January 2019

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Currently I’m building a database of our biographical files in the PCA Historical Center and came across this interesting item, a privately published edition of These Little Ones: What God Has Commanded Touching Their Church Membership, and What He has Graciously Promised Concerning Their Salvation, by Rev. William Scribner [1820-1884]. The work can be read online using the embedded link.

William Scribner was born in New York on January 20, 1820, the son of Uriah and Betsy Hawley Scribner. He graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1840 and prepared for the ministry at Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating as part of the Class of 1843. Serving first as stated supply for a church in Columbia, PA, 1843-44, he was ordained by the Presbytery of Newton, November 13, 1844 and installed as pastor of the church in Stroudsburg, PA, 1844-49. Leaving that post, he served as stated supply in South Salem, NY for a year (1850), and then answer a call to serve as pastor in Bridesburg, PA, 1852-54. It was during this pastors that he married Julia Sayre of Plainfield, NJ, on September 20, 1853. Two sons and two daughters were born to this marriage. He was pastor of the Presbyterian church in Red Bank, NJ, 1855-58 and finally stated supply in Des Moines, IA, in 1863. He resigned the ministry due to failing health, and retired to Plainfield, NJ and later died there on March 3, 1884, at the age of 64 of Bright’s disease, a chronic inflammation of the kidneys. He is buried at the New York Marble Cemetery, Second Avenue, Manhattan, New York. Rev. Scribner’s brother Charles was the well-known New York publisher and founder of Scribner’s Magazine. Together with his brother Charles, he became a member of the American Whig Society in 1838.

THE Rev. William Hammil, the Principal of the Boys’ School at Lawrenceville, New Jersey, an establishment known far and wide in the States, thus relates the story of the conversion
of the late Rev. William Scribner (elder brother of Charles Scribner, the publisher) while a student at Lawrenceville. “ He came to me,” says Mr. Hammil, “ and said, ‘ I have found the Saviour, and I wish you would tell my companions.’ I said to him, ‘ William, you had better tell them yourself. It will do them and you both good.’ He stood up and said, ‘My dear schoolmates, you have, perhaps, not understood why I have not been out upon the playground as much as usual for some days past. I have been seeking the salvation of my soul, and trust I have found my Saviour, and wish to tell you how much joy I have.’ After prayers, William came to me and said, ‘ I wish you would speak to my brother Charles, and pray for him.’ I promised to do so. Like Andrew the Apostle, he was desirous that his brother should see Jesus. In a few days, Charles, his younger brother, was indulging a good hope of an interest in Christ.
[Source: Boys Worth Noting. Sunday School Union, 1884, p. 54.

Originally published in 1878 as a small book with 192 pages, by the Presbyterian Board of Publication (PCUSA), our edition, pictured below, was privately published by J. Gordon Holdcroft, who was at that time serving as General Secretary of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions. Apparently Dr. Holdcroft thought highly of this book and as it was probably hard to find a copy, he privately published it. This copy is 57 pages long and is bound by two staples at the top of the sheets. In faint pencil in the upper right corner of the cover page, a price of $1.00 can be seen. While some thirty-three libraries around the country hold copies of the 1878 publication, I could not find any libraries that house a copy of this privately published edition.

The book’s table of contents are interesting:

I. The Eternal Covenant between the Father and the Son
II. The Believer’s Covenant with Christ when he first exercises a living faith.—The Covenant which is externally enacted by all who profess the Christian Religion.
III. First Step in the Argument for the Church Membership of Infants.
IV. Second Step of the Argument.—The Answers to this argument which have been attempted shown to be inconclusive.—The Conclusion reached.
V. Objections considered.—Partial restatement of the Doctrine.
VI. The Promise of our Covenant-keeping God to Bless and Save the Children of His People.

Other publications by Rev. Scribner include:
1873 – Pray for Your Children; or, An appeal to parents to pray continually for the welfare and salvation of their children.
[I was pleasantly surprised to find that the above title was reproduced in Volume 4 of The Naphtali Press Anthology (1991). This was the notable series published by Mr. Chris Coldwell, who has gone on to republish so many important Presbyterian works, usually in scholarly critical editions.]
1876 – Pray for the Holy Spirit.
1880 – The Savior’s Converts, what we owe to them and how we may aid them.
1882 – Love for Souls.
Articles by Rev. Scribner include:
A review of The Life and Letters of Frederick William Faber, which appeared in The Princeton Review43.4 (October 1871): 515-532.


The School & Family Catechist

Q.3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?

  1. The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning god, and what duty God requires of man.


Principally. – Chiefly, above all other things.

Duty. –Something which God requires of us, and which we are bound to perform.


By this answer we are informed that the Scriptures principally teach us two things:

1.What we are to believe concerning God.2 Tim i. 13. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus.

  1. What duty God requires of man.Psal. cxix. 105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

The Cause Of The Doctrinal Trouble In The Northern Presbyterian Church, part 2

(“Exploring Avenues Of Acquaintance And Co-operation”)
By Chalmers W. Alexander
Jackson, Miss.
[THE SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL 8.14 (15 November 1949): 5-9.]

This is the ninth in the series of articles by Chalmers W’. Alexander under the heading, “Exploring Avenues of Acquaintance And Co-operation.” This is an informative new series of articles written by one of the most able laymen in the Southern Presbyterian Church.

When the reorganization of Princeton Seminary took place in 1929, four outstanding members of the faculty of Princeton Seminary voluntarily resigned their positions in that institution. And they left its campus, never to return.

At that time I was in my freshman year at Princeton University, which is located a few blocks’ distance from the campus of Princeton Seminary. Who were these four outstanding men?

The Scholars Who Left Princeton Seminary

One was Dr. J. Gresham Machen, probably the world’s greatest New Testament scholar at that time. Dr. Machen had received his A.B. degree from Johns Hopkins University, his M.A. from Princeton University, and his B.D. from Princeton Seminary. Then he had studied at the Universities of Marburg and Goettingen, both in Germany. Dr. Machen had been a member of the faculty of Princeton Seminary since 1906.

Another was Dr. Robert Dick Wilson, probably the world’s greatest Old Testament scholar at that time. Dr. Wilson had received his A.B. and his M.A. from Princeton University and his Th.B. from Western Theological Seminary. Then he had studied for two years at the University of Berlin prior to receiving his Ph.D. from Princeton University. Dr. Wilson, a great linguist, had mastered some two dozen languages collateral with Old Testament languages in order to throw light upon the Old Testament and its manuscripts. He had been a member of the Princeton Seminary faculty since 1900.

The third man was Dr. Oswald T. Allis, one of America’s greatest Old Testament scholars today. Dr. Allis received his A.B. from the University of Pennsylvania, his B.D. from Princeton Seminary, his M.A. from Princeton University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Berlin. Dr. Allis had been a member of the faculty of Princeton Seminary since 1910, and since 1918 he had been the Editor of The Princeton Theological Review.

And the fourth man was Dr. Cornelius Van Til, one of the ablest Professors of Apologetics in America at the present time. Dr. Van Til had received his A.B. from Calvin College, his Th.B. and his Th.M. from Princeton Seminary, and his Ph.D. from Princeton University. He had joined the Princeton Seminary faculty in 1928.

These four unusually great scholars left Princeton Seminary and, in association with other men of like mind, they proceeded to found Westminster Theological Seminary, at Philadelphia, in the autumn of 1929.

In this undertaking they were associated with such prominent ministers of the Northern Presbyterian Church as Dr. Maitland Alexander, a former Moderator of the General Assembly of that denomination, and long the President of the Board of Directors of Princeton Seminary until its reorganization in 1929; and Dr. Frank H. Stevenson, former Pastor of the Church of the Covenant in Cincinnati; and Dr. Clarence E. Macartney, a former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Northern Presbyterian Church, and the Pastor of the famed First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh.

All three of these prominent ministers had served as members of the Board of Directors of Princeton Seminary until its reorganization in 1929.

Why They Left Princeton Seminary In 1929

The reason why these unusually able scholars and ministers left Princeton Seminary in order to help found Westminster Theological Seminary was because they were firmly convinced that the reorganization of Princeton Seminary would result in serious changes being made in that institution’s hitherto consistently and thoroughly orthodox position in theology.

Some of the sound Princeton Seminary scholars stayed on at Princeton Seminary, after its reorganization in 1929, with the hope that they might so influence its affairs that the Seminary would continue to be consistently and thoroughly orthodox in its position. Dr. Casper Wistar Hodge, Ph.D., was one of this number; but by the time of his death, in 1937, Dr. Hodge had lived to see that his hopes of keeping Princeton Seminary consistently and thoroughly orthodox in all of its teachings had been in vain.

Some Developments Since The Reorganization

A brief review of some of the events which have taken place at Princeton Seminary since its reorganization in 1929 will show that the belief of Dr. Machen and his associates that the reorganization would result in serious doctrinal changes was not without foundation.

