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Order of Contents

By Topic
By Author


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By Topic

The Gospel  4                                         The Judicial Law  2
Practical  3                                              Ecclesiology  7
Systematic Theology  5                        Infant Baptism  2
Predestination  1                                   Worship  1
Covenant Theology  3                          Psalm Singing  2
Common Grace  2                                  The Lord’s Supper  1
Natural Law  1                                        Puritan Poetry  3
The Establishment Principle  2          Slavery  1

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The Gospel

Rogers, Richard

Two Sermons on Conversion from Isaiah 55:1-2  1612  29 pp.  including a Publisher’s Introduction and a Preface by Rogers

Rogers’ (1551-1618) famed reply to the scoffer, ‘I serve a precise God’, gave the occasion for the puritans to be called ‘precisionists’.  These two very experientially rich sermons on conversion lay the entrance to God’s kingdom sweetly low: to any that thirst for it.  Rogers, with a discerning and soft hand, reproves worldly minded persons who do not desire the best things (even their own salvation), shows that the way to be saved is to thirst for it (for those that desire what God offers), and assures those that do thirst that God will surely
make good his end of the deal.  It is in thirsting that the Christian continues in this life to receive the best spiritual graces from God for everything that he or she needs. 

Two Sermons on Conversion from Deut. 5:28-29  1612  21 pp.

Deut. 5:29:

‘Oh! That there were such a heart in them to fear me, and to keep all my commandments always; that it might go well with them, and with their children forever!’

Rutherford, Samuel – The Gospel is Conditional  1648, 3 pages, being Part 2, Chapter 38, pp. 39-40 of his A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist.

While the gospel is not conditional as respects any merit or power in us (contrary to Arminianism), yet it is equally wrong to say with the hyper-calvinists that the gospel has no conditions whatsoever.  Rutherford here exposits (in congruity with Larger Catechism #32) how the gospel has evangelical conditions, without which we will never see everlasting life (Heb. 12:14).

Gib, Adam – Concerning the Gospel Call and the Warrant of Faith  1747  31 pp.  from his The Present Truth: A Display of the Secession Testimony, vol. 2, Progression 5

This is the best piece that Christian history has bequeathed to us on God’s Call in the Gospel Offer in relation to the Atonement.  Read it to find out why.

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Practical

Burgess, Anthony – ‘On Vain Disputing’  1652 13 pp.  being an excerpt from Sermon 2 and the whole of Sermon 51 from his Spiritual Refining, in modern English  

Burgess (†1664), one of the Westminster divines, shows the unprofitbleness of vain disputes in religion that edify none, but only pine away the soul as the lean kine of Pharaoh’s Egypt, at the expense of living grace in the soul.

Dickson, David – Sacred Therapeutics: Table of Contents  1656, with an Introduction by Travis Fentiman

Dickson’s Holy Therapeutics shows how to apply God’s covenants to our life in order to grow in assurance and resist temptation.  It contains Dickson’s fullest contribution to covenant theology: his articulation of the Covenant of Redemption, of which he was one of the first systematic expositors for.  Dickson’s work has long been neglected due to there being no easy way to peruse it.  Here is an Introduction to this long work and a Table of Contents with links to make it accessible to all.  

Gouge, William – On Covetousness  18 pp.  these sections are Gouge’s own summaries of his sermons on covetousness from his Commentary on Hebrews

Here is spiritual examination at its finest.  Sift your heart upon the Tenth Commandment and purify yourself to be lovely in God’s sight through the purgings of repentance.

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Systematic Theology

Vermigli, Peter Martyr – The Common Places: Table of Contents  1583  19 pp., with an Editor’s Introduction

Vermigli (1499-1562) was an influential second generation reformer.  His collected Common Places became a popular systematic theology through the early 1600’s.  While the work still is not available in English on the internet or in a printed edition, here is the Table of Contents, which will wet your taste to read more of this sometimes neglected reformer.

Dury, John – A Summary Platform of the Heads of a Body of Practical Divinity  1654, 12 pages, with a letter from Archbishop James Ussher recommending that such a body of practical divinity be written

John Dury (1596-1680) grew up with connections to the heads of state, and was advised by an eminent chaplain that to reconcile the divisions of the protestant churches would be the greatest work of peacemaking (Matt 5:9) that one could do.  Dury subsequently devoted his entire adult life’s work to this end, with indefatigable journeys, letter writing and conferencing among the leading church figures of the day.  The titles of his many writings also bear out this purpose. 

This particular work is the first part of a brief summary outline of practical scriptural living and ethics, intended as an ecumenical effort to unite churches abroad.  Previous to this work, a letter was written by William Gouge, Obadiah Sedgwick and others to James Ussher asking him to lead a joint project to write such a body of divinity.  Ussher was favorable to the project but it was interrupted by the English Civil War.  Other signers to this effort included: John Downame, George Walker, Adoniram Byfield, Sidrach Simpson, Richard Culverwell, George Hughes and Joseph Symonds.  Dury ended up writing the desired outline of practical divinity.  HT: Andrew Myers.

