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As you will see below, the new SWRB Puritan Hard Drive is "a true technological revolution in Christian (Puritan, Reformation, Presbyterian, Reformed Baptist and Covenanter) studies," for which we give the Lord all the thanks and glory! More videos are forthcoming shortly, as there are many powerful features on the Puritan Hard Drive to showcase.
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The new SWRB Puritan Hard Drive works on both PCs and Macs.
SWRB's PURITAN HARD DRIVE is the most extensive and robust Reformation study tool ever created — thanks be to the Lord! It presently contains over one million dollars worth of classic and contemporary Puritan and Reformation books (PDFs), MP3s and videos, a comprehensive custom search/interface program (SWRB KnowledgeBase, see screenshots below), and a powerful embedded database. The extensive world-class KnowledgeBase software and database are also fully upgradeable (via free Web downloads we will provide as new features are released), so the PURITAN HARD DRIVE can grow with you as you grow in the Lord. Moreover, all future SWRB publications (PDF books, MP3s and videos), as well as resources from other participating publishers, may also be downloaded free, or at a nominal cost (most for just 99 cents each), as they become available in the future. These low cost digital downloads will be completely integrated with the KnowledgeBase and database on the PURITAN HARD DRIVE and will even include the rarest of Reformation resources, which can cost thousands of dollars each on the antiquarian book market (e.g., just one eight volume set presently on the Puritan Hard Drive cost $US28,000.00 to obtain for scanning). Additionally, as an added bonus, most books on the Puritan Hard Drive are either already in text format or have been ORCed using state-of-the-art Optical Character Recognition software. We have even embedded indexing in the OCRed books (PDFs) so that they are not only searchable, but can be searched a lighting fast speeds (see below for more details). You may also cut and paste from these books! We have also appended extensive indices to all of the searchable books to further aid you in you studies. In short, the PURITAN HARD DRIVE can greatly increase your knowledge of the Lord and His truth (by God's grace) in much less time than any other study method or tool of which we are aware. Furthermore, in the 25 years we have been building the PURITAN HARD DRIVE, only the very best resources were selected for inclusion, which means you will have virtually instant access to the very best (and most sanctified) Christian minds in history on virtually every topic you can imagine. Never before has a Christian study tool this powerful ever existed, all thanks and glory be to the Lord! Please take full advantage of the best Christian (Puritan and Reformed) study resources and cutting edge educational technology ever available, at the lowest price possible, by purchasing the PURITAN HARD DRIVE today (or before the prepublication sale ends) — you (and your family and your church) will be very thankful you did!
"Study to shew thyself approved unto
God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of
truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).
THE MOST EXTENSIVE AND POWERFUL REFORMATION STUDY TOOL EVER PRODUCED!
An Exhortation to Suffer Persecution and to Flee Outward Idolatry (1553)
Calvin's Selected Works (7 Volumes)
Devotions and Prayers of John Calvin
Acts of the Council of Trent: With the Antidote
The Eternal Predestination of God
The Secret Providence of God
Calvin on the Free Offer of the Gospel
Catechism of the Church of Geneva, Instruction for Children in the Doctrine of Christ
Comparison Between the False Church and the True
Instrumental Music in the Worship of God
Inventory of Relics
Sermons on Timothy and Titus
Shunning the Unlawful Rites of the Ungodly and Preserving the Purity of the Christian Religion
Sermons on Job (1574)
Sermons on Deuteronomy (1583)
The Rise of the Papacy with Proof from Daniel and Paul that the Pope is Antichrist
Necessity of Reforming the Church (1544)
Treatises on the Sacraments
The True Method of Giving Peace to Christendom and of Reforming the Church (1548)
The Unity of the Reformed Churches
CALVIN, JOHN, THE WESTMINSTER DIVINES & OTHERS
Selected Writings on Justification by Faith and the Free Offer of the Gospel for the Succor and Comfort of the Troubled Saint, and the Convicted Sinner
(MP3s from John Calvin's book Come Out From Among Them, The Anti-Nicodemite Writings of John Calvin)
Separation From False Worship, Idolatry & Popish Principles by John Calvin
Suffering Outside the Camp by John Calvin
Seeking the Lord's Face by John Calvin
The Importance of Outward Means of Grace by John Calvin
Shunning the Unlawful Rites of the Ungodly and Preserving the Purity of the Christian Religion
JOHN CALVIN ON SEPARATION FROM FALSE WORSHIP (i.e. worship not based on the second commandment or what is now called the regulative principle of worship) AND WORSHIPPING PRIVATELY (IN YOUR HOME)
