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“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus.”—Ephesians 2:7

Pause, my soul, and gather in all the powers of arithmetic, and try if thou art able to count what the exceeding riches of God’s grace amount to. Think how great, how free, how sovereign, how inexhaustible, how everlasting! All that a poor sinner hath in time, all that we can enjoy to all eternity, all is of grace. And what a title hath thy God chosen to be known by among his people, when, to make himself known more fully in Jesus, he styles himself “the God of all grace!” All grace? Yes, all grace, and all sorts and degrees of grace: pardoning grace, renewing grace, quickening grace, strengthening grace, comforting grace; in short, all grace. And is all this treasured up in Jesus? Oh then, my soul, see that Jesus be thine, and all is thine. And mark this down as a sure unerring rule-as grace hath no source but in the Father’s love, so the exalting that grace, in Jesus is the Father’s design in salvation. The brightest pearl in the Redeemer’s crown is that which shines with this inscription: “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. “Here, my soul, seek thy daily grace more earnestly than thy daily bread.

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SCHISM

From a rent, clift, fissure; in its general acceptation it signifies division or separation; but is chiefly used in speaking of separations happening from diversity of opinions among people of the same religion and faith. All separations, however, must not, properly speaking, be considered as schisms.

Schism, says Mr. Arch. Hall, is, properly, a division among those who stand in one connection of fellowship: but where the difference is carried so far, that the parties concerned entirely break up all communion one with another, and go into distinct connections for obtaining the general ends of that religious fellowship which they once did, but now do not carry on and pursue with united endeavours, as one church joined in the bonds of individual society; where this is the case, it is undeniable there is something very different from schism: it is no longer a schism in, but a separation from, the body. Dr. Campbell supposes that the word schism in Scripture does not always signify open separation, but that men may be guilty of schism by such an alienation of affection from their brethren as violates the internal union subsisting in the hearts of Christians, though there be no error in doctrine, nor separation from communion. See 1 Cor. 3:3,4. 1 Cor. 12:24-26.

The great schism of the West is that which happened in the times of Clement VII. and Urban VI. which divided the church for forty or fifty years, and was at length ended by the election of Martin V. at the council of Constance.

The Romanists number thirty-four schisms in their church: they bestow the name English schism on the reformation of religion in this kingdom. Those of the church of England apply the term schism to the separation of the Presbyterians, Independents, Anabaptists, and Methodists.

“The sin of schism,” says the learned Blackstone, “as such, is by no means the object of temporal coercion and punishment.–If, through weakness of intellect, through misdirected piety, through perverseness and acerbity of temper, or through a prospect of secular advantage in herding with a party, men quarrel with the ecclesiatical establishment, the civil magistrate has nothing to do with it; unless their tenets and practice are such as threaten ruin or disturbance to the state. All persecution for diversity of opinions, however ridiculous and absurd they may be, is contrary to every principle of sound policy and civil freedom. The names and subordination of the clergy; the posture of devotion, the materials and colour of a minister’s garment, the joining in a known or unknown form of prayer, and other matters of the same kind, must be left to the option of every man’s private judgment.” The following have been proposed as remedies for schism. “1. Be disposed to support your brethren by all the friendly attentions in your power, speaking justly of their preaching and character. Never withhold these proofs of your brotherly love, unless they depart from the doctrines or spirit of the Gospel.–2. Discountenance the silly reports you may hear, to the injury of any of your brethren. Oppose backbiting and slander to the utmost.–3. whenever any brother is sinking in the esteem of his flock through their caprice, perverseness, or antinomianism, endeavour to hold up his hands and his heart in his work.–4. Never espouse the part of the factious schismatics, till you have heard your brother’s account of their conduct.– 5. In cases of an open separation, do not preach for separatists till it be evident that God is with them. Detest the thought of wounding a brother’s feelings through the contemptible influence of a party spirit; for through this abominable principle, schisms are sure to be multiplied.–6. Let the symptoms of disease in the patients, arouse the benevolent attention of the physicians. Let them check the froward, humble the proud, and warn the unruly; and many a schismatic distemper will receive timely cure.–7. Let elderly ministers and tutors of academics pay more attention to these things, in proportion as the disease may prevail; for much good may be accomplished by their influence.”

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The subscription to this epistle is not genuine, which runs thus, “The first Epistle unto the Thessalonians was written from Athens”; whereas it appears from (1 Thessalonians 3:1,6) compared with (Acts 18:1,5) that it was written from Corinth, and not from Athens; nor are these last words, “from Athens”, in Beza’s Claromontane copy; though they stand in the Syriac and Arabic versions of the London Polygot Bible, which add, “and sent by Timothy”, and in the Alexandrian copy, and Complutensian edition.

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Articles Of The Faith And Order Of A Primitive Or Strict And Particular Baptist Church Of The Lord Jesus Christ, Based On The Declaration Of Faith And Practice Of John Gill, D. D., 1720

I. The Holy Scriptures.

We believe that the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are verbally inspired,[1] and our sole, supreme, and all-sufficient guide in every matter of Christian Faith and Practice.[2]

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[1] Jn 10:35; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20,21
[2] Psalm 19:9 -11; 119:128; Is 8:20; Lk 16:29-31; Jn 5:39; 2 Tim 3:15,16; 2 Pet 1:20,21

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Annotations:

Inspiration Asserted

Note 1.—The passages cited clearly assert that, while the books of the Bible were written by human authors, (whose personal peculiarities are often apparent in their compositions) they were produced under the direct influence of the Holy Spirit, which rendered them authentic communications from God.

