The similar phrase 'Worldly Christianity' is one used by Bonhoeffer. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Book Frustration

I found myself, slightly unexpectedly, on Oxford Street this afternoon - outside Waterstone's. I've kindly been given some book tokens so I tought I'd nip and have a look. I remembered that I fancied getting the book about the Royal Society edited by Bill Bryson "Seeing further". There was a computer there open to Waterstone's online page. Someone had taken the ball out of the mouse but without too much difficulty I was able to call up the desired volume - £12.59! Bargain! Ah, but can I buy it for that price in the shop? No way! Another £7.40 please. Of course, you can't use paper book tokens online so they had me. How much longer will there be bookshops I wonder?

PMs on Sundays

The latest editorial in Day one Magazine features choice quotes from seven British prime ministers
1. Sir Robert Peel (1834-1846)
I never knew a man escape failure, in either body or mind, who worked seven days a week.
2. Benjamin Disraeli (1868; 1874-1880)
I hold the Day of Rest to be the most valuable blessing ever conceded to man. It is the cornerstone of civilisation.
3. William Ewart Gladstone (1868-1874; 1880-1885; 1886; 1892-1894)
Tell me what the young men of England are doing on Sunday, and I will tell you what the future of England will be. The religious observance of the Sabbath is a main prop of the religious character of the country. From a moral, social and physical point of view, the observance of the Sabbath is a duty of absolute consequence.
4. Rt Hon Arthur Balfour (1902-1905)The state is the trustee, in respect to Sunday, of one of its most valuable assets.
5. Rt Hon Sir H Campbell-Bannerman (1905-1908) I earnestly hope that the efforts to preserve the sacredness of the weekly day of rest may be successful.
6. Ramsay MacDonald (1923; 1929-1935)
The British Sunday is a great heritage which has strengthened the national character and sustained the life of the people. To reduce it to the continental pattern is to destroy an invaluable
national asset. The question of one day’s rest in seven (and by rest I do not mean recreation) is one of the utmost importance, not only to the physical but to the mental condition of our people. We are getting altogether too superficial and too thoughtless and, unless we pull ourselves up and get inspiration from the deeper silences that lie within us, we shall be unable to face the great problems that modern civilisation places upon us.
7. Sir Winston Churchill (1940-1945; 1951-1955)
Sunday is a Divine and priceless institution, the necessary pause in the national life. It is the birthright of every British subject, our responsibility, privilege and duty to hand on to posterity.

116 reasons

The oft repeated story of the medical students who would have aborted Beethoven is apparently not true (see here - Dawkins is useful for some things then) but the following article with its references to Pete Sampras and Abraham Lincoln makes disturbing reading. Found here.

The UK’s fertility treatment regulator has published a list of 116 genetic conditions for which doctors can destroy IVF embryos without seeking special permission.

The list compiled by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) includes a number of conditions which are considered minor, non life-threatening or medically treatable.

These include illnesses suffered by some of history’s highest achievers, but the HFEA list allows UK fertility doctors to routinely destroy embryos if tests show they are at risk of developing such conditions.

Thalassemia, a blood disorder which can cause mild anaemia, is on the list, even though having it did not hinder the career of seven-times Wimbledon champion Pete Sampras.

The HFEA’s list also includes Marfan’s syndrome, a condition which can lead to abnormal growth.

Former US President Abraham Lincoln and French leader Charles de Gualle are both believed to have suffered from this condition.

UK fertility clinics identify genetic conditions using a technique known as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).

PGD involves removing cells from embryos and running tests on them, although some embryos may be harmed by this process.

After PGD screening only the ‘healthy’ embryos are implanted into a woman’s womb. The embryos carrying ‘defects’ are discarded.

Critics say screening embryos raises serious ethical problems and widens the door to the possibility of creating flawless designer babies.

Dr David King, the Director of Human Genetics Alert, said: “It contributes to a social climate in which even minor deviations from ‘normality’ are seen as unacceptable.”

The HFEA is responsible for licensing and monitoring UK fertility clinics and all UK research involving human embryos. It is currently considering adding a further 24 inherited conditions to the 116 it already lists.

Although the UK allows PGD to be used for screening embryos for inherited conditions it cannot be used to select the child’s sex.

Some British couples have travelled to America so that they can select the sex of their children.

However, last August a Chinese study conducted on mice revealed memory decline in adulthood, prompting fears that PGD testing could increase the risk of offspring developing neurodegenerative disorders.

DMLJ 14 Williams Experience Meeting

The Experience Meeting by William Williams (Translated by Bethan Lloyd-Jones in 1973)


The Methodist or Evangelical Awakening of the 18th century began in Wales some two years before that in England, and was quite independent of it for a number of years. That they were part of the same movement of the Spirit of God is shown clearly by the many features that were common to both.
There was the same inspired, fervent, warm preaching, with great emphasis on repentance, justification, regeneration and assurance of salvation, the same itinerant ministry outside the bounds of the particular parishes of the preachers, and the open-air or field-preaching which attracted the masses who never attended the churches.
However, in many ways the most striking similarity was the way in which, independently of each other, the leaders were led to gather together the converts into little groups or societies for further teaching and nurturing in the Faith. These men of God had a great concern for the souls of the people and realising that the parish churches were so spiritually dead that they could provide neither the fellowship nor the teaching that was necessary for these raw converts, they developed the idea of 'religious societies' where such people could meet together regularly every week.
The object of the societies was primarily to provide a fellowship in which the new spiritual life and experience of the people could be safe-guarded and developed. The great emphasis was primarily on experience and the experimental knowledge of God and his love and His ways. Each member gave an account of God's dealings with him or her and reported on any remarkable experience and also their sins and lapses and so doing compared notes with one another in these respects. The societies were not ‘bible study’ groups or meetings for the discussion of theology. Of course great stress was laid on reading the Bible as well as prayer, but the more intellectual aspects of the Faith were dealt with in the preaching services and not in the societies. Here, the emphasis was on daily life and living, the fight against the world, the flesh and the devil and the problems that arise inevitably in the Christian's pilgrimage through this world of sin. At first the preachers themselves were able to conduct these societies but as the numbers soon greatly multiplied it became necessary to appoint lay leaders to conduct the various local societies. The preachers now became superintendents of a number of local societies which they visited periodically for the purpose of examination and giving advice.
Of these preachers and leaders the Rev. William Williams, the great hymn-writer and poet, though second to Howell Harris in organising ability, soon became the outstanding and recognised leader and authority in this respect. The task of conducting these 'experience-meetings' obviously called for great wisdom, spiritual insight, tact, and discretion. They could easily degenerate into exhibitionism on the part of extroverts and lead to scandal, as very private matters were related involving others. It was in order to obviate such troubles and disasters and to instruct the leaders in this most important work, that the Rev. William Williams wrote this little book now translated into English for the first time.
His genius, his spiritual understanding and what would now be described as psychological insight stand out everywhere and are truly astonishing.
The experimental or experiential aspect of the Christian life has been seriously neglected during the present century. Certain factors and tendencies have led to this unfortunate condition. Chief among these has been a superficial evangelism which has neglected real conviction of sin and repentance and encouraged an easy believism. Secondly, there has been a theory of sanctification, more psychological than spiritual and scriptural, which has discouraged self-examination and taught that we have only to ‘leave it to the Lord'. Thirdly. and more recently. has been an unbalanced emphasis on intellectual understanding of Truth, the social application of Truth and the manifestation of particular spiritual gifts. All this has greatly impoverished the spiritual life of both the individual Christian and the churches and led to coldness, barrenness, and loss of power. The greatest need of the hour is a return to the emphases of the Evangelical Awakening. It is in the belief that this classic of the spiritual life and warfare can greatly stimulate and hasten that return that I encouraged my Wife to translate it, and am now happy to commend it and to advise all Christians to read it. I would particularly urge ministers and pastors to read it, not only because it will prove to be an invaluable help in what is now called counselling of individuals, but also because I would press upon them the importance of introducing such meetings into the life of their churches. Much untold blessing would follow.
D. M. Lloyd-Jones.