Polanus, Amandus – The Table of Contents to Polanus’ Syntagma, in English  1609-10  16 pp.  With a collection of resources on Polanus and his works in the Introduction.

Have you ever desired to peer into an old, standard, Latin, Reformed systematic theology? Amandus Polanus’ (1561-1610) Syntagma, or System of Christian Theology (1609-10) is just that.  Polanus was an early Reformed theologian in Germany. He had studied at Tübingen, Basel and Geneva and became the professor of Old Testament at Basel in 1596. Here is the Table of Contents to his 10 books in 2 volumes translated into English and made publicly available for the first time.

We have translated many other tables of contents from old reformed works on our Reformed Systematic Theologies in Latin page.

Roberts, Francis – A Synopsis of Theology, or Divinity  Buy  1645, 10 pp., an outline of theological headings

Samuel Rutherford’s Treatise on Providence: the Table of Contents in English  2016  7 pp.  translated by Bobby Phillips

Rutherford tackles some of the hardest topics in theology in his Latin treatise on Providence, which has never been translated before.  For the first time, peer into this intriguing and important work which seeks to keep the straight line, not departing into the errors on either side, of God’s mysterious ways with us.

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Predestination

Girardeau, John – The Will in its Theological Relations  1891  485 pp.

Girardeau was an important, though now lesser known, American Sourthern presbyterian.  This is his important contribution to the topic of the nature of Predestination, which includes a critique of Jonathan Edwards’ Freedom of the Will.

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Covenant Theology

Burgess, Anthony – ‘Professing Christians are Externally in Covenant with God’  1652  5 pp.  being from his Spiritual Refining, Sermon 64, pp. 394-6, in modern English

Dickson, David – Sacred Therapeutics: Table of Contents  1656, with an Introduction by Travis Fentiman

Dickson’s Holy Therapeutics shows how to apply God’s covenants to our life in order to grow in assurance and resist temptation.  It contains Dickson’s fullest contribution to covenant theology: his articulation of the Covenant of Redemption, of which he was one of the first systematic expositors for.  Dickson’s work has long been neglected due to there being no easy way to peruse it.  Here is an Introduction to this long work and a Table of Contents with links to make it accessible to all.  

Roberts, Francis – ‘Of God’s Giving the Law on Mt. Sinai as a Covenant, and that of Faith’  1657  90 pp., being Book 3, Chapter 4, Aphorism 2 of The Mystery and Marrow of the Bible: God’s Covenants with Man, with an Introduction and Extended Outline

This is the most detailed, full, and perhaps, most important, scriptural and theological treatment of the nature of the Mosaic Covenant that has been handed down to us from the Reformation and Puritan eras, given here for the first time in a contemporary and easily readable edition.  Roberts argues at length that the Mosaic Covenant was not a covenant of works, but was a further unfolding of the Covenant of Grace, with a peculiar emphasis in its administration in order to drive sinners to Christ.

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Common Grace

Gib, Adam – Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom and Common Benefits  1747  7 pp.  from his The Present Truth: A Display of the Secession Testimony, vol. 2, Appendix 2, Section 4, pp. 299-302

Gib was an important Scottish Secession Church theologian.  Gib discusses how common benefits to humanity flow from Christ on the throne in heaven.  He distinguishes Christ’s relation as God, Creator and Preserver, from his office of redemptive Mediator and the benefits of his death for his people (in a Limited Atonement).  Gib makes 7 helpful distinctions.

Kuiper, Herman – Calvin on Common Grace  Buy  1928

Kuiper (1889-1963) was a minister in the Christian Reformed Church (C.R.C.) and a professor at Calvin Seminary.  Kuiper studied under Louis Berkhof, A.A. Hodge, Geerhardus Vos and B.B. Warfield.  This work of his was historically significant during the debates that followed the C.R.C.’s assertion of the 3 Points of Common Grace in 1924.

This is the most detailed, careful and definitive work (being an anthology of extended quotes with analysis) that demonstrates that Calvin explicitly, repeatedly and frequently taught throughout his Institutes and commentaries that:

(1) God gives common grace to all men,
(2) that God’s common grace in the Covenant extends to the reprobate, and
(3) that God desires all men to embrace the gospel and be saved.

Read Calvin for yourself and see what he says.  The appendix to the book (p. 239) gives a survey of the doctrine of common grace in the theological writings (many of which remain in Latin or Dutch) of Peter van Mastricht, Johannes Marck, Wilhelmus a Brakel, Bernhardinus de Moor, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Hodge, A.A. Hodge, Herman Bavinck, Abraham Kuyper and V. Hepp.

Kuiper’s work is very hard to come buy on the used market, if it is available at all, and is very pricey if one can find it at all.

