Letters by Durand & Oliphant on Time Salvation

01.01 Letters on Time Salvation By Silas Durand & J.H. Oliphant

Created By LeRoy Rhodes

leroyrhodes@comcast.net

2007

Letters on Time Salvation & Predestination By Silas Durand & J.H. Oliphant

LETTERS

 

WRITTEN BY

 

ELDER S. H. DURRAND,

 

OF

 

SOUTHHAMTON, PA.,

 

AND

 

ELDER J. H. OLIPHANT,

 

OF

 

CRAWFORDSVILLE, IND. 

 

GREENFIELD, IND 

D. H. GOBLE, PRINTER,

1900

 

PREFACE.

 

In as much as these letters were not printed in the same paper, it is thought proper to have them in book or pamphlet form so that the reader can compare them together. It is this consideration that has led me to undertake the task of offering to the public this book, hoping its perusal will be aid our people to find the truth on this subject.

 

Affectionately,

                          J. H. Oliphant.

ELDER DURAND'S FIRST LETTER

Dura_Olip: 01.02 Letter One By Silas Durand

Elder Oliphant's REPLY TO ELDER DURAND'S FIRST LETTER 

Dura_Olip: 01.03 Reply By Oliphant to Durrand's First Letter

 

 

 

01.02 Letter One By Silas Durand

 

ELDER DURAND'S FIRST LETTER.SOUTHAMPTON, PA.,

Oct. 27, 1899.

 

  Dear Brethren: The following is a private letter to a ministering brother in a distant state. As it expresses my views on an important subject, I send a copy for publication in the Signs.

Your brother in hope,

 

SILAS H. DURAND.

SOUTHAMPTON, PA.,

Oct. 6, 1899.

 

 

Dear Brother: I have received your letter replying to my inquiry concerning your published statement that both Adam and Christ were put on probation or trial; each had freedom of will, acted voluntarily, and each was biased to that which is good. “You express the hope that if I should not approve of your position I will yet regard you as a brother. If I did not regard you as a brother I should not be corresponding with you upon spiritual things. If I am qualified to judge of a work of grace, I think I have seen evidences of it in your writings. But those evidences do not clearly appear in the letter which I have just received, nor in some argumentative articles I have read of late from your pen. You seem to have been so intent upon proving the existence of helplessness on account of a sinful nature, "a deceitful heart and wretched, wandering mind," your inward groaning and cries unto God to deliver you from your own corrupt will, and enable you to do his will, "working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight," and your prayers that the Lord would rule in and reign over you, enabling you to deny yourself.

 

One who did not know that you have an experience of grace would think from this letter and your published article in reply to me, that you were relying upon your own power, freedom of will, faithfulness and diligence, for daily salvation and spiritual benefit and comfort, and that you were not one of those poor, weak, halting, stumbling creatures who are daily "beggars poor at mercy's door, " and who daily and hourly feel their need of Jesus to uphold and lead them, and of his Spirit to guide them in the truth, and to restore their souls.

 

Such forgetfulness of the most important things in our life and walk before God will occur when we engage extensively in arguments upon the letter of some point of doctrine, especially in trying to reconcile the wisdom of God with the wisdom of men. I think it is on this account that you have failed of late, at least in some of the articles I have read from your pen, to bring forth the riches of that doctrine of grace which is the only hope and comfort of those poor souls who “can not do the things they would,” because of the lusting of the flesh against the Spirit, and of the Spirit against the flesh. {Ga 5:16-18} You seem to insist that they can do the things that they would, and that God has left all spiritual advantage and comfort dependent upon their own will and work, and thus you have bound burdens upon them "which neither we nor our, fathers were able to bear." I do not think you have intended to bind burdens upon those who are without strength, and you may not be conscious of having done so. But some of them feel it, and complain of it, and suffer under it. You can not have meant to discourage the helpless, but how could it be otherwise than discouraging to them to insist that they are not helpless, but are given freedom of will, and are left dependent upon themselves whether they will be happy or miserable, when they dare not trust their own will for a moment? ''If ye walk in the Spirit," says the apostle, 'Ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh; " {Ga 5:16}. They feel a longing for this, but their own will and work will not lead them into that holy walk. It can only be as they "are led by the Spirit," {Ga 5:18}, and as Jesus walks in them, as he said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them."

 

You must remember that whenever you have felt that you were walking in the Spirit, and were dwelling in the favor of God, with his light speakable blessing, and you have had no thought, at the time, of taking any part of the credit to yourself. You can not, I am sure, have ever thought that any favor you experienced from God had been earned in any part or degree by your own meritorious work. You can not ever have asked for his favor upon such a ground. To the extent that there is an expectation of, or request for, favors upon the ground that we have performed some conditional work, to the same extent the name of Jesus is not needed by us. As in your own case the Lord alone can restore your soul, and lead you in the paths of righteousness, you ought to present the Lord alone to his people as their only hope and confidence. "He is the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea;" {Ps 65}.

 

The few that I have known of preachers who have been left for a time to believe that their meritorious work in the performance of conditions had secured their daily or "time salvation," and had gained them favors in the house of God, have been, while under the power of that delusion, a hindrance instead of a benefit to the Lord's afflicted and poor people. For the daily experience of the saints, as well as the Scriptures of truth, teaches them that salvation is all of grace from first to last; that "grace all the work shall crown." They do not find, in either the Bible or their experience, that it takes less of grace to keep them in the way than was needed to bring them there, because of part of the work of keeping them being now left for themselves to do; but that it is the same grace all the way through, and always sufficient for them. {2Co 12:9}. "By the grace of God I am what I am, said the apostle. While he could claim for himself and the other apostles a blameless and holy life and walk among the saints, he ascribed all to the grace of God. In regard to his own work, he never suggests a freedom of will, or an ability on his own part, but always speaks of the will and grace of God as the moving power, and declares that his labor and striving are °" according to the working of Jesus, which worketh in me mightily;" {Col 1:29}.

 

While obedient saints rejoice in the commendation of their own consciences in the sight of God, and in the commendation of the brethren and churches, they would, when spiritually minded, shrink from the use of the word praise as applicable to them in the other sense, implying any merit in themselves ; for they know and feel that Jesus has wrought all their works in them, {Isa 26:12}, and that to him belongs all the praise, while theirs are the blessing and benefit. To me it is a new and strange thing to find Old Baptists claiming praise for works of obedience, and insisting that the favor of God is conditional, depending upon their will and choice, and therefore uncertain, and that when it comes to them it comes as a reward for their obedience. I have heard that kind of talk all my life from Arminians, but never before from Old Baptists.

 

The Lord's people can not eat their own flesh, can not live upon their own works. The doctrine of a conditional salvation, a salvation depending upon their own will and power to perform some meritorious work, will not feed any "who have seen the plague of their own hearts," for they can not trust in themselves. "We have the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead. " Such as these must have the flesh of Jesus to eat; upon his works alone can they live. If you preach anything but Jesus your preaching will not satisfy the soul that hungers and thirsts after righteousness. A conditional salvation will be of no use to them who '' can not do the things that they would; " who can not direct their own steps; {Jer 10:25}, who can not walk, but have to be carried.  “Even to hoar hairs will I carry you," is one of the many sweet promises for such, but while you are urging upon them the system of conditions, and of dependence upon themselves, you can not minister such precious promises to them. I do not see them referred to by you, though they are probably often in your heart in secret before God. It is better to try to minister to others only what we have ourselves tasted and handled.

 

In my letter to you I referred to the words of Jesus, "I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me; " and also, "Not my will, but thine, be done," as my reason for not agreeing with you that Christ was put upon probation or trial, and that he was left free to do his own will. In your reply you have not referred to those expressions of Jesus, but have written in such a way that a stranger to your profession might easily regard your letter as a careful argument in refutation of the Savior's declaration that he did not come to do his own will. It is in sincerity and kindness, and not in a captious spirit, that I call your attention to these things.

 

You say that Jesus was given liberty of choice, and did as he pleased, but he himself says he did not come to do his own will, though his was the will of a sinless man; and the apostle says, "Even Jesus pleased not himself;" {Ro 15:3}. His will as a man could be affected by the wants and infirmities of our nature which he had taken upon him; by sorrow, pain, hunger, weariness; so that the doing of this will would not have accomplished the work of salvation he came to do. He was not at any time left alone to himself until the last hour. His Father was always with him, and did his work in him, as he does the work of his people in them. " The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself, but my Father which dwelleth in me, he doeth the works; {Joh 14:10}. "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise; " {Joh 5:19}. This is why he always pleased the Father, and not because of himself he had done some work. He did not work alone in this sense. Even in the terrible struggle in the garden an angel was sent from heaven to strengthen him, so that he should not fail.

 

As it was with the dear Savior, so it is with . his people; only as God works in them can they ever do that which is well pleasing in his sight. Therefore the apostle says, "For it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure;" and he expresses his desire that "God, even our Father," would "make them perfect to do his will, working in them that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Christ Jesus; " {Heb 13:20-21}; and they who dwell in the land of Judah, the gospel land, say, "Thou, Lord, wilt ordain peace for us, for thou also hast wrought all our works in us; " {Isa 26:12}.

 

One brother says of the words in {Php 2:13}, just quoted, that, "Whatever they may mean, he is sure that the brethren were called upon to do something more, about which they exercised choice, and in which they were voluntary." And he says concerning such Scriptures, that they must not be interpreted so as to make it unnecessary to exhort one another to love and good works, and to "persuade men." The language of those Scriptures concerning the working of God in us, is not dark or equivocal, but clear as noonday, and needs no interpreting. The teaching of the apostles will never make any gospel work unnecessary. We need not concern ourselves about the result of the plain teaching of the Scriptures concerning the sovereignty of God, nor try to harmonize the doctrine and things of God with the thoughts and ways of men, for they are not alike, and never will be. {Isa 55:8; 1Co 2}.

 

But what that -more" could be which the brethren were called upon to do, besides what the Lord worked in them to will and to do of his good pleasure, about which they exercised choice, and in which they were voluntary, I can not understand. If the Lord works in them that which is well pleasing in his sight, and if they declare by inspiration that he has wrought all their works in them, what more outside works can there be? I do not suppose such thoughts would occur to one except upon the supposed necessity in order to defend a conditional salvation.

 

In the first part of your letter you have acknowledged and clearly proved that everything in the life of Jesus had been determined before, and was certain. Why then should you need to speak of him as put upon probation? All that, you refer to in the Scriptures concerning his temptations, or trials, does not, in my view, warrant that declaration. That form of language appears to imply some kind or degree of uncertainty, and you evidently have that in view in speaking of him as put upon probation, for you say that being subject to the commands of God "proves that he was situated to do as he pleased;" and referring to his words, "I lay down my life of myself," you say, -While his death was certain, it was not so with such a certainty as would interfere with his liberty of doing as he pleased." It seems to me that the terrible scene of suffering in the garden, and his words of pleading to the Father that the cup might pass from him, if it were possible, might have made you hesitate about writing that sentence.

 

You say again, "While his obedience was predestinated, it was not predestinated like our regeneration and resurrection were predestinated." I do not find two kinds or degrees of certainty, nor two kinds of predestination spoken of in the Bible or elsewhere.

 

I do not understand that the difference you refer to between physical and moral government and necessity applies to this subject. The government of Jesus is a spiritual government, and does not come within the observation of men, {Lu 17:20}, and the obedience of his people is a spiritual necessity. The Father worked in Jesus, and he works in his people. If he works in them that which is well pleasing in his sight, can there be any uncertainty as to whether they will all please him in his own time? Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power."

 

Both in this letter, and in your published article, you insist that the grace by which we are born of God is not the same as that by which we obey the commands of Jesus afterward. Where do we read in the Scriptures of different kinds of 'grace? We were raised up together with Christ, "that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus." The exceeding riches of his grace" can not be exceeded, and that is shown in all his kindness toward us. "For by grace ARE y e saved.'' Now look along that road and see the same grace reaching through and manifested in all the good works unto which they were created, and in which it was before ordained that they should walk; {Eph 2:10}.

 

You say that an unconditional salvation makes exhortations and the like unnecessary, while to my mind it is that system alone which shows them in their true character and right place. They belong to that new and everlasting covenant "which is ordered in all things and sure," and in which repentance and mercy are provided for, as they can not be under a conditional system. Will the gifts which Jesus gave to men fail till all the saints come, in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man; unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ? {Eph 4:7-10}. The Lord "hath set the members in the body as it pleased him," and "the Spirit divides to every man of his gifts severally as he will." If a different measure of grace is given at any time it is not that less is needed in some cases because part of the work is to be done by the will of the man, without grace, or that less grace is needed where the man voluntarily chooses to be obedient. But in this way only can I attach any meaning to your expressions about different kinds of grace. In every case just the measure of grace is given that is needed to be sufficient for us. I do not myself find in my experience, nor in the Bible, a distinction as to kinds or amounts of grace. It seems to me that I need more grace than any other poor sinner, and my judgment tells me that if ever I need more at one time than another it is when I am most lifted up in the joy of God's salvation, for after such exaltation I am most liable to be deceived and hurt by the evil propensities of this deceitful heart, which "is still deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”

 

A brother, one of the most spiritual and tender-hearted, said at our prayer meeting yesterday , "Some talk about free will, but it seems to me that my will is only free to do evil, so that sometimes I seem to be all sin. But, “he said, "When I do feel some holy desires, and love to the brethren, and some liberty of soul in spiritual things, I feel sure it is all of grace. It is not of myself, but of the grace of God which is given me. " And I could join and say truly, Amazing grace."

 

"Grace taught my soul to pray.

And pardoning love to know;

'Twas grace that kept me to this day,

And will not let me go."

 

Speaking of Christ with reference to rewards, we must remember that his reward was with him while his work was before him. {Isa 40:10}. You say it is right to have a reward in view, and that we gain nothing by saying that the reward is in the work, not for it. You say if we know that precious fruits grow along a certain road, we understand that we must go along that road in order to get the fruits. And still I-hold to the Bible expressions: In the keeping of them is great reward. The other view is natural, as sure as salvation by grace is true. I find enough of that system of selfishness in my flesh, but I hate it in myself and others. It has never brought me any real comfort, but has given me great disturbance and pain. It is not for some precious fruits that we go along that road, because we can not have them unless we do go there, but for the beauty and goodness and preciousness of the road itself. Jesus is the road, and we never knew or desired that way till we were brought into it, and then we are filled with wonder and love that we are there. And when a living soul is out of that road he never has any real comfort till the Lord restores his soul, and . brings him back again, for he can never get back by himself.

 

   There seems to prevail in the mind of some brethren, the worldly view that a hope of reward or a fear of punishment is necessary to compel obedience. They forget or overlook in their own experience, and in the Bible, that the Lord has used other and far different motive powers. Will any offered reward cause one to seek righteousness as he does who hungers for it? Will any fear of punishment turn one away from evil as effectually as a hatred of evil felt in the heart? "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil," and that is what the Lord puts in the hearts of his people, "that they shall not depart from him;" {Jer 32:40}.

