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Subjects

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.

HEAD III.-The Refusing to Swear & Subscribe the many unlawful imposed Oaths, for which many have suffered great Cruelties; Chiefly that of Abjuration which was the Cause of Several their Suffering to Death, Vindicated.-1687-Alexander Shields.-In this chapter, Mr. Shields explains the doctrine of oaths and vows and discusses why Covenanters cannot take certain kinds of oaths. Much of this discussion is necessary to gain an understanding about the doctrine of covenanting itself.

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.

Thoughts on Covenant Obligation.-1798-Anonymous.-This short article examines the issue of covenant obligation particularly with respect to religious covenants but with the understanding that many of the comments pertain to social and national covenants.

Observations on the Public Covenants, Betwixt God and the Church.-1799-Archibald Mason.-A thorough survey of Biblical data and theological reasoning on the subject of covenanting. Mason discusses the duty, obligations and blessings which accrue to churches and nations that enter into this ordinance.

A Sermon on Covenanting.-1803-Samuel Brown Wylie.-An excellent sermon on the duty of covenanting originally published with "Two Sons of Oil." This is a reasoned defense which includes discussions of federal headship and descending obligations of social and religious covenants.

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.

A Plea for the Covenanted Reformation in Britain and Ireland.-1822-George Stevenson.-In this treatise, Stevenson defends the doctrine of religious social covenants. The discussion has interesting and useful comments on the use of creeds and the need for testimony bearing. However, its most important component is its explanation and defense of the descending obligations of covenants. Originally written in 1822, this is the third edition expanded by some twenty pages of material.

An Overture entitled "Testimony for Public Covenanting."-1839-Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.-The American Synod presents the doctrine of covenanting together with its history with an eye to renovation of covenants. This document is filled with many helpful and interesting information not easily available elsewhere.

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.

Lecture VII.-1841-William Symington.-An essay exploring the doctrine of social covenanting with an excellent discussion of the descending obligations of lawful covenants upon the societies which entered into them. In addition, Symington undertakes a defence of the National Covenant and Solemn League and Covenant.

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."

A Third Reformation Necessary:-1880-James Kerr.-A sermon calling for Christians to follow in the footsteps of the flock by adopting the piety, enlightened views and Christian patriotism of the Scottish martyrs.

The Attainments of the Church of the Second Reformation.-1896-James Kerr.-An address before the First International Reformed Presbyterian Convention, in which the Reformed Church of Scotland, at the time of the Second Reformation, is presented as Biblical, Calvinistic, covenanting and established.

Parliamentary Works and Related Works

James Dodson

British House of Parliament.

British House of Parliament.

PARLIAMENTARY ACTS AND RELATED DOCUMENTS HOMEPAGE. 

"The power imposing this Covenant [i.e., the Solemn League and Covenant], was a Parliament, the Collective Body of the Kingdom; Duly Summoned, Regularly Elected and Returned; Rightly Constituted, and Readily Embraced by King and Kingdom, and animated with more than ordinary Parliamentary power, by the Bill for their continuance against all Casualties, so as not to be Prorogued, Adjourned, or Dissolved, without their own consent: And can any True-born English-man (in any measure acquainted with the constitution of this Kingdom, or the Authority of the high Court or Parliament) deny these to be a just and lawful Authority to resolve, order, and enjoyn, yea, and execute their Resolves, Orders and Injunctions, during the being of their power...."—Zechariah Crofton, The Fastning of St. Peters Fetters, (1660). 

 

Works by and Related to the Work of the English Parliament:

 

Pastoral Admonitions, Warnings and Letters

James Dodson

A shepherd and his flock.

A shepherd and his flock.

PASTORAL ADMONITIONS AND WARNINGS OF THE REFORMED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. 

[together with some profitable ones from other Reformed churches.]

"[The pastor] ought also to watch over the manners of his flock that the better he may apply the doctrine to them in reprehending the dissolute persons and exhorting the godly to continue in the fear of the Lord."—Second Book of Discipline. (1572).

 

PASTORAL ADMONITIONS, WARNINGS AND LETTERS:

 

Poetry of the Covenant

James Dodson

THE POETRY OF THE COVENANT HOMEPAGE 

"The day has come when history and poetry give the glorious sufferers their well deserved praise.  The national lyre of Scotland has within the present century sounded its sweetest notes in honor of the men who 'lived unknown till persecution dragged them into fame'."—David McAllister, Poets and Poetry of the Covenant. (1894).

Poems Relating to the Covenanting Movement:

Post-millennialism

James Dodson

The Book with Seven Seals closed and opened.

The Book with Seven Seals closed and opened.

POSTMILLENNIALISM AND PROTESTANTISM.

 

"There will come a time when in this world holiness shall be more general, and more eminent, than ever it hath been since Adam fell in paradise.—Thomas Brooks, The Crown and Glory of Christianity. (1662).

 

POSTMILLENNIAL WORKS:

 

Lectures Upon the Principal Prophecies of the Revelation.-1814-Alexander McLeod.-An exposition of the first thirteen chapters of the Book of Revelation with an emphasis on Covenanter distinctives.

An Inquiry into the Times that shall be Fulfilled at Antichrist's Fall, the Church's Blessedness in her Millennial Rest,-1818-Archibald Mason.-Five discourses on prophetical subjects each containing many pious notes and counsels. Although his predicted time table has proved wrong at points, many of his observations remain true and await their proper time of fulfillment.

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.

A Sermon, on the Glory and Security of the Church of God;-1825-James Renwick Willson.-A sermon advocating an optimistic future for the church on earth and a call not to fret but to remain faithful is bearing testimony to the truth not compromising with error. In the end, the church will be victorious and the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.

Remarks on the Sixth Vial, Symbolizing the Fall of the Turkish Empire.-1827-Archibald Mason.-An exposition of the sixth vial and its relation to the rise and fall of Islam. Mason discusses the Turkish empire and its role in the unfolding of prophecy.

The Earth Filled with the Glory of the LORD. -1835-Samuel Miller.-A missionary sermon which is both description and prescriptive about the task of the church in evangelizing and the glory that will be its future. This is a sermon brimming with the kind of optimism that only the postmillennial vision can convey.

The Two Witnesses. Their Cause, Number, Character, Furniture and Special Work.-1859-David Steele.-An excellent overview of the nature and mission of the witnessing church, especially during the reign of Antichrist. Many aspects of eschatology and testimony-bearing are addressed. A very important work of theology.

Notes on the Apocalypse;-1870-David Steele.-A commentary on the entire book of Revelation from an historicist and postmillennial perspective incorporating the insights of Covenanting principles and a concern for the standards of the Reformed Presbyterian church.

The Second Advent Not Premillennial.-1883-Robert Wilson Patterson (1814-1894).-An article from the Presbyterian Review explaining why Premillennialism is not Biblical and also rejecting Præterism.  This article also articulates an eschatological hope compatible with Postmillennialism.

Hand-book of Prophecy, Containing a Brief Outline of the Prophecies of Daniel and John, together with a Critical Essay on the Second Advent.-1906-James Stacy (1830-1912).-This is a very helpful handbook on Biblical prophecy written from a postmillennial and historicist point of view. Stacy condenses and simplifies many prophetic interpretations of the prophecies of Daniel and of John.

Are They Few that be Saved?-1918-Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921).-A masterful essay which explains why it is wrong to conclude from a few passages taken out of context that the final number of the saved will be meagre in comparison to the number of the lost.


