Various Primitive Baptist Writings 3

A Child Shall Write Them

 "A Child Shall Write Them"

By David Pyles

Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man: And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood. Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth. And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them. - Isa 10:12-18

The Lord raised up the Assyrian nation that it might punish the House of Israel for its rebellion against God. The Assyrians invaded and destroyed Samaria and carried away into captivity the ten tribes that occupied it. They also greatly afflicted Judah.

This prophecy explains that the greatness of the Assyrians would be due to the providence of God, Who ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men, (Da 4:17). The Assyrians were merely an ax or saw in the hand of God; however, they would not perceive themselves this way, but would attribute their greatness to themselves. Indeed, the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, and his wicked emissary, Rabshakeh, would blaspheme God and consider Him to be as helpless against their mighty army as the idol Gods of all the nations they had already destroyed (Isa 36). This blasphemy was prophesied earlier in the chapter from which the above quote was taken. The arrogance and blasphemy of the Assyrians would prove their undoing.

This prophecy claimed the Lord would destroy them in one day. It is elsewhere prophesied that Judah would be delivered from them and that not so much as an arrow would be fired against Jerusalem (Isa 37:33). An even more amazing prophecy was given by Hosea, who affirmed the Lord would deliver Judah, but that he would not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen, (Ho 1:7). Finally, Isaiah here claimed that God's destruction of the Assyrians would be so thorough that a child could write them. That is, a child who was just beginning to learn numbers and count would be able to count what was left of the Assyrian army.

This prophecy was fulfilled in Isa 37:36-38 when the Lord sent an angel into the Assyrian army and destroyed 185,000 of them in one night. Some historians have claimed that as few as five Assyrians escaped this destruction and returned home. One will have little difficulty finding children who are less than three years of age that could count a number so small as this!

A Note on Rebaptism to the Prospective Primitive Baptist

A Note on Rebaptism to the Prospective Primitive Baptist

By Elder David Pyles

Some potential converts to the Primitive Baptists have difficulty understanding their policy of rebaptizing all who come to them from other orders. This ancient practice of Primitive Baptists has many points in its defense. I attempt to present some of them in what follows, and wish particularly to address the most common questions asked concerning the practice.

1) Of those who have come to the Primitive Baptists from other orders, a great number had a deep conviction they were in need of rebaptism. These probably represent the majority of cases in my experience. Such cases prove that a mere conviction on the part a candidate that their first baptism is satisfactory is not sufficient to prove it such. Because if two individuals come to the Primitive Baptists with essentially identical backgrounds, then surely what is right for one is right for the other. Therefore, if it is right to rebaptize in one case, then it must be right to rebaptize in all similar cases. Now when it observed that those who came desiring rebaptism subsequently proved to be devout disciples, and in some instances even proved to be persons of beneficial leadership, then the strength of this experience serves to corroborate their original conviction that rebaptism was the proper course.

2) The denominationalism existing in our present world is a sad condition that Primitive Baptists did not cause and do not endorse; nevertheless, they must deal with it in a sound and consistent manner. Since the scriptures offer no New Testament precedent for denominationalism, the problem must be addressed using general scriptural principle and rules of sound reasoning. Under such approach, one is constrained to conclude that it is inconsistent to permanently sever fellowship with another denomination but to then receive the baptisms of that denomination. This follows because if the local churches in that denomination are indeed recognized by God as valid churches, then fellowship with them should not have been severed. Instead, scriptural labor should have been conducted for their correction. On the other hand, if these churches are not recognized by God as valid, then there is no authority for receiving their baptisms because there is nothing in scripture serving to qualify the baptisms of a nonchurch institution. This reasoning might not pertain to an intra-denominational division wherein fellowship were temporarily suspended for corrective purposes, but it must be valid for those inter-denominational divisions that are viewed as permanent. In maintaining these permanent bars of fellowship against each other, the churches of the denominational world have in effect declared that they cannot certainly know that their rivals are Divinely recognized churches. This being the case, they cannot certainly know that the baptisms performed by their rivals are valid. It is therefore inconsistent to receive these baptisms as though there were no question concerning them.

3) The validity of any religious or solemn service is critically dependent upon the intent and understanding of those who participate in them. If the intent or understanding is significantly in error, then the service cannot be valid. For example, suppose a young couple were in a wedding service and suppose the woman understood the service to be merely a rehearsal whereas the man thought the service to be genuine. Surely this would not be a valid wedding, and once the misunderstanding were discovered, neither the woman nor the man would be satisfied until the service were performed again. As a second example, I know of an actual case where a young man participated in a communion service thinking that a snack was being served. This occurred in a denominational church where grape juice and crackers were used. Though the actions of the young man were outwardly the same as all other participants, it is clear that this service was not true communion to him, nor could it be considered such even after his understanding were corrected. These examples show the importance of understanding in solemn service. Here is yet a third example to show the importance of intent: A certain man went into the woods with a gun intending to shoot a deer, but his shot went astray and killed another man. Then there was another man went into the woods with a gun intending to murder a man, but his shot went astray and killed a deer. Which man is a murderer and which man is innocent? Obviously, the answer to this question depends entirely upon the intents of the men. Accordingly, the understanding and intent mean everything to the baptismal service. If a person has been baptized under false doctrinal notions, a false concept of Christ or a false understanding of the purpose of the baptism, then there is need that the service be performed again.

4) If the Primitive Baptists are what they claim, then they are of the same lineage, doctrine and practice as the true New Testament church. If the Primitive Baptists are not true to this claim, then one has no reason for leaving another order to come to them. Now there is only one instance in the Bible where people were baptized apart from this lineage (Ac 19:1-7), and in that one instance, those people were rebaptized. This was done notwithstanding the fact that those people were sincere in their convictions when they were first baptized, and notwithstanding the fact that the Bible considered them to be believers when they were first baptized.

5) The most common objection to rebaptism is the claim that the individual had a good feeling during their prior baptism. Our reply to this is that the feelings one has concerning their baptism is no trivial matter and we do not dismiss them as unimportant, even when they pertain to a baptism we consider unsatisfactory. Nonetheless, feelings alone are not a reliable criteria for assessing a baptism, or anything else. Consider the fact that those who practice infant baptism generally have a very good feeling about the service. They are very sentimental about it and have even been known to resort to violence in its defense. But this certainly does not make the service valid. Nor can good feelings justify anything that is contrary to the revealed will of God or at variance with sound reasoning.

6) But even if the good feelings concerning the former baptism were due to the blessings and assurance of God, this would not make rebaptism redundant or unnecessary. It is indeed the case that God may have blessed the former baptism by granting a feeling of His approval and assurance. This was because the individual was then doing the best they could given the knowledge they had at the time. If such efforts do not secure the blessings of God, then none of us would have any hope of being blessed in our endeavors to obey. The best any man can do is to act in accordance with what he believes to be right in the light of what has been revealed to him. But to be blessed by God for our imperfect efforts does not imply that we should be satisfied with those efforts or do nothing to correct them. There have been many times that I have felt blessed to preach upon a particular subject, but later discovered that I had given improper explanations to certain texts in the course of the sermon. Am I to conclude that because I felt blessed in these efforts that I should do nothing to correct those errors? Or should I conclude that because I felt blessed in these efforts that what I preached was surely accurate notwithstanding clear objective evidence to the contrary? Surely this would not be the proper course. It is my responsibility to do the best I can now given the knowledge I have now, even as I did the best I could then given the knowledge I had then. The same may be said of that individual who was baptized under erroneous convictions yet was blessed in it because their actions were done in sincerity.

7) The Apostle Paul told the Corinthians:

"For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him." - 2Co 11:4

This text asserts there is another Jesus preached in this world besides the true Jesus of the Bible. There is also another gospel and another Spirit. Those who preach the other Jesus are in fact preaching the same historic Jesus of the Bible, yet Paul called him "another" Jesus because he is not the same in concept with the Jesus of the Bible, and his doctrine is not the same as taught by the true Jesus. Accordingly, the Jesus taught by the denominational world is not the same Jesus taught by the Primitive Baptists. Nor do they teach the same gospel and same Spirit. Anyone failing to see these differences is not truly ready to be a Primitive Baptist, and if their perceptions were correct, they would stand nothing to gain by becoming a Primitive Baptist. What could be gained by coming to the Primitive Baptists from another order if the Primitive Baptists teach the same Jesus, gospel and Spirit? But if Primitive Baptists indeed preach the true Jesus, and if world preaches another Jesus, then it is surely a feeble and dubious testimony when a person has willfully submitted to baptism for the other Jesus but has refused baptism for the true one. It is difficult to see how that this can be the proper answer of a good conscience towards God (1Pe 3:21).

8) Baptism is a joyous experience in the heart of anyone who is filled with the Holy Ghost. Any experienced pastor has heard the most spiritual members of his congregation make statements like: "I would have joined the church again today if I could have," or "I would have been baptized again today if I could have," or "How could anyone not join after the wonderful meeting we had today?" Even John the Baptist, of whom the Lord required no baptism, expressed a desire for it (Mt 3:14). And I believe that if any child of God will carefully consider the points I have given, and if they will consider the blessedness of knowing the true Jesus and true Spirit, and of hearing the true gospel, then they will find baptism unto these to be their joy and desire.

A Short Defense of the Doctrine of Irresistible Grace

A Short Defense of the Doctrine of
Irresistible Grace


By
David Pyles


In this article we hope to prove to the reader's satisfaction the scriptural truthfulness of the doctrine of irresistible grace. This doctrine asserts that the quickening power of God's Spirit will be irresistibly imposed upon all the elect at some point in their lives. Therefore all chosen in Christ will experience the new birth before departing this life. We are firmly persuaded that this doctrine is absolutely essential to soundness in the general doctrine of salvation.

Now the skeptic might immediately object that the doctrine of irresistible grace presupposes the doctrine of election, and that one will never prove the former without establishing the latter. However, if it can be shown that God's Holy Spirit is irresistibly imposed upon some, then election is thereby largely confirmed, because it is certain that God's Spirit is not irresistibly imposed upon all. Therefore, election is implied by irresistible grace inasmuch as some are chosen for such grace while it is obvious that others are not. Moreover, it is an unmerited election that is implied by irresistible grace, for what purpose is served in applying irresistible grace to those offering no resistance?

Since the third chapter of John contains some of the most important scriptures treating the new birth, we would expect it to say something of irresistible grace if the doctrine were indeed true. In fact a very important text comes from the eighth verse. Here the Lord says, The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Therefore, as the wind is sovereign and irresistible in its course (it bloweth where it listeth), so likewise is the Holy Spirit in His work of the new birth. He undertakes the spiritual quickening when and where He pleases, and His efforts never prove abortive.

Further observe that there are no exceptions to the rule of Joh 3:8, for so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Therefore, if it can be shown that some are quickened under the power of irresistible grace, then it must be concluded that all are quickened under that same power.

Perhaps the clearest and most remarkable case of irresistible grace in the scriptures is that of the Apostle Paul's. He was set in total resistance to the Christ and the gospel, but was then changed to one of the greatest of all advocates of Christ. As remarkable as Paul's case may be, we may nonetheless conclude that irresistible grace pertains to all, for so is every one that is born of the Spirit. This is further confirmed by Paul's own statement in 1Ti 1:16 - Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Which confirms Paul's case to be that of all believers inasmuch as Paul's case is a pattern for theirs.

Jesus said in Joh 6:37, All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. Therefore, the salvation of those given to Christ is an absolute certainty. However, Jesus also said in Joh 3:3, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. It follows that all given to Christ will certainly be born again. But how could such certainty be achieved without the irresistible intervention of God?

Clearly, irresistible grace must pertain to those given to Christ in Joh 6:37. Now suppose that election is denied, notwithstanding the clear implications of Joh 6:37, and that persons apart from those given to Christ will finally be saved. Then these too must be the subjects of irresistible grace, for so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

It is unfortunate that Joh 3:16 is seldom understood within the light that Joh 3:8 casts upon it. Joh 3:16 clearly asserts that true believers in Jesus are saved. It therefore teaches us about the proof of salvation. However, it says little about the cause of salvation. The cause of salvation can be discovered only after determining the cause of belief, but Joh 3:16 says nothing of this. Unfortunately, the typical Christian interjects an untenable hypothesis at this point by assuming belief to be caused by the autonomous decision of the individual. But it is logically impossible to have an autonomous individual and, at the same time, a Holy Spirit imposing a sovereign and irresistible force such as the wind. Clearly, the usual hypothesis supporting Joh 3:16 is at odds with the implications of Joh 3:8.

It is totally unnecessary to interject any hypothesis on this point for Joh 3:16 together with Joh 3:8 settle the matter: Belief is caused by the sovereign and irresistible power of the Holy Spirit upon the heart (Joh 3:8). This belief is in turn the proof of salvation (Joh 3:16).

It should further be observed that as the Spirit moves where it listeth in the work of the new birth, it cannot be deterred by the inability or unwillingness of man to disperse that gospel. We are compelled to conclude that either: 1) The Spirit uniformly uses the gospel as a means to the new birth, in which event the Spirit must compel men to preach the gospel to all who are to be born again, or 2) The Spirit may quicken without the agency of man, in which event the Spirit must quicken apart from the gospel or else become itself the preacher. We will not pursue this at length since it would carry us from our topic. Suffice it to say that the latter must be true because of scriptural statements concerning infants (Mt 11:25; 21:16, and Lu 1:15) and scriptural statements concerning limitations on man's ability to deliver the gospel (Mt 9:37; Ro 15:31, and 2Th 3:1).

We may also infer the doctrine of irresistible grace from scriptures teaching the spiritual incapacity of natural man. For example, 1Co 2:14 reads, But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Since natural man is both unwilling and unable to receive spiritual things, then it must certainly be the case that he is neither willing nor able to receive the Holy Spirit Himself. How is he then to experience the spiritual birth? Clearly, this can happen only if the Spirit irresistibly imposes Himself.

But the objector will likely assert that this is an oversimplification. That in fact the Spirit partially capacitates the man to spiritual things, at which point the man must properly direct his own will for completion of the spiritual birth. Supposing this to be true, then what if the Spirit were to be successfully resisted in all of this? Then the intents of the Spirit could be frustrated by the uncooperation of man, and it could not be properly said that the Spirit worketh where it listeth. We must conclude that the will of man has no active part in the spiritual birth, but his passive response will be that of Ps 110:3 - Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power... According, The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord (Pr 16:1).

On this point, the Lord establishes yet another unappreciated truth in John three when He says in verse six, That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. This truth derives from a principle governing all of God's creation; namely, that God has so arranged that like begets like in all things. A horse has never contributed to the birth of a cow; likewise, a natural man cannot contribute toward the birth of a spiritual man, either in himself or others. The claim that natural man contributes to any degree toward his spiritual origin is contrary not only to the express statement of the Lord, but also to all that we know about God from the creation.

Furthermore, were the cooperation of man required in the spiritual birth, then spiritual birth becomes a gross misnomer, for what living creature ever contributed toward its birth? Indeed, all scriptural analogies to the acquisition of spiritual life convey the truth of irresistible grace. These analogies include:

1) a birth - Joh 1:11-13; 3:3-8
2) a quickening - Eph 2:1-5; Col 2:13
3) a translation - Col 1:12-13
4) a resurrection - Joh 5:25-29
5) a creation - 2Co 5:17; Eph 2:10

Clearly, no creature ever contributed toward its own creation. Accordingly, the dead cannot contribute toward their own resurrection. In fact all of these analogies suggest an irresistible power working on a passive object. We are compelled by their collective preponderance to conclude that irresistible grace is an irresistible truth.

As any truth will harmonize with all scriptures, likewise the doctrine of irresistible grace accords perfectly with the numerous scriptures asserting that spiritual life derives from the will of God and not from the will of man. For example, Joh 1:13 tells us that we were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. We may also add: Joh 5:21; Ro 9:11-16; 2Ti 1:9-10; Heb 10:7-10, and others.

But what of the texts that speak of quenching the Spirit (1Th 5:19) or of grieving the Spirit (Eph 4:30)? It is important to understand that the doctrine of irresistible grace refers to the work of the Spirit in the new birth only. It is clear from both scriptures and experience that the Spirit does not irresistibly impose Himself in all matters. The Lord's people can cause the power of the Spirit to be diminished in their lives through apathy, disobedience, and departures from the truth (e.g. 1Co 3:1 and Ga 3:3). Accordingly, texts referring to the Spirit being quenched, grieved, etc. have no reference to the new birth, but are admonitions to those who have already experienced the new birth. May we ever proclaim the truth of irresistible grace and its accompanying doctrines that this never become the case among us.

A Short Examination of Intermediate States

A Short Examination of Intermediate States

By David Pyles

A popular idea among many Christians today is that saints who died in the Old Testament era did not immediately go to heaven, but were placed in some intermediate abode until the time of the resurrection.  This idea has been adopted even by some who believe the doctrines of grace.

Advocates of this theory typically claim that individuals in Old Testament times could not have been carried into heaven because redemptive blood had not yet been shed for them. Of course those teaching a conditional salvation generally have a motive in adopting this theory because their proposed conditions of salvation oftentimes were not met, and perhaps could not have been met, by saints in the Old Testament era. The intermediate state therefore serves as a patch over an otherwise glaring hole in their doctrine. Since the doctrines of grace have no such deficiency, it is a bit surprising to find its advocates also adopting the idea of intermediate states. In what follows, I am primarily addressing those who are, or claim to be, believers in grace, yet adhere to this idea. I believe these are inconsistent positions.

Advocates of this theory commonly claim that paradise in the scriptures refers to the intermediate state of the righteous, and that it was part of the Old Testament Sheol. It is further claimed that Sheol had two compartments separated by an intraversable gulf; one compartment for the righteous and the other for the wicked, and that these two compartments can be seen in the account of the rich man and Lazarus in Lu 16, where it is claimed that Abraham's bosom was paradise, or the intermediate abode of the righteous.

To all of this I object on the basis of:

1) There are certain things the Lord has chosen to clearly reveal in the scriptures and other things He has chosen to leave as mystery. Regarding the state of man after death, we should expect this to be placed in the former category. Otherwise, our ultimate personal interest in matters of religion would be left in a state of conjecture. Yet I do not know of a single scripture expressly declaring the existence, in past or present, of an intermediate state. Theories asserting such are, at best, based on interpolation, yet we should expect explicit revelation on matters such as this.

2) The New Testament term paradise must refer to nothing other than heaven, as can be seen from:

a) Paradise is equivalent to the third heaven or the place where God dwells (2Co 12:1-4).
b) One must be caught up to Paradise (2Co 12:4), whereas one typically descends into Sheol (De 32:22; Pr 15:24; Isa 14:9; Eze 31:16).
c) Paradise is the location of the tree of life (Re 2:7).
d) Paradise is the place where Christ and the thief went after their crucifixions (Lu 23:43), yet the scriptures elsewhere make it plain that Christ ascended unto the Father at such time (Joh 13:1; 14:1-4).

3) The account of the rich man and Lazarus (Lu 16:19-31) has one man in heaven and the other man in hell immediately after their deaths. The idea that Abraham's bosom was ever used by the Jews in reference to an intermediate state has no support to my knowledge, and it is highly unlikely they would use such a blessed description of Sheol given the way the latter is described in the Old Testament. On the other hand, there is ample evidence that the Jews did in fact use this term in reference to heaven (see Gill's comments). Besides, it is very plain that the rich man did not go to an intermediate abode, but went directly to hell, and as the case of Lazarus was diametrical to this, the reasonable inference is that neither was he placed in an intermediate abode.

4) Wherever the deceased went prior to the crucifixion, it is evident they did not all go to the same place. Lazarus went to a place of comfort whereas the rich man went to a place of torment. Further, these two places were separated by a gulf that no man could cross. Even the advocates of intermediate states commonly acknowledge this, saying these two men were placed in separate compartments of the intermediate state. But this observation provokes the following question: Upon what legal basis was Lazarus distinguished from the rich man? and upon what legal basis was any sin-cursed man of the Old Testament era put in the place of comfort instead of the place of torment? It cannot be consistently claimed that the basis was the prospect of redemptive blood, for then the advocates of intermediate states would be endorsing the very principle they purport to oppose. If one could not be delivered from hell to Heaven on the basis of prospective blood, but had to be retained in an intermediate state until such blood was shed, then it stands to reason that this intermediate state could not have made any distinction between the wicked and righteous, because the basis for such distinction had not yet been validated. Yet it is clear from the rich man and Lazarus that a distinction was indeed made.

Another perplexing question is that if the promise of redemptive blood was sufficient to deliver one from the tormenting intermediate state to the comforting one, then why was it insufficient to deliver one from the torments of hell to the bliss of Heaven? and where is the scripture stating that it would be suitable for the former purpose but not for the latter?

On the other hand, if it be claimed that the deceased were divided between the intermediate states on the basis of their own merit, then matters only become worse, because then it could not be the case that Jesus truly delivered any Old Testament saint from hell. He merely delivered them from one place of comfort to a better place of comfort. This is absurd.

5) Col 3:20 asserts that Christ by the blood of His cross reconciled all things unto Himself, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven, but what would there have been to reconcile in Heaven if saints were prohibited from going there prior to the shedding of Christ's blood? I believe the meaning of this scripture is that Christ reconciled those who had formerly died and gone to heaven on the promise of redemption, and that He further reconciled those who were yet alive and would yet live on the earth.

I believe these objections are sufficient to show that intermediate states have no real support in the scriptures. Whether it be the Old Testament era or the New, the departed souls of men were immediately transported to their final destinies.

AS.000 Autobiography and Sermons of Elder Walter Cash

 



ElderWalter Cash

Autobiography and Sermons



1925


Reprinted 2009


Elder Harold Hunt

P O Box 5352

Maryville TN 37802




AUTOBIOGRAPHY

AND

SERMONS


BY ELDER WALTER CASH

JULY, 1925

Observations on incidents connected with the churches during nearly fifty years in the ministry, and sermons covering principal doctrinal, experimental and practical subjects.


Reprinted January, 2008

Elder Harold Hunt

P O Box 5352

Maryville 37802

AS.001 Foreword

FOREWORD

For a good many years I have had it in mind to issue this book. But my idea of the character of the work changed considerably. I first thought to write a sketch of my life, but I learned to think so little of my life in its connection with the world, that I gave up that idea. If there is any good to come out of my life I would not claim the credit, I would simply say that God has been good. I do know that I have made many mistakes, and I do not want to record them. So I do not feel to write much about myself.

I know that the main thought of my life has been to serve God in whose grace I am hoping. I feel it would be more consistent to dedicate this work to speaking of things connected with the kingdom of God which I have tried to forward, but in a feeble way, for so many years.

It is true my life has been full of labor at other things than preaching the gospel, but none of these things have ever become a real objective with me—all were just incidental. I had a large family of children(and not too large either). I must care for them, and in some way I must make money to do this. But I never neglected my churches to accomplish this. I hardly know how my wife and I got along as well as we did, though I know we worked hard. But I see now it was by God’s providence that our children were educated for practical lives, and formed good characters. I offer no apology for the pictures in the book as a man’s life is in great part represented in his family.

I never had it take possession of me to try to accumulate money to leave to the children, and I am glad now that I did not have that ambition. This would have taken my mind from my work in serving the churches, and it is a serious question whether it might have done the children more harm than good to have done so. As it is, they are self reliant and capable, and I am thankful to be able to say that they do not blame me for the course I have taken. They all love and honor the church to which I have given my service, and I am thankful for that.

So I am not writing to show what a success I have been, but to acknowledge God’s mercy, and to keep in line with what has been an objective in my life, to be helpful to others. If this book shall help others to be more spiritually minded, and influence any to be more active in the service of God and useful to the church, my purpose shall have been accomplished.

I would like much to mention names of brethren and sisters, but I could not stop with the names of only a few of the many ministers and lay members who have come into my life and been dear to me, so I can see no way but to omit such mention, or make the work too large. But they are by no means forgotten. The loved faces and remembrances of those met in the Far West, the East and the South where I have traveled and preached live in memory dear, and it is sweet to recall them often.

And then there are those who nursed and encouraged me in my boyhood when I first went forward to serve the churches, many of whom have fallen asleep; I would be glad to name these. Those living who are yet true and tender in the love and fellowship in which we have lived, these know that I love them, and they will understand why I must take the course that I have. I am glad to say that nothing has come between me and the churches 1 first served to destroy the love and fellowship which has existed so many years.

I thought when I first contemplated this work that I would issue it when near the close of my life. But some way of late I have been impressed with a feeling sense of the uncertainty of life, especially for those of my age, and I feel if I am to leave something as a testimony of remembrance for the love and fellowship of Primitive Baptists and friends that has been extended to me in so many states, I had better do it now.

I do not wish it understood that I feel my work is done in the churches and through the “Messenger of Peace,” for I feel more interest now than I have known in my whole life, and I feel more earnestness in preaching, and expect to keep right on as long as God gives me strength to do so. I pray God’s blessing on our ministry. I am in full sympathy with you, brethren. I pray for the churches. May the hearts of the members be warmed up to take more and more interest in the cause of Christ our King. Hold together and love each other. I pray for our cause, for I believe it stands for the truth of God. I give this my testimony for the cause I love.

Yours to serve in Christ our Lord.

Walter Cash.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I

Great-grandfather Warren Cash—His and his wife’s conversion—Beech Creek church—Visit to Beech Creek church—Gilead church—Family descendants—My father Loyd Cash—My brothers and sisters—First and second marriages—Pro-genitors Baptists—Cause for low state of churches—Sunday schools—First meetings attended—Ox wagon days—West Union church—These were the preachers

CHAPTER II Becoming seriously concerned—Trying the mourner’s bench—Seeking evidence—My trouble is a heart matter—Comparison with the Beasts—The bitterness of condemnation—Seeking the glory of Christ’s kingdom—The mind vision of the church—Rejoicing yet wondering—Dreaming of Jerusalem—The stream to be crossed—The interpretation of the dream—The true church of Christ—Thoughts of church membership—Uniting with the church

CHAPTER III

Talking meetings—First thought of preaching—A severe test of loyalty—Objection to being licensed—Members should conduct services—-Two dreams—The first dream—The other dream—My wife joins the church—Refused to pay quarterage—Leaving a denomination—Ordination should not be sought—

Ordained in May, 1880

CHAPTER IV

The arm of West Union—Practical Suggestions for Primitive Baptists—A serious decision—Preachers who were unfair—Exhortation to young preachers—Withholding truth for favor—Selfish influences—The Lord opens the way for duty—A difficult trip—Satan argues against the trip—Joyful end of the journey—Failures of preachers

CHAPTER V

Called to pastorate of Liberty church—Preaching experimental and practical—Younger members added—Harmonizing old and young—Old members to be considerate of young—Young and old should stand close together—Thoughtless neglect—Visiting the fatherless and widows—The wells of salvation—Isaac opens old wells of Abraham—The character of our singing—Follow the tracks—The examples which influence us—The map of tracks—The Savior’s footsteps

CHAPTER VI

Excuses for absence—Complaining of my lot—A wonder-

ful message—Humbled and reconciled—An error in an exclusion—The wrong righted—A period of discouragement—Thinking too much of self—Get a preacher to help—Lack of faith and patience—Building a church house—Trouble in West Union church—Striving to hide mention of money—Mt. Salem church divided—Extreme and heretical statements—Extreme statements charged to the denomination—Visit the Hazel Creek association—I hoped not to be recognized—Preach under difficulties—Elder Blakely endorses me—I am taught not to fear man

CHAPTER VII

When are sinners saved—Agitation at the Mt. Zion association—Finding a true brother—The Means party—Elder Burnham’s sermon—A critical time—Elder Branstetter’s sermon—The Means party dropped—An extremist on predestination—A hard question to answer—Experience with a place hunter — Fair speech and deceitful manners — Lessons learned

CHAPTER VIII

Work on the paper—Death of Elder Goodson, Jr.—Locating at Marceline—Feeling about the paper—Has paid little for my labor—Among strange brethren—The eternal children doctrine—By grace ye are saved—My sermon—Belief of truth necessary for baptism—Eternal vital union doctrine—Trouble in St. Joseph church—Sardis-Bethlehem church—Changing the site—A serious crisis—Witness of the Holy Ghost

CHAPTER IX

A deacon who filled his office—The Sunday collection—Between two robber gangs—Marceline—Elected mayor—The saloon question—Strong drink a curse—Refuse to baptize a sick man—Baptism not a saving ordinance—Salvation by grace a precious hope—A beautiful death—Death of Sister Margaret—My mother’s death—Elders Carnell and Weaver—Heretical doctrine—Trying to defend their positions—Finally rejected in Illinois

CHAPTER X

The Progressive movement—Elder Todd’s idea for prosperity—I reject his propositions—The Gospel Light—Ambitious for popularity—Elder J. V. Kirkland’s book—The St. Louis meeting—Elder Kirkland’s proposition to me—Reply to Elder Kirkland—The Kirkland paper—Checking the movement—Salem stands on the old line—Question of divorce and remarriage—Rule where denomination is not a unit—Position of Yellow Creek association—The other side—Objections to

this principle—I feel like leaving home—Teaching, farming and preaching—Entangled with the affairs of life—My wife helps—Scriptural teaching—Two Extremes—My course in preaching—Misrepresented—Much improvement—Help acknowledged—Attending funerals—Sunday schools

CHAPTER XI

Leaving the farm—In business in Marceline—Move to St. Joseph—Vida’s death—A lesson on prayer—Licensing preachers—An example of licensing—The true test of a gift—Good intentions miscarry—Instances which carried out—Do it now-—Do what is needed to be done—Bearing testimony—An impressive exhortation—An old minister’s regret—Rejecting the non-resurrection doctrine—Reading the Bible—Persistence and concentration—A talk with a deacon—To depend much upon the pastor—How much to give the pastor—An unscriptural practice—Deciding amount for pastor—How to make estimate

CHAPTER XII

Our trip west—The wonders of creation—The San Gabriel mission—Fruit and beauty type of the church—Catalina Island—God’s wisdom and power—Voyaging on the ocean—The golden gate—The weakness of humanity—The Panama-Pacific exposition—The passing show—Tired of the fair—The beautiful Cowlitz river—The transcendent beauty—The waters of life—Growing spiritual fruit—The barren land irrigated—

Where is the best country

Our Children

The churches I have served

Trouble in Cuivre-Siloam association

SERMONS

The City Foursquare

The Prize of the High Calling

Standing With the Apostles

The Silver Trumpets

Desire for Future of the Church

The Pot of Oil

Remove Not the Landmarks

Confessing and Denying Jesus

Feeling an Interest in the Church

Support of the Ministry

Prayer

He Shall Not Fail

An Appeal to the Ministry

The Deaconship

AS.01 Autobiography Chapter 1

AUTOBIOGRAPHY

CHAPTER I.

I was born September 2, 1856, in Linn county, Missouri, near Bucklin. My father, Loyd Cash, was the son of Abram, whose father was Warren Cash.

My great-grandfather, Warren Cash, was born in Virginia, April 4, 1760. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, serving seven years. In November,1783, he was married to Susannah Basket, daughter of William Basket, who was a preacher in Fluvanna county, Virginia. In 1784 he moved to Kentucky, and settled in Woodford county. Here he and his wife were led to know the Lord. Elder John Taylor in his “History of Ten Churches” gives an account of their becoming interested and uniting with the church. He writes as follows: “Notwithstanding the exertions of the people in the woods to get something to sustain on, there seemed to be some heart-melting move among the people. The first I recollect was at a meeting in my little cabin. Though the night was wet and dark, and scarcely a trace to get to my house, the little cabin was pretty well filled with people, and what was best of all, I have no doubt the Lord was there. A Mrs. Cash, the wife of Warren Cash, was much affected and soon after was hopefully converted. Others were also touched to the heart who afterwards obtained relief in the Lord. Warren Cash, though other ways respectable, was a bold sinner, having spent several years in the old revolutionary war. Seeing his wife much affected struck him with great consciousness of his own guilt. They were both soon baptized. Perhaps Cash could not at this time read. I have heard that his wife taught him to read.” John Taylor says of my great-grandmother, “she was one of the most pious minded and best taught females in the religion of the heart I was ever acquainted with.”

The church of which my great-grandfather and great-grandmother were members was called Clear Creek, and was constituted in April, 1785. My great-grandfather was twenty-five years old when he united with the church, and was said to be the first to be baptized in the state. A few years later they moved to Shelby county, Kentucky, to a new settlement, and here went into the constitution of Beech Creek church which was gathered by Elder Lewis Craig and Samuel Ayre. The church was constituted September 5, 1796,with five members, who were Jonathan Tinsley, Warren and Susannah Cash, John Basket and Nancy Shepherd. The church was constituted in my great-grandfather’s house in which the meetings were held at first. In 1798, he was liberated to preach, and was ordained in March,1799, by William Hickman and John Penny, and in the same year took the pastoral care of the church.

I visited this church in 1902, Elder P. W. Sawin being at this time pastor of the church. I had the pleasure of looking over the old minute book which was kept during the time he was pastor—1796 to 1824. I found it recorded that the question came up in the church,”What is the duty of the deacon?” This encouraged me much, as I had issued a book on the deaconship, and I was glad to know that my great-grandfather, a hundred years before, was interested in the same practical subject. I found also entered upon the church book a memoranda of different articles that members might turn in on their subscriptions to assist the pastor, stating the price at which they were to be valued, as there was little money to be had.

In 1802 my great-grandparents took letters from Beech Creek church and placed them in Simpson Creek church; but in 1806 they removed to Hardin county and Bethel and Gilead churches were raised up. The Bethel church divided March 17, 1824, and the Gilead church split on the Mission question in 1840, my great-grandfather standing out against the Mission party until his death, which occurred September 15, 1850. Both parties continued to use the house until his death and then the Mission Baptists took control and still hold it. I preached in the house in 1902, and had no doubt I was preaching the same gospel that my great-grandfather had preached. His grave is near the house as is also that of one of his sons, Elder Jeremiah Cash, who was a Primitive Baptist preacher, most of his labors being in Indiana and Illinois. When on a visit to his father’s old church, Gilead, he sickened and died and was buried there.

Elder Warren Cash’s family were Claiborne, William, Jeremiah, John, Abram (my grandfather), Thompson, Elizabeth, Nancy and Patsy. I am not sure of this last name. My grand-father’s children were, James, Endamile, Loyd (my father), Marion, Mary, Newton and Lee. My children were Eunice, Bernard, Vida, Lois Agnes, Mary Elizabeth, Lorraine, Erie Hines, Mildred Allen, Loyd Bentley and Walter Allison.

My father, Loyd Cash, was born February 27, 1826, near Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and came to Missouri in1844. All the other members of the family came on before he did, he remaining to settle up the business affairs. They settled near Keytesville, in Chariton county. Father was in the Mexican war, and after returning home took land that was given him by the government in Linn County, on which he was living when I was born, and which did not pass out of his hands until death, which occurred in March, 1894.

He was first married to Mrs. Cowell, who lived but a short time. He was married to my mother, October 1, 1854. Her maiden name was Mary J. Burk, her parents being Thomas T. Burk and Barsheba Burk. My grand-father Burk was born August 25, 1807, and died April 12, 1872. Grandmother Burk was born March 13, 1811, and died November 22, 1888. They both united with the Primitive Baptist church in November, 1847. Mother was first married to Joseph Brown, who lived but a short time after their marriage. She was born March18, 1835.

There were born to my parents ten children. Their names were Walter, Ambrose, Crittenden, Mary, Margaret, Ella S., Thomas, Lee, Thornton and Cyrus.

Mary and Margaret were twins. Mary died in childhood, and Margaret at eighteen years of age. At the time of this writing myself, Ambrose, Ella, Thomas and Thornton are members of the Primitive Baptist church, as was also Crittenden, who is now dead.

I was first married to Miss Ellen Prudence Hardin, August 19, 1875, who died February 2, 1876. I was married March 4, 1877, to Miss Emma Bentley, daughter of Mary Harden, whose maiden name was Putman. After the death of her first husband, Charles Bentley, she married William G. Harden. Her father, William Putman, was long known as a leading Primitive Baptist. He was a deacon of West Union church at the time of his death, the same church in which I first took membership. My first wife was a member of the M. E. Church, but united with the Primitive Baptist church before her death, but did not live to be baptized. My present wife was a member of the M. E. Church, South, when we were married, but united with the Primitive Baptist church in May, 1880, the day after I was ordained to the full work of the ministry.

As has been mentioned, my great-grandfather was a Primitive Baptist minister. My grandfather, Abram Cash, was a member of Silver Creek church of Primitive Baptists in Randolph county, Mo. My father, Loyd Cash, never united with the church, but was a strong believer in the doctrines, and a regular attendant at the meetings, and a supporter of the church. The church at one time voted an expression of fellowship for him, but he said, while he appreciated the expression of the church, he felt his unworthiness to be such he feared to take membership. Grandfather and Grandmother Burk, my mother’s parents, were both members of the Primitive Baptist church.

This at first gave me trouble after I united with the church, as I feared it was more from family influence that I was a member than from the teaching and work of the Spirit. But after considering the matter, I feel that it is a matter for which to be thankful that my ancestors were so true to their experience, and so well established in the doctrine of grace, and lived so consistent with their profession, that their descendants, which experience a hope, might be led in the right way, instead of being turned adrift with the world.

An explanation for the low state of many of our churches may be found in the fact that many Baptists are so indifferent about their children as not to take them to their meetings. Other denominations, taking advantage of this condition, put forth every effort, and use every influence, to get them into their Sunday schools and societies, and many times into their churches before they experience the leadings of the Spirit. The modern Sunday school has hurt the Primitive Baptist church more than any other influence. This has not been by the churches establishing Sunday schools, but by the members allowing their children to attend the Sunday schools of other people, and so being led to have an aversion to the doctrine and church of their parents, and if the day of “visitation” came to them they were tied up in Arminian organizations. Primitive Baptists should take a lesson that the past has taught, and keep their children from Arminian Sunday schools while they are under their care, and take them with them to their meetings. It would be better for Primitive Baptists to have Sunday schools of their own than for them to permit their children to attend Sunday schools controlled and conducted by Arminian churches.

Among my first recollections was going to the church meetings, my mother being a member. The first meetings that I can remember were those held at the home of my Grandfather Burk, who lived some eight miles from our home. There were no railroads through the country then, and he lived on a much traveled road and kept a public house—a tavern then called. At the time of the monthly meetings many came from a distance and remained through the meeting, either at his home or in the neighborhood. It was here that I first heard Primitive Baptist preaching, but though I was too young to remember the things preached, I doubt not that it had an influence for good. Preaching the truth in love will always have a good influence on those who hear it. I did not then understand the interest that was taken in the conversations on religious subjects, nor why tears were in evidence as they sat around the great fireplace and exchanged experiences, but I think I now know what those meetings must have meant to those who attended them. We often went the eight miles to meeting in a farm wagon, without spring seats, drawn by oxen. I remember, too, the wide kitchen with its fireplace and the gathering of the young people there when the services were over, and listening with awe to the ghost stories which were common in those days, until we were afraid to look out of the windows. But now when I remember that nearly all those who gathered there have passed into the great beyond it seems a long time back to those days. But the pictures are in my mind as though the incidents belonged to yesterday.

A little later the Civil war (1861-5) broke out, and West Union church, the church of my mother’s membership, which was organized December 19, 1844, in common with many other churches, could have only occasional meetings. Grandfather Burk sold his farm and moved to Bucklin and opened a general merchandise store. His sons, Jasper and William, who lived near him in the country, sold out and moved away and this broke up the meetings in that neighborhood. How like tenting in the wilderness is the church militant here in time. Conditions change and the church must move. At such times the church ought to be engaged prayerfully, looking for the pillar of cloud, which led Israel in the wilderness, to know where the presence of the Lord is, for no church can prosper in a place where the Lord does not go before. After the war the meetings were held near our home in a school house. I was now old enough to take more notice, and to have some recollection of the preachers. There were Elders William Mitchell and C. M. Colyer who preached more or less regularly, and occasionally Dr. J. E. Goodson, Elder A. Bealmer and”Squire” Holman, who was an exhorter. Also Elder William Sears, and later on Elder Wilson Thompson who came from Indiana and became pastor of the church. He was an earnest, sincere, serious minded man and his influence was all for good. His sermons were along doctrinal and experimental lines, not indulging in doubtful speculation, but declaring the doctrine of grace in salvation, and describing the effect in the feelings and lives of those spiritually taught.

AS.02 Autobiography Chapter 2

CHAPTER II.

It was during Elder Thompson’s pastorate that I became seriously concerned about my soul’s welfare. I had at times thought on this matter, but had been able to dismiss it from my mind, thinking that there was time enough later. But in the year 1872 so serious grew my concern that I could not throw it off. This did not seem to come over me suddenly in its most serious impression, for at the first I thought that I knew how to “get religion.” I felt confident that I could “give myself to the Lord,” and then he would answer my earnest prayer, and give me an evidence of my acceptance. I believed that a person should have some evidence given him by the Spirit that he was a child of God. But when I came to put my theory into practice I found such a condition of mind and heart that I became alarmed. During my trouble I attended a meeting that was being conducted by the Methodists in the neighborhood. I became willing to receive help if I could be helped from any source. I was not able to bring myself into the condition that I felt I should be in before the Lord would bless me, and so I thought I would try their prayers.

I think that I understand how persons who are really concerned can be drawn into these meetings. They feel so helpless in trying to get relief from their trouble that they turn to anything that promises relief. But I then realized that the trouble was within. It was not alone in my outward acts, but I was in a condition of mind and soul that I could plainly see I was not able to correct. I tried to do as I was advised by those who were trying to help me, but all that they could direct me to do, such as to “believe on Jesus,” and “give myself to the Lord,” could not help my case. I did in a sense believe on Jesus. I believed that he was the Son of God, and that he was the Savior of sinners, but I had no way of believing that he was my Savior, lacking the evidence that it was true. Nor could I give myself to the Lord, for I felt that I could not get myself into such a state that he would receive me.

Coming to understand my real condition, it seemed the more desperate, and I truly felt to fear that it was hopeless. I could not accept the arguments that were made to me that I had all the evidence that was necessary. I remember some of the arguments that were made to me by my religious friends. One was that the preacher, and those who were advising me, were truthful and reliable, and that their testimony would be received in any court of the land, therefore such as were seeking salvation should accept their testimony, and they were willing to testify that all that was needed was to just believe, and that any unbeliever in the congregation might go away a saved person if he would but believe, which he could do, as there was not a thing preventing but the stubborn will.

This was not at all convincing to me, as I felt that they did not know me and my heart as I knew myself. When they talked with me I held out that the trouble was not with my belief and will, but there was a deeper matter than that. The preacher no doubt felt that I was under the influence of Primitive Baptist teaching, as my mother was a Primitive Baptist. So he admitted to me that there needed to be a change, a cutting off and a grafting in, which might be called being born again; but he said that this was a work in which we had to assist. Said he, “The Lord will not do this work unless we go about the cutting off. And this work of ours is yielding to the Lord, thus cutting off the natural will, and putting ourselves in a receptive condition for the Spirit.” I could see the object of his talk, but I could not throw away my experiences of the few weeks in which I had earnestly tried to do all that I had learned to do, or that had been suggested, and yet seemed to be farther away from what I desired to be than ever.

One morning I went to the barn to feed the stock. I looked at the cattle and horses, and they seemed at perfect peace, and were filling the stations they were created to fill. What a contrast between them and myself. I had intelligence and understanding to know between right and wrong, and this I had abused so fearfully. With my intelligence I should have been glorifying my Creator; and with my knowledge of right and wrong I should have been upholding the right, and speaking against the wrong. I felt that the beasts stood better in their lot than I did in mine. I was certainly under the just censure of the Almighty. How ashamed and crushed I felt, seeing all my wasted opportunities and open rebellion. I turned with a sad heart and tear-filled eyes to try again to seek peace with God, and to see if He would not forgive me and bless me with some evidence of acceptance. I climbed into the hayloft, and kneeling down, tried to confess as fully as my poor heart knew, my guilty distance from God. I wanted, O so much, to live a different life, and to glorify Him who was worthy of all adoration and service. I had done all that I knew to do, and confessed all that I knew to confess; and yet I felt the same helpless, sinful condition overshadowing me with a cloud through which no light shone. I arose to my feet and felt as I might have felt had I heard from the great Judge my final doom pronounced in the awful sentence to depart from His presence forever. I was yet without any witness from God that salvation might ever be mine. There was nothing now to live for, the world had lost its charm, I was cut off from hope of heaven, and could never even have a name with the church below.

I got down from the loft and started to finish my work, but with such thoughts as I had never had before. I thought that I could see how God’s glory was full without me. In fact it seemed that His justice, and grace, too, would be more exalted if I were left out of His consideration. Indeed, what right had I to ask consideration when I deserved nothing from any point? But as these meditations filled my mind, I grew more calm, and the plainer they were to me, the less I was disturbed. One thing was filling my whole being, I desired that the Lord be glorified and praised, and what mattered it what became of me? I was losing sight and thought of self, and full of wonder and peaceful joy, contemplating as I never did before, and seldom since, the glory, brightness and joy that belonged to the kingdom of God in heaven and on the earth beneath. I stood to view it with my soul rapt in wonder. My mind went to the little church—West Union—where my mother was a member. They were met in a little school house. In my mind I see them yet. The aged preacher, Elder William Mitchell, was among the few, to declare as I plainly saw, the unsearchable riches of the gospel of Christ. I thought, O how favored they are. And there was mother! Her pure, sweet voice sounded clear as a harp, its strings trembling with the earnestness of the theme.

“He dies, the Friend of sinners dies!
Lo, Salem’s daughters weep around;
A solemn darkness veils the skies,
A sudden trembling shakes the ground.

“Come saints and drop a tear or two,
For Him who groaned beneath your load;
He shed a thousand drops for you,
A thousand drops of richer blood.”

My tears fell like the rain. They were a relief to my sore burdened heart, now freed from its pain. But so convinced had I been that there was no help for my case, and so carried away was I to see in my soul the beauty and joy of the Lord’s service, that I exclaimed,”Lord, if I never enter heaven, permit me while I live in the world to be where I can witness thy people gathered together, and where I can hear them sing thy praise.”

I did not at once realize the strangeness of my condition. I had given up the hope of heaven, and yet here I was with such a heavenly peace of mind, filled to over-flowing with love to God and for his church, and perfect resignation to his will. My tears flowed from a fountain of joy and not sorrow. I had forgotten to make further confession, or to make petitions to the Lord, my soul was only full of joy. During the day I would begin to think of my lot as I had felt it before, and wondered what would become of me. But instead of growing sad, I would presently check myself singing, my heart full of joy, and my eyes with tears of gladness, and then I would ask myself, “Why do I feel this way?” I rode over the prairie after our stock, and how beautiful everything looked ! and how good the Lord was ! and how sweet to lift my voice in His praise. How glad I am that years of toil, trial and affliction have not swept the gladness of those days from my memory. I have doubted many times what they meant, but sin and sorrow have not removed that spot of sunshine, and it does my soul good when discouraged and heart-sick to go back and stand awhile in its reviving warmth.

I had a dream during my exercises of mind that has always remained with me, whether the Lord instructed me in it or not. In my dream I saw what I thought was the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem. Its buildings, which bespoke its imposing grandeur, lifted their towering spires in a pure, cloudless brightness that eclipsed the brightness of the sun and the light of day. I could see the highway that led up to it, and the happy travelers going up with their faces lifted toward the city of light. How I longed to join them! But between me and them rolled a dark stream with no way to cross it. To remain where I stood was to be cut off from the city forever, but no mortal could live to pass through that awful stream. It meant death to enter it. It was worse than death not to cross it. The fear of drowning made my soul draw back. The glorious vision of beauty beyond drew me into the stream. What an awful struggle it was! I fought the waters, continually sinking beneath the surface, more and more convinced that it meant death to go on, and yet ever struggling to go on without a thought of turning back. Each time, when my eyes came above the surface, I saw the city in which I knew must be joys forever more. I could not give it up—I could not reach it! But a truth seemed to take possession of me—those who were journeying up to the beautiful city were those who had passed through a death, for going through the stream was dying; and just as I fully accepted this truth I awoke. Since then I have thought of my struggles as a conscious sinner, trying to obtain a hope, and my mind will turn to the awful fight with death in that stream. How hard it is to die to sin and human help, and yet how impossible to join the Lord’s people in their heavenward journey without that death!

Many of my schoolmates, who professed religion during the meeting before referred to, joined churches of their choice, but I had no thought or inclination to go with any of them. My mind was with the Primitive church. I had before been convinced of the reasonableness of its doctrines from Bible teaching, though in my experience I found that in my heart I was an Arminian. But now there remained no doubt in my mind that this was the church of Jesus Christ, and I knew that all my sympathies and fellowship were there. One of my companions, a boy of my own age, united with the Methodists. We talked about the different churches, and he thought that I should see that it would be right to join the Methodists. But I could see reasons why I should not. He argued with me that most of the Bible upheld the Methodist church, “But,” said he, “the book of Romans teaches the Old Baptist doctrine.” I argued that if the book of Romans teaches it, surely the rest of the Bible does not condemn it.

At that time the meetings of the church were held for convenience at different places, and during the winter, as the members were scattered, sometimes the meeting times were passed without gathering. In May, 1873, the meeting was appointed to be held at the home of my grandfather, Thomas T. Burk, who lived northwest of Bucklin. I could hardly wait for the time to come. I wanted to be at a church meeting, hear the singing and to listen to the sermon. And I thought much, too, about offering myself to the church. I felt what a great privilege it must be to have membership in the church of Christ, and to acknowledge this before the world as being one’s only hope. I felt His mercy and grace had been so great toward me in not leaving me in indifference and ignorance that I could not feel that I had done right at all without publicly confessing that my hope for the future was entirely in His mercy.

Elder Wilson Thompson, whose home was near Linneus, Missouri, was then pastor of the church. He preached, but I cannot remember his sermon, I was so filled with thoughts about offering myself to the church. I wondered what I could say if called on to give a reason of my hope. The invitation was given and I went forward, but I do not remember what I said, except that I did not say at all what before ran in my mind, but I was received, and at a later meeting was baptized by Brother Thompson. I am glad that I did not remain out of the church and fight with my doubts until in a measure they overcame me, as I have seen in many cases. I feel sure the Lord has intended the church to be a help and strength to his pilgrim children, and when they let their doubts argue them into remaining out of the church they lose this help that the Lord has placed here for them. I want to acknowledge what a help the church has been to me. The thoughts of the church and the love and fellowship of the brethren has been a strength in temptation, a comfort in sorrow, and a great encouragement all along the uneven journey of life.

AS.03 Autobiography Chapter 3

CHAPTER III.

West Union church was weak in numbers when I united with it, but active. Two meetings a month were held, one of which, the business meeting, was held in the neighborhood where my father lived, known as the “Cash neighborhood,” and Elder Thompson attended this meeting generally. At the time I united with the church, Elder Wilson Thompson was pastor. He died in the fall after I was ordained. He was much loved and respected, being a firm and uncompromising advocate of salvation by grace. He was loving and kind with the brethren and sisters, and faithful and true under all circumstances. The other meeting was held at different places, but often north of Bucklin at the Nagle school house. At this meeting all the members, or most of them, took part, relating experiences or talking of spiritual subjects, reading the scriptures, singing hymns, etc. I have always thought that such meetings are very profitable to a church, as they tend to the development of the gifts that the Lord may have placed in the church, and they are God honoring, enjoyable and strengthening to the members. I first began my public exercises in taking part in these meetings.

While being much impressed with the duty of doing my part with other members, I did not think about ever trying to preach, and was very much alarmed one meeting day, when I had been called on by the old deacon of the church, William Putman, to open the services, and had tried to be excused, saying there were others better qualified than I for that duty, he replied:”We hope that the Lord has given you a gift that will be profitable to the church.” How that frightened me!

What if that should be true! It would mean so much to me; such a burden, such a responsibility, and I trembled to think of it. But a little more, and a little more was demanded of me by the members at the meetings, and although I could see where it was drifting, I seemed powerless to refuse. It became a constant burden on my mind, but it was with so much weakness and emotion that I spoke, I hoped that nothing more would be required of me than to just assist at the meetings.

I will now speak of a circumstance that later in years caused me to wonder. I was keeping company with Miss Ellen P. Hardin, who afterward became my wife. Miss Hardin was a member of the M. E. church, of which her parents were very devoted members also, and I feel convinced knew the Lord experimentally. Miss Hardin was baptized in infancy and had never known any other faith. But her parents, being zealous in the cause to which they had devoted their lives, knew of the doctrine of the Primitive Baptists, and of course could not approve our church because it contradicted their faith. After my engagement to Miss Hardin she tried to get me to promise that I would never preach for the Primitive Baptists. I felt sure that she loved me, and she had never shown unreasonable prejudice against our people, though she had not heard them much. I had no idea of becoming a preacher at that time, and having some idea of what it entailed, if I had thought it possible, it would seem that I would have been glad to hide behind some such refuge as this. But instead of welcoming such an agreement, it aroused such a loyalty in my heart to the church and to my Lord and Master that I think it would have led me to breaking the engagement had she insisted upon it. I argued to her that I did not intend to preach, but this did not satisfy her; and so finally I told her, that although I did not have it in my intentions to preach for the Primitive Baptists, nor to preach at all, but I would not disobey my Lord should he call me to that work. This was the only opposition that she ever manifested toward the church, and after our marriage, which was on August 19, 1875, she welcomed Baptists into our home, and before her death, which occurred February 2, 1876, she asked for a home in the church and was received; but her sickness and death prevented her baptism. Her love was so pure, she was so devoted and true, I feel sure had she lived she would have faithfully helped me to bear the burdens of a Primitive Baptist preacher without complaint. Before her death she said that she would rather have lived the few months that she lived with me than to have lived a long life without me. The memory of her pure, strong love is a precious treasure.

My interest in the cause and in public exercise increased, and I did not feel so averse to it, because many of the members of the church took part in these meetings, opening the meetings with prayer, and speaking. But when the brethren got to talking about giving me license, then I objected. I felt that it was doubtful if I was called to preach, and even if I was, licensing would be no help to me. And if time should show that I was not so called, then it would be but a burden to me, and an embarrassment and injury to the church. They listened to my pleading for awhile. I will here say that I think much harm has been done the cause by acting hastily in giving license, as the action of the church is called in giving liberty to one to speak in the way of preaching. I feel sure the church should try the gifts until convinced that one can speak to the edification of the church. Many of the members may be able to make good talks, and more of them could if pastors encouraged speaking meetings. In these meetings the members get closer together than they ever do otherwise. When the church has two services on the Saturday of the business meeting I think it a good practice to have the members conduct the afternoon service as much as possible. It keeps the church from falling into that state of helplessness that makes the members feel if there is no preacher present there can be no service. Anciently, “They that feared the Lord spoke often one to another, and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.”—Mal 3:16. Paul wrote to the Colossian church, “Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”—Col 3:16.

The talk among the members increased my trouble about the matter. Meanwhile I had two dreams that did not tend to ease my mind, but rather to make me wonder if I would have to submit in the end on the matter. I would not write these dreams were it not for the fact that there have been dreamers before, and that the Lord has had their dreams recorded. It is not contrary to the doctrine of grace for the Lord to teach when the will and mind are not active. Regeneration is a demonstration of the Lord’s power to work when the creature is not consulted. In the first dream I sat on the west porch at our old home where I was born. In my waking hours and in my dreams I meditated on what the Lord might want me to do. As I thought in my dream, a hand reached down from the sky over the tall black locust trees in the back yard and handed me a Bible, and as silently as it came the hand was withdrawn. I tried to think it was just a dream, and had no significance. And I knew it was a dream, but over and over, day after day, and week after week came the question, “Did it mean anything?”Time has reached out into years and decades, and still the question, “Did it mean anything?” It may not mean anything to others, but sometimes with awful importance it has been interpreted to have a meaning for me. But do not understand me to relate this as a call to preach. If I ever had a call it was not in that dream, but I realize that the Lord may have used it to impress my mind that so sacred a duty was not to be trifled with, and that it came from heaven. The brethren had talked of the license. I could not think it necessary. I dreamed one night that the church was all assembled at the home of my uncle, Jasper Burk, and seats had been arranged in the yard under one of the trees. There was a table, with a Bible lying on it, in the proper place for a speaker to stand in addressing the people who might be seated, and who were now gathering. But where was the preacher ? I saw none, and I wondered whom they were expecting. In answer to my mental query they all looked to me and I was told that I was to do the preaching. This was in the fall. In January following (1877) the church voted to recommend me to the churches to speak wherever I might in the providence of God be thrown. In March following (March 4, 1877) I was married to Miss Emma Bentley. She was a member of the M. E. Church South, and had heard but few Primitive Baptists preach, but thought from the fact that her grandfather was a member they could not be such bad people. She became a member of our church three years after we were married. I did not know that she was going to ask for membership when she did, but I knew that she no longer considered the Methodist organization the church of Christ. She had told me sometime before that I need not pay her dues to the steward of the class to which she belonged, but I insisted that as long as she was a member, her quarterage should be paid the same as any other just debt. In a talk with the steward one day about their preacher, whom some of their members were berating because he was trading and trying to make money with which to care for his family, I said he ought to sue the members for not supporting him as they were obligated to do. The steward said that he could not do that, as what the members paid in was a gift and not discharging a debt. “Well,” I said, “if that is true, I will pay you nothing more for my wife’s membership, as I have nothing to give to the Methodist church; I want all I have to give to go to the Primitive Baptists.” So I did not pay him then, but would ask him every time I saw him, if my wife owed anything yet. He finally saw that I meant not to pay him until he acknowledged that an assessment was a debt that should be paid. So he said, “Well, yes, I suppose she does,” and I paid him. We are truly bound as the Lord may prosper us, and as we may propose in our heart to give to the support of the church, but we do not make assessments, nor do we hire and bargain with our preachers.

My wife finally told the preacher in charge that she wanted to leave the denomination and wanted a letter certifying as to her standing among them, and he promised to give it to her, but neglected to do so, even after her second request. He was present at our meeting in May, 1880,when she came to the church asking membership, and arose and in a well-meant talk recommended her to our people. While a letter would not have meant anything to us as carrying fellowship, I think it is right when persons find themselves in an organization that they cannot feel is the church of Christ, to leave the body in such a way as to command respect, and to show common respect to people with whom they have been associated. And I would feel better toward a member of the Primitive Baptist church in case he wanted to become a member of some other body, for him to inform us of his intention.

A year after I was granted liberty to speak anywhere I might be, we had a number of additions to our church, and among them was a licentiate who desired very much to be ordained. He had made a motion to ordain some licentiates in a church that he came from to us, and we had been informed that he was much disappointed when the church did not include him also after he got the matter started. He commenced to talk of my ordination, but the brethren told me what they thought his purpose was, and so if he brought the matter up they did not want me to be surprised if they opposed it. They told me that they intended to ask for my ordination, but they did not intend to ordain this brother who wanted to be ordained, and they thought there was no need of haste in calling for my ordination. The brother that I have had reference to left our church and obtained membership in another church where he was ordained, and where he caused the church much trouble, and was finally excluded, and died out of the church. It is a very safe course to keep hands off of a man who is seeking his own ordination to the ministry.

The matter of my ordination was brought up early in the year 1880 and the time was set for the May meeting. There were present in the presbytery Elders J. E.Goodson, Sr., Wilson Thompson and A. Bealmer. At the time of my ordination West Union church was using the Methodist church in the town of Bucklin, having no church house of our own. Here I began preaching when the church called me as pastor. I had attended the schools in this town when a boy, and living close to the town all the people knew me. They attended our meetings and treated me and the church with respect. Considering my own experience, and from many years of observation, I conclude there is often undue haste in ordaining brethren into the ministry. It is better to wait until the church no longer has a question of the prudence of the work. I think that it would be the safest plan not to ordain a man until his services were called for to pastor a church. It is wrong for a church to ordain a man that the church is not willing to use in her pulpit. If there is a wrong committed in an ordination it is the fault of the church and the act should be well considered.

AS.04 Autobiography Chapter 4

CHAPTER IV.

I had been preaching occasionally at a place known as the Walker school house in Chariton county. This was about twenty-five miles from where I lived. There being some persons there who desired membership in the church, West Union church extended an “Arm” there in August, 1880. Here I had the pleasure of baptizing my father’s oldest brother who was sixty-one years of age. For many years he had entertained a hope, and was settled in the doctrines of grace. Several years before I began preaching in his vicinity he was much impressed with the obligation of those who were believers having membership in a church. He was much impressed with such passages as Mr 8:38, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when he cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” He said that he felt that a heavy obligation lay upon the heads of families to make profession of their faith if they entertained a hope. There being no Primitive Baptist church near him, he thought to discharge this obligation by taking membership in a Presbyterian church, of which his wife was a member. He made his application, but the minister who was serving there did not believe in immersion for baptism, so they said they would arrange to have another minister come who would immerse him. He meditated on this condition, and came to the conclusion that as they did not believe in immersion for baptism they were only bending to his wish just to get him, and not because they thought it right, and that this would not be baptism, and therefore he refused to submit.

I baptized a good many at this place, and there was a good interest. Finally a church was constituted therein June, 1883, called Sardis. I preached to this church a number of years, principally at my own charges. I was a poor man, with a growing family, and trying to preach each Saturday and Sunday in the month, and the burden of the work could but be felt. I began to study the scriptures to find if anything was said about this inequality of burden between pastor and church. I found that the scriptures taught as plainly that the church should help to bear the burden of the ministry as it did salvation by grace. The result of my investigation was the issuing of my book, “Practical Suggestions for Primitive Baptists.” In this book, among other practical things I treated on the financial business of the church through its deacons, and providing for the pastor, believing that the Bible clearly taught that “they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” I thought it my duty to speak plainly to Sardis church, believing then, as I do now, that it is the duty of the pastor to teach practical duties as well as scripture doctrine. I shall never forget an incident that occurred at this church, of which I shall now write. An old brother came to me, and laying a kindly hand on my shoulder, said with evident intention to do me good, “Brother Cash, remember that you are but a young man. I am old and have never seen the things that you advocate practiced in the church, nor did my father before me.”

This brought me to a serious point. I could get this old brother’s approval by advocating the course he had always practiced, which was to let the minister take care of himself. To stand up for what I felt sure the Bible taught would be to bring down upon myself his charge that I was bringing in “new things.” In a brief moment’s thought, I decided my course—I would stand by the Bible and let the result be with the Lord. I have always thought of this incident as a critical time in my life, and my conscience still approves my decision as being in harmony with the word of God. But this stand lost me the pastorate of this church, which was, under my surroundings, relieving me of quite a burden. At that time I was trying to make a living farming, and it necessitated my leaving home most of the year on Friday evening and riding into the night Sunday night to reach home. During my absence my feeding and chores, which belong to farm life, had to be attended to by my wife, who had little children to care for. What brought the matter to a climax was, an old preacher, who was a friend of the old brother who undertook to set me right, learning of the situation took sides with the old brother who thought I was wrong, and so he was called to the care of the church. He was well fixed, financially, but had to travel by railroad to attend the church. He came a few times, and when his railroad fare was not paid by the church, he quit. It cost me more to attend this church than it would have cost this old preacher, but he had the opportunity of branding me as teaching new things. He evidently did not mean for the church to take him at his word, however.

I have known a good many ministers to follow this course. I came out and plainly advocated what the scriptures taught. Preachers would take advantage of this to my discredit with those who wanted to stick to the “old way” of letting the preacher foot his own bills, and speak against me, saying that it would be but a few years until I would be with the Missionaries, when really, they were bidding secretly for the help of those who stood up against scriptural practice. And some of them thought that their course was so under cover that I would not discover it, and they would ask me to visit their churches and “preach on duty.” I would not say so much about this in this place, but I would, if I could break down forever that disposition among preachers to try to discredit some other preacher to please members, though in their hearts they know that he is in the right according to the scriptures. Well, to end this lesson, that church could not find another preacher who would carry

all his load himself as I had done for so many years, so it went down.

In this connection let me exhort young preachers to study the scriptures and be sure of what they teach, them in love, but firmly preach it. Do not stop with just believing what the scriptures teach, it is your business, if you are true to your calling, to teach others what the scriptures teach on every subject, especially about what God’s people should be doing. It is all right to preach doctrine, but the Lord’s people can not help God in the work of salvation. What they can do, and should do, is to serve him according to his directions while they are in the world. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” This city is not heaven, but the Lord’s spiritual kingdom for His saints on earth.

When I was issuing the book, “Practical Suggestions for Primitive Baptists,” before referred to, a brother wrote me that the positions I had taken in it, relative to the financial business of the church, and the obligations of the church, were all scriptural, but that he would advise me not to circulate the book, as it would result in my rejection by the Primitive Baptists. He said they would follow the course they had been following for many years, regardless of what the scriptures taught, and that to advocate a return to scriptural practice would result in my being set aside as bringing in new things. I wrote him that I was not considering what might befall me on account of the publication of the book, I was only asking, “is it according to the truth?” But in my heart I had more confidence in Primitive Baptists than to think that they could not be brought to study the Bible on this subject, and if they did, I could not believe but that they would follow it.

Some incidents impressed my mind about this time. One illustrates the human disposition to take advantage of the weakness of others to forward selfish ends. A brother came to me and reported what he claimed another brother had said about me. He said, “He is saying that you were never called to preach; that you are not fit to preach; that you are not qualified to have the pastoral care of a church; that you are proud, and that your preaching is not at all edifying.” I felt that there might be some selfish motive in this, that the brother who was talking to me might be trying to influence me for his own personal interest against the other brother who he said had been talking against me. I replied, “Well, he might be right. I have, myself, grave doubts of my being called of the Lord to preach. And I have a feeling, too, that I am not fitted for taking the care of a church. And really my mouth is sometimes almost closed by a feeling that what I can say may not be edifying to the children of God. If I feel this way myself, how can I blame others for thinking the same things?”It turned out as I had expected, the two brethren had had a difference between them and one was trying to prejudice me against the other. It impressed me with what I now know for a fact, that preachers ought not to be easily influenced by what is told to them.

Sardis church received a sister for baptism. It was understood that her husband was much opposed to her being baptized. Relatives came to me and told me that it would be very imprudent to baptize the sister, as her husband would leave her. They asked me what I was going to do. I said, “I’m going to baptize her if she wants me to do so.” The day set for the baptism came on. The man was at church. I went up to him and spoke to him, taking his hand, and holding it while I addressed him. I said to him, “Your wife is to be baptized today, and I suppose you have no objections.” He dropped his head and made no reply. I continued, “You know this is a matter between her and her God.” He raised his head and spoke. “Yes,” he said, “that is true; it is between her and her God. No I have no objections.” We cannot tell how the Lord may open the way for us to do our duty. All that we can do is to go straight on, trusting in him to make rough places smooth.

While preaching for Sardis church, one Friday, late in the fall of the year, when it had been very muddy, the weather suddenly changed, it got very cold, and the ground froze up hard and sharp. I had so much work to do Friday to get things in shape so that my wife could do the feeding and caring for the stock while I was away (as we had no help) I had not time to get my horse shod. I worked until late and started after dark, intending to go ten miles that night and then to go on Saturday morning. I had gone but little distance until my horse became very lame, traveling over the sharp, frozen ground. I then walked and led the horse, so as to keep on the smoothest places I could find, and at 10o’clock came to a blacksmith shop. There were no lights anywhere. I went to the blacksmith’s house, they were all in bed. I knocked at the door, and when I had awakened him, told him what I wanted. He said, “I never shoe horses at night.” I pleaded with him, telling him that I would hold a lamp for him, and that I could not go on unless he shod my horse. He finally consented, and we got the horse shod, and I went on to a brother’s house, put my horse in the stable, and went to bed to wait for the morning.

Next morning I started to go on fifteen miles, but my horse was still lame, and I walked the greater part of the way. I had a great struggle of mind from the time I left home, and especially Saturday morning. I asked myself over and over, who had demanded this service at my hands. Saturday the weather was disagreeable, being cloudy and damp, and I argued there would be no one at the meeting when I reached the appointed place, and so I could do no goodby going on. I argued to myself that it would be the most reasonable thing to do to turn back and go home, as I was needed there so badly, and I was getting a lame horse farther and farther from home, which did not seem right. I tried to think what I might say when I got to the meeting if there was anyone there to speak to. But all my thoughts were so empty and light, that it seemed the course of a foolish person to go through what I was enduring, and would have to go through before I reached home, to make all this effort to say as nearly nothing as I would have to say. It seemed presumptuous to suppose that my preaching had enough in it to warrant any such trip. I would think, “there is my wife at home with the house to keep, the children to care for, and added to that the feeding and caring for all the stock. And here I am making this trip under such difficulties, when under the circumstances, it is not likely I can do any good, even if my services were worth anything at any time.” Thus I meditated step by step for miles and miles of weary road. And I seemed to be the only one on the road. The roads were too bad for anyone to be on them, and here I was on a “fool’s errand.”

Finally, I got within one mile of the meeting place and came to a brother’s house, and there was no one at home. This was encouraging; perhaps they were at the meeting. I put my horse in the stable and trudged on. I came in sight of the place. There were a number of horses hitched around. It was a reviving sight. I came nearer; I stopped and listened. They were singing. How good it sounded to one who had heard nothing for weary miles but the discouraging spirit-depressing arguments of Satan. I hurried on; I was late. I opened the door! I would be glad to see only a few, but—it seemed too good to be true—they were nearly all there. “All the toils of the road seemed nothing,” I had got to the end of the way, and the Lord’s presence was manifested among us. The Lord was indeed good. Would I doubt him again, and let my rebellious heart be filled with complaining?

“Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.”

I was much worried in these days because my stock of information was so limited, and I had so little time for reading. Though the Bible was such a vast store-house, the necessity of caring for my family seemed to make it impossible for me to make use of it. The churches had not been taught to think of their responsibility in providing for the preaching of the gospel by loosing the hands of the preachers. With these things pressing me, I delivered a sermon on the “Failures of Preachers.” I attempted to show that the church was in a large measure to blame, because it let the preacher be cumbered with the things of this life, and the necessary cares which fell on one with a family, and this impoverished his mind and darkened his understanding. (See article on this subject). There was an old minister present who followed me, and he left the impression as strong as he could that I was wrong. He said that he never studied to preach, nor read the Bible with that thought. He said that he took no thought what he should say. When he got into the pulpit he opened the Bible, and took for a text the first passage that caught his eye. I told Doctor Goodson what the old brother said, and he replied, “Well, anyone would know that was the way that he did who ever heard him preach.”

I have not changed my mind since delivering that sermon. Many times brethren hear a sermon and feel that the preacher is dull and uninteresting without reflecting how the treatment of him might be the reason for the condition of his mind. The ox that treadeth out the corn has been muzzled, which is against the law. Of course there might be many reasons why a preacher did not have liberty to speak, but the reason assigned above might be one of them.

AS.05 Autobiography Chapter 5

CHAPTER V.

On the death of Elder Wilson Thompson, whom I have spoken of as pastor of my home church, West Union, I was called to the care of his home church, Liberty, near Linneus, Missouri. This was in the fall of 1880, after I was ordained in May. I shall not forget my impressions when I went to this church. It was a good church, but had few young members in it. I was almost overcome with the thought that nothing I could say would interest the members, for Elder Thompson had preached for them so long and ably, and I was so young, and knew so little, that I certainly could not be expected to edify them. The members were kind and tender with me, and I really felt sorry for them that they were giving me so much love and fellowship, and I had so little to give in return. It looked to me like the prospects for the church were discouraging. I could not feel that anyone could ever join the church under my preaching, so it would turn out that as the old members died the church would decline, and finally go out of existence.

These feelings resulted in directing my discourses to practical subjects, as I felt they were better established in doctrine perhaps than I was, and the old preachers of my acquaintance had never given much attention to practical subjects — their preaching was mostly along doctrinal lines. But as I began to view the field of practical and experimental thought it was a vast one indeed. As I preached so much on the lines indicated, finally a doubt grew into the minds of some whether indeed I was “sound” in doctrine. This was especially voiced by those who objected to preaching much on the line of the duty. But while I grew to giving more attention to preaching on doctrinal subjects, I held on much as I had begun.

I found that I was mistaken in regard to the decline of Liberty church. True, the older members dropped off as they came to the end of their pilgrimage, but younger members were added to the church. This fact rebuked me. I saw clearly that I had been thinking too much about the church being built up by my work. While it is no doubt true that the pastor has an influence on the decline or prosperity of a church, the trust of the church and the pastor should be in the Lord, so much so, that they should fear to displease Him, lest He withdraw His blessing and approval, and lay His chastening hand upon them. With the addition of the younger members there came up an incident to which I will call attention, as I have many times since had the lesson that I learned then, brought fresh to my mind. As already stated, when I came to the care of the church the members were mostly elderly people. As is usual where this is the case they get into a settled way of doing things and are not very favorable to changes of any kind. The younger members that had been received were full of love and zeal for the church. We were to have a visiting preacher during Christmas week. The younger members, not thinking that there would be any objections, after cleaning up the house nicely, placed some evergreen boughs and a few wreaths around the interior.

When some of the old members saw what was done they were much displeased, and made some remarks that were rather severe, and calculated to wound the feelings of the young members, who were much hurt and discouraged. They felt that they would never attempt to do anything again, and that ever afterward they would sit back, as they had given serious offense by what they had done. They expressed themselves as feeling that perhaps they had done wrong in coming into the church at all. I felt very much worried, fearing that I might not be able to bring about a good feeling again. I tried to show the older members that they had been too severe with the young members, and while they might not have approved what had been done, they should remember that they were once young, and had the animation of the young, and the same lack of maturity in judgment. I also tried to impress them with the necessity of keeping very close to the young members, that they might have a strong influence with them, as these same young members would one day have the responsibility and burden of the church upon them.

I talked with the young members and gave them to understand that they must not forget to always show respect for the old members by asking their advice in what they did, but gave them to understand that it was all right for them to have appreciation for the looks of the church, and while they need not be too forward, they should be willing and active to bear a part in whatever was done for the advancement of the church. At the close of the meeting one of the old sisters asked one of the young members for one of the nicest wreaths that she might take it home to hang up in her house, but she did not think to soften the words of criticism made in the beginning. I think all tried to put behind them the unpleasantness that had been occasioned, but still it hung like a veil for a long time. I have detailed this incident, for it emphasizes the importance of members, young and old, being careful to stay close together, and advise with one another. The young must respect the older members, and not act toward them as though they felt that they were “old fogies.” Then the old must not expect that young people will acquire the staid ways of the old all at once, and be tender and kind with them, trying to mold them into growing up to be pillars in the church. The young should remember that they shall grow old, and the old should remember that they have been young.

How careful all ought to be to preserve warm fellowship in the church.

Illustrating how easy it is for members to neglect each other, I will relate an incident we had in one of our churches. It is of a widow of a deceased preacher, who had labored faithfully for the churches during his ministry, which, as was the case generally, then, took his time and labo rfrom his family. I had been away from the meetings a few months, and on going back learned that the widowed sister had been sick, but was then up. I went to see her Saturday after the church meeting. When I entered the house she dropped to a chair, put her hands over her face and burst into tears, not being able to greet me on account of her emotion. When she became a little composed she said between sobs, “You are the first Baptist I have seen for nine weeks.” She was helped by my visit, but told me how she had longed, oh, so much, to see some of the members, but none came, except her own family.

The next day at the meeting I began to inquire of the members why the neglect. One said he was not very well when he first heard of her being sick, and when he could get out his work pressed him. Another said he was gathering corn, and when he got through with his corn he had his wood to get up, and by the time he got this done he heard she was up, and so did not go. Others had similar excuses for their neglect, but really all might have said in reply to my question, “just neglect.”

Think of the suffering in the mind of this dear sister, who had made so many sacrifices for love of the church that her husband might give his services to it. She had spent lonely hours; on her had devolved the care of their children; many comforts had been denied for the sake of the cause. Now when the preacher’s voice was stilled in death, the church neglected his widow on whom had fallen much of the weight of his ministry! It all came from thoughtless neglect. They were good brethren and sisters, but they put off from day to day what they meant to do some time, but the deed which would have given such strength and comfort to the lonely widow was never done. Abraham got up “early” to yield obedience to the command of the Lord, though the giving up of his son was more to himthan any financial loss could have been. So we should not put off the calls that love and duty lay upon us. When we consider that anything done for one of the followers of Jesus, He considers as done to Himself, how awful it is to act so as to show neglect of the Son of God.

I have often thought of the wells along the roads that I traveled going to my churches, where I used to stop to drink. I rode a horse to my appointments for many years, and formed a habit of stopping at the same wells to drink. It rested me to dismount, and having learned where to find the best water, I there had my thirst quenched. How like the journey of life this is. Jesus stood up on the great day of the feast and cried,”If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.””Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”How long, tiresome and weary the journey of life to Zion-pilgrims without these watering places! The church is a watering place. Here we sit down to rest under the shadow of his wings, rest the weary soul at the gospel’s call, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Then, too, “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” How the “soul thirsteth for God.”

As the wells along my way, that meant so much tome in those days, so have these refreshing places been where thirst of the soul may be satisfied with the water of life. As I came nearer those watering places my desire for the water became greater the more I thought about it. So it is with us. The more we think of the sweetness of the stream of the water of life the more ou rthirst increases. And it is well, too, that we keep in mind where we may find these places, and turn in to them.

I have thought, too, of the wells that Isaac digged.”And Isaac digged again the wells of water which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham; and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.”—Ge 26:18. Water is so essential to life and health and enjoyment that the scriptures use it a great deal as a symbol of what revives the drooping spirits.”The Spirit and the bride say come * * * and whosoever will let him take of the water of life freely.” The gospel with its reviving promises seems to be the “water of life.” It is not eternal life, but where there is eternal life there is thirst. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”Where we have found watering places, spiritually speaking, our minds are likely to turn, and they are sweet to the memory. And it is with us as it was with Isaac, there are no better wells for us than those from which the fathers have drunk. These were the wells of salvation. “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” The world may be satisfied with its cisterns for a time, but they shall finally find them to be “broken cisterns” which cannot quench thirst. I turn in mind often to the times and places where my soul has quaffed the water of life when in service with the churches, and the memory is like an open fountain still. As the Philistines stopped the wells of Abraham the influence of the world has the effect of closing up our gospel comforts.

The first time I ever went to Liberty church four of us drove through in a spring wagon. This was before I began preaching. Two incidents of that trip have not left my mind. I did not know the road, and so when I thought we must be near I inquired of a man we met where the church was. He said he knew, and that they were having meeting at that time. This made us feel that he knew, for I knew that this was the meeting day. He pointed out the house, and sure enough there were teams hitched around it. I drove up, but did not feel so sure but what I got out to inquire if we were right. As I went up the walk I heard them singing and I knew at once that it was not our people who were engaged in service. The sentiment of the hymn decided that. I turned to go back and a gentleman came out and told me about the people that were gathered at that place, and also where I would find the Liberty church I was looking for. I have meditated much on the distinctiveness of our services, and have been glad that we have maintained in our service a character that is unlike that of any other people. We sing and pray and preach, but the singing is different—we sing of grace and Christian experience, and use music adapted to express the solemn, sacredness of the place, and of the thought in the words we sing. We pray, and preach, but the character and matter of prayer and sermons is different from others. I remember that at one of our churches we had as a visitor an old brother that I had never seen nor heard of, and I wondered if he was indeed our kind of people. A brother who was with him said that the old gentleman would lead in prayer, and he was asked to do so. He had not proceeded far until I felt great confidence in him as being a sound Primitive Baptist. I was first impressed with this difference on the occasion mentioned above.

There was another little incident that the more I have thought about it the more plainly I have seen a thought it suggested. After leaving the place where the people mentioned were holding services we followed the man’s advice until we turned away from the main road to enter a gate to go through a pasture. Here the way seemed doubtful. Just at this time a man came along whom I accosted and inquired if he knew where Liberty church was holding their meeting. He replied that he did, and began at once to give directions. He said, “Go through this gate, go south a quarter, then west a little ways, then across a branch, then—” He stopped abruptly, pointed to the dim road that ran through the gate, and said with emphasis, “See that track? Just follow it, and it will lead you right to the place.”

How true it is that the plainest leading’ influences in our lives are the examples of living which are set before us. “Go thy way forth,” said the sacred writer,”by the footsteps of the flock.” We sometimes devote much time to theory and doctrines that the simple story of the way the Lord’s people have been led would entirely refute and dispel.”See those tracks?” appeals to me many times as I read of God’s providence and care over his children. I know that is the right way. “Just follow the tracks,”comes not alone as advice, but with a voice that can but be recognized as commanding.

That is the reason the Lord has had these maps of “tracks” traced in the Book of books, that we might not follow those which lead to destruction, though they are”broad” and “wide,” and so apparently easy to find and travel. But if we look intently we may see written over these “tracks” plainly, “The way to destruction.” But there are other “tracks.” They lead through the “strait gate” and”narrow way,” and they lead to life. True there be few following in that way, but it leads where we ought to want to go, where God’s blessings and presence are, and where there is companionship and fellowship with the saints. Even as we found by following the tracks, we had continuous evidence all the way along that we were in the way.

Sometimes when low down in the valley we begin to feel that we have lost the way, but look: Here is where the Savior kneeled when He prayed, “Let the cup pass.”But the cup does not pass, and still “Sorrows encompass me round.” Have I lost the way ? Look a little closer further on. Ah! Here are the prints of the dear Savior’s knees, and this is where He prayed—”Nevertheless not my will but thine be done.” Are we asking, what is my duty? Look at these “tracks” by the river’s side.

Certainly the Lord’s feet pressed the sands, and thesemarks show which way to go. “Suffer it to be so now,”said Jesus to John, “for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” I am today thankful for the incidents along the way which have led my too roving mind to the “fields of Boaz,” where I might glean the golden grain of truth.

AS.06 Autobiography Chapter 6

CHAPTER VI.

I preached for Concord church, which was south of Laclede, Mo., for a few years. The most of the time I rode a horse to and from, which was a distance of about 20 miles. I was farming and had no help. I would work late Friday evening to get all the work done that I could, and then ride over Saturday morning. I sometimes hear brethren excuse themselves for missing their church meetings because they live so far away, some ten or fifteen miles perhaps. I think of the years when I worked hard every day in the week up to Saturday and then rode twenty to twenty-five miles and back home Sunday night. I know what led me to do it—I loved the cause. I know I was not being paid to do it. I wonder how much these brethren love the cause that will let a little hardship and sacrifice keep them from their meetings.

I will tell of an incident I now have in mind. I started to Concord church one Saturday morning. I was gong west, and the sun beat down on my back. I was tired when I started. The heat and dust were disagreeable indeed. I fell to complaining of my lot. Why should I, who was so poorly situated, feel that it was my duty to try to preach under such disadvantages? There were plenty of brethren, good brethren, too, who were better qualified than I, and had means so that they would not have to be burdened as I was. Why was I called if called I was, and not those who could so well serve?

Then, at that time, I was so barren of mind. I felt that I certainly had no message to deliver that day. I ought to go back home, reason seemed to say to me, but still I went on, going over and over again my complainings, and each time I weighed my burdens they seemed heavier. My way led through the town of Brookfield. My wife had given me a package to deliver to an old Sister Neece who lived there. I reached her home, got down, tied my horse and went in. She welcomed me and bade me sit down. I excused myself, that I had no time to sit down, as I had several miles to go, and would be late. She placed a chair and said “Sit and rest while I get you a glass of cool water.” She returned in a few moments, and while I slaked my thirst she talked. She said that until recently she had been much given to worrying and complaining. She had been much distressed, too, about her children. But while she worried there came to her a view of God in whom she could trust, that brought peace to her soul. She had complained about her lot, but the dear Son of God had been tried beyond what she was able to comprehend, and that for her sake. And now He understood her perfectly, and it was a reflection on the sincerity of His love to so act and so feel as though He was not full of sympathy and love for His troubled children. She said it came to her how weak and imperfect she was, but how strong, loving and kind was the Savior. She had found such rest in taking everything to the Lord in prayer and trusting Him to do right, and believing that in His providence He will care for us to the end of the way. She had worried about her children and her inability to direct and protect them, but now she felt relief that she could in confidence pray to Him who had more power than she. I had listened to her words, and like oil on troubled waters they had calmed my spirit, and sweeter than honey in the honeycomb the blessed gospel of peace from the mouth of this dear old sister had dropped into my heart.

