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THE REFORMATION OF THE CHURCH: A Collection of Reformed and Puritan Documents on Church Issues
Selected and Introduced by Iain H. Murray

The nature and life of the church is one of the most crucial issues facing Christians today. Questions of ministry and liturgy, authority and freedom, appear in a wide variety of guises throughout the world-wide church. Relativism and uncertainty seem to be as common in the church as in the world. Many Christians wonder whether there is any way forward.

In this context, The Reformation of the Church is an invaluable aid. An anthology of documents, drawn largely but not exclusively from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it presents in a readily accessible form the finest thinking of the reformed fathers on authority and freedom, the need for reformation, the nature of the government, unity and membership of the church of Jesus Christ.

Warmly welcomed when first published in 1965, and widely used since then, these documents provide invaluable material for ministers, elders, leaders, students and all Christians who are concerned to see Christ’s church fulfill her God-given role at a critical juncture in her history.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION 7

SECTION I

THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH 15

SECTION II

THE RULE FOR REFORMATION – THE WORD OF GOD

1. Liberation from Human Authority by Martin Luther 30

2. The Reformers and the Regulative Principle by William Cunningham 38

3. The Regulative Principle and Things Indifferent by John Hooper 55

4. The Abolition of Vestments by John a Lasco 63

5. Scripture and the Ordering of Worship 75

SECTION III

THE NEED OF REFORMATION

1. The Necessity for Reformation: The Admonition to Parliament 1572 by Thomas Wilcox 85

2. Concerning a National Church by William Ames 99

3. The Relation of Church and State by Charles Hodge 107

4. Episcopacy: The Petition for the Prelates Examined 127

5. The Grounds of Nonconformity by Edmund Calamy 151

SECTION IV

NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH GOVERNMENT

1. The Book of Discipline 1587 178

2. A True Description of the Visible Church 1589 by Henry Barrow 196

3. The Form of Presbyterial Church Government 1645 by Westminster Divines 207

4. The Cambridge Platform 1648 234

5. The Savoy Platform 1658 276

6. The Difference between Independency and Presbytery by Jeremiah Burroughs 285

7. A Presbyterian View of the Difference with Independency 294

8. The Heads of Agreement 1691 301

SECTION V

THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH

1. The Way to Peace by Walter Cradock 314

2. What We Are to Bear with in Others by Jeremiah Burroughs 326

3. Union among Protestants by John Owen 345

4. The Scandal of Division among the Godly by James Durham 358

APPENDICES

1. The Church Membership of Children by Thomas Shepard 383

2. Episcopalian Writers on Church Government 410

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A COMMENTARY ON REVELATION: VOLUME ONE - Chapters 1-3 and VOLUME TWO - Chapters 4 - 11
James Durham, edited by Chris Coldwell

BRAND NEW PRINTING OF REVELATION 1 - 11 AS THE FIRST TWO VOLUMES IN A THREE-VOLUME SET ON DURHAM ON REVELATION.

English Puritanism and Scottish Presbyterianism in the seventeenth century had many bright and shining lights. Of these, James Durham (1622–1658), ranks alongside the greatest of his generation, for his theological depth, faithful preaching, and particularly for his moderate spirit at a time when such was in scarce supply. While he could have been a professor of theology in any university, Durham instead spent a brief ten year ministry preaching and lecturing for the most part in the Inner-Kirk of Glasgow Cathedral. It was thought that he poured so much of himself into his studies for sermons and lectures that it brought about his early death at the age of thirty-six. His works were often reprinted and left an impression that lasted for centuries. Recently, all of his sermons in two volumes and his lectures on the Book of Job and on the Ten Commandments have been published in new critical editions. Continuing with his lectures, the publishers are pleased to offer now a new critical edition of James Durham’s largest book, which, while it is his more theologically intense work, retains the same practical Uses and Applications of his sermons and other lectures.

