Nothing Less Than Inspiring

In his senior year at Princeton, a student once wrote about a sermon by Geerhardus Vos

"We had this morning one of the finest expository sermons I ever heard. It was preached by Dr. Vos, professor of Biblical Theology in the Seminary and brother of the Hopkins Dr. Vos [Bert John Vos, 1867-1945], and rather surprised me. He is usually too severely theological for Sunday morning. Today he was nothing less than inspiring. His subject was Christ's appearance to Mary after the resurrection. Dr. Vos differs from some theological professors in having a better-developed bump of reverence." Source: Ned B. Stonehouse, J. Gresham Machen, A Biographical Memoir, p. 52.

The sermon in question is found in Vos' Grace and Glory, "Rabboni," pp. 89-104. Vos concluded his sermon with these words: 

"Let us then not linger at the tomb, but turn our faces and stretch our hands upwards into heaven, where our life is hid with Him in God, and whence He shall also come again to show Himself to us as He did to Mary, to make us speak the last great 'Rabboni,' which will spring to the lips of all the redeemed, when they meet their Savior in the early dawn of that eternal Sabbath that awaits the people of God." 

Take up, and read Vos' sermon. It will be a blessing to you, dear reader. 

18th and 19th Century American Presbyterian Thanksgiving Sermons

There is a long heritage of Thanksgiving sermons in America, and Presbyterian ministers in the 18th and 19th centuries found many occasions for such special sermons. Sometimes they were occasioned by notable calamities, such as epidemics or war (for example, the War Between the States led to starkly different Thanksgiving sermons on both sides of the conflict), and others were associated with the annual, distinctly-American holiday of Thanksgiving each November. Following is a sampling of the growing body of Thanksgiving sermons found at Log College Press.

Samuel Davies (1723-1761) preached a Thanksgiving sermon for national blessings received in 1759 (Serm. 71 in Vol. 4 of his Sermons). 

Samuel Miller (1769-1850)'s 1799 Thanksgiving sermon was delivered after a terrible epidemic struck New York City. 

William B. Sprague (1795-1876) preached an annual (December) Thanksgiving sermon in 1824. He would later preach another during the War Between the States in November 1861 entitled Glorifying God in the Fires.

Benjamin M. Palmer (1818-1902) preached a notable 1860 Thanksgiving sermon on the eve of war, which was to provoke a strong reaction by Charles Hodge. 

George Dodd Armstrong (1813-1899) preached a July 1861 Thanksgiving sermon giving thanks for the Confederate victory at Manassas, Virginia.

Gardiner Spring (1785-1873)'s November 1861 Thanksgiving sermon called attention to national sins which had provoked the "Great Rebellion," as well as blessings received.

Ezra H. Gillett (1823-1875)'s November 1862 Thanksgiving sermon was meant to inspire his Northern listeners in the midst of a great civil conflict. 

Thanksgiving as an American holiday has often involved controversy, but in the midst of controversy, it is especially good to take note of mercies and blessings received, and to give thanks to our God. Happy Thanksgiving to all, from Log College Press! 

Four volumes of sermons by Samuel Davies are on the Log College Press website

Samuel Davies was one of the great 18th century Presbyterians. A preacher without peer, he fought for religious liberty and was instrumental in the First Great Awakening in the South. He raised money for the newly formed College of New Jersey, and was the school's fourth President. Unfortunately, he died at the early age of 37. He was a prolific author, and four volumes of his sermons can be found here

Jonathan Dickinson, early Presbyterian & first President of Princeton University, wrote a lot that we've forgotten about.

One purpose of Log College Press is to rediscover books that were once well known, and have over the passage of time become unknown. Most students of American Presbyterianism recognize the name of Jonathan Dickinson, one of the earliest Presbyterians, and a New Englander who opposed the stricter Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. Dickinson was also the first President of Princeton University (though he died less than five months after his appointment to the position). But fewer students realize that Dickinson wrote several works, some of which were even reprinted in the 19th century. 

We have posted what we can find of Dickinson's writings here. You'll find a book of sermons on important doctrinal topics, a book vindicating the sovereignty of God, a collection of sermons and tracts that were published during his lifetime, and a series of letters he wrote on a variety of pastoral and theological issues. Happy browsing and reading!

Have you heard of Alexander McLeod Staveley? Here are a few of his sermons.

Alexander McLeod Staveley was a Reformed Presbyterian pastor in Canada and America, pastoring for 61 years altogether - 38 at one church, St. John's of New Brunswick. An Irishman of manly stock, one obituary described him beautifully: "Mr. Staveley was in many respects a remarkable man - remarkable for his straightness of figure and character, for a stateliness of bearing and inborn courtesy of disposition which secured the affectionate esteem of all classes with which he came into contact. He was honored everywhere he labored because he was honorable; secured and retained many friends because he was friendly and loved and illustrated the goodness which manifested itself in purity, sincerity, rectitude, and charity." You can find some of his sermons here

Read the sermons of Samuel Stanhope Smith, President of Princeton University from 1795-1812

A student and son-in-law of John Witherspoon, Samuel Stanhope Smith was the founder of Hampden-Sydney College, and the seventh president at the College of Ner Jersey (modern day Princeton University). He was a teacher of Scottish Common Sense Realism.

