The Tithe and Offering in American Presbyterian Worship

When the Westminster Directory of Public Worship (1645) was revised by the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (1788), an amendment was made to include the offering as part of the normal worship service. Previously, in Presbyterian churches, the offering was made outside of the worship service, on the Lord's Day, typically in a collection box, and the offering was not viewed as a distinct element of worship.

A century later, the Presbyterian Church (USA) (Northern), in 1886 revised its Directory of Public Worship to add the word “collection” to its chapter on “The Preaching of the Word,” and it added an entirely new chapter titled “The Worship of God by Offerings.” The Presbyterian Church (US) (Southern) followed suit in 1893, adding a new chapter to its Directory also titled “The Worship of God by Offerings,” thus further codifying the view that the financial offering to the church was a distinct and regular element of public worship.

The path that led to this change in Presbyterian worship is partially documented in Julius Melton, Presbyterian Worship in America: Changing Patterns Since 1787, in which he discusses the 1788 revision of the Directory (pp. 17-22), and changes to the Northern and Southern Directories (pp. 111-114); and by James Hudnut-Beumler (Dean of Vanderbilt University), In Pursuit of the Almighty’s Dollar (pp. 52-57), in which he discusses the increasing emphasis given to the doctrine of the tithe and its connection to the offering in worship within American Presbyterianism (sometimes called the “tithing renewal movement,” see David A. Croteau, Perspectives on Tithing: Four Views, pp. 183ff), largely beginning in 1873 with the publication of a collaboration of two Virginia Presbyterian ministers Alexander Lewis Hogshead (1816-1880) and John Wood Pratt, Sr. (1827-1888). Hogshead wrote The Gospel Self-Supporting to which an appendix was added by Pratt titled Will a Christian Rob God? or, The Tithe the Minimum of the Christian’s Oblations. Arnold De Welles Miller (1822-1892), a South Carolina-born minister who pastored in North Carolina at the time also published in the same year The Law of the Tithe, and of the Free-Will Offering. In 1875, William Speer (1822-1904), the famous evangelist to the Chinese, published God's Rule for Christian Giving: A Practical Essay on the Science of Christian Economy, which also taught that the tithe was mandatory in the Christian era.

These views were not without controversy at the time, but they helped to pave the way for understanding the offering to be a distinct element of Christian worship and Presbyterian liturgy. Just as this topic was a matter of great concern to 19th century laymen and presbyters, the place of tithe and offerings remains of great interest to many today. To understand the tithing renewal movement and its arguments, one may delve into this literature from a pivotal moment in 19th century American Presbyterianism here at Log College Press, by clicking on the author links above and downloading these titles for further study.

A Prize-Winning Essay on the Sabbath

In the mid 1870s, William A. Moore, a ruling elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia, offered $200 for the best essay on the "Nature, Design, and Proper Observance of the Sabbath." E. T. Baird, Moses Drury Hoge, and C. H. Read were appointed the committee to judge the manuscripts submitted. These men were looking for essays that conformed to the scope set forth by Moore, that were "comprehensive, scholarly, clear, and forcible," and that evinced an arresting, tasteful, and convicting style. Though 108 submissions were entered, and several were remarkable in quality, only one could win the $200 prize - the essay by James Stacy, the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Newnan, Georgia, was chosen. 

Stacy unpacks the Sabbath day in the following particulars: 1) it is rooted in tradition; 2) it is inwrought in Scripture; 3) it is confirmed by nature; 4) it is not abolished with the Jewish ceremonies; 5) it is established by New Testament teachings; 6) and finally, its manner of observance. 

If you're looking for a short treatment on the Sabbath, don't miss this essay by Stacy!

