March 25, 2020

Responding to the Present Alarm

The alarm is blaring. Men hit snooze, some cover their ears, others panic, aimlessly running around with anxiety. The alarm continues. The global advent of COVID-19 has arrested the attention of our world. Even those who consider this to be nothing more than fearmongering are unable to ignore this news. It is beyond my calling to comment on the medical side of current illness and its progress. Certainly, I encourage all to observe prudence, love of others, and honor of those in authority—civil, medical, and ecclesiastical. It becomes us to give honor to those above us. But I would like […]
March 4, 2020

Bringing Others to Jesus

In Mark 1:16–20, Jesus approached Peter, Andrew, James and John, and called them from their profession as fishermen to a new task of being “fishers of men.” Jesus would send them to draw people out of the darkness of sin and Satan by throwing out the net of the Gospel to catch men. This should be fundamental to our view of the ministerial calling. God makes ministers “fishers of men.” To change the analogy, they are ambassadors of Christ the King, and in his name they beseech men to be reconciled to God. Christians in general too are to be […]
February 19, 2020
What do the sacraments do?

What Do the Sacraments Do?

The word sacrament is a term used to describe the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which the Lord Jesus Christ appointed to be observed in the New Testament church. The word itself was used in first century culture to describe a Roman military oath of allegiance, and as such, it expresses one idea behind these ordinances, which is that Christ binds himself to us, and we bind ourselves to him in them. Sacraments in the Bible are more than this, however, and there have been many disagreements in history over what they do and how they do it. […]
December 18, 2019
Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Living Between Two Worlds

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it . . . and the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel . . .” (Dan. 1:1-3). Daniel stands on the crossroads between two disparate worlds. Behind him he casts his mind’s eye to the holy city, the source of his identity and citizenship. Signposts of God’s previous acts of deliverance mark nearly every step of the way traversed out of Israel. The temple, a symbol […]
December 11, 2019
dark storm clouds

I Will Go in the Strength of the Lord

Robert Blair (1593–1666) was a notable Scottish minister in the first half of the seventeenth century. Blair was born in Irvine, in 1593 and was brought up under the ministry of David Dickson in the town. He studied in the University of Glasgow from 1611 and later became the regent of the college. In 1616 he was licensed to preach the Gospel, at a time when it was becoming more difficult to hold to Presbyterian principles. In 1622 Blair resigned from the university and moved to Ulster, where he was ordained to the ministry in Bangor, County Down. His ministry […]
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), […]