Jacob Jones Janeway

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Last Sunday we posted Question 107 from Rev. Van Horn’s series on the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and I stated that we would re-run that series, but with some additional content. However, upon reviewing our files here at the PCA Historical Center, I see that we have another bundle of twenty articles by Rev. Van Horn on the doctrines of the Westminster Standards. This was a collection graciously donated a few years ago by the Rev. Vaughn Hathaway, and we’re particularly pleased to have this rather rare set of studies. So for the next twenty Sundays, we’ll be going through this series, and I trust you will find it as profitable as the former series. Today’s message is particularly apt for our times.

“To God’s Glory” : A Practical Study of the Doctrines of the Westminster Standards.
by Rev. Leonard T. Van Horn

THE SUBJECT : The Sovereignty of God.

THE BIBLE VERSES TO READ : Ephesians 1:11; Romans 9:15; 11:36; I Chronicles 29:11; Isaiah 9:6.

REFERENCE TO THE STANDARDS — Westminster Confession of Faith : chapter 2, paragraphs 1 2; chapter 3; chapter 10; Westminster Larger Catechism : Questions 7; 12; and 67; Westminster Shorter Catechism : Questions 4; 7; and 31.

This is the doctrine so basic to all other doctrines in God’s Word. This is the doctrine which is the foundation of our very lives. This is the doctrine meaning His absolute right to govern and dispose of all His creatures, simply according to His own good pleasure.

No matter what unsaved man might say, God has not lost control of this world. He cannot do so because as the Supreme, the Infinite, the Eternal Being He exercises absolute sovereignty over the whole of creation.

The question was once asked me, “How many times during a week do you make use of this doctrine?” How could one count the ways in which it is used? In counseling, in comforting, in teaching, in exhorting, and in preaching, this doctrine is the foundation. This doctrine furnishes the child of God with the ability to live and move and have his being while he completes his sojourn on this earth.

How precious it is to have the kind of God who has absolute dominion and authority! This is the kind of God with whom we want to deal in our salvation. So should it be that He is the kind of God with whom we want to deal in our lives after He has saved us. When we think Who He is we should cry out: “Alleluia – for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!”

The danger regarding this doctrine is that we will not understand, and practice, an important aspect of it. We must understand that if we are to enjoy the benefits of this doctrine in our lives we must be willing to submit to Him as a Sovereign God. We glorify Him (I Cor. 10:3) when we submit to Him in all things (Rom. 6:13).

John Owens states, “The carnal mind is pleased with nothing of all this, but riseth up in opposition unto every instance of it. It will not bear that the will, wisdom, and pleasure of God should be submitted unto and adored in the paths which it cannot trace.” Though he was speaking primarily of theological matters, his statements are equally true regarding the common problems of God’s children.

A former Professor was fond of saying, when discussing the Sovereignty of God, “What the Bible says, God says, and that ends the matter, period!” There is so much value to this doctrine. We need to be reminded that it :

. . . Deepens our respect for the character of our God for He has “created all things, an for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rom. 4:11);
. . . Tells us of the depth of His wisdom (Rom. 11:33)
. . . Teaches us that His will does not change (Acts 15:18); 
. . . Destroys the heresy of salvation by works for God helps those who are unable to help themselves (Rom. 9:16);
. . . Works against our human pride and teaches us humility for we know what we are, what we have, is unmerited on our part (Psalm 115:1).

This doctrine becomes real to us, becomes practical to us, when we begin to understand what Arthur Pink meant when he said, “God is infinite in power, and therefore it is impossible to withstand His will or resist the outworking of His decrees.” It is good for us to add one word to Pink’s statement, the word “My” right at the beginnin. “My” God is infinite in power and therefore I will not fear what man will do to me. “My” God is infinite in power therefore what time I am afraid I will trust in Him. “My” God is infinite in power and therefore I will both lay me down in peace and sleep; for Thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety. (Ps. 4:8).

This is the same as saying, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” How we should praise God for this! How it should give to us absolute security! How it should give to us comfort in sorrow! How it should guarantee to us the final triumph of good over evil!