AHOCIA 100 Objects 02

The scutum was the large door-like shield that Roman soldiers used in the first century. Opposed to Christianity at first, the presence of the Roman Empire was a dominant feature of life for the early Christians. In Ephesians 6 the Apostle Paul, no doubt seeing Roman soldiers on a daily basis in his prison, used them as a model for his description of the Christian armour including the Shield of Faith. More here and here.

Persecution in Nigeria

I came across this item recently here
Amidst international reports of the recent Christian-Muslim violence in Jos, the capital of Nigeria’s Plateau State, Nigerian Christians are presenting a different and disturbing picture

According to local Christian sources, the violence began on Sunday 17 January in the Nasarawa Gwong area of Jos. Two hundred Muslim men gathered to renovate a house belonging to a Muslim and began chanting intimidating slogans. Muslim youths nearby interpreted these as a call to arms and attacked a church during a worship service. They destroyed the church and went on to loot and burn Christian homes, church buildings and shops. At one church the youths, dressed in military uniform, ransacked the pastor’s office and bedroom and “arrested” six young Christians. The theological college at Bukuru was reported to be under siege. Another Nigerian Christian source commented that, amidst the chaos, Christian leaders were being particularly targeted.

Although there has been no official figure from the Nigerian government, there could be around 300 dead. Thousands have fled their homes; some reports put this figure as high as 18,000. Church leaders have received distress calls from all over Jos from people fleeing the violence. The whereabouts of the Nigerian President, who has been in hospital in Saudi Arabia, is now unknown.

The State Police Commissioner, Mr Greg Ayanting, said in a media interview that the attack by Muslim youths on the church was unprovoked. Since then, however, Nigerian news sources have reported that Mr Ayanting has been redeployed. Christians believe he has been targeted because of his frankness.

The reports from Christians in Nigerian make three specific claims: that Muslim army commanders may have helped the rioters; that Muslim journalists have conducted a disinformation campaign; and that the attacks were premeditated by Muslims, perhaps as part of a plan to stifle Christians in Nigeria. They acknowledge that some Christians have retaliated and do not excuse their actions but they believe the principal blame for the unrest lies elsewhere.

Were the Muslim rioters helped by the military?

Many of the attacks on Christians were made by people in military uniform. Local Christians believe that they were Muslim youths whose uniforms were supplied by Muslim officers to facilitate their attacks on Christians. Reports indicate that the Muslims were “heavily armed with guns and sophisticated weapons” but the Christians “had only stones and the likes”.

Christians believe it is significant that the senior officers now in command in Jos are Muslims. It is also reported that the military sent to bring order to the situation appear to be splitting along religious lines.

Is the media being manipulated by local Muslims?

One Christian source indicates that the Muslims claimed they were reacting to the refusal of some local people to allow the rebuilding of the Muslim man’s house, which stands in a mainly Christian area and was destroyed in the riots of November 2008. But, says the source, the story has been “maliciously changed in the international media controlled by the Muslims” to centre on rebuilding a mosque. This, say the local Christians, may have been intended to gain sympathy from Muslims around the world.

A Christian leader in Jos states that Muslims manipulate the media locally and are now doing the same internationally in order to discredit the Church. He also says that Muslims have already carried false reports about the conflict.

Is there a “grand design” to smother Christianity in Nigeria?

As in the rioting of November 2008, Christians believe that the violence did not break out spontaneously. They believe there is evidence of premeditated attack and there are suggestions that some Muslims are working to foment trouble for Christians as part of a “grand design” to “smother Christians and Christianity” in Nigeria.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid, comments,

“The voice of the Christians of Jos must be heard. Sadly, it seems that Christians have moved from defence to retaliation, and we cannot condone that. Our brothers and sisters have been victimised in what they believe to be a premeditated attack. Please pray for all who have suffered in this violence, and pray that Christians will cease to retaliate.”

Christians are striving to be heard and their plight should stimulate all Christians to prayer on their behalf.

DMLJ 13 Sprague on Revivals

Lectures on Revival by W B Sprague

This work was first published in 1832 by Dr. Sprague who was a minister in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. It was introduced to this country by two eminent minsters, one of whom was John Angell James, the great predecessor of Dr. R. W. Dale at Carr's Lane, Birmingham, and well-known author of “The Anxious Enquirer”, a book greatly used in the conviction and conversion of sinners in the nineteenth century.
I am glad to commend such a book at the present time for the following reasons.
The first and most important reason is that I am profoundly convinced that the greatest need in the world today is revival in the Church of God. Yet alas! the whole idea of revival seems to have become strange to so many good Christian people. There are some who even seem to resent the very idea and actually speak and write against it. Such an attitude is due both to a serious misunderstanding of the scriptures, and to woeful ignorance of the history of the Church. Anything therefore that can instruct God's people in this matter is very welcome.
My second reason is that this particular book gives this instruction in an exceptionally fine manner. Dr. Sprague's own treatment of the subject is scriptural, theological and balanced. Then to supplement that there is an Appendix of twenty letters by such great saintly and scholarly men of God as Archibald Alexander, Samuel Miller, Ashbel Green and the seraphic Edward Payson dealing with their own experience in revivals. The result is a volume of outstanding merit and exceptional worth.
My third reason for commending it is that I do not know of any better preparation for the meetings that are to be held i 1959 in various places to recall the great revival of 1857-59, than the careful and prayerful study of this book.
My prayer is that as we read it and are reminded of "Our glorious God," and of His mighty deeds in times past among His people, a great sense of our own unworthiness and inadequacy, and a corresponding longing for the manifestation of his glory and His power will be created within us. His "arm is not shortened." May this book stir us all to plead with Him to make bare that arm and to stretch it forth again, that His enemies may be confounded and scattered and His people's hearts be filled with gladness and rejoicing.
D M Lloyd-Jones
Westminster Chapel
December 1958

CM 05 Mozart

Again, with Mozart you're spoiled for choice. This is the alla turca rondo, the third movement of the Piano Sonata No 11. It's been done to death by classical, jazz and rock artists.

