TWO OLD AND HONORED FRIENDS by ELD. MARK GREEN

An Appeal For Peace by Elder R. A. Biggs

Miscellaneous Religious Writings of A. C. Machiavello

 

TWO OLD AND HONORED FRIENDS by ELD. MARK GREEN

FOREWORD

BY ELD. MARK GREEN

It is an easily documented fact that among uninspired writings, the London Confession of Faith and the works of John Gill have been held by Primitive Baptists in high regard and with great respect. We have claimed them as our own and have referred to them time and time again in our defense of the faith against Arminianism and Fullerism. They provided a very visible link for us with the “old country” and those brethren who were not only of our faith, but also of our own language and a similar culture.

We Primitive Baptists have been very vocal in our claims that the true churches of God in this generation are found under our name. We have been unflinching in our assertion that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth, and that God has not let that truth fall to the ground but has preserved it by a direct succession of churches found under different names through the ages. “Their faith was our faith,” has been our cry. Probably no other works have been so frequently alluded to by our ministers in their writings concerning the agreement of Primitive Baptist faith and that of our forefathers as those we will examine in this article.

As the years flow by and one generation passes into another, the environment in which “the old paths” exist sometimes varies drastically. In the midst of these changing scenes, it is a matter of great comfort to the child of God to be able to read about his spiritual forefathers and their beliefs and practices, and rejoice that the gates of hell did not prevail against Truth and her pillar. Included in the contents of this article are numerous quotes from a number of leading Primitive Baptist ministers over the years concerning their affection for the London Confession and the writings of that fierce opponent of Arminianism, Dr. Gill. May their bold statements reconfirm our faith in God’s providential care for His eternal truths—those same principles to which we as Primitive Baptists hold.

It should be noted that Elders C. B. Hassell, Sylvester Hassell, J. S. Newman, and W. S.

Craig in particular were well-known as experts in the history of our denomination.

Others, including Elders J. Harvey Daily, S. N. Redford, R. H. Pittman, Jesse Cox, and

Lee Hanks, published works in this field, and were serious students of the subject. Elder Lemuel Potter’s references to church history in his debates and lectures were so extensive that his knowledge in that field is unquestionable. When these men recommended these “two old friends” to their people, they knew whereof they spoke.

THE LONDON CONFESSION 

“Denying Arminianism.”  That statement rings out loud and clear in the opening paragraphs of the old London Confession of Faith of 1689. Perhaps no two words could have expressed more succinctly the struggles of the Primitive Baptist people in our history of one and two-thirds centuries. As we strove to hold up Grace and to combat the far-reaching intrusions of Arminianism, Fullerism, Free-willism and their related beliefs, our ministers have referred time and time again to the rich phrases of the Confession. Three of the first four Baptist associations in America were organized using the

Confession as a statement of faith (and thus it may be referred to as the Philadelphia Confession). In debates with Missionary Baptists, our champions would quote the Confession frequently to show that their opponents had departed from the old faith.

The quotes that follow are from leading ministers among the Primitive Baptists, men whose ability and faithfulness have made them household words among our people.

Elders J. K. Booton, C. H. Cayce, S. F. Cayce, W. S. Craig, J. Harvey Daily, T. S.

Dalton, J. H. Fisher, Benjamin Griffin, Lee Hanks, C. B. Hassell, Sylvester Hassell, J. S. Newman, James H. Oliphant, John T. Oliphant, Lemuel Potter, S. N. Redford, G. W. Stewart, John M. Thompson, J. G. Webb:  all these honored and respected men of God, and others, are found herein expressing their love and respect for the dear old London Confession. The Confession was a work of men, and thus we today may take exception to an expression here and there. That is not denied here. It would be greatly presumptuous, however, for us, their children, to ever cast aside this document which these men held so dear.

from History of the Primitive Baptists of Mississippi by Elder Benjamin Griffin [1853]

In 1689 a general assembly of the Particular Baptists of England and Wales, was held in London, for the purpose of forming a general Union, by setting forth the articles of faith upon which they were organized, which they honestly believed, to which they held privately and publicly, and according to which they acted. These articles of faith are divided into thirty-four chapters. They are in substance the same as those of the Primitive or Old School Baptists of this day.

from An Exposition of the Revelation of St. John the Divine by Elder Jesse Cox [1873]

More than one hundred churches in England and Wales, met by their representatives in London, September 3, 1689, and wrote out their confession of faith that others might understand what they believed and practiced. It was adopted, with some additions, by the Philadelphia Association, September 25, 1742, which would be fifty-three years after it was first written. This confession is too lengthy for insertion here, but suffice it to say that it is the same in substance as that of the Waldenses, a part of which I have already given, and the same, with but little variation, as that now held by the Old Baptists.

from Principles and Practices of the Regular Baptists by Elder James H. Oliphant [1883]

The London Confession of Faith and the Philadelphia Confession have been regarded by the Baptists as sound.

from History of the Church of God by Elders C. B. and Sylvester Hassell [1886]

In 1677 and in 1688, and again in 1689, was published the fullest and most esteemed Baptist Confession of faith—in 1689 the ministers and messengers of above a hundred churches in England and Wales meeting in London for that purpose, and, as they say in their prologue, “denying Arminianism.”  This Confession is published in this volume, and adopts, on the subject of predestination, the strong language of the Westminster (the most esteemed Presbyterian) Confession…

What is called the Confession of 1688, in thirty-two chapters, by far the most important and authoritative of all uninspired Baptist Confessions, and still generally received by all Baptists who hold the doctrine of personal election and the certainty of the final perseverance of the saints, first appeared in 1677 at London, and was, in 1688 and 1689, approved and recommended by the ministers and messengers of above a hundred churches who were in session in London July 4-11, 1689. It was adopted by the Philadelphia Baptist Association, in Philadelphia, Sept. 25th, 1742, and is hence also called the Philadelphia Confession—the latter retaining all the old London Confession, and adding two other Articles (Chapter xxiii, Of Singing of Psalms, and Chapter xxxi, Of Laying on of Hands). The Charleston (South Carolina) Association was organized, in

1751, on the basis of the old London Confession; and the Kehukee (North Carolina)

Association was organized in 1765 on the same Confession, adding, from the Philadelphia Confession, the Chapter on the Singing of Psalms, but not adding the Chapter on the Laying on of Hands. from The Throgmorton-Potter Debate (Elder Lemuel Potter) [1887]

In the preface to the London confession of faith we read that the brethren who convened in London in 1689, to set forth their doctrine, faith and practice, “denying Arminianism.”  They were denying Arminianism, while the Missionary Baptists fellowshipped it, and denied it at the same time. They fellowship both Arminianism and Calvinism. The Primitive Baptists deny Arminianism.

In 1689 this convention convened, and they denied Arminianism. Do the Missionaries today deny Arminianism? No, sir. Hence they are not the Primitive Baptists in doctrine. They are not Primitive Baptists. They do not deny Arminianism.

Remember, they had met to set forth their doctrines, faith and practice, and they emphatically denied Arminianism. It has been said, during this discussion, more than once, that if you wanted to drive a Hardshell, just tell him that where he stands is Arminianism. It must be evident, then, that we deny Arminianism. I claim that we do. We do not have to appeal to our brethren, and ask them any thing of that sort, for we are Calvinistic. In talking and in preaching, we deny Arminianism, just as the London

Baptists did in 1689…

I want to show that we, and not the Missionary Baptists, are identical with the Primitive

Baptists. In order to show non-fellowship for Arminianism it was declared by the Primitive Baptists, as far back as 1689, as I referred yesterday to the London confession of faith, and showed that the ministry and messengers held a convention representing upwards of one hundred churches, in England and Wales, denying Arminianism. Is that fellowshipping Arminianism? I will let this people judge that. Is that the way we fellowship anything—to deny it? That is what these Primitive Baptists did in 1689. They denied Arminianism in the churches, so says their published confession of faith. He says we began to raise denominational tests of fellowship in 1832. He undertakes to make it appear that Arminianism has been in the church all along, and we tolerated it. It does not seem so from our record. . . .

He says we have not the Philadelphia confession of faith in any of our churches or associations. He says they have. It is not so much a matter of concern with me as to who have it, but as to who believe it and preach it. That is the question we are here to settle. We are here to identify each other by what we preach and teach; to identify ourselves with the Old Baptists on that subject. Remember, that although the Philadelphia confession of faith is still a “Hardshell” Baptist document some of the Missionary Baptist associations fight it. That is, the doctrine it contains. Not only a few of them, but take the country over, a majority of their ministers today preach the doctrine of Arminianism, the very thing that this London confession of faith denied when it was first gotten up.

from My Reasons for Leaving the New School or Missionary Baptists by Elder J. H. Fisher [1895]

But what did they believe about predestination and election? Well, a few held to these points, while the great majority rejected them, as held by the Old Baptists, and as set forth in all the confessions of faith of the Baptists in all ages. . . . Well, I went to searching to see what was the truth on this subject. I went back first to see if this was baptist doctrine. I found that the Baptists held most strictly to predestination and election, as held today by Primitive Baptists; the confessions of faith proved it. Especially did the London confession of faith present it in much clearness and fullness. This being a baptist document, it staggered me to find a people pretending to be Primitive Baptists, and yet not only refusing to believe it, but really contending against it.

from A Treatise on Regeneration, Christian Warfare, and the State of the Dead, by Elder Lemuel Potter [1895]

This has been the doctrine of our people for the past two hundred years, provided it was our people who first drew up and published the London Confession of Faith, in England, in the year 1689… In our efforts to identify ourselves with the Old Baptists against the claims of the missionaries, we claim to be identical with these old English brethren in doctrine. THE ADVOCATE does now stand, and always has stood there, especially on the new birth. We hope that none of our brethren will differ from them, and at the same time claim identity with them…

Our next witness will be Coffey’s History. In his arguments in favor of our identity with the original Philadelphia Baptists association, he says, “The above quotation shows very conclusively, that the Philadelphia Association in 1775, was the same in practice that the Regular Baptists are to this day; and in order that the reader may have a knowledge of the principles upon which such association was founded, I here insert the confession of faith adopted in the year 1742, which confession was adopted by over one hundred

congregations, whose delegates met in London in 1689. The Philadelphia Association, in 1742, endorsed the said confession, pages 107-108.”  Elder Coffey then quotes the confession, in order to prove our identity, and the 23rd article reads as follows:  [quote from the Confession]. We claim this identity, while there are some who have, for the last twenty-five or thirty years made war upon this old time honored Baptist doctrine, which distinguished them from the doctrine of the pope during the dark ages.

from Order and Disorder by Elder G. W. Stewart [1901]

In the old “London Confession of Faith,” put forth by our Baptist fathers in the year 1689, more than two hundred years ago, and of which all our confessions of faith are but abridgments . . .

