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Welcome to my weblog! My name is Jessica. I enjoy learning more of God, reading 16th-17th century Puritan divines' writings, playing piano, playing table tennis, old-fashioned things, etc. This is where I post on things that I'm reading or learning (as a sort of commonplace book), to aid me in remembering helpful things.


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My Podcast Subscriptions

Rev. Robert McCurley - SermonAudio / Videos
Rev. David Silversides - SermonAudio / iTunes
Rev. Kenneth Stewart - SermonAudio / iTunes
Rev. Gavin Beers -
Dr. Joel Beeke -
SermonAudio / iTunes
Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Podcast - Confessing Our Hope (iTunes) / Web
Reformed Theological Seminary on iTunes U - Free RTS course lectures
Westminster Theological Seminary on iTunes U - Free course lectures

Westminster Shorter Catechism

Search the Scriptures (John 5:39)

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Be Not Vexed

This quotation by a 17th-century pastor, Willem Teellinck, is encouraging in light of today’s news and event (from Redeeming the Time, p. 36):

When you begin to consider the things which are happening all over the world, always remember that the Lord is working in them.  He who can bring light out of darkness, will yet from the completed and combined work bring forth something glorious.  Be not therefore too much vexed that there appears somewhere to come an ill stroke in your own affairs, or in the affairs of God’s people in your day, as is now the case; for the Lord would not permit this to take place, did He not mean to use it as a background to give the whole work a more beautiful lustre.

John Knox Trailer



Of Two Moral Evils Choose Neither

The last quotation by Symington is my favorite of the list.


Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ:

Of two evils, the lesser is always to be chosen.


Charles Spurgeon, The Salt-Cellars: Being a Collection of Proverbs, Together with Homely Notes Thereon (1889), p. 297:

John Ploughman says, Of two evils choose neither.  Don’t choose the least, but let all evils alone.


Matthew Henry, from his Commentary on Genesis 19:8:

It is true, of two evils we must choose the less; but of two sins we must choose neither, nor ever do evil that good may come of it.


William Symington, Speech of the Rev. Dr. Symington at the great meeting, for protesting against the desecration of the Sabbath by the running of trains on the Edinburgh and Glasgow railway on the Lord’s day, held in the City Hall, Glasgow, February 26, 1842:

…Instead of being fixed by their favourite poster, ‘of two evils choose the least,’ I say…when you give me the choice of two moral evils, I can choose neither of them.  If I have the choice of two physical evils, I will choose the least.  If I am asked whether I would choose to lose a toe or a leg, I would choose to part with a toe; but if I am asked whether I would desecrate the Sabbath by steam or by horse power, I say I would do neither.  There is a dangerous and deadly fallacy lurking beneath this common maxim, against which I would warn all; for of two moral evils we must choose neither–we are not at liberty to do evil that good may come.


The Christian Sabbath

Alexander Smellie, On the Hour of Silence, on a comparison between the Sabbath here and the eternal Sabbath:

There remaineth a Sabbatism for the people of God.

The Sabbath here brings release from task-work and solicitude; but the eternal Sabbath — throughout it the very service will be repose and the very labour peace and joy.  The irksomeness of toil will be gone for ever.  The burdensomeness of care will not be felt again.  Through all my duties I shall carry music in my heart.

The Sabbath here brings the sweet and solemn worship of God’s holy house; but the eternal Sabbath — throughout it my praises will ring louder, and my prayers will have more thanksgiving and triumph in them than they could have meantime, and His truth will shine with brighter meaning and glow.

The Sabbath here brings happy communion with the saints; but the eternal Sabbath — throughout it I shall walk in company with the seraphim, and with the redeemed taken from every country and kindred.  O goodly fellowship!  O banquet-hall of Christ, thronged by guests robed in fair linen clean and white!

The Sabbath here brings the sight by faith of my dear Lord’s face; but the eternal Sabbath — throughout it faith will give place to undimmed vision. My eyes will look into His.  My hand will grasp His pierced hand.  My feet will follow His blessed feet, through the sinless, sorrowless, deathless land.

Too soon the Sabbath on earth is ended and past.  But the Sabbath of heaven has no ending at all.  Its day never passes into night.  Its glory lasts through cycle after cycle of blessedness. May the Lord of the Sabbath lead me to its consummate joy!


