking the kingdom with violence! And thus the Spirit, by a process which we may feel but cannot adequately describe—leads us into the mystery of the two natures perpetually struggling and striving against each other in the same bosom—so that one man cannot more differ from another, than the same man differs from himself.

But the mystery of the kingdom of heaven is this—that our carnal mind undergoes no alteration, but maintains a perpetual war with grace. And thus, the deeper we sink in self-abasement under a sense of our vileness, the higher we rise in a knowledge of Christ, and the blacker we are in our own view—the more lovely does Jesus appear.

Let no difficulty hinder thee in serving thy Lord - Samuel Richardson

By nature we are prone to desire liberty, and abuse it; we need to be exhorted that we use not our liberty as an occasion to the flesh, Gal. 5. to sloth and ease, &c. Liberty to sin is no liberty, but the greatest bondage that can be to have a free heart to serve God, and the lets outwardly removed is sweet liberty to enjoy God, is liberty to be set free by Christ from sin, Satan, hell, is to be freed indeed; and though we have nothing to do to be saved, we have something to do for his glory, which is to be our meat and drink, therefore let no difficulty hinder thee in serving thy Lord, say not it is impossible, consider Luk. 1. 6. 1 Pet. 4. 13. 19. Press after perfection, the nearer the better, watch and pray to prevent sin, to do good, make it thy business to keep Christ's commands.

Dec 30, 2011

David Brainerd Books (1718–1747)

David Brainerd, Missionary by Stephen Ross
David Brainerd, missionary, was born at Haddam, Connecticut, April 20, 1718. His father, Hezekiah, was one of His Majesty's counsel for the colony, and his maternal grandfather was the son of Rev. Peter Hobart, first minister of the gospel at Hingham, England, who came to New England during the persecution of the Puritans, and settled at Hingham, Massachusetts. David was left an orphan at fourteen years of age, was always thoughtful beyond his years and inclined to morbid conscientiousness. When he was seven or eight years old, his religious experiences were marked, but did not continue. Six years afterward they returned upon him with great power, resulting as he believed in his conversion to God. At the age of twenty he was again the subject of especial religious impression, and his new baptism stirred his soul to its inmost depths. He preserved the record of these experiences in detail, in his account of his early life and conversion.

In September, 1739, he entered the freshman class at Yale College, "but," as he says, "with some reluctancy, fearing lest I should not be able to lead a life of strict religion, in the midst of so many temptations." The "Great Religious Awakening" (1739-45) however, which arose and spread over the country visited New Haven, and Brainerd found himself deeply interested in it. His standing as a scholar was good, but other college experiences of his have actually had more regard paid to them than did that fact. The college authorities set themselves in opposition to the "revival movement," so-called, and forbade the students to attend upon the services connected with it. Several religious young men, however, associated themselves together for mutual conversation and assistance in spiritual things, and it was in the company of two or three friends in the college hall, that Brainerd was heard about this time to say, in answer to an inquiry concerning one of the college tutors, "he has no more grace than this chair." This was repeated to the college rector, Rev. Dr. Thomas Clap, and as Brainerd, while he confessed the impropriety of his language, declined to make a public confession and to humble himself before the whole college for what he had said only in private conversation, and as he had gone once to the separate meeting in New Haven, when forbidden by the Rector, the young culprit forthwith found himself expelled from the college. His personal feeling under the indignity, as witnessed by his diary, seems to have been of the most praise worthy character, and his bearing under what was a trial so severe that he apparently never recovered from it, was that of a Christian gentleman. But nothing availed with the college dignitaries, who refused him readmission and rejected his prayer to be allowed to graduate with his classmates, although urged to grant it by a council of Congregational ministers. Brainerd's biographers have attributed much of the dejected and semi-morbid frame of mind that characterized portions of his subsequent career to the absolutely indefensible and discreditable action of the college governors.

Being resolute to take up the Christian ministry, he was licensed to preach by the Danbury (Conn.) association of Congregational ministers, on July 20, 1742, and in November the same year he was asked by the American correspondents of the Scottish Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, to visit New York and confer with them concerning entry upon missionary labor among the Indians of North America. This arrangement was perfected and Brainerd began his work with the Stockbridge (Mass.) Indians, at a place named Kaunameek, twenty miles from the village of Stockbridge, April 1, 1743. Here he labored for a year. On November 3, 1744, in a letter addressed to the correspondents who had employed him, he gives ample account of his labor among the Indian people and of the reasons which induced him, after conference with the correspondents, to turn over the work among them to Rev. Mr. Sergeant, of Stockbridge, into whose bounds they agreed to remove, while he (Brainerd) should transfer his labors to the Delaware Indians.

He now received urgent invitations to settle in the ministry at Millington, Connecticut, and at Easthampton, Long Island. But both these overtures were declined and he proceeded to the forks of the Delaware river near the present site of Easton, Pennsylvania, having been ordained by the Presbytery of Newark, June 11, 1744. He appears to have labored diligently at this station for a year during which period he paid two visits to Indians of the Susquehanna, but without the eminent and signal success which subsequently attended his exertions in his third field of labor. Much of his work was apostolic pioneering.

His health began to fail, and his mind acquired the habit of contemplating death as a relief from his trials of body and soul. But he says: "God scarce ever lets these thoughts be attended with terror and melancholy: they are attended frequently with great joy."

In June, 1745, he began the labors among Indians at Crossweeksung, New Jersey, near the present town of Freehold in that state, which have gone far to make his name immortal among missionary workers. They continued for a year and consisted of faithful and earnest preaching among scattered Indian families, who from the first rejoiced at his advent among them, with the most pronounced and satisfactory results. Brainerd's record of these efforts and the impression from them is minute and attests a religious work which for genuineness and power has not often been surpassed. In less than a year, it is asserted, he had baptized seventy-seven persons, of whom thirty-eight were adults, and the lives of most of these people were permanently reformed.

But under these exertions, and the journeys by which they were attended, Brainerd's health broke down, and the end came during a trip to New England undertaken by the direction of his physicians who were conscious that consumption had fastened itself upon his system. He reached Northampton, Massachusetts, in July, 1747, and was kindly cared for at the house of Rev. Jonathan Edwards, to whose daughter, Jerusha, he was betrothed. Being still advised to open air exercise, he next visited Boston, Massachusetts, but sank still lower in health while there. Reviving sufficiently to reach Dr. Edwards's house once more, he remained there until the end. Brainerd had some means of his own, derived from his father, and these were freely consecrated to the great work of his life, a portion of them being spent in the education of a young man for the Christian ministry. His "Life," compiled from his diary, was written by Rev. Jonathan Edwards (1749), and a second edition was edited by Sereno Edwards Dwight at New Haven, Connecticut, in 1822. A third edition was edited by Rev. J. M. Sherwood at New York, 1884. John Wesley also published an abridgement of Brainerd's Life, in England. (See also Sparks's "American Biography," and Sprague's "Annals of the American Pulpit.") He died October 9, 1747.

Copied by Stephen Ross for from The National Cyclopædia of American Biography... New York: James T. White & Company, 1892. Vol. II.

Copied by Stephen Ross for from The National Cyclopædia of American Biography... New York: James T. White & Company, 1892. Vol. 2.

Dec 25, 2011

James Durham Books (1622-1658)

Commentary on The Song of Solomon (498 pages)

To The Christian Reader

by John Owen

I have been desired by some interested in the publishing of the ensuing Exposition of the Canticles to peruse it, and to communicate unto thee my thoughts concerning it; upon the first request, I judged this labour altogether needless, on the account of that reputation, which the known piety and abilities of its author, have in the church of God. And this he hath deservedly, not only from his personal holiness and useful labours in the work of the ministry, but also from those other eminent fruits of his study, which being formerly published, have recommended him to the thoughts of unprejudiced persons, as one of good learning, sound judgment, and every way "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed." The perusal of this Exposition hath much confirmed me in the same thoughts and apprehensions. The book of the Canticles is not in any part of it, much less in the whole, a meet subject for every ordinary undertaker to exercise upon. The matter of it is totally sublime, spiritual, and mystical; and the manner of its handling universally allegorical. So did God think meet in his manifold wisdom to instruct his church of old, whilst it tabernacled under those clouds and shadows, whose departure and flying away it so earnestly breathes after in this very book. God committed unto it then, in his oracles, the same treasure of wisdom and grace, as he doth now unto us under the gospel, only he so folded them up under types and allegories, that they could not clearly and distinctly look into them, he having provided "some better things for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."

