July 2014

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One biographical entry lists under John Livingstone’s name that of “revivalist preacher.” And there is no doubt, as John Howie put it in The Scots Worthies, that there has been none whose labors in the Gospel have been more remarkably blessed with the outpouring of the Spirit in conversion work than John Livingstone, at least, since the Reformation commenced in Scotland. Who was this man of God?

Born on this day, July 21, 1603 at Monyabroch/Monieburgh in Scotland to a home filled with piety and prayer, his father William was a minister. Later on, young John became a student of Robert Blair at Glasgow University (see post for July 10). The subject of our post today became the assistant minister in Torphichen between Glasgow and Edinburgh, but in 1621 was “silenced” for his Presbyterian views. Moving to north Ireland, or Ulster, he became known as a young man and minister at what has become known as the Kirk O’Shotts Revival. The circumstances of his presence are remarkable for the Spirit’s leading.

John Livinstone had been a domestic chaplain to the Countess of Wigton, Sarah Maxwell. Upon hearing of plans for a Communion observance at Kirk O’Shotts, he went to attend this sacrament. With a huge crowd of both ministers and members in attendance, as W.M. Hetherington put it in his “History of the Church of Scotland, the Communion Sabbath “had been marked with much solemnity of manner and great apparent depth and sincerity of devotional feeling.” (p. 136) When the Monday came, the large crowd had been reluctant to depart without another religious service of thanksgiving to God for His redeeming love. So they begged for another worship service, but the pastor of the church was ill and couldn’t comply with their wishes. So young twenty-seven year old John Livingstone was prevailed upon to take his place.

The latter was so overwhelmed with his insufficiency of spiritual gifts however, that he ran away into the country side. Some accounts state that someone went after him to encourage him to return. Others state that he was taken by a “strong constraining impulse” to return. Which ever it was, he did return and began to preach to the huge multitude. It then began to rain, but for the next hour, the young minister preached the Word in a driving rain storm, outside! Listen to William Hetherington describe it. He said the crowd “was affected with a deep unusual awe, melting their hearts and subduing their minds, stripping off inveterate prejudices, awakening the indifferent, producing conviction in the hardened, bowing down the stubborn, and imparting to many an enlightened Christian, a large increase of grace and spirituality.” (p. 136)

This author cannot help but remark, “Oh for such an awakening and revival in our United States now” as took place on that day back in Ulster! It was said that some 500 people could date either their conversion or a confirmation of their case from that date and place. Livingstone went on to continue to preach the Word of grace in Ulster, with another experience of the Spirit’s falling two or three years after this occasion, when a thousand were brought to Christ.

We will return to his life and times as he was one of four ministers who endeavored to sail to America on the “Eagle Wing” vessel, but had to turn back due to storms. Livingstone, now married, ministered in both Scotland and Ulster, and with increasing persecution of Presbyterians in the lands, moved at last to Holland, where he died on August 9, 1672.

Words to Live By:
 There is perhaps no greater pastoral advice and counsel—Rev. Livingstone wrote the following words to one of his former churches:

“In all things, and above all things, let the Word of God be your only rule, Christ Jesus your only hope, His Spirit your own guide, and His glory your only end.” This could well be written on the inside leaf of your Bible as a reminder, reader, but far better for it to be written upon your heart and life as your belief and behavior.”

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soltau_TStanleyYesterday we looked at the life and ministry of Dr. T. Stanley Soltau, missionary to Korea, pastor, and director of World Presbyterian Missions. Today we turn to Dr. Soltau’s little booklet, Our Sufficiency, for our Sunday sermon.


Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to account anything as from ourselves; but our sufficiency is from God.” — 2 Corinthians 3:5

In this day of want and poverty in so many parts of the world, when even the bare necessities of life are hardly sufficient to meet the needs of millions, and when even in this favored land we have been warned of certain restrictions which we must face in order that in other countries starvation may be avoided; in days like this it is always encouraging to think of one source of sufficiency which never fails and never can fail, and a source which is always accessible.