In the next place let us notice the Old London Confession of Faith on this subject, which Confession was put forth by the Baptists of England and Wales in 1689, and was afterwards adopted by the Baptists of the United States… In the quotations which I have made upon the subject of predestination, you have the benefit of the views of the wise, prudent and conservative Respess; the great man in Israel, Beebe; the learned, zealous and humble Hassell; and our Baptist fathers of more than two hundred years ago, and I am satisfied that no uninspired documents can be produced which will present the subject in a clearer, stronger or more faithful manner from a Bible standpoint; and there is one important point upon which all agree, and that is, that man acts voluntarily in the commission of sin.

from Footsteps of the Flock by Elder J. K. Booton [1902]

Prompted by the belief that there is a need for such a book, I have compiled the following selections from Holy Writ, and from commentators, church works and historians, who as authority stand uncontradicted, pointing out the way by which God has led His people from the creation of man down to the present. (Elder Booton quotes the London Confession in its entirety in one chapter of the book.) from The Two Witnesses by Elder G. W. Stewart [1905]

In 1689 the Baptists of England and Wales, in an assembly composed of more than one hundred baptized congregations (denying Arminianism they say) put forth a full confession of their faith in what is known as the London Confession of Faith… Every true Primitive Baptist of to-day is ready to say Amen to this confession.

from A Sermon on Church History, by Elder W. C. Arnold [1907]

“There is no record of the Baptists ever having become nonexistent in England  Jarrell, p. 318. In 1643, seven churches in London published a confession of faith. This confession was readopted in 1689, and is today the confession of faith upon which we as Primitive Baptists stand.

Now, my friends, I have traced the old church from the apostles down to the present date. I have shown you her footprints in every century. Many have been her struggles as she has unfurled the old banner of sovereign grace, under which she has marched through the ages past, leaving her trail by the blood she has shed.

from History of the Primitive Baptist Church by Elder J. Harvey Daily [1909] In 1643 the English Baptists drew up a “confession of faith,” which was afterwards revised and published in 1689, known as the “London Confession of Faith,” which contains all the doctrinal and practical features of all the former “confessions of faith” but forth by the Baptists. It has ever been recognized as the nearest correct expression of faith of true Baptists every where, until the present time, that has ever been published in a like form.

from The Baptists In All Ages by Elder J. S. Newman [1912]

In 1689 the ministers and messengers of upward of one hundred Baptist Churches of England and Wales met denying Arminianism, and drew up a confession of faith which has stood unquestioned as an expression of what our people believe on the points mentioned; which “confession we own as containing the doctrine of our faith and practice, and do desire that the members of our churches respectively furnish themselves with.”   I will now quote a few articles from the above Confession of Faith…

If the Missionary Baptists do not believe the doctrine contained in the above quotations, then they are not the original Baptists, for the above is what the Baptists believed, preached and published before the division between us in 1832. from A Voice From the Past Vol. 3 by Elder T. S. Dalton [1915]

But we will give here a short sketch from the old London Confession of Faith, which was adopted by the Primitive or Old School Baptists in 1689, and was approved and published by the Philadelphia Association of Baptists in 1742, and surely if we claim to be identified with those old brethren we must teach what they taught.

from History of the Church and Church Identity by Elder S. N. Redford [1915]

In 1688 the confession of thirty-two chapters was published, and is generally received by the Baptists as an expression of their faith, with the exception of a few expressions.

from History of the Primitive Baptists by Elder W. S. Craig [1925]

THE PRINCIPLES OF THE GOSPEL MESSENGER (These Principles are the great

truths taught by the prophets, Christ and His apostles in the Holy Scriptures, affirmed, in regard to eternal salvation, by the early European reformers and martyrs of the 14th and 15thcenturies, similarly reaffirmed by the Protestant reformers, including the

Episcopalians of the 16th century, embodied, in the substance of doctrine with reference to final salvation, in the Articles of Faith of the Presbyterians, Independents or Congregationalists, and Predestinarian Baptists of the 17th century, fully set forth in the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, adopted as an expression of their belief by all the Predestinarian Baptists of the United States in the 18th century; and these principles, exactly as here published, were unanimously approved by the general meetings of Primitive Baptists at Oakland City, Ind., Sept. 27, 1900, and at Fulton, Ky., Nov. 14-18, 1900, representing two-thirds of the Primitive Baptists of the United States; and, I believe, that they are the sentiments of nine-tenths of all Primitive Baptists now living.)   [The Gospel Messenger was edited by Elder Sylvester Hassell.] from The Church of God by Elder Lee Hanks

For quite awhile, for the love I have for God’s children and that they may clearly understand where the Church of God is, I have felt deeply impressed to compile a Church History to show who the Church of God is… I have not compiled this book for my benefit, but for the dear Old Baptists, it is their History. [Elder Hanks inserted as Chapter Two of his History the London Confession of 1689 in its entirety, with the footnotes of the Fulton Council.]

THE FULTON CONFESSION OF FAITH

 

In the year 1900, with many trials afflicting Zion, as has always been the case, two meetings of Primitive Baptist ministers took place. The first was at Oakland City, Indiana, on September 27, involving fifteen ministers, including Elders James H. and John T. Oliphant. At this meeting a general address to Primitive Baptists was written, in which various subjects were discussed, and in which the London Confession was recommended to the denomination. Then in November, fifty-one ministers met at Fulton, Kentucky. They republished the Confession, adding some explanatory footnotes and a general address, and appended the Oakland City address. Included in the ministers at that meeting were Elders John M. Thompson, James H. Oliphant, S. F. Cayce, C. H. Cayce, Lee Hanks, J. K. Stephens, J. G. Webb, and a number of other prominent ministers. Following are excerpts from the addresses published at both meetings, as well as recollections and observations of two of the ministers who were there.

from the Fulton Confession of Faith, November 1900

The London Confession of Faith was approved by a unanimous vote of the meeting. In view of the fact that this instrument was written more than two hundred years ago and that our language naturally undergoes some change in so long a time, it was deemed prudent to add some explanations to those sections that seemed ambiguous.

The whole Confession, with the explanatory notes, was approved by a unanimous vote, and we now offer the whole in this form to our dear brethren everywhere, with the fervent prayer to Almighty God that it may be received and approved by our suffering Zion with the same unanimity and tender love with which it has been approved in this meeting, and that our feeble efforts may result in establishing union and fellowship among us everywhere, and that we may go to our homes from this place with a renewed energy in laboring for peace and union among all our people, and to this end we beg all our people everywhere to unite with us in prayer to the Lord God Almighty to remember us with a blessing, that our eyes may see days of increased gladness and the sweetest union among our people…

The London Confession of Faith, adopted over two hundred years ago by thirty-seven of the ablest ministers of England and Wales, representing over one hundred churches, has served one of the most needful services among our people of any document of faith since the days of the apostles, and has stood unquestioned as an expression of the Primitive Baptist’s interpretation of the Bible from then till now. At the present assembly of fifty- one ministers, representing three hundred and thirty-five churches, aggregating fourteen thousand five hundred members in direct correspondence with over one hundred thousand Baptists, the Confession has been carefully read and approved. Language through the lapse of many years undergoes variations in applications and meanings, whereby certain clauses become more or less obscure in meaning. Wherever, in the opinion of this assembly, the meaning of a section was not apparent footnotes were added to bring out the meaning. The office of this Confession of Faith is not to be regarded as a standard of faith and practice, but as an expression of our interpretation of the Holy Scriptures, which is the only rule of faith and practice. We recommend the Confession with the notes to careful perusal of all Primitive Baptists, and insist that they make themselves familiar with its teaching. Believing that such a course would obviate many of the difficulties that have so sadly distressed our beloved Zion in the few years passed, we would be glad to see this document, that has stood the test as an expression of our faith for more than two hundred years, become uniformly used in our local churches as their expression of faith and practice.