The nature of those types and allegories, with the distinction between them, is briefly, but excellently discoursed by our author in his preface, as a necessary proeludium unto his whole Exposition. There was always then a virtual, spiritual light and heat, a mystery of wisdom in this book but so wrapt up, so encircled and enclosed in its manner of expression, and universal respect unto Christ, not then actually exhibited, as that it shines not forth, it gives not out its beauty and glory, until touched and affected by a beam of immediate gospel light, and its covering be taken off by him who removes the vail of Moses, and of all the prophets, both from their writings and the minds of them that do believe. I shall not here enquire particularly what express understanding in and of the things divinely revealed in this book, the church had under the Old Testament, whilst they "searched diligently into the grace of Christ here declared," and "which his Spirit herein testified unto them." Nor shall I stay to manifest how great a darkness as to the true and useful apprehension of the mind of God in this holy allegory, seems to have been upon some whole ages of the Christian church. This is certain, that ever since this heavenly treasure was committed to the sons of men, such a beauty, glory, and excellency have beamed from the matter contained in it, with the manner of its declaration, and the impress of the wisdom of God in both, that all who have had a due reverence unto divine revelation, have been filled with an holy admiration of it, and a desire to look into the mystery contained in it. But whereas, as was intimated; the things contained in it, are, "the deep things of God," which none can search out to perfection, but the Spirit of God; and the manner of its delivery is not only absolutely allegorical, the reducing of the just and due intendment of which kind of expression unto that which is proper, requires great heedfulness, skill, and diligence, both in things spiritual, when their subject is such, and in the nature of those schemes, or figures of speech, but also, suited unto a measure of light, and understanding which we are not thoroughly acquainted withal; these things falling in conjunction with the imperfection and weakness of all, with the curiosities of some who have undertaken this exposition, many mistakes have ensued thereon; yea, some attempts of this kind have seemed to be designed to divert the minds of men from the direct scope and intendment of the Holy Ghost throughout this whole book. The Jews in their Targum, a work of great and public esteem amongst them, are larger on this book, than any other in the whole Bible. It seems indeed to have been a later endeavour than most of their other Paraphrases, seeing express mention is made in it, not only of their Talmud, but also of sundry Talmudical fables, as of their two Messiahs, Ben-David, and Ben-Joseph, of their anti-messiah, Armillus, of their eating and drinking Leviathan with the wine of paradise in their vainly expected kingdom. But it may be these are later corruptions, and not the conceptions of the first author of that work. However, they plainly acknowledge the mystery and allegory of the whole, ascribing the things mentioned to the transactors between God and the church, partly historically, partly prophetically, with such a respect unto the Messiah, as in sundry places is not to be despised. From them, have some learned persons of late taken occasion to wrest the whole allegory into an history, and a prophecy: but with more sobriety than they, and with more respect to the analogy of faith, with the lights and times of the New Testament.

It is, in my judgment, no hard matter to evert that supposition, and cast it out of further consideration; but this is not a place to engage in that undertaking: but I do suppose, that he who will seriously consider the uncertainty and arbitrariness of their conjectures in the application of things here spoken unto, the distinct times and seasons which they would have intended, will find himself somewhat unable to give a firm assent unto their assertions, though he should be desirous so to do. The more general persuasion of learned men is, that the whole is one holy declaration of that mystically spiritual communion, that is between the great Bridegroom and his Spouse, the Lord Christ and his church, and every believing soul that belongs thereunto. This being the nearest, surest, and most firm relation that is between them, the ground of all that he did for the church, and continues yet to do, and of all the duty that he requires from it, that intercourse in faith, love, delight, rest, and complacency that is between them, is here expressed, in words suggested by and from the wisdom of God: and as the whole Song carries this design and intention evidently in the face of it; so the safe rules of attending to the true meaning of the original words, the context of the discourse, the nature of the allegorical expressions, the just period of the Dialogists, or Interlocutors, the analogy of faith, by collation with other scriptures, and the experience of believers in common, will through the supply and assistance of the Spirit upon their fervent supplications, lead humble and believing enquirers, into such acquaintance with the mind of God, in the several particulars of it, as may tend to their own, and others' edification.

This course our author steered, and that, if I greatly mistake not, with eminent success. He was no doubt liable to mistakes, as we are all; nor is his Exposition proposed, as that which should prescribe to the judgments, or give bounds to the enquiries of others, whom God hath endued with the like gifts and grace. But this, I suppose, I may say without offence, that it will be hard for any to discover, either defect in judgment, or untruth in affection, or the ommission or neglect of any rule, means, or advantages that might, or ought to be used in enquiry after the mind of God, in this work, or a want of perspicuity, and plainness in the discovery, or expression of his conceptions upon it. I am persuaded every reader, whose mind is exercised about, and conversant in these things, whose heart hath an experience of their power and reality, will find that light and strength added to what he hath attained, and that assistance and direction towards what he is yet reaching out after, as that he will not forbear to give that testimony to the author in this matter, as is due to a faithful and skilful labourer, in this excellent part of the harvest of the Lord; and to the judgment of such alone I do appeal: and this consideration refers me to these thoughts which I before expressed, viz. the uselessness of any recommendation of this treatise unto those who are willing conscientiously to enquire into the sacred truths treasured up in this excellent portion of scripture, and to improve them unto their own advantage in faith and obedience.

The whole of what I can contribute unto the furtherance of the usefulness of this treatise, is to recommend it in my poor supplications, unto the grace of him, who supplied this seed to the sower, that he would bless it in the hearts and minds of them that read it, with an increase unto holiness and eternal life:

So prays, thy friend and servant in the work of the gospel,

John Owen.

May 20, 1669.

Dec 24, 2011

William Tiptaft Books (1803-1864)

Letters of William Tiptaft with Select Writings (192 pages)

An excerpt from J. C. Philpot's "Memoir of William Tiptaft"
I feel that my Memoir gives but a feeble and defective record of William Tiptaft. Those features of his natural and spiritual character which won from all who knew him such renowned affection and esteem, were so personal and practical that they were better seen in him, than can be described of him. His daily, I may almost say hourly, self-denial was such as I believe few others have ever witnessed. He seemed ever ready to make any personal sacrifice for the glory of God, or the good of His people. Time, money, health, strength, and life itself—he did not consider his own. He felt he was but a steward who held them in trust, and who might be called at any hour to render an account of his stewardship. To live for God—to walk in His fear—to serve and please Him—to preach His truth—to do His work—to know and obey His will—and be made a blessing to His people—seemed to be his daily end and aim.

I have known men—of greater natural abilities—of deeper and more diversified experience—of more shining pulpit gifts—of more enlarged views of divine truth; but I have never seen anyone, whether minister or private Christian, who approached him in practical godliness—and which was carried out with undeviating consistency for the 35 years during which I had the pleasure and profit of his friendship.

The churches of truth needed an example of the practical power of the doctrines which they profess. A light, loose, antinomian spirit had too much prevailed—and with a great deal of religious talking, there was a very small amount of religious walking. But however low quickened souls or living churches may sink, they have still a conscience made tender in the fear of God, and to this conscience William Tiptaft's keen, pithy remarks, and, above all—his godly life and shining example, commended themselves.

And as he honored God, so did God honor him. His last days were his best days. He was buried amidst the sobs and tears of a people who loved and revered him—and he has left to us all the benefit and blessing of a conspicuous example of vital godliness and practical religion, as well as a testimony of the faithfulness of God to His own Word and work.

I have always thought that his distinguishing feature, through the whole of his spiritual life, was the fear of God—manifesting itself in a most self-denying, upright, practical walk and conduct. Where shall we find one, who, from the beginning to the end of his profession, lived and walked like Tiptaft? Truly in him the fear of the Lord was a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. This fear, as the beginning of wisdom, was implanted in his soul. Its first effects were—to separate him from the world—to lead him to solitude and reflection—and give him an earnestness and seriousness of character which were in striking contrast with the lightness and frivolity of his college life.

Those who knew William Tiptaft know that no minister feared man less—or God more. He was full of zeal and earnestness—of a most bold, undaunted spirit—and counted the smiles of men as dust in the balance.