The Apostle Paul in writing to his friends in the great city of Corinth, says, “Our Sufficiency is of God.” He is writing to Christians who were living in a city whose name was a synonym for vice and immorality, it was also a city famous for its commerce and culture; and when great wealth, and great education and great wickedness go hand in hand, it always makes things difficult for a real believer in Christ Jesus. In spite of that discouraging background however, Paul writes to his friends there telling them that they are an epistle or a letter to Christ, written by the Holy Spirit on their hearts; that is, their lives were so different from what they had been before knowing Christ, and so different from the lives of others, that it was clear to all that the Holy Spirit had made Christ Jesus not only real to them but real through them to others. The Apostle then goes on to say that he has this confidence that the testimony of their lives will continue because God is working in them just as He has worked in Paul himself, and will prove His sufficiency by making them competent in exactly the same way in which He made Paul, and those with him, competent for the work to which He has called them.

The word “Sufficiency” in the Greek includes the idea of being made competent, competent for whatever situation may arise or for whatever task which God may call upon you to perform.

Any man who possesses this conviction has a freedom from anxiety and a quiet peace and assurance in these days of uncertainty and difficulty that will carry him through to victory. I wonder if you can say “My Sufficiency is of God . . . He has made me competent, by the working of His Holy Spirit in me, for every emergency and every responsibility that I shall meet this day.” Can you say it and really mean it? If you can, then thank God for it and begin from this minute to practice it and to experience His sufficiency in your life. If you cannot say so, then ask yourself why.

He has made it possible for all if they will only meet His conditions, which are:

1. A humble and sincere confession of their own sins and helplessness.

2. A grateful acceptance of the Sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ on behalf of their sins, and then a joyful submitting of themselves, body, soul and spirit to Him; and a conscientious seeking to put Him first in all things, and a looking to Him for daily guidance and enabling power in all the decisions and activities of their lives.

As soon as that is done, His Spirit begins His gracious ministry in their hearts in order to make them competent and equipped to live victorious and powerful lives to His honour and glory.

It is a very helpful thing at the beginning of each day to remember this, and in faith to claim the equipment from the Lord, which He sees that we will NEED to meet the various temptations and testings which lie ahead of us; and then to start out the days work in assurance that He had prepared us for it. Let us do so now!

Our God and Father, as we bow in Thy presence at the beginning of this day, we ask Thee to equip us with all that we shall need to live for Thy honour and glory, and to please Thee in all things. In the name of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.

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A Distinguished Lineage

“If we as God’s people were only more willing to wait for the Lord, how infinitely great would be the things that He in His graciousness would be delighted to do for us and in us and through us to the blessing of others and to the glory of His Name.” — Dr. T. Stanley Soltau.


Through a long, useful life, Theodore Stanley Soltau, D.D. served faithfully and well the Lord he loved.

Theodore Stanley Soltau was born in 1890, of missionary parents in Tasmania, and throughout his life was himself a missionary in every sense of the word. The Soltau family had  originally been Plymouth Brethren.  In fact, Stanley’s grandfather, Henry William Soltau, was born in Plymouth, in 1805. Henry authored works which remain in print to this day: The Holy Vessels and Furniture of the Tabernacle and The Tabernacle, the Priesthood and the Offerings.

Stanley received his early schooling in England, but when Stanley’s parents returned from the mission field to the United States in 1904, he remained stateside to obtain his undergraduate training in Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. His theological work was done at Princeton Seminary under men whose names are familiar to all in our church.

Shortly after graduation from seminary Dr. Soltau began a quarter of a century of profitable missionary endeavor in Korea. During these years he served under the Mission Board of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., working in pioneer missionary works as well as in the administrative work of the mission in that land. It was while Dr. Soltau was in Korea that the church there suffered much persecution for its faith from the Japanese. Dr. Soltau stood firmly with the Church in resisting the attempts of the government to interfere with its service for the Lord.