The rebellion in my heart was quelled, and my soul said “My Lord and my God.” How changed the scene was! I came into her home full of bitterness with no message of help and comfort for those who labor and are heavy laden; but now I felt a sweet submission in my heart, and a willingness to go to the end of the world if only my Lord should say “follow me.” Then, too, I felt how sweet a privilege it would be to quote the words of the Savior to sorrowing ones—”Let not your heart be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me.” I went on my way to the church, only wishing that I could say a part of what was in my heart to say. Often in my memory have I rested in the home of the God-sent messenger and listened to her words of heavenly wisdom which dropped into my heart like the gentle dew of heaven.

Concord church a few years later dissolved and the membership went to Liberty church. Before I began preaching for the church it had excluded a sister for refusing to live with her husband. I was much impressed with the matter from the time I first learned about it. She attended the meetings and made no show of resentment but was quiet and gentle and her spirit impressed me as being that of a true follower of Jesus. I was not impressed so favorably with the spirit and talk of the husband who had been retained in the church. I learned he had taken “gospel steps” and that the church could not see how they could do otherwise than to exclude the wife as she refused to live with him. After the church dissolved the excluded sister began attending the meetings at Liberty church, and maintained the same Christian spirit. The husband had died. I spoke to the former members of Concord church, now members of Liberty church, and asked them if they did not feel that the sister had been wronged in the matter, and they said they thought she had. I told them it was not too late to remedy the matter, and I felt they owed it to her to make a statement to the church in her behalf, as they now felt that too much confidence had been placed in the husband, and that he was the one really to blame for the separation, but that the wife would rather bear wrong than to bring charges. One of the brethren told the Liberty church of what they had done, and acknowledged that he believed Concord church had done wrong, and recommended Liberty church to give her membership if she desired it.

The dear old sister was much overcome with her thankfulness to again have a home in the church after years of patient waiting to be vindicated, and remained faithful until death. I speak of this incident to call attention to the fact that churches sometimes err, and when the members are convinced that they have, they should rectify the wrong. Also, when persons have suffered injustice at the hands of the church they should not rail against it and seek to do it harm, but they should follow in a Christ-like spirit, which will in time win the hearts of all, and reparation will be made them.

At one time I became much discouraged over the condition of my home church, West Union. The church was in peace, but I was much impressed with the idea that having lived there all my life, and feeling to have such little ability to preach, I could never hope to build up the church, in fact, I saw nothing out of which the church might build. This feeling grew on me until it darkened my mind much, and often I felt that I could not preach. Once I thought I should not be able to even make an effort to speak, I was so overcome with the thought that having known me from childhood up, and having heard me say perhaps all I had to say, those present would not be edified or even interested. During the singing I tried to think what I should do when the time came to go on with the preaching service. I did not feel that I could make any effort to speak. While in much gloom of mind a passage of scripture came into my mind with much force. It reads, “for we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”—2Co 4:5. This lifted my cloud for that time for it showed so clearly that I ought to be thinking more about preaching the work of Jesus, His love and power to save, and not thinking so much about myself.

But I seemed not to be able to get relief from my depressed feelings, and I felt that this would eventually work an injury to the church, and for the sake of the faithful members who were so true to the cause, and to hold our congregation, we ought to get some one to preach for us, anyway until I might be relieved in mind. I asked one preacher in whom I felt much confidence, if he would consent to come and preach for us awhile, and he said, “No, not while you are there to preach for the church.” I do not think he did me right, and I told him that if he ever got into the state that I was in at that time, and should call on me for help, if it was within my power I would help him. The church consented to my appeal and asked a good brother to preach for a year and he consented. What a relief this was to me! I think it did me and the church good, and I have always had a warm feeling for this brother, Elder J. W. Bradley, for coming to our help.

As time developed I have tried to study my trouble, and I suppose it was a lack of trust in God, and impatience. I looked too much to self, and not feeling any dependence could be placed there, I saw nothing in which to put trust for the future to continue the church. I should have been living more by faith, looking to the Lord to prepare the hearts of people for the church. Then, too, I was much too impatient, as I clearly saw when in after years I had the pleasure of baptizing members into the church who were at the time of my discouragement unborn. How important to heed Jesus—”In your patience possess ye your souls.” “Let patience have her perfect work.” I have learned, “For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”

My home church, West Union, since its organization, had always been a small church, and had always met in school houses, as was much the custom of small churches for many years, or in the homes of the members, or in some hired house. But in the year 1898, without considering how we might be able to do so, a motion was made to build a house of worship. It carried without opposition, though any one of the members might have contended that we were not able, as we were nearly all in debt. The work was undertaken with a will, however. I did much soliciting far and near, and yet feel thankful to brethren for their encouragement and financial aid. The house was built on a nice site given the church by my Brother Ambrose, the lot containing two acres, which was planted in trees.

I thought many times, while soliciting for funds to build this house, how easy it would be for the Primitive Baptists of Missouri, and many other states, to raise money enough each year to build a comfortable home for some church whose members were poor in this world’s goods. While the contributions were small, principally from fifty cents to two and a half dollars, the fact was the more emphasized that with a little system to bring enough brethren to work in unison, it would be possible to do much good for needy churches.

My home church remained in peace, all working in harmony for many years, and I had begun to wonder why churches had trouble, when a series of incidents threw the church into much confusion, one of which I will mention. I had devised, and had printed a church clerk’s record book in which were printed Articles of Faith and Rules of Decorum. I offered one of these books to my home church, and then came up the question as to the adoption of the printed articles of faith and rules. Of course the adoption of the book did not make this imperative at all, as they could have been omitted. This matter was taken up, however, and as most of the churches did, West Union adopted them with few changes. There was, however, strong opposition made to the adoption of one clause in the covenant, which read as follows: “We also agree * * * to be ready to communicate to the defraying of the church’s expenses, and for the support of the ministry.”

It was sought to strike this out. I was not willing to single out a clause which was clearly scriptural and strike it out, for then it would appear that it was not according to scripture teaching, and I felt sure this was as plainly taught as were the doctrines in the Articles of Faith. The friction over the adoption or striking out of that clause caused us much trouble. The objection was not to the actual contribution for the help of the ministry, but to putting it into words, or in a way making what we did for the ministry public.

I have seen much of this spirit among our people. I think, perhaps, much of it originated in trying to get away as far as possible from the Missionary Baptists who went out from us, and then to such extremes on the money question, really hanging salvation itself for the heathen on the amount of money raised. This is the spirit that renders the scriptural use of the office of deacon inoperative. Members object to letting any one but the preacher know what they do for him, so no one knows how much the church as a whole gives, because no one knows what any one else does. It is all wrong. There should be the freest understanding among the members about money matters. It is a matter that the scriptures treat upon, and what the Bible treats upon is not a private matter. Deacons were chosen and set apart to attend to the “business” of the church, and paying its obligations is “business,” and what is right to do, it is not wrong to make a record of.

West Union church belonged to the Yellow Creek association. The first session that I attended after becoming a member was held with Chariton church in September, 1873. I have a distinct recollection that Elder John Hutchison preached the introductory sermon over the protest of many brethren. Elder Hutchison and others had come bearing a letter, representing that they were the Mt. Salem church. Other brethren from the same church bore a letter contesting the claim. These two letters were referred to a committee consisting of one member from each church. I was placed on the committee, which after hearing both sides, rejected the letter borne by the Elder Hutchison party. Some of the members of that faction afterwards were reinstated, but Elder Hutchison finally professed to be an infidel.

I have often thought that the spirit he showed at the association was so unlike that of a humble follower of the lowly Son of God that it did not manifest the spirit of Christ.

Later I attended a session of the Yellow Creek when held with Little Zion church and was appointed by the moderator, Elder J. E. Goodson, to go to one of the homes with two older preachers from different associations to preach at night. They insisted that I speak first. I did so in much fear, as I had been speaking in public but a short time. When I had finished they each spoke in turn, and both of them seemed to make special effort to contradict what I had tried to say. They took the position that if God wanted any more members in the church he would bring them in; and that everything would be done just as the Lord had predestinated it should take place, and that every act of man was preordained, good or bad. I had never before heard such ideas preached. I thought if these two preachers were Primitive Baptists I knew that I was not, and it gave me much trouble. But on investigating I found that these two men were of that class of extremists that are always in public talking much about being “Old Baptists,” and then giving out these extreme ideas, such as I have mentioned. This gives many people a wrong idea of what Primitive Baptists really hold. I feel sure that preachers ought to be held to strict account by the churches for such things. People in general, as a rule, who are raised up under Arminian influences will not be favorably impressed with the doctrine of grace when they first hear it. But if they hear it properly stated, an investigation of the scriptures will sustain it, and if they have an experience of grace their hearts will approve it. But if they hear some of these extreme and unscriptural statements, and are interested enough to investigate, they will find that they are unscriptural, and then will conclude that they represent all Primitive Baptists, and they will decide against the whole church. It would not avail anything for some brother or sister to deny that Primitive Baptists believe such things, for those criticizing will at once say, “Yes, but we know they do, for we heard one of your members say so.” So while we ought not to be too critical with our preachers about individual expression, yet we ought to stand against such expressions as contradict fundamental doctrines.

When I had been ordained but a little while, in company with my brother, Ambrose, I attended the Hazel Creek association in Iowa. I felt a timidity in going, as I was afraid I would be called upon to try to preach, and I did not feel competent to preach at home and much less at any distance away. The nearer we came to the place of meeting I felt more and more to hope that I would not be called on to try to preach. One thing that rested on my mind was that perhaps the Baptists up in Iowa did not hold the same doctrines, or perhaps did not use the same expressions that I had been used to, having in mind the experience I had with the two preachers before mentioned, who at that time belonged to one of the churches of the Hazel Creek association. Finally we reached the home of Elder Blakely the evening before the association opened. We saw no one that we knew on arriving, and no one knew us. I felt encouraged. I thought I would get to hear some preaching, and then I could see if I was in harmony with the preachers. As the evening drew on, others came in, and among them some who had stopped at the same place my brother and I had stopped the night before. Finally it was about time for the evening service, and I was feeling hopeful that I would not be recognized. But my expectations were blasted. Elder Blakely came out to me and asked, “Is your name Cash?” I replied, “Yes.” “Are you Elder Cash?” said he. With difficulty I said, “Yes.” “Well,” said he, “some who have come in told me who you were, and it has been arranged that you and another brother are to preach tonight.” I tried to excuse myself, but I could not move him. I thought, Well, I will get the other brother, who was an elderly gentleman, to preach first, and if I find we are not in harmony, I will say nothing.

The time for the service came on and I tried to get the old brother to preach first, but he pleaded that he did not feel well, and said that I must go first. I did the best I could under the circumstances, hoping that the brother in his remarks following would give me an idea as to what he thought of my position. I was disappointed. He made no reference at all to what I had said. I took this to mean that he could not approve, and out of kindness to me would say nothing. This left me in the same frame of mind I had been in.

The next day the session of the association opened, and I was appointed to speak at the stand during the business session. I hurried through. I wanted to get an idea of the situation, and as soon as I could, made my way to the dwelling house where the messengers were assembled. I did not enter the room where the messengers were, but could hear all that was said. They were just taking up the matter of appointing preachers for the stand for Sunday. Elder Blakely arose and addressed the moderator and then said, “Brethren, there is a young brother here from Missouri.” I was all attention. I expected him to say that on account of his age, and experience, it would not be wise to appoint him, and I knew that was the way that I felt about it. He continued: “I have heard about him from good authority, and can without hesitation assure you that his standing is all right at home, and from what I have learned I think that he has a gift to edify. You will make no mistake to put him up.”

How relieved I was! I did not care to be appointed to speak, but I wanted to know how the matter stood as to my positions, and the attitude of the people with whom I was to mingle for a time. Just as Brother Blakely had spoken, as I have set down above, he stepped a little to one side, and looking through the open door between the two rooms, saw me. He said, “I did not know that you were here, Brother Cash, I beg your pardon for my personal remarks in your presence, but I have nothing to take back.” The brother who spoke first on Sunday was an extremist, but he became confused and was not able to talk very long. After the service, a brother told me that the elder who spoke first had been prompted by some extremists to take the course that he did that day. “But,” said he, “I am glad that the Lord confused him and would not let him say what he had intended to say.” I learned in some measure by the experience of this trip that “The fear of man bringeth a snare, but whosoever putteth his

AS.07 Autobiography Chapter 7

CHAPTER VII

After I became connected with the “Messenger of Peace” I attempted to correct brethren on an expression that was being used by some ministers at that time. It was as follows: “The Lord’s people were saved in eternity.” I argued that this expression could not be true for several reasons. First, the Lord’s people were chosen from the fallen race of Adam and did not exist in eternity. The sins from which they were to be saved were committed in time, and so they could not be saved from them in eternity. Secondly, the Lord’s people were saved by the death of Christ, and He did not die in eternity, He died in time. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”—1Ti 1:15. If the Lord’s people were saved in eternity there was no use for Him to come into the world to save them. I tried to show that it would be right to say that God foreknew His people in eternity ; that He chose them before the world was made! That He predestinated that they should be conformed to the image of His Son before they ever sinned, and before they had an existence. It was the carrying out of this purpose, choice and predestination in time that saved the Lord’s people, Christ coming in time and because of His suffering, death and resurrection and intercession the Spirit gives life to the dead in sins, fulfilling the prophecy, “Thy dead men shall live.” I claimed that the Lord is saving His people now, which is equivalent to regenerating them and preserving them by grace to the end.

A short time after this editorial appeared I attended the Mt. Zion association, and found on reaching the place that certain brethren were very active in trying to create the impression that I was not “sound,” and the evidence that I was not sound was to be found in the editorial which I had written, claiming that the expression, “The Lord’s people were saved in eternity,” was not correct. One of these brethren was carrying around a copy of the paper that he might convince brethren of my unsoundness. This influence was being exerted, I soon learned, to keep me off the stand. I did not care for being put on the stand, but those who were active in opposition to me were strong for the expression, “The absolute predestination of all things.” So I felt that it meant much more for the cause than it did for me personally. However, I said nothing, not trying in any way to meet the opposing influence, feeling that in the end truth would prevail. I was not put on the stand, but there was no necessity, as there were plenty of ministers to fill up the time. But I was wondering how the brethren generally felt about the matter, and especially if many of them really questioned how I stood on the truth. I had not the least question in my own mind that the position I had taken was perfectly consistent with the faith of the Primitive Baptists.

On Monday morning, however, Elder Allen Sisk, the oldest minister at the association, and who was moderator of the Fishing River association, came to me, and putting his arm around me, said, “I do not want you to be troubled about what is taking place here. We have confidence in you that you will still be preaching for the Old Baptists when these other fellows have gone off into the brush.” I had never been at all intimate with Brother Sisk, being rather distant in my disposition, and had never felt that he took much interest in me. But from that Monday morning I could not for a moment doubt that he felt that I was in harmony with the Primitive Baptist principles, and it was encouraging to me beyond expression.

In the fall of 1882 I attended the meeting of the Fishing River association, which was held with the Marion church, near Richmond, Mo. The question of continuing or dropping the correspondence with the Mt. Pleasant association came up. The “Means party,” led by Elders W. T. Pence, E. H. Burnham, Milton Sears, J. E. Lee and James Bradley were fighting for a standing wherever possible, and it was important to them to hold what they had gained in the Fishing River association, and to go forward if possible, instead of losing the correspondence. Elders Burnham, Lee and Bradley were at the meeting, prepared to use all their influence to hold the correspondence with the Fishing River for the Mt. Pleasant, which had gone over bodily with the new movement. Those chosen to preach on Sunday were Elders E. H. Burnham, P. L. Branstetter and J. E. Goodson, Sr. Elder E. H. Burnham preached first, taking for his text the words of Jesus recorded in Joh 17, especially dwelling on Joh 17:20, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” The first part of the sermon was built up consistent with the covenant of grace and was strongly presented. But when he came to comment on the 20th verse he endeavored to work in the “Means” doctrine, that God uses the gospel in the quickening of sinners. The theory was as well presented as it could be, but it was evident that it did not move the great body of the Baptists which were present.

Elder Branstetter followed and used as a text, 1Co 8:5-6—”For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there be gods many and lords many) but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him.” The time was critical. The churches and associations were at the parting of the ways. The time had come when it must be decided in this section, and among all the Baptists of this correspondence, whether the “Mean’s” doctrine was to spread further among the churches, or whether the line should be drawn, limiting into the bounds already reached. The ablest advocate of the “Means” theory had just spoken, and had brought forth the strongest arguments possible to support their theory. It now devolved upon Elder Branstetter to meet this departure and show that it was not scriptural, and thus to stay its progress among the churches, for on Monday the deciding vote of the association would be taken. The feeling in the congregation was tense, and Elder Branstetter showed plainly that he felt the seriousness of the situation. His soul and mind were aflame with the subject. With wonderful power and clearness he took up his argument to show that the great matter of salvation was all of the Lord, and that regeneration, the actual saving work brought to effectiveness in the person of the sinner, was not to be weakened by connecting it in a human link, but that a no less powerful agent was used than the Holy Spirit, and that the purpose of the gospel had another objective in view.

The effect of this sermon on the congregation was wonderful indeed. At the close many stood closely around the stand, having moved forward, it seemed involuntarily, under the influence which wrought so mightily in hearts and minds. No one could be so dull as not to see that the case had been decided for that time and place, and by great odds it was against the Means movement. It was plain from the demeanor of Elders Burnham, Lee and Bradley that they understood the verdict. The Mt. Pleasant association was dropped from the correspondence. The Salem association was dropped at the same time, but there was but a small element in the Salem that adhered to the Means movement, and they soon left it. A few churches were drawn off from the Fishing River association. They were Little Shoal Creek, Big Shoal Creek, Prairie Point and First Platte. They were organized into what was called West Fishing River association. It has now gone out of existence.

One night, at an association I was attending, I was appointed to go to a brother’s house to preach. I went and did the best I could to preach from this text: “Then said Jesus unto His disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.”—Mt 16:24. I tried to use this text as a command of Jesus to His followers to obedience, arguing that there is a difference between obedience and disobedience, and that to live after the flesh meant loss, and to live after the Spirit was gain, giving the Savior’s own language as proof—”For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; then shall He reward every man according to his works.” When I had concluded, a brother preacher arose and began speaking by saying, “It has got to be so that when some brethren preach where I am, they preach a dependent God and independent people. The people can obey or disobey as they like, and God has to wait to see what they do so that He will know what to do.” He went on to say that it is not in man to direct his steps, and that all things are directed of the Lord. That the Lord had predestinated all things from eternity that should come to pass, and that it would be that way. That he would preach every sermon that the Lord had ordained that he should, and that if a fly should rise from the floor and go to the ceiling it was so ordained before the world was. Thus he continued until I suppose he thought he had demolished what I had said and he then closed with a benediction. Before the people had stirred, however, I called out and said, “Brother, I want to ask you a question.” He said, “Ask on.” I then asked him if the Lord made me get up and preach what I did, and then made him get up and tell the people that what I had preached was not true? He tried to evade my question, but I told him I did not want to argue, but wanted him to say, Yes or no. This he would not do after preaching as positive as he did. I think many of the people saw that to argue a view of predestination that applies to all things alike, makes God act against Himself, and makes evil to flow from the same fountain as good. People sometimes argue in a way that makes it appear that sin and immorality are the result of God’s predestination, and if they are, of course God is the cause, which the Bible utterly condemns. God’s predestination is so effective as to be a cause in everything pertaining to the salvation of sinners, and many other things of which the scriptures speak, but no one ought to presumptuously charge God with being the cause of such things as His word condemns. His law condemns sin, and His law fixes a penalty for the transgression of it. No one can rightfully say that God forbids the transgression of His law, yet causes persons to violate it.

An incident at one of my churches will illustrate a trial that often comes to the pastors of churches. I had for a long time been pastor of the church of which I am about to speak. There had always been the best of feeling between me and the members, and if they had ever been dissatisfied with the service I was rendering, I had seen no indication of it. But a preacher came among the members who had been in trouble where he had formerly lived, and he was seeking a new field. I knew this, but the members did not. He represented that he wished to help me in my work by becoming a partner with me in the publication of the “Messenger of Peace.” Knowing his character, and that he was not capable of doing work on any paper, even if I had needed help, and the fact that the income from the paper would not warrant dividing it with anyone. I wrote him in reply to a letter to me that I could not consider his proposition. He wrote me that he would start a paper if I would not take him in. I wrote him to go ahead as far as I was concerned, as the field was open.

He began then to try in every skillful way to win the confidence of the brethren in this church, and made some feel that I was not treating him fairly by not taking him in. He worked the suggestion into the minds of some of the brethren that as I had been preaching for them a long time, and was overworked, it might be a good thing for the church, and for me, to have a change, and that he could take the place. He made himself very intimate in the homes of members and was very affectionate with them. One good brother went so far as to give him a lot to build a house upon, with the idea that it would be better for the church to have a resident pastor. I saw all this transpiring, and had this preacher been a man of good character I would have stepped aside, but my interest in the church I knew was unselfish, that I really desired its welfare, and in my judgment knew that the man would not prove out what they expected. But I could not make an open protest, for that would have been taken by some as a sign that I was jealous and selfish. When I felt that prudence indicated such a course I went to the deacons, and laid the whole matter before them, but cautioned them that the time to act was not yet, as there must be no division among the members that might live to make trouble. So I insisted on watchful silence. They had not long to wait. As soon as he thought that he was securely in the confidence of the brethren, he began to make use of the brethren in high standing for his own personal gain. This soon uncovered his real character, and the church where he had formerly been, brought up charges, and the brethren of my church having discovered his unfaithfulness, he was excluded.

I think that I see two lessons in this case. Brethren in the churches should be careful about taking up with preachers whose standing in the churches where they have formerly lived is not good. They should be careful about putting a new man in the place of one who has served faithfully many years. These brethren were much mortified when the truth all came out, and our fellowship and affection was settled for life. Upon the other hand I learned a lesson for which I have been thankful to God, and which I have desired not to forget while I live. I was mercifully preserved from jealousy and imprudent, hasty action. Had I tried to get some brethren on “my side,” and got them arrayed against each other, it might have caused a rent in the church, for even though they might have finally seen the error of following the new man, there might have been harsh language used that would have separated brethren for years, and they might never have been united again. It is better to suffer and wait than to build up a party in the church. Churches should first be determined in standing together, unless erroneous doctrines are introduced, and even then, they should try all the gospel directions in keeping unity. We can generally settle all our differences if we can keep down passion and hasty words.

AS.08 Autobiography Chapter 8

CHAPTER VIII.

“The Messenger of Peace” was first started November 15, 1874. There were at that time but few Primitive Baptist papers published in the United States, and none of them were west of the Mississippi river. So when Dr. J. E. Goodson of Macon, Mo., whose reputation as a conservative but sound and able advocate of salvation by grace was well established, issued his prospectus, the proposition met with much favor and warm support. Later he took with him into the office his son, John E. Goodson, Jr., who became a member of Chariton church later, and was ordained to the ministry, and became a recognized power for good among Primitive Baptists. His health failed, however, and it became plain to him that he could not recover it. He spoke to me about assisting him and his father on the paper, as Dr. Goodson from his advanced age was no longer able to take the entire work if it should fall upon him.

Up to this time all my summers had been spent on a farm, but for some ten years I had taught school through the winter months. Though I really had nothing in view, but for several years before I had been spoken to by Brother Goodson about helping on the paper, I had not felt that I would keep on at the kind of work in which I had been engaged. I had felt that I would one day be connected with the paper, though I could not have given a reason for feeling so. In August, 1890, Elder J. E. Goodson, Jr., became very ill, and at the close of harvest I went to Macon, Mo., where the paper was then located, to see if my services were needed. I took up work in the office until it should be seen what turn Elder Goodson’s illness would take. On August 19th he passed away. I cannot describe the loss I felt in his death. We had traveled together, preached together, and there was a confidence between us that made us brothers indeed. Soon after his death I entered into co-partnership with Dr. Goodson, which ended December 1, 1891, by his selling his interest in the paper to me. I bought a one-half interest in the Marceline Mirror, a weekly paper published at Marceline, Mo., and in the job printing plant connected with it, and moved the “Messenger of Peace” there and began issuing it from that office January 15, 1892. I finally bought out my partner, Mr. H. M. Broderick, and continued to issue both papers until in 1904 when I sold the weekly paper, having already moved to St. Joseph in June, 1903. I began issuing the “Messenger of Peace” from St. Joseph in 1904, and it is still issued from this office.

I have had a feeling about this publication which is much the same as I have about my ministry. I feel that I became connected with it through the providence of God, and that it should be conducted in such manner as to glorify His name, and to advance the cause of Christ, endeavoring to unify the church on sound doctrine and practice. I feel it to be a sacred trust, and would no more think of publishing error than I would of preaching it from the pulpit. And I feel, too, that the same rules that apply to me as a member of the church in my relations with my brethren, apply to me in conducting my paper. In my editorials I have tried to write as I feel that I should preach, trying to strengthen the churches in doctrine and practice, not compromising the truth, or approving what is wrong, according to the test of scripture teaching. I have felt that the truth, and the good of the cause, were to be considered above personal favor. I have had money sent me for subscrpitions to be applied on the condition that I publish articles that were either sent or to be sent. The money has never influenced me to publish articles that I did not think taught the truth, or were improper from any standpoint.

I have refused the article and sent the money back when I thought that it would injure the cause. Owing to the expense of publication the paper has not paid me much for my labor, and I have had to look to other sources to make a support for my family. But it has brought me an acquaintance with brethren all over the United States, and I value their love and encouraging letters above dollars and cents, for I know that their fellowship could not be bought with money. Some have said to me that if the paper did not make sufficient money to let it stop. But my preaching does not make me much money either. Shall I stop preaching because it is not a money making work? I feel about the paper as I do about my preaching. After the sessions of the Missouri associations were over one year I decided to attend an association in another state. I supposed that the association was in harmony, doctrinally, with our Missouri associations. After the introductory had been preached, with which I found no fault, and while the association was going forward with its routine business, I took up one of the minutes of the association and read the articles of faith which were printed in it. I found one item, “We believe in the eternal vital unity of Christ and the church.” From this, the most important matter, and other items. I saw that I was not at all in harmony with the association. At the first opportunity I had, I told the moderator and the clerk that I did not believe as they did, and not wishing to impose on them, nor to have my name appear on their minutes as taking a seat with them, I requested that they would not ask me to preach nor to take part with them, but to treat me as a self-invited visitor at the meeting, for whose presence they were in no way responsible. They tried to move me from my decision, but I declined to argue with them, and told them to give the matter no thought, as I certainly did not desire to cause them the least confusion in the meeting, which I would perhaps do if I preached, as I knew that 1 would preach contrary to their articles.

But the family at whose home I was being entertained requested that I should preach at their home at night, and as they manifested such kindness, I could not refuse. But the association sent preachers there also. I insisted that they preach first and they seemed willing to do so. They made special effort to preach the absolute predestination of all things good and evil, using the most extreme expressions that are used by those who use this statement of predestination. Also special stress was laid on the eternal, vital union theory. One of these preachers said that there were some people calling themselves Baptists who thought that God regenerated the Adam sinner and made him a child of God, but that God was not driven to the necessity of taking the children of another and making them His children, as He had plenty of children of His own, being His before time was, and that the church was as eternal as was Christ Himself.

While he talked, I tried to think what course I ought to pursue in my remarks, as I had said at the beginning that I did not want to come into their midst and produce any friction, knowing that we were not in harmony. But I could not get the consent of my conscience to let it appear from my preaching that I approved of what these men had preached. While thus debating the situation with myself, this thought came to me: “Why should you preach differently to what you do at home? If you preach the gospel there, will you not have to preach the same thing here to preach the gospel?” With these thoughts my mind cleared and I became as calm as I ever was, and the passage, “By grace ye are saved” seemed to me as the sun in the sky, lighting up the whole of the great subject of salvation, and to be a key to the revealed word of God. When I arose I announced that I would talk about salvation by grace.

“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.”

I said that for salvation to be by grace, there must be an undeserving sinner saved, who had not a single claim on the Lord’s mercy, for if he had one single claim it would destroy the statement that we are saved by grace. He must not make a claim of merit for obedience, not even to have filled the Arminian requirement of believing on Jesus, as a cause of acceptance. Neither can he claim to a relationship with Jesus that necessarily brings Jesus to do anything for him, for that would destroy salvation by grace. I tried to picture the man that God made going into disobedience, and justly coming under the condemnation of the law, doomed without grace, not having a single claim for deliverance. Then I spoke of the covenant of grace, and how “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” and how each grace rescued sinner felt himself to be the chief of sinners, with no reason for his hope but in the mercy of God. After the meeting closed one of their followers walked out into the yard with me, and said to me, “That is so; I never thought of that, salvation must be by grace.”

A man offered for membership once at one of my churches when I was not present, and the brethren accepted him for baptism. When I came home I was told about the matter, and they said that though the man talked a great deal there seemed to be something that he was trying to say that he could not express. The time set for his baptism was the next regular meeting time, when I would be present. He came on Saturday, bringing his change of clothing with him. I told him that I wanted him to go home with me, as I wanted to have a talk with him. In the evening when we got settled down for the talk, I told him what our church believed as touching the work of Jesus, and what we understood about the salvation of sinners. I then asked him if that was the way he believed, and he said that it was not, that he had not so understood it. In drawing out what he believed, I found that he was an advocate of the eternal vital union theory. I told him that there had been several members excluded from our church for advocating what he believed, and that I thought it would not be consistent to take him in, and that I did not want to baptize him unless his views could be altered. I said to him, “I do not think that you would want to be baptized by me, knowing that I do not believe as you do.” He said, No, he would not. I told him that I thought he ought to go to a body that believed as he did, or else go into an investigation of the matter, in which I would be glad to help him. I announced next morning that the ordinance of baptism would be indefinitely postponed.

While writing on the subject of eternal vital union, I will give some particulars of the trouble Little Flock church of St. Joseph, Mo., had with Elder H. S. Cloud over this doctrine. In March, 1887, this church received Elder Cloud from the Missionary Baptists. He had been ordained by them and had been preaching for them. He was baptized after coming to the Little Flock church, and in a short time was ordained. He soon developed very extreme views, and his expressions were objectionable on the subject of predestination. Then he went further and published a book without submitting it to the church or the members of the church. The title was, “The Bride, the Lamb’s Wife.” He professed, like so many others who put forth heretical ideas, that the matter of the book was revealed to him, and that he wrote it as it was revealed. The book advocated the eternal vital union theory, representing the church to be co-equal with Christ as to duration of existence, then being manifested in the persons of the Adam family, and so being drawn under sin. Then Christ, because of His relation to His bride, was drawn under the law, and so to death because of the fall of His bride in Adam, and the final deliverance of the church from earth. He rejected the idea of the adoption of the Adam body, and left it in the grave.

Charges of heresy were brought in the church against Elder Cloud. Copies of his book were submitted to Elders F. A. Chick, editor of the Signs of the Times, S. Hassell, editor of the Gospel Messenger, R. W. Thompson, editor of the Primitive Monitor, and myself, editor of the “Messenger of Peace,” and S. H. Durand. These all pronounced the book heretical, and Elder Cloud was excluded, as were seventeen others who adhered to him. These excluded members claimed to be the church in order and sent up a letter to the Nodaway association, but they were rejected, and the Salem church also dropped out as a result of this trouble. There is but one minister at this writing (January, 1925) who advocates this theory in northwest Missouri, and but few holding to it in the state. There are some sections in other states where this doctrine is preached. Back some years ago there was a paper called “The Sectarian” which upheld it, but that has gone down. Elders Ker and Lefferts, editors of the “Signs of the Times” during the year 1916, and in the August 1st and the September 15th issues of that paper both took a stand for the eternal vital unity doctrine, although Elder F. A. Chick, while he was editor, called it heresy, as did Elder S. H. Durand, and other well known ministers of high standing.

In the fall of 1912 I made a visit to Sardis-Bethlehem church, in Henry county, Mo., which had no pastor at that time. Elder H. W. Newton, of Oak Grove, Mo., had been pastor, but had not been attending them for some time. The members requested that I accept the pastorate of the church, but I thought best not to accept at that time, but promised that I would preach for them until other arrangements were made, or until I felt free to agree to serve as pastor. Finally I consented to serve the church and have been doing so up to the time of this writing. I take up the subject of Sardis to speak of a crisis in the church which might benefit other churches. The house that the church was using had been in use many years, and had the same seats that were put in it more than fifty years before. The house was cold, the members, with the exception of a Brother and Sister Amick, all lived several miles from the church, so that in winter time the meetings were often slimly attended, or in the worst weather not at all. The people living around the church either had interests elsewhere or were indifferent about the meetings, so that the situation was most discouraging for the future. The older members were well-to-do, but when they should pass away per haps conditions would change. I considered all this, but felt that prudence would have to be used in bringing up the subject of building, for that would bring up another matter upon which I felt the church would be divided in sentiment, and that was changing the location of the church. Several of the members had located in Leeton, a town about five miles away. I could see no promise of a congregation for the future where the church stood. But there was a cemetery on the grounds owned by the church, and of course some would not want to move the site on that account. The conditions called for delicate treatment.

At one of the church meetings I spoke of the necessity of building a new house. I had spoken to some about the necessity for immediate action when the matter was brought up. When I spoke about it, it was suggested that the matter be taken under advisement. That was just what I thought might be imprudent, for it might lead to a discussion of location and that might provoke dissension. So I asked for immediate action and a brother made a motion to build a new house, and it carried without opposition. I asked for the appointment of a committee of three who might make recommendations as to plan and site at the next meeting of the church. This was arranged. I asked the committee to make a thorough canvass of the situation, and with the recommendations of a site to give reasons. I went with the committee and made a canvass of the members as to changing the site to the town. It was a trying time, it seemed so serious. The committee was not united at first. But the next meeting came and the committee reported in favor of changing into the town, and it carried nearly unanimously, though many were perplexed about what they ought to do. The point in this course was that this decision was reached without a long wait and much talk, for this would have provoked strong feeling that might have been injurious for the future of the church. The new house was built and paid for, with money left. Brother Amick, who had lived close to the old house died soon after the first meeting was held in the new house, and this decided the matter in the minds of all that it was the right thing to change the location, and as years have gone on this decision has been confirmed. A cemetery association was organized to take hold of the old cemetery and put it in better condition than it had ever been kept before.

I wish to mention a case which illustrates the truth of the following passage: “And we are His witnesses of these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them who obey Him.”— Ac 5:32. When I first visited Sardis church, when the invitation was extended for members, a young sister, Mrs. Bertha Harris, wife of Brother A. B. Harris, now clerk of the church, offered for membership. She told of the beginning of her interest in her soul’s welfare, and followed it up in a feeling way to the time of the struggle which ensued between a desire to join church and a feeling of unworthiness which had continued over a period of eleven years. She said in the conclusion of her remarks, that she had been unable to settle the question, and had finally decided to leave it to the church, and to abide by the decision. She said, “Now I will not blame you if you decide that I am not fit to be a member, for I have been deciding that way for eleven years.” She was received, of course, for her narrative was convincing. The time for the ordinance of baptism was set for the next morning, and as we went to the water she said to me, “Brother Cash, would it not be awful if I was making a mistake?” I told her that I did not think that she was. We went into the water, and when I had raised her up, she looked into my face and said, “It is all right.” The Holy Ghost is a witness to them that obey Him. Many seem determined that the Holy Ghost shall be a witness to them before they obey, but the Lord has His way of bearing witness. While He has given His children the spirit by which they cry “Abba Father,” He has not promised to give them the witness of assurance in disobedience. But He has promised the witness to them that obey him.

AS.09 Autobiography Chapter 9

 CHAPTER IX.

I took the care of Bear Creek church, near Hannibal, Mo., in the year 1891, and preached for it about ten years. I wish in connection with the mention of this church to bear witness to the character of a faithful deacon in that church who managed the finances of the church, Brother W. F. Kercheval. The first meeting in the year he would read over the names of the members of the church who were expected to help bear the expenses of the church, calling out at the same time the amounts that each had given the year before, and asking each one if the amount was more or less than he could give the present year. Of this he would make a memorandum, and then he asked each member to give one-fourth of the whole amount he was to give during the year, first Sunday in each quarter. He said that this was for his convenience in keeping his accounts, and as they were asking him to take on himself the trouble of attending to this matter he would ask them to make it as easy for him as possible. By this arrangement he always had funds on hand for use as needed. He insisted, too, in all being prompt with their payments which they could do by having it in mind before hand. Out of this fund the pastor was helped and the poor were looked after.

He also took up a collection each Sunday morning, and this fund was used solely for paying for the care of the house, providing fuel, etc. He was so prompt himself that it was consistent to insist upon promptness in all. There was never any friction about the financial business of this church during his lifetime, and after his death they tried to keep the business “as Brother Kercheval had kept it.” He also insisted on all the members being present at the meetings, and if any missed he went to see why they did not attend. His devotion to the interests of the church, and promptness, had a good influence on the church. “The way Brother Kercheval did” was a living rule in the church, for all saw that it was right.

I will mention an incident in which it seems that I was providentially saved from being robbed. It was while I lived at Marceline, Mo., and I was returning from Bear Creek church, of which I was then pastor. I had to change from the C. B. & Q. railroad to the A. T. & S. F. road, and the depots were about a quarter of a mile apart. I arrived at Bucklin about 3 o’clock in the morning, and hurried across to the Santa Fe station. When I got there, from the actions of the station agent and the waiting passengers, it was apparent that something unusual had occurred. I asked, “What is the matter?” The agent replied, “Haven’t you seen anyone? We have been held up and robbed. Where did you come from?” I told him that I had come from the Burlington station, and that I had seen no one. He said, “Well, just as soon as the robbers had left here the Burlington agent had called up and said that his office had been robbed.” So it was plain that both stations had been robbed at the same time, and I was between the two stations, going from one to the other. I had left home hurriedly Friday evening without thinking to go to the bank and had more money with me than I was in the habit of carrying on my person. As I had no money that I could afford to lose, I thanked the Lord for my escape, and promised myself that I would carry nothing for robbers in the future when it could be avoided.

The town of Marceline, Mo., to which I moved from the farm, after having purchased the “Messenger of Peace,” and a half interest in the Marceline Mirror, a weekly newspaper, was built up during the time the Santa Fe railroad was being built through from Chicago to Kansas City, and was made a division point between Kansas City and Ft. Madison. In my boyhood I had ridden over the prairie where the town was built, herding cattle, when there were not even farms laid out. As is the case generally with towns which spring up quickly, especially railroad and mining towns, as Marceline was, there were many bad characters to be found in the population. At the time of which I write, 1895 to 1900, these characters had grown very bold, and robberies, fires, and even murders were frequent, and insurance companies were drawing out of the town, and property was declining in value so that those who desired to leave could not sell out. Something must be done, but as it is generally, the better class of citizens did not want to undertake the work of subduing crime and restoring order, for it perhaps meant to risk life and property. One night a delegation of business men came to my office and said they had decided to ask me to take the office of mayor, and if I would do so they would all promise to join with me in the effort to restore law and order to the town. Much as I disliked to do this I agreed to try, and together with a town board pledged in like manner, was elected. We began organization of the work before I was sworn in and a house burner and a robber were caught and sent to the penitentiary to serve terms. A citizens’ committee was organized, and the prompt and vigorous manner in which transgressors were apprehended and punished frightened the lawless elements so that offenses soon grew less. Some known bad characters were taken out and punished and given hours to leave town, and they left. An appeal was made to the state’s attorney by those who thought the citizens’ committee was going too far, but on learning the facts he refused to act. I was much criticised by some of the ministers of the town because I did not handle the liquor business differently, but I told them that if they would keep their members from patronizing the drug stores and drink joints the officials would have backing to enforce the law without trouble. My life was threatened by the rough element, but no harm came to me, but it was a trying time in my life. I learned that if the law abiding citizens will take hold of public affairs with vigor they can accomplish much toward the betterment of affairs in our counties and towns. I could not at that time, with the prevailing sentiment of the town as it was, do away with saloons. I could control the saloons easier than I could the illicit sale when they were closed. A prominent member of one of the churches went before the county court to protest against my course. The presiding judge asked him what my course was in the matter. On being told what it was, he replied, “I have known Mr. Cash all his life, and if he wants it that way there is a good reason, and I will vote to sustain him.”

Saloons and intoxicating drink are an awful curse to a community. If one is brought into a position where it becomes his duty to control it, he will soon see what a vice it is, and what treacherous means will be practiced to keep it up and to spread it. Only depraved men can engage in the sale of liquor, for they know that it is a curse to those who drink it, and they take their money for that which will destroy them. It is a constant menace to young men, and to girls, too, through the influence of men who are leading to lower and lower levels in these places where all the influences are against righteousness and toward immorality. I was reelected to a second term, but resigned on account of moving my residence to St. Joseph, Mo.

While I was teaching school, I went to my school one cold morning, and found two young men there waiting for me. One of them said to me, “Mr. Cash, father wants you to come to him as quickly as you can, and I will take you in the sleigh and my brother will build your fire, and sweep out the room.” I asked what their father wanted of me, and they said that he thought he was going to die and wanted to talk with me. I signified my willingness to go, and in a few minutes we were at the home. I went in and asked the old gentleman what he wanted to talk to me about, and he told me that he had but little time to live and he wanted me to baptize him. I asked him if he had a hope of salvation, and he said that he did not, for although he knew that he ought to be baptized, he had neglected to attend to it, and now he knew it must no longer be delayed or he would be lost.

I said to him, “But you are not depending on being baptized to save you, are you?” He admitted that he thought he could not be saved without it. I tried to tell him that Jesus saves sinners; that what He does for them and in them is so entirely sufficient that it needs nothing else to make it effectual. I could not clear his mind, however, of the idea that he could have no hope except he was baptized. “But,” said I, “it is too late now, you are not able to be taken and baptized. It is awfully cold, and you are not able to stand the exposure.” “O,” said he, “I know that I cannot be immersed and I believe that is the right way, but as that is impossible I think the Lord would accept sprinkling.”

I told him that I could not baptize him, though he were able to be immersed, for I did not believe that baptism was a saving ordinance. If he believed it was, I could not administer it, for only such as were believers in Jesus as their Savior were entitled to baptism. And as to sprinkling, I did not believe that was baptism at all under any condition. “O, perhaps you may not believe in it,” said he, “but do it to satisfy my conscience.” I told him that I had a conscience as well as he, and he would have to send for someone else.

I went off, leaving him in tears. I could but reflect after leaving this man how precious to the dying is the hope of salvation by grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. It lacks nothing, it is full and complete, and suited to the sinner’s needs, while those who are trusting in their own deeds, when brought to the test, will find that they lack something. It is a notable fact that those preachers who insist in their arguments and sermons that salvation actually depends, not alone on faith and confession, but that obedience in baptism is an essential requirement, when they come to preach the funeral of a person that has not been baptized, do not declare that they have been lost on account of this neglect. And they even go so far as to say of some who have not been baptized that they have reason to believe that they are saved, because they have given evidence of saving faith. They do not seem to realize that such an admission destroys the force of the arguments that they have used in preaching.

I will speak of a death which was very beautiful and impressive. I was arranging to commence a service at the home of my uncle, James Cash, in the neighborhood of Sardis church in Chariton county, Mo., when I was called to come at once to the bedside of a neighbor woman who was near death. I went at once and found on arriving that she was in a dying condition. I bent over her and asked what I could do. She said in the faintest whisper, “Sing Angel Band.” We sang, “There is a land, a happy land,” with the chorus.

“O come angel band,
Come and around me stand,
O bear me away on your snowy wings
To my immortal home.”

As we sang, she lifted her hands and clasped them, looked up with a very happy smile, and thus while we sang passed out of life. It was most beautiful indeed. The memory of the upturned face, with its heavenly smile, the clasped hands as in ecstasy of soul, meeting the “king of terrors” without a tremor, inspired by the hope of heaven through the gospel, has been a beautiful picture to me of the Christian in full faith’meeting death.

My Sister Margaret, “Maggie,” as we called her, died at the age of eighteen. When the doctor came last he left some medicine with instructions for giving it. I went to Maggie and asked her to take it. She said that she did not want to take it, as it could do her no good. She said that she did not want to get well, that she wanted to go home; that she did not want to stay in this world any longer. I told her that we did not want to give her up, and that for our sakes she might take the medicine, as she did not know but what she might get well. She insisted that she would not get well, and told us how much better it would be for her to be with the Savior in heaven than to stay on earth. She talked on with perfect composure, and finally calling each member of the family to her bedside bade each farewell, saying, “Meet me in heaven.” Then she sank into a sleep, and soon found the rest she desired, and I have no doubt her freed spirit went at once to the presence of Jesus and the holy angels. How sweet it must be to die in full assurance!

My mother was taken with her death sickness in March, 1888. I called to see her Friday evening on my way to Liberty church, of which I was then pastor. When I saw her condition I said, “Mother, you are too sick for me to leave home, and I will not go to attend the church, I will stay at home with you.” She replied, “No, Walter, you go on; always fill your appointments when you can.” Those words have come to me out of the past many times when duty called me away, and I felt an inclination to remain at home. With mother’s tone and look to give them weight they have been respected as from heaven. I started on that evening, but I did not reach the church; mother grew worse and I was called back to watch by her bedside until her spirit, freed from its prison of clay, went home to God. During her last night she sang parts of old hymns in which she had often joined with the saints on earth in singing. The last one she sang was,

“There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Emanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.”

and in this hope she died.

Elders W. I. Carnell and C. W. Weaver started a paper in Illinois in 1908, styled “The Predestinarian Baptist “ They were both eloquent preachers, well informed, and soon built up quite a following among brethren who were inclined to use the term “Absolute predestination.” I had learned of their standing among Baptists where they had formerly lived, and I knew that they held views not generally accepted among our connection of Primitive Baptists. The first issues of their paper contained objectionable things, but nothing could be heard in their preaching to which exceptions could be taken. I had written to some brethren to be careful about letting them gain a foothold in their churches, as I felt sure that later, when they felt that their following was strong enough, they would introduce their heretical notions. Some of the brethren to whom I wrote felt that we must treat these men as being all right until they should plainly preach something unsound. In the first issue of their paper Elder Carnell wrote as follows: “Predestinarian Baptists preach practical godliness without preaching that it comes from man, or depends upon the will or choice of man.

We exhort God’s people unto love and good works, without telling them what God has never told them, that is, that they have the ability to do these things or refrain from doing them.” Then in the “Abstract of Principles” of the paper the 10th section read as follows: “That the wicked shall be raised up and shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” I called the attention of Baptists to these departures from Baptist teaching in the “Messenger of Peace,” and gave warning to the churches that if they tolerated and encouraged this heresy trouble and division would be the result. When they thought that their friends had sufficiently multiplied, they commenced to speak plainer on the ideas they wished to introduce. The doctrines they held were to deny the creation of an immortal soul, claiming that when men die all there is of them goes to the grave and that there is no consciousness after the death of the body, not even with the children of God, until the resurrection. They also taught that after the resurrection the wicked would be entirely destroyed— annihilated. Also they held to very extreme ideas on predestination. I charged them through the “Messenger of Peace” with not being Primitive Baptists, and actually rejecting the articles of faith which had been received for hundreds of years, and which our churches were at this time standing upon. The matter was too plain to be denied. They challenged me to a discussion of their positions, which I declined. I took the position that Primitive Baptists had reached a conclusion on those points, and had recorded that decision in their articles of faith, and that to reject the statements of those articles was to cease to be a Primitive Baptist, and seeing they had rejected those statements my charge was true that they were not Primitive Baptists.

When they were thrown on the defensive they came out plainly, trying to establish their positions, and thus disclosed to our people just what their doctrines were. The Baptists of Illinois then began to reject them, and all the churches except one were saved from division. The career of these men in Illinois shows what an influence “fair speech” when used by designing men may have over sound and good brethren. We need so much to “Watch and Pray” that we may be delivered from every false way. Primitive Baptists should not take a preacher, nor any man, into full confidence, unless they know something of his life and record previous to coming among them. They do not need to be unduly suspicious of preachers, but those who are worthy to be received will not be afraid to come openly before the people with their doctrine, and to have all know their past history.

AS.10 Autobiography Chapter 10

 CHAPTER X.

Along about the year 1900, a movement began in the Primitive Baptist ranks that culminated in much distress, and division in some localities, before its close. The announced intention was to revive languishing churches and put new life into the cause by discarding traditional practices, and by means of more popular preaching and vigorous measures to build up the congregations, and as a result of this the churches would be built up. One of the chief leaders in this movement was Elder Harry Todd, of Indiana. He had been considered a sound and able preacher, and had the confidence generally of the Baptists where he went and preached.

He wrote to me about publishing in the columns of my paper articles that he might write, advocating a “full gospel.” The meaning given to the expression “Full Gospel” was to preach exhortation and practice, as well as salvation by grace. I had always been in favor of doing this, and it had been my course since the beginning of my ministry. But during our correspondence I drew out what Elder Todd considered to be the right course of our preachers. The positions he took were, Our churches are not prosperous. They are not prosperous because they are not popular. The kind of preaching we have renders them unpopular. That the churches may become prosperous they must become more popular, and large congregations be built up, and this cannot be done while our preachers preach as they now do. He argued that it was the duty of all men to repent and believe on Jesus. Even though they could not do so until they were regenerated. He said if our preachers preached this obligation as the Arminians did, it would not keep people from being born again, even though it did not cause them to be believers. But it would draw larger congregations, and consequently we would get more additions.

He further argued that as preaching election and predestination did not change election and predestination, much of this kind of preaching should be dispensed with, and so remove the ground of objection of many people. I told him plainly that the columns of the “Messenger of Peace” could not be used to advocate such a change in the manner and matter of preaching, and that I would as soon advocate Arminianism in a direct manner as to teach it in an indirect manner, and I considered the kind of preaching he advocated was in a practical manner repudiating the truth and supporting Arminianism.

He then wrote me that if I would not allow them the use of the columns of the “Messenger of Peace,” they would start a new paper that would advocate the preaching of a “full gospel.” I told him that he could just go ahead, as no such articles would be published by me. He then began the publication of the “Gospel Light,” which was conducted in such a manner at first as to get the confidence of many good, sound Baptists. But in a little while after he had support enough that he thought he could continue, the true purpose of the paper became apparent to many. About this time Brother S. B. Luckett, of Crawfordsville, Ind., issued a pamphlet which pointed out many of the objectionable features and expressions with which the paper abounded, which helped many others to see that the paper was not in line with Primitive Baptist faith and order, which caused the paper to lose so much support that it was discontinued, and Elder Todd went to the Missionaries where he belonged. In connection with Todd and his paper were a number of preachers whose ambition to become popular was aroused, and they started out on the course advocated by Elder Todd. Among them were Elders J. V. and R. S. Kirkland. Elder R. S. Kirkland went into the evangelical work to get members into the churches, and he proceeded along lines which were closely akin to the Arminian revivalists, but in doctrine he preached what was considered sound by those who heard him. His meetings drew large crowds, and he held them with his power to interest, keeping his congregations either laughing or crying, or trying to keep up with the dramatic situations which he created. Many persons were received into the churches where his course was received with favor.

In the year 1904 Elder J. V. Kirkland issued a book, the title of which was “A Condensed History of the Church of God.” Before any bound copies were ready to send out he wrote me in regard to it and asked me to make an announcement of his forthcoming book. I wrote him that I could not do this until I had seen the book, so that I might know whether I could endorse it, as I would not publish an advertisement of a book that I could not recommend. Almost all the Primitive Baptist papers published his announcement, but I did not think it prudent to do so. When he sent me a copy of the book I found it to advocate a Federal government for the churches. I wrote him at once that I could not advertise it, and also tried to tell him what it meant to him to put the book out. It would bring him into trouble, and if any Primitive Baptists tried to put his recommendations into practice it would mean division. I told him that it would be better for him to burn the whole issue and suffer loss than to put it forth. Later, an announcement was made for a meeting of Primitive Baptists in St. Louis during the time of the World’s Fair in that city. I saw that the management of the meeting would be in the hands of those who were forwarding the revolutionary spirit in the churches, and was afraid of the result. So I determined not to attend, and was free to express my feelings to those who asked for my opinion. Some Baptists who desired to attend the fair, and who shared my fears about the outcome of the meeting, insisted that I arrange for a meeting separate from that for which Elders Kirkland were arranging, but I did not think it prudent to do so. Many attended the meeting and saw nothing wrong, but when the minutes came out they were surprised to find that they represented the meeting as endorsing the idea that the commission was given to the church as a body, and not as to individuals; also that there be a national paper under the immediate supervision of the churches. This uncovered the purpose of those who got up the minutes, for it was evident that they meant to make it appear that a representative gathering of Primitive Baptists from all parts of the country was favorable to the new ideas, and with this appearance of endorsement to try to move the churches in that direction.

From all quarters came protests against the ideas set forth in the minutes of the St. Louis meeting, and of Elder J. V. Kirkland’s book in which the Federal government was advocated. The friends of the movement now had no paper through which they could try to defend themselves and advocate their measures. They appealed to me, “For,” they said, “you are not an extremist, and you are conservative and reasonable.” They wanted a chance to get before the Baptists. Some of Elder Kirkland’s close friends wrote me, asking that Elder J. V. Kirkland’s name be put on the editorial staff of the “Messenger of Peace,” and in return they would double my subscription list. Elder Kirkland himself wrote to me, making a proposition. It was that he should have unrestricted privilege of expression in the “Messenger of Peace,” and that I would publish an advertisement of his book, and give notice of a second annual meeting of Primitive Baptists, the meeting at St. Louis to be considered the first. And that I should give his name a place on the editorial staff. He further stated that if I did not agree to his proposition he would start a paper.

I wrote him that I would not grant such a request to any man in the world, and certainly not to him, knowing that what he would advocate was contrary to what I believed to be consistent with scriptural teaching and Primitive Baptist practice. I said in reply to his proposition that I should publish an advertisement of his book, that having refused to do so when nearly every Primitive Baptist paper in the United States had done so, and some of the editors had recommended it, it was absurd to think that I would do so now, when it had been generally condemned. And as to announcing another meeting like the one held at St. Louis, I had not attended that meeting, and had advised others to stay away, and was against the principles announced in the minutes, and I most certainly would not announce another. As for putting his name on the editorial staff of my paper, nothing could induce me to do so. It would at that time mean an endorsement of his ideas, which I had never done, and to try to hold up a man whose theories were generally condemned. As to his starting another paper the field was open as far as I was concerned. Elder Kirkland started his paper, but he could never convince Primitive Baptists that the “commission” to preach the gospel was given to the church as a body, or that there needed to be a body of higher authority than the church to regulate the affairs of the kingdom of Christ. The paper failed for lack of support and the Kirklands went to the Missionaries. This movement led some churches out of the connection of the Primitive Baptists. They are known as “Progressives.” The Kirklands visited and preached in the churches in Boone county, Missouri, in the Salem association,and for a time it seemed they were leading the entire association. Two associations dropped correspondence with the Salem, and leading ministers tried to get the Yellow Creek association, of which I was moderator, to drop the Salem also. I had ceased to attend the Salem association during the time the Kirklands were received, but I knew the large body of Baptists were really sound in the faith, and I had confidence in them that they would finally set themselves right. But I thought that if the Yellow Creek dropped correspondence this would practically cut them off from the Primitive Baptists of the state, and it would encourage the leaders in the “Progressive” movement to double their energy to try to become the dominant power. So I stood out with all my influence against the Yellow Creek dropping the correspondence though some very influential ministers thought I was doing very wrong.

In December, 1904, at the request of leading members in the Salem association, I visited some of the churches and arrived at an understanding with them that steps should be taken to stop “progressive” preachers from visiting the churches, and that the churches would take steps to let it be known where they intended to stand. To this end I was to attend the next session of the association, which I did. At this meeting I laid the matter before the brethren plainly, explaining the situation, and telling them of the purpose I had in view all along in not dropping the correspondence, but that I could go no farther unless they acted decisively. I said, “You must say now which way you are going. If you say you are going to stay with our churches and associations on the old line, and will show that you mean it, the correspondence will be continued; otherwise not.” They said that they wanted to continue the correspondence and sent two messengers from each church to the next session of the Yellow Creek association, to ask that the correspondence be continued, and giving assurance that no further cause of friction would be given. The churches have kept their word, and correspondence has been renewed by all the surrounding associations. I wish to say in this connection that brethren sometimes act too hastily, and sever connection with others when a labor of love and charity would continue the fellowship and save from division. An old minister said to me, “As I look back on the actions of the churches when we had to meet questions which finally resulted in divisions, I can see that sometimes we acted hastily and lost members that a more deliberate and loving course would have saved.”

A question of order came up in the Yellow Creek association of which I was moderator, and which caused me much worry, and considerable friction among the preachers in Missouri. It was a case of divorce and remarriage. The wife of one of the preachers left the Primitive Baptist church and joined another denomination. She refused to live with her husband as a wife, and they finally separated and a divorce was granted. The minister remarried, he having submitted the matter to the members of his church through the deacons. The church acted thus upon their understanding of 1Co 7:15—”and if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases; but God hath called us to peace.” The church took the position that the husband had made due effort to live with her, but that she had refused. I took the position that on a matter on which the Primitive Baptists are not a unit in opinion, the act of each church must be respected. As in feet washing there is not a general agreement among Primitive Baptists, and a church is to be esteemed as being in order whether or not it practices feet washing. So in regard to the passage quoted above, there is division upon the interpretation of it. Therefore there should not be breaking of fellowship between churches which may not agree. This same principle comes up on the question of secret orders. Taking the whole denomination all over the United States there is a difference of opinion, and the practice is different. Some churches do not allow their members to have membership in secret orders, and others do. With this condition prevailing, there is but one consistent principle of action in regard to individual cases, and that is that the action of each individual church shall be respected.

Acting on this principle I stood for the Yellow Creek association to be in order while recognizing the before mentioned minister, because his own church sustained him, and the matter being one on which Primitive Baptists are not universally agreed. There were ministers who did not accept the same interpretation of the passage referred to, and wanted to reject the minister who had been divorced, although they admitted that ministers and churches which had been recognized as being in good order had taken that view of it. Some of these ministers who opposed my stand were my intimate friends, but I felt that it was right to stand to principle rather than to follow friends. The church to which the sister belonged who married the minister referred to took the position that she had no scriptural right to marry a divorced man, and so excluded her. Some thought that she ought to be recognized as being in order, because the minister was held in the church. But I took the position that she was rightfully excluded, because that was according to the interpretation her church put on the passage which was under dispute, and that the action of each church is to be respected, just as we do on the subject of feet washing. Her church finally restored her, however, and gave a letter.

I have referred to the above incident because churches must sometimes meet such things, and they should be decided upon some consistent principle. Some have objected to this treatment, saying that if once accepted a church can do as it pleases and no other church can object. That is not true. If a church should admit alien baptism, it could not be argued there is division of opinion among Primitive Baptists upon that question. If a church attempted to change any of its doctrinal principles, it could not be claimed that Primitive Baptists are not a unit upon them. But no well informed person can claim that there is universal agreement in regard to the passage in 1Co 7:15.

My father was a soldier in the Mexican war of 1846-48. He went at the request of his father that he might look after a younger brother who was determined to go. After the close of the war, he took up land in Linn county, Missouri, under his claim as a soldier. The farm lay one and one-half miles south of Bucklin, and at this home I was born. When growing up I attended the common schools, starting in before I was really of school age. The study of books suited my disposition, and I was not satisfied unless I was well up in my classes. I was satisfied with my home life, and never had an inclination to leave home but once. We used fireplaces in those days, and it took a great deal of wood to keep fires through the winters. We generally got up wood and cribbed the corn before I could commence going to school. So I got to attend school but few months in the year. One fall I had started to school, and father concluded that we did not have wood enough up, and that we must get some more. He told me that I would have to stop school until the wood was all up. This made me feel very rebellious. I thought that if this was the way I had to do, I would never get an education, which I desired so much, unless I left home, as there was always so much work to be done. But this spell did not last me very long.

In summer time when the other boys rested at noon, and when not working, I was reading. I carried a book in my pocket much of the time, and when I thought out problems, I stopped to figure them out on my shoes or the plow beam. When about eighteen years of age I secured a certificate to teach school, and took charge of the school in my home neighborhood, having an enrollment of sixty-two pupils. I took my wages for teaching this school and attended the State Normal at Kirksville, Mo., two terms. After this I taught school during the winter months and worked on the farm in summer. I continued working along in this manner for about ten years. By this time I was preaching for four churches regularly, so I was constantly driven by work, summer and winter, and riding on horseback to three churches. The church to which I belonged was close to my home. Occasionally I made trips to churches at a distance. Much of the time we were not able to keep help in the house for my wife, nor for myself on the farm. I worked as late as I could Friday night and then rode to the churches Saturday morning, a distance of from twenty to twenty-five miles, and then home Sunday night, my wife feeding the stock in my absence.

During this time I learned how impossible it is for one who has been enlisted as a soldier to give such service as will satisfy his conscience, and the Bible requirements, and have himself entangled with the affairs of this life. I sometimes felt very rebellious at going into such a warfare at my own charges. I studied the scriptures to see if they taught that a called preacher should have to make such sacrifices as I was making, while many of the members of the churches had plenty and did not try to help me carry the burden. I found it written as clearly as the doctrine of election and predestination that they that preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But what was I to do? I felt, “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel.” I was willing to spend and be spent if only I might see the churches fed on the pure gospel, whether they did anything for me or not. But I could not quiet my conscience which said I had not the right to put the burden and sacrifice of my ministry on my wife and children while others were eased. I could give myself and all that I had, but why should they be deprived of my time and labor for the good of the church while the families of other men, members of the church, had no such sacrifices to make, and were blessed really with more church privileges than my family? During this time I overheard a conversation between my wife and some women which did me good. They were telling her that she ought not to stay alone while I was away. I felt to say, That is true. They said it was too hard on her to have to do housework and the outdoor chores, such as feeding and caring for the stock. I thought that is certainly true, and if she gets to looking at it as they see it she will become dissatisfied, and I could not blame her. It was not safe to leave the little children alone while she was out, as something might happen to them. I wondered what she would say in reply. I had not long to wait. She said, “Well, I realized when I married him that he would have to preach, and I made up my mind that if he would do his duty, I would try to do mine.”

This was a great relief to me as far as her feelings were concerned. But did the Lord require that of her? Or did He not rather require of the church that it should see that he that tended the flock should eat of the milk of the flock? And did not the scriptural rule say that he that ministered spiritual things should be a partaker of the carnal things of the members of the church that he served?

I thought that I could see clearly that the churches had departed from apostolic practice, but how could it be changed? The old preachers who had preceded me said little or nothing about such things, and when I considered the effect of the division with the Missionaries I could see why so little was said. The Missionaries had emphasized the need of money, and had magnified its power until it would seem almost as important as the blood of Christ. Indeed the way they preach it makes the blood of Christ of no effect, except for the preacher, who cannot preach unless he is paid. Of course, the Primitives tried to get as far from such an idea as was possible, and in doing so had ignored the teaching of the word of God that the church must supply him who serves it, with the necessities of life, both he and his family must be supplied, for Paul argued that he had as much right to have a wife as other apostles. He said, “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord and Cephas?”—! Cor. 9:5.

I began to talk and preach along these lines, but I am sure that in my heart I was not doing it that it might be so done unto me. But I could see that under the course that was being pursued the church was being robbed of the service that it needed. Preachers were toiling for bread for their families when they ought to have been giving all their time and powers to the cause of Christ in trying to build up the church and establish its members in spiritual things, and I was resolved that, with the blessing of God, at the close of my life’s labors, it should not be said that I had not tried to make this duty known to the church. I was aware that I would be misunderstood by some and misrepresented by others, but my duty was clear as I saw it. Some would think by my calling attention to what the Bible taught on this subject that it was for personal gain, and others would say that I was in favor of a salary system. It resulted as I had anticipated, but I have never changed my course, but continue as I began, to contend that our ministers should give themselves continually to the work of the ministry, and the churches that they serve should see that they are provided with what is reasonable and right for churches situated as they may be to give.

I have lived to see a great change among the churches in this respect, but it will take more than a generation more, with proper teaching, to bring churches and pastors to anything like the proper relations as to service and support. The churches need more service rendered to them and the community in which they are situated, and the service scripturally rendered would result in such improvement in the general welfare of the church that it would work no hardship on the churches to properly care for the pastors.

I want to acknowledge the assistance that I have received during my ministry from a few wealthy brethren and sisters who did what seemed right to them in a direct and personal way, independent of the churches. I could never have got along, it seems, without this help, the churches doing no more than they did. If more of those who have been blessed with plenty were so disposed, many struggling ministers would be encouraged and enabled to do better work among the churches. I have wondered that more of those who are blessed with plenty do not find out that the approving conscience is the best income they can possibly get with their God-given means. I have reason to thank God for those who have shown liberality toward me. Most of my life having an incumbrance on my home, and rearing a family of ten children, and preaching regularly since I began, has kept me in such financial condition as to receive with thankfulness the gifts of friends and churches.

I wish to call the attention of my readers to what has been, many times, a source of loss to preachers, and that is attending funerals. Of course at this time, most persons in reasonable circumstances see to meeting the expenses and time of the minister who may be called on to assist in laying away one of the family. But it often may be that some poor member of the church has a loss in the family. It might be thought that it would be all right for the minister to attend such funerals at his own expanses, but is it not much more reasonable that the church should render assistance in such cases? It would be but showing proper sympathy to a brother or sister who might be poor in this world’s goods to help them in every way in the time of sickness, and especially when it comes to the greater expense of a burial. Then it would be a very light thing for the church to take care of the minister’s expense and time. Most preachers have attended funerals when no one thought of making good their expenses, but this is wrong.

The custom of having funerals on Sunday is being discouraged, and that very properly. Before the days when bodies were generally embalmed it perhaps could not be well avoided. But now bodies can be kept with very little inconvenience to the family, and it often is the case that a minister whom the family would most desire has a congregation that ought not to be disappointed if it could possibly be avoided. In the cities the undertakers and ministers stand against Sunday funerals, and it is right. If all would take thought on this matter it could be easily arranged. It is often the case, however, that arrangements are made for a funeral before the minister is notified at all, when he should be notified first, so that the funeral may be set so as not to interfere with his previous appointments.

AS.11 Autobiography Chapter 11

CHAPTER XI.

In August, 1890, I left the farm and went to Macon, Mo., to help on the “Messenger of Peace,” as Elder J. E. Goodson, Jr., had fallen in his last sickness, and Dr. Goodson, the founder of the paper, was growing feeble. My wife and the smaller children remained on the farm, and the two older children went with me, and I put them in the Macon schools. Elder J. E. Goodson, Jr., died August 19th, and I formed a co-partnership with Dr. Goodson in issuing the paper. In the fall of 1891, I purchased his interest and moved the paper to Marceline. In the spring following I moved my family to Marceline, and a little later sold the farm and built a house in Marceline. Here I printed the “Messenger” and a weekly paper. The town gave the weekly paper and the job printing office a good support, and the children worked in the printing office when not in school. I continued preaching for the churches, and being from home was a great drawback to my business being successful. There is no business but that needs careful attention as to detail, and the personal supervision by a reliable manager to get the full working capacity of the help. This is a matter that churches should consider when asking a minister to be away from his business to serve them. No preacher who has appointments to fill each week can run a business without much loss from lack of personal supervision.

In the spring of 1903 I decided to leave Marceline and go to St. Joseph, Mo. I can hardly explain this move. It was not thought out and premeditated. It was decided on sudden impulse, and while it caused me some loss in disposing of my investment at Marceline, an investment at St. Joseph, more than offset my loss. Lack of personal attention to my business from being from home, and a general stagnation in business in the town, had brought me loss for sometime, and though the business outlook became brighter through the measures carried through during my administration as mayor, I was in debt and I was glad to unload it all as nearly as I could and try to get along in some other way. Then I thought there would be better opportunities for the children which proved to be true. I did not sell the printing office for about a year after I left Marceline, and continued to operate the plant, two of my daughters, Vida and Lois, remaining there, my brother Thornton being foreman. My oldest son, Bernard, enlisted in the U. S. army at the call for troops for the Philippines, and his company having returned to the States, he came home on a furlough in August, 1903, and we sent for the two girls at Marceline to come up to be with him. Vida was sick when she came home, and was not able to return with Lois to Marceline, Bernard returning with her. Vida’s sickness proved to be typhoid fever in violent form and in two short weeks burned out the lamp of life, and we had to give her up. It seemed more than I could bear. She was more than my child to me, she had been with me in my business, and now I blamed myself for leaving her with the responsibilities that were hers when I left Marceline.

We were living northeast of St. Joseph at the time of Vida’s death. The property that we were holding there increased in value so that when I sold it I was enabled to make a substantial payment on a home at 2522 Lafayette street, in the city, where we now live. After selling the office at Marceline I had the “Messenger” printed at different places in the city until the spring of 1917, I erected an office on the lot back of my residence and now have the printing office in the yard with my home.

I once heard an old sister tell of a lesson she learned about prayer that I have thought of many times since.

She was a member of the church with which I first united. She was very spiritual and studied her Bible a great deal. Her husband was not a member of the church. It was her practice to read a chapter from the Bible when the family were all gathered at night, and then offer prayer. One night it chanced that her husband had to be away from home, and none of the children were there with her, so she was alone. When it came time to retire, and the time came for the evening reading and prayer drew nigh, she thought to herself, “There are no children here, and John (her husband) is not here, and I will leave off the reading and prayer tonight.” But she could not feel free of mind, though she kept on preparing to retire. Finally the thought came to her with much force, “Do you not need to read the Bible? You do not pray to John and the children, do you? They could not answer your prayer if they were here. If you pray to God, is He not here? And will He not hear and answer?” She said that she could no longer excuse herself. She knelt in prayer. “And,” said she, “God did hear my prayer that night and blessed me with His presence so that I was happy and had a good meeting by myself.” I have thought many times when thinking over this that no doubt we pray many times to be heard of men and lose that precious prayer feeling of being in the presence of God and supplicating His mercy for blessings that He alone can give.

We have a practice among us of giving “license” to brethren who are able to assist in the public services of the church, such as being able to lead in prayer, make talks to the church, and manifest zeal for its interest. The license is supposed to be a recognition of a gift seen in the brother which justifies the belief that he will develop into the work of the ministry. Those receiving a license are treated as preachers, and it often gives offense not to call upon them to take part in the services as a preacher would. The intention of the church is to encourage such as have a gift to exercise it and develop it, and thus far the act is good, if it were only more explicit, and was not understood to mean that the licentiate was expected to make a preacher. But in many cases not only has licensing accomplished no good, but actual injury has been done the brother by the church, and the church has been embarrassed by it. A number of such cases have come under my own personal observation. I know a brother who said to the church at one of her meeting’s that he felt impressed to try to speak in public. He was a very humble and sincere brother, and had the confidence of the whole church, but he had never taken part in the public services of the church. Though the church had no evidence from his exercises that he was called to preach, or would be beneficial, he was granted license at once, and many had high expectations of his being a strength to the cause in the pulpit, as he bore such a high character as a member. But as the years wore on, they only developed the fact that though he always retained the confidence of the entire church as to his high character, he never could be a preacher. He knew enough, he was humble enough, he was devoted enough, but the Lord had not seen fit to put him into the ministry. The church was always glad to have him exercise in prayer and make short talks, but the fact of being recognized as a preacher was a burden to him. He was humble and sincere enough to see that the church had made a mistake.

I got the ill will of a brother once, because I said when I heard that there had been a move made to license him, that it would be better if the church would try him to find if his gift would be edifying. But is not that the right rule? No one can tell whom the Lord has called to preach until he preaches to the edification of the church. All the members should be drawn out to do all that they can do. Some can exhort, some can pray, some can sing, some can attend to business, some have this gift or that gift to benefit the church if developed and used. But if it is attempted to put a man into the ministry whom God has not called for that work, it will work to his disadvantage and encumber the church more or less. So I think on the whole that a custom that is so much abused, and of which there is some question as to there being any scriptural ground for it, had better be abolished, or used with much discretion.

I have seen so many miscarriages of good intentions to leave money for the good of the cause, that I would warn those who have such in mind against procrastination. There was in one of my churches a good, zealous brother and sister who had no children, nor relatives that they needed to help. I heard him say often that he desired that what was left of his estate, when he and his wife died should go to the church. He did nothing about it, however, except to talk about it. He could in a few minutes have fixed it all by a will as they desired, but he waited too long, death called and he had not carried out his intention. After his death his widow had the same intention as her husband had entertained. Late in life she talked to me about it, and I said to her that she had not much longer to live, and that if she really meant that her property was to go that way she should attend to it at once. She had but to speak to the banker who was attending to her business to prepare a will to be signed in the presence of witnesses, and her desire would have been carried out. She waited too long, death would not wait longer, and the talk of years went for nothing.

I knew another couple. They wanted part of their means to go to churches, and they made the arrangements so that they did not miscarry. Five hundred dollars came to the church at St. Joseph, Mo., which was without a house of worship, and formed the nucleus which built the house which the church has occupied for years. Another case, a sister provided in her will the last thousand dollars required to set the house free of debt. The couple who gave the first five hundred referred to, gave like amounts to other churches. The sister who left the thousand dollars left certain sums to struggling preachers to help them along, loosing their hands that much, to give time to the churches. Hundreds of other brethren and sisters could help the cause in these different ways, and many of them desire to do so, and some of them intend to have it so. But will they procrastinate? A sister who belonged to the church of my membership said that she had never helped the church much, and had never helped me as pastor to bear the burdens I had borne for the church as she should have done, and said she would have one hundred dollars left for me. She might have given it then, but did not, and neglected to fix it so that it came when she died.

It is best to follow the course of a sister who made this her rule, “If you want to do certain things, do it now, for you may not live to do it later.” Brother or sister, if you have plenty of means, remember what God has done for you. All you have is His gift, committed in trust to you as it were. He has given His Son for you, and with Him an inheritance that is above all valuation, it is so precious. Now what are you going to do for His cause, and needy people, to show your appreciation of His blessings? Do it now.

I got a good suggestion one morning at one of our churches. Myself and a few others were at the church early. But in a short time after we arrived an old sister came. She did not live in the vicinity of the church, and had come some distance. After the greeting when she came, and after being made acquainted with me, whom she had not before seen, she looked around and said, “It looks to me like the house needed sweeping,” and at once went to look for a broom, which she soon found and began sweeping. How good it would be, I thought, if all our members carried out that principle, to do at once whatever they saw needed to be done. A common way of doing would have been to have criticised the church for not taking better care of the house, or asking with criticising tone, “Whose business is it to care for the house?” But she did none of the usual things; she commenced at once to do what her hands found to do. It would so help our churches if we all were looking about—actually trying to find something to do—and had a willing mind to do what was needed to be done. Dear reader, try that course, and see if it does not bring you an eased conscience.

In the church where I first united was an old deacon, my wife’s grandfather, William Putman. He was not in the habit of talking in the church, but was much devoted to the church, and when we had meetings, and there was no preacher, he directed the service by asking others to read, offer prayer, or take any other part that was needed, but he himself never engaged in public prayer. But at one of the meetings of the church he arose, and said, “Brethren and sisters, I realize that I have not much longer to be with you, as my time to leave you is drawing near. I have heard each of you come to the church and relate the dealings of the Lord, but none of you have ever heard me speak of my experience, and before I go I want to tell you what I hope the Lord has done for me.” He began then to tell us when he felt that he was a sinner in his young days, and that finally he was led to trust in Jesus as his Savior. And how later he had united with the church, and how precious the church had been to him, and how much strength it had given him for the trials of life. Then he exhorted all to be true to the church and active in their duties. It was certainly a wonderful talk for us all. It was to us young members as an old patriarch bestowing his parting blessing before he left the world for his home with the Lord in heaven. I take this occasion to appeal to the old members of the church to be free in talking of their hope in Jesus to the young members, and to often give a word of exhortation. The words of those who have been true to the church will be precious in the memory of those who are to follow on. A Sister Hines, of Liberty church, Linn county, Mo., did as Brother Putman had done when she was old, as also my own grandmother, my mother’s mother. Neither of these three had ever been heard to talk in the church before, but they left their testimony before being called home.

I visited Elder William Priest in 1892 when on his sick bed, and he talked freely with me of his ministry and of the end of life which was near. He said to me, “If I had my life to live over again I would preach the same doctrine that I have preached, Salvation by grace through Jesus alone for sinners. But I would teach the church the duty of the members to help the ministry, which we older ministers have not done. We have borne the burden that others should have helped us to bear, and we have not instructed them as we ought. It will be hard on you young men to whom we have left the churches as we are leaving them.” This talk with this old veteran of the cross made a lasting impression on my mind and conscience. Would I when I came to lie down in death feel as Elder Priest had felt about this duty of the ministry to teach the church its duty in providing for the ministry, and remember with regret that I had neglected it? I wanted to preach the same doctrine that Elder Priest had preached, and which he preached with such power, and I resolved that I would not leave the other duty undone.

A brother who had belonged to a church which had gone down, applied for membership, by what we term “relation.” That action is taken when any one has lost membership by a church going down, or other circumstances which make it not possible to get a letter, though the applicant is not an excluded member. This brother had belonged to a church, the pastor of which had gone off into the non-resurrection doctrine. But no non-fellowship action had separated his church from ours. His church had finally quit meeting. He had now moved within the bounds of our church, and wished to become a member. He admitted in his talk to the church that he might not see everything just like all the members, but asserted he was really an “Old Baptist.” When an opportunity was given for questions he was asked if he believed in the resurrection. He said not just like some do, but that it was not a fundamental matter, and he did not think that it ought to make any difference. A motion was made that he be received, but another motion was carried to lay the matter over until the next meeting to give him time to read our articles of faith and see if he approved them. He was given the articles, but said that he could not endorse the idea that the Adam body was ever raised up. He contended that the spirit went to God, and the body returned to the earth from which it was taken, and remained there. He was asked to withdraw his application, and did so. The church took the stand that our articles set forth what is considered fundamental, and in them is set forth the faith of the church, and it is to invite trouble to receive those who cannot endorse the doctrines of the church. Our faith is set forth as follows: “We believe in the resurrection of the dead, both of the just (elect) and the unjust, and that the unjust shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” It would save much trouble in churches if they would refuse to receive those who have imbibed and hold to doctrines which are contrary to those upon which the church is constituted. Really the church is not at liberty to receive any other doctrine than that set forth in its articles.

I have many times thought of Brother Sims, a member of Liberty church, north of Brookfield, Mo., as an example to be commended. He was a constant reader of the Bible, and what he read was much upon his mind. When he got with any of the brethren he would be asking questions about the meaning of the passages he had read. And when he fell into company with others, whether they were Baptists or not, he was ready to talk on the subject of religion. His Bible did not look as nice as many center table Bibles, for if he was working in his gardens and the thought of a passage of scripture came into his mind, and he wanted to read it, he did not always take time to wash his hands, and so the pages had finger marks upon them. And the corners of the leaves were often turned down at some place where he wanted to take another reading, or to call the attention of someone else to the reading. He could not remember to quote as exact as some might have done, nor was he as glib in telling what he wanted to say. But the point that impressed me as being commendable, was his persistence in reading, and then his disposition to think about what he had read, and have it so on his mind that it was his chief topic of conversation. One great lack among the members in the churches is not reading the Bible. There is so much literature in various lines, and much of it entirely unprofitable, that reading of these classes takes entirely too much of the time. For one to read the Bible to profit, the habit of reading needs to be cultivated. One might read the Bible a great deal but with little concentration of thought, so that it did nor fix anything on his mind. Those who have it in their minds to read the Bible will get the most out of the preaching they hear, for they will understand the references, and keep up with the topics better. The Bereans were commended because they searched the scriptures. We should read them for ourselves, and not depend on the preachers for all our information.

One of our deacons said that he wanted to have a talk with me about the duties of his office. He said that he wanted to try to do his duty, but he did not understand very clearly what his duties were, and especially as his work seemed to hinge so much on what others thought of their duty. I told him that I would very gladly assist him if I could, and for him to state as nearly as he could upon what he wanted information. He said, “I understand from your writings, and from what I can learn from the scriptures, that my special duty is to have charge of the funds of the church, and the distribution of them as the church may direct, or necessity may demand. But if the members do not put anything into my hands, what am I to do?” My reply to this question was about as follows: “First, talk with the pastor of the church and find out his attitude on the matter. If the pastor seems not to think that the church

should discharge its financial obligations through the office of the deacon, ask him what he believes the duty of the deacon to be. If he seems not to be in harmony with the scriptures on the subject, request him to investigate it thoroughly and then give you his convictions on the matter. If the pastor does not understand that the church is to use the deacon in a financial way, you can do nothing, unless the church shows a disposition to act independently of the advice of the pastor. If the church is indifferent about the matter, and the pastor will not advise it to transact its financial business through your hands, there is nothing for you to do except to resign, unless your conscience will be satisfied to hold an empty place with nothing to do.

“But if the pastor holds a scriptural view, it becomes his duty to teach the members what the office is for, and to urge them to their duty respecting it. It is the pastor’s duty to plainly and firmly give instructions on this matter, and to insist that the church shall respect the office. To disregard this is to treat the scriptures with contempt. Without a plain and open stand being taken by the pastor the hands of the deacons are tied, and you are fully justified in stating in the open session of the church that you cannot longer hold a position that the action of the church makes void.”

The deacon with whom I was speaking then brought up another phase of the duty of deacons, and that is to determine the amount that should be given to the pastor who is serving the church. I said in reply, “You do not have to decide that matter on your own judgment. What you do, you are doing for the church, and therefore you should get the mind of the brethren. The deacon is not to act as though it were a personal matter, for he is acting for others, and so should act under their direction. The deacon and the members should have the freest and fullest understanding as to the receipts and expenditures of the church, for only in this way can it be determined by the members what is right for them to put into the hands of the deacons.”

He asked me if it would be right to let the matter rest on the practice of just giving to the pastor what was handed in at each meeting. I replied, “No, that practice is wrong. That would not be deciding what the obligation of the church is at all. There might be meetings when nothing would be turned in at all to the deacons, and the pastor would then be left to bear his own expenses and lose his time without any compensation. No, that plan is not scriptural, and it does not meet the necessities at all. Sometimes the weather will be bad, and there may be sickness which will keep some away. There should be funds in the deacon’s hands to meet the necessities without depending on uncertainties. ‘Let every one of you lay by him in store as God has prospered him.’ The supply must be so certain, at least, that the deacon will not hesitate to use his own means to meet necessities if the funds should chance to be low. The deacon and the members should have such a perfect understanding about who can be relied upon to contribute that each will know about what his share will be each month so that if being prevented from being present at any meeting he will make it good in his contribution, and this will leave no uncertainty.”

