Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Best known passages of Scripture

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

A statement I heard in a sermon on October 22nd got me to thinking about this: What are the most well-known passages in the Bible? By this I mean not just a single verse, but a passage that encompasses several verses. John 3:16 might be the most well-known verse in the Bible, but I think perhaps the 23rd Psalm and Matthew 6:9-13 (the Model Prayer, called by many the Lord's Prayer) could be the most recognized extended portions of Scripture; that is, known and recognized (not necessarily believed) by Christians and non-Christians alike.

Would you tend to agree or do you disagree?

Monday, October 30, 2006

"Granny Russell" singing

Speaking of "singing aloud", the annual Granny Russell Memorial Sacred Harp Singing will be held Saturday November the 4th, 2006 (d.v.) at Little Hope community and church. The Little Hope church building is located on FM 1669 about 4 or 5 miles northeast of Huntington, Texas. Singing starts around 10:00 a.m. and lunch will be served at noon.

For more info contact
Burl and Margie Russell.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sing aloud

Psalm 81:1 - Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.

We have all been there. At the local school play or a church program where the children are all brought out on stage, lined up so perfectly, dressed up so appropriately and then they are asked to sing. Occasionally you will get the child prodigy that can actually carry a tune. But most often you have three groups of children. The ones that looks dazed at the fact there are so many people looking at them. They have that sort of deer caught in the headlights look on their face. Sometimes they mumble a word or two, but usually its nothing. Then there are the ones that are trying. They don’t sing loud or soft or even on key for that matter. But they are participating. But most often there is one or two that sing as loud as they possibly can, almost to the point of screaming the words. You can’t shake them with laughter. You can’t even embarrass them by pointing. They are going to sing no matter what. Why? They want to. And if they are singing a song about loving mom, dad or grandparents it even brings a sentimental tear to an eye here and there. And you know what, I have never seen one parent actually die from embarrassment or get up and leave the room. No matter what that child did, that was their child and they loved them. Our verse today says sing aloud; make a joyful noise unto God. Our heavenly Father does not care about the quality of our voice. He cares about the content of our heart. So SING!!! -- by Franklin Senters, Living in His Word devotions October 3, 2006

Saw the above and thought it somewhat humourous and probably true.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Baptist "Name-Tags" - Are They Helpful?

Often the question is asked - Which Baptist are you? I can't imagine asking John the Baptist what kind of Baptist he was. But, as they say, "We've come a long way, baby."

How helpful are Baptist "name-tags"? It seems that you and the one to whom you are speaking must have the same concept of the meaning of the names in order for them to be accurate and descriptive. Do the "name-tags" often used by Baptists (conservative, fundamental, historic, independent, landmark, liberal, missionary, moderate, primitive, reformed, regular, unaffiliated, etc.) have a narrow enough definition to convey an accurate meaning of what one really is? For example, to say one is "independent Baptist" among many of my acquaintances will conjure up the Hyles/Rice type of Baptist. Yet a number of "independent" Baptist churches with which I am familiar are "Primitive" Baptists - probably the almost exact opposite end of the spectrum. Even to say one is SBC, BBF, etc., while identifying with which body one is affiliated, probably does not really tell much about what the individual believes.

"Name-tags" -- Are they helpful? Are they confusing? Are they divisive? Are they necessary?

Clock change

Remember there is a clock change Sunday morning October 29. Move the hands on your clocks back an hour.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The valley of the shadow

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

David wrote, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me..." David spoke truth by inspiration of God. He also spoke as a man who experienced the shadow that death cast during many times in his life. As a youthful shepherd, David looked death in the face of a lion and a bear and slew them. As a visitor to Saul's army, David walked into the shadow that irreverent Goliath cast, and walked securely out on the other side. As a soldier in Saul's army, David rode into death's shadow as he warred with the Philistines and came victoriously back to the joyful songs of his countrymen. As an anointed king, David fled from the shadow of King Saul as Saul sought to kill David. As a struggling father-king, David fled when his son Absalom sought his kingdom and his life. Time and time again, David walked down into the valley of the shadow that death cast, and walked through it to the other side.

Now view the old king -- survivor of lions, giants, kings, wars and rebellions. See him there on his death bed. He struggles. His body makes no heat. After walking through all those valleys and in all those shadows, he now walks into the valley from whence he will not return. He goes the way of all the earth. There is no discharge in this war, and he will be seen on earth no more -- the silver cord will be loosed, the golden bowl will be broken -- "David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep."

"I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me..." are not the words of a man who had not experienced that of which he spoke. He experienced shadows; he experienced the face of death, and finally death itself. But most of all, through it all, he experienced God's promise, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Amen and amen!

"When we carried over death's valley, we'll live on forevermore

"There to be with Christ our Saviour over on the other shore
"He will be the light that shineth throughout all eternity
"No more sin and no more sorrow when our Saviour's face we see." -- Charlie Vaughn, circa 1976

"I pass the gloomy vale of death, from fear and danger free;
"For there his aiding rod and staff defend and comfort me." -- Brady and Tate's New Version of the Psalms of David

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My Shepherd

Psalm 23:1 "The Lord is my Shepherd..."

