PB Writings of Elder Lee Hanks

A Biographical Sketch of Elder Lee Hanks

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     A Biographical Sketch (of Eld. Lee Hanks)
by Lee Hanks

  A Biographical Sketch  The Gospel Messenger, 1889 

 I was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, June 13, 1861, and was the youngest of twelve children, of whom were nine boys and three girls. My parents, William and Frances Hanks, were not members of any denomination. (I baptized my mother last summer.) My parents were extremely poor. My father was badly afflicted and died of consumption when I was a very small boy, leaving a wife and eight children. When my father died we were very destitute; he did not have a hat or coat to wear and we were destitute of provisions. We made one little piece of meat do us from April until late in the fall, and of course had but little meat and but very little bread. I suffered greatly with hunger, and have gone to neighbor's houses and begged for a morsel of bread. I have suffered so greatly that I could eat lard or candles, or almost anything. The first hat I ever had I was going on fourteen. I have had to labor in the winter, and my feet cracked open and the blood would run out on the cold ground. I was turned out without a home at the age of eight years and six months, and have had to wander from place to place and receive the severe abuse of infidels and wicked persons. My clothes were so ragged I have often had to tie them on me with hickory bark. I knew' nothing of the advantages of going to school or even associating with good society, but was looked down upon by those who had superior advantages. I cannot find language in so short a space to tell of the severe abuse and the sufferings of hunger and cold. My mother was feeble and went from place to place. At the age of fifteen, while living in Bland County, Virginia, where I had taken my mother, and we had cleaned out an old stable and split slabs for a floor, and we were living in the stable and a portion of the time had to exist on Irish potatoes, I was there enabled one night to see that I was forever lost and to view the justice of God in my condemnation, yet previous to this I had been very moral at times, and had had many serious impressions about my eternal welfare, yet I did not think it would take long for me to get religion (as it was called). But there I saw the elect of God in their glorified state all adorned in heavenly draping and I was cast off with the wicked where I soon had to forever make my abode in an endless perdition with demons. Oh! the deep agony of soul that I was in! My sins were as mountains before me day and night. My heart, I saw was a sink of sin, being deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. I would go away off to find a place to pray, but no place was secret enough for me. I would fall upon the earth and my tongue would cleave to the roof of my mouth. My heart was as hard as adamant. I tried to cry but could not cry; I tried to pray but could not pray, yet that awful burden was pressing me down as a mighty weight that I could not get rid of. I could not wear it off in society; the more I tried to work the deeper in sin it seemed to sink me. I was brought to see that I was helpless, my strength gave way, and I looked around me and the earth was shrouded in darkness; there were no charms on earth for me. I felt that I should soon die and be forever lost, and I started to go to the woods to pray once more before I died, and my strength gave way and I was sinking down, it seemed. While there in that awful dilemma I cried as I thought for the last time: "God be merciful to me, a poor, lost sinner." My burden was taken away and my whole being seemed to be filled with love sweeter than ever before, and all things in creation seemed to be praising God. A rain soon came up and I went to an old house in the field and lay down upon a plank, and I looked at my ragged and dirty clothes and it came to me: "These clothes are too filthy for you to wear," for I felt to be clean; I felt that Jesus had cleansed me and clothed me with his righteousness as with a garment. The church was then presented to me as a home for God's elect, and the doctrine of election, predestination, salvation by grace and final preservation and resurrection of the dead was presented to me. I never felt that it was simply an angel that took up its abode in me, and that it was the child of God, but I felt that I, Lee Hanks, was changed; not that I was changed from flesh to spirit, or that my natural appetite for natural food ceased, but I loved things I once hated and hated things I once loved; I had a desire to do right, but evil seemed to be in my flesh so that I could not do the things I desired. I never had stayed under the roof of a Primitive Baptist up to this time; I knew nothing of them. But there was an irresistible impression for me to leave and go to West Virginia. I knew no one there, but I arose and went, though very poorly clad, and had to beg my way and was looked upon as a tramp. When I got to a certain place I had to stop, and I hired to a Methodist, and soon got to hear Baptists preach for the first time, and it seemed to me that they were the loveliest people I ever saw, and I could say of a  truth, these are my people if I were only fit to be with them. But the next Sunday I went eleven miles and told the dear Baptists what I hoped the Lord had done for me, yet I could not see how they could receive me, but to my surprise they did. I was baptized in New river by Elder William Dobbs, October 14, 1877. (I had to borrow clothes of a Methodist to be baptized in.) I there received the answer of good conscience; I trusted and felt that all was well. But soon an impression which seemed worse than I could bear was upon me, bidding me to go and tell of the works of the Lord, but O, how can I? I am too poor! I know nothing but Negro language, such as 'gwine,' 'dis,' 'dar,' etc. I cannot read anything correctly. I am not acquainted with the Primitive Baptist doctrines well enough, and if I was I cannot tell it; I have no education and have such a miserable bad stammer in my speech, hence I could not see a qualification I possessed, and I thought the Lord would not call me. The Scripture was continually on my mind. "Upon me necessity is laid, and woe is me if I preach not the Gospel." The burden was so heavily upon me I prayed to die to get rid of it, and I went on until my mind was almost gone and I was stricken down in my field in September, 1879. While lying there I was made willing to go and do the best I could, and on the Sunday following I made my first effort, though it was a mighty cross, yet I received an ease of mind. I have been hobbling along trying to quit and trying to talk a little ever since. I was ordained in August, 1886, by Elders J. W. Parker, John Purvis and William Galloway. I am trying in weakness to serve four churches, and have baptized about eighty-three since I was ordained. I have many ups and downs to contend with, and realize more and more of my weaknesses, but I desire a home among God's people while I live, for whenever I travel among them I feel at home, and would to God that I could see His saints united, but while some may be separated here, ere long they will all be one.

 Lee Hanks  

A Misunderstanding

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     A Misunderstanding
by Lee Hanks

 A Misunderstanding  The Gospel Messenger, February 1913 

 It may be where good brethren differ on some points there is more of a misunderstanding than a real difference in sentiment. It is well for all of us to be cautious in the expressions we use, and not use any expression that is misleading or would cause a weak brother to stumble.  We should have more love, kindness, and tenderness in our dealings toward the saints than to press unscriptural expressions to the alienation of good brethren, one from another.  Many good brethren oppose the expression "conditional time salvation" as used by some, yet preach practical godliness just like those who use it.  Paul in his letter to the church at Col 3:1, starts out by exhorting those who are risen with Christ to seek those things which are above, and tells them all through this chapter how they should live as Christians, and tells them that "whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as unto the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ." Col 3:17,24 I like the expression as Paul used it here, calling our enjoyment in the service of God an "inheritance." Many good brethren think those who use the expression "conditional time salvation" mean by it that they get so much pay for so much work, and that it has a tendency to cause them to boast.  The children of God know by experience that they can not live in open rebellion against the Lord and enjoy His approving smiles that they can in humble obedience, but at best they feel unworthy, and that they are but unprofitable servants.  They enjoy the blessings of God in His service as an inheritance, and they miss that inheritance here by disobedience.  The faithful son enjoys the care and protection of father and mother who feed, clothe and furnish him with a home and whatever is adapted to his wants.  This is not pay as they would pay a hireling, but the son enjoys it as an inheritance as a dutiful son.  Suppose that the son leaves home and disregards the tender care, love, protection, and commandments of his father. He soon realizes that he has made a sad mistake, and now he has no home, no one to feed and clothe him as before; and, trying to work his own way, many a time the child will soon become ragged and have but little to eat, and no father and mother to care for him.  Now with a heart full of regret he exclaims, "Oh, that I had remained at home!"  He sees now what he is missing.  Who is to blame?  Nobody but himself.  He has missed that inheritance since leaving home.  He now goes back to father and mother and confesses his wrongs.  He was their son all the time, and they loved him.  They now receive him back with open arms, and he again enjoys the care and protection, love and communion in his father's house.  These blessings he enjoys now as an "inheritance" in his father's service.  Paul speaks of out-breaking sins, and says that they that do such things shall not "inherit" the Kingdom of God.  God's people received the land of Canaan with all its fullness while in obedience, but they did not receive it as pay, but as a reward of inheritance.  God gave that land to Abraham and his seed by promise.  The houses, the wells, the vineyards, the olive yards, and all the good things of that land were provided for the Lord's people.  They did not have all these things to prepare after they got into the land.  They were already prepared for them.  They received this land in obedience as an inheritance. "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat of the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." (Isa 1:19-20).  The willing and obedient enjoy the inheritance now, while the others who are rebellious and disobedient rob themselves of it and experience the chastenings of the Lord as the result.  Grace has prepared the church of God and all of its ordinances, and we are prepared by grace for the service of the Lord.  Grace gives us every spiritual desire and fills our souls with love, gives us eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand.  While grace gives us feet to walk with, grace does not do the walking.  We are commanded "As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him."  But when we walk in humble obedience and find rest to our souls, we obtain this as an inheritance of grace for us.  It occurs to us that our dear brethren very nearly all mean the same, but there is a difference in expression.  I feel that we should labor in all tenderness to unify our poor afflicted people, and see how close together we are.  We are all agreed on the fundamentals, I think.  We  should eliminate everything that is unscriptural and offensive, and use Scriptural expressions on controverted points. All of the Lord's people that are properly taught believe that God is a sovereign over all worlds; that He is Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Immutable, and upholds all things by the word of His power; that He predestinated His people to be conformed to the image of His Son, and unto the adoption of children, chose them all in Christ, gave them to Christ and all of them are redeemed by Christ, and perfect satisfaction was made for all or their sins; that all the redeemed shall be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, preserved, resurrected, and glorified in Heaven independent of means or instrumentalities.  All believe that life must precede action.  In regeneration we are passive, and in obedience we are active; and we all need the grace of God continually.  We all believe that we should stand aloof from the world with all of its institutions, religions or secret oath-bound orders.  We all believe that sin is man's act.  God's relation to holiness is causative, and His attitude to sin is overruling and permissive.  God is not the efficient cause, author or approver of sin.  Sin is of the Devil.  The experience of the Lord's children teaches them that when they do wrong it is their fault.  When we experience the chastening of the Lord, God dealeth with us as with sons.  How many will labor in love to unity our people and leave off all offensive unscriptural expressions?  We need each other.  Let us be tender, kind, forbearing and forgiving, and love the fellowship of each other better than any hobby or worldly practice.  If I am wrong in the above, I beg forbearance of the brethren.  May we all in love strive for the things that make for peace.

L. H.

Advice To Young Folks

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     Advice to Young Folks
by Lee Hanks

