Weekly Update 3

I’ll begin this week’s update with something of a postscript to last week’s update.

“The necessary truths of the Gospel, as they tend to instruct, convince, convert, comfort… are the great task of a Minister, [and] are necessary to all people…”
James Durham, Commentary on Revelation, Old Paths Publications, Rept. 2000, p77 (Emphasis mine).
See http://oldpathspublications.org/prevbook1.html#anchor641237

So again the great task of the minister is to be in the “necessary truths of the gospel” as they tend to “convert”.  That is the aim.

This quote came from an essay entitled “Concerning a Calling to the Ministry, and clearness therein”.  I may do a “random post” (i.e. unrelated to the free offer) on Durham’s essay.  If Durham’s recommendations were prayerfully followed through then the shortage of ministers may not be as great as it is.

Moving on now to this week’s update.

James Durham on “Duty Faith”

Durham has three sermons near the beginning of “Christ Crucified: Or the Marrow of the Gospel in 72 Sermons on Isaiah 53” where he works through the idea of “duty faith”.

Durham sets out his view plainly and clearly:

“It lies on all that hear the gospel to believe the report that it brings concerning Christ (see note 1), and by faith to receive him, who is held out to them in it…  They to whom Christ is offered in the gospel are called to believe; it is their duty to do so.”
Christ Crucified: Or the Marrow of the Gospel in 72 Sermons on Isaiah 53, Naphtali Press, Dallas, 2001, p86

That everyone who hears the gospel is duty bound to believe is, according to Durham evident from 5 things:
1) The gospel comes with a command “Believe, Come, ye that are weary, etc. Come to the wedding, Open etc.”.
2) It is the most important command,  It is “the sum of all Christ’s preaching (Mark 1:15) Repent and believe the gospel.
3) It is the “peculiar command that Christ has left… (1 John 3:22).  This is his commandment, that we should believe on the name of his son Jesus Christ.”  Durham again notes that it is the “peculiar command left to, and laid on ministers to press.”
4) The “great disobedience that he [God] quarrels for, is when there is not believing”.
5) “Look to the nature of the offer made by Christ, and to the end of it, and you will find that the great thing called for is the receiving of it, which is nothing but believing.”  Further “the subordinate end of preaching, to wit, the salvation of our souls, cannot be attained without faith.”
Ibid, p89.

Durham goes on to distinguish between true and false faith, the necessity of faith for salvation, scripture definitions of faith and closes the second of the three sermons with this appeal:

“You see then what you are called to.  It is to open to Christ, to come to him, to marry him, to roll yourselves on him, to commit yourselves to him, to give him credit, etc.  And is there any of these unreasonable or prejudicial to you?  And if they be very reasonable and advantageous (as indeed they are), we would exhort you to come to him, receive him…  Believe on him, and by believing, be united to him… give him the credit of saving your souls.  This we call for from you…”
Ibid. p99.

So there we have a classic Scottish exposition and practical use of “duty faith”.

Note 1:
What is this “report”?
“The preached gospel… if it were considered what the Lord’s end in it is, it would be the most refreshing news that ever people heard, to hear the report of a Saviour: that is, and should be, great and glad tidings of great joy to all nations… God has sent such a report to, and in it has laid Christ so near them, that he puts him home to them, and lays him before them, even at their feet as it were… all he calls for is faith…”
Ibid. p86

Coming next week:

A review of The Free Offer: Biblical & Reformed, by David Silversides.  This will include a vitally important extract from Samuel Rutherford.

Work done this week:
* Finished Silversides’ work on the free offer
* Progressed slowly with Christ Crucified

Work to do next week:
* Progress with Christ Crucified

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2 Responses to “Weekly Update 3”

  1. Puritanismtoday Says:

    Dear Donald,

    I have added your blog to our Links after reading your email to me. In Loughbrickland we did a small print of ‘The Sum of Saving Knowledge’ for evangelistic purposes. Durham clearly had a hand in this wonderful work; or so Mr. Silversides our minister believes.

    G.M

  2. Donald John MacLean Says:

    Thanks for the link. ‘The Sum of Saving Knowledge’ (SOSK) is indeed a wonderful document and I see no reason to doubt the traditional attribution of it to David Dickson & Durham. The content of the SOSK is certainly representative of Durham’s sermons.

    For those interested in the SOSK the section on ‘Warrants to Believe’ (the most relevant section for my thesis) may be found here:
    http://members.aol.com/RSICHURCH/warrant1.html

    Every blessing
    Donald John

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