The Thought Of The Evangelical Leaders

Notes of the Discussions Between John Newton and His Friends in the Eclectic Society, London, 1798–1814

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Weight 0.80 kg
Dimensions 22.3 × 14.3 × 3.7 cm
ISBN 9780851512709
Banner Pub Date

Aug 1, 1978


Church Leadership, Pastoral Theology/Pastoral Helps, Preaching & Teaching



Original Pub Date






*Newly re-typeset edition forthcoming Summer 2024*

‘This is a book every gospel minister should have and return to often. I cannot imagine anyone being disappointed by it. It is impossible to read it without being  instructed and stimulated by its contents, not to mention delighted by the personalities who appear in its pages.’

— Sinclair B. Ferguson
in the Introduction

‌‘There is nothing more enjoyable for me than to find a number of preachers, with able minds, meeting together to discuss various views in order to arrive at a common opinion. This is just what is provided in these pages. Among other things this volume brings out how different problems may be faced, and to ministers, in particular, it should be extremely helpful. I greatly enjoyed it.’

— D. M. Lloyd-Jones
on the Banner of Truth re-issue in 1978

Book Description

The Eclectic Society was formed in 1783 by John Newton, Richard Cecil, Henry Foster and Eli Bates, and held its first meeting at the Castle and Falcon Inn, Aldersgate Street in the old City of London. Its aim was to provide fellowship for ministers of the gospel, and to encourage biblical and experimental Christianity.

The Society increased in size, and meetings were held fortnightly in the vestry of Cecil’s church, St John’s, Bedford Row, and included several laymen and Nonconformist ministers. Besides the illustrious founders, such influential evangelicals as Thomas Scott, author of the famous Bible commentary, and Charles Simeon of Cambridge were also members.

The questions proposed and discussed by the Society covered a wide range of themes, including biblical exegesis and application, ministerial duties, events of national significance, and general matters of theological and ecclesiastical importance linked with the cause of the gospel. Nor were the meetings simply ‘talk-shops’. From them came the Church Missionary Society, the Christian Observer magazine, and the untold intangible benefits to the congregations whose pastors enjoyed the sharpening of their minds and the quickening of their spirits at the Society.

The Trust originally republished these Notes in 1978, not because of their antiquarian interest, but their rare spiritual value. Almost fifty years later, they still suggest questions to which every thinking Christian should give attention; they indicate the lines along which biblical answers will proceed. Ministers will find themselves drawn into the fellowship of the minds of these spiritual masters and receive stimulus for preaching and pastoral counselling. There is help here to strengthen grace in every believer.

The notes in this volume cover the period 1798–1814 when Josiah Pratt was a member of the Society and served as secretary. Edited by his son John H. Pratt, they were first published in 1865.

This edition includes an Introduction by Dr Sinclair B. Ferguson, who has served congregations in his native Scotland and the USA, and continues to serve as Chancellor’s Professor of Reformed Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and as a Teaching Fellow for Ligonier Ministries.


Table of Contents Expand ↓

Notes of Discussions at The Meetings of The Eclectic Society
Introduction 1
Notes of Discussions in 1798 3
Notes of Discussions in 1799 90
Notes of Discussions in 1800 152
Notes of Discussions in 1801 211
Notes of Discussions in 1802 242
Notes of Discussions in 1803 275
Notes of Discussions in 1804 308
Notes of Discussions in 1805 348
Notes of Discussions in 1806 374
Notes of Discussions in 1807 392
Notes of Discussions in 1808 420
Notes of Discussions in 1809 449
Notes of Discussions in 1810 470
Notes of Discussions in 1811 483
Notes of Discussions in 1812 500
Notes of Discussions in 1813 519
Notes of Discussions in 1814 526
Resigning Letter (1815) 528
List of Society Speakers 529
Index 531


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