Yet, one of the most marked features of his character was the sympathy he felt with the poor, and the thoroughness with which he identified himself with their feelings, views and interests. He was eminently—the poor man's friend.

John Brine Books (1703-1765)

The Certain Efficacy of the Death of Christ Asserted (248 pages)
A Vindication of Some Truths of Natural and Revealed Religion (265 pages)
A Treatise on Various Subjects - 2nd Edition Complete and Unabridged (264 pages)
A Treatise on Various Subjects - 4th Edition Revised (228 pages)
Sermons of John Brine (1277 pages)

JOHN BRINE was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England in 1703. His parents were very poor regarding this world's goods, so while he was very young John was put to work in the staple manufactory in Kettering. As a result of his poverty and regular daily employment he had very little opportunity for a thorough formal education. He was baptized, and joined the Particular Baptist chapel then under the care of Mr. Thomas Wallis, having received his first religious impressions from the ministry of Mr. John Gill, who was a member of Mr. Wallis' church, and who occasionally preached at Kettering, while residing at Higham-Ferrars. Though the straitness of his circumstances compelled him to have recourse to his daily labor for a subsistence, he was, nevertheless, careful to improve every opportunity for the cultivation of his mind and he must have taken incredible pains at this period to acquire so respectable an acquaintance with the learned languages, and with the other branches of useful knowledge which he eventually obtained. About this time he married Anne Moore, the daughter of Mr. John Moore, a respectable minister of the Particular Baptist denomination, at Northampton. With this lady he lived in a state of conjugal happiness for many years, until her death, on the 6th of August, 1745, upon which occasion Dr. Gill preached her funeral. Mr. Brine was called into the ministry by the church at Kettering, to which he stood related; and after preaching for some time in an occasional way, received a call to undertake the pastoral charge of a Particular Baptist church at Coventry. In that station he continued a few years, till he was invited to London, to succeed Mr. William Morton, as pastor of the Baptist congregation at Curriers' Hall, Cripplegate, London. This was about the year 1730. During the next thirty-five years he resided in London, continued as pastor of the Baptist congregation meeting in the Curriers' Hall, Cripplegate, and took a principle lead in all the public transactions that concerned the Particular Baptist denomination. The solid reputation that he obtained with his Baptist brethren, occasioned his being frequently called upon to preach at the ordination of younger ministers and funeral ceremonies of ministers and private Christians. His death took place on the 21st of February, 1765. He was buried in Bunhill-Fields cemetery. He left positive orders that no funeral sermon should be preached for him. However, his friend, Dr. Gill did preach a sermon upon that occasion to his own congregation from 1 Corinthians 15:10 - By the grace of God I am what I am. Throughout the last 235 years, John Brine has often been the object of severe criticism. Instead of being shocked or made suspicious of Brine's ministry, it is rather what should be expected if Brine was faithful in his ministry as a disciple of Christ! The faithful preacher is called to endure public criticism, especially in light of what the Lord Jesus Christ has said, "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord... If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?" (Matthew 10:24-25). Therefore, instead of fearing criticism, the Lord Jesus Christ clearly teaches that the minister ought to fear public praise, "Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets." (Luke 6:26). We believe John Brine would have been one of the last to claim perfection. Just before he died he said, "I think I am of sinners, the chief; of saints, the least; I know that I am nothing." However, we also believe that much of the criticism leveled at Brine has been biased and/or uniformed and that John Brine has been and ought to be better understood. For instance, many people during Brine's lifetime, and since, have had a high regard for John Brine and his ministry. The Quaker historian Walter Wilson observed that John Brine was, "a divine of considerable celebrity among the Calvinistic Baptists" of his time. Volume 2, Page 574. The History and Antiquities of the Dissenting Churches of London. (London: Wm. Button and Son, 1808). The Baptist historian William Cathcart wrote, "Mr. Brine was a great man measured by his intellect, his usefulness, and his influence. He was a man of deep piety; he was intimately acquainted with the Holy Scriptures. He had an enthusiastic love for the doctrines of grace, and next to Dr. Gill... he was for years the most influential leader in the Baptist denomination." Page 135. The Baptist Encyclopaedia. (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts, 1881). Another Baptist historian, David Benedict, noticed that the English Baptist Magazine, No. 21, Page 187, listed John Brine as one of "the skillful defenders" of the doctrinal sentiments of the Particular Baptist Faith -- "Piggot, the Stennetts, the Wallins, the Wilsons, Evans, Brine, Gill, Day, Beddome, Francis, Ryland and Gifford." Volume 1, Page 216. A General History of the Baptist Denomination. (Boston: Lincoln and Edmands, 1813). The celebrated Particular Baptist minister, John Ryland "enumerates John Brine among the seven noble divines... These were, Dr. Owen, Mr. Stephen Charnock, Dr. Witsius, Mr. James Hervey, Dr. Gill, Mr. George Whitfield, and Mr. John Brine." Indeed, so highly did Mr. Ryland rate him, that in speaking of Bunhill Fields burial ground, he used to say, "There lie the ashes of the three great Johns - John Bunyan, John Gill and John Brine." Page xxi. "Memoir of Mr. John Brine." A Treatise on Various Subjects. 4th Edition. (London: James Paul, 1851). Even Brine's critics confessed the undeniable facts regarding his godly character, life and ministry. For example, Joseph Ivimey wrote, "Mr. Brine was of great weight in the [Baptist] denomination, and was a very pious and useful minister... Mr. Brine was a Christian of exemplary life and conversation, and cultivated the Christian tempers with assiduity, and was an ornament to the religion he professed. His amiable character procured him general respect... The high character given him by the upright Dr. Gill, is sufficient to lead all impartial persons to conclude that he was a holy man, and a faithful minister of Christ." Volume 3, Pages 367, 368, 370, 372. A History of the English Baptists. (London: Holdsworth and Ball, 1830). Why are John Brine's writings relevant for today? In what ways could we profit from reading them? We believe today's Christians can benefit from Brine's writings in at least two ways -- FIRST, by considering the immediate circumstances and spiritual context in which John Brine carried out his ministry and writing - which were so much like our own. Brine himself explains, "Our present situation, as a people professing Christianity, calls for two things in an especial manner. ONE is the defense of the doctrines and principles of our religion, and the revelation wherein those principles are contained. For many persons curtail, corrupt, or oppose the most important doctrines of the religion of Jesus, which makes it necessary truly to state, thoroughly explain, and defend them from the cavils and objections of bold and daring adversaries. And most needful it is to vindicate the sacred Word of God, which is objected unto by many, some in one way, and some in another; but the design of them all is to sink its credit with men, and to take them off from religiously regarding the sacred Scriptures. THE OTHER service which is needful to be attended unto at this time, is an endeavor to convince professors of that lukewarmness, indifference, and sad declension, whereinto they are now fallen." Preface, Page 1. A Treatise on Various Subjects. 4th Edition. (London: James Paul, 1851). Surely, those who read this will recognize an undeniable parallel between Brine's day and our own. We believe this striking similarity gives John Brine's diagnostic and prescriptive writings a particular contemporary relevance. SECOND, by considering the character and the content of John Brine's writings. In our opinion, John A. Jones, the 19th century editor of Brine's book, A Treatise On Various Subjects, has graphically described, in the following words, the content of almost everything Brine has written, "Christian Reader, you are here presented with a treatise on subjects of the greatest importance to an immortal soul; the work of 'a Master in Israel' in his day and generation. You will not find it to be a flimsy superficial performance, a mere skimming on the surface of religious matters. On the contrary, you have a display of deep thinking, and of holy research; incontestably proving that an enlarged scriptural, and an holy experimental acquaintance with Divine Truth, pervaded the mind of the judicious Author. He has spread before you a rich intellectual repast; a table well furnished with real gospel food... I freely acknowledge, that in a general point of view, I cordially approve of all Brine's writings; and was I possessed of the means, a uniform edition of the whole should be published." Page xiii. Editor's Preface. A Treatise on Various Subjects. 4th Edition. (London: James Paul, 1851). Again John A. Jones said that John Brine's "whole course of life was one of ministerial labor. He was also a very considerable writer, whether the number of his publications, or the ability displayed in them are considered... They are most polemical, and therefore more suited to the Biblical student, than to general readers. They are now very scarce. All are valuable, and his 'Treatise on Various Subjects,' especially to ministers, is invaluable, and cannot be too frequently read, too closely studied, or its holy maxims and injunctions too industriously practiced. The result will be health and marrow - Proverbs 3:8." Page xx. "Memoir of Mr. John Brine" A Treatise on Various Subjects. 4th Edition. (London: James Paul, 1851). How accurate are the criticisms of John Brine? How relevant are his writings today? From our perspective, we believe the importance of Brine's writings is firmly established by the godliness of his character, the example of his life, the testimony of primary witnesses who knew him personally, and the Biblical content of his writings. We believe any one of these factors is a challenge to the accepted criticism of John Brine and calls for reevaluation of his work. Even more, the "combination" of all these factors particularly emphasizes the need for reexamining John Brine and his writings, especially in view of the analogous spiritual condition of Brine's time and our own." quoted from