Certainly there are dark hours ahead for all of us. But how glorious it is to know that we will still be in the covenant for He is a Sovereign God whose strong arm is ever encircling us and whose promises are true and will be kept! He states this is His Word. And He proves it repeatedly in the working out of His providence in us.

All this leads us to sing out:

“Now let the feeble all be strong,
And make Jehovah’s power their song; 
His shield is spread o’er every saint,
And thus supported, who can faint?”

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The Koehnken Organ at Covenant Seminary
by the late Robert I. Thomas

cts_organ02smAt the request of Dr. Robert G. Rayburn, then president of Covenant Theological Seminary, a search was launched for a good, used, tracker action pipe organ of suitable size to be located in the chapel which was about to begin construction. Leads were checked out; a two-manual (keyboard) organ at St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church in Cincinnati, Ohio became the best prospect. The church’s congregation had dwindled, the organ had stood mute for years, and the Gothic building was slated for demolition. Negotiations for its purchase were quickly completed and generous members of the seminary board gave funds for its purchase, moving and rebuilding.

Dismantling was arduous and sometimes dangerous and the marathon of trips up and down the winding stairway of the high balcony to carry thousands of parts for packing was exhausting. The Johann H. Koehnken organ at CTS is believed to be the oldest two-manual organ in the state of Missouri. Restoration and building of 19th-century pipe organs requires special skills, dedication and sympathy for this style of instrument, qualities not shared by all organ builders. Louis IX Associates of St. Louis was selected by the Seminary to complete the job of moving the organ and commencing the first stages of restoration. The organ arrived in St. Louis in two large trucks on November 3, 1976, to be stored until the chapel was ready.

This organ contains about 4,500 moving parts, each of which was cleaned, repaired or replicated with a replacement part when necessary in a time-consuming but careful manner. Most of the parts are beautifully handmade of wood, and will last for centuries if properly maintained, though this type of organ requires a minimum of attention except at 50- to 75-year intervals. This organ, over 100 years old, is so constructed that it is able to peal forth the praises of God for hundreds of years more.

cts_organ03smThe original builder of the organ, Johann H. Koehnken [1819-1901] emigrated from his native Saxony, where he had trained as a cabinetmaker and worked as one for two years, to continue his trade in Wheeling, West Virginia,, for another two years before arriving in Cincinnati in 1839. There he was taught organ building by his employer and fellow German Mathias Schwab, who had come to the United States in 1831. Schwab was the West’s first major organ builder, and he supplied finely wrought instruments over a wide area, including Detroit, Baltimore and St. Louis. Of the hundreds of organs built by Schwab, only two are know to exist in original condition and both are in Kentucky.

When Schwab retired in 1860, he left the firm in the hands of Koehnken, and the business became Koehnken & Company. Schwab had hired Gallus Grimm, a German cabinetmaker with four years of organ building experience, in 1853, which led to a life-long partnership which was reflected in the firm’s name after 1875, when it became known as Koehnken & Grimm. After Koehnken’s death, the first was styled Grimm & Son.

The organ at Covenant Seminary is not the first by Koehnken to be in St. Louis. Research located an account of the instance when Koehnken loaded four organs on a flatboat, brought them to St. Louis, and spent seven months here installing them. The firm’s organs were well known throughout the Ohio Valley and in other parts of the Midwest. Tragically, not many of them remain, with most having been needlessly destroyed or discarded as “old.” Those extant are now recognized for their grand sound.

The Search for the Organ’s History.
The organ was built in 1869, four years after Mathias Schwab’s death, for the Mound Street Temple of the K. K. Benai Israel Congregation in Cincinnati, at a cost of $4,900—the price of a fine organ indeed in that era!

When the organ was removed from St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church in Cincinnati in the Fall of 1967, no one knew the organ’s history. But organ historians could take one look at the instrument and tell that it was of a style that predated St. Henry’s, which was built in the 1890’s. The obvious clues to the organ’s earlier date include the large amounts of wood ornamentation above the display pipes, the square stop shanks, and the hitch-down Swell pedal. Furthermore, dates written inside the case went as far back as September, 1872, nearly a year before St. Henry’s previous building was begun, and wherein the ceiling height would not have accommodated the organ.