Shoes Z

(So we made it! We did miss one or two good ones I think
eg loafers, mukluk, valenki but it's been good fun!)

Shoes Y

Yeti Boots

High Wycombe

It's been rather busy this week so I haven't mentioned my trip to High Wycombe last Lord's Day. The pastor, Raymond Zulu, was away in his native South Africa and so I came and preached on Romans and Job to decent sized congregations with a good spread of ages and international backgrounds (though dominated by white South Africans it must be said). The church building was erected in the seventies and has all the advantages and disadvantages that brings. it is set on a hill with a commanding view. I had a very pleasant afternoon in the nearby countryside with members of the congregation. More on the church here.

AHOCIA 100 Objects 01

I notice that the BBC and the British Museum are doing a series of 15 minute programmes entitled A history of the world in 100 objects. I'm sure they have worked long and hard to produce their list with its decidedly humanist bent. It struck me that a more profitable study might be made of about a hundred objects illustrating the history of Christianity, as difficult as that may sound (though no more difficult than what the BBC is attempting - indeed a little easier in some ways). See here for the BBC effort. We may not make it but, without further ado, let's begin. We kick off with a Denarius from the time of Caesar Tiberius (14-37 AD) probably the coin they would have handed to Christ when he asked to see one following the question about taxes. More here.

DMLJ 12 Lewis on The Puritans

The Genius of Puritanism by Peter Lewis


I readily write this word of commendation for this volume. I well remember how Mr. Lewis as a student showed a real living interest in the writings of the Puritans, and how he came into my vestry at Westminster Chapel from time to time to tell me of various purchases he had been fortunate to make, and at times to lend me some of these.
I am particularly glad that he has clearly kept up this early interest and has continued his wide reading in, and study of the Puritans. This volume provides abundant proof of that.
He has chosen to concentrate attention on the preaching and pastoral activities of those remarkable men of the 17th century, while explaining in an introductory chapter that their original and primary interest was in the nature of the Church.
He thus provides an excellent foretaste of the rich meal that readers of the works of the Puritans can enjoy.
His arrangement of the matter - the brief biographical touches, the judicious selections threaded into a continuing theme etc. - is brilliant.
Here some of the leading Puritans are allowed to speak for themselves, and I am sure that many who read this book will be stimulated to acquire and read the read the works out of which these selections have been made. Nothing but great spiritual good can result from that, both in individual lives, and in the lives of the churches.
D M Lloyd-Jones
July, 1975

DMLJ 11 Evans on 1904

The Welsh Revival of 1904 by Eifion Evans


I am very happy indeed to write this Foreword to, and to recommend, this study of the Welsh Revival of 1904-5.
This is something which has been badly needed for years, and should be of especial value to people like myself, who were too young to remember the revival itself, but who have known those who had been prominent in the revival and the many who had benefited by it.
I am particularly pleased by the way in which this study has been written; for it is not a mere recital of facts, but truly a study. This is good because certain features of the revival had always posed problems - theological and psychological.
Dr. Eifion Evans has dealt with all this in a thoroughly satisfactory manner, indeed, in a unique manner. What was needed was a writer who was a trained historian, able to take an objective view, and yet at the same time one who was able to deal with the subject theologically. Moreover, it called for a writer with spiritual insight, understanding, and sympathy. Dr. Evans combines these qualities in an exceptional way with a result that his book is invaluable, not only as a study of this particular revival, but also as a study of the phenomenon of revival in general.
This is particularly important at the present time for the following reasons:
First, the great need of revival in the churches. This is surely the only real hope; but it is essential that Christians should be clear as to the difference between revival and organised evangelism. Here is a reminder of what is possible, and especially for those whose whole doctrine of the Holy Spirit really leaves no room for revival.
Secondly, this book is most opportune because of what is known as the "Charismatic Movement" and a new interest in spiritual phenomena. It helps to show the danger of passing from the spiritual to the psychological and possible even the psychic.
There are undoubtedly many problems in connection with the Revival of 1904-5 - certain tendencies to extreme mysticism in Mr. Evan Roberts himself, the general difference in character between this revival and previous revivals, and the and the lamentable failure of the preachers to continue preaching and teaching during the revival, etc. All these are dealt with in a most judicious manner by Dr. Evans. All revivals have produced problems - life always does so - and the danger is to dismiss the entire phenomenon because of certain excesses that often accompany it.
No one can read this book without coming under judgement. It will reveal whether our ultimate faith is in "the power of God" or in human ability and organisations". It is my prayer, and my hope, that it will lead many so to realise anew and afresh the the glory and the wonder of the former that they will begin to long and to yearn and to pray for another "visitation from on high" such as we experienced in 1904-5.

June, 1969.

D M Lloyd-Jones

Bilingual Brains

Paul Burgess drew attention to this over on facebook. It can be found here. It's interesting but I don't think it proves anything very much.
The ability to speak a second language isn’t the only thing that distinguishes bilingual people from their monolingual counterparts - their brains work differently, too. Research has shown, for instance, that children who know two languages more easily solve problems that involve misleading cues. A new study published in Psychological Science reveals that knowledge of a second language - even one learned in adolescence - affects how people read in their native tongue. The findings suggest that after learning a second language, people never look at words the same way again.
Eva Van Assche, a bilingual psychologist at the Univer­sity of Ghent in Belgium, and her colleagues recruited 45 native Dutch-speaking students from their university who had learned English at age 14 or 15. The researchers asked the participants to read a collection of Dutch sentences, some of which included cognates - words that look similar and have equivalent meanings in both lan­guages (such as “sport,” which means the same thing in both Dutch and English). They also read other sen­tences containing only noncognate words in Dutch.
Van Assche and her colleagues recorded the participants’ eye move­ments as they read. They found that the subjects spent, on average, eight fewer milliseconds gazing at cognate words than control words, which suggests that their brains processed the dual-language words more quickly than words found only in their native language.
“The most important implication of the study is that even when a per­son is reading in his or her native language, there is an influence of knowledge of the nondominant second language,” Van Assche notes. “Becoming a bilingual changes one of people’s most automatic skills.” She plans to investigate next whether people who are bilingual also process auditory language information differently. “Many questions remain,” she says.

Shoes X

X Strap sandals

CM 04 Beethoven

As with Bach, you're spoiled for choice but I thought the Moonlight Sonata would be good. This is the first of the three movements and the one that attracted the moonlight epithet about 30 years after composition.