"Some one will therefore ask me what counsel I would like to give to a believer who thus dwells in some Egypt or Babylon where he may not worship God purely, but is forced by the common practice to accommodate himself to bad things. The first advice would be to leave [i.e. relocate--GB] if he could. . . . If someone has no way to depart, I would counsel him to consider whether it would be possible for him to abstain from all idolatry in order to preserve himself pure and spotless toward God in both body and soul. ***Then let him worship God in private*** (in his home--RB), praying him to restore his poor church to its right estate (John Calvin, Come Out From Among Them, The Anti-Nicodemite Writings of John Calvin, Protestant Heritage Press, "A Short Teatise," pp. 93-94, emphases added. Come Out From Among Them is also on the new PHP CD at http://www.swrb.com/newslett/FREEBOOK/KReed.htm).
John Calvin quote (above) cited in: Appendix G in The Covenanted Reformation Defended by Greg Barrow (http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/append_g.htm), "A brief examination of Mr. Bacon's principles regarding the visible church and the use of private judgment. Also, some observations regarding his ignoble attack upon Kevin Reed in his book entitled The Visible Church in the Outer Darkness."
Romans 16:17 is also very clear on this point:
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the (Apostolic--RB) doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
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If it be inquired, then, by what things chiefly the Christian religion has a standing existence amongst us, and maintains its truth, it will be found that the following two not only occupy the principal place, but comprehend under them all the other parts, and consequently the whole substance of Christianity: this is, a knowledge, first, of the mode in which God is duly worshipped; and, secondly, of the source from which salvation is to be obtained. When these are kept out of view, though we may glory in the name Christians, our profession is empty and vain. After these come the sacraments and the government of the church... (John Calvin, The Necessity of Reforming the Church [Presbyterian Heritage Publications, 1544, reprinted 1995], p. 15).Second Reformation thought on church communion is clearly echoed in the words of the Reformed Presbytery, in 1876, when they declared,
In this age of boasted charity, but really 'detestable neutrality and indifferency,' it is an irksome and painful task, but a duty, thus to bear testimony against churches, in which are to be found, no doubt, many precious sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. But personal piety never was, nor possibly can be, the condition of fellowship in the visible church. To think so, and say so, is one of the most popular delusions of the present day. It puts the supposed pious man, speaking his experience, in the place of God, speaking his sovereign will in the Bible. This is the height of impiety. (Act, Declaration, and Testimony for the Whole of Our Covenanted Reformation, p. 175).These testimonies remain true today (and maybe even more so), as the close communion doctrine of the Reformation continues to be much misunderstood and even more maligned. The false ecumenists (and theological egalitarians and pluralists) of our day continue to batter away at this foundation of the Reformation doctrine of the church -- while even many of those that profess to be the heirs of the Reformation are found to be ignorant regarding this point. Any doctrine of communion which does not take into account the biblical command to "be of one mind" (cf. Rom. 15:6, 2 Cor. 13:11, Phil. 1:27, Phil. 2:2, 1 Pet. 3:8) at a corporate, visible level is skewed from the beginning. In short, latitudinarian schemes of open communion (which only include the so-called "essentials" of the faith) are schismatic (i.e. if we do not confuse "schism" with "separation"). As Dodson notes, in his Open Letter to an RPCNA Elder, one should not
confuse 'schism' with 'separation.' They are not the same thing. John Brown, of Haddington, states, 'that schism in scripture, chiefly, if not solely, represents alienation of affection, and disagreement among those who continue the same joint attendance on the ordinances of the gospel,' 1 Cor. 12:25; 1:10. Augustine said, 'It is not a different faith makes schismatics, but a broken society of communion.' In no place, in the Bible, does the word 'schism' appear to signify 'visible separation.' Error in doctrine, corruption in worship and tyranny in discipline, render separation unavoidable, to escape the sin of schism. Your conception of what constitutes 'schism' is that of Rome. If 'schism' is 'separation;' and 'There is no precedent for schism [re: separation] in the Bible;' then, on what basis did Protestants leave Rome? Every Reformer owned that Rome is, in some sense, a Church of Christ. After all, that man of sin is seated in the 'temple of God,' as they