The administration of the ordinance of baptism and the Lord’s supper – J.C. Philpot

Posted in 2011 on Feileadh Mor. 

“As far as the administration of the ordinance of baptism is concerned, we have no doubt in our own mind that it is perfectly scriptural for any member of the church, say, for instance, the deacon, to administer such, where the place of the pastor is vacant.

As “all things are to be done decently and in order,” we give the preference of course to a minister of the gospel wbere his services can be procured, but we have no superstitious idea that it is indispensable to obtain them.

Both Peter and Paul (Acts 10:48, 1 Corinthians 1:14-17,) seem to have entrusted to others, most probably to what are called in ecclesiastical language “laymen”, the administration of baptism; and Philip, who was only a deacon certainly baptized the Samaritan converts.

And the wisdom and foreknowledge of the Holy Ghost seem to have been in these instances specially manifested.

The arrogant assumptions of the clergy, in which the essence of Popery exists, were foreseen, and foreprovided against by these instances left on record in the New Testament, Were there no example of Baptism or of the Lord’s Supper having been administered by other than the apostles, what strength would it have given to Rome’s arrogant claims, and to her daughter the Church of England’s no less bold pretensions, thaI the ordinances, or, as they term them, the sacraments, can only be administered by priestly hands.

And as there is a strong tendency in the modern dissenting priesthood to set up a similar claim, we are glad to take this opportunity of protesting against it, and of asserting the liberty of the churches.

As to sending for “an ordained minister,” the party that proposes that step should, to be thoroughly consistent, go a step further, and send for a Catholic priest.

If a man be sent of God to preach the gospel, he wants no ordination from man; and if God has not sent him into the vineyard, not all the ordination of man can make him a minister.

As Rushton well remarks, in the book which we lately reviewed, dissenting ordination “is but a pitiful imitation of the original. In the Church of Rome the dominion of an anti-christian priesthood appears in all its grandeur, but ours (dissenting ordination) has neither antiquity nor splendour to snpport it. ‘Theirs,’ says the ingenious Robinson, ‘is nature in the theatre of the metropolis; we are strollers, uttering bombast, in cast-off finery, in a booth at a fair’.”

Dissenting ordinations are, indeed, but a poor third-hand-mimicry, borrowed from the Church of England, which copied them from Rome.

We have spoken somewhat decidedly on this subject, as much of the clerical assumption of “Reverend,” wearing of robes in the pulpit, and other arts of priestcraft are clearly traceable to these dissenting ordinations, and are strongly stamped on some of our most zealous declaimers against popery, who do not see how inconsistently they act in condemning Rome when dressed out in her rags, and in protesting against her principles, when one of her strongest, the monarchical character of the priesthood, is manifested in all they say and do.

As we have in a previous number expressed our sentiments concerning the administration of the Lord’s Supper, we need not here repeat them. Suffice it to say, that we consider it quite scriptural for any member of a Gospel Church to break bread to the rest, their consent being obtained, where there is no Pastor.”

By J.C. Philpot and John M’Kenzie – 1842

The Life of Religion

heartCommunion with Jesus is the life of religion, and indeed without it religion is but an empty name. If without him we can do nothing; if he is our life, our risen covenant Head, our Advocate with the Father, our Husband, our Friend, our Brother, how are we to draw sap out of his fullness, as the branch from the vine, or to know him personally and experimentally in any one of his endearing relationships, unless by continual communion with him on his throne of grace?

In fact, this is the grand distinguishing point between the living and the dead, between the true child of God and the mere professor, that the one has real union and communion with a risen Jesus and the other is satisfied with a form of godliness. Every quickened soul is made to feel after the power of God, after communion from above, after pardon and peace, after visitations of mercy and grace; and when he has had a view of Christ by faith, and some revelation of his Person and work, grace and glory, nothing afterwards can ever really satisfy him but that inward communion of spirit with Jesus whereby the Lord and he become one; “for he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” 1Co 6:17 – J. C. Philpot

Union with Christ

philpotYou will observe, then, that when the apostle speaks of these Corinthian believers as being “in Christ Jesus, ” he intends thereby to set forth their personal standing in the Son of God under two distinct points of view:

1. As originating in eternity;

2. As taking place in time. In other words, every believer has a twofold union with Christ; one from all eternity, which we may call, an eternal, or election-union; the other in time, through the Spirit s operation in his heart, which we may call a time, or regeneration-union. Let us attempt to unfold these two kinds of union separately.

1. Every soul, then, that ever had, has now, or ever will have a standing in Christ, had this standing in Him from all eternity. Just in the same way as the vine, according to the Lord s own figure, puts forth the branches out of the stem; not a single branch comes out of the stock but what previously was in the stock: so, not a single soul comes manifestatively into spiritual existence which had not first an invisible and eternal union with the Son of God. This eternal, immanent, and invisible union with the Person of Christ, God blessed his people with before all worlds, by his eternal purpose, and according to his own eternal counsel.

