The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Posts Tagged ‘John Gill

Gill’s definition of a Christian’s faith

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In a passing comment on Ephesians 1.15, John Gill speaks this way:

And the grace of faith, which terminates on him, is a seeing him, a beholding the glory of his person, and the fulness of his grace; a going to him, and venturing on him; a laying hold upon him, and embracing of him; a committing all unto him, and a leaning and depending on him, and a living upon him, and a walking on in him.

What a delightful way to describe the full-orbed nature of the faith that saves in looking to Christ Jesus!

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 18 October 2014 at 20:01

Posted in Christian living

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Baptist gold: Logos community pricing offers

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I have recently been looking into and using Logos a little more (review on its way, I hope) and I thought I might draw attention to a few bits and pieces. For those who don’t know, the Logos reader is free and you then just tack on the substance you want. In addition, when looking for new material, Logos do something called “community pricing” which is basically a way of pre-ordering stuff at a great price, with higher number of bidders driving down the price.

Of interest to Reformed Baptists might be some of the following:

  • Baptist Covenant Theology Collection: yes, you can easily define and defend yourself as a Reformed, Particular and covenantal Baptist with this cracking collection of 17 volumes of primary source material. As a bonus, you can cause apoplexy in certain circles simply by using the words “covenant” and “Baptist” in the same sentence – throw in Reformed for some real fireworks! The bidding finishes on Friday 14 March, and the more bids we get, the lower we will drive the already happily-ridiculous price of about $30. Join the fun and reap the benefits.
  • The Works of John Gill: whatever you say about John Gill, he cannot be ignored in the history of Baptist theological thought and development. This puppy has been languishing for too long in the ‘gathering interest’ section and could do with a little momentum being added to it. Besides, who would sniff at 19 volumes for about $40?
  • The Works of John Brown of Haddington: not a Baptist, I know, but what a doozy of a collection – 14 volumes currently running at about $30. His self-interpreting Bible would be worth this alone, but add in his material on the Shorter Catechism, his work on the Psalms, and other gems, and you’re on to a real winner.
  • The Works of Abraham Booth: back with the Baptists, and the outstanding Abraham Booth. Again, this looks more like it is gathering dust than interest. “My brothers, these things ought not to be so!” When I remind you that – for what might at the moment be only $15 – you would get not only the magnificent Reign of Grace but also his Glad Tidings to Perishing Sinners and his Apology for the Baptists – no snickering at the back! – then you really have no cause to be sitting on your hands.

So, ladies and gentlemen, please crack on, get your orders in, and make sure you help us all share in a feast of good things.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 12 March 2014 at 13:42

Review: “Baptist Autographs in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 1741-1845”

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Baptist Autographs in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester 1741-1845

Transcribed and ed. Timothy D. Whelan

Mercer University Press, 2010, 522pp., cloth, $55 / £48.95

ISBN 978-0881461442

The ‘accidental’ discovery of a few letters by the editor of this volume led to further burrowing into the archives of the John Rylands University Library, eventually bringing to light some 300 letters sent within the Baptist community from 1741 to 1845, the vast majority previously unpublished. Diving in, we enter worlds at once strange and familiar, displaying a whole range of theological, ecclesiastical, and domestic concerns across a fascinating and seminal one hundred years of denominational history. In this, the volume transcends the merely academic sphere, and sheds light on a swathe of issues of principle and practice, both seemingly prosaic and indisputably significant. Although many letters involve luminaries such as John Sutcliff (prominently), Andrew Fuller, John Gill, the senior and junior Rylands, William Carey, William Knibb, Joseph Ivimey and John Rippon, there are hosts of less well-known men and women represented, plus non-Baptists such as George Whitefield and John Newton. The biographical footnotes and the magnificent 126 pages of biographical index, giving sketches of some 300 individuals, are probably worth the price of the book in themselves, not to mention a variety of helpful indeces. We owe Dr Whelan a great debt of gratitude for his painstaking labours, which have made available an invaluable resource for Baptist historians, and one which individuals as well as colleges and seminaries will crave.

PS I know it’s a Ronseal title, and not the most thrilling (this may not be a field where imagination is in great demand), but at least you’ll not forget what’s inside.

Gill and Fuller: papers from Haykin

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Michael Haykin makes available his papers from the True Church Conference hosted by Grace Life Church of Muscle Shoals, AL, the first on John Gill and hyper-Calvinism, and the second on Andrew Fuller.  Both papers are posted in PDF format:

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 2 March 2010 at 16:48

The Life and Ministry of “The Prince of Preachers” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon #1 The young recruit

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The Young RecruitThe Valiant WarriorThe Faithful Veteran

The life of Charles Spurgeon was so full of grace, gifts and labour, and so much has been written by and about him, that we must leave out much that is of interest and usefulness in reviewing his life and ministry.

He was born in Kelvedon, a village in the county of Essex in the east of England, on 19th June 1834.  For the first few years of his life he lived with his grandparents in a town called Stambourne, returning to his parents’ home when about five years old (his grandfather, James, was a Congregational [Independent] minister of the gospel, as was Charles’ father, John).  Even in youth, his earnestness, boldness, and intelligence became rapidly apparent.  From the earliest years of his life young Charles would plunder his grandfather’s shelves of their Puritan treasures, if only initially to look at pictures in, for example, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.  Still, he learned to read and practiced the art from an early age.  As the years progressed, his schooling continued to reveal a precocious intellect and a ready tongue.

