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Subjects

Anti-Tolerance Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience

James Dodson

There is no liberty of conscience to sin. For example, known obstinate  witches must be punished.

There is no liberty of conscience to sin. For example, known obstinate  witches must be punished.

"It was justice, not cruelty, yea mercy to the Church of God, to take away the life of Servetus, who used such spirituall and diabolick cruelty to many thousand soules, whom he did pervert, and by his Booke, does yet lead into perdition."—Samuel Rutherfurd, A Free Disputation Against Pretended Liberty of Conscience. (1649).

 

Works Concerned with Dispelling False Liberty of Conscience:

 

Of Judgment, and the Office of the Judge; that Christians are not Forbidden to Judge.-1549-Henry Bullinger (1504-1575).-A sermon outlining the duties and responsibilities of the magistrates together with a defense of Christians holding this office.

The Execution of Servetus for Blasphemy, Heresy & Obstinate Anabaptism, Defended.-1560-John Knox.-Mr. Knox takes up the case of the burning of Servetus; he declares the various wicked opinions of the man and defends the right and duty of the magistrate to execute such obstinate heretics.

Wholesome Severity Reconciled with Christian Liberty.-1644-George Gillespie.-A tract concerning the extent and application of the laws of the Bible in the civil affairs of nations with a discussion of how this comports with liberty of conscience.

Whether it be Lawful, Just, & Expedient, that there be an Ordinance of Parliament for the Taking of the Solemn League & Covenant, By All Persons in the Kingdom, Under a Considerable Penalty.-1649-George Gillespie.-An essay designed to explain both the necessity of enforcing the Solemn League and the duty of requiring all persons who are capable in the kingdom to take this as their own vow under threat of civil penalties.

A Testimony to the Truth of Jesus Christ.-1659-Ministers of Perth and Fife.-A joint testimony against the various corruptions and defections plaguing the once reformed Church of Scotland by a group of Protestor ministers.

Samuel Rutherfurd's Preface to his Survey of Spirituall Antichrist.

A Testimony to the Truth of Jesus Christ, and to Our Solemn League and Covenant; as also Against the Errours, Heresies and Blasphemies of these times, and the Toleration of them. Wherein is inserted A Catalogue of divers of the said Errours &c. All of them being collected out of their Authors own Books alleadged in the margin, and laid down in their own words; except one that was maintained in a dispute in Oxford, Decemb. 11. 1646. and six or seven which were asserted before a Committe of the Honourable House of Commons in the Star-Chamber, and reported to the House, Sept. 12. 1643.  Subscribed by the Ministers of Christ within the Province of London, Decemb. 14 &c. 1647.

A Testimony of the Ministers in the Province of Salop, to the Truth of Jesus Christ and to the Solemn League and Covenant,-1648-Ministers of the Province of Salop.-One of many testimonies issued around this time in support of the Solemn League and Covenant, it was signed by many English ministers who opposed the toleration and heresies of the various Independents and Sectaries of their day.

A Solemn Testimony Against Toleration.-1649-Commissioners of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.-This is a testimony against the principles of toleration that were afoot in England at that time with arguments against it and a description of the divine doom such toleration incurs.

Some Considerations Contributing unto the Discovery of the Dangers that threaten Religion,-1660-James Guthrie.-This is a plea which raises concern over ten dangers that threaten the cause of covenanted reformation in Scotland, including ignorance, toleration and division.

Thirty-Fourth Question: The Political Government of the Church.-1685-Francis Turretin (1623-1687).-In this section, there is a comprehensive overview of the issues, limits and duties of the civil magistrate in all matters circa sacra together with a defense of punishing obstinate heretics.

A Preface.-1783-John Howie (1735-1793).-This preface contains one of Howie's classic essays against the flood of toleration that was then sweeping Scotland which, he believed (and has proven true), would bring destruction to the interests of the covenanted reformation and with it all concern for true religion.

Essay on Tolerance.-1823-James Renwick Willson.-In this essay, Mr. Willson attacks one of the most cherished false doctrines of his day and ours, the wicked notion that tolerance is always a good position in religious matters.

Argument On The Magistrate’s Power Circa-Sacra. [Published as an Overture.]-1834-Reformed Presbyterian Church, in America.-This Overture, written by Rev. William Sloane, who was a member of the Synod, defends the Reformed position the power of the magistrate circa sacra. It does so contrasting this view against that of Erastians and those who hold to religious toleration.

Baptism

James Dodson

Covenanters dispensing the ordinance of baptism.

Covenanters dispensing the ordinance of baptism.

The Meaning And Mode Of Christian Baptism Homepage

"Why is it the will of God that unbelievers and impenitent sinners should not be baptized? It is because he denies them the grace, he will not grant them the sign. If, therefore, God denies the sign to the infant seed of believers, it must be because he denies them the grace of it; and then all the children of believing parents dying in their infancy, must without hope perish."—James Milligan, A Plea for Infant Baptism. (1818).

 

Works On The Meaning And Mode Of Baptism: 

 

A Sermon of the Baptizing of Infants.-1644-Stephen Marshall.-A sermon by one of the Westminster divines showing the continuity of the Covenant of Grace between the Old and New Testaments and its implications for the baptizing of infants.

On Infant-Baptisme.-1649-George Gillespie.-This is a short chapter in defense of infant baptism against some of the assertions of Mr. John Tombes, a Presbyterian who held antipædobaptist views.

The Church Membership of Children, and Their Right to Baptism.-1662-Thomas Shepard (1605-1649).-A treatise on the inclusion of children in the church covenant and their entitlement to the sacrament of baptism by New Puritan and minister to Harvard University.

Vindiciæ Legis et Fœderis-1690-John Flavel.-A defense of infant baptism wherein it is shown that the continuity of the law whether in the Covenant of Works, in the covenant of circumcision with Abraham or at Sinai are all the same and altogether distinct from the Gospel.

A Discourse on the Nature, the Proper Subjects, and the Benefits of Baptism.-1808-Samuel Stanhope Smith (1751-1819).-A sermon defending the baptism of infants together with a discussion of why Presbyterians baptize using sprinkling or pouring rather than immersion.

