The Perseverance of the Saints, Illustrated, Proved and Applied
Shepard Kosciusko Kollock was born at Elizabeth, New Jersey, on June 25th, 1795. His father was an officer in the Revolutionary Army, and greatly admired the personal and military character of the Polish leader Kosciusko, and so gave that name, together with his own, to his youngest son. Shepard graduated from the College of New Jersey in 1812, at the age of seventeen and with high honors. After studying theology with his brother-in-law, the Rev. John McDowell, and his brother, Dr. Henry Kollock, Shepard was subsequently licensed to preach the Gospel by the Presbytery of South Caroline, in June of 1814.
After preaching for three years in South Carolina and Georgia, Rev. Kollock received a call to serve the Presbyterian church in Oxford, North Carolina, and it was only at this point when he was finally ordained, by the Presbytery of Orange, on May 2nd, 1818. However, not long after this, he accepted an appointment as Professor of Rhetoric and Logic at the University of North Carolina, prompting him to resign his pulpit.
In 1825 he became pastor of the Presbyterian church in Norfolk, Virginia, and continued there for about ten years, thereafter returning to New Jersey and for three years he was engaged as an agent for the Board of Domestic Missions of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. From about 1828 to 1848, Rev. Kollock was the pastor of the church in Burlington, and his final pastorate was in Greenwich. At last, worn out by a life of faithful labors, age and increasing infirmity, he resigned and came to live in Philadelphia in 1860. Death came at last on April 7, 1865.
Dr. Kollock was a successful minister of the Gospel in all his charges, and a gentleman of culture of no common order. His Hints on Preaching without Reading, and Pastoral Reminiscences, were translated into French and published in Paris. He also contributed several valuable articles to the Princeton Review.
Kollock’s work, The Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints, Illustrated, Proved and Applied, by first published by the Presbyterian Board of Publication in 1835 and was later included in volume one of the series commonly known under the title, Presbyterian Tracts. In lieu of our Words to Live By section, we reproduce a portion of that work here today, for those who might want to read further:–
PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS.
In every age the Church has been pained by beholding persons whose professions were high and specious, declining from the truth, returning to the world, and again indulging in the lusts of the flesh. Such examples tend to afflict humble believers, and to fill them with apprehensions that their own state is unsafe, and may terminate in destruction. To prevent such an inference, the Scriptures, whenever they predict, or relate, the apostacy of those who had once “the form of godliness,” immediately subjoin, as a source of consolation, an assurance that the real children of God shall be preserved from defection.
Thus the Saviour (Matt. xxiv.) foretelling the appearance of those who should come in his name, and “deceive many,” intimates that the elect shall not be deceived.
Thus Paul (2 Tim. ii. 19.) mentioning the apostacy of Hymenaeus and Philetus, probably eminent teachers in the Church, adds, lest believers should suppose that their own condition was uncertain, and their own faith liable to be destroyed: “nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his”—”they that are built upon the foundation of his unchangeable love and purpose shall never be overthrown.”
Thus also the apostle John (1 John ii. 19.) having mentioned that many anti-christs were in the world who were generally apostates, adds: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us;”—as if he had said, ‘Whatever plausible appearances they make, they prove, by becoming apostates, that they were hypocrites; for if they had been true believers, renewed by grace and vitally united to Christ, they would have persevered in communion with us; but they went out that they might appear to the world in the real characters of false-hearted professors.
Such is the spirit of the language of Scripture, and in these, and other similar passages, is plainly taught the doctrine of THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS.
It is a doctrine which lies at the foundation of all the hope which the believer enjoys; it inspires confidence in danger, comfort in sorrow, succour in temptation, and is an “anchor to his soul,” amidst tempests the most violent.
Let us inquire what reason we have to receive this doctrine as the truth of God.
In making this investigation we shall arrange our reflections in the following order:
I. We shall definitely state the question at issue, and show what we mean when we maintain the final perseverance of the saints.
II. We shall establish the doctrine by arguments.
III. We shall answer the principal objections against it.
When we say that the saints shall finally persevere, we mean not by the word saints those who, having made a profession, and possessing a semblance of religion, are regarded by others as pious; or those who are confidently esteemed by themselves as godly; or those who are only federally holy—by external consecration to God, as were the people of Israel. We grant that all these may finally and entirely apostasize. But by saints we mean those, and those only, who have really been born again; who have been brought from a state of enmity against God into a state of reconciliation and love; who have been justified, accepted and adopted; who are animated by the Holy Spirit, that dwelling both in Christ and them, forms an intimate union between him the head, and them the members.
When we say that such persons shall not finally and entirely fall away from grace, we do not mean that their graces may not languish and decline. The question is not concerning the decay, but the loss of grace; not concerning sickness and debility, but total death. A person may faint away, showing no signs of animation, while a principle of life remains; and spiritual life may undergo so violent a shock as to be brought apparently to the very verge of death, and yet not be extinguished.
Neither do we mean that the acts of grace shall never be interrupted; but only that the spirit and habit of it shall never be lost. We grant that the saints may fall into many and great sins; but we maintain that, through the presence of God cherishing the principles of spiritual life once implanted, they shall never so sin, as to fall into that state in which they were before conversion, and of the children of the Holy One, become the children of the devil. They may fall into transgressions that deserve perdition, but God will excite their repentance, animate their faith, enliven their hope, and thus keep them in his covenant and love.
When we say that the saints shall persevere, we mean not, that considered in themselves, and with no strength but their own, they will be able to stand. We rest the certainty of their perseverance on the assistance of the Spirit, and the support of God. In themselves, they are weak, unable to begin, to continue, or to finish the life of holiness; but according to the divine covenant and promises, they “are kept by his power through faith unto salvation.”
Neither do we assert that grace, considered in itself, is absolutely incapable of being lost. It is one thing to affirm that it shall not be lost, and another thing to affirm that it is in its nature absolutely incapable of being lost. We know that the world shall no more be overwhelmed by a flood, but we at the same time admit that it is susceptible of being drowned. We therefore ground the perseverance of the saints, not upon the firmness and unchangeableness of grace, as it subsists in the creature, but upon the love, the power, the wisdom, the faithfulness, and the covenant of Almighty God. [emphasis added.]
Attending to these distinctions and limitations, we have a proper view of the doctrine before us. It may be conveyed in the following proposition:
All who are truly regenerated and vitally united to Christ, though weak and frail in themselves, shall be so protected and kept by the power of God that the habits of grace shall never be entirely lost, nor the principle of spiritual life totally extinguished; and although they may fall into sins, yet they shall never fall from their interest in the covenant, but shall be renewed to repentance, and be at last brought, by a steady perseverance, to eternal salvation.
