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“Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither.”—Deuteronomy 19:3

Sweet thought to my soul, that He who is the refuge is also the way to every poor soul-slayer, who hath murdered his own soul by sin. And who, my soul, could prepare thee this way, but God thy Father, who gave both Jesus for the way, and Jesus for the refuge? And how hath God the Spirit pointed to the way, cast up and prepared it, by taking up the stumbling-blocks out of the way, as God saith of his people? Isa. lvii. 14. Is it not God the Holy Ghost that sets Jesus up, as Moses did the serpent; points to his person, to his blood, to his righteousness, as the sanctuary and the city of refuge to every poor sinner that is the manslayer of his own soul? And if what the Jews have said be true, that magistrates once a year made it their duty to have the roads examined, lest any obstructions should arise to block the path of the poor fugitive; and that they were obliged to set up a post at every turning and avenue, with the word miklat—refuge, upon it, to direct the murderer in his flight; well may ministers, every day, and all the day, stand in the gates of the city, and in the high places of concourse, pointing to Jesus, and crying out, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” Precious Lord Jesus! lo, I come to thee; thou art my city of refuge—thou art the miklat of my soul! Under thee, and in thee, I shall be safe. Cease, ye avengers of blood, your vain pursuit; Christ hath taken me in. Thou shalt answer for me, Oh Lord my God.

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AN ORDER OF SERVICE FOR DIVINE WORSHIP; DESIGNED FOR PRIVATE DEVOTIONS, FAMILY GATHERINGS AND CHURCH MEETINGS.

Sermon—“Knowing You Are God’s Elect”

For the full order of service, including hymns and reading, please follow this link…

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AN ORDER OF SERVICE FOR DIVINE WORSHIP; DESIGNED FOR PRIVATE DEVOTIONS, FAMILY GATHERINGS AND CHURCH MEETINGS.

Sermon—“Stand Fast In The Liberty Of Your Union With Christ”

For the full order of service, including hymns and reading, please follow this link…

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“How much owest thou unto my lord?”—Luke 16:5

My soul, if this question, which the unjust steward put to his lord’s debtors, was put to thee concerning that immense debt which hath made thee insolvent for ever, what wouldest thou answer? Never couldest thou conceive the extent of it, much less think of paying the vast amount. A debtor to free grace for thy very being; a debtor to free grace for thy well-being; ten thousand talents, which the man in the parable owed his master, would not be sufficient to reckon up what thou in reality owest thy Lord, for even the common gifts of nature and of providence. But when the calculation goeth on in grace, what archangel shall write down the sum total? To the broken law of God, a bankrupt exposed to the justice of God; to the dreadful penalty of everlasting death; to the fears and alarms of a guilty conscience; to the worm that dieth not; to the accusations of Satan, unable to answer one in a thousand! My soul, how much owest thou unto thy Lord? Are there yet any other outstanding debts? Oh yes, infinitely and beyond all these! What thinkest thou, my soul, of Jesus? How much owest thou to the Father’s love in giving; to the Redeemer’s love in coming; and to the Holy Ghost in making the whole effectual to thy soul’s joy; by which Jesus hath paid all thy debts, cancelled all the demands of God’s righteous law, silenced Satan, answered justice; and not only redeemed thee out of the hands of everlasting bondage, misery, and eternal death, but brought thee into his everlasting kingdom of freedom, joy, and glory! Say, say, my soul, how much owest thou unto thy Lord? Oh precious debt! ever increasing, and yet everlastingly making happy in owing. Lord Jesus! I am thine, and thy servant for ever; thou hast loosed my bonds.

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“Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?”—Jeremiah 8:226

Yes, there is both balm in Gilead, and a physician there. For the blood and righteousness of Jesus is the truest balm; and Jesus himself a Sovereign and an Almighty Physician. But if that blood be not applied, if Jesus be not known nor consulted, how shall health be obtained? My soul, hast thou known thy disease, felt thy disorder? Art thou convinced that it is incurable by all human means—no medicine, no earthly physician, can administer relief? Hast thou known these things? And convinced of the infinite importance of seeking elsewhere, art thou come to Jesus? What sayest thou, my soul, to the enquiry? Art thou acquainted with Jesus? Hast thou made known thy case to him? And hath he told thee all that is in thine heart? Hath he taken thee under his care? Is he administering to thee the balm of Gilead? Oh my soul, see to it that nothing satisfieth thy mind, until that thou hast heard his soul-reviving voice, saying, “I am the Lord that healeth thee,” Exod. xv. 26. Seek it for thy life. Say unto the Son of God, “Speak but the word, Lord, and my soul shall be healed.”

