Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Volume One of Mastricht's Theoretical-Practical Theology is Here!

Thanks to God, and the prayers and labors of many, including Reformation Heritage Books and the Dutch Reformation Translation Society, the Petrus Van Mastricht Translation Project, previously announced on this blog back in 2009, has borne its first fruit. The first volume (of a projected set of seven) is now available for purchase at RHB. This much-anticipated publication is occasion for great joy because it not only introduces English-speaking readers to the first full translation of Van Mastricht's Prolegomena, but the additional prefatory material is well worth its inclusion in this volume. 

Among the prefatory material we find an editor's preface by Joel Beeke, the translator's preface by Todd Rester, a revised and expanded biographical sketch of the author by Adriaan C. Neele (previously included in the 2005 The Art of Living to God: A Study of Method and Piety in Theoretico-Practica Theologia of Petrus Van Mastricht (1630-1706), and Henricus Pontanus' funeral oration for Van Mastricht. Also included is Van Mastricht's brief treatise The Best Method for Preaching, previously published in English in 2013. (Neele also published in 2009 Petrus Van Mastricht 1630-1706: Reformed Orthodoxy: Method and Piety; in 2002, a portion of Van Mastricht's Theoretico-Practica Theologia was translated into English and published under the title A Treatise on Regeneration in 2002).

Neele's earlier study of Van Mastricht's magnum opus remains a valuable resource even as English-speaking readers now begin to have more aoccess to Van Mastricht's own words. The first chapter serves as a commentary to the volume just published by RHB.

Much has already been said about Van Mastricht's Prolegomena by others on social media. This writer commends both Neele's study of Van Mastricht and the newly-translated volume by Mastricht himself. Truly, as Jonathan Edwards and Cotton Mather have indicated, this is a theological work that needs to be the companion of our studies.

For my own part, this writer has a special appreciation for a brief portion of the Prolegomena on mediation (see pp. 195-198). Van Mastricht understood the Biblical imperative to ruminate or chew the cud upon the Word of God, a much-neglected ordinance for Christians in our day.

Don't miss out on these contributions to the church (both Van Mastricht and Neele's study), and continue to pray for the success of the labors of those continuing to work on the remainder of the great work of Van Mastricht's life (a new Dutch translation is happening as well). It was a blessing to the church in the 17th century, and this translation will undoubtedly be a blessing to the 21st century church as well. 


Friday, June 1, 2018

Robert Annan on Scriptural Psalmody and the Opposition to It


Robert Annan (AssociateReformed minister, 1742-1819) is the author of a 1787 commentary of the Westminster Confession of Faith, which was republished in 1855 by the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, and edited by David McDill (1790-1870). Annan was also a friend of Adam Rankin (1755-1827), author of one of the earliest published defenses of exclusive Psalmody in America. 



The section in Annan’s commentary on the WCF pertaining to abuses in worship (which includes profaning the Sabbath, introducing man-made holidays into the church, etc.) is very instructive. He held to exclusive psalmody in stated worship, in opposition to the growing call for the use of Isaac Watts’ hymns in worship, but did not object per se to the private composition and use of uninspired hymns outside of worship. I will quote from it briefly, along with McGill’s editorial comments. He also opposed the use of instrumental music in worship further on in this chapter of the commentary.

Annan: “Whenever we introduce human inventions into divine service, we are apt to lose a zeal for divine institutions, and become enamored with our own vanities. God must be worshiped in a diligent attendance on all his ordinances, and a sincere observance of them. The ordinary acts of the worship of God are, prayer, confession, and praise. ‘Praise waits for thee, God, in Zion,’ says the Psalmist, ‘unto thee shall the vow be performed. thou that art the hearer of prayer, all flesh shall come to thee. Iniquities, I must confess, do prevail against me; but as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.’ — Psalm lxv. And we are not afraid to assert, and vindicate the propriety of using the psalms and songs of the Old Testament in the praises of God. In these days of prevailing infidelity and atheism, while many with ignorant boldness and absurd effrontery deny the inspiration of the Scriptures altogether, and earnestly attempt to carry us back into their beloved regions of heathen darkness; others, who have only a form of godliness without the power, have become very cool and indifferent about the Word of God, either in whole or in part. And hence arises a great temptation to true Christians, which, if not resisted, may diminish their zeal, love, and esteem for the Word of God. The churches of Christ in different ages and places, had, and still have peculiar temptations, from which great, and often unseen dangers threaten them. The present prevalence of deistical opinions, of Socinian, Arian, and Arminian errors, is a severe trial of the faith and patience of the saints. But blessed is he that keepeth his garments clean.

We are extremely sorry to have observed a growing disrelish in some Churches, for the psalms of David and other songs of Scripture. We could wish for a more finished poetical version of these, than any yet given to the Churches. And we do not mean to say, that hymns of human composition may not be lawfully used in any case whatsoever.*

But we think it is safest, generally to adhere to the Scriptural psalmody; and it is remarkable, that the most erroneous and deluded sectaries are fondest of uninspired hymns, which, doubtless they will take care to have composed, each party on its own peculiar scheme of principles. It is dangerous for the Church, in any important parts of her worship, to drop rule and order; and leave her members to follow each his own inclination. It has much grieved the hearts of tender Christians, to hear the psalms of David represented as in some instances, inconsistent with a Gospel spirit, and unfit for the New Testament dispensation; and such language, we fear, has greatly aided the cause of infidelity. It was wrong-headed wisdom to push forward the foaming torrent.

Christ came not to destroy the books of the prophets; among which prophets, David, Asaph and Ethan were eminent. If he had seen the psalmody of the Jewish Church unfit for the Gospel dispensation, it would have been easy with him, to have given his Church a new system: but we have no hint of this; nay, it is evident, that he and his apostles used the scriptural Psalms in the praises of God; and every one must allow, that the book of Psalms is remarkable for its New Testament style. It comes nearer to the simple evangelical spirit, and style of the New Testament, than most of the Old Testament books. The graces and experiences of God's children in all ages, are there most beautifully delineated; sometimes indeed typical language is introduced, as when it is said; ‘I will go to God's altar. He smote the rock and the waters gushed out, He rained down manna on them and gave them corn of heaven to eat.’ But the Redeemer never appears to us more in his glory, than when shadowed forth by these types, with the light of the New Testament shining on them. In this case, we have both the type and the antitype placed in our view, reflecting and augmenting the light of each other. This is a double light; and in this instance that word is fulfilled, ‘The light of the moon, or of the type, is like the light of the sun: and the light of the sun, that is, of the antitype, is like the light of seven days.’