The large, six-pointed star in the center pinnacle of the case was a clue that indicated the organ may have been built for a Hebrew temple. But such stars are sometimes used in Christian settings as double symbols of the Trinity. At any rate, the old Isaac Wise Temple, a few blocks from St. Henry’s Church in Cincinnati, still had its much large 1866 Koehnken organ, and this was the only organ it had ever had. So the CTS organ could not have come from there.

The confusion began to clear when it was learned that the K. K. Benai Israel Congregation (now spelled “Bene”) in Cincinnati had had, in its Mount Street Temple built in 1869, a Koehnken organ of two manuals and thirty stops, which is the very same as the CTS organ. Accounts of the Temple’s 1869 dedication state that the organ case had features of heavily carved black walnut, with the carving gilded and with the display pipes stenciled in bright colors. The CTS organ had these features, though the colorful stenciling had been obscured by several coats of gold paint. The Mound Street Temple was said to have an architectural blend of Gothic and Arabic styles, and this same blending can be readily seen in the CTS organ case, with its pointed and rounded arches.

The names Harris and Johnson are chalked inside the case with the dates 1872 and 1878. Membership rolls from the Temple, as researched by Mr. Willard Kahn of that congregation, include both names in that general era, and a David Israel Johnson helped found this “first Hebrew congregation of the West” in 1819. Through the courtesy of the Archives of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, it was learned that St. Henry’s Church acquired the organ as a gift from their men’s club in 1907, which facts fit beautifully with the Hebrew congregation’s move to a new Rockdale Temple in 1906 or 1907 and their abandonment of the Mound Street Temple and its organ. Edward Grimm, son of Gallus Grimm of Koehnken & Grimm, is likely to have effected the move to St. Henry’s in 1907, for some of his business cards were used for bushing beneath the toe boards on the wind chests.

There can be no doubt that this is the organ which was purchased by the K. K. Benai Israel Congregation in 1869, making it one of the fairly early organs in a Hebrew temple in America, the earliest having been built in 1841 by Henry Erben of New York for Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (Holy Congregation House of God) in Charleston, South Carolina. Inside the organ, pencilled on a wind trunk, are the initials “M.S.,” which at first led historians to think that the organ might have had some parts built by Mathias Schwab, who died in 1864. But after the link with the K. K. Benai Congregation was made, the initials confirmed it : the builders very likely had written “M.S.” on the wind trunk for the Mound Street organ to distinguish it from other, similar windiness, under construction at the same time for other organs.

Although a few other organs are known to exist in Missouri, they are all small and with but one manual (keyboard). The 1869 Koehnken organ at Covenant Seminary is believed to be the oldest two-manual organ in the state!

Upon completion of construction and the installation of this magnificent organ, the dedication of the Robert G. Rayburn Chapel took place on May 18, 1979. A litany especially composed by Dr. Rayburn was used in the dedication service.


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Pride the Great Enemy of My Soul

Our post today comes from the diary of the Rev. Jacob Jones Janeway, who served as associate pastor alongside the Rev. Ashbel Green at the Second Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, beginning in 1799 and remaining at that church until 1828. I have found some pastoral diaries to be among some of the richest Christian reading, and I hope you will 

February 1, 1801. Sabbath.

J.J. Janeway “I perceive that pride is the great enemy of my soul. Often it prevents the enjoyment of God, and enlargement of heart. I must be emptied before I am filled. Alas, that my soul is so foolish and sinful as to indulge in pride. Were I more humble, I should have more communion with God, and more comfort. I think He is humbling me. Blessed be His name, that I, in any measure, see the sin of pride, and the importance of humility, and that I labour in any degree to suppress the rising of pride, and pray with any ardour for humility. I feel my insufficiency for the work of the ministry. But I look to Him, who hath promised:        

‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’

Blessed be God, that I feel a confidence that Jesus will aid me, and teach me how to preach His precious gospel.   I thank Him for past aid.”