The word "Lord" here is "Jehovah" or "Yahweh". THE Lord is one Lord, creator of heaven and earth (Deut. 6:4; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalms 100:3). If we call Him the LORD and Master, we should do the things He says (Luke 6:46; John 13:13).

The Lord IS. In the beginning GOD IS, without explanation. What is Your name, asks Moses: "I AM THAT I AM." (Genesis 1:1; Exodus 3:14) From everlasting to everlasting the Lord, He IS God.

The Lord is a SHEPHERD -- "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." (Isaiah 40:11). The Lord is THE shepherd -- "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:11). But may we be blessed to sweetly view with David that the Lord is not just a shepherd and the Shepherd. He is THE Shepherd whether or not He is mine. But is the Lord MY shepherd? "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine" (John 10:14).

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

"My Shepherd will supply my need: Jehovah is His Name;

"In pastures fresh He makes me feed, Beside the living stream." -- Isaac Watts

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

"Paying the preacher" - somewhat random thoughts

My beliefs on this subject are formed and fitted within a "system" that sees apostolic, or New Testament, practice as normative. Those who reject this view may have a hard time identifying with my conclusions.

In the New Testament, apostles, and evidently evangelists, were in the main traveling ministers who had "no certain dwellingplace". Elders or bishops (which were plural in number) were localized teachers identified with a certain congregation. This would account for a need of support on the part of these sent ones that would not be necessary for settled ones. An apostle might be in a place as much as three years or as little as three weeks (at least in Paul's case). One would not be able to put down roots, find a steady job, buy a place, build a home and "set up shop". All these would be a possibility for a settled teacher.

Further I would contend that the modern view of the Baptist pastor who not only preaches but also handles everything from visitation to weddings, funerals, church administration -- maybe even the church cleaning and mowing -- is not based on the New Testament model. The entire congregation is a body with differing gifts (cf. I Cor. 12, Rom. 12:6-8; I Pet. 4:10,11, et al.); it seems that the one job that bishops/pastors have that is specific to the office is teaching the entire congregation. Everybody else also ought to be engaged in the visiting of the sick, etc., etc. If a church cannot be happy unless only the pastors are doing those jobs, they lack at least that much understanding the role of ministry and the true idea of the church as a functioning body.

This New Testament foundation helps make sense of Paul's actions and instructions. For this reason, Paul might defend the right of an apostle to be supported (or even take his wife with him, which would require her support), and yet turn around and tell elders that he has made his own way without charge in order to set an example for them to labor (cf. I Cor. 9:1-14; Acts 20:33-35; II Thess 3:8,9). I Cor. 9 is an important passage that establishes the apostolic right of support. Paul gives a clear argumentation based on several different principles. What also must be clear is that an apostle was not required to enforce that right on the churches.

I Cor 9:1-18 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
It is well also to understand this passage in context (esp. chapters 8-10) of Paul's argument of placing one's rights below or in subordination to the furtherance of the gospel. As Paul instructs the Corinthians to do so, he gives a specific example showing that he is not asking them to do something he has not done or is unwilling to do; something they very well knew he had done -- serve them without charge. He clearly formulates his "right" in order to show that he had not insisted on it. Also worthy of note is that Paul was not the only one for whom this was the common practice. He cites Barnabas* in verse six. In I Corinthians 12, he indicates that Titus also followed him in this.

II Cor. 12:13-18 For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong. Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?
And though in I Cor. 9 Paul indicates that Peter and others did accept their maintenance (and even their wives, 9:5), it does not follow that they always did so. I Cor. 4 indicates that other apostles at one time or another labored with their hands. Note that "we" is the subject of the sentence in verse 12, and "apostles" is the antecedent of "we".

I Cor 4:9-12 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
* Side note - it appears this reference to Barnabas occurs after he and Paul had separated (cf. Acts 15:36-41 & 18:1-17)

Here are a few other verses that relate to the subject, plus a comment on elders:

Acts 20:33-35 I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
II Cor. 11:9 And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.
I Thess. 2:6-9 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.
II Thess. 3:7-9 For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

Several verses of Scripture indicate that plurality of elders was the norm in the New Testament churches (e.g. Acts 11:30; 13:1; 14:23; 15:2ff; 20:17; Philipp. 1:1; I Thess. 5:12; Titus 1:5; James 5:14). These thoughts of mine do not hinge on the fact that there must be a plurality of elders. But if one understands that such as plurality was the norm in the churches in New Testament times, it should at least call for a re-thinking of whether these churches would have supported all these men as full time paid pastors according to the modern concept of such. The holding of all things common, as practiced in the Jerusalem church, should also at least give pause. Though this was evidently only practiced in that one church (and therefore not normative for all churches), the fact that during this time all were supported equally (apostles, elders, and members) should make us wonder whether the early church had any concept of holding anyone up for special support above all others based simply on office and not need.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Doctrinal food may make us sleepy ;-D

I mentioned in an earlier blog Some men of wise opinions boast. Eld. Mike McInnis found the poem for me and wrote, "Bro. Robert, I found the whole hymn this morning. It is number 169 in the Gadsby is not by Hart as I first thought, but by John Berridge."

Some wise men of opinions boast
And sleep on doctrines sound;
But, LORD let not my soul be lost
On such enchanted ground.