The deacon here spoke up, and said, “But you have not yet told me how we are to decide what is right to give the pastor.” “No,” said, I, “you had another question that came first. There can be no fixed amount which will apply in all cases. There can be no amount fixed by the pastor, for he does not enter into contract with the church as on a salary basis. The pastor must leave it all to the church. But he should tell the church what the scriptures teach, and then leave the church to apply it. If the pastor devotes all his time to one church, preaching, visiting the homes of the members and the congregation, and reading and studying the scriptures, and the church is able financially to demand so much of his time, then the pastor and his dependent family should be supported about as the average family in the church lives, for it is ‘Ordained that they that preach the gospel shall live of the gospel.’

“But if a church only gets one-fourth of the time, and there are other churches to require the remainder of his time then each church should feel obligated for the time it requires, plus any expenses in going and coming. But if the service asked is a preaching service only, and the visiting is only incidental, then the expense of transportation, time, etc., of each trip is the first thing to be considered. If he comes by rail, and is allowed a discount on his fare, the church should feel that the discount is not given to the church, it is intended to help the preacher. His time must be taken into account in full, from the time he must leave his work until he can return to it, and give him full value, as though you were putting a competent man in his place. Then consider in a liberal manner what it would mean for him to ‘study to show himself approved unto God, a work-man that needeth not to be ashamed.’ Consider whether he is a poor man, and help him after a godly manner in his struggle to live and care for his family.

“In a word, take this up in a business way, for the deacon’s work is designated ‘business’ in the scriptures, and transact it in an honorable way, as a matter of right between man and man, and see that the church is not laying a heavier burden on the preacher than it takes to itself. He is God’s message bearer, sent out as a servant of the church, with full instructions how to serve the Lord’s people, and the Lord’s people have been given full instructions how they are to treat the Lord’s servants. So do what you do, seeking the approval of Him who instituted the office of the deaconship.”

AS.12 Excerpts From Our Trip West

CHAPTER XII.

Excerpts From Our Trip West

My wife and I started from our home in St. Joseph, Mo., April 10. 1915, to visit relatives in the Pacific coast states, and as many churches and brethren as we could in the time allotted for the trip. An account of the trip was written for the “Messenger of Peace” and published. We do not attempt to give here any detail of the trip, but to make excerpts in which are found meditations upon spiritual and divine things.

“As the train rolled through valleys, hills, plains and mountains, I had time to meditate on the wonders of creation, and its marvelous extent. What awful power pushed the mountains up with their piles upon piles of curiously shaped rocks, and left the awful gaping gorges through which the train thundered with its load of humanity, over seeming slender bridges, whose steel trusses were but spider webs as compared with their majestic surroundings which spoke in awful voice of the power of Him who laid the foundations of the Earth. On and on we sped toward the highest point of our route, which we reached near Trinidad, forced up the highest grade by three powerful locomotives. How different was our mode of travel to the days of those who first went out over the ‘Santa Fe Trail’ in long trains of wagons, drawn by oxen, mules and horses. Friday evening we reached the boundary between Arizona and California and the eastern slope of the mountains of California. Along our route were rocks and desert. It was upon such a scene as this we closed our eyes for the night. We awoke Saturday morning to the odor of orange groves, and the sight of roses in profusion greeted us. The transition was wonderful—passing from the land of snow and desolation to the very height of the flowering season, where beautiful colors robed the earth. What a wonderful world is this! And how eloquently it speaks of Him who is Lord over all!”

“We took the ‘Old Mission’ sight seeing trip. This took us to the San Gabriel mission, the remains of an old Spanish settlement of long ago, which contains many rare relics within its walls. It was founded in 1771, and Catholic priests still minister in the same place where nearly one hundred and fifty years ago Spanish missionaries taught the Indians the ideas of the Roman Catholic church. We saw the copper baptistry, hand-beaten, from which hundreds and hundreds of Indians and others were sprinkled for baptism. The original brick tiles are on the floor of the baptistry room. There is here a fine collection of old books and works of art. The importance given to these old missions, aside from the fact that they are historic places, shows the diligence that Catholics put forth in claiming the attention of the public wherever they can.”

“We went through a section of thousands of acres of orange groves, and the fragrance of the blossoms delighted the senses. It called to my mind the scripture references to the odors from fruits and flowers in the songs of Solomon. ‘I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among the thorns, so is my love among the daughters. As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste;’ ‘The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vine with tender grape gives a good smell. Arise my love, my fair one, and come away;’ ‘Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense;’ ‘Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire with spikenard, spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices.’ (Song 2:1-3 13; iv. 6,13 14). And everywhere are the flowers to fill the eye with a sense of beauty. ‘His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers, His lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh,’ carrying one away from the coarser things of earth to the presence of God as manifested in His creation. When we think that all the beautiful language applies to the church of God, it should call us to try to find and see all these entrancing delights in connection with her services, her faith and her hopes inspire. Mount Zion, the city of our God, is more beautiful than the flowers and fruits of earth.”

“Wednesday, April 28th, we took our first voyage on the great Pacific ocean, going out to the Catalina island. There had been a storm on Tuesday night and the ocean was rough; it was still raining and cold, so we had the experience of being on the water when conditions were unfavorable for pleasant sailing. Neither my wife nor I were attacked by sea sickness. Arriving at Avalon, the tourist city on the island, we first got lunch and then went out on one of the glass bottom boats to see the ‘submarine gardens’ and what may be seen on the sand and rocks near the shore. It was indeed interesting to have a near view of the sea growth as it really is, which sometimes like a forest and sometimes like a carpet lay beneath us, over and among which the fishes swam at leisure, singly and in shoals. We could see on the rocks the sea cucumber, one of the lowest forms of animal life, which is said to possess only four per cent. How wonderful is creation, and how infinite the forms of life are, and suited to every condition and surrounding. Before going on board again for the return trip we spent awhile studying the curious inhabitants of the ocean that were on exhibition in the aquarium. What emotions come to one when he studies these things with the thought of God in his mind. The wisdom that could devise, and the power that could create all these wonders is the God of our salvation, and these creatures of His hand are a living proof that we can safely put our entire trust in Him, for nothing is beyond His knowledge and power, nor is anything too small for His notice. Then, too, if He bestows such wondrous wisdom and care upon the material creation what manifestations of His matchless wisdom, love and power may we expect in the glorious kingdom eternal, which shall transcend the material in everything that contributes to His praise and glory, as much as the spiritual and eternal are above the things of time.

“The hour came for our return to the city. The clouds lifted, the sun came out, the wind ceased to blow and the turbulent waters calmed. We could but feel delighted with the outlook for the journey back, and it was indeed delightful. The radiant sunlight upon the waters of the ocean, whose majestic waves swell to meet the horizon, filled one with awe, straining the eyes to look over the crest into the far reach, which one knows must lie beyond. In meditation the trip out and back was a reproduction of the voyage of life. It has its cloudy, cold and disagreeable passages, its touch of the unseen and yet clearly visible power of the sovereign ruler of the universe, and, glad to say, the exalting and soul expanding sight of God’s glory brings joyous emotions which can never be forgotten. And even as our minds stretched out to what lay beyond the horizon, so faith penetrates the veil that hides the glorious beyond, to where we know God is; and, judging by the glory inside our horizon in this life, hope says that which lies beyond shall far transcend; tears shall be wiped away, clouds and storms no more appear, and the glorious sun of righteousness shall shine forever and forever. If the end of life may only be as full of thoughts of God and heaven as was my mind while looking out towards the sinking sun, whose beams came glistening over the waves, making a path of glorious light which seemed to reach beyond the world heavenward. While I stood on the deck I thought of the dear ones miles and miles away, and wished I could transmit to them a thought of the sacred, solemn and joyous things which filled my soul; for though so far away, I knew the God of the ocean was the God of the land, and that His love was over all.

“By special permission of the chief engineer I went down in the hold to see the mighty engines that were driving us homeward. It was a thirteen hundred horse power engine, and I knew that it was but a weakling compared with the engines of the great ships. This brought me to think how weak and insignificant is all earth-power (though even that may make you stand in awe) as compared with the unthinkable power of Him who is controlling, overruling and directing all creation that He might bring the ship of Zion safely into harbor at last.”

“In San Francisco we visited the Cliff House, and could not look long enough at the great Pacific, whose waves wash the cliffs at this point. Here are the seal rocks upon which the seals were always climbing and then sliding off into the ocean. The cries of the restless sea gulls, the barking of the seals, and the rolling waves booming as they broke upon the rocky shore had an enchantment for us to whom the great ocean was yet a wonder and an absorbing mystery. As I stood watching the few lone boats so far out that the waves often hid them from view, I was impressed with the thought of their littleness and helplessness as compared with the mighty ocean upon which they rode, and which could in such a little time be lashed into fury by the wind. In a moment, as I meditated, the speck, which I knew to be a boat, became a human being, and then centered in myself, and I felt in my soul what it was to be a mere speck in the creation of God. The wind which swept over the waters was, in my meditations, the changing conditions which no one but God can control, and the threatening waves were the events of life which at best broke as ‘white caps’ and often formed a dreadful trough from which only the providence of God could deliver. Alarm and dreadful foreboding filled my soul as this sense of utter helplessness shut me out from the world, and the strange noises of the sea and shore battled with the overshadowing world in which the soul was living its trials over, and waiting for some mountainous wave to break over me and engulf me.

“But in this storm of the soul, a still small voice came like the brush of an angel’s wing, and brought with it a calming sense of the ever present divine power whose wonderful ‘peace be still’ must ever hold a ruling hand over things material and immaterial, and from which blessed influence had come sweet moments of joy in the past, and now I felt in my soul were precious evidences of God’s presence and care which had saved me from the ‘contrary’ winds on the bosom of the great ocean, on which I had been such a weakling as a mariner. With this thought, the rolling sea changed, and instead of being the type of imminent destruction, it became the speaking testimony of the power of Jesus, the Savior of sinners, to shelter our frail bark while voyaging to the safe harbor where we shall enter into eternal rest.”

“We visited the great Panama-Pacific exposition. Here are erected monuments to the thoughts and deeds of men. Every building and every exhibit, is the expression of a thought, and the witness of a deed done. Beauty and utility mingled everywhere in the attempt to raise and better life by making the best of the good gifts of God to man— earth and sea and air—over which God gave man dominion. All the possibilities, which the exposition announced as attained, were included in the creative work of Jehovah, so that it speaks more for the infinite wisdom and power of the Creator than it does for the strength and skill of man, who has been so slow to comprehend and put to use what God gave into his hands. Perhaps this may have been the result of the darkening effects of sin.

“If one had been able to shut out of his thoughts the awful, devastating war in Europe, unmistakable witness and proof of the wickedness and sin-corrupted condition of men, he might have concluded from the mingling of nations in the exposition, that improvement of the race was spiritual as well as intellectual and material. But the thunderous roar of cannon, mingled with the cries of perishing men, women and children on land and sea, trumpeted the truth which God long ago proclaimed, that the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Then, too, one had only to observe and think, to see that amidst the evidence of God’s power and wisdom shown in the exposition, that men had forgotten the Creator, and covetous hearts and hands were reaching out mercilessly in selfish greed. So it was with mingled thoughts, wondering at the creation of the infinite God, and disgusted and ashamed of the groveling minds of men who put God out of their thoughts, that I viewed the exposition— the ‘Jewel City.’

The ‘Tower of Jewels,’ called forth the admiration of all, with its sparkling points, glinting in the day under the sun’s rays, and at night from the battery of search lights turned upon it. But in a few short months and the fair grounds, with its great buildings, its gaudy exhibits, its hurrying crowds, the noisy cry of those who vend their wares, will have dropped into the past; the buildings be despoiled, the tower of ‘jewels’ will be a wreck, the streets be obliterated, and instead of illumination will be darkness. How like the passing show is time and material things, the things that perish with the using. The blare of earth’s trumpets will pall upon the ear, and like the weary crowd, that with tired limbs, turns from the ‘courts of beauty’ shall earth’s travelers turn to the ‘exits’ to lie down in sleep. Blessed are they who, while using God’s good gifts with thankfulness, look beyond the gift to the giver, and reckon that if He has filled the earth with the evidences of His power and goodness, heaven, His highest and most glorious habitation, shall indeed bring forth from the blood-washed throng that is brought into it, praise unto Him in music that is heavenly for harmony and joy.

“We turned away from the fair. We had not seen it all. To see it all how tired one would grow. We had not tired of the good meetings in Los Angeles and vicinity. Our minds turned to brethren gathering at different points ahead of us, and interest in the fair was lost. May we be able to turn from the allurements of the world to the sweet service of God. We ought not to want all the world, for after awhile how tired we shall be of it. But the love of brethren, and the enjoyment of God’s service, should grow sweeter as we come nearer to the ‘true jewel city,’ whose brightness will not grow dull, nor the light fade, for God and the Lamb are the light of it.”

“On Saturday morning we set out for the Cowlitz River country. It was a wonderful drive down through the fir forest, and finally we came to the beautiful and wonderful Cowlitz River. Charlie stopped his auto in the center of the bridge over the river, where we were eighty feet above the swirling, hurrying waters, that we might get our ‘eyes full’ of the wonderful, entrancing scene before us. No pen can tell it, no painter’s brush can ever do it justice. The deep, perpendicular walls of curious rock seemed to have been forced apart by a power the mind cannot comprehend, to give the crystal waters room to pass, and all this is brought in beautiful relief by the forest foliage, which lifted high by the heights on either side, seems like a curtain let down from the heavens to thrill and awe the human heart with the wonderful works of the Almighty. It was with regret that we felt the clutch respond to the power of the restless motor, which seemed like an intruder from the haunts of men in this place where nature’s charm hushes the soul, and bids it be still in amazement that so much beauty can be thrown around a spot below the skies. But I thought next day, What a small circle encloses the human mind, when on the banks of the beautiful Cowlitz River we met in the Sulphur Creek meeting house, and I looked into the faces of those whose spiritual vision had been lifted so high that heaven, and the wonderful works of grace, were within their horizon, and light from on high beamed in their countenances with a flush that is like the rays of the sun upon the clouds when his course is run, his great work for the day is finished, and he sits upon a throne of glorious light that beautifies all that it touches, and I saw clearly we ought not to be so far carried away by the thoughts of nature’s beauties as to forget the greater works of nature’s God in lifting a poor sinner from his condemned state to the heavenly place where faith, hope and love make all things new with a consciousness of God’s presence and love.”

“The interesting sights that we saw as we came down the Bear River canyon,among which were the government conduits of the irrigation projects which were being put into operation to cause the arid country to blossom and bear fruit, led me to meditate a great deal as to whether this might be used as an illustration of spiritual barrenness and fruitfulness. In my reflection on the several passages which use water as an emblem, I came to the conclusion that we might learn a lesson from the use of water for producing abundant crops. Jesus said in His sermon on the mount, ‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.’ Thus the quickened soul is likened to a thirsty soul. ‘My soul thirsteth for Thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.’—Ps 63:1. He is like a flag that must have water or wither. ‘Can the flag grow without water? Whilst it is yet in its greenness, and not yet cut down, it withereth before any other herb.’—Job 8:12.

Of course water which ministers to life is not the very life itself, but that which strengthens and revives. Our spiritual life is from God, and is given unconditionally. But there may be barrenness, and this is spoken against. Every branch that beareth not fruit is taken away ; it withereth like the flag, though it be not cut down. The process with the barren tree was to dig around it, and use proper fertilizer, that it might bear fruit (Lu 13:6-9), for ‘herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.’—Joh 15:8. In keeping with the figure used by Paul in 1 Cor. 3:6, the ministry of the gospel is watering plants that they may grow and fruit. And the church is like a ‘watered garden’ under this figure. The Spirit says ‘Come’ and take of the water of life, and the voice of the church is the same, always pointing to the blessings and benefits of grace, and the promises of the gospel. And ‘him that heareth’ is to speak of the benefits of the water of life, and invite to the partaking of it. And those who thirst are invited or exhorted to come, and in fact all who have been given a thirst, ‘Let him take of the water of life freely.’ That is, the enjoyment and use of such things freely as pertain to the satisfying of the thirst that is begotten by the indwelling life.”

“I found in the religious experience of the Baptists of the West what corresponds to the transformation of the country by bringing water into the arid region. Religiously speaking, when they came to the West there was nothing but sage brush—no preaching, no church, no services ministering the truth; a dearth of the things the quickened soul longs for, thirsts after, in its normal state in which the spirit is not quenched (1Th 5:19), where the ‘cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches’ have not choked the word so that the child of God ‘becometh unfruitful.’ But as time moved on, one would hear of kindred souls in faith and experience, and he would travel miles and miles to just see and speak to them. And finally churches were organized, refreshing seasons were enjoyed, and their souls were revived. The churches where we visited were like irrigated gardens.

“But many were the cries I heard from those who felt the desolation where only earthly association is to be had, where, to the spiritually minded, only sage brush grows, upon which nothing (no spiritual desires) feeds. Strange as it may seem, people will go to a section of the country that they know does not have rainfall sufficient for the fruitage of crops, without assurance of water being brought to it. But this is no more strange than it is to see those who have tasted the water of life leave off the associations and ministrations which revive and stimulate spiritual growth and thought, as though there was no blessing or comfort in anything but earthly pursuits and pleasures. They who neglect the church and its services show themselves indifferent as to spiritual growth and fruitfulness, for of the church it is written, ‘The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.’ ‘All my springs are in thee.’

“And now some reader may be ready to ask, as many have asked during our travels, ‘What part of the country do you like best?’ We answer unhesitatingly, Old Missouri, for many reasons, but for one reason especially, There are more Primitive Baptists here. You can find more of them in a single church than you can find in a whole state in the West. And what is fine climate and scenery, and productive soil (and Missouri is not barren of these) when compared with the association of the people of God? They are ‘sage brush’ as compared with spiritual surroundings and influences. When one contemplates changing his location, on what points should he make inquiry? On climate? Yes; on fertility of soil ? that would be reasonable; if there are schools ? certainly; social conditions ? if there are children to be brought up, of course this should be considered. What else? What should have been first and most important of all—What are the religious surroundings? If a Primitive Baptist church is the church of Christ, and its doctrines the truths of the Bible, and the association and fellowship of its members the best there is on earth, what kind of argument should induce a Primitive Baptist to put every worldly interest before that of the church, making it a matter to be thought of, if at all, after everything else is settled? How can a Primitive Baptist discharge his duty to his children when he takes them where they will not hear the truth declared, and where, if the Lord blesses them with a hope, they can have no church privileges?”

AS.13 Our Children

OUR CHILDREN

As this autobiography will serve as a kind of family record, as well as for information for my readers, I will give some account of our children. My wife was born November 17, 1858. As mentioned on page 3, we have had ten children born to us. Eunice, born November 23, 1877, was married to Andrew G. Samuel, May 10, 1899. She has two daughters. She became a member of West Union church in December, 1897. I had seen that she was deeply interested and spoke to her about uniting with the church. She said that she desired to join the church, but that she felt we all knew her so well she feared we could not have confidence in her. I assured her that she was taking the wrong view of the matter, and that she would be gladly welcomed. She is now clerk of the church at St. Joseph, and has charge of the “Messenger of Peace” office.

Bernard was born August 29, 1879. He enlisted in the Spanish-American war and was sent to the Philippines. I suffered much at his going, thinking of the moral surroundings of soldiers often. A brother preacher told me to look on the bright side. I replied that there was no bright side. I have been reproved much for that thought, for there was still a God to whom prayers could be offered, and who was full of mercy. He served his term of enlistment, returned home, and united with the church at West Union, and he and his wife were baptized at the same time, she uniting with the church at St. Joseph. She was Etta L. Lillpop, and they were married April 30, 1905. They have a daughter.

Vida, the second daughter, was born August 15, 1881. She never united with the church, but gave unmistakable evidence of her love for the church and its services. She died August 21, 1903, at our home near St. Joseph.

Lois Agnes, born April 19, 1884, united with the church in May, 1904, at St. Joseph. I had preached on the text, “O thou worm Jacob.” When the invitation was given she started from her seat in tears exclaiming, “O papa, what a worm.” She was married June 23, 1909, to Russell A. Brown, son of the late Elder W. T. Brown. He is a member of the church also. Their home is near Warrensburg, Mo., at present. They have a son and daughter.

Mary Elizabeth, born September 15, 1886, united with the church in St. Joseph in 1903. She served as clerk of the church here several years, but at this time is in Eos Angeles, California.

Lorraine was born November 19, 1888. She united with the church here in May, 1903, and she and Mary were baptized at the same time in July. She was married to David T. Brewster, October 7, 1915.

Erie Hines was born February 22, 1891. He has never united with the church. He was married to Virginia Douglas Magee, April 30, 1917. They have one son. He is in business in Kansas City, Mo.

Mildred Allen was born September 5, 1893. She united with the church in September, 1920, in St. Joseph. She is with Mary in Los Angeles.

Loyd Bentley was born January 30, 1896. He was married to Grace Guhne, November 22, 1919. They have a daughter. He is not a member of the church.

Walter Allison, the youngest, was born June 15, 1898. He united with the church at the same time Mildred did and they were baptized together. He was married to Tina Lucille Mehrtens, October 1, 1921. They have one daughter.

I baptized the seven of our children who are members of the church.

AS.14 The Churches I Have Served

THE CHURCHES I HAVE SERVED

I was called to the pastorate of West Union church, near Bucklin, Mo., at the September meeting in 1880. This church was constituted December 19, 1844, with eight members. For several years the meetings were held some six or seven miles northeast of Bucklin, the most of the time being held at the home of my Grandfather Burk. During the Civil war the meetings were discontinued, but at its close were resumed, the church meeting at different points for convenience in and around Bucklin, the church having no church house. The church erected a comfortable house of worship in the year 1899, in which the church continues to meet. This church has never had a large membership, and several times has become very weak by the deaths and removal of members. But it has always had a few devoted and sacrificing members. The congregation is low at present on account of nearly all the old resident families having sold out and moved away, and the newcomers having formed their church affiliations before coming in, go to the towns for services. I served the church as pastor until May, 1924, a period of nearly forty-four years. Elder S. L. Pettus, who lives nearer the church is pastor at the present time.

I became pastor of Liberty church, near Linneus, Mo., in November, 1881, the former pastor, Elder Wilson Thompson, having died September 6, 1881. This was a good, strong church, not so much from having a large membership, as from the character of the membership, which was made up in part from several old Baptist families which were noted for stability and devotion. The active membership is at present much reduced, but still devoted to the Primitive Baptist faith. I served the church as pastor until May, 1910, a period of twenty-nine years and six months. Elder S. L. Pettus is now the pastor.

Sardis church, in Chariton county, Mo., was built up under my ministry. An “arm” of West Union church was first extended, and the church was constituted in June, 1883. I served at this place five years. This church went down. Concord church was situated south of Laclede, Mo. I attended this church for about two years, but being a weak church it dissolved and the members mostly went to Liberty church. I commenced preaching for Bear Creek church, near Hannibal, Mo., in 1890, and served the church thirteen years, but discontinued visiting the church after moving to St. Joseph. The church has dissolved, and deeded its property to the cemetery association.

My connection with Little Flock church, St. Joseph, Mo., dates from December, 1899, when I was called as pastor. The members who constituted Little Flock church belonged to the First Nodaway church, and had first an arm of the church extended so that they might receive members. The church was constituted October 29, 1853. The church for many years met in a union house north of St. Joseph, called Jim Town church. This church excluded seventeen members in 1895 for espousing the eternal vital union theory which was advocated by Elder H. S. Cloud. The meeting place of the church was changed to a rented house in the city in August, 1902. In 1907 a substantial house was built at the corner of St. Joseph and Myrtle Avenues, which has since been occupied. But the city having taken over the property for park and boulevard purposes, a lot has been purchased at the corner of 28th and Olive streets on which to build a new house. January 2, 1909, Elder J. C. Jones was called in the pastorate with me. He is a true yokefellow in the ministry. The church has two meetings a month, Brother Jones preaching at one of them, and I occupy at the other. I am now serving in my twenty-sixth year as pastor of this church.

I was asked to assist Elder George E. Edwards in the pastorate of Little Zion church, Macon county, Mo., in February, 1897. Was called to the pastorate in October, 1901, and served until August, 1905. While I was serving the first year the members were in the habit of each making contributions to the pastor individually. When the year was up they asked me if I would serve another year. I told them that my circumstances were about as they had been, and I could do so if they would make a change in their manner of making contributions to me. They had been asking me if the church was treating me right, which left the matter for me to decide on what the church should contribute. I told them that this was not right, that the church should decide this matter, and that therefore I wished them to take the apostolic way of doing business, and put their funds into the hands of the deacons, and they, with him, could decide what they should do, and they would then be doing it in such way that they would know what they were doing, and they would not need to ask me anything about it. They made the change at once. This has for many years been a strong church, the membership most of the time numbering about one hundred. Elder J. E. Goodson’s membership was with this church. Elder G. E. Edwards is pastor now.

I commenced regular attendance at Sardis-Bethlehem church, in November, 1912. This church was then situated in Henry county, about five miles south of Leeton, which is in Johnson county. Several years ago the church decided on changing the site to Leeton. (See page 65.) The church put a nice basement under the house which was built in Leeton and the members bring lunch on Saturday and Sunday and have two services each day, as they do not live convenient to the church so as to have night meetings. This church has not had a large membership, but the members have been very devoted. Brother M. R. Amick, of this church, was a very active deacon, and was moderator of the Mt. Zion association for many years, and another member, Brother J. W. Russell, served a long time as clerk of the association. I have now been serving the church nearly thirteen years.

I was called to the pastorate of Sugar Creek church, near Gilman City, Mo., at the October meeting in 1921. I had for some time before been preaching at a second Sunday meeting, Elder W. R. Riggs, the pastor, being with the church on the fourth Sunday. The church house when I commenced preaching there was some two and one-half miles south of Gilman City. It was decided to move the house to Gilman City, and it was moved and enlarged in 1923. This move has proven to be of much advantage to the church, both as to the convenience of the members, and increasing the attendance at the services. This church has a strong peace-loving membership. I am still serving this church.

West Union church, Orrsburg, Nodaway county, Mo., was constituted of members who came from Union church, Indiana, and so got its name West Union. Elder R. A. Oliphant, brother of J. H. and Dr. P. T. of Indiana, came with this body of Baptists, and served the church as pastor until his death, which was December 10, 1910. The church was constituted in 1882 or ‘83. The church has a good membership of young persons at this time, while some of the original members are yet living. I was called to the pastorate of this church May 6, 1922, and am still serving them.

I have kept no accurate account of baptisms, funerals, weddings, etc. I have attended four churches nearly all the time since I was ordained, and have delivered about six thousand sermons.

AS.15 Trouble in Cuivre-Siloam Association

TROUBLE IN CUIVRE-SILOAM ASSOCIATION

Trouble had been brewing in the Cuivre-Siloam association for some years, and finally came to a climax in August, 1919, and which resulted in dividing the association. Elder E. B. Bartlett, who came from Kentucky to Missouri, had gradually assumed leadership after the death of Elder Elkins, which occurred May 26, 1911. His disposition was such that he was disliked by many. For several years before there came an actual split, he had been pressing different propositions on the churches and the association for adoption. One was the adoption by the association of the Black Rock Address. There was nothing in the Black Rock Address with which any of the churches disagreed. The churches of the Cuivre-Siloam and all her corresponding associations, have always been in harmony with the Black Rock Address, though it had not been taken up and acted upon. As there was no division on any of the points raised in it, there was no occasion. But many brethren thought because Elder Bartlett proposed it, he must have an object behind his advocacy, and so objected to its being introduced as unnecessary. His course in his own church, Elkhorn, was such that a protest was offered against him. When any members showed plainly that they disliked his course, their exclusion was sought and in several cases brought about. In the Elkhorn church part of the members withdrew and declared themselves to be the church in order. This division of the church was over Elder Bartlett. At the meeting of the association in August, 1919, Elder Bartlett had invited two preachers from Illinois to be present who were not in connection with the associations in Illinois, which were in correspondence with the Cuivre-Siloam, and then invited them to take seats in the association, which invitation they accepted. This was treating the corresponding ministers with contempt. At this inconsistent action all the ministers who were present as messengers from the various associations which were in correspondence with the Cuivre-Siloam withdrew, and would have nothing more to do with the meeting. Two letters had come up from Elkhorn church, and Elder Bartlett, as moderator, had arbitrarily ruled that one of them, the one from the party that had found fault with his course, should not be read. This altogether made a real split in the association in sentiment, though the part of the association that objected to Elder Bartlett took no action at the time, awaiting action of the churches. This was all taken up in the churches before the meeting of the association in 1920, and it met as two bodies. Elder Bartlett’s faction did not hold a single association in correspondence, nor was there a preacher in Missouri that supported his action by his presence.

Elder Bartlett represented abroad that it was the secret order question and the Black Rock Address that brought about the division, but such was not the case. His own church had divided before the association divided, and that question did not enter into the trouble there. Those at a distance took his version without investigation, and on this point is the reason I have introduced this matter here. Baptists should not take up with a man from a distance without learning his real standing with the Baptists as a body near home. While the majority of the Primitive Baptists of Missouri treat this subject of secret orders as most of the churches do in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, and the west, letting each church decide the character of its own membership, except on fundamental doctrines and practice, yet this was not the real cause of Elder Bartlett splitting off from the churches here. He has now left the few Baptists that he succeeded in severing from their churches. This is another lesson against churches suffering a man to bring division to their sorrow and lasting regret.

All the churches and associations which were formerly in fellowship and correspondence with the Cuivre-Siloam association in the days of Elders Branstetter and Elkins, former moderators of the Cuivre-Siloam association, are now in fellowship and correspondence with the churches in the Cuivre-Siloam which rejected Elder Bartlett.

AS.16 Sermon (The City Foursquare)

THE CITY FOURSQUARE

“And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth; and he measured the city with a reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.”—Re 21:16.

“Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.”—Ro 8:30.

Having used the above scriptures as a text, I have been requested to write out some of the things mentioned in the sermon. There are so many wonderful things referred to in the book of Revelations that I have hesitated many times to give what has appeared to me to have been intended by the writer, as symbolical language is susceptible of different applications. But whether we feel sure of the application of many of the descriptions, we can be certain that the glories described are not earthly things, for no worldly things could possibly measure up to the wonderful height of glory and perfection the language most certainly describes.

The glory and perfection of the holy city could not have come up from earth, and John does not leave us to form such an idea. He says, “And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Of course this is not a material city, for God is a spirit, and his kingdom is spiritual. The building of the city is not a matter of a day or a year, but reaches over all time. Things are spoken of in the book of Revelations as though they were finished, although they may only be in the process of completion. Abel, doubtless, was a citizen of the holy city, and all who have lived since into whom has come the regeneration power from heaven, have been made citizens of the kingdom, and the kingdom, or city is not yet complete. David, speaking of this matter, said, “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned when as yet there was none of them.” The life, character and power that transforms poor sinners to make of them citizens of this kingdom or city, comes down from God out of heaven. It is not a work of men nor by men, it is a heavenly life and power. And so it is described as the tabernacle of God being with men, and so it is. “And He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” The blessed fullness of the gospel blessings are portrayed, as faith would apprehend them in this life, and as they shall be fulfilled in the final consummation in heaven itself. Faith sees all tears wiped away, and that he that believeth in Jesus shall never die, as Jesus said to Martha and Mary. So in the gospel victory, the salvation which is in Christ, faith sees all pain, sorrow and death as overcome, and John writes of this wonderful work as being already accomplished while it still goes on.

So in his vision the city stood out in all its glory, and he could have no doubt that it would be completed according to the plans of the architect. Therefore he tells of the preciousness of the foundations upon which it rests and of its perfection from every point. Finally he sees it all complete, and being measured that it might be determined if there was shortage or defect anywhere. It was a golden reed with which it was measured. This signifies the divine measurement of God. The city was found to be a unit, a perfect cube. Any way it might be measured, it lay “foursquare.” Only God could be its builder: to be centuries in the gathering of materials, and in construction, and then to be found without fault or failure in any part, shows that no part of it was contingent on the work or planning of man.

Paul saw how this work was to be accomplished from plan to completion. To this God-called apostle this matter was so fully revealed that he does not speak of it as a matter of speculation, but makes affirmation of the steps that mark the fulfillment of the purpose of God, who is the builder and finisher. Abraham looked for a city, whose builder and maker is God. Paul saw the whole matter in such clear light that he begins where God began—with the purpose and plan. The great city, and a great one it is, is to be peopled with sinners, justly condemned for sinfulness and imperfection, but who are to be freed from condemnation, given a new life, and perfected by being conformed to the likeness of Jesus the Son of God. Paul marks the four steps necessary to the work. “Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” Note the four steps which are necessary to attainment of the end in view. Predestinate, is to purpose, plan or will. Paul puts this first, which is in proper order. First, there must be a purpose if there is to be any intelligent action, and certainly God is intelligent, for He has all wisdom. The sacred writer does not overlook this. “For whom He did foreknow,” says Paul, “He did predestinate.” It is inconceivable that there is anything hidden from God. So His plan will have no faults that lack of knowledge would be sure to entail. He not only knows “things” but He knows individuals. For “whom” He did foreknow. “Whom” would refer to individuals and not to things without personality.

The letter to the Ephesians is particularly plain on this point. “Having predestinated us.” The “us” refers to individuals. So the plan, or purpose of God included persons. It was not an indefinite idea, but a purpose well defined. And bear in mind that it is definite as to individuals. It is God’s will to make certain persons holy, so that they shall be fitted for the holy city. “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before Him in love.” This marks the time before which

this purpose was settled. It does not set a definite point, except that it was before all created things.

This purpose, will or predestination fixes one measure of the city, and decides the character to which the individuals must be raised, and so defines the character of the city itself. It is to be a holy city, and so the individuals which enter into it must of necessity be made holy. God predestinated the individuals, who are sinners, to adoption as His children, but their character in sin would not permit of this relation without cleansing, so He chose them in Christ, that by His atoning blood they might be made holy. Now all this was “according to the good pleasure of His will.” His will and His pleasure are the “golden reed” which measures the foundation of this mighty work. If we ask about God’s will as to who shall be inhabitants of the holy city, Paul answers: “Whom He predestinated.”

Some will be willing to admit that God has a will about this matter, but they say some rebel against His will; that Satan is using all influences to defeat the will of God. And further, that God’s plan is dependent in a measure on men to carry it into effect, and that will mean that although God had in mind the building of such a great city, really at completion it shall not measure up to the first plan. Then of course it cannot be four-square, for the city will not be as wide as the foundation is long.

But let us consider what is to be done that the city may in all ways be equal to the plan. These individuals who are included in the plan (in the will; in the predestination) must be delivered from the condemnation of the law which they have violated and against which they have rebelled. They must be justified. They cannot be justified by keeping the law, “for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Sinners must be justified by the blood of Christ. (Ro 4:9.) That is why Jesus came into the world. It was to pay what they owed a violated law. If righteousness could have come by the law, verily Christ would not have come. But without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Paul said of the Corinthians that they were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus. Now will the justification be equal to the plan? Will all who were included in the purpose of God, be justified in the sight of God by the suffering and blood of Jesus? Yes, or else the city will not be foursquare. Jesus said that He came to do the will of the Father. This means that He came to work to the will and purpose of His Father. This work He finished, and His resurrection was a witness of its completion. So the atonement is equal to the predestination of God. Indeed there is no escape from the statement of the apostle—whom He predestinated —He also justified. As it was God that laid the sins of men on Jesus, which he put away on the tree of the cross, the sin-bearing must certainly have been equal to the purpose, and this is what is affirmed by the scriptures.

Connected with this work of saving sinners is the calling them to life. This is the work to which Jesus referred when He said, “Ye must be born again.” Abraham was called of God. Paul was called by God’s grace. He was a rebel against God and His church. The call was not just an intellectual appeal, it was of the Holy Spirit, and was in such power that it overcame all resistance. It was not a call of the gospel. It was not the voice of a preacher. It was a “voice from heaven.” So Paul says, “Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called.” The same that predestinated, the same called. If it were as men say, that men have to call by the gospel, then the calling would not be equal to the purpose, and the city could not be perfect. The plan and the preparation in Christ as a redeemer would be vastly larger than the calling. Preachers are so negligent of the duties that they ought to observe and could do, that it is certainly strange that religious persons could believe that God has left with men such an important part of the great work which is absolutely essential to perfecting His plan for the eternal heaven. Not many people act as though they really believed this, for they do not make the sacrifices that they could make, nor do the things that they could do without making sacrifices at all. People who believe that missionary work is necessary for the salvation of sinners should certainly put much more energy in their work than they do. While we believe in preaching the gospel in all the world, we do not believe that effectual calling (regeneration, making alive, giving eternal life) is dependent upon preaching, for if it was, then the city would never assume such proportions, and have equal dimensions as we are told of in the book of Revelations.

We believe that the scriptures teach that God can work independent of the teaching of men, and does do so in the regeneration of the soul. The gospel is given for our comfort and betterment, and for the good of humanity here in this world, but salvation does not depend on belief. If it does, what is that thing that must be believed? See the hundreds of different religions in the world, each sect being engaged in teaching its own theory, and trying to proselyte each other. Which faith must be believed to be saved? The fact is, that there are people in all these different creeds that have eternal life, for God will save out of every nation, kindred and family, but it is God that saves, and in His own perfect way.

Paul said, “to them who are called according to His purpose.” Here the calling is according to His purpose. Paul said that he preached Christ, but it was a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks, “But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the Wisdom of God.” Here it is clear that the effectuality of the gospel is dependent upon God’s call having preceded it. We call especial attention to this point, that according to the Bible teaching, God calls in the great matter of saving of souls, and that this calling, or making alive is coextensive with His purpose, and the atonement by Christ. He predestinates, He calls, He justifies, He glorifies. In neither of these essential things is man included. It is by the preaching of the gospel that regenerated men and women are taught the truth of God, and are instructed in His service here in the world, but God’s work in the saving of immortal souls is too important to put into the hands of man. So as Paul states, He does it.

He does not stop with the regeneration of the soul, He will glorify all that are called and justified. To glorify is to purify and spiritualize the entire man, soul, body and spirit. Three of the disciples saw Jesus glorified. His transfiguration was a change from a human life condition to the glorified state which awaits all who are justified and called by His grace. When the golden reed is applied it will be found that the number of the predestinated, the number of the called, the number of the justified, and the glorified, are an equal number—the city lieth foursquare. It could only be so because God does the work instead of depending on men. And because God does the work it can be no other way, for His work is perfect. Those who think the number of the saved depends so much on them and their work, should take a look on the other side and see how leaving any of the work for them to do certainly will ruin the looks of the city. Here God willed to put a soul, but there is a vacancy, because some of these workers through selfishness, or weakness of the flesh in many directions, failed to call that individual. Here the foundation extends beyond the bounds of the city because people spent their money for luxury, or hoarded it from covetousness, and so left many to perish for whom Jesus died.

Too much emphasis cannot be put upon the amount of energy and time believers ought to put into the service of God, but let it not be thought that our shortcomings shall mar the work of the God of all grace and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let the facts be told in burning words, that if we build “upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work shall abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself, shall be saved, though as by fire.” But let us not read for ourselves, nor for others, that if any man’s work abide he shall be saved, and that if it be burned he shall be lost, for that is but the theory of men, and not the truth of God.

The glorious city, when complete, that is when all the material shall have been brought in, shall exceed the description of mortal tongue. It shall be large beyond human comprehension. Twelve thousand furlongs in length, breadth and height, means fifteen hundred miles in length, breadth and height, after the measure of man. But who can tell what it means in the heavenly Jerusalem, except that it exceeds any thing, and all things, of earth. Then faith shall find her fruition, for all tears shall at last be wiped away, and sorrow, sighing and death shall be no more. The glorious light of the presence of God shall drive away night and eternal day shall come in with gladness and song, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

AS.17 Sermon (The Prize Of The High Calling)

THE PRIZE OF THE HIGH CALLING

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”—Php 3:14.

By reading the preceding verses we may learn that the Apostle Paul had aspirations to reach a state in life that had not yet been attained. We get a glimpse of this longing from verse ten. “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” He does not mean by saying he desires to know Christ that he has not known Him in His regenerating power, for Jesus met him on that memorable journey to Damascus and revealed Himself to him. But he desires to know and realize more of His great power by which He not only regenerates sinners, but by which He works in them to bring them finally to the resurrection, or the perfect state. The salvation of sinners is not just saving them from the just condemnation in sin, but is raising them up to a spiritual state in which they are to reach such perfection as to be made in the likeness of Christ; not in His physical likeness, but in the likeness of His perfections, which will render perfect peace and happiness possible.

The apostle says that he had not attained to this state. “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” To “apprehend” is to lay hold of, and Paul, and the whole of the gospel, teaches that when the Holy Spirit lays hold on the sinner it is that he shall reach the resurrection-perfection of Jesus.

This is the hope of the Christian, that he shall be brought to see Jesus in heaven and be like Him. But Paul had not reached the perfect state, and indeed it is not attainable while living the life that we now live in the flesh. But if the voice of the Spirit is heeded we shall not be satisfied and content to live a life so imperfect as to be far below our privilege of living. If we really desire and long for the perfect life, which is to be the final consummation of the salvation in Jesus, then our minds and hearts ought to be reaching in that direction.

This is evidently the state of the Apostle Paul. He says, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.” He confesses to his present state of imperfection, in which when he would do good evil is present with him, but he is not willing to be held in entire subjection by indwelling sin. And so he puts these things behind him, keeping his body under, and not dwelling on worldly things—”forgetting those things,” he reaches forward to attainment not yet gained, and throws his whole heart and mind in this direction, and states the attitude of his soul in the words of the text—”I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Let us note the points which are raised in this expression: There is a prize.

To attain that prize we must go toward the mark, or an objective point that is ahead of us.

This prize is of such value that we should “press” toward the mark for its attainment.

That there is a blessing in the gospel for those who live godly none who know the scriptures will deny.

Jesus said, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate,” and declares that the strait gate and the narrow way leadeth unto life, while the wide gate and broad way leadeth to destruction. In Revelations it is said, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” That is, to the faithful there is a fullness and joy of life, while they that live after the flesh shall die; that is, lose the “joy” of their salvation. To him that “overcometh” various promises are made, such as, “I will give to eat of the tree of life;” “to him that overcometh I will give to eat of the hidden manna,” and “he shall be clothed in white raiment.” The things here mentioned that shall be given to the overcomer are the “prize” spoken of in the text.

The prize is designated as “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The literal Greek rendering is, “Brethren, I myself do reckon not to have laid hold; but one thing—the things behind forgetting, and to the things before stretching out, towards the goal, I pursue for the prize of the calling on high of God in Christ Jesus.” Those who are to consider this matter have a like high calling with the Apostle Paul. They are not called to the apostleship as he was, but their calling into the service of God is a “high” calling. It is not a worldly calling, but a calling from on high, and it is a calling to higher things than the things of this world. It is a calling in Christ Jesus which means that it pertains to the salvation that is in Christ. It is not for worldly honors nor for worldly gain; but to a hope of heaven, and to a pure service of love, and a peace and joy in that service that is unspeakable and full of glory. We are called away from the lower things of the flesh to the higher contemplation of spiritual things and the enjoyment of the love and fellowship of saints. This calling brings with it the privileges of the church and communion with the people of God. The calling is by the favor and grace of God, so those to whom evidence is given of it should have hearts of thanksgiving and be full of gratitude, for they are called from a state of condemnation to freedom from the curse of the law, to an inheritance, incorruptible, that fades not away, which is reserved in heaven for them. And they are called to live a higher life in thought and

deeds, and so the prize connected with this calling is not to be compared with earthly expectations.

In 1Co 9:24-27, the Apostle Paul brings out a plain illustration: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain.” Obtain what? The prize, most certainly. In the race first mentioned, all run, but all do not run so as to win the prize. He exhorts the Corinthians to “so run” that they may obtain, giving us the plain inference that though we as believers are in this race, we may not so run as to obtain all that is for believers to obtain in this life in gospel obedience and humble submission to the will of God. In the first chapter of Peter’s second epistle he insists that there is a result much to be desired by knowing and doing the will of God. To some it is given to have ministered unto them an “abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” These are they who, giving all diligence, add to their faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, etc. The things mentioned, Peter says, will make one neither barren nor unfruitful. That is, they shall obtain the prize. “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” But why multiply texts when this teaching is in perfect agreement with the whole of the scriptures? “He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

I next consider the “mark” to which we are to press. I firmly believe that it is a truth that as professed Christians we live too aimlessly, having no fixed thing before us to which we are prayerfully desiring to attain. Our view of Christian attainment is much too superficial. We may have before us that they who have a hope should become church members; and they should. But if all became church members, and only attained to a low degree of spirituality, there would be little joy and blessing in church membership. The members of the Laodicean church were severely reproved because their spiritual vitality was so low—they were lukewarm. They perhaps thought all that was required was that they keep up their church friendship, not remembering that the Lord looks on the heart.

The church at Ephesus was sound in the faith, and abounded in works, but Jesus told John to say to them that he had something against them. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” They kept up the form as church members should, but they had lost sight of the “High calling of God in Christ Jesus,” and only aiming at a mark that was much too low. How high and sacred is that calling! Paul wrote (1Co 1) to those “that are. Sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints.” What is the distinction and character given in the scriptures of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints? Are they the worldly, giddy, highminded, lovers of folly and pleasure, and companions of those who know not God? No, verily; they may be the poor and afflicted, but they serve the true and the living God, and have for their lovely and shining example, Jesus, the Son of God. “The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” How truly spiritual was this picture!

Dear brother, sister, have you a character like this before you unto which you are pressing? If not, how can we expect to enjoy the fullness of the Gospel promise and the strengthening presence of the Holy Spirit, when instead of pressing toward a spiritual life we quench the Spirit, and keep not ourselves in the fellowship of those who entertained and held to these scriptural ideals. The high mark or character of a Christian is held up in the gospel as one who bears the fruit of the Spirit, and not the fruit of the flesh. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance * * * and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” If this picture of a Christian character could but be kept before us more constantly that we might try our lives by it, might it not result in good for us?

How like the character of our blessed Lord this description is. The love, the meekness, the longsuffering, the gentleness, goodness, faith and temperance, how beautiful when exemplified by Jesus of Nazareth. How beautiful these traits are when seen in His saints. Are we going toward them? “Ah,” we say, “I am far from this mark.” But did you not notice that the apostle says that he is going toward the mark? He says very plainly that he is not perfect, and that he has not attained what his soul longs for, but “one thing” he does, he goes “toward” the mark. When we give way to worldly ways, to anger, hatred, indifference, coldness, neglect of duty, slackness toward the church, prayerless-ness and little faith, are we keeping the mark in view? Lastly, I turn to contemplate the manner of the apostle’s effort to show his interest in obtaining the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. I would that we might have it written on our memories and in our hearts to remain forever ineffaceably. Our neglectful, indifferent natures need the full force of this so much. Let us read it—”I press toward.” The importance of the matter makes it urgent. As Paul sees it if he is to have an “abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;” if he is to eat of the hidden manna; if he is to be given the crown of life; if he is to be made a pillar in the temple (church); if he is to keep in fellowship with the apostles and prophets, and be a partaker with the sufferings of Jesus, and know the wonderful and gracious resurrection power of Jesus in sanctifying the inner man, he must be pressing toward the mark, and not away from it. He must be going Christward in character, and not more worldly. He must be making sacrifices for the cause, and not growing more and more covetous and miserly.

Ah, I see why he is “all things to all men” that by his self effacement he might influence others to follow Christ, he is pressing toward the mark. I see why he turns from the golden opportunity of an educated man, with high birth connections, and chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, and taste heavenly joy, and feel the strength of the Almighty moving within him, so that he could say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” I say he chooses this rather than the fading pleasures of the world, and the deceitfulness of its tawdry trappings. Truly, the Apostle Paul had the prize in view and let not the mark get out of sight.

How is it with us, brothers, sisters ? Do our churches show that the members are pressing toward the mark? Or is it sometimes the case that we feel the sad lack of this interest and zeal that should characterize those who have clear ideas of gospel blessings? Remember, Jesus said, “Strive.” We have much to dampen our ardor. The world, the flesh and the devil would turn our love to lukewarmness, and our zeal to careless indifference. Jesus said, “Watch and pray.” If we are to be going toward the mark we shall need to be doing both. Peter exhorted, “giving all diligence.” There is no time for idleness. In the morning we should remember that going toward the mark means shaping our character by the divine model. We are not to be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of the mind. Think that this change is to prove what the good and acceptable will of the Lord is by the renewing of the mind, not the regenerating of the heart that has been done already. But we are to set our affections, not on things in the world, but set them on things above.

We shall need constantly to pray for strength and wisdom from above. We shall need to put on the whole armor of God that we may resist all the fiery darts of Satan, and having done this then to stand, not in our own strength, but in the armor of God. Brethren, are you living an aimless spiritual life? Live it no longer. Think about the prize that is set before you, even as Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” And as you value love, fellowship and joy in the gospel, study the gospel description of what a believer should be, and then with all your strength and faith in God get the mark squarely before you, and by God’s help be pressing toward it, and resist every influence to draw you away from it.

Indifference and carelessness about keeping up church membership is very far from the spirit which moved Paul to write these words. And it is very far, too, from the life he lived, for when he came down to the close of life he said he had fought a good fight, had kept the faith, and was ready to depart in the fond expectation of receiving a crown of righteousness, which will be the full joy that the righteousness of Christ will give to all that love His appearing. May the high ideal of Paul’s life be our fond desire, and may we labor for it.

AS.18 Sermons (Standing With The Apostles)

 STANDING WITH THE APOSTLES

(Synopsis of a sermon delivered at the meeting of the one hundredth session of the Fishing River association, held with New Hope church, Richmond, Mo., September 23, 1923.)

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and prayers.”—Ac 2:42.

We are trying to keep in mind during this meeting that this association has been organized one hundred years. It is customary on most occasions when a meeting is called to celebrate a long space of time, to compare the small beginning with the progress that has been made. Being interested in machinery, I visited Machinery Hall during the World’s Fair at Chicago, and in the transportation section saw, side by side, the first locomotive that drew a train in the United States and one of the then modern locomotives. What a great difference there was! I saw an old-time reap hook, and near it one of the combined harvesters that delivers the grain in the bag after taking the heads of wheat from the stalk. So, we might go on calling up the evidences of progress, and this in material things is all right, for in all things that men do there is room for much improvement.

But upon this occasion we were told by the moderator (Elder Higdon) that this association stands just where it did one hundred years ago in doctrine and practice, and he called attention to the fact that a local paper had made a statement that the organization had stood without making any effort to get members or to grow. The newspaper men did not understand the difference in keeping up an organization and saving souls.

There has been a faithful effort on the part of the members during all the past years to keep up the organization, and the present members understand that it will take faithfulness on their part, and continued effort, that the organization, considered locally, shall not go down. It is true that there has been no change in the original tenets and practice with that end in view.

It is rather a strange thing in this day of invention and progress in material things to find an organization celebrating the fact that there has been no change in its manner of service, nor form of organization, in one hundred years. The order of service is the same, there is no change in the matter preached, the songs are much the same in word, and absolutely the same in sentiment. The church is still without a single auxiliary and contemplates no change for the future.

No doubt, some of my hearers have heard that the reason we continue the same is because we are old fogies, old fashioned, ignorant, and take pride in being odd. Now, I have it in mind to tell you why we try to remain the same in doctrine and practice. It is not because we are “old fogies.” The educational influences that are around other people are around us, and our people are on an average with other people in intelligence, and we use all the useful modern inventions.

We are not “ignorant.” We stand side by side with other people in material progress, and we read our Bibles as much as other people do. Now, listen, while I tell you our reason for not trying to improve on the ways of our fathers in religion. It is because our religion is God-given, and men cannot improve what God has given. He has all wisdom; there can never be anything new with Him. He cannot improve on His own ways, for all that He does is perfect. If men can improve on God’s doctrines it must be because they know more than God knows. If men can improve on the practices of the church, it must be because God did not see that time would change and demand something different to what was suitable in the time of Christ.

We do not want to try to improve on the Bible, because we believe it to be the word of God. If it is not the word of God then we may discard all it says in regard to salvation. We believe the first verse in the Bible—”In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” If it can be proven that this is not the truth, then it is not God’s word, and we are without guide or compass. It is not because we are behind the times that we refuse to accept the statements of so-called scientific men, but because the statements which used to be called scientific have been discarded because of later discoveries, and those made now may have to be altered. But we believe God’s word will stand, and we aim to stand by it.

We believe that God created man, not an animal without intelligence that later developed into man, and the reason we so believe is because the Bible so states, and we accept it as God’s word—and we do not intend to be moved from it. As with these things, so with other matters which pertain to man, sin, and salvation. We are not moving with much of the modern thought in regard to the Bible, because it makes void the word of God. Here we plant our feet, and by God’s help we shall not be moved from God’s word.

Jesus lived on the earth, and taught His disciples, and showed by many signs and wonders that He was in truth God. He endowed these apostles with light and power from on high that they might set in order the things in the church. We accept them as infallible, because Jesus selected and endued them with power from on high. Desert this position and the whole of the New Testament must be thrown away. We are not going to throw it away. Our very first article of faith asserts our confidence in it. “We believe that the scriptures comprising the Old and New Testaments, as given in what is known as the King James Translation, are of divine authority, and are to be taken as the only rule of faith and practice.” It is not “old fogyism” to believe in the Bible as being true, and revealing the perfect will of God. We are standing where the New Testament churches stood, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” To thus stand we must believe that all men are dead in sins, and this sin must be put away by the death of Christ and the benefits of His death applied by the Holy Spirit.

We believe and teach as our fathers did, not only one hundred years ago, but many hundred years ago, what God has purposed in regard to salvation, and that it is entirely of His grace and power. We preach that all who believe, being quickened by the Holy Spirit, obtained this inheritance, “being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.”—Eph 1:11. We are standing steadfastly by the preaching of the Apostle Paul, who taught election and predestination. “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”—Eph 1:4-5, We do not preach this in order to be different from other men, but because we would rather teach the doctrine of the apostles and stay in their fellowship.

We do not believe the things that are falsely said of us on the doctrine of predestination, that men are moved to evil by the predestination of God. Men transgress the law of God and do wickedly contrary to His expressed will and word, but as men must be saved from sin by God, He wills to do it before He does it, and that is predestination. Many are turning away from these doctrines, but we would continue to advocate them, for those who reject them turn away from the teachings of the scriptures, and are not in fellowship with the apostles who taught them.

Those who reject the doctrine of predestination think that we do away with the accountability of man, but such is not the case. All men are accountable to God for their moral acts, and not only individuals, but nations as well, and God will judge that people who disregard His law. Their being dead in sin does not absolve them from the obligation to keep the law of right. They cannot save themselves from the condemnation in sin by morality, for if justification could come through the law then Christ would not have died. (Ga 2:16.)

Not only are all men in nature held accountable for the violation of God’s law, but His redeemed and regenerated children are also held to account, and those who transgress are chastized unless they repent. Having been redeemed by the blood of Christ, and given eternal life, they do not fall away so as to be lost, but are corrected here, even as we correct our children but do not condemn them to death when they disobey. (Ro 14:10-12; 2:6-10; 2Co 5:10.)

One of the essential things upon which we differ with others is on the subject of the atonement. We all teach that Christ died, but differ greatly about the result of His sacrifice. The Bible teaches that He died for the sins of individuals. Paul said, “He loved me and gave Himself for me.” This is what is termed “special redemption.” Religionists generally teach that there is nothing certain about the result of Jesus’ death, as it depends on man to set the limit, the church setting the limit by either carrying the gospel to others, or not doing so. They teach that each man determines for himself whether the blood of Jesus shall be effective in his case.

We do not receive these teachings, rather standing with the scriptures in affirming that Jesus’ blood atones and assures salvation to all for whom it was offered. This salvation is so much broader than the Arminian idea. With them, God’s love, Jesus’ death, and the influence of the Holy Spirit, effect nothing unless man consents to it; but we accept the Bible idea that God’s love, the atonement of Jesus, and the sovereign will of God in regeneration assures the salvation of an innumerable company out of all nations and peoples. A real difference between us and others is as to whether Jesus shall be defeated in his efforts to save sinful men. Conditionalists depend upon preaching, we upon God’s power in regeneration to change and save men. Our reason for contending for these things is because they are found in the doctrines taught by the apostles.

One of the doctrines taught by Jesus and the apostles was the necessity of being born again. This is not a moral act of man, but the creative act of God. The children of God are such because created in Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:10.) We hold it necessary that persons coming to the church for membership should give such evidence of the work of grace in their hearts, and we cannot fellowship any body of people as being the church of Christ unless this is one of their tenets.

Jesus said, “Ye must be born again;” Paul said, “You hath He quickened,” and Jesus affirmed, “I give unto them eternal life.” This is not the result of the will of man or his works, it is the work of the Holy Spirit. (Joh 1:13.) Men are not exhorted to be born again, as it is God’s work to give life.

We do not emphasize these doctrines to be odd and old-fashioned, it is a vital matter with us to teach the doctrines of the Bible, and when other people forsake these doctrines we dare not go with them nor bid them Godspeed. We believe in a church on earth, and that this organization is to be identified by its doctrine and practice. If the doctrines and practice of an organization do not harmonize with Bible teaching we cannot recognize it as a church of Jesus Christ. Belonging to the church is not a saving act, but is essential to keeping gospel requirements, and proper baptism is essential to church membership.

We believe and teach that John baptized Jesus in the river Jordan in such form that it is likened to a burial. All well informed historians concede that the apostles baptized by immersion in water. We hold, and the church of Christ has ever held, that three things are necessary for valid baptism—first, a true believer, one who is born again; second, a legal administrator, that is, one who is a member of the church of Christ; and third, the proper mode.

Many think it strange that we do not recognize the baptism of other denominations. The reasons are plainly to be seen when these principles are applied. Most denominations are not particular as to whether candidates show evidences of regeneration. This is absolutely a vital point.

The next point is, that those who baptize them in other denominations do not receive and teach the doctrines that we believe must be held to identify the true church, so they have no right to baptize. These preachers might be good men, and really be children of God spiritually, but all the children of God do not belong to the militant church, and when they do not, they cannot claim to have the rights and authority of members. Just any man, and every man, has not the authority to baptize. Even as Jesus called and ordained His apostles, so now, men to have the right to baptize must be called of God, and their call recognized by the church, and they ordained by the presbytery.

Some may say, “Well, I am satisfied with my baptism.” We say, “All right, stay with it. If you believe the doctrines and practices of the people who baptized you, you are consistent to keep your baptism. But if you have come to see that the doctrine you professed when baptized is not Bible doctrine, and you want to profess the truth before men as you understand it now, you will have to make void your baptism to do so—you cannot stand before the world consistently professing two doctrines.”

We cannot recognize sprinkling as baptism. The Roman Catholic Council at Ravena, Italy, first authorized sprinkling, or pouring, for baptism in 1311. If we keep in fellowship with the apostles we cannot recognize some other authority for the form of baptism. John Wesley said, “The ancient manner of baptism was by immersion.” Luther’s translation of Mt 3:l, is, “In those days came John the dipper.” If one came to us and asked us to receive him as being baptized, when he was sprinkled, and we asked him by whose authority he was sprinkled, if he answered truly he would have to say by authority of the Roman Catholic council first. The only authority we recognize is Christ and His apostles, would be our answer. Now, do not call us old fogies because we do not recognize sprinkling as baptism, remember our position, that to be the church of Christ as a body we must remain steadfast to the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and practice.

We cannot recognize a body that practices sprinkling, or pouring for baptism, or baptizes infants, which was not authorized until the third century, therefore, too late to have apostolic approval. We do not recognize the authority of the Roman Catholic organization, or any other body to make changes in doctrine or practice, nor do we assume such power. We did not come out of the Roman Catholic church, hence are not Protestants, as are those who came out of that body, having only the baptism that they there received from it, as the Episcopal church in which John Wesley lived and died. We respect the members of these organizations as neighbors and friends, and can have Christian fellowship for all of such as show evidences of being born again, but we cannot recognize them as churches of Jesus Christ, nor receive their works as churches.

Now, we plead with all such to consider the principle of our stand. We are determined to continue steadfastly in the apostles’ fellowship as well as in their doctrine. “How can two walk together except they be agreed?” To be in fellowship with an organization is to be agreed with it, and we are not in agreement, either in doctrine or practice, with organizations which have been instituted since the days of the apostles.

We may be asked why we do not recognize the Christian church which practices immersion in water for baptism. Because we think they are not in harmony with the doctrine of the apostles, and then their organization is too modern to claim apostolic authority. They took separate existence as a body in 1827, when Alexander Campbell and his church were cut off from the Red Stone Primitive Baptist association in Pennsylvania. They have as much right to their opinions as we, and as individuals we can receive many of their members as children of God; but they do not stand on a basis that we can receive as being apostolic, and that is the test that we apply on all fundamentals.

Another point on which we are thought to be behind the times is on the question of missions. We do not object to being considered behind, or rather before, the modern ideas. We believe in missionary work, that is, in carrying the gospel where it has not been preached before, but we insist that the apostolic way of doing this cannot be improved upon. In the days of the apostles there were no societies or boards to which the evangelist looked and from which he received directions. The first missionary society was organized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622. The first Baptist missionary society was founded at Kettering, England, Oct. 2, 1792, only one hundred and thirty-one years ago, and that is too young to be considered apostolic. The American Baptist Missionary Union was organized in 1814, and considering that before the organizations mentioned there were no such things, therefore they are new, and not apostolic. It may be considered an old-fashioned idea, but we would rather be in the fellowship of the apostles. The latest great missionary movement collapsed in 1920, seven million dollars in debt. We think that God knew best what was and is adapted to the needs of His kingdom, and He never started anything that has proven a failure.

Another point on which modern churches have gone off and left us is instrumental music in the services. When the formalism of the old dispensation was discarded, and the church was founded for believers, so far as there is any evidence, instrumental music was left out, and remained out six hundred and sixty-six years when it was introduced by Pope Vitalian I. We would like to have our church service so conducted that if one of the apostles should drop in he would not say of it, “I did not so receive instructions from Jesus, nor did I so set it down in my epistles.” Paul exhorted to use “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord,” but not one word about instrumental music. The way the apostles conducted service is good enough for us.

We do not join with other people in what is known as “protracted” meetings. We do not read of effort meetings to get people regenerated, in the New Testament. They had meetings which continued for days, but the services were not different to what they would have been had there been only one service. The first “protracted meeting” of which we have account was a camp meeting held on the banks of the Red River in Kentucky by John McGee in 1799.

Perhaps as much fault is found with Primitive Baptists on the subject of Sunday schools as any one thing. People profess to think that we are indifferent to teaching the Bible to our children. “Such a strange people, not to believe in Sunday schools,” is a remark sometimes heard. The modern religious Sunday school is not a Bible institution. No one can find a word about such a thing in the New Testament. Neither is it an old institution, it is a modern idea. The first Sunday school was not a religious effort, and only dates back to 1781, when Robert Raikes, of England, gathered up poor children in London to give them the rudiments of a common education, and this was a laudable work. But later, religionists caught the idea and employed it as an annex to the church, and finally it became what has been called the “nursery of the church.” Why do not Primitive Baptists adopt this idea? Because originally the obligation to bring up children right was laid upon the parents themselves, and the past history of the matter is that under that rule children have had a better influence brought to bear upon them than has been the case since they were turned over to the Sunday school. Before the Sunday school was so depended upon, parents took their children to church to hear the gospel preached, which was the primitive way of rearing children. They were in this way kept under the supervision of the parents. The children in the days of the apostles heard the gospel preached, and this was true of all the early churches and on up to about the year 1800. It has been said, and it is probably the truth. “There was never a time in the history of the world, perhaps, when there were as many Sunday school teachers and scholars, and as many young peoples’ societies, and yet never a time when there was more practical infidelity among these very young people, or more worldliness or hardness of heart.”

Of course Primitive Baptists cannot with any consistency turn their children over to the modern Sunday school, for there they are taught Arminian ideas, which are, that their salvation depends entirely upon their wills and acts, which no Primitive Baptist believes, and of course should not willingly have his child taught this theory. We believe they must be born again and saved by grace. The home training is the Bible rule, and the best rule that the world has ever known. We do not object to the Sunday school because we are old fashioned, but because there is no precept for it in the Bible, and because the results have not even justified the idea that it will bring about a better moral condition. But it is right for parents to teach their children the Bible and take them to church to hear the gospel preached.

The only organization mentioned in a religious way in the New Testament is the church, therefore we feel safe in thinking if Jesus and the apostles had thought something else was necessary then, or ever would be necessary, they would have given it a start. It will not satisfy us to say that the times have changed and different things are needed, for God and Jesus knew the future. The claim of the Roman Catholic church to be infallible, and to be authorized to enact laws and establish rites, as it did sprinkling for baptism, the baptism of infants, etc., we deny. We further refuse to believe that any other body has more wisdom and prudence than Jesus and the apostles, and we are aiming to continue “steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

We believe in the resurrection of the saints, even as the Lord Jesus’ body that was crucified was raised. We are willing to be known as “old-fashioned,” if believing that the body of Jesus that hung on the cross, and was laid in the tomb dead, came forth with the power of an endless life, would call forth such a designation. It is affirmed that if Jesus was resurrected, so in like manner shall the bodies of the saints come forth. In the face of the socalled scientists we assert that he who had power to create man has the power to raise him from the dead.

So, with good will toward all and enmity toward none, we ask for respect for our course as standing on the principle of “continuing steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

AS.19 Sermon (The Silver Trumpets)

THE SILVER TRUMPETS

“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them; That thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeyings of the camps.”

It is generally conceded that the things written in relation to ancient Israel, were not only history, but they are typical of things that pertain to spiritual Israel, and to the militant church. So they are written for our learning. Then the two silver trumpets have a meaning for us if we may but be able to find the lesson. When we have found it, if perchance we do find it, then we should apply it and profit by it. As they had to do with the calling Israel together, and to the journeying of the camps, it seems that we might find something in our day that would answer to them, for Israel needs to be gathered together now, and there is constant need for directions in her journeyings.

Perhaps my hearers will at once think of the proclamation of the gospel. That is what came to me one night while I thought upon the silver trumpets. The subject came to me in a dream of the night. There is something fascinating in thinking of the camps of Israel, listening for the sounding out of the trumpets. Sometimes it is a far distant call, but the silvery softness of the tones comes on the air as sweet music when it is a call to assemble. So I heard them in my dream, and when I awakened I found myself listening if I might catch the mellow tones again, and know why they were sounding. I could not dismiss the matter from my mind, and so gave the time to musing on what the trumpets that Moses was commanded to make might mean to us.

As indicated in my remarks before, I could but think that in some manner the lesson was in regard to the preaching of the gospel. But why were the trumpets to be of silver? There were different kinds of horns and trumpets in use. There were the trumpets of rams horns, brazen trumpets, etc. But these were to be of silver, and no doubt this was significant as used in this place. Trumpets were used much, and referred to often. Joel was told to “Blow the trumpet in Zion.” Paul referred to trumpets which gave an uncertain sound. John said he heard a great voice as of a trumpet. In many places it seems to refer to preaching the gospel. But why two trumpets? I became wide awake while I thought on this. Finally it came to me as though light had suddenly been turned upon the subject. When you hear a minister preaching the gospel in word only, the words may be the truth, but they may lack something to bring it to the soul. I thought I saw the meaning; and it came to me with such clearness that it brought a rejoicing to my heart—it lacks the other trumpet. If when the preacher speaks, the Spirit does not speak with him as it were, how hollow and dry are the words of the man. But when he speaks in the Spirit it comes as real gospel, and spiritual Israel hears. So men cannot learn to preach in power and demonstration of the Spirit, and cannot of themselves build up and edify the church. The church may ordain men, but if they do not hear the other trumpet sounding when they speak, the ordination will be in vain. When a test is applied as to whether there is really a gift to preach, we do not just decide that the man is sound in the truth, and has a flow of language, there is something else essential. We hear such men, but turn away hungry for something that we have not heard. There must be two trumpets to have a real, live gospel. They can only preach to the strengthening of the church of God when they preach with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.

The trumpets are to be made of one piece, or a whole piece. There is to be one theme, and therefore that there be perfect harmony in the sound there can be no mixture. The pure, sweet tone of the silver is not to be ruined by the harshness of brass, nor the lower impurity of the ram’s horn. There is one doctrine, one theme, the name of Christ Jesus, and He is all and all. There is none other name given under heaven or among men. He is not a Savior in part, but He lacks nothing. He is perfect in power, He offers a perfect sacrifice, and His intercession is all-prevailing. When another gospel, which is not the gospel of Christ, is proclaimed, it is easily determined that it is a mixture. The whole world tries to make a trumpet of works and grace, and this is the kind of trumpet used, but it is the sound of a single trumpet; the sweetness and depth of sound that the other trumpet gives is not heard, and spiritual souls listen in vain for it. Throughout all the ages there has been but one gospel of hope. Abel heard it, and responded with the sacrifice that typified the one offering which alone can put away sin. No matter who uses this trumpet, whether Abraham, Elijah, Isaiah, or the apostles, the sound is easily identified. The little babe knows mother’s voice, and there is no other voice like it in the world. The sheep know the voice of the Shepherd, and Jesus says that His sheep knows His voice and they well do.

These trumpets are to be used for the calling of the assembly. In all ages it has been so. The truth is one and all who receive it and abide in it can be called into one assembly. The prophets were continually calling to Israel, to gather them together and separate them from the nations around them. Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.” It is the same under the gospel dispensation as under the old, the messengers of God are calling the spiritual Israel together. It is true there are many who do not hear. The world can hear one-trumpet preaching, but its ears are not tuned to hear the two-trumpet preaching. Therefore it is often repeated, “Him that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

There are no churches where there is no preaching—where the silver trumpets are not blown. This is the very purpose for which they are blown. Some try to use them to scare the wolves and dogs away, but they were never intended for that purpose. If the people of God will stand together at the call of the trumpets, they need not fear all that are on the outside. “They which be with thee, are more than they which are without,” was the encouraging , exhortation.. that Elisha gave out. I heard a preacher say once that Jesus sent out His preachers to feed the sheep, and he was not to throw rocks at those who might be on the outside of the fold but to feed the kids beside the shepherd’s tent. I had not been in warm fellowship with him until I heard that, and I thought, If he is right on but a few things, he is right on that.

Some men try to make it appear that they are very firm gospel preachers, and at the same time it is apparent that they are trying to divide the church. You will never divide the church by blowing the silver trumpet. You might sometimes discomfit the enemy with a long blast on the ram’s horn, if at the same time you break the earthen jar and bring to light the candle burning brightly within, but when trying to get the little ones within the fold, and to bring them together in love and fellowship, use only the silver trumpet, and pray God that the two may be sounding harmoniously at one time. Those whose hearts have been softened by grace have ears attuned for the soft, pure tones of the silver trumpet, and a harsher sound grates upon the feelings. It means speaking in love. When fleshly passions move the speaker you may be sure that you will hear but one tone, and it is not the glad tidings which comes with the heavenly tone that heals and calms the troubled soul. But I need not describe the effect more in detail, as you all know when you hear the gospel’s call. And the preacher should often examine his spirit when he is trying to speak, to see if he may expect that it will just be him speaking, or whether he may humbly hope that the power and blessing of the Spirit will be with him, and that he may comfort the poor in spirit, and encourage those who are hungering and thirsting for righteousness.

But there were times when but one trumpet was to be blown. “And if they blow with but one trumpet, then the princes, which are the heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.” The ministers and pastors may be likened to the princes. There is but one power and call to preach the gospel. Here is a place where men may not use influence, and where they have no authority. I once knew a very devout mother who wished that her son might be a preacher. I do not question but that she prayed as fervently as one can pray for anything that God has not promised, and the son tried to do as his mother wished, but God had not called—the one trumpet that alone is to call had not Sounded. And note this, that those who are to heed this trumpet call are to gather themselves together. Some preachers who profess a calling of God seem to want to keep away from all other preachers, and have things their own way. They seem to feel a little better than they think others are, and so never try to be one with others. And if, perchance they fall in with others, they want to rule over the others, and have the others fall at their feet. John fell at the feet of the angel which had shown him the wonders of the city beautiful, but the angel had heard and felt the call of the one trumpet, and said to John, “See thou do it not; for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book; worship God.” When we see a professed preacher, who has a haughty and selfish spirit, it gives rise to the question whether he is heeding the trumpet which has been given to lead Israel right.

But there is something more to do than simply to gather together, there is the journeying. The daily walk and discipline of the church is at the call of the gospel, for preaching the gospel also includes all things which the children of God are to consider for their good and God’s glory. The children of Israel were not only commanded to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, but they were commanded to go forward. The fact that Israel was to give heed to the sound of the trumpets in their marching indicates that there was to be concert of action. In fact there was to be unity in all things. They were to gather at the sound of the trumpets, they were to set forward when called to do so, if they were to go to war, they were to go only when the trumpets sounded, and likewise they were to obey their call for the solemn feasts and the days of gladness.

“When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.” If we would be careful to study the instructions that are given in God’s word, we would see, aside from the fact that He should be obeyed because He is God, there is always a good reason, taking into consideration cause and effect. We might feel that it was rather arbitrary to arrange for those on the east side of the tabernacle to go forward at the first call of the trumpets, but the day came first to those on the east side, and the sun’s warmth was felt most by them. So those who have been longest in the service should be first to respond. Then from another point this might be set aside by another consideration. There is a difference between members and a difference in our times and seasons whether we are warm or cold in our spiritual condition. As those on the east symbolized those who were nearest to the sun, and felt its rays most, so those who are most awake in a feeling sense, and who have warm hearts spiritually, should go forward at the first call. They should not wait for others, their conditions spiritually make it imperative that they go forward. Then at a second call, for the exhortations of the gospel are continually sounding “Behold I stand at the door and knock” those on the south side should go forward. The sun in his journey would now be warming them up to action. “When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey,” and so on, until all are in line of march. None are to be laggards because they did not start first nor remain behind because they are last in line. The term “alarm” used here does not mean danger signal, but the call to action. Every church has a name to live, should be in action. That is, should be in the service of God, both as to the public service, and as to the individual good works to which God’s children are created. They are new creatures, “created unto good works which God hath ordained that they should walk in them.”

Express directions are given, however, that when the congregation is to be gathered together, an alarm shall not be sounded. It seems that the word “alarm” here rather indicates a danger signal, as it would when they were to meet an enemy. Some preachers seem to feel that it is the proper thing to sound a danger signal all the time, for they are always talking against something. But when the people are to be called together, and this signifies in love and fellowship and unity of action, the gospel of salvation in Christ Jesus should be declared in all its beauty, that the hearers shall find rest in faith, and give way to rejoicing spirits.

It may be, however, that in self defense we shall have to meet an enemy that is oppressing us. But even here the same trumpets that are used to gather the people together are used. They are the silver trumpets. We sometimes see a change in trumpets made by our preachers. They have at times been loving and kind in their address, but they seem to be under the domination of another spirit at other times. The enemy is using the sword, so they take to the sword also. But Jesus says that they which resort to the sword shall perish with the sword. So the Christian who must stand in defense must be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Christ met His enemies and conquered gloriously, but when He was reviled He reviled not again. And when before Pilate, in the face of the vilest of accusations He stood silent in the righteousness of His cause. A preacher should have nothing to fight with but silver trumpets, and if he resorts to fleshly weapons he must fall, for we are not to fight with carnal weapons. We fight not against flesh and blood, therefore there is no use to try to meet our enemy with flesh and blood.

“Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God; I am the Lord your God.” So under any and all circumstances the glorious gospel of Jesus is to be sounded out. If we are glad, we should be glad in His name; if it is a serious, solemn time, the more we need to hear of Him and have His power and grace exalted; when we are making our offerings, self must not be felt in it—it must be a memorial of His goodness and mercy. When all is peace with us, we must still remember His name, and not come before Him only when we feel to have need.

So there is nothing more becoming to our state than to have the silver trumpets bringing to our ears continually God’s goodness and mercy, and the sacrifice of Jesus, who died for our sins that we might live. We need this to call us from the ways of the world, and to keep us from its snares and pitfalls. We need to hear it to soothe and calm our troubled spirits when life’s burdens are heavy, and afflictions distress the soul. And as we near the chilling river of death, and its shadows affright our souls, we should hail with delight the pure and heavenly tones of the silver trumpets which speak of heavenly rest, and a joy that shall never be disturbed. It tells of the city where there is no night, no darkness to affright, and where tears are all wiped away by God’s own hand of love and power, and where no enemy can come, nor sin can pollute.

When you hear the invitation to go up to the house of the Lord, remember it is to hear the silver trumpets, and pray God that your heart and ears may be attuned to get all the sweetness there is in the joyful sound. Think of the night when the angels blew the trumpets with the glad acclaim, “Peace on earth, good will toward men,” which continues as heaven’s message to care-burdened pilgrims of earth.

AS.20 Sermon (Desire For The Future Of The Church)

DESIRE FOR THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

“That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:

“That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store; that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets.

“That our oxen may be strong to labor; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets.

“Happy is that people that is in such a case; yea, happy is that people whose God is the Lord.”—Ps 14:7.

These words have been suggestive to me of important matters connected with the future of our churches. While we should make the future of the church a matter to be taken to the Lord in prayer, we cannot absolve ourselves from the responsibility which rests upon the church now with regard to what the church shall be in future years. The manner in which the members of the present generation discharge their obligations will decide in great measure what the church will be in the next generation. We should not pray one way, asking the Lord’s blessing to a certain end, and then act as though we were indifferent about reaching that objective. We should not only pray that the church should be delivered from every false way, both in doctrine and in practice, but act. We should pray as did David, “Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is the right hand of falsehood.” For the church to come under the influence of error in doctrine and false practice, will be to jeopardize its interests for the future, for those who come into it will be influenced by these wrong doctrines and false ways, and this will give character to the church. We must not only be concerned about our present enjoyment in the church, but be thinking about the days when the present membership will be called from earth, and others will have to take their place if the church is to continue. We ought to be much concerned about the bringing in of those around the church who have a hope. And this concern should not be alone for their personal benefit, but for the perpetuation of the organization which the Lord has in mercy and wisdom given us.

We should never get to feel as did an old brother who objected to the erection of a larger church house when the congregation grew too large for the building it was occupying. He gave as his reason for objecting, that the present house would hold all the members, and that was large enough. We should have hearts and minds engaged, as David gives expression, to think of the conditions that will surround our sons and daughters when for them shall come the “day of visitation.”

This prompts the question, Is our church in such condition now, under the present teaching and practice, that “our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth?” This means having an interest in the younger generation, for it must be from our sons and daughters, and those of others of our congregations, that the church is to be built up in the future. Our ministers and members should feel and show an interest in the young people. This interest will not regenerate them, but it will bring around them an influence that may save them from error and false practices. Of course we would not want them in the church until quickened by the Holy Spirit, and this is indicated in the text by referring to them as “plants.” Plants which are set in the garden of the Lord, are living plants—they are not dead sticks, but have life and can grow. They should “grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Being called plants, indicates that they are to have special care. They are the special care of the Father, chosen in His love, called by His grace; but in the world is not a place where special spiritual care is given, so the church is provided for them. How fresh and beautiful the foliage of strong, growing plants, like the sweet and loving profession of those who have but recently had shed upon them the Savior’s love. If the church is in right condition—rich in love, warm in fellowship, they should grow and thrive. That this state may be the lot of members who may come in, we should be prayerful and interested workers.

The object of such special care of these plants is that they may bloom and fruit and not wither away and die. General field culture does not meet their needs. They need to be studied carefully, and developed. It will not do to treat the young members with indifference, for if so treated they may grow cold and indifferent, and be lost to the church. If they are not noticed they may perhaps come to feel that they are out of place, and perhaps did wrong in coming into the church.

How good it is to see the young come into the church and abide there. David said, “I will abide in thy tabernacle forever.” The soil around the plants in our gardens is kept stirred up lest it get hard and impede the growth of the plants. So in the church its ministrations should have the influence of keeping the heart tender and preventing coldness and hardness. And, too, where the ground is hard the weeds will grow. So it is in the heart. Where there is spiritual hardness the seeds of worldliness and evil will grow, and these choke the good seed that they become unfruitful. This is the teaching of Jesus in the parable of the sower (Mt 13:22).

It is the will of our heavenly Father that these young members “bear much fruit.” The fruit is the forming of real Christian character. The fruit of the Spirit is “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” How beautiful to see these fruits developing in the young. How discouraging to see them giddy and worldly minded. The future character of the church is depending much upon the character of those now taken into the church, so they should be considered as tender plants and in need of training.

Church troubles of any kind will be like a cold and chilling wind on tender plants. Troubles will retard growth in grace and in knowledge, and may result in their losing all interest in the church for a time. I have known the children in Baptist families who had received a hope in Jesus so affected by troubles in the church that they never united with it, and some have gone off to other people. So every member of the church should prayerfully keep hardness and bitterness out of the church, remembering the blighting effect it may have on those who should be the objects of our care now, considering the future of the church.

How important it is to see their lives settle down in the customs and ways of church membership. That is, be “Grown up in their youth.” As youth is characterized by energy and joyous activity, it is much to be desired that the warmth and vigor of new spiritual life, and the joy of the newborn hope, should characterize members all the days of their lives. As old age checks activity, and leads to less interest in surrounding life, the illustration would have us take as our highest aim to have the membership of the church full of lively interest in all things that pertain to its services and high standing as the house of God, and not grow indifferent and slow to act. I have seen many who had “grown up in their youth,” and what a strength they are to the church. They still manifested a warm interest in all the meetings and services of the church down to old age, the weather never being too hot nor too cold for them to be present. They kept the warmth and strength of their first love to the last. They formed the habits of life while the religion of

Jesus was sweet to them. What a contrast is shown between this spirit and the slothfulness of many. But the Psalmist changes the figure and prays that our daughters “May be as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” I do not think that there is any difference really between the sons and daughters as to sex that caused the Psalmist to change the figure. It suited his figure better to thus speak of the daughters. The scriptures are full of references to women as well as men, each in their respective places. As to their lives they are to have life and grow as plants. But to show another feature of their connection with the church they are to be as corner stones, being built into the structure, becoming a part of it and a prominent part too. Here they are represented, not as unhewn stone, and rough as in nature, but as polished. The worldly mind, the carnal practices, and sinful ways of the world are to be taken away so that the spirit of Christ in the beauty of holiness may appear. We add nothing to a stone to polish it, we take something away.

As illustrative of the above thought I will relate this incident. When in a museum of fine arts I was admiring the work of noted sculptors. On my way down an aisle I came to a rough stone, standing on a pedestal. I was surprised, and looked for some explanation, but saw none from where I was standing. So I stepped around to see what I might find. I looked around the base but saw no card or lettering, and then raised my eyes to a level. To my amazement and delight I saw looking out at me a beautiful face, chiseled out of the rough stone. The artist had a lovely face in his mind, and had with his chisel cut away the rough exterior and brought out with wonderful clearness the picture in his mind.

So in the case of those members of the church properly “polished.” Though at first we may have seen only a weak, human nature, and the marks of sin, but on a close acquaintance there is the face of Jesus Christ shining out from a heart of love. I call to mind a young sister who was received into the church, and who was a type of many, but whose character brought out these points a little more clearly than some others. Her emotional character was pronounced, but I wondered if she really had a clear understanding of scriptural teaching, and was spiritual in thought. She was a good, conscientious country girl, and I had no doubt that she was born again. But as I became more intimately acquainted with her I was delighted to find that her expressions showed such clearness of thought, and depth of feeling, that I could but look at her in wonder. These are the characters that make for the strength and stability of the church, and for the good influence that it should give out, which is as the savor of salt. The character of the church should be such as will draw out and develop this beautiful, spiritual character in the young.