VOLUME ONE. Lectures on Chapters 1–3. This first of three projected volumes comprises a third of the lectures and fully half of the theological essays. The text covers chapter one in nine lectures (the most on any chapter) and the letters to the seven churches in Asia. The theological lectures contained cover such subjects as the doctrine of the Trinity, a call to the ministry and qualifications for the ministry, church government and church discipline, repentance, the difference in common and saving grace, and preaching and application in preaching. The text has been collated with a 1653 manuscript and an appendix contains texts and full lectures that are significantly different than the published edition of 1658. A new biography will appear in volume two. Volume three will contain a bibliographical essay covering Durham’s works and recent manuscript discoveries, as well as the indices, including an index of errata of prior editions.

This first of three projected volumes comprises a third of the lectures and fully half of the theological essays. The text covers chapter one in nine lectures (the most on any chapter) and the letters to the seven churches in Asia. The theological lectures contained cover such subjects as the doctrine of the Trinity, a call to the ministry and qualifications for the ministry, church government and church discipline, repentance, the difference in common and saving grace, and preaching and application in preaching. The text has been collated with a 1653 manuscript and an appendix contains texts and full lectures that are significantly different than the published edition of 1658.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

To the Judicious & Christian Reader by John Carstairs

To the Reader by Robert Baillie

A Brief View of the Series of the Whole Book of the Revelation



CHAPTER ONE

Lecture 1: Revelation 1:1–4

Excursus 1: Concerning the Holy Trinity and Object of Worship

Lecture 2: Revelation 1:4–6

Lecture 3: Revelation 1:7–9

Lecture 4: Revelation 1:10

Lecture 5: Revelation 1:10–11

Lecture 6: Revelation 1:12–15

Lecture 7: Revelation 1:15–16

Lecture 8: Revelation 1:17–18

Lecture 9: Revelation 1:19–20

Excursus 2: Concerning a Calling to the Ministry, and clearness therein

Excursus 3: Concerning Writing

Excursus 4: Of Reading, and Hearing



CHAPTER TWO

Lecture 1: Revelation 2:1–3

Lecture 2: Revelation 2:4–5

Lecture 3: Revelation 2:6–7

Excursus 5: Concerning Church-government and Discipline, in General

Excursus 6: Concerning a Minister’s Relation to a Particular Congregation

Excursus 7: Concerning the Nature and Difference of Saving and Common Grace

Lecture 4: Revelation 2:8–11

Excursus 8: Concerning the Influence that the Devil has on Some Wicked Men’s Actions, and How He Carries on the Same

Lecture 5: Revelation 2:12–17

Lecture 6: Revelation 2:18–29



CHAPTER THREE

Lecture 1: Revelation 3:1–6

Lecture 2: Revelation 3:7–13

Excursus 9: Concerning Ministerial Qualifications

Lecture 3: Revelation 3:14–22

Excursus 10: Concerning the Identity of Angel, Bishop, and Presbyter

Excursus 11: Concerning the Way of Covenanting with God, and of a Sinner’s Obtaining Justification before Him

Excursus 12: Concerning Repentance

Excursus 13: Some General Observations Concerning Preaching, and Especially Application



Endorsements:

“This commentary on Revelation provides what was, as Principal John MacLeod said, ‘in past days, the accepted Protestant view of that book.’ While James Durham’s historicist reading of Revelation is no longer the standard view, that should not deter readers, for, as Spurgeon said, ‘it would not be easy to find a more sensible and instructive work than this old-fashioned exposition. We cannot accept its interpretations of the mysteries, but the mystery of the gospel fills it with sweet savour.’ The finest treasure in this commentary is not, however, Durham’s exegetical work (helpful though this is!). Contained in his commentary are independent treatises which are the purest of theological gold. These extended essays present Reformed thought at its best. As Richard A. Muller has said, this work “offers significant access to seventeenth-century Reformed and Presbyterian thought ... Durham’s work illustrates the relationship of Scripture with doctrine and piety and dogmatics.” —Donald John MacLean, author of James Durham (1622–1658): And the Gospel Offer in its Seventeenth-Century Context.