The Waldenses no Anabaptists, but Presbyterians.-1838-Samuel Miller.-Written at the request of Mr. James Wharey, for his small history of the church, this brief appendix contains Miller's learned opinion that the Waldenses practiced infant baptism.

 

Card-Playing, Dicing and the Use of Lots in Gaming

James Dodson

An idle apprentice caught gaming with dice.

THE CHRISTIAN AND THE USE OF THE LOT FOR GAMING.

"Cards and dice I reject entirely and would consign them to the carrion-pit."—Ulrich Zwingli, The Christian Education of Youth (1526).

 

Works on Against Lots, Dicing and Card Playing:

 

CHAPTER II.-Against Dicing, Cards, and such like Games.-1687-Increase Mather (1639-1723).-This chapter testifies against the use and abuse of the lot for purposes of gaming showing the wicked heathenism of many pastimes now considered innocent.

Some Important Cases of Conscience Answered, CASE III.-1755-Samuel Pike (1717?-1773).-A useful discussion concerning whether or not playing cards is ever an innocent pastime and the propriety of Christians engaging in card playing.

Considerations on Lots.-1807-John Mitchell Mason (1770-1829).-A series of articles taken from the "Christian Magazine," in 1807, on the use and abuse of lots (i.e., dicing, card playing, games of chance, etc.).

Gaming and Gambling.-1864-George Scudder Mott (1829-1901).-The differences between gaming and gambling addressing the evils attendant upon both.

Card Playing.-1892-William Addison Alexander (1857-1909).-A tract on card playing from a time when Presbyterians still thought certain pastimes were inherently sinful.

 

Christian Apparel and Attire

James Dodson

The modest attire of a Puritan family.

The modest attire of a Puritan family.

"The greater sort of men are exceedingly careful, by all means and ways to follow the fashion, and to take up every newfangled attire, whensoever it comes abroad. A course flat contrary to Christ’s doctrine, which commandeth an honest care, only for necessary ornaments, and condemneth the contrary, and that upon special reason; because this inordinate and affected care, is commonly a great pick-purse."—William Perkins, Cases of Conscience, printed in his Workes. (1616).

 

Works:

 

Letter CCXLV.-date unknown-Augustine of Hippo-In this letter Augustine addresses how women should dress and declares they should go about with their heads covered, avoid the use of cosmetics and shun costly attire and any ornaments connected with heathenism.

Commentary on 1 Peter 3:1-6.-1523-Martin Luther.-Luther explains how the apostle would have women behave in all departments of life. He discusses modesty of apparel and the need for women to be submissive to their husbands.

Commentary on 1 Timothy 2:9-14.-1528-Martin Luther.-Luther instructs women on modest, including discussion regarding attire and headcoverings. Underlying the entire discussion is an emphasis upon the woman's social subordination to man in family, church and nation.

A Sermon on the Adorning of Women.-1555-John Calvin.-In this sermon, Calvin explains what it means for women to maintain modesty in both their inward and outward frame including a circumspect modesty in their appareling.

Letter XXXI. To His Sisters in Edinburgh.-1556-John Knox.-A letter written to several women touching on the issue of women's appareling and then move on to the issue of dedicating to idols.

On Appareling of Ministers and their Wives.-1575-The National Church of Scotland.-This contains the judgment of the General Assembly regarding the attiring of ministers and their wives in particular.

The Right, Lawful, and Holy use of Apparel.-1608-William Perkins (1558-1602).-In this extract, Perkins discusses the use and abuse of appareling together with rules for modesty and prohibitions befitting Christians.

On Appareling.-1676-James Durham (1622-1658).-Extracted from his book The Law Unsealed, this section is part of his exposition of the meaning and intent of the seventh commandment. Durham upholds headcoverings for women and admonishes a careful modesty in dress.

On Sobriety in Dress.-date unknown-Thomas Manton (1620-1677).-Some considerations on the origin and use of clothing from an eminent Puritan explaining why modesty is to be pursued.

Excessive Adornment in Dress.-1897-Anonymous.-This article addresses the concerns of modesty in appareling and bears clear testimony against the use of costly attire, fashionable hairstyles or the ornamentation of jewelry.

Church Government

James Dodson

Presbyterian ordination.

Presbyterian ordination.

JURE DIVINO CHURCH GOVERNMENT.

"I know also that a government and discipline in the church (the thing which I now undertake to plead for) is a very displeasing thing to those that would fain enjoy liberty, either of pernicious errors or gross profaneness."—George Gillespie, Aaron's Rod Blossoming; or, the Divine Ordinance of Church Government Vindicated. (1646).

 

WORKS ON CHURCH GOVERNMENT: 

 

Reply to a Letter by Cardinal Sadolet.-1539-John Calvin.-A short reply to a Papist who accused the Reformed of leaving the church, Calvin explains why leaving an institution is not necessarily leaving a church and what it means to return to the true church.

The Necessity of Reforming the Church.-1543-John Calvin.-In this work, Calvin makes a case for the rigorous reform of the church asserting that the reformation of worship is even more important than that of doctrine.

The First Book of Discipline.-1560-The National Church of Scotland.-This was written by John Knox and others to direct the nation in its efforts to bring reformation to the entire nation. It made provision for temporary expedients and the erecting of features intended to be permanent in the Church of Scotland.

The Second Book of Discipline.-1578-The National Church of Scotland.-In this Second Book of Policy, the government of the church is a settled state is set forth with its duties and obligations as a national establishment of religion.

Discourse, Of the True and Visible Markes of the Catholic Church.-1579-Theodore Beza.-An early Reformed Protestant response to the Romish charges that there is no salvation outside of the church. Beza demonstrates that the visibility of the church is to sought in profession of the true religion rather than ecclesial institution.

The Bishops Doom.-1638-Alexander Henderson.-This is the sermon preached on the occasion of the excommunicating of several episcopal prelates, at the beginning of the Second Reformation in Scotland, declares wherein true ordination stands and announces the ascendance of a revived jure divino Presbyterianism.

