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The Baptist Top 1000 

 

 
 
 

An A-Z of Christian Truth and Experience,

Compiled by J Graham Miller

 

 

Free Presbyterian Magazine   Sept  2003

 

This book consists of brief quotations arranged under about 180 headings, ranging from Ability (“When God calls us to any charge, He also gives us the ability to accomplish that which he has commanded” - John Calvin) to Zeal(“A zealous man in religion ... burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God’s glory. If he is consumed in burning, he cares not for it - he is content” - J C Ryle).

 

The compiler, a New Zealander, has also been a minister and Bible College teacher in both Vanuatu and Australia. For many years he has written out striking quotations from a wide variety of Reformed writers and this book is the result.  And a very worthwhile book it is, suitable for picking up when only a few moments are available or when the brain is too weary for more sustained reading.  It has to be said that a small number of quotations are from non-Reformed writers (for example, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Emil Brunner). However, these quotations in themselves are, with possibly one exception - from D L Moody - quite unexceptionable. But one’s fear is that by including such writers in a Banner book, some readers may be misled into thinking that these men’s works are generally scriptural.  There is a small number of quotations in another category, exemplified by the statement from the canons of the Council of Trent about the mass, which are clearly included only to draw attention, by way of warning, to a particular error.  It might have been wiser to have labelled these appropriately.

 

Mr Miller is clearly particularly fond of Calvin; a disproportionate number of quotations come from the pen of the Genevan Reformer.  But no one, surely, will complain about that.  Indeed he has previously produced a similar, but larger, volume devoted solely to Calvin; it is entitled Calvin’s Wisdom.

 

To whet the reader’s appetite, a few further quotations are given, selected almost at random:

 

“Our father Adam left the whole family with a conscience full of guilt, and a heart full of unsatisfied desires.”

Thomas Boston

 

“The design of Christ, when He takes believers into union with Himself, is to purge and cleanse them absolutely and perfectly.”

John Owen

 

“Pardon cannot be understood unless we distinguish the guilt and demerit of sin from its dominion and defilement.... It is only by pardon that guilt can be cancelled; not by repentance, or even by regeneration.”

Hugh Martin

 

“I would rather have the smallest portion of humility and love than the knowledge of an archangel.”

Henry Martyn

 

“All truth is known to be truth by its tendency to promote holiness.”

Charles Hodge 

 

“There is nothing more deadly than to lean to our own wisdom.  Satan has so many devices by which he deludes and blinds men’s minds, but there is not a man who knows the hundredth part of his own sins.”

John Calvin

 

“God’s directing and commanding will can by no good logic be concluded from the events of Providence.”

Samuel Rutherford

 

“A man cannot be totally humbled until he comes to know that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsel, endeavours, will and works, and absolutely depending on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of another ... God only.”

Martin Luther

 

“He that falls into sin is a man; that grieves at it is a saint; that boasts of it is a devil.”

Thomas Fuller

 

“The unity of the Godhead required that as the extent of the Father’s gift and the extent of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, such also must be the extent of the atonement or reconciliation effected by the Son.”

James Haldane

 

“Conscience is pacified by nothing which does not pacify the justice of God.”

George Smeaton

 

 

 

The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth    July/Aug  2003

 

This collection of quotes from leading Reformed writers throughout history provides a reservoir of inspiring material.  The book is arranged according to several topics on the Christian life, such as hope and faith, with quotations on the subject.  While there is an “Authors and Sources” section near the end, nowhere are the sources directly referenced.  This inconvenience, however, should not deter individuals from mining the treasures of the past presented in these pages.

 

 

 

Gospel Standard   Oct   2003

 

Readers may remember Dr. Miller’s The Treasury of the Promises and Calvin’s Wisdom, selections which he made, published some years ago.

 

This new book has a most interesting history.  Over sixty years of ministry the author jotted down privately (“in firm and distinctive handwriting”) any little, apt quotations from godly writers he came across. Many of these now make up this book, set out under different headings.  They are from such writers as Augustine, Bede, Boston, Bunyan, Charnock, Luther, Whitefield - and many others, but especially John Calvin.