Praying God’s blessings on his holy cause everywhere and that general prosperity may soon follow, we are your obedient servants and ministers of the gospel in the fear and love of God.

from the Oakland City Appendix to the Fulton Confession

We recommend the London Confession of Faith as an expression of Bible truth. The articles of faith of our churches are substantially in harmony with the doctrine and practice set forth in that instrument, and we do heartily recommend the London Confession to the household of faith everywhere. from The Autobiography of Elder J. H. Oliphant

In November, 1900, I attended the national meeting at Fulton, Kentucky. It was the largest gathering of Primitive Baptists I ever saw. Fourteen states were represented, and numerous preachers from many states were there. The old London Confession was publicly read and approved, section by section. I served as moderator of the meeting. I thought it was prudent to hold that meeting, and some thought that it would be prudent to hold such a meeting every year, which seemed to me to be unwise. I met a great many elders at this meeting. Elders Hanks of Georgia, Webb of Texas, Little of Arkansas, Verell of Mississippi, Stevens of Arkansas, Cayce of Tennessee, and many others. The meeting was made up, for the most part, of true Primitive Baptists. There were many tears shed as the strong sentiments of the London Confession were read and considered. None could see the manifestation of love for the old doctrine that was there made without being impressed that these truths will still survive many years to come. It has long been predicted that the Primitive Baptists will pass away “when the ministers now living are dead.”  But as death takes the old ones away, others are raised up to take their places. The doctrine of our people is taught in the Bible, and is in harmony with the experience of all the children of God and common sense. It has the elements that will endure strong opposition, and even persecution, and will yet live as the centuries go by. When the Lord comes again He will find these principles still dear to many who “love His appearing.” from Editorial Writings from `The Primitive Baptist,’ Vol. 6 by Elder C. H. Cayce [1939]

From November 14 to 18, 1900, there were gathered and assembled together at Fulton, Ky., a large number of Primitive Baptists from different states of the Union. Fifty-one ministers were present and took part in the meeting. In that meeting a general address was read and approved by a unanimous vote of all present. When the proceedings of that meeting were printed or published this address was in the book, under the above heading. On account of circumstances which exist in some parts of the country, and some things being done in some places, we feel that this address is timely now, and worthy of serious and prayerful consideration by the Primitive Baptists in every section of our country. When that address was put forth thirty- nine (almost) years ago it was evidently the sentiment then of the great body of Baptists. We were at that meeting, and we then fully endorsed the sentiment and principles set forth in that address—and we stand there yet. What do you say, dear reader? Do you stand now where the Baptists stood thirty-nine years ago? Remember that principles are eternal and never change. Following this address, which we copy below in full, are the names of fifty-one ministers who were in attendance at the meeting, with the post office address of each one at that time. Many of them have crossed over the river, and some left our people and went to another order.

Following this address we also copy an article which was written by several ministers and brethren assembled at Oakland City, Ind., on September 27, 1900. This article was unanimously approved by the Fulton meeting in November, same year, and published as an “Appendix.”   We recommend a careful reading and study of these addresses. If the things set forth therein were good then, they are good now. The Primitive Baptists as a body raised no objection then to the principles set forth therein. We stand now on the same principles as set forth therein.

 

JOHN GILL 

John Gill lived from 1697 to 1771. Largely self-educated, he was beginning to learn to read his fourth language at the age of twelve. He was ordained to the ministry in 1720 and pastored until his death the church at Horsly-down in London.

Gill is probably best known for his three great works– Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, A Body of Divinity, and The Cause of God and Truth. He was an acknowledged expert in the writings of the Jews, such as the Talmud and the Targum.

To Primitive Baptists, one of Gill’s greatest contributions was his unflinching adherence to the pure doctrine of Particular Redemption. When Andrew Fuller began propagating his watered- down version of redemption in the late 1700’s, Gill became the champion of the lovers of grace. David Benedict, a Missionary Baptist minister, published in 1860 his Fifty Years Among The Baptists. In it he observes:  “Forty years ago (1817) large bodies of our people were in a state of ferment and agitation in consequence of some modifications of their old Calvinistic Creed, as displayed in the writings of the late Andrew Fuller, of Kettering, England. This famous man maintained that the atonement of Christ was general in its nature, but particular in its applications, in opposition to our old divines, who held that Christ died for the elect only… Dr. John Gill, of London, was in his day on of the most distinguished divines among the English Baptists; and, as he was a noted advocate for the old system of a limited atonement, the terms `Gillites’ and `Fullerites’ were often applied to the parties in this discussion. Those who espoused the views of Mr. Fuller were denominated Arminians by the Gillite men, while they, in their turn, styled their opponents Hyper-Calvinists.”  Thus, Gill became the standard for those

who believed in a limited atonement, or the doctrine of Particular or Definite Redemption.

One writer noted that is would test the constitution of most of the literary men in England just to read all that Gill wrote. With such a volume of words flowing from his pen, it is inevitable that anyone would find points here and there in which he differed with Gill. Still, all in all, as Charles Spurgeon said, in the matter of sound, massive, sober Scriptural comment, Gill cannot be excelled. Primitive Baptists have been in hearty agreement. Their opinions of the good Doctor follow. from The Old Baptist Test by Elder John M. Watson [1867]

I will now show, most conclusively, that Parkerite ultraisms have changed some of the

Old Order of Baptists into a new sect. Facts must speak here. I will contrast a tenet of the Particular Baptist Church of London, about 1720, with one of a Baptist Church lately constituted, on a tenet of Parkerism:   “A declaration of the Faith and Practice of the Church of Christ at Horsleydown, under the Pastoral Care of Mr. John Gill, etc.” from History of the Church of God by Elders C. B. and Sylvester Hassell [1886]

The eminently pious and learned Baptist ministers, John Skepp (who died 1721), John Brine (who died 1765), and John Gill (who died 1771)--the latter the most learned man that has ever borne the name of Baptist—entertained precisely the same views of the sovereignty and efficacy of Divine grace as are held by the Bible Baptists of today. Though they proclaimed to sinners that they were in danger and on the high road to perdition, they did not call upon all men, whether spiritually concerned or not, to repent and believe the gospel…

John Gill, of London, the soundest, the most learned, and the most able Baptist theologian since the death of the Apostle John—the author of a complete critical Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, and of a Complete Body of Divinity—the only man that ever hunted and drove out Arminianism from the explanation of every verse in the Bible…

from The Throgmorton-Potter Debate (Elder Lemuel Potter) [1887]

But we wish to continue this same quotation:  “This was the strict Calvinistic, or Gillite plan.”  He is talking about the doctrine that had been uniformly believed among the Baptists, and this doctrine of particular atonement was called the strict Calvinistic or Gillite plan. Then, you see, we stand with Dr. Gill…

Dr. Gill was our man. And I know that it is not necessary to state here that Dr. Gill believed and taught what is now called Calvinism. He was one of the brightest lights that the Baptist churches have had since the days of the apostles, and there is no Baptist that is a Baptist that does not speak of Gill with pride.

from A Treatise on Regeneration, Christian Warfare, and the State of the Dead by Elder Lemuel Potter [1895]

We have others present, but can not quote them in this article, as Elder Jesse Cox, Dr. John Gill, and others who believed as we do. These have been our spiritual fathers; and they have all believed without controversy that at death the soul left the body. These men of God are our witnesses today, in favor of our claims to the name of old Primitive Baptists.

from Thoughts on the Will by Elder J. H. Oliphant [1899]

I desire to give a lengthy quotation from Gill’s “Cause of God and Truth” which will show how our people met Arminius in his time…The above is Whitby’s argument against our people. The following is Gill’s reply…

Gill contends for liberty of will, yet not as the Arminians of his times…The Arminian argued that if the will of an evil man were determined to sin only this fact would destroy liberty of will, and also that it would clear the sinner of all blames, for sin. Gill argued that the will is free and yet determined to evil only, which I think I will demonstrate to be true later on in the work.

from Footsteps of the Flock by Elder J. K. Booton [1902]

Having so extensively quoted from Dr. Gill’s Commentaries on the Scriptures, it is perhaps necessary that I should give a sketch of his life…

From his voluminous, learned and most critical comments, I have made most of my extracts.

from The Two Witnesses by Elder George W. Stewart [1905]

I quote first from a confession of faith put forth by the Baptists of 1720, written by John Gill, one of the most learned and noted Baptists of modern times.

from Biographical History of Primitive or Old School Baptist Ministers in the United States by Elder R. H. Pittman [1909]

John Gill, of London, Eng., was perhaps the most learned, able, sound, upright and humble Baptist minister since the days of Paul. He was the author of a complete critical commentary on the Old and New Testaments, and of a complete Body of Divinity, and was the only man that ever hunted and drove out Arminianism from the explanation of every verse in the Bible—from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation. Wm. Cathcart, author of the “Baptist Encyclopedia”—a New School work, says that Gill “Knew more of the Bible than any one else with whose writings he was acquainted; that he was a man of great humility, and one of the purest men that ever lived; that, in his `Body of Divinity,’ the grand old doctrines of grace, taken unadulterated from the Divine fountain, presented in the phraseology and with the illustrations of an intellectual giant, and commended by a wealth of sanctified Biblical learning only once in several ages permitted to mortals, sweeps all opposition before them, and leaves no place for the blighted harvests, the seed of which was planted by James Arminius in modern times.” How sad to think that the great body of New School Baptists of today have repudiated Gill’s works, turned a deaf ear to the plain teachings of the Holy Scriptures and become the devoted apostles of James Arminius!…Yet how soon is this great teacher in Israel set aside for the carnal reasoning, flesh pleasing, pride fostering, God debasing and manexalting doctrines of James Arminius? And how absurd and inconsistent for the New School denomination to claim John Gill and many other Bible Baptists when they deny through the press and in the pulpit the doctrine they contended for? Only a short time after the bones of this wonderfully gifted servant of God had been laid in the grave, Andrew Fuller began to ponder upon the expediency of making a change in Baptist tactics, and after years of heated controversy with his brethren led the majority of those professing the Baptist name into the Arminian camp. I have given these few points in the life of Gill to show that he preached the same  doctrine and contended for the same practice that the Primitive or Old School Baptists are the only exponents of today.

from A Theological Discussion on the Plan of Salvation (the Daily-Throgmorton Debate) [1912]

So much for John Gill. How about this work from which I am quoting? Was it written when he was a boy and didn’t know? By no means. In the Memoirs of John Gill, found in his “Body of Divinity,” it is said:  “This was his last work, and contains the substance of what he delivered to his people through the space of five or six years.”  So much for Dr. John Gill. Yes, I stand where Dr. John Gill did in his mature age, when he had thought the matter over studiously. So, as I follow Brother John Gill, my brethren can follow me along. Rather, you follow me as I follow Christ. That is the proper rule.

from The Baptists In All Ages by Elder J. S. Newman [1912]

The views of John Gill were the prevailing doctrine held to or believed by the Baptists prior to the introduction of modern missions among them.

from Principles and Practices of the Church by Elder J. D. Holder [1961]

Mr. Fuller, and those who worked with him, quietly waited until this great man Dr. John Gill’s remains rested in death, and his voice was stilled, and his fruitful pen rested on his desk, before they advanced their new ideas of taking the world for Christ. Dr. Gill’s scholarly writings, his Body of Divinity, and his complete commentary on every verse of the Old and New Testaments are more sound, and show a deeper, richer mind than any scholar of his day and some say than any man since New Testament times. While very few of Mr. Fuller’s distinguished followers care to pull from the shelf his writing and ponder their meaning as well as their failure to stand the test of Bible theology. from The Holy Scripture on Women Preachers by Elder P. T. Oliphant

Dr. John Gill:  This author was the standard of orthodoxy among the PRIMITIVE

BAPTIST of England for over two hundred years. [caps in original] from The Church of God by Elder Lee Hanks

John Gill, perhaps the most learned, able, sound, upright and humble Baptist minister since the days of Paul—author of a Commentary on the Whole Bible, a Body of Divinity, etc.