 Advice to Young Folks  Advocate  Messenger 

 The future of our country and of our nation depends upon the youths of our country.  The best guide for a high and noble life, for our boys and girls, is the Bible.  God's law is a perfect law.  Every blessing temporal and spiritual comes from the great and merciful hand of God.  He gives our natural life, and eyes to see, ears to hear, feet with which we walk, hands with which we work, hearts to render thanks, and all of our senses, feeling, tasting, smelling, seeing, hearing and the tongues with which we speak.  God has given us all these wonderful blessings.  We could not exist one moment without Him.  Young boys and girls, the good Lord has blessed you with a father and mother to tenderly love, feed and clothe you and to guide you and tenderly care for you in all your afflictions and privations of life.  They have made great sacrifices to educate you and to bring you up to a life of usefulness to make noble useful citizens.  you should reverence your God and also reverence your good parents which God has given you who are the greatest earthly friends you have her.  Read with a desire to elevate yourself to the highest and noblest plane on earth.  Ex 20:12. "Honor thy father and mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."  "Thou shalt not kill."  "Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbor." Ex 20:13,16 That boy or girl who observes these commands will not only be respected as a honorable and upright citizen, but will be highly esteemed by all who know him or her and a blessing to society.  By right and moral living they elevate themselves to a life of usefulness of which they will never have regrets. Remember the first commandment: " Honor thy father and mother ."  The youths who do this, will live long here in the confidence of the best people and overcome every false accusation against them.  Children should reverence and obey the teaching of their good parents and never speak unkindly to them.  They are your best friends and will make every lawful sacrifice for you and you should be industrious and ready to lessen their burdens in every way possible.  Always seek their advice in all you do.  Never go to any place you would be ashamed for your parents to see you.  You will never regret living right and being kind, loving, tender and obedient to your parents.  Your parents know better with whom you should associate than you do.  Shun wicked and immoral company. Read the Bible and good moral books which will store your minds with high elevating knowledge which will prepare you for a life of usefulness and be honoring to God and to your parents.  Do not read trashy, immoral novels, or attend movies where immoral pictures are exhibited.  They have a tendency to lead the mind to vice and degeneracy.  Do not use profane or immoral language.  God has blessed you with a tongue that you should appreciate.  Do not let that tongue curse, use any bywords, nor take the holy name of God in vain.  When you mention the name of God, do so with most profound reverence.  Do not use substitutes for cursing, such as "dog gone it," "by golly,"  "he gave him down the country," etc.  The expressions are a kind of cursing.  Leave them all off.  Shun every appearance of evil.  "Swear not at all." Mt 5:34 Let your conversation be yea, yea, and nay, nay. Mt 5:37  I had no use for any immoral or profane language when I was a boy.  My good parents taught me better and I cherish their memory today.  Shun drinking, saloons and immoral houses.  They will drag you down to shame and disgrace.  I always tried to live within my means and pay my just debts.  I never was able to wear such fine clothes, but what I wore were paid for.  Beware of debt.  Do not spend money foolishly.  Do not be too hard to please.  Try to be satisfied with the food and raiment you have.  Shun a low class of women as you would a viper.  They are the greatest curse to a community.  A good chaste girl is one of the greatest blessings.  She wields an influence for good-a great blessing in a community. One mistake you may make will destroy you for life.  Be truthful, sober, upright, honest, law-abiding and beware of the first drink.  If you never take the first drink, you will never be a drunkard.  Whiskey and bad women have wrecked the life of many a man.  My father died in Henry County, Va., 1869, before I was eight years old.  The civil war made such a destruction of property in our country, we know what it was to suffer for food and raiment.  I was the youngest of twelve children.  I was soon thrown out upon the cold charities of the world-homeless and friendless.  My mother lived with married children.  All were poor and had no home of their own.  I went from place to place, very poorly clad, and glad to get a little bread and milk to eat.  My good mother taught me to live morally and keep good company or none, which I tried to do.  I seldom ever knew what it was to have any money at all.  When I had a little money I would buy school books and a Testament.  Having no opportunity of school, I studied where I stayed of nights by fire light, having a thirst for an education.  I had no earthly legacy, but if I could get an education no one could take that from me.  It would be a blessing for life.  After I was about grown, I went to school a portion of winters working nights, mornings and Saturday to pay my board.  I attended a normal school, Concord, W. Va., getting my board on a credit.  I then began teaching school and taught for years and continued to study.  I always tried to live strictly moral and observe the teachings of my precious mother.  I love her memory.  I have but little respect for one who disrespects the teachings of mother-the truest earthly friend.  I fear the future of any child who disrespects mother.  Parents should control their children while they are young.  Bring them up "in the way they should go, when they are old they will not depart from it."  I have a tender love and sympathy for young people and desire their welfare.

Written by request, Lee Hanks 

Baptists Should Be More Charitable and Kind

Baptist Should Be More Charitable And Kind

by Lee Hanks

Advocate and Messenger, September 1936

When I was a boy in the ministry about fifty-four years ago, I traveled with a precious old father in Israel who was loving, tender and kind to me. If I made a misquotation, a mispronunciation or an ungrammatical expression he would privately tell me about it. He did so in love. He never corrected me publicly. I always loved him. Many times I have thought I heard good brethren misapply the scriptures, but I ever publicly exposed them. If I said anything about it, it was to them in private. No matter how honest and sincere we may be, and how much we know, we could be mistaken. Brethren should be very kind and tender with each other. It is good for brethren to meet and discuss their seeming differences and see how close together they are. You can hardly find a y two that will fully agree on every little technical point. Better not harp on those points. On the great essentials there is great harmony among us. It should be our greatest desire to comfort, strengthen, educate, and bind our dear people more closely together. We should not decide that everyone that does not view every little point as we do and say everything as we say it, is unsound, disorderly, and has the leprosy and that it will not do to associate with him lest we catch the contagion. Brethren, in different sections, have different customs and some are more tolerant than others. We should not thing the Lord has made it the business of some of us to regulate all of our brethren and force them to come to our standard. I fear that some are like Diotrephes who would not receive the brethren and rejected all who did I John 9:10. As I grow older the less confidence I have in self and the more forbearing I am. Jesus ate with publicans and sinners. The Pharisees reproved Him for it. Charity suffers long and is kind, not easily provoked. Not puffed up, beareth all things. Charity covers a multitude of sins. And it is so good for all of us that we all be kind and keep ourselves unspotted from the world, and shun the appearance of evil. I am now (July 28) at the good home of our esteemed brother, Eld. John Glisson, Claxton, Ga., a great and good man. I have been visiting the good Baptists of this country for about forty years. they are a great and noble people, and I pray that the little misunderstanding may be soon adjusted. If meddlers and sowers of seeds of discord will stay out, and let all speak the truth in love and investigate and understand matters better, and remove all dead lines, here will soon be a sweet reunion . I love them all and pray God that they can soon all dwell together in unity as in the days of yore. Read Jas 4:11 and Jas 5:16. If all true Primitive Baptists were dwelling together in unity they would be a much greater power for good. All have made mistakes. The Apostolic churches were not perfect, made some mistakes. It is not what brethren did back yonder,--but are they living right at this time is the important question. Let us labor for peace. 'Blessed are the peacemakers.'

 L. H.

Bible Doctrine With Exhortation

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     Bible Doctrine with Exhortation
by Lee Hanks

 Bible Doctrine with Exhortation  Bible Doctrine with Exhortation  Advocate and Messenger, October, 1933  It is conceded by all well informed spiritually minded Primitive Baptists that God is the creator of the heavens and earth.  The mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms were all made by Him.  There is no life, human or Divine, without antecedent life.  He is sovereign over all worlds.  No creature comes into existence by chance or upon the principle of evolution.  No being created itself.  Life precedes action and growth.  This is true in the natural and spiritual realm.  God, the Creator, created of all things, and His wisdom and foreknowledge beheld all the action of His creatures.  Sin is man's act which he does voluntarily, and in the commission of sin man carries our his own will, and is not influenced or forced to commit sin; therefore, he is accountable to God, and is to blame for all his wicked actions.  It is blaspheming to charge sin and wickedness to God as the source or efficient cause of sin.  God's attitude toward sin is over-ruling, and His relation toward holiness is causative.  God's efficient predestination is what He does, or causes to be done.  It is His act.  He is the author of what He effectually predestinates.  Predestination brings salvation and not damnation.  God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation.  Many dear Christians have failed to make the distinction between predestination and God's wisdom, or foreknowledge have unintentionally made mistakes, using predestination where they meant wisdom, or foreknowledge.  Our fathers did not believe that God is the author of sin, coerced or influenced any to commit sin.  God's children in the recreation or regeneration in soul are passive under a physical law.  In obedience God's children have divine life, and are active under a parental law,--God giving them the grace and ability to do what He requires of them.  This is the doctrine of the fathers.  They held that there is an eternal salvation of which Jesus Christ is the author (Isa 45:17; Mt 1:21; Ac 4:12; 2Ti 1:18; Heb 5:9), and that there is salvation in time for God's living children to work out (Php 2:12-13; Ac 2:40); through preaching the gospel (Ac 11:14; 1Co 1:21; 1Ti 4:15), and by baptism, etc.  This was contended for in the writings of Eld. John Gill, G. Beebe, J. F. Johnson, John Clark, S. H. Durand, F. A. Chick, A. L. Moore, Jas. Dameron, F. P. Branscome, S. F. Cayce, C. H. Waters, J. R. Daily, and perhaps nine tenths of the old Baptists now living.  None believe they can obey without the enabling grace of God, but they can do all things He requires through Christ, who strengthens them.  While there is much gained by the Christian in obedience, and much lost by disobedience, they praise God for every blessing.  They feel that they are to blame for disobedience, and deserve the chastening hand of the Lord.  Our fathers and the great body of our people, now living, believe that the church is the only disciplinary body, and that associations have not the slightest authority over churches.  Our people, generally, oppose mob-law discipline.  Even if a preacher preaches unsound doctrine he should be labored with gospelly as the Scriptures direct (Tit 3:10), have a fair and impartial trial before he is excluded, or if there be a personal difference Gospel steps should be taken accordingly (Mt 18).  To exclude a servant of God without a trial is mob-law and illegal, and deserves punishment by law.  The civil courts of our country will gibe a black criminal an impartial hearing before an impartial jury.  The church of God should not be less righteous in her actions than a worldly court.  It is dangerous to seek the life of a brother,--vengeance belongs to God and He will repay.  The church of God is not a slaughter house to slay good brethren.  God's people should be merciful.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  Railing against servants of God publicly is a grievous sin, associated with drunkenness, fornication, etc., and the church is commanded to put that wicked person from among them.  Saul fell on his own sword.  We need great forbearance and should not use carnal weapons.  We should be kind, tender, loving, forgiving, and prayerful, remembering that he that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall prosper.  God will fight our battles for us.  Let our preaching be done in love.  When differences arise, it is not best to harp on them all the time, but labor to see how close together we are.  We should overcome evil with good.  Let each confess his own faults, get the beam out of his own eye, and 'let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from among you, with all malice;'  and be kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.  Can't all true Primitive Baptists do this, and let peace be restored?  All make some mistakes.  Let us forgive the past, and live for the future.

 Submitted in love.  Lee Hanks
  "

Exhortation To Ministers

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     Exhortation to Ministers
by Lee Hanks

 Exhortation to Ministers  Exhortation to Ministers  Advocate and Messenger, March, 1933  'In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.'  (Tit 2:7-8) Paul as a father in the ministry was writing Titus his own son in the common faith.  Paul loved young preachers and knowing the weakness of the flesh most tenderly exhorted Titus how he should live for his good and the good of His Master's cause.  It is useless to tell others how to live, if he does not keep under his own body, mortify the deeds of the flesh, and so live as to be a pattern in his ministerial life to the ones whom he teaches.  The servant of God should be blameless, not self-willed.  This will injure a minister to be self-willed-thinks he knows it all and will not listen to reason or the advice of others.  He must not so act as to carry out his own designs, right or wrong when he knows it will divide the church.  He had better be humble and not be too hasty in his actions, but weigh matters well, and most prayerfully to.  Don't get in a hurry.  Many have to retrace their steps by acting hastily.  Jesus gave us a good pattern.  There was a devil in the church and Jesus knew it, but just waited and Judas went out and hanged himself .  The preacher must not be seen angry.  A mad preacher is dangerous-his reason is dethroned.  He wants to justify himself in all he does.  If there is trouble in the church, the first thing for all to do is to get in a good humor, then the matter can be adjusted.  The preacher should be a pattern of good works-works that God has ordained and such as are authorized by the Scriptures.  He should live and teach all Scriptural works, but no more. …In  doctrine , he should speak such things which become sound doctrine .  Be sure to contend earnestly for the faith (doctrine) once delivered to the saints.  We should not neglect the sound, fundamental principles of grace, Predestination,  Election, Special Redemption, Effectual Calling, Final Glorification in Heaven of all the redeemed.  The Primitive Baptists are all the people that will contend for those principles, and I trust they will continue to teach Bible doctrine, free from extremes, prefixes or suffixes.  If all of our preachers will preach the truth in love, we will have peace and unity in the church. The preacher should possess gravity.  He should reverence his profession-not be engaged in light, filthy conversation.  He has the highest calling of any one on earth.  Much is expected of him.  He should be sincere in what he says or does, remembering that he is amenable to God for all of his acts.  In preaching the doctrine or practice his teaching should be sound and in harmony with the Bible.  And he must not decide that God has made him a regulator and he has to remodel the old church and correct the mistakes of the fathers even if it tears the church into atoms.  This is a bad spirit.  Beware of the spirit of Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, and receiveth us not.  (3Jo 9).  He was an ambitious man, wanting to govern everything according to his will.  He is ready to but up bars  against good brethren, if they do not say and do everything according to his dictates.  He will soon run his course.  None should feel that they are standards for the household of faith.  Preachers should not sow seeds of discord.  If they have trouble let it stay there.  Don't preach or talk about it.  Let each section of the country manage their own discipline.  Beware of jealousy.  It is as cruel as the grave.  There is room in the church for all of God's humble servants.  We need all.  Don't neglect your faithful old ministers who have hazarded their lives for the cause.  Let us pray without ceasing.  Let brotherly love continue.

