SINCE ELECTION does not injure any one, but leads to good works and glory, it should not be opposed. But rather since man is justly condemned for his own sins, what a great blessing, my friend, that God should choose you and cause you to come to Him. As we read, "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest and causest to approach unto thee." Ps 65:4. Sometimes I have been tempted to infer that the apostles were chosen, but I am so glad others were chosen too. For an apostle writing to those not apostles, says, "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth," and results in good works and a glorious home in heaven.
— Article 8 from the Ketocton Association Articles of Faith (1766).
GOD ELECTED AND CHOSE, in His Eternal counsel, some persons to life and salvation, before the foundation of the world, whom accordingly He doth and will effectually call, and whom He doth so call, He will certainly keep by His power, through faith to salvation. Ac 13:48; Eph 1:2-4; 2Th 2:13; 1Pe 1:2, etc. [A]ll men until they be quickened by Christ are dead in trespasses—Eph 2:1; and therefore have no power of themselves to believe savingly—Joh 15:5. But faith is the free gift of God, and the mighty work of God in the soul, even like the rising of Christ from the dead—Eph 1:19. Therefore consent not with those who hold that God hath given power to all men to believe to salvation.
— from Eld. Moses D. Denman, "Election" (late 1800s), published posthumously in Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907).
FOR SUCH IS the natural depravity, and bias of the human heart, that they will not, nor cannot come to Jesus for salvation without the irresistible operations of the Holy Ghost.
— Articles 5 & 8 from the Midlands Confession of Faith (1655).
WE KNOW THAT INFANTS are saved without that faith which "cometh by hearing," but I am of opinion, with Eld. Hassell (C.B.) that they are not saved without faith in Christ. He says: "And as the grace of faith is the gift of God (Eph 1:19; 2:8; Ga 5:22; Php 1:29; Heb 12:2) it is as easy for Omnipotence to bestow it upon a dying infant as upon a living adult." And if God does this, then the infant receives Christ by revelation, and enters heaven an intelligent worshipper of Him, ascribing its glorious redemption to Him!
— from Eld. Jas. Osborne, quoted in Eld. J.S. Newman's The Baptists in All Ages ch.19 (1912) ("The above is what our people believed in 1818, as well as from the days of our Saviour to that date, and it's what we believe in 1912").
THE SAVIOR SAYS, "Except a man be born again he can not see the kingdom of God." Here is a truth affirmed that must be subscribed to by all if we walk together in Christian union. I can not believe that we have a church that would receive a person into its fellowship who would deny the new birth, or that the sinner has to experience such a change of affections, that he is made to hate things he once loved, and love things he once hated.
— from Eld. J. C. Denton, The Baptist Trumpet (Vol.5 No.38, Oct. 1896).
SPIRITUAL BIRTH IS NECESSARY to salvation. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." This is entirely of God, and the mightiest intellect on earth has no more to do with it than the feeblest infant: for they are born "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."—Joh 1:13. Does this doctrine exclude the infant from salvation? Or does it not rather show that the adult is as dependent on the Lord to bestow salvation upon him as an infant is?
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "Address to Primitive Baptists," Preface to The Primitive Preacher (1888).
— from Eld. W.M. Mitchell, "Infant Salvation," Signs of the Times (1870) (later reprinted in Zion's Advocate, Nov. 1904).
[T] HE ELECT, BEING FALLEN in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, and are effectually called to faith and trust in Christ, and by His spirit working in due season are set apart and kept by His power through faith unto salvation.
BELOVED BRETHREN we are not ignorant of Satan's devices and therefore are disposed to do all we can to strengthen your minds, by holding up to your view some of the principles, and exercises of a true Christian, in contrast with those of a deceived soul. In the first place all who are taught of God's Holy Spirit, are brought to a knowledge that they are by nature children of wrath made sinners, by the disobedience of one man while the deceived soul knows nothing thereof, he concludes it is only his actual transgressions that make him a sinner. If this were all we think Christ need not have sent his spirit into the world, to reprove the world of sin for all men must and do know, the practice of sin is wrong. So that he who denies being a sinner by nature and will not acknowledge and confess his sins can have no ground to believe, he is forgiven.
— from Eld. J. Bunyan Stephens, Cause Defended (1898).
THOSE WHOM GOD hath predestinated unto life, He is pleased in His appointed and accepted time (Ro 8:30; 11:7; Eph 1:10-11; 2Th 2:13-14) effectually to call by His Word and Spirit out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation (Eph 2:1-6) by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds, spiritually and savingly, to (Ac 26:18; Eph 1:17-18}understand the things of God; taking away their (Eze 36:26)heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by His almighty power determining them (De 30:6; Eze 36:27; Eph 1:9,19)to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come (Ps 110:3; Song 1:4)most freely, being made most willing by His grace. Fulton Footnote: We do not understand that sinners are effectually called by the written word in any sense out of that state of sin death in which they are by nature to grace and salvation but by Christ, the Word of God. The quickening and renewing of the Holy Spirit prepares the sinner to answer the gospel call, as seen in Section 2; 2Ti 1:9; 1Jo 4:6.
— from the Flint River Association Circular Letter, Oct. 1817.
THERE WAS NOTHING in [Christ's] mere human appearance indicating that he was more than other men. Men who were in daily contact with him saw him only as a man; and only those whose eyes God had opened, saw him as the Christ, the Son of the living God. In this way the apostles saw him, while others saw in him, only and no more, than Jeremias or Elias, or one of the prophets. And Jesus told his disciples that they were blessed, for that flesh and blood had not revealed it unto them, but the Father in heaven. In the same wonderful way he was revealed to Simeon and Anna, in the temple, as the "Lord's Christ." But to the unregenerate he was without form or comeliness, with no beauty in him that they desired him. Only those who had been humbled by grace could receive him then, and the same is true to this day, and will always be true.
— from The Primitive Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter X, 11, "Effectual Calling" (1900).
WE HOLD THAT ALL loving believers on Christ are sanctified in spirit, or made "pure in heart." We rejoice that sanctification is the first spiritual blessing we receive, and that it is wrought in the sinner's heart by the Holy Ghost when he is born again, or "created unto good works." We do not believe the "flesh" is now sanctified or made pure. No, our corrupt "body" is not yet cleansed—it is controlled or kept under. But we love the comforting truth, that in the renewing work of the Holy Ghost our soul or spirit is sanctified, cleansed or "renewed," and in the resurrection "our vile body" will also be sanctified or cleansed by the Spirit's work, and raised incorruptible. "It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption." Thus we are taught in the scriptures that our soul or spirit is sanctified in regeneration and that our body will be sanctified or cleansed in its resurrection.
— from Eld. J.R. Respess, "Christ's Humanity," The Gospel Messenger (Feb. 1894).
"EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN AGAIN, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." The passage from the dead to the living is miraculous, Divine. Any communication from the higher to the lower world must be a revelation; "the natural man cannot know spiritual things, because they are spiritually discerned." It is perfect folly to offer us Christianity without a living creative Spirit—a personal religion without regeneration. A stone cannot grow more and more living till it enters the organic world; neither can a natural man simply grow better and better till in his own power he enter the kingdom of God. A new principle distinguishes the plant from the stone, and the spiritual from the natural man—the principle of life. It cannot be truly said that he that hath Brahma, or Buddha, or Mohammed, hath life; but it can be truly said that he that hath Christ hath life. This fact distinguishes Christianity from all other religions.
— from Eld. Moses D. Denman, "Holiness" (late 1800s), published posthumously in Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907).
WHEN THE LORD opens the heart of a man, a revolution takes place in his whole being. When the time came to gather "Saul of Tarsus," his enmity gave way, and instead of longer "breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord," he gave his life to their service, and blessed the church with such epistles of divine truth and love as only the grace of God could inspire.
— from Elds. C.B. & Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God ch.12 (1886).
1Co 1:9: God is, faithful, by whom ye are called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ. Here you see in this text all saints are called of God to the fellowship of his Son; and then, in 1Co 1:24: But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and wisdom of God. So you can't help seeing from all these verses, the particularity of this call, and that to a particular end. See it in this verse-1Pe 2:9: Who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. And why hath he given these persons this calling? The same verse and the verse before gives you the answer, thus: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people. Others stumbled and were offended at Christ, but these chosen and therefore called out of darkness to light.
— from Eld. James H. Oliphant, "Notes on Ephesians Chapter One," as published in The Gospel Messenger.
"[Y]E BELIEVE NOT because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you"-Joh 10:27; "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them," &c. Here we see plainly and particularly Jesus' sheep brought to view, and those that are not his sheep—and we see as plainly the reason some men believe and others do not.
— from Eld. Joshua Lawrence, "Baskets of Fragments for the Children" (1833), published in The Primitive Baptist (1843).
THE GIVING OF ETERNAL LIFE to the sinner man who is thus quickened, regenerated and vitally united to Christ is the work of Christ or God. The Spirit of Eternal Life makes the heart good, for the reception of the good seed that brought forth fruit was that that fell in the good and honest heart. Therefore the good seed, has nothing to do in making the heart good, but it has much to do as to the fruits which redound to the praise and glory of God. The Spirit quickens and sheds abroad love in the enlightened heart, which gives a knowledge of self and opposition to sin which leads to repentance through a sincere desire for holiness, and the Spirit gives the understanding which leads to the belief in Christ. Therefore it is the gift of Eternal Life that saves and the feelings, desires, repentance, faith and good works are the evidences of salvation.
— from The Upatoie Association Circular Letter, 1844.
FROM THE ABOVE FACTS, it is evident that there are two sorts of people in the world, (namely, the believer and the unbeliever) differing both in feelings and sentiments. They differ, firstly in their parentage. The former, having God for their father, "for ye are all the children of God by faith." The latter are of their father the devil. 2d. They differ in their birth.—The former is born by promise. The latter is born of the flesh. The former of incorruptible seed, by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever.—The latter of a corruptible seed that is doomed to perish. 3rd. They differ, in the manner of their birth. The former a miracle of grace, effected by the Spirit of God alone. The latter is produced by a natural cause, and upon natural principles. 4th. They differ in spirit. The former possess and enjoy the spirit of God, "for as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God." The latter, possess the spirit of iniquity which worketh in the children of disobedience. 5th. They differ in mind. The former being spiritually minded, which is life and peace. The latter is carnally minded, which is death. 6th. They differ in feeling. The former feel the love of God shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost that is given to them, which never fails to produce in them a hatred to sin, and a love to God. Like the fountains of water that spring up in different parts of the earth, having their origin in the ocean, they invariably bend their course towards their fountain; and when two or more meet together, they mingle and form an union or oneness, and so continue their course, though with many meanderings, until at last they are swallowed up in the great ocean.
— from Eld. J. M. Thompson, in The Gospel Messenger (1885).
EXPERIMENTAL RELIGION has its distinct signs, which are produced by the operation of the Holy Spirit in imparting those spiritual-blessings given to the elect in Christ. A holy series of effects result from their being called "with a holy calling," from being "quickened" by the holy Spirit; also from the "gift" of repentance and faith, and afterwards, from being kept by the power of God in the way of holy perseverance. All these external evidences are the effects of the operation of divine grace, which become obvious in a hatred of sin; in a sorrow for sin; in the fruits of repentance; in the joy of faith, and in a holiness of life. The Lord Jesus says, "they that mourn," they who are "poor in spirit," "they who hunger and thirst after righteousness," are blessed.
— from Eld. Joseph H. Flint, in The Primitive Baptist (Apr. 1838).
[T]HE TRUE BELIEVER KNOWS, that it takes grace to save and that it is grace; and that grace opened his understanding; so that he believed that he was a lost sinner, a blind sinner, a helpless sinner; a condemned sinner; all these things are brought to pass by the spirit of grace leading the soul to faith, faith is belief, belief in Jesus the Saviour, who came to seek and save that which was lost; and faith points to that grace given in Christ, that did and does and will save. This is what is called a saving knowledge, the belief of which is faith and leads the sinner to repent, and that with a godly sorrow, and that godly sorrow works repentance, not to be repented of and that work is a good work; but it was not that work that saved the sinner, but it was produced from a knowledge of his salvation; it produced obedience, humbleness, meekness, faithfulness, honesty and righteousness and all the fruits of the Spirit, which grow out of the new birth.
— from Eld. John Watson, "Experimental Tests," The Old Baptist Test, Section XXII (1867).
NOW IT IS BY THE WASHING of regeneration and not, the act of the creature; and when the creature does receive the washing of regeneration, then and there it is that faith comes, and Jesus Christ is revealed to this soul the hope of glory, and the fairest of ten thousand, and altogether lovely. Why now? Because the time is come for faith to be revealed, or given of God to the creature...
— from Eld. William McElvy, in The Primitive Baptist (Jun. 1839).
YEA, EVEN IF ONE WERE POSSESSED of a legion of devils, they were not too many for our blessed Saviour to deal with, but enough to furnish an unanswerable argument in favor of the irresistible call of the divine Spirit, and beautifully illustrate the blessed truth declared in our text, viz: that God's grace alone is sufficient for salvation without the works of men. Not, however without repentance and faith, though some have been so full of folly, as to affirm that if sinners are saved upon the principles we maintain, then repentance and faith are needless things. Whereas, needful and indispensable as these appear in the christian system, they could never appear at all apart from such principles. The inexcusable mistake of our opponents is, they imagine that men must repent and believe, and thus secure God's love and grace. Whereas, none ever have, or will repent and believe, evangelically, except under the influence of special grace applied to them. See Eph 2:4-5, — "But God who is rich in mercy for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ." Don't you see? If words mean any thing, this quotation signifies that the first special grace the Ephesians received, was the grace of quickening, which signifies to make alive, and most clearly implies that, before, they were dead, and hence not in a condition to obtain life by repenting, believing or aught of their works beside. Thus indeed, grace appears sufficient, yea, sufficient to call from death unto life, otherwise it could not be sufficient at all. Herein consists the insufficiency of all other schemes, they suggest that men should repent, and obtain life, whereas grace gives life and the recipient repents as a consequence, and when he has, he is convinced that repentance merely, will not justify him, then he turns as an humble penitent to Christ and prays for mercy, when the grace of faith is given, through which every recipient does now in a measure, and shall ultimately fully triumph over sin, death, and the Devil.
— from Eld. Rudolph Rorer, in The Primitve Baptist (Oct. 1843).
BEING BORN OF THE SPIRIT, they are spirit, and can henceforth receive the things of the Spirit. They are spiritually minded, and of course they are led by the Spirit, and by the Spirit can say that Jesus is the Christ. In this way they are taught of God and come from all other hope to Christ, and so walk in the truth. Every trial they pass through, and every comfort they enjoy, serves but the more to drive them off from all confidence in self, and to establish them in their faith and reliance on Christ.
— from Eld. John Rowe, "My Grace is Sufficient for Thee," a sermon published in The Gospel Messenger (1881).
THIS LIFE IS IN CHRIST, and he gives it to the sinner, and by its quickening, regenerating, and resurrecting power the sinner is born a second time, resurrected from his death in sin, and holy desires,. spiritual appetites, and thirstings are begotten in his soul. With this view the doctrine becomes an interesting one, and applies to me, and to you, and to every other sinner. 0, that this solemn truth may ever be before our eyes, and in our hearts: "The sinner must be born again or sink to endless woe."
— from Eld. Wilson Thompson, in The Signs of The Times (Jun. 1848).
HENCE, WE SEE THE FOLLY of trusting in natural faith, as it is not, nor can it ever be, subject to the law by which living faith is governed. It can never reach to that within the veil "whither the forerunner has for us entered, even Jesus," but is of that perishable kind which devils possess; and can never reach beyond the grave. But not so with living faith; it invariably springs from a living source, and has for its end and object, the final salvation of all those who are its happy recipients. "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."—2Co 4:6.
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "The Second Birth," The Primitive Preacher ch. 3 (1888).
NOW, WE ARE BOUND TO CONCLUDE that believing is the effect of life and not the cause thereof; and also that the gift of life is the cause of salvation from a state of death and condemnation. The Saviour said, with reference to His sheep (people): "I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish," Joh 10. Thus we see that by the gift of life the foundation is laid for faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, which follows, and are the legitimate results or effects of life. To believe anything concerning Christ without divine life is to be a mere casual believer; it is to believe, without efficient cause, like Simon the sorcerer, who after he had believed and was baptized, was denied any part or lot with the saints, and was declared still in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity, Ac 8:21-23. "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God," 1Jo 5:1.
— from Eld. J. B. Hendrickson, in The Gospel Messenger (1881).
DEAR BRETHREN, WHILE WE STIR UP your pure minds by way of remembrance, we wish to show from whence these good works flow. We have before stated that we were, by nature, the children of wrath, even as others; and we believe that nature is prone to evil. But, brethren, that individual whom the Lord has visited by His Holy Spirit, enlightening the mind by grace, shining into the heart, the spirit is quickened, life is communicated, and the light of the knowledge of the glory of God given in the face of Jesus Christ (2Co 4:6), and thereby a holy principle is implanted by the spirit of God: from which principle flow holy desires, holy motives, and every good work, "for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."—Php 2:13.
— from Eld. J. E. W. Henderson, in The Gospel Messenger (1896).
ONLY THOSE WHO ARE BORN OF GOD know about the distress produced by a dark and barren mind. Such often feel that peculiar affliction of which Paul speaks: "When I would do good evil is present with me." Such are often made to cry out, "0 wretched man that I am!" These are poor in spirit. Whatever their financial state may be, they are all poor, and are ready to admit that they are without merit or righteousness to recommend them. They are poor because they feel so, and feel so because they are. Unregenerated and ungodly sinners are strangers to these exercises. They know not the feelings of the poor in spirit. If you know these things, dear reader, I know you are a child of God.
— from The Upper Canoochee Association Circular Letter, 1860.
THE fact that a human being has eternal life, and will therefore be safely housed in heaven at last, is manifested here in time, at least in the case of adult and rational persons who live where the gospel is preached, by these four occurrences, in this invariable order: 1st, regeneration; 2d, repentance towards God; 3d, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; and 4th, obedience to God; and no human being, even though dying in infancy, irrationality, or heathenism, will, without regeneration by the Spirit of God here on earth, and redemption: by the blood of the Son of God, enter the heaven of immortal glory. There is no salvation, no eternal life, no enjoyment of heaven, without the renewing power of the Holy Ghost and the atoning death of the Son of God; and, unless we are first regenerated, or born again, or born from above, or born of God, or born of the purifying power of the Holy Spirit (called by Paul "the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit," Tit 3:5), we will never truly repent or believe or obey or enter heaven; and, if we are thus born of God, we will certainly repent, believe, obey, and inherit the fullness of eternal life. That the new birth precedes faith and obedience is shown clearly by John in his First Epistle, (1Jo 5:1), and 1Jo 2:29 "is born" should, in each of these verses, be rendered "has been born", for the verb is in the perfect tense. "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God"; "Everyone that doeth righteousness has been born of Him." In Eze 36 and Eze 37, and Zec 12 and Zec 13, it is perfectly clear that the renewing work of the Holy Spirit precedes and causes evangelical repentance, faith, and obedience. This fact is further demonstrated by such Scriptures as Ac 5:31; 11:18; Ga 5:22; 1Co 12:9; Eph 1:3,19; Heb 12:2; Php 1:29; 1Pe 1:21; Php 2:13; Heb 13:20-21; Joh 5:25; 6:37,39,45,47; 10:15,26-30; 17:13,24. The first step in time, in the manifestation of eternal life is the new, heavenly, spiritual birth, which is the work of God alone (Joh 1:13; Jas 1:18; 1Pe 1:23; Eph 2:1-10; 2Co 5:17-18), and which Christ illustrates by the water to devote its purifying power, and by the wind to set forth sovereignty and irresistibility of the Divine Spirit in this work.
— from Eld. John R. Daily, "Comfort Ye My People," Zion's Advocate (Nov. 1899, vol.38 no.11).
THE GOSPEL TELLS US GOD has given us life, and that life is in his Son. It must begin personally then with quickening or giving life. Life from Christ given is evidenced to the one receiving by feeling as never before felt, hungering for what never was desired before, thirsting for what they never knew existed till now. This life being of a higher order of life than relates to this natural world, with all its diversified forms of Life; it causes the individual to cast off in loathing and abhorring former delights and practices, and hunger and thirst after what the gospel describes. 0, how this life struggles within to attain what is set before them in the gospel. God, who is rich in mercy, having provided in Christ to deal with them in the way of mercy, the Spirit within begins in a weak, struggling way, to grasp or appropriate what that requires; and cries give me Jesus or I die. Never was the breast, with its health giving supply, more suitably adapted to the new born babe, than is the gospel, sincere milk of the word, adapted to this state of things, hence all things are of God. Breath is not the cause of life, but the effect to a mortal state, and one way of its continuance. So faith is not the cause of spiritual life, but the evidence of the fact, and a fruit of the Spirit that gave the life and becomes the source from which the life is developed, so the apostle could say I live, yet not I, separated from Christ, but Christ liveth in me, and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. In this sense we are all the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ, and if children, then heirs and joint heirs in the inheritance of the saints.
— from Eld. Sylvester Hassell, "The Divine Order of Salvation," The Gospel Messenger (Dec. 1896).
— from Eld. E. D. Thomas, in The Gospel Messenger (1887).
Elder W. M. (William) Mitchell
THIS eminent servant of God... was for many years associate editor of the Gospel Messenger, and was one of the most able spiritual writers of the age.
-— Eld. R. H. Pittman’s Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers of the United States
THE PRIMITIVE BAPTISTS have no more esteemed minister or writer in the United States than Elder Mitchell.
—Eld. Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God ch. 27 n.1 (1886).
[T]RACE HIS GOODNESS, his affection, and his love of truth in the written page as we do in the case of Paul and other pensmen of the Lord. Before such spiritual excellence and moral worth, such heaven-born humility and Christian love, the world's grandeur and ostentation are a thing of nought. We need not ask, who will write the memorial of his life or his epitaph in death. He needeth no epistle of commendation from any, for he being dead, yet speaketh, and our edified and instructed hearts are the seal of his ministry. The spirit of devotion and love, and the incense of spirituality are in all his writings.
— Eld. S.B. Luckett, as quoted in Pittman's Biographical History
(HE) HAD but poor advantages of education, though by hard study and close application advanced far enough in English studies to teach public school, which he followed a few years in his early manhood.
— Pittman's Biographical History
[HE] WAS before his baptism wonderfully impressed with the thought that he must preach — the Lord leading his mind, when trying to pray, to read the 12th chapter of Isaiah, and at the fourth verse (Isa 12:4) deeply impressing upon his mind the words 'You must preach'.
— Pittman's Biographical History
HIS GREAT SUFFERINGS from spinal disease, caused by lifting when fifteen years old, prevented him from serving churches and preaching much from the close of 1850 to near the close of 1854.
— Eld. Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God ch.27 n.1 (1886).
[HE] PREACHED his first sermon eleven months after uniting with the church—speaking, about two hours much to the edification of hearers: was ordained to all the functions of the gospel ministry July, 1845 and after more than forty years of useful, faithful and exemplary service died at his home in Opelika, Ala. February 26, 1901, in his eighty-third year of age.
— Pittman's Biographical History
Born: Jan. 10, 1819 (to James & Margaret Mitchell; Chester, South Carolina)
— from Eld. W. M. Mitchell, "He that is Our God is the God of Our Salvation," The Southern Baptist Messenger (1860).
[W]HEN GOD'S SPIRIT COMES to the man then all is changed. His self-satisfaction departs in the presence and voice of God, and while despising himself none the less, he sees the vileness of that influence which led him from rectitude and into disobedience and disregard of God's laws and hates it. This is the first evidence to a soul that the Lord has come in presence and power to bless and cleanse, that there is hatred for sin.
THERE WAS PERFECT INWARD BEAUTY and holiness in Christ, for God dwelt in him; and when divine light shines in the heart of the poor sinner, he can see that glory in the face of Jesus Christ; 2Co 4:6. If Christ be in us, and our hearts have been purged from an evil conscience, we should "put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" or holiness of truth; Eph 4:24. Our purity of heart we receive from Christ; it is his work in us, and must be sincere and real, shining with inward beauty towards God, rather than towards men.
— from Eld. Walter Cash, in The Messenger of Peace (Oct. 1896).
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "Abiding and Walking with Christ," The Primitive Preacher ch.7 (1888).
"AND NOW ABIDETH FAITH, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."—1Co 13:13. The three principles herein mentioned, sometimes called the "Christian Graces," are inseparably connected in christian character as evidences of the Spirit's work in regeneration. Where one is found the others exist. He who has faith, possesses hope and charity also. One cannot have hope without having faith and charity, nor can we have charity without faith and hope; and one can have neither without the Spirit that produces them. It seems to us that no theological propositions could be framed that are more certainly self-evident than these.
— from Eld. John R. Daily, "Faith, Hope, Charity," Zion's Advocate (Jul. 1898, vol.37 no.7).
THAT MAN IS BORN AGAIN, has undergone a change in his feelings, sentiments, and nature, which is exemplified in his life throughout. The feet that were swift to shed blood are now shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; the hands in which were found deeds of violence are now clean, and lifted up, and stretched forth to God; the tongue that muttered perverseness, that framed deceit, and devised mischief, is now filled with singing, and employed as the pen of a ready writer in extolling God and speaking of his word. In a word, the members which were yielded servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity, are now yielded servants to righteousness unto holiness (Ro 6:19).
I BELIEVE THE BLOOD OF CHRIST cleanses us from all sin, or purges the conscience to serve the living God, and so cleanses the heart from an evil conscience. I believe the heart is circumcised to love the Lord God. I believe that the eyes of the understanding, which were darkened and blinded, are enlightened and opened so that they may see. I believe they who were dead are quickened. I believe the dead hear the voice of the Son of God and live—call this soul, mind, spirit, or what you will, there is a change, and this change is not effected in the living, sinless, immortal, incorruptible man, but on the blind, dark, dead, corrupt, tainted heart, the evil conscience, and this is some part of the man. So there is a change, and this is all I contend for, and my Bible declares it and I believe it.
— from Eld. John Clark, Exposures of Heresies (1873).
BUT IN REFERENCE TO TRIUMPHANT GRACE we will once more observe:—In this grace there is something so forcible, so efficacious, and so masculine, that at times it seems to sweep everything" before it, and as though it was out on a conquering expedition; for it appears on such occasions to be clad with zeal as a cloke; and hence before it, the stout-hearted are spoiled, and the rebellious, who had long exalted themselves, come bending unto it, Isa 59:17; Ps 76:5; Isa 60:14. It is most admirable to see the way and manner which this grace takes to curb, and bow, and melt down the minds of audacious and stubborn men. It is done so effectually that lions are turned into lambs, and they all lie down together so that a little child can lead them, Isa 11:6-7. In this way it is that men are saved to the praise of the glory of God's grace; and to the end, that no flesh should glory in his presence, Eph 1:6; 1Co 1:29. Surely we all ought to sing of triumphant grace.
— from Eld. Wilson Thompson's letter to his son Gregg, published in Zion's Advocate (Feb. 1860).
THIS CALLING IS AS MIRACULOUS and effectual as the raising of Lazarus from [the grave; and] "the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live." Joh 5:25. To live in this sense is to enjoy spiritual communion and fellowship with Christ. This calling is not the preaching of the gospel, for the gospel is preached to the Jews and Gentiles who are not called, to the one a stumbling block, and to the other foolishness. All who hear the gospel proclaimed do not live, but all who hear this calling do live because the call itself imparts spiritual life. It is, then, a calling from death to life. As death cannot resist one who is able to give life, the calling is irresistible. This calling is an impartation of life to the dead and not a mere offer. Jesus says, "I give unto them eternal life," but it is never said to be offered. This calling is from darkness to light, and consists in a deliverance from the power of the former and a translation into the sweet fellowship of the latter, fellowship with Christ in his glorious kingdom.
— from Eld. James Osborne, in The Primitive Baptist (1842).
WHAT ARE THE EVIDENCES that we have an ear to hear what the Spirit saith? Some of the evidences are that we have an inward spiritual thirsting after righteousness. Not human righteousness, nor the righteousness that consists in conforming to the letter of the law, nor even the letter of the gospel, but that righteousness which is of God by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. A righteousness which will freely justify us in the sight of God that we may stand acquitted before Him as pure and innocent without "spot or wrinkle or any such thing." Those who have this inward thirsting after God see their need of this righteousness because of the feeling sense they daily have of their own carnal, vile and polluted nature. They see.in themselves nothing but sin and folly. "In this earthly tabernacle they groan, being burdened, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with their house, which is from heaven."
— from Eld. John R. Daily, "Fellowship with Christ," Zion's Advocate (Apr. 1900, vol.39 no.4).
— from Eld. W. M. Mitchell, "Have We The Evidences?" The Primitive Baptist (1881).
THERE ARE TWO CLASSES OF MEN in the world. One of these seeks sin, the other seeks holiness. One class of persons turns to sin: the other turns from sin. Those who shall finally be found turning to sin shall be turned into hell. While those who turn from sin thereby giving proof of the new birth, love and obey the Lord and shall have a home in heaven. Turning from sin is not in order to be born again or to a home in heaven, but it is an evidence of that change of heart and of that resulting glorious home.
"AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT of God. Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." The word taught, or teach, means to instruct. We should recollect, that mankind by nature are totally depraved; they have wandered far from the pathway of rectitude, and are prone to go wrong as the sparks are to fly upward. He has no will to go right, and has no more ability than will, in and of himself considered. Then it appears, that it is indispensably necessary that they should be taught, taught by the spirit of Almighty God that they are sinners, vile, wretched and undone sinners; ruined sinners, lost sinners, contaminated throughout; no soundness in them, their heart a fountain of corruption and desperately wicked, and left to themselves undone forever; (this the spirit teaches, by communicating life & light to the soul;) they are wandering in the waste howling wilderness of sin, like old Jacob, whom the Lord found going right away from him—he took him, he led him about, and instructed him, &c. The Lord has said, I will bring the blind by a way they have not known, and lead them in paths they have not trod. All this to the soul, he flies to the law of God but finds no refuge there; the law pronounces its curses on him from every hand. Then every man therefore that hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh to me, (Christ.) Yes, they come, & come with full purpose of heart too, and take shelter under his balmy wings, or in the cleft of the rock of ages, who is a hiding place from the wind, a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. The soul in Christ finds a reconciled God, who is to him the chief among ten thousand and altogether lovely.
— from Eld. Moses D. Denman, "Who Will Render to Every Man According to His Deeds" (late 1800s), published posthumously in Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907).
I WOULD READ MY BIBLE; I would go to preaching; but the cloud grew only darker and darker, and I was taught to feel and know that I could not do the things that I would. But when "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness," shined in my heart, my eyes were opened to see his glory in the face of Jesus Christ. It was not a mere change of conduct, but a change of condition or state, a passing from death to life, from blindness to sight, from ignorance to knowledge, from deafness to hearing; and a new heart, new affections, new appetites were given me, so that I loved the things I once hated, and hated the things I once loved. I was a new creature; old things had passed away, and all things had become new. You could now say, like the blind man, "I was once blind, but now I see." And by the anointing you have received of him, you will say, "I was dead, but now I live; was lost, but now I am found. Not that I found myself, but was found of him who came to seek and to save that which was lost."
— from Eld. T. J. Bazemore, "Joh 6:45," The Primitive Baptist (1840).
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "Second Sermon to Little Ones,". The Primitive Preacher ch.13 (1888).
"THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL is to them that perish foolishness." To them it is the "savor of death unto death," but to the church and people of God who are born of God, it is the "savor of life unto life," as Ezekiel's prophesy was unto the "whole house of Israel" as represented by the dry bones of the valley.
THERE ARE DEGREES OF FEAR: we may fear and yet control that fear, and we may fear and find that it controls us in spite of ourselves. Of the latter sort it was that prompted Jehosaphat and Judah to seek the Lord. Felix trembled when Paul preached to him but it was a fear he could control and he of course put it off to another time; but the fear begotten in the hearts of the people by the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, was one that could not be put off, and made them cry out in anguish of soul, "Men and brethren, what must we do?" Of the same kind was that wrought in the heart of the jailor at Phillippi, causing him to tremblingly cast himself down before Paul and Silas, crying, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" This fear was an unbidden and unwelcome guest, but a necessary, in fact, an essential one to seeking the Lord; there would be no real and successful seeking without it, nor any real controlling fear of our own natural will. Notice the cause of Jehosaphat's fear: it was produced by a combination of irresistible powers either of which was stronger than he was; the Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites. They had invaded his land in combined force and come up face to face to him. He knew they were enemies before, but he had not felt their power to destroy him nor his weakness to defend himself as he did now. So it is with a convicted sinner; he knew of sin before, but thought he could arise, grapple with and subdue it at any moment, but when it is presented to him in force by the Spirit; when it comes up into his land and invades the place of his rest, he fears it and feels it as he never did before, and is made to cry as David did, "Lord deliver me from my enemy for he is stronger than I am." This fear cannot be resisted nor put off, and from very necessity we seek the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, or the work of grace in the heart. If it is not irresistible, it is worthless; the fear must control the sinner, else he will control it. If Jehosaphat could have driven these combined forces back he would have done it, but that he knew to be impossible, as Peter sinking in the sea knew when he cried to the Lord. They neither put this fear in their hearts, neither could they cast it out. Whilst they would not have willed this fear, this fear wrought in them a will to be saved, so that they sought the Lord "with their whole hearts."
— from Eld. W.M. Mitchell, "Valley of Dry Bones," The Gospel Messenger (Dec. 1888).
THE APOSTLE DOES NOT SATISFY HIMSELF by giving us this general rule by telling us that the man in Christ Jesus must be a new creature, but more particularly shows us what this new creature is, and how he may be known and distinguished from the world. "Old things are passed away; all things are become new." By old things passing away is evidently meant the old desires, principles, and lusts we once delighted in, but of which we are now ashamed. They belong to and constitute the old man that is to be put off and crucified; the new creature, the regenerated soul, is dead to sin, can live in it no longer; his affections and delights for it have passed away, so that he now "hates the things he once loved," and his hope and expectation is, that hereafter he will be wholly freed from sin and all corruption when these vile bodies shall be fashioned, like the glorious body of our Savior. The apostle still further expresses this change wrought in the soul by, "All things are become new." By this he means the affections, feelings, and desires of the soul are so changed that we love the things we once hated. Our bodies may be said to be new bodies by the change wrought in them, and the endowments bestowed upon them in the resurrection. So the soul is now resurrected from a death in sin, and renewed by imparting new principles to it in the work of regeneration.
— from Eld. J. R. Respess, "Seeking, Repenting, and Believing, 2Ch 20:1-3," The Gospel Messenger (1879).
I WILL HERE SAY THAT ANY DOCTRINE that is preached to adult sinners, that will not embrace infants, or an idiot, is wrong, and should at once be given up. We are told, however, that faith and repentance are necessary for adults, but not necessary for infants. Very true; but are not faith and repentance also of grace, as much as any other point in salvation? "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." 1Jo 5:1. Faith is the evidence of the new birth, and not the cause of it. As to repentance, it is the goodness of God, and not the goodness of man, that leadeth to repentance.—Ro 2:4. The power and grace that could teach a thief on the cross, and could impart spiritual life to John the Baptist before he was born, and sanctify Jeremiah before his birth can and does reach the dying infant. Can we not trust our dear little infants, and all others, to his gracious hand?
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "A New Creature in Christ," The Prmitive Preacher ch. (1888).
HOW COMES HE TO CALL THEM holy brethren, for no man is so by nature or good works? Why the reason is obvious; because they had been partakers of the heavenly calling, or the calling mentioned in the other text the holy calling, and in the last text heavenly calling; which is one and the same calling although expressed in different words, holy and heavenly calling, a holy calling, or speaking to sinners in that manner, because it is the Holy Ghost, or the holy Spirit of God, that calls the sinner from darkness to light, or from death to life. Second, because when the Holy Ghost infuses into his heart holy desires, holy thirstings, holy longings, holy prayings, holy wishes to be holy; and implants the principle of holiness in the heart, from his first touch on the sinner's heart, and from that moment the Holy Ghost gives him this touch or call, the war between sin and grace begins never to cease.
— from Eld. W.M. Mitchell, "Infant Salvation," Signs of the Times (1870) (later reprinted in Zion's Advocate, Nov. 1904).
— from Eld. Joshua Lawrence, "Baskets of Fragments for the Children (1833)," published in The Primitive Baptist, (1843).
HIS LAW IS IN YOUR HEART ALREADY. He has given you a new heart, in which he has written his law of love. He commands these poor and needy souls to do precisely what they inwardly crave and desire to do. He has given that desire, and commands them to come to him as the Fountain of living Waters.