If it be objected, that there are, in the Psalms, terrible predictions of God's judgments, on the enemies of his kingdom; it may be answered, so there are through all the New Testament. How often does Christ, the meek Lamb of God, pronounce terrible woes against his opposers? Paul says, ‘If we, or an angel from heaven, preach unto you any other Gospel, than that which we have preached, let him be accursed! If any man love not the Lord Jesus, let him be an Anathema maranatha.’ In fine, as in the providence of God, mercy and judgment are blended; so in his Word, mercy and justice, terror and consolation, majesty and meekness combine everywhere their rays. And is not this infinitely suitable to the constitution of human nature? There are two powerful springs of action in the human mind, hope and fear; Noah, being moved with fear and hope too, prepared an ark to the saving of his house. Moses, moved by fear and faith, kept the passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the first-born should touch them. God, therefore, adapts his Word to our rational nature. He addresses our hopes and fears; and they must be very ignorant of human nature, who suppose it can be moved or actuated in any other way. It is absurd to suppose, that anything of the Psalmist's personal resentment breathes in these predictions and threatenings. The very threatenings of God's Word, viewed in their connection with the Gospel, are evidences of his love. ‘As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten, says Christ; be therefore zealous and repent.’ They are intended for our warning, and are subservient to the success of the Gospel.

One evil seldom comes alone; it is commonly followed by a gloomy train; as we fear, many have injured the matter of the Church's praise, by forsaking the fountain of living waters, and hewing out broken cisterns; so we are well convinced, that the manner of performing this solemn act of religious worship, is in some Churches greatly corrupted. What unprejudiced mind is not grieved, to see the solemn work of praising God, committed to a few light-headed boys and girls, about whose carriage, there is often little or no semblance of piety or seriousness, while the whole congregation, or nearly the whole, sit dumb? Who is not offended to see the worship of God turned into a mere piece of human art and carnal amusement, the singing of his praise performed with idle theatrical parade? It is certain, that this new mode has as effectually, perhaps more effectually, expelled the praises of God from the lips of far the greatest number in some Churches, than an act of Parliament for the purpose could have done. And it has produced the same effect in many families. It has expelled his praise from the dwellings even of the righteous. They say, they cannot sing; that is, they cannot sing in the fashionable mode, and therefore do not attempt it at all. And along with this the reading of the Scriptures, in family worship, is, in many families laid aside. We wish not to be rigorous or uncandid; but when we see Christians deceived through the subtleties and devices of Satan, turned aside from their duty, and cheated out of their privileges, why should we be silent? The use of the organ, and other instruments of music in the Jewish Church, was agreeable enough to a worldly sanctuary, and the pomp of ceremonial worship; but does not accord so well with the spiritual nature of the New Testament: yet we must grant, that in those Churches where it is retained, it does not work more, if as much, mischief, as the mode of which we speak: the organ leads the music, the people follow: but in a general way, where the new mode is practiced, the people are silent, and commit the whole service to a few delegates. Is not this to serve the Lord by proxy? And if men could be judged too, at the bar of God, by proxy, something might be said. Our sinful nature is very dexterous in inventing apologies for what is wrong. Many justify this evil by saying, in time the whole congregation will acquire the new mode, and consequently all join in the worship. Under this pretext, it has been introduced into several Churches in New England. But experience contradicts this; for in those Churches where it has been longest practiced, the evil seems rather to increase than decrease; the habit becomes more confirmed, and it is generally taken for granted, that the people have no business with the duty, that it belongs entirely and only to the chorister and his train.” (Exposition and Defense of the Westminster Assembly’s Confession of Faith, pp. 180-186.)

McDill adds (p. 182): “* ‘And we do not mean to say, that hymns of human composition, may not be lawfully used in any case whatsoever.’ Candor forbids that any construction should be put on this sentence, which would place it in conflict with the earnest protest which the writer enters against the use of 'uninspired hymns,' in the room of, or in preference to, the ‘inspired songs.’ The well-known views of Mr. Annan, as expressed in a letter to Rev. A. Rankin, of Lexington, Kentucky, and on other occasions, also forbid. We can state from memory how the language was understood and explained by some who had the best opportunity of knowing how the writer explained it, and wished it to be understood. You may read a pious poem in a devotional manner to edification, without treating the Word of God with neglect, provided you do not substitute it for the reading of the Scriptures, in the services of the sanctuary or in the ordinary stated worship of God in the family. Under the same restrictions, you may add the charms of music, and sing it, without displacing the inspired psalmody. But while the writer would forbear to say, that this may never be ‘lawfully’ done, he still thinks it good to administer a caution against it, as not entirely safe.”

The letter to which McGill refers was written in 1785, and had been republished in 1854 in The Evangelical Repository. A portion of what Annan had to say about the principles at stake in the psalmody question that was convulsing the Presbyterian church at that time is reproduced here. (The full letter and the full commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith can be found at Log College Press here.)

Annan to Rankin: “I cannot help ranking the present opposition to the pure scriptural Psalmody in the same class with Deism, Socinianism, Arianism, Arminianism, Universal Salvation, Antinomianism, and that it is a trial of the faith and patience of the saints. May the Lord enable us to stand fast, and to keep clean garments. Conscious of much unworthiness, and that I am less than the least of all saints, yet I should shudder to chime in with the prevailing defamation, not to say blaspheming of that part of the Word of God, the book of Psalms, which indeed falls equally, though indirectly, on the whole of the Old Testament, and from that rebounds with equal force on the New Testament; for without faith in the one, I cannot see how there can be a true and saving faith in the other….I pretend not to be wiser than others, much less to infallibility; but I must judge for myself, and I see no great danger of being too strongly attached to the Word of God, or any part of it, not even to what they call the old, obsolete Jewish Psalms. The danger is all on the other side. Often, too often, my carnal heart has started objections against the book of God; and had not the Lord made me frequently taste the goodness and sweetness of it, I might have been a Deist. And what good fruits have proceeded from those men's innovations and polishings? Now, who were the first offended with the scriptural Psalmody, and most forward to introduce the new? To my certain knowledge, in New York, (where it first began in the Presbyterian churches,) they were the carnal and worldly part of professors, who could find no spiritual delight in any part of Divine worship. And have their attempts been blessed? Have conversions been promoted? Have saints been more edified, united, and sanctified, by their improvements? Is the worship of God more spiritual, heavenly, and holy? Let the fruits declare it.”

