PB Collected Writings of Elder Sylvester Hassell

H1.000 The Collected Works of Elder Sylvester Hassell Part One

Including The Old Paths andInterpreting The Holy Scriptures

Published November 2003

By Elder David Montgomery, President.



P.O. Box 1232

Lampasas, Texas 76550

A PBHC Original Publication

Elder Sylvester Hassell


Skewarkey Church was organized in about 1780. The present Meeting House was constructed in 1853. Elder Hassell served this church for over 30 years. It was here that he was baptized and ordained.


"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." Jer 6:16 "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set." Pr 22:28 "The truth of the LORD endureth for ever." Ps 117:2 "It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 25 "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" Lu 18:8 "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith." 1Ti 4:1 "Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." Ac 20:30 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them." Ro 16:17 "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." 1Co 14:33 "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." 1Co 1:10 "Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." Ro 14:19.

In this busy, restless, degenerate, conceited and unbelieving century, which has swung away from the moorings of the past there seems to be a lamentable and growing tendency, even among some of our own churches, to depart from "the old paths," "the ancient landmarks," "the everlasting truth of the Lord," "the faith once delivered unto the saints;" and, therefore, as one called by Providence to be the historian of the church of God, and the Moderator of our oldest Association, I feel constrained, utterly regardless of the temporal consequences to myself, delivered from the fear of the face of clay soon to moulder into dust, in the fear of the living God, before whom I shall shortly appear, and with an eye single to his glory, the promotion of his eternal truth, and the peace and prosperity of Zion, to lift my warning voice against the rapidly multiplying, confusing, and unscriptural innovations sought to be introduced among us during the present century, and to emphasize anew the momentous scriptural principles that I have sought to inculcate in the Church History. While the strong currents of religious rationalism, radicalism and pseudo-spiritualism are sweeping multitudes towards the shipwreck of their faith and the maelstrom of destruction, I would, by the grace of God, stand unmoved upon the Rock of Ages, with the patriarchs, prophets and apostles, and the saints of the olden times, no matter what dazzling theorist may attempt to lure me to follow him to ruin, and no matter how foolish and ignorant and unsound and heretical and bigoted and unprogressive others may esteem me to be. Upon the eternal Rock of his own perfect work and truth, Christ will build his church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.--Matt. xvi. 18.

Next to the first century of the Christian era, I believe that the sixteenth century on the continent of Europe, but in England the seventeenth century was the most intellectual and the most spiritual period in human history. Certainly, in the firmament of the English-speaking world, never before or since has there shone such a galaxy of brilliant minds as those of Shakespeare, Milton, Cromwell, Bacon, Newton, Locke, Owen, and Bunyan, who lived in the seventeenth century; and I believe that never, since the death of the apostles, have there existed men more fully, thoroughly and truly acquainted with the Scriptures than the translators of the King James or Authorized version of the Bible of 1611, and the authors of the Westminster (Presbyterian) Confession of 1647, the Savoy (Independent) Declaration of 1658, and the old London (Baptist) Confession of Faith of 1689, all of which Confessions teach the same system of doctrine in reference to God, Man, Salvation, and the Last Things. Much of the seventeenth century was a time of great persecution of the believers of the truth; and, as always in such periods, it was therefore a time of the great outpouring of Divine grace upon the people of God. I have no sort of an idea, either from history or from Scripture, that the people of the nineteenth century have either more sense or more grace than the people of the seventeenth century.

The old London Confession of Faith of 1689 (given in full, with all the Scripture proofs, in the Church History, pages 663 to 695), "the ancient landmark" set by the (Baptist) fathers, in accordance with the word of God, was the same in doctrine as the English Baptist Confessions of 1643, 1644, 1656, 1677 and 1688 (see pages 524, 525 and 664 of the Church History), and was reaffirmed in the eighteenth century by all the oldest Baptist Associations and churches in America, including the Philadelphia Association (which embraced the Old School Baptist churches of Welsh Tract, Hopewell, Kingwood, Southampton, Warwick, Cow Marsh, London Tract, Bryn Zion and Wilmington), and the Kehukee, the oldest Primitive Baptist Association (which, at its formation in 1765, embraced the churches of Kehukee, Toisnot--now called Wilson--Falls of Tar River, Fishing Creek, Sandy Creek, Sandy Run and a church in Camden county). The same substance of doctrine was in 1777 again re-affirmed by the Kehukee Association, but more briefly in seventeen Articles of Faith (given on the 699th and 700th pages of the Church History), which are to-day the Articles of Faith of most of the Primitive Baptist churches in North Carolina with which I am acquainted.

On the 837th page of the Church History, father remarks: "Primitive Baptists stand by their Articles; they read them, they believe them to be true, and they preach the doctrine contained in them; and hope that themselves and their successors will continue to do so, even to the end of the world. And this they do with great pleasure, though well aware that such a course is disapproved by nearly all other professed Christians in America. While some denominations have creeds more or less orthodox, yet it is lamentably true that they are almost universally disregarded by the ministers and members of nearly all the religious sects and societies in the land. In this awful day of degeneracy, Baptists should adhere more steadfastly to the apostles' doctrine, which induces to fellowship in Christ, to communion and prayers; in order that the distinction between the church and the world might appear greater than ever before, if possible." Father believed, and I believe, that the old London Confession taught the apostles' doctrine more accurately, comprehensively and thoroughly than any other uninspired production; and therefore it is that I deeply regret the increasing tendency in our midst to ignore and to deny its teachings. The London Confession of Faith is, to be sure, not inspired nor infallible; but no other document that I have ever read, so fully and impartially summarizes, in my judgment, "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Those Scriptures are, of course, the only infallible and authoritative standard of faith and practice. I endorse the London Confession only because it seems to me to follow the Scriptures, and to follow them more fully, faithfully and wisely than does any other uninspired enunciation of religious truth. And I am satisfied that the highest benefit would redound to the believers of the present day if, in deep humility, and an earnest desire to know the pure and entire truth, and in sincere dependence upon the Spirit of God, they would study the old London Confession, and especially the Scriptures to which it refers, and compare these teachings with those of all the other Scriptures. "Let God be true, but every man a liar."-Rom. iii. 4. The difficulty with some of our brethren, and that which tends to confusion and division among us, seems to me to be their habitual tendency to dwell upon one class of Scriptures to the exclusion of others, and either to unduly exaggerate or to untruly explain away (they call it spiritualizing) their meaning, so as to make them plainly conflict with other Scriptures. One class of Scriptures must not be continually dwelt upon to the exclusion and contradiction of others; {1Sa 3:9; 2Ti 3:16-17} and while the true spiritual meaning of Scripture is more important than the literal meaning, a so-called spiritualizing that denies the literal truth of Scripture, or that makes one Scripture deny another, is false spiritualizing, and proceeds from a false spirit--1Jo 4:1; 2Ti 2:13.

The London Confession is remarkable for its omissions as well as for its declarations; and I would first briefly allude to the former. Like the Bible, the old Confession does not say one word about the manifold societies and institutions of the modern religious world, although these societies and institutions have almost utterly absorbed all the so-called churches of the nineteenth century. It contains no doctrine of an eternal devil, no dualism, no two-seedism, no anti-trinitarianism, no rationalism, no Arminianism, no accidentalism, no fatalism, no pantheism, no reduction of the creature to a mere involuntary, irresponsible machine, no unscriptural anti-nomianism, no non-resurrectionism, and no denial of a general judgment. It does not represent God as the author or cause, or approver, of sin in angels or men; nor does it attempt to explain the philosophy of the new birth. It does not define the procedure in public worship or in church conferences, nor the attitude in prayer. It makes no allusion to the laying on of hands on all baptized believers, although this was made by some a test of fellowship; nor does it refer even to feet-washing, which lowly rite (practiced and enjoined by Christ, in connection with the Lord's Supper, in Joh 13, but alluded to only once more in the New Testament, in 1Ti 5:10, in connection, not with baptism or the Lord's Supper, but with the good works of aged and destitute widows, such as bringing up children, lodging strangers, and relieving the afflicted) was never, before the present generation, thought of being made a test of fellowship. (See Church History, pages 505, 527, 616, 830, 845, 846 and 847). These omissions seem to me to be eminently scriptural, wise, and proper.

The Confession comprises thirty-two chapters, and expresses the belief to-day, according to my information, of the great majority of Primitive Baptists. But there are several of these chapters partially, and some of them almost totally, denied by a few of our brethren. I will, as briefly as I well can, recapitulate the substance of this most elaborate and approved of all Baptist creeds.

The heading or preamble of the London Confession states that its authors were representatives of more than a hundred baptized congregations in England and Wales, and that they denied Arminianism. Those who think that the Confession teaches Arminianism either do not understand its language, or do not know what Arminianism is. It is a plain misrepresentation of the historical facts to maintain that the authors of the Westminster Confession, the Savoy Declaration, and the London Confession, were Arminians, or believers in a conditional salvation; it would be just as true, and no more true than, to declare the Primitive Baptists of to-day Arminians. But, like the vast majority of the predestinarians of past ages, and the vast majority of the Primitive Baptists of to-day, the authors of the London Confession were sublapsarian, and not supralapsarian, believing in the doctrine of the Divine voluntary permission, but not the doctrine of the Divine efficiency, in reference to sin. Fourteen times in the Scriptures (as I have shown on the 650th page of the second edition of the Church History, and in the note on the 963d page of the second edition of the History--2Ch 32:31; Ps 81:12; Mr 1:34; 5:13; Lu 4:41; 8:32; Ac 2:23; 13:18; 14:16; Ro 1:24,26,28; 9:23) the Holy Spirit declares that God permits, or bears, or suffers, or endures sin; and, to my mind, the argument is perfectly unanswerable that, if there is but one God, and he is unchangeable, and if he permits sin in time, then he certainly predestinated to permit it in eternity; at the same time he controls and overrules sin for the good of his people and the glory of his name. God's word says that He permits sin, and though all the creatures in the universe say differently, I would not believe it. All Calvinistic Confessions of Faith trace the fall to a permissive decree, represent man as voluntary, responsible, and justly punishable for sin, and reject, as a blasphemous slander, the charge that God is the author of sin.

The first chapter of the London Confession affirms that the Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience; that nothing is to be added to it by new revelations or traditions; that the inward illumination of the Spirit of God is indispensable to the saving understanding of it; that everything necessary to be known, believed and observed may be understood by the unlearned as well as by the learned; that, in all religious controversies, the church is finally to appeal to the original Hebrew of the Old Testament and the original Greek of the New Testament; and that the infallible rule or interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself, so that when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture, it may be searched by other places that speak more clearly. Thus human opinions are not to be substituted for the written word of God. Church History, pages vii., viii., 5, 6, 263, 579, 586, 596, 644, 666-9.

The second chapter declares that there is only one living and true God, and that he is a pure Spirit, infinite in being and perfection, invisible, immutable, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory, most loving, gracious and merciful, forgiving sin and rewarding those that diligent seek him, but withal most just and terrible in his judgment, hating all sin, and will by no means clear the guilty; that he is the independent sovereign of the universe, to whom are due the worship, service and obedience of every creature; and that in this Divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, of one substance, power and eternity, each having the whole Divine essence and yet the essence undivided, but distinguished by several peculiar, relative properties and personal relations - this doctrine of the Trinity being the foundation of all our communion with God and comfortable dependence on him. See titles, God, and Trinity, in Index of Church History.

The third chapter asserts that God decreed in himself, eternally and unchangeably, all things that come to pass; yet so as thereby God is not the author of sin, nor hath fellowship with any therein, nor is violence offered to the will of the creature; that He predestinated or foreordained, without anything in the creature as a condition or cause moving Him thereunto, some men and angels to eternal life, through Jesus Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace, and left others to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice; and that the doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men, attending the will of God revealed in His word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may from the certainty of their effectual vocation be assured of their eternal election, so that this doctrine shall afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God, and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel. See titles Predestination, and Election, in Church History.

The forth chapter declares that, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom and goodness, God in six days created all things, visible and invisible, and all very good; and that, last of all, he made man in the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness and true holiness, having the law of God written in his heart, and power to fulfill it, and yet under a possibility of transgression, being left to the liberty of his own will, which was subject to changes and thus that God did not compel Adam to sin, for the Most Holy does not even tempt any one to sin; see titles Creation, and Man, in Index of Church History.

The fifth chapter affirms that God, by his most wise and holy providence, and for his own glory, doth direct, dispose and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest even unto the least, so that nothing occurs by chance; that his determinate counsel extended even to the first fall and all other sinful actions both of angels and men, and that not by a bare permission (but by a voluntary permission, as Mr. John Gill well explains this phrase on the 651st and 652d pages of the Church History), and that He most wisely and powerfully boundeth sin, and otherwise ordereth and governeth it to his most holy ends, yet so as the sinfulness of their acts proceedeth only from the creatures and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin; that He often leaves His own children for a season to temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for former sins, or to make them more humble, watchful and prayerful; and that, as a righteous Judge, God, for their former sins, blinds and hardens the wicked and ungodly, and gives them over to their own lusts and the temptations of the world and the power of Satan, so that they harden themselves even under those means which God useth for the softening of others. See titles, Providence, Chance, and Permission of Sin, in Index of Church History.

The sixth chapter asserts that God created man upright and perfect, and that Adam, through the seduction of Satan in the serpent, and of Eve, without any compulsion, did willfully transgress the righteous law of his Creator in eating the forbidden fruit, which transgression God was pleased to permit, according to His wise and holy counsel, having purposed to order it to His own glory, "If evil had never been permitted," it has been well said, "the wisdom of God could not have appeared in overruling it, nor His justice in punishing it, nor His mercy in forgiving it, nor His power in subduing it"; and that our first parents by this sin fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and involved themselves and their posterity in sin, corruption and death. See titles, God, holiness of; Sin, origin of; Sin cursed by God; Depravity, total; in Index of Church History. The next twelve chapters declare (7) that God the Father and God the Son entered into an eternal covenant for the salvation of the elect; (8) that the Son, by His incarnation, obedience, suffering, death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession, became the Mediator and Surety of this covenant for all his people, their Prophet to teach, their Priest to atone, and their King to convince, subdue, draw, uphold, deliver, and preserve them to his heavenly kingdom; (9) that man, by his fall, lost his freedom of will to do good, and God alone, by His grace, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good, but that the will of man is made perfect and immutably free to good alone in the state of glory only; (10) that all the elect, and none others, are in God's time effectually called by his word and Spirit out of sin and death to grace and salvation; (11) that they are freely justified by the imputation of the active and passive obedience of Christ; which is their whole and sole righteousness, and can never fall from that state, though they may, by their sins, fall under God's fatherly displeasure, and then do not usually have the light of this countenance restored to them until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance; (12) that all the justified are adopted into the family of God, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of his children, have access to his throne of grace, and cry Abba, Father, and are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by him as by a father, yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption; (13) that the saints of Christ, by his word and Spirit dwelling in them, grow in grace and in the practice of all true holiness, but never attain perfect sanctification in this life, so that there is in them a continual and irreconcilable war between the flesh and the Spirit; (14) that saving faith is the work of the Spirit of Christ in the hearts of the elect, and exalts the word of God above the word of all others, and accepts, receives, and rests upon Christ alone for salvation, and, whether strong or weak, differs in kind or nature from the faith of temporary believers, and though many times assailed and weakened, it gains the final victory; (15) that God gives his people repentance unto life and salvation, and this repentance, on account of the motions of sin in our members continues through the whole course of our lives; (16) that good works are only such as God hath commanded in his holy word, and not such as, without such warrant, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good intentions, and can be done only by the regenerate, and are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith, the willing and the doing being wrought in us by the Holy Spirit, and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, but that our best works are imperfect and short of our duty, and cannot merit pardon of sin or eternal life at the hands of God, but are accepted only in Christ; (17) that the elect, though they may fall into grievous sins, whereby they incur God's displeasure and temporal judgment, and grieve His Holy Spirit, harden their own hearts, wound their own conscience, and hurt and scandalize others, shall be brought back again to repentance, and shall be kept by the power of God unto salvation; and (18) that true believers may at times, by the Spirit of adoption witnessing with their spirits that they are the children of God, have an assurance that they are in a state of grace, and that every one should give all diligence to make his calling and election sure.

The nineteenth chapter affirms that, while the ceremonial law of types and figures was fulfilled and abrogated by Christ, and the judicial or civil law given the Jews was of limited national use, the moral law of the Ten Commandments, written in substance in the heart of Adam, who, while he was upright and in the image of God, was endued with power and ability to keep it, and delivered by God on Mount Sinai, and written in two tables, the first four commandments containing our duty to God, and the last six our duty to man, is of universal and perpetual obligation for all persons, both regenerate and unregenerate, Christ in the gospel in no way dissolving, but much strengthening this obligation see Church History, pages 191, 192, 449, 450 and 542; and that, while true believers are not under the law as a covenant of works, to be thereby justified or condemned, yet it is of great use to them, as well as to others, as a rule of life, and to show them their sinfulness and their need of Christ and the perfection of his obedience, and to restrain their corruptions, and teach them what their sins deserve; and that these uses of the law are not contrary to the grace of the gospel, but sweetly comply with it, the Spirit of Christ subduing and enabling the will of man to do that freely and cheerfully which the will of God, revealed in the law, requireth to be done. See title, Law and Gospel, in Index of Church History. The next eleven chapters assert (20) that the covenant of works being broken by sin and made unprofitable unto life, God, of his sovereign grace, gave his Son for the salvation of the elect, and his Holy Spirit to quicken them from the death of sin, and effectually produce in them a new spiritual life; (21) that true Christian liberty is not a liberty to sin, but a freedom from the guilt and all the consequences of sin, and from the doctrines and commandments of men, that we may all our lives yield obedience to God, not out of a slavish fear, but with a child-like love and willing mind; (22) that the Triune God alone is to be worshipped, and in spirit and truth, and only through the mediation of Christ, by prayer, reading the Scriptures, preaching, hearing the word of God, singing, baptism, the Lord's Supper, fasting and thanksgiving, and that one day in seven, which from the creation of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, but since the resurrection of Christ, has been the first day of the week, and is called the Lord's day, should be kept free from worldly employments and recreation, and devoted to the public and private worship of God and the duties of necessity and charity; see Church History, pages 44, 45 and 46; (23) that for the solemn confirmation of the truth and ending of strife, a lawful oath, imposed by lawful authority, may be taken, but only in the name of God, and in the common sense of the word, without equivocation or mental reservation, and that vows of service and offering may be made to God alone, and should be faithfully kept; (24) that civil magistrates, being set up by God should be obeyed in all lawful things commanded by them; (25) that marriage should be between one man and one woman, and not within the degree of consanguinity or affinity forbidden in the word, and that Christians should marry in the Lord, that is, should not marry infidels or idolaters, or those who are wicked in their life or maintain damnable heresy; (26) that all orderly-walking believers in Christ ought to be gathered in particular churches, having Christ as their only Head, and having power and authority to carry on that order in worship and discipline which He requireth, their officers being Elders and Deacons, qualified by the Holy Spirit, and chosen by the common suffrage of their church, and set apart by fasting and prayer with imposition of hands of the Eldership, the work of pastors being to give themselves to the ministry of the word and prayer and watching for souls, and it being incumbent on the church which they serve to communicate to them of their natural substance according to their ability, and that churches ought to hold communion among themselves for their peace, increase of love, and mutual edification, and that, in case of difficulty in doctrine and practice, churches should, if necessary, seek the advice of other churches, but no decision of messengers can be imposed upon any church; see title, Church, the true; Church Conferences; Discipline, Church; Elders; Deacons; Pastors; Support of the Ministry; and Associations, in Index of Church History; (27) that all saints have fellowship in the graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory of Christ, and in each other's gifts and graces, and should lovingly labor for the mutual good of each other, both in the inward and the outward man; (28) that baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of Christ to be continued in his church to the end of the world, and to be administered only by those qualified and thereunto called according to his commission; (29) that baptism is a sign of the fellowship of believers in Christ with him in his death and resurrection, and should be administered only to believers, and by immersion in water in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; see title, Baptism, in Index of Church History; and (30) that the supper of the Lord Jesus was not meant by him to be a sacrifice for sin, but only as a perpetual memorial of that one offering up of himself by himself upon the cross for all the sins of the elect, that the bread and wine are only emblems of his body and blood, and are to be given to all the communicants, that worthy receivers spiritually receive and feed upon Christ crucified and all the benefits of his death, and that those who receive the elements unworthily eat and drink damnation to themselves. See titles, Lord's Supper; Transubstantiation; and Consubstantiation, in Index of Church History. The thirty-first chapter affirms that, while after death, the bodies of men return to dust and corruption, their souls return at once to God who gave them, the souls of the righteous being make perfect in holiness and received into Paradise, where they are with Christ, and behold the face of God in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies and the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day; that at the last day, such of the saints as are found alive shall not sleep, but be changed, and all the dead shall be raised up with the self-same bodies and none other, although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their souls forever; and that the bodies of the unjust shall, by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonor; and the bodes of the just, by His Spirit, unto honor, and be made conformable to His own glorious body. Church History, pages 55, 94, 260, 266, 590, 634, 635, 700, 932 and 933. And finally, the thirty-second chapter declares that God hath appointed a day of general and final judgment, unknown to men, when apostate angels and all persons that have lived upon the earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deed, and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil; and the object of God in the appointment of this day is to manifest the glory of his mercy in the eternal salvation of the elect, and of his justice in the eternal damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient, and then the righteous shall go into everlasting life, but the wicked into eternal torment. Church History, pages 20, 191, 203, 248, 251, 260, 261, 262, 590, 694, 695 and 700.

By this "ancient landmark," I would wish to abide; in these "good old paths" of eternal truth I would desire to walk, and find rest to my soul, along with the poor, old, ignorant and despised saints of by-gone centuries, who lived and died in the faith of God's elect, and with the bulk of the Primitive Baptists of the present century, even though a few a my wiser, and abler, and better brethren have left me far behind them, and swept on to what they think grander, deeper and fuller revelations. My head and heart find a sweet repose in the old fashioned religion of our fathers; as for new things in religion, the inventions and the theories of men, I have no use for them whatsoever. Those who like them are perfectly welcome, so far as I am concerned, to all these religious novelties.

In their preliminary address "to the judicious and impartial reader," the authors of the old London Confession say: "Our earnest desire is that all into whose hands this may come, would follow that (never enough commended) example of the noble Bereans, who searched the Scriptures daily that they might find out whether the things preached to them were so or not. Oh! that other contentions being laid asleep, the only care and contention of all upon whom the name of our blessed Redeemer is called, might for the future be to walk humbly with their God in the exercise of all love and meekness toward each other; to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord, each one endeavoring to have his conversation such as becometh the gospel, and also suitable to his place and capacity, vigorously to promote in others the practice of true religion and undefiled in the sight of God our Father; and that, in this backsliding day, we might not spend our breath in fruitless complaints of the evils of others, but may every one begin at home to reform in the first place our hearts and ways, and then to quicken all that we may have influence upon to the same work; that if the will of God were so, none might deceive themselves by resting in and trusting to a form of godliness without the power of it, and inward experience of the efficacy of those truths that are professed by them." And in the concluding paragraph of their Confession of 1644, the old English Baptists wisely, faithfully, and undauntedly say: "We confess that we know but in part, and that we are ignorant of many things which we desire and seek to know; and if any shall do us that friendly part to show us from the word of God that we see not, we shall have cause to be thankful to God and them. But if any man shall impose upon us anything that we see not to be commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ, we should in His strength rather embrace all reproaches and tortures of men, to be stripped of all outward comforts, and, if it were possible, to die a thousands deaths rather than to do anything against the least tittle of the truth of God, or against the light of our own consciences. And if any shall call what we have said heresy, then do we with the apostle acknowledge that 'after the way which they call heresy, worship we the God of our fathers;' disclaiming all heresies (rightly so called), because they are against Christ, and desiring to be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in obedience to Christ, as knowing our labor shall not be in vain in the Lord."

Remembering the declarations of God's word, that we should not be wise in our own conceit; that God hath respect unto the lowly, but knoweth the proud afar off; that He dwells in the humble, broken and contrite heart; that the most child-like and the humblest in his kingdom are the greatest; that we are but of yesterday, and know nothing; that if any man thinketh he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know; that Moses, the most useful and honored servant of God in the Old Testament, was very meek, above all the men that were upon the face of the earth; that David did not exercise himself in great matters, or in things too high for him; that Isaiah confessed that he was a man of unclean lips; and that Jeremiah realized that he was only a child, not able to speak; that Paul, the most useful and honored servant of God in the New Testament, felt himself less than the least of all saints; that even inspired apostles knew only in part, and saw through a glass darkly; that Jesus, the incarnate and glorious and adorable Son of God, did not, in his humanity know all things, but was the meekest and lowliest of all, and even called himself a worm and no man, prostrating himself on his face in the garden of Gethsemane in his amazing humiliation, and bids us to learn humility of him; remembering, I say, these great truths, let us seek, by the Spirit of God, to be wise not above what is written, but in what is written; let us keep within the ancient landmark which our fathers set by the straight-edge of Bible truth, and walk in the good old paths trodden by them; let us search the Scriptures of eternal truth, and try to conform our doctrine and life to the perfect standard of Divine Revelation; let us do nothing through strife or vainglory, but let each esteem others better than themselves; let us, by Divine grace, walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, with all lowliness and meekness, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, feeling that there is one body, and one spirit, even as we are called in one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is above all, and through all, and in us all. And may the God of peace keep the hearts and minds of all his people, and cause them to dwell together in unity, humility and love, that the Lord may be glorified, and that others may know that they are the disciples of Jesus.

Sylvester Hassell

Interpreting The Scriptures ___________________________

H1.02 The Literal Interpretation of Scripture

The Gospel Messenger--February 1893

It seems to me that there is among Primitive Baptists an urgent need of a recurrence to the true principles of Scripture interpretation. The greatest dangers to the Church of Christ have always been those from within, and not those from without. Our enemies cannot really hurt us if we do not hurt ourselves. It is a matter of painful interest to the thoughtful minds among us to notice the widespread and profound operation of the elements of doctrinal and practical disintegration in our ranks. In various sections of our extended country we see--some of these errors more operative in one section, and some in another--a tendency to dualism and fatalism, and to relapse into something like old heathen pantheistic Hindoo, Egyptian, Greek, Gnostic, Cabalistic doctrine of the pre-existence, metemphycosis, or transmigration of souls; to deny the immortality (in the sense of everlasting duration), the regeneration, and even the very existence of the soul, the responsibility of man, and the Second Personal Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the body, the general judgment, and hell, and heaven; a tendency to eliminate from the Scriptures the essential distinction between the elect, the believing, the saved, on the one hand, and the non-elect, the unbelieving, the lost, on the other hand; a tendency to evacuate the Scriptures of their future eternal meaning, to confuse the divinely established order of events, to push back all the events of time into the past eternity, and the events of the future eternity into time; to evaporate Christianity into a futile and barren philosophy, and pass it off in a dissolving view; and a tendency to return to the medieval darkness of conditionalism and instrumentalism, and to degrade the religion of pure and living love into pharisaic ceremonialism.

If these are not elements of danger and ruin, existing and working among us, I confess that I do not understand the situation, and that I do not know what danger and ruin are. And it becomes every true soldier of the cross, who loves and fears God more than man, and who subordinates temporal to eternal things, not to join in the deceptive cry of "Peace, peace, when there is no peace;" {Jer 6:14; 8:11} but, putting on the whole armor of God, the girdle of truth, the breast-plate of righteousness, the shoes of the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, with all prayerfulness and watchfulness, to stand in "the imminent deadly breach," and wrestle, with spiritual and not carnal weapons, "against strong and high imagination, against principalities and powers," in his own heart as well as in those of others, {Eph 6:10,19; 2Co 10:4-5} and "contend earnestly for the faith which was once (for all) delivered unto the saints," and not yield a single bulwark of the citadel of eternal truth (Jude 25). The Church of Christ grows strong, not as it compromises with the elements of unbelief, but as it eliminates them. Error, like sin, if indulged and unreproved, becomes, not weaker, but continually stronger and more dangerous.

The advocates of these various forms of error, like the two hundred denominations now professing Christianity, claim to derive their views from the Scriptures. The all-important question, therefore, arises, What is the proper interpretation of the Scriptures?

In order to emphasize the supreme importance of the fact, I will say, under my treatment of this subject, both at the beginning and the close, that, as the Scriptures were originally written by the inspiration of God, the illumination of the Divine Spirit is, incomparably above all else, indispensable for their correct interpretation. {2Ti 3:16; Lu 24:45; Joh 16:13-15; Ac 1:4-5,8}

Of the numerous names and systems of Scripture interpretation in ancient and modern times, I think that the following three-fold classification is the simplest and best:

1. The literal interpretation.

2. The spiritual interpretation.

3. The practical interpretation.

Each of these methods of interpretation is of invaluable importance in its own place; no one of them is to be sacrificed for another.


The literal interpretation is also called the verbal, somatic, natural, obvious, realistic, common-sense, objective interpretation, and it includes the grammatical, lexicographical, philological, critical, contextual, historical, and archaeological interpretation, and the facts, the doctrines, the commandments, the promises, and the larger portion of the prophecies of the Scriptures, while the most of the prophecies have also a spiritual fulfillment or application--but the literal interpretation of prophecy, which is demonstrably true of the great body of Scripture predictions, although disparaged and to a large extent denied by modern religious philosophy, is just as certain and just as important and just as much to be insisted upon in its place, where Infinite Wisdom has put it, as the spiritual interpretation is in its place.

The literal or historical sense of the Scriptures is the solid basis upon which both the spiritual and the practical senses are founded, and that foundation is one of impregnable rock, and not of shifting sand. When it is assaulted and undermined, the whole structure of religious truth tumbles into ruins, the statements of the Scriptures vanish into airy nothingness, and the human race is left, in impenetrable darkness, to grope its wretched way into eternity.