Thus, we are assured, that the writers of the Old Testament “spake from God, being moved (or borne along) by the Holy Ghost,” (2 Pet. 1:21,) and that every one of these sacred writings was “given by inspiration of God,” (2 Tim. 3:16.)

The writers of the New Testament claim to have produced what they wrote in a similar way. Paul delivered that which he “received of the Lord,” (1 Cor. 11:23,) and “in words which the Holy Spirit” taught him,—as one of the company of inspired men. (1 Cor. 2:13.) John claims to have had “commandment from God.” (1 John 4:21.) Peter asserts that what he wrote was “the word of the Lord.” (1 Pet. 1:26.)

Verbal Inspiration

Note 2.—The Bible was verbally inspired—that is to say that its writers did not simply deliver their messages in a vague and general way, but in the very words which the Holy Spirit induced them to employ.

This is plain from the fact that, in some places, weighty arguments are founded on the very words of other…

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

Sermon—“As He Is, So Are We”


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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—“Comparative Views Of The New Covenant”


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Some of the points I cover in this teaching video:

In an effort to clarify my understanding of the New Covenant, I make a comparison of it with that of the Presbyterians, the traditional Reformed Baptists, the 1689 Federalists and the High-Calvinists.
Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (27/01/2023)

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

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“If the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children, I will not go out free. Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door posts; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him for ever.”—Exodus 21:5-6

How sweet is scripture explained by scripture! Jesus saith, when sacrifice and offering under the law were both unprofitable, “Mine ears hast thou opened;” or, as it might have been rendered, “Mine ears hast thou digged.” Ps. 40:6. And elsewhere, “The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious.” Isa. 50:5. The apostle to the Hebrews decidedly explains this in reference to Christ, Heb. 10:5. And what was all this but to shew the voluntary service of Jesus to the office and work of the Redeemer. Was not Jesus, in all that high work, the servant of Jehovah? Though he was in the form of God, and with him it was no robbery to be equal with God, yet he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant. And for whom did he this? Was it not, in effect, saying, like the jewish servant, which was typical of him, “I love my master, my father, in the work of redemption?” John 14:31. “I love my wife, my church, my spouse.” Song 4:10. “I love my children: behold I, and the children thou hast given me.” Isa. 8:18. “I will not go out free.” Oh, precious Lord Jesus! well might the apostle say, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it!” Surely it was thy love, dearest Lord, to thy church, that moved thee to serve Jehovah, “as Israel served for a wife, and for a wife kept sheep.” Hosea 12:12. Oh for grace to love thee, and to serve thee for ever!

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EQUIVOCATION

The using a term or expression that has a double meaning. Equivocations are said to be expedients to save telling the truth, and yet without telling a falsity; but if an intention to deceive constitute the essence of a lie, which in general it does, I cannot conceive how it can be done without incurring guilt, as it is certainly an intention to deceive.

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“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, Amen.]”

This is the apostle’s usual salutation in all his epistles, and the token of the genuineness of them, (2 Thessalonians 3:17,18). (See Gill on “Romans 16:20”), (see Gill on “1 Corinthians 15:23”), (see Gill on “2 Corinthians 13:14”).

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“Look upon Zion, the city of solemnities.”—Isaiah 33:29

Without making any remarks upon the context, I shall immediately begin with the passage read as a text; and in doing so I do not intend to say anything upon Zion literally, but shall speak to you of Zion in a spiritual sense; and I mean, so far as the Lord shall be graciously pleased to direct and enable me, to show,

I. What is intended by Zion.
II. Why called a city.
III. Point out the way into this city.
IV. Endeavour to describe a true citizen.
V. Dwell a little upon the solemnities of this city.
VI. Show the blessedness of looking, by a vital faith, upon it.

I. By Zion I understand the real church of Christ, and, in the strictest sense, the whole body elect, chosen, and secured in Christ before the foundation of the world: “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Ps 132:13,14)

So that Zion is the spiritual property, the glorious church, and the eternal residence of Jehovah. Here the Lord not only declares but subscribes his name, and maintains all the honours of his glorious nature; and to this blessed Zion every real believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is brought by the power of the Holy Ghost; as it is written, “But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,” &c. (Heb 12:22-24) From this statement we learn that Zion is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, the glorious vision of peace, where God lives and dwells as the God of peace, and that it consists of an innumerable company of angels; and if by angels the glorious angelic host above is intended, they are an innumerable company indeed; for “the chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels;” (Ps 68:17) and the mountain was full of them for the protection of Elisha. (2 Kings 6:17) Yet there is a sense in which they cannot fully enter into the glories of the redeemed family of God, for the Lord Jesus Christ did not take their nature into union with his personal Godhead: “For verily ho took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham.” The glory of redemption by the blood of the God-Man they cannot experience. This divine mystery contains in it things that the angels desire to look into; so that, as the poet says,

“If sinless innocence be theirs,
Redemption all is ours.”

