Erskine Clarke's "To Count Our Days"

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At Log College Press, we are pleased to highlight a new publication by respected religious scholar Erskine Clarke released in earlier this month: To Count Our Days: A History of Columbia Theological Seminary (The University of South Carolina Press, 2019, 369 pages).

It is hot off the press and this is by no means an official book review, but having perused this fascinating volume, it is a pleasure to make it our new featured title at the LCP Secondary Sources page.

No easy task is it to tell the story of a nearly two hundred year-old institution devoted to preparation for the gospel ministry, but Clarke carefully, candidly, competently and respectfully navigates a complicated history involving the trajectory of Southern Presbyterian theology, social matters and a move from South Carolina to Georgia. This account is full of rich anecdotes, fascinating photographs and insightful observations.

The great luminaries associated with the seminary are highlighted, including John L. Girardeau, James H. Thornwell, Benjamin M. Palmer, William S. Plumer, Walter Brueggemann, and many more. Lesser-known names are brought to life as well, along with stories of interest, such as the 1856 library acquisition of 11,520 volumes from Thomas Smyth.

Be sure to check out this remarkable work here, and while you are exploring, it’s a great opportunity to browse other volumes of interest concerning church history, biography and more. We have links to over 600 books related to American Presbyterianism.

Kudos to Dr. Clarke for his valuable contribution to our end-of-the-summer reading. If you appreciate church history, this is a great resource that you won’t want to miss. And in case you are wondering, the title comes from Psalm 90:12: “So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.”

A New Booklet by Charles Allen Stillman and a New Audiobook of Archibald Alexander's Aging in Grace!

If you haven’t heard the news yet, we've recently published a new booklet by Charles Allen Stillman, the founder of what is now known as Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It’s called “The Pulpit and the Pastorate,” and examines the connections between a pastor’s pulpit ministry and his pastoral ministry. It was originally an address giving at an anniversary celebration of Columbia Theological Seminary in 1881, and is a great encouragement to all pastors to be faithful in all the work God has given us to do. You can purchase it in booklet or ebook format here. And if you’re interested in buying all eight of our titles for yourself or for a friend, you can purchase them for $35 here.

We’ve also just come out with an audiobook edition of Archibald Alexander’s Aging in Grace: Letters to Those in the Autumn of Life. This audiobook will eventually be available on Audible and other audiobook online stores, but when you purchase it on our website we get more than just a mere percentage of the sales price, so if you’re interested in buying it please do so from our webstore. We are in the process of creating audiobooks of all our titles, so if you prefer to listen to your books rather than read them, then be on the lookout for news of future releases in the coming months. (Sign up at the bottom of this page if you’d like to be alerted to new titles and receive a weekly glimpse into new content on our website.) We’re excited about being able to reach folks who possibly won’t or can’t read, but love to listen to books as they drive, work, workout, etc.

Please tell your friends both in the flesh and online about our new titles. It’s because of the support of our readers and customers that Log College Press has been able to do what it’s done, both in terms of our free PDF library on our website, and our publications. Thank you!

The Duties of a Gospel Minister, by John Holt Rice, is Now Available

Log College Press has just published its latest title, a booklet by John Holt Rice entitled The Duties of a Gospel Minister. Rice (1777-1831) was an American Presbyterian who ministered in Virginia and was instrumental in the early days of Union Theological Seminary. This booklet, with a foreword by Barry Waugh introducing Rice the man and the minister, originally was a sermon preached in 1809. It sets forth the duties of a pastor to his fellow pastors and to the church, as well as laying down motivations for diligence in the work of the ministry. All pastors, whether right out of seminary or near retirement, will be encouraged and instructed by this brief distillation of the pastoral calling.

Here are a few endorsements of Rice’s work:

“Too many works on pastoral ministry are long on worldly pragmatics and short on Biblical practicality. Yet The Duties of a Gospel Minister, though a brief work, is filled with the latter as Rice directs pastors toward a truer Presbyterian approach to the ministry. His section on pastoral ministry to youth – a key factor in awakening in church history – is especially needed in this directionless age.”

– Dr. Barry J. York, President and Professor of Pastoral Theology, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary

 “In this startlingly relevant little work, Rice refreshes the minister’s soul as he sets the spiritual beauty of this peculiar calling before his readers anew. Every new minister as well as every tired, world-worn, or discouraged pastor who would be more than a ‘baptized deist’ would do well to take the few minutes required to read this address. Do it, and see how God might use it in your life: to settle your heart; to remind you of the grand proportions, profound significance, and urgent need of your work; and to renew your desire to serve Christ vigorously, ‘with all diligence and fidelity,’ as a minister of ‘unadulterated Christianity’ in His Church and to a desperate and dying world.”