DMLJ 10 Hendriksen on John

I'd quite forgotten this one until I did what I should have done earlier - to look at the bibliography in the second volume of the biography by Iain Murray. He had two or three I'd missed but I think I have one or two that he's missed too. This one from January 1959 (I was born in May 1959) is interesting as it betrays the dearth of good commentaries at the time. I remember using it for personal devotions as a young Christian in my teens (I had the old Geneva series edition at the time).William Hendriksen New Testament Commentary on John

There is but one reason why I write this Foreword and that is that the works of Dr. Hendriksen are hitherto not so well-known in this country as they should be. His commentary on the Book of Revelation called "More than Conquerors" More than Conquerors" has been published here and has exercised influence on the outlook and teaching of many in Evangelical circles. It is betraying no confidence to say that the last series of addresses delivered at the Keswick Convention by the late and much lamented Mr. Fred Mitchell were based upon this book. It is good, therefore, that this commentary on the Gospel according to St John should now be made available in this country.For myself I have to say that it is the most satisfying commentary that I have ever read on this Gospel. Dr. Hendriksen is acknowledged and recognized as an outstanding New Testament scholar who is thoroughly up-to-date and fully aware of all modern movements of thought. He leaves nothing to be desired in that respect, but at the same time his outlook and teaching are thoroughly Reformed, Conservative and Evangelical. There is an excellent Introduction, and a peculiarly and a peculiarly interesting feature is the way in which he gives a synopsis of the argument of each section. At the same time there is a verse by verse commentary, and all bathed in the warm devotional spirit of a Pastor's heart. Here is an invaluable aid for all preachers, Sunday school workers and Bible Class leaders, and indeed for all who "desire the sincere milk of the word that they may grow thereby." All who enter into the riches of this great Gospel under the guidance of Dr. Hendriksen will find their minds informed, their faith quickened, strengthened and established, and their hearts moved to adoration. At any rate that has been my experience. That is what one is entitled to ask and to expect of any commentary, but alas it is a desideratum that is but rarely satisfied by modern commentaries. I pray that it may be widely read and studied, and that Dr. Hendriksen's commentaries on other books of the New Testament already published in America will soon be available in this country. D M Lloyd-Jones Westminster Chapel, London, January, 1959

Errol Brown

I'm sure I passed Errol Brown (he of Hot Chocolate fame) at the bottom of our street an hour ago. He's supposed to be living in The Bahamas but I know he used to live locally so may be he was home visiting someone.

DMLJ 09 Burrowes on Canticles

George Burrowes “Commentary on the Song Of Solomon”


There is probably no book in the Bible which is so neglected as The Song of Solomon. There are many reasons for this.The “higher” critics regard it as but the love song or poem of a king, written to one of his loves when he was probably under the influence of wine. They feel that it should not be in the Bible at all, that it has no spiritual value whatsoever, and that it is scarcely a fit book for good and moral people to read. It is not surprising therefore that they should neglect it. But there are many who, while totally rejecting such a view, nevertheless neglect this book because they find it difficult to understand. They cannot see the meaning of the imagery and often find themselves in difficulties as to the exact speaker. They feel that is has a message but they cannot find it.Contrasted with these there are those who regard this book as a mine of spiritual treasure and as one of the most exquisite expositions of the relationship between the believer and his Lord to be found anywhere in the Bible. Such, for instance, was the view taken of it by J. Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission, and his little book expounding it called “Union and Communion” is of great value.Clearly, therefore, the average Christian needs help in order to be able to enter into this rich enjoyment.It is because I know of nothing which in any way approaches this commentary in that respect that I am glad that it is being re-printed and made available.It has everything that should characterize a good commentary – learning and scholarship, accuracy and carefulness, but, above all, and more important than all else, true spiritual insight and understanding. It provides a key to the understanding of the whole and every verse which the humblest Christian can easily follow.I predict that all who read it and study it will agree with me in saying that they have never read anything more uplifting and heart-warming. It will lead them to their Lord and enable them to know and to realize His love as they have never done before.
D M Lloyd-Jones
Westminster Chapel, London

CM 03 Bach

I hadn't forgotten. This is the first movement of J S Bach's second Brandenburg Concerto - as intended I believe and performed by the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. It's hard to imagine what western music would be like without Bach's contribution.

We didn't start the fire

Eleri was playing this Billy Joel track just now. I was only vaguely aware of the lyrics. The video helps you get the idea. More here at Wikipedia (as ever).

Shoes W

Winkle pickers
A style of shoe or boot worn from the 1950s onward by male and female british rock 'n' roll fans. More here.

My almost famous son

I enjoyed reading this over on Rhodri's blog today.
So I shared with you my surprise at winning this poetry competition and the plot thickens as I receive an email on Friday ordering me to the Library so that I can have my photo taken for the website and maybe even local press!
So, up I go to the University library at the top of the hill. I dropped Sibyl off at her first exam and made my way there. I’d been instructed to ask at the front desk and that I would be taken from there. I imagined that perhaps they’d take me into a small room and ask me to do all sorts of interesting academic poses. I’d also had the night before considering that all important question; ‘to beard or not to beard’. I decided against the clean shave as I definitely wanted to stick with the learned look.
I got to the front desk and spoke to a little lady who looked a bit like a hungry hedgehog. She didn’t have a clue what I was on about and walked around asking all the staff what it was that I could possibly be going on about. Eventually she got back to me and referred me to Susan who’s got a really nice camera and she’d deal with me. Surely Susan was Aberystwyth’s very own Annie Leibovitz.
“Hi apparently I’m meant to come to you because I’m errm, I’m meant to have my photo taken cos errm cos I won a competition? Yeah errm, I won this poetry art competition thing.” I mumbled.
“Right! Sure, okay Mr!” She replied enthusiastically. I assumed this was the moment she’d lead me to the brightly lit photo room. I followed her out of the office and she led me to probably the widest open space in the entire library, right next to the entrance and where they keep the newspapers.
“So, errm you want me to errm, just sort of sit here? Like errm, next to this table?”
“Okay… Well, what sort of pose do you want? You know I’m used to having my photo taken, the paparazzi are always after me.”
I realised we had a gullible lack of a sense of humour on our hands.
“We’ll try a few.”
“Shall I try my serious face?”
“Yes go on.”
I put on my most academically studious expression.
“Actually that’s a bit frightening.”
“Oh. Well, errm, shall I look out the window? Or shall I put my hand on my chin?”
“Try smiling!”
“Oh. How about I read this book!”
“You’re going to need to look up.”
“You will be!”
“Okay. Can I go now?”
“One more, give us a smile now eh?”
I smiled widely desperately hoping there was nothing stuck in my teeth, or any bogies protruding from my nose.
“Alright thanks!”
I was delighted it was over, quite frankly. I don’t think I’m cut out for this whole celebrity thing. It’s too stressful and there’s too much expected from us A-listers. I won’t sleep at night.
I’ll keep you posted on my competition process.

