Monday, August 3, 2015

"Devoted to the Service of the Temple" by Michael Haykin and Steve Weaver: A Review

I esteem peace with God, peace in conscience, and peace in the Church a choice jewel, which I would not exchange for many worlds. And also knowing that the eternal transaction between the Father and the Son is called the Council of Peace, and the covenant the covenant of Peace, God the God of peace, Christ the prince of Peace, the Gospel the Gospel of peace, and angels the messengers of peace, and that heaven is a place of peace - in a word, because I know where peace is, God is, and that that grace is essential to the Kingdom of god in the saints, and also a glorious fruit of the Holy Spirit, as it shall be my earnest endeavour to promote it in the churches of Christ, so it will be my fervent and constant prayer, as one of the Zion's watchmen, to cry, "Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within they palaces" forever and ever. Amen. (123-124)

We are standing on the shoulders of giants. The more I read and study history, the more I realize just how many giants are giving me a great view. Case is point is the book edited by Drs. Michael Haykin and Steve Weaver Devoted to the Service of the Temple: Piety, Persecution, and Ministry in the Writings of Hercules Collins. No doubt Hercules Collins (one of the greatest names in Baptist history) is an unfamiliar figure to most but that does not mean he should not be read. Devoted to the Service of the Temple makes that clear.

The book is mostly a collection of select writings from Collins' work. These selections are preceded by a helpful biography from the editors. As such the book is best read rather than reviewed. Thus I thought it would be best to highlight some of my favorite parts of the book which I thoroughly enjoyed. 

From the chapter entitled, "God is the gospel":
As a covetous and an ambitious man, and a man given to carnal pleasure, will go through much difficulty to have their respective desires fulfilled; so will a believing soul suffer the loss of all, so he may win Christ. (43)
From the chapter entitled "Spiritual liberty": 
Let us bless God, though we are in the prison of man, yet . . . we are delivered from the spiritual prison of sin and Satan into the glorious liberty of the children of God and out of the kingdom of darkness into the glorious light of the gospel. There is no such prison as for a man to be bound and fettered by his lusts and corruptions, that stirs not a foot further than his corrupt affections suffer him. (55)
From the chapter entitled, "The sweetness of the Word in the school of affliction":
. . . We may preach and hear many a good sermon, and in those sermons many a gracious promise be mentioned, yet we may not have had those tastes and relishes of the sweetness of the Word and promises as in a time of temptation. So that what the soul hath often read, now he can feel and experience that it was good for them they have been afflicted. (76)
From the chapter "The value of pastoral ministry"
We should study to be good workmen, because our work is of the highest nature. Men that work among jewels and precious stones ought to be very knowing of their business. A minister’s work is a great work, a holy work, a heavenly work. Hence the apostle saith, "Who is sufficient for these things?" O how great a work is this! What man, what angel is sufficient to preach the gospel as they ought to preach it! You work for the highest end, the glory of God, and the good of immortal souls. You are for the beating down of the Kingdom of the Devil and enlarging and exalting Christ’s kingdom: And "he that winneth souls" saith Solomon "is wise," that is, he that "draweth them to God and to the love of him," "sweetly gaineth and maketh a holy Conquest of them to Jehovah." (95)
He later adds, ". . . If it be the duty of gospel ministers to study and divide the Word of God aright, then we fairly and naturally infer that it is their sin that preach and neglect study." (96)

This should be a sufficient sample. Some chapters would be worth posting in their entirety, but we will avoid that here. Ultimately, we need to see that God has blessed us with a gallery of godly giants who have gone before us many of whom we do not know. That is the way God's providence works. In the end, he receives the glory while we are blessed with work of their ministry.

For more:
"Baptists Through the Centuries": Blogging Through Bebbington - Complete Series
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