Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Household Baptism – A different approach

As is well known the Brethren are often differentiated into two groupings: Open and Exclusive. The Open Brethren have been largely Independent in terms of government. The Exclusive Brethren reject this Independency and 'maintain that they [the Open Brethren] have lost the truth of the Church and have become a system of independent gatherings quite contrary to the truth of the One Body "fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth"'. They point out that 'there is one doctrine and practice which is held by all Open Brethren assemblies - except perhaps by one or two of exclusive origin - which is that baptism must be only for believers of a responsible age on confession of faith. Most meetings refuse to allow a person to break bread unless he has been baptised as a believer, and if he was baptised as an infant it does not count in their eyes. The doctrine of household baptism is rigidly rejected and no teaching of it would be allowed'. W.R. Dronsfield, The "Brethren" since 1870, London, Chapter Two, 2002.

There are many aspects of Brethren teaching that we cannot accept as scriptural. It is interesting, nonetheless to see how those who are not covenantal in theology but dispensational regarding the New Testament and the Church as entirely separate from the Old Testament do find household baptism within the New Testament. Most of the principles upon which Reformed writers would make their case are entirely the same as those referred to by the Brethren writers. This is because the basic principles of interpreting Scripture have been preserved. It shows that there is evidence enough in the New Testament for household baptism and that the crucial issue in the controversy relating to baptism is how the Scriptures should be interpreted. SM Anglin points out that "it is not a matter of command, but of acting according to the principles which Scripture makes known and establishes. We must remember that principles are not deductions or suppositions; they form an important part of the Word of God, and are for our guidance. We have before seen that there is no command to be baptized, and we have also shown that Scripture lays down no rules as to who should be baptized, but we have Scriptural teaching, principles, and practice to guide us."

It is not always appreciated that J.N. Darby held to household baptism. Volume 2 of his Letters provide some detail on his views. While rejected amongst the Open Brethren, household baptism has generally been held to by the various branches of the Exclusive Brethren. Writers belonging to these branches have sought to draw out some of the principles present in Darby's views. Some of the main writers are SM Anglin, FW Grant and CW Wycherley.

Is there a Command?

Anglin points out How often one hears it said: "We have the plain command of Scripture, 'Believe and be baptized' "; this is the stronghold of many, and yet there is no such expression in the Word, nor indeed any command to be baptized." "There are some who content themselves with asserting that there is no command in the Scriptures for baptizing the children of a believer, as though this settled the matter." This ignores that there is neither record nor command for a child of a Christian to be baptized as a believer. It is not, however, "a matter of command, but of acting according to the principles which Scripture makes known and establishes. We must remember that principles are not deductions or suppositions; they form an important part of the Word of God, and are for our guidance. We have before seen that there is no command to be baptized, and we have also shown that Scripture lays down no rules as to who should be baptized, but we have Scriptural teaching, principles, and practice to guide us. If any will go in for command, there is only one, and that possibly is too comprehensive for them, namely, Matthew 28: 19-20."

FW Grant says of this verse. "Let us notice first more fully the words of the commission: "Disciple, baptising and teaching," show in their order that the teaching is that which perfects the disciple,- necessarily, because a "disciple" is a scholar: the baptism only gives him his place as that; it is authoritative reception into the school. It is the marking off, in a world which has rejected Christ and His words, of those who receive them and thus acknowledge Him. It shows that the kingdom is not territorial, that people are not born naturally into it, that it is individual now, not national, as in the case of Israel. The meaning of it as a symbol shows much more than this. Whether this subjection to Christ is real or not remains to be determined, and is not to be settled beforehand by the baptizer; although, of course, that in which it is professed must not be suffered to lapse from its meaning and be trifled with by frivolous use.

We are told, however, that "Jesus made and baptized disciples" (Jno. iv. i), and that this gives a contrary thought. But, in fact, it only emphasizes what is true, - that it is the Word, the teaching, that really makes disciples, which is of course true. If we think of what is implied in discipleship, the Word is necessarily the fundamental thing, the water but the formal, although that too may have importance. Who would say that the dying thief was not a disciple, although he had no opportunity of being baptized? On the other hand, to say that Jesus "made and baptized disciples" does not necessarily mean that they were disciples first, as the second part of the statement may be explanatory of the former, and needed to complete the idea to be conveyed: as when it is said (Ex. xxix. 7), "Thou shalt pour it upon his head and anoint him," these two things are really one, and not different acts; and the last expression but explains the former."