DMLJ 08 Bennett on Howell Harris

In 1962 a translation from Welsh of the 1909 book "The dawn of Welsh Calvinistic Methodism" appeared under the title "Howell Harris and the Dawn of Revival". The original was by Richard Bennett (1860-1937). The translator was Gomer M Roberts (1904-1993). It was printed by EPW.

As the one primarily responsible for the suggestion that this book should be translated and published I am happy to write a word of introduction and recommendation.
The very fact that I have made the suggestion shows in itself the value that I attach to it. I have long felt that those who cannot read and understand the Welsh language should be given the opportunity of reaping some of the benefits and blessings that I have enjoyed from reading this book.
Let me introduce its contents.
It is not a complete biography of Howell Harris. It concentrates in great detail only upon the first three years of his spiritual history. There are two or three full biographies of him in book form (out of print alas!) and also articles on him in certain larger works on Welsh Calvinistic Methodism.
But the object of Richard Bennett, the original author, was to allow us to see the working of God's Spirit in the soul of Howell Harris in the detailed manner recorded in Harris's own Diaries, in these first formative and thrilling years. Bennett therefore rightly felt that his own remarks should be reduced to a minimum, and that all that was required of him was to supply the connecting links in the story so as to enable the reader to understand the various allusions to actual events. He does not attempt to comment upon, still less to apply or to enforce, what is revealed in the extracts from Harris's diaries. He was too sensitive spiritually to do so, and probably felt the ground was so holy that he could but take off the shoes from off his feet and be silent in awe. I have always been most grateful to him for this.
No! Here we have Howell Harris himself making bare his soul and allowing us to read of God's dealings with him. As spiritual autobiography it is practically unrivalled. A more honest soul than Harris never lived. That was the testimony of all his contemporaries to him. There is a sense in which he was almost too honest and too sensitive. But who are we in this decadent, superficial and glib age to say that? At times we are privileged to look on at the struggles of a mighty soul and made to feel something of its agony. At other times we listen to the praises and thanksgiving of a soul virtually lifted up to the third heaven and knowing such outpourings of the Holy Spirit and workings of the love of God that he could scarce contain them.
Anyone who reads this book carefully will derive great spiritual benefit. He will be troubled and uplifted, corrected and encouraged. Some may well feel that they have never hitherto been Christians at all if this is really what is possible to the Christian. Others in self defence and resisting the Spirit, will feel that this is but "enthusiasm" and "ecstasy," the two things that a "moderate," formal, respectable, Laodicean Christianity always abominates.
But read it for yourself!
Quite apart from these considerations which are the chief reason for reading it, this book is quite invaluable from the historical standpoint. Howell Harris was an intimate friend of Whitefield, the Wesleys and the other leaders of the evangelical awakening in England in the 18th century. He frequently preached for Whitefield in London and acted as his deputy while the latter was in America.
As for the history of the same revival in Wales and the origin of what is now known as the Presbyterian Church of Wales what is recorded here is crucial and essential.
Ryle in his work "The Religious Leaders of the 18th Century" did not include Harris because he never became an ordained clergyman. The reasons for that are explained here and are of fascinating interest in and of themselves.
Nothing is more profitable, after the reading of the Bible itself and books that help us to understand it, than the reading of the biography or autobiography of a great Christian man. Howell Harris was a great man and a genius in a natural sense, a brilliant organiser and improvisor - a man who would have succeeded in almost any walk in life. He had a complex and fascinating personality which made him inevitably a prince and a leader amongst men. He takes his place naturally and as an equal in the distinguished company to which I have already referred.
He was not as great a preacher as Daniel Rowlands and George Whitefield, but as an exhorter he was probably superior to both. But what amazes us and humbles us and condemns us is his humility and his utter submission to our Lord at all costs. This is why God used him in such a mighty manner.
Would you know something of what is meant by the term "revival"? Would you know the real meaning of, "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God"? Would you know more of "life in the Spirit," and "prayer in the Spirit," and something of "the powers of the world to come"? Then read this book and remember that Howell Harris was but "a man of like passions with ourselves" and that Jesus Christ is " the same yesterday, today and forever."
The translation is faithful and clear. I pray that this book may be so blessed and used as to cause many to cry out saying, "where is the Lord God of Howell Harris?"
Westminster Chapel, London

Shoes V

Vacuum shoes (shoevers!)
I think these are still only at the prototype stage

Bill MacLaren

Rugby commentary legend Bill MacLaren has died. He provided many happy hours of enjoyment with his commenting.

Preachers valued

An interesting article appeared in The Times today revealing that counterintuitively preaching is desired more than one might think. How heartening for a preacher.

Eccentric Ministers 3

Geoff spoke for the last session on preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified. First he spoke stirringly of Jesus Christ and then of his death - penal, substitutionary, propitiatory and declarative.
Nice trip home with Paul and Richard Bewes.

Eccentric Ministers 2

So after a good night's rest we made a leisurely start to the day over a cooked breakfast.
Then Paul Mallard gave most of the rest of his paper on ministerial suffering. Again it was warm and anecdotal. He even asked Jon Pearse from Bournemouth to share his own story of the death of his young daughter Lois and the opportunities for witness this has opened up. (See here). Paul had 12 points he wanted to get over and although quite basic really it was good to hear it.
Then after a break for coffee and yet more cake Richard Bewes spoke. Paul introduced him first, drawing two fine Luis Palau anecdotes out of him. Richard preached, again warmly and quite anecdotally, expounding Psalm 61. I guess it was similar to this audio here (look on July 12).
None of the sessions have been recorded. I think this has helped the speakers to feel freer in their delivery.

Eccentric Ministers (2010)

Eleri gave me a lift to the north circular first thing where Paul Levy kindly picked me up and we headed to the Potters House in Hebron Hall, Dinas Powys, for the annual Eccentric Ministers Conference. Organised by Paul's brother Steve and his team of helpers from Mount Pleasant, Swansea. About 40 gathered I guess - lots of people I didn't know but plenty I did. We began by praying in threes. I was with my old friend Mike Leaves from Swansea, Merv Neal from Barry and Vaughan Roberts from Oxford who I'd not met personally before. After lunch Paul Mallard gave the first of two papers on suffering in the ministry. Nothing radically new here but greatly enlivened by his personal illustrations and anecdotes. After that my esteemed father-in-law addressed us with some reflections of a wise old sage. He spoke of things he wished he had done, regrets, things valued and things he was thankful for. Fascinating and lovely to hear.
We had a break then and I went with Geoff to Barry Island - nostalgia! Geoff actually lived in Barry at one point.
Later on Vaughan Roberts spoke on evangelism and ministerial training a la Phil Jensen, which was okay but a little pragmatic perhaps.
I headed off to the lounge then and enjoyed the company of several men before bed.
Steve asked me to say what a brilliant conference this is and then sang a psalm in Gaelic playing the banjo (that bit's not true but Steve thought it would be a good way of testing whether anybody reads this).