The Story of the Old Makemie Desk

For so long, besides the churches planted by him on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, and the writings left by him, there was little to show for the life and death of "the Father of American Presbyerianism," Francis Makemie (1658-1708). We don't even know precisely what he looked like - only one contemporaneous portrait was ever painted of Makemie (and his wife), but it was destroyed in a fire in 1831. Even his burial site was unknown until it was discovered by Littleton Purnell Bowen (1833-1933), whose tireless research led him to the banks of Holden's Creek in Temperanceville, Accomack County, Virginia, where the Makemie Monument was finally erected in 1908 to mark the spot (this writer had occasion to visit the spot once again last year, which is a wonderful place for contemplation). 

Bowen - the preacher, poet, historian and biographer of Makemie - also made another remarkable discovery, one which is preserved to this day at Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He found the very desk employed by Francis Makemie in his ministerial and household labors. 

The story of this discovery is told in John Stevenson McMaster (1859-1924), A Sketch of the Rev. Samuel McMaster: 1744-1811 (1900), by both McMaster and Bowen himself (see especially pp. 20ff). John McMaster was a Presbyterian ruling elder and descendant of his grandfather, Rev. Samuel McMaster, who was the pastor of Anne Makemie Blair King Holden (1702-1788), daughter of Francis Makemie, who took possession of the desk at her father's passing. Upon her death, this solid mahogany desk was willed to Rev. Samuel McMaster, who later bequeathed it to his son Samuel, after whose death it was purchased by a John B. White, who later revealed its existence to Bowen, showing him all the "concealed springs and drawers...[where] the old Presbyterians of the past had hidden their gold and treasures," and after much persuasion (White's wife said: "By all means let Mr. Bowen have it. We are Baptists, and cannot appreciate it as the Presbyterians would. Mr. Bowen's heart is in the history, and he ought to own the desk"), sold it to him, after which, in 1900, Bowen donated it to the Union Theological Seminary of Richmond. 

This is where it resides today, and it may be seen only by appointment. As McMaster notes, "This desk is the only known relic of the Makemie family in existence." 

19th Century Counsel for Students of the Ministry

It was Herman Witsius (Dutch Reformed, 1636-1708) who offered such golden wisdom to students of the ministry in his inaugural oration at Franeker, in 1675, On the Character of a True Theologian. In the 18th century, Cotton Mather (American Congregational, 1663-728), published his famous Manuductio ad Ministerium. Directions for a Candidate of the Ministry (1726). John Brown of Haddington's (Scottish Presbyterian, 1722-1787) Address to Students of Divinity (extracted from his A Compendious View of Natural and Revealed Religion, 1782) has often been republished, and remains a treasure to 21st century seminary students. In the 19th century, there have been several great works published on how to prepare for the ministry of the Word, but one that we are highlighting here today is that of George Howe (1802-1883)A Discourse on Theological Education; Delivered on the Bicentenary of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, July, 1843. To Which is Added Advice to a Student Preparing for the Ministry (1844). His concern for the aims of an educated and godly ministry permeates this valuable work, and is worth consideration almost three centuries later. If you are a student of the ministry, or seeking to become so, consider downloading this book, and spend time with it, to learn what this man of God has to say. 

The First Presbyterian Church in America

The first Presbyterian church established in America, which continues to exist to this day, is the congregation known today as the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, located in Jamaica, Queens, Long Island, New York. It was organized in 1662, and its history is ably told by its pastor, James Madison McDonald (1812-1876), who wrote two books on the subject: 1) A Sketch of the History of the Presbyterian Church, in Jamaica, L.I. (1847); and 2) Two Centuries in the History of the Presbyterian Church, Jamaica, L.I.; The Oldest Existing Church, of the Presbyterian Name, in America (1862). These volumes, told by a Princeton minister, stationed at the Jamaica church, tell a story that is not well-known today, but deserves to be told. Organized Presbyterianism in America began in New York, and in these records we find not only a remembrance but inspiration for the future. 