  

   “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;" {2Co 5:11}. The apostle is not here speaking of terror of some punishment which is threatened if men sin, but of the terror of the Lord's presence to the one who loves him, but is found in transgression; the terror of sin itself to those who have a spirit which causes them to love purity, and to desire "rather to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. " It is the terror of being found of the Lord in a fleshly, sinful walk, which he hates, and which his Spirit causes us to hate. The terror of being found in crime by one dearly loved would be greater than to be thus found by one who could punish us. Those who are here persuaded are those whose exercises and desires are described in this chapter, whose only delight is the felt favor of the Lord, and whose greatest terror is the withdrawal of his face. These are they whom "the love of Christ constraineth" in all their work, whose desire is to live not unto themselves, but unto him who died for them and rose again." These are not seeking, in what they do, their own peace and comfort, as a reward, but the honor of God. Their reward is in the work. The principle now so much advocated of doing works of obedience for the reward which shall be given them, I decidedly distrust and oppose in myself or another. It is of the flesh. It is not spiritual nor true. In such a case the worker may not love the work, nor care to obey, but only does it because the reward of peace and joy lies in that direction. If they could not get the reward would they still do the work? If they were to go into darkness and distress, as a consequence of the obedience, would they obey? The principle which God gives as the true incentive to obedience is his own love. Do the good work because it is right, no matter what follows, and avoid the evil because it is wrong, and not because it will subject us to punishment. The true principle says, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” I am tired and sick of this self, self; this seeking something for self in all we do. My nature is full of it, but I hate it. I do not want to be controlled by it, nor do I want to see it taught as the right principle by yourself and so many others. I know it is all wrong.

 

 Gospel rewards are of grace, not of debt, and do not pander to that selfish principle of the flesh. They are infinitely higher and holier. They are the honor and glory of God. When we are spiritually led his glory is what we seek. “Do all to the glory of God." He himself is our "exceeding great reward.”

 

   I do not understand, as you assert, that the word "if," as used in the New Testament, implies a condition. It is never used as expressing a dependence upon the will. of the creature, as it is in the Old Testament. The Savior and his apostles do not say, "If you will," but, "If you do,'' "If you are," expressing not an act that may or may not be done. But a state or condition of mind. The Savior never said, ''If you believe,'' but "If you do believe.'' He did not say, "If a man will keep my commandments he shall abide in my love," but, "If a man keep my commandments. " The form of expression in the New Testament never leaves the result as depending upon the will and choice of man, but on the will and power of God. The form of new covenant expressions always is such as shows that man can do nothing of himself toward his own salvation; that "without God he can do nothing. "

  

  The Savior did not say, “,If you will come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavey laden, I will give you rest. If you will take my yoke upon you and learn of me, you shall find rest to your souls." In commenting on this you say the Savior addresses his people as parents say to their children, if you will obey me in this matter I will give you a toy, or give you my approval. “Again you say, “He presents motives, as it he would say, You need rest, you are laboring and heavy laden, and need rest. He plainly encourages them to obedience by promising rest in case they obey. “I do not understand it so at all. There would be no power in such entreaties. "Where the word of a king is there is power." This Scripture has been very precious to me for thirty-five years, but I never understood it in that way. It is not an invitation nor an encouragement. The Savior's words are more and better than that. He never invites. The word "invite" is never used by him, nor concerning him, in the Scriptures. He calls, and his call is always obeyed. He speaks, not to the ear, but to the heart, and his word never returns to him void, but accomplishes his will; {Isa 55:11}. He describes those whom he calls as they are, "laboring and heavy laden," unable to do any part of the work of satisfying the law, which presses them down under its condemning power, while they struggle under it, unable to rise. They can not go from sin to holiness, from the powers of darkness to him. But his call brings them. As Lazarus did not know that Jesus had called him till he stood at the mouth of the grave alive, so no laboring and heavy laden soul can know that Jesus has called him till he feels that sacred rest. The peace of God which he feels passeth understanding. This call of the Son is the revelation of the Father by him. He has just said,, "No man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him; {Mt 11:27}. Then he reveals him. In  his own good time these words, which "are spirit and life," reach every soul that has labored in vain to fulfill the law, and has fallen down helpless under its righteous power, and brings that soul away from the law, freed from every demand, washed from all sin, into his own gospel rest, where they are enabled to say, "Abba, Father," through the name of Jesus, his only begotten Son. Yes, when Jesus calls, they come. No one ever failed to come whom Jesus called. "My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me. "

 

   It is thought by some that if one can not do good he is not to blame for not doing it. This would remove blame from those to whom the Lord says, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil;" {Jer 13:23}. We must remember that the cause of blame was before we were born. We were children of wrath by nature, dead in sins. {Eph 2:1-5}. When made alive it was not in Adam, but in Christ, and only in him can we live before God, or do good works. It is by his life, and his will, and by his grace, not of ourselves, that we obey the Lord. When Paul speaks of himself as laboring more abundantly than all the others, he says, apparently correcting any wrong impression his words might give, "Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me;" {1Co 15:10}.

  

   I exhort to obedience, and admonish those liable to wander, and warn the unruly, when I feel it needed, though feeling to need the exhortations and admonitions so much myself, and feeling unworthy to admonish others, but it is never with the thought that the desired effect will depend upon the faithfulness, wisdom and power of my work. It all depends upon the faithfulness, wisdom and power of God. I do, or wish to do, what the Lord directs me to do, because he commands it. It is for him to make the work effectual. I could neither preach nor exhort if I thought the benefit depended upon my ability ; I am too weak. "The lot is cast into the lap; the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord." "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us." °'In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good ; "{Ec 11:6}. The faith of those ministered unto shall stand, not in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God ; " {1Co 2:5}.

 

 

I can say to any living soul, -Your peace of mind, and the manifest favor of God, depend upon your obedience, or at least you can not have them while walking in disobedience." But how can I say, "They depend upon your own choice and will?" That would be telling them that they are their own keepers, and are able to direct their own steps, which is contrary to the Scriptures and to their own experience. When I have given the urgent exhortation, admonition or reproof, in love and with tender anxiety, I must remind them, and must myself remember, that the Lord only can work in them the needed will, give them his holy Spirit to lead them, and-restore their souls. We all agree that he only can give us the spirit of prayer and lead us in the paths of righteousness. He only can give us true obedience in our hearts. Could you say to the Lord in prayer, "We know our obedience and our comfort are left to ourselves, and are not brought about by the same grace which brought us from death to life?” No, before you were half through with such a prayer you would be choked up with the surging cry, "God be merciful to me, a sinner."

 

   The prayer of our hearts, when wrought upon us by the Spirit, is, "Keep me from evil that it may not grieve me." [Not that I may not suffer punishment.] "Lead me in the paths of righteousness for thy name's sake." The word "if" does not in my view imply anywhere in the new covenant a condition which may or may not be performed, and upon the performance of which, by us, according to our will, depends our experience of the favors and blessings of God. That was the form of the legal covenant, and the conditional expressions made under the covenant are correctly quoted by you and others, but I have wondered why spiritually instructed men should try to apply them to gospel things, which are all made new, The conditional system never availed for salvation. That was not its use and purpose, but to show that salvation was beyond the sinner's power, and to stop every mouth. In the gospel, salvation stands "from all conditions clear." Those who live after the flesh shall die, and those who through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, shall live. But only through the Spirit can a spiritual work of any kind be done by any man.

  

   Believing that God works all things after the counsel of his own will, we can with confidence do each his portion of work, as the Lord directs to it, and in it, knowing that he "will perfect that which concerneth us," and will cause his own gifts to his church to result in her good and his own glory.

  

   In {1Pe 3:10}, I do not see that conditional salvation and comfort are any more taught than in any other of this and the other apostles' sweet and tender exhortations. He appeals to that holy _delight in spiritual things which is in the soul of every one who has been born of God, and which is the only true incentive to self-denial and a holy life. Paul appeals to the same spiritual fountain and source of right action when he says, If there be any consolation in Christ, any comfort of love, any fellowship of the Spirit, etc., fulfill ye my joy, etc. {Php 2:1}. But neither of the apostles present these exhortations as conditions uncertain of fulfillment, unsettling the sure covenant of grace. None of them ever flatter the vanity of the flesh by intimating that the Lord depends upon the will of the flesh for the fulfillment of his wishes. No! As Peter said on the day of Pentecost that they who crucified Jesus with wicked hands, had not prevented, but fulfilled "the determinate counsel of God," so he and all the other inspired men assure us that no one can by any act of his change or affect the, counsel of God's will, only to fulfill it.

 

   Faith will enable the child of God to say, in the Lord's time, But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him; " {Job 23:13-14}.

  

  What has our will to do with our love, or with our belief? We can not of ourselves will to do either, neither is it of our will that we keep the commandments. "He that believeth hath everlasting life," not "If you will believe you shall have everlasting life." °'He that loveth hath fulfilled the law." What comfort to the poor and helpless there is in the teachings of Jesus and the apostles upon this subject of the commandments and how they are kept. Suppose they had said, "Do you not want to abide in the love of God? Well, if you will keep his commandments you may. It depends upon yourself. " How the natural man, who neither knows nor cares, for the love of God, would have been inflated with pride and self-confidence, while the spiritual man would sink down to the borders of despair, realizing how unable he is to keep one commandment. But . in the Lord's own time this poor soul will be made to know that the sweet love which he feels in his heart, and which is his only comfort, is a sure evidence that the righteousness of the law has been fulfilled IN him, and that this love is itself the keeping of the commandments. He is taught that by the token of this love he is in Christ, and Christ in him. The commandments have been written in his heart. Love to God is there, and love to his brethren, and a strong desire and earnest prayer that the Lord would enable him to ever walk in that love, and to work it out in his life and conversation.

 

Your brother in the love of the gospel,

SILAS H. DURAND.

 

 

01.03 Reply By Oliphant to Durrand's First Letter

 

REPLY TO ELDER DURAND'S FIRST LETTER.

By J.H. OLIPHANT

 

Elder S. F. Cayce; Dear Brother: I send you herewith my reply to an article by Elder Durand, in the Signs of the Times, of December 1. 1899. Please examine this reply carefully, and if ap­proved, publish in your columns. But unless you endorse it fully, be SURE not to publish it, and oblige yours, affectionately in the gospel,

 

J. H. OLIPHANT.

CRAWFORDSVILLE, IND.

 

Dear Brother Durand: I notice your letter to me is published in the Signs of the Times of December 1st. I suppose, from what you wrote me, that the Signs of the Times would not be willing to publish my views, and so I will reply to you through Elder Cayce's paper, if agreeable to him. I will not complain of the Signs of the Times for publishing your letter in answer to mine without giving me some notice or opportu­nity to reply, but will try to review some things found in your letter.

 

In the first two pages you consider the ques­tion whether my writing indicates that I am a Christian. This is an important question to me, and has been for many years. Taking all you say on this subject, I understand you to believe that I am a Christian, and I am glad that you have this opinion.

 

I understand you, in this part of your letter, that at such times as I am in a proper frame and "walking in the Spirit" I am most likely to agree with you; and also I understand you that the fact that I differ with you is evidence that I am ''for­getful of the most important things in my life and walk before God.'' On the whole, you seem to judge of one's spiritual condition by his agreement or disagreement with yourself. You say, The few that I have known of preachers who have been left for a time to believe that their merito­rious work, in the performance of conditions, had secured their daily or 'time' salvation, have been, while under the power of that delusion, a hind­rance instead of a benefit to the Lord's afflicted and poor people."

 

I understand you in this to set forth the sentiments that we hold, as you understand it, and so you judge a man to be "left for a time" if he fails to see with you on the subject in hand. You regard him as I, under the power of that delusion" so long as he differs with you relative to this matter. When you say, "As in your own case the Lord alone can restore your soul." etc.. your mind seems to be that I am now, while differing with you, wholly given over to an evil influence, and nothing but the Spirit of God can restore me to the right paths.

 

Now, my dear brother, I have given you the impression that this part of your letter made on my mind, but I will not make any reply to it.

 

 

You say, "You seem to insist that they can do the things that they would, and that God has left all spiritual advantage and comfort depend­ent on their own will and work. " If I wrote this to you I regret it. This is one disadvantage to me in the Signs of the Times publishing your review of my letter without printing the letter itself. I certainly do not think that " all spirit­ual advantage and comfort is dependent on their will and work." But I suppose the readers of the Signs of the Times will so understand me to believe.

 

In the Monitor of October you say, "In the beginning of my ministry I sometimes spoke of a "conditional" salvation inside the church, re­ferring to the fact that only when we are walking in obedience to the commands of Jesus can we enjoy the power and comfort of that salvation." In my letter to you I do not think I contended for more or less than is contained in this quotation. Had you not shifted your position you would have the hearty endorsement of our brethren now. I do not think you intentionally misrepresented me, but I would be far from endorsing the senti­ment you have attributed to me. You say, "To me it is a new and strange thing to find Old Baptists claiming praise for works of obedience," etc. Elder Cayce and those of his views are not occupying "new and strange ground" to you. They only stand where you first stood, and when you changed your attitude they did not see fit to go with you to your newfound position.

 

You complain of me, saying, "You can not have meant to discourage the helpless, but how could it be otherwise than' discouraging to them to insist that they are not helpless, but are given freedom of will and are left dependent upon them­selves whether they will be happy or miserable?" etc. Relative to the "helpless" ones you refer to, if they are too helpless and poor to be "will­ing," I will retract. I think you will admit that, poor as they are, they are willing. They are not too poor to ° ° desire. " The man at the pool, {Joh 5:6}, although too "poor" and "helpless" to get into the pool, yet he was not too poor to be willing. If you have poor ones there that are so poor they can't "desire the sincere milk of the word," I confess I am due an apology, but I am sure the Lord's dear ones are not too helpless to be willing. Now, the best evidence that a man has the liberty to do a thing, is the fact that he does it. If the dear brethren you refer to are willing, if our Savior were to say to them, " Wilt thou be be made whole?" and they could answer in the affirmative, then they have all the liberty of will I have ever contended for at any time.

 

In this last quotation you say, "But are given freedom of will and are dependent upon themselves whether they will be happy or mis­erable." In this you certainly place a strained interpretation on my words. I hold that our enjoyment is, in some degree, dependent on our obedience. Read my article in the October Momitor. In that article I say, "We are liable to extremes on both sides. If we urge that the work and presence of' the Spirit is necessary to obedience, just as it is to regeneration, we are not voluntary; for, in regeneration, we are not voluntary, and so regeneration is not a virtue on our part, and if the Spirit's power and presence is exerted in our obedience, just as in our regeneration, then there is no duty in obedi­ence, as we perform no duty in regeneration; and so on the other side, we are liable to forget that we must have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably, " etc. If we take one extreme we take away all vice or virtue from the conduct of God's people, and if we take the other we substitute cold formality for the spiritual worship of God. Now, here I insist that we must have grace. and that we can not serve God acceptably without it. I do not, as you say, hold °that they are de­pendent upon themselves," etc. Our Savior, {Joh 1:13}, speaking relative to regeneration, says. "Nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man," but he nowhere tells us that our obedience is independent of our will.

 

The meaning of the word requires that it be dependent, or resultant from the will, and volun­tary; so nothing but a willing service is accept­able. I hold just the views you did before you changed to your present position.