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Natural Law

Roberts, Francis – ‘On the Moral Law and the Law of Nature’  1675  3 pp.  being Book 3, Chapter 4, Aphorism 1, Question 6 of his The Mystery and Marrow of the Bible: God’s Covenants with Man

Roberts distinguishes between the Moral Law revealed by God in special revelation and the Law of Nature written on man’s heart since creation.  Roberts gives 4 evidences of how they are the same in their substance and 5 evidences of how they are different with regard to their particulars and circumstances.

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The Establishment Principle

Gillespie, George – All of Gillespie’s Writings on Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom is the Church Only  110 pp.  ed. Travis Fentiman

These writings (specifically his 111 Propositions) are the classic delineation of the Establishment Principle.

Rutherford, Samuel – The Due Right of Presbyteries: Table of Contents and Subject Index”  1644  22 pp.  ed. Travis Fentiman

See specifically Rutherford’s treatment of the Establishment Principle in the Appendix to Part 2.

Corimer, John – A Defense of Church Establishments  1833  71 pp.  published anonymously, being a second review of the speeches of the leading men of the Voluntary Church Association

This book was written at the beginning of the 10 year Intrusion Controversy in 1833 that led up to the birth of the Free Church of Scotland from the Church of Scotland in the Disruption of 1843.  The Intrusion Controversy centered around the unlawful intrusion of the civil government into the jurisdiction of the Church.  Many saw the abuses and hence argued for a complete disassociation between Church and State, otherwise known as the Voluntary Principle.  Corimer here argues for the Biblical Establishment Principle against the Voluntary Principle.  His book is a review of ‘Voluntary Lectures that were Lately Delivered’.  

“Second” in the original title refers to the fact that he had previously responded to the ‘Voluntary Lectures’ before they were published in book form.  Here he responds to the lectures more fully after their publication.

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The Judicial Law

Roberts, Francis – ‘On the Moral Law and Judicial Law’  1675  21 pp.  being Book 3, Chapter 4, Aphorism 1, Question 2, Section 3 of his The Mystery and Marrow of the Bible: God’s Covenants with Man 

Roberts (1609–1675) wrote the puritan magnum opus on Covenant Theology.  This section from that work gives a window into the majority puritan view that the Moral Law in Moses (the Ten Commandments) continues to oblige in all ages, while the Judicial Law expired with the state of Israel (only the general equity therein continuing to oblige).  Roberts enumerates five very helpful distinctions that demonstrate the Biblical priority of the Moral Law over the Judicial Law in this respect.

Samuel Rutherford on the Judicial Laws of Moses: Excerpts Arranged Topically  32 pp. ed. Travis Fentiman

How do the Judicial Laws of Moses apply today?  Rutherford, one of the Westminster divines, expounds the majority, historic and confessionally Reformed view of General Equity in contrast to Christian pluralism and Theonomy.  Let Rutherford take you to school and you will be thankful for the lesson.

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Ecclesiology

Gillespie, George – All of Gillespie’s Writings on Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom is the Church Only  110 pp.  ed. Travis Fentiman

Rutherford, Samuel

Ladies have the Right to Vote in Ecclesiastical Elections  1644  2 pages, from The Due Right of Presbyteries, pp. 476-77, with a 3 page Introduction by Rev. Travis Fentiman

Rutherford argues that ladies have the right to vote in ecclesiastical election as the right of election of officers belongs to the Body of Christ, every member of it.  Such voting is not an act of ruling.  Rev. Fentiman compares Rutherford’s position to that of Thomas M’Crie’s justly famous letter arguing for head-of-household voting.

A Defense of the Government of the Church of Scotland  1642  20 pp.  being chapter 20 of his A Peaceable and Temperate Plea for Paul’s Presbytery in Scotland.  An updated, easier to read edition.

Rutherford describes and defends from scripture the church government of the Church of Scotland in his day.  It is an excellent, brief, overview of a four office view of church government, the calling and ordination of office bearers, and the Scottish practice of the administration of the Lord’s Supper.  It also has helpful articulations of Biblical views of days of fasting, marriage, offering, church censures, private and family worship and spiritual conferencing.

Independent Churches do not have the Authority for Greater Excommunication  1644  53 pp.  from Chapter 10, Section 10 of his The Due Right of Presbyteriespp. 289-323

Conservative Presbyterianism has a black-side.  In the last several decades heavy-handed, independent ‘presbyterian’ churches have torn apart people’s lives and families by excommunicating persons with little due process, who are left with no recourse of appeal.  What is not always known is that the Bible and historic, reformed presbyterianism have never allowed local churches to wield greater excommunication as Christ gave the Keys of his Kingdom to the universal visible Church (Jn. 20:22-23; Mt. 28:16,18-20; 16:18-19; Eph. 4:11-12), not the local session.  Rutherford defends this Biblical doctrine at length against the Independents.  

A Congregation does not have the Whole Power of the Keys of Church Government from Christ  1642  36 pp.