His two volumes of published sermons contains:

Volume 1

I. Felix trembling before Paul.
II. On the Parable of the Prodigal Son
III. Repentance of the Prodigal
IV. Return of the Prodigal to his Father
V. On swearing in Common Conversation
VI. To a good man the day of death preferable to the day of birth
VII. The recompense of the Saints in Heaven
VIII. On Slander
IX. On Redeeming time
X. The giving of the Law on Mount Sinai
XI. A discourse on the guilt and folly of being ashamed of religion
XII. A discourse on the nature and danger of small Faults
XIII. On Charity, 259 XIV. Paul pleading before Agrippa
XV. Desire of the apostle to depart and be with Christ
XVI. Religion necessary to National Prosperity
XVII. The Original Trial and the Fall of Man, or the first sin and its consequences
XVIII. On the Love of praise
XIX. On Ruling Sin

Volume 2

I. History of the Golden Calf
II. Patriotism
III. On the Being of God
IV. On Divine Providence
V. On Christian vigilance and preparation for death
VI. The promised seed of the woman: or, the power of evil destroyed by Jesus Christ
VII. Trust in God
VIII. On Devotion
IX. Immortality clearly revealed
X. The progress of Vice
XI. History of Moses
XII. The love of God in giving his son for the redemption of the world
XIII. On the Nativity
XIV. Life of the Patriarch Abraham
XV. On Reading
XVI. On Fashionable amusements
XVII. On Fashionable amusements, No. II
XVIII. The Imperfection of our Knowledge
XIX. The History of Moses
XX. On the fear of Man
XXI. The excuses for not entering at present on a religious life, vain and absurd
XXII. On a wrong Conscience
XXni. Dangers of a wrong Conscience
XXIV. The perfection of christian morals
XXV. The christian passover, or dispositions proper for the Lord's table

Some lesser known works by Gilbert Tennent...

Most students of church history have heard of Gilbert Tennent's sermon "The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry" (we still haven't been able to locate a 18th or 19th century PDF of that sermon, unfortunately - at some point we'll give up and post a modern digital copy of it). But you may be unaware of Tennent's other works. In addition to the sermons published in Archibald Alexander's Sermons and Essays by the Tennents and Their Contemporaries, Tennent published Twenty-three Sermons on Man's Chief End, Defensive War Defended, and Irenicum Ecclesiasticum: A Humble Impartial Essay Upon the Peace of Jerusalem (and probably more - if you know of others, let us know). You can find these works on our Gilbert Tennent page. Enjoy! 

The Practical Writings of Archibald Alexander

Archibald Alexander (1772-1851) was an academic: nine years the President of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, and thirty-nine years the first Professor of Princeton Theological Seminary. But he was also an author that aimed to take his great learning and bring it down to the level of the people. One of the last volumes he published in his lifetime (Practical Sermons, 1850) , and a volume published posthumously (Practical Truths, 1857), are proof. The former was written for families to use in family worship, and the latter was a "Collected Writings" that contained "about forty articles written by Dr. Alexander in the latter years of his life, for the American Messenger; seven standard Tracts on high evangelical themes, for the Tract Society's general series; six small books written in simple style, and issued in large type, to gain the attention of common readers; selections from his cheering correspondence with the Society, and brief sketches of his life and character" (from the Preface). 

Who can take the sinner's stead? Francis Smith Sampson on the necessity of the work of Jesus Christ

Francis Smith Sampson (1814-1854) was a pastor and professor at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. He died young, but left us with several gems, including a commentary on Hebrews and a lecture on the canon. The following is an excerpt from a sermon included in his Memoirs, written by Robert Lewis Dabney. It beautifully expresses the sole sufficiency of Jesus Christ to save sinners. 

"It behooved another, far above every creature and every name that is named, whether in Heaven or on Earth, to undertake and execute for us. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, coequal with the Father, in all respects divine, stoops to take our nature upon himself. It is not man, nor angel, but God-man, or God manifest in the flesh, that is our Saviour. It is he, whose are the worlds and all the inhabitants thereof: who holds in his hands the government and the law: dependent on no being, and bound to none beyond his own righteous ordination. Of his own account, therefore, he comes; and, moved by no obligation but his own merciful and sovereign purpose, he assumes our nature complete, saving sin; thus freely subjecting himself to the law, that he may meet all its demands upon the sinner, and not only deliver him from eternal death, but secure for him everlasting life. To purchase Heaven, he obeys the law: to save from Hell, he suffers death. Infinite justice accepts the substitute. No mere creature could ever so magnify the law and make it honorable. No obedience was ever so worthy, no suffering was ever so satisfactory. The law can ask nothing more: its claims are fully met. Our iniquities were laid upon him: his righteousness is reckoned to us. Hell was our desert; Heaven is our reward! It only remains that this Saviour be able to take us, all deformed as we are, and fashion us after his own glorious image: that he be able to deliver us from the bondage of Satan, whose captives we are, and from sin, whose pollutions we love; and thus, while he gives us freedom, enable us to preserve and enjoy it: and he is all the Saviour, and the very Saviour that we need.

All this he can do, and will, for all who call upon him in truth. A new heart he will give them: new desires he will create within them, and new objects of pursuit he will set before them. He will never leave nor forsake them. In all the wilderness he will be their companion and guardian and guide: no enemy shall triumph over them, no weapon formed against them shall prosper. All the trials and difficulties of the way he will convert into blessings: all things, by his care, shall work together for their good. And when, their course being finished and their work done, they come to leave all that is dear on earth, he will take them to himself: Heaven will be their home, and in his presence they shall dwell: sorrow and sin shall have seen their end; and the high and holy joys of angels and saints shall be theirs forever and ever.