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Psalms the True Gospel Music


It is a curious bit of history that the first published reference to gospel music identified the Psalms of David as such (Nathaniel Ho[l]mes (1599-1678), Gospel Musick: or, The Singing of Davids Psalms, &c. in the Publick Congregations, or Private Families, Asserted and Vindicated, 1644 - per Robert M. Stevenson, "Evangelistic Song" (1957). The modern understanding of what gospel music is (a particular genre of uninspired hymnody), however, often attributes its origin to a man named Ira D. Sankey (1840-1908), a musical composer associated with Dwight Moody and his revival services, who in 1875 co-published Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs. There are other rival claimants to the title of the originator of gospel music, as it is now understood, but Sankey was known as The Sweet Singer of Methodism (akin to David, who was known as The Sweet Singer of Israel, 2 Sam. 23.1).

There was a Reformed Presbyterian minister in the 19th century by the name of Nathan Robinson Johnston (1820-1904, known for his missionary endeavors among the Chinese in California, among other things), who wrote a fascinating biography titled Looking Back From the Sunset Land; or, People Worth Knowing (1898). He was "a lineal descendant of Sir Archibald Johnston, or Lord Warriston whom the Scotch Covenant-breakers hung in Edinburgh," as he himself notes. Among the interesting vignettes of which he writes, there is one involving Sankey that is very poignant. As a Reformed Presbyterian, he held to the practice of exclusive psalmody -- that is, singing the Psalms alone in worship. But he writes candidly of an encounter with Sankey that resonates over a century later.

...together we listened with rapture to Mr. Moody's song companion, Ira D. Sankey. By the way, if ever an 'old Psalm-singer' is tempted to become a hymn-singer it must be at those meetings where everybody joins in chorus with Mr. Sankey in some of his songs as no other can sing them. By the way again, Ira D. Sankey might not be the last one to be brought to our belief in the exclusive use of the inspired songs of the Bible. He has a great admiration for them, and he once said to me that he would like to use them if they were more beautifully versified. His emphasized statement is that in his public singing he is only 'singing the Gospel.' As yet, however, he is far from accurate in his views. Some years ago, in pleasant talk with him in San Francisco, I could not convince him that the 'psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs' mentioned by Paul are all found in the book of the Bible called the 'Book of Psalms.' Nor is Mr. Sankey alone in his opinion. Some good people believe that the 'hymn' which Jesus and his disciples sang after the Passover and before he went out to the Mount of Olives, was only the effusion of some poetic genius among his followers. (Looking Back From the Sunset Land, pp. 569-570)


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Happy 500th Anniversary of the Reformation!

In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which began (in a sense) with the posting of Martin Luther's 95 Theses on the church door of Wittenburg, Germany, Log College Press has posted select works by 19th century American Presbyterians which study the Reformation from a variety of angles. Be sure to check out our latest blog post here. Happy Reformation Day! 


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Early American Presbyterians on the French Huguenots

There is a fascinating body of works by 19th century American Presbyterians written in appreciation of the French Huguenots, fellow Calvinists who were so influential in the founding of America. At Log College Press, I have assembled some of those works in one place for readers who may also appreciate the common bond between Presbyterian and Huguenot. There are lots of works to bookmark, download and enjoy!


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Early American Presbyterian Literature on Psalmody

Recently, I contributed a blog post to the Log College Press. This is an ongoing project to make accessible American Presbyterian literature from the 18th and 19th centuries in digital format, and eventually, in print. On this occasion, I have compiled in one place a number of works from Reformed Presbyterian (Covenanter), Associate Reformed Presbyterian and United Presbyterian sources dealing with the issue of psalmody in worship. There is a lot to read here so feel free to bookmark the post if you are interested. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Lewis Lupton: The Michelangelo of Chiswick


Best known as the author of the 25-volume A History of the Geneva Bible (London: Fauconberg Press; The Olive Tree, 1966-1994), which was indeed his magnum opus as Peter Toon once wrote, Lewis Lupton was not only a church historian and writer, but also an artist, storyteller, theologian and loving husband and father. As David Martyn Lloyd-Jones once put it, "Mr. Lupton has not only the eye of an artist but also the nose of the true historian, and above all the understanding of one well versed in the Reformed faith." In the words of J.I. Packer, Mr. Lupton was "[a]n artist with brush and pen as well as words and wisdom." The story of his life and legacy is one that deserves to be more widely known.

Born on July 18, 1909, in Fulham, London, as the oldest of seven children, Lewis Frederick Lupton (known as "Luppy" to some) was recognized early to have a gift for artistic talent. His family moved to Sheffield -- where they attended the Mount Olivet Strict Baptist Chapel -- when he was very young, and after leaving school at the age of 12, he was given a scholarship to study at the Sheffield College of Arts and Crafts for a period of seven years. This is where he met (Phyllis) Joan Ainger, the future Mrs. Lupton. 

[Lewis Lupton self portrait, 1929.]

After their marriage in 1934, they moved to London the following year. Mr. Lupton was asked by a fellow Sheffielder, Victor Askew, to join his commercial art studio, Askew Younge Studios. While there he worked on advertising projects for a wide range of firms including Marconi, and P and O. In 1939, Mr. Lupton illustrated both Kathleen Conyngham Greene, The Rector's Second Daughter; and James Cahill, The Pilot of Indian Leap. In 1940, he illustrated Brian Reed, The World Goes By Machines, and he was the illustrator for Wilfrid Robertson, The Island Plot (1942), for Christopher Beck, et al., The Triumph Book for Boys (1942), for Violet M. Methley, Derry Down-Under (1943) and for S.C. George, Eagle of the Desert (1943). The Luptons later became members of the North Rd. Strict Baptist Chapel, Brentford, and meanwhile, their son Jude was born in 1939.