 

For instance:

 

He suffered not as God, but He suffered who was God.  John Owen.

 

For whom Christ died, for them also He rose again to make intercession for them ... these two acts of His priesthood are not to be separated.  John Calvin.

 

God loved Jacob of His unmerited grace, and hated Esau of his deserved judgment.  Augustine.

 

Every sin will be adequately punished; blessed be God, not every sinner. John “Rabbi” Duncan.

 

Justification by faith ... the article of a standing or a falling church.  Martin Luther.

 

Obviously this is a book to be “dabbled” in, a book which can be perused at any time and opened in any place.

 

Dr. J. Graham Miller, who is still alive, was a minister in both New Zealand and Australia.  There is a most interesting link with the past.  Going as a missionary to the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) over sixty years ago, he worked there with one of the sons of John G. Paton.

 

 

 

British Church Newspaper  Issue 25

 

The author has made great efforts to prove his claim on the frontispiece that the book’s content covers “the entire range of Christian truth and experience”.

 

It consists of quotations, arranged alphabetically under no less than one hundred and seventy-six different headings.  The subject matter relates to doctrinal, devotional, practical, and controversial issues.

 

The Rev.  Graham Miller has drawn from many sources for this compilation. They include the Early Church Fathers, the English Puritans, the Scottish Covenanters, theologians, commentators, Bible critics, modern evangelists (such as Billy Graham), educationalists, scientists and other influential thinkers and writers from all the Christian centuries.  The sources also represent many different communions.  The vast majority of the quotations are from Christian men. Perhaps there could have been a few more from Christian women.  Still, the book is full of words fitly spoken.

 

Among these many “flakes of shining gold” is the following concerning salvation.  “There is nothing necessary for salvation which faith finds not in Christ” (John Calvin).  Then, under the heading ‘Antichrist’ Miller gives this quotation from Calvin: “Roman antichrist invites us to himself, under the pretence of unity, and pronounces all to be schismatics who do not spontaneously submit to the yoke of his tyranny.”

 

There are one or two quotations in respect of the true Christ that believers could not agree to.  For example, on page one, this is given from Augustine: “Jesus was born the only Son of God...” As a matter of fact, Jesus was not born the Son of God!  His birth was the beginning of His earthly pilgrimage.  But His Sonship is inextricably linked to His Deity and therefore is without beginning.  He is the eternal Son of God.

 

Apart from this, The A - Z of Christian Truth and Experience is very good.  Christian ministers should find it practical in forcing home the truth in preaching.  Every Christian home should have a source of reference like this.  An excellent buy.

 

Rev Kyle Paisley

 

 

 

Evangelical Presbyterian  Sept-Oct   2003

 

From about twenty years of age Graham Miller began to gather “gold” as he read; that is, he collected notable quotations from good, books.  As one among many who has a similar practice I found this little volume a most useful addition to my collection.  I also produce a weekly service sheet in my church and adorn the front cover with a poignant quote.  What a “gold-mine” therefore I have in this book.

 

Preachers are often endeavouring to find the right quote explaining a certain point, or to set the scene for a whole sermon.  Here is another help along the way.  The best of authors are used, so you can be sure of sound material.  The most quoted is John Calvin, and some folk might criticise the book for an overabundance of Calvin.  Dare they?! Why should we not listen to a memorable quote from Calvin first? Being the gathered gold of one man it is not exhaustive, but will ably complement the product of your own spiritual panning and that of other similar tides in your library.

 

The book also includes a lovely eight page biographical introduction by Iain Murray.  Among other things, I was interested to note that Graham Miller was a founder and regular writer for Evangelical Presbyterian! - that is, a publication of the Westminster Fellowship within the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand.