These are an ornament to the church, and are as corner stones, built in and tied to its walls so as to remain. Does our church have an influence to lead to such results? How discouraging to see in the lives of members, and hear in their conversation, nothing but what reflects a worldly mind, and perhaps a hard heart and a careless indifference! Sometimes those who were once lively members drop out of active connection with the church, and there is little in their lives to show that they are in any way connected with it. If they were built in, as corner stones, they would remain. How encouraging it is to see members remain active and warm-heartedly identified with the church down to old age.

It is a sad fact that so many seem to be but so loosely connected with the church. Any little thing breaks its hold upon them. This is especially true of young members. Often, perhaps, the church does not feel the responsibility for this falling away as it should. It should be in the hearts of the members as a loving privilege and duty to so bear themselves toward those who come into the church that it may have a life-time effect in building up within them a deep love and devotion for the church.

The church should indeed bear the “similitude of a palace.” It is the royal abode of the mighty King, and in it are displayed all the richness and beauty of His treasures. Here He has set His affections, and those who have the pleasure of its surroundings are His special favorites, upon whom He has set the seal of His love. The Master of the palace is the beloved Son of the King, and the charms of His person and character should lift up all with wonder and admiration. By the sacrifice of His life and the shedding of His blood, He set all the inmates free from the bondage of sin, and has planted in their hearts the love that exists between Him and the Father. Here are joys unspeakable and a soul-union that will last beyond the grave. Do all you can, brethren, to walk about Zion, and tell her glories to the generation following.

Note the next clause. “That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store.” A garner is a storehouse, a place where supplies are kept. God’s people are always needing supplies while traveling through this world. This brings us a beautiful conception of the church—it is a place where we go to get supplies. Jesus said, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer.” This is the same thought. In prayer a request is made for supplies in time of need. It certainly is a matter for prayerful thought if the condition of the church has anything to do with the garners being full! The introduction of erroneous doctrines and wrong practices in a church would soon make empty garners. How cold and formal the meetings would become! Let trouble come and peace takes its flight, and how unprofitable the services! But when all is harmony, and love and fellowship abounds, then faith is renewed, the Holy Spirit is poured out, assurance is given, joy abounds, the soul is fed and strengthened, and it often seems that the gates of heaven are opened and blessings are poured out. If the members of a church are not edified and strengthened by their attendance on the services in which they engage, the church is not supplying that for which it has its existence. It was never set up to save souls for eternity, it exists to feed, protect and make strong in faith and service the Lord’s people here, that they may be an influence for good in this world, and give praise and glory to God.

Do we desire this condition to prevail? Then, of course we should pray that it may, and then show by our course in connection with the church that we are really in earnest. Think of the different garners in connection with the church. There is the garner of gospel ministration. Then there is the garner of grace, the garner of love, of fellowship, of sympathy, of instruction and exhortation.

The garner of gospel ministration we depend upon so much, for it contains such a variety. We may come to the church bowed down with the sorrow of the burdens of life. The gospel message has such sweetness in it: “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We may come with soul-hunger for love, fellowship and sympathy. How our craving would be mocked if we should find none of these supplies at the church. If all were hard and cold, and unresponsive, how disappointed would we be! But if the garners are full, and we meet with love in the greetings, sympathy for us in our dark days, it is as sweet to us as honey in the honeycomb, and brings rest like sweet music. Then there is the garner of grace. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”—Heb 4:16. It is true that we may come to the “throne of grace” at any time and from any place, but the church with all its influence leads to thoughts of the need of grace, and a proper spirit in which to approach the throne of grace. It tends to subdue enmity, to cultivate forbearance, lead to humbleness of spirit, warm up love and stimulate faith and hope. But if the spirit of the church is cold and fleshly passions prevail it is not conducive to prayer for grace. The garner is empty. The preaching and the hymns should remind us of this so much needed storehouse. We need grace to humble, grace to lift up, grace to tender, grace to give assurance, grace to melt the stony heart, grace to fight the good fight of faith. The church in a way is a gate to this garner. The way of the world does not lead to it. When we shut up the expression of love and sympathy from others it may make them feel like the garners are empty. So as we have received freely, let us freely give. Thank God for the blessings the Lord gives us through the church and its services.

David was a shepherd, and in the next clause, in praying for blessings on the church, he uses a figure that reaches toward the future prosperity of the flock. “That our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets.” How in keeping with the spiritual mind is the desire that the Lord’s quickening power may be manifested among the children of men, and especially upon those who are near to us. It is right that we should pray to see the power of God manifested in the lives of the objects of His mercy. We should never be influenced to inactivity by the thought that the number of the saved is settled, and that the Lord will certainly give them all life and salvation, and so we need not be concerned in regard to the salvation of sinners. If God has promised a thing, that is an encouragement to pray for it, and be interested in its manifestation.

But this clause reads, “in our streets.” If our church is to prosper, and be an influence for good in the world, there must be souls quickened “in our streets.” There will be souls quickened in other cities, and in the world, but will these be brought into our fold—church? Our interest should be for our church, not exclusively, but intensely. If we believe in our church as being the Lord’s planting, we should want it to prosper. In this sense we should desire that our children may be quickened “in our streets.” Therefore we should strive to keep them under its influence, that when they are made alive spiritually they may come within the fold. This will not save them, but it will benefit the church, be an encouragement to us, and a comfort and strength to our children. I wish that every Primitive Baptist would see this as an important matter. I believe it to be one cause of declension in many churches that prayers and supplications and earnest efforts have not gone forth in this direction. I have even heard it given as a reason or excuse for not taking the children to church services that they were not interested, and do not know anything about such things. But are we not praying that the Lord may give them an interest, and open their hearts to the truth ? and we should desire that when this takes place it may be “in our streets,” not under the influence of those who do not hold the truth. We shall want them with us then, our church will need them, and they will need it.

There has been too much indifference about the children. Others are doing all that they can to get their children, and our children, too, into their churches. They do not ask whether they are regenerated or not. Of course this is very far from our idea of right. But in trying to get away from this error we have gone over the line into the ditch on the other side. Too often it is the case that Primitive Baptists surrender their children to the training and teaching of other people, and they become prejudiced against our churches, and if the Lord does come into their hearts and tender them, they are so tied up with other people that they are lost to our church. Not only should we keep the children under the influence and teaching of the church, but when there is reason to believe that they are truly interested we should be ready to teach them and to help them over the difficulties that may lie in their way of coming into the church. This does not show undue anxiety, it is only being in accord with the teachings of the scriptures.

Another matter of importance is brought out in the fourteenth verse, “That our oxen may be strong to labor.” This word “labor” here might be translated “bear burdens.” Think how necessary for a church that its pastor should be strong enough to bear burdens, and like the patient ox, to toil on under any and all difficulties. If he is not an example of patient endurance how much the cause loses! But will the condition of the church have any effect upon him? O yes. He is human; discourage-ment can break his resolution, and burdens be so unreasonable as to weaken his endurance. While you are praying that your ox may be strong, do not unthoughtedly and with indifference to his needs, take that course that will make his load too heavy for his strength. Have it in your mind, in your heart, and in your prayers to consider him who must bear indifference to the limit of his ability without seeming to notice; actual slight without returning it; make sacrifices without complaint; serve men as giving service to God; labor on and on without manifest sign of appreciation from others, and even see among some the disposition to muzzle him during the long treadmill journey of life.

Pray God in heaven to help, and then show a willingness yourself to help. He will need your encouragement and cooperation. Much depends upon him, but the result of his labors are either helped on or rendered ineffective by the interest and coordination of the members, or their withholding it. Each member is an important factor in the efficiency of the pastor. Anciently there was a law that an ox that was treading out the corn should not be muzzled. Paul says that this was written for us that we should not tie the hands of our pastors with worldly affairs, such as having to sustain themselves and their families with their own labor, but that we should observe the Lord’s rule who has “Ordained that they that preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” He should be so set free that he may observe the rule set down by the apostles, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministra-tion of the word.” To give themselves continually to the study and ministration of the word would without question make them stronger, with the Lord’s blessing, to labor and bear heavy burdens.

The latter part of the fourteenth verse touches a weak spot with us. “That there be no breaking in nor going out; that there be no complain-ing in our streets.” We do not seem to reach the high point of standing shoulder to shoulder, and advancing all in line, eyes straight ahead, and with one common objective. We are too much given to shirking on each other, breaking up into little squads, or falling out entirely. Then it too often happens that he who is farthest out of line raises the loudest complaint against the rest. What a weakness this all is, and how we stand in our own way, hinder the progress of others and grieve the Holy Spirit. The great weakness of the church is the little misunderstandings and bickerings among the members that cause love to wane, and coldness to grow up as a barrier to full and free fellowship. We should be willing to bear much personally for the sake of the unity of the church. One bad effect of the “breaking in and going out” is the effect on the children of the members. It weakens their confidence in the church as being a place where love and fellowship abound, and so they lose respect for it, and they attend the meetings without interest, if at all, and when the “day of visitation” comes to them they do not turn to the church as a resting place and for shelter to their souls, which now hunger for love and real sympathy. All the members should prayerfully consider what each step may count for in church unity.

The text is a clarion call to fall in line. The great Captain goes before; keep step, keep step. Do not watch your fellow soldier so closely, watch the Captain. All this breaking in and going out makes an ugly showing. Think of a company of soldiers drilling. How fine and thrilling it looks when all move as one man. Click, click. See, they are all moving with one thought; the thought is the mind of the master of the drill. How glorious the church that so moves and marches! It is like an “army with banners.” Let us not be looking so many ways to criticise others; we shall get out of step. One of the rules is, “Consider the beam that is in thine own eye.” Instead of complaining, let us get our shoulders under the load and lift. Better than complaining, repeat the Lord’s prayer, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” The complaining spirit is the unforgiving spirit. Jesus did not complain, He prayed. The best influence to correct others is to help by example and exhortation, and not by heartless criticism and standing apart. Close up the ranks. “Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together.” All are to be mutual helpers of each other.

“Happy is that people that is in such a case; yea, happy is that people whose God is the Lord.” True happiness of the highest kind is found in appreciation of the mercy and goodness of God, and giving thanks to Him. The church and its service is for that very purpose. So a church in which the mercies of God are pointed out (and this is done in the gospel of Jesus), and this being comprehended, together with the heartfelt desire to acknowledge all its benefits, brings the happiest condition of human beings. David said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Churches all in harmony, and all working together in love, bring more happiness to their members than all earthly things. The effect is contentment and strength for life’s trials. A feeling that one has the love and prayers of the members is a strong support.

In trying to live without a church and its services so many of these benefits are crowded out by the things of the world, that often little is left but the hope of heaven. The religion of Jesus is a comfort, strength and joy all through life, and the church is to help us to think of, and appreciate, all that the Lord has done for us and promised us in the future. Thus it is literally true—”Happy is that people that is in such a case.” If we do not appreciate and value the church, it is because we have never studied its benefits and tried to enjoy its helpful influence. To properly appraise the church is to really make the Lord our God. It leads to trusting in Him, depending upon Him, and praising Him.

AS.21 Sermon (The Pot Of Oil)

THE POT OF OIL

“Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the Lord; and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondsmen.

“And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? Tell me what hast thou in the house? And she said, Thine handmaid hath not anything in the house, save a pot of oil. “Then he said, Go, borrow thou vessels abroad of all thy neighbors, even empty vessels; borrow not a few. “And when thou art come in, thou shalt shut the door upon thee and upon thy sons, and thou shalt pour out into all those vessels, and thou shalt set aside that which is full. So she went from him and shut the door upon her and upon her sons who brought the vessels to her and she poured out. “And it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said unto her son, Bring me yet a vessel. And her son said unto her, There is not a vessel more. And the oil stayed. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, Go, sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.”

This narrative of the widow and the pot of oil has been of much interest to me. I feel sure it was not put upon record just as a remarkable miracle without thought of teaching a lesson throughout all time. With this thought it should appeal to us to find what there is in our spiritual life that could compare.with this account to give us encouragement and instruction. It helps so much in reading the scriptures to remember all the time that God’s people for all ages have always lived as present in the foreknowledge of God, and that all the scriptures have been written as though we lived at the time things were spoken, and all to us; and we

should earnestly desire to apply all to ourselves, and pray that the Holy Spirit might give us understanding, for that is one work of the Holy Spirit.

We may know by the language used that some particular thought is to be presented. “Now there cried a certain woman.” Doubtless there were many widows in Israel, but as Jesus said in His sermon at Nazareth, referring to the widow of Sarepta, one is singled out, of which to speak to all the generations throughout time. “A certain woman.” There are only “certain” cases that can be used as types of the God-helped sons and daughters of men. “Many lepers were in Israel in the days of Eliseus the prophet, and none of them were cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” It is this particular, personal dealing of God with individuals that makes the love of God and His saving grace so precious. This certain woman “cried.” That is the expression for the heart-call to God for help. The lepers, the blind man, the woman whose daughter was afflicted, and the publican, cried for help and healing. God’s people are still crying for help because they each have their load of distress of heart. They realize more and more when they have searched their hearts that there is but one arm that can save, and one who knows them well enough, and has mercy enough, to listen to their appeal.

Dear hearer, if you have ever made this heart cry, this incident was recorded that you might catch at the thought that your case is a “certain” instance of where God’s mercy is to be manifested.

The next prominent part is the statement of the woman that her husband was dead, and that she had been left without means, and not only without support, but hopelessly in debt. As this is a type-narrative we must consider the teaching of the scriptures on the meaning of this condition in a spiritual sense. They who are married to the law, or a conditional hope of salvation, depend upon this for their hope, and cannot claim Christ as their Savior, not needing a Savior. But when they become dead to the law, and the law is dead to them, no longer furnishing hope and support for the future, then they may be married to

Christ. This explains the meaning of several cases given in the scriptures where widows are spoken of for illustrations.

When one by the light of the Spirit sees his inability to keep the law and be justified in keeping it, it becomes dead to him, and he becomes dead to it. His first husband is dead, He no longer can get comfort and hope by turning to his own acts. And not only so, but if he could keep the law faultlessly on to the end of life, past transactions have put him so hopelessly in debt that he can never get free from the penalty. The widow did not try to repudiate or deny her indebtedness, and so the poet felt when he wrote: “And if my soul were sent to hell, Thy righteous law approves it well.”

She said, “The creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondsmen.” Children represent hope for the future. So the present and the future are all blighted by sin. The one having eyes to see, and a heart to understand, realizes that if it were left to him to live perfect there is no present plea nor future hope, so, as did the publican, there is nothing left but to pray for mercy. “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Elisha the prophet of God said unto the woman, “What shall I do for thee?” Perhaps she had no very clear idea of what could be done for her—so hopelessly in debt and a merciless creditor to face. The law knows no mercy, it demands the life. “In the day that thou eatest thou shalt surely die.”

The prophet does not wait for a reply to his former question, but asks for inventory, or statement of what she had to depend upon. So it is that the prayers of quickened sinners is coupled with a heart-searching inquiry into the real condition of the soul. “What hast thou in the house?”

Hast thou any righteousness that thou canst claim as thine own? Is there anything to recommend thee, even to God’s mercy? Poor and weak and sin-cursed, it is no wonder that her reply was, “Not anything.” “Nothing in my hand I bring.” There can be no deception before God. The sinner feels that the eyes of God see the very secrets of his heart, so there is no attempt to represent that there is any goodness there. But in this case there was an exception, she said there was not anything “Save a pot of oil.”

Oil in so many scriptural uses represent grace. Oil was what the five foolish virgins lacked. No oil, no light. No grace, no light in the soul. The anointings were with oil. Spiritual anointing must be by grace. The widow had a little pot of oil. Every repentant sinner has grace, though he is not able to see anything but sin. The publican prayed, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” The publican saw nothing in himself but sin, but Jesus saw grace. The Pharisee saw himself as being righteous altogether, but Jesus, nor anyone else, can see “marks of grace” in him. The publican prayed. Saul of Tarsus prayed—”Behold he prayeth;” prayer is a mark of grace. The “certain woman cried” and had nothing but a little pot of oil. When we see one praying it is a sign of grace in the heart. The widow of Sarepta, unto whom Eliseus was sent, had in a cruse enough oil for one mess, but it was increased so that it never failed. So in the case of this “Certain” woman, that which was done for her was to increase the oil. That is what the gospel does for the repentant sinner, it shows him that the grace that can bring repentance can minister all the help that is needed. How we are rejoiced to see a sinner in tears! What parent would not rejoice to see a son or daughter desiring righteousness, even with bitter tears! “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” To all such the gospel of glad tidings comes, bringing encouragement.

The prophet told the widow to borrow vessels, empty vessels not a few. In a word to prepare for a great increase in oil. This the gospel does to all who give the evidence that grace has touched their hearts. It is overcoming grace. It is the ocean of God’s love in action, flowing as a mighty river to the poor and perishing. Remember, they are to be empty vessels. The Pharisee boasting of righteousness and superiority over others is not an empty vessel. But the poor publican pleading for mercy is an empty vessel. When we begin to look for a place in our lives where we do not need grace it will be hard to find. We need grace everywhere we look. We need grace to think, to act, to talk, to pray, to deal with our neighbor, to go to church, to hear a sermon, to sing the songs of Zion—truly the places where we need grace are not a few.

The man of God further gave instruction to the widow that she and her son should withdraw from the outside world and shut themselves in with God and they alone. How like the experience of God’s children. The world, the preachers, the church, and all the powers of earth can never give nor sell what is needed. It can come alone from God according to the working of His mighty power which was manifested in raising Jesus from death. All the widow’s present help and future hope must be in God alone, all other sources are shut out. He who preaches the pure gospel, must declare this to those who are crying for help. Paul said he was determined to know nothing but Jesus and Him crucified.

The prophet instructed her that she should begin drawing on the supply of oil. She did as directed, and the oil filled the vessels until there remained no more to fill. What a wonderful fountain is God’s grace and love. From it flows the great river of the water of life which reaches to all who hunger and thirst. Jesus stood up in the great day of the feast and cried, “If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink.”

“Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” There is no limit to the supply of God’s grace, but there is a limit to our capacity. Our faith is little. We receive faith and grace by measure, only Jesus having the Spirit without limit. Faith may be considered a limit to the grace received. “According to thy faith, so be it unto thee.” Jesus reproved His disciples for their little faith. “O ye of little faith,” said Jesus. Ask and it shall be given unto you, knock and it shall be opened, is the promise. Keep drawing. Paul exhorted, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” No one may claim that anything has befallen him, and in his trouble he has trusted in grace and it failed him. The Lord said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” So the fullness of grace is well typified by the abundant flow of the oil. The woman went and acknowledged the miraculous flow of the oil to Elisha. So should all the children of grace bear testimony to the church, and to all, of the abundant mercy of God.

The man of God gave forth instructions. He told her, “Go sell the oil, and pay thy debt, and live thou and thy children of the rest.” The outstanding fact set forth in the scriptures is that the debt of sin must be paid. Men may treat it as a light matter, but it is not so with God. Had it been a light matter the Lord would not have given up His only begotten Son to die. But He laid the load of sin which rested on His chosen ones on Jesus, and He in sorrow, tears and infinite suffering bore it, and finally put it away in awful agony on the cruel cross. That His redeemed and regenerated children may serve Him as they ought, the story of the cross is always a point of the gospel of glad tidings. This type-woman felt the burden and curse of sin and that the debt must be paid, no matter how awful the cost. So with what joy she hailed the gift of the oil that provided a way to settle all her debt. Some people object to preaching doctrine, but the doctrines of the gospel are the explanation of how the debt for sin is to be set aside, paid in full, and how the debt burdened sinner is to go free. “ Go sell the oil and pay thy debt.” Remember the oil is grace. So the sinner can but see that grace pays all the debt. “Jesus paid it all,” is a sweet hymn indeed to him that believes that salvation is truly by grace. “Grace first contrived the way To save rebellious man; And all the steps that grace display Which drew the wondrous plan. “Grace first inscribed my name In God’s eternal book; ‘Twas grace that gave me to the Lamb, Who all my sorrows took.”

So grace taught children want to know how their sins are to be taken away, and they made free, for they know that sin is not to be treated as a small matter. So the preaching of Paul falls with comfort on their ears and brings a sweet peace to their bosoms. “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” When the accuser charges on the believer, “You are a sinner,” he replies, “I confess with shame that I am; but Jesus died for sinners.” When it is said to him, “You are weak and easily overcome with temptation,” he answers, “Yes, too well I know it; but Jesus was tempted and tried in all points as we are that He might be able to succor the tempted and tried.” So the woman paid her debts with the oil God had provided for her, and believers are yet applying this truth, “By grace are ye saved.”

“And live thou and thy children of the rest.” It is no scant living for those who believe the supply of grace is abundant and free. There is “grace to help in times of need.” “According to thy faith be it unto thee.” “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with me.” All through life there is need to draw on grace for strength and daily supplies. We are taught in the Lord’s supper that Jesus must be our daily bread and drink. The hungry find satisfying fullness in the sweetness of grace; the weary find rest; the fainting are revived, and the discouraged are lifted up. “Let not your heart be troubled,” comes as music to the distressed, and “cast your burdens upon the Lord and He will deliver you,” lifts up the head and fix the eyes above on the light beyond the clouds. So we should find gladness in the instructions, “And live thou and thy children of the rest.”

AS.22 Sermon (Remove Not The Landmarks)

REMOVE NOT THE LANDMARKS

“Remove not the ancient landmarks which thy fathers have set.”—Pr 22:28.

(A sermon delivered on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of New Garden church, near Excelsior Springs, Mo., March 30, 1924.)

In any civilized country the corner stones, marking the different tracts of land, are important. No one can know whether he holds a good title to his home unless he can be assured that he actually holds the land which is described in his deed. I knew a brother in the church who built a house on a tract of land, and reared most of his family there. One day a gentleman appeared and notified him that he held title to the land on which the brother lived, and that he would either have to buy it of him or vacate. Of course this was a great surprise to this brother, for he had put much labor on the place and had been to a great deal of expense on the farm which he fondly thought would be his home through life, and where he believed he would end his days. But although he had held the place up to this time in good faith, an investigation proved that he was wrong, and that he really did not have the title he thought he held.

When I was a boy my father fenced and improved a tract of land. After several years had passed a question arose as to the correctness of the south line, and it was decided to have it surveyed again. This survey showed that our fence was not on the true line, and we were not occupying all the land that rightly belonged to us. But we had the fence built, and it would require much work and considerable expense to set it back on the line, so it was not done in father’s time. This land fell to one of my brothers and he let the fence (which was a hedge) stay where it had originally been set. The farm has now passed into other hands, but the fence remains where it was first set, although not on the line the deed calls for.

Now for an application of the points referred to, in a religious way. It was the Savior’s way of teaching to refer to natural things which are well understood, to teach spiritual truths. No one knows the limits and bounds of truth and the spiritual inheritance only as they are set down and defined in God’s book. Here we find the “original notes.” The result of the first surveys are set down in the records called “original notes,” and the Bible is the original notes of all truth relating to God, man, sin, and salvation from it. No one may lay rightful claim to a hope while on earth and a home in heaven unless it accords with this record. We may think we are right, as was the brother who built his house on land for which he had no title, but the test will finally come. Just believing one is right does not settle the matter, the record decides, no matter what human beings may believe.

It is no doubt with many in their religious belief as it was with my father in endeavoring to inclose his farm and building his fence. Positions are taken without a proper and careful investigation, and even when persons see that they were wrong at first, having taken a position they do not take the trouble to correct it, and the children follow in the same way. This accounts for several generations following in a religious denomination. The parents set the example and the children follow. And, as time goes on, many take the same course because it has so long been established, and finally they get to thinking “the fence is surely on the right line because it has stood so long.” But it can never be right unless the “original notes” are followed.

These thoughts may serve to impress the necessity of studying the record which God has written, that we may start from the corner stones which were set by the “fathers” according to the original survey, in which there can be no error, because the God of all wisdom will not err.

The lines run by men may be wrong. Another illustration may serve to make this clearer. A surveyor’s instrument is mounted on a tripod that it may be leveled. It consists principally of a magnetic needle and a telescope. Once when surveying some land that I had purchased, the old surveyor found that in turning his telescope to look at the stake that had been set at the corner stone, we seemed to be running wrong. He adjusted his instrument according to the variation called for in his notes, but there was something wrong. He finally looked all around, and seeing a spade, a shovel and an ax lying near, said, “take those things away, they are influencing the needle.” This is the reason why we cannot trust men to lay out lines for us in religious matters. The world, the flesh and the devil wield too much influence on men’s minds for them to run a straight line in the right direction.

Again, the needle in the surveyor’s instrument may be taken to be the heart reaching out toward God. If investigation is prompted by other things, there is not likely to be the proper guide to it. But a heart that has been touched by the love of God has the right attraction (as in the case of the needle in the surveyor’s instrument which has been magnetized) so that if there be no surrounding influences to deflect it, it can be trusted to be true in its guidance.

In laying out boundaries there must be a starting point, and this should be so marked that it can always be depended upon, and nothing must be substituted for it. All lines must have their proper relation to this stone of starting. This corner stone has been set in God’s word. It is the very first verse in the Bible. It reads, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

Under all circumstances we must keep in line with the thought that there is God, and that He is the author and creator of all good. If ever we try to take up any line of reasoning that is not based on these facts, it will be like starting from the wrong stone, the boundaries of our conclusions will not be right and true. We may stay with them a long time, and become so accustomed to them that it would be much trouble to adjust them, as in the case of the fence that my father built, but a line can never be right when starting from the wrong point, however far we may run it.

In forming conclusions on religious matters we should start from the Bible corner stone that there is an eternal, self-existent, sovereign, all-powerful God of purpose, and that He has set the stakes of truth in His revelation, and all points not bearing proper relation to these are wrong.

Before looking up the corner stones and stakes we must find the original notes. This is God’s revelation— the Bible. Reject this and there are no established lines. The wisest men differ, and the most unlearned are not to be followed. If we do not accept the Bible as being from God, there is no established statement of truth in the world. Accepted as being the word of God, and it is to be received as the arbiter in every religious question, and there can be no improvement or change.

Among the first stakes is that God made man an accountable being. He did not make an animal, which developed into a man, for animals are not accountable beings. The creature God made and called man was imbued with human life with all its capacities. Bare animal life can never reach up to human life, especially in the point of being held accountable for the transgression of law.

The next stake marks the first sin in the world, and the curse pro-nounced on man for it. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.” The serpent was a cursed influence, but that did not mitigate the crime of the man, the commandment was given to him, and he was held to account for its violation. The fall of man was a fall downward, too, it was not as the Two-Seeders claim a “fall upward,” but wickedness of every sort, sorrow, affliction and death came as a result, and there is no lifting up, except in Christ. The curse of sin is universal, reaching to and falling upon every one born of woman. “By the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation.” Were it not for Christ lifting this condemnation there could not be a single case of a mortal being entering heaven, for nothing corrupted or impure can enter there. The deluge makes a mark along this line. Wickedness was so universal that all men would have been destroyed had not God’s grace embraced Noah. Indeed the purpose of God is uncovered in the promise of God to Eve that her seed should bruise the serpent’s head.

As the great revelation of the whole of the Bible is in regard to sin, and salvation from the curse on account of it, we must look up the notes on how sinners can be saved from the curse.

One stake can be set where Abel offered the lamb as a sacrifice. This implies the shedding of blood. Noah builded an altar and on it offered clean beasts and fowls. This includes the shedding of blood and consuming the flesh, or the purification as by fire. This line extends through the Levitical offerings, teaching beyond the shadow of doubt that remission of sins is by the shedding of blood and sacrifice. “Without shedding of blood there is no remission.”—Heb 9:22. “In whom we have redemption through His blood.”—Eph 1:7. “The church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood.”—Ac 20:28.

To make use of our illustration of the surveyor’s instument, the telescope is so arranged that it can be turned to look back along the line as well as forward, and when the tripod is set over any point it can be decided whether it is in true line by turning the telescope back to see whether it points to the stakes behind. If any ideas are being tried out to see if they are right, look back to these ancient stakes which are set on blood atonement for remission, and if it is seen that the ideas that are being investigated are not in line, they are wrong.

Another stake is set to mark the true character of Christ and His work in the character of the offerings of the high priest in the old dispen-sation. The names of those for whom He made offering on the day of atonement were engraved on the breastplate. So He made atonement for special persons. This is called “special atonement” to distinguish it from what is known as “general atonement,” or an attempt at atonement for every individual, contingent on their acceptance of it, as to whether they will receive the benefits or not. Now it will be noticed that in the case of the high priest the atonement is for stated, named persons, as there is certainty in the results. If any are inclined to receive the idea that Jesus died for persons who will never get any benefit from His shed blood and sacrifice, let them turn the telescope back to see if they are in line with the teaching of God when He taught by types which “serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things.”—Heb 8:5. But our high priest is better than the shadow, of course, as all substan-tial things are better than the shadows. “Such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless and undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens,” and “who is able to save them to uttermost that come to God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” “He shall never fail.” In connection with this, we read how definite the matter is. “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”

Another stake that will be of much use to us, if we can find one, will be to identify the true line as to whether God specially calls sinners to salvation. One of such stakes will be found in the calling of Abraham. Did Abraham choose God or did God call Abraham? “Now the Lord had said unto Abraham, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee.” Now as Abraham is termed the “father of the faithful” he is an example of the “called out” of all ages. God called and appointed the prophets, called the apostles. In fact, “whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate them He also called.”—Ro 8:29-30.

“Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee.” “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”-—Ac 2:39. “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a prince and Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”—Ac 5:31. It is written that when Paul and Barnabas preached to the Gentiles at Antioch in Pisidia, “as many as were ordained to enternal life belived.”— Ac 13:48.

New Garden church has stood in line with this teaching for the last hundred years, and the history of the Primitive Baptists, reaching back to the apostles, has not removed the landmarks which were set by the fathers, and notes of which are set down in the scriptures.

Other lines over which there is much dispute are the limitations and boundaries of the preached gospel. Some claim that this is God’s means of convicting and regenerating the hearts of sinners, and others asserting that God gives life, and life brings light, which convicts, and then the gospel proclaims salvation through Jesus, on whom convicted sinners are exhortd to believe to their joy and comfort, and who are then commanded to put on Christ in baptism, in which they consecrate their lives to His service. This last position is the contention of the Primitive Baptists, and which is now firmly maintained by New Garden church, and has been preached and believed during the last hundred years by her pastors.

Let us set our instrument of survey over this point, being sure that the needle of the compass of investigation points to God as the revealer of truth, and not to the opinions of men. Turn the telescope to look back to see if we are in line with the stones and stakes mentioned in the original notes.

The first point the eye catches is the fact that the promises of God are to His chosen people who are a type of the spiritual Israel of all ages. To them the prophets are sent, and the service of rites and ceremonies are given. And when finally we reach the gospel period, when the ministry of the gospel overruns national border lines, it is not to the Gentiles as nations, but to “as many as the Lord our God shall call,” and to as many as were “ordained to eternal life.”

True, the moral obligations are upon and to all people alike; so condemnation rests upon all alike. But gospel means glad tidings, and this can go no farther than the atonement by type, which by type and positive declaration is shown to be personal and special. Paul said, “Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” What sinners need is shown to be life, eternal life, which the preaching of the gospel cannot confer. Jesus said, “I give unto them eternal life.”

John describes this stone in the notes of the true line, that as many as receive the oral preaching of Jesus were “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” See Joh 1:11-13. So even the preaching of Jesus did not do away with the necessity of being born of God. John seems to have been especially appointed to set stakes along this line. He says that Jesus Himself drove one of them which will remain as long as time shall be. He said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” No man can show it to him, however eloquent and powerful he may be in the pulpit—before he is born again; life is first.

All the stakes which have been set on the line of the necessity of regeneration, being the beginning of the work in the soul of the sinner, who is described as being dead, or without spiritual life, are so many unremovable marks on the limitations and boundaries of the preached gospel. Whosoever believeth that Jesus in the Christ is born of God.”—1Jo 5:1. Paul reasoned with the Corinthians on the purpose and effect of preaching. See 1Co 3:4-7. He says the preacher is a minister by whom we believe, but it is “even as the Lord gave to every man.” Twice he asserts that it is “God that giveth the increase.” “So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither is he that watereth” in the work of giving eternal life. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.”—Joh 3:36.

The preaching of the gospel is a wide field and it is briefly outlined in Epesians 4:11-16. It is for the perfecting of the saints ; the edifying of the body of Christ; to bring to unity of faith; that the saints may grow in grace and in knowledge, increasing “unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

Those who teach that preaching is the means of regeneration, and that the number of the saved is limited or increased by the extent of it, instead of being assured by the atonement made by Christ, will not be able to show that they are in line with the landmarks set in God’s holy word. It seems that most of the world, called religious, give little attention to the practice and teaching of the apostles as regards the true purpose and result of preaching the gospel.

When we consider the militant church, the house of God on earth, the world is giving little attention to the ancient boundaries and the lines are changed to include a great deal that was not originally contem-plated. The starting point as given in the original records is a single simple organization, and not a complex, consisting of many auxiliaries or subordinate bodies. True there were local bodies as the church at Rome or Corinth, etc., but all of them were equal in authority, each managing its own internal affairs as to business and discipline, but all holding the same doctrines and principles of government. New Garden church is a simple body not having within its boundaries any societies having special objects and duties. The only membership in a religious way is membership in the church. All members have duties and privileges alike, except those devolving on the pastors and deacons. There is no body with any authority or duty besides the church, except a presbytery, which is charged with ordaining, or officially setting apart pastors and deacons to their work at the request of churches. But a presbytery is not a permanent organization, but consists of ordained members from churches met for special occasions. Besides the above the original notes do not recognize or authorize anything.

The purpose and work of the church is in full harmony with the preaching of the gospel, not superseding it, but coordinating in the work. It has no authority to add to or take from what has been written in the scriptures. So, it is by no means a legislative body, with power to create subordinate bodies, but only has authority to carry into effect such things as have been written for its guidance. Its duty is to encourage and discipline its members and supply those who minister in the word with needed support and to care for its poor and needy. Its influence in the world is compared to salt, and it is declared to be a light in the world. See Mt 5:13-16. It is to judge ministers as to whether they declare the pure gospel and reject them if they do not. “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” —Ga 1:8. It is to supply deacons with the funds necessary for carrying on and meeting the obligations of the church, for unless this is done the deacons will be unable to discharge the duties of their office, and so would not be needed in the church at all, and the office would thus be abolished, and the church would lose one of the marks which should distinguish it as being apostolic, and so fail of being in the true line established in the records.

The testimony of the scriptures establish the fact that true ministers must be called by God. The prophets were called by God, the apostles were called, “And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God.” Their ability in point of spiritual force and influence is a gift from God, and not an acquired ability. They should study the scriptures, and give themselves to reading, and not neglect the gift that is in them. Paul exhorts Timothy to meditate upon spiritual things and to give himself wholly to them. See1Tim. 4:13-15. He was also to “study” to show himself approved unto God.” They are to take the “oversight” of the flock, the Holy Ghost having made them “overseers,” and yet not to be lords over God’s heritage, but to be examples to the flock. Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:2-3.

New Garden church and all Primitive Baptist churches in order, to be in line with the ancient landmarks, have maintained the ordinances of the church in primitive form. The administrator and the candidate both go down into the water as did Philip and the eunuch (”and they went down both into the water.”—Ac 8:38), and then the administrator buries the candidate in the water (”therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death.”—Ro 6:4), and then raises him up (”like as Christ was raised up from the dead.”—Ro 6:4), and then they come up out of the water as was said of Jesus and the eunuch at their baptism.

When persons are sprinkled and call it baptism they cannot look back to a single New Testament example and say that they are clearly in line with it. John baptized in Aenon near to Salim, because there was “much water there,” for that was necessary in burying the body, or immersing it. The. Act of the Roman Catholic Council at Ravena, Italy, which first authorized sprinkling, or pouring, for baptism in 1311, was surely an attempt to remove the ancient landmark which is set up so plainly in the New Testament.

The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper is to be continued until Christ comes again. The bread which is broken was the same as they were using in the passover, which was unleavened bread, and the wine was really wine and not just grape juice. It is a church ordinance and therefore may not be administered to those who are not members. And as unbaptized persons cannot be considered as members of the church so it follows that those who are not members of the church cannot be invited to partake, because we cannot consider them as legally baptized, though they may be members of another denomination. All denomin-ations generally put the Lord’s Supper after baptism, so they knowing our views on the scripture teaching on legal baptism ought not to criticise Primitive Baptists for what is termed “close communion.”

In our forms of worship we are not without “landmarks.” Scan the New Testament account of the services as closely as one may, he will discover nothing but the very simplest program. There is preaching of the gospel, and “teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” There is no account of any service being given over to one class of individuals, young and old are in one congregation, and so we thus conduct our meetings.

While the sermons or epistles laid down doctrinal principles plainly, there was built upon this much exhortation. See the 12th chapter of the Roman letter as an example. Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “I therefore the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” So we are to continue this kind of preaching or we shall be removing the ancient landmarks. We are to “let brotherly love continue.” This is an ancient landmark. “How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” “And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” We are not just honoring men by respecting the landmarks which they set, for these were “holy men of God who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” So God Himself has set the landmarks, and so it is impossible to better them and it is sinful to remove them.

AS.23 Sermon (Confessing And Denying Jesus)

CONFESSING AND DENYING JESUS

“Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven.

“But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.”—Mt 10:32-33.

We speak so often about salvation not being conditional, that some might think from reading the above scriptures we are not consistent with the word of God. But we are in keeping with God’s word in contending for an unconditional salvation through Christ Jesus as regards being saved from the curse of the Law. And, too, the sacrifice of Jesus is made for sinners unconditionally, and the effects of His death are sure, and not jeopardized by being conditioned on the acts of men. They who are chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world, being predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, have an inheritance that is given according to the purpose of God, after the counsel of His will. There are no conditions to be performed by the creature upon which hang the carrying out of this purpose of God. See Eph 1:3-11.

Regeneration is God’s own work, and is as unconditional in every case as it was in the case of Saul of Tarsus. God, “for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.”—Eph 2:4-5. The apostle explains how this could be done—”By grace ye are saved.” To save by grace means to save one who has no merit. The promise of old, was, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”—Heb 8:12. In this new covenant God does not save according to the righteousness of the individual, either foreseen or actual, but saves according to the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is all made certain by the purpose of God, the atonement of Jesus, and the effectual work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration.

But in the passages quoted for a text, it is certain there is conditionality. As there is no conditionality in the salvation of Jesus, which is upon the merits alone of His suffering and shed blood, which gives the inheritance of heaven, then the passages given do not have to do with this salvation. In the sense of eternal salvation, Jesus stands as the Mediator of His people, not upon the conditionality of their confession of Him before men, but upon the merits of His work as bearing their sins, and putting them away by the offering of Himself. But it is certain that these verses mean something, and that they are not in contradiction with other passages which teach salvation by grace.

In the verses preceding the 32d verse, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven,” it will be seen that Jesus was addressing His disciples, and giving instructions to the twelve where to go and what to preach. He would also impress their minds with the character of Him with whom they had to do, and of His care for them. They were not to fear men, who could only kill the body, but who could not hurt the soul, but they were to fear God. Then to impress their minds with His omnipresence, and all-seeing eye, he tells them that as little value as was put upon a sparrow, two of them being sold for a farthing, yet not one of them should fall to the ground “without your Father.” And to impress them all the more, he adds, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Then He contrasts the value that would be put upon a disciple of Christ with that of the sparrow. “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

In this manner He leads up to the main statement which we are to consider. They might conclude that God would not notice one human being, as one such is so small compared with the vast creation; but He has impressed them with the minute perception and estimate of small and large matters as they appear before God. So as He is sending them forth to preach the gospel of the kingdom, which centers in Christ, He impresses them with the importance of holding Him up before men, confessing Him as being the Redeemer and the one to whom men should look for salvation. It is He that should by the offering of Himself put away sin, and become an intercessor with God before the throne. Those to whom He was talking, were His own called disciples, and therefore were accepted before God in the name of Jesus, and saved with an everlasting salvation. As their standing was all in the person of Jesus and His sacrifice, and according to the unchanging love and purpose of God, it would never be changed, and yet there was need to have them understand that if they did not confess Jesus before men, He would not stand to mediate between them and the Father in some important way. His intercession is a continuous intercession. “He ever liveth to make intercession for us.” If we were put into a perfect state when regenerated, Jesus’ intercession being successful to the end that the Holy Spirit did His work in the new birth, then there would be no need of daily intercession. While the sins of God’s people are not under the law, therefore the curse cannot reach them, yet they are dealt with as children, and disobedience is recognized as transgression, and, therefore needs to be forgiven. John, in his first epistle, wrote (1:9), “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” In the ancient type of God’s people we find it recorded: Le 26—”If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them, then will I give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield, their fruit, * * * And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid; and I will rid evil beasts out of the land.” Now the people were already God’s people, and He had sworn and would not lie that they should be His, and inherit the land that He gave them. So this condition was not given to make them His people, but it was given them that they might have His blessing in this life. In Leviticus we may find that the children of Israel were required to confess when they had sinned, and the priest should make offerings, or intercede for them, “and it shall be forgiven him.” These are types of God’s people now in this day. And as we sin, we need to confess, and Christ will confess us before His Father which is in heaven. That will not save us in the sense in which Christ Jesus saves by His death and the atonement by blood, but in the sense in which a father forgives his son when he turns and repents of disobedience. If he repents not, then he is chastised.

But the text reads, “Confess me before men.” This is the principle upon which the church is founded. If it were not a thing required to confess before men, there would be no church. The same good will come out of confessing Jesus before men that membership in the church brings, indeed they are the same thing, in whatever way we extend the matter. Jesus not only gave His disciples the affirmative statement of this truth, but He stated it negatively. “But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.” This is the same declaration that is made by Paul to Timothy (2Ti 2:12). “If we deny Him He will deny us.” Here it included Paul and Timothy, therefore it includes children of God. Nothing is conditional that pertains to them as the children of God. They are not made children of God on conditions to be performed by them. But while traveling through this world the people of God are in the flesh. They have not reached the stage of perfection they are destined to reach. Paul said that he had not attained to that for which he was apprehended of God. God had laid hold on him to make him perfect, but he had not yet reached that perfect state— he was yet in the flesh. He refers to this state as “the life that I now live in the flesh.”

In this life God deals with His people as weak and liable to err. They are the subjects of discipline; they are not perfect in understanding, nor in obedience. Therefore He has arranged for them to have teachers, that they may be taught; and has given them instructions how they should live so as to please Him. He does not constrain the will of His people so that they do not go wrong; that is, when they go wrong they cannot say that the Lord constrained them, and they went according to His will. So the Lord holds His people accountable for their disobedience. He does not approve disobedience, and His people have not been taught in their hearts that the Lord approves sin. So when they feel that they have sinned, they feel that the Lord does not approve the act in which they have disobeyed Him.

But what will He do when they deny Him? Disobedience is equivalent to denying Him. It is denying His authority; it is denying Him as Lord; it is denying obligation to Him as a loving Father; it is denying His judgment as to what is best and right; it is denying the very principle that is planted in the soul in regeneration, which is to render love for love. Love would yield obedience. So we may ask, What will the Lord do when His people deny Him? The text answers this in a plain statement —”He will also deny them.” What can He deny them? He cannot deny His love, for that is eternal and unchangeable; He cannot deny them the benefit of the atonement, for He has accepted the offering of Christ, as was attested by His resurrection; He cannot deny heaven, for that has been purchased by the blood of Jesus. But it is clear that there are things that He can deny us, and we should be interested to know what He can and will deny. Luke quotes the Savior as saying, “But he that denieth Me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God.” Then we have this same idea taught in the type of God’s people, ancient Israel. Joshua spoke to the people in regard to the stone that was set up after the Israelites crossed over Jordan, saying, “It shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest you deny your God.” Peter’s denial of Christ was an example of what may fall to other disciples. If an apostle has denied, shall we not fear coming to that sin? And if we do, we may be sure that something will be denied to us that might have been given us had we not denied the Lord.

Wonderful promises are made to the children of God while they are here in this time state for their protection through the journey of life. It is written, “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.” And if they do not deny Him by refusing to keep His statutes and do His commandments, who shall say that all His promises of blessings shall not be made good? Jesus said “Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.” In His intercession, in regard to the providences which fall to the saints while here in this wilderness journey, will their treatment of Him have any weight? Did the Apostle Paul choose his words well when he said, “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.”? God is not the author of confusion; so if the brethren were not perfect, that is, did not keep the commandments of the Lord, were divided into factions and fighting one another, instead of living in peace, does anyone believe that the promise spoken of by the apostle would be realized?

In the sense of the scriptures, is the God of love and peace with the church when it is in disorder, confusion and bitter strife? I would not argue with anyone who would be so inconsistent as to claim that He is, for such a position is contrary to the whole of Bible teaching, and is too absurd to be considered for a moment. Christ does not leave His church, it is true, but He often manifests Himself in displeasure, bringing chastisement instead of the smiling face of peace and approval. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” To whom was this spoken, if not to His own people? True there were those present who did not openly follow Him, but it was spoken to His disciples as much as the following language: “Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.”

There are two cases mentioned in the scriptures which give us examples of disciples who did not confess Jesus before men. They were Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. The brief history of these men given in connection with Jesus is very interesting. It is certain that the mention of, them is not accidental, nor was it the impression of just one of the apostles in regard to the case of Joseph of Arimathea, for all four of the evangelists give a narration of the burial of Jesus by this man. Taking all four of the evangelists, and gathering up what they each say, gives a very good idea of his character. Matthew says of him: “When the even was come there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple; he came to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own, new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.”

Mark gives the following account of Joseph burying the body of Jesus, and incidentally tells us more about His character. “Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable counselor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. * * * And he bought fine linen, and took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen and laid Him in a sepulcher which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.” Luke gives the same facts, but he adds a little more about the character of Joseph. “And behold there was a man named Joseph, a counselor, and he was a good man and a just. (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them); he was of Arimathea, a city of the Jews; who himself also waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in the sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.”—Lu 23:50-53.

John also gives his account of the burial, and throws in more description of the character of the man who is now showing much devotion to the memory of Jesus. “And after this Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore and took the body of Jesus.”—Joh 19:38. Notice now particularly the 39th verse: “And there came also Nicodemus, which at first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.”

Now neither of these men had ever openly confessed Jesus. They were both disciples, but had not let it be known by others. True, Nicodemus did come to Jesus by night, coming at that time to keep from being seen in conversation with Jesus, no doubt. Then, again, when there arose a discussion about Jesus and some were inclined to believe because of His wonderful preaching, Nicodemus appears long enough to be recognized, and the remark that he made seemed in the minds of some to identify him as a follower of Jesus, but he is careful not to come out plainly. All he said was, “Doth our law judge any man before it hear him, and know what he doeth?”

As we have so many around our churches who are evidently interested in hearing the gospel preached, and who are friends of the church, a brief study of the lives of these two men might be interesting and profitable. Let us note first the character of Joseph of Arimathea, as more attention is given to his character than to that of Nicodemus. It is asserted that he is a disciple of Jesus. But as there is no indication that he ever let it be known to others, it is clear that he was not a disciple in the sense that he was a follower. Jesus said, “Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” Now Joseph was never a disciple in that sense while Jesus was preaching. So it must be in the sense that he was a learner, or received the teaching of Jesus, though he did not confess Him before men. But his standing with the Jews is clearly stated. He was a member of the Sanhedrin, which was made up of the nobility. He was a rich man. But better than all positions among the Jews, he was a “good man and just.” From his position among the Jews, and his personal character, he was a man of influence. All good men are men of influence whether they are in prominent positions or not. These descriptions together with his opportunity for doing good as a follower of Jesus show his influence might have been great. But although it is said, “he waited for the kingdom,” as a disciple of Jesus, he was only one “secretly for fear of the Jews.” He expected the coming of the Messiah, and believed that Jesus was the one promised by the prophets, and yet he would not confess his belief before men—he held his belief secretly. One can imagine Jesus and His disciples going down one side of the street, but Joseph is never with them.

If near at all, as is likely he was at times, he would be on the other side of the street, but close enough to observe Jesus, and perhaps to hear Him should He stop to discourse. Doubtless his emotions at many times came near bringing him to let it be known how he felt toward Jesus, but he kept his feelings down, and did not outwardly show sympathy for the man of sorrows. There were times when he might have spoken boldly in His favor when he failed to lift up his voice in His behalf. Jesus’ case was up before the Sanhedrin, the highest court among the Jews, which had the power of death in its decision, although none but the Romans might put it into execution; but it appears that Joseph was not at the meeting of the seventy, for it is said the council gave unanimous consent unto the death of Jesus. But Luke says of Joseph, “The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them.” So as the vote of those present was unanimous, it is plain that when the case was to come up, Joseph kept away. Here having the character that is given of him, he might have had much influence. But he did not come into the open and stand for Jesus. Where was he when Jesus was arraigned before Pilate? I think perhaps when Jesus was crucified he stood off at a distance and saw Him hanging on the cross, and then perhaps his conscience smote him for the course he had taken. When Jesus was preaching, and his disciples were baptizing those who believed and confessed, no doubt he sometimes stood where he was a witness to what was said and done, and as he was one who, like old Simeon, waited for the coming of the Lord, his bosom heaved with emotion as he recognized that this was He that should come to redeem Israel. But he let the time go by without confessing Jesus before man. Simeon confessed, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.” Joseph of Arimathea remembered all these opportunities for voicing his convictions as he saw Jesus hanging on the tree of the cross, and he determined that, although late, he would boldly take a stand for Jesus. So he “went in boldly” before Pilate and “begged” the body of Jesus. Mark says he “craved” the body of Jesus.

At one of my churches there was an old brother who had long stayed out of the church, until he became an invalid. But he could no longer deny the craving of his heart to follow Jesus. So one day he asked for a home in the church. He came in his invalid chair, not being able to walk nor stand on his feet. Some said that he could not be baptized, but I told him that he could be. He was anxious for the time to come. A large tank was placed in his yard and filled with water. His chair was rolled up beside it, and with the help of one of the deacons I got him into the tank and baptized him, his dear wife taking this opportunity also of confessing before men her faith in Jesus. When the dear old brother thus confessed Jesus before men, Jesus confessed him before His Father which is in heaven, and a blessing was poured out so that he said, “I have lost forty years of my life.” The Holy Ghost is given to them that obey Him as a witness, which is a blessed assurance indeed.

No doubt Joseph of Arimathea got more joy out of burying the body of Jesus than he ever got out of all his Phariseeism and the dignity of his high office. He went and bought fine linen, no doubt the highest priced that he could find, in which to wrap the body of Jesus. “And there came also Nicodemus.” He was also a member of the Sanhedrin, and a rich man. Nicodemus “brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes about an hundred pound weight. They took the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.” Nicodemus had come a little nearer to speaking out for Jesus than Joseph of Arimathea. Once at night he went to ask questions of Jesus, which showed he was much like Joseph. He went at night (so that he would not be seen of the Jews) so like Joseph he was a disciple secretly.

At a meeting of the Sanhedrin, however, he came so near to confessing Jesus that he was suspicioned of being one of His disciples. This was eighteen months after he visited Jesus at night, and six months before the crucifixion of Jesus. While they were discussing the character of Jesus, Nicodemus said unto them, “Doth our law judge any man before it hear him, and know what he doeth?” But he made no further confession when they asked him his position.

Now these two men are working together in burying the body of Jesus. Two good men, both believers in Jesus, and believing, too, in His kingdom. But if we take it that it is necessary to salvation to confess Jesus before men, neither of them is entitled to a hope of reaching heaven. But no one could watch them so tenderly and with evident deep love of heart, caring for the body of Jesus, when almost the whole world was against Him, and the powers of darkness had succeeded so far in destroying Him from the earth, I say no one could conclude that they will be banished from His presence in the glory world. The disciples, almost all, had scattered, for it had been written, “I will smite the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered.” True, John, and the mother of Jesus were near the cross, for their love was too deep for even death to separate them from Him whom they loved. But Joseph and Nicodemus, both rich men, and of the nobility, “crave” to have the high privilege of showing their love for Jesus, and making known the conviction of their hearts that He is the Christ. Will they be saved? Who can doubt it?

I preached the funeral of a devoted lover of the Primitive Baptist cause, but who had never asked for membership, and so had never been baptized. She had passed her fourscore years, and was well known, so there was a large attendance at the funeral. I took occasion to speak at length on her condition as it respected salvation. I stated emphatically that her life was an evidence that she was moved by the spirit of Jesus, and that she was a strong believer in Him, but she had made a great mistake in not professing Him before men. There were people present from all denominations, and most of them contending for a conditional salvation, and so I tried to make it as plain as I could what was gained by open profession, and what was lost by not confessing. I feel that the lives of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus would call forth just such handling. To be brief and plain, I would say of them that they were saved by God’s grace and the sacrifice of Jesus, but that neither of them did what they should have done—they should have confessed or professed Jesus before men. It was fear in their hearts that kept them from doing the right thing. It is fear of some sort that keeps so many who are around our churches from becoming members. They believe our gospel; they love the church; they have fellowship for the people of God; they attend the services and are willing to make sacrifices that it may be continued, but many feel that they would be criticised if they presented for membership by those who would say they are not fit for membership. Perhaps the accusation has been charged to them directly by Satan himself that they are not fit for the church, and really have no grounds for believing that they have a hope in Jesus. They are good people, just as were Joseph and Nicodemus, and perhaps when life is nearly spent will surrender, and be willing to stand before the whole world and let it be known that they are hoping in Jesus’ grace. Then they will be willing to confess, as did the old brother whom I baptized, that they have lost the joy of their hope for many years.

It may be asked, If Joseph and Nicodemus were saved, what did they lose by not confessing Jesus, if anything? They did not lose their interest in the shed blood of Jesus, if indeed He shed His blood for them, for His Father had accepted it, else He would never have been raised from the grave. They did not take their names out of the covenant of grace, if they were put in it before the foundation of the world. But there is much that they could lose. They lost the assurance or witness of the Holy Spirit which is given to them that obey Him. They did not receive what John the loved disciple received who leaned his head on Jesus’ breast. They lived with a constant doubt on their minds because they refused to admit the testimony of the Holy Spirit which taught them to cry Abba Father. They quenched the Spirit’s testimony, when the scriptures say we should not quench the Spirit. They were brought constantly into judgment for their disobedience, for Paul says, (Ro 14:12.) “So then every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.” “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” “Now if any man build on this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work what sort it is. If any man’s work shall abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.” So there is no escaping the conclusion that it makes a difference whether Jesus be confessed or whether He be denied.

We are not to suppose that the only way to confess Him is by uniting with the church and being baptized. We should confess that He is our leader in everyday life. Confess Him in prayer, confess Him in the conversation, confess to be His follower in the manner of business transactions. Confess allegiance to Him in duties public and private, and in devotion to His church. Be not like Joseph of Arimathea, slight Him all through life, and then bring flowers to lay on His grave. Let those who are about our churches, whom everybody esteems as good people, and friends of the church, but who hesitate to make confession of faith in His mercy, contemplate the regret that will come to them when they come down to the close of life and reflect that their only hope of salvation is in Jesus, and has been for many years, and yet they have hesitated to confess before men their dependence upon His mercy. It is such a little thing that has been required of them, while they have received much, and hope for much more. They cannot even bow before His feet in prayer without confessing to Him that they believe in His mercy, and He has asked them to confess before men what they confess to Him every time they breathe a prayer for forgiveness.

What a contrast between these two men, with all their wealth and influence, and the women who followed and ministered to Jesus. When Joseph and Nicodemus laid His body in the grave, “And there was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sitting over against the sepulchre.” Three of the evangelists make mention of this fact. But they had been mentioned before as His devoted followers. It was Mary that washed the Savior’s feet with her tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Mary Magdalene did not forget that she had been set free from the devils by the Son of man. These did not forget Him early in the morning on the first day of the week. They did not have to search for His tomb. Their hearts were so interested in Him that they watched where He was laid. Think, my hearers, whether you would prefer the character as a Christian borne by the women, or that of the men with all their wealth, education, high standing among men, having great possibilities for good in the Master’s kingdom but afraid to confess Him. It was all right to show love at the burial, but it is better to make the “living sacrifice” all through life.

AS.24 Sermon (Feeling An Interest In The Church)

FEELING AN INTEREST IN THE CHURCH

(The following Is an editorial from the “Messenger of Peace,” of February 1, 1915.)

Some time ago we had a letter from a brother, deploring the lack of thought manifested in many members of the church, which seemed to show very little interest in church affairs. He said, “I have seen some brethren who seemed to think they had done something wonderful if they just go to their meetings a few times during the year. They come in when it is cold, and find the house swept and warmed nicely, but they never ask, ‘How was this done or who did it?’ Everyone should be so interested in the church as to see into all matters pertaining to the church. I would like to see a good, lengthy article on this subject from your pen.”

We wish to assure our brother that our delay in writing has not been because we thought the subject of little importance, nor from indifference to his request, but because we felt the subject needed a serious and careful treatment; and when we picked up our list of requests from brethren to write on subjects, thought, Well, sometime we shall feel more like treating on this subject as it deserves, and so laid the request aside. We cannot say that this will be the time we can write on this subject as it deserves, but at least we can realize the importance of the matter, and perhaps will lead some members to think on the course they have been pursuing, and if they have not shown the interest in the church they ought to have done, to try to amend their ways so as to show a brother’s love, and act a brother’s part.

In the church of Christ when a member is received he is on a level in obligation with all other members of the church, so far as membership can lay an obligation. The gifts of God may lay on some members heavier duties than fall to the lot of most of the members, but these duties are not the result of just having membership. No one is obliged to preach because he is a member of the church. Nor must he take upon himself the work of the deacon just because he has become a member of the church. These duties are not laid on all the members, but only on those who have been called to them, as were those under the old dispensation called to wait especially on the tabernacle. When the church sees one whom she believes to be specially gifted to fill any office, it is her business to take the matter up and set the member over the business that God has qualified him to do. But there are duties that come with membership, and which are universal, and which are laid upon all the members alike. One does not have to have a special gift that he may attend the regular meetings of the church. This duty comes with church membership, and falls on all the members alike. We are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. True, there may be conditions that may excuse a member from attending the meetings of the church. If he is sick and unable to attend; if there is a real providential hindrance, which should only be made to include those matters which are beyond the control of the member, then it may be impossible to be at the place of meeting at the appointed time. But it would not be sufficient excuse to say that it required some sacrifice of time and money, for that sacrifice is conceded when one asks for membership.

Members who desire to hold the confidence of their brethren should be careful not to offer excuses which are trivial. When brethren see that the excuses offered are trivial, and that proper interest in the church, and a little effort, would have removed the obstacle, they begin to think that this brother’s interest in the church is not what it ought to be. As for instance, if one should offer the excuse that he did not feel well; and then it is seen that when he feels no better than he did that day, he can go to town, or be about his work; it is reasoned that if he felt more interest in the church he would come if he did not feel the best. If there is a hindrance that could have been gotten out of the way by proper management during the week, it shows lack of interest, and this serves to break down the confidence that the church would like to feel in every member.

A person may reason all he will that a failure to take his place with other members of the church does not affect his religion, but there is one thing that it does affect, and that very quickly, too; it affects the expectation of other members as to his being a strength to the church, or of his standing shoulder to shoulder with other members in sustaining the church. As before said, there are conditions that will be recognized as forming a good and sufficient excuse for not being at the meetings, but “framed up” excuses more often mislead the individual who offers them than they do the other members, and they certainly serve to lower the brother or sister who offers them in the estimation of the church and the world as well.

A brother wrote us not long since, saying that one of the most serious menaces to the progress of the church now was the neglect of attendance among the members, because so much of it was for the reason that members let their worldly affairs keep them away from the church. Even when members stay away from the Sunday services it is because in many cases they have worked so hard during the week that they do not “feel like” making the effort to get to church. They had not taken into account that next Sunday was meeting day, and then determined to arrange to be there; but had let other affairs so engage them as to leave neither time nor life for the meeting. This is a grievous sin. When membership was asked in the church, it carried with it the obligation to make every effort to keep up the services of the church.

Suppose a brother were to present himself for membership, and the question were put to him, “Will you make all proper effort to keep up the services of the church?” And he should reply that it would be a secondary matter with him; that he would attend services when it did not interfere with his worldly affairs, nor require too much effort or sacrifice; but if he could work, or could visit some friend or be visited, or did not just feel like making the effort to get to the place of meeting, he would not feel that he had violated his obligation. How would the church feel about receiving him ? Would the church be glad to receive such a member? Would they not hang like a weight upon the church? If we manifest that same disposition, and the church were made up of such as we are, could it continue its services?

The brother said, in his letter to us, “They come in, and it is cold, and find the house swept and warmed up nicely, but they never ask, ‘How was this done? Or who did it ?’” This presents another phase of the church obligation, and that is meeting the expenses of the church. It is truly astonishing how little thought some members do manifest about the expenses of the church. They must know, if they think about it at all, there is a constant expense, and they must also know that some one pays this expense. They must know that if they are able to help, and do not do so, some other member is carrying a burden that they ought to help carry. Of course if they are too poor to help, no one expects them to do so; but even then, they ought to show a sensitiveness about such things, for it wins the confidence of their brethren to feel that if they had something to help with, they would do so.

But for those who are in as good circumstances as other brethren, members who have to meet the expenses, (for this is a matter that some one just has to attend to), and then to manifest no disposition to bear equal burdens with others, is a spirit that shows a disregard for the obligation that was assumed when they obtained membership. It may be this is sometimes the lack of thought, but for thoughtlessness like this there can be no excuse. If someone came to their home, sat down to eat and enjoy the comforts of the home, without contributing anything to its upkeep, they would soon resent it. Then why should they take membership in a church, partaking of its privileges and consolation, and not bear an equal share of the expenses according to their ability ?

And they ought not to wait to be asked to join in this work. The church belongs to them as much as it does to other members; and its obligations, as much as its privileges, belong to them. They ought to be making it their business to know how this expense is to be met, instead of the deacon having to come to them, and ask if they do not feel like they can help some. It is his business to receive and disburse the funds of the church under its direction, but it is not his business to beg, nor to put the expenses of the church on the charity list. Instead of wondering, “how they are getting along, meeting expenses,” they should ask, “how are we getting along meeting our obligations?”

Then there are those members who do not attend the meetings regularly; some of them possibly because they cannot get to the church from justifiable causes, but who are as well able as other members to assist in meeting the expenses of the church. We are glad to say, that some of these are careful to pay in a fair share toward keeping the church up; but there are others who never send anything for that purpose. If they were to be at a meeting they would help, but if they are not there they seem to feel that their absence absolves them from all obligation. How they can feel this way, if they really do, is a mystery! They must know that the expenses of the church go on whether they are there or not, and that those who are keeping up the meetings by making the necessary sacrifice to be there, and another sacrifice to meet the expenses, are making sacrifices that they are not. To meet the members of our church as brethren indeed, we ought not to be willing to let them carry what we ought to carry. Members of the church who are situated so that they cannot attend the meetings should find out by writing to the deacons if they are bearing their part of the expenses. They should not wait for the deacon, or anyone else, to write to them about it; they

should manifest an interest by keeping themselves informed about the church.

With the expenses of the church should be reckoned what the church is able to do for the pastor. They who do not attend the meetings are under obligation to help keep up the ministration of the gospel in the church. There is no plainer duty laid out in the New Testament than this. They should not only contribute in this direction, but they should interest themselves with the other members in knowing what is done, that they may come to a conclusion whether they are doing their duty or not, and whether the whole church is doing what is reasonable and right.

Ever so much more could be said on this subject, but perhaps we have said enough to make those think who want to think. Those who do not want to know their duty, for fear they will have to do it, are hopeless as lively members. But they who want to do right by the church, and by the rest of the members, should think, think, and keep on thinking how they ought to do that they may do what is right; and then not take it all out in thinking, think right out loud, so that all the church may know what you are thinking, and it will contribute to their confidence in you if they know that you are doing as well as thinking.

Let no one say, “Well, that cuts me out, for I am too poor to give.” We have not said one word that can be rightly construed to mean that they who are not able should do what they are not able to do. If you know that the Lord knows you are not able to help, and that there are plenty of those who are able to keep the church up, there will be no one harder on you than your own conscience if you will let it speak. But if you are able to do but little, as compared to what others are able to do, then you are as much under obligation to do that little as the more able ones are to do what they are able to do. But it is not so much a matter of ability as it is of willingness, and that of being really interested in the welfare of the church.

We cannot close without asking all who read this to consider well these questions: If you are a church member, do you realize that this means obligation? As well as privilege? Are you considering these obligations, and trying to discharge them with a thankful heart for the mercies and blessings that have been bestowed upon you?

AS.25 Sermon (Support Of The Ministry)

SUPPORT OF THE MINISTRY

“Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they that preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”—1Co 9:14.

(The following is from an editorial which appeared in the “Messenger of Peace” August 15, 1917.)

A minister who would have it in mind to serve with a selfish purpose, just for what would be gain to him in material things, would be unworthy of the name of a follower of Christ. But there is another side. What is the duty of the church to the minister ? Must the church just agree that the minister’s labor is one of self-denial and sacrifice, considering that she is entirely relieved from all responsibility of caring for him? Surely this is not the Bible idea. Paul, in the 9th chapter of his first letter to the church at Corinth, argues a just claim on the church for his support. It would seem that this church had administered help to some, not only taking care of the preacher, but of the wife, sister and perhaps other dependents. (Verse 5). He claims that he was truly a called minister and so had a right to this support as well as others. “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord and Cephas?” He does not stop at this, but says that he as a minister should not be compelled to work for his living. “Or I only and Barnabas, have we not power to forbear working?”

Applying this principle now, have not ministers who have proved their gift, a right from their calling to cease from working? They might indeed work, for conditions might exist that could not at once be changed, that they hinder not the gospel; but that the right to forbear working goes with the calling is the clear argument of the Apostle Paul.

A church has no right to deny the claim for support when she has recognized the call and the gift and accepted the service. The preacher may not make the claim, for he does not lay the obligation on the church. The same Lord that lays the obligation on the man to be His servant, lays the obligation on the church to take care of him. The apostle argues this point at some length. Paul takes the case of a soldier to represent the case of a minister. The preacher has been drafted as a soldier, to use modern terms. No soldier is expected to go to war at his own charges. Our own government is considering not only the living of the soldier, but the care of his dependents. Who is it that bears the care of this soldier? The people for whom he fights, for it is the people who must pay the expenses of the war in this illustration. We all know that this is true in the case of our own government. Some have seemed to think that as the Lord calls the man to be a soldier, let the Lord take care of him. You try this in the case of the government that protects and provides for you. Say to the tax gatherer, “It is not my business to pay the expense of this war, it is the duty of the government to do that.” “Well,” says the tax gatherer, “that is just what the government is preparing to do, and this is the way it does it.”

Those to whom spiritual things are ministered are required to minister carnal things. “Who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? Or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?” The law provided that the ox should not be muzzled which trod out the corn. The apostle tells us that there is a reason for this law beyond that of taking care of oxen. “For our sakes no doubt this was written.” He then seals the meaning of the matter by concluding, “If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?” “Do ye not know,” said the apostle, “that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple ? And they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained, that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” There can be no mistaking this statement. It is clear perversion of the scriptures to try to make it mean anything other than the temporal living. We may say it means that he who preaches the gospel feeds on the gospel while he preaches. But the apostle’s next expression shows clearly that he means no such thing, for he says, “but I have used none of these things.” Remarkable it would be if the apostle preached the gospel and then used none of its encouragement and joy! It means that instead of insisting on his rights to be maintained without working, for reasons which seemed best to him, he did not use this power. But although he did not himself make use of this right to be supported, he very clearly asserted his right to claim it, because it was a rule that God had established—”even so hath the Lord ordained.”

This word, “ordained” means to establish as a law or rule. God established a law that the priests under the old dispensation should live of the things of the temple; that is of the things which were brought up for the sacrifices, a certain portion was taken for the support of the priests. For this reason they were given no allottment of the land when it was divided among the Israelites. When all did their duty as the law required, there was a living for the priests. But when the people forsook the Lord’s house, ceasing to make the required sacrifices, then the priests were obliged to quit the house of the Lord and turn to husbandry and other work for a living; and this the Lord condemned. So now when the church neglects her ministers, they are compelled to go into the fields and the shops for a living. It is no harder on a minister to work than to preach. But it is robbing the church of the service that it needs and ought to have, and that the Lord has provided in the call of the ministry, and the gifts He has bestowed for that purpose. I have no sympathy for, nor patience with, the statement that the church is just what the Lord would have it be, and that His ministers are doing just what is best, and according to His expressed will in regard to serving the church. Such statements make void the record of the scriptures in which the Lord reproves His people for neglecting His service and turning away from His altars. It is a rejection of the scriptures to say

that it pleased the Lord for His ancient people to turn after idols instead of serving the true and the living God.

The choosing of the first deacons indicates how important it is that the ministers should give all their time to the work of the Lord. “Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God and serve tables.” So they were to appoint men over the work that was hindering the apostles. “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” This is apostolic practice and ought to be the practice now. If Paul would exhort Timothy to give himself, “wholly to reading,” to exhortation, to doctrine, to meditation, etc., surely that would be the right course now. As it was then, so it is now, wrong for a soldier to entangle himself with the affairs of this life. We deplore the low state of our churches, and the dearth of spiritual things, and then make it necessary by our course for our ministers to give themselves to the affairs of this life, so dulling their interests and freedom of mind with such things, and thus taking their time, which ought to be given to the church, and then wonder why the Lord has forsaken us, and turned a deaf ear to our petitions.

This matter has been on my mind and heart for many years. I am now getting along in years, and care very little for what men shall say of me, if only I may have the approval of my Lord, and feel to be in accord with His word. While I am in this tabernacle, and until I am called away, I hope to raise my voice and use my pen against the grievous error into which we have fallen, and I appeal to my fellow laborers to no longer hold their peace. For Zion’s sake cry aloud! Our preachers are determined that our people shall be taught the essential doctrines of the Bible. A pastor would be remiss indeed not to have preached to the church he serves on the doctrines of salvation by grace, and on church discipline to some degree at least. But one among the most important subjects the church has to consider is the relation of the minister to the existence of the church. There is no record, to my knowledge, of a church that has existed long in an organized state without the preaching of the gospel.

The character and stability of the churches are shaped to a great degree by the ministry that serves them. The preacher, knowing this, should try to give to the church what the Bible teaches on this important practice. Therefore he ought to teach the church what is the relation of the church to the ministry and the ministry to the church, and the dependence of each upon the other. Our preachers have no doubt neglected this teaching to the injury of the church. I think what has led to this neglect has been the fear of being called a “money hunter;” or being charged with being in favor of a salary for preaching. But this is not a good excuse. If a preacher regulated his preaching altogether by what people thought of it and him, he would come very far from the truth. Acting upon this principle he would not preach salvation by grace, for the world would not have that. He would not preach righteous living, for the licentious would object to that. He could not preach liberality, for the covetous would find fault with him on that point; and there would be no subject upon which he would feel free to speak, if he considered the opinions of others. So there is no excuse for a preacher not teaching his churches and congregations what the Bible tells him to teach on the subject of what the church should do for her pastor. It is surely in the Bible and it ought to be taught as well as other truths.

Now while I write I am wondering how many preachers will think as they read this, “I know that is true,” and then will be content to drift along without saying one word in their sermons on this subject, really leaving the matter so that no one can tell just where they stand. Is this becoming to the service of the Most High, to be so indifferent in preaching that no positive position will be taken? Brethren in the ministry, make a study of what the Bible teaches on the subject of the church ministering of her carnal things for the support of the ministry, and then preach it— declare it from the pulpit—with the plain insistence that you try to teach other truth. If you do not do it, why not ? Are you afraid of what people will say to you and about you? Will you serve men rather than God? We certainly ought to obey God rather than men.

And then what action are the churches going to take? The members should all be Bible readers, and should we hesitate what course to take when the word of God points it out? If it is the duty of the churches to furnish material support for the living of the ministry, shall we do it, or not do it? Many good brethren think we ought to support our ministers, but they have no definite idea about how it is to be done, or what amount contributed. It is not the part of men and followers of the Lord Jesus to be undecided in regard to such an important matter. As a rule it is not because they have no opinion on the matter, but just timidity in speaking the truth in the face of criticism. But those who criticise should be forced to meet the matter on Bible grounds. The future of our church in many places is at stake. There is no one to minister to them that can do so at his own charges. Without preaching, the churches languish and die. God will not compel His preachers to serve those who would muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn, nor to tend

a flock where he is not permitted to drink of the milk of the flock. When the church starves the preacher, it starves itself. When it compels him to labor with his own hands for a living, it robs itself of his labor, and ties the hands of the servant of the Lord.

Many churches are amply able to do much for the cause in the way of providing for those who preach the gospel, but have no concert of action among the members as to what they ought to do. They only think of “Paying expenses.” Expenses of the trip from home to the church where the service is to be given, is not the “living.” This practice takes it for granted that it is the duty of the preacher to labor with his own hands to make his own living; and that if the church calls him away it must give him a little for his time perhaps, but mainly be concerned with his “expenses” in coming to the church and returning. Let me say plainly, this is not enough to feed, clothe and provide for a family, which a minister is at liberty to have. He should not take his time, which the Lord has required since calling him to preach the word, and waste it on secular affairs, for the church needs him and all his time. He has blessed and will bless the members of the church so that they can provide for his living if all will but do their duty This is according to the type in the Old Testament. The Levites were to depend entirely upon the other tribes for their support, and so long as they moved along as the Lord directed, they did not want for anything.

Brother, sister, what does the Bible teach on this subject? Do not be satisfied with letting it go the way it has been going for years, unless the Bible says that is the right way. What if our old time preachers did make their own living, and preach for the churches beside. Give them credit for being unselfish, Godfearing and sacrificing, but did the church do its duty by them ? That is the question to be decided. And will the pastors and preachers of this present day be found guiltless if they raise not their voices to restore the way of the Lord according to His word? What if they can speak as the Apostle Paul did—not that it should be so done unto them—still let them follow the example of the apostle and teach what is the Lord’s will in the matter. Perhaps in the years to come this will bear fruit.

There were churches that administered to the apostle’s needs even while he labored for the church at Corinth, and he called this taking wages of others that he might serve the church that was neglecting its duty. This is a suggestion that many of our wealthy churches might profit by now. They should not settle down to think, Well, we are giving one-fourth enough for our pastor’s support, and he is serving three other churches, let them make up the balance. Perhaps the other three are poor; or some of them might be like the church at Corinth, and this well-to-do church that I speak of ought to do like the brethren in Macedonia did for Paul—make up what the others lacked.

Take the Bible for it, brethren, and then be free to say to your pastor, We need you this week to visit our members, and those who ought to be members, and the sick, and look after the interests of our church in many ways; and he will not be prepared to say, “I would like to, but really I have not time,” for his time will be yours. Did you but know how discouraged and heartsick many a preacher has been when he saw how little he could accomplish with the small amount of time and energy he had left after digging in the earth for the bare necessities of life, your heart and soul would be more earnestly engaged in making the pastor’s work your work. You may have spent all your time, nearly, for yourself; perhaps taking one working day out of the month for your church and the service of God, with very little thought as to how the preacher lived, and how it was that he could visit your church and preach for you.

Think how praiseworthy it is for a man to spend his time in the service of his Master down to old age, preaching the gospel of Jesus. Now turn the matter a little further around—how praiseworthy of you, if you would loose the hands of such a one by feeding him while he preached. I know many who think they love the cause, and they delight to honor the soldiers of the cross, but it has been plain to me that they have never considered themselves as connected with this work, and that they did not think how the Lord had blessed them so that they might help, in this material way, in the proclamation of the gospel. They never got down into the depths of the thought of how great a burden was laid on the ministry as compared with what they were bearing. How much easier it would be for them to make the “Living” than it would be to have to preach!

Say, brethren, ministers and all, let us take the covering off this subject, that has been treated as though it were dangerous to get close to it, and let us speak aloud of it, treating it like the scriptures treat it, in the open light of day. Let us not talk all around, and a long way off, but with the open Bible in our hands, search out God’s way. Brethren, ministers of mature years, you can break off a lot of these shackles by speaking out. You have borne the burden and heat of the day uncomplainingly, and you feel like the Apostle Paul, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel.” You may not want these things done to you, but you can speak for the truth of God, for the good of the church in the coming generation. The exigencies of the hour call for you to speak before you go home. Younger men await your leading. They fear to be called forward. Speak out against covetousness with a trumpet voice, and point the marching, yet fearful, hosts of Israel by the pillar of fire and cloud. Time rolls on and soon you will be called to your home purchased by the blood of the Lamb. Speak now, in the fear of the Lord, and with indifference to what men shall say; tell Israel the way that is marked out by the word of inspiration.

Lest some young preacher should get a wrong impression of the obligation of the church to him, I will say that the obligation first falls on the minister to feed the flock of God. Paul said if he had ministered spiritual things, it should not be thought a great matter if he should be ministered to of the carnal things of those whom he had served. Notice that he rendered his service first. You must make full proof of your ministry first. You must feed others before expecting them to feed you. You must labor and teach in patience. Whether men will respond or whether they will withhold, you have no choice but to go on serving the Master. But if you serve faithfully and well, teaching the word of God without fear or favor, God will take care of you through the church, which is His appointed way, or by His providence. Do not doubt Him, just labor on. It must be a labor of love on your part. If you are covetous and impatient you will find the road hard and discouraging. But under any and all circumstances be true to the truth of God.

AS.26 Sermons (Prayer)

PRAYER

“Pray without ceasing.”—1Th 5:17. (A sermon published in the “Messenger of Peace,” March 15, 1923.)

Nearly every form of religion includes prayer. The heathen prays to his idol. In many religions that are called Christian the devotee prays to what he understands to be God, or rather to a god of such attributes as his imagination pictures. In all these forms, it is the idea of him who prays that the one to whom prayer is made, is above him who offers the prayer. It needs no argument to prove that the idol has not as much power as he who gave it form and fashioned it. Those who think to pray to the God of the Bible, in their ideas of Him, put Him above the idol god, but in many cases strip Him of the power that is attributed to Him in the Bible. The God of the Bible has all power, and governs according to His will, and yet He will have His children ask Him for the things that He will give them. All those whose lives have been recorded in the Bible, who have been approved, have been persons who have prayed to God. This is notably true of Moses. Moses was a great man, and put in place of authority, yet he prayed to God. All men should be impressed with the fact that they are not independent of the God of heaven, for He rules over all. All the blessings they have in a natural way come from God, and He can shut up the heavens that rain will not come upon the earth—famine and distress will come without His blessing. These blessings come upon the unbelieving, for God is good and forbearing. His rain falls on the just and the unjust. He sent the flood to show how He hated sin, and that He had power to punish sinners, and yet He made a covenant that He would no more send such a judgment upon the earth, to show His kindness and longsuffering. It is not that men are not great sinners now that the earth is not destroyed, it is because of the longsuffering of God, and because He can carry out His purpose over the rebelliousness of man. But when the nations forget Him as the ruler, and rebellion and injustice grow great, He lets His judgment fall, that they may know there is a God in the heavens. The great world’s war has proved that the words of Jesus are true, that they that take the sword, and by it endeavor to rule, shall perish by the sword. So God is still ruling, and He will continue to rule in this way that nations may fear Him. If the manifestation of God’s power among natural men in the world is so plain, what may we not expect among those to whom He has manifested Himself in a special way?

Moses prayed to the Lord to spare Israel when they did not keep the statutes of the Lord, and went after heathen nations. On one occasion the Lord, representing His justice, said to Moses to stand aside that He might destroy the Israelites and make of Moses a nation. But Moses, representing the mercy of God, prayed that Israel might be spared. This was a prayer of faith, for Moses knew that the Lord’s mercy endureth forever, and that He had promised good concerning Israel. The Lord hearkened to Moses and spared Israel, only visiting chastisement instead of destruction.

Elijah prayed that it might not rain, and it rained not for a space of three years and six months. He then prayed again, and the heavens gave rain. James brings this instance up to show the efficacy of prayer, and to justify his statement that “The effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much.” The word here translated “effectual” may also be translated “operative.” There is no use for us to try to philosophize on how the righteous man comes to pray. We may argue that he is inspired to pray, or given the spirit to pray, but the text taken does not say to pray without ceasing when the spirit is given you to pray. Jesus, in teaching to pray, did not first introduce the subject by saying that you cannot pray, untij the Lord gives you a spirit of prayer. It is true, however, that no one can and will pray in faith and fervency until he has been given the spirit of prayer. But, whomsoever the Lord quickens, is given the spirit of prayer. The publican prayed, and it was the right spirit too. But there is such a thing as quenching the Spirit. “Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,” and not the working of a carnal, reasoning mind.

David believed in prayer. Some of his psalms are entirely an expression of prayer. He said, “Evening, and morning, and at noon will I pray and cry aloud, and He will hear my voice.” Daniel believed in prayer, and was willing that all men should know that he trusted that God would help him. So he prayed three times a day, and showed that he was praying by his attitude, and, doubtless, by his voice also. When it was decreed by the king that he should not thus pray he dared to disregard the edict of the king, because he believed that the God to whom he prayed was mightier than the king and all the peoples of the earth.

Greatest of all the examples of prayer is that of Jesus Himself. It is perfectly absurd to say that He, being God, did not need to pray. He did not pray as God, He prayed as Jesus, who is the Son of God, and also the son of Mary. He was made flesh like unto His brethren, those for whom He died, and being touched with the feeling of their weaknesses, He prayed. He said, to express His faith in prayer, that the Father heard Him always. He prayed aloud at times that others might know to whom He prayed, and that His prayer was heard and answered. This should shut the mouths of all who are disposed to theorize about prayer.

Prayer is the cry of a felt need, and goes up on the wings of faith to Him who has power to answer, and whose disposition is to relieve those who cry unto Him. Jesus spoke a parable on the subject of prayer, the teaching being that God would hear those who continue to pray unto Him (Lu 18:1). So likely are we to forget to pray, that it is mentioned some set times to pray; Daniel prayed three times a day. Peter went up on the housetop at the hour of prayer. Luke records (Ac 16:13) that there was a place down by the riverside where prayer was wont to be made. The Lord’s house is called a “house of prayer,” so our rules prescribe that our services are to be opened and closed with prayer. It would be better to have a set time to pray than not to pray at all. What we are not careful to do regularly, we are likely to neglect until we do not do it at all. A spirit of prayer can be cultivated as can other Christian virtues.

A prayerless church would be a cold church indeed. The early church believed in and trusted in prayer. The church had a prayer meeting at the house of Mary, the mother of John, when Peter was in prison. The Lord delivered Peter and he came to the house where they were praying. They had been praying earnestly for his deliverance, but of course they could not know how the Lord would do it. So we pray from the heart and not from the head. When Peter came to the house they could hardly be convinced in mind that the Lord had delivered Peter in the way he had been delivered, because the way of the Lord is past finding out. So, we may pray for a thing and not understand how the Lord can answer our prayer. A story is told of a mother who was much distressed because her son intended to go to sea. She prayed that her son might not go to sea. She confided her trouble to a minister, telling him of the prayer of her heart. He saw her years later and recalled her interest about her son, and asked her about him. She replied that her prayer was answered but admitted her son did go to sea. “How then,” said the minister, “was your prayer answered?” “O,” said she, “All I desired was the safety of my boy. I prayed that he might not go to sea, not thinking that the Lord could care for him there, but He did.”