Rev. Janeway’s biographer continues:

He frequently complains of his insufficiency for his great work, and seems ready to sink beneath the burdensome responsibility. He clings to the promise, and holds to the anchor. “I feel my insufficiency for my ministerial labors. How shall I go in and out before my people?” are remarks often occurrent.

About this time, a painful trial disturbed, and for years harassed his mind. Bitter and deep seem to have been his sorrows—painful his exercises. In the excess of his conscientiousness, and the lowliness of his humility, he doubted his standing in the affections and esteem of his people. He was young, and stood along side of an accomplished veteran in the service of Christ. His shrinking spirit doubted his qualifications for his great work, in a great city.

We shall not interrupt the narrative, by such large quotations from different years in his journal, which exhibit these painful struggles. They are noted here, in their chronological order, and will occur again, in recitals from his journal, and quotations from letters received from esteemed and distinguished friends, until years after God’s providence made his duty plain, and released the bird from the snare of the fowler.

“My mind is sometimes troubled with thinking about my standing in the affections of my people. I at times, think that I occupy the place of one better qualified for this important station.”

In the second church of our communion on the continent, with such distinguished men for his hearers, his well-known modesty shrunk. But when Philadelphia ceased to be the capital of the Union, and these notables removed, he still doubted his acceptance with the mass of the people; and yet, even then, had he won his way to the hearts of the people, and in a subdued sense, like his gracious Master, it might be said, “the common people heard him gladly.” His kindness to the poor, his open-handed charity, gave him, though he knew it not, a vigorous hold on their love. We shall have frequent occasion to recur to this again, and see it as it doubtless was presented, as part of the discipline of his life, to quicken the graces of his meek and quiet spirit.

Words to Live By:
Here was a true proof of real humility, to have won his people’s hearts by way of honest, real ministry as a faithful shepherd of the Lord’s people. It is the discipline of a faithful pastor’s life, that he will strive to possess and exhibit a servant’s heart, freely spending himself for the lives of his people. In this, Christ is glorified.

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Given some recent discussion on the Web, over whether it is appropriate to speak on political matters from the pulpit, the following seemed an appropriate post today, an excerpt from the diary of the Rev. Jacob Jones Janeway, a prominent Philadelphia pastor in the early 19th-century.

J.J. Janeway

Politics ran high, and Philadelphia was the headquarters of the excitement. The old federal party was fast losing its power. “War with Great Britain was advocated by one party, and deprecated by the other. The rancorous debates were unfavourable to religion, and the hopes of the pious were mocked then, as they have been since. Dr. Janeway would have been more than than human, not to have felt some of the influences around him. But we see from his journal, the jealous guard he maintained over his heart.

January 10, 1808, Sabbath.

“Praise to God for prolonging my life to another year. Oh! may this year be spent in the service of my God. Make thy grace, O my God, sufficient for me, and thy strength perfect in my weakness. At the commencement of the year I felt not right; may the latter end be better than the beginning. In conversing on politics, I am too apt to be too engaged, and to feel too keenly. May God give me grace to govern my temper and conversation, and preserve me from taking too great an interest in them. In the heat of debate, I am urged to say what is imprudent and unbecoming. Two instances of such behaviour have occurred last week. May no more occur. I fear lest our expectation of a revival of religion, may not be realized. O Lord God, let the blessing come, and bestow on us a spirit of prayer, that we may wrestle and prevail. Hope, still hope, my soul.”

LIFE OF DR. J. J. JANEWAY, pp. 130-131.

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Learning to Wait Upon the Lord.

The Rev. Jacob Jones Janeway [1774-1858] was an early Philadelphia pastor who served initially as an associate alongside the Rev. Ashbel Green. Rev. Janeway was also a close friend and supporter of the early Princeton Seminary faculty.

In October of 1829, Dr. Green decided to accept a call to serve as president of Princeton College, and the people in his Philadelphia congregation, out of respect to his views of duty, made no opposition. Along with this pastoral bond, a union of the colleagues of thirteen years was to be dissolved. Never had there been variance, but always peace, friendship, and harmony. The junior pastor invoked God’s blessing upon his departing friend, and thus it was that Rev. Janeway wrote in his diary:—

October 25, Sabbath.

