Hercules Collins died on October 4, 1702. He was interred five days later at Bunhill Fields, the burial ground of dissenters. His funeral sermon was preached by John Piggott, a Seventh-Day Baptist who was renown for his funeral sermons. He preached a number of sermons around this time at the funeral services of prominent London Baptist pastors. The sermon was based on Matthew 24:44, “Therefore be ye also ready; for in such an Hour as you think not, the Son of Man cometh.
The first part of the sermon focused on the biblical text. The latter part of the sermon summarized the life of Collins. This section of the sermon is excerpted below.
In such a posture of soul was he, whose death occasions this discourse. I doubt not but he was actually as well as habitually ready; you know I mean your late worthy pastor Mr. Hercules Collins, concerning whom I have need to say the less, because his doctrine you have heard, and his example you have seen for so many years; the former was agreeable to the sentiments of the reformed churches in all fundamental articles of faith, and the latter such as did adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour…
Pastor Steve Weaver gives an encouragement for pastors to learn from others by way of reading. Here is a snippet with quotes from Hercules Collins and C. H. Spurgeon :
Historically, Baptists have recognized the importance of learning from the works of others. In his book on pastoral ministry, The Temple Repair’d, the seventeenth-century English Baptist pastor Hercules Collins provided his readers with a list of recommend books [see/read them here]. Furthermore, when young men in his Wapping church expressed a desire to begin preaching, they were provided with key biblical and theological works. Collins believed that ministers must labor in their study of the Word of God because of the exalted nature of their work as ministers. Commenting on 2 Timothy 2:15, he wrote,
“We should study to be good workmen because our work is of the highest nature. Men that work among jewels and precious Stones ought to be very knowing of their business. A minister’s work is a great work, a holy work, a heavenly work. Hence the Apostle says “Who is sufficient for these things?” O how great a work is this! What man, what angel is sufficient to preach the gospel as they ought to preach it! You work for the highest end, the glory of God, and the good of immortal souls. You are for the beating down of the kingdom of the devil, and enlarging and exalting Christ’s kingdom.”
The tendency to downplay the importance of reading and studying books in one’s preparation for preaching has been a perennial issue. Some have sought to downplay the importance of God-honoring books out of false sense of piety. But even the apostle Paul, when in prison, urged Timothy to bring “the books” (2 Tim. 4:13). The nineteenth-century’s Prince of Preachers Charles Haddon Spurgeon commented on the example of Paul in a sermon on 2 Timothy 4:13 titled “Paul—His Cloak and His Books.”
“He is inspired, and yet he wants books! He has seen the Lord, and yet he wants books! He has had wider experience than most men, and yet he wants books! He had been caught up in the third heaven, and had heard things unlawful for a man to utter, yet he wants books! He has written a major part of the New Testament, and yet he wants books! The apostle says to Timothy and so he says to every Christian, “Give thyself to reading.” The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains proves he has no brains of his own.”
[V&R: Hardcover 69,99 € | PDF eBook 59,99 € | AMZ:$88 (currently showing out of stock)]
The life and writings of Hercules Collins provide a window into understanding how seventeenth-century Baptists viewed themselves in relationship to historic Christianity and Puritan orthodoxy: Collins was not only a respected member of the Particular Baptist community, but was also a faithful representative of that community. G. Stephen Weaver Jr.’s examination of Collins’ commitment to historic Christianity and Protestant orthodoxy serves as an opportunity to understand better the doctrinal commitments of seventeenth-century English Particular Baptists.
Table of Contents & Foreword by Crawford Gribben [10-page PDF]:
Autobiography of William Kiffin (1616–1701) Chapters 1-3
Kiffin’s influence was very great. Macaulay says, “Great as was the authority of Bunyan with the Baptists, William Kiffin’s was greater still.” He had talents of the highest order; his education was respectable; his sagacity was uncommon; his manners were polished; his piety was known everywhere; and for half a century he was the first man in the Baptist denomination. – Baptist Encyclopedia
The Groans of The Damned Soul or An exposition of those words
in the Sixteenth of Luke, Concerning the Rich Man and the Beggar wherein is discovered the lamentable state of the damned;
their cries, their desires in their distresses, with the determination of God upon them.