 An Appeal For Peace by Elder R. A. Biggs

From "The Writings of Elder R. A. Biggs"

    AN APPEAL FOR UNITY

    Trusting it may tend to peace and be a help to unify our beloved brethren on some points of doctrine and good order, in which there seems to have been some difference of opinion among our people, the Primitive Baptists, I feel it a duty to give what our people have and do subscribe to on some vital points.

    First: On predestination, I have understood our people to believe that God's predestination embraces everything needful in the salvation of his people from sin, and that God is the author of his predestination, together with its results, full establishing his foreknowledge of all conditions and events harmonizing in His election of His people to salvation in Christ Jesus, in the effectual calling, justification and the final glorification of his people in heaven.

    Second: I have always understood our people to believe that Christ made a special atonement on the cross for all the sins of all His elect people.

    Third: I have understood them to believe that His elect people are sons and daughters of Adam's fallen family.

    Fourth: That they (his people) are in time regenerated, or born again in soul and spirit and that their bodies will be in their resurrection.

    Fifth: That man in regeneration is passive and receives eternal life from God as a free gift.

    Sixth: That after regeneration God's people are complex, possessing two natures, human and divine; two lives, natural and spiritual; two men, the outward man and the inward man, hence the continual warfare.

    Seventh: That the child of God is active in obedience; that he obeys from the heart that from of doctrine delivered unto him, that the grace of life in the soul is the efficient cause, and all acceptable obedience thereafter is the effect or fruit of the good tree or renewed heart.

    Eighth: That the man that is quickened or regenerated in soul and spirit loves God, mourns over and hates his sins, hungers and thirst after righteousness; but that man in body sins, makes mistakes, goes astray; man in body dies, man in spirit goes to heaven at the death of the body; man in the body goes to the grave, but in the resurrection the body will be quickened, made spiritual, immortal, and spirit and body reuniting, then man in his entirety will be changed and glorified in heaven.

Ninth: That divine life in the soul precedes hunger, thirst, love, faith, joy, peace, and all holy aspirations; life is the efficient cause and that which life produces being the effect.

    Tenth: That the child of God as a complex being can do wrong and live after the flesh and thus lose his spiritual enjoyments here in this present world.

    Eleventh: That the child of God by the grace of God in the soul, can mortify the deeds of the flesh and keep his body in subjection and glorify God in his body and spirit which are His.

    Twelfth: That sin is a transgression of God's Holy Law by his creatures.

    The above I have understood our people to heartily believe, and I heartily subscribe to it as the truth, recommend the same to our people as a basis of agreement among them, that unity of sentiment may abound everywhere among us.

     

    ORDER

    Under this head, I have understood our people to regard it disorder for any faction to assemble and declare themselves the church proper without first having proved that the church departed from the faith and order that Christ established for the government of the church in her act of excluding them. And any and all persons are acting disorderly who are or may be engaged in gathering or attempting to gather any such excluded members and advising them to declare themselves the church in order. Our people generally regard it disorder for any minister who may have a grievance against another brother preacher to take it to his church and have his home church to raise a complaint against his brother before he takes the matter up with his brother and makes an effort to adjust their differences. And they regard it disorder on the part of any church who will hear such a complaint before her member has made any effort to adjust his matter of grievance with his brother. They also regard it disorderly for a minister or any other member of the church to take up the report against a brother and circulate it to the injury of the brother and the cause before the church has time to investigate the report and see whether it is true or false (also to deny the truthfulness of a report after investigation by any church only by proper gospel steps.)

    This seems to be a growing evil and should be condemned by all the churches. And any preacher or any other member of the church who is guilty of such conduct should be rebuked by their churches, and if they persist in such conduct should be disciplined by their churches.

    I submit the above and recommend it to our brotherhood at large, hoping thereby to kindly and tenderly in love place beyond our borders all offenses false sentiments and practices, not embraced in God's Holy Word.

    

    DISCIPLINE

    My observation through life has been that, generally speaking, our churches have had more trouble and difficult cases from a lack of discipline than from any other one thing. Strict discipline is the life of any kind of organization, without it no organization of any kind will last long. I have known of long, wearisome cases in the church because the order laid down in the Bible was not observed. Such a lack will always lead to unnecessary trouble. When cases of trespasses occur, and the offended party goes off and tells the trouble to others, they themselves thereby become transgressors, because the Bible rule is plain and simple, and says, "If thy brother trespass against thee, go to him alone and tell him his fault." This is the only right course to pursue in cases of trespassing, "go to him alone," not to others with it. I think when anyone is aggrieved at another, if they fail to go to the offender, and go out to others and tell of their trouble they should be mildly rebuked and advised to go to the party whom they claim has hurt them, and try to get a reconciliation. If they succeed, no one else need to be burdened with it. But if the event they should fail to get satisfaction, then take one or two more, and then if they succeed in getting the matter settled, let it stop right there; never bother others with it. But should they fail to get the matter adjusted, then let it be reported to the church, and not before. Moderators sometimes are responsible for trouble in the church, by allowing a matter to come into the church before it has been gospelly treated. I think a moderator, when such cases are reported to the church, should inquire into the matter, and if he finds it has not been gospelly treated, refuse to allow it to come before the conference until it is gospelly treated. If found to have been gospelly treated, then let the church take hold of the matter, and after duly laboring to save and reconcile, should she fail, why then exclude. In public offences such as "theft, fornication, adultery," etc., these are not private trespasses and do not require private dealing. All that is necessary in such cases is for the church to have the evidence that the parties accused are guilty then cut them off or exclude them from the church for the apostle says: "Such have no inheritance in the church of God." The honor of God requires this, His holy cause requires it, the well being of the church and her peace and fellowship require this.

    Now I wish to say that sometimes our brethren and sisters get up unnecessary trouble. We ought to be forbearing people. I think sometimes we become too sensitive and take offence when we should have borne it. I never have had any trouble with any member of a church to which I belonged. I have had some hard things said about me, but I bore it, never even told my wife of it, and I feel today that it was best. I saved the church perhaps a great deal of trouble, besides the parties were saved by my forbearance.

    I feel sure that a brother or sister has a perfect right to bear the faults of others, and to do this is to keep it in your own bosom, to tell it is not to bear it. But if you feel you cannot bear it, then go as the Bible requires, and tell him or her their faults, go in the spirit of love, considering that you, too are imperfect. When this rule is strictly followed in the love of God, and His cause, there is seldom a case of trespassing but what is agreeably adjusted.

There is according to my observation too much exacting on the part of some. We should all remember we are all imperfect creatures here, and should make due allowances for the words and actions of others toward us. Always remember the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," and a great deal of unnecessary trouble would be avoided. Let all cultivate the spirit of love and forbearance one toward another and try to curb hatred and malice and envy, and times will be better with us. Don't you think so?

     

    PRIVATE TRESPASSES, AND PUBLIC OFFENCES

    I will express some of my thoughts concerning "private trespasses," and "public offences." First, I will say that private trespass is only against the one offended, while a public offence is against the whole body (or church.) In the private trespasses I will say it is the duty of the one that is offended to go to the trespasser and try to get satisfaction unless he aims to "bear" it, and first I will say, any one has a right to "bear" with a brother if he feels it is right to do so, then in that case the matter should never be mentioned to anyone. I have known cases where one brother felt offended at another and would go around among the brethren and tell every one of it but would say I want peace; I do not want to make any trouble about the matter so I will bear it. Now I think such a course is just the thing to make trouble. If a brother wants to bear with his brother that is all right but he is not doing so when he is telling everybody he meets about it, but if he wishes to bear it then never say anything about it to anyone, that is bearing it. But if he feels that he cannot bear it, he should go to the trespasser, and tell him his fault alone, if satisfaction is made then the matter is ended, never to be brought up again. But if not then take one or two more, and try again to get satisfaction and if it is obtained, there it ends, no one else is troubled with it. But if you still fail to get satisfaction then tell it to the church, now it becomes public and the church should take hold of the matter and try to get the trespasser to make satisfaction; should she fail, then withdraw fellowship from him. Thus I have briefly stated what I consider to be a private trespass, and the course to be pursued in such cases, and I will say in regard to public offences, that a public offence is a wrong committed publicly, and such are against the whole church, no more against one member than another, but against the whole body, and, the cause is exposed, and I consider it the duty of the church as soon as she comes in possession of the facts to take it up and through some of her members have the offender appear before her and make satisfaction to the church then the church should forgive, otherwise withdraw from him; but such offences as "fornication," and such like should be withdrawn from as soon as the church comes in possession of the facts, until the offender by an orderly walk gives evidence that he has turned away from such a course; then he may be restored to fellowship in the church. These are some of my thoughts in regard to "private trespasses" and "public offences" and I feel sure that if this rule was followed up strictly among all our people, a great many troubles would be obviated.

