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

Sermon—“God’s Joyful People”


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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—“Israel And The Elect”



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Some of the points I cover in this teaching video:

Having completed my thoughts on the biblical covenants and their arrangement, I set aside the final two studies in this series to deal with the controversial matter of the definition and distinctions between the ELECT, ISRAEL and the CHURCH. For this study, I explain the differences between the ELECT and ISRAEL, an indispensable distinction if one wishes to rightly interpret the scriptures and understand God’s masterplan for the ages.
Jared Smith, Muntinlupa, PH (03/02/2023)

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

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“In the hand of a Mediator.”—Galatians 3:196

The hand of a Mediator was the great blessing every, enlightened son of Adam, from the fall, sighed after, and looked for, in every approach to God. Hence the first transgressor, for the want of it, bid himself from the presence of God, amidst the trees of the garden. Hence Israel cried out to Moses, “Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” And Job longed for a day’s man, that is, a Mediator, that might lay his hand upon both parties. See then, my soul, thy privileges; for thou hast a Mediator, and a glorious one indeed, in whose almighty hand all thy concerns are eternally secured. “Ye are come,” saith the apostle; he doth not say, ye are coming. but, ye are come, to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling.” Oh then, in all thy approaches, have an eye to Jesus. Put all thine affairs into this glorious, Mediator’s hand. Remember, he wears thy nature, pleads thy cause, takes up all thy concerns, and ever liveth to make intercession for sinners; and therefore, cast all thy care upon him, for he careth for thee. And look to this one grand thing that all thy confidence, and all thy joy, ariseth wholly from Jesus’ person and righteousness; not from any supposed graces, tears, repentance—nor even from faith itself, if viewed as an act of thine. Cast aside, as filthy rags, all that is thine; and never, no not for a moment, look at any thing as a procuring cause; but let Jesus have all thy confidence, all the glory, and thou wilt have all the comfort. Though Satan accuse, though conscience pleads guilty, God’s broken law pronounceth condemnation, and justice demands the penalty, Jesus hath answered all, and is on the throne to see the issue. Oh, the blessedness of having all in the bands of a Mediator!

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WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY

A name given to the synod of divines called by parliament in the reign of Charles I. for the purpose of settling the government, liturgy, and doctrine of the church of England. They were confined in their debates to such things as the parliament proposed. Some counties had two members, and some but one. And because they would seem impartial, and give each party the liberty to speak, they chose many of the most learned episcopal divines; but few of them came, because it was not a legal convocation, the king having declared against it. The divines were men of emiment learning and godliness, ministerial abilities, and fidelity. Many lords and commons were joined with them, to see that they did not go beyond their commission. Six or seven Independents were also added to them, that all sides might be heard. This assembly first met, July 1, 1643, in Henry the Seventh’s Chapel. The most remarkable hints concerning their debates are to be found in the Life of Dr. Lightfoot, before his works, in folio, and in the Preface to his Remains, in octavo.

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“So that we ourselves glory in you, &c.”

Or “of you”; for though they were the subject concerning which, yet not the object in which they gloried; the apostle elsewhere advises not to glory in men, but only in the Lord; nor was this his practice contrary to his advice, for he did not boast of these persons with respect to their carnal things; he did not glory in their flesh, nor in their riches, nor wisdom, nor strength, nor any external gift; he gloried indeed of their graces, and of the exercise and increase of them; but of these not as of themselves, or as owing to him, and his fellow ministers, but as instances of the grace of God, and for which he gives thanks to him: and besides, he did not glory of these in the presence of God, in whose presence none should glory, but

“in the churches of God;”

The other churches in Macedonia and Achaia, as Philippi, Berea, Corinth, &c. he gave thanks to God for them, and gloried of them before men, or among the saints, to the glory of the grace of God in them, and in order to stir up other churches to an emulation and imitation of them. And the particulars he gloried of them for were as follow,

“for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:”

Many and sore were the reproaches, the afflictions, and persecutions that befell them for the sake of Christ, and their profession of him, and his Gospel; and which is more or less the case of everyone that will live godly in Christ Jesus: and these they endured, they bore and stood up under, they were not shocked, and staggered, and moved from the hope of the Gospel by them; which shows that the truth of grace was in them; for where there is not the root of the matter, when tribulation and affliction arise because of the profession of the word, such are offended, stumbled, and quickly gone; but these saints endured their afflictions, and with great patience, without murmuring and repining, and with great constancy, firmness, and resolution of mind. They stood fast in the grace and doctrine of faith, and in the profession of both, which they held without wavering, and none of the things they met with could move them from it. The apostle had mentioned their faith before, and he takes notice of it again, because their patience, constancy, and perseverance in sufferings, arose from it; for the trying of faith works patience, (James 1:3). The Ethiopic version leaves out the word “faith”, but very wrongly.