A Short Relation of the State of the Kirk of Scotland since the Reformation of Religion, to the present time for information, and advertisement to our Brethren in the Kirk of England.-1638-James Melville (1556-1614).-An account of the rise and progress of the First Reformation in Scotland by one intimately involved in spreading the covenanted reformation in the later part of the 16th century. It was published on the eve of the Second Scottish Reformation.

The Government and Order of the Church of Scotland.-1641-Alexander Henderson.-This provides a description of the polity of the Church of Scotland on the eve of the convening of the Westminster Assembly. Herein is provided an account of one of the best examples of the exercise of church government amongst Reformed churches.

Good Newes From the Assembly in Scotland, now sitting in consultation, Concerning their Ecclesiastical Government in the Church.-1642-National Church of Scotland.-This is a letter issued describing some of the features of the church government in Scotland, their several functions coupled with a declaration that they have been consciously conformed to Scripture and the usages of other Reformed churches.

Reformation of Church-Government in Scotland, Cleared from some mistakes and Prejudices.-1644-Alexander Henderson and some brethren.-This is an apologetic work designed to exhibit Presbyterianism as it really was in Scotland not as it was portrayed by its detractors.

The Form of Presbyterial Church-Government.-1645-Westminster Assembly.-The second finished production of the Assembly designed for covenanted uniformity, this contains a full account of the nature and function of Presbyterian church government.

A Treatise of Miscellany Questions:-1649-George Gillespie.-A volume which gathers many of Gillespie's smaller works on various topics of church government, sacraments, confederacies and the nature and extent of the atonement.

Sermon on "By What Means Ministers May Best Win Souls?"-ca. 1700-Robert Traill.-A sermon detailing the difficulty and carefulness that is to attend the ministry together with exhortations for those who are not in the ministry but seek to profit by it.

Prelacy an Idol and Prelates Idolaters.-1713-James Fraser [of Brae] (1639-1699).-A devastating critique of prelacy and all of its attendant evils and corruptions.

Letters on the Constitution, Government, and Discipline of the Christian Church.-1767-John Brown, of Haddington.-The text is taken from the second edition of 1799. In this work, Mr. Brown gives a succinct view of Presbyterian church government together with what might be considered a commentary upon the Westminster Assembly's Form of Presbyterian Government.

The Treasure in Earthen Vessels or, the Dispensation of the Gospel, Committed to men of like Passions with the Hearers.-1779-John Fairley.-An Ordination sermon for William Steven to the office of minister of the Gospel.

A Sermon on Proverbs 19:27.-1794-John Anderson (1748-1830).-A sermon which explains what happens when men are given over to hearing the ministrations of erroneous teachers. Anderson discusses the doctrines and practical reasons for maintaining confessional integrity by avoiding sectarian ministers or ministers not of one's own communion.

Act of the Reformed Presbytery in North America for a Public Fast with the Causes thereof.-1795-Reformed Presbytery, in America.-This act contains the lament of the scattered Covenanters in the wilderness of North America after many of their erstwhile brethren, together with their ministers, united with two bodies of Seceders to form the Associate Reformed Presbyterian church, in 1782. Mssrs. King and M'Kinney were sent to America to revive the cause of covenanted reformation as outlined in this act.

The Ecclesiastical Catechism.-1806-Alexander McLeod.-A discussion of church government in the form of a catechism by an early "American" Reformed Presbyterian father.

Characteristics of the Witnessing Church.-1843-Robert Lusk.-In this extended essay, Lusk recounts the history of the witnessing church together with an account of its declining in numerous ways which made it necessary for the erection of a new presbytery concerned with keeping the principles of Covenanters alive.

The Deacon.-1841-James M. Willson.-A very thorough discussion of this office including its necessity, perpetuity and use.

Attachment to Zion.-1852-James W. Shaw.-A communion sermon that addresses matters of ecclesiastical fellowship and the use of terms of communion.

Occasional Hearing.-1852-Anonymous.-An article which appeared in the Covenanter Magazine, edited by J.M. Willson, which explains why confessional communicant members of the RP church should not attend the ministry of the Word by sectarian ministers outside of the church.

Occasional Communion.-1852-Anonymous.-An article which appeared in the Covenanter Magazine, edited by J.M. Willson, which defends the practice of confessional communion against the lax and latitudinarian practices creeping into the church.

The Discretionary Power of the Church.-1875-John L. Girardeau (1825-1898).-This sermon expounds upon the Regulative principle and its necessity in the life of the church especially in the exercise of ecclesiastical power.

The Duty of the Church to be One— To be Undivided—Unseparated.-1877-John McAuley.-A short article discussing the desirability and the true methods of seeking unity and peace in the church.

The Public Preaching of Women.-1879-Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898).-Dabney brings the answer of Scripture to the rise of the feminism and faddish notion that women may be preachers of the Word of God. Along the way, he also discusses the use of headcoverings, or veils, in the public life of women.

Paul on Women Speaking in Church.-1919-Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921).-What exactly did Paul mean when he prohibited women from speaking in the church? Warfield examines the Greek and the grammar to explain what he meant.

Civil Government

James Dodson

Moses, the Lawgiver.

Moses, the Lawgiver.

CHRISTIANS AND CIVIL GOVERNMENT.

"I lay down this maxime of Divinitie; Tyranny being a worke of Sathan, is not from God, because sinne either habituall or actuall, is not from God; the power that is, must be from God; the Magistrate as Magistrate, is good, in nature of office, and the intrinsecall end of his office, Rom. 13:4. for he is the Minister of God for thy good; and therefore a power ethicall, politick, or morall, to oppresse, is not from God, and is not a power, but a licentious deviation of a power, and is no more from God, but from sinfull nature, and the old serpent, then a license to sinne."—Samuel Rutherfurd, Lex Rex (1644).

 

Works on Civil Government:

 

Romans XIII.1-5.-1601-Andrew Melville (1545-1622).-An extract from Melville's commentary on Romans, translated from the Latin by J.M. Willson, showing his agreement with the Reformed Presbyterian stance on this passage.

A Sermon Preached To the Honorable House of Commons, At their late solemn Fast, Wednesday, December 27. 1643.-1644-Alexander Henderson.-A sermon detailing the great need and method of reforming both the church and the nation together with a dire warning to magistrates that will not be reformed.

