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History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines (1/13) by William Hetherington (Free MP3s)
William Hetherington's History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines is the best easy-reading historical account published concerning this unsurpassed Assembly. Hetherington covers the period from 1531 to 1662. Many consider this era a historical high water mark for doctrinal and practical Puritan precision. Also included is a chapter on the theological productions of the Westminster Assembly and six valuable appendices (one containing six biographical notices of the Scottish Commissioners including Rutherford, Gillespie, Henderson and Baillie). This work is indispensable for understanding the work accomplished by the Westminster Assembly, Presbyterian and Independent history, Oliver Cromwell and much more. Anyone interested in the work of the Westminster Assembly -- and the men, teaching and events which were at the heart of this Puritan revolution against the forces of Antichrist -- should read this book at least once.
History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines 2/13 by William Hetherington (Free MP3s)
"All that learning the most profound and extensive, intellect the most acute and searching, and piety the most sincere and earnest, could accomplish, was thus concentrated in the Westminster Assembly's Confession of Faith, which may be safely termed the most perfect statement of Systematic Theology ever framed by the Christian Church." - William Hetherington, The History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, p. 345, SWRB Reprint, emphases added.
History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines 3/13 by William Hetherington (Free MP3s)
History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines 4/13 by William Hetherington (Free MP3s)
"The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) is the greatest, most accurate, and most biblical of all the creeds of the Christian church. The church of Christ cannot be creedless and live. Especially in an age of doubt and confusion, it is her duty to define and proclaim the one true faith. Nowhere has the Reformed church done this so effectively as in the Westminster family of documents. The Westminster Standards represent Reformed thinking at its purest and best. The Westminster Standards were intended, as part of the covenanted reformation taking place during its compilation, to be the binding confessional standard for every individual, family, school, university,church, court, and legislature in England, Scotland and Ireland - and in 'all his majesty's dominions' (including Canada, the United States, Australia, etc.). The Westminster standards were produced in fulfillment of the Solemn League and Covenant, an international covenant with God and some of the most powerful nations on earth at the time of its publication. This Solemn League and Covenant and the Westminster Standards were produced to provide the blueprint for all levels of society to come into obedience to the Word of God in its fullness." - Cited from the "Further Study" section of Greg Barrow's The Covenanted Reformation Defended
History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines 5/13 by William Hetherington (Free MP3s)
History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines 6/13 by William Hetherington (Free MP3s)
"But the man who penetrates a little deeper into the nature of those unrevealed but powerful influences which move a nation's mind, and mould its destinies, will be ready to direct his attention more profoundly to the objects and deliberations of an assembly which met at a moment so critical, and was composed of the great master-minds of the age; and the theologian who has learned to view religion as the vital principle of human nature, equally in nations and in the individual man, will not easily admit the weak idea, that such an assembly could have been an isolated event, but will be disposed earnestly to inquire what led to its meeting, and what important consequences followed. And although the subject has not hitherto been investigated with such a view, it may, we trust, be possible to prove, that it (the Westminster Assembly--RB) was the most important event in the century in which it occurred; and that it has exerted, and in all probability will yet exert, a far more wide and permanent influence upon both the civil and the religious history of mankind than has generally been even imagined." - William Hetherington, History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, p. 17, emphases added (SWRB Reprint)
History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines 7/13 by William Hetherington (Free MP3s)
History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines 8/13 by William Hetherington (Free MP3s)
Is the singing of only Psalms a confessional matter? It is if one subscribes to the Westminster Standards as Subordinate Standards. For The Westminster Confession of Faith:21:5; The Directory For the Public Worship of God: "Of Singing of Psalms"; The Metrical Psalter produced by the Westminster Assembly and approved by the Church of Scotland contained only the 150 Psalms and allowed for none other to be used in public worship. These considerations ought to settle the question as to whether exclusive psalmody was the position of the Westminster Assembly. In the debate that occurred at the Westminster Assembly regarding the singing of psalms in public worship, there was never any recorded debate about the singing of any other songs (whether inspired or uninspired) than those inspired songs found in the Psalter (cf. Minutes Of The Sessions Of The Westminster Assembly Of Divines, ed. Mitchell and Struthers, Still Waters Revival Books, 1874, 1991, pp. xxxvii, 20, 21, 23, 77, 131, 163, 216, 221, 222, 418). The only debate surrounding the singing of psalms related to which version of the psalms to sing (whether Barton's or Rouse's), not to whether the Psalter ought to be the only hymnbook of the Christian Church.