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“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad,” &c.—Isaiah 35:1-10

There is no class of persons who disbelieve God’s Word more than (rod’s children, at times, do; and, strange as it may appear and criminal as it is, they frequently labor harder to make God a liar than they do to prove his Word true. They take their feeling sense of being such loathsome, hard-hearted, unbelieving sinners as a proof that God will have nothing to do with them; whereas, if it were not for such poor, groaning, mourning souls, we should not know what to do with one part of the Bible. Here (ver. 1) God says, “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.” Now, if there were no deserts, no wildernesses, &c., what could we make of such a passage? But,, it is added, “It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with jay and singing.” Come, poor, barren desert; poor, waste wilderness; the promise is made, and it will assuredly be fulfilled. In the end, thou shalt rejoice, and see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God. Your hands (of faith) may be so weak that you cannot lay hold of God’s promises; your knees so feeble that you cannot bend them in sweet communion with God; your hearts so fearful that you are continually doubting and fearing God will have nothing to do with you, and cannot believe there is any blessing for you. But, by and by, waters shall break out in the wilderness and streams in the desert. Then shall your blind eyes be opened and your deaf ears unstopped; then shall you be healed of your lameness and shall leap as a hart and your dumb tongue sing. And the parched ground shall become a pool and the thirsty land springs of water. And a highway shall be there, and a way; and it shall be called The Way of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those. Now what does that mean—the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those? I will tell you. It does not say the unclean shall not touch it, but, shall not pass over it. So that, the moment a poor unclean sinner is brought by faith to put a single foot on this way, that moment he becomes clean. The way itself makes him clean; and, therefore, he passes over it, pure in the sight of God. And as this way makes clean all who come upon it, there shall be none of the lions of hell there, nor the ravenous beasts of the world; but the redeemed shall walk there; and they shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.—Dee. 18, 1885.

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“The Comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me.”—Lamentations 1:16

Whence is it, my soul, that those distressing thoughts arise? Pause, and inquire. Is the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, indeed withdrawn, when Jesus, thy Jesus, sweetly and graciously promised that he should abide for ever? This cannot be. Is the righteousness of Jesus less; or hath his blood to atone and cleanse, lost its efficacy? Oh no! Jesus’ righteousness, and Jesus’ all-atoning propitiation, like the almighty Author of both, must be eternally and everlastingly the same; “yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.” Hath God thy Father forgotten to be gracious? Oh no! God thy Father proclaimed from heaven that he is well pleased for his dear Son’s righteousness’ sake; and never, never, shall a word gone out of the Lord’s mouth be altered. From whence then, my soul, is thy leanness, thy fears, and despondency? Canst thou not discover? Oh yes! It is all in thyself, and thy unbelieving frame; thou art looking to thyself, and not to all-precious Jesus! Thou wantest to feel some new frame of thy own; some melting of heart, or the like; and if thou couldest be gratified in this, then thou wouldest go to Jesus with confidence, and then plead as thou thinkest, Jesus’ name, and blood, and righteousness for acceptance. And doth the want of these feelings keep thee back? Oh, fie! my soul, is this thy love, thy kindness to thy friend? Can any thing be more plain, than that thou art making a part saviour of thy feelings, and not a whole Saviour of thy Jesus? No wonder thou criest out, “the Comforter is far from me;” for the Holy Ghost will teach thee, that all comfort is only in Jesus. And mark this, my soul, for all future occasions. – If thou wilt seek comfort in any thing out of Jesus, though it be in the sweetest frames, as thou mayest think of thine, Jesus, in mercy and love, will put thy comforts out of thy reach. Oh then, come to Jesus, poor and needy, with or without frames. Make him all, and in all; and be will be thy joy, thy comfort, and thy portion for ever!

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SAVOY CONFESSION

Of FAITH, a declaration of the faith and order of the Independents, agreed upon by their elders and messengers in their meeting at the Savoy in the year 1658. This was re-printed in the year 1729.

SAVOY CONFERENCE

A conference held at the Savoy, 1661, between the episcopal divines and the Presbyterians, in order to review the book of Common Prayer; but which was carried on the side of the Episcopalians.

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“We are bound to thank God, &c.”