Wholesome Severity reconciled with Christian Liberty.-1644-George Gillespie.-A tract concerning the extent and application of the laws of the Bible in the civil affairs of nations with a discussion of how this comports with liberty of conscience.

Ruler's Sins the Cause of National Judgments.-1650-Patrick Gillespie.-A sermon warning about the dangers posed to a people by the wickedness of their rulers with some explanation of the covenantal solidarity of the moral person of nations.

The Sanquhar Declaration.-1680-Richard Cameron (1648-1680).-A short and terse casting off of any allegiance to the unlawful magistracy of Charles II. and his courtiers and dragoons with some reasons why on behalf of the Societies.

Thirty-Fourth Question: The Political Government of the Church.-1685-Francis Turretin (1623-1687).-In this section, there is a comprehensive overview of the issues, limits and duties of the civil magistrate in all matters circa sacra together with a defense of punishing obstinate heretics.

A Hind let loose; or An Historical Representation of the Testimonies of the Church of Scotland, -1687-Alexander Shields.-A thorough survey of the history of the Scottish church which contains many hints on church communion together with several chapters devoted to Covenanter controversies.

A Letter on the Civil Magistrate.-1781-John McMillan III.-This letter defends the Reformed Presbyterian position on civil magistracy in opposition to the various misunderstandings and misrepresentations of Seceders.

Answers to Twelve Queries, Proposed to the serious Consideration of the Reformed Presbytery, and their Followers.-1794-William Steven.-A spirited defense of John McMillan's Letter on Civil Magistracy wherein a number of often asked questions are reviewed and answered in explanation of the Covenanter position. 

A View of the Rights of God and Man.-1797-James McKinney.-This sermon seeks to expound the proper limits and duties surrounding civil liberties in order to avoid both tyranny and infidelity.

Messiah, Governor of the Nations of the Earth:-1803-Alexander McLeod.-A discourse on the Mediatorial character of Christ and the importance of this doctrine with respect to the duty of nations favored with the light of the Gospel. 

The Subjection of Kings and Nations to Messiah.-1820-James Renwick Willson.-An excellent presentation of the doctrine of the Mediatorial reign of Christ and its implications for all nations and kingdoms. This is the Covenanter postmillennial vision.

Prince Messiah’s Claims to Dominion Over All Governments: and the Disregard of his Authority by the United States, in the Federal Constitution.-1832-James Renwick Willson.-Two essays: the first, examining the claims of Christ over the nations; and, the second, the application of these claims to the present constitution of the civil government in the United States.

Argument On The Magistrate’s Power Circa-Sacra. [Published as an Overture.]-1834-Reformed Presbyterian Church, in America.-This Overture, written by Rev. William Sloane, who was a member of the Synod, defends the Reformed position the power of the magistrate circa sacra. It does so contrasting this view against that of Erastians and those who hold to religious toleration.

Bible Magistracy: or Christ's Dominion Over the Nations with an Examination of the Civil Institutions of the United States.-1842-James M. Willson.-This represents Willson's early work on the mediatorial kingdom of Christ and its implications in the relam of civil government particularly that of the United States.

Letter on “The Higher Powers.”-1845-Thomas Sproull.-This letter explains why by "higher powers" Paul did not mean the Roman powers of his day and why "higher powers" does refer to any legitimate civil government constituted according to the will of God.

An Essay on Submission to the Powers That Be.-1850-James M. Willson.-In this essay, Willson explores the kinds of civil governments unto which Christians owe a conscientious submission in the Lord. He demonstrates that this only pertains to governments possessing certain characteristics, particularly a profession of Christianity.

Civil Government: An Exposition of Romans XIII. 1-7.-1853-James M. Willson.-This volume contains a very careful and nuanced exposition of a portion of Scripture that has often been put to ill use by those who are not the friends of the rights of God or man.

Argumentative Testimony. According to the Resolution of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod.-1855-James McLeod Willson.-Two chapters for the proposed "Argumentative" portion of the RP Testimony; the first, discussing Testimony Bearing; the second, the Right of Dissent from Immoral Civil Constitutions.

The Duty of Nations to the Church.-1860-David Steele.-An article explaining that nations must serve the Mediator Christ in their national capacity by giving their support to national establishments of religion.

Our Political Protest.-1872-John Haslett Boggs (1837-1928).-A sermon that gives a number of reasons why Covenanters do not vote under the present political administration and outlining other reasons for concern in the political system which are not in themselves reasons for not voting.

The Loyal Archite; or the Attributes of Legitimate Civil Government.-1875-Thomas Sproull.-A sermon addressing three chief requirements for a legitimate constitution of civil government.

A Case of Conscience.-1878-David Steele.-An short article on the question of Covenanters and taxation.

CIRCULAR No. 2.-1885-David Steele.-On Covenanter identity, the American "civil" war and matters of taxation.

Christ's; or, Separation from Godless Governments.-1893-Robert James George (1844-1911).-A tract explaining why political dissent is necessary for Covenanters and why it is a term of communion in the Reformed Presbyterian church.

Why Reformed Presbyterians Cannot Vote.-1908-Finley Milligan Foster (1853-1948).-A tract based upon a sermon given during the presidential election of 1908 explaining why Reformed Presbyterians should not avail themselves of the elective franchise under the present constitution of government in the united States. 

Why Covenanters Do Not Vote.-1912-Thomas Houston Acheson (1861-1925).-An American R.P. minister explains why Covenanters do not vote, during the U.S. presidential election season of 1912, and addresses several objections to political dissent.

 

Dancing

James Dodson

The Great Russian Ball at the Academy of Music.

The Great Russian Ball at the Academy of Music.

CHRISTIANS AND DANCING HOMEPAGE.

"A Dance is the Devils Procession. He that enters into a Dance, enters into his Possession. The Devil is the Guide, the middle and the end of the Dance."—Increase Mather, An Arrow Against Profane and Promiscuous Dancing Drawn Out of the Quiver of the Scriptures (1684).