During World War II, he exhibited several oil paintings in the Royal Academy, some of which were chosen to tour the country. He was also a keen water color painter and never traveled without his easel and paints. During the war he needed to develop further commercial art clients and found work with City Display Organisation. As a conscientious objector he chose not to take work promoting the war effort, but designed posters for the Ministry of Fuel and Power, and Dig for Victory campaign. The house where the family was living in Chiswick was destroyed by bombing in 1941, but Jude was rescued unharmed from his cot. The family lived in temporary accommodations until they bought their current home in 1944. Two daughters, Esther and Julia, were born after the war, and the family later settled at Gunnersbury Baptist church in Chiswick.

After the war he illustrated many books published by Scripture Union (formerly the Children’s Special Service Mission or CSSM), and was encouraged in his work by his boss, A Morgan Derham. In 1948 he illustrated Mr. Derham’s On the Trail of the Windward: A Story of the Norfolk Broads, followed by Mr. Derham’s The Cruise of the Clipper: A Story of the Norfolk Broads (1952) and Bluewater Mere (1954). He also illustrated many of the children's novels by Patricia St. John, such as The Tanglewoods’ Secret (1948), Treasures of the Snow (1950), Star of Light (1953) and Rainbow Garden (1960); and others such as Deborah Bennett, Jean’s Black Diamond: A Story of Australia (1951), Son of Diamond: A Story of Australia (1952) and Susan’s Conquest: A Story of Australia (1956); Joyce Reason, Laughter of the Desert (1952); David Britten, The Making of Stephen Hall (1954); Elisabeth Batt, The House With the Blind Window (1955), In Search of Simon (1956) and The Wilde Riders (1960); Christine Savery, Red Knights from Hy Brasil (1955); Leslie S. Ward, Touchdown to Adventure (1958); Will Maggs, Head-Hunters’ Moon (1958); Constance Savery, Flight to Freedom (1958); Margaret Barry, Julie Westaway (1958); Gordon Parke, Coffins for Traitors (1958); Mary Batchelor, All For Good (1958); Richard Armstrong, Sabatoge at the Forge (1960); Maurice Cox, Virginian Rebel (1960); Godfrey C. Robinson and Stephen F. Winward, In the Holy Land: A Journey Along the King’s Highways (1963); O.L. Rice, My Friend Linda (1976); and Elizabeth Mumford, Holiday in the Mountains (n.d.). His love of art and his Christian convictions led him to illustrate and design exhibitions for organizations such as The British and Foreign Bible Society, Strict Baptist Mission and Scripture Union (he illustrated, for example, John C. Pollock, The Good Seed, Story of CSSM & Scripture Union, 1959), and for The Evangelical Magazine. It was during his time at SU that he started writing, later entering Captured into their annual children’s writer competition.

[All For Good by Mary Batchelor, 1958.]

It was in 1959 that Mr. Lupton spoke at the Puritan Conference at Westminster Chapel. Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones after hearing his lecture encouraged him to publish his work. Mr. Lupton would go on to create the original logo for the publisher, Banner of Truth, as well as illustrate many cover sketches for Banner of Truth publications, including the design for the Geneva series of Bible commentaries. His artwork appears on two volumes by J.C. Ryle that were reprinted by Banner of Truth in 1960: Five Christian Leaders and Five English Reformers; as well as the 1960 BoT edition of James Bannerman’s classic, The Church of Christ.

An exhibition designer during and after WWII, Mr. Lupton once met the Queen Mother at the opening of the 1951 Faith of Britain exhibition, which he had designed. Too embarrassed to wear his hearing aid (he was deaf), he unable to hear what she said. In A History of the Geneva Bible, he noted “isolated as I am by deafness and devoted to my art, social relationships cannot be my strong point; yet, as I go about looking for subjects to sketch I am continually swept by waves of rapture for the physical world around me” (3:188-189).

It was after WWII that Mr. Lupton had an experience that was life-changing. He tells the story in the first volume of what would become the great work of his life, A History of the Geneva Bible (1:11-12):

It was on a sketching tour soon after the War that I fell in love with a [Geneva] Bible. It lay invitingly open in a window shop in Chichester. The left-hand page had an old map with galleons and sea monsters on it while the right had a gorgeously decorative title and border. It was early closing day so we drove on to Bosham with our easels and canvasses. But I always regretted missing that Bible and in the end, some three years later, I wrote to see if it was still there. It was, and thereby hangs this tale.

I soon found that there was more to the volume than met the eye, especially for people who feel a sneaking sympathy with those underdogs of our school history books -- the Puritans and Roundheads. I found that this old book was a real Puritan Bible. As I dug out more and more bits of information about it I found myself back in a thrilling world of romance, of little ships slipping their moorings at night, of galloping horses, of the roar of siege cannon, of snowy Alpine passes, of printing presses, of men who feared neither man nor devil, Queen nor Emperor, of a royal Duchess trudging a lonely road in pouring rain at midnight and carrying her husband's sword while he carried her baby, of love among exiles in foreign cities, of births, of deaths and a hundred other things of which I could write if this book were a Geneva quarto or one of Christopher Barker's great folios instead of a mere 20th century demy octavo.

This experience led Mr. Lupton to not only cherish the Geneva Bible and begin a 25-volume study of its history, but also contributed to his appreciation for and contributions towards hand-lettered calligraphy, which he used from volume eight forward, with a quill pen. The individual volumes are a treasure, because each has the feel of a book written especially for the reader.


[The first volume of Mr. Lupton's magnum opus.]

The preface to the fourth volume of A History of the Geneva Bible was written by Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and sheds more light on both the man and his magnum opus (4:7-8): 

For many years I had known of Mr. Lewis Lupton's interest in the Geneva Bible, and having heard his paper on the subject at a "Puritan Conference" some years back, I was delighted when he told me that intended publishing the story of its history in several volumes.

I have already greatly enjoyed the first three volumes and it is now my privilege to write this word of Introduction to the fourth volume.

