Monday, October 19, 2009


One of the great features of Revival is the adding to the Church of people who have not grown up within the bosom of the church visible. The 1904-5 Revival was no exception. In his Reminiscences of My Country and People David Davies gives a few examples of the prayers of older people converted in this revival.

A farmer, aware that someone had been pilfering potatoes, prayed in family worship that God would convince the thief of his sin, saying 'Lord, Thou knowest well who he is! - I suspect, too!'

Another farmer, having lost £5 - then a considerable sum of money, prayed: "O Lord, thou knowest I have mislaid the £5, and Thou, too, knowest where they are - tell me. Lord, tell me, for Thou knowest where they are'. When this did not avail, he added 'If Thou hadst lost them, Lord, and I knew where they were, I would tell Thee'.

If this prayer had been uttered by one brought up in church or chapel, it would have been the very height of irreverence, but the old farmer had never before known God as Father. And, Davies remarks, the Father who knows us so well heard the prayer in the way it was meant, and answered it. "[H]e no sooner opened his eyes, and got up on his feet, than he placed his hand upon his mislaid treasure!"


John Calvin: By J.P. Struthers

[In commemmoration of the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, Free St George's is pleased to be able to reproduce the following article and its accompanying illustration from The Morning Watch Vol. 2. The Morning Watch was the children's magazine of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and was published from 1888 to 1915 under the editorship of Rev. J.P. Struthers of Greenock. The illustrations for the magazine were produced by the lady who eventually became Mrs. Struthers.]

You all know the name of John Calvin, but I am not sure that you have ever seen a picture of him before. You are far more likely to have seen one of Luther. Calvin was a very different man, and a great many people do not like him as well. They do not like him often because they do not like what is called ‘Calvinism.’ But Calvin would have been very sorry to hear his doctrines going by his name. He did not think them Calvinism, but Christianity. He found them in the Bible.

He was a Frenchman, and the ablest Frenchman who has ever lived. He was born in 1509, and so was just a little boy when Luther kindled the fire that ended in the Reformation. What Calvin had to do then was not to begin to protest against Popery, but to prove to the world that the religion of the Protestants was the religion of the Bible. Ignorant priests were telling the ignorant people that the New Testament was a wicked book that Luther had discovered, and with the new ideas that the Reformation was bringing into men’s minds there was a danger that they would be loosed from the superstition of the old Church without being won to the faith of the new. Calvin was brought by what he himself calls ‘a sudden conversion’ to the knowledge of Christ. Driven from Paris by persecution he came to Geneva, where, though he little thought it, his life work was to be done. Here he wrote, when he was only twenty-six, his great book, ‘The Institutes of the Christian Religion,’ perhaps the most powerful statement of the faith that has ever been given to the world.

Geneva was in a very corrupt state under Popery, and Calvin tried to reform it. He was so eager about the purity of the Church, kept godless people so strictly from the Lord’s Table, that he was driven from the city. But things there went from bad to worse. They could not get on without him, and so after three years they sent for him and brought him back in triumph. He became practically the ruler of the city for more than twenty years after this, till his death.

Luther pulled down the old fabric of Popery, but it was Calvin who built up and strengthened the new church. He was the master-mind, the statesman of the Reformation. Though he was the ruling influence in Geneva, he could not do everything as he wished it, and he has been held responsible for a great many things he could not hinder.

He studied and worked so hard that he hardly ever had a day’s health. He had many sorrows, he lost all his children young, and he had on him, like Paul, ‘the care of all the churches.’ But, often sad, and always ill, he wrote one of the greatest commentaries on the Bible, and was the guide and adviser of nearly all the Protestant leaders of the time. His great work, The Institutes, is divided into four parts, and yet the ‘heads’ of it all are Christ and His Church. He gathers everything round God and the love of Christ.

Calvin lies buried in Geneva, but we cannot be certain of his grave, for he ordered that no monument should mark it. This was like the man. The motto of his books, and of his life, might very fitly be, ‘To Thy Name be all the glory.”

J.P. Struthers: The Morning Watch Vol. 2 (Greenock, James M’Kelvie and Sons, 1889) Pp. 55-6

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

'What You Can Remember'

'History', as readers of 1066 and All That, know, 'is not what you thought. It is what you can remember'. The same may be said of the Bible, at least in connection with Sunday School. Here, courtesy of the Cardiff Times of 4 August, 1900, are a few specimens showing that the fall has affected the human memory.

Q. Why was Jerusalem surrounded by walls?
A. To keep in the milk and honey.

Q. What is manna?
A. Please, Sir, it's taking your hat off to the master and missus.

Q. Where did Cain go after he had slain Abel?
A. To bed. [Cain went to the Land of Nod.]

Q. What is the Fourth Commandment?
A. Six days shalt thy neighbour do all that thou hast to do.

"We know that St. Peter was crucified upside-down because he mentions it in several of his epistles".

"It is cruel to cut off dogs' tails as some wicked men do, for what God has joined together let no man put asunder".


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Martyn Lloyd-Jones - The Lord's Supper guards Doctrine

I am currently preaching on the early chapters of the Book of Acts in the mornings at Bethel Evangelical Church, Hanley. While doing preparation for a sermon on the latter part of Acts 2, I came across this Lloyd-Jones quote in his Authentic Christianity:

“So the Lord’s Supper was not just the idea of the apostles, not something conjured up by the Church, but it was a solemn command of the Lord. Why did He command them to keep it? And here is a most significant thing. I believe he gave this command in order to preserve the doctrine, it is a kind of display of the truth, and our Lord wanted to preserve the truth throughout the centuries until the end of the Christian era.
“What a wonderful thing this has been! This table with its bread and wine has often been a terrible condemnation of the pulpit. Men have entered pulpits and said that Jesus was only a man, that he was nothing more than a moral exemplar and a good teacher. They have said that his death was the death of a pacifist, that it was a great tragedy and that we must imitate his spirit and live in the same way. They have preached like that in pulpits and then they have gone down to the Communion table, and there has been no connection between their preaching and the message of that Communion service. The Communion table, the broken bread and the poured out wine, has been preaching a message.
“And so, because of men and their fallibility – and we are all fallible – the Lord took a step to preserve the truth, the doctrine. And if you want to know how to test modern teaching and modern preaching, here is your test: what relationship does it bear to the bread and the wine? Does it lead to that? Is the Communion service a demonstration of the message that has been preached? If it is not, the message has been false. Here is the Lord’s own command and he has commanded it in order to preserve the teaching.”

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: Authentic Christianity Vol. 1 (Edinburgh, Banner of Truth, 1999) Pp. 159-160

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ticking over

More about John Calvin at Calvin 500

Just a little bit of fun passed on by James White at Alpha and Omega Ministries.

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