 

So far as I can understand you, you quote the dear. brother at your prayer meeting as say­ing "Some talk about free will, but it seems to me that my will is only free to do evil." To will, is to choose; so his choice is only free to do evil. His words, if quoted rightly, denote that he only chooses to do evil, or they denote that his will is only free to do evil. I do not think he means that he only chooses to do evil, because he adds, " when I do feel some holy desires, " showing that there are times when he does not choose to do evil. You say of yourself, "I do, or wish to do, what the Lord directs me to do. " I think the  brother meant about what you say of yourself, and if so, he now possesses all the liberty of will contended for in my book entitled "Thoughts On the Will." If the brother meant that his will is "only free to do evil, " then he believes in free­dom of will while doing evil. But his first words indicate that he does not believe in freedom of will at all in any sense. So I must think you either misquoted him, or he failed to express just his true case.

 

I will notice your words, “It is better to minister only what we have tasted," etc. I endorse this, and I am sure that while I can not be happy just any moment I wish, yet I find that if I do the things I esteem as duty I enjoy myself better than in the neglect of those things.

 

You quote the words, “I came down from heaven not to do my will, but the will of him that sent me;  “Not my will, but thine be done. " You refer to these words to show that Christ was not situated to do as he pleased." As I wrote to you, I understand these texts to teach that Christ dreaded death and its pains, and not that he was unwilling to obey his Father. If death had no pains for him, it would be no evidence of love for him to die for us. But he at no time betrayed disloyalty to God.

 

I will try again to prove that he was situated to do as he pleased in all he did and suffered for us. He "Became obedient unto death;" {Php 2:8}. Obedience is voluntary, and to act voluntarily is to do as one chooses. Jesus says, {Joh 10:18}, "I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. " Paul says, "Who gave himself for our sins;'' {Ga 1:4}. If he gave himself" surely he did as he chose in the mat­ter, and if he did as he pleased he must have been situated to do as he pleased," as I wrote you. But you say, "That kind of language appears to imply some kind or degree of un­certainty." Now this depends on the faithful­ness of Christ. If there is any unfaithfulness in him, it would make the matter uncertain for him to be "situated to do as he pleased," for a good mother to be situated to do as she pleases will not endanger the wellbeing of the child. When Jesus was confronted by the terrible scene of suffering in the garden and on the cross, there was joy in his view, so that he was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; and if the word "obedient" means here what it does in other places, he did as he pleased, and so was situated to do as he pleased, as I wrote to you. But why should it make everything uncertain for him to be situated to do as he pleased? Suppose one should be unwilling for you to be situated to do as you pleased about taking his goods would not this show a want of confidence in you? So, when you express the idea that all would be uncertainty if he should be situated to do as he pleased, it seems that in order to defend this new­found notion of yours, it is necessary to hold that it would be exceedingly hazardous for Jesus to be situated to do as he pleased.

 

If I should express the thought, with tongue or pen, that it would make matters uncertain for Jesus to be situated to do as he pleased, I think I would retract at once; and if I held to any senti­ment making it necessary for me to defend such a notion, I would abandon it.

 

I grant that his obedience was predestinated, but if it was predestinated just as the resurrec­tion of the dead was predestinated, this would destroy the idea of obedience. In regeneration we are passive, but in obedience we are active. Resurrecticn is a physical act of God, but obedi­ence is a willing, moral act of Jesus or his people. So there is a distinction between God's decrees touching our obedience and our regeneration.

 

 

You will admit that God's people are tried, and yet the final salvation of every one of them is certain. Now if this be true, how is it inconsist­ent to hold, too, that Christ was tried and yet certainty attended his whole history? If you deny that Christ was tried, you must also deny that we are tried, or admit the possibility of apostasy.

 

You say, "I do not find two kinds of pre­destination spoken of in the Bible. You certainly admit that predestination is efficacious, causa­tive, respecting our regeneration, creation; etc. So, if you know of but one.kind of predestination, you would hold that sin is also efficaciously predestinated. In your article in the Church Advocate, October, 1896, you say, "Can we think that he predestinated salvation, and all the times and ways of its experience, * * and 'did not predestinate that which made it neces­sary? * * Did the Lord predestinate the rainbow and not the dark cloud in which he set it to display its glorious beauty?" From these and many of your expressions we would understand you to hold that God is as much the cause of evil as he is of good: and what is this but to destroy the distinction between right and wrong?

 

You quote the text "For thou also hast wrought all our works in us. " What do you understand by the words " all our works?" Did God work David's works in his behavior with Uriah and his wife, in him. Did he work Peter's conduct in denying his Lord, in him:? You com­plain of a heart deceitful and desperately wicked. Did God work all this deceitfulness in you? You quote this text several times as if it were your main reliance. If all our sins and wickedness are wrought in us by the Lord, then wherein does right differ from wrong? You also quote {Heb 13:20-21}, "Working in them that which is well pleasing in his sight." Is there anything in or about God's people that is not well pleasing in his sight? Paul mentions some, {1Co 10:5},  “With many of them God was not well pleased." If every work was wrought in them, how does it occur that God was not well pleased with them? In {Heb 13:16}, "With such sacrifices God is well pleased." But if God is pleased with all our conduct and all our ways, why mention that "With such sacrifices God is well pleased?"

 

There is as much difference between right and wrong as there is between heaven and hell, and yet you do not make a distinction, that I can see. ''Only one kind of predestination, etc."

 

Now, in relation to the words, "Work out your own salvation, for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure;" {Php 2:13}. What does this text teach that God works in them? To will. First, when he blesses his people with a new nature and heart they are willing. So the will to do is of the Lord to work in them to doto incline them to do, to prompt them to do; so now those who have been prompted or inclined to obey should obey this text. If this text teaches that all the works necessary were in­cluded in the words, It is God that worketh in you," why does he say, "Work out your salva­tion?" There should be some distinction made between God's unconditional act in working in us, and our duty to him as a result thereof. Your position seems to be, that, when our Sav­ior said of regeneration, "Nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man," he should have said the same of all our duties. The Savior denies that regeneration is in any sense depend­ent on the will, while you seem to deny that obedience is in any sense dependent on the will. The word "obedience" denotes that the will is essential to it. So, when Elder Thompson in­sisted that the brethren were called on to "work out their salvation," there was something they were to do besides the act of God in working in them the will, etc.: not that they were to do something not required, or something besides what they were inclined to do by the grace of God; but there was a duty on their part re­quireda salvation for them to work out and no twisting of this text can destroy the sentiment and truth that these brethren were exhorted to work out a salvation. The fact that God has worked in them to will and to do does not destroy the fact that something yet remained to be done, and that that something was to work out their sal­vation. All that God had done in them and for them did not destroy the fact that they were yet called on to obey and to work out their own sal­vation; and as obedience must be a willing obedi­ence, or it is no obedience at all, so these people were called on to obey willingly. I am willing to admit that regeneration is independent of the will, but I deny that obedience is independent of will. So I hold that the will is ever connected with obedience and essential to it; that men who serve God CHOOSE to do so.

 

You say, ' “Neither is it of our will {or choice} that we keep the commandments." If you are right in this, there is no such thing as obedience, if we pay any attention to the meaning of the word "obedience." If you pay any attention to the meaning of the word "obedience," you make a sad blunder when you say, "Neither is it of our will," etc. On your plan God's government of his people is like the boy's government of his marbles : you may say, 'Neither is it of the will of the marble that it is in the right place." Your theory requires a new dictionary, made expressly to suit your doctrine. You quote, ''If ye be led by the Spirit," etc ; {Ga 5:18}. The word "lead'' or 'pled" implies that those led are willing to be led. If the party led is not willing and active, then it would be "drag." So this word "lead" is fatal to your position that the will is not concerned in our obedience.

 

 

"If any man will do his will; " {Joh 7:17}. So here again the will is concerned in doing God's will. Numberless places could be found showing the will to be concerned in obedience. Duty would mean nothing, obedience would mean noth­ing, if we exclude the will from them. Vice, vir­tue, right, or wrong, might be excluded from every language under heaven, and man is reduced in his conduct to the level of a watch or a clock.

 

What I intended by the distinction in the act of God in our regeneration, or the raising of Laz­arus from the dead, and the act of God in leading us into the path of obedience, is, that we should make some distinction here. The raising of Laz­arus was a physical act, and one wholly inde­pendent of his will; while in leading us, we are, and must be, voluntary. The fact is, when you deny the will of man being concerned in his obe­dience, you deny that man is a moral being. The planets obey the laws they are under, but not willinglythey are not moral beings. And so I understand you to deny man to be a moral being. The words obey, disobey, vice, virtue, leads, led, duty, rewardall these words denote a depend­ence on the will, and I understand you to change the meaning of all these words to suit your notion of things. And so the word if." But I will notice this later on.

 

You say, "There seems to prevail in the mind of some the worldly view that a hope of reward or a fear of punishment is necessary to compel obedience." Now, I want to show you that you are in love with this worldly view as much as those you oppose. You say:

 

No. 1. "It is not for some precious fruits that we go along that road,  but for the beauty  of the road itself." In this you set a reward before the mind as truly as any one has done; and you use the word "for" instead of “in. "

No. 2. "Will any offered reward cause one to seek righteousness as he does who hungers for it? "

No. 3. ' 1 Will any fear of punishment turn one away from evil as effectually as a hatred of evil ? "

No. 4. The apostle is not speaking of terror of some punishment,  but of the terror of the Lord's presence to one who loves him, but is found in transgression." In this you place the worldly view you complain of as fully as I have seen it done by any one.

No. 5. "It is the terror of being found of the Lord in a fleshly, sinful walk." In this last you seem disposed to terrify them into obedience.

No. 6. “The terror of being found in crime by one dearly loved would be greater than to be thus found by one who could punish us. " You de­spise urging men to obey from fear of punish­ment, and yet you name a terror worse than punishment as a motive.

No. 7. "Their reward is in the work."

No. 8. "When we are spiritually led, his glory is what we seek."

No.' 9. "He himself is our exceeding great reward. "

 

In all these nine places you set forth the hope of reward as fully as our brethren care to have it done, and then, after in these nine times you do this, you say, “I am tired and sick of this self, self," etc.

 

I know of none among us who contend for more "self" than is set forth in these sentences. Read carefully the following sentence from your pen {No. 10:} "Keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me: not that I may not suffer punishment." In this you seem to think that grief is no punishment: so you would exhort men to dread grief, but not to fear punish­ment. Now, why find fault with the brethren for contending for the same things you urge your­self in these sentences? You say, "If they could not get the reward, would they do the work? If they were to go into darkness as a consequence of obedience, would they obey?" 1 believe the words­

 

"The soul that would to Jesus press,

Must fix this firm and sure­

That tribulations, more or less,

It must and shall endure."

 

I believe with Peter, "Though now for a sea­son, if need be ye are in heaviness, that the trial of your faith," etc. Trials will come: we must feel our hearts ache. The path of duty lies in sorrow, often, but in the midst of all there is something sweet and precious. The millions of martyrs who went into the flames were happier than they would have been to have fled from punishment. In fact, their punishment would have been greater had they denied their Lord.

 

What is a good conscience worth? Who of us would engage in the arduous task of the ministry if our conscience would be easy? So, where men have gone into the fires of persecution, they have had the sweetest and best of all re­wardsa good conscience. When the prophet felt that he was left alone and that he was in an enemy's land, his conscience was a rich reward to him. Paul says, "Herein do I exercise my­self to have always a conscience void of offense toward God and toward men. " So Paul labored always to have a good conscience. This is all the  “self" we contend for, and these sentiments may make you " sick," but a good conscience was the end the apostle aimed at.

 

See also {Ro 13:5}, "Wherefore ye must needs be subject not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake." Also {1Ti 1:19}, "Holding faith and a good conscience, which some having put away  have made shipwreck." The Bible abundantly teaches that holy men of old prized a good conscience as of greater reward than gold. Who can have a good conscience in sin? What Christian has not learned that obedience only keeps a good conscience? I hesi­tate not to say that a good conscience is conditionally enjoyed. ""If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love." A dear sister, in op­posing the idea that we should hope for reward, said she understood us that money was the re­ward we aimed at. I asked her if she found any advantage in obedience. She said, "Yes; she felt a good conscience." "Well," said I, "that is your reward." Now, dear brother, this will satisfy me. Let us insist that obedience is better than disobedience; let us insist that the path of duty has more to cheer than the path of diso­bedience. You quote the words, "Where the word of a king is, there is power." Your remarks about this indicate that you hold that God's commands are always obeyed. You say, "In every case just the measure of grace is given that is needed to be sufficient for us." If this is true, how is it that you say, "I need more grace than any other poor sinner?" If in every case all that is needed is given, I can 't understand how you need more at any time than you have. Again, if all his commands are obeyed, you seem unwilling to ad­mit that the Savior invites, or entreats, or per­suades. You say, "He calls, and his call is al­ways obeyed. " Now, if his commands are always obeyed, how can you say, "I do, or wish to do, what the Lord directs me to do, because he com­mands it? " If his commands are always obeyed, how is it that you sometimes only WISH to obey ?

 

You say, “1 could neither preach nor exhort if I thought the benefit depended on my ability." It occurs to me that if you first explain your doc­trine to your peoplethat they can not obey till the command of God comes, and when it does come they can not disobey; that the words in {Isa 26:12}, mean that all our good works are performed by the Lord, and that the words in {Php 2:13}, only express the works God does, and nothing at all for them to do; that there is no re­ward for their obedience, either in time or etern­ity; that they can claim no more in their obedi­ence than they can claim in their redemption ; that they shall have no reward in time oreternity for anything they do, either mentally or physi­cally; that all gospel rewards are of grace, and wholly unconditional; that the most patient obedi­ence for a lifetime will never secure one moment's peace, or the least conceivable degree of happi­ness, either in time or eternity; that if one of God's true and called ministers should entertain the thought that a faithful life of a half century among the churches merited so much as a crust of bread, it would be evidence that he was left of the Lord, and that he never could get back till God brought him back; that God promises no ad­vantage for obedience of any kind, either here or hereafter; that the words "obedience," "duty," etc., denote no dependence on the will of man; that Webster, and every other author, is in error about their meaning; that it is exceedingly doubt­ful whether God's people are moral beings at all; that his government is a spiritual one, and hence very doubtful as to its being a moral one,I should think when all these things are laid before the people, it would be difficult to go about an ex­hortation.