Dec 23, 2011

If thou aim at holiness by the law - William Huntington

"If thou aim at holiness by the law, remember thou must be perfect in the flesh as well as in spirit. The law is perfect; it will allow of no infirmities, no evil thoughts, no adulterous looks, no anger nor evil tempers, no fire to be kindled on the Sabbath day; not speaking thy own words, nor thinking thy own thoughts on that day; thy neighbor must be loved as thyself; half thy goods must be given to the poor; one coat of the two must go to them that have none... Make the law your only rule of life; read it, keep you eyes upon it, and live by it; and I will pray that I may be kept dead to the law, and alive unto God; that I may be crucified with Christ, and yet live; yet not I, but that Christ may live in me. If you make the law your rule of life, you are alive to the law, and walk in the law. And, if Christ lives in me, I shall be kept alive unto God, and walk in newness of life. Go you on with the commandments, and I will go on with the promises. Make the law your rule of walk, and I will pray God to perform his promise in me, for God hath said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them." Thus you go on by the law, and I by the gospel. Do you perform your duty, and I will plead my privileges. Act thou as an industrious servant; and, by God's grace, I will act as an affectionate son. Be thou obedient to the law, and I will pray for grace for obedience to the faith. Live thou in the fear of thy master, and I will endeavour to honour my heavenly Father." -William Huntington

Israel Atkinson (1817-1881)

Memoir of Israel Atkinson[Link to the Google version] (196 pages)
The Atonement (76 pages)
Faith (179 pages)
The Great Question Considered (34 pages)

Letter from John Foreman to Israel Atkinson
"This you have as a testimony of my great regard for you, and desire for your future welfare and prosperous success by the blessing of God in all that, by the disposing will of God, you may be called to put your hand to. My equal Christian love to your dear partner. God bless her with yourself and the dear babes! My love to all friends in the truth with whom you may meet, to whom for Christ's sake my name is no offence, and by this token believe me to be, dear brother, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, yours truly and very affectionately, J. Foreman." Dated December 3rd, 1842. (quoted from Memoir of Israel Atkinson)

Books by John Bunyan (1628-1688)

J.C. Philpot on John Bunyan
Bunyan was a most prolific writer. His mind teemed with divine thoughts. His heart was ever bubbling up with good matter, and this made his tongue the pen of a ready writer. Besides the "Pilgrim's Progress" and "Grace Abounding," his two best works, for in them his whole heart lay, his "Holy War," "The Two Covenants," his little "Treatise on Prayer," his "Broken Heart the Best Sacrifice," and others which we need not name, are deeply impregnated with Bunyan's peculiar power and spirit. There is some powerful writing in the three treatises contained in the little volume before us. That he is in places somewhat legal, and speaks too much of the "offers" of the gospel, we freely admit. This was the prevailing theology of the day, from which scarcely any writer of that period was free. But he sometimes employs the word "offers" where we should rather use the term "promises" or "invitations;" these said "offers" being not so much offers of grace to dead sinners as promises of mercy to God's living family who feel they are sinners. But we are unwilling to dwell on his blemishes. The Lord, whose servant he was, honored him in life, was with him in death, and his name will be dear to the church of God while there is a remnant on the earth.

A Few Sighs From Hell (182 pages)
The Doctrine of the Law and Grace Unfolded (266 pages)
A Discourse Touching Prayer (63 pages)
The Holy City (183 pages)
The Resurrection of the Dead and Eternal Judgment (141 pages)
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (120 pages)
Christian Behavior (87 pages)
Reprobation Asserted (76 pages)
The Strait Gate (92 pages)
The Pilgrim's Progress - Part One (293 pages)
A Treatise of the Fear of God (171 pages)
The Life and Death of Mr. Badman (246 pages)
Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ (195 pages)
The Holy War (316 pages)
The Greatness of the Soul (146 pages)
Advice to sufferers (154 pages)
The Pilgrim's Progress - Part Two (235 pages)
The Barren Fig Tree (80 pages)
The Water of Life (69 pages)
John Bunyan's Last Sermon (9 pages)
The Work of Jesus Christ as an Advocate (153 pages)
The Jerusalem Sinner Saved (117 pages)
An Exposition on the First Ten Chapters of Genesis (288 pages)
Of Antichrist and His Ruin (128 pages)
Christ a Complete Saviour (119 pages)
The Saints' Knowledge of Christ's Love (115 pages)
A Discourse of the House of the Forest of Lebanon (88 pages)
The Excellency of a Broken Heart (107 pages)
The Heavenly Footman (60 pages)
A Relation of My Imprisonment (40 pages)
Justification by an Imputed Righteousness (103 pages)
A Discourse Upon the Pharisee and the Publican (195 pages)
Saved by Grace (87)
One Thing Is Needful (51 pages)
Ebal and Gerizzim - The Blessing and the Curse (43 pages)
A Book For Boys and Girls (61 pages)
Prison Meditations (14 pages)
The Warrant for John Bunyan's Arrest (3 pages)
Mr. John Bunyan's Dying Sayings (10 pages)
A Memoir On John Bunyan (36 pages)
Spurgeon on Bunyan (10 pages)

Dec 11, 2011

Ye Must Be Born Again - John 3:3-8 - Robert Hawker

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." [John 3:3-8]

Jesus, hath so very plainly stated, both the principles of the new birth, and the effects which follow; that there can need, when taught of God, nothing more than an attention to our Lord's own words, to enter into a full apprehension of the subject. By the birth of nature, involved in the Adam-fall of sin and transgression, the, Church of Christ, as well as the whole world at large, is born in a polluted, carnal, and ungodly state. So that there must be a new birth by grace, and which the glorious Covenant of Redemption hath secured for the whole seed of Christ, to bring forth into a new and spiritual life. Without this saving change passing upon the sinner, there can be no possibility of entering the kingdom of God. From a grace-union with Christ, given by God the Father, before all worlds, to the Church, (Ephes. 1:4) this interest in the adoption-character of children is secured; and by the act of regeneration, wrought by God the Holy Ghost upon the soul, a meekness for grace here, and glory hereafter, is accomplished.

But plain as this statement is, to every truly regenerated child of God, who is himself an happy partaker of the unspeakable mercy; every carnal man, like this Pharisee, with whom our Lord conversed on the subject, will cry out, how can these things be? But so hath the Holy Ghost taught us to expect. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things. 1 Cor. 2:14,15. Reader! this is a blessed reality, to which the whole Church of God, in heaven and earth, can and do bear witness. There is not one now among the spirits of just men made perfect in heaven, but what was once in the Adam-nature of an unawakened, carnal state: and out of which he was brought, by this sovereign work of God the Holy Ghost upon his soul. Neither is there one among the children of God in the Church upon earth, when regenerated, but what hath by the same distinguishing mercy, passed from death to life; and been translated from the power of darkness, into the kingdom of God's dear Son. John 3:14. Coloss. 1:13.

I must request the Reader not to overlook the beautiful similitude which the Lord made use of, for illustrating this sovereign work of God the Holy Ghost. The source of the air in nature, is altogether unknown. We see, and feel, the powerful effects of it; and that is all we know of it. The greatest philosopher, and the poorest peasant, are here upon a level. Neither of them can explain, how storms are gendered; where winds are first raised; what keep them up, and carry them on; where they retire when the blast is over; and what becomes of them when gone. Now (saith Jesus,) so is every one that is born of the Spirit. And the figure is beautiful also on another account, in respect to the free agency of the air: The wind bloweth where it listeth. So God the Spirit displays the sovereignty of his Almighty Power, in coming; when, and where, and how; as seemeth good to his holy will and pleasure. But how is every one who is made the happy partaker of such distinguishing mercy constrained to join the Apostle's hymn of praise, and say with him, Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Cor. 9:15. On the subject of Regeneration, see Titus 3:4,5.

