Have you read the biographical sketches authored by Thomas Peck?

From time to time we aim to highlight not only sets of volumes containing the works of a particular author, but also to guide the reader to particular writings of interest within a set. In the case of Thomas Ephraim Peck (1822-1893), the three volumes originally titled Miscellanies of Thomas E. Peck. One can glean something of the contents of each by reviewing the title page of the separate volumes, but today we focus our attention on the biographical sketches contained in the first volume. 

The three biographical sketches cover the lives of Martin Luther (German Reformer), Blaise Pascal (French Jansenist), and Stuart Robinson (Southern Presbyterian). The first two are the fruits of lectures given in 1871-1872, the latter is a memorial of a man that Peck knew personally and worked with, which appeared in an 1882 volume of the Southern Presbyterian Review.

These sketches evidence scholarly historical research and spiritual appreciation of the men highlighted. Regarding the German "Samson," Peck acknowledges his errors and human flaws, yet tells Luther's story as admirer of the man whom God placed at the right time and place. Peck recognizes that Pascal was fighting a battle over the Biblical understanding of grace from within the Roman Catholic Church, but pays tribute to his genius, eloquence and "golden words" on behalf of the truth. In his memorial of Robinson, an Irish-American Presbyterian minister, he tells of the life and writings of a man he considered his friend, with humility leaving out the fact that with him he served as co-editor of the Presbyterian Critic and Monthly Review.

These sketches are not long, but are full of spiritual insight, historical perspective, and personal appreciation. Take time to read these tributes to three remarkable men by a gifted Presbyterian historian. 

If you haven't read Stuart Robinson on the church yet, do it ASAP!

Stuart Robinson's book The Church of God as an Essential Element of the Gospel is a rich treasure that needs to be more well known. Dr. Craig Troxel has edited a recent edition, but you can find a free PDF from the 19th century here

This quote shows what awaits you when you read Robinson:

It is set forth as a distinguishing feature of the purpose of redemption, that it is to save not merely myriads of men as individual men, but myriads of sinners, as composing a Mediatorial body, of which the Mediator shall be the head; a Mediatorial Kingdom, whose government shall be upon His shoulders forever; a Church, the Lamb's Bride, of which He shall be the Husband; a bride whose beautiful portrait was graven upon the palms of his hands, and whose walls were continually before him, when in the counsels of eternity he undertook her redemption.

The mission of Messiah, undertaken in the covenant of eternity, was not merely that of a
teaching Prophet and an atoning Priest, but of a ruling King as well. His work was not to enunciate simply a doctrine concerning God and man's relations to God, as some Socrates, for the founding of a school; nor even merely to atone for sinners as a ministering priest at the altar: it was, as the result of all, and the reward of all, to found a community, to organize a government, and administer therein as a perpetual king.

May the Lord grant His people to see the glories of the church as an essential element of the gospel plan of salvation! 

There was a book on Biblical Theology in the 19th c. Presbyterian Church before Vos!

If you have never heard of or read Stuart Robinson's Discourses of Redemption, you are in for a treat. Traversing the story of God's covenants with His people, Robinson opens up redemption in Jesus Christ from the beginning of God's dealings with men in the Garden of Eden, through Abraham, Moses, David, the Prophets, and culminating in Christ Jesus and His apostles. In addition to opening up the theology of the gospel and its sacramental signs/seals in historical and theological fashion, along the way he sets forth his views on the abiding principle of Sabbath observance, the place of the church in the plan of redemption, the relationship between church and state, and the non-secular character of the church. Like most of the Southern Presbyterian clergy, Robinson was an advocate of slavery, and that position comes through at times in his writings. But this book deserves a wider audience nonetheless. It has been reprinted by Tentmaker Publishers