For instance, after the reorganization occurred in 1929 signers of the heretical Auburn Affirmation were for the first time placed on the Board of Trustees which controls Princeton Seminary; this was done apparently with the implied consent of the other members of the Board who remained after the reorganization. And in the school year 1937-1938 an Auburn Affirmationist taught in the Seminary as visiting Professor of Homiletics.

Dr. Emil Brunner At Princeton Seminary

During the school year 1938-1939, Dr. Emil Brunner, of Zurich, Switzerland, occupied the position of Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Seminary — the faculty professorship which had been made world-famous by the Hodges and toy Dr. Warfield. The Board of Trustees of the Seminary actually offered Dr. Brunner that professorship as a regular continuing member of the Seminary’s faculty, but he declined the offer.

Now Dr. Brunner is a very able scholar and he had previously raised a vigorous voice against some of the Modernism in Europe. But his own views have themselves been called the “New Modernism” by some of the ablest theologians in this country.

In his book entitled Man In Revolt, Dr Brunner specifically rejects belief in the Virgin Birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dr. Brunner’s views on the inspiration of the Holy Bible are certainly far from adequate. For example, in The Presbyterian, issue of February 17, 1938, he wrote: “It is, however, my conviction that faith in the inspiration of the Bible does not exclude, but includes, the distinction between the Word of God and the earthly, temporal vessel which carries it.” The “earthly, temporal vessel which carries it” is, of course, the Holy Bible. In other words, Dr. Brunner does not believe that all of the Bible is the Word of God.

He substitutes human experience for the Bible as the ultimate standard of truth. As Dr. Cornelius Van Til, Ph.D., states: “That Brunner begins with experience as something that must interpret the Bible, instead of starting from the Bible which must interpret human experience, can be seen from the fact that he has no hesitation in accepting the principles of ‘higher criticism.’ He even feels that it is our business to engage in ‘higher criticism.’ The human element in the Scripture, he thinks, is inherently wrong and we must separate it from the divine.”

This attitude toward the Holy Bible is certainly radically different from the view held by the Hodges and by Dr. Warfield, and it constitutes a radical departure from the view contained in the Westminster Standards.

If Dr. Brunner had been appointed a professor in Union Theological Seminary of New York City, or in the Department of Religion of Princeton University as it is today, or at Yale, or at Harvard, or at the Chicago Divinity School, for instance, there would have been great rejoicing among the Conservatives, for that would have represented a great step upward for those institutions. But for Dr. Brunner to occupy the chair of Systematic Theology which had formerly been occupied by the Hodges and by Dr. Warfield at Princeton Seminary represented a decided step downward for that institution.

How One Minister Became A Regular Member Of The Faculty

Another illustration which shows the change in Princeton Seminary’s attitude since 1929 concerns the appointment to its faculty of a certain minister in the year 1939.

Under the copyright date of 1936, this minister had written a book entitled Christianity in America wherein he stated, among other things: “Few intelligent Protestants can still hold to the idea that the Bible is an infallible book; that it contains no linguistic errors, no historical discrepancies, no antiquated scientific assumptions, not even bad ethical standards. Historical investigation and literary criticism have taken the magic out of the Bible and have made it a composite human book, written by many hands in different ages.”

Clearly the views expressed by him in 1936 were at very serious variance with the views of the inspiration of the Bible which are contained in the Westminster Standards, and this fact was not unknown to those in control of Princeton Seminary. And yet, in spite of this fact, the Board of Trustees of Princeton Seminary elected this minister to serve as a professor in the Seminary for the school year 1938-1939. When, however, the General Assembly of 1938 met, its Standing Committee on Theological Seminaries failed to confirm his appointment as a professor. And, accordingly, the Seminary’s Board of Trustees withdrew his name.

Now only fifteen days before the meeting of the following General Assembly, the General Assembly of 1939, there appeared in The Presbyterian, under the date of May 11, 1939, an article, written by this minister, which was entitled “Convictions”—and in this article he took an entirely different view from that expressed in his book published in 1936.

When the General Assembly of 1939 met, his name was again submitted for confirmation as a professor in Princeton Seminary, and the minister in question personally appeared before that General Assembly’s Standing Committee on Theological Seminaries. A member of the Standing Committee on Theological Seminaries at that time was Mr. C. D. Garrard, of Covington, Kentucky, who was then a Ruling Elder in the Northern Presbyterian Church. Mr. Garrard later wrote an article in which he stated that this minister, in the Committee hearing, in answer to some questions asked by Mr. Garrard, stated that he had been considered thoroughly orthodox when he had graduated from Princeton Seminary, and he had changed his theological position a number of times in the past fifteen years. Mr. Garrard then asked what had caused him to change his views between the 1938 and the 1939 General Assembly meetings, and this minister had replied that he “just grew up.”

After this hearing, the Standing Committee on Theological Seminaries, by a majority vote, then decided to recommend that this minister be confirmed as a professor in Princeton Seminary, although Mr. Garrard voted against it. The General Assembly of 1939 then proceeded to confirm the minister’s appointment to the faculty of the Seminary, and he is still a member of that faculty at the present time.

In all of this the significant fact is that those in control of Princeton Seminary were perfectly willing to elect this minister to a position on the faculty of that seminary months prior to the publication of his article entitled “Convictions”; and the only thing that kept him from becoming a member of the Seminary’s faculty in 1938 was the failure of that Assembly’s Standing Committee on Theological Seminaries to confirm his appointment after the Board of Trustees of Princeton Seminary had submitted his name for confirmation.

(In passing, it is indeed interesting to note that Mr. C. D. Garrard, of Covington, Kentucky, stated that after he had become interested in the affair of the Auburn Affirmation, and after he had attended the 1939 General Assembly of the Northern Presbyterian Church as one of its Commissioners, he resigned his office as a Ruling Elder and he severed completely all of his connections with the Northern Presbyterian Church. Mr. Garrard is now a Ruling Elder in the Southern Presbyterian Church, and recently he informed me that he is one hundred per cent opposed to the proposed union between the Northern Presbyterian Church and our own denomination.)

Evidence From The New Westminster Bible

A recent illustration of the fact that the reorganization of Princeton Seminary in 1929 opened the door for doctrinal unsoundness to enter into the teachings of that Seminary is the new Westminster Study Edition of the Holy Bible.

This Westminster Study Edition is now sometimes referred to as the “Presbyterian Bible.” It was published by the Westminster Press, a subsidiary of the Northern Presbyterian Church’s Board of Christian Education (which Board has had among its membership, from time to time, various signers of the heretical Auburn Affirmation)..

Three professors from the faculty of Princeton Seminary were among the eleven editors of this Westminster Study Edition of the Holy Bible.

Now what is the tenor of the editorial comments and explanations contained in this Westminster Study Edition?

Dr. Oswald T. Allis, Ph.D., has written that “the Study Edition is definitely critical,, at times even radically so.”

Dr. William Childs Robinson, Th.D., of our Columbia Theological Seminary, has remarked that the editors of the Westminster Study Edition seem hesitant to call Christ God, and that their whole doctrine of the Deity of Christ is weak.

In addition to being weak on the doctrines of the Inspiration of the Bible and of the Deity of Christ, the Study Edition is far from strong in its statements on the Reformed doctrine of the Atonement and Justification. It was such doctrines as these that the great Princeton theologians of the past like Archibald Alexander, Charles Hodge and Benjamin B. Warfield exalted, and it was in these doctrines that they glorified.

Even such a secular magazine as Time has stated that, though this Study Edition sticks to the traditional King James wording, “it is far from conservative in commenting on it.”

And yet three professors from the faculty of Princeton Seminary were among the editors of this Westminster Study Edition.

It is certainly safe to say that none of the great theologians at Princeton Seminary during the time of the Hodges and of Dr. Warfield would ever have consented to have their names associated with an edition of the Bible which, in its editorial comments and explanations, can in so many instances be termed as “definitely critical, at times even radically so,” and as being “far from conservative.”

Princeton Seminary Since 1929

It is not our purpose in this article to affirm or to deny that there are sound men on the faculty of Princeton Seminary at the present time. No one, however, can contend that, since its reorganization in 1929 which resulted in “new School” theology being introduced into its teachings, Princeton Seminary’s faculty has been as consistently and as thoroughly orthodox as it was in the days of the Hodges and of Dr. Warfield.

Since 1929, Princeton Seminary, either through members of its administrative personnel or as a part of its policy as an educational institution, has been following the course of doctrinal inclusivism. The enthusiastic co-operation of one of the Seminary’s most prominent officials in the organization of the World Council of Churches—a movement which no one can claim is consistently orthodox—is a recent case in point. Some very able Presbyterian ministers and theologians are of the opinion that Princeton Seminary is traveling a route which will lead ultimately to surrender to Modernism, unless it changes its course.