A good warning word to sinners, both old and young, to take into consideration betimes, and to seek, by faith in Jesus Christ, to avoid, lest they come into the same Place of Torment.
Also, a brief discourse touching the profitableness of the Scriptures for our instruction in the way of righteousness, according to the tendency of the parable.
Well, now the ax begins to be heaved higher. For now, indeed, God is ready to smite the sinner; yet before He will strike the stroke, He will try one way more at last, and if that misseth, down goes the fig tree. Now this last way is to tug and strive with this professor by the Spirit. Wherefore the Spirit of the Lord is now come to him, but not always to strive with man. Yet awhile He will strive with him; He will awaken, He will convince, He will call to remembrance former sins, former judgments, the breach of former vows and promises, the misspending of former days – He will also present persuasive arguments, encouraging promises, dreadful judgments, the shortness of time to repent in, and that there is hope if He come. Further, He will show him the certainty of death, and of the judgment to come; yea, He will pull and strive with this sinner.
The Redeemer’s Charge Against Declining Churches 1
From Hymnary.org: Wallin, Benjamin, son of Edward Wallin, pastor of the Baptist Church, Maze Pond, Southwark, was born in London in 1711. He received a good education under the care of the Rev. John Needham, of Hitchin (father of the hymnwriter of that name, and was for a time engaged in business. But in 1740 he responded to an earnest request to become pastor of the church over which his father had presided, and this position he retained until his death on Feb. 19, 1782. Mr. B. Wallin published nearly forty sermons, charges, and other small religious books and pamphlets.
Benjamin Beddome (23 January 1717 – 23 September 1795)
Final Rejection of the Wicked
From the Benjamin Beddome Blog: Benjamin beddome (1717-1795) is a largely forgotten 18th century English Baptist preacher, remembered today only as a minor hymnwriter. For over half a century he served as pastor of the Baptist Church Meeting at Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire. He is worth more than a passing glance.
FORASMUCH therefore as we find in the sacred writings, that
the separating those who were called by GOD to office in the
church devolved upon the ministers, and that it .was done by prayer and imposition of hands; and as it does not appear that
the practice of laying on of hands was confined to the conferring the peculiar gifts of the Holy Ghost; and we have no intimation of its being laid aside; we are now come, at the desire of this church, to separate Mr. Abraham Booth to the pastoral office in this community, according to the primitive manner, by prayer and imposition of hands. In order to which, give me leave for the satisfaction of this assembly to make the few following
The Rev. Samuel Eyles Pierce (Upottery, Devonshire, England, 23 June 1746 – Clapham, Surrey, England 10 May 1829) was an English preacher, theologian, and Calvinist divine. A Dissenter from the Honiton area, Pierce was an evangelical church minister aligned with Calvinist Baptist theology. He wrote more than fifty books and many sermons.
From the Founders Web Site: The voluminous amount of material, the persuasiveness of his arguments, and the relevance of his insights show these works to be extraordinary for a man under normally healthy circumstances. However, if one realizes that Dagg was virtually blind, mute and lame at the time of his greatest productivity the accomplishment exceeds comprehension.
This work was first published in weekly installments over a twenty-year span in the London Metropolitan Tabernacle’s periodical, The Sword and the Trowel.
Completed sections were released volume by volume, until the seventh and final volume was released in 1885. Within a decade more than 120,000 sets had been sold. The Treasury of David is a superb literary achievement. Eric Hayden, pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle a century after Spurgeon’s ministry began there, calls this work “Spurgeon’s magnum opus.” Spurgeon’s wife said that if Spurgeon had never written any other work, this would have been a permanent literary memorial.
In his An Orthodox Catechism published in 1680, Hercules Collins’ response to the question, “Doth the Scripture any where expressly forbid the baptizing of infants?” reveals the commitment which he would later argue for in his book on baptism. Collins replied:
It is sufficient that the Divine Oracle commands the baptizing of believers, unless we will make ourselves wiser than what is written. Nadab and Abihu were not forbidden to offer strange fire, yet for so doing they incurred God’s wrath, because they were commanded to take fire from the altar.