Teddy Pendergrass 1950-2010

I notice that Teddy Pendergrass has died. It was just a name to me (not my kind of music) but reading his obituary one recognised some of the things mentioned and this great break up song. As so often with these black soul singers religion is there in the background. It would be nice to know more. Any man who man can suffer paralysis and then call his autobiography "Truly blessed" has come to understand something worth knowing.

Shoes T

There are trainers, of course and track shoes or tap shoes
but the T-strap shoes that were popular in the 1920s seemed best.

DMLJ 07 Dallimore on Whitefield

George Whitefield The Life and Times of the Great Evangelist of the Eighteenth-Century Revival – Volume I by Arnold Dallimore


This volume is something for which I have been waiting for over forty years. It was then that I first read Luke Tyerman's Life of George Whitefield. Ever since, I have read everything that I could discover on Whitefield, and by him, and never have I failed to be thrilled as I have done so, and stimulated to become a better Christian and a better preacher. But I waited for something more, and felt that in some respects justice had still to be done. It is, therefore, with the greatest possible pleasure that I write a Foreword to this new Life of Whitefield, appearing on the bi-centenary of his death.
Justice has at last been done to Whitefield and without a trace of special pleading or injustice to his contemporaries. Of all the men of that century Whitefield was the most lovable. He radiated warmth and joy, and wherever he went he moved others to greater zeal and activity. Above all he was the greatest preacher - indeed one can say that he was the greatest preacher that England has ever produced.
More important than these things was the certainty with which Whitefield knew his message and how it should be applied to the human mind and heart of all classes. He was as much the favourite preacher of of the aristocracy that gathered to listen to him in the home of Lady Huntingdon as of the common rabble that listened to him in Moorfields or Kennington. His converts were numbered in thousands and competent historians are agreed that both in America and in Great Britain he was, as one of his biographers has described him, 'The Awakener'. He was the pioneer in open air preaching as in other matters; and though not to be compared with his contemporary and friend John Wesley as an organiser, he easily eclipsed him as an innovator and promoter. His mind was more original and fertile adn he wa sless bound by tradition and logic.
But above all he was a great saint and Wesley and others bore noble tribute to this during his life and after his death. This was the ultimate secret of his preaching power. He was 'filled with the Spirit' and endued with exceptional unction while preaching. He could say with the Apostle Paul 'I am what I am by the grace of God'.
To read the wonderful story of his life is to be reminded again of what is possible to a truly consecrated Christian, and how even in the darkest and most sinful ages God in his sovereign power is able to revive his work and shower blessings upon his People.
God is still the same and is able to do again what He did in the eighteenth century through George Whitefield and others.
May the reading of this book produce in us the same spirit of utter submission, ready obedience, and unshakeable reliance upon the power of the Holy Spirit that characterised his life and ministry. Whitefield never drew attention to himself, but always pointed people to his God and exalted his Lord and Saviour. May he, though now dead for nearly 200 years, do the same for countless thousands through the reading of this book!
London, February 1970
D M Lloyd-Jones

DMLJ 06 Ryle on Holiness

This dates, I believe, from 1956 (book available online here)

by J. C. Ryle


One of the most encouraging and hopeful signs I have observed for many a long day in evangelical circles has been a renewed and increasing interest in the writings of Bishop J. C. Ryle.
In his day he was famous, outstanding and beloved as a champion and exponent of the evangelical and reformed faith. For some reason or other, however, his name and his works are not familiar to modern evangelicals. His books are, I believe, all out of print in this country and very difficult to obtain secondhand.
The differing fates suffered in this respect by Bishop Ryle and his near contemporary, Bishop Moule, have always been to me a matter of great interest. But Bishop Ryle is being re-discovered, and there is a new call for the re-publication of his works.
All who have ever read him will be grateful for this new edition of his great book on 'Holiness'. I shall never forget the satisfaction - spiritual and mental - with which I read it some twenty years ago after having stumbled across it in a second-hand book shop.
It really needs no preface or word of introduction. All I will do is to urge all readers to read the Bishop's own Introduction. It is invaluable as it provides the setting in which he felt impelled to write the book.
The characteristics of Bishop Ryle's method and style are obvious. He is pre-eminently and always scriptural and expository. He never starts with a theory into which he tries to fit various Scriptures. He always starts with the Word and expounds it. It is exposition at its very best and highest. It is always clear and logical and invariably leads to a clear enunciation of doctrine. It is strong and virile and entirely free from the sentimentality that is often described as "devotional."
The Bishop had drunk deeply from the wells of the great classical Puritan writers of the seventeenth century. Indeed, it would be but accurate to say that his books are a distillation of true Puritan theology presented in a highly readable and modern form.
Ryle, like his great masters, has no easy way to holiness to offer us, and no "patent" method by which it can be attained; but he invariably produces that "hunger and thirst after righteousness" which is the only indispensable condition to being "filled."
May this book be widely read, that God's name be increasingly honoured and glorified.
D. M. Lloyd-Jones
Westminster Chapel

Shoes S

In some ways we are spoiled for choice on S, though sandals, slip-ons ( I could have included loafers which I missed at L) and slingbacks are all rather generic. Sneakers is an American term, the British equivalent really being trainers (I still call them training shoes, showing my age). Slippers I've done with my cheat - quilted slippers. Skate boots (for skate boarding) and ski shoes were possibles but in the end I thought we'd go for stiletto heels and (appropriately given the current weather) snow shoes. Stiletto heels are named after the stiletto dagger. Americans call them spike heels.

Edwards Sermons

The Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University has made a sermon index for Jonathan Edwards’ sermons available. More on this here at Feeding on Christ.

DMLJ 05 Runia on Reformation Today

Reformation Today
Klaas Runia


It is with pleasure that I write this foreword to Professor Klaas Runia’s book on the most urgent problem confronting the Christian church today. Ever since I read his book on the Creeds I believe in God ... (IVP), I have always read everything by him with the greatest interest. His articles in Trowel and Sword, of which he is the editor, are always stimulating and thought-provoking, and he has already established himself as one of the leading Reformed theologians in the world.
In this volume he brings his theological learning, with its Dutch overtones, and his acute mind to bear upon the vexed problem of the relationship of evangelical people in all the denominations to the ecumenical movement. In order to do so he gives a masterly description and evaluation of the various theological trends and fashions that have gained such popularity in this present century and shows their utter inadequacy as compared with the true gospel.
An outstanding characteristic of Professor Runia's writing is his scrupulous fairness to those with whom he disagrees and has to criticise. Some of us might feel at times that he carries this too far but at any rate it absolves him entirely of any charge of prejudice or ignorance.
He states the case of the ecumenical movement and then subjects it to the most fair biblical, theological and historical examination.
No-one can read this book without being compelled to face the evidence and to think again at a deep level about these vital matters.
It is my prayer that it might be used to bring all evangelical people to see the tragedy, and indeed the sin, of their present divisions and fragmentation and to heed his appeal for true and visible unity among them.
I urge all who are concerned about the lamentable state of the church and the urgent need of the presentation of our glorious evangelical message to the masses throughout the world to read this scholarly, incisive and most readable book.
D M Lloyd-Jones
October, 1968


Some poor van driver managed to hit a tree opposite us. Trouble is the tree hit the overhead telephone wire and ripped the guttering away. Oh dear!