Hardcover, 504 pages

Page Size: 7.5 x 10.5 inches

Retail Price: $50.00

ISBN 978-1-60178-796-5

VOLUME TWO. Lectures on Chapters 4 - 11

Volume 2, Lectures on Chapters 4–11 is the second of three projected volumes. The theological digressions interspersed throughout cover such subjects as the nature and extent of the merit of Christ’s death, Mede’s Synchronisms, Christ’s Intercession, the idolatry of the Church of Rome, Prophesying, the Waldenses, and the founding of true churches by reformation out of corrupt churches. The text has been collated with a 1653 manuscript which in places is significantly different from the published edition of 1658. A new biography will appear in volume 3. Volume 3 will also contain a bibliographical essay covering Durham’s works and manuscripts, as well as the indices, including an index of errata of prior editions.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Editor's Preface



CHAPTER FOUR

Lecture 1: Revelation 4:1–3

Lecture 2: Revelation 4:4–8

Lecture 3: Revelation 4:8-11



CHAPTER FIVE

Lecture 1: Revelation 5:1-7

Lecture 2: Revelation 5:8-14

Excursus 14: Concerning the Nature of Christ's Death or if it be Properly a Satisfaction

Excursus 15: Concerning the Extent of the Merit of Christ's Death, or if it may be Accounted a Satisfaction for All Men



CHAPTER SIX

Lecture 1: Revelation 6:1

Excursus 16: Concerning Learned Mede's Synchronism, or a particular consideration of the same

Lecture 2: Revelation 6:1-2

Lecture 3: Revelation 6:3-4

Lecture 4: Revelation 6:5-6

Lecture 5: Revelation 6:7-8

Lecture 6: Revelation 6:9

Lecture 7: Revelation 6:10-11

Lecture 8: Revelation 6:12-17



CHAPTER SEVEN

Lecture 1: Revelation 7:1

Lecture 2: Revelation 7:2-3

Lecture 3: Revelation 7:4-8

Lecture 4: Revelation 7:9-10

Lecture 5: Revelation 7:11-14

Lecture 6: Revelation 7:14-17



CHAPTER EIGHT

Lecture 1: Revelation 8:1–4

Excursus 17 Concerning Christ's Intercession or a particular consideration of the same

Lecture 2: Revelation 8:5-7

Lecture 3: Revelation 8:8-9

Lecture 4: Revelation 8:10–11

Lecture 5: Revelation 8:12–13



CHAPTER NINE

Lecture 1: Revelation 9:1–11

Excursus 18: Concerning the Comfortless Grounds that Popery Lays Down for Comforting Poor Afflicted Consciences

Lecture 2: Revelation 9:12-21

Excursus 19: Concerning the Idolatry of the Church of Rome



CHAPTER TEN

Lecture on Revelation 10:1-22

Excursus 20: Concerning Prophesying

Excursus 21: Concerning a Minister's Particular Message to a Particular Auditory, and if it may be again and again insisted on and repeated



CHAPTER 11

Lecture 1: Revelation 11:1-2

Lecture 2: Revelation 11:3-6

Lecture 3: Revelation 11:7-10

Lecture 4: Revelation 11:11-14

Excursus 22: Concerning the Waldenses

Lecture 5: Revelation 11:15-19

Excursus 23: Concerning the Constituting of True Churches by Reformation out of such as have been corrupt



APPENDIX: Manuscript Texts

VOLUME ONE: Corrigenda



John Owen called James Durham, "one of good learning, sound judgement, and every way 'a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.'" To read Durham on Revelation is to find proof of this. His commentary provides what was, as Principal John MacLeod said, "in past days, the accepted Protestant view of that book". While Durham's historicist reading of Revelation is no longer the standard view, that should not deter readers, for, as Spurgeon said, “it would not be easy to find a more sensible and instructive work than this old-fashioned exposition. We cannot accept its interpretations of the mysteries, but the mystery of the gospel fills it with sweet savour.” The finest treasure in this commentary is not, however, Durham's exegetical work (helpful though this is!). Contained in his commentary are independent treatises which are the purest of theological gold. Make what you will of Durham's interpretation of Revelation, but extended essays on the Trinity, the call to the ministry, the nature of justification, and so on present Reformed thought at its best. As Richard A. Muller has said, this work “offers significant access to seventeenth-century Reformed and Presbyterian thought ... Durham’s work illustrates the relationship of Scripture with doctrine and piety and dogmatics.” Taken all in all, readers of this work will surely ultimately agree with Durham's contemporary Robert Blair, who said of this work, "Many Writers have done worthily, but thou excellest them all.”