Good doctrines can do me no good,
While floating in the brain;
Unless they yield my heart some food,
They bring me no real gain.

O may my single aim be now
To live on him that died;
And nought on earth desire to know
But JESUS crucified!

Disputings only gender strife,
And gall a tender mind;
But godliness in all its life,
At JESUS' cross we find.

LORD, let thy wondrous cross employ
My musings all day long,
Till in the realms of purest joy,
I make it all my song.

Thanks, Bro. Mike.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Missionary Baptists and Primitive Baptists meet

No, it didn't happen this weekend, but on October 23rd, 138 years ago.

When the Mt. Zion (Missionary) Baptist Association met at Beulah Church in Rusk County, Texas in September of 1868, the following resolution was offered by Elder John Sparkman and adopted by the association: "Resolved, That a committee of seven be appointed by this body to meet with a like number to be appointed by the Little Hope Association, for the purpose of adjusting all difference between what is known as Missionary and Primitive Baptists, in order to their union; said committees to meet at Holly Spring Church, Rusk county, on Friday before the 4th Sabbath in October 1868; and that said committee be, and is hereby, required to report the result of their conference to this body at its next annual meeting,and the various churches comprising the same." The committee: Elder John Sparkman, Elder William Sparkman, W. H. Cooper, A. J. Welch, Elder R. M. Humphrey, Elder W. H. H. Hays, and G. W. Butts. Alternates: Elder Ben Griffin, G. W. Harris, W. Lassiter. [Mt. Zion minutes, Sept. 1868, p. 2]

When the association met at New Salem Church, Rusk County, Texas in 1869, the following was reported: "Your Committee appointed at your session in 1868, to meet a like Committee from the Little Hope Association of Primitive Baptists, attended as directed. The Little Hope Association failed to meet us by Committee, but several of its members being present, organized themselves into a Committee with which we consulted and unanimously adopted the following: We believe and agree that a gospel church is the highest ecclesiastical authority on earth. That each church is an independent body, not amenable to Associations, Conventions, Conferences, Presbyteries, Synods, general Assemblies, Elders, Bishops, Priests, Popes, Kings or any or all the Organizations, Institutions, or Combinations of men on earth; she is subject only to Christ, who alone is lawgiver in Zion. That church members are equals and fellow-citizens, and all contributions for the maintenance of the church, or support of the ministry, must be voluntary, as each member purposeth in his own heart." Mt. Zion: Elder G. W. Rogers, Elder John Sparkman, A.J. Welch; Little Hope: Elder Thos. Brittain, Elder J. M. Roquemore, B. H. Barton [Mt. Zion minutes, 1869, p. 4]

Note: At the 1869 Mt. Zion meeting, Primitive Baptist Elder Thomas Brittain preached the introductory sermon from Eph. 4:1-8 (Minutes, p. 1), was among those invited to seats as a visiting minister of like faith and order, preached at 10 a.m. on Saturday (p. 1), and preached following William McCollough on Monday (p. 2). I have not found the relevant minutes of the Little Hope Primitive Baptist Association to see if it is addressed in them. Perhaps Elders Sparkman and Brittain were the driving forces behind this attempt at union. Elder Brittain only of the Little Hope Association attended the Mt. Zion Association. He also attended a conference of the old Union Church in Nacogdoches, where Elder Sparkman was pastor. They both preached, presented the resolution to Union Church, and Union Church adopted it. Evidently nothing much else ever came from it. The Bethlehem (Missionary) Baptist Association, further south in the Jasper, Tyler, Polk Counties areas also elected messengers to attend the October 1868 meeting in Rusk County, but I do have enough information to know whether they did.

This may seem strange to us, but realize this was only about 50 years after Daniel Parker, John Taylor and others had drawn the sword against Mission Boards, et al., and less than 40 years since the main splitting occurred. If you didn't know a particular church favored missionary methods or were opposed to them, you probably could attend an 1868 Texas Missionary Baptist and Primitive Baptist church and not tell that much difference from one to the other -- quite unlike today.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sacred Harp singing in Austin

The fall session of the Southwest Texas Sacred Harp Convention will be held Saturday October 28 and Sunday October 29, 2006 (d.v.).

This year's session will be held at the Sri Atmananda Memorial School, 4100 Red River, in Austin, Texas. For map and further information, click the blue-highlighted link on the above name of the Convention, or contact
Alexa Gilmore or Gaylon Powell.

[Note: the White Oak Church near Cleveland, Texas also meets Saturday and Sunday of this same weekend.]

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Taking up Divinity

Limerick heard on the radio:

There once was a student from Trinity
Who computed the square of infinity;
But it gave him the fidgets
To write down the digits.
He gave up math and took up Divinity.

This humourous poem illustrates how many people look on those who take up the ministry, and possibly why some of them do!

Friday, October 20, 2006

"God doesn't send anyone to Hell"

Do you ever get tired of hearing this Biblically inaccurate statement? Or perhaps you are the one making such a statement? I don't see how anyone (regardless of their soteriology) other than a Universalist or "No-Heller" could say God doesn't send anyone to Hell. I mean, it's not like folks will voluntarily do a back flip off the high board into the lake of fire.

Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

If God doesn't send someone to Hell, no one will ever go there.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Sevenfold Beauty of the Church

Song of Solomon 4:1-7 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead. Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them. Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks. Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men. Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense. Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.

Eyes - perception; Eph. 1:18
Hair - submission; I Cor. 11:5, 15
Teeth - growth; Amos 4:6, Heb. 5:14
Lips - expression; Heb. 13:15
Temples - vulnerability; Judges 4:21, I Pet. 5:6-8
Neck - will; Ps. 75:5, Matt. 6:10, Rom. 12:2
Breasts - nurture; Isa. 66:10, 11, II Tim. 2:2

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The throne of grace

"He's seated now at God's right hand; Waiting 'til He shall come again.
"He's interceding for us there, And helps us with our feeble prayer." -- R. L. Vaughn, 1993 (stanza 5 of "Jesus is Alive")

The throne of grace – Heb 4:16

"Lest the glow and brilliance of the word 'throne' should not be too much for mortal vision, our text now presents us with the soft, gentle radiance of that delightful word – 'GRACE'...If in prayer I come before a throne of grace, then the faults of my prayer will be overlooked. In beginning to pray, dear friends, you feel as if you did not pray. The groanings of your spirit when you rise from your knees are such that you think there is nothing in them. What a blotted, blurred, smeared prayer it is. Never mind; you have not come to the throne of justice, else, when God perceived the fault in the prayer He would spurn it, --your broken words, your gaspings, and your stammerings are before a throne of grace. When any one of us has presented his best prayer before God, if he saw it as God sees it, there is no doubt he would make great lamentation over it; for there is enough sin in the best prayer that has ever been prayed to secure its being cast away from God. But it is not a throne of justice I say again, and here is the hope of our lame limping supplications. Our condescending King does not maintain a stately etiquette in His court like that which has been observed by princes among men, where a little mistake or a flaw would secure the petitioner's being dismissed with disgrace. Oh, no, the faulty cries of His children are not severely criticized by Him. The Lord High Chamberlain of the palace above, our Lord Jesus Christ, takes care to alter and amend every prayer before He presents it, and He makes the prayer perfect with His perfection, and prevalent with His own merits. God looks upon the prayer as presented through Christ and forgives all its own inherent faultiness. How this ought to encourage any of us who feel ourselves to be feeble, wandering, and unskillful in prayer. If you cannot plead with God as sometimes you did in years gone by, if you feel as if somehow or other you had grown rusty in the work of supplication, never give up, but come still, yes and come oftener, for it is not a throne of severe criticism, but to a throne of grace you come." -- Excerpt from the sermon "The Throne of Grace", by Charles Haddon Spurgeon (reprinted Sept. 2006 by Bath Road Baptist Church, Kingston, Ontario, Canada)

1. Come, my soul, thy suit prepare,
Jesus loves to answer prayer;
He Himself has bid thee pray,
Therefore will not say thee nay.

2. Thou art coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such
None can ever ask too much.

3. With my burden I begin:
Lord, remove this load of sin;
Let Thy blood, for sinners spilt,
Set my conscience free from guilt.

4. Lord, I come to Thee for rest,
Take possession of my breast;
There Thy blood-bought right maintain
And without a rival reign.

5. As the image in the glass
Answers the beholder's face,
Thus unto my heart appear;
Print Thine own resemblance there.

6. While I am a pilgrim here,
Let Thy love my spirit cheer;
As my Guide, my Guard, my Friend,
Lead me to my journey's end.

7. Show me what I have to do;
Every hour my strength renew.
Let me live a life of faith;
Let me die Thy people's death.

Hymn by John Newton, 1779

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

He blushed in blood

While searching for information on Isaac Watts' "Just as the tree cut down" poetry, I ran across the following poem on the Memorial University's Restoration Movement site . The poem is somewhat unusual, to my way of thinking, perhaps partly because of its 12th century origin and its being a translation. It evidently hasn't been much a part of the southern singing tradition, though it found its way at least into the The Southern Zion's Songster; Hymns Designed for Sabbath Schools, Prayer, and Social Meetings, and the Camps (1864).

Of Him Who did salvation bring,
I could forever think and sing:
Arise, ye needy, He’ll relieve;
Arise, ye guilty, He’ll forgive.

Ask but His grace, and lo, ’tis given!
Ask, and He turns your hell to heaven;
Though sin and sorrow wound my soul,
Jesus, Thy balm will make it whole.

To shame our sins He blushed in blood;
He closed His eyes to show us God:
Let all the world fall down and know
That none but God such love can show.

'Tis thee I love, for thee alone
I shed my tears and make my moan!
Where'er I am, where'er I move,
I meet the object of my love.

Insatiate to this Spring I fly;
I drink, and yet am ever dry;
Ah! who against Thy charm is proof!
Ah! who that loves, can love enough?

-- Bernard of Clairvaux, 12th century

Monday, October 16, 2006

In every thing give thanks

In I Thessalonians 5:16, Paul said we are to "Rejoice evermore". Then in I Thessalonians 5:18 he writes, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Is the idea here that it is the will of God that we give thanks in every thing, or that we are to give thanks in every thing because every thing is the will of God? Or both? Or neither?

