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Alexander John Forsyth (28 December 1768 – 11 June 1843) was a Scottish Presbyterian clergyman who invented the percussion ignition.[1]

Gunsmiths like Joseph Manton invented more reliable forms of ignition, like the tube lock in 1814. The artist Joshua Shaw designed what is recognized today as the percussion cap, which he patented in the United States in 1822, since Forsyth had threatened his rivals in Britain with legal action. These new forms of ignition proved popular among hunters during the Regency period, who had their old reliable flintlocks converted.[2]


He was educated at King’s College, Aberdeen, and succeeded his father as minister of Belhelvie in 1791.[3]

While hunting wild duck, he was dissatisfied with his flintlock fowling-piece due to its long lock time (the delay between the time the trigger is pulled and the time the main charge of gunpowder begins burning); by the time the pellets actually left the barrel, the target animal could hear the noise from the trigger being pulled and have time to either fly, dive, or run before the shot reached it.[2] He patented his scent-bottle lock in 1807; this was a small container filled with fulminate of mercury[4]

During the Napoleonic Wars Forsyth worked on his design at the Tower armories. But when a new Master General of Ordnance was appointed he was dismissed; other experiments had had destructive results and the new master general did not wish to see Britain’s mainarsenal destroyed.

Napoleon Bonaparte offered Forsyth a reward of £20,000 if he took his invention to France, but Forsyth declined. The French gunsmith Jean Lepage developed a similar form of ignition in 1807 based on Forsyth’s design, but this was not pursued.

Engraved and Gold Inlaid Double Barrel Pellet Lock 16 Gauge Forsyth & Co. Style Shotgun


Estimated Price: $4,500 – $6,500

Description: Engraved and Gold Inlaid Double Barrel Pellet Lock 16 Gauge Forsyth & Co. Style Shotgun Before the invention of the percussion cap in 1822, there was a variety of detonating material that was used. This example used a drum to dispense a single pellet, which was then detonated by the hammer. The lock plates were reengraved with “FORSYTH & Co/PATENT” and they feature scroll engraving at the rear and as stated are fitted with self primers ahead of the hammers. The scrollwork extends to the hammers. The twist barrels have a solid rib which has also been reengraved and gold inlaid with the name “FORSYTH & Co LONDON”. The rib is fitted with a silver blade front sight. Each barrel bolster has been reengraved, two inlaid gold bands one at the front and rear of each bolster. The trigger guard has a pineapple finial. The half stock has a checkered wrist, single barrel wedge, pineapple forend insert, silver thumb escutcheon, cheekpiece and flat buttplate. Length of pull is 13 7/8 inches. Alexander John Forsyth (1768-1843) was a Scottish Presbyterian clergyman who is best known for inventing the roller primer percussion system and manufactured hunting arms for nearly twenty years. The consignor notes indicate that this gun was purchased from the William G. Renwich Collection in 1974 and is considered a Forsyth fake using the very rare John Jones locks of which only ten have been recorded. A similar lock design and discussion on copies and fakes can be found in Early Percussion Firearms by Lewis Winant on page 62. A letter reproduced in Forsyth & Co.: Patent Gunmakers on page 198 notes “In this lock the hammer is clearly a copy of the early form of Forsyth, the only difference being the striker head which is formed with a hardened face…” Manufacturer: English Model: Side By Side BBL: 31 inch solid rib Stock: walnut Gauge: 16 Finish: brown/casehardened Grips: Serial Number: NSN Class: Antique Condition: Good as refinished, altered and embellished. The barrels retain 70% of the refurbished brown twist with a smooth gray patina on the balance. The action components retain traces of case colors. There is some minor pitting with extensive pitting on the trigger guard. The stock is very good with a number of minor handling marks, some chipping and some worn checkering. The engraved Forsyth name and gold inlays are nicely done; however they are not authentic to this shotgun. Mechanically fine.




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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.”

Then, from The Herald and Presbyter [92.27 (6 July 1921): 8], which later merged with The Presbyterian, I happened to find this entry regarding Rev. Rutt:

“Rev. Raymond J. Rutt was installed pastor of the Oliver Church, Minneapolis, on June 14th. Dr. A.B. Marshall, his instructor in Omaha Theological Seminary, preached the sermon; Dr. J.T. Bergen gave the charge to the pastor, and Dr. J.O. Buswell [this would be Dr. Buswell, Sr.] the charge to the people. Oliver Church has sent two missionaries into the foreign field, Rev. Paul Doltz to the Philippines, and Rev. Charles Clark to Korea, and for each of them it has recently provided an automobile. After the installation, Dr. Marshall went East to attend a reunion of his class at Princeton.”

