Monday, November 30, 2009




The musical part of New England worship consisted of Psalm singing, in which the Psalm was lined out by the ruling elder, or by one designated by the minister. The people knew few tunes and as late as the beginning of the eighteenth century New England congregations were rarely able to sing more than three or four. Even the few melodies commonly known became so corrupted that no two individuals sang them alike, so that a congregation singing sounded "like five hundred different tunes roared out at the same time" often one or two words apart.An eighteenth century New England minister states: "I myself have twice in one note paused to take breath."

The story is told of a New England deacon who, because of failing eyesight, found difficulty in reading the first line of the Psalm and he apologized by observing: "My eyes, indeed, are very blind."

The choir thinking this the first line of a common-meter hymn immediately sang it;

whereupon the deacon exclaimed:

"I cannot see at all."

This the choir also sang. Astonished, the deacon cried out:

"I really believe you are bewitched"

and the choir responded, "I really believe you are bewitched,"

whereupon the deacon added,

"The mischief's in you all,"

and after the choir had sung that, the deacon sat down in disgust.

(From The Story of Religion in America, William W. Sweet; Harper and Brothers, 1950 edition, page 57). (Editor’s note: How would you like to sing that song? And they say the Puritans had no sense of humor ).


The tradition of singing only Psalms was carried from Calvin, Zwingli and some of the other reformers after the Protestant Reformation, though Lutherans sang some hymns about 100 years earlier. Some churches today in Scotland and elsewhere still sing only Psalms.The Scottish Psalter is still published today. Some of the inherent problems in organizing the Psalms for singing were in the structure. Some were put together in metric, but the wording was often crude.

Then there was the Bay Psalm Book (1640), known as the first book ever published in America. It was written by Richard Mather and other Puritans at Cambridge, Massachusetts.The lyrics didn’t rhyme well, but I guess few worried about such things until, in England, a minister of Puritan stock named Isaac Watts came along. He was not satisfied with the arrangements of the psalters because they so poorly rhymed. Being an excellent poet, he composed his own Psalter. Then he began to set other poems he had written to music.First he wrote Behold the Glories of the Lamb, then others

including At the Cross,When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Marching to Zion, Joy to the World, Oh God Our Help in Ages Past and at least 745 more! They became popular, and the era of the hymn in the evangelical churches was born, and I might add, we are much richer for it today. What a blessing to Christ’s church his hymns, those later of Charles Wesley, John Newton, William Cowper, and many others have been over the years, and always will be to worshiping Christians..


(At least I think so. My children learned it when very young, and we often sang it together).

When I survey the wondrous cross, On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God!

All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down!

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe, Spreads o’er His body on the tree;

Then I am dead to all the globe, And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.


Certainly there was nothing forbidden in using Psalms in worship as the Puritans did. To do so exclusively is not commanded however. As a matter of fact the Bible does tell us exactly what should be done in private and corporate worship. It does so without specifying in minute detail. For instance in Psalm 150 we are told various instruments, besides the human voice, may be used in praising the Lord. The key verse is Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 150:6). Some want to restrict this to the Old Testament, but I see no warrant in them doing so. If you do that, you had better do away with “a pulpit of wood” for it is only found in Nehemiah 8:4; or “storehouse tithing” which is found only in Malachi 3:10.

First, we are to sing unto the Lord: “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence

with singing” (Psalm 100:2). We are to sing psalms -- unto Him: “Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works” (Psalm 105:2). Sing with understanding. This means doctrine, or teaching should be in the praises and songs: “For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding” Psalm 47:7). This is in the New Testament as well as old: Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms” (James 5:13).

Secondly, hymns are to be sang as well as Psalms. “Greek= humnos; which denotes a song of praise addressed to God” W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words.

“ Songs -- joyous lyric pieces on sacred subjects; contrast the reveling, licentious songs of pagan feasts (Amos 8:10).” Fausset’s Bible Dictionary on “hymn”.

“And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives” (Matthew 26:30).