ANTI-PRÆTERIST WRITINGS: 


Eighteen Sermons on 2 Thessalonians 2 on the Growth and Fall of Antichrist.-1679-Thomas Manton (1620-1677).-A series of Puritan sermons defending the Protestant doctrine that Rome is Antichrist and that the Pope of Rome is that Antichrist seated in the temple of Godthe church. These were published posthumously with a recommendatory preface by Richard Baxter.

A Postscript on the First Principles of Protestant Apocalyptic Interpretation.-1701-Robert Fleming, the younger (1660?-1716).-This postscript contains six propositions and several corollaries defending both a late date (i.e., post destruction of Jerusalem) for the writing of the Book of Revelation together with several points identifying the character of the Antichrist.

Review of Moses Stuart's Præterism.-1871-Enoch Pond (1791-1882).-Professor Pond attacks several of the basic premises of Præterism with a particular examination of Moses Stuart's Commentary on the Apocalypse.

The Apocalypse: When Written, and By Whom.-1871-Enoch Pond (1791-1882).-An essay on the dating of the Book of Revelation and its authorship. Pond also notes that præterism, as a system of interpretation, took its rise from the Jesuits and is, prima facie, anti-Protestant.

Prayer and Praying

James Dodson

Martin Luther leading in family prayer.

Martin Luther leading in family prayer.

THE NECESSITY AND BLESSING OF PRAYER

"Prayer without fervency and violence is no prayer; it is speaking, not praying. Lifeless prayer is no more prayer than the picture of a man is a man. To say a prayer is not to pray; Aschanius taught his parrot the Lord's Prayer.

Ambrose said it well, 'It is the life and affection in a duty that baptizeth it, and gives it a name.' It is the violence and wrestling of the affections that make it a prayer, else it is no prayer. But a man may say as Pharaoh, 'I have dreamed a dream' (Gen. 41.15).

The zeal and violence of the affections in prayer best suits God's nature. He is a Spirit (John 4.24), and surely that prayer which is full of life and spirit is the savory meat He loves, "spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God" (1 Pet. 2.5). Spirituality and fervency in duty is like the spirits of wine, which are the more refined part of the wine. Bodily exercise profits little. It is not the stretching of the lungs, but the vehemency of the desire, that makes music in God's ears."—Thomas Watson, Heaven Taken by Storm. (1670).

 

WORKS ON PRAYER AND PRAYING: 

 

Private Social Prayer:-1840-Andrew Symington.-In this discourse, Symington addresses the duty and privilege of prayer particularly as a private social exercise ("where two or three are gathered"). He gives both reasons and petitions for the matter of such private prayer gatherings. This covers much of devotional concern, including method of prayer.

Predestination

James Dodson

William Perkin's Golden Chain describing the Supralapsarian Position.

William Perkin's Golden Chain describing the Supralapsarian Position.

 

THE PREDESTINATION AND SUPRALAPSARIANISM HOMEPAGE.

"Gods decree, in as much as it concerneth man, is called Predestination: which is the decree of God, by the which he hath ordained all men to a certaine and everlasting estate: that is, either to salvation or condemnation, for his own glory."—William Perkins, A Golden Chaine: or, The Description of Theologie. (1608).

 

WORKS ON PREDESTINATION AND SUPRALAPSARIANISM: 

 

A Treatise on the Predestination of the Saints.-429-Aurelius Augustin (354-430).-In this treatise, Augustine demonstrates why he is so revered by the Reformers from Romanism. The fruit of his later thinking, Augustine penetrates the mystery of predestination and defends this doctrines against the claims of arch-heretic Pelagius.

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.

That God is the Creator of all Things, and Governeth All Things by His Providence: Where Mention is Also Made of the Goodwill of God to Usward, and of Predestination.-1550-Henry Bullinger (1504-1575).-This sermon contains the thoughts of Bullinger, a mild predestinarian, who, nonetheless, presses the claims of Scripture concerning the election unto life and the providence of God over all things.

A Treatise on the Eternal Predestination of God.-1552-John Calvin.-First translated into English in the 19th century, this formed part of a volume published as "Calvin's Calvinism." In this treatise, Calvin lays out the case for a very high view of predestination, affirming both an election and reprobation, and its importance for maintaining evangelical religion.

A Brief Treatise of Predestination.-1554-Anthony Gilby (ca. 1510-1585).-Written by one of the translators of the Geneva Bible, Gilby demonstrates that deeply held belief in a pervasive predestination of God that includes all creatures and all their actions.

Notes Appertaining to the Matter of Election, Gathered.-1555-John Foxe (1517-1585).-The great martyrologist was a strong defender of the doctrine of predestination. Here he helps would be martyrs discern signs so they can make their calling and election of God sure.

Thirty-Eight Aphorisms against Castalio.-1557-Theodore Beza.-A discussion of God's will, man's will, free will, the problem of evil and the belief that God is both sovereign and good.

Twenty-Nine Propositions.-1557-Theodore Beza.-A discussion of the relation of the will of man to evil and the absolute predestination of God against the cavils of the Anabaptists.

A Briefe declaration of the chiefe poyntes of Christian Religion, set foorth in a Table.-1562-Theodore Beza.-This contains Beza's very high view of the doctrine of predestination in which he explains what predestination is and what it entails for believers.

Absolute Predestination.-1562-Jerome Zanchius (1516-1590).-A classic statement of the doctrine of predestination from an early Reformer who presents a supralapsarian point of view on the subject.

A Short Survey to the Ninth Chapter to the Romans, So Far as it Treateth of the Doctrine of Predestination.-1646-William Twisse.-Dr. Twisse carefully works through Romans 9 with respect to certain questions raised respecting the doctrine of predestination.  He defends the supralapsarian position.

A Historical Sketch of Opinions on the Atonement.-1817-James Renwick Willson.-An excellent survey of the various views held concerning the atonement throughout the history of the church showing together with a demonstration of the pervasive belief in vicarious atonement with its relation to the doctrine of predestination. It was written to combat Hopkinsianism.

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.

Romanism

James Dodson

The Great Whore of Babylon.

The Great Whore of Babylon.

ANTI-ROMANIST HOMEPAGE.

"The Papists think the Protestant Doctrine is dangerous to Salvation; and the Protestants know the Popish Doctrine to be so."—Matthew Poole, The Nullity of the Romish Faith. (1666).

 

Works Against Romanism: 

 

Eighteen Sermons on 2 Thessalonians 2 on the Growth and Fall of Antichrist.-1679-Thomas Manton (1620-1677).-A series of Puritan sermons defending the Protestant doctrine that Rome is Antichrist and that the Pope of Rome is that Antichrist seated in the temple of God--the church. These were published posthumously with a recommendatory preface by Richard Baxter

The Church's Prayer Against the Antichristian Beast, and Her Other Enemies, Explained and Enforced.-1714-Thomas Boston (1676-1732).-A fast sermon wherein the crimes of Rome against Britain are recounted along with the present struggle against Romish supremacy. In the course, Boston defends the Protestant doctrine that the papacy is Antichrist.

THE ANTICHRISTIAN SYSTEM. LECTURE IX.-1814-Alexander McLeod.-In this lecture, M'Leod explores several theories regarding the identity of the Antichrist. Ultimately, he rallies the arguments to show that the papacy of Rome is that Antichrist prophesied by Daniel and Paul. This, as he shows, is the Protestant doctrine of the Antichrist.

THE TWO BEASTS. LECTURE XII.-1814-Alexander McLeod.-A thorough discussion of the identities of the two beasts-the civil and the ecclesiastical. In the course of this lecture, M'Leod makes a excellent case for applying the number of the beast (666) to Latinus, the Latin empire-civil and ecclesiastical.