New School” Theology And The Northern Presbyterian Church

Wherever the liberal “New School” theology has taken root in the Northern Presbyterian Church it has caused serious trouble.

In fact, the principal cause of the doctrinal trouble in the entire Northern Presbyterian Church is the presence in that denomination of the liberal “New School” theology and of the Modernism which it has so often helped to promote.

If We Were To Unite

If the proposed union between our Southern Presbyterian Church and the very much larger Northern Presbyterian Church were to take place, we could rest assured that certain changes would be forced upon all of our seminaries so that the liberal “New School” theology could be taught in them side by side with the conservative “Old School” theology, which conservative “Old School” theology has always been the official doctrinal belief of our denomination since its founding.

Frankly and candidly, in some of our seminaries at the present time there are reported to be some strong influences which are tending definitely toward Modernism. But these reported influences have not been authorized by our General Assembly. Incidentally, it is the opinion of a large company throughout our denomination that it is now time for our General Assembly to appoint a competent committee charged with the responsibility of examining these seminaries with a view toward overhauling them, if need be, so that all of their teachings will conform completely to the teachings of the Holy Bible as they are summarized in the Westminster Standards.

Now if the proposed union with the Northern Presbyterian Church takes place, we can rest assured that all of our seminaries will be overhauled —tout the purpose of their reorganization after the proposed union will be, not to bring their teachings more into conformity to the teachings of the Bible as they are summarized in the Westminster Standards, but to put the official stamp of approval upon introducing the liberal “New School” theology into their teachings!

What shall every Southern Presbyterian, as a Bible-believing Christian who repudiates completely the liberal “New School” theology and who rejects altogether the Modernism for which it has so often helped to prepare the way, say with regard to the proposed union with the heresy-tainted Northern Presbyterian Church?

Thou Shalt Say, No!

The latest issue of The Confessional Presbyterian focuses on the life and ministry of the Rev. Thomas Dwight Witherspoon. Among the articles is a very useful review of Witherspoon’s rare work, Children of the Covenant. A most unusual work, it is made up of three eulogies for children of another pastor’s family; an evangelistic message to children; and an exhortation to parents, urging them not to wait to talk with their children about the claims of Christ upon their souls. For a closer look at this 2014 issue and its contents, click here.
A Living Fire on the Altar of his Heart

Thomas Dwight Witherspoon was born at Greensboro, Alabama, January 17, 1836, educated at the famous academy of Professor Henry Tutwiler, in Green County, Alabama, then the University of Alabama, and the University of Mississippi, where he was graduated in 1856. Witherspoon had by that time decided to enter the gospel ministry, and took his theological course at the Presbyterian Seminary in Columbia, S.C., where Dr. James Henley Thornwell was the able and distinguished President. While attending Columbia, he fell in love with the seminary president’s eldest daughter, but death took her from him the day before the wedding.

Witherspoon was ordained on May 23, 1860, and installed as the pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Oxford, Mississippi, where he was exerting a very fine influence on the students of the university located there, and might well have considered it his duty to remain with his Church. After war’s interruption, having served as chaplain, Witherspoon went on to serve a number of churches before taking up a position as professor in his final years. Dr. Francis Beattie, a close friend, wrote the following tribute, drawing from Witherspoon’s life a number of lessons for young preachers.

TDW_carte_de_visThe Late Thomas Dwight Witherspoon, D.D., LL.D., as a Preacher
by Francis R. Beattie, Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., The Homiletic Review 39.3 (March 1900) 213-219.

While Dr. Witherspoon was very popular as a preacher with the people of the highest culture, he was equally popular with the rough mountaineers of Kentucky. His work of instruction in the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary was supplemented by summer evangelistic campaigns in the mountains. His varied experience makes the study of his personality and his methods of peculiar value to other preachers.

The observant study of the personality and the methods of work followed by effective preachers affords an exceedingly useful form of homiletical research. The careful study of the best treatises on homiletics is a good thing, but to observe the preacher actually at work is often better. In any event, such study of homiletics in the concrete is a valuable addition to its investigation in the abstract.

In this article the personality and pulpit work of the late Dr. Witherspoon, Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology in Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, who passed away deeply lamented a little more than a year ago, will be studied for the purpose, namely, of bringing out some useful hints that may be of value to younger ministers. We have heard many preachers in this and other lands, and we can freely say that, as a sermonizer, the subject of this article had very few equals; and as a preacher, if he had possessed a deep, rich voice, he would have had few superiors in this generation as an effective popular pulpit orator.

It was the writer’s privilege to know him very intimately; and, by the courtesy of his family, he has had the advantage of access to his literary remains for this study. Such a study naturally falls into two parts. The first deals with the personality of the man, and the second with his methods as a preacher.

I. The Personality of the Man.

He was a thorough gentleman. He came from noble ancestry, having in his veins the blood of John Knox. He was dignified and courteous, and always showed this in his intercourse with all classes of people. The most cultured greatly respected him, and those in the lowly walks of life always felt at ease in his presence. In him dignity and courtesy, gentleness and strength, self-respect and consideration for others were finely blended.

Such a man had in this respect important gifts for the preacher. The pulpit always needs such men. When the call to the ministry comes to the sons of our best families, the result is one of God’s noblest gifts to His Church. The Church needs men from all the walks of life, and she urgently requires that all alike be gentle and strong, refined and dignified. A boorish manner or a clownish way in the pulpit will greatly limit a preacher’s usefulness. Good manners, fine feelings, and refined instincts on the part of the preacher will touch a responsive chord in all classes.

His mental gifts were superior. This appeared during his career as a student, and was evident all his life. His powers of mind were finely balanced and harmoniously developed. His logical power was good, his philosophical insight was keen, and he could think a matter through in a very thorough way. His imagination was unusually fine. It was vivid, yet always under the control of good taste and judgment. It was this faculty, with the fine poetic feeling which went along with it, that enabled him to produce profound impressions.

For the preacher all this is important. These gifts, used as they were by Dr. Witherspoon, enabled him to reach all classes. He could edify the refined city congregation, and could deeply move a gathering of peasants among the hills. The Church needs the very best minds for her service, for the day is past when these gifts, consecrated to the Master’s service, can any longer be despised. Above all, to the careful cultivation of the imagination every minister should give earnest attention. This faculty gives vividness and concreteness to preaching. Its use enables the preacher to reproduce Scriptural scenes, and to illustrate the truths he presents in such a way that they stand before the audience like very pictures. The truth has color and movement given to it, and it is thus made attractive and effective. If young ministers would save themselves from getting prosy, they must cultivate the imagination.

He had a deeply sympathetic nature. He had a warm heart as well as a good head. His feelings were very kindly, so that he had sincere sympathy with people in all conditions. The result was that rich and poor, high and low felt that they had ready access to him. He could with the same natural graciousness enter the mansion of the cultured and the cabin of the mountaineer. Children were drawn to him, and those in trouble and sorrow readily sought him in seasons of distress. This gave his preaching a warmth and pathos that ministered much comfort to those in trouble.

He was also in ardent sympathy with nature in her varying moods. Some of his most striking illustrations were drawn from this source. When moderator of the General Assembly in 1884, and at the Westminster Assembly Celebration in 1897, illustrations of this kind then used in public addresses produced effects almost electrical. This sympathy enabled him to produce many original illustrations.

Here are vital hints for the preacher. He must have warm sympathies, if he is to get near to his people and to have heart in his work. And sympathy with nature should be cultivated by every preacher. The Old Testament prophets were deeply imbued with the influences from nature; and our Lord constantly drew on nature for His parables and illustrations. Here is a pattern for the preacher today.

To crown all, Dr. Witherspoon was a man of simple faith and devout piety. He came from a godly ancestry. He early devoted his life to the service of Christ in the Gospel ministry. The records of these early years serve to show how earnest he was in this purpose. He had strong and well-grounded convictions in regard to the reality of divine things. He was a firm believer in the Bible as the Word of God. He so received, and so preached it. His piety was simple, natural, and unobtrusive. His life was always marked by high devotion to principle, so that religion with him was not a mere sentiment.

Here, again, is an example worthy of imitation. The spiritual tone of the preacher has much to do with the quality of his preaching. “Like priest, like people” here means that the piety of the preacher will in the long run determine the average piety of the pew. If the preacher is to retain his power, he must have piety as well as learning. No forced utterances about piety will avail if there be not a living fire on the altar of his heart. The preacher must ever keep this fire burning; and this piety must be deeply rooted in principle, so that his life may commend the Gospel which he preaches.

These natural and gracious endowments in the subject of this paper were cultivated by him with great care and constancy. He formed good habits of study in early days, and kept them up all his life. He did not think that when college and seminary days end, hard study may be given up. He not only prepared his sermons with great care, but he continued to read widely in all directions. The stores thus gathered he poured into his sermons. This discipline enabled him to do his work rapidly and thoroughly, and it also made his sermons fresh and instructive. He could scarcely be dull if he tried. He acquired an almost faultless literary style. His sermons are models of pure English, his conversation was always elegant, his articles for the press were clear as crystal, and his letters were always so correct that they were ready for the printer.