“And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard

them” (Acts 16:25)

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody

in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one

another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the

Lord” (Colossians 3:16).

These verses should be most instructive to us on what kind of singing in Christian assemblies is acceptable to God. I found Fausset’s words “contrast the reveling, licentious songs of pagan feasts” very alarming. He was speaking of pagans back before 1877 when his dictionary was originally published. What would he have to say about the modern pagans in England and America today and their so-called church music? Thirdly, the verses above are saying “spiritual songs” as opposed to worldly or pagan songs.

How do you define the difference? “All music is be to offered to God. Johann Sebastian Bach, perhaps the greatest musician of all time, said that the aim of all music is the glory of God. In his own life and work the great composer and organist sought to live out that aim, frequently initialing his works S.D.G.: Sola Deo Gloria--to the glory of God alone. Whenever believers sing, they must constantly remind themselves that their song should be a gift of praise to the Lord. Every word of every song should be biblical, rightly reflecting God's own thoughts and attitudes. It is tragic that much of the music today classified as Christian is nothing more than theological mishmash.”John MacArthur on Ephesians 5:19; from

Some of you may say “Oh, it is just a matter of choice. A ‘Christian rock’ or ‘Christian rap’ song can praise the Lord as much as a hymn.” Be careful now, Christian friend! First of all, as we have said, the lyrics should be biblical. Also, the song should be offered to God. I can’t get too detailed in this issue, but hope to expand later. Suffice it to say, there is a certain amount of latitude in types of songs. Rhythm in itself is not wrong. The Hebrew songs certainly had rhythm.But, to take the rhythm that serves the devil so well, put a few Christian sounding phrases with it,and call it “Christian rock.”or“Christian rap”or “contemporary” is a misnomer. I used to listen to Elvis, Chuck Berry, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Lynryd Skynyrd and many other rock singers, and you can’t take the same tunes and styles they sang, give them religious lyrics and call them Christian. They may be religious, but not Christian -- certainly not spiritual songs! So many young people (and some older ones as well), are being fooled today by contemporary Christian music, most of which will not, and cannot help you worship the true Sovereign God aright. “Be ye not unequally yoked together

with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what

communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part

hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15)


Likely some will get angry and puffed up with me, but think about this; I am not saying every song must be an old hymn written before 1900. I am saying our worship songs in our churches should meet our chief end -- which is to glorify God! I am not saying every good song must have been written by a Calvinist. Charles Wesley, although an Arminian, wrote some great hymns. Some modern songs are good. It is just the trend to throw out the old songs, along with the old paths -- the old biblical theology of Sovereign Grace. Our songs, whether old or new,should be scriptural.

“O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD,

bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day” (Psalm 96:1-2).

I am sure someone will point out the preceding verse to defend all contemporary songs, but as you see the new song here was also to be a song of praise to Jehovah. If we in the New Testament are “showing forth His salvation from day to day.” our songs must present Jesus Christ, whose very name means salvation. He is our salvation (see Isaiah 12:2).

“Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).

Here is an example of a good modern song IMHO.

WE SHALL BEHOLD HIM (Words and music by Dottie Rambo)

The sky shall unfold, preparing His entrance;

The stars shall applaud Him with thunders of praise.

The sweet light in His eyes shall enhance those a waiting,

And we shall behold Him then face to face.


And we shall behold Him, we shall behold Him

Face to face in all of His glory;

And we shall behold Him, Yes, we shall behold Him

Face to face, our Saviour and Lord.

The angels shall sound the shout of His coming,

The sleeping shall rise from their slumbering place.

And those who remain shall be changed in a moment,

And we shall behold Him then face to face.


And we shall behold Him, we shall behold Him

Face to face in all of His glory;

And we shall behold Him, Yes, we shall behold Him

Face to face, our Saviour and Lord.

We shall behold Him, our Saviour and Lord.