The original intent of the Westminster Assembly, Parliament of England, Church of Scotland, and Parliament of Scotland was not a controverted question: only the Psalms found within the inspired Psalter ought to be sung in public worship. That being the case, one can then argue backwards to see that when the Westminster Divines place Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19, and James 5:13 as proof texts for "singing of psalms with grace in the heart" as an ordinary part of the religious worship of God (WCF 21:5), they found their biblical warrant for exclusive psalmody from the biblical passages they cited. - Pastor Greg Price, see Exclusive Psalmody 6/7 (& the Westminster Standards) by Greg Price (Free MP3)
History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines 9/13 by William Hetherington (Free MP3s)
History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines (10/13) by William Hetherington (Free MP3s)
"The product of Puritan conflict, a perfection of statement never elsewhere achieved." - W.G.T. Shedd on the Westminster Standards
History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines 11/13 by William Hetherington (Free MP3s)
History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines 12/13 by William Hetherington (Free MP3s)
History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines 13/13 by William Hetherington (Free MP3s)
"We do not fear to say of them that they are the finest transfusion into uninspired language of the sublime, awful, blessed truths of the Word of God which the Church has as yet been honored to make... Never can the Covenanters be robbed of the immortal honor of having, while at the summit of their power, published this great principle to the world." - J.A. Wylie, in praise of the Westminster Standards as cited in Johnston's Treasury of the Scottish Covenant, p. 101, emphases added.
"As truly as in the cases of the Nicene and Chalcedonian formularies, the Westminster Standards mark an epoch in the history of human reflection on the truths of the gospel - an epoch in the attainment and registry of doctrinal truth; and as truly in the one case as in the other the statements they give of the truths that fall in their sphere are scientifically final. All attempts at restatement must either repeat their definitions or fall away from the purity of their conceptions or the justness of their language." - Benjamin B. Warfield, "The Significance of the Westminster Standards as a Creed," 1897, emphases added.
As far as I am able to judge, the Christian world, since the days of the Apostles, had never a synod of more excellent divines than this (the Westminster Assembly). - Richard Baxter
Westminster Confession of Faith (1647, original edition) & the Solemn League and Covenant (1643) by the Westminster Divines (Free MP3)
Also contained in this volume are the magnificent Larger and Shorter Catechisms, The Sum of Saving Knowledge and The Directory for the Public Worship of God.
History of the Assembly at Westminster (Puritan, Reformation & Covenanter History) by Greg Price (Free MP3)
The Ten Commandments (Westminster Larger Catechism, 1648) God's Law: Duties & Sins by the Westminster Divines (Free MP3)
Question 1. What is the chief end of man?
Answer. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.
- Westminster Shorter Catechism
Easy To Understand Commentary on the Westminster Standards (1/5) by Greg Price (Free MP3s)
Easy To Understand Commentary on the Westminster Standards (2/5) by Greg Price (Free MP3s)
Easy To Understand Commentary on the Westminster Standards (3/5) by Greg Price (Free MP3s)
Easy To Understand Commentary on the Westminster Standards (4/5) by Greg Price (Free MP3s)
Easy To Understand Commentary on the Westminster Standards (5/5) by Greg Price (Free MP3s)
Paleopresbyterianism Versus Neopresbyterianism, History, Subscriptionism, Westminster Confession of Faith and the Solemn League and Covenant by Dr. Michael Wagner (Free MP3 and PDF)
"The Westminster Standards (including the Confession of Faith and Catechisms) were the fruit of the covenanted uniformity aimed at in the Solemn League and Covenant. The relationship between the Westminster Standards and the Solemn League and Covenant is so close, in fact, that to truly adhere to the Standards requires that an individual or church also adhere to the Solemn League and Covenant. In other words, all true Presbyterians must also be Covenanters. This is clear from 'The Directory for the Ordination of Ministers' in the original (1648) Westminster Standards' 'Form of Presbyterial Church-Government' where it says that every candidate for the ministry must 'bring with him a testimonial of his taking the Covenant of the three kingdoms,' i.e., the Solemn League and Covenant. All faithful Presbyterian ministers must adhere to the Covenant. As well, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland ruled in 1648 'that all young students take the covenant at their first entry to colleges; and that hereafter all persons whosoever take the covenant at their first receiving the sacrament of the Lord's supper.' In other words, people who would not take the Covenant could not partake of the Lord's supper." - Dr. Michael Wagner, Up From Reconstructionism; or, A Short History of the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton, 1996.