Forced, through illness, to return from the foreign field in the late 1930′s, he entered on a new phase of his service. He was pastor in Evanston until 1942 when he was called by the First Evangelical Church of Memphis, Tennessee.

The blessing of the Lord was upon his ministry in Memphis and the church grew in number and service. Dr. Soltau’s life-long interest in missions was reflected in the interest of First Evangelical Church in supporting missions around the world.

After twenty-six years of an active and valuable pastorate, Dr. Soltau resigned in June of 1968. In his “retirement” he was, if anything, more active in his ministry for people and for missions. He traveled extensively in the U.S. and on missionary trips to South America and around the world.

In the early 1950′s, Dr. Soltau united with the then Bible Presbyterian Church. His help in the formation of World Presbyterian Missions was great and he served until 1971 as the president of this missions board. He was for a time on the board of the North Africa Missions agency, as well as that of the Greater Europe Mission and also Columbia Bible College.

T. Stanley Soltau, Christian gentleman, scholar, missionary, statesman, pastor, in the midst of an active life, at the age of 82, stepped into the presence of the Lord on the afternoon of July 19, 1972. “Blessed are the dead, that die in the Lord.”

The Lord blessed Dr. Soltau and his wife with children who grew to place their trust in Christ. His daughter Eleanor served in Jordan as a medical doctor; daughter Mary worked with a ministry for the handicapped; George was engaged full-time with prison ministry and Addison served as a professor at Covenant Theological Seminary and currently serves as an associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Coral Springs, Florida.

Words to Live By (once more, for effect):
“If we as God’s people were only more willing to wait for the Lord, how infinitely great would be the things that He in His graciousness would be delighted to do for us and in us and through us to the blessing of others and to the glory of His Name.”


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There is much that can be learned from funeral sermons for great men, particularly when delivered by great men. Of course, all men are sinners, and none are great in or of themselves. They are made great by their service to a far, far greater Lord and Master, and it is for their service that we value their lives, as examples of those who gave all glory and praise to the one triune God. Here, the Rev. Charles Hodge delivers the funeral sermon for his long-time friend, the Rev. Jacob Jones Janeway, a distinguished 19th-century Presbyterian. 

A Fond Tribute for a Dear Brother in Christ.


J.J. JanewayFRIENDS AND BRETHREN:—We have assembled to pay our last tribute of respect to a venerable servant of God. After a life devoted with singular simplicity of purpose to the service of his Master, he descends to the grave with a reputation without a blot, followed by the benedictions of hundreds, and by the respectful affection of thousands. A long, prosperous, happy and useful life, has been crowned with a truly Christian death. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Let me die the death of the righteous and let my last end be like his.”

Rev. Jacob J. Janeway was born in the city of New York, Nov. 1774. He pursued his academical studies in Columbia College, and graduated with distinguished honour in that institution. His theological education was conducted under the late venerable Dr. Livingston, so long the ornament of the Dutch Church in America. He was ordained in 1799, to the sacred ministry, and installed as an associate pastor with the Rev. Ashbel Green, D.D., over the Second Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. In 1818, he was chosen Moderator of the General Assembly, and for many years acted first as Chairman of the Committee of Missions, and afterwards as President of the Board of Missions, an office which he filled at the time of his death. In 1813, he was elected a Director of the Theological Seminary at Princeton, an institution in the origin of which he took an active part, and continued through life one of its most faithful and important friends. He was elected Vice-President of the Board of Directors, and after the death of Dr. Green, was made President of the Board. He was elected a Trustee of the College of New Jersey, at Princeton, in 1813, and at different times served in that capacity thirty-three years. He continued to serve as Pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia until 1828, when he was chosen by the General Assembly to fill the Chair of Didactic Theology in the Western Theological Seminary at Allegheny, Pennsylvania. After resigning that position he was called to the Pastoral office of the First Dutch Reformed Church in this city, in 1830, and in 1833 was made Vice-President of Rutgers College. After his resignation of that office, he devoted his time to the general service of the Church, labouring assiduously in the Boards of Foreign and Domestic Missions, and in the oversight of our Theological and Collegiate Institutions, and in the use of his pen as long as his strength lasted. The numerous offices to which he was elected by the choice of his brethren, and his long continuance in those offices, are proofs of the high estimation in which he was held. These were chaplets placed on his brow by those who knew him best, and they were sustained there by the reverent hand of affection, even after he had become, from the infirmities of age, too feeble to bear their weight. Well may his children and friends contemplate such a life as this with tender reverence, and with sincere gratitude to God. As they gather round his tomb, the voice which each hears in his own heart, Well done good and faithful servant, is only the feeble echo of that plaudit with which his purified spirit has been already introduced into the joys of the Lord.