Evangelical Library Opening

I was up at the Library yesterday for a committee meeting.
We will be having an opening meeting on April 17 when Robert Strivens will be the speaker. More here.

DMLJ 04 Wilmot on Prophecy

This is another obscure one I guess. More here. Dr Wilmot pastored three churches in the UK, his last pastorate of 35 years being concluded in 1959 at Highgate Road Baptist Chapel. He often lectured in Toronto Baptist Seminary and preached in Jarvis Street Baptist Church at the invitations of Dr T T shields and Dr H C Slade. In 1948 the Seminary conferred on him an honrary doctorate. Formerly premillennial he later modified his position.

Inspired Principles of Prophetic Interpretation
by John Wilmot


I was glad to hear that it was proposed to put these 'prophetic studies' by Dr. John Wilmot into permanent book form. I believe they will make a valuable contribution to such studies.
Nothing has been more gratifying during the past twenty years or so than the way in which the old dogmatic and intolerant attitude, which too frequently characterised many interested in these matters, has given way to a new spirit of humility and honest re-examination of the position.
What adds value to this study by Dr. Wilmot, over and above its inherent worth, is the fact that he himself has changed his position as the result of further study and thought. It is not merely an exposition of one particular attitude, therefore, but at the same time an appraisal of other points of view with which he has been long familiar over the years.
The reading of this book can do nothing but good because of its Scriptural character and its careful argumentation. All will not be convinced, but all should be helped and edified.
Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones,
Westminster Chapel,
London 1965

The Spider and toad

This poem by John Newton appeared in some editions of the Olney Hymns and appended to his 26 Letters in the name Omicron.

Some author (no great matter who,
Provided what he says be true)
Relates he saw, with hostile rage,
A spider and a toad engage:
For though with poison both are stor'd.
Each by the other is abhorr'd;
It seems as if their common venom
Provok'd an enmity between 'em.
Implacable, malicious, cruel,
Like modern hero in a duel.
The spider darted on his foe,
Infixing death at every blow.
The toad, by ready instinct taught,
An antidote, when wounded, sought
from the herb plantain, growing near,
Well known to toads its virtues rare,
The spider's poison to repel;
It cropp'd the leaf, and soon was well.
This remedy it often tried
And all the spider's rage defied.
The person who the contest view'd,
While yet the battle doubtful stood,
Remov'd the healing plant away—
And thus the spider gain'd the day:
For when the toad return'd once more
Wounded, as it had done before,
To seek relief, and found it not,
It swell'd and died upon the spot.

In ev'ry circumstance but one
(Could that hold too, I were undone)
No glass can represent my face
More justly than this tale my case.
The toad's an emblem of my heart,
And Satan acts the spider s part.
Envenom'd by this poison, I
Am often at the point to die;
But He who hung upon the tree,
From guilt and woe to set me free,
Is like the plaintain leaf to me.
To him my wounded soul repairs,
He knows my pain, and hears my prayers;
From him I virtue draw by faith,
Which saves me from the jaws of death:
From him fresh life and strength I gain,
And Satan spends his rage in vain.
No secret arts or open force
Can rob me of this sure resource;
Though banish'd to some distant land,
My med'cine would be still at hand.
Though foolish men its worth deny,
Experience gives them all the lie;
Though Deists and Socinians join
Jesus still lives, and still is mine.
'Tis here the happy diff'rence lies,
My Saviour reigns above the skies,
Yet to my soul is always near.
For he is God, and ev'ry where.
His blood a sov'reign balm is found
For ev'ry grief, and ev'ry wound;
And sooner all the hills shall flee
And hide themselves beneath the sea;
Or ocean, starting from its bed,
Rush o'er the cloud top't mountain's head;
The sun, exhausted of its light,
Become the source of endless night;
And ruin spread from pole to pole,
Than Jesus fail the tempted soul.

Honey and spiders

Good illustrations come from a preacher’s own background. Charles Haddon Spurgeon kept bees. Some of his richest illustrations had to do with honey—its sweetness, the way it drips through your fingers, etc.

Jonathan Edwards as a young man studied and wrote a book on spiders. When he preached his most famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, one of the most powerful moments in the sermon came when he spoke of a human being hanging, suspended by a single spider’s web, over the gaping pit of hell.

So, preacher, you don’t have to go to the illustration books where you’ll find mostly stale material. You don’t have to steal your examples from other preachers. Talk about what you know best. Barnhouse used to say that the whole material world is illustrative of the spiritual. All you need is the eyes to see.

Come on, now. What are some of your hobbies? Interests? Pastimes? There is a wealth of illustrations there. How about your travel, adventures? Oh? You’re not an interesting person; you don’t go for trips in exotic lands? So what? Are bees, or honey, or spiders, or their threads exotic? Of course not. They were just things that Spurgeon and Edwards knew something about and they framed illustrations around that knowledge.

You know something—or you’re dead! So start ransacking your brain about matters in your everyday existence to find those illustrations that are packed away just waiting for the light of day to shine upon them. They will possibly be the very best illustrations you could ever use. Why? Because you can speak most confidently about that which you know well.

Found this here.

DMLJ 03 Fletcher of Madeley

This is a rather obscure one but check here for the work. The introduction is by David Rushworth Smith, then a member of the Westminster Fellowship and one who had the Doctor's ear.

Christ Manifested
by John Fletcher
It is most appropriate that the famous letters of the saintly John Fletcher should be re-published in 1968. For this year happens to be the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Countess of Huntingdon's College at Trevecca, for the training of preachers (later known as Cheshunt College). John Fletcher was the first president of the College, which was opened in 1768 by George Whitefield, who preached several sermons on that occasion.
Fletcher was one of that great and remarkable company of men raised up by God in the eighteenth century in connection with The Evangelical Awakening - a company which included George Whitefield, John and Charles Wesley, Daniel Rowlands, Howel Harris and John Cennick.
These men belonged to two main groups, determined chiefly by their views on the subject of Free Will and Sanctification. At times the controversy between them was acute and even bitter but at the first anniversary of the opening of the college at Trevecca in August 1769, the leaders of both parties were present and took part in the worship, the preaching and the partaking of the Lord's Supper at a great Communion Service.
What made this possible was their common experience of the grace of God, their doctrine of assurance, but above all their deep experimental knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what made them the men they were and gave them their evangelistic zeal; and this accounts for the authority which was such a great characteristic of their preaching. This is what brought them together, in spite of their differences.
Nothing is more important than this; and it is the theme of these six letters on The Spiritual Manifestations of the Son of God.
They have been so long out of print, and almost impossible to obtain apart from the rare copies of the Complete Works of John Fletcher. It is particularly good to have them as a separate volume in this way.
I shall never forget my first reading of these letters and the benediction to my soul that they proved to be. They are undoubtedly a spiritual classic.
At a time like this, when many are preoccupied almost exclusively with questions of ecclesiastical organisation and realignment and others are in danger of falling into a Corinthian and fanatical interest in spiritual phenomena and the majority perhaps are just practising formal Christianity, nothing can be more salutary than the message of this book. It points us to the one thing that finally matters, and without which all else is more or less vain. It also points us to the highway to revival - both personal and general.
May God bless it and use it to that end.