[W]HAT ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND by being born again? It surely cannot mean, a mere external reformation from gross immortality; nor a change from one system of religion to another; nor even from heathen idolatry to the Christian faith; nor in submission to the ordinance of Baptism; nor yet in firm persuasion that we are the children of God; zealously doing the work of our heavenly Father. The memorable instance of Simon Magus and Saul of Tarsus illustrates these remarks; the former believed historically, but the latter by the power of the word and spirit of God, working on the dark powers of the soul and diffusing life divine. Then the expression born again, and all other [parallel] phrases found in the word of God, are too strong and distinct to admit of any consistent meaning, less than a radical change in the disposition of the soul. We say a change or renewal in the disposition of the soul, because no new facilities are imparted to man in the new birth, none were lost by the fall and none are given in regeneration; the carnal mind or disposition of sinful man is enmity against God, and in the new birth a spiritual mind or disposition is given to man under the power and influence of the spirit of God, in which the powers and faculties of the soul receive a new and spiritual direction; the moral image of God was defaced in man by his apostasy. This image is restored in the new birth, by the word and spirit of God. This change or renewal is radical. It reaches to the thoughts and dispositions; the aims and ends of the new born soul are to glorify God, in the gift of his grace and spirit. All this is effected by the same mighty power and energy of God, which first gave life and form to man; and which alone can rectify and restore that part of man, which was lost and disordered. Hence those who were the children of wrath, have now become the children of God by the blood of the covenant, and adopted heirs of Christ into the grace of life, and are said to be born again, or translated from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and Satan into the kingdom of Christ. For it is the office of the spirit to illuminate the dark faculties of the soul, and to give it that faith which works by love and purifies the heart. And so wonderfully develops itself in the new born soul, that it shows it all the beauty and graces of Jesus, and enables the creature to receive the Saviour as their prophet, priest, and king. This is to be born again. There the regenerated soul is said to be God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them. As such old things are done away, behold all things become new. But again, how or what is the effect on the sinner's heart? When wrought to a knowledge of sin, the dead soul is quickened and made alive to feel and see its lost and ruined state, and to feel the condemning power of God's holy law and the justice of God in damning or banishing it from his presence forever. And thus the soul or sinner is brought to mourn on account of his sin, and to dread the terrors of God's wrath, while God by his spirit sends his word into the hearts as a sharp two-edged sword, piercing or dividing asunder of soul and spirit; that spirit which defaced the glorious image of God, and put enmity between God and the 'sinner. And now he is brought to a knowledge of his sin by the power of the law, the sinner is now converted, convinced, and convicted, and sees himself a just monument of God's wrath, while the thunders of Mount Sinai rolls against the guilty soul, and it is the schoolmaster, the Law, that takes the sinner and brings him to Christ. And here, brethren, is the last blow the ax or the Law gives the sinner, it fells him and lays him at the foot of the cross, where that glorious fountain runs down. There is the time and place that Jesus comes with pardon, and applies his atoning blood. And now the sinner is enabled to look up to Jesus by faith, and see the streaming blood; this is the time of agonizing with soul, there the time of godly sorrow, that worketh repentance, unto salvation, not to be repented of. And then is the time that Jesus applies the water by the word and sanctifying graces of his spirit; and there it is that the soul is regenerated and born again. Jesus is formed in the soul, the hope of glory. Then it is mercy and truth meet together in the soul; then it is that righteousness and peace kiss each other in the soul; and then the sinner is justified and reconciled to God through the faith of Christ, and the soul filled with that joy that is unspeakable and full of glory: then it is that a new song is put into the mouth, even praise to God.
— from Eld. W.M. Mitchell, "Ho! Every One that Thirsteth, Come," The Gospel Messenger (May 1889).
BY GRACE ARE WE SAVED, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. He is an unchangeable God; therefore, ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. If the preached Word convicts and converts the poor dead sinner, why is it that all do not hear? Truly they have ears and hear not, eyes and see not—all like sheep have gone astray; and until the Spirit of God quickens them into life, all the institutions of men will never reach them; at least, if the poor, unworthy writer knows anything about this great work of salvation, it is all of grace...
— from the South Carolina Primitive Baptist Association Circular Letter, The New Birth (1842).
WHILE ALL GOOD WORKS are evidences of regeneration, it is desirable first, to mention the leading scriptural evidences of that great change. These are: Faith, love and obedience. First to be named of these proofs, is a conscious love for God. "Every one that loveth is born of God." Again, "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." 1Jo 5:1. "Every one that doeth righteousness is born of him." 1Jo 2:29. The closing testimony now given as proof, that this renewing work of God's Spirit has been performed for a person is: "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren." 1Jo 3:14. Be it remembered that these evidences of regeneration, together with good works in general, do not precede or enable us to be born again, but being born again we are then enabled to perform good works. Our obedience is the result of the new birth. Thus good works prove we "have passed from death unto life." For "we are created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Eph 2:10. Then those born again are sure to walk in good works, though imperfectly performed; for what God has ordained will not fail. So where there are no good works in one's life, there is no new birth, nor no home in heaven for such a person. Then no good works—no salvation. Yet our salvation is not based on our obedience, but on the perfect obedience of Christ imputed to us. God gives our salvation, because he loves us, and Christ has obeyed for us. And we are constrained to obey God, because we love him.
— from George W. Tansill's Feb. 22, 1890 letter to Zion's Advocate, pp. 56-57 (1890).
WE SELDOM HEAR A NEW BORN SOUL relate his experience but that he will refer to some time when he heard the gospel as he never heard it before, and he was made to tremble and weep, while those who sat right by him, and were hearing the same words, felt no such emotions. Why this difference in the two hearers? and why does this trembling soul now hear as he never heard before, and feel as he never felt before under the preaching of the gospel? It is because there is a Spirit and power in him that was never there before, that has opened the ears to hear and prepared the heart to understand the word preached. Having this power in him the gospel comes as it never did before, and awakens in him reflections and feelings he never had before under its sound. It makes no difference how fearful or how joyful a message may be, it will have no power to move those who can not understand or hear it. But let the power to hear and understand be given, and then the effects of the message will be visible in those who hear. It is therefore the quickened sinner who trembles at the word of the Lord, and by it is instructed in the way of salvation.
— from Eld. Moses D. Denman, "Good Works" (late 1800s), published posthumously in Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907).
DEARLY BELOVED BRETHREN, who are scattered abroad throughout the wide world, and are spurned at by all your enemies, yet preserved of the Lord and blest with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love, that we might glorify him in all godly conversation in this present world; being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. And without this change, or birth, it is impossible for the creature to glorify God either in word, thought, or deed. But believing all the family of Zion are of this parentage and of the same royal line, heirs of the same King, and were all in days past children of wrath even as others, but are now called of God according to his purpose, made heirs of eternal glory and joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ; and have not received the Spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Brethren, you know this change is not a mere notion, for without a pain there can be no birth. But where there is a false conception there is a false deliverance; there is brought forth nothing but wind, a few snubs and tears shed, and run up and fall down at the feet of him that is called a preacher, and him to repeat a few words of memorized prayer, is not this birth. But, brethren, these pains are brought on by the candle of the grace of God shining in the dark room of the heart, and quickening the dead soul; and the nearer the time of deliverance, the greater the agony and more severe the pain, yet they have it to bear until the time of deliverance comes. And when the babe is born in Zion, then clothe it with the best robe, and shoes put on its feet, and a ring on its hand; and it is not to be led into error, but into all truth. And now, brethren and sisters, does the child that is not yet born after ordinary generation, know anything of the affairs and laws and management, neither is acquainted with the light in this world? No more does the soul, until born of the Spirit, know anything of this spiritual kingdom. For that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. So, brethren, we need not wonder at carnal professors altering the laws, rules, and customs of this spiritual kingdom, and crying, lo here, and lo there, is Christ; believe them not, because the carnal mind is enmity against God,
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "The Second Birth," The Primitive Preacher ch.3 (1888).
[R]EGENERATION BEING THE IMPLANTING of spiritual life in the soul, it will assuredly be followed by spiritual action, and the regenerated soul will be born again as a new creature or new man being created in righteousness and true holiness, the principles of righteousness and heart holiness, will be manifested in the feelings and acts of the person thus quickened. The new man being a creation in righteousness, the individual being once regenerated will immediately have his attention directed to the Law as the standard of right, and will thereby test his acts and thoughts. Finding his works not conformed thereto, he will reject them, and turn from them with loathing, and will manifest a hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Finding the law to be spiritual, and his affections to be carnal, and his heart deceitful, he will lose all confidence in his own self-inspired resolutions, and all satisfaction in the excitement of those affections, and will turn from both with disgust, condemning even his tears and prayers as hypocritical. Feeling the justice of his condemnation as a transgressor, both in heart and in life, he acknowledges before God and men, that he richly deserves everlasting banishment from God, and therefore falls, a wretch undone, at the feet of Sovereign mercy to implore pardon, realizing this to be his last resort, and very much doubting, whether even the mercy of God can extend pardon to a wretch, so guilty and vile as he. And when by faith he has a view of the efficacy and freeness of the atoning blood and righteousness of Christ, as being substituted under the law for helpless sinners like him, a hope of being saved springs up in his breast, a sense of pardon flows through his soul, and he rejoices, not only in hope of acceptance with God, but also in the glorious fact, that in this way, everlasting righteousness is brought in, the law is honored, the sinner is justified and saved eternally, as a monument of the riches and glory of Divine Grace. It is this which makes him ever after cling to, and rely alone upon the righteousness of Christ for his acceptance with God. No, brethren, it is not an antinomian principle, but true righteousness of soul, which leads the believer to renounce all creature works as grounds of acceptance, and to trust only in, and plead only that righteousness of Christ for his acceptance. How different this, throughout, from that kind of experience or exercise which leads persons to rejoice in, and even boast of their feelings, their reformation, their resolutions, and their wonderful condescension in giving up to be saved by Christ, that is, as they too evidently understand by it, to make profession of his religion. Again as the new man is created in true holiness, that is, heart devotedness to the honor and service of God, the believer will be distinguished from others, by a separation from the principles, the spirit and practices of the world, by an upright, orderly and sober walk and conversation, by meekness, humility, and kindness and forbearance towards others, and a patient submission to the dispensations of God; and by a strict regard to the revealed will of God in all things pertaining to religion; making the word of God his only directory, taking Christ for his only pattern, owning him alone as his sovereign; calling no man master in things pertaining to religion, nor allowing any to impose their contrivances upon him, or to become the directors of his conscience. In a word his life will be marked, not by corruption and lust, but by purity, not by a zeal to do something new and great for God, but to do the will of his Heavenly Father as revealed in his word. Brethren, is this your experience? If so, you know for yourselves what regeneration is. But, if you know not these things, or if you are of those who ridicule the ideas here advanced as enthusiasm, still be assured, however ignorant others may be of them, we speak what we do know and testify that we have seen, and it still remains good, that no man receiveth our testimony, but as the Holy Ghost maketh him feel the truth of it.
— from Eld. W. M. Rushing, in The Primitive Baptist (1842).
"AND WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the water of life freely." This text refers to those who are willing, but does not inform us how they became willing. To be willing in the sense of this text carries with it the idea of hating evil, for he that wills or chooses God hates sin, and so is loyal to God, and has in himself the elements of loyalty, but this text does not even suggest how men become willing. So the words "If any man will be my disciple," &c. This text calls attention to what the will or choice is without suggesting anything as to how this will was produced. So the words "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness." To hunger after righteousness is to choose it, and so to will it. Jesus informs us that such a man IS BLESSED. It does not tell us what is required to make a man choose or will righteousness, but only tells us that such a man is blessed. The blessing does not follow after the choosing, but it occurs to me that that which makes one choose, or that which establishes this choice for holiness, whatever it is, is what blesses. So the text, "We know that we have passed from death to life because we love the brethren." This text does not tell us what is required in our passing from death unto life, nor does it tell us how to pass, but it gives one evidence that a man has passed. To love the brethren is to choose them and their good, and he that does that is passed. Also the words, "In this the children of God are manifested, and the children of the devil. Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God." Here we learn that doing righteousness manifests us as the children of God, but it leaves the real cause of our being so concealed. Again, "If ye know that He is righteous ye know that everyone that doeth righteousness is born of Him." Here again we are taught to believe and know that he that doeth righteousness is born of God. This text only tells us how to know that one is born of God without telling us how or by what means one is born of God. So the words, "By their fruits ye shall know them." No intimation in this text as to how the tree becomes good, but only how we are to know a good tree.
— from the Columbia Association Circular Letter, as published in Signs of the Times (Nov. 2, 1834).
SUCH AS ARE CALLED ARE PREPARED to hear the gospel and receive it. It is no longer foolishness to them, but it is "Unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."
— from Eld. J. H. Oliphant, Thoughts on the Will ch. X(1899).
THE CONVERSION OF THE SOUL from love and practice of sin to the love and practice of holiness, necessarily follows the regeneration of the soul and the circumcision of the heart made without hands, the enlightening of the eye of understanding, the renewal of the spirit of the mind, and the reconciliation of the conscience toward God. As Peter says: "The like figure, whereunto even baptism doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but, the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus"—1Pe 3:21; and again: "You that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreproveable in his sight;" (Col 1:21-22) and Paul to the Hebrews, says, "If the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God;" (Heb 9:13-14) read the connection. I understand; for myself, that the soul of a human being is the embodiment of all the faculties of the inner man, whether of heart, mind, understanding, spirit and conscience as before hinted or spoken of, and when I speak of the soul being born again, or regenerated in the time work of the Spirit, all these are included, whilst the body remains for the time unquickened and dead because of sin, and the law of sin still in his fleshly members, the tendency of which is to bring forth fruit unto death; nevertheless, the bodies of the saints are reckoned to be the members of Christ, (1Co 6:15) and the temples of the Holy Ghost, (1Co 6:19) as redeemed by the blood of Christ, and brought in subjection to the law of Christ.
— from Eld. Benjamin Lampton, "Regenerating Power," Manuscripts of Benjamin Lampton (1900).
I BELIEVE THAT THE WORK OF CHRIST in redemption and the work of the Spirit in regeneration, proceed upon the glorious principle of the everlasting love of God to his people, his seed—the heirs of promise, and his choice and determination to save them from their sins; that, that which is redeemed must necessarily be regenerated; that the work of the spirit in regeneration is precisely commensurate with the work of Christ in redemption, that the evidence of a sinner's acceptance in the beloved Christ and manifestation as a child of God, is found in his exercise of a Godly sorrow for sin—his exercise of repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, and so receiving the pardon of sin by the sacrificial blood of Christ and justification by his imputed righteousness, giving a good hope through grace and followed by a practical demonstration, proving his faith by his works.
— from Eld. E. S. Dudley, in The Gospel Messenger (Nov. 1888).
THE HEIR OF GOD, then, while in a natural or unregenerate state, differs nothing from others, and is a child of wrath even as others. But even while in this dead state, this natural, unregenerate state, he is an heir in the purpose of God, according to His election of grace, and is predestinated to receive the Spirit of adoption at God's appointed time, when he is enabled to cry Abba Father. Well, is he the same one after he receives the Spirit of adoption that he was before? Yes; the same sinner, Son of Adam according to the flesh. But he is born again; is quickened by the Spirit of God; given faith in Christ, and receives the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. He is quickened and receives the Spirit of adoption, because God, by His election hath from the beginning chosen him unto salvation.
— from Eld. E. L. Dudley, in The Gospel Messenger (1880).
WAS THE REGENERATING POWER that caused a vile, persecuting Saul to tremble, contained in the written word? No, never, he heard a voice from heaven. Regeneration is designed to produce a new heart and renew a right spirit: to enlighten the soul: change the will and affections, and enable the sinner to understand and receive the truth. 2Co 3:3,5: "Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God: not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart."
— from Eld. T. J. Bazemore, "The Heir—Ga 4:1-7," The Gospel Messenger (1879).
SOME PEOPLE TELL ME that the Primitive Baptists preach the doctrine that God takes sinners by the hair of the head and drags them to heaven against their will, but they preach no such doctrine; but preach it as the Bible teaches it. David says: "Thy people shall be a willing people in the day of thy power." Jeremiah says: "The Lord hath appeared unto me of old, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee"; thus teaching that the Lord's people—are willing to be saved when God brings his power to bear on them. So God takes hold of a sinner; he takes him by the heart, changing his will and affections "taking away his stony heart, gives him a heart of flesh." He unstops his deaf ears, opens his blind eyes, and causes him to see what a great sinner he is in the sight of God.
— from Eld. Benjamin Lampton, "Regenerating Power," Manuscripts of Benjamin Lampton (1900).
[R]EGENERATION MUST BE THE ACTION of the Holy Spirit, at the instance of God's will; for if the sinner is the subject acted upon, he cannot be his own actor upon any principle of law that I have ever read. And in all this, I think there can be nothing licentious; for if I understand the doctrine of predestination, it contends for the doctrine of repentance, weeping, mourning, crying, seeking, praying and all the divine exercises of grace in the soul; but contends for them as the fruit of grace.
— from Eld. F. P. Chandler, "The Way By Which God Saves Sinners," The Gospel Messenger (May 1883).
IF PAUL, WHO WAS FAVORED with an abundance of revelation, was fearful lest while he preached to others he himself would become a castaway, should we not fear the doctrine of final perseverance of the saints does us no good, if we are not sanctified to persevere? The doctrine of election will do us no good, if we have not, through sanctification of the Spirit, been elected unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Christ (1Pe 1:2.) Man's inability to come to Christ for life and salvation, will do us no good, if it never makes us lie at mercy's gate, poor beggars, that God feeds with the hidden manna, without money and without price. There must be a work of grace in the soul, as well as a knowledge of doctrine in the mind.
— from Eld. William Crutcher, in The Primitive Baptist (Feb.1841).
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF says: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand."—Joh 10:28. When they are quickened by the life-giving Spirit and power of God, and hear the voice of Jesus' pardoning love, then "faith comes by hearing." They feel personally interested in the atonement by the blood of Jesus. Christ dwells in them by faith. His righteousness is there, his redemption for them is there, his love, his wisdom and all the treasures of his grace are in their heart by faith.
— from Eld. Henry Archer, "The Work And Witness Of The Spirit," The Gospel Messenger (Mar. 1883).
THIS GLORIOUS PEACE, however, is not felt and known by the heirs of promise until the dear Lord makes it known to them, by his life-giving power. They in themselves are vile and polluted sinners, "By nature the children of wrath even as others;" aliens from God, "dead in trespasses and sins" within themselves every way irreconciled to God; hence the necessity of the life-giving power of the Son of God being manifested in awakening them into life, or to a knowledge of their true condition in nature, and then to reveal to their minds the sweet and lasting peace that the blessed Saviour has effected for them. When one of the people of God is first awakened, or quickened into life, his condition as a sinner is very alarming to him, feeling himself to be a poor lost sinner; a guilty culprit in the sight of God, awaiting the execution (as he thinks) of impending justice which consigns him to eternal death. Believes God is angry with him, and will certainly manifest his anger in his eternal destruction, which causes him to weep, mourn and cry to God, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" "Lord save, I perish!" Lord, I am sinking; oh! do deliver my poor soul, if it can be thy will.
— from Eld. W. M. Mitchell, "Faith Cometh By Hearing," The Gospel Messenger (Dec. 1882).
IT IS BY THE POWER OF GOD that "all things consist." By the power of God man exists naturally, and by the power of God's Spirit the same man is regenerated, renewed, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, or born again. Man's first preparation of heart is accomplished not by human works or ability, but "by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, through Christ Jesus our Lord." And God does not forsake his people after their regeneration but still prepares their heart and inclines their will to obey him. He "worketh in you both to will and to do." "The preparation of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord." God takes "away the stony heart" and gives a "heart of flesh," or tender heart. Faith is the gift of God. "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him but also to suffer for His sake." Repentance is wrought in the heart or given by the power of God. "Jesus is exalted a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and remission of sins to Israel." Praise the Lord! Jesus gave remission of sins, He gives repentance, He gives faith, and He gives eternal life. God has wrought all our works in us. Let us ever praise Him, and trust in Him. We should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead "who delivered us from so great a death and doth deliver: in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us."
— from Eld. A. B. Whatley, "Isa 26:3," The Gospel Messenger (July 1880).
Ro 15:18-21 — "For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hash not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God: so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: but as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand." The above is one of my strongest texts, and I want the gentleman to pay some attention to it. Why is it that those that had the written word rejected the Messiah and yet the heathen received him? God says they shall see, hear, and understand, and that by the power of the Spirit of Christ: "It is the Spirit that quickeneth."
— from Eld. Moses D. Denman, "Power Belongeth to God" (late 1800s), published posthumously in Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907).
GOD'S ELECT ARE CALLED OUT of darkness into his marvelous light—1Pe 2:9. In calling, the saints are sanctified, and Christ is formed in them the hope of glory—Col 1:27, and so Christ is revealed in the saints—Ga 1:16, and upon evidence of the Spirit the saints believe to the saving of the soul.—Heb 10:39. These are the things which are wrought by the Spirit in and upon the elect, by which they repent and follow after righteousness, and that faith as well as sanctification is of the Spirit we also gather from the Scriptures. "For unto you it is given on behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake."—Php 1:29. "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God."—Eph 2:8. Again: "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised him from the dead."—Eph 1:18. So from this Scripture we learn that the eyes of the understanding of the saints were enlightened. This was done by the Spirit's influence upon them; by this also they knew what was the hope of their calling, and what was the exceeding greatness of God's power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, according to which also they believed, thus showing that it requires a power corresponding with that which raised Christ from the dead to enable a sinner to believe, and such power we know that men have not; therefore they have not power to believe to the saving of the soul, until faith be wrought in them by the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead; neither is there anything about man, or anything that men can perform, which will induce the Spirit to work faith in them.
— from Eld. Benjamin Lampton, "Regenerating Power," Manuscripts of Benjamin Lampton (1900).
WHEN THE LORD IS GRACIOUSLY PLEASED to quicken the dead sinner, He openeth his eyes too, and then he sees himself loathsome in the sight of God. Then he finds, that all he can do, all human doings, creature efforts, creature duties, are of no use whatever—nor will they contribute one iota towards the salvation of his soul. "The one thing needful" now he craves, and the name of Jesus becomes precious to him—becomes the chief among ten thousand, and the One altogether lovely. His mouth is most sweet. Grace is poured into thy lips; therefore God hath blessed thee forever, and all his people in him, with all spiritual blessings in him also. How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
— from Eld. John Rowe, "Effectual Calling," A Practical Discourse on the Sovereignty of God (1869).
DEAR CHILDREN, YOU KNOW that you have felt a change; of this you can not be mistaken, you can not have a doubt; then, why be cast down with doubts and fears? 0 I am so fearful that the change is not the work of the Lord; that it is fleshly, and the effect of education and association. If you will look back to your experience you will get an answer that ought to satisfy your mind, and quiet the fears that so often distress you. Was there not a time with you when the company of Jesus was not desirable, and he was to you as a root out of dry ground, without form or comeliness, no loveliness that would draw your heart away from the world? You were happiest when you could think the least about him; but now he is the chiefest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely. His name is the sweetest name that falls upon your ear, in it are all your hopes and comforts; when his sweet face is vailed, and you can not see its smiles, your heart is broken; you feel like one deserted and left without a friend in the world; the day looks dark, and the night can give no sweet rest; earthly friends may then strive to make you happy, but all in vain. Why is it so with you if you do not love? This love began to be felt in your heart when God circumcised it to love him; it is his work, and a sure evidence that you are born of God, and have passed from death unto life. You may love your husband, or your wife; their presence gives joy, their company is pleasant, but this can not give you the joy your soul now hungers and thirsts for; but one smile from Jesus, one whisper of his love, one taste of his preciousness as your Savior and friend drives all fear and sorrow from your heart.
— from Eld. Greenwood, in The Gospel Messenger (1883).
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "Second Sermon to Little Ones," The Primitive Preacher ch.13 (1888).
Elder Gregg (Grigg) M. Thompson 1811 – 1888
HIS FATHER, Elder Wilson Thompson, was one of the greatest preachers of the age in which he lived, and like his gifted son, his fame lives after him, for his name is known and honored wherever the Primitive Baptists are found.
— Eld. R.H. Pittman's Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers of the United States
ELDER GRIGG M. THOMPSON (son of Wilson Thompson) was one of the most eloquent speakers and ablest debaters we have ever had. In many discussions with men of other religious orders he successfully defended our position [i.e., immediate regeneration by the Holy Spirit] and merited the esteem and commendation of our brotherhood everywhere.
— Eld. William H. Crouse, Regeneration ch.2 (1925).
WHEN A MERE BOY but seventeen years of age, Mr. Thompson joined the Baptist Church and began preaching, and from that time until death smote him with his harness on, he never rested from his toil. Indeed, it was said of him many years ago by one who knew where of he spoke, that "Elder Grigg M. Thompson has traveled more miles and preached more sermons than any minister living or dead." No doubt that statement spoke the truth, for during sixty years in storm and snow, in good or ill health, he devotedly followed where duty led, often preaching twice a day for months at a time, and the numbers baptized by him into the church, if gathered together would, indeed be a mighty host marshaled for the army of the Peaceful King.
— Pittman's Biographical History
Of ALL HIS TRIALS and troubles few can ever know. In cold and heat, rain and snow, he has gone, and never tried to shirk the responsibility he felt was laid upon him. I have often heard him say his dear brethren and sisters were dearer than his own life to him; and it almost seemed that he offered up his life in that last dreadful ride to Goshen, the church where he wished to be buried, and there we laid him to rest beside a fellow soldier, Elder Daty.
— His widow, Diantha Jagger Thompson, in Zion's Advocate (May 1888)
WHEN ONLY SEVENTEEN years of age, the Master called him into the service, and for sixty years through storm and snow, through prosperity and adversity, through good report and through evil, he fearlessly and persistently declared the one way of salvation to sinners.
— Manissa Clark, editor, in Zion's Advocate (May 1888).
HE LABORED not only in the pulpit, but also with the pen. He has published several books all filled with the faith that possessed his soul.
— Pittman's Biographical History
I THINK I can say of my dear one that he was as nearly free from jealousy as any one I ever knew. He always said: "If any preacher can tell things better than I can, I am glad of it and if others preachers are loved better than I, that shall be right too, it is very possible they deserve it."
— Diantha Jagger Thompson, in Zion's Advocate (May 1888)
BEING BLESSED with a powerful frame, and a giant intellect, he seemed a fitting vessel for the "treasure" and with all his strength of body and mind, the GRACE OF HUMILITY was so abundantly bestowed, that he was ever ready to declare that the "excellency was of God."
— Manissa Clark, editor, in Zion's Advocate (May 1888).
I REMEMBER so well how he loved your husband, and how faithfully they fought for their Master's cause, through all those dreadful wars on those false doctrines. But they have laid their armor by, and are deaf to idle praise or blame. They have both, I believe, heard the welcome plaudit: "well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joys of thy Lord."
— Diantha Jagger Thompson, to Eld. John Clark's widow, in Zion's Advocate (May 1888)
HIS CONNECTION with the Advocate since its revival after the war, has been close and intimate; he has been a constant contributor to its columns: and today we may trace his writings to the first article, and the same things are spoken throughout.
— Manissa Clark, editor, in Zion's Advocate (May 1888).
THAT HE WAS LOVED, respected and honored in his own community, but weakly expresses the feeling of his neighbors. He was a strong man in every sense of the word, and his pure and reproachless life is an example worthy of imitation. He died as he had lived.
— Pittman's Biographical History
WHILE HE was on his deathbed, "I have never in my life witnessed such love and devotion as the dear brethren and sisters showed him. The house was filled day and night with loving hearts and hands ever ready to do everything, and anything they could do for his comfort. Even the little children that he loved so well, all wanted to come and see him, and cried as though their little hearts would break."
— Diantha Jagger Thompson, in Zion's Advocate (May 1888)
AT THE VERY LAST, while speechless friends were hovering about his bed, he spoke and said: "Turn me, turn me." Some one proposed to help turn his body in the bed, but he quickly interrupted saying, "No, no: turn me to the Cross of Christ!" These were the last words he ever spoke. The death angel entered the darkened and silenced room, the tired hands were folded for the long rest, the great heart fluttered and grew still and from the saddened and silent room "two angels issued where but one went in."
— Pittman's Biographical History
THE LORD has been pleased to release from service this great soldier of the cross.... We who are called to mourn his loss, should stop and reflect that our Lord has been especially good to his people of this nineteenth century in giving us a G. M. Thompson.
— Manissa Clark, editor, in Zion's Advocate (May 1888).
— Born — Apr. 11 or 20, 1811 (Cape Girardeau County, Missouri)
I FELT TO BE CLEAN; I felt that Jesus had cleansed me and clothed me with his righteousness as with a garment. The church was then presented to me as a home for God's elect, and the doctrine of election, predestination, salvation by grace and final preservation and resurrection of the dead was presented to me. I never felt that it was simply an angel that took up its abode in me, and that it was the child of God, but I felt that I, Lee Hanks, was changed; not that I was changed from flesh to spirit, or that my natural appetite for natural food ceased, but I loved things I once hated and hated things I once loved; I had a desire to do right, but evil seemed to be in my flesh so that I could not do the things I desired. I never had stayed under the roof of a Primitive Baptist up to this time; I knew nothing of them.
O WHAT A CHANGE YOU HAVE FELT! It is truly passing from death unto life, from darkness into light, from hatred to loving God and his dear children. Your greatest distress now is because you still find sinful lusts and evil propensities dwelling in the flesh, so that you can not do the things you would. You desire to do good, to live holy and humbly, to be like a little child, and like John, to rest in the bosom of Jesus. You now love God, because he first loved you, and took your stony heart away, and gave you a heart of flesh—a heart that could feel and love. And you now love his children, because you see the likeness of the Father in them, and hope that you are kindred, and are all of the same Father. You can have no evidence of kindredship with those that have no change; that say they love sin as well as they ever did; that all that is said about the sinner's being born again, and loving the things he once hated, and hating the things he once loved, is a vain delusion. Dear little children, you have felt this change; you have been taught it by the anointing you have received, and you are the children of God. Cast away your doubts and fears; you are poor in this world, but rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom.
— from Eld. Lee Hanks, "A Biographical Sketch," The Gospel Messenger (1889).
"WHO HATH BLESSED US with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." This phrase should not give rise to vain speculation. It no doubt refers to our being raised to walk in newness of life. The apostle would certainly include faith, repentance, love to God, spiritual discernment and understanding. These blessings do not make believers proud and boastful, but on the contrary, lowly minded, thankful and tender hearted. If you are a child of God, it is his work, and your heart should overflow with unceasing love to him, and kindliness of spirit to all men. Who can portray the advantages of a Christian life, which is but a display of the spiritual blessings the apostle had in view.
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "Second Sermon to Little Ones," The Primitive Preacher ch.13 (1888).
[A]S THE SCRIPTURES REPRESENT, natural men are dead in trespass and sins, and need to be quickened by the Spirit of God into a divine, a new, and a holy life, in order to realize their lost and helpless condition, and to cause them to cry unto God for mercy, and to bring them to believe in Jesus as their Saviour, and to enable them to understand the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures and the dealings of God with them in His providence, and to keep them by His power through faith unto the fullness of the glorious salvation which is to be revealed to them in the last time.
— from Eld. James H. Oliphant, "Notes on Ephesians Chapter One," as published in The Gospel Messenger.
I WOULD AS SOON A BROTHER would say he could impart eternal life as to say he could teach men to know the Lord. Joh 17:3, Jesus says, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou halt sent." Then that is "life eternal, that they might know thee," or else Jesus Christ has made a mistake. Show me a man who is destitute of eternal life, and I will show you a man who does not know the Lord here, without going to heathen lands to find him. 1Jo 4:7-8, refers to the same point: "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love." Have we not that kind of people in Owensville? Have you not people in Owensville who do not love God? If you have, John says they do not know him. If they do love him, they are born of him. Hence it is equivalent to saying, if they know him they are born of him. There are just as many people born of God as there are that love him; there are just as many that love him as there are that know him, in the sense of that text. Hence I would just as soon a man would say he was going about regenerating men as to say he was teaching them to know God. And that is giving the doctrine of the New Testament and the new covenant, when it says: "Thou shalt not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord."
— from Eld. Sylvester Hassell, "The Full and Divine Inspiration of the Old and New Testament Scriptures," printed as an Appendix in Eld. R.H. Pittman's Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers of the United States (1909).
THE POWER THAT WROUGHT SILENTLY, wonderfully, effectually in the tomb of Jesus, is the only force that can deliver men from the power of darkness, and translate them into the Kingdom of God's dear Son. They are dead in trespasses and sins, and none can quicken them but God. He reserves this right to himself, and he will not give this glory to another. The capacity or power to believe in God has many forms of expression. It is known in God's word as a quickening, a deliverance, a translation, an opening of the heart, an opening of blind eyes, opening the eyes of your understanding, born of God, born from above, born from incorruptible seed, called with a holy calling, partaking of the divine nature, the gift of eternal life, renewed in the spirit of your mind, renewing of the Holy Ghost, washing of regeneration, a creation in Christ Jesus, and many others, and all of which denote the working of God's mighty power. Turn where we may in God's word, a cloud of witnesses assures us that this mighty power goes before or underlies every manifestation of spiritual life. It is said that he that believeth is born of God, and as many as were ordained to eternal life, believe. This shows that God prepares the heart to receive his word. Of his own will begat he us, says James. He is the author and finisher of our faith, that is our belief and trust in God as a Redeemer and Savior. The tree must be made good. Man must be made a new creature. This is the work of God. It is wrought by a power equal to that which created the world. The Apostle, addressing the saints at Ephesus, writes thus: "Not of works lest any man should boast; for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Prior to this work the sinner is dead, as to spiritual things, and all the works that he performs are dead works; and thus he remains until life is imparted from Christ, who is the life of every believer; and the life which he imparts is eternal life; for power is given him of his Father, to "give eternal life to as many as He hath given Him." They are under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, the third person in the glorious trinity, by whom they are instructed, in a certain degree, into the knowledge of spiritual things, of which they were before ignorant. Among these is the moral law, which is enforced in its purity and spirituality, and convinces them of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the impurity of their own works, which fall infinitely short of justifying them in the sight of an infinitely pure and holy law giver, who will accept of nothing from his creatures, but the perfection of holiness. He now performs his services from notions of obedience, flowing from love to God and man. He has received the spirit of adoption, and, as far as his proportion of faith will admit, he claims God as his Father, and desires to approve himself as an obedient and loving child. All he does in the way of obedience, is in the name of the Lord Jesus, through whom he hopes, that himself and his works will be accepted before the throne of God. All his petitions, thanksgivings, and acknowledgements, are offered up through Christ; and he looks for all necessary blessings to flow down to him through the same channel.
— from Eld. Lemuel Potter's debate with Mr. H. Clay Yates on "Foreign Missions," ch.14 (Owensville, Indiana; Dec. 14-19, 1885)
WHEN PAUL WROTE OF BELIEVING according to God's mighty power, no doubt he called to mind his memorable journey to Damascus—that great crisis of his life—when, as he said, "It pleased God to reveal His Son in him." No man, or church, or angel, was pleading for Paul; it simply was the good pleasure of God's sovereign will, and so, this revelation of Christ Jesus, is that which is essential to "seeing the Kingdom of God," or receiving the things of the Spirit, and no man can reveal Jesus to his brother, saying, "Know the Lord."
— from the Pearl River Association of Mississippi Circular Letter, 1821, as published in Griffin's History of Mississippi Primitive Baptists (1853).
IN THIS EXPRESSION, "abiding in Christ" is implied a solid and effectual work of the Spirit, regenerating the soul, purging the conscience from dead works and circumcising the heart to love the Lord God. Such an one is a new creature in Christ, has passed from death unto life, and is free from condemnation; he is dead to sin, and can live no longer therein. Let no man think that he abides in Christ, or is in vital union with him when he can live in sin and take delight in gratifying fleshly lusts. It is by walking "even as he walked" that we have our claims warranted and our Christian evidences brightened.
— from Eld. James H. Oliphant, "Notes on Ephesians Chapter One," as published in The Gospel Messenger.
TO GIVE THE READER a just idea of the doctrine of the Baptists at that time , I will give the 5th, 6th and 7th Articles of Faith of the Kehukee Association: 5th. "We believe that God, before the foundation of the world, for the purpose of his own glory, did elect a certain number of men and angels to eternal life, and that this election is eternal, particular and unconditional on the creatures' part. 6th. "We also believe that it is utterly out of the power of men, as fallen creatures, to keep the laws of God properly, repent of their sins truly, or believe in Christ, except they be drawn by the Holy Ghost. 7th. "We believe that in God's own appointed time and way (by means which he has ordained), that the elect shall be called, justified, pardoned and sanctified, and that it is impossible that they can refuse the call, but shall be made willing by living grace, to receive the offers of mercy." I am not prepared to give the Articles of Faith of any other Association here but I know they were the same in substance as the above.
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "Abiding and Walking with Christ," The Primitive Preacher ch.7 (1888).
ABIDING AND WALKING in Christ are fruits of the Holy Spirit, and good evidences that the sinner has been quickened into divine or spiritual life, born of God, and made a new creature in Christ Jesus; that his old pleasures have passed away, and that he now loves the things he once hated. That a great change must be wrought in the heart and affections of the sinner to prepare him for the service of God, is plain, for God hath said, "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh; that they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them;" Eze 11:19-20. "And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them;" Jer 32:39. This is God's work wrought in the sinner independent of all human means or agencies; and it is called by Paul a creation in Christ Jesus; Eph 2:10. And it is this creation, this being quickened into spiritual life, and born of God, that prepares them to walk in good works, and be followers of God as dear children.
— from Eld. Gideon Potter's autobiography, published in The Gospel Messenger (1888).
[T]HE MOST DIRECT IDEA in the text, "I will say to the north give up, and to the south keep not back"—is, that it matters not where, or in what part of the world the Lord's chosen people are, or what may be their differences in outward surroundings or influences, whether in heathen lands or in civilized countries, the Lord knows them in a peculiar sense as his people, even when in the [quandary] of nature, "dead in sins,"—and at his own appointed and predestinated time he will speak an omnipotent—life-giving—irresistible word, that will give life to the dead, which will be personally felt and experienced by each child of God for himself, and will be followed by seeing, feeling and understanding things about himself and about God in a sense he never before had seen, felt or known. God has spoken by his Spirit, the word is gone forth as the lightning and it has taken effect—a man who was dead in trespasses and in sins is quickened by the omnipotent word of God; that same word that spoke the heavens and the earth into existence from nothing, and the same word of power that brought again our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead. And the glory of the matter is that not one of these designated people is to be left out, of this effectual call. They are designated as the Lord's sons and daughters. He says of them, "Thou art mine." His promise engages to bring the sons from far and the daughters from the ends of the earth, even every one that is called by his name. The promise is to all that are afar off, even to as many as the Lord our God shall call—Ac 2:40.
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "Abiding and Walking with Christ," The Primitive Preacher ch. 7 (1888).