Listening to legalizing preachers - William Gadsby

...You will never know much of your ruined condition till God has slaughtered you, and made you as dead as a sinner at the borders of hell, entirely dead, to have no help or hope in yourself of obeying the Lord in his way, or bringing anything like peace or salvation to you by it.

Perhaps the poor soul, when brought to this point, may be under the painful situation of listening to legalizing preachers; and they will tell him he must repent and believe and love God and do his duty and be decidedly pious, and then God will love him. And very often they will stretch forth their hands, and apparently their heart, wonderfully, and say, “Come now, repent now, believe now; now is the time; if you do not embrace this opportunity, perhaps you will never have another; now is the time; it is now or never.” And the poor creature, raised up with a kind of zeal to imagine that he will try to do his best, is struck dead again; and if he is to be damned that moment, he can neither repent, nor believe, nor do anything that they set him to do. He finds his heart hard as a flint and his mind in such a confused way that he can neither repent nor believe, nor have tenderness of conscience, nor love of God. And thus he becomes dead to all help or hope in self, grounded upon these legal efforts and these legal exhortations. And perhaps there may be some poor soul in this assembly to-night who is there; who has been trying for many a long month again and again, making fresh vows and promises and doubling his diligence in order to do something pleasing to God; and you feel in your very soul that the more you try the farther you are off. I congratulate you. I thank God you cannot get on; and I pray that God will never let you get on, but that every step you take you may be more and more dead, till you are stiffly dead, and without ability in your feelings to lift up a finger or do anything towards helping your own soul. And if ever the Lord the Spirit brings you to that death, by and by he will reveal spiritual life, and lead you to know the blessedness of that truth: “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”

They zealously affect you, but not well - William Huntington

Thou hadst not got this yoke on thy neck, nor this grave-cloth wrapped about thy head, when thou satest under what is now called Antinomianism: thy soul seemed then to be healthy, thy conversation savoury, and thy countenance comely; thy heart was like the chariots of Amminadib, and thou didst run the race set before thee with delight. But where art thou now? They have driven thee with the law till thou art both blind and bound. "They zealously affect you, but not well;" they that lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy path; thou art not now in Wisdom's pleasant ways, nor in the paths of peace.

Remember from whence thou art fallen; from thy first love, from heartfelt union and fellowship with Christ, from joy and peace in believing, and from the happy enjoyment of God's free Spirit! Thou didst then enjoy the liberty of the gospel; now thou feelest the bondage of the law. The Lord did attend the word with a marvellous power, and ministered the Spirit among you by the preaching of faith. Does he then same now by the works of the law? I trow not. Thou hast felt the Saviour's yoke to be easy, and his burden light; and thou never wast more holy nor happy within, nor more circumspect without, than thou wast then. I would have thee try and see what the law can do for thee: stick to it, and try what love, life, peace, and holiness, can be fetched from thence; and, when thou hast perfected the work of sanctification by that rule, then be so kind as to send me an exact account of it; explain the operations of it, thy sensations under it, and a true account of the superabounding practical holiness that thy family, fellowmembers, and neighbours, see in thee.

Not one holy motion, not one divine and pleasing sensation, not a single flame of pure love to God or man, wilt thou ever fetch from that covenant. "The law worketh wrath;" and the carnal mind is enmity against the lawgiver; nor can it be subject to the law. Those that are under it may cleave to one another, but the union is only the bond of natural affections; and some are held together by corrupt affections, and some given up to vile affections. But pure love flows freely from a reconciled God in Christ Jesus; and is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, who is the spirit of life and of a sound mind.

Another Jesus, whom we have not preached - Ralph Harris

"Another Jesus, whom we have not preached" (2 Co 11:4)

I hear much said by the religious world about some man that they call Jesus and a few of the things they say about him sound as though they might be speaking of the Jesus I am acquainted with. But usually just about the time I think they are speaking of my Jesus they say something that makes me know they are talking about some other personality.

I hear some say their Jesus was just merely a good man, but this cannot be my Jesus, for He is both God and man (John 1:14). Others say their Jesus wants to save his people but he cannot do so unless they let him. This surely cannot be my Jesus because my Jesus has power over all flesh and gives eternal life to as many as His Father gave unto Him (John 17:2).

They speak of their Jesus wanting to do this, and trying to do that, and they boast of helping him save people, transporting him where he wants to go, preventing him from doing his will, frustrating him, hindering him, and such like things. No! No! this cannot be my Jesus. This cannot be the Jesus of the Bible, for He is the Lord God omnipotent (Rev. 19:6), and He rules and reigns in heaven and earth. Nothing He has ever undertaken has been frustrated or brought to naught. He cannot fail nor be discouraged (Isa. 42:4).

I do not need a Jesus over whom I can rule, and who must conform to my will. I do not need a Jesus who can do no more than I will let him do. Such a saviour is no saviour at all, and he does not suit such a sad case as mine. I need that wonderful Saviour who said, "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." He had the power to do the work that His Father gave Him to do, and when He had done that work He said, "It is finished." That’s good enough for me. -Elder Ralph Harris

Nov 24, 2011

Exclude all duty necessarily and wholly - Israel Atkinson

Salvation in every part of it from beginning to end is so of grace that in nothing is it a due from God to the sinner; and it is so according to the law of faith, as to its appropriation, possession, enjoyment, and all the means necessary thereto, as to exclude all duty necessarily and wholly. From first to last, "By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast."

The New Commandment - Israel Atkinson

The "new commandment" (John 13:34) must be included among those that are specially Christian. Both as to its reason and to its rule, this differs from the old commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." The reason of the old commandment is simply moral ; that of the new is Christian ; that is, the love of Christians to Christians is to be shown for Christ's sake. We say, shown, because this affection is as far superior to mere feeling as is a living energy to an empty utterance of an expression of sentiment. The rule of the old commandment is, "as thyself;" this of the new is, "as I have loved you." In the former case a man's neighbor is to be set on a level with himself; in the latter a Christian is to advance his fellow Christian above, or before himself. Jesus taught his disciples that he that sitteth at meat is greater than he that servcth ; 'I but," said the Lord of all, " I am among you as one that serveth." Answerably to this example, the new commandment must be interpreted as binding Christians to prefer each other in honour; to submit themselves one to another ; each to esteem other better than themselves; and all to make themselves of no reputation, cheerfully to take upon themselves the form of a servant, and in this capacity lovingly to serve their brethren "for Jesus' sake." But more ; Jesus repeated his commandment to his disciples with a very important additional instruction." This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." From this, then, it will be seen without doubt, that Christians, if occasion require, "ought to lay down their lives for the brethren." But all this is peculiarly Christian law for Christians. Bound as all men are, independently of belief in Christ, to love their neighbours as themselves, no unbeliever is obliged to love a Christian, as such, more than he is a heathen. If a heathen refuses to prefer in honour a Christian, as such, before himself, to esteem him better than himself, to submit to him, and to lay down his life for him, he will be a transgressor of no precept under which he is bound; but a default in either of these cases would be chargeable upon a Christian as a breach of the "new commandment."

John 1:9 - Robert Hawker

"That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (John 1:9)

The sense of this verse, which in itself, under divine teaching, is as plain as any portion of the word of GOD, by the perversion or ignorance of men, is brought forward to strengthen the opinion of those who profess that all men are endued with an inward light, which, they say, is sufficient for all the purposes of religion. And this they advance in direct opposition to what the LORD JESUS himself hath said, that the light which is in a man may be altogether darkness. And in consequence hath left upon record this solemn precept, Take heed therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness! Matt. 6:23. Luke 11:35. But John's account of CHRIST in this verse is both plain and obvious. If we accept the words as referring to mere natural light, nothing can be more true than that CHRIST, as the Great Creator and Author of nature, lighteth every man that cometh into the world with all the understanding which in nature that man hath. And if we refer the expression to the light of grace, equally certain it is, that every man that cometh into the world who is enlightened by grace, must derive it wholly from CHRIST. So that CHRIST is the Author and Giver of both. And it is clearly in this sense the Apostle meant it. For it should be observed, that the Evangelist is here advancing the glory of CHRIST, and not of the glory of man.