taught (emphases added).Schismatic schemes promoting open communion (of which paedocommunion is presently at the head), attempt to "dumb down" (to a greater or lesser degree) the requirements for partaking at the Lord's table. Loose and latitudinarian schemes of communion lead to churches that stand for little -- or nothing -- over time; while a Scripturally regulated close communion tends to the exact opposite end. Anderson makes this very point in his preface to this book, "corruption is the native consequence of latitudinarian schemes, (while) scriptural order in sacramental communion tends to make the visible church a heaven on earth to the faithful, terrible as an army with banners to her enemies, and to her King and Head for a name, for a praise and for glory." If you love the purity and peace of Christ's church and agree with the words of John Calvin, when he wrote, "We are only contending about the true and lawful constitution of the church, required in the communion not only of the sacraments (which are the signs of profession) but also especially of doctrine" (John Calvin's Institutes, 4.2.12), then you will find a meaty meal in Alexander and Rufus -- for the author not only deals with the larger questions related to church communion, but also weaves into the fabric of this book many specific threads relating to practical applications and doctrinal controversies. Moreover, notwithstanding a couple of peculiar doctrinal foibles originating from the Seceder camp, in opposition to the Covenanters (especially regarding civil government and some points of the law), a plethora of subjects relative to the Reformed view of communion, church union, testimony-bearing, etc., are all dealt with here -- and these points are given the kind of attention (along with Scriptural and historical accuracy) that will be greatly appreciated among those familiar with the precise views of the "old dissenters" of Scottish origin. Additionally, Anderson is not shy about proclaiming the fact that Scripture teaches that anti-Calvinists (i.e. Romanists, Pelagians, Arminians, Amyraldians, etc.), anti-paedobaptists, anti-regulativists, and a host of others that deny the apostolic faith (at points related to the doctrine, worship, government and discipline of the church), should be barred from the table of the Lord (arguing a fortiori from Math. 5:23-24); but, he is also careful to distinguish between the Popish and Prelatical views of excommunication (which equate excommunication with a sentence to hell) and the Calvinistic view which recognizes that those who are among the elect can at times come under the sentence of excommunication. For example, Greg Price has noted (in a forthcoming book on the visible church and separation) that "John Calvin distinguishes between anathema and excommunication. The former sentences one to hell, the latter puts one outside the fellowship of the church" (cf. John Calvin's Institutes 4.12.10). Samuel Rutherford makes the same distinction in his Survey of the Survey of that Summe of Church Discipline (1658) commenting on 1 Cor. 16:22 and 1 Cor. 5, as does James Fraser of Brae, on page 210, in The Lawfulness and Duty or Separation from Corrupt Ministers and Churches (1744). It is also not without significance that Anderson's contendings can be seen to be nothing more than classic second Reformation teaching regarding fencing the Lord's table. Samuel Rutherford comments,
Because the Churches take not care, that Ministers be savoury and gracious; from Steermen all Apostasie and rottenness begin. O if the Lord would arise and purge his House in Scotland! As for Church-members, they ought to be holy; and though all baptized be actu primo members, yet such as remain habitually ignorant after admonition, are to be cast out, and though they be not cast out certainly, as paralytick or rottened members cannot discharge the functions of life: So those that are scandalous, ignorant, malignant, unsound in faith, lose their rights of Suffrages in election of Officers, and are to be debarred from the Seals. Nor can we defend our sinful practise in this: it were our wisdom to repent of our taking in the Malignant party, who shed the blood of the people of God, and obstructed the work of God, into places of Trust in the Church State, and the Army, contrary to our Covenants, they continuing still Enemies (Survey of the Survey, p. 373).This is confirmed throughout The Acts of the General Assemblies of the Church of Scotland, From the Year 1638 to the Year 1649 Inclusive. Here is a partial list of offences recorded in The Acts for which people were disciplined: innovations in worship; neglecting daily family worship; Sabbath breaking; covenant refusing, covenant breaking and speaking against the national covenants; Arminianism; celebrating man-ordained holydays (e.g. Christmass); familiar fellowship with those excommunicated; promoting, countenancing, hearing or accepting false church government and unlawful ministers (whether Popish, Episcopal or sectarian [Independent]); slander; contumacy, etc.