In relation to Mark 16:16 Anglin comments. "Mark 16: 16 is a favourite passage with those who oppose household baptism, but it proves too much, for according to it a person is not saved till baptized; but these say you must be saved first and baptized after. The fact is, the Lord is there looking at salvation in its full sense, connected with the time we are here on earth as well as with eternity, and for this two things are necessary. The vital and by far the most important one is put first, viz. faith, and the other is baptism; it is not a question of which comes first in point of time, but both must be true of the person before he is saved in the sense spoken of there. We need hardly say that a person is fit for the glory – for heaven – the moment he believes, and, like the thief on the cross, could go straight to Paradise through virtue of Christ's work, but when one remains on earth, it is another thing; there is a place where Christ is professedly owned and the faith of Christ is acknowledged, and if not there previously, such an one should then be brought there. If previously there, of course he cannot be brought there, though not saved till he believes; and if not there when he believes he is not saved (as to his place on earth) till baptized, and thus brought there; and, if the head of a family, it is his privilege to bring his children there also, and train them up in the faith of Christ, counting upon God to give life and faith to them also. When this latter takes place they too are saved, as the two things are true of them – they are believers and are baptized; this is what Mark 16 teaches; but it is not faith to say, I will wait first and make sure that my children have faith and divine life, and baptize them then'; though, of course, if not baptized before they ought to be so then on the ground of professed repentance and faith.The verse, however, is in full keeping with household baptism, as, surely, one part of Scripture must be with another."

Baptism brings onto Christian Ground

Darby writes: "The question as to children is not are they converted, but are they to be left in the devil's dominion, or brought where the Holy Ghost dwells, to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?" As Darby taught, Exclusive Brethren authors teach that baptism brings a person on to Christian ground. Anglin writes "Scripture presents it to us as reception on to Christian ground, or position on earth, from amongst Jews or Gentiles. It constitutes the person baptized a Christian as to his position here on earth, and introduces him thereby into the outward privileges of Christianity." This is seen in Acts 10 when Cornelius and other Gentiles are baptised. Peter asks: "Can anyone forbid water that these should not be baptized?", etc.

Clearly baptism was connected with privilege in his mind, or else his words have no meaning; but it was not admission to the privileges of Judaism, or he would have said: "Can anyone forbid circumcision?" Thus, I may say, baptism supersedes circumcision, as Christianity supersedes Judaism. Here, again, it is not the obedience to a command by those baptized, but the reception of persons whom Peter saw ought to be received. God had already owned them and given them the greatest gift, making no difference between them and the circumcision, and thus the way to their reception was clear; Peter owns it, and says in substance to those with him (for his remarks and directions are addressed to his companions of the circumcision), bring them in, they ought not to be kept outside'; and this they did by baptizing them."

"When a Jew was thus awakened (as in Acts 2) would he be content to escape from the apostate condemned place himself and leave his family there? Surely not; but, as in Egypt of old, would say "not a hoof shall be left behind". He would not wait till they grew up leaving them to choose between Judaism and Christianity for themselves." (Anglin)

Baptism is connected with Christ's lordship and authority

These writers speak of baptism as "putting on Christ, which is connected with His lordship and authority; and with positional identification with Him on earth; for baptism relates entirely to our position on earth under God's government" (Anglin). As Wycherley points out Galatians 3: 27 says, "As many as have been baptized unto Christ have put on Christ" but the Baptist version of this would have to read 'As many as have put on Christ by faith ought to be baptized'.

In relation to Gal. 3:27 FW Grant writes: "in the words used, we have not, as so many suppose, any implication of necessary activity in the person who "puts on" Christ. The same word, only compounded with the preposition "upon," and in the first aorist middle, exactly as here, is used in 2 Cor. V. 2 for our "being clothed upon with our house that is from heaven," and we might there speak of "putting on" the resurrection body, or here of our being "clothed with" Christ. The responsibility of the baptismal place belongs to the one in it, however the grace of God may have wrought in putting him in. To a child who has been baptized in infancy - allowing for a moment that God has given them the privilege of this,- one could say, "You were clothed with Christ."

The exhortation in Rom. Xlii. 14 is not inconsistent with this. It is, what we have not in English, an in imperative in the past (the aorist), and means, "be as one that has been clothed with Christ."