Since all blessings, temporal and spiritual, come from him: and that always: seeing he is ever giving out fresh favours, or continuing former ones; and because those, especially which are of a spiritual nature, always abide, such as faith and love; which the apostle particularly takes notice of, the members of this Church had, and were increasing in them: for it was not for himself, but for them he gives thanks,

“for you, brethren:”

Who were so, not in a natural or civil relation, but in a spiritual one, being the children of God, and brethren of Christ; and to do this for them, he looked upon himself with others under an obligation:

“as it is meet;”

Just, proper, and fitting; it not only becomes the persons who have received mercies from God to be thankful for them; but it is very right for others to join with them in it, and especially the ministers of the Gospel, who are bound, and whom it becomes: it is agreeable to their office and profession to give God the praise and glory of all the grace, and the increase of it, which those, who attend their labours, are favoured with, since this is not of them, but of God; and it was for an increase of grace the apostle here gives thanks, as he judged he was obliged to do, and it was fit he should.

“Because that your faith groweth exceedingly.”

Their faith was not a faith of miracles, nor a mere historical faith, or a counterfeit and temporary one, but the faith of God’s elect; which is the evidence of things not seen, of an unseen Christ, and the glories of another world; that grace by which a man goes out of himself to Christ for righteousness, life, and salvation; by which he is justified, and by which he lives on Christ, and walks on in him as he has received him. This was theirs; it was not of themselves, the produce of nature, or the fruit of their natural power and free will; but it was the gift of God, and of his operation; a fruit of the Spirit of God, and of which Christ was the author and finisher; and was only theirs, as being given unto them, implanted in them, and exercised by them under the influence of the Spirit of God, and for their use, comfort, and advantage. This was, at first, but like a grain of mustard seed, very small, but gradually increased, and grew exceedingly; and from seeing of Christ, and looking at him, and which at first might be very dim and obscure, it proceeded to going or coming to him; and which might be in a very feeble manner, and was not without being drawn and led, and great encouragements, many invitations, and large assurances; and from thence to a laying hold upon him, though it may be but in a trembling way, and not without being called to stretch forth the hand of faith, and be no more faithless, but believing; and from thence to a leaning and relying on him, trusting in him with all, and for all; and from thence to claiming an interest in him, saying, my Lord, and my God, which is the full assurance of faith; and when it is come to this, it is grown exceedingly, which might be the case of these Thessalonians; which the apostle knew by the aboundings of their love, for faith works by love; and by their patience, firmness, and resolution in suffering for Christ; all which are in proportion to faith, and the growth of it; and for this he gives thanks to God, for faith is a precious thing; and as that itself, so the increase of it is from God, and therefore to him the praise belongs:

“and the charity of everyone of you towards each other aboundeth;”

As their faith in Christ, so their love to one another was increasing, and showed itself in serving one another both in temporals and spirituals; and this was not the case of a few only, or of the greater part, but of everyone of them; which made their communion with one another very comfortable and delightful. For what is more pleasant than for brethren to dwell together in unity?

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“Who loved me, and gave himself for me.”—Galatians 2:20

See, my soul, how Paul is for ever using Jesus, and feasting for ever upon him. Oh! seek grace to do the same. He saith, Jesus loved him; Jesus, the Son of God, loved Paul. Now love from any object is valuable, but from the first, and best, and greatest of all Beings, what invaluable love is this? And who did Christ love? “Why me,” saith Paul: “who was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious.” And how do you know, Paul, that Jesus loved you? ” He gave himself for me,” saith Paul. “Gave himself?” Yes, himself. Not his gifts only, not his grace, not his mercies, though all creation is his. And whatever he gave must have been an undeserved mercy; for I merited hell, when he bestowed upon me heaven. But even heaven, with all its glories, is nothing, saith Paul, to what Jesus gave me; for he gave “himself for me.” Oh! my soul, wilt thou not look up, wilt thou not be encouraged to hope, to believe, to hang upon Jesus, for the same. Oh! for faith to believe. Precious Jesus! thou author and finisher of faith, grant me this mercy! And while I read these sweet words concerning thee, who loved and who gave thyself for poor lost sinners-Oh! like Paul, and with the same assurance of faith, cause me to add—me, me: Jesus “loved me, and gave himself for me.”

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AUGSBURGH OR AUGUSTAN CONFESSION

A celebrated confession of faith drawn up by Luther and Melancthon on behalf of themselves and other ancient reformers, and presented in 1550 to the emperor Charles V, at the diet of Augusta, or Augsburgh, in the name of the evangelic body. This confession contains twenty-eight chapters, of which the greatest part is employed in representing with perspicuity and truth the religious opinions of the Protestants, and the rest in pointing out the errors and abuses that occasioned their separation from the church of Rome. The leading doctrines of this confession are, the true and essential divinity of the Son of God; his substitution, and vicarious sacrifice; and the necessity, freedom, and efficacy of Divine grace. A civil was followed this diet that lasted upwards of twenty years, but which only spread the new opinions, instead of extirpating them.