     

 MY LAST APPEAL FOR PEACE

In as much as there is, and has been some differences of opinions among our people, the Primitive Baptists in Texas on some points of doctrine and order, producing confusion, and in some places divisions; and desiring to see all this stopped among us, and if possible see our people and churches united in peace and love, I humbly submit the following as a basis upon which all may come to an agreement, hoping kindly and tenderly in love to place beyond our orders any occasion for further strife and discord among us that is contrary to God's word and express in wholesome words our sentiments of the truth.

1.      On predestination: We believe God's predestination embraces everything needful in the salvation of his people from sin, and that God is the author of his predestination, together with its results, full establishing his foreknowledge of all conditions and events harmonizing in His election of His people to salvation in Christ Jesus, in the effectual calling, justification and the final glorification of his people in heaven.

2.      We believe Christ Jesus made a special atonement on the cross for all the sins of all His elect people.

3.      We believe His people are sons and daughters of Adam's fallen family.

4.      We believe they, his people, are in time regenerated, or born again in soul and spirit and that their bodies will be in the resurrection.

5.      We believe God's people in regeneration is passive and receive eternal life as a free gift.

6.      We believe that after regeneration God's people are complex, possessing two lives, natural and spiritual, two natures, human and divine, two men, the outward and inward man, hence the warfare.

7.      We believe this complex person is the child of God.

8.      We believe the child of God is active in obedience, that he obeys from the heart that form of doctrine delivered unto him, that the grace of life in the soul is the efficient cause, and that all life in the soul is the efficient cause, and that all acceptable obedience thereafter is the effect or fruit of the renewed soul.

9.      We believe the person thus regenerated or born again in soul and spirit loves God, mourns over and hates his sins, hungers and thirsts after righteousness that this person in body or flesh sins, makes mistakes, goes astray; this person in body dies, this person in spirit goes to heaven at the death of the body, that this person in body goes to the grave; that in the resurrection this person in body will be quickened made spiritual and immortal, the spirit and body then reunited, then this person in his entirety will be changed and glorified in heaven.

10.  We believe that divine life in the soul precedes hunger, thirst, love, joy, faith, peace and holy aspirations, life is the efficient cause, and that which life produces being the effect.

11.  We believe that the child of God as a complex being can do wrong and live after the flesh, and thus lose his spiritual enjoyments here in this present world.

12.  We believe the child of God by grace of God in the soul, can mortify the deeds in the flesh and keep his body in subjection, and glorify God in his body and spirit which are his.

13.  We believe sin to be a transgression of God's holy law by his creature, man.

 

Miscellaneous Religious Writings of A. C. Machiavello

 

Introduction

 

My dear father-in-law, Brother A. C. Machiavello, was a great man in the truest sense of the word. He served his Lord well and went to be at home with Him February 23, 1997.  He was a god-fearing man.  He was a sober-minded man.  He was a Spirit-filled man. He was an excellent deacon, who truly held " the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience." He was a courageous and able defender of the faith.  He was very bold in his defense of the truth.  He had earned this boldness by his consistent walk with God.  He exemplified what Paul said about good deacons when he said in 1 Timothy 3:13, "For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is Christ Jesus."

  

Brother Tony was a very good student of the word of God.  He had a good theological library.  He studied the Bible all throughout his Christian walk.  When he worked in a jewelry store in downtown Memphis, TN, he would often go on his lunch hour to the municipal library and spend his time studying religious works. He was active in drawing up the articles of faith in both Raleigh and Grace Chapel Primitive Baptist churches.  After his retirement as a jeweler and watchmaker, he spent hours and hours in deep Bible study.  This study manifested itself in many excellent and spiritual exhortations that he made to the church from time to time. Another fruit of his studies was displayed in his writings.  He enjoyed putting some of his thoughts in print.  He had a special desire to leave some of his writings for the benefit of his children and grandchildren.  He wanted them to know where he stood.  He strongly believed that the Primitive Baptists had a precious heritage, and that this spiritual legacy should be preserved.  He did the best he could to maintain it while he lived. What was said of David in Acts 13:36 can be well said of Brother Tony: "For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of

God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption…"  Truly, A. C. Machiavello served his own generation by the will of God.  However, his influence still lives on and will as long as there are those who remain on this earth who knew him and worshipped God with him.  He will also live on at least among his family and close friends in some of his writings. What was said of righteous Abel can also be said of Brother Tony that " he being dead yet speaketh."

  

The Plan

 

What I propose to do is to include the actual writings of my dear father-in-law, and make a few explanatory comments when necessary.  To avoid confusion I will insert the

editorial comments using the same font in which this is being written, which is called Times New Roman. When I am using the actual writings of Brother Tony I will use the font I am now writing in which is called Bookman Old Style.

  

(Zack Meaders Guess-Grace Chapel at Memphis- November, 1997)

  

Davis Huckabee's Letter

 

One of the first men the Primitive Baptists made contact with in the Philippines was

Ronald Jacutin.  He had previously been supported by some Missionary Baptists.  When Jacutin came to a knowledge of the truth of immediate, Holy Spirit regeneration, one of the Missionary Baptist preachers, Davis Huckabee, wrote him trying to convince him that the gospel was used as a means of regeneration.  Brother Tony had access to a copy of that letter.  One of the Scriptures that Mr. Huckabee used was 1 Cor. 4:15.  .Brother Tony studied that Scripture out and gave me the following letter with the result of his studies.  I had done extensive study on this verse several years prior to this incident. In fact, I had even written a pamphlet on it which was titled Begotten By the Gospel: What Does This Mean?  I was amazed at the insight that Brother Tony displayed as he, with independent study, reached some of the same conclusions I had reached. Notice his references to some of the books he consulted. He mentioned Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph Henry Thayer and the Interlinear Greek-English New Testament by George Ricker Berry.  One reason why Brother Tony was bold in his defense of the gospel was because he was not satisfied to receive it second hand.  He did what the Bereans did two thousand years ago when they " they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

  

Some Thoughts On 

Mr. Huckabee's Letter

To Brother Jacutin in the Philippines

The charge made by Mr. Huckabee was that 1 Cor. 4:15 (For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.), and 1 Peter 1:23 (Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.) plainly taught that the new birth or regeneration was brought about by the ministry of the word.

After reading the letter, that night I became concerned about my short comings in the Word; my added concern was the effects the letter would have on the brethren in the Philippines.

I have since studied the question and submit the following:

The word, "begotten." in 1 Cor. 4:15, has a double meaning (Thayer's

Greek/English Lexicon.) 

(A)  Natural Birth

(B)  To bring one over to one's persuasion by preaching.

1 Peter 1:23

The word born is in the KJV; however, in the original (Berry's Interlinear) it reads beget.

Beget, according to Thayer's, in this instance means "To thoroughly change the mind of someone through preaching."

In view of the following scriptures, it is evident to me that those who have been reached by the Spirit of God beforehand are the ones who will respond to the preached word.  The word will not infuse life but will manifest same.

John 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."

John 3:8

"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."

A. C. Machiavello

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Writings on Sanctification

One time while Brother Tony was visiting kin folk in another state, he attended services in a PB church there.  The minister that Sunday morning made some remarks which were very critical of the doctrines of sanctification and perseverance.  He did not actually refer to these doctrines by name, but he made a statement somewhat as the following: "Brethren, do you know that there are some young preachers that are preaching a dangerous doctrine?  They are preaching that if you are a child of God, you are going to manifest that in your life.  They are teaching that all of those who are born again are going to bring forth some fruit and evidence of the new birth in their lives.  That is not sound doctrine!"

When Brother Tony heard that, he later told me that it made his blood boil!  He knew that it was this man, not the young preachers, who was preaching false and destructive doctrine. While he remained at the house of his kin, he immediately began to do some research into the scriptures and came up with the following writing.  It was wonderful to see that he could not just sit there and be unmoved when false doctrine was being advocated.  This reminds one of the apostle Paul at Athens whose "spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry."

Is There Not a Difference?

Is there a behavioral difference between a child of God and those of the world?  Is it possible to rub shoulders with a group of people for years and not be able to distinguish an individual who is born of the Spirit of God?  For instance, should there not be a contrast in the conduct of a person who has had a powerful work done in his soul by the Holy Spirit?  Should there not also be a difference in his walk and a responsive effect in his life?  Should we not expect a difference from someone who has been irresistibly drawn by God's grace?

It is true a child of God can lose his footing, fall flat on his face and even backslide for a time, but, in the sum total, would there not be a difference in his journey here below?

The following scriptures come to mind:

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

1 John 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

Matthew 12:35 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.

Philippians 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.

The above verse refers to a continual work of grace in a child of God that transforms a sinner into a God-loving Christ-follower.

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Rom. 8:1, 5, 9, 14. Eph. 2:10. Titus 2:14.

The life of an elect will be a reflection of the work of grace, to the praise and glory of God.

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Job 17:9. John 10:27

Heb. 12:6-11. Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness[sanctification], without which no man shall see the Lord.

Ezekiel 36:26 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. 27 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.

It seems to me that the grace of God is relevant for eternal salvation and also relevant for a child of God's pilgrimage here on earth.  For instance, the Scripture states "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world…"  So, if someone does backslide, I am not going to judge and say they are going to hell, but it doesn't appear that it is the norm for the child God to backslide permanently.  For instance, the Bible says that "by their fruits ye shall know them."

I know that a child of God can fall flat on his face, but it seems to me that the grace of God ought to make a difference in the long run in one that is born of the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:3, "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."

Surely God's chosen, adopted, quickened, redeemed, justified, sacntified, and reconciled family will to some degree…

"LET THEIR LIGHT SO SHINE!"

A. C. Machiavello

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Another Writing on Sanctification

After Brother Tony had had time to do more study on this subject he put his more complete thoughts into a pamphlet which he entitled Sanctification of the Saints. Notice here his use of his library.  He shows evidence of familiarity with various historic Baptist confessions of faith. He mentions the History of the Church of God by C.B. and Sylvester Hassell. He refers to An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words by W.E. Vine and to the Editorial Writings of C.H. Cayce. He has done research in the Body of Divinity by John Gill, in the multi-volume International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, and in Matthew Henry's Commentary. Brother Tony knew wherof he spoke!

