A view from the inside of old Sandy Creek Primitive Baptist Church.
One of my favourite hymns from Gadsby’s, #405.
‘Twixt Jesus and the Chosen Race
Subsists a bond of sov’reign grace,
That hell, with its infernal train,
Shall ne’er dissolve, or rend in twain.
This sacred bond shall never break,
Though earth should to her center shake;
Rest, doubting saint, assured of this,
For God has pledged His holiness.
He swore but once the deed was done;
‘Twas settled by the great Three One;
Christ was appointed to redeem
All that the Father loved in Him.
Hail, sacred union, firm and strong
How great thy grace, how sweet the song,
That rebel worms should ever be
One with incarnate Deity!
One in the tomb, one when He rose,
One when he triumphed o’er His foes
One when in heav’n He took His seat,
While seraphs sung at hell’s defeat.
Blessed by the wisdom and the grace,
Th’ eternal love and faithfulness,
That’s in the gospel scheme revealed,
And is by God the Spirit sealed.
By John Kent, 1887.
How the mind causes our thoughts to wander:
The arrogance of the mind alienates us from the life of God, and from communion with him. When a present and appropriate petition or instruction is conveyed through the ear into the understanding, it shamelessly plays therewith, and takes occasion to run out on some contiguous notion; and from that to another and at length rests and dwells on some strange and unusual point, till the gates of good Spirit, and the present matter has ended. And thus by a default in the understanding, we seek not God, Psalm 53.2[i], nor find him as we might; and that excellent faculty, which would penetrate into the divine mysteries, and should guide the will and heart unto God, by the deceptiveness of its unmortified vanity, mislead us from the chief good, and entangles us in distractions. We read of a “defilement of body and spirit,” 2 Corinthians 7.1[ii], whereof surely this is a part, and must be cleansed in them that will “perfect holiness in the fear of God.” – Rev. Richard Steele (I’ve updated the language. Any words in italics have been altered.)
[i] “God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.”
[ii] “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. “
A quote from the article:
“Many have rediscovered the beauty of Anglican worship and been surprised by the strong Reformation doctrines that permeate the Book of Common Prayer and its Thirty-Nine Articles. The Anglican Reformers of the 16th century were closely linked with the continental Reformers, and Thomas Cranmer—martyr and author of the first Anglican prayer book—was not only greatly influenced by Calvin and Bucer, but also married the niece of Luther’s disciple Osiander.”
Read the rest here.
Some encouragement I found on a forum.
- Prayer (Matthew 6:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2; Acts 6:4)
- Meditation (Philippians 4:8; Psalms 119:97; Psalms 1:2; Joshua 1:8)
- Fasting (Matthew 6:16-18; Luke 5:35)
- Study (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- Scripture Memorization (Colossians 3:16; Psalms 119:11; Psalms 119:16)
- Simplicity (1 Thessalonians 4:11; Philippians 4:11; Matthew 6:33)
- Silence (Psalms 62:5; Psalms 46:10; James 1:19)
- Solitude (Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Mark 6:31; Luke 5:15)
- Submission (Ephesians 5:21; Mark 8:34-35; Luke 22:42)
- Service (Mark 10:45; John 13:12-17; 1 Peter 4:10)
- Giving (Matthew 5:42; Matthew 6:19-21; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8; Deuteronomy 16:17)
- Fellowship (Hebrews 10:24-25; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 14:26)
- Celebration (John 15:11; Philippians 4:4)
- Worship (Matthew 4:10; John 4:23-24)
“It’s not whether we will have a liturgy, but which liturgy we will have.”
Jordan Cooper is a Lutheran Pastor and pod-caster, in his video “The Five Benefits of Liturgical Worship,” he makes some excellent points.
- Full of scripture – As a guy attending a Book of Common Prayer service every Lord’s Day I can say yes, the service is FULL of scripture. Cranmer did a wonderful job of reforming the ancient liturgies back to their scriptural foundations. Check out The Order for the Administration of The Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion. I spoke with a Lutheran Minster in a LCMS parish and he mentioned that their liturgy was essentially Anglican.