 

You insist that the government of Jesus is spiritual, and hence you object to my article dis­tinguishing between the moral and physical gov­ernments of God. You insist that the case of Lazarus being raised is parallel with the obe­dience of a Christian. If this be true, then the will of man is in no sense concerned in obedience. I grant that the will of man is excluded from re­generation, but you go farther and insist that the will has no concern in obedience. I need not cite the numerous places in your article in which you insist that the will of man is unconcerned in the matter of obedience, and this is to deny that God's government is moral. In your effort to steer clear of Arminianism you have landed your bark on the sands of Antinomianism. If you are correct in holding that the choice of man is excluded from his obedience, I grant that the event of Lazarus being raised is parallel with obedience. I will quote one sentence from your article on this sub­ject: "The form of expression in the New Testa­ment never leaves the result [obedience to God's command] as depending upon the will and choice of man. " I find many such sentences in your article. If a man's obedience to God is parallel with his having gray eyes, his will has nothing to do with it; and so he is neither to blame nor praise for these things; but you as effectually exclude his will from his obedience as it is from choosing the color of his eyes. If a man's will has no more to do with his obedience than it has in the color of his hair, I will confess I ought not to have written about a distinction between the moral and physical governments of God. If you can show that the will is not concerned in our obedience, you will have convinced me that God does not exercise moral government over his peo­ple. The planets ever obey, but not from their own will, and you have tried to show that our . obedience is as independent of our wills as the order and regularity of the planets is independ­ent of their wills, and as there is no such thing as vice, virtue, crime, or innocence, among the plan­ets, so on your theory these things have no place among God's people. You quote often the words, "Thou also hast wrought all our works in us; {Isa 26:12}. Also "It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do." Also "Working in them that which is well pleasing in his sight." Your comment on these texts indicates that you think we are no more concerned in our obedience than we are in our height or the color of our hair. We read of the daughters of men being fair; {Ge 6:2} also that Sarah was fair. Now, while these are good qualities, they are not moral qualities, like chastity, virtue, obedience, etc. And I insist that in your zeal to set aside the choice of men in the matter of obedience, you re­duce the moral qualities of men to a level in every way with their physical qualities, in regard to which they exercise no choice whatever. You quote the words, " Even to hoar hairs will I carry you," and so interpret it as to deny the truth of all those texts that speak of God's people as walking {Mic 6:8; Ge 5:24}, etc. But does the New Testament teach, as you insist, that the obedience of God's people is independent of the will? You admit that in the Old Testament obe­dience is dependent on the will. “If ye forsake the Lord and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt." You seem to admit that in this command the will is concerned. The Saviour says, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love." Can you see any differ­ence in the form of these two commands ? And if the will is concerned in the one, how can you say that the will is not concerned in the other? Let any one hunt out the commands of God to Israel of old, and lay them down side by side with the commands of God to His people now, and show how or why the will is excluded from our conduct now and was not excluded from their conduct. I am sure the form of expression is the same. It is the same God, and the people of God are now just what they were then, and so now why should God's words to His people mean one thing in the Old Testament, and another in the New? The blessings resulting from obedience in the Old Testament were all confined to time, and the curses for disobedience were all confined to time, and so it is now in the church. I think you are hard pressed if you espouse a theory that re­quires you to hold that the commands of God in the Old Testament were not all obeyed, but in the New they are all obeyed.

 

You quote the words, " Where the word of a king is there is power," and your comment shows that you think the commands of Jesus are ever obeyed." You say, "His call is always obeyed." Jesus commands his people, " Bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you. " These are his own words. {Mt 5:44}. Are these commands always obeyed by his peo­ple? And if not, how can you hold that his com­mands are always obeyed? In your effort to set aside the moral government of God you find it es­sential to leave nothing in any way dependent on our wills in the matter of obedience, and hence you must hold that his commands are always obeyed. In the New Testament we find such commands as "Be kindly affectioned one to an­other, in brotherly love preferring one another; " "Avenge not yourselves;'' &,Recompense to no man evil for evil." Are all these commands, and scores of others, always obeyed? On what prin­ciple do you hold that all his commands are obeyed? Perhaps you will say that love is the fulfilling of the law." I know we are commanded to love one another, but those who do love each other are commanded still to do other things. If to love God is all that is required of his people, why mention scores of things required of them who already love Him, and how can you say that all the commands of Jesus are obeyed when we love God? Now, if we are not voluntary in our obedience, and if our choice has nothing to do with it, I grant that I was wrong, as you com­plain, in distinguishing between the moral and physical government of God, and you are correct in holding that God's decree should not be re­garded as applying to events in two ways.

 

Relative to blame, you say: "The cause of blame was before we were born. " If God's gov­ernment of His people is not a moral government, then I grant that the cause of blame was before we were born. The cause of a tree's bearing bad fruit is found in the nature of its first seed, and to bear bad fruit is a fault, but not a moral fault; but I hold that bad conduct is not such a fault as where a tree bears bad fruit. The one is a natural evil, the other a moral evil. Sin is not merely a physical evil, it is a moral evil and is punishable. Sin, either in saint or sinner, is a moral evil; but if you are correct in holding that the will is not concerned in our conduct, then you are correct in placing the cause of blame be­ fore our birth, and you may say before time so far as I am concerned.

 

Now I will call your mind to what you say of {1Pe 3:10} and {Php 2:1}. Your comment is "Neither of these apostles presents these exhor­tations as conditions uncertain of fulfillment; un­settling the sure covenant of grace. You cer­tainly hold then that there was no uncertainty about their obeying. Let us notice these exhor­tations : In Philippians the exhortation you refer to reads, "Fulfill ye my joy, be like minded, be­ing of one accord of one mind, let nothing be done through strife or vain glory." Were these ex­hortations obeyed by the apostles or early Chris­tians, or are they obeyed by the Baptists now? Was there ever a period of time when God's peo­ple obeyed these exhortations entirely'? And so how can you speak of this as not uncertain of ful­fillment? I am glad you admit the language to be conditional, as it certainly is if a conditional sentence could be found in the English language. Turn now to {1Pe 3:10}; For he that will love life and see good days let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips that they speak no guile," etc. Now do God's people keep this com­mand, and how is it any more certain of fulfill­ment than commands in the Old Testament were? You admit that some 'uncertainty attended the keeping of the commandments in that time. You say, °That was the form of the legal covenant," "and the conditional expressions made under that covenant are correctly quoted by you," but you reject conditionai expressions from the new covenant on the ground that it would involve un­certainty in New Testament blessings. But how can a man who believes in the absolute predes­tination of all things hold that events are more certain at one period of the world than another? I am glad you admit that there was a moral gov­ernment over Israel of old, even if you deny it now.

 

Perhaps you urge that love is all the fulfilling of the law required, but in answer to this I urge that scores of commands are given to those who love God.

 

In this connection you say, Neither is it of our will that we keep the commandments." I confess that the Ethiopian can not change his skin, etc., but what has this to do with our obe­dience? The Ethiopian can not change his skin, and this is a physical impossibility, and he is not to blame for not doing so, and if we are no more to blame for doing wrong that a negro is for being black, then you are right in denying the moral government of God, and right in your ar­ticle generally; and I did wrong in distinguishing between the moral and physical government of God, and it is no more of our will that we keep the commandments, than it is of the Ethiopian's will that he is black.

 

You say, "The word invite is never used by him nor concerning him in the Scriptures. He calls, and his call is always obeyed." Now read, "As though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." He appeals to them in Christ's stead. Is this always obeyed? And if our wills are in no sense connected with obedience, why does he use the words "beseech" and "pray"? Ifourobe­dience is of God, just as regeneration is of God, or just as the raising of Lazarus was of God, how is it that Paul uses the words "beseech" and "pray " in urging to obedience, if it is of God as regener­ation is of God? While the word °invite" is not used here, yet the words ' beseech " and “pray " suggest as much dependence on the will as the word invite would suggest.

 

I never heard you exhort a congregation. We are told to °' exhort young men to be sober minded." How would you do this? Certainly by putting before their minds some reason why they should do so, some benefit or advantage. If it be to glorify God, then this should be put before the young men as the great end they should aim at, and when this end is attained, then the reward is attained. It is not necessary to say, if we be­lieve in placing rewards before the people of God, we put a carnal or fleshly reward before them, by no means. You can not exhort only as you pre­sent some end to be gained by the obedience you recommend, and that end is the reward you aim at. If you exhort by telling the people that their obedience will result in no reward of any kind, that the word "reward" does not mean in the New Testament what it does in other books, this would be no exhortation at all. We should ex­hort one another daily while it is called today. I insist that the word exhort" suggests a depend­ence on the will of them exhorted, and it also places some kind of reward before the mind as an inducement to encourage to do the things desired. I do not know what authority you have for saying gospel rewards are not as other rewards are; in fact I deny your authority to change the meaning of words. It would be as wrong to take away the meaning of a word as it would be to "take away from the words of the prophecy of this book; " {Re 22:18}. I know the meaning of the words reward, " "if," obedience, " etc. Isee that they are in your way and that you must do something to get rid of them before your theory can stand. They suggest that God's government of His people is moral, disciplinary, parental. They suggest that there is some end, comfort or delight that is in some sense conditional, aimed at by in­telligent obedience, and this end, be it what it may, is the reward to be conditionally enjoyed, or attained. The word "if" denotes conditionality, and it is frequently used in the New Testament. You say, "The Savior and his apostles do not say, “ If you will,” but if you do. It is never used to show a dependence upon the will of the crea­ture," etc. But the Savior and his apostles do say, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine,'' etc. If some dependence is not here expressed, what sentence would express de­pendence on the will? Also, "If ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts," etc.

 

You say, "I have wondered why spiritually instructed men should try to apply them to gos­pel things which are all made new. That was the form of the conditional covenant, and the con­ditional expressions are correctly quoted by you. " In this you admit that God's people were under a conditional ,state of things then, but not now, be­cause things were not as certain then as now. How one can hold things uncertain under the old covenant, but certain now, and yet believe in the absolute predestination of all things, I can not see. "How spiritually taught persons can use the same form of expression touching gospel things that were used under the law," you can 'not see.

 

If the Israel of old was a type of the church, will we not find some things in the church an­swering to the things of Israel then? The type for the letter B will not make X; and so, if under the type we find God to have a disciplinary gov­ernment of Israel, which you admit to be con­ditional, will we not find something in the anti­type answering to it, a parental government with its chastisements and rewards? We are not made heirs or sons by performimg conditions, but does not God deal with us as sons, and chasten us when we go astray? You admit this order of things was in the type, and how can you deny its being in the antitype? ,But with many of them God was not well pleased. Now these things were our ensamples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted." Read this entire 10th chapter of I Cor. Paul applies the same principle of government that God exer­cised.. over Israel of old to us and warns us to avoid their sins. You will not say he was not a spiritually instructed man, yet he plainly does what you hold no spiritually instructed man will do. See also {Heb 10:28}, "He that despised Moses' law died under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment suppose ye shall he be thought worthy?" etc. Here Paul again shows that the conditional covenant that Israel was under illustrates God's discipline over His people here, now, and shows that the antitype corresponds with the type.

 

In conclusion I call your attention to {Heb 2:2-3}, "For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every trangression and disobedi­ence received a just recompense of reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?" etc. Here again Paul applies the principle that prevailed among the Jews to the gospel, and as you admit that to be conditional, how can you deny that there is the same parental and dis­ciplinary government now for us? Your theory makes the first "if " in this text mean one thing and in the last to mean another. Paul not only applies the same principle that prevailed in the government of Israel, but he applies it in the same form of expression. He first described God's government of Israel as conditional, and in language you admit to be conditional, and then applies the same principle to the gospel, and does it in the same form of words, and even the same words, and he was spiritually instructed.

 

We may well warn our people, "If ye bite and devour one another, take heed lest ye be con­sumed one of another. "

 

I have all my life heard Baptists affirm that regeneration is unconditional and independent of our choice. We become sons and heirs uncon­ditionally, but as His sons we are under a pa­rental or disciplinary government, which is con­ditional. We may be tried and even burned, but a good conscience can only be maintained by pay­ing the price of its maintenance, and a good con­science is of great value. My ownn experience is, that doing_ wrong is widely different from doing right.

 

My dear brother, I would have been glad for your letter and my reply to have both been in the Signs, but you refuse to ask the Signs to print my reply, and also you reviewed and criticised my private letter to you in the Signs, placing your own construction on my letter to you. so that its readers will never see the letter you review.

 

But I will not complain of your public review of my private letter.

I have been plain, but I have done what I es­teemed as my duty in this matter.

Your brother in hope,

 

J. H. OLIPHANT.

CRAWFORDSVILLE, IND.

 

01.04 Elder Durand's Second Letter

ELDER DURAND'S SECOND LETTER.

Southampton, PA., Nov. 16, 1899.

Dear Brother: You say that in some things I have misrepresented you. I do not wish to do so, and do not yet see that I have. You quote some sentences from my letter which you say contain all you have contended for concerning rewards and punishments. Then I have misunderstood you, and we are agreed. But again you conclude the difference between us to be very great.

I will briefly notice some points in your letter. Referring to my suggestion that in teaching a conditional time salvation," you appear to have bound burdens upon the helpless, you reply that unless these helpless ones are too helpless to desire, I am not justified in finding fault with your views, for all the liberty of will you have contended for is liberty to desire or to will. You say that you do not hold that they can secure the blessings at will, but only hold that they can desire them. I do not see how that would be the fulfillment of a condition at all, on which a salvation of any kind could be based. Paul said, “To will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not." And again he said, “Ye can not do the things that ye would." (Ro 7:18-25; Ga 5:17-18.) But until the good thing is done, no salvation is experienced; so there must be, as in the case of Paul, a further revelation of Christ as the doer of the good things for and in us before salvation appears.

But I have understood you to attach the condition to the act of obedience, and not alone to the will. In a published article, after insisting upon conditionality in the words of Jesus in Mt 11:28, you say, "He plainly encourages them to obedience by promising them rest in case they obey. Parents do the same thing with their children.” If you will obey me, I will give you a toy, or give you my approval. "' I will also cite you to this passage, and to the whole article, in reply to your request to show a sentence where you have taught that God's favor depends upon our will and choice and work. If you do not mean by your language here and elsewhere that God's favor, and our time salvation by him, depend upon our performance of those conditions, then I have misunderstood your meaning, and also the meaning and use of the term, "conditional time salvation."

In regard to the meaning of the word “if" you have consulted authorities, and conclude that it is necessary to set aside either that word or my theory. But you have no need to do either, I do not intend to violate the meaning of any word, nor have I done so, though you, as well as I, will depart from Webster sometimes as to the scriptural meaning of a word, as for instance, baptize." I grant the word “if” to generally introduce a condition or a supposition, though not always. Yet you have not produced a sentence from the New Testament which disproves the truth of my position that the word “if” does not anywhere in the New Testament imply a condition upon the performance of which by the creature a promise of favor and salvation is based; that faith, belief, hope, love, and every spiritual grace, are not spoken of in the Scriptures as though their possession and experience by us were regarded as depending upon our will, but as the gifts of God. The Savior did not say, "If you will believe you shall have eternal life;" "If you will believe that I can heal your son, I will heal him;" "If you will keep my commandments you shall have my presence and favor." Such language is not used under the new covenant of grace: it belongs to the old covenant of works. I do object to the use of old covenant language in speaking of new covenant things, except in its typical meaning. The Savior's language is, “He that believeth hath everlasting life;” Believest thou that I can do this? all things are possible to him that believeth." In the one form of language it is implied that the man may or may that the gift of life or favor is made to depend upon his performance of the condition. In the form of language used in the New Testament the state or condition of mind at the time is referred to, a condition which the power and grace of God only can produce in the mind of any one, and the proposition is presented as based upon that condition of mind.