Sunday, November 22, 2009




We shall not find as many Puritan writings by American Puritans as we did by British Puritans. Why is this? Because the Pilgrims, who were generally of the same theology as others known as Puritans, had left England for Holland in an attempt to find religious freedom. Many of the others stayed in the Church of England and tried to “purify” her. Then under persecution, such as the Pilgrims had faced, many more dissented and left the Anglican church and became Independents, Presbyterians, Baptists and Congregationalists. After the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, others began immigrating to America. Most of the first were Puritans who also settled in Massachusetts. Many came to America, but many more remained in Britain. The American Puritans were different in that for the first time Puritans actually formed a government, based on the Mayflower Compact. So we not only had theology, but government based on biblical law. Of course, they still had to answer to the British crown, but were largely self governing. This was not to happen in England until Cromwell established the Protectorate and deposed King Charles in 1653. The Protectorate only lasted 12 years, and the monarchy was restored to England.

Difficulty arose in Massachusetts Bay as more people immigrated. The laws were strict, and even punished those who broke the Sabbath in any way, such as not attending the church. In effect, unregenerate people were expected to behave as Christians, or find themselves in jail, or worse. One Puritan who opposed this way of thinking was Roger Williams. He believed it was not the job of civil government to enforce the first table of the Law. He also believed that a man or woman could not be forced to be a Christian, or believe a certain thing. He believed in religious freedom for all. Eventually he had to leave the Massachusetts Bay colony, and went on to start Providence, eventually to become the capitol of Rhode Island. So ironically, the Puritans who were persecuted in England sometimes became persecutors in the New World. In Providence, Williams is said to have started the first Baptist church in America. He certainly was an influence on the Puritans regarding freedom of conscience, which became a way of life in America. Yet among these godly, but fallible, men were some Bible teachers and preachers of the first order. They published, but not as prolifically as their English and Scotch brethren. Yet a number of great works and sermons were published up to the time of Jonathon Edwards, arguably the most brilliant American theologian, and often called “The Last Puritan“. Let us examine a morsel or two of these other great writers’ work.


(By Cotton Mather-1663-1728; grandson of John Cotton, and the son of Increase Mather).

“It is impossible to ask a more weighty Question! It is deplorable that we hear it asked with no more Frequency, with nor more Agony. The Spirit of Slumber which the Poison of the old Serpent has brought upon the children of Men is to be deplored exceedingly. Awaken us out of this [terrible] stupidity, O God of all Grace, lest we perish [eternally]. My Design is to bring in a Good and full Answer to this Weighty Question, Oh! how Thankful ought we to be, for the Glorious Gospel of the Blessed God, that makes us able to Answer it! The Gospel which we have in our hands, this a Gospel of such astonishing Mystery, of such Heavenly Majesty, and of such Consummate Purity, that it can be no other than the Word of God; It must be of a Divine Original. Oh! highly Favoured People, who know this Joyful Sound! Oh! Unavoidably and Inexcusably Wretched, if we disregard it.”


(or Great Works of Christ in America), Cotton Mather’s massive work of over 1200 pages. This is from the introduction where it was stated “The object of the first planters of New England was to form a CHRISTIAN COMMONWEALTH”. Very interesting indeed, when so many both in the churches and the world, tell us that America was never designed to be a Christian nation but a strictly secular society. If you really like to read early historical accounts you can view the entire “Magnalia” in PDF at the excellent Monergism site which has literally thousands of Puritan and Reformed books and articles online.

"For, if we look on the dark side, the humane side of this work, then is much of humane weakness, and imperfection hath appeared in all that hath been done by man, as was acknowledged by our fathers before us.

Neither was New-England ever without some fatherly chastisements from God; shewing that He is not fond of the formalities of any people upon earth, but expects the realities of practical godliness, according to our profession and engagement unto him. Much more may we, the children of such fathers, lament our gradual degeneracy from that life and power of Godliness, that was in them, and the many provoking evils that are amongst us; which have moved our God severely to witness against us, more than in our first times, by his lesser judgments going before, and his greater judgments following after; he shot off his warning pieces first, but his murthering pieces have come after them, in so much as in these calamitous times, the changes of wars of Europe have had such a malignant influence upon us in America, that we are at this day greatly diminished and brought low, through oppression, affliction , and sorrow.