- Heavenly worship is liturgical – Pastor Cooper points us to the book of Revelation where we find incense, robes, the altar, chair, Elders/Priests, the unrolling of the scroll/liturgy of he word, hymns, trice Holy, kneeling/prostration, etc. It’s all there. (Rev. 1:1-2, 4:1, 4, 8, 5:1, 7, 7:9, 8:3, 14:1, 15:3, etc)
- It is historic – There can be no denying the historic Church used liturgies throughout its long history.
- It is not led by emotion – True, liturgy doesn’t change to suit emotions, rather, it changes us and our emotions. During the Lenten season I would often leave for Church at 8 am with a bad attitude, grumbling about lack of sleep, etc. but once the liturgy started and the scriptures and collects were read, once we prayed together, my bad attitude would change. When I leave worship my spirit is always light and I’m ready for a weeks worth of challenges.
- It is Catholic or Universal – This is one that I couldn’t ignore. After spending only a short time reading the early church fathers liturgical worship is undeniable. You could not worship in a Church anywhere before the Reformation that didn’t use a liturgy of some kind. There was no “free church.”
A recent publication I’ve yet to get my hands on is Reformed Worship by Gibson and Earngey. In this work we find 26 Reformed liturgies. If you have already read this title please leave a comment below telling us what you thought of it.
Just one more thing, Calvin’s Liturgies
|Calvin’s Liturgies: Strassburg and Geneva|
|Strassburg, 15||Geneva, 1542|
|The Liturgy of the Word|
|Confession of sins||Confession of sins|
|Scriptural words of pardon||Prayer for pardon|
sung with Kyrie eleison
after each Law
|Collect for Illumination||Collect for Illumination|
|The Liturgy of the Upper Room|
|Collection of alms||Collection of alms|
|Lord’s Prayer in long paraphrase||Lord’s Prayer in long paraphrase|
|Preparation of elements while
Apostles’ Creed sung
|Preparation of elements while
Apostles’ Creed sung
|Words of Institution||Words of Institution|
psalm or Scriptures read
|Post-communion collect||Post-communion collect|
|Nunc dimittis in meter|
|Aaronic Blessing||Aaronic Blessing|
Yours in the Lord,
John Gill on true internal worship, “…the subject I am upon I consider it as an assemblage of graces, as containing the whole of grace in the heart, the exercise of which is necessary to serve and worship God with reverence and godly fear (Heb. 12:28), and without this there can be no internal worship of God. This is no other than the inward devotion of the mind, a fervency of spirit in serving the Lord; it is a holy disposition of the soul towards God. This is qeosebeia, the true worship of God (1 Tim. 2:10), the ground and foundation of it, without which there can be none. This is “life and godliness”, or vital powerful godliness (2 Pet. 1:3), and “the things pertaining” to it are faith, hope, love, and every other grace, of which it consists, and in the exercise of which it lies, and in this is all internal religion and worship.”
On true and experimental religion, “Now as inward powerful godliness is, as has been seen, a disposition of the soul Godward, from whom all grace comes and to whom it tends, and as it is an assemblage of every grace, in the exercise of which all internal worship and experimental religion lies, I therefore begin with it, and shall in the following chapters consider the branches of it in which it opens; as the knowledge of God, repentance towards God, fear of him, faith and trust in him, the hope of things from him, love to him, joy in him, humility, self-denial, patience, submission, and resignation to the will of God, thankfulness for every mercy, with every other grace necessary to the worship of God, and which belongs to experimental religion and godliness.” (Practical Theology)
William Gurnall on carnal Christians who place their trust in themselves, their prayers, their religion, “When Satan tempts to sin, if he hath not presently a peaceable entrance, yet the resistance commonly made is carnal; the strength carnal they rest on, their own, not God’s; the motive’s carnal, as the fear of man more than of God; [as to which] one saith, ‘How shall I do this and sin against God?’ Many in their hearts say, How shall I do this and anger man, displease my master, provoke my parents, and lose the good opinion of my minister? Herod feared John, and did many things. Had he feared God, he would have laboured to have done everything. The like may be said of all other motives, which have their spring in the creature, not in God; they are armour which will not out-stand shot.”
