It was 200 years ago today that Benjamin Morgan Palmer (January 25, 1818 - May 25, 1902) was born. "One of the greatest of the Old School [Southern Presbyterian] preachers" (Hughes Oliphant Old, The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church, Vol. 6: The Modern Age, p. 321), Palmer has also been described as "a Presbyterian of the Presbyterians, a Calvinist of the Calvinists, and a Christian of the Christians" (T.C. Johnson, The Life and Letters of Benjamin Morgan Palmer, p. 658).
A native of South Carolina, Palmer ended up serving as pastor of a Presbyterian congregation in New Orleans, Louisiana for 46 years. He was a faithful adherent of the American Westminster Standards, a supporter of the Confederate cause, and a believer in a Christocentric world-view in both religion and politics. "As a preacher of the gospel, he is to be ranked with the greatest in church history. He is in the class of Chrysostom, Whitefield and Spurgeon. A preacher of his caliber has not been heard since his death in 1902." (Joseph Morecraft III, Biographical Introduction to the Sermons of Dr. B.M. Palmer)
In analyzing two of Palmer's sermons, "Looking Unto Jesus" and "Love to an Unseen Christ," Old summarizes the Puritan style of Palmer's preaching, including the pattern recommended by the Huguenot minister Jean Claude (1619-1687), who advocated choosing as a text a single verse with a single theme for the auditors to comprehend. Palmer exalted Christ as He is revealed in the Scriptures, both as very God and very Man, as Servant and King, who ought to be the immediate object of our faith and worship. He appealed to the Scriptures to support this testimony and encourage his hearers in their faith. "Spurgeon and Palmer were masters at this," Old says.
We at Log College Press are thankful for the ministry of such a man, and he was a man indeed, with clay feet, and blind spots, as we all have, but of his humility, his love for Christ, and his eloquence in the Word, none can doubt. So on the bicentennial of his birth, take time to look over the growing body of works by Benjamin Morgan Palmer at our site.
"It is at Dr. Palmer’s feet we now come to sit, and through his writing at the feet of Christ Jesus, in order that we might become more grounded in Biblical faith and practice, and more ardent in our love for our Savior." (C.N. Willborn, Foreword, Selected Writings of Benjamin Morgan Palmer, 2014)