2. Now, out of this eternal and immanent union springs the second union that we have spoken of, which is a time union -a union in grace: a vital union betwixt a living soul and a living Head. Until the Lord quickens elect vessels of mercy they have eternal union, but they have not time union. Their eternal union never can be altered: that never can be dissolved: that accompanies them all through their unregenerate state: but their vital, spiritual, and experimental union takes place in time, through the teaching, and under the operations of the blessed Spirit.

But what a mercy it is for God’s people that before they have a vital union with Christ, before they are grafted into him experimentally, they have an eternal, immanent union with him before all worlds. It is this eternal union that brings them into time existence. It is by virtue of this eternal union that they come into the world at such a time, at such a place, from such parents, under such circumstances, as God has appointed. It is by virtue of this eternal union that the circumstances of their time-state are ordained. By virtue of this eternal union they are preserved in Christ before they are called; they cannot die till God has brought about a vital union with Christ. Whatever sickness they may pass through, whatever injuries they may be exposed to, whatever perils assault them on sea or land, fall they will not, fall they cannot, till God s purposes are executed in bringing them into a vital union with the Son of his love. Thus, this eternal union watched over every circumstance of their birth, watched over their childhood, watched over their manhood, watched over them till the appointed time and spot, when “the God of all grace,” according to his eternal purpose, was pleased to quicken their souls, and thus bring about an experimental union with the Lord of life and glory.

But this time union, this vital, experimental union, we may speak of also under two distinct points of view.

– J. C. Philpot

Philpot on Gill’s Commentary

philpotFor a sound, consistent, scriptural exposition of the word of God, no commentary, we believe, in any language can be compared with Dr. Gill’s. There may be commentaries on individual books of Scripture, which may surpass Dr. Gill’s in depth of research and fullness of exposition: and the great work from which Poole compiled his Synopsis may be more suitable to scholars and divines, as bringing together into one focus all the learning of those eminent men who in the 16th century devoted days and nights to the study and interpretation of the word of God. But for English readers there is no commentary equal to Dr. Gill’s. His alone of all we have seen is based upon consistent, harmonious views of divine truth, without turning aside to the right hand or the left. It is said of the late Mr. Simeon, of Cambridge, that his plan of preaching was, if he had what is called an Arminian text, to preach from it Arminianism, and if he took a Calvinistic text, to preach from it Calvinism. Not so Dr. Gill. He knew nothing about Arminian texts, or Arminian interpretations. He believed that the Scripture, as an inspired revelation from God, must be harmonious and consistent with itself, and that no two passages could so contradict each other as the doctrines of free will contradict the doctrines of grace. The exhortation of the apostle is, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.” (Rom. 12:6.) This apostolic rule was closely followed by Dr. Gill. “The proportion,” or as the word literally means, “analogy of faith,” was his rule and guide in interpreting the Scripture; and, therefore, as all his explanations were modeled according to the beautiful proportions of divine truth as received by faith, so every view disproportionate to the same harmonious plan was rejected by him as God-dishonoring, inconsistent, and contradictory. It is this sound, consistent, harmonious interpretation of divine truth which has stamped a peculiar weight and value on Dr. Gill’s Commentary, such as no other exposition of the whole Scripture possesses.

But besides this indispensable qualification, it has other excellent qualities.gill

1. An interpreter of the word of God should have a deep and well-grounded knowledge of the languages in which the Scriptures were originally written. This Dr. Gill undoubtedly possessed. His knowledge of Hebrew, in particular, was deep and accurate, and his acquaintance with the Rabbinical writers, that is, the Jewish expositors of the Old Testament, was nearly unparalleled. Indeed, he has almost overlaid his Commentary too much with his vast and almost cumbrous Rabbinical learning, and seems to have given it more place and attached to it more value than it really deserves.

2. Another striking and admirable feature of this Commentary is, the condensation of thought and expression throughout. Dr. Gill possessed a rare and valuable gift,—that of packing. He will sometimes give four or five explanations of a difficult passage; but his words are so few and well chosen, and the meaning so condensed, that he will pack in three or four lines what most writers would swell to half a page, and then not be half so full, clear, or determinate. His Commentary has thus become full of ideas and germs of thought, which, by-the-bye, has made it such a storehouse for parsonic thieves; for the Doctor has in half a dozen lines furnished many a sermon with all the ideas it ever had worth a straw, and has given the two or three grains of gold which, under the pulpit hammer, have been beaten out to last an hour.