RPCNA Synod, 1910, Report on the Committee of the Sabbath:

The Sabbath is the mountain day between the weeks.  Here Jesus is found teaching and pronouncing blessings.  They, who will, may have this high day with Jesus, and enjoy His fellowship – the very essence of happiness.  How rich and numerous the blessings that come to such!  This mountain is strewn with precious gifts: comfort for the sad; pardon for the guilty; bread for the hungry; rest for the weary; riches for the poor; visions for the pure; society for the lonely; crowns for the humble; heaven for the persecuted; the Holy Spirit for all.  What happy experiences the Sabbath brings to those who worship in the Spirit!  What views of life, of destiny, of eternity!  What stirrings of the soul, what incoming power, what feelings of holy awe, what consciousness of kinship with God!  How the horizon bounds back, and life grows large!  How near heaven seems to be!  How real the Throne, the Lamb, the angels, and the Redeemed!  Blessing upon blessing for the Sabbath-keeper.  “Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keep the Sabbath” (Is. 56:2)!


Henry Scudder, The Christian’s Daily Walk:

Neither is there any ordinary means of gaining strength and grace in the inward man like this, of due observing the sabbath.  For this is God’s great mart or fair-day for the soul, on which you may buy of Christ wine, milk, bread, marrow and fatness, gold, white raiment, eye salve, — even all things which are necessary, and which will satisfy, and cause the soul to live.  It is the special day of proclaiming and sealing of pardons to penitent sinners.  It is God’s special day of publishing and sealing your patent of eternal life.  It is a blessed day, sanctified for all these blessed purposes.


J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke volume 2, [Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1998], 120. {Luke 13:10-17}:

Let us never forget that our feelings about Sundays are sure tests of the state of our souls.  The person who can find no pleasure in giving God one day in the week, is manifestly unfit for heaven.  Heaven itself is nothing but an eternal Sabbath.  If we cannot enjoy a few hours in God’s service once a week in this world, it is plain that we could not enjoy an eternity in His service in the world to come. . . . They shall find Christ and a blessing while they live, and Christ and glory when they die.


Wilhelmus à Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, Vol. 3:

Observation [of the Fourth Commandment re: Lord’s Day, or Christian Sabbath] not only consists in resting — as if that were the whole or part of its observance.  It also does not consist in serving God in a more spiritual manner than on other days.  Neither does it consist in a narrow-minded ‘touch not and taste not,’ nor in asking, ‘May I do this or may I do that?’  The sabbath is not a snare, but rather a day of delight–not, however, for sinful flesh.  Those who are spiritually minded will almost always know what either favors or impedes the spirituality of the sabbath and the hallowing of this day.


William Ames:

Our souls are burdened for six days with worldly occupations in some way, being turned towards the earth.  It was instituted by the most wise counsel of God that at least on the seventh day we may lift up our souls anew, being turned towards heaven, and that by all means our souls are roused, and in their own degree they are restored.  This restoration is necessary because we even contract filthiness from those worldly occupations; they are scrubbed completely clean and we are cleansed by these exercises of sanctification.  While many occurrences happen on other days that bear their own difficulties and temptations with them, on this day we are outfitted and fortified, so that it occurs like a day for mustering as far as our spiritual arms are concerned; like a day of purgation with respect to putting off our filth; and like a day of our ascension into heaven, to the extent that faith and charity, with the rest of the heavenly gifts, are ascending in our hearts.


Keep the Heart as Keeping a Garden

From Thomas Watson’s Sermon, The Spiritual Watch:

Keep your heart as you would keep a garden.  Your heart is a garden (Song of Solomon 4:12); weed all sin out of your heart.  Among the flowers of the heart, weeds will be growing—the weeds of pride, malice, and covetousness: these grow without planting and cultivating.  Therefore be weeding your heart daily by prayer, examination, and repentance.

Weeds hinder the herbs and flowers from growing; the weeds of corruption—hinder the growth of grace.  Where the weed of unbelief grows—it hinders the flower of faith from growing.

Weeds spoil the walkways.  Christ will not walk in a heart overgrown with weeds and briars.  Christ was sometimes among the lilies (Song of Solomon 6:3)—but never among the thistles.