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“Grace be unto you, and peace, &c.”

(See Gill on “Romans 1:7”).

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I. How necessary the knowledge of ourselves is, its nature, the danger of mistake, its leading parts, sect. 1, 2, 3. II. The causes of Adam’s fearful fall, sect. 4. III. The effects of the fall extending to Adam’s posterity, and all the creatures, sect. 5, to the end of the Chapter, where the nature, propagation, and effect of original sin are considered.

Sections.
1. The knowledge of ourselves most necessary. To use it properly we must be divested of pride, and clothed with true humility, which will dispose us to consider our fall, and embrace the mercy of God in Christ.
2. Though there is plausibility in the sentiment which stimulates us to self-admiration, the only sound sentiment is that which inclines us to true humbleness of mind. Pretexts for pride. The miserable vanity of sinful man.
3. Different views taken by carnal wisdom and by conscience, which appeals to divine justice as its standard. The knowledge of ourselves, consisting of two parts, the former of which having already been discussed, the latter is here considered.
4. In considering this latter part, two points to be considered; 1. How it happened that Adam involved himself and the whole human race in this dreadful calamity. This the result not of sensual intemperance, but of infidelity (the source of other heinous sins), which led to revolt from God, from whom all true happiness must be derived. An enumeration of the other sins produced by the infidelity of the first man.
5. The second point to be considered is, the extent to which the contagious influence of the fall extends. It extends, 1. To all the creatures, though unoffending; and, 2. To the whole posterity of Adam. Hence hereditary corruption, or original sin, and the depravation of a nature which was previously pure and good. This depravation communicated to the whole posterity of Adam, but not in the way supposed by the Pelagians and Celestians.
6. Depravation communicated not merely by imitation, but by propagation. This proved, 1. From the contrast drawn between Adam and Christ. Confirmation from passages of Scripture; 2 From the general declaration that we are the children of wrath.
7. Objection, that if Adam’s sin is propagated to his posterity, the soul must be derived by transmission. Answer. Another objection—viz. that children cannot derive corruption from pious parents. Answer.
8. Definition of original sin. Two parts in the definition. Exposition of the latter part. Original sin exposes us to the wrath of God. It also produces in us the works of the flesh. Other definitions considered.
9. Exposition of the former part of the definition—viz. that hereditary depravity extends to all the faculties of the soul.
10. From the exposition of both parts of the definition it follows that God is not the author of sin, the whole human race being corrupted by an inherent viciousness.
11. This, however, is not from nature, but is an adventitious quality. Accordingly, the dream of the Manichees as to two principles vanishes.

1. It was not without reason that the ancient proverb so strongly recommended to man the knowledge of himself. For if it is deemed disgraceful to be ignorant of things pertaining to the business of life, much more disgraceful is self-ignorance, in consequence of which we miserably deceive ourselves in matters of the highest moment, and so walk blindfold. But the more useful the precept is, the more careful we must be not to use it preposterously, as we see certain philosophers have done. For they, when exhorting man to know himself, state the motive to be, that he may not be ignorant of his own…

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Dear Sir,—Your letter came to hand Oct. 21, or the day following the date thereof. At first sight I thought of giving a short and private answer only, but in looking it over again, I feel convinced that justice to you, to myself, to the truth, and to the denomination to which I have the honor to belong, demands an answer in a very different way.

My labor in the pulpit at Crosby Row, on the eighteenth, in stating the nature, constitution, and order of a gospel church, seems greatly to have displeased you, both in manner and in matter too; so that beside speaking very low and contemptuously of me, calling me “The Preacher” sixteen times on your single sheet, you have condemned our sentiments as a denomination as false, on exclusive believers baptism and the communion of believers only as so baptized; and then you wish us to blush. But at this I am not surprised, and had you stayed here, I should have taken but little notice, because it would have only been to me a marking out the difference that we know exists in sentiment between us. But as I challenged any one to find one text of Scripture in the Word of God for infant sprinkling, and for any other communion at the table of the Lord than that of believers, who are baptized on a profession of faith in Christ, you have so strangely perverted and misapplied the Word of God for the purpose, and seem, with a look of disdain upon us, to please yourself in the triumph you suppose you have gained over the challenge. And your deadly charge also upon the integrity of my public character in the pulpit that day, you having taxed me with saying what I knew not to be the truth, I must consider demands a public trial. Your several reflections, as well as statements, on the sentiments in dispute, shall be fairly sectioned out, and set down in your own words for observation. And Mr. Bridgman: “He said, indeed, (else I should not have thought it) that he came after much prayer; but what think you? Could a man under such influence, -exhibit flippancy of manners, and use light and low language?”