And further, “A soul purely naked, nothing like the wedding garment on, he is speechless. The drunkard hath nothing to say for himself, when you ask him why he lives so swinishly; you may come up to him, and get within him, and turn the very mouth of his conscience upon him, which will shoot into him. But come to deal with one who prays and hears, one that is a pretender to faith and hope in God; here is a man in glittering armour, he hath his weapon in his hand, with which he will keep the preacher, and the word he chargeth him with, at arm’s length. Who can say I am not a saint? What duty do I neglect? Here is a breastwork he lies under, which makes him not so fair a mark either to the observation or reproof of another; his chief defect being within, where man’s eye comes not. Again, it is harder to work on him, because he hath been tampered with already, and miscarried in the essay. How comes such a one to be acquainted with such duties—to make such a profession? Was it ever thus? No, the word hath been at work upon him, his conscience hath scared him from his trade of wickedness, into a form of profession, but, taking in short of Christ, for want of a thorough change, it is harder to remove him than the other.” (The Christian in Complete Armour)
(edited to add a note I found on Wiki: “The writing style is akin to that of the King James Bible, so in 1988 [Banner of Truth Trust] did a revised and abridged version in contemporary English.” The edition published by Hendrickson is the one I’d recommend.)
George Ella wrote a short article on the Book of Common Prayer that I believe adds context to the situation in England before the Act of Toleration in 1689. It’s worth reading. I’ll include a quote from that article.
Liberty of worship for all but Anglicans
To preserve an image of general tolerance, the Commons passed a bill on October 13, 1647 declaring nation-wide liberty of worship, but added: ‘their indulgence shall not extend to tolerate the use of the Book of Common Prayer in any place whatsoever’. They then abolished celebrations of Christ’s birth, His atoning death and Pentecost. This direct blow against the Christian faith was hypocritically called, ‘Setting up Christ and the Kingdom’ and the great Scottish armies under Leslie, trained and hardened in the Thirty-Years War, were requested by Parliament to erase England’s former faith by force.
The King and Archbishop of Canterbury were martyred. Cromwell had Charles beheaded without a proper trial but Prynne, despite his forgeries, failed to gain a lethal verdict against Laud, so he appealed to the specially gathered lynch-mob outside the court who granted his wish.
After Charles’ murder, the bogus religious Liberty Act of February 1654/55 was passed promising protection for religious Dissidents. In real terms this meant, Church of England ministers caught preaching, administering the sacraments, or marrying persons were imprisoned for three to six months and banished if they persisted. Anglican ministers, college professors, fellows and teachers were forbidden to tutor students and children and their colleges and schools closed down. Commissioners and Triers for appointing preachers were called persecuting Inquisitors by Bishop Hall and Antony Sadler. Such was Baptist Cresset but Baptists Jessey and Thombes were occasionally prepared to shut an eye.
Hardliners deny these Mary-like persecutions claiming that only a fraction of 10,000 were ministers and scholars in England at the time. The statistics show that 9,000 pre-Commonwealth parishes at the Restoration were pastored by usurpers and many hundreds were without shepherds and hundreds of educational establishments and libraries had been shut down. Cromwell’s plans to finance reforms by monies extorted from the Irish failed as he and his officers whipped off the cream and the soldiers were paid in kind by plunder. Of the fourteen Cambridge churches alone, only St. Peter’s, St. Bene’t’s and St. Andrews had settled ministers; ten out of sixteen colleges were ransacked and left derelict. This was reflected nation-wide. Indeed, John Durie repeatedly petitioned Cromwell’s Councils claiming they were cultivating a race of uneducated atheists and England needed over 20,000 teaching ministers to fill gaps left by the troubles. Durie reckoned that this could be financed if Cromwell, his court and rich Dissenting friends would only donate the price of one meal a day to education.