 Lee Hanks

From A Sick Bed

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     From a Sick Bed
by Lee Hanks

 From a Sick Bed  The Gospel Messenger, April 1911 

 I am in bed sick and can not write much.  I feel that all of my feeble writings are so worthless and so much like myself that it would be better to lay down my pen and give the space to such precious loving men of God as Elders Hassell, Henderson, Oliphant and Stewart, and the many contributors who write so much to the comfort of God's children.  At times it is a comfort, in my imperfect way to try to write to the dear household of faith, I love them.  They are dear and precious to my poor soul.  If I could heal the wounds in Zion, and restore sweet peace, love and fellowship, and have all old Baptists dwelling together in gospel unity, I feel that I could die happy.  Zion's troubles are mine.  They are my people.  They are Mount Zion, the joy of the whole earth, the city of the great King. It is wrong for them to be warring with each other.  The devil can not be pleased better than for Old Baptists to be biting and devouring each other.  I have begged the Lord's people to be firm for the right, but kind, tender, gentle and forgiving.  It should be the fervent prayer and effort of every child of God to labor for the restoration of peace in Zion.  Let us all endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, and, with hearts full of love, let us be loyal to our God and ever at our post.  There is too much slackness in discipline and too many making the service of God of secondary importance.  I know I am poor and sinful and make many mistakes, but I have tried to let nothing get between me and my obligations to God.  I have traveled and tried to preach, serving four churches or more, for many years, traveling hundreds of miles each month.  Many times I was so sick I was not able to stand, but I always wanted to get to meeting to see their lovely faces. After all I am but a poor unprofitable servant.  I have felt happy while lying here this week.  The sweet expression has thrilled my soul with joy.  "And I shall see His face."  This thought has been precious to me. If this should be my last illness, I, a poor unworthy sinner, have a sweet hope that I shall go to Heaven after death and "see His face,"  and be like Him.  It is so sweet to fall asleep in the loving arms of Jesus. Many of our able ministers have fought a good fight and have gone home.  I think of such dear, old faithful servants as Elders Hassell, Henderson, Oliphant, Stewart, Gold, Chick, Durand, Temples, Dalton, and many more, whose heads are white with the frost of years.  They will soon lay their armor by and go home and be at rest.  I love them all. Pray for me and mine, and let us all love and serve the dear Lord better.  He is so good to us.

Great Things

Great Things    

Advocate and Messenger, August 1934

"The Lord hath done great things for us whereof we are glad".

The love of the Father in choosing poor sinners in Christ before the foundation of the world that they should be holy and without blame before Him in love, predestinating them to be conformed to the image of His Son and giving them to Christ, and a sufficiency of grace in Him to redeem them, atone for all their sins and to justify them by His righteousness was all indeed a great work. The Holy Ghost regenerated all the heirs of promise, shedding abroad His love in their hearts, purging their conscience from dead works to serve the true and living God, is a great work. God has given a true, faithful ministry to His children, to comfort, strengthen, establish and educate them in spiritual things, and this is a great work. The ordinances of the church and all the good works that He has ordained we should walk in is indeed a great work. God calls and qualifies His ministers and prepares His poor little children to be taught by them and for His service in which they enjoy a sweet rest and comfort of soul for which they feel unworthy, but it is indeed a great work. The land of Canaan was prepared for His national chosen people. They did not have to plant the vineyard and olive yards, dig the wells nor build the house. They were all prepared for them and they were prepared for the land, but could not enjoy the good of that land without going into it and obeying the Lord. "If ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat of the good of the land, but they praised God for the blessing.

The Church of God is prepared here by God's grace with everything in faith and practice the church needs. They do not have any right to add anything more to the church. They should all be satisfied with the goodness of the Lord's house. It would be a reflection upon Him as an imperfect builder, if we try to add to or take from His church. It is a great thing indeed to have membership in His church. Israel could not fight the battle of the Lord with anything borrowed from Babylon. The land of Canaan was a land of hills and valleys. How fitly this represents the experience of God's little children. We spend much time in the valley, but our God will never leave us nor forsake us.

L. H.

He Knows Our Inability

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     He Knows our Inability
by Lee Hanks

 He Knows our Inability The Gospel Messenger,  August 1913

  Recently while in deep meditation about the experience of the Lord's people, I felt deep down in my heart that I wanted to hear God's children talk about their experience.  I said, "I wish I knew how a Christian feels."  While examining myself and seeing so much that I detest in the flesh, I asked myself the question, "Does the Lord, who is so good, pure, holy, just, wise, powerful, and loving, love such a wretch as I?  Is it possible that I can be His child?" I read this sweet expression:  "For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust."  How I rejoiced and praised His holy name!  He does not expect perfection in us.  He knows how sinful, poor, and needy we are.  We do not have to appear before a just and holy Being in our own righteousness, but in the righteousness of Jesus.  We go in name of Christ, our Elder Brother, who is so good and merciful.  He knows that we are depraved and all polluted with sin and cannot save ourselves; but, thank God! the precious Saviour came to earth for that express purpose: to bear our sins in His own body and put them all away by the sacrifice of Himself.  He paid all the debt.  His precious blood cleanses us from all sin.  He knows the corruptions of our hearts, but the blood of Jesus, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God, lovingly purges our consciences from dead works to serve the true and living God.  Malice and hatred are removed, and our hearts filled with His pure love by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  Thank God He does not deal with us after our sins; nor reward us according to our iniquities.  He knows we cannot keep the law, and He kept it for us.  He knew that all of our righteousnesses were as filthy rags, and He clothed us with His own spotless righteousness.  He is merciful to our unrighteousness.  He loved sinners.  Bless His holy name!  He ate with sinners, and commended His love to us while we were sinners.  He knew that we had no strength, but, in due time, He died for us.  "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him."  His mercy to us poor sinners is from everlasting to everlasting.  He forgives all of our iniquities; He heals all of our diseases; He redeems our life from destruction; He satisfies our mouth with good things.  He is a Sun and shield to us and gives grace and glory, and no good thing will He withhold from them that walk up rightly.  When I think of the awful corruption in the world religiously, morally, socially, and politically, were it not that the dear Lord is merciful to our unrighteousness, we would all be hopelessly lost.  Man continues to degenerate.  Pride, fashion, covetousness, worldly mindedness, formality, envy, carnality, etc., are having a blighting effect in Zion.  Where is that love, forbearance, gentleness, kindness, forgiveness, that should characterize us as followers of the meek and lowly Saviour?  I am often heart-sick when I see strifes and contentions, hobby-riding, magnifying seeming differences, making "mountains out of mole hills," and each wanting to say the last word.  O! Lord, have mercy upon poor, afflicted Zion-Associations dropping correspondence with an Association for the errors of one or two churches, making the Association a disciplinary body.  Preacher jealousy is a dangerous thing and plays its part.  Perilous times are upon us!  Surely me are heady, high-minded, self-willed, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God! We so much feel the need of God's mercy and kind remembrance of us all.  Our hope for time and eternity is in the grace and mercy of Him who is our refuge, strength, and a very present help in time of trouble.

L. H.

In Loving Memory

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     In Loving Memory
by Lee Hanks

 In Loving Memory  

   MRS. ELIZABETH LUMPKIN EDWARDS HANKS was born in Monroe County, Ga., Mr 15th, 1864. She was married to the writer June 28, 1885. She joined the church at Ozark, Ala., and was baptized by her husband, Elder Lee Hanks Christmas day, 1886, together with her oldest sister and a good brother. She was educated at Monroe Female Cottage, Forsyth, Ga. (now called Bessie Tift). She was a devoted Primitive Baptist until the Lord called her home. Her membership for years was at West Atlanta Church. She dearly loved the church and the church loved her. She was always glad to entertain good Old Baptist company. Her health was always unusually good and she was very industrious. I have traveled in 27 states and often would be gone two months or more and she was always willing for me to go. I have served about 48 churches, have been preaching 59 years which kept me from home a great deal, and she was always ready to help me on my way. Among her last words to me were, "Go and fill your appointments in Tenn.". She was confined to her room for several weeks and suffered much. My dear daughters stayed by her bedside day and night in her illness. They did not let her lack for anything. I think she was totally paralyzed before she passed away. Died without a struggle, peacefully fell asleep in Jesus Aug. 18th just as she desired. I was in Tenn., when the sad summons came. I received a telegram and rushed home at once. Funeral arrangements were made by my good faithful daughters and loving brethren. I was heartbroken. It seemed al  most unbearable. So hard to be reconciled. Our precious and es  teemed brother, Eld. Rees Prather, conducted the funeral services. Elders Roy Mitchell, M. A. Kennemore and J. H. Holland, and Deacons J. A. Middlebrook, J. T. McArthur, A. E. Webb, G. P. Nall and Lee Webb and Turner Lassitter were pallbearers. All were so good and faithful.   Oh, how I do miss her. I felt I would go first. I felt like she was so much better qualified to care for the family than I. It is so hard to realize that I shall see her no more here. When I think of the seriousness of this I burst into tears. But I am sure the separation will not be long until I too, shall go to my eternal home. We lived happily together going on 54 years. I thought I could sympathize with those bereaved as I am, but I could not until I had the sad ex  perience myself. How thankful I am that her spirit is in heaven and some day the body will be spiritualized, soul and body reuniting and she be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and forever be with the Lord. It is so sweet for a Christian to die. Many times I long to go home and be at rest. But I want to be resigned and say, "Thy will be done".  

 In sorrow, Lee Hanks.

In Texas

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     In Texas
by Lee Hanks

 In Texas  In Texas   The Gospel Messenger,  June  1913  I have been in Texas ever since Saturday before the third Sunday in March, visiting the dear Lord's people.  It has been my privilege to visit churches in the Southwest Texas, Bosque River, Little Flock, and Old Harmony Associations, and I am to visit churches in other Associations.  I have visited several churches that do not belong to any Association.  I have met Elder Culpepper, formerly of Georgia; Elders Cole, Blackwell, F. L. Webb  sp , W. S. DuBose, J. W. Baker, G.W. White, J.S. Newman, Franklin Baker, R. W. Harrell, P. F. Watson, J. W. Shook, W. Y. Norman, W. J. D. Bradford, L. N. Barrow, Jasper Chambers, A. B. Chambers, and J. E. Center, and licentiates B. D. Burgin, Parker Burgin, Jeffrys, and Norman Allen, a grandson of the late lamented Elder James Baker.  I found these good precious brethren, humble and Christlike, and contented to stand in the ways and enquire for the old paths and walk therein.  I feel that the dear Lord has greatly blessed me with His sweet presence in trying to speak, and I have never been more kindly received and heartily endorsed.  I find the Old Baptists, as a general thing, in good condition.  They are very fine singers.  They meet early, and sing the good old songs of Zion, and seem to serve the dear Lord as a sweet privilege.  They are plain and simple and full of love.  There are quite a number of young Baptists whose hearts are full of love for the doctrine of grace.  They do not fellowship secret orders or any of the institutions of men.  But very few allow their children to attend Sunday School.  I am sorry there are any who do.  It is a sad mistake.  I have heard a number preach, and there was no uncertain sound in any of their preaching.  Their theme was grace from start to finish in our salvation.  We need that grace continually to enable us to serve God aright.  That grace purges our consciences from dead works to serve the true and living God, and the Lord's people who are thus prepared in heart obey, from the heart, that form of doctrine delivered unto them.  The grace of God teaches them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present evil world. If that is not men and women taught by God's grace, I do not know who it is.  Paul says, 'With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.'  I do not want a doctrine that leaves me out.  Paul says,  'As many as are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God.'  I think that was people led by the Spirit of God.  There are two natures in the children of God.  But I can't believe that some intangible being in the man is the child of God, and the man is a child of the devil.  I do not think we baptize the children of the devil to get to baptize the children of God.  'The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.'  Adam sinners quickened in soul are children of God.  They are pure in heart, and shall see God.  Surely the grace of God in the soul makes better men and women in their deportment.  Good fruit is produced by a good tree.  Grace in the soul in regeneration is the efficient cause of all acceptable service to God.  I do not think any sober minded child of God can say he loves sin as well as he did before he received a hope.  I could not extend the hand of fellowship to such an experience as that.  God's children hate sin.  Nearly all the dear Baptists that I met were most fully agreed on the above.  They most heartily endorse our esteemed Brother Hassell on all points.  Elder Newman has been with me eleven days.  I do not think there is a man in Texas more universally loved and endorsed than Elder Newman.  He is an humble, able defender of the gospel of Christ.  He contends for the same principles contended for by our dear brethren, Elders Mitchell, Respess, S. F. Cager  sp , Henderson, Hassell, Stewart, and the Baptists in our country.  A number of other preachers have traveled with me for days, and were so loving and kind that I shall never forget them.  Elder T. L. Webb is the efficient editor of the Baptist Trumpet, and Elder Newman is editor of the Primitive Baptist Signal.  Both editors are loved and esteemed very highly.  They are great and good men.  I heard some little talk about the 'whole man' doctrine, but I did not see nor hear of anybody in Texas that believes that the body is quickened until the resurrection, or that believe that man in his entirety is spiritual and immortal, pure and holy now. I feel sure that the Old Baptists of Texas are one people.  A brother may sometimes use unqualified expressions, and some, by placing a wrong construction on his language, would make it appear that he was unsound, when there is no real difference.  We should all labor in love to unify our people, and leave off all expressions that have a tendency to confuse the minds of the hearers.  We should not make a good brother an offender for a word.  Good brethren who are agreed on the grand essentials should not let minor differences in expression alienate them. May God bless and sweetly unify all of His poor afflicted people in love.  Precious saints, I love you all.  Your many kind words and acts will not soon be forgotten.  May all of His precious servants be contented just to be servants and not lords over the dear church.  We belong to the church, and not the church to us.  We are all brethren, and so much need each other. I am no near Temple, Texas. L. H.  !--#include virtual ='templates/page_end.inc'--  html  /html html  /html html  /html "