I will notice three of the cases you refer to as showing my position to be incorrect:

First. If a man come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Here there is nothing promised to a man if he will come after Jesus, as though that coming were a work of his own, decided upon by his own will, and to be rewarded by some, favor from the Lord. But the “if” supposes a man to have the will or desire to come after Jesus; then he is told in what way alone he can come; not by the exercise of any will power of his own, but by denying himself, denying his own will, and by taking up his cross; by crucifying his flesh and fleshly, mind, and following Jesus. Here is the test as to whether the man really has a will to come after Jesus. To some who thought they had already come to him he said, “Ye will not come to me. (Joh 6.) The young man who offered to follow Jesus had no true will to do so, and when he found that Jesus was poorer than the, foxes and the birds of the air, too poor to reward him as he desired, he disappeared. No man cannot believe, or do whatever is spoken of, according as he wills or chooses, and that the gift of life or favor is made to depend upon his performance of the condition. In the form of language used in the New Testament the state or condition of mind at the time is referred to, a condition which the power and grace of God only can produce in the mind of any one, and the proposition is presented as based upon that condition of mind.

I will notice three of the cases you refer to as showing my position to be incorrect:

First. “If a man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Here there is nothing promised to a man if he will come after Jesus, as though that coming were a work of his own, decided upon by his own will, and to be rewarded by some favor from the Lord. But the “if” supposes a man to have the will or desire to come after Jesus; then he is told in what way alone he can come; not by the exercise of any will power of his own, but by denying himself, denying his own will, and by taking up his cross; by crucifying his flesh and fleshly mind, and following Jesus. Here is the test as to whether the man really has a will to come after Jesus. To some who thought they had already come to him he said, “Ye will not come to me. (Joh 5.) The young man who offered to follow Jesus had no true will to do so, and when he found that Jesus was poorer than the foxes and the birds of the air, too poor to reward him as he desired, he disappeared. No man can of himself have a will to deny himself. God must work that will in him if he ever has it. Jesus teaches here what he teaches in our experience, that instead of coming after him by any power of our own, the will and power and work that bring about that self-denial, suffering and crucifixion in which this following consists, are all, like every other good and perfect gift, "from above, and come down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness neither shadow of turning;" Jas 1:17.

Second. Peter says, "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile;" 1Pe 3:10. There is no conditional work proposed in this text by the word “if,” nor any reward offered. The "if" supposes a man to have already the love of God in his heart, and the will or desire to enjoy that holy life which no one can see in himself, and to see the good days of the Son of man. The apostle tells such a one of that same self-denial which the Savior said was necessary in order that a man should come after him, and in which alone the power and blessedness of divine life are experienced in this mortal state. Every one who knoweth the plague of his, own heart," knows that in this he “can not do the things that he would. " but will .Still find that evil is present with him, and, like David, must cry unto God to “set a watch before his mouth, and keep the door of his lips," or evil and guile will continually issue from them. Only as the dying of the Lord Jesus is felt in our body, can the life also of Jesus be manifested in our mortal flesh, (2Co 4:10-11), and this is the life which God's people will love and long to feel the power of; and these good days which we wish for are the days made by the light of this blessed life in our souls, while “we bear about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus." The life of suffering in the flesh and of faith in the Spirit is the life we truly live before God while in the flesh, and this the natural man can not desire.

A man might try to curb his tongue, and refrain his lips from speaking the sin and guile which he would really delight in speaking, if he hoped to receive some reward for his self-denial. but such self-denial is not the Bible kind. The spiritual rewards, which I still contend for, are the experience of the things we love in the Spirit. We hate sin and, guile, if we have divine life, while we feel our nature to be full of them, and it is an unspeakable blessing, the richest kind of a reward, to feel a rest from that ever present sinfulness of the fleshly mind by the power of that faith by which we are enabled to see our standing in Christ, and to “walk in him.”

Third. Whosoever will; let him take the water of life freely." This presents no condition to be performed, but shows us one who longs for the water of that river which flows from the throne of God and the Lamb, the promises and grace and salvation of God. This is the one who thirsts after righteousness. He sees that every blessing represented by the water of that river of life flows alone from the power of God, without the least possible help from man. His very soul goes out in thirstings and longings for those heavenly blessings. “But," he says to himself, “I have no right to those holy things. They belong to the Lord's people, to the righteous, while I am a vile sinner.” To every such poor, thirsty soul Jesus says, in his final words recorded in the book of inspiration, “Let him take of the water of life freely.” That command shows him his privilege to satisfy his thirsty soul upon the promises of God; to drink the blessed truth which flows to make glad the city of God; to walk in the order and ordinances of the gospel. He is now made to realize that he is the very character for whom those blessings were ordained and prepared. He could no more have taken them to himself before the command of Jesus came to him, than the man with the withered hand could have stretched it forth before that commanding word gave him the power. Now he can no more resist or refuse the blessing than the tender grass can resist or refuse the light and healing of the rising sun.

It is necessary to define what will it is in both Jesus and his people which you refer to by the term “liberty of will,” as necessarily exercised in what you call “conditional time salvation." There is both a human and a divine will; which of these is in exercise when righteous works are done? The Scriptures must answer this question, and not human reason. I will here give what I understand to be the scriptural teaching upon the subject. The Savior, in his human nature, even though it was pure and free from sin, did not do his own will in performing the work of salvation, but the Father's will which sent him; Joh 6:38. He lived a life of self-denial and suffering during his ministry in the flesh. His Father wrought all his works in him; Joh 5:19; 14:10. He pleased not himself; Ro 15:3. Concerning him there could be nothing conditional in his work and trial, unless you change the ordinarily accepted meaning of the word conditional. In a conditional covenant or promise there is a supposed uncertainty as to whether the one party will perform the conditional work. Otherwise I can see no meaning in, or use for, the word conditional. Jesus could not disobey. The principle of disobedience was not in him. There was nothing in him for the temptations of the devil to take a vital hold of, although he was so made under the law as to suffer under those temptations. He said, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” He was not on trial to prove merely that he would not, but that he could not disobey his Father's will. It was the Father’s will which was done in him, and the same will is effectually done in his people.

The will, then, by which the Lord's people desire and do spiritual works is not the natural or fleshly will, which every man has as well after as before he has been born of the Spirit, but it is the will wrought in us by the Lord. It is called in one place “the mind of Christ.” and in another place “the mind of the Spirit.” These two wills, the fleshly and the spiritual, are contrary the one to the other, so that we can not do the things that we would. (Ga 5:17.) Those who have been born of the Spirit can not see in their flesh any good thing. (Ro 7:18.). There must be a righteous motive, as you have clearly demonstrated, in order that an act shall be righteous. The flesh presents to the spiritual view no such righteous principle. Jesus, even, disclaimed goodness as a man, saying, “There is none good but one, that is God," thus showing that all goodness is from God, and that Jesus would be called good only as the Son of God, and in oneness with the Father. The righteousness of a man will not do to make one acceptable before God. The Lord's people are made the righteousness of God in his Son. (2Co 5:21.)

When the. Lord has given us to see that he has wrought in us the desires that we have, then we can with a holy confidence work them out, yet with fear and trembling. No self confidence or fleshly zeal for the Lord in these works, but a holy fear causing us to walk softly before the Lord, desiring assurances from him that our work is not of the flesh, but of faith; "for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. " I think it was for our encouragement in this respect that the apostle was inspired to say, when exhorting us to work out our own salvation, “For it is God that worketh in you, to will and to do of his own good pleasure.”

All neglect of this salvation, which we could not neglect if it were not ours: all acts of disobedience on the part of a living soul, are from the fleshly will, and will surely result in sorrow, self-abhorrence and death. The transgressions of the children of the dear Savior will be visited with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes; Ps 89. Yet the Lord's loving-kindness will not be utterly taken from the Son. When the work of correction is done, all the wanderers shall be returned to the fold. It is written, "Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee;" Jer 2:19. In the Lord's own time each transgressor shall taste the bitter fruits of his sins, shall be humbled under the just but loving chastisements of God. and shall be amazed to find the grace of God sufficient for him.

You say, "Now please explain the reason why some are more dutiful and obedient than others, and yet all have a sufficiency of grace at all times, and not one thing is dependent on the will?" And then you tell me that my hank is tangled, and that I must straighten it out along here. If I have a hank, and am trying to twist a theory out of two or more skeins that some one else has spun, it may as well get tangled, for it will be of no use. But I am talking about the plain declarations of the Scriptures, and am insisting that human reason, and the theories of worldly wisdom, shall not set them aside whether we can comprehend them or not.

With regard to your question I will say, first, that it seems clearly to show that you do hold that some things needful for the Christian are left dependent upon his own will, and the form of that question appears to show that you regard that will as independent of grace. Second, does not your question imply that you regard their own will, and not the grace of God, as the cause why some are more dutiful than others? Third, does not your question imply that you do not think that the grace of God is sufficient for all his people at all times? Now, in reply to your question, I must say that I do not know. I must refer it to the infinite wisdom and mysterious purpose of God. If asked why Abel was righteous while Cain was not; why some are chosen unto salvation and some are not; why gospel things are hid from the wise and prudent and revealed to babes, you and I would respond with one accord in the words of Jesus, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight " If asked why Peter was left to deny his Lord, while John was not; why John Mark failed in what Paul thought his duty, and Paul and Barnabas had sharp contention about him: why, in short, some are more dutiful than others, I would have to give the same reason, referring it all primarily to the infinitely wise purpose of God, who was, to say the least, able to have prevented everything which he did not intend should result in final good to his chosen, and in his own glory. At the same time I feel it to be the duty of brethren to admonish and reprove me when they see a need for it, and I regard it as my duty, in my lot, to warn the unruly, reprove the erring, and exhort and persuade men, the men of God, to take up their cross daily. I can only do the work commanded me. I cart only sow the seed which the Husbandman places in my hand. The result must be left with the Lord. All my times are in thy hand. "

But is not the grace of God sufficient for all his children at all times? Were not sufficient grace and all spiritual blessings given to each child of God in Christ before the world began? And will not that grace all be dispensed by him to each one just at the right time? “Of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace;" Joh 1:16. That is, the grace we each receive is just the grace that was given each in him. The account is kept even. The grace is given according to the Lord's knowledge of our needs, not according to our knowledge and will. It is when sorrow and death comes upon us, as the necessary consequence of our sin, that we are prepared to receive and appreciate the wonderful grace of God. It was when Paul was suffering under the rankling pain of the thorn in his flesh, the messenger of Satan, but given by the Lord, that he was ready for the wonderful and never-to-be-forgotten words of Jesus, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” It was his weakness, his infirmities, sorely felt and groaned under, that prepared him to rejoice in the power and grace of Christ as fully equal to all his needs. He did not know what he needed even while he was praying earnestly and repeatedly for deliverance. Neither his will, therefore, nor his prayers, would have indicated to the Lord what to do for him. But Jesus knew all the time what he needed, and Paul knew, after, but not before, the answer to his prayer was given.

Peter was corrected and reproved and instructed by his terrible wickedness. He was just as wicked before he fell, but he did not know it. He was not at that time prepared to realize the riches of God's grace, but depended upon his own will, and power to do right. It was the same fleshly will that caused him to say, “Though all men forsake thee, yet I will never forsake thee,” which afterward prompted him to say with cursings, “I know not the man.” But it was the other will, the “pure mind,” stirred up by the Savior's look, which caused him to go out and weep bitterly. And then was the time when the exceeding riches of God's grace appeared to him, and he was humbled under the mighty hand of God, as a little child. God had a purpose of love and mercy to be fulfilled in Peter's fall. Would any one dare to say that David's terrible sin, and Jonah's refusal to obey, and Peter's denial of his Lord, were contrary to God's purpose and will? Great truths concerning the terrible nature of sin, the helpless state of man, and the greatness of God's salvation, were to be taught by the awful experience of each of them. Jesus did not pray that Peter night not fall into the devil's sieve, but only that his faith might not fail. That faith was all that made him please the Lord. The teaching of such scriptural truth does not cause a living soul to say, “Let us continue in sin,” but rather makes him hate and dread it more. And he who has died to sin can not live any longer therein. To live after the flesh is death, not life, to such. They learn that they can depend only upon the Lord to uphold and lead them. When he walks in them then they walk in him; when he withdraws his presence they fall. The sun by his presence makes the day. By his absence "he maketh darkness and it is night, wherein all the beasts of the forest do come forth;" Ps 104:20.

I think you have implied in your published articles that those who declare the doctrine of God's sovereign purpose, and his predestination of all things that come to pass, are apologizing for sin. I do not think you have a right to say so. God called Cyrus, who was a wicked man, compared to a ravenous bird, to execute his counsel, and he declared from ancient times the things that he should do. Does the statement of that scriptural truth attribute wickedness to God, or apologize for Cyrus' sins? Isa 46:10-11. The wicked are God's hand and sword; Ps 17:13. When he works his will by them, is their wickedness his? Are they not justly condemned? Habakkuk declares that God has ordained the wicked for judgment, and established them for correction, in their terrible raids upon his people; yet the prophet can not understand why a holy God, who is of purer eyes than to behold evil, can even look upon them that deal so treacherously, and be silent. He does not however question that it is so, nor the Lord's right to do so, because he can not understand it; Hab 1:12-13.

You conclude that I do not believe that man is a moral being, but I suppose we believe about alike on that subject as to the race of mankind. Yet I do not attach the same importance to the subject of the physical and moral government that you seem to in connection with salvation, because the Bible does not speak particularly about them. All men are by nature dead in sin, and do not know God or his kingdom or laws. When his people are given divine life, and Christ is revealed as their Savior, then from thenceforth they are under law to him. I can understand and talk a little about that law of the Spirit of life which has made them free from the law of sin and death, about the new covenant which is ordered in all things and sure, and their experience of it. In this they are separate from all other people. The laws are in their new minds and new hearts, not in the flesh, nor on tables of stone. Their obedience is from within, by the impulse of that Spirit of life, IN which is their reward, not in something obtained BY the obedient work, but IN the work. This they will all learn sooner or later. They are led by the Lord as blind, (Isa 42:16), they are carried as children, even to their old age; Isa 46:4. They are chastened and scourged, every one of them; Heb 12:6. They can not direct their steps. The Lord appoints their way, and sets the bounds of their habitation that they can not pass. And in the' end they rejoice that all their times are in his hand.

The terms “freewill,” “free moral agency,” and the like, have been so long used to mean that a man can accept or reject offers of salvation as he pleases, that they will continue to mean that in the minds of men generally. What do we want of them anyway? The Bible terms will do for us. You remind me that the will of a stone has nothing to do with its movements. But you know the Lord's people; in their experience of salvation, are spoken of under the figure of stones, “lively Stones:” 1Pe 2:5. Again, you remind me that my "theory" strips man of will choice as fully as a tree in its bearing or not bearing fruit. That is true: that figure is also used more than once in describing the Lord's people in their gospel state. They are "trees of righteousness," and he will be glorified in the fruit they shall bear; Isa 46:3. They are branches of Christ, the true Vine, and he says, “From me is thy fruit found.” His will is effectually wrought in them. He will “make them perfect to do his will, working in them that which is well pleasing in his sight,” and he shall be glorified in them; Heb 13:21.


Your questions have not been all expressly noticed, but have all been answered. The things I have written are very sweet truths to my soul. I hope we may find ourselves none the worse for our correspondence, but more manifestly of one mind.


Your brother in hope, Silas Durand.

01.05 Reply To Elder Durand's Second Letter

REPLY TO ELDER DURAND'S

SECOND LETTER.