Happily, Charles’ post-humus Eikon Basilike, or The King’s Sigh’, a description of Charles’ stalwart Church of England Protestant faith, ran into countless editions and helped to strengthen public opinion towards a return to Scriptural, Prayer Book worship. From 1655, England regained courage to defy the usurping Commonwealth government’s intolerance and Cromwell’s own stand radically changed. He became less dogmatic as he allied with Roman-Catholic France and Spain, guided by eschatological fantasies and William Lilly’s Christian Astrology. This scared the Continental Protestants as Cromwell had formerly offered them protection through diplomats Durie and Pell but now Cromwell’s Roman Catholic allies claimed huge Protestant parts of Germany, Holland, Bohemia and Switzerland as their reward. There is an intriguing pamphlet from the 1680s outlining Cromwell’s and James II’s flirt with Rome to the detriment of the Protestant cause. The brief reign of Richard Cromwell witnessed a further break-up of his father’s politico-religio-military system. (end quote)
To finish the article continue here.
Yours in the Lord,
LYRICS: John Leland (1754-1841)
“Rev. John Leland was born in Grafton, Mass., May 14, 1754. At the age of eighteen he passed through an experience not unlike that of John Bunyan, coming out gradually into the liberty of the gospel. Within a month after his conversion, in June, 1774, he made his first attempt at public speaking. Having connected himself with the church in Mount Poney, Culpeper Co., Va., he was ordained by the choice of the church. He preached from place to place, everywhere proclaiming “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Wonderful revivals everywhere followed the labors of Mr. Leland in Virginia. Hundreds came under the power of converting grace, and professed their faith in Christ. The summary of his labors during the fifteen years of his ministry in Virginia is thus recorded, — 3009 sermons preached, 700 persons baptized, and two large churches formed, one of 300 members, and another of 200.
Having finished the work which he thought his Master had given him to do in Virginia, Mr. Leland returned to his native State, and made his home for the most of the remainder of his life in Chesire, Mass. Here, and in the region about, the same power and the same success followed his ministry. He reports the whole number of persons whom he had baptized down to 1821 as 1352. “Some of them,” he says, “have been men of wealth and rank, and ladies of quality, but the chief part have been in the middle and lower grades of life. Ten or twelve of them have engaged to preach.” Missionary tours were made in almost every direction, and multitudes crowded to hear him. The story of the “mammoth cheese” sent by the people of Cheshire to President Jefferson belongs to this period. He was the bearer of the gift to Washington. “Mr. Jefferson,” remarks Rev. J. T. Smith, “Treated taking him with much deference, among other things taking him into the Senate chamber.” Year after year he went on doing that special work to which he believed the Lord had called him. “From seventy to beyond eighty years of age he probably averaged more sermons a week than most settled pastors.” And it is interesting to have the following recorded of him by one who could speak intelligently about him, “The large attendance on his preaching was as creditable to the hearers as to the preacher. A sensational preacher he was not, nor a mere bundle of eccentricities. The discriminating and thoughtful listened to him with the most interest and attention.” He was evidently “a born preacher.” The life of a settled pastor would have been irksome to him. He wanted freedom from all restraint, and to do his own work at his own time and in his own way.
In politics he was a Democrat of the Jeffersonian school, a hater of all oppression, whether civil or ecclesiastical. His warmest sympathies went out to his Baptist brethren in their efforts to secure a complete divorce of the Church from the State. Everywhere he pleaded with all the energy of his soul for civil and religious liberty, and he had the satisfaction of seeing it at last come out of the conflict victorious over all foes. Among the class of ministers whom God raised up during the last century to do the special work with it was given the Baptist denomination to perform, John Leland occupies a conspicuous place. We doubt if his equal will ever be seen again. Mr. Leland died Jan. 14, 1841.”
Source: The Baptist Encyclopedia, William Cathcart, editor, 1881; reprint, 1988, pp. 682-683
Oh, when shall I see Jesus,
And reign with Him above?
And from the flowing fountain
Drink everlasting love?
Oh had I wings,
I would fly away and be at rest,
And I’d praise God in His bright abode.
Whene’er you meet with troubles
And trials on your way,
Then cast your care on Jesus
And don’t forget to pray.
Gird on the gospel armor
Of faith and hope and love,
And when the combat’s ended,
He’ll carry you above.
Oh, do not be discouraged,
For Jesus is your friend;
And if you lack for knowledge,
He’ll not refuse to lend.
Neither will He upbraid you,
Though often you request;
He’ll give you grace to conquer,
And take you home to rest.
Enjoy your Friday,