This is the sum of the doctrine before us. We proceed
II. To establish its truth.
To continue reading The Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints, by the Rev. Dr. Shepard K. Kollock, click here.[this is a short tract, only twenty pages in length.]
John Lycan Kirkpatrick was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, on January 20, 1813. Alfred Nevin notes that his parents were pious Presbyterians, members of Providence Church, and that John was baptized by the Rev. James Wallis, pastor of that church. Nevin also provides information that his family moved to Morgan county, Georgia when he was four years old, and later to DeKalb county when he was 15. Kirkpatrick was educated at Franklin College, Athens, Georgia, attending there in 1830, and then transferring to Hampden-Sydney College and graduating there in 1832 with the Bachelor of Arts degree. He taught at Charlotte Court House, Virginia for two years, 1833-1834 and then moved on to train for the ministry at the Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA, 1834-1837.
He was licensed to preach by West Hanover Presbytery in March of 1837 and ordained by the same Presbytery in November of that same year, being installed in his first pastorate at the Second Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg, VA. He served that church as pastor from 1837-1841, and in the second year of that pastorate, married Mary Elizabeth Turner of Lexington, VA. Rev. Kirkpatrick and his wife subsequently moved to Gainesville, Alabama when Rev. Kirkpatrick answered a call to pastor the PCUS church there, remaining in that post, his longest pastorate, from 1841-1853. He next served as pastor of the historic Glebe Street Church in Charleston, South Carolina from 1853-1860. From roughly 1856 until 1860, Kirkpatrick served as the editor of The Southern Presbyterian. Undoubtedly many of his published works appeared in that journal, but we have been unable thus far to access that material.
Leaving the Glebe Street Church, Rev. Kirkpatrick spent the remainder of his years in academia, serving first as president of Davidson College, from 1860-1866. Then from 1866-1885, he was Professor of Moral Philosophy at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, and it was during these years that his wife died, on August 8, 1874. Rev. Kirkpatrick also served as interim supply for the Lexington Presbyterian Church, from the Spring of 1867 until August of 1868. He continued as Professor at the University until his death on June 24, 1885.
Honors conferred on John Lycan Kirkpatrick during his life include the Doctor of Divinity degree, conferred by the University of Alabama in 1852. He had been a commissioner to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. in both 1846 (as it met in Philadelphia) and 1854 (Buffalo, NY), and he also served as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Confederate States of America (PCCSA) in 1862.
It was said of him that he was “an able and accomplished preacher, instructive, earnest, tender, and in many ways attractive. Having a clear, penetrating and well-balanced mind, a sound judgment, an extensive knowledge of men and affairs, and an uncommon share of common sense. Without compromising principles, or the interests of the Church, he was peculiarly skilled in the solution of intricate questions and adjusting conflicting views.” In sum, he was “a man of great purity and elevation of character, firm in principle, and yet impartial and generous.”
Words to Live By:
“Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:12, KJV) — And if that is Paul’s charge for younger men, how much more so for older men, to live as befits the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, we must all, men and women, so live as examples of those who believe. In your speech, your conduct, your love, faith and purity, live day to day with the purpose of honoring and glorifying the Lord who saved you by His grace.
Hunter, Robert F., Lexington Presbyterian Church, 1789-1989 (Lexington, VA : Lexington Presbyterian Church, 1991), p. 92.
Nevin, Alfred, The Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (Philadelphia : Presbyterian Encyclopedia Publishing Co., 1884), pp. 1172-1173.
Scott, E.C., Ministerial Directory of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., 1861-1941 (Austin, TX : Press of Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., 1942), p. 379.
Image source: Alfred Nevin,The Encyclopedia of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America(1884), p. 1172.
The following are the known published works by the Rev. John L. Kirkpatrick— 1840 Oration delivered before the Philistorian Society of Georgetown College, D.C. on the 22d of February, 1840 … to which are prefixed the remarks of W.L. Warren, Ga., previous to his reading the farewell address of Washington. (Washington [D.C.?] : Jacob Gideon, Jr., 1840), 16 p.
1845 The moral tendency of the doctrine of falling from grace examined. A sermon preached before the Synod of Alabama at the opening of its sessions in Gainesville, October 24th, 1844 (Mobile, Register and Journal Office, 1845), 28 p.
1851 A sermon, preached on the occasion of the death of Mrs. Mary Chamberlain Brackett : in the Presbyterian Church, Gainesville, Ala., March 2, 1851 (St. Louis : Hill & M’Kee, printers, 1851), 24 p.
1859 A funeral discourse, delivered on Sunday morning, April 10, 1859, in the Independent or Congregational (Circular) Church, of Charleston, on the death of the Rev. Reuben Post, D.D., late Pastor of that church (Charleston, S.C. : Walker, Evans & Co.’s Steam Powered Press, 1859), 32 p.
“ The Waldenses and Infant Baptism, ” in The Southern Presbyterian Review, 14.3 (October 1861) 399-430.
Today’s entry is not easy reading. It is long, too. But it will reward your time, if you will set aside some time for thoughtful reading. The Rev. John L. Girardeau was one of the brightest lights of the old Southern Presbyterian Church. He gave much of his life to minister to the slaves of the seaboard of South Carolina. He wrote, “Having rejected a call to a large and important church which had very few Negroes connected with it, I accepted an invitation to preach to a small church, surrounded by a dense body of slaves.” As Dr. Otis Pickett has noted, “God had given him a heart for the Low-country blacks of Charleston, and he refused to leave them.” The Rev. John L. Girardeau passed on to his eternal reward on June 23, 1898.
The Only Way of Salvation
by John L. Girardeau Old Paths, Vol. III, no. 5 (date?)
(Note: The following discussion is drawn from a workbook of sermon outlines found among the literary remains of Dr. Girardeau. It was never designed for publication, but we feel justified in printing it just as it stands–an unrevised outline. It was used as a basis of a sermon, in two parts, delivered in the Second Presbyterian Church (Arsenal Hill), Columbia, S.C., Feb. 20 and 27, 1887.–Editor.)
Text: Romans 1:17. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
The Apostle Paul furnishes in this chapter a summary of his great argument, touching justification before God, in three leading propositions.
He first states its conclusion–namely: The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek; that is, to all sinners of every class.
But why is the Gospel such a power? Because, in the second place he declares, therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.
But why was such a righteousness necessary? Because, in the third place he affirms, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.
To make this general statement of the argument perfectly clear, let us invert the order of the propositions, so as to present the reasons first and the conclusion last.
First. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. That is to say, all men are ungodly and unrighteous; they are therefore guilty before God and justly exposed to His wrath.