James Durham on Providence

Reading a troubling news yesterday made this quotation poignant to me:

“And therefore: Let us stay our faith here, that our Lord is still working in all these confusions.  And when matters are turned upside down to human appearance, our blessed Lord is not nonplussed and at a stand when we are; he knows well what he is doing, and will make all things most certainly, infallibly, and infrustrably to work for his own glory, and for the good of his people.” –James Durham, Christ Crucified: The Marrow of the Gospel in 72 Sermons on Isaiah 53, Sermon 34 (on Isa. 53.9), p. 358


A World of Thought

Old Library at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland


Bishop Joseph Hall, “Meditation on the Sight of a Large Library”:

What a world of thought is here packed up together!  I know not whether this sight doth more dismay or comfort me.  It dismays me to think that here is so much that I cannot know; it comforts me to think that this variety affords so much assistance to know what I should.  There is no truer word than that of Solomon; ‘There is no end of making many books.’  This sight verifies it.  There is no end: indeed it were a pity there should…  What a happiness is it that, without the aid of necromancy, I can here call up any of the ancient worthies of learning, whether human or divine, and confer with them upon all my doubts; that I can at pleasure summon whole synods of reverend fathers and acute doctors from all the coasts of the earth, to give their well-studied judgments in all doubtful points which I propose.  Nor can I cast my eye casually upon any of these silent masters but I must learn somewhat.  It is a wantonness to complain of choice.  No law binds us to read all; but the more we can take in and digest, the greater will be our improvement.

Blessed be God who hath set up so many clear lamps in his church: none but the wilfully blind can plead darkness.  And blessed be the memory of those, his faithful servants, who have left their blood, their spirits, their lives, in these precious papers; and have willingly wasted themselves into these enduring monuments to give light to others.


From John Flavel’s Epistle to the Reader in preface to The Righteous Man’s Refuge:

“If Heinsius, when he had shut up himself in the library at Leyden, reckoned himself placed in the very lap of eternity, because he conversed there with so many divine souls, and professed, he took his seat in it with so lofty a spirit and sweet content, that he heartily pitied all the great and rich men of the world, that were ignorant of the happiness he there daily enjoyed;” How much more may that soul rejoice in its own happiness, who hath shut himself up in the chambers of the Divine Attributes, and exerciseth pity for the exposed and miserable multitude that are left as a prey to the temptations and troubles of the world.


One-Year Reading Plan for Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour

Christian in Complete ArmourI found a one-year reading plan for William Gurnall’s The Christian in Complete Armour.  It could seem a bit intimidating to tackle this unabridged volume of 1,100+ pages.  The grand theme of this book is spiritual warfare and how the Christian can furnish with ‘spiritual arms for the battle’ against the Satanic foe.

Sin never relaxes.  It never takes a vacation.  Our indwelling sin doesn’t lie down and wake up the next moment.  The Puritan John Owen wrote that sin may be most active when it seems to be the most dormant to us, hence we must be vigilant and vigorous against it in our spiritual warfare at all times and in all conditions, even when there is least suspicion.

The reading plan (available here) breaks it down into manageable chunks of reading only a few pages per day.  Because it is a 5-day-a-week reading plan, it allows two days within the week to catch up if needed or to reflect on what has been read throughout the week.



Came across this super charming picture.  I like the details that went into it.  The thick black-framed glasses adorning the girl’s face, along with two pigtails.  The piles of books.  Her little hands framing an overwhelmed facial expression.  Her dainty, old-fashioned, retro dress.  She could be a mini Librarian.



This picture somehow reminds me of a time, when I was perhaps an eight- or nine-year-old girl, browsing through my Dad’s bookshelves at home.  At that age I didn’t have the capacity to fully comprehend what I was trying to read from those books, but I’ve always loved books for as long as I can remember.  I recall turning the pages, pondering what was being written and thinking along the lines of, “When I grow up someday, maybe I’ll then be able to read many books and understand what I read . . .”


 “I’ve traveled the world twice over,
Met the famous; saints and sinners,
Poets and artists, kings and queens,
Old stars and hopeful beginners,
I’ve been where no-one’s been before,
Learned secrets from writers and cooks
All with one library ticket
To the wonderful world of books.
~Janice James


Give Me Scotland: John Knox

I’m happy to hear about an upcoming feature length documentary on the life and legacy of Scotland’s Reformer, John Knox.

About the film (excerpt from its campaign website):

“The film would retell the engaging and dramatic story of Knox and explore the relevance of the man and of his Reformational message in the 21st Century . . . We believe that a visually gripping film on Knox will achieve a wide audience both in Scotland and around the world, and we believe that this film could be a powerful challenge for the church to live up to Reformational standards and be once again a great force for good in the world. Perhaps it could even spread the vision for a new Reformation.”

To stay up to date with the latest events in the production of the film, simply join its Facebook page.





As it is impossible to repent of having sinned against a God that we hate, so it is impossible not to repent of having sinned against a God we love.

— Gardiner Spring, Distinguishing Traits of Christian Character

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“Visit many good books, but live in the Bible.” —Charles Spurgeon