Nearing Home

by Lee Hanks

 (this article is the last known writing of Elder Hanks)

The Primitive Baptist, May, 1947

I am old and feeble; in my 86th year, and not able to go to meeting very much; but it is such a comfort to me to read the writings of our precious ministers, brethren and sisters, far and near, all contending for the grand old principles I found in the Old Baptist Church nearly seventy years ago. They have ever been precious to me. All are satisfied with the goodness of the Lord's house. None want any new doctrines or practices. It makes m sad that so many of our precious ministers are being called from us to a sweeter and better home than this; but my humble desire and prayer to God is that He may raise up many more in the future, contending for the same blessed truths for which our dear, faithful fathers hazarded their precious lives. All of them, in the past, had many sore trials and afflictions and doubts. At times they felt almost ready to faint by the way, but the grace of God was sufficient for them, and He fought their battles. That same God still reigns, and will never leave nor forsake them; and in their weakness He will give them strength and grace to bear all the fiery trials of life. That same God preserved Daniel in a den of lions. The Hebrew children in a fiery furnace were all preserved, and the Lord brought them out unharmed. If a mother's child falls into the fire, she takes it out to save it from being consumed by the fire, but when the Hebrew children were cast into the fiery furnace, God was there with them to make it a sweet, heavenly place for them. Oh, how sweet when we can feel the sweet, preserving presence and loving hand of God protecting us! Surely no weapon that is formed against us shall prosper. If the Lord is for us, none can successfully be against us. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, His foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification, and glorification are for us - His elect. Then none can successfully be against His children. What shall we say to these things? All these things work together for good to them that love God, who are the called according to His purpose. This is a solid, golden chain; not a weak link in it. Those who love God are born of God, already born of God before they love Him. We love God because He first loved us. The love of God in our poor hearts for the Lord, or His ordinances, for His pure, sweet gospel and or His children, is an evidence that we are born again and belong to the heavenly family, and that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. The nearer I reach my eternal home, that I humbly hope He has prepared for poor, unworthy me, the more anxious I am to go to that sweet, eternal, heavenly home and be forever at rest. Blessed rest! I am hoping some sweet day to be taken home in my entirety, body and spirit, to see Jesus and be like Him. Then shall I be satisfied, when I awake in his likeness. May this be the happy lot of you and yours.

Lee Hanks

Obituary of Lee Hanks

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     Obituary of Lee Hanks
by Lee Hanks

 Obituary by Elder J.A. Monsees  The Advocate Messenger, May 1947 

 After arising from his slumbers and eating his breakfast, on the morning of April 16th, 1947, Elder Lee Hanks was suddenly stricken with a cerebral hemorrhage, and before help could be summoned he was dead. A blessed way to go. He had lived nearly eighty-six years, and from his early life, had preached the glorious gospel of Christ. He had preached acceptably to the Primitive Baptist people in about thirty or more of the States of the Union, baptized more than seven hundred of the Saints, assisted in the ordination of many of God's dear ministers, and founded many of our strongest churches of today. He loved devotedly the doctrine of grace, and the order of the House of God, for which he urgently contended. For this reason, he had to endure strong opposition, and sometimes bitter persecution, all of which he bore patiently and kindly. Perhaps the greatest of these persecutions arose from his efforts to make reconciliation among estranged brethren. God blesses the peacemaker, but in this Laodicean age of indifference, apparently the greatest and professed follower of the author of this doctrine find fault and make charges, many times unsustainable, against their brethren. None of these things ever moved him, but he continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine, and gave his life's energy to his last days that he might acquit himself with a good conscience toward God. Perhaps his last message to the churches of our people was written for the Primitive Baptist papers, in which he speaks of being near his home in glory. No dying message could be sweeter. "Nearing Home". Elder Hanks arranged the appointments for my first visit to Georgia. Later, I moved to the State and lived with him for about three years, more as one of the family, than a boarder. I loved him and the family. Sister Hanks, the mother of his children passed on nine years ago. She had devoted her life in faithfulness to the family, making many sacrifices that he might go in the defense of the doctrine, and to comfort the saints. After her death, he married sister Floyd of Florida, where he had made his home for the last years of his life. We understand this was a very happy marriage, and his last and declining days were made very happy for him. May God bless the widow, the children and others, who are bereaved at his passing. There are five daughters and two sons, all living, and one grandchild. Bessie, Pearl, Ruth and Ruby live at 1800 N. Decatur Rd., near Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, a home he built and left them. It is a large house with arrangements so they can and do rent the rooms to Emory students, furnishing them an income upon which they now live. Miss Bessie has a good position, and Pearl is teacher in the public schools. Both are self-sustaining. Ruth and Ruby are housekeepers, and are sustained from the income of the house. One son, L. F. Hanks, is married and lives in Macon, Ga., and his other son, Joe, has been away for many years. I'm told he is married and lives somewhere in California. His oldest daughter, Louise, married Dr. Parks, and has the only grandchild. She has been near her father in his last days, working at Pensacola, Fla. Elder Hanks baptized her some years or more ago in the church of which he was a member in his last days. He baptized his first wife, in their youth, and his son, L. F., when just a boy. It was not possible for me to attend the funeral, which I desired so much to do, but we are informed that it was largely attended, six of our ministers were there, and made excellent talks of his life and labors. Brother Turner Lassiter, who is a member of West Atlanta Church, where Elder Hanks had his membership while he lived in Atlanta, attended the funeral, and said "He was more beautiful in death than in life." Surely it can be said of him, "Blessed are the dead, which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea saith the Spirit, they shall rest from their labors, and their works do follow them." (Re 14:13). Elder Hanks had a powerful analytical mind, convincing the erring of the truth, and showing every other way to be false. He was tender and forgiving to all repenting ones. He had an experience that humbled him under the mighty hand of God, and of which he most lovingly gave the church the benefit. His book, "Conflicts of a Poor Sinner," has been widely read and many have found comfort in it, and led in the right paths thereby. His book, "Church of God," is a brief history of the church of great value. His other voluminous writing, his O1d School Church Hymnal, which we now publish, are some of the many works that follow him. He wished that he may have the confidence and fellowship of the people of God, and for this reason he did not claim perfection, but surely we can now see if more had followed his loving counsel, we would have more unity with those who are now denominated Primitive Baptists, and we would be more like the church he joined in his youth. We then were one people; had no instruments of music in the churches; Sabbath Schools, Aid Societies, etc., for which there is no scriptural warrant. We were with him in the most painful days of the conflict with the Progressive brethren in Georgia. This was the most trying part of his long and useful career. Painful because he had to give up many with whom he had held sweet counsel, and that he should be so cruelly attacked by them, and charged with insincerity. Yet God sustained him, the Baptists of other states sustained his position, and it was surely by this fight that the Baptists of Georgia were not swallowed up by that movement. It succeeded, however, in making a scar that followed him to his grave. We know Jesus better by the scars, the wounds in His hands, and side than by His many loving services. He loved his brethren, and trusted them implicitly in all things. His worst mistakes made in life, perhaps, were to take the word of his brethren whom he had so fully trusted, without first making investigation. His influence was most powerfully felt, and everywhere many sought his approval, and many times they were not what they represented themselves to be. When this was proven, he would very quickly correct his error, but could not always remove the influence left by it. Such opposition will no longer trouble him for he now rests from his labors. He will be long remembered for his sacrifices of love, and strong devotion to God. Though with a frail body, he was a tower of strength in his service to God's dear children. May we continue to cherish these sweet influences, and live so that the end may be like his, looking into the windows of heaven, as we near our home.

Predestination

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     Predestination
by Lee Hanks

 Predestination Advocate and Messenger, January, 1936

  Predestination is loved and believed by all our dear people who are willing to take the plain Bible teaching and their experience as a guide.  We should not fall out with our good brethren.  But our expressions should conform to Bible teaching.  Predestination  is an act of God, what He does, intends, designs, purposes, appoints and determines to be done or restrict or overrule to His glory. A person cannot build a house without predestination, he purposes and designs the dimensions and the kind of material of which he shall build.  The good woman practices predestination in making a dress, cooking or house-keeping.  We see an orchard of beautiful fruit trees;  there is a design in all the kinds of trees in the orchard, and back of that there was a designer.  We practice predestination in our every-day life.  The merchant, the mechanic, and in all avocations of life predestination is practiced by man.  The trouble with men they may purpose, design, intend and determine; but for lack of means they are often thwarted in their expectations.  A wise person will count up the cost before he begins to build.  Will we suppose that God will perform His work on more of a haphazard system than man? God spoke this earth into existence out of nothing.  He purposed, designed, intended and determined to create the earth.  The universal, vegetable, and animal kingdoms were all created by the mighty hand of God and was all according to His predestination.  God determined to make man for a purpose of His own glory.  Out of the great mass of Adamites He purposed, intended, determined and designed to save a portion of the human family.  He gave them to His Son and gibes them grace in Him, and a sufficiency  of grace to meet all the demands of the law, which He knew man would violate and bring death and condemnation upon all of the human family,all alike fell in Adam their head and representative.  Adam, of his own will without compulsion, coercion, or God's approval, acting voluntarily, fell under the death sentence.  He, in his entirety, fell and died a death in transgression and sins, and all his posterity being in him.  This was a fruit of man's will.  He and all his posterity are justly condemned.  Since then he has been described as a corrupt tree which cannot bear good fruit.  Notwithstanding God saw that man would fall, He chose them a portion in Christ, before he fell, and all of the sins of His chosen were imputed (charged) to His Son.  The Father laid all the iniquity of the sheep or chosen upon the divine Shepherd.  Their names were written in the book of Life before the world began-before there was any of them in existence.  He knows His sheep and they were predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son.  This number He calls, justifies and glorifies. This is the number that are predestinated  into the adoption of children.  God has appointed  them to obtain salvation through Jesus Christ.  He ordained  them that they should bear fruit and their fruit should remain.  He ordained them to eternal life-and belief is a fruit of it.  It is according to predestination that Jesus came here and redeemed all the chosen who had sold themselves for naught.  He redeemed them by His blood, redeemed them to God our of every nation, kindred, tongue and people, redeemed from all iniquity .  By one offering He perfects forever all the chosen.  Bears their sins in His own body on the tree.  Put away all their sins by the sacrifice of Himself.  He, as the Surety, Head, Husband pays all the debt-nothing charged to His people.  We are complete in Him.  He saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His purpose  and grace given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest. (2Ti 1:9). When I saw myself a poor, justly condemned sinner, seemingly with mercy's door closed, sweet deliverance came into my soul, and I, by faith, could look to Calvary and see all my sins were atoned for in the blood of Jesus.  Yes, sweet Jesus brought this salvation to my soul.  He intended, determined or predestinated to save me before  He saved me.  He did not save me accidentally or unintentionally.  Predestination is also taught in our experience. All blessings, for time and eternity, come to us from the blessed hand of God, which blessings He  intended  to bestow before we received them.  All promises of God are full of His sweet predestination-what He wills, purposes, intends to do for poor needy sinners.  We need the Lord in providence and in grace.  His left hand (providential blessings) is under my head.  His right (covenant or spiritual blessing), hand doth embrace me.  How good to feel that we are in the bosom of Jesus-near His heart ,where we shall be kept until He calls us to our eternal home.  Is not this predestination good enough?  Let us be satisfied with Bible teaching and all live in peace.