AS DECLARED IN THE SCRIPTURES, no power less than the Holy Spirit of the Living God could have quickened us from death of sin, convicted us of our ruined condition and revealed to us the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, and caused us, from the depths of our souls, to hate the sins that slew our Saviour, and to love, incomparably above all others, the dear Lord who gave Himself for us, and to love His Written Word far above all other books, and His precious children above all other people, and His holy Law and blessed Gospel, and to desire, from a principle of love, to benefit our fellow-creatures and to glorify God by willing obedience to all His commandments and cheerful submission to all His dispensations. Holy life and light and love are the inner essence of God and of His salvation. They are the production of His Holy Spirit in His people. When perfectly developed in a creature, they will assimilate him to God and make him perfectly happy; and when perfectly prevalent, according to God's promise, on the new earth, wherein shall dwell righteousness, they will banish sin and its curse forever, and transform the world into a heavenly paradise.
— from Eld. W.M. Mitchell, "The North and South Give Up at the Command of God," The Gospel Messenger (Jun. 1888).
THE ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY of God is set forth in all his works. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. And where the word of a king is, there is power according to the dignity and dominion of the king. The life giving and creative word of God is like himself, omnipotent and irresistible. He speaks, and it is done; he commandest and it stands fast. When he speaks the life-giving word to the dead they live, and by the effect of that life they see, hear and feel. They see their own condition as sinners under the wrath of God. They see the holy demands of Justice, and feel indeed that they are under the curse of God's law. They feel the necessity of something being done speedily for their relief, and, thinking it rests mostly with themselves, their best efforts are put forth. ...But hark! the command of God, whose voice shakes not only the earth, but heaven also, comes to them with power and love. It comes with astonishment and with great comfort. It comes from his sovereign throne above, saying, "Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money." These poor, hungry souls are astonished to be so fully identified in this heavenly command of God. "Every one that thirsteth," and "he that hath no money;" poor beggars and outcasts, helpless and penniless, having, like the poor woman, spent all their resources on many quack doctors, and grew nothing better, but rather worse. Here is help for you—there is hope for you—and here you flee for refuge to lay hold by faith of the hope set before you in the word and promise of God, and in the blood and righteousness of Christ. Come, for thy Father says come.
— from Eld. Sylvester Hassell, "The Full and Divine Inspiration of the Old and New Testament Scriptures," printed as an Appendix in Eld. R.H. Pittman's Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers of the United States (1907).
THE NEW BIRTH as held forth in the Scriptures signifies a great change made in the heart of the sinner by the Spirit—it means that something is done in us and for us, we can not do for ourselves, and to which we were before strangers; and on account of which we begin to live as we did not live before—a life which lasts forever. For as by our natural birth we are born to die, so by our spiritual birth we are born to live forever, not of a corruptible, but an incorruptible seed which liveth and abideth forever. See 1Pe 1:23. This birth is not a change of the substance and faculties of the soul; sin did not destroy the essence of the soul, but its rectitude; so grace does not give a new faculty to the soul, but a new quality—it is a new stringing of the heart to make new harmony,—as David says, he hath put a new song in my mouth; also even praises to our Lord. The nature and greatness of this change is further illustrated in the Scriptures by the high terms of passage from death unto life—from darkness unto light—a translation out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son, and even creation, as in Paul to the Ephesians, for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. This change makes the sinner quite contrary to what he was before—as contrary as light is to darkness—as if an Ethiopian should change his skin or a Leopard his spots, for in this change God takes away the heart of stone and gives a heart of flesh, by which we are taught that this is an inward change, for in the understanding there is light instead of darkness, and in the will there is a compliance instead of stubbornness, and in the affections there is love instead of enmity; the carnal mind that was once enmity against God and not subject to his law, is made to delight in the law of God after the inward man. The eyes of his understanding being enlightened, he knows what is the hope of his calling and what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance among the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward those who believe according to the working of his mighty power. See Eph 1:18-19. So we see in this heaven born soul there is not only a mere change of sentiment, but a radical change of heart and principle, so all he does in matters of religion is not from the terrors of a slave, but of choice, for he is in the possession of that faith, which works by love. The ways of religion are ways of pleasantness to him and all her paths are peace. And that it appears more plain that this change pertains to the quality of the soul, let us for a moment consider the great alteration it effects in the views and apprehensions of the sinner: he has new thoughts of God—of Jesus Christ, and the way of salvation through him. Before, he lived without any true knowledge of God thinking him to be altogether such an one as himself—capable of being operated on as a creature; but now he sees that with God there is terrible majesty, perfect purity, strict justice and Divine Sovereignty, working all things after the council of his own will. He also entertains very different thoughts of himself—he once acted as his own master, believing he possessed sufficient power or wisdom to be his own agent in matters of religion as well as in other things; vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind—he felt himself exalted above God and all that is called God, excusing his greatest enormities and glory in his own shame; but now he sees the evil of his former ways—he mourns sincerely for his former sins, and sees the wickedness of his heart from whence they flowed. He ranks himself with the chief of sinners and wonders at the patience of God and not casting him off with some sudden stroke of his judgment, and exclaims, God be merciful to me a sinner! He also entertains very different views of Christ and the way of salvation through him, he once esteemed him like a root out of dry ground. However much he might be esteemed by others, he had nothing whereof he should desire him. But he now views him every way suited to him a poor helpless sinner, in whose blood he has redemption, even the forgiveness of his sins, and esteems him the chief among 10,000, and the one altogether lovely. He once thought the way of salvation through Christ was established on terms and conditions, and that he must both will and run, or never obtain mercy. He now sees that salvation is of grace through faith, and that not of himself, it is the gift of God, and that it is not of him that wills, or him that runs, but of God that showeth mercy. In this we see old things have passed away and behold all things have become new, and what things were gain to him he now counts lost for Christ, that he may be found in him, not having on his own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. See Php 3:7-9. But this change more fully develops itself in its effects on the moral conduct of the sinner: the proud and haughty wretch, now be- comes a humble penitent; yea, the drunkard becomes a sober man without the aid of abstinence societies: it makes an honest man of a rogue—a man of truth of a liar.—Looking back at his past conduct he exclaims, alas what fruit had I in these things whereof I am now ashamed, for the end of these things is death! Yes, the swearing sinner has now become a praying saint, not using the self-applauding praise of the proud; but he prays with the Spirit and with the understanding. Oh! What a display of invincible grace! Well might the Poet say:
— from Eld. W.M. Mitchell, "Ho! Every One that Thirsteth, Come," The Gospel Messenger (May 1889).
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
Oh! To grace how great a debtor,
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Ah! Let that grace Lord, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to thee.
THIS GREAT CHANGE of state and nature in its entire fullness I have thought according to the Scriptures, begins in the renewing of the heart, Spirit or soul of man, and is completed in the renewing or resurrection of the body. In regeneration here the man's spirit is renewed, his will and affections are changed by the work of the Holy Spirit alone. And after death just as real a change is wrought in the renewal or resurrection of the body by the same blessed Spirit. Thus changed by the renewing work of the Holy Ghost, the renewed part never sins any more. "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin;" for God's seed, "which is Christ," remaineth in him, and keeps his soul pure. Moreover, "Christ in the soul" enables it to curb the sinful appetites, and so the man is led to "walk after the Spirit." Yet his remaining evil dispositions, the unrenewed part called the "old man" or "fleshly lusts," "war against the soul," and bring the man into sin and grief. But every one that now loveth is now born of God—born from above or by God's power, and is enabled by Christ remaining in him, to so keep under and bring these fleshly lusts into subjection, that it is said, "sin shall not have dominion over you."
— from the Redstone Association Circular Letter, as published in Signs of the Times (Jun. 6, 1839).
ART. 6. WE BELIEVE all those who were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, are in time effectually called, regenerated, converted and sanctified, and are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
— from Eld. Moses D. Denman, "Ye Must Be Born Again" (late 1800s), published posthumously in Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907).
CONSIDERED AS CORRUPT and unholy, in the new birth we are sanctified or set apart by God the Father from the service of satan to the service of God. With the heart made pure by the renewing work of the Spirit we are led in paths of righteousness. The sanctification or holiness of Jesus Christ imputed to us in regeneration is entirely perfect. But our practical sanctification, holiness or "good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them," is imperfect. For the Scriptures says, "Ye cannot do the things that ye would." So, though we desire, we cannot perform sinless perfection. "If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." And this work of sanctification, begun in the spirit or soul, shall also be completed when this corrupt body shall be fashioned like Jesus, and raised from the grave incorruptible.
— an original Mississippi Association (the first association in Mississippi, organized Sept. 1807) Article of Faith, Griffin's History of Mississippi Primitive Baptists p. 67 (1853).
IF MAN WERE SPIRITUAL in his creation, there could be no need of a second birth to prepare him for spiritual enjoyments, but the first man was not spiritual, but natural, and just qualified to enjoy the natural blessings with which God surrounded him. To enjoy any higher state than this he must be born a second time—born of the Spirit.
— from Eld. Moses D. Denman, "Ye Must Be Born Again" (late 1800s), published posthumously in Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907).
LED BY THE CARNAL MIND, some misrepresent Election by supposing two young men trained by the same parents under the same influences; and that one of them is wicked and dies in unbelief cursing God, yet being one of the elect he is seated in heaven. Now this is a very unfair or unscriptural view of Election. For the Bible plainly teaches that "the wicked shall be cast into hell," and that God has chosen us "that we should be holy." Thus, you see, none of the elect ever die while unchanged or wicked, for they have been chosen to holiness. Hence, Election or God's choice includes the New Birth and belief of the truth. 2Th 2:13. So instead of the elect dying in unbelief cursing God as unfairly supposed, we here find that God has chosen them to be changed and to walk in good works. Yes, poor, trembling one grieved by sin, though you feel unworthy, God has chosen you to be brought by the Spirit, through sanctification and belief of the truth of salvation. With like unfairness the natural mind supposes that the other boy lives righteously, believes and loves God, and dies praying to the Lord for mercy; and yet not being one of the elect, he is sent to hell. But this as in the other case, contradicts the word of God. For instead of loving, praying believers being sent to hell, the Bible plainly declares that "Every one that believeth is born of God," 1Jo 4:7; and "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life," Joh 3:36; and "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Ro 10:13. Here we see, all who believe and love God and beg Him for mercy have everlasting life, are born of God, and shall be saved in heaven according to the election of grace.
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "The Second Birth," The Primitive Preacher ch. 3 (1888).
[T]HE QUICKENED and distressed sinner, led by the Holy Spirit, who takes of the things of Christ and shows them to him (Joh 16:14)—third step in salvation—beholds, by the eye of faith, "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world" (Joh 1:29), sees "Christ as the end of the law for righteousness to him as a believer" (Ro 10:4), feels "the fellowship of Christ's sufferings," is "crucified with Him," and "conformed to His death," and "lives by faith of the Son of God, who loved him, and gave Himself for him" (Php 3:10; Ga 2:20), mourns over his wretched sins that pierced and slew his Lord with an inconsolable mourning except by the consolations of the blessed Gospel, and feels the cleansing and emancipating efficacy of that precious blood that poured from the veins of his dying Redeemer (Zec 12; 13), and rejoices in the Lord Jesus Christ as the God of his salvation, and—fourth step in salvation—delights in obedience to God (Joh 3:21), and lives on forever, and can no more perish or die eternally than Jesus Himself can die an eternal death (Php 3:3; Joh 14:19; 3:16; Col 3:3-4). He is a sheep of Christ, for whom Jesus laid down His human life, and to whom He has given spiritual and eternal life, so that he can never perish (Joh 10:15-16,26-30; 17:1-3,24). His believing in Christ, instead of being the cause, is simply one effect and evidence of his having already been born of God, and having eternal life (1Jo 5:1; Joh 6:47).
— from Eld. Moses D. Denman, "Election" (late 1800s), published posthumously in Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907).
DIVINE LIGHT HAS PENETRATED the dark chambers of the soul by the quickening powers of the Holy Spirit, bringing the dead sinner to life; opening his blinded eyes, recalling self in all its loathsome deformity and conception. "The blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness"—Isa 29:18. What shall they see? Why their depraved wicked natures, their just condemnation, the holiness, and purity of God; they see their lost, ruined and helpless condition, and are made to mourn and weep and cry for mercy. The Lord hears them, for they are as the smoking flax which he will not quench, and as the bruised reed that he will not break. They are now of a broken spirit and a contrite heart, and such the Lord will not despise. He has opened their blind eyes, "To bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house." Nor is this all. He says, "I will bring the blind by a way they knew not; I will lead them in paths they have not known; I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them."—Isa. xlii. 16.
— from Eld. Sylvester Hassell, "The Divine Order of Salvation," The Gospel Messenger (Dec. 1896).
IN THE NEW BIRTH, a new life, a new nature, a new heart, a new mind, a new principle, a new will, are imparted; the former nature or principle was fleshly or corrupt, the new nature or principle is spiritual or holy. The second step in the manifestation of eternal life, which may seem to us simultaneous with the first step, but which we know from the Scriptures that I have cited is caused by the regenerating Spirit of God, is conviction of sin, repentance for sin, indicated, in our text, by the pain and terror of the Israelites bitten by the fiery serpents in the wilderness, and applying to Moses, the law, for relief (Joh 3:14; Nu 21:5-9). The serpent was cursed by God; and the fiery serpents represent the curses of God's fiery law against sinners. When the Holy Spirit comes to us, He first convicts us of sin (Joh 16:8-9). The bitten Israelites exclaim, "We have sinned" (Nu 21:7). If they had been dead, they would not have felt the bite of the serpents; and so, when we are dead in sin, we do not mourn because of our sins. But, being the chosen people of God, and being alive, they were distressed by the poison rankling within them and the fear of death, and they penitently and earnestly sought healing and relief.
— from Eld. J.H. Purifoy, "Evidences of the New Birth," The Gospel Messenger (Jun. 1879).
WHEN A MAN IS BORN AGAIN (we would not say born over) he, the man, becomes a new creature, but not a new creature in flesh and blood—for, so far as flesh and blood are concerned, he is the same creature—but as woman in pangs of travail is delivered by birth, so he is delivered by faith, and rejoices in the truth. He is born of the Spirit—for God is a Spirit. He is new in spirit, new in hope, faith and love, and the works of faith. He is new in his views of truth, of God and himself; old things have passed away, and he is one spirit with the Lord, and hates what God hates, and loves what God loves; and hates what he once loved, and loves what he once hated. The old man is still, however, left; but the Christian man—the man himself as a Christian—lives by faith. It is the same man who is thus changed, who has now in spirit partaken of the divine nature; that now has struggles and hates his own depravity who once had no such struggles. It was the same Paul who, after his change loved unto death the same truth that he before hated unto death. If it was not Paul himself, who was it? It was the same Gadarene who, one day was a fierce, wild and ungovernable savage, that sat the next day meekly at the feet of Jesus as a little child. He was the same man of flesh and blood—the same in size, features and stature—that he was the day before, but not the same in spirit; yet he had the depravity of nature to contend with until the struggle should end by death. He was a new creature; and what sort of a creature? Why, he was a "wonder" from the Lord of hosts; a man with two natures—the old man and the new man—such a being as no man could be who had never sinned and been born again; both a creature and a child, both created and begotten, both of God and of man.
— from Eld. Sylvester Hassell, "The Divine Order of Salvation," The Gospel Messenger (Dec. 1896).
— from Eld. J.R. Respess, "The Old and the New Man," The Gospel Messenger (Nov. 1883).
Elder J. R. (John Richard)
NEVER KNEW a wiser, humbler, kinder, gentler, more unselfish, more Christ-like person than dear Bro. Respess. By great and manifold afflictions, seasoned with Divine grace, his spirit was disciplined, softened, sweetened, and purified, and thus prepared for entrance into eternal rest.
— Eld. Sylvester Hassell, as quoted in Pittman's Biographical History
OUR DEAR Bro. Respess was truly a man of God and a powerful preacher. When in the spirit of preaching it has seemed to us that no Christian could hear him without feeling the power and sweetness of the word of God burning in his heart, His preaching was in great plainness and simplicity, and though he was learned in the schools of man, he never made any attempt at excellency of speech of man's wisdom. We have never known a preacher who might have said more truthfully, "My speech and my preaching is not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power."
— Eld. W.M. Mitchell, as quoted in Pittman's Biographical History
AS A PUPIL in his early school days, he was bright and studious and graduated at the University of Georgia, admitted to the bar, with every promise of success in his chosen profession of law.
— Pittman's Biographical History
HE WAS GRADUATED with distinction at Franklin College, the University of the state, in the class of several of Georgia's noted sons. He returned home, and was soon admitted to the bar with the intention, and ability so to do, of hewing out for himself fame and fortune in the things of this life, and soon took, as a young lawyer, the front rank, with every indication of a bright future in his profession. But God willed with him otherwise; He had for him a nobler and better usefulness; one in which victory is won through suffering and sacrifice.
— Eld. W.C. Cleveland, as quoted in Pittman's Biographical History
SOME YEARS afterwards he was deeply exercised in mind about his spiritual condition, was given a hope in the Saviour, [and] united with Ebenezer Church in Upson County, where he was ordained....
— Pittman's Biographical History
BUT IN SO CALLING him to a different field of labor, it was at no expense of the great natural abilities with which He had already endowed him; in fact, through the Spirit's power they were strengthened, utilized, and constantly grew, thereby making his life more and more useful to the children of men, and adding an additional pillar in the great arena of faith. Many a man possessed of his natural and spiritual abilities, would soon have forgotten his high calling, and become vain and proud, especially when added to these gifts, was the love and admiration of all who knew him.
— Eld. W.C. Cleveland, as quoted in Pittman's Biographical History
IN HIS CONDUCT and conversation he seemed to breathe forth the very spirit of Jesus. He wished that every other preacher in the world were a greater preacher than himself, and every other man a better man. He was willing to be trampled on by the whole church if thereby the name of Christ could be exalted. If his enemies spoke evil of him, he would say, "Perhaps it is so, perhaps it is so," —and he would speak well of them. If they deeply injured and wronged him, he would astonish me by ascribing to them the most charitable motives.
— Eld. Sylvester Hassell, as quoted in Pittman's Biographical History
Born — Oct. 2, 1831 (Upson County, Georgia)
Convicted of sin — c.1855 Baptized — 1856 (Ebenezer Church)
Ordained — 1858 (Elds. John Dickey, Cromwell Cleveland, Samuel Bentley)
Primary field of labor — Georgia
Churches of service — Hepzibah (Red Hill), Philippi, possibly others
Deceased — Feb. 4, 1895
Writings of note — founder and editor of The Gospel Messenger (1879-1895); author of the booklet Naaman the Syrian
----------"THE SECRET OF THE LORD is with them that fear him," and we must be "born again," be new creatures in Christ, be taught of the Father, before we can serve God acceptably. For our holy life and conversation are only outward evidences of the holy principle implanted in the soul by the Holy Ghost in the work of regeneration. By keeping the commandments will give evidence to others that we are the children of God; but we have God's Spirit bearing witness with our spirits that we are born of God. This internal witness is the great Comforter of the saints while traveling through this wilderness of sore conflicts and deep distress. It is the spirit of adoption whereby we cry Abba, Father, and as many as are sons are led by that Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh. Repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, are fruits of the Spirit, and evidences of our saved state. To experience a daily warfare, the flesh warring against the spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, so that we cannot do the things we would, are evidences of the new birth. To abhor ourselves and to confess our sins before the Lord, are evidences of a gracious state. In fact, God's people are a poor and afflicted people, but they shall eat and lie down, for God will lead them beside the still waters, and cause them to lie down in green pastures. Experimentally, Christians shall all be taught of the Lord, and great shall be their peace.
[T]HE EXPERIENCE OF ALL THE SAINTS, ...attests, that the work of regeneration is wholly of the Lord, for not only have they not helped in the work; but did all they could to hinder it—their carnal reason and their senses, their lust, and passions, were all up in arms against it, they were every way averse to it, and indeed when they saw the necessity of salvation, they sought it, by the works of the law and until at last stripped of all legal hope they were brought as humble suppliants to the foot of sovereign mercy, were led to renounce righteous as well as sinful self, so almighty was that arm of the Lord that was revealed, that every opposing power was subdued, the strongest prejudices vanquished, the most corrupt habits mortified, so that of reluctant sinners, God has made them by his grace, the willing subjects of the Redeemer's kingdom, and therefore, their language is, "Not unto us, not unto us, but to thy name" Blessed Lord "be all the glory" God [claims] this work for his own, hence it is written "I'll give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you and I will take away the stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh," see Eze 36:26, in this passage there are no less than three I wills, all declarative that God will do the whole work again as it is written "this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people," these words are not spoken potentially; as only a possible thing, that may or can take place, nor subjunctively, as a doubtful thing, dependent upon a condition, but indicatively, I will, and they shall. We read in the Acts of the Apostles, that the Lord opened the heart of Lydia, as he certainly does the hearts of all his people, for the reception of his word, that the work is of grace will further appear when we reflect that all the Christian graces which are of the Spirit's operation, are represented in the sacred volume, as the special gifts of God, particularly faith and repentance. Faith is expressly said not to be of ourselves; "By grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." And of the Philippians, St. Paul affirms, that it was given to them in the behalf of Christ not only to believe on his name, but also to suffer for his sake. Repentance is likewise a gift of God's grace. "If God peradventure may give them repentance unto life," "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance unto Israel and forgiveness of sins." We are aware that we have now approached a subject of much disputation, and perhaps none has more divided the American Baptists than this, for while some in their ministry are constantly urging the unbelieving and impenitent to the exercise of faith and repentance, as bounden duties, and the want of these as constituting, the matter of their condemnation. There are others who more correctly and more consistently, preach the necessity of these Christian graces, not indeed as required duties, but as pure covenant blessings, freely bestowed by a gracious God upon all the heirs of salvation. In this latter sentiment we entirely concur, and will briefly assign our reasons for so doing. We take it for granted, that it is divine faith and repentance, which is the subject at issue, in contradistinction from all other kinds of faith and repentance, which are merely the natural acts of the human mind. Theologians have distinguished between several kinds of faith such as miraculous, historical, theoretical, evangelical, &c., and several kinds of repentance, such as national, legal, evangelical, &c., the scriptures warranted a distinction; but perhaps the better distinction as well as the more simple, is that of natural and divine, the former being produced by the natural powers of the human mind, the latter by the alone power of the Holy Spirit.
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson's letter on "The Commission," Zion's Advocate (Apr. 1856).
BAPTISM IS THE ANSWER of a good conscience toward God. It is not to answer the conscience, but the answer the conscience gives. The conscience, then, is made good before baptism. How is it made good? "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Heb 9:14. This shows that it is the blood of Christ that purges the conscience, and that this is done before we serve God.
— from the Baltimore Association Circular Letter, as published in Signs of the Times (Jun. 30, 1837).
THE COLOSSIAN SAINTS WERE TAUGHT that it was God, "who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." These saints were men and women who had once been slaves under the power of darkness, but had been delivered from that bondage, and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son. This was a great change in their condition, and they were brought into a kingdom that Christ says no man can enter without being born again.
— from Eld. John R. Daily, "Water Baptism" part 2, Zion's Advocate (Nov. 1900, vol. 39 no. 11).
[T]HE FELLOWSHIP OF THE SAINTS is the effect of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us, and is confirmed by a joyful reception of the truth and obedience to the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ; hence it is said, "Everyone that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him," and we are constrained to judge favorably or unfavorably those claiming to be sons and daughters of Zion, in proportion as we see the image of Christ manifested in their walk and conversation; from all of which it is worse than idle to say we must fellowship this or that, seeing that fellowship flows spontaneously from the implantation of grace in the heart.
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "The Second Birth," The Primitive Preacher ch. 3 (1888).
OUR CHILDREN ARE GIFTS to us from the Lord, and it is our duty to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and to train them up in the way they should go. ...But when we have given our children all the religious and moral culture in our power, and have done all we can to form their religious and moral character, and to prepare them for usefulness in society, we must not forget to impress upon their minds that all this will not make Christians of them; that human culture and human instrumentality can never prepare them to see or enter into the kingdom of God. To be made a citizen of that kingdom, and enter into its enjoyments, a man must be born again. He must be resurrected from his death in sin, and be made a new creature in Christ Jesus.
— from the Licking Association Circular Letter, as published in Signs of the Times (1842).
EVERY UNREGENERATED HUMAN BEING is a heathen. What the heathen in both unchristian and in professedly Christian lands need is, not human money and means and methods and machinery, but a Pentecostal baptism of God's Holy Spirit, convincing them of sin, of righteousness and of judgment, leading them to fear and tremble at the infinite terrors of the Sinai law, and then sweetly drawing them to Calvary, and forever melting their stony, obdurate hearts with a transforming view of the meek, lowly and lovely Lamb of God, bleeding, agonizing and dying upon the bitter cross for their sins and for their salvation. Thus only will the inborn enmity of the carnal mind against God be superseded by that heartfelt love of Him which is greater than hope and faith, and which is the fulfilling of the law.
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "The Second Birth," The Primitive Preacher ch. 3 (1888).
THE BELIEVER IS ONE who has been born of God, for John says, "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." The Spirit of God dwells in the believer, for it is said, "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself;" and "the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." The believer has everlasting life and can never come into condemnation again, for Jesus says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." Those who are commanded to be baptized, then, are born of God, have the Spirit of God within them as a witness, have everlasting life, and shall never come into a state of condemnation.
— from Elds. C.B. & Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God ch. 10 (1886).
AS A RESULT OF SIN man begins to die or decay in body, the moment he begins to live. By indulging sinful appetites, he thinks to find sweet joys, but instead he finds disappointment. His body is subjected to painful disease and his mind and conscience is defiled. He is dead in sin. Now before he may dwell with God, the sinner must be renewed in mind, changed in heart and conduct, he must be born again. In this renewing work of the Holy Spirit, God takes away the hard and stony heart and gives a heart of flesh, or a tender, loving forgiving heart. Jesus gives the rebel sinner life, from his death and sins, and He gives the precious fruits, faith and repentance. The man's sins were laid upon Jesus and caused His suffering; and now in return, the righteousness of Jesus is imputed to the sinner. This, my friends, is the only way of salvation. My only hope of heaven is, that my sins were imputed to Christ, and His obedience is imputed to me. For "by the obedience of one (Christ) many shall be made righteous." Thus cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus and clothed with His imputed righteousness, I shall be "freely justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." This change wrought upon the sinner in regeneration is great and marvelous. This wonderful change is wrought in the heart by the unaided work of God's Spirit, in a way "past finding out." This new birth or change of heart is called the "washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost," and is known by the fruits—love and obedience. The man is changed from the love of sin to the love of holiness. Before this change the man loves sin, afterwards he loves God and hates sin.
— from Eld. John R. Daily, "Water Baptism" part 2, Zion's Advocate (Nov. 1900, vol. 39 no. 11).
"AND THIS IS THE RECORD, that God hath given us eternal life." This life is given the sinner, dead in sins, when God quickens him, and raises him up out of that state of death, and by his divine power makes him partaker of the divine nature, and circumcises his heart to love the Lord God. In this work the sinner is put in possession of a life he never had before. Man in his natural state is a sinner, dead in sins. The love of God is not in his heart, and the fear of God is not before his eyes. He must, therefore, be changed in nature and affections to prepare him to see and enter into the kingdom of God; for without holiness no man can see God. If we consider how sinful and corrupt man is in his fallen nature, his mind blinded by the god of this world so that spiritual things are foolishness to him, and he can not know them; and what God is, the place where God's throne is, and where no unclean thing can enter, it will appear clear in the very nature of things that the man must be born again, for it would be simply impossible for him to be happy in heaven if he were not holy. God is perfect in holiness; all things relating to true religion are holy and spiritual: but man by nature is unholy, and can not relish or even discern that excellency. God and the nature of holiness and happiness are unchangeable; then man must be changed or he never can be conformed to them, or be happy in them. It is therefore man, the fallen sinner that must be born again, and changed in the affections of his soul, from hatred to love. Love is one of the fruits of the Spirit of God, begotten in the soul of the sinner born of that Spirit and an evidence by which we may know that we are born of God, for, "He that loveth is born of God."
— from Eld. Moses D. Denman, "Man Lost by Sin and Saved by Christ" (late 1800s), published posthumously in Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907).
IT TAKES MORE THAN WORDS and arguments to subdue the enmity and hatred of the carnal heart, and to give spiritual life and sensibilities to the natural man, the man dead in sin. This Paul knew by experience, for he had heard them preach the gospel of peace. He had heard the eloquent and unanswerable appeal made by the dying Stephen, but words and arguments could not move him, and make a believer of him, until God revealed his arm, and by his mighty power subdued the hatred and murderous feelings of his heart, and revealed Christ in him and to him, and Paul would testify that it is "By the grace of God I am what I am." For if God's grace and almighty power had not interposed in his case, and changed the enmity, and hatred, and murderous feelings of his heart, he never would have been any thing else but a bloodthirsty persecutor of Christ and his people. Paul's case is not an exception. All the sons and daughters of Adam have the same heart of hatred, and mind of enmity against God, are led by the prince of this world, the spirit that works in the children of disobedience. The fear of God is not before their eyes, the ways of peace they have not known. It is their delight to fulfill the desires of the flesh and the carnal mind. Nothing but the power of God can change the affections of their hearts, and make them love the things they once hated. A new life, new affections and desires, have to be begotten within them. They have to be made new creatures. The change is a great one, and is called a birth, a resurrection, a creation, and regeneration, and without this change no one can ever know or enjoy spiritual blessings or comforts in this world, or inherit and enter into the bright and endless joys of the upper world. I read, and saw the truth most plain:
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "The Second Birth," The Primitive Preacher ch. 3 (1888).
MAN'S GOOD WORKS always follow the "new birth," as fruit or proof that the tree is already made good. And just as surely as the tree is made good the fruit will be made good. But let no one depend wholly nor in part on good works or human obedience in order to eternal salvation.
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "The Second Birth," The Primitive Preacher ch. 3 (1888).
THE MONERGISTIC OR SCRIPTURAL THEORY of regeneration teaches that there is but one efficient agent or actor in the renovation of the soul, namely, the Holy Spirit; that the will of fallen. man is, like all his other faculties, utterly depraved, and has not the least ability or inclination to act holily until it has been renewed by Divine grace. This view was plainly set forth by Christ and His Apostles, as shown in the texts last quoted [Joh 1:13; 3:3-8; Ro 9:16; 11:6; Php 1:6; 2:13; Ps 110:3; Jas 1:18]. It was first in the Latin Catholic "Church" clearly and powerfully maintained by Augustine (born 353, died 430), the ablest and most spiritual-minded of the so-called "Latin Fathers," who at first was an advocate of synergism, but was led by his deep experience and profound mind and intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures to abandon synergism for monergism.
— from Eld. Moses D. Denman, "Sore Conflicts" (late 1800s), published posthumously in Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907).
THE FIRST BIRTH IS OF THE FLESH and of man, but the second birth is thus described, Joh 1:12-13; "But as many as received him, to them gave he power," (or the right or privilege,) "to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Hence, man has nothing to do, directly or indirectly, in bringing about this birth. It is of God; and in this birth the sinner is made partaker of the divine nature, and enters into the enjoyments of the spiritual kingdom, which no human instrumentalities, or human education, or training can fit him for without this birth. This birth is a soul work, and is effected by the power of God in the soul of the poor, fallen, and ruined sinner of Adam's race. It is not a mere change of action and nothing more, but the heart, the affections, the desires of the soul, are so changed that they love the things they once hated, and hate the things they once loved. The change is so great that it is called in Scripture the taking away the stony heart out of their flesh, and giving them a heart of flesh. The regenerated sinner is called a new creature in Christ Jesus. Many figures are used in the sacred word to illustrate this change. In my text it is called a birth; it is called a quickening in Eph 2:5 ; in Col 1:13, it is called a translation into the kingdom of God's dear Son; and in Col 3:1, it is called a resurrection ; and also in Joh 5:25. In these, and all other places where this change is spoken of, it is the sinner dead in sin that has to experience it, and then it is more than a mere change of actions; it is a change of spiritual condition, of having passed from death unto life. The change is so great that none who have ever felt it can be made to doubt or question the truth of it. You might just as well try to convince the blind man who was born blind, that no change had been effected upon him when he had received the power of sight. The change in the sinner is just as great spiritually when he is quickened into spiritual life, as was the change naturally in Lazarus when he was raised from the dead and restored to his sisters.
— from Elds. C.B. & Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God ch.10 (1886).
THE GOSPEL CAN BE PREACHED much more powerfully by the life than by the tongue; but the direct regeneration of the Holy Spirit is the only power that can make a Christian.
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "The Second Birth," The Primitive Preacher ch. 3 (1888).
OUR SOUL OR SPIRIT IS SANCTIFIED or made pure at the new birth, which is expressed by acts of body and mind. Our body shall be made perfectly pure at its resurrection. We have no desire to sin, for we have had our "fill of sin." While we are not yet clear of sin we are free from it. "Now being made free from sin and become servants to God," etc. Ro 6:22. We are free from it in that we are no longer under its kingly reign or dominion, for we read, "Sin shall not have dominion over you." Ro 6:14. And "as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." Here you see we are not under the reign of sin, but we are under the reign of grace.
— from Elds. C.B. & Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God ch.10 (1886).
THE "OLD MAN" CERTAINLY REMAINS after the new birth, but it is not permitted unto him any more to reign. Although he maintains a warfare, yet he must be subdued. "Where sin has abounded, grace doth much more abound," and "where sin has reigned unto death, even there, and even so, doth grace reign." But where shall we say this is? I think with Elder Trott, that it is in the soul, and that the soul is the battle ground.
— from Eld. Moses D. Denman, "The Humbling Presence of Jesus" (late 1800s), published posthumously in Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907).
"A NEW HEART WILL I ALSO GIVE YOU, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."—Eze 36:26. In this prophecy the Lord promises to sprinkle clean water upon his people to cleanse them, and to put his Spirit within them to cause them to walk in his precepts. This work belongs to all ages and dispensations. It was as needful that Abel should be thus favored as the last one that shall be brought into the kingdom. ...Man is wholly unable to free himself from this state of depravity, because he lacks the necessary disposition to do so, and if he even had the disposition he has not the power. If this inability were physical the failure to act would be excusable, but it is of a moral nature and is not an excuse for man's depravity but is the depravity itself. No amount of education will eradicate it. As well might one try to educate a vulture to hate the putrid food its nature craves and relish the food of the domestic fowl. As well might one try to train a wolf to be a sheep. The leopard could as easily change his spots, and the Ethiopian his skin, as could the depraved sinner change the enmity of his heart into love for God. The only remedy is for God to take away the stony heart and give a heart of flesh. This means a change of disposition which is effected by the sovereign power of God, the power that called light out of darkness, and raised up Christ from the dead.
— from Eld. Ephraim Rittenhouse, in Signs of The Times (Dec. 1849).
CHRIST IS NOT ASHAMED to call them brethren whom he is engaged to bring to glory, for he has atoned for all their sins by the shedding of his own blood, and he takes away their stony hearts and gives them hearts of flesh. A man of temperate habits and upright life would be ashamed to associate with drunkards and thieves, and equalize himself with them. But suppose he had the power to lift them up and change their nature so as to cause them to become sober and respectable, he would not feel ashamed of their companionship. Thus Christ has not disgraced himself in becoming a brother to the elect of God, for he has given himself for them to redeem them from all iniquity. They are purified, and a new disposition is given them, and his name is glorified in their exaltation. While the benefit is all theirs, the praise is all due to him. When he says to them, "I freely forgive all your sins," their hearts are made to glow with love and to rejoice in his sweet fellowship. This fellowship once truly enjoyed begets in the heart a longing for frequent enjoyments of it. The sweetest joy of a regenerated heart is to be able to say, "My beloved is mine, and I am his." To hear the bridegroom say in accents of tenderest love, "Thou art all fair my love, there is no spot in thee," melts the soul, and raptures of inexpressible joy are experienced. There is, then, a panting of the soul after God, as the hart panteth after the water brooks.
— from Eld. John R. Daily, "The New Heart," Zion's Advocate (Dec. 1898, vol. 37 no. 12).
Joh 3:7... TEACHES A GREAT TRUTH applicable to every man and woman belonging to the human family, be they great or small, rich or poor, learned or unlearned. If they are born of Christian parents, reared up under religious instruction, trained up in the Sabbath-school, and human skill exerted upon them to form the religious character, however good the character may be, and how ever much and closely the forms of religion may be observed, the truth of my text still stands in all its solemn force: "Ye must be born again."
— from Eld. John R. Daily, "Fellowship with Christ," Zion's Advocate (Apr. 1900, vol.39 no.4).
WE ARE COMMANDED to "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Heb 12:4. Without the imputed holiness of Christ, producing the fruit of holy, loving obedience to Jesus, none shall see the Lord. Christ's holiness imputed to all loving believers, is entirely perfect; our holiness or obedience to Him is imperfect.
— from Eld. Gregg M. Thompson, "The Second Birth," The Primitive Preacher ch. 3 (1888).
THE BLOOD OF CHRIST alone removes the guilt of sin,—his holy anointing frees us from its reigning dominion. Yes, the religion that saves the soul from sin, guilt, and condemnation, includes a mediator, who died for our sins, a change of heart, or being born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, (of his own will he begets us by the word of truth,) not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, he works in us, both to will and to do. This spirit of grace, shed abundantly on the soul, causes it to bring forth the fruits of love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against which there is no law. This immortal seed, which abides with the saints, not only produces the internal fruits, just mentioned, but is a stronger stimulus to prompt to every good work, both religious and human, than the horrid fear of punishment, and the flattering hope of reward.
— from Eld. Moses D. Denman, "Holiness" (late 1800s), published posthumously in Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907).
