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Devoted to the Service of the Temple*

Devoted to the Service of the Temple: Piety, Persecution, and Ministry in the Writings of Hercules Collins is a collection of the writings of seventeenth-century Particular Baptist pastor Hercules Collins edited by Dr. Michael Haykin and Pastor Steve Weaver. At 139 pages, including a bibliography, it is a short, easy read, but one that is packed full of rich pastoral theology.

The book begins with a thirty page introduction, providing a brief biography of Hercules Collins and the historical setting of his writings, followed by thirty-five short chapters, which are excerpts of his writings. This book can easily be read in one sitting, as I did, or one chapter (2–3 short pages) a day, as a devotional. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find such rich theology in any devotional book written today.

We owe considerable gratitude to Dr. Haykin and Pastor Weaver for bringing us this collection of writings from this great, though lesser known, “dead theologian.” I heartily recommend it to you, and leave you with this quotation from chapter five, titled God is the Gospel:


There are many good objects in heaven and earth besides thee. There are angels in heaven and saints on earth. But, soul, what are these to thee? Heaven, without thy presence, would be no heaven to me. A palace without thee, a crown without thee, cannot satisfy me. But with thee can I be content, though in a poor cottage. With thee I am at liberty in bonds. . . . [I]f I have thy smiles, I can bear the world’s frowns. If I have spiritual liberty in my soul that I can ascend to thee by faith and have communion with thee, thou shalt choose thy portion for me in this world, “For in the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts delight my soul.”

—Hercules Collins, Devoted to the Service of the Temple: Piety, Persecution, and Ministry in the Writings of Hercules Collins (Reformation Heritage Books, 2007).

* Originally posted August 15, 2007, but the book is still available (cheap!) and worth your attention. Click the link, buy the book. You’ll thank me later.

God is most glorified in us when . . .

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” —John Piper I went to bed last night contemplating that well-worn assertion, and woke up this morning with it still on my mind. During the interim, I think it might even have made an appearance in that ephemeral fog of lost dreams. This is the slogan of Piper’s Desiring God ministry and a summary of his teaching of “Christian hedonism” (an oxymoron if ever there was one), and although it probably contains a grain of truth—godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6)—it has never set well with me. That the satisfaction of fallible, sinful beings could be the ultimate measure of anything good simply cannot be right. We are naturally self-centered (hedonistic) beings. To be satisfied in God is surely a good thing, but at its center is our own pleasure, and no matter how sanctified we are, our pleasure—even our pleasure in God—is still about us. God may be glorified in it, but most glorified? I think not. I was left wondering, then: How would I finish the statement, “God is most glorified in us when . . .”? It wasn’t an easy question. There are many ways in which we may glorify God, but my hang-up is with the word most. Maybe it’s not even a question we need to answer at all, but I’ll give it a shot. I began by asking, who is God, and from whence is his glory derived? The answer is that God is entirely self-existant, therefore his glory originates from himself. He simply is glorious, always has been (John 17:5), and is in no way dependent on any part of his creation—that is, anything that exists outside of himself—to be so. He needs nothing, he needs no one. The next question is, who are we, and what is our purpose? If God does not need us, then why did he create us? Our purpose, the reason for which we were created, is for God’s glory (Isaiah 43:7; see 1–7 for context). He didn’t need us for that purpose, but he wanted us for that purpose. We are his creation, made in his image (Genesis 1:26–27). That image has been disfigured through the Fall, when Adam sinned. Consequently, we are all born in sin (Psalm 51:5), subject to the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:3), from which we need to be saved. But there is nothing we can do to secure that salvation; we are entirely dependent on God (Ephesians 2:1–9). And we are dependent on him not only for our justification, which puts us in a right relationship to him, but for our sanctification, which makes the good works (v. 10) for which we were created possible (Philippians 2:12–13). Without him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Yet, we try. The idea of total helplessness offends our pride, and we like to think, contrary to the testimony of scripture (Isaiah 64:6), that we can do something, however little. In doing so, we call God a liar, and declare our (at least partial) independence. This does anything but glorify him. All we can do is throw ourselves on the mercy of God, acknowledging our helplessness, and trusting in his grace through the shed blood of Christ to reconcile us to himself. This is what will bring him the greatest glory. God is most glorified in us when we are most dependent on him.