 Lee Hanks 

Romans 14:19

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     Ro 14:19
by Lee Hanks

 Ro 14:19  "Let us therefore follow after the things that make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." Advocate and Messenger, May 1944

  Peace is good in the home, in the school, among neighbors, nationally and especially in the church of God.  There is nothing gained and much lost by having confusion.  It is good to see a well disciplined family.  Husband should be kind, good, affectionate and appreciative to his wife and hold her in highest esteem and love her more dearly than any other woman on earth, and that he has forsaken all others for her.  The wife should see that she loves and respects her husband and she reverences him above all other men.  The husband and wife should be very careful never to speak harshly or unkindly to each other.  Labor to make home happy.  they should be kind to their children, but firm and see they reverence and obey them.  Parents should not obey their children and grant them all of their desires, for parents should know better what is good for their children than the children know for themselves.  Children should love, reverence, respect and obey their parents and never visit any place or do anything contrary to the wishes of their parents.  They should love home and spend much of their time at home caring for their parents in doing all they can to lessen their burdens and never speak unkindly to them.  Should be careful to keep good company or none.  If all will live as they should, there will be peace in that home which is sweet and so much to be enjoyed.  A girl that will not be kind and obedient to her mother will be unkind to her husband.  A good chaste kind upright woman whose life is above reproach, wields the greatest influence for good and upright living and is a blessing in the community where she lives. Neighbors should be kind and obliging and always ready to go each other a favor when possible.  If you will be a good neighbor yourself you will have good neighbors, and apt to live in peace with them.  What a blessing I would be for hostilities to cease and universal peace among the nation could be restored!  Many precious mother would rejoice to receive the good news from their sons, "Mother, the war is over, peace is restored and I am coming home."  There would be national rejoicing to know our nations are all in peace.  Peace among nations cannot be too highly prized. Peace in the church is worth striving for, seeking, praying, walking, and making every lawful sacrifice to obtain.  To obtain and preserve this peace, we should be followers of God as dear children and walk in love.  We should put off the old man with his deeds, crucify the flesh with its afflictions and lusts, mortify the deeds of the body.  When we were burdened down under that great burden of sin and condemnation and saw the justice of God in our eternal condemnation.  We were then killed to the love of sin.  We were made to hate sin with all its harmful effects.  We did not want to get drunk, follow the sinful lusts of the flesh, dances, take the name of the Lord in vain, curse, steal, or commit sin any longer.  We then had our fill of sin.  Our cry then was for mercy: "God be merciful to me, a poor sinner."  We felt to be lost forever lost!  The breathings of our poor soul was prayer to God.  When expecting banishment from His presence there was and inward peace sprang up in our souls that filled our souls with love, peace, praise and thanksgiving to God for His amazing mercy and grace in saving such a poor sinner.  We could now join the angelic host in exclaiming: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men."Lu 2:14  If all of us could have remained with such heavenly feelings in our souls we would have always had peace in the church.  There would have been no malice, no jealousy among preachers, no hate-hunting no bar of fellowship over some little hobby, no saying, "Stand by thyself; come not near to me, I am holier than thou", no strife about words to no profit, no making a brother an offender for a word, no preachers selfwilled and lording it over God's heritage, no wholesale dead lives drawn against innocent churches and associations without one step ofLu 2:14 gospel labor, no meddling with the internal rights of other churches and associations, none so acting as to divide churches and associations (Ro 16:17), no recognizing lawfully expelled members, no tolerating immoral or ungodly conduct in one's own church, no introducing unscriptural doctrines and practices that divide the church of God, none so carnal in their walk and conversation that they would have to be tagged to tell they were members, none letting their obligation to the church be a secondary matter.  These things are of the flesh which produce death to the child of God that follow its dictates.  There are two natures in the child of God, one of the flesh, Ga 2:15; (1Co 11:14; Eph 2:3), the other is the Divine Nature (2Pe 1:4).  There is a warfare in the child of God between the flesh and renewed spirit (Ga 5:16-17,22-24).  Paul describes the warfare as experienced by every child of God.  (Ro 7:15-25).  When we follow the promptings of flesh, we fall and leave our first love.  This was the condition of the church at Ephesus which had done may things commendable, but the Lord had somewhat  against her because she had left her first love.  (Re 2:4).  She was commanded to repent and do her first works.  This was for her to do this.  No other church could do this for her.  The Lord had something against the church of the Laodicians.  She was in a condition like, I fear, many are in today-lukewarm-neither cold nor hot, indifferent, careless unconcerned, serve God as a secondary matter, will go to town to picture shows, ball games, birthday dinners, or some worldly entertainment instead of going to the house of God to hear the gospel preached and meet the saints.  They can find fault with others, hard to please and can see no wrong in themselves.  If he should have made grave departures, he cannot see where he is wrong or has any steps to retrace.  This seemed to be the condition of this church:  "So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable and poor, and blind, and naked."" (Re 3:15-18).  This is a sad state for a gospel church! Even in the Apostolic age each local church, then as well as now, composed of regenerated sinners of Adam's fallen race each of whom possessed sinful natures and were subject to make mistakes.  Unworthy characters, all the way, have gotten into the church and caused trouble, discipline has had to be enforced.  When the church at Corinth met together they excluded the fornicator which they alone had the right and authority to do (1Co 5).  Afterwards he repented and was restored by Corinth Church to their fellowship (2Co 2:1-13; 7:8-12).  This they alone had the right to do.  The Apostle Paul, no other preacher, no other deacon, no other church but the church at Corinth had the right or authority to exclude and restore the offender after he suffered sufficiently and repented.  This course was safe then for each local church and it is safe today.  No other church each local church and it is safe today.  No other church or preacher interfered.  Eld. S. Hassell. p. 291 said:  "A visible church is always in the scriptures a local body; and every local church, acting by majority of its members is invested by Christ with the exclusive and final power of receiving, disciplining, excluding and restoring its members, and transacting all other necessary business."  To this I can say, Amen. I have seen things in churches that I did not endorse.  I could not regulate their affairs.  I try to teach what I think is right and labor to keep our people united.  I want to have all necessary forbearance as a pastor.  Jer 23:1; Ezekial 34  It is good for each preacher and church to obey the command of the Lord to Hezekiah:  "Set thine house in order ." Isa 38:1.  If each woman will sweep her own house  all the houses will be swept.  This should be done.  If a woman's house is a little filthy, she would not like her neighbor to come over and sweep her house for her.  That might cause trouble.  This is good and safe:  "Take heed unto thyself." 1Ti 4:16 "Get the beam out of thine own eye." Mt 7:5  "Examine yourselves." 2Co 13:5 "Confess your faults one to another." Jas 5:16 He that saith he hath no sin, he deceiveth himself, and the truth is not in him."  (1Jo 1:8).  "There is not a just man upon the earth that doeth good and sinneth not."  cc 7:20  It is safe for us to spend much time in prayer for guidance and meddlest with strife belonging not to him is like one that taketh a dog by the ears." Pr 26:17 "where no word is, there the fire goest out; so where there is not talebearer the strife ceaseth." Pr 26:20 "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein."  (Pr 26:17,20,27).  "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.  Hereby perceive we the love of God because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."  (1Jo 3:14-16).  "We ought to love one another." 1Jo 3:11 "Love covers a multitude of sins." 1Pe 4:8  We should not speak evil one of another.  "For where envy and strife are, there is confusion and every evil work. Jas 3:16  But if ye bite and devour one another take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." Ga 5:15 "All they that take the sword shall perish by the sword." Mt 26:52 Whoso keepest his mouth and his tongue, keepest his soul from troubles." Pr 21:23  "If it be possible, as much as in you is, live peaceably with all men." Ro 12:18  "Overcome evil with good." Ro 12:21 "Do not return railing for railing." 1Pe 3:9 "It is an honor for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling." (Pr 20:3; 9:8).  The old year with its many joys and sorrows, heartaches, bitter tears, sad hearts on the account of the loss of loved ones and mistakes in words or deed is now numbered with the past.  We cannot recall a misspent day.  May the year 1944 be better than the past.  May we all live closer to God, may more love be manifested.  May we have universal peace among churches and associations, and have sweet jubilee year among all true Old Baptists.  I love them all. I can thank all precious brethren and friends for all kindness shown me in gifts, messages of love in letters and Christmas cards and otherwise.  If I shall not live to see the close of this year I want to say to all you, "Finally, brethren, farewell.  Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."  Amen.2Co 13:11

 Lee Hanks
  "

The Church Should Require Fruits

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     The Church Should Require Fruits
by Lee Hanks

 The Church Should Require Fruits  The Church Should Require Fruits  The Gospel Messenger,  December  1913  I was interested in reading an article from and esteemed Elder recently, where he was giving the brethren a word of warning about the way and manner in which members are received.  He spoke of the cases in some sections where large numbers go to Associations to join, perhaps, where the members were not acquainted with them, and did not know of their daily deportment, and said he had seen, perhaps about twenty join at one meeting without telling an experience of grace.  We should tenderly nurse and encourage the Lord's people to follow the Saviour.  They all feel poor and unworthy, and need to be strengthened by sweet experimental and godly exhortation to walk in the footsteps of the Saviour.  But it seems that it would be better for persons who have a hope to join the church where they are best known and where the members know of their fruits.  They should love the pastor in their own community. It is better to join the church and not a preacher.  It is encouraging to the pastor for you to go and join the church where you live.  It is true that some from deep impression of mind and comfort received from some servant of God desire that he should baptize them, which is all right.  People should not wait for fleshly excitement to join.  Preaching Christ and His fullness will reach the experience of God's humble poor without undue excitement.  The first old Baptist preacher demanded fruits meet for repentance.  When one offers to the church he should tell his experience before being received.  It is a comfort to the church and each child of God to hear him, though in a broken, stammering way, tell what the Lord has done for him.  It causes your fellowship to be stronger for him.  We have seen children of God offer to the church and tell in broken sentences what the Lord had done for them.  I felt that I wanted to embrace them in my fellowship.  We can get so slack as to fill the church with the world.  When unregenerate people get into the church, we then sooner or later will have trouble.  Arminianism is there.  When a boy I became disgusted with protracted meetings and propositions.  These things may be indulged in mildly at the start, but will degenerate into Arminan practice and lead the church into Babylon.  The Arminian world depends upon protracted meetings almost solely to augment their numbers.  If Old Baptists use the same machinery that Arminians do, how much better will we be practically than they?  Like causes produce like effects.  I have never called on anybody to come up and give me their hand, and let me pray for them.  This has been the practice of the Fullerite Baptists.  Preachers are not mediators.  It is dangerous to regard them as such.  Christ is the only Mediator.  I once saw a good, humble child of God offer to the church, and she seemed so full I was anxious to hear her experience, for I saw the image of Jesus in her countenance, but the preacher did not let her have an opportunity to talk or tell anything.  I think this course unsafe for our people.  We should be careful in the reception of members.  Some of the humblest children of God can tell but little, but they can give evidence that they have passed from death unto life.  How sweet those little experiences! We should not go to another extreme and not properly nurse and encourage the Lord's children to follow the Saviour.

 L. H. 
 

The Conflicts of An Orphan

Primitive Baptist Writings :-     The Conflicts of an Orphan
by Lee Hanks

  The Conflict of an Orphan 

The Primitive Monitor, 1886  Introduction (February 1, 1886)

 Elder R. W. Thompson and D. H. Goble

 Esteemed brethren in Christ:  Feeling an impression and after many solicitations to write a sketch of the dealings of God with me a poor ruined sinner, I now make the attempt, praying that the God of all grace may direct my pen, that what I say may be to the comfort of all the dear family of grace.  First. I will attempt to give a short sketch of my natural life.  Second.  A portion of my experience from nature to grace.  Third.  My call to the ministry.  Fourth.  A sketch of my conflicts in the ministry. Birth and Childhood (February 1, 1886) I was born in Pittsylvania Co., Va., June 13, 1861. 