SCRIPTURES CITED BY WRITERS IN THIS ISSUE Nu 21:8-9 — And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. De 32:10 — He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. 2Ch 20:3 — And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. Ps 1:1-4 — Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Ps 9:17 — The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. Ps 23:2-3 — He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Ps 25:14 — The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant. Ps 40:3 — And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Ps 42:1 — As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, 0 God. Ps 45:1-2 — My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. Ps 51:17— The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, 0 God, thou wilt not despise. Ps 65:4 — Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple. Ps 76:4-5 — Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey. The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands. Ps 85:9-11 — Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Ps 91:4 — He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Ps 110:3 — Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. Ps 119:2 — Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. Ps 142:6— Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Pr 3:13-18 — Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. Pr 9:10 — The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. Pr 16:1 — The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD. Song 2:16 — My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies. Song 4:7 — Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee. Song 5:10 — My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. Song 5:16 — His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, 0 daughters of Jerusalem. Isa 9:7 — Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. Isa 11:6-7 — The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. Isa 12:1-3 — And in that day thou shalt say, 0 LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. Isa 26:12 — LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. Isa 29:18 — And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness. Isa 32:2-3 — And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. Isa 42:6-8 — I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Isa 42:16 — And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. Isa 43:1 — But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, 0 Jacob, and he that formed thee, 0 Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. Isa 43:5-7 — Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Isa 43:21 — This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. Isa 53:1-3 — Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Isa 54:13 — And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isa 55:1-3 — Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Isa 59:16-17 — And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke. Isa 60:14 — The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. Jer 1:4-5 — Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou earnest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Jer 13:23 — Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. Jer 24:7— And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart. Jer 31:3 — The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Jer 31:33 — But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jer 32:39 — And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: Eze 11:19-20 — And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. Eze 36:26-27 — A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. Eze 37:11-14 — Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, 0 my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, 0 my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD. Zec 12:10 — And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. Mal 3:6 — For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Mt 5:3-4 — Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Mt 5:6 — Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Mt 5:8 — Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Mt 6:24 — No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Mt 7:16 — Ye shall know then by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Mt 8:25 — And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. Mt 12:20 — A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. Mt 12:33-35 — Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. 0 generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. Mt 14:30 — But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. Mt 16:16-17— And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Lu 1:15 — For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. Lu 1:43-45 — And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. Lu 2:26 — And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. Lu 3:9 — And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Lu 8:15 — But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. Lu 10:42 — But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Lu 18:13 — And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. Lu 19:9-10 — And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Lu 23:42 — And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. Joh 1:12-13 — But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Joh 1:29 — The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. Joh 3:3-8 — Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Joh 3:14-16 — And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Joh 3:21 — But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. Joh 3:36— He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. Joh 5:24 — Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Joh 5:25 — Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. Joh 6:37-39 — 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 this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. Joh 6:45 — It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Joh 6:47 — Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. Joh 6:63-65 — It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. Joh 9:25 — He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Joh 10:15-16 — As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Joh 10:26-30 — But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. Joh 14:19 — Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. Joh 15:5 — I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Joh 16:8-9 — And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Joh 16:14— He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. Joh 17:1-3 — These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. Joh 17:24 — Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. Ac 2:37 — Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Ac 2:39-40 — For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Ac 5:31 — Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. Ac 8:21-23 — Thou halt neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Ac 9:3-5 — And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. Ac 11:18 — When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life. Ac 13:48 — And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. Ac 15:8-9 — And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Ac 16:14 — And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. Ac 16:30 — And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? Ro 2:4 — Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Ro 3:18 — There is no fear of God before their eyes. Ro 3:24 — Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Ro 5:5 — And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Ro 5:10 — For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. Ro 5:19-21 — For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Ro 6:2 — God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Ro 6:14 — For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Ro 6:19-23 — I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Ro 7:13-15 — Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. Ro 7:21-24 — I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 0 wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Ro 8:1-9 — There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Ro 8:13-17 — For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. Ro 8:28 — And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Ro 8:32 — He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Ro 9:16 — So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. Ro 10:4 — For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Ro 10:13 — For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ro 10:17— So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Ro 11:6 — And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. Ro 15:18-21 — For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation: But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand. 1Co 1:9 — God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 1Co 1:18-31 — For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 1Co 2:14 — But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1Co 6:15 — Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 1Co 6:19 — What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 1Co 9:25-27 — And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 1Co 12:9 — To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 1Co 13:13 — And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 1Co 15:10 — But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 2Co 1:10 — Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; 2Co 2:10 — To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 2Co 2:15-16 — For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 2Co 3:3-5 — Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; 2Co 4:3-4 — But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2Co 4:6 — For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2Co 5:1-5 — For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 2Co 5:14-15 — For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 2Co 5:17-18 — Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 2Co 7:9-10 — Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2Co 12:9 — And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Ga 1:15-16 — But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among ,the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Ga 2:20 — I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Ga 3:16 — Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. Ga 3:24-26 — Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Ga 3:29 — And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Ga 5:17— For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. Ga 5:22 — But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Ga 5:6 — For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Eph 1:3-6— Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Eph 1:18-19 — The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Eph 2:1-10 — And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph 2:20-22 — And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Eph 3:7-9 — Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: Eph 3:17 — That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, Eph 4:20-24 — But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Eph 5:25-27 — Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Php 1:6 — Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Php 1:29 — For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Php 2:9-13 — Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Php 3:3 — For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Php 3:7-10 — But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; Php 3:20-21 — For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Col 1:13 — Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: Col 1:17 — And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. Col 1:21-22 — And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: Col 1:27 — To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Col 2:10-12 — And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Col 3:1-4 — If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 2Th 2:13 — But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 2Th 3:1 — Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: 2Ti 1:9 — Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 2Ti 2:25 — In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; Tit 1:1 — Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; Tit 3:5 — Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Heb 3:1 — Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Heb 4:12 — For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb 6:18-20 — That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Heb 8:10-11 — For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. Heb 9:13-14 — For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Heb 10:39 — But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Heb 11:4 — By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. Heb 12:2-4 — Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Heb 12:14 — Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Heb 13:20-21 — Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Jas 1:18 — Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Jas 2:5 — Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 1Pe 1:2 — Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 1Pe 1:5 — Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1Pe 1:8-9 — Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 1Pe 1:21-23 — Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 1Pe 2:7-9 — Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 1Pe 3:21 — The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 2Pe 1:3-4 — According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 1Jo 1:8 — If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1Jo 2:3-6 — And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. 1Jo 2:27 — But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 1Jo 2:29 — If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. 1Jo 3:9-10 — Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 1Jo 3:14 — We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 1Jo 4:6-8 — We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 1Jo 5:1 — Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 1Jo 5:10-11 — He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Jude 3 — Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Re 22:17 — And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
— from Eld. John Leland, "A Memorial," The Writings of Elder John Leland pp.660-61 (1845).
Jesus Christ and Him Crucified
Introductory CommentDEARLY BELOVED, those near and far who are interested in the Cause of Christ and "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints," A Blessing Gold, Silver, Precious Stones has been distributed in at least three dozen states and foreign countries. Early responses to this little publication have been both encouraging and humbling. May we share with you a few of these? • A young mother began reading the words of old Elder J.R. Respess "out of boredom during a trip, and to my surprise I couldn't put the book down. It was encouraging to see that men of God over a hundred years ago had some of the same struggles I have myself. I know the Bible teaches this, but there is something special about reading personal accounts. I was helped not to be discouraged during trials and troubles, but to recognize them as spiritual growing pains." • A seasoned mother in Israel visited her daughter and found her in tears, reading through GSPS the day it arrived. As recounted by her pastor, "It reassured her that the same truth that was preached two thousand years ago was preached two hundred years ago, and is still preached in our churches today. She said you might expect old writings to be archaic or dry or irrelevant to today's language and issues. But she was struck by how timeless and accessible these truths were. The authors expressed themselves with such fervor, with such personal experience, and with such humanity that she felt they understood her and related to her. She could hardly put the book down because she rejoiced so much at the truths she was reading. She read the entire issue in just two days and can't wait for the next one. She had always wanted to learn more about and read after those old writers and preachers she had heard about, but didn't know where to find all that material or the time to get into it. To her great joy, the format of the issue provided her a well-rounded, filled-out perspective of the topic." • A young urban professional relates, "These brief narratives have captivated me. They are alive with the fervor of our forebears' faith and have intensified my own passions for Christ. How encouraging it is to have the ancient witness that the truths of God's Word have been marvelously preserved through the ages. I had only to read to page two before being led to worship, and couldn't let a day pass before ordering subscriptions for all of my family. I thank God for this excellent work!" Real-life effects like these are even more than we dared to hope and pray for in beginning this republication work. God is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think"! Please share your own experiences with us as well. We pray GSPS never becomes a journal of abstract theology or empty history; rather, our desire is to help re-acquaint today's saints in a tangible, experiential way, with their brethren of the past, sharing from heart to heart "the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." To Him be all the praise! And may the churches' biblical heritage of the centuries continue to be a stable launching pad for her labors of today. Adjustments A few changes will be evident in this second issue. Chiefly, prices have increased by slight amounts because we underestimated the full costs of continuing to print and mail this publication at the level of production quality for which we strive. Of course we will honor those lower-priced subscriptions we have already received. Please bear with us through our "growing pains," and let us know any suggestions you can offer to improve the publication. Approach Some have inquired about the feasibility of including entire articles instead of relying on excerpted text. The suggestion is well taken and we concur in the desirability of considering the old writings in their entireties. Several other considerations, however, seem to recommend the current format: 1. Breadth of coverage is an important priority of GSPS; full-length articles would make it difficult to include as many of our people's writers and writings in the same amount of space. 2. Digestibility is a serious practical consideration. Elder R.H. Pittman claimed that one single sentence written by Elder Sylvester Hassell was then the world's longest sentence in print—stretching across some eight pages (580-87) of Hassell's History! Average attention spans being what they are nowadays, it could be unrealistic and counterproductive to assume that all of today's readers will be as readily disposed to open a book full of lengthy articles as to conveniently pick up and set down a booklet which can truly be read a page or two at a time. 3. Efficiency of production must be maintained. Costs would increase and handy coffee-table accessibility would be sacrificed if the overall size of each issue were significantly expanded. 4. Reference utility is an additional concern. We hope students of the Bible will be able to use GSPS as a sort of roadmap to our people's many able commentators on any given topic. To achieve this functionality, it is desirable to include in the printed edition of GSPS as broad a cross-section as we are able, with each of the passages ultimately linking the interested reader to a full online copy of the cited writings. 5. Full online availability will be the antidote, we trust, to any risks of excerpting. The quotations provided in GSPS are intended to fairly and accurately represent their respective sources, with the understanding that the primary historical sources themselves are generally representative of the churches of the time. This will be verifiable as we provide complete access to the original source materials on the Internet. The Challenge Frankly, we had just a small glimpse of the true scope of the GSPS project at the time we prayerfully undertook it. Perhaps this was for the best! If we had seen the full extent of the task, we might have been tempted to avoid it. The quantity of useful source material is both daunting and inspiring. There are technical hurdles in electronically scanning and proofreading old documents with obsolete typefaces. Organizing the material for Internet accessibility is labor intensive. (On that point, please be aware that construction of the www.upbuild.org website is still underway, and we hope to launch it in a user-friendly format as soon as possible.) Regarding these aspects of the work we particularly appreciate your prayers and any assistance that can be provided—see "Invitation," below. A Question We have received a gracious inquiry regarding an item in the previous issue which came from the South Carolina Primitive Baptist Association circular letter of 1842. Specifically, concern was expressed about references to the "word" and "spirit" on page 25 of GSPS no. l. In our opinion, a complete reading of that item is consistent with the principle of immediate Holy Spirit regeneration. Whether "word" there refers to the person of the Son of God, to His life-giving voice that effectually calls out His elect, or to their hearts' imprint of truth when they are "all taught of God," we do not believe these old brethren's teaching presents human means as the instrument of regeneration. Notice that they refer to the "power of the word and spirit of God" in regenerating Saul of Tarsus, when no human messenger was present. They attribute the work of grace entirely to "the power and influence of the spirit of God" as well, and recite that God's power and energy "alone can rectify and restore" fallen men. Apparently it was not uncommon for our fathers in the faith to use such terminology. As we all must acknowledge, our forefathers' writings from time to time may contain occasional expressions that are somewhat unfamiliar to some modern ears. Undoubtedly the reverse is equally true—our forefathers might have questions about some of our terminology, as well. Nevertheless, we remain convinced that they were upholding and conveying the same fundamental truth embraced today and through the ages by the churches of Christ. A Policy The preceding observation brings us to the statement of a very important guiding principle for brotherly intercourse: When faced with more than one possible construction of brethren's words, we believe it is generally advisable to choose the most charitable construction realistically available. A brother may not be guilty of the most sinister meaning theoretically attributable to his words, and we should assume he is not until he leaves us no reasonable alternative. We must always remember that Christian love "suffereth long, and is kind; ...envieth not; ...vaunteth not itself is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." As we "think no evil" and "believe and hope all things" in considering a brother's words we will be delivered from the pitfall of "making a man an offender for a word." And if true charity seems too much to muster at times, even a common human decency and respect may suffice, according to 1Pe 2:17; 5:5. On the other hand, any who lie in wait for a brother, "seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him," are exhibiting the spirit of Phariseeism rather than the spirit of childlike simplicity enjoined by our Saviour. May God forever save His kingdom from such. Invitation A statement of the objectives and approach of this publication can be found at GSPS no.1 pp.v—vii. We repeat these invitations in particular: Our aim is to reprint material that by objective and open-minded evaluation generally would be considered a fair representation of what our forefathers as a body believed and preached during the periods of time in which they wrote. We realize that through oversight or ignorance, we may unintentionally include material in Gold, Silver, Precious Stones that does not meet the above-stated criterion; in such a case, we ask our brethren's patience and forbearance, and particularly ask them to supply any original-source information from the relevant historical period that may appear to be contrary to our assumptions, so that we may make any necessary corrections or modifications. Once again, we warmly solicit the contributions and suggestions of our brethren the world over. Is there a topic you would like to see addressed? Please let us know. Are there historically interesting or spiritually edifying books, photographs, articles, sermons, epitaphs, memorials, debates, letters, or other materials within the scope of this labor that you would recommend to our readers' attention? Please send them in. Do you know of others who would appreciate receiving these materials? Please forward us their names and addresses. And most of all, "brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you" (2Th 3:1). Grace and peace, — the editors WHO THEN IS PAUL, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? ...Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's. 1Co 3:5-16,21-23 Jesus Christ and Him Crucified CAN WE CALL YOUR ATTENTION, brethren, to a theme more glorious and more comforting than that of redemption through the blood of Christ, and of salvation in Him? The world has its charms for those who are of it and it loves its own in return; but brethren, our treasure is in heaven, and we are professed believers in Jesus, and so we love to look upon the things of God, and to hear and speak of His wonderful works among the children of men. If He has redeemed us at so great a price, surely we can never praise and adore Him too much. He loved us, and gave Himself for us; surely the heavens above and the earth beneath, must be filled with admiration at so great a gift. Here is love without bottom, brim, or shore, and lost in Deity. — from the 1876 Circular Letter of the Maine Association. HE IS THE LAMB OF GOD which was slain from, the foundation of the world. He took on him our sins. 0, how the rich one took our poverty to make us rich! He hath borne our sins in his own body on the tree; has destroyed sin for his own people, and delivered them from the power of darkness; he obtained the victory and triumphed when he died on the cross, and cried, "It is finished!" — from Bernard Greenwood's Apr.22, 1860 letter to brethren at Albany, N.Y., as translated from German by J. George Bender and reprinted in Signs of the Times (Jul. 1860). THE PASCHAL LAMB was to be slain. So was Jesus. "Thou wast slain," Re 5:9. It certainly will not be denied that the paschal lamb was a figure of Christ. — from Lemuel Potter's 2nd affirmative, Potter-Dickey Debate on the Atonement (Apr. 1887). CHRIST ON THE CROSS is the great fountain from which flows the great river of mercy to us. The repentance of every poor sinner who has or will repent, may be traced to Calvary. All our hopes, all our joys, and all our bright prospects come to us from the cross. "I determined not to know anything among you save Christ and him crucified." When our hearts are sad and wrung with grief, the Holy Spirit, authorized by the blood of the cross, comforts us with fresh views of matchless love of God in Christ manifested on the cross. Young soldiers still are raised up as the old ones die, to publish and bless the name of Christ as our Redeemer, and still OUR beloved Zion exists in the midst of sore opposition without and the evil tempers of our own hearts. Why has not Zion been crushed long ago? Why have not her ministers been bribed away or won by the vanities of time? Because the blood of Christ still secures the hearts of its objects. The church is not going to be destroyed and overcome; our enemies need not boast, for the Lord has laid a sure foundation in Zion, which will, as long as time last, secure us. Dear, dying Lamb, thy precious blood shall never lose its power Till all the ransomed church of God be saved to sin no more. Sinners shall yet tremble under the divine influence of the Spirit as it carries out the designs of God in the redemption that is in Christ. Men shall still rise up to publish the name of the Lord, who will ascribe all the honor, and power, and glory of the salvation of sinners to the name of Jesus alone; who will not divide the praises with any; and there shall still be assemblies that will weep tears of joy as their repentance, hope, love, faith, peace, pardon, and every grace is certainly traced up to Calvary as the great, effectual, and discriminating cause of it all, and the eternal and immutable love of God which first gave us to the Lamb. These soul-cheering sentiments will not die among us, although the world may detest them; but millions of lips will yet sing: Twas grace first inscribed my name
John R. (Riley) Daily
ELDER JOHN R. DAILY was an eminent scholar of the Bible and was perhaps as near to being a scholar of the Greek language as any minister of the Primitive Baptist faith in America. He was a highly esteemed preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ and was a staunch defender of the Faith.
· — S.T. Tolley, Preface to Pilgrimage of a Stranger (2nd ed., 1978)
THIS KIND-HEARTED, affectionate and gifted preacher... is not only a sweet singer, gifted preacher, strong and forceful writer, but is also an able debater, and has had several discussions with leading representatives of the Disciple, Universalist and other denominations in which his brethren were well pleased and the truths of the Old School Baptists' position in doctrine and practice forcibly vindicated.
— Eld. R.H. Pittman's Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers of the United States
ELDER JOHN R. DAILY was recognized everywhere as one of the ablest debaters we have ever had. He knew our doctrine and was able to defend it against all corners. He had many public discussions and by all his opponents was recognized as a foe worthy of their steel.
— William H. Crouse,
Regeneration, or The New Birth ch.II (1925)
OUR GREAT-GRANDFATHER was a native of Ireland, and located in New Jersey in an early day. Two of his sons... went to North Carolina, and afterward to Southern Indiana, where they both reared large families. Our father, Peter Daily, married Zelia Nettie Gray, whose parents were natives of Connecticut. In 1857 our parents became members of the Baptist Church, and continued faithful until death released them from the warfare. Mother died April 15, 1879, and father, March 3, 1880. We were the youngest but one of seven children, all the others dying in early childhood or infancy except the oldest, who died March 22, 1880...
— John R. Daily, Autobiographical sketch in Zion's Advocate vol. 38 no. 7 (Jul. 1899)
HIS PARENTS were poor people, but were industrious and upright, providing well for their family; were members of the Little Flock Church of Regular or Primitive Baptists and strict attendants at their church services, and taking their children with them to the house of God.
Elder Daily had poor opportunities to procure an education, but this disadvantage did not hinder him from gaining quite a proficiency in the common school branches of learning and many of the higher branches, as he was very fond of books from early life and made rapid progress in whatever he undertook.
He entered upon the profession of teaching in the common schools at the age of eighteen, which he followed for twenty-two years, studying hard all the while to advance himself in the higher branches and especially in languages. After many months of conviction, he obtained a hope in the Saviour on the 28th day of February, 1870...
— Pittman's Biographical History
IN 1870 we were made to rejoice, in trust, in a Saviour's redeeming love, and the night of the 23d of January 1871, were received for baptism by the Little Flock Baptist Church, situated in Clinton County, Indiana.
— John R. Daily, Autobiographical sketch (Jul. 1899)
FROM THE BEGINNING of [his] public profession he exercised in public prayer, also leading in the singing services of which he was very fond.
— Pittman's Biographical History
ELDER JOHN T. OLIPHANT, now a resident of Ft. Branch, Indiana, an able and very zealous minister of the gospel, ...we have ever regarded as a father to us in the Master's cause.
— John R. Daily, Autobiographical sketch (Jul. 1899)
ELDER DAILY made his first effort at preaching in January, 1875; was soon ordained and has since had the care of churches to which he has closely and faithfully applied himself.
In June, 1898, he moved to Luray, Va. and took the position of editor and publisher of Zion's Advocate, which position he held eight years, at the same time serving Hawksbill, Naked Creek, Mt. Carmel and Alma churches, and traveling extensively among churches in Virginia and other states.
— Pittman's Biographical History
THE MOST DIFFICULT and painful task we have ever undertaken was to resign our churches in Indiana and bid adieu to our friends there, in order to locate in Virginia and enter upon the new field of labor here. How very dear they were to us, and how sad the parting!
— John R. Daily, "Our Change," Zion's Advocate vol. 37 no. 6 (Jun. 1898)
THE MAIDEN NAME of my devoted wife was Caroline Laymon. She was born in Owen Co., Ind., Feb. 19, 1856. Her father was a prominent minister of the Separate Baptist denomination. We were married at her father's home, near Michigantown, Clinton Co., Ind., September 10, 1874. She joined the church of my membership the first Sunday in June 1880, and was baptized the following Monday.
...I am fully convinced that a more faithful companion or a nobler type of true womanhood cannot be found. For twenty-nine years we have been trudging along life's pathway together, more than twenty-seven of which has been chiefly devoted by me to the ministry of the word. Together we have wept when sorrow's cloud cast the shadow, together we have looked up with fresh hope at the rainbow of God's promise, and rejoiced together at the return of light.
— John R. Daily, "Picture of Editor and Wife," Zion's Advocate vol.42 no.10 (Oct. 1903)
LITTLE PEARL, our twin baby was taken with a severe illness the next spring, which greatly puzzled the physicians. We did all that we could do to effect her restoration, but all in vain. On the 18th day of March, 1888, her spirit took its flight from the little form and we were compelled to lay the lifeless body in the silent grave. How sweet it has been to know that one of our dear offspring is forever at rest in the presence of its Creator and Saviour!
— John R. Daily, The Pilgrimage of a Stranger (1905)
WE HAVE SIX SONS and three daughters. All except the youngest, a little boy ten years old, are members of the Old Baptist church with us. I baptized the wives of our two married sons since their marriage. So twelve of my household have fellowship together in the church of Christ. Two of my sons are now exercising in the ministry. God has greatly blessed us and I praise him for it.
— John R. Daily, "Picture of Editor and Wife" (Oct. 1903)
CAROLINE LAYMON... is still his faithful companion. This union has been blessed with ten children, —one dying in infancy, — one — Elder O.L. Daily — was killed in train wreck near Washington, D.C., 1906; the others all members of their parents' church.
— Pittman's Biographical History
FOUR OF ELDER DAILY'S SONS followed him in the ministry, all of them being men of good ability and reputation.
— S.T. Tolley, Preface to Pilgrimage of a Stranger (2nd ed., 1978)
IN APRIL, 1906, he moved to Indianapolis, Ind., where he now resides, and is serving as pastor of the church in that city and three others near, where also in connection with his sons he runs a publishing house, doing job work, book printing, binding, etc. Elder Daily has published an interesting history of himself and family entitled, Pilgrimage of a Stranger. Has also published a very acceptable Hymn and Tune Book that has passed the ten thousand edition.
— Pittman's Biographical History
THOUSANDS OF PRAYERS have gone up in thanksgiving to God for such a man as Elder Daily to so ably present and defend our faith, as he did in that [Daily-Throgmorton] discussion; ...thousands of volumes of that published discussion have been circulated in the interests of our cause.
— William H. Crouse,
Regeneration, or The New Birth ch. III (1925)
ALTHOUGH THIS FAMILY was stricken with the faults of humanity, as all men are, they will long be regarded as an outstanding example of Christianity.
— S.T. Tolley, Preface to Pilgrimage of a Stranger (2nd ed., 1978)
Born — May 21, 1854 (to Peter & Zelia Nettie Daily, Clinton County, Indiana)
Obtained a hope — Feb. 28, 1870
Baptized — Feb. 5, 1871 (by Eld. John T. Oliphant, Little Flock Church)
Married — 1873 (to Mary C. Laughner, who died 11 weeks later); Sep. 10, 1874 (to Caroline Laymon; ten children born to this union)
Began preaching — Jan. 1875
Licensed to public ministry of the word — Aug. 1876
Ordained to full work of ministry — Sep. 3, 1881
Primary fields of labor — Indiana, Virginia
Some churches served — Virginia: Mt. Carmel, Alma, Hawksbill, Naked Creek; Indiana: Salem, Lebanon, Mt. Summit, Little Flock, Village Creek
Deceased — Aug. 11, 1920 (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Some publications of note — editor & publisher, Zion's Advocate (1898-1906); Pilgrimage of a Stranger (1905); 1904 reprint of Wm. Rushton's A Defence of Particular Redemption (1831); A Loving Appeal to the Primitive Baptists (1906); Hymn and Tune Book (1918); numerous notable hymns, including "Preservation" ("Cast down but not destroyed").
Some public debates of note (primarily disputing tenets of Campbellism, Missionism, and Universalism) - Messrs. Walker (1891), Weatherford (1894), Williams (1894 & 1898), Denney (1895), Ballard (1895), Hutson (1908), Hughes (1908), Boles (1909), Throgmorton (1911).
WHERE THEN SHALL a guilty sinner find relief? The light of nature, philosophy, and state policy are all silent: neither of them can give a gleam of hope beyond the grave, nor show one sin forgiven. But the gospel of Jesus, is loaded with such blessings as guilty sinners need. Yes, through the blood of the cross, and the resurrection of Christ, pardon of sin is administered and eternal life made known. When sinners are made sensible of their pollution, and feel the plague of sin, on applying to the Saviour, and receiving the balsam of his grace, they obtain a perfect cure. All whoever apply, are received; all who look, do live; all who touch, are made whole. Though Christ crucified, is to the Jews a stumbling-block, to the Greeks foolishness, to the men of worldly wisdom scorn; yet to them who believe, he is the wisdom of God, and the power of God. 0! that all my dear countrymen might apply to this balm; then would they joyfully believe in the truth of the scriptures.— from John Leland, "Miscellaneous Essays," no.16 (c.1810), The Writings of Elder John Leland p.436 (1845). "FOR OF A TRUTH against thy holy child Jesus both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." [Ac 4:27-28.] That the crucifixion of Christ was predetermined, and that the characters spoken of were gathered together for that purpose, certainly is not denied. Upon that event was hinged God's purpose in the salvation of all his people. But it should be noted that it was the crucifixion of Christ there declared to be predetermined, and not the wickedness of those that crucified him. — from John R. Rowe, A Refutation of the Doctrine of Absolute Predestination of All Things pp.29-30 (1889). NOW WE PLAINLY SEE, that the sentence of death due to our offences, was executed on Christ according to God's determined purpose, and we are consequently justified thereby, in a way of justice. Christ bare the sins of many, and when he died for us, and suffered for our sins as a public head, acting and dying as the representative of many, his death is regarded as the death of all for whom he died, and this is what we read, 2Co 5:14-15, "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge that if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." — from Wilson Thompson, "Of Free Justification, by the Blood and Righteousness of Christ," The Triumphs of Truth: or, The Scripture a Sure Guide to Zion's Pilgrims ch.8 (1825). CHRIST IS THE TRUE PASCHAL LAMB sacrificed for spiritual Israel (1Co 5:7). By His death, and His blood being applied by the Holy Spirit to our hearts, we are delivered from ruin. In celebrating the Christian Passover, or the Lord's Supper, we are to put away the leaven of hypocrisy and wickedness and eat the bitter herb of godly sorrow for our sins, and remember that we are pilgrims here, just ready, at any time, to depart to a better, even a heavenly country (Heb 11:13-16). We should be devoutly thankful and consecrated to God for being specially redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb (1Pe 1:15-21; Re 5:9). The body of the paschal lamb was cooked entire, no bone being broken, to denote the completeness of the redemption of Christ, and the indissoluble oneness of His mystical body; and it was roasted, and not boiled in water and wasted, to indicate the preciousness of Christ's salvation and of His people; and, if any remained till morning, it was consumed by purifying fire, to prevent it from seeing corruption or from being put to a common use—indicating that God's people are never to become reprobates. — from C.B. & Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God ch. III (1886). WE BELIEVE THAT CHRIST hath obtained eternal redemption for the elect, his life, suffering, blood and death constituting a complete and full atonement for their sins, and that this is the only ground of justification before God. — Article 7, Sandusky Association Articles of Faith. THESE THREE CHOSEN APOSTLES whom Jesus designed should be "pillars" in the gospel church, had never before this time stood on such an elevation of faith as they now did. They were now introduced more fully into the deep mystery of redemption, and the solemn truth that Christ must suffer and die for the sins of his people was being more fully disclosed—a truth which they had not been able to bear. They could learn here that in the crucifixion and death of their glorious King that he had not fallen by accident, but that he voluntarily gave himself up to death. Moses and Elias talked with Jesus, spoke of his decease as something that he should voluntarily accomplish in Jerusalem; and therefore the transfiguration of Jesus, together with the presence and talk of Moses and Elias, forever banishes the thought that there is anything in the law or in the prophets at variance with the coming, suffering, death or kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is evidently a striking representation between the spirit of the Old Testament and that of the New. Moses stands as the representative of the law, and Elias or Elijah, as the representative of the prophets, but both the law and the prophets "testify of Jesus." We know that in the New Testament Moses is sometimes mentioned when the law, or only the writings of Moses are intended. So also of the prophets. "But even unto this day when Moses is read," (that is, his writings or the law,) "the vail is upon the heart." 2Co 3:15. "For they that dwell at Jerusalem and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day they have fulfilled," these very prophesies, "in condemning him." Ac 13:27. — from William M. Mitchell, "The Mount of Transfiguration," The Gospel Messenger (1886). [A]BOVE ALL, THE INTENSE SUFFERING and willing obedience of Jesus, even to the death of the cross, proclaim the wonderful love of God. Yes, this atoning blood of Jesus—this wonderful River of life, comes from the depth of the riches of God's love, and reaches the vilest and most helpless sinners. — from Moses D. Denman, "Wonderful River of Life" (late 1800s), Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907). GOD MAY DETERMINE when and under what circumstances he will forsake, or withdraw, providential restraints from men, and thus determine in some sense, the time of their fall, and yet not be the cause of it. The people would have slain Jesus sooner but were hindered. So if God's purpose fixed on an hour for his death it must have been in the sense that he determined when all restraints should be removed. — from James H. Oliphant, Justification and Kindred Subjects ch. XXI (1899). WHEN THE BELOVED SON OF GOD was to fulfill all that was written, in law or prophets, or psalms, wicked men and devils were God's sword. In many instances we are told by the evangelists, of what they did, "That the scriptures might be fulfilled." When but a babe we see the Holy Child chased down into Egypt by cruel persecution; and being called from thence, he turned into a small city, that the scriptures might be fulfilled. From the manger to the cross, his life is loaded with reproaches, abuses, blasphemies and insults; and all to preserve the sacred volume inviolate. At length against Him both Herod and Pontius Pilate meet, with men of Israel and the Gentiles, "for to do whatsoever God's hand and counsel before determined should be done." The heathen raged, and the people imagined vain things against the Lord, and against his Christ; yet all these things were God's chosen instrumentalities for the accomplishment of what his hand and counsel had predestinated. And when the dear, disconsolate disciples, on their way to Emmaus, journeyed and were sad, because of what their Lord had done and suffered from the hands of wicked men and devils, our Lord reproved them, saying "0 fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have written, ought not Christ to suffered these things, and then enter into his glory." Heaven had ordained the accomplishment of these things; and all requisite means for the accomplishment of the end were duly provided. — from the 1845 Circular Letter of the Primitive Baptist Association, in Benjamin Griffin, History of the Primitive Baptists of Mississippi p.166 (1853). WE NEVER CAN rightly appreciate the grace of God in giving his own Son for us, unless we can admit and understand that our sins were of sufficient magnitude to render our case justly hopeless without a Redeemer. To say that Christ, in his death, did as much for the lost as the saved, is equal to saying that his death does not secure any one's salvation, for if it saves one, why not all? If I am saved by it and my neighbor not, why the difference? Evidently the difference would grow out of my own action; that I am more easily touched by it; I was disposed to do my part, or in some way I was more in harmony with 'the divine arrangement; but this disagrees with fact. We often see the hardest of men touched and changed by grace, while others remain in indifference. We dare not trace this difference to the natural goodness of some and the innate evil of others; nor dare we trace it to the obedience of some and the disobedience of others. As to our nature, God declares us all alike to be the children of wrath, and he also abundantly teaches that it is not by works of any kind, but that it is of his own grace, "by the grace of God I am what I am." It is God that has made me to differ both from others and my former self. God said to Moses: "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." This sort of language is very humbling to our proud nature. — from James H. Oliphant, "Of the Atonement," Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists ch.V (1885). SOME OF THE PULPITS of our own country abound with the doctrine of the non-necessity for the crucifixion of Christ: but contend that if he had not been betrayed and delivered into the hand of the Jews, he would have died in the garden of Gethsemane, and his death would have been fully as efficacious as it was. We do not so understand the Bible, as we cannot see how the death of Christ could be efficacious without an entire fulfillment of all the Scriptures on the subject; for that the Scriptures did predict the death of Christ, by the hands of the Jews, we have no doubt, and such predictions, too, as could never have had their fulfillment provided he had died in Gethsemane. For instance, the Bible informs us that "He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb so he opened not his mouth." If he had died in the garden he would not have been led like a lamb to the slaughter, but being delivered into the hands of the Jews he was led by them to the slaughter. Again, "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities." Had he died in the garden he would have escaped those wounds and bruises, and as they were for our transgressions and iniquities the atonement could not have covered them; nor could this prediction have met its fulfillment. It is said we are healed by his stripes, but if he had died in the garden, and had not fallen into the hands of the Jews by whom those stripes were given, then there could have been no stripes by which we could have been healed and the atonement would have missed us altogether. All the above quotations are found in Isa 63, and did time admit we could cite many other passages from the prophets which never could have had their fulfillment unless Jesus had fallen into the hands of the Jews. In fact, the language of Jesus is proof conclusive that he must have suffered in the way that he did for in the height of his sufferings he remarked that he could call to his Father and He would send him twelve legions of angels. But how, then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled? Indeed we can see no possible way by which they could have been fulfilled had he died in the garden, and those ministers who argue to the contrary are certainly under the influence of a strange infatuation for they read that he was "delivered into the hands of the Jews by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God," and why they think that there was no necessity for him to be crucified by the Jews is very strange to us. Had it not been so, the determinate counsel and foreknowledge would have been blasted, the Bible would have failed in its predictions, and the hope of penitent sinners gone forever. A theory or system of religion that can entertain such views of the fallacy of God's word must originate either in ignorance of His word or in the blackest infidelity. Look at the unblemished Lamb of God! How sinful we are, but how pure he is! If you admire purity, your admiration can find its complete satisfaction in that One who is "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." He met sin and struggled under its load, but the sins that lay upon his person were the sins of his people. So death being the direct result of sin, the two, sin and death, must be met and conquered together. As a preliminary to the final struggle he was sentenced to die though perfectly innocent. He had assumed the obligation and it behooved him to satisfy the claim, so he opened not his mouth but stood as a lamb dumb before its shearers. See! The fatal hour has come! Look at the crimson stream that the awful stroke of justice sends forth! The greatest conflict known to the universe is going on, and who shall be the victor? For a time the suffering victim is hidden by the fury of the battle. He dies, the Friend of sinners dies;