And yet if we look on the light side ,the divine side, of this work, we may yet see,

that the glory of God which was with our fathers, is not wholly departed from us their children; there are as yet many signs of his gracious presence with us, both in the way of his providence, and in the use of his ordinances, as also in and with the hearts and souls of a considerable number of his people in New-England, that we may yet say, as they did,
"Thy name is upon us, and thon art in the midst of us; therefore, Lord, leave us not!" As
Solomon prayed, so may we, “The LORD our God be with us as he was with our fathers; let him not leave nor forsake us; but incline our hearts to keep his commandments" And then "that he would maintain his own, and his people's cause, at all times, as the matter
may require”


(By Increase Mather- 1639-1723; father of Cotton Mather and a renowned preacher as well).

Chapter 1: Of Remarkable Sea Deliverances

“The royal pen of the prophet David hath most truly affirmed, ‘that they who go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters, see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.’ And, in special, they see wonders of Divine goodness in respect of eminent deliverances wrought by the hand of the Most High, who stills the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves. lt is meet that such providences should be ever had in remembrance, as most of all by the persons concerned in them, so by others, that the God of Salvation, who is the confidence of them that are afar off upon the sea, may have eternal praise....

Remarkable was that deliverance mentioned both by Mr. Janeway and Mr. Burton, wherein that gallant commander, Major Edward Gibbons, of Boston, in New England, and others were concerned. The substance of the story is this:–A New England vessel going from Boston to some other parts of America, was, through the continuance of contrary winds, kept long at sea, so that they were in very great straits for want of provision; and seeing they could not hope for any relief from earth or sea, they apply themselves to heaven in humble and hearty prayers; but no calm ensuing, one of them made this sorrowful motion, that they should cast lots, which of them should die first, to satisfy the ravenous hunger of the rest. After many a sad debate, they come to a result, the lot is cast, and one of the company is taken, but where is the executioner to be found to act this office upon a poor innocent? It is death now to think who shall act this bloody part in the tragedy. But before they fall upon this involuntary execution, they once more went unto their prayers; and while they were calling upon God, he answered them, for there leaped a mighty fish into the boat, which was a double joy to them, not only in relieving their miserable hunger, which, no doubt, made them quick cooks, but because they looked upon it to be sent from God, and to be a token of their deliverance. But alas! the fish is soon eaten, and their former exigencies come upon them, which sink their spirits into despair, for they know not of another morsel. To lot they go again the second time, which falleth upon another person; but still none can be found to sacrifice him: they again send their prayers to heaven with all manner of fervency, when, behold a second answer from above! a great bird alights, and fixes itself upon the mast, which one of the company espies, and he goes, and there she stands till he took her with his hand by the wing. This was life from the dead the second time, and they feasted themselves herewith, as hoping that second providence was a forerunner of their complete deliverance. But they have still the same disappointments; they can see no land; they know not where they are. Hunger increaseth again upon them, and they have no hopes to be saved but by a third miracle. They are reduced to the former course of casting lots; when they were going to the heart-breaking work, to put him to death whom the lot fell upon, they go to God, their former friend in adversity, by humble and hearty prayers; and now they look and look again; but there is nothing. Their prayers are concluded, and nothing appears, yet still they hoped and stayed; till at last one of them espies a ship, which put new life into all their spirits. They bear up with their vessel, they man their boat, and desire and beg like perishing, humble supplicants to board them, which they are admitted. The vessel proves a French vessel–yea, a French pirate. Major Gibbons petitions them for a little bread, and offers ship and cargo for it. But the commander knows the Major (from whom he had received some signal kindnesses formerly at Boston), and replied readily and cheerfully–‘Major Gibbons, not a hair of you or your company shall perish, if it lie in my power to preserve you.’ And accordingly he relieveth them, and sets them safe on shore.”