The catholic church comprehends all that profess the true religion. There is a lawful and necessary division of it into sections in respect of local situation. But when a number of people, bearing the Christian name, combine together as a distinct society, for the purpose of maintaining and propagating doctrines and practices, which, instead of belonging to the true religion, are contrary to it; they ought not, considered as such a combination, to be called a lawful section of the catholic church (i.e. constitutionally, according to their public character and profession--RB). It is not denied, that they belong to the catholic church (in as far as they, as individuals, profess the truth--RB); but it is denied, that there ought to be any such section or division in it. Thus, there ought to be no section of the catholic church, having for the peculiar end of its distinct subsistence, the support of episcopal hierarchy, unknown in the Scripture, of the propagation of antipaedobaptism, or of anti-scriptural doctrine, in opposition to that of God's election, redemption, effectual calling and the conservation of his people, as delivered in the scripture; or for the support of ways and means of divine worship not found in Scripture. If the catholic visible church were brought to a suitable discharge of her duty, she would abolish all such sections. But no society ought to be called such an unlawful section, while it can be shown that it subsists as a separate society for no other end, than for the maintaining of something in the doctrine, worship or government of the church which belongs to the Christian religion as delivered in the word of God, or for exhibiting a testimony against prevailing errors and corruptions which the scripture requires the catholic church to condemn. Such a profession of any party of Christians is no sectarian profession; and a union with them is not a sectarian, but properly a Christian union; and, being cordial and sincere, is a union in Christ; and communion upon the ground of this union is truly Christian communion. On the other hand, however much of our holy religion any body of Christians hold in common with others, and however many of them we may charitably judge to be saints, yet while their distinguishing profession is contrary to the word of God, communion with them, as a body so distinguished, is sectarian communion; as it implies a union with them in that which ought to be rejected by the whole catholic church (pp. 10-11, emphases added).Commenting on "Alexander's" latitudinarian contention that Calvin would have tolerated Arminians and idolaters at the Lord's table (which together comprise the two main areas of Calvin's concern for ecclesiastical Reformation, as cited at the head of this review), "Rufus" replies,
Considering that the Arminian scheme includes some of the most pernicious errors of Popery, how reproachful it is to the memory of Calvin, to call such a base proposal, his plan revived and prosecuted? Did Mr. Calvin ever speak of independent churches in the one church of Christ? Or of promoting union, by holding sacramental communion with the professed teachers of false doctrine, as every Arminian teacher is, or with the professed defenders of superstition in the worship of God? By no means (Alexander and Rufus, p. 159).Furthermore, it is a well documented fact that the Genevan Presbytery of John Calvin's day, in 1536, sought to excommunicate anyone who would not swear an oath to uphold the Reformed doctrine as it was set forth in their Confession of Faith. T.H.L. Parker writes,
Since the evangelical faith had only recently been preached in the city, and there were still many Romanists, the ministers also urged excommunication on the grounds of failure to confess the faith. The Confession of faith, which all the citizens and inhabitants of Geneva... must promise to keep and to hold had been presented to the Council on 10 November 1536. Let the members of the Council be the first to subscribe and then the citizens, 'in order to recognize those in harmony with the Gospel and those loving rather to be of the kingdom of the pope than of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.' Those who would not subscribe were to be excommunicated (John Calvin: A Biography of the Life of John Calvin, p. 63, emphases added).Moreover, those who would not submit to "John Calvin's" close communion were not only proceeded against with negative ecclesiastical sanctions, but they came under negative civil sanctions also.
