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

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