The Greek word gramma, rendered letter in 2Co 3:6 ("who hath made us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the Spirit, for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life") denotes, as shown by the third and seventh verses and the whole context, the ten commandments written by the finger of God on the two tables of stone, the ministration of condemnation and death, bringing home the knowledge of guilt and it punishment, death, as contrasted with the Spirit of the living God, who gives divine life to the subject of grace, and writes God's law of love on the fleshly tables of his heart. And, while the inference here and elsewhere (as in Ro 2:29 and Ro 7:6) is that no mere written document or outward ordinance can impart spiritual life, yet the inspired apostle does not and can not possibly mean that the words which were "given by inspiration of God," {2Ti 3:16} which "not man's wisdom, but the Holy Ghost taught," {1Co 2:13} which "Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" {2Pe 1:21} are, in the lightest degree, untrue or unimportant in the place where God has put them, or are to be denied or neglected by His people. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself always refers to the Scriptures in the most reverential manner, as the infallible, the literally and perfectly true testimony of God. Not only is He the chief substance, but He is the chief witness of their literal and eternal truth, both by His teachings during His earthly ministry, and His teachings in our hearts. And He commands even the unbelieving Jews to "search the Scriptures, for they testify of Him;" {Joh 5:39} the Greek verb rendered search in this passage is ereunao, and denotes minute and profound investigation, as in other passages where it is used {Ro 8:27; 1Co 2:10; 1Pe 1:11; Re 2:23} --an investigation of the true meaning of the letter, as leading to the true inner meaning which the Spirit designed to convey by the letter.

To rescue the true meaning of the Scriptures from the ruinous despotism of Roman Catholic dogmatizers and allegorizers, the Protestant Reformers, Luther, Calvin, Melanchthon, and others, in the sixteenth century, under the direction of the Spirit who indited the sacred volume, insisted upon the critical examination of the original text, and a faithful adherence to the natural and grammatical sense, and recognized the Bible as "God's message to their souls, as the only rule of faith and life, which was to be interpreted by itself--a message conveyed in historical form, and needing the appliances of language and history in order to read it, and yet a spiritual message, the full reception of which could come only by spiritual enlightenment." Luther says: "Mystical and allegorical interpretations are trifling and foolish fables, with which the Scriptures are rent into so many and diverse senses that silly, poor consciences can receive no certain doctrine of anything. When I was a monk, I allegorized everything; but now I have given up allegorizing, and my first and best art is to explain the Scriptures according to the simple sense; for it is in the literal sense that power, doctrine, and art reside." Calvin says: "The true meaning of Scripture is the natural and obvious meaning, by which we ought resolutely to abide; the licentious system of the allegorists is undoubtedly a contrivance of Satan to undermine the authority of Scripture, and to take away from the reading of it the true advantage." And Melanchthon says: "The one and certain and simple sense of the Scriptures is everywhere to be sought according to the precepts of grammar, logic, and rhetoric." The Protestant Reformation emphasized "the exclusive sufficiency of Scripture, its perspicuity under the use of the ordinary methods and with the teaching of the Holy Ghost, its possession of a sense which is one and not manifold, and its interpretation by itself."

As there are more than 300 different interpretations of some texts, it is evident that the true principles of interpretation are either not much known or not much observed. Next to the Holy Spirit, Scripture is its own best interpreter. The exact meaning of the original words should, therefore, be ascertained; the context and similar passages elsewhere in the same book and other books examined; the design of the writer and the character of the persons addressed, should be regarded; and the general tenor of Scripture teaching, as bearing on the subject in question, carefully considered. What we need for our food and guidance is not the phosphorescent foam of beautiful phraseology and the brilliant but evanescent fire-works of bold imaginations shot up in the dark night of carnal ignorance, but the solid nourishment of Scriptural truth and the steady and undeceptive illumination of the Sun of Righteousness shining by His Spirit through the declarations of His written word in the glorious brightness of the gospel day. Among the most valuable aids to the understanding of the literal meaning of the Scriptures (from which literal meaning the true inquirer should, under the tuition of the Holy Spirit, deduce the spiritual meaning), I would recommend Cruden's Complete or Condensed Concordance; James Strong's Bible Concordance (the only complete Concordance of the Scriptures, placing the entire text of the Bible, English, Hebrew and Greek, at the command of every intelligent reader of English; published, for five dollars and postage or expressage, by John B. Alden, 57 Rose street, New York City); the Oxford or Bagster's Teacher's Bibles (from one dollar and upwards, according to size and binding); the Revised Version of the Bible; James Murdock's English Translation of the Syriac version of the New Testament (the oldest extant version of the New Testament); Gesenius' Hebrew Lexicon; Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon (seventh edition); Hudson's Critical Greek and English Concordance of the New Testament; Buck's Theological Dictionary; William Smith's Dictionary of the Bible; A. R. Fausset's Critical and Expository Bible Cyclopedia (much more spiritual than Smith's Bible Dictionary; published, for about five dollars, by J. B. Lippincott, Philadelphia); Schaff's History of Apostolic Christianity; the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge; John Gill's Body of Divinity (one of the deepest Primitive Baptist preachers of this country earnestly and wisely recommended this work to me some twenty years ago); Thomas Scott's Bible (devotional and practical, and enriched with the most copious marginal references); Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Critical, Experimental and Practical Commentary on the Scriptures; and the Speaker's Bible Commentary. C. H. Spurgeon's Treasury of David (in seven volumes) is the fullest and finest exposition of the Psalms that has ever been made. R. C. Trench's Notes on the Parables and the Miracles of our Lord (now issued in one volume) is probably the most instructive work ever published on those important subjects. I do not, or course, endorse all the doctrine of all these books, but I do say that all or any of them are of great value for the correct understanding of the literal meaning of the Scriptures, and that this meaning directs the mind of the subject of grace towards the true spiritual meaning. Many of our most able and useful ministers have one or more of these or similar works. It is right to get true information from any source. The Holy Spirit does not encourage us in our laziness or covetousness or pride by inspiring us with a supernatural knowledge of English, Greek, or Hebrew, or of ancient customs. The above named writers were scholars and truthful men, and some of them were enlightened, I believe, by the Spirit of God; and, even if they were not spiritually enlightened, their works may be useful to us just as the Gibeonites were hewers of wood and drawers of water for Israel. {Jos 9:21} Spiritual enlightenment on some texts and subjects does not protect men from great and pernicious mistakes on others.

John Gill wrote, 123 years ago, and the same may be said truthfully to-day: "The doctrines of pure revelation are almost exploded; and some are endeavoring to bring us, as fast as they can, into a state of paganism, only somewhat refined; it is a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness; the darkness is growing upon us, and night may be expected; though for our relief it is declared that 'at evening time it shall be light.' Almost all the old heresies are revived, under a fond and foolish notion of new light; when they are no other than what has been confuted over and over; and men please themselves that they are their own inventions, when they are the devices of Satan, with which he has deceived men once and again; and when men leave the sure word, the only rule of faith and practice, and follow their own fancies and the dictates of their carnal minds, they must needs go wrong, and fall into labyrinths, out of which they cannot find their way: 'To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.' Let us, therefore, search the Scriptures, to see whether doctrines advanced are according to them or not;" and the exact meaning of the inspired writers, especially on disputed points, it is of course highly important to understand, as may be done by the use of some of the works that I have mentioned. (I will here say, parenthetically, that, while human learning, in its place, is a useful handmaid to religion, all the learning of the world, in the matter of salvation, is less than nothing in comparison with the heavenly wisdom of the most illiterate child of God enlightened by the Divine Spirit. Or, as expressed in the old London Confession of Faith: While "in all controversies of religion the church is finally to appeal to the original Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.)

If the literal truth of the Scriptures is to be abandoned, then we must give up all the historical facts, all the points of doctrine, all the commandments and exhortations, nearly all the promises, and the most of the prophecies; and we shall have nothing worth contending for, or worth speaking or writing about left. It would be just as well to give up the whole Bible, and look for truth and guidance, in regard to the solemn and fearful mystery of our being, to the darkened lights of Nature, Reason, Conscience, History, and Experience. If the facts and promises and prophecies of Scripture are nothing but metaphors, so also are all the doctrines. A very learned and able series of lectures, by Joseph Henry Allen, on Christian History, at Harvard University, now before me, declares that, under the powerful analysis of the Modern Science of Thought, "the old metaphysical fictions of predestination, divine decrees, and the bondage of the human will, have dissolved into the metaphors and symbols which in fact they are." And he tells us that "under the mellow and tender atmosphere of the German speculative theology," F. D. D. Schleiermacher (1768-1834), "the son of a good, old-fashioned Calvinistic preacher," the typical and most influential theologian of the nineteenth century, who, though he rejected the literal truth of the Scriptures, yet professed to believe in them and in Christ, and who held that every human being is a mirror of the universe, and that, while some are elect in time, they are elect to help save all the non-elect in eternity, and thus all will be saved at last, and who founded all religion on experience, and philosophized so deeply that he reconciled all creeds and all religions--that Schleiermacher "substituted speculation for dogma; that for a cruel and despotic creed he gave us its insubstantial and harmless reflection in the mirror of Christian experience, a revolution such as the early Reformers could never have dreamed of. It is," says Mr. Allen, "all there: the Incarnation, the Trinity, the Atonement, Election, and the Judgment; but as different from the menacing and imperious dogmas of the past as the fair reflection in a lake, or the bright landscape on canvas, is from the bleak precipices and horrible chasms of an Alpine range. In color and shape, you could not tell the difference. That difference is in lack of substance and life. No mobs, like those at Ephesus, will fight for the honor of the spectral Second Person of this spectral Trinity. No fires, like those of Seville and Geneva, will be kindled to suppress the heresies that may assail the dim phantasmagory. The dogma has become simply a fact of religious consciousness; and as such, a constituent part of modern philosophic thought. Here is its harmlessness; for nobody is afraid of a reflection in a mirror. Here, too, is its security; for nobody can hurt a shadow." This method of annihilating the great doctrinal truths of the Scriptures is of course legitimate if the Bible is not literally, and is only figuratively true. Schleiermacher died partaking of the Lord's Supper; and yet his best friends were not certain that he really believe a word in the Bible.

In regard to the interpretation of prophesy, I must add, on account of its uniqueness, some special paragraphs.

Anthony Collins (1676-1729), a leading deistical writer of the 18th century, sought to undermine the whole system of revealed religion by arguing that the fulfillment of prophecy is the only valid proof of Christianity, and that, as all the prophecies are allegorical, and not even one of them literal, the whole argument from prophecy, and with it the whole system of Christianity, falls to the ground; just as his successor, Thomas Woolston (1669-1733), assailed the literal truth of the miracles of Christ as incredible and absurd, in order, as he claimed, to vindicate their allegorical and spiritual meaning as representing the course of natural religion in the soul of man--denouncing the opponents of his views as "slaves of the letter," "Baal priests," "blind leaders of the blind."

The obscurity in the language of prophecy is meant to veil as well as reveal the future, to keep believers in a state of humble expectancy, and to apply to several analogous fulfillments. Some good rules of interpretation are, to "interpose distances of time not noted in prophetic visions, and interpret by past events and the analogy of faith, and the explanations of prophecies in Scripture." It seems to me that the prophecies of Scripture have, in general, the following fulfillments:

Those given before the birth of Christ, that is in the Old Testament:

1. A primary literal or historical fulfillment (type).

2. A secondary literal or historical fulfillment at the First Personal Coming of Christ (preliminary temporal antitype).

3. A tertiary literal or historical fulfillment at the Second Personal Coming of Christ, at the end of the world, pre-eminently the Day of Judgment (final eternal antitype).

4. A manifold providential or spiritual application in Christ's visitation of judgment or mercy upon individuals.

Those given after the birth of Christ in the New Testament:

1. A primary literal or historical fulfillment (type).

2. A tertiary literal or historical fulfillment at the Second Personal Coming of Christ, at the end of the world, pre-eminently the Day of Judgment (final eternal antitype).

3. A manifold providential or spiritual application in Christ's visitation of judgment or mercy upon individuals.

Thus: Isaiah's prophecy of the deliverance of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity. This prophecy was (1) literally fulfilled by Cyrus, and this fulfillment was the type of the (2) literal work of Christ's ministry on earth for the salvation of sinners (preliminary temporal antitype), and of the (3) complete manifestation of that salvation at His second personal coming (final eternal antitype); and this prophecy is spiritually fulfilled (4) in every delivering mercy to His people. And so Christ's prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem was (1) literally fulfilled by the Romans under Titus, and this fulfillment was the type of the (2) literal destruction of the wicked world at the second personal coming of Christ (final eternal antitype); and this prophecy is spiritually fulfilled (3) in every judgment upon the ungodly.

Even the sublime and appalling prodigies foretold in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem not only indicated the utter subversion of the Jewish Church-state, but were literally fulfilled (initially and partially), according to the testimony of sacred and profane historians (Joe 2:30-31; Mt 24:29; Mr 13:24-25; Lu 21:25-26; compare with Mt 21:33; 27:45,51-54; Mr 15:33; Lu 23:44-45; Ac 2:19-20; Josephus' Wars of the Jews, book vi. chapt. v; Tacitus' History, book v. chapt. xiii.), and this never-before-equaled catastrophe was the type of the final destruction of this sin-polluted world by fire, when those awful prophecies will be literally fulfilled (finally and fully) with a terribleness, and universality, and irreparability never experience before. (See Church History, page 590, footnote.) Very much to be commiserated is the mental haziness and philosophism which sees in such tremendous scenes as those described in Mt 25:31-46 and in 2Pe 3:7-14, merely the separation in the feelings of believers and unbelievers as they hear the gospel, and the superseding of the gospel by the law in the believer's experience (of which these passages may be somewhat illustrative), and refuses to see the literality and futurity and finality of the events predicted, which are as plain to the informed and stable mind {see 2Pe 3:16} as the unclouded sun in the noonday sky. And even more to be deplored is the astounding speculativeness which attenuates and etherealizes, into the events and feelings of the present momentary life, those passages of Scripture that affirm the stupendous and eternal realities of hell and heaven.

For an unanswerable proof of the literal truth of the Scripture prophecies, see Alexander Keith's "Evidence of the Truth of the Christian Religion, Derived from the Literal Fulfillment of Prophecy," and his "Demonstration of the Truth of Christianity," (or Hastings' "Witness of Skeptics to the Truth of the Bible," a pamphlet mailed to any address for five cents, by H. L. Hastings, 49 Cornhill, Boston, Mass., presenting a condensed abstract of Keith's "Demonstration of the Truth of Christianity," in which 170 Old Testament prophecies, and their literal fulfillment as testified unwittingly, many of them, by even infidel travelers and historians, are arranged in parallel columns). I have shown in the Church History, pages 177, 178, and 179, eighty of the Old Testament prophecies in regard to Christ, literally fulfilled.

Of course the literal interpretation of the Scriptures, like all other proper things, may be carried to an idolatrous excess, as was done by the Jewish Rabbis, both before and after the coming of Christ, pretending to find everything they wished to find in the Old Testament, by their subtle, absurd, and outrageous permutations, combinations, transpositions, substitutions, and numerical equivalents and power of letters. But whoever would disparage or deny the proper literal interpretation of the Scriptures should remember the dreadful anathema at the close of the sacred volume:


H1.03 The Spiritual Interpretation of Scripture

The Gospel Messenger--April 1893

The Spiritual Interpretation of the Scriptures is also called the pneumatic, subjective, hyponoic, underlying, internal, typical, and allegorical, and includes the figurative, topological, metaphorical, metonymical, synecdochical, parabolical, symbolical, and mystical interpretations. The Spiritual is the most important and the most abused of all the departments of Scriptural Interpretation; and in this department, more than in any other, do we indispensably need the light of the Divine Spirit that indited the Scriptures to guide us aright, and to keep us from being allured, by the ignes fatui of evil spirits and our own carnal imaginations, into the inextricable quagmires of deadly errors.

The Church at Sardis {Re 2:1-6} was thought by herself and others to be spiritually alive and flourishing; but the great Searcher of Hearts, the omniscient Head of the Church, who perpetually walks among the Golden Candlesticks, pronounces her dead, or dormant, and commands especially her ministers to awake and be watchful and zealous and diligent, and to labor, under God, to revive and invigorate the torpid and almost extinct graces of His people, and to recall them to apostolic doctrine and practice ("remember how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent"); otherwise, He will soon visit them with overwhelming judgments.

Nearly thirty years ago ``the beloved physician,'' Eld. John M. Watson, professor of obstetrics in the medical department of the University of Nashville, Tenn, wrote in the "Old Baptist Test,' these wise and warning words:"We have become too ultra in most things. How great the change! Watchman! what of the night? I hear one respond, All is not well! another, that strange winds of doctrine are blowing; another, that the sickly dews of heresy are falling thickly around us, many are sickly and weak; another, that the sound of another gospel is heard in our midst, whereby many are being bewitched. I hear something of heavenly origin! Listen: "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.' O, Israel, to you tents! Gird on the sword of the Spirit! put on the whole armor of God! Set up the waymarks and, in holy boldness and meekness, defend them against all heretical defacers! Above all things, avoid those prevailing ultraisms which are now eating on the Old Baptist Church as doth a canker--dividing churches and Associations, and disturbing the order and peace of the Baptists generally. Rebuke the ultraist whenever you meet with him--reclaim or reject him--let him be regarded constantly as the worst enemy of the Baptists of the present day!"

It is especially in what claims to be the spiritual interpretation of the Scriptures that these ultra, wild, chilling, deadening, bewitching, confusing, dividing, and ruinous errors prevail among us. We have been so inattentive and dormant that the Lord righteously permits us to be afflicted, deceived, and desolated by false spirits, "transformed as the ministers of righteousness,." {2Co 11:14-15} Hyper, or Pseudo-Spiritualism, denying the truth or the importance of the literal meaning of the Scriptures, and thus sapping the very foundation of Christianity, now threatens, above every other danger, to be our ruin. May the God of Israel speedily arouse us all to a sense of this imminent peril, and restore us to the primitive purity of faith and practice, and preserve us, by His almighty power, from these "destructive heresies," whether heathenish or Jewish, of which we are solemnly forewarned in His written Word, and which are now assailing us. {2Pe 2:1; Col 2:8; 1Co 15:12-58; Ac 17:31; Heb 9:27; Re 20:11-15; 1Th 4:14-18; 2Th 1:7-10; 1Ti 1:4,19; 4:1; 6:3-5,20-21; 2Ti 1:13; 2:14-19,23-26; 4:1-4; Jas 1:13-15; 1Pe 4:17; 2Pe 3:1; Joh 4:1-3; 2Jo 13; Jude 25,25,25,25; Re 22:18-19}

Before entering upon a consideration of these ruinous abuses in what falsely professes to be the spiritual interpretation of the Scriptures, I will dwell with pleasure upon the proper and glorious field of Scriptural spiritualization.

"God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." {Joh 4:24} He is the only Eternal Being, without either beginning or end, and infinitely preceded and surpasses His entire creation, both of matter and of mind. His material and spiritual creation, as perceived by us now, is but a feeble adumbration of His perfect, infinite, and eternal glory. Says David: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge, (though) their is no speech nor language, (though) their voice is not heard." {Ps 19:1-3} Says Paul: "The invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead." {Ro 1:20} "Nature," says Paschal, "is an image of grace." "Earth," says Milton, "is a shadow of heaven." The visible creation is an older revelation of God than the written Word; and everywhere, on its sunlit and starlit pages, silently, pictorially, and universally proclaims to man that there is a God, a Creator and Judge of the universe; so that the whole human race is without excuse for their idolatry and wickedness; for if they had excuse, sin would be no sin, and a just Judge could not condemn and punish it. The highest use of the material universe is to point to its spiritual source, its spiritual purpose, and its spiritual destiny. "Of God, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever." {Ro 11:36} "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created." {Re 4:11} Proceeding from the same Divine Original, and "linked together by a secret affinity, the lower world, in all its objects and relationships, is an imperfect and fleeting similitude of the higher--a ladder leading the devout mind up to the contemplation of heavenly truth. The characters of nature are hieroglyphics of God." And that nature, in which the Divine Being now dimly glasses His attributes, shall in the end, by his omnipotence, and according to His promise, not be annihilated, but be delivered from all its corruption and disharmony, and mirror, in the clear and serene depths of the crystal sea before His throne, the incomparable marvels of His holiness and wisdom and power and love.

Just as nature is a type or parable of grace, so is the Old Testament a type or parable of the new. The Old is the enfolding bud, of which the new is the unfolding blossom. The Old is the Evening Dispensation of shadows, while the New is the Morning Dispensation of realities. They have the same Divine Author, and are inseparably connected. It is, therefore, perfectly legitimate to seek in the New Testament the spiritual key to the Old--to see, in the persons and events and institutions and ceremonies of the Old Testament, impressive types of the spiritual glories of the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, set forth more plainly in the Gospel Day of the New Testament, after the rising of the Divine Sun of Righteousness. The previous long, dark Evening of four thousand years pointed, all the time to this bright and blessed Morning; as the poor sinner's spiritual conviction under the law surely prophesies his happier experience under the gospel. "The whole Levitical constitution, with its outer court, its Holy, its Holiest of all, its High Priest, its sacrifices, and all its ordinances, is declared in the Epistle to the Hebrews" (Heb 9:9) to be figurative of the spiritual truths of the new Testament. And so, in 1Co 10:1-15, and Ga 4:22-31, is the literally true history of national Israel divinely declared to be typical (the word rendered "examples" and "ensamples" in 1Co 10:6,11 is, in the Greek, tupoi, types) and allegorical of the history of spiritual Israel. I sympathize far more with John Cocceius (1603-1669), who found Christ everywhere, than with Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), who found him nowhere in the Old Testament. The fulfillment of the Old Testament in the New is a moral demonstration, to every unprejudiced mind, of the divine authorship and inspiration of the Scriptures. And not only may the Old Testament be spiritually interpreted by the new, but there is a legitimate field for spiritualizing in the life, the miracles, and the parables of Christ--the parables being expressly designed to convey, in the drapery of nature, spiritual truth to the enlightened mind; "fair in their outward form, and yet fairer within, 'apples of gold in networks of silver,' each one of them like a casket, itself of exquisite workmanship, but in which jewels yet richer than itself are laid up; or as fruit, which, however lovely to look upon, is yet in its inner sweetness more delectable still." And so the unrivalled miracles of Christ not only demonstrate his Divinity, His lordship over nature, drink, food, winds and waves, animals, men, demons, disease, and death, but they teach us His almighty and everlasting power to heal all spiritual maladies, to give and sustain spiritual life and health and fruitfulness and peace and joy. And the wondrous life of the wonderful God-Man, His divine birth and nature and baptism, His labors and temptations and sufferings and sorrows, His perfect obedience to His Father even unto the horrible death of the cross, and His resurrection and final ascension to glory, wonderfully represent the history of the spiritual life of every child of God.

But the persons, events, institutions, and ceremonies of the Old Testament, and the life and miracles of Christ recorded in the new Testament, were not fictions, but realiteis--not lies but facts. As Mr. C. H. Spurgeon, of London, well says in a lecture to ministers: "In no case allow your audience to forget that the narratives which you spiritualize are facts, and not mere myths. The first sense of the passage must never be drowned in the overflow of your imagination; it must be distinctly declared and allowed to hold the first rank; your accommodation of it must never thrust out the original and native meaning, or even push it into the background. The Bible is not a compilation of clever allegories or instructive poetical traditions; it teaches literal facts and reveals tremendous realities; let you full persuasion of this truth be manifest to all w ho attend your ministry. It will be an ill day for the church if the pulpit should ever appear to indorse the skeptical hypothesis that Holy Scripture is but the record of a refined mythology, in which globules of truth are dissolved in seas of poetic and imaginary detail."

And, as the narratives of both the Old and the New Testaments were not falsehoods, nor fables or myths, but literal historical facts, so I am fully persuaded that all the parables of our Lord were natural truths designed to embody and illustrate spiritual truths. The radical distinction between the fable and the parable is that the fable is founded upon lies, representing plants or beasts as reasoning and speaking, and inculcates only earthly maxims of industry, prudence, and morality; while the parable is grounded upon facts, and inculcates lessons of heavenly wisdom. Who shall dare to say that Jesus Christ, the Incarnation of Truth, God manifest in the flesh, who could not and cannot lie, invented natural falsehoods to teach spiritual and eternal truths? The most of the parables of Christ state natural truths that have actually occurred thousands or millions of times. And who that properly reverences the Divine Teacher will presume to say that there is the slightest falsehood in the past tenses of the verbs that He uses in Lu 16:19-31, wherein He tells of the Rich Man and Lazarus, or in the future tenses of the verbs that he uses in Mt 25:31-46, wherein He tells of His coming in final judgment to the world? In fact, neither of these passages is a parable, nor anywhere called so in Scripture, though misnamed such by a few uninspired men. The passage in Luke is a literal history, and that in Matthew is a literal prophecy--the latter being emphatically distinguished from the preceding parables of the Virgins and the Talents in the same chapter by the adversative conjunction de, but, at the beginning of the 31st verse ("But when the Son of man shall come in His glory, etc."), this conjunction being unwarrantably omitted by the King James translators, but properly expressed by the Victorian Revisers. Some of the parables seem prophetic, or predictive of future events; and I have shown in my article in the March number of the GOSPEL MESSENGER that the prophecies of Scripture are both literally and spiritually true.

Excessive spiritualization, especially when accompanied by an ignoring or denial of the literal truth of the Scriptures, is, to all well balanced minds, surfeiting and disgusting. A few excellent principles, given by Mr. Spurgeon on this subject, are as follows: "1st--Do not violently strain a text by illegitimate spiritualizing. This is a sin against common sense. How dreadfully the word of God has been mauled and mangled by a certain band of preachers who have laid texts on the rack to make them reveal what they never would have otherwise spoken! Mr. Slopdash, of whom Rowland Hill tells us in the Village Dialogues, is but a type of a numerous generation. Avoid that childish trifling and outrageous twisting of texts which will make you a wise man among fools, but fool among wise men. 2d--Never spiritualize upon indelicate subjects. When the Holy Spirit is veiled and chaste, do not tear away the veil and crimson the cheek of modesty. 3d--Never spiritualize for the sake of showing what an uncommonly clever fellow you are. Only an egregious simpleton will seek to be noted for doing what nine men out of ten could do quite as well. Remember that spiritualizing is not such a wonderful display of ingenuity, even if you are able to do it well, and that without discretion it is the most ready method of revealing your egregious folly. 4th--Never pervert Scripture to give it a novel and so-called spiritual meaning. Loathe the thought of such profanity. 5th--The spiritualizing faculty may be judiciously and efficiently employed in generalizing the great universal principles evolved by minute and separate facts. And 6th--Much latitude in spiritualizing may be allowed to men of rare poetic temperament, such as John Bunyan, in his Solomon's Temple Spiritualized;" provided, always, that the literal truth of the Scriptures shall not be ignored or denied.

Legitimate spiritualization has been well said to "turn the Scriptures into fountains of living waters. Everywhere, under its inspiration, Christ is seen; the desert is gladdened by His presence; the wilderness becomes a garden of flowers and fruits." But, in this department of interpretation, we must be careful not to substitute imposition for exposition, not to read our ideas into the Scriptures, but to read their ideas out of them. The ruinous abuses of false methods of spiritualizing the Scriptures, as exhibited for our warning in the Scriptures themselves, as well as in subsequent church history, I propose, with the Divine permission, to consider in the next number of the GOSPEL MESSENGER.

$$ H1.04 Abuses and Extremes

The Gospel Messenger--May 1893

I now enter upon the consideration of the ruinous abuses in what falsely professes to be the spiritual interpretation of the Scriptures, as exhibited, for our solemn warning, in the Scriptures themselves, and also in subsequent church history. The present sad condition of the church, which has been brought about by these unwise, unscriptural, and destructive extremes, emphasizes the great importance of this subject, and has been the leading cause of the preparation of this series of articles.

As Satan, the chief "adversary" of God and man, a "liar," a "murderer of man" (anthro-poktonos, Joh 8:44) from the beginning of human history, assuming the form of the subtle serpent in the Garden of Eden, appearing not as the Devil, but as a friend even wiser and better than God, deceived the mind of Eve, the weaker of the first human pair, utterly ignoring the true interests of her soul, and successfully tempted her, by her desire for forbidden knowledge, to doubt and disbelieve the word of God, and to believe Satan's lie, that by partaking of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, she would not die, but be wiser and happier, and thus led her to proudly and presumptuously seek to be independent of her Creator, to be an infidel and an atheist, and insanely rebel against God, and to involve herself, and her husband (by his open and wicked preference of his wife to his Maker), and all their unborn posterity, in sin and death--even so, ever since that most real, most momentous, and most fatal transaction, has the restless, cunning, and malignant Tempter, the author of falsehood and mischief, been "transforming himself as an angel of light," {2Co 11:3,14} and deceiving the nations, indefatigably sowing the seeds of error and sin, depreciating the authority and importance of the word of God, turning the truth and salvation of God and His threatenings against sin into fables, telling men that the Scriptures are mythical or trivial, lulling poor sinners in carnal security, and leading them on in their career of pride, presumption, infidelity, atheism, rebellion, and ruin. "As the divine miracles of Moses were confronted with the satanic juggleries of the Egyptians, and as Christ was confronted with demoniacal possessions, so the heavenly body of apostolic truth set forth in the New Testament was, in he age of the apostles, and has been ever since, confronted with the ghost of heresy." Error has been called the shadow cast by truth; and truth the bright side brought out by error. There was a conflict between them in the apostolic church, and no doubt will be till the end of the present dispensation. In our present imperfect state, it must needs be that offenses come, but "Woe to that man by whom they come."--Mt 18:7. A wise and merciful Providence brings good out of evil, makes EXTREMES, by their very enormity, remedy themselves as last, and overrules error to arouse zeal and inquiry and to promote the clarification of the truth in our understandings; but this fact does not make the teachers of error any the less guilty, nor does it at all lessen our duty to avoid and oppose error in every form and wherever found. Faithfulness to the God of truth will allow us to know no man after the flesh in this important matter. The nearer error comes to us, the more earnestly should we deprecate and combat it. We should feel a far deeper and livelier interest in stemming the rising tides of error in our own ranks, if we are real possessors and not merely vain professors of the religion of Christ, than in opposing the floods of delusion that are sweeping over the religious and the irreligious world. Our chief responsibility is at home, and there should be our chief concern--first, in our own hearts and minds and lives, and then, to the extent of our influence, among our brethren.