Dear Brother Durand: In your article in the Signs of the Times of January 15th you quote the words, “To will is present, with me, but how to perform that which is good, I find not;” also, “Ye can not do the things that ye would.” If you quote these words to prove that God's people can not do good works, you contradict many texts that speak of their doing good works, as, “Let our's also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses;” “Ye are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.”

Many texts speak of God's people as doing good works. Or perhaps you quote them to show that men's obedience is independent of the will, which I understand to be your position. But if this is your design, then you set aside the very idea of obedience, as no such thing as obedience or disobedience could exist independent of the will. You object to the word -invite,” because it suggests some dependency on the will. You may as well object to the words “obedience,” “duty,” “faithfulness,” etc. You speak of God leading his people, and the word “lead” or “leading” would be rejected on the same principle.

Paul, in the words you quote, is speaking of, the complex nature of the Christian. This warfare should not be so explained as to excuse the Christian for his sins. Paul said Peter was to be blamed; and this is the experience of the Christian. This warfare should not be so explained as to set aside the moral nature of man. Man is a moral being, and God's government of man is a moral government, and these texts should be explained in harmony with this truth; and, when so explained, they are a beautiful description of the experience of the people of God. You say, -The sun by his presence makes the day: by his absence he maketh darkness and it is night," and refer to Ps 104:20. You represent the sun as being the cause of night as well as day, and I suppose you design by this to infer that God has the same connection with sin that he has with holiness. John declares that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If there, is no darkness (the emblem of sin) in God, no Sin could emanate from him; and the most serious objection I can have to your views, is, the failure to make a clear distinction between God's relation to sin, on one hand, and his relation to holiness, on the other. You say, as quoted above, “the sun makes the day, and he maketh darkness." But this gives a wrong impression. The psalmist does not attribute darkness to the sun. His words are, “Thou makest darkness and it night." The sun remains the same all the time an unvarying source of light-and the earth in its daily revolution turns away from that light, and so, logically speaking, it is the earth that makes the darkness. If we study the attributes and nature of the sun, we are prepared to say that the gloom of midnight is not of the sun. And so, Christian experience, with one mind, traces sin and iniquity to some other source than God. God made "the greater light," the sun, to rule the day and to DIVIDE the light from the darkness, and God saw that it was good.

When Paul said, “By the grace of God I am what I am,” he would show that his hope and spirituality were alone of God's grace; but nowhere and under no circumstances does he trace his sins to the Lord; and he would not endorse the idea that the sun in nature, or that God ,in the kingdom of grace, was the cause of darkness. In your writing you do not make the distinction in this that meets my experience and my understanding of the Bible. For instance, you say, “Would any one dare to say that David's terrible sin, and Jonah's refusal to obey, and Peter's denial of his Lord were contrary to God's purpose and will?" I suppose you mean by this that they did his will, and also that every wicked man does God's will. If the vilest of men do God's will as truly as the most faithful men, where is the difference between right and wrong? I think you ought to distinguish between the sense in which evil men do the will of God and that in which his people do his will. Perhaps, in some explained sense, Nebuchadnezzar did the will of God in punishing His rebellious people. but did not in the sense intended by our Savior's words, (Mt 7:21.) "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven;" and also Ro 12:4, "That ye may prove what is that (good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Surely, you would not say that Jonah, David and Peter in their sins were obeying Paul's admonition here given; and if not, why should you not take some pains to distinguish in this particular? The London Confession holds that the purposes of God extend to all events, but it is careful to distinguish between the relation they sustain to sin upon one hand and holiness on the other.

No brother that I know of believes for a moment that chance and uncertainty rule even in sinful events, yet we can not accept any theory or explanation that fails to make a clear distinction in the purposes of God toward right and wrong. We can not believe that sinful things receive the same recognition, the same endorsement, or minister to God's pleasure equally with that which is holy and good. We must reject the theory and the teaching that wicked men do the will of God as the obedient saint does. Jesus says, "My meat is to do the will of my Father;" Joh 4:4. Paul says, "After ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promises." Jesus also declares, -If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine;" Joh 7:17. Your position seems to be that every one, even the vilest men do his will. Can you say, they shall know of the doctrine? This position places the Savior and every faithful servant of God, with Jonah, Nebuchadnezzar. Cyrus and Judas as doing equally the will of God. Such a course confuses the mind and detracts from the virtue of obedience. Without this distinction we place ourselves against the lessons of experience. We read in Heb 13:21-22. “The God of peace * * * make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight." The Lord connects his approbation with the doing of his will, as Pr 16:7. “When a man's ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." Now, if every man does the will of God, how can the ways of any man be displeasing to him? You would refuse the terms “free will" and "free moral agency" because they have been so long used with an unscriptural meaning, and say, “The Bible terms will do for us;" but you do not apply this rule to the expression, “The absolute predestination of all things," and which seem to the most of our brethren to teach a very objectionable sentiment.

I still complain of your position because, it strips man of all WILL, or CHOICE, in his conduct as truly as if he were a tree or a stone. In your reply you say, "That is true," admitting that men are as destitute of will in their actions as a tree, because the prophet uses the figure, “Trees of righteousness" and you accept the comparison of a Christian to a stone without any will, because Peter speaks of them as. “lively stones," This, it seems to me, is begging the question, for both stones and trees have various qualities, and the inspired writers do not mean that God's people are as stones in every respect, for that would leave them, as your argument seems to do, trees and stones sure enough. Stones are firm and durable, and they may be hewn and polished for the building---in which sense, no doubt, Peter used it. But a stone can not love; it can not obey or praise God; it can not say, "Come and hear, all y e that fear God, and I will declare what he bath done for my soul." When you divest man of all choice or will in his conduct, and put him on the level of a tree or a stone, you clearly deny that God exercises moral government over him, and he becomes as inert as the idol that must be carried about. The figure on the chessboard exercises no choice as to its movement or the space it occupies, and merits neither praise nor blame as to the result of the game. But not so with the believer. Paul says, "Therefore as ye abound in everything, in faith and utterance and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also." Speaking of their sorrow and repentance, caused by his exhortation, he says, “What carefulness is wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves; yea, what indignation; yea, what vehement desire; yea, what zeal,” etc. Paul does not say that God will make his children perfect as you quote, but he earnestly invokes God TO SO so! I must kindly protest against your dropping the words, “In every good work," from Paul's words. It would be unimportant had you not dared anyone to say that the sins of David and Jonah and Peter were contrary to God's will! Paul petitioned, or desired that God would “Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight.” But you would have us understand that God's will is as effectually wrought in their disobedience as in their obedience and that “From him is their fruit found." Did the Lord say this of Ephraim when he had provoked the Lord to bitter anger by his idolatry, and when he fell by his iniquity? It was not when Ephraim offended in Baal, but when he spoke tremblingly, saying, “What have I to do any more with idols?"

Paul not only prays God to perfect his brethren, but also exhorts and beseeches them, sometimes with tears and anguish of heart, to a righteous course; to take earnest heed to themselves; to quench not the Spirit; to grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby they are sealed unto the day of redemption. He speaks of doing despite to the Spirit of grace, and of sinning willfully after we have received a knowledge of the truth. If we are as destitute of choice, or will, or incapable of any intelligent activity as a stone or a tree, how can we do any of these things or be benefited by exhortation? Inanimate objects, like a stone or a tree, can make no response, for they are not moral beings; but men are, and choice is one of the essentials, of that state. If men are not moral beings, there would be no moral government: and as such terms as “right" and "wrong" belong only to moral government, I see no reason, your theory being true, why these works might not have been left out of all language.

It is a cardinal doctrine of Primitive Baptists that regeneration is independent of the will of man, but you are the first brother I have known to frankly admit that the Lord's people are stripped of this will as fully as the tree in bearing fruit. You say, “That is true.” and that they are trees of righteousness. You quote from scriptures widely separated and connect them with comments that do not make the meaning clear. For instance, where it says in Isa 61:3. “That they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." This beautiful language, no doubt, portrays the conquest of the gospel in proclaiming liberty to the captives, and not to the fruit they shall bear; though in that also God is glorified, but when we turn to John we find Jesus saying, the Father is glorified in the fruit they bear: we find he also says that every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it that it may bring forth more fruit, evidently meaning that he prepares it by trial or discipline, or in some way, that it may bring forth more fruit. And he tells them in this same sweet discourse, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love.” And he continues to fill heart and soul with promises good: "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you;" and for this fidelity to him they should have the honor of being hated by a graceless world. Surely these blest disciples had within them something responsive to his teaching, something to catch the meaning of what he said and consider its import. If not, they were but stony-ground hearers, and there would be no fruit to glorify the Savior. Not for a moment would I say that the branch can bear fruit of itself, nor the believer, except he abide in Jesus; but it is mutual. “If ye abide in me, and my words, abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you;" and, as he told the believing Jews in the temple, “If ye continue in my words, then are ye my disciples indeed." When Jesus says, "If any man serve me, him will my Father honor," and when Paul says that God will render “to every man that worketh good, glory and honor and peace," are we not taught that those who have received the renewing of the Holy Ghost have an intelligent comprehension of what is taught? No such language is ever addressed to an unthinking tree, that it may bear fruit. So the difference between a tree and a believer is very great. You refuse the word “invite” in the gospel, perhaps for the reason that it suggests some dependence on or connection with the will; but you use the words "obey," and "duty," and quote the Words, “Come unto me," and “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me," all of which words denote some dependence upon the will. The response of the obedient child is not that of blind matter, but of a willing mind.

Relative to baptism you urge that I would not accept Webster's definition of the word. But I do accept it, and must say that if we do not have some standard to settle the meaning of words found in the Bible, we can not interpret a single text in it. Webster says “baptism" is from a word meaning to dip in water, thus giving its original and scriptural meaning, and then adds its general meaning of to-day. You discredit Webster on this word perhaps as ground for rejecting the word “if” as defined by him, when applied to the New Testament, under the plea that it is using old covenant language in speaking of new covenant things. You say that under the new covenant of grace no such language is used, and that our Savior did not say, "If you WILL keep my commandments, you shall have my presence and favor." Now, my brother, our Savior did use just such language, leaving out the word “will.” His words are, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love;” Joh 15:10. To abide in his love is certainly to have his presence and favor. "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." Why these sentences do not express CONDITIONS, it is impossible for an ordinary mind to conceive. “If a man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Of this you say, “Here there is nothing promised to a man if he will come after Jesus." Again, my brother, the Scriptures place you in the wrong. Peter said to Jesus, “Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?" Jesus told him, in short, that every one who had done that for his name's sake, should receive an hundred fold and inherit eternal life; Mt 19:27-29. In Mark he says the hundred-fold shall be now in this time.

Paul often refers to the old covenant and uses its language to persuade to obedience under the new covenant of grace. He applies it in the same manner that Moses did to warn and encourage believers to an upright life. You are familiar with the many places where he does this with an earnestness and directness that can not be questioned, and your objections to this course lie heavy against the faithful apostle. While the little, word "if" is used so often to denote a concurrence of the will, it is not the only word that needs a new interpretation to suit the views you express. No doubt you speak of God as LEADING his people, and no authority speaks of a time when any one is LED without the concurrence of the will, To LEAD us NOT to DRAG. Obedience is not to be expected independent of the will. In the separation you make between the believer and his compliance with the will of God, you seem to leave no place for gospel exhortation, warning and rebuke. The tree is never exhorted to bear fruit nor warned of any sad result if it neglect to do so. It has no enjoyment, although the crop be an hundred fold. It sheds no tears when the autumn finds its branches bare.

You insist that -The reward is not in something obtained BY the obedient work, but IN the work," while I think it is both. 1Jo 3:22 says, "Whatsoever we ask we receive of him, BECAUSE we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight;" and again, he says, “For the Father himself loveth you, BECAUSE ye have loved me and have believed that I came out from God." The woman who poured the precious ointment upon Jesus was happy in the doing of it---but that was not all. Jesus said it was a good work and it should be told for a memorial of her wherever the gospel was preached in the whole world. By that act her memory was to be preserved forever. The aged widow rejoiced in ministering to the saints----but this also entitled her to special benefits in the church. The servant that doubled his lord's money enjoyed the service---but that was not the end: his lord said unto him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Thus our Savior made an illustration of his kingdom.

The issue is not whether ALL our happiness is conditionally enjoyed, but whether ANY of it is. If one moment of peace and joy has ever come to us as the result of obedience, it shows that in that case it was conditional. If obedience is necessary to the attainment of any end, then that end could not otherwise be obtained. You know we are to maintain good works “for necessary uses," and as being good and profitable unto men. We know that good works are not necessary in the matter of atonement: but is an obedient life worth anything to God or man? If we hold that a faithful life merits nothing, we must mean that it is worth nothing, and I can not see how it serves any necessary uses, or how it is profitable unto men. If obedience answers any good end, that end is the reward we should aim at. If it serves no good end, why should we seek it or try to induce others to do so? If the Lord's attitude and grace in obedience and regeneration are precisely alike, why are men exhorted hundreds of times in the Bible to obey, but never once called on to be born again? This fact ought to convince us that there is an important distinction in the matter of obedience and regeneration.

If we object to old covenant language and forms of expression, we shall lose much wholesome counsel contained in the New Testament. In his last address, just before death, Moses says, "If thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth; and all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God." Here is Old Testament language, and it seems like an echo of those words when the Savior himself says, "If any man serve me, him will my Father honor." And in another place he says, "My Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him." The word “commandments" is used in both places, and wonderful blessings come upon and overtake the obedient child in both cases. Peter's address has the same spirit: “And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue," and he names many other things to be added. He is not told to obtain faith, but he is told to add these things to it: and if these things abound in them they shall neither be barren nor unfruitful: but he that lacketh these things hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins; and he adds, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure, for if ye do these things ye shall never fall." Peter thinks “It meet to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.” Such admonitions are never given to a tree that it may bear fruit. It is needless to talk of different forms of speech, when they are so much alike. The Hebrew Letter is almost entirely devoted to showing wherein the Old Covenant is but a shadow of the New. The blood of the Old could not put away sin, but Christ by his shed blood obtained eternal redemption for his people. In this the difference is world-wide, for it refers to the eternal world; but in time it has pleased the Lord to connect blessings and chastisements with both dispensations.