How can we give thanks in every thing if we do not recognize the Purpose and Providence of God in all things? If we agree with the philosophy of 'Alice Bowman' in Proof of Life -- "Things don't happen for a reason, they just happen" -- how can we possibly see things that happen as a reason to give God thanks? Some folks seem to get "nervous" when we talk about God working all things after the counsel of His own will and that He works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. As Donald Kraybill said of the Amish, perhaps we should "yield to divine providence...and...let the analysis rest in the hands of God."

Satan was the direct instrument who took all Job had (see book of Job chap. 1, Old Testament). But Job seemed to understand that all things are in God's hands, proclaiming without sinning or charging God foolishly and giving thanks in all the things that came his way, "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ecclesiastes 11:3

Ecclesiastes 11:3 - ...if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.

Just as the tree, cut down, that fell
Northward or southward, there it lies;
So man departs to heaven or hell,
Fixed in the state in which he dies.

-- Isaac Watts, 1720

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Rejoice Evermore

"It is God’s revealed will that we rejoice always; pray continually for ourselves and one another, and GIVE THANKS! (I Thess. 5:16-18) What we are, have, and where we are, is ALL of God’s sovereign, perfect, unerring will for us, and therefore to be prayerfully received with rejoicing and thanksgiving, whether in prosperity or adversity. To pray without ceasing is to be brought willingly to commend all things to our Lord -- living in an attitude of total dependence on Him, EVEN when we have no particular apparent need or request. God has already given us the greatest standing one could ever imagine in the imputed righteousness of the Lord Jesus. Talk about a sure hope of eternal life in Christ! Don’t allow anything then in this temporal life to overshadow that truth, and gift of grace. Why should I complain when I am an heir of God and joint-heir with Christ? -- Romans 8: 28ff" -- Ken Wimer, Shreveport Grace Church Bulletin - September 17, 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

Forgiveness, the Amish and Nickel Mines

I copied the following quote from a Yahoo News article not long after the shooting of the Amish school children near Nickel Mines. Sorry I can't give you a link, but I can't find it now. "Sam Stoltzfus, 63, an Amish woodworker who lives a few miles away from the shooting scene, said the victims' families will be sustained by their faith. 'We think it was God's plan and we're going to have to pick up the pieces and keep going, he said. 'A funeral to us is a much more important thing than the day of birth because we believe in the hereafter. The children are better off than their survivors.'" This statement has taken a lot of ridicule on web discussion sites. But I think modern worldview nursed on humanism creates misunderstanding of his meaning. When they hear "it was God's plan" concerning Charles Roberts' intended violation and murder of young school girls, they hear "God put the evil desire in the Roberts' heart and twisted his arm to be sure he did it." That is not what Stoltzfus meant, nor is it the view of those who believe God works all things after the counsel of His own will.

The article that follows was sent to me via e-mail by John Redman. I thought it was interesting, and the third paragraph helps explain what Stoltzfus probably meant when he said "it was God's plan". The writer, Donald Kraybill, is a professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania.

Why the Amish Forgive: Tales of Redemption at Nickel Mines by Donald B. Kraybill, Ph.D.

The blood was hardly dry on the bare board floor of the Nickel Mines School when Amish parents sent words of forgiveness to the family of the killer who had executed their children. Forgiveness? So quickly and for such a heinous crime? Of the hundreds of media queries I've received in the past week, the forgiveness question rose to the top. Why and how could they do such a thing so quickly? Was it a genuine gesture, or just an Amish gimmick?

The world was outraged by the senseless assault on 10 Amish girls in the one-room West Nickel Mines School. Why would a killer turn his gun on the innocent of the innocent? First, questions focused on the killer's motivations -- why did he unleash his anger on the Amish? Then, questions shifted to the Amish. How would they cope with such an unprecedented tragedy?

In many ways the Amish are better equipped to process grief than many other Americans. First, their religious faith sees even tragic events under the canopy of divine providence -- having a higher purpose or meaning that is hidden from human sight at first glance. The Amish don't argue with God. They have an enormous capacity to absorb adversity -- a willingness to yield to divine providence in the face of hostility. Such religious resolve enables them to move forward without the endless paralysis of analysis that asks why -- letting the analysis rest in the hands of God.

Secondly, their historic habits of mutual aid -- such as the barn raising -- arise from their understanding that Christian teaching compels them to care for each other in time of disaster. This is why they reject commercial insurance and government-funded Social Security, believing that the Bible teaches them to care for each other.

In moments of disaster the resources of this socio-spiritual capital spring into action. Meals are brought to grieving families. Neighbors milk cows and care for other daily chores. Hundreds of friends and neighbors visit the home of the bereaved to share quiet words and simply the gift of presence. After the burial, adult women who have lost a close family member will wear a black dress in public settings for as long as a year to signal their mourning and welcome visits of support.

In all these ways Amish faith and culture provide profound resources for processing the sting of death. Make no mistake -- death is painful. Many tears are shed. The pain is sharp, searing the hearts of Amish mothers and fathers like it would any other parents.