The word rendered sound or wholesome in the phrases, sound doctrine, sound or wholesome words, in 1Ti 1:10; 6:3; 2Ti 1:13; 4:3; Tit 1:9; 2:1, means healthy, first in body, next in mind, and then in opinion. By the use of this term, Paul compares the pure system of gospel truth to a healthy human body. For the preservation or restoration of perfect bodily health, we need a proper supply of pure air, water, light, and food, a due regard to respiration, circulation, digestion, and excretion, and to bathing and clothing, a judicious alternation of exercise and rest, and avoidance of excessive stimulation and narcotization, with an occasional resort to surgery and quarantine. To restore health, medicine is sometimes needed. These natural objects and operations, as may be readily seen, have a corresponding spiritual significance in the preservation or restoration of sound doctrine in the church--representing our indispensable need of the Divine Spirit, and the sincere milk of the word, the broken body and shed blood of Christ, the thorough internal appropriation and proper use of Scripture truth, continual purification in the fountain opened from the wounds of our dying Lord, an adorning with His righteousness and the graces of His Spirit, loving and joyful obedience and rest in Him, heavenly moderation in all things, and sometimes, though rarely, the use of the painful knife of discipline, and even at times also the painful avoidance of association. {2Th 3:6; 1Co 5:4-13} Medicine for restoring health may represent needed rebuke and chastisement. In 2Ti 2:17, Paul gives the solemn and prophetic warning, in reference to the heretics, Hymeneus and Philetus, "their word will eat as doth a canker," or rather a gangrene, as the original literally means--an eating or spreading sore which ends in mortification. Gangrene is a partial or total loss of life in a part of a living body, and occurs generally in the extremities of the body furthest from the centre of circulation, and is caused by extreme injuries, extreme heat, extreme cold, extreme age, and extreme disorder of the circulation, and is wet or dry, local or constitutional, and is accompanied by increasing loss of circulation and sensation, and unless stopped, always ends in the death of the whole body. The remedies indicated in the disease are tonics and nervines, and the gentle and gradual restoration of the circulation, and sometimes incisions to let out the poisonous liquids and gases, and, as the last resort, amputation. In reference to this most dangerous disease, as in all other diseases, the motto is no less true than trite, that AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE. The first symptom of the approach of the deadly disease should insure prompt and effectual treatment, and earnest care should be taken, by the AVOIDANCE OF EXTREMES, to prevent the occurrence of even the first symptom. Wisely did Elder and Doctor John M. Watson, of Nashville, Tenn., thirty years ago, solemnly warn all Old Baptists of extremists, ultraists, as their worst enemies. Unless checked, the dangerous extremes prevalent among us, in some parts of our country, will, if inspiration and history be true, result in our increasing confusion, division, disintegration, and ruin. And part of apostolic doctrine or practice may be dissevered from other truth, exaggerated, distorted, or mutilated, and carried to an unscriptural and idolatrous extreme; every other part of eternal truth may be disparaged and sacrificed to the idol; and, if the idolatry be persisted in, not only the peace and fellowship, but even the visibility, of the church will be destroyed. The Brazen Serpent, which had been, not a human invention, but an ordinance of God, but had, after having been preserved 700 years, become an object of idolatrous worship in the degeneracy of the chosen people, was properly and indignantly stigmatized as Nehushtan, a piece of brass, and broken to pieces, by the faithful and fearless king, Hezekiah, in his worthy zeal for the glory of God and the good of Israel. {Nu 21:7-9; 2Ki 18:4} The same spirit of reverent and benevolent iconoclasm should animate every subject of grace to seek the destruction of every form of idolatry, and thus to promote the pure spiritual, and acceptable worship of the Most High. {Ex 20:3; Joh 5:21; Mt 15:9; Joh 4:24} We cannot rightly serve the God of our salvation, unless we follow the Apostle Paul's admonition to "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and not become entangled under any yoke of bondage," {Ga 5:1} absolutely and forever refusing to acknowledge any other master--whatever or whoever that master be--than the Lord Jesus.

The apostolic age was the divinely constituted type of all the subsequent ages of the church, in respect both to truth and to error. The epistles of the New Testament are, to a great extent, "the result of a firm resistance to the distortions and corruptions to which the Christian religion was exposed from the first. Every doctrine of the church is a victory over the corresponding error, which was used by an All-wise Providence to correct and complete the form of the doctrine. By the ordination of the great Head of the Church, all errors in the end only condemn themselves and serve the more fully to establish the truth. The Church Militant has always had to fight error (which is doctrinal sin) as well as sin (which is practical error), which continually re-appear in different forms and modifications; and which the apostles combatted impersonally (mentioning only four heretics by name, Simon Magos, Hymeneus, Alexander, and Philetus), and radically (striking at the roots and principles, rather than the details and forms of error); so that their writings furnish the inexhaustible armory from which the soldiers of the cross can draw all the weapons they will ever need to oppose perversions of the truth."

As there was a threefold development of Christian doctrine, in the apostolic age, under the labors, first of Peter, then of Paul, and lastly of John (Church History, pp. 227-247), so there was a threefold development of heresy in that age. 1st--PHARISAICAL JUDAISM, an ULTRA and PSEUDO (false) JACOBITE and PSEUDO-PETRINE legalistic Jewish Christianity, resulting in the Ebionism of the second century (denying the divinity of Christ), and similar to the Arians, Socinians, and Unitarians of succeeding centuries, corresponding to the sect of Pharisees among the Jews and the school of Stoics among the Heathens, and the Catholics and Catholicizing Protestants of later ages; bigoted, self-righteous legalists, insisting on the strict observance of both the moral and the ceremonial law as essential to salvation, regarding the gospel as no more than an improved, or perfected, or mitigated law, and Christ as no more than a prophet, a second Moses, denying or ignoring His Divine nature, and His priestly and kingly offices, and hating and persecuting Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, as a dangerous apostate and revolutionist, impugning this motives, and striving to undermine his authority: condemned by God Himself in Acts x., and by the Council of Apostles, Elders and Brethren in Acts xv. (including James and Peter, to whom these heretics falsely appealed for their authority) and more elaborately by Paul, especially in his Epistles to the Galatians and Romans, and his second Epistle to the Corinthians, wherein he sets forth the true relations of the law and the gospel, sin and grace, bondage and freedom, faith and justification; and his unanswerable arguments were divinely enforced, not long afterwards, by the terrible destruction of the Second Temple, Jerusalem, and the Jewish Church-State. 2d--PAGANIZING GNOSTICISM see Church History, pp. 241, 242, foot-note, an ULTRA and PSEUDO-PAULINE, pseudo-spiritual philosophizing Gentile Christianity, resulting in numerous Gnostic sects of the second century (denying the humanity of Christ), similar to the Docetae, Manichaeans, Cathari, Patarenes, Bogomili, Paulicians, Albigenses, Mystics, some Anabaptists, and the Parkerites of succeeding centuries, corresponding to the Essenes, Therapeutae, and Cabbalists (and in some respects, the Sadducees) among the Jews, and the Platonists, Neo-Platonists, and Buddhists (and somewhat like the Epicureans) among the Heathen, and the rationalizing Protestants of later ages; subtle, cold, intellectual, self-conceited, daring, pretentious, barren theorizers, exaggerating and distorting the Pauline doctrine of the relation of the gospel to the law, sundering Christianity from its historical basis, representing matter as eternal and the source of evil, allegorizing away the substantial facts of revelation into unreal and empty visions, resolving the human nature and sufferings of Christ into illusions, denying the resurrection of the body (and some of them even the immortality or everlasting existence of the soul), and the second personal coming of Christ to raise the dead and judge the world, and the reality or eternity of the punishment of the wicked after death, and degenerating into fatalism, pantheism, asceticism, and licentious antinomianism; unsparingly condemned (in their teachings, as false, foolish, verbal, endless, vain, unprofitable, proud, perverse, profane, blasphemous, distressing, selfish, covetous, sensual, unspiritual, mocking, sceptical, deceitful, spoiling, subverting, diabolical, gangrenous, and destructive) by Paul (in his first Epistle to the Corinthians, and his Epistles to the Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, and Titus), by James (in his Epistle), by Peter In his second Epistle), by Jude (in his Epistle), and by John (in his first and second Epistles, and in the message to the Seven Churches, in Re 2 and Re 3). 3d--JUDAIZING GNOSTICISM, an ULTRA and PSEUDO-JOHANNINE syncretistic Christianity, combining the 1st and 2d, the Jewish and the Heathenish systems of heresy, in varying proportions; a shadowy and confused mysticism, passing sometimes into pharisaic austerities, and sometimes into diabolical sensualities--the most of the errors combatted in the later books of the New Testament being of this mixed sort. "All these three forms of heresy (springing from corrupt human nature, which is either predominantly Jewish or predominantly Heathen), however they may differ from each other, essentially agree in a more or less distinct denial of the central truth of the gospel--the abiding incarnation of the Son of God for the salvation of sinners--which teaching John calls the mark of antichrist, {1Jo 4:3} as it plainly undermines the foundation of Christianity. For if Christ be not God-man, neither is He the mediator between God and men; and Christianity sinks back into Judaism or Heathenism. All turns at last on the answer to that fundamental question, What think ye of Christ? The true solution of that question is the radical refutation of every error. In Christ, and in Christ alone, breaks forth the fountain of truth and of life everlasting." (See the Church Histories of Neander, Gieseler, Pressense, and Schaff.) The consideration of the development of these Jewish-Heathenish ULTRAISMS and CORRUPTIONS of the pure and spiritual religion of Christ, since the apostolic age, is necessarily postponed to the next number of THE GOSPEL MESSENGER.

It may be expedient to sum up, in a few words, the chief substance of this article. The plain teaching of that God, the only living and true God, who inspired the writers of the Scriptures, and who directs the course of human history, is as follows: The three greatest doctrinal foes to the simplicity of the gospel of Christ (salvation alone by the grace of the Lord Jesus, who is perfect God and perfect man,) are legality, philosophy, and the union of these two principles--that is, a reliance, for salvation, on human works, or human reason, or on both works and reason. We all have, in our fallen natures, these tendencies to self-confidence; and it, therefore, becomes each one of us to watch carefully and continually against the operation of these false principles, and never carry them to such extremes as to destroy the peace and unity of the beloved Zion of our God.

$$ H1.05 Jewish-Heathenish ``Ultraisms''

The Gospel Messenger--June 1893

I now enter upon the consideration of the development of the JEWISH-HEATHENISH ULTRAISMS AND CORRUPTIONS of the pure and spiritual religion of Christ since the apostolic age.

I showed, in my last article, that the three great corrupters of the simplicity of the gospel of Christ are the Satanic and false principles of (1) human righteousness (Judaistic Legalism, Pharisaism, Pelagianism, Synergism, Arminianism), and (2) human wisdom (Pagan Philosophism, Rationalism, Mysticism, Speculatism, Pseudo-Spiritualim), and (3) the blending of human righteousness and human wisdom in varying proportions. While Judaism (salvation by human works) narrows and darkens and chills and buries Christianity in the grave; and Heathenism (salvation by human reason) widens and mystifies and freezes and buries Christianity in the clouds; and Judaeo-Heathenism divides Christianity, and buries it partly in the grave and partly in the clouds--all these three systems being equally fatal to the purity of Bible doctrine; True Christianity wisely remains on the plain ground of fact where God has placed her, and, in the light and warmth of the Sun of Righteousness, engages in the loving and blessed service of her Divine Master and of her generation according to His will.

The Jewish and Heathenish Ultraisms and Corruptions of Christianity are nearly always more or less blended, both being products of corrupt human nature, and both proceeding from carnal reason, which, under the influence of Satan, ignoring and hating God, disbelieves His word in regard to His holiness and its depravity, despises the Divine-Human Mediator, and atheistically deifies itself into a Saviour, either by something it can do or something it can think. Carnal reason is, therefore, the root-principle of doctrinal corruption. Both the Jew and the Heathen, in their opposition to Scripture truth, have been animated by this principle. "I fear lest, by any means," says Paul, "as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." {2Co 11:3} "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." {Col 2:8}

The doctrine of salvation's depending, in part, if not in whole, upon human righteousness, upon the exercise of our own will, and the performance of our own works, is inborn in our depraved natures; it fought bitterly against the Apostle Paul; dragged down the Roman Catholic world into the darkness and self-torturing and corruption of the Middle Ages; was boldly assailed by the Protestant Reformers; was petrified, or permanently sanctioned, by Rome, in the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent; was adopted even by the Baptists, in their darkness, for a century after the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, and was then, in their better acquaintance with the Scriptures, abandoned by them; has been virtually re-affirmed by nearly all Protestants, and by New School Baptists, and even by a few hundred persons who, while claiming to be Primitive Baptists, regard Divine election as conditional, or make feet-washing a test of fellowship; but--thanks be alone rendered to the God of Israel--at least ninety-nine hundredths of Primitive Baptists stand fully and boldly upon the Bible platform of salvation alone by the free and sovereign and almighty grace of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ--that grace which freely loved and chose us in Christ before time began, and brought our Divine Redeemer to this world of sin and sorrow to die for us, and sends His Holy Spirit into our hearts to make us new creatures in Christ Jesus, and leads and teaches and disciplines and keeps us evermore, and will finally conform us, in soul and body, to the perfect image of the adorable Son of God. It is, therefore, not now necessary to speak further of the operation of the legalistic corruption of Christianity.

Larger space is, however, required to set forth the development of that subtle and ruinous corruption of Christianity that has been made by human carnal wisdom or philosophy, variously known as Rationalsm, Mysticism, Speculatism, and Pseudo (False) Spiritualism.

The Religious Philosopher (of whom the most brilliant examples professing Christianity are the Gnostics of the first centuries of the Christian Era, and the German Rationalists of the present century) springing from the soil of religious senility and decay, soars high into the clouds, where common mortals cannot follow him, and often cannot even see him--cannot find out what he really does or does not believe. He dwells among the idealities, the eternities, the infinities. Living in a misty element, his ideas are confused and confusing. Through seeming to claim omniscience, his vision of the past is not clear, and his perception of the future is still more beclouded; a dark veil, rarely lifted by the hand of faith, hangs for him over all the coming scenes of time and eternity. He cannot readily receive the simple testimony of the word of God on these momentous subjects; he vainly, doubtingly, and painfully tries to read between and beneath the lines and explain away the futurity and reality of the words, and, by lacking the humble, trustful spirit of the little child, he not only distresses himself and others, but dishonors the Divine Author of the Scriptures. History and observation show that Religious Philosophy tends to pass, on one side, into fatalism and annihilationism, and, on the other side, into Arminianism and Universalism.

A leading trait of the Religious Philosopher is what has been well called "THE ALLEGORICAL FURY." an arbitrary, elastic, audacious, and arrogant method of interpreting Scripture, which thrusts out what it pleases, and smuggles in what it pleases; which considers the literal sense meager, carnal, and puerile, and, if not actually holding, still irreverently treats the historical matter as a series of fables constructed to symbolize the doctrines of a divine philosophy; which gives the widest scope to the imagination, takes the greatest liberty with texts, and plays with words like the pieces on a draught-board; which, in a spirit of self-confident freedom, the essential spirit of the world, boldly breaks away from all the shackles of the letter and the bonds of even Divine authority; tears the truth, limb from limb; opposes confessions of faith, disparaging discriminating and accurate statements of Bible doctrine; turns all facts into uncertain and changing shadows, and the Scriptures into fables; soon runs itself into positive and dangerous errors, and finally sweeps everything away into original nothingness, like the Nirvana of Buddhism. Most appropriately is the spirit of such an extreme procedure called a FURY or MADNESS; and it will be wise in the people of God most carefully to avoid any approach or tendency to such a spirit. It is the voice, not of an enemy, but of a friend, that seeks to recall dear brethren from even the slightest disposition to yield to this ruinous temptation of the devil.

"Gnosticism" (a pretence of higher knowledge), as I have said on the 241st and 242d pages of the Church History, "was an aggregation of corruptions from all the countries where Christianity was disseminated--a combination of Platonic philosophy, Alexandrian Judaism, dualistic Parsism, pantheistic Buddhism, and phantasmal Christianity. A false Gnosticism exalted knowledge above faith, hope, love, humility, and every other Christian virtue. It represented God as an infinite, unfathomable unnamable abyss, eternally and unconsciously evolving attributes or aeons, the lowest of which combined with dead, empty, eternal matter, and produced a weak or evil Demiurgus or Artificer, who made this world; it represented Christ as the most perfect of the aeons, but declared his human life an illusion; and it represented the Holy Spirit as a subordinate aeon. The system degenerated into utter infidelity and sensuality, especially with the Ophite Gnostics. It originated in the first century, flourished in the second, and gradually lost importance after the middle of the third, but was to a great degree revived in the Manichaeism of the fourth and fifth centuries." "Gnosticism was the Rationalism of the ancient church. It was an effort of profound speculative thought to harmonize the Christian revelation with reason--Greek and Oriental Philosophy with Christianity." Just as the Platonists, or followers of Plato, spiritualized and dissipated the old mythology of Greece, denying its outward truth in order to vindicate its inner spirit, and thus hastened the destruction of whatever lingering faith in it yet survived in the minds of men, so the Gnostics hyper- or pseudo-spiritualized the Old Testament (which, like the creation, they referred, not to God, but to the Demiurge) in such a manner as to empty it of all its practical and salutary truths; and Marcion who founded the sect of Gnostics bearing his name, the Marcionites, the forerunners of the Paulicians, also rejected all the New Testament except a mutilated gospel of Luke and ten of Paul's epistles. Plato, Zoroaster, and Buddha were the heathen fathers of the central principles of Gnosticism--Plato teaching the eternity of matter as well as of God, and at times referring the origin of sin to God, the pre-existence and transmigration of the soul, the prototype, in the realm of Ideas, of everything in the realm of Fact, his intermediate Soul of the World being something like the Gnostic Demiurge; Zoroaster teaching the eternal existence of both a Good and an Evil Spirit, Light and Darkness, Ormuzd and Ahriman; and Buddha teaching the identity of matter, existence, and evil, God and the universe, evaporating everything finite into mere appearance, and glorifying the bliss of annihilation. Some of the principles and methods of incipient Gnosticism, of which Simon Magus, "giving himself out as some great one," {Ac 8:9} was the founder, are plainly referred to and condemned by Paul in such passages as 1Ti 6:20-21 (the word rendered "science" here is gnosis, a higher knowledge, from which gnosticism is derived), 1Ti 1:4; 4:7; 2Ti 2:16; Tit 3:9 (the "fables and endless genealogies," "profane and old wives' fables," "profane and vain babblings," here spoken of, are the aeons, the eternals, the emanations, the wild, tedious, false, and unprofitable cosmogonies and genealogies of Gnosticism, and foolish allegorical explanations of the genealogies in the books of Moses). Gnosticism was a superb and pretentious philosophy of evolution, imagining, in order to bridge the great impassable gulf from the Infinite to the Finite, thirty or even three hundred and sixty phantom-experiences (aeons) in pairs, male and female (Depth and Silence, parents of Mind and Truth, parents of Reason and Life, parents of Man and Church, etc.) Among the Gnostic sects are included the Docetae, Marcionites, Cainites, Carpocratians, Nicolaitians, Manichaeans, Paulicians, Cathari, Bogomili, Patarenes, and Albigenses. All held dualism (two-seedism, an eternal devil with his eternal children, and the eternal pre-existence of the people of Christ with Him), docetism (denying the real humanity of Christ, regarding His entire earthly life and death as a deceptive show or mere vision), pseudo-spiritualism (denying the literal truth of the Scriptures), pseudo-Paulinism (an abuse of Paul's doctrine of a free spirit), the evil of matter, no true incarnation of Christ, and no resurrection of the body; but they all held the true principles of anti sacerdotalism and simplicity of worship. Gnosticism was not a power to save man from sin, but a method of gratifying his curiosity about the universe, the origin of existence and of evil. It dissolved ethics into metaphysics; gave speculation, on all subjects, an unbounded range; ignored, like Mohammedanism, the distinction between the Divine permission and causality of sin, referring the origin of moral evil to God, introducing fatalism into Christianity, adopted the motto, tome koluon aition estin (that which does not prevent is responsible), thus throwing all the responsibility for sin upon God (see Neander's Church History, vol. 1, page 374; and Pressense's Early Years of Christianity, vol. 3, page 34); and substituted illumination for redemption, holding that Christ saves, not by His death, but by His teaching. The Gnostics allegorized away the life of Christ into a myth or symbol of the Divine life in man, explaining away the incarnation (the manifestation of Christ in the flesh), and the doctrine of the repugnance between matter and spirit, and that matter is the source of evil. Thus denying these two most important and fundamental truths of Christianity, the incarnation and the resurrection (although they persistently called themselves Christians), they prepared the way for the open infidelity of Neo-Platonism, which declared that "the hopes of a resurrection are the hopes of worms," and furnished, in the persons of Celsus and Porphyry, the ablest and bitterest enemies of Christianity in the early centuries. "Gnosticism made evil physical instead of moral, annihilating the nature of evil as the conscience apprehends it-the willful violation of Divine law," and, in some of the sects professing it, showing its contempt of matter, scoffed at the letter of the Scriptures, the Ten Commandments, the ordinance of baptism and the Lord's Supper, prayer, marriage, property, and government, forbidding the eating of flesh and even of food, carrying its madness even to the point of deliberate starvation. The Cainite Gnostics completely inverted the truth of the Scriptures, worshiping the serpent as the symbol of wisdom, who first gave true knowledge to Eve and Adam, and regarding such diabolical characters as Cain, Balaam, and Judas as the only true saints. The Bogomili represented Satanael as the first-born of God, and that he rebelled against God, and drew other spirits or angels with him, and created man, and of Eve had Cain, the representative of the evil principle in humanity, while Abel was the offspring of Adam and Eve, and the representative of the good principle; that Satanael induced the Jews to believe him to be their Supreme God, employed Moses as his instrument, and gave his law through him; and that God, in the 5500th year after the creation of the word, caused to emanate from Himself a Spirit called the Son of God, Logos (the Word), the Archangel Michael, who came down in an ethereal body through Mary, and seemed, but only seemed, to suffer and die, and changed Satanael's name to Satan, and then reascended to God, and occupied, at his right hand, the place of the ruined Satanael; that then God caused a second aeon or power, the Holy Ghost, to emanate from Himself, and come down to apply and complete the work of Christ, and save all the elect; and that, after that was done, God would receive back into Himself the Son and the Spirit, and all things would return to their original unity (as taught by the Sabellians of the third century, the Swedenborgians of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the German Rationalists of the nineteenth century). They believed that they ought to pay some adoration to Satanael as long as his empire subsists.

The devil's first and strongest attempt is to get men to deify and worship him; and, when he fails in that, to get them to deny his personality (as the German Rationalists of the present century do), to throw them off their guard against his wiles, so as the more easily to ruin them. The denial of the personality of Satan is one of the first steps in the denial of the sinfulness and destructiveness of sin, and of the necessity of an unintermitting and uncomprominsing warfare against sin. If there is no personal devil, the fall of Adam and Eve from a state of innocence, as recorded in Genesis, and the temptation of a holy Jesus in the wilderness and in Gethsemane, and many of the words of Christ and of His Apostles, as recorded in the New Testament, are myths and fables, and the Bible, from beginning to end, is a tissue of lies.

May Divine grace enable us to be perpetually and vigilantly on our guard against these and all other seductive and ruinous wiles and temptations of the Arch-Enemy of God and man--these and all such subtle and destructive Ultraisms and Corruptions of the simplicity of the gospel of Christ.

H1.06 Strifes of Words and Hobby Horses

The Gospel Messenger--January 1894

In THE GOSPEL MESSENGER Of January, 1884, Eld. W. M. Mitchell truthfully and excellently wrote: "In various parts of the United States a factions spirit has for years been manifesting itself among brethren, and while there may be in some instances a real difference in some cardinal principle of doctrine, or order, yet in most cases it is more a strife over men, or a contest of unprofitable words, subverting the hearers, than anything edifying to Christians. If carnal or selfish motives have introduced a dispute, the argument will be conducted in a bad spirit, forming parties who will misconstrue and misrepresent each other. If preachers consume the time which should be employed in feeding the flock of God, by casting stones at the sheep and trying to kill other under-shepherds, much distress will follow. If they should take their precious time from preaching the truth in love by making a personal thrust at others, or a personal defense of themselves, a bad spirit will be engendered in their brethren, and thereby they will be led away from the meek and gentle spirit of the gospel."

I have long believed and said (Church History, page 621, footnote) that the differences among Primitive Baptists are mainly wars of words, and would disappear if the parties could meet each other in person and the right spirit. The Apostle Paul, writing by inspiration of God, repeatedly {1Ti 6:3-5,20-21; 2Ti 2:14-18,23-26} forbids our engaging in what he calls "logomachies," or wars of words, and "profane and vain babbling," "oppositions of science falsely so called," and "foolish and unlearned questions which gender strifes." He declares that these wordy wars proceed from the devil, {1Co 14:33; 1Ti 3:6; 4:1; 6:5; 2Ti 2:26} from spiritual disease, {1Ti 6:3-4; 2Ti 2:17} pride, {1Ti 6:4} corruption, {1Ti 6:5; 2Ti 2:16-17} avarice, {1Ti 6:10} philosophy, {1Ti 6:20; Col 2:8} and heresy; {1Ti 6:10,21; 2Ti 2:18} that they produce jealousy, rivalry, evil speaking, unjust suspicions, and vain disputations, and are unprofitable, and, instead of edifying, subvert others, and tend to destroy and overthrow their faith. {1Ti 6:4-5,10,21; 2Ti 2:14-18,23,26} Every person unhappily affected with such an empty, irreligious, and unmoral sophistomania is "proud," says the Apostle, {1Ti 6:4} that is, as the original word literally means, is "beclouded," "filled with the fumes of self-conceit" (like the "novice" in 1Ti 3:6--the same word being used there by the Apostle), "knowing nothing" (so darkened that he can see nothing clearly), "doting" (that is, "diseased," "morbidly anxious,") not about substantial and eternal realities, but "about subtleties and disputes of words," (or hair-splitting distinctions, abstract ideas, vain speculations, frivolous allegorizings or philosophizings), "corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth," {1Ti 6:4-5} as even the people of God are, when not sustained or illuminated by the Spirit. When in the flesh, we are all of us liable to this dreadful disease; and, when so afflicted, we may enter into heated disputes with our brethren on subjects in regard to which we are really agreed, while we differ only in the words that we use--especially when the subjects of our controversies are such deep and unfathomable mysteries as the nature of God and of the human soul, predestination, redemption, and regeneration, the origin of sin, the exact condition of Adam before his fall, and the exact result of his fall. It is the mark of the highest wisdom to receive all the statements of the Scriptures on these deep mysteries with all the humility and teachableness of a little child, {Lu 18:17} and not to seek to pry into the secret things that belong to God, {De 29:29} and exercise ourselves in great matters and things too high for us, {Ps 133:1} and rail at our brethren who do not express themselves exactly as we do, who do not adopt all our shibboleths, on these profound subjects that no human being has ever been able to understand and explain. Neither upon these nor upon any other subject should we ever wilfully distort and misrepresent the views of others; and upon all subjects we should, as much as possible, endeavor to lay aside all prejudice, partiality, and prepossession, and to ascertain "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth," which alone can do us any real and lasting good.

A precise definition of the controverted words in the beginning, would often prevent disputation.

Every spiritually enlightened subject of grace believes, not in three Gods, but in a Three-One God--Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that the soul of man is immaterial and had a beginning, but will never have an end; that God works all things according to the counsel of His own holy will, but did not create nor can He fellowship sin, which is the willful transgression of His holy law, and which He forbids, threatens, and punishes; that Christ, by His own obedience unto death, ramsoned all His people from sin and hell; that God of His own will, and by His own Spirit, makes all His people partakers of the Divine nature, and new creatures in Christ Jesus, and yet that sin also continues to dwell in them until the death of their bodies; that sin could not have originated from an eternally, infinitely, and unchangeably holy God, but must have originated from His creatures whom He suffered to disobey Him; and that Adam, before his fall, was in the image of his Maker, and very good and upright, and yet, when left to himself, and without any compulsion from his holy and merciful Lord, preferred his wife to his Creator, and knowingly and wilfully sinned against God, and thus subjected not only himself but all his unborn posterity to the awful yet just penalty of death, or separation from God, and that nothing but the Divine mercy can save either him or them from that penalty. The wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err in these plainly revealed truths of the Scriptures; and the wisest saint that ever lived on earth, never fully understood them. It is the part, not of spiritual faith, but of carnal rationalism, to seek to solve these problems which our Creator has placed above our present capacities.


Another mania or crankiness, very similar to the last-mentioned, and often connected with it, is the riding of hobbies--a species of fanaticism or idolatry, which exaggerates one point of real or imagined truth at the expense of all others, and which, against all facts, arguments, and entreaties, pursues its relentless course to the destruction of the peace and fellowship of churches and Associations, glories in the confusions and divisions that it causes, and does its utmost to make them world-wide and everlasting. The fanatic has but one idea (or that one idea possesses him), and he hates all who oppose his madness, and, if he thought it would crown his theory with success, he would, in his derangement, almost set the world on fire. Though fighting against God, and moving heaven and earth to destroy the church of God, he is, like Saul of Tarsus, conscientious, and thinks he is doing a faithful and wonderful service for God and His people. It is a real friendship to such a one, thus possessed and deluded of the devil transformed as an angel of light, to break in pieces his dangerous idol, as Hezekiah did the idolized Serpent of Brass; {2Ki 18:4} but nothing short of the almighty power of the Lord can cast out the evil spirit from him, and make him sit down in his right mind, quiet and clothed, at the feet of Jesus, and in fellowship and peace with his brethren.

Some of the hobbies ridden by a few of our brethren to the injury both of themselves and of the Primitive Baptist cause, are predestination, feet-washing (both of which may be carried to unscriptural and idolatrous extremes), two-seedism, eternal vital unionism, meansism, and pseudo (false) spiritualism. May the God of Israel keep us from making idols of these or other things, substituting them for the Lord Jesus, bowing down to them, and sacrificing to them all things else--our own peace, and the peace and visibility of the church and the glory of God. "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." {Ex 20:3} "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." {Mt 4:9} Idolatry has been the greatest curse of the church and the world.