THE CHARACTERS MENTIONED in our text were destitute of spiritual life, and therefore they had neither the love of God or of his truth within them. And while such characters may and do resist, withstand and oppose the servants of God who proclaim the truth of God and testify to the coming of Christ and even carry their opposition so far as to slay the prophet and murder our Lord Jesus—yet, it is not to be understood that God's eternal purpose has been frustrated or defeated in any particular, but rather in all their resistance and murderous rage they have, with wicked hands, unconsciously and undesignedly done what "God's hand and counsel determined before to be done." (Ac 4:28.)— from William M. Mitchell, "Resisting the Holy Ghost," The Gospel Messenger (1893). PETER SAYS: "Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree," etc. The passages that teach this doctrine are numerous. Read Le 16th chapter, where you will find the offering of the scapegoat described: "And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness," "and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities into a land not inhabited," etc. In these typical services we learn that the sins of God's chosen people, Israel, were laid on the scapegoat, and so in the Lord Jesus, our sins were laid on him, and he suffered in our room and stead. "He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who shall declare his generation, for he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people was he stricken." The doctrine of substitution is taught here—he takes our sins and our place, and stands between us and the wrath of God. He becomes "a covert from the tempest," a "hiding place from the wind, the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." He receives in his body the full penalty due for all our sins, and now, in his name, we are set at liberty. Paul in Ac 17:3, alleged "that Christ must needs have suffered." Lu 24:46: "Thus it is written and thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead," etc. Lu 24:26: "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?" These places show that there was a necessity for his death; that he ought to die, because he occupied our place; our sins were made his by imputation, and he must die. And this he did as a substitute. If he died as a substitute for us, as a matter of necessary consequence we shall be set at liberty. — from James H. Oliphant, "Of the Atonement," Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists ch.V (1885). THE SCRIPTURES OFTEN SPEAK of God as doing what He permits to be done (see Job 1:12,21; 2:6; 2Sa 16:10, compared with 1Ch 21:1; 1Ki 12:11,15; 22:20-23; Ge 37:28, compared with Ge 45:5 and Ge 1:20; Ps 39:8-9; Isa 42:24; Am 3:6; Ac 4:27-28, compared with Ac 2:23); for He is the Creator and Upholder of the universe, and could prevent the occurrence of anything He chose. The Holy One that inhabiteth eternity is, to sin in every form and in every being, a consuming fire (Heb 10:30-31; 12:29; Isa 6:3,5; 57:15). Even His sinless Son, when He represented His sinful people, was forsaken of His holy and loving Father, and delivered up to suffer the horrible death of the cross. — from Sylvester Hassell, "The Interpretation of the Scriptures—Fatalism," The Gospel Messenger (Jan. 1894). FOR TO DO WHATSOEVER thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. — Ac 4:28.... The preceding verses teach us of a gathering together of people from the highest to the lowest grade of humanity; in a word, of all classes of unbelievers to do whatever the hand of God had determined should be done—the crucifixion of Jesus. My thought is that this determination was in the counsel or mind of God before the formation of man upon earth; for he was wise enough to declare the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying my counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure. — Isa 46:10; wise enough to see man in his lost and ruined condition before he was created a good creature. Wise enough to see the needs of fallen man and make preparation for his redemption before his members were fashioned or formed of the dust; and the final consummation of that preparation could not be brought about without the wicked act of those creatures gathered together to do what the hand and counsel of God had determined before should be done. We are not only taught in this subject the wisdom of God, but also his mighty power to bring to pass his determination. For as he had formed man a good creature, had he not possessed all power, (when man became bad,) to control him, his purposes must have fallen or have come to an end. Not that we believe God controls or compels man to do wickedly, but we think the Prince of the power of the air impels him in that direction. And were it not for the almighty power of God to overrule or restrain, there is no conjecturing by me what would be done. But to be brief, we think out of this desperately wicked people God had a chosen generation, a people he had formed for himself; and seeing them from eternity in their lost and ruined condition, and as he has declared, "children of wrath even as others" and forever debarred from his presence in that condition, therefore he determined their salvation by the sacrifice of his Son, who is represented as being every way equal with the Father. And further, it is declared, "judgment and justice is the habitation of his throne!" Oh, the depth of the mysteries of Godliness! How can it be just in God to lay our sins on one every way equal with him and every way separate from sinners? How can this innocent Son of God suffer in our stead, or justly suffer the just for the unjust, that he might bring us unto God? The law was given by God the Father, and violated by us, the creatures of God, or the subjects of his law; how can the law justly lay hold upon the equal of the giver of the law and in every sense above it, unless there were provisions agreed upon in the lawmaking department before the law was given? This we understand to be the case, consequently the Son of God becomes our surety, hence the language of the text. As the Son, having agreed upon his part to fulfill the law, when the fullness of the time came he was made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that are under the law. Here is where the Universalist, both conditional and unconditional, claim that as Adam's posterity all are under the law, Christ redeemed all. Being blinded by the god of this world they are not able to understand that redemption implies prior ownership. We therefore understand that Jesus gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works. — Tit 2:14. This plainly shows that we were given to him when he gave himself for us, and he says again, "he prays not for the world, but for those thou hast given me out of the world," which shows us that all were not given him. Then for a faint illustration: Suppose I owned one thousand sheep, and saw fit to give some party fifty of my flock and afterwards the whole herd go astray together, and go into bondage by the astray laws, can any party but the owner redeem them; can the party I gave the fifty to redeem my nine hundred fifty? All who understand the law know he cannot. Then suppose he goes and redeems his fifty and leaves mine still in bondage, has he injured mine by not redeeming them, or have I injured them by not giving them all to him? We might say they were all in good condition and well cared for before they went astray; but upon their own accord they left and got into bondage and cannot return until they are brought. This we understand to faintly represent the Adamic family's relation to God the Father and his Son. Then when the time came according to the purpose and counsel of God the Father and Son, these people were gathered together, and not a shadow of a doubt upon my mind but what God knew from the foundation of the world every one that was present on the occasion, and precisely what they would do. But I can't think he coerced them in any sense to do his determined counsel, but only withdrew his restraining power from them and let their devilish disposition manifest itself; and in that, the wrath of man, praised God. But when they would have holden him in the sepulcher through their madness, it pleased God to restrain that portion and bring up Jesus victorious over death, hell and the grave, and exalt him at his right hand, a Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to those characters he atoned for in their generations until the last one shall be brought out of bondage, or receive the gift of eternal life, that God, who can not lie, promised before the world began. — from George M. Holcombe, in The Gospel Messenger vol. 8 no. 4 (1886). THE DARKNESS AT CHRIST'S DEATH was nature's sympathy with her suffering Lord. As the glory of the Lord shone around the scene of His birth (Lu 2:9), so a pall of darkness was fitly spread over His dying scene. Amos (Am 7:9) predicted that the sun would go down at noon, and the earth be darkened in the clear day. The darkness might precede and accompany the earthquake that took place on the same occasion; for darkness almost nocturnal, arising from sulphureous vapors, often precedes an earthquake. Both the darkness and the earthquake at Christ's crucifixion were no doubt supernatural. — from C.B. & Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God ch. VII (1886). [TO CORNELIUS, PETER] GAVE a detail of important facts and doctrines, in the most simple manner, in which we discover the following truths:... That the miracles, precepts and examples of Christ were incompetent to save men. That without the shedding of his blood there could be no remission. That the Jews contrived his death—slew him and hanged him on a tree; they meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. That he died both as a martyr and Mediator. — from John Leland, An Ordination Sermon (1806), The Writings of Elder John Leland p.310 (1845). "HE SHALL FEED HIS FLOCK like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arms and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead them that are with young." Why all this care? Because he, as a "good shepherd, giveth his life for the sheep." Therefore, "they shall not be tempted above that they are able to bear." "Neither shall any weapon formed against them prosper." "Nor shall any ravenous or destructive beast be in their way." "He will give power to the faint among them, and to them that have no might he will increase strength." Every class is considered. The weak and fainting, the little lambs and those that are with young—all are named. He is a fit person to guide his flock through this desert: 1. Because "he gave his life for the sheep." 2. He knows all their foes, both within and without, "for in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom." 3. "He has all Power in Heaven and the earth in his hands." 4. He himself has passed all the way before them, and it is written of him, "he shall save his people from their sins." Mark the words: "He shall save his people;" and who dare say, "he may fail in any instance?" In view of this, David could say, "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He restoreth my soul; yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over; surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Ps 23. The very grounds on which this was said was, "He is my shepherd." As such he died for me, therefore I will fear no evil. He died for me; poor, unworthy me. "Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." All this, because he is my shepherd. Blessed shepherd is this who has the care of saints. "He will not suffer thy foot to be moved." "He that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold! he that keepeth Israel will not slumber nor sleep." Oh, Christian! thou for whom Jesus gave his very life; thou, also, who art passing through tribulation, tempted, tried, fainting, weak, often exclaiming: "When I would do good, evil is present with me;" oft crying: "Oh! Wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?" Don't forget it; God, your keeper, never sleeps nor slumbers. — from James H. Oliphant, "Nature and Object of Christ's Death," Final Perseverance of the Saints ch.II (1878). DEAR LORD, LEAD ME OFTEN to view my loving, suffering Saviour in Gethsemane and on the cross; and to rejoice in the salvation of sinners through his blood. Grant that this scene of suffering and blood may increase my love for Jesus and make me willing to suffer with him. Oh! for Jesus' sake renew my strength in thee to press on in this holy conflict with warmest love and loyal obedience to God, and with loving sympathy and patient forbearance to men. And now, beloved brethren, I desire your prayers to God in my behalf. I desire the earnest prayer of all who love God. 0! brethren, "let brotherly love continue." May God bless you all, and cause you to stand firm in the apostles' doctrine and practice. May the love of Christ constrain us to confess our "faults one to another, and pray one for another." In view of Jesus' love and suffering, may our Lord lead us to be humble, kind and forgiving, and keep us from all evil, for our dear Redeemer's sake. — from Moses D. Denman, "Sore Conflicts" (late 1800s), Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907). LET US THEN GLANCE at that glorious plan which was laid in eternity by wisdom and love, and brought into action by the power of Jehovah to accomplish his almighty purpose. His love prompted him to choose us as sons in Christ Jesus, who in the fulness of time should satisfy even Divine Justice, and liberate us from that condemnation which should fall upon us by the disobedience of Adam, and the guilt that should spring up from that disobedience. Thus we find him spoken of as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world: slain not yet in reality, but in the purpose and counsel of God; for when he was betrayed, condemned, and nailed to the cross, his persecutors did only what God's hand and counsel had determined should be done. — from the 1844 Circular Letter of the Ketocton Association. AND IT IS CERTAINLY EVIDENT to any reflecting mind that when our Lord said to his apostles, "Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished"—that the eternal purpose, appointment and predestination of God were embraced in these words of Jesus, and that the foreknowledge and government of the Eternal God embraced all these things and inspired the prophets to speak and write them, even things so small as the spittle which was spit upon Jesus from the filthy and wicked mouth of his crucifiers. To be scourged, mocked, despitefully treated, spitted on and put to death were as certainly embraced in the "all things" that should be accomplished at Jerusalem as was his "rising from the dead the third day;" but yet while the apostles "understood none of these things," because "they were hid from them," Jesus did not charge them with railing against the truth or of believing that some things happen or come by chance over which the Lord of all worlds has no control. Would to God that all of us could take his "example and follow his steps" in this as well as all other examples. — 1Pe 2:21. — from William M. Mitchell, "The Prophesies, Purposes and Predestination of God Hidden from the Apostles of Jesus," The Gospel Messenger vol.14 no.8 (1892). "FOR OF A TRUTH against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." — Ac 4:27-28. The above certainly witnesses that the crucifixion of Christ was predetermined and that characters spoken of were gathered together for that purpose. Upon that event was hinged the salvation of all the Lord's people. Nor was it less certain that the characters that did, should crucify Christ, but still I cannot see in such things that God had predestinated the wickedness of those who crucified him. If I should determine the death of a dog by delivering him to a lion, though my decree might be irreversible, yet it had no influence upon the disposition of the lion to destroy the dog. So the crucifiers of Christ, as manifest enemies to him, needed no influence from God's decree to incline them to the deed, nor did they receive any influence from that source. It was but for God to lift off of them his restraint, and they, with "wicked hands," crucifed him, as the scriptures avow. It has previously been shown to the satisfaction of some people, that whatsoever God purposes he also performs. His purpose in the matter under consideration was that Christ should be crucified, and hence he delivered him to characters who were eager to do it. But this doesn't prove that the eagerness to crucify Christ was a fruit of God's decree. No, in fact it could not be, as it was wicked, declared so to be, then how could a holy decree be the origin of it? — from John Rowe, "Predestination," The Gospel Messenger vol.7 no.11 (1885). HIS SUFFERINGS AND BLOOD were most freely given for all loving believers on Christ, all that feel helpless, lost and ruined by sin. Though men are lost and ruined by sin, yet by the obedience of Jesus Christ "many shall be made righteous." To all in the house—to all men everywhere, I want to tell that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. When brought into tender sympathy with Jesus in his extreme suffering and bitter death, and made to think of my own helpless state and desperately wicked ways when dead in sins, when reminded that Jesus still loved me and died for my sins though a rebel against him—then my soul is so filled with love for Jesus and for my fellow-beings, that though I suffer the loss of all things, in obedience to God, I must speak even to the vilest sinners concerning my loving and merciful Saviour. He is the only Saviour. Human merit and human efforts can never save nor help to save, from the justly deserved fire of an awful hell. But while with men salvation is impossible, "with God all things are possible." I feel if such a vile sinner as myself has received mercy, no one need despair. "The Son quickeneth whom he will" even though a bloody Manasseh or a wicked Mary Magdaline. The crimes are great but can't surpass,
Let this question rise in every heart to day: Am I one embraced in that prayer? If so it will be answered, for the Father always hears him, for he prays not for the world, but for them that the Father hath given him; and all that the Father hath given him he will raise up at the last day. He shall have the glory of an everlasting Father, for under that title he came into the world, and he will not fail to answer to it when he goes out of the world; and in the great day he will say, "Here am I, and the children which God hath given me."—Not one of them lost. The Redeemer shall have a seed to serve him, and bear up his name; Ps 22:30. He died to purchase and purify them unto himself; Tit 2:14. Through him eternal life is given unto them, and they are born of God. His Spirit by its quickening, life-giving power is the Author of their regeneration, and impresses his image upon them, and by it they are sealed heirs of promise. He died, but he rose again from the dead. He did not leave his children fatherless orphans, but took effectual care to secure to them the blessing and the inheritance of sons. Christ is their everlasting Father. His love is unchanging and eternal, and he loves them to the end, and will not leave them to the care of another, but will be their Father at all times, and they shall be kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation.— from Gregg M. Thompson, "Christ and Him Crucified," The Primitive Preacher ch.1 (1888). IN THE GARDEN Jesus sunk in deep waters, when his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death; but when he was brought before his enemies he was comforted, and when he was crucified he bore it patiently. But, my brother, the precious drops that came from his side were not wasted or lost, for in this he was sealed or anointed to set captive sinners free. 0 the thought that Jesus stooped, even to death, the death of the cross for me! What love must have been in his heart for us, and it was this love that prompted him to come to us, even when we were dead in sin and quicken us into life, and it is this for which he still preserves us. — from James H. Oliphant, letter to Brother Owen, in Zion's Advocate (Mar. 1874). OH, CHRISTIANS, LOVE YOUR DEAR HUSBAND and obey him at all times and in all places, because he has done much for you; his groans in the garden on the cold ground, his exclamations on the cross, my God, my God, show it; much less, look at his bloody cheeks and face, from the piercing thorns in his mock crown: see the blood trickling off his elbows from the nails in his hands; behold the crimson, life giving drops, gently falling from his heels from the nails in his feet; and above all, only cast up your eyes to his side and see the red current flowing to the last drop, mingled with water running down his side, thighs, legs, and see it fall in a puddle at the foot of the cross. Look on, gaze, wonder, and adore; love, praise, and give thanks to God and the Lamb, for such love, such wondrous love as this, written in blood, groans, agony and death. Here read your pardon, your peace with God, your satisfaction for sin, your reconciliation, your atonement to the full; for the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses from all sin. We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. He made peace through the blood of his cross, and by this blood you that were afar off are made nigh to God. Here in this and by this man Jesus Christ we have received the atonement, all for the love he bore his worthless bride; he paid her debts as, says Paul: who loved me and gave himself for me. — from Joshua Lawrence, A Basket of Fragments (1833). SALVATION THROUGH CHRIST was no doubt proclaimed by the Almighty to Adam and Eve; sacrifices were ordained to typify the crucifixion of the Savior. Skins of beasts, probably slain in sacrifice, taken by God and placed around the bodies of Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness, were figurative of the righteousness of Christ, which was to be imputed and placed as a robe around all the saints of God. The system is revealed, and the warfare soon began. The offspring of Adam and Eve, having been born after the fall, of course were brought forth in a state of sin and death, so that those without faith persecuted those who had faith. The first man born was named Cain, and the second was named Abel. Each brought a sacrifice to God. Cain's was without faith, being of the fruit of the ground. Abel's was with faith, and was of the firstlings of his flock and the fat thereof, typifying the offering of the Lamb of God in the fullness of the time (Heb 11:4). — from C.B. & Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God ch.II (1886). JESUS IS THE ONLY MEDIATOR between God and men, for there is but one. 1Ti 2:4. The final salvation of a sinner depends upon a full reconciliation being made. Reconciliation for sin must be made by the one Mediator. No priest or preacher has ever assisted in this reconciliation. No one has ever stood as an aid to Jesus in this work. "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved by his life." Ro 5:10. Christ reconciled us to God by his death by "bearing our sins in his own body on the tree." 1Pe 2:24. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." 2Co 5:19. The reason that God did not impute their sins unto them was that Christ bore them in his death. Thus David and Paul both declare that man to be blessed "whose iniquities are forgiven, whose sins are covered." Ps 32:1-2, and Ro 4:7. Forgiveness of sins follows the covering of those sins. Sins are covered by Christ's suffering for them. There is no other covering for sins. Then all whose sins Christ covered are to be forgiven of their sins and are blessed indeed. "For this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they that are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." Heb 9:15.
— from John R. Daily, "The Mediatorial Reign of Christ," Zion's Advocate vol.39 no.8 (Aug. 1900)
Eld. John R. Daily
"Jesus, lover of my soul,"
Sang a boy with childish glee;
With no wave of care to roll
O'er his heart so light and free.
Little feels he need to pray,
"Let me to thy bosom fly;"
Passing time away in play,
With no threat'ning "tempest" nigh.
"Jesus, lover of my soul,"
Later sang the same gay boy,
Fully under sin's control,
Seeking naught but present joy.
Never pausing once to think,
As the flying moments go,
He is standing on the brink,
Fearful brink of endless woe.
"Jesus, lover of my soul,"
Pleadingly he later cried,
"Why should Jesus love my soul?
Could it be for me he died?"
"Let me to thy bosom fly,"
Now he pleads, convinced of sin.
"Save me, Jesus, or I die,
From the 'tempest' take me in."
Jesus, lover of my soul;"
Now he feels these words are true.
Christ has made the wounded whole,
To his name all praise is due.
"Let me to thy bosom fly,"
Blessed rest, secure retreat;
Now, the threat'ning waves so nigh,
All in vain with fury beat.
"Jesus, lover of my soul;"
Age, old age has come, and now
Frightful waves of trouble roll,
Sorrow's weight bends low the bough.
"I am all unrighteousness;"
Thus the aged pilgrim sings,
Knowing nothing else but grace,
Sure support and comfort brings.
"Jesus, lover of my soul,"
Sings the dying saint at last,
"Hide me while the billows roll,
Till the storm of life is past."
Lo, the soul is covered now
With the Saviour's balmy wing;
Beams of peace o'erspread the brow,
Death has lost its cruel sting.
Rest, dear soul, forever rest,
For thy sorrows now are o'er;
In the mansions of the blest
Thou shalt dwell forever more.
Thou hast gone to that dear friend,
Lover sure enough was he;
Now thy bliss shall have no end,
In that land from tempest free.
--- John R. Daily, "Biographical Sketch," Zion's Advocate vol. 40 no. 11 (Nov. 1901)
----------"THE LORD IS THY KEEPER, the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand and upon thy left." I repeat my proposition, "There is as certain and unfrustrable relation between the sufferings of Christ and the deliverance of his people, as there is between the payment of the price and the delivery of the property thus paid for, 'Who gave himself for our sins that he might deliver us from this present evil world,'" etc. Not that we might become clear of it if we could, but that "He might deliver us." Every experimental christian believes that God does seek, find, turn and save his people, and waits not for them to turn or even do anything else, but saves sovereignly. It would have been unlawful to deliver us without first redeeming us, therefore the apostle keeps this order in view. Again, "By one offering he hath forever perfected them that are sanctified whereof the Holy Ghost is a witness unto us" i.e., the Holy Ghost testifies in us and to us of Christ's vicarious death, and shows us how that our cruel sins received their due in the sufferings of Christ; how that God is satisfied; how that the law is honored, justice fully met with all its claims, as much so as if you had suffered eternally in hell; how that it was for you and in your stead that Jesus died, and how all this is true and us poor guilty sinners saved. This was Paul's mind when he exclaimed with triumphant joy, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect." "It is God that justifies; who is he that condemeth?" The Eternal Judge solemnly and in all truth and verity (in view of the death of Christ) says of us, "just." He says this not for anything in or of us, or done by us, but because of what Christ has done for us. "Now," he continues, "who is he that condemeth?" Where is a power that can unsay what God has said? Where is the court of appeals? Who can say guilty of those whom God justifies? Now if there is no power above God, and none can set aside his decision, then the final salvation of every one so justified is certain, unless God reverse his own judgment, and this he will not do, for he "is without variableness or shadow of turning;" and besides, he knows who and what he justifies, and there can no evil conduct come from one that he justifies that was not by him foreseen, neither can any evil influence beset them that was not also of him foreseen. Therefore, those whom God justifies are securely "sealed unto the day of redemption." To say otherwise is to say that God has taken to himself as a bride, and an heir, and a child, one that he knows will desert him and prove unworthy of the relation in the end, or to say he knew not that or whom he is so loving. Now, just as sure as that God is free of such monstrous imperfections, so sure is the doctrine of the possibility of falling from grace a libel on the character of God. Paul also assigns the very reason why he justifies, saying "It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again." Undoubtedly he understood that Christ's death was the whole ground of our hope, and that in view of his death God could justify, but after showing that Christ has died, thus turning our eyes to the cross where our elder brother and Savior was crucified, he leads us on to his resurrection, as though we were destined to enjoy the same glorious mercy, and that his raising is a pledge to us that our bodies shall participate in the whole of his glory. Then the apostle makes another glorious revelation, saying, "Who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." Thus showing that Christ after his death, resurrection, and ascension, is still intently interested for us—"Who also maketh intercession for us," as though this gives additional strength to our hope. In all, showing that the heart of Jesus is set for us, to die for us, to raise even to heaven for us, and there before God, like a mighty advocate, to plead for us. All this because we are such poor, erring, sinful beings, so forgetful, so unmindful, that no part of our salvation dare be left for us to make sure. Upon this Paul says, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us"; not through our own strength or doings, but "through him that loved us." What a blessed faith he had here—no faith in nor mention of self, or obedience or anything but Jesus; yet a happy, triumphant faith in Jesus, one that hushes all fears. He is our hiding place from every wind and covert from every tempest. David could say, "I will praise thee, Oh Lord, my strength"—"The Lord is my light and my salvation." He then asks "Whom shall I fear?" "The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?" Oh, Christian! Christian! If God is thy light, life and strength; if he is thy covert from the tempest and every storm, what can harm thee? Danger and deep trouble may be and are before thee. But oh! look, do look! "to the hills from which thy help cometh," and at the mighty bulwarks around thee and sweetly and safely sing praises to God. Christ, as our advocate, has securely guarded every point. To pay our fearful debt of sin, the dagger of justice he received into his own heart, poured out his own blood, not to make anything possible, but with his eye fixed on one object, i.e., our salvation. He suffered himself reared up on the cross and there, as a true and faithful shepherd, died. Language fails to express the deep intensity of his love to us. Our own imaginations are too weak to mount up to it, and when he arose from the dead he still remembered the object of his death, and now at the right hand of God he prays for us; makes intercessions for us. So, if apostasy or falling from grace is possible, it is also possible that Christ's blood is thrown away; it is possible that the purchase of his blood will remain forever in hell; possible that his father will not hear and answer his prayers, for he intercedes for us, and prays for every believer; possible that Jesus, after all his pains, and after all that has been said of the virtue of his blood, and his power to save, and after all that we have hoped or believed of his influence and power in winning the hearts of sinners—yet after all this he may be sadly disappointed. Heaven's expected guests dragged down to hell; seats in heaven unoccupied; God's will not done, which was—that "of all thou hast given me I should lose nothing but raise it up again at the last day." — from James H. Oliphant, "Nature and Object of Christ's Death," Final Perseverance of the Saints ch.II (1878). HAVE YOU DEEP, HEART-BREAKING TROUBLE you can hardly bear? Do you suffer cruel taunts and injuries, which bring you great grief? Oh, then, brother, amid your griefs and sobs let my heart speak to yours in tones of sympathy. My fellow traveler, weak and wounded and distressed, be patient; be forgiving. How blessed to feel in our hearts the sweet and holy influence or forgiveness. Remember Daniel for his loyal prayers to God was cast into a den of lions; Joseph was left by his brethren to perish in a pit; and Jesus was crucified for His enemies. What full proof of His great love to us. "He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." 2Co 5:21. So, poor, heart-broken one, in all your fiery trials, "Be of good cheer." Rest on the consoling words of Jesus, "Let not you hearts be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me." 0 poor soul, believe in Jesus, and obey Him! Yes, trust His love and power to save you. — from Moses D. Denman, "Heart Trouble" (late 1800s), Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907). "FOR THE LORD IS OUR DEFENSE, and the holy one of Israel is our King. Then thou speakest in visions to thy holy one, and said, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people." [Ps 89:18.] And of this chosen one he says: "Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Isaiah also says, Isa 53:5, "And with his stripes we are healed." Isa 53:6, "All we, like sheep, have gone astray. We have turned, every one in his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all," Isa 53:8, "For he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken." "When thou shall make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed; he shall prolong his day, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand." 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." The many justified are the many whose sins are borne; the bearing of sin results in justification. These two things are tied together so inseparably in each of these passages, that any one willing to see truth can see it. While his soul is being offered, he shall see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. He shall see the end and object of his death and he will be satisfied; and what else would satisfy him but the ultimate salvation of all his people? It is the stripes that heal; or we are healed because he is striped. In all these passages we are presented as one, with Christ in the covenant. So that our release from suffering is a necessary consequence of his suffering. — from James H. Oliphant, Final Perseverance of the Saints ch.V (1878). "GOD HATH NOT APPOINTED US TO WRATH, but to obtain, salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1Th 5:9. "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." Ac 2:23. We are said to be "predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will;" Eph 1:2. "Whom He did foreknow them He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son." Ro 8:29. Kind reader let us believe the Bible, and rejoice in this plainly revealed, God honoring and soul comforting truth. Praise the Lord! While God has predestinated that Jesus die for our sins; he has also predestinated that we be regenerated by the Holy Ghost's renewing work; and that we perform good works here, and finally dwell with our dear Saviour in our sweet home in heaven. — from Moses D. Denman, "Predestination" (late 1800s), Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907). THE CRUCIFIERS OF CHRIST, and all other corrupt men, inherited their corruption from the first Adam, and it has previously been shown that his corruption did not originate in God's holy decree. — from John R. Rowe, A Refutation of the Doctrine of Absolute Predestination of All Things p.31 (1889). HE WAS TO BE A CHILD BORN, a son given unto us (Isa 9:6), a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isa 53:3), the son of man (Da 7:13), a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death (Ps 8:5; Heb 2:9), to have His heel bruised by the serpent (Ge 3:15), to be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zec 11:12-13), to be numbered with transgressors (Isa 53:12), to have His hands and feet pierced by the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Ps 22:16; Zec 12:10-14), to have His garments parted and lots cast for His vesture (Ps 22:18), be given gall and vinegar to drink (Ps 64:10), be smitten by the sword of Divine justice (Zec 13:7), stricken for the transgression of His people, bruised for their iniquities, cut off out of the land of the living, and be with the rich in His death (Isa 53:5,8-9). — from Sylvester Hassell, "The Spiritual Interpretation of the Scriptures," The Gospel Messenger (1892-93). SIXTY YEARS AGO the second Sunday in last May I was baptized by my father with twelve others, and for fifty-seven years, in my blundering way, I have been trying to preach Christ and him crucified, as the only "name given under heaven, among men whereby we must be saved." When but a boy I trust God gave me to see that I was a lost and justly condemned sinner, without hope and without God in the world. I then saw that salvation had to be by grace, free, sovereign, unmerited grace, or I was lost forever; and my sixty years' experience has confirmed me in the truth that salvation is of the Lord, and that if I am a saint and a child of God, it is "by the grace of God I am what I am." I know that if grace had not interposed and changed the affections and desires of my heart, I never would have chosen God, for I loved sin and the company of sinners; but I know such a change has been wrought in the feelings and affections of my heart, that the things I once loved I now hate, and the things I once hated I now love. — from Gregg M. Thompson, letter to R. W. Thompson, in The Primitive Monitor (Nov. 1886). HOW DIM IS THE FIGURE when compared with the substance! "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." The safety of Spiritual Israel is secured by this great offering, and their final deliverance from all sin is certainly assured. The blood shed in this holy sacrifice is a safeguard to them from any visitation of the angel of destruction. Being reconciled by the death of their Substitute, they shall be saved by his life. — from John R. Daily, "The Passover," Zion's Advocate, vol. 38 no.12 (Dec. 1899). HOWEVER DARK AND STRANGE His providence may seem to us, yet the permission of such things, is in the permission of them right. If we only make the necessary distinction between the permission of things, and the things themselves, we will relieve the subject of much difficulty. The act, in itself, may be even contrary to the commandment of the Lord, but the permission of it may subserve important ends in His providence. In the case of Joseph, for instance, the acts which his brethren were permitted to do, were in themselves wicked, but the permission of them was followed by good results; good was in that manner brought out of evil, though they had no right or authority from God to do evil, that good might come out of it. Ro 3:8. This may be seen much more fully and conspicuously in the crucifixion of Christ. The wicked acts of His enemies in crucifying Him, produced the greatest and best results which ever occurred in this world; for through their acts He became a sacrifice for sins. In their wicked hands He suffered, bled and died, that He might redeem His people from all iniquity. — from John Watson, The Old Baptist Test (1867). GOD IS PLEASED to reveal and make known his will and purposes to his people as they are prepared to receive such knowledge. We should not be too hasty to speak of things that we know nothing about. The apostles for some time did not understand that Christ must be crucified, and the very mention of such a thing even by Christ himself caused one of them to treat the idea with abhorrent disgust: "Be it far from thee, Lord;" "This shall not be, I will go with you to prison and to death." As much as to say, "I will prevent it, if in my power." Let young Christians especially young preachers, and old ones too, take care they do not get a little too confident in things of which they are profoundly ignorant. — from William M. Mitchell, "The Mount of Transfiguration," The Gospel Messenger (1886). I AM JESUS, I will save you;
Dr. M.D. (Moses DeWitt) Denman
IN EARLY CHILDHOOD my parents taught me of God and His laws and Jesus Christ and his crucifixion, also of Heaven, of Hell, and of Satan, as recorded in the Bible. Thus Father and Mother trained me to respect God and His holy worship. They often carried me to church and caused me to sit still and behave myself in the house of God. While this could not cause me to know God or to lovingly believe in Jesus, and though I then cared for none of these things, yet for all this early parental teaching and much more I now feel most heartily thankful to them and to the Lord.
— M.D. Denman, "Experience"
AT AN EARLY AGE he manifested great respect for superiors, an abiding interest in the lives of great men, and a strong desire to imitate, the good.
— Horace Denman, Obituary
IN EARLY CHILDHOOD he greatly enjoyed the company and conversation of Christian people, and was often moved to tears when the subject of Jesus and His crucifixion was mentioned.
— Eld. R.H. Pittman's Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers of the United States
AFTER RECEIVING a hope I desired to join the church and be baptized, but deferred doing so for about three or four years. During these years of trying conflicts many arguments were presented to keep me away from the church. The most forcible of these was a sense of my unfitness and unworthiness.
— M.D. Denman, "Experience"
HE WAS NEVER MARRIED but remained with his parents and proved a dutiful son; acquired a liberal education, taught school and earned money with which to attend college and graduated with honors in the medical department of the University of Tennessee [in 1882].
— Pittman's Biographical History
FOR SOME EIGHTEEN YEARS following the completion of his medical course, he was actively and successfully engaged in the practice of medicine and in his home neighborhood, Sparta, Bell Co. Texas.... Wishing to relieve the sufferings or to advance the well-being of others, he never hesitated because of the night or the fierceness of the storm, nor did he question about the pay.
— Horace Denman, Obituary
HE GAVE UP his chosen profession so he could fulfill a duty he owed to his Heavenly Father, being impressed to travel and speak and write comfortably to the children of God.
— Ann W. Denman, Preface to Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907)
HE... GAVE HIMSELF almost entirely to scriptural study and scriptural work. He led a life of abstinence and self-sacrificing devotion to the cause he espoused.
— Horace Denman, Obituary
IN 1865 HE PROFESSED a hope in Christ, joined the Old School Baptists at Cedar Grove Church and was baptized by his grandfather, Elder Moses H. Denman; was licensed to preach and in the latter part of his life gave up his chosen profession in order to be free to travel, speak and write of Jesus and His salvation; moved to Beaver County, Oklahoma, in 1904, and soon after began the publication of the Old School Baptist Quarterly.
— Pittman's Biographical History
HE WAS EARLY LIBERATED to exercise in the public and has at all times since proven himself by a pious life and a godly conversation. He was a hard student and a zealous advocate of the truth. He has written much. In his meditations, in his preaching and in his writings he has dwelt much on the beauty and sufferings of Christ, the obligation of all men to live uprightly, but the total inability of any to attain unto eternal life except by the imputed righteousness of Christ.
— Horace Denman, Obituary
IT WAS SAD to leave the home I loved, specially Cedar Grove church. Yet duty urged me, to come with my aged parents. So on bidding the dear brethren and sisters of my home adieu, to go from them and from all the brethren of whom I was unworthy, I felt as if doomed to exile from the dear church of God in this new country. Feeling sure it was God's hand taking me away from my beloved home church, I tried to be resigned. But since our Lord has planted this little church here, I feel to thank God and take courage. "Praise the Lord, oh, my soul." If not deceived it is our chief concern to serve or keep house for our dear Saviour, in spirit and in truth.
— M.D. Denman, "Peculiar Providence"
GO ON in the discharge of your felt duty, and may Heaven's rich blessings rest upon you.
— letter from R.A. Biggs in Old School Baptist Quarterly vol.1 no. I (Jan. 1906)
BROTHER M. D. DENMAN edited and published a quarterly magazine with the title Old School Baptist Quarterly, which he furnished gratuitously... [an] excellent periodical.
— Eld. John R. Daily, as quoted at Primitive Baptist Online
HIS THOUGHTS were generally brief, clear and scrupulously exact.
— Horace Denman, Obituary
I HAVE RECEIVED sample copies of your much esteemed paper, The Baptist Quarterly, and handed them to brothers, sisters and friends, and all seemed to like them very much. I feel like I want to say that I know what you set forth will not trouble God's people. If I know the truth it is plainly set forth in this paper. I know the truth has not nor never will trouble the church of God. But, dear brother, the truth will always unite God's people.
— letter from A.B. Chambers in Old School Baptist Quarterly vol.1 no.4 (Oct. 1906)
I RECEIVED one of your papers, The Baptist Quarterly, and found it full of gospel truth. It is my heart's desire that the Lord may bless your efforts to feed the church of God. I love to read your paper where there is no one fighting against another. May the Lord keep you from publishing such unkindness.
— letter from Virgil E Agan in Old School Baptist Quarterly vol.1 no.4 (Oct. 1906)
HE HAS OFTEN TIMES said to me "that he wanted to help build church houses, and assist the needy, especially the needy of the household of faith."
— Ann W. Denman, Preface to Religious Writings
HE WAS VERY ZEALOUS in the cause of truth and on his deathbed told his brothers that he wanted all his property used for the benefit of the Old School Baptists.
— Pittman's Biographical History
[AT THE TIME of his final illness] he was improving and preparing his land to rent out, thereby enabling him to devote all his time, talent and efforts to the cause of Christ and his people, the Primitive Baptist, without money and without price.
— Ann W. Denman, Preface to Religious Writings
HE HAD BEEN in feeble health for several weeks and was much weakened by indigestion until by undue exertion and exposure he contracted a spell of pneumonia of the most violent character. He took his bed Jan. 2, and at 11 o'clock Jan. 8, passed away very suddenly from an attack of heart failure.
— Horace Denman, Obituary
LET US REJOICE in hope of our final glorious meeting and recognition of Jesus and His saints, at His second personal coming. Then with our departed loved ones, in sweet memory that though self-defiled, Jesus has atoned for our sins, and renewed us by His grace, our purified and happy spirits praising our Saviour shall sing, "Thou wast slain, and has redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." Re 5:9.
— M.D. Denman, "He Is Not Dead But Sleepeth"
BROTHER DEWITT'S DEATH is deeply deplored by friends and relatives and by the membership of Beulah church, Beaver County, Oklahoma, where his membership was at the time of his death. He was one who walked not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful but his delights were in the law of the Lord and in His laws did he meditate day and night.
— Horace Denman, Obituary
SUCH DEVOTION to the cause of Christ makes the departed one live in the hearts of the children of God.