Unawakened by the Holy Ghost - John 1:5 - Robert Hawker

"And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1:5)

Here is drawn the line of distinction between the character of those who from the natural blindness of a fallen state, unawakened by the HOLY GHOST, have no perception of the person and glory of CHRIST; and those who from grace-union with him, are called out of darkness into his marvellous light. Pause, Reader! and contemplate the vast privileges of the LORD'S people.

Oct 29, 2011

He will visit their transgression with the rod - Israel Atkinson

Respecting the penalty of disobedience to Christians, two or three things require to be premised Disobedience is, frequently chargeable upon them. If any Christians say they have no sin they deceive themselves ; and if they say they have not sinned, they make God a liar. In many things we offend all, both against moral and against Christian law. Further, God, as King and Father, in his economical dealings with his subjects and children, punishes them for their transgressions ; but this punishment, it should be observed; is wholly independentof,. And difterent from the judicial. penalty of their sins, which was borne alone by their Surety, when he was wounded for their transgressions and bruised for their iniquities. Further, that in all economical punisliments God never deals. with his children after their sins, nor rewards them, according to , their iniquities (Psa.: ciii; 10 ;) but which is wholly unlike the Judicial penalty borne by Christ he ever punishes them less than their faults deserve. (Ezra. Ix. 13.) `Further, unlike the case of Adam in Eden, and like that of the Jews in Canaan, repentance is admitted to Christian,. For them there is forgiveness with God, that he maybe feared. If they confess their sins, God is faithful and just to forgive them their sins. " If any (Christian) man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father." 1 John i. 1. Yet one thing more: just as the Christian contributes nothing to his salvation by his obedience, so he suffers the loss of nothing that constitutes his salvation by his disobedience. Being entirely of the Lord, this great matter exists wholly independently of Christian obedience, and is altogether unharmed by Christian disobedience; and concerning nothing of all that " God doeth," can it be affirmed more completely and confidently than of " the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory," that nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it." It is immutably true that, " Whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Rom. viii. 29, 30. No obedience of man ever formed a link in that wondrous chain of sequences, which Christians can never enough admire, and no disobedience has ever broken, or ever can break one.

What then is the penalty of Christian disobedience? Much, and many things, the barest contemplation of the least of which may well enough fill a Christian with awe, and lead him to say humbly to God, " My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgments." But this is a subject which must not be laborated here. Briefly, by their faults, churches may lose their purity of doctrine, their spiritual vitality, their moral honour, their " candlestick," and their organic existence. Ministers may build improper materials on the true foundation, and suffer the loss of their reward ; they may make shipwreck concerning the faith ; they may defile the temple of God, and themselves may be defiled by God; (pheirie, phtherei, 1 Cor. iii. 17 ;) that is, God may put them aside as vessels that are unsanctified and unfit for his, the Master's, use, and they may end their days in that condition which, for himself, Paul so earnestly deprecated and so sedulously endeavoured to avoid, namely, 0 horrible consummation ! that of a castaway. Christians of every condition, although not condemned with the world, are, nevertheless, judged of the Lord. Although their God Still never suffer his loving kindness and faithfulness to fail, yet if they forsake his law, and walk not in his judgments; if they break his statutes, and keep not his commandments, he will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. If they walk contrary to him, he will walk contrary to them. If they sow to their flesh, they shall of the flesh reap corruption. Pride will lead to destruction. A haughty spirit will be followed by a fall. Covetousness will tend to penury. Envy will be the rottenness of the bones. Wrath will bring strife and drive away peace. A lying tongue will be silenced in shame. The house of the idle will drop through. A backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways. Fleshly lusts indulged will become an army with banners warring against the soul. Sin will separate from communion with God, and make all the means of his grace dry breasts. What God said to Israel by Azariah he says to Christians now : " The Lord is with you, while ye be with him ; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you ; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you." Indeed, over and above all of a like kind recorded in the New Testament, having a due regard to existing differences, almost all the promises and threatenings, the reasonings and the invitations which were delivered to the Jews, not only may, but should be, transferred to Christians. Those were to enjoy their Jewish, these are to enjoy their Christian privileges, by keeping the commandments of God. All those promises, and threatenings, and expostulations, and invitations, addressed to the Jews in the typical economy were written, partly, for the learning of Christians. Christians, therefore, should be taught their truth and importance relative to themselves. But the monstrous blunder and criminal folly already alluded to, namely, the use of the language of the law of works addressed to the Jews as that of the law of faith addressed to men in general, cannot be avoided with a too sedulous care, nor, where it is found, be denounced too strongly, by whomsoever it may be committed, or sanctioned.

Solomon: One who had also fallen into manifold faults - James Durham

Solomon was a Great Man, rich, wise, yea, an elect saint; yet one who had also fallen into manifold faults, whom the Lord allowed to die, without recording expressly any thing of his recovery, though we make no doubt of it. (look up reference here) We shall endeavor to make this clear from these considerations:

First, from the Lord's promises to him, 2 Sam. 7:14,15. where these three things are observable which the Lord undertakes concerning him, 1. That he will be to him a Father. 2. That he will correct him with the rods of men, if he shall sin: which says he would not eternally punish him. 3. That he would not do with him as he did with Saul, whom he rejected; he would not take away His mercy from Solomon, as he had done from him: and if no more were in these promises but what is temporal, there would be no great consolation in them to David (whose consolation is one chief part of the intention of that place.) Beside, these promises, Psalm 89:31,32,33. (which are the same as these, 2 Sam. 7.) are looked upon as special evidences of God's Love, and particular promises of His saving-covenant.

2. When he is born, the Lord gives him his name, yea, sends Nathan, 2 Sam. 12. with this warrant, to name him Jedidiah, because the Lord loved him; which cannot be a love arising from any thing in him, as if he had been well pleased with his behavior, (Solomon had not yet done anything good or evil) but it must be a love prior to his works, and so not arising from his good deeds, and therefore not cut off by his sins. This is similar to the love God had to Jacob, before he had done good or evil, Rom. 9:11. and must speak out electing-love, as it doth in that place.

3. He is made use of by the Spirit to be a Penman of Holy Writ, and a prophet of the Lord; all which are by our Lord, Luke 13:28. said, to ‘sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the kingdom of heaven.' There is no reason to exclude him, seeing that universal assertion (all the prophets, &c.) would not be a truth, unless he were there. Although some wicked men have prophesied, as Balaam did, yet are they never accounted prophets of the Lord, as Solomon was, but false prophets and enchanters; neither were they Penman of Holy Writ; who were, as Peter calleth them, 2 Peter 1:21, ‘Holy men of God, speaking as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost.'

4. Neither are the particular privileges and he was admitted unto to be forgotten; by him the Lord built the Temple, by him the covenant was explicitly renewed with God, I Kings 8:9. And his prayers are often particularly mentioned, to be heard; yea after his death, some testimonies are recorded of him, which cannot agree with his rejection: see 2 Chr. 11:17. There the ways of Solomon are put in, as commendable with David's, though there were defects in both; and this being immediately after Solomon's death, it would seem he left the worship of God pure, and so had returned from his idolatry, though all the monuments of it were not abolished. And especially in this, he was singularly privileged, that, in a most lively way, he was the Type of our blessed Lord Jesus, in his intercession, reign, and peaceable government: beside, that by a particular covenant, the kingdom of Christ, and his descent from him, was established to him.

5. It's of weight also, that it seems more than probable, that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes after his recovery; it being neither amongst the Proverbs, nor Songs which are mentioned, I Kings 4:32. And in it, he speaks out of experiences he had both of folly and madness, and the vanity he had found in all created things, even when he had finished his experiment of all the possible ways of attaining, either the knowledge of their perfections, or satisfaction in the enjoyment of them.

The Scriptures therefore, hath not left his recovery altogether dark; yet, as to any historical evidence thereof, the Lord hath so ordered that he passeth away under a cloud, for these good ends:

First, thereby, Solomon is chastened with the rods of men (even after death) upon his name; for his failures are set down expressly, but his recovery (as to any direct testimony thereof) is passed over.

