Monday, September 29, 2008

Has God No Claims?

A selection from a letter by A. W. Pink to Mr. Harold Bradshaw of Norwich, England. I had the privilege of knowing Mr. Bradshaw’s son, Dudley, who is now with the Lord, and who was pastor of the Baptist Chapel in Brooke. Mr. Pink quoted a portion of his introduction to his book, The Sovereignty of God, in his letter to Mr. Bradshaw. Pink’s book was written while he was a resident of the United States. The letter was written sometime in 1943, when he lived on the Isle of Sky.

Probably 95% of the religious literature of the day is devoted to a setting forth of the duties and obligations of men. The fact is that those who undertake to expound the responsibility of men are the very ones who have lost the ‘balance of truth’ by ignoring very largely the Sovereignty of God. It is perfectly right to insist on the responsibility of man, but what of God?—has he no claims, no rights? A hundred such works as this are needed, and ten thousand sermons would have to be preached throughout the land on this subject, if the ‘balance of truth’ is to be regained… Surely there is far more danger of making too much of man and too little of God, than there is of making too much of God and too little of man.

The Life of Arthur W. Pink, revised and enlarged edition, by Ian Murray, The Banner of Truth, 2004, p. 233.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Think What a Wicked Heart You Have

A selection from a letter by Rev. Benjamin Morgan Palmer to his oldest daughter, Sarah Francis, when she was 12 years old. He wanted her to have a good education but he also wanted to see her come to faith in Christ. The letter was written on June 29, 1857:

How often and fervently I pray that God would give you a new heart. Do you remember two years ago this very month when you were so ill, how alarmed you were; how you talked with me, and told me you were afraid to die because you felt that you were not ready? I hoped when you got well, that you would remember all this; and that you would be so grateful to God for sparing your life, as to give him your heart at once. But I was disappointed—you got well, and then forgot all these solemn things. I do not know how much you think about your soul, and whether you pray fervently for a new heart. But I am afraid you do not; and you are now two years older, and know more than you did then… Dear, dear Fanny, will you not think about these things—think what a wicked heart you have—that unless it is changed, you cannot go to heaven—that you may die any moment, and be lost forever? Think, too, how ready Christ is to save you, if you will only go to him—and then delay not—go at once to him, my daughter, and be saved through his grace.

The Life and Letters of Benjamin Morgan Palmer, by Thomas Cary Johnson, first published in 1906, published by the Banner of Truth Trust in 1987, pp. 226-27.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's Best to Read the Bible

A selection from a letter by J. C. Philpot to his sister, Miss Fanny Philpot, whom he had recommended certain books for reading. The letter was written October 16, 1839.

But, after all, the Word of God, under the teachings of the blessed Spirit, is the most profitable companion for a living soul. It is said of Jesus, “Then opened He their understandings that they might understand the Scriptures.” Blessed instruction is it when He that hath the key of David opens His own word, and opens our heart to receive it with heavenly unction and divine authority!

Letters and Memoir of Joseph Charles Philpot, first published in 1871, reprinted by Baker Book House, 1981, p. 132.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Which Church to Join

A portion of a letter by Rev. James Haldane to his son who had recently moved to London. He encouraged him to find the best church and to join it. The letter was written in 1822.

I should wish you to be connected with that Church in which most of the religion of Jesus was exemplified, where the deepest impressions of the value of your soul, and the importance of eternity, the riches of the love of God, the freeness of His salvation, and the glory and beauty of holiness should be maintained in your heart, where you would have fewest temptations to conformity to this present evil world, and where the doctrine you heard was most scriptural and impressive.

The Lives of Robert and James Haldane, by Alexander Haldane, first published in 1852, reprinted by The Banner of Truth, 1990, p. 379.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Dust is My Place

A portion of a letter from Rev. Daniel Baker to his daughter about his own estimation of himself. The letter was written from Savannah, Georgia, on November 26, 1850:

Why, really, I am led to think, or at least I am tempted to think, I am ‘somebody.’ But I know too well my unworthiness in the sight of God, to be lifted up. No, no, the dust is my place, and the plea of the Publican is my plea.