There is a glorious measure of the glory of God in the person, blood, and obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ which no creatures but redeemed sinners can enter into, and they can only enter into it as the Holy Ghost reveals it unto them. (1 Cor 2:9-11) If by angels, angels in office are intended, viz., God’s messengers, or ministers of the Spirit and of the glorious gospel of the blessed God, raised up, qualified, and sent forth by the Lord to “preach the unsearchable riches of Christ,” then it takes in all that ever have been, that are now, or ever will be thus employed by the Lord; and though the true ministers of the Spirit appear but few in number at any one time compared with the rest, the whole collected together, as treasured up in the…

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“As having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”—2 Corinthians 6:10

My soul, hast thou learnt this holy science? There are three blessed lessons the Holy Ghost teacheth on this ground. As, first, the believer is thoroughly emptied of himself. Art thou thus taught of God? Hast thou been led to see, to feel, to know, to be convinced that, after all thine attainments, after all thy long standing in the school of Jesus, thou hast nothing, canst do nothing, art worse than nothing, and, literally, hast no more in thyself now to recommend thee to Jesus, than the first moment thou didst hear of his name? This is to have nothing; this is to be poor in spirit. Secondly , dost thou possess all things in Jesus? Yes, if so be thou art living out of thyself wholly upon him; and how is this known? Nothing more evident. When a sense of my emptiness endears to me his fulness; my poverty, his riches; my weakness, his strength; my sins, his righteousness; my guilt, his blood; I truly possess all things, as far as I improve what Jesus is to his people, and rest upon him and the blessed fruits of his salvation, as God the Father designed him, who hath made him wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption to his people. And there is a third precious lesson the Holy Ghost teacheth to the poor that have nothing, and yet possess all things; namely, so to possess Jesus himself that he may not only make his poor ones rich in his riches, but be himself their treasure; so to supply them not only with what they need, but to be himself their fulness; not on to open to them light and life, but to be himself both their light and life; so to impart to them salvation as to shew them that he is himself their salvation; and, in short, so to give them present peace, and the assurance of everlasting happiness in his blood and righteousness, as to give them the perfect enjoyment that he is himself both their present and everlasting happiness and their portion for ever. My soul, hast thou learnt, and art thou ever day more and more learning, these precious truths? Oh, then, look up to thy Jesus, and say with one of old, “Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart faileth; but thou art the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”

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PRESUMPTION

As it relates to the mind, is a supposition formed before examination. As it relates to the conduct or moral action, it implies arrogance and irreverence. As it relates to religion in general, it is a bold and daring confidence in the goodness of God, without obedience to his will. Presumptious sins must be distinguished from sins of infirmity, or those failings peculiar to human nature, Ecc. 6:20. 1 John 1:8,9; from sins done through ignorance, Luke 12:48; and from sins into which men are hurried by sudden and violent temptation, Gal. 6:1. The ingredients which render sin presumptuous are, knowledge, John, 15:22; deliberation and contrivance, Prov. 6:14. Psal. 36:4; obstinacy, Jer. 44:16. Deut. 1:13; inattention to the remonstrances of conscience, Acts 7:51; opposition to the dispensations of Providence, 2 Chron. 28:22; and repeated commission of the same sin, Psal. 78:17. Presumptuous sins are numerous; such as profane swearing, perjury, theft, adultery, drunkeness, sabbath- breaking, &c. These may be more particularly considered as presumptuous sins, because they are generally committed against a known law, and so often repeated. Such sins are most heinous in their nature, and most pernicious in their effects. They are said to be a reproach to the Lord, Numb. 15:3; they harden the heart, 1 Tim. 4:2; draw down judgments from heaven, Numb. 15:31; even when repented of, are seldom pardoned without some visible testimony of God’s displeasure, 2 Sam. 12:10. As it respects professors of religion, as one observes, they sin presumptuously, 1. when they take up a profession of religion without principle; 2. when they profess to ask the blessing of God, and yet go on in forbidden courses; 3. when they do not take religion as they find it in the Scriptures; 4. when they make their feelings the test of their religion, without considering the difference between animal passions and the operations of the Spirit of God; 5. when they run into temptation; 6. when they indulge in self- confidence and self-complacency; 7. when they bring the spirit of the world into the church; 8. when they form apologies for that in some which they condemn in others; 9. when professing to believe in the doctrines of the Gospel, they live licentiously; 10. when they create, magnify, and pervert their troubles; 11. when they arraign the conduct of God as unkind and unjust.

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“I charge you by the Lord, etc.]”

Or “I adjure by the Lord”; by the Lord Jesus: it is in the form of an oath, and a very solemn one; and shows that oaths may be used on certain and solemn occasions:

“that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren;”

To all the members of the church, who are called “holy”, because they were sanctified or set apart by God the Father in election; and were sanctified by the blood of Christ, or their sins were expiated, or atoned for by the sacrifice of Christ in redemption; and were sanctified or made holy by the Spirit of God in regeneration; and were enabled by the grace of God to live holy lives and conversations. Now this epistle being directed only to some of the principal members of the church, it may be to one or more of their elders; lest he or they should be tempted on any account to conceal it, the apostle in a very solemn manner adjures, that it be read publicly to the whole church whom it concerned, that all might hear, and learn, and receive some advantage from it; from whence we may learn, as is observed by many interpreters, that the sacred Scriptures, neither one part nor another, nor the whole of them, are to be kept from private Christians, but may be read, and heard, and used by all.