An Inquiry into the Times that shall be Fulfilled at Antichrist's Fall, the Church's Blessedness in her Millennial Rest,-1818-Archibald Mason.-Five discourses on prophetical subjects each containing many pious notes and counsels. Although his predicted time table has proved wrong at points, many of his observations remain true and await their proper time of fulfillment.

Popery, the Mystery of Iniquity.-1829-William Symington.-A series of three sermons designed to identify Romanism as the mystery of iniquity and what Protestants should do about it.

Dominion of Christ.-1846-Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland.-A short article containing a statement from the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland on the duty of the magistrate with respect to Popery.

 

Psalmody

James Dodson

EXCLUSIVE PSALMODY HOMEPAGE.

"We declare, that it is the will of God that the songs contained in the Book of Psalms be sung in His worship, both public and private, to the end of the world; and in singing God's praise, these songs should be employed to the exclusion of the devotional compositions of uninspired men."—Article XVIII, Of Psalmody, The Testimony of the United Presbyterian Church of North America. (1858)

 

WORKS ON PSALMODY: 

 

Preface to the Bay Psalm Book.-1640-Richard Mather (1596-1669).-An essay affixed as a preface to the Bay Psalm Book (1640), almost certainly the work of Richard Mather (one of the translators), explaining the philosophy of translation employed together with reason why literalism is to be preferred over smoothness in metrical psalmody.

Singing of Psalms a Gospel-Ordinance.-1650-John Cotton (1584-1652).-An excellent treatise on Psalm singing by an eminent New England Puritan. Cotton gives a good overview for the arguments for only singing Psalms together with a spirited defense of the use of metrical psalmody.

A Discourse on Women Prophesying and Headcoverings.-1665-Joseph Mede (1586-1639).-An interesting discourse on 1 Cor. 11:5 explaining what Paul meant when he spoke of women prophesying.  In the course of the discussion, he throws some light on the function of precentors and the antiphony between the preceptor and the congregation (much like lining of the Psalms). Pointedly, he also discusses what Paul meant to teach respecting headcoverings or veils for women in the worship of the church.

Ancient Usage in Praising God.-1838-Anonymous.-An article from The Reformed Presbyterian Magazine defending the practice of lining of the Psalms when they are sung in congregational settings as the most ancient usage of the church. 

The Psalms of Holy Scripture, the Only Songs of Zion, an Appeal to the Churches in Behalf of this Ordinance of God.-1840-Donald Campbell McLaren (1794-1882).-An excellent primer on the subject of Psalmody wherein the author painstakingly explains why only the inspired Book of Psalms should be used in the worship of God.

Review of Ralston's Inquiry -1848-John T. Pressly.-This is Pressly's spirited response to Ralston's attack on those who only sing Psalms in the worship of God. Pressly examines his claims to a divine warrant for making and using hymns of human composure in worship.

A Catechism on Praise.-1849-Alexander Blaikie (1804-1885).-An Associate Reformed Presbyterian minister defends the practice of a cappella psalmody by way of catechetical exercises.

A Reply to Morton on Psalmody: To Which is Added A Condensed Argument for the Exclusive Use of an Inspired Psalmody.-1851-Robert J. Dodds (1824-1870).-This is the last salvo in a series of 19th century books on the war over exclusive psalmody amongst various groups of Presbyterians. Dodds takes up the cause of God and truth against hymn singer George Morton and examines the merits of his criticisms on John T. Pressly's work on behalf of Psalmody.

An Apology for the Book of Psalms, in Five Letters.-1852-Gilbert McMaster.-A comprehensive view of the benefits of the use of the Psalms in the worship of God together with the importance of retaining them in order to bring genuine ecclesiastical union and communion.

Discourse on Scripture Psalmody in Praising God; and Against Instrumental Music in Public Worship.-1859-Hugh Brown (1810-1888).-Two discourse on purity of worship. The first examines and defends the exclusive use of the inspired Psalms in the praise of the church; the second explains why the use of instrumental music in the worship of God is not warranted under the New Testament.

Ancient and Modern Mode of Singing the Psalms.-1862-Anonymous.-An article from The Associate Presbyterian, an North American Anti-burgher Seceder magazine, which canvasses the history of psalm singing in an effort to determine the mode in which the church has always sung Psalms.

The Hymns of David.-1869-Anonymous.-An excellent article that shows that the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word "hymn," appears throughout the Old Testament and that is refers to the Psalms of David.

Are Hymns Idols?-1874-Anonymous.-An article taken from the Reformation Advocate magazine which asks a much needed question about hymns and why they are so difficult for people to abandon in order to sing the inspired 150 Psalms collected in the Bible's hymnal.

Continuous Singing in the Ordinary Public Worship of God,-ca. 1885-David Steele.-A defense of the practice of lining in the singing of the Psalms. Mr. Steele explains how the principle of charity ought to work in the public worship of the church.

Exposition of the Psalms.-1887-Thomas Sproull.-An excellent lecture on the practice of giving an exposition to the Psalms that are sung in the congregation. In this exercise, the first Psalm to be sung in congregational worship was usually chosen for an extended exposition that sometimes lasted as long as the sermon (from 20 minutes to nearly an hour). In this way, people are encouraged to sing with the understanding as well as the Spirit.

Ten Reasons Why the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church Adheres to the Exclusive Use of the Inspired Psalter in the Worship of God.-1900-John T. Chalmers (1860-1902).-Mr. Chalmers explains the principles, merit and authority behind the exclusive use of the Psalms in the public worship of the people of God in easy to understand language and drawing clear conclusions.

Sabbath, or Lord's Day

James Dodson

Nehemiah and the Sabbath breakers.  

Nehemiah and the Sabbath breakers.

 

THE CHRISTIAN SABBATH OR LORDS DAY HOMEPAGE.

"It is easy to demonstrate by Scripture and argument, as well as by experience, that religion is just as the Sabbath is, and decays and grows as the Sabbath is esteemed: the immediate honor and worship of God, which is brought forth and swaddled in the first three commandments, is nursed up and suckled in the bosom of the Sabbath."—Thomas Shepard, Theses Sabbaticae. (1649).

 

WORKS ABOUT THE SABBATH OR LORDS DAY:

 

The Sabbath's Sanctification.-1641-William Gouge (1575-1653).-An excellent catechism on the Sabbath and Sabbath keeping. Gouge was a Westminster divine and he gives much practical advice on the proper observance.

Sabbath Keeping Ordinance.-1642-The Parliament.-An Act against all unnecessary activities or business being conducted upon the Lord's day together with a condemnation of turning that day into a day of recreation.

An Ordinance of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament for the better observation of the Lords Day.-1644-The Parliament.-An Ordinance which contains numerous specific examples of forbidden activity for Lord's day observance together with penalties for violations.

The Violation of the Sabbath. in A Testimony and Warning Against Some Prevailing Sins and Immoralities: Addressed to Christians in General.-1805-Reformed Presbytery, of Scotland.-In this section of this Testimony, the Reformed Presbytery discusses the matter of Sabbath sanctification together with many examples of violations and instructions for improving the Lord's day.

The Sabbath. A Discourse on the Duty of Civil Government in Relation to the Sanctification of the Lord's Day.-1829-James Renwick Willson.-A sermon on the duties and responsibilities of the civil authorities with respect to enforcing proper Sabbath observance among Christians.

The Lord's Day, the Christian Sabbath.-1850-James Chrystie.-This article, from the Covenanter Magazine, examines whether or not the first day of the week is the Christian Sabbath and defends Calvin from charges that he relaxed views of this matter.