Secondly. God has provided a way of escape from His wrath for guilty men. He has revealed His righteousness to them, and declared that whosoever believes in it shall live.
Thirdly. This righteousness of God the Gospel alone reveals, and therefore the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.
It is evident that the second of these propositions, either in the Apostle’s order of statement or the inverse, is that which gives an answer to the question, How can a sinner escape the wrath of God, and be justified and saved? How? He must by faith accept and rely upon the righteousness of God. He who is justified by faith in the righteousness of God shall live.
This is the inspired Apostle’s account of God’s method of justifying and saving sinners.
Let us examine the different answers which men give to the great question. How may we as sinners be justified and saved?
I. The Answer of the Mere Naturalist or Indifferentist : “We may be justified and saved with no righteousness. God will not require of us, weak as we are, a righteousness which embraces conformity to His law. We may be saved by the mere benevolence or mercy of God. He is infinitely good, and will not condemn any of His creatures to hell. He may dispense with the Law.”
This is impossible, because:
1. His justice would be sacrificed.
2. His law would be sacrificed.
3. His truth would be sacrificed.
4. His holiness would be sacrificed. It [His holiness] forbids fellowship with the unholy, and none can be holy except they be first justified.
This supposition requires that the standard of mercy should be planted on the graves of justice, truth and holiness.
5. The interests of God’s moral government would be sacrificed.
6. The scheme of redemption precludes the supposition. The cross of Christ and the grace of the Holy Ghost are not vanities. They mean something.
7. The supposition is impossible and absurd. The sinner would be justified without justification, saved from guilt without salvation from it. To say that he need not be justified, or saved, is to insult God and common sense alike.
God cannot dispense with His law; and as it requires righteousness, the sinner must furnish it, or continue under its condemning sentence. He must be righteous or be lost.
II. The Answer of the Legalist : “We may be justified and saved on account of our own righteousness–a merely personal and inherent obedience to law.”
This is refuted by the Apostle’s brief, but irrefragable argument: “By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
1. The law convinces of sin. The law condemns for sin. The law therefore kills. It cannot save. What convicts cannot acquit; what condemns cannot absolve from punishment; what kills cannot confer life.
2. One sin destroyed the possibility of Adam’s justification. The inference as to the sinner is overwhelming.
3. The righteousness of one who is already a sinner, even if he supposed that he could produce any, would be necessarily imperfect and unsatisfactory. It would not be the righteousness which the law demands. The Legalist is thrown back upon the position of the Naturalist or Indifferentist. According to his own view, he must present a perfect righteousness. He fails; and out of his own mouth will be condemned.
4. A sinner under the curse of God’s law cannot furnish any acceptable righteousness. He cannot be unjust and just, cursed and blessed, at the same time.
But he may take the ground that God will relax His law.
(1) God cannot relax His law. That would be to relax justice, an infinite attribute of His nature, of which the law is a transcript.
(2) If He did, it would be a graduated scale adapted to the strength of each subject. And as in fact none have in themselves any strength, it would be reduced to zero. This is infinitely absurd.
(3) Even were it relaxed, it has already condemned. To relax the condemnation as well as the requirement of the law would be to sacrifice justice and truth.
(4) The law was not relaxed in the case of the angels that fell, nor in the case of the suffering Savior.
He may contend that God will accept his sincere though imperfect righteousness.
Answer: That only holds in the case of the justified believer.
Finally, he may hope that his imperfect righteousness will be accepted for Christ’s sake, and be supplemented by Christ’s merit.
Answer: This is impossible. There can be no compounding of law and grace, faith and works. They are contradictory and mutually exclusive.
Further, Christ’s merit is infinite; and there can be no addition of the infinite to the finite, or of the finite to the infinite.
The conclusion is: THe case of the Legalist, either pure or modified, which would include the Pelagian and Semi-Pelagian, is hopeless.
III. The Answer of the Socinian : “We may be justified and saved by sincere repentance for sin.”
This is impossible, because:
1. Repentance is impossible to a sinner. He is legally and spiritually dead. He cannot repent. Another view of repentance is altogether unscriptural.
(1) He is under the curse of the law. If he could repent, he would be restored to God’s favor, for God cannot condemn a penitent. The sinner, then, would be condemned and not condemned, cursed and blessed, at one and the same time.
(2) Repentance is a spiritual function or saving grace. It implies turning from sin to God, from [i.e., because of, or out of] spiritual motive of love to God. This [is] impossible to one in his natural condition.
If it be said, that repentance removes the curse of the law: God will forgive; the answer is: First, God says He will not without blood. Secondly, repentance does not remove sentence of human law.
2. Even if he could repent, his repentance, as a confession of unrighteousness, would negative his claim to furnish righteousness. His personal condition is that of an unrighteous man. He pleads guilty, and law knows no mercy. It has already proved that mercy cannot set aside the divine law. Righteousness is required.
Repentance offers no atonement for sin, and if it be supposed that God must save one as penitent, even without atonement, since no penitent being can be punished, He would contradict His own express word that without shedding of blood is no remission.
To say that our tears can wash away our sins, is to impeach the love of God the Father for His dying Son. Why that blood, if our tears can expiate sin? Stop this audacious impeachment of the Cross!
The supposition is impossible, and we are therefore obliged to fall back upon the scriptural doctrine that no sinner, in his natural strength, can repent. There can, consequently, be no justification and salvation on account of repentance.
3. Repentance, in one’s natural strength, would be compliance with the requirement of the law. It would be a deed or work of the law; and the Apostle declares that by the deeds (or works) of the law shall no flesh be justified. It is clear that repentance is required by the law. But nature gives no strength to meet the demand.
IV. The Answer of the Romanist : “We may be justified and saved by our own righteousness, made possible by the atoning merits of Christ and produced by the aid of the Spirit’s grace.”
Christ, he contends, by His merit secured a second probation for sinners. He also acquires for them the grace of the Holy Ghost to enable them to produce personal obedience. This he urges, is not a legal, but a gracious, rightousness; and consequently justification on its account is not justification by law, but by grace.
On the contrary, such a righteousness, were it possible, would be a legal righteousness, and justification would be impossible. For by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified.
The great principle which holds here is this: A righteousness receives its denomination not from the source in which it originates, but from the end which it contemplates.
Take the case of the Pharisee: Judged in accordance with his claim, his case was that of Adam in innocence. Of course, had Adam produced his righteousness and been justified on account of it, his righteousness would have been legal, and his justification a legal debt. Yet, it would have originated in grace. For all his natural endowments were the gifts of the Creator. In his case, while he was innocent, there was no difference between nature and the strength of grace. Natural ability was gracious ability. Although, therefore, had he stood, he would have wrought out his righteousness in the strength of grace, it would have been a legal righteousness, because it would have been his own and because he sought justification on its account. But is is preposterous to talk of a sinner being justified in that way.