This article is on substantially the same topic as the one immediately above, but is from a work of Rutherford’s from two years earlier than that one.

“The Table of Contents and Subject Index to Samuel Rutherford’s The Due Right of Presbyteries  1644  22 pp.  ed. Travis Fentiman

What is the definitive work in Church history arguing and delineating classic presbyterianism?  Rutherford’s Due Right of Presbyteries.  Rutherford answers every detailed point of ecclesiology that you ever thought of, and many, many more.

M’Crie, Thomas – On the Right of Females to Vote in the Election of Ministers and Elders  1822  8 pp.  A letter, re-edited and with explanatory footnotes.

This is the classic, historic piece arguing that ladies do not have the right to vote for Church officers (rather, heads of households do).  M’Crie’s letter is a model of principle mixed with humility and charity.  M’Crie was an early 1800’s Scottish presbyterian of the Seceder tradition, and a foremost historian of the Scottish Covenanters.

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Infant Baptism & Covenant Theology

‘On the Baptism of the Children of Adherents’  1642  29 pp.  being ch. 12 of his A Peaceable and Temperate Plea for Paul’s Presbytery in Scotland.  An updated, easier to read edition.  

Adherents are persons who have been baptized but do not come to the Lord’s Table.  Should their children be baptized?  Rutherford argues from scripture: Yes.

On the Baptism of the Children of Adherents, Part 2  1644  16 pp.  being the 2nd Part, Chapter 4, Section 6 of The Due Right of Presbyteries, pp. 256-66, with a 3 page extended outline 

Rutherford further argues against the Independent John Cotton.

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Worship

Cheynell, Francis – The Grounds of Christ the Mediator Receiving Divine Worship  1650  20 pp.  with an Introduction and Outline

We are to only worship God, and yet Jesus, a man, was worshipped in his earthly ministry.  How is this so?  The answer is that we worship Jesus, the God-man, not insofar as He is a creature, but insofar as his Person is God.  Cheynell, a Westminster divine, argues this precious jewel of theology in a bit of detail in a way that will be clear to the simplest, and make the most knowledgeable cry out: ‘Oh! the depths and the riches! (Rom. 11:33)

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Psalm Singing

Roberts, Francis – Directions for the Right Singing of Scripture Psalms  1675  12 pp.  being pp. 128-131 of his larger The Key of the Bible: Unlocking the Richest Treasury of the Holy Scriptures.  This is an updated and easier to read edition than the original.

Roberts (1609–1675) was an influential puritan who wrote a very large introduction to the Bible, from which this work is taken.  Roberts gives 8 very helpful directions on how to sing the psalms with the most spiritual profit.  Print out these directions as a pamphlet to help fellow saints be encouraged in the Lord.

Wells, John – How We may make Melody in our Hearts to God in Singing of Psalms  late-1600’s  32 pp.  This is a sermon from Puritan Sermons, 1659-89, re-typeset, re-formatted and re-edited, with an Introduction and explanatory footnotes.

If the Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7), how much more does He love a cheerful worshipper?  Indeed, He tells us to sing psalms to Him with joy (Ps. 95:2)!  Let us, with the psalmist, stir ourselves up to this pleasure; this sermon will help us. It is a treasure. You will not find anything like it in modern Christian literature.

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The Lord’s Supper

Rutherford, Samuel – The Efficacy of the Sacraments  1644, 5 pages, being pp. 211-215 of his Due Right of Presbyteries

This is perhaps the best concise explanation of how the Sacraments work.  Rutherford gives the standard, widely prevalent, vanilla reformed view of the Reformation.  The Sacraments work:

(1) as signs,
(2) as seals,
(3) are instruments by which faith works, and
(4) they are means of grace to be used in obedience to Christ’s command.  

What is noteworthy about these distinctions is that one could not fully explain the sacraments without all four distinctions (the distinctions are necessary).  Nor does one need more distinctions than these four in order to explain the Biblical material (these distinctions are sufficient to account for all of the Biblical data).  Thus, one may rest assuredly that here is the Biblical view of how the Sacraments are means of grace.  May it stir us up to greater faith in our Savior as we see Him represented and sealed to us in baptism and the Lord’s Supper!

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Puritan Poetry

David Dickson – True Christian Love – A Poem  1655, 30 pages

Dickson was a colleague of Rutherford and Gillespie.  His song is ravishing; it sets forth the loveliness of Christ in contrast to all other lovers.  Only in Christ do all other loves find their pleasure.

Rogers, Richard – A Sweet Meditation: A poem on the benefit of reading, conference, musing on holy things, and prayer: containing a complaint that these holy exercises are neglected for that which is worse than nothing, even men’s sinful will  1603  46 stanzas, from his Seven Treatises

Rogers’ (1551-1618) was called the Enoch of his age for how closely he walked with God.  He also gave the occasion for the puritans to be called precisionists in his famed reply to the scoffer complaining that he was too precise.  Rogers replied, ‘I serve a precise God.’  