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In the year 1999, I became the pastor of Bethesda Chapel, a Strict and Particular Baptist church[1] in London, England. I was a Moderate-Calvinist for the first ten years of my ministry, although I refused to identify with the Reformed Baptist Movement.[2] In the year 2010, the congregation came under internal and external pressures to adopt a plural eldership.[3] I resisted this pressure for scriptural, historical and practical reasons, but at the time, I was not well informed on the issues. Three years later, I completed an exhaustive study on the subject, resulting in an unpublished book, in excess of a thousand pages. My initial resistance to the Reformed Baptists’ views on plural elderships was confirmed and staunchly defended.

It was at that time, early in my research of the origin and development of the Strict and Particular Baptist churches in England, that I came across a surprising fact. Bethesda Chapel was organized around Hyper-Calvinist views.[4] What is more, Bethesda Chapel belonged to a large circle of churches which subscribed to the same teachings. Needless to say, I was startled by this information, especially because I had been told by the Moderate-Calvinists that Hyper-Calvinism is a false gospel, embraced only by those who have lost all measure of common sense and biblical balance. But if that were true, then how could so many Strict and Particular Baptist churches have subscribed to those teachings? And, what exactly were those teachings which made them Hyper-Calvinists? Thus began my journey in grace, leading to deeper and sharper views of the gospel of Christ.

During the early part of this journey, I frequently got lost in the details of the issues, often ending with much confusion and frustration. I therefore changed my approach—first, discover God’s masterplan for the ages, then, consider how the details fit into that overview. I was familiar with the elaborate charts of Dispensationalism drawn up by men such as Scofield and Larkin. Although I did not agree with that framework of history and doctrine, I appreciated the way those teachings were illustrated. I was also familiar with the intricate diagrams of Covenantalism drawn up by men such as Perkins and Bunyan. Although I did agree with this framework of history and doctrine, it did not set out the teachings in the exact way I understood them. I therefore began the lengthy process of drawing up my own diagrams, none of which provided a sufficient or accurate overview of the gospel. Eventually, while studying the scriptures, I was captured by the analogy of a potter and the clay. I wondered whether this picture could serve as an overview of God’s masterplan. I gathered together all scriptural references to the analogy, after which two texts stood out with distinction—Romans 9 and 2 Timothy 2. Within minutes, a diagram of the potter and the clay took shape, with every word of both texts fitting perfectly together in what appeared to illustrate the grand scheme of God’s purpose in creation and redemption. Having secured this basic overview of history and theology, I returned to the detailed issues of sovereign grace. To my delight, every branch of theology, together with every event of history, fit perfectly together. Only then did I begin a careful study of John Gill’s “Doctrinal and Practical Body of Divinity”. It was a joy to discover the close alignment between the diagram and Gill’s teachings. This diagram became known as the Framework of Sovereign Grace.[5]

By the year 2014, I fully embraced the viewpoints of Hyper-Calvinism, using as a teaching tool the Framework of Sovereign Grace for my private and public ministries. Such was my passion to help others on their journey with the Lord, that I began the slow and tedious project of modernizing each chapter of Gill’s Divinity. Over the next four years, I completed a large portion of this work. However, in 2018 the project came to a grinding halt. This was largely due to a season of discouragement, having not received much support from peers or elder ministers. It was around that time I spoke with Don Fortner[6] regarding an unrelated matter. In the course of the conversation, I made an indirect reference to the work I was undertaking with Gill’s writings. Bro Fortner explained he had been asked by a publisher, several years prior, to do a similar project on Gill’s Divinity, but that he declined the request for three reasons. First, tampering with Gill’s writings will necessarily change his intended meaning—it is best to leave the reader to interpret the original text; Second, it is impossible for an editor to modernize Gill without his own prejudices standing in the way—it is best to let Gill represent himself in his own words; Third, a gospel preacher should focus on communicating his own convictions, rather than echoing that of others—people want to know what you (the living preacher before them) believes. Bro Fortner suggested it is far better to present to others my view of the gospel, rather than rewriting the works of Gill.

