John Gill was born on Nov.23 1697 of Godly, Particular Baptist, parents, Edward and Elisabeth Gill. He proved himself to be an extremely able student, outstripping even his schoolmaster. By the age of twelve years he was proficient in Latin and Greek and was entering into the study of Hebrew. He was a scholar of tremendous ability, but received little formal education, partly because he, nor his parents, could submit to the religious programs of the Anglican dominated education establishments. However, he was awarded a D.D by Marischal College, Aberdeen, in 1748, which he never flaunted and of which he said, "I neither sought it, nor thought it, nor bought it."
Dr. Gill read most extensively and was, probably, the most acclaimed Hebraist ever to adorn the Christian scene. However, he was a retiring peaceable man, but would enter into controversy when 'The Cause of God and Truth' was assailed and, in fact, wrote a definitive work under that very title. His best writing is, probably, his 'Exposition of the Song of Solomon'. However, his greatest work is certainly the monumental exposition of the Old and New Testament, that is, dealing with every single word in the Bible. No other Christian writer has ever succeeded in such a task, not Calvin, nor Henry, in fact no one before and no one since. The last great writing of this venerable scholar was his work 'A Body of Divinity', published in 1769 just two years just prior to his death; this is probably the most complete Body of Divinity ever written; it is packed with doctrine and unpolluted with philosophy. The list of Gill's writing and attainments is too long for this brief resume. Dr. John Gill, in addition to meeting regularly with many Christians and preaching several times each week, wrote over ten million words, with an ordinary pen, and did his own proof reading. Just think about it!
Augustus Toplady wrote, "If any one man can be supposed to have trod the whole circle of human learning, it was Dr. Gill. ― It would, perhaps, try the constitutions of half the literati in England only to read, with care and attention, the whole of what Gill wrote."
His principal works are:
An edition of
his Exposition of the Bible appeared in 1816 with a memoir by
Rippon, which has also appeared separately.
These maxims are certainly true and indisputable: (1) That nothing in time can be the cause of what was done in eternity. To believe, to do good works, and persevere in them are acts in time, and so cannot be causes of election, which was done in eternity. And (2) That nothing out of God can be the cause of any decree or will in him. He is no passive Being, to be wrought upon by motives and inducements outside of himself. If his will is moved by anything outside of him, that must be superior to him, and his will must become dependent on that; which to say of God is to speak very unworthily of him. God wills things because it so pleases him. Predestination is according to the good pleasure of his will. Election is according to his foreknowledge, which is no other than his free favor and good will to men (Eph.1:5; 1 Pet. 1:2). No other reason can be given of God's will or decree to bestow grace and glory on men, for his own glory, and of his actual donation of them, but what our Lord gives: "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight" (Matt. 11:25-26).
JOHN GILL AT CARTER LANE
The Meeting House at Carter Lane, Southwark, was opened on Oct. 9 1757. The Carter Lane Declaration of the faith and practice (based on the 1729 Goat Yard Declaration) had been drawn up. At the opening meeting John Gill, preached from Exodus 20;24. In the course of his message he made the following comments.
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