The Romanist’s justifying righteousness is clearly a personal and inherent one, on account of which he seeks justification, and is therefore a legal one—that is it is a complement of his own works. But by the deeds of the law, no matter how, no matter in what strength performed, no flesh, not even Papal, shall be justified. The Apostle’s great enouncement excludes all works of our own from the ground of justification.
Think of it! The agonies of Calvary undergone that the sinner may have a chance to justify and glorify himself! The blood of Jesus and the grace of the Holy Ghost mere ministers to self-righteousness! The soul sickens at the blasphemy.
Justification is monstrously confounded with sanctification, and holiness, the matter of sanctification, cannot be the ground of salvation. It is an essential part of salvation; never a ground.
Not that which is wrought in us by the Holy Ghost Himself can be a ground of salvation.
Consider this you professing Christians. How much better are your claims than those of the circumcised Pharisee and the baptized Romanist? Solemn question! Settle it aright.
V. The Answer of the Arminian : “We may be justified and saved by faith in the merit of Christ, our faith being imputed to us as our righteousness, in place of a strict, personal righteousness of law.”
Distinction admitted to be made by the Evangelical Arminian. He does not make faith the ground of justification, but he does make it the matter. The merits of Christ he holds to be the ground of justification, but faith in those merits is the righteousness which justifies. We are justified by faith, not as the instrument through which we merely receive justification, but as the justifying righteousness itself. Yet this is not a righteousness, consisting of works.
In proof, they plead Abraham’s case in the fourth chapter of Romans: “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness.” That is to say, Abraham’s faith was imputed to him, as his justifying righteousness: by it, on account of it, he was justified.
Let us try to get at the Arminian’s position–if we can. The question being, what is justifying righteousness? He answers: Faith. Is faith then a righteousness of works? He answers: No. What then is it? It is, he says, only trust in the merits of Christ. Is it then Christ’s righteousness which is imputed to faith? He answers, no. Where then is there any righteousness at all? He answers: Faith is imputed as if it were righteousness, in place of a legal righteousness. God regards and treats it as righteousness, and this makes it evangelical righteousness. But an evangelical righteousness must consist of evangelical works. But according to the Arminian, faith is no work, it can neither be legal nor evangelical, righteousness. Yet it is the righteousness which justifies. As such it is imputed to us. What then is it? What can it be? The only solution is, that the Arminian is right in saying, Faith justifies: as to the general fact that is true; but when he undertakes to show how faith justifies, he utterly breaks down. His denial of Representation and Imputation plunges him into self-contradiction and absurdity.
The argument against this view:
1. A wholly untenable distinction is drawn between the ground and the matter of justification. What is the ground? That on account of which we are justified. What is the matter? The same. Where then is the difference? To say, then, that faith is the matter of justification is to displace Christ’s righteousness as the grounds; and on the other hand, to admit Christ’s righteousness as its ground is to confess that faith cannot be its matter. Self-contradiction is lodged in the doctrine.
2. Faith is made our own righteousness–a personal, subjective obedience. It must therefore be our own work. But this contradicts both Scripture and the Arminian position itself; the former, because it declares that by works no man can be justified; the latter, because it denies faith to be a work.
There is a great principle here involved, which the Arminian theology utterly rejects, but which is absolutely necessary to the settlement of this question. It is, That we must possess—ourselves possess—a righteousness of works, which completely satisfies the requirements of the law, or else the law is dispensed with and sacrificed. There are only two ways, in which we can be possessed of such a righteousness: Either we must consciously work it out ourselves; or, another must work it out for us, and it must become ours by its being imputed to us. The Arminian holds that neither is possible; neither can we consciously work out a legal righteousness ourselves, nor can the legal righteousness wrought out by another be imputed to us so as to become ours. What then is his position? That: That while neither of these suppositions can be realised in fact, our faith or trust in the merits of Christ-—a faith or trust which is not itself a legal work or righteousness—is imputed to us in lieu of a legal righteousness, and God justifies us as believers, without our possessing any legal righteousness at all. Faith, then, which justifies, is according to his own statement not a legal righteousness. Now, to sum up: As, according to him, we have no legal righteousness, either as wrought out by ourselves, or as inputed to us, or as believing in Christ, we have no legal righteousness in any way; we are justified without having–possessing any legal righteousness. But this is impossible. God cannot pronounce us righteous unless, in some way, we are so.
The proofs of this position are given, under the first head, in which the answer of the Indifferentists is considered.
3. It makes faith a suppositious, constructive and unreal righteousness. It is not the righteousness which God’s law requires, but is accepted in the place of it as though it were. But God requires a real, substantive righteousness. Now, either that is Christ’s righteousness, or our own. Arminians deny that it is Christ’s righteousness which is imputed for justification. Therefore, according to them, it is our own. But by our own righteousness, real or unreal, shall no flesh be justified.
4. The reality of faith as an instrument or condition is destroyed. If not it is part of a real substantive righteousness; but that is denied. What of reality then is left to faith?
5. As an exercise of power to believe man’s will is made to produce it, undetermined by grace. How then are we justified by grace?
6. The Arminian view is inconsistent with the express language of Scripture.
Take the text: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” Now that the righteousness mentioned here is the righteousness which justifies is so clear, that to deny it is to plunge into contradiction and absurdity. It cannot possibly be the rectitude of God; for that condemns the sinner. But if it be justifying righteousness, as, according to the Arminian, faith is our justifying righteousness, faith is said by Paul to be revealed from faith to faith! That construction of the Apostle’s language is scarcely possible.
So with other passages, this, for example: that I may “be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
It is evident that faith cannot be the matter of justification. It cannot be the righteousness of God which is revealed to faith; and that righteousness along justifies. The Arminian denies the imputation of another’s righteousness. He affirms that faith is not a real, legal righteousness. He is therefore shut up to the infinite absurdity that God justifies one who has no real righteousness.
VI. The Answer of the Lutheran and Calvinist: “We may be justified and saved only on account of the righteousness of Christ–that is the vicarious obedience of Christ–the righteousness of another, imputed to us and received by faith alone.
It is of great consequence to decide aright the question, which is the “righteousness of God” spoken of in the text.
1. It cannot be intrinsic righteousness, or rectitude, of the divine nature. That is absurd.
2. It cannot be the rectoral righteousness of God—that by which He administers His moral government. This is equally absurd.