But why forgiveness? Surely some anger -- at least some grudges -- are justifiable in the face of such a slaughter. A frequent phrase in Amish life is "forgive and forget." That's the recipe for responding to Amish members who transgress Amish rules if they confess their failures. Amish forgiveness also reaches to outsiders -- even to killers of their children.

Amish roots stretch back to the Anabaptist movement at the time of the Protestant Reformation in 16th century Europe. Hundreds of Anabaptists were burned at the stake, decapitated, and tortured because they contended that individuals should have the freedom to make voluntary decisions about religious faith. This insistence that the church, not the state, had the authority to decide matters like the age of baptism laid the foundation for our modern notion of religious liberty and the separation of church and state.

Anabaptist martyrs emphasized yielding one's life completely to God -- even to death in the face of torture. Songs by imprisoned Anabaptists, recorded in the Ausbund, the Amish hymnbook, are regularly used in Amish church services today. The 1200-page Martyrs Mirror, first printed in 1660, which tells the martyr stories, is found in many Amish houses, and is cited by preachers in their sermons. The martyr voice still rings loudly in Amish ears with the message of forgiveness of those who tortured them and burned their bodies at the stake.

The martyr testimony springs from the example of Jesus, the cornerstone of Amish faith. As do other Anabaptists, the Amish take the life and teachings of Jesus seriously. Without formal creeds, their simple (but not simplistic) faith accents living in the way of Jesus rather than comprehending the complexities of religious doctrine. Their model is the suffering Jesus who carried his cross without complaint. And who, hanging on the cross, extended forgiveness to his tormentors: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."Beyond his example, the Amish try to practice Jesus' admonitions to turn the other cheek, to love one's enemies, to forgive 70 times 7, and to leave vengeance to the Lord. Retaliation and revenge are not part of their vocabulary.

As pragmatic as they are about other things, the Amish do not ask if forgiveness works; they simply seek to practice it as the Jesus way of responding to adversaries, even enemies. Rest assured, grudges are not always easily tossed aside in Amish life. Sometimes forgiveness is harder to dispense to fellow church members, whom they know too well, than to unknown strangers.

Forgiveness is woven into the fabric of Amish faith. And that is why words of forgiveness were sent to the killer's family before the blood had dried on the schoolhouse floor. It was just the natural thing to do, the Amish way of doing things. Such courage to forgive has jolted the watching world as much as the killing itself. The transforming power of forgiveness may be one redeeming thing that flows from the blood that was shed in Nickel Mines this week.

The above version as I received via e-mail does not bear a copyright and appears to be intended for passing along and providing information. Should I find otherwise, I will remove it.

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

In the ways the Amish are more like Jesus, may we learn be more like Jesus as well.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Enough hypocrisy to paint the town

Yes, there is enough hyprocrisy to go around in Washington when it comes to the Mark Foley scandal. Now, I doubt not that we are all hyprocrites at some time or another. But some of this is planned hyprocrisy with vision.

The Republican politicians -- we wonder who knew what and when, and how much did they know. But who can believe that nobody knew nothing? According to
Ben Shapiro "Foley repeatedly e-mailed and instant messaged the page, revoltingly asking him to undress, to measure his genitals with a ruler, to list details regarding frequency and method of masturbation, and to tell Foley when he was aroused." A 16 year old young man is obviously not a six year old, but what parents send their sons and daughters into the page program to be accosted by congressmen and congresswomen? Shapiro further states, "House Republicans were not simply negligent in failing to investigate allegations regarding Foley's pedophilia – they were downright malfeasant." Yes, hyprocrisy. Republican politicians seek our votes as the supporters of "Christian values" and stick their collective head in the sand concerning Foley, while Foley is pushing for stronger legislation against child pornography and chasing teenage boys.

So along come the Democrats and claim the moral high ground (if it'll get 'em a few votes). But who can believe the feigned moral outrage of the Democratic policitians? Give me a break -- the party of murder by Chappaquidick and oral sex in the White House? Not to mention a homosexual prostitution service run out of Barney Frank's apartment and Gerry Studds not just e-mailing but actually having sex with a male page. I can't believe they have any greater concern that getting back in power in Congress.

Politicians! Bah humbug! We should turn out the whole lot of 'em.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The course a Christian must steer

Last Sunday Eld. C. C. Morris called my attention to this beautiful old hymn by Joseph Hart. To my way of thinking Hart was blessed to be one of the great experiential hymn writers. I love his "dialogue between a believer and his soul", which shows the mastery he was given to handle such a topic and style poetically -- as well as some pretty sound theology. IMO, it is a pity we don't sing more of his hymns. Part of this may be due to his use of many poetic meters that are not as commonly used for tunes. The following hymn meter is 11s.9s. I found no tunes set in this meter in The Sacred Harp. The Lone Pilgrim (11s.8s., p.341) could be easily adjusted to fit the hymn. With slightly more effort, p. 422a -- Away Here in Texas -- or p. 123a -- The Dying Christian -- could also be made to work.

How strange is the course that a Christian must steer,
How perplexed is the path he must tread!
The hope of his happiness rises from fear,
And his life he receives from the dead.

His fairest pretensions must wholly be waived,
And his best resolutions be crossed;
Nor can he expect to be perfectly saved,
'Til he finds himself utterly lost.

