Presbyterians of the Past

The lives, places, writings, and events of Reformed history



At seven in the morning of the sixteenth of January one-hundred years ago today, J. Gresham Machen set sail from New York for the purpose of providing United States troops with spiritual counsel and gospel witness while working in support services with the Young Men’s Christian Association in France. The interdenominational YMCA was not his […]

John Wesley was born February 1, 1885 to Jacob and Elizabeth Roth Ischy in their home just across the Ohio River from West Virginia in Hannibal, Ohio. Both Jacob and Elizabeth were immigrants from German-speaking Bern, Switzerland. The selection of the name “John Wesley” may indicate the desire of his Swiss parents to ease his […]

One-hundred-fifty-two years ago on the occasion of the beginning of the year 1866, Rev. Henry A. Boardman, D.D., the minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, delivered his sermon for the New Year titled, This is Not Your Rest, which is an exposition of a portion of Micah 2:10. Included in his purpose for […]

One of the most important doctrinal changes made by Protestants involved reinterpretation of the Latin words hoc est corpus meum which are found in the institution of the Lord’s Supper in Matthew 26:26 of the Catholic Bible, the Vulgate. The English translation of what Jesus said to his disciples is “this is my body.” The […]

William Richmond Smith was born May 10, 1752 in Pequea, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to Rev. Robert Smith and his wife, Elizabeth Blair Smith. He was one of seven children, two of whom died in infancy, two became physicians, and three—Samuel Stanhope, John Blair, and William Richmond became ministers. However, William would not enjoy the same […]

Incarnation, Archibald Alexander

December 18th, 2017, at 2:00 am

Because of this season in which churches remember the birth of Jesus in a variety of ways, a sermon by a Presbyterian of the past on the incarnation of the Son of God has been chosen for posting. The sermon uses for its text Luke 2:13, 14. It has been transcribed from pages 76-90 of […]

I never conversed with nor met R.C. Sproul, but at one time in my life I read much of what he had written and listened to many of his lectures. Audios and videos from Ligonier—when it was in frigid Pennsylvania and not sunny central Florida—along with later instructional series, conferences, and seminars were all important […]

The image of Samuel Stanhope Smith shows him in his later years. Archibald Alexander described his impressions of Dr. Smith when they first met at an earlier time in his tenure at Princeton College. I had met Dr. Samuel Stanhope Smith in Philadelphia, six or seven years before; and certainly, viewing him as in his […]

The photograph was taken during the second General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) in 1974. It shows Stated Clerk Morton H. Smith at the podium as he presented a framed copy of the document “A Message to All the Churches of Jesus Christ” to the moderator of the first general assembly meeting, […]