The extensive and long continued influence exercised by our venerated father, the numerous and important offices which he filled, are sufficient evidence of the estimate placed on his abilities and learning by those with whom he acted. He was eminently a wise man. A man whose judgments were clear and decided, and whose advice always carried with it peculiar weight. His remarkable placidity of temper, his amiable and courteous manners, his uniform regard for the feelings of others, carried him even through the severest conflicts without a scar. So far as we know, he never gave offence or made an enemy. His integrity was unimpeachable. He was truthful, frank, and honest. Always open in the expression of his convictions, no man was ever in doubt where he stood, or which side he occupied on any question of doctrine or policy. He was utterly incapable of chicanery or manoeuvring. He never attempted to attain his objects by any underhand measures. The end and the means were always openly announced and publicly avowed. As a preacher, Dr. Janeway was instructive, earnest, and faithful. As a pastor, he was indefatigable in his attention to the young, the sick, the afflicted and the inquiring. His zeal for sound doctrine was one of the most prominent traits of his character, and had much to do in determining the whole course of his life. His zeal was not unenlightened bigotry, but arose from the clear perception of the importance of truth to holiness. He was satisfied that the salvation of men and the glory of God were dependent on the preservation of the gospel in its purity. He was therefore always on the alert, always among the foremost in opposing every form of error. For this fidelity he is to be had in grateful remembrance. A more consistent man is not to be found in our long-catalogue of ministers. Consistent not only in the sense of being constant in his opinions, but in the correspondence of his deportment with his professions and with his social position and official station. There was nothing worldly in his spirit, or ostentatious in his mode of living. He was an exemplary Christian gentleman. God preserved him from those cancers of the soul, covetousness and avarice, which often eat out the life even of men professing godliness. He was a large and generous giver. It is believed that he regularly gave away the one-fifth of his income. All our benevolent operations can bear witness to the liberality and constancy of his benefactions. All that we have said, however, might be true; our revered father might have been thus amiable and upright as a man, thus consistent and irreproachable in his life, thus zealous for the truth, and thus generous in his benefactions, and yet come far short of what he really was. That which was the groundwork of his character, that which elevated his virtues into graces, was his deep, unaffected piety, not the religion of nature, not merely devout feelings excited by a consideration of the greatness and goodness of God, which so many mistake for Christian experience, but that love of God which flows from the apprehension of his glory in the person of his Son, and from the assurance of his love as manifested in Christ to the guilty and the polluted. Dr. Janeway was not only a religious man, but a Christian, a penitent believer in Christ, living in humble fellowship with God and with his Son our Saviour; living therefore not for himself but for Him who died for him and rose again.

He fought a good fight, he kept the faith, and henceforth there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give him at that day. Christian brethren, how can we better employ the few moments which we are permitted to spend around the coffin of this faithful soldier of Christ, than in meditating on the nature and reward of that conflict which he so long sustained, and which, by the grace of God, he brought to so joyful an issue ?

To read the remainder of Dr. Hodge’s funeral sermon, click here.

Words to Live By:
Christians love the gift of life as received from the Lord, yet we welcome the approach of death as that which has been conquered by an all-victorious Savior. To die in Christ is to enter into His presence. To die apart from Him is to enter into an endless misery.