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NEWLY DISCOVERED COMMENTARIES ON JOHN, ACTS, 2 CORINTHIANS & 1 PETER
J.B. LIGHTFOOT edited by Ben Witherington III and Todd D. Still

VERY SPECIAL OFFER OF $20.00 FOR LIGHTFOOT'S NEWLY DISCOVERED COMMENTARY ON ACTS.

InterVarsity Press is proud to present The Lightfoot Legacy, a three-volume set of previously unpublished material from J. B. Lightfoot, one of the great biblical scholars of the modern era.

In the spring of 2013, Ben Witherington III discovered hundreds of pages of biblical commentary by Lightfoot in the Durham Cathedral Library. While incomplete, these commentaries represent a goldmine for historians and biblical scholars, as well as for the many people who have found Lightfoot's work both informative and edifying, deeply learned and pastorally sensitive.

Now on display for all to see, these commentary notes reveal a scholar well ahead of his time, one of the great minds of his or any generation. Well over a century later, Lightfoot's writings remain a relevant and significant resource for the church today.

Volume 1 covers the book of Acts, Volume 2 explores the Gospel of John, and Volume 3 covers 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter.

"J. B. Lightfoot was perhaps the greatest New Testament exegete in the nineteenth-century English-speaking world, and his works remain useful today. The discovery of his previously unpublished research, which addresses in a balanced and informed way many issues still debated today, is an epochal event in New Testament studies." --Craig Keener, Asbury Theological Seminary

"To have Lightfoot on Acts is astonishingly valuable, for three reasons. First, Lightfoot is peerless among biblical commentators of his day, and shows a breadth of learning and understanding which always illuminates the text he comments on. Second, Lightfoot deals in this commentary with key issues that are current today in study of Acts, such as the text, the historical value of the Acts narrative, the speeches of Acts and the portrait of Paul. Third, this book enlarges our understanding of Lightfoot's massive scholarship; he is truly a giant among New Testament scholars, and to watch him work - as in this book on Acts - is an education in the questions to ask, approaches to take and ways to draw evidence from disparate sources together to produce a coherent whole. We are greatly in debt to Ben Witherington, Todd Still and their collaborators for bringing this material to light for our day." -Steve Walton, Tyndale House, Cambridge

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WHO IS JESUS? The Book and Study Guide
GREG GILBERT with Foreword by Trip Lee

A famed historian once noted that, regardless of what you think of him personally, Jesus Christ stands as the central figure in the history of Western civilization. A man violently rejected by some and passionately worshipped by others, Jesus remains as polarizing as ever. But most people still know very little about who he really was, why he was really here, or what he really claimed.

Intended as a succinct introduction to Jesus’s life, words, and enduring significance, Who Is Jesus? offers non-Christians and new Christians alike a compelling portrait of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, this book encourages readers to carefully consider the history-shaping life and extraordinary teachings of the greatest man who ever lived.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword by Trip Lee

What Do You Think?

An Extraordinary Man, and Then Some

King of Israel, King of Kings

The Great “I AM”...

...Is One of Us

The Triumph of the Last Adam

Lamb of God, Sacrifice for Man

Resurrected and Reigning Lord

A Final Word: Who Do You Say He Is?

“Jesus asked his disciples, ‘Who do you say I am?’ It’s a question each of us must answer. In a wonderfully readable and succinct manner, Greg Gilbert mines the pages of Scripture to consider the truth of Christ’s claims about himself. This is essential reading for the Christian and the seeker.” -Jim Daly, President, Focus on the Family

“Greg’s greatest asset is his ability to make profound things simple. As his book What Is the Gospel? helps us distinguish the true gospel from the false, so Who Is Jesus? helps us distinguish Christ as he presents himself from how we have remade him.” -J. D. Greear, President, Southern Baptist Convention; author, Not God Enough; Pastor, The Summit Church, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

“Clearly Christian, but more than polite and respectful to the skeptic, this book helps you consider Jesus carefully. Gilbert throws fresh light upon familiar scenes, joining facts with their significance. It is artful, yet plain and full of beautiful biblical theology. Here is an invitation to you the reader to come to know Jesus yourself.” -Mark Dever, Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC

“This book does two things at once. It credibly places Jesus in the context of his own times, and shows why he cannot responsibly be left there. It is for those who have never thought about Jesus as well as those who think they know him all too well.” -Timothy George, Distinguished Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

“This little book will be a great tool for introducing people, including the athletes I coach, to the most amazing person who ever lived!” -Coach Ron Brown, University of Nebraska

“I am always looking for a short and clear book on the life of Jesus that I can put into the hands of someone wanting to truly know who he is and what he did. I now have it in Who Is Jesus? Greg Gilbert is right: ‘The story of Jesus is not the story of a good man. It is the story of a claimant to the throne.’ Consider the evidence presented in this work and see where it takes you.” -Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

AUTHOR

Greg Gilbert (MDiv, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is senior pastor at Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author of What Is the Gospel?; James: A 12-Week Study; and Who Is Jesus?; and is the coauthor (with Kevin DeYoung) of What Is the Mission of the Church? Greg and his wife, Moriah, have three children.

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THE AFFLICTED MAN'S COMPANION: A Directory for Persons and Families Afflicted with Sickness or Any Other Distress
John Willison (1680-1750)

THE AFFLICTED MAN'S COMPANION was written with the benevolent intention (according to the author) "that the afflicted may have a book in their houses, and at their bed-sides, as a monitor to preach to them in private, when they are restrained from hearing sermons in public;" and the work is admirably calculated to have the soothing effect intended by its able and amiable author.

"John Willison (1680-1750), an influential evangelical minister of the Church of Scotland, was renowned as a prolific writer of practical Christian literature. 'The Afflicted Man's Companion,' a veritable treasure-house on coping with sickness, dying, and other afflictions, was one of his most frequently reprinted titles. While being led through the valley of affliction some years ago, I frequently perused this volume with great profit. I know of no book so biblical, God-honoring, and practical for times of suffering, for the believer and the unconverted alike. Here is practical theology at its best. Give a copy to every suffering friend you have." --Dr. Joel R. Beeke, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan

"John Willison ranks with the great Scottish preachers and writers of long ago. Scotland has given us Knox, Durham, Boston, Colquhoun, among many others, and John Willison. His 'Afflicted Man's Companion' is a must-have book for those under God's afflicting hand. If you or someone you know is going through a time of dark providence, then give them this title. Read it; then read it again; and then read it again. The silver lining behind the cloud will begin to show itself to you eventually as God reveals Himself. " - Dr. Don Kistler, founder of The Northampton Press

Originally published in 1737, it was revised and reprinted numerous times in the 19th century by the American Tract Society. The eight chapters that make up this remarkable volume are as follows:

1- General Directions to All Families and Persons Visited with Sickness

2- Particular Directions to Those who are Sharply Afflicted with Sickness or Long Trouble

3- Special Directions to the Children of God when under Sickness or any other Affliction

4- Special Directions to Unregenerate Persons when under Sickness or any other Affliction

5- Directions to the People of God when the Lord is Pleased to Recover them from Sickness and Distress

6- Directions to the Unregenerate when Recovered from Sickness and Restored to Health

7- Directions to the Sick who are Apparently in a Dying Condition, and Drawing Near to Another World

8- Directions to the Friends and Neighbors of the Sick, who are Themselves in Health for the Time Being

As much as Job's Companion's were miserable comforters, this volume is one that would have been of great comfort and consolation to that deeply afflicted man so long ago. We live in a world of sin and misery, and any book that can help those visited by affliction is worth its weight in gold. Such is this work by the eminent Scottish Divine John Willison.

Part of the SUFFERING TRILOGY

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THE COLLECTED SERMONS OF JAMES DURHAM: Vol. One: General Sermons, Vol. Two: CHRIST CRUCIFIED:The Marrow of the Gospel in 72 Sermons on Isaiah 53; Vol. Three, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
James Durham

VOLUME ONE: This volume contains sermon series titled 'The Blessedness of the Death of Those That Die in the Lord,' 'The Unsearchable Riches of Christ' (Communion sermons), 'Heaven upon Earth' (on conscience), 'The Great Gain of Contenting Godliness,' and 'The Great Corruption of Subtle Self,' as well as miscellaneous sermons that appeared in various publications. The last includes a recent transcription from manuscript of one of Durham's most important sermons preached at the beginning of the Protester-Resolutioner schism in Scotland. All have been uniformly edited and cross-referenced as needed. Also included is an introduction covering the life and works of Durham.