 

Works Against Dancing:

 

An Arrow Against Profane and Promiscuous Dancing Drawn out of the Quiver of the Scriptures.-1684-Increase Mather? (1639-1723).-A series of arguments drawn from Scripture against the practice of promiscuous dancing showing its inconsistency with the Bible.

A Cloud of Witnesses; Darting out Light upon a Case, too Unseasonably made Seasonable to be Discoursed on.-1700-Cotton Mather (1663-1728).-A clarification of the point at issue together with quotes from orthodox and Reformed theologians and church councils on the subject of dancing.

A Discourse on the Evils of Dancing.-1846-John Fryer Mesick (1813-1915).-A German Reformed minister shows that dancing is an act of conformity with this world and, therefore, contrary to the Christian faith.

Social Dancing Inconsistent with a Christian Profession and Baptismal Vows:-1849-Benjamin Morgan Palmer (1818-1902).-An examination of the practice of promiscuous dancing and its inconsistency with profession of the Christian religion.

A Time to Dance. A Sermon on Dancing.-1867-J.R. Sikes (1832-1895).-A scathing attack on the modern dance by a Lutheran minister who advances a series of arguments against Christians participating in ballroom dancing.

The Dancing Question.-1879-Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898).-Without fear of being branded a "legalist" or "puritanical," Dabney examines the modern dance and its several attendant circumstances and not only finds it wanting but declares it to be positively prohibited to serious Christians, especially Presbyterians. 

Dancing as a Christian Amusement.-1879-George Clarence Heckman (1825-1902).-An examination and argument against some of the arguments put forth in defense of dancing as a pastime consistent with the Christian religion.

Doctrines of Grace

James Dodson

The Synod of Dort, from whence come the Canons of Dort defending the five controverted points against the Arminians.

The Synod of Dort, from whence come the Canons of Dort defending the five controverted points against the Arminians.

THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE HOMEPAGE. 

"The grace of God is the undeserved favour of God, or it is that whereby God favoureth his creature without any desert of his.  The Apostle doth intimate this much, Ephes. i.9, in that he putteth no difference between these words, grace and a good pleasure; for whereas he saith in that verse, that God hath elected us according to his free grace, it seems to be spoken in the same sense and meaning with that with which he said before in that same chapter, ver. 7, In him we have redemption according to the riches of his grace."—Robert Rollock, A Treatise of God's Effectual Calling. (1603).

 

Works on the Doctrines of Grace:

 

The Bondage of the Will.-1525-Martin Luther.-This is one of Luther's most important works. It demolishes the counter claims of Erasmus and sets forth the true state into which man has fallen out of which he cannot draw himself because his will is captive to the world, the flesh and the devil. It presents a very strong view of predestination.

Of the True, Real, and Safe Grounds of Encouragement to Believe in Jesus Christ; or, Upon What Warrants a Sinner May Adventure to Rest and Rely Upon Christ for Salvation.-1649-George Gillespie.-A short but very important essay by Gillespie on the nature and extent of the atonement. In it, he shows that the notion that the atonement was of universal scope is destructive to the Gospel and the undermines the exercise of true saving faith.

The Sum of Saving Knowledge:-1650-David Dickson and James Durham.-This is a compendium of theology set in a practical format for the instruction and use by the people of the Church of Scotland. It contains a very full account of covenant theology together with application.

Historical Sketch, &c.-1817-James Renwick Willson.-An informative, if uneven, treatment of the history of the doctrine of the atonement. This portion of the book contains Willson's historical insights together with a wealth of information about numerous early American Reformed and Presbyterian bodies complete with an outline of their controversies.

Argument on the Arminian Controversy. [Published in Overture.]-1836-Reformed Presbyterian Church, in America.-This Overture, prepared by Rev. Moses Roney, a member of the Synod, presents an excellent overview of the Arminian controversy in its history and doctrine. It presents a vigorous defense of Calvinism following the order of the "five points" as discussed at Dort. His discussion on the Arminian assertion of "common grace" is particularly helpful.

Face-Painting

James Dodson

They threw Jezabel to the dogs.

They threw Jezabel to the dogs.

THE CHRISTIAN AND FACE PAINTING.

"Here comes to be justly reproved, the strange practice and behaviour of some in these days, who being not contented with the form and fashion which God hath sorted unto them, do devise artificial forms and favours, to set upon their bodies and faces, by painting and colouring; thereby making themselves seem that, which indeed they are not.  This practice is most abominable in the very light of nature, & much more by the light of God's words; wherein we have but one only example thereof, and that is of wicked Jezabel, 2 Kings 9:30, who is noted by this mark of a notorious harlot, that she painteth her face."—William Perkins, Cases of Conscience, printed in his Workes. (1617).

 

WORKS ON FACE PAINTING:

 

Family

James Dodson

A Christian family at mealtime.

A Christian family at mealtime.

THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY HOMEPAGE.

"Contrary to good nurture is too much liberty: which oft bringeth much woe, and utter ruine upon children: it is the greatest enemy that can be of good education, and the nurse of all vice."—William Gouge, Of Domesticall Duties. (1622)

 

Works Relating to the Christian Family:

 

The Directory for Family-Worship, Approved by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, for Piety and Uniformity in Secret and Private Worship, and Mutual Edification.-1647-Westminster Assembly.-A series of directives issued by the Westminster Assembly on how to conduct family worship complete with a list of things to do and things to avoid.

Family Worship.-ca. 1740s-Philip Doddridge (1702-1751).-A letter to encourage the use of family worship together with the reasonableness of this practice for Christian families and warnings concerning its neglect.

Family Worship.-1827-J.H. Merle d'Aubigne (1794-1872).-A discourse delivered with the purpose of encouraging the maintenance of family religion together with some excellent directions for improving the growth of true religion in the family.

The Importance of Family Religion.-1840-Samuel Grover Winchester (1805-1841).-A thorough discussion of the relation of families to the interests of promoting the true religion.

A Sad But Instructive History.-ca. 1850s-William S. Plumer (1802-1880).-In this tract, Plumer examines the case of a covenant child gone bad and derives several lessons replete with warning to all children to heed the call and close with Christ.

Secular Versus Christian Education.-1879-John McAuley.-A short article on the duty of the nation to see that education is conducted with submission to the principles of true religion and, conversely, the consequences of ignoring Christian principles in national education.