As one might imagine, my initial feeling to Bro Fortner’s feedback was not that of encouragement. Had my time and effort for four years been in vain? I sat on Bro Fortner’s counsel for several months, not knowing what I should do next. Around that time, I was conversing with another preacher on some of Gill’s teachings. We took different views on Gill’s position. However, having already meticulously examined and rewritten every line of Gill’s chapter on the subject, I was well informed on his point of view. I explained this in some detail, ending with my friend conceding the issue. It was then I realized, the time and effort given to modernizing Gill’s Divinity was intended by the Lord to be a benefit to me, rather than to others. The last four years of work was not in vain. Like a warm blanket on a cold night, there was a peace that ran over my soul which to this day remains a stay and comfort. Bro Fortner was correct! I would not meddle with Gill’s writings, unless it be strictly for personal use.

Four years later, in the year 2022, I began teaching a series of studies on Bible Doctrine. The first twenty to thirty sessions are preliminary in nature, dealing with the significance of systematic theology, establishing definitions for commonly used labels and setting forth a historic backdrop of the Strict and Particular Baptists. After these preliminary studies are finished, I will begin examining the major branches of theology. As a supplement to these teachings, I will be aligning the chapters of Gill’s Divinity with my own studies on those topics. Not only will this provide a helpful resource to venture deeper into the various branches of the gospel, but it can also serve as a guide to the teachings of Gill. I will be showing how each of Gill’s chapters fit within the Framework of Sovereign Grace. In this way, I hope to honor Bro Fortner’s counsel—to present my view of the gospel, while promoting Gill’s Body of Divinity, without making changes to his writings.

If the Lord is pleased to make any part of my gospel labor profitable to the souls of His people, then I will find the utmost joy in knowing my work in the Lord is not in vain.

Jared Smith

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[1] Bethesda Chapel, Kensington Place, organized in 1866. In the early 1870’s, the first pastor of the church (David Crumpton) spearheaded the inception of the Metropolitan Association of Strict Baptist Churches. Between the 1870’s and the 1950’s, virtually all of the churches belonging to the Association were Hyper-Calvinists. I believe William Styles was the Secretary of this Association in the latter part of the 19th century. In his “Guide to Church Fellowship”, he points out on pages 78,79, “Duty-faith is the doctrine that it is the duty of natural men to exercise spiritual Faith in the Lord Jesus, and so to obtain salvation. Its emphatic denial is a distinguishing feature of the Strict and Particular section of the Baptist denomination.”
[2] Dr. Kenneth Dix (Baptist Historian) traced the Reformed Baptist Movement to the 1950’s, with the influences of such men as Ian Murray, Sidney Norton and Erroll Hulse. Together with the publications of the Banner of Truth Magazine (Est 1955) and Reformation Today (Est 1970), Baptist churches were Presbyterianized and the “Hyper” elements of Calvinism repressed.
The Reformed Baptists eventually commandeered the Strict and Particular Baptist chapels, revising their…

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Sir:

It is understandable that one who identified himself so closely with the English Reformers, Whitfield and the Marrow Men should be criticised by Arminians. For Huntington, Arminians were Antinomians who rejected the condemning and convicting use of the law in evangelism, inviting sinners to approach God “as if they had never apostatized”. They believed that man was not totally fallen but was naturally able to make saving decisions. Huntington preached a full gospel whereas his Fullerite and Wesleyan critics taught respectively that the doctrines of grace were for believers only or to be rejected as ‘the religion of the Turks’.

Contrary to adverse criticism that Huntington stood alone, he was supported by a relatively large number of Independent, Anglican and Baptist ministers. Huntington upheld the Biblical teaching of Christ’s imputed righteousness which Fuller rejected and Wesley often ridiculed. Huntington was a great winner of souls and preached to thousands. He was able to reap a prodigious harvest, especially in his old age. Andrew Fuller complained of the increased blessings and church growth in the churches associated with Huntington whilst his own association churches shrunk.

Huntington’s congregation, though composed mostly of poor people, though even members of the Royal family attended his meetings, gave so liberally to the work of the gospel that Huntington’s major critics sent their people to approach those leaving Providence Chapel after the service, asking them for gifts to support their own churches. In his recommendatory foreword to J. H. Alexander’s fine book More than Notion, Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones relates how he advised his Westminster Chapel congregation to make this book on Huntingtonian piety compulsory reading. Lloyd-Jones thanked God for the book and said that the people he described “show the vital difference between a head-knowledge of the Christian faith and a true heart experience.” This was the essence of Huntington’s ministry.