Though Israel as a body failed in keeping the covenant of works, Paul gives a long, list of examples where men and women were faithful to God and obtained a good report. The apostle says, "Without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Paul had told of many with whom God was not well pleased, as examples for us to take heed lest we fall. So he speaks of these faithful men and women to encourage us in the race set before us. He calls them “a great cloud of witnesses," and, continuing his exhortation, he says, “Looking diligently, lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble us, whereby many be defiled. " After showing that we were not come to Sinai, but unto Mount Sion, he says, “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh, [from heaven,] for if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.'' It was Paul's custom to make the two covenants the same as far as they refer to time. He teaches that every transgression and disobedience against the word spoken by angels received a just reward, and that he that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses, and asks how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation. The forms of expression persuading to obedience are alike under both covenants, and I know of no authority for explaining the words of the Old Testament by one method, and the same words in the New Testament by another. To do so is to depart from the only way we have of understanding the Bible. Israel was a type of God's people; their leader was typical; so were their shoes and clothing, their bread and their water, and you admit they were under a conditional state of things. You will admit that in this conditional state they were the type of the church; that with some of them who sinned God was not well pleased, while others by obedience obtained a good report. You must see there are many instances where conditions are expressed in the New Testament in the strongest possible manner; that some please God by keeping his commandments, while against the disobedient his wrath is revealed. You know that the apostles would beseech and pray and exhort and warn in order to affect the conduct of men; and yet you insist that our happiness is in nowise conditional or dependent upon our walk, but that God's will is effectually wrought whether we obey or disobey, and that our will is no more concerned in our obedience than the tree is in the bearing of fruit. You think the dead Lazarus coming back to life representative of Christian obedience, but I think not. Paul's exhortation affected much with the Corinthian believers. He says, “What carefulness it wrought in you, what clearing of yourselves, what zeal," and so they acted as he would have them do; but you know that a thousand Pauls could affect nothing with the unconscious Lazarus until the Savior made him alive. As you view it, the Savior must repeat his life-giving act every time one of his children renders obedience to him, and all exhortation and mutual helping of one another is unnecessary. Now, we would take no position that would make exhortation and the use of the ministry a nullity, while at the same time we concede the need of God's grace to serve him acceptably. I am sensible of this every moment that I live, but still think that in obedience men act from choice and WILLINGLY, while in cases like Lazarus men are passive, unconscious, without volition or life, and we may say---do not act at all in coming to life.

Obedience is a virtue, and disobedience a sin, but it was no virtue in Lazarus to come to life, and no sin to remain dead. Obedience is not the act of an inert, lifeless body, but the intelligent, willing act of a conscious being. It is a MORAL ACT with respect to MORAL LAW, while quickening into life is the independent act of God, and is not a moral act.

You think I should not treat the predestination of all things as being an apology for sin. We agree with you that God called Cyrus to execute his counsel, and that this does not apologize for Cyrus' sins. He works his will by the wicked without making their wickedness the Lord's. There is no issue as to God's sovereignty, his universal control and just government of men. This meets our hearty approbation, but when you have shown and. we have shown that God controls, governs and overrules evil men so as to carry out his divine purposes, we are as far away from the heart of the controversy as we were at first. This mode of reasoning does not make their wickedness the Lord's. When some deny predestination altogether, and some interpret it to mean that God ordains beforehand by an unlimited decree all the wickedness that men do, we turn from both as the right-hand and left-hand departures, to the voice behind us that says, - This is the way, walk ye in it "Your text from David that the Lord uses the wicked as his sword, or his hand, and the cases of Pharaoh and Ahab and Judas and Peter, and, in fact, every text in the Bible that speaks of God's conduct toward wicked men---not one of them, nor all of them together, attribute the corruption of nature or man's wickedness to the Lord. There is a voice within every regenerated heart that speaks on this subject with no uncertain sound. The most unlearned of all the saints can understand it---high and low, wise and simple---they need no learned man to explain it; and that voice traces all our sins to some other source than God. You may sweep the stars from the firmament, cover the sun with the pall of midnight-but you will never obliterate that voice from the quickened soul! That God governs with certainty the myriads of wicked men that dwell upon the earth, does not warrant, but forbids, the use of that modern expression, “Unlimited predestination.” This expression can not be interpreted by any known system of ethics, or by the utmost stretch of human ingenuity in any other way than to say it is the first and efficient cause of sin. I call your attention kindly to this, and ask you to think of it.

Four years ago Elder Potter, of this State, wrote the following conservative and comprehensive view of this subject: I most heartily agree that God intended from eternity to give sin its, course and bounds, and to order it in such a way as to be to his own glory, and that his eternal counsel extends his divine providence to everything that occurs, both good and evil, from the rustling of a leaf or the falling of a tear, and the crying of a child, to the most noticeable and extraordinary occurrences." If you can show that God governs, controls, limits, bounds, directs and overrules sin, there is still a LIMIT to predestination, unless you also hold that sin is EFFICACIOUSLY from Him. We object to any and every form of expression that confuses sin and holiness in their origin and operations. Our issue is not as to whether grace is needed to serve God acceptably, but whether ,we should so emphasize that grace as to set aside the moral nature of man.

Elder Lemuel Potter admitted (or believed) that God's purposes extend, in some limited or modified sense, to every evil; yet he held there should be a distinction made between God's purposes concerning; sin and his predestination of holiness. And this is the view of all the ablest predestinarians of to-day, or of any age. Not only so, but it is the view held by a large majority of the Primitive Baptists of the United States. But you in your writing do not make this distinction. The words, “Unlimited predestination of all things,” involves the idea that sin is unlimitedly predestinated, and this is to apply the decrees of God to sin in every sense that it is applied to holiness, which is to destroy and set aside all distinction between right and wrong, and is contrary to the experience of God's people, and contrary to God's Word.

Your brother in hope, JAS. H. OLIPHANT.

CRAWFORDSVILLE, IND.

01.06 Elder Durand's Third Letter

ELDER DURAND'S THIRD LETTER.

SOUTHAMPTON, PA., Feb., 16, 1900

Elder J. H. Oliphant; Dear Brother; Your views upon the subject of the will were published for some time continuously in the, Apostolic Primitive Baptist, a periodical which declined to publish articles expressing contrary views. My understanding of the subject of "the will" and of “conditional time salvation," as expressed to you in private letter, I published in the Signs of the Times, without mentioning your name. You have replied to me through the same paper in which your views have been published at length. I can not write to you through that paper for two reasons. First, because Elder Cayce declines to publish my views on the subject, which was his right, and I find no fault with him for it; and, second, because his associate editor, Elder J. V. Kirkland, professing to quote from an article of mine published in the Signs of the Times, put together with studied accuracy parts of two widely separated sentences, so that they appeared as one sentence, and expressed the opposite meaning from that which my article advocated. Brother Cayce wrote me that he would publish my correction as soon as he could give Elder Kirkland an opportunity to write an explanation or an apology. But I heard no more from him, though I urged the necessity, on their account, that the correction should be published by them. I finally published it in The Gospel News. I have WISHED that there might be some explanation that would be consistent with an honest intention, though I could see no reason to expect it. I have HOPED there might be repentance and an acknowledgement on the part of the wrong done.

I will now refer as briefly as possible to some things in your reply. I must assure you that your impressions upon reading the first part of my letter, as you have expressed them, are at fault. In your private reply tome you spoke of no such impressions, but expressed yourself as pleased with the spirit in which I wrote in both of my letters. I am not conscious, of such a feeling as you there attribute to me. When I referred to the experience of the Psalmist, Ps 23:3, which is the common experience of the saints, and said, “As in your own case the Lord alone can restore your soul, etc.," I had no thought of intimating that your soul at present needed any special restoring because you differed with me, but appealed to an experience which I supposed you to have many a time had, with all the saints, constraining you to say, “He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths at righteousness for his name's sake."

You say I do not correctly express your sentiments when I say, "You seem to insist that they CAN do the things that they would, and that God has left all spiritual advantage and comfort dependent upon their own will and work.” That was my impression as to what you seemed to teach, not in your private letter merely, but in your published writings. But I accept your disclaimer. I have no intention or desire to misrepresent you, and I know that I have at no time quoted you incorrectly. It is just what you do believe that I want to know, and in reply to wherein I regard the Scriptures as teaching differently.

In this “reply” you say that you “do not believe that we are dependent upon ourselves whether we will be happy or miserable," but that you “hold that our enjoyment is in some degree dependent on our obedience." I also believe that, and have so written and published. But you say that obedience is dependent upon the will, and you say that gospel rewards are conditional, and that they are not all of grace. Then it must follow that the gospel rewards of peace and comfort and a good conscience are partly of grace and partly of works. Can it be that I have stated your views incorrectly in this? You say that you "do not believe that all spiritual advantage and comfort are dependent on our will and work;" but you, say that “our enjoyment is in some degree dependent on our obedience," and that "our obedience is dependent on our will." Then it must follow that grace and works are combined here---are yoked together. This, however, I think you will not allow, for you know that they can not go together. The one must precede the other always. It must be either grace the cause of works (good works,) or works the cause of grace.

Now, I will refer to one place where you have, likely without intention, misplaced and slightly misquoted a sentence of mine. Referring to the declaration of yours in the Primitive Baptist concerning which I first wrote to you, that "Jesus Christ was placed upon probation," I said, “That FORM of language appears to imply some kind of degree of uncertainty." By the expression, “that form of language," I referred exclusively to the words, “placed upon probation.” You have quoted me as saying, "that kind of language, etc," and as referring by the expression to another sentence, viz; “Jesus Christ was situated to do as he pleased," and have dwelt at some length upon it.

I will now present my understanding upon two or three of the principle subjects that are involved in our correspondence, which will be a sufficient answer to your reply, in the main, and will correct your misunderstanding of my positions. So far as I am responsible for the tone of much of your reply I am sorry. I will not refer to that any farther.

The WILL. The word is used in your reply somewhat indefinitely. I think there should be discrimination. There is a natural will and a spiritual will. When I say that it is not of our own will that we obey the Lord, I always refer to our natural will. The will to obey in spiritual things must be wrought in us by the Lord. I will now refer to Jesus, who was our Leader in all the experience of salvation. He said, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." And in the next two verses is told in glorious words the good news of the Father's will; and it includes the whole work of salvation, and also (40th verse) the experience of salvation to the final revelation of its fullness in the last day. Now you say this text and the one, "Not my will, but thine be done," “teach that Christ dreaded death and its pains.'' But the Scriptures do not give you warrant to limit the meaning of this declaration to the hour and article of death. The Scriptures teach a broader meaning. His own declaration covers all the times of his sojourn on earth, in which he was engaged in the work of salvation. But if, as you say, it meant merely that he dreaded death, that greatest enemy includes all others. He was made of a woman for the very purpose of suffering and death. “He was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners," but his will as a man he could not do. From the first of his ministry that will must be crossed. he must be "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" on that very account. He must know all our temptations and infirmities by an experience of them. You say that he was situated to do as he pleased," but the apostle says, Even as CHRIST PLEASED NOT HIMSELF, but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me;" Ro 15:3. The apostle's quotation from the Psalms does not refer to the hour and article of death merely. but to the reproaches, the sins, the shame, of his people, which made his life in the flesh, a life of sorrow.

But do not understand me as denying that he always pleased the Father, that he offered himself willingly, that "he never betrayed disloyalty to God," nor ever felt it. His will as a man was pure and sinless, but it was a man's will and could not lead him into the terrible work and awful suffering necessary to accomplish salvation, and to raise his people up at the last day. Therefore he says, “I came to do the Father's will which sent me." And he says, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: BUT THE FATHER THAT DWELLETH IN ME, DOETH THE WORKS." Again, "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge; because I SEEK NOT MINE OWN WILL, BUT THE WILL OF THE FATHER, which hath sent me," Joh 5:30. “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise," Joh 5:19. Now all these scriptures declare so plainly that which I esteem to be the truth, that I feel, at least, I should be free from reproach for asserting it. It was the Father's will that was wrought in him, and done by him.

Now in regard to exhortations, preaching, and all the work of the, ministry, I must repeat what I said, “I could neither preach nor exhort if I thought the benefit depended on my ability." In reply to this you make twelve statements of what you understand me to believe according to that declaration of mine, and conclude that when I have laid all those things before my people it would be difficult to go about an exhortation. From this I have concluded that you Do believe that the benefit of an exhortation depends upon the ability of the one who exhorts, though I hesitate to conclude so, and will here say that I really think if we should hear each other exhort we should find a greater similarity than now appears in our correspondence. These twelve statements of what you suppose I would tell my people, are not all of them justly deducible from what I have written. They seem so expressed as to appeal to the fleshly sympathies of the reader rather than to the experience of the spiritual man. Now I repeat that it is not according to my experience, nor according to my understanding of the teaching of Christ and the apostles, that I am authorized to teach those to whom I give needed exhortation or rebukes that their obedience, and the consequent manifestation of God's favor, depend upon themselves and their own will, but upon the grace of God, to which alone they can look. Neither can I offer them in the name of the Lord any reward as an INDUCEMENT to obedience. While I urge and beseech them that they receive, not the grace of God in vain, I must teach them what the Spirit teaches them and me, that the character of the motive fixes the character of the word or work; that only through the Spirit can they do a righteous work. If Jesus could do nothing of himself, how can we do anything of ourselves? Paul says, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God." 2Co 3:6. He puts grace ahead always, as the cause of all works of obedience. “I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." 1Co 15:10.

Exhorting them that oppose themselves, IF GOD PERADVENTURE WILL GIVE THEM REPENTANCE to the acknowledgement of the truth;" 2Ti 2:25. This is the principle which I understand is taught in the Scriptures, that we are to do what the Lord commands, to preach, to teach, exhort, reprove, but that the Lord alone can make the work effectual, and that we do, and must depend upon him every time.

I do see a distinction between right and wrong, vice and virtue, and the like. I believe that all disobedience, all wrong-doing, all wrong-thinking, are from the flesh, and that no good thing comes from the flesh. And I believe that every righteous thought, word and deed are from the Spirit; and that when the Lord is pleased to “work in us to will and to do, " then the exhortation to work out that salvation which he has wrought in us, will be as good seed falling into good ground: it will "bear fruit upward to the honor and glory of God," not to the honor and glory of men.

I believe that every one who is favored to walk in obedience to the Lord, will truly ascribe all the power and all the grace unto the Lord, and will thank him for it, even as David thanked the Lord for the willing heart with which he and his people gave of their precious things for the Lord's house. “But who am I,” he said, “and what is my people, that we should be able, to offer so willingly after their soul? For “all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee;"

1Ch 19:9-17. I believe the saints of God feel to thank the Lord for every obedient thought, or word, or action. Paul thanks the Lord, not the saints at Philippi, for their "fellowship in the gospel from the “first day until now,

True obedience of soul, worked out in an obedient walk causes one to feel most humble and undeserving before the Lord. This is a paradox to the world, but it is the way the Lord leads his people. They are made to especially feel that they deserve nothing, and that it was most wonderful grace which brought them experimentally into the name of Christ, in whom is ALL our acceptance with God. The one that you suppose to have been most patiently obedient for a life time would shrink from the suggestion that on that account he deserved any reward. He would say, “not unto me, but unto the name of the Lord, be the praise." Why has the Lord kept me near to him, while others have been left to wander far away. What amazing grace! My reward has been with me all the way along.

You seem to wonder that I should say, “I feel that I need more grace than any other poor sinner," and ask if in every case all needed grace is given, how I could need more at any time than I have. But I did not say I needed MORE than I had. The Lord has known all the time how much I needed, and when, and in what power and sufficiency, to supply it; and in wonder and admiration I have to say to-day, “By the grace of God I am what I am," as a member of the church, the least of all, and as a minister of the gospel, though so weak and unworthy, if a servant at all. By the grace of God, and by that alone, I have had for more than thirty-five years the most precious of all blessings on earth, the fellowship of the church of God, that fellowship which is with the Father and the Son.

I do not think that they who sing in the land of Judah, “Thou, 0 Lord, wilt ordain peace for us, for thou also hast wrought all our works in us," meant that the Lord had wrought wicked works in them; but I do think that they meant all their works of righteousness.