— Eld. John R. Daily, as quoted at Primitive Baptist Online
Born — Aug. 11, 1850 (to Jackson H. [Sr.] & Ann Wood Briscoe Denman, Larissa, Texas)
Professed a hope — 1865
Baptized — 1872 (by Eld. Moses H. Denman, Cedar Grove Church)
Primary fields of labor — Texas, Oklahoma
Churches served — Cedar Grove, Beulah
Deceased — Jan. 8, 1907 (Beaver County, Oklahoma)
Publications of note — the Old School Baptist Quarterly (1906-1907); Religious Writings (published posthumously in 1907)
HUMAN OBEDIENCE IS TOO IMPERFECT to bear the gaze of God's purity. Man's righteousness is too filthy to help relieve the foul plague of sin. God is perfect, and will only accept a perfect righteousness—"the righteousness of God." Ro 3:20-26. The perfect obedience or righteousness of the dear dying Lamb of God, singly and freely imputed to the sinner, is the only acceptable offering for sin. This is my only hope. This is the way from earth to heaven. Jesus is "the way."— from Moses D. Denman, "Sore Conflicts" (late 1800s), Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907). THE DEAR SON OF GOD is the only being in immensity that can rescue fallen man, and he only by becoming a curse for us; and, much as God loved his Son, he so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have eternal life. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Ro 5:8.) The writer's idea here is, that God's love to us was exceeding great, and that it is thus commended to us in that he gave his Son for us. "He spared not his own Son," who was so innocent. —0! what love to us poor sinners is set forth here, that Jesus should be made of "no reputation," become so poor as to have no place to lay his head; yea, more, to hear all the reproaches of wicked men, and to be delivered according to the determinate counsel of his Father. In the garden he prays, "if possible, let this cup pass from me—not my will but thine be done." 0! will God forsake his Son for his enemies? Eternity has witnessed his union to and delight in him. 0, my soul! think on the scenes of this day when thou art cast down. Jesus must tread the wine-press of the wrath of God alone—there are none to help, he is taken, crucified for us, bore our sins, became a curse for us. — from James H. Oliphant, letter to Brother Owen, in Zion's Advocate (Mar. 1874). WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT comes to us, He first convicts us of sin (Joh 16:8-9). The bitten Israelites exclaim, "We have sinned" (Nu 21:7). If they had been dead, they would not have felt the bite of the serpents; and so, when we are dead in sin, we do not mourn because of our sins. But, being the chosen people of God, and being alive, they were distressed by the poison rankling within them and the fear of death, and they penitently and earnestly sought healing and relief. By the merciful command of God, Moses raised a fiery serpent of brass, having no poison in it, upon a pole, a banner-staff (or cross), as the word literally means; and the bitten Israelites looked upon the brazen serpent and lived—that is, as explained by Christ, they did not perish or die, but they were healed and saved. And so the ceremonial law—ordained by God, and given by Moses—points the convicted sinner, the bitten Israelite, to the sinless and crucified Son of Man, who was also the Son of God, made a curse for the sins of His people, and forever putting away those sins by the sacrifice of Himself. No agonizing and dying Israelite in the wilderness would for a moment refuse to look upon the brazen serpent for healing; and, when he looked, he was instantly and forever healed of the poison within him; he never died so far as death by the poison was concerned; he did not, after he looked, have a different life from what he had before, but the life he already had, continued—he did not perish or die. — from Sylvester Hassell, "The Divine Order of Salvation," The Gospel Messenger (1896). GOD HAD PROMISED HIM to the prophets and the people through them; the time of his coming was fixed; the time of his suffering was fixed; the amount of his suffering was fixed, and the result of his suffering was fixed. These four things were fixed in the covenant of God, and we may say that in all he did and suffered he was not in the least disappointed, neither will he be disappointed in the least as to the result. In Joh 17:1, and Joh 12:23, he says the hour is come. He often spoke of the hour. Da 9:26: "After three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off," etc., and many, very many places, show that there was a set time when Jesus should be crucified. Often his enemies sought his life, but his hour was not come. It is a sublime thought that in the mind of God the very time of his suffering was fixed. Truly it is a covenant ordered in all things, and sure. Jesus knew when his hour was come. If we consider that his death is the foundation of all hope, that saints of all ages were to look to this event, we need not be surprised that the time of his death was arranged in the "everlasting (eternal) covenant" of God. No Bible reader will doubt but that the decree of God fixed the time of his death as well as that of his coming into the world. — from James H. Oliphant, "Various Covenants Considered," Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists ch.V1 (1885). THE CRUCIFIXION OF OUR LORD and Savior Jesus Christ was the most memorable and wonderful event in the history of the world. The redemption of countless millions of the human race depended on it, and without it there was salvation for none. Yet the dark deed of judicial murder, instigated by the malignity of the Jews, was rebuked by the absent rays of the bright luminary of Heaven, when darkness covered the earth for three dreary, doleful hours on that memorable day. — from C.B. & Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God ch.VII (1886). THE AMOUNT OF HIS SUFFERING, it seems, was a matter of decree. Ac 4:27-28: "For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together. For to do whatsoever thy hand and counsel determined before to be done." Also Ac 2:23: "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God." The short history of Jesus, from the garden until he expired on the cross, is one of awful suffering, but it was all fixed in the covenant of God, the spitting, mocking, buffeting, scourging, and everything he endured was divinely appointed and so fixed that he must drink the whole cup; but the result of his suffering was as certainly fixed. He did not suffer to make some undetermined good end possible, but he suffered the just for "the unjust that he might bring us to God." "He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." "Therefore doth my Father love me because I lay down my life for the sheep." It would be strange confusion to say that the time and extent of his suffering was divinely fixed and the result left contingent or uncertain. Isa 53:10-11, speaking to this point, says: "When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed. * * * He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied." From this we learn that in the very crushing jaws of his awful death he saw his seed and was satisfied; satisfied as he saw that life to all his seed was secured by his stripes, not conditionally secured to them, but certainly. We do not view the covenant as a bare proposal of salvation to sinners, but we conclude that God in his own eternal wisdom made choice of his people before the world was—Eph 1:4, and according to that choice grace and purpose was given them in Christ from everlasting.2Ti 1:9. Jesus was sent for their redemption to suffer and die for them, and God's eternal and unchangeable mind being fixed on them, their salvation was certain. — from James H. Oliphant, "Various Covenants Considered," Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists ch.VI (1885). THOUGH TWENTY-THREE YEARS AGO, I being then twenty-one years of age, I remember the time and place as distinctly as if the event had occurred but yesterday. It was Monday afternoon, August 17th, 1863 while I was alone in my own bedroom in my father's house. The precious words thus blessed of God to me were the following: "We cannot wholly pass over this narrative of our Redeemer's crucifixion without again reflecting for a moment on the complicated cruelties and indignities to which He was exposed; and not for any fault of His own, nay; directly contrary to His deservings. But He was wounded and scourged, that we might be healed; He was arrayed with scorn in the purple robe that He might procure for us sinners the robe of righteousness and salvation. He was crowned with thorns, that we might be crowned with honor and immortality; He stood speechless, that we might have an all-prevailing plea; He endured torture, that we might have a strong consolation; He thirsted that we might drink of the waters of life; He bore the wrath of the Father that we might enjoy His favor; He was numbered with transgressors, that we might be made equal to angels; He died, that we might live forever! Let us then often retire to survey this scene, and to admire His immeasurable love; that we may learn to mourn for sin and hate it, and rejoice in our obligations to the Redeemer; and we may be constrained by love to live no longer to ourselves, but to Him who died for us and rose again." I felt that the language of Zec 12:10 was fulfilled in me, and I wished to weep forever, shed an ocean of tears for my wretched sins that had slain the Lord of life and glory. From the subsequent and permanent effects of this exercise, I was led to believe that it was the gracious work of the Spirit of God. — from Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God ch.XVIII (1886) (footnote quoting from Thomas Scott's Practical Observations, 1817). SO NO TEXT CAN BE FOUND showing that the decrees of God are related to sin just as they are related to holiness. The circumstances of Christ's crucifixion and being delivered "according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, to be taken with wicked hands." These hands were not made wicked by the decree of God. All that this whole circumstance can prove is that evil men were, and are so under the control of God as to carry out His purposes. How different it is with the Saints, who are made worthy and holy by the efficacious work of the spirit. — from James H. Oliphant, Thoughts on the Will ch.IX (1899). WHEN ON THE CROSS my Lord I see,
THE SAVIOR COMES in human form,
And with his priestly garments on,
His breastplate shows their names,
A Mediator now we see,
Fulfilling God's first great decree
To save poor fallen man.
Thus on the cross was Jesus slain,
Sustained the curse, endured the pain,
And bought the church with blood;
As every charge on him was laid,
And he complete atonement made,
No curse can fall on those.
GLORY IN TRIBULATIONS ALSO
Introductory Comment"Go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents." (Song 1:8) DEARLY BELOVED, those near and far who are interested in the Cause of Christ and "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints," The Vision Continues Someone has observed that history in a significant sense is "His story"—the unfolding of God's purpose and providence throughout the record of human affairs. Too much of the past highlights human frailty and depravity. But church history, in particular, ought to have the effect of bringing our minds to a sharper focus on the faithfulness of God to His promises. "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us" (2Co 1:20). It is a precious blessing to see some renewal of interest in church history in this day and age, when the common centers of human attention are manifestly "me" and "now." Our continuing desire in Gold, Silver, Precious Stones is to promote familiarity with the paths our fathers have trod, encouraging a conscious sense of broader identity with the faithful church in all ages and localities—an intergenerational vision, if you will. Some related thoughts come to mind from a recent graveside me service, where a professor and writer on American history made the following observations: Now those people who have no past, who have no historical memory, who have no respect for the past, they question what we are doing. In the minds of these a-historical people we are naive or even stupid—at best, quaint—for doing what we are currently doing. But the idea that the past should be forgotten and that its peoples should not be honored is itself a naive and provincially idea.... Keeping alive our ties to the past enables us to confront the challenges of our day, knowing there are those who walked this lonesome valley before us. When, in our day, we are called on to sacrifice for a cause it is strengthening to know we spring from the loins of those who have done even greater deeds. The demands made on us are placed in perspective when put alongside the calls made on these men. We stand here rightfully proud of the deeds of our forebears. We stand here justly remembering our past. We stand here honorably commemorating their courage, devotion, and fortitude. If we were to cease to stand here, we would be lesser people indeed. — from Michael R. Bradley, Ph.D., "Ties that Are Stronger than Death," remarks delivered at Wiseman Cemetery, Moore County, Tennessee (June 4, 2005). If not pride then affection and gratitude, at least, seem to be thoroughly appropriate expressions. Scripture teaches that a minister of the gospel must be, among other things, "a lover of good men" (Tit 1:8), and we all do well to emulate this principle. We can love by being thankful to God for the gift of good men's presence with us and by being thankful to good men for the examples they leave to benefit us. In passing on the gospel torch down through the ages, the faithful community of believers is following Paul's instruction to young Timothy, "the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2Ti 2:2). And in the process we reap a great blessing of personal encouragement. The pages of history reveal to us many others who are our brothers and sisters in the faith of Christ. Studying their faithfulness to God compels us to acknowledge that "we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses" (Heb 12:1). Our immediate forebears who have departed this life are a part of this same cloud, and one sweet day, God willing, we shall be too. They not long ago bore faithful witness to the very Christ in whom we rejoice today. May our testimony in this generation somehow be as bright and fervent as their testimony was in their day. We as a people have long maintained that the church of Christ is the pillar and ground of the truth, and that God has never suffered that truth to fail but has preserved its testimony in large measure through a direct succession of churches found under different names throughout the ages. Changing times and circumstances may alter the environment through which these "old paths" pass, but the paths themselves continue with Jesus as their unwavering Author and Finisher. While change and decay is all around us, what comfort it is to the heir of grace to be able to read of his spiritual forefathers, to sit under the sound of their preaching, as it were, and rejoice that the gates of hell have not prevailed against truth or her pillar. Primitive Baptists have a wonderfully blessed heritage. Through the years multitudes of courageous, devout men and women have been numbered among us. They have earnestly contended for the faith once delivered to the saints, even in the face of opposition, misrepresentation, or slander. Awareness of this precious heritage will serve to make us more thankful for our past, better encouraged in the present, and still more zealous and hopeful for the future. Tracing the "footsteps of the flock" thus becomes an exercise of discipleship. Wise men have observed that being unaware of one's history creates a sort of amnesia. A victim of amnesia may not know where he has been, where his steps are leading, or even where he presently stands. A case of spiritual amnesia could result from our day's self-absorption and neglect of the past. Problems may arise today or tomorrow for which we would be far better prepared if we were more fully acquainted with our old brethren and their labors, their stands, their convictions, their experiences. Sadly, if we are ill-acquainted with their times and their battles, it may be easier to let go of territory in Zion our fathers in the faith soundly and effectively defender A healthy familiarity with some of the struggles of the past can help protect us against the danger of toying with or even embracing modern theological novelties. "Throughout all ages, world without end" is the scripturally mandated term of the church's faithful devotion to her glorious Head. The last two centuries have seen the rise in unparalleled numbers of false sects and spin-offs claiming to have some compelling new grasp of true New Testament Christianity and often insisting that key elements of truth had previously died out before God supposedly revealed them all anew. We see a seemingly endless multiplication of "truth" views, but the most consistent characteristic among them all seems to be that each one involves some fundamental departure from the true religion founded in, on, and by the Lord Jesus Christ. True church identity in any locality depends on maintaining, not improving upon, historical biblical truth. If we take seriously our calling in Christ then we have no liberty in any generation to tamper with His truth. For the next generation to more easily receive the same truth we received, we must maintain the same doctrine, theology, and moral conduct Jesus taught. God preserved this truth in the Scriptures and we have seen it put into practice and handed down to us by the people of God who respected and preserved it. We must do no less than they. We are indebted to show the same respect for the truth, and to pass it on to the next generation well-used but unchanged. Christian ministry in the church is not a playground or a battlefield. It is a stewardship, a calling of solemn trust and responsibility. We guard, treasure, and reverently handle something that ultimately belongs to the Lord himself. It needs no tampering or experimentation. We cannot, we must not, look to historical or even contemporary men for our calling or our principles. We must look "unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" and "let God be true, but every man a liar," taking His flawlessly inspired word as our only rule and standard! At the same time, how ungratefully short-sighted we would be if we despised the treasure of God's having promised and preserved in His churches a perpetual witness to the truth. "For thou, 0 God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name" (Ps 61:5). Implementing The Vision Translating these high ideals into action is sometimes a challenge. We owe an apology to our community of readership for our failure in production timeliness. To the fullest extent of our abilities, the Lord being our helper, we are committed to delivering the promised number of GSPS issues to each of our subscribers at the highest cost-effective quality of content and production. In aid of that end, we are making two significant structural changes. First, with this issue we welcome aboard our new Managing Editor, Elder Mike Rogers of Gadsden, Alabama. Elder Rogers has graciously accepted project management responsibility and will help keep us on a more reliable production schedule. Second, with mixed emotions we announce a change in our publication schedule. Rather than trying (and thus far failing) to produce four issues per calendar year, our aim instead will be to produce two issues per year. This will not change the total number of issues sent to our subscribers. Those who subscribed for eight issues will receive eight, and those who subscribed for four issues will receive four. Individual copies will continue to be available for purchase at a slightly higher price while supplies last for each issue. Healthy Moderation "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand" (Php 4:5). On a great many subjects, the safe and profitable ground lies between biblically untenable extremes. This is certainly true on the subject of God's sovereignty and His relationship to the ills that befall His beloved. On the one hand we must avoid the frightening precipice of fatalism, which depicts sins and evils in themselves as pleasing to God, and His relation to sin and righteousness as equally positive, causitive, and approving. On the other hand is the hopeless ditch of deism, depicting God as the absentee landlord of a realm largely governed by chance, or as a watchmaker who set the machinery of the universe in motion and henceforth neglects it, leaving it more in our hands than in His. Between these extreme boundaries lies the rich and fertile soil of divinely revealed Truth, a fruitful vineyard well tended by God's people through the ages. This is "a good land and a large," a land flowing with the milk and honey of simple, basic spiritual sweetness and nourishment. We trust that in perusing these pages your heart will rejoice once again to survey this portion of your inheritance. For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass. When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he bath given thee. (De 8:7-10). As always, we warmly solicit the contributions and suggestions of our brethren the world over. Is there a topic you would like to see addressed? Please let us know. Are there historically interesting or spiritually edifying books, photographs, articles, sermons, epitaphs, memorials, debates, letters, or other materials within the scope of this labor that you would recommend to our readers' attention? Please send them in. Do you know of others who would appreciate receiving these materials? Please forward us their names and addresses. And most of all, "brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you" (2Th 3:1). Grace and peace, — the editors THEREFORE BEING JUSTIFIED by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Ro 5:1-5 Glory in Tribulations Also BY THE SPECIAL PROVIDENCE OF GOD, all things are made subservient to his purpose, hence all things work together for good to them that love God—Ro 8:28. All the trials, afflictions, persecutions and temptations of the saints are ordered by divine providence for their good, though they cannot always behold the dispensations of God in that light. — from John Rowe, A Practical Discourse on the Sovereignty of God (1885). IN THIS PROVIDENCE GOD is exceedingly good to us, as His earthly creatures, and supremely good to His children, who are the real inheritors of the earth, to which the Saviour testifies, saying: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. This is not a perfect inheritance, but it is surely a good one, because the Lord has given it to them, and while they remain on the earth to reap this bounty, He blesses them by His presence and sustains them by His power, and causes even their sorrows and afflictions to yield them good. The prophet Nahum says, "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble." It appears, therefore, that God's people learn how good He is by the troubles they endure, and that they never recognize and appreciate the fact that God is good, except as they learn and experience it through His deliverances from trouble. — from J. E. W. Henderson, "The Goodness of God to His Creature, Man," The Gospel Messenger vol. 16 no.10 (Oct. 1894). I AM AS FAR FROM BELIEVING that God caused man to sin as any of my brethren; nay, it was the Lord's enemy. But the Lord's goodness has no end, for he overrules all things, even the works of wicked men and devils, to the good of his children and his own glory. Wicked men and the devil need no stimulants to make them do wickedly. They are ever ready to do all the Lord will suffer them to do, and if it was not for the overruling power of God, which prevents them from accomplishing their desires or wishes, what would we all come to? But we have great reason to bless the Lord and take courage, that the enemy is not suffered to touch the life of even the weakest lamb. — from Samuel Clark, in The Primitive Baptist voi.6 no.2 (Jan. 1841). SOME HAVE ABUSED the doctrine of grace by urging that we may live in sin if it be of grace, and so the devil suggested to Christ that he should cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, "for God hath given his angels charge concerning thee lest at any time thou shouldest dash thy foot against a stone." Here the devil suggested a wicked use of the doctrine, but Christ replied, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God," as much as to say, "I know the doctrine you present is true, but you are endeavoring to make a bad use of it." So while we recognize the universality of God's providence in the care of his people, and know that he is the "Savior of all men, but especially of his people," yet we must not make an unlawful use of the doctrine. To rush foolishly into danger is to make an unlawful use of the doctrine, but when we are by duty called into danger we may place our feet upon this solid rock and feel courageous in the midst of the most dreadful contagions, or the roar of battle. We may feel that God cares for us, and sing with Hart: Tho shafts of death around me fly,
What Is a "Circular Letter"?
ANYONE who undertakes a serious study of Baptist and Primitive Baptist history will quickly become aware of the important role Circular Letters played in the development of church identity, doctrinal statements, and even controversy.
The Midland Association was formed in 1655 in Wales, stating as one of its purposes that the churches should "be helpful to each other" by "giving advice, after serious consultation and deliberation, in matters and controversies remaining doubtful to any particular church, according to the plain example of the churches of Jerusalem and Antioch" [quoted in John T. Christian, A History of the Baptists, vol.1 chapter 19 (1922)].
Early on, associations of churches in Great Britain and in America regularly published such letters "to set forth and maintain some important scriptural principle or practice," as Eld. Sylvester Hassell explained. [S. Hassell & R. H. Pittman, Questions and Answers (1935).] Although circular letters were later replaced in many associations by "a short Corresponding Letter addressed to their own churches and to other associations" [id.], the earlier circulars can still serve as enlightening historical mileposts, windows into the understanding of brethren and churches in various regions.
For example, Eld. Abel Morgan in 1773 proposed that the Philadelphia Association (the oldest association of churches in America) issue each year a circular letter to the churches consisting of "observations and improvements of some particular article of faith, contained in our Confession, beginning with the first, and so on in order, unless occasion require the contrary," a practice which that association followed for some twenty-five years. [Minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, 1707-1807, ed. A.D. Gillette (1851, reprinted 2002), p.136.] An objective was "to caution the churches against innovations in doctrine and practice, and to watch against errors and avoid them whenever they rise and by whomsoever they may be propagated" [id.]
Although we are interested in and solicit copies of all available circular letters for history's sake, it is our objective in Gold, Silver, Precious Stones to reprint only those circulars that, to the best of our research and understanding, did not engender controversy within the faithful church at the time they were originally published and circulated—i.e., letters which may fairly be said to represent "those things which are most surely believed among us" (Lu 1:1).
WHILE CONTEMPLATING the charms of nature, with all its beauty, and reflecting on the wise order of the natural government of matter, both animate and inanimate, we are led to think, also, of the government of God in matters pertaining to the spiritual kingdom. The first thought that presents itself to us is the certainty and immutability of all things pertaining to this kingdom. While thousands are vacillating and have no fixedness of purpose, and consequently do not enjoy the sweets of fellowship with the Father; he has been pleased to reveal himself to us in such a manner that we can appreciate all the promises, claim them as our own, and go on our way rejoicing, with the full assurance "That he worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, and that all things work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to his purpose."— from Benjamin Lloyd, in Signs of the Times vol.25 no.10 (May 1857). NOW, BRETHREN, LET US TRUST IN GOD, who works all things after his own will, and has promised that all things shall—not may, if I can—no, but shall work together for good to them who are the called according to his purpose, (not ours) no, but his purpose. So let him be God, and we his poor needy creatures looking to him and depending on him to work in us to will and do that which is right and acceptable before him. For he says, ye the saints, or the church, are my workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which he hath before ordained that ye should walk in them. — from Rudolph Rorer, in The Primitive Baptist vol.10 no.1 (Jan. 1845). SHALL WE DISTRUST the sovereign ruler of heaven and earth? Shall we believe that poverty is a curse? Shall we deny the providence of God, and say some things work together for good to them that love God; and some work together for evil? Shall we wish to be better situated than our master, who had not where to lay his head? Recollect that God hath chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith and heirs of the inheritance. — from N. S. McDowell, in The Primitive Baptist vol.10 no.9 (May 1845). WHAT POWER CAN HINDER HIM from reigning, when the powers that be are ordained of Him, and He working all things after the counsel of His own will? If there was something that He (God) did not have perfect control of, then there might be a possibility of Him (God) not reigning. But we hear David saying, "The wrath of man shall praise Him, and the remainder of wrath will He restrain." We learn by this that all over and above that will praise God, He restrains. We see a manifestation of this in the case of Job. The Lord told the devil he could go so far and no farther; and in the case of the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage; and also in the case of Joseph. Joseph's brethren thought to kill Joseph, but God did not intend they should, and so the men came along (not by chance at all) and bought Joseph. "God works in a mysterious way His wonders to perform." It is by Him that all things work together for good to them that are called, according to His purpose. We may not understand or see how this can be, yet it is so. — from B. F. Byron, in The Gospel Messenger, vol.16 no.5 (May 1894). THIS EARTHLY BALL has made another annual circuit, during which time the children of God have passed through many scenes; to some of joy, while others have drank of the bitter streams, and tasted the worm wood and the gall; but with all these things they are made to rejoice in the King of Israel, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. Knowing that all things work together, for good to them who are called of God, not according to their works, but according to his grace and mercy, by which they are saved. Among other precious privileges, we are made to rejoice that there is a medium of correspondence for the children of God to tell to each other their joys, sorrows, and their varied trials. — from Peterson K. Parr, in Signs of the Times, vol.25 no.12, (Jun. 1857). THE FINITE MIND CANNOT SEE how all the deep afflictions and temptations of the way, can work for good until they are brought to pass through them, and experience a deliverance from them, and then they know that nothing is too hard for God to perform. He has chosen us in a furnace of afflictions, and it is a part of his children's legacy; for "In the world ye shall have tribulation; but in me ye shall have peace. Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world." — from William Hawkins, in Signs of the Times vol.25 no.12 (Jun. 1857). I DEEPLY SYMPATHIZE with you and dear Sister Respess, as the blow falls heavily upon the parent's heart. Our heavenly Father in mercy and love afflicts his dear children. We cannot see through his dispensations, but we believe he doeth all things well; and what they know not now, they will know hereafter. God has been pleased to chasten his dear people in the furnace of affliction, but in the store house of his mercy his promised grace is secured: For as their days their strength shall be. His promises are sure; they can not fail. He will be with them their troubles to bless,
AT JACKSONVILLE, FLA., a serious matter occurred with me. While changing cars I was robbed of every cent of money I had with me, amounting to between fifty five and sixty dollars. I never missed the money until the pickpockets who robbed me were all out of the way. There I was, among strangers, without a cent of money. For awhile I was so bewildered, so surprised and confused in mind that I did not know what to do.I made my loss known to Captain Mahoney, the conductor I came with, and addressing him and a number of others standing near him I told them who I was, and what I was doing, and then asked if there was one in that crowd who would trust me, stranger as I was to them, and lend me enough money to get to Folkstone, Ga., the nearest point to my next appointments, promising at the same time to return the amount loaned as soon as I was in funds again, and in reach of a money order post office. Captain Mahoney promptly replied, "I'll trust you," and handed me three dollars. Thus I was helped along, and I am now near Blackshear, Ga., filling my appointments as arranged for me. I can now, and expect on to morrow, to pay back the money loaned by the kind conductor; the Lord bless him. What made my situation more trying, I had no funds at home to draw on, and ten or fifteen dollars of the amount lost belonged to brethren who had given it to me to send for papers, &c. I will make it all good; I consider the loss mine, not theirs. As soon as I can on this tour I will make it good. Though I am sorely tried and matters are gloomy with me now, my hope and trust is in the Lord. He is my help, and I hope to realize all that befalls me while trying to do what I feel and believe he has given me to do, will work together for my good and make me more useful as the servant of his people. — from J. H. Purefoy, in The Gospel Messenger vol.10 no.5 (May 1888). SO WHEN THE POOR TEMPEST TOSSED child of God has to meet with sore conflicts of this life, being tempted, persecuted and afflicted, he can only hope in the grace of God for the glorious resurrection of the dead. Yes, dear child of God, tribulations are necessary even if they seem hard to endure, yet they work a great good; for they work patience, the sweet fruit of the Spirit, that is so needful; for, said the apostle, "ye have need of patience, that when ye have done the will of God ye may receive the promise." "And this is the promise he hath given to us, even eternal life, and this life is in his Son." And in possessing that sweet fruit of the Spirit, patience, we are prepared to learn of him (Jesus). We experience more of the tender mercies of God, and learn to trust less in the flesh and more in him who said, "my grace is sufficient." from Lewis H. Stuckey, "Hope," The Gospel Messenger vol.10 no.8 (Aug. 1888). YE FEARFUL SAINTS, fresh courage take!
The works of the devil do not belong to this chain; neither sin, the act of man; nay, so far from it that these things which work together for good to the people of God, effectually remove it from them as far as the east is from the west.—Ps 103:12. True it is that God makes the wrath of man to praise Him, yet He has never been so dependent upon sin for His praise and glory as to predestinate it, and embrace it in His immutable counsel as necessary to His praise and glory. But His overruling providence and superabounding grace are sufficient to remove and subdue every opposing element, and secure the honor and majesty of His universal kingdom. So we should and do rejoice that all things work together for good to them that love God.
— from J. E. W. Henderson, "All Things Work Together," The Gospel Messenger vo1.9 no.2 (1887).
Eld. John Elbert Washington ("J. E. W.") Henderson
1829-1919 MY FATHER, John D. Henderson, and my mother, Sarah Thompson, were natives of South Carolina; they were married in 1826, and a few years later they moved to Georgia. They had five daughters and three sons, of which latter I am the youngest. My mother died in 1862, and father died in 1868, and since then, all their children, except one who died in infancy, have been called away, except myself. My parents were members of the Baptist church before the division of 1832, and I believe they both died in the faith of the blessed Savior. My father devoted his life to hard, manual labor, but never accumulated much property, and at the age when children are commonly put into school he was unable to afford me such advantage, and I grew up to manhood without education, and to this day I have spent only about two months in school. I have often thought of this fact as a serious misfortune, and have suffered great embarrassment; and at other times I have admitted that it may be better for me, and for others, that such knowledge as I so much craved, and which so often "puffed up," was withheld from me. I served as a private soldier in the Southern Confederate army for a term of three years and three months; ...this deprived me of the comforts of home and the society of loved ones, (having a precious wife and three children at home)... It pleased the Lord of heaven and earth to visit my poor sinful soul with quickening power; and on the 11th day of August 1862 I felt a powerful sense of his pardoning mercy which left me in possession of a precious hope that all will be well with me beyond this vale of sorrow and affliction. This hope is my solace at this hour, and I feel my heart warming up with the pleasing sense of that same blessed and holy presence. Thanks to his holy name! Having obtained leave of absence from the army, in August 1863, I visited my family, and attended the regular monthly meeting of the Primitive Baptist church at Hopeful, Russell Co., Ala., tried to tell my little experience of God's love and mercy, and the church kindly received me into fellowship, and I was baptized by Elder L. B. Porter. About six years later, the church at Canaan, Tallapoosa Co., Ala., where I had then become a member by letter, decided that the Lord had bestowed upon them a gift in me for the edification of the body of Christ, and gave me the liberty to exercise the same in public, which I immediately tried to do, in oh! so much weakness and fear, even doubting that I was a subject of regenerating grace; but still I could not excuse myself from trying to speak—trying and failing—filled often with shame and self-contempt. In November 1871, my services as pastor were demanded by two or three churches, and my ordination was called for by the church at Mt. Olive, Lee Co., Ala., of which I was a member at that time, and I was examined and set apart to the full functions of the gospel ministry, by Elders W. M. Mitchell, and C. S. Tate, and have been constantly engaged in the pastoral service of churches ever since, having at this time the charge of four churches. I am now in my seventy-ninth year, very feeble and much afflicted. — excerpts from J. E. W. Henderson, "To the Household of Faith," The Primitive Monitor (Aug. 1907) ELDER HENDERSON... is a fluent and able writer, a gifted preacher, and fully satisfied with the doctrine and practice of the apostolic church and wishes to apply alone [these] principles and practices to his own churches. His writings are greatly enjoyed by readers of The [Gospel] Messenger. — R. H. Pittman's Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers of the United States (1909) I AM IN BED SICK and can not write much. I feel that all of my feeble writings are so worthless and so much like myself that it would be better to lay down my pen and give the space to such precious loving men of God as Elders Hassell, Henderson, Oliphant and Stewart... Many of our able ministers have fought a good fight and have gone home. I think of such dear, old faithful servants as Elders Hassell, Henderson, Oliphant, Stewart, Gold, Chick, Durand, Temples, Dalton, and many more, whose heads are white with the frost of years. They will soon lay their armor by and go home and be at rest. I love them all.