George Ella

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George M. Ella is a historian, author and biographer. His writings may be accessed at the online archived, ”Biographia Evangelica”.

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“The justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”—Romans 3:26

And who is this, indeed who can it be, but Jehovah? “It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?” But, my soul, mark how each person of the Godhead is revealed in scripture under this character; as if to convince every poor sinner that is looking for redemption in Israel only in Jesus, that God can be just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. God the Father justifieth the poor believing sinner: for he manifests that he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, having found a ransom in the blood of his Son for sin, whereby he is faithful to all his covenant promises in pardoning us, having received at our Lord’s hand double for all our sins. God the Son justifieth also his redeemed: for it is expressly said by the prophet,” In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” And that God the Holy Ghost justifieth, is as evident also; because it was through the eternal Spirit the offering of the body of Jesus Christ was offered, by which Christ is said to have been justified in the Spirit; and believers are said to be justified by virtue of it in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Hence all the persons of the Godhead concur in the act of justifying every believer in Jesus; by whom we have peace with God, fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Here then is a portion to live upon through life, in death, and to all eternity.

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Kevin Price is the presiding minister of “Zoar Particular Baptist Chapel, Bradford“, and the minister with oversight of The Baptist Church, Kensington Place ”.

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“Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grapegleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the firstripe fruit.”—Micah 7:1

It is always encouraging to discover we are not alone when we face a problem or have to struggle with a challenge in life. For believers in Christ the scriptures provide practical examples of men and women who have travelled the pilgrim’s way before us, learning and experiencing what it is to be a stranger in a strange land.

When Micah said “Woe is me” at the beginning of chapter seven in his little prophecy he was declaring effectively, “What a miserable man I am. How wearisome my life has become.”

It might seem strange to hear a gospel preacher make such a statement. After all, are not preachers the ones charged with comforting and encouraging the church? If they are depressed, what hope for the rest of us!

It is interesting to note what causes Micah to lament. What is it has provoked this man of God to so much grief? Simply this, he cannot find a spiritual man with whom to fellowship; an upright man, a kindred spirit, with whom to worship God!

Perhaps knowing this we might feel a little more sympathetic towards this lonely soul. Do we imagine the church in the Old Testament was strong and vibrant and faithful? Certainly, there were moments, periods when it seems a widespread recognition of the work of God in the nation Israel did occur, yet mostly it seems the Lord’s true people, the spiritual people, were only ever a remnant, widely scattered, frequently isolated, often downcast.

In many ways Micah is like us, or we like him. If we are blessed with the…

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The first text mistaken is Rev. 22:17, “and the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” This text is of another tendency than that in John 7:37, “if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink,” which text I have opened in my last book. “Let him that is athirst come.” Athirst for what? It’s plain, for the “pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Rev. 22:1. Athirst, when? Why, this is also plain, ‘tis when that pure river of the water of life runs. {“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Rev. 21:6.} Nothing is said of it now so distinctly, so as to make the children of God {set in opposition to the dogs, verse 15, &c.,} to thirst for it. No. Such drink under muddy preachers, and are almost everywhere satisfied with mingled streams. But, when the day spoken of comes, it will be otherwise. Then men will find all sermons and waters they have hitherto had, did not satisfy their thirst. And the reason is, they will know that the New Jerusalem Glory is come, all old things and mixtures are passed away, and behold all things are become new, Rev. 21:5, and eminently this same pure river of the water of life in the paradise of God, is ever new; but there is a time coming when the church of God will drink more largely of the waters of life without mixture, than ever she has done yet. The waters that now make glad the city of our God, Psal. 46:4, have some mixtures of our own in them, and the River is not yet seen that’s to be as clear as a crystal. John was here shown such a pure river as had never yet flowed. No; not in the days of the Apostles themselves. It is therefore no offer of Grace in our sermons to sinners to believe on Jesus Christ, but it is an invitation of the glorious church at the later day, to the members of the…

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“Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.”—Acts 11:16