The Legacy of a Congregational Church in Georgia

One of the most important churches for Presbyterians in the South wasn’t Presbyterian but rather was Congregational, and its history was recorded by Rev. James Stacy (1830-1912). The Midway Congregational Church in Liberty County, Georgia was founded by a group of Puritan settlers from New England on August 28, 1754, who at first came to South Carolina, found conditions there undesirable and then headed down to Liberty County, GA. They founded a Congregational church, and from this church would come six Congressman, and of ministers, fifty Presbyterians, seventeen Baptists, thirteen Methodists, and one Episcopalians. The Presbyterian ministers were some of the most distinguished in the Southern United States, among them being the great Old School Presbyterian revivalist Daniel Baker, the first professor at Columbia Theological Seminary Dr. Thomas Goulding, and the famous missionary among the slaves, Dr. Charles Colcock Jones. The Midway Church would eventually close, but its legacy of faithfulness did not. Dr. Stacy, who wrote the book on the church, made the remark that the Midway Church’s reasons for success was “the good pleasure of God, who, in his sovereign exercise of Providence putteth down one, and setteth up another.” He goes on to talk about some of the secondary causes and miraculous things that made Midway successful, but you will have to read the book for that! The Midway Congregational Church never fully closed, but ceased having Session Meetings in October, 1867, and slowly faded away, but its legacy endures today.  

William Sprague wrote in his Annals concerning the aforementioned Thomas Goulding: "It might be profitable to inquire why the one Church of Midway, Liberty County, has furnished more Presbyterian ministers for the State of Georgia, than all the other ninety-two counties united. The influence of one little colony of Puritans that made its way thither through a scene of trials and disasters, from Dorchester, Mass., who can describe? Heaven's register will unfold many a page which Earth's historians fail to write. What the Christian Church does for the State, the world will never fully know."

Two Presbyterian Presidents

Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson (1824-1863), best-known as a Confederate general (he was also a Presbyterian deacon), was married twice during his life. His first marriage in 1853 was to Elinor "Ellie" Junkin (1825-1854), daughter of the Rev. George Junkin (1790-1868). Rev. Junkin performed the marriage ceremony, and the couple lived with him until the following year when Ellie Junkin gave birth to a stillborn child, and she died thereafter following complications from the childbirth. 

Rev. Junkin was a Presbyterian minister, but also served as president of Lafayette College, Miami (Ohio) University and, at the time of the events noted above, Washington College (now named Washington & Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia. Today, he is buried at the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington. He was the author of a number of fascinating works, such his account of the trial of Albert Barnes, for which Rev. Junkin served as the prosecutor; treatises on justification and sanctification; a defense of the Lord's Day; a commentary on Hebrews; and others. He was featured briefly in the movie Gods and Generals (2003), which noted his opposition to Southern secession, another topics of his writings. His biographer was his own brother, David Xavier Junkin (1808-1880).

Stonewall Jackson continued to live with Rev. Junkin after Ellie's death until the time he began to court the lady who became his second wife, Mary Anna Morrison (1831-1915). She was also the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Robert Hall Morrison, Sr. (1798-1889). He studied at Princeton, established the North Carolina Telegram, the first religious gazette in the South; ministered for 65 years; and served as the first president of Davidson College, in Davidson, North Carolina. He also opposed secession, but remained loyal to the South during the War. 

These Presbyterian clergymen and their writings are available to study at Log College Press. Be sure to check out our growing database of authors and their works, as well as our LCP publications and secondary resources at the Bookstore page.    

A History of the Presbyterian Church in Georgia

Presbyterianism was planted in the American colonies, and has been a major force in the shaping of this nation. The state of Georgia has its own Presbyterian heritage which dates back to the early 18th century. Rev. James Stacy (1830-1912) was the clerk of Synod of Georgia for thirty-three years, and in 1912 his A History of the Presbyterian Church in Georgia was edited by his nephew and posthumously published. In the history the Presbyterian faith from its infancy in the colony Stacy has clearly shown the development of the established institutions of the Church. He also brings out the various controversies which occurred in the history of the Synod up to that point including the evolution controversy, and other minor controversies. He also provides insight into the history of “New Schoolism” in Georgia. If you are seeking a detailed account of Presbyterianism in Georgia, click on the link above to find Stacy's important and useful volume.