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“He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”—John 16:14

Some precious souls are at a loss to apprehend how the Holy Ghost makes application of Jesus and his benefits to his people. Hence they ask, how am I to know that the righteousness of Jesus, and the blood of Jesus, are applied to me. But be not thou, my soul, ignorant of so important a matter, on the clear apprehension of which thy daily comfort depends. Attend, my soul, to what thy Jesus saith in those precious words; and, under the blessed Spirit’s teaching, the matter will appear abundantly plain. He shall glorify me, saith Jesus. And doth not the Holy Ghost do this in every believer’s view, when he gives the soul to see that all that vast extent of redemption-blessings which the Father treasured up in his dear Son for poor sinners, flow immediately from Jesus? And observe, the Holy Ghost doth not at first shew the sinner that all result from the everlasting love, and grace, and purpose of God the Father; but he leads the sinner to view them, and receive them, as the blessed fruits and effects of Jesus mediation; and then opens more fully the glory of the Father in the original design of them, in this precious way, from everlasting. This is needed to glorify Jesus, and to glorify the Father in him. And how are these blessings applied? The scriptural answer is the best answer:—”He shall receive of mine,” saith Jesus, “and shew it unto you.” And doth not that almighty Teacher do all this most sweetly and effectually, when at any time he so holds up the Lord Jesus, in all the glories of his person, and in all the beauties of his finished work, as to incline the sinner’s heart so to behold the Saviour as to believe in him, and firmly to rely upon him? Is not the righteousness of Jesus received, and his precious blood applied, when the soul is led to the hearty and cordial assurance that that righteousness is effectual to justify, and that blood to cleanse from all sin? Yes, precious Jesus! I praise thee for these blessings in thee. I adore thee, thou Holy Spirit, for thy divine teaching concerning them; and I glorify thee, thou Almighty Father, for thine abundant grace and mercy in the gift of thy dear Son.

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REPROOF

Blame or reprehension spoken to a person’s face. It is distinguished from a reprimand thus. He who reproves another, points out his fault, and blames him. He who reprimands, affects to punish, and mortifies the offended. In giving reproof, the following rules may be observed: 1. We should not be forward in reproving our elders or superiors, but rather to remonstrate and supplicate for redress. What the ministers of God do in this kind, they do by special commission, as those that must give an account, 1 Tim. 5:1. Heb. 13:17.–2. We must not reprove rashly; there should be proof before reproof.–3. We should not reprove for slight matters for such faults or defects as proceed from natural frailty, from inadvertency, or mistake in matters of small consequence.–4. We should never reprove unseasonably, as to the time, the place, or the circumstances.–5. We should reprove mildly and sweetly, in the calmest manner, in the gentlest terms.–6. We should not affect to be reprehensive: perhaps there is no one considered more troublesome than he who delights in finding fault with others. In receiving reproof it may be observed, 1. That we should not reject it merely because it may come from those who are not exactly on a level with ourselves.–2. We should consider whether the reproof given be not actually deserved; and that, if the reprover knew all, whether the reproof would not be sharper than what it is.–3. Whether, if taken humbly and patiently, it will not be of great advantage to us.–4. That it is nothing but pride to suppose that we are never to be the subjects of reproof, since it is human to err.

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“Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.]”

In opposition, to an unchaste and hypocritical one. His meaning is, that they would salute the members of the church in his name, and give his Christian love and affections to them. And his view is to recommend to them brotherly love to each other, and to stir them up to the mutual exercise of it more and more.

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The First Part of the Apostles’ Creed—viz. the knowledge of God the Creator, being disposed of, we now come to the Second Part, which relates to the knowledge of God as a Redeemer in Christ. The subjects treated of accordingly are, first, the Occasion of Redemption—viz. Adam’s fall; and, secondly, Redemption itself. The first five chapters are devoted to the former subject, and the remainder to the latter.

Under the Occasion of Redemption, the Fall is considered not only in a general way, but also specially in its effects. Hence the first four chapters treat of original sin, free will, the corruption of human nature, and the operation of God in the heart. The fifth chapter contains a refutation of the arguments usually urged in support of free will.

The subject of redemption may be reduced to five particular heads:

I. The character of him in whom salvation for lost man must be sought, Chap. 6.

II. How he was manifested to the world, namely, in a twofold manner. First, under the Law.

Here the Decalogue is expounded, and some other points relating to the law discussed, Chap. 7 and 8. Secondly, under the Gospel. Here the resemblance and difference of the two dispensations are considered, Chap. 9, 10, 11.

III. What kind of person Christ was, and behaved to be, in order to perform the office of Mediator—viz. God and man in one person, Chap. 12, 13, 14.

IV. For what end he was sent into the world by the Father. Here Christ’s prophetical, kingly, and priestly offices are considered, Chap. 15.

V. In what way, or by what successive steps, Christ fulfilled the office of our Redeemer, Chap. 16. Here are considered his crucifixion, death, burial, descent to hell, resurrection, ascension to heaven, and seat at the right hand of the Father, together with the practical use of the whole doctrine. Chapter 17 contains an answer to the question, Whether Christ is properly said to have merited the grace of God for us.

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Is Grace Common?

26 Jan 2023, by

Do you believe in common grace?

To answer this question one needs to be able to define what common grace is. Unfortunately, the term means different things to different people. For some common grace describes God’s good gifts or common provisions in nature such as sunshine and rain. Some see it in terms of talents or gifts that lead to human distinction in art, sport or music. Others discern the restraining hand of God holding back human wickedness by conscience and the structures of law, order and civil government; keeping society from deteriorating into anarchy.

