Benjamin Morgan Palmer (1818-1902) was on the leading theologians of the Southern Presbyterian Church. Palmer was not only a great theologian and a powerful preacher but also a wise physician of souls. In 2014 the Banner of Truth published a selection of articles Palmer wrote for The Southern Presbyterian in the years 1869-1870.
The articles are divides in five categories. The second one containing Palmer’s articles on foreign missions are as relevant and compelling as when he wrote them. The same can be said of his exposition of the Beatitudes in the third part. Palmer emphasizes that the Sermon on the Mount must not be read as just ethical education. This ignores that it is fond on the lips of the Savior of sinners.
The Sermon on the Mount starts with the Beatitudes and so make clear its evangelical nature. The nature of the kingdom of God, the whole gospel of Jesus Christ and all the elements of true Christian experience which are the result of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit are unfolded in the Beatitudes.
The last part contains articles related to Christian experience. I just give a quote from the second article in which Palmer explains the meaning of the expression ‘accepted in the Beloved’ (Ephesians 1:6). ‘The measure of God’s love to the believer is the love he has for Christ. From him it glances upon us – the love of a Father to those he has given to power to become his sons. And so it will be throughout eternity. Always seen and always loved only in Christ, the love will be as unchangeable as it is perfect. The acceptance being without reservation, the blessedness will be full, and the joy such as overflows from the Savior’s heart into the heart of his ransomed people forever and forever.’
Palmer lived what he taught and preached. When late on wet and dismal Saturday night and a communion service before him the next Lord’s Day a summons came. His wife urged him to delay the response till the following day. Palmer replied: ‘No. Death waits upon no man’s convenience, and an immortal soul may be at stake.’ So Palmer is a model for any minister of the gospel in his care for immortal souls.
Selected Writings of Benjamin Morgan Palmer, selected by Caleb Cangelosi and edited by C.N. Wilborn (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2014), hardcover 205 pp., £9,50 (ISBN 978-1-84871-410-6)