 My parents' names were William Hancks and Frances Hodges.  My father was quite a poor man when I first knew him, and was a hard working farmer, and taught all his children to labor for their support.  There were nine boys and three girls, eight of whom are yet living.  My father was not able to educate his children, consequently their education is limited.  My father died in the spring of 1869.  My mother is yet living.  Neither of my parents were members of any denomination.  I was the youngest of my father's children and after his death mother was unable to keep house, the older children having been married.  Shortly after the death of my father I was turned out to make a living as best I could, without any home or any person to supply my necessities.  I went from place to place and worked very hard, but received nothing for my labor.  I lived with one man several years and labored very hard and went very bare indeed.  In winter I had to labor very hard without any shoes to wear.  Often the blood would run out of my feet upon the frozen ground while I was working in the snow and ice, then if I did not please him he would whip me severely.  I was so scarce of clothes that I did not have clothes suitable to wear in respectable company, consequently I was deprived of going to meeting.  He would promise to send me to school, but I had to work all the time, hence I had no time to go to school. In June, 1874, he became angry with me and struck me in the back with a fence-rail.  I concluded I would leave him, but I knew if I left, I had no home, and I was afraid to leave for fear he might almost kill me, for I knew I was a poor orphan and of course orphans have but few friends.  However, I thought my condition would not be much worse let me go where I would.  So one Sunday morning I arose quite early and put what few things I had, in a little basket which my brother gave me and hid it in the weeds until about noon;  then I left, and went a few miles above there and hired to an man for $5.00 per month for one month.  At the expiration of which I took the money and gave $2.00 to mother, and I kept the remainder, with which I bought me a hat and a few clothes.  That was the first money I had ever had up to that time.  About this time a wagon wheel ran over my head which wounded me very much.  For some time I was unable to work.  I went to see my brother, near Danville, Virginia, and remained till October.  My brother gave me a pair of shoes for which I felt very thankful.  In October I returned to Franklin, Virginia, and that gentleman, whom I had left in the spring, came to me and wanted me to go back to his house to live again, and said that he would sent me to school five months, and pay me for all the work I did.  I went back and remained with him till March, 1875.  He only sent me to school eighteen days, and never gave me a thing but an old pair of pants which he had laid aside.  He again became so abusive and I was so bare of clothes, I left him and hired to a man near him for one month, at $3.00 per month.  I worked for him one month and he would not pay me and I left him and hired to another man till fall, who said he would give me $45.00 and two good suits of clothes.  I remained with him until the spring of 1876, but received nothing for my labor except a suit of clothes which cost sixteen cents a yard.  In the spring of 1876 I went to Bland Co., Virginia, and lived with my brother till 1877.  Up to this time I had been deprived of the privilege of going to school, and I was quite anxious to get an education.  In September I went to West Virginia, (I will tell my reason for going to West Virginia hereafter,) and made arrangements to go to school two months in the winter, by working nights, and mornings, and Saturdays.  I would rise at three or four o'clock of a morning and feed near a hundred head of cattle, several horses, and get wood for several fire places;  of a night I would work till eight o'clock in the rain and snow.  Sometimes, it seemed, I would almost freeze, I was so thinly clad.  After I would do my chores I would get dry wood to make me a light, and study till very late.  Thus I went on working in the summer to get clothes and books, and going to school in winter until I got far enough advanced to go to a normal school.  I was not able to pay my board, and I got the gentleman I lived with to go my security, that he would see my board paid.  I went several months to school, but was greatly cramped.  I was so badly clad he students would often laugh at me on the account of my extreme poverty, but I thought the smiles of the world did not amount to much noway, and I could bear that in order to get an education. After our school expired I got me a school, and taught four months and made money enough to pay all my indebtedness; for which I feel thankful to the GREAT I AM, for his manifold mercies toward me.  About this time I became in such feeble health I was unable to work, and have been badly afflicted ever since with my lungs, and dyspepsia, 'c.  But I feel thankful that it is even as well as it is.  While I am unable to work I can teach school and make a living.  I will tell more of my temporal life in the future.  Lee Hancks.  My Experience From Nature to Grace. (February 15, 1886) I, like all the rest of the posterity of Adam, was conceived in sin an shapen in iniquity.  I was taught in early childhood to live moral, and that there was a place of eternal punishment to which all that did not make themselves Christians by their good works were certain to be doomed.  I was taught and believed that God was in great trouble for fear he could not get all to be saved.  I imagined that God was standing with outstretched arms wooing and beseeching sinners to come.  I suppose that God was quite anxious to save me, because I was regarded as a very moral boy. All the preaching and Bibles in the world could not have made me believe that I was a poor, helpless sinner. I believed that I could bring God under obligations to save me at my will and time.  I had an imaginary God fixed in my mind, and trusted alone in my arm of flesh.  I possessed quite a pharisaical principle.  I memorized a prayer in my Sunday-school book and trusted in that prayer for my refuge.  When I was a child I would often have serious reflections upon the subject of religion.  I thought that I would like to be a Christian, not that I liked Christian people; but I merely desired to be a Christian to escape hell.  I concluded that at some future time, after I had taken my fill of sin, I would do good deeds enough to overbalance my evil ones, and by so doing, bring God under obligation to save me.  I used to be traveling of nights, and would become exceedingly frightened for fear that something would kill me, and I would go to hell.  This would cause me to become greatly concerned about my salvation and I would set days that I intended to make the start, and bring the Lord under obligation to save me; but the day for me to get ready to get religion never came.  I imagined that I far exceeded many professors of religion, and all I had to do was pray a little and sing a few good songs, and I would be a Christian.  I never once thought of a doubt or fear occurring after I had obtained a hope, but I would know I was a Christian, and be such a bright light that my influence would bring others to Jesus.  But O, how false.  In the summer of 1876, I became greatly concerned about my eternal destiny.  I became troubled but I did not know what about.  My sins seemed to come up before me to some extent, but it did not seem that I had sinned enough to become so greatly troubled.  In the month of September while lying upon my bed, I imagined I saw the whole human family gathered together in one assembly.  I seemed that it was the second coming of Christ, and there was a resurrection both of the just and unjust; all had arisen from their graves, and were in that assembly.  And I saw the good Shepherd, to wit, Jesus,  come and separate them as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats, placing the righteous upon the right  and the wicked upon the left.  I saw the righteous marching through the streets of the New Jerusalem praising God.  It seemed that they were the happiest people my eyes ever beheld. They had fought the good fight, and were now landed on the sunny banks of sweet deliverance.  These composed the elect of God, though previous to this I bitterly opposed the doctrine of election.  I imagined that by destiny was fixed with those upon the left.  I saw Satan in the form of a man come and take charge of me and the rest of the non-elect, and he took us down into a valley, in the midst of which was a dark and horrible pit burning with fire and brimstone; and it was called hell.  I saw the devil casting them into that fiery lake to be punished forever and ever.  I imagined that it was the final consummation of all things, and I soon had to be banished, or cast into that awful hell, where there is not eye to pity, no arm to save.  Oh, if I had one moment of time I would spend it in prayer to God.  I thought I should soon be like the rich man, crying for one drop of water to cool my parched tongue.  I say that I was a mass of corruption, and all I could do, was to cry justice to my eternal condemnation.  Oh, if I had a thousand tongues I could not tell the miserable feelings I had when I saw that I had to be banished from the presence of the Lord.  Too late to pray! Too late to ask for mercy, or for him to have mercy upon me. When I awoke I rejoiced to know that it was not a reality, but I did not know how soon it might be, for I thought that was to show me I would not live long, and when I died I would be forever lost.  I could see now that I was a poor, helpless sinner.  I felt like I would spend my days in the service of God, for he had given me a warning of my future destiny.  I tried to pray but found no relief.  During that winter my mind ran back upon the vanities of earth to a great extent.  In the month of April, 1877, that trouble came upon me greater than ever before, for I had told the Lord a lie by promising him that I would spend my days in his service, and now I had gone off into vice and folly, it seemed almost as far as ever before.  I tried to pray as earnestly as I knew, but it did not seem that my prayers ascended higher than my head, for I did not think that God would hear the prayers of such a wretched sinner as me, for my best performance was a mass of sin and corruption.  I often endeavored to read the Bible.  I could find sweet and precious promises there for somebody, but none for me.  All that I could take to myself was condemnation.  I felt like I was forsaken by all on earth; and God, being too pure to behold iniquity, could not be just and save such a poor sinner as me.  It seemed that I was the greatest sinner in the world, and that there is a hope for the vilest sinner, but no mercy for such as me. 'Oh, woe is me that I was born,  Or after death have being;  Fain would I be some earthly worm,  Which has no future being.  'Or had I died when I was young,  Oh! what would I have given!  Then might with babes my little tongue  Been praising God in heaven.  'Cries Satan, 'Desperate is your state,  Time's been you might repented,  But now you see it is too late,  So make yourself contented!'  'How I live! how can I rest,  Under this sore temptation,  Fearing the day of grace is past:  Lord hear my lamentation.' I felt like I would have exchanged my condition with the smallest insect, for I had sinned away the day of grace.  I went lamenting from day to day; no rest could I find.  I went to hear the Arminians preach, and they would tell me I must work in order to appease the wrath of God, but that was no comfort for a poor, heavy-laden sinner like myself, for I had begun to learn by experience that all my righteousness was nothing but a robe of filthy rags, and in me, that is in my flesh dwells nothing but corruption.  I felt that my prayers were enough to send my soul to hell if I never had committed another sin.  I saw that my heart was deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, being a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.  I saw that I was in an horrible pit in the mire and the clay, and could see no way for my escape.  I imagined that it was some disease preying upon my body, which would take my life, and I would have to be eternally banished from the presence of the Lord, and if there was anything I could do I wanted to do it.  One Sunday I went to see a Campbellite, who had recently joined to make inquiry what to do.  He said for me to join the church, then I would experience a change.  But Oh, I could never do that, for it would never do for such a sinner as me to attempt such a thing.  I went home trying to implore God for his mercy to be extended to me, feeling worse than I did before I went.  Hence I tried all manner of physicians, and grew no better, but rather grew worse.  I spent all my living, and the mountains became bare, the pools were dried, and rivers were islands.  I was in a land of famine, in a waste howling wilderness and a desert land, wandering in a solitary way, and found no city to dwell in.  I was hungry and thirsty, poor and naked.  I could see the enemy in the rear, and the Red Sea in front, and mountains on either side.  'Lord what wilt thou have me to do?' 'Amazed I stood, but could not tell  Which way to shun a moving hell,  For death and hell drew near.  I strove indeed, but strove in vain,  The sinner must be born again  Still sounded in my ear.  When to the law I trembling fled,  It cursed me and pronounced me dead.' When night came on I was afraid to sleep for fear I would wake in hell.  If there was anything I could do, I was willing to do it.  It seemed that I had done all I could do; worked all I could work, and I was at my wits' end, I could not go forward, neither could I go back.  Lord,--- 'Here's my heart, O take and seal it,  Seal it for thy courts above.' 'For drops of grief can ne'er repay  The debt of love I owe,  Here Lord I give myself away.  'Tis all that I can do.' 'And if my soul is sent to hell,  Thy righteous law approves it well.' Yet I was never made willing to go to hell, for I felt that if my soul were sent to hell, I would go begging for mercy.  One day, about the last of June, I was in the corn-field working corn. About 2 o'clock the earth seemed shrouded.  Everything looked gloomy, and all nature seemed to say, 'Amen' to my condemnation. I thought I was going to be banished in a short time from the presence of the Lord.  I had endeavored to pray in every way I knew how.  These thoughts came to me; 'I have said all I can say, and worked all I can work, and now if I am saved it is mercy, and if condemned it is just.  If I perish, I perish, but I will ask the Lord one more time to have mercy upon me.'  I cried out in bitterness of my soul, 'God be merciful to me a poor sinner.'  In an instant it seemed as if all my sins were gone, and all nature seemed to be helping me praise God.  The trees and little birds all seemed to look beautiful and were helping me praise him.  I felt like I loved everybody and everybody loved me, 'for the Lord has done great things from me whereof I am glad.'  I could view by and eye of faith 'a foundation opened up in the house of King David for sin and uncleaness.'  'Bless the Lord, O my soul!  All that is within me bless his holy name.'  'O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness and wonderful works to the children of men.' 'Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,  That saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost, but now am found,  Was blind but now I see.' 'Lest a shadow of a spot,  Should on my soul be found,  He took the robe the Saviour wrought  And cast it all around.' I felt that Jesus had revealed himself unto me as the 'chiefest among ten thousand, and the one altogether lovely.'  But it came in quite a different way from what I was expecting. Lee Hanks The Conflicts of an Orphan. (March 1, 1886) I thought if I ever received a hope I would know that I was a Christian for the Lord would speak to me face to face, and tell me I was a Christian.  But I was sadly mistaken for it came in quite a different manner from what I was expecting.  Hence, 'The Lord leads the blind by a way they knew not, and in paths they have not seen.  He makes darkness light and crooked ways straight.  These things he does unto them and will not forsake them.'  Soon after my deliverance doubts and fears arose, and I prayed for my burden back again that I might receive a brighter manifestation of my hope in Jesus.  The Arminians told me they had no doubts and fears, and I thought if I were a child of God I would be good like they were, but I never could get to the place where I had no doubts and fears; hence I thought that it was all imagination and no reality, and I tried to go back with my old associates in order to wear off my bad feelings.  