Saturday, 29 October 2011


One of the great legacies of DMLJ is his use of the church’s rich heritage of hymnology.  My, he loved the hymns, especially the Welsh hymns.  He quotes from them in nearly every sermon, and uses this heritage to illustrate the riches of God’s grace to condemned sinners, and as a means of bringing them to a true confession of faith in Christ alone for salvation.  Chas. Wesley, Philip Doddridge, J. S. B. Monsell, Robt. Robinson, A. M. Toplady, Isaac Watts, Wm Cowper, Lewis Hartsough, Henry Francis Lyle, Wm C Dix, John Newtown, John Mason Neale, Wm Williams, W. C Smith, etc.  DMLJ taught us by example how the church’s hymnology may be used, not only in the worship of God, but in closing the Gospel appeal at the end of the sermon.  I am aware that not everyone will agree with this practice, but this was most assuredly the beloved Doctor’s weekly practice.  The references to this use of hymns are so numerous that those who are familiar with the Doctor’s preaching and published sermons, whether evangelistic or not, will confirm that this is indeed the case. 


Whilst being greatly influenced by Puritan thinking, DMLJ did not embrace the Puritan idea that it was wrong to recognise the various times and seasons that came around during the year.  He did not accept that these should be honoured above other times, but he did believe and practice a policy in which the Christian calendar was recognised, but only insofar that it provided an evangelistic opportunity to preach the everlasting gospel to his congregation.  Thus, at Christmas time, he would make mention of the Babe of Bethlehem as he weaved this into his Gospel preaching.  He believed that most people in the congregation, and those who would attend church at that particular time, would have thoughts of Christmas in their minds, being reminded about it in the high streets and through Christmas cards being sent and received, so it would be a lost opportunity not to present the Gospel to them, using this ‘hook.’  It wasn’t a big thing for the Doctor, but he used it wisely as an evangelistic opportunity. 

I followed the same pattern.  Christmas and Easter and Whit Sunday were relatively unimportant to me, but they were useful in Gospel ministry.


It could not be clearer that DMLJ was not a system Calvinist, but a biblical Calvinist. This is unbelievably refreshing, is it not?  For him, everything had to be brought to the touchstone of God’s Word.  If a controversy arises, he asks, ‘What do the Scriptures say?’  To the word and to the testimony!  It was this that kept him on track down through the years.  Nothing was to take the place of the Word of God.

By extension, and because Christ is central to the Scriptural revelation, nothing is ever to replace Him and his message of salvation.  How sad that this is observed more in the breach than in the observance in today’s church!  I’m sure you have seen and heard how some ministers will actually replace Christ and the Gospel and the absolute need for the ‘new birth’ for the covenant.  Some ministers actually believe so strongly in the covenant and in covenant membership that they come very close to denying the need for the ‘new birth’!  Do you believe that?  I know of one minister who argued that his son ought to be eligible to be on the committee of his university Christian Union (CU) because he was a covenant child, even though he was not converted to Christ!  I know of another church situation where the application of covenant theology has led to logical conclusions, but not to biblical conclusions!  What serious and profound theological and spiritual difficulties the church gets herself into when she mis-applies covenant theology!  This is what allows unconverted people into church membership, into the eldership, and into the ministry.  This is also what wrecks Gospel ministries and Gospel ministers!  But who cares enough to say “Enough is enough.” 

But there is another slightly controversial point to be made here, and DMLJ makes it continually, and that is that confessional correctness can so often become a substitute for Christ in the church and for many reformed ministers.  Keep to the confession, and don’t worry too much about keeping to the Scriptures.  Now the real problem here is that this will not be said out loud; but that is what happens in practice.  How revealing when an evangelical minister said to me that they were trying to get ministers to adhere more closely to the WCF.  I said, ‘But this is a subordinate standard of the church, not her supreme standard.’  This is the church again replacing Christ with the confession.  What a travesty!  DMLJ will have none of that, either.


It is often assumed that DMLJ was a “separatist” and that his intention was to break up the churches in the UK.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  What he was concerned to do was to bring Christians together, all those whose loyalty was to the Gospel.  He wanted to see evangelicals brought together, to work together, to worship together, to witness together.  He longed and worked for true evangelical unity.  He did not want to see evangelicals scattered all over the place in church denominations that either themselves did not hold to historic Christianity, or tolerated ministers who did not only not hold to historic Christianity, but who went out of their way to undermine and distort and eventually destroy biblical Christianity.  He longed to bring them all together.

But what happened instead.  Many men decided that denominational loyalty was much more important than the gospel.  Their emotional attachments to their denomination were so strong that they preferred to stay where the Gospel was no longer welcome, than come together with other evangelicals who loved that Gospel.

That being so, it was not those who came out of their denominations who were the schismatics, but those who stayed in, and who refused to come together in evangelical unity.  It was not those who came together into a Christian and evangelical grouping who were the separatists, but those who refused to come together with them.  Such evangelicals were being fundamentally inconsistent.  They were the separatists, because it was they who preferred the company of Gospel deniers than the fellowship of Gospel believers.