This logic by Collins mirrors that of Calvin, who said, “It ought to be sufficient for the rejection of any mode of worship, that it is not sanctioned by the command of God.” This same commitment was shared by all the early Baptists. The earliest Particular Baptists writing on the subject shared Collins’ commitment to worship ordered by Scripture. Of infant baptism, John Spilsbury would write:
For sure I am, there is neither command, or Example in all the New Testament for such practise, as I know, and whatsoever is done in the worship of God, in obedience to Christ, without his command, or apparent example approved of by Christ, is of man, as a voluntary will-worship, after the commandments and doctrines of man; the which Christ testifies as against a vain thing.
Likewise, John Norcott would argue that sprinkling could not serve as a substitute for dipping because “God is a jealous God, and stands upon small things in matters of Worship”:
tis likely Nadab and Abihu thought, if they put fire in the Censer, it might serve, though it were not fire from the Altar; but God calls it strange fire, and therefore he burns them with strange fire, Leviticus 10:2-3.
For these Baptists, baptism was vitally important. Their defense of the practice of believer’s baptism by immersion was driven by their commitment to the regulative principle of worship. In their view, infant baptism simply could not be found in Scripture, and therefore had to be rejected at any cost. Believer’s baptism by immersion, they believed, was the plain testimony of Scripture and was therefore to be defended at all costs.
Robert Boyle’s Considerations Touching the Style of the Holy Scriptures
Thomas Blunderville’s The Art of Logic
Adam Smith’s Rhetoric
Elisha Coles’ Latin Dictionary
Well, there’s the list…
I found at least author’s names and full titles to each work. Some authors were just too prolific to list each work here. Many of these, although not all, are presently available for free. With these links, you have at your fingertips a theological library that would be the envy of almost every 17th Century Puritan pastor.
Please feel free to send me your updates and I will continue to update the list.
Last Friday we saw that, in the context of Singing vs. Not-singing as an element of public worship, Benjamin Keach (1640-1704) advocated the use of Uninspired Hymns. Hercules Collins (-1702) advocated a different position. While he does argue for congregational singing, Pastor Collins advocates for the singing of Metered Psalms and Metered Scripture. The following is taken from his “Orthodox Catechism”. [24 min. readout]
An Appendix concerning the Ordinance of Singing.
My dearly Beloved, whether Churches in general, or Christians in particular, wherever this Appendix may come: Forasmuch as Singing is generally owned to be a Gospel-Ordinance; but the great doubt is with many, what ought to be the matter of the Song; and what manner and mode we ought to sing in? also knowing, that it is heartily desired by many Officers, and other particular Members of some Churches of Christ, that they could agree together to perform this Ordinance of God, especially at the Lord’s Table, & Supper of the Lord, as Christ himself, and his Apostles, did; and that the Churches may come to the practice of this Ordinance, which for many years hath been lost in many Churches, (as the Feast of Tabernacles was for a long time) I mean, Singing after the Lord’s Supper: This is my great design to them that do not practise it, altho it is very clear that this Ordinance was practised at other times by the Church in general, and Saints in particular, which I hope all Churches will further practise as God shall enlighten them into it upon their diligent search.
That Singing vocally and audibly, hath been and still is God’s Ordinance, is proved:
I. From the Command of God, in Eph. 5.19. Speaking to your selves in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs; Sining, and making Melody in your Hearts to the Lord. Col. 3.16. Teaching and admonishing one Another in Psalms, and Hymns, and Spiritual Songs, Singing with Grace in your Hearts to the Lord.
That the Apostle presseth this as an Ordinance, is clear:
1. Because he speaketh to the whole Church, and as a publick Duty, not appropriated to any Office, but as a Command universally on all.
2. The Apostle distinguisheth this Ordinance from that of preaching; or teaching doctrinally, which belongeth to the Officers, or occasionally, to a gifted Brother: For he doth not say, as in other places, Teach and admonish; but gives us the modification of this Admonition, in Psalms, and Hymns, and Spiritual Songs.
Arg. II. As praising God is a Moral Duty, so Singing is often link’d with that Moral Duty, which is universally obliging and perpetually binding, namely, Prayer: Jam. 5.13. Is any among you afflicted? let him pray: Is any merry? let him sing Psalms. That this Duty may particularly be done, this proves; that it must be generally done, the former proveth. So Acts 16.25. Paul and Silas join them together; they hymned God, or celebrated his Praises with an Hymn, or as Beza saith, with singing; and Justin Martyr tells us, in hymning they sang, and sent up Praises to God. See also Psal. 95. 1, 2, 6.