So one time I went to a party, and participated, thinking that I could wear off my trouble.  But not so, for it seemed like I was only adding fuel to fire, and my troubles grew worse.  I knew in my mind that I was not Christian now, for a Christian would not do like I had done.  I tried to wear off my trouble, but all in vain.  I went to hear the Arminians preach, but could find no comfort.  Up to this time I never had lived in a Primitive Baptist section, where there was a Baptist church.  I was brought up among the Arminians, and was taught to hate the Primitive Baptists. In going to hear the Arminians preach, I never heard any touch on anything that I had experienced.  They would say, they knew they were Christians and would tell how good they had been, and how long it had been since they had sinned; but this did not agree with my feelings, for I was such a miserable sinner.  I could not keep myself one hour without sinning, for when I would do good evil was present, and I knew that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelt no good thing.  Thus I went on feeling that my case was an outside one, and I was alone in every sense of the word.  I could not go with my former associates for there was not enjoyment with them, neither could I go with their system of religion for there was no enjoyment with them, neither could I go with their system of religion for there was no comfort in that.  Hence trouble and sore conflicts pressed me down until I did not feel that I could live in that country any longer, thinking, perhaps, if I would leave I could get rid of my troubles.  A strong impression came upon me to go to West Virginia, but being only sixteen years of age and having no acquaintance or relatives living there and having no money to bear my expenses, rendered it quite a cross to go there in the midst of strangers.  But, feeling the impression so great, I ran away and went near Hinton, West Virginia, and wanted to go to Hinton but had no money to pay my ferryage.  I began to enquire for work and could get none.  I went on about six miles and hired to a Methodist.  I began to enquire of him what denominations were in that country.  He said there were 'Missionaries, Methodists, and Old Antes.' I asked him who the 'Old Antes' were, and he said that some called them 'Hard-shells,' 'Ironsides,' 'c., I asked if there were many 'Hard-shells' in that country and he said, 'a great many.'  He talked like they were the offscourings of the earth and were hated by almost every body.  He seemed to think it was a disgrace for respectable persons to associate with Primitive Baptists.  In a short time there was meeting in the neighborhood by the Old Baptists and I went to hear them, and there were six preachers and three of them preached.  There were quite a number of members present, all of whom were strangers according to the flesh, but I hope not in the spirit.  I thought I could tell every Primitive Baptist there, for they had a different appearance from the rest.  I felt like I loved them better than any people I had ever seen before, I could say of a truth they were my people.  They went on and preached and I felt that all the preaching from first to last was to me.  They told my experience better than I could.  I wondered why it was that they could tell my feelings so well, when I never had seen them before.  They gave God all the glory and abased the creature.  After meeting I tried to get to speak to one of the preachers.  I desired to tell him some of my feelings, but I did not think as good a man as he would ever speak to one so sinful as myself.  I felt like it would be a heaven on earth to me if I could be worthy of a name among them while I lived, for where they live is where I want to live and where they die I want to die.  O if I could be the least among them!  It would be enough for me.  All the next week I tried to pray day and night for a brighter manifestation of my hope.  I could see no comfort for I felt like I ought to be baptized, but I did not feel worthy.  I had no idea the brethren would listen to my little experience.  But on the next Sunday I went eleven miles to hear Elders Bird and Dobbins.  They preached in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.  After preaching an opportunity, for those who had a hope, was given to join them, and the first thing I knew I was giving Elder Bird my hand.  I went on in my feeble manner and related some of the dealings of the Lord with me, and to my surprise they received me.  I was not baptized until the next Sunday.  The week after I joined the church seemed a very long week, but I had quite a relief of my mind to think that I had found the church and a sweet home among God's people. I had trouble all the week about being baptized.  I felt that one so poor as I would be a disgrace to the cause of Christ.  I did not have but one suit of clothes and I was at a loss to know what to do for clothes to be baptized in, but when the time came the Methodist, with whom I was living, very reluctantly agreed to let me have some clothes for which I felt thankful.  On my way to New River church, (where I was baptized.)  I was at a loss to know what to do that night, I wanted to stay with the brethren, but I did not have any money to pay for staying.  I went to meeting and after preaching the church went into conference.  That was the first conference meeting I ever was at.  At first I could not imagine for what purpose they had gone into conference, unless they had heard of my imperfections and was going to exclude me.  After conference, several brethren, to my surprise, came to me and asked me to go with them home and I got to stay all night with a Primitive Baptist for the first time in my life and did not need a cent of money to pay my way.  Next morning I was baptized by Elder Wm. Dobbins at nine o'clock, and there I left a burden which I never have had since.  Everything seemed lovely and the brethren looked lovelier than ever before.  I felt that I had received the answer of a good conscience.  I never regretted joining the church, but many have been the times I have wondered how they could fellowship such a poor dust as I am.  After preaching I returned to where I was working.  The Methodist with whom I worked said that he did not want anybody to work for him that believed the doctrine that I did.  He seemed to think it would be demoralizing to his children to hear one talk that believed 'salvation by grace.'  I would often tell him my experience, but he seemed to regard it as an idle tale.  I soon left him and went to work with a Primitive Baptist.  O, how comforting to be so greatly blessed to be with on of the Lord's children every day and hear him talk of the goodness and mercy of God.  Now I could look back over my past life and say, 'Surely goodness and mercy has followed me all the days of my life.'  'Bless the Lord O my soul! and all that is within me bless his holy name.'  'What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me.'  No matter where I would go after I was baptized I could see that lovely people dwelling together in unity and I could feel at home among them. Lee Hancks. The Conflicts of an Orphan - My Call to the Ministry  (March 15, 1886) It is with fear and much trembling that I attempt to tell of my reasons for trying to preach.  How unworthy I feel to claim such an appellation, or to have a hope that God has called me a poor, sinful wretch to such a high position as a servant of God!  Not long after I joined the church, I had an impression to go forth and tell of the wonderful works of God to the children of men I felt like I wanted to talk about Jesus all the time, and the impression increased from day to day, and I concluded it was just to join the church.  After I joined, the impression came upon me greater than ever.  It seemed that I could enjoy the company of the brethren, and loved to be with them.  But I concluded that I must be deceived and had deceived the church, and the Lord was sorely chastising me for joining the church when I was not a child of God.  My troubles increased so greatly until I was satisfied I was deceived in the whole; hence I resolved to go to the church and tell them I was deceived, and to exclude me from their fellowship, for I was not worthy to remain with them.  In February, 1878 I concluded I would go to my next meeting for the purpose of telling them what a poor, deceptive creature I was.  On the night before our meeting I got down b y my bedside  and tried to pray to the Lord to show me whether or not I was deceived, and what was causing that great trouble.  I lay upon my bed, and it seemed that I was carried away into a dark valley-it was about the middle of the afternoon-where I saw before me an exceedingly high mountain, and on the other side was my home.  I started on hurriedly thinking that I could reach home before dark.  As I arrived at the base of the mountain the sun disappeared, and I was left in total darkness.  It seemed that the mountain was full of lions, tigers, bears, etc., which were ready to devour me if I attempted to cross.  It seemed that I might have crossed in the day and not have been hurt.  But here I am, a poor boy, I can not cross for there is no path and no light.  I can not stay here because I am surrounded by enemies. I smote upon my breast in deep agony of soul, and tried to implore God to give me light to cross the mountain.  I looked up and say the heavens open, and, the brightest light my eyes ever beheld descended and shone around me, far excelling the light of the noonday sun.  I looked before me and the mountain was divided into two walls, and there was a straight and narrow path which went between the two walls.  It seemed that the path was paved with pure gold, and the light shone upon the path and around me, and I was led on by the compelling power of God, and I was enabled to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.  It did not seem that I exercised a particle of natural strength, but I was led wholly by the Spirit, and my mouth being filled with words as fast as I could utter them.  When I came to myself everything looked lovely, and I could say with Jacob of old, 'It is enough, for Joseph' (Jesus) 'is alive and has been made known to me.'  I felt now that I would have to try to preach; but how can I preach?  I am too young; and many were the excuses that came up, but none eased my again troubled mind.  I now began to read the Bible, and about the first place I found was, 'Woe unto me if I preach not the gospel.'  These words would fill me so full I could read no more.  I would lay the book down and when I would open the Bible, I would open to the same words again.  I never could read the Bible without reading those words.  Oftentimes would I sit, and read, and cry, feeling my utter incompetency in every respect for the very solemn duty which I felt so deeply impressed upon me.  In the day my troubles were so great it seemed that my heart would almost break, and of a night I would lay and cry until late, praying for the Lord to take me from time rather than I should try to preach. My troubles were so great the brethren found out what they were about, and they began to try to get me to exercise, but I could not.  I felt to be too poor and unworthy.  A lady told me her experience one night after meeting, and I could not sleep for studying about my duty.  I felt more deeply impressed than ever to try to preach, and speak a word of comfort to that dear child of God, but the cross was too great.  I went home but could not work any, for my natural strength was almost taken from me, and for fear some of the family would ask why I did not work I put a poultice to my head, making out I was sick.  I thought if I could see some old preacher it would be quite a relief to my mind.  One afternoon I went to see Elder Wm. Dobbins; but when I got there it would have been the last thing I would have told him.  I went back feeling cast down in every respect.  Thus my troubles increased until February, 1879, when it seemed they were more than I could bear.  I would sit up of a night and read until late, and then would go outdoors in some secluded place, and try to pray the Lord to remove that impression.  One night after trying to pray I lay down upon my bed whether in the body or out of the body I can not tell, but I was in the midst of the valley with the Lord, and I followed him until we came to two roads, I took the left and he took the right.  He looked back and said, 'Take up two pebbles and follow me.'  I did so, and he said, 'These are the two talents you are to have.' I went on with a bowed-down head and an aching heart until we came to another road full of logs and brush.  There he told me there was a work for me to perform, and as soon as I completed it I would rest from my labors on earth, and be with him, for he dwelt at the other end of the road.  He gave me a text, to wit:  'Except ye be converted and become as little children you can in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven,' and disappeared.  When I came to myself again I felt the impression stronger than ever.  But how can I go?  I am of a slow speech and stammering tongue.  I am nothing but a poor boy, only eighteen years old, ignorant and unlearned, and surely the Lord would not call such a sinful wretch as I to stand upon the walls of Zion.  I felt that I was such a great sinner that my lips would stain the words with corruption if I were to try to preach.  I would often try to work, and the impression grew so strong till my natural strength was exhausted.  I would often lie down upon the ground and cry out in bitterness of soul, 'Lord, what shall I do?'  'I am not worthy of the blessings of life, and not worthy to die.'  It seemed to me that the Lord was too perfect and holy to even notice a poor sinful wretch like myself, and surely the impression can not be of the Lord, for 'I have no qualifications of a preacher whatever.  I was reared a very poor orphan; I have no education; I am too young; my acquaintance with the Primitive Baptists is too limited; I have but a very faint knowledge of the Scriptures; I am too extremely poor; I can not articulate plainly enough owing to the weakness in my vocal organs; I am badly afflicted in my lungs.  I brought quite a number of excuses like the above, but none relieved my poor troubled mind.  I asked the Lord for a sign like Gideon, and these words came with power, 'O, wicked and adulterous generation that seeketh after a sign.  No sign shall be given but the sign of the prophet Jonah.'  'How can I preach?' would often arise in my mind.  There is nothing I can say; but is not the One that made man's mouth able to fill it? I would go to meeting, but could hardly get back home, feeling that I had not discharged my duty.  One day I was hoeing corn, and my natural strength was taken from me, and I lay down upon a pile of wood and began to read these words which I read so often, 'Woe is me if I preach not the gospel.'  I began to pray, and I heard the sweetest music I had ever heard, for about an hour, over my head; and every expression was bidding me to go and preach.  I really thought it must be some instrument about home.  When I went to the house I asked them if they had heard that sweet music; and they said they had not.  When I retired to rest, I thought I saw the prophet Ezekiel preaching to a large multitude of Primitive Baptists, and he looked at me and said, 'Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.'  I thought I had rather be anything that a preacher, for I regarded it as a very sacred vocation.  My troubles kept increasing, and I concluded that I would leave the country and go to Kansas; then I could get red of trying to preach.  But I could not get any money to bear my expenses. I prayed for the Lord to take be from time, rather than preach.  Thus I went on in great trouble, feeling that I was like fire shut up in the bones, until September, 1879.  I was in a field pulling fodder when my troubles came upon me more than I felt that I could bear. I had prayed all I could pray, and had done all I could do.  I thought it was Satan that was causing me so much trouble, hence I made a vow that I would never try to preach.  No sooner had I made the vow than I fell helpless upon the ground, feeling that I was dying and going to be banished from the presence of the Lord for my disobedience.  I now felt that I was willing to give myself up into the hands of the Lord, to deal with me as seemeth good in his sight.  I promised the Lord if he would raise me, I would do the best I could.  I arose preaching and shouting praises to unto God, and if the world had been there I would not have been ashamed to have tried to preach.  This was September 19, 1879.