Family Religion.-1885-John L. Girardeau (1825-1898).-A warm warning of the danger of neglecting family religion with many practical pieces of advice for maintain family worship as a daily routine together with a careful regard for the religious instruction of children.

An Old-Fashioned Home.-1918-J. Wilbur Chapman (1859-1918).-A tract written to stress the importance of family piety and parental concern in the formation of children because it has eternal consequences for all.

Headcoverings

James Dodson

Katharina von Bora, Martin Luther's wife, with several different headcoverings.

Katharina von Bora, Martin Luther's wife, with several different headcoverings.

HEADCOVERINGS AND THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN.

"We read of old of such as were grave, that they covered themselves with a vail: And 1 Cor. 11 married women going abroad uncovered is looked upon as unnatural; What would such say if they lived in our times; we are perswaded the gravest amongst women are most averse from this evil, and the lightest are most prone and given to it ."—James Durham, The Law Unsealed: Or, A Practical Exposition of the Ten Commandments. (1675).


 Heading 3.—Of an husbands superioritie over a wife, to be acknowledged by a wife. 
         6. The very (h - from Chrysostom. in 1 Cor. hom. 26) attire which nature and custome of all times and places have taught women to put on, confirmeth the same: as long haire, vailes, and other coverings over the head: this and the former argument doth the Apostle himself use to this very purpose, 1 Cor. 11.7 &c.

h. Sicapilli pro velamine dati sunt, qua gratia ahud addendu est velamen? Ut non tantum natura, sed etiam, voluntate subjectam se esse confiteatur. ["And if it be given her for a covering (veil)," say you, "wherefore need she add another covering (veil)?" That not nature only, but also her own will may have part in her acknowledgment of subjection.]—Chrysostom hom. 26—William Gouge, Of Domesticall Duties. (1622).

 

WORKS ON HEADCOVERINGS FOR WOMEN:

 

Instrumental Music in the Worship of God

James Dodson

Organs and instrumental music belong to Papists. They are the "strange gifts" of Arminian revivalism smuggled into the Reformed churches.

Organs and instrumental music belong to Papists. They are the "strange gifts" of Arminian revivalism smuggled into the Reformed churches.

ANTI-INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN THE WORSHIP OF GOD HOMEPAGE.

"While many who employ [the organ] consider themselves the verychampions of Protestantism, it will be long, long indeed, before they uproot Popery by this regulator of choirs; and while nothing has ever proved more annoying to Papists than the singing of Psalms in a congregational manner, the playing of all the heretical organs in Christendom causes to them comparatively little sorrow. On the contrary, the cross surmounting a Protestant meeting house, and the swelling tones of the organ within, give to her sons the hope that “holy mother” may yet receive these errorists, who are, at least, so far rejoicing under her shadow, and becoming familiar with her “image and superscription.”"—Alexander Blaikie, The Philosophy of Sectarianism (1854).

 

WORKS AGAINST INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN THE WORSHIP: 

 

Justification and Saving Faith

James Dodson

JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE AND THE NATURE OF SAVING FAITH. 

"No man is made partaker of the life of Justification, before Faith; or that untill souls exercise faith, they are without this life of Justification.  Some talk of a Justification from Eternity; & thus confound Justification with Gods love of Election; or with Gods decree & purpose to justifie.  Some speak of Justification of all, in the death of Christ; but neither is this to be admitted, if we speak of actual Justification"—John Brown, of Wamphray, The Life of Justification Opened (1695).

Works on Justification and Saving Faith:

Lord's Supper

James Dodson

A Scottish sacramental observance.

A Scottish sacramental observance.

THE REFORMED FAITH AND THE LORD'S SUPPER HOMEPAGE.

"III. The outward matter thereof, or Signes, are Bread and Wine. 
IV. The Supper is lame, without both Signes; and to rob the people of the Cup, is Sacrilege. 
V. The inward matter is Christ, with all his satisfaction and merit. 
VI. As it is Jewish superstition, to use unleavened Bread; so the Popish Penny-wafers are superstitious reliques. 
VII. Its outward form consists in Actions and Words. 
VIII. The Actions are the breaking of Bread, and powring out of Wine; the distribution of both Signes, and the receiving thereof with the hand and mouth. 
IX. The word is, the whole Institution, containing the Eucharist, the command, and the promise; but the promise chiefly."—John Wollebius, The Abridgment of Christian Divinitie, (1650).

 

WORKS ON THE LORD'S SUPPER: 

 

Of the use of a Table in the Lord's Supper. And of the communicants their coming to, and receiving at the Table.-1649-George Gillespie.-In this essay, Gillespie explains and defends the use of a table in the celebration of the Lord's supper. This is an authoritative exposition of this subject.

Danger of Being Over Wise:-1835-William B. Sprague (1795-1876).-This is the sermon in which Sprague first attacks the temperance movement and its fanatical adherents who sought the removal of wine from the Lord's supper.

Dr. Sprague’s Reply to Professor Stuart’s Letter addressed to him through the American Temperance Intelligencer of August, 1835.-1835-William B. Sprague (1795-1876).-In this letter, Sprague responds to Moses Stuart, a professor at Andover Seminary, who objected to his sermon on religious fanaticism which demanded the use of wine, not grape juice, be retained in the Lord's supper. Sprague attacks the fanatical impulse and its undermining of the sacrament.

The Holy Communion. An Address Before Administering the Lord’s Supper.-1844-John Brown, of Edinburgh (1784-1858).-This address was given at the celebration of the Lord's supper for the edification of the communicants. In it, Brown explains the two dimensions of fellowship, or communion, involved in the right reception of the sacrament.

Debarring and Inviting Service.-1871-Samuel Bowden (1822-1894).-This address, from Reformed Presbyterian minister, gives an example of the warnings proper to the administration of the Lord's supper complete with debarring and inviting of would be communicants.

Mediatorial Reign of Christ

James Dodson

A Covenanter flag bearing the recognition of Christ's Mediatorial Reign over the nations.

A Covenanter flag bearing the recognition of Christ's Mediatorial Reign over the nations.