Greene, John – A Brief Unveiling of God and Man’s Glory – A Poem  1641  31 pp.  with a 7 page Introduction to his life and work by Travis Fentiman.

Greene was a member of the Westminster Assembly.  His poem is delightful and profound.  As with all good poetry, read it aloud.

The Introduction needs to be revised.  It has been discerned that the John Greene of the Assembly was not the same as John Greene the baptist during the same era.

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Slavery

Breckinridge, Robert – A Speech in regard to the Power of the Legislature on the subject of Slavery, of the Importation of Slaves, of Abolitionism, of British Influence, of Religious Liberty, etc.  1840  32 pp.  This speech was given on account of the resignation of Robert Wickliffe from the office of Senator, in defense of his personal character, political principles and his religious connections.  Breckinridge in the speech is also defending himself from accusations made to the same effect.  


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By Author

1500’s

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Peter Martyr Vermigli

The Common Places: Table of Contents  1583  19 pp., with an Editor’s Introduction

Vermigli (1499-1562) was an influential second generation reformer.  His collected Common Places became a popular systematic theology through the early 1600’s.  While the work still is not available in English on the internet or in a printed edition, here is the Table of Contents, which will wet your taste to read more of this sometimes neglected reformer.

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1600’s
(Alphabetical by last name)

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Anthony Burgess

‘On Vain Disputing’  1652  13 pp.  being an excerpt from Sermon 2 and the whole of Sermon 51 from his Spiritual Refining, in modern English  

Burgess (†1664), one of the Westminster divines, shows the unprofitbleness of vain disputes in religion that edify none, but only pine away the soul as the lean kine of Pharaoh’s Egypt, at the expense of living grace in the soul.

‘Professing Christians are Externally in Covenant with God’  1652  5 pp.  being from his Spiritual Refining, Sermon 64, pp. 394-6, in modern English

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Francis Cheynell

The Grounds of Christ the Mediator Receiving Divine Worship  1650  20 pp.  with an Introduction and Outline

We are to only worship God, and yet Jesus, a man, was worshipped in his earthly ministry.  How is this so?  The answer is that we worship Jesus, the God-man, not insofar as He is a creature, but insofar as his Person is God.  Cheynell, a Westminster divine, argues this precious jewel of theology in a bit of detail in a way that will be clear to the simplest, and make the most knowledgeable cry out: ‘Oh! the depths and the riches! (Rom. 11:33)

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David Dickson

Sacred Therapeutics: Table of Contents  1656, with an Introduction by Travis Fentiman

Dickson’s Holy Therapeutics shows how to apply God’s covenants to our life in order to grow in assurance and resist temptation.  It contains Dickson’s fullest contribution to covenant theology: his articulation of the Covenant of Redemption, of which he was one of the first systematic expositors for.  Dickson’s work has long been neglected due to there being no easy way to peruse it.  Here is an Introduction to this long work and a Table of Contents with links to make it accessible to all.

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John Dury

A Summary Platform of the Heads of a Body of Practical Divinity  1654  12 pp.  with a letter from Archbishop James Ussher recommending that such a body of practical divinity be written

John Dury (1596-1680) grew up with connections to the heads of state, and was advised by an eminent chaplain that to reconcile the divisions of the protestant churches would be the greatest work of peacemaking (Matt 5:9) that one could do.  Dury subsequently devoted his entire adult life’s work to this end, with indefatigable journeys, letter writing and conferencing among the leading church figures of the day.  The titles of his many writings also bear out this purpose. 

This particular work is the first part of a brief summary outline of practical scriptural living and ethics, intended as an ecumenical effort to unite churches abroad.  Previous to this work, a letter was written by William Gouge, Obadiah Sedgwick and others to James Ussher asking him to lead a joint project to write such a body of divinity.  Ussher was favorable to the project but it was interrupted by the English Civil War.  Other signers to this effort included: John Downame, George Walker, Adoniram Byfield, Sidrach Simpson, Richard Culverwell, George Hughes and Joseph Symonds.  Dury ended up writing the desired outline of practical divinity.  HT: Andrew Myers.

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George Gillespie

Gillespie, George – All of Gillespie’s Writings on Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom is the Church Only  110 pp.  ed. Travis Fentiman

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William Gouge

On Covetousness  18 pp.  these sections are Gouge’s own summaries of his sermons on covetousness from his Commentary on Hebrews

Here is spiritual examination at its finest.  Sift your heart upon the Tenth Commandment and purify yourself to be lovely in God’s sight through the purgings of repentance.

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Amandus Polanus

The Table of Contents to Polanus’ Syntagma, in English  1609-10  16 pp.  With a collection of resources on Polanus and his works in the Introduction.