And in that same issue of THE HERALD AND PRESBYTER, on page 2, it is ironic to find this, underscoring Rev. Rutt’s own message:


We have already referred to the attempt of liberal theology men to drive a wedge into the conservative line by assuming that all conservatives are pre-millennarians, and that the issue is between rationalism and pre-millennialism.

This has raised considerable opposition, particularly in Baptist quarters, where, as in other churches, the fact is recognizable that some conservatives are, and others are not, pre-millenarians, and that the issue is between infidelity and the Christian faith.

Dr. W.B. Riley, in THE BAPTIST, discussing the Real Question before the Northern Baptist Convention, says:

The line of cleavage is not the question of millennialism. If it were, the breach could be healed. As we see it, it is the conflict between German rationalism on the one side and the old evangelical faith on the other side ; the conflict between modernism and orthodoxy ; the conflict between the doctrine of the divine immanence–pantheism–and the divine transcendence–theism ; the conflict between the question of an “inspired Bible’ or an “evoluted book;” a “divine Christ’ or a “highly developed man;” between “the efficacy of the shed blood of Jesus” and “the efficiency of self-sacrifice;” the conflict between infallibly-based doctrines and a religious basis that shifts with the rise of every man.

Edward Terris Noé was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 18, 1919 to parents Bradford Massey Noé and his wife, Lydia Terria Noé.

He was educated at Johns Hopkins University, New York University and at the National Bible Institute (1947), and upon graduation at NBI, he married Ruth Helen Buswell, of New York City, on June 20, 1947. He then began his preparation for the ministry by enrolling at Faith Theological Seminary, graduating there in 1950.

He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Philadelphia (of the Bible Presbyterian Church) in May of 1949 and ordained in June of 1950 by MidSouth Presbytery (also BPC), being installed as pastor of the First Bible Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis, Indiana. He served this church from 1950 to 1969. Concurrently, he also served as director of the Versailles Camp in Indiana, 1951-1968.

Rev. Noé was next pastor of the Bible Presbyterian church of Cono Center, in Walker, Iowa, 1969-1979 and concurrently principal of the Cono Christian School, 1969-1979. Both of those institutions were started by the Rev. Max Belz.

Leaving that post, he served as pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian church of West Chester, PA, 1979-1988 and was on the church relations staff for Covenant College, 1988 until his death. He was honorably retired in 1989 and died on July 31, 1991 while a member of the PCA’s Tennessee Valley Presbytery.

Words to Live By:
Rev. Noé was not well known outside his immediate church circles, yet he was a faithful servant of the Lord and was a great influence in the lives of those under his years of ministry. He is yet another example of how the Lord calls each of us to persevere in our life’s calling, whatever that may be, to seek to honor and glorify His name in all we do, endeavoring to do His will, as revealed in His Word, and to be faithful in keeping covenant with our God, in loving our spouse and our children, in serving our church and in loving our neighbors as ourselves.

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REV. FRANCIS GRIMKE’ [1850-1937]

Abolitionists Angelina and Sarah Grimké, Francis’ white half-sisters helped to secure Francis’ freedom and they gave the necessary funds for Francis to attend Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. Later, feeling drawn to the ministry, he entered Princeton Theological Seminary from which he graduated in 1878.

On July 7, 1878, Francis was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. He would spend over 50 years in the pulpit, most of it at Washington’s 15th Street Presbyterian Church. He was noted as one of the most articulate opponents of racism: “Race prejudice can’t be talked down, it must be lived down.” He was a participant in the March 5, 1897 meeting to celebrate the memory of Frederick Douglass which founded the American Negro Academy led by Alexander Crummell.

Here, from volume 3 of his Works, in the section, “Stray Thoughts and Meditations, Grimké looks back over his ordination to the ministry and subsequent years:

July 7, 1918.
“Just forty years ago today I was ordained and installed pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church. I can hardly realize that four decades have passed since my connection officially with the work here began. It is only as I look in the glass at my changed appearance, at the frost upon my head—as I look around for scores of familiar faces that I used to see, but see no more, and at the children that I baptized in infancy, now grown to manhood and womanhood, some with children of their own, that I am made sensible that some years have elapsed since the beginning of my
ministry here.”