3. It cannot be faith, as was shown under the preceding head.
4. It cannot be God’s method of justification. This view is adopted by some Arminians, and by some Calvinists, as Dr. John Brown, in his Analytical Exposition of Romans. This violates the analogy of Scripture.
(1) Righteousness without works is said to be imputed (Rom. 4). It would be absurd to speak of a method of justification being imputed.
(2) The righteousness which is by the faith of Christ is contrasted with the righteousness which is one’s own (Phil. 3:9). There would be no meaning in the comparison of one’s personal righteousness with God’s method of justification.
(3) Our guilt imputed to Christ is contrasted with His righteousness imputed to us (II Cor. 5:21).
(4) Christ is made of God to us—righteousness.
(5) Christ has brought in everlasting righteousness.
(6) Christ is the Lord our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6).
5. The righteousness of God is the righteousness of Christ—the vicarious obedience of Christ to the precept and penalty of God’s law.
Scriptural proofs: Jer. 23:6. This is His name, whereby He shall be called. The Lord our Righteousness. He who has Christ has His righteousness. II Cor. 5:21. That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Take the whole verse and the proof is irresistable. I Cor. 1:30. Christ Jesus who is made of God unto us . . . righteousness. Rom. 4:6. Blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness, without works. A righteousness to be real must consist of works; but as this does not of our works, it must of another works; even Christ’s. Phil. 3:9. The righteousness which is said to be a gift, is expressly said to be the righteousness of One—that is, of Christ; and then it is, further exegetically defined to be the obedience of one by which many are made righteous. This absolutely settles the case. As the sinful act of Adam the representative of his seed is imputed to them as in him theirs; so the obedience of Christ the representative of His seed is imputed to them as in Him theirs.
The Calvinistic doctrine of justification contains the following things:
(1) The ground and matter (or material cause) of justification. This is the vicarious righteousness of Christ imputed to the sinner by God.
(2) The constituent elements of justification. These are, first, pardon, or the non-imputation of guilt; secondly, the acceptance of the sinner’s person as righteous, and his investiture with a right and title to eternal life.
(3) The instrument or organ of justification. This is faith. It receives and rests upon the righteousness of Christ, which God imputes.
Taken generally, justification may be said to consist of three things: first, the imputation of Christ’s righteousness; secondly, the non-imputation of guilt, or pardon; thirdly, the acceptance of the person as righteous and the bestowal upon him of a right and title to eternal life. But taken strictly, justification is the non-imputation of guilt, or pardon, and the acceptance of the person as righteous and the bestowal upon him of a right and title to eternal life. The ground and the constituent elements ought not to be confounded. It is not: justification is the non-imputation of guilt and the imputation of righteousness, which would seem to be the natural antithesis. But first comes the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, as the ground, and then the elements or parts, of justification—namely, pardon and acceptance.
Faith is no part of justification. It simply receives the righteousness of Christ, offered as the ground of acceptance and relies upon it. It is the condition—as an indispensable duty—without which we cannot be acceptably justified. It is Emptiness filled with Christ’s Fulness. It is Impotence lying down on His Strength. It is no righteousness; it is no substitute for righteousness; it is not imputed as righteousness. It is counted to us simply as the act which apprehends Christ’s righteousness unto justification. All it does is to take what God gives—Christ and His righteousness.
Illustration: A wounded soldier with both arms shot off, lying on his back helpless, fed from a bowl in the hands of a Christian nurse–a ministering angel to him in his inability. The dying man’s receiving life.
There are only three conceivable suppositions as to justification:
Either, we may be justified without any righteousness.
Or, we may be justified on account of a personal and inherent righteousness.
Or, we may be justified on account of a vicarious and imputed righteousness.
To state them more briefly: Either, no righteousness; or, Our own righteousness; or, Another’s righteousness.
The first and second suppositions have been disproved. Therefore the third remains established.
The vicarious obedience of Jesus, our Substitute, to the precept and penalty of the divine law is the righteousness of God, which is revealed from faith to faith. It is fitly termed the righteousness of God, not only because Christ’s righteousness was provided, and is accepted, by God, but because it was wrought out by God Himself in the person of His Incarnate Son. It is God’s righteousness, because God produced it. This is imputed by God to the believing sinner, who had no share at all in its conscious production. In that sense, it is not his, but another’s righteousness. But as Christ was his Representative and Substitute, and His righteousness is imputed to the believer, in this sense, it becomes his. It is his in law, before the divine tribunal. God therefore is just in justifying him, since he has a perfect righteousness, such as the law demands and such as satisfies its claims. When the sinner by faith accepts Christ, with this righteousness, he is actually and consciously justified.
This righteousness is “antecedently and immediately” imputed to all the elect, in mass in the justification of Christ as their Federal Head and Representative, upon His resurrection and appearance in the heavens.
The application is obvious: There is one only way of justification and salvation. Believe, take Christ’s righteousness and be saved. Reject this justifying righteousness, and you are lost.
[The sermon reproduced here today comes from a rare publication titled Old Paths. That publication was issued by the Rev. John Cavitt Blackburn, grandson of the Rev. John L. Girardeau. The PCA Historical Center has among its collections this one sermon, clipped from volume 3, no. 5 of Old Paths. Regrettably, to date we have not been able to locate other issues of that publication.]
Returning from the PCA’s General Assembly, the body is weary and the mind weak, and so I think we will press the Rev. Dr. Miller into service as guest author for today’s post. The following is Dr. Miller’s reply to William Buell Sprague’s request for a biographical account of the Rev. Dr. John Ewing, who had long served as the Provost of the University of Pennsylvania.
Rev. and dear Brother: It gives me pleasure to contribute the least effort toward the erection of an humble monument to the memory of the Rev. Dr. John Ewing, late Provost of the University of Pennsylvania, whom I knew well, and whom I have much reason, on a variety of accounts, to remember with veneration and love.
He was a native of Maryland, born in the town of Nottingham, in Cecil County, on the 22d of June, 1732. Of his ancestors, little is known. They emigrated from Ireland at an early period of the settlement of our country, and fixed themselves on the banks of the Susquehanna, near to the spot on which he was later born. His father was in circumstances which enabled him to give his five sons as good an education as the state of the Colonies with respect to schools could then well furnish. After the first elementary school to which he was sent, he was placed at the Academy of the Rev. Dr. Francis Alison, an eminent Presbyterian clergyman, who had emigrated from Ireland, and who was greatly distinguished for his classical literature, and who became instrumental in forming a number of excellent scholars in the Middle Colonies. His literary institution at New London, in Pennsylvania, was long celebrated. There young Ewing passed the usual course of study; and after completing it, remained three years longer in the Academy as a Tutor; directing special attention to the Latin and Greek language, and mathematics, in all which he was eminent through life.