Sabbath, or Sunday.-1882-David Steele.-A brief article on Sabbath keeping and why calling the day "Sunday" is inappropriate.

The Sabbath-Day.-1896-W.F.V. Bartlett (1831-1903).-An excellent overview of the doctrine of the Christian Sabbath together with admonitions and encouragements for its right keeping.

Nicknaming the Sabbath A Protest against using other than the Scriptural names for the Lord’s Day.-1930-Thomas Melville Slater (1869-1951).-This small tract, written for the Reformed Presbyterian Committee on Witness Bearing, explains why Christians should be careful in their terminology regarding the Lord's day.

Sermons

James Dodson

The pulpit at St. Peter's where Calvin preached in Geneva.

The pulpit at St. Peter's where Calvin preached in Geneva.

SERMONS BY EMINENT COVENANTING PRESBYTERIANS. 

[AND OTHER REFORMATION GIANTS] 

"Preaching the Word is prophesying in the name and on behalf of Christ. Through preaching those who hear are called into the state of grace, and preserved in it."—William Perkins, The Art of Prophesying (1592).

Lectures and Sermons: 

Terms of Communion

James Dodson

A communion gathering in olden times.

A communion gathering in olden times.

ECCLESIASTICAL TERMS OF COMMUNION. 

"I ask our Author, Whether or not a particular visible Church, who have embraced one Confession of Faith, one Form of Church-government, one Directory for Worship, may require it of all her Members, in order to full Communion in all sealing Ordinances, that they confess, acknowledge, and swear to abide in the Profession and Obedience of the same Doctrine, Worship, Government and Discipline? Is not this a publick Confessing and Avouching of the Lord and his Truths? Is not this necessary to the Unity of the particular Organick Body? Is it not warranted from the Word of the Lord? as Jer. 4:2; Micah 4:2; Zech 2:2. Is it not a very proper Mean to excite all the Members of a Church to search into the Scriptures, that they may know and be established in the Principles which they profess? Is it not a very useful and necessary Mean to preserve a Church from Corruption and Degeneracy from such Steps of Reformation as she has already attained unto?"—William Wilson, A Defence of the Reformation Principles of the Church of Scotland (1739).

 

Works on Ecclesiastical Terms of Communion:

 

Antipharmacum Saluberrimum: or, A Most Wholesome Antidote,-1664-John Flavel.-In this treatise, Flavel addresses the issue of intercommuning with churches in decline and the problem with hearing corrupt ministers and attending corrupt ministries. Flavel is decidedly against occasional communion and has very strong warnings against occasional hearing.

HEAD I.-Where the sufferings of many, for refusing to acknowledge a corrupt Ministry, are vindicated; and the question of hearing Curates is cleared.-1687-Alexander Shields.-In this chapter, Shields takes up the doctrine of occasional hearing and explains why we should not hear sectarian, erroneous and unsent ministers and teachers. This section is also notable for its careful delineation of the degrees and boundaries of Christian communion in a divided state.

1761 Terms of Christian and Ministerial Communion.-1761-Reformed Presbytery, of Scotland, Ireland and America.-These are the terms of communion as they were adopted by the Reformed Presbytery, in 1761.  The American church abandoned them in 1806; the Scottish church in 1822; the Irish church later.

A Short Directory for Religious Societies, Drawn up by Appointment of the Reformed Presbytery, for the Particular Use of the Several Societies of Christian People Under their Inspection, at the Desire of the Said Societies, and Addressed to them.-1772-Reformed Presbytery of Scotland).-Here is a faithful copy of the original directions for society, or fellowship, meetings. It contains directions for governing the meeting together with guidance on the qualifications of constituent members and appropriate topics of discussion.  

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.

An Explanation and Defense of the Terms of Communion.-1806-John Reid II.-A discussion of why the church needs to have terms of communion together with a defense of the terms of communion adopted by the Reformed Presbyterian church. This was written and issued as an official production of the presbytery.

Church Fellowship.-1819-John Black.-A synodical sermon that explains why the false charity of intercommunion amongst various sects of Christians is contrary to a sound profession and practice of the true religion.

Strictures on Occasional Hearing.-1820-James Douglas.-A thorough investigation of the doctrine of "occasional hearing" wherein Douglas expounds and vindicates the practice of refusing to hear or wait upon ministers from corrupt communions.  This is the second edition which is corrected and expanded.  It also contains an instructive addenda on how Covenanters ought to pray for civil rulers under immoral constitutions and administrations of government. 

Remarks On A Letter Addressed to the Members of the Old Church of Scotland, -1823-John Dow.-An historical account of the disturbance in the Scottish RP church and the removal of the Auchensaugh Renovation from the fourth term of communion.

On the Proper Time for the Admission of Recent Converts to the Full Communion of the Church.-1833-Anonymous.-An article taken from the Princeton Review, edited by Charles Hodge, explaining the danger to the souls of recent converts by letting them participate in the sacrament of the Lord's supper and why catechism should precede communion.

Catholic Communion, In The Present State Of The Christian Church Inconsistent With A Due Regard For Truth:-1836-John T. Pressly.-A lecture warning against the increasing practice of intercommunion due to its harm to the interests of true religion and its disregard for creeds and ecclesiastical standards.

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.

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.

An Inquiry into the Principles of Church Fellowship.-1865-John T. Pressly.-An examination of the scriptural principles of church fellowship which explains why the communicant fellowship of the church ought to be restricted to those who hold the creed of that body. It also indicates why the practice of open communion is neither helpful not truly ecumenical.

Reformed Presbyterians and Open Communion.-William Sommerville.-A tract defending close communion against the false charity of open communionists and ecumenists.

1876 Terms of Communion.-1876-Reformed Presbytery "Steelite."-These are the terms of communion reflecting the need to stress certain features of these terms due to the declining tendenies of the age.

The Duty of Separation.-1877-John McAuley.-This article explains why unity is not always the best course, if we would be faithful to the Lord and his church.

Family Worship a Term of Communion in the Reformed Presbyterian Church.-1908-Robert James George (1844-1911).-An interesting defense of family worship being a term of communion amongst Reformed Presbyterians.

Concerning Close Communion. An Investigation.-1930-William J. McKnight (1865-1951).-An easy to understand introduction to the reason and practice of close communion explaining why the Lord's supper should be restricted only to confessional and communicant members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, i.e., Covenanters.

Testimony-Bearing

James Dodson

Testimony bearing for Christ's Crown and Covenant has often led men to an early grave.

Testimony bearing for Christ's Crown and Covenant has often led men to an early grave.

TESTIMONY BEARING HOMEPAGE. 

"[I]t is surely the duty of the church of God still to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, without saying a confederacy with them, who have said a confederacy against Christ, his pure worship, and his public interest and glory, in the world, i.e. such as are guilty of popish idolatry, prelatic superstition, Erastian encroachments, patronage intrusions, and sectarian confusion, who have all united in a conspiracy, to rob Christ of some part of his mediatorial glory, in a way derogatory to some of his offices, as prophet, priest, or king, of his church."—Thomas Henderson, Testimony-Bearing Exemplified. (1791).

 

WORKS ON TESTIMONY BEARING AND BEARING TESTIMONY:

 

A Testimony to the Truth of Jesus Christ, and to our Solemn League and Covenant;-1648-London Ministers (many of whom were Westminster Divines).-A somewhat lengthy testimony against the numerous heresies and errors which were circulating contrary to the doctrine of the Westminster Confession making these against the Solemn League and Covenant.

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.

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.