– Dr. Bruce P. Baugus, Associate Professor of Philosophy & Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary Jackson

 “A wise man listens to counsel – especially counsel drawn from the Word. While John Holt Rice’s exposition of aspects of ‘The Duties of a Gospel Minister’ was written to a past generation, his application of Scripture is as relevant as ever, challenging us to re-engage the high calling of gospel ministry in Christ for the joy set before us.”

– Dr. William VanDoodewaard, Professor of Church History and Historical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

You can purchase Rice’s book for $3.99, or all six of our titles for $26 (plus free shipping). Visit our online bookstore today.


Do you have more books on your shelves than you can possibly read even though you aspire to? More titles in your portable ebook reader than you can possibly scroll through? Do not feel embarrassed. Bibliomania is a word from the past that has been replaced. Instead, take heart!

There is a Japanese word that describes this situation perfectly: Tsundoku — that is, the acquiring of reading materials which one piles up at home without reading them all. In fact, according to one writer, there is value in owning more books than you can read. Tsundoku is a very comforting word to the bibliophile.

We at Log College Press understand the book lover’s dilemma. We also want to make it easier for you to solve that dilemma. We have published five booklets so far and although they are not expensive individually, we have reduced the price on all five with our “Pastor’s Package.” Besides this print package, we have e-copies available of each title.

The real value here, of course, is the spiritual worth of the content. We do hope that you will read these works and not let them remain dusty on your shelf or unopened on your e-book reader. As Augustine once wrote, Tolle lege (take up and read)!

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The Great Secret of True Comfort - Archibald Alexander

When Archibald Alexander first published his devotional classic Thoughts on Religious Experience in 1841, it did not contain the Appendix that was first added to the 1844 edition which contains his “Letters to the Aged.”

It is difficult to ascertain for sure what led to the creation of those Letters to the Aged, but one possible explanation for their genesis might lie in a letter written by his son, James Waddel Alexander, to John Hall, dated August 10, 1837, in which J.W. makes this intriguing suggestion: "A book ought to be written with this title: 'The Aged Christian's Book: printed in large type for the convenience of old persons.' It should be in the largest character attainable. Such topics as these: The Trials of Old Age; The Temptations of Old Age; The Duties of Old Age; The Consolations of Old Age, &c, &c. It should be a large book, with little matter in it. Why has no Tract Society thought of such a thing? (J.W. Alexander, Forty Years' Familiar Letters, Vol. 1, p. 255; see also James M. Garretson, Thoughts on Preaching & Pastoral Ministry, p. 170).” This is an almost-perfect description of what came to be known a few years later as Alexander’s “Letters to the Aged” (republished by Log College Press under the title Aging in Grace: Letters to Those in the Autumn of Life, 2018).

Regardless of the particular origin of these “Letters to the Aged,” we have an early example of the same from the pen of Archibald Alexander as recorded by J.W. in the biography he wrote of his father. According to J.W., this is “the only letter to his aged and declining mother, which is known to be in existence” (dated May 25, 1823, from Princeton, New Jersey; see J.W. Alexander, Life of Archibald Alexander, pp. 402-404).

My Dear Mother: —

When I last saw you, it was very doubtful whether you would ever rise again from the bed to which you were confined. Indeed, considering your great age, it was not to be expected that you should entirely recover your usual health. I was much gratified to find that in the near prospect of eternity, your faith did not fail, but that you could look death in the face without dismay, and felt willing, if it were the will of God, to depart from this world of sorrow and disappointment. But it has pleased your Heavenly Father to continue you a little longer in the world. I regret to learn that you have endured much pain from a disease of your eyes, and that you have been less comfortable than formerly. Bodily affliction you must expect to endure as long as you continue in the world. 'The days of our years are three-score years and ten, and if by reason of strength they be four-score years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.' But while your Heavenly Father continues you in this troublesome world, he will, I trust, enable you to be resigned and contented and patient under the manifold afflictions which are incident to old age.

The great secret of true comfort lies in a single word, TRUST. Cast your burdens on the Lord, and he will sustain them. If your evidences of being in the favour of God are obscured, if you are doubtful of your acceptance with him, still go directly to him by faith; that is, trust in his mercy and in Christ's merits. Rely simply on his word of promise. Be not afraid to exercise confidence. There can be no deception in depending entirely on the Word of God. It is not presumption to trust in him when he has commanded us to do so. We dishonour him by our fearfulness and want of confidence. We thus call in question his faithfulness and his goodness. Whether your mind is comfortable or distressed, flee for refuge to the outstretched wings of his protection and mercy. There is all fulness in him; there is all willingness to bestow what we need. He says, 'My grace is sufficient for thee. My strength is made perfect in weakness. As thy day is so shall thy strength be. I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.' Be not afraid of the pangs of death. Be not afraid that your Redeemer will then be afar off. Grace to die comfortably is not commonly given until the trial comes. Listen not to the tempter, when he endeavours to shake your faith, and destroy your comfort. Resist him, and he will flee from you. If you feel that you can trust your soul willingly and wholly to the hands of Christ, relying entirely on his merits; if you feel that you hate sin, and earnestly long to be delivered from its defilement; if you are willing to submit to the will of God, however much he may afflict you; then be not discouraged. These are not the marks of an enemy, but of a friend. My sincere prayer is, that your sun may set in serenity; that your latter end may be like that of the righteous; and that your remaining days, by the blessing of God's providence and grace, may be rendered tolerable and even comfortable.

