Christian WorshipGodly MagistracyZachary Crofton

Crofton: God’s Order, Civil & Ecclesiastical

“My muddy brains could never yet conceive the God of Order to make Office and Authority essential to political transactions in Kingdoms and Commonwealths, and yet to leave his Church in such confusion, that the great Affairs of Salvation shall be dispensed by every common hand, as if his care were more for the world [than] the Church; which if it be, I will never go to the House of God to behold the beauty of his Holiness, which shines more brightly in the wide Wilderness.” The Rev. Zachary Crofton (The Vertue and Value of Baptism. London, 1663. p. 9)

Continue reading
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.

Continue reading
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.

Continue reading
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)

Continue reading
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)

Continue reading
Christian WorshipPilgrim's Progress

There Remaineth a Rest

The primitive institution of the Sabbath—as the sign of that rest into which spiritually and by faith we enter now, as well as the foretaste of the rest which remaineth for us in the world to come—is surely a delightful truth; and its observance cannot but be a precious privilege. This world, with all that it contains, was made for man. Man himself was made for God, for entering into God’s rest. And that he might all the better do so, the Sabbath was made for him. “God blessed the Sabbath-day and hallowed it.” The blessing is not recalled, the consecration is not repealed. There remaineth a rest unto the people of God—and a day of rest. Let us not fall short of the rest hereafter. Let us not despise the day of rest now. Studies in Genesis, Chapter 2

Continue reading
Confessing the Christian Faith