(By Thomas Hooker-1586-1647; In July of 1633 he left England. He boarded the ship Griffin at the Downs to sail for Massachusetts. Hooker arrived in Boston in September, 1633.Also aboard the same ship were Samuel Stone and John Cotton, two other Puritan ministers. Samuel Stone(1602-1663), was co-founder of the colony of Connecticut with Thomas Hooker).

The date of Hooker's final sermon in Essex, England is not known, but its contents have largely survived, being published subsequently under the title, The Danger of Desertion. The text was Jeremiah 14.9, 'And we are called by thy Name, leave us not'. Even in the imperfect notes (taken by two of his hearers) which have survived we can sense something of what this farewell meant to both preacher and hearers. From the application of the sermon we take the following:

“I am an importunate suitor for Christ. Oh, send me not sad away I What are you resolved of ? Are you willing to enjoy God still, and to have him dwell with you? Well, look to it, for God is going, and if he do go, then our glory goes also. And then we may say with Phinehas' wife, II Samuel 4.22 'Glory is departed from Israel'. So glory is departed from England; for England hath seen her best days and the reward of sin is coming on apace, for God is packing up of his gospel because none will buy his wares. God begins to ship away his Noahs which prophesied and foretold that destruction was near; and God makes account that New England shall be a refuge for his Noahs and his Lots, a rock and a shelter for his righteous ones to ran unto; and those that were vexed to see the ungodly lives of the people in this wicked land shall there be safe. Oh, therefore my brethren, lay hold on God, and let him not go out of your coasts! He is going! Look about you, I say, and stop him at the town's-end, and let not thy God depart! Oh, England, lay siege about him by humble and hearty closing with him, and although he be going, he is not yet gone! Suffer him not to go far, suffer him not to say, 'Farewell, or rather fare-ill, England!'“


(Thomas Shepard-1605-1649; known as the “soul melting Puritan”. He came over to Boston in 1635 and pastored the church in Cambridge, Mass until his death in 1649).

“What is meant by a spirit of drunkenness? Sometimes it means the drunkenness of men's

bodies. Other times it speaks of soul-calamities so drastic that men do not know what to do

(Lamentations 3:15). Sometimes it means spiritual judgments because of sin and therefore refers

not so much to misery in general as to spiritual misery, when the Lord gives men up to a

reprobate spirit. ‘They are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger but not with strong

drink. For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your

eyes’ (Isaiah 29:9,10). Jeremiah speaks of the calamity of the people in their being dashed one

against another. Drunkenness prepares them for this misery.

Spiritual drunkenness is a forerunner of a people's merciless destruction. I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them ’ says the Jeremiah 13:14.

Belshazzar had been drinking through the evening and that same night the handwriting of the Lord appeared on the wall: ‘MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN... God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it... Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.’ (Daniel 5:25-28). ‘While drunken...they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry’ (Nahum 1:10).”

Wednesday, November 11, 2009




Practically everyone has heard the name Puritan. In the turmoil and cultural change of the 1960’s in America, it was an epitaph often hurled at people who refused to go along with the loose living and radical social change that was overtaking society. It is still used that way, but in this day of apostasy when relatively few are standing against sin and for the gospel, dissenters from the modern religious libertines are usually called fundamentalists. Both words have become a term of disgust in the mouths of the ungodly. Puritans, strictly speaking, began in England as a movement in the 16th century within the Anglican church to speed up the process of the Protestant Reformation in Great Britain. Because the dissent later brought about some Puritans leaving the Church of England, it affected Presbyterians, Independents, Baptists, and Congregationalists during two centuries, but had effects for a lot longer period. It was probably the most profound time of sound Bible preaching since the early church. Later, I plan to give references to study their history, if you are interested; and look at the American Puritans. But for this article, I want us to look at some of the learned and pithy teaching of English Puritans. There were hundreds of them in Britain at the time. Most were Calvinists, but some were Arminian. The Puritans had a wide range of educational attainments. Some were self taught like John Bunyan, the tinker’s son. Then on the other end were the Doctors of Divinity, like Dr. John Owen, Dr. Thomas Goodwin and Dr. William Ames. Much of the work of many Puritans can be found online, and I recommend most of them for their rich spiritual insight.