 

 

 

Evangelicals Now  Nov   2003

 

Following a brief biographical introduction, and a helpful contents section, there follows an alphabetical arrangements of entries – beginning Ability, Adam, Adoption, Ambition… right through to …Work, World mission, Worship, Zeal – which do indeed relate to both Christian doctrine and the Christian life, reflecting the fact that is the anthology of a pastor of real people, not of an abstract theologian.  Nearly 200 subjects are covered with varying weight.  The largest section is (appropriately) on Jesus Christ, covering all aspects of this person and work.  Other major entries include Atonement (‘the grand distinctive peculiarity of the Christian religion’: George Smeaton), Bible, Faith, Judgment, Sanctification and, reflecting the pastoral interest in Christian experience, Assurance, Error, Family, Prayer, Sin, Satan, and many others.

 

Quotes go back to the Fathers (sometimes incredibly contemporary: ‘academics doubt everything!’ Augustine), though most come from the Reformation onwards.  Each century is well represented; From the 16th, John Calvin (overwhelmingly the most quoted author overall) and others; Rutherford, Owen, Baxter, Boston from the 17th; from the 18th, Edwards, Wesley, Whitefield; Cunningham, Warfield, Hodge, Ryle from the 19th, right through to Bonhoeffer, Brunner, and John Murray in more recent times.  Here is collected, in brief compass, some of the greatest wisdom of the believing church through the ages, from some of its most godly minds.

 

One is struck by the clarity of thinking among our forebears in comparison with the prevailing mood today.  To them it was obvious that in their teaching ‘the omission of fundamental truth is the equivalent to inculcation of deadly error’ (Calvin on Error), and it was without question that ‘whatever contradicts the Word of God should be instantly resisted as diabolical’ (Bunyan on Bible).  These are the kind of good Christian friends we need to listen to today more than ever!

 

Buy this book for Christmas for a young Christian you know; it may just open their eyes to the wealth of a great tradition, and in turn whet the appetite to discover (with the help of the excellent bibliography of sources) more abiding treasure than merely the flakes of gold assembled here.

 

William J.U. Philip

Director of Ministry,

The Proclamation Trust, London

 

 

 

Gospel Magazine   Nov/Dec   2003

 

Over a lifetime ministry in Presbyterian churches in New Zealand, Vanuatu (the New Hebrides) and Australia, the author recorded quotations from leading authors, and this new book is his selection from that collection.

 

The authors whose works are quoted are as varied as the subjects.  The front runners are Augustine of Hippo, John Calvin and Martin Luther, but there are some 122 other names familiar or unheard of, according to the width of one’s reading.  The subjects, arranged in clear alphabetical order, range from Ability, Backsliding and Chastisement, through Jesting and Memorizing Scripture, to Unbelief, Worship and Zeal - a truly formidable range!  Most quotations are three or four lines, some six or more, but it is noticeable that the one or two liners often shine the most piercing beam.

 

A well-produced slim volume; a book to be dipped into rather than read from cover to cover; an hors-d’oeuvreto stimulate thought or to suggest authors for wider reading.

 

G.F.H.H.

 

 

 

English Churchman  Oct & Nov   2003

 

Anyone in possession of the books ‘Gathered Gold’ and ‘More Gathered Gold’ by John Blanchard will know just how helpful a compilation of quotes and pithy sayings are to the Christian. ‘An A-Z of Christian Truth and Experience’ is very much in a similar vein.

 

There is a short biography of Graham Miller by his friend Iain Murray which introduces us to a long, faithful and experienced ministry.  It was during this ministry that Dr Miller gleaned from his wide reading, choice statements which made a great impression upon him.  He writes “Gold brought the first substantial influx of migrants to Australia.  One of the simplest methods of discovering gold was panning for tiny flakes in mountain streams.  Over the years of reading, amidst the shingle and soil of one’s reading there have turned up the flakes of shining gold.  From the age of about twenty, I began to treasure these quotations in durable volumes, indexing them under appropriate themes, and it is a selection from this lifelong labour that has here been prepared for publication.”

 

Arranged in over one hundred and fifty diverse categories, the quotes are gleaned overwhelmingly from evangelical authors.  The small number which are not nevertheless are still helpful and should not trouble the reader, bearing in mind the Apostle Paul himself cited heathen poets in order to establish an argument.