H1.07 The Danger of Applying All Scripture to the Children of God

The Gospel Messenger-February, 1894

This most pestilent innovation upon Primitive Baptist faith is perhaps the youngest and weakest of all the errors launched upon us in this conceited and degenerate and unbelieving age; I myself never heard of it nor read of it till three years ago. It is the child of Presumption and Philosophy, treats with equal contempt all the religious views of former generations and the most pointed declarations of the Inspired Scriptures, makes black white and white black by a dexterous system of expository legerdemain, and either makes the Bible a huge lie or inevitably leads to one of these three false and monstrous results-universal salvation, or universal damnation, or universal annihilation. It seems almost incredible that any sane and reverent mind can for a moment be so captivated and deceived by Satan as to believe that Cain, and Balaam, and Judas, and all the most horrible and diabolical criminals that ever lived on earth, were the children of God; that the elect and the non-elect, the penitent and the impenitent, the believing and the unbelieving, the loving and the hating, the obedient and the disobedient, the saved and the damned, are the very same persons; that election, and repentance, and faith, and love, and obedience, and salvation, as well as their opposites, are nothing but empty names; that words have no meaning; that the universe is only a delusive phantasmagory, containing nothing but shadows and dreams. Such false and ruinous systems of interpreting the Scriptures seem to me far more becoming to a lunatic asylum than a Primitive Baptist pulpit.

In regard to the parables of Christ, I am well aware that a few of our wisest brethren have, for a generation or so, somewhat differed in their views of some of the characters therein mentioned, and of course latitude may be allowed in such matters; but as for myself, I have no confidence in the greatly superior enlightenment of this pretentious century, and I decidedly prefer the plain old paths in religion to the misty new ones, and the old-fashioned, unsophisticated ways of interpreting the Scriptures to the new subtle ways; and I feel satisfied that there is a radical and essential distinction made by Divine grace between the humbled and penitent and returning younger brother and the angry, unforgiving and pharisaic elder brother, in the parable of the prodigal son; {Lu 15:11-32} between the good-ground hearers on the one side, and the wayside, the stony-ground, and the thorny-ground hearers, on the other side, in the parable of the sower; {Mt 13:1-23} between the wheat and the tares, in the parable of the tares; {Mt 13:24-30} between the good and the bad, the just and the wicked, in the parable of the draw-net {Mt 13:47-50} --"the kingdom of heaven" in verses 24 and 47 is plainly the visible and not the spiritual church; between the five wise and the five foolish virgins, in the parable of the virgins; {Mt 25:1-13} between the five and the two talent men, on the one hand, and the one talent man, on the other, in the parable of the talents; {Mt 25:14-30} just as there is certainly such a distinction between the sheep and the goats, the blessed and the cursed, in the description of the last judgment; {Mt 25:31-46} between the believing who are to be saved and the unbelieving who are to be damned; {Mr 16:16} between the elect, and living, and believing, and loving, and obedient children of God--the vessels of mercy of Paul's epistle to the Romans--on the one hand, and the non-elect, and spiritually dead, and unbelieving, and hating, and disobedient children of the flesh--the vessels of wrath--on the other hand, who wilfully, greedily, and inexcusably sin against God, notwithstanding the light of nature which every intelligent and responsible human being has, suppressing and falsifying even the natural evidences, everywhere around them, of the being and perfections of God (read with especial care the first chapter of Romans, and compare it with 2Ti 3:1-5; Ac 14:15-17; 17:22-31; Job 12:7-10; 38; 39; Ps 19:1-4; Isa 40:26), and who shall at last stand justly condemned and silenced before God {Ro 3:19} --with one and a half exceptions (within the last three years) all our writing ministers have always thus explained the first chapter of Romans (by "a half" I mean that this minister applies the 18th and following verses of that chapter to both the elect and the non-elect--only one minister applying these verses entirely to the elect, and severely condemning all who do not agree with him in this novel view); between those who are washed, sanctified, and justified in the name, of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God, on the one hand, and the unrighteous, fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners, excluded from the kingdom of God, on the other hand; {1Co 6:9-11} between those in whose hearts shine the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, on the one hand, and the lost and unbelieving, who are blinded by the god of this world, on the other hand; {2Co 4:3-6} between the beloved, believing, and obedient servants of God, on the one hand, and the false, and covetous, and adulterous teachers, who, after a vain and transient profession of godliness, relapsed into the sins from which, like the filthy dog and sow, their inward natures had never been cleansed, and whose last state, like that of the man out of whom the unclean spirit voluntarily went only for awhile, was worse than the first, on the other a hand; {2Pe 1:1-11,14; 2; Mt 12:43-45} between the righteous and holy, the blessed, the saved, who are written in the Lamb's book of life, the servants of God, having His name in their foreheads, delivered from the curse, entering into the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, and walking in its light, and reigning for ever and ever on the one hand, and the filthy and unjust, the false, dogs, sorcerers, whoremongers, murderers, and idolaters, shut out of the Holy City, on the other hand. {Re 21:22} The fundamental and eternal distinction made between these opposite characters--the elect and the non-elect---by the grace of God, should never for a moment be forgotten or ignored. {Mal 3:17; 1Co 4:7; Ec 3:14; Ps 138:8; Php 1:6}


This is a most lamentable perversion of the Scriptures, similar to the foregoing, and has been born among us in the present generation. If carried out to its full extent, it blots out all the past and all the future. If we are to believe nothing but what we have experienced, we will deny all the literal truth of Scripture history and Scripture prophecies of all the events that have not yet taken place, including the creation of the world out of nothing, the destruction of the world, first by water, and then by fire, the resurrection of the body, and the eternal realities of heaven and hell. It was exactly this species of heresy--pseudo (or false) spiritualism--that the Apostle Paul condemned in Hymenaeus, Alexander, and Philetus, {1Ti 1:19-20; 2Ti 2:16-18} as gangrenous and ruinous. These wise philosophers applied all that the Scriptures said about the resurrection to the mere spiritual rising of the soul from the death of sin, in present experience, and declared that the resurrection was already past--in other words, they, like the ancient Hindoo and Greek heathen philosophers regarding matter as the source of evil, denied the resurrection of the body, and with this denial, they overthrew the whole system of Christianity. {1Co 15:16-23} And in the latter part of the apostolic age, the same spirit of heathen philosophy, considering matter essentially evil, denied that Christ came in the flesh, or was literally incarnate, but represented His birth, and life, and death as unreal and visionary, and this heresy was denounced by the Apostle John as antichrist. {1Jo 4:3} In the self-same manner heathen philosophy in the Primitive Baptist church today seeks to turn all the literal truths--especially all the future eternal truths--of the Scriptures into fables. Under the magic wand of a pretended spiritualization, the tremendous realities of the final resurrection and judgment, the everlasting happiness of the righteous, and the everlasting punishment of the wicked dissolve into the illusory and fleeting picture of the present momentary life. Such a pernicious system of interpretation is but the echo of the voice of Satan in the Garden of Eden, giving the lie to the word of God. {Ge 2:17; 3:4}

I do not mean, by anything that I have here said, to condemn the drawing of moral and spiritual lessons and illustrations for the guidance, warning, instruction and comfort of the people of God, from all the parables, and from all the literal truths, both past and future, of the Scriptures; but what I mean is to condemn uncompromisingly every denial of those truths.

H1.08 The Two Seed Heresy

The Gospel Messenger--March 1894

In Ac 20:30, the Apostle Paul, speaking to the elders of the Church at Ephesus, says: "Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse (twisted, distorted, misrepresented) things, to draw away disciples after them." Whether with such a design or not, the heathenish perversions of Scriptural truth set forth by Eld. Daniel Parker, of Tennessee, about 1835, in his pamphlet called "My Views on the Two Seeds," have corrupted Primitive Baptist doctrine more, and rent off more members and churches from our fellowship, than any and all other causes combined. In the census of 1890, the Two-Seed Baptists claim to have 333 churches and 9,932 members in 33 States, the largest membership being 2,019 in Texas, 1,270 in Tennessee, 1,230 in Arkansas, 965 in Kentucky, 840 in Mississippi, 668 in Missouri, 641 in West Virginia, 538 in Alabama, 330 in Georgia, and from 10 to 194 in each of 14 other States. (The entire number of Primitive Baptists in the United States is probably about 100,000.) I am glad to have evidences that, at least in some sections, there is a strong tendency among the Two-Seed Baptists to renounce all the Parkerite corruptions of truth, and to return to the simple faith of the gospel. May it please the God of Israel soon to dispossess all their minds of the blighting Satanic delusions with which their churches have been cursed for nearly sixty years.

It would be impossible to tell how many changes and forms, each one inconsistent with itself, with the others, and with the Scriptures, Two-Seedism has assumed during that period. Error is always thus serpentive and Protean. In its most logical form this wild pagan philosophy begins, in the past eternity, with an Eternal, Self-Existent, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent God, the Author of all good, and an Eternal, Self-Existent, Omnipresent and almost Omnipotent Devil, the Author of all evil, and ends, in the future eternity, with the same two and only two Beings--all created beings, both good and evil, having emanated, in time, from these two Beings respectively, and having at last returned into them; the whole speculation, therefore, so far as human beings are concerned, is an impractical and worthless theory. The author of the system was Zoroaster a heathen philosopher, who lived in Iran or Persia, about 1000 B C.; and those who first sought to incorporate this doctrine of an Eternal Devil into Christianity were the Gnostics of the first and second centuries, and the Manichees of the third century of the Christian era, who also denied the real humanity of Christ, and the real resurrection of the body, which errors were denounced as antichristian heresies by the Apostles John and Paul. {1Jo 4:3; 2Ti 2:17-18} Two-Seedism is the baldest fatalism--not a religion at all, but an unscriptural and blasphemous method of relieving God from the responsibility for sin by deifying the Devil and making him its author; ignoring the great Bible truths that Jehovah is the only Eternal, Self-Existent and Uncreated Being, and that He is the Creator of all other things, making them, in the beginning, sinless, but suffering the non-elect angels, including their leader, Satan, and men to transgress the law under which they were placed, and thus became sinners by their voluntary rebellion against Him. {De 33:27; Isa 57:15; 1Ti 1:17; Ro 1:20; Ex 3:14; Ge 1:1-2,7,31; Ec 7:29; 1Ti 5:21; 2Pe 2:4; Jude 25; Joh 8:44; Mt 25:41; 1Jo 3:4; Ro 5:12,19}

It is said that, in all other respects, Eld. Parker was orthodox, but what is known as his system of "Two-Seeds" is a somewhat refined, but still very crude, mystic, unintelligible and inconsistent modification of Manicheeism--that all the descendants of Adam and Eve are elect and will be saved (being a part of God); that their individual spirits had an eternal pre-existence in Christ, and an eternal vital union with Him, before the world began (somewhat like the doctrine of the pre-existence of souls maintained by the heathen philosophers, Pythagoras and Plato, and by the Hindoos, the Egyptians, the Gnostics, and the Caballists, and the Universalist professor, Orgin); that these souls were infused into Adam, and pass, by ordinary generation, into the persons of the elect, and at death ascend to glory in mystic bodies, leaving the material body in the grave; while this monstrous, incomprehensible and inexplicable theory imagines that there were born, "as an extra production" (whatever that means) of Adam and Eve, "through the Serpent" (however that was) "by reason of sin," other human bodies, without souls, but recipients of a Satanic seed, or spirits, uncreated and eternal (perpetuated after the flood by the wife of Ham), who are the non-elect and will be all damned and will finally return to Satan (whence they came) not in material, but in mystic bodies. I see no more reason than Scripture in these obscure and obscene speculations.

Besides refutations of Two-Seedism published in our periodicals, able pamphlets, puncturing and dissipating the wretched bubble, were published by Eld. Gilbert Beebe, of New York, in 1841; Eld. John M. Watson, of Tennessee, in 1855; and Eld. George Y. Stipp, of Illinois, in 1879.

In Ge 3:14-15, the language of God, in pronouncing the curse upon the serpent, has both a literal and spiritual (or figurative) meaning. The literal serpent, used as an instrument by the Old Serpent, the Devil or Satan, {Ro 12:9; 16:27} in tempting Eve, was cursed and condemned to go prostrate on the ground, and eat dust, and to hate and be hated by the woman, and its seed to hate and be hated by her seed, and to bruise the heel of her seed, while its head should be bruised by her seed--all of which has been literally fulfilled in the condition of the serpent, and in the perpetual hatred and conflict between mankind and serpents, until the latter shall finally become extinct. But to Adam and Eve, in their changed condition of rebellion and fear of the righteous and terrible judgment of God, the literal prediction of the ultimate painful triumph of their posterity over serpents, could not have given much consolation; and though enigmatical and indefinite--not telling the when or where or how--yet God's curse upon the serpent must have conveyed, to their awakened hearts, a comforting promise of their and their seed's final triumph, through suffering, over their spiritual enemy who occupied the body of the literal serpent. In this spiritual meaning of the deep and comprehensive words of God, Satan is, in the 14th verse, declared to be the most cursed and degraded of all beings, and in the 15th verse (corruptly used as the fountain and chief proof-text of Two-Seedism), God, before any repentance or prayers on the part of the woman, graciously {Ro 5:8; Eph 2:4-5} takes her part against His and her enemy, Satan, and declares that, instead of a ruinous friendship, He will put a salutary enmity between her and Satan, and between her seed and Satan's seed, and that her seed should bruise Satan's head, while Satan should bruise the heel of her seed. In the language "it (the seed of the woman) shall bruise thy (the serpent's) head," the Hebrew pronoun rendered "it," and the verb rendered "shall bruise" are in the singular number and masculine gender, and are so rendered in the two oldest versions, the Septuagint and the Syriac, and refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, the only seed of the woman that never had a human father, as is implied by Isa 7:14, and infallibly explained by Paul, {Ga 3:16; Ro 16:20; Heb 2:14} and John; {1Jo 3:8} and, as shown by these and other passages, {Eph 1:19-23; 4:15-16; 6:23-24} Christ, in this conflict and victory over Satan, is the Head and Representative of His church, His spiritual seed, {Isa 53:10-11; Ps 22:30; 45:16; 110:3; Joh 12:24; Heb 2:13} who were chosen in Him, according to God's foreknowledge and purpose, before the world began, {Eph 1:4; 1Pe 1:1-5} and who enter His kingdom not as the seed of Adam, but as new creatures, His own heavenly seed, born of His Holy Spirit from above. {2Co 5:17-21; Eph 2:1-10; Joh 1:12; 3:3-8} By "the seed of the serpent," in Ge 3:15, are plainly meant, as shown by other Scriptures, {Mt 3:7; 13:38-42; 23:33; Joh 8:44; 1Jo 3:8-19} those descendants of Adam and Eve, those human beings, who are the servants of the Devil, and are influenced by his spirit, who hate God, His holy law and His people, and who shall finally be overwhelmed with the same everlasting condemnation and curse as the Devil. {Mt 25:41-46; 13:42; Ga 3:10; Mr 9:43-48; Re 14:10; 20:10-15} The Devil and his seed are nowhere in the Scriptures contrasted with Adam and his seed, but are always contrasted with Christ (called the woman's seed in Ge 3:15) and His people. All human beings are of the same blood, {Ac 17:26} and were represented in Adam, and made sinners by his disobedience (and not by Eve's sin or Satan's temptation), just as Christ's people are all represented in Him, and are made righteous by His obedience {Ro 5:12-21} --Adam being the head of all his natural seed, and Christ the Head of all His spiritual seed. As Eld. J. R. Respess says, in the GOSPEL MESSENGER of January, 1889: "No sound Baptist believes that there is any natural difference in the human family, but that they are all, elect and non-elect, the seed or offspring of Adam, and all, by Adam's disobedience, made sinners and are children of wrath--the elect as well as the non-elect. And that the only difference between a saint and an unregenerate sinner is the difference made by grace, and not by nature. And when an elect vessel of mercy is born again, he is changed by that work of the Spirit and becomes by grace a child of God, though be is still a child of Adam, and in him are two seeds or spirits, so to speak, the seed of Christ and the seed of Adam, and this is what makes a Christian." His daily experience, as well as the Bible {Song 7:13; Ro 7:14-25; Ga 5:17-25; 1Jo 1:5-10} proves to every child of God that he has both of these two contrary spirits in himself. In Ge 3:16 "sorrow and conception" (by hendiadis a common figure of speech in ancient languages) means "sorrow of or in conception or in parturition," as shown by the next clause, and also by the Septuagint translation (made 300 years before heathen philosophy corrupted Christianity)--"I will greatly multiply thy pains and thy groanings" (above what they would have been but for sin, and above what the females of the lower animals suffer).

Parkerism, while professing to establish grace and election, really do away with both, making salvation dependent on natural birth instead of grace, and offering it to all Adam's posterity, instead of to a part.

Eld. Daniel Parker seems to me to give up his whole system when, in his "Supplement," he says, on the third page, that "sin is the serpent's seed;" and, on the eleventh page, that "the eternal condemnation of the lost will not be because they were of the serpent's seed, or non-elect, but because of their sin against God in His divine law and their unbelief in Christ;" and, on the thirteenth page, that "the Baptist doctrine of salvation by the sovereign distinguishing grace of God stands completely established by the authority of the word of God, as well as by Christian experience, independent of his own views as to the origin of the two seeds." When the author of this system makes these broad confessions, how can a single one of his followers hesitate to abandon forever this worthless human invention--this heathen corruption of the gospel that has, for sixty years, poisoned, hardened, chilled, confused, and divided the Church of God?

H1.09 The Error of Fatalism

The Gospel Messenger--April 1894

Like nearly all the other doctrinal errors among Primitive Baptists, a tendency to fatalism seems to have come in through the broad door of Dualism (Two-Seedism) about sixty years ago. The grand primal speculation of an Eternal Devil with his eternal family is the entering wedge to all the other speculations of the carnal mind upon the Scriptures. Two-Seedism is, as I have shown, the bleakest and most relentless fatalism; and so is pantheism, the underlying philosophy of ancient polytheism, Buddhism, Brahminism, and modern scientific materialism; and so, in its eternal sense, is the philosophy of Mohammedanism, which asserts that effects would take place, even if their causes did not. Fatalism is thus the very essence of pagan philosophy - the furthest possible antipode of true Christianity. But God has never left Himself without a witness, even in the pagan world; and there are abundant reasons for saying that the utter native darkness of fatalism, whether in heathendom or Christendom, has perhaps, never in any human mind, been entirely unilluminated and unrelieved by the light of the universal and ineradicable truth that man is a voluntary and accountable being.

Fatalism is the doctrine that all things, great and small, mental and material, were eternally and inexorably predetermined, by an external, arbitrary, irresistible fate, or destiny, or necessity, an endless and admantine chain of causes and effects, so that nothing, not even any thought, or feeling, or word, or action of any human being can, by any possibility, in the slightest respect, be different from what it is, and thus no man is really to blame for anything he does, because he cannot help it. The word fatalism is derived from fate, which is the Latin word fatum, meaning something spoken or declared by some intelligent being who has power to make his words good; and as the word fatum indicates, the doctrine at first implied the supreme and universal, yet un-moral government of God; but it afterwards came to mean a shadowy, undefined, mysterious, impersonal, unconscious, unintelligent power, even at times above the power of God. Fatalism annihilates the moral character and the moral government of God, and the moral nature of man, and the distinction between right and wrong, good and evil, and reduces man to a mere involuntary, irresponsible machine or automation. No sane mind, whether heathen or Christian, has every fully believed it, or can believe it, in all its boldness and deformity; for by the very constitution of our moral nature, every man knows, as well as he knows his own existence, that he is a voluntary and accountable being; that he ought not to do many things that he does do, and that he ought to do many things that he does not do. All the laws, literatures, histories, and religious of mankind teem with demonstrations of this momentous and universal truth, which is inherent in the natural conscience of the human race (Rom. i-iii). The doctrine of fatalism is the rebellion of the carnal heart against this universal principle of our nature, seeking to excuse itself for its sinfulness by throwing the blame, the responsibility, upon the Creator. {Ge 3:12} But even nature teaches, and the Holy Spirit effectually impresses that teaching upon the inmost recesses of our being, that we alone are altogether accountable and blamable for our wrong-doings, and that our Holy Creator is not at all responsible for them, and that therefore we justly deserve condemnation and punishment at the hands of the Righteous Governor of the universe; and the Spirit of God further teaches us that it is only of His merest, His sovereign mercy, that we can be pardoned and saved from that everlasting ruin which our sins richly merit. Any doctrine that lessens the accountableness and blamelessness of man belittles and tarnishes the grace of God.

Now, I do not believe that there is a Primitive Baptist in the world who is a real, a full, and genuine fatalist; although our Arminian friends call us all fatalists. But I greatly regret that there is a growing tendency, among some of our people, to reduce the Bible doctrine of predestination to the pagan doctrine of fatalism. This unmoral tendency to fatalism and pantheism - to make God, and not man, the real author or cause of sin, and thus to destroy the distinction between right and wrong - appears in such unguarded and unscriptural expressions as "the absolute predestination of all things" (without any explanatory or qualifying phrase). "God predestinates sin in the same way He does holiness." "Sin is a creature of God, and is a very good thing in its place," (nothing can be more false and blasphemous than to call sin a creature of God, when it is rebellion of the creature against the Creator, the creature's transgression of the law of the Creator). "God introduced sin into the world." "God prepares the evil heart as well as the good heart." "God was the sole cause of Adam's partaking of the forbidden fruit." "God's suffering sin is the same as His commanding sin." "Sometimes the spiritually enlightened child of God hardly knows which most to admire, sin or grace." "Permissive decrees are permissive nonsense" (and thus the great majority of predestinarians are fools, believing nonsense). (1)"We are compelled to do everything we do." "Men are not accountable." "God is the moving cause of sin." "God is the sole, efficient, and responsible cause of all the wickedness in the universe," (perhaps the most blasphemous utterance ever made by man). I feel perfectly sure that no Primitive Baptist who uses such expressions really means all that they seem to imply - really means that God both prompts and compels (when the Scriptures declare that He does not even tempt - Jas 1:13) His creatures to sin, and then either convicts them by His Holy Spirit that the sin is altogether theirs, without repentance for which and forsaking of which they can never be received of Him in peace, or else punishes them with everlasting banishment from His holy presence; for, as I have said before, there has never been even a heathen who has been in such dense and total darkness as not to have even a natural consciousness that his sins are his own and not his Maker's. But such extreme and unqualified expressions as those mentioned above ought never to be used, for three reasons, viz: They do not fully and accurately represent the real belief of the Primitive Baptists in regard to predestination; they are contrary to the teachings of the Scriptures, and tend to the pagan doctrine of fatalism; and, instead of glorifying, they dishonor God by staining His holiness, the most glorious attribute of His character. Because God, as a righteous Judge, most justly executes criminals who have forfeited all claims upon His mercy, the horrible thought has been uttered that, if He were to do the very same things that sinners do, it would be no sin in Him. The very supposition is blasphemy; it is impossible for God to lie, or to deny Himself, {Heb 6:18; 2Ti 2:13} to act contrary to His essentially, infinitely, and unchangeably holy nature. It is said in justification of this blasphemy, that He is above all law; but, though a glorious and eternal Sovereign, He is a Most Holy Sovereign who cannot do wrong, and He cannot be above the law or rule of principle of His own perfect nature or character, which is a part of Himself, and is infinite light (or truth and holiness) and love. Imbedded in the very essence of the Divine character is the eternal and unchangeable distinction between light and darkness, holiness and sin, truth and falsehood, right and wrong, purity and impurity, self-denial and selfishness, love and hatred, kindness and unkindness.

It not only stains the holiness, but it also belittles the wisdom and the power of God to say that He can govern His creatures only by instigating and compelling them to sin; it represents Him as a mere Machinist, instead of an incomparable Sovereign, who perfectly foresees and perfectly controls even their own abominable wickedness to the manifestation of His glory - who can and does allow them, within predetermined bounds, to go their own sinful way, and carry out their own sinful purposes, and who is wise enough and strong enough to make even their sins, the wrath of man which worketh not the righteousness of God, redound to His praise. {Ps 76:10; Jas 1:20} This is a far truer and grander idea of God than that which makes His intelligent creatures, formed in His image, nothing but involuntary and irresponsible machines. The Scriptures are perfectly plain upon the point that men have sinful wills and ways of their own, which God suffers, and, even by such sufferance, accomplishes His own wise and holy purposes (Joh 5:40; Isa 10:5-7,12; 53:6-12; 55:8; Ps 9:16; 81:11; Ge 50:20; Jer 1:17-18; Mt 22:3; 23:37; Lu 12:22; Ac 2:23; 4:27-28).

The one great cause, above all others, of the extreme and unscriptural expressions used by a few Primitive Baptists on the subject of predestination is, as I have repeatedly shown (in the Church History, pp. 650-5, 963; in The Old Paths, pp. 7-9; and in the gospel messenger of Jan. 1888, Nov. 1889, April 1892, June 1892, Sept. 1893, and Nov. 1893), the ignoring or suppression of fourteen passages of the Scriptures, which declare that God permits, or bears, or suffers, or endures, or leaves, or delivers up, or gives over men and demons to sin, {2Ch 32:31; Ps 81:12; Mr 1:34; 5:13; Lu 4:41; 8:32; Ac 2:23; 7:42; 13:18; 14:16; Ro 1:24,26; 9:22} just as though all Scripture was not given by inspiration or is not profitable for doctrine . {2Ti 3:16} As may be seen, words of this meaning occur in the strongest texts on predestination in the Bible. {Ac 2:23; Ro 9:22} And I solemnly declare that it seems to me the height of irreverence and presumption to treat these words of the Holy Ghost as either false or unimportant, when they occur twice as often as the word "predestinate" in the Scrip-tures, to trample under our unhallowed feet the words of the living God, to set forth a half-truth as a whole truth, and thus to perpetually confuse and divide the churches of the saints, by expressions that are not in the Scriptures, and that, to simple, unsophisticated minds, seem to deny the holiness of God, and that have never been used in any articles of faith of any church on earth, and that are contrary to the belief of probably ninety-nine hundredths of all the predestinarians that ever lived.

I will now briefly examine the leading extreme and unqualified expression used by some of our brethren on this subject, but which is utterly rejected by at least nine-tenths of the Primitive Baptists in the United States. "The absolute predestination of all things." As is well known, this phrase is not in the Scriptures; even the word "absolute" is nowhere in the Bible; the phrase, then, is a human inference and invention. So far as I have been able to discover, Jerome Zanchius, of Italy, (1516-1590) invented the phrase "absolute predestination" (but he always said that God's predestination of sin was to permit or suffer sin, and to direct, restrain, and overrule it for His own glory); and, as far as I can learn, Eld. Gilbert Beebe, of New York, (1800-1881) appended the words "of all thing" to the phrase Zanchius (but this able and esteemed write never ceased to maintain that man is voluntary in the commission of sin, and accountable for his sins). The phrase, "the absolute predestination of all things," is not found in any church confession of faith; but it is the substance of the first part, and only the first part, of the first sentence of the third chapter of the London Baptist Confession of Faith (Church History, p. 670); while the last part of that sentence, which is just as true and important, and which is indispensable to a statement of the entire Scriptural truth on the subject, is unwarrantedly ignored and suppressed, just as the Scriptures that teach this part of the truth are ignored and suppressed. "Yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin, nor hath fellowship with any therein, nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established, in which appears His wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing His decree." The same old Baptist Confession of Faith declares that God did not compel Adam to fall, but was pleased, according to His wise and holy counsel, to permit him to fall, having purpose to order it to His own glory (chap. vi, sec. 1); that He leaves men and angels to act in their sins to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice (chap. iii, sec. 3); that He leaves His own children oftentimes for a season to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, to humble them, and make them feel more sensibly their dependance upon Him for support, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin (chap. v, sec. 5); and that He wisely and powerfully boundeth and otherwise ordereth and governeth the sins of angels and men, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice and infinite goodness and mercy (chap. v, secs. 1 and 4). Eld. G. Beebe also says that "God is holy, and reigns in righteousness, and is not the author of sin; that men act voluntarily when they commit sin, and are accountable for their sins; that God had a purpose, worthy of Himself, however inscrutable to us, in not preventing the entrance of sin into the world; that He sometimes binds and at other times looses Satan; that He restricts the wickedness of ungodly men, making the wrath of men praise Him, and restraineth the remainder of wrath of men praise Him, and restraineth the remainder of wrath; and that, by His supreme power and decree, He restricts all the rage and malice of Satan to do no more nor less than what He will overrule for the good of His people, and His own glory" (Editorials of the Signs of the Times, vol. i. pp. 30, 31, 128-130; Signs of the Times, Oct. 1, 1880). "Author" means originator, beginner, first mover, efficient cause; and, certainly, if God is not, the creature is the author of sin. Our most absolute brethren use the Scriptural term permission in reference to the providence of God; and the predestination of God can be no more sacred than His providence; and it is inconsistent, not only with the Scriptures, but with their own common practice in reference to providence, not to use the term permission also in reference to predestination. One of the most able and courteous of them wrote me, seven years ago, that there was no practical difference between absolute and permissive predestination - what events were just as certain under the latter as under the former (there is, of course, no difference in the actual occurrence of events; but there is, to my mind, all the difference between truth and error between God's permissive and His compulsory predestination of sin). The King James version of the Bible and the London Confession of Faith use the term predestinate in reference only to the salvation of the people of God, and never in reference to sin or damnation; but the Greek word pro-orizo, translated predestinate, determine before, ordain before, is used in reference to sin in Ac 4:28, and perhaps in 1Co 2:7; and the Greek word orizo, translated determined determinate is used in regard to sin in Lu 22:22 and Ac 2:23. It must not be forgotten, however, that the word orizo strictly means to bound, to limit; and that the word pro-orizo strictly means to fore-bound, to fore-limit, or limit in advance, not to fore-compel, but to fore-determine the bounds of, as is shown by the same root-word in Ac 17:26. God's connection with sin, whether by predestination or providence, is thus shown to be a connection, not of instigation, causation, or compulsion, but of sufferance, direction, restriction and overruling. Sin originates in the will of the creature, and not in the will of a Most Holy God, to whom, and to all who have His mind, or will, or Spirit, sin is utterly detestable and abominable, and not at all admirable and lovely. If an unchangeable God permits sin in time, as His word so often says He does, He certainly predestinated in eternity to permit it. Indeed, if all duration is one eternal now with God, there is no real difference between His predestination and His providence. The Scriptures often speak of God as doing what He permits to be done (see Job 1:12; 2:6; 2Sa 16:10, compared with 1Ch 21:1; 1Ki 12:11; 22:20-23; Ge 37:28, compared withGe 45:5 and Ps 39:8-9; Isa 42:24; Am 3:6; Ac 4:27-28, compared withAc 2:23); for He is the Creator and Upholder of the universe, and could prevent the occurrence of anything He chose. The Holy One that inhabiteth eternity is, to sin in every form and in every being, a consuming fire. {Heb 10:30-31; 12:29; Isa 6:3,5; 57:15} Even His sinless Son, when He represented His sinful people, was forsaken of His holy and loving Father, and delivered up to suffer the horrible death of the cross.