“By this faith, a Christian believes to be true whatsoever is revealed in the Word, for the authority of God Himself speaking therein; and acts differently upon that which each particular passage thereof contains; yielding obedience to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life, and that which is to come. But the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.”
Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 14, paragraph 2. [emphasis added]

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Things For All Men To Do.

green_beriahThe following few paragraphs, below, form the opening portion of a discourse by Beriah Green, Jr. [1795-1874]. A graduate of Middlebury College, in Vermont, Green studied for the ministry at Andover Seminary. After a dozen years as professor at Western Reserve College, Hudson, Ohio, Green became the president of the Oneida Institute in Whitesboro, New York, a manual labor college founded in 1829 by Presbyterians. Rev. Green accepted that post on condition that he could advocate for the immediate end of slavery and could also accept African Americans as students at the school. A number of prominent black leaders, men such as Henry Highland Garnet, were educated at Oneida during Green’s tenure.

In the following address, delivered on a Sunday evening, July 17, 1836, in the Presbyterian church at Whitesboro, New York, Rev. Green delivered a powerful call to end the institution of slavery, under the title of “Things for Northern Men to Do.” Since that time, the intervening years have seen a great deal of turmoil and change in our nation. Yet Green’s message from the text of Jeremiah 7 remains disturbingly appropriate even today. Where he railed against racial slavery, we now see abortion, pornography, sexual slavery, and all manner of addictions running rampant across our nation. “Crimes of all sorts and sizes we are in the habit of committing.” The sins of a former era and those of our own time are linked by a common thread, one which treats men and women made in the image of God as mere objects to satisfy our lusts. What can we as Christians do? Are we powerless?

Rev. Green offers his understanding of the Scriptural imperative:—

“Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; if ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. — Jeremiah 7:3-7, KJV.

“The general sentiment among the Hebrews, with which Jeremiah had almost alone to content, is clearly indicated by a shocking assertion, which they were wont to throw into the face of Jeremiah. Crimes of all sorts and sizes they were in the habit of committing; and then, reeking with corruption and red with blood, of coming and standing before God in His temple, to insult Him with the declaration, that they “were delivered to do all such abominations.” Things had taken such a shape and posture, that they could do no better than to violate the most sacred relations, and break the strongest ties which bound them to heaven and earth. They were connected with a system of abominations which they could not dissolve, and from which they could not break away. With the different parts of this system, the fibres of society had been intertwisted. It was supported by confirmed usages and venerated institutions. What hazards must they not encounter, what risks must they not run, in opposing the sentiment which generally prevailed around them! They thought it better to go with the multitude to do evil, than incur popular odium in resisting it. They could not keep their character and retain their influence, without taking a share in popular iniquity. Their wickedness was a matter of necessity. Still they could not refuse to see that it was driving their country to fearful extremities. Ruin stared them in the face. What could they do? On the one hand, driven by such strong necessities to sin; and on the other, exposed to such exterminating judgments for their iniquities!

“Just here the prophet met them. The difficulties in which they were involved, and the dangers to which they were exposed, they owed to themselves. And if they stoutly persevered in the crooked ways they had so rashly trodden, they were undone. Nothing would then save them from the dishonored graves, which their own hands had been so long employed in digging. Yet they need not perish. If they would avoid presumption, they might escape despair. They might not charge the blame of their iniquities on God. They might not allege, that “they were delivered to do the abominations” they were guilty of. So long as they did so, their repentance and salvation were impossible. The work, which demanded their attention, lay directly before them. This done, and all their perplexities, and difficulties, and embarrassments would instantly vanish. This done, destruction, with its open jaws now ready to devour them, would at once flee away. This done, and benignant heaven would pour upon them the choicest, most enduring benefits. . . .”

To read the remainder of Rev. Green’s discourse, click here.

Words to Live By:
Salvation belongs to the Lord (Ps. 3:8). The gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful, even to the bringing down of kingdoms and powers raised against it. May the Lord’s people first repent of their sins, and then, humbled, may we come before the throne of grace night and day, seeking the Lord’s mercy and grace upon a people rushing headlong into destruction.

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