Guy Fawkes: A Biography Part 1

Born: 13 April 1570, Stonegate, Yorkshire
Died: 31 January 1606, Old Palace Yard, Westminster
Guy Fawkes was the only son of Edward Fawkes of York and his wife Edith Blake. He had two younger sisters.  This was a catholic family, and Guy became a pupil of the Free School of St. Peters located in "Le Horse Fayre." His time there was under the tutelage of a John Pulleyn, a suspected Catholic who some believe may have had an early effect on the impressionable Fawkes.

It is possible that Guy Fawkes married, for there are records of a marriage between Guy Fawkes and Maria Pulleyn in 1590 in Scotton, and it also records the birth of a son Thomas to Guy Fawkes and Maria on 6 February 1591.

In 1591, he proceeded to dispose of parts of his inheritance, and in 1593 or 1594, he is believed to have left England for Flanders, together with one of his cousins who later become a priest. In Flanders he enlisted in the Spanish army under the Archduke Albert of Austria, who was afterwards governor of the Netherlands.

Fawkes held a post of command when the Spaniards took Calais in 1596 under the orders of King Philip II of Spain. He was described at this time as a man "of excellent good natural parts, very resolute and universally learned" and was "sought by all the most distinguished in the Archduke's camp for nobility and virtue."  He is further described as "a man of great piety, of exemplary temperance, of mild and chearful demeanour, an enemy of broils and disputes, a faithful friend, and remarkable for his punctual attendance upon religious observance".  With such a character reference, this young man could go anywhere.   

Fawkes's appearance by now was most impressive. He was a tall, powerfully built man, with thick reddish-brown hair, flowing moustache, and a bushy reddish-brown beard. He had also apparently adopted the name or affectation Guido in place of Guy. His extraordinary fortitude, and his "considerable fame among soldiers," perhaps acquired through his services at the Battle of Nieuport in 1600 when it is believed he was wounded, brought him to the attention of Sir William Stanley (in charge of the English regiment in Flanders), Hugh Owen and Father William Baldwin.

Fawkes severed his connection with the Archduke's forces on 16 February 1603, when he was granted leave to go to Spain on behalf of Stanley, Owen and Baldwin to "enlighten King Philip II concerning the true position of the Romanists in England". During this visit he renewed his acquaintance with Christopher Wright, and the two men set about obtaining Spanish support for an invasion of England upon the death of Elizabeth, a mission which ultimately proved fruitless.

Guy Fawkes - A Biography Part 2

About Easter time, when Wintour was about to return to England, Stanley presented Fawkes to him. It seems that Wintour had already informed Fawkes of the conspirators' intentions, because in Fawkes' confession he states that "I confesse that a practise in general was first broken unto me against his Majesty for reliefe of the Catholique cause, and not invented or propounded by myself. And this was first propounded unto me about Easter last was twelve month, beyond the Seas, in the Low Countries of the Archduke's obeyance, by Thomas Wintour, who came thereupon with me into England".

So the drive behind this entire scheme was religious, namely, the relief of the Catholic cause in England, a country that had accepted the reformed faith.  This Catholic conspiracy against the Protestant establishment was something at which that false religion was good at doing.

In May of 1604, Guy Fawkes met with Robert Catesby, Thomas Percy, John Wright and Thomas Wintour at an inn called the “Duck and Drake” in the fashionable Strand district of London, and agreed under oath along with Percy to join the other three in the gunpowder conspiracy. This oath was then sanctified by the performing of mass and the administering of the sacraments by the Jesuit priest John Gerard in an adjoining room.

The Catholic Church was up to its ears in this murderous plan, and gave its approval to the conspirators.  What better reinforcement could pious Catholics have than for their church to support them in their murderous campaign.

Fawkes assumed the identity of John Johnson, a servant of Percy and was entrusted to the care of the tenement which Percy had rented. Around Michaelmas, Fawkes was asked to begin preparations for work on the mine, but these plans were delayed until early December as the Commissioners of the Union between England and Scotland were meeting in the same house. Eventually the work in the mine proved slow and difficult for men unused to such physical labours, and further accomplices were sworn into the plot.

The date agreed for this awful massacre was 5th November 1605, the day of the opening of parliament, when King James I of England (James VI of Scotland) would be present.  About March 1605, the conspirators hired a cellar under the House of Lords beneath Parliament, once again through Thomas Percy, and Fawkes assisted in hiding kegs full of gunpowder in the cellars beneath the chamber where the king and the rest of the political elite would assemble.  Enough powder was stored to completely destroy the building and kill everyone present.  He was then despatched to Flanders to presumably communicate the details of the plot to Stanley and Owen.

Guy Fawkes - A Biography Part 3

At the end of August, he was back in London again, and replaced the spoiled powder barrels. He very speedily left this accommodation when his landlady suspected his involvement with Catholics. On 18 October he had a meeting with Catesby, Thomas Wintour, and Francis Tresham to discuss how certain Catholic peers could be excluded from the explosion.  It did not matter who was murdered in this attack, so long as Catholic peers were spared.  On 26 October, the now famous Monteagle Letter was delivered into the hands of William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle. Concern quickly erupted amongst the conspirators, but the letter's apparent vagueness prompted Catesby to continue with their plans.