J.J. Janeway“This day I stood before my people as their sole pastor. Last Tuesday, Dr. Green was dismissed from his charge. Thus a connection which has subsisted between him and me for almost fourteen years has been dissolved. My burden is great, my station very responsible. I feel its importance and my own insufficiency. I am meditating on the promises, and endeavour to trust in God for all needed aid. He hath said, ‘Lo, I am with you always! My grace is sufficient for you. I will never leave nor forsake you!’ Precious promises ! May my faith be strong! What may be the Lord’s will, I know not. I am praying to know it. Sometimes I think of retiring from this place, in the expectation of becoming more useful by having more time for study. The Lord direct me and preserve me from error. When I touched on the dissolution of our connection, my soul felt, and my voice faltered. I have loved my colleague, and he has loved me. May our friendship be perpetual!”

A separation of the two churches was under discussion. As the one in the Northern Liberties had increased, and was now able to sustain the gospel, Dr. Janeway was in favour of the movement. It drew from the people in the new church, expressions of the most ardent attachment, and they urged as their chief objection, their unwillingness to leave his pastoral care. The Presbytery confirmed the separation, and dissolved the pastoral relation. Dr. Janeway was appointed to organize the First Presbyterian church in the Northern Liberties. Fourteen years and more had he served them, and he was honoured of God in building up the church, by increase in the number of their worshippers, and in bringing souls into his kingdom. When he announced to them that he was no longer their pastor, a great sensation was produced, and in the afternoon he laboured to show that the new arrangements were for their good; and finally, to soothe their feelings, it was required by them, that he should continue to preach with them, in exchange with the minister whom they might call. Deeply gratifying to his feelings was the affection manifested, and long was his memory precious among those who heard the gospel from his lips.

” God has given me,” he writes about this time, ” a very conspicuous station. But my ambition is to have a people that love me, and if it were the pleasure of God, I think I could without reluctance, retire from my present charge to one in the country. What avails being known, except deriving from it opportunity for doing good? May I be humble, active, diligent, successful, useful.” So much was his mind exercised on the subject, that after much prayer, it seemed to him to be his duty to resign his charge, though he decided to wait until the ensuing spring. As far as he could see, his mind decided, for reasons which satisfied him then, to seek a place more retired, and where he hoped to live in the hearts of a rural population. He did not fail to confer with his venerable preceptor, and lay his heart bare. In reply, he received the following letter [from Dr. Green], which, for its excellent spirit and Christian friendship, and as exhibiting a specimen of that excellent and holy man, we insert:—

” With much attention and tender concern I have read your last esteemed letter. I enter fully into your meaning, and I think I know your feelings and views. They are, I hope, correct and proper. The desire you cherish may be well founded; and as such, it will meet with the Divine approbation. But let me remind you, that it is usual with the Lord in His divine providence, to make His children wait for the accomplishment, even of those designs which He Himself has excited. In this way, they learn to live by faith, and exercise patience, which last is one of the most difficult to learn and practise, of all the Christian graces. Let what passes in your mind remain there undisclosed, at least for the present; what you impart to me is sacred and secret, but it will not be advisable as yet, to intimate any fixed design of this kind to your people, because it might alienate your best friends, and until the Lord opens another door it would expose you to very unpleasant consequences. Wait for the Lord and upon the Lord in his time, which is always the best. He will help and provide for you, and perhaps sooner than you may anticipate. In the meantime be not discouraged nor uneasy; read the 37th Psalm, exercise trust and confidence in your covenant Lord—all will be well. But remember, a good place is better than a bad change; but, if a change for the better can be effected, it will be a matter of praise and gratitude. It is sufficiently known among your faithful friends, that you contemplate, if practicable, a removal; they will be mindful of you, and do all they can to meet your wishes.”

[excerpt from The Life of Dr. J. J. Janeway, D.D., pp. 185-186.]

Words to Live By:
A pastor once counseled another, “If you don’t know what you should do, stay where you are until you do. I am convinced that God has important work where you are; see it and enter into it zealously until God clearly shows you the next move.”
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9).

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