November 20, 2019
Human Nature in its Fourfold State

Human Nature in its Fourfold State by Thomas Boston – A Book Review

In May 1708, toward the beginning of his ministry in Ettrick, Thomas Boston began to preach on man’s fourfold state, as he had done before in Simprin. Ever an observer of Providence, Boston noted that “The conduct of Providence in leading to a second attempt on that subject, was the more remarkable, considering what the same Providence had designed it for, unknown to and unlooked for by me, till the event discovered itself years after. And preaching of these sermons of the Fourfold State, through the mercy of God, was not in vain” (Memoirs of Thomas Boston, 227). The eventual […]
November 13, 2019
scottish highlands

Eminent Highland Preachers

“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance, as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake” (1 Thess. 1:5). Of all the catastrophes known to man, few evoke scenes of greater horror in the hearts of God’s people than the prospects of a famine of the Word. Preaching holds an indispensable place in God’s economy. Believers know that their spiritual vitality depends on the food delivered from the pulpit by God. In Christ’s words: “Man shall not live by […]
November 6, 2019
Man meditating

The Lost Art of Meditation

The reading and preaching of the Word of God is to be central in the life of a believer. We are to be like the blessed man of Psalm 1 whose “delight is in the Law of the LORD” (verse 2), but if we stop at simply reading and hearing the Word, we will not profit as much as we should. The psalmist also meditated in the law “day and night” and this was key to his fruitfulness (verse 3). The church will greatly benefit from recovering this lost art of meditation. The Difficulty of Meditation Meditation is serious, prolonged, […]
October 2, 2019
The Happy Man

The Happy Man

“Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11). The Bible grounds true happiness in gospel holiness. The most holy people are the most happy people – because they are most like God and live most in his presence. The two stand and fall together; man must have both or neither. Any attempt to sever what God has joined together produces a shallow satisfaction that proves dishonoring to Christ and dismal to the soul. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a […]
September 11, 2019
Bible open to 2 Corinthians

The LORD Our Righteousness: The Old Perspective on Paul

The LORD Our Righteousness; The Old Perspective on Paul. Obadiah Grew (1607-1689). Soli Deo Gloria 2005. 102pp. The New Perspective on Paul advocated by authors such as N. T. Wright has caused intrigue and concern in the church over the last few decades. It is a view that considers the Apostle Paul’s teaching to be in general agreement with first century Judaism’s idea of salvation, in which a man’s personal works contribute to his acceptance before God. Paul’s quarrel with the law in Epistles like Galatians was chiefly to do with Jewish pride, a false view of their national status […]
August 28, 2019
family worship

Mr. Brown’s Dying Advices to His Younger Children

The following letter was penned by John Brown of Haddington (1722-1787), who served as a Scottish Presbyterian minister in the Associate Synod, to his young children as he lay on his deathbed. It portrays a God-fearing father bequeathing a spiritual inheritance to his sons and daughters – and to us, his spiritual heirs. Let us heed his advice and follow his example. My Dear Children, Believing that God hath made with me, and with my seed after me, his everlasting covenant, to be a God to me and to my seed, I did, in your baptism, and often since, and […]
July 17, 2019
Gravestones in an old church cemetary.

Raised up With the Selfsame Bodies

The doctrine of our Confession of Faith concerning the resurrection of the dead is, in part, that “all the dead shall be raised up, with the selfsame bodies and none other, although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their souls forever” (Chap. 32.3). There is much that is profitable to consider simply in the statement that the dead shall be raised up “with the selfsame bodies and none other.” The same body that is fearfully and wonderfully knit together in one’s mother’s womb, preserved through the course of one’s life (with its very hairs numbered by God), […]
June 26, 2019
William Guthrie, The Christian's Great Interest

The Christian’s Great Interest by William Guthrie – A Book Review

The Lord Jesus Christ, the great Physician, has, through the centuries, raised up under himself faithful physicians of souls. One of these was William Guthrie (1620-1669), who left behind but one book, The Christian’s Great Interest as evidence of his skill as a physician of souls. It is said that John Owen on one occasion produced a small gilded copy of Guthrie’s book from his pocket and declared, “that author I take to have been one of the greatest divines that ever wrote. … I have written several folios, but there is more divinity in it than in them all.” […]
May 16, 2019
Satisfied with bread

Christ Feeds His Poor Saints in Zion

“I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.” Psalm 132:15 Psalm 132 has its context in God’s Covenant with David and looks back to his desire to build a house for the LORD v3-5. This noble wish was denied to him but granted to his son Solomon and later this Psalm was penned as a ‘Song of Degrees’ to be sung by the pilgrim Israelite as he travelled to Jerusalem to keep the appointed feasts in the Temple. They sang of God’s choice of Zion to be his dwelling place v13, and of their longing […]
May 1, 2019
The Threefold Division of the Law

The Threefold Division of Law

Traditionally there has been recognized a threefold division or categorization of biblical law. For a contemporary study on this, the reader is encouraged to consult From the Finger of God: The Biblical and Theological Basis for the Threefold Division of the Law by Philip S. Ross. The division is customarily recognized by the terms moral, ceremonial, and judicial laws, for example see chapter 19 of the Confession. Such a threefold division is not at all original to the Reformed tradition. Lutherans, including Luther himself, Anglicans and Roman Catholics employ such a distinction. This distinction is important in and of itself […]
April 10, 2019
Praying Always

Praying Always by Frans Bakker – A Book Review

Praying Always. By Frans Bakker. Translated by Cornelis and Fredrika Pronk. Reprinted 2011. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1987. 114 pages. “Prayer is the breath of the soul.” So writes Frans Bakker in his book, Praying Always. What is more precious to the body than breath? If it ceases, the body dies. It is one of the most basic evidences of life, being essential for life to continue. Prayer is the same for the soul. It is vital. Bakker writes to persuade us of this. He also writes to diagnose underlying problems, encourage the weak-hearted, and draw us before […]
April 3, 2019
Covenanters in a Glen

Despise Not Prophesyings

“Despise not prophesyings,” we are commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:20. The despising of prophesyings is a serious sin, as illustrated by the brazen actions of Jehoiakim, who cut the scroll of Jeremiah’s prophecies three or four leaves at a time and cast it into the fire. (Jer. 36:23) But is there any danger of committing this sin today, and who is in danger of doing so? As one who believes that the office and gift of revelatory prophecy have ceased since the completion of the canon of Scripture, the present author also believes that the despising of prophesyings is a […]