— Lee Hanks, "From a Sick Bed,"
The Gospel Messenger
Born — Jan. 23, 1829 (to John Dillard & Sarah Thompson Henderson; Pike County, Georgia)
Received a hope in Christ — August 11, 1862
Married — 1856 (to Louisiana Murphy, Clapp's Factory, Muscogee County, Georgia); June 14, 1900 (to Rebecca T. Morgan, Dale County, Alabama)
Children — at least nine
Baptized — August 1863 (by Eld. L. B. Porter at Hopeful, Russell County, Alabama)
Liberated — c. 1869 (Canaan, Tallapoosa County, Alabama)
Ordained — November 1871 (by Elds. W. M. Mitchell & C. S. Tate, Mt. Olive, Lee County, Alabama)
Primary field of labor — Alabama
Churches pastored — at least Mt. Olive, Beulah, Providence, Bethel, Zion Hill (Pleasant Grove)
Publications — served as editor of Primitive Pathway and an associate editor of The Gospel Messenger
Deceased — June 19, 1919 (Crenshaw County, Alabama)
----------AGAIN, THESE AFFLICTIONS though short and momentary, are a strong proof, that we are a child of God. Heb 12:8: But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Heb 12:6. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Heb 12:7, if ye endure chastening, then God dealeth with you as with sons. Ga 4:7, and if a son, then an heir of God through Jesus Christ. And it is not only a proof, but they work for our good. Ro 5:3-5: And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. By these afflicting tribulations, the soul proves the mercy, and goodness of God, by which his faith is strengthened and he grows in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, until he is made fit for an inheritance among the saints in light. — from James Osbourn, in The Primitive Baptist vol.5 no.3 (1840). BUT AS AS THE JEWS SAID when they saw Jesus weeping at the grave of Lazarus, "Could not this man, [which] opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man (Lazarus) should not have died?" And of course his death could have been prevented; but because it was not prevented, we are not therefore authorized to say that Jesus caused it; nor are we authorized to say that because God did not prevent Adam's sin and overruled it to the good of the elect and the glory of God, that therefore he caused it. — from John R. Respess, "About Predestination," The Gospel Messenger vo1.8 no.1 (1886). THAT GOD PERMITS SIN in the world, we must all admit, and that he could prevent all sin we believe; and that he foreknows all things we also believe. He knows the end from the beginning, being infinite in knowledge, wisdom and power. If you ask why does he permit sin? I answer I cannot tell; can the finite measure the infinite? Can eternity be measured in time? Can we tell how God could make the worlds out of nothing? We can tell none of these things. There is a limit and bound set, beyond which man cannot go, or do, or think, and by searching we cannot find out God. It is no more a question with me what God can or cannot do; but the all important question with me is, does God care for such a poor, unworthy worm of the dust as I; has God predestinated or set bounds and limits to Satan and to all wickedness; has he set bounds and limited the powers of all wickedness? If not, then I may be overcome, although God be for me. But if he has, I know that if he loves me and I love him, and called according to his purpose, he will work all things together for my good, because he has predestinated, or set bounds and limited all things whatsoever, the wickedness of the wicked, or that of the good, and in his infinite knowledge, wisdom and power, he reigns supreme. But I ask myself the question, Why does God permit such terrible wickedness when he can prevent it, and knows of it before hand? Can any good come out of it? My God knows. Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.—Ps 76:10. — from Daniel Hess, in The Gospel Messenger vo1.6 no.13 (1891). HAD NOT THE LORD WORKED in the matter, and overruled in his providence, Ruth would have lived and died in Moab. But it was the purpose of God for her to go to Bethlehem Judah, become the wife of Boaz, and a mother in Israel; hence, whatever circumstances were necessary to bring about this end, came to pass. It appears to us to have come to pass by chance; that is, that it just happened so, according to natural circumstances; but we must not forget that all circumstances are over ruled by the Lord of heaven and earth, and that he maketh even the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder of wrath he restraineth. He has all power; and the devils are subject to him, having their bounds. Consequently, nothing done by devils or men, can in the least thwart him in his glorious purpose. For even the wicked acts of men and devils, are so overruled by the Lord in his power, that they are made to subserve and further his purpose. How consoling this glorious truth should be to every one who loves the Lord! "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."—Ro 8:28 from Thomas J. Bazemore, Ruth the Moabitess (1881). GOD OVERRULES all the evil that He permits for the ultimate good of His people and glory of His name. — from C. B. & Sylvester Hassell, History of the Church of God ch.XVI (1886). AND WHO CAN SEPARATE such a creature from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ our Lord? Death cannot do it, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature. But, on the contrary, all these and all other things we are assured shall work together for good to them who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. — from I. G. Cannady, in Zion's Landmark vo1.9 no.9 (1876). WHEN I SET OUT TO SPEAK of this seemingly vexed question, predestination, I thought I would not give any opinion, but I seemed impressed to give one short quotation with a brief comment: The wrath of man shall praise Him (God) and the remainder of wrath He will restrain. Now, dear brethren, this seems so plain to me that I cannot see any room for cavil. Let us all be satisfied to believe that all the wrath of man that will not redound to the glory of God in some way (though unknown to us) and to the good of his people, he restrains. 0, how I love that restraining power! Our heavenly Father, in order to manifest his power and make his glory known to man, exercises both permissive and restraining power; he permits the wrath of man to go just as far as will accomplish His will and the good of Zion, and there it is stayed. He sits at the helm; he gave the seas their bounds, and man's destiny is set; he hath afore determined the times appointed and the bounds of his habitation. — from A. P. Broderick, in The Gospel Messenger vo1.15 no.5 (1893). MY REQUEST IS, that you would give a place in the Messenger to the following obituary notice of my very dear and affectionate companion, Nancy D. Stringer, who departed from the shores of time on the 20th day of September, 1852, aged 29 years, with the exception of two days. She was raised in Morgan Co., Ga. Her father and mother, (Alven and Rachel Myhand,) moved from Morgan county to Harris county about the close of 1839, with five daughters and two sons. Among that number was that dear daughter, who remained with her kind father and tender mother, until the 23rd of May, 1847, when she married to the poor bereaved writer, and lived with him as a very kind, tender, and affectionate wife, until the Lord thought proper to cause a separation; ("The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, and blessed be the name of the Lord;") during which time it was her pleasure to make sacrifices, if necessary, for the comfort of her poor husband, and never rigidly crossed his inclinations. The loss of such a friend is great, but we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose, (and if I do not love Him, it is my soul's desire to love Him.) Lord help me! — from J. Stringer, in The Southern Baptist Messenger (1852). THERE IS A DISTINCTION MADE in scripture between the wicked actions of men, which God is not the author of, and those deeds done in and by men good in themselves which God works in them both to will and to do: or between actions bad in themselves and those good in themselves. An action may be bad in itself, yet overruled and purposed for good: while other actions may in their very nature and in the motive and purpose of the doer be good. The Lord does not work in wicked men to commit sin, or does not tempt man to sin, though he purposes that all they do shall be for good in the end. But whatever things good in themselves men do are from the Lord, who works in them to will and to do of his good pleasure. Again there is a sense in which God foreknows his people only, and does not foreknow any others. He knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. He will say to the workers of iniquity, "I never knew you." But he foreknew all his people: "whom he did foreknow he did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son." Here it is taught that the Lord God did predestinate to salvation all that he foreknew, or did predestinate them to be conformed to the image of his Son. While God has predestinated that all things work together for good to them that love God, there is a special, saving sense in which he has foreordained good works unto which his people are created in Christ Jesus, that they might walk in them. — from P. D. Gold, "Distinction," Zion's Landmark vo1.13 no.8 (1880). WE MUST NOT TAKE OUR IDEA OF GOOD, but God's idea of the matter. We must not take what we fancy to be good, but what is really and truly so in his eyes. For instance. A man may say, it is very good to have health; it may be so in his eyes, but not so in God's. Another may say, it is a very good thing to get on in the world, to have a flourishing business, and prosperous trade; that may be good in his eyes, but not in God's. Another may say, it is good for me to have a family growing up in health and strength, and well provided for: it may be so in his eyes; but it does not follow that it is good in the Lord's. Another may say, it is good to have no troubles, no temptations, no wicked heart, no devil to beguile or harass; it may seem very good in his eyes, but it does not follow that it is so in God's eyes. He is judge in these matters. What, then, are we to say is "good?" Whatever produces spiritual profit and a blessing; that which is really good in the eyes of a heart searching God. Now just see whether all these things do not in this sense work together for good to them that love God, and are the called according to his purpose. You have had an afflicted body. Well, that in itself did you no good; for it incapacitated you for business, troubled your mind, made you a burden to yourself and a burden to all around you. There was no good in that. But suppose it weaned you from the world; suppose it set death before your eyes, made you die daily, stirred up a spirit of prayer and supplication in your heart; suppose it opened up those promises of God which are suitable to his afflicted family: suppose it was the means of blessing your soul with some sweet manifestation of your interest in the love and blood of the Lamb—are you then to say, that your sickness, your affliction has not been for good, when it worked together with the grace of God in your soul to bring forth a real blessing? Or, you have had reverses in the world, have lost money in trade, and are now in distressed circumstances. There is no good in these things considered abstractly; but do they stir up the life and power of God in your soul? Do they give you an errand to the throne of grace? Do they shew you what is in your heart? Do they call forth confession before God? Do they make Jesus near and dear to your souls? Do they wean you from the world? then they have worked together for your good. You have lost a child, or have an afflicted wife, and unhealthy family; there is no good in that; for: "the sorrow of the world worketh death." But suppose that this wife or child has become your idol; that you have worshipped it instead of worshipping God,—why, then, this affliction works together for good, if through it your heart's affections are now fixed on the Lord Jesus alone. Thus we are to measure this good, not by what the creature thinks, but by what God himself has declared to be good in his word, and what we have felt to be good in our soul's experience. Have your trials humbled you, made you meek and lowly? They have done you good. Have they stirred up a spirit of prayer in your bosom, made you sigh, cry, and groan for the Lord to appear, visit, or bless your soul? They have done you good. Have they opened up those parts of God's word which are full of mercy and comfort to his afflicted people? They have done you good. Have they stripped off the covering that is too narrow? They have done you good. Have they made you more sincere, more earnest, more spiritual, more heavenly minded, more convicted that the Lord Jesus can alone bless and comfort your soul? They have done you good. Have they been the means in God's hand of giving you a lift in hearing the preached word, of opening your ears to hear none but the true servants of God, those who enter into a tried path, and describe a gracious experience? They have done you good. Have they made the Bible more precious to you, the promise more sweet, the dealings of God with your soul more prized? They have done you good. Now this is the way, that "all things work together for good." Not by puffing you up with pride, but by filling your heart with humility; not by encouraging presumption, but by raising your affections to where Jesus sits at the right hand of God; not by carrying us into the world, but by bringing us out of it; not by covering us with a veil of ignorance or arrogance, but by stripping this veil off, and bringing light, life, and power into the soul. In this way, "all things work together for good to them that love God, and are the called according to his purpose." — from Joseph Charles Philpot, Sermon preached at Providence Chapel, Eden Street, London (July 8, 1849). AFFLICTION IS THE LOT of every true servant of Jesus, but there is a needs be for them, and not one more shall come than shall be for our good; it is through great tribulation we are to enter the kingdom; we should, therefore, with patience bear our present afflictions, knowing that they are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. — from Gregg M. Thompson, in Zion's Advocate vol.1 no.8 (Apr. 1854). OFTEN IN MY COLDEST and most discouraging seasons, in reflecting on the small numbers in our Association, and the small and continually diminishing numbers of our Timber Ridge church by removal and death, I am consoled with the assurance that all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose. He knows his sheep. His flock shall never diminish. — from William D. Engle, in Zion's Advocate vol.5 no.12 (Jun. 1858). "AFFLICTIONS, THOUGH THEY SEEM SEVERE, are oft in mercy sent." In affliction, worldly things lose their importance in our minds, and prepares us to look to the great beyond for rest. Toil and labor prepare us for rest naturally, and it is true spiritually. There we learn that the earth's best comforts will not suffice—we cannot rest in its honors, for they are empty and misapplied, and in deep affliction we see this. The wealth of earth may say there is no rest here for you, it is more likely to prove a snare and an idol. You may seek it and worship at its altar all your days, and in affliction you will reproach yourself for your wasted life and misspent years. See a man worth his thousands and mark his thoughts; he is often still studying how to draw more from the sweat and labor of his poorer neighbors; there is no rest. There was one who said, when his barns were filled, his garners overflowing with plenty, "Soul, take thy rest," but the reply was, "This night shall thy soul be required at thy hands." We often see men who have had their hearts set on wealth, and have labored hard to obtain it, but no sooner is the new house done, the estate made sure, and home crowned with plenty, than he is called to go, a widow and orphan children are left to mourn his loss, and lose his earnings by the cunning of others. Worldly things are not a rest to God's children; its pride and fashion must go. They will go from his heart, and he must learn that God is the place of rest. Are you too proud to be a Christian, are the ways of Jesus too plain for you, are his people too low and out of style to make you good companions? Affliction will one day change your mind, and you will see that your idols will be insufficient. God will have our hearts; by affliction, disappointment, bereavement, tears, sadness of heart, grief, woe and distress, we often learn that nothing is so good, lovable and precious as God. We cannot love God too much. How often have God's people had their sweetest comforts in affliction and death. The martyrs by the thousand were made happy in death; when they knew that earth had nothing for them, they rejoiced in God. Stephen died with his face aglow with love and hope—forsaken of earth and hated of men, but chosen of God and precious. The rich man had his good things all here, but alas for that man in the world to come. Oh, Christians, is your heart set on God, on your blessed Redeemer? If this is the object of your worship you will not reproach yourself at death for the devotion. Oh, that the Lord would draw us away from our idols, and wean us from every undue attachment to earth. God's end in giving us the good things of earth is thwarted when we idolize them. — from James H. Oliphant, "Words in Season," The Gospel Messenger vo1.14 no.3 (1892). TWO OF MY CHILDREN WERE SICK at one time, and I cried unto the Lord with tears and deep sorrow, but I had no hope of their recovery, but on the contrary, was warned in a dream they would die. I told the doctor they would not get well, and they both died the same day, and were buried in the same grave. Prayer, then, is not simply a sincere desire, nor hope a simple wish that our desire may be granted, but prayer is, as I have stated, "The intercession of the Spirit in the name of the Lord Jesus, according to the will of God," and the words used in prayer are the manifestation of that intercession, and the character of it, and is spoken, like prophesying, unto edification, comfort, and communion in the spirit, in them that hear us pray. Hope is the fruit of the assurance of Christ, who knoweth the mind of the Spirit, and maketh intercession for the Saints according to the will of God, which we receive through the Spirit that our request will be granted, either in the special thing for which we pray, or an humble submission to God's will in case it is not his will to do so, under an assurance that He, in His wisdom, sees it would not be good for us for Him to grant our request. — from H. Bussey, "Prayer and Hope," The Gospel Messenger vol.16 no.11 (Nov. 1894). 0, WE THINK IF THE TRIAL had but come in some other way, or from some other person, we might have had better self control, or we could have borne it better. But, my dear brother, may it not be that this is the very thing the Lord sees is best for us to bring us into the fellowship of Christ's sufferings, as well as that of the ancient saints? David, the "sweet singer of Israel," was, in many particulars, a lively type of Christ, and he must be made to feel the sting of ingratitude from his most intimate friend and counselor. And 0, how he weeps over it: "It was not an enemy that reproached me, then I could have borne it; neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me, then I would have hid myself from him; but it was thou, a man mine equal, mine guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in com-pany."—Ps 55:14. — from William M. Mitchell, "The Contrast—Prosperity—Adversity—Ingratitude," The Gospel Messenger vol.4 no.11 (1882). GOD HAS CHOSEN HIS CHILDREN in a furnace of affliction. They pass through "great tribulation" before reaching the heavenly Jerusalem, and I am glad that it is so; for if it was not, we would not be conformable to the sufferings of Christ. We must have fellowship with his sufferings, if we are partakers of his joys and his glory; and through suffering we are enabled the better to reflect the image of Christ in our practical walk. Paul says, We are troubled on every side; perplexed, persecuted, cast down, but not in despair, nor destroyed; "always bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body, and in our mortal flesh" (2Co 4). Then "be of good cheer." "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (trials), knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience, if needs be ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations." The trial of your faith is more precious than gold, though it be tried with fire. Then there is a needs be for it. We are thus better prepared to determine whether our faith stands in the wisdom of men or in the power of God. Being ofttimes delivered from these troubles, we feel some assurance that we have that faith that works by love, and that giveth us the victory over the world. — from John N. Hurst, "Poor and Afflicted," The Gospel Messenger vo1.5 no.10 (1883). BRETHREN OF THE "GOOD HOPE," may the Lord enable you to often dismiss the sorrows of the way; may he cause you to triumph over disappointment and affliction—over persecution, temptation and distress—by the assurance that the eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. What are threescore and ten to thrice ten thousand centuries of bliss? What are a few fleeting moments of peril, nakedness or sword, to that long eternity, where the beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him? And if by the dark rivers of spiritual Babylon there are yet sighing captives to be found, we rejoice to believe that God's set time they "shall return and come with singing to Zion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away." Happy art thou, 0 Israel; who is life unto thee, 0 people, saved by the Lord! — from S. B. Luckett, "Thanksgiving," The Gospel Messenger vo1.10 no.11 (1888). COUNT IT ALL JOY, MY BRETHREN, when ye fall into divers temptations, for in every temptation he will make a way for your escape. The God of heaven has said it, and his word is good, for tribulation is the school of heaven, and Paul says, rejoice in it, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Thus it is a blessed school, that God sends his children to, for they learn things that they cannot learn no where else. — from William Crutcher, in The Primitive Baptist vo1.5 no.3 (1840). I SYMPATHIZE WITH MY BROTHER DE WOLFE and his companion on the loss of their child, and I can mingle my sorrows with theirs; but still it is by no means my wish to infuse fresh anguish into their present bitter cup, which I know must already be full to overflowing; but contrariwise, I fain would, if it were in my power, draw away their minds from the heart rending contemplation of the death of their oldest son, to the pleasing reflection that, "the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them." (Ho 14:9) And while I would by no means renew their woe by expressing the sympathy of my soul on their behalf, I wish not in any wise to arrest the yearnings of paternal bowels, since there is nothing in christianity to chide, far less to stifle, the emotions of nature. Tears are often a gracious relief to a throbbing heart, and hence I would say—"Let them flow." Our Divine Redeemer wept, and he has, if I may so say, consecrated our tears, and we therefore will weep, but not inordinately nor in displeasure, but from the power of sympathy we will weep whenever God in his providence gives us such abundant reason so to do. Why the Almighty should have made this chasm in their lovely family we know not, and we will forbear to ask the reason why, since he will no reason give. It is enough for us to know that he has done it, and that he has reasons for it, and if it were really necessary, he would explain to us those reasons; but he does not do it, because as we would suppose, there is no real necessity for it. We therefore in this case will, as David was, be "dumb with silence." Ps 39:2. There can be but little, if any at all, solid consolation in affliction and under bereavements, till our spirits bow before God's sovereignty, and confess that he does all things well; and I hope their hearts have this recourse, and that they find the Lord to be their "refuge and strength, and a very present help in trouble," Ps 46:1. It is quite certain that the world with all its promises, and fair speeches, and inviting charms, possesses no suitable prescription for people in a similar situation as that of David when he said, "Thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore," Ps 38:2. — from James Osbourn, in The Primitive Baptist vo1.2 no.18 (1837). BLESSED BE GOD for all,
Elder James Harvey Oliphant
THOMAS OLIPHANT—This faithful minister was born [c.1781] in North Carolina where he united with the Baptists and for several years served four churches. Later in life [c. 1827] he moved to the state of Indiana and spent the remainder of his days in the ministry... Four of his grandsons, viz: Elders J. H., J. T., R. A., and P. T. Oliphant are well and favorably known ministers of the Old School order. — R. H. Pittman's Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers of the United States p. 202 (1909). [A] BAPTIST FAMILY—his ancestors as far back as he can trace them were members of the Primitive Baptists...
— Pittman's Biographical History p. 201.
FATHER WAS NOT a gifted man in public. I never heard him pray in the church, but he often returned thanks at the table. They were deeply interested in the church in every way.
— James H. Oliphant's Autobiography ch. 1 (1923). I WAS BORN March 10, 1846, and was brought up to work on the farm. My chances for school were poor, such as the common schools afforded. I wish to notice the interest my parents took in my religious and moral training. They sought to fix in our minds a love for honesty, integrity, fair dealing and justice among men. They took us to church, and encouraged us to go when we grew older. Mother talked to us more than father and she would often tell us her experience, of which I have a vivid recollection yet. She often told us that we needed a blessing that she could not bestow on us. — Autobiography ch. 1. IN THE FALL of 1863 I taught my first school. During the school term I got acquainted with Catherine Tague, and at once was interested in her, and we were married September 4, 1864. Her father, Jacob Tague, was a Dutch man, who was born in North Carolina. Her great-grandfather, Michael Tague, was perhaps born in the old country, but her father, Jacob Tague, was brought to Indiana about the time my father was, and they were neighbors. The Tagues were Methodists as far back as I have heard. When we were married we settled in a Baptist neighborhood, where we attended their meetings, but we both felt unconcerned as to our own interests. ...we attended as we had opportunity, though with no special interest until in 1867. — Autobiography ch. 1. ...CONVICTED OF SIN in 1868, and for about one year was in deep distress and soul sorrow... — Pittman's Biographical History p. 202. IN 1868 I BECAME interested in religion. I met Elder L. T. Buchanan first in September of that year. I attended all the meetings, and my wife was also attentive. I observed in her an increased interest in the church, so we both waited impatiently from one meeting to the next. We were glad to be with the members. My interest was such that I could not conceal it. I thought that I had some affliction coming on me for months. I was so burdened in mind that it was my first thought in the morning and the last before I went to sleep. ...I went to hear Elder E. D. Thomas preach, and his text was, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." — Autobiography ch. 2. I LEFT THE PEOPLE and went to myself, and in a lone ravine, surrounded with underbrush, alone, I tried to pray, and while there I became satisfied, my trouble all left me. I felt at rest, a solemn composure of mind came to me. I came home Monday evening, and my wife had had a similar experience while I was gone. — Autobiography ch. 2. HE WHO ENABLES His children to look within and see their own sinfulness, also in His own way and time, enables them to look to Jesus and see him as their sin-bearer. So it was with Elder Oliphant. In the year 1869 he was given a sweet hope in Jesus and united with the Baptists... — Pittman's Biographical History p. 202.
ON WEDNESDAY my wife and I went to meeting and joined the church, and were baptized by Elder D. T. Poynter. It was a great comfort to have the fellowship of the members. My parents were there, and both were happy. When thy hand of fellowship was given to us, father started the song, "0 happy time, long waited for,
THOSE WHO were favored to become acquainted with him, found him to be lovable in disposition, humble, meek and tender. To know him was to love him. — — Walter Cash's tribute. WE DO WELL remember his visits to our home in our youthful days, where his wise counsel was so much sought, and his friendly manner so highly respected and esteemed. Would that the younger ministry of to-day would study as incessantly to show themselves approved unto God, workmen that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, shunning profane and vain babblings, for such things saith the apostle, increaseth unto more ungodliness. — C. W. Mattox, "Fitting Tribute." HIS CONVERSATION and deportment showed him to be preeminently a man of God, deeply interested in the cause of his Master, and willing to spend and be spent in his labors in the churches. He was unselfish and without envy, and williig to work where his lot might be cast. A great and good man in Israel is fallen, but he will still live in the memory of those who knew his worth, and his works do follow him. — — Walter Cash's tribute. WHAT A WONDERFUL, precious, loving father he has been. In my acquaintance of more than thirty years not a fault have I ever detected, but in wisdom and love and gentleness has he sought to encourage, uplift, instruct, and comfort rather than amuse and gratify the desires of the flesh. — Mabel E. Oliphant, "Tribute from Daughter-in-law." ONE WHOSE LIFE has been a splendid example of true piety, sober mindedness, spotless integrity, and devoted service. Few of the Lord's servants of to-day, I fear, are making so clean a record as this dear departed father in Israel. 0 that our tongues might be as free from back-biting, evil communications, idle and meaningless conversation, that our hearts were as free of envy, malice, and hatred. — C. W. Mattox, "Fitting Tribute." IT IS WITH sincere sadness that we mark his passing from the field of action. Sorrow for the cause which needs men of such character as was his; and a feeling of personal loss, realizing the encouragement and strength that our long and intimate friendship and fellowship brought, and which will still be a help though but a memory. — Walter Cash's tribute. GRANDFATHER'S LAST visit to our house was in May . His physical condition had weakened him mentally until he became unable at time to converse intelligently. On subjects pertaining to the Bible or religion, his mind remained clear, and during the visit, he sang distinctly for us his favorite song, "Savior, more than life to me." On the first Sunday during this visit, he preached his last sermon publicly, speaking in power and demonstration of the Spirit for about thirty minutes. After being confined to his bed, he sang and prayed and preached as long as strength permitted. — Mabel E. Oliphant, "Tribute from Daughter-in-law." AFTER A LINGERING illness of, many weeks, during which all that kind hearts and willing hands could do to brighten the closing days of a noble and worthy pilgrimage, "like one who wraps the drapery of his couch about him and lies down to pleasant dreams" he gently fell asleep and was "gathered to his fathers" at the ripe old age of 79 years, 6 months and 18 days. — W. C. Arnold's tribute. [A]FTER NEARLY NINE long weeks of watching and waiting at the bedside of our precious father Oliphant, he on the morning of October 28th, passed quietly and peacefully on to his heavenly reward. It was not a sickness accompanied by suffering or real pain, but a gradual wearing and wasting away which so weakened him that it became impossible to talk, finally lapsing into unconsciousness which remained unto the end. — Mabel E. Oliphant, "Tribute from Daughter-in-law." MINDFUL OF the kindness of loved ones, he made special request that all be thanked for their faithful and tender care during his last days on earth. The funeral sermon was preached in the home at Crawfordsville, Ind., Oct. 30, 1925, by Elder W. C. Arnold, of Carmi, Ill., from the words of the apostle Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." After which all that was mortal of Elder James H. Oliphant was deposited in the family lot in the cemetery near the city where he had long lived a useful citizen and a preacher unexcelled. — W. C. Arnold's tribute. MORE THAN a year ago he expressed himself as being ready to go, and even before that had selected the songs and text which he wished to be used on his funeral occasion. Elder Charlie Arnold spoke from this selection, found in 2Ti 4:7, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith," comparing it with the words of his own choosing, found in Mal 2:6, "The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips; he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity." — Mabel E. Oliphant, "Tribute from Daughter-in-law." HE LEAVES an aged and faithful companion, six children, eleven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, three brothers, William, Elder P. T., and F. M., and four sisters, Mrs. Lydia King, Mrs. Sarah Mitchell, Mrs. Nannie Acuff, and Mrs. Lucinda Boyd, with many friends and thousands of kindred in Christ mourning the loss of a "prince and a great man fallen in Israel" this day. — W. C. Arnold's tribute. WE FEEL sincere sympathy for his loving, faithful companion, who was really a great balance in his life. She sacrificed much for the cause, but like a good soldier faced straight on without faltering. The children could hardly fail to profit from the example set before them, and we sincerely hope they may be true to the faith of their father, and faithful to the church for which he gave his life. — Walter Cash's tribute. MANY OF OUR able ministers have fought a good fight and have gone home. I think of such dear, old faithful servants as Elders Hassell, Henderson, Oliphant, Stewart, Gold, Chick, Durand, Temples, Dalton, and many more, whose heads are white with the frost of years. They will soon lay their armor by and go home and be at rest. I love them all. — Lee Hanks, "From a Sick Bed," The Gospel Messenger (April 1911). I WAS IN THE HOMES of Elders John R. Dailey, John and Robert Thompson, J. H. Oliphant and preached in all their churches. These were dear men and I was greatly benefited by their company, as well as a number of others I met on this tour. Those preachers were as sound in their doctrine as any I ever heard. They have all passed on. — Samuel N. Redford, Incidents of My Ministerial Life ch. XII. KEEPING THE TEMPLE of the home is a service to the Lord which our forefathers in faith cherished, but which has fallen into decline in recent generations. It is encouraging to see the present generation of young parents zealously aim to revive it. Primitive Baptist Elders from eras past exhort us through their writings with examples of how our forebears ministered through the home. The Hassells, the Thompsons, Walter Cash, Lemuel Potter, James Oliphant and others all testify well of the family devotions, hearthside catechizing of children, and hospitality common in Old Baptist homes in centuries past. — Lynn Pyles Bruce, "Every Wise Woman Buildeth Her House," at www.pb.org (1998). IT SEEMS TOO GOOD to be true that I am a Christian; that heaven is to be my home at last; that the God of the whole earth has heard my cry and pitied my case. 0 how utterly unworthy am I of all this goodness! I cannot tell so bright a story as Paul; my experience is a feeble one. But amid all the wrong that is in me I see one jewel—I do "hunger and thirst after righteousness." The Lord who knows us altogether, knows that I crave to be free from sin. And I am glad this is true; I am glad there is a "would do good" within me; I am glad sin has become "exceedingly sinful"; I am glad that sin gives pain and sorrow of heart; I am glad sin has become a burden to me, and that I feel it as a heavy load. These are sweet signs of life. — J. H. Oliphant, "The Christian's Refuge," Primitive Monitor (Dec. 1905). I THOUGHT ONCE I would some day get beyond fears and clouds, but I am still deeply sensible that I am a poor sinner, and rejoice in that Christ came to save sinners. I do not now expect to be free from sin this side of the grave. I love the dear ones who can see their own imperfections. I know they are not blind or dead when they cry out, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner." — J. H. Oliphant, "The Christian Experience," Primitive Monitor (Nov. 1912). H0W PRECIOUS is the hope at such a time, heaven is nearer and hope is dearer, and while I feel to have lost much, much also is left of hope and sweet memory. — Mabel E. Oliphant, "Tribute from Daughter-in-law." Born — March 10, 1846, to Thomas & Nancy Oliphant (Indiana)
I FEEL DRAWN OUT in my mind to write a communication for the MESSENGER, upon the subject of the duties of children to their parents, and parents to their children. In the days of the children of Israel, it was considered a great crime for children to disobey their parents, and the blessings connected with their obedience was enjoyed in this life, and it is rare indeed that a child comes to much good that continues to live in disobedience to its parents. The Apostle certainly had reference to fleshly children when he said, "children obey your parents in the Lord; for this is right." Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. Eph 6:1-3. I feel that I am now addressing the children scattered abroad, and I do not wish to mislead you, and to make you believe that your obedience to your parents, will be a cause of you gaining an admission at God's right hand, but your well being in this life. What a blessing to parents that have children who seek to do their bidding.Children, you should remember that it is a command of God, that you should obey your parents, if you do not, the wrath of your Creator will be upon you. We live in a day, that it is thought a small crime for children to be disobedient, and we see the great results of it. Our state prisons are being filled up with persons, who in childhood were disobedient to their parents. My mind has been lately drawn out upon this subject. I was called a few days ago to preach the funeral of a young man with whom I was well acquainted, that came to his end by being disobedient to adopted parents; the circumstances were about as follows: His parent who was kind to his adopted son, had purchased him a watch as he had long desired it, but after he had it awhile he desired his parent to let him trade it for a revolver, his parent did not consent but tryed to teach him the danger of such things, telling him he might kill himself, or somebody else. He did not obey, but made the trade on Friday, had never used the revolver until Sabbath evening following, returning from Sabbath-school, he came past the house where the young man lived, that he traded with, and obtained five bullets, and he put one in the revolver, and was playing with it at home on the porch, about 10 o'clock at night, and was passing it from one hand to the other with the muzzle pointing toward him, with a handkerchief wrapped around it to conceal it, it went off and discharged its contents in his bowels, he lived 23 hours, and fell a victim to death. Before he died he said, I killed myself —This is only one of many instances of disobedience to parents, which brings many great troubles upon the children and parents. Let me impress upon your minds, that you should listen to the teachings of father and mother, that it may be well with you in this life. — from D. G. Barker, in Messenger of Peace (July 1876). FATHERS HAVE THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES, for they are every day of their lives, in their deportment and conversation, writing on the minds of their children moral sentiments that are to follow them through life. Some of us will never forget the prayers of our father, and the deep impression made upon our minds, as we saw him when rising from his knees wipe the dropping tears from his eyes. He had been praying for his children, and that God might give him grace and wisdom to live before them as a father should live before his children. Those prayers were not breath spent in vain, for they have followed us through all our after life, and have often come up before us as a warning voice when we were tempted to depart from the paths of virtue, truth, or honor. — from Gregg M. Thompson, "The Second Birth," The Primitive Preacher ch. 4 pp. 104-05 (1888). DISCOURAGE ALL SWEETHEART TALK to young children; and as an angel of purity, watch over your boys and girls by day and by night, to prevent wrong tendencies and bad habits. It is your loving duty to render your advice useful by often naming the cause and results of certain, habits. You will thus supply that knowledge and self-control which they do not now possess. Their ignorance and weakness demand your help. Therefore, as fully as possible, let parental love answer this demand. 0 parents, awake to your great responsibilities! Obey God and train up your children from the first in the way they should go. — from Moses DeWitt Denman, "Good Works" (late 1800s), Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907). THE POWER AND AUTHORITY which is given to church rulers, whether called bishops or angels, is like the power of a prudent father in his family, and may be called the power of influence, acquired by pre-eminent gifts, benevolence and godly zeal. — from John Leland, "Short Sayings on Times, Men, Measures and Religion, Exhibited in an Address, Delivered at Cheshire, July 5, 1830," The Writings of Elder John Leland p. 580 (1845). LET US STUDY the importance of domestic happiness and tranquility... Husbands should not be bitter against their wives; parents should not provoke their children to anger; masters must forbear threatening... The intemperate passion of superiors is often veiled under the excuse of necessary strictness, and maintaining of authority. But we should not ruin domestic peace 'by being always chiding; every little default should not put us into a flame; we should not be easily provoked; small offences should be passed by, and when such are committed as call for reproof, it should be given without heat and fury; a fiery and hasty carriage, scurrilous and indecent language, will at once sink our character, lessen our authority, and wound our family peace: noise and clamor will render us contemptible and ridiculous, and convince our domestics, that we are so far from being fit to govern others, that we are unable to govern ourselves. A due expression of displeasure against what is wrong, and such as necessary to the formation of the offender, will very well comport with the meekness of wisdom. Awful gravity and composedness, tempered with mildness and good will, would preserve our authority, and command that respect which we wish to secure, more than noise, bluster, and wrathful chiding. We were once inferiors ourselves; and should treat those who are now under us, as we then wished to be treated. The happy medium between Eli's indulgence, and Nabal's brutal churlishness, should be studied by us, if we would preserve peace and good order in our dwellings. Of the latter it is said, He was such a churl, such a son of Belial, that a man could not speak to him. Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man rather than such a fury. There is no peace where he comes... There is not, perhaps, a more mischievous source of anger and resentment in families, than the fond partiality of parents to their children. Of all the infirmities (says Dr. Hunter) to which our nature is subject, none is more common, none is more unreasonable, unwise, and unjust, none more fatal in its consequences to ourselves and others, than that of making a difference between one child and another. It discourages him or her who is slighted, and it frequently ruins the favorite. It sows the seeds of jealousy, anger, discord, and malice, which frequently produce innumerable mischiefs in families, which embitter the lives of both parents and children. It sets the father against the mother, and the mother against the father: the sister against the brother, and the brother against the sister. Parents ought to examine, and to watch over themselves carefully on this head. If they are unable to suppress the feelings of their own hearts, the expression thereof at least is in their power; and both policy and justice demand of them an equal distribution of their affection, their countenance, and their possessions. If there be a folly which more certainly than another punishes itself, it is this ill-judged distinction of which we are speaking. Some of the best and wisest of men have erred in this particular. In the patriarchal age, we find both Isaac and Jacob caught, in the same snare. Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison; and Rebekah loved Jacob: this disturbed the repose of Isaac's family. It was not long before the effect of parental partialities appeared: a competition for precedency and the rights of primogeniture engaged the attention of the two brothers, and inflamed their minds against each other from their earliest years. The claims of each were supported respectively by the parents, according to favor, and the family was torn and distracted with internal dissention. The trifling circumstances of personal likeness, of beauty, and the like, which in themselves have neither merit nor demerit, have been known to establish distinctions in families which have been destructive of peace, and promotive of ruin. It is difficult indeed to bear an even hand between one child and another, and to prevent jealousies and animosities; but the difficulty makes it more necessary to be prudent and circumspect. How shocking it is to live a life of tumult and contention in our own families; to have perpetual disquietudes in our own houses, where above all other places we should be concerned to maintain peace! If a man has not peace at home, where can he expect it? Neither sacred nor civil concerns go on well amidst strife and contention. Our prayers will be hindered, our converse and mutual edification prevented, our convivial repasts embittered, our rest discomposed, and our comforts destroyed. Let us study to be quiet, let us be of one mind, let us live is peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with us. His blessing which maketh rich shall rest upon us. Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Some are complaisant, gentle, and good humored among strangers, but morose and ill-natured at home: this is hypocrisy. It shows how little they are concerned for the comfort of their families, and that the fear of man has a greater restraint over their passions than the fear of God. Great prudence and patience are often called for in relative life. Socrates had his Xantippe, Abagail her churlish Nabal, Job a wife who tempted him to curse God, Moses a Zipporah, averse to duty, and David a scoffing Michal. — from John Fawcett, "Some Rules for the Suppression of Sinful Anger," An Essay on Anger ch. VIII (1809). MY MOTHER WAS LEFT in very limited circumstances, with four little boys, one older and two younger than myself, to battle with life's trials and hardships, which now devolved on her; and notwithstanding the many disadvantages and embarrassments under which she was compelled to labor she did her whole duty, and did it nobly, and succeeded surprisingly well. The labor on the farm was performed by my older brother and myself for some time, consequently we had but little chance to go to school; my education, therefore, is quite limited, the most of what I have was obtained at home on rainy days and nights, studying by fire light. Mother was ever mindful and watchful of the morals of her children. Often she lectured us earnestly upon this subject, sometimes introducing the subject by reading a chapter in the Bible. It is to those lectures, that she so frequently gave her children, that I attribute, by God's grace, my first impressions in regard to my eternal welfare. — from J. E. Frost, "Biographical," The Gospel Messenger vol. 6 no. 6 (Jun. 1884). I WISH NOW to talk some to parents, and as a foundation for remarks, I will call your attention to Eph 6:4. "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath; but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." The Apostle is addressing believing parents, and after giving them instruction concerning many other things, (as the scriptures thoroughly furnish us unto every good work) he then draws the minds of the brethren to the subject of training their children. Now the question is, does he mean spiritual children, or fleshly children? I understand him to mean fleshly children, the bringing up of these children, I understand to be in a moral sense, no doubt fathers and mothers have conducted in such a way toward their children, that they have provoked them to wrath, that is, done things they would not have done, had they not been provoked. Let us talk from a moral stand point, we should conduct toward our children in such a way as to make them believe that we have their good in view; all the time teaching them it is our duty to teach, and theirs to obey that teaching. The Apostle teaches us how we should not do toward our children, he then turns to the affirmative side of the subject, "but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Mark, he tells believing parents to do so; he does not tell you to put your children under the care of somebody else to bring them up for you, if God has brought you to a knowledge of his love, you are better qualified to bring up your own child than any one else is for you. Solomon says, "bring up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Parents, have you ever thought of the responsibility resting upon you in regard to the training of your children? It might be said we cannot save our children in an eternal sense. This we well know, for none but Jesus can forgive sins. But, we are not talking about an eternal salvation, but a temporal salvation. We teach our children as soon as they can lisp words that it is wrong to lie. Why do we do this? Because God says so in his word; also, it is wrong to take the name of God in vain, and to steal, and so with all the commands of the moral law. It is true we can only teach them the letter of the moral law, not the spirituality of the law; that alone can be taught by the great teacher. We should be diligent in bringing up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.—Ministers of the gospel in traveling over the country can easily tell, by the conduct of the children, whether they are brought up as required by the gospel. Our children will tell on us by their actions. (There is no doubt some exceptions.) — from D. G. Barker, in Messenger of Peace (July 1876). I WOULD, TO-DAY, and at all times, use all the arguments I am master of to encourage parents to be untiring in their efforts to bring their children up in the way they should go when old, and they will feel themselves abundantly paid for all their labor, when in age they are surrounded with a family respected by all the good, and in their moral life, and high standing in society,. reflecting honor on the parents who reared them. The influence that education has upon the life and actions of men has long been understood, and over fifty years ago, Dr. Ely, in urging upon his denomination, (the Presbyterians,) the necessity of establishing colleges and schools in the Mississippi valley, said, "Give me the control of the schools in the United States, and I will soon control the ballot-box and the pulpit of the nation." If this be true, how important that we should educate our children right, and, as far as possible, keep their minds free from all errors, either in religion or politics. — from Gregg M. Thompson, "The Second Birth," The Primitive Preacher ch. 4 pp. 105-06 (1888). DEAR CHILDREN, when you read these lines
PARENTS TOO ARE WRONG when they encourage children to fight. Suppose all parents tell their children that if all other children impose on them to fight, the effect will soon be that they will generally be a set of fighting and troublesome children; for they are more inclined to fight than to peace, to do wrong than to do right.
— from P. D. Gold, "Is It Right," Zion's Landmark vol. 13 no. 6 (Feb. 1880).
"CONTROL YOUR TEMPER." Form a habit of governing your temper. You can accustom yourself to anger on every provocation, or you can cultivate a quiet, even temper. When one is drunk with rage he is not fit to act or speak. "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty." "He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city." The man who controls his temper while others are abusing him, is a greater conqueror than he that takes a garrisoned city. Your enemy, while in a rage, is a fool, and it is your highest wisdom to make pleasant answers. "A soft answer turneth away wrath." The cold hammer moulds and shapes the hot iron. If you keep cool you may have your own way in the end, and feel much better yourself, and have the approval of others.
Never become the settled and fixed enemy of any one, and be careful to make no enemies of this kind. "It is an honor for a man to cease from strife." It often occurs that men disagree in business, and ever afterwards entertain malice, to their mutual injury. If possible, avoid this thing. It is far better to have the good will of a man, however worthless and evil, than to have his ill will. Let your course of life be honorable and kind, and you will have friends. "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly."
Do not become a party to strife between others. You may seek to make peace, but never become a party in strife. Solomon says: "He that passeth by and meddleth with strife is like one that taketh a dog by the ears." He is likely to get bit himself. You should not make friendship with a mad man. If he is now mad and in a rage with another, he will soon be so with you, and you do not need him for an intimate friend.
— from James H. Oliphant, "Advice to Children, 9th," Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists ch. XXIV p. 233 (1885).
WHAT CARE IS NECESSARY that the tempers of children be not spoiled by an improper education! ...The severity of a tyrannical parent, or master, may be productive of much mischief to his tender charge. After having devoted many years of life to the important task of cultivating youthful minds, I hope I may be allowed to speak what I have learned by experience. Youths of a generous disposition may be induced to do any thing by kindness; but severity would rouse and harden them into opposition. To be perpetually chiding them, or frequently beating or scourging them, would have a natural tendency to stir up their resentment against us, and lead them to consider us as their greatest enemies.
The infliction of chastisement requires great prudence, and a happy command of temper. That it may produce the desired effect, it should at least appear to flow from a just displeasure at the offence committed: but for a parent or tutor not to be able to command his passion, would be to set a bad example before children. It would lessen his authority, by shewing his weakness before them; for it is great weakness in an instructor to be often carried away by the impulse of anger. Few persons meet with more frequent provocations than those who have a number of children to manage and govern. If such do not check the risings of anger, they will find it grow upon them, and become ha; bitual: this would make their own lives very unhappy, and lead them to sudden acts of cruelty and barbarity, which they might immediately repent of, but in vain. Slight expressions of displeasure or approbation, will produce happy effects on youths of a meek and tender disposition. A frowning look, or a sharp word will succeed better with such as a corrective, than many stripes with others. Praise and shame will frequently be found sufficient to answer the governor's purpose: but vice and immorality, idleness and mischief will, at times, require the rod of correction. It would be awful to suffer children to walk in the way of their own heart. The fertile soil must not lie uncultivated, and over run with weeds.
As severity is ever to be condemned, so an excess of lenity is not less pernicious. It is an ancient observation, and which has received the sanction of experience in every age: He that spareth his rod, i. e. when absolutely necessary, hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. When lenity and softness are ill-judged and excessive, they are in effect cruelty. "Impunity (says Cicero) is the greatest enticement to the commission of offences." A wiser than he has told us, that a child left to himself, brings his mother to shame. I lately heard of a certain youth, of a hot, malignant, fiery disposition, much addicted to quarrelling with his companions when at school; and who being always accustomed to be treated with indulgence, grew up to such a degree of self-willedness, that on meeting with some opposition from his parent, in an affair he had in hand when grown up to years of maturity, he could not bear to be controlled, but took a loaded pistol, and shot himself dead.
Experience shows that the tempers of children may be spoiled, either by an excess of lenity, or of severity. The golden mean between the two extremes is the safest path. Severity may break the spirits: Provoke not children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Lenity on the other hand is amiable; the motives to it are noble; much may be said in its praise; and the advocate for it will find an attentive audience. Yet lenity carried to an undue degree, frequently involves the object of it in misery and perdition. Human nature is, at every stage of life, prone to evil; and particularly so at a time, when, to inherent depravity are added, weakness of understanding, and want of thought and experience. Proper methods must be devised of influencing the hopes and fears of children and these methods must be accommodated to their different dispositions. Wisdom is profitable to direct.
— from John Fawcett, "Balefulness of Anger," An Essay on Anger ch. IX (1809).
ACCUSTOM YOURSELF to diligence in your business. Be willing to work with your hands; this is an honorable and healthy way of gaining a living. Remember that good management is of vast importance; therefore, consider what is best to be done, and when; lay your plans and work to them, and keep up with your business. Know the state of your flocks, your fields, shops, or whatever your business is. Avoid unnecessary bodily exposure, which leads to loss of time from business—and doctor bills. Maintain the purest friendship with your companion in life, and mutually cultivate a habit of close economy, and you will certainly become a substantial citizen. The man who can manage his own business will be called to take the care of others. "Seest thou a man diligent in business, he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men."