It was the custom of the church to be engaged in prayer. Luke says, “And it came to pass as we went to prayer (Ac 16:16). Paul and Silas, when in prison, (Ac 16:25,) prayed and sang. They felt dependent on God for deliverance, but they had such faith in Him that they rejoiced. It is true that we are not at all times in the right spirit to pray. Jesus said often, “According to thy faith so be it unto thee.” We are to accept the evidence of the scriptures, and the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and having faith in God, we ask for what things we need. Therefore we should make a study of the scriptures on the subject of prayer and its answers, that we may not be unbelieving, but believe the words of Jesus, who said we should ask and that we should receive; that if we should knock, it would be opened unto us. We may not know how He will answer our prayers, and He may not answer just when and as we would desire that He should, but His word for it, He will not be deaf to our entreaties. See Mr 11:24.

There is a condition stated in regard to prayer. Jesus said, “And when ye stand praying, forgive if ye have aught against any; that your Father which is in heaven may forgive your trespasses.” —Mr 11:25. He also taught His disciples to pray, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” These are very searching instructions, and by the Savior Himself, in whose name the petition is to be offered. It will not be consistent to violate His instructions and then to close—”in Jesus’ name.” We are not left without example and exhortation as to what to pray for. There are many things that we have no warrant to pray for, and so cannot pray in faith for them. We may not pray for worldly things and worldly advancement unless we have a good motive in doing so. We do not know in these things what would be best for us. What we might set our hearts on, if it were given to us, might work against us. Israel prayed for a king, and the Lord let them have their wish, but Saul was a curse to them. But we have only to study the scriptures to learn for what to pray. Some brethren excuse themselves from public prayer because they say they do not know for what to pray. But they might get over that difficulty if that were the only one. Note some of the things for which it is right to pray:

We should pray for pardon. The publican began at the right place. Paul exhorted, “Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” This would seem to be in good order. We have no right to pray, except on the plea of mercy. When we pray we should remember that it is a sinner praying, and that his prayer cannot be granted except mercy is extended to him. So with every prayer, and at all times, one thing to pray for is mercy, that our sins may be forgiven, and that the Lord may accept us and our prayer for Jesus’ sake.

We shall certainly need grace with all the blessings that it brings. We need grace to soften the heart; grace to humble the proud spirit; grace to impart faith; grace to strengthen; grace to direct us ; grace to lead and grace to protect. Paul’s favorite benediction was, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” We need to sing, “Amazing grace,” and to pray that grace may be shed abroad in our hearts. If we could think of only two things for which to pray, words ought not to be so hard to find, if the two things were mercy and grace.

We are promised the Holy Spirit in answer to prayer. Do we need the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit can give understanding to know the scriptures; can teach what to say; He is a comforter; a guide to the church; a guide to the minister; a witness to them that obey. The Holy Spirit sets ministers as overseers over the churches. We need not doubt that the Holy Spirit will be given. “If ye then being evil know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.” Jesus had been telling those whom He was addressing that if a son should ask a good gift it would not be denied. If he should ask for bread, a stone would not be given to him; nor would he be given a serpent if he should ask for a fish. His conclusion is, that if an earthly father would thus respond to the request of a son, much more would our heavenly Father, who is full of love and power, give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him, as that is one of the best gifts that we could ask for while traveling through this world. We need Him as a comforter and guide. So we should always think to ask for the Holy Spirit.

“I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all goodness and honesty.”—1Ti 2:1-2. This exhortation takes into account that God is the sovereign ruler over all. God’s restraining providence is necessary that wicked men may be held in check that all liberty be not destroyed, and vice and corruption so overrun the world that civil government be impossible, and the saints be put in jeopardy every hour. We should have an interest in all men, enough to pray God’s mercy in their behalf, for we should remember that without God’s electing grace we would be worldly, sensual and under condemnation.

So as God is merciful, it becomes us to exhibit a merciful character, for it is written, “blessed are the merciful.” So for the good of the world we should desire that the better natures of men shall lead them, and that our nation should be blessed with righteous rulers.

“But I say unto you,love your enemies,bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.”—Mt 5:44. It may seem to impose a very hard task to love those who are enemies, but if the Lord Jesus had not done that we would be without hope, for we were enemies. In this we are exhorted to be the children of our heavenly Father. That is, to be His children in our character and deeds. We say of a son when he is following in his father’s steps, “He is a son of his father.” That is true of those who profess to be children of God. It may be said of them sometimes that they do not act according to their profession, that is, they do not act like the children of God. So we should be careful not to act hatefully toward those who are not friends of ours and even though they may persecute us, we should not feel to call down the judgments of God upon them, but rather pray that He may be merciful to them. If we feel this way we shall show it in our actions.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (the church) ; they shall prosper that love thee.”—Ps 122:6. Paul prayed for the church (Eph 3:14) that the members might have spiritual blessings. There is always need to pray for the church, that the name of Jesus may be honored and the saints comforted. In the wonderful prayer of Jesus, with which He closed His ministry, which is recorded in the 17th chapter of John, He prays for the church. Members of a church are not likely to be of much benefit to a church unless they bear it in their hearts to pray for it. It is very plainly manifest if members have it in their hearts to pray earnestly for the church. What their hearts are earnestly seeking will be manifested in their lives. One could not consistently say that he was praying to God to bless the church and at the same time be indifferent to its services and to things that pertained to its welfare. If he cared enough for the church to take it in prayer to God, he would care enough to do all that he could for it. “They shall prosper that love thee,” said the psalmist. That is, they shall prosper in spiritual things, for the church pertains to spiritual things. They who are not in sincere sympathy with the church are not likely to prosper in spiritual matters.

The members must pray for each other. Jesus taught us to pray for all. It will certainly help us in our manifestations of love to one another to have named our brethren before the throne of God’s grace. Paul wrote to the Romans that he made mention of them in his prayers, and so he wrote to the Ephesians. We know that God knows our heart, and how could we go before Him and ask a blessing on one that we were not treating with brotherly love? And, too, how could we treat one harshly and unbrotherly that we had named in prayer in the name of Jesus? The spirit of Christ would lead us to pray even for our enemies. So there will be subject for much prayer if we take into consideration the varied lot and circumstances of all our brethren—some in affliction, some in weakness, some in poverty, and some like ourselves, with unfortunate dispositions.

Many came to Jesus praying that the members of their families might be healed, and He granted their requests. Certainly we should be so interested in our own flesh and blood that we take them in our prayers to God. Paul prayed for his kinsmen according to the flesh (Ro 11:3). Certainly parents, who feel so deeply interested in their own offspring, should not only pray for them, but they should let those children know that they thus petition the Most High God to protect, guide, and save them by His grace. I heard an old preacher telling his experience. He had been very wild and worldly. He was riding along the road, and heard a voice. He stopped and listened. It was his mother’s voice. With increased attention he listened. He heard her mention his own name, praying that God’s mercy might be on him. Never had he heard his mother say anything that affected him so much. She was actually carrying him in her love to the throne of God.

The whole church, and all its members in person, should pray that ministers be sent to labor for the churches. Jesus taught, “Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.”—Mt 9:38. We may have ministers now, but they are growing old, perhaps, and soon their day of labor will be done. We should be sincerely interested that other gifts be given the church. And then when they are manifested we should act toward them in a manner that will show that we are praying for them. If we are truly praying for them we shall help them and bear much with their imperfections.

Then, too, we should pray for those who labor for us now in the word. Paul wrote to the churches that they should pray for him. To the Thessalonians: “Brethren, pray for us.” “Withal praying also for us that God would open unto us a door of utterance.” In his last letter he wrote, “Finally, brethren, pray for us.” Your preacher cannot preach to your edification unless the Lord’s blessing be upon him. It will encourage him in his work to know you are thus praying, for if he is what he should be, he knows that he cannot edify the church except the Lord be with him. The members should not wait until they arrive at the church to pray for the minister, but it should be the thought at home to pray that the pastor may be so blessed of God that the church shall be encouraged and made strong for life’s duties under his ministry.

When we consider how weak we are, so weak indeed that we can do nothing acceptably in the house of God without His help, this conviction of itself would lead us to prayer. Then the life in this world is so full of danger, and we are so short-sighted that we cannot see before us, we need the protection of our heavenly Father, and this would make us seek a throne of grace. So considering all the things that we are encouraged in God’s word to pray for, and our great need of divine aid, the exhortation to “pray without ceasing” seems most reasonable indeed. The type of the prayers of the saints is the smoke of the incense that was to go up before God continually. In John’s wonderful vision of heavenly things he saw that the four beasts and the four and twenty elders, which fell down before the throne, had “every one of them harps and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints.” So no doubt the prayers of the poorest of the flock come up as incense before God. What can each of us do to help the church along? Paul answers, “Ye also helping together by prayer for us.”—2Co 1:11.

“What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear;
What a privilege to carry
Everything to Him in prayer. “

Oh! what peace we often forfeit,
Oh! what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to Him in prayer.”

AS.27 Sermon (He Shall Not Fail)

HE SHALL NOT FAIL

“He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth; and the isles shall wait for His law.” —Isa 42:4.

There is so much failure connected with everything on the earth that many seem to think that from one cause or another there is likely to be more or less failure in the scheme of salvation of sinful men. And looking at the matter from the ideas entertained by so many, that man is such an important factor in the accomplishment of God’s purposes, it would look like the conclusion would be inevitable that there is likely to be a very great failure. It is on this point that Primitive Baptists are so very much different from other religionists. But there is little success in getting the Arminian world to see differently, because of the fact that they are so loth to turn away from a preconceived idea that men must be left to decide the matter, not only for themselves, but for others also. This notion is taught them from childhood, and is so firmly fixed in their minds that they will not look carefully into the scriptures to see if it is really taught in God’s word. If one admits this proposition as a truth, that the cooperation of man is really a part of the plan of God in the salvation of the sinner, then the conclusion is certainly a consistent one.

Man has proven to be a failure from the very creation, not because God failed in His creation, but because of the rebellion and transgression of man. God created him an accountable being. A creature could not be an accountable being if the will could not be exercised, either because he was not made with will, or because he was so hedged in by environment that his acts were determined by the environment. God made man with a will of such character that he could be held to account. This is not a matter for dispute. The fact that God gave man a law, and required obedience, and fixed a penalty for disobedience, determines that the man could act of himself in a moral way. Did God let him act in this way? Or did God put such environment about the man that the environment determines the act of the man, and not the man’s will? The fact that the blame is put upon the man, decides that the man’s will determined the act of the man, and not the environment. And further, the blame is put upon the man, and not upon his Creator, therefore there was not a created tendency that the man could not control.

The record puts the blame for the fall upon the man. Here is the first failure—it is man’s failure. God did not fail, He created an accountable being with knowledge and will, and it was a perfect work, and pronounced “good.” From this first failure to live upright starts a wretched line of failures to which sacred and profane history bear witness. Those who follow after Adam, fail as signally as did he. Of course his failure affected all his progeny, but they failed to correct the failure of Adam in their own lives. Not only have they failed to lift the character of man, but the race grew continually worse—they continued to fail, and the flood is evidence of that fact. Men in later days tried to remedy the failures that had been made, not by correcting them, but by bridging them over as it were, in the erection of the tower of Babel. They would force a connection with God by physical means as they had lost it by moral degeneracy. This could only prove a failure for God is a spirit. They could not come in nearer approach to Him by removing distance, for He is everywhere present. And so their foolish failure was cut short. Their great failure was in not discerning God and His character.

Passing by a multitude of failures of individual effort we may come to what perhaps appeared as a gigantic success of men, and that was the formation of the Egyptian dynasty, which grew in strength for more than two thousand years. Judging from a human standpoint, untaught by the lessons of the ages, it might have looked as though it would grow to become so strong that it could never be overthrown. But after reaching a great height, as the excavations are still disclosing, it tumbled and fell. It was built by men, and it failed and became a thing of the past. In like manner came up the Grecian power, which also fell from its glory in the heroic age, because it was built up by human wisdom and energy, and that must fail. One thousand years before Christ the Roman empire took its rise, and gained in power until it ruled the world, but it fell. So one might go on, noting the rise and fall of nations, which shows that the strength of man’s wisdom and power come very far short of being something that can never fail.

Time after time the kingdoms of Israel came up and attained power, only to fall ignominously, because men fail. Then came the gospel age, and according to the way men seem to think now, the churches gathered then should be still strong and thriving. But where is the church at Jerusalem? In which gathered the apostles to preach and teach and sing the praise of God, and talk of the Christ who bowed to death only to rise a triumphant conqueror over the grave. Where is the Jerusalem church? Its history is the recital of another failure. What about the good church at Antioch ? where Paul saw such manifestations of grace that he was glad. Again we have a repetition of history. It failed, because the stability of local militant churches depends on the faithfulness of their members, and men are such failures. Where one fights a good fight of faith, many, very many, grow cold in love, and a decline in faithfulness marks the close.

See the condition of churches so-called in the United States now. Contention and division are upon every hand. Are they in such a condition that it looks encouraging if the salvation of sinners be resting on the continuation and efforts of these bodies? The missionary boards in one of the denominations reports a debt of over two million dollars hanging over it, and it is hard to raise even the interest, to say nothing of enlarging the work and carrying it on. All this has the effect of making those who have no better view than to think the matter is in the hands of men, doubt whether God is really connected with this work, if indeed there be a God. And the more these professional soul-savers assert that God is depending upon them, the more the doubt grows about the whole matter with an ever growing number of people.

But let us turn from this discouraging, unscriptural view of things to that given us by the prophet Isaiah. Let us remember, too, that this matter of salvation for sinners is God’s own purpose and plan. He who has all wisdom, which He has demonstrated to a great extent in the creation of all things visible, certainly would have discovered any and all weak places too clearly to have included them in His plan. In the first creation He left man accountable for his own downfall. But in raising this man from condemnation under a just law, and contamination in sin, and the weakness that follows it, He makes man no propositions which are conditioned on his obedience. No one can find such a plan set forth in the scriptures. God lays help on One who is able and mighty to save. Jesus saves. He is to be “merciful to their unrighteousness.”

God said to Isaiah, “Behold My servant, whom I uphold; Mine elect in whom My soul delighteth; I have put My spirit upon Him; He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” Who can doubt that the Lord here speaks of Christ Jesus? God’s salvation is based on His love and mercy, and He having all wisdom, He certainly chose One in whom He has the utmost confidence, and having all wisdom, He cannot be mistaken. But to make the matter sure He is to uphold His servant with His own power, and to that end He puts His spirit upon Him. This will insure their working together so that there will be no failure in this plan. This reveals to us the purpose of God. He is not to trust in man. In the declaration of His purpose He only speaks of His Son, who will not fail, because He is upheld, and directed by His spirit and power, who being all-powerful cannot fail.

Let us get as clear a view of the plan of God as we can. How does He design to save man? Nowhere is it said that He is to save man by appealing to the man to make amends and to change his course. The man is not to pay himself out. God knows the man too well to adopt that course. So He sends His Son to pay men out. Christ is known as a redeemer. A redeemer is one who pays what is held as a charge. Here the sinner has such a debt that he cannot pay it. So it is charged over to Jesus. “He who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.”—Ga 3:13. Paul says, “He loved me and gave Himself for me.” Titus understood that Jesus paid the debt that the sinner owed. He says, “Who gave Himself for us, that

He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”— Tit 2:14.

The question comes up, Could He do it, and did He do it? Jesus said, “I lay down My life for the sheep.” He went down to death; not for His own sins, for He was without sin. But He bare our sins in His own body on the cross, and put them away by the offering of Himself. It looked once like He might be going to fail. He said, “If it be possible let the cup pass.”

But He quickly asserted His victory over self, in which He was man as well as God, and said, “Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done.” In closing His testimony as to His work here as the Redeemer, He said, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” His work of redeeming from sin took Him to the tomb, but He did not fail. He came forth a triumphant victor, having bought those for whom He died with His precious blood. There is no other condition upon those for whom He died to free them from the bondage of the law. His work is perfect, and He made full payment, so they are not under the curse of the law, as He was made a curse for them. This was not an attempt at redemption, it was a full and complete atonement. So those who were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world that they should be holy and without blame, “have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” His Father sent Him to do this work, and told Isaiah over seven hundred years before He came, that He should not fail. Had He failed to pay all that was against those for whom He died, He could never have come forth from the tomb, as He stood in their place and took their penalty upon Himself.

No wonder the religious world is discouraged about getting all for whom Christ died to heaven, for they think that, although Christ died, there is something more to be done before His work is really efficacious. Sinners must believe, and they think it is the work of the church to get them to believe. So if the church does not do its work, then those for whom Christ died will not hear the gospel and believe, and at least a part of Christ’s work will be lost, and His blood spilt in vain. It is a relief to turn from such a system to the sure mercies of David, founded on the sacrifice of Jesus, and the acceptance by the Father of His intercession, which is based upon what He has done, and not upon what the sinner and his human friends may do, with the certain probability that in thousands and thousands of cases they will not do.

But there is something else to be done after Jesus has made His sacrifice. Sinners must be born again. It is not an immaterial matter, Jesus settled that by saying to Nicodemus, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.” The translators say that it would give the meaning properly to read it “born from above.” This in no wise changes the meaning, but it lays stress on the fact that this birth is a spiritual birth, a birth from heaven, not simply a change of mind, or a reformation of life. It should include a reformation of life, but a reformation of life without it would not entitle one to the kingdom of heaven.

What is the plan of bringing sinners into this state? The common idea is, that it is the object of gospel preaching to get men to agree, or decide, to be born again, if indeed it is admited that there must be a work of the Holy Spirit. Others do not take into account that there must be a work of the Holy Spirit, all that needs to be done is to get the sinner to believe on Christ, which is simply a matter of deciding in his mind—the same mind and will that he has had all along, except that now he turns it toward Jesus. Then the sacrifice of Jesus is turned to his benefit, and as long as he is in this mind, he is saved. But if he does not stay in this mind, then the benefits of Christ’s death are withdrawn, and he will be lost, unless he is converted again or got to change his mind again. Now with either of these views God does not act directly, and independent of men, but must have the minister, or the influence of some human being, to get the sinner in a salvable state. God’s love and Jesus’ redemption blood cannot, or will not, reach the case without a human intermediary. All the history of the world as to the uncertainty of the acts of men, or rather as to the certainty of failure in the end of a purpose depending on

men, would indicate that God’s purpose toward thousands and multiplied thousands is likely to fail under this system.

But how different when we accept the statement made to Isaiah, and find that this important work has been put into safe hands, and taken out of the field of uncertainties. The Lord would never have used the language that He did in regard to Christ had this important work been put in jeopardy. God calls His elect. That is, Christ was chosen for this very work because of His fitness for it. “Mine elect in whom My soul delighteth.” Can He be trusted to send the Spirit into the hearts of those for whom He shed His blood? The great example given us in the conversion of Saul of Tarsus shows us what Jesus can do. It is clear that there were no human instrumentalities at work in this case. Saul was a strong minded, educated man, and all the mind that he had was opposed to Jesus. He was on the way to apprehend any that called on the name of Jesus. And when in this state of mind the light from heaven came about him. There was no belief on his part before this occurred. There was no yielding of his will. The voice came from heaven. It was not a voice of men, it was the voice that had power to convict. The sermon that Paul had heard preached when they stoned Stephen did not convict him of sin, nor change his mind. But the light and the voice from heaven did change Saul of Tarsus. It may be said that this was a miraculous work because an apostle was being called to his office. Every one who is called from death unto life shows a miracle. They may not have the same demonstration that Paul had, but they have the same results in their lives.

“There are diversities of operations but it is the same God that worketh all in all.” Here was put a check to the natural mind and evil designs of Saul. It takes the same spirit and power to put a check in the lives of men today that it took to put a check in the life of Saul. A light shone round about him. This light was not natural light, it was a light that affected the conscience, and let Saul see that he was sinning.

Jesus has been exalted a prince and Savior for to give repentance and forgiveness of sins unto Israel. No one else can do it. A voice from heaven was heard by Saul. There were others that heard a sound, but there was no revelation to them in the sound. To Saul there was power and meaning. The same way with the light. Natural men may see that it is beyond doubt that others may have had a supernatural power come into their lives, but it does not come into their lives with the same result. “There shall be two women grinding at the mill, and one shall be taken and the other left.” It was indeed a miraculous power that was working in the heart and consciousness of Saul, because it was the power of God, and that is a miraculous power in whomsoever it may work. This is a work in which Jesus shall not fail.

With the conditional world the great question is, How shall the world that lies in sin be converted to God? This has been the problem with men for many generations. They are no nearer the solution now than they were years and years ago. Speaking from the idea that the gospel is the light that lights men’s hearts, the greater part of the world still lies in darkness. Heathens are being born much faster than they are being converted, if indeed the conversions that are counted were real regenerations. But they are far from it. Campaigns after campaigns are planned, and attempts made to carry them into execution year after year, to raise money enough to make some showing toward enlightening the world. But while these plans fall so far short of expectations, the condition in our own country grows so desperate that a minister in high standing in one of the modern churches said but recently that he thought at least one-third of the members in his church were unregenerate. And another who stood as high, thought perhaps there were half of his members that had no evidence that they had been born again. With this condition in the churches, and with the lack of respect for religion growing, what encouragement is there in looking to men to make the plan of God successful ?

But as the Lord showed the matter to Isaiah, it looks more like God was in the matter, for He said, “And He shall not fail or be discouraged till He have set judgment in the earth.” “Judgment” came into the life of Saul because Jesus brought it there. Saul said, “Who art Thou, Lord?” “I am Jesus” came the reply. If all men in the world had the zeal, and influence, against Christ that Saul had, would the case be hopeless? The example that was made of him would indicate that it would not. The power that created all worlds, can create a soul in Christ Jesus, and it is the testimony of the scriptures that those who have a hope of salvation in Jesus are “New creatures, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Whom God loved, and for whom Jesus died and shed His blood, will Jesus fail to claim as His own? It is Jesus’ promise that He will send the Holy Spirit to reprove for sin. That was what took place in the conversion of Saul; he was reproved for sin. Jesus said, “I give unto them eternal life.” If Jesus is to never be “discouraged” until He have set judgment in the earth, it opens to our view the encouraging thought that God will not fail in His purpose.

But the churches fail. So they do; but salvation does not hang upon the churches. Jesus saves. Ministers fail; indeed they do. But ministers are too unreliable to hang the destiny of immortal souls upon their actions. Parents love their children more than any others do. But what parents, who understand the character of Jesus, would not rather that the salvation of children rested on Jesus than upon their shoulders? They would do all they can, and should do their children all the good that they can in training them to keep the laws of God. But the children need more than to keep the law, for no soul shall be justified by keeping the law. They need to be born again; they need to have a new life, which parents cannot give. So when parents have done all that they can for their children they will fall upon their knees and pray to God to send the Holy Spirit to convict their offspring, and give them a hope in Jesus.

But what about the heathen who never hear the gospel? Well, according to the idea that their salvation depends on hearing and believing the gospel, and that it must be sent by the churches, it looks like the system would be a failure in their case, as church people are too covetous to part with their means to send the gospel, and others are not self-sacrificing enough to carry it without being paid to do so. Can Jesus save them without the gospel? Saving a soul means to give it eternal life which shall be in the individual like leaven in three measures of meal, that shall work and work until the whole is leavened. Saving a soul means to free it from all past effect of sin, from the corruption of present sin, and to preserve it in Jesus Christ to eternal glory. Getting people into the church should be understood to be for their present good; it is not saving people to get them into the church. Take an unsaved person into the church and he is still unsaved. If he is saved, it is when the cleansing efficacy of the blood of Jesus is applied, and if he is really a believer in Jesus that has already been done. “He that believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God.” This believing is real faith in Jesus as a Savior.

Why do we preach ? Not that the salvation of sinners depends upon preaching, for if that were true, the blood of Jesus would have no efficacy farther than we carried the gospel, and that would throw the matter where failure would seal the fate of multiplied thousands. Upon what does the salvation of sinners depend? It depends upon what Jesus does. It depends upon His shed blood to redeem them and to cleanse them from all iniquity, and upon His giving them eternal life. But does it not depend upon their believing on Jesus? Just as much as the conversion of Saul depended upon his belief, but no more.

All the conditions that have been thought up by men to preach to sinners, but tend to make a system of failures. To preach Jesus as the only reason and the only way is the sure foundation, for He shall not fail. What discourages man has no effect upon Him. He can change the heart of the heathen, and that is what the heathen need. He can cleanse them by His blood, and it can be done in no other way. He can cleanse the Roman Catholic, the Baptist, the Methodist, the Moslem, the heathen, for it is a heart-work and not a matter of mind, and human teaching, for that would limit it so as to write failure, in a measure at least, on the purpose and plan of God. A plan which has a factor in it that may defeat it, is a failure to the extent at least of the uncertain part of it.

Salvation will not be complete without the bringing forth of the bodies from the grave. Here at least all men stand aside and do not attempt to help, though quickening a soul dead in sins is as great a miracle as quickening a mortal body. Men think they can help or hinder the quickening of the soul, but the human mind staggers at quickening the mortal body; and so, many declare that it will not be done—cannot be done because they cannot comprehend it. But He who broke the confines of the tomb, and robbed death of its sting, can and will raise the bodies of the sleeping saints, for “He is the resurrection and the life.” He who awakened the sleeping Lazarus, can wake any other sleeping one that He has loved, and for whom He poured out His blood. Can it be done? Cannot He who raised up His own sleeping body raise up the bodies of others? “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again,” said Jesus. And He did it. Praise His holy name, He is no failure. Doubting saints, put on your beautiful garments, for the Captain of our salvation shall not fail. Our hope is on solid ground, and with His promise the gladness of the everlasting day, in which all tears shall be wiped away, is a certainty. Our gospel is not one of uncertainty.

AS.28 Sermon (An Appeal To The Ministry)

AN APPEAL TO THE MINISTRY

(The following pages are taken from my work, “Practical Suggestions for Primitive Baptists.” This work is out of print, but I have so many calls for it yet that I republish these pages here in response to the demand.)

Having briefly noticed some things pertaining to pastoral work and the preaching of the gospel, I will make this appeal to my brethren in the ministry. I trust that I feel the responsibility of the work, and think I know something of its weight and the sacrifices it requires.

There is no such thing as retiring a minister because of his age—he must wear out in the harness. He ought so to live that when he comes to the close of life it could be said of him that he had fought a good fight, that he had kept the faith. The memory and influence of this kind of a life should be esteemed a richer legacy than a fortune in this world’s goods. To have faithfully devoted a life to serving the Lord’s people is to have spent it well. It would be better to be remembered among the humble poor of the flock as a loving, firm and helpful pastor than to have one’s name enrolled among the great of the earth. Preaching the gospel, and the pastor’s ministrations, are like giving cold water to the thirsty, and the Master has said to give one cup of water in His name shall be rewarded.

The minister of the gospel is not promised wealth nor ease, and none of us certainly could have entered upon the work with these in view. Then if wealth and ease fail to be our lot we should not feel disappointed. The Lord called all His disciples to follow Him and we ought not to complain when the Lord Himself has gone before us. Self-servers have no business in the ministry. The minister of Christ must serve his Lord and his brethren, and sacrifice himself (2Co 12:15). Personal interest must not be allowed to dictate to him what he shall do. He should ask with a prayerful heart what the Lord will have him to do, and when this has been decided there should be no appeal from it, either to serve self or to please men. This will not mean that one must be harsh with those who differ from him, or that he shall try to force them to the right way, for he must be “patient,” willing to contend earnestly for the truth in love, bearing the weaknesses of the brethren for Christ’s sake, not being overcome of their evil or wrong ways, but overcoming them with good. This is not a pleasant prospect to one who knows what human nature is, yet a minister should take this course. He should do so, feeling that the Lord can strengthen him and enable him to endure all things.

Brethren, what a great responsibility there is in leading the flock. In ancient times the leaders of the people caused them to err; and are they not as liable to do so now? One can but think of Israel when they were afflicted for David’s sin, and apply the same words to the churches which are led astray by their pastors: “What have these sheep done?” It is not infrequently the case where pastors blame churches that they themselves are the cause of the disorder in the church. It may be the pastor’s example has led them astray; or it may be he has not preached to them the whole counsel of God and has left them uninstructed on many things; and on some things that they knew to do, they have not been stirred up to diligence, and have fallen into fault; or seeing they were in a wrong practice he did not reprove them, or having reproved them once became passive and did not insist that they should follow the right. This course, though not generally considered as actually wrong, is perhaps as blameworthy as to go wrong and suffer others to follow, for it is the duty of the pastor to reprove and rebuke when necessary. If he shall fail to do this the Master will not hold him faultless.

It is, perhaps, too often the case that pastors do not feel proper responsibility for the churches and members. It would awaken pastors to greater diligence if they felt they were accountable in a great measure for disorder and declension in the churches. When John was directed to write to the seven churches he addressed the reproofs, admonitions, etc., to the “angel” or minister of each church. Can a minister feel that he will not be held to account for his stewardship, when the Holy Ghost has given him oversight of a church to feed it and care for it?

Brother minister, as you look about you, do you not see many things in the churches that ought to be corrected? And not only in the churches but in the lives of the members. All these you should strive to correct, but especially in the church you should see to it that it is after the divine pattern. It is not merely a difference of opinion between you and the brethren, in which they are as likely to be right as you are, for then it would not be right to consider the matter as very serious. But what the Bible teaches, you are not at liberty to surrender because some do not have the right view of the matter, for if you were, a preacher would not have to study what God’s word teaches, but he would need to ascertain the mind of those to whom he was preaching and then either preach to suit them, or upon points where they were at variance with the word of God, if his conscience would not permit him to go with them, simply keep silent upon those things. Would such a course be characteristic of a true servant of God? O, no, he must never, never, never give up the right! He must ever have it in view and be striving, not only to go toward it himself, but to bring others to it as well.

It should strengthen him in this struggle to know, and have full confidence in the fact, that God will be on the side of the right to bless and strengthen it. But you will “have need of patience that after you have done the will of God ye might receive the promise.”—Heb 10:36. We should not expect to receive the promise while still in disobedience.

The church our blessed Redeemer gave us should be preserved in form, and doctrine, and practice. How will you do this ? By preaching on doctrine when you know that practice ought to be preached? When you go to a church should you not ask, “What does this church need?” If a servant went out to care for sheep and there was plenty of corn in the troughs, but no water, and some were sick and needed attention, yet he poured in more corn and went away, would his course be approved? The Shepherd would say, “You should have given the thirsty (poor souls needing encouragement) water (spiritual instruction), and the diseased (erring ones) should have had medicine (correction).”

Will you deliberately withhold from the erring what they need because you think it will not be well received? When you know that no member of the church is infected with Arminian ideas, but that covetousness is keeping members away from the church meetings, and forcing the pastor to carry on the warfare at his own charges, and keeping him from receiving of the fruit of the vineyard, or eating of the milk of the flock (See 1Co 9:7), will you then preach a sermon against Arminianism or against covetousness, which? If you preach against Arminianism under such circumstances why do you do it ? Do you do it to please God or men ? Is this considering the matter as it should be? Or would it not be best to remember that to his own master a man standeth or he falleth, and then tell the church what you think they ought to know, and insist on their returning to such scriptural practices as you know they have departed from?

I sometimes hear a minister say, “I know that is right, but you would not dare to preach it at my church.” Is it possible that a church can get so far away from the right that it will not do to preach to it the right way without giving serious offense! That is the spirit that put our Lord to death, and ought it to be fostered in the churches? Any of us ought to be shamed that would educate a church in that direction. My dear brother, let us be honest with ourselves and obedient to God, for if “God be for us,” why need we care who is against us? But God will be against us if we are not faithful in our ministry, and the more friends we make by perverting the gospel, or keeping back part of it, will only add that much to our shame and confusion when we are brought to realize our standing before Him.

As ministers of Christ we all ought to be working for one end, the advancement of the church, and all should be walking together in harmony. True, men of different temperaments may not be able to get together as companions, but they need not try to destroy each other, because they are not congenial in dispositions. We ought to realize there are places where one minister can do no good, when another might work successfully and accomplish much good. So, instead of standing in the way of others, let us help them all in our power, and make it manifest that we pray the Lord’s blessings on their labors. See Mr 9:38-42.

Nothing so ill becomes a minister of Christ as jealousy. He would make his own poor efforts a limit for efficient and acceptable labor for the Lord, and object to any having grace to surpass him. How little and contemptible such a spirit! Brethren, if you find such a disposition growing in your heart, strangle it; allow it not to live another day. It will dwarf your life and make you miserable to see anyone receive blessing and approbation. He is happiest who rejoices most in the uplifting and enjoyment of others. I have in mind a once able minister of the gospel who is today separated from brethren and cut off from the church, because he could not bear to see a growing affection among his churches for other ministers for their work’s sake.

Paul feared lest he might become a “castaway” (1Co 9:27), and a jealous disposition is as likely to bring about this condition as anything else, for “jealousy is cruel as the grave; the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.”—Songs 8:6. Let us be brethren, not only in faith, but in deed and in truth, all working lovingly together for the good of the cause that ought to be so precious to us all.

I appeal to you, my brethren, not to leave to those who shall follow in your field of ministerial labor, churches in all manner of disorders and ignorant of the duties imposed by the scriptures on the members. It will work a hardship on those who follow you, it will cripple the churches and be disregarding your obligations as ministers of Christ. Study to know the New Testament pattern and then let all the efforts of your life be directed to shaping the churches after the pattern. This do persistently. Sometimes you will grow discouraged and you will feel inclined to give up the struggle and simply drift with the course such things take if not prevented. But think what drifting means, my brother. It means to be getting farther and farther away from the right. Do not make spasmodic efforts to stop the “drifting” and then fall again into non-resistance; this will do more harm than good. It is the steady, determined efforts that accomplish something. Keep on preaching, and talking, and working for godliness in the lives of the members, and to set in order all things connected with the church, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up unto Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” —Eph 4:13-16.

O, my brethren, let us contend earnestly for all that is taught in God’s word. I give these “suggestions,” not as embodying all that is written, nor speaking as one who has attained to all things. “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended ; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”—Php 3:13-14. I feel that I would like to see, “The church our blessed Redeemer saved, With His own precious blood,” shake off the traditions which bind her people and rise to the high privileges promised to the obedient and humble followers of the Lamb. “It is high time to awake out of sleep.” “Let us, therefore, cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.” “Wherefore He saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore, be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

I would not presume that I know more of the “will of the Lord” than those to whom I write, but I am moved to bring these things to your minds, and appeal to you to move forward as one man, crying as did the prophet, “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake, I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.”—Isa 62:1.

I know hundreds of you feel as I do about these matters. Should we not “cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.”—Isa 58:1. “Bring you all the tithes into My storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open to you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”—Mai. 3:10. We believe all these things. Shall we act as God directs and as His spirit prompts? Those who have not investigated the subject of practical duties have the scriptures, and they can and should do so.

But as I have before said, ministers may know the Lord’s will and yet not insist on its observance in the churches. “And that servant which knew his lord’s will and prepared not himself, neither did according to His will, shall be beaten with many stripes.”—Lu 12:47. If a minister accepts the pastoral care of a church, it is equivalent to covenanting with the church that he will deal honestly with it and give all needed instruction. He cannot keep this agreement and remain silent while the church is neglecting any important matter. And it will be better for himself and the church, for him to resign rather than to keep silent where God speaks, permitting the church to ignore God’s rule and way.

I repeat that I do not ask anyone to accept these suggestions unless they be found to agree with God’s word; but if they are in harmony with the truth, what reason can a pastor give for not following out the spirit of them? I hope, brother ministers, that you will determine whether they are right or wrong; and that you will join with all our ministers in advocating the practices in harmony with the New Testament teachings.

Particularly do I ask that you take a stand in regard to the office of the deaconship in the churches and enter a life-long protest against doing away with the office, for the discontinuance of that work has seriously crippled the ministry until the churches are deprived of the service they ought to have. I invite your careful and prayerful attention to the positions taken in the following article on “The Deaconship.”

THE DEACONSHIP

No authority questions it being apostolic to have an officer of the church known as deacon. But in no one particular have the Primitive Baptists, and all religious organizations, come so near disregarding the apostolic mark as in the use of this office.

As to being apostolic, Catholics and Protestants can make no showing doctrinally, as compared with the Primitive Baptists; but when it comes to this one office of the church, though Arminian bodies have generally disregarded the power and degree of the office, and the Primitive Baptists in this particular make a better showing, yet when it comes to the practical work of the office we find our people have fallen far short, and in many places have practically abolished the office, except in form. Primitive Baptist churches, claiming to be the churches of Jesus Christ, should have a better record than this. We should not only be apostolic in doctrine, but in practice as well. When there is apostolic authority for but two classes of church officers, then for us to abolish one of them in practice, is departing too far for those who love the doctrine of grace, and who would prove that they love the Master by keeping His commandments.

Some may question these statements being warranted, but ministers who are acquainted with the practice of the churches, and who have given the matter proper study, know that the facts sustain them. These pages have been written to call attention to practices undoubtedly authorized and commanded by the scriptures. To this end I wish to examine the office of the deaconship in the light of the Sacred Word and try to point out to the best of my ability a course approved by it.

First, I would like to engage the attention of the reader with the importance of the subject. Suppose some person should assert that sprinkling is just as good as immersion for baptism. What answer would a Primitive Baptist make? No doubt he would say, “Our Lord commanded believers to be baptized. Christ’s own example shows that He understood baptism to be immersion in water, for He was baptized in the river Jordan and came up out of the water. Every allusion or example, so far as given, shows that the apostles and believers of their day understood baptism to be immersion. Since the apostles’ time there has been no power authorized to change any doctrine or practice delivered to the church. So one who is not immersed cannot have Christian baptism, and if we receive anything else for baptism we at once lose our right to claim that we are churches of Jesus Chrrist, because we have a baptism that is not apostolic. So with the doctrines of the church. We contend that if a church departs from the doctrines of the Bible and persists in such error, she loses her identity with the church of Christ.

Now if some Arminian should turn these arguments against us and ask, “What was the work of the New Testament deacons?” and then ask if Primitive Baptist deacons do a like work, what would we say? Then if it should be urged that because of this lack, or error, we have not a right to call ourselves churches of Christ, what defense can we make, except we can truthfully say we still believe in the duties prescribed for deacons just as taught in the scriptures, and this difference in the practice of our deacons and New Testament deacons is only a temporary falling off or deviation and not because we have rejected the New Testament teaching ?

If the difference in practice arises because we have actually usurped the authority to change the duties of the office, as some have done, then the reason we assign for not recognizing the various organizations as churches of Jesus Christ, falls with dreadful weight upon us and denies our claim, too. But if we can be said to still hold the theory of the office as it was in the days of the apostles, and it is only the indifference of our members that causes us to fail in our practice, how can we expect the blessings of the Lord when we say, but do not do the things He has left on record for us to follow? Are not these considerations of sufficient weight to prompt us to an immediate investigation of God’s word to see how our practice agrees with it.

I hope no one who reads these pages will feel that it makes no difference! In the eyes of Him who taught that we are to follow Him, every obedience and disobedience is important. We may look at ancient Israel and see this principle clearly taught, and no doubt their experiences are recorded that we may learn from them the real issues of life to the child of God. As we now view their journeyings we see what ingratitude it showed to God to depart from His laws, and bring in observances which He had positively forbidden. They no doubt felt at first when they went astray that it was of little consequence, and that God would not take notice of what they did to hold them to account for every violation. Sometimes, no doubt, they believed if their practice was according to the traditions of the elders, it would be all the justification needed. But when Christ came, how severe His denunciations of those who through tradition made void the word of God?

Beware, brethren, lest we take a course similar to that disobedient and stiff-necked people. We should remember our God is a jealous God and His glory He will not give to another. He will not allow His people to follow the traditions or heresies of men and pour His blessings upon their course. To do this would be to make His laws of no effect. If we may do them or not do them, and the result will be the same, then His laws are of no consequence. But Primitive Baptists can never admit such a theory as this. “He is our Lawgiver.” There be lords many and gods many, but unto us there is one God (1Co 8:5-6).

If we have deacons we want New Testament deacons in practice. As our deacons fill an office recognized by God’s word, they should do it in a manner approved by that authority. If our churches have gone astray upon this subject, they will have to repent—leave off the present practices—and return to that warranted by the word of God. We may expect to find opposition. Our people may follow tradition, and when they do so, they are as loth to give up such things as others; in fact they seem in some cases to hold to them with greater tenacity, for they get to thinking of their practice as being approved of God, and, generally, what an Old Baptist esteems as coming from God he does not readily give up, for we are taught to view His teachings with greater reverence than other people do.

So we cannot expect to see a change in a few days or months, or even years; it will require patience and continued effort for the truth. But no true soldier will falter on this account. It is our duty and our high privilege, to contend for the Lord’s way and word and leave the result entirely in His hand. By reading the history of ancient Israel we may see that wrong practices often found their way in among them, and when they had to suffer for it, then they would be induced to put the evil away from them. May we not hope the Israel of our God will arise now and put every evil way behind her, and trusting in the God of Abraham, take His law as the only rule of faith and practice? She should not be satisfied to merely believe the doctrine of grace, she should obey her Lord.

I come now to consider the office of the deaconship. The Greek word which is translated “deacon” in the New Testament means, servant, attendant, waiter. This word in its verbal and noun forms occurs one hundred one times in the New Testament, but it is only rendered “deacon” five times. It is rendered “minister” sixty-four times and “servant” twenty-one times. In its general meaning of ministering, it is applied to pious women (Mt 27:55), to brethren (Mt 25:44), to preachers (Eph 6:21), to apostles (Ac 1:17), to angels (Mr 1:13), and to Christ (Mt 20:28). But it is used in a special sense to indicate an officer of the New Testament church and should be used by us in the same way to denote the same thing today.

That there is another office besides that of elder indicates that other work is to be done besides ministering the word. To judge from the practice of some churches, only one officer is needed, (a preacher,) and he shorn of all power to look after the interest of the flock, except at communion time a deacon is needed to pass the bread and wine to the brethren. I will here state that I have never read a text of scripture, nor have I ever heard anyone use one that taught that the deacon, rather than any other person, should pass the bread and wine. Some refer to Ac 6:2, where it is said by the apostle that it was not meet for the apostles to leave the word of God and “serve tables,” and these “tables” are taken to be the tables spread at the Lord’s supper, but it has no reference to such at all. The “tables” the apostles did not have time to serve, was daily ministering to the Grecian widows, who were being neglected because the disciples were multiplied. How much time is saved to the minister by the deacon passing the bread and wine? What does the minister do at that time that he could not do as well and pass the emblems himself? So far as I know this is the only passage referred to, and it is evident upon consideration that this had no reference whatever to the communion table. But as it is not stated

just who may, or who may not, assist at communion seasons, our custom of having the deacons to do so is not in violation of God’s word. But instead of this being their principal duty it is only one of the many things that may be laid upon them as being in harmony with the character of the work to be expected of deacons.

It would be more in keeping with the exact wording of our Lord when any brother has been served, for him to pass the bread or wine to another brother, so long as all are conveniently situated, and only call for the deacon’s assistance when brethren are not convenient to each other. As to providing the emblems, and the articles necessary for the communion, it is evident from the nature of the deacon’s work that he should do this. I will here remark that the objection of some deacons to passing the bread and wine at churches where they may be visiting, and are not acquainted with all the members, seems to be well taken, for they are liable to miss some, and to offer them to others who should not partake of them. I have known persons to take of the communion under such circumstances who were not members of the Old Baptist church at all. They had no scruples themselves, and took license from the fact that the emblems were passed to them. It is presumed that a deacon will know who is entitled to eat at his home church.

Coming to the occasion for the appointment of deacons in the apostolic church, it will be found that there was work for them to do, and of such character that it was necessary to select men especially fitted to do it. This is one peculiarity of the church of Christ, work is to be done by persons especially fitted for it. The work of deacons was principally to handle and distribute money, or its equivalent. The militant church of Christ is made up of men and women who, though born of God, are subject to life’s ills and needs, and He who has wisdom to build the earth and sky, and all things therein, did not set up His church and overlook this important fact. Christ affirms, “Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things,” and everything proves that He does, and that He who hears the ravens when they cry, and sees the sparrows when they fall, cares for us in all life’s sufferings (1Pe 5:7).

I have heard unthinking brethren affirm that their church had no money system in it. While I feared they were telling the truth, I knew if it was true, their church, in that respect at least, was not apostolic. He who set up the church keeps all worlds in motion by laws that will never fail until His purpose has been worked out and He Himself shall bid it stop. Would He, who always went about doing good, healing the sick and relieving the distress of the poor, forget that there would be poor in the church in the ages then to come? O, no, for He said, The poor ye have with you always (Mr 14:7). Is the theory of men correct that Jesus made no arrangements for caring for the poor and distressed and keep up the ministry, and that now it is necessary to organize societies and helps for that purpose, the church not being adapted for such work?

No, a thousand times no. The church as set up by our Master is all complete and nothing lacking. And as the law He gave the sun shall keep it shining as long as He designs without having to be renewed, so the system He devised for equalizing the burdens among the members of the church of Christ will never need revision, nor that anything be added to it. We do not need ministerial boards nor aid societies that our ministers may give themselves to Him who has called them. The church in herself has every needed arrangement, and it will be found perfectly adequate to every emergency when our people trust in God and obey His word. We need never trouble ourselves to devise a plan for anything connected with the church of Christ, everything is already devised and laid down in God’s word, and we may be sure if the plan we are following is not laid down there it will not be successful in the accomplishment of a Bible end.

Deacons were chosen to take charge of the funds of the church as a part of their work. Some question that the seven (Ac 6:3) were deacons. But from the fact that there were deacons in the churches later on, and no authority for the office is given except this in Ac 6, and that the duty is set forth in that chapter and elsewhere is in harmony with the meaning of the word, I conclude that the seven were deacons.

That the church had a fund will appear from the fact that as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them and laid the price at the apostles’ feet (Ac 4:34-35). From the common fund so formed the apostles made distribution to all as they had need. But the number of the disciples increased until the apostles were unable to see to the needs of all, and some of the Grecian widows were neglected. The apostles had also to preach, and there was not time to attend to both matters (Ac 6:1). As the work of caring for these widows was the express purpose for which the seven were set apart, it is certainly a legitimate conclusion that the church fund passed into their hands.

Even prior to the crucifixion of our Lord a common fund was provided as will be seen from the fact that when they sat at meat before Judas had betrayed our Lord, Judas was in charge of what money was needful for Jesus and the twelve. Some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, “Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or that he give something to the poor.”—Joh 13:29.

From this we learn that Jesus had been training the disciples in the course they afterwards recommended to the church. Christ and His apostles had a common fund and they used it to supply their needs and to help the poor. If it had not been the practice to give to the poor out of that fund the disciples would not have thought that Judas had been told to do anything of the kind. Who supplied the fund we are not told, but as the disciples were all poor, and there is no record that they stopped to work, except when they went fishing, we may believe, without drawing very hard on our imagination, that there were friends of the cause of Christ who were in position to help and had liberal hearts. The fact that Judas had the purse, and was a devil, has nothing to do with its being right or wrong. Up to this time he had been a follower of Christ, and there is no proof that he did not do as the other disciples did. Judas followed Christ, but that does not make it wrong to be a follower of Christ.

Now if a church has no fund, and will not maintain one, it has no use for deacons. Any member may use his own funds for the relief of the needy, but it is the business of a deacon to use the funds of the church for that purpose. I have known churches to ordain deacons when it was not the intention of the members of the church to put anything into their hands, at any rate they did not. This is to trifle with solemn obligations and make much ado over form and deny the plain teachings of God’s word. If the elders of the churches who form presbyteries would be true to their convictions, they would say to the churches when called on in such cases, We will not use our authority to put a brother in an office knowing that you will withhold that from him which is necessary to the performance of his duty. To ordain a deacon in a church that will not keep any funds in his hands is to lay upon him a solemn responsibility and then have the church tie his hands and force him to non-compliance with the obligations of his office..

A brother chosen in a church to be deacon, knowing it had not been the practice of the church to keep any funds, and having reason to believe that unless they viewed the matter different to the general impression among the members, there would be nothing put into his hands, might well refuse to submit to ordination until there was a more scriptural understanding on the subject.

These questions should be answered not only by the brother chosen deacon, but by the members of the church as well:

Is there necessity for deacons in the church?

What is the duty of the church to the deacon?

What is the duty of the deacon?

What are the qualifications of a deacon?

With the view that there is no duty for the deacon but to assist at the communion, it cannot be made out that there is any necessity at all. As before stated, there is no passage of scripture indicating that any member of the church might not properly do the work the deacon usually does at the communion. If the view be taken that he is only to look after the spiritual interests of the members, then his place is more eminently filled by the ministry, and if there is necessity for more careful oversight, spiritually, then there should be more elders; or the pastor in charge should give himself more wholly to the work. From this standpoint there is no necessity whatever of choosing deacons.

The necessity, as it is stated in the New Testament, is to take charge of financial matters and look after the needs of the members of the church, being supplied with the means to do this by the voluntary contributions of the members. I repeat, if a church does not intend to keep funds in the hands of her deacons she does not need deacons. It may be said in reply to this that it is the duty of the deacons to look about and see if there are any poor, or needed expenses, or if the pastor needs help, and report it to the church and get instructions what to do and receive supplies from the church.

I would say in the first place, to admit this view, a member who had but little judgment would make about as good a deacon as the one endowed with the greatest wisdom, for he would not be expected to exercise his judgment in any case, but must always wait until he has been directed just what to do, while the qualifications given indicate that he is to act on his own judgment. Then, in cases of immediate need, if the church met only once a month, as most of our churches do now, the needy brother or sister might pass in great suffering and distress beyond the need of anything ministered by human hands. But the objector to the fund suggests that in such case it would be the duty of the deacon to either contribute of his own means, or see the brethren and collect something.

This is purely an innovation on God’s way, as set forth in the Acts of the Apostles, and the example of the Primitive church. Paul gave instruction that there be weekly collections, that when the time for the use of the funds arrived, there would need to be no collection taken (1Co 16:2). The deacon might be poor himself and not have enough to supply the needs of others, and it very often happens that very poor brethren are very prompt to do their duty, and make just as good deacons as any.

Further, if the deacon is just to make report to the church of cases of need, any brother can do that, and there is no necessity for a special appointment. The fact is this, it is the duty of all the members to report to the deacon.

A church cannot do in a proper way, and most likely will not do at all, the things done by apostolic churches, without active deacons. The Lord has nothing done except for good reason. If the church can do as well without deacons as with them, then what reason can be given for their appointment, unless the office is to be considered as ornamental rather than practical, simply a dignitary without a duty. Certainly it will be conceded by all who revere the sacred word that there must have been, and is yet, a necessity for the deaconship in the church, not simply that the church may say she has a deacon, but that the work of the deacon may be done. So a church should not be considered in complete working order until the work of the deacon is recognized and carried out. When churches are organized after they have secured a pastor, and sometimes before, they choose deacons, the inference being, even when the statement is not made, that a church is not fully in working order without deacons. But it is clear in some cases that this is a mere recognition of the office, and not of the work of the office, for no attempt is made to make the deacon of anv practical aid to the church and cause. We should look deeper than mere form. The fact that there were deacons in the apostolic church should be argument enough with Primitive Baptists that the office is necessary, and also if necessary then, necessary now, or else the apostolic church is not a pattern for all ages. This admission would let in all the innovations of the day, which no Primitive Baptist could agree to at all. As proof that there were deacons in the apostolic churches, see the following scriptures: Ac 6:3-6; Php 1:1; 1Ti 3:8-13.

So if we are to lay claim to apostolic form in our churches we must have deacons, and it is certainly of more importance to have the work of the office done than it is to have the officer.

As to the question, “What is the duty of the church to the deacon?” If the members of the church do not recognize that there is a binding duty, the office might as well remain vacant. It is not a duty to the man who is filling the office, but to the office work as a function of the church. We do not care for the hand or the foot as having any dignity of themselves, but because they are a part of the body, and without them the body would be maimed. So must the office of the deaconship be considered. Here is a function of the church to be performed through this office, and if she does not have this office, she either does not do the work, or does it in an unscriptural way. The church should not choose a brother as a deacon to honor the man, but to use him as a servant to carry out the full work of the church.

A church cannot raise a brother to the work of the ministry, that is God’s work. But she can put any brother into the deaconship who has the qualifications, though there may be other brethren who are just as well fitted for the place who are not needed. God appoints the minister to do a special work, and the church appoints the deacon to carry out the active work that falls to the church as an organization.

A church has as much right to do away with baptism as it has to do away with the work of the church that is to be done through deacons. She may have deacons in form, and yet do away with the work of the deacon. If a member of the church has never done anything through the deacon’s hands, that member has done away with the work of the deacon so far as he is concerned, and has committed as much of an offense against the Great Head of the church as though he had attempted to make void any thing else that belongs to the house of the Lord. Indeed, it is hard to say if there is anything else connected with the church, except it be the ministry of the word, but could be struck down with less hurt than this.

To appoint deacons and then ignore them in administering the financial part of the church’s business is gross contempt for God’s law as head of the church. It would be as though an Israelite of old had said, I will ignore the priest who is to minister in the temple and do the work myself. Many brethren make this statement in substance when they say they will not have the deacon to fill his office, but what they have to give they will give it themselves.

If the apostolic church is to be taken as a pattern, (and if it is not we have none,) we must consider the deaconship as an office of God’s own arranging and should hesitate as much to change it or abolish it as we would to change the doctrines given in the scriptures, and should feel that as great a curse will fall on us for the one as for the other. The deacon is the hand of the church that she stretches out to all who are in need, and to keep her affairs working in decency and in order.

Some brethren try to step behind this passage: “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth,” and conclude that what they do they must do very privately, not letting anyone know what they do, not even the deacon. This is plainly straining this passage to mean something it was never intended to mean at all. It is wrong to make a display among men, and these words of the Savior were spoken in condemnation of such a practice. In the same connection the Savior tells His disciples that when they pray they are to enter into their closets and pray in secret and not before men (Mt 6:5). Is it then wrong to pray in public? Most of our church rules say that our services ought to be opened by singing and prayer. According to this construction this would be wrong and no one ought to offer prayer in public. The absurdity of this construction at once appears.

It may be that brethren who have urged such a construction have done so, violating the true principle in their hearts. It may be they wanted the recipient to know just whose liberality he received, and they did not put it into the hands of the deacon, because then it would never be known by the recipient who made the contribution. Sometimes when there are several preachers at a meeting a brother wants his favorite preacher to know that he is appreciated, and prefers to give out of his own hand; for if it were given to the deacon it would be divided up and those who were in greatest need would get most, and his favorite would never know just how he had appreciated him. This is the very spirit our Lord was condemning, and the plea is a mere pretext.

If one is willing that his liberality should not be advertised, let him put his gifts in with the common funds in the deacon’s hands. And meeting one’s share of the church expenses is not alms giving, and should not be treated as charity—it is duty.

If the church is to feel as she ought toward the deaconship it must be viewed as God’s way of attending to certain affairs, and must be sacredly guarded from those who would change or abolish it. If a brother be chosen by the church to be put into the deaconship it is right to know that the church rightly understands her obligations to the office, and is disposed to recognize them, before assuming obligations himself that he cannot discharge unless the church will first do her duty. A church should not con sider the work of the deacon as apart from her own act, but every member should feel that God has made it his duty to do certain things, and that these things are to be done through the deaconship.

The scriptures teach that we must be baptized and then leaves us no discretion as to manner or mode of baptism—we must be dipped in water. Now it is the duty of members of the church to do certain things, and then it is specified that this is to be done through the deacon’s hands. It is contempt for God and His word to say it can be done as well some other way. The duty of the church to the deaconship is such that it is open rebellion to say to the deacon, “Stand thou here, we can do all there is to do without having need of thee.” What right has any member or individual to ignore or make void an office that has the approval of the Sacred Word.

The duty of the members to this office is such that they should hold all their possessions subject to the needs of the church, as did the saints in the time of the apostles. While it is not obligatory now, nor was it then, to sell one’s property and put it into a common fund, yet the principle is that each brother should be willing to support the cause with all he has, and to that end should keep sufficient funds in. the hands of the deacons to discharge the obligations of their office.

It would appear strange that a church should ever set apart a member to a work when very few of the members understood clearly what that work was. But such might be the case. Every member should be able to answer the plain question, in choosing a deacon, “What is he to do?” The necessity for this will be apparent upon reflection. If the members of a church do not properly understand the duty of a deacon he will not be able to discharge his duty, if his performance in any way depends upon them, for they will not co-operate with him. So a brother, when chosen by a church to this office, might very properly demand of them what they expected him to do.

If the members only expected him to assist the pastor at the communion, and bear unkind criticism, as everyone put into any prominence must do, he might with good ground refuse to accept the responsibility because the church was not scriptural as to the duty of deacons.

No pastor should permit a church of his care to go into the selection of a deacon without thoroughly instructing them as to the duty of the deacon. Here is where many of our pastors confess error, and failure to discharge their obligation. Too often the only things considered are the moral qualifications of the deacon without respect to what the deacon is to do. How is it possible to decide on the qualifications of a person to an office without deciding what he is to do? Here is where many mistakes have been made. Often, if a brother is exemplary in his walk and character as a man and a Christian, he is considered fit to be put into the deacon’s office.

But a man might be well fitted to be a judge on the bench who would make a very poor farmer or merchant, and the scriptures consider this, and point out the special qualifications of a deacon. I appeal to every reader of these pages to decide in his own mind what a deacon is to do if he carries out the scriptural idea of the office. Certainly no member of the church should consider himself competent to enter into the choice of deacon without first defining to his own satisfaction the work of the deacon, and then considering the peculiar fitness of the brother who is to be set apart.

The work of the deacon needs to be decided upon and understood by all, that the brother chosen to the office may be impressed with the fact that certain things are expected of him, and knowing it is the mind of all that he is to do these things, he will feel a greater obligation to discharge his duty. For, if there is a diversity of opinion regarding his work, he can never act without the feeling that his course is disapproved by some, which is a very discouraging condition. But, if all the members are properly instructed, the deacon will feel encouraged to perform the duties of his office, knowing his work is known to all, and that a failure to do it will meet with criticism, while to act faithfully will endear him to all his brethren.

By reference to Ac 6, it will be very clearly seen that he is to make distribution of the church funds to all who have need. None will contend that the church ought to neglect or overburden any of her members, but different brethren will propose different plans for equalizing the burdens and caring for all who should be ministered to. This is ignoring God’s plan, and certainly His plan must be the best. Some say that each brother or sister must act for himself or herself, and minister to all whom they find who have need. Now, certainly, there is nothing in God’s word that would stand in the way of anyone taking this course. But the members of churches are weak, human beings, and some who have plenty of means have little charity, and some who have great sympathy for the cause, and for the suffering, have but little means. So, if left to themselves, the burden will fall most unequally, for many, who are able to help, will evade any occasion of bearing the burden of others, leaving the few who are willing, whether able or not, to do whatever is done.

So it is evident that if the burdens of the church are to be equalized, and those who need help are to receive it, the New Testament plan is the only one that will meet all the conditions to be provided for. Here will be found a stimulus for those who have been blessed with plenty, but who have a covetous disposition; here will be found a check for those who are liberal beyond their means, and funds sufficient for the needs of all. Besides this, the pastor should have an efficient helper, one full of wisdom, leading an exemplary life before the members for them to follow, an officer of the church full of the Holy Ghost and faith. It is a wise provision of the Great Head of the church for equalizing the burdens among members that the means contributed by the members go into a common fund, of which the deacons have charge. The deacon will know whether a member is contributing according to his ability, not that it is with the deacon to say how much any member shall give, for the needs of the church are to be met by voluntary offerings, as were the necessary things for the tabernacle and its service; but he will know who are giving as the Lord has prospered them, and if they fail to do this after proper instruction, and reproof if necessary, they should be reported to the church as covetous, which is a grievous sin, and should be summarily dealt with.

“Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry; for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.”—Col 3:5-6. Old Testament lessons teach us that an idolater is an abomination in the sight of God.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.”—1Co 5:11. All the members of any church know it is wrong to tolerate a drunkard in the church. Well, the Sacred Writ couples drunkards and covetous people together as being of one class—a class on which the “wrath of God” cometh. Now the deacons, knowing who are covetous and who are not, it would be their duty, more than that of any other member, to labor with such an offender in this direction, and if need be, report him to the church.

Ananias and Sapphira were accused by the Apostle Peter. This was before the institution of the deaconship, and the funds of the church were in the hands of the apostles. Ananias and Sapphira professed before men that they were giving in all they had to give. So long as there was no use for their goods they were under no obligation to part with them; but their sin was in withholding through a covetous disposition. Before the property was sold it was their own, and after it was sold the proceeds were theirs (Ac 5:4). But they evidently felt it would be commendable to give in all they had, and yet they loved what they had better than they did the cause of Christ. The church could make no demand as to the amount to be given, so these two lied to God and not to men.

How many deacons have seen cases like this: Brethren professing to give all they were able to give, and yet the deacons knew that a covetous disposition was causing them to hold back what they ought to bestow?

We should learn from this lesson in Acts that the principle upon which the church was founded is, that the possessions of all members ought to be held by them subject to the needs of their brethren and the good of the cause. This fact should be recognized by the deacons who should not be slow to call upon the members for funds to meet all needs. A brother who is one indeed, should be ready to divide his last crust, and if this spirit prevailed it would not be hard for the deacons to do their work. For the deacons to know there is need for distribution to the poor, or to the ministry, or to the sick, and yet have members who are well able to contribute to such purposes withhold their means, after an appeal from the deacons, is very discouraging, indeed; in fact, this is the greatest burden deacons have to bear. Finding that members fail and refuse to do their duty, the deacons grow indifferent to their work and the office falls into disuse.

When the deacons have reported a covetous person to the church he should be dealt with the same as for any other offense. And that covetous persons should be dealt with there can be no doubt whatever, if the scriptures are to be taken as a rule. As before remarked, if covetous persons were classed with drunkards, idolaters, etc., and dealt with accordingly, it would be better for the church and all the members. Of course the deacon will have to take gospel steps to bring such matters before the church, and when this is done the church should not regard this sin as a peculiarity of character that cannot be reached, for it stands in the way of the prosperity of the church by withholding that which is needed perhaps in the upholding of the ministry. Not that the pastor of a church should serve for a salary, or for the sake of money, but many of God’s ministers are poor in this world’s goods, and having families, it is impossible for them to give a great portion of their time to the ministry.

The apostles ordained deacons and put the funds of the church into their hands that the ministers might give themselves wholly to the work (Ac 6:4). With this thought on his mind the deacon will not feel that it is simply a personal matter between him and the brethren. To neglect his duty, and let brethren withhold from the church what they are able to give, if it is needed to assist the pastor that he may discharge his duty, is to give assent to a weakened service, and weakened for mere greed, too, and to actually become a party to breaking down the apostolic plan for keeping up a church and sustaining the ministry in its work. An important duty of deacons is to see that those who are able do not withhold their means because of covetousness.

Not only is it the business of the deacon to receive the funds contributed by the members, but that perfect confidence may be maintained, he should keep an accurate account of all he receives and all he pays out, and make his report to the church regularly. He need not report what each member gives, but the whole amount received. But he should give the items as paid out. If the church desires it he may report items received. This is necessary, because the members must have every evidence of the integrity and honesty of the deacon. True, they might feel this at the time of his selection, but that this feeling may be maintained it will be found necessary that the members know what he does with the funds in his hands. If it is known that he keeps no account, they will feel that he himself does not know just in what condition the funds are, whether he has church funds on hand, or whether he has paid out more than has been put into his hands.

I knew a case in which a good brother’s word was called in question. He said he had not received enough money for a certain purpose. Another brother, equally good, said from his knowledge he felt sure that he had, but said, “He keeps no account and forgets.”

If the deacon keeps no account of the funds he receives, nor of what use he puts them to, it soon results in a falling off of the receipts, and necessitates making a collection every time there is occasion to defray any expenses.

Some churches follow this practice: The deacon calls on the brethren when he has need of any funds, such as to help the pastor or a visiting minister, or to pay church expenses, and collects only as much as may be needed and pays it all out at once. This practice is rather to be commended than for the members to ignore the deacon, but it falls short of meeting the necessities, and is not following the scriptural practice. One of the bad features is, there will often be need of money, and the members will not be present to collect from. The regular meeting time may be cold and stormy, or heavy rains or sickness may keep the members at home, but the faithful pastor is present. He meets two discouraging things —the members are not present and his expenses are not paid.

Then at the next meeting, if the members are present, they only contribute as much as though they had been present the meeting before, because there is no report whether the pastor’s expenses were met or not, and he has it to bear. Now if the deacon kept an account of the church fund, he could report at any time before it was exhausted, and it would be the duty of the members to replenish it. Then, whether the members were present at a meeting or not, if the pastor were present he could be helped on his way. Or if there were need to help any poor person, or incidental church expense, the deacon would be prepared to meet it.

Another reason for keeping an account is for the convenience of the members. Many of our members are farmers, and do not have ready money at all times of the year, in fact, it may be the case with anyone that he is not at all times prepared to make a contribution; but there will be some time during the year when he could put in his share toward keeping up the church’s expenses. He could then hand it to the deacon and his entry of it would show that this brother had given his proportional part. The deacon would then know not to call on him again until the other members had borne their part.

Here arises a very important question: What is each member’s share? Or what should each pay? This is where most of the attempts to systematize the deacon’s work break down. A member asks the deacon, “How much shall I contribute?” The deacon, feeling he has no right to set the amount for members to give, says, “O, I don’t know, just what you feel like giving.” The member, feeling, perhaps, that it is not right to burden the church with surplus funds, or that the deacon will at once and for that occasion, pay out all he receives, whether it is actually needed or not, gives but little. The deacon can say nothing, though he knows if the other members do not do better, the amount needed will not be raised. In his heart the deacon knows what the member ought to give, and, perhaps, the member would be quite willing to give all that is needed, but because of a wrong system in attending to business, the church has not done its duty.

Now all this can be remedied if the deacon is allowed to, and will do his duty. Every deacon who is qualified for the office can estimate about what the yearly expenses of his church will be. He can tell how much the fuel will cost; he knows if there are any poor to be looked after regularly: he can estimate needed repairs about the building and grounds; he knows how much it will cost to have some one care for the house, and have it ready for services; he should know the circumstances of the pastor, and about how much such a church as his ought to contribute to him.

He should lay this before all the members of the church, and let each one say how much of it he is willing to give. These amounts he can enter on his book. If it is enough to meet the demands, well and good, and each one will know about what he is to do, and he can do it when it is convenient.

But if the amounts volunteered at the first do not cover probable expenses, the deacon can ask the members to reconsider the matter, and raise their contributions; or knowing the circumstances of all the members, he will suggest to those who have not been as liberal as their circumstances warrant, that they should give more to equalize the burden. When this matter has been arranged, the members can pay in the amounts they have agreed to give as soon as they have it, or the deacons may need it. The deacons should not wait until the funds are entirely exhausted before calling upon the members, nor should the members wait to be called on at all. They should try to make the work of the deacon as light as possible, and should not put him to the trouble of calling on them individually. Of course the members are privileged to make as many gifts outside of this church fund as they feel disposed.

Out of the funds in their hands the deacons should distribute to the poor. No poor member should be allowed to suffer for the necessities of life, nor for any needed comfort that the church is able to provide. Never should a brother or sister, who can possibly be cared for otherwise, be sent out to the poor house to be cared for by the general public. The church need not take upon herself the burden of caring for the poor outside of her membership, because the members pay taxes to care for these poor. But her own poor and afflicted should be looked after by the church, and it is the especial duty of the deacons to look after this work.

In the United States, outside of the cities, we have not many poor who are actually unable to care for themselves who have no relatives to look after their needs, so this is not a heavy burden on the churches. In some cases members may be lazy and imprudent, so the deacons should carefully investigate each case and report it fully to the church that their course may be approved.

The deacons should defray the necessary expenses of the church, such as providing fuel, employing a janitor and keeping up needed repairs. The practice of some churches making such things a special order of the church is disregarding the deaconship, and results in neglect and often in dissatisfaction. It is an old saying, that what is everybody’s business is nobody’s business, and it often proves true. A pane of glass is broken in a window. The janitor did not break it, and is not obliged to put in a new one, as he probably will not get pay for caring for the house until the end of the year, and has no money with which to buy the glass except what is his own. He knows the deacons have no church money, and that there will have to be a collection taken, and perhaps if the glass is put in before the collection is taken, it may not be made at all. So he waits for the church to “take the matter up” and take up a collection before this small matter can be attended to.

Then the janitor is employed by the year, and whether he does his work well or not, no one feels disposed to speak to him about it, for the church, and not an individual employed him, and “individuals” do not want to be “too forward” in matters which concern others as well as themselves. Now if the deacons were held accountable for all these things, then there would not be so much neglect. Or if there were, the church would need new deacons. I will suggest to deacons, if they pay the janitor every month they will get better service, and they should see to it that the house is kept in proper order to make the congregation comfortable. The house should be kept clean, the seats free from dust, warmed in winter before the congregation assembles, and kept warm enough, but not too warm, proper ventilation being provided. If the person employed to look after these things does not attend to them properly, and will not be instructed to do so, get some one else. “Be not slothful in business.”—Ro 12:11. Keep the house and grounds in nice order, that it may be a pleasant and an inviting place. Some churches appoint an annual or semi-annual “house cleaning” when the members all come in to spend the day together, and to thoroughly clean the house, repair the fences, cut the grass, etc., and this is commendable, especially as it affords the members an opportunity of spending a day together.

The deacons should minister out of the church funds to the necessities of the pastor, and they must to a great degree determine how much is done for him. The pastor’s circumstances and opportunities should be understood. The deacons should remember that a church cannot prosper without pastoral service, and they must provide for as efficient a service as possible.

Baccalureate Message by Elder Sonny Pyles

Baccalaureate Message

By
Elder Sonny Pyles
Sunday Evening, May 30, 1982

Opening Prayer

Let us pray. Our Heavenly Father, we bow our unworthy heads before Thee to thank Thee for the privileges of this free land. We thank Thee for the privileges of this educational facility and for each student here, for the parents, and for all who have contributed toward this moment. We do ask Thee to bless the message tonight. We do ask Thee to bless each thing that is done tonight that it might be to Thy name's honor and glory. We ask a blessing on the lives of these young people, and we thank Thee for all the privileges that have been extended to us, that they might come to this institution of learning and prepare themselves to go out into the school of life, and to be better mothers and fathers, and citizens, and servants of Thine. We ask Thee to bless the further events of this evening and bless our lives to Thy glory, for we ask it in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Baccalaureate Address

I never preach a sermon with my coat on, but since these students are sweating under these caps and gowns, and misery loves company, I don't think it would be fair for me to take my coat off and let them suffer, so we will all suffer together. I have looked forward to coming here tonight, and I ask that you remember me in your prayers that we might say something that would be beneficial to these students and maybe beneficial to the rest of you.

Several years ago, when my children were small, I penciled a poem in the margin of my Bible, not knowing that it would come in handy some day. The poem goes this way:

My daughter has her masters,
My son his Ph.D.,
But dad's the only one with a J. O. B.

At the present, I have a twenty-four year old son, who is about six foot six, who is working on a Ph.D. at Oklahoma State. My Daughter is a senior at Texas Tech University. So I have a great relationship, and a great feeling, for these students tonight. Especially because of the terrible headlines in our world, and when we consider that there is so much unemployment, and there are so many things in our world today that would cause us to lose our vision, and become negative.

I am not going to try to educate these young people, because they have had twelve years of education, and they are probably tired of education. But I would like to say some things to motivate them and to inspire them to work for some goals in the future, that they might find the happiness that the rest of us have found. So, we will dispense with education. I have two children that I have already mentioned, who are better educated than I am already, and I am no longer able to educate them too much, so I just try and motivate them. I try to inspire them and encourage them.

There was a father one time trying to motivate his son, and the son brought in a bad report card, and dad said to the son, "When George Washington was your age he made straight A's." The son said, "But Dad when he was your age he was the President of the United States." Then the father tried again. He said, "Son, when I was your age, I could name all the Presidents of the United States in proper order." The Son said, but Dad, back then there had only been two or three."

I am going to try to do my best to inspire and motivate these young people, and give them a little cheer in a world where there is so much to discourage us. One of the great keys of success in life is self discipline. What I mean by that is this: set yourself a goal and work toward that goal and be disciplined as you drive toward it.

One of the greatest quotes I have on the subject of discipline came from Bum Phillips, who used to coach the Houston Oilers. A few years ago, when Bum Phillips was putting the Oilers in the play-offs every year, they were criticizing him for his loose discipline as compared to Tom Landry's (of the Dallas Cowboys) strict discipline. Bum Phillips made this statement, "Discipline is not making people do things, it's getting them to do things." He says, "The only discipline that really counts, is self discipline."

Since my son is six foot six and larger than I am, and my daughter is larger than her mother, and they are both better educated than we are, and they are going to school over two hundred miles from home, I don't have too many opportunities to make them do anything anymore, but I try to motivate them to do the things they are capable of doing. Remember this as you go away from here tonight, the only discipline that really counts is self discipline.

You have had twelve years in school, where the teachers have attempted to guide you, and your parents have attempted to guide you, but you are headed out into a world where your success in that world will depend on whether you are able to discipline yourselves. There is an old Marine motto that I have penciled in the front of my Bible, and it's probably the strangest thing you have ever read in a preacher's Bible. That old marine motto says, "The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle." I have had experiences where people have questioned me about subjects, or I have had to stand before people and deliver messages about subjects, and I would bleed in battle because I had not done my sweating in training.

It was my experience while in school, when test time would come, that the students who had made the preparations sweated less, when the test came, than those who had not made the preparations. "The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle." I encourage every one of you tonight, as you go to college, or you go to trade school, or as you attempt to make your way in life, that first you set yourself a goal, and that you labor hard and sweat both mentally and physically to achieve that goal. When the time of the battle comes: "The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle."

I recall tonight some of the experiences I had in High School 25 years ago. Just a few days before our graduation, I was with a few of my buddies, and we were having a little session talking about our air castles, and the great things we were going to do when we graduated. There was one boy in the group who said, "Now that I have my education, I intend to join the Air Force." One of the most brilliant teachers I ever had, a lady named Olga Murley, and a great influence in my life, walked over to the group and looked at us with a stern look and said, "You haven't gotten your education." She said, "You don't get your education in school. All we do for you in school is provide you with some tools to equip you to go out into the school of life and receive an education." She went on to say, "There have been great men who have not had these tools who went out into the school of life and through much effort became educated men. On the other hand, there have been men who have had these tools who refused to use them, who went out into the school of life and became educated fools and useless people."

As I look back 25 years ago to my graduation, I am thinking about our High School fight song. The fight song went this way:

Hail to our High School dear,
Hail Pleasant Grove.
Down through the years ahead,
We'll ere be loyal to the blue and gold.

I used to sing that fight song. I haven't set foot on that campus since the night I received my diploma. "Down through the years ahead we'll ere be loyal to the blue and gold." I have never been back. One of the main reasons I have never been back is, the year I graduated, they tore the school down, hauled away the bricks, and put a shopping center where the school used to be. But I still remember many of the things I experienced in Pleasant Grove High School. I made straight A's through High School, and in 1957 our government became concerned about the reports that the Russians had a better education system than the Americans and there were some tests given to High School Seniors all across the United States of America. That year I placed in the top half of one percent of all students that graduated in this country, and received a letter from President Eisenhower. But, now that I have told you that I made straight A's, and graduated in the top half of one percent of all students that graduated in America in 1957, I have a little confession to make. Many times I sat in a class and was bored to death. I thought the class was a drag, and that there was no purpose in what the teacher was putting before me. I crammed it into my head enough to take the test and make an A, and then tried to forget it.

I look back tonight, as a middle aged preacher, and see many things that looked useless back then, and I wish I had paid more attention. I had English teachers who would go to the black board and would try to teach me to diagram sentences, to discombobulate verbs and things like that (Oh, you never heard of things like that before. That's Texas lingo. Your English teacher never heard of it before either). They taught me how to diagram sentences, and I got all that information down to make an A on the test, but I never saw any use for it. Twenty-five years later, as a middle aged preacher, I often have to diagram a sentence. I didn't pay a lot of attention in English class, except to the extent that I crammed it in, made an A, and didn't see any use for it. Now I have to stand before people over three hundred times a year, deliver radio broadcasts, write articles, sometimes write for encyclopedias, and I try to remember those rules I was taught years ago, and about all I remember is that a preposition is something you're not supposed to end a sentence WITH. That's about all I remember.

If the teachers back then could have impressed on me that those were some preparations that would help me many years later, I would have paid more diligent attention. There was a teacher who stood over my shoulder in typing class and tried to teach me to type. Today, as I try to write articles, I sit at the type writer and my fingers are like ten sticks of sausage, and I wish I had paid more attention in typing class.

I live on a small ranch and sometimes when I am trying to build a barn or a shed, and I am trying to cut rafters, and I have pipe on the ground, trying to weld up my own medal trusses, I remember a Geometry teacher long ago, who told me that if you knew the base of a triangle, and you knew the altitude of the triangle, there was a formula by which you could figure this thing over here, it seems like it was a hypotenuse (now I may not be right about that, but I remember that word from somewhere). If I had paid good attention back then, I could measure the base and the altitude, and weld those trusses on the ground.

What I am trying to impress on you tonight is that there were many things that I was taught back then that would be useful today. Those teachers were trying to give me some tools to prepare me for the things I am facing now. But I couldn't see that as well as I can see it now.

I remember a coach I had in High School. Back then it was popular for a coach to say that the main thing in competition was the desire to win. I am facing a group of people here tonight who want to go out into life and be winners. There is no intelligent person who really wants to go out into life and be a loser in marriage, or be a loser in your career, or to be a loser socially, or in any other way. This coach in High School took me aside and told me, "This old saying that the main thing in competition is the desire to win doesn't make good nonsense." He said, "The main thing in competition is not the desire to win, but the desire to prepare to win." You say, "The main thing is the desire to win." Have you ever met anybody who really wanted to lose? People with the desire to win are a dime a dozen. Everybody wants to win. But, my friends, the main thing is the desire to prepare to win.

There are many men in my field of preaching who want to be successful as ministers of the gospel. They have a desire to win, but many of them do not have the desire to spend hours and hours studying the scriptures, and studying books, and meditating on things that they need to know. There are many people in this world who have the desire to win. But they do not have the desire to spend hours in a college, or in a trade school, in a beauty college, or working as an apprentice to a carpenter or to a welder, preparing to win.

I want you to remember this tonight if you do not remember another thing I say. When a team or a person goes into a field of competition with just the desire to win, that person does not have a good chance of winning. But when you can have the desire to prepare to win, and put that together with the desire to win, then you have got a winning combination.

These teachers have spent about twelve years preparing you to go into the school of life and become a success. When we look at many of the things that are offered to us in this life, it's possible to cram our heads full of useless facts. I am trying to point you to some things tonight that I at one time considered useless, such as diagramming sentences and plane geometry. Many things that were taught me years ago looked useless to me then but are useful now.

Sometimes we can cram our heads full of useless facts. There was a poor hillbilly couple who saved their dimes and quarters to send their son to college. They sent their son to college, and he came home at the end of the first semester, and Dad asked him, "What air ye a learning son, air we gittin our money's worth? What air ye a learning?" And the boy says, "Father, I am learning a lot. I have just completed a course in logic and effective argumentation." He says, "I can win an argument with anybody, anywhere, anytime, on any subject." The young man's father said, "That sounds good son, but what's it good fer?" The son said, "For instance Father, you see these two pieces of chicken on the table." The father said, "Yes, there's two pieces of chicken thar." The son said, "I am going to trick you, Father, into admitting through logic and effective argumentation that there are really three pieces of chicken there." He says, "This piece of chicken here is the number one piece, agreed?" The father said, "all right son." The son said, "This piece of chicken here is the number two piece. Now that's number one, and you said this is number two, and one plus two is three. Father, I have tricked you into admitting that there are actually three pieces of chicken on that table through logic and effective argumentation." The father said, "That's wonderful son. I'll eat this here piece, and your mother can eat that thar piece, and you can have that third piece." Now the moral to that lesson is, you can cram your heads full of useless facts which will not help you.

One of the most important things in life is to set yourself a goal. There was a great man named William Barclay that said there are three essentials to success and happiness in life. Number one is to have something to hope for in life, to have some goal or direction. Pr 29:11 says, "where there is no vision the people perish." When my wife and I married 25 years ago, I didn't have a good job. I just had a few dollars in my pocket, but we were not worried about it because we felt that someday we would have a family, and have a place of our own, and have some of the things we desired in life. We had a vision of something we have been working toward for about 25 years.

In our country today I hear so much negative talk. Some are saying that it's impossible for young people to ever own a home because of the high interest rates we are facing. They say there is no future for young people. When we consider inflation, when we consider nuclear weapons which are round about us, and the terrible headlines, there is much to cause us to lose our vision. But I beg every one of you tonight to set yourself some kind of goal in life, and have something out there that you're hoping to reach.

William Barclay said that first we should have something we are hoping for and looking forward to. The Apostle Paul says in Philippians chapter three, "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." The Apostle Paul said he had a mark he was pressing toward. Some of you I talked to before this service began told me of your plans to go to college or to trade school. Some of you told me of things you intend to do in life, and I want you tonight to set your eyes toward that mark.

The second essential to happiness is to have something to do. You must stay busy. There are two types of real miserable people in this world. On one hand we have the workaholics who are over worked, and I am considered one of those. But the most miserable people I meet are those who have nothing to do.

To be happy in life, William Barclay says we need to have something to hope for, something to look forward to, something to do, and the third essential is that we need to have someone to love. It is my prayer for each and everyone of you, in a nation where two out of five marriages are ending in divorce, that it will not be so with you, and that each one of you will go against the grain and against the statistics. It is my prayer that two out of five of you will not end in failure in finding someone to love. It is my prayer that all 128 of you will find someone in life to love, and that you will have children to love. If you do not find a companion in life, if you choose to go through life alone, learn to love your neighbor and to love your fellow man. Remember, something to hope for, something to do, and someone to love.

I remember several years ago reading a statement that was made by a wise man. He said that a man's happiness is not determined so much by the things that he owns or the things that belong to him as the things to whom he belongs. There are a few things in life that are supposed to belong to me. I have a small herd of cattle in Texas, some farm equipment, several guns, and a personal library of about 1800 books. There are some things in life that are supposed to belong to me. But the reason I am so happy tonight, and the reason that I wouldn't trade places with anyone in the world, is not because of the few things in life that belong to me. The reason that I am among the happiest men in America is because of the things to whom or to which I belong.

First, I have a hope within me that I belong to the Lord. Next, I belong to this country. Regardless of what anyone may tell you, this country is worth living for, and this country is worth dying for. This is still the greatest country on the face of the earth. [applause] Someone might say that it is easy for you to speak of dying for this country because you are a middle aged preacher. I have got some news for you. I would probably grab a rifle in defense of this country quicker than any preacher in the United States, and my friends here that know me will attest to that fact. Someone says, well, you are a middle aged preacher, and you probably will never have the privilege of defending this country. The communists have boasted that by 1983 they expect to be on the Texas border. I don't say this tonight to frighten you, but unless God blesses this country, and unless some of you young people out here and others across this land make a greater contribution than some of us have made in the past, I may have the privilege of defending this nation in the streets of the United States of America. I don't say that to frighten you, but I am speaking chilling facts. This is still the greatest country in the world to live in.

I belong to the Lord and I belong to this country. There is a lovely lady here, and we have been together 25 years. I belong to her. There are three children in this world. I belong to them. You say, "they belong to you." No, the thing that really makes me happy is that I belong to them. There is a church in my home county. I belong to that church. There are thousands of people across this country. I feel like I belong to them. The things that will really make you happy in life are not the things that belong to you, but the things and the people to whom you belong. The most miserable people I find in this world are people who don't have the assurance that they belong to anybody or to any place.