All of this is full of meaning for the young minister. Good mental habits, severe intellectual discipline, wide reading, patient methods of study, and thorough work on sermons are simply indispensable for the preacher of the present day. The dead-line is not so much a matter of years as of habits of study. That line is sometimes crossed a few years after the young man leaves the seminary; or it may not be reached at seventy years of age, as was the case with Cuyler and Storrs, now both over seventy. Unremitting study, constant reading and meditation, ever-increasing knowledge of the Holy Scriptures are the secrets of a growing ministry. If learning without piety makes a fruitless ministry, piety without learning is sure to make an ineffective ministry.

II. His Methods of Work

tdwportrait02There now lie before the writer several thousand sermons fully written, and sermon briefs, and their perusal has been made with deep and pathetic interest. Beside the sermon books and manuscripts lie two books in which a complete record of his sermon texts and of the date and place of preaching is made. The last entry is No. 4,917, which may be taken to represent the number of his sermons. By following this record one can trace out the whole movement of his life during the almost forty years of his ministry. Some of the most touching entries are of the sermons preached when he was a chaplain in the Confederate army, mainly in Virginia. There is the record of one at Waynesburg, Pa., and another at Gettysburg, Pa., about the time of the terrible battle at the latter place. An inspection of this varied material reveals several instructive features of homiletical value.

There is everywhere evidence of most careful work. Everything about these sermons and addresses impresses one with the marked diligence and system of the work. Here are his first sermons, which were parts of trial for licensure and ordination in 1859-60, and they are in very perfect literary form, and very mature for a young man of twenty- three. Here are a dozen books filled with carefully written sermons, and for each an index, giving the text, with a fitting title for the sermon. The sermons on single manuscripts, and even the outlines of his prayer-meeting addresses, bear the same features of systematic treatment and orderly, careful work throughout.

Here is a good lesson for ministers young and old. A good systematic habit of working will save time and make the task lighter. Once in a while a genius may appear who can set all rules of order at defiance, but the average minister must be content with a genius for hard work, and a systematic habit is his best helpmeet in it. Let the young minister acquire this habit at the outset of his ministry, and he will master circumstances, and not be at the mercy of his surroundings.

Another marked feature of the materials before us is their strictly Scriptural nature. A good text, not a mere catchword, of Scripture is usually chosen, carefully expounded, and then its truth developed and applied in a direct and rational way. We do not observe a single case in which some topic of the times is taken for the sermon theme and a text gotten for it. The text is from Scripture, and its truth is brought out by careful exposition, and then applied to the conditions and needs of the time. This is a vital matter for the preacher to regard.

At the present day there is temptation for ministers to forget their true function. They are to preach to the times; but they should always be sure that the message they bear is not their own, but God’s. To heed this will give directness and power to all preaching.

A further quality of the work before us is its expository character. In some cases there is a thorough exposition of some difficult texts, and in others a comprehensive exposition of connected passages. A series of sixteen sermons on the Book of Job, and one of twelve on the Minor Prophets, illustrate this feature. Much labor has been bestowed upon these expositions. They are so complete in both matter and form as to be almost ready for publication.

Here is a pertinent hint for the pulpit of to-day in regard to the nature and value of expository preaching. The people want to know what the Bible teaches. One of the healthful signs of the present time is this demand of the pew for the Bible, and the pulpit should respond promptly and fully to meet it. This means hard work, for expository preaching of the right kind needs more time and labor than any other. The careful and devout exposition of any book of the Bible in a connected way will do both preacher and people great good.

The work lying before us reveals great variety. This variety appears in different respects. In the selection of themes the whole area of religious truth and duty seems to be covered. The texts are taken from all parts of the Old and New Testaments. Doctrinal, evangelical, and practical themes appear in due Scriptural proportion. Biography, history, prophecy, parable, miracle, and promise all recur in ever-inviting variety as one turns the pages of these sermon books. Christian privileges, the duties of Church officers, and the life and work of the Church are all presented in these sermons.

This is an important feature for all preaching. There must be variety in pulpit work, and endless variety, as the Scriptures exhibit and the needs of the people demand. With Christ crucified as the central theme, the pulpit should cause all its preaching to revolve in constantly recurring variety around this theme. Here is room for endless skill, inventive resources, and patient labor. But it will make the pulpit the minister’s throne, and his ministry a constantly growing power.

Along with this variety we see adaptation in the materials before us. The themes were chosen to fit the circumstances. The sermons and prayer-meeting addresses are appropriate. His sermons to children, of which there are many, and on special academic and other occasions, are admirable in their adaptation. Those preached to the soldiers in camp, to students at the university, to people in sorrow and trouble, and to the plain mountain people are always peculiarly suitable. There is genius for adaptation always. This was one of the most marked features of his whole ministry, and never did it more plainly appear than in his later years, when, with a company of the seminary students, he went, during vacation, to the rough mountains of Kentucky to preach the simple Gospel to the people there.

This reveals a feature of his ministry that every preacher should strive to possess. Many a good man fails for lack of tactful adaptation in his preaching. A good sermon fails to hit its mark simply because the aim was not good. Endless labor, and careful study not only of the truth to be set forth in the sermon, but also of the audience to be addressed, are demanded.

There are striking courses of sermons among the material before us. Some of these courses are worth mentioning. One on the apostles and one on the prophets arrest attention. A course on some of the negatives in the Book of Revelations gives: No sin; No tears; No more pain; No more sea; No winter; No night there; No temple. Sometimes two sermons are coupled together so as to make a very vivid contrast: Crowns at the Feet; and Crowns on the Head. One series on “ The Antitheses of Character ” is so marked that it is worth quoting in full: I. Lot, A Worldly Choice; and Moses, A Religious Choice. II. Baalam, A Religious Sentiment; Caleb, A Religious Principle. III. Samson, Endowments Wasted; Gideon, Endowments Consecrated. IY. Jephthah, The Superstitious Vow; Ruth, The Religious Vow. V. Saul, Promotion without Piety; David, Promotion with Piety. VI. Solomon, The Seeker of Wise Counsel; Rehoboam, The Despiser of Wise Counsel. VII. Jonah, Peril in the Midst of Security; Daniel, Security in the Midst of Peril.

This will serve to mark a feature of the work of the subject of this study which is full of suggestiveness for young ministers. There will be pleasure in such work, and its result will always be fresh and instructive to the people. Let the young preacher cultivate the habit of original research into the hidden depths of the Scriptures, and let him seek to exercise in a proper way his inventive skill in framing brief courses of sermons after the manner of those quoted.

Only a closing paragraph can be devoted to the method of preparation as revealed in this material. During the early period, for perhaps ten years, there seems to have been faithful writing in full. Then evening sermons seem to have been preached from notes in an extemporaneous way, but always with vigorous thinking through of the subject. In later years he preached sometimes without writing at all, and then wrote the sermon out afterward. This seems to have been the natural growth of a disciplined and well-stored mind. It affords a suggestion and a warning. It warns the young minister against dispensing with writing his sermons in the early years of his ministry, and it suggests that by patient effort a preacher can do his very best preaching without notes after severe reflection and careful mastery of all his materials. The subject of this study never read his sermons, and his example and advice were always against it.

“After he had served his own generation, by the will of God he fell on sleep.” — “And he being dead yet speaketh.”

For Further Study:
The Thomas Dwight Witherspoon Manuscript Collection is preserved at the PCA Historical Center. Details about the collection can be viewed here.


Death in New York of a Distinguished South Carolina Divine and Patriotic Citizen.

The Charleston News and Courier, of last week, contained the following write up of the life and distinguished services of the Rev. Francis P. Mullally, D. D., who died in New York on January 17, 1904. We feel sure the article will be read with interest, as Mr. Mullally was well known to a great many of readers:

Dr. Mullally was a native of the County Tipperary, Ireland, the son of what is called in that country a gentleman farmer. His early boyhood was passed in that romantic, region. Ile had inherited a love for field sports and became a splendid horseman, ever foremost in the chase. He had finished his academic studies, when the “Young Ireland” party raised the standard of revolt, under the leadership of Smith

O’Brien, John Mitchell, Thomas F. Meagher, Devin Reilly, Thomas Davis and other gifted and gallant Irishmen.  It was the famous movement of 1848, which terminated in disaster and defeat.  Dr. Mullally was one of the most ardent and active of the revolutionists; his zeal in the cause and the sterling qualities of the young patriot attracted the admiration of Smith O’Brien, who appointed him his private secretary.

He enjoyed the confidence of the leaders and was complimented for his courage and constancy, which was a breathing inspiration, a glowing heart-fire.