January 1968

Shoes R

Riding Boots

Testimonies 2

The piece from the Banner site on Testimonies took me back to this section from Archibald Alexander's Thoughts on Religious Experience. Again there is an element of over statement. He says
There is what may be called a sectarian peculiarity in the experimental religion of all the members of a religious denomination. When it is required, in order that persons be admitted to communion, that they publicly give a narrative of the exercises of their minds, there will commonly be observed a striking similarity. There is a certain mould into which all seem to be cast.
By the way, this requisition is unwise; few persons have humility and discretion enough to be trusted to declare in a public congregation, what the dealings of God with their souls have been. When ignorant, weak and fanciful persons undertake this, they often bring out such crude and ludicrous things, as greatly tend to bring experimental religion into discredit.
The practice seems also to be founded on a false principle, namely, that real Christians are able to tell with certainty whether others have religion, if they hear their experience. Enthusiasts have always laid claim to this discernment of the spirits, and this enthusiasm is widely spread through some large sects; and when they meet with any professing piety, they are always solicitous to hear an account of their conviction, conversion, &c. A free intercourse of this kind among intimate friends, is no doubt, profitable; but a frequent and indiscriminate disclosure of these secret things of the heart, is attended with many evils.
Among the chief is, the fostering of spiritual pride, which may often be detected when the person is boasting of his humility. In those social meetings, in which every person is questioned as to the state of his soul, the very sameness of most of the answers ought to render the practice suspicious. Poor, weak, and ignorant persons, often profess to be happy, and to be full of the love of God, when they know not what they say. It is wonderful how little you hear of the spiritual conflict in the account which many professors give of their experience. The people know what kind of answer is expected of them, and they come, as near as they can to what is wished; and it is to be feared that many cry "peace" when there is no peace; and say that they are happy, merely because they hear this from the lips of others. Hypocrisy is a fearful evil, and every thing which has a tendency to produce it should be avoided.

CM 02 Grieg

Morning from the Peer Gynt Suite by Norwegian Edvard Grieg is a pretty well known piece (especially since that coffee advert years back). Plenty of other Grieg pieces are well known but none as much as this one, partly no doubt becasue it does what it says on the tin. This is one of the weird things about music though. If you called it, say, Night or The day we met, it would sound somehow slightly different.

DMLJ 02 Whitefield Sermons

With an account of his life by J C Ryle
It is a privilege to be asked to commend this volume, and to be associated in any way with two such names as George Whitefield and Bishop Ryle.
Nothing has been sadder in the story of the last fifty years in the church, nor more significant, than the way in which George Whitefield has been neglected, and especially as one considers the very considerable attention that has been given to his contemporary, John Wesley. That was certainly not the position two hundred years ago, and it should not be the case now.
Of all the men of the eighteenth century whom God raised up to do that marvellous work called
'the Evangelical Awakening', none was more remarkable than George Whitefield. Of few men can it be said that their preaching was 'apostolic' in character, but it certainly can be said of Whitefield. His whole career from beginning to His whole career from beginning to end was an amazing phenomenon and his Herculean labours both in Great Britain and America can only be explained by the power of the Holy Ghost.
But Whitefield was not only the greatest preacher and orator of the eighteenth century, he was also one of its most saintly characters, if not the saintliest of all. Certainly there was no more humble or lovable man amongst them. What can be more profitable, next to the Bible itself, than to read something of the life of such a man and to read his own words!
This volume provides an excellent introduction. The famous essay by Bishop Ryle is certainly the best short account of Whitefield that has ever been done, and it is good that it should be thus reprinted. At the same time this volume provides samples of the great preacher's sermons which serve to illustrate the points emphasized by the Bishop. It is a judicious and representative selection.
May God grant that, as we read of the man whom God made so mighty, and the things which he taught and preached, we may be led to long for and to pray for such a revival in our day and generation as God gave in His sovereign grace and mercy two hundred years ago.

February 1958
Westminster Chapel London

DMLJ 01 Haldane


It is with particular pleasure that I recommend this commentary on the Epistle to the Romans.
I do so for many reasons.
First and foremost is the fact that I have derived such profit and pleasure from it myself. I always find it very difficult to decide as to which is the better commentary on this Epistle, whether that of Charles Hodge or this by Haldane. While Hodge excels in accurate scholarship, there is greater warmth of spirit and more practical application in Haldane. In any case, both stand supreme as commentaries on this mighty Epistle.
However, that which gives an unusual and particularly endearing value to this commentary is the history that lies behind it. In 1816 Robert Haldane, being about fifty years of age, went to Switzerland and to Geneva. There, to all outward appearances as if by accident, he came into contact with a number of students who were studying for the ministry. They were all blind to spiritual truth but felt much attracted to Haldane and to what he said. He arranged, therefore, that they should come regularly twice a week to the rooms where he was staying and there he took them through and expounded to them Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. One by one they were converted, and their conversion led to a true Revival of religion, not only in Switzerland, but also in France. They included such men as Merle D’Aubigné the writer of the classic “History of the Reformation,” Frédéric Monod who became the chief founder of the Free Churches in France, Bonifas who became a theologian of great ability, Louis Gaussen the author of “Theopneustia,” a book on the inspiration of the Scriptures and César Malan. There were also others who were greatly used of God in the revival. It was at the request of such men that Robert Haldane decided to put into print what he had been telling them. Hence this volume. And one cannot read it without being conscious of the preacher as well as the expositor.
What a distinguished French minister Dr. Reuben Saillens says of what became known as “Haldane’s Revival” can be applied with equal truth to this commentary:
“The three main characteristics of Haldane’s Revival, as it has sometimes been called, were these:
(1) it gave a prominent emphasis to the necessity of a personal knowledge and experience of grace;
(2) it maintained the absolute authority and Divine inspiration of the Bible;
(3) was a return to Calvinistic doctrine against Pelagianism and Arminianism. Haldane was an orthodox of the first water, but his orthodoxy was blended with love and life.”
God grant that it may produce that same “love and life” in all who read it.
March 1958