Blessed promise! realize it, Oh thou Holy Spirit, day by day, in and upon my soul. Bring me under the continued baptisms of thy sovereign influence, and cause me to feel all the sweet anointings of the Spirit sent down upon the hearts and minds of thy redeemed, as the fruits and effects of Jesus’s exaltation, and the promise of God the Father. Yes, blessed Spirit, cause me to know thee in thy person, work, and power; in all thy offices, characters, and relations. I need thee day by day, as my Comforter. I need thee, as the Spirit of truth, to guide me into all truth. I need thee, as the Remembrancer of the Lord Jesus, to bring to my forgetful heart all the blessed things he hath revealed to me. I need thee, as the witness of my Jesus, to testify of my wants, and his fulness to supply. I need thee, as my advocate and helper, in all my infirmities in prayer. I need thee, as the earnest of the promised inheritance, that I may not faint, nor want faith to hold on and hold out in all dark seasons. I need thee, Lord; nay, I cannot do a moment without thee, nor act faith, nor believe a promise, nor exercise a grace, without thy constant, thine unceasing agency upon my poor soul. Come then, Lord, I beseech thee, and let me be brought under thine unceasing baptisms. Shed abroad the love of God my Father in my heart, and direct me into the patient waiting for Jesus Christ.

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AN ORDER OF SERVICE FOR DIVINE WORSHIP; DESIGNED FOR PRIVATE DEVOTIONS, FAMILY GATHERINGS AND CHURCH MEETINGS.

Sermon—“This Is My Body This Is My Blood”

For the full order of service, including hymns and reading, please follow this link…

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36 God Is Love

20 Sep 2022, by

“God is love.”—1 John 4:8,16

Beloved of the Lord,—It is your blessedness to prove, by the divine teaching of God the Holy Ghost, that God is Love,—eternal, immutable love. This precious truth you will not deny; but then you may often struggle under very deep depression of spirit and heartrending groans, lest you should not be interested in this glorious Three-One God of love. It is not enough for you to hear that God is love, nor to believe it as a most blessed truth, nor to say he loved David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Paul, &c., nor to look round you and say, concerning others, he loved them, or, he loved you, or, he loved thee. No; your heart thirsts to say, feelingly to say, he loved me. You feel that vital godliness is personal, and to you it matters but ,little, as it respects your own comfort, who he loved, or how greatly he loved them, if he do not love you. The vehement desire of your heart is that the blessed Jehovah, by the mighty power of the Holy Ghost, would speak this precious truth to your heart: “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.” It will not do for you to be told that you must simply believe, do your duty, and be decidedly pious, and then God will love you. This ground you have proved to be boggy, and have been necessitated to flee from it, and cry, “Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter; I did mourn as a dove; mine eyes fail with looking upward. O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me.” ”The Lord has given you faith to believe that they that are in the flesh cannot please God; and that however fair a show they may make in the flesh, it is but a show, leaving them destitute of vital godliness. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world; for the kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; and this kingdom must be set up in the heart; not in word merely, but in power, and that power the power of God: “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” Therefore, having eyes to…

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The eating of the passover lamb brought to an end the passover feast and it was now that the Lord Jesus instituted a new feast of remembrance, the service we call ‘Communion’ or ‘The Lord’s Supper’. This ending of one and beginning of the other is important. Christ is the passover sacrificed for us, and as we have seen, the passover lamb was a type of Christ. Christ being the fulness of that shadow and the fulfilling end of that type, the passover feast had its accomplishment in Him and being finished is brought to its end for all time.

‘Take, eat …’

Now a new feast of remembrance is instituted to be observed by the Lord’s people and designed to draw our thoughts often to the Saviour’s suffering and sacrifice on our behalf and for our redemption. We are told Jesus first took bread, then blessed it, then break it, and finally distributed it to His disciples, telling them, ‘Take, eat: this is my body’. Afterwards he did the same with a cup of wine, called ‘the fruit of the vine’, telling them, ‘This is my blood’.

Christ’s body and blood

The breaking of the bread is for us a representation of the broken body of the Lord Jesus; broken on the cross where He was bruised, wounded and crushed under the weight of our sin. Taking the bread from the Saviour’s hand and eating it symbolises taking and receiving Christ in His death by the…

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A Body Of Doctrinal And Practical Divinity
Or,
A System Of Practical Truths Deduced From The Sacred Scriptures
By John Gill
1815

Preface

John Gill was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England, on November 23rd, 1697. At age 12, he was converted to Christ under the preaching ministry of William Wallis. However, he waited six years before agreeing to be baptized, after which he became a member of his local church. At the age of 23, he was inducted as pastor of the Strict and Particular Baptist Horselydown church, the office of which he held until his death on October 14th, 1771. His 50 year pastoral ministry was accompanied by a prolific written ministry. He was the first Baptist to write an exhaustive theological treatise, which remains the definitive statement on Baptist doctrine to date.