There can be no real and permanent basis for gospel union among Primitive Baptists except the Scriptures of eternal truth; and just as long as the Bible word permit continues to be ignored or suppressed by a few of our brethren, and just as long as the extreme unscriptural expressions, verging upon fatalism, that I have mentioned, continue to be used, just so long will there be strife and confusion upon the subject of predestination among those who believe alike but express themselves differently (which ought not to be - 1Co 1:10; 3:3; 2Co 13:11; 1Pe 3:8), in regard to this matter. The responsibility for this deplorable and totally unnecessary contention and confusion must rest upon those who esteem the language of men above the language of God.

I repeat that I do not believe that any Primitive Baptist is, in either head or heart, a real fatalist, though the expressions of some seem to imply it; and I would humbly and earnestly beseech our absolute brethren, whom I esteem as the excellent of the earth, to discontinue the use of all expressions that either assert or intimate that a Most Holy God, and not rebellious man, is the responsible cause of sin.

Eld. Wm. Gadsby, of England (1773-1844) wrote an "Everlasting Task" for Arminians, which they have never been able to perform; and I propose an Everlasting Task for Fatalists (if there are such among us), which I cannot imagine how they will ever perform, and it is this: How to explain such Scriptures as De 5:28-29; 32:29; Ps 81:13; and Isa 48:18-19, consistently with their favorite theory.

H1.10 The Error of Anti-Trinitarianism

The Gospel Messenger--May 1894

The doctrine of the Divine Trinity is the highest and greatest mystery of the Christian religion, far above the reason of all created intelligences, and to be received entirely upon faith. I hope that my brethren will bear with me while I try to write of this profound and mysterious subject in the simplest words that I can find to express the truth - while I carefully examine not only the words used by uninspired men, but the very words used by the Holy Ghost in regard to the Divine Existence; that they will remember that, even though they themselves may not need instruction in this matter, there are others of our brethren who do; and that they will be willing to devote, to the reading of this article, at least a hundredth part of the time that I have had to use in its preparation; and if they do so in the right spirit, I feel sure that the time will not have been spent by them in vain.

The Jews, Ebionites, Docetae, Gnostics, Monarchians, Patripassians, Sabellians, Arians, Manichæans, Tritheists, Mahometans, Socinians, Pantheists, Rationalists, Eeists, Swedenborgains, Universalists, Mnitarians, Hicksite Quakers, and Brahmoists (Modern Hindoo Theists) have been and are Anti-Trinitarians, or opposers of the doctrine of the Divine Trinity; and, perhaps, out of one hundred thousand Primitive Baptists at present in the United States, about a thousand (though I very much doubt whether there are so many) seem to deny the doctrine of the Trinity, but even with these I believe that the denial is more a rejection of the term than a disbelief of the truth. It is a most unquestionable fact that nearly all Primitive Baptists are Scriptural Trinitarians. The doctrine of the Trinity or Triunity or Three-Oneness of God, is not a Greek or Roman Catholic invention. It is the most fundamental, distinctive, and experimental doctrine of Christianity, every where implied in the Old Testament and explicitly taught in the New; it has been believed by the people of God ever since the days of Pentecost - the Apostolic Church, the Montanists, the Tertullianists, the Novatians, the Donatists, the Waldenses, and the Baptists; and it is the unconscious or unformed faith even of those Christians who do not understand the term Trinity - for they all believe in God as their Divine Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. No one who disbelieves in the Trinity should ever dare to be baptized "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost;" nor should any one dare to be thus baptized who believes that this distinction in the Godhead is nothing but a name and a delusion, and not an eternal and unchangeable reality.

While the word Trinity, or Triunity, is not found in the Bible, the doctrine expressed by the words is unmistakably taught in the Scriptures. The word is derived from the Latin word trinus, or tes-unus, or the Greek word trias, three in one. The Greek word trias was first used in this sense by Theophilus, of Antioch, in Syria, about A.D. 180; and the Latin word trinitas was first used by Tertullian about A.D. 220. Webster defines Trinity, "The union of three persons (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) in one Godhead, so that all the three are one God as to substance, but three persons as to individuality;" Worchester defines it, "Union of three in one - the three persons comprised in the Godhead, and distinguished as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost;" and Stormonth defines it, "The union of three persons in one Godhead, comprising the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

The doctrine of the Trinity affirms that there is but one numerical, indivisible substance, or essence, or nature (Greek ousia, or phusis; Latin, substantia, or essentia, or natura) in the Godhead; that this substance eternally exists as three equal hypostases, subsistences, or persons (not mere emanations, energies, or manifestations, but real, solid, essential, enduring modes of existence, intermediate between substance and attributes), utter incomprehensible by finite beings, and incapable of adequate illustration by any created things; that each hypostasis (this is the word used by the Holy Ghost in Heb 1:3, translated "person" in the King James version) or substance (this is the most approved and least objectionable translation of hypostasis) is distinguished from the others by personal properties and relations peculiar to Himself - the Father having eternally begotten the Son, and the Spirit proceeding from the Father and Son - all three creating, redeeming, and sanctifying, but the Father pre-eminently said to create, the Son to redeem, and the Spirit to sanctify; that Father, Son, and Spirit are one and the same, undivided and undivisible, in nature, power and glory; but that in mode of subsistence, and operation, there is subordination (involving, however, neither inferiority nor posteriority) of the Son to the Father, and of the Spirit to the Father and the Son, the Son being of the Father, and the Spirit being of the Father and the Son - and the Father sending the Son and the Father and the Son sending the Spirit - the Father operating through the Son, and the Father and the Son operating through the Spirit. In Heb 1:3, the Greek word character, translated, "express image," means stamp, impression, character, exact resemblance or counterpart; and the Greek word hypostasis (translated "person" in Heb 1:3, and "substance" in Heb 11:1), means support, substance, actual existence, reality (opposed to semblance), the real nature of a thing as underlying and supporting its outward form and properties, the special or characteristic nature of a person or thing (directly opposed to ousia, general nature), and so used to translate the Latin persona. Thus, the phrase rendered "the express image of His person," means "the exact resemblance of His subsistence or spiritual nature, or mode of existence;" in the Peshito Syriac Version of the second century, it is rendered "the image of Himself, or of His being;" in the Revised Version, "the very image or impress of His substance." In 2Co 4:4, Christ is called "the image of God;" and in Col 1:15 "the image of the invisible God" - the word eikon, rendered "image," means likeness, portrait, similitude. The Greek word prosopon, rendered "face" or "person," is used thirteen times in the New Testament, of Christ peculiarly, {Mt 11:10; 17:2; Mr 1:2; Lu 1:76; 7:27,27; 9:52; 10:1; Ac 13:24; 2Co 2:10; 4:6; 2Th 1:9; Re 20:11; 22:4} and five times of the Father peculiarly; {Mt 18:10; Ac 3:19; Heb 9:24; 1Pe 3:12; Re 6:16} it means, face, visage, countenance, front, a mask, a dramatic part (like the Latin persona), a person. Our word person in from the Latin word persona, which is composed of two words, per, through, and sono, to sound, and meant, first a mask worn by an actor, and through which he spoke; and then it came to mean the role or character which the actor sustained; and afterwards and at present, it generally means a human being, a separate individual. The word person, when applied to the hypostases or subsistences in Trinity, mean infinitely more than the successive phases of action in transitory scenical exhibitions; but it does not mean what the word person means when applied to human beings, an entirely separate and distinct individual. In reference to the Trinity, the word person means that personal distinction, in the one indivisible Godhead, which arises from the peculiar mode of existence of Father, Son, and Spirit, as set forth in the Scriptures (no more and no less), and which occasions a mutual love and concurrence in council, the use of the personal pronouns, I, Thou, and He, and a distinct order of operation - the Three Divine Persons being co-eternal, consubstantial, and co-equal, having the same identical numerical essence and the same attributes, and constituting the One Only Living and True God, as revealed in the Scriptures and by His Spirit in the hearts of His people, and as totally distinguished from all the false gods of men's imagination and invention.

One of the oldest Predestinarian Baptist Confessions of Faith in the world (made in London in 1646), in its first and second Articles, says:

"Article i. the Lord our God is but one God, whose subsistence is in Himself, whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but Himself; who only hath immort-ality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; who is in Himself most holy, every way infinite in greatness, wisdom, power, love; merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, who giveth being, and preservation to all creatures to all creatures."

"Article ii. In this Divine and Infinite Being there is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each having the whole Divine essence, yet the essence undivided; all infinite, without any beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties."

The most elaborate and esteemed Predestinarian Confession of Faith, put forth in London in 1689, by more than a hundred Baptist churches, and published in the Church History (pages 663-695), gives perhaps the simplest and most scriptural and satisfactory statement of the doctrine of the Trinity, in Chapter iii, Section 3. After declaring, in Sections 1 and 2, the unity spirituality, sovereignty, holiness, power, wisdom, and mercy of God, it says in Section 3:

"In this Divine and Infinite Being there are three subsistences, {1Jo 5:7; Mt 28:19; 2Co 13:14} the Father, the Word (or Son), and the Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole Divine essence (Ex 40:38; Joh 14:11; 1Co 8:6), yet the essence undivided. The Father is of none neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is {Joh 1:14,18} eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit {Joh 15:26; Ga 4:6} proceeding from the Father and the Son, all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God and comfortable dependence on Him." See Eph 2:18.

The Circular Letter, in 1774, of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, to which most of our Northern Churches then belonged, was written by Eld. Samuel Jones, of Wales, in defense and exposition of this Article of the London Confession, and is an excellent production. (It is published in the Church History, pages 560-562.)

It may thus be seen how false is the statement that Trinitarianism is a Catholic instead of a Bible doctrine, and is Tritheism, or a division of the Deity into three parts. The Trinitarian does not believe that there are three Gods, but that there is only one God, and that He is a Three-One eternal, infinite, indivisible Spirit - divisibility is a property of matter, and not a property of spirit at all. The attempt to evade the inscrutable mystery of a real and proper Three in One, by ignoring the personal distinctions in the Godhead revealed in the Scriptures, seems either a mere strife of words, or else the dictate of a proud rationalistic philosophy which, refusing to bow down before the Incomprehensible Jehovah, dares to allegorize away the real Threeness of His eternal nature into an apparent Threeness of His temporal manifestations, thus making God a changeable Being, different in time from what He is in eternity (somewhat like Plato's Trinity, a figurative personification of three of the attributes of God - Goodness, Intellect, and Will; or the Hindoo Trinity, a figurative personification of three of the powers of nature, Creation, Preservation, and Destruction). The errorist makes the doctrine of God more plan than true; we should be humble and honest enough to have that doctrine more true than plain. Exclusive attention to one class of Scriptures, and inattention to or ignoring of others equally true and important (a leading and fatal error of Primitive Baptist philosophy), leads to a one-sided and defective view of the Godhead, as may be clearly seen in the crude efforts to illustrate the unique and incomparable nature of God by means of any of His finite creatures. For instance, it is sought to illustrate the Trinity by a human being who has three names, as Simon Peter Barjona. Neither one of these was begotten by the other, or proceeds from the other, or is sent by the other, or can be properly said to choose or love the other the other, or to speak to or pray to the other, or to dwell in the other; and thus the idea at the bottom of the illustration is shown to be radically false. There is a distinction in the meaning of the names of Peter, but there is no personal distinction in the three-fold name, as each name means the same person; while in the Triune name of God, Father, Son, and Spirit, there certainly is something of a personal distinction, an otherness as well as a oneness, as Christ says, {Joh 14:9,16,28} a real Father begetting a real Son, and a real Spirit proceeding from Father and Son, distinguished by the personal pronouns, I, Thou, and He (see John xiv-xvii), as had been intimated in the Old Testament, in the use of Elohim, a plural name of God, 2200 times, with a singular verb or pronoun; a reference to the Spirit and the Word of God ("God said") in the first chapter of Genesis; God's speaking of Himself in the plural; {in Ge 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isa 6:8} the three fold name of God in Nu 6:24-26 and Isa 6:3; the three great national feasts of the Jews, Tabernacles pointing to the Father in creation, Passover, the Son in redemption, and Pentecost, the Spirit in sanctification; and in the contrasts between Jehovah and the Angel of Jehovah, or the Angel of His presence, {Ge 16; 18:32; Ex 3:14; Isa 63; Mal 3} between God and Wisdom by Whom He built the world, {Pr 8} and between the God of Israel and the Messiah or Christ (Ps 2; 16; 22; 45; 89; 110; Isa 53; 61; Da 7; Zec 12; 13); and as is shown in the New Testament, in the baptism of Christ; {Mt 3:16-17} and in the baptism of every believer in Christ; {Mt 28:19} and in the apostolic benediction; {2Co 13:14} and in the ascription of praise of God; {in Re 1:5-6} and in the last chapter of the Inspired Volume. {Re 22:1,3,17} Intertwined in the whole woof and warp of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, are the great and indisputable facts, that there is but one God, and that not only the Father, but the Son and the Holy Ghost are God, having Divine attributes, doing Divine works, and entitled to Divine adoration.

A denial or allegorizing away of the Trinity is of a course a denial and allegorizing away of the Covenant made, before the foundation of the world, between the Father and the Son for the certain salvation of all the elect of God; and accordingly I find that consistent Primitive Baptists who deny the doctrine of the Divine Trinity, also deny the reality of the Everlasting Covenant of Redemption, in which the Divine Father stipulated to save fully and forever all the people whom He loved and chose and gave His Son, and the Divine Son stipulated to do and to suffer for them, in a sinless body, all that the holy and violated law of God required them to do and suffer. This Covenant was not a mere figure, but a real transaction in eternity between the First and Second Persons or Subsistences of the adorable Trinity, as is demonstrated by the following Scriptures; 2Sa 23:5; Ps 40:17; Isa 35; 42; 54:17; Jer 31; 33; Zec 6:13; 9:11; Mt 25:34; Lu 24:26,46; Joh 6; 10:17; Ro 5; 8; 9; 11; 1Co 15; Ga 3; Eph 1:2; Heb 2; 8; 10:1.

There are, among professing Christians, only two general classes of error in regard to the Divine Nature; one (Patripassianism or Sabellianism) obliterates all personal distinctions in the Godhead; and the other (Arianism) makes Christ the first and highest creature of God, and the Holy Ghost the first and highest creature of Christ. Both of these classes of error (of which Sabellianism is more plausible and refined and more nearly true, though still false) are utterly refuted by the Scriptures that have been cited in this article. Not a part, but all the teachings of the Scriptures must be taken to get a true idea of God. We do not thoroughly understand ourselves, nor anything else, much less the greatest of all mysteries, the Divine Nature; and not even to a never-ending eternity shall we be able to fully comprehend God. We no more understand the self-existence, eternity, omnipresence, omniscience, or omnipotence of God than we understand the Trinity of His Being; but still we believe all these to be characteristics of the of the Most High. The perfect cube of the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle and Temple, containing the Shekinah in the midst of darkness, may have been intended to show that the Divine Trinity dwells in accessible light, enveloped in impenetrable darkness.

"God is infinite - we are finite, and can know but little of Him and the mode of His existence. Where we cannot understand, let us wonder and adore. The economy of redemption seems to have been arranged in recognition of a distinction of persons or subsistences in the Godhead, and hence the Three Persons or Subsistences are represented as doing their respective parts in the great work. It is our privilege to consider the love which had been lodged in the Father's bosom from eternity as expressing itself in the gift of His Son; to contemplate the Son as pouring forth His soul unto death, thus procuring redemption by His blood; and to rejoice in the work of the Spirit in renewing th heart, sanctifying the soul, and fitting it for heaven. We should never forget that in baptism there is avowed consecration to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the Trinity, as it is recognized in baptism, has much to do with experimental and practical religion. It has well been said that, while this doctrine is bones to philosophy, it is milk to faith. Far, far from us be the idea that the existence of Three Persons or Subsistences in the Godhead is a barren speculation. It is a truth both mysterious and grand, and its influence should be eminently salutary. One of its effects should be the stimulation of desire on the part of the people of God to be one even as the Three Persons or Subsistences of the Godhead are one. Who can think of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as one - one in nature, one in love, one in purpose - and not hope for the day when the intercessory prayer of Christ will be answered in the union of all His true followers?" - Joh 17:20-23; 1Co 1:10; 2Co 13:11; 1Pe 3:8.

H1.11 The Error of Denying the Incarnation of Christ

The Gospel Messenger--June 1894

Hardly less mysterious and incomprehensible by our finite minds is the doctrine of the Incarnation of the Son of God, His manifestation in human nature, than the doctrine of the Divine Trinity; but no fact is more clearly revealed, in the Scriptures, to our faith, than the real humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and no fact is more vitally essential to the truth of Christianity. "Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God". {1Jo 4:3}

I do not suppose that as many as a hundred Primitive Baptists deny the incarnation or real humanity of Christ; but, sad to relate, and in additional proof of the evil and perilous times upon which we have fallen, an insidious and industrious attempt has been made this year by one of our aged ministers in Alabama to corrupt the simplicity of the Primitive Baptist faith in Christ, and to break the bond of union between the Church and her Living Head, by leavening the doctrine of the incarnation with that form of heathen philosophy, known as Valentinian Gnosticism, which arose in the second century, and looking down, from the giddy heights of carnal speculation, with pitying contempt, upon the sharp, simple Bible doctrine of the perfect created humanity of Christ, represented that His body was an eternal spiritual substance, which passed through the body of Mary only as water through a channel. This proud philosophy "did not lead to humility, or call for repentance, but left erect the great idol of paganism - humanity, which could behold itself deified upon the naked summits of the Valentinian metaphysics, no less than upon the golden heights of Olympus." May the Lord preserve the faith of His Church from this new invasion of heathenism. If Christ did not spring from Adam, according to the flesh, He is not a real human being; the possession of an ethereal body, flesh, blood, and bones, would make Him look like a man, but yet not be a man. The likeness in Ro 8:3,refers especially to sinful in the phrase sinful flesh; Christ came in real flesh, {Ro 1:3; 9:5} but that flesh, from its infirmities, sorrows, sufferings, and death, appeared as if it was sinful, though it was not. {Joh 8:29; 14:30; 2Co 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26}

The Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah or Christ were so plain that no Jew ever doubted that the Messiah would be a man. He was to be the seed of the woman, {Ge 3:15} of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah, {Ge 12:3; 26:4; 28:14} Jesse {Isa 11:1-10} and David. {Jer 33:15} He was to be born of a virgin, {Isa 7:14} in Bethlehem of Judea, {Mic 5:2} just before the sceptre departed from Judah, {Ge 49:10} in the days of the fourth universal (Roman) empire, {Da 2:44} and to enter upon His ministry 70 weeks of years (490 years) after the issuing of the Persian king's decree for the restoration of Jerusalem, {Da 9:24-27} and before the destruction of the second temple. {Hag 2:6-9} He was to be a child born, a son given unto us, {Isa 9:6} a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, {Isa 53:3} the son of man, {Da 7:13} a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, {Ps 8:5; Heb 2:9} to have His heel bruised by the serpent, {Ge 3:15} to be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, {Zec 11:12-13} to be numbered with transgressors, {Isa 53:12} to have His hands and feet pierced by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, {Ps 22:16; Zec 12:10-14} to have His garments parted and lots cast for His vesture, {Ps 22:18} be given gall and vinegar to drink, {Ps 69:21} be smitten by the sword of Divine justice, {Zec 13:7} stricken for the transgression of His people, bruised for their iniquities, cut off out of the land of the living, and be with the rich in His death. {Isa 53:5,8-9} And so we find in the New Testament, His descent is traced, in long genealogies, from David, Abraham, and Adam. {Mt 1; Lu 3} He is declared to have been the fruit of the loins of David, {Ac 2:30} the son of the Virgin Mary, {Mt 1:24} conceived in her body, nourished of her substance, born of her, made of a woman, {Ga 4:4} made flesh, {Joh 1:14} manifest in the flesh, {1Ti 3:16} a partaker of flesh and blood (Heb 2:14, and He nearly always called Himself the Son of man. {Mt 8:20; 9:6, etc.} He hungered and thirsted, ate, drank, was wearied, slept, increased in stature, was baptized in the Jordan, could be seen, felt, and handled, had a rational soul, increased in wisdom, groaned in spirit, was tempted, troubled, grieved, amazed, feared, loved, wept, was recognized by all men as a real man, bled, died, was buried, rose, and proved His identity by bodily signs.

And, at the same time, Christ is God, {Ps 45:6-7; Heb 1} the Son of God, {Ps 2} the equal of God, {Zec 13:7} Immanuel, or God with us, {Isa 7:14} the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, {Isa 9:6-7} the Lord of David, {Ps 110:1} the Lord of the temple, {Mal 3:1} the Sun of Righteousness, {Mal 4:2} who according to prophecy, rose from the dead, and reascended to His eternal throne, and has all power in heaven and earth, and will save all His people from their sins. {Isa 53:10; Mt 28; 1:21; Joh 6:37; 17:2} As foreshadowings of His incarnation, He presented Himself, in apparent temporary bodily form, to Abraham, Lot, Hagar, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, the elders of Israel, Joshua, Manoah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel, and was called, in these appearances the Angel of the Lord, of His Presence, and of the Covenant, and the Lord, the God of Israel; but the real, permanent body which He assumed at His incarnation, was prepared of His Father, for Him to dwell in, and to make in it the one perfect sacrificial offering for the sins of spiritual Israel, and to reign in it forever. {Heb 10:5-22; Ac 1:11; Re 1:18} It would seem impossible for any intelligent and candid child of God to read such passages as Joh 1:1-14; 1Jo 1:1-3,1-3; Ro 1:2-5; 1Ti 3:16; Php 2:6-11, and Heb 1:2, and not be fully and forever convinced of both the perfect Divinity and the perfect humanity of Jesus the Christ.

Thus Christ is both God and man in one person, and retains, in His one person the Divine and the human natures united but not confounded; just as every human being has, in his own person two substances, soul and body, mind and matter, joined but not confused, each substance remaining distinct, and not transferring its properties to the other. Although united in one person, the soul is not the body, and the body is not the soul; the soul, and not the body, thinks, knows, repents and believes; and the body, not the soul, breathes, chews, digests, and assimilates material food. What may be affirmed of one of these substances may not be affirmed of the other; and yet what may be affirmed of either one of them may be affirmed of the person - the person thinks, breathes, etc. Equally true and more mysterious is the union of the distinct Divine and human natures in the one person of Christ. In Him is a Divine, an infinite, an uncre-ated nature, and also a human, a finite, and a created nature, and these two natures can never be blended or confounded; if they could, Christ would be neither God nor man, but He is both God and man, the God-Man. His Divinity does not become His humanity, nor does His humanity become His Divinity; and yet whatever His Divinity or His humanity is or does, He Himself is or does. And His humanity inevitably implies His possession of both a human soul and a human body. Otherwise He could not properly represent us, obey for us, sympathize with us, set an example for us, suffer and die and rise and intercede for us, and be our Elder Brother and Redeemer. As man, he was born and prayed and suffered and died and rose from the grave; but as God, He is the eternal, unchangeable Creator, Upholder, Governor, and Judge of the universe, infinite in wisdom, power, holiness, mercy, and love.

Vain carnal Jewish and Heathen philosophy, in order to glorify itself by the explanation of these inexplicable mysteries, comes in here, and explains away or sets aside some of these clearest and most important declarations of the Scriptures, and, transformed as an angel of light, {2Co 11:13-15; Ge 3:4} belies the word of God, and robs the child of God of his comfort from the Scriptures. But the God of Israel, in His exceeding mercy and power, has always so ordered that the great majority of His children, the common people, "are either ignorant of or indifferent to the speculations of theological philosophers, and are kept in the simple belief of the truth by the word of God, the worship of the sanctuary, and the teachings of His Spirit." In the true Church of God, new theories are always poor, weak, dying things. In the early centuries, the Jewish Ebionites, Nazarenes, Alogi, and Artemonites, as, in later times, the Arians, Socinians, Rationalists, and Unitarians, denied the real Divinity of Christ; and the Heathen Gnostics denied His real humanity (from the idea of heathen philosophy that matter is the source of sin) - the Docetæ representing His earthly life as phantasmal, insubstantial, illusive; the Valentianians, and in the sixteenth century some Mennonites, representing His body as immaterial, ethereal, celestial; and the Basilidians representing that Jesus and Christ were distinct, Jesus being a mere man, the son of Joseph and Mary, and Christ being a spirit or power that descended as Jesus at His baptism, and left Him the night before His crucifixion. The Apollinarians maintained that there was no human soul in Christ; the Nestorians, that there were two persons in Him; the Eutychians, or Monophysites, that there was but one nature in Him; and the Monothelites, that there was but one will in Him. But the clear, though mysterious, teaching of the Scriptures is that Christ is both perfect God and perfect man, in two distinct natures, and in one person forever. This doctrine of the incarnation of Christ has been called "the key to the whole Scriptures; if it be denied, all is confusion and contradictions; if it be admitted, all is light, harmony, power. God manifest in the flesh is the distinguishing doctrine of the religion of the Bible, without which it is a cold and lifeless corpse. 'The Man Christ Jesus' and 'The God over all, blessed forever,' is the one undivided inseparable object of the adoration, love, and confidence of the people of God, who can each say:

'Jesus, my God, I know His Name,

His name is all my trust;

Nor will He put my soul to shame,

Nor let my hope be lost.'

H1.12 The Error of Denying the Existence and Fall of Angels

The Gospel Messenger--July 1894

The ancient infidel Sadducees denied that there was any resurrection, or angel, or spirit (while the Pharisees, of whom Paul said that, in this respect, he was one, confessed their belief of these truths, Ac 23:6-9); and modern Socinians, Universalists, Swedenborgians, Rationalists, and Parkerites or Two-Seed Baptists, deny the personal existence of angels of a higher nature than men. The proud carnal philosophy "which deifies man leaves no room for any order of beings above him, and refers the scriptural statements in regard to angels either to poetical personifications or an accommodation, by the sacred writers, to popular supersititions." The denial, among a few hundred Primitive Baptists, of the existence and fall of angels, comes directly from the Two-Seed Heresies of Eld. Daniel Park, whose basal doctrine of an Eternal Devil is at once annihi-lated by the admission of the fact, plainly revealed in the Scriptures, that the Devil is a fallen created angel. The wild, grotesque inventions of the ancient Babylonians, Persians, and Jewish Rabbins, or the fables of John Milton, in regard to angels, are of course to be rejected; but the teachings of the Scriptures on this subject are to be received, no matter who ridicules or explains them away. If we have a right to reject what the Scriptures teach about angels, we have a right to reject all their other teachings.

The Hebrew word malak (messenger) occurs 219 times in the Old Testament; and, in the King James Version, it is translated ambassador four times, messenger 98 times, and angel 117 times. The Greek translation of malak is aggelos, pronounced ang-el-os (messenger), and occurs 187 times in the New Testament; and, in the King James Version, it is translated messenger seven times, and angel 180 times. The Revised Version retains all these translations, except that in Job 33:23 it has angel (instead of messenger); in Ps 8:5, it has God (instead of angels, but it retains angels in the margin, and Paul, in Heb 2:7, renders this word angels); in Ps 78:25, it has the mighty (instead of angels); and in Ps 104:4, it has messengers (instead of angels). The word malak or aggelos is applied to ordinary messengers; {Job 1:14; Lu 7:24} to prophets; {Isa 43:19; Mal 3:1} to priests; {Mal 2:7} possibly, in connection with the Seven Churches of Asia, to Christian pastors or ministers, though this is very uncertain and very much disputed (by "the angels of the churches" may be represented the churches themselves in their spiritual, heavenly relation, Rev. i-iii); to the Messiah, the Second Person of the Trinity, called the Angel of the Covenant, Angel of His Presence, Angel of Jehovah; {Mal 3:1; Isa 63:9; Ex 3:2} and to impersonal agents, as the pillar of cloud, {Ex 14:19} pestilence, {2Sa 24:16-17} windsspirits" {Ps 104:4} is here rendered "winds" in the Revised Version), plagues, called "evil angels" or angels of evil, {Ps 78:49} and Paul's thorn in the flesh, "the messenger of Satan." {2Co 12:7} Of the 297 times where the term angel occurs in the King James Version, the language evidently refers to God 20 times (Christ, called occasionally in the Old Testament the Angel of the Lord, Angel of the Covenant, and Angel of His presence); to plagues one time; and it may refer eight times to gospel ministers (in Rev. i-iii), but every simple unsophisticated mind would infer, from the context, as both the King James and the Revised translators imply by their using the English word angel, that in 268 places, or in nine-tenths of all the places where the word angel occurs in the King James Version, the reference is to spiritual beings of a higher nature than men. In 24 passages these beings seem clearly distinguished from men. {Ps 78:25; Mt 13:39,41,49; 16:27; 22:30; 28:20; 25:31,41; Mr 8:38; 12:25; 13:27; Lu 9:26; 16:22; 20:36; 1Co 4:9; 13:1; 1Ti 3:16; Heb 2:7,9,16; 12:22; 1Pe 1:12; 2Pe 2:11}

As represented in the Scriptures, "angels have all the properties and do all the acts of real persons. They were created by God (probably at the time between the Divine acts recorded in the first and second verses of the first chapter of Genesis -; {see Ge 2:1; Ex 20:11; Job 38:7; De 4:35; Lu 2:12; Col 1:16; Re 4:11} they have a nature, for Christ did not assume it; {Heb 4:16} are holy or unholy; {Re 14:10} Mt 25:41); love and rejoice; {Lu 15:10} desire; {1Pe 1:12} contend; {Re 12:7} worship; {Heb 1:6} go and come; {Ge 19:1; Lu 9:26} talk; {Zec 1:9; Lu 1:13} have knowledge, yet finite; {2Sa 14:29; Mt 24:36} minister in various acts; {Mt 13:29,49; Lu 16:22; Ac 5:19} and dwell with the saints who resemble them, in heaven. {Mt 22:30} If all this language was not intended to assure us of the personal existence of angels, then there is no dependence to be placed on the word of God or the laws of its interpretation." Angels are spirits; {Ps 104:4; Heb 1:7,14} are numerous; {Ps 68:17; Da 7:10; Lu 2:13; Mt 26:53; Heb 12:22} wise; {2Sa 14:20; appearing as man's teachers in Dan. and Rev.} and powerful (Sam. Ciii.20; Col 1:16; 2Ki 19:35; Job 1:12; 2Th 1:7); but they are dependent upon God, and are never to be worshipped. {Mt 4:10; Col 2:18; Re 22:8-9} They are everywhere shown to have access to our world, and to be often occupied with its affairs; and they seem to be of different ranks and orders; {Jude 25; Eph 1:2} Col 1:16; Ge 3:24; Eze 10; Isa 6:2; Mt 25:14); and at times they assume bodily forms, and appear to men in dreams and visions and also when the observers are in the usual exercise of their senses.

