Dec 24, 2011

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

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