My Reply:

I am a plain man, Gen. 25:27; using great plainness of speech, 2 Cor. 3:12; to make the matter plain upon…

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Happy New Year

2 Feb 2023, by

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I hope you are not discouraged. I hope you are facing this new year with peace and faith in Christ. Our Saviour tells us, “Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me”. Whatever it is that weighs upon on your mind or tries your spirit, may the Lord God give you grace to trust in Christ and strength to carry you through your trial.

In his message to the Ephesians the Apostle Paul pictures the Lord’s people as a building made up of individual believers, like you and me, fitted together, located by design, and gathered to serve a high and holy purpose.

Perhaps to mitigate the discouragement the apostle knew would affect the Lord’s people through the ages he tells us this building is growing. There is something alive here. We are a holy temple that is being raised up and nurtured by God Himself. There is growth, enlargement and progress in the church of Jesus Christ whether we see it or not. We are a building dedicated to the worship and glory of God. It is our delight and privilege to be a part of something wonderful that is growing up to the honour and glory of God.

But look at the reason for these blessings. We are not building something ourselves, we are being built into something bigger than any one of us, a union, a body of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice how Paul describes this, “we are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ”. We share the same foundation as did the prophets of the Old Testament and the apostles of the New. They had one common foundation and one common salvation which was Jesus Christ their Lord and we are united with them and with each other upon the same foundation.

It is the gospel of the Lord Jesus that unites us, the doctrine of free grace, eternal election, imputed righteousness and particular substitutionary atonement. We love the gospel of grace. We love the gospel that tells of mercy granted, forgiveness bestowed, and faith that endures; endures because it is Christ’s faith given to His chosen people by God Himself according to His sovereign purpose.

Christ is the cornerstone of our faith, of our lives, our worship and our testimony. Our fellowship with each other is because of our fellowship with Him. Because we are united to Christ we are united with each other. We may be miles apart, time zones away, born of different nationalities, languages and cultures but none of that matters when we come together around the word of God and the gospel of God.

Being in Christ we are heirs of glory; safe, secure and certain of heaven. We are fellowcitizens on earth with His people, in His body the church. Whatever 2022 holds for us personally, and for the church and the world in general, God is in control. He is building His church, and gathering His people upon the foundation that is Jesus Christ and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Peter Meney

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Peter L. Meney is the editor of “New Focus“, a web-based magazine available online. Its purpose and aim is to spread as widely as possible the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of free, sovereign grace found in the Holy Bible, the Word of God.

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“Seest thou this woman?”—Luke 7:44

My soul, look at this woman at the feet of Jesus; for thy Jesus bids thee look, and gather instruction from the view, as well as the pharisee. Behold how she wept, how she washed the feet of Jesus, and anointed them with ointment. These were sweet tokens of her love and adoration. But were these the causes for which she obtained forgivings? Oh, no. Read what the Lord said to her: “Thy faith hath saved thee.” Learn, then, my, soul, in what salvation lies. Love may bring ointment to Jesus. Sorrow for sin, when grace is in the heart, will cause tears to fall. But faith brings nothing, for it hath nothing: it casts itself wholly upon Jesus. Amidst all its guilt, and fears, and tears, it is Jesus only to whom faith looks; it is Jesus upon whom alone it depends. It hath nothing to do with self; neither our own feelings, nor the exercise of our graces. These are blessed evidences of the work of the Lord upon the heart; but they are not, salvation. It is Jesus, all precious, all glorious, all suitable Jesus! He is the One blessed object of faith’s joy and hope, and pursuit and desire. And, depend upon it, thy God and Father in Christ Jesus, is more pleased, more honoured, by this simple act of faith upon Jesus glorious person and righteousness, than by all the tears in the world; when those tears lead us to place a stress upon the effects of faith, instead of hanging wholly upon the cause, in the glorious object, Jesus. Pause, my soul, over this nice but proper distinction; and this will be to find comfort always in Jesus, “Seest thou this woman?”

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REFORMATION

In general, an act of reforming or correcting an error or abuse in religion, discipline, or the like. By way of eminence, the word is used for that great alteration and reformation in the corrupted system of Christianity, begun by Luther in the year 1517.