Particular Baptist history has been treated in modern times, in much the same way present-day journalists report the news—it is skewed according to one’s prejudicial viewpoint. I am old enough to remember a time when ethical standards required historians and journalists to report the facts, without bias or bigotry. Objectivity is no longer the goal, leaving us with fake news and fake history.

Here is a case in point. Moderate-Calvinists (particularly, the Reformed Baptists) view Particular Baptist history as a single stream of Moderate-Calvinism to which the majority of churches belonged. Every now again, a small number of these churches would fall outside the mainstream, chasing after “hyper” views of Calvinism. Hyper-Calvinism, therefore, is unorthodox in teaching, and does not directly share in the mainstream heritage of the Particular Baptists.

As you can see, by framing the history in this form, the Moderate-Calvinists are able to deny the Hyper-Calvinists a legitimate existence among the Particular Baptists, thereby giving themselves the high ground when denouncing Hyper-Calvinism as a false gospel. It should be evident to every objective researcher, that if a historian is driven by a bias to undermine the views of others, then he/she is a partisan and disingenuous reporter. A historian should not seek to denigrate and/or deny the existence of other groups, in an effort to defend his/her own doctrinal convictions. Yet this tends to be the modus operandi of the Moderate-Calvinists.

What does an unbiased and objective view of Particular Baptist history look like?

The origin of the Particular Baptists in England dates back to the early 17th century. There is manifold evidence the churches of that time were widely split on many issues, including that of moderate and hyper views of Calvinism. Of course, at that time, these issues had not yet been refined by the controversies, and therefore no clearcut definitions established. This changed in 1707, when a Congregational minister named Joseph Hussey published a book against free offers of the gospel. It is naive to believe Hussey invented this view, or that he was the only man to hold the view at the time of his publication. As is the case today, views generally tend to be held by others before someone articulates them in writing. It is interesting to note, that when Hussey published his book, there was a ready people among the Particular Baptist churches who had ears to hear and eyes to see the scripturalness of that position. Sixty-two years later, John Gill published his Doctrinal Body of Divinity in 1769, which not only affirmed the teachings of Hussey on the matter, but also set those teachings within an iron-clad framework of Covenant Theology. Suddenly, a clear line was drawn among the Particular Baptist churches. A large number of congregations subscribed to Gill’s view, and became known as Hyper-Calvinists, or Gillites. As for the other congregations, a Baptist preacher named Andrew Fuller articulated their views in a book entitled, “The Gospel Worthy Of All Acceptation”, published in 1785. These churches became known as Moderate-Calvinists, or Fullerites. Far from there being a single stream of Particular Baptist churches embracing Moderate-Calvinism, there were two mainstreams, one subscribing to high views of grace, the other to moderate views of grace. However, it wasn’t until the mid 18th century that these doctrinal differences were clearly defined in the writings of John Gill and Andrew Fuller.

My dear friends, this is an unbiased and objective view of Particular Baptist history. Both groups of Calvinists have existed side by side from the beginning. There is no need to revise history in order to gain the high ground over one or the other of these groups. Let us recognize the legitimacy of both, having their roots among the Particular Baptists of the 17th century, and from this historic standpoint, discuss the doctrinal differences between them. This, of course, brings us to John Gill’s Body of Divinity. It is my hope and prayer the teachings of Gill will be examined with an unbiased mind and unprejudiced heart, judging for one’s self, in the light of the scriptures, whether those things be true or false.[1]

“Let every [person] be fully persuaded in [his/her] own mind.”