THE MEDIATORIAL REIGN OF CHRIST HOMEPAGE.

"Neither doe I beleeve, that the Magistrate is not subordinate to the Kingdome of Christ, as mediator, but subordinate to God as Creator onely."—Samuel Rutherfurd, The Due Right of Presbyteries. (1644).

 

Works on the Mediatorial Reign of Christ:

 

Messiah, Governor of the Nations of the Earth:-1803-Alexander McLeod.-A discourse on the Mediatorial character of Christ and the importance of this doctrine with respect to the duty of nations favored with the light of the Gospel. 

The Subjection of Kings and Nations to Messiah.-1820-James Renwick Willson.-An excellent presentation of the doctrine of the Mediatorial reign of Christ and its implications for all nations and kingdoms. This is the Covenanter postmillennial vision.

Prince Messiah’s Claims to Dominion Over All Governments: and the Disregard of his Authority by the United States, in the Federal Constitution.-1832-James Renwick Willson.-Two essays: the first, examining the claims of Christ over the nations; and, the second, the application of these claims to the present constitution of the civil government in the United States.

Regnum Lapis, or the Kingdom of the Stone.-1841-Archibald Johnston (1793-1818).-Written both as part of his exercises for ordination and for the Argumentative portion of the "American" Testimony, this production was suppressed by "New Lights" because of its careful and discriminating exegesis of the doctrine of Christ's mediatorial reign and its implications.

The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism.-1853-William L. Roberts.-An excellent overview of Reformed Presbyterian principles set in a catechetical form. Roberts covers many forgotten and neglected topics which are of important to the life and identity of the Covenanter church.

Jesus "Crowned with Glory and Honour."-1855-Thomas Martin (1805-1879).-A catechism upon the various principles of the Reformed Presbyterian Church giving a clear and simple presentation of them together with a survey of its history with emphasis on the mediatorial reign of Christ.

Christ's Mediatorial Dominion; or, What Our Standards Teach in Relation to the Headship, or Dominion of Christ the Mediator.-1863-John McAuley.-A short article by McAuley tracing the teaching of the Westminster Standards on the subject of the Mediatorial reign of Christ showing his change of mind from the Seceder position toward that of the Covenanters.

Minutes of Presbytery

James Dodson

MINUTES OF THE REFORMED PRESBYTERY. 

"It belongeth to synods and councils, ministerially to determine controversies of faith and cases of conscience, to set down rules and directions for the better ordering of the public worship of God, and government of His Church; to receive complaints in cases of maladministration, and authoritatively to determine the same: which decrees and determinations, if consonant to the Word of God, are to be received with reverence and submission; not only for their agreement with the Word, but also for the power whereby they are made, as being an ordinance of God appointed thereunto in His Word."—Westminster Assembly, The Confession of Faith, XXXI.3. (1647).

MINUTES AND PROCEEDINGS 
OF GENERAL MEETINGS AND PRESBYTERY. 
1840-1929. 
 

National Establishments of Religion

James Dodson

A scene of the Scottish people signing the national Covenant, 1638.

A scene of the Scottish people signing the national Covenant, 1638.

NATIONAL ESTABLISHMENTS OF RELIGION

"Hence it ought to be observed that something remarkable is here demanded from princes, besides an ordinary profession of faith; for the Lord has bestowed on them authority and power to defend the Church and to promote the glory of God. This is indeed the duty of all; but kings, in proportion as their power is greater, ought to devote themselves to it more earnestly, and to labor in it more diligently."—John Calvin, Commentary on Isaiah (1550).

 

Works on National Establishments of Religion:

 

Statement of the Difference Between the Profession of the Reformed Church of Scotland,-1807-Thomas McCrie (1772-1835).-A defence of national churches and national estalbishments of religion with many helpful discussions on the use and purpose of creeds and confessions in the life of the church. 

Lectures on the Lawfulness and Advantages of National Establishments of Religion.-1839-William White, of Haddington.-Two Lectures explaining and defending the national establishment of religion together with a discussion of its advantages to the interests of true Christianity.

The Duty of Nations to the Church.-1860-David Steele.-An article explaining that nations must serve the Mediator Christ in their national capacity by giving their support to national establishments of religion.

Church and State: Three Lectures.-1893-James Kerr.-A series of lectures examining three possible positions one may hold concerning the relation between church and state. First, the state might offer all religions equality which is a prescription for national disaster; second, the state might establish a church with its worship and discipline which is to offer dishonor to the church; third, the state might embrace the true religion and a Scriptural establish which is glorious.

Negro Slavery Unjustifiable

James Dodson

"Am I Not A Man and A Brother?"

"Am I Not A Man and A Brother?"

NEGRO SLAVERY UNJUSTIFIABLE HOMEPAGE.

"A Preacher of the Gospel ought not to be patiently listened to even, who eloquently depicts the blessings of that liberty with which Christ hath made us free, while he holds his fellow-disciple, him to whom he administers the symbols of a Saviour's redeeming love, in a most dreadful and lacerating bondage."—George Bourne, The Book and Slavery Irreconcilable (1816).

 

Discourses, Lectures and Sermons:

 

Negro Slavery Unjustifiable.-1802-Alexander McLeod.-A sermon on the unlawfulness of holding men in perpetual slavery through man-stealing.

 Tokens of the Divine Displeasure, in the Late Conflagrations in New-York, & Other Judgments, Illustrated.-1836-James R. Willson.-A sermon that calls attention to the several lamentable dispensations of providence as provoked by national infidelity and negro slavery.

The Higher Law, or the Law of the Most High.-1851-William Louis Roberts.-A spirited postmillennial account of the mediatorial reign of Christ which seeks to answer the question of what we should do when man's law conflicts with God's law, discussed against the backdrop of the fugitive slave law. 

Observance of Holy Days

James Dodson

A sign of the times when Christ and the Mass were both held in disrepute. Celebrating ecclesiastical holy days, vulgarly called holidays, is contrary to our covenanted true Reformed religion. By reason of their associations, they are "Nehushtan" and must be destroyed root and branch. There is no such thing as a secular (or family) observance, it is just plain idolatry.

