The Presbyterian Standards in the Light of God's Word: Daniel Baker

One of the tracts written by Daniel Baker for the Presbyterian Board of Publication was titled “The Standards of the Presbyterian Church, a Faithful Mirror of Bible Truth.” Here he provides a partial harmony of the Westminster Standards with the Word of God, along with commentary discussing some of its controversial doctrines about the sovereignty of God in salvation.

By the Standards of the Presbyterian Church, we mean the Confession of Faith, together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms of our Church. These, we verily believe, are, in every particular, based upon the Scriptures. As a faithful mirror presents, with great exactness, all the features of the object which it reflects, even so, in these Standards, may we all behold, as in a glass, that system of divine truth, which is taught in the Bible. And if the image reflected be the exact counterpart of the original, why should the mirror be blamed for its fidelity ? It creates nothing. It is responsible for nothing, but the accuracy of its reflecting power. This being the case, if there be any thing in the image reflected which we do not like, — in condemning that^ do we not really condemn the original ? And would it not, indeed, be more candid and just, to find fault with the original, and spare the mirror?

And now, in order that the reader may, at one glance, see that the Standards of the Presbyterian Church, are, indeed, a FAITHFUL MIRROR OF BIBLE TRUTH, we will place one immediately over against the other, and it will manifestly appear that the language of our Standards is not a whit stronger than the language of the Bible — but is its very
echo, image, and counterpart:

Baker then compares confessional statements on the sovereignty of God with Scriptural texts. Following this, he addresses a series of common objections to these doctrines of God’s sovereignty.

The ultimate aim of his vindication is that of the Word of God. But as a faithful mirror reflects the light from its source, so the Standards of the Presbyterian Church, in the main, are found to reflect the truth of God’s Word. Read Baker’s tract to find out more.

Daniel Baker’s Prayer on the Eve of His Being Licensed to Preach the Gospel

Daniel Baker wrote this prayer in his journal on October 12, 1816, during the week preceding his licensure. He was twenty-five years old and had been studying for the ministry under William Hill of Winchester, Virginia, after graduating from Princeton College. These words ought to express the heart of every gospel minister:

“In the prospect of my being licensed in the coming week, I have set apart this day, by fasting and prayer, to draw near unto the Lord  I am now about to go forth to preach the everlasting gospel to poor, perishing sinners; to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to those that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. O, may I go forth in the strength of the mighty One of Jacob, and lift my banner in the name of the Captain of my salvation! I know that my duties will be arduous, and I am sensible that I am not sufficient for these things; but I know in whom I trust; it is not in myself, it is not in any atm of flesh - it is in the living God, the merciful and covenant-keeping God, who has been pleased to say, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength shall be made perfect in weakness.’ To thee, O my God, do I commit myself, and again would I solemnly renew the dedication of myself and my all to thy service.  O condescend to accept the unworthy offering, and lay me out for thy glory. I ask not to be rich in silver and gold, and to be admired and caressed; I ask to be rich in faith and good works, and to be blessed and owned in my labors of love. I ask not to be exempted from grievous trials and persecutions, but I ask grace to glorify thee in the hour of trial; grace to be useful, grace to be triumphant in death, and grace to reach, at length, the Mount Zion above, where I may forever sing the triumphs of my dearest Lord. To thee, O my God, do I now commit my way; be pleased to direct my paths, for the Redeemer’s sake. Amen.” 

Life and Labors of Daniel Baker, by William M. Baker, Pages 91-92


The Type of Preacher Daniel Baker Desired to Be

“Dry, logical sermons, with rounded periods, delivered in a cold, formal, and heartless manner, I can never relish, however beautified by the superficial elegances of composition; and I question if the good effects which flow from such preaching will be sufficient to compensate the minister for all his care, labor, & refinement. I love warm, animating, lively, evanggelominos  Preaching, full of fire, breathing love and compassion. I may I never, become a cold, lifeless, sentimental preacher, but may I imitate the zeal of a Whitefield, the tenderness of a Hervey, the affection of a Baxter, and blend all with the pure, sound, evangelical principles of a Doddridge.”

Daniel Baker, Life & Labors , p. 62