Prayer, we all grant, is a Moral Duty, and is always obliging. We ought to acknowledg God the Giver of all good things, in praying unto him for them; and surely to praise God for the Mercies received, is as great a Duty; and to sing praise to God with the Heart, is one of the best ways of praising God, altho we do grant, God may be praised after another manner.
Arg. III. This is further confirmed by Scripture-Pattern.
1. Christ and his Apostles sung an Hymn together, Mat. 26.30.
2. Godly Princes have honoured God this way, as Hezekiah, 2 Chron. 29.30. So Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. 20.21, 22.
3. Worthy Governors, as Nehemiah, took care to bless God this way, Neh. 7.1. So Moses, Exo. 15.
4. The holy Apostles and Churches in the New Testament have honoured God thus, 1 Cor. 14.15. Eph. 5.19. Col. 3.16.
5. Godly Prophets were much in this Practice. 2 Sam. 22. is a Song of holy David, a little before his death, to bless God for many Mercies; so Moses, Deut. 32. closeth up his Life with a Song.
6. As Singing hath not been too low for Kings and Princes, so not too choice for Subjects. The Body of the People sang, Numb. 21.17. Then Israel Sang this Song, Spring up, O Well, sing ye unto it, Psal. 149. 1, 2.
7. All Sexes have practised this Work, Women as well as Men. Miriam, the Sister of Moses and Aaron, sings a Song to God, Exod. 15. 21. So Deborah, as well as Barak, Judg. 5.1.
8. Primitive Christians were much in this Work. Tertullian saith, When we come to a Feast, we sit not down before there is Prayer; and after Meal is past, one cometh forth with a Psalm, either from the holy Scriptures, or else some spiritual Song of his own composure.
9. Eminent Fathers practised it. Basil calleth Singing, sweet Incense. Augustin was highly in commendation of this, and assures us, that Ambrose and Athanasius were coincident with him in this thing.
10. This Duty is further confirmed by Scripture-Prophecy. Divines observe the 100 Psalm is prophetical of Christ’s Kingdom, wherein there will be great cause of rejoycing. So Isa. 52.7, 8. Musculus saith, Those Watchmen shall jubilee, when they consider the great Joy approaching by Christ’s Redemption.
Arg. IV. Let us further consider,
1. That Singing is the Musick of Nature, and shall not the Saints sing? The Vallies sing, Psal. 65.13. The Mountains and Trees are said to sing, 1 Chron. 16.32, 33.
2. Singing is the Musick of Ordinances. Augustin reports of himself, that when he came to Millain, and heard the People sing, he wept for Joy. Beza confesses, that when he entred into the Congregation, and heard the People sing the 19th Psalm, he was greatly comforted. The Rabbins tell us, that the Jews, after the Feast of the Passeover was celebrated, they sung the 111th Psalm, and the five following. And Christ and his Apostles sung an Hymn after Supper.
3. This is the Musick of Angels, Job 38.7. The heavenly Host, when they proclaimed the Birth of Christ, declared it in this raised way of Singing. Luke 2.13. Rev. 5.11.
4. This is the Musick of Saints, in there triumphant State, in the Bride-Chamber, where will be eternal Hallelujahs, Rev. 15.3. & 19.7, 8, 9. & 5.9, 10, 11, 12, &c. Psal. 30.5. Shall we not begin that Work on Earth, which will be continued in Glory?
Arg. V. Also it is worth our consideration:
1. That this Duty hath been performed in the greatest Numbers. Numb. 21.17. Psal. 149. 1, 2. Exod. 15.
2. In the greatest Straits, Acts 16.25. Paul and Silas sang in Prison. This may serve to rectify the Judgment of some, which ask the question, How they can sing, when in trouble? When some persuaded Luther of the Dangers of the Church, and what a black Cloud did hang over the Church’s head, he then called for the 46th Psalm to be sung, as a Charm against slavish Fear, since called Luther’s Psalm.
3. In the greatest Deliverances this Duty hath also been performed, Exod. 15. when Israel was delivered from Pharaoh’s Host, Psal. 126. So 2 Sam. 22. is a Song for Mercies, and great Deliverances. So shall the Gospel-Church sing after a better manner, when it is out of the Wilderness, and led into the Celestial Canaan, Rev. 5.9, 10, 11, 12.
