November 2019

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An Orphan without a Father Becomes a Son of God the Father
by Rev. David T. Myers

We could say without any doubt that the character of today’s post had early years which were difficult ones. Richard B. Cater was born some date in December of 1791. Before he turned age wise into his teens however, put yourselves into the fact that he experienced both his father and mother passing away in death. His uncle, a military general, took on the task of caring for his relative, but alas, was lost at sea soon after that relationship began. Relatives placed him under a minister by the name of Moses Waddel when he was sixteen years of age.

That so very well known Presbyterian theologian and pastor taught him the basic subjects of learning, but also did not neglect the spiritual ones. Studies in the Christian religion soon gave young Richard the evidences of new birth in his soul. And when he had finished his education, he was led by the Holy Spirit to become a minister,

It was said that he was small in stature, but mighty in words, especially the words of Scripture. His energy never slumbered or faltered under any circumstance. In 1837, he left South Carolina for Alabama, and there was installed the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Selma, Alabama.

It was soon noticed in his preaching that his one sole object was “to persuade sinners to be reconciled to God as well as build up Christians in the most holy faith.” And his subjects for ministry did not neglect the countless slaves then residing in the area. He was a powerhouse for the gospel to both races.

He would go to be with his Heavenly Father on November 24, 1850.

Words to Live By:
Not all of our readers are commissioned by the Holy Spirit to be pastors of the gospel. But all of us as Christians have the same Great Commission, like our subject today, to be evangelists. persuading sinners to be reconciled to God. Question? Who are you, reader, praying for today to come to Christ? A family member? A next door neighbor? A fellow worker at your place of business? A fellow student in your school? You don’t have to be a pastor to do that! In fact, you often have more contacts than those in the pulpit! Pray and witness for Christ this week, following the example of Richard Cater to be a powerhouse for the gospel in your neighborhood.

THE SCHOOL & FAMILY CATECHIST
by Rev. William Smith

The Westminster Shorter Catechism – Questions 63 & 64

Q. 63. Which is the fifth commandment?

A. The fifth commandment is, “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee,” Exod. xx. 12.

EXPLICATION.

Honor thy father and thy mother. –Esteem and love them; obey their commands, when these are not contrary to the commandments of God; and maintain them with a part of the fruit of thy labor, if they be in want, and unable to support themselves.

Q. 64. What is required in the fifth commandment?

A. The fifth commandment requireth the preserving the honor, and performing the duties, belonging to every one, in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals.

EXPLICATION.

Preserving the honor. –Paying every one that respect which is due to them, in their rank and station in life.

Superiors. –Those who are above us in station, such as Parents, Masters, Ministers, Magistrates, &c.

Inferiors. –Those who are below us in rank, such as children, servants, people, subjects, &c.

Equals. –Those of the same rank with ourselves, such as brother, sisters, neighbors, &c.

ANALYSIS.

In this answer we are taught three things:

  1. That there are different degrees or relations among men, such as superiors, inferiors, and equals.
  2. That we are commanded to preserve the honor belonging to every one in their several places and relations. –Rom. xiii. 7. Render, therefore, to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
  3. That we are also commanded to perform the duties belonging to every one in their several places and relations; –such as,

(1.) The duty which we owe to our superiors. –Eph. vi. 1, 5. Children, obey your parents in the Lord. Servants, be obedient to those that are your masters, according to the flesh. Rom. xiii. 1. Let every soul be subject to the higher powers.

(2.) Those which we owe to our inferiors. –Eph. vi. 4, 9. Ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening; knowing that your Master also is in heaven.

(3.) The duties which we owe our equals. –Rom. xii. 10. Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.

The following short article appeared on the pages of The Charleston Observer in 1840, reprinted there from The Presbyterian, a Philadelphia paper.  The article was written in response to actions taken in the Presbyterian Church at that time, correcting the error of disuse into which the diaconal office had fallen

We are pleased to observe that the injunctions of the General Assembly, relative to the appointment of Deacons in our several Churches, has attracted attention, and in many instances, has led inferior judicatories to take immediate measures to supply the glaring defect which is so general, and has been so long continued.  The disuse into which the office has fallen, has arisen from a wrong impression, that it may properly be dispensed with in any Church which has no poor dependent on its charity, or where the Elders without inconvenience, can attend to the poor.  In reply to this, we refer to the requirements of the Church, which are imperative on the subject.  The Deacon is an officer who is spoken of as an indispensable part of a rightly organized Church, and if he may be set aside by such a plea, as the one above alluded to, with the same propriety may the Ruling Elder be dispensed with, on some similar plea.  The Deacon is a spiritual officer in the Church of Christ, and while it is his peculiar duty to be the almoner of the Church to its poor, it is surely not his only duty.  Is he under no obligations to accompany these charities with kindly visits, religious conversation, and prayer?  Is he not to give counsel to the widow in her affliction, and instruction to the orphan?–He may be a co-adjutor to the Elder, and aid the Pastor materially in the well-ordering of the Church.  The office of the Deacon was not designed to be a temporary one ; there is not one intimation in Scripture to this effect ; and although it originated in the peculiar wants of the Church at the time, yet those wants will always exist in a degree sufficient to justify its continuance.–The duty of the Churches, therefore, is clear: they should forthwith choose out suitable men to fill this office.–The Presbyterian.