“An English Puritan preacher once exhorted his people about their neglect of the Bible. One hearer reported how the preacher "personates God to the people, telling them, 'Well, I have trusted you so long with my Bible; you have slighted it, it lies … covered with dust and cobwebs; you care not to listen to it. Do you use my Bible so? Well, you shall have my Bible no longer.'

"And he takes up the Bible from his cushion, and seemed as if he were going away with it and carrying it from them; but immediately turns again and personates the people to God, falls down on his knees, cries and pleads most earnestly, 'Lord, whatever thou dost to us, take not thy Bible from us; kill our children, burn our houses, destroy our goods; only spare us thy Bible, only take not away thy Bible.'

"And then he personates God again to the people: 'Say you so? Well, I will try you a while longer; and here is my Bible for you. I will see how you will use it, whether you will love it more … observe it more … practice it more, and live more according to it.' "

In response, the people broke down and were "deluged with their own tears."

This anecdote takes us to the very heart of Puritanism—a passionate movement, and above all else, a Bible movement. (J.I. Packer from Theology On Fire, Copyright © 1994 by the author or Christianity Today International./Christian History magazine).


“But his delight is in the law of the LORD: and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2).

“Quest. How is meditation to be defined, as it is taken in the former sense?

Answ. Meditation is a serious, earnest and purposed musing upon some point of Christian instruction, tending to lead us forward toward the Kingdom of Heaven, and serving for our daily strengthening against the flesh, the world and the Devil. Or it is the steadfast and earnest bending of the mind upon some spiritual and heavenly matter, discoursing thereof with our selves, till we bring the same to some profitable issue, both for the settling of our judgments, and the bettering of our hearts and lives.

Quest. How do prayer and meditation differ?

Answ. They are often confounded in name, but inseparably linked in nature going hand and hand together; and can no more be severed, than two twins, who live and die together; only in prayer we confer and commune more directly with God by petition and thanksgiving; in meditation we talk and confer more directly and properly with ourselves and our own souls.”

A Treatise of Divine Meditation by John Ball (1585-1640).

“Meditation is a pure and rational converse with God. It is the flower and height of consecrated reason” (Thomas Manton, 1620-1677).


“It is good for us to keep some account of our prayers, that we may not unsay them in our practice” (Matthew Henry, 1662-1714).

"The reason why our souls are so empty of joy, is because our mouths are empty of prayer" (Robert Traill,1642-1716).

“Not the people only, but those who are themselves ministers, should pray for the increase of ministers. Though self-interest makes those that seek their own things desirous to be placed alone (the fewer ministers the more preferments), yet those that seek the things of Christ, desire more workmen, that more work may be done, though they be eclipsed by it “ (Matthew Henry on Matthew 9:35-38; emphasis original).


“Because true faith has holiness joined with it, which it keeps effectual (Acts 15:9), and the profession of true faith cannot be separated from the profession of holiness, the church is variously but with the same meaning called a society of believers and a society of saints; ‘To the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Jesus Christ’ (Ephesians1:1;1 Corinthians1:2 compared with 2 Corinthians. 1:1; Romans. 1:7; and Colossians 1:2)”

(From The Church Instituted; Dr.William Ames, 1576-1633).

“A reputation once broken may possibly be repaired, but the world will always keep their eyes on the spot where the crack was” (Joseph Hall,1574-1656).

“The way to preserve the peace of the church is to preserve its purity” (Matthew Henry, 1662-1714).


"For God hath not appointed us unto wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

“For the explication: ‘by our Lord Jesus Christ.’ The first title is ‘Lord’, and this is a name of dominion and sovereignty, and implies a power and strength in Christ to carry on the work of our salvation. If Christ were a Jesus and not a Lord, He could not save us.