All things to all men

If this was the extent of common grace teaching we could be content, but it does not stop there. Recently, common grace has taken on two new functions. It seems its flexibility knows no bounds. First, it is preached from pulpits in support of universal offers of saving grace and to exemplify how God cares for everyone and wants everyone to be saved. Second, it is used by some para-church organisations to justify their existence and defend joint campaigning on moral issues with non-evangelicals.

At its heart common grace means goodness shown by God to saved and unsaved alike. It is distinguished from particular grace or saving grace, which is only given to certain individuals – the elect. It is usually divided into two parts. First, God’s grace restrains man from being as bad as he could be, given total depravity. Second, God’s grace enables men to perform worthy deeds. These ‘good works’ fall short of works meriting salvation.

Common grace is explicitly not saving grace but some say it impinges on the doctrine of salvation. Though sin deserves punishment, we are told, God is patient and longsuffering with mankind, not willing that any should perish. Consequently, though common grace does not actually save anyone, it demonstrates God’s desire and willingness to save everyone.

Common grace teachers believe God has two great works going on in the history of the world. First, the work of saving the church by special grace, second the work of improving society by common grace.

Rejecting common grace

However, we do not accept that these two works are a valid representation of God’s dealings with men. Rather we believe that God’s great purpose is singular and particular – the work of redeeming chosen sinners by the blood of Jesus Christ. God is saving His people from their sins, from death and from hell. This is the special work of the Lord Jesus and outside of Christ there is no salvation, no redemption and no grace, common or otherwise.

Common providence

Clearly people enjoy many pleasures in life, acts of charity are performed and great works accomplished. It is also true that sun and rain nurture crops without reference to election and reprobation. We are better off with government than without. Such things cannot be denied, yet we find the term ‘common grace’ unhelpful.

We do not know as God knows, and what some call ‘grace’ may be no more than the means of man’s destruction. Nations and individuals can appear, in human terms, to prosper but we should not ascribe this to…

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Some of the points I cover in this teaching video:

In an effort to clarify my understanding of the New Covenant, I make a comparison of it with that of the Presbyterians, the traditional Reformed Baptists, the 1689 Federalists and the High-Calvinists.

Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (27/01/2023)

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Preface

26 Jan 2023, by

To the Church of Christ meeting for the worship of God in Mount Zion Chapel, Hill Street, Dorset Square, London.

Dearly Beloved,

It is well known to most of you, that on the 17th of October, I attended the ordination of our brother Wycherly, at Crosby Row Chapel, King Street, Southwark. And that the part of the service assigned for me to take, was to state the nature of a gospel church. I took that part, as many of you were present to witness, and as I have for years considered, and do now consider, that such services are most decidedly sentimental, and demand us to be more than usually explicit and pointed on the principles by which we are distinguished as a denomination, and pretty well as much hated: I was accordingly plain on the exclusive right of believers to baptism, and of baptized believers exclusive right to communion, according to the only order known or to be found in the New Testament for the church of Christ; and I offered to pay the national debt of England, if scripture could be found to oppose these conclusions.

Our brother, Mr. J. Bridgman, of Walworth, was greatly offended at my remarks, and wrote me a letter, in which, without the divine Judge, or the apostolic jury, he has passed very heavy sentence of condemnation both upon me, and our sentiments, without being able to shew that either are wrong by one fairly quoted text.

I turned the matter about for some time in my mind, until I concluded upon a public reply; and I have written it accordingly, and shall, with mercy’s leave, after a time bring it before the public.

Should anyone think that I am treating our brother unfairly by giving a public answer to a private letter, I would observe that he charges me with known falsehood in my public labors; and that the public ought to know and judge for themselves, and the Lord on their consciences, by his sacred word, be judge for us all. Not desiring to take any unfair advantage of my brother, I have set the chief things of his letter down in long quotations, in order that those who read my answer, may as well know what he has really said.

I hope that I have not written so much under the spirit of controversy, but what it will be seen that I have been somewhat moved by the Spirit of truth, and the love of truth, with the word of truth. And that you will not have to say, that it is all lost time to read this, as you have confessed it has not been so with other little productions of my pen.

The Lord abundantly bless and prosper you, as he has done, and pour out of his Spirit in every mercy-way upon you. Do continue to pray for me, my dear brethren, ‘while I have the honor to be

Your very affectionate Pastor,


John Foreman


27, Samford Street, Lisson Grove. January 17th, 1838

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Table Of Contents

26 Jan 2023, by

Chapter 1—On Baptism, Answering The Charge Of Flippancy

Chapter 2—On Baptism, Anserwing The Charge Of Dishonesty

Chapter 3—On Baptism, Answering The Charge Of Disorderliness

Chapter 4—On Baptism, Answering The Charge Of Inappropriateness

Chapter 5—On Baptism, Answering The Charge Of Callousness

Chapter 6—On Baptism, Answering The Charge Of Vain Argumentation

Chapter 7—On Baptism, Answering The Charge Of Willfull Falsehood

Chapter 8—On Baptism, Answering The Challenge Of Proving From Scripture Believer’s Baptism

Chapter 9—On Baptism, Answering The Proof For Infant Baptism Recorded In 1 Corinthians 10:2

Chapter 10—On Baptism, Answering The Charge Of Doubtful Disputations

Chapter 11—On Communion, Answering The Charge Of Schismatic Communion

Chapter 12—On Communion, Answering The Charge Of Extremism

Chapter 13—On Communion, Answering The Charge Of Inconsistency

Chapter 14—On Communion, Answering The Charge Of Exclusivity

Chapter 15—On Communion, Answering The Charge Of Discrimation

Chapter 16—On Communion, Answering Another Charge Of Schismatic Communion

Chapter 17—On Communion, Answering The Proof For Open Communion In John 3:5

Chapter 18—On Communion, Answering The Charge Of Denominationalism

Chapter 19—On Communion, Answering The Charge Of Uncharitableness

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Title Page

26 Jan 2023, by

Believer’s’ Baptism And Communion Considered

By John Foreman,
 Minister At Mount Zion Chapel, Hill Street, Dorset Square.