You have some parents to whom you belong, and many of them are here tonight. You have some teachers who have an interest in you. This area here, this beautiful country that I have visited for about fourteen years, you have your roots here. I don't know of a finer place to live in this country than in this area around Sparta. You have your roots here, and don't forget it, even though your careers may carry you far from these green hills.

Now then my friends, I am not going to be lengthy tonight, but there are a few things I want to say to you in closing. I read a true story the other day of a giant oak tree, a majestic oak tree of great strength. People who had lived around that oak tree had witnessed that oak tree for several generations withstanding many storms. Many great winds, many storms of different kinds, had blown across that great oak tree, and it stood. A short while ago, in a gentle wind, that great oak tree fell across a highway. The people in that neighborhood were baffled that this great oak tree, that had withstood so many storms, was toppled over by a gentle breeze. Upon examination, to their surprise, this great oak tree, that looked so strong on the outside, had silently been hollowed out on the inside by thousands of little insects. As I thought about that great oak tree (and this is a true account of something I read a few days ago), that great oak tree that had withstood so many storms, I compared it to the United States of America. When we have our moral foundation and stand together, there is no enemy on the face of the earth that will be able to topple the great oak tree, America. The Soviet Union does not have the power. All the nations of the earth together lack the power. I am not the least bit afraid that if this nation would return to the principles on which it was founded, that any nation could overthrow the great oak tree, America. The greatest dangers to our country are the little insects that are silently eating away internally at the moral fiber of our country. I speak of the little insects of dope addiction, of drunkenness, of divorce, of immorality, and fear. These things are eating away at the heart of our country.

That oak tree also reminds me of a personal life. Many of us who have lived forty or fifty years have withstood many storms. But the things which can topple us over are the things that eat away on the inside, such as doubts, fear, jealousy, and negative thinking. These things eat away on the inside; and when that inside is silently eaten away, the least little storm can topple a person over.

I urge you to set some goals in life. To set that mark in life and remember this, the greatest thing in competition is not just that desire to win, it's that desire to prepare to win.

When my children left home a few years ago, I gave them a few little bits of advice. I am going to give them to you, and then we will go to the Lord in prayer.

It is said that the average girl in America needs about eight hours sleep. I have a beautiful daughter at home, and on a scale of one to ten, Daddy thinks she is the impossible eleven. I have a gorgeous daughter at home that must be an above average girl. I am told that the average girl needs eight hours of sleep a night. My girl gets along well on about ten or eleven. She is above average.

I told my son and my daughter, when they left home several years ago, there are three things to remember if you want to be successful in life. Number one is do not overeat. Overeating makes you sluggish. It makes you so sluggish that you do not function well in classes. You do not function well when you are up on high rises doing welding on tall buildings. You do not do your best when you have over eaten. I said, Don't over eat! Man brought death into the world by eating, and he has been eating himself to death ever since. Over eating will do other things to you that I will not get into tonight for fear that I will offend some folks who are present.

I told my youngsters, do not over eat, and do not over sleep. Solomon says, "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man." (Pr 6:10-11). I have watched people who did not have self discipline throw an entire day out of kilter, and run in a mad rush all day long, because they tried to get fifteen minutes extra sleep. When you leave Sparta High School, to enroll in a college or trade school, those of you who have the discipline to arise in the morning and make preparations to go to class, those of you who have the discipline to burn the midnight oil, will probably succeed in life. Those of you who do not have the discipline to arise in the morning, and continue to study while others are sleeping, will probably fail.

I study the political and economic conditions of our country carefully. A prosperous man asked me day before yesterday "Brother Pyles, you travel a good bit, and you read several financial journals. I consider you informed in several fields. What do you think about the financial situation in the United States of America right now." I gave him a short answer: "The winners are still winning." Someone says, this is a world where everyone is losing, everybody's failing. The winners I am facing tonight, are going out into the world and are going to win.

I told my youngsters three things. Don't overeat, don't oversleep, and don't over spend. I close tonight with the advice the old Scotch preacher told every couple he ever married, "Fear God, and stay out of debt."

Closing Prayer

Let us pray. Our Heavenly Father, we do ask Thee that these words might penetrate deeply into the hearts of these young people that have assembled here tonight. We do ask Thee to go with them, as they depart from this place, and guide them as they choose careers and companions, and as they come to the changes and crossroads of life. We pray that Thy hand would ever be on them. We do ask Thee, that if it is according to Thy will, that they might be delivered from the terrible horrors of warfare, and the disasters and pitfalls that are ever around about us. We do ask Thee to ever be with them and to guide them and direct them. We pray that they would continue to honor their parents, and continue to honor this great country, and above all, to continue to honor Thee. We ask all these things in the name of our returning Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and in that name above every other name. Amen.

Biographical Sketch Of W. J. Berry, Sr.

 

Biographical Sketch

Of

W.J. Berry, Sr.

(Editor of Old Faith Contender)

By His Companion

M. Macena Berry

Primitive Publications 4027 N NC 87 Elon College NC 27027

Primitive Publications and the Primitive Baptist Library at Elon College, NC were established by

Elder W. J. Berry Sr.

(1908-1986)

INTRODUCTION

After the death of my beloved husband, I thought I would attempt to write a brief biographical sketch of his wonderful life. My thought then was to write merely for his family. But I felt a great hesitancy to begin the task, as it made necessary the re-living many experiences through which his ministry had brought him; for his struggles, disappointments, and heartaches were mine also.

I told myself that I would make the attempt “sometime” when, I hoped, the sorrow of his loss might be somewhat lessened, and when I might be able to recall memories with less emotion.

In addition there was an actual dread to begin the task of describing such a character as he was. For, though I had suffered with him, and had really tried to do all possible to help bear his burdens, I could not enter fully into the depths of the trials of a man of God. I had shared his burdens as well as his joys, but now I can realize more fully, the impossibility of sharing, to the extent I wanted to, the burdens of a godly ministry.

The hesitancy to begin the final service of love to him was due also to an overwhelming sense of my inadequacy to do it justice. In this hesitancy, I found myself, unconsciously, finding one and another duty claiming my time. And in the performance of each of two of these tasks, my right arm, then the right hand, were completely disabled for several weeks. I could not help but wonder if my reluctance to undertake the sorrowful but loving task was not displeasing to my dear Lord.

In addition to this feeling, many of our dear friends and brethren and sisters in Christ were urging me to write a sketch of his life. One dear brother, looking intently into my face, said very seriously, “You owe it to him, Sister Berry.”

If I should begin to consider the enormity of my indebtedness to him, how could I ever pay it? Nearly fifty-eight years he loved me tenderly. He nursed through many illnesses very lovingly and tenderly when yet a very young man. There are no words which I can speak or write now that can possibly discharge this enormous obligation! He certainly is due the very best efforts of one who knew him as no one else could know him, to tell of a little of his faithful service to God and to His children in this world.

I feel also an indebtedness to the people of God for whom he spent his life’s labors. So many of them loved him, helping to support his labors, praying for him. Many of them loved, and were faithful to him for an entire lifetime. Hundreds of these have communicated their sorrow and their great sense of loss to me. Their love and prayers have helped to sustain me through life’s greatest sorrow. And for them, as well as for our dear family, I now begin the brief story of the life of a precious, blessed character. That these words may have a wider reading than originally thought, places a greater responsibility upon me. There is need for a more deeply-taught, abler pen than mine. My desire is to be faithful to him in each word, and also I would not displease our dear Lord by praising man to an excess. I can say truly, his service was given out of love to his God, and for His dear people in this world. It was given freely, unselfishly, and to the very limit of his strength and ability.

He himself would be greatly displeased if I should unduly eulogize him. He was always rather embarrassed when I would say something in his praise, reminding me that he was only a poor sinful man.

He was remarkable for his humility, as will be seen as I attempt to delineate some of the events of his life, and as many others may testify. Even now I can imagine him looking over my shoulder, telling me that, if I must write of his life, I should describe “warts and all.”

To attempt to speak of any weakness-or anything I might consider to be a weakness, or a”wart,” however, seems presumptuous. I considered him superior to me in many ways. He was my precious husband, my leader, my teacher, and my pastor, and dear brother in our one Lord through all the years we were together. He taught me so much! And it is almost with trembling pen that I attempt to describe, when it seems necessary to be faithful, what, in my poor understanding, might be a weakness.

This, then, is the brief story of the life of Winford Jennings Berry, Sr., minister of God, by one who loved him dearly, his unworthy companion in life,

A Brief Biographical Sketch of Winford Jennings Berry, Sr.

By his companion, Mabel Berry

It is a matter of regret that I do not have much information on my dear husband’s ancestry. The earliest information available to me, finds his ancestors in Alabama.

His great grandfather was Elijah Berry, an Old School Baptist minister. I find record of only four children. There may have been more. There were: George (his grandfather), David, John, and James. John was also an Old School Baptist minister. David and James, (his beloved Uncle Jim), were deacons in the same faith.

His grandfather was born in Alabama about 1853, or 1854, and moved to Texas in 1878.

In Deacon David Berry’s obituary, which was published in the Signs of the Times early in this century, written by Elder John R. Havens, who also conducted his funeral, he said, “Brother Berry stood for what he believed to be right in the church. He was useful in his church and worked for the betterment of the general public. The writer had been intimately associated with this dear brother for many years, and I can truthfully say that he was a good man in all his affairs.”

When we were younger, my husband had a pleasant correspondence with Elder George Berry, (the same name as his grandfather) of Fayette, Alabama. We did not then even attempt to learn if there was a relationship, but I feel surely they were from the same family background. Elder John L. Sanders of Tuscaloosa, Alabama has told us that he knew and loved him as his pastor at one time, and cherished his memory. In a letter in 1983, Elder Sanders said of him: “I had the sweet privilege of being in his home, and he in mine. I had sweet fellowship with several of the Berry family in that area. “ I wish that we had learned more about their family when Elder Berry was living and no doubt could have told us, but being younger, and much occupied, it did not have the importance to as it would now have.

Elder John Berry, (Winford’s great uncle) died at the Old Soldier’s Home in Austin, Texas in 1920. No doubt he was a veteran of the Civil War.

Grandfather George Berry was married to Hattie A. (I do not have her maiden name), of Huntsville, Alabama. She was probably born about 1854, before the Civil War. I can arrive at approximate dates from the ages of her children. She had ten children, five dying in infancy. John, Winford’s father, was her oldest child.

She often told me of the hardships and trials of the southern states following the war, which, she, a young woman at the time, remembered well.

George and Hattie were of the Old School Baptist faith, he having been reared in an Old Baptist home. She was brought up in the Methodist faith, and later she also became of the Old School Baptist faith. Both were firm believers in the sovereignty of God, and salvation by grace alone.

Sometime following their marriage they moved from Alabama to Texas, where their children were born, the oldest, John Franklin, being born about 1874.

When John grew to fine young manhood, he met and married Lucy (Holmsley) Bishop Reynolds. She had been twice married, having a son by each marriage when she and John were married. She was an attractive, vivacious woman, and no doubt captivated his young heart. His love for her was great, and when a few years later the marriage was ended, he was almost crushed. He left Texas and went to California in an attempt to forget her and begin a new life. Her manner of life had brought sorrow to her godly family. It had been an unfortunate union for young John.

But God moves in mysterious ways which is often hard for us to understand. For my beloved husband was to be born of this union. Surely, this outcome of the marriage was not unfortunate! But we see often that God brings good from conditions which we cannot see as good.

So we thank Him that on October 10, 1908, Winford Jennings Berry was born to John and Lucy at Coleman, Texas.

A Minister Is Born

I can never doubt my husband’s ministerial calling to be of God. He was early preparing him for a life of service. There could no natural explanation for spiritual exercises in one so young; and that in circumstances under which he lived.

In the providence of God, he was to be delivered from bad influence of his poor mother’s manner of life by her own actions. Because of her lack of love for her little son, and because he was actually a hindrance to her manner of life, she placed him on the train alone, to go to his father in California. He was a kind man, and had not wanted to take their little son from her.

Naturally his little-boy heart was happy to be going to his Daddy, and he was thrilled to be going on the train alone at seven years of age. As I have thought of this episode in his life, my heart has broken a little. I could imagine him on that train. He was a bright, out-going little boy. He would be telling everyone, “I’m going to see my Daddy! He’s in California!” No doubt he thought he was going only for a visit. Perhaps this had been implied so that he would leave his mother willingly. But there were times when a certain unhappiness over-shadowed him. There was a vague knowledge that his mother did not want him. He somehow felt that he was being sent from her because he had been “a bad boy!”

This early rejection of the sensitive little boy was to affect his life increasingly. It would become more painful as the years passed.

As his mother made no subsequent effort to see him, he grew up hardly knowing her. But as an example of his love and loyalty to the mother he loved, he tried to deny to himself her rejection. He has told me that he often fought with his little cousins as they would taunt him: “Your mother’s no good! She don’t want you!” and such cruel things. He would run at them, little arms flailing, “My mother is good too! She’s coming to take me home one of these days!” Their parents no doubt talked of her, not thinking of how much a poor little boy could be hurt by the cruel words of other children.

His father was a good-natured, cheerful man, and he loved his little son very much, and did the best he could to care for him. He was a day laborer, a carpenter, and often must follow employment wherever it could be found over the state. This often made it necessary for the young boy to board with some family. He was careful to place him with good, Christian people. When this was necessary, the little fellow was lonely, longing for his dad’s return. Sometimes, he said he would daydream of Mother coming to take him in her arms. When he saw other’s mother’s affection for their children, it increased his sense of loss. Just maybe, he would think, she would come and live with Daddy again. The he could have a home like other little boys!

Despite these periods of sadness and loneliness, however, he was usually comparatively content. He found many things to enjoy. But there were times, he has told me, when he felt that he did not belong to anyone, nor anywhere. In these periods of sadness, however, he found solace in thinking of God, with a certain love and reverence. This was strange, as he had had no word of God spoken by his mother and her friends, and his father was not for years, a religious man. He has said that as he would look into the beautiful blue sky, he felt awed by the greatness of God. He felt that He was holy and wise and had all power, even at that age. He said his feelings of God’s holiness and greatness had not changed from that early time in his life.

Regularly he prayed to God, confessing his boyish sins. We can see that the Lord was then preparing him for service in His kingdom. When the Lord would prepare one for a life of service, He often removes him from all dependence upon any but Himself. This pathetic life taught him early in life where his dependence must be. In this preparation for the ministry of a life of selfless service, his lonely circumstances acted as the Lord’s “Seminary.”

The early rejection of his mother, and as he grew old enough to better understand that her manner of life separated him from her, created in him feeling of deep inferiority. This characterized him all his life to an exaggerated extent. This sometimes created problems for him in his relations with those he loved. However, we can see that it was, no doubt, God’s way of developing the deep humility, which characterized him all his life. He was the most humble person I have ever known. And this early rejection was no doubt useful in developing his unusual degree of humility. We usually want our children to have a good “self-image,” but perhaps God did not want him, for the work he was to do, to have a too-high self-esteem. We can be very short-sighted in spiritual things!

So, though we might deplore the sad facts of his early life, feeling unhappy because of his sense of inferiority, it was, in the providence of God, to develop the humble minister which his heavenly Father was making of him. Still it always made me sad when in his times of discouragement and despondency that he felt such a magnified sense of inferiority. For he was, by God’s grace, one of this world’s best men.

As he grew to manhood, he felt a certain shame as he knew of his mother’s manner of life. This at times brought him to near-despair and great mental anguish. But after we were married, and he knew the love I had for him, he overcame these painful times to an extent. But as he grew older, and with a severe case of diabetes, which tends to despondency, it would again become a problem to him and to those he loved, when his own sense of inferiority, would tend to cause him to feel unworthy of the love he so much needed.

He was so very grateful for his own home, and he often told me that he was really happy for the first time in his life. He belonged to someone! And for the first time in his life he had a home!

In addition to attempting to overcome this early sense of rejection, his type of ministry was one that sometimes created enmity. For his burden was a searching ministry, pointing out errors and evil practices, admonishing and reproving any evils he might detect. When this happened, it caused him to deeply question whether his calling had been indeed of God. When there seemed to be evidence of rejection of those whose spiritual welfare he sought, it had a serious effect upon his tender, loving disposition. He was kind and emphathetic in his reproofs, and he needed to feel that he had the love and confidence of those whose spiritual welfare he had very much at heart. This sometimes deepened his feelings of inferiority. So many times he expressed to me the possibility that he had “run without being sent!”

But back to his earlier life. In writing of his boyhood when he lived in various homes, he has written:

The lady of the house where I was staying while I attended school, had surgery from which she did not recover. The pastor’s mother came to keep the house, and thus I became closely associated with the pastor and his family. I became active in church work in Sunday School. I painted a coffee can in which to diligently save my pennies for the church. But I became much concerned over my condition before God, and prayed nightly for myself, and for, my parents. No doubt I was considered to be a good boy.

At the age of eleven years I was baptized without making a profession in Christ, or of knowing what I was doing. While there, I came under the observation of a traveling evangelist. Having learned of my life, and knowing that my father was a poor man, he made the proposition to Dad that he would pay for my education, and prepare me to be an evangelist. Of course Dad did not consent. Amusingly I have said that if I had wanted to make money preaching, I had missed the opportunity!

The pastor soon received an offer of a higher salary from a larger church and moved away. This made it necessary for a change for me. As young as I was, I was disappointed in the man whom I had considered to be my pastor. I could not, even then, understand how he could leave his church for financial gain.

Soon after this, Dad and I went to stay with Grandfather and Grandmother. This was the first home I had known with my own people. Though Grandfather did not attempt to teach me religiously, my association with him was most happy. His godly conversation was a savor to me. He read his Bible and some old copies of the Signs of the Times until they were literally worn so as to be hardly readable in places. Through the ages between thirteen and fifteen (when Grandfather died), I went through some peculiar experiences of life. What I experienced enabled me to understand others today who have soul exercises, and yet be able to engage in the normal affairs of life. I enjoyed my school life, and work on the farm with Dad was enjoyable to me. I entertained the usual ambitions of life, yet almost daily I was burdened by a sense of sin, and had a great fear of displeasing God. When I did anything which I felt to be wrong, I begged God to forgive me, with the promise that I would not repeat the offence. But alas, I not only repeated the wrong, but found myself repeating the same prayer and the same promise, until I felt so ashamed before God whom I felt was surely disgusted with me.

With the passing of Grandfather, I experienced the first death in the family. He suffered much in his last hours, and would cry out almost constantly, “Have mercy on me, Thou Son of David!” This impressed me deeply and seemed to bring to my mind the closeness of God to poor mortals. His death also brought to a close my only brief experience of home with my folks. It was now necessary that Grandmother go to other children, and my father and I soon moved to southern California.

I had been finding great comfort in reading Grandfather’s old copies of the Signs of the Times, and was seeking relief from any source I could. On one occasion, I attended a so-called “Holiness” meeting, greatly burdened. I went to what they called the altar; and while there on my knees, one lady asked me if I had “received the Holy Ghost and gotten the victory.” I told her I had not, and she pounded on my back, saying I was just stubborn! Needless to say, I left the place without relief.

On another occasion, while attending a “revival” meeting, I went down the aisle again. A strange thing occurred with me. It seemed that some Power threw me to the floor, and I cried in a loud voice, `Let God be true and every man a liar.’ Later in the meeting I was asked to testify, and I quoted the Scripture, “By grace ye are saved, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” I believed this, but I could see that the preacher was not pleased.

Then attending another church (not yet knowing of the Old School Baptists), not knowing where to go for help in my desperate trouble, one Sunday I took a copy of the Signs of the Times with me which contained an experience I had found to be comforting to me. I asked permission to read it to the class, and the teacher rather indifferently gave permission for me to read it. I did not know that I was casting pearls before swine. The boys and girls began to snicker. I could see that the gospel was neither preached nor wanted in that place and a strange desire came over me to preach the gospel. I finished reading the experience, however, but felt that I was in the wrong place and went there no more.”

At this time he was about sixteen years old.

After he moved with his father to southern California, he entered Venice Polytechnic High School. He did excellent work there and had good instructors. Of one of these he said, “He told us to do right, because it is right”

Recently I came across some of his work which he had done there when he was seventeen years old, and I was amazed at the intricacy and perfection of his drawings.

After his schooling at VPHS, he began working at a small aircraft plant on the coast. Later, when I met him, he was working with Douglas Aircraft Company at Cloverfield, in Santa Monica, doing sheet metal design, and later in drafting and blueprint work in the engineering department.

All this while, and after we were married, he continued his education. We attended classes together at night at Santa Monica Junior College for two years. He later took courses at UCLA to earn his teaching credentials.

At the time of our marriage in 1928, he was providing a home for his father and grandmother. Grandmother had fallen and broken her hip, and having no one to care for her, my mother, always available to the sick and suffering, took her to our home. There she received excellent care until my folks were planning to return to the east. So Winford and I took her to our home the day after our wedding. There we cared for her for eight years.

Now, at twenty years of age, he had the responsibility of a wife, Grandmother, and mostly of his father. The great depression was now over the country and his Dad could find only occasional employment, and he did not manage his finances well, so that he often needed his son’s assistance.

Grandmother was a bed patient the first year of our marriage, and her medical expenses were borne by her grandson. With regret I must say that her four sons and one daughter contributed nothing to her needs or to her care. All of this he bore patiently, and the dear Lord blessed us with all necessities.

He was faithfully applying his best efforts to his work, and steadily advanced in responsibility and salary.

Our first son was born in 1929, adding yet more to his responsibility, and with the coming of the infant, my health became very frail and was so for about twelve years until surgery partially corrected the problems. So, in addition to his already heavy burdens, his young wife was almost constantly in need of medical care. I often wept for him, being so young with so many responsibilities. But never once did he complain, often repeating, “The Lord will provide!” And that He certainly did, not always what one might want naturally, but all that was necessary was certainly provided.

In addition to these natural burdens, he began to be burdened for the ministry. His exercises were deep, and often I heard him groan on his bed.

Before our marriage he had told me that he could not promise me anything except hardship and possibly deprivation, for he was impressed that he would have to serve the Lord in some capacity-he knew not what. He seemed to feel that he would have about two years before this should begin. Those two years were soon passed, and he began to feel he must be about his Father’s business.

At age seventeen, he had been graciously delivered from the bondage of sin and condemnation. He has told me, and others, that as he lay on his bed in anguished prayer, his bed actually shook with the intensity of his prayers. Then, suddenly Christ appeared to his view, hanging on the cross with the blood running down over His body. This broke his heart, as he wept a torrent of tears. But then he was given the blessed assurance that His blood had covered his sins! In all the years of his ministry, this was his sweetest theme, and his most heartfelt message, the atonement of Christ. He was often blessed when he was given liberty to speak on the blood and sacrifice of his precious Savior.

Parenthetically, one of his last sermons, preached from his chair, and in a very weak voice, was: “We have an altar.” The Jewish altar had been done away; now we, the Gentile believers, have an altar. He spoke of the need for that altar-because of SIN; the price of that altar-the life blood of the Son of God; how we should love and praise Him; how we should walk worthy of such a loving, costly Sacrifice, etc.

From his deliverance at seventeen until about twenty-two, he had some respite from his burden of the ministry. But at. This time it seemed that he must try to tell of the mighty works of God to His little children. He was not yet a member of the Old School Baptist Church, but a group was meeting twice a month in our home, with various ministers speaking for us. There was not a church of our faith in the area at that time.

He was corresponding with Eld. G. O. Walker in Oregon. The result of their correspondence was that he came to California and gathered a few brethren and sisters together, and constituted Seclusia Church in our home, with fourteen members. Elder G. O. Walker was our pastor from that time until he died in 1939. Then Elder W. L. Slusher was pastor as long as were in California.

In addition to his burden to preach the gospel by word, he began to feel that he must also begin a publication ministry. It was his burden to publish a periodical devoted to the cause of his Lord and to His people, majoring on contending “for the faith once delivered to the saints.”

Consequently, in Jan., 1932, he began the publication of a monthly magazine called Sovereign Grace. After publishing for less than a year, Elder H. F. Hutchens of North Carolina, editor of The Lone Pilgrim, wrote, telling him that he would have to discontinue publication of that paper. He proposed that Winford should take over his mailing list, and send the Sovereign Grace to his subsribers. This Winford did after prayerful consideration. So that The Lone Pilgrim would not entirely cease to exist, he combined the names, “Sovereign Grace & Pilgrim.” This, of course greatly increased the financial burden, much of which must be supplied from his income.

His hope was to eventually establish a printing plant, but many hardships and trials lay between then and the realization of his hopes.

He was at that time in contact with several printers, as he was having his work done by commercial printers. Consequently, the editor of a small town newspaper in Pacific Palisades, California approached him with the thought of publishing the newspaper. The founder, and original owner had offered to finance a small printing plant so that their paper could be printed in town. This seemed to be an answer to prayer. But Satan seemed for a time to take over.

After the plant had been established and the printing of the newspaper being done, work began on the Old Faith Contender. The contract had been that after their paper was delivered, the remainder of the time was to be spent on our own work, or commercial work to provide a sufficient income.

One night this man came into the office when the Old Faith Contender was on the press, their paper having been previously delivered. He picked up one of the sheets, and growing very angry, said, “You’re not using MY money to publish such `tripe’ as this!”

In 1936 Winford had, in addition to the Sovereign Grace and Pilgrim begun the publication of the Old Faith Contender. The first was to deal more with experimental material, while the Old Faith Contender was to publish doctrinal articles, sermons, etc.

It would require a book to recount the story of this man’s wickedness, but this is not the place to tell of it. Sufficient it is to say that ultimately we gave up the venture. This of course meant that we had no income. He had given up a good position to enter into the arrangement. It was at a time when opportunities for employment were not plentiful. But miraculously we did not experience real want.

It was during this time of severe financial stress that Seclusia called for his ordination to the ministry. For this purpose they met late in 1939. Elders G. O. Walker and W. L. Slusher officiated the meeting, and he was given liberty to preach anywhere God in His providence should call him.

During this time also, he completed his work at UCLA, preparing himself for the teaching profession. After the completion of this work, he was called to teach at Pasadena Junior College in Pasadena. He also conducted classes at California Institute of Technology (Cal-Tech) in Pasadena.

This made it necessary that we rent our newly-built home in Pacific Palisades and move nearer his work. We found a cozy home, set back from the highway, in the beautiful Virdugo Hills section, an acre and a half. Our little “city dudes” called it “our ranch,” and they were very happy there.

At that time life was less demanding for him than it had been before. He was earning a good salary without great stress. He must continue to subsidize the Old Faith Contender, but this was not as great a burden as it had been. We were happy in our little church, and it seemed that things were most pleasant at that time.

Then, like a bolt out of the blue, his health began to rapidly fail. He lost weight alarmingly, and after work with his classes, it was necessary that he retire the rest of the day. He grew rapidly weaker each day. It was evident that he could not long continue to work, so rapid was his decline. His doctor soon discovered that he was suffering from a very severe case of diabetes. He told me that Winford could never be really well, and due to the severity of the onset of the disease, he had a life expectancy of twenty years. This I never told him, and we found the doctor’s prediction untrue, for he lived nearly forty-five years after this. But we soon were able, with heavy insulin injections, to control it, and with great care and many restrictions he spent many busy years and accomplished more than many able-bodied men. He never thought of himself as being a sick man, and worked long hard hours, entirely selfforgetful. This gave his family much anxiety, as we knew he was working beyond his ability many times. But, as one good doctor told me, it could be the lesser of two evils, as his activity would prevent the premature crystallization of the arteries, which is usual for severe diabetics.

Quoting from his account of his exercises at this time, he said in part: “I had been favored with good health, and had just passed the very extensive health test required to become a member of the school system of Los Angeles County. The result had been that I was found to be one hundred percent physically fit. Then I began to lose weight rapidly, and, speaking after the manner of men, I could not have survived many days, but for the merciful provision of insulin. My burdens and responsibilities had not changed, but I found that my habits must be greatly changed....

Perhaps we should not speak of an affliction as a ‘thorn in the flesh.’ However, if we consider Job, we learn that it was Satan who afflicted him with sore boils....

To me, the sorest part of this affliction was the realization that my daily work would need to be more closely regulated than before. But like many before me in similar circumstances, I must labor for my family, and for the sustenance of life, while attempting also to seek the things of the kingdom, which to me was of far greater importance than even food and raiment. I had to learn that after a day of toil for food and raiment, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

I had read the experiences of many of the Lord’s servants, how they labored and struggled for a livelihood while they tried to preach the Word and to serve God’s people. And so I wondered how it was, and how it should be. We know there is neglect of the ministry, and many must toil with little help from those they serve, trying to feed the flock of God. This is displeasing to God. It is equally displeasing to Him for a minister to be a hireling. I had both opportunities, as to my own choice-not considering divine providence, which decreed the path I should tread. The hireling’s gate was opened to me. I must, of course, be first schooled in the wisdom of men. I must learn the methods of conducting great revivals and church gatherings. I must become polished and “winsome.” I should learn to be a good “mixer.” The problem would have been just another “mixer” when the need is for separaters!

A merciful providence led me in another direction. I was thankful to be called in the path of service instead of being served, or to be enriched by a large salary. But now this affliction. How could I continue to spend and be spent? How could I continue to perform the work of two persons? How could I provide for my family and still do the things for which my soul hungered? What soul conflict! 0 Lord, is it now evident that You have not called me to labor in Your vineyard? It is plain that I cannot now do both. And I read in Thy word that he that provides not for his own household is worse than an infidel. Therefore I must do that, and how can I do more with this weakened body? These are some of the thoughts that began to run through my mind, and have continued to this day.”

Truly it was a time of distress for both of us. His kind, sympathetic doctor told me what I never told him, that at age thirty-three, his life expectancy was twenty years. With good control. His condition, without careful control could mean that he was only a half dozen days from death at any time. I was to find this to be true thirteen years later. While traveling across country, he was having meetings as we went, and finding it hard to properly care for himself, and he became out of control, quickly developing acidosis, and lapsed into a coma. He must be taken into emergency at Hendricks Memorial Hospital in Abilene, Texas. The good doctor who attended him, gave me little hope of his recovery that night. Another man, in the same condition that night at that hospital, did not recover. But the dear Lord was not ready for his ministry to come to a close, and almost miraculously he recovered. Again I could see God’s blessings upon him, his family and God’s little ones, to whom he must yet minister.

At the time he was stricken, I must, with shame, confess that I was not reconciled. And I learned that no trial can be so bitter as not being reconciled to it. I remained in this hard, bitter condition for several days. Time came for our meeting, and dear ones from a distance were spending the week-end with us. Our pastor was present, and after the evening meal, we began to sing a few hymns. Someone selected “How firm a Foundation,” and I felt irritable.”We sing that so often,” I complained to myself. But I began to try to help with the singing. When we came to the words:

In every condition, in sickness, in health,
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth,
At home, or abroad, on land or on sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress. “

I could not sing the words, but whispered the precious promises with trembling lips and through flowing tears. The ice in my heart was melted, and I could again feel the presence of my precious Lord, and kiss the gracious hand that chastened me.

Truly, He has sanctified every distress! In His wisdom, He does not allow us to see into the future. Mercifully He draws the curtain upon future trials, which, weak as we are, would cause our hearts to faint.

My dear one spoke of his exercises of his affliction, of not then being able to work as formerly. But amazingly he did. He was completely self-forgetful, not considering his limitations, not actually admitting to himself that he had any health problem. His zeal for his Lord’s service, in addition to his deeply-felt need to provide for his family, were his concern. If by some plans not being successful we were brought into hardship, he would blame himself severely. He labored long day-time hours in his publication work, then often at his desk working on Editorial work, or correspondence until midnight or at times into the wee hours of morning.

A Change of Surroundings

In March of 1942, my dear father died suddenly in West Virginia. Following his death, we came east to take Mother to be with us in California. We had not the least thought of ever leaving California. We were, it seemed to us, ideally situated. His work was pleasant, and his salary adequate. He still must subsidize the Old Faith Contender from his own income, but it was not the struggle it had been. But while we were in the east , several of the brethren encouraged him to move the paper to the southeast. It did seem to make sense, as the greater portion of the subscribers were in the southeastern states. We discussed it often during that year, and earnestly prayed for the Lord’s leading. We were both finally convinced by several occurrences that it was God’s will that we make the change. But oh, the heart-rendings we felt! The day we left our little church for the last time, as one sister said, was “like a funeral.” It was truly a heart-breaking day. Everyone present wept aloud. Our dear old pastor held us in his embrace weeping. We were never to see his dear face again, though several of the other members have visited us from time to time. Now, not all who attended there are gone, but all the members are with their dear Lord. We were the “children” and the only ones of the original membership left -That is at this time, since our dear one has gone, I am alone left to remember those precious early years of Seclusia Church.

In July 1944, we arrived in North Carolina. At that time he was thirty-six years old. We were lovingly taken to the hearts of many of God’s dear saints. At that time there were many of God’s dear soldiers of the cross, who have. Since been called home, and not many of their stature to replace them.

His ministry was generally well received, and he traveled extensively attending many churches and associations. There had been divisions in the past, but at that time there was good fellowship among the churches and associations. We felt we were greatly blessed to meet many of God’s people.

But Satan, as is his character, was “walking up and down, seeking whom he could devour.” And one could see the evidence of his evil work beginning to take root. We cannot point a finger at any person and call him a wolf, but we know that where God’s sheep are scattered, there is a wolf around somewhere.

Years before we came to North Carolina there had been a rather wide-spread division among the churches and associations. However, the church of our former membership had no part in it, and knew very little about it. And it had not seemed to involve the few Old School Baptists who were, at that time, in the western states. So we had in no way been affected by the division.

The division had been between those who maintained the doctrine long believed and preached by the Old School Baptists: The absolute sovereignty of God, and His control over all events, large or small; that no event could occur outside of His divine decrees; that salvation is by the grace of God alone, for both time and eternity. The opposing group believed that eternal salvation is by grace alone, but we are responsible for our “time salvation.” By our good works we obligate God to bless us. To the contrary, the believers in God’s control over all things and events believe good works to be the effect rather than the cause of God’s blessings.

The division had been a sad thing, for the final separation left many families divided and sweet fellowship severed. In many cases, they did not even know why they should be thus separated. No division is good. All truth is not on one side or the other-And there is wrong on each side.

This sad division, however, was in the past, and there was good fellowship among the churches and associations. But there were a few men who began to revive the old coals, and to nourish the shreds of the old division. These men perverted the precious doctrine of God’s sovereign control over all things to the extent that it removed the guilt of sin, no matter how shameful it might be. They preached in such a manner as to encourage licentiousness, and an ungodly life, which, sad to say was apparent in some cases. There were those in Paul’s day who would have declared such doctrine, to which Paul uttered his vehement “God forbid!”

With this in the background, we can see that when one was burdened to preach a doctrine “according to godliness,” as my husband and others were, it would incur the enmity of those who perverted the doctrine of God’s sovereign decrees to the ridiculous extreme that it led to licentiousness. These men condemned the very use of the words, “admonish,” and “exhortation.” Thus they would disqualify the apostles Paul, James and others for their admonishing to good works. Of course such men opposed my dear one because he often was given to admonish us to walk worthy of the calling of the Lord. His was a balanced doctrine, of God’s absolute sovereignty and man’s responsibility. And so these men often made the pulpit a warring forum for carnal strife.

Like a fire beginning in one spot rapidly spread to a great conflagration, so these men spread the dissension wherever they went. They brought their carnal battle into the associations, and once a matter is taken notice of by an association, and the association takes sides in the matter, the expression “spread like wild fire,” describes the condition.

Ultimately the confusion resulted in yet another sad division, -and another, and another-, so that little fellowship now remains among the churches.

As we traveled among the churches and associations my dear one, seeing these evils, grew increasingly heavy-hearted. The things he saw brought to light a great evil. That is, association rule over the churches. He could see how a few men, promoting false doctrine, and by the use of the associational system, could destroy the peace among God’s people. Associations were begun by godly men with pure intentions, to encourage fellowship among the churches. They came together for the purpose of worshipping God. But in time, by the influence of self-promoting men they became a higher court over the churches. Grievances were taken to an unscriptural organization, which wrongfully assumed that position. The church, the highest ecclesiastical authority, was now being usurped by a creature of its own formation. Thus, though begun to promote fellowship, they were used to destroy fellowship by the many “non-fellowship” resolutions. As my husband saw the havoc this was working, he constantly warned, by tongue and pen, against a system that would eventually destroy the peace. This has now about been accomplished. It was his burden, to which he remained faithful, to call us back to the heritage , of which there were many who boasted. But as they were warned of their departures, they verily thought he was preaching “some new doctrine.” There had been such a departure that the heritage of which they boasted seemed new to them! He wrote several able editorials in the Old Faith Contender, warning of these errors. One of these was “The Chain Business,” in which he described how any problem that was taken to an association, as they are now operated, was like an evil chain. It could carry a small disturbance in some little remote church into wide-spread areas where it should not have gone, and among brethren who knew nothing of the local problem.

Another was “The Churches in Bondage,” which showed how the churches are forced to submit to the rule of an association on pain of being “cut off,” in a matter that concerned only that church.

Another Editorial was, “We have Destroyed Ourselves!”. Its title tells the story. And then his “Whole Estate.” I do not believe there could be written an article as brief as this, which could more fully describe his feelings, and his sadness over the conditions he had seen; nor could the sad condition be more fully described. He, with heart-felt yearning, could see how we should live with our dear brethren and sisters in the Lord. Of course, there were some who misunderstood his faithful warnings. This was another cause for enmity in some. He was often sad when being misunderstood, for he desired the love of his brethren. He often said sadly, “Not one man has ever come to me, and in love, attempted to show me where I might be wrong.” He was amenable to his brethren, and was willing at all times to be corrected, if it could be done by the word of God. But he was often consoled, when he knew of anyone’s enmity, by feeling that he had only tried to be faithful to his burden which God had placed upon him. There are now many who understand better the burden of his warnings. Several dear brethren and sisters have communicated this to me. And we see a growing desire to restore the peace which has been destroyed by an over-lording system. This would be an encouragement to him, if he were still struggling here. But his faithful labors have ceased, and his dear heart is no longer saddened by fleshly strife.

The good effect of a true and faithful minister of God cannot be minimized.

The Primitive Baptist Publishing House Shortly after coming east, he bought an old school house. It had been Gilliam’s Academy, when there were no free high schools in the area. When these became available there was no longer need for the Academy, and so the school had been abandoned. When he bought it, it had been partially converted to a dwelling house. Little had been done however, to make the needed changes for a convenient and comfortable home. It was merely a large frame building without conveniences. It needed to be completely converted to a home and much improvement and changes were necessary. He began the modernization, which, after his publication duties, required years of his labor. In his leisure (?) hours, he finally turned it into a comfortable, convenient, and attractive home. It has been a gathering place for the dear children of God. We have been richly blessed by visits of dear ones from many states, for an hour, a day, or a week to “bide-a-wee” with us. We had the sweet privilege-and responsibility- of having Sister Florence (Beebe) Bellows with for a period of twenty-two years. My husband made the necessary changes for her to have a cozy little apartment where she could have the privacy she liked. She was appreciative and was very devoted to him, as to all the family. She often expressed the thought that “God had given us to her.” It was mutual.

One brother called the place, “The Old Baptist Roadhouse.” We have been blessed by the presence of many of God’s humble saints.

For a time, before his improvements were begun, he used one end of the house for a printing shop. Here he produced, with linotype and one small press, the Old Faith Contender until 1950.

In our early years he had begun collecting good, sound, doctrinal books from any source he could obtain them. His collection had grown so that more space was needed for them. He was also collecting associational minutes, and other historical records of our churches he could locate. Many times he learned of many records being destroyed by relatives who did not understand their historical value. So his collection was in cartons and unorganized. He began to see the need of a separate building in which to keep these materials and books in safety; and where the material could be classified and made accessible to any who needed the information they contained.

After discussing the need with several brethren who were very much interested in such a project, he contributed a building site and deeded it to the Old School Baptists, to be held in trust by brethren of our faith. Funds began to be collected, and in 1950, an attractive brick building was completed. Space was provided in the building for the publication of the Old Faith Contender. In consideration of this space, he would care for the Library and grounds, and organize and catalog the books and historical material collected. Thus began the Primitive Baptist Publishing House and Library.

Some might not have considered him a shrewd business man. Was this, perhaps, one of his “warts?” He was entirely without any desire to work for financial gain to himself. He would readily have agreed that he was not a good business man, as the world judges a business man. He was always looking for any way he could find that would be to the advantage of the other person-who, in his case, was usually a brother in Christ. We have heard the phrase, in these matters, “I’m not here for my health! “ when demanding more financial benefit. But his motto was, “I’m not here to get rich!” If one should suggest that he did not charge enough for a service, those dark eyes would seem to grow darker as he bore one through, exclaiming, “I’m not here to get rich, you know!” Another version of his policy was, “I can’t afford to make a profit!” This, of course, was said in a light vein. Could impracticability be one of his “warts?” I honestly do not know. I do know that his policy made it necessary that he work too hard to earn enough to meet his obligations. This at times, gave me concern. I was not there for the purpose of becoming rich either, but I sometimes wished he did not need to work as hard as he did.

On the other hand, this policy enabled him to build a reputation as an honest, sincere man who would not take the least advantage of another. He knew that his welfare was first considered in any transaction.

Along with this characteristic-we will not definitely label it “wart” - he was naïve. He trusted everyone. In any case, this weakness, “wart,” or virtue, or whatever it might be judged, sometimes brought him into financial difficulty. At such times, the disillusionment hurt him more than the financial loss. There was one unscrupulous man who pretended to be a true believer, who caused him to lose $3,000.00. To console me, he said, “Well Honey, we should pray for him!”

Upon this policy the Primitive Baptist Publishing House was established and was reasonably successful. His business increased until by 1960, it was necessary that he erect a larger plant and install more equipment, and have more help to take care of the increasing volume of printing. He printed the associational minutes for over one hundred associations. Also he published several books for various authors. He re-printed several old books, which had long been out of print. Numerous pamphlets and choice leaflets were published and distributed freely. In addition, he printed for other editors several periodicals: The Christian Pathway, The Advocate and Messenger, The Gospel Appeal, and for a brief period, until the editors could contact a more permanent printer, the Signs of the Times. For about four years he undertook the publication and printing of a periodical for the black Primitive Baptists, called The Primitive Messenger. There were several of the black brethren who were greatly interested and helped. But there was not enough support to justify its continuance.

One incident I must give of him as a salesman: A brother minister was selecting a fairly good order of books. As I worked at the desk, I would hear Winford say, “That one is $2.00,” or perhaps it would be $3.00. I was rather amused, as taking care of the payment of invoices I knew the invoice charge to be more than he was charging. The good brother soon saw what Winford was doing, and not wanting to take advantage of his generosity, said jokingly, “You go on about your work! I will do business with Sister Berry!” I answered, “This is his chief joy, and if the books were not paid for I might be a bit anxious, but everything in the house is paid for!” That dear man made his check for a generous amount, covering abundantly the cost of the books. Thus we see that by being unselfish and generous, one does not always lose, even financially.

The Decease of the Old Faith Contender At the end of 1980, with sorrow we finally put the Old Faith Contender to bed. It had been his reason for being for nearly a half century. The day we decided, that finally, he could not produce it any longer, we spoke of it seeming almost like burying a dear child we loved. He had been, and I with him, through so many struggles, and discouragements for its publication. And now it had attained to the quality and circulation he had envisioned. It seemed it must be discontinued just when it could have been most profitable in every way. But his vision, as well as his general health, had failed until it required all the efforts of his faithful being, all his bodily strength and more to produce an issue. One of the problems of diabetes is loss, or near loss, of eyesight. And many times it was necessary that he call someone to the press as he tried to achieve even ink distribution, to see, for him, if the printing was clear. To him it appeared only a grey blur.

Being ordained to the ministry, he served his home church, Country Line, over forty years. Several others as pastor, or supply pastor for shorter periods. Healthy Plains about eleven years, I believe, Pleasant Grove from 1944 for seven or eight years. As supply for: Aycock’s, Rock Hill, Kehukee, and others for a few months. He really felt it scriptural to serve only one church. He felt to be a real pastor should require too much of a minister’s time if he should attempt to serve several churches. He felt that this was, as one of the older ministers said, a “transient pastor.” So when a church greatly needed a pastor, he would sometimes agree to do the best he could until they could obtain a real pastor.

The first sermon he preached I well remember. His text was Isa 26:6: “And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make known unto all people a feast of fat things, full of marrow, of wine on the lees, well refined.”

I was in deep heartfelt prayer for him that day, as I have been through fifty years of listening to his sermons, that the Lord would bless his ministry. His last sermon was preached in February, 1986, nine days before the Lord took him to Himself. His subject that day was, ‘.`We have an altar” A brief outline of this sermon was given earlier in these pages.

Worn with labor, travel and affliction, with heart saddened over the divided condition of those he loved, and for whom he had spent his life, he retired from travel a few years ago. Often when we sang the hymn, “O Land of Rest,” he sang with deep feeling and sometimes through tears.

0 Land of rest, for thee I sigh,
When shall the moment come,
When I shall lay my armor by,
And dwell with Christ at Home?

I should at once have quit the field,
Where foes and fury roam,
But ah, my passport was not sealed,
I could not yet go home.”

One night a few weeks before his departure, he was suffering with severe insulin reaction. In his later years it became hard to regulate his dosage. At these times, naturally, his mind was very much confused. This night he tried very hard to tell me something, but he could only repeat two or three words over and over. It greatly disturbed him and he could not think of what he tried so hard to tell me. Knowing that what I had given him would soon take effect, I told him to wait a few minutes, and then he could tell me. This seemed to quiet him, and he fell asleep for a few minutes. Then arousing, he turned to me and said with great emotion, “But what must it be to be there!” I felt that surely he had experienced a view of the blessed Land of Rest.

And now that time for which he had sighed drew near. On Sunday, February 9, 1986, he worked at his desk almost all day, though not feeling well. His correspondence was behind, and at my offer to help him with it, he said, “No, you have enough to do! I’ll get at it tomorrow, God willing, and get it caught up.” But the dear Lord in His wisdom and mercy was not willing-he had labored long enough. About four in the afternoon, he began to have chest pain. This was not unusual, as he often suffered pain when he exerted himself in any way. Later in the night he became nauseated. My pleas to allow me to call the doctor were vain. He knew that the doctor would want him to enter the hospital, and he had wanted him to two weeks before. He was hesitant, as he thought I would be driving back and forth, and be alone. But early in the morning of February 10, I called the doctor without asking him. He told me, “I’ll meet you in the emergency room!” Winford did not resist longer, but meekly cooperated as we prepared him to go. We left with him leaning heavily on the strong arms of our youngest son, Glen. He was in the Intensive Care Unit just four hours when, with a quick glance upward, he took his flight to that blessed Land of Rest.

What can we say except, “The Lord has given, and He has taken away, blessed be His holy name! But we weep as we try to say from aching hearts, “Thy will, dear Lord be done!” He is resting in the arms of Infinite Love, and his works will follow him. “They shall rest from their labors and their works shall follow them.”

The Weeping Prophet

As I look back over the spiritual and deep soul exercises and labors in the ministry of my precious husband, I am often reminded of Jeremiah. The verses below were written at a time when I saw him being misunderstood and sometimes misrepresented. I can say truly of him, he was a weeping prophet.

Is there here a weeping prophet
Sighing for the church of God,
In her days of sad declension,
Who in wanton ways has trod?

Is there one like Jeremiah
Whose lamenting, bitter tears,
And whose warnings, pleadings, sighings,
Come down to us o’er the years?

Is there yet a faithful prophet,
Fen though hated by the throng,
Who will, faithful to his calling,
Cry unto her all day long?

Do we hear the sound of weeping
O’er her sadly fallen plight?
Is there groaning, sighing, praying
Rising for her day and night?

Do we hear poor sinners mourning,
Like the lonely turtle dove,
Yearning for her Lord departed,
Sighing for her early love?

Blessed is the sound of mourning
In these latter, sin-filled years:
Blessed is the sound of weeping,
Oh, may we be bathed in tears!

In the prophecy of Ezekiel we read, “And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed in linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; and the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” Eze 9:3,

Since I have mentioned my dear husband’s warning of the evils he saw in the associations over-lording the churches, I feel it may be well to give here his Editorial which was published in August 1957 issue of the Old Faith Contender, and again, by special request in 1969. It has also been printed in leaflet form, and by other periodicals

The Whole Estate

It has been my desire for several years to visit among the Lord’s people. However, so many divisions have taken place, that many of us seem to be unable to follow the present factional church orders. What apparently was originally one piece of property has been divided into many different fields, with fences running in all directions. In fact, there have been so many fences put up, and plots staked off, that the entire property has been become a confused maze of fences, bars, gates and by-paths, and exits.

We had read about some of the old property disputes, and heard rather heated discussions over certain landmarks and established corners. The more we read, and the longer we listened to the various and sundry disputants for property rights, the less we seemed to understand. In fact it appeared from the general attitude of all parties concerned, that the original Grantor of the property was about to disfranchise the entire estate, and order all the holders to evacuate (Ro 11:25). He seemed to be quite displeased over the run-down state of the property, and the manner in which it had been cut up with so many wire fences interlaced and hopelessly snarled.

Most of these landholders called their particular plot by the name of the “original” estate. Some did seem to have some likeness to it; and I thought, What a shame that they should be thus evacuated. But when I began to examine the conditions more closely, I could not blame the Land-Owner for His displeasure and His decision to dispossess them. For He had indeed only loaned them this wonderful estate while they should continue in His mercy, and keep it one unit, and thus provide a resting-place for any traveler He might send there. (Ro 11:22; Eph 4:3). But they had ignored this agreement and had begun to war among themselves, and finally to set up various barricades and walls until the entire estate is covered with barbed fences, and heavily guarded walls in place of the one peaceful, green pasture and still waters. Eze 34:21; Ps 23).

I observed that some of the disputants seemed to be more contentious than others, not willing to be friends with the adjoining land-holder, nor to allow any trespassing whatsoever, even to get a drink of cool water, for it seemed that some of the plots had no streams at all. Some of the disputants admitted that they had abused the property, and had not kept the agreement, but could do nothing about it now, that so many fences had been put up. Others seemed honest in their understanding that the fences had been there all the time! In fact they pointed these fences out to me as the “original landmarks” established by the Landlord Himself! Still others knew what the original estate looked like, but were too wicked and stubborn to confess it, choosing rather to continue the long-standing feuds. They seemed to be satisfied, that if they could not rule the entire estate, they would dominate a part of it.

I over-heard some talking about a certain boundary fence, suggesting that it should be taken down. One remarked that he did not know why it was ever put there at all, and now that the posts were rotted, it ought to be removed. A more belligerent land-owner, standing by, spoke up and said they’d better leave the fence there, for although it was rotten, if it were taken down, another neighbor might have the same thought and remove his, and so on, until there would be no fences, and that would be bad! This objector had, of course, forgotten that the Landlord had built a good wall around the entire estate, with proper gates for egress and ingress (Isa 26:1).

This estate seemed still to be a wonderful piece of property, and the occupants also seemed to think so; but in its present dilapidated condition, none of the landholders seemed to be happy, or to be completely enjoying its many wonderful features.

I noticed that some of the more hard-hearted disputants held certain choice spots of the property, and were in command of the main gates and roads leading to the valleys and streams. Although they did not enjoy these pleasant places themselves, they refused passage of those who would (Matthew, 23:13; 3Jo 10).

Well as I began to say-before my mind thus went a-field-I had a desire to walk over this entire estate, and view it for myself, and to see, too, if there might not be a few things “ready to die” that might be “strengthened” (Re 3:2). However, having looked more closely into the “will,” and seeing the unmistakable displeasure of the Landlord, I have the strong impression that His purpose is to leave it desolate as He did the first estate when He went into a distant country and those left in charge began to beat the servants and to eat and drink and live riotously until He came and drove every one of them from the house. (Mt 23:38; Ro 11:21; Re 2:5).

So my precious brethren and friends, if you should see me walking around this estate in question, be assured that it is as a friend, who has, for thirty-seven (now fifty) years been intensely interested in its welfare. I hasten to explain that I am not at all interested in any particular plot or boundary now existing, nor have I any desire or purpose to take part in, or aid in the old boundary disputes. I am interested in THE WHOLE ESTATE.

If you love our Master who is the Owner and Disposer of this estate, I love you, and would like to meet you, and if you wish, we could talk a little about the whole estate, its original landmarks, and most of all, about the Landlord Himself.

Yours in our one Lord and Master, -W. J. Berry August, 1957.

The Love of God

The Essential Governing Principle

The true deep, enduring LOVE OF GOD is the first essential to a godly behavior.

The second essential is MEN, -that is, spiritual men, adults grown to maturity (1Co 16:13) in love, charity, patience, discernment, wisdom, understanding, courage, and whatever the gifts and graces necessary to “live together.” MEN who are able to work out the many difficult problems that arise in the community or assembly of believers. These problems are anything from petty misunderstandings to gross immortality and “damnable heresies.” (2Pe 2:1). You name it;-there should be absolutely no problem to arise among the saints that cannot be resolved in a God-honoring way, -provided there is love and MEN, and these men “ye that are spiritual.” (Ga 6:1). This we do not now have. Here is where we are coming short. When a few members of the “One Body” of Christ fall out and “withdraw” from each other, NEVER solves a problem but only makes bad matters worse. One faction says, “We are sound and standing for the true apostolic order,” etc., etc.; the other, and the next, and the next, say the same thing. Paul tells us who, of all these factions, and independent religious orders-which of them are “orderly”. Paul says, You are ALL “carnal.” None of you are “in order.” In other words, the very fact that you preach and teach that there is only One Body, One Church, One Faith, yet you are completely divided among yourselves, -ought to be evidence that NONE of us are right, nor are we following the law of Christ. Hold it up and look at it from any angle you wish,- I, Paul, say to you that Christ is NOT and CANNOT be so divided. (1Co 1:13).

The one body of Christ cannot be so divided, any more than you can take a natural human body, cut off an arm and throw it over there, cut off a leg and put it here, the torso there, the feet, the toes and fingers scattered over the landscape (which has literally taken place in history) -then stand up and declare, “Here is the one body!” No indeed. It is NOT so. But that is precisely the present condition of professing churches and individuals professing to be “ Christians, “ followers of the ONE Head and the ONE Redeemer today. They vainly, presumptuously, but ignorantly think and speak of themselves as being a true, complete, living body of Christ in the earth. IT JUST IS NOT TRUE! At best they are only disconnected parts of that Body.

Have “the gates of hell” prevailed against the one true church, or redeemed family of God? Certainly not! This is not the description of THAT BODY, but rather of what sinful men and women think of as the “church of Christ.” Rather is it MAN’S doing from start to finish. It is not the work of the Holy Spirit of the One God and Father, but of the “carnal,” human, depraved nature, with the help of Satan “beguiling unstable souls,” unstable men and women, who do not possess enough love of God and spirituality in their bosoms to “lay down their lives” for the brethren in Christ. It is the product of human frailty, ignorance, tradition, lust, arrogance, jealousy, pride, and all the other ugly characteristics of the carnal nature in men and women. Many of these men and women are reprobate, total strangers to the graces of the Spirit of Christ; but let us never forget that these same fruits of the old carnal man are not eradicated or removed in the new birth -even in the true saints of God. That the old nature remains with the “divine nature” implanted is self-evident, and as all history declares with groaning shame!

What then is our state? And what is the answer? First, we must understand that our One Lord and Redeemer, the great Head of the “One Body,” the Lord Jesus Christ, never purposed and did not set up another religious organization or institution, held together and perpetuated by any tangible, human means of succession. What, then, did He set up? He sat up in the hearts of men and women, His kingdom, united, held and bound together ALONE by the “cords of His love,” called a “new and living way.” (Heb 10:20). He did not say, “When you are properly organized into a church body, having thus and thus, and so on,” but He said, “by THIS”-this what? “By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, that you have love one for another.” That is the one essential mark our Master and Redeemer Himself tells us is the unerring, infallible, absolute identification that we belong to Him, that we have been taught by Him, that we are His children, that we are true Christians. There are of course all the other fruits and graces that “accompany” this one essential, implanted principle,-but remember without this one basic, living, eternal, vital principle, or religion, our sound doctrine, or so-called order, together with all our so-called Christian work,-are but a blasphemous mockery of the meek Lamb of God and His holy, divine and never-failing principles. (1Co 13:1) Does this truth-and it is the undeniable truth of God, of Christ and His apostles,-does it mean that His body, the saints, the church or assembly, the congregation or living witnesses, are not “Visible” in the earth and TO the whole world? Such a question is really absurd. Was Christ “visible” to the world when He was shamefully “lifted up” to hang as a spectacle to all the world? Were His apostles and followers visible when- without all our present clap-trap, play-house religion-they “turned the world upside down,” by their literal, visible, tangible, Christian lives? Were the martyrs of all ages “visible” who “lived together,” walked, preached and practiced these same vital principles in the face of and by a persecuting, Christ-hating world of “wolves” (Lu 10:3)? And then you ask where and what is the church! No unregenerate human eye has or ever will see it in its mystery and in its beauty; however that heathen, unbelieving Roman soldier, who served as the hatchet man for this world system-this man saw SOMETHING,-namely, “the fruits.” After he had turned the wild beasts loose to devour “these Christians” who did no harm, but always good to “all men”-when he saw them huddled together while awaiting their natural end, praying with and for each other, not cursing but blessing and praying for the very people who were murdering them by the thousands, -this unbelieving, hardened Roman soldier looked on and proclaimed those immortal words, “Behold! How these Christians love one another!” A visible, living body? Indeed! The whole of Christendom today and that includes any and all religions, orders, institutions of any type or nature-that ignores the above principle of our One Head, and substitutes any other device or means to identify itself as “My disciples,” are NOT that visible body.

This principle, being divinely infinite, could be expanded into volumes, “which the world could not contain.” (Joh 21:25), but the multiplying of mere words has never and will never convince one soul until that soul is touched by the “Master’s hand,” and by the Holy Spirit, to implant deeply, the divine nature and Spirit of God Himself, -of whom the apostle John said, “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him... and everyone that loveth Him that begot, loveth him also that is begotten of Him.” (1Jo 4:16; 5:10)

All who profess His name must come to understand that this is the first and indispensable principle that MUST characterize all those who name the name of Jesus Christ, and who make any pretense to any degree of being His disciples.

An Urgent Appeal to the Ministry

An Editorial in the Old Faith Contender, April, 1960

How thankful we should be that in the true Church of God, and among the true followers of Christ, there are no high dignitaries through whom we must come to God, or to appeal to His ministers. This is the privilege of everyone in His kingdom though he may consider himself or herself to be the “least” one. In the affairs of men, the voice of the common people is of little importance; only the pronouncements of their political leaders are esteemed of value. But in the kingdom of our Lord it is not so. Knowing this to be the truth, we are encouraged to make the following appeal to the entire ministry who profess to preach the gospel of the Son of God, salvation by grace, and the perseverance of the saints to glory. While this appeal comes by one feeble soul, we trust and believe it is from many crying hearts. We know it is made in the fear of God and out of love for His people and His cause in the earth. It is based on one great command of our Master, that as He has loved us, so we ought to love one another; as He laid down His life for us, so we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

We make this appeal directly and chiefly to the ministry, because in all ages under God, the ministry has been held responsible for the spiritual welfare of God’s children. By spiritual welfare we of course, do not mean the generation of their spiritual life, but instruction and encouragement of their spiritual life, in its every-day manifestation before men. “That you may know how to behave yourself in the house of God. “ (1Ti 3:15). Also that they should contend for the faith once delivered to the saints, of the “doctrine according to godliness.” (1Ti 6:3).

This burden and trust (1Th 2:4), has been given to God’s ministry, not because they-as men-are better or wiser than others of God’s children, because they are not; neither is it because God is not able to do without them. The reason is simply because it is God’s ordained order for His house. Every true, God-called servant knows this. Regardless of how far short he feels to come in his stewardship, he knows something of God’s claims upon him as a ministering servant. He may not admit, or he may attempt to excuse himself and his neglect, but deep down in his heart he knows. Only the false minister whom God has not sent, will justify himself and deny this trust.

There are so many things confronting the true minister of Christ today. There are many good things covered up, many evil and wrong things substituted for the good things; we have become weak and carnally minded. “The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one from another.” (Ne 4:19). But may God enable us to consider just a few of the chief weaknesses, and wherein there MUST be a reform and turning, if there is to continue any true worship within our present framework. If this statement seems far-fetched, we suggest you reserve your final opinion until all things are fairly and honestly considered.

Our Master tells us that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Oh yes, His true church will stand, but this may not mean OUR house. The apostle said, If you fight and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another, and Jesus did not say that house MIGHT fall, but that it CANNOT stand. Do we believe Him? The walls of OUR house have been crumbling for some time now, and God knows whether they are beyond repair; but we know that unless the crumbling ceases soon, and the necessary repairs are made, what remains will be anything but God-honoring. The great question facing the ministry as well as all the dwellers in this house is: Am I willing to make the sacrifice that just might save it-if God will?

We begin our appeal to the ministry for a greater manifestation of the love of God (1Pe 1:22), among them. Every virtue and all right doing must be positively and definitely manifest in the ministry first, before having its effect on those who hear them. By a practical manifestation of love, we do not mean love in “word only.” It is a very unbecoming thing for those professing to be God’s children to talk about love, while they hate and devour one another. Sermons may be preached on love, but it is hollow mockery if the ministry which preaches love, does not manifest the fruits of that love.

The ministry today is NOT united in the love of Christ. We mean the ministry in any given order of faction -regardless of your selection-you do not find them “as one man,” bound together like David and Jonathan, with the cords of that love that is stronger than death. We do not say there are not two souls here .and there with that kind of love; but you do not find that kind of love flowing in the ministry. They are not close enough to each other to freely discuss and face common problems with each other. They cannot study and hold constructive converse on important spiritual matters, with a common interest. This “ought not to be.”

Love works no ill to his neighbor.” That this love is sadly lacking in many among the ministry today is evident by the fruits of jealousy. Jealousy committed the first murder, and it has been the source of much evil and sorrow in the world, but in no place is it more hideous and destructive than in the ministry. No one can have love and jealousy in the heart at the same time.

Jealousy produces hate, and hate is murder, and God says if a man hates his brother, how dwells the love of God in him? And he who hates his brother is a murderer. This is indeed a very serious declaration; but to be guilty of it is far more serious. This kind of hate and jealousy is very much in evidence today in the ministry.

To make a general appeal is worthless. Each one of us must take it all to heart as though we were personally guilty of the whole. You may not hate your brother, but are you sure you are not following a course and attitude dictated by hate and evil? We must be very honest about this very serious matter, and not be too hasty to say with the lips that we love, when we perform or join with those who daily perform the acts of hate and destruction. This is done in so many ways, too numerous to mention. But we may cover many things being done, by asking if the love of God in the breast of a saved sinner will cause him to knowingly and persistently say anything or do anything that will hurt another, regardless of how bad or wrong that other person may be? Will the love of God cause one to gossip and carry malicious tales about another?

We appeal to the ministry to begin at once, by the grace of God, to improve the present condition. First, those of you who may be guilty yourselves of hate, bitterness, gossiping and evil communication, cease from it NOW. Let all of us not only cease to engage in such things ourselves, but publicly, in love, reprove all such things among our hearers, not one time, but repeatedly insist upon it. We are commanded to even rebuke some publicly.

The ministry today unconsciously seeks to please men rather than God. This indicates only one thing, namely, they fear men more than they fear God. There is no other answer. If we fear God, and know what is true and right, we will speak it and stand by it, regardless of consequences. God’s children who have God’s fear in their hearts, will not be offended when thus reproved. They want that reproof. Just one kind but firm reproof may heal breaches and save relationships.

We appeal to the ministry to use the word of God as your only authority for what you preach and practice, and cease to follow the endless and shameful rules and traditions of men. If God has called you to preach His gospel and to suffer for the truth, you are not the servants of men. If you continue to preach and practice that which you know is contrary to right and truth, the evidence is that God has not called you. The true minister ought to obey God rather than men. You may sincerely believe you are not following men. In fact, the majority in the ministry today will deny that they fear men, or that they are following ungodly traditions. Either you have been tutored in it, and sincerely think you do God service, or you know the truth, but fear to walk in it. In either case, we appeal to you for the sake of the holy cause you profess, to either renounce your profession as a minister, or be faithful to your Master, and to your own convictions. It does not take a wise man to see it; any God-taught, God-fearing, discerning child can see that there are men ordained in the ministry today whom God did not call to preach His gospel, because they do not preach it, and they do not live it. And no man can walk as a true minister without the unadulterated love of God in his heart.

We appeal to those who have been in the ministry for a number of years. “We have not many fathers.” (1Co 4:15). The older ministers formerly instructed and counseled the younger ones, which bore fruit in those who heeded. It is regrettable to observe a great neglect of the older ministers to give loving and fatherly instruction to the younger ministers. We see today the bad fruits of this neglect. Much of the advice that is given is wrong and often given in a dictatorial spirit. We appeal to you older brethren to be more faithful with those being ordained or recently ordained, that in patience and love you may admonish and instruct them as Paul instructed his son in the Ministry, Timothy; not with the traditions of men, but the traditions or teachings of the apostles. Do not allow them to ignorantly continue in a teaching or practice you know to be wrong, without at least making some effort to convert them from their error, and then be slow to disown them, if they do not just as you say. You may admit that you are not perfect, and therefore it behooves you to be as humble as you want your younger brother to be. It is one thing to instruct in love as a father, but quite a different thing to lay down rules and patterns of interpretation, and demand they be followed as though you were infallible. Love them and pray for them. Too many are being ordained before being proved, which is the fault of both church and the ministry.

We appeal to you who are young in the ministry that you may be more humble and easily to be entreated, both by other ministers and the brethren and sisters who seek your good. So many young ministers today manifest an unteachable attitude. They seem to be blind to their own faults and shortcomings, and when a faithful member is bold enough to point them out, they become offended, or ignore the counsel. This is the wrong attitude for anyone to take, and especially a minister who ought to strive to follow the things he preaches. While it is proper and brotherly to “be easily entreated” and to be counseled, that does not mean you must follow blindly what an older minister tells you; but measure it in the divine scale and see if it be so. (Ac 17:11) If the Lord has called you, preach what He bids, and not what you think you have to preach to “stay in line.” The ministry today is not free because it is slavishly following the order and patterns of interpretation of its particular fellowship. This pattern may or may not be right. The result is lack of power and original thinking on the part of the younger ministers. You must preach a thing because you know it is the truth, and not merely because the so-called “ablest ministers” preached it.

We appeal to all the ministry to give more thought to what you set forth; to “interpret scripture by scripture” rather than scripture by opinions and wild theories. We do not believe we have ever had in America as much jargon and confused interpretations of scripture as now. It is very common for a minister to make a lot of talk of disconnected thought wholly without scriptural proof, or to read some scripture and wrest it to mean everything except what God meant. There are many of God’s children hungering and searching for the truth, for “sound speech” and what God says. There are so many “Lo here’s and Lo there’s” that they become discouraged and unsettled. What we think will do them no good. They must have what God says and what God thinks. We may make many statements which may be the truth but if unsupported by God’s word we cannot expect the hearers to be either comforted or established in the truth. They may indeed take what you say because you say it, but they have no gospel foundation to build on.

What a great responsibility rests on the ministry today! This is the day foretold by the apostles when many false doctrines would be preached, when the three unclean spirits like frogs would spread over the earth teaching lies, by which, if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect. Therefore, how much the more does it behoove God’s people and His true ministers to believe and teach the truth and nothing but the truth; to be of the same mind and the same faith, unified by the love of Him who called them. Without a manifestation of this love and unity what evidence do we have that He has indeed called us?

We appeal to the ministry to seek and return to the true basis of Christian fellowship. Satan himself could not have devised a more devilish system to confuse God’s people than we are now following. For the sake of the cause of truth and your blessed Master we beseech you to give serious and prayerful study to the root canker that is eating at our vitals and draining our cause of the spiritual life that makes the difference between those who worship God in spirit and truth and those who do not.

We appeal to every minister not to wait for someone else to take the lead in following that which is right, but begin yourself at home. You already know these and many more things. What are you waiting for? Let us go to our Guide Book, beg God to lead us, and then follow the truth as we see it-regardless of what others do. If we were called before our Master today to give account of our activities, and He would ask us, “Did you seek and follow My commandments plainly written and delivered to you?” What could we say? Any of us? All of us? What could we say? Would we offer the excuses that may be in your mind at this moment, of that we are hearing today from every quarter? You know what we would say: Lord, I am guilty! Then why not say it now? Why not humbly admit it now, and beg Him to fill us with His love, and give us grace and courage to follow Him in all things?

We appeal to the ministry to refrain from following and supporting the current destructive, unscriptural and unChristian, man-made system of church control. Labor to instruct and exhort those ministers who still persist in pressing their ungodly rule to divide God’s children. Let us begin ;immediately and persistently to seek out and return to God’s order for true Christian fellowship, His love in our breasts being the first ruling principle. For Christ’s sake, Who died for us, for the sake of His Bride, His sheep, His lambs, and His truth-let us stop the petty, foolish and shameful talk and actions now destroying what little relationship we may have left. If we are too blind to see ourselves, may we pray to God to open our eyes that we may see and beg for mercy before it is too late.

We appeal to the ministry who read this not to consider who wrote it; that doesn’t really matter, does it? But we do pray and beseech you all in love to consider the subject matter factually, most earnestly and prayerfully without prejudice, and with only one thing in view, namely, the honor and glory of our Lord and Master and the common good of His confused, torn and scattered people to whom we profess to minister.

We have not written this with the thought of telling anyone how to preach, but our burden is only that we love one another and be true to our calling. We would earnestly pray that God will enable us all to strive for true fellowship and walk in the “truth as it is in Christ Jesus,” and lay down our lives in peace.

0 God, help us!

As I look back over the years of my dear husband’s ministry, I see a definite consistency. He preached a sovereign, omnipotent, omnicient God: One who is in absolute control over all His creation; yet One who is merciful, full of compassion, having a love for His own surpassing a mother’s love.

He contended for God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility. He saw no contradiction here.

It was his steadfast burden through all the years of his ministry to declare ALL the counsel of God: His greatness, His power, His wisdom, love and mercy. He contended faithfully for His grace in the salvation of His people, without the works of poor puny sinners.

Along with this burden of his ministry, he also instructed in righteousness and true holiness. Often he described “a doctrine according to godliness,” and “the things that accompany salvation.” He pleaded for a”vital godliness.”

While he contended for God’s absolute decrees, he contended also for a godly walk by those professing a change by grace. Salvation must precede any good works, but a true godly life MUST follow a profession, or how can one believe it to be a true profession?

Through the years from his youth in the ministry, even to his last sermon, these two points-God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility -were well-balanced.

He saw God’s people in these last days departing, departing, forsaking, ever more rapidly, the path of righteousness, even as Israel did of old. His ministry was a calling us back, calling us back, often through tears.

I saw him one time while writing his Editorial for the Old Faith Contender, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem.” I saw him when he bowed his head over his desk and wept as he wrote. He loved and prayed for the people of God in the evil days. He warned, labored, prayed, and groaned for them, that they might be spared in the say of God’s judgment. It can be said of him:

I love Thy kingdom, Lord,
The house of Thine abode;
The church our blest Redeemer saved,
With His own precious blood:

I love Thy church, 0 God,
Her walls before Thee stand,
Dear as the apple of Thine eye,
And graven on Thy hand.

For her my tears shall fall,
For her my prayers ascend,
For her my cares and toils be given,
Till toil and cares shall end. . . “

Those precious lines by Timothy Dwight (1752-1817) portray Winford’s life of service to the people of God, whom he loved with a deep devotion.

Our Love Story

Since I was reared in West Virginia and Winford in California, many have asked us how it happened that we met. So I would like to speak of the gracious Providence that brought us together. This is his story, but as I became a part of his life, I must speak of his love, of which I was unworthy. For I felt the first time I met him, that he would become a faithful minister of God.

Truly God moves in mysterious ways! In the hills of beautiful West Virginia, I was born to Willard and Otha (Wilson) Pennington. I was born on New River, near Glen Ferris, and not far from the scenic New River Gorge.

Through the years of my childhood, my father told us that “some day” we would go to California. He read to us of the beauties of that state, where the flowers bloom and the birds sing all the year. As the snow fell in West Virginia, and I thought of the birds singing in California and the beautiful flowers blooming all the time, it was, to my childish mind, a bit like saying we would go to Heaven some day.

As I look back over seventy-nine years, I can see God’s hand leading us every step of the way; for Winford also was taken to California when very young. Our pathways even then were leading us to the time when we would meet.

When I was eighteen years old, that “some day” drew near. With my family I began the journey westward in the latter part of 1926. It was Father’s plan to visit relatives in Kentucky, Ohio, and Kansas, as we traveled westward.

There were no good highways at that time. Highway #66 was only a graveled, “wash-board” road. There were no motels, only here and there a few rough cabins where one could rest at night. Mostly we used tent and camping equipment. We children enjoyed each minute, like a long vacation.

Coming in view of the great Rocky Mountains, glowing dreams were spun in my imagination. But I did not in the most rosy of these dreams realize the joy awaiting me-nor the trials and sorrow.

This was strange, for I had not been much interested in going with girls, and having met no one who impressed me, concluded that I would never be married.” (We were working rather quickly for two young people who were determined not ever to be married!)

Continuing, he wrote:

Brother Homer took great interest in our courtship, as though we were his own children. He was one of the most godly men I have ever known. He- could not offer thanks at the table without weeping at the goodness of God to him. He was an inspiration to me, kind and gracious.” (He was instantly killed by a speeding car driven by teen-agers soon after we were married. We grieved for him as for a father. Truly he was a spiritual father to us.)

Winford continues:

So on July 27, 1928, two months before I was twenty years old, I was married to Miss Mabel Pennington, a helpmeet indeed, whom the Lord mercifully and graciously gave me, but of whom I was not, and am not worthy.”

Back to our meeting that day. As we entered the meeting house he came and sat beside Mother and me. Our love developed rapidly from that day. An amusing thing happened as we were having lunch in the church basement. At the exact moment both of us started to reach for a piece of pie. At the same instant, we realized there was only one piece, and “remembering our manners,” hesitated to take the last piece. As we laughed about our dilemma, he said, “I have the solution: You cut it in half, and we’ll each take a half piece at the same time.” This small incident seemed to presage for us a life-time of sharing.

One of the “warts” he wished me to mention, perhaps his only serious one, manifested itself very early in our relationship. This was his sad lack of self-esteem. I could see even then that it would be necessary that I do all possible to help him overcome his deep sense of inferiority. This was due, mostly, to the sad rejection of his mother, of which I have spoken before.

This became apparent as one Sunday when we entered the church building, instead of coming to sit with me, as before, he went to the back to sit with my brothers. Of course I could not understand why he had merely spoken to me coolly, and I was crushed. I spent the entire time of service in tears, for though we had not spoken of it, I felt that he loved me, as I certainly loved him. Reluctant to seem to forward, if he were not serious, yet feeling that I may have unintentionally offended him (for I did often speak hastily, and was frank to a fault sometimes), I thought I would very casually ask if I had offended him in any way. Of all things, I would not allow him to see how hurt I felt by shedding a tear! But like a popular song of a few years ago, “An itty-bitty tear let me down!” Only it was not “itty-bitty” nor was it just a tear. For at my first word the big tears forced their way down my cheeks. I was painfully embarrassed! He raised very sad eyes to my face, and oh, the tender love I saw there! No! He was not offended! He had just had the vision of something lovely, which could never be for one like he felt to be! Taking my hand, and tenderly kissing it, said, “No, Sweetheart, it is just that you are too fine for me!” When I knew the cause for his actions that day, it removed my hesitation, and answering I said to him: “If you want to hurt me, you can do it in no better way than to demean and discredit yourself! You are worthy of the best! And I am far from the best! “

He told me later that he would never have allowed me to “escape” him! It was just one of the times of his despondency and sense of rejection, with which we were to become very familiar over the years. He could overcome these periods for the most part, but his low self-esteem was a problem that often beset him.

After this episode, we had a very happy relationship for a time. But life does not always “come up roses,” and if it should, they would wear their thorns. I had heard Dad speak many words of praise of my dear one. So I had no thought that he would object to our relationship. He did not seem to at first, but as he saw we were growing serious, he “put his foot down” ! He had often made the remark that he had never met a more godly, remarkable young man. But it seemed it was different if he should become too serious about his only “little girl.” I am sure it would have been the same no matter whom he might be. He never spoke one derogatory word of him, but I was just to discontinue the relationship. He need give no reason! I was to obey him! It was an almost unbelievable situation, even for 1928. I was of legal age, but I had been brought up to strict obedience, and until that time I had never considered disobeying my parents-until it came to the time that I was given orders never to see my beloved one again! I was to tell him so that evening when he would come. There was to be no discussion!

When he came that evening, I did not noticeably pay any attention to him. I am sure Dad thought I was being my usual obedient self. He did not realize that I was a grown-up woman in love with her fine husband to be! Of course Winford knew of his objections, and he knew it had become very serious, and he did not know how it would end. I was wearing his diamond engagement ring on a chain around my neck, which of course Dad could not see.

That evening he and Winford talked on spiritual things as usual, and as they talked, I knew he was watching me closely. There was a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress lying on the table. I went to the table, presumably looking for something, but I slipped a note between the pages of the book. He had told me when we become engaged that should things become too difficult at home, because of Dad’s objections, he would be ready at any time, to be married, though we had planned to continue the engagement two years. This was my idea, for I hoped I could change Daddy’s mind.

Soon Winford picked up the book and left the room. When he returned, his happy countenance flashed me his answer. The note: “Darling, if you still feel as you did when we talked last, meet me at the back corner of the yard at 4 a.m. Monday.”

It was the hardest thing I had ever done to go against my father’s wishes. I knew I had Mother’s blessing. But between Saturday night and Monday morning, I really “came of age.” I was no longer a “little girl.” I was a woman who loved as fine a man as this world could produce. But parental will was a strong tie to sever for one who had always given unquestioning obedience. I loved my dad and mother and brothers devotedly. It tore my heart to leave them and my beloved home. Especially to creep away in secret, under darkness seemed a dreadful experience! But the alternative I could not bear! Dad had no right to thus deprive a twenty-year-old woman of her right to a happy marriage. I prayed all through Sunday night, and was helped by the Scripture that gave me a right to leave father and mother and cleave to a husband. I was only transferring my submission from my father to a precious husband.

We met Monday morning as arranged, and after applying for the marriage license, he took me to the home of Brother and Sister Horner. They were planning to give me the wedding, and their sixteen-year-old daughter was disappointed that their plans were not to be realized. For the second day I was there, Daddy came. He suspected I would be there I am sure. When he asked Sister Horner if I was there, at her hesitancy to answer, he said, so that I could hear from the other room, “Come on home, Honey, and be married there. Mother is crying her eyes out!” I had been very sad not to be married at home, and I knew Mother was heart-broken that I had to go the way I had. So as he spoke, I ran into his arms and joyfully went home with him. The dear Lord had answered my prayers! We were married the next day, with only our families, the minister, and a few close friends present. It was a very simple wedding, but I was as happy as a bride can be. My dear one had brought armloads of carnations to the house. Their fragrance always reawakens the memory of that day, wherever I experience their sweet fragrance.

Following are verses written early in our life, and during our “Golden Years:

Prisoners of Love

Out of Life’s Somewhere
You came to me;
With one look, my captive heart
Was no longer free.

For I was a prisoner bound
Forever to thee;
The cords of love firmly ‘round
Closer drawing me.

Those cords made you a prisoner too,
Your dear heart t’ entwine;
Your dear life was all entangled
Helplessly with mine!

Captives of love we both became,
For Love’s sweetened dart,
With unfailing and joyful aim
Entered your dear heart.

Firmly bound by love,
We no longer roam;
Now our love-bound, prisoner hearts
Finally at home.

Bound together forever as one,
The heart of you and me;
Never more to wander alone,
And would not be free!

Golden Years Remembrances

Southern moon shone down in splendor;
Whispering breezes kissed us there;
With loving words, softly spoken
Solemnly, almost as prayer,

Your dear loving eyes and tender,
As you softly spoke to me
Of your deeply felt unworthiness
To make such an earnest plea.

Should I wait until I’m worthy,
Your sweet lips in love to press,
And hold you to my poor bosom,
I would yet deserve you less!

For I could never be worthy
Of your love for one like me!
Oh let me kiss your lips tonight,
For worthy I ne’er shall be!”

The moon and stars seemed to be smiling,
As you held me in your embrace;
Your lips pressed mine in tenderness,
Love shining in your dear face.

That precious love, humbly offered,
Filled my heart with joyful bliss;
My heart today, worn and weary,
Thrills with the memory of that first kiss.

Soft, half-tropic breezes, gentle,
Neath southern, star-studded sky;
All joined in our sweet love, blessing
The happiness of you and I!

No breath of Life’s sorrow touched us,
To mar that blissful night;
All heartaches safely hidden;
Not a cloud was then in sight.

Our love, like the cloudless evening,
Was innocent, pure and bright;
Around us shone its radiant beauty
Love illumed that blissful night!

Nor was I of your love.worthy,
But humbly my heart I gave
Into your dear, tender keeping,
A love t’ndure to the grave.

Since that lovely night, my Darling,
Life has taught us how to weep;
Life has taught us how to suffer,
Oft robbed weary eyes of sleep.

Oft we trod a troubled pathway,
But Darling, let us remember this:
That radiant night’s sweet happiness,
And that first moment of bliss!

Some Tender Incidents

I cannot close this rather brief biography of my dear husband without give a few little incidents which portray the love and tenderness of our dear one.

In our care of my dear one’s grandmother, we endured some very real problems. She was a person who was hard to please. And all through the trying years of my caring for her, he was most supportive, but never did he say one unkind word to her. In fact, I am very thankful that she did not hear one unkind word from either of us during the eight years we cared for her. We loved her. She was a sincere Christian. For this reason we could feel no regret when the Lord called her to himself in 1943 at age eighty-nine.

One of these tender incidents occurred after the birth of our second little son. He did not breathe in this world, but I had received assurance several days before that “He was taken from the evil to come.” I would remember this, when, years later, the two older sons must leave home in the time of cruel war.

But that sad, dreary day in November 1931, my poor Darling had to take our little infant alone, as I was very ill, to its little grave. After caring for our dear little two-and-a-half-year-old Jennings and many other duties, he came into my room and took me into his loving arms to comfort me. He then looked about the room, and seeing flowers friends had brought, he hastily left the room. He soon returned with the one last rosebud from the bush that had bloomed profusely all summer, but now was in its resting period. He had taken a fern and had arranged the rosebud in a pretty bottle which he used for a vase. I have that rosebud today “among my souvenirs.”

Another time when I was in the hospital following surgery, he came into the room, and suddenly looking very upset, he said, “Oh I forgot to bring you a flower!” I assured him that his presence meant more to me than to take the precious time to go to the florists. But he slipped out into the corridor, where the nurses had placed the flowers for the night, and looking stealthily about, slipped one red rose from someone’s arrangement and brought it to me, tender love shining in his dear eyes. My nurse said the next day, “I believe your husband is still romantic,” for in amusement she had seen the crime committed, and had smiled fondly at him.

Those were care-filled, busy days for both of us. There were so many burdens that it seemed there was time only for the pressing responsibilities. These taken care of, sometimes the body and mind were too weary for many tender words. And just sometimes, I yearned for more assurances of his love. However, I did not yearn for too long before he would sweetly make up for any possible neglect of this matter.