In Defense of Close Communion, Classic Presbyterian Reformed Teaching, Lord's Supper by W. J. McKnight (Free MP3)
Another instance in which posterity is recognized in covenant obligation is found in Joshua 9:15. This covenant was made between the children of Israel and the Gibeonites. Between four and five hundred years after that time, the children of Israel are visited with a very severe famine, in the days of David. 2 Sam. 21:1. And it is expressly declared by the Lord that, 'It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.' And at the same time, v. 2, that very covenant is recognized, and the breach of it is stated, as being the formal reason of the divine displeasure. Now, had it not been for this covenant, the extirpation of the Gibeonites would not have been imputed to Israel as a thing criminal; for they were comprehended in Canaanitish nations, which God had commanded them to root out. - William L. Roberts, The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism (1853, emphases added), pp. 139-140, on the Puritan Hard Drive.
The Westminster Standards & Exclusive Psalmody by Greg Price (Free MP3)
It cannot be denied by any student of church history or of the Westminster Standards, that the Puritans taught Exclusive Psalmody. ... The Puritans did not, in their age, teach anything that was not widely accepted. They are formulating no new doctrine. They are simply defending the truth of psalm singing originally commanded in God's word. - Dr. C. Matthew McMahon, The Puritans on Exclusive Psalmody, emphases added
THE PSALMS OF DAVID IN METRE (Scottish Metrical Psalter of 1650) by the Westminster Assembly, Church of Scotland General Assembly & Francis Rouse, 1646-1650) With Devotional Notes On Each Psalm by John Brown Of Haddington
Before the Westminster Assembly of Divines undertook the office of preparing a Directory of Worship, the Parliament had authoritatively adopted measures looking to the removal of organs, along with other remains of Popery, from the churches of England. On the 20th of May, 1644, the commissioners from Scotland wrote to the General Assembly of their church and made the following statement among others:
"We cannot but admire the good hand of God in the great things done here already, particularly that the covenant (Solemn League and Covenant - ed.), the foundation of the whole work, is taken, Prelacy and the whole train thereof extirpated, the service-book in many places forsaken, plain and powerful preaching set up, many colleges in Cambridge provided with such ministers as are most zealous of the best reformation, altars removed, the communion in some places given at the table with sitting, THE GREAT ORGANS AT PAUL'S AND PETER'S IN WESTMINSTER TAKEN DOWN (emphases added), images and many other monuments of idolatry defaced and abolished, the Chapel Royal at Whitehall purged and reformed; and all by authority, in a quiet manner, at noon-day, without tumult."1 So thorough was the work of removing organs that the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" says that "at the Revolution most of the organs in England had been destroyed."2
When, therefore, the Assembly addressed itself to the task of framing a Directory for Worship, it found itself confronted by a condition of the churches of Great Britain in which the singing of psalms without instrumental accompaniment almost universally prevailed. In prescribing, consequently, the singing of psalms without making any allusion to the restoration of instrumental music, it must, in all fairness, be construed to specify the simple singing of praise as a part of public worship. The question, moreover, is settled by the consideration that had any debate occurred as to the propriety of allowing the use of instrumental music, the Scottish commissioners would have vehemently and uncompromisingly opposed that measure. But Lightfoot, who was a member of the Assembly, in his "Journal of its Proceedings"3 tells us: "This morning we fell upon the Directory for singing of psalms; and, in a short time, we finished it." He says that the only point upon which the Scottish commissioners had some discussion was the reading of the Psalms line by line.
1. Girardeau cites this quotation from the Acts of Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 1644.
2. Girardeau cites Art., Organ.
3. Girardeau cites Works, Vol. xiii., pp. 343, 344; London, 1825.
Westminster Shorter Catechism (1648) by The Westminster Assembly Of Covenanted Divines (Free MP3)
Concerning the Westminster Shorter Catechism, A.F. Mitchell, in his Westminster Assembly: Its History and Standards, notes, "...it is a thoroughly Calvinistic and Puritan catechism, the ripest fruit of the Assembly's thought and experience, maturing and finally fixing the definitions of theological terms to which Puritanism for half a century had been leading up and gradually coming closer and closer to in its legion of catechisms" (p. 431).
Richard Baxter said of the Westminster Shorter Catechism, "It is the best Catechism I ever saw - a most excellent sum of the Christian faith and doctrine, and a fit test to try the orthodoxy of its teachers."