John Calvin, during the First Reformation, showed that he supported the concept of Covenanted Reformation by requiring all the residents of Geneva to take an oath in support of the Reformation. The 'Register of the Council of 24' of Geneva notes as follows: 12 November 1537. It was reported that yesterday the people who had not yet made their oath to the reformation were asked to do so, street by street; whilst many came, many others did not do so. No one came from the German quarter. It was decided that they should be commanded to leave the city if they did not wish to swear to the reformation (Scribner, Bob and Pamela Johnston. 1993. The Reformation in Germany and Switzerland, Cambridge University Press, p. 138, emphases added).Now, it should be obvious to those who know the commandments of God that an honest man cannot swear an oath to uphold a confession that he does not believe. To do so, even if the man disagrees with only one point of the confession, is to violate both the third and ninth commandments -- and to play the Jesuit (see the Westminster Larger Catechism on the duties required and the sins forbidden concerning the third and ninth commandments; these can be found as questions and answers 112, 113, 144, and 145). Such false swearing is also, by definition, perjury (I wonder how many perjured officers reside in Presbyterian and Reformed churches today?). To encourage others to so swear is subornation to perjury. These are all serious sins in themselves and all worthy of excommunication and civil penalties -- as John Calvin and the other Genevan Reformers rightly taught and practiced.
The term sectarian, the favorite watch-word of this author, tends to divert the attention from the matter in dispute. The question is, whether a church's refusing to have sacramental communion with such as openly avow their opposition to one or more articles of her scriptural profession has such effects as are now mentioned? Does this refusal break up the unity of the church at large? By no means. The truths of God's word constitute the bond of unity in the catholic church; so far as they are publicly professed and preserved in the doctrine, worship, and government of the several particular churches. Hence it is evident, that what breaks up the peace of the catholic church, is not the faithfulness of particular churches in refusing, but their laxness in granting sacramental communion to the avowed opposers of undoubted truths of God's word, as exhibited in the public profession of any of the churches, every instance of this laxness tending to weaken the bond of their union. Does refusing sacramental communion with the avowed opposers of the truths of God, publicly professed by a particular church, chill the warmth of love to the catholic church? surely no: for it is manifestly the interest of the catholic church that every particular church should hold these truths in her public profession, and not tolerate opposition to them in her communion. Hence it must give sincere pleasure to a lover of the catholic church to see a particular church uniformly faithful in refusing church communion to open opposers of any one of the truths of God contained in her public profession... Does the faithfulness of a particular church, in refusing to have sacramental communion with the open opposers of any article of her scriptural profession, hinder her from using any means appointed in the word of God for promoting his spiritual kingdom? This is so far from being the case, that this refusal is supposed and implied in the use of several proper means for that end; such as, a church's contending for the whole truth exhibited in her public profession; the judicial assertion of the truths of God's word, and the judicial condemnation of the contrary errors; committing the word to faithful men, who will teach others the whole truth and nothing but the truth, according to the public profession or testimony of the church, in due subordination to the holy scriptures; recognising the solemn engagements, which the church has come under to preserve whatever measure of reformation has been attained. These means, which are certainly appointed in the word of God, cannot be sincerely used by any particular church, unless she be careful, that such as are avowed and obstinate opposers of any article of her scriptural profession, may not be received into, or continued in her communion. Whilst these means, of our Lord's appointment, are willfully neglected, we have little ground to expect the Divine blessing on such other means as men may pretend, to use for the advancement of his spiritual kingdom (pp. 92-93, emphases added).To see how closely this mirrors John Calvin's teaching, see pages 126 to 135 in The Necessity of Reforming the Church (Presbyterian Heritage Publications' edition).
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