When all this is done, and his heart is assured
Of the total remission of sins,
When his pardon is signed and his peace is procured,
From that moment his conflict begins.

By Joseph Hart. Found in Beebe’s Collection, #1037, Gadsby's #309 and other books as well. In both these books, the "title" is "The Christian's Life a Paradox". Beebe gives with it the text Gal. 5:17 and Gadsby gives II Cor. 4:8-11.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

II Corinthians 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The New Covenant

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:…And they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more,” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

The Epistle to the Hebrews contains (in chapters 7-10) the Holy Spirit’s comments upon this great prophecy; prominence being given to the truth that Jesus Christ is “the Surety” of this covenant, as well as “the Mediator” thereof (7:22; 8:6; 12:24); that it has been ratified “by His own blood” (9:12-24; 13:20), and that it is therefore “a better covenant, established upon better promises,” (8:6).

Further it is revealed in those chapters that, when Christ had offered that “one sacrifice for sins forever, and sat down on the right hand of God,” not only was the new covenant put into operation, but the old covenant and all its appointments---people, temple, priesthood, sacrifices, etc.----were forever abolished. Which things in fact were, even in their own era, nothing but ‘a shadow of good things to come,’ (10:1).

Moreover, God had never any pleasure in them, because, “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” And surely, as we meditate upon the contents of Hebrews 9 and 10, we must perceive that God would abhor the very thought of setting up again that same system of vain sacrifices and ceremonies, which He abolished at the awful cost of the sacrifice of His own Son, and which had their complete fulfillment in the “one sacrifice for sins forever” offered at Golgotha.
-- By Philip Mauro, as quoted in the Shreveport Grace Church bulletin, October 8, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

The God of Providence

"The history of Providence, as it is unfolded in the Book of Esther, is a key to the history of the world. It enables us to unlock the mysterious counsels of the Ruler of the universe in the events of former times, and teaches us to refer to his Sovereign will, for the manifestation of his own glory, the most dark and frowning occurrences of the times in which we live. History that is not written on this principle, is only a book of atheism; and the Christian in reading it ought always to supply the defect...The Christian is warranted to refer to his God the most trifling as well as the most momentous occurrences of every day. Nothing in God’s world can be so mean as to be below his notice; nothing can be so untoward as to thwart his purpose. This is not only a truth, by the firm, open, and constant belief of which God is to be honored; it is likewise the source of never-failing consolation. We walk by faith, and not by sight. Everything about us seems to counteract God’s word; and if we do not believe that God can bring good out of evil, and turn the most adverse events to the fulfillment of his own glorious purposes, our hearts will fail us every moment. But when we reflect that God reigns on earth as well as in heaven, and that every occurrence is directed by him, we have hope even in affliction, and confidence against the most vigorous opposition to the truth. What a comfort to reflect that nothing has ever taken place but what is according to the counsel of our heavenly Father! A deep and abiding impression of this consoling truth also directs and encourages our prayers. It sends us to the throne of grace, not only when we need deliverance from great dangers, or when we seek the most distinguished blessings, but when there is the most trifling annoyance to be removed, or the smallest comfort or convenience to be wished."
-- By Alexander Carson, in The God of Providence, The God of the Bible, 1853

Sunday, October 08, 2006

DNA, math and evolution

In a recent Time magazine article I saw, the question was asked, "What Makes us Different?" Answer: "Not very much, when you look at our DNA." According to the author, "When it comes to DNA, a human is closer to a chimp than a mouse is to a rat." What does this prove? That "a human is closer to a chimp than a mouse is to a rat"; that, ultimately, chimps ain't human. It doesn't prove that a human evolved from a chimp, a rat from a mouse or that any of them have common ancestors.

Wikipedia states "Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions for the biological development of a cellular form of life or a virus....DNA consists of a pair of molecules, organized as strands running start-to-end and joined by hydrogen bonds along their lengths." Whatever all that means!

To me it seems that the Time writer as well as others hope to direct us toward the conclusion that DNA supports the theory of evolution. What seems more likely is that the complexity of DNA challenges the theory of evolution. Leaving DNA and taking a simple example, what is the mathematical likelihood of the evolution of just one form of life? If that life is continued by sexual reproduction, what is the likelihood of both male and female evolving, and beyond that, evolving at the same time so as to be able to reproduce? Now that is just one. But what about thousands of animate life forms as well as inimate things evolving all at the right time in and for such a cycle of life so as to support the continuation of life? And on and on. The mathematical impossibility of the theory of evolution seems mind-boggling to me.

Animation of a section of DNA rotating illustrates a great deal of complexity.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Sexual sin, by Franklin Senters

Proverbs 7:34 - Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

“Human Sexuality” a term used today to make sexual sin sound more sophisticated. It sounds more scientific than calling it what it is. Adultery is still adultery. Living together outsides the bond of marriage is still sin in God’s eyes. Homosexual acts are called an abomination to God in the Bible. A teenager engaging in sex with adults is pedophilia. Any child engaging in what God reserved for adults in marriage should outrage us. But, it really doesn’t. Instead we are told they’re expressing their “Human Sexuality.” That is another way for society to hide the truth. The truth is they are expressing their “Human Sinfulness.” God so much wanted to warn us about sexual sin that He listed it as part of the Ten Commandments. All of chapter seven in Proverbs warns of the snares of immoral behavior. Sexual sin is addictive, progressive, and destructive. It can destroy a person through destructive relationships, diseases, and addictions that will develop and demolish you. It causes mental anguish and shame. The ways of illicit sexual relations and addictions are as destructive as any other addictive device. “Her house is the way of hell.” Hell here on earth as you struggle to be free from the hold it will have on you and eternal hell if you never give your life over to Christ.