If baptism is the putting on of Christ, even this does not necessarily imply any voluntary activity; for so it is said that "this corruptible puts on incorruption, and this mortal immortality;" and man in dying puts off his tabernacle". Anglin says that in this passage in Galatians, the apostle "refers to their baptism, and says, as it were, You have put on Christ by your baptism (as many as were baptized), why put on Moses?' They were outwardly identified with Christ by their baptism – had put Him on. Just as of old Israel were baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea. All were baptized to him – men, women, and children – and therefore outwardly connected with him, and under his authority. How they might act afterwards was another thing, and whether they had faith or not remained for the wilderness to prove".

Grant writes that in 1 Cor 10 "Baptized unto Moses" has...the force of "set apart to Moses" as disciples. So those who were baptized with John's baptism were John's disciples. So have we found the Lord bidding to "disciple, baptizing." "Baptized unto the name of the Father" is discipled to the truth of what God is. "Baptized unto the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts xix. 5) must be similar in meaning". Anglin also states "Thus Jesus is Lord of all, and baptism is always to Him as Lord (see 1 Cor. 10: 2, "baptized to Moses"), and the one baptized is brought where His authority is acknowledged, and, as baptized to Him, is responsible to own it practically. It is only by His death we can have what is presented and enjoyed in Christianity. Therefore the apostle goes on, in Romans 6, to say, We are buried with Him by baptism unto death".

In relation to the phrase "One Lord One Faith One Baptism" in Ephesians 4, Grant writes: "One faith" evidently means what some would call one creed, not faith as the principle of dependence upon God, in which sense "one" faith would hardly be intelligible. In connection, then, with "one Lord, one faith," we have "one baptism." ..."baptism" by itself naturally means the rite; when used with other applications, other words are added in explanation. Water-baptism also, as we shall find fully as we go on, is that which is connected with the sphere of discipleship, that is, of the kingdom, as that of the Spirit is with the Church."

An Objective Ordinance

Darby resisted the idea that it was a sign that an individual was regenerated. "The state of individuals in their souls has nothing to do with it. It is not communion in the unity of the body, which is by the Holy Ghost". It is an objective ordinance, "it is the outward reception on earth which is before us". "Baptism is a privilege granted, which admits into the number of the faithful and into the great house". "The person is received outwardly into the habitation of God, as set up in this world. Ephesians 2: 22; 1 Timothy 3: 15." Darby believed that the Baptist "principle makes baptism the bond of the unity of the body, and through this they are Baptists – that makes them Baptists – but this very principle is quite false, and contrary to scripture". "It [i.e the 'baptist' system] then – without knowing it – accepts a principle which breaks down Christianity in its foundation, like him who keeps days, but in a more serious case, because they make the oneness of the body to depend on it." "God...has established a dwelling place consequent on redemption, where His blessings are". "Not that all were Israel which were of Israel, but these blessings were distinctively theirs – Romans 9: 1-6 – not amongst the heathen." He writes that "the Lord, and the faith – not personal, but the "one faith" – and baptism are associated. In the baptism of a child there is plain testimony to the need of Christ's death for its admission."

The House is Always Linked with the Head

"Noah's house went into the Ark with him, because they were his house, and because he was righteous (see Gen. 7: 1). If one had been an infant surely he had as much privilege as the oldest, not because of being an infant, but because one of Noah's family.

The Flood was part of God's governmental dealings with the earth, and it was in connection with these that they were thus privileged; but neither their privilege to enter, nor their relationship to Noah would have availed if he had not taken them into the Ark. Nor again, did being in the Ark affect their state of soul, nor give them faith; as we have each taken up afterwards as to their individual state, Shem being blessed and Ham cursed. Abraham acted on this, in his day, and in doing so made no distinction between Ishmael and Isaac. There was a very great distinction in other ways, as regarded personal faith, etc., but not in this. The point was that they belonged to Abraham – formed part of his house, and it was his responsibility – his act – flowing from what God had given and made known to him. He does not wait till Isaac grows up first to see how he will turn out, nor does he refuse Ishmael because he had no faith. Household baptism goes on the same principle.