Lee Hanks. 
  
 

The Ministry, The Church and Fellowship

by Lee Hanks

 Advocate and Messenger, April, 1934

There are many gifts in the church that should be encouraged. We visit churches where a number of the brethren give good talks, exhort and offer public prayer. This is an evidence of life and each member is trying to bear his part. These gifts should all be encouraged. We have served churches where a goodly number of the male members would take part in the services. They all seemed to want to bear their part in worshipping and praising God who had done so much for them. To put such gifts into the pulpit and try to make preachers of them would perhaps destroy their usefulness. There is a use for each member in the body. The hand, foot, eye, ear, etc.; but we should not try to put any member out of its place. God calls and qualifies His ministers. Preaching is teaching. For one to offer prayer, exhort and tell his experience without expounding the doctrine and fundamental principles of our people is no sign that he is a preacher. Such gifts are necessary and should be appreciated, but do not try to make preachers of them. If one is called to the ministry, he will search the hearts of God's people and the church will find it out. One may have a flow of language and say many good things he has learned from others, but it does not reach the hearts of God's children. There are many sore afflictions experienced by a true preacher causing him to feel that all these things are against him, but he is being tried in the furnace of affliction to comfort others with the comfort wherewith he is comforted of God. Day will break into his soul again. One strong evidence of a true gospel preacher is humility, feeling his weakness and unworthiness of such a sacred vocation. he does not feel like bragging on himself, or of his ability, and when the brethren express their appreciation of him, it makes him feel unworthy. It is dangerous for one to become exalted. He that exalteth himself shall be abased. A preacher should not try to boss his brethren. He should remember he belongs to the church and not the church to him. He is a servant and not a lord. He should not seek promotion and want to supplant his brethren. If one is called of God his gift will make room for him. He should not be jealous of others. Jealousy is as cruel as the grave. He should be courteous to all his brethren in the ministry and prefer them before himself. He should preach the gospel because he loves it and loves the hearers. While a church should love and appreciate their pastor and other preachers and should administer to them, but filthy lucre should not be the motive that prompts the preacher. It is good for every preacher, when able, to do some work for example's sake. The preacher should preach by his daily walk. He should be a lover of good men and not associate with drunkards, gamblers, fornicators, profane swearers, and never drink with the drunken or encourage moonshiners or other lawbreakers. It would be a disgrace to go to the sacred desk with the smell of whisky on his breath. A preacher that becomes intoxicated should be excluded, not tell others how to live when he lives and ungodly life himself. He should not engage in foolish jestings or smutty jokes. A preacher without good influence is a curse instead of a blessing. He should study the qualifications of a true minister and should walk accordingly. Much is expected of him. He should not be quarrelsome and a meddler or dictator. He should study the doctrine and preach it as his experience and the Bible teachers. The church needs to be established on the fundamental principles of the doctrine and practice of our people. If the preacher does not educate his flock on these things they will go into heresies. Don't dwell on confusing experiences or church trouble. Don't preach the devil, preach Jesus in His fullness. This will comfort the little children and encourage them in love and good works. He should ever remember that life precedes action and that we are all poor and needy and need God's graces continually. His life should be prayerful, begging the Lord for guidance. Don't waste time trying to prove that Cain, Ishmael, Esau, the generation of vipers, the goats and Judas were the children of God. Jesus says to such, "Ye are of your father the devil, and his lusts ye will do." Joh 8:44 We know a tree by the fruit it bears. "By their fruits ye shall know them". Mt 7:20 There is an eternal heaven for the righteous and an everlasting punishment for the wicked, two classes spoken to all through the Bible. Never try to make a parable mean too much, just the lesson taught-that is enough. Don't spread predestination any farther than the Bible teaches. All of our people will accept it like Paul taught it. That will never divide. It is good always to use Bible terms on controverted points. We should beware of hobbies, dwelling on one point all the time. The church needs all that is taught on all Bible truths. We should be careful in the execution of discipline. The design of discipline is to save, not destroy. The church is not a slaughter house to destroy good brethren. If reports are circulated on a member, we should go to him with it in love and tell him of it. He may be able to prove his innocence. Never exclude a member without a hearing. "Doth our law condemn any man before it hears him?" (Joh 5:47). The heathen Romans would not condemn one to death until the accused and accuser were brought face to face and let him answer for himself. The laws of our country demand a fair trial even if one is guilty of crime, and gives him the right to defend himself (Ac 25:16). If a member makes a mistake his own church is the one to deal with him. When the fornicator (1Co 5) was excluded it was by his own church. Paul could not exclude him. It was the church at Corinth (2Co 2) that restored him. Ephesus Church could not deal with him. We need to teach repentance. If a member, or church or an association does wrong, when they repent, forgive them. It is not so much what they did in the past, but are they living right now? And we should remember that there are different phases of gospel truth taught,--there is an inorganic and an organic church; a faith implanted in the soul in the new birth and a gospel faith that we should earnestly contend for. Some depart from this faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Also there are different phases of salvation. We were saved in the purpose of God (not actually), but He purposed to save them before the world began. Jesus Christ came here to save sinners. He meritoriously saved them (Mt 1:21; 1Ti 1:15; 2Ti 1:9; Heb 1:3; 10:14); they are experimentally and manifestly saved in the new birth; baptism saves, not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God. We are saved by the Lord from darkness and despondency, saved providentially from afflictions, famines, pestilence; and we praise God for every blessing. We are poor beggars and in his great deliverances of us, we do not feel that we merit it. All the blessings are in Jesus. Without Him I have no hope. Let me have the loving fellowship of my brethren. Let us love each other well enough to talk and exchange views without bars of non-fellowship against each other. If you are stronger than I am, please bear with my weakness and pray for me. Submitted in love.

Lee Hanks

To God's Servants

by Lee Hanks

The Advocate & Messenger

I have felt sad many times this year, hearing of the passing of so many of God's precious servants. so few are coming on to supply the vacancy. Are we praying the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers into the vineyard? The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few. Do we appreciate the gifts that God has given us? The true minister occupies the highest position of anyone on earth. He is God's ambassador. He is sent, not to make sheep, but to feed the sheep and the lambs and gather them into the fold and nurse and care for them most tenderly. Not a command to feed goats to make sheep of them, not a command to regenerate a single alien sinner and make a child of God out of him. He should preach the gospel unto God's living children. It is declaring what has already been accomplished. "Love is of God, and everyone that loveth is born of God." This is gospel teaching. Birth of the spirit precedes love to God and His children. No one ever loved his natural parents to cause him to be born naturally-natural birth precedes natural love, hence spiritual birth precedes spiritual love. The dead sinner is exhorted by the world to believe in Christ in order to be a child of God or to have eternal life. The gospel says, "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God, and everyone that loveth Him that begat, loveth Him also that is begotten of Him." 1Jo 5; 1. The true spiritual believer is already born of the spirit and has everlasting life. Joh 5:24. Belief is a fruit of the spiritual birth, or evidence of divine life in the soul, and not the cause. Isaiah said, "Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins." Isa 40:1. This is declaring the gospel in prophecy. something that he Lord had already done for them. Nothing for them to do to make them God's children, they were already His children. The law-worshipper would tell the poor in spirit, the mourner, the hungering souls that they must perform a round of conditions to be blessed or to be God's children. The gospel teaches that they are already blessed and are God's living children. The gospel belongs to gospel subjects. "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that thought this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses." Ac 13:38-39. This is gospel teaching. The unbeliever is in a pitiful state before he believes, too late to believe in order to be justified. "Whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent." Ac 13:26. Not sent to dead sinners. The one who fears God is a living child of God. A true gospel preacher is a great blessing to God's little children. Gospel understanding, turns from the darkness of ignorance of the truth to know it and appreciate it. It shows where the true church is, and where there is a sweet home and resting place for the poor, hungering, thirsting souls. The gospel teaching saves the living from disobedience, faults and bewitching doctrines and commandments of men. How important for the gospel preacher to take heed unto himself and the doctrine, and continue in them, in doing this he saves himself and them that hear him. The character of a preacher is as tender and as easily soiled as that of a chaste young maiden. If she ever makes a mistake and loses her character, she can never regain it. A chaste maiden is a blessing to a community. She wields such an influence for good. And adulterous woman is one of the great causes of corrupting the morale of a community. A true Godly ministry wields the greatest influence for good among God's children. He should preach as he goes. He should be an example to the flock of God, realizing that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. There is a great responsibility resting upon a preacher. His life should be blameless, to have a good report of them that are without. He must be the husband of one wife only. If he has a wife, he should love her, cherish and care for her, forsaking all others. Nothing will destroy the usefulness of a minister as quickly as being too intimate with women. Fornication is a sin against God and against the whole church. Paul said, "Deliver such one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh." The minister is represented as the eye. "If the right eye offend thee, (the church), pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of the members should perish, and not that whole body be cast into hell." (Mt 5:29). The church is not a reformatory. For grave public sins against the church, exclusion is the only remedy. He should remain out until full confidence among the brethren is restored. In the restoration it should be unanimous, as much so as when one joins by experience. If one is a preacher and his brethren are offended on account of his sins publicly against the body, he should lay his gift at the altar and be reconciled to all his offended brethren before offering his gift again. We are one people and should all strive for the things that make for peace. It is better for one member to suffer than for the whole church to be thrown into confusion. We should so live as to have the confidence of our brethren generally. There can be no fellowship without confidence. It is a serious thing to divide the Lord's people. Jesus laid down His precious life for us and we should lay down our lives for our brethren. I am sure that one who is separated from the church, if he will be meek, humble and walk as an humble follower of Christ, he will be restored to their love and fellowship.

Where Are We Drifting?

by Lee Hanks

Advocate and Messenger -- 1924

Where are we drifting? The church and the world seem to have a tendency to degeneracy. Where is that beautiful church clothed with humility, love, peace, fellowship, honesty, truthfulness, sobriety and with garments clad in white? The church that is the light of the world? that city set on a hill whose light cannot be hid? Once it could be said of her, 'Behold, how they love one another.' Her ministry was humble and loved unity and fellowship. They preached Jesus the Way, the truth and the Life. They had no hobbies then. Yes, forty-five years ago I never heard them disputing about Absolute Predestination. They preached predestination like the Bible teaches and there stopped, preaching the truth has never divided Primitive Baptists. They loved the cause of the Master then better than any vexed question. Preachers loved and appreciated each other then. Preachers belonged to the church in those days and the church would deal with a preacher when he went wrong the same as others. Preachers can preach or practice almost anything they please now and get a following. Iniquity abounds and the love of many has waxed cold. The churches should assert their rights and follow no man in his departures. Members and preachers should be humble and kind to each other and see that they introduce nothing that will produce strife and confusion we had all better be satisfied to be little preachers and at the feet of our brethren than to be divided. There is nothing lost by kindness and gentleness, but much gained. It is good and safe for each one to tell the Whole truth. Do not misrepresent to carry your point. Be sure your sin will find you out. Do not charge the other man with the cause of trouble when you yourself are the cause. The Old Baptist Church has no Popes in it and they need none. Discipline belongs to the church and not to the preacher. The churches should take their ministry in hand, love them, care for them, advise them, and tell them in love of any hurtful practice they may engage in. Preachers should not spread trouble. If he is under a cloud, he had better stay close to home until that is removed. Let us all love one another with pure hearts fervently. And lay aside all malice, guile, envy, hypocrisy, backbiting, evil speaking, and be kind one to another. If any are wrong, do not justify them in the wrong. Oh, that there could be an awakening in Israel to a faithful discharge of all their duties to God and one another. My poor heart is made sick to see trouble in Israel and then to see the rapid tendency to destruction in people in general. Shameful dressing of women, getting their sparsely clad fashion from degenerate women, with bobbed hair, wearing men's clothes, riding horse-back with a man's saddle, attending bathing resorts with very little clothing on, mid-night auto riding, disrespecting the teaching of parents, extravagance, debt, and numerous other evils flooding the country Which cause us to feel that perilous times are upon us. Surely, we are living in the last days! Was Sodom and Gomorrah much worse than the world now? You need not be surprised at the judgments of God being poured out upon us. Lord help us.

L.H.