More Resources on American Presbyterian Ecclesiology

In 1885-1886, Peyton Harrison Hoge (1858-1940), the nephew and biographer of Moses Drury Hoge (1818-1899) delivered three sermons on The Officers of a Presbyterian Congregation to his congregation at the First Presbyterian Church of Wilmington, North Carolina: 1) the minister of the word, as he himself entered into the pastoral office there; 2) the ruling elder, on the occasion of a ruling elder's ordination; and 3) the deacon, on the occasion of two deacons' ordinations. These sermons were assembled together for private circulation, and are now available for study at Log College Press. They demonstrate a solid understanding of the nature and functions of, and Biblical warrant for, these offices, although more could be said about the duties of a minister besides the primacy of faithfully preaching Christ and the whole counsel of God (e.g., pastoral visitation, etc.). 

In 1897, John Aspinwall Hodge (1831-1901), nephew of Charles Hodge (1797-1878), himself a very significant resource on American Presbyterian ecclesiology, is the author of What is Presbyterian as Defined by the Church Courts? (1884), a very comprehensive overview of Presbyterian church government in question-and-answer format that goes beyond the primary offices of the church to discuss such matters as assemblies, moderators, stated clerks, church elections, and much, much more; and The Ruling Elder at Work (1897), a practical guide for ruling elders and how they may best serve the congregation, the session, and the higher courts as well. 

We continue to add more works on American Presbyterian ecclesiology at Log College Press. Be sure to click on the author page links and download these volumes highlighted above for further study, and to check back again for more. 

A Refined Man in Frontier Minstry

Rev. Robert Hamilton Bishop, was born in Scotland in 1777, and grew up a son of the Seccession Church. He received a fine education at the University of Edinburgh, and put this to good use on the American Frontier. Licensed to preach the gospel on June 28, 1802, by the Associate Burgher Presbytery of Perth, he was selected to come to this country and minister. He journeyed to America with other students and ministers anxious to fill the call for ministers in the new nation. He attended the Associate Reformed Synod in New York in October 1802, and was sent to Kentucky. In Kentucky he received and accepted a call to two churches, Ebeneezer ARP, and New Providence, and taught at the predecessor to the University of Kentucky. His teaching was problematic for his Presbytery, and though it appears he received the call in 1804 or 1805, he was not not ordained until 1808. The issue surrounding his ordination would not be the only issue in the ARP; he had a falling out with Rev. Adam Rankin over the issue of the tithe, and would lose his pastorate at Ebeneezer ARP. He was rebuked by the Presbytery, and Rankin was suspended. Bishop in 1819 sought to get over his troubles with the ARP by joining the PCUSA, and upon doing this it seems he had no more trouble in the church courts. He was an advocate of education of all varieties, a firm abolitionist and even established Sabbath schools for slaves. Bishop upon being received into the PCUSA went on to serve as president of Miami University in Ohio, and write a number of books, including the first book of sermons published west of the Allegheny Mountains.  Bishop at his death was president of a small agricultural college near Cincinnati, Ohio on April 26, 1855. You can find some of his works here.

Happy Birthday to Robert Jefferson Breckinridge!

Robert Jefferson Breckinridge was born on March 8, 1800 in Cabell’s Dale, Kentucky. A lawyer, politician, educator and pastor, he lived a remarkable life. The son of a divided state, he was a man of many conflicts: 1) he was an Old School Presbyterian who authored the 1834 Act and Testimony which led to the 1837 Old School-New School split; 2) he was a slave-holder who desired gradual emancipation of slaves and became a fervent abolitionist and Union supporter; 3) two of his sons fought for the Confederacy and two fought for the Union; and 4) he supported Abraham Lincoln for President in 1860 over his own nephew, John C. Breckinridge, the Southern Democratic candidate. 