[The Charleston Observer, 14.40 (21 November 1840): 1, col. 6]

Principles of the Second Reformation of Scotland (1638)
by Rev. David T. Myers

The readers of these posts should be familiar with the first Reformation in Scotland, featuring John Knox and others who raised the bar of God’s truth to the people and basically led the entire nation out of Romanism. The second Reformation, which began at a General Assembly meeting on November 21, 1638 in Glasgow, Scotland, and continued for ten tumultuous years afterward, was in essence a reformation from Prelacy. [Prelacy is defined as the government of the Christian Church by “clerics of high social rank and power.”]

We have an excellent presentation of the Principles of the Second Reformation presented in a lecture by the Rev. Dr. Andrew Symington, a minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Delivered in 1841 in Glasgow under the auspices of the Society for Promoting the Scriptural Principles of the Second Reformation, he gave a long lecture of the six principles of that reformation.  The whole address is much too long for our purposes here, but this writer will give them in succinct form for your reading pleasure. Click here if you wish to read the full lecture.

First, the Second Reformation placed as foremost the universal supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Dr. Symington noted that the Lord Jesus “is given to be the head of all things to the church. The church is Christ’s. He has loved her, redeemed her, chartered her, and given  her a constitution, immunities, and laws, and officers.”

Another leading principle is the spiritual independence of the church of Christ. Symington added that “the church receives the doctrines of her faith, the institutions of her worship, her polity, and her discipline from Jesus Christ, independently of all foreign authority.”

The third principle, the supreme and ultimate authority of the word of God in the church, was in effect a summary of the Second Reformation. Its people and adherents, said Dr. Symington, “brought every matter of faith, worship, discipline, and government, to the test of the divine word.”

Next, another principle of the Second Reformation was “the subjection of nations to God and to Christ.”  Rev. Symington was clear that “civil authority should acknowledge Divine Revelation, bow at the footstool of Jesus’ throne, and erect its constitution, enact its laws, and conduct its administration, in subservience to the interests of the kingdom of Christ.”

Fifth, the duties of covenanting with God, and the obligation of religious covenants were important. Historically, that General Assembly meeting in Glasgow in 1638 began with a repetition of the National Covenant of Scotland and the Solemn League and Covenant.  Such covenanting “united friends . . . in the bonds of truth.”

And last, these Presbyterians of centuries ago, acted upon the principle of holding fast past attainments, advancing in reformation, and extending its blessings to others.”  We Presbyterians in the United States can be thankful that they “cast their eyes abroad, contemplating the enlargement of the Kingdom of the Savior.”

Words to Live By:
Rev. Symington stated the obvious when he said that the church of God, since it was first established in Eden, has never had a very lengthy period of prosperity. Yet it is also true that we can reflect on our Savior’s promise to the church in Matthew 16:18 that “the gates of Hades will not overpower” the church.  Let us be comforted in this promise even as we seek to extend her witness to the nations around us.

The first Presbytery of English Puritans was held at Wandsworth, on November 20, 1572, the same year as the Bartholomew massacre. The organizer of this first Presbytery, and the leader of early Presbyterianism in England, was the Rev. Thomas Cartwright, a professor of Divinity in Cambridge. In the appendix to Charles A. Brigg’s American Presbyterianism, there is provided a “Directory of Church Government” practiced by the first nonconformists [non-Anglicans] in the days of Queen Elizabeth, called “Cartwright’s Book of Discipline.” In due course of time Presbyterianism came to be quite powerfully organized in the vicinity of London, even in Elizabeth’s day, but it was rather as a church inside of the state church.

When Elizabeth died, James VI. of Scotland ascended the throne as James I. of England. His mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, had been thwarted by the Presbyterians of Scotland, and James himself had been in perpetual conflict with them. He came to the throne of England a natural despot, confident of his ability, intellectually and physically, to carry out his own will. He was a scholarly, skillful, profane, drunken fool. On the way from Edinburgh to London he received the Millenary Petition, asking relief for the Puritans, and held a conference, under his own presiding, between the friends of High Church Episcopacy and the representatives of free Protestantism. The High Church pretensions and flattery completely carried the day with his egotism; and the only outcome was his agreement to the suggestion of Edward Reynolds, of Oxford, spokesman in behalf of the Puritans, that there should be a new and better translation of the English Bible. That gave us King Jame’s Version.

In 1816 he published a book of sports “to encourage recreation and sports on the Lord’s day.” His theory was “no bishop, no king.” Throughout his reign, therefore, while resisting popery, he sought only to make himself pope of the Episcopal Church in England, and that Episcopal Church the only Church in the three kingdoms. He said that “presbytery agreeth with a monarchy as well as God with the devil.

Source:
Hay, George P., Presbyterians, pp. 46-48.

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