All who have read the previous volumes will need no encouragement to read this one, but for the sake of those who may not have done so, I would call attention to certain special features of this series of books.

They are of unusual interest and importance at the present time. We have been bombarded by new translations of the Bible during the past twenty years, so it is particularly valuable to have this history of one of the most important and influential translations ever made.

Fortunately for us, however, Mr. Lupton does not confine himself solely to that theme. He rightly includes the entire history of that most fascinating period during which the shape of the different sections of the Christian church in Britain was being determined. At a time when the nature of the church and its form of government is constantly before us because of the various ecumenical activities, it is essential that all branches of the church should be familiar with their origins and factors that determined what happened.

Here we have it all in detail - the troubles at Frankfurt, the prejudices and the divisions, and the mighty influence of John Calvin at Geneva.

At the same time there are cameos of the great men of those days who were gathered together in various places, and who grappled with the great questions which are in our day and generation still burning and vital issues.

I am particularly glad that Mr. Lupton has "spread" himself. Far too often we are given mere summaries, or an expression of the prejudices of the author; but here, the facts are allowed to speak for themselves and we see these men who belonged to the second generation of Protestant leaders as they were, and as they met their daily problems.

At the same time we are led into what, from the purely theological standpoint, are most interesting by-paths, where we learn something about printing, art, etc. 

Personally I always find this type of book not only interesting but truly instructive and stimulating, and the larger the number of facts and details the better.

Mr. Lupton has not only the eye of an artist but also the nose of the true historian, and above all the understanding of one well versed in the Reformed faith. I need say nothing about the sheer delight to the eye of these volumes.

This particular volume is worthy of its predecessors and whets our appetite for what is yet to come.

It was also in the 1960's that Mr. Lupton set up (with others) The Fauconberg Press (named for Lady Mary, daughter of Oliver Cromwell, known as Countess Fauconberg), the publishing arm of the Strict Baptist Historical Society. Books he illustrated for TFP include J.H. Alexander, More Than Notion (1964) (a story of revival); Lewis Lupton, Red Indian Peril: The Story of John Eliot, the Apostle of the Red Indians, Translator of the Bible no-one can read and the First Protestant English Missionary (1965); Lewis Lupton, Captured: Being the Adventures of a Puritan Boy, Sandy Williams, of Deerfield in Massachusetts, New England, in the year 1704. How he was Captured by the Abenaki Indians; his residence in Canada and Acquaintance with Mademoiselle Carignan and other of the French Nobility, with all that he suffered at the hands of the Governor and Priests; together with an Account of the Remarkable Sequel now set forth by Lewis Lupton (1965); and Lewis Lupton, Behind Mr. Bunyan (1968) (a true story of Agnes Beaumont, who belonged to John Bunyan's Meeting). These stories engage not only younger but older readers as well (Captured has "A Preface for Young Older Folk," "Another Preface, For Younger Young Folk," and "An Introduction, For Nobody"). The prominent theme in these works is a desire on the part of the writer/illustrator to bring church history alive and make Puritan Christianity relevant to our day.

[Portrait of Lewis Lupton by Julia Button from Captured, 1965.]

Mr. Lupton shared personal remarks often in his History of the Geneva Bible, and the last volume he published (it was considered “unfinished” at the time of his death in 1996) contains interesting comments he made in the postscript. In the context of describing his appreciation for the influence of Dr. J.I. Packer, Dr. D.M. Lloyd-Jones and Rev. Peter Toon, he had this to say about what the “rediscovery” of Puritan theology meant to him personally.

Another plank in our ‘Puritan’ platform was called the ‘Banner books,’ reprints of puritan tomes, splendidly printed, a venture of the greatest value, which still does much good worldwide. These excellent works are puffed on their way by a magazine, of which I count No. 11 as a turning point in my thinking, for it was devoted to the ‘Free Offer.’ Brought up on predestinarian Baptist preaching, and confirmed in the same by studies of, and around, the Geneva Bible, I was familiar with its rediscovery at Geneva, Beza’s chart of ‘double’ predestination, and the perils of ‘hypercalvinism.’ Therefore the ‘Banner’s’ summary of the Biblical doctrine of the ‘well meant’ offers of mercy to all, brought pure joy to my troubled heart, while Boston’s ‘Fourfold State,’ wiped the last vestige of a frown from my Father’s face. (25:111)

In 1968, Mr. Lupton toured the area around Christ Church, Spitalfields, a place known to history for its warm embrace of French Huguenot refugees. He wrote about his experience and provided illustrations of his tour, which are available to see here.

The Olive Tree published a facsimile reprint of Anne Locke’s 1560 English translation of the French Sermons of John Calvin upon the Song that Ezechias made after he had been sick and afflicted by the hand of God, contained in the 39th chapter of Isaiah (modernized English title), along with her poetic meditation on Psalm 51 under the title Mrs. Locke’s Little Book (1973).

[Portrait of Lewis Lupton by Joan Lupton.]

A man who loved the visual as well as the written word, he illustrated the ceiling of his house showing the gospel from Genesis to Revelation (which was featured in the 1989 Observer). It was painted in oils directly on the plaster. He created a similar illustration on the ceiling of another house. Those who have seen the ceilings continue to marvel about them to this day.

He died on July 16, 1996. Almost exactly two years later, Joan passed away on July 2, 1998. His three children (Jude, Esther and Julia) still own the Lupton house, and Jude lives there to this day. Mr. Lupton has been memorialized in several places. The Strict Baptist Historical Society published his obituary, as did Iain Murray in the October 1996 Banner of Truth Magazine [I have just read Mr. Murray's tribute to his friend shortly before publishing this article, and it is a wonderful encomium]. A page in his honor tells the story of his life and highlights his skill as an illustrator in Donald L. Brake and Shelly Beach, A Visual History of the King James Bible: The Dramatic Story of the World's Best-Known Translation (2011), which also includes many varied and beautiful illustrations by Mr. Lupton. Peter Toon, the great Anglican minister and historian, in Puritans and Calvinism (1973) (whose 1967 book Hypercalvinism, was published by Mr. Lupton's The Olive Tree), had this to say in his preface about Mr. Lupton: 

I dedicate this book to two men, both of whom are twice my age.  They have never met but they share a common enthusiasm for all that is best in Puritan divinity.  First, by reason of his greater age, is Norman F. Douty of Pennsylvania, preacher, teacher and theologian.  This year he celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination to the Christian ministry in the Baptist denomination.  He has given me the privilege of seeing through the press for him his major study entitled The Believer’s Union with Christ to be published by Reiner Publications in April 1973.  Second, Lewis F. Lupton, artist, historian and theologian.  Two of his paintings hang in my house and his portraits of my wife and me are in my study.  He is engaged in publishing a truly magnum opus, a History of the Geneva Bible in at least seven volumes, four of which have appeared already.  Enriched by beautiful illustrations, the books are published by Mr. Lupton’s own publishing house, The Olive Tree of Chiswick, London.