Making Many Glad: The Life and Labours of Daniel Baker, prepared by his son, Rev. William M. Baker, first published in 1858, reprinted by the Banner of Truth Trust, 2000, p. 426.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pleasure in Reading the Bible

A selection of a letter by Rev. John Elias, written to his daughter, Phoebe. He always encouraged her in the things of the Lord in his letters. This letter was written on August 8, 1834:

I am moreover glad that you have pleasure in reading the Bible. It is the tree that sweetens, under God’s blessing, the bitter waters of Marah. The consolation had in the Scriptures, is far superior to any other; there is a well of joy that never fails like others. Strive to look up to Christ by perusing the Bible, in hearing sermons, and in prayer; and run, as the chief of sinners, to him.

John Elias: Life, Letters and Essays, by Edward Morgan, the Banner of Truth Trust, 1773, p. 201.

Friday, September 12, 2008

He Chooses Better

A portion of a letter by John Newton to a friend. No date is given. Jerry Bridges quotes this letter in his book, Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate, p.66.

How happy are they who can resign all to [God], see his hand in every dispensation, and believe that he chooses better for them than they possibly could for themselves.

Letters of John Newton, printed by the Banner of Truth, 1960, p. 137.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

All Will Be Well

A selection from a letter by Thomas Charles to a friend about spiritual strength for duty in the Lord’s work. The letter has no date:

Let us walk humbly with God, live steadfastly by faith upon him, and act boldly and faithfully for him; and all will be well.

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. 365.

Monday, September 8, 2008


A selection from a letter by Martin Luther to his wife, Katie. He exhorted for her to pray for the children. The letter was written on July 26, 1540.

Pray, and have [the children] pray against that horrible Satan who most violently attacks us not only in soul and body but also in property and honor. May Christ our Lord come down from heaven and also start a little fire [see Gen. 19:24; 2 Kings 1:10; Ezek. 21:31; Luke 9:54] for the devil and his companions which the devil would be unable to extinguish. Amen.

Luther's Works, Letters III, Vol. 50, edited by J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald and H. T. Lehmann, Fortress Press, letter # 290.

Friday, September 5, 2008

To Die Well

A selection from a letter by John Calvin to the brethren of France who had faced persecution for Christ. The letter was written in November, 1559:

It has been said of old that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. If it is a seed from which we derive our origin in Jesus Christ, it should also be a shower to water us that we may grow and make progress, even so as to die well. For if this blood is precious in the sight of God, it ought not to be unprofitable for us; thus we see that St. Paul boasts that his bonds have contributed to the advancement of the gospel and expects that in his death the name of Jesus Christ will be exalted.

Letters from John Calvin: Selected from the Bonnet Edition, the Banner of Truth, 1980, pp. 223-24.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Edwards on Justification

An extract from a letter by Andrew Fuller to Timothy Dwight, grandson of Jonathan Edwards. The letter was written on June 1, 1805, commending the writings of Jonathan Edwards.

The writings of your grandfather, President Edwards, and of your uncle, the late Dr. Edwards [Jr.], have been food to me and many others. Our brethren Carey, Marshman, Ward, and Chamberlain, in the East Indies, all greatly approve of them. The President’s sermons on justification have afforded me more satisfaction on that important doctrine than any human performance which I have read.

The Armies of the Lamb: The Spirituality of Andrew Fuller, edited and introduced by Michael A. G. Haykin, Joshua Press, pp. 199-200.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Pilgrim's Progress

A selection from a letter by Ernie Reisinger to a young friend, Hiram Walker. He had sent him a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress and Pictorial Pilgrim’s Progress. The letter was written on January 17, 1985:

Next to the Bible I think Pilgrim’s Progress is one of the five most valuable books I have ever read. I have read it eighteen times and get new Biblical insight each time I read it. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, probably the greatest Baptist preacher that ever lived, read it a hundred times.

Ernest C. Reisinger: A Biography, by Geoffrey Thomas, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2002, p. 149.