An Informatory Vindication.-1687-James Renwick and Alexander Shields.-This is an extensive apologetic for the course of act taken by the United Societies during the latter end of the Killing Times. It explains their beliefs and their actions in the face of the prevailing currents of apostasy and the vicious persecution that ensued on the covenant keepers.

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.

The Declaration of a Poor, wasted, misrepresented Remnant, of the suffering, Anti-popish, Anti-prelatic, Anti-erastian, Anti-sectarian, true Presby­terian church of Christ, in Scotland,-1692-The United Societies.-In this early declaration, the covenanting Societies lament the defection of the three ministers (Shields, Linning and Boyd) into the Revolution church but they pledge to maintain the cause of covenanted reformation to the best of their ability.

The Protestation & Apologetic Declaration, & Admonitory Vindication,-1695-The United Societies.-This paper decries the wicked confederacies and lamentable defections that had become wide spread in the Church of Scotland contrary to their covenant engagements.

The Protestation, Apologetic Declaration, & Admonitory Vindication.-1703-The United Societies.-A testimony issued against the unlawfulness of the present magistrate, the fruit of covenanting breaking, and a plea for a return to covenanted reformation.

A Protestation and Testimony Against the Incorporating Union with England.-1707-The United Societies.-A testimony against the prevailing evils of the day (1707) with a particular emphasis upon the wickedness of the political union of England and Scotland and its violation of the covenant engagements of both nations.

Faithful Witness-Bearing Exemplified.-1783-John Howie (1735-1793).-In this volume, Mr. Howie has collected several notable works that pertain to the issue of toleration and pretended liberty of conscience. It is notable how he draws these issues together with entering into unlawful voluntary associations.

Testimony-Bearing Exemplified.-1791-Thomas Henderson (1757-1823).-This volume consists of a number of valuable documents holding forth the doctrine and practice of testimony-bearing and its contrary practice of entering into unlawful voluntary associations.

A Testimony and Warning Against Some Prevailing Sins and Immoralities: Addressed to Christians in General.-1805-Reformed Presbytery, of Scotland.-One of several occasional testimonies emitted by the Reformed Presbytery, this bears witness against the big three prevailing sins-theater attendance, dancing and dicing-as well as many other immoral practices which all Christians ought to shun.

A Short Account of the Old Presbyterian Dissenters.-1806-John Reid II.-This is a second work commissioned by the Reformed Presbytery, of Scotland, and intended to be introductory to the history and distinctive practice of Covenanters.

BIBLARIDION, OR THE APOCALYPTICAL LITTLE BOOK. LECTURE X.-1814-Alexander McLeod.-This lecture explores the nature of witness bearing, its relation to the witnessing church and a thorough description of who and what constitutes the church of the two witnesses. Hint: they are the two sons of oil.

A Plea for the Covenanted Reformation in Britain and Ireland.-1822-George Stevenson (1771-1841).-In this treatise, Stevenson defends the doctrine of religious social covenants. The discussion has interesting and useful comments on the use of creeds and the need for testimony bearing. However, its most important component is its explanation and defnece of the descending obligations of covenants. Originally written in 1822, this is the third edition expanded by some twenty pages of material.

Remarks On A Letter Addressed to the Members of the Old Church of Scotland.-1823-John Dow.-An historical account of the disturbance in the Scottish RP church and the removal of the Auchensaugh Renovation from the fourth term of communion.

Lectures on the Principles of the Second Reformation.-1841-The Reformed Presbyterian Church, of Scotland.-A course of lectures which seeks to take up every distinctive position maintained by the RP church. This volume represents a reasonable overview of doctrines related to the Mediatorial reign of Christ and public social covenanting.

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.

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.

Pastor Steele's Printed Communications to the Editor of The Covenanter.-1855-1857-David Steele and James M. Willson.-A series of articles debating the so-called "Steelite" position on testimony bearing, history testimony and several other points of dispute. In this, David Steel represents the historic Covenanter position against the departures embodied in the preface of "Reformation Principles Exhibited."

Historical Testimony.-1856-David Steele.-An article explaining what historical testimony is, how it is applicable to the church and why it needs to be part of the terms of communion of the Reformed Presbyterian, or Covenanter, church.

The Law and the Testimony.-1860-David Steele.-An article explaining why making a distinction between the law and the testimony is needful to avoid legalism and how this distinction affects the witnessing church.

Declaration and Testimony for the Present Truth.-1864-David Steele.-An explanation of the nature and purpose of judicial testimonies together with several animadversions upon the course and defects taken by the RP Synod in its mangled attempts at testimony bearing.

The Testimony and the Law.-1866-David Steele.-An article from the London Scottish Reformed Presbyterian magazine discussing the difference between the testimony and the law and why the former takes precedence over the latter.

A Question Answered. [in a letter to Dr. John Cunningham]-1869-David Steele.-A short reply on the nature of judicial testimonies and their use of history and argument. 

The Social Position of Reformed Presbyterians or Cameronians.-1869-William Sommerville.-This account traces the lines of historical Covenanters and asserts that principles without practice is dead. Additionally, there is included a defense of the practice of close communion in order to maintain the identity of the Covenanter church.

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."

The Attainments of the Church of the Second Reformation.-1896-James Kerr.-An address before the First International Reformed Presbyterian Convention, in which the Reformed Church of Scotland, at the time of the Second Reformation, is presented as Biblical, Calvinistic, covenanting and established.

 

Theatre, Plays and Movies.

James Dodson

Drury Theater, home of the first permanent theater company in the U.S.

Drury Theater, home of the first permanent theater company in the U.S.

THE CHRISTIAN AND THE THEATRE HOMEPAGE.

"There's one Thing more to acquaint the Reader with; 'tis that I have ventured to change the Terms of Mistress and Lover, for others somewhat more plain, but much more proper.  I don't look upon this as any Failure in Civility. As Good and Evil are different in themselves, so they ought to be differently mark'd. To confound them in Speech is the Way to confound them in Practice.  Ill Qualities ought to have ill Names, to prevent their being Catching.  Indeed Things are in a great Measure govern'd by Words: To guild over a foul Character, serves only to perplex the Idea, to encourage the Bad, and mislead the Unwary.  To treat Honour and Imfamy alike, is an Injury to Virtue, and a Sort of Levelling in Morality.I confess, I have no Ceremony for Debauchery. For to compliment Vice, is but one Remove from worshipping the Devil."—Jeremy Collier, Preface to A Short View of the Profaneness and Immorality of the English Stage.  (March, 5, 1697/8)

"Play-houses, the seminaries of vice and impiety, erected in the principal cities of the nation, and stage players, commonly among the most abandoned of mankind, escape with impunity. Yea, this pagan entertainment of the stage is countenanced by the members and office-bearers of this church, and that to such a degree, that one of the ministers thereof has commenced author of a most profane play, called The Tragedy of Douglas, wherein immorality is promoted, and what is sacred, exposed to ridicule. Oh! how astonishing! that a minister in the once famous church of Scotland should be guilty of such abominations, and yet not immediately sentenced to bear the highest of all church censure!"—Act, Declaration, and Testimony for the whole of our Covenanted Reformation, (1761).

Works Against the Theatre:

 

The Preface.-1687-Increase Mather (1639-1723).-In this preface, Mather begins by decrying the profaneness of the stage and stage plays, occasioned by the erection of a theater, this describes why this should be avoided by Christians.

Some Important Cases of Conscience Answered, CASE X.-1755-Samuel Hayward (1718-1757).-An casuistical exercise on the matter of Christians and theatre attendance wherein Mr. Hayward affirms the unlawfulness of such displays together with the detriment they pose to maintaining a Christian demeanor.