After the capture, conviction and transportation of the leaders he managed to escape and came to America.  After remaining for a brief period in New York he went to Georgia and taught the classics in the C. P. Beman Academy, near Sparta.  He then came to this State and settled in Columbia, where he entered the Presbyterian Seminary, from which he was graduated with high honors.  On entering the ministry ho was appointed co-pastor to the renowned Rev. J. H. Thornwell, D. D., and soon became prominent in religious circles, and was noted for eloquence, impressiveness, fervor and zeal.

In 1859 he was married to Miss Elizabeth K. Adger, daughter of the Rev. J. B. Adger, D. D.  At the breaking out of the war he promptly volunteered his services and entered the field as a member of a company attached to the 2d regiment South

Carolina volunteers, commanded by the knightly Col. J. B. Kershaw, and went to Virginia with that command, doing his duty faithfully. Although a minister of the Gospel he was frequently found on the firing line, not only giving spiritual consolation to the dying, but also encouraging the men fighting in the front of the battle.  On one occasion, at least, he used a rifle effectively, and his coolness and courage elicited the admiration of Lieut. Col. William Wallace, and that fearless officer spoke of him as the embodiment of bravery.  When Orr’s 1st regiment of rifles went to Virginia, under the command of the gallant and chivalrous Col. J. Foster Marshall, Dr. Mullally was appointed regimental chaplain and immediately won the affection of the men by his devotion to duty, his winning amiability of manner and lofty eloquence, which attracted the attention and thrilled hundreds in other regiments of Gregg’s (afterwards McGowan’s) brigade.  Gen. McGowan complimented him highly for the deep interest he took in the welfare of the men.

Dr. Mullally was known to Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson, who spoke of him in complimentary terms.  On that memorable morning, at the Wilderness, when the lion hearted Gen. Micah Jenkins was killed and Gen. Longstreet was seriously wounded, Dr. Mullally was in the midst of the fight, his handsome and expressive face all aglow as he cheered his courageous comrades or knelt by the dying heroes.

After the fateful 9th of April at Appomattox Dr. Mullally returned to South Carolina, and for some time taught school in Pendleton.  He afterwards went to Boliver, Tenn., thence to Covington, Ky., where he remained several years as pastor of one of the churches. The failure of the Southern cause, like the unsuccessful rising in his loved motherland, left him depressed in spirit.  He went to Sparta, Ga., and subsequently to Lexington, Va., where he took a course in law at the Washington and Lee University. The degree of doctor of divinity was conferred on him by the Mecklenburg college.  For some time he was the able and accomplished President of Adger College, Walhalla.  He lived in Dakota for two years; after this he went to New York, where he remained until the lamatable day of his death.  Although absent from

South Carolina, the affection for the cherished home of his adoption remained unchanged.  He continued to believe in the righteousness of the noble cause he so ardently espoused and so faithfully defended.

Dr. Mullally was strikingly handsome, tall and finely proportioned.  He was magnetic in manner, cultured and of a gentle and generous nature. His piety was of the purest order.  He was high-mined and conscientious, firm in his opinions, but temperate and tolerant towards others.  He loved his fellow man, assisted him when in distress, made due allowance for his frailties and aided him, too, in a manner fully commensurate with his means.  His devotion to his native land was a passion and a romance. In the South he had many admiring friends, who loved him when living, to whom he had endeared himself by his warm-heartedness, manly and sterling qualities, and who deeply deplore his death. Among the many tributes paid to Dr. Mullally during the war, there was none more eloquent than that which came from one of his heroic army comrades, the late Judge James S. Cothran, of Abbeville, to whose assistance Dr. Mullally went during the battle in which that gallant officer was seriously wounded.  Judge Cothran frequently said Dr. Mullally was, like Bayard of old, “without fear and without reproach.”  Dr. Mullally was a finished scholar, thoroughly versed in the classics; his oratory was of the Ciceronian order. There are survivors of McGowan’s brigade in Charleston and elsewhere throughout the State who recall his rich and resonant voice, his fertility of thought and felicity of expression.  During the winter of 1864 he delivered a discourse on the righteousness of the Confederate cause which was a masterpiece of lofty and inspired eloquence, learned and logical. Dr. Mullally wrote a series of able and brilliant articles on the book of Romans, and was a frequent contributor to papers and magazines.  He was domestic in his habits and loved the happiness and tranquillity of the home circle. Dr. Mullally leaves eight children : J. B. Adger Mullally, Thornwell, Mandeville, Lane, William, Miss Elizabeth K., Miss Susie D. A. and Miss Mary Clare Mullally.

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It is interesting to find an early description and assessment of the Fundamentalist Movement, this from 1924 and published in 1925. Pictured here is a fair unanimity within the Movement. Already by the time of this writing it is evident that there was a clear division among fundamentalists over millennial issues, but it took another decade for that division to become more formalized and more divisive of fellowship between the two sides. Implicit in this article, as you will see later, were the attempts by modernists to foster division among the modernists. Those attempts had been recognized as early as 1921 and, it might be argued, finally bore fruit in the mid-1930’s. And again in the 1940’s, in the Southern Presbyterian Church, there are indications that behind the effort to speak to the issue of dispensationalism there were the machinations of modernism seeking to divide the conservatives.  

The Rise and Growth of the Fundamentalist Movement
by the Rev. Raymond J. Rutt
[The Presbyterian 95.1 (1 January 1925): 7-8.]

[This article is a brief of the one read by Rev. Raymond J. Rutt, pastor of the Oliver Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota, before the Presbyterian Ministers’ Association of Minneapolis, on December 8, 1924.

I regret very much that it has become necessary to classify groups in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. I abhor being called theologically by any other name than Christian, because no other name can fully represent a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

But when there appears a group of people within the church who deny the final authority of the whole Bible in faith and practice, and put the human mind in the place of final authority, then I am compelled to submit to a classification of believers, who have always, and do now, believe in the final authority of the whole Bible in all matters of faith, by whatever name they may call themselves.

The name “fundamentalist” has been given to, and quite generally accepted by, those believers in the Christian church who rely upon the whole Bible for their authority. And in contrast, the name “modernist” has also been given, and as generally accepted by those who do not accept the whole Bible as authoritative, but put their own minds above the statements of Holy Writ. I know there are some who feel that fundamentalists and modernists are two extremes, and they prefer to take a middle-of-the-road policy between them. To me, this seems impossible. It is very evident that among modernists, the mind of man has rejected great portions of the Bible. If the mind of man is made supreme over any portion of the Bible, what will keep them from destroying the whole testimony of the Word? The difference between these two elements in the Christian church is not a matter of method or interpretation, but rather a matter of premesis [i.e., premise(s)] of authority. Fundamentalists all agree on the authority of the whole Bible. The question is often asked, “Are the modernists our brethren in the Lord?” I think that depends on how much of the Bible they reject. It is dishonoring God to reject any portion of his Holy Word. And when that rejection continues to the extent of denying doctrines that are essential to salvation, then I cannot consider that person a brother in Christ. Many modernists have gone beyond this limit, and I do not consider them brethren.

There are two kinds of fundamentalists, and yet they both accept the final, absolute and supreme authority of the whole Bible, and agree in the essentials of salvation. Premillennial fundamentalists believe that the coming of the Lord before the millennium, which they feel is imminent, is fundamental to a right understanding of the prophecies, but not fundamental to salvation. The post-millennialist fundamentalists feel the same about their position. Thus we find that both kinds of fundamentalists agree as to essentials of salvation.

I think it is commonly agreed that the fundamentalists are the descendants of historic Christianity, for they are generally satisfied with the statements of faith as handed down to them by the Fathers. Not because their statements were infallible, but because they, who have given to us our great church of Christ, have done so from the standpoint that the whole Bible is the absolute, supreme and final authority in all matters of faith. This must not be interpreted to mean that we do not welcome research, study, and new truth that may be shed on the sacred page by the work of the Holy Spirit. We do believe that the Bible should be critically scrutinized and studied from every possible angle and applied to modern life in all its complexities. We welcome constructive criticism. Every believer has a creed, and unless he holds to the final authority of the whole Bible, he will have difficulty in holding it. Truths declared t0-day by the mind of man are denied to-morrow by the same mind of man. On that basis, what can a man believe? But if we cling to the whole Bible, we have a stabilizing standard which has held the heart and hand of the believer from the time of its first revelation.

There has been a desire on the part of fundamentalists to be associated together in fellowship and to promote efforts to defend the authority of the whole Bible against the destructive penknife of the modernist. The premillennial fundamentalists, gathered from all the states but two, and Canada, in Philadelphia, for a Bible Conference, in May, 1919, and organized the World’s Christian Fundamentalist Association. At that time they elected Rev. W.B. Riley, D.D., pastor of the First Baptist Church of Minneapolis, as their executive secretary. The association has met each year since then, and each time re-elected Dr. Riley, who has given one-half of his time to the promotion of Bible conferences all over the continent. Many state organizations have been organized under the World Christian Fundamentalist Association. Again, many local fundamental associations have been organized in cities and counties, some as premillennial fundamentalists and others as associations of all fundamentalists. Of the latter kind, one of the oldest and best known is the Rocky Mountain Bible Conference, of Denver, Colorado. Recently, such an organization has been effected in Minneapolis, and is known as “The Twin City Bible Conference.”