In researching this article, I have corresponded with his daughter Julia, and a number of others who have known Mr. Lupton over the years. Many have offered me testimonies of his character, anecdotes of his life, and access to his works. I am greatly indebted to each of them. I would note also that Mr. Phil Roberts of Tentmaker Publications has rights to the reprinting of A History of the Geneva Bible, and some volumes have already been reprinted.

[The Resurrection Tree by Lewis Lupton.]

In 1965, Mr. Lupton wrote of himself, “For the last decade he has devoted much of his time to the illustration of Christian literature. He now finds the appeal of the three creative activities, writing, painting, and drawing almost equally balanced. Like most people with artistic gifts he is spurred on by the hope of producing some work of lasting merit, but at middle age it still remains to the seen whether he will make any permanent mark.” There are no statues standing in London so far as this writer knows to honor "the Michelangelo of Chiswick." Charles Spurgeon once wrote, however, that “A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.” We have precious writings and beautiful illustrations to cherish from Mr. Lupton's hand. But his legacy lives on most particularly in the hearts of his loved ones, and those who knew him - and those who wish they had known him. 


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Biographies of Reformation, Puritan, Covenanter and Huguenot Women of the Faith

(Miss Katherine G. Myers reading Marie Durand by Simonetta Carr)

I have often been asked to help provide biographical resources regarding leading ladies of the Reformation, Puritan, Scottish Covenanter and French Huguenot eras. Considering the volumes that have been written on Martin Luther’s “Katie” alone, such a list could be endless; but I have attempted here to consolidate the key resources that I would recommend, along with links to these volumes either in print or online for handy reference. I have left out such ladies as Anne Hutchinson, Marie Dentière, and Anna Maria van Schurman (known as “The Tenth Muse”), each of whom would require a separate blog post. There were many godly women who stood alongside the godly men of those days. Their stories are worthy to read and remain inspirational today.


1. J.H. Alexander, Ladies of the Reformation


5. Roland Bainton, Women of the Reformation: In France and England The great biographer of Martin Luther has also spanned Europe to make known the stories of godly women of the Reformation era.




9. W.P. Breed, Jenny Geddes, or, Presbyterianism And Its Great Conflict With Despotism (See the first chapter particularly)
10. Simonetta Carr, Lady Jane Grey Simonetta Carr has done a great service to the church by her biographies, which are geared towards younger readers.



15. Faith Cook, Anne Bradstreet: Pilgrim and Poet Anne Bradstreet was also known as “The Tenth Muse.”


17. W.H. Davenport Adams, The Sunshine of Domestic Life; or, Sketches of Womanly Virtues, and Stories of the Lives of Noble Women


19. Alice Morse Earle, Margaret Winthrop: Biography of a Puritan Woman, the Wife of John Winthrop, First Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

20. James I. Good, [Famous] Women of the Reformed Church

21. John C. Johnston, Treasury of the Scottish Covenant (see the chapters on “The Women of the Covenant” and “The Wigtown Martyrs”)


22. Hope Irvin Marston, Against the Tide: The Valor of Margaret Wilson The story of Margaret Wilson is inspirational, but heart-wrenching, so let the reader be forewarned.

23. J.C. McFeeters, Sketches of the Covenanters (see the chapter titled “The Daughters of the Covenant”)

25. Leslie Nuernberg, Only Glory Awaits: The Story of Anne Askew

26. Alexander Smellie, Men of the Covenant (see the chapter titled “Those Women Which Laboured in the Gospel”)

27. Ernst Staehelin, Frau Wibrandis: A Woman in the Time of Reformation

28. Rebecca VanDoodeward, Reformation Women: Sixteenth-Century Figures Who Shaped Christianity’s Rebirth


29. John T. Wilkinson, ed., Richard Baxter and Margaret Chilton: A Puritan Love Story; Being the Breviate of the Life of Margaret Baxter (Breviate online; J.I. Packer, A Grief Sanctified)

30. Paul F.M. Zahl, Five Women of the English Reformation The five women are: Anne Boleyn, Katharine Parr, Jane Grey, Anne Askew and Catherine Willoughby.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

450th Anniversary of the Translation of Guido de Brès

Guido de Brès (1522 – May 31, 1567) was a French-speaking Walloon minister of the gospel, who studied under both John Calvin and Theodore Beza. Raised a Roman Catholic, he was converted to Christ before the age of 20. He would spend most of the rest of his life on the run for his faith. Most famous for his authorship of the Belgic Confession (1561), one of the Three Forms of Unity of the Reformed Churches (he also wrote another confession as well). It is an eloquent and profoundly spiritual milestone in the history of Reformed confessions and creeds, and it is the only Reformation creed written by a martyr. He also wrote Le Baston del la Foy (The Staff of Faith, Able to Shut the Mouths of Faith’s Enemies) (1562) and La Racine, Source et Fondement des Anabaptistes (The Root, the Origins, and the Foundation of the Anabaptists or Rebaptizers of Our Time) (1565), responses to both Roman Catholic and Anabaptists, the two greatest threats to the Reformed Faith at that time. Arrested in 1565, he was tried by the Spanish Inquisition, and ultimately hanged at Valenciennes, France on the last day of May, 1567, 450 years ago today. Before he was executed, he wrote a letter to his wife expressing his faith in Christ and encouraging her in the same, a letter which stands in the annals of church history’s most inspirational writings.