Sanctification of the Saints:

A Brief View of 

Sanctification

Sainthood

Introduction

Oh, what joy and exultation!  It should humble us to the dust, that any be singled out beyond eons of time to be called and separated to serve as cup-bearers to our Lord, sanctified to a service of holiness.  What a unique opportunity  for lowly mortals, born earthlings, formed of clay, to serve the risen Saviour, the One that is "fairer than ten thousand" whose Name is "Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."

Most Articles of Faith of the Primitive Baptists include the word sanctification.  Sanctification is one of the doctrines of grace that Primitive Baptists at large recognize.  It appears, however, rather obscure among our people and less talked about than other doctrines of grace.  We know, for instance, that it means "to be set apart to holiness and to be made clean."  This grace originates not by the will of man, but by the will of God.

But how does this all fit in with the child of God?  To begin with, before an individual is born of the Spirit, he finds himself with a singular nature.  That one nature is the nature of the flesh.  It is the carnal nature, simply the nature of man.  When such a person is touched by the Spirit of God and is born of the Spirit of God, then he finds himself with a dual nature: the Spirit of God and the nature of man.  The child of God has to continually strive to keep his carnal nature under control.  This is a lifetime struggle.

The spiritual nature with which one has been endowed by God is the nature that is now under consideration.  This spiritual nature is sanctified by God, and is a consequence of regeneration.  There are thirty-seven verses in the New Testament that mention sanctification. The following are quotations from various sources concerning this spiritual nature.

"Although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ the regenerate part doth overcome."  (Hassell's Church History)

"Saint-hood or Sanctification is not an attainment, it is the state into which God in grace calls sinful men and in which they begin their course as Christians." (Vine's N.T. Bible Dictionary)

Jude 1:1- "Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called…" In this text we find that Jude, the inspired writer, was addressing his short letter to "them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called…"  It was the work of God the Father to sanctifiy them.  To sanctify means "make free from sin; to cleanse from moral corruption and pollution; to purify; to make sacred or holy; to set apart to a holy or religious use, etc."  It was the work of the Father to set them apart to a holy or religious use.  The Father had chosen them, and set them apart to salvation, or to be saved. 

Sanctification is  

'…the act or process of God's grace by which the affections of men are purified, or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love to God.' etc.- Webster.  It was the act or process of God's grace by which they were sanctified.  God did that work by His grace.  The Father had chosen them to salvation, and set them apart to that end; and by His own act in giving them the divine life.  He had planted in their hearts a love for Him.  Thus they had been sanctified, set apart, exalted to that high state or condition, in which they were brought to hate sin and to love God and holiness.

(Cayce Editorials, page 259, Vol. 5)

 

"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…" 

(In the original it reads, * "for us to be."  Greek-Enlish, Berry's

Interlinear). (Ephesians 1:4)

  

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

(Ephesians 2:10)

  

"Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit."  (Matthew 7:17)

  

The saints are called in the present life to be conformed to Christ by the work of the Spirit, and are, indeed, 'predestined by God to be conformed to the image of His Son.'  On this foundation of grace and divine calling, Christians are exhorted to an active life of Christ-like conduct.  Nonetheless, in every aspect of their ethical holiness or newrfound righteousness Christians are to recognize that not they themselves, certainly not their own work or their own will, but God working in them is the SOURCE of their holiness or righteousness.  (International

Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Volume 4, page 323 Under Sanctification)

 

"Much of sanctification lies in the conformity of our wills to the will of

God."

  

It is to be seen in religious exercise and in acts of devotion to God, and in the exercise of grace in them; as in an affectionate attendance on the ministry of the word, and administration of ordinances; and in fervent prayer, which is the breath of a sanctified soul towards God.  (Gills' Body of Divinity, Sanctification)

 

HOLINESS IS RENDERED SANCTIFICATION

  

HAGIASMOS, translated "holiness' in the A. V. of Rom. 6:19, 22; 1 Thess.

4:7; 1 Tim. 2:13; He. 12:14, is always rendered "sanctification" in the R. V.  It signifies (a) separation to God, 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2.  (b) the resultant state, the conduct befitting those so separated, 1 Thess. 4:3,4,7, and the four other places mentioned above. 

Sanctification is thus the state predetermined by God for believers, into which by grace He calls them, and in which they begin their Christian course and so pursue it.  Hence, they are called "saints" (hagioi).  (Vine's

Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)

  

Sanctification is usually spoken in scripture as the work of the Holy Spirit, yet here it is ascribed to God the Father, because the Spirit works it as the Spirit of the Father and the Son.  Note, All who are effectually called are sanctified, made partakers of a divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4); for without holiness no man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12: 14.  Observe, Our sanctification in not our own work.  If any are sanctified, they are so by God the Father, not excluding Son or Spirit, for they are one, one God.  Our corruption and pollution are of ourselves; but our sanctification and renovation are of God and His grace; and therefore if we perish in our iniquity we must bear the blame, but if we be sanctified and glorified all the honour and glory must be ascribed to God, and to him alone.

(Matthew Henry, page 1108)

 

It is evident from the Scriptures that God's people shall endure and continue throughout their lives in the state which the Scriptures term sanctification.  No, God's people will not live a sinless life.  Yes, we are prone to sin, some in greater degree than others, but we may bear in mind, "that He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world."  (1

John 4:4)

  

"Pray without ceasing."

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

"Quench not the Spirit."

"Despise not prophesyings."

"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."

"Abstain from all appearance of evil."

"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

"Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."  

"Brethren, pray for us."

(1 Thess. 5:17-25)

A. C. Machiavello

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Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

This was written at the close of services one morning after Brother Jimmy Barber preached ably on God's creation.  This was excellent for college age people as well as for others. I asked Tony to record his thoughts after meditating on this.

                                                               -Patty Machiavello

"Twinkle, twinkle, little star. How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high.

Like a diamond in the sky."

As we grow older, and, peradventure, the Spirit and love of God is infused into us, we are able to say with the Psalmist, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard."  This is telling us the awesomeness of God's Sovereignty.

We read about God's Sovereignty in many places in the Bible, such as: Abraham, who had a vision one day which revealed to him that his posterity would find themselves four hundred years in the future in bondage to an alien nation, and his seed would serve that nation some four hundred years.  Consider Rahab, the harlot; the spies that went to Jericho to spy out the country did not choose to dwell with that woman at random, but God was directing it all.  Eventually, we find Christ's genealogy through Rahab.  The genealogy mentioned in the first chapter of Matthew is as follows: there are fourteen generations from Abraham to David, fourteen generations from David to the captivity, and fourteen generations to Christ.  Fourteen generations figure approximately four hundred years.

We can see God's sovereignty in orderliness.  Yes, He did not fling the stars in any haphazard manner, but put them in exact orbits.

"What is man that thou are mindful of him?"  Well, He made man after

His own image; He formed man from the ground dust (dirt) and when God breathed into man the breath of life, man's body became a "hi-tech" marvel of engineering.

All of nature cries out and testifies of God's existence and creation.  The ocean waves, the wind, the clap of thunder unitedly testify- "In the beginning God…" -Genesis 1:1.

Examine the small blade of green grass, how small and simple.  What makes it unique is that it cannot be duplicated completely; it has Godgiven life.

What about a tall, majestic tree?  Oh, I like the way Joyce Kilmer expressed it:

"A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed against the earth's sweet flowing breast.

A tree that looks at God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray."

Yes, we see God's Sovereignty in events, in nature, providence, direction, and salvation of man. Let us call upon the LORD, for He is worthy to be praised!

A. Machiavello

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The Church

Brother Tony dearly loved God's church.  He had much reason to do so.  He was born and reared a Roman Catholic.  He was very devout. His sisters have said that he was the most devoted of the three children to their ancestral religion.  He was faithful to attend the various services of the Catholic church.  He was about eleven years old when his mother died.  He earned some money and spent almost every penny he made to buy candles to help his mother get out of purgatory.   

When he joined the Army Air Force, he attended some Protestant worship services and found them interesting and somewhat enjoyable.  This was the first time that he was made aware that the Bible was divided into Old and New Testaments.  After he got out of the military, he decided to find a Protestant church.  He found, to his surprise, that there were many Protestant denominations.  He attended many and found the Presbyterian more to his liking than any of the others.  He eventually joined the Presbyterians, but really desired baptism.  He approached the pastor and told him of this desire. The pastor said that if he wanted to be "dunked" there would be no harm in it, but that is was unnecessary since he had been sprinkled as a babe. Tony was embarrassed and said nothing further about it.

When he met his future wife and my dear mother-in-law, Sister Patty Lee Davis, he was introduced to the Primitive Baptists.  The first church meeting he attended was an associational meeting held with Little Flock  Primitive Baptist Church , west of Paris, Arkansas.  He was immediately favorably impressed with the friendliness and hospitality of the people, but thought the worship was too emotional.

He eventually came to Memphis, Tennessee to work. Patty came to Memphis to be near to him.  One time they attended a Presbyterian church which had just gotten a new pastor.  The particular time they attended, this pastor was influencing them to throw out the doctrines of election and predestination.  This disturbed Brother Tony, who believed that if a doctrine had once been true, it would always be true. He could not understand a church making fundamental doctrinal changes.

Tony and Patty began attending Morris Memorial Primitive Baptist Church in Memphis.  Patty had been wanting to join a Primitive Baptist Church for some time, and was about to do so on one occasion when Tony held her back, thinking that she was making a mistake.  She told him that she was so burdened that she either had to join or never go back.  When he saw how much it meant to her, he quit hindering her.  The night she joined, he went into the handshake out of regard for her, and felt a strong witness of the Spirit as he did so.