As fundamentalists, we regret very much the sharp differences that exist between fundamentalists and modernists. We are sorry our modernistic friends have deemed it necessary to revolt against the historic standards of the Christian church. I feel that a great deal of ill feeling has been caused by the wrong representation of the one by the other on both sides. As a fundamentalist, I have not appreciated being called a “funny-mentalist,” and I dare say many modernists have resented being called “funny-monkeyists.” Such classifications are but the way of bluff and do not reflect the spirit of the Master.

In conclusion, let me say we fundamentalists are not trying to make a new church, or even a division in the church. We are trying to preserve the church because we believe her Standards have been given to us by God-fearing Fathers, who accepted the whole Bible as their sole authority. We would not curb men’s minds or try to have all believers see alike, but we do believe in the absolute, supreme and final authority of the whole Bible. And if believers will take that stand, there will be little, if any, trouble as brethren together in the Lord. With these words from THE PRESBYTERIAN, I close :

“Christianity is no quiescent thing, but an eternal, omnipotent energy that has been at work in the world, not only in the past, but which is at work in this and every time, yet its specific content was given it once for all by Christ and his apostles, and that this content found authoritative expression in the New Testament. Each generation must, in some degree, express this content in its own language, and its own terms of thought, but the content itself, according to the fundamentalist, like Christ himself, as generation succeeds generation, abides the same to-day, yesterday, and forever.”

“it is a greater privilege, and a greater obligation, to witness to God than to lead a soul to Christ…”

Work slowed some time ago on an author-title index to the THE INDEPENDENT BOARD BULLETIN, the official publication of the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions, an organization formed by Dr. J. Gresham Machen and others in 1933. THE BULLETIN was first issued in January of 1936 and continues to this day as the primary newsletter of that organization. Among the articles appearing in the earlier issues is this by Miss Frances Brook, for which the editor’s opening comments, shown in bold, are striking and deserve serious reflection. We see something of this truth being lived out even today in the lives of Rev. Wang Yi and the congregation of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China.

His Provisions and Equipment
Isaiah 44:1-8
by Miss Frances Brook 

…In this article Miss Brook emphasizes the thought that God’s key-men are “even His witnesses that He is God.” It was precisely because missionaries failed to realize that it is a greater privilege, and a greater obligation, to witness to God than to lead a soul to Christ, that there was so much evasion of that primary obligation in the Japanese Empire. Missionaries and Christians alike failed to realize that in trial comes priceless opportunity, and therefore, save for a very few, missed a glorious opportunity to testify to the very highest officials in Japan that Jehovah alone is God.

How intimately God speaks in all these passages to His prostrate servant, the captive people in Babylon, the one who is heir to this situation, the people for whom it has been created. What loving personal words, to rouse him from his indifference and apathy! “But thou, Israel,” 41:8. “But now, saith the Lord” 43:1. “Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant,” 44:1. And is He any less intimate with us? True power of intercession lies in such close heart intercourse with God!

These verses, Isa. 44:1-8 bring the promise of Pentecost, but not without the foundation of Calvary. How consistent God’s Word is in its oft-repeated revelation. Gal. 3:13 and 14 is the New Testament counterpart, Calvary, thence Pentecost. We must look back at chapter 43:22-28 to get the background of this love appeal, this promise. Verses 18-21 have preceded with their gracious foreshadowing of Pentecost, “a new thing,” a spontaneous, God-given outburst of new life; refreshment and satisfaction just where it might least be expected—”in the wilderness.” Is there anything as “new” as a Pentecostal manifestation of the Spirit? Verses 22-28 describe the spiritual wilderness in which this Pentecostal change is to be enacted. “Things as they are!” A God-weary, God-wearying people. “But thou hast been weary of me, O Israel.” No wonder then they had not called, vs. 22. What a heart-breaking statement for God to make, God the Eternal Lover! Has He never had to say it of us, as He looks down upon our prayerlessness, our apathy? The heart-broken appeal of these verses reminds us of Jer. 2:31. “Have I been a wilderness unto Israel?. . . Wherefore say my people . . . we will come no more unto Thee?” Is it really God speaking? And how tenderly He adds in Isaiah, “I have not wearied thee.”  Prayerlessness, lack of devotion, lack of love, how these things go to God’s heart. Verses 23 and 24 bring this out. God misses our love-tokens. “No water. No kiss. No ointment.”

This is its New Testament counterpart, Luke 7:44-46. And from whence did the love gifts come that gladdened our Lord? From the woman whose sins were many and were forgiven. We turn back to Isaiah 43. “But thou has wearied Me with thine iniquities.” God’s love cannot stay on that dismal, heart-breaking scene, it goes on, it must go on to Calvary. “I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake and will not remember thy sins.” Sin that has been borne by the broken-hearted sinless One can be blotted out, no more remembered. God invites us to meet Him there. Verse 26 speaks of this. We can put Him in remembrance of the Sacrifice, acknowledge our transgression and be justified. The curse, the reproaches, the devastated Sanctuary, vs. 27-28, all point to a heart condition that has left God out! Sins, sins, sins! No love, no prayer, “Yet now, hear, O Jacob.” Into this dismal scene God sends the promise of Pentecost, but Pentecost based on Calvary. The outpoured Sacrifice is complemented by the outpoured Spirit.

To those who have received the first, the second comes as God’s own answer to the one perfect and sufficient Sacrifice for the sin of the whole world. Calvary looks toward Pentecost. And Pentecost alone can heal God’s heart-break over your sin and mine. “Yet now.” God goes back in these verses, 1 and 2, to His original purpose for His people. It can be attained, it shall be attained. “Fear not, I will pour my Spirit.” For uttermost need, uttermost dryness of soul—Pentecost! God will pour Himself out. The curse absorbed in Calvary’s love-transaction, what is left to give but blessing? Gal. 3:13 and 14. Thus verses 4 and 5 picture the spontaneity of Holy Ghost life to the soul that listens. They picture Spring as it breaks forth from Winter barrenness and hopelessness. And now (contrast 43:22-24) there is deliberate response to the Divine Giver. Can any response be more simple, more safe, more satisfying than the one for which He has so long waited, “I am the Lord’s!” All Heaven is waiting for the soul that is the Lord’s. I Cor. 3:21-23.

But why call himself by the name of Jacob? Can any good thing belong there? No, it is the heart confession of failure, utter failure. “What is thy name?” said the Divine Angel to Jacob at his life crisis when God wrestled with him to change him. “And he said, Jacob,” and God said, “Thou shalt no more be called Jacob, but Israel.” Israel could not be super-imposed on Jacob. Jacob could not grow into Israel. It is necessary to be perfectly honest in our dealings with God. “I am Jacob” with all it stands for—all the weary plotting and maneuvering to outwit and outreach another—all the failure to attain the thing for which I was made and which God was waiting to bestow—I am Jacob. “Thy name shall be called . . . Israel.” “One with whom God has power.” This is the true interpretation of the Hebrew. Hence Jacob’s power with God and men. Here we come upon the secret by which prayerless self-lovers can be made into “the new sharp threshing instrument having teeth,” into God-lovers who can turn other  men’s failures into victory. No real change is possible in the situation till there is this change in us. How quickly it followed in Jacob’s case when God had His way with him. Gen. 32:26-28 and 33:1-4.

Is not this “subscribing with his hand unto the Lord?” I expect from God what heretofore I have looked for from myself. I sign my checks in His name, I am the Lord’s and have the Bride’s privilege to draw on all that is His. So I use it now, and over against Jacob, my heart confession of failure, I dare to write Israel, my new name, the man who at last has room for God, and expects all from Him. Paul says the same in Phil. 3:3, “rejoice in Christ Jesus . . . no confidence in the flesh.” This fits the Divine assurance of 44:6 aas an empty socket gives play to the joint, fulness working in emptiness. John saw the same at Patmos and fell at His feet as dead, and He said, “Fear not; am the first and the last.”

And so the God-appointed people come at last to their God-appointed end, verse 7. They are even His witnesses that He is God, verse 8. They live to show forth His praisem, 43:21. They are formed for Himself and in no other way can they reach their End. In all helplessness and utter weakness we receive Him. This is Pentecost. And it means a changed people.

“I take the promised Holy Ghost
I take the power of Pentecost
To fill me to the uttermost
I take, He undertakes.”

Pentecost is God’s cure for prayerlessness; God’s answer to Calvary; the place where God meets the man who is resting in the Sacrifice, and life is changed.