Have you ever desired to peer into an old, standard, Latin, Reformed systematic theology? Amandus Polanus’ (1561-1610) Syntagma, or System of Christian Theology (1609-10) is just that.  Polanus was an early Reformed theologian in Germany. He had studied at Tübingen, Basel and Geneva and became the professor of Old Testament at Basel in 1596. Here is the Table of Contents to his 10 books in 2 volumes translated into English and made publicly available for the first time.

We have translated many other tables of contents from old reformed works on our Reformed Systematic Theologies in Latin page.

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Francis Roberts  (5)

Directions for the Right Singing of Scripture Psalms  1675  12 pp.  being pp. 128-131 of his larger The Key of the Bible: Unlocking the Richest Treasury of the Holy Scriptures.  This is an updated and easier to read edition than the original.

Roberts (1609–1675) was an influential puritan who wrote a very large introduction to the Bible, from which this work is taken.  Roberts gives 8 very helpful directions on how to sing the psalms with the most spiritual profit.  Print out these directions as a pamphlet to help fellow saints be encouraged in the Lord. 

A Synopsis of Theology, or Divinity  Buy  1645, 10 pp., an outline of theological headings

‘On the Moral Law and Judicial Law’  1675  21 pp.  being Book 3, Chapter 4, Aphorism 1, Question 2, Section 3 of his The Mystery and Marrow of the Bible: God’s Covenants with Man 

Roberts (1609–1675) wrote the puritan magnum opus on Covenant Theology.  This section from that work gives a window into the majority puritan view that the Moral Law in Moses (the Ten Commandments) continues to oblige in all ages, while the Judicial Law expired with the state of Israel (only the general equity therein continuing to oblige).  Roberts enumerates five very helpful distinctions that demonstrate the Biblical priority of the Moral Law over the Judicial Law in this respect.

‘On the Moral Law and the Law of Nature’  1675  3 pp.  being Book 3, Chapter 4, Aphorism 1, Question 6 of his The Mystery and Marrow of the Bible: God’s Covenants with Man

Roberts distinguishes between the Moral Law revealed by God in special revelation and the Law of Nature written on man’s heart since creation.  Roberts gives 4 evidences of how they are the same in their substance and 5 evidences of how they are different with regard to their particulars and circumstances.

‘Of God’s Giving the Law on Mt. Sinai as a Covenant, and that of Faith’  1657  90 pp., being Book 3, Chapter 4, Aphorism 2 of The Mystery and Marrow of the Bible: God’s Covenants with Man, with an Introduction and Extended Outline

This is the most detailed, full, and perhaps, most important, scriptural and theological treatment of the nature of the Mosaic Covenant that has been handed down to us from the Reformation and Puritan eras, given here for the first time in a contemporary and easily readable edition.  Roberts argues at length that the Mosaic Covenant was not a covenant of works, but was a further unfolding of the Covenant of Grace, with a peculiar emphasis in its administration in order to drive sinners to Christ.

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Richard Rogers  (see also Puritan Poetry below)

Two Sermons on Conversion from Isaiah 55:1-2  1612  29 pp.  including a Publisher’s Introduction and a Preface by Rogers

Rogers’ (1551-1618) famed reply to the scoffer, ‘I serve a precise God’, gave the occasion for the puritans to be called ‘precisionists’.  These two very experientially rich sermons on conversion lay the entrance to God’s kingdom sweetly low: to any that thirst for it.  Rogers, with a discerning and soft hand, reproves worldly minded persons who do not desire the best things (even their own salvation), shows that the way to be saved is to thirst for it (for those that desire what God offers), and assures those that do thirst that God will surely
make good his end of the deal.  It is in thirsting that the Christian continues in this life to receive the best spiritual graces from God for everything that he or she needs. 

Two Sermons on Conversion from Deut. 5:28-29  1612  21 pp.

Deut. 5:29:

‘Oh! That there were such a heart in them to fear me, and to keep all my commandments always; that it might go well with them, and with their children forever!’

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Samuel Rutherford  (9)

Short Articles

The Gospel is Conditional  1648, 3 pages, being Part 2, Chapter 38, pp. 39-40 of his A Survey of the Spiritual Antichrist.

While the gospel is not conditional as respects any merit or power in us (contrary to Arminianism), yet it is equally wrong to say with the hyper-calvinists that the gospel has no conditions whatsoever.  Rutherford here exposits (in congruity with Larger Catechism #32) how the gospel has evangelical conditions, without which we will never see everlasting life (Heb. 12:14). 

Ladies have the Right to Vote in Ecclesiastical Elections  1644  2 pages, from The Due Right of Presbyteries, pp. 476-77, with a 3 page Introduction by Rev. Travis Fentiman

Rutherford argues that ladies have the right to vote in ecclesiastical election as the right of election of officers belongs to the Body of Christ, every member of it.  Such voting is not an act of ruling.  Rev. Fentiman compares Rutherford’s position to that of Thomas M’Crie’s justly famous letter arguing for head-of-household voting. 