I tried to keep his desk dusted and tidy, and kept a fresh flower there almost all the time. I had been gathering the tiny pink roses which grew in profusion along the fence. Then a bush of red rose began to bloom, and I brought one of these in for his desk. When he noticed it, he expressed his appreciation for the flowers, saying, “I have enjoyed the little pink ones, but I believe I prefer the large red ones. As lovely as it is, I have the feeling there is more loveliness deep down in the heart.” Then looking with great tenderness, he said, “I have the same feeling when I look at my Sweetheart!” What more could a precious bridegroom say? Like our heavenly Bridegroom, “Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee!”

As a father, he was patient with the little boys, but he usually needed to speak only once to them to have their quick obedience. One incident will illustrate this. Our eight-year-old Richard had the bad habit of pinching his brothers, when he became angry. He made great blue marks on them, especially the youngest, Glen. Daddy had warned him finally: “One more time, Son, and Daddy will have to use the belt!” It was not many days until little Glen came crying, a great mark, the skin actually broken. “Richard pinched me again, Daddy!” Daddy called Richard, who came fearfully, for he knew that when promised a spanking, or anything else, it was usually a sure thing.

Son, do you remember what Daddy told you the last time you pinched Glen?” “Sniff, sniff, Yes Sir.”

Richard had not been well for several months. Subsequent removal of badly infected tonsils corrected the problem. But that day when Daddy looked at the little fellow, clad only in shorts, he could see the thin little body. As I looked on, I knew that he was not going to be able to strap him. I felt sorry for him as well as for the dear little boy. But I knew his word was at stake. Finally he said, as Richard stood there fearfully: “Son, Daddy does not like to hurt his little boys! But you know you have hurt Glen, and this cannot be repeated! What do you think about it, Son? Is there any way, if I don’t strap you, that we can be SURE this will never happen again”?

A gleam of hope appeared on his little face as he answered, “Daddy, do you suppose it would help if we prayed about it?”

That is exactly what that dear Daddy did. He kneeled there and prayed with his little son, asking God to help him so that he would never want to hurt his little brother again. I do not remember that he ever pinched one of his brothers again.

One more incident showing his love and tenderness, even in the final days of his life.

On January 28, 1986, I had taken him to his doctor and to the hospital for tests. The doctor urged him that day to enter the hospital. But he wanted so much to come home that his doctor finally agreed for him to come home. I stopped at the grocery store on the way, and he wanted to go in the drug store next door. I cautioned him that he should stay in the warm car, for we feared pneumonia, and there was fluid in the lungs. But he said he would be only a minute, and was dressed warmly. He carried his purchase under his overcoat. I suspected what he had done, as Valentine Day was nearing. He was never much interested in observing “Days,” but he always used this day as an opportunity to give me a pretty heart-shaped box of candy. Some of them are so pretty with lace and flowers that I have not been able to discard them.

When we reached home, he took his purchase from beneath his coat, saying tenderly, “It’s early, but I was afraid we might not be able to get back to town, so I will give this to you now. Here is a heart full of sweets for my Sweetheart!”

Two days before Valentine Day arrived, we placed his precious form in his crypt at Memorial Park in Burlington, North Carolina.

Widowhood

The word, Widow has always evoked for me the image of a poor woman who has been crushed by life’s most cruel blow. It has always seemed to me to be the most tragic sorrow this life can bring. I have often told one of these, in my efforts to console, that she has been sustained through life’s greatest sorrow. Surely the dear Lord will sustain her in any possible future trial. I have truly wished to empathize with one who has lost a dear companion. My sympathy truly has been so aroused that I verily felt I could share her sorrow at least to some degree. My heart has been touched by such sorrow as no other loss could cause. In my feeble attempt to console, I have taken such a dear one in my arms saying with heartfelt compassion, “I know, dear heart! “ But I did not know! I wanted to share, to feel her pain. NOW I know!

I had lost dear father, mother, brother, and sweet infant. But I think I never felt the full impact of death until February 10, 1986, when I saw my Darling of more that fifty-seven years suffering the cruel pangs of death. He made only one out-cry: “I have never suffered like this before!” And I must stand there, vainly trying to encourage and console him, wanting so fervently to relieve his suffering, wanting to share it. But I could only cling to his precious hand with breaking heart. I had thought I knew what a broken heart was, but now my heart was breaking!

Yes, now I know the meaning of widowhood! It is to turn as if to share a lovely scene, a beautiful flower, or a bird song, with one who is not there! It takes time to realize over and over, and over, the awful finality of death. At times there is an anger that wells up in my heart against death. It is a frightful foe! It is the enemy of us all since our parents subjected us to the dread penalty of death when they were in beautiful Eden.

To see the dissolution of a precious loved one, knowing that it is the penalty for sin passed upon all of humanity, is to experience what a terrible thing sin is, and consequently, what death is.

When we are joined together by the sacred bonds of marriage, we become one; we are no longer two persons, but one in the sight of God. When torn asunder by death, we can never be whole again. For the remainder of life one is not really complete.

To be a widow means turning, half awakening in the night, to put an arm over one who is not there. Then, fully awake, the arm falls on a very flat, tidy bed. No form is there, or ever will be again! The bed coverings are heart-breakingly tidy, no longer rumpled by an often restless body, which made it necessary to get up and tuck the covers about dear feet to keep them warm. No, now I sleep on a tidy, heart-broken bed!

Even before I had experienced my dear one’s death, I have hardly ever been able to read Robert J. Burdette’s poem “Alone” without tears. He has expressed for us the awful loneliness for a beloved companion. He had nursed her, sitting beside her bed for many long weeks.

I miss you, my darling, my darling.
The embers burn low on the hearth;
And still is the stir of the household,
And hushed is the voice of its mirth;

The rain splashes fast on the terrace,
The winds past the lattices moan;
The midnight chimes out from the minster,
And I am alone!

I want you, my darling, my darling.
I am tired with care and with fret;
I would nestle in silence beside you,
And all but your presence forget

In the hush of the happiness given,
To those who through trusting have grown
To the fulness of love in contentment,
But I am alone!

I call you, my darling, my darling,
My voice echoes back on my heart;
I stretch my arms to you in longing,
And lo! They fall empty apart!

I whisper the sweet words you taught me,
The words that we only have known,
Till the blank of the dumb air is bitter,
For I am alone!

I need you, my darling, my darling,
With its yearning my very heart aches;
The load that divides us weighs harder,
I shrink for the jar that it makes.

Old sorrows rise up to beset me,
Old doubts make my spirit their own,
Oh, come through the darkness and cheer me,
For I am alone!”

Widowhood is a time for remembering. Oh the sweetness now of the memory of the tenderness shown! His loving protection was always there. I could not go to the basement alone, for he feared I would fall. I must not go to the prolific rosebush in the corner of the yard until he had beaten down the weeds and grass to assure himself that no snake was there. Now his protection is removed. His very protectiveness now makes his absence more sadly felt. But it is as if he watches over me still. For now I must attend to things in the basement alone, and I seem to feel his arm still supporting me, cautioning me to be careful. It magnifies the heartache to realize again and again that he is not there-he will never be there!

I am remembering. We traveled extensively until recent years. As he spoke to the large congregations, I often felt to be alone, though surrounded by the throng. Sometimes very weary, sometimes not very well, despondent at times. Then I would see his dear eyes seeking me, flashing his love above the crowd, and I was no longer alone. When he could come to me, with that tender, crooked smile, he would say, “Are you all right, Sweetheart?” Oh yes! Whatever distressed me, bodily pain or weariness, anxiety over various things-oh yes, I was all right! He was there! He loved me! That made everything right! Now he is not there, nor ever can be, and I am alone with my cares and burdens whatever they may be.

Yes, the only way we can understand the word widowhood is to be one. And to think! I asked for it! I thought I could endure the loss better than he could. I had hoped he would never suffer what I now suffer. I still am thankful that it is I rather than he who mourns. But I did not know for what I asked. At times I have cried out, “HOW did I ever imagine I could bear it!”

Yes, I even prayed that he would be taken Home before me. I felt that I alone could understand his peculiar need. No one could realize, I thought, that one sleeping by his side must almost keep one wakeful eye and ear, because of his times of near unconsciousness, due to reaction to the medication that controlled his condition for forty-five years. I had prayed the heavenly Father that I be allowed, and given strength, to be the one who would tenderly “tuck him in.” And yes, even now, after feeling the pain of my loss, I thank Him for answering my prayer. I am blessedly reconciled, but this does not mean that the heart does not break, never to be whole again.

Though the aloneness, the sadness of widowhood, is to be my future lot for whatever of life is left to me, yet there is a precious joy. I know he is safe in the arms of Infinite Love, never to sigh, never to suffer again. Never can he be wounded as he was sometimes wounded in this life. Never again! So I try to lift my eyes from heavy grief, selfish grief, to see him there, and my sad lonely heart finds peace.

The night following his death, being weary, I slept until about 2 a.m.. Not being able to sleep more, I tried to pray, and wept. But I could never explain it, but I could seem to feel his presence still with me. This helped me to bear his loss. He did not then seem so far away. I arose and tried to relieve my sadness and express the presence I felt in the following verses.

My Precious Darling

Our home is warm with your presence,
I feel it in every room,
About my sad heart encircling,
Banishing darkness and gloom.

There’s a joy that sweetens the sorrow,
While I weep there, Darling, tonight;
I think of you there with our Savior,
In that Home, sinless and bright.

With life you had grown so weary;
Your wishes were all above,
And now your dear heart is resting
In the arms of Infinite Love.

Oh yes, I miss your loving protection,
That blessed me o’er the long years;
My sad heart is heavy with longing,
And I need you to dry my tears!

Tonight my sad heart is yearning
To hear again your dear voice,
That said so often, “I love you,”
Making my heart to rejoice.

But I’ll see you there in the morning,
Where we shall never more part;
And tonight, my Darling, your presence
Comforts my aching heart.

Our love here was great, my Darling,
But it will be purer there!
Unhampered by life’s confusions,
No longer bowed down with care.

(Written February 11, 1986, at 2:20 a.m.)

Lonely April Thoughts

My Darling, it is lovely April again-the first April of my lonely widowhood, the second month, a long, sad lonely time. April has always brought me a thrilling happiness-you remember how joyously I called each lovely April scene to your attention. Always April inspired me to poetry. You loved my April songs. But this April the loveliness only magnifies my sadness for you are not here to share it. I almost turn to share a lovely flower, the dogwood budding, the beauty of our azaleas; I watch over the bulb garden I planted in the fall. How you worried that I would work too hard, unable to help me. I almost say, “Oh see Darling! Those pretty double daffodils! And look at that gorgeous tulip!” But no one is beside me. I see young life all about, like a lovely resurrection, thrilling our hearts. But now I have no April song. How can I ever again sing a song of cheer, when you are no longer here?

The enjoyment of any beauty is fully experienced only when it can be shared with a loved one. Now the sun shines more dimly; the bird songs sound sorrowful; all the loveliness of April is overcast by a pall of sadness. The happy spring sounds are sad and muted. April shines in my windows, casting a beauty over our dear home. It reflects the pretty room which you so recently papered in gold (though you were not able to do the work). It is so pretty. You wanted to make it nice for me! But it is not ours, it is mine alone, but it brings me little consolation now.

Oh yes, I am thankful you did not leave me in an unsightly hovel. God was so good to us-to me! But now that you are gone the homeliness fails to console the heart. Since you are in that happy Land where parting is unknown, I see all things here just a little like you must now see things of earth. Your being there lessens the joy of earthly things, and heightens the anticipation of that blest Eternity. To see all things here in that light gives a clearer view of the Home where you now abide – forever.

Oh yes, you are dead! The finality of it, the reality of it flows over my heart in billows of sorrow. That is, your dear body is dead. It was worn and weary, beaten down by life’s cruelties.

Last fall I planted dead-appearing bulbs in the earth. They had been taken up, all soil removed from the roots. They seemed utterly without life. I planted the amaryllis bulbs in pots in the dead of the winter, and now their trumpet-like blossoms are out in all their glory. Thus, my Darling, I see you -placed in your lonely tomb, but your now-happy spirit, no longer weary, no longer the victim of death is praising around God’s glittering throne. These trumpet-like flowers speak to me of the golden trumpet given you by the Father to worship Him perfectly whom you honored and worshipped here, often in weakness. There you sound forth His glory, and you will as long as Eternity endures.

Thinking thus, my heart is not so sad. I tell it not to hurt-you would not want it to hurt; you would point it above. But here it will yet sorrow, being earth-bound. Until I see you there! Until I see you there! Yes, I hope to join you, to behold again your dear face. And even more precious, together we shall look upon the face of our dear Savior. No, I will not see you there as my beloved husband, but we shall be as the angels. Our love will be pure, and freely given to all saints alike. It will not ever be marred by confusion or imperfect understanding as ever it must be in this life.

But until then, I need a husband here. I have a Husband here! My dear Lord has promised to be a Husband to the widow. How many times I have attempted to comfort a poor widow by assuring her of the blessed fact that HE is her husband. Now I feel His presence, and the image of a widow loses its most sorrowful aspect. Though dear fleshly arms failed, His strong arm is underneath, and He can never fail! He allowed the billows of sorrow to go only so far, then, lest they overwhelm me, He lifted me above their tumult by giving me a brief glimpse, as through a veil, of you there with Him, and my heart was at peace.

All through His word are promises to the widow. How tenderly He has placed them there for He knew of the loneliness of one bereft of a life-time companion. Meditating upon some of these precious promises, I no longer see the image of one utterly bereft, but of a character graciously, richly blessed by a loving, unfailing Husband. And like dear Hannah of old, I go about the duties and cares left to me here, with “countenance no more sad.” To be loved by such a Husband far outshines all the love and tenderness given by one, even as precious as my dear earthly husband was.

The three Editorials in this little sketch are good examples of my dear one’s ministry through the Old Faith Contender: Love to God and His people in the sad days of declension; his deep heart-longing for love and peace; his desire to see them return in humility to God, to once again see His people united in their mutual love; his gentle but firm rebukes of carnality, shown by division and strife; and his faithful warnings and pleadings to the present-day ministry.

He has told us of a vision passing before his eyes as he rested, fully awake. He saw God’s people wearing frowns and sorrowful countenances. They were coming toward Christ, whom he felt rather than saw nearby.

As they all gathered closely about Him, He spoke, and instantly all frowns were gone, and they melted together into one body. He told this to me through tears, saying, “When we all come to Him, we will all be together.”

Should the dear Lord give me length of days and the ability, I would like to write a book on his life, that others may see the man as I knew him: his struggles financially, physically, and against many obstacles placed before him by forces of evil; struggles against his own sense of unworthiness, and at times against discouragement. Added to these he struggled against debilitating disease. This even more rapidly took its toll in failing vision, nerve destruction, crystallizing arteries and great bodily weakness.

If it pleases God to give me the time and ability, I hope to select choice Editorials and prepare them for publication in a more concise and permanent form. There is an increased interest in his writings. Many are asking for old issues of the Old Faith Contender.

May it be the Lord’s will that though our dear one is gone, he yet speaks to us.

I have mentioned the Primitive Baptist Library my husband founded as one branch of his ministry to God’s people. The building of this library, and contributing the building site, was dear to his heart. It was the realization of a cherished dream. To this end he began collecting, at about the age of twenty-one, the writings of saints who had gone before. Realizing present-day dearth in the writings of the deep things of God, he was always searching, as one who is hungry searches for food, the then out-of-print works of the great men of our past.

Since he began this search, there has been a remarkable interest in the old Puritan works, in which the precious doctrine of God’s sovereign power, love and mercy are ably set forth.

His collection embraces a part of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Many precious and rare volumes can be found only in this library.

After coming east it was sad to find how much of our past history had been and was being destroyed. The younger generation, in many cases, saw no value in their parents’ “old books” and other valuable records. Only in recent years, when there seems to be a growing interest in genealogy, there is an appreciation of historical background. Many who no doubt had not realized the value of the records kept by the older generation, now are seeking for their genealogy. They inquire of the library for this information. And though genealogy was not the primary purpose of the library, we are sometimes able to supply needed information.

The establishing of the Primitive Baptist Library, finally, fulfilled my husband’s anticipation to a large degree. Though he was not able, because of declining health, to fully organize and catalog the materials, they were in a good safe place and being preserved for those who will follow us.

He was able to accomplish much in repairing and rebinding many of the rare well-worn volumes. But this is an on-going task.

The continuation of cataloging and organizing the books, periodicals and numerous valuable records has kept me occupied since he was taken Home. It has been a joy to be able, though feeling keenly my inadequacy, to spend many pleasurable days and hours doing the work which he was unable to complete. It has brought him very near, as I have come upon his helpful notes here and there--as well as finding tears now and again.

When he was in such rapidly declining health, I very earnestly prayed to the dear Lord that I might be spared to care for him. Beyond this I could not then imagine a further purpose for my existence. But the gracious Lord not only granted my request, but He has added days and strength, to an amazing degree, that I continue on for a little longer in his labors.

Many have asked if the library is still in operation. Yes! He had the foresight to place it under the care of faithful men, in a self-perpetuating trusteeship. Thus his faithful labor continues, I pray, for the edification of many who may rise up to carry it on.

Even so, dear Lord, let it be!

CHC Acts 4:28 by Elder C. H. Cayce

ELDER C. H. CAYCE ON Ac 4:28

The following is a response by Elder C. H. Cayce to an article by the Absoluter Elder Fairchild on Ac 4:28. That verse has always been used by the Absoluters in their effort to prove that God predestinated all things that happen in time, whether the act is good or evil. Their argument is that if God predestinated the most evil act ever committed by man, we should no problem in believing he predestinated every other evil act. Elder Cayce very easily proves that God predestinated that his Son would give his life—that he would lay his life down. Our salvation is God’s work alone; it is not the joint result of God’s work, and the work of those wicked men at Calvary. He shows that God did not predestinate their wicked acts, and that their wickedness contributed nothing to our salvation. He shows that the passage is a prayer by the disciples that God would rather thwart their efforts, and that he would accomplish his own will—in spite of their best efforts to the contrary. The article was published in the Nov. 3, 1938 issue of the Primitive Baptist. hlh

STUDIES IN PREDESTINATION

November 3, 1938

In the Footprints of the Flock for May, 1938, Elder Fairchild has a continued article under the above heading. We copy the article in full, and recommend a careful reading of it before reading what we have to say concerning the same.

THE ARTICLE

“Predestination is not the incentive or motive power that causes men to do either good or bad. Men do good deeds, not because it was predestinated they should do them, but because they are prompted by a righteous spirit to do them. And they do evil deeds, not because it was predestinated they should do them, but because they are moved by an evil spirit to do them. They do good deeds for the same reason a good tree bears good fruit, and evil deeds for the same reason that a corrupt tree bears corrupt fruit.”

“Is not that clear? I believe we are all agreed on the above statement. The thing I am trying to get all my readers to understand is that there is a vast difference between God’s predestinating a thing and authorizing or causing that thing to come to pass.”

“The Bible clearly teaches that God has predestinated many of the wicked deeds of men, but it as clearly condemns the idea that God ever causes, authorizes or influences men to do wrong. No more wicked deed was ever committed by men or devils than the betrayal, condemnation and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. And yet His inspired servants tell us, ‘For of a truth against thy holy child, Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do WHATSOEVER THY HAND AND THY COUNSEL DETERMINED BEFORE TO BE DONE,’Ac 6:15,15. The whole mob, Jews, Gentiles, Herod, Pontius Pilate, doing whatsoever the hand and counsel of God determined before to be done. Predestinate and determine before mean exactly the same, so those who condemned and crucified the Savior did just what God had predestinated they should do.”

“Will anyone dispute this? If so, will he please tell me what the above Scripture means? But while God predestinated that this should be done, was He the author of those men’s sin? Did He cause or influence them to do it? Certainly not. Listen to Peter: ‘Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and with wicked hands have crucified and slain.’ Ac 2:23.”

“God not only foreknew, but also determined that they should condemn and crucify Jesus, and yet they did it with wicked hands. They knew nothing about God’s purpose in the death of Jesus, and voluntarily condemned and put Him to death. They were just as guilty as they would have been if God had not before determined or predestinated it. They knew Him not, nor understood the voice of the prophets which they read, and fulfilled them in condemning Him,’ Ac 13:27.”

“Will any one claim that these men were not responsible for their deeds because they fulfilled God’s purpose? No, they did it with wicked hands.”

“No doubt some one will want to know how God can predestinate an act and not be the cause or author of it. I have already shown that predestination is not the force that causes men to act, but as that predestination is not the force that causes men to act, but as this is the crux of the question, let me further illustrate. Over in Eastern Tennessee there are many large springs–good size streams springing out of the earth and wending their way toward the sea. They run through rich narrow valleys, and often cut away the banks and carry off the soil. If left to take their course they would wash away much of the soil, but those farmers save their soil by keeping the stream in proper bounds. They cut a new channel and straighten the stream in one place, and put in an abutment to protect the bank in another. They do not cause the water to flow down stream, but they do fix its channel and thus save their farms.”

“These farmers go further than just preventing the streams from washing away their land. They sometimes direct it in an entirely new channel, cutting a race for it, and bringing it around the side of the mountain to where it will have a great fall. Here they build a mill and use the force of the water in its fall to run its machinery. They did not cause the water to flow down stream, but they fixed its channel, directed its course, utilized its power and not only prevented it from destroying their lands, but made it grind their wheat and corn, and in many other ways serve the community. And who will say those farmers did wrong in fixing the channel of the stream and turning it into a blessing instead of leaving it to take its course and wash away their best soil?”

“God no more causes men to do wickedly than those men caused the water to flow down stream. The water run down stream because the force of gravity draws it that way; and men do wickedly because their evil lustful nature draws them that way. And as men fix the channel of the stream and turn the force of the water into a blessing, so God sets the bounds of the wicked, lays out they path they shall travel, determines or predestinates what things they may do and what things they shall not do, and thus confines their wickedness in such a channel that it works for the good of them that love God. That is not bad of God, is it? Aren’t you glad that God has fixed the bounds of the 

wicked? If the wicked were turned loose, unrestricted and unbounded by God’s decree, where would our safety be?”

“I am not so much concerned as to whether God has predestinated the righteous deeds of men or concerned as to whether God has determined or predestinated the wicked acts of men. Only by the bounds of the wicked being unalterably set can the righteous be secure.”

“Aren’t we agreed on this? It seems to me that here our limited and unlimited predestinarians can find a common meeting ground. The contention of our limited brethren that God is not the author of sin and in no sense causes men to sin, is not only granted but advocated as strongly as they advocate it. And our unlimited brethren’s argument that God’s predestination or determinate counsel extends to all the wicked actions of men and devils, fixing their bounds, governing their deeds, determining what they may and may not do, is set forth in perfect harmony with His goodness and perfection. Does not each find here all for which he is contending and nothing contradictory to it?”

OUR COMMENTS

The first thing we wish to say regarding the foregoing is that Elder Fairchild is here apparently engaging in his old tricks of trying to wrap up his doctrine so as to get our brethren to swallow it before they realize what it is that they are taking. Let the reader carefully note the fact that a strong effort is made in the article to convey the idea that predestination does not cause anything. Note the very first sentence in the article: “Predestination is not the incentive or motive power that causes men to do either good deeds or bad..” In the Footprints for June the elder says this:

“I thought I made it plain last month that predestination is NEVER CAUSATIVE. Regarding predestination as causative is at the bottom of most of the schisms over that subject.”

If God’s predestination is not causative, and never causes anything to come to pass–if predestination has nothing whatever to do with a thing coming to pass–then why be such a stickler for the doctrine that God predestinated all things that come to pass? Why be so bent on advocating that doctrine, if God’s predestination has nothing to do with things coming to pass? If God’s predestination of a thing has nothing whatever to do with that thing coming to pass, then the thing predestinated would come to pass just as well, and just the same, without God’s predestination, then, is a useless thing, and nothing ever comes of it, either good or bad. The doctrine may be the truth, but we are 

not yet ready to accept it. Are you? Let us try that just a little.

Let us first call attention to Ro 8:28-30, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them he also glorified.”

In this God the Father is for you in foreknowledge and predestination; the Holy Spirit is for you in calling; the Son is for you in justification; and the final end of all this is the final glorification of every heir of promise–every one that loves God; every one that was known beforehand by the Father in the covenant of grace. Take God’s foreknowledge out of the matter, and not one would be glorified. Take justification out of it, and not one would be glorified.. Hence, all these, together, is the cause why one is glorified. Not only so, but take God’s predestination out of it, and not one would be glorified–unless it should be done by accident. Hence, God’s predestination is linked in as a part of the cause of one being glorified.

To deny that God’s predestination is a part of the cause why one is glorified is to simply deny the certainty of the final salvation and glorification of any poor sinner. Primitive Baptists have always held that the final salvation and glorification of all the elect of God is certain and sure, because God has predestinated, determined beforehand, that they should be conformed to the image of His Son, and finally glorified in heaven.

But if predestination has nothing whatever to do with a thing coming to pass, then the Primitive Baptists have been wrong in this contention all along the line. Are you ready to surrender, and to renounce, the truthfulness of the doctrine which has been characteristic of our people all along?

Let us have another text–Eph 1:3-6, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

In this we have the fact that those who were chosen in Him before the ages of time began were predestinated unto the adoption of children. That is, God predestinated that those He choose should be adopted into the heavenly family–predestinated them unto the adoption of children. If predestination has nothing to do with a thing being done–and never causative–then God’s predestination is no part of the cause of one being adopted into the heavenly family–it has nothing to do with, and is no part of the cause of, one receiving the adoption of children.

But God does adopt every one He chose, and they are taken finally into the heavenly family in glory, because He has “predestinated us unto the adoption of children.” God determined beforehand that they should be thus adopted, and He brings them into His heavenly family in accord with His previous determination, or His previous purpose thus to do. Predestination does have something to do with this coming to pass.

In the June issue of the Footprints Elder Fairchild also says: “Therefore, to be consistent we must contend for the predestination of all things or nothing.” There you are, flatly! If we must contend for the predestination of God in the salvation of sinners, we must also contend that He predestinated all things that come to pass. If He predestinated all things that come to pass, then He also predestinated all the crimes, and all the sins, that are committed in the world. According to this, God predestinated all the sins that we commit; then He predestinated to save us from our sins. If this is true, then He predestinated to save us from His own predestinating Bosh.

When Elder Fairchild was publishing the Footprints in 1909 he said in that paper for September, 1909: “This world is governed by the law of cause and effect–not one thing is left to blind chance. There is not only a cause for every effect, but there is a cause for every cause except the First Cause. The First cause is an uncaused cause–all the reasons for its existence are in itself. First Cause is another name for God. God is the first cause of all causes.”

We replied to this in THE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST of October 26, 1909. See page 314 of our Editorial Writing, Volume I. We quote these few words from that reply:

“According to the logic of it God did not cause Adam to violate the law, but the devil caused Adam to do so. Elder Fairchild says God is the first cause of all causes. Then God caused the devil to cause Adam to violate the law. Adam would not have violated the law if the devil had not caused him to do so; and the devil would not have caused Adam to violate the law if God had not caused him to do that. There can be no effect without a cause. Then Adam could not have violated the law if the devil had not caused him to do so, and the devil could not have caused Adam to violate the law if God had not caused him to do so. If this does not make God the author and the first cause of sin, we confess we do not know the meaning of the words. There is no use caviling over the matter; it simply makes God the first cause and the author of all sin.”

In the article above Elder Fairchild refers to, and quotes, what we consider to be the strongest text in the Bible in support of the doctrine that God predestinated all things that come to pass (Ac 6:15,15). Note that He says the “whole mob, Jews, Gentiles, Herod, Pontius Pilate” “did just what God had predestinated thy should do.” If God is pleased with His predestination, then He was pleased with what that ungodly mob did. According to that doctrine, they were doing the will of God. In Mt 12:50 Jesus said, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

According to Elder Fairchild’s doctrine, those wicked men–the whole mob–Jews, Gentiles, Herod, Pontius Pilate, 

and all the rest of that motley crowd–were, and are, brother, and sister, and mother of the blessed Jesus, for he does the will of God, too; for the Lord predestinated that he should do everything he does. As another said, who advocates the same doctrine Elder Fairchild does, “God could not lie, but He raised up a nasty little devil to do His lying for Him.” This doctrine these fellows advocate, sure enough, makes God meaner that the devil.

Let us here have the text above referred to. First we will quote, as follows, beginning with verse 5 (Ac 4:5-22):

And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, and Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John [not the Apostle John], and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them [Peter and John] in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, if we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying., What shall we do to these men? For that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, the they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and 

John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people; for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.”

We have taken this long extract from this chapter to show plainly what gave rise to the following–or to what is embraced in Ac 4:26-28. It is plainly seen here that these wicked men–rulers, elders, scribes, Annas, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and the kindred of the high priest–were threatening the apostles and forbidding them to speak in the name of Jesus. When Peter and John were thus threatened and forbidden to speak in the name of Jesus they were let go.

See Ac 4:23, “And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.”

Ac 4:24 says, “And when they heard that.” The antecedent of the pronoun they is their own company, in Ac 4:23. Their own company, to whom Peter and John went, heard the report, which they made, of the threatenings of those wicked men.

So, let us read Ac 4:24, “And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said.”

Just here let us interrupt the reading to ask a question or two. If God predestinated everything that comes to pass, and His predestination is according to His will, then were not those wicked men doing what was God’s will for them to do? And, as the apostles lifted up their voice with one accord in prayer to God, did they pray for God’s will to be done? If so, did they not pray for those wicked men to do just what they were doing? Did not Jesus teach His disciples to pray to the Lord, “Thy will be done?” Is it not a fact that the prayer of the apostles here simply resolves itself into a request, or a pleading, for the Lord to interpose and to interfere with these wicked men, and to hinder and prevent them from carrying out their wicked threats and designs It is simply a pleading unto Him that He would do in this case as in another, to which they refer.

Now, let us read on: “And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou has anointed, bot Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy had and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thy hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. Ac 4:24-30.”

This is plainly a prayer to God to prevent these wicked men from carrying out their threats and designs [emphasis added]. It is a prayer to God to interfere in this case, just as He did in the other case, when Herod, Pontius Pilate, and the wicked mob were gathered together against His Christ. Did the Lord interfere in that case, and hinder, or prevent, them from carrying out their design? He most surely did. They did not carry out His predestination. The Lord did not allow them to do that.

He does not allow wicked men and devils to carry out His predestination; He carries that out Himself [emphasis added]. It was God’s predestination that Jesus should die–that He should lay down His life. Those wicked men had tried, from the time of His birth, to take His life; but the Lord did not allow them to take it.

Jesus said (Joh 10:11,15,17-18): “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” “And I lay down my life for the sheep.” “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

Here we have it plainly that they did not take His life; but it was according to the will of the Father that the Son die. So those wicked men were not allowed to take His life. Their purpose and design was thwarted and overthrown [emphasis added]. So, the apostles, in the text just referred to above, prayed the Father to thwart and prevent the carrying out of the designs of these wicked men in this instance, as He did before. When the soldiers came to the Saviour, as He hung on the cross, with the thieves, the thieves were not dead, but Jesus was dead already (see Joh 19:33). In Ac 2:23 it is said that He was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God; but it does not say that what those people did was by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God [emphasis added].

What they did was not by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, but was by wicked hands. God’s determinate counsel was one thing, and what they did was another thing. It was by nothing else than by the devil’s own lie and invention that men have advocated the idea that those wicked men and devils were fulfilling and doing and carrying out God’s will, purpose, pleasure, and predestination. We never have believed it, and we do not now believe it, and never expect to believe it. If that doctrine is the truth, the eternal God has unalterably fixed, predestinated and decreed from eternity that we should not believe it—and we are glad He did.

With these things before us, what shall we say? It is very clear and evident that all this pretense of pleading for peace and reconciliation is pure buncombe. This, above, is the blasphemous doctrine you swallow when you swallow Fairchild. Excuse us please. We still stand just where we have stood all along the line. See our Editorial Writings, Volume I, pages 18, 335, 337, and 340; Volume II, page 218; Volume IV, page 389, as well as other articles in our writings on the same subject.

Such doctrine always has caused trouble when advocated among Primitive Baptists, and it always will. It is heresy of the blackest sort and of the very deepest dye. The sooner the Primitive Baptists get rid of every mother’s son that advocates it, the better off they will be. Put such as that out of the boat, and stop up the leak to keep it out, or else the boat will sink; the candlestick will be removed, and the blessings and privileges of gospel worship and service will be taken from that place. This is verified from the history of the past. May the Lord deliver His poor little children from such doctrine, is our humble prayer. C. H. C.

(Our thanks to Sister Betty Davidson for retyping the article. hlh)

APPENDIX BY ELD. J. M. THOMPSON

We see the statement, “The Son of God was delivered into the hands of wicked men, that they should with wicked hands, do to him what God’s hand and counsel had before determined to be done.” There is not another passage of scripture that is relied upon more to prove their position and that seems to give support to their view than Ac 4:26-28.

I have asked some of the advocates of the predestination of sin, What did the enemies of Jesus gather together to do as recorded there? And it has been the mind of every one that it was to take his life. That was the thing necessary to be done if they would rid the world of Jesus whom they hated. I presume every reader now will accept this view. Now I ask, Did they take the life of Jesus? They most assuredly did not.

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again,” Joh 10:17-18. He said, “It is finished, and he lowered his head, and gave up the Ghost,”Joh 19:30. He laid down his life.

Then the Jews being opposed to them remaining upon the crosses on the yearly Sabbath “which was an high day” believing it seems, that death would not come by crucifixion, so as to remove the bodies, requested that their legs be broken that they might taken away. The soldiers broke the legs of the men, who were crucified with him. When they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead. They had not taken his life as they purposed to do, when they gathered together. He laid it down. Christ offered himself through the eternal spirit without spot to God in the laying down his life, Heb 9:14.

God’s hand and counsel determined that the offering must be made; that the life of the dear Lamb of God must go for his chosen people. His foes could not take it even thought he was delivered into their wicked hands and he was crucified and slain by them. Whatever may be said about crucifying and slaying him, it is certain they did not 

take his life, the very thing to be done as they realized to put him out of their way. Every proof text manipulated distorted and misapplied to support their position so hurtful to our people when understood will not witness for them. John M. Thompson Zion’s Advocate, May, 1898.

CHC Comments on I Corinthians 2:9,10

Comments on 1Co 2:9-10

By Elder C.H. Cayce

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." - 1Co 2:9-10.

We have been requested to write some on the ninth verse, which ends with the word him. There are some things which cannot be discovered or found out by the seeing with the natural eye. Neither can they be learned by the hearing with the natural ear. Neither can they be discovered by searching. They never even so much as enter into the heart of the natural man. "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God; God is not in all his thoughts." - Ps 10:4. The things that pertain to God and godliness are not in his thoughts. They have never entered into his heart, and never will. Something must be done for such a person (the wicked), not something done by him, but for him, before he will ever even think upon the name of the Lord, in a right way. He must be changed from his state of wickedness, must be brought out of that, before spiritual thoughts or desires ever enter or proceed from his heart. His heart must be changed first.

Who can change a man's heart? The heart is the seat of affections. Who can change a man's affections, and cause him to love the things he now hates, or to hate the things which he now loves? "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." - Eze 36:26. "The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord." - Pr 16:1. From these expressions we learn that the Lord is the One who can and does change the heart. He gives a heart of flesh. He prepares the heart. Without this preparation of heart, without this heart of flesh, one does not, and cannot, desire or love spiritual things.

"Eye hath not seen." Here is something which cannot be learned, or known, or discovered, through the power of natural sight or vision. True, with the natural eye, we can and do behold many of the wonders in the realm of nature. We can see the great mountains, and valleys, the broad rivers, and expansive plains; we can see the stars which bedeck the heavens; we can see the moon, which rules the light by night; we can see the sun, the great center of the solar system; we can see the great variety of minerals in the earth, upon which we live and move; but we cannot see the invisible things of God. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth His handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard." - Ps 19:1-3. These material things which we see speak in thunder tones, by day and by night, in all the habitable parts of the world, and declare that God is, and that He is the God that He is - the great, infinite, eternal, all wise, omnipotent Jehovah God, the great Creator of all material things. But the wicked, unregenerated sinner cannot see beyond these visible material things. The great and wonderful spiritual blessings which God has prepared for His humble poor are not discovered, they are not found, they are not learned by the power of natural sight. "Eye hath not seen." That is just as true today as it was when it was written. It was not true then because it was written; but it was written because it was true. It had always been that way; it was that way then, and it is that way now; and it always will be that way. No sinner, then, ever has learned these precious things which God has in store for His afflicted people by reading any book, or by reading any man's writings, or by reading the tracts which men print and circulate, or by reading and studying their Sunday School lessons. They are not discovered or learned that way.

"Nor ear heard." These things cannot be learned by the hearing of the natural ear. One hears the sound of the preacher's voice, when he is preaching, with the natural ear. It is a natural voice, and it is heard with the natural ear. But these are things that are not imparted by the organ of hearing, for it is true that "nor ear heard." Jesus said to some wicked unregenerated Jews, "Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word." - Joh 8:43. They heard the vocal sound of His voice; but they did not understand His teaching. Why did they not understand it? Because they could not. The understanding does not come that way. They had hearts of stone; they did not have the hearts of flesh. One must have a heart of flesh, a heart of understanding, in order to be able to understand. If such characters, or such persons, could not understand the preaching which Jesus did while He was here in the world, preaching His own glorious and everlasting gospel, do you suppose we have any preachers in the world today who can do a better job in making them understand than He did? If a preacher does preach in such a way as to make the world understand and "fall in" with his preaching, it can be for no other reason than that his preaching is of the world. "They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." - 1Jo 4:5-6. The inspired writer here gives an infallible rule by which we may know a man who is of the world in his preaching. If he preaches so the world hears and believes his preaching, it is because he is of the world in his preaching. John tells us his preaching is the spirit of error. It is not the truth; he does not preach the truth. He preaches false doctrines of men - and perhaps the doctrines of devils. But the world does not hear those who are of God in their preaching; the world does not hear those who preach the truth, as God has given it to us in His Book. If one does hear us, why does he hear us? Can it be for any other reason than that he was first made to be of God, seeing it is true that "he that knoweth God heareth us;" and "he that is not of God heareth not us?" "Nor ear heard."

"But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit." If you know and realize something of the greatness, the love, the justice, the majesty, the righteousness, the glory, the mercy, the riches, the presence of God, it is because some of these things have been revealed to you by His Spirit. If you have been given to know something of the glories which await the Lord's humble poor beyond this vale of tears, it is because something has been revealed to you by His Spirit. It is by the Spirit of God that you have been given to know something of the things of God. Hence, though you be poor in spirit, and hunger and thirst after righteousness, you have the Spirit of God dwelling in your poor heart; and all the good things which God has in store for His humble poor are yours, and they are yours to enjoy in all eternity beyond this world of sorrow and trouble.

May the Lord graciously bless the reader, is our humble prayer.

C.H.C.

Reproduced from vol 7 of Editorial Writings from "The Primitive Baptist", 1940-42, pp 204-8.

Church History By Elder J. Harvey Daily

 

J. Harvey Daily’s

CHURCH HISTORY

Republished 2007

Elder Harold Hunt P O Box 535 Maryville TN 37802

PREFACE

Believing that I see the great need of a brief history of the church of Christ so arranged that it can be readily referred to by any who desire to know the most important and the most interesting events, and feeling sure that such a work will tend to confirm the people of God in his promises, I have written this book, and now send it out with the humble hope that my labors in preparing it will not be in vain.

Only an elementary work

While it is to history only a kind of elementary work, yet the reader will find its pages replete with historic facts so arranged as to form a connected outline of the history of the people now called Baptists.

Mosheim’s testimony

Mosheim admits that the true origins of this people is “hidden in the depths of antiquity and is, of consequence, extremely difficult to be ascertained. Their trail is not lost in these dark depths, as Mosheim claims, but may be traced out into the unclouded light of the first century, connecting with the clear footsteps of Jesus and his apostles, thus verifying the promise that the “gates of hell” should not prevail against the church of Christ.

The witnesses of Jesus have contended earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, and have maintained that faith with martyr courage, unfurling the sacred standard of truth in all ages and keeping the ordinances as they were delivered to them. There can be no more interesting or profitable employment than tracing out the history of such a people.

A history of the Primitive Baptist Church

I have given but few points in history relative to the various orders that have risen since the days of the apostles, and have confined my writing principally to the history of the Primitive Baptist Church. It is a self evident fact that any order whose origin is of a recent date, or of any date subsequent to the apostolic day, cannot be the church of christ. It is absurd to suppose, as some have, that the true church of Christ must be traced through the line of Catholicism. Such a claim is made by those only who have no other line to follow.

Brevity the aim

I have been brief and have not written all that could be said on the different subjects, but those who want to make a thorough study of the different events can find it in other histories. I have meant to put before our people a work that would be useful to those who want to know the history of our people. For this purpose I have endeavored to make the reference as convenient as possible.

May the God of all grace bestow his all important blessings upon these pages that through them many may be confirmed in his promises and his precious name be glorified.

J. Harvey Daily

HISTORY OF THE

PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH

CHAPTER 1

From the setting up of the church to

Constantine the Great.

Section 1

The beginning of the church.

“In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed.” God had ever had a people from Abel unto this period, but was now to set up a church, which, being providentially supported by him, should ever exist, continuing in the paths marked out by her Lord and Master.

John the Baptist

John the Baptist came in the wilderness crying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and the people from all over Judea and the country around came to John to be baptized. John required them to come confessing their sins, which is the custom of his people unto this day.

The name Baptist

On account of this new practice of baptizing his converts (those who believed his report) John was called “The Baptist.” From that dy until now this practice has been preserved and those who have been persistent in practicing it have ever borne that name.

Jesus’ baptism

When the time was fulfilled Jesus of Nazareth came and went down into the water with John and was baptized like unto his blessed burial and resurrection. From that on he began to preach his own everlasting gospel and gave examples as patterns for his people. This order of baptism has been handed down through an unbroken chain of baptized believers. The book of inspiration has likewise been kept by the power of God through them.

The Lord’s Supper and Washing Feet

After an instruction of three years the blessed Savior gave to his disciples the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper and kneeling down and washing their feet he laid before them the important lesson of fidelity to their Lord and King, and humility toward one another.

The Commission

After his ascension Jesus appeared to his disciples and blessed them with power to proclaim him as the way, and many from all nations were made to believe, and the seed was scattered throughout the world. Jesus appeared unto his disciples saying, “All power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Thus his true ministers, those loyal to Jesus, have ever gone preaching this everlasting gospel, trusting in the blessed promise of his supporting grace.

Section 2

Spreading the gospel and destruction of Jerusalem

The first Christian church founded by the Apostles was that of Jerusalem, the model of all those which were afterwards erected during the first century. Though the people had not entirely forsaken the Jewish worship, yet they assembled often and were instructed by the Apostles and Elders, prayed together, celebrated the holy supper in remembrance of Christ, and at the conclusion of these meetings manifested great love for each other.

Spread the churches

The Apostles went from Jerusalem to many nations preaching the gospel, and in a short time planted a vast number of churches among the Gentiles. Several of these are mentioned in the New Testament, but these are only a small number of the churches formed by the Apostles.

Early persecution

While the Apostles and their disciples were spreading the gospel into all the world, the Jews continually opposed them. The innocence and virtue of the Christians, and spotless purity of their doctrine, did not protect them, but they were persecuted in many ways. They were opposed not only by the Jewish religion, but also by the idolatrous people of all nations. Notwithstanding this opposition they were so wonderfully blessed by the Spirit of God that they had followers in every city and town.

Nero’s cruel persecution

Nero, who had become emperor over the Roman Empire, after having the city of Rome set on fire, accused the Christian people with the crime. He persecuted a large number of Christians in as cruel a manner as possible. He wrapped some in combustible garments and set fire to them at night.

Death of Paul and Peter

St. Paul and St. Peter were among the number on whom this persecution fell. It is generally held that St. Peter was crucified at Rome. Paul, being a Roman, could not be crucified, and so was beheaded about three miles from Rome. John, the Revelator, was banished to the lonely island of Patmos.

Destruction of Jerusalem

About this time the great city of Jerusalem was destroyed. “A contest had some time existed between the Jews and Syrians about Caesarea, which stood on the confines of both kingdoms, and was claimed by both alike.”—Orchard’s History.

The decision of Nero in favor of the Syrians enraged the Jews and they butchered some of the Roman and Syrian army. Then the Roman and Syrian army besieged the city of Jerusalem five months. During this time the Jews suffered many horrible things, the city of Jerusalem was overthrown and eleven hundred thousand lives lost and ninety thousand persons led into captivity.

Period of peace

After the destruction of the Jewish capital, the Christian church enjoyed several years of outward peace. During this period, however, many professed the Christian religion and advocated unscriptural doctrines which caused much disturbance and distress in the church.

SECTION 2

Second Century

Renewal of persecution

Christianity went on suffering and spreading during the second century. The emperors as well as the people of the empire were bitter in their feelings against the Christians. The saying was frequently used, “If God does not send rain, lay it to the Christians.” At every famine, drought or pestilence they would cry, “To the lions with the Christians.”

Ignatius devoured

At this time, when Trajan the Emperor was at Antioch, that city was visited by a dreadful earthquake. Trajan was injured with many others. Many were killed by the walls of the buildings falling in. Ignatius was pastor of the church at Antioch and was condemned and “was accordingly seized, and by the emperor’s order sent from Antioch to Rome, where he was exposed to the fury of wild beasts in the theatre and by them devoured.”

Ignatius, in his letter to Polycarp, another faithful soldier of the cross, says, “Let your baptism continue as a shield, faith as a helmet, love as a spear.”

Justin Martyr

Justin Martyr, a devoted Christian, who suffered death at the hands of the enemy at Rome in the year of 166, said, referring to baptism, “For they are washed in the name of God the Father and the Lord of the Universe, and of our Savior Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Irenaeus

Irenaeus became bishop or pastor of Lyons in France in 177, and in his writings said, “He came to save all persons by himself, all I say, who are regenerated by him unto God, infants, and children, and boys and young men, and old men.” In this we have two points, the necessity of regeneration, and the salvation of all for whom Jesus came.

Hagenback, a German Pedo-baptist, says that Irenaeus in treating on baptism “merely expresses the beautiful idea that Jesus was Redeemer in every stage of life, and for every stage of life; but that does not say that he became Redeemer for children by water baptism.”

Form of church government

It is admitted by all historians that the churches of the second century were united only by the tie of faith and charity or love. That every church formed within itself a separate and independent body and that the Christian world was not yet connected by any supreme authority or legislative assembly. They were Baptist churches, because they were composed of baptized members, and were independent of each other in government.

Alexandrian school

Orchard says, “The first and most fatal of all events to the primitive religion was the setting up of a Christian Academy at Alexandria.” Christians had been reproached with illiteracy, and this school was set up in 170 to get rid of the scandal. It seemed that the Alexandrian school was a nursery in which nearly all the evils were germinated, the practice of which finally led to Popery. This should be an important lesson to the church of today. In trying to prepare boys for baptism by teaching, the church became filled with men who never had the love of God implanted in their hearts. If this practice corrupted the church in the second century, what will it do in the twentieth?

Baptism by immersion

On until this time there is not a single trace of infant baptism, or baptism in any way but by immersion. Those who were capable of professing faith in Christ were baptized and became church members. Cramp says, “We have searched the Christian writings of the first two centuries and have not yet found infant baptism.”

SECTION 4

Third Century

Peace followed by corruption

At the beginning of this century the persecution was light and Christianity became very popular. Many professed religion who proved not to be sincere. They loved the world and fame more than the truth, and they began teaching false doctrines, leading off many of the professors after them. Much corruption crept in which finally divided the church

In Greece at this time the churches united in mutual unions for the management of spiritual affairs. This led to positions of distinction and many of the so called ministers of the gospel used every device to gain the ascendant positions. The ministers who were learned in philosophy were received by the masses and abundance of wealth was conferred on them.

Mr. Orchard says, “While the interests of religion retained their scriptural character, all were upon equality and each society possessed its government within itself; so that no one church originally can claim our attention more than another. The churches during this early period stood perfectly free of Rome and at after periods refused her communion. As churches rose into importance, contentions about offices were frequent, and tumults ensued; but having no secular aid, their rage against each other spent itself in reproaches and often subsided into apathy. The disappointed, the disaffected, the oppressed, the injured, with the pious, had only to retire from the scene of strife, and they were safe.”

Decius persecution

In 249 Decius who became Emperor, required all to embrace the pagan or idolatrous worship. One writer says, “The gates of hell were once more opened, and merciless executions were let loose upon the defenseless church and deluged the earth with blood.”

Chandler says, “Many were publicly whipped, drawn by the heels through the streets of cities, racked until every bone of their bodies were disjointed, had their teeth beaten out, their noses, hands and ears cut off, sharp pointed spears run under their nails, were tortured with melted lead thrown on their naked bodies, had their eyes dug out, their limbs cut off, and destroyed by every method malice could devise.”

Apostasy

Many who had been so energetic in the Christian religion forsook it and fell down to the gods of the pagans. Nearly all of the aspiring Christians forsook the church, but the true Christian people endured persecution. True followers of the Lamb were never driven from their religion by persecution and never will be. The persecution lasted about two years, and those who had forsaken the church during the trouble now wanted back, and reinstated to their former positions.

Novation

They were generally readmitted, but Novation, a very learned and upright Elder in the church at Rome, opposed the new ways and maintained that the church should be a “company of saints,” and should be separate from the world.

The first division in the church

Cornelius, another Elder in the church at Rome, was in favor of the readmission of their unworthy members, and he was chosen pastor of this church in March, 251, by the majority of the church. Novation and the minority, who believed in strict church discipline, withdrew from the majority and established a separate church of their own and would not receive members from such loose societies except by rebaptizing them. Following this division the Baptists over the Empire followed the act of Novation and separated themselves from the new ideas of church discipline, and thus went by the name of Novationists.

The church in Africa: Tertullian

We now proceed to examine the churches in Africa and their progress through this century. In 202, one Tertullian was a lawyer at Carthage. He became a Christian and joined the church in that city. He afterwards was elected an Elder and became a zealous defender of the Christian religion. In 215 it seems that Christians were very numerous in that city, and many congregations in other parts. By this time the new doctrines, originated in the Alexandrian school in the previous century, had taken hold among the churches in this region, which Tertullian thought had caused the churches to grow too fast, consequently they had become filled with members who knew nothing about Christianity, only as they had been taught it by science of education. Tertullian thought to remedy this evil by a strict adherence to discipline, and contended for receiving members by baptism in all cases, unless they could produce satisfactory evidence that they had been baptized by churches in communion with that of Carthage.

Question about infant baptism

“About this time the idea was first originated (which is but too common in the nineteenth century) that to believe certain points taught in the scriptures was all that was necessary to prepare a person for baptism, and the belief that baptism possessed a saving influence. This practice led to the practice of catechizing children, so as to prepare them for baptism.. This was done for the purpose of fulfilling the injunctions of John and the Savior, that faith is a prerequisite to baptism. These notions having become common in many churches, and especially in the East, gave rise to the question propounded to Tertullian by Quintilla, a rich lady who lived in Phrygia, whether infants might be baptized on the condition they ask to be baptized and produce sponsors; which Tertullian goes on to answer very exquisitely, and shows his opposition to minor baptism, and the blending of regeneration with it.” Owens’ History.

Council of bishops

About the year of 260 sixty-six bishops came together to consider the subject of baptizing infants, and agreed that “the grace of God should be withheld from no son of man, that a child might be kissed with a kiss of Christian charity as a brother so soon as born, that Elisha prayed to God, and stretched himself on the infant, that the eighth day was observed in the Jewish circumcision, a type going before, which type ceased when the substance came. If sinners can have baptism, how much sooner infants, who being newly born, have no sin, save being descending from Adam. This therefore, dear brethren, was our opinion in this assembly, that it is not for us to hinder any person from baptism and the grace of God, who is merciful and kind and affectionate to all, which rule, as it holds for all, so we think it more especially to be observed in reference to infants and persons newly baptized.”

Tertullian in his writings said, “That men’s minds were hardened against baptism, because the person (to be baptized) was brought down into the water without pomp, without any new ornament or sumptuous preparation, and dipped at the pronouncing of a few words.”

Severus’ persecution

We now come to treat of Christianity in France during the third century. Orchard says, “The city of Lyons was again visited with the vengeance of the Emperor. Severus in 202, treated the Christians of this city with the greatest cruelty. Such was the excess of his barbarity that the rivers were colored with human blood, and the public places of the city were filled with the dead bodies of professors. It is recorded of this church that, since its formation, it has been watered with the blood of twenty thousand martyrs. The severities led Christians to reside on the borders of kingdoms, and in recesses of mountains, and it is probable the Pyrenees and Alps afforded some of those persecuted people an asylum from local irritation. It is more than probable that Piedmont afforded shelter to some of these Lyonese, since it is recorded that Christians in the valleys, during the second century, did profess and practice the baptizing of believers, which accords with the views of Ireneus and others recorded during the early ages.”

Galetes first child baptized

During the first three centuries, Christian congregations all over the East subsisted in separate independent bodies, unsupported by government and consequently without any secular power over one another. All this time they were Baptist churches; and though all the Fathers of the first four ages down to Jerome were of Greece, Syria, and Africa, and though they gave great numbers of histories of the baptism of adults, yet there is not one record of the baptism of a child till the year 370, when Galetes, the dying son of the Emperor Valens was baptized by order of a monarch who swore he would not be contradicted.”

Summary

John the Baptist, by the authority given him from on high, instituted the mode of baptism which Christ confirmed and which has been preserved unto this day.

Jesus lived and taught the true way for three years after which time he blessed his disciples with sufficient spiritual power to mark out the way and to spread the glorious truth throughout the world. Much opposition was met by the Christians, but the opposition kept them more closely to the truth. In these perilous times, Peter and Paul were killed by the Romans and many of the saints suffered martyrdom.

After the destruction of the Jewish nation, Christianity became popular and then became corrupt by false teachings which finally resulted in a division. Many persecutions were endured, however, for three hundred years and the truth soldiers of the cross were willing to die for their faith. Until near the end of the third century the church continued as a unit in faith and practice, continuing as independent bodies in church government. By this time false doctrines arose, such as baptismal regeneration, denying that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost were one, and for this reason, baptizing in the name of each one separately, getting all to join the church they could, whether changed in heart or not. Novation and many of like faith denounced all of this and thus became known as Novations.

It is said by historians that the Novations forsook the path (would to God all would forsake the path of error) and taught that baptism was not in order to regeneration or salvation, but a mere confession of faith.

CHAPTER 2

From Constantine the Great to

The end of the Thirteenth Century

SECTION 1

The Fourth Century

In the beginning of the fourth century the church had outward peace, but the pagan priests persuaded the Emperor, Diocletian, in 303, to pass an edict to pull down the church houses and burn their books and writings, and to persuade them to forsake their religion. They banished them from the country, kept them in caves and in many ways, for two years, punished all who would persist in the Christian religion.

In 306, however, Constantine the Great was made Emperor, who was decidedly in favor of Christianity. For a short time he gave religious freedom, but soon undertook to unite church and state, and then to control religion.

12,000 added to the church

“He gave Bishop Sylvester his mansion for a baptistery, and conferred freedom on those slaves who would receive baptism. He offered a reward to others, on their embracing Christianity, so that 12,000 men, besides women and minors, were baptized in one year. In 319 he relieved the clergy of taxes, and in 320 issued an edict against the Donatists. He abolished heathen superstition, and erected splendid churches, richly adorned with paintings and images, bearing striking resemblance to heathen temples. Places were erected for baptizing, some over running water, while others were supplied by pipes. In the middle of the building was the bath, which was very large. Distinct apartments were provided for men and women, as are found in some meeting houses at this day.” Orchard’s History.

A council called

There arose a dispute among the ambitious churches over the divinity of Christ, and Constantine, in attempting to settle the dispute, called a council which decided the dispute and also established a creed. The Bishops and Elders of this council were sent home in great honors, and the Emperor tried to get all who professed Christianity to accept their decision. This council decided on the time for the celebration of Easter, and Sunday was the day set apart for rest under the Christian religion.

Sunday a day of rest

“In remembrance of Christ’s resurrection the ancient church, like the Apostolic church, observed the first day of the week (or Sunday) as a day of sacred joy and thanksgiving, of public worship of God, and of collections for the poor; but neither the ancient nor the Apostolic church ever called that day the sabbath. In the year 321 Constantine appointed the first day of the week, which he called ‘the venerable day of the sun,’ in reference both to the Roman sun-god, Apollo, and to Christ, the Son of Righteousness, as in some respects a day of rest. He forbade the sitting of courts, and military exercises, and all secular labor in towns on that day; but allowed agricultural labor in the country.

The soldier’s prayer

As the fourth century is the source whence were derived the principal Greek and Roman Catholic liturgies or forms of prayer, so Constantine enjoined the following form of prayer for all his Pagan and Christian soldiers. On Sunday in the open field, at a given signal, they were required, with military exactness, to raise their eyes and hands toward Heaven and say these words: “Thee above all we acknowledge as God; Thee we reverence as King; to Thee we call as our helper; to Thee we owe our victories; by Thee we have obtained the mastery of our enemies; to Thee we give thanks for benefits already received; from Thee we hope for benefits to come. We all fall at Thy feet, and fervently beg that Thou wouldest preserve to us our Emperor Constantine and his divinely beloved sons in long life, healthful and victorious.” The co-called prayer, as may be seen, could be addressed to one god as well as another.” Hassell’s History.

The Donatists opposed by Catholics

As the Catholic church grew corrupt, the body that withdrew from them the last of the third century, continued strict in doctrine and discipline, and thus met the opposition of the nation. This strict church was known as Novations, Donatists, Montanists, and many other names, because they refused to receive the Catholics without baptism. We have found the Novations in the third century, and in 303, the able man, Donatus of Carthage, bitterly opposed the loose discipline and false doctrines of the church. The example of Donatus and his party was followed all over North Africa. In Constantine’s first edict in 312 professing to give universal religious freedom, he especially excepted the Donatists. From 316 to 321 they were treated as rebels resisting the authority of the Emperor and many of them suffered death and banishment. Donatus said, “What has the Emperor to do with the church?” Crispin, a French historian, says the Donatists and Novations were together in the following things; First, for purity of members, by asserting that none ought to be admitted into the church but such as are visibly true believers, and real saints; second, for purity of church discipline; third, for independence of each church; fourth, they baptized again those whose first baptism they had reason to doubt. They were consequently called rebaptizers and anabaptists.

Novations in Rome

The Novations, or the church in Italy, had been very successful and were planted all over the Roman empire. Although strict in discipline and sound in doctrine, yet they had great influence, and historians say they were instrumental in getting their religious freedom in 313. In the restraint in 331, however, they were in distress and suffered much. Their books were sought for, and they were forbidden to assemble for worship, and many of their church buildings were destroyed, because they would not adhere to the Catholic church.

In 375 the Emperor Valens embraced the Arian Creed. He closed the Novation churches, banished their ministers, and probably would have carried his measures to greater extremes had not his zeal been moderated by a pious man named Marcion.

The church in liberty

“In 383 Theodosius assembled a synod with a view to establishing unity among churches. On the Novationists stating their views of discipline, the Emperor, says Socrates, ‘wondered at their consent and harmony touching the faith.’ He passed a law, securing to them liberty, civil and religious, all their property, with all churches of the same faith and practice. While these pure churches were in peace and concord, it is stated that discord prevailed in the national churches.

“At the conclusion of this fourth century, the Novationists had three, if not four churches, in Constantinople; they had also churches in Nice, Nocomedia, and Cotivens, in Phrygia, all of them large and extensive bodies, besides which they were numerous in the Western Empire.”—Orchard’s History.

SECTION 2

Fifth Century

In 412 Cyril was pastor of the Catholic church in Alexandria, and one of his first acts was to shut up the churches of the Novatianists, and in Rome, Innocent followed his example. Before this the Christians were persecuted by the Pagans and Emperors, but in 413 the clergy of the Catholic church assumed this authority.

Novations and Donatists oppoosed by Catholics

After the Catholic church had been supported by the Emperor, they felt that they must unite the entire church on one doctrine and practice, but the Novations and Donatists would not agree with them on infant baptism, and rebaptized all who wanted to come to them from the other churches. The spirit of persecution was raised against all those who rebaptized Catholics. A council met and ordered all the rebaptizers, and those rebaptized by them, to be put to death, and Emperor Theodosious and Honorius passed a law supporting this order.

Under this law many of the Novations in Italy were put to death and the Donatians in Africa were deprived of many of their privileges, but the officers would not enforce the law in Africa.

Novations retreat from Italy

These combined modes of oppression led the faithful followers of Christ to abandon the cities in Italy, and seek retreats and more private settlements in the country, being robbed of their churches. In 455 a council met at Arles and at Lyons, in which the views of the Novatianists on predestination were controverted and by which name they were stigmatized.

Christians in Pyrenees Mountains

By the severe opposition met by the Christians, they were compelled to seek a secreted place of worship, and many went to the Pyrenees Mountains, where they were not bothered with the Catholic party.

I will now quote a little description of the mountains given by Orchard. “The south of France is separated from the north of Spain by the Pyrenees Mountains, which extend from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic; that is about two hundred miles, and in breadth, in several places, more than a hundred. The surface is, as may be supposed, most wonderfully diversified. Hills rise upon hills, mountains over mountains, some bare of verdure, others covered with forests of huge cork trees, oak, beech, chestnut and evergreens. * * * * Numerous flocks of sheep and goats enliven the hills, while the herdsmen and manufacturers of wool inhabit the valleys. To these mountains, in all periods, the sons of freedom fled. Persons holding sentiments in accordance with the true Waldenses were very numerous in Spain; they were thousands and tens of thousands.

Albigenses

“At an early period,” Dr. Allix says, “the churches of the north of Spain were always united with those of the south of France.” The religious views of these people are now known by the term Albigenses, from their residing at or near Albi, a city about forty-two miles northeast of Toulouse.

Baptists in Africa

The Donatists, or Baptists, in Africa, enjoyed religious freedom at this period. Africa was ruled by a people called Barbarians, and “their conduct was more mild toward the followers of the Lamb than the Catholics had ever been.” But in 534 the Emperor regained Africa and deprived the Christians of their freedom, and not long after this history loses trace of this people in this country, but some seem to think they went to the mountains, as did the Novations.

SECTION 3

Sixth Century

Baptists called Anabaptists

The Baptists in France and Spain, from their conduct were called Anabaptists. They baptized Pagans and Jews and reimmersed all Catholics, and Robinson says that they baptized none without a personal profession of faith.

In 524 in a Catholic council held at Lerida, it was decided that those who had been baptized by the Baptists in the name of the Trinity should be admitted into the Catholic church without rebaptizing them.

Waldenses

The Baptist people that inhabited the Pyrenees Mountains were afterward called Waldenses, by which name we trace them for many years. They were given this name from a valley which they inhabited, known as Piedmont.

From the Latin word vallis, the low Dutch valleye, the Provincial vaux vaudois, the ecclesiastical Valdeness, Waldenses and Waldenese. The words imply valleys, inhabitants of valleys, and no more. It happened that the inhabitants of the valleys of the Pyrenees did not profess the Catholic faith; it fell out also that the inhabitants of the valleys about the Alps did not embrace it.

The name Waldenses

It happened, moreover, in the ninth century, that one Valdo, a friend and counsellor of Berengarius, and a man of eminence, who had many followers, did not approve of the papal discipline and doctrine; and it came to pass that about one hundred and thirty years after that a rich merchant of Lyons, who was called Valdus, or Waldo, openly disavowed the Roman Catholic religion, supported many to teach the doctrine believed in the valleys, and became the instrument of the conversion of great numbers; all these people were called Waldenses. This view is supported by the authority of their own historians, Pierre Gilles, Perrin, Leger, Sir. S. Moreland, and Dr. Allix.

Waldenses same as Novations

“Paul Perrin asserts that the Waldenses were, time out of mind, in Italy and Dalmatia, and were the offspring of the Novatianists, who were persecuted and driven from Rome A.D. 413, and who for purity in communion were called Puritans. The name of Paterines was given to the Waldenses, who for the most part held the same opinions, and therefore have been taken fro the same class of people, who continued till the Reformation under the name of Paterines or Waldenses.

There was no difference in religious views between the Albigenses and Waldenses. All these people inhabited the south of France and were called in general Albigenses, and in doctrine and manners were not distinct from the Waldenses.

Bossuet, bishop of Meaux, says as to the Vaudois, there were a species of Donatists. They formed their churches of only good men. They all without distinction, if they were reputed good people, preached and administered the ordinances. The Waldenses were in religious sentiment substantially the same as the Paulicians, Paterines, Puritans and Albigenses,”—Owens History.

It is evident that the Christians were numerous throughout the entire Empire, but because of the opposition of the Catholic party, and other religions of the world, we have no accurate record of their proceedings during this century, other than that they were persecuted because they rejected the Catholic baptism, and refused to baptize infants into their fellowship. It is thought that during this period they went to other nations and formed colonies and thus planted their churches in all the Eastern hemisphere. The pure gospel was yet maintained throughout the providence of God and many were made to die for the Truth.

SECTION 4

Seventh Century

It is asserted by historians that but few of the clergy of the Catholic church could compose a discourse in the seventh century. The corruption of the church increased and many things were practiced that were both unscriptural and immoral. They still had a hatred for the Christians, because of their strict discipline and doctrine. Baptism by immersion, however, was still universally practiced, even by the Catholics, as all historians agree, and many fine places were built for this purpose.

The doctrine of the Waldenses

At this time the Waldenses believed in the doctrine of the Trinity, and baptized believers, refused to baptize infants, and were reproached with the term re-baptizers, or anabaptists. Paul Perrin asserts that the Waldenses were the offspring of the Novatianists, who for purity in communion were called Puritans.

Paulicians

In Greece the Baptist people were known by the name of Paulicians, because they contended for the writings of Paul and John, and tried to conform their lives to that of Paul’s.

Greeks against the Paulicians

The Greeks were engaged, during this century, in the most bitter and virulent controversy with the Paulicians of Armenia, and the adjacent countries, whom they considered as a branch of the Manichean sect. This dispute was carried to the greatest height under the reigns of Constans, Constantine Pogonatus, and Justinian II, and the Greeks were not only armed with arguments, but were also aided by the force of military legions, and the terror of penal laws. A certain person, whose name was Constantine, revived under the reign of Constans the drooping faction of the Paulicians, now ready to expire, and propagated with great success its “pestilential doctrines.” But this is not the place to enlarge upon the tenets and history of this sect, whose origin is attributed to Paul and John, two brothers who revived and modified the doctrines of Manes.

Constantine

Let us next give an account of Constantine and his success as an able minister of this people in the year 660. A stranger, who was a deacon, who had been taken a prisoner, but was on his return to his home, passed through Mananalis, and was entertained by Constantine.

Constantine’s New Testament

From this passing stranger Constantine (Mosheim’s History) received the precious gift of the New Testament in its original language, which, even at this early period, was so concealed from the vulgar that Peter Siculus, to whom we owe most of our information on the history of the Paulicians, tells us, the first scruples of a Catholic, when he was advised to read the Bible was, “It is not lawful for us profane persons to read those sacred writings, but for the priests only.”

Ignorance of the Catholics

Indeed, the gross ignorance which pervaded Europe at that time rendered the generality of the people incapable of reading that or any other book; but even those of the laity, who could read, were dissuaded by their religious guides from meddling with the Bible. Constantine, however, made the best use of the deacon’s present—he studied his New Testament, with unwearied assiduity, and more particularly the writings of the Apostle Paul, from which he at length endeavored to deduce a system of doctrine and worship. “He investigated the creed of primitive Christianity,” says Gibbon, “and whatever might be the success, a Protestant reader will applaud the spirit of the inquiry.” The knowledge of which Constantine himself was, under divine blessing, enabled to attain, he gladly communicated to others around him, and a Christian church was collected. In a little time several individuals arose among them qualified for the work of the ministry, and several other churches were collected, throughout Armenia and Cappadocia,”— Jones History.

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

In these churches of the Paulicians, the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper they held to be peculiar to the communion of the faithful; I.e., to be restricted to believers.

The Paulicians, or Bogomilians, baptized or re-baptized adults by immersion, as the Manichaens and all other denominations did in the East, upon which mode there was no dispute in the Grecian church.

“It is evident,” says Mosheim, “they rejected the baptism of infants. They were not charged with an error concerning baptism.” “They, with the Manichaens, were anabaptists, or rejectors of infant baptism,” says Dr. allix, “and were consequently often reproached with that term.”

Scriptural in doctrine and practice

“They were simply scriptural in the uses of the sacrament,” says Milner. They were orthodox in the doctrine of the Trinity; they know of no other Mediator than the Lord Jesus Christ.”—Orchard’s History.

SECTION 5

Eighth Century

Persecution of Paulicians

At the beginning of the eighth century the Paulicians were put to death and these people who desired to adhere to the Bible were persecuted in every nation. It is evident, though, that the gates of hell could not prevail against the church in any part of the world. The humble yet bold people would attract the attention of the enemy often in every nation, but were kept in obscurity only when the enemy saw fit to persecute.

Peace in Pyrenees

In the Pyrenees Mountains they were not molested, and they had large churches, but were not molested by the kingsbecause of their behavior.

Disturbed by Moors

In 714 the Moors entered Spain and conquered that kingdom. It is said that the Moors were rather in favor of liberty, and even religious freedom could be procured for a small sum; yet these Baptists disdained to purchase a native right and so fled to the mountain home. These people also took France in 721, but in 732 Charles Martel succeeded in recovering his kingdom. To what extent the Baptist churches realized injury from these barbarians we do not learn, but they settled in the French province near the foot of the Pyrenees—Gibbon’s History, 6, 22.

So these persecuted people would go from one place to another.

How wonderful are the dealings of God in controlling the universe, although he suffered nations to be governed by wicked men, and while one nation was influenced by anti-Christ, God gave the Christians protection in another, so tht their increase was gradual but sure.

Doctrine and practice in 750

We are informed by Bonizo, bishop of Sutrium, that the Paterines arose, or became more conspicuous during Stephen II’s pontificate, 750.

The public religion of the Paterines consisted of nothing but social prayer, reading and expounding the gospels, baptism once, and the Lord’s supper as often as convenient. Italy was full of such Christians, which bore various names, from various causes. They said a Christian church should consist of only good people; a church had no power to frame any constitutions, I. e., make laws; it was not right to take oaths; it was not lawful to kill mankind, nor should he be delivered up to the officers of justice to be converted; faith alone could save a man; the benefits of society belonged to all its members; the church ought not to persecute; the law of Moses was no rule for Christians. The Catholics of those times baptized by immersion; the Paterines, therefore, in all their branches made no complaint of the action of baptism, but when they were examined they objected vehemently against the baptism of infants, and condemned it as an error.—Orchard’s History.

SECTION 6

Ninth Century

The Dark Ages

We are now entering into the period in history known as the dark ages, through which it is difficult to give the true succession of this unbroken chain of true and faithful soldiers of the cross, but we have abundant evidence that the continued in a steadfast way to contend for the same precious truth we have been tracing by the authority of all acknowledged historians.

Protected by Claude

We see that the Catholic church at Rome during this time continued to grow corrupt, and their elders desired to rule the world, thus putting all opposition down, if necessary by death. In 817, however, the Emperor of France, being desirous to check the power of the Roman Church, promoted Claude to the See of Turin.

This man was a great reformer, which afforded great protection for the Waldenses and others fo like faith. He was born in Spain, and grew to be a bold defender of the right. Mr. Robinson said, “He bore a noble testimony against the prevailing errors of his time, and was undoubtedly a most reputable character.”

The doctrine of Claude

Let it be observed, then, that throughout the whole of his writings, he maintains that “Jesus Christ is the alone head of the church.” This, the reader will perceive, struck immediately at the root of the first principles of popery—the vicarious office of the bishop of Rome. He utterly discards the doctrine of human worthiness in the article of justification in such a manner as overthrows all the subtle distinctions of Papists on the subject. He pronounces anathemas against traditions in matters of religion, and thus drew the attention of men to the word of God and that alone, as the ground of a Christian’s faith, without the deeds of the law—the doctrine which Luther, seven hundred years afterwards, so ably contended for, and which so excessibly provoked the advocates of the church of Rome. He contended that the church was subject to error, and denied that prayers for the dead can be of any good to those that have demanded them; while he lashed, in the severest manner, the superstition and idolatry which everywhere abounded under the countenance and authority of the See of Rome.

The results of his teachings

“By his preaching and valuable writings, he disseminated the doctrine of the kingdom of heaven, and although the seed were as a grain of mustard seed cast into the earth, the glorious effects ultimately produced by it justify the truth of our Lord’s parable, that when it is grown up, it produceth a tree, whose branches are so ramified and extended that the birds of the air come and lodge therein. His doctrine grew exceedingly. The valleys of Piedmont were in time filled with his disciples, and while midnight darkness sat enthroned over almost every portion of the globe, the Waldenses, which is only another name for the inhabitants of these valleys, preserved the gospel among them in its native purity, and rejoiced in its glorious light.”—Jones’ History.

God’s providence

This man being in sentiment with the Baptist people, we can see the purpose of God plainly manifested in sending such a man to preside over the Catholic interests at Piedmont, in the mountain retreat of the Pyrenees.

The effects of his teaching were felt during the next two centuries and the church enjoyed to some degree a freedom of speech.

The efforts of Claude to restore the Catholic Church to apostolic practice and doctrine affected the entire Roman province. The dispute that consequently affected the Catholics gave opportunity to the Baptists of Italy and other places to spread their doctrine through the world.

The people were known by the term Paterines, a name, says Mezeray, from the glory they took in suffering patiently for the truth.

SECTION 7

Tenth Century

Baptists in every province

In the tenth century the Paulicians, being persecuted, emigrated from Bulgaria and spread themselves abroad through every province of Europe. While the Catholic Church was in a deep sleep, the Baptist people, known by many names, were contending for the same doctrine and practice.

Worthy of the name

When we consider their object in diffusing truths and holding up the lamp for guidance of others, their self-denials and trials, we cannot withhold from them the praise due to their names. The boon such a people proved to the nations sitting in darkness and death will be made evident in the day of decision. They rest from their labors, and their work will follow them. Many of the Bulgarian Baptists lived single, and adopted an itinerant life, purposely to serve the cause of their Redeemer. It was in the country of the Albigeois, in the southern provinces of France, remarks Gibbon, where the Paulicians mostly took root. These people were known by different names in various provinces.

Views of Baptists

The French Paulicians or Albigenses were plainly of the same order in church affairs as the Bulgarians. They have no bishops; the candidates were prepared for baptism by instruction and stated feasts. They viewed baptism as adding no benefit to children. They received members into their churches after baptism by prayer with imposition of hands and the kiss of charity.

They did not allow of the Catholic baptism of infants, but baptized those again who went over from that church to their community.

Summary of doctrine

of the French Baptists

Let us give a summary of their doctrine, as given by Mosheim:

Their particular tenets may be reduced to the following heads; First, they rejected baptism of infants, as a ceremony that was in no respect essential to salvation. Second, they rejected, for the same reason, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Third, they denied that the churches were endowed with a greater degree of sanctity than private houses, or that they were more adapted to the worship of God than any other place. Fourth, they affirmed that the altar was to be considered in no other light than as heaps of stones, and were therefore unworthy of any marks of veneration or regard. Fifth, they disapproved the use of incense and consecrated oil in services of a religious nature. Sixth, they looked upon the use of bells in the churches as an intolerable superstition. Seventh, they denied that the establishment of bishops, presbyters, deacons, and other ecclesiastical dignitaries was of divine institution, and went so far as to maintain that the appointment of stated ministers in the church was entirely unnecessary. Eighth, they affirmed that the institution of funeral rites was an effect of sacerdotal avarice, and that it was a matter of indifference whether the dead were buried in the churches or in the fields.

Penance and masses denounced

Ninth, they looked upon the voluntary punishment called penance, so generally practiced in this century, as unprofitable and absurd. Tenth, they denied that the sins of departed saints could be in any measure atoned for by the celebration of masses, the distribution of alms to the poor, or a vicarious penance; and they, consequently treated the doctrine of purgatory as a ridiculous fable. Eleventh, they considered (Catholic ceremonial) marriage as a pernicious institution, and absurdly condemned, without distinction, all connubial bonds. Twelfth, they looked upon a certain sort of veneration and worship as due to the apostles and martyrs, from which, however, they excluded such as were only confessors, in which class they comprehended the saints who had not suffered death for the cause of Christ, and whose bodies, in their esteem, had nothing more sacred than any other human carcass.

Instrumental music considered superstitious and unlawful

Thirteenth, they declared the use of instrumental music in the churches and other religious assemblies, superstitious and unlawful. Fourteenth, they denied that the cross on which Christ suffered was in any respect more sacred than any other kind of wood, and in consequence refused to pay to it the smallest degree of religious worship. Fifteenth, they not only refused all acts of adoration to the images of Christ, and of the saints, but were also for having them removed out of the churches. Sixteenth, they were shocked at the subordination and distinction that were established among the clergy, and at the different degrees of authority conferred upon the different members of the sacred body.

Thus the truth in opposition to error was spread all over the inhabited world at that time.

Darkest page of church history

It is admitted, however, by all historians, that this is the darkest page of church history, but we can find the records of the true followers of the Lamb, both by the various names, and by their untiring efforts to restore truth. “Many efforts were made,” says Mosheim, “by Protestants, the witnesses of the truth by whom are meant such pious and judicious Christians as adhered to the pure religion of the gospel, and remained uncorrupted amidst superstitions. It was principally in Italy and France that this heroic piety was exhibited.”—Orchard’s History

SECTION 8

Eleventh Century

We enter upon the history of this century with more light upon the true teachings and practices of the church, as though the hand of bitter persecution was raised against them. The death of their brethren, and the prospect of themselves being martyred, could not affright them from the love of the truth, the work of righteousness, the exercise of faith, and the patience of hope. The persecution and accusations raised against them but gave sure marks of their continuing in the faith.

Council at Orleans

One of the first religious assemblies which the Paulicians had formed in Europe is said to have been discovered at Orleans in the year 1017, under the reign of Robert. Its principal numbers were twelve men eminently distinguished by their piety and learning, among whom Lisogius and Stephen held the first rank; and it was composed in general of a considerable number of citizens who were far from being of the lower order. A council held at Orleans used every exertion that could be devised to bring these people to a better mind, but all endeavors failed.

Thirteen Paulicians burnt alive

They adhered strenuously to their principles, and therefore were condemned to be burnt alive, which sentence was actually executed on thirteen of them. Afterwards the Puritans that came from France into Bulgaria were murdered without mercy. They held that baptism and the Lord’s supper possessed no virtue to justify. These clergymen, says Archbishop Usher, affirmed that there was no virtue capable of sanctifying the soul in the Eucharist or in baptism. For preaching this doctrine, their enemies took liberty of charging them with denying baptism and the sacrament; which, taking it in its broad sense, was very far from being true. They denied the Eucharist before baptism, and that baptism conferred no grace, and denied that ordinance to children.—Orchard’s History.

Synod at Toulous

We here quote from Mr. Orchard: “In 1019 a synod was held at Toulous, to consider the most effectual method to rid the province of the Albigenses; and though the whole sect was in 1022 said to have been burnt, yet the emigrants from Bulgaria, coming in colonies into France, kept the seed sown, and the churches recruited, and soon after the same class of people was found inhabiting Languedoc and Gascony.”

Berengarius and Gundulphus

About the year 1035 two reformers made their appearance, Berengarius of France and Gundulphus in Italy.

Orchard says Berengarius, by his discourses, charmed the people, and drew after him vast numbers of disciples. Some men of learning united themselves with him, and spread his doctrines and views through France, Italy, Germany and other kingdoms. The effects of these reformers’ preaching was not only the enlightening of the ignorant, but it gave encouragement to the Baptists to become more prominent in society. The alarm was great to Catholics. One of their prelates, Deodwin, Bishop of Seige, states that there is a report coming out of France, and gone through Germany, that Bruno, Bishop of Angiers, and Berengarius, Archdeacon of the same church, maintain that the host is not the Lord’s body, and as far as in them lies overthrow the baptism of infants. Matthew, of Westminster, speaks of Berenger (Berengarius) as having corrupted all Italy. It means, says Dr. Allix, that his followers who were of the same stamp with the Paterines, kept to the primitive faith of the church, which it was the object of the Popes to remove them from, and in their opposing the Church of Rome, they were called heretics and corrupters, though this name and practice belonged rightly to the popish party.

His success was so great that old historians say that France, Italy, Germany, England, the Belgic countries, etc., were infected with his principles. No doubt thousands joined with him that had been strongly opposed to the church and party in power, but dared not avow it for fear of the persecution and punishments that were inflicted upon dissenters, but finding in Berengarius a bold defender of their faith, they took courage and came out from their state of obscurity, and publicly professed their disapprobation of the corruption of the Church of Rome, a community of malignants, the council of vanity, and the seat of Satan. It is said that he was required by the Pope to renounce his errors and burn his writings, which he actually did, and yet he ceased not while he lived to write and speak in the same severe strain.”

Orchard’s statement

Orchard says of Gundulphus: “Having given some persons in his connection a portion of spiritual instruction, he sent them forth as inherants to preach the gospel. Some of his followers were arrested in Flanders, and on their examination, they acknowledged they were followers of Gundulphus.

“They were charged,” says Dr. Allix, “with abhorring baptism, I.e., the Catholic baptism.” These disciples said in reply; “The law and discipline we have received of our Master will not appear contrary either to the gospel decrees or apostolic institutions, if carefully looked into. This discipline consists in leaving the world, in bridling carnal concupiscence, in providing a livelihood by the labor of our hands, in hurting nobody, and affording charity to all, etc. This is the sum of our justification to which the use of baptism can superadd nothing. But if any say that some sacrament lies hid in baptism, the force of it is taken off by three causes; First, because the reprobate life of ministers can afford no saving remedy to the persons baptized.” Second, because whatever sins are renounced at the font, are afterwards taken up again in life and practice. Third, because a strange will, a strange faith, and strange confessions, do not seem to belong to a little child, who neither wills nor runs, who knoweth nothing of faith, and is altogether ignorant of his own good and salvation, in whom there can be no desire of regeneration, and from whom no confession of faith can be expected.”

Baptists in Piedmont

In the valleys of Piedmont during the same time, while in the countries around them, the Baptists were persecuted for refusing to buy or sell under the mark of the beast, the Baptist people here had protection from the oppression of all nations, where they could hide from the face of the serpent. Their enemies acknowledge they were very zealous, and that they never ceased from teaching night and day.

Their churches were divided into sixteen compartments, such as we call associations. The association of Milan is thought to have had about one thousand five hundred members in all.

SECTION 9

Twelfth Century

It is recorded that in the beginning of this century the Waldenses had spread their doctrine and influence all over Europe. They were often described nearly in the following language: If a man loves those that desire to love God and Jesus Christ; if he will neither curse, nor swear, nor lie, nor commit lewdness, nor kill, nor deceive his neighbor, nor avenge himself of his enemies, they presently say, he is a Vaudois—he deserves to be punished.

Articles of faith

In an article of faith the following is recorded by Mr. Jones that will be of interest to the readers: “We believe and firmly maintain all that is contained in the twelve articles of the symbol commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, and we regard as heretical whatsoever is inconsistent with the said twelve articles.

“We believe there is one God—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

“We acknowledge for sacred canonical Scriptures the books of the Holy Bible. (Here follow the title of each, exactly conformable to our received canons, but which it is deemed, on that account, quite unnecessary to particularize.)