A Serious Inquiry into the Nature and Effects of the Stage.-1757-John Witherspoon (1723-1794).-In this essay, the character of the theater is subjected to close scrutiny and its nature and tendencies are shown to be contrary to the piety and spirituality of the Christian profession. To this is appended a Letter Respecting Play Actors highly critical of their general moral and spiritual character.

The Stage. in A Testimony and Warning Against Some Prevailing Sins and Immoralities: Addressed to Christians in General.-1805-Reformed Presbytery, of Scotland.-In this section of their Testimony, the Reformed Presbytery explains why the theatre should be rejected as an institution and why attendance is forbidden to all communicant members of the Reformed Presbyterian Church.

A SERMON, Delivered January 19, 1812, At The Request Of A Number Of Young Gentlemen Of The City Of New-York.-1812-Samuel Miller.-A sermon occasioned by the burning of the Richmond theater in which a number of notable persons perished. Miller, while expressing sympathy for the grieving, explains why the theater is not a Christian amusement.

Theatrical Entertainments.-1837-William S. Plumer (1802-1880).-This tract, by Presbyterian minister W.S. Plumer, various considerations against theatrical entertainments are advanced together with an array of testimonies against its compatibility with public morality.

Influence of Theatres.-1840-Thomas Brainerd (1804-1866).-This lecture, by long time pastor of Old Pine Street Presbyterian church, in Philadelphia, explores the dangers and defects of the theater and its incapability with a sound profession of Christianity.

The Theater.-1863-Fales Henry Newhall (1827-1883)-A sermon by a prominent Methodist Episcopal minister wherein he decries the inherent immorality of the theater as an institution and theatrical amusements as entertainment.

True Christian Love or Christian Charity

James Dodson

TRUE CHRISTIAN LOVE OR CHRISTIAN CHARITY HOMEPAGE. 

"Love...will dispose our hearts to submission to the will of God, for we are more willing that the will of those we love should be done, than of others....Love will dispose to contentment in the spheres in which God hath placed us, without coveting any things that our neighbor possesses, or envying him on account of any good thing that he has.  It will dispose men to meekness and gentleness in their carriage toward their neighbors, and not to treat them with passion, or violence, or heat of spirit, but with moderation, and calmness, and kindness.  It will check and restrain everything like a bitter spirit; for love has no bitterness in it, but is a gentle and sweet disposition and affection of the soul."—Jonathan Edwards, Charity and its Fruits. ([1738] 1851).

WORKS ON TRUE CHRISTIAN LOVE OR CHRISTIAN CHARITY: 

Voluntary Associations and Unlawful Confederacies

James Dodson

Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.-Deut. 22:10.

Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.-Deut. 22:10.

THE ANTI-VOLUNTARY ASSOCIATIONS AND UNLAWFUL CONFEDERACIES HOMEPAGE.

"I recommend to them that fear God, sadly and seriously to consider that the holy Scripture doth plainly hold forth. 1. That the helping of the enemies of God, or joyning and mingling with wicked men, is a sin highly displeasing. 2. That this sin hath ordinaryly ensnared Gods People into diverse other sins. 3. That it hath been punished of God with grievous judgements. 4. That utter destruction is to be feared, when a people after great mercies and judgements relapse into this sin, Ezra 9.13,14."—George Gillespie, The Testimony of Mr. George Gillespie against Association and Complyance with malignant enemies of the Truth and Godlinesse: Written two dayes before his death. (1648).

 

Works Against Voluntary Associations and Unlawful Confederacies:

 

Another Most Useful Case of Conscience Discussed and Resolved, Concerning Associations and Confederacies with Idolaters, Infidels, Heretics, or Any Other Known Enemies of Truth and Godliness.-1648-George Gillespie.-A very careful exposition of what does and does not constitute lawful confederations and associations for those who would walk circumspectly in accordance with that covenanted work of Reformation wrought in the Church of Scotland or are simply concerned to act as consistent Christians.

The Testimony of Mr. George Gillespie.-1648-George Gillespie.-Two days before he died, Gillespie was concerned to leave a dying testimony against voluntary associations with malignants and other opposers of the covenanted Reformation.

An Useful Case of Conscience, Learnedly and Accurately Discussed and Resolved.-1651-Hugh Binning.-This is Binning's work against unlawful voluntary associations, confederacies with the wicked, and any other religious or quasi-religious covenant making with infidels and enemies of true religion.

The Great Danger of Backsliding and Defection From Covenanted-Reformation Principles.-1651-James Guthrie.-An important sermon which discusses the fruit of the Engagement in anticipation of the Protestor/Resolutioner split. The subject matter concerns that of voluntary associations and unlawful alliances with the ungodly together with numerous observations on the wickedness of toleration.

The Testimony of Rev. William Gibson Against Voluntary Associations.-1838-Willam Gibson.-This is the dying testimony of the last Reformed Presbyterian minister who participated in re-erecting the Reformed Presbytery, in America, in 1798.

The Primary Reform.-ca. 1840s.-Anonymous.-An examination of why social reform movements and their voluntary associations are not the proper approach for Christians, if one understands where true reform must be made.

The Testimony of the Church Respecting Military Associations, &c., With the Wicked and Profane.-ca. 1864-William Milroy.-A paper written in opposition to Reformed Presbyterians joining with Union forces during the American Civil War which cites many past testimonies against voluntary associations of this sort.

Voluntary Associations.-1875-Anonymous.-A succinct explanation of why voluntary associations are unbiblical and to be shunned by all faithful Christians.

Voluntary Associations.-1875-Anonymous.-Another article examining the unlawfulness and corruption wrought in the church through voluntary associations.

The Duty of Separation.-1877-John McAuley.-This article explains why unity is not always the best course, if we would be faithful to the Lord and his church.

Women, Feminism and the Church

James Dodson

Women during a Lutheran service sometime around 1525.

Women during a Lutheran service sometime around 1525.

WOMEN AND SOCIETY, CIVIL AND ECCLESIASTICAL.

"In other words, there are two different views of matrimony: one derives from the smart alecks and sophisticates, that is, the principal fools and blind men in the sight of God. These fellows view the state of marriage as a superfluous, presumptuous human thing that one could dispense with and do without, just as I can do without an extra jacket or coat. Then they fill the world with their foolish and blasphemous scribbling and screeching against the married state, advising all men against it, although they themselves feel—and abundantly demonstrate by their actions—that they cannot do without women, these being created specifically for marriage; instead they run after and plague themselves with whores day and night.

Of this kind is that arch-fool, Johann Schmid of Constance, that renowned whoremonger, who has written an immense book, recently printed in Leipzig, against the state of matrimony. He tries to talk everyone out of it but says nothing more than that there is much effort and labor connected with it, as though this were not sufficiently known throughout the world and as if this ass must first teach us what every village peasant knows. If I were chastity herself, I could think of no greater and more unbearable shame and disgrace than to be praised by such rascals, whoremongers, and enemies of chastity. They rail against us, charging that we are enemies of chastity and promoters of marriage who prefer to see men married; and we are to consider them extremely wise, though they cannot but devote themselves to incessant fornication and though they praise chastity with their pens only and defame the married state.

They are rascals, not only on the surface but in the bottom of their hearts, and they are unworthy of an answer. And what matter if the whole world were to complain about the state of matrimony? We see right before our eyes that God daily creates not only men but also women and maintains their lives; and yet it is certain that he does not create any woman for the purpose of fornication. But since God’s work and Word stare us in the face, declaring that women must be used either for marriage or for fornication, these heathenish pretenders should shut their blasphemous mouths and leave God’s Word and work uncriticized and unhampered; unless perhaps they would like to teach us according to their own famed sagacity and contrary to God that all women should be strangled or banished. This would make a fine fool of God: what He does is no good; what we do is well done.