On Wednesday 30 October, Fawkes, apparently ignorant of the letter's existence inspected the cellar again and satisfied himself that the gunpowder was still in place and had not been disturbed. On Sunday 3 November, a few of the leading conspirators met in London and agreed that the authorities were still unaware of their actions. However, all except Fawkes made plans for a speedy exit from London. Fawkes had agreed to watch the cellar by himself, having already been given the task of firing the powder, undoubtedly because of his munitions experience in the Low Countries.  His orders were to embark for Flanders as soon as the powder was fired, and to spread the news of the explosion on the continent.  They hid kegs full of gunpowder in the cellars beneath the chamber where the king and the rest of the political elite would assemble.

On the following Monday afternoon, the Lord Chamberlain, Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk, searched the parliament buildings accompanied by Monteagle and John Whynniard. In the cellar they came upon an unusually large pile of billets and faggots, and saw Fawkes whom they described as "a very bad and desperate fellow". They asked who claimed the pile, and Fawkes replied that it was Thomas Percy's in whose employment he worked. They reported these details to the King, and believing, by the look of Fawkes "he seemed to be a man shrewd enough, but up to no good", they again searched the cellar, a little before midnight the following night, this time led by Sir Thomas Knyvett, a Westminster magistrate and Gentleman of the Privy Chamber. Fawkes had gone forth to warn Percy that same day, but returned to his post before night.

Once again, the pile of billets and faggots was searched and the powder discovered, and this time Fawkes was arrested. On his person they discovered a watch, slow matches and touchwood. Fawkes later declared that had he been in the cellar when Knyvett entered it, he would have "blown him up, house, himself, and all".

Early in the morning of 5 November, the Privy Council met in the King's bedchamber, and Fawkes was brought in under guard. He declined to give any information beyond that his name was Johnson and he was a servant of Thomas Percy. Further interrogations that day revealed little more than his apparent xenophobia. When questioned by the King how he could conspire such a hideous treason, Fawkes replied that a dangerous disease required a desperate remedy, and that his intentions were to blow the Scotsmen present back into Scotland.

Obviously Fawkes saw biblical religion and faith as “a dangerous disease” that “required a desperate remedy.”  The only remedy that would be successful, so they imagined, was the most violent removal of every trace of reformed Protestantism, starting from the top down. 

Guy Fawkes - A Biography Part 4

King James indicated in a letter of 6 November that "The gentler tortours are to be first used unto him, et sic per gradus ad mia tenditur [and so by degrees proceeding to the worst], and so God speed your goode worke", as it [torture] was contrary to English common law, unless authorised by the King or Privy Council. 

Eventually on 7 November Guido's spirit broke and he confessed his real name and that the plot was confined to five men. "He told us that since he undertook this action he did every day pray to God he might perform that which might be for the advancement of the Catholic Faith and saving his own soul".

Fawkes had been well taught by his catholic teachers.  The cause of Catholicism was to be advanced by any means, even those clearly contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures.  It matter not who or how many died, so long as Catholicism advanced.  There was missionary zeal apparent in this man, and evangelical motivation – but to do that which was contrary to God’s Word.

The following day he recounted the events of the conspiracy, without naming names; then on the 9 November he named his fellow plotters, having heard that some of them had already been arrested at Holbeche. Guido's final signature, a barely legible scrawl, is testament to his suffering. There is no direct evidence as to what tortures were used on Guy Fawkes, although it is almost certain that they included the manacles, and probably also the rack.

On Monday 27 January 1606, the day of the capture of Edward Oldcorne and Henry Garnet, the trial of the eight surviving conspirators began in Westminster Hall. It was a trial in name only, for a guilty verdict had certainly already been handed down. The conspirators pleaded not guilty, a plea which caused some consternation amongst those present. Fawkes later explained that his objection was to the implication that the "seducing Jesuits" were the principal offenders.

It is clear that amongst those who made these allegations against Fawkes & Co were men of Christian conviction and principle, because they discerned the nefarious activity of the Jesuits behind this anti-biblical religion and faith.  Rome never changes, as she herself has often said.  She hates the Protestant evangelical faith like poison, and will do whatever it takes to destroy it.  And she has plenty of helpers within the other churches, including our Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his lackies.

On Friday, 31 January 1606, Fawkes, Thomas Wintour, Ambrose Rookwood and Robert Keyes were taken to the Old Palace Yard at Westminster and hanged, drawn and quartered "in the very place which they had planned to demolish in order to hammer home the message of their wickedness". Thomas Wintour was followed by Rookwood and then by Keyes. Guido, the "romantic caped figure of such evil villainy" came last. A contemporary wrote:

"Last of all came the great devil of all, Guy Fawkes, alias Johnson, who should have put fire to the powder. His body being weak with the torture and sickness he was scarce able to go up the ladder, yet with much ado, by the help of the hangman, went high enough to break his neck by the fall. He made no speech, but with his crosses and idle ceremonies made his end upon the gallows and the block, to the great joy of all the beholders that the land was ended of so wicked a villainy".