The Efficacy of the Sacraments  1644, 5 pages, being pp. 211-215 of his Due Right of Presbyteries

This is perhaps the best concise explanation of how the Sacraments work.  Rutherford gives the standard, widely prevalent, vanilla reformed view of the Reformation.  The Sacraments work: (1) as signs, (2) as seals, (3) are instruments by which faith works, and (4) they are means of grace to be used in obedience to Christ’s command.  What is noteworthy about these distinctions is that one could not fully explain the sacraments without all four distinctions (the distinctions are necessary).  Nor does one need more distinctions than these four in order to explain the Biblical material (these distinctions are sufficient to account for all of the Biblical data).  Thus, one may rest assuredly that here is the Biblical view of how the Sacraments are means of grace.  May it stir us up to greater faith in our Savior as we see Him represented and sealed to us in baptism and the Lord’s Supper!

Samuel Rutherford on the Judicial Laws of Moses: Excerpts Arranged Topically  32 pp. ed. Travis Fentiman

How do the Judicial Laws of Moses apply today?  Rutherford, one of the Westminster divines, expounds the majority, historic and confessionally Reformed view of General Equity in contrast to Christian pluralism and Theonomy.  Let Rutherford take you to school and you will be thankful for the lesson.

Samuel Rutherford’s Treatise on Providence: the Table of Contents in English  2016  7 pp.  translated by Bobby Phillips

Rutherford tackles some of the hardest topics in theology in his Latin treatise on Providence, which has never been translated before.  For the first time, peer into this intriguing and important work which seeks to keep the straight line, not departing into the errors on either side, of God’s mysterious ways with us.

“The Table of Contents and Subject Index to Samuel Rutherford’s The Due Right of Presbyteries  1644  22 pp.  ed. Travis Fentiman

What is the definitive work in Church history arguing and delineating classic presbyterianism?  Rutherford’s Due Right of Presbyteries.  Rutherford answers every detailed point of ecclesiology that you ever thought of, and many, many more.

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Longer Articles on Church Government

A Defense of the Government of the Church of Scotland  1642  20 pp.  being chapter 20 of his A Peaceable and Temperate Plea for Paul’s Presbytery in Scotland.  An updated, easier to read edition.

Rutherford describes and defends from scripture the church government of the Church of Scotland in his day.  It is an excellent, brief, overview and defense of a four office view of church government, the calling and ordination of office bearers, and the Scottish practice of the administration of the Lord’s Supper.  It also has helpful articulations of Biblical views of days of fasting, marriage, offering, church censures, private and family worship and spiritual conferencing.

Independent Churches do not have the Authority for Greater Excommunication  1644  53 pp.  from Chapter 10, Section 10 of his The Due Right of Presbyteriespp. 289-323

Conservative Presbyterianism has a black-side.  In the last several decades heavy-handed, independent ‘presbyterian’ churches have torn apart people’s lives and families by excommunicating persons with little due process, who are left with no recourse of appeal.  What is not always known is that the Bible and historic, reformed presbyterianism have never allowed local churches to wield greater excommunication as Christ gave the Keys of his Kingdom to the universal visible Church (Jn. 20:22-23; Mt. 28:16,18-20; 16:18-19; Eph. 4:11-12), not the local session.  Rutherford defends this Biblical doctrine at length against the Independents.  

A Congregation does not have the Whole Power of the Keys of Church Government from Christ  1642  36 pp.

This article is on substantially the same topic as the one immediately above, but is from a work of Rutherford’s from two years earlier than that one.

‘On the Baptism of the Children of Adherents’  1642  29 pp.  being ch. 12 of his A Peaceable and Temperate Plea for Paul’s Presbytery in Scotland.  An updated, easier to read edition.  

Adherents are persons who have been baptized but do not come to the Lord’s Table.  Should their children be baptized?  Rutherford argues from scripture: Yes.

On the Baptism of the Children of Adherents, Part 2  1644  16 pp.  being the 2nd Part, Chapter 4, Section 6 of The Due Right of Presbyteries, pp. 256-66, with a 3 page extended outline 

Rutherford further argues against the Independent John Cotton.

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John Wells

How We may make Melody in our Hearts to God in Singing of Psalms  late-1600’s, 32 pages, this is a sermon from Puritan Sermons, 1659-89, re-typeset, re-formatted and re-edited, with an Introduction and explanatory footnotes.

If the Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7), how much more does He love a cheerful worshipper?  Indeed, He tells us to sing psalms to Him with joy (Ps. 95:2)!  Let us, with the psalmist, stir ourselves up to this pleasure; this sermon will help us. It is a treasure. You will not find anything like it in modern Christian literature.

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Puritan Poetry

David Dickson – True Christian Love – A Poem  1655, 30 pages

Dickson was a colleague of Rutherford and Gillespie.  His song is ravishing; it sets forth the loveliness of Christ in contrast to all other lovers.  Only in Christ do all other loves find their pleasure.