VI. Such hath been the constant Observation of this Duty, that it hath been performed in all places.
1. Moses praises God by singing in the Wilderness, Exod. 15.
2. David praises God in the Tabernacle, Psal. 27.4, 6.
3. Solomon and Hezekiah in the Temple, extoll Jehovah, 2 Chron. 29.30.
4. Jehoshaphat, in the Camp, 2 Chron. 20.20, 21.
5. Christ and his Apostles, in a private Room, Mat. 26.30.
6. Paul and Silas, in a Prison, Acts 16.25.
7. The Primitive Saints, in publick Assemblies, I Cor. 14.5. Eph. 5. Col 3.
Arg. VII. Consider how this Ordinance hath been crowned:
1. With his own glorious Appearance, 2 Chron. 20.17, 20, 21.
2. Crowned with eminent Miracles, Acts 16.25, 26. As they were praising God, there was a great Earthquake, the Foundation of the Prison was shaken, all the Doors opened, and every Mans Bands loosed.
3. Honoured with eminent Victories, 2 Chron. 20.21, 22.
4. Consider also:
1. This Ordinance is of great Benefit to the Church: It is for Admonition, Col. 3.16. and Teaching.
2. It can sweeten a Prison; so it did to Paul and Silas, Acts 16.
3. It can prepare the Soul for suffering; so Christ sings before he dies, Mat. 26.30.
4. It enlivens and exhilirates the Soul in trouble.
Object. How can a serious Christian sing, where there is a mixt multitude?
Answ. By the same Rule as we may pray and hear with them; for we ought to be as pure in praying as singing. Besides, Singing may be sanctified to the Conviction of Sinners, as well as Praying and Preaching is, tho Singing and Praying properly belongs to the Saints, and is best done by them; yet forasmuch as Prayer and Praises are natural Duties, as well as a part of instituted Worship; and all Men are bound by the Law of their Creation, to seek unto God for what they want, and praise him for what they have: we dare not, when we are about that Work, to shut them out, and say, Stand by your selves, Isa. 65.5. For Praise is the natural Duty of all, the proper Duty of Saints, the perfect Act of Angels.
Quest. But what may be the right Mode and Way of Singing?
Ans. To sing, is not only meant the inward Frame of the Heart, but also of the Voice, is apparent:
1.Because the Word faith, Eph. 5.14. Col. 3.16. They should be speaking to one another, and admonishing one another in Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs: But we cannot admonish one another by silent speakings, and inward rejoicings.
2. As the Apostle saith, there must be Melody in the Heart; so he saith as well, we must sing: one contains the inward Frame, the other, the outward Act. Sing with the Voice, as well as with the Heart.
3. Singing in Scripture is ever put in distinction from reading, praying, & speaking, and commonly signifies a modulation of the Tongue, or expressing any thing musically; and so ’tis a musical speaking. None will say, when they hear a Man speak or pray, that that Man is singing. This would make the greatest confusion in Ordinances imaginable. Hence ’tis said, Christ and his Disciples sung an Hymn, or praised God by singing. And that Paul and Silas sung vocally and audibly, is plain; for ’tis said, the Prisoners heard them, Act. 16.
Ob. Is Singing be with the Voice, why not with Lute, Harp, Organs, and other Instruments?
A. In the New Testament the Voice and Heart are only God’s Instruments. The Voice is still required, because ’tis the immediate Interpreter of the Heart; and tho artificial Instruments are laid aside from God’s Worship, yet not natural ones.
2. The Union of heart, tongue, and Voice, make the spiritual way of Worship under the Gospel compleat. We have not any thing as typical now to look at, as the Lute and Harp were in the Law, as also those Ceremonies which typed out Christ’s Sacrifice; but when the Substance came, the Shadow ceased. So the Spirit being more abundantly poured out, we have no need of those Instruments; but there needs Soul and Body always to sing forth the high Praises of God.
Obj. If any hath a special spiritual Gift of singing in the Church, it may be lawful, but we cannot allow of set Forms.
