This Day in History: March 15, 1752 John Gill was saved by the grace of God and would later become a rather famous Baptist Minister. I make replicas of four of Gill’s pamphlet/sermons.
- The Doctrine of Predestination Stated, and set in the Scripture-Light; In Opposition to Mr. Wesley’s Predestination calmly Consider’d . With a Reply to the Exceptions of the said Writer to The Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints. by John Gill, D.D. 1752
- The Doctrine of the Saints Final Perseverance, Asserted and Vindicated: In Answer to a late Pamphlet, called : Serious thoughts, On that Subject by John Gill, D.D. dated 1754, The third Edition. This pamphlet is 60 pages in length. It is made up of 7 signatures; sig A pp1-8; sig B pp9-16; sig C pp17-24; sig D pp 25-32; sig E pp 33-40; sig F pp 41-48; & sig G pp 49-56. The title of this pamphlet is appropriately called “doctrine.” It is indeed full of doctrine, but its length of 56 pages is hardly noticeable, as Dr. Gill covers each point thoroughly yet quickly. The first edition of this pamphlet was printed in 1752. We have reproduced the third edition from 1754, and the printing of three editions in as many years doubtless attests to their popularity. Dr. Gill never directly names the author of the “late Pamphlet called Serious Thoughts” to which he felt compelled to give an answer. However, there is no reasonable conclusion that it was anyone other than John Wesley’s 1751 pamphlet entitled, “Serious Thoughts upon the Perseverance of the Saints.” To get a glimpse into this topic that was debated by two of perhaps the greatest and most persuasive 18th century this is certainly worth the time of anyone who has ever thought about this issue. The first part of the pamphlet answers Wesley point by point. Beginning on page 28, Gill then seeks to defend his own doctrine in ten points that he develops in his own logical order. “Once saved, always saved” is still debated today, yet the approach that Gill uses may be different from many modern evangelicals. He certainly invokes a familiar perspective of a Heavenly Father Who is far too loving to allow one of His children to be lost, but Gill’s arguments never stray outside the framework of the doctrine of unconditional election, which he seems to reinforce whenever possible. To quote from page 34, “This doctrine of the stains final perseverance, may be established from the counsels, purposes, and decrees of God, particularly the decree of election.” Gill has and certainly will continue to delight traditional Calvinists, who see this nonnegotiable link between unconditional predestination and unconditional perseverance. However, the inverse is also true. The other side also saw clearly the same link between both of these “unconditional” doctrines, and sought to simultaneously disprove both. History bears this out. Wesley’s answer to Gill’s answer was a 1752 pamphlet entitled “Predestination calmly considered” and then a later 1754 pamphlet entitled, “An answer to all which the Revd. Dr. Gill has printed on the final Perseverance of the Saints.” Regardless of where the reader stands on this issue or the degree to which one has studied this issue, Dr. Gill’s has written a great resource with plenty of scripture references in the footnotes of each page. In several places, this pamphlet uses Hebrew and Greek fonts to spell out words from the original text. Gill was a very well educated and well respected Baptist minister, in an age when Baptist ministers were on the whole not well regarded. Despite his learning, Gill seems to write in a relatively simple style for a wide audience.
- The Glorious State of the Saints in Heaven. A sermon preached to the Society Which support the Wednesday’s evening lecture in Great East-cheap, December 31st, 1755. (The third edition), by John Gill, D.D. Gill’s 1755 36-page sermon on Heaven, which immediately went through two editions in London, and a third one printed in Boston (all printed in 1756). Dr. Gill was a very well educated and well respected Baptist minister, in an age when Baptist ministers were on the whole not well regarded. Despite his learning, Gill seems to write in a relatively simple style for a wide audience. Even so, there are a few eighteenth century words which may catch a modern reader off guard, such as “suretyship-engagements” (page 9). Gill uses references and footnotes that would have been known to his readers, such the reference to the horrible 1755 earthquake in Portugal. Gill has a good knowledge of Greek mythology, which he uses to introduce his topic. He also tries to answer some common questions, such as: Will we be able to recognize persons in heaven whom we have never met? The topic of this sermon may be refreshing to anyone who holds a notion that all sermons from this period were required to be of the fire and brimstone type. However, make no mistake: Gill was not simply out to deliver a feel-good pep talk about all good people going to heaven. The text of his sermon is Psalm 84.11. “The Lord will give Grace and Glory.” His point is clearly summarized on page 34: “God give glory to none but to whom he first gives grace; grace is his first gift, and glory is his last; and none have the latter, but those who share in the former.” There is clearly a Christ-centered evangelical theme to Gill’s message. It was doubtless one that was needed for that young generation of New-Englanders who would soon be going onto the battlefields of Ticonderoga and Quebec. Its timeless message is also needed today. There is curious side to this Boston printing of this pamphlet. Gill was wont to use a lot of Greek words, but it seems that New England could not accommodate the fonts as did the English printers. Therefore, his Greek words had to be spelled in English letters.
- The Watchmen’s Answer to the Question, What of the Night? The Second Edition, 1751, by John Gill.
You may purchase these four pamphlets from my Etsy page at the following link: Purchase Here