3. Another striking feature, in our judgment, of this admirable Commentary is the sound sense and great fairness of interpretation which pervade it. Dr. Gill possessed that priceless gift, a sound, sober mind. His judgment in divine things was not only clear and decisive, but eminently characterized by solidity and sobriety. This preserved him from all wild enthusiastic flights of imagination, as well as from that strong temptation of experimental writers and preachers,—fanciful interpretation. He never runs a figure out of breath, nor hunts a type to death; nor does he find deep mysteries in “nine and twenty knives,” or Satan bestriding the old man of sin in Balaam and his donkey.

4. The fullness of the Commentary is another noticeable feature in Dr. Gill’s Exposition. Most commentators skip over all the difficult passages. They bring you very nicely and comfortably over all the smooth ground; but just as you come to the marsh and the bog, where a few stepping stones and a friendly hand to help you over them would be acceptable, where is your companion? Gone. Lost himself, perhaps, in the bog; at any rate, not at hand to render any help. And where are the stepping stones he promised to put down? There is hardly one to be seen; or, if there be an attempt at any, they are too small, few, or wide apart to be of the least service. To one who has any insight into the word of truth, how empty, meager, and unsatisfactory are nearly all commentaries. The really difficult passages are skipped over, or by confused attempts at explanation made more difficult than before. Their views of doctrine are confused or contradictory. The sweet vein of experience in the word is never touched upon or brought to light; and even the letter of truth is garbled and mangled, or watered and diluted, until it is made to mean just nothing at all, or the very opposite of the sacred writer’s meaning. As dry as a chip, and as hard, stale, and tasteless as a forgotten crust in a corner, these miserable and abortive attempts at opening up the sacred word of God, instead of feeding you with honey out of the rock, will drain away every drop of life and feeling out of your soul, and leave you as barren and empty as if you had been attending a banter’s camp meeting, or hearing a trial sermon of a Cheshunt student as fresh from his theological tutor’s hand as his new gown. With all their learning, and with all their labor, they are as destitute of dew as the mountains of Gilboa; of life, as the Dead Sea; of unction and savor, as the shoes of the Gibeonites; and of power and profit as the rocks of Sinai.

5. There is at times a savor and sweetness in the Commentary of Dr. Gill which forms a striking contrast to these heaps of dead leaves. And this gives the crowning value to his exposition of the Scriptures.

By J. C. Philpot

A divine religion

philpotBy J. C. Philpot

Our great desire for ourselves in personal experience and in all that we bring before our readers, either as written by our own pen or that of others, is a faith which stands not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. We dearly love vital religion; we embrace, with all the affections of our heart, the power of God, as put forth in a sinner’s soul; we see more and more the deceitfulness and hypocrisy of a religion in the letter and in the flesh, and we see more and more the beauty and blessedness, the grace and glory of a revealed Christ, and of his divine kingdom set up in the heart. Husks and shells are all that the letter gives. Marrow, fatness, honey, milk, wine, yes, more, the very flesh and blood of the Lamb—this heavenly food in the eating and drinking of which is eternal life, the Holy Spirit gives to the hungry and thirsty saints of God, when he applies the living word with a divine power to their hearts.

Get, dear friends, a taste of the sweetness and blessedness of a divine religion, and it will kill you to all other. It will be a light in your understanding, to see the miserable end of a graceless profession; a life in your soul, to stir you up to seek more and more of the inward kingdom of God; a power in your affections, to fix them more on things above; and feeling in your conscience, to depart more and more from evil.

Poor & Needy

But I am poor and needy.

Psalm 40:17

kingstreetchathamkentontario

“What an honest confession! How suitable to the experience of every God-taught soul! Let us contrast this humble confession with the boast that fell from the lips of the Laodicean church—I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing! Mark the contrast! The dead, carnal, lifeless professor, boasting—I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing! The exercised, tried, tempted child of God, confessing, “But I am poor and needy.” The one, full of pride, and glorying in self! The other, broken, humble, contrite, and laid low at the footstool of mercy!” – J.C. Philpot

(A picture of King Street in Chatham, ON Canada taken around 7:30am this morning from a local coffee shop.)

Praise Him!

Rev. 4.1-3 “Where God is rightly seen, He will be seen exceeding stately and Glorious: O so wonderful! whom nothing can resemble, whom no tongue can express, nor eye behold, nor heart conceive! what were it to imagine thousands of mountains of the most previous stones imaginable, and thousands of Suns shining in their brightness? these are inconceivably short of God, and the Glory that is in Him; what an excellent happiness to be capacitate (to speak so) to know Him, as we are known of Him? Wonder and admire at Him, who is glorious in Holiness, fearful in Praises, doing wonders, terrible in Majesty, and in all perfections past finding out: To Him be praise for ever. Amen” – James Durahm, Commentary Upon The Book of the Revelation