In Abraham's case it took the form of a command, as afterwards connected with the legal system, but this does not touch the principle, which is just as clearly established in the New Testament. The Lord says of Zaccheus, "This day is salvation come to this house". Peter says, in Acts 2, "The promise is to you and to your children". Paul says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house". (Anglin)

The Head is Responsible for his Household

"God says of Abraham, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him", etc. Eli, on the other hand, receives the most withering reproof and judgment from God because he had failed to rule his house according to their position and privileges. Circumcised no doubt they were, and thus brought into what they were entitled to by birth, but now, being there, he was responsible to train them according to the place they were in. He was wrong, not in circumcising them first, but in not training them afterwards. This principle we have also in the New Testament. In Ephesians 6 we read, "Fathers … bring them (your children) up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord". The father is responsible to do this. Eli, as we know, did much; he set his sons a good example, he taught them, and even reproved them; but he did not, for all that, bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and God held him responsible for their wickedness. He might plead, as so many are ready to do, I cannot give my children a new nature, nor create in them desires for what is right and good; I must leave them with God to do that'; I answer, God holds each father responsible, as under the authority of Christ, and subject to Him, and in separation from the world. The whole house must be separated to Christ, and subject to Him. The wilderness might not appear to be such a pleasant place for the young ones who were baptized to Moses, as Egypt was; that was not the question, but their connection with God and with Moses, to whom He had given authority, and their complete separation from Egypt and its rulers. But let us bear in mind that, however attractive Egypt might appear as a place of self-gratification, it was the place of death. It represents the world in its independence of God and under His judgment – a place too of cruel bondage to God's people until delivered from its power.

The children of believing parents ought therefore to be in a distinct place from the world, to be trained up in the fear of the Lord...The children should form part of a Christian household, and baptism is the admission to the place of a Christian outwardly, as well as owning the lordship of Christ in the act. Is not the head of the house then responsible to own the authority of Christ as to every member of his house? Should he not put them on the ground where it is owned, and in the way that God has set forth? To refuse to do so, is either in effect saying that they are not different from the world, or else, to act on the principle of Cain, though unwittingly, in presenting something to God apart from death; that is, to act as though sin were not in the world, and children were not by nature sinful and at a distance from God.

It is another principle, that we cannot be in relationship to God apart from death – from that which sets forth Christ's death of which circumcision under law and baptism under Christianity are the symbols or figures – more fully expressed by baptism, as Christianity is above and beyond Judaism: one being a command as connected with a legal system, the other of grace, and connected with a dispensation of grace flowing from the death of Christ." (Anglin)

Illustrating the Principles

Anglin illustrates these principles by referring to instances in the Gospels where someone is blessed through the exercise of faith on the part of another. "In the first part of Matthew 9 we have the man with the palsy getting governmental forgiveness, and as a consequence perfect restoration to health, through the act of faith in others. It says, "Jesus seeing their faith. Clearly it was their act which manifested their faith, and the man is blessed. Another case is Acts 3, where the lame man is cured by Peter. In verse 16 Peter explains how it was effected. He says, "His (Christ's) name through faith in His name hath made this man strong", etc.; but where was the "faith in His name"? Not in the man, but in Peter. It may have resulted in faith on the part of the man afterwards, but this is not said directly, and certainly his faith is not the ground of his being made whole. It was Christ's name, and faith in His name on the part of Peter; and the blessing received related to God's governmental ways. "

Of such is the kingdom

Darby argues that the children of believers are said to be "of the kingdom of heaven" and therefore ought to be admitted to its privileges. "I know no administrative entrance to it on earth but baptism. It was the prescribed order down on earth". Wycherley wrote similarly: "If then there is an outward sphere, called the kingdom of heaven, and the children are to be received into it; and if the fathers get into this outward sphere by baptism, does it not follow that the children must come in by the same door?"

Now are they holy

Darby believed that there was a lot of clarity as to the status of the children of believers in 1 Corinthians 7:14. "But when I come to 1 Corinthians 7: 14, I think I get the question specifically decided. It is directly the subject. If a Jew married a Gentile he was profaned – not profane, a profane thing cannot be profaned – and was to send away his wife and children – see Ezra and Nehemiah: was it so under grace? No, the converse; the unbeliever was sanctified – opposite to profaned, not holy – and the children were holy, to be received, not cut off. Hence the word is "unclean," the force of which as precluding approach to the house of Jehovah in Israel is well known." "Thus we may see also why, going beyond the law, the children even of a marriage where one remains an unbeliever can be called by the apostle "holy." The words run thus (i Cor. vii. 13, 15) :- "And the woman that hath an unbelieving husband, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by ("in") the wife; and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the husband. Else were your children unclean, but now are they holy."

