Monday, March 31, 2008

Dislike of Schism

A selection from a letter by John Calvin to William Farel, his co-laborer in the Reformation, written from Strasburg, October 24, 1538:

Among Christians there ought to be so great a dislike of schism, as that they may always avoid it so far as lies in their power.

Letters from John Calvin: Selected from the Bonnet Edition, the Banner of Truth, 1980, p. 53.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Terms and the Treaty of Reconciliation

From the pen of Thomas Chalmers, to his friend, Mr. Duncan, a professor of Mathematics, whom he exhorted to become a Christian, written on Sept. 13, 1846:

There is a precise, definite, and let me add, only and exclusive way laid down for the attainment of [eternal life] – a way authoritatively pointed out and prescribed by Heaven. He who hath the Son hath life; he who hath not the Son hath not life. Christ says of Himself, “I am the way, the truth, and the life – by me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved,” and, “No man cometh unto the Father but by the Son.” Let us not quarrel with this way, more especially as it is open to all of us: “Whosoever cometh unto me shall not be cast out,” “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” It is for God, the offended party, and not for us, the offenders, to dictate the terms and the treaty of reconciliation. Heaven grant that you may be led henceforth to bestow an earnest heed on the Word of His testimony till the day dawn and the day-star arise in your heart.

Letters of Thomas Chalmers, edited by William Hanna, first published 1853, reprinted by The Banner of Truth, 2007, p. 364.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Trusting and Confiding

Extract from a letter by A. W. Pink, to Mr. and Mrs. Horace Coleman:

It is only as faith is really in exercise that we can have comfort from Romans 8:28! To merely ‘bow to God’s sovereign will’ is not sufficient when the Mohammedan does that! – there needs to be a trusting in his goodness and a confiding in his wisdom also, if the heart is to be kept in peace and if we are to be ‘giving thanks always for all things’ (Eph. 5:20).

The Life of Arthur W. Pink, Ian Murray, Banner of Truth, p. 135.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mind the Work

A selection from a letter by Thomas Charles, to a young clergyman, October 15, 1812:

Our time is short, and souls are hastening to eternity. We have not a moment to be idle, if we are in our right senses. Mind the work more than the income; and drive on with all your might.

Thomas Charles’ Spiritual Counsels: Selected from his Letters and Papers, by Edward Morgan, first published in 1836, reprinted by the Banner of Truth, 1993, p. 391.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Clamant Need of the Hour

From an annual letter written to the members of Westminster Chapel by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, January, 1953:

Missionary friends who have worshipped with us for some time and who have recently returned to their ‘field’ have frequently said that they felt that revival blessing was very near. God grant that this may be so, and may we all be urgent in prayer and supplication to that end. Surely it must be plain to all who are spiritually alive and alert that nothing else will suffice to stem the mounting tide of blatant and boastful godlessness and vice. A set, polite and formal religion is worse than useless. The clamant need of the hour is for men and women in whom our Lord and Saviour is glorified, and who are ready to be His witnesses, confessors, and, if necessary, martyrs.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Letters 1919-1981, Selected with Notes, by Ian H. Murray, Banner of Truth, 1994, p. 92.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Publishing the Gospel

A selection from a letter written by William Carey to his nephew, who felt called to the gospel ministry and was considering mission work in India, written in March, 1812:

Whether you come to India or not, be assured that the work of publishing the Gospel is the most important you could have chosen. Engage in it with humble dependence on God, and with a single eye to His glory, and He assuredly will bless you.

William Carey, by S. Pearce Carey, first published in 1923, republished by The Wakeman Trust, 1993, p. 283.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Son At Home Yet Unconverted

A letter by Daniel Baker to his unconverted son at home in Holly Springs, Mississippi. The letter was written while Mr. Baker was away preaching in Pulaski, Tennessee, May 12, 1842:

My Dear Son – I have preached fifteen sermons in this place already; I preach in the morning and at night. The people come out in crowds. I think I never say people turn out better in any place where I have been; and I am happy to say, we have the prospect of a very great and blessed work of grace here. There is a very general awakening, and some ten or twelve persons have already professed conversion. We hope this number will be considerably increased within a few days. How strange! Your father is made the instrument of the conversion of many abroad, and there is a dear son at home yet unconverted. O, my dear son, how happy would I be to be made your spiritual father, even as I am your own father in a natural sense. May dear boy, do not neglect your precious soul.