You will of necessity have to take an interest in the political affairs of our country. We all have reasons to love our government that has for so long a time secured to us the rights we have enjoyed. And you should embrace such views as will best maintain our institutions. Do not be governed by a low parry spirit, but let your views be elevated, broad, and national; let your aims be to promote the general good, bearing in mind that all the goodness is not in one party, nor all the evil in the other. These sentiments within you will lead you to talk with moderation to others; your views will be better respected, and your influence greater, by pursuing a conservative course. Be honest and conscientious in your actions, and never seek to carry your ends by unlawful means. Our institutions are in greater danger from bribery than any other cause. If the people are left to act with no influence upon them but reason and sound argument, our government is safe, but if bribery rules we will drift to ruin. Never, in any way, countenance unlawful means to carry political ends.
— from James H. Oliphant, "Advice to Children, 10th & 11th," Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists ch. XXIV pp. 233-34 (1885).
CHILDREN WILL ALWAYS be much happier, and enjoy life much better, to do what their parents and teachers require them to do, cheerfully. Your work may be hard, but if you will keep cheerful, that will make it much easier for you to get along with it, than for you to fret and cry about it. When children are cheerful, and show a delight in helping their father or mother, or in doing what thy give them to do, they are not only happy themselves, but they make others happy also. But if they are ill disposed, lazy, crabbed, or quarrelsome, they are miserable themselves, and cause their papa and mama to see much trouble, as well as make everybody feel miserable who have any thing to do with them, or even to be thrown in company where they are. Did you ever see such children? If you have, we suppose you thought they behaved very ugly; and so they did, and we hope you will always avoid such a practice and set a better example.
— from William M. Mitchell, "New Year's Gift to Children," The Gospel Messenger vol. 5 no. 1 (Jan. 1883).
"HONOR THY FATHER AND MOTHER; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."—Eph 6:2-4.
It is, perhaps, the observation of most old people that children, as a rule, are failing in that reverence and respect for the counsel, admonition and commands of their parents that prevailed to so great an extent in the early days of this generation. I do not think that the children now have that reverence for their parents that I had for my father, even when I was forty years old. And there is a cause for it, and perhaps many causes. It is a pleasure for me, old and gray-headed as I am now, to remembers the moral and spiritual care my father had for me, even when I was a child; for he had us children to gather around the fireside at night and read the Scriptures; to remember his tenderness when we were ailing, and his correction when we disobeyed him.
My father sometimes laid the rod on my back when I deserved it, and it always increased my love and reverence for him; and it is rarely the case that a "spoiled" child reverences his parents. It is a child's duty, whether he is a saint or a sinner, to honor his father and mother; it is his duty because God has commanded it, and he sins against his parents and against God and his fellow creatures, and against himself, if he does not do it, and will surely reap the reward of his disobedience. Eli failed in his duty to his sons and they brought shame and sorrow to him and reproach to Israel; David perhaps petted Absalom for his beauty and spoiled him, and Absalom drove him from the throne and filled his heart with bitter mourning.
The proper training of children is the foundation not only of domestic happiness, but it has been said, and truthfully, "that the hearth-stone is the corner-stone of the commonwealth." "The nation which produces bad sons will assuredly not have good citizens." "Loveless homes," says Farrar, "very soon produce disorganized societies and dying nations."
...But let parents be as remiss as they may be, or have been, it is yet, nevertheless, the duty of children to honor their parents; for it is a command with promise. Yea, even though children may have unworthy parents, they should reverence and honor them as the authors of their being. "When Noah lay in shame in his tent, his son and grandson earned an undying curse by their callous mockery; but Shem and Japhet earned an undying blessing for the reverent faithfulness which covered the sin of their father."
from John R. Respess, "Parents and Children," The Gospel Messenger vol. 15 no. 3 (Mar. 1893).
"THIS KNOW ALSO, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." 2Ti 3:1-7...
[S]ee how disobedient children are these days, especially those who profess religion, the false religion that is so plentiful now. Children seem to act as though they knew more than their parents. There are so many parents who have turned their children over to others to be taught, and have failed to give them that good, old-fashioned, moral training at home, that a large per cent of the rising generation have their heads full of false religion and exalted ideas of themselves. This being the case, the surroundings are such that it is now a very difficult task for any to raise their children properly.
These disobedient children are unthankful, unholy, and without natural affection. They speak and act as though they owed nothing to their parents, not even respect. And they are truce-breakers, destroying or breaking the little seasons of peace and quietness that their parents may have in this world of sin and sorrow and care. They are false accusers, alleging things against the people of the Lord that are false, such as claiming that the Lord's ministers preach that infants go to hell, which they never did and never will preach. They also claim that the Lord's people favor drunkenness, and excuse drunkards, which is a false accusation. These characters, though so full of their religion, are said to be incontinent; that is, loose in morals. So far from being righteous and holy, as they profess to be, they are not even moral. They are fierce; that is, violent. They are fierce towards those that oppose them and their false notions. And they despise those that are good; consider them beneath their notice.
They are traitors; will not do to rely on as friends, they are so treacherous and deceitful. And they are heady; are self-willed; will not listen to the counsel of those that are older, wiser, and better than they. They are high-minded; are haughty; have an exalted opinion of themselves and their supposed attainments. They are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. Indeed, they do not love God, but have a form of godliness, in order to be popular, and to be in the style. They love to go to meeting with fine clothes on, and be much noticed. While they have a form of godliness, and appear to be very religious and sanctimonious, they deny the spiritual power that comforts the heart of the Christian and incites to righteous living. The apostle goes on further and says, "From such turn away."
...Jesus says, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me, and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it;" Mt 10:34-39. So we see that families are divided. Some are the children of God, and some are not. Some know and love and obey the truth; while others do not know it, only to persecute it. This is the case with some families, evidently, as proven by the words of Jesus, as follows:
"Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: for from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three;" Lu 12:51-52. It is very unpleasant for a family to be thus divided, but happy is the Christian that proves by his works that he does not love father or mother, brother or sister, son or daughter, wife or any one else, better than he loves Christ. Happy is the one that taketh up his cross, in this particular, even though he be opposed by his dearest one in the flesh. Happy is the one that thus loses his life, for in the best sense he shall find it. In a sense he suffers death without, but he finds life within. Seeing Him that is invisible, he endures the suffering, and rejoices that he is counted worthy to suffer for the sake of Jesus.
— from Thomas J. Bazemore, "Perilous Times," The Primitive Monitor vol. 15 no. 10 (Oct. 1900).
TO PRESERVE DUE AUTHORITY in our families, so as to prevent or suppress disorder, negligence, and vice, without forfeiting our own peace of mind, is, perhaps, in our present state of imperfection, as difficult a branch of duty as any assigned us by providence. To train up our children in the way in which they should go, to have them in subjection with all gravity, to teach our households the way of the Lord, and command them to keep it, is enjoined upon us, as heads of families, by the Sovereign of the universe. To put away iniquity from our tabernacles, to stir up the slothful and negligent, to rouse the inattentive, and to restrain and correct the vicious and unruly, is absolutely necessary.
This cannot be done without manly resolution, constant circumspection, sobriety and gravity. With out a certain degree of courage in insisting on what is right, and in resenting and opposing what is wrong, a family would soon be ruined with licentiousness and disorder. The censure passed on Eli was very heavy his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. In a family where no just authority is maintained by those whom God has placed at the head of it, every one will walk in the way of his own heart; and confusion, mischief, and ruin, will inevitably follow.
The great secret of family government lies in maintaining authority without moroseness, discipline without tyranny, and resentment of disorder without rash anger; in preserving decorum and regularity without wounding our own peace of mind. The wise and virtuous parent or master is armed with sedate resolution, and a proper firmness of soul.
— from John Fawcett, "With What We May Lawfully Be Angry," An Essay on Anger ch. II (1809).
Q. IN 1Ti 5:8, what does Paul mean by "his own," "his own house"—is it his church or his natural family?
A. His natural family, as proved by the fourth verse, which says—"But if any widow have children or grandchildren (the original word means grandchildren or descendants, and the old English word 'nephews,' used in the King James Version, had this meaning), let them learn first to show piety (to be dutiful) at home (literally, as to their own house), and to requite their parents (their progenitors, not only parents but grandparents); for that is good and acceptable before God."
Then the eighth verse reads—"But if any provide not for his own (that is, his own relatives), and specially for those of his own house (or household, his immediate family, including his parents and grandparents, who usually live in the house or family of one of their children), he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (or unbeliever)"—for even an unbeliever generally performs these natural duties to his parents and grandparents. Children and grandchildren, especially those who profess to he Christians, should support their own aged, infirm, and dependent parents and grandparents, and not burden the church with their support. Faith without love and the works of love is dead.
— from Sylvester Hassell, in The Gospel Messenger vol. 21 no. 11 (Nov. 1899).
MY PARENTS were very strict in family discipline, and I not only feared the rod, but even the frown of my parents would almost break my heart. I verily thought my parents were the best people living on earth.
— from Wilson Thompson, "Early Religious Impressions," Autobiography of Elder Wilson Thompson ch. 2 (1867).
WHEN I WAS YOUNG, the mode of family discipline was as follows: The child committed a trespass—the parent took a rod to chastise with; when the child felt the smart, and began to cry, the parent would say to the child, "say you are sorry for what, you have done, and promise that you will never do so again." If the child responded, "I wish in my heart I had not done it, and I will never do so again," the matter closed with one additional stroke to make the child remember his promise, which the child complied with until the next time.
— from John Leland, "Short and Unconnected Sentences," The Writings of Elder John Leland p. 735 (1845).
PERHAPS THE TENDER and affectionate parent, who, on some just ground, is angry with the child whom he dearly loves, may lawfully wish his child some present pain, in order to amend and cure his folly. This seems to be implied in the nature of parental correction and the end of it is the child's real advantage: but to wish some lasting mischief to befall the object of our resentment, is base, malicious, and wicked. Nor can those sudden wishes for our own death, which violent anger sometimes produces, be at all excused. It is better for me, said the angry prophet, to die than to live: I do well to be angry, even unto death.
— from John Fawcett, "When Our Anger Is Sinful," An Essay on Anger ch. IV (1809).
HOME COMFORTS are the best of all comforts, and blessed is that man who makes a living at home. I feel very miserable at times at the thought of being seemingly more gentle, kind and patient, to other people than to my own family. Whilst I have taken some pains with my children, it seems nevertheless to me, that I have neglected them, in that I have not been gentle and patient, but as it were, aloof from them. No wonder if we have failed towards our children, that they fail towards us, and like Absalom for David, proclaim our neglect upon the house tops.
— from John R. Respess, "Good Farming," The Gospel Messenger vol. 1 no. 12 (Sept. 1879).
WE DO FREELY CONFESS our selves guilty before the Lord, in that we have not with more circumspection and diligence train'd up those that relate to us in the fear of the Lord; and do humbly and earnestly pray, that our omissions herein may be remitted, and that they may not redound to the prejudice of our selves, or any of ours: but with respect to that duty that is incumbent on us, we acknowledge our selves obliged by the precepts of God, to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, to teach them his fear, both by instruction and example; and should we set light by this precept, it would demonstrate that we are more vile then the unnatural Heathen, that like not to retain God in their knowledge, our baptism might then be justly accompted, as no baptism to us.
There are many special promises that do incourage us as well as precepts, that do oblige us to the close pursuit of our duty herein: that God whom we serve, being jealous of his Worship, threatens the visiting of the Fathers transgression upon the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate him: yet does more abundantly extend his mercy, even to thousands (respecting the offspring and succeding generations) of them that love him, and keep his commands. When our Lord rebuked his disciples for prohibiting the access of little children that were brought to him, that he might pray over them, lay his hands upon them, and blesse them, does declare, that of such is the Kingdom of God. And the Apostle Peter in answer to their enquiry, that desired to know what they must do to be saved, does not only instruct them in the necessary duty of repentance and baptism; but does also thereto encourage them, by that promise which had reference both to them, and their children...
— from the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, Appendix.
DO NOT SCOLD nor dispute with your children, nor "provoke them to wrath, but bring them up in the nature arid admonition of the Lord." Eph 6:4. Teach them the Holy Scriptures at home, and take them with you to hear faithful preaching. Control them by example, love and firmness, which will usually suffice but spare not the rod if needful. Train up your children in the way they should go morally, and pray God to bless them and renew their hearts. Yes, train up your boys and girls in the way they should go, and that from early child-life. Ask yourselves the question: Is this or that, the way they should go?
— from Moses DeWitt Denman, "Good Works" (late 1800s), Religious Writings of Moses D. Denman (1907).
CHILDREN ARE GENERALLY easily governed, so as to be a blessing to themselves and others when parents exercise their rights and duties toward them, at the right time and in a proper manner. There is no necessity of being tyrannical or brutal toward them. Indeed it is wrong to treat them in that manner, and would be assuming a responsibility which God has not laid upon us.
Children are a great comfort and blessing which God has given to parents. But like every other blessing it is turned into a curse to us when not used and arranged according to the standard of right which the Lord has given in his Holy word. In that divine standard it is written that "A child left unto himself bringeth his mother to shame."—Pr 29:15. How often have we seen a mother's cheek mantled with the blush of shame at the disobedience and conduct of even very little children, when company was present? But if children when little, are then allowed to rule and have their own way, without restraint upon any of their unbridled whims or passions, there is a far greater degree of shame that awaits the parents than a mere blush upon a mother's face. A shame that will come like a dagger to the heart, because it is attended with guilt, remorse and disgrace that never can be removed. Parental neglect brings these results. We reap a crop according to the seed sown.
It has no doubt been observed by you as parents that this Nineteenth Century is noted for great changes and improvements in laws, arts, science, habits, customs, manners and the general business of the country. But while some of these changes may be for the better to society generally, and it may be that we should as speedily as possible adapt ourselves to them where there is no principle of wrong involved in them, yet, let us beware of being "carried about with divers and strange doctrines," as to the government of children. The standard fixing the relative and natural duties of parents and children admits of no change. It is an eternal principle of right, and like its Divine Author, it is the same "Yesterday, today, and forever"—"Without variableness or shadow of turning." It cannot he improved upon. Instead, therefore, of listening to any suggestions for an improved system of moral training for children, let us prayerfully seek to abide, and conform to that which we already have in the Bible. Parents as well as children have great need to consult this divine oracle for their duty, and let the modern systems of pretended improvements alone.
— from William M. Mitchell, "To Parents," The Gospel Messenger vol. 6 no. 5 (May 1884).
[V]ERILY THERE IS ONE SPRING and cause of the decay of Religion in our day, which we cannot but touch upon, and earnestly urge a redress of; and that is the neglect of the worship of God in Families, by those to whom the charge and conduct of them is committed. May not the grosse ignorance, and instability of many; with the prophaneness of others, be justly charged upon their Parents and Masters, who have not trained them up in the way wherein they ought to walk when they were young; but have neglected those frequent and solemn commands which the Lord hath laid upon them so to catechise, and instruct them, that their tender years might be seasoned with the knowledge of the truth of God as revealed in the Scriptures; and also by their own omission of Prayer, and other duties of Religion in their families, together with the ill example of their loose conversation, have inured them first to a neglect, and then contempt of all Piety and Religion?
We know this will not excuse the blindness, or wickedness of any; but certainly it will fall heavy upon those that have been thus the occasion thereof; they indeed dye in their sins; but will not their blood be required of those under whose care they were, who yet permitted them to go on without warning, yea led them into the paths of destruction? and will not the diligence of Christians with respect to the discharge of these duties, in ages past, rise up in judgment against, and condemn many of those who would be esteemed such now? We shall conclude with our earnest prayer, that the God of all grace, will pour out those measures of his holy Spirit upon us, that the profession of truth may be accompanied with the sound belief, and diligent practice of it by us; that his name may in all things be glorified, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
— from the London Convention preface in The Primitive Baptist Confession of Faith, "To the Judicious and Impartial Reader" (1900).
PEOPLE SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED to go to preaching, and parents should instruct their children to attend preaching, and read the scriptures to them, and should hold worship in their families.
— from P. D. Gold, "Review," Zion's Landmark vol. 9 no. 20 (Sept. 1840).
HOW PAINFULLY PLEASING the fond recollection
Of youthful emotion and innocent joy,
When blest with parental advice and affection,
Surrounded by mercy and peace from on high!
I still view the chairs of my father and mother,
The seats of their offspring as ranged on each hand,
And the richest of books, which excels every other,
The family Bible that lay on the stand,
The old-fashioned Bible, the dear, blessed Bible,
The family Bible, that lay on the stand.
The Bible, that volume of God's inspiration,
At morning and evening would yield us delight;
The prayers of our father, a sweet invocation,
For mercy by day and for safety by night.
Oh! hymns of thanksgiving with harmonious sweetness,
As warmed by the hearts of the family band,
Hath raised us from earth to that rapturous dwelling,
Described in the Bible that lay on the stand.
The old-fashioned Bible, &c.
Ye scenes of enjoyment, long have we been parted,
My hopes almost gone, and my parents no more,
In sorrow and sadness I live broken-hearted,
And wander alone on a far distant shore.
O why should I doubt a dear Saviour's protection,
Forgetful of gifts from his bountiful hand?
O let me with patience receive his correction,
And think of the Bible that lay on the stand.
The old-fashioned Bible, &c.
Though age and misfortune press hard on my feelings,
I'll flee to the Bible, and trust in the Lord;
Though darkness should cover his merciful dealings,
My soul is still cheered by his heavenly word.
And now from things earthly my soul is removing;
I shall soon be in glory with heaven's bright band;
And in rapture of joy be forever adoring,
The God of the Bible that lay on the stand.
The old-fashioned Bible, &c.
— from Leonard P. Breedlove, "The Family Bible," in Benjamin Lloyd's The Primitive Hymns (1841).
MELANCHTHON'S WIFE was a pious and devoted woman, and his domestic life was happy. He called his home "a little church," and "always found there peace, and showed a tender regard for his wife and children, and not infrequently was found rocking the cradle with one hand and holding a book with the other." He lectured on the Scriptures at his home, which was a social center of the Wittenberg Reformation.
— from C. B. & Sylvester Hassell, "Sixteenth Century," History of the Church of God ch. XVI p. 488 (1886).
AS SOON AS EUGENIUS had a house and a family, he selected a chamber in it; there the word of God was read, and prayers were constantly offered. These were not omitted on account of any guest whom providence might conduct within those happy walls: for Eugenius esteemed it a part of due respect to those who were brought under his roof, to take it for granted they would look upon it as a very bad compliment, to imagine they would have been obliged by neglecting the duties of religion on their account.
His character was uniformly regular and amiable but he particularly excelled in that self-government which this essay is designed to promote. His meekness of temper was not a mere natural disposition: it was a Christian grace; a fruit of the Divinity. It arose from religious principles; a regard to God's authority as enjoining it, and a sense of the evil and sinfulness of the contrary. He knew that to bear a hostile and revengeful disposition towards our neighbor, is highly offensive to God: on this ground, he constantly embraced all becoming methods for the cultivation and promotion of meekness and gentleness in himself and others. He followed peace with all men, and avoided every thing which might have a tendency to break it.
— from John Fawcett, "The Character of Eugenius," An Essay on Anger ch. VII (1809).
AS A CHURCH OF CHRIST we do solemnly and voluntarily and mutually covenant with one another to meet together every Lord's day, as many as can conveniently, to celebrate the worship of the Almighty God, to edify one another in his service, in the best manner we can, and do promise to each other to keep the day holy and watch over each of our families and children under our care, that they may do the same...
— from the Church Covenant of the Poplar Springs (North Carolina) church (Nov. 28, 1798).
LOOK INTO IT, and see that each fellow member maintains family worship, and suppresses sin and vice to the remotest branch of his household.
— from an undated Circular Letter of the Ketocton (Virginia) Association, "The Subjects and Government of a Gospel Church," in William Fristoe, A Concise History of the Ketocton Baptist Association (1808).
DOMESTIC WORSHIP, or family prayer, is likewise a duty which ought to be performed in the families of all such as have professed to put on Christ. Many arguments might be adduced to enforce this duty; but suffice it to say, that the good example and salutary influence of such a practice, should be a sufficient inducement. Every Christian to whom the Lord hath given children, has, no doubt, a fervent desire that they should be brought to a saving acquaintance with the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. What influence their example may have in an uniform attendance on the duties of family worship they cannot tell, but have great reason to hope for a happy result: as the first soul exercises of many young people have had their rise under the influence of domestic devotion.
— from the 1804 Circular Letter of the Philadelphia Association.
RELIGIOUS SENTIMENTS imbibed in youth, and received from the lips of parents, are hard to throw off, and are apt to stick by us as long as we live. But when we have given our children all the religious and moral culture in our power, and have done all we can to form their religious and moral character, and to prepare them for usefulness in society, we must not forget to impress upon their minds that all this will not make Christians of them; that human culture and human instrumentality can never prepare them to see or enter into the kingdom of God. To be made a citizen of that kingdom, and enter into its enjoyments, a man must be born again. He must be resurrected from his death in sin, and be made a new creature in Christ Jesus.
— from Gregg M. Thompson, "The Second Birth," The Primitive Preacher ch. 4 p. 106 (1888).
[A]S WE WALKED ALONE, my father introduced the subject of my exercises and insisted that I should tell him of all my feelings. I was greatly embarrassed, but finally I began, and the more I talked the more free I felt to talk, and so in substance I related all my exercises. I remember well how the big, glistening tears coursed down my father's cheeks, as he silently listened to my relation. After I had done, and had answered many questions he propounded, he gave me important advice. Indeed, I shall never forget his impressive exhortations and admonitions, and the warnings which he gave me.
He set before me my youth, the many snares and temptations I should have to encounter, set to lure me off into the world, and so bring reproach upon myself and the church, and, above all, on the cause of God and His truth. And I was very young, he said, and had never mingled with the world, to learn its ten thousand snares, baits, and devices, and although he hoped I had been the subject of a gracious work, yet he would rather that I should not join the church at present, but wait until I became older and had time to test my faith, hope, and zeal. In conclusion, he said he would not forbid me, but urged me to examine well the solemn responsibility of making a public profession.
This advice, coming from a father in whom I had the most implicit confidence, both as to his knowledge in all these things and his desires for my good, made deep impressions on my young mind. I had always considered the advice of my father as the safest rule of my life; so I pondered this with deep concern and self-examination.
— from Wilson Thompson, "From Law to Grace—and Baptism," Autobiography of Elder Wilson Thompson ch. 3 (1867).
MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND, the Almighty, who upholds all things, has the first and highest claims upon our affections. He is the great source of our being. It is he that keeps us. All our plans will prove worthless without his blessing. We read in his Word: "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth." He justly claims your love and purest affection. You are under the strongest possible obligation to turn away from sin and its love; and to God, with a true penitence of heart for sin.
God's indignation is eternally against sin, and you will not live a life of rebellion against him, and escape his wrath. For sin God once drowned the world; he sent down showers of fire upon the cities of the plain; he directed the entire destruction of whole nations; he destroyed Pharaoh and his host. He is the same God to-day that he was then; his claims are just and reasonable. He claims your heart, your affections and service; and, within, you are convinced that you should give these to him. He will on a time say, "Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels," and "These shall go away into everlasting punishment." Those who live lives of sin will make up this company. For sin he spared not his own Son. He will punish sin in his rebellious creatures.
Oh child, it is a great thought that you are under the government of God. It may be unpleasant to you to know that you are accountable to God for every evil word, thought, or action; you need not say that you can not repent or turn from sin, or love your Creator; for though that may be true, yet it grows out of your unwillingness to do that which your heart tells you is right, and therefore in your inability lies your sin. How needful that you be reconciled to God, that you feel within that there is a settled peace with God, that you enjoy his great approval. You may dam against sin by moral habits, and seek to hedge it in by reformation, but all this will not cure the disease. You must have Christ within you, his own Holy Spirit must renew you. How gracious are his appeals, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Oh, if you were truly weary with sin; if you did but feel a willingness to give the dear Redeemer your whole heart; if you felt within the force of the words, "God be merciful to me a sinner," then all would be easy.
Your greatest trouble lies in your fixed love for evil, and your fixed unconcern about eternal things. In this lies your greatest danger. Do not be deceived about this matter. "You must be born again." Without this your church connection would be of no value, for as the sow returns to her wallow in the mire, so you will return to your sin. The root of sin must be cured or killed within. Never be satisfied about your state religiously, until you feel that you are dead to sin; until you have from your own heart repented of your sin, and realized that God's Holy Spirit bears witness with yours that you are a child of God. With this blessing you are prepared to live, and prepared to die. May God give you this matchless blessing!
— from James H. Oliphant, "Advice to Children, 12th," Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists ch. XXIV pp. 234-36 (1885).
DEAR CHILDREN, now, I write to you
I'll state what I believe is true,
That you may read after this date,
And turn to God before too late.
You are the children of my care,
My bowels yearn for your welfare;
I pray that when you read these lines,
The love of God may fill your minds.
It is a source of grief to me
To see you grow in vanity;
O may the God that rules above
Fill all your hearts with sacred love.
O think, my children, in your youth,
How gracious are the words of truth;
Pursue the way the Saviour went,
Until your latest breath is spent.
For recollect th' approaching day,
When all things here will pass away,
This world will then be all on fire,
And sinners' hearts will quake with fear.
O pray to God for pard'ning grace,
That you may see his lovely face,
And you by faith may tread the road,
The narrow way that leads to God.
And when the monster death appears,
The love of God may calm your fears,
Your souls mount up to God above,
And praise him for redeeming love.
— from "Admonition and Warning to Children," in Benjamin Lloyd's The Primitive Hymns (1841).
I BELIEVE MY MIND was more or less impressed with the importance of religion from my first recollection. I had a dread of death and fears of future misery, that betimes would harass me very much; but, I am now convinced that these early exercises were the effect of education. My father's house was a home for the preachers, and was called a "Baptist Tavern." Meeting was often held there, and then the Baptists from a large boundary would come, Father being a deacon and regarded as having a special gift in discipline, prayer, and exhortation, and, withal, one of the best of singers and what was called a fireside preacher. He was able in the Scriptures, sound in faith, social in his manners, and interesting but not assuming in conversation. He attended all the associations and other large meetings and visited many of the churches. Consequently, his acquaintance became general, and his doors were always open to receive all that came. So I heard much about religious subjects, and, perhaps, this will account for the early impressions of my mind. I am very sure, from a retrospect of those early impressions, that they were just of that character which a carnal heart and a defiled conscience might be expected to have, under such circumstances as I have related. These impressions are what the Arminian world calls religion—such as they can get and lose at pleasure.
The abundance of religious conversation which I heard early impressed my young mind with the awful realities of a future state, the miseries of the wicked, and kindred subjects; so I resolved to do good, get religion, and thus get clear of future miseries, and at last reach a happy heaven. These were my views, and a firm resolve to attend to this matter by and by, and attend to it well, gave me some ease and a kind of resting-place. Although all the religious conversation I had ever had (and that was not a little) was on salvation by grace alone, yet I had no just conceptions of that plan. While I felt very partial to the Baptists, I had never learned one idea of their system of grace, but was building all my hope upon the good works which I intended to perform. Thus spent I my youth, until I was about eleven years old.
— from Wilson Thompson, "Early Religious Impressions," Autobiography of Elder Wilson Thompson ch. 2 (1867).
I DO NOT MEAN to lay it down as an absolute rule, but as a matter of general observation it may be remarked that there is usually some connection between a graceless professor and a gracious father or a gracious mother, or some one from whom he has got his creed without getting grace with it. Moab had the blood of Lot running in his veins, but he had not the grace of Lot working in his heart. So many a professor of religion may have the blood of a godly parent in his body, but not the grace of a godly parent in his soul.
— from Joseph Charles Philpot, "Moab at Ease from His Youth and Settled on His Lees," Sermon preached at Gower Street Chapel, London (July 21, 1867).
MY PARENTS were both born in old Virginia, and their parents came to North Carolina in an early day, and settled on the Yadkin river in Wilkes county, where father and mother both professed a hope in Christ, and mother joined the Regular Baptist Church in her youth, and remained amongst them until her death; and father I think never joined until 1811, though he led an orderly life, and was in the habit of holding prayer in 'his family. And I was born in the above named county in August the 9th, 1795, and I must say to you as my parents were pious, I received many godly admonitions from them, and sometimes I was uneasy about my condition, but I was what was called a moralist, but like the rest of my fellow beings in nature's garden, at a guilty distance from God; and the most part of my time "I loved the distance well," and went on in sin...
— from Thornton Sheppard, in Western Evangelist and Baptist Messenger vol. 5 no. 2 (August 1849).
WHILE THE SON was drifting away to perdition, the loving, ever-hoping mother, hoping when Hope, in despair, had fled from every other bosom; hoping against hope, and ever devoutly trustful of Him she so zealously served, with face averted from the sad picture of a beloved son, sinking into everlasting ruin, and always looking up to Heaven, and ever and anon radiant with that light of which the throne of God is alone the source and fountain, hoped on and hoped ever. Oh! the width, breadth and depth of a mother's love. In the beautiful language of this son in after life: "Let no one attempt to describe a mother's love, for it is a simple fact that expresses itself in conduct and not in words."
...Hopes of reformation were lost by all except one; her's was the mother's hope, and it was in God. In the agony of her soul, she said: "Turn him, 0 Lord, and he shall be turned." That prayer was heard by Him who had prompted it. And then was he found by Him who, in covenant, had said let his sins, by imputation, be my sins, his curse my curse, his death my death, and who had also, when he bore the sins of many and made intercession for the transgressors, atoned for all his sins. He came in the fullness of all the blessings of the gospel.
— from W. K. Bowling, M. D., "Extract of a Eulogy," prefaced to John M. Watson's The Old Baptist Test; or, Bible Signs of the Lord's People at p. 19; and John M. Watson, "Practical Godliness," ibid. pp. 530-31 (1867).
AS I STAND IN THIS PULPIT, I look over the crowd before me, and can see the young, the gay, the giddy, and the scoffer at religion. I see those who have been nursed in the lap of pious mothers; have been warned of the dreadful end to which sin leads, and have been pointed to Calvary, to the bleeding, dying Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world, but it has all been as a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal; your hard hearts have not been moved, it has had no charms for you. Often, perhaps, you have bowed at the family altar, and listened to the prayers of your father, and have seen the tears drop from his eyes as his prayer went up to God in your behalf. But your hard heart could feel nothing; you are beyond the reach of the preacher's voice, or a father's prayer. Nothing but the power of God will melt your hard and stony heart.
I see a sister weeping; I know her, and can understand the meaning of those tears that flow so freely from her eyes; her heart is burdened; she feels that her sorrows are more than she can bear. I can look into the face of the daughter, for whom those tears are flowing, floating upon the stream of time to the ocean of eternal destruction and misery, thoughtless and unconcerned. For you those tears are shed; for you those prayers are rising up to the throne of mercy. 0, blessed Jesus! was thy sympathizing heart moved with compassion at the tears of bereaved sisters at the grave of a dead brother, and wilt thou not hear the cries of these thy saints, whose hearts are broken with grief, as they look upon their beloved ones dead in sin, and realize in their hearts that thou alone canst give life to the dead, and break the fetters that bind their captive souls, and set the prisoners free? Thou canst save; thy word is spirit, and it is life. My dear brother, you tremble like a leaf shaken by the wind. I know thy feelings, I can read thy heart; for I, too, have shed the tear of sorrow, and drank the bitter dregs you are now drinking. 0, how sad it is to feel and know that our words can not reach or move the hearts of those we love!
But there is a "Friend that loveth at all times;" his eyes are upon his children, his ears are open to their prayers, he knows the meaning of every groan, of every tear, and is touched with the feelings of our infirmities. You may sow your seed, weeping; you may water it with your tears; you may look upon a sinful, guilty world, who, after the hardness of their impenitent hearts, "treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;" Ro 2:5. You may fear that all your labor is in vain; but the day of singing will come; for he that blessed a praying, wrestling Jacob, and spoke out of the burning bush to him who had fled from his kindred, an exile and wanderer, will hear your groanings, as he did Israel's of old; he will water, and cause the seed to grow. His almighty power will prepare the soil to receive the seed, and cause it to bring forth fruit, so that you shall see the ransomed of the Lord return, and come to Zion with songs; your tears of sorrow will be turned into sweet smiles of rejoicing; your sad groans into songs of praise.
— from Gregg M. Thompson, "Abiding and Walking with Christ," The Primitive Preacher ch. 8 pp. 316-20 (1888).
THE FACT THAT SOME INFANTS DIE, establishes the testimony of the Scriptures that all have sinned. How then can they be saved from sin? Of course, not by works of their own, either good or bad. Our Lord Jesus Christ has said, "No man can come unto the Father but by me." There is no other name, given under heaven or among men, whereby we must be saved. If then there is but one way whereby a sinner can be saved, and that one way is Christ, then the notion that infants are saved by their innocence, their non-accountability, or by the piety, faith or works of their parents, cannot be true. How strange to think that the piety and works of parents can save their children, when these things cannot be available in their own salvation.
We have already said there is but one plan of salvation, and this only plan is perfectly adapted in all its parts to the final salvation and glorification of the little infant. Salvation is of the Lord, and therefore by grace and meets, in every particular, the wants of the most needy and helpless case... If the gracious God hath appointed any to obtain salvation, and the name and medium through which they are to obtain it, then it is vain to, think of obtaining it through personal innocence, non-accountability, piety of parents, or in any other way than what God bath appointed. He does not simply propose or offer salvation to the helpless, but he appoints that they shall obtain salvation through Jesus Christ.
— from William M. Mitchell, "Infant Salvation," Signs of the Times (1870), reprinted in Zion's Advocate (Nov. 1904).
IN THE SKETCH of my father's life in the appendix of the Church History (page 929) I have said: "As far back as I can remember he was in the habit of assembling his family around the family altar every morning and evening, to read a portion of Scripture, sing a hymn of praise, and to pour forth in the most humble and reverent manner his thanksgivings and supplications at the throne of grace. I can truly say that these were the most affecting, happy and blessed seasons of my life. They are ever-green spots in memory's waste, forming the nearest approach to heaven that I have ever realized on earth. He sang well and taught his children to sing. On Sunday morning, after prayers, he took great delight in instructing his children in Scripture history and the plan of salvation, and continually, both by precept and example, he strove to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I have often felt and said that I would rather have such a father than all the riches, honors and pleasures of the world."
— from Sylvester Hassell, "Family Worship," The Gospel Messenger vol. 14 no. 8 (Aug. 1892).
VISIT THE MAN whose head is frosted by time, and who is just ready to fall into the grave, whose character is unstained by dissipation and crime, and ask him to whom, of all earthly beings, he is most indebted for the moral principles which have governed him through life, and saved him from disgrace and shame, and in a large majority of cases the answer will be, "My mother."
Dear friends, while I am talking many of you can call to mind the prayers, the advice, the kisses, and the tears of a mother, whose body now rests in the cold grave, and can see the controlling influence they have had upon you through life, and feel to bless God that you had a good, pious mother, who was not ashamed to pray with her children, to talk to them, and if a tear started in their eyes to kiss it away with her soft lips. Many of us have had such a mother, and we often visit the little mound of earth that covers her from our sight, and read the name upon the little monument that points out her resting place, and drop a shower of warm tears upon the dust that covers her, in grateful remembrance of the best earthly friend we, ever had.
I verily believe that mothers can do more to mold the morals and form the character of the child than the father can. It is on her lap we receive our first ideas, and she breathes into us her own nature and character. There is a responsibility resting upon a mother that I fear is not always fully realized by mothers.
— from Gregg M. Thompson, "The Second Birth," The Primitive Preacher ch. 4 pp. 103-04 (1888).
WE ALSO AGREE, with God's assistance, to pray in our families, attend our church meetings, observe the Lord's day and keep it holy, and not absent ourselves from the communion of the Lord's Supper without a lawful excuse...
— from a form of Church Covenant in use among the churches of the Kehukee (North Carolina) Association, Lemuel Burkitt & Jesse Read, A Concise History of the Kehukee Baptist Association ch. I (1803) [this form "adopted, in substance, by a large number of the Primitive Baptist churches," Sylvester Hassell, "Family Worship," The Gospel Messenger vol. 14 no. 8 (Aug. 1892)].
QUERY: IS IT NOT WRONG for a man who is a member of a church, and the head of a family, wholly to neglect family' worship on account of the smallness of his gifts in prayer?
ANSWER: It is wrong.
— from the 1800 Minutes of the Kehukee Association, Lemuel Burkitt & Jesse Read, A Concise History of the Kehukee Baptist Association ch. VI (1803).
WHAT A MERCY to lie upon our bed, and instead of having every vile thought working in the mind, every base imagination passing through our heart, to be crying to the Lord for the sweet manifestations of his mercy and grace! And as we sit at home, what a mercy it is, instead of being full of ill-humour and worldliness, to have the soul sighing and breathing after the Lord that he would appear! I dare say, you gracious fathers and mothers, when all is still, and your children are in bed, and you sit up a little while after them, you know what it is now and then to pant after the Lord's presence and the manifestations and revelations of his goodness in your heart. I know something of this matter. I know it is very sweet, when all is still and quiet, to have the soul going out after the Lord in earnest breathings after his manifested presence, to feel the dew of his favour upon our branch, and enjoy nearness of access and approach unto him.
— from Joseph Charles Philpot, "The Ordering of the Cause Before the Mercy-Seat," Sermon preached at Gower Street Chapel, London (July 29, 1866).
HAPPY THE HOME when God is there,
And love fills ev'ry breast;
When one their wish, and one their pray'r,
And one their heav'nly rest.
Happy the home where Jesus' name
Is sweet to every ear;
Where children early lisp his fame,
And parents hold him dear.
Happy the home where pray'r is heard,
And praise is wont to rise;
Where parents love the sacred Word,
And all its wisdom prize.
Lord! let us in our homes agree,
This blessed peace to gain;
Unite our hearts in love to thee,
And love to all will reign.
— from Henry Ware, "Happy the Home" (1858), in Old School Hymnal.