Thursday 4 February 2010

Samuel Eyles Pierce

What an interesting and unusual name! I wonder how many people now have even heard of him. But his 'Exposition of Psalms' in 2 volumes has just been deemed worthy of being republished by Particular Baptist Press (PBP). It follows on in their Newport Commentary series from 1 John, also by Pierce (see 2nd from left on bookshelf picture above). But the Psalms volumes were 'very scarce' when C H Spurgeon commended it in his famous and comprehensive 'Commenting and Commentaries' in the 1800s. I was told by PBP that they had only managed to locate one old copy in the US to do their publication from. I have obtained some sets of this quality bound limited edition for £59 per set.
Samuel Eyles Pierce (1746 - 1829) ministered for some time in the west country, particularly Truro, before ending up as pastor of the Baptist church meeting in Shoe Lane, London. He was first in the Church of England, being greatly blessed under the ministry of Augustus Toplady and then William Romaine. Then he became an Independent and trained at Lady Huntingdon's college for ministers at Trevecca for 4 years. But finally he became convinced of believer's baptism. In all his writings he is very full of Christ, insisting that the believer must moment by moment be depending on him, as nothing but sin and unsoundness even in the most earnest endeavours is found within the heart. "Christ is all, and in all" is his motto, and this dictates his approach to the Psalms.
There is a lovely story which is very telling of the spiritual relationship between Pierce and Robert Hawker (Vicar of Charles in Plymouth) :
On Dr Hawker's last visit to London, he was accosted by a gentleman on his leaving St Ann's, Blackfriars, who lamented his return home. The Doctor replied, "My dear sir, I shall not take the gospel with me." "Where," said the person, "would you advise me to go to hear it?" The Doctor rejoined, "Go and hear Mr Pierce, at Shoe Lane. Not that I mean to put myself on a level with that man of God, still I hope I am hobbling after him, though at a great distance." (from J A Jones in the preface to an 1862 edition of Pierce's 'Letters on Spiritual Subjects')

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