With some slight editing, our post today is drawn from Richard Webster’s work, A History of the Presbyterian Church in America: from its origin until the year 1760. (1857):—

The Rev. Daniel Elmer was pastor of the Fairfield Presbyterian Church, Fairfield, New Jersey, from 1729-1755. Rev. Elmer was the eighth pastor of this church, which had been organized in 1680. The church is now a member of the PCA. Rev. Elmer was preceded there by the Rev. Noyes Parris [1724-1729] and following him at that pulpit was the Rev. William Ramsey 1756-1771].

Daniel Elmer was born in Fairfield, Connecticut, in 1690, and graduated from Yale in 1713. He married soon after, and, “for some time, carried on the work of the ministry” in Brookfield,Massachusetts.
The General Court allowed the town twenty pound for three years, to aid in sustaining the gospel. Elmer received only half of this encouragement, having left before 1715. Where he spent the next twelve years is not known. In 1728, he settled at Fairfield, in Cohanzy. At the declaring for the Confession, in 1729, he was the only minister who professed himself unprepared to act. Time was granted him to consider; and the next year he informed the Synod that he had declared before the presbytery his cordial adoption of the Confession and the Catechism.

Whitefield visited West Jersey in the spring of 1740. Gilbert Tennent was there in the summer; and, while Whitefield was preaching (November 19) on Wednesday, the Holy Ghost came down “like a mighty rushing wind” at Cohanzy. Some thousands were present. The whole congregation was moved, and two cried out.

At the separation in 1741, Rev. Elmer and his elder, Jonathan Fithian, though present at the opening of the sessions, seems to have gone home before the Protest was introduced. He adhered to the Old Side. The congregation divided: even his own son occasionally went to Greenwich to hear Andrew Hunter.

Finley spent much time in the vicinity; and New Brunswick Presbytery was constantly importuned for supplies, and their most promising candidates were sent to Cohanzy.

At Elmer’s request, Cowell, McHenry, and Kinkaid were sent
 by the Synod, in September, 1754, to endeavor to remove the difficulties he complained of in his congregation; but all proceedings were stayed by his death. He lies buried in the Old New England town-graveyard, with this inscription:

“In memory of the Rev. Daniel Elmer, late pastor of Christ’s Church in this place, who departed this life, January 14, 1755, aged sixty-five years.”

Dr. Alison wrote to President Stiles, July 20, 1755, informing him that the two parts of Elmer’s congregation had united on his death, and introducing Mr. Thomas Ogden, whom they had sent as their messenger to Connecticut to procure a minister.

Elmer married Margaret, daughter of Ebenezer Parsons, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, and sister of the Rev. Jonathan Parsons, of Newburyport; she was the mother of three sons and four daughters. His second wife was a Webster, the mother of two sons and three daughters.

His son Daniel was born in 1714, and was the father of Dr. Jonathan and General Ebenezer Elmer.

Words to Live By:
Honesty goes a long way. Courage too. As you have time it would be a worthwhile exercise to review what the Bible says about honesty. Rev. Elmer was forthright in declaring first, in 1729, his caution over subscribing to the Confession, and then a year later he was again honest in stepping forward to acknowledge his adoption of the Confession and Catechisms. Had he in good conscience been unable to adopt the Westminster Standards, we trust he would have done the right thing and withdrawn his affiliation to another, more like-minded denomination, for the basis of trust and fellowship rests upon a common affirmation or understanding of what the Scriptures teach, as exemplified in this case by the Westminster Standards. The historical reference here is to the Adopting Act of 1729, in which it was decided that all Presbyterian pastors would have to make a declaration, affirming their adoption of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms as being in full accord with what the Scriptures teach.

The text of the Synod minutes from that meeting, with mention of Rev. Elmer, is as follows (see the above link for the full context):

§ 8. The Adopting Act.
[The foregoing paper was adopted in the morning. In the afternoon took place “The Adopting Act.”]
“All the Ministers of this Synod now present, except one,* that declared himself not prepared, viz., Masters Jedediah Andrews, Thomas Craighead, John Thomson, James Anderson, John Pierson, Samuel Gelston, Joseph Houston, Gilbert Tennent, Adam Boyd, Jonathan Dickinson, John Bradner, Alexander Hutchinson, Thomas Evans, Hugh Stevenson, William Tennent, Hugh Conn, George Gillespie, and John Willson, after proposing all the scruples that any of them had to make against any articles and expressions in the Confession of Faith and Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, have unanimously agreed in the solution of those scruples, and in declaring the said Confession and Catechisms to be the confession of their faith, excepting only some clauses in the twentieth and twenty-third chapters, concerning which clauses the Synod do unanimously declare, that they do not received those articles in any such sense as to suppose the civil magistrate hath a controlling power over Synods with respect to the exercise of their ministerial authority; or power to persecute any for their religion, or in any sense contrary to the Protestant succession to the throne of Great Britain.
“The Synod observing that unanimity, peace, and unity, which appeared in all their consultations and determinations relating to the affair of the Confession, did unanimously agree in giving thanks to God in solemn prayer and praises.”–Ibid.

[*Mr. Elmer. He gave in his assent at the next meeting of the Synod.]

Today we present Rev. William Smith’s brief treatment of the second question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?

 The word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.


The Scriptures.—The writings, or books of the Old and New Testaments, so called, by way of eminence, on account of their great importance.
To direct.—To point out the proper method.


In this answer there are four things pointed out:

The necessity of a rule to direct us in glorifying God.—Acts ii. 37. They said unto Peter and the rest of the Apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

That the Word of God is this rule.—2 Tim. iii. 16. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God.—Eph. ii. 20. And are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone.

That the Word of God is the only rule given to direct us how to glorify and enjoy him.—Isa. viii. 20. To the law and to the testimony : if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

The Cause Of The Doctrinal Trouble In The Northern Presbyterian Church

(“Exploring Avenues Of Acquaintance And Co-operation”)
By Chalmers W. Alexander
Jackson, Miss.
[THE SOUTHERN PRESBYTERIAN JOURNAL 8.13 (1 November 1949): 9-11.]

This is the eighth in the series of articles by Chalmers W. Alexander under the heading, “Exploring Avenues of Acquaintance And Co-operation.” This informative series of articles was written by one of the most able laymen in the Southern Presbyterian Church.

What has been the principal cause of the doctrinal disturbance in the Northern Presbyterian Church?

Origin Of The Doctrinal Disturbance

In order to understand fully the answer to that question it is necessary to look back briefly over some of the events which took place in the early history of Presbyterianism in America. By the close of the eighteenth century, the Presbyterian Church in this country found itself working side by side with the Congregational Church in trying to build churches and furnish ministers for the nation’s expanding population, which was spreading throughout the Middle West. And in 1801 a plan of union was adopted whereby the Presbyterian General Assembly and the General Association of the State of Connecticut (Congregational) should work together, rather than in competition.

Old School” Theology Versus “New School” Theology

This union of 1801 marks the earliest discernible beginning of the decline of what we now refer to as the Northern Presbyterian Church, for the Congregational churches adhered to the liberal “New School” theology. This liberal “New School” theology differed from the Presbyterian, or conservative “Old School,” theology in several important points of doctrine.

The conservative “Old School” theology of the Presbyterians rested solidly on the teachings of the Holy Bible as they are outlined in the Westminster Confession of Faith and in the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. The liberal “New School” theology differed from its teachings, for instance, with reference to the extent of the guilt of Adam as it is imputed to his descendents, and with reference to the Calvinist doctrine of the definite atonement of Christ.

The New England theologians, who were the trainers of the Congregational ministers, were not inclined to consider very seriously the principles which meant much to the Presbyterian ministers who, for the most part, came from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Consequently friction developed between the two denominational groups, and in 1837 they severed their relationship.

The Presbyterian Groups Separate

But prior to 1837, the liberal “New School” theology of the Congregational Church had been embraced by some of the Presbyterian ministers. Accordingly, within a few months after the separation of the Congregational Church and the Presbyterian Church, there occurred a separation between the conservative “Old School” and the liberal “New School” groups which now existed in the Presbyterian Church.

The “New School” Presbyterian group, among other things, had founded Auburn Theological Seminary, at Auburn, New York. (It was from Auburn, New York that the heretical Auburn Affirmation was later to be published.) And this liberal “New School” group had also founded Union Theological Seminary in New York City, which is today one of the nation’s leading centers of extreme Modernism.

When the Civil War took place in this country, the synods of the South withdrew from the “Old School” group of Presbyterians in the North, and founded our own Southern Presbyterian Church. And from its founding until the present time our Southern Presbyterian Church has always adhered to the conservative “Old School” theology.

The Merger Of 1869

After the close of the Civil War, in the North the conservative “Old School” Presbyterian group reunited in 1869 with the liberal “New School” Presbyterian group, in spite of the fact that the great Princeton theologian, Dr. Charles Hodge, left a sick-bed to oppose the merger.