Before the period of the reformation, the pope had in the most audacious manner declared himself the sovereign of the whole world. All the parts of it which were inhabited by those who were not Christians, he accounted to be inhabited by nobody; and if Christians took it into their heads to possess any of those countries, he gave them full liberty to make war upon the inhabitants without any provocation, and to treat them with no more humanity than they would have treated wild beasts. The countries, if conquered, were to be parcelled out according to the pope’s pleasure; and dreadful was the situation of that prince who refused to obey the will of the holy pontiff. In consequence of this extraordinary authority which the pope had assumed, he at last granted to the king of Portugal all the countries to the eastward of Cape Non in Africa, and to the king of Spain all the countries to the westward of it. In this was completed in his person the character of Antichrist sitting in the temple of God, and showing himself as God. He had long before assumed the supremacy belonging to the Deity himself in spiritual matters; and now he assumed the same supremacy in worldly matters also, giving the extreme regions of the earth to whom he pleased.

Every thing was quiet, every heretic exterminated, and the whole Christian world supinely acquiesced to the enormous absurdities which were inculcated upon them; when, in 1517, the empire of superstition began to decline, and has continued to do so ever since. The person who made the first attack on the extravagant superstitions then prevailing was Martin Luther, the occasion of which is fully related under the article LUTHERANS.

The reformation began in the city of Wittemberg, in Saxony, but was not long confined, either to that city or province. In 1520, the Franciscan friars, who had the care of promulgating indulgences in Switzerland, were opposed by Zuinglius, a man not inferior in understanding and knowledge to Luther himself. He proceeded with the greatest vigour, even at the very beginning, to overturn the whole fabric of popery; but his opinions were declared erroneous by the universities of Cologne and Louvain. Notwithstanding this, the magistrates of Zurich approved of his proceedings; and that whole canton, together with those of Bern, Basil, and Chaffausen, embraced his opinions.

In Germany, Luther continued to make great advances, without being in the least intimidated by the…

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“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, &c.”

(See Gill on “1 Thessalonians 1:1”).

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John Gill And The Cause Of God And Truth, George Ella, Go Publications 1995, Pages 84-90:

Article Xll must come as a major surprise to anyone familiar with the older Baptist creeds, or the creeds of any denominations, for that matter. The article declares: “We also believe that singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, vocally, is an ordinance of the Gospel to be performed by believers; but that as to time, place, and manner, every one ought to be left to their liberty in using it.”

One cannot imagine a modern church meeting deciding to put such a statement into their creed and this entry would appear to tone down the high quality of the declaration, ending it with a remark that is almost amusing in its bathos. The reasons for this statement will become clear when one considers the historical circumstances in church life at the end of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries.[1]

Hymn singing was almost unknown in Baptist church services up to the end of the seventeenth century. The psalms were sung in metrical versions in the Anglican Church but most Dissenting churches had given up this practice in their efforts to rid themselves of all that was attached to Anglicanism. Baptist churches who continued the Anglican practice were looked upon by other ‘purer’ churches as if they had opened the doors to the devil and all his works. Anti-singing Baptists, who were taken by surprise in a meeting where psalms were sung, would immediately put their hats on to indicate that as this was not a display of true worship,[2] they need not doff their caps.

Psalms were sung by some churches to impress the authorities that they were not far removed from the ‘established church’. This ruse sometimes took the oddest forms. During times of persecution, the Baptist preachers would preach behind a curtain, unseen by the congregation. Whenever the approach of government spies was feared, the congregation would start singing a metrical psalm and when the spies arrived they were met with nothing but a crowd of keen ‘Anglicans’ faithfully singing something out of the Prayer Book. All this tended to make singing in the Dissenting churches a mere sham or at best a thing not to be taken seriously.

One of the Baptist pioneers in the field of singing, if not the pioneer, was Benjamin Keach, the former pastor of the Goat Yard congregation. One day he startled his flock with the news that hymns or psalms were to be sung to enhance the…

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

Sermon—”The Presence Of Christ Come”


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

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“And they shall call his name Emanuel, which, being interpreted, is God with us.”—Matthew 1:23