Written in Reply to a Letter from MR. J. Bridge Man, M. A., Walworth.

“To Fulfill The Word Of God.”

1838

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Preface

26 Jan 2023, by

The following is designed, as its name implies, to be a directory to the doctrines and practices of Baptist churches. Its plan is different from that of any other work; more comprehensive in the range of its subjects, but more concise in its statement of facts. It is rather a hook for reference than a book for general reading. The arrangement is intended to be so clear and convenient, that any subject on which information is wanted, can be found at once. The style is adapted to the condition of those who desire information on such subjects, but who have little disposition for laborious or protracted investigation—instances of which are frequently occurring within the observation of every pastor.

There are great numbers of the younger members of our churches who, while they have a deep conviction that the doctrines they hold are according to the word of God, yet greatly need instruction as to church order and discipline, and the usages of the denomination. Indeed, there are many older members who might not be able to bring forward arguments to justify their faith and practice, or give information to those who desire to be instructed as to our denominational peculiarities. Besides, there are many outside the churches who often wish to know accurately what Baptists do believe and practise. These persons have, perhaps, small means to purchase, and little time to peruse many books. They desire to have the whole matter so condensed and definite that they can see it at a glance, and so reliable that they cannot doubt its correctness. The Directory is designed to supply this want.

Proof sheets of it were sent by the publishers to a number of ministers, eminent for learning and piety, residing in different sections of the country, who were requested to express their opinions of its merits, and also to make any suggestions that might improve it. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude for the very kind and generous terms in which they were pleased to speak of it, as well as for the very valuable suggestions which were made by several of them—which suggestions have, to a considerable degree, been adopted.

It is hoped that this work, prepared with much labor and care, and having met such general and generous approval, will be thought worthy to find a place in every church, and to be in the hands of every church member. That it may, by the divine blessing, contribute to the harmony, peace, and prosperity of our churches, is my sincere desire and prayer.

E. T. H.

New York, February 22, 1859.

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“And they said one to another, did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”—Luke 24:32

Ought not the disciples of Jesus to do now, as the disciples of Jesus did then? What but of Jesus should we speak of by the way? Methinks the Lord’s people, and especially when coming from the Lord’s house, should be distinguished from the frothy conversation of mere carnal worshippers. I would, by talking of Jesus, invite him to mingle with us, and open to our understandings the scriptures. I would therefore sometimes ask one and another, when returning from the house or the table of the Lord, how went the matter with your soul to-day? I pray you tell me; was the King at court? Did he receive petitions? Did he answer prayers? Were you refreshed? were any healed? any comforted? any made joyful in his house of prayer? Surely we might hope, by such edifying inquiries, each would help his fellow. And he of whom it is said the Lord hearkened and heard, when of old the people of God were often talking one to another, would again draw nigh, and make the heart burn with the sweet manifestations of his love. But chiefly, blessed master! if I meet with none to ask whether they have seen the King in his beauty, give me to taste of the sweet savour of thy grace myself. Come to me, Lord, in the refreshing, strengthening, heartwarming, soul-rejoicing manifestations of thy presence; for thy love is better than wine, and the very crumb from under thy table is more delicious than the honey and the honeycomb.

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REPROACH

The act of finding fault in opprobrious terms, or attempting to expose to infamy and disgrace. In whatever cause we engage, however disinterested our motives, however laudable our designs, reproach is what we must expect. But it becomes us not to retaliate, but to bear it patiently; and so to live, that every charge brought against us be groundless. If we be reproached for righteousness’ sake, we have no reason to be ashamed nor to be afraid. All good men have thus suffered, Jesus Christ himself especially. We have the greatest promises of support. Besides, it has a tendency to humble us, detach us from the world, and excite in us a desire for that state of blessedness where all reproach shall be done away.

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“Brethren, pray for us.]”

Which is added with great beauty and propriety, after the apostle had so earnestly and affectionately prayed for them; and this is directed, not to the pastors of the church only, but to all the members of it, whom the apostle styles “brethren” in a spiritual relation, as he often does; and of whom he requests, that they would pray for him, and the rest of his fellow ministers and labourers in the word, that God would more and more qualify and fit them for their work, assist in private studies and meditations, give them freedom of thought, liberty of expression, and a door of utterance, and follow their ministrations with a divine blessing and success, and deliver them out of the hands of unreasonable men; (see Gill on “Hebrews 13:18”).

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Antinomian Hyper-Calvinism Versus The Law And The Gospel

A New Focus Interview With George M. Ella

Q. The 18th century controversy regarding Hyper-Calvinism and Antinomianism seems to have emerged again in recent years and, although your book William Huntington: Pastor of Providence has been welcomed by many, a few voices maintain that you have opened old wounds and should have let sleeping dogs lie.