He is also known as the "father of the Kentucky's public school system." Notably, he aimed to make the Bible central to public education. He wrote many works on Presbyterian church government, Roman Catholicism, worship, and the state of the country in tumultuous times. We continue to add his writings to our site, but today in particular we remember his life and recommend his books for your study. 

George Buist: A Carolina Low Country Presbyterian from Scotland

Presbyterianism in the Low Country of South Carolina has its own unique history, and perhaps the chief amongst the points of that unique History, is that the Low Country Southern Presbyterians maintained closer ties with Scotland than did the rest of American Presbyterian Church. The name of Charleston's First Scots Presbyterian Church exemplifies that, and her early ministers were all drawn from Scotland. The early years in the First Scots Congregation had many short term ministries from men in Scotland, but finally they were to procure a minister of their own from Scotland, and the man brought over was George Buist (1770-1808).

Buist was a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, and was of some literary note having published an abridged edition of Hume’s History of England. At the same time he published that work, First Scots was without a pastor, and in 1792 they sent a letter to Scotland seeking a qualified man to come fill their pulpit. They were sent George Buist, who arrived in Charleston in June of 1793, and immediately undertook his ministry. In 1805 he was appointed President of the College of Charleston, which improved its reputation as an academic institution. Buist would minister for 15 years as Pastor of First Scots, and the Lord took him home in August of 1808. Before his death he was of the mind to edit and publish his sermons but never found time; the two volume set was taken from his notes, and allows him to preach still today. Enjoy this forgotten Low Country Presbyterian!

The Pastor in the Sick-Room

John Dunlap Wells (1815-1903) was licensed to preach the gospel in 1842, and graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1844, learning, as he reports, "at the feet of Dr. Archibald Alexander, Dr. Samuel Miller, Dr. Charles Hodge and Dr. Joseph Addison Alexander, all of blessed memory." In his 61-year ministry as a pastor, he attended "hundreds" of sick beds and death beds, and acquired a store of wisdom that is shared both his The Last Week in the Life of Davis Johnson, Jr. (1861), and, most especially, in the three lectures he delivered at Princeton in 1892 and which were published a year later under the title The Pastor in the Sick-Room

In this latter volume, which is permeated with compassion for the suffering and the lost, Wells distinguishes between the sick bed and the death bed, while also emphasizing the connection between body and mind, and the need to deal lovingly and wisely with the whole person in all their circumstances. In the context of his discussion of death-bed conversions, he also recounts famous last words by various Christians (in a fashion similar to Alfred Nevin's How They Died; or, The Last Words of American Presbyterian Ministers)

For those who minister to the sick and suffering and dying, this book will serve as an encouragement to do so in love and with compassion for the bodies, minds and souls of those in the greatest need. "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me: (Matt. 25:34-36).

The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism

William Louis Roberts (1798-1864) was a Reformed Presbyterian minister, who studied under James Renwick Willson (1780-1853) at Coldenham, New York, and who is, like his mentor, regarded as one of the great ministers of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America in the 19th century. 

In Roberts' The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism (1853), we have set before us the distinctive principles of the RPCNA, as officially held to at that time. In the introduction, he sets forth the focus of this ecclesiastical catechism: 

"Question. How many are the peculiar and more prominent principles of the Reformed Presbyterian church?

Answer. TWELVE.

Q. What are these?

A. The doctrines of

1. Christ’s Mediatorial Dominion in general.
2. his Exclusive Headship over the Church.
3. The supremacy and ultimate authority of the word God in the church.
4. Civil government a moral ordinance of God.
5. Christ’s headship over the nations.
6. The subjection of the nations to God and to Christ.
7. The word of God the supreme rule in the state.
8. The duty of nations to acknowledge and support the true Christian religion.
9. The spiritual independence of the Church of Christ.
10. The right and duty of dissent from an immoral constitution of civil government.
11. The duty of social covenanting, and the permanent obligation of religious covenants.
12. The application of these doctrines in the form of a practical testimony, to the civil governments where Reformed Presbyterians reside.