FW Grant commented on this verse: "The use of the word "unclean" explains the corresponding word "holy." It is not vital holiness that he is thinking of, but external position. According to the law the children of such a marriage could claim none; but grace goes altogether beyond law. It is not said of the unbeliever that he or she is "holy," as the child is; merely sanctified in the believer. The child has an acknowledged place as " holy" or "clean;" and this he takes to show that the marriage stands; for if the children were unclean, the marriage itself would be. Baptism gives this acknowledged place, a place in the kingdom of God, which under different forms runs through the dispensations.

"Clean" would not express for the Jew the thought conveyed by holy; that is, "consecrated, dedicated, or sanctified to God "; and hagios is the word which would be used in Greek for expressing this. To have said "clean" would have been enough to have proved the lawfulness of the marriage. The "sanctified" and "holy" were both needed in order to express the thought of relationship to God. The use of the two words, therefore, here, is every way significant. "

Wycherley writes: "The point of this scripture is the relative position of the husband and wife towards each other, which determines the relative position of the children towards the sanctuary. ... Under law, the Jew had to put away his strange wife; she was not "sanctified", and the children were illegitimate (unclean). Under grace "the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband". This is, the marriage is valid, and the children are legitimate or "holy", and as such entitled to come into the congregation of the Lord (the outer court)."

Household Baptisms in Acts

Anglin comments interestingly upon the household baptism recorded in Acts 16.
Lydia and her House – Acts 16: 13-15 Anglin points out that while it is said of Lydia "whose heart the Lord opened to the Word" no such fact is recorded of her household baptised with her - that their hearts were opened. ..Lydia is not only brought on to the ground of Christianity herself, but has her house also brought with her, which was no light thing in that day, when surrounded by enemies of Christianity – both Jews and Gentiles. Lydia's house is a distinct case of baptism without the slightest intimation of any confession on their part, or work of God in them, and had these things been true of them as of her, surely it would have been mentioned, and, besides, verse 15 shows it was Lydia's act so to speak, that is, done on her responsibility. It is household baptism, clearly and simply set forth by Scripture, connected with the responsibility and faithfulness (as far as it went) of the head of the house – though a woman.

The Jailer and his House – Acts 16: 25-34. The apostle in answer to his inquiry, "What must I do to be saved?" at once links his house up with him (see also chapter 11: 14). We then have the word of the Lord spoken "to all that were in his house", a term including more than "his house" in the previous verse. In the next verse baptism comes in, and it is himself and "all his" (not all that were in his house) who are said to be baptized; the distinction between the two is very clear and important. The jailer would be responsible for the baptism of his house – "all his", but not for others who might be in his house at the time – other jailers, servants, etc. "All his" would only include only those for who he was responsible on account of their relationship to himself, and would, therefore, take in the very youngest child. It may be said there is no proof he had any children, or, at least, young children. I answer, this does not at all affect the point, which is, that "all his" were connected with him in outward blessing and privilege, and therefore were baptized, and what is insisted on is that this principle includes the very youngest child. It was, as we have already shown, an instance of admitting the house, with the head of it, into the place of privilege. Are they entitled to this on account of their relationship? And if so, they assuredly ought to be baptized; and whether they are adults or infants is not the question, provided they are living in the house, and by relationship under the authority of the head of it.
The rendering of verse 34 in the Authorized Version is not quite correct. It is, in the original, "he rejoiced with all his house, he having believed in God". Note: The words "having believed in God" are in the singular number, and apply to the jailer only, and this is very important to note."


The Brethren case for household baptism is extremely interesting. Most of the principles upon which Reformed writers would make their case are entirely the same. The approach is simply slightly different. These selections represent a broad view of the way in which a non-covenantal Brethren/Dispensationalist interpretation of the Scriptures has found room for household baptism simply because as SM Anglin points out "it is not a matter of command, but of acting according to the principles which Scripture makes known and establishes. We must remember that principles are not deductions or suppositions; they form an important part of the Word of God, and are for our guidance. We have before seen that there is no command to be baptized, and we have also shown that Scripture lays down no rules as to who should be baptized, but we have Scriptural teaching, principles, and practice to guide us." The anti-household baptism position rejects clear scriptural principles that are obvious whether or not one follows the Reformed theology of the covenants. There is enough evidence in the New Testament to demonstrate the case for household baptism.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Decline of Order, Justice and Liberty in England

