BaptismZachary Crofton

Christ’s Stamp of Authority Checks Men’s Curiosity – Crofton

“Water is the outward sign, and matter of baptism. Water and no other element; pure water without popish mixture, or compostion with oil, cream, spittle, or the like. For this and this only element the Lord appointed; and his appointment stamps on the use of it, Dignity and Authority; and justly checks the curiosity of such as are subject to contemn the simplicity of the element, and advance the dignity of the ordinance by their own dull, but daring inventions: And yet water being an element, cooling heat, quenching thirst, of common use, and easy purchase, and cleaning all filthiness; doth fitly represent unto our minds the cooling and refreshing efficacy, the plenty and easy purchase, together with the purifying property of the blood of Christ.” The Rev. Zachary Crofton (The Vertue and Value of Baptism. London, 1663. p. 6)

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George SwinnockPilgrim's Progress

Swinnock: Death a Poor Trade Amongst Saints

Death among saints drives but a poor trade; it may destroy the body, and when that is done, it hath done all its feats; like a fierce mastiff whose teeth are broken out, it may bark and tear thy tattered coat, but cannot bite to the bone. This bee fastened her sting in Christ’s blessed body, and is ever since a drone to his members. George Swinnock, Works, vol. 3, p. 451

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Pilgrim's ProgressSamuel Rutherford

Rutherford: In Ye Must Be, Cost You What it Will

[T]ake pains to climb up to that besieged house to Christ; for devils, men, and armies of temptations are lying about the house, to hold out all that are out, and it is taken with violence. It is not a smooth and easy way, neither will your weather be fair and pleasant; but whosoever hath seen the invisible God, and the fair City, makes no reckoning of losses or crosses. In ye must be, cost you what it will. Stand not for a price, and for all that ye have, to win the castle. The rights to it are won to you, and it is disponed to you in the testament of your Lord Jesus (and see what a fair legacy your dying Friend, Christ, hath left you!), and there wanteth nothing but possession. Then get up in the strength of the Lord; get over the water to possess that good land. It is better than a land of olives and wine-trees; for the Tree of Life, that beareth twelve manner of fruits every month, is there before you; and a pure river of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, is there. Your time is short; therefore lose no time. Gracious and faithful is He who hath called you to His kingdom and glory. The city is yours by free conquest, and by promise; and, therefore, let no unco lord-idol put you from your own. The devil hath cheated the simple heir of his paradise, and, by enticing us to taste of the forbidden fruit, hath as it were, bought us out of our kindly heritage. But our Lord Christ Jesus hath done more than bought the devil by; for He hath redeemed the wadset, and made the poor heir free to the inheritance. If we knew the glory of our Elder Brother in heaven, we would long to be there to see Him, and to get our fill of heaven. We children think the earth a fair garden; but it is but God’s outfield, and wild, cold, barren ground. All things are fading that are here. It is our happiness to make sure of Christ to ourselves. Samuel Rutherford (Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Edinburgh; London: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1891, p. 511).

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Christian WorshipSabbathWilliam Frederick Vincent Bartlett

Bartlett: Sabbath Not of Man’s Devising

The Rev. William Frederick Vincent Bartlett reminds us of the Sabbath’s origin (Southern Presbyterian Pulpit: A Collection of Sermons, pp. 385, 386): You must remember that in dealing with the Sabbath you are not dealing with a mere human device. It is not like a tariff bill or a lodge bill that men may quarrel over. It not an enactment of the state. It is God’s institution; the creation of God’s will and armed with God’s sanction. As, then, God made it, no man has a right to unmake it.

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BaptismChristian WorshipZachary Crofton

Zachary Crofton on Infidel Conversion and Baptism

The Rev. Zachary Crofton (Nonconformist minister, 1626-1672), in his The Vertue and Value of Baptism (London, 1663) begins the book with short catechism on the subject. One of the questions addresses what renders one to be a fit subject for baptism. It is not the majority report, and is quite contrary to the conversionalism so prevalent now: Q. By what must Infidels converted to the Faith be judged, within the Covenant, and fit Subjects to be baptized[?] A. By making a profession of saving faith, which may be done by men in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity; not by a saving profession of faith, importing sincerity of grace, nor by a well ordered conversation; for God’s Ministers must judge by a present visible sign, and they cannot search the heart: And plants are to be set in the Church before we look for fruit; Baptism is a bond unto amendment of life.

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Christian WorshipPilgrim's ProgressStephen Charnock

Charnock: Intolerable Busy Bodies

How slight will the excuse be, God hath not forbidden this or that, when God shall silence men with the question, Where, or when did I command this or that? There was no addition to be made under the law to the meanest instrument God had appointed in his service. The sacred perfume was not to have one ingredient more put into it, than what God had prescribed in the composition; nor was any man, upon pain of death, to imitate it; nor would God endure that sacrifices should be consumed with any other fire, than that which came down from heaven: so tender is God of any invasions of his wisdom and authority. In all things of his nature, whatsoever voluntary humility and respect to God they may be disguised with, there is a swelling of the fleshly mind against infinite understanding, which the apostle nauseates, Col. 2:18 . . . . To conclude; such as make alterations in religion, different from the first institution, are intolerable busy bodies, that will not let God alone with his own affairs. Vain man would be wiser than his maker, and be dabbling in that which is his sole prerogative. Stephen Charnock (Works, Vol. 2, pp. 81–83)

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Christian WorshipScripture & RevelationWilliam Swan Plumer

William S. Plumer on Superstition

All superstition is based upon ignorance more or less gross. Minds not capable of close and just discrimination are peculiarly liable to it. A carnal state of the heart works up the imagination, and the fleshly mind seizes with great vigour upon its own conceptions. When one has not been made wise by God’s word, and the affections become highly excited, plausible pretences are sufficient to mislead. Once enlisted in the cause of superstition, self-love causes persistence in it. Having some persuasion that holiness is essential, and the natural heart rising in opposition to the requirements of God’s law, the excited mind perversely seeks out some method whereby to delude itself into the persuasion that it is holy. The growth of superstition is by a very gradual process. Its whole history is written in three words, little by little. The only sure defence against it is the true knowledge and genuine love of God, accompanied by a firm determination to do what he commands, to worship as he directs, and to follow human devisings in nothing. William S. Plumer (The Law of God as Contained in the Ten Commandments, p. 230)

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Confession of FaithJames Henley ThornwellPilgrim's ProgressScripture & Revelation

J.H. Thornwell’s Traveling Companions

It is now Saturday night, and I must prepare for the holy Sabbath. My Bible and Confession of Faith are my travelling companions, and precious friends have they been to me. I bless God for that glorious summary of Christian doctrine contained in our noble standards. It has cheered my soul in many a dark hour, and sustained me in many a desponding moment. I love to read it, and ponder carefully each proof-text as I pass along. J.H. Thornwell (The Life and Letters of James Henley Thornwell, p. 162)

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Confessing the Christian Faith