He began an intense study of God's word.  He literally studied day and night.  Every day on his lunch hour he either got together with deacon S. W. Dearing or went to the public library and went to the religious section and got busy studying.  Several nights a week he went to the home of Morris Memorial's pastor, Elder E. C. Holder.  God revealed the truth of Sovereign Grace to Brother Tony and he became a Primitive Baptist.  He did not join because his wife did; he joined because he was convinced that the truth was preached among those people.

He dearly loved God's truth, and the pillar and ground of that truth, which is the New Testament church. His knowledge of the truth was not second hand-he had gained it at great price, and it was precious to him. He loved the Bible and church history.  He believed the historic Baptist claim that those people had had an existence back to the days of Christ  and the apostles.  He did not believe that Baptists were Protestants. The name "Protestant" was given to those, like John Calvin and Martin Luther, who had once been in the Roman Catholic Church. They did not intend to leave the Catholic church, they were against some of the flagrant abuses and corruptions that were there, and they "protested" against these abuses and tried to "reform" Roman Catholicism. Instead, they were excommunicated and began their own churches.  Calvin is the father of the Reformed churches.  Luther is the father of the Lutheran churches.  In many cases, some of these churches of the Reformation spawned churches of their own, For example, the Anglican Church came out of the Catholic Church, and the Methodist Church came out of the Anglican Church.  As far as the Baptists were concerned, they had never been in the church of Rome. They had existed since the time of Christ and the apostles, and were often obscure and persecuted.  They were called by many names, such as Albigenses, Waldensees, and Ana Baptists.  They were not Protestants because they had never been

Roman Catholic.  They regarded the churches of the Reformation as "daughters of Rome," and churches such as the Methodists as "grand daughters of Rome."

Brother Tony strongly believed that only authentic Baptist churches had the proper authority to baptize, administer communion, and to ordain ministers. He was not intolerant nor bigoted.  He simply believed this to be the truth.  He had many friends in other Christian denominations, and believed that they were true Christians, but he did not believe they were in God's true church.  He believed that they were Christians who were in error.  He was convicted of this, and was willing to lovingly but firmly stand by his convictions.  On one occasion he made a notable stand based on these convictions.  We had several times allowed in our pulpit a man who was from a Sovereign Grace church in another state. This man was an able preacher.  Word came to us that he had made a public statement that the Primitive Baptists were wrong in their belief on the doctrine of the church.  I called our men together and told them of the situation. I asked for their advice as to whether we should continue to allow this brother in our pulpit.  As I went around the circle of men they began to express the opinion that even though this man was wrong on this point, they thought it would be okay to continue to allow him in our pulpit.  When it came time for Brother Tony to speak, he was kind but very bold and firm.  He said, "I am totally opposed to this.  We do not believe that this brother has been baptized nor ordained by the proper authority. We claim that we are one of God's true churches.  If  we continue to recognize him officially, we are eventually going to lose our identity, and in the meantime, we are sending uncertain signals to our young people."  Most of the men saw the wisdom in what he was saying, and were  impressed with the spirit and fervency with which he spoke.  As a consequence, we quit inviting the Sovereign Grace brother into our pulpit.  I believe that was a safe and correct decision.

Matthew 16:18

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."  The word Peter (Petros in Greek) means a stone small enough that it can be moved or thrown.  The word rock (petra) means a huge rock or mountain (Christ). I see in Matthew 16:18 that Jesus Christ is revealing to Peter that Christ is the founder and foundation of the church. This institution is not man's institution, but God's institution.  Jesus makes a distinction between man and Himself.  Peter, compared to a stone, is typical of mankind, who is weak, frail, given to vacillation, and tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. (Ephesians 4:14)

A.           "And upon this rock…"- Jesus Christ is to be recognized as the founder, charter member, and architect of His church, as well as the cornerstone of this God-ordained institution.

B.           "I will"-Can any hinder His will? " And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?"  (Daniel 4:35 )

C.           "Build my church"- I do not view this as a chronological factor in early church history.  What I do see, however, is something more farreaching and breath-taking.  I view the Holy Spirit in a continuing work of calling individuals to bear the truth and of adding to the church. (Acts 2:47)  I see the Comforter in the role of embolding, uniting, edifying, strengthening, and building God's people in their most holy faith. (Jude, verse 20)  "As lively stones built up a spiritual house…" (1 Peter 2:5)

D.          "And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."--Should we believe this?  Are we to understand that the church that Jesus Christ established during His ministry would continue to exist throughout the centuries?  The answer is an unequivocal YES, in the same manner that we believe Genesis 1:1 through faith. (Hebrews 11:3)  This guarantee is as binding as the one God made to Noah that that the world would never be destroyed  by water again.

Today in a city or in an out-of-the-way place, should we find an assembly of saints (church) singing praises to God, preaching doctrines of grace, upholding Bible principles and practices that were passed on by the church from one generation to the next and thus perpetuated, partaking of ordinances which were established at the time Jesus walked along the dusty roads of Galilee, we can be certain that it is the church in Matthew 16:18.  

CHURCH IN HISTORY

A Brief View

SHE HAS EXISTED THROUGH TIME

HAS SUFFERED PERSECUTION

HAS EXPERIENCED HARASSMENT

HER LITERATURE DESTROYED

HER MINISTERS SLAIN

 

BUT TODAY

SHE IS ALIVE AND WELL!

"MY DOVE, MY UNDEFILED IS BUT ONE"

(Song of Solomon)

This is the title page of the pamphlet that Brother Tony wrote on this subject.  The text of the pamphlet follows.

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MORNING OF THE CHURCH

In viewing the early history of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are made to realize that at best we see through a glass darkly…(1 Corinthians 13:11).  Why is this so?  For one thing, the onslaught of persecutions and burning of books and libraries destroyed early church history.  Then too, much recorded history was written by their enemies.

The early church at Rome was becoming the center of Christianity.  In the second and third centuries, it began to slip away from the Apostles' teaching and practices.  Much of what crept into the church was worldliness, vanity, pre-eminence, power, and money.  Corruption soon began to take its toll.

Christian congregations from early times spread throughout the Roman Empire. They became known under different names in various places at different times in history, and often various groups existed at the same time.

By the third century, ceremonies were added to the church "by Bishops to please the multitudes." (Hassell's Church History).  This turning away from Apostolic  purity became obvious to those of God's people who desired to keep the church scriptural and sound.

These Christian congregations had basic beliefs in common.  They were opposed to a church/state status; they believed in separation from the state.  "My Kingdom in not of this world…" (John 18:36), and they based their creed and practices on the scriptures only.

TRAITS OF THE EARLY CHURCH

The early church was made up of a specific assembly.  NOT just ANY assembly with various ideas and practices.  But, rather, each assembly consisted of born again, Bible-believing people that acknowledged Jesus Christ as the SON OF GOD, who shed HIS blood for the remission of sins for HIS people.

The early church had a willingness to conform to Apostolic authority.  The church was not a self-appointed assembly nor a self-willed assemblym but conformed in every way in the matter of calling deacons and ministers.  They also believed in proper, scriptural baptism by duly ordained ministers.

MARKS OF THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH

1.    Acceptance of individuals into the church who display a work of grace.

2.    Candidates believed and acknowledged Jesus Christ to be the Son of God who died on the cross for the remission of the sins of His people.

3.    Submission to baptism by immersion by duly ordained ministers.

4.    An assembly that displays love for each other and interest in one another's welfare.

5.    Acceptance of the Scriptures as the inerrant Word of God from Genesis to Revelation as a GUIDE and RULE in all things. (66 Books)

6.    Observance of the two ordinances- Baptism and Communion.

7.    An assembly dedicated to perpetuating Scriptural faith and practice.

8.    Acknowledging that there is a church of the Lord Jesus Christ here on earth.

9.    Maintenance of Scriptural discipline.

10. Support of the ministry.

11. An assembly that prayed individually and collectively.

12. They believed in spreading the gospel where and however they could.

The word "Church" is mentioned 115 times in the New Testament.  (1 Timothy 3:15-The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth).  Matthew 16:18- Upon this rock I will build* my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

*(establish, encourage, edify).  

STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL

There is a long list of Christians that existed throughout Europe in the early centuries of history.

The early Christian assemblies (churches) can and should be viewed as upholding Biblical standards in the midst of corruption and tarnished truth.  It is proper to recognize them as Bible congregations.

Christianity, under the Roman Church, became a legally established institution by Constantine, the great emperor of Rome, about 325 A.D.  The Roman Church became well funded and was given extensive authority; it became an extension of the government.  However, many independent Christian assemblies were worshipping and in existence before the establishment of the Roman Church of 325  A.D.

Some examples of independent Christian assemblies follow:

Novatians-250 A.D. in Rome

Donatists-311 A.D. in Africa

Tertullians-202 A.D. -Carthage, Africa

Montanists-171 A.D.-Pepuza, Africa

These and other assemblies are found in history before the Roman State Church.  They did not descend from the Roman State Church nor were they Protestants.

These independent Scriptural congregations prove that there have always been witnesses contending for the faith once delivered to the saints.

Christianity was extensively persecuted, libraries and books put to flames and Christians put to death by the multitudes.

LONDON 15TH CENTURY

Standing Up For Christian Conviction

There have been Christians throughout history who have been willing to lay their lives on the line for what they truly believed to be right.  Their beliefs superseded PREFENCE (choice) to a level of CONVICTION (firmly persuaded to a belief).

Such were the early Christians who suffered death as MARTYRS.  We think of those that went to the arenas to be devoured by lions, and the hunted Christians in pages of history such as the Waldenses who suffered persecution.  There were those that were imprisoned by the National Church of England, such as John Bunyan, 1628-1688. (Incidentially, Bunyan read Foxe's Book of Martyrs, among other books, while in prison.)

Yes, many Christians throughout history have stood up for their convictions.  Not all, however, because there is a difference between PREFERENCE and CONVICTION.

This is the story of just such a man with conviction:

He was Sir John Oldcastle, otherwise known as Lord Cobham.  Sir John was a man of great birth and in favor with the King of England.  He had everything to live for as far as this world's comforts.