“As I look back over these forty years I have many things to be thankful for. God has been more than good to me, in giving me for thirty-five of those years a most helpful and delightful companionship of one of the best of women : in giving me many dear friends; and since the death of my wife, especially, the great help which my brother and niece have been to me within the home. I don’t know what I should have done without them and also during the whole of those forty years, the unspeakable privilege of preaching the gospel of the grace of God in Christ Jesus to a perishing world. As I look back I can truthfully say, Goodness and mercy have followed me during all those years. I have been blessed with a reasonable amount of health, and have had a very, very pleasant pastorate. While I am deeply conscious that I have not done as well as I might have done; that my ministry is far. far from being all that it might have been. I trust, however, that it has resulted in some good, that some have been helped by my ministrations to a truer, nobler conception of life; that some have been led by me to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and to an earnest, faithful consecration of themselves to him. There is no greater joy that can come to any one, than to know that he has led some one else to find the Pearl of greatest price.”

“And now as I look forward from this point, my earnest prayer is, that the few years that may be before me, may be the most fruitful years of my life; that, more than ever, I may be thoroughly consecrated to the work of bringing others into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether my days be few or many. I want them all consecrated to the service of the Lord. Like the apostle Paul, may it be Christ for me to live; and then when death comes, I know it will be gain for me to die. Again my heart goes out in deepest gratitude to God for these forty years in the Christian ministry,—forty years of privilege, and of opportunity to work in his vineyard.”

Words to Live By:
In the above final paragraph, Rev. Grimké has said it all, and to that, we can add nothing. May every pastor be so blessed. May every Christian be so blessed.

Image source: The above image comes from the cover of a work, Meditations on Preaching, by Rev. Francis Grimké, available from Log College Press in their store. Other works by Rev. Grimké can be viewed here:

This past Friday we had a post on the death of Professor John Murray, who served with great esteem as professor of Systematic Theology at the Westminster Theological Seminary, from 1930 to 1966. Today’s post focuses on the occasion of his funeral near Ross-shire, Scotland. The following account was submitted to The Banner of Truth by K.J. MacLeay, and was later reprinted in The Presbyterian Guardian.

The Kyle of Sutherland was enveloped in mist, and the day was damp and cold, as though in sympathy with the many mourners who gathered from North, South, East and West, yea, and from across the Atlantic, to pay their last respects to the memory of Professor John Murray of Badbea, Bonar Bridge in Scotland. Some 500 people were congregated there in the historic Free Church of Creich, the church of the revered Dr. Aird, for the funeral service of this saintly scholar on Tuesday, May 13, 1975.

The impressive silence that pervaded this large representative company of ministers from all denominations and people from all walks of life, indicated their consciousness that a prince in Israel had fallen.

The service was conducted by the Rev. M. MacDonald, minister of the Creich congregation, with the assistance of Dr. David Freeman, U.S.A., Rev. John MacSween, Isle of Lewis, Rev. D. Lamont, Edinburgh and Rev. H. Cameron, Dornoch, the Praise being led by Mr. Hector MacLeod, Bonar Bridge.

The dignity and simplicity of the service, in true Reformation style, was just as Professor Murray would have desired. John Murray had gone forth from this small community to become one of the world’s leading theologians. Having finished his course and kept the faith, it now seemed fitting that the small cemetery on the shores of the Kyles of Scotland should contain the remains of this worthy servant of Christ until the day break and the shadows flee away.

At the graveside the Rev. D.B. MacLeod Lain reminded us all of the truths that Professor Murray held so dear and so ably taught and preached. He urged sinners to flee the wrath to come and seek refuge in a crucified, risen and exalted Christ, while mercy lasted.

—K.J. MacLeay, courtesy of The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, Scotland, and reproduced in The Presbyterian Guardian, Vol. 44, No. 6 (June 1975): 87.

[Note: The Kyle of Sutherland (Scottish Gaelic: An Caol Catach) is a river estuary that separates Sutherland from Ross-shire. It flows into the Dornoch Firth and is fed by the rivers Oykel, Shin, River Cassley and Carron.]

Words to Live By:
“Oh may I, as Christ’s messenger, plead with each one of you to be joined to him in the bonds of a faith and a love and a hope that can never be dissolved. Then, when He will come again, He will usher you into the possession of that salvation, which you looked for, which you waited  for, and which you longed for. And it will surpass all your expectations, because it is a salvation that is bound up with the glory of the presence of Him who was given the name that is above every name. “The dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thess. 4:16-17).
–Professor John Murray, O Death, Where Is Thy Sting?p. 258.

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