All the angels were originally sinless or holy; {Ge 1:31; 1Jo 1:5; 3:4} and "the elect angels," through the favor of God, so continue. {1Ti 5:21; Ps 103:20; Mt 7:10; 25:31} They are the messengers of God; are "employed in His worship," in executing His will, and in ministering to the heirs of salvation. They smote the Egyptians; served in the giving of the law at Mount Sinai; attended the Israelites during their journey; destroyed their enemies; and encamped around the people of God as a defense in hours of danger. They predicted and celebrated the birth of Christ; ministered to Him in His temptation and sufferings; and announced His resurrection and ascension. They are still ministering spirits to believers; delivered Peter from prison; watch over children; bear the soul of departed Saints to paradise; and are to attend Christ at His second coming, and to gather His people into His kingdom."

If there are "elect angels," there are certainly also non-elect angels, who, very soon after the sixth day of creation, {Ge 1:31} in the beginning of their own creation or the creation of man, {Joh 8:44} in pride against God and envy of man, {1Ti 3:6; Isa 14:12-15; Ge 1:28} voluntarily sinned, when left to themselves, just as Adam and Eve did, transgressing the law of their being, {2Pe 2:4; Jude 25; 1Jo 3:4} kept not their first estate of rectitude, left their own habitation of light, abode not (continued not, persevered not) in the truth, were cast down from that heaven, in which they before dwelt, into the air of this world, and are reserved, in spiritual darkness, falsehood, hatred, misery and restraint, a hellish condition, unto the judgment of the great day, when, having no Redeemer, they will receive the full reward of their wickedness by being consigned to everlasting punishment. {2Pe 2:4; Jude 25; Joh 8:44; Isa 14:12; Lu 10:18; Re 12:9; Eph 2:2; 6:12; Isa 60:2; Job 1:7; 2:2; 1Pe 5:8; Mt 8:29; 25:41; Re 20:10} A comparison of 2Pe 2:4 and Jude 25 plainly shows that the angels therein referred to could not have been men, for these characters, by sinning, kept not their first estate, whereas the first estate of all men, since the fall of Adam, has been sinful. {Ps 2:5; Eph 2:3} And, similarly, Christ says {Joh 8:44} that the Devil was a "murderer" (literally, manslayer) from the beginning (that is, of man's creation - he could not murder man before man was made), and abode not in the truth" (the Greek verb esteke, here rendered abode, is as shown by the oldest manuscripts, and the context here - "was a murderer" - not the perfect tense of istemi, with a present meaning, "stands," as it is rendered in the latest New School Baptist Version, but the past tense of steike, a strengthened form of istemi, and means to stand firm, rendered in the Revised Version, "stood" - clearly implying the Devil was at first in the truth, but did not continue in it - that he, like the other non-elect angels, who followed him, sinned, and thus kept not his first estate, in accordance with the language of Peter and Jude). Just as Michael (signifying Who is like God?) Is the only archangel, the created chief of the holy angels, {Da 10:13; 12:13; 1Th 4:6; Jude 1-25; Re 12:7} so Satan (signifying adversary), who has more than twenty names in the Scriptures, descriptive of his character or history - such as the Devil (slanderer), Apollyon or Abaddon (destroyer), Prince of darkness, God of this world, Lucifer (the morning star), the Old Serpent, the Dragon, the Wicked One - is the chief of the fallen angels, who are called his angels, because of their following him in rebellion against God, and will share in his punishment. {Mt 25:41; 9:34; Eph 2:2} He is the originator of sin, the great enemy of God and man, the opposer of all that is good, the promoter of all that is evil, the head of the kingdom of darkness, who, with his subordinate demons, or fallen angels, or evil spirits, is now mysteriously permitted to tempt and afflict men in soul and body, but who shall at last be utterly vanquished by Christ, and his power over all the people of God forever destroyed. {Ge 3:1-15; Ro 16:20; Re 20}

As Satan was once an angel of light (Isa 14:12 - compare Re 8 and Lu 10:18; Joh 8:44), so he now presents himself before the Lord among the children of God, {Job 1:6; 2:1; Zec 3:1-2} and transforms himself into an angel of light, in order to deceive; {2Co 11:2,13-15} and he has succeeded in persuading the rationalistic infidel theologians of Germany, and a few Primitive Baptists in this country, that he has no personal existence, and that the declarations of the Scriptures in regard to him are allegorical fables. {Ge 3:4; Joh 8:44} Some of our able brethren, from not carefully comparing Jude 25 with 2Pe 2:4, and both these Scriptures with Joh 8:44, make Jude and Peter refer, not to Satan and the other apostate angels, but to "his children," "the false prophets among the ancient Israelites;" and another able brother, though admitting that "the non-elect angels" are here spoken of by Jude and Peter, thinks that Satan is not included, and he says, "We do not hold that Satan was once an angel of light; we not know where he came from;" but he says also, "We hold that God never created a man or angel wicked." In his editorials of the Signs of the Times, vol. i.p.573. Eld. G. Beebe says, "Satan is called an angel, and sometimes transforms himself into an angel of light;" and on p.745 he says, "We believe that he Satan came a sinless creature from the hand of his Creator, and that he has apostatized from his native sinless state." Mr. J. C. Philpot, of England, in a sermon on Col 1:12-13, preached May 2, 1858 says, "Satan was once an angel of light, a pure and bright seraph, shining in the courts of heaven as the morning star in the eastern sky, resplendent in beauty and glory; but pride and disobedience hurled him down and turned him into a foul fiend, and now hold him in chains and darkness unto the judgement of the great day." {Isa 14:12; Jude 25} A close comparison of all the scriptures bearing on this subject, which I have cited in this article, shows this to be the truth. Many heavens are spoken of in the Old and New Testaments. {Ge 2:1; 1Ki 8:27; Ps 148:4; 2Co 13:14; Eph 4:10} We are not informed in which one Satan was while he was an angel of light; but we know all of God's elect people, like all His elect angels, will be kept forever from falling and perishing, by His almighty, unchangeable, and everlasting grace. {Ro 8:28-39; Joh 10:27-30; 17:2-3,24}

H1.13 The Error of Denying the Immortality and Endless Duration of the Soul

The Gospel Messenger-August, 1894

If man has no existence beyond the grave, all faith and all preaching are in vain; and I hope that my readers will bear with me while I carefully examine not only the dim teachings of nature, but the clearer teachings of the Holy Ghost in all the Scriptures in regard to the character and duration of the soul of man--the most vital, fundamental, and comprehensive subject in human religion, next after the existence and attributes of God.

He who denies that the soul or spirit of man (that imperceptible part of man which is endowed with thought and will and conscience) is immaterial and will endure forever--a fact inborn in the nature of every human being, and set forth plainly enough in all the Scriptures--is a superficial reader of Nature and Scripture, and is, in such denial, an enemy of God, and of himself, and of the human race. All human beings believe originally and instinctively in the immortality (or as Mr. J. C. Philpot suggests, the un-mortality), the everlasting duration of the soul; but the frivolous, worldly theories of Sadduceeism, {Ac 23:8} and the false, defective materialistic philosophy of ancient Greece (Epicureanism) and of modern Europe (Evolutionism), as also consistent Fatalism, Pantheism, and Atheism, have poisoned and destroyed this original belief in some minds, and make matter eternal, infinite, and all, blot out virtue, religion, accountability, the spirit of man, and God Himself, and, if received and practiced by all men, would reduce this world to a pandemonium, an arena of demons, as these diabolical principles did in Paris in 1792-1795, when "Death is an Eternal Sleep," was written upon the cemeteries, and as Nihilism, Anarchism, and Dynamitism, with the self-same principles, are to-day seeking to bury the whole fabric of modern civilization in bloodshed and ruin.

It seems almost incredible that even the smallest part of this false and ruinous heathen philosophy could ever have found the slightest toleration, much less acceptance, among Primitive Baptists; and yet it is an essential part of Eld. Daniel Parker's Two-Seed Heresy that, though the regenerate have souls, which he makes as eternal as Christ Himself, the unregenerate have no souls at all, but only a seed of an Eternal Devil in them, which animates them, and will at last return to him! (But the Scriptures never make any sort of distinction between the substance of the souls of the regenerate and the unregenerate.) And even one of our esteemed and acceptable ministers, who wrote, in 1846, that, when convicted of sin, he "found no room to doubt the existence of a God or the immortality of the soul," and that, in his great distress, he "felt that the most loathsome worm was better off than he, since death to it would be annihilation that is, a reduction to nothingness, while to him it was the gate to interminable misery," wrote in 1890, that "the term soul has different meanings in the Scriptures, sometimes signifying the whole person or individual (as in Ge 2:7), sometimes a peculiar characteristic distinct from the body and spirit (as in 1Th 5:23) and sometimes a sense of comfort and satisfaction (as in Mt 16:26 and Heb 10:39);" and that the destruction of soul and body in hell, spoken of by Christ in Mt 10:28, refers ! to the chastisement of the people of God in this life; and wrote in 1891: "With all his proud assumption of superiority, man ! can establish no claim to more than the same spirit (that is, literally translated, wind or breath) which animates those beasts which perish with the earth. Thus it is evident that when man is regarded in his natural estate, he is indeed altogether vanity. {Ps 39:5; Ec 3:18-21} Man is a mortal worm, ! perishing with the earth out of which he was taken, and by the gift of Jesus Christ the same man has eternal life, and shall never perish." This language seems to imply that the souls of the unregenerate are annihilated at death, which, however, I do not think that the brother using it believes, though I must confess that his language at times is so mystical and apparently conflictive that I cannot tell what he believes. Even Eld. Daniel Parker did not teach the annihilation of the Satanic seed or spirit of the unregenerate, but only its return to its eternal source--which, however, seems virtually to amount to annihilation, at least so far as their consciousness is concerned; for, as they were unconscious of their existence before their appearance in the world, if they had such existence, so they will be unconscious of the same existence after they leave the world. I am very sorry to have to say that another one of our able ministers applies such Scriptures as Ps 9:17 ("the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God,") and Mt 25:46 ("these shall go away into everlasting punishment,") to the fatherly restraint and correction of the children of God in the present life, and is said to maintain that the wicked are annihilated at death (here the extremes of ultra spiritualism and materialism met). If there is another Primitive Baptist in the world (except one who is excluded from the church, and another whose mind is affected) that believes in the conditional immortality of the human soul, which heresy has heretofore been an outgrowth and a still further degredation of the system of conditional salvation, I have never seen, heard, or read of him. If all the Scriptures apply only to the people of God (a most serious error, as I have already shown, held by some Primitive Baptists), there is no scriptural proof of the annihilation of the wicked; and if spirit is material, all human experience disproves its annihilation, for man has never known one particle of matter to be annihilated. Thus error, as always, is shown to be inconsistent with itself, as well as with truth. If spirit is material, of course there is no immaterial Creating Spirit, no God, and matter is eternal, which all who believe the Scriptures know to be a Satanic fabrication. Such Scriptures as Mal 4:1,3, and Mt 3:12, do not prove the annihilation, but the everlasting suffering of the wicked, as is shown by the word "Unquenchable," and also by the following Scriptures: Ex 15:7; Job 18:16; Am 2:9; De 32:22 compared with 2Pe 3:7-13; Ps 1:4-6; 21:9; 83:11-18; Isa 2:12-17; 40:24; 47:14; Ob 21; Zep 1:14-18; Zec 14:1-2; Na 1:5-6; 2Sa 22:43; Joh 5:28-29; Mt 10:28; 25:41,46; Mr 9:43-48; Lu 16:23,26; 2Th 1:7-10; Re 14:11; 19:20; 20:10,15; 21:8,11,15. Fire produces excruciating pain, and in one sense destroys, but it has never been known to annihilate anything.

The soul is not material, for, unlike matter, it is self-active, and it distinguishes itself from the material body, and in its highest activities, is independent of that body. Modern materialism contradicts and disproves and stultifies itself, by first making all spirit material, and then, in its pitiable flounderings to account for incontrovertible facts, making all matter spiritual, alive, conscious, and immortal! The body is the present dwelling place of the soul, and its organ of communication with the material world; and the soul and body are now so intimately connected that a disturbance of the one generally, though not always, produces a disturbance in the other; but connection is not identity; and the soul, being a spiritual atom, not composed of parts, has been made by its Creator incapable of dissolution and extinction. The everlasting duration of the soul of man has been well argued from its resemblance to God, its immateriality, uncompoundedness, intellectuality, sense of dependence, accountability, and sin, apprehension of infinite and eternal things, intuitions, hopes, aspirations, capacity for indefinite progress and for fellowship with God, the incompleteness of God's moral government in this world, and the plainly revealed fact that what is called its death or destruction is not the loss of its being, but the loss of its original rectitude and happiness.

In all languages nearly all words expressive of mental or internal facts are derived from material or external things; for the latter are more manifest than the former, and are therefore chiefly used by us to convey to others our ideas not only of things which we see, hear, taste, smell, and feel, but also our ideas of things which we think of, but which we cannot perceive by our senses. Thus the world language itself, which means words either spoken, or written, or printed, or simply thought, is derived from the Latin word lingua, meaning tongue, because the tongue is the principal bodily organ of human speech. And so, in all languages, the most of the terms used to name the imperceptible soul or spirit or mind of man are either the names of some internal organs of the body, or words that mean the material air or breath, which is the plainest sign of the existence of a living soul or spirit in an animal or human body. In Hebrew the words nephesh and ruach; in Sanscrit, atma; in Greek, psuche and pneuma; in Latin, anima and animus (from the Greek anemos) and spiritus; in German, seele and gheist; and in English, ghost, soul, and spirit--all originally mean air or wind or breath, not because any Hebrew or Hindoo or Greek or Roman or German or English person believes that air or breath thinks and wills and knows, but simply because a breathing animal or human being is known to be alive, and, if alive, is known to have within him a soul or spirit, or intelligence, which departs from his body at death. As understood by all simple-minded readers as well as by the scholarly translators, the Hebrew words Nephesh and Ruach, and the Greek words Psuche and Pneuma, used by the Holy Ghost in the Scriptures, and rendered Soul and Spirit in the King James and the Revised Versions, mean a substance, which is neither simply breath nor animal life, but which, when it dwells in a human body, manifests itself by animal life, and generally by breath, though there is no perceptible breath in the living foetus, nor, before resuscitation, in a person drowned or hanged or suffocated by noxious gases, nor in a person affected with catalepsy, showing that breath is not always essential even to present human life or to the soul, and showing that breath is not the soul unless birth or resuscitation or recovery from disease is a resurrection. The English words mind and man are from a Sanscrit word meaning to think. Other names of the soul in the English and other languages are derived from the names of some of the operations of the mind.

In the original Scriptures, the Hebrew Nephesh and the Greek Psuche are generally translated soul; and the Hebrew Ruach and the Greek Pneuma are generally translated spirit; but these words, as well as numerous others translated mind, heart, understanding, etc., are often used interchangeably, or synonymously to express that immaterial principle which man derived directly from God--each of these terms being at times used to denote a particular aspect or function or attribute of that principle. When Psuche (soul) is apparently distinguished from Pneuma (spirit), as in only two passages of the Scriptures (1Th 5:23 and Heb 4:12) Psuche denotes the natural, animal, carnal, fleshly, outer, lower qualities or operations, and Pneuma, the moral, spiritual, inner, higher qualities or operations, of the one, indivisible mind or immaterial, thinking principle--the distinction resembling that between "the joints and the marrow." (which are parts of the same body), and between "the thoughts and intents" of the same "heart." {Heb 4:12}

I have gone carefully over all the 1571 passages of the of the Scriptures in which occur the Hebrew and the Greek words translated soul and spirit in the King James and the Revised Versions; and I find that, besides those passages, where these words are translated man, person, heart, and mind, the King James Version translates these words soul or spirit 1143 times, and the Revised Version 1098 times; and that both of these Versions agree that the Spirit of God is spoken of 310 times in the Scriptures, and the spirit of man, in the very same words as the Spirit of God, 691 times. Here then is the demonstration to every one who believes the Scriptures, that, as God is immaterial, so is there an immaterial principle in man, endowed with thought and will and conscience, called soul in its lower and spirit in its higher aspects (never once is there the slightest intimation that the words denoting this chief substance of man mean "a sense of comfort and satisfaction," a definition as unscriptural as it is original; the Hebrew Lexicon of Gesenius and the Greek Lexicon of Liddell and Scott give no authority whatever for such a meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words translated "soul" and "spirit" in the Scriptures.) And we learn, from the very first page of the Scriptures, as well as elsewhere, that, at his creation, man was distinguished far above all the lower animals by being made with Divine deliberation, in the image and likeness of God, and that his breath and soul or spirit was breathed or infused into him directly from his Creator, and that he was made, under God, the ruler of this world, {Ge 1:26-29; 2:7; Zec 12:1; Job 27:3; 32:8; 33:4} the last and highest of all the creatures of God on earth, for whom all the other earthly creatures were made before he was made, and ready to be used by him as soon as he was made. We also learn from the Scriptures that the everlasting existence of the soul of man was dimly but certainly declared in the Old Testament (Ec 3:21; 12:7; Ge 5:25; 2Ki 2:11; Da 12:2; Ps 16:10; 17:15; 73:24; Isa 14:9; 26:19; compare Mt 22:32 and Heb 11:13-16), and clearly revealed in the New Testament. {Mt 10:28; 22:32; 25:31-46; Lu 16:19-31; 23:43; Joh 5:28-29; Ac 23:6-8; 1Co 15:2; Php 1:23; 1Th 4:13-18; 2Th 1:5-10; Heb 11:5,10,13-16; 1Pe 1:1-5; Re 7:14-17; 14:11,13; 19:20; 20:11-15; 21:1-8; 22:1-15} Though men can kill the body, they have no more that they can do, they cannot kill the soul, which when the body is parted from it to go back to dust, returns to God who gave it, for immediate, particular, private judgment. {Mt 10:28; Ec 12:7,14; 2Co 5:10; Heb 9:27} The chief quality in the image or resemblance of man to God was the possession of a soul or spirit, an intelligent, voluntary, moral immaterial personality, which was to endure forever. It cannot be proved, either from nature or from Scripture, that the spirit even of the best is annihilated at death (nature does not teach us that anything is annihilated; and only three passages of the Scriptures even seem to refer to the destiny of the spirits of the beasts, Ps 49:12,20, and Ec 3:21; in the Psalm, the phrase rendered "the beasts that perish" means literally "dumb beasts," or "stupid or irrational beasts," and is so rendered in all versions except the English, French, and Italian; and even perishing is not annihilation, for many times in the Scriptures men are said to perish; and the words in Ecclesiastes are not a declaration, but a question, suggested by the worldly, sensual, beast-like life of the most of men, who do not seem to know or recognize any difference between the spirit of man which at death goes upward to God who gave it, to be judged by Him, {Ec 3:17; 12:7,14} and the spirit of the beast which at death goes downward to the earth, whether then to become extinct or not, the Scriptures do not tell, and no man knows; the Revised Version, in accordance with many ancient Versions, the Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate, Targum, and others, translates this verse, "Who knoweth the spirit of man, whether it goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast, whether it goeth downward to the earth?" Solomon knew and has told us that the spirit of man returns after death to God who gave it, {Ec 12:7} but even he did not know and has not told us what finally becomes of the spirit of the beast). Much less can it be proved, either from nature or from Scripture, that the spirit of man, who was made in the image of the Ever-Living God, will ever be annihilated.

Upon no subject was Eld. Gilbert Beebe, the founder and first editor of the oldest Primitive Baptist periodical published in this country, more clear and uncompromising that the everlasting duration of the soul of man. Of the numerous articles that he wrote upon this most vital and momentous subject, I will quote that which was published in the Signs of the Times of July 15, 1875: "We do not know of any Scripture that says in so many words that the soul, body, or spirit of either the elect or the non-elect are immortal; but the Scriptures very clearly prove, to our mind, that all the human family possess a being or existence, call it by what name we may, which must continue to exist after the death of the body, and in an existence of interminable duration. There most certainly will be a resurrection, both of the just and the unjust, in which all they that are in the grave shall hear the voice of the Son of God and shall come forth, they that have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation. There is no distinction spoken of between the souls of the elect and those of the non-elect. The soul is in some cases spoken of in distinction from the body, and as that which after the dissolution by death may be cast into hell." In the Signs of the Times, November 15, 1874, he said: "We hope that none who bear our name believe or teach the annihilation of the soul."

The London Baptist Confession of Faith, with which all other Baptist Articles of Faith agree, declares, in Chapters iv. and xxxi., that the souls of all men are immortal. The expression in 1Ti 6:16 "who (that is, God) only hath immortality" (athanasia, deathlessness), plainly means, as shown by other Scriptures, {Joh 5:26,28; 11:25-26; 1Jo 5:11-12; Ex 3:14; Ps 90:2; Isa 57:15; Heb 13:8; Re 1:8} that only God has, in His essence, underived from any other being, a life that cannot die--that He is the only Fountain of life to all His creatures; but, as He has all power in heaven and earth, and as nothing is impossible with Him, {Mt 28:18; Lu 1:37} He, who can and will give immortality (athanasia, the same word in the Greek) to the resurrected, spiritual bodies of His people, {1Co 15:42-44,53-54} swallowing up death, for them, in victory, has also chosen to give an unending existence, as demonstrated by the numerous and unanswerable Scriptures that I have cited, to the spirits of all flesh, of which he is, in the sense of immediate, natural creation, the God and Father. {Nu 16:22; 27:16; Lu 3:38; Heb 12:9}

The doctrine of the annihilation of the soul of man is both thoroughly unscientific and thoroughly unscriptural; and its acceptance is the annihilation of religion for all human beings.

H1.14 The Error of Eternal Vital Unionism

The Gospel Messenger-September, 1894

The ancient pantheistic Hindoos taught, and their modern descendants believe that the souls of men are emanations from God, and will, after transmigrations, sufferings, and purifications in other bodies, return to an unconscious identity with Him. The ancient Egyptians held that the soul of man after death entered successively the bodies of all the animals that live on earth, and at the end of 3,000 years returned to the same human body; hence arose their great care in embalming and preserving the bodies of the dead. The Pythagoreans, Platonists, Neo-Platonists, Gnostics, Manichaeans, and Cabalists held views somewhat similar to those of the Hindoos. Origen, of Alexandria (A. D. 185-254), considering the Mosaic narrative of the temptation and fall of man a myth and allegory, taught that all finite spirits were created at the beginning of creation, and that all human souls were at first angelic spirits, and sinned and were transferred, as a punishment, into material bodies, and, after sufficient discipline here, are all to be restored to their pre-existent original angelic condition. Other ancient and modern philosophers have advocated the pre-existence of the soul in some nearly or quite forgotten state of being.

Eld. Daniel Parker, in his Two-Seed Heresy, makes the Devil, with all his seed or children in him, as eternal as God, and also makes all the children of God existing as an eternal seed in Him--thus making the Devil and all the human race eternal gods! And for forty years there have been a few Primitive Baptists, otherwise sound, who have held that part of the Two-Seed Heresy which affirms that all the people of God had an actual existence as eternal spirits or eternal children, in Christ, and an actual union with Him from eternity, which doctrine has been called Eternal Vital Unionism; and its advocates have represented all the elect of God as spiritual subjects descending from God out of heaven, {Re 21:2,10} regenerated or begotten or quickened or raised together with Christ at His resurrection, {Eph 2:5-6; 1Pe 1:3} and, in the new birth, born of God, born of the Spirit and are spirit, born not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God. {Joh 1:13; 3:6; 1Pe 1:23} This theory and its phrase, Eternal Vital Unionism, makes poor sinners gods as eternal as the only living and true God, who is declared in the Scriptures to be the only eternal Being, the only God; {Ge 1:1; Ex 3:14; De 33:27; Isa 44:6; 57:15; Ro 1:20; 1Ti 1:17; 1Th 1:9} it makes a distinction between being begotten and being born of God, when this distinction exists only in the English Scriptures, and not at all in the original, where the same word is used by the Holy Ghost; it strains some of the figures used in Scriptures to denote the union between Christ and His people and runs them into absurdities, while it ignores other such figures, and also ignores the fore-knowledge and pre-destination of God, {Ro 8:29-30; Eph 1:5,11; 1Pe 1:2} and such Scriptures as, "He (Christ) is before all things;" {Col 1:17} "God calleth those things which be not, as though they were;" {Ro 4:17} declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done" (Isa, xivi. 10); "in Thy book all My members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none or them;" {Ps 139:16} "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world;" {Re 13:8} "that we might receive the adoption of sons;" {Ga 4:5-6; Eph 1:4; Ro 8:15} "who also were in Christ before me." {Ro 16:7}

The expression, "eternal vital union," is not in the Scriptures; vital unity is an improvement upon this expression; a union is a junction of two or more into one, but a unity is a oneness; the life that the children of God had in Christ before they were born again was simply His life, which also was their life, in the mind and foreknowledge and predestination of God, long before they themselves had any actual being in either soul or body, but when they had only a representative being in Christ. {Joh 11:25; 14:6,19; Col 3:3-4; 1Jo 5:11-12; 2Ti 1:9-10} This life or Spirit was the very life and Spirit of Christ, and was ours by God's predestination love before the foundation of the world; it was not at that time a child of God or a spirit distinct from the Spirit of God; but in the new birth this life or Sprit is imparted to us, poor sinful creatures, and we then become children of God, and we shall finally be saved, both in soul and body, entirely from sin by the Spirit of Christ. In Pr 8:31; Ga 4:6, and Heb 2:14, the "sons" and "children" were such, not in actual being, but in the foreknowledge and purpose of God. To simple minds, not poisoned by human philosophy, the Scriptures are clear enough on these points.

Just as there is a natural and federal (or legal or representative) union between Adam and all his posterity, {Ga 5:3; 1Co 15:49; Ro 5:12-19} so is there a spiritual and federal (or legal or representative) union between Christ and all His people. {1Co 15:22; Ro 5:19} This union does not confuse the person of Christ with the persons of His people; but it is far more than even the closest association of human beings in the present life. It is founded in the eternal purpose of the Triune God, expressed in the electing love of the Father, the redeeming love of the Son, and the renewing love of the Spirit; {Eph 1:2; Joh 17:1} and different aspects of this fountain of all our spiritual blessings are partially illustrated, in the Scriptures, by many analogies drawn from earthly relations, as the union of the stones in a house to their foundation corner-stone; {1Co 3:11-16; 1Pe 2:4-6} the union of a vine or a tree with its branches; {Joh 15:1-5; Ro 11:16-24} the union between the head and the members of a body; {Eph 4:15-16} the union between husband and wife {Eph 5:31-32; Re 19:7-9} and the union between Adam and his descendants; {Ro 5:1; 1Co 15} and also by the union between the Divine Father and Son. {Joh 17:21} And the glorious results of this heavenly union are our justification by the righteousness of Christ; {Ro 7:1,25,25; 1Co 1:30-31; Php 3:9} our regeneration and sanctification by His Spirit, {Eph 1:2; 1Pe 1:2} and our communion or fellowship with His people. {Joh 10:16; 17:20-26; 1Jo 1:1-7; Ac 2:42; Eph 3:15; 4:1-16} This union can never be dissolved. {Joh 10:28; Ro 8:25-39; 1Th 4:14-17}

The controversy among genuine Primitive Baptists on this mysterious and highly important subject is nothing but an unwholesome and unprofitable strife of words. {1Ti 6:4; 2Ti 2:14}

H1.15 The Error of Denial of a Change of the Soul in Regeneration

The Gospel Messenger-September, 1894

Heathens ignore or deny the necessity of a fundamental Divine change in the soul, but represent a superficial, self made change in the moral nature and the outward conduct as sufficient to ensure happiness after death. Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians regard regeneration as nothing deeper than a change of purpose on the part of a sinner. Two-Seedism also does away with a change in the soul in regeneration, representing that the new birth is but the coming down of an eternal holy spirit (not the Spirit of God) into the elect. And a very few Primitive Baptists, who are otherwise sound, hold that the new birth is the begetting of a holy spirit (not the Spirit of God) in our persons or souls or spirits; but I have never seen where they have told us what finally becomes of this imaginary spirit, whether it goes to heaven or becomes extinct at death; if, however, by such a spirit they do not mean a separate substance or entity, but a holy principle or disposition begotten by the Holy Spirit in our souls in the new birth, their statement on this subject is not unscriptural.