Jared Smith

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[1] The label “Hyper-Calvinist” has a historic and theological meaning, revolving around three controversial issues:
(1) Duty Faith—Arminians believe it is the saving and moral duty of the unregenerate to believe on Christ to the saving of their souls; Moderate-Calvinists believe it is the moral duty of the unregenerate to believe on Christ to the saving of their souls; Hyper-Calvinists believe only those who have been regenerated by the Spirit of God, and therefore brought experientially under the authority of the covenant of grace, have a saving and moral duty to believe on Christ to the saving of their souls.
(2) Free Offer—Arminians and Moderate-Calvinists believe since it is the saving/moral duty of the unregenerate to believe on Christ to the saving of their souls, so the gospel must be freely offered to all sinners in order to give them the opportunity to accept God’s gift unto salvation; Hyper-Calvinists believe since it is the saving/moral duty of the regenerate to believe on Christ to the saving of their souls, so the gospel should be freely and fully preached to all sinners, and those who are given ears to hear will hear.
(3) Believer’s Rule of Conduct—Arminians and Moderate-Calvinists believe the regenerate’s rule of conduct is either the heart law under the authority of the covenant of works, or the moral law (ten commandments) under the authority of the Mosaic covenant; Hyper-Calvinists believe the regenerate’s rule of conduct is the gospel law under the authority of the covenant of grace.
The label “Hyper-Calvinism” also has a modern and erroneous meaning. The Arminians and Moderate-Calvinists exchange the aforementioned definitions for a set of self deductions. They argue—if Hyper-Calvinists do not believe saving faith is the duty of unregenerate sinners, this means they don’t believe faith is necessary in salvation (or that unbelief is a sin); if Hyper-Calvinists do not believe in the free offer of the gospel, then they do not nurture a love for souls or preach the gospel to unbelievers; if Hyper-Calvinists do not believe the moral law (ten commandments) is the rule for a believer’s conduct, then they are Antinomians. Although none of these deductions are true, yet they are the definitions Arminians and Moderate-Calvinists attach to Hyper-Calvinism.
If one wishes to know what a Hyper-Calvinist believes, it is a wise policy to speak with a Hyper-Calvinist.

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“Behold the man whose name is the Branch.”—Zechariah 6:12

My soul, listen to the call, and behold this wonderful Man, whose name is the Branch. Mark the wonderful features of his person. This is one of the prophetical names of Him, in the faith of whom, as the Redeemer of Israel, all the old testament saints died. The branch of the Lord—the branch of righteousness; or, as he is elsewhere called, the Nazarene. But observe how very descriptive of his nature is this title. He grows up out of his place. And where is that? rain the eternal counsel of Jehovah. Who shall declare his generation? He is indeed a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots. But all this as the root himself of David; planted in the eternal purpose of God’s own sovereign decree, and budding forth as a branch in all the periods of his incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, glory. And what a branch of never-failing loveliness, and everlasting verdure and fruitfulness, in all the proclamations of his gospel, converting sinners, and comforting saints. And what an eternal perennial branch to all his redeemed in grace and glory. Hail, thou glorious, wonderful Man, whose name is the Branch! Thou art indeed, as the prophet described thee, beautiful and glorious in the eyes of all thy redeemed. On thee, Lord, would I hang all the glory of thy Father’s house, and all the glory of my salvation. May it be my portion to sit under thy shadow with great delight here, until thou bring me home to sit under thee, the tree of life, in the Paradise of God, in the fulness of enjoyment of thee for ever.

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Note 4. It is the business of an Evangelist to preach the Gospel to every creature—and to state to all the relation of Faith to salvation.

This the inspired preachers of the New Testament continually did. Thus the Lord presented Faith to Nicodemus, (John 3:14-16;) to the Jews, (chaps, 5:24, and 6:40 and 47;) and to the man to whom He gave sight, (9:35-38.) Plainly also He stated the alternative of unbelief. (John 3:18 and 36; and 8:24.)

Thus, also, He instructed His apostles to preach, bidding them tell men that, “he that believeth, and is baptised, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

In obedience to His injunction, Peter explained the relation of Faith to salvation, in his Pentecostal sermon (Acts 2:21); and Paul, at Antioch, informs his hearers that the blessing of Justification belongs to “all that believe,” (Acts 13:39.)

These are typical instances. In none of the cases cited are the verbs in the imperative mood. The verses quoted are not commands, but statements of general acceptation. They are simple declarations of the gracious and blessed fact that Faith and salvation are conjoined: that those who believe in His Son, share the pardoning love of God; while the dire con­ demnation of the Law will be visited on all who live and die without Faith in Christ.

Such testimony should be given by all Gospel ministers in the present day.

When, however, an Evangelist has to deal ‘personally with anxious enquirers, or is led to preach the Gospel specifically to those who are awakened to solicitude about sin and its conse­quences, he should direct and encourage such characters to trust in the Lord Jesus. This is the command of the Gospel. Obedience to it is “the obedience of Faith.”

