Sunday, September 15, 2013

Links in the Chain

W.M. Punshon, "Influence of Good Books" in Benjamin Broomhall, ed., Evangelisation of the World, a Missionary Band, p. 214:

I thought how an old Puritan doctor wrote a book years and years ago, called "The Bruised Reed," which fell just at the right time into the hands of Richard Baxter, and brought him under the influence of the enlightening power of the Spirit of God; and then Baxter's ministry was like the sun in his strength, and he wrote a book called "The Call to the Unconverted," which continued to speak long after Baxter himself had ceased to speak with human tongue. That "Call to the Unconverted" went preaching on until it got into the hands of Philip Doddridge (prepared by his pious mother's teaching from the Dutch tiles of a mantel-piece with very quaint Scriptural stories); and it was the means of enlightening him to a broader knowledge, and a richer faith, and a deeper experience of the things of God. And then I thought how Doddridge wrote a book called "The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul," which, just at a critical period in his history, fell into the hands of William Wilberforce, who wrote a book called "Practical Christianity," which, far down in the sunny Isle of Wight, fired the heart of a clergyman, who has attained, perhaps, in connection with this society, the broadest and widest reputation of all -- for who has not heard of Legh Richmond? He wrote the simple annals of a Methodist girl, and published it under the title of "The Diaryman's Daughter"; and I should like to know into how many languages that has been translated, and been made of God a power for the spread of truth. The same book on "Practical Christianity" went right down into a secluded parish in Scotland, and it found there a young clergyman who was preaching a gospel that he did not know, and it instructed him in the way of God more perfectly, and he came forth a champion valiant for the truth upon the earth, until all Scotland rang with the eloquence of Thomas Chalmers. Look at it! -- not a flaw in the chain: Richard Sibbes, Richard Baxter, Philip Doddridge, William Wilberforce, Legh Richmond, Thomas Chalmers -- is not that apostolical succession?

John Macleod, Some Favourite Books, pp. 85-86:

Thus a chain goes back from Thomas Chalmers to William Wilberforce, to Philip Doddridge, to Richard Baxter, to Richard Sibbes. Along the links of that chain by pen and in the life the power of the Spirit of God is to be seen.
from 17th Century to 19th Century.

The Bruised Reed (1630)

   'It pleased God that a poor pedlar came to the door...and my Father bought of him Sibb's Bruised Reed...It suited my state...and gave me a livelier apprehension of the mystery of redemption and how much I was beholden to Jesus Christ...Without any means but books was God please to resolve me for Himself.'
   In 1657 Baxter's Call to the Unconverted was published. Many years later it was blessed to the conversion of

whose Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul, printed in 1745, was used to bring into the light of God the soul of
whose Practical View of the prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians...contrasted with Real Christianity, published in 1797, helped to bring from death into light and life the soul of
who wrote: 'Somewhere about the year 1811 I had Wilberforce's View put into my hands, and as I got on in reading it I felt myself on the eve of a great revolution in all my opinions of Christianity. I am now most thoroughly of opinion...that on the system of "Do this and live" no peace...can ever be attained. It is, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved".'
 "Ministers are living Books, and Books are dead Ministers; and yet though dead, they speak. When you cannot hear the one, you may read the other."~Matthew Poole

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