Ans. Every Man that preaches profitably, hath a set Form in his Head and Heart, how he will deliver his message; & yet that Man may be said to preach by the assistance of the Spirit. Also ’tis lawful for a Man to consider what he wants, before he goes to God by Prayer. For Order is necessary in Prayer, as well as in Preaching, as Christ hath directed us, Mat. 6. in that Form of Prayer; and yet, not-withstanding this Consideration and Order in his mind, he may said to pray with the Spirit’s assistance. So in like manner it is as lawful to compose a Hymn, grounded on the Word of God, in a set Form, and deliver it to the People, either by strength of memory, or as written, as well as deliver a Sermon in a set Form, by Notes, or strength of memory, which is alike grounded on the Word of God.
2. Moreover, to speak of an extraordinary Gift to sing in the Church, is the ready way to weaken the Authority of the Scripture; for how came so many so much to fight the Scriptures, but by pretending to extraordinary Gifts, and new Revelations?
3. It is the ready way to make Hypocrites, and impose a Deceit upon the whole Church: For how easy is it for a Man to compose by strength of parts an excellent Hymn, and deliver it by strength of memory, and pretend he is immediately inspired? How many such Cheats have been in our days?
4. God never made any such Promise of giving an extraordinary Gift of Singing: of Prayer, supplication, Preaching he hath. If there had been such a Gift promised, it would have been made by Christ, as the Gift of Tongues and Miracles was; and then no doubt but the Saints would have been instructed to seek for it, and such as had it, would have been commanded to wait on it, as God doth exhort his to wait on Teaching & Ruling, Rom. 12.
5. To be sure Christ would not ordain an Ordinance of that consequence as Singing is of, which most of the Churches in the World must want the use of, for the want of a pretended Gift. That Christ hath appointed this Ordinance in his Church, we have shewed; that he never promised any extraordinary Gift of Singing, is clear: therefore we may conclude, as God ordinarily giveth every Christian a Spirit of Prayer, so he also hath ordinarily given them a Gift to sing Praises to God: And as many might pray better, if they used it more; so many may want a Gift of Singing for want of use.
6. As for that in I Cor. 14.26. One hath a Psalm, and another a Doctrine, &c. It doth not concern us to expect that Gift as they had, because they had a Doctrine, a Tongue, a Revelation, an Interpretation, a Psalm after an extraordinary manner. Yet we say, tho we have not the Spirit of Prayer, as the Church had, Act. 4. to make the place shake, as the effect of it; nor cannot preach extraordinarily, as Peter did to the 3000, & to the House of Cornelius; yet we say not, Preaching and Prayer is ceased. So tho none should have an extraordinary Gift to sing now, as they might have in the Church of Corinth, yet the Duty remains still in the Church, as a standing Ordinance, as well as Prayer and Preaching.
Obj. But what Psalms must we sing? David’s or a Composure of our own from the holy Scriptures?
Ans. As for singing in the holy Psalms of holy David, as they are in Meeter; as long as they retain the sense and meaning of the reading Psalms, which I think they generally do, I have nothing against the thing, or those which shall do it.
But yet also I do think, that we are at our liberty to compose other parts or portions of God’s Word to that end; provided our Hymns are founded directly on God’s Word, these very Hymns may be called the Word of God, or Spiritual Hymns. For, as a learned Man saith, ’tis the sense and meaning is the Word of God, whether in Prose, or in Meeter; and further saith, We may as well be said to sing God’s Word, as to read it; it is only orderly composed and disposed for that action. Every Duty must be performed according to the Analogy of Faith, and founded on God’s Word. All Prayer or Preaching, that doth not correspond with sacred Writ, notwithstanding any pretence of an extraordinary Inspiration, I am to explode out of God’s Worship. And as Prayer and Preaching must correspond with the sacred Record, so must Singing; and as we count them the best Prayers and Sermons, that are fullest of Scripture, so those Hymns that are founded on the sacred Scriptures, can no more be denied to be of the Spirit, than a Man’s Preaching or Prayer, which is full of the Word of God.
But how must we sing?
1. With Understanding, I Cor. 14.15. As we must pray so we must sing. We must not only be guided by the Tune, but Words of the Psalm, the matter more than the manner; else this would be more the work of a Chorister than a Christian. Upon this Davenant cries out, Adieu to the bellowing of the Papists, who sing in an unknown Tongue. God will not understand us in this Service, which we understand not our selves.