My soul, hast thou never remarked what a peculiar beauty and sweetness there is in every name by which thy God and Saviour is made known to thee in his holy word? Surely, if nothing more had been intended by it, than to identify and prove his sacred person, one name would have answered this purpose: evidently, therefore, somewhat of great importance is designed from his many names. And depend upon it, my soul, so much loveliness is there in every individual name of thy Jesus; and at one time or other, in thy walk of faith, so very much wilt thou need every one, and find the preciousnes of every one, that thou wouldest not part with one of thy Redeemer’s names—no, not for the world. This of Emanuel, by which thou art commanded to call him, is a sweet one to endear him to thee. Had he not been Emanuel, he could not have been Jesus, for none but God can save a sinner: and therefore he is called Emanuel, which signifies, “God with us.” Hence, therefore, he is God. Put this down as a glorious truth in thy esteem. God in our nature: God tabernacling in our flesh. God in us; and God in our hearts, the hope of glory. It is the Godhead of thy Jesus which gives efficacy and value to every act of redemption. As God, his righteousness is the righteousness of God to justify thee. Mark that! his sacrifice to atone—his blood to cleanse—his grace to bless. All these blessed acts of thy Jesus derive efficacy to answer all their glorious purposes, because they are the acts of God. And remark, my soul, yet further, that all that yet remains to be fulfilled, in what he hath in now pleading thy promised concerning salvation, in now pleading thy cause, and hereafter taking thee to glory; these cannot fail—because he who hath promised is Emauel. Go on, my soul, one step futher, and remember that He, whom thou art to call Emanuel, is also God in thy nature. Hense he is so very near and dear, in all tender alliances, as to be bone of thy bone, and flesh of thy flesh. My soul, never, never lose sight of this most sweet and precious name of thy Jesus. Call him as thou art commanded, call his name Emanuel.

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ANATHEMA

Imports whatever is set apart, separated, or divided; but is most usually meant to express the cutting off of a person from the communion of the faithful. It was practised in the primitive church against notorious offenders. Several councils also have pronounced anathemas against such as they thought corrupted the purity of the faith. Anathema Maranatha, mentioned by Paul, (1 Cor. 4:22,) imports that he who loves not the Lord Jesus will be accursed at his coming. Anathema signifies a thing devoted to destruction, and Maranatha is a Syriac word, signifying the Lord comes. It is probable in this passage there is an allusion to the form of the Jews, who when unable to inflict so great a punishment as the crime deserved, devoted the culprit to the immediate vindictive retribution of divine vengeance, both in this life and in a future state.

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This chapter, besides the inscription and salutation, contains a thanksgiving for the flourishing condition in which the graces of the Spirit were in these saints, and consolation for them under their suffering circumstances. The inscription and salutation are in (2 Thessalonians 1:1,2).

And are as usual: the thanksgiving is in (2 Thessalonians 1:3).

For the growth of their faith, the abounding of their love, and their constant patience under persecutions and afflictions, insomuch that the apostle also gloried of them for these things among other churches, (2 Thessalonians 1:4).

And as an encouragement to them to continue patient under sufferings, he observes that this was a token of the righteous judgment of God, and that they were reckoned worthy of his kingdom for which they suffered, (2 Thessalonians 1:5).

And of which righteous judgment they might be assured, from the nature of God himself, whose justice required a retribution of vengeance to their persecutors, and rest to them with the apostles, (2 Thessalonians 1:6,7).

The time of which rest and ease is pointed at, as that it will be at the coming of Christ; which is described by the place from whence he comes, heaven; by his retinue, his mighty angels; by the manner in which he shall come, in flaming fire; and by the vengeance he will execute: the objects of which are also described, by their ignorance of God, and by their disobedience to the Gospel of Christ; and by the nature of the punishment inflicted on them, which will lie in an expulsion from the presence, power, and glory of God, and in an everlasting destruction of soul and body, (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

But as for them, the persecuted saints, and which is mentioned for their comfort, Christ shall at this day be glorified and admired in them, and by them, (2 Thessalonians 1:10).

Wherefore the apostle prays for this perseverance of them, that the good work of faith might be performed in them, and they enjoy the glory they were called unto; and that Christ might be glorified in them, and they in him; not according to their works, but according to the grace of God through him, (2 Thessalonians 1:11).

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”And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”—Luke 2:7-21

Luke tells us Mary ‘brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn’. With these simple words the presence of the infant Christ in the world is recorded. The conditions of the Saviour’s birth were basic and humble, yet angels rejoiced to see it and the heavenly host sang, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men’.

For our sakes He became poor

The grim conditions of Jesus’ birth suggest neither Joseph nor Mary had relatives in Bethlehem, there was no house to go to, no friends waiting to receive them. Since so little notice is taken of them it probably implies relative poverty and meanness. Had they been wealthy, or prominent, they would have been cared for and room made for them, especially since Mary, little more than a girl herself, was about to give birth to her first child. It was heartless to consign her to a stable in this condition.