Regeneration, the first infusion of Divine life and grace in the soul, is described by many striking figures in the Scriptures. It is called, first, the being begotten or born again (these are the same words in the original), not of our sinful earthly parents, but of our Holy Heavenly Father, God, or of the Spirit of God. {Joh 1:13; 3:3,5,7-8; 1Pe 1:3,23; Jas 1:18; 1Jo 5:1} Second, the being born, not from below, but from above, as the phrase in Joh 3:3, may also be rendered. {Jas 1:17; 3:17} Third, the new birth, making one a new babe, a new man, a new creature in Christ Jesus, renewed after the image of Him that created him, created unto good works. {1Pe 2:2; Eph 4:24; 2:10; 2Co 5:17-18} Fourth, the being quickened, a passing from death to life, a resurrection from the dead, the receiving of eternal life from Christ. {Eph 2:1; Joh 5:25; 10:28; 17:2; 1Jo 3:14; 5:11; Eze 37:12} Fifth, the calling out of darkness into marvelous light, God shining in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. {1Pe 2:9; 2Co 4:6} Sixth, the taking away the stony heart and giving a heart of flesh, the writing the law of God in the heart, the circumcising of the heart in the spirit. {Eze 36:26; Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10; Ro 2:29} Seventh, Christ formed and living in us, the hope of glory. {Ga 4:19; 2:20; Col 1:27} Eighth, the being made partaker of the Divine nature, not of the incommunicable Divine essence or personality of God, but of His holy likeness and character. {2Pe 1:4; Col 3:10; 2Co 3:18} Ninth, the implantation of the seed of God, the incorruptible seed, containing, in the germ, all the graces, fruits, effects, and acts of the spiritual life, just as the natural seed contains virtually in itself all that proceeds from it, the blade, stalk, ear and full corn in the ear. {1Jo 3:9; 1Pe 1:23} Tenth, the putting and indwelling in us of the Spirit of God, leading us and bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God. {Eze 36:27; 37:14; Ro 7:9-11,14-17}

The expression in Joh 3:3 "Except a man be born again (or from above)," reads literally, "If one be not born again (or from above);" but that man is correctly supplied is shown not only by the words of Nicodemus in the 4th verse, "How can a man be born when he is old?" but also by the language of Christ in the 7th verse, "Ye must be born again (or from above)." The "ye" plainly means Nicodemus and all other men except Christ, the speaker, the sinless God-Man. And so the Apostles Paul, Peter, John, and James, in speaking of those born again, use the first personal pronouns "we" and "us" clearly designating themselves and the whole redeemed church of men and women as subjects of the new birth. Thus nothing can be more certain to the simple and unsophisticated believer in the Scriptures than that sinful human beings (for the Scriptures everywhere testify that, since the fall of Adam, all human beings are sinful) are the only creatures spoken of in the Scriptures as born again or born from above; holy eternal spirits do not need a new or second birth, and are never spoken of in the Scriptures as receiving it. Now a human being (that is, every subject of the new birth) is composed of two and only two elements or substances, a material body, and an immaterial part called soul or spirit or heart or mind or understanding or will; and the Scriptures declare that the Divine work of grace takes place directly in this immaterial part of man, {Ro 2:29; 8:16; Jer 31:33; Eze 36:26; Heb 4:12; 8:10; 2Co 4:6; Lu 24:45; Ac 16:14; Eph 1:18; 4:23; Php 2:13} and that, through the soul, the body is also indirectly affected, in its conduct, by the Divine work of grace in the soul. {Ro 6:12; 12:1; 1Co 6:15-20; Eph 4:25-29; 5:1-5; Col 3:5-25} The soul is not thoroughly purified from sin until it is separated from the body by death; {1Ki 8:46; Joe 3:21,21; Ps 14:3; 143:2; Ec 7:20; Ro 3:10; 1Jo 1:8; 3:2; Ps 18:15} and the body is not made incorruptible until the resurrection. {1Co 15:42,52-54; Lu 20:35-36; 1Pe 1:4; Ro 8:23}

As shown by the Scriptures that I have cited, and by the Holy Spirit in our experience, regeneration is a Divine, supernatural, miraculous, irresistible, everlasting change, back of the will and below consciousness, not in the substance but in the state of the soul--a change in the prevailing and governing principles, disposition, tastes, and habits of the soul, which constitute character, and determine volitions and actions, by which change the understanding is illuminated, the affections consecrated, and the will rectified, so that the regenerated sinner habitually, though not always, hates and puts away sin, and loves and practices righteousness, and at the same time, the more grace he has in his heart, the more he feels and mourns over the remains of indwelling sin. It is the impartation of a new life, a new birth, a new heart, a new nature, an new will to the quickened sinner; and it is the gracious and glorious work, in our poor sinful souls, of the ever-blessed Spirit of God, the Spirit of life, and light, and love, and holiness, and grace, and truth, and wisdom, and conviction, and prayer, and revelation, and consolation, and adoption, the Glorifier of the Lord Jesus, our Witness, and Earnest, and Seal, the only Author and Upholder of the life of God in our souls, who alone works in us repentance, faith, humility, hope, patience, purity, and love. We have only one soul, with its threefold faculties or operations called the understanding, the affections, and the will; and the principles which we derive from our earthly parents, and which at all times control these faculties until we are born again or from above, are called, in the Scriptures, the flesh, the body of sin and death, the old man, the law in our members, the Canaanite, the natural, the carnal, the earthy; while the principles which we derive from our heavenly Father, in our birth again or from above, and which habitually control these faculties after we are born of God, are called, in the Scriptures, the seed of God, the new man, the law of our mind, the Israelite, the spiritual, the heavenly; and the perpetual conflict between these opposing principles in the regenerated soul, constitutes the Christian warfare. {Joh 3:6; Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:9-10; Ro 7:14-25; Ge 12:6; Joh 1:47; 1Pe 1:23; 1Jo 3:9; 1Co 15:48-49; Ga 5:16-26} The Spirit of God dwelling in us creates these spiritual, holy, and heavenly principles; and He wisely and mercifully commands us, both in the Scriptures and in our hearts, to put off, keep under, crucify, and mortify the old and sinful principles, and to put on (that is, put forth, elicit, draw from within the regenerate mind, and express, exhibit outwardly in our daily life) the new holy principles created in us by the Divine Spirit, obedience to which injunction will tend to our own happiness and the glory of God. {Ga 5:13-26; 6:7-9; Eph 3:17-21; Col 3; Mt 5:16} Our old sinful nature will remain with us during the whole of the present life; we are not commanded to change and improve it, for that is impossible for us to do, {Joh 3:6; Ro 7:18; 8:7; Job 14:4; 1Jo 1:8} but we are commanded to watch it continually, and conquer it, and keep it in subjection, {Mt 26:41; 1Co 9:27} and while we cannot do this in our own strength, we can do it through Christ who strengtheneth us by His indwelling Spirit. {Ro 5:21; 7:25; 16:20; 1Co 15:57; Php 4:13} Sin is not an essential part of man as he was originally created by a Most Holy God; neither man's soul nor body had any sin in them when they were first made; the human soul and body of Christ never had any sin in them; nor will there be any sin in the souls or bodies of Saints in heaven. The body of sin and death, the flesh, the old man, the law in our members, which God commands us to crucify and mortify, is not these physical material bodies, for God does not command us to commit suicide, to murder either ourselves or any other human being; but that which God commands us to crucify is these sinful principles which we inherit from our fallen forefather Adam, and which continually tempt us to yield to and manifest them through our fleshly bodies. All the organs of our physical bodies, as well as all the faculties of our souls, should, even in the present life, be continually employed in the service of God, and are at times so employed by the Holy Spirit.

In Joh 3:6, the expression, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh," means that every product of the flesh is of a fleshly nature; and "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," means that every product of the Spirit is of a spiritual nature. The last word "spirit" in this verse does not mean a distinct substance, a separate created spiritual being in our spirits, any more than the language of Christ in Joh 6:63 "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life," means that the words of Jesus are a separate created spirit; the term "Spirit," in this last expression, and the last term "spirit" in Joh 3:6, means, as shown in Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon, "The Divine afflatus or influence exercised on the thoughts and sentiments of men," "the grace of regeneration, which is called spirit, from its Author, the Spirit of God, its seat, the spirit of man, and its nature, which is spiritual, and constitutes men spiritual men." {See 1Co 6:17}

"Is born" in 1Jo 5:1 ("Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God,") should be "has been born," for the verb in the original is in the perfect tense, showing plainly that the new birth goes before and causes faith; just as in Joh 1:13 the verb "were born" is in the aorist or past tense. In Joh 1:12, the word rendered "power," should be rendered, as in the margin, "right" or "privilege," or "prerogative," as it is rendered in both the oldest and the newest versions; and the verb rendered "become," is, in a similar use, rendered "be" in Mt 5:45; and "the privilege of being the sons of God given to believers in Christ," means the realizing or experimental sense of being adopted into the family of God; {Ro 8:14-15; Ga 4:6; 1Jo 3:1; Eph 1:5-14} for believers in Christ are said in the 13th verse {Joh 1} to have been already born of God.

The term "water," in Joh 3:5 ("Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,") refers to the reviving and purifying power of the Spirit, as shown by Joh 7:38-39; Isa 44:3; Eze 47:9; Eph 5:26-27; Tit 3:5; 1Jo 5:8; Re 1:5; 22:1. In the three other places in this conversation with Nicodemus, where Christ mentions the new birth, He does not speak of water; {Joh 3:3,6,8} neither does John, in speaking of the new birth, in either his Gospel or his Epistles (unless the new birth is meant by the term "water" in 1Jo 5:8); material water is no more necessary to the new birth than are material fire, air, oil, or doves, all of which are used in the Scriptures as emblems of the Holy Spirit. {Mt 3:11; Ac 2:3-4; Joh 3:8; Eze 37:9; Ex 30:25; Isa 61:1; Joh 1:32} The word kai rendered "and" in Joh 3:5, in the phrase "water and Spirit," means "even," like the Latin etiam, 103 times in the Greek New Testament, and so it seems to mean here, "water even the Spirit," "even the Spirit" being added as an explanation of the term "water"--Paul's language in Tit 3:5 "The washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost," being an inspired explanation of Christ's phrase, "being born of the water and the Spirit." "Being born again or from above" in the 3d verse {of Joh 3} is the same as "being born of water and the Spirit" in the 5th verse; and "seeing the kingdom" in the 3d verse means experiencing, participating in, enjoying the kingdom of God, as the verb rendered to see has this meaning in Joh 3:36; 8:51; Lu 17:22; and 1Pe 3:10; so that the meaning is really the same, in substance, as "entering into the kingdom of God," in the 5th verse.

Just as in 1Jo 2:29 "every one that doeth (every one doing) righteousness is born of Him," means, as shown by the present participle, "every one that habitually does righteousness is born of God;" so in 1Jo 3:6,9, and 1Jo 5:18, ("Whosoever is born of God sinneth not,") the present tense of the verbs translated "sin," as well as the words "abideth in Him," and "keepeth himself," show plainly that the meaning of the Apostle is that the human being who is born of God, and abides in Him by vital union, as a living branch in its living vine, does not live in the wilful, deliberate, habitual practice of sin; the seed of God remaining in him may mean the Living Word of God or the Holy Spirit as the germ and principle of the new life. {Heb 4:12; 1Pe 1:23; Ro 8:2,10} John, in this very Epistle, repeatedly declares that not only are we liable to sin, but that we do sin, and have sin, and continue sinners during the present life, a sinful nature remaining with us and defiling us till we die, and that we need the cleansing and propitiating blood of the Son of God applied to us by His Spirit to save us from our sins. {1Jo 1:8-10; 2:1-2,20; 3:3,5; 4:9,13; 5:4-12,18,21} The meaning of John in 1Jo 3:6,9 and 1Jo 5:18 is exactly the same as that of Paul in Rom. vi., that the child of God, who is dead to sin, crucified and risen with Christ, cannot live any longer in sin, in the habitual practice of known wickedness, in yielding his members as servants to uncleanness and iniquity, but, being made free from sin, and having become a servant to God, he delights to walk in newness of life, and to employ his members as instruments of righteousness.

The life imparted to the vessels of mercy in regeneration is the pre-existent, eternal, indestructible life of the Divine Father, Son, and Spirit, which was first clearly manifested in the man Christ Jesus when He was conceived of the Holy Ghost in the Virgin Many, {Mt 1:18; Lu 1:35; Joh 1:14; 1Jo 1:2} and was completely manifested in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Life and Head, Representative and Surety of His Church, at and after His resurrection, {Ro 1:3-4; Ac 13:33; Col 1:18; Joh 11:25} and is first manifested to His people when they are born of His Spirit (1Pe 1:3,23; Php 3:10; Eph 1:2; Joh 3:3-8--the only word translated "regeneration" in the Scriptures, paliggensia, Tit 3:5 and Mt 19:28, means re-birth, a new birth, a new life, and is defined resurrection by Liddell and Scott in Mt 19:28), and this new Divine life will be completely manifested in all the children of God, in both their souls and bodies, at and after their resurrection. {Joh 5:21; 6:63; 1Jo 5:11-12; Ro 8:11,23; 1Co 15:12-58; Isa 26:19; Ho 6:2; 1Th 4:14-18; Ps 17:15; 1Jo 3:2} Without this Divine change, no sinful son or daughter of Adam can ever see or enter into the kingdom of heaven, either the spiritual kingdom now on earth, or the triumphant kingdom of God in the Heaven of immortal glory. {Joh 3:3-8; Ga 6:15; Eph 2; Tit 3:4-7; 1Pe 1:1; Joh 2:25; Heb 12:14; Re 21:27; 22:11}

H1.16 The Error of Conditionalism

The Gospel Messenger-September, 1894

While the essence of heathen philosophy is fatalism, the great majority of heathens believe and practice a conditional system of religion, holding that their salvation depends upon their own works and sacrifices. This is even the case with the Mohammedans. So the ancient Pelagians made man his own saviour; as do the modern Socinians, Deists, Arians, and Unitarians. The Semi-Pelagians (the Greek Catholics), dividing man into three parts, body, soul, and spirit (like Greek philosophers), maintained that, while the body and soul of man were corrupted by the fall of Adam, the spirit, including the will, was not corrupted, and, being free and pure, can and must take the first step in regeneration, and then the graces of God will meet and help it, and, if the will continues to cooperate with Divine grace, the man will be saved. The Arminians (the Roman Catholics, Quakers, Wesleyan Methodists, and Fee-Will Baptists, and in reality nearly all the Protestant Religious World of to-day, although in opposition to their own original Articles of Faith, the Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and New School Baptists, and a small fragment of one Primitive Baptist Association in Northern Alabama), represent mankind as entirely corrupted by the fall, and needing Divine grace to operate upon them before they can think or will any good thing, but hold that Divine grace operates upon all men, and that each man's salvation actually depends upon the use which his will makes of that grace.

All these systems of salvation are superficial, rationalistic, and inconsistent with themselves and with the Scriptures and with Christian experience; they are all forms of Pharisaism or self-righteousness; they make the gift of God's Son and Spirit more a matter of debt than of grace to the human family, a compensation for their fall in Adam; and they depreciate the atonement of Christ and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit (thus tending to undeify the Son and the Spirit of God), and exalt the ability, pride, and work of man above the work of God in salvation, since they represent that God does or offers to do the same for all men, and man himself does that which really saves him. The latest and finest forms of conditionalism while admitting the clear Scripture teaching that a right will and repentance and faith and love are the gifts of God's Spirit to the regenerated sinner, {Ps 110:3; Php 2:13; Ac 5:31; Zec 12:10; 1Co 12:9; Ga 5:22; Eph 1:17-20; 2:8-10; Php 1:6,29; Heb 12:2; Ro 5:5; 1Jo 4:19} inconsistently represent these gifts of the Holy Spirit as conditions of salvation. These unscriptural systems thus destroy themselves. "All the promises of God in Christ are yea and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." {2Co 1:20} All the unconditional spiritual promises of God, from the beginning to the end of the Scriptures, engage to work in His people all the conditions of the conditional promises, and thus ensure their salvation. {Ge 3:15; 12:3; 2Sa 23:5; Ps 110:3; Isa 27:13; 35:10; 42:16; 45:17; Jer 31:33-37; Eze 36:25-27; 37:1-14; Zec 12:10-14; 13:1,7-9; Mt 1:21; 25:34; Joh 6:37-40; 10:15,27-30; 17:2-3,24; Ac 13:48; Ro 5:19-21; 8:28-39; 2Th 3:18,18; 2Ti 1:9-10; 1Pe 1:1-2; 1Jo 5:11-12; Re 1:5-6; 21:27}

All genuine reformations of religion have been based upon the doctrine of man's total depravity and ruin and his absolute dependence upon the perfectly free grace of God for spiritual life and all spiritual blessings.

H1.17 The Error of Meansism

The Gospel Messenger-September, 1894

It has long been a leading unscriptural idea, not only of heathens, but also of both Catholics and Protestants, that something that man can do is required by God as a means by which He may quicken dead sinners into Divine life and save souls from hell; and, sad to relate, two or three thousand Primitive Baptists, in Missouri and a few other States, have, during the last ten years, been inveigled into this gross heresy. Some of these so-called means of salvation are reading the Scriptures, prayer, baptism, communion, and, most of all, the preaching of the gospel (these are commandments of the Lord, and are, when obeyed in the Spirit, of great benefit to His Children during their earthly pilgrimage, but it is nowhere said in the Scriptures that God through these things gives eternal life and salvation to His people); to these the Arminians would add protracted meetings, mourner's benches, fabulous stories, affecting tunes, Sabbath Schools, Theological Seminaries, money-based Religious Societies, human boards, fairs, festivals, rafflings, concerts, theatricals, picnics, excursions, Christmas and Easter celebrations, etc.--all for the avowed purpose of saving souls and peopling Heaven. The most experienced and best informed Arminians, especially if they have any spiritual life, are losing all confidence in these human idols; and no true Primitive Baptist believes that any instrumentality of man has ever sent, or will ever send, a single soul to glory. As no means can be used to give natural life to one literally dead, so no means can be used to give eternal life to those who are dead in sin. God may by His Spirit, in His sovereign pleasure, give Divine life to a poor sinner during the literal preaching of the gospel, or at any other time; but he needs and uses no other being and no other thing to impart His own life to the soul. As all temporal means are used to feed, strengthen, relieve, warn, and guide living subjects, and not dead ones, so reading, preaching, prayer, baptism, and communion may be used of the Lord to instruct, edify, comfort, warn, and direct His renewed children, and to save them in this life from false doctrines and sinful practices. {Isa 40:1-2; Eze 34; Joh 21:15-17; Ac 20:28; 1Pe 5:1-4; Ro 1:16; 1Co 1:18-24} Ezekiel did not quicken the dry bones, but preached what the Lord would do for His people; and Paul was the father of Timothy, Titus, Onesimus, the Corinthians, and others, and the planter of many churches, only in the sense that he was the first man who preached the gospel to them, and through God's regenerating and illumination Spirit, they believed it, and he gathered them into churches; he could not and did not help the Lord give them His life (Eze 37:1-14; Isa 26:19; Joh 1:12; 3:3-8; 5:25; 10:28-30; 17:2-3; 2Co 4:6; Eph 1:15-23; 2:1; Jas 1:18--the word of truth is the Living Word, Christ by His Spirit, Isa 55:10-11; Heb 4:12; Joh 1:1; 6:63; 1Jo 1:1; 5:1,11-12; 1Pe 1:3,21,23; 1Co 1:30; 2:14; Re 21:6). The cases of Jeremiah and John the Baptist and the penitent thief on the cross demonstrate the utter independence of the Omnipotent God upon human means of any kind in imparting spiritual life and salvation to His people, and His perfect ability, independently of all human instrumentalities, to save the babe that dies before or after birth, and the idiot, and the lunatic, and the heathen, and any poor sinner, though previously unquickened, even in the agonies of death. {Jer 1:5; Lu 1:15,41; 23:39-43}

H1.18 Eschatology

The Gospel Messenger-October, 1894

I examine, in this article, the perversions that have gained currency, among a few Primitive Baptists, during the last fifty years, in regard to the prophecies of the close of the present dispensation--denying THE SECOND PERSONAL COMING OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST TO THIS WORLD, THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODIES OF ALL THE DEAD, THE GENERAL JUDGMENT, THE CONFLAGRATION AND RENOVATION OF THE WORLD, THE EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT OF THE WICKED IN HELL, AND THE EVERLASTING BLESSEDNESS OF THE RIGHTEOUS IN HEAVEN. It would require a volume to do this vast and interesting subject anything like justice; but I will try to condense, in a single article, what I think most necessary to say about it.

The heathens, of course, believe in neither the First nor the Second Coming of Christ; all the heathens but the Egyptians denied the Resurrection of the Bodies of the Dead; only Zoroaster (1000 B. C.), among the heathens, taught that there would be a General Judgment, which he thought would be 3,000 years after his time (that is, 2000 A. D.); the most of the heathens seem to have had traditions that the world had once been destroyed by water, and would at last be destroyed by fire, and the Greek Stoics held that, after this destruction, the world would be made new and beautiful; the heathens almost universally believed that, after death, the good would be rewarded, and the bad would be punished, according to their deserts. Among the ancient Jews, the Sadducees denied the Resurrection, and indeed the very existence of angels or spirits. {Ac 23:8} In the apostolic church, Hymeneus and Philetus said that the Resurrection was past already, making it spiritual only, and not literal, thus really denying the Resurrection of the body, and overthrowing the faith of some. {2Ti 2:16-18} And so the ancient Gnostics, and Manichaeans, and Alexandrian philosophers, and Schoolmen, and Mystics, and modern Socinians, Quakers, Swedenborgians, Shakers, Unitarians, Universalists, and Rationalists allegorize or spiritualize away the most of the plain Scripture prophecies of the tremendous events that are to accompany the Second Personal Coming of Christ, making these prophecies simply figurative of present Christian experience, belittling and belying the word of God, and enveloping all the future in an impenetrable cloud. This was the cunning and successful method of Satan with our first parents in the Garden of Eden; {Ge 3} and against this vain, deceitful, and ruinous philosophy, which, under the pretense of glorifying, really fabulized the Scriptures, we are solemnly warned by the Apostle Paul. {2Co 11:3,13-15; Col 2:8} These excessive and false spiritualizations of the Scriptures, DENYING THEIR LITERAL TRUTH, have in the past led the way to open infidelity, and so will they continue to do--for "that which hath been is that which shall be." {Ec 1:9} Consistent Parkerites, or Two-Seed Baptists, deny the Second Personal Coming of Christ to the world, the Resurrection of the Body, the General Judgment, and the Conflagration and Renovation of the world; and some Primitive Baptists (I think less than a thousand) seem to follow them in one or more of these errors, and--what is even far more serious--two or three of our writers seem to deny all Bible proof of any Hell after death, and almost all Bible proof of any Heaven after death, applying such Scriptures as Ps 9; Mal 4:1; Mt 10:28; 25:41,46; Lu 16:22; 23; Re 14:10-11, and Joh 14:2-3; 17:24; 2Co 5:1; Re 21:22., to the experience of the people of God in the present life, and either flatly denying or ignoring their reference to any thing beyond the grave! The future eternity is thus evaporated out of the Scriptures; the threatenings and promises of God are equally falsified; and the fears and the hopes of the human race in regard to the Everlasting Hereafter are dissipated in idle dreams! A Hell after death is thus utterly done away with; our salvation from its horrors by the Son and Spirit of God amounts to nothing; and only about two verses in the Bible (Ps 17:15 and 1Jo 3:2) are left to prove a Heaven after death, and the very same system of philosophizing, misnamed spiritualizing, denying, as it does, the Second Personal Coming of Christ, can equally eviscerate these two Scriptures of all their eternal meaning! Behold the methods and results of German Rationalism imparted into Primitive Baptist theology! Passages of God's word that have been used by the Holy Ghost hundreds and almost thousands of years to alarm quickened sinners with the fear of everlasting punishment, and to comfort afflicted Saints with the hope of everlasting blessedness, have, in the last few years, been discovered by these wise brethren to have no reference to eternal things! To my mind, this discovery makes a new Bible and a new Religion; and though every other human being on earth should receive such a falsification of eternal truth, I hope to be kept by Divine grace from so doing. These momentous passages of God's word were not meant to deceive us; "let God be true, but every man a liar." {Ro 3:4}

I now repeat, with the strongest emphasis, quotations that I have already made, in these papers, from three of the most able, gracious, and useful servants of God in modern times, who, whatever other errors they fell into, were certainly not mistaken in these declarations. Martin Luther says: "When I was a monk, I allegorized everything; but now I have given up all allegorizing, and my first and best art is to explain the Scriptures according to the simple sense; for it is in the literal sense that power, doctrine, and art reside." John Calvin says: "The true meaning of Scripture is the natural and obvious meaning, by which we ought resolutely to abide; the licentious system of the allegorists is undoubtedly a contrivance of Satan to undermine the authority of Scripture, and to take away from the reading of it the true advantage." And C. H. Spurgeon says: "The Bible is not a compilation of cleaver allegories or instructive poetical traditions; it teaches literal facts, and reveals tremendous realities. It will be an ill day for the church if the pulpit should ever appear to indorse the skeptical hypothesis that Holy Scripture is but the record of a refined mythology, in which globules of truth are dissolved in seas of poetic and imaginary detail." And he adds: "Even in the days of the Apostles there was a tendency to adulterate, spiritualize, and philosophize the simple, old-fashioned gospel, to regard facts as mysteries or parables, and to labor to find a spiritual meaning in them till they went so far as to deny them as actual facts. Seeking a recondite meaning, they overlooked the fact itself, losing the substance in a foolish preference for the shadow. While God set before them glorious events which fill Heaven with amazement, they showed their foolish wisdom by accepting the plain historical facts as myths to be interpreted or riddles to be solved. He who believed as a little child was pushed aside as a fool, that the disputer and the scribe might come in to mystify simplicity, and hide the light of truth. They spirited away the incarnation and the resurrection, making them mean something very deep and mystical, and in the process they took away the actual facts altogether. Among men there is still a craving after new meanings, refinements upon old doctrines, and spiritualizations of literal facts. They tear out the bowels of the truth, and seek to palm off upon us in its stead the dead carcass stuffed with theories and speculations." Two-Seed Baptists, and the few Primitive Baptists who but follow them in these respects, ruinously apply this method of false allegorizing or spiritualizing, not only to the incarnation and resurrection of Christ, but to His Second Personal Coming with all its tremendous and eternal concomitants. The pretended and pretentious system of interpreting the Scriptures that limits unfulfilled prophecy to the present life, undermines the very foundation of the Christian Religion.

As I have shown in a former article, the prophecies of Scripture have the following fulfillments: those given before the birth of Christ, that is, in the Old Testament: 1. A primary literal or historical fulfillment (type); 2. A secondary literal or historical fulfillment at the First Personal Coming of Christ (preliminary temporal antitype); 3. A tertiary literal or historical fulfillment at the Second Personal Coming of Christ, at the end of the world, pre-eminently the Day of Judgment (final eternal antitype); 4. A manifold providential or spiritual application in Christ's visitation, during the present life, of judgment or mercy upon individuals. Those given after the birth of Christ, that is, in the New Testament: 1. A primary literal or historical fulfillment (type); 2. A secondary literal or historical fulfillment at the Second Personal Coming of Christ, at the end of the world, preeminently the Day of Judgment (final eternal antitype); 3. A manifold providential or spiritual application in Christ's visitation, during the present life, of judgment or mercy upon individuals. By far the most important of these fulfillments is that mentioned 3d for the Old Testament and 2d for the New Testament prophecies--the literal or historical fulfillment, which is the true, fullest, highest, eternal spiritual fulfillment, at the Second Personal Coming of Christ, at the end of the world, pre-eminently the Day of Judgment (the final eternal antitype). All the other fulfillments are but fleeting shadows of time, while this is the enduring reality of eternity! And this is the fulfillment which, above all others, rationalistic philosophy, in ancient and modern times, outside and inside the Primitive Baptist Church, presumes to deny or ignore! But the Holy Ghost repeats to-day in the hearts of the people of God the impassioned exclamation of the Apostle Paul: "IF IN THIS LIFE ONLY WE HAVE HOPE IN CHRIST, WE ARE OF ALL MEN MOST MISERABLE!"--1Co 15:19. And the Apostle declares that the essence of the Christian hope is in the Second Coming of Christ to raise us from the dead, and to make us like Him in soul and body, and then for us to be with him forever (1Co 15:22-23,42-57; 1Th 4:13-18; Heb 9:27-28.

Just as the hundred Old Testament prophecies of the first advent of Christ were literally fulfilled at His First Personal (Priestly) Coming, so shall the hundred Old and New Testament prophecies of the second advent of Christ be literally fulfilled at His Second Personal (Kingly) Coming. To warn and restrain the wicked, and to comfort and encourage the afflicted people of God, the Holy Ghost, all through the New Testament, pointed the minds of men, in the first century of the Christian Era, to that most solemn and momentous of all events after the earthly mediation of Christ--His Second and Final Personal Coming to this world (Mt 6:10,19-21; 7:21-27; 11:20-24; 24:42; 25; Mr 13:32-37; Lu 6:46-49; 9:25; 10:13; 12:8-9,32-40; 21:28,34-36; Joh 5:28; 14:1-3; 16:8; 17:24; Ac 2:19; 3:20; 17:30; 24:25; Ro 2:5-16; 13:11-14; 1Co 15:19-58; 2Co 4:16-18; 5:1-11; Ga 6:7-10; Eph 1:10-14; 2:7; 4:30; Php 3:14,20-21; Col 1:5,27-29; 3; 1Th 4:13-18; 5:1-11; 2Th 1:4-10; 3:5; 1Ti 6:13-19; 2Ti 4:1,8; Tit 2:11-15; Heb 1:10; 4:11; 6:2,11,17-20; 9:27; 10:23-25; 11:10,13-16; 13:14; Jas 1:12; 2:5; 5:7-11; 1Pe 1:3-9; 4:1-13; 5:1-11; 2:5-12; 2Pe 3:3-18; 1Jo 3:2; 4:17; Jude 25,25; Re 1:7; 6:12-17; 11:18; 16:15; 19:7-9; 20:10-15; the two ordinances of the Church, Baptism and the Lord's Supper, point back to His First, and forward to His Second Coming, Ro 6:3-6; 1Co 11:26); and now, when we are 1,800 years nearer to that stupendous event, and when, as at Christ's First Personal Coming, the most intelligent and devout minds on earth are looking for His speedy Second Personal Coming, it is certainly not His Spirit, but an opposite and evil spirit, a spirit of darkness and slumber, that wilfully beclouds and denies these clear prophecies of the Second Personal Bodily Appearing of Christ on earth, to raise the dead, and judge the world, and assign all the children of Adam their everlasting award. {2Pe 3:3-7; Mt 25:5,31-46; 1Th 5:4} His righteous and awful judgments in the flood of waters upon the wicked antediluvian world, and in the rain of fire and brimstone upon the corrupt cities of the plain, Sodom and Gomorrah, and in the horrors of war, famine, pestilence, and fire visited upon the ungodly Jews during the siege and at the destruction of Jerusalem, were but feeble types of the inconceivable terrors of the final judgment and destruction of this sin-polluted world, at His Second Personal Coming. Two words are used in the New Testament to denote the Second Coming of Christ to the world--Epiphaneia (epiphany), meaning His visible appearance; and Parousia, meaning His personal presence. Neither of these words is ever used by the Holy Ghost to denote His spiritual appearance, but both are always used to denote His literal bodily appearance or presence. Epiphaneia occurs six times, with this meaning: 1Ti 6:14; 2Ti 1:10; 4:1,8; Tit 2:13; 2Th 2:3; in 2Ti 1:10, the reference is to Christ's First Bodily Appearance in the world, which we know was literal and personal; and in the five other passages the reference is to His Second Bodily Appearance in the world, which we may thus know will be just as literal and Personal. Parousia occurs twenty-four times, and is used seven times of the bodily presence of human beings, {1Co 16:17; 2Co 7:6; 10:10; Php 1:26; 2:12; 2Th 2:9} and it is used seventeen times of the Second Literal Personal Bodily Coming of Christ to the world. {Mt 24:3,27,37,39; 1Co 15:23; 1Th 2:9; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2Th 2:1,8; Jas 5:7-8; 2Pe 1:16; 3:4,12; 1Jo 2:28} That the Second Personal Coming of Christ to this world will be audible and visible to every human being is perfectly certain from the following Scriptures: Joh 5:28; 1Th 4:16; Mt 25:31-46; 26:64; Ac 1:11; 2Th 1:7-10; 2:8; Re 1:7; 6:15-17.