Rogers, Richard – A Sweet Meditation: A poem on the benefit of reading, conference, musing on holy things, and prayer: containing a complaint that these holy exercises are neglected for that which is worse than nothing, even men’s sinful will  1603  46 stanzas, from his Seven Treatises

Rogers’ (1551-1618) was called the Enoch of his age for how closely he walked with God.  He also gave the occasion for the puritans to be called precisionists in his famed reply to the scoffer complaining that he was too precise.  Rogers replied, ‘I serve a precise God.’  

Greene, John – A Brief Unveiling of God and Man’s Glory – A Poem  1641  31 pp.  with a 7 page Introduction to his life and work by Travis Fentiman.

Greene was a member of the Westminster Assembly.  His poem is delightful and profound.  As with all good poetry, read it aloud.

The Introduction needs to be revised.  It has been discerned that the John Greene of the Assembly was not the same as John Greene the baptist during the same era.

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1700’s Articles

Gib, Adam 

Concerning the Gospel Call and the Warrant of Faith  1747  31 pp.  from his The Present Truth: A Display of the Secession Testimony, vol. 2, Progression 5

This is the best piece that Christian history has bequeathed to us on God’s Call in the Gospel Offer in relation to the Atonement.  Read it to find out why.

Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom and Common Benefits  1747  7 pp.  from his The Present Truth: A Display of the Secession Testimony, vol. 2, Appendix 2, Section 4, pp. 299-302

Gib was an important Scottish Secession Church theologian.  Gib discusses how common benefits to humanity flow from Christ on the throne in heaven.  He distinguishes Christ’s relation as God, Creator and Preserver, from his office of redemptive Mediator and the benefits of his death for his people (in a Limited Atonement).  Gib makes 7 helpful distinctions.

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1800’s Articles

Breckinridge, Robert – A Speech in regard to the Power of the Legislature on the subject of Slavery, of the Importation of Slaves, of Abolitionism, of British Influence, of Religious Liberty, etc.  1840  32 pp.  This speech was given on account of the resignation of Robert Wickliffe from the office of Senator, in defense of his personal character, political principles and his religious connections.  Breckinridge in the speech is also defending himself from accusations made to the same effect.

M’Crie, Thomas – On the Right of Females to Vote in the Election of Ministers and Elders  1822  8 pp.  A letter, re-edited and with explanatory footnotes.

This is the classic, historic piece arguing that ladies do not have the right to vote for Church officers.  M’Crie’s letter is a model of principle mixed with humility and charity.  M’Crie was an early 1800’s Scottish presbyterian of the Seceder tradition, and a foremost historian of the Scottish Covenanters. 

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1800’s Books

Corimer, John – A Defense of Church Establishments  1833  71 pp.  published anonymously, being a second review of the speeches of the leading men of the Voluntary Church Association

This book was written at the beginning of the 10 year Intrusion Controversy in 1833 that led up to the birth of the Free Church of Scotland from the Church of Scotland in the Disruption of 1843.  The Intrusion Controversy centered around the unlawful intrusion of the civil government into the jurisdiction of the Church.  Many saw the abuses and hence argued for a complete disassociation between Church and State, otherwise known as the Voluntary Principle.  Corimer here argues for the Biblical Establishment Principle against the Voluntary Principle.  His book is a review of ‘Voluntary Lectures that were Lately Delivered’.  

“Second” in the original title refers to the fact that he had previously responded to the ‘Voluntary Lectures’ before they were published in book form.  Here he responds to the lectures more fully after their publication.

Girardeau, John – The Will in its Theological Relations  1891  485 pp.

This is Girardeau’s important contribution to the topic of the nature of Predestination, which includes a critique of Jonathan Edwards’ Freedom of the Will. 

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1900’s Book

Kuiper, Herman – Calvin on Common Grace  Buy  1928

Kuiper (1889-1963) was a minister in the Christian Reformed Church (C.R.C.) and a professor at Calvin Seminary.  Kuiper studied under Louis Berkhof, A.A. Hodge, Geerhardus Vos and B.B. Warfield.  This work of his was historically significant during the debates that followed the C.R.C.’s assertion of the 3 Points of Common Grace in 1924.

This is the most detailed, careful and definitive work (being an anthology of extended quotes with analysis) that demonstrates that Calvin explicitly, repeatedly and frequently taught throughout his Institutes and commentaries that:

(1) God gives common grace to all men,
(2) that God’s common grace in the Covenant extends to the reprobate, and
(3) that God desires all men to embrace the gospel and be saved.

Read Calvin for yourself and see what he says.  The appendix to the book (p. 239) gives a survey of the doctrine of common grace in the theological writings (many of which remain in Latin or Dutch) of Peter van Mastricht, Johannes Marck, Wilhelmus a Brakel, Bernhardinus de Moor, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Hodge, A.A. Hodge, Herman Bavinck, Abraham Kuyper and V. Hepp.

Kuiper’s work is very hard to come buy on the used market, if it is available at all, and is very pricey if one can find it at all.