 

This book is a most useful tool to the preacher, an aid to devotion and an encouragement in the life of faith for all Christians and is therefore warmly recommended.  “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25: 11.

 

 

 

Australian Presbyterian   Nov   2003

 

The Lord continues to use Rev. Dr Graham Miller, now in his 90th year. This collection of quotable quotes, compiled during the course of a long and energetic ministry is the third such volume published by the Trust, taking its place alongside The Treasury of His Promises and Calvin’s Wisdom.

 

Wisdom is gleaned from the writings of 122 Christian leaders from across the ages and arranged alphabetically by topic. Christians who desire a little help in understanding particular aspects of their faith and practice, preachers looking for a succinct quote to drive home a point, editors of parish magazines who need a “filler” will all find great value in this volume.

 

One quote, taken randomly from the several hundred contained in this book, will illustrate the point: “We shall never be fit for the service of God if we look not beyond this fleeting life’ (John Calvin on Eternity).

 

As a bonus, Iain Murray’s introduction and Graham Miller’s own foreword give insights into the work of the ministry that will enrich the reader’s understanding and practice of it.

 

Bob Thomas

 

 

 

New Life   Sept   2003

 

The Lord continues to use the Rev Dr Graham Miller, now in his 90th year, for the blessing of His people.  This collection of quotable quotes compiled during the course of a long and energetic ministry is the third such volume published by the Trust, taking its place alongside The Treasury of His Promises and Calvin’s Wisdom.

 

Wisdom is gleaned from the writings of 122 Christian leaders from across the ages and arranged alphabetically by topic.  Christians who desire a little help in understanding particular aspects of their faith and practice, preachers looking for a succinct quote to drive home a point, editors of parish magazines who need a “filler” will all find great value in this volume.

 

One quote, taken randomly from the several hundred contained in this book, will illustrate the point: “We shall never be fit for the service of God if we look not beyond this fleeting life” (John Calvin on “Eternity”.)

 

As a bonus, Iain Murray’s introduction and Graham Miller’s own foreword given insights into the work of the ministry which will enrich the reader’s understanding and practice of it.

 

Bob Thomas

 

 

 

Evangelical Times   Jan   2004

 

When you open Mr Miller’s latest book, you find quotations from over 130 of the ‘most influential thinkers and writers of all the Christian centuries’, from Irenaeus to Lloyd-Jones.

 

They speak on approximately 175 different subjects, such as – ambition: true & false; assurance; controversy; the Bible; Jesus Christ; men-pleasing; music; sin; suffering; and worship – and all this in 122 pages!

 

The matter of ‘prayer’ is given more space than any other subject, except ‘Jesus Christ’.  The author with the most quotations on almost every subject is John Calvin.  That is not surprising from Graham Miller, who also wrote Calvin’s Wisdom.

 

The statements from Calvin area t times moving, and ‘words fitly spoken.’ Those who only know a caricature of him, pieced together by his detractors, should read some of his thoughts in this book.

 

There is a splendid mix of authors here- mostly classically Reformed – including Augustine, Hodge, Warfield, Pascal, Latimer, Owen, Kuyper, Bonar, Rutherford; and some more recent writers, such as Murray, Tasker, Brunner and Lenski.

 

The author has collected these quotations over the course of his life and the book contains many gems of spiritual wisdom.  It provides food for meditation and prayer; material for personal and family devotions; seed thoughts for sermons; quotations for writers and speakers etc.

 

If I may, here are two thoughts for its improvement – I would have loved to know the particular context for some of the quotation, and an author index would have been helpful.

 

Iain Murray, an old friend of the author, wrote in the introduction that he found the contents ‘humbling and inspiring’.  I am sure many others will find the same.

 

He may have been thinking of this quote from the Abraham Kuyper, who, speaking of the Lord Jesus, said, ‘His self-emptying was not a single loss or bereavement, but a growing poorer and poorer,  until at last nothing was left him but a piece of ground where he could weep and a cross whereon he could die’ (p.52).