Random Selections: The Fifth Commandment (John MacArthur)

This random selection (odd page, third paragraph) is from John MacArthur’s commentary on Ephesians 6:1–3. The command honor your father and mother is two-fold. That it may be well with you relates to the quality of life, and that you may live long on the earth relates to the quantity of life promised. The original promise was to Israel and involved many tangible, physical, earthly blessings. But Paul’s reference to it here shows that it also extends to believers today. Though its blessings may not always be tangible, a family where children and parents live in mutual love and submission will have rich, God-given harmony and satisfaction that other families can never know. As for the promise of living long on the earth, the believer who honors his parents can know that his lifetime will be the full measure God intends, rather than cut short like those of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:5–10) and certain members of the church at Corinth (I Cor. 11:30). —John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Ephesians (Moody Press, 1986), 315.

Celebrated thirty-one years (a few days early) with a trip to the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Saturday night. Sibellius! You haven’t heard Finlandia till you’ve heard it live. At the Symphony

Lord’s Day 15, 2019

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. —Romans 9:16 Hymn XI. Divine Breathing. I groan from sin to be set free, From self to be releas’d; O take me, take me unto thee, My everlasting rest! Come, O my Saviour, come away! Into my soul descend: No longer from thy creature stay; My author, and my end! The bliss thou hast for me prepar’d No longer be delay’d; Come, my exceeding great reward, For whom I first was made. Thou all our works in us hast wrought. Our good is all divine; The praise of ev’ry virtuous thought And righteous work is thine. ’Tis not of him that wills or runs, That labours or desires; In answer to my Saviour’s groans, Thy love my breast inspires. The meritorious cause I see, That precious blood divine; And I, since Jesus died for me, Shall live for ever thine. —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady: To the Holy Spirit (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these.

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: O My Soul, Bless Your Redeemer

O My Soul, Bless Your Redeemer STUTTGART Psalm 103 O my soul, bless your Redeemer; all within me bless God’s Name; bless the Savior, and forget not all God’s mercies to proclaim. God forgives all your transgressions, all diseases gently heals; God redeems you from destruction, and with you so kindly deals. Far as east from west is distant, God has put away our sin; like the pity of a father has the Lord’s compassion been. As it was without beginning, so it lasts without an end; to their children’s children ever shall God’s righteousness extend. Unto such as keep God’s cov’nant and are steadfast in God’s way; unto those who still remember the commandments and obey. Bless your Maker, all you creatures, ever under God’s control, all throughout God’s vast dominion; bless the Lord of all, my soul! —Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017). The current hymnal for this series is Hymns to the Living God, published by Religious Affections Ministries. This is such a good hymnal that I’m pretty sure I could happily post every hymn it contains, but I’ll be limiting selections to hymns I have never posted here before, especially those unfamiliar to me (of which there are many). For more inf0ormation and to purchase this hymnal, visit Religious Affections Ministries.

Of Frogs and Men

A frog hopped into a bank one day to apply for a loan. The teller went to the back and asked the bank manager what to do. The boss said, “Tell the frog to go see Patricia Black at the loan desk.” So she did, and the frog went into Miss Black’s office to fill out the application. Examining the application, she said, “This says your name is Kermit Jagger, and your nearest kin, your father, is Mick Jagger. Is that correct?” “Yes, that’s right,” replied the frog. “Do you have any collateral?” “I only have this ivory figurine. It’s very valuable.” Patricia took the application and the figurine and went to the bank manager’s office. “There’s a frog in my office asking for a loan. This little statue is all he has for collateral. What do you think?” The manager examined the figurine, looked over the application, and replied, “It’s a knick-knack, Patty Black, give the frog a loan. His old man’s a Rolling Stone.”

Grace of Repentance*
Not about Us*
Entirely Dependent*
Random Selections: There Is Hope (J. C. Ryle)
Lord’s Day 14, 2019
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know
Vitamin C

“Such a merchant is Satan”*
“The Word shows . . . the face of those lusts”*
The Right Means*
A Society of Christians*
Lord’s Day 12, 2019
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Before the throne of God above
Sounds fishy

The Word Shows Thee*
The Central Point of the Cross
Smitten by God
Random Selections: Idle Hands (Charles Spurgeon)
Lord’s Day 13, 2019
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Jesus, My Highest Treasure
Cheese Couplets*


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