He is the ‘Lord Jesus’. As ‘Lord’ is a title of dominion, so ‘Jesus’ is a title of mercy and bounty, and signifies a Savior. He is not only a Lord, and so has power to do us good, but He is also a Jesus, and so He has a will to do us good. The dialect of the Old Testament is the ‘Lord our God’, but never ‘the Lord Jesus’ till in the New Testament.

He is the ‘Lord Jesus Christ,’ that is, He is God's anointed. He was set apart and appointed by God to carry on the great work of man's salvation. ‘Christ’ is a name of office and function” (From Wrath and Mercy, Sermon #4; By Christopher Love, 1618-1651).

“What they shall pray in the time of their extremity, who now spit at all praying and religion! They shall be religious in their kind, when they shall cry , ‘Mountains and rocks fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb’ (Revelation 6:16). You cannot believe that a Lamb shall chase the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich man, and every bondman, and every free man, into the dens and rocks of the mountains, to hide themselves. But the Lord acteth wrath and judgment before your eyes. Men will not suppose the real story of hell. Say but with thyself, Oh! shall I weep, and gnaw my tongue for pain, in a sea of fire and brimstone? Do but forefancy, I pray you, how you shall look on it, what thoughts you will have, what you shall do, when you ‘shall be punished with everlasting destruction, from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power‘( II Thessalonians 1:9)”. (From Christ Dying and Drawing Sinners to Himself by Samuel Rutherford, 1600-1661).


“Election is God’s decree whereby on His own free will, He hath ordained certain men to salvation, to the praise of His glory of His grace. ‘According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.’(Ephesians1:4-6).

“This decree is that book of life wherein are written the names of the elect. ‘And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works’(Revelation. 20:12). ‘Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity’ (2 Timothy 2:19)”.

“The execution of this decree, is an action, by which God, even as He purposed with Himself, worketh all those things effectually, which He decreed for the salvation of the Elect. For they whom God elected to this end, that they should inherit eternal life, were also elected to those subordinate means, whereby, as by steps, they might attain this end: and without which, it were impossible to attain it. ‘For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified’(Romans 8:29-30)”.(From The Order of Salvation and Damnation by William Perkins, 1558-1602).

William Perkins is said to have encountered a young condemned prisoner who was terrified not so much of death as of the impending judgment of God. The Puritan preacher knelt beside him to "show what the grace of God can do to strengthen thee." He showed him that Christ is the means of salvation by the grace of God and urged him with tears to believe in Him and experience the remission of sins. The youth did so and was able to face his execution with composure, a glorious display of God's sovereign grace. This incident should be kept in mind while studying Perkins' chart of election and reprobation. It shows his theology did not make him cold and heartless when dealing with sinners in need of a Savior. (From A Puritan’s Mind website)


Hope is a glorious grace, whereunto blessed effects are ascribed in the Scripture, and an effectual operation unto the supportment and consolation of believers. By it are we purified, sanctified, saved. And, to sum up the whole of its excellency and efficacy, it is a principal way of the working of Christ as inhabiting in us: “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Where Christ evidenceth His presence with us, He gives us an infallible hope of glory; He gives us an assured pledge of it and worketh our souls into an expectation of it. Hope in general is but an uncertain expectation of a future good which we desire; but as it is a gospel grace, all uncertainty is removed from it, which would hinder us of the advantage intended in it. It is an earnest expectation, proceeding from faith, trust, and confidence, accompanied with longing desires of enjoyment. From a mistake of its nature, it is that few Christians labor after it, exercise themselves unto it, or have the benefit of it; for to live by hope, they suppose, infers a state not only beneath the life of faith and all assurance in believing, but also exclusive of them. They think to hope to be saved is a condition of men who have no grounds of faith or assurance; but this is to turn a blessed fruit of the Spirit into a common affection of nature. Gospel hope is a fruit of faith, trust, and confidence; yea, the height of the actings of all grace issues in a well-grounded hope, nor can it rise any higher (Rom 5:2-5).(From The Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually Minded by Dr. John Owen, 1616-1683).