Q. What is meant by 'peculiar' principles?

A. Those which distinguish Reformed Presbyterians from other Christian denominations.

Q. What is meant by 'prominent' principles?

A. Those which, though held by some other denominations, are not made practically a part of their testimony."

All of these doctrines are expounded upon with Scripture references, and they demonstrate the Biblical grounds for the RPCNA's emphasis on, in particular: 1) Christ's mediatorial kingship over all nations; 2) political dissent from immoral civil government; and 3) the duty of social covenanting. 

If you are interested to read an ecclesiastical catechism that teaches what American Reformed Presbyterians in 19th century believed in distinction to other groups of American Presbyterians, this is the book for you. 

More Westminster Commentaries to Add to Your Digital Bookshelf

Log College Press has recently added several expositions of the Westminster Standards which you may wish to download for further study. 

Robert Annan (1742-1819) wrote an Exposition and Defense of the Westminster Assembly's Confession of Faith in 1787, which was republished with notes by David McDill (1790-1870)

John McDowell (1780-1863) published in two volumes a series of sermons on the Westminster Shorter Catechism. 

Edwin Hall, Sr. (1802-1877) published The Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly, With Analysis and Scripture Proofs

Our database of resources on the Westminster Standards continues to grow. Please check back with us for more such confessional studies from early American Presbyterians. 

The Word of God its Own Witness

The Westminster Confession of Faith teaches that "We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture. And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it does abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts" (WCF 1:5). 

William Swan Plumer writes that "If the Bible is not the word of God, it is certain that man has no revelation from heaven...None will deny that the Bible claims to be the word of God...All these things are found in a volume, which reserves its heaviest woes and maledictions for false prophets and false teachers, who corrupt God's word, add to it, or take from it. So that if the prophets, evangelists and apostles were not divinely inspired to write the various books of the Bible, they were, by their own showing, among the worst men that ever lived, and deserving of the sorest plagues reserved for atrocious sinners." (Earnest Hours, pp. 25-26)

David MacDill (1826-1903) has written a full and very helpful volume titled The Bible a Miracle; or, The Word of God its Own Witness (1872). If you are seeking a book about the divinely-inspired Book of books is indeed what it claims to be, be sure to download this work for further study. 

The Presbyterian Board of Publication

One of the great 19th century contributions of the mainline American Presbyterian Church to the world was the creation and labors of the Presbyterian Board of Education in 1833. The idea for this work was born out of informal discussions about the need and value of using the printing press to promulgate the teachings of the Presbyterian Church, and it was the Synod of Philadelphia that approved a resolution to "constitute a board of managers to prepare, publish and circulate Presbyterian tracts and books inculcating the distinctive doctrines of our Standards, which board shall be known as 'The Board of Managers of the Presbyterian Tract and Sabbath-School Book Society,' under the care of the Synod of Philadelphia." A series of tracts was published over the next few years (Samuel Miller’s Presbyterianism the Truly Primitive and Apostolical Constitution of the Church of Christ was Tract No. 1; the Westminster Shorter Catechism was Tract No. 5) met with great success, and by 1838, the organization was re-named "The Board of Publication of Tracts and Sabbath-School Books of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America." 

Many of the ministers found at Log College Press served on the Presbyterian Board of Publication, such as Ashbel Green, Samuel Miller, Robert Jefferson Breckinridge, Henry Augustus Boardman, Archibald Alexander, William Pratt Breed, William Swan Plumer, and others. Joseph Patterson Engles, author of the Catechism for Youth, was a publishing agent of the Board. Many of the works found at Log College Press are the fruit of the labors of the valuable organization. 