2. By this, the Lord makes his displeasure with Solomon's failures always known; though he had favour to his person, and gave him his soul for a prey.

3. And thus the Lord would warn others from declining, and hereby teach his people, to be afraid to rest upon gifts; yea, or upon graces, seeing he hath left this matter so far in the dark, as might yield an occasion (as it were) to question the eternal condition of Solomon.

4. It may be also, that Solomon after his recovery, did never recover his former lustre, nor attain to such a profitable way of appearing in God's public matters, for which formally he had been so observable: for so it is taken notice of David, after his fall, that his following life is stained, as different from what went before; therefore it is the accommodation of Jehosaphat, 1 Chr. 17:3. that he walked in the first ways of his father David, which certainly, it is not done to condemn David's state after that time, but to leave that mark (as a chastisement) on his failings: and seeing Solomon's were greater, therefore may this silence of his recovery, be more universal as to him.

Isaiah 4:3-4 - Robert Hawker

"And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem." (Isaiah 4:3)

How truly blessed and gracious is it, to see the provision the LORD hath made for the recovery of sinners. Here the HOLY GHOST speaks not only of the blessings of redemption to the church at large, but to every individual redeemed soul in particular. He that is left, and every one that is written. Yes, JESUS saith, All that the FATHER hath given me, shall come to me, John 6:37. And it was for this express purpose JESUS said, that the FATHER gave him power over all flesh; that he should give eternal life to as many as the FATHER had given him, John 17:2. Reader, are you questioning whether you are among the written in the LAMB'S book of life? Revelation 13:8. Answer the inquiry by the tokens here given. A new and spiritual life is given to them in Jerusalem, the holy city, the church of the LORD JESUS. They are called with an holy calling, not according to their works, but according to his own purpose, and grace given in CHRIST JESUS, before the world began, 2 Timothy 1:9. And as many as were. ordained to eternal life, believed, Acts 13:48. Now then see by these infallible testimonies, whether your calling and election is sure, For as many as are led by the spirit of GOD, they are the sons of GOD: And hence, in being saved and called with an holy calling, not according to our works, but his grace; and in believing, having life in his name: surely these become unquestionable evidences, that God hath chosen believers in him before the foundation of the world, and that they should he holy and without blame before him in love, 2 Peter 1:10. Romans 8:14. Ephesians 1:4.

"When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning." (Isaiah 4:4)

Here we have the blessed process of grace, by which the LORD will accomplish the divine purposes of his love, in redeeming the souls of his people. The daughters of Zion are here spoken of, as a representation of the whole church of JESUS. So the church is named, Psalm 45:10, 11. This church is considered in her pollutions, such as she was when CHRIST came to redeem her, Ezekiel 16:3-6. But when, in gospel days, JESUS is come, and the fountain in his blood is opened to the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin, and for uncleanness, then the filth of Zion shall be washed away, Zechariah 13:1. 1 John 1:1-7. But how is this to be done? By the spirit of judgment, and the spirit of burning; meaning, that GOD the HOLY GHOST, in his seven-fold gifts, and by his gracious work on the heart, will glorify JESUS, in taking of the things of CHRIST, and showing their suitableness to the poor sinner. Is the sinner's heart hardened? The HOLY GHOST will be to him a spirit of judgment; convincing, converting, enlightening, teaching him to feel his want of JESUS, and leading him to JESUS. Are his affections cold, and in himself not disposed to seek after salvation? The HOLY GHOST will be to him a spirit of burning; to warm, yea, fire his very soul, in longings for CHRIST, that his sins may be done away, and both his filth and his blood be purged, and purified from all uncleanness. Oh! the wonderful process of grace, when GOD the HOLY GHOST layeth judgment to the line, and righteousness to the plummet, Isaiah 28:17.

Oct 23, 2011

You are a helpless sinner in yourself - William Mason

‎"Farther; though you are a believer in Christ, yet you are a helpless sinner in yourself. "What!" say some, "a converted person, a believer, a child of God—and yet a helpless sinner?" Yes! Infancy itself is not more helpless in natural things, than a believer is in spiritual things. Where then is the difference between a believer and an unbeliever? Essentially in this. The latter is insensible of his own weakness, therefore proudly trusts in, and vainly glories of his own strength. He is under this malediction, "Cursed is the man who makes flesh his arm," Jer. 17:5, "his heart departs from the Lord." But the believer knows and feels, that he is not of himself sufficient to think or do anything holy. He sees constant need of being strengthened by the Spirit's might in the inner man. For blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord; whose hope the Lord is. But do we not grow stronger in ourselves, and find more help and power from ourselves, to withstand our enemies, to fight our good fight, to run our race, and to perfect holiness? No! If we think so, it is plain that we are not growing up into Christ—but growing down into self. If the Lord has given me to know anything of this matter, after being upwards of twenty years in precious Christ, I sincerely declare, that I find myself to be, just that weak, helpless sinner I was when I first came to Jesus with, "Lord help me! Lord save me—or I perish!" Yes, I find myself more helpless now—than I thought myself then. I see more constant need to put on Christ, and to say, truly in the Lord (not in myself) I have strength." (William Mason - The Believer's Pocket Companion)

A Man Full of Leprosy - John Gill

"And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." [Luke 5:12]