This command is nowhere addressed to men as men, or even to sinners as sinners—but to such sinuers as give evidence that they are conscious of their peril, and anxious to be rescued from it by Jesus Christ. It presupposes a gracious change in those to whom it is addressed. It is a merciful reply to the early distress of a regenerated sinner.

Thus Peter enjoined those who were “pricked in their heart” to “repent and be baptised upon the name of Jesus,” which involves the idea of trusting in Him. (Acts 2:38.) Paul and Silas likewise commanded the jailor to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” for it was amply apparent that he was in the proper condition to receive the gracious direction.

This obvious distinction between preaching Faith declaratively to all men, and directly and personally to sensible sinners only, is so apparent in the Bible, that it is a marvel that any fail to recognise it.

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Sections.
1. The sum of true wisdom—viz. the knowledge of God and of ourselves. Effects of the latter.
2. Effects of the knowledge of God, in humbling our pride, unveiling our hypocrisy, demonstrating the absolute perfections of God, and our own utter helplessness.
3. Effects of the knowledge of God illustrated by the examples, 1. of holy patriarchs; 2. of holy angels; 3. of the sun and moon.

1. Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other. For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves; nay, that our very being is nothing else than subsistence in God alone. In the second place, those blessings which unceasingly distil to us from heaven, are like streams conducting us to the fountain. Here, again, the infinitude of good which resides in God becomes more apparent from our poverty. In particular, the miserable ruin into which the revolt of the first man has plunged us, compels us to turn our eyes upwards; not only that while hungry and famishing we may thence ask what we want, but being aroused by fear may learn humility. For as there exists in man something like a world of misery, and ever since we were stript of the divine attire our naked shame discloses an immense series of disgraceful properties every man, being stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness, in this way necessarily obtains at least some knowledge of God. Thus, our feeling of ignorance, vanity, want, weakness, in short, depravity and corruption, reminds us (see Calvin on John 4:10), that in the Lord, and none but He, dwell the true light of wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves. For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? Who, in fact, does not thus rest, so long as he is unknown to himself; that is, so long as he is contented with his own endowments, and unconscious or unmindful of his misery? Every person, therefore, on coming to the knowledge of himself, is not only urged to seek God, but is also led as by the hand to find him.

2. On the other hand, it is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he have previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also —He being the only standard by the application of which this…

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The First Book treats of the knowledge of God the Creator. But as it is in the creation of man that the divine perfections are best displayed, so man also is made the subject of discourse. Thus the whole book divides itself into two principal heads—the former relating to the knowledge of God, and the latter to the knowledge of man. In the first chapter, these are considered jointly; and in each of the following chapters, separately: occasionally, however, intermingled with other matters which refer to one or other of the heads; e.g., the discussions concerning Scripture and images, falling under the former head, and the other three concerning the creation of the world, the holy angels and devils, falling under the latter. The last point discussed—viz. the method of the divine government, relates to both.

With regard to the former head—viz. the knowledge of God, it is shown, in the first place, what the kind of knowledge is which God requires, Chap. 2. And, in the second place (Chap. 3-9), where this knowledge must be sought, namely, not in man; because, although naturally implanted in the human mind, it is stifled, partly by ignorance, partly by evil intent, Chap. 3 and 4; not in the frame of the world: because, although it shines most clearly there, we are so stupid that these manifestations, however perspicuous, pass away without any beneficial result, Chap. 5; but in Scripture (Chap. 6), which is treated of, Chap. 7-9. In the third place, it is shown what the character of God is, Chap. 10. In the fourth place, how impious it is to give a visible form to God (here images, the worship of them, and its origin, are considered), Chap. 11. In the fifth place, it is shown that God is to be solely and wholly worshipped, Chap. 12. Lastly, Chap. 13 treats of the unity of the divine essence, and the distinction of three persons.

With regard to the latter head—viz. the knowledge of man, first, Chap. 14 treats of the creation of the world, and of good and bad angels (these all having reference to man). And then Chap. 15, taking up the subject of man himself, examines his nature and his powers.

The better to illustrate the nature both of God and man, the three remaining Chapters—viz. 16-18, proceed to treat of the general government of the world, and particularly of human actions, in opposition to fortune and fate, explaining both the doctrine and its use. In conclusion, it is shown, that though God employs the instrumentality of the wicked, he is pure from sin and from taint of every kind.

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