The words "lead" and "led," you say, “imply that those who are led are willing to be led. If the party led is not willing and active then it would be dragged." But in all the figures used to represent the Lord leading his people, the willingness of those led is produced by the leader. He led Israel 40 years in the wilderness. Their will was contrary, but his will prevailed. He led his people like a flock; Ps 77:20. The Shepherd makes the flock willing. “As an eagle stirreth up her nest etc., so the Lord alone led Jacob." The young birds are unwilling to have the nest stirred up, but the will of the mother eagle prevails. He led them as a horse; Isa 63:13. The Spirit, when he will lead any one of the Lord's people in the right way, makes him willing. "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power."

A11 my times are in thy hand," says Psalmist. In the Lord's own time, as you a I both believe, every redeemed soul will be restored from all his wanderings, made truly contrite and repentant, and will be brought, through riches of grace, to the Lord's house above. I do not diminish the heinousness of sin, but I do exalt the glory of God. I do not say that the Lord bears the same attitude to sin as to holiness, but I do believe that everything that transpires in time was known to him eternally, and embraced and recognized in his eternal purpose of love and mercy, and that all shall be "for the lifting of Jesus on high."

Neither in this world nor in the next do I understand that any of the blessings of our God are received as rewards for merit on our part, but all for Jesus' sake. The good conscience, which is so desirable, the peace of God, the joys of salvation, the fellowship of the Spirit, in a word, all the gospel blessings, are the very atmosphere in which the new man lives and breathes. They are sought for by the principle of divine life within us, as the natural life seeks the air to breathe in.

I will refer to what I said a little back, that I cannot offer in the name of the Lord any reward as an INDUCEMENT to obedience. While I am sure this is right, I see in my own mind how contrary it is to the ways of worldly wisdom. So I will dwell somewhat more particularly upon it. The principle of true obedience is in the divine life, and when that life is manifest, when the Spirit is exercising us, and the fruit of the Spirit, which are love, peace, faith, meekness, and the like, are felt and tasted, then we are obedient without conscious effort, as the tree is obedient to the life within, bearing foliage, flowers and fruit. But when we have in any measure experienced death by living after the flesh, then, instead of offering rewards to induce to good works again, the life must be touched by the exhortation, rebuke, or whatever is given; the pure mind must be stirred up. It will not avail if we offer a reward in order to induce the man to breathe again. As soon as life is in exercise, as soon as he begins to revive he will begin to breathe again. The Lord only can bring that reviving power to bear. So we beseech, exhort, rebuke, admonish, doing with our might what our hands find to do, waiting upon the Lord. If he, peradventure, will apply the word of exhortation with power, will restore the soul, “will give repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." The devil thought Job did not, and would not, serve God for naught, but the Lord made it manifest through satan's work against him that the principle of obedience in Job was proof against any power that the devil could bring against him. The divine life within him simply breathed forth in the words, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord." "Shall we receive good at the hands of the Lord, and shall we not also received evil?" “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."

The will is concerned in obedience, but it is the will wrought in us by the Lord. It is of peace that we have that will. I must repeat we are to blame for disobedience, but our obedience is to the credit of grace, “to the praise of the riches of his grace."

With reference to many things you have spoken of as my belief, I will say that I do not believe there is any uncertainty with God, either under the old or the new covenant. His word, whether a command or a promise, or whatever it is, never returns to him void, but accomplishes that which he pleases, and prospers in the thing whereto he sent it; Isa 4.

The old covenant was conditional, and the form was, “I will if you will.” The new covenant was not made according to the old covenant, Jer 31:31-34; it was unconditional, and the form of it was, “I will and they shall."

Before the expression, “conditional time salvation,” had been used in any Old Baptist publication, so far as I know, I had sometimes spoken of a “conditional salvation inside of the church," but do not remember of writing it. I soon saw, as I thought, that I was not warranted in the use of that word, that it did not express the truth of doctrine and experience. Concerning that doctrine and experience my mind did not change, but only as to the propriety of using that word to express the salvation that is experienced in time, while walking in the paths of righteousness. This time salvation, I understand, bears the same relation to eternal salvation that the beams of the sun, which fall upon the earth, bear to the sun in heaven. By them alone do we know anything of the sun, and so by our experience of salvation, in the various ways in which it is brought to us in time, are we made to receive a knowledge of that eternal salvation, which Jesus is the author of, and which shall be fully revealed to us “in the last time.”

1 will write no more at this time. Those who do not see all of what we have written, but read only what one or the other has written, may find it difficult to understand the true positions of both, but, I hope the Lord will prevent any injury to any of his people by reading either. I am glad to know that the Lord's dear people “have an unction from the Holy one and know all things,” and that they -have no need that any “man teach them, for this anointing which they have of him teacheth them of all things;" 1 John, 2:20-27. Only that teaching from either of us will be of true benefit and comfort to the spiritual readers which is according to the teaching of that anointing which they have received of our God.

I have desired to write in a spirit of brotherly kindness, and in such a way as to stir up no other feeling but brotherly kindness in you, and so that no injustice should be done to you in the mind of one who should read only what I have written, and not yours, to which this is, in answer. Your brother in the love of the truth.

SILAS H. DURAND.

01.07 Reply To Elder Durand's Third Letter

REPLY TO ELDER DURAND'S

THIRD LETTER.

Dear Brother Durand: In the Gospel News of March 1st you insist that the words, “Jesus Christ was placed upon probation,” imply some kind or degree of uncertainty. You also complain of me for saying Christ I; was situated to do as he pleased."

Now, before noticing these two points, I wish to quote you in regard to the Will. First, you say, “There is a natural will and a spiritual will.” The word “will" means "choice." So there is a natural or sinful choice, and there is a spiritual or right choice. Christians sometimes, on account of the evil nature left in them, do choose to do evil, and the same man at other times chooses to do right. You say, “When I say that it is not of our own will that we obey the Lord, I always refer to the natural will." I do not know on what authority you hold that where men do right they do not act from their own will, or from their own choice. Jesus said unto the man, (Joh 5:6,) “Wilt thou be made whole?" which is the same as to say, Do you choose to be made whole? I do not know why we should say it was not his own choice. So the words, "If any man will do his will," etc., (Joh 7:17) chooses to do "his will." In this text we have a man with a “will" or “choice” to do God's “will.” Now this man's choice is to do the will of God. I do not know on what principle you would say it is not the man's choice. The fact that this choice results from his being born of God, does not deny that he chooses to do right, that I can see. When you remember that to “will” a thing is to choose that thing, your distinction between the natural will and the spiritual will would denote that an evil, unregenerate man chooses to do wrong, and the Christian man chooses to do right. But how you make out that the sinner's choice to do wrong is his own choice, but the Christian's choice to right is not his own choice, I can not see. You say, “His will as a man was pure and sinless, but it was a man's will, and could not lead him into the terrible work and awful suffering,” etc. You seem here to regard his will as something distinct from himself, but the will of Christ was the choice of Christ, and so, although he was man, and a pure, sinless man, he had a choice (or will,) which was to do God's commands. You say that “He offered himself willingly," "He never betrayed disloyalty to God." In this you substantially say all I contend for. He offered himself from choice: so in all his sufferings and trials he pursued the course willingly, from choice, and so did as he pleased.

I insist that if Christ, in all his sufferings and labor, did not do as he pleased, then all his sacrifices are no evidence of love to us. I understand the question in dispute between us is, “Did Jesus do as he pleased in all his life of trial and in his death?” Your position on the subject of predestination makes it necessary for you to deny. You quote the words, “I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me;” “Even as Christ pleased not himself,” etc., and other texts of like import. In the garden he said, “0 my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me except I drink it, thy will be done."

Dear brother, suppose you require of your own son a hard task, and he answers, “I will not please myself in this matter, but my father." You understand him that in the absence of any command from you, he would not do it, but on account of your command, and his love and loyalty to you, he will now willingly and from choice do the thing required. Now, so in the absence of any command from God, or any interest in the elect, Jesus would not have been willing to endure the cross, but on account of his love to God, and his loyalty to him, and on account of his love for the elect, he does, most willingly, endure the cross and despise the shame, etc. His words are, “Therefore doth my Father love me because I lay down my life. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father;”

Joh 10:17-18. Now, this shows that the commandment of his Father was his great incentive, and on account of this commandment, and his love to God, he went to Jerusalem, and by his rebukes of the officers of the temple and severe reproofs of the Pharisees. he brought on himself the rage of his enemies. And although he had power to summon angels from heaven, he gave himself up to his cruel persecutors. Paul says he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Here his death is called obedience. Now, I insist that in the act of obedience, one must do as he pleases. Take away from his conduct the fact that he does as he pleases, and it is not obedience at all. So, to deny that Jesus did as he pleased, is to destroy the element of obedience in his conduct: and therefore if his behavior was that of obedience, it follows that he did as he pleased in the matter, and so was “situated to do as he pleased.”

Your position requires you to deny that Christ was obedient, or to hold that true and perfect obedience can be rendered when one is not doing as he pleases. The fact that Jesus died for us, is presented as evidence of his love to us. “Christ also loved us and bath given himself for us;" "As Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.” Scores of texts refer to his death as an evidence of love to the elect, but how could it be an evidence of love unless he did as he pleased in regard to it?

For a true loving mother to be situated to do as she pleases about providing for her children, would not make the well-being of her children uncertain; and, so, to admit that our Savior was, and is yet, situated to do as he pleases about his people, does not in the least endanger their safety. There are some men that I would be willing for them to do as they please about injuring my person or stealing my goods; and I trust I have faith in the Savior to say, “Thy will be done.”

You object to the words, "Placed upon probation," because it implies "some kind or degree of uncertainty." The word -probation" means "trial." So, your position is, that for Christ to be put on trial would argue uncertainty as to the result. But if I can prove by the Bible, first, that Christ's mission in the world is and was certain of fulfillment, without the least shadow of doubt or uncertainty; and, second, that Christ was tried, underwent trial---I say, if these two propositions can be proved, then you are wrong in saying that for Christ to be put on probation implies some kind or degree of uncertainty. Isa 53:11; "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” “Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began:” Tit 1:2. Scores of texts could be cited showing that his errand was sure of fulfillment. Those saved before his advent into the world, were saved on the merits of his obedient life and death. The fact that his death and sufferings were foretold, is proof of their certainty, for the foreknowledge of an event is proof of the certainty of that event.

It is needless to say more on this point, as we agree that his coming into the world, and his faithfulness, obedience, suffering and death, burial, resurrection, ascension and intercession; his love to his elect people; their preservation, both naturally and spiritually: their certain and unfailing development in time; their calling by the effectual calling of the Holy Spirit; their quickening, regeneration and universal perseverance and preservation through grace to glory; their resurrection and eternal salvation in the world to come---in all these things we agree that certainty, and not chance, prevails. So, it is only necessary to show from God's Word that Christ was tried, which I will now do.

Behold I lay in Zion, for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone,” etc. This stone was the Savior. Paul says, “Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone." So, this precious corner-stone laid in Zion was Jesus Christ, and was TRIED. “For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." Tempted, here, means tried. “For we have not an high priest which can not be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” So, he was tried at every point, and in every way, and yet did not sin. Peter says, “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's suffering." This shows that Christ's sufferings were his trials: it also shows that his people pass through trials. “When the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread;"Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple." In all this he was tried. Satan showed him all the kingdoms of the earth, and in all this he sinned not. When Satan came to Adam he found a weak point and Adam fell, but not so with Jesus when exposed to the same tempter: there was no vulnerable point about him.

Jesus says, “The prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me;" But that the world may know that I love the Father." The devil tried him and found nothing---nothing to work on. He was tried with hunger; the kingdoms of the world were placed before him; the bitterest death was one of his trials. In many places we read of our Savior being tempted. (Tried.)

He is the “tried” stone. Satan, as the tempter, came to him and found nothing in him---no weak or vulnerable place---but found him a pure, sinless, holy being, amidst all his trials. So the Bible does abundantly teach that he was tried; and to be tried is to be put on probation.

You urge that for him to be put on trial argues some kind or degree of uncertainty. This depends entirely on one thing: If there is a “degree of uncertainty” about his being infinitely holy, then his being put on trial would be attended with the same degree of uncertainty that exists as to his being infinitely holy. But if it were true that he was an infinitely holy being, then to place him on trial would not be attended with a kind or degree of uncertainty."

The trial was to manifest his perfection "That the world may know that I love the Father." For some reason it is proper for the world to know that Jesus loved the Father, and so in all his sufferings and trials he proved it to be so, and proved himself to be absolutely holy. Let us suppose a bridge, on which we hope to escape from ruin, is to be tried. This trial is not to make the bridge safe, but to prove that it is so----not to him that provided it, but to them who are in need of it. So, the trial of Christ was not that God might know of his infinite purity, but that we might see in all his trials, evidences of his holiness, of his love to us, and evidence that he possesses every perfection necessary to our eternal salvation. So when we say he was put on trial, (probation,) we do not intimate that there is uncertainty as to the result.

You, no doubt, admit that God's people are a tried people-have "trials of cruel mockings;" that their faith is tried as gold in the fire---tried with "fiery trials." And yet you do not think there is uncertainty as to the final result, but you feel sure that each and every one of them will in the end be safe. So, then, if certainty is consistent with the trial of God's people, why is not a certainty consistent with the fact that Jesus -is tried?

I will notice one more expression in your article:"I do not say the Lord bears the same attitude to sin as to holiness." Wherein does his attitude to sin differ from his attitude to holiness? No doubt you admit that God's attitude to holiness is causative, and so his predestination of holiness is causative. I think our brethren all admit this, and if you would explain wherein God's attitude to sin differs from his attitude to holiness, we might find ourselves all agreed, One of the meanings of “permit" is to suffer without giving authority." Perhaps in this sense you would admit that God's attitude to sin is PERMISSIVE. We read, So I gave them up to their own heart's lusts, and they walked in their own counsels;" “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts;" "For this cause God gave them up to vile affections;" "God gave them over to a reprobate mind. T'hese sentences do not denote that God caused, or led them to sin, but rather that he gave them up to it. If this is your idea we are agreed. The expression “Unlimited predestination of all things," implies that sin is unlimitedly predestinated, and so it involves the idea that there are no limits or restriction or modification in God's attitude to sin

His purpose concerning holiness is causative, directive; it bounds, controls, etc. His purposes concerning sin are not in all respects the same. I think if you would tell us carefully wherein God's attitude to sin differs from his attitude to holiness, possibly our difference would, in a large measure, disappear. I think our people would all agree that God's purposes concerning sin are such as to exclude all uncertainty from the entire universe, and yet not such as would, in the least, apologize for sin, or excuse either saint or sinner for their transgressions. We insist that the same words used to define God's purposes concerning holiness should not be used to express his purposes concerning sin. So the words, “Unlimited predestination of all things," we reject, because it uses the same word to ex press God's attitude to sin that it uses to express his attitude to holiness. And so, now, if you do not believe that God's attitude to sin is the same as his attitude to holiness, what hinders you from uniting with us in opposing such expressions as “Unlimited or absolute predestination of all things?” We contend for some distinction between God's purposes concerning sin and his purposes of holiness. I am truly glad that you believe there is some distinction. I esteem it a sweet privilege to exchange views in a brotherly way with my brethren. I do not see why harm should come of it.

Affectionately, J.H. Oliphant

Crawfordsville, Ind.