Now therefore since God created woman that she should and must be with man, it should suffice us that God is on our side, and we should honor the married state as a divine and noble institution. And if the wiseacres do not want to enter it, then let them continue in their heathenish blindness to practice rascality and fornication so long as God may allow it. We have God’s Word on our side; that will remain and not be moved by such blundering Smiths, though they were more numerous than the sands of the sea. Still it is a great sin and shame that we Christians have become such great fools that we first have to ponder and decide whether women ought to be married or not, just as though someone should ask whether he ought to eat and drink in this life."—Martin Luther, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 7. (1523)

 

WORKS ON WOMEN AND CHRISTIANITY:

 

Homily on 1 Corinthians 11.—On the Veiling of Women.-John Chrysostom (347-407).-A very careful exegesis of Paul's discussion on the veiling of women in 1 Corinthians 11. Chrysostom concludes that the veiling of women is not religious but natural because it is a sign of the subjection and inferiority of the women to her husbands together with other observations.

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.

The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women.-1558-John Knox.-This is one of the best and most forward strikes against the right of women to exercise political office written by a notable Reformer. This is not for the weak minded and should make many who think of themselves as Reformed ask themselves so fundamental questions. Knox was no proponent of a sad passive obedience and, as witnessed in this writing, he thought women should wear veils but not crowns.

A Discourse on Women Prophesying and Headcoverings.-1665-Joseph Mede (1586-1639).-An interesting discourse on 1 Cor. 11:5 explaining what Paul meant when he spoke of women prophesying.  In the course of the discussion, he throws some light on the function of precentors and the antiphony between the preceptor and the congregation (much like lining of the Psalms). Pointedly, he also discusses what Paul meant to teach respecting headcoverings or veils for women in the worship of the church.

Spiritual Armour To Defend the Head From the Superfluity of Naughtiness.-1688-Thomas Wall (fl. 1680-90).-This is a very detailed examination of hair and headcoverings by a non-Conformist Puritan controversialist who was a friend of Henry Ainsworth. Wall does not stop at hair but addresses many things respecting attire.

On Female Education.-1803-Samuel Miller.-In this extract, from his Brief Retrospect, Miller addresses the rise of the real first wave feminists led by Mary Wollstonecraft and her wicked book on the Rights of Woman. This is a fine critique which declares that feminism was anti-Christian from its inception.

The Appropriate Duty and Ornament of the Female Sex.-1808-Samuel Miller.-Mr. Miller believed that there are real differences between the sexes and that it ought to be reflected in many ways. However, just because women are not men does not mean they can do no good in society.

On the Right of Females to Vote in the Election of Ministers and Elders.-1822-Thomas McCrie (1772-1835).-This is a short examination on the question of women voting in church elections. McCrie discusses some of the reasons and the history behind excluding women from suffrage in the church.

Women's Rights Women.-1871-Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898).-What is it that the women's rights movement really wanted?  Dabney addresses the foolishness of feminism and predicts that it will lead the way to the acceptance of sodomy. What a strange idea!?!

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.

Woman-Suffrage as Judged by the Working of Negro-Suffrage.-1882-Austin Phelps (1820-1890).-This is the first of two essays examining the movement for woman's suffrage. Phelps compares it to the drive to give the vote to freed negro slaves after the American Civil War. He believed that suffrage was not a right and that it had been given to freed blacks before they were ready to exercise the responsibility whereas he believed that women could never be made ready to be proper recipients.

Reform in the Political Status of Women.-1882-Austin Phelps (1820-1890).-In this second essay, Phelps explains why he believes that giving women the right to vote in civil elections is against nature and will be detrimental to American society. He also warns that it will be hard to regain the country and culture once women start voting.

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.

 

 

 

Westminster Assembly and Related Works

James Dodson

Westminster Abbey, home of the Jerusalem Chamber.

Westminster Abbey, home of the Jerusalem Chamber.

WESTMINSTER ASSEMBLY AND RELATED DOCUMENTS HOMEPAGE. 

"As truly as in the cases of the Nicene and Chalcedonian formularies, the Westminster Standards mark an epoch in the history of human reflection on the truths of the gospel—an epoch in the attainment and registry of doctrinal truth; and as truly in the one case as in the other the statements they give of the truths that fall in their sphere are scientifically final. All attempts at restatement must either repeat their definitions or fall away from the purity of their conceptions or the justness of their language."—Benjamin B. Warfield, "The Significance of the Westminster Standards as a Creed," (1897). 

Works by and Related to the Work of the Westminster Assembly:


Worship

James Dodson

Worship in a Reformed congregation, Le Temple de Paradis, Lyon.

Worship in a Reformed congregation, Le Temple de Paradis, Lyon.

WORSHIP REGULATED BY THE WORD OF GOD.

"If it be inquired, then, by what things chiefly the Christian religion has a standing existence among us and maintains its truth, it will be found that the following two not only occupy the principal place, but comprehend under them all the other parts, and consequently the whole substance of Christianity, viz. a knowledge, first, of the mode in which God is duly worshipped; and, secondly, of the source from which salvation is to be obtained."—John Calvin, The Necessity of Reforming the Church. (1544)

 

WORKS ON WORSHIP:

 

Preface to the Bay Psalm Book.-1640-Richard Mather (1596-1669).-An essay affixed as a preface to the Bay Psalm Book (1640), almost certainly the work of Richard Mather (one of the translators), explaining the philosophy of translation employed together with reason why literalism is to be preferred over smoothness in metrical psalmody.

An Ordinance of Parliament for the taking away the Book of Common-Prayer, and for the establishing and putting in execution of the Directory for the Public Worship of God.-1644-The Parliament.-This is the official Act for removing the Book of Common Prayer and establishing the use of the Westminster Directory for Public Worship throughout England and Wales.

An Ordinance of the Lords and Commons Assembled in Parliament, for the further demolishing of Monuments of Idolatry and Superstition.-1644-The Parliament.-An Act authorizing the removal of all things which violate the Scriptural, or Regulative, principle of worship from all houses of worship throughout England. This included all the liturgical garb, furniture pictures of Jesus or the Trinity together with the removal of all musical instruments.

The Directory for the Publick Worship of God.-1645-Westminster Assembly.-This is the directory given for attaining covenanted uniformity in the matter of the public worship of God. It includes directions for ordinary worship and those extraordinary times to be observed or ordered for the glory of God.

Singing of Psalms a Gospel-Ordinance.-1650-John Cotton (1584-1652).-An excellent treatise on Psalm singing by an eminent New England Puritan. Cotton gives a good overview for the arguments for only singing Psalms together with a spirited defense of the use of metrical psalmody.

Public Worship to be Preferred Before Private.-1696-David Clarkson (1622-1686).-Clarkson explains why public worship is more important than private worship without dismissing the need for the latter.

An Essay Upon the Sacred Use of Organs in Christian Assemblies.-1713-Anonymous.-A very instructive essay which explains the rise of the use of musical instruments and the reason their use was discontinued in the best Reformed churches.

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.

An Answer Unto Two Questions: With Twelve Arguments Against Any Conformity to Worship Not of Divine Institution-1720-John Owen (1616-1683).-This is a devastating attack on conformity to any worship that involves a violation of the Regulative Principle (e.g., hymn singing, instrumental music, holy days, etc.). To know better and to participate is far worse than violating the law in ignorance.

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.