2. We must sing with zeal and affection. Love is the fulfilling of the Law. “Tis a notable saying of Augustin, “Tis not Crying, but Loving sounds in the Ears of God, that makes the Musick. Isa. 5.1.
3. We must sing with Grace, Col. 3.16. “Tis Grace, not Nature, Sweetens the Musick. One well notes, that Grace is the root of true Devotion. God will not hear Sinners when they pray, no, nor when they sing they make a noise like a crack’d String of a Lute or Viol. The Raven only crokes, ’tis the Nightingale sings. The singing of wicked Men is but disturbance, not obedience. The Saints above sing their Hallelujahs in Glory, the Saints below must sing their Psalms with Grace.
4. We must sing with spiritual Joy. Singing is the only triumphant Gladness of a gracious Heart. We must sing, as David danced before the Ark, with Shouting and Rejoycing, 2 Sam. 6.13.
5. We must sing with Faith. This Grace only puts a pleasantness upon every Duty, Heb. 4. 2. We must Bring Faith always to Christ’s Table, or else, as Augustin saith, if Faith be asleep, Christ is asleep. Faith carrieth on this Ordinance of Singing, so as it may be accepted of God.
6. We must sing with excited Grace, not only with Grace habitual, but excited and actual; we must stir up the Grace in us, I Tim 4. 14. And Cry out as David, Psalm 57.8. Awake Love, awake Delight. The Clock must be pull’d up before it can guide our time. God loveth active Grace in Duty, that the Soul should be ready trimm’d when it presents it self to Christ in any Worship.
7. We must sing in the Spirit, as well as pray in the Spirit, I Cor. 14.15, 16. Jude ver. 20. The Spirit must breath as well as Grace acts. Davenant saith, they are called spiritual Songs, in point of their Original. The Spirit excits and compleats the Soul to this holy Service. Thus Eph. 5.18. He exhorts to be filled with the Spirit, and so calls us to sing spiritual Songs as the effect of this Fulness. This Wind must fill our Organs before we can make any musick; ’tis so called, John 3.8.
8. We must take great care to keep our Hearts while about this Work. One observes, Without this we may please Men with the artificial suavity of the Voice, and displease God with the odious impurity of the Heart.
9. Neglect not preparatory Prayer for Singing, as well as other Duties. ‘Tis Jehovah is the great Harmonist, who must put every Heart in Tune, scrue up every Peg of Affection, and strain every String of Meditation. Prov. 16.1.
10. Labour to see thy Interest in Christ clear, when thou goest about this Work. If we are not in Christ, we are certainly out of tune. It is Christ must put acceptation upon this Service as well as others. Here the Altar must sanctifie the Gift. Christ perfumes the Prayers of Saints, Rev. 5.8. And he must articulate their Singing. Though we have Esau’s Garments, he can give us Jacob’s Voice: if we are in him, we can raise our Hearts to a pleasing Elevation.
11. Let us sometimes raise our Hearts into holy Contemplations, let us think of the musick of the Bride-Chamber, there shall be no crackt Strings, displeasing Sounds, harsh Voices, nothing to abate our Melody; there shall be no Willows to hang our Harps upon, Psalm 137.2. In the Bride-Chamber, there shall be no sorrow to interfere. When we sing the Song of the Lamb, there shall be no Grief to jar our Harmony: for which Day let us all pray.
Given the strong views on baptism held by the first three pastors [John Spilsbury, John Norcott, and Hercules Collins] of the Wapping church [“London’s oldest Baptist church”] and these early Baptists’ commitment to holding members accountable to the teaching of Scripture, it should come as no surprise that church members were often disciplined for having their infants sprinkled.
On October 2, 1677, Charles Cheney was excommunicated for (among other things) “the grand Error of the Baptisme of Infants.”
The next month, the Wapping Church Book records that Elizabeth Durbon “was sharply Reproved for the Sin of Sprinkling her Infant Contrary to the Rules of Christ and the Gospel.” Durbon was not excommunicated because when confronted with her “evill” act, she repented of it and “fell under it before them for doing that which was Contrary to the Command of Christ and the practice of the Apostles and the Constitution of this Church and her own Covenant.”
Likewise, in September of 1685, a Brother Hemings was brought before the church where he “did there acknowledge his Evele” in the sprinkling of his child.
It was even considered a serious matter merely to attend an infant’s sprinkling…