In 1774 he became a member of the College of New Jersey, then located at Newark, under the Presidency of the Rev. Mr. Burr; and, as he was so far advanced and matured in the principal studies of the College, he was graduated at the annual Commencement of the same year. At the same time he was the principal instructor in the grammar school, which was connected with the College, and spent a portion of almost every day in instructing others in the languages and mathematics. In 1756, he was chosen Tutor in the College in which he had been graduated, and continued in that station two full years, enlarging and maturing his knowledge. During this course of service as a Tutor, he removed with the College from Newark to Princeton, which removal took place in 1757. In pursuing the study of Theology, he returned to his former teacher and friend, the Rev. Dr. Alison, and was subsequently licensed to preach the Gospel by the Presbytery of Newcastle. At the age of twenty-six, before he undertook the pastoral charge, he was selected to instruct the philosophical class in the College of Philadelphia, during the absence of the Provost, the Rev. Dr. Smith. While thus employed, he received, in the year 1759, a unanimous call from the First Presbyterian Church in the city of Philadelphia, to become their Pastor. This call he accepted, and was ordained to the work of the ministry, and installed as their Pastor, in the course of that year.
About this time, Mr. Ewing formed a matrimonial connection with Miss Hannah Sergeant, the eldest daughter of Jonathan Sergeant, Esq., of Princeton,–a lady of great beauty and domestic excellence, with whom he lived in happy union more than forty years, and who survived him a number of years.
In 1773, Mr. Ewing was commissioned, with the consent of his congregation, in company with Dr. Hugh Williamson, late a member of Congress from North Carolina, to solicit contributions in Great Britain for the support of the Academy of Newark, in Delaware. His high reputation in his own country, together with an ample supply of letters which he took with him, gave him access to a number of men eminent in Church and State, in Great Britain, and prepared the way for the formation of a number of acquaintances and friendships, which were highly interesting to him, and, in some cases, valuable, as long as he lived. He seems to have made a deep impression, especially in North Britain, in favour of American character. The cities of Glasgow, Montrose, Dundee, and Perth, presented to him their freedom; and from the University of Edinburgh, of which Dr. Robertson was then the Principal, he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity. Dr. Robertson, in presenting this diploma, declared that he had never before conferred a degree with greater pleasure. At this time the contest between the Colonies and the mother country was beginning to be serious. It was, of course, the theme of much conversation while he was in England. He had frequent interviews with the Prime Minister, Lord North, and with all the intelligence of one recently from the Colonies, and with all the firmness and zeal of an ardent Whig, he warned his Lordship against the prosecution of the contest, and confidently predicted its issue; but without effect.
But the narrative which Dr. Ewing, after his return to America, was wont to give with most graphic interest, was that of his first interview with the celebrated Dr. [Samuel] Johnson, at the table of Mr. Dilly, the wealthy and hospitable Bookseller of London. Dr. Johnson, it is well known, was violent against the Colonies; had written a popular pamphlet against their claims [ThePatriot, (1774)] ; and heaped upon them and their advocates the coarsest abuse. Mr. Dilly, in inviting Dr. Ewing to dinner, apprized him that Dr. Johnson was to be of the party, and cautioned him against contradicting or opposing the great literary despot. During the dinner the contest with America became the subject of animated conversation. Dr. Ewing, the only American present, being appealed to, began, with his usual frankness, to defend the Colonies. Dr. Johnson, looking at him with sternness, said, “What do you know, Sir, on that subject?” Dr. Ewing calmly replied that, having resided in America all his life, he thought himself qualified to form and to express opinions on the situation and claims of the country. Dr. Johnson’s feelings were roused. The epithets of rebels and scoundrels were pretty liberally applied to the population of the Colonies. At length Johnson rudely said, “Sir, what do you know in America? You never read. You have no books there.” “Pardon me, Sir,” replied Dr. Ewing, “we have read the Rambler.” [a periodical published by Dr. Johnson, 1750-1752]. This civility instantly pacified him; and, after the rest of the company had retired, he sat with Dr. Ewing until midnight, in amiable, eloquent, and highly interesting conversation.
In the summer of 1775, Dr. Ewing returned from Europe. War was soon commenced between the United States and Great Britain. And he adhered to the cause of his country with all the firmness and zeal of an ardent Whig. In 1779, the Legislature of Pennsylvania revoked the charter of the old College and Academy of Philadelphia, and gave a new one, creating the University of Pennsylvania. At the head of this new institution, Dr. Ewing was placed, under the title of Provost. In this station, united with that of pastor of a church, he continued to the end of life. Besides presiding over the whole University as its head, with dignity and commanding influence, he was Professor of Natural Philosophy, and every year delivered a course of lectures on that branch of science. But this was not all. Perhaps our country has never bred a man so deeply as well as extensively versed in every branch of knowledge commonly taught in our Colleges as was Dr. Ewing. Such was his familiarity with the Hebrew language, that I have been assured by those most intimately acquainted with his habits, that his Hebrew Bible was constantly by his side in his study, and that it was that which he used of choice, for devotional purposes. In Mathematics and Astronomy, in the Lating, Greek and Hebrew languages, in Logic, in Metaphysics and Moral Philosophy, he was probably more accomplished than any other man in the United States. When any other Professor in the University was absent, the Provost would take his place, at an hour’s warning, and conduct the instruction appropriate to that Professorship with more skill, taste, and advantage than the incumbent of the chair himself. His skill in mathematical science was so pre-eminent and acknowledged, that he was more than once employed with Dr. Rittenhouse, of Philadelphia, in running the boundary lines between several of the States, in which he acquitted himself in the most able and honourable manner. He was one of the Vice Presidents of the American Philosophical Society, and made a number of contributions to the volumes of their Transactions, which do honour his memory.
Dr. Ewing had a strong constitution, and for a long course of years enjoyed vigorous health; being very seldom kept either out of the pulpit or from the Professor’s chair by indisposition. In the early part of the year 1802, he was attacked with a chronic disease, which gradually undermined his health, and finally terminated his important and useful life on the 8th of September of that year, in the seventy-first year of his age.
Few preachers in his day were more popular than Dr. Ewing, especially with the more intelligent and cultivated classes of hearers. His merits were all of the solid, instructive, and dignified character. And as a Collegiate Instructor, I suspect he had no superior.
This venerable man had a large family of children, ten or eleven of whom survived him; a number of respectable grandchildren still sustain the name and the honours of the family.
I am, Reverend and dear Brother, with the best wishes for the success of your biographical enterprise,
Very sincerely and respectfully yours,
[excerpted from Annals of the American Presbyterian Pulpit, by William Buell Sprague. Birmingham, AL: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2005. Volume One, pp. 216-219.]