A. Wounds caused by cries of Hyper-Calvinism have long been open and much salt has been rubbed in them in recent years. The once sleeping dogs of Antinomianism have been barking loudly for all to hear for some time. My aim in reviving Huntington’s teaching on the full Law and the full Gospel, as also my publications on Cowper, Gill and Hervey were intended as Gospel balm to heal these wounds and give the stray dogs of Antinomianism a training in rules of behaviour to make them fit guide dogs for the legally blind.

Q. Nevertheless, there are those who feel that in writing about men who they believe are tainted with Antinomian Hyper-Calvinism, you are laying yourself open to the same charges.

A. This is the way of all flesh. The more Huntington fought Antinomianism, the more he was given that name. Reversing the comparison, I suspect that the more people accused Huntington of Antinomianism, the greater was their own arrogance concerning the Law. It is no secret that those who called Huntington an Antinomian were Neonomians, Sabbath-breakers and adulterers. Recently a Sunday trader accused Huntington of being an Antinomian though he lost a good job through refusing to work on the Sabbath. When I pointed out the anomaly in his own behaviour, the Sabbath-breaker told me sanctimoniously that it was honouring the Lord of the Sabbath that constituted keeping the Sabbath which did not rule out Sunday trading as such. This is the kind of hypocritical Antinomianism that Huntington abhorred.

Q. What then is your attitude to the Moral Law?

A. I do not like the term Moral Law as it smacks of Greek Idealism and Humanism. The Bible speaks of the Law of Moses and I would like us to stick to that terminology. Modern evangelicals are emphasising man`s duty to keep the moral law irrespective of the spiritual and theological factors involved. The Mosaic Law is primarily theological showing that the law breaker is not only immoral, he is an enemy of God. This Law which shows us the will of God must be part and parcel of Gospel preaching. It is the Law that Christ has perfected, kept and established in Himself and is the Law that God will use on the Day of Judgement to separate the goats from Christ`s sheep. Not a jot or tittle of it will ever disappear.

Q. You believe then that the Law is the rule of life for a Christian?

A. The Mosaic Law is a very necessary rule but it can never be the sole rule of life for anyone. The Law is there to display the holiness of God and to show that man, left to himself, is a law-breaker by nature. If the Mosaic Law were his sole rule, man would be fully lost. But God has not left man to himself and his vain efforts to keep the law of works. He has supplied him with what the Bible calls the law of Christ and the law of faith (Rom. 3:27, Gal. 6:2). The rule of Law without the rule of Christ and the rule of faith is dead. It is a mere condemning codex on tablets of stone which kills and buries a man in his own sins without an offer of life and hope issuing from it. The rule of Christ and the rule of faith establish, continue, deepen and revitalise the Law and enable the dead sinner to live again in Christ, the Eternal Lawkeeper. As Peter says, all things pertaining to life and godliness are found in Christ. The believer no longer has an external law on tablets of stone as his guide but is caught up in Christ and his very heart and being is infused with Christ’s law-keeping nature, indeed Christ himself. He can thus testify that Christ his Righteousness lives in him and he is under the Law in the sense that he is under Christ. Without Christ`s rule and without faith in Christ to rule his life, the rule of Moses brings merely death and damnation. This death and damnation, however, is the way God has chosen to humble man and make him receptive to the law of Christ and the law of faith. Thus evangelists who do not first preach the terrors of the Law but merely appeal to the sinner’s sense of duty and preach ‘Come to Christ because He loves you’ and camouflage this by calling it ‘the free offer’ are not doing their duty. If such an evangelist, once the sinner is allegedly converted, tells him to go to Sinai to find his only rule of life, he is an outright Antinomian and abuses the Law. Cowper sums up the work of a true preacher succinctly:

“By him the violated law speaks out
Its thunders; and by him, in strains as sweet
As angels use, the Gospel whispers peace”

Thus, where Law alone rules, there is no Gospel; where the Gospel rules, Christ’s perfect law-abiding nature prevails. The duty-faith lobbyists, however, want peace without the storms of conscience so that they might be placed under a thunderless law after conversion. This is supererogatory Neonomianism, a subtle form of Antinomianism.

Q. What about Hyper-Calvinism? I must admit that a few critics, who have objected to your writing so warmly about John Gill, are associating you with that title.

A. There will always be people who feel they ought to go beyond Scripture in their legal zeal. Calvinists are in danger of hyping it as are Fullerites and Wesleyans. Incidentally, it is usually the Hyper-Fullerites who accuse Gill of being a Hyper-Calvinist. But seriously, how can people who deny limited atonement and the total fall of man accuse Gill of being more than a Calvinist when they, themselves, are far less? They are merely drawing attention to their own limits.

Q. Your answer may be seen as avoiding the question. Put directly, do you believe that there is no point in preaching repentance to sinners?

A. What a strange thought? The Lord came to call sinners to repentance and there are a lot of unrepentant sinners out there to whom we have a duty to urge both to repent and to believe. This task is a world-wide one and a permanent one until Kingdom come. Nobody realised this as much as John Gill who was the most successful Baptist in the first half of the 18th century in putting the great commission into practice. Even in his burial services to ‘insiders’, Gill emphasised the world-wide scope of the Gospel beginning at the individual church member`s place of work.

Q. The mark of a Hyper-Calvinist is that he does not believe in commanding and calling the sinner to come to Christ. If God wants a soul, he believes, He will convert him without human aid. Is this your view?