A very useful aid to learning more about the history and legacy of Board of the Publication is Willard Martin Rice (1817-1904), History of the Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work (1888). We at Log College Press, and all who appreciate the vast body of great Presbyterian literature of the 19th century, owe them a great debt, and in this book one finds the names of the individuals whose labors we hope in a sense to carry on into the 21st century. 

The Hymns of Samuel Davies

Samuel Davies (1723-1761) was both a poet and an early American advocate of singing uninspired hymns in public worship - in fact, he was the first American-born hymn-writer. A minister who read and appreciated the The Psalms of David Imitated by Isaac Watts, he frequently gave away copies of Watt's hymnal to others. Davies himself composed a total of 18 hymns, two of which were variations on compositions produced by Philip Doddridge. The other sixteen were published in one volume, though scattered amongst other compositions, posthumously by his friend Thomas Gibbons in 1769, under the title Hymns Adapted to Divine Worship. We have extracted those hymns by Davies from that volume at Log College Press.

Louis FitzGerald Benson (1855-1930) also wrote two fascinating articles about Samuel Davies, the hymn-writer, in the Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society: "President Davies as a Hymn Writer;" and "The Hymns of President Davies." His analysis of the background of these hymns is extremely helpful to those concerned to know more about the context of these hymns, which were often written by Davies to accompany a particular sermon upon which he preached. The latter article reproduces not only the 16 original compositions by Davies, but also the 2 variations on Doddridge. 

If you wish to learn more about the compositions of "America's Isaac Watts," these primary and secondary sources will be of great help. 

Helps to Private and Family Prayer

Two works by 19th century American Presbyterians newly added to Log College Press are designed to aid individuals and families in their devotions to God. 

The first, by James Robert Boyd (1804-1890), is Daily Communion with God on the Plan Recommended by Rev. Matthew Henry, V.D.M., for Beginning, Spending, and Concluding Each Day with God (1873). This revision of Henry's Directions for Daily Communion with God (a work that has also been republished under the title of The Secret of Communion with God, is different than his Method of Prayer), is edited with helpful introductory matter concerning the life of Henry, Henry's own practice of piety, and poetic verse inserted by Boyd for meditation and contemplation. This work shows the value placed by one 19th century Presbyterian minister on spending each day for and with God, much as his Puritan forebears did. 

The second is a course of daily family prayers for morning and evening over a month's time by John Hall (1829-1898), called Family Prayers, For Four Weeks (1868). These written prayers should be seen as guides for those in need of assistance in leading their family worship, that is, head of households, including households with absent fathers. They are meant to be adapted or modified to suit circumstances, but mainly to encourage regular family worship twice a day. They are partly Hall's own writings, and partly borrowed, he says, from an earlier anonymous author. One will note the prayers for Sabbath preparation and sanctification, as well as for all the daily needs of individuals, families, and civil and ecclesiastical society. This is a good guide for families who need a bit of assistance in this most precious family duty. 

If you need help with your private or family prayers, or know someone who does (and who doesn't?), please download these works and make use today of these valuable aids from two centuries gone by. 

Have you seen the Compilations page of Log College Press?

If you haven't checked out the Compilations page of Log College Press lately, please do so. We've uploaded several new books, filled with chapters and essays to pique the interest of any lover of Presbyterian history, theology, or biography. Each book has multiple authors on a variety of topics. Here's the current listing of books available at our Compilations page:

Discourses Delivered in Murray Street Church
The Spruce Street Lectures
The Princeton Pulpit
The Man of Business, Considered in His Various Relations
The New York Pulpit in the Revival of 1858
Successful Preaching: Addresses to Theological Students
Memorial Volume of Columbia Theological Seminary
Centennial Addresses of the Presbyterian Church
Princeton Sermons
Southern Presbyterian Pulpit
Memorial Volume of the Westminster Assembly
Calvin Memorial Addresses
Biblical and Theological Studies by the Faculty of Princeton Seminary
The Protestant Reformation and Its Influence