Words to Live By: 1 When you sit down to dine with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you, 2 And put a knife to your throat, if you are a man of great appetite. 3 Do not desire his delicacies, For it is deceptive food.
[Proverbs 23:1-3, NASB]
In keeping with the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, which began meeting this past Tuesday, and will have concluded either late on Thursday, or not later than noon on Friday. The following charge brought at the ordination of a young minister, here concluded, seems quite appropriate to the occasion of a General Assembly. There is some wonderful wisdom in this charge. I pray you will be edified.
[As a reminder, it was the Rev. Dr. Aaron Whitney Leland, 1787-1871, who served as the first professor at the Columbia Theological Seminary, Columbia, SC. The Rev. John Francis Lanneau, 1809-1867, who was being ordained on this occasion, later served as a missionary.]
REV. DR. LELAND’S CHARGE, Part 2
[excerpted from The Charleston Observer 7.20 (18 May 1833): 77.1-4]
At the ordination of the Rev. J. F. Lanneau, in this city on the 1st of May, the following charge was given by the Rev. Dr. [Aaron Whitney] Leland; and it is now published at the earnest solicitation of may who heard it.
Dr. Leland continued:
Permit me to warn you, my brother, against those hostile influences by which you will be surrounded. If you are a devoted, active servant of Christ, be assured you will encounter opposition. When it comes, be not surprised. Be meek and patient towards open adversaries, cautious and courteous towards secret foes, and doubly guarded against flatterers. If you happen to be popular, your danger will be imminent. You will be placed in the fore-front of the hottest battle. For in that case saints and sinners will unite, and make common cause with the powers of darkness, to destroy you—all vying with each other in presenting to you deadly poison in the most alluring disguise—and all furnishing weapons to the enemies in your own bosom, to pierce you through with many sorrows. If such a hazardous eminence should be allotted you, I charge you to cast yourself down in deep humiliation, at the Saviour’s feet; lay fast hold of the Cross, and cry mightily to God for grace to help you in such a time of pressing need. Clerical popularity is a formidable foe. It has despoiled many a Christian soldier of his armour, and cast him down wounded; and many a proud sun of Levi it hath hurled from the battlements of Zion, down to the depths of perdition. Of this insidious, murderous enemy, I charge you to beware, as you prize your usefulness—as you value your own soul, or the souls of others. Nor would I fail to warn you of an opposite danger, less formidable indeed, but by no means to be disregarded. I allude to the trials and temptations to which you will be liable if you should be unpopular. And unpopular you may be, though you prove a devoted, able, faithful Minister of the New Testament. So was Edwards, the master spirit of his age—the mighty leader of American Theologians; and so was Scott, the excellent Commentator. Should this evil befall you, guard your heart against its influence,. It will prove a severe trial of your graces, and you need all the fortitude and self-denial you can obtain, to sustain with calmness the neglect, or unkindness, or opposition of those fro whom you are laboring and praying continually. Be assured that all the secret and open enemies of religion, will gratify their hatred of the Gospel by pouring the vials of their wrath upon you, and trampling your feelings in the dust. Should this ever be your lot, you will be able to judge whether you have a heart to love your enemies, to bless them who curse you, and to pray for those who despitefully use you. You will also be liable to ascertain whether you possess the spirit of Him, who when he was reviled, reviled not again—who prayed for his persecutors and slanderers, and who laid down his life for those who cried away with him from the earth—not this man but Barrabbas—crucify Him.
While you labor as an Evangelist, you will find your sphere of action attended with many dangers. Among these permit me to mention the neglect of study, and mental discipline, and deficient, desultory preparation for the pulpit. Wherever you are, and whether you feel the necessity or not, it is necessary for you to give yourself to reading and composition, as well as to exhortation and doctrine. I charge you not to neglect the gifts which have been bestowed upon you, but to study to approve yourself a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
If you are called to a pastoral charge, new difficulties and new trials will be experienced. When you are preaching as a candidate, with a view to settlement, beware of exciting too high expectations, by giving specimens of ability, which you cannot habitually equal. In his way, many young Ministers fatally impair their usefulness, and prepare for themselves a bed of thorns. They have a few sermons, most elaborately prepared; containing all the ornaments and treasures they have accumulated during their whole preparatory course. These are delivered with great spirit to vacant congregations, and are heard with admiration.—The result is a speedy settlement. But mark the grievous disappointment. When the regular pastoral labors commence, it is evident that the stock is exhausted; and the idol of popular favor, and the prodigy of talent and erudition, sinks down into a very ordinary preacher.—Such a course every wise man will carefully avoid. Let not the preface to your book be greatly superior to all the rest of its contents. Begin no loftier flight, than your strength of pinion can sustain. Always husband your mental resources, and reserve your noblest efforts, to stem that current of reaction, which you will be sure to meet, after a spring-tide of popularity; and which may require all your resources and energies to withstand. And when the excitement of a new pastoral union thus subsides, and the ordinary labours of a parochial charge have really begun; when the people find that their new favorite is a mere mortal man, compassed with infirmity; and he makes a similar discovery in relation to them; then come the real labours, and trials, and temptations of a Minister of the Gospel. Make up your mind to fail in satisfying all your hearers. You will certainly find unreasonable demands, which you cannot gratify. When some require you to speak louder, and others lower—when some expect you always to be in your study, and others always visiting—when some cannot endure to hear a sermon read, and others are disgusted at preaching extempore—amid such conflicting demands, what can you do? Evidently your only course is to go straight forward in the conscientious performance of your duty, and leave the event to God. But I will not, on the present occasion, enter the field of your pastoral duties. That may more appropriately claim attention at your future installation.
I feel it important, however, to give you one or two directions as to your course in relation to this subject. In view of a permanent settlement, I counsel you never to accept a call, when there is an opposing minority, unless you are well assured that such opposition is directly solely against the essential doctrines of the Gospel, and is wholly unmingled with personal dislike. A settlement in a divided Church, with the hope of future reconciliation and harmony, is about as wise, as a marriage between parties mutually offensive to each other, formed with expectation that affection will spring up in after life. On one more point I offer you my counsel. Should you be settled in the ministry, and find dissatisfaction arising, and symptoms of a desire of change exhibited by any considerable portion of hearers; I advise you to demand a separation without delay.—Any five men in a congregation, who resolve to oppose a Minister, and to create dissention, always succeed. A Pastor’s change of success, in such a conflict, is about as great, as that of a man bound hand and foot, against the attacks of half a score of well armed assailants. And even if there be no open opposition, if you perceive that your usefulness has declined, that your preaching is attended with listless indifference, and that, some how or other, your influence is evidently diminished—your path of duty is plain—seek another field of pastoral labour. Immense injury is done to the cause of religion, by the perseverance of Ministers in situations where they cannot be useful, because they find it inconvenient to remove. I beseech you never to be of the number of those who, to preserve a support, or avoid the pain of separation, continue to occupy ground they cannot cultivate, and thus prove an actual obstacle to the prosperity of churches they profess to love. Most evident is it, that there are in our land scores of Pastors, who would do more good, by a change of location, than they ever did in their lives. I charge you, my young Brother, never to hold a pastoral office, after you are convinced that the spiritual interests of the church are not promoted by your ministry.