(The Countess de Reux Visiting De Bray and Le Grange in Prison
Illustration from James Wylie's History of Protestantism)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

MHCC 52: Why Was Eve Formed From Adam's Rib?

In the famous Commentary of Matthew Henry, we find a beautiful summary of why woman was created in the Garden of Eden from the rib of Adam rather than from the earth like Adam was. 

“ 4. That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved. Adam lost a rib, and without any diminution to his strength or comeliness (for, doubtless, the flesh was closed without a scar); but in lieu thereof he had a help meet for him, which abundantly made up his loss: what God takes away from his people he will, one way or other, restore with advantage. In this (as in many other things) Adam was a figure of him that was to come; for out of the side of Christ, the second Adam, his spouse the church was formed, when he slept the sleep, the deep sleep, of death upon the cross, in order to which his side was opened, and there came out blood and water, blood to purchase his church and water to purify it to himself. See Eph. v. 25, 26.” – Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary Upon the Whole Bible (1708-1710, 1991, 2006), p. 10 (Gen. 2.21)

This quote, often-repeated, highlights the companionship that God intended for husband and wife. As Henry no doubt would acknowledge, this understanding of the relationship between man and wife was not unique to him. As it turns out (here I wish to thank Adam Brink for highlighting this point) there is a long theological pedigree to this idea which predates Matthew Henry by centuries. In this blog post, I will provide citations to other theologians who have made this very point. This list may not be complete (allusions to this idea may be found in Augustine and earlier), but it shows a trajectory of thought which is historically intriguing, at least to this researcher, and each contribution along the way has its own particular and profound eloquence.

“Adam lost a rib, but he got a better thing instead of it, even a help meet for him. Thus God uses to deal with his children: they lose sometimes some of their creature-comforts; but then perhaps they get more of the Creator’s comforts, and that’s a blessed exchange. This bone was taken out of Adam’s side, fitly noting the woman’s place: not out of his head, to be above him; nor out of his feet, to be trampled on by him; nor from before him, as his better; nor from behind him, as his servant; -- but out of his side, to be equal with him; near his heart, for he owes her love; under his arm, for he owes her protection. Surely they forget from whence the woman was taken, that carry themselves haughtily and abusively towards their wives.” – Philip Henry (1631-1696), An Exposition…Upon the First Eleven Chapters of Genesis (1682, 1839), p. 56 (Gen. 2.21) * This commentary by Matthew Henry’s father was written by the hand of Matthew Henry in 1682.
*** 
 “The woman was taken out of this part, not out of the higher or lower parts, to show that she is neither to be her husband’s mistress, to usurp authority over him, 1 Tim. ii.12; nor yet to be his slave, to be abused, despised, or trampled under his feet; but to be kindly treated, and used like a companion, with moderation, respect, and affection.” – Matthew Poole (1624-1679), “Annotations Upon the Holy Bible” (1683-1685), Vol. 1, p. 7 (Gen. 2.21). * “One fact is certain from internal evidence, that Mr. Henry wrote his Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, with the learned compilation of Poole, called Criticorum Synopsis, open before him; as, in all difficult passages, he has judiciously selected that opinion from the many presented in this work, which, upon the whole, seems to be most probable.” – Archibald Alexander, Preface to Matthew Henry’s Commentary
*** 
“To honour marriage more yet, or rather to teach the married how to honour one another, it is said that the wife was made of the husband's rib, Gen. ii.22; not of his head, for Paul calleth the husband the wife's head, Ephes. v. 23; not of the foot, for he must not set her at his foot. The servant is appointed to serve, and the wife to help. If she must not match with the head, nor stoop at the foot, where shall he set her then? He must set her at his heart, therefore she which should lie in his bosom was made in his bosom, and should be as close to him as his rib, of which she was fashioned.” – Henry Smith (1560-1591), A Preparative to Marriage (1591), p. 8
*** 
"It was right for the woman to be made from a rib of man. First, to signify the social union of man and woman, for the woman should neither "use authority over man," and so she was not made from his head; nor was it right for her to be subject to man's contempt as his slave, and so she was not made from his feet." -- Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225–1274), Summa Theologiae (1265–1274, 1485), Pars Prima, Quest. 92, Art. 3 * Thomas Aquinas wrote a commentary on Peter Lombard’s Sentences.
 ***
“It is not good for man to be alone; let us make him a help like unto himself” – “‘like unto himself’ – this corresponds to equivalence. By this is indicated that the woman must be the equal of the man, or his companion, not under him and not above him. Also, the woman was made from man’s rib, not from the upper part or from the lower, but from the middle, that by it might be designated that woman must be man’s equal.” – Robert of Sorbon (1201-1274), De Matrimonio (Of Marriage) (c. 1260-1270) on Gen. 2.18
 ***
“WHY WOMAN WAS FORMED FROM THE MAN’S SIDE AND NOT FROM SOME OTHER PART OF HIS BODY. But although woman was made from man for these reasons, nevertheless she was formed not from just any part of his body, but from his side, so that it should be shown that she was created for the partnership of love, lest, if perhaps she had been made from his head, she should be perceived as set over man in domination; or if from his feet, as if subject to him in servitude. Therefore, since she was made neither to dominate, nor to serve the man, but as his partner, she had to be produced neither from his head, nor from his feet, but from his side, so that he would know that she was to be placed beside himself whom he had learned had been taken from his side.” -- Peter Lombard (1100-1160), Libri Quatuor Sententiarum (Sentences) (c. 1150), Bk. 2, Distinction 18, Ch. 2 (see also 3.18.3; 4.28.3.2; 4.28.4) * Peter Lombard was a pupil of Hugh of St. Victor.
***
“XXXV. Why woman was made from man, and why from the side.
But afterwards as a help to generation woman was made from man himself, since, if she had been made from another source, surely the beginning of all men would not have been one. Now she was made from the side of man that it might be shown that she was created for association in love, lest perhaps, if she had been made from the head, she would seem to be preferred to man unto damnation, or, if from the feet, to be subject unto slavery. Since, therefore, she was furnished to man neither as a mistress nor a handmaid but as a companion, she had to be produced neither from the head nor from the feet but from the side, in order that he might realize that she was to be placed beside him, whom he learned had been taken from his very side.” -- Hugh of St. Victor (c. 1096-1141), De Sacramentis (Sacraments of the Christian Faith) (c. 1134), Book I, Part VI, Sec. 35
*** 
“[God took one] of the ribs. Why was the woman formed from a rib? For if she were formed from his foot or hand or some other part she would stand in shame before him. Another interpretation is that it shows the greatest love, for the rib is, after all, closest to the heart, as it is said: the rib is the guardian of the heart.” – Anonymous (Irish), Commemoratio Geneseos (8th Century)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Book Review: Godly Conference

