Devoted To the Service of the TemplePosted: July 4, 2008
This weeks Book of the Week is, Michael Haykin, and Steve Weaver: Devoted To the Service of the Temple: Piety, Persecution, and Ministry in the Writings of Hercules Collins, (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books 2007).
Summary of the Piety, Persecution, and Ministry in the writings of Hercules Collins:
When seeing the name Hercules Collins, not many postmodern individuals even know who the man is. Collins lived during the later 1700s and early 1800s as one of the most profound Calvinistic Baptists in London, England. Being one of the greatest Baptist figures of all time, this short biography shows a life of piety that the believer today could only wish to experience personally. In this biography, Dr. Haykin and Steve Weaver outline the beginning of Collins’ life in England, his pastorate, his imprisonment, his popularity among the London Baptists, his piety in knowing God, and his persecution while building the Baptist faith in London. Although many have never heard of him and do not know anything about him, it was his gospel-centered ministry that helped redeem London from the cesspool of sin in his time. Despite the drunkards, the prideful, the profane, homosexuals, and adulterers, Collins’ dedication to the gospel was to preach the good news to all types of people. Collins truly knew how to preach, and one of the characteristics of his preaching was how he prepared for his sermons. In preparing and giving sermons, he aimed to be plain and simple so that even the unregenerate could easily see sound words that soon became light and fire to their hearts. If you are looking for an easy biography to read, there is nothing like that of Hercules Collins’.
Summary selected writings of Hercules Collins:
Dr. Haykin has closely selected 35 different sections from Collins’ writings to show the magnitude of his “plain Jane” writing that was so profound. These writings reveal the relationship he had with his Father, the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of these sections include writings from when he was in prison, and deal with topics such as how to submit to God’s will. Many people in the 21st Century often look at one of the most prolific speakers of our day, John Piper, because of how he speaks, writes and preaches. If there were a Reformed Baptist that was as insightful to the Scriptures, as vigorous in the pulpit, and as striking with their words as John Piper, it would have to be Collins in the early 18th Century. Writings like: God is the Gospel, The Christ-Finding Soul, Grace Sweetens the Music, and An Old Gospel are just some of the topics of which you can read when picking up Devoted to the Service of the Temple. Not only were his writings profound, but he was also known to be a pastor like no other. Included are articles on being a pastor, such as: The Art of Preaching, The Value of Pastoral Ministry, Interpreting Scripture, Plain Preaching, Sermon Preparation, Preaching the Whole Counsel of God, Advice about Preaching, The Use of Notes in Preaching, and The Believers Ultimate Comfort.
Recommendation: 9 out of 10
Having no clue who Hercules Collins was when I began this book, I was surprised that by the time I had read 125 pages I found out just how gospel-centered he was. These inspiring writings that Dr. Haykin and Steve Weaver compiled are tremendously valuable, and truly Christ-saturated. Although half of them seemed to be more geared towards pastoring, there was still a great amount of theological emphasis placed upon Collins’ writings. Whether about preaching or about the gospel, Collins’ focus was always centered on both the unregenerate and regenerate, to see the promises of God and to live a life of piety for Him.