In maintaining the discipline of the house of God, I charge you to be vigilant and faithful. Entrusted with the seals of the covenant, see to it that you do not desecrate them by an unworthy appropriation.
Ever bear in mind, that it is an important part of your duty, to attend regularly the judicatories of our church, and to fulfill, if possible, all presbyterial appointments. Whenever you are called to examine candidates for the ministry, I charge you to act impartially and conscientiously. Lay hands suddenly upon no man, neither be partaker of other mens sins, keep thyself pure.
With these directions and cautions, and with most affectionate wishes and fervent prayers for the success of your ministry, I bid you God speed. Go forth, my Brother, into the vineyard of the Lord, to watch and labour, to live and die in His service. Work while the day lasts—the night cometh when no man can work. The more laborious and indefatigable you are, the more welcome and delightful will be the rest which remaineth to the people of God.—Adopt as your own, that illustrious motto—“expect great things—attempt great things.” Set your standard high, and press towards the mark to secure the prize of your high calling. Commissioned to watch for souls as one who must give account, cherish a severe conviction that you have one great business in this world—to persuade perishing rebels to be reconciled to God. Wherever you go, let your desires, and prayers, and efforts be concentrated to one point—a revival of religion, an ingathering of souls into the fold of the good Shepherd.—Failing in this, you labour in vain. Whatever else you may accomplish, however high your reputation, or overflowing your assemblies, be assured, that, unless you rouse Christians from apathy, and pierce the hearts of the impenitent with the arrows of conviction, you utterly fail in effecting the great purpose of your ministry. Fix then your heart, with unconquerable desire, upon witnessing a mighty work of grace, a glorious effusion of the Holy Spirit, wherever you are called to labour. Let this be the leading object of all your sermons. Get your whole soul under the influence of eternal things, and address perishing men, as if the judgment bar was full in your view. Strive to realize that Christless souls are on the brink of everlasting burnings; and then you will be in earnest in urging them to escape for their lives, and flee from the wrath to come. And take heed, my brother, when you denounce the terrors of the Lord, and warn the wicked of approaching wrath, that your language and manner be such as to convince them that you are constrained thus to address them by love to their souls, and by a full conviction, that, unless they repent, they must perish. Beware of a reproachful, vindictive manner of uttering such awful truths, as if you loved to utter them. It has a most hardening, injurious influence. Let it be evidently your delight, to beseech men to be reconciled to God.
And now, my dear young Brother, having given you these instructions, and delegated to you this spiritual authority; in the name of the great Head of the Church, and as the official organ of this Ecclesiastical Judicatory, I solemnly charge you to take heed to this ministry which thou hast received, that thou fulfill it. Let no man despise thy youth; but be an example to believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Meditate on these things—give thyself wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed to thyself, and to thy doctrine, for in so doing thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. Be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus. Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works—in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity—sound speech that cannot be condemned, that opposers may be ashamed, having no evil things to say of you.
Finally—I charge thee before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearance—preach the word—be instant in season, out of season—reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and doctrine.—Watch in all things—endure afflictions—do the work of an Evangelist—make full proof of thy ministry. I give the charge before God who quickeneth all things, and before Jesus Christ who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession, that thou keep this commandment, without spot, unrebukable, until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. Be thou faithful unto death, and thou shalt receive a crown of life.
Man Knows Not His Time In The Daily Princetonian (Volume 38, no. 345, 27 January 1916), we read of the Rev. David R. Frazer, D.D., a graduate of the Princeton University, Class of 1861, who for many years was a trustee of Princeton University, that he had died very suddenly on Sunday, January 24, 1915, while visiting at […]
Hymn Writer Par Excellent The Union fort was surrounded on all sides by the forces of the Southern Confederacy in 1864. Wondering whether he should surrender or not, the Union military commander looked to the north and saw the signal coming his way. It read, “Hold the fort. I am coming. Sherman.” He did, and his command […]
We are pleased to have Dr. David W. Hall, pastor of the Midway Presbyterian Church, Powder Springs, Georgia, back today as guest author for the following post, which originally appeared in the webzine PREMISE some many years ago now: One illustration of how religion and politics were interwoven, especially the religion and politics of strongly Scottish […]
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 […]
A Godly Witness to the Truth of the Gospel From the pages of the May 1853 issue of The Covenanter, a brief but useful piece by the Rev. Moses Roney, a Reformed Presbyterian pastor who himself lived a brief but useful life [1804-1854]. And it is with a shorter post today that we trust will allow […]
THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHISTby Rev. William Smith (1834) Westminster Shorter Catechism.Q. 106. What do we pray for in the sixth petition? A. In the sixth petition, which is, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” we pray, That God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support […]
What is the only remedy for the sins and miseries of our restless world? It is the gospel. The Rev. Daniel Dana labored as pastor in Newburyport, Massachusetts, serving two churches there, his tenure interrupted only by a brief year-long separation to serve as the president of Dartmouth College. Well-known in his day and well-spoken […]
Our post today comes courtesy of guest author Dr. David W. Hall, pastor of the Midway Presbyterian Church in Powder Springs, Georgia. Dr. Hall’s article originally appeared in the year 2000 in the online webzine PREMISE. While certainly Adams was no Presbyterian, the subject here has obvious relevance as our nation celebrates its independence tomorrow […]
It was on this day, July 2d, in 1824, that the Rev. Dr. Samuel Miller delivered what was termed an Introductory Lecture, at the opening summer session of the Princeton Theological Seminary. The title and subject of his lecture was THE UTILITY AND IMPORTANCE OF CREEDS AND CONFESSIONS. Dr. Miller had by this time been serving as a Professor […]
Chaplain Gave the Ultimate Sacrifice The Union chaplain was assisting the medical staff in the sanctuary of College Lutheran church on that chaotic day of July 1, 1863. Hearing shots outside on Chambersburg Street, he said to the surgeon working on one of the 140 wounded Union men inside, “I will step outside for a moment […]