Recently, my friend Russ Gaippe at The Reformed Book Cellar asked me to write a book review. I chose a book that has been a great encouragement to me since it was written in 2011. Dr. Joanne J. Jung is the author of Godly Conference: Rediscovering the Puritan Practice of Conference. One of the private means of grace that also augments the public means of grace, godly conference is indeed a practice worth rediscovering, one that the Puritan wrote often about. For my book review, please visit The Reformed Book Cellar here


Monday, February 6, 2017

Best Set of Online Bible Commentaries

If you are interested in quality Reformed Bible commentaries, and your book budget is limited or you appreciate the benefits of being able to search online, be sure to bookmark this page at Reformed Books Online (RBO): Bible Commentaries.

Travis Fentiman has done yeoman's work to assemble most of the highest rated commentaries identified by Charles Spurgeon, Richard Muller, Cyril J. Barber and others in one place where they are easily accessible online. Of particular interest to readers of this blog, there are so many Puritan and Reformation-era Bible commentaries that are now accessible.

This is a fantastic resource, and I highly commend it to all students of the Word of God.

Here is a more thorough overview of what this resource entails:

This is the best and largest collection of Bible commentaries on the net (a total of 2,200+).  It includes, but is not limited to:
– Every commentary that Charles Spurgeon gave his top recommendation (3 stars  *** ) and ‘good’ recommendation (2 stars  ** ) to in his Commenting and Commentaries  (1876);
– Every Reformed, Puritan or otherwise good commentary we could find on PRDL and EEBO that is in English;
– Every relevant commentary  mentioned by Dr. Richard Muller in his survey of the major Reformation and Puritan era commentaries in McKim’s Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters  Buy  that is in English and online;
– Most all of the older Bible commentaries that a Bible-believer would be interested in, that are free online (in the public domain, pre-1920’s);
– The best of the commentaries listed in Cyril J. Barber’s The Minister’s Library (1974), including his top recommendations;
– The major commentaries from the Early and Medieval Churches that have been translated into English;
– And many more.
The Best works are at the top of each page.  More commentaries follow under the sub-sections: 1500’s, 1600’s, Simple & Practical, Intermediate, Advanced.
Commentaries in larger subsections have not been reduplicated on the pages of the individual books, except as Spurgeon or Barber commented on them.  Some of the best commentaries are on those pages, so be sure to check them as well.
In the days ahead (Deo volente) we hope to add much more to this collection, including works in Latin and a selection of the better contemporary commentaries (only a few are present as is).  
While contemporary commentaries have their benefits (they are typically more uniform, focus on exegesis, bring in archaeology, have some updated research, etc.), they are, as a whole (with few exceptions), seriously deficient in deep, savory, godliness.  They will feed you information, but not your eternal soul.  On the other hand, not only do many 1800’s commentaries often have more thorough scholarship in them than many contemporary commentaries (for instance, see Jamieson-Fausset-Brown in Whole Bible Commentaries), but in reading older puritan commentaries from the Reformation age, one not only grows in knowledge, but finds depths of soul-stirring communion with our Eternal and Beloved God.
Spurgeon’s justly famous, helpful and often humorous comments and evaluations have been quoted under the titles where possible.  His scale is as follows: 
*** – ‘Heartily recommended’ ** – ‘Good, but more ordinary’ * – ‘Least desirable’
Do note that Spurgeon’s recommendations were for whether a late-1800’s seminary student preparing to be a preacher should buy a certain commentary.  As some commentaries were very pricey and scarce in Spurgeon’s day, he sometimes gave a lower rating to certain commentaries than what they otherwise deserve, and his emphasis is on whether a given work will be helpful to a preacher or not.  By God’s grace, we have many more of these works available to us than what even Spurgeon and his readers had available to them in their own day.
Cyril J. Barber’s comments have been added where possible as well.  He was a late-1900’s evangelical pastor and bibliophile who reprinted many of the best works he commends through (the now defunct) Klock & Klock Publishers (which commentaries should be purchased immediately if found).
Not every commentary is reformed, as truth may appreciated, and should be desired, wherever it is found.  A number of broadly evangelical works have been included (especially in the mid-1900’s) at Barber’s recommendation. 
Please note, in relation to this collection, the words of Spurgeon:
‘It is to be specially noted, that in no case do we endorse all that any author has written in his commentary.  We could not read the works through, it would have needed a Methuselah to do that; nor have we thought it needful to omit a book because it contains a measure of error, provided it is useful in its own way; for this catalog is for thoughtful, discerning men, and not for children.  
We have not, however, knowingly mentioned works whose main drift is skeptical, or Socinian, except with a purpose; and where we have admitted comments by writers of doubtful doctrine, because of their superior scholarship and the correctness of their criticisms we have given hints which will be enough for the wise.  It is sometimes very useful to know what our opponents have to say.’
Do note that, while liberal theology is in serious, fundamental, unbelieving error, some of the better, more conservative liberal works (usually noted as such) from the mid-late 1800’s and early 1900’s have been included on these pages as they often contain a wealth of information that can be found nowhere else (which is particularly valuable for the advanced student if one is looking for exhaustive information on a particular text).  These works are usually in the advanced sections of the webpages (as liberals rarely wrote anything that fed anyone’s soul).  Barber often relates why the particular work is useful.  Needless to say:  Beware of their presuppositions, eat the meat, spit out the bones, and feed upon the vast majority of the commentaries that hold forth God’s Truth in shining fullness.
Many of the works on these pages can be bought on Amazon and BookFinder. A book in hand is worth two on the computer.
Please enjoy thoroughly to the glory of God, and tell your friends.