 

Dennis Hill

Hull

 

 

 

Evangelical Presbyterian  2004

 

From about twenty years of age Graham Miller began to gather “gold” as he read; that is, he collected notable quotations from good books.  As one among many who has a similar practice I found this little volume a most useful addition to my collection.  I also produce a weekly service sheet in my church and adorn the front cover with a poignant quote.  What a “gold-mine” therefore I have in this book.

 

Preachers are often endeavouring to find the right quote explaining a certain point, or to set the scene for a whole sermon.  Here is another help along the way.  The best of authors are used, so you can be sure of sound material. The most quoted is John Calvin, an some folk might criticise the book for an overabundance of Calvin.  Dare they?!  Why should we not listen to a memorable quote from Calvin first?  Being the gathered gold of one man it is not exhaustive, but will ably complement the product of your own spiritual panning and that of other similar titles in your library.

 

The book also includes a lovely eight page biographical introduction by Iain Murray.  Among other things, I was interested to note that Graham Miller was a founder and regular writer for Evangelic-al Presbyterian! - that is, a publication of the Westminster Fellowship within the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand.

 

Stephen Atkinson

 

 

 

Grace   May   2004

 

The book is a compilation of useful quotations taken from 124 authors covering an historical period from AD40 to the present day.  In the brief biographical introduction from Iain Murray we learn that these gleanings came from Dr Miller’s ‘Commonplace quotes book’ and are a gathering of ‘great thoughts and truths’ put together over a lifetime’s ministry.

 

Dr Miller writes in his Foreword, ‘Now in retirement, after sixty years of harvesting the seed thoughts of others, I have gathered together extracts which bear upon Holy Scripture.  In the pulpit, in the courts of the church, in public media and in casual conversation the Bible takes its imperturbable course, delighting its lovers, confounding its critics and confronting each new generation with its freshness and indestructibility.’

 

This very methodical and useful collection of arrows of truth would fill a place in the preacher’s reference library.  The quotations are on the whole apt to their subject category, helpful to stimulate thought, brief enough to commit to memory, instructive in their content, and a stimulus to meditation upon the Word of God.

 

Let me give a couple of quotes as tasters.  Under the subject of conversion: ‘It is profitable for Christians to be often calling to mind the very beginning of grace with their souls’ (John Bunyan).  And on the subject of meditation: ‘I take a walk every day, by faith and meditation, to mount Calvary; there is nothing like it’ (Matthew Henry).

 

It would be useful to take a thought for each day from this book and meditate upon it.  The book is well bound and worth buying.

 

Derrick Holmes, Gloucester


Collection of Endorsements

An A-Z of Christian Truth and Experience by Graham Miller

Highlights:

·        Referring to the contents of this little book, Iain Murray says in his Introduction, they give ‘a wonderful overview of the Christian faith to ponder and reflect on. I have found the contents humbling and inspiring.’

·        Jeremy Walker -- The patient collection of spiritual gold dust over lifetime of careful study makes this accumulation of truth a real and substantial treasury of spiritual wisdom. It is a book to prompt thoughtful and prayerful devotion, perhaps especially helpful for those who want something to stir their prayers or prompt fellowship, or for preachers looking to spice their sermons with appropriate quotations.

·        Rev. Kyle Paisley -- Among these many “flakes of shining gold” is the following concerning salvation.  “There is nothing necessary for salvation which faith finds not in Christ” (John Calvin).  Then, under the heading ‘Antichrist’ Miller gives this quotation from Calvin: “Roman antichrist invites us to himself, under the pretence of unity, and pronounces all to be schismatics who do not spontaneously submit to the yoke of his tyranny.”… Every Christian home should have a source of reference like this.  An excellent buy.

·        Evangelical Presbyterian -- Preachers are often endeavouring to find the right quote explaining a certain point, or to set the scene for a whole sermon.  Here is another help along the way.  The best of authors are used, so you can be sure of sound material. The most quoted is John Calvin, and some folk might criticise the book for an overabundance of Calvin.  Dare they?! 

 

 

 

 



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