“The books above mentioned teach us that there is one God, Almighty, unbounded in wisdom, and infinite in goodness, and who, in his goodness, has made all things. For he created Adam after his own image and likeness. But through the enmity of the devil and his own disobedience, Adam fell, sin entered into the world, and we became transgressors in and by Adam.

“That at the time appointed by the Father, Christ was born—a time when iniquity everywhere abounded, to make it manifest that it was not for the sake of any good in ourselves, for all were sinners, but that he who is true might display his grace and mercy upon us.

“That Christ is our life, and truth, and peace, and righteousness—our shepherd and advocate, our sacrifice and priest, who died for the salvation of all who should believe, and rose again for their justification.

“We also believe that after this life there are but two places—one for those that are saved, the other for the damned—which two we call paradise and hell, wholly denying that imaginary purgatory of anti-Christ invented in opposition to the truth.

“We acknowledge no sacraments (as by Divine appointment), but baptism and the Lord’s Supper.”

Peter de Bruis

About the same period Peter de Bruis became prominent as a bold defender of the truth. Mosheim gives the following account of this man:

“Peter de Bruis made laudable attempts to reform the abuses and to remove the superstitions that disfigured the beautiful simplicity of the gospel; but after having engaged in his cause a great number of followers, during a laborious ministry of twenty years, he was burned at St. Giles, in the year 1130, by an enraged populace, instigated by the clergy, whose traffic was in danger from the enterprising spirit of this reformer. The whole system of doctrine, which this unhappy martyr, whose zeal was not without a considerable mixture of fanaticism, taught to the Petrobrusians, his disciples, is not known; it is, however, certain that the five following tests made a part of his system: First, that no persons were to be baptized before they had the full use of their reason. Second, that it was idle superstition to build churches for the service of God, who will accept a sincere worship wherever it is offered, and that therefore such churches as had already been erected were to be destroyed. Third, that the crucifixes, as instruments of superstition, deserved the same fate. Fourth, that the real body and blood of Christ were not exhibited in the Eucharist, but were merely represented in that holy ordinance by figures and symbols. Fifth, and lastly, that the obligations, prayers, and good works of the living could in no respect be advantageous to the dead.”

Arnold of Brescia

Arnold of Brescia is another of the faithful ministers of this century. Arnold was an Italian by birth, but went to France early in life, and was made to love the ways of the Puritans. He received into his heart the light of the gospel. He returned to his former home and began his public ministry even on the streets.

He pointed his zeal at the wealth and luxury of the Roman clergy. The eloquence of Arnold aroused the inhabitants of Brescia. They revered him as the apostle of religious liberty, and rose in rebellion against the bishops. The church took an alarm at his bold attacks, and in a council he was condemned to perpetual silence. Arnold left Italy and found an asylum in the Swiss canton of Zurich. Here he began his system of reform, and succeeded for a time, but the influence of Bernard made it necessary for him to leave the canton.

Arnold’s defense of truth

This bold man now hazarded the desperate experience of visiting Rome, and fixing the standard of rebellion in the very heart of the capitol. In this measure he succeeded, so far as to occasion the change of the government, and the clergy experienced for ten years a reverse of fortune and a succession of insults from the people. The pontiff struggled hard, but in vain, to maintain his ascendency. He at length sunk under the pressure of the calamity.

Successive pontiffs were unable to check his popularity. Eugenius III withdrew from Rome, and Arnold, taking advantage of his absence, impressed on the minds of the people the necessity of setting bounds to clerical authority, but the people, not being prepared for such liberty, carried their measures to the extreme, abused the clergy, burnt their property, and required all ecclesiastics to swear to the new constitution. “Arnold,” says Gibbon,” presumed to quote the declaration of Christ, that his kingdom was not of this world. The abbots, the bishops, and the Pope himself must renounce their state, or their salvation.” The people were brave, but ignorant of the nature, extent and advantages of a reformation.

Arnold’s death

He was not devoid of discretion, he was protected by the nobles and the people, and his services to the cause of freedom, his eloquence thundered over the seven hills. He showed how strongly the clergy in vice had degenerated from the primitive times of the church. He confined the shepherd to the spiritual government of his flock.

In 1155 this noble champion was seized, crucified and burned. His ashes were thrown into the river. “The clergy triumphed in his death; with his ashes his sect was dispersed; his memory still lives in the minds of the Romans.”

Peter Waldo

In 1160, whilst anarchy and confusion awfully prevailed in the Roman community, strife, rebellion and conflict between popes and emperors, cardinals, clergy and councils on the claims of contending pontiffs, a person was called by Divine grace to advocate the cause of truth.

Peter, an opulent merchant of Lyons, in translating from Latin into French the four gospels, perceived that the religion which was taught in the Roman church differed totally from that which was originally inculcated by Christ and his apostles. Struck with a pious zeal for religion, he abandoned the glaring difference and animated his mercantile vocation, distributed his riches among the poor and formed an association with other pious men. He adopted the sentiments of the Waldenses of Piedmont, and from them borrowed those reforming notions which he diffused successfully over the continent.

In 1165 he assumed the character of a public teacher in the city of Lyon. He maintained at his own expense several persons, who were employed to recite and expound to the people those translations of the scripture he had made, which proved of unspeakable service to the cause he espoused.

The rules of practice adopted by Peter of Lyons, or Peter Waldo, and his followers, were extremely severe. They took for their model, to regulate their moral discipline, Christ’s sermon on the mount, which they interpreted and explained in the most literal and rigid manner, and consequently prohibited war, lawsuits, and all attempts towards acquisition of wealth; the infliction of capital punishments, self-defense against unjust violence, and oaths of all kinds.

Various names of Baptists

The followers of Waldo, like himself, renounced all worldly property and interest, making common stock with the poor of the church. From this circumstance the enemies termed them, “the poor of Lyons,” and from the city where Waldo commenced his labors, they were named Lionists; but in general they were mixed with the Waldenses, their sentiments being the same, and were known in general by that name.

They are said to have been men of irreproachable lives. They were the pious of the earth. Their views of the ordinance were, says Reiner, “that the washing (immersion) given to children does no good.” Dissenters were called by various names, as the poor of Lyons, Lionists, Paterines, Puritans, Arnoldists, Petrobrussians, Albigenses, Waldenses,etc., etc., different names expressive of one and the same class of Christians.

“However various their names, they may be,” says Mezeray, “reduced to two, that is, the Albigenses and the Vaudois, and these two held almost the same opinions as those we called Calvinists.” Their bards or pastors were every one of them heads of their churches, but they acted nothing without the consent of the people and clergy. Deacons expounded the gospels, distributed the Lord’s Supper, baptized, and sometimes had the oversight of churches, visited the sick, and took care of the temporalities of the church—Orchard’s History.

“Peter Waldo and his brethren were bitterly opposed by the Catholic party, and were finally made to flee for protection. Some went to the mountain home in the Pyrenees, and some to Germany. In the same year, a council was convened a Tours, at which all the bishops and priests in the country of Toulouse were strictly enjoined to take care, and to forbid, under pain of excommunication, every person from presuming to give reception, or the least assistance to the followers of this heresy; to have no dealings with them in buying and selling, that thus, being deprived of the common necessities of life, they might be compelled to repent of the evils of their way.”

Thus they were compelled to leave this part of the country for refuge in other parts.

Section 10

Thirteenth Century

Jealousy of the Pope

The cruelty of the twelfth century was increased in this century. In 1200 the cities and towns were filled with the Baptists being protected by the lords, barons, viscounts and others of the French nobility. This awakened the jealousy of the Pope and different measures were taken to subdue them. In the fall of 1209 the monks preached up a crusade against the more northerly provinces of France. To stir up the nation, they opened to all volunteers the gates of paradise, with all its glory, without any reformation of life or manners.

Alice’s Army

The army raised from these efforts was directed in the ensuing spring, 1210, by Alice, Simon de Montfort’s wife. With this army a renewal of last year’s cruelties commenced. All the inhabitants found were hung on gibbets. A hundred of the inhabitants of Brom had their eyes plucked out, and their noses cut off, and then were sent, under the guidance of a man with one eye spared, to inform the garrisons of other towns what fate awaited them. The destruction of property and life must have been very great, from the sanguinary character of those who managed these cruel measures.

Albigenses die for their faith

The most perfidious conduct was conspicuous in the leaders of the Catholic cause. Pope, bishops, legates, and officers of the army; whatever terms were submitted to availed nothing, when in the hands of their enemies. On the 22nd of July, the Crusaders took possession of the castle of Minerva. The Albigensian Christians were in the meantime assembled—the men in one house, the women in another, and there, on their knees, resigned to the waiting circumstances. A learned abbot preached to them, but they unanimously cried, “We have renounced the Church of Rome—we will have none of your faith; your labor is in vain, for neither death nor life will make us renounce the opinions we have embraced.”

An enormous pile of dry wood was prepared, and the abbot thus addressed the Albigenses, “Be converted to the Catholic faith, or ascend this pile,” but none of them were shaken. They set fire to the wood, and brought them to the fire, but it required no violence to precipitate them into the flames. Thus more than one hundred and forty willing victims perished, after commending their souls to God. This sacrifice of human life under this crusade cannot be computed,”—Orchard’s History.

A time of great trial

“I have,” says Mr. Jones, “traced the total extermination of the Alibgenses, and with it the extinction of the cause of reformation, so happily introduced in the twelfth century. The slaughter had been so prodigious, the massacre so universal, the terror so profound, and of so long duration, that the church of Rome appeared completely to have obtained her object. The churches were drowned in the blood of their members, or everywhere broken up or shattered. The public worship of the Albigenses had everywhere ceased. All teaching had become impossible.

Almost every pastor or elder had perished in a frightful manner, and the very small number of those who had succeeded in escaping the edge of the sword now sought an asylum in distant countries, and were enabled to avoid persecutions only by preserving the most studied silence respecting their opinions. The private members who had not perished by either fire or sword, or who had not withdrawn by flight from the scrutiny of the inquisition, knew that they could preserve their lives only by burying their creed in their bosoms. For them there were no more sermons, no more public prayers, no more ordinances of the Lord’s house—even their children were not to be acquainted for a time at least, with their sentiments.”

Raymond’s protection

Raymond was an earl of Toulouse, who spent his days in opposition to the church in power, but at his death his young son Raymond, feeling stung by the injustice done his father, banished the crusaders and inquisitors from the country of Toulouse, and continued to give the whole Catholic party trouble until about the middle of the century. But in 1243 Raymond was subdued and the land became quiet. Thus terminated all hopes of protection in Toulouse and the blood of one million inoffensive lives was spilled. It is asserted, however, that 800,000 faithful Christians yet remained in that part of France.

Liberty in Piedmont

Let us now turn our attention to the valleys of Piedmont. While the other countries were persecuting the saints, the dukes of this country protected them.

Mosheim says, “Their numbers became so formidable as to menace the Papal jurisdiction with a fatal overthrow. It has been observed, and the thing is worthy of notice, that a period when all the potentates of Europe were combined to second the intolerant measures of the court of Rome, the Dukes of Savoy, who were now become the most intolerant monarchs in Christendom, should have allowed their subjects the liberty of conscience, and protected them in the legitimate exercise of their civil and religious principles.

They were secluded in a considerable degree from general observation, and led a quiet and peaceful life, in all godliness and honesty. The princes and the governors of the country in which they lived were constantly receiving the most favorable reports of them, as a people simple in their manners, free from deceit and malice, upright in their dealings, loyal to their governors, and ever ready to yield them a cheerful obedience, and in everything that did not interfere with the claims of conscience; consequently, the governors constantly turned a deaf ear to the solicitations of priests and monks to disturb their tranquility.

The tolerant principles of the dukes, with the sequestered habitations of these people; the difficulty of approaching their territories; their little intercourse with the world, connected with their simplicity of manners, were favorable circumstances to all the pious of the glens of Piedmont, while it afforded nothing inviting to strangers or the polite and fashionable. Consequently these people appear to have enjoyed a considerable share of tranquility, while their brethren in the south of France were exposed to the fury of Papal vengeance.”

Origin of Albigenses

It is natural to conclude, therefore, that when persecution raged against the church of France, the persecuted would seek protection where there is freedom.

These people were sound in doctrine and were faithful to their profession, even through the most severe persecution. It is asserted by Orchard, “First, it has been fully admitted by all creditable historians, that the Albigenses were originally called Puritans, from the Novatian, Paulician, and Paterine dissenters, whose sentiments have passed under review.

Secondly, the constitution of all those dissenting churches left on record, viz., Novatianists, Donatists, Paulicians, with the Albigenses, was strictly on the terms of “believers’ baptism indispensable to church fellowship.”

Thirdly, after Novatian, Donatus and Constantine appeared as reformers, Gundulphus, Arnold of Brescia, Berenges, Peter of Bruys, Henry of Toulous, and Peter Waldo, who all equally renounced infant baptism, with those who were called after their names, which subject we shall refer in full section.

Fourthly, the productions of their pens, their creed, or confession of faith, the Noble Lesson, and What is Antichrist, are in accordance with Baptist views.”

Dr Wall records that the Lionists, or followers of Waldo, say that the washing given to children does no good.

Dr Allis says, “Baptism added nothing to justification, and afforded no benefit to children.”

Persecution in Italy

It Italy the Paterines were very numerous during this century, and it is said they kept up correspondence with other countries. They were bitterly opposed by the Catholic party, however, as they were in many other places. In 1224 a cruel decree was passed according to the desires of the Pope, denouncing all Puritans, Paterines, Arnoldites, etc., expressed in these terms, “We shall not suffer these wretches to live.” A second, third and fourth followed, all of the same cruel character. The edicts declared that all those Paterines to whom the bishops were disposed to show favor, were to have their tongues pulled out that they might not corrupt others by justifying themselves.

The new settlement

The extreme cruel opposition of both King and Pope caused many of these Baptists of Italy to go to the valleys of Piedmont with the Waldenses, but they continually increased in Italy, and they suggested the propriety of seeking a new territory. They obtained a district north of Italy, with terms of liberty. This new settlement prospered and their religious peculiarities awakened displeasure in the old inhabitants, but the landlords were pleased with their industry and afforded them protection. This colony increased from time to time by those who fled from the persecution raised against them in other countries.

Thus we find that the truth prevailed and the church was preserved in all parts of the world, as we have traced from the apostolic day to the end of the thirteenth century.

WALDENSES

CHAPTER 2

From their Origin to the end of the Seventeenth Century

We will now turn our attention to the Waldenses. At the beginning of the fourteenth century they had become so numerous that they were compelled to emigrate. Several of them went to the colony east of Italy, where arrangements were made for their enjoying civil and religious privileges. Many of them went to different parts of the known world in sufficient numbers to set up churches.

Liberty in New Colony

“For one hundred and thirty years after the destruction of the church in France, the Waldenses in these valleys experienced a tolerable portion of ease, and a respite from the severity of a general persecution; all which time they multiplied greatly, and were as a people whom the Lord had evidently blessed. They took deep root, they filled the land, they covered the hills with their shadow, and sent out their boughs unto the sea, and their branches unto the rivers,”—Orchard’s History.

Cruel persecution in the Piedmonts

In some parts of the country, however, the Waldenses were troubled by the inquisitors during this century, and especially at the close of it.

About the year 1400, the Catholic party disturbed the peace of the Waldenses in the valley of Pragela in Piedmont. The most outrageous attack was made in the winter, when the mountains were covered with show and the inhabitants of these valleys were not looking for it, and were taken by surprise.

The inhuman enemies took possession of the caves and kept the people from their place of retreat. When the news came to the people they fled to one of the highest mountains in the Alps, with their wives and children. These inhuman servants of the Catholic party pursued them in their flight, and many were slain before they could reach the mountains. When night fell upon them they were hid from the enemy, but were exposed to cold, and when day revealed the facts many children were frozen in their cradles, and many mothers lay dead by their sides in the snow. During the night the enemy took what they could find that was valuable in the homes.

Many other inhuman persecutions followed, and though the King desired to protect this inoffensive people, yet the Catholic party had such power that these servants of Satan could not be checked, and the evil continued.

Pure life of the Waldenses

In 1480, Candius Scisselius, Archbishop of Turin, resided in the valleys; from his situation and office, he must have known something of these people. He says of the Waldenses, “Their heresy excepted, they generally live a purer life than other Christians. They never swear, but by compulsion. They fulfill their promises with punctuality, and live, for the most part, in poverty; they profess to preserve the apostolic life and doctrine. They also profess it to be their desire to overcome only by the simplicity of faith, by purity of conscience, and integrity of life; not by philosophical niceties, and theological subtleties. In their lives and morals they are perfectly irreprehensible, and without reproach among men, addicting themselves with all their might to observe the commands of God. All sorts of people have repeatedly endeavored, but in vain, to root them out, for, even yet contrary to the opinion of all men, they still remain conquerors, or at least, wholly invincible.”—Jones History.

Innocent the Pontiff

In 1484, Innocent the Eighth was made Pope of Rome. This Pontiff follows the footprints of Innocent the Third, by issuing his bulls for the destruction of the Waldenses. “We have heard,” said the Pope, “and it is come to our knowledge, not without much displeasure, that certain sons of iniquity, followers of that abominable and pernicious sect of malignant men, called “the poor of Lyons,” or Waldenses, who have so long ago endeavored, in Piedmont and other places, to ensnare the sheep belonging to God,” etc.

Inhuman persecution

“An army raised by Albert, the Pope’s legate, and marched directly into the valley of Loyre. The inhabitants, apprized of their approach, fled to their caves at the tops of the mountains, carrying with them their children, and whatever valuables they possessed, as well as what was thought necessary for their support.

3000 perished

The lieutenant, finding the inhabitants all fled, and that not an individual appeared with whom he could converse, had considerable trouble in discovering their retreats; when, causing quantities of wood to be placed at the entrance of their caves, he ordered the same to be set on fire. The consequence of this inhuman conduct was, four hundred children were suffocated in their cradles, or in the arms of their dead mothers, while multitudes to avoid death by suffocation, or being committed to the flames, precipitated themselves headlong form their caverns upon the rocks below, when they were dashed to pieces; if any escaped death by the fall, they were immediately slaughtered by the brutal soldiers. It appears mor that three thousand men and women, belonging to the valley of Loyre, perished on this occasion.”—Orchard’s History.

The monk’s confession

Desiring to put an end to heresy without so much bloodshed, and in fact seeing that even the shedding of blood did not put a stop to it, a monk was selected to instruct the people in the right way. The monk on his return said he had learned more Scripture than he had in his whole life, the few days he was conversing with the heretics. Others visited them, being sent by the Catholics, and came back with the same report.

“The first lesson the Waldenses teach those whom they bring over to their party,” says Reiner, “is, as to what kind of persons they disciples of Christ ought to be, and this they do by the doctrine of the evangelists and apostles; saying that those only are followers of the apostles, who imitate their manner of life.”

The customs of the Waldenses

The celebrated president and historian, Thuanus, says, ‘Their clothing is of sheep skins, they have no linen; they inhabit (1540-1590) seven villages; their houses are constructed of flint stone, having a flat roof covered with mud. In these they live with their cattle, separated, however, from them by a fence. They have also two caves set apart for particular purposes, in one of them they conceal their cattle, in the other themselves, when hunted by their enemies. They live on milk and venison, being, through constant practice, excellent marksmen.

Poor as they are, they are content, and live in a state of seclusion from the rest of mankind. One thing is very remarkable, that persons externally so savage and rude, should have so much moral cultivation. They know French sufficiently for the understanding of the Bible, and singing of Psalms. You can scarcely find a boy among them who cannot give an intelligent account of the faith which they profess. In this, indeed, they resemble their brethren of the other valleys. They pay tribute with good conscience, and the obligation of this duty is particularly noted in their confession of faith. If, by reason of the civil wars, they are prevented from doing this, they carefully set apart the sum, and at the first opportunity, pay it to the king’s tax gatherers.” This man was a candid enemy.

Orchard says, “Calvin, who began in 1534 to preach the reforming doctrines, was found in his views more in accordance with the sentiments of the sacramentarians, or Anabaptists, than Luther. It does not appear that any great difference existed between the Anabaptists and Calvin’s doctrinal views, but the principal points of discrepancy were on the churches constitution and discipline.”

A boy disputes with a monk

“An Observantine monk, preaching one day at Imola, told the people that it behooved them to purchase heaven by the merit of their good works. A boy who was present exclaimed, ‘That’s blasphemy, for the Bible tells us that Christ purchased heaven by his sufferings and death, and bestows it on us freely by his mercy.’ A dispute of considerable length ensued between the youth and the preacher. Provoked at the pertinent replies of his juvenile opponent, and at the favorable reception which the audience gave them, ‘Get you home, you young rascal!’ exclaimed the monk. ‘You are just come from the cradle, and will you take it upon you to judge the sacred things, which the most learned cannot explain?’ ‘Did you never read the words, ‘Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, God perfects praise?’ rejoined the youth; upon which the preacher quitted the pulpit in wrathful confusion, breathing out threatenings against the poor boy, who was instantly thrown into prison, ‘where he still lies,’ says the writer. Dec. 31, 1544. M’Crie’s History.

Confession of faith of 1554

We will now give an extract from a confession of faith put forth by the Waldenses in 1554. In Art. 4 they say, “We believe that there is one holy church, comprising the whole assembly of the elect and faithful, that have existed from the beginning of the world, and shall be to the end thereof.” Art. 7, “We believe in the ordinance of baptism; the water is the visible and external sign, which represents to us that which, by virtue of God’s invisible operation is within us, namely, the renovation of our minds, and the mortification of our members through the faith of Jesus Christ; and by this ordinance we are received into the holy congregation of God’s people, previously professing and declaring our faith and change of life.”—Jones’ History.

Confession of faith of 1655

Now we will quote a few articles from a Waldenses confession of faith of 1655, published in order to correct any false report that might be given by the enemies who were threatening persecution: “Art. 25. That the church is a company of the faithful, who, having been elected before the foundation of the world, and called with a holy calling come to unite themselves to follow the word of God, believing whatsoever he teacheth them and living in his fear. Art. 26. And that all the elect are upheld and preserved by the power of God in such sort that they all persevere in the faith unto the end, and remain united in the holy church, as so many living members thereof. Art. 29. That God hath ordained the sacrament of baptism to be a testimony of our adoption, and of our being cleansed from our sins by the blood of Christ, and renewed in holiness of life.”—Gilly’s Narr.

In 1685 the Pope would not tolerate one that opposed the Catholic Church to live in France or any other country. Fifteen days were allowed for these faithful ones to leave the kingdoms. This caused millions to be banished from their native soil. In 1689, however, they were permitted to settle again at their old homes.

BAPTISTS OF GERMANY

CHAPTER 4

The same as the Waldenses, Novatians or Anabaptists

The wilds of Germany afforded a place of retreat for the persecuted Baptist people, and so many gathered in different parts that it is said that Baptist preachers could, during the ninth century, “pass through the whole German empire and lodge every night at the house of one of their friends.” It is very probable these traveling ministers were Paulicians or Paterines from Bulgaria or Italy. They were termed by Catholics Anabaptist preachers. Their sentiments of religion are learned, and their view of the ordinances proved, from their confession of faith, which asserts, ‘In the beginning of Christianity there were no baptizings of children, and their forefathers practiced no such things.’ and ‘we do from our hearts acknowledge that baptism is a washing which is performed with water, and doth hold out the washing of the soul from sin.’

“We shall now exhibit our claim to these pious Waldenses, so far as it respects the ordinance. We own their religious views are not fully known. They thought Christianity wanted no comment, but a pious walk; and they professed their belief of that by being baptized, and their love of Christ and one another by receiving the Lord’s Supper. Jacob Merning says that he had, in the German tongue a confession of faith of the Baptists, called Waldenses, which declared the absence of infant baptism in the early churches of these people, that their forefathers practiced no such thing, and that people of this faith and practice made a prodigious spread through Poland (yea Poland was filled with them), Lombardy, Germany and Holland. These people re-baptized such as joined their churches, as the Waldenses had done in early age; and although a law was made against the Picards for re-baptizing, yet they suffered burning in the hand and banishment rather than forgo what they considered their duty. Dr. Wall, who is a candid opponent, says the Beghards were also called Picards or Pighards. They spread themselves over the great territory of Upper Germany; they abominated popery; they chose their pastors from among married men; they mutually called one another brother and sister; they owned no other authority than the Scriptures; they slighted all the doctors, both ancient and modern; their minsters wore no other garments to celebrate communion; nor do they use any collection of prayers but the Lord’s Prayer; they believed or owned little or nothing of the sacraments of the Catholic Church; such as came over to their church must every one be baptized anew in mere water; they believe that the bread and wine do only, by some occult signs, represent the death of Christ—that the sacrament was instituted by Christ to no other purpose but to renew the memory of his passion, etc., etc. In this statement may be discovered a family likeness of those churches in the south of France.”—Orchard’s History.

Kept by God

Many persecutions followed them from year to year, but through the providence of God we see that the church in its purity was likewise kept in Germany. Their history, however, seems to be somewhat obscure except the accusations that were brought against them by their enemies, until the able leader, Menno Simon, appeared as an assistant.

The terrors of death in the most awful form, were presented to the view of the people, and numbers of them were executed every day. It seemed that all their liberty was taken away from them. Many of them were discouraged, but like the Waldenses, they were willing to suffer death in any way that the evil one could devise.

Menno Simon

“The venerable Menno Simon was born at Witmansum, in Friestand, A.D. 1496. His education was such as was generally adopted in that age with persons designed to be priests. He entered the church in the character of a minister in 1524. He had no acquaintance with the sacred volume at this time; nor would he touch it, lest he should be reduced by its doctrines. At the end of three years, on celebrating mass, he entertained some scruples about transubstantiation; but attributed the impressions to the devil. No moral changed was yet effected; he spent his time in dissipating amusements; yet he was not easy in his mind. He resolved, from the perturbed state of his thoughts, to pursue the New Testament. In reading this volume, his mind became enlightened; and with the aid of Luther’s writings, he saw the errors of popery. Menno was generally respected; and all at once became a Gospel Preacher, without the charge of heresy or fanaticism. This is accounted for, by his being courted by the world, and still continued in alliance with it.

Menno’s Experience

Among the thousands that suffered death for anabaptism, was one Sicke Snyden, who was beheaded at Lewarden. The constancy of this man to his views of believers’ baptism, preferring even an ignominious death to renouncing his sentiments, led Menno to inquire into the subject of baptism. Menno could not find infant baptism in the Bible; and, on consulting a minister of that persuasion, a concession was made, that it had no foundation in the Bible. Not willing to yield, he consulted other celebrated reformers; but all these he found to be at variance, as to the grounds of the practice; consequently he became confirmed, that the Baptists were suffering for truth’s sake. In studying the word, convictions of sinfulness and of his lost condition became deepened; and he found God required sincerity and decision. He now sought new spiritual friends, and found some, with whom he at first privately associated, but afterwards became one of their community. Menno was baptized by immersion, as he confessed that, “We shall find no other baptism besides dipping in water, which is acceptable to God and maintained in his word.—Orchard’s History.

“They admit,” says Mosheim, “none to the sacrament of baptism but persons that are come to the full age of reason.” They rebaptized such persons as had that rite in a state of infancy; since the best and wisest of the Mennonites maintain, with their ancestors, that the baptism of infants is destitute of validity; they therefore refuse the term of Anabaptists as inapplicable to their views.

Baptists collected by Menno

It was in 1536, under Menno, that the scattered community of Baptists were formed into a regular body and church order, separate from all Dutch and German Protestants, who at that time had not been formed into one body by any bands of unity. Some of the perfectionists he reclaimed to order and others he excluded. He now purified also the religious doctrines of these people. As in the early, so among these modern Baptists, two classes are found, at a later period distinguished by the term of rigid and moderate. The former class observe, with the most religious accuracy, veneration and precision, the ancient doctrine, discipline and precepts of the pure Baptists. The latter are more conformed to Protestant churches.”—Mosheim’s History.

Let us now notice the candid admission of the careful Lutheran historian, J.L. Mosheim, in reference to the origin of the Baptist church in Germany.

Mosheim’s testimony

“The true origin of that sect which acquired the denomination of Anabaptists, by their administering anew the rite of baptism to those who came over to their communion, and derived that of Mennonites, from that famous man to whom they owe much of their present felicity, is hidden in the depths of antiquity, and is of consequence difficult to be ascertained. This uncertainty will not appear surprising when it is considered that this sect started up suddenly in several countries at the same time, under leaders of different talents and different intentions, and at the very period when the first contest of the Reformers with the Roman pontiffs drew the attention of the world, and employed all the pens of the learned in such a manner as to render all other objects and incidents almost matters of indifference.”

[These Anabaptists] “not only considered themselves descendants of the Waldenses, who were so grievously opposed and persecuted by the despotic heads of the Romish church, but pretend, moreover, to be the purest offspring of the respectable sufferers, being equally opposed to all principles of rebellion on the one hand, and all suggestions of fanaticism on the other.”

“It may be observed,” continued Mosheim, “that they are not entirely in an error when they boast of their descent from the Waldenses, Petrobrussians, and other ancient sets, who are usually considered as witnesses of the truth in times of general darkness and superstition. Before the rise of Luther and Calvin, there lay concealed in almost all countries of Europe, particularly in Bohemia, Moravia, Switzerland and Germany, many persons who adhered tenaciously to the doctrines, etc., which is the true source of all the peculiarities that are to be found in the religious doctrine and discipline of the Anabaptists.”

Baptists descended from the apostles

We will next give a quotation from a noted Dutch Reform Church history, published in 1819, “We have seen that the Baptists, who were formerly called ‘Anabaptists,’ and in later times ‘Mennonites,’ were the original Waldenses, and who have long in their history received the honor of that origin. On this account the Baptists may be considered as the only Christian community which has stood since the days of the apostles, and, as a Christian society, which has preserved pure the doctrines of the Gospel through all ages. The perfectly correct external and internal economy of the Baptist denomination tends to confirm the truth, disputed by the Romish Church that the Reformation brought about in the sixteenth century was in the highest degree necessary, and, at the same time, goes to refute the erroneous notion of the Catholics that their communion is the most ancient.”

BAPTISTS OF ENGLAND

CHAPTER 5

Same as Waldenses

Baptists of Germany

We will now turn our attention to the Baptist people of England. In giving an account of them we will show that they were in line with the Baptist people of Germany and of the same denomination. We will, however, just give short sketches. It is observed that churches were planted in England as early as sixty years after the death of Christ. Many persecutions had been inflicted upon them by the Catholic party.

Walter Lollard

“In 1215, Walter Lollard, a German preacher of great renown among the Waldenses, and a friend to believers’ baptism, came into England and preached with great effect. His followers and the Waldenses generally in England for many generations after were called Lollards.”—Benedict’s History.

“Lollard,” says Mosheim’s history, “in the common tongue of the ancient Germans, denotes a person who is continually praising God with a song or singing hymns to his honor.”

John Wycliff

In the reign of Edward III, in 1340, John Wycliff began to be famous in England. Wickliff was an able, bold and enlightened Catholic priest and doctor, who, though living and dying in the Catholic communion, spent his life in translating, circulating and explaining the Scriptures, and exposing the corruption of the Catholics. Among the principles he advocated were that the church consisted only of believers; that baptism was a “sign of grace received before,” and consequently should be administered to those only who professed to have received grace. While Wycliff never entirely left the Catholic Church, yet in many respects he was a Baptist and bore a great part in the Reformation. Wycliff was the first to give the Bible to the English people in their own tongue, to their great delight, and the Lollards became familiar with its teachings and their numbers were greatly increased.

Tyndale

Tyndale, another learned man, took upon himself to translate the Bible into the English language in the sixteenth century. Because of the opposition of the King of England he was compelled to flee to Holland for safety, and there completed his work of translating the Scriptures. He was burned at the stake, however, at Smithfield, in 1533. His last words were, while burning in the flame, “Lord, open the eyes of the King of England.”

William Sawtre and Edward Wightman

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries hundreds of the Baptist people were imprisoned and those who would not repent and turn from their religion were put to death in the most horror possible. At the beginning of this period a devout man William Sawtre, who was a Baptist preacher, was the first to be burned. The last was Edward Wightman, who was burned at the stake at Litchfield, England, April, April 11, 1612. Many of his offspring came to America, some of whom were ministers in the Baptist Church.

Benedict says, “From the death of William Sawtre, who was burnt in London, to the time that Edward Wightman perished in the flames at Litchfield, was a period of two hundred and twenty years. We have very good grounds for believing that Sawtre was a Baptist; we are sure that Wightman was, and thus it appears that the Baptists have had the honor of leading the van, and bringing up the rear, of the part of the noble army of English martyrs who have laid down their lives at the stake.”

This, however, was not the end of the persecution, for a great many were thrown into dark prisons and there died. The natural man never has been a friend of true Christianity, and never will be.

Confession of Faith in 1643

In 1643, the English Baptists drew up a “confession of faith,” which was afterwards revised and published in 1689, known as “the London Confession of Faith,” which contains all the doctrinal and practical features of all the former “confessions of faith” put forth by the Baptists. It has ever been recognized as the nearest expression of the faith of true Baptists everywhere, until the present time, that has ever been published in a like form. A short time afterwards it was republished, with the addition of two articles by the Baptists of America, known as the “Philadelphia Confession of Faith.”

Means of tracing Baptists

These people can be traced through history (1) by the persecution and shedding of blood and banishment by the enemies: (2) by the practice of immersing anew all that came over to them from any other sect ever since there has been more than one denomination, which has been since A.D. 251; (3) by their claiming that God has but one church, and it alone has church authority; (4) by their refusing infant baptism entirely and contending alone for believer’s baptism.

Robinson’s evidence

Robinson says, “I have seen enough to convince me that the present dissenters, contending for the sufficiency of the Scripture and for primitive Christian liberty to judge of its meaning, may be traced back in authentic manuscripts to the Nonconformists; to the Puritans; to the Lollards; to the Valdenses; to the Albigenses; and, I suppose, through the Paulicians and others, to the apostles.”

BAPTISTS OF THE UNITED STATES

CHAPTER 6

The organization of the First Churches and Associations and their Fundamental principles

We will next turn our attention to the Baptists of our native country. It has been with great interest that I have prepared this history of this period. There have been many things that I have omitted that would have been of great interest to many, but my only intention has been to give to our people a brief, useful record of the true church of Christ.

John Clark

From the most recent and thorough investigation it is believed that Dr. John Clark (a physician) and eleven other persons formed, at Newport, Rhode Island, in 1638, the first Baptist Church in America. Clark resigned the care of the church in 1651 to return to England, and was succeeded by Obadiah Holmes. The pastors and members of this church remained Calvinistic until the year 1820.

The Welsh Tract Church

The Welsh Tract Church, whose meeting house is two miles from Newark, in New Castle County, Delaware, is the oldest Old School, or Primitive Baptist Church in the United States, and the only American Baptist Church that was regularly organized in Europe before emigrating to this country. It was constituted in the spring of 1701, by sixteen Baptists, in the country of Pembroke and Caermarthen, in South Wales, with Thomas Griffith, one of their number, as pastor. A “Church Emigrant,” they embarked at Milford Haven in June, 1701, and landed at Philadelphia, where they continued about a year and a half, and where their membership increased to thirty-seven. They then procured land in North Delaware, and in 1703, they built a small meeting house near Iron Hill. In 1746, they rebuilt on the same a stone house for worship, which they have now used for 163 years. Over two hundred years they have held regular service at that place That was one of the five churches that formed the Philadelphia Association, the first association in America.

Hopewell Church

The second oldest Old School Baptist church in the United States is Hopewell in a village of the same name in New Jersey. This church, composed of twelve members, five of whom were Stouts, was organized at the residence of Joseph Stout, April 23, 1715, upon these eight fundamental principles; 1st, the Three-Oneness of God; 2nd, His Self-existence and Sovereignty; 3rd, The Total Depravity of the Natural Man; 4th, The Eternal, Personal, Unconditional Election of all the Members of the Body of Christ; 5th, The Special and Definiteness of the Atonement; 6th, The Necessity of a Spiritual Birth in order to Worship God in Spirit and in Truth; 7th, The Sovereign and Efficacious Operations of Divine Grace upon all Vessels of mercy; 8th, The Baptism of Believers by Immersion.

Philadelphia Confession

The Baptists at that time adopted the London Confession of Faith with two additional articles known then as the Philadelphia Confession of Faith.

Elias Keach

The church at Southampton, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, was constituted in A.D. 1746. Its organic members were from the church at Pennepek. The Pennepek Church was constituted in A.D. 1687. It was gathered by the faithful labors of Elias Keach, who was also its first pastor. He was the son of the noted Benjamin Keach of London, who was a member of the convention that drew up and published the London Confession of Faith in A.D. 1689.

Earliest associations in America

The Philadelphia Association in Pennsylvania, was the first Baptist Association formed in American, constituted in A.D. 1707; the second was the Charleston Association of South Carolina, organized in 1751; the third was the Sandy Creek Association in North Carolina organized in A.D. 1758; the fourth was the Kehukee Association of North Carolina organized in A.D. 1765; The fifth was the Ketockton Association of Virginia organized in A.D. 1766; the sixth was the Warren Association of Rhode Island organized in A.D. 1767; the seventh was the Stonington Association of Connecticut organized in A.D. 1772; the eighth was the Strawberry Association of Virginia organized in A.D. 1776; the ninth was the Shaftsbury Association of Vermont organized in A.D. 1780; the tenth was the Salisbury Association of Maryland organized in A.D. 1782; the eleventh was the Woodstock Association of Vermont organized in A.D. 1783; the twelfth was the Dover Association of Virginia organized in A.D. 1783; the thirteenth was the Georgia Association or Georgia organized in A.D. 1784; the fourteenth was the Vermont Association organized in A.D. 1785; the fifteenth was the Salem Association of Kentucky organized in A.D. 1785; the sixteenth was the Elkhorn Association organized in 1785; the seventeenth was the Holston Association of Tennessee organized in 1786.

First association in each state

The first associations organized in each of the following states were as follows: New Hampshire; the Meredith Association in A.D. 1789; New York, the Warwick Association in A.D. 1791; Ohio, the Miami Association in A.D. 1797; Mississippi, the Mississippi Association in A.D. 1807; Indiana, the Whitewater Association, in 1809; Illinois, the Illinois Association in A.D. 1809; New Jersey, the New Jersey Association in A.D. 1811; Massachusetts, the Boston Association in A.D. 1811; Alabama, the Bethlehem Association in A.D. 1816; Missouri, the Missouri Association in A.D. 1817; Louisiana, the Louisiana Association in A.D. 1820; Michigan, the Michigan Association in A.D. 1827.

Lewis and Joseph Craig and Aaron Bledsoe

To show some of the difficulties under which the Baptist people so rapidly grew in the early settlement of America, I will give a sketch of Lewis and Joseph Craig and Aaron Bledsoe. These three had been indicted for preaching the gospel of the Son of God in the colony of Virginia. The clerk was reading the indictment in a slow and formal manner, when he pronounced the crime with emphasis, “For preaching the gospel of the Son of God in the colony of Virginia,” a plainly dressed man, who had just rode up to the courthouse, entered and took his seat within the bar. He was known to the court and lawyers, but a stranger to the mass of spectators who had gathered on the occasion.

Patrick Henry

This was Patrick Henry, who, on hearing of this prosecution, had rode some fifty or sixty miles from his residence in Hanover county to volunteer his service in their defense. He listened to the further reading of the indictment with marked attention. The first sentence which caught his ear was, “For preaching the Gospel of the Son of God.” When he was finished, and the prosecuting attorney had submitted a few remarks, Henry arose, reached out his hand and received the paper and addressed the court:

“May it please your worships, I think I heard read by the prosecutor, as I entered this house, the paper I now hold in my hand. If I have rightly understood, the King’s attorney of this colony has framed an indictment for the purpose of arraigning and punishing by imprisonment three inoffensive persons before the bar of this Court, for a crime of great magnitude—as disturbers of the peace. May it please the Court, what did I hear read? Did I hear it distinctly, or was it a mistake of my own? Did I hear a statement as if a crime, that these men whom your worships are about to try for a misdemeanor, are charged with—what?”— and continuing in a low, solemn, heavy tone, “For preaching the Gospel of the Son of God!”

Henry’s defense

Pausing, amid the most profound silence and breathless astonishment, he slowly waved the paper three times around his head, when, lifting his hands and eyes to heaven, with peculiar and impressive energy, he exclaimed, “Great God!” The exclamation—the action—the burst of feeling from the audience, were all overpowering. Mr. Henry resumed:

“May it please your worships: there are periods in the history of man when corruption and depravity have so long debased the human character that man sinks under the weight of the oppressor’s hand, and becomes his servile, his abject slave; he licks the hand that smites him; he bows in passive obedience to the mandates of the despot, and in this state of servility he receives his fetters of perpetual bondage. But, may it please your worships, such a day has passed away! From that period, when our fathers left the land of their nativity for settlement in these American wilds—for liberty —for civil and religious liberty—for liberty of conscience—to worship their Creator according to their conception of Heaven’s revealed will; from the moment they placed foot on the American continent, and in the deep imbedded forests sought an asylum from persecution and tyranny—from that moment— from that moment despotism was crushed; her fetters of darkness were broken, and heaven decreed that man should be free—free to worship God according to the Bible. Were it not for this, in vain have been the efforts and sacrifices of the colonists; in vain were all their sufferings and bloodshed to subject this new world, if we, their offspring, must still be oppressed and persecuted. But, may it please your worships, permit me to enquire once more, for what are these men about to be tried? This paper says, ‘For preaching the Gospel of the Son of God?’ Great God! For preaching the Gospel of the Savior of Adam’s fallen race!” And in tones of thunder he exclaimed, “What law have they violated?” while the third time, in a slow, dignified manner, he lifted his eyes to heaven and waved the indictment around his head.

The discharge of the prisoners

The Court and audience were now wrought up to the most intense pitch of excitement. The face of the prosecuting attorney was pallid and ghastly, and he appeared unconscious that his whole frame was agitated with alarm, while the judge, in tremulous voice, put an end to the scene, now becoming excessively painful, by the authoritative declaration, “Sheriff, discharge those men!”

CAMPBELLITES

CHAPTER 7

The origin and a short sketch of the church sometimes called Christians of Disciples

Origin of the Campbellites

Thomas Campbell, an ordained minister of the “Seceder Church of Scotland,” left Ireland in 1807. He came to western Pennsylvania. His son, Alexander Campbell, a licentiate minister in the same church, followed his father in 1809. The theological views of the Campbells became “altered and liberalized, and regarded by many as both novel and objectionable; hence they and the few who at first sided with them formed an isolated congregation, called the Christian Association, at Brush Run, Washington Country, PA, in 1811.” Their special plea was to restore the apostolic Christianity, and, becoming satisfied that immersion was the only scriptural baptism, both father and son and the majority of their members were immersed in 1812 by Elder Loos, a Baptist minister. They soon began to advocate that immersion was the essential part of regeneration or the new birth, without which ordinance there was no pardon or salvation.

On account of this doctrine the Baptist people withdrew fellowship from the followers of the Campbells, and the latter then constituted themselves into a separate body, that have called themselves “Disciples of Christ,” and afterwards some who were more aggressive called themselves “Christians,” but have been generally known by writers as “Campbellites.”

“MISSIONARY BAPTISTS”

CHAPTER 8

A division over “Means”

“Missions” and Sunday Schools

About the same time that the Campbells caused so much disturbance in the church another imposter came in view. When the persecution ceased, false teachers crept in to deceive and draw away disciples after them. So it ever has been and ever will be. Persecution never tears up a church, but draws it close together.

Through the influence of some progressive men some missionary societies were formed under the doctrine that the gospel is used as a means in regeneration, and from these views originated the idea that “thousands were going to hell for the want of the gospel.”

Andrew Fuller

As Andrew Fuller is admitted to be the standard among the Missionary Baptists, I desire to give a brief sketch of his life and work.

He was born in 1754 and died in 1815. His parents were poor, and he had only the barest rudiments of an English education. He concluded that we should offer salvation freely to all sinners, without distinction, and in 1782 he published an essay entitled “The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation.” This involved him in a bitter controversy of twenty years with those who loved the old Bible principles.

First missionary society

The first missionary society was formed in Kettering, England, by Dr. William Cary, in 1792, and Andrew Fuller was chosen as secretary and remained in this office until death. The latter part of his life was spent in working in this cause.

Black Rock protest

When the Fullerite heresies had been introduced among the Baptists, and produced great discord and turmoil, some of the old veterans of the cross met at Black Rock, Maryland, in 1832, and published a solemn protest against all the newly introduced innovations upon our former faith and order, and made the rejection of the new departure a test of fellowship.

Old School and New School Baptists

To distinguish those who retained the apostolic doctrine from those who departed from it, we consented to be known by the name which has been given us by our opponents, viz., “Old School Baptists.” This appellation we agreed to accept, with the express understanding that it referred only to the school of Christ, and not to any humanly devised system of scholastic divinity. It was not that we had changed in any wise from what we had always been, either in faith or order, but simply to distinguish us from those who had changed, and still chose to be called by our name to take away their reproach. If the New School or Missionary Baptists claim to have a regular, unbroken succession from the Primitive Baptists of the Apostolic Age, upon the ground that they were largely in the majority when the division took place in 1832, will they please tell us why the claim of succession made by Catholics is not equally clear and valid?

The Old School or Primitive Baptists never did consent to any of the anti-Christian doctrines and institutions of the new order, even when mixed up with them in denominational connection; they protested against every practice for which there was no “Thus saith the Lord,” and after laboring to reclaim the disorderly until they found their labors were unavailing, they withdrew fellowship from them. Christ has commanded us to withdraw even from every brother that walks disorderly.

This disturbance continued in different parts of the United States until about the year 1845, and at this time there were about 50,000 of the members who came out and contended for the old principles that had been so much loved by this people all through these ages.

Another extreme

Because of this extreme position on the use of the gospel, some of the Baptist people went to an extreme on the other side, and believed that the actions of all men were predetermined and caused to be by the Lord, and, reasoning from this standpoint, they said that when God gets ready for his people to join the church they would join. This extreme doctrine weakened the church in many places. It caused churches to lock up their doors and quit having meeting, thinking that as it was God’s will, it was as much to his glory for them to quit holding meetings. It is likely that that is true— that it is as much honor to God for them to quit holding meetings as for them to publish to the world that God was compelling men to do what he has told them not to do. Those, however, that have advocated that doctrine have lost hold, and those who exhort the people of God to obedience have, in most places, held up their churches and built up the numbers until they have reached over 200,000; however, a definite number cannot be gotten, as many are opposed to giving the number.

Division over the “Means” question

About the year 1880, there arose a dispute among the ministers of the denomination over the use of means in regeneration, some claiming the preached word was used as a means in the hands of God in giving spiritual life, others claiming that life must be given before the sinner could hear or believe the gospel, and for that reason it could not be used as a means in giving that life.

This resulted in a division in parts of Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and some other States. Later another effort was made to lead the church off into Arminianism, in about 1902, which resulted in some of the ministers who were weak in the faith leaving us and going to the Missionaries.

We see how that, through the ages, the church has been standing on the same grand principles, trusting in the providence of an all-wise God to support them. As it is written, “In the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed,” so we see that in the fulfillment of it God has wonderfully cared for it, not by giving worldly ease or honor, but heavenly blessings, that encouraged the true followers of the meek and lowly Jesus to press on to the mark of their high calling.

As the saints of old went in the mission of the gospel trusting in the Lord, for a financial as well as spiritual support, so the God-sent servants still are willing to do, with prayerful hearts, enthused with the inspiring thought that God’s redeeming love was their support, being impressed with a duty to God; they have ever been willing even to press into death for the welfare of the cause.

Close Communion

Lemuel Potter

on

CLOSE COMMUNION

Republished in 2007

Elder Harold Hunt P O Box 5352 Maryville, TN 37802

Lemuel Potter on

CLOSE COMMUNION

The following is a series of four lectures delivered by Elder Lemuel Potter in response to those who had accused his people of being unfriendly, because they practiced close communion.

I hope, dear reader, you will not think me to be egotistic in putting this little work before the public, for I am truly sensible of my inability to do anything like justice to so grave a subject. As there has been a great deal said in and around Owensville, on the subject of the communion, that made it seem necessary to lecture there on the question, and as there were likely to be remarks made about the lectures after they were delivered, I concluded to give the public the privilege of reading, for themselves, the arguments used. I know this is a very imperfect synopsis of the speeches made, but the substance of the whole thing will be found here. It has been my aim not to defend close communion for all who practice it, but for the Regular Baptists. If it should meet the approbation of others, I have no objection whatever, but I have given our reasons, some of them at least, for our practice of close communion. I hope that it will be a blessing to the church, and that the reader will be his own judge as to whether our reasons are good or not for the course of our church—Eld Lemuel Potter.

Lecture 1

I wish to state that it is not my intention, in the course of these lectures, to be understood to be simply gratifying an ambition to spite some one, neither do I wish to wound the feelings of any. But as we feel we have been assailed, we simply wish the people, if they will hear us, to know whether we have any reason for our practice of strict communion or not; or, if we think we have any reasons, to know if they are good ones. We do not wish to be understood as bigots, or egotists, or schismatics, or that we are not sincere in our pretensions, religiously. Neither do I undertake it simply because I feel able to do justice to the subject, or that I am better capable of investigating this matter than others. Neither do I undertake it voluntarily, but at the request of my brethren here, who feel they are assailed in this community, both in conversation on the subject and through the General Baptist Messenger, published in this town. I will read:

“Listen to the following. A brother close communion Baptist asks his editor this question: What should be done with a deacon who intentionally passes the bread and wine to a Methodist preacher, said preacher dipping in the dish?”

Answer: “A deacon should have great boldness in faith. He did that either through cowardice or heretical notions. If the latter, he usurped authority over the church and forced the church against her will, and deserves prompt attention. If he did it through lack of courage, then excuse him from further service in that line. In any event let the church diligently inquire into the matter and ascertain whether his treachery was from weakness or heresy, and punish him accordingly. In any event let him never serve in that capacity again. Let the church keep the ordinances as delivered. His is not service, as the name deacon implies, but it is treachery and usurpation. He despises the church of God, which has control of the ordinances instead of himself. If the church submits to such prostitution of the holy ordinances by one of her servants, then is she unworthy of the high trust committed to her by her glorified Head. Let her see to it that repentance and confession, and fruits meet for repentance, are brought forth by the erring servant; and let her see to it also that for the present, at least, he be no longer deacon.”

“Another Baptist editor comments as follows: Had that church observed the supper as a church ordinance, which all Baptists admit it is, and requested her membership to come together in one place, as the middle seats of the house, this cowardly, treasonous act of that deacon would not have occurred. The deacons of a prominent church of our association refused to serve unless the church did this; and they refused to offer the emblems to any scattered over the house. They rightly refused to take the responsibility of deciding who might and who might not eat the supper. Will not all deacons follow their example?”

“Do we not almost shudder at the thought of following a self-imposed rule with such dogmatism as to call forth such language on the head of a good deacon, whom the church has chosen to serve her? Peter denied his Lord, and cursed and swore, yet for that awful offense Jesus had only a tender look of compassion. Yet here is a leader and teacher of the people speaking, doubtless, by authority of what claims to be a church of the same Jesus, using the words Treason, Coward, Heresy and Usurpation, and finally expelling one of Christ’s servants—all for what? Denying his Lord? No. Cursing and swearing? No. Getting drunk? No. Living in adultery? No. Why, then, have they disgraced this good man? For the grave and unpardonable offense of passing the bread and wine of communion to a Methodist preacher! Is that the spirit of Christ, brethren? We repeat: before we allow a rule to control us in which there can be no possible good, and which may lead to such awful wrongs—would it not be wise to let it go?”

Who those editors were this editor has left us to guess, and I am such a poor guesser that I shall not undertake it. It is generally common for editors, when they quote from another paper anything of importance, to give the name of the paper, and I think that it is about as easy for a man to know the name of a paper as for him to know what is in it. But I do not know what paper this was in. I think if a brother deacon should be guilty of an offense of the sort mentioned in this paper, the brethren should have some forbearance with him, and try to inform him what they require him to do in cases of that kind, and not be quite so unmerciful as is represented in this paper. I think such treatment too severe for offenses, as it is not brotherly, nor Christian-like. Whoever is, or has been guilty of such, would by no means have my approval.

“What is the difference in authority assumed by a Baptist church that forbids other Christians the Lord’s Supper and the Roman Catholic Church that excommunicates its members as a punishment for some disobedience? The former is a penalty imposed on a Christian for not being a Baptist; the latter is a penalty imposed for violation of the discipline of the church. The one is denying Christ’s people a right he gave them. The other is enforcing church discipline. Judge ye.” (General Baptist Messenger, March 20, 1886.)

I confess I do not see the force of this article, though it may be very convincing to those who do see it. So far as denying the people of God a right He gave them, I do not know of any rights they are entitled to, only such as they enjoy. If God gave his people a right to commune with us, it must have been on the gospel terms of communion, and when they come to us that way we will receive them. But let us read another in the same paper of March 20, 1886:

“‘I know full well what the failure to produce a divine precept for, or example to support a long standing religious tradition can cost a conscientious Christian. The failure of my religious teacher to find a precept in God’s word for infant sprinkling once cost me the severance, religiously, from the mother that bear me, from the dearest, most tender of all earthly ties, and made me a Baptist, who, I was assured, rejected from their faith and practice everything for which they could not produce a precept in God’s word.’”

“Now if this brother is as conscientious now as he was then, why does he not again sever the ties that bind him, for we most candidly assure him there is no precept in God’s word for close communion. It is exactly the same kind of argument used by them to sustain their practices in communion that is used by Pedobaptists to prove infant sprinkling, viz: The most remote, far-fetched inference; and there is fully as much scripture for the one as for the other. He further says to Pedobaptists:

“‘Show me one precept for infant sprinkling and I will offer myself to my family church next Sabbath, and carry my children to the sacred font, and by the holy sacrament secure and seal their eternal salvation.’” And so we say to our close communion friends. Show us one precept in God’s word for your practices in this sacred ordinance, and it will be more convincing than all your tracts, books and articles that have ever been written in advocacy of your practices.”

We take all these, as well as remarks that have been frequently made in this community, to be thrust at us, as we

are the only people here that practice close communion. So we will see if we have any scriptural authority for our practice.

Terms of Communion

Argument 1. I argue, first, that the Lord’s Supper is a commemorative rite. The apostle says: “For I have received of the Lord that which I also delivered unto you. That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread. And when he had given thanks He brake it and said, take, eat. This is My body which is broken for you. This do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner, also, he took the cup, when he had supped, saying: This cup is the New Testament in My blood. This do ye, as oft as ye drink of it, in remembrance of Me,” 1Co 11:23-25. “And he took bread and gave thanks, and brake it and gave it unto them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me,” Lu 22:19.

Argument 2. My second argument is that, while this ordinance is to be observed in remembrance of our Lord, the particular thing that it is commemorative of is His death. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come,” 1Co 11:26. This commemorative rite is the solemn act by which the disciples call to mind the fact that Christ died for them. This ordinance, then, is to be observed by such only as can truly and solemnly say, “I believe Christ died for me,” or, in other words, have faith to discern the Lord’s body.

Argument 3. It is an ordinance of Jesus Christ appointed in the church. This argument is so universally agreed to that it seems unnecessary to spend time to prove it. I do not mean by the term church in this argument, the entire body of all the saved, as in Eph 5:22-23, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” The term church in this text must mean all the saved, and cannot apply simply to any one congregation of Christians in any one place, nor living in any one age, for it could not be truly said that such is the fulness of Christ. Again: Eph 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it,” etc. This text, and others like it, must mean all that will ever be congregated in heaven, from Abel down to the last one that will ever be regenerated and saved. To the church taken in this sense there can belong no ordinances, because, as a congregation, it will never be in existence until the great day.

So it is not the church taken in this sense that has ordinances, but we find the church frequently used in the New Testament to designate a congregation of visible disciples, baptized believers, meeting in one place for the worship of God, the observance of the ordinances of Jesus and the execution of his laws. For instance, “Likewise greet the church that is in their house,” Ro 16:5. “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth,” 1Co 1:2. “Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house,” 1Co 16:19. “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth,” 2Co 1:1. “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicia and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house,” Col 4:15. “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodicians,” Col 4:15. “Paul and Sylvanus and Timotheus unto the church of the Thessalonians,” 1Th 1:1. “And the church in thy house,” Php 2. “To the angel of the church of the Ephesians,” Re 2:1. “Then had the churches rest throughout Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified,” Ac 9:31. “And he went through Syria and Cilicia confirming the churches,” Ac 15:41. “And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily,” Ac 16:5.

Argument 4. As it is appointed in the church, it necessarily follows that it belongs to the church collectively, and not to members individually. Ac 20:7, “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread,” etc. 1Co 11:17. In this connection the church is spoken of as coming together to partake of the Lord’s Supper.

Now, as I have shown that it is a church ordinance, I shall proceed to show that baptism is a condition, or prerequisite to communion.

Argument 5. I argue that as it is a church ordinance, it necessarily follows that baptism is as truly a prerequisite to the Lord’s Supper as that the ordinance of baptism is essential to a gospel church.

Argument 6. I argue that from the design, nature and use of baptism, and the scriptural use of baptism, it is necessarily a prerequisite to the communion. A learned writer has said:

“The principal and most comprehensive design of this ordinance appears, from the scriptures, to be a solemn public and practical profession of Christianity. Thus Paul sums up the baptism of John, Ac 19:4, ‘John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Jesus Christ!’ And thus he describes his own Ga 3:27. ‘As many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.’ To the same purpose are the words of Peter on the day of Pentecost: ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ.’ Hence also a rejection of baptism is by our Lord called a rejection of the counsel of God, that is, of Christianity. Lu 7:30. And the reception of baptism is represented as the act by which we justify God; that is, practically approve his method of salvation by faith in the Messiah. Lu 7:29. Hence, whatever may be said of baptism as it is now generally understood and practiced, and of the personal religion of those who practice it, it is certain that it was originally appointed to be the boundary of visible Christianity. But this general design of baptism comprehends many particulars. Christianity consists partly of truths to be believed, partly of precepts to be obeyed and partly of promises to be hoped for, and this, its initiatory ordinance, is rich in significancy in relation to them all. We are taught to regard it: 1. As a solemn profession of our faith in the Trinity, and particularly of our adoption by the Father, of our union to the Son, of our sanctification by the spirit. 2. As a public pledge of the renunciation of sins. 3. As the expression of our hope of a future and glorious resurrection. 4. As a visible bond of union among Christians.”

Baptism, therefore, is designed to give a sort of visible epitome to Christianity. I will then begin with the statement that no un-baptized person is, according to the order of the gospel, to be admitted to the Lord’s table. The reason I begin with this argument is because I have already seen a challenge for the proof of that position, and how well I shall succeed in the establishment of this point you will be left to judge.

The first text that I will introduce in support of my position is the commission, as recorded by Matthew: “Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” From this text the first thing commanded is to teach; second, to baptize, and afterwards teach them to do all other things that Jesus had commanded them. If he had commanded them to observe the communion at all, which will not be denied, then it is plain that the communion is embraced in “all things whatsoever I have commanded you,” and, if so, then baptism is given by the Lord, himself, before the communion.

The best way for Christians to prove their loyalty and fidelity to the Savior and His word is to obey him. If He, in the commission, gave the order in which the ordinances are to be observed, it seems to me it would be bold and defiant presumption on the part of His people to reverse that order. If you say it makes no difference, we have a right to invite un-baptized persons to the Lord’s table, instead of submitting to the authority of Christ, you rebel against it, and, instead of obeying his law, you set it aside and legislate a law of your own and obey it. If this is your course, do not ask us to recognize you as a true servant of Christ and complain at us if we do not commune with you. If you do not reverse the order, then baptism is before the communion, as taught in the commission. The Savior taught the disciples about this: “After you have taught and baptized them, then you are to teach them to observe all things, communion among others, whatsoever I have commanded you during the three years of My ministry with you.” If this is not the teaching of Jesus in the commission, then I do not know the meaning of His language.

On the day of Pentecost Peter commanded the people to repent and be baptized. There can be no doubt that Peter, on this memorable occasion, was laboring under the authority of the commission that I have already quoted, and the first thing he did was to teach, and then require them to be baptized. He said nothing about the communion to them at that time, and, as he did not, it is very evident he followed the order of the commission, teaching that the gospel requires baptism before the communion. That is the way he understood and taught the commission. We might as well reverse the order of teaching and baptizing, so as to have baptism go before teaching, as to reverse the order of baptism and communion and have communion before baptism. There is not a single instance given in the New Testament, that I have ever seen, where the bread and wine were offered to an un-baptized person.

With this glaring fact before us, what are we to conclude, only that the apostles taught that baptism was a prerequisite to the Lord’s Supper? We read: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers,” Ac 2:41-42. We learn from this text that they were first taught, and then baptized, and then followed the other things that the Lord had commanded, and among them was the breaking of the bread. It seems strange that the apostles were with Jesus three years during his ministry, and then, after his resurrection, they would hear him utter the words of the commission and fail to understand it, and in the very introduction of their work make a wrong start and lead so many astray on the question of baptism being required before the communion.

Why so much stress on the arrangement of the commission by the Savior, and then in its fulfillment by the apostles, if persons may be admitted to the communion without being baptized? It is by baptism that the believer puts on Christ, practically, and I insist that no man that has not put on Christ is entitled to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.

While it is evident that believers are the children of God, it is also evident that God’s children are required to put Christ on in baptism, and, until they do so, they disobey, and I cannot agree that disobedient children are entitled to the supper. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ,” Ga 3:26-27. If, as Mr. Campbell and others have taught, none are the children of God until they are baptized, which I deny, then they certainly are not entitled to communion before they are the children of God; but if believers are his children, but have not put on Christ by baptism, then they are not in Christ practically. What right have they to the communion?

Whatever is meant in this text by being baptized into Christ, in that sense none are in Him until they are baptized, and, if they are not in Him, they are out of Him, that is all, and so they are not entitled to the Lord’s Supper while they are out of Christ practically. We are, in some way, baptized into Christ, and in that sense we are not in Him without baptism, but we should be before we claim to be entitled to His supper. It is by baptism and not by communion that we get into Him in the sense of this text. I take the meaning of the text to be that the believer puts on Christ, practically, by baptism. If I am correct, then the un-baptized person has not put Him on practically. If not, he is not entitled to the communion, unless a person is entitled to the communion who is not a practical Christian.

Audience, what do you say? Is a man entitled to partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper who refuses, or fails, or neglects to put on Christ by baptism? The plea that he may not have the opportunity to be baptized will not do in this case, for no one has the opportunity to the communion that has no opportunity to be baptized. Baptism is the first step of the saint in the new life. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life,” Ro 6:4.

Is it right to admit persons to the Lord’s table before they begin the new life? Have they any claim upon the church for the communion while they still refuse to walk in newness of life? It is by the action of baptism that they pledge themselves to renounce sin, and to obey the Lord, and to be his enemy no longer.

“And now why tarriest thou? Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord,” Ac 22:16. In some sense we are taught by this text that in the act of baptism sins are washed away. I know of none, except those who believe in baptismal regeneration, who claim that baptism, itself, literally and physically, washes away sin, but to say the least of it, it is a solemn pledge, on the part of the candidate, to renounce sin, and this he does not, in the sense of this text, only by being baptized. The text calls it washing away sins. Sins are not washed away, in the sense of this text, only in baptism; so a person cannot rightly and justly be admitted to the Lord’s Supper until his sins are washed away. Then baptism is required before the communion is admissible.

To reject baptism is to reject the counsel of God, and the man that rejects the counsel of God rejects Christianity, and that such a man is not worthy of the communion, it seems to me, needs no argument. “But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him,” Lu 8:30.

In conclusion of this part of the subject I charge those who say that baptism is not an essential qualification for the Lord’s table, with the crime of encouraging persons to disobey the gospel and to think they can do as well without baptism as with it. If they are to be entitled to the communion without baptism, what other privileges may they not enjoy without being baptized? If they can be admitted to the most sacred and the most important without baptism, then we might get along very well and dispense with baptism entirely. We have as much authority for repealing the laws and ordinances of Christ as we have for making new ones. Either is treason against his government. I think we should be careful. I am not in favor of communing with those who are willing to set aside the Savior’s laws.

Argument 7. I argue that baptism is a prerequisite to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, from the fact that it has been so universally understood by all churches to be so.

Mosheim, in his ecclesiastical history, London edition, pg. 78, century 3, says, “Those, also, who had not received the sacrament of baptism were not admitted to this holy supper.”

Again, on page 110, century 4, he says, “The institution of catechumens, and this discipline through which they passed, suffered no variation in this century, but continued still upon the ancient footing.”

Mr. Hall, the great advocate for open communion, says, “The apostles, it is acknowledged, admitted none to the Lord’s Supper but such as were previously baptized.” (Works, vol. 2, p. 213, 214, quoted by Howell, p. 77).

Neander’s History of the Christian Church, vol. 1, pg. 327, says, “At this celebration (the Lord’s Supper), as may be easily concluded, no one could be present who was not a member of the Christian Church, and incorporated into it by the rite of baptism.”

Abraham Booth says, “Before the grand Romish apostasy, in the very depths of that apostasy, and since the reformation, both at home and abroad, the general practice has been to receive none but baptized persons to communion at the Lord’s table.” (Booth wrote in the seventeenth century. Howell, pp. 51,52.)

Justin Martyr wrote about A. D. 150, not more than fifty years after the death of John the apostle. He says, “This food is called by us the Eucharist, of which it is not lawful for any to partake, but such as believe the things that are taught by us to be true, and have been baptized.” (2nd Apology, pg. 162, Howell, pg. 52.)

Jerome, who wrote about A. D. 400, says, “Catechumens cannot communicate at the Lord’s table, being un-baptized.” (Howell, pg. 58.)

Austin, who wrote about A. D. 500, on the question of administering the Lord’s Supper to infants, says, “Of which certainly they cannot partake, unless they are baptized.” (Howell, pg. 53.)

Theophylact, in a work published A. D. 1100, remarks, “No unbaptized person partakes of the Lord’s Supper.” (Howell, pg. 53.)

Bonaventure, who wrote about A. D. 1200, observes, “Faith, indeed is necessary to all sacraments, but especially to the reception of baptism, because baptism is the first among the sacraments and the door to the sacraments.” (Howell.)

Spanheim, who flourished about A. D. 1600, says, “None but baptized persons are admitted to the Lord’s table.” (Howell.)

Lord Chancellor King wrote about A. D. 1700. He says, “Baptism was always precedent to the Lord’s Supper, and none were admitted to receive the Eucharist till they were baptized. This is so obvious to every man that it needs no proof.” (Howell.)

Dr. Wall avers, “No church ever gave the communion to any persons before they were baptized. Among all the absurdities that were ever held, none ever maintained that any person should partake of the communion before they were baptized.” (History Infant Baptism, part 2, chapter 9, Howell.)

Dr. Doddridge says, “It is certain that Christians in general have always been spoken of as baptized persons. And it is also certain that, as far as our knowledge of primitive antiquity extends, no unbaptized person received the Lord’s Supper.” (Lectures, page 410, Howell.)

Dr. Dwight says, “It is an indispensable qualification for this ordinance that the candidate for communion be a member of the visible church of Christ, in full standing. By this I intend that he should be a person of piety; that he should have made a public profession of religion, and that he should have been baptized.” (Systematic Theology, Serm. 160, Howell.)

Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, page 35, says, “The general opinion and practice in all ages has been that something more than conversion and Christian character was necessary to this ordinance; that baptism, soundness in faith, and a regular walk of holy obedience, were scriptural and indispensable terms of communion.”

Even Robert Hall, who denied that baptism should be a prerequisite to communion, says, “It has been inferred, too hastily in my opinion, that we are bound to abstain from their communion—that of un-baptized persons —whatever judgment we may form of their sincerity and piety. Baptism, it is alleged, is, under all possible circumstances, an indispensable term of communion; and, however highly we may esteem many of our Pedobaptist brethren, yet, as we cannot but deem them un-baptized, we must of necessity consider them as unqualified for an approach to the Lord’s table. It is evident that this reasoning rests entirely on the assumption that baptism is invariably a necessary condition of communion—an opinion which, it is not surprising, the Baptists should have embraced, since it has long passed current in the Christian world and been received by nearly all denominations of Christians.” (Works, vol. 2, p. 212.)

I wish to add to this long list of witnesses a Methodist writer. A. A. Jimeson, in his note on the twenty-five articles, p. 297, says: “The nature of these two ordinances teaches most clearly that baptism must necessarily precede the Lord’s Supper.”

But I must notice one argument that has been urged against the doctrine that baptism must precede the Lord’s Supper. It has been argued that John’s baptism was not Christian baptism, and therefore the disciples of Jesus, when he instituted the supper, had not received the rite of Christian baptism, and, if it was first given to those who had not been baptized, why make baptism precede the communion now? If John’s baptism was not Christian baptism, and the apostles had not received baptism, in the Christian sense of the word, when the supper was instituted, then they never did receive Christian baptism at all, for they evidently did not perform that duty afterward. Not only this, but the great mass of the first Christians baptized by John were in precisely the same predicament. They never received Christian baptism.

If John’s baptism was not Christian, it should be distinguished by some mark, phrase or epithet, so that we might know the two baptisms apart. Is one baptism styled John’s baptism, and the other Christian baptism, in the New Testament? No such distinctions are known in the New Testament, and, therefore, I do not feel willing to recognize such a distinction until I have better authority for it. John does contrast his baptism with one that is different; that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, but if afterwards the baptism of Christians was to be different from his baptism, it is singular that he said nothing about it.

Bunyan says, “The Lord’s Supper, not baptism, is for the church as a church; therefore, as we will maintain the church’s edifying, that must be maintained in it; yea, used oft to show the Lord’s death till he come.” (Complete Works, pg. 856.)

What is a church? Is it an assembly of un-baptized persons? Is there any people, who believe in baptism at all, that would recognize anything as a church without baptism? Then, if the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is for the church as a church, it must necessarily be for baptized persons, unless the church is made up in part, or in whole, of un-baptized persons. As it is a church ordinance, therefore it must be for baptized persons.

The reason I have taken such pains to establish the point that baptism is a condition of the communion, is that Rev. W. P. Hale, Pastor of the General Baptist Church in this town, and editor of the General Baptist Messenger, said he would be obliged to the man that would show him one thus saith the Lord that taught that baptism is required before the communion. I think I have established that fact by the plain unmistakable teachings of the scriptures, and also by the history of the opinion of men on the terms of communion in all ages of the church. Mr. Hale also stated to me, in conversation on the subject that if I could prove that point, he would admit that we are correct in our practice of strict communion.

It is sometimes said that we set a Baptist table instead of the Lord’s table. To such a saying as this I ask then, why are you so anxious to eat at it? Another answer: If it was our own table we could invite whom we chose to eat at it, but, if it is the Lord’s table, He has not only given it to us, but with it he has given us the laws by which it shall be governed, and for us to set aside those laws would be for us to betray the trust committed to us.

Again, we are often accused of selfishness because we refuse to invite others to our communion, and that it is the cause of our not working with them in other services. To this we ask why does not the same thing keep other close communionists from working with you? It is not our views of the communion that hinders us from working with other denominations in their effort meetings to evangelize the world, but we cannot conscientiously endorse the efforts, measures and means employed at these effort meetings. The Missionary Baptists do believe in such efforts, and, although they are close communionists, they mix with other denominations in their revival meetings. So it is not the communion that keeps us apart.

But it is sometimes said that if we were friendly we would certainly commune with other denominations. I do not understand that the sacramental communion is a test of friendship. I understand it to be an ordinance of the Lord, and, if it is, for us to make it a test of friendship is to misuse it, which would be worse than not to take the sacrament at all. Besides, I expect, as a general rule, there is about as good state of feeling between us and other denominations as there is between those denominations that commune together. If there is not, we think we had better incur the ill-will of our religious neighbors than to sin. We prefer to have the approbation of God, above the approbation of even good men. This thing of setting aside the law of the church, in order to look well in the eyes of others, does not honor God much.

If the church is not to care for and preserve the ordinances that God has given to it, who will do it better? If it should be said by any that we are not the church, or a church, then, if we are not, we have no right to the ordinances of the church. If we are, we are under obligation to God to observe the ordinances in His appointed way, and for us to deviate from that way would be treason.

But are there no inconsistencies about open communion? Mosheim, in speaking of the General Baptists in the seventeenth century, says, “There is much latitude in their system of religious doctrine, which consists in such vague and general principles, as render their communion accessible to Christians of almost all denominations. And accordingly they tolerate, in fact, and receive among them persons of every sect, even Socinians and Arians: nor do they reject any from their communion, who profess themselves Christians, and receive the Holy Scriptures as the source of truth and the rule of faith.” (pg. 528.) Note 4, at the bottom of the same page, says, “This appears evidently from their confession of faith, which appeared first in the year 1660, was republished by Mr. Whiston in the memoirs of his life, vol. 2, pg. 561, and is drawn up with such latitude that, with the removal and alteration of a few points, it may be adopted by Christians of all denominations. Mr. Whiston, though an Arian, became a member of this Baptist community, which, as he thought, came nearest to the simplicity of the primitive and apostolic age. The famous Mr. Emlyn, who was persecuted on account of his Socinian principles, joined himself also to this society, and died in their communion. It seems, then, that for us to commune with the General Baptists is to also commune with Arians and Socinians. Indeed, what would we not commune with if we were open communionists?

The Apostle Paul said, “He that is an heretic after the first and second admonition, reject.” But how are we to do that? Are we to deprive him of all the privileges except the supper? It would be very inconsistent in us to exclude from our fellowship a man for heresy, and at the same time receive heretics into our communion. “The doctrine of the Socinians respecting the atonement is that God requires no consideration or condition of pardon, but the repentance of the offender; and that, consequently, the death of Christ was no real sacrifice for sin; and, though, it be so called in scripture, it is merely, in a figurative sense, by way of allusion to the Jewish sin offering, just as our praises and other good works are called sacrifices, because they are something offered up to God.” (Religious Encyclopedia, pg. 1081.)

Suppose there is an organization of Socinians in the town of Owensville, and we were to attend the sacramental services of the General Baptist church and commune with them, would we not be likely to have to sit at the Lord’s table with a people who deny that the death of Christ was a sacrifice for sin? We certainly would have no right to request the General Baptists to debar them from their table. They should have full control of that themselves. The way for us not to commune with those with whom we would prefer not to affiliate, is for us not to commune with the General Baptists. We may be ever so willing to commune with our General Baptist brethren, but their liberality to Arians and Socinians would shut us out. But let us notice the Methodist discipline a moment.

Our Methodist brethren are close communionists, if they live up to their discipline, and they cannot invite me to their communion unless they violate their discipline. Listen, “No person shall be admitted to the Lord’s Supper among us who is guilty of any practice for which we would exclude a member from our church.” (Discipline, pg. 37, sec. 42.) Now, if I am guilty of any practice for which they would exclude one of their own members, I am not to be admitted to their communion. That is our rule, only we do not have it written out. We would not commune with a man if he is guilty of what we would exclude one of our own members for. But let us see what the Methodists would exclude their members for, and see whether or not I am guilty of such a practice. If I am, I am debarred from their table.

“If a member of our church shall be accused of endeavoring to sow dissension in any of our societies by inveighing against either our doctrines or our discipline, the person so offending shall first be reproved by the preacher in charge, and, if he persists in such pernicious practice, he shall be brought to trial, and, if found guilty, expelled.” (Dis. pg. 136, sec. 341.) I speak out against the Methodist doctrine and discipline, and I presume if I was a member of that church, and would preach as I do and oppose infant baptism and sprinkling and pouring as the mode of baptism, general atonement and conditional salvation, they would exclude me. Would you not, Brother Clippinger?

Brother Clippinger (Methodist minister, the preacher in charge at Owensville), “Yes, we would turn you out.”

I thought so, and I am guilty of a practice for which you would exclude a member, then. So I am debarred from the communion of the Methodists, if they live up to their rule. They are close communionists, as well as we, yet they do not practice it, and, although they would exclude me from their church, yet, if I would go and join the General Baptists, they would invite me to their communion.

That is one of the inconsistencies of open communion. The apostle tells us, “The man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject.” How are we to reject a heretic? Exclude him from our church and let him go to some other church and join, and then, because he is a member in good standing, invite him to our communion? Is that the way to reject a heretic? Is that the order of God’s house? We do not wish to commune with heretics. We exclude men from us for heresy, and, when we do, we do not wish to invite them to our communion the next meeting we have. Is there heresy in this country under the name of Christianity? All will admit there is. We do not have to go to the Jews or pagans to find heresy, for it may be found among Christians. If there is heresy among Christians, and we all practice free communion, how are we going to reject heretics? There is no way to do it, only to refuse to commune with others.

The apostle said to the Galatians, “Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you than that we have preached, let him be accursed.” Not commune with him. The apostle instructs us to let him be accursed, instead of to think that a little difference in doctrine will make no difference, we will commune with him, let him come to the Lord’s table. I think it is heresy to say that the death of Christ was not a sacrifice for sin, but, if we commune with Socinians, we must commune with heretics who believe that doctrine. I do not wish to sit down at the Lord’s table, side by side with a man to commemorate the death of Christ, and that man say the death of Christ is not a sacrifice for sin, but I am liable to have it to do if I commune with the General Baptists, according to their history.

Now here is Brother Clippinger, a Methodist minister. He and I often meet and strike hands, and I love him, and, perhaps, we could preach in the same community for years and have no hard feelings, for I am one of the most willing men you ever saw for people to do as they please religiously, so they do not interfere with my rights. If I should be at your meeting and you invited me to commune with you, I would not think hard of you, and, if you did not, I would not feel slighted, so long as I have the liberty to accept or reject the invitation, as I chose to do. I do not care whom other denominations commune with. It is none of my business to dictate to them, neither do I wish to be dictated to by them.

Lecture 2

As we have already observed that baptism is essential to the communion, we now wish to know what baptism is, and, in case we find anything practiced for baptism that is not baptism, we will not admit such to the communion. As to the mode of baptism, three modes are advocated among Christian people, immersion, sprinkling, and pouring, and, while some admit either of these to be baptism, there are others who cannot conscientiously make the admission.

The Baptists honestly believe immersion to be the only mode, and that, so far as the action of baptism is concerned, there is no baptism without immersion. This being true, and baptism being a prerequisite to the communion, how can we consistently commune with those who have never been immersed? If we hold that immersion is essential to baptism, and the whole Pedobaptist world says that sprinkling and pouring are as truly baptism as immersion is, do we not differ? If we differ so materially as that, can we commune together? “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” Am 3:3.

1st. I argue that immersion is baptism, because the whole Christian world says it is. There are none who deny immersion being baptism, and gospel baptism at that. While many claim that sprinkling and pouring are baptism, yet they say immersion is baptism. So, for our doctrine that our baptism is gospel baptism, we have the testimony of all.

2nd. I argue that immersion is the only scriptural mode of baptism, because everything that is said in the New Testament pertaining to mode favors immersion. But as it is not my intention to argue, at any great length, the mode of baptism, I will briefly call to mind a few things. 1st. “And were baptized of Him in Jordan, confessing their sins,” Mt 3:6. It is not necessary to go into the river to sprinkle or pour, and it is not always done. It is necessary to go into the water to immerse, and it is always done. I presume that John had business in the water, or they would not have gone into it. If they did have business there, it was to immerse, and not to sprinkle or pour. 2nd. “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went straightway up out of the water,” Mt 3:16. He evidently went into the water before he could have gone out of it. When you were sprinkled, did you go up out of the water? If you did not, you did not do as the Savior did.

What do you suppose He went into the water for, if it was not necessary?

Is it necessary for a person to go up out of the water after being sprinkled? If it is, then, of course, when a person is sprinkled he will certainly, in every case, go up out of the water. If any one is sprinkled, and does not go up out of the water afterwards, then, in case of sprinkling, it is not necessary to go up out of the water; but it is necessary in case of immersion, and in all cases of immersion the person goes up out of the water. 3rd. “And John, also, was baptizing in Enon, near to Salim, because there was much water there.” Joh 3:23. Is much water necessary to sprinkle or pour with? It is not necessary to have much water to sprinkle or pour with. If it was, you would always see our Pedobaptist friends going to some place where there was much water. Do we always see that? Do they not often baptize, as they call it, with very little water? If a little water will do, much is not necessary. Then why did John select a place where there was much water? It is evident that for his purpose much water was necessary, and the text says he baptized there because there was much water there. It is necessary to have much water to immerse, and therefore he must have gone there to immerse.

You will always see people who immerse go to where there is much water. 4th. “And they both went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him,” Ac 8:38. This is always necessary in immersion, but it is never necessary in sprinkling or pouring. 5th. “And when they came up out of the water,” Ac 8:39. 6th. “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death,” Ro 6:4. A burial is absolutely essential to immersion, while such a thing never does take place in sprinkling or pouring. 7th. “Buried with him by baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead,” Col 2:12. Now put all these together and you have a complete immersion – no more and no less. What is ever said on the subject of baptism that reminds us of sprinkling or pouring? Simply nothing.

4th. I argue that immersion, alone, is gospel baptism, because the Greek word from which we get the word baptize means primarily to dip, according to all the lexicons I have ever noticed.

5th. I argue that immersion is the only gospel mode of baptism from the practice of the early Christians. Mosheim, in speaking of John, says, “The exhortations of this respectable messenger were not without effect; and those who, moved by his solemn admonitions, had formed the resolution of correcting their evil dispositions and amending their lives, were initiated into the kingdom of the Redeemer by the ceremony of immersion or baptism. Christ, himself, before he began his ministry, desired to be solemnly baptized in the waters of Jordan, that he might not, in any point, neglect to answer the demands of the Jewish law.” (London edition, pg. 16.)

It should be remembered that the learned historian that we have quoted was not a Baptist, but that he was a Lutheran, and, notwithstanding the practice of the Lutherans relative to baptism, our historian calls the sacrament of baptism the ceremony of immersion. But we wish to hear him again. He says, “The sacrament of baptism was administered in this (first) century, without the public assemblies, in places appointed and prepared for that purpose, and was performed by immersion of the whole body in the baptismal font.” (pg. 36.)

It seems very clear that if baptism was performed by immersion in the first century, and that John immersed, that immersion certainly was the apostolic mode. Such a thing as sprinkling had never been mentioned in history yet. But we wish to see what he says about it in the second century. “The sacrament of baptism was administered publicly twice a year, at the festivals of Easter and Pentecost, or Whitsuntide, either by the bishop or the presbyters, in consequence of his authorization and appointment. The persons that were to be baptized, after they had repeated the Creed, confessed and renounced their sins, and particularly the devil and his pompous allurements, were immersed under water, and received into Christ’s kingdom by a solemn invocation of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, according to the express command of our blessed Lord.” (pg. 58.)

You will please bear in mind that this is the way our historian tells us baptism was administered in the second century. But I also have another historian that I wish to introduce, who, by the way, is not a Baptist. In fact, while we have plenty of Baptist historians, it is not our intention, in these lectures, to introduce any of them on these questions. We intend to make our opponents our witnesses.

Neander, in his history of the Christian religion and church, says, “In respect to the form of baptism, it was in conformity with the original institution and the original import of the symbol, performed by immersion, as a sign of entire baptism of the Holy Spirit, of being entirely penetrated by the same.” (Vol. 1, pg. 310.)

The historian says it was performed by immersion in conformity with the original institution and original import of the symbol. It occurs to me that whatever the original import of the symbol of baptism required is still required, and if immersion was the act by which the original institution and original import of the symbol is represented, we should continue to immerse so long as we wish to represent, by the action of baptism, its original meaning.