In the cause of the poor and needy

We learn Mary personally swaddled her new-born baby. There was no midwife, no…

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“What, think ye that he will not come to the feast?”—John 11:56

Is this thy inquiry, my soul, when at any time thou art seeking Jesus in his word, in his ordinances, at his table? Will be not come? Will Jesus not be there? Think how, he hath dealt in times past. Did not Jesus rejoice when the hour arrived for coming into the world for salvation? Doth he not rejoice, when coming to the heart of the poor sinner for conversion? and will he not come with joy in all the renewed visits of his love? Besides, doth not Jesus know that it is a time of need to thee? And hath he not opened a way to the throne of grace, on purpose that his poor helpless children might come boldly to a throne of grace to obtain help, and find grace in every time of need? Oh then, mark it down as a sure thing, thy Jesus will be there. He spreads the feast, and he will be present, He waits to be gracious; waits to be kind to thee. Love is in his heart, and salvation in his hands. Hasten then to his house, to his table, to his bosom, to his heart; and say, with the church, “Come, my beloved, and be thou like a roe, or a young hart, upon the mountains of Bether.”

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APOSTACY

A forsaking or renouncing our religion, either by an open declaration in words, or a virtual declaration of it by our actions. The primitive Christian church distinguished several kinds of apostacy; the first, of those who went entirely from Christianity to Judaism; the second, of those who complied so far with the Jews, as to communicate with them in many of their unlawful practices, without making a formal profession of their religion; thirdly, of those who mingled Judaism and Christianity together; and, fourthly, of those who voluntarily relapsed into paganism. Apostacy may be farther considered as, 1. Original, in which we have all participated, Rom. 3:23;–2. National, when a kingdom relinquishes the profession of Christianity;–3. Personal, when an individual backslides from God, Heb. 10:38;–4. Final, when men are given up the judicial hardness of heart, as Judas.

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This second epistle was written, not from Athens, as the subscription testifies, nor from Rome, as Athanasius supposes; but from Corinth, from whence was sent the former, and where the apostle and Timothy, and Silvanus met; and which was sent about half a year after the other. The design of which is to comfort and support the Thessalonians under the afflictions and persecutions they endured for the sake of the Gospel; and to rectify a mistake they had gone into, and which might be occasioned by what the apostle had said in his former epistle, concerning the second coming of Christ, as though it was just at hand; which might lead them to neglect their worldly business, and duties of civil life, and give the enemies of the Gospel an advantage against the whole of it as false, should not this prove true; as also to exhort this church to take notice of disorderly persons such as were idle, and busy bodies, and withdraw from them, and remove them from their communion, as being not only burdensome to them, but a reproach to their profession.

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I. Distinguishing Propositions

Proposition 1

The Bible is a Divine Revelation given of God to men, and is a complete and infallible guide and standard of authority in all matters of religion and morals; whatever it teaches is to be believed, and whatever it commands is to be obeyed; whatever it commends is to be accepted as both right and useful; whatever it condemns is to be avoided as both wrong and hurtful; but what it neither commands nor teaches is not to be imposed on the conscience as of religious obligation.

Proposition 2

The New Testament is the constitution of Christianity, the charter of the Christian Church, the only authoritative code of ecclesiastical law, and the warrant and justification of all Christian institutions. In it alone is life and immortality brought to light, the way of escape from wrath revealed, and all things necessary to salvation made plain; while its messages are a gospel of peace on earth and of hope to a lost world.

Proposition 3

Every man by nature possesses the right of private judgment in the interpretation of the Scriptures, and in all religious concerns; it is his privilege to read and explain the Bible for himself, without dictation from, or dependence on, any one, being responsible to God alone for his use of the sacred truth.

Proposition 4

Every man has the right to hold such religious opinions as he believes the Bible teaches, without harm or hindrance from any one on that account, so long as he does not intrude upon, or interfere with, the rights of others by so doing.

Proposition 5

All men have the right, not only to believe, but also to profess and openly declare, whatever religious opinions they may entertain, providing they be not contrary to common morality, and do no injustice to others.

Proposition 6

All men possess the common right to worship God according to the teachings of the Scriptures, as they understand them, without hindrance or molestation, so long as they do not injure or interfere with the rights of others by so doing.

Proposition 7

Civil governments, rulers and magistrates are to be respected, and in all temporal matters, not contrary to conscience and the word of God, to be obeyed; but they have no jurisdiction in spiritual concerns, and have no right of…

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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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