Westminster Larger Catechism (1648) 1 of 2 By The Famous Westminster Assembly Of Puritan, Presbyterian & Covenanter Divines (Free MP3)
Westminster Larger Catechism (1648) 2 of 2 By The Famous Westminster Assembly Of Puritan, Presbyterian & Covenanter Divines (Free MP3)
Commentary on the Larger Catechism (2 Volume Set) A Body of Divinity:Wherein the Doctrines of the Christian Religion are Explained and Defended. Being the Substance of ... Lectures on the Westminster Assembly's Larger Catechism by Thomas Ridgeley (Digital Downloads, Enhanced SWRB PDFs)
Election, Reprobation & Predestination In The Reformed Creeds & Confessions - Refuting The Heresies Of Arminianism & Pelagianism by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon (Free MP3)
The Sum of Saving Knowledge (Free MP3)
Creeds and Confessions: What the Bible Teaches It Means To Be Orthodox by Greg Barrow On the Westminster Confession (Free MP3)
The Reasons Presented by the Dissenting Brethren Against Certain Propositions Concerning Presbyterial Government. And the Proofs of them Voted by the Assembly of Divines, sitting by authority of Parliament, at Westminster... by Westminster Assembly
"There was one great, and even sublime idea, brought somewhat indefinitely before the Westminster Assembly, which has not yet been realized, the idea of a Protestant union throughout Christendom, not merely for the purpose of counterbalancing Popery, but in order to purify, strengthen, and unite all true Christian churches, so that with combined energy and zeal they might go forth, in glad compliance with the Redeemer's commands, teaching all nations, and preaching the everlasting gospel to every creature under heaven.
This truly magnificent, and also truly Christian idea, seems to have originated in the mind of that distinguished man, Alexander Henderson. It was suggested by him to the Scottish commissioners, and by them partially brought before the English Parliament, requesting them to direct the Assembly to write letters to the Protestant Churches in France, Holland, Switzerland, and other Reformed Churches. ... and along with these letters were sent copies of the Solemn League and Covenant, a document which might itself form the basis of such a Protestant union.
The deep thinking divines of the Netherlands apprehended the idea, and in their answer, not only expressed their approbation of the Covenant, but also desired to join in it with the British kingdoms. Nor did they content themselves with the mere expression of approval and willingness to join. A letter was soon afterwards sent to the Assembly from the Hague, written by Duraeus (the celebrated John Dury), offering to come to the Assembly, and containing a copy of a vow which he had prepared and tendered to the distinguished Oxenstiern, chancellor of Sweden, wherein he bound himself 'to prosecute a reconciliation between Protestants in point of religion'.
On one occasion Henderson procured a passport to go to Holland, most probably for the purpose of prosecuting this grand idea. But the intrigues of politicians, the delays caused by the conduct of the Independents, and the narrow-minded Erastianism of the English Parliament, all conspired to prevent the Assembly from entering farther into that truly glorious Christian enterprise." - William Hetherington, The History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, (Edmonton, Alberta: Still Waters Revival Books), pp. 337-339, on the Puritan Hard Drive.
Pastor Greg L. Price Reviews and Recommends
the Puritan Hard Drive
Pastor Greg L. Price
I was one of those who had profited much from using the plethora of out-of-print Reformation materials offered by Still Waters Revival Books in the 62 CDs (Puritan CDs and Reformation CDs) for a number of years in my ministry -- works that I could only have found in select libraries (usually hundreds of miles away from my residence).
With the CDs, it took a little while to go to the index of each set, locate the documents I needed, and then find the correct CD. Of course, the time was always well spent in finding that particular document that I needed.
However, now that I have the Puritan Hard Drive, I am able to use my time much more efficiently in finding that particular document I need by quickly searching for it and finding it in a matter of seconds. It's like going from "dial up" to "high-speed" Internet!
And for all of those documents that have a font that are in block letters, I am able to simply cut and paste from the Puritan Hard Drive to my own document with ease.
Amazing surprises do come in small packages!
If you want to understand Reformed theology (i.e., the whole counsel of God) the Puritan Hard Drive is unsurpassed, outside the Bible itself. The First and Second Reformations gave us the most faithful Scriptural teaching and preaching since the time of the Apostles, and there is no other resource, outside Scripture itself, where you can find so much of God's truth as in the Puritan Hard Drive.
May the Lord continue to use this most profitable tool to promote a Third Reformation that encompasses the whole world (Isaiah 2:2-4)!
- Pastor Greg L. Price (Covenanted Presbyterian Pastor, Author, Theologian, etc.) Free online books, MP3s and videos by Greg Price at https://www.swrb.com/newslett/freebook/gprice.htm
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