VOLUME TWO: CHRIST CRUCIFIED - First published in 1683, then in 1686, this collection of sermons was reprinted six times in the eighteenth century. The present reprint is carefully and beautifully done; it uses the 1702 edition as the base text but also takes the other editions into account.

This book belongs in the class of Friedrich Krummacher's 'The Suffering Savior.' Like Krummacher, Durham was gifted at describing the sufferings of Christ through illustration, though his language is now antiquated. For example, in describing Christ's agony in Gethsemane, he writes, "There was such a striving, wrestling and conflicting, not with man without him, but with inward pressures on his spirit, that he is like one in a barrace, or cock-pit, or engaged in a duel with a mighty combatant, sore put to it, very far beyond aught that we can conceive of, so that he sweat great drops of blood."

The sixty-ninth sermon on making use of Christ's intercession is a masterpiece. This is an excellent book for believers who yearn for a more intimate fellowship with Christ in His sufferings. John Duncan said to a friend who wanted to draw closer to Christ, "Read Durham on the fifty-third of Isaiah at my request. He has much repetition and you may be disgusted with that. But it's repetition of a very fine thing, the eating of Christ's flesh and the drinking of His blood. Well, that's what we must be repeating, in fact, all our life long."

The Marrow of the Gospel is one of the best commentaries ever written on Christ's person and work in redemption. Charles Spurgeon highly recommended this book, saying, "This is marrow indeed. We need say no more: Durham is a prince among spiritual expositors." Others have said this work equals if not excels all of Durham's other publications.

Size: 7+10. Hardcover. Smyth sewn.

704 pages.

Extensive Table of Contents, Subject and Scripture Index. Side headings

VOLUME THREE: AN EXPOSITION OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Of the works of James Durham, this exposition of the Ten Commandments was reprinted most often. As with his sermons, it is filled with perspicuous opening of the Word, practical application, and the clearing of 'several momentous questions and cases of conscience.' The only regret is that because he was preaching similar material at the time, the coverage of these lectures on the first table is lengthier than the coverage of the second table. Nevertheless, the work has always been held in high regard, and the in-depth treatments of the second, third, and fourth commandments commend it and make it particularly useful today when the Lord’s name, worship, and day of worship are much abused. Gilfillan observes on the last that 'the Law Unsealed of the eminent James Durham, published in 1675 by his widow, contains a very full and able discussion of Sabbattic doctrine and duty, and discovers the learning and deep piety which are evident in his other writings. It received the warm commendation of Dr. Owen, and its numerous editions attest the large measure of popular favor which it has won.' Indeed, Walker observes, Durham's 'thorough, searching, cumbrous intellect, reminds you not seldom of John Owen.'

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LECTURES ON JOB
JAMES DURHAM

Lectures on Job, by James Durham (1622-1658). Case bound. 254pp. New Edition. 2nd Naphtali Press edition with table of contents, subject and scripture indices. Complete lectures on the whole book of Job. Retail $30.00. One of the rarest and sought after Puritan Commentaries. Part of the 17th Century Presbyterians series.

A Rare Puritan Commentary.

James Durham was a Scottish Presbyterian minister, who served the ministry a brief ten or eleven years, yet left behind quite a legacy. His books were very popular in Scotland and new editions of his works were published as late as 1840. No new edition of any of his books was published until 1990 when Naphtali Press printed his Treatise Concerning Scandal. Spurgeon in his Commenting and Commentaries, highly recommended all of Durham's commentaries and sermons.

The Lectures on Job are perhaps one of the rarest and hardest to obtain of the many Puritan works of that time. Spurgeon in his day was unable to find a copy, but he said, "It is certain to be good, for Durham is always admirable." Durham comments on every chapter and ends each lecture with a set of uses or applications, which are alone worth the price of the book. This format, as many have told Naphtali Press, makes the book very useful for family devotions.

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