A sign of the times when Christ and the Mass were both held in disrepute. Celebrating ecclesiastical holy days, vulgarly called holidays, is contrary to our covenanted true Reformed religion. By reason of their associations, they are "Nehushtan" and must be destroyed root and branch. There is no such thing as a secular (or family) observance, it is just plain idolatry.

ANTI-OBSERVANCE OF HOLY DAYS OF MAN HOMEPAGE.

"The PRELATE, by his doctrine, practice, example, and neglect of discipline, declareth that he hath no such reverend estimation of the Sabbath. He doteth so upon the observation of Pasche [Easter], and Yule [Christ-mass], and festival days appointed by men, that he preferreth them to the Sabath, and hath turned to nothing our solemn fasts and blessed humiliations."—David Calderwood, The Pastor and the Prelate. (1628).

 

WORKS AGAINST HOLY DAYS OF MAN: 

 

CHAPTER III.-Against Profane Christ-mass Keeping.-1687-Increase Mather (1639-1723).-A chapter devoted to the history and superstition of Christmas keeping showing that it is far from being either an innocent or a Christian observance.

Christmas.-1851-Anonymous.-An article explaining why Reformed Presbyterians do not celebrate "Christmas" and why you should not either, if you are a Christian.

Christmas Trees.-1874-Anonymous.-An article treating the superstitious use and abuse of trees in the celebrating of "Christmas."

Faith in Christmas.-1876-Anonymous.-A scathing but brief attack on those who celebrate "Christmas" as a religious observance.

Christmas.-1879-Anonymous.-A popular survey of reasons that Christians should not celebrate the false religious holy day called "Christmas."

Ordinance of Covenanting

James Dodson

Greyfriars Church.

Greyfriars Church.

HOMEPAGE FOR THE ORDINANCE OF COVENANTING

 

"I pray you peruse the particulars to be opposed by vertue of your Covenant, Popery, Prelacy, Profanenesse, Schisme, Heresie; and do not dare to indulge any abomination, which you have vowed to oppose: Take heed that no sinfull biasse of near relations, or any self-advantages, take you off from your faithfullnesse in this kinde.  The Holy Ghost makes this a character of an heir of Heaven, Psal. 15:4. He sweares and keeps it, though to his own hinderance: Therefore let not fear of losing a customer, a friend, an office, a good bargain, or any other outward advantage, hinder you in keeping your Covenant."—Simeon Ashe, Religious Covenanting Directed, and Covenant-keeping perswaded (1646).

 

Works on the Ordinance of Covenanting:

 

The Solemn League And Covenant.-1643-The Three Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland.-This is both a political league and a religious covenant between the three nations for establishing a covenanted uniformity of religion together with providing a mutual defense.

An Ordinance of the Lords and Commons, enjoining the taking of the late Solemn League and Covenant, throughout the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales.-1643-The Parliament.-An Act designed to see that the Solemn League and Covenant was subscribed throughout England and Wales including instructions for how to subscribe.

The Great Danger of Covenant-refusing, and Covenant-breaking.-1645-Edmund Calamy (1600-1666).-Westminster divine Edmund Calamy's sermon on the ordinance of covenanting wherein he describes the use of covenanting together with warnings against refusing to covenant or, what it worse, to break covenant.

A Declaration Of The Commissioners Of The General Assembly, Concerning Present Dangers, And Duties Relating To The Covenant And Religion.-1648-The National Church of Scotland.-The assembly issues a warning to a careful keeping of the Solemn League and explains why it is dangerous to recede from this.

Whether it be Lawful, Just, & Expedient, that there be an Ordinance of Parliament for the Taking of the Solemn League & Covenant, By All Persons in the Kingdom, Under a Considerable Penalty.-1649-George Gillespie.-An essay designed to explain both the necessity of enforcing the Solemn League and the duty of requiring all persons who are capable in the kingdom to take this as their own vow under threat of civil penalties.

A Sermon Preach'd Upon Breach of Covenant.-1663-John Guthrie (ca. 1632-1669).-A sermon on the binding nature of covenants and the consequences that fall to those who break them.

The Distinguishing Practice of our Reforming Ancestors.-1771-John Brown of Haddington.-Excerpted from a larger work on the history of the church, this contains his observations and comments on the covenanting practiced by older Presbyterians.

The Obligation of Covenants.-1803-Samuel Brown Wylie.-A sermon that demonstrates the Scriptural basis for the doctrine of covenanting which also explains how and why social covenanting can bind descending generations.

The Duty of Nations.-1810-Gilbert McMaster.-A sermon on national covenanting together with the duty of nations that are favored with the light of the Gospel to engage in this ordinance.

The Duty of Social Covenanting illustrated and enforced.-1841-Thomas Sproull.-A sermon on the doctrine of social covenanting together with how covenant keeping holds the key for  Presbyterian reunion.

Covenant Renovation.-1849-James Renwick Willson.-A short article calling for covenant renovation with special reference to the relation of the Solemn League and Covenant to the United States.

Public Covenanting.-1849-James Renwick Willson.-A terse defense of the binding obligation of the Solemn League and Covenant upon the United States.

Seasons of Covenanting.-1850-James Renwick Willson.-A short article pressing for covenant renewal, including the Solemn League and Covenant, because the signs of the times warrant such practice.

The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism.-1853-William L. Roberts.-An excellent overview of Reformed Presbyterian principles set in a catechetical form. Roberts covers many forgotten and neglected topics which are of important to the life and identity of the Covenanter church.

Social Religious Covenanting.-1856-James M. Willson.-A survey of the doctrine of social covenanting with both an exposition and application designed as an apologetic for the Reformed Presbyterian position.

Hephzibah Beulah. Our Covenants the National and Solemn League; and Covenanting by the Reformed Presbyterian Synod in America: Considered.-1872-James W. Shaw.-An engaging and often trenchant critique of the 1871 Covenant sworn at Pittsburgh by a minister who remained in the communion of the RPCNA after they had abandoned their covenant bonds.

A Short Vindication of our Covenanted Reformation.-1879-David Steele.-A second edition of the principles of the Scottish Second Reformation against the "American" RP "Covenant of 1871."