Living in His Word, by Franklin Senters

Friday, October 06, 2006

Some men of wise opinions boast

"Some men of wise opinions boast and sleep on doctrines sound,
LORD let not my soul be lost on that enchanted ground".

-- posted in a list e-mail by Mike McInnis (I haven't yet found the source but it looks like it could be part of an interesting poem).

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

He that is down

While I was searching for help on the "Do this and live" poem, which I thought possibly by John Bunyan (but evidently not), Wade Kotter informed me of the following hymn by Bunyan.

He that is down needs fear no fall,
he that is low no pride;
he that is humble ever shall
have God to be his guide.

I am content with what I have,
little be it or much;
and, Lord, contentment still I crave,
because thou savest such.

Fullness to such a burden is
that go on pilgrimage;
here little, and hereafter bliss,
is best from age to age.

-- John Bunyan, 1684, from his Pilgrim's Progress

Julian's "A Dictionary of Hymnology" states concerning Bunyan: "This great allegorist cannot be included amongst hymn writers, except on the ground that the piece, 'He that is down needs fear no fall', from pt. ii of his Pilgrim's Progress, 1684, is given in a limited number of hymnals." (1957 Dover reprint ed., p. 193)

Thanks, Wade.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Christ a Refuge for desolate needy sinners

"There is not a single blessing of grace and salvation which is not secured and deposited in him. Ah, my friends, it is well for us they are treasured up in Christ Jesus, because in him they are safe and secure. The Holy Spirit, in his appointed time, convinces the heart of the poor sinner of the need of these spiritual blessings; He gives him deeply to feel his need, and puts a cry in his heart after them. The Lord says, 'I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.' The poor sinner will never come to Christ, bow down before him and seek the Lord's blessing, until he is brought into poverty, destitution and indigent circumstances. He will never flee to Christ for refuge until every other resource fails him, and he is at his wits' end and knows not what to do. But, blessed be his name, Christ is a refuge for the helpless and the destitute. "

-- John Kershaw, London - April 18, 1853 [from the Shreveport Grace Church bulletin, Sept. 3, 2006]

Monday, October 02, 2006

Law and Grace

In a sermon on the subject of law and grace, Wayne Thompson, pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Rusk, Texas, quoted this wonderful little poem:

"Do this and live!" the law demands,
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
But sweeter sounds the gospel brings,
It bids me fly, and gives me wings!

To my way of thinking, it really captures the contrast.

I have not yet found the proper attribution for it -- I've seen from John Bunyan in the 1600s to John Fischer in the 1970s -- and would be glad to know the author.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

How good is the God we adore

Ye children of God, through faith in His Son
Redeemed by His blood, and with Him made one;
This union with wonder and rapture be seen,
Which nothing shall sunder, without or within.

This pardon, this peace, which none can destroy,
This treasure of grace, this heavn’ly joy,
The worthless may crave it; it always comes free;
The vilest may have it, ‘twas given to me.

‘Tis not our good deeds, good tempers, nor frames;
From grace it proceeds, and all is the Lamb’s
No goodness, no fitness, expects he from us;
This I can well witness, for none could be worse.

Sick sinner, expect no balm but Christ’s blood;
Thy own works reject, the bad and the good;
None ever miscarry that on Him rely,
Though filthy as Mary, Manasseh, or I.

-- by Joseph Hart

From Julian's History: Joseph Hart was born in London in 1712. His early life is hidden in obscurity. His education was fairly good; and from the testimony of his brother-in-law and successor in the ministry in Jewin Street, John Hughes, 'his civil calling was for some time that of a teacher of the learned languages'. His early life, according to his own experience which he prefaced to his hymns, was a curious mixture of loose conduct, serious conviction of sin, and endeavours after amendment of life, and not until Whitsuntide, 1757, did he realize a permanent change, which was brought about mainly through his attending the Moravian Chapel in Fetter Lane, London, and hearing a sermon on Rev. 3: 10. During the next two years many of his most impassioned hymns were written. These appeared as "Hymns Composed on Various Subjects with the Author's Experience, London, 1759". During this year, he became the minister of the Independent Chapel, Jewin St., London. In 1762, he added a "Supplement" to his hymns and in 1765 an "Appendix"...Hart died on May 24th. 1768. At one time his hymns were widely used, especially by Calvinistic Nonconformists. Many of them are of great merit and are marked by great earnestness and passionate love of the Redeemer.

Hart's hymns also include:

How good is the God we adore,
Our faithful unchangeable Friend:
Whose love is as great as His power,
And knows neither measure nor end!

'Tis Jesus, the First and the Last,
Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home;
We'll praise Him for all that is past,
And trust Him for all that's to come.