Free Thoughts on the Religious Celebration of the Funeral of the Princess Charlotte.-1817-Thomas McCrie.-Taking occasion of some controversy over Antiburgher minister Andrew Thomson's refusal to open his meeting house for religious celebration on the set day for the funeral of Princess Charlotte, McCrie defends the position of the Scottish church against religious ceremonies and sermons attending funerals. Of special interest is McCrie's citations of the Dutch and French churches in support of the Scottish church.

Ancient Usage in Praising God.-1838-Anonymous.-An article from The Reformed Presbyterian Magazine defending the practice of lining of the Psalms when they are sung in congregational settings as the most ancient usage of the church. 

The Psalms of Holy Scripture, the Only Songs of Zion, an Appeal to the Churches in Behalf of this Ordinance of God.-1840-Donald Campbell McLaren (1794-1882).-An excellent primer on the subject of Psalmody wherein the author painstakingly explains why only the inspired Book of Psalms should be used in the worship of God.

Reasons of dissent from the Act of Synod rescinding the Act, which ordered the Congregations to read the lines in the public singing of the praises of God.-1847-James Renwick Willson.-Dissent over the allowance of the Synod of 1847 dispensing with the necessity of lining of the Psalms in the public worship of God.

Review of Ralston's Inquiry.-1848-John T. Pressly.-This is Pressly's spirited response to Ralston's attack on those who only sing Psalms in the worship of God. Pressly examines his claims to a divine warrant for making and using hymns of human composure in worship.

A Catechism on Praise.-1849-Alexander Blaikie (1804-1885).-An Associate Reformed Presbyterian minister defends the practice of a cappella psalmody by way of catechetical exercises.

Protest Against the Use of Instrumental Music in the Stated Worship of God on the Lord's Day.-1851-Robert J. Breckinridge (1800-1871).-A Southern Presbyterian decries the use of organs in Presbyterian churches and vows never to speak in a church that has one. He discusses the theological reasons for holding to a strict non-instrumentalist position.

A Reply to Morton on Psalmody: To Which is Added A Condensed Argument for the Exclusive Use of an Inspired Psalmody.-1851-Robert J. Dodds (1824-1870).-This is the last salvo in a series of 19th century books on the war over exclusive psalmody amongst various groups of Presbyterians. Dodds takes up the cause of God and truth against hymn singer George Morton and examines the merits of his criticisms on John T. Pressly's work on behalf of Psalmody.

The Posture of Prayer, or God to be Worshipped with the Body as well as the Mind.-1851-Isaac Todd (1787-1886).-Todd, who pastored the Presbyterian churches in Troy, PA, and Hollmanville, NJ, discusses the proper posture to be assumed in the public prayer of the church and why together with notes on various postures that may be used by the people of God. 

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.

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.

An Apology for the Book of Psalms, in Five Letters.-1852-Gilbert McMaster.-A comprehensive view of the benefits of the use of the Psalms in the worship of God together with the importance of retaining them in order to bring genuine ecclesiastical union and communion.

Liturgies, Instrumental Music and Architecture.-1855-Thomas E. Peck (1822-1893).-This article was written to explain why it is that Presbyterians reject pomp and circumstance in the worship of God. It is a helpful overview of the issue of liturgies, music instruments and the often little considered matter of church architecture.

General Principles Touching the Worship of God.-1855-Thomas E. Peck (1822-1893).-Another essay examining the Regulative principle of worship and addressing the issue of musical instruments in more detail.

Evils in the Churches No. 6—Services at the Burial of the Dead.-1859-Anonymous.-This article discusses many of the practices that have crept into Presbyterian churches regarding the burial of the dead. The anonymous author writes in support of the provisions of the Westminster Directory and against these evils.

Discourse on Scripture Psalmody in Praising God; and Against Instrumental Music in Public Worship.-1859-Hugh Brown (1810-1888).-Two discourse on purity of worship. The first examines and defends the exclusive use of the inspired Psalms in the praise of the church; the second explains why the use of instrumental music in the worship of God is not warranted under the New Testament.

Ancient and Modern Mode of Singing the Psalms.-1862-Anonymous.-An article from The Associate Presbyterian, an North American Anti-burgher Seceder magazine, which canvasses the history of psalm singing in an effort to determine the mode in which the church has always sung Psalms.

The Organ Question.-1868-W. Robertson.-This pamphlet is the substance of two lectures given in connection with the agitation by some in order to introduce an organ into the worship of God.  In 1873, five years after these lectures, the pro-organ party carried the day and an organ was introduced into the worship of Coupland Street United Presbyterian Church, Manchester, England. Mr. Robertson's work is a testimony against this outrage.

The Dedication of Churches.-1869-Anonymous.-An excellent short article on the practice of dedicating churches which speaks to some of the reasons adduced as well as explaining why Reformed Presbyterians do not use this rite.

A Discourse on Instrumental Music in Public Worship.-1871-Robert Johnson (1810-1879).-A extremely well reasoned defense of the anti-instrumentalist position in which he engages several well known objections and examines the plausibility of the arguments of those who would introduce these instruments into the worship of God.

Are Hymns Idols?-1874-Anonymous.-An article taken from the Reformation Advocate magazine which asks a much needed question about hymns and why they are so difficult for people to abandon in order to sing the inspired 150 Psalms collected in the Bible's hymnal.

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.

Continuous Singing in the Ordinary Public Worship of God,-ca. 1885-David Steele.-A defense of the practice of lining in the singing of the Psalms. Mr. Steele explains how the principle of charity ought to work in the public worship of the church.

Dedication of Churches.-1885-Thomas Sproull.-A short examination of the unbiblical and anti-confessional practice of dedicating of church buildings. Sproull gives a short series of reasons for rejecting this as a relic of popery and unreformed.

Exposition of the Psalms.-1887-Thomas Sproull.-An excellent lecture on the practice of giving an exposition to the Psalms that are sung in the congregation. In this exercise, the first Psalm to be sung in congregational worship was usually chosen for an extended exposition that sometimes lasted as long as the sermon (from 20 minutes to nearly an hour). In this way, people are encouraged to sing with the understanding as well as the Spirit.

Girardeau's "Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church."-1888-Robert L. Dabney (1820-1898).-A review wherein Dabney not only praises Girardeau's book but he adds a number of keen observations and insights into why instrumental music should be kept out of the public worship of God.

Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church.-1888-John L. Girardeau (1825-1898)-This is one of the more thorough discussions of the question of the use of musical instruments in the worship of God.

The Worship of the Church.-ca. 1890-Thomas E. Peck (1822-1893).-Outlines and notes from class lectures on the principles of worship with some considerations on the theological underpinnings of the Regulative Principle of Worship.

Moral Obligation of the Tithe.-1890-Thomas E. Peck (1822-1893).-A Southern Presbyterian discusses the question of tithing and demonstrates that the tithe is connected to Old Testament usages which have been abolished with the coming of the Gospel.

The Scriptural Doctrines Violated by Ritualism.-1895-James Kerr.-An address given in 1894, at the National Protestant Congress, warning that ritualism in worship is contrary to the Regulative principle and subversive of Protestant doctrine.

The Case Against the Choir.-1896-J. M'N.-An article from the Free Presbyterian Magazine that explains why Protestants, especially Presbyterians, should eschew the use of choirs in the worship of God.

Ten Reasons Why the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church Adheres to the Exclusive Use of the Inspired Psalter in the Worship of God.-1900-John T. Chalmers (1860-1902).-Mr. Chalmers explains the principles, merit and authority behind the exclusive use of the Psalms in the public worship of the people of God in easy to understand language and drawing clear conclusions.