A Brief History of Crime: The Decline of Order, Justice and Liberty in England
Peter Hitchens Atlantic Books 2003 ISBN 1 84354 148 3 hbk pp. 315

Against a background of a rumoured election, an epidemic of violent crime and a crisis in the prison system one does not have to look for reasons to think about the state of law and order in the UK. Add to this the fear that Christians will soon find that some of their beliefs are outlawed. Those that are concerned, as all ought to be, that the civil powers should be 'a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil' and that 'we may live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty' will share a concern similar to the author of this book. It is written 'to show that much of the public debate on crime and punishment in modern England is based on mistaken beliefs, misunderstood figures and cheap slogans – especially on the death penalty, imprisonment, drugs, policing and the right to bear arms.' Hitchens shows a keen insight into these failures describing the unchecked slide into disorder: 'England is rapidly becoming a place where the good are afraid of the bad and the bad are not afraid of anything'. 'A society that clearly and decisively punishes wicked actions will have no need to document, restrict or spy on the millions who do not do such actions...the more generously and considerately we create safeguards for transgressors, the fewer freedoms will remain for those who behave themselves'.

Crime is seen by those in power as an endemic social and economic disease 'produced by poverty, bad housing, poor schools and all the other ills that socialism claims to be able to cure'. Their response is only therefore to try and contain it. The bureaucratic repression that is mobilised to deal with this has more restrictive effect upon the law-abiding than the criminal. The danger of this solution is that it will ultimately 'create a social and legal system so stifling and intrusive as to be uncomfortably close to dictatorship'. The measures implemented under Blair pose 'the gravest threat to English liberty since the 17th century'.

Hitchens traces the dramatic post-war descent of Britain, in terms of law and order. He blames a political establishment that has systematically dismantled all the supports of effective punishment of crime. Policing has abandoned any attempt at prevention by removing the patrolling officer. 'The machinery and structure of the English police have been designed since 1966 to react to crime instead of prevent it before it happens'. The policy of responding to incidents after they have happened 'has given evildoers a new feeling of freedom from fear and so made streets less pleasant and less safe'. Police officers are now the servants of political correctness instead of the ordinary citizen. Hitchens supports capital punishment by recalling the days when murder, a 'crime of unique horror', was punishable by a unique punishment, society's most civilised response to murder. The book concludes with a postscript which reviews the case of the elderly street preacher Harry Hammond who was assaulted, arrested and then convicted and fined for holding a simple placard of protest. We do not necessarily commend every way in which the author expresses his case but it is a sober and well-researched treatment of the subject. The book concludes: 'One major purpose of this book is to warn that there is now a real threat to liberty, thought and speech in this country, a threat which cannot be lightly dismissed by any observant or alert citizen'.

A paperback version has been issued under the title 'The Abolition of Liberty'.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

John Kennedy of Dingwall

A new website has been set up devoted to the works of Rev. Dr. John Kennedy of Dingwall It contains a Memoir of Dr Kennedy appeared in the Inverness Courier newspaper in 1893. Mrs Kennedy regarded it as the best account of her late husband that had appeared in any form.
The memoir states that "The life of Dr Kennedy, written by his friend, Mr Auld, is a good, faithful book, but inadequate. It gives us dates, facts, diaries, letters, but it does not give us the man. Dr Kennedy was vital to his finger tips." It goes on "Briefly, he was a Scottish Puritan who adhered with the utmost tenacity of grasp – and his grasp was singularly powerful and tenacious - to all the tenets of the [Westminster] Confession of Faith as interpreted by the Evangelical party before the Disruption. He was a Calvinist, bowing down with humble head before the divine sovereignty, and seeking no philosophical or rationalistic explanations of the inscrutable. He accepted the authority of Scripture without question. To him it spoke with such plentitude of inspiration that its words carried conviction to his heart."

It quotes from one of his lectures: "The blessing of the Most High," he exclaims, "is what Scotland needs. This alone could make her truly rich. This alone can save her from her perils. This alone could have made her what she once became and secured the continuance of her prosperity. Whatever may betide her in the age next to come, I love to think of her, on some bright future day, emerging with all the nations of the earth from the darkness and the storms of antemillennial times into the brightness and the calm of many ages of blessedness, receiving on her bosom the light of heavenly favour and the dew of heavenly grace, till a verdure richer than ever clothed her shall cover her all over, and fruits of righteousness shall grow throughout all her borders, such as are befitting the very garden of the Lord."