Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sermons of Rutherford, Gillespie, Baillie and Henderson (Prepublication sale)

Alexander Henderson, Robert Baillie, George Gillespie, Samuel Rutherford.  
Sermons Preached before the English Houses of Parliament
 by the Scottish Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly of Divines, 16431645

Introduction by Guy M. Richard. Edited by Chris Coldwell.

(should go out late in October). 592 pages. $54.50; Pre-publication price through September 30, 2011: $19.95 (plus $4 postage, USA only

Endorsement by William S. Barker:
Not long after the Solemn League and Covenant between England and Scotland was achieved in September of 1643, the four Scottish ministerial commissioners to the Westminster Assembly, Alexander Henderson, Samuel Rutherford, Robert Baillie, and George Gillespie, were offered the opportunity to preach before the House of Commons on the monthly fast day (the last Wednesday of the month) from December 27 to March 27, 1644. Then they preached before the House of Lords in the same cycle from May 28 to August 27, 1645. In between, Henderson preached the thanksgiving day sermon before both Houses on July 28, 1644, shortly after the July 2 victory of the Parliamentary army at Marston Moor. This book provides a carefully edited version of these nine sermons, preached by influential formers of the Presbyterian heritage at a crucial juncture of history.
Read chronologically (they are appropriately organized in groups by the respective preachers/authors), they give a sense of the promising but often frustrating progress of this second reformation of church and state in the three kingdoms of the British Isles. One hears the veteran leader Alexander Henderson speaking truth to power with tremendous command of Scripture. There is Samuel Rutherford’s unusual and colorful turning of phrase, blending the sweetness of his Letters with the scholastic depth of his Lex Rex. There is the urgency of Robert Baillie, frustrated with Parliament’s slow progress in adopting presbyterian government in order to achieve church discipline of errors and hardness of heart. And then there is the earnestness of the young George Gillespie, pleading for humble repentance and also humbly acknowledging his own difficulty in interpreting the prophecy of Ezekiel, and yet applying it aptly to his contemporary situation. Of special interest is that the texts for six of these nine sermons come from the prophets and the period of the Babylonian exile and return. The sermons were preached, and no doubt heard and acted upon, with the sense that God is giving a chance to start anew. Although our circumstances today may be different in many ways, these sermons can give us inspiration for renewal in our time.”


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