Read History at Log College Press

(Receive our blog posts in your email by clicking here. If the author links in this post are broken, please visit our Free PDF Library and click on the author’s page directly.)

As Robert Pollock Kerr once wrote in the September / October 1892 issue of The Union Seminary Magazine:

Read history; but read it in the light of God; and ever feel that the story as it is told is penned on the pages of time by the overruling hand of the Infinite.

Kerr himself was the author of a history of Presbyterianism, a history of the Scottish Covenanters, and The Voice of God in History. He was deeply concerned that people in his own day developed an understanding not only of that which had gone before, but also that they see the hand of God in His Story. In the latter work, he writes:

Next to the knowledge of God, the best study for mankind is men. History, from one standpoint, is a record of the doings of men, and one learns the philosophy of humanity from the story of the race. From another standpoint, history is the study of God; for the Divine Ruler has not left the world to itself, but is continually acting in it, bringing to pass his great designs. God is sovereign, and man free; and history records the divine and human as they move together in the world. In history, then, man learns God and himself. If this be true, there can be no more profitable study. The Bible itself, the Book of books, is history; yes, history; not naked annals, but lines of events as they stand related to certain great fundamental truths, glowing with the interest which attaches to the joys and sorrows of humanity, over shadowed by an infinite love. Real history is the annals, the truths, and pathos of human existence combined; in other words, it is the world's life lived over again.

This being so, there is a great treasury of historical resources to be found at Log College Press. Our topical pages on Church History, Biographies and Autobiographies contain numerous volumes written by a range of authors.

Most recently, we have added to the site (among other works):

If you are in search of weekend reading material, these and many more works are available to bookmark, download and peruse at Log College Press. To see the hand of God at work in history and in the lives of his saints is a blessing which makes the reading that much sweeter to the Christian who knows that same hand at work in his or her own life. There is so much to read out there, but we have tried to dust off old worthies for the modern reader so that these gems will not remain buried in obscurity. Take advantage of this resource, and see what there is for the student of history to read at Log College Press.

A Prayer for New Orleans by Sylvester Larned

(If the author links in this post are broken, please visit our Free PDF Library and click on the author’s page directly.)

“The first pastor of the first Presbyterian church in New Orleans,” Sylvester Larned (1796-1820), was Massachusetts-born, but after his Princeton education and 1817 ordination, he was appointed as a missionary to the “Old Southwest.” The city of New Orleans captured his heart, and in 1818, when he arrived, there was very limited knowledge of the gospel in this mostly Roman Catholic city. He coordinated outreach efforts for a time with the local Episcopalian minister (who, after his death, presided over his funeral). The cornerstone for the First Presbyterian Church was laid on January 8, 1819 and was dedicated on July 4, 1819 (two hundred years ago this month). Rev. Larned’s ministry to the people of New Orleans lasted but a short while before he succumbed to yellow fever on August 31, 1820 at the age of 24.

Ralph Randolph Gurley, a Presbyterian chaplain to the US House of Representatives and a founder of the American Colonization Society, wrote a biographical sketch of Larned along with a compilation of his sermons: Life and Eloquence of the Rev. Sylvester Larned: First Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in New Orleans (1844). Along with that material is included a prayer by Larned found in manuscript form. Part of that prayer is reproduced here because it shows his heart’s desire for his adopted city, a place which has endured great suffering over the years, as well as recent flooding even this month. It is a prayer that begins with a general exaltation of the God of the universe, and which descends into the particulars that were on his heart.

Look down in mercy on this favored land, to which Thou hast already extended so much kindness and care. Dwell in our public councils. May the Congress of these United States, now assembled, be directed to such measures as Thou shalt own and bless. May all our civil and religious liberties be secured. May every form of infidelity, vice, and error be done away. May we cherish a lively sense of Thy rich and bountiful blessings which we enjoy, while so many other countries are consigned to ignorance, to oppression, or to captivity. May we witness the universal effusion of Thy Spirit, and the multiplied trophies of Thy grace and mercy, till we can confidently appropriate the benediction of that happy people whose God is the Lord. Especially, O our heavenly Father, do we implore Thy smiles on this city. Here, may the Redeemer appear in the greatness of his power, and gather many sons and daughters unto glory. Here, may the Holy One of Israel be seen repairing the desolations of Zion, and visiting Jerusalem with peace. Here, may that religion be revived which Jesus Christ has given to men as the medium of forgiveness and joy to all who are governed by its principles. Pour out Thy Spirit, we beseech Thee, on Thy servants in this place, who are appointed to proclaim the truth and dispense the consolations of the Gospel. May their responsibility be faithfully discharged. May their labors be rewarded in the efficacy and success in which Thou art able, amidst all their trials, to make them rejoice. Smile, we pray Thee, on the children of Thy grace, and strengthen them to perform the duties of their profession. O may they feel, in all its emphasis, the impressive declaration of Thy word, that they are as a city set on an hill, — that by their fidelity and exertions, and prayers, the visitations of mercy in this place may be instrumentally accelerated…

Larner, Sylvester photo.jpg

Do we pray not only for our nation, but also for the particular place in which we live? Do we pray for the gospel to go forth and accomplish great things for the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ in the city or town or county in which we reside, and work, and study, and worship? May our hearts be so affected by the spiritual needs of our home, adopted or otherwise, that we pray as Sylvester Larned did for the city of New Orleans.