After the preaching of the gospel among all nations, and the conversion perhaps of most of the Jews and many of the Gentiles, with a great increase of false religious professions, evil men and seducers waxing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived, followed by great tribulations and afflictions, and the rise of many false Christs and false prophets, a great personal Anti-christ, called the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, the Second Beast, the False Prophet, and Mystical Babylon, identified with Rome, will be developed, working lying miracles, deceiving all but the elect, getting universal political and ecclesiastical power, deifying himself, and killing those who refuse to worship him or his idol, and prohibiting all who refuse to receive his mark from buying or selling, and producing almost universal apostasy or a falling away from the profession of Christ; and then perhaps Enoch and Elijah will re-appear as God's witnesses on earth, and prophesy the imminence of the last judgment, and will work miracles of Divine wrath upon the wicked, and will suffer martyrdom, and rise from the dead, and ascend, in the sight of the human race, to Heaven; and then there will be, over the whole world, a supernatural darkening and agitation of the sun and moon, and a falling of the stars (perhaps either meteors or planets or asteroids), and convulsion of the earth, and a roaring of the ocean, and distress and perplexity of nations; and then, flashing like lightning out of the east, around the world, the Sign of the Son of man, probably the dazzling Shekinah of the Divine Presence, and the Lord Jesus Christ, the Judge of quick and dead, as He comes to vindicate the Divine righteousness in the everlasting destiny of every human being, will descend from heaven in awful majesty, amid clouds charged with flaming fire, with all His holy angels, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God, and He will change the living and raise the dead, and separate the elect from the non-elect, the righteous from the wicked, and, penetrating with His omniscient gaze the secrets of every heart and life, and manifesting them to every other intelligent creature, He will welcome His humble and loving people, in their glorified bodies and spirits, to the heavenly inheritance prepared for them by His Father before the foundation of he world, and He will consign His proud and unloving enemies, in their reunited bodies and souls, to the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. {Ec 12:14; Da 7:8; 12; Zec 14; Mal 3:16-18; 4; Mt 5:15-27; 10:26; 11:22; 24; 25; Mr 13; Lu 21; Ac 17:31; Ro 2:16; 11; 14:9-12; 2Co 5:10; Ga 5:19-24; 1Th 1:3-4; 4:13-18; 2Th 1:2; 2Ti 3; 4; Heb 6:2; 9:27-28; Re 1:7; 6; 7}

The exact day and hour, or even year, of the Second Personal Coming of Christ are known only to the Father; but the Scriptures, illuminated by the Spirit and providence of God, give the thoughtful believer some idea of the general period, {Mr 16:20; Da 9:2; 12:4,9,13; Mt 24:14; Re 14:6-7} just as His First Personal Coming was generally expected in the first century of the Christian Era (Da 9; Lu 2:25-38; Tacitus' History, v. 13; Snetonius' Vespasian iv). As God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh day, and as with him a thousand years are as one day, {Ge 1; 2; Ps 90:4; 2Pe 3:8} and as a period of a thousand years is mentioned six times in Re 20, it is thought by many that there will be six thousand years from the creation of Adam to the Second Personal Coming of Christ, and that, during Satan's confinement in the bottomless pit a thousand years (the Millennium) Christ will reign here with His Saints in a Sabbatic period of that length, after which Satan will be loosed a short time, and deceive the nations again, and then will follow the general and final judgment. {Re 20} If this were true, and there were just 4,000 years from Adam to Christ's First Advent, the Millennium, or the Thousand Years of Christ's Reign on Earth, would begin about 2000 A. D.; but there are 200 different opinions of the exact interval between the creation of Adam and the birth of Christ, varying from 3483 to 6984 years; and whether Christ will appear either before or after, or both before and after, the Millennium of Re 20., does not seem clear from the Scriptures, and cannot be certainly known, without a new revelation, before the event. That the Second Personal Coming of Christ will be before the Millennium (Pre-Millennialism) was believed by the most of professing Christians in the second century, and by the ablest Baptists and Protestants of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and is now believed by an increasing number of the most intelligent and devout Baptists and Protestants on earth; and the principal opponents of this belief are the Greek and Roman Catholics, and Daniel Whitly, of England (1638-1726), a leading modern Arminian writer, and his followers. Though differing on minor points and as to the exact order of the events, Pre-Millennialists believe that the object of the Lord, in the present dispensation, is not to convert the world, but to have His Gospel preached as a witness to all nations and to take out of the Gentiles a people for his name, to gather His elect bride from the world, which will become worse and worse, darker and darker, until Christ shall come on earth in person again, when he will raise His dead and change His living Saints, who will first be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and will be rewarded in His Millennial Kingdom according to their works (this being their virtual judgment) and whose occupations and pleasures will then be entirely spiritual; that great opposition will be manifested by the ungodly and great plagues will be visited upon them, and the hosts of Antichrist will be overthrown, and Satan will be bound; and that the Spirit of God will be poured out as never before upon the nations, and the Jews will be restored to Jerusalem and converted to Christ, and, though sin will remain on earth in the unregenerate, it will everywhere be in subordination to prevailing righteousness, and peace and plenty and health and happiness will abound; and that, at the end of a thousand years, Satan will be loosed again, and will make a last attempts to regain his lost dominion, but in vain, and he and his angels and all the ungodly raised from the dead will then be judged according to their works, and cast into the lake of fire; and that the earth, renewed by fire, and delivered forever from sin and the curse, will become the everlasting home of a holy humanity, over whom the Son of Man, subject to the Father, will rule forever as the Head of His redeemed people. {Mt 24:13,31; Ac 15:14; 2Ti 3:1-13; 4:3-4; 1Th 4:13-17; 2Co 5:10; Mt 25:14,30; Ps 2:9; Joe 2:28,32; Ac 2:16-21; 3:19-21; Zec 12; Isa 2:2-5; 11; Ro 11; 1Co 15:22-28; 2Co 3:15-16; Re 19} The doctrine of two resurrections, first of the righteous, and then, after a thousand years, of the wicked, which is one of the main features of Pre-Millennialism, is argued from Rev xx.; from the use of the phrase, "resurrection from the dead," fifty times in the New Testament, and always referring to the righteous--the phrase, "resurrection of the dead," referring either to all the dead, or to the wicked only (this distinction is often omitted in the English translations); from the longing of the Apostle Paul to attain the first resurrection, the resurrection from the dead, {exanistesis, Php 3:11} which not all are accounted worthy to obtain; {Lu 20:35-36} and from the language in 1Co 15:23. The Post-Millennialists (who believe that the Second Personal Coming of Christ will be after the Millennium), explain the first resurrection in Re 20:5-6, as only figurative and not at all literal, and think, as indicated by the 4th verse, that John simply means that before Christ's Second Advent, there will be a revival of the martyr-spirits in the church, and that by "the rest of the dead" is meant the party of Satan, which will not flourish again till the thousand years are ended, when it shall prevail again a short time. Augustine (A. D. 353-430) held that the Millennium began with the First Advent of Christ; Grotius (1583-1645) thought that it began with Constantine's toleration of Christianity in 312, and ended with the capture of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453; the most of professing Christians think that the Millennium is still future. As the book of Revelation was certainly written after the ascension of Christ, Re 12:9 ("Satan which deceiveth the whole world") proves that Satan was not then bound and prevented from deceiving the nations; {Re 20:3} nor is there any proof that he has ever yet been cast into the bottomless pit and prevented from deceiving the nations; he is "a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour," {1Pe 5:8} and transforming himself into an angel of light in order to deceive; {2Co 11:3,13-15} the world to-day is full of his work; and it should not be forgotten that the Millennium in Re 20. is not to take place till after the destruction of the Beast and False Prophets in Re 19:20. Some very careful students of the Scriptures think that, as in the earlier Old Testament prophecies only one Advent of Christ seems predicted, but in the later Old Testament prophecies there was a prediction of two such advents, separated, as we now know, by millennia, {Da 9:25-26; 7:13-14; Isa 53:11; Zec 12:14; Mal 3:4} so, while in the earlier portions of the New Testament only one future advent of Christ seems predicted, in the later portions {Re 19:11-16; 20:11-15} there are indication of two--one to establish a universal kingdom of righteousness on earth, and the other to terminate the present order of things in a general judgment. But nearly all Bible scholars have always thought that, according to the Scriptures, Christ comes but twice to this world, first to atone, and last to judge, {Heb 9:27-28} and that the obscure language in Rev. xx. must be understood according to the clearer language of other potions of the Scriptures, and that the first resurrection is the Millennium itself, a long period of the blessed revival of the martyr-spirit on earth (as the spirit and power of Elias lived again in John the Baptist, Mal 4:5; Mt 17:10-13; Lu 1:17). John Gill (1697-1771), the most learned, able and sound Baptist since the days of the Apostles, believed that Christ would come before the Millennium, and at His coming would raise His dead and change His living saints, and catch them up to meet Him in the air, would burn the world and the bodies of the wicked, {Mal 4:1-3} and would make the airy heavens and earth new, clearing them of all evil spirits and evil influences, and that--the Day of Judgment lasting a thousand years--in the morning of it the righteous would be joyfully judged and acquitted, and in the evening of it the wicked would be raised from the dead, make their last desperate rebellion against God in His saints, and be justly judged according to their works and condemned to suffer forever as each one deserves. {2Pe 3:3-14; Re 20:12; Mt 11:22; 25:14-46; Joh 19:11} Gill's views involve only two Personal Comings of Christ to the world.

Philosophy, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God, has always denied, and the humble faith of God's elect has always believed, that future resurrection of the bodies of all the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. It is a vital, cardinal doctrine of Christianity, a denial of which undermines the entire Scriptures. If the dead rise not, Christ is not risen, and all preaching and faith are vain. {1Co 15:13-23} The following Scriptures demonstrate the doctrine of the resurrection to every reverent mind: Ge 5:24; {Heb 11:5} 2Ki 2:11; Job 19:25-27; Isa 26:19; Da 12:1-3; Mt 5:29; 10:28; 22:29-32; 27:52-53; Joh 5:28-29; 6:39; 11:24; Ac 2:25-34; 13:34; 24:15; Ro 8:11,22-23; Php 3:20-21; 1Th 4:13-17; 1Co 15; 2Ti 2:8,16-19; Heb 6:2; Re 20:12-13. The very word resurrection means the rising again, that is, of that which has fallen in death--the body. If the same body that died is not raised again, it will not be a resurrection, and yet the body will be wonderfully changed. The bodies of the saints will be raised (like the glorified body of Christ) incorruptible, glorious, powerful, immortal, and spiritual, adapted to their purified spirits and to the heavenly world, no more subject to fleshly passions, pain, disease, weakness, age, or death; and the bodies of the wicked will be raised with a capacity to endure everlasting sufferings. To say that the resurrection is not a change of place, not a lifting of the body from the grave, and that the spirits of the Saints in Heaven do not wait for anything, seems to simple minds a plain denial of the resurrection; and I rejoice that such unscriptural expressions are not now used among us. No person who denies the resurrection of the body should be received or retained in a Church of Christ.

It cannot be doubted that there is a private, particular judgment upon each soul as soon as it leaves the body; {Ec 12:7,14; Heb 9:27; Lu 16:19-31; Mt 23:39; 2Co 5:8; Php 1:23} but the people of God have believed, from the Scriptures, for thousands of years, that, after the resurrection of the body, there will also be a public, general judgment; that men will be raised from the dead in order to be judged, before the assembled universe, according to the deeds done in the body. It seems to me that, if a person does not believe that the following texts, taken together, prove a great, solemn, final day of General Judgment at the end of the present dispensation, as taught in the London Baptist Confession of Faith (Chapters xxxi. and xxxii.) and in almost all Primitive Baptist Articles of Faith, then he would not be convinced of that fact if one should rise from the dead: Ge 18:25; Ps 50:3-6; 96:10,13; 98:9; Ec 3:16-17; 12:7,14; Joe 2:30-31; De 7:9-10; 12:2; Mal 4; Mt 7:21-27; 11:22,24; 12:36-37; 13:37-43; 16:27; 25:31-46; Lu 10:12,14; Joh 5:27-29; 12:48; Ac 2:19-20; 17:31; 24:25; Ro 2:16; 3:6,19; 14:10; 2Co 5:10; 2Th 1:6-10; 2Ti 4:1,8; Heb 6:2; 9:27-28; Jas 5:8-9; 1Pe 4:5; 5:4; 2Pe 2:9; 3:7-14; 1Jo 4:17; Jude 25,25; Re 11:18; 20:11-15). I cannot understand how a devout mind can read these passages of God's word, and pronounce that belief in a General Judgment Arminian, Roman Catholic, and unscriptural. The object of the General Judgment is, not to institute a court of investigation or errors, to satisfy the mind of Christ, the Omniscient Judge, as to the character and proper destiny of men, but to reveal the character of each human being, in the fullest and clearest light, to each and to all, out of the books of God's law and providence, and man's memory and conscience, to the perfect and everlasting vindication of God's righteousness and mercy in His dealings with all His intelligent creatures. Each one will be judged by God's law of love, according to his feelings and acts in reference to Christ. {Mt 25:31-46} The sins of God's people go beforehand to judgment; {1Ti 5:24; Joh 16:8; Ac 2:37; 5:31} and He has promised not only to forgive them, but to remember them no more; {Jer 31:31-37} if they are mentioned in the Last Day, it will be only to enhance the glory of the Saviour's mercy and the comfort of the saved, who will themselves confess their own unworthiness {Mt 25:37-39} --true contrition for sin is the sweetest spiritual joy. Possessed of a living faith that works by love, the Saints, whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life, will be accepted in the Beloved, justified freely by God's grace through the redemption of Christ Jesus; {Ga 5:6; Re 20:15; 21:27; Eph 1:1-14; Ro 3:20-31} while the wicked, seeking to justify themselves, will be justly condemned by the holy law of God and by their own conscience. {Ro 2:12-16; 3:19; Ga 3:10} Under the influence of the half-pagan philosopher, F. D. E. Schleiermacher (1768-1834), modern German Rationalism, deciding that there is no need of a future General Judgment, denies the future eternal meaning of all the forty plain texts given above, and limits their application to the momentary experiences of the present life; and a Primitive Baptist tradition, only fifty-three years old, follows German Rationalism in this ruinous method of explaining away these clearest declarations of God's word; but the published admission made by the author and the advocates of this system, among us (as I could easily show if I had the space), I am glad to say, virtually amounts to its surrender. The three arguments urged by our brethren, from the Scriptures, in defense of this system, are very feeble. 1. In spiritualizing Jos 3:9-17, they say Jordan means judgment; but it does not; it is the Hebrew word Yarden, from jared, meaning to descend, and Jordan means the descender. 2. In Heb 9:27, it is maintained that the Greek word krisis translated judgment means simply the probating and executing the last will and testament of a person after he is dead; but the Greek word diatheke, rendered testament six times in the King James Version of Heb. ix, is the translation of the Hebrew word Berith, which is always (263 times) rendered covenant in the Old Testament, and, out of 33 times that it occurs in the New Testament, it is rendered, in the Revised Version, covenant 31 times--in every place except Heb 9:16-17, and in these two places it is also rendered covenant by the American Revisers, as it probably should be; for the customs of Roman testaments were unknown among the ancient Hebrews (the word testament not once occurring in the Hebrew Bible); while death is not necessary to a covenant between man and man, it is necessary to such a covenant as the Apostle is speaking of--a covenant between a holy God and sinful man, who can obtain the blessings of the covenant, forgiveness and purification, only by the death of Christ, his Representative and Surety, the Mediator of the New and Everlasting Covenant of Redemption; the word translated "testator" in verses 16 and 17 should be rendered "the one that made the covenant;" and "after men are dead," reads literally "over the dead," referring to the ancient custom of ratifying covenants by slaying and sacrificing animals; the eternal God did not die and remain dead to make his last will and testament effective--it was as a man that Christ died, and, in the relation in which He died, He was not the testator, but he Head and Representative of His people; the erroneous translation "testament," comes from the Roman Catholic Vulgate Version of A. D. 383 to 404; it is only in the 16th and 17th verses of Heb. ix, and not all before or after those verses that the oldest (the Syriac) or the latest Revised Versions think that the Apostle makes any allusion at all, even if then, to a testament, as they translated diatheke covenant always before and after these two verses. 3. In Joh 5:24 it is said that krisis rendered "condemnation" should be rendered judgment, as it is generally rendered in the English New Testament; but this word certainly means condemnation in Joh 3:19; 5:29; 12:31; 16:8,11; Re 14:7; 18:10; Mt 18:33; Mr 3:29, as its primitive, krinein, means to condemn in Mt 7:12; Joh 16:11; Ac 7:8; Heb 13:4; Re 17:1; and this word, krisis, is used by John as the opposite of salvation {in Joh 3:17-19} and the opposite of life, {in Joh 5:24,29} and therefore he means by it damnation and death; Joh 5:24 is evidently equivalent to Joh 3:18 and Ro 8:1, and cannot contradict Mt 25:31-46; Ro 14:10; 2Co 5:10; 2Ti 4:8; Heb 6:2,20; 2Pe 3:14; 1Jo 4:17, and Re 20:11-15; Joh 12:31 should be rendered "now is a judgment of this world"--there is no "the" in the Greek. The inseparability between the resurrection and the judgment after it may be seen from Joh 5:28-29; Ac 17:31; Heb 6:2; 9:27-28; Re 11:18; 20:11-15.

Either before or after the Last Judgment, the present heavens and earth are to be, not annihilated, but subjected to intense heat and radically changed into a new heavens and earth, adapted to the glorified spirits and bodies of the Saints, in which regenerated world and in perhaps other Mansions (or Abiding Houses) of His Father's House, Christ will dwell forever with His saved people. {Nu 14:21; Ps 102:26-27; Isa 11:6; 51:6; 65:17; 66:22; Mal 4:1-3; Mt 5:5; 6:10; 19:28; Lu 11:2; Ac 3:19-21; Ro 8:19-23; 1Co 15:44; Eph 1:14; 2Th 1:5-10; Heb 1:11; 12:26-27; 2Pe 3:10-13; Re 5:9; 11:15; 20:15} "The abrogation of the ceremonial law is expressed by the fleeing away of shadows, the breaking down the middle wall of partition, the rending of the vail between the Holy and the Most Holy Place, the abolishing the law of commandments, but never by burning, melting, and dissolving." In Mt 6:10 and Lu 11:2 "in earth" should be "on earth," as in the Revised Version; Christ each time in the prayer uses different prepositions before "earth" and "heaven"--epi, nearly always meaning "on" before "earth," and "en," nearly always meaning "in" before "heaven;" and I do not doubt that He understood what he was saying better than the King James translators did.

The Hebrew word Sheol (literally meaning a hollow place under ground, and used to denote the Spirit World) occurs 65 times in the Old Testament; the King James Version renders it grave 31 times, Hell 31 times, and pit 3 times; the Revised Version renders it grave 15 times, Hell 15 times, pit 5 times, and leaves it Sheol 30 times. The Greek word Hades (literally meaning the unseen, and used, exactly like Sheol, to denote the Spirit World) occurs 11 times in the New Testament; {Mt 11:23; 16:18; Lu 10:15; 16:23; Ac 2:27,31; 1Co 15:55; Re 1:18; 6:8; 20:13-14} The King James Version renders it Hell in every place except 1Co 15:55, where it renders it grave (the English or Anglo-Saxon word hell means literally the hidden or unseen place under ground, and it was first used, exactly like Sheol and Hades, to denote the Spirit World; it was afterwards used to denote the place of punishment of the wicked after death); the Revised version leaves it Hades in every place except 1Co 15:55, where the original word in the oldest manuscripts is thanatos, death, which is the word used here in the Revised Version. The Hebrew word Gehenna (literally meaning valley of Hinnom, a deep, narrow gorge south of Jerusalem, where, after the introduction of the worship of the fire-gods, Moloch and Baal, by King Ahaz, idolatrous Jews burned their children as sacrifices, which King Josiah stopped by polluting the valley, making it a common receptacle of the dead bodies of criminals and animals, and all kinds of filth, preyed upon by worms, and consumed, it is said, by perpetual fires--this word being used by the Jews after their return from the Babylonian captivity, to denote one part of Sheol, the place of the punishment of the wicked after death, while they used Paradise, or Abraham's Bosom, to denote that part of Sheol where the souls of the righteous dwelt after death) occurs 12 times in the New Testament, {Mt 5:22,29; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15,33; Mr 9:43,45,47; Lu 12:5; Jas 3:6} and is always rendered Hell by both the King James and the Revised Versions. Tophet (tobret-grove) was a place in the valley of Hinnom, and occurs 10 times in 2 Kings, Isa., and Jer. The Greek word Abussoi (literally meaning bottomless) occurs nine times in the New Testament; {Lu 8:31; Ro 10:7; Re 9:1-2; 11:7; 18:8; 20:1,3} the King James Version renders it the deep in Lu 8:31 and Ro 10:7, and bottomless pit in the other places; the Revised Version always renders it abyss. Tartarus, the heathen Greek term for the place of the imprisonment of the Titans, rebels against God, occurs in 2Pe 2:4, to denote the present abode of the fallen angels. Mr. E. R. Craven, of Newark, N. J., the American Editor of Lange's Commentary on Revelation, in the most exhaustive discussion that I have ever seen of the scriptural uses of the terms Sheol and Hades, finds clear proof that they denote, not a mere state, but a place, distinct from the grave and from Heaven and from Hell--a place, he thinks, in the heart or centre of the earth, {Eze 30:26; Mt 12:40; Eph 4:8} to which were consigned the souls of all the dead before the death of Christ, the righteous in one part of it in comfort, and the wicked in another part of it in misery, but from which the souls of the righteous were delivered at His resurrection; {Eph 4:8-10; 1Pe 3:18-22} since His resurrection the souls of believers, at death, passing at once into glory. {Joh 14:1-3; 17:24; 2Co 5:8; Php 1:23}

The Scriptures already quoted, as also the following, prove that Heaven and Hell are not only conditions but also places: Isa 33:17; Lu 16:28; 23:43; Ac 1:25; Php 3:20; Heb 11:10,16; 1Pe 1:4; Re 2:7; Re 21; 22. The strong double phrase, for ever and ever, occurs in the Greek of the New Testament 22 times--18 times of God, once of Him and His people together, {Eph 3:21} twice of the punishment of the wicked human beings (Re 14:11 and Re 19:3), and once of the punishment of Satan. {Re 20:10} Thus, as long as God shall live, and His people in glory praise Him, just so long will Satan and wicked human beings be punished, that is, everlastingly, as is shown also by Mt 25:41,46; Mr 9:43-48; Lu 16:26; Joh 3:36; 1Th 1:8-9; Re 21:8; 22:11. Those who deny the endless punishment of the wicked find themselves compelled also to deny the full, verbal inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures--so plainly do the Scriptures, especially the words of Christ, teach that awful truth. The denial of the endless punishment of the wicked is most prevalent in the most corrupt times, being both a sign and a cause of the corruption. That Heaven is at present a place above (or away from) the earth is proved by Ge 28:13; 2Ki 2:1,11; Mr 16:19; Lu 24:51; Joh 1:33; 3:13; 6:33; Ac 1:9; 2Co 12:2; 1Th 4:16; Re 4:1; 21:2. And that it will, after the last change of this world, be in part at least on the renovated earth, is proved by Nu 14:21; Isa 11:6-9,16; 65:17,22; Mt 5:5; 6:10; Lu 11:2; Ac 3:19-21; Ro 8:19-23; 2Pe 3:10-13; Re 5:9; 11:15; Re 21; 22. Few things can be more plain and certain, both from the language and the context, as the Saints have joyfully believed for 1800 years, that the reference in Joh 14:1-3 and 2Co 5:1 is to the special place of the immediate, glorious, and eternal residence of God. It seems strangely forgotten or ignored by some of our brethren, who apply Rev. xxi. and xxii. to the present experience of believers, that these last two chapters of the Bible follow the destruction of the Beast and False Prophets of Rev. xix., and the Millennium, Resurrection, Final Judgment, and the casting of the wicked into the lake of fire, the second death, of Rev. xx.--the Allegorical Fury, however, can easily sweep away the literal truth of these and all other Scriptures. All types, being earthly shadows, are imperfect symbols of eternal realities; and Canaan, the goodliest land of earth (see Church History, pages 108-110), the entirely gracious inheritance of a beloved, chosen, covenant people, was an imperfect type, not only of the present gospel rest of faith, but also of the better, heavenly country, the gracious and everlasting inheritance of all the children of God, just as the people of God have been comforted in believing for thousands of years. {Ge 15:18-21; 17:7-8; De 4:37-38; 8:1-10; Jos 24:13; Zec 4:6; 2Sa 23:5; Ps 44:26; Isa 55:3; Jer 31:31-37; 32:36-44; Mt 25:34; Ac 20:32; Ga 3; Eph 1:13-14; Heb 3:4; 11:8-16; 13:20-21} The everlasting holiness and happiness of all the people of God are proved by 2Sa 23:5; Isa 45:17; 55:13; 60:18-22; Mt 25:46; Joh 5:24; 6:47; 10:28; 11:26; 17:2-3,24; Ac 13:48; Ro 6:23; Heb 5:9; 9:12; 7:28; 13:20-21; 1Pe 1:1-5; 1Jo 2:27; 3:2; 5:11; Jude 25; Re 1:5-6; 7:14-17; Re 21; 22.

H2.00000 Collected Writings of Elder Sylvester Hassell Volume II

Published December 2004


Elder David Montgomery, President.


14302 Walmer

San Antonio, Texas 78247

A PBHC Original Publication

Wilson, N.C., July 27, 1885


The exact translation of Joh 3:3, is "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, if one not be born from above (or anew), he can not see the kingdom of God." Christ's language in Joh 3:5, is. I think, an enlarged repetition of the same thought. The exact translation of the latter is---"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, if one be not born of water and Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." The word "man" used in the King James Version, is not in the original Greek of either verse. And the words "of" and "the" used immediately before "Spirit" in the fifth verse in the King James Version, are not in the original. There is thus shown to be, I think, a close and inseparable connection between "water" and "Spirit." An equivalent expression is found in Tit 3:5---"The washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost." The numerous washings in the Mosaic law made water familiar to the Jews as an emblem of purification. John himself, tells us in Joh 7:37-39, that by the term "water," Christ meant the "Spirit." The same fact is shown in Isa 44:3, and Eze 36:25-27. By "water and Spirit," it seems to me, that Christ meant, "purifying Spirit," or "Holy Spirit." A similar expression is found in Mt 3:11---"He shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost and fire." The preposition, as in Joh 3:5, is not repeated. Both fire and water are purifying and powerful principles, and are used to represent the Holy Spirit. In reference to fire being thus used, see Ex 3:2-6,21,21,17; Isa 4:4; Eze 1:4,27; Da 7:9; Mal 3:2-3, &c; Ac 2:3-4. I believe that both Mt 3:11 and Joh 3:5, are instances of hendiadys, a figure, not uncommon in Latin and Greek, by which an idea is expressed by two nouns connected by and, instead of being expressed by a noun and a limiting adjective, or genitive---the two expression meaning "the fire of the Holy Ghost," "the water of the Spirit"---that is, "the purifying power of the Spirit." I think that literal water baptism is no more alluded to in Joh 3:5 than literal fire baptism in Mt 3:11. In describing the heavenly or spiritual birth, water is not used in Joh 1:13, nor in Joh 3:3,6,8. In the latter verse, "wind" is used to represent the Spirit, just as water is used in the fifth verse. The term "water" in Joh 3:5, seems to be used in contrast to the term "blood" in Joh 1:13. The first, or natural birth, of a human being, is of the "flesh," {Joh 3:6} or of "blood" (which contains all the elements of the flesh or body), and of the "will of the flesh" (natural desire), and of "the will of man" (natural volition); but, in total contradistinction, the birth necessary for an entrance into the Kingdom of God is, not from such corrupt sources, but "of water," from a pure source, "from above," "of the Spirit," "of God."

The profound spiritual mind of John, the especially beloved and last surviving apostle, the last inspired teacher of the human race, eagerly drank in and retained and recorded the deepest words of his Divine Master. His gospel, "the golden sunset of Inspiration," is the most spiritual production in human literature. He begins it with a reference to the first of Genesis, but he goes back to a more ancient beginning even than Moses---a beginning before all creation, when God alone, Father, Son, and Spirit, filled eternity with his presence. And so Christ's expression in Joh 3:5, seems to carry our minds back to Ge 1:2, when the Spirit of God, in a vivifying and illumination manner, moved upon the face of the waters. Thus the incarnate God tells the Jewish ruler, and tells us all, that no fleshly descent, or advantage, or effort, will prepare us for admission into his kingdom; we must go beyond self, beyond salvation, beyond Adam, beyond all creature power, to the eternal and omnipotent Creator, who in the beginning created the heavens and the earth, and who alone, can new-create the poor, dead sinner, in the spiritual image of God, and prepare him entrance into his holy, heavenly, and eternal kingdom.

Williamston, N. C., Oct. 21, 1887


If we are blessed with the ground of "a good and honest heart," we will really desire, in every discussion, not victory, but truth; we will really desire not so much to silence our opponent as to avoid error ourselves; we will be more ashamed of continuing wrong than of confessing that we are not right; we will regard TRUTH as the noblest of ends, and we