And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city,.... Or near it, hard by it, very probably Capernaum; Mat 8:1 Behold a man full of leprosy; a disease to which the Jews were very incident, and concerning which, many laws and rules are given, in Lev 13:1. The symptoms of the ancient "lepra", as laid down by Galen, Aretaeus, Pontanus, Aegineta, Cardan, Varanda, Gordon, Pharaeus, and others, are as follow. The patient's voice is hoarse, and comes rather through the nose than the mouth; the blood full of little white shining bodies, like groins of millet, which upon filtration, separate themselves from it; the serum is scabious, and destitute of its natural humidity, insomuch that salt applied to it, does not dissolve; it is so dry, that vinegar poured on it boils; and is so strongly bound together by little imperceptible threads, that calcined lead thrown into it swims. The face resembles a coal half extinct, unctuous, shining, and bloated, with frequent hard knobs, green at bottom, and white at top. The hair is short, stiff, and brinded; and not to be torn off, without bringing away, some of the rotten flesh, to which it adheres; if it grows again, either on the head or chin, it is always white: athwart the forehead, run large wrinkles or furrows, from one temple to the other; the eyes red and inflamed, and shine like those of a cat; the ears swollen and red, eaten with ulcers towards the bottom, and encompassed with little glands; the nose sunk, because of the rotting of the cartilage; the tongue dry and black, swollen, ulcerated, divided with furrows, and spotted with grains of white; the skin covered with ulcers, that die and revive on each other, or with white spots, or scales like a fish; it is rough and insensible, and when cut, instead of blood, yields a sanious liquor: it arrives in time to such a degree of insensibility, that the wrist, feet, or even the large tendon, may be pierced with a needle, without the patient's feeling any pain; at last the nose, fingers, toes, and even privy members, fall off entire; and by a death peculiar to each of them, anticipate that of the patient: it is added, that the body is so hot, that a fresh apple held in the hand an hour, will be dried and wrinkled, as if exposed to the sun for a week (e). Think now what a miserable deplorable object this man was, said to be full of it. Between this disease and sin, there is a very great likeness. This disease is a very filthy one, and of a defiling nature, by the ceremonial law; under which it was considered rather as an uncleanness, than as a disease; the person attended with it was pronounced unclean by the priest, and was put out of the camp, and out of the cities and walled towns, that he might not defile others; and was obliged to put a covering on his upper lip, and cry Unclean, Unclean, to acknowledge his pollution, and that others might shun him: all mankind, by reason of sin, are by the Lord pronounced filthy; and by their evil actions, not only defile themselves, but others; evil communications corrupt good manners; and when they are made sensible, freely own that their righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and they themselves as an unclean thing: it is a very nauseous and loathsome disease, as is sin; it is abominable to God, and renders men abominable in his sight; it causes the sinner himself, when convinced of it, to loath and abhor himself: David calls his sin a loathsome disease,Psa 38:7 it is of a spreading nature: this was a sign of it, if it did not spread, it was only a, scab; if it spread, it was a leprosy, Lev 13:5. Sin has spread itself over all mankind, and over all the powers and faculties of the soul, and members of the body; there is no place free of it: and as the leprosy is of consuming nature, it eats and wastes the flesh, see Num 12:10 2Ki 5:10 so sin eats like a canker, and brings ruin and destruction upon men, both soul and body. This disease was incurable by medicine; persons that had it were never sent to a physician, but to a priest; and what he did was only this, he looked upon it, and if it was a clear case, he declared the person unclean; and if it was doubtful, shut him up for seven days, and then inspected him again; and after all he could not cure him; this was the work of God, 2Ki 5:7. All which shows the nature and use of the law, which shuts men up, concludes them under sin, and by which they have knowledge of it, but no healing: the law heals none, it is the killing letter, the ministration of condemnation and death; Christ only, by his blood and stripes, heals the disease of sin, and cleanses from it. There is one thing in the law of the leprosy very surprising, and that is, that if there was any quick raw flesh, or any sound flesh in the place where the leprosy was, the man was pronounced unclean; but if the leprosy covered his skin, and all his flesh, then he was pronounced clean: this intimates, that he that thinks he has some good thing in him, and fancies himself sound and well, and trusts to his own works of righteousness, he is not justified in the sight of God; but if a man acknowledges that there is no soundness in his flesh, that in him, that is, in his flesh, dwells no good thing, but that his salvation is alone, by the grace and mercy of God, such a man is justified by faith in Christ Jesus: the parable of the Pharisee and publican will illustrate this, Luk 18:10. "Who, seeing Jesus, fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean"; See Gill on Mat 8:2. Christ could cure lepers, and did; and which was a proof of his Messiahship, and is given among the signs of it, to John's disciples,Mat 11:5 and as there is a likeness between the leprosy and sin, so between the cleansing of a leper under the law, and the healing of a sinner by Christ: for the cleansing of a leper, two birds were to be taken clean and alive, which were both typical of Christ, and pointed at the meekness of his human nature, his innocence, harmlessness, and purity, and that he had a life to lay down; one of these was to be killed, in an earthen vessel over running water, showing that Christ must be killed, his blood must be shed for the cleansing of leprous sinners; the earthen vessel denoted his human nature, his flesh, in which he was put to death; and the running water signified the purifying nature of his blood, and the continued virtue of it, to cleanse from all sin; and the blood and the water being mixed together, may put us in mind of the blood and water which flowed from the side of Christ, when pierced with the spear; which was an emblem of our justification and sanctification being both from him, on account of which, he is said to come both by water and by blood, 1Jo 5:6. The other bird, after it was dipped with the cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop in the blood of the slain bird, was let go alive; which typified the resurrection of Christ, who was put to death in the flesh, and quickened in the Spirit; and who rose again, for the justification of his people from all sin: the cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop, which were used in the cleansing of the leper, may either relate to the sufferings, and death, and blood of Christ; the scarlet wool may denote the bloody sufferings of Christ, through which he was red in his apparel; the cedar wood may signify the incorruptibleness and preciousness of the blood of Christ, and the hyssop the purging virtue of it; or else these three may have regard to the three principal graces of the Spirit of God, which have to do with, and are in influenced by the sin cleansing blood of Christ: the cedar wood may signify the incorruptible and precious grace of faith; the green hyssop, the lively grace of hope; and the scarlet, the flaming grace of love, when it is in its full exercise: or else the grace of faith, by which dealing with the blood of Christ, the heart is purified, is only meant; signified by cedar wood, for its permanency; by scarlet, for its concern with the crimson blood of Christ; by which sins, though as scarlet, are made white as wool; and by hyssop, for its being an humble and lowly grace: now the cedar stick, with the scarlet wool, and bunch of hyssop bound unto it, was used to sprinkle the blood of the bird upon the leper seven times, when he was pronounced clean; and expresses the instrumentality of faith, in the application of the blood of Christ for cleansing: though after this, the leper was to shave off all his hair, and wash himself and clothes in water; suggesting to us, that holiness of life and conversation which should follow, upon cleansing through faith in the blood of Christ.

(e) Chambers's Cyclopaedia in the word "Leprosy"

Oct 14, 2011

Psalm 3:8 - Robert Hawker

"Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah." [Psalm 3:8]

See Reader what a blessed joyful conclusion! What could open more gloomy and discouraging than this Psalm did! What can end more triumphant and joyful! But do not fail to trace the whole to its source. Salvation is of GOD. Yes! JESUS saith, Mine own arm brought salvation, and of the people there was none with me. Isaiah 63:3-5. Oh! LORD! suffer me never to rob my GOD of his glory, by mingling anything of my wretchedness with the finished redemption of my Saviour. LORD JESUS do thou have all the praise, for thou alone art able to bear the glory. Zechariah 6:12, 13.

1 Timothy 2:6 - John Foreman

"Who gave himself a ransom for all'

`Who gave himself a ransom for all,' 1 Tim ii 6. This evidently and simply means, all sorts and grades of society of men, whom the apostle exhorted Timothy that they should be prayed for, verse 1,2, `that we might lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness;' and also because that such all men `God will have to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth,' and the same to be testified in due time.' It is not said God would have all men to be saved, nor would have had all men to be saved; but `Will have all men to be saved,' and this will extends quite as far as the gift of the ransom; and all intended by both sayings is `to be testified in due time.' Now take the whole connexion from the first to the close of the seventh verse, and then take the testimony of these now for ever gone by eighteen hundred years, and see whether any thing like individual universality in either the `will' or the `ransom,' could ever be understood and intended by the apostle, as by any sort of `testimony' that can be gathered to have been borne in any way whatever to that point, through all this length of time now gone by. For the apostle tells us most plainly that the truth he stated, and intended by his statement, should `be testified in due time:' and while in the conduct of providence, the ministry of the gospel, and the manner of the effectually working power of God therewith, it has long and mercifully been `testified' that all sorts of characters and grades of society of men, are included in the `will' and `ransom for all' in our text, there is in no shape the least testimony borne to individual universality of souls unto salvation as being ever intended. And while the Lord did out of one savage blood-thirsty persecutor, raise up and make one `apostle to the Gentiles,' how is it that thousands of such preachers were not raised up and sent at once into every kingdom, province, city, and village of the whole world to testify the same, if the will of God was to have all universally saved, and as universally `come to the knowledge of the truth?' Was the will of God ever limited by his want of power? Could he not raise up workmen for a universal work, if such had been his will? Was God ever really short of workmen for his own purposes of grace, further than to make it a matter of prayer with the church for him to send, as well as prosper them he hath sent into the ministry?

Sep 30, 2011

Isaiah 2:2 - Robert Hawker

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it." [Isaiah 2:2]

Sweet thought! JESUS is the desire of all nations; because poor awakened sinners in all nations, find their want of him. Hence here is a promise, folded up in this blessed prophecy, that all nations, the Gentile as well as the Jew, shall flow unto CHRIST, They shall come that are ready to perish, when the great trumpet is blown. And their certainty of coming is secured; for it was one of the covenant promises of GOD the FATHER to GOD the SON; Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, Psalm 110:3.

1 Corinthians 3:21-23 - Robert Hawker

“Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.” [1 Corinthians 3:21-23]

All are yours he saith, things present, or to come; all are yours, because ye are CHRIST’S, and CHRIST is GOD's. Reader! behold the security, the everlasting security of the faithful! As CHRIST is the sent, the sealed, the anointed of JEHOVAH, GOD's CHRIST, GOD's chosen, GOD's salvation to the ends of the earth: so CHRIST and his Church being one, in the divine mind, will, and pleasure; all are the Church's in CHRIST, being one with CHRIST, and deriving all from CHRIST. So that if CHRIST be mine, all is mine. His blood to cleanse, his righteousness to justify, his holiness to sanctify. CHRIST and his fulness, CHRIST and his all-sufficiency, lies at the bottom of all mercies. And, when it be considered, the greatness of his Person, and the glories of his salvation, the infinite nature of his blood-shedding and perfection, and the infinite merit of his work and righteousness; here is enough for a child of GOD to live upon, in time, and to all eternity. JESUS gives a fulness of blessedness, and a fulness of duration, to all that He is in himself, and to his Church and people for ever. His presence sweetens all, sanctifies all, gives a blessedness to all; and makes all completely blessed. All are your’s, and ye are CHRIST’S, and CHRIST is GOD’S.

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions