Divine Energy of the Spirit

John Skepp

Originally Printed In 1722

Posted On Aug. 16, 2015

Divine Energy or the Efficacious Operations of the Spirit of God upon the soul of man, in his Effectual Calling and Conversion, stated, proved and vindicated. Wherein the real Weakness and Insufficiency of Moral Suasion, without the addition of the exceeding Greatness of God’s Power, for Faith and Conversion to God, are fully evinced. BEING AN ANTIDOTE AGAINST THE PELAGIAN PLAGUE.

John Skepp {1675-1721} whose name has been brought into notice chiefly on account of his so-called adherence to those views referred to as Hyper Calvinism; {or in other words, his faithfulness to Christ in his uncompromising - Christ enthroned - testimony to the sovereignty of God in salvation, and his refusal to give credence to the rank Arminianism that had infiltrated the churches of Christ in his day,} was originally a member of the Independent Church at Cambridge, under the care of Mr. Joseph Hussey. By the account of Mr. Hussey it appears that Mr. Skepp pressed himself into the ministry not only without, but against the consent both of his pastor, and of the church to which he belonged. In the Diary of Joseph Hussey we read this interesting entry regarding Skepp: “John Skepp, of Little Wilburn, Miller, rent himself off at last from the Church {in Cambridge} and turned Anabaptist preacher, yet as a lad was converted thoroughly to Christ under my Preaching, spake on soul-work clearly and was admitted into the Church with much Satisfaction; and after all this has repented of his sin and is returned, and Liberty given him to Preach as a gifted Brother at Wittelsea. And last of all is dismissed to be the Pastor of an Anabaptist Church in London.” After preaching at various places in the country, but without any settlement, he removed to London, and was chosen to succeed Mr. Crossley as pastor of the Particular Baptist Church at Curriers Hall, London. {This is the same congregation that John Brine would eventually pastor sometime around 1730.} Though Mr. Skepp had not the advantage of a liberal education, yet, after he took to the ministry, by dint of great diligence and industry, he acquired a large share of knowledge in the languages in which the Sacred Scriptures were originally written, particularly the Hebrew, in which he took uncommon pains under the direction of a Jewish teacher; and he dipped pretty deeply into Rabbinical learning. This taste gave a peculiar cast to his character and method of preaching. It’s no secret that Mr. Skepp held high views of God’s Sovereign Reign of Grace, {and was for this stigmatized as a high ‘Calvinist,’} for in his messages there was a distinctive “Grace” and “Christ” emphasis interwoven throughout the whole.

These sentiments are published in his only book, entitled, “Divine Energy of the Spirit.” This book was originally composed in the form of sermons, and delivered from the pulpit; but altered and new-modelled by the author for the press. It was not published, however, until after his death. Dr. John Gill, who had a great esteem for the memory of Mr. Skepp, published a Second Edition of this book {Divine Energy} in 1731, and prefixed to it a recommendatory preface; in which he added the following regarding Skepp: “Mr. John Skepp was a man of singular talents and abilities; of very quick, strong, natural parts; of great diligence and industry in acquiring useful knowledge; a warm and lively Preacher of the Gospel; a zealous Defender of the special and peculiar doctrines of it; whose ministry was blessed to many souls, for the conversion of some, and for the edification of others.” Gill also divided the work into chapters, at the head of which he placed their contents, for the more easy reading, and better understanding it. Gill’s partiality to our author arose out of an intimacy formed with him in an early period of his ministry. {When John Gill was ordained to the pastorate on March 22, 1720, Skepp was one of the participating ministers. Mr. Skepp asked the usual questions to the candidate and also preached a charge to the Congregation from Hebrews 13:17} It was through his acquaintance with Mr. Skepp that he was encouraged to apply himself with diligence to oriental learning, in which he afterwards made so great a proficiency. Mr. Skepp dying within a year or two after Dr. Gill settled in London, he purchased most of his Hebrew and Rabbinical books, which were of great use to him in the prosecution of his own studies. Mr. Skepp’s ministry at Curriers Hall was not of many years continuance. He died in the year 1721, when, as it is apprehended, he was not very far advanced in life.