It is not probable that we shall ever meet again in this world; and yet, as you have already seen one of your children go before you, you may possibly live to witness the departure of more of us. I feel that old age is creeping upon me. Whoever goes first, the rest must soon follow. May we all be ready! And may we all meet around the throne of God, where there is no separation for ever and ever! Amen!

His mother was Agnes Ann Reid Alexander (1740-1825), and her earthly remains are buried with her husband at the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia.

Archibald Alexander clearly understood what it was like to be in the “autumn of life,” with its particular physical and spiritual challenges and opportunities, and the comfort and encouragement that is needed at this stage of life. This is why Log College Press chose to republish his worthy “Letters to the Aged” as Aging in Grace: Letters to Those in the Autumn of Life. Be sure to order your copy here, and consider purchasing extra copies for your pastor or loved ones.

Archibald Alexander's Aging in Grace is Now Available!

Exciting news from Log College Press! Our newest booklet is now available for purchase: Archibald Alexander, Aging in Grace: Letters to Those in the Autumn of Life.


This is a small collection of letters originally appended to Alexander’s spiritual classic, Thoughts on Religious Experience. Together, they constitute a wonderful, pastoral encouragement to those in the “autumn of life,” written when Alexander himself was in his 70s. Here he candidly addresses the sorrows, trials and temptations of old age, while offering Biblical wisdom, encouragement, and practical counsel to his fellow aged friends. This counsel, thought written over 150 years ago, is equally applicable today.

To order this booklet for yourself, or for a loved one, visit our Bookstore today. Besides the booklet format ($3.99 plus shipping), one may also order this work in Kindle or EPUB formats ($2.99 each). Because this is our fifth volume, we are also offering a “Pastor’s Package” special, which includes all five volumes ($22 + free shipping). This is a special opportunity that you don’t want to miss!

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Alexander’s Aging in Grace tackles the challenges of old age honestly, from first-hand experience, and in a series of five letters, empathizes with the struggles we face in this stage of life, while offering cautions and encouragements to move forward in the path of obedience and duty. Most helpfully, he highlights how mature saints can help guide those that are younger, and emphasizes how our lives and labors, most particularly at this advanced stage of life, are not less valuable in the service of Christ the King and his church, but in fact more so. Alexander reminds us that there are special ministry opportunities that are unique to those in the autumn of life.

Read what others have said about this booklet:

"While grateful that the letters of Archibald Alexander to the aged have been made available to our Lord’s church, I am also overjoyed as a pastor that I now have them as an excellent asset for discipleship and encouragement to the Titus 2 'older men and women,' as well as an instrument of insight for the Titus 2 'young men and women' in our Lord’s church." - Harry L. Reeder, III, Senior Pastor, Briarwood Presbyterian Church, Birmingham, Alabama

"...Filled with keen insight into the physical, mental and spiritual conditions that accompany and come to define growing older, these letters should be required reading for Christians entering their fifties and older, their children and those who minister to all ages. Far beyond pious platitudes, Alexander offers not only comfort and warning regarding approaching the end of life but extremely helpful and realistic suggestions to make these years productive and richly satisfying." - Dr. W. Andrew Hoffecker, Emeritus Professor of Church History at Reformed Theological Seminary 
"...In a time when many want to deny the approach of old age, Alexander’s letters are an honest, refreshing, and helpful encouragement to grow in God’s grace at all ages and to serve Christ faithfully to the end. The younger generation in the church will always need mature saints who take to heart what is written in these pages." - Mr. Wiley Lowry, Minister of Pastoral Care at First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi

An Upcoming Publication of Log College Press!

Here's a sneak peek at the cover of one of our upcoming publications, Lord willing: Aging in Grace: Letters to Those in the Autumn of Life, by Archibald Alexander. It will consist of five letters (originally styled "Letters to the Aged" by Alexander) that appeared in the third edition of Thoughts on Religious ExperiencesAnyone dealing with the infirmities of encroaching frailty and death (i.e., everyone) will be richly encouraged by Alexander's counsel. I hope that this booklet will be a blessing especially to the seniors in our congregations, who can sometimes be overlooked in pastoral ministry in favor of those younger. Alexander isn't afraid of speaking truth into difficult situations, so he names some of the sins peculiar to old age, and speaks frankly - yet hopefully - of death for the believer. We'll let you know once we've published it; and be on the lookout, it may even be a free ebook giveaway at some point!