At the age of fifteen he entered a school in Newmarket as both student and a teacher of younger boys.  One of his own teachers in theology was the cook at the home in which he boarded, who loved and lived a vigorous Calvinism, and helped the young man with many difficult questions of faith and practice.  He was spiritually sensitive, but still unconverted, although for many years he had been alive to the reality of his sin, painfully convinced of his wretchedness.  At the beginning of the next year, having returned home for Christmas, he set off for church one Sunday.  This was the day appointed by God for his great work of grace in the young man’s heart.  The circumstances are striking, and the honour is God’s alone.  As he travelled, the Lord sent a snowstorm which eventually turned him into a Primitive Methodist chapel in Colchester.  As it happened, the regular minister was unable to be there – perhaps prevented by the same snowstorm – and eventually a thin man got up to preach.  To this day, no-one knows who he was.  His text was Isaiah 45.22: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.”  The man was no practiced speaker and, after about ten minutes of vigorous but curious exposition, he was running out of steam.  Spotting the young stranger, he found a new aspect to his message: “Young man, you look very miserable, and you will always be miserable – miserable in life, and miserable in death – if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.  Young man, look to Jesus Christ.  Look!  Look!  Look!  You have nothing to do but look and live!”  This came with divine power to young Spurgeon’s soul.  He had doubtless heard many good and powerful sermons in his youth, but now the Word of God came by the power of God’s Spirit with saving strength.  Spurgeon looked and lived, and the joy of salvation flooded into his heart as he trusted in Christ to deliver him from sin, death and hell.  It was 6th January 1850.  The excellence and preciousness of Christ would colour all the subsequent labours of Charles Spurgeon.

It was not long before Satan roared in again at Charles.  The young man had fondly imagined that he would now be free of such attacks, but doubts, foul thoughts and blasphemies again assailed him.  This bitter experience was brief, as Christ helped his young lamb to wrestle against his sinful heart, but it taught Charles that Christian living was a battle, not a bed of roses.  It was a battle which he earnestly joined as a Christian warrior.

Having been converted, Charles was admitted as a member of a Congregational church in April of that year.  However, by now some of his thinking had matured, and he had been convinced from Scripture that believers, and only believers, ought to be baptised.  He therefore applied to a local Baptist minister for baptism, and on 3rd May 1850 he walked eight miles to a village called Isleham where he was baptised by Mr. Cantlow in the River Lark (where a stone still stands to mark the spot).  He received communion for the first time on 5th May (he would not take the Lord’s supper until he had been baptised), the same day on which he entered upon his labours as a Sunday School teacher, rapidly proving popular with the children, and with many adults also.

In the summer of 1850 he moved to the university city of Cambridge.  In this city he continued as a teacher-student, and joined a Baptist church.  As he entered into the life of the church, and advanced in his understanding, new opportunities for service arose; one in particular was unceremoniously thrust upon him.  A man called James Vinter was responsible for organising various men to preach in outlying villages, and one day called Spurgeon to him.  Vinter explained that a young man was going to preach at a village called Teversham, and – as the fellow in question was not much used to services – would probably be very glad of some company.  Spurgeon accordingly met up with an older Christian lad, and they set off together to Teversham one Sunday afternoon.  Their conversation soon revealed that this other young man was expecting Charles to preach, and nothing would induce the older boy to change his mind.  With this new responsibility pressing upon him, he decided to preach his first sermon on “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious” (1Pt 2.7), and did so to the profit and pleasure of the few villagers gathered in a cottage.

His preaching labours increased in number and effect, until – aged only seventeen – he was called to pastor a church in the godless village of Waterbeach, not far from Cambridge.  His zealous labours and keen insight into the sin of men and the grace of God meant that, before too long, Waterbeach was transformed.  Although there is evidence of development and maturing in these early years, surely there are few preachers who have been so fully and so early equipped by God as was Spurgeon!  After two years in Waterbeach, and aged only nineteen, Spurgeon was invited to preach at New Park Street Chapel in London.  There was a good pedigree to the church there: previous ministers had included Benjamin Keach, John Gill, and John Rippon, all differently but greatly used of God in their day.  But a good pedigree was not enough.  Iain Murray speaks of the prevailing spiritual conditions in England at the time:

Protestant Christianity was more or less the national religion . . . The church was not lacking in wealth, nor in men, nor in dignity, but it was sadly lacking in unction and power.  There was a general tendency to forget the difference between human learning and the truth revealed by the Spirit of God.  There was no scarcity of eloquence and culture in the pulpits, but there was a marked absence of the kind of preaching that broke men’s hearts.  Perhaps the worst sign of all was the fact that few were awake to these things.  (Iain Murray, The Forgotten Spurgeon, 21)

In this context, Spurgeon entered London and began to declare God’s Word.

The chapel at New Park Street had seats for some twelve hundred people.  On the morning Spurgeon first preached, there were perhaps between one hundred and two hundred people present.  God so owned his preCharles Haddon Spurgeon 8 (young)aching to the congregation that they – excited by what they heard – called out friends and neighbours, so that by the evening the congregation was significantly larger.  Spurgeon agreed to return for further preaching dates, and within a few weeks, the church had called him to become their pastor.  The young preacher offered to come on three months’ trial, and called for earnest prayer from the church.  It was not long before the building was packed with eager hearers as Spurgeon, himself earnestly praying and enjoying the same with and from the people, preached the sovereign grace of God in Christ Jesus, and the church urged him to receive the pastorate on a full time basis.  Spurgeon accepted on the condition of this earnest and urgent prayer continuing.

The Young RecruitThe Valiant WarriorThe Faithful Veteran

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 11 September 2009 at 18:12

The free offer of the gospel

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Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 3 March 2009 at 21:17

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