Lord Cobham came under the influence of the gospel by Christians known as the Lollards in London.  He eventually became the champion for the cause of the Lollards.

"The Lollards opposed worldliness, schism, foreign dominion of the Church.  They objected to the use of crosses, incense, pilgrimages, image worship." (Collier's Encyclopedia).  "They insisted that the Bible was the only law in the Church; it was to be translated, read and preached to all."  (Foxe's Book of Martyrs)

Lord Cobham became a leader for these people in London.  He soon came under the frown of the established religious institution of London.  After much persuasion to the King of England by the established church, he was finally brought to trial in December, 1417.  Sir John had every opportunity to recant; every possible argument was offered to him to withdraw his affiliation from the Lollards and to espouse the religious establishment in the land.

The reason that Lord Cobham refused the tempting offer was that this was not a PREFERENCE but a CONVICTION with him!

In December, 1417, he as judged guilty and the sentence was carried out in 1418.  "It was adjudged that he should be taken as a traitor, carried to the tower and from thence drawn through London unto the new gallows in St. Giles and there to be burned hanging by his waist." (Foxe's Book of

Martyrs)

CONCLUSION

In the last days, we too will have to face PREFERENCE or CONVICTION in our lives and worship service as we endeavor to abide by the Word of God!

USHERING IN THE N.T.CANON

In the first three centuries, the Christian churches were at a distinct disadvantage as far as having access to the Scriptures as a whole.  There existed an uneven knowledge (correlation) of all the twenty-seven books that made up the New Testament.

The books of the New Testament were not intact; they were not compiled together, which resulted in a lack of knowledge.

For instance, the brethren in Asia (Turkey), which included churches in provinces of Cappadocia and Galatia, along with the city churches of Ephesus, Antioch, Colosse and Laodicea, would naturally be aquainted with the epistles that were written to them by Paul and Peter.  However, they would not be familiar with the epistles written to the brethren in Rome. Neither would they be aquainted with the letters written to distant Macedonia (Greece), such as Corinthians, Thessalonians, and Philippians.

Another church, in an out-of-the way place (four hundred miles east of

Jerusalem), in the city of Babylon, fifty miles south of the present day Baghdad in Assyria (Iraq), would certainly not have access to the epistles sent to Rome, Greece, or Asia.

Therefore, we can imagine the confusion as to how many books made up the New Testament, and which ones to accept or reject. The churches were acquainted mainly with the epistles that were written to their region.

However, God at last raised up a scholar by the name of Athanasius from the intellectual center of Alexandria, Egypt.  With the assistance of others, he compiled the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, which compilation was completed in 367 A.D.  It was immediately accepted throughout the Christian world.  It was, then and now, the Canon, GENUINE AND INSPIRED, the inerrant WORD OF GOD!

In addition, copies of the original manuscripts were once again diligently compared and translated in 1611, in the authorized King James Version.

The Old Testament (thirty-nine books) was originally written in Hebrew; the New Testament (twenty-seven books) in Greek.  Jerome, a Roman Catholic scholar, was commissioned by Pope Damasus in 380 A.D. to translate the entire Bible into Latin, the Vulgate version.

GETTING THE BIBLE IN THE VERNACULAR

It was indeed a dark period for Christianity for about fifteen centuries.  The reading of the Bible was prohibited; possession of it was not sanctioned by the ecclesiastical and political authorities.  The problem of the times was compounded by the fact that the Bible was copied in the Latin, the learned language of the scholars and priesthood.  The average person did not begin to know enough to read Latin.

In England, John Wycliffe finally broke the barrier with Nicholas Hereford by translating the Bible into the vernacular (native tongue).  This occurred in 1380; it was tedious work, considering that this was all done by hand.

The printing press came into being in the fifteenth century which certainly had a definite impact on Bible circulation.

William Tyndale came along later and translated the New Testament from the Greek manuscripts, and with the aid of the printing press, brought the Bible in the vernacular to England. The year was 1525.

The reception of the Bible kept printers busy printing, and bishops busy burning them throughout Europe.

KING JAMES AUTHORIZED VERSION OF THE BIBLE

This version was sponsored by King James I of England.  Fifty-four scholars and theologians were commissioned for this great work.  These dedicated men were divided into six companies, of which two met at Westminster, two at Oxford, and two at Cambridge.

It took six years to accomplish this task, and finally it was completed in the year of 1611 A.D.

LOOKING BACK TO OUR KINDRED

"In the northeast of Spain, in the foothills of the Pryenees Mountains, which separate Spain from France, in the province of Catalonia, were people who originated the Waldenses. There were thousands and tens of thousands of them by the fifth century." (G.H. Orchard)

We read that it was the Apostle Paul's intention (60 A.D.) to make a trip to Rome (Romans 15:24-28), and from there continue west to Spain.  Going west from Rome by ship (a good 550 miles) would have put him in the province of Catalonia, Spain.  Now whether or not this took place in a matter of conjecture.  It can, however, be assumed that if Paul never made it because of his subsequent imprisonment in Rome, that some close disciple of his might have later made the journey into Spain.  Luke was with him, and Timothy along with Mark, were encouraged to visit him during his imprisonment in Rome.

Persons holding sentiments in accordance with the true Waldenses were numerous throughout that region in Spain.  Much later, in the twelfth century, they became known by that name after an outstanding leader in Lyons, France, Peter Waldo.

These people, the Waldenses, appear to have been predestinarians and practiced baptism by immersion.  They were Bible-believing Christians of the Apostolic order.  Theere is no doubt that they, along with the Welsh Baptists, go back to the period of the apostles.

OUR BRETHREN - THE WELSH BAPTISTS

Paul, in the last letter that he wrote from Rome before his execution by

Nero (beheaded about 66 A.D.), mentions a married couple, Pudens and

Claudia.  Pudens was one of the seventy disciples, according to tradition (Gill on Luke !0:1).  Claudia was born in Wales, and she and her husband visited Rome.  She came under the influence of Paul's ministry while he was confined there under house arrest. (2 Timothy 4:21)

It is believed that these two were instrumental in bringing the Gospel back to Wales.  There were some elders from Rome that later came to Wales to assist in spreading the Gospel throughout that region.

In the year 180 A.D., the King of Wales, "Lucius," became the first king in the world to embrace Christianity and was baptized.

It is my belief that our people's roots go far into history by way of the Welsh Baptists and the Waldenses.

By the year 1500, Anabaptists were numerous throughout England and Europe.

Matthew Poole's Commentary says this concerning the church:      "The Church will exist throughout all generations."

Matthew Henry's Commentary:

     "Christ will ever have a church to praise Him."

John Gill's Commentary states:

     "The Church will abide forever."

FROM COLONIAL DAYS

The first Baptist Association in America (Philadelphia Association) was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1707.  It originated with churches made up of members from Wales.

In September, 1742, it adopted its Confession of Faith, which is in substance the same as the ancient Baptists of Poland, Bohemia, the early English and Welsh Baptists, and the Mennonites of Holland.

This Confession of the Philadelphia is a copy of the London Confession of Faith of 1689.

(Incidentially, the Articles of Faith of the Philadelphia Association were printed by Benjamin Franklin for wide distribution.)

Many associations can trace their roots to the Philadelphia Association, which was the first in America.

A few are as follows: Charleston, organized in 1751 on the basis of the London Confession of Faith; Kehukee, organized 1765, which also adopted the 1689 Confession (Hassell's Church History, page 525).  Their Articles of Faith were considered as the standard of orthodoxy among Baptists. (Minutes of the Philadelphia Association by Gillette).

OUR DAY

In September, 1900, the Northern Primitive Baptists met in Indiana (Patoka Association) in Oakland City.  With a representation from over one hundred churches, they voted to recommend and endorse the London Confession of Faith of 1689.

Approximately two months later in November, 1900, the Southern brethren met at Fulton, Kentucky, and they, too, endorsed nd recommended the London Confession with the addition of some footnotes.

This convention was attended by 51 ministers representing 335 churches aggregating 14,500 members with direct correspondence with over

100,000 Primitive Baptists. (Refer to Editorial Writings from the Primitive Baptist, vol.3, pages 319-322 & vol. 6, page 534)

It was stated at this convention in Article 8-"The London Confession of Faith has served one of the most needful services among our people of any document of faith since the days of the Apostles, and has stood unquestioned as an expression of the Primitive Baptist interpretation of the Bible from then until now."

The above shows the doctrinal beliefs and sentiments of the forefathers of yesteryear and declares where they stood.

"REMOVE NOT THE ANCIENT LANDMARK

WHICH THY FATHERS HAVE SET."

CONCLUSION

"Dear God,

                     Is there a true church of God here on earth?"

This was the heartful question put to God in prayer by a seventeen-yearold girl who was just out of high school and living in a large city far away from home.

This, too, is the heartfelt question of all sincere searchers of truth.  Is there a place of worship that is most compatible to the New Testament?  Are its footprints found in the pages of time?

Let's just share some of the evidences that we have on hand.

Quoting Jesus Christ:  

" God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." 

-  John 4:24-

"And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom …" (church) see Gill.

-  Luke 22:29,30-

Notice what Jesus Christ says again about this matter. I quote part of another statement for emphasis.

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

-  Matthew 16:18 -

Listen to one of his apostles, saying, " the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1Timothy 3:15)

" And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved."

-Acts 2:47-

Solomon, a man endued with great wisdom, describes the church in a romantic way:

"He brought me to the banqueting house…" Notice not a but the banqueting house.

-Song of Solomon 2:4-

Listen to the sentiments of David of old and see what he has to say:

"Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King." (Psalm 48:2)

May God direct all seekers "To the house of my master's brethren."  (Genesis 24:27)

It is my judgment that the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is to be found among the people known as Primitive Baptists.

I believe that it is the same as the one described in 1 Timothy 3:15-

May we always recognize her for what she is. "Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth."

"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls…" (Jeremiah 6:16)

A. C. Machiavello