A. Obviously not, as must be clear by now. I would, however, question your definition. Surely Arminians and the like call Calvinists ‘Hyper-Calvinists’ because they do not believe in indiscriminate invitations, commands, offers etc. to persuade the ungodly to believe. This view was never part of Reformed teaching and is certainly less Calvinistic than Calvin. The Holy Spirit calls whom He will and when He will and it is obvious that His work is discriminating. This is why He transports Philip into the desert and William Carey to Serampore. Calvin explains this in Book II, Chap 21 of his Institutes:

“The covenant of life is not preached equally to all, and among those to whom it is preached, does not always meet with the same reception. This diversity displays the unsearchable depth of the divine judgement, and is without doubt subordinate to God`s purpose of eternal election.” He argues that God, “does not adopt promiscuously to the hope of salvation, but gives to some what He denies to others. It is plain how greatly ignorance of this principle detracts from the glory of God, and impairs true humility.”

Q. Forgive me for digging deeper but someone wrote recently that the Hyper-Calvinist believes “the dogma that fallen humanity is beset by an inability to turn from sin and turn to God. So what men cannot do in their own strength, they need not do.” What do you say to that?

A. This is typical of the confusion of ideas prevalent in modern Fullerism, going back to Fuller himself who built a school of rational thought on his misunderstanding of Gill’s clear Gospel. Obviously all fallen men are dead in trespasses and sin. This includes, says Calvin, man’s body and soul including his rational powers. Fuller will not accept this. He says a dead man cannot be held responsible for not believing so man must have enough life in him to respond to the Gospel. This is the ‘natural light’ philosophy that Fuller obtained by reading the Cambridge Platonist John Edwards whom he mistook for Jonathan Edwards, the New England revivalist. Fuller’s logic, however, is built on his high view of man and his low view of the Fall; two very unscriptural positions. He sees the total fall as a rejection of Christ. Up to then, there is an Esau and a Jacob in all men, one or the other waiting to come out. The Bible teaches that man is doomed to death for disobeying the Law for which he is held responsible by God even though he may not have encountered Christ one way or the other. Thus what men in their own strength cannot do, they are entirely responsible for not doing. This was so much a part of Gill’s conviction that he had it anchored in his church`s Declaration of Faith in 1729. I agree with Gill because he agrees with Scripture.

Q. If you will bear with me, I have one more question. Do you believe that it is the duty of all men to love the Lord? It has been suggested recently that Hyper-Calvinists must answer the question negatively, whereas Calvinists are bound to say ‘yes’.

A. Allow me to answer in words from Gill’s The Cause of God and Truth.

“Is it the duty of all men to love the Lord? Absolutely! Because they are the creatures of his making, enjoy the care of his providence, and are supplied by him with the blessings of life; therefore all men must joyfully love the Lord (p. 170).”

Gill and Huntington could not have been more different as men. What united them was a clear calling to the ministry and the simple, highly effective message to sinners which they preached. Repentance and faith in Christ. Antinomians cannot talk about repentance, and Hyper-Calvinists do not believe in preaching repentance and faith to sinners. This is, however, our high calling in Christ Jesus. I am not a preacher and have not the privilege of proclaiming this Gospel from the pulpit. I do, however, feel very much called to spread the good news by retelling the stories of men of God such as Cowper, Gill and Huntington, who were masters at their evangelistic craft. Heaven is fuller because of their work in the Lord.

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

Sermon—”The Preparation For Christ’s Coming”

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

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“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”—1 Timothy 1:15

Hearken, my soul, to the proclamation from heaven! Is this the faithful saying of a faithful God? Surely, then, thou mayest well regard it, for it is for thy life. And if it be worthy of all acceptation, it must be eminently so of thine; for thou hast been a transgressor from the womb. But did Jesus indeed come to save sinners? Yes, so the proclamation runs. Sinners, enemies to God. Jesus, it is said, “received gifts for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them;” and with that tenderness which distinguished his character, he said himself, that he “came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Well, then, my soul, up on this warrant of the faithful word of a faithful God, wilt thou not so fully rely as to believe unto salvation? If any inquiries arise contrary to this belief, let this be thine answer: – Christ came to save sinners; that is enough for me; for I am one. God’s salvation is said to be for enemies; that is my name by nature. Jesus received gifts for the rebellious; to this character I plead also guilty. If men or devils would endeavour to work unbelief in my heart, this is my answer: – Christ came to save sinners.” Let those that never felt sin, and consequently know not the need of a Saviour, stay and argue the point as they may; my souls eternal welfare is concerned, and I will not lose a moment to close with the heavenly proposal. Lord Jesus, thou waitest to be gracious! The faithful saying of my God I accept on my bended knees. It is indeed worthy of all acceptation, and above all, of mine. Here while upon earth will I proclaim thy praise; and in heaven, the loudest of all voices must be mine, that Christ came to save Sinners, of whom I am chief.”

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CENSURE

The act of judging and blaming others for their faults. Faithfulness in reproving another differs from censoriousness: the former arises from love to truth, and respect for the person; the latter is a disposition that loves to find fault. However just censure may be where there is blame, yet a censorious spirit or rash judging must be avoided. It is usurping the authority and judgment of God. It is unjust, uncharitable, mischievous, productive of unhappiness to ourselves, and often the cause of disorder and confusion in society.

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