As a result of the merger of the conservative “Old School” and the liberal “New School” Presbyterian groups in 1869, that which Dr. Hodge and the other Conservative leaders in the Northern Presbyterian Church had feared now began to take place. From the date of that merger until the present time, the liberal “New School” theology has been a disturbing factor in the ranks of the Northern Presbyterian Church.

This disturbance and trouble arose, of course, from the fact that the merger of 1869 had taken place upon the basis of a common administration, and not upon the basis of a creed which meant the same thing to both Presbyterian groups. Thus, in 1869, the Northern Presbyterian Church had willingly surrendered the greater principle of Christian doctrine for the less important principle of church administration. “To it the system of government had become of more importance than the system of belief,” as Dr. William Crowe, one of the very clear thinkers of our denomination, has so well expressed it.

Two Divergent Groups In The Church

As a result of this merger of 1869, there now existed within the Northern Presbyterian Church two distinct and divergent groups. One, the “New School” group, adhered to the liberal theology which was being taught at such institutions as Union Theological Seminary of New York City. This Seminary, founded earlier by the liberal “New School” Presbyterian group, had been taken into the merged Northern Presbyterian Church in 1869 without any requirement being made that it first change its position in theology to conform to the teachings and doctrines summarized in the Westminster Confession of Faith and in the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. (Some twenty-three years later, in 1892, Union Theological Seminary of New York City was to terminate its relation to the Northern Presbyterian Church because of the action of the General Assembly of 1891 in refusing to confirm as Professor of Biblical Theology in that Seminary, Dr. Charles A. Briggs, who was found guilty of heresy and was later dismissed from the ministry of the Northern Presbyterian Church by the General Assembly of 1893, but who was to remain a professor in good standing at Union Theological Seminary of New York City until his death in 1913.)

The second group in the Northern Presbyterian Church, or the conservative “Old School” group, continued to adhere to the theology which had come from Paul the Apostle down through John Calvin of Geneva, John Knox of Scotland, and, in this country, through the great Princeton Seminary theologians.

As Princeton Theological Seminary (hereinafter referred to as Princeton Seminary) has played such an important part in the life of the Northern Presbyterian Church, it will be informative to consider what effect the liberal “New School” theology has had upon it since that Seminary was reorganized in 1929.

But first let us glance at some of the history and achievements of that institution prior to its reorganization in 1929.

The Early Character Of Princeton Seminary

Princeton Seminary was from its beginning the great center of conservative “Old School” theology in America. Founded in 1812 at Princeton, New Jersey, it was the oldest seminary in the Northern Presbyterian Church. Its foundation rested squarely on the fully inspired Word of God as it is summarized in the Westminster Confession of Faith and in the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. Because of its sound theology, and because of the profound scholarship of its faculty, Princeton Seminary acquired a world-wide reputation as a great center of Christian learning. It became known as the outstanding seminary of the Northern Presbyterian Church.

The faculty of Princeton Seminary had always been composed of great men, all of whom adhered strictly to the conservative “Old School” theology, and all of whom held to the doctrines of the Holy Bible as they are outlined in the Westminster Standards.

Among the Seminary’s earlier faculty members there had been such theological giants as its first professor, Dr. Archibald Alexander, and the other Alexanders, and Dr. Samuel Miller, and some of the members of the famed Hodge family. And in more recent times such master theologians as the following were on its faculty: Professors Benjamin B. Warfield, Robert Dick Wilson, William B. Greene, Geerhardus Vos, William Park Armstrong, J. Gresham Machen, Oswald T. Allis, Casper Wistar Hodge (the fourth member of that great family of theologians), and Cornelius Van Til.

Princeton Seminary Scholarship

Some conception of the very unusual ability of these men as Bible scholars can be gained by considering one of them, Dr. Benjamin B. Warfield, for a moment.

Dr. Warfield had received his A.B. and his M.A. from Princeton University and his Th.B. from Princeton Seminary. Then he had studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Heidelberg, and the University of Leipzig. He was for many years the Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Seminary.

Dr. Warfield is considered by many very able Bible scholars to have been the greatest theologian that America has ever produced.

The late Dr. John DeWitt, himself a great scholar, once remarked that he had known intimately the three outstanding theologians in the Northern Presbyterian Church of the generation preceding Dr. Warfield, namely, Henry B. Smith, William G. T. Shedd, and Charles Hodge, and that he was certain that Dr. Warfield knew more than any one of them, and that he was disposed to think that Dr. Warfield knew more than all three of them combined.

Dr. Caspar Wistar Hodge succeeded Dr. Warfield as Professor of Systematic Theology in Princeton Seminary after the latter’s death in 1921. Dr. Hodge received his A.B. and his Ph.D. from Princeton University and, after a year’s study abroad at the University of Heidelberg and the University of Berlin, he had finally taken his B.D. from Princeton Seminary. In speaking of his predecessors in the Professorship of Systematic Theology (two of whom had been his grandfather, Dr. Charles Hodge, and his uncle, Dr. A. A. Hodge, both of whom had been world famous), Dr. Caspar Wistar Hodge spoke of Dr. Warfield as “excelling them all in erudition” and as being “one of the greatest men who has ever taught in this institution.”

At the time of Dr. Warfield’s death, Dr. Francis Landey Patton, who had formerly served as President of Princeton University and later as President of Princeton Seminary, stated that under Dr. Warfield’s leadership “the department of Systematic Theology has been built up and has attained a position in this Seminary which it never had before and, so far as my knowledge and information go, exists nowhere else.”

And Dr. Samuel G. Craig, the able Editor of Christianity Today, one of the sound church papers in the Northern Presbyterian Church, wrote in 1934: “For instance, I am sure that at the time of his death there was no man in the world-—I make no exceptions—who knew more about the New Testament and what has been said against its trustworthiness than Benjamin B. Warfield. Again I am sure that at the time of his death there was no man in the world—here too I make no exceptions—who knew more about the Old Testament and what has been said against its trustworthiness than Robert Dick Wilson. Yet I am sure that Dr. Warfield would have said about the New Testament what Dr. Wilson said about the Old Testament: that no man knows enough to say that it contains errors.”

In fact, in his monumental volume entitled, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, which the Inter-Varsity Magazine, of London, calls “the ablest defense of the conservative view of the inspiration and authority of Holy Scripture that has appeared in the English language,” Dr. Warfield expressed the same view of the Bible’s full trustworthiness which was held by Dr. Robert Dick Wilson.

Dr. Warfield’s view of the inspiration of the Bible and his position in theology were shared by all of his associates on the Princeton Seminary faculty. That able theologian, Dr. John Macleod, Principal of the Free Church College, of Edinburgh, Scotland, has stated that Dr. Warfield, in speaking to him of Dr. Warfield’s associates on the Princeton Seminary faculty, once remarked that, “We are all of one mind.” All of the members of the Seminary faculty were conservative “Old School” theologians who believed that the only consistent system of doctrine and belief taught in the Holy Bible was clearly summarized in the Westminster Confession of Faith and in the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.

Under the leadership of Dr. Warfield, Princeton Seminary stood like a Rock of Gibraltar which, since its founding, had withstood all of the Modernist attacks of unbelief. When perplexing problems of theology were under discussion, Bible-believing Presbyterians everywhere knew that the right answers to the problems could always be found at Princeton Seminary.

Of all of the theological seminaries in the Northern Presbyterian Church, Princeton Seminary alone now stood firmly and consistently for the orthodox position in theology. Its faculty was not in any way contaminated by the liberal “New School” theology. And Princeton Seminary was pouring into the ministry of the Northern Presbyterian Church each year from forty to fifty orthodox young ministers, constituting one-fourth of each year’s total supply of new ministers in that denomination.

A Movement To Reorganize Princeton University

Now for some time there had been a movement under way to try to reorganize the great Princeton Seminary.

The purpose of the proposed reorganization of Princeton Seminary was to make that institution inclusive not only of the conservative “Old School” theology which had always been taught there, but of the liberal “New School” theology as well.

Because of the movement to try to reorganize Princeton Seminary, a fierce struggle had taken place for several years behind the scenes in the Northern Presbyterian Church. By this time the Northern Presbyterian Church consisted of three different groups: a strong, outspoken orthodox group, an active Modernist group, and a so-called “middle-of-the-road” group. This so-called “middle-of-the-road” group was trying to hold on to the Holy Bible and to the Westminster Standards, and at the same time not oppose the Modernists. Many of this so-called “middle-of-the-road” group wanted “peace at any price,” even if it had to be purchased at the cost of serious compromise with error in Christian belief.

Finally, in 1929, in spite of a valient and courageous fight by many of the orthodox group in the Northern Presbyterian Church, those who wanted to reorganize Princeton Seminary won the struggle.

(Continued in the Next Issue.)

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