God bess you, my son: and may you be happy in time, and through all eternity.

Your ever affectionate father,
Daniel Baker

Making Many Glad: The Life and Labours of Daniel Baker, by William M. Baker, first published in 1858, reprinted by the Banner of Truth, 2000, p. 288.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Backsliders Changing

A portion of a letter by Rev. William Still to his congregation, Gilcomston South Church of Scotland, May, 1970:

It is not easy, when we get into the late thirties, forties, or even fifties, and find that we have really become backsliders, to admit it, even to ourselves, let alone to others. It is much harder still to change our mode of life; but it has been done, by people with very proud streaks, and it can be done again.

The Letters of William Still, Banner of Truth, p. 105.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Suitable Pastors

A letter of encouragement from John Calvin, to Thomas Cranmer, who was active in the work of reformation of the Church of England, July, 1552:

Assuredly pure and undefiled religion will never flourish, until the Churches shall have been at greater pains to secure suitable pastors, and such as shall conscientiously discharge the duties of teaching. Satan, indeed, opposes his secret wiles to the accomplishment of this.

Letters from John Calvin: Selected from the Bonnet Edition, the Banner of Truth, 1980, pp. 141-42.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Asking Great Things

A letter from the pen of Mary Winslow (1774-1854) to a friend about the blessing of prayer. No date given.

I have been asking great things; and while He held out the scepter, my heart was full, and my mouth opened wide to supplicate much, for all God has given me. Oh, what a mighty privilege is the believer’s, to have personal interviews, holy intercourse with the God of heaven! Highly favoured are we. May we never lose sight of it, but ask much, and expect what we ask for!

Heaven Opened: A Selection from the Correspondence of Mrs. Mary Winslow, edited by her son, Octavius Winslow, 1864, reprinted by Reformation Heritage Books, 2001, p. 187.

Friday, March 7, 2008

That Great and Princely One

A selection from a letter by Samuel Rutherford, written to John Laurie, June 10 1637:

Oh, what price can be given for [Christ]. Angels cannot weigh Him. Oh, His weight, His worth, His sweetness, His overpassing beauty! If men and angels would come and look to that great and princely One, their ebbness could never take up His depth, their narrowness could never comprehend His breadth, height, and length. If ten thousand thousand worlds of angels were created, they might all tire themselves in wondering at His beauty, and begin again to wonder of new. Oh that I could win nigh Him, to kiss His feet, to hear His voice, to feel the smell of His ointments! But oh, alas! I have little, little of Him! Yet I long for more.

Letters of Samuel Rutherford, With a Sketch of his Life and Biographical Notices of His Correspondents, by Andrew A. Bonar, first published in 1664, reprinted by the Banner of Truth, 1984, p. 331.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hearing Spurgeon Preach

Extract from a letter by John A Broadus while in London, to Mrs. Broadus, Sept. 26, 1870:

I was greatly delighted with Spurgeon, especially with his conduct of public worship. The congregational singing has often been described, and is as good as can well be conceived. Spurgeon is an excellent reader of Scripture, and remarkably impressive in reading hymns, and the prayers were quite what they ought to have been. The sermon was hardly up to his average in freshness, but was exceedingly well delivered, without affectation or apparent effort, but with singular earnestness, and directness. The whole thing – house, congregation, order, worship, preaching, was as nearly up to my ideal as I ever expect to see in this life. Of course Spurgeon has his faults and deficiencies, but he is a wonderful man. Then he preaches the real gospel, and God blesses him.

Life and Letters of John Albert Broadus, by Archibald Thomas Robertson, 1901, reprint by Gano Books, p. 243.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Our Justifying Merit

Extract from a letter by Augusta Toplady to a friend, March 6, 1767:

Every sigh, if directed to him [God], is a prayer; every tear shed for sin is a sort of oblation, acceptable to him in Christ, and shall be noted in his book. Yet not the sighs we breathe, nor the tears we pour, are our justifying merit; but the sigh, the tears, the obedience , the death, of his co-eternal Son; his are the propitiations, ours are the memorial, and the proof of the work of grace which his Spirit begins in the soul.

The Works of Augustus Toplady, Bookshelf Publications, reprint from the 1794 edition, p. 830.