Biographies

Tobias Crisp (1600-1643): Exalter of Christ Alone

     Tobias Crisp served the Lord during a time of civil war and ecclesiastical unrest. There were threats of a papal take-over in the Established Church and Amyraldianism, Arminianism, Grotianism and Socinianism were flooding into the country to water down the faith inherited from the Reformers and defended by the Puritans. Crisp found these new religions false as they did not exalt Christ. Entering the ministry as an unconverted man      This ‘holy and judicious’ person, as Augustus Toplady describes Crisp, was born into a family of London sheriffs and aldermen and was educated at Eton, Cambridge and Oxford, finishing his studies by gaining a D.D.. He married Mary Wilson, an Alderman’s daughter, and the couple were… Full Article

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Living Peacefully Together in Christ

One of William Cowper’s earliest letters from Olney shows how the various denominations in the town could live peacefully together sharing a great oneness in Christ. Cowper, writing to Mrs Madan, says: We have had a Holiday Week at Olney. The Association of Baptist Ministers met here on Wednesday. We had three Sermons from them that day, and One on Thursday, besides Mr. Newton’s (Anglican minister) in the Evening. One of the Preachers was Mr. Booth, (Abraham Booth (1734-1806) was to become the pastor of a Calvinistic Baptist Church at Little Prescot Street, Goodman’s Fields  some seven months later.) who has lately published an excellent Work called the Reign of Grace. He was bred a Weaver, and has been forced to work with his Hands… Full Article

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Cowper Bicentenary

Essay Based on My Work Paradise and Poetry: An In-Depth Study of William Cowper’s Poetic Mind.      Although William Cowper has always been regarded as a fitting subject for comment and research ever since his death 200 years ago, work done on the poet has been mainly biographical. Even this biographical work has tended to be very limited as its main subject has most often been the nervous breakdowns which occurred at roughly ten-year intervals during the adult life of the poet.      Biographers have tended to view Cowper’s work as been primarily done under the influence of these times of acute depression and even insanity. The general picture left with any student who seeks to understand Cowper through the eyes of these… Full Article

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Johann Gerhard Oncken: Germany’s Baptist Pioneer

The ‘Enlightenment’ that brought a deluge of immorality      The French occupation of Germany under Napoleon’s Dictatorship caused political, social and religious unrest which lasted well into the present century. The Corsican upstart conscripted Germans and compelled them to suppress their fellow-countrymen or forfeit their lives. One man by the name of Oncken, a citizen of Varel in present Schleswig-Holstein, decided to resist the tyrannical French and campaigned to overthrow the occupational forces. Napoleon’s spies, however, were everywhere and Onckenwas compelled to flee to England to carry on his work of liberation in exile. On January 26th, 1800, a son was born to the ex-patriate whom, in God’s providence, he was… Full Article

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A Sinner Becomes a Saint: William Huntington’s Conversion

     One evening, Huntington was sitting by the fireside reading his Bible when he came across the words, “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you,” John 14:20.  These words were at first incomprehensible to Huntington as he had not experienced being ‘in Christ’ and being thus a new creature. “There must be some secret  between Christ and those whom He will save, that I am ignorant of,” he exclaimed. As he thought on these things all his sins paraded themselves before him and all his false hope disappeared in a twinkling. Great conviction came upon him but his first thoughts were of hatred to God for putting him in such a position. He shouted out to his wife  in great fear, “Molly, I… Full Article

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John Gill and the Cause of God and Truth

     So often when speaking about the work of the Holy Spirit which infused the churches with new life in the 18th century, mention is made of Anglican stalwarts such as Whitefield, Hervey, Toplady and Romaine. The works of these men through God’s sovereign grace cannot be praised enough but the fact that recent biographers have highlighted their activities has tended to give the impression that other denominations, such as the Baptists, were quite inactive during this period. This is by no means the case as the testimony of John Gill shows.      John Gill was born in 1697 in the town of Kettering and became a member of the Particular Baptist church there before being called to the pastorate at Goat Yard Chapel, Horselydown,… Full Article

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John Gill and His Successors

     The witness and teaching of Dr John Gill (1697-1771) so impressed his friends Augustus Toplady and James Hervey that they maintained his work would still be of great importance to future generations. This also became the conviction of John Rippon (1750-1836) and Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), Gill’s more well-known successors to his pastorate, but it was also the testimony of those who served for shorter periods at Carter Lane such as John Martin, Benjamin Francis and John Fawcett. The witness of these faithful men of God has helped point generations to Gill’s works which have subsequently enriched their lives.      The present evangelical establishment is apparently striving to unite Calvinism with Arminianism,… Full Article

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John Gill and the Charge of Hyper-Calvinism

     One of the most successful Baptist contenders for the truth in the 18th century was John Gill  (1697-1771) , a London pastor who was second to none in the kingdom for scholarly learning and prowess as a preacher. Sadly Gill has faded from the reading of most evangelicals, owing to the fact that his successors held to a radically different view of the gospel. Now he is being rediscovered as the number of publications dealing with him over the last few years show . Something, however, is going seriously wrong. Though contemporary American works such as Thomas J. Nettle’s By His Grace and for His Glory and Timothy George’s essay on Gill in Baptist Theologians show clearly that Gill was no Hyper-Calvinist but a great Reformed 18th… Full Article

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Henry Bullinger (1504-1575)

Shepherd of the Churches Bullinger’s importance for the English Reformation      Perhaps no Reformer has been so neglected in modern times as Henry Bullinger, though he produced far more sound Christian writings than Luther, Calvin and Zwingli combined. An average of four editions of his works per year were printed in Switzerland alone for a hundred years and over fifty printers in other European countries were turning out countless editions. Reformers such as Miles Coverdale translated Bullinger into English from the 1530s on. Bullinger’s books were internationally treasured because they were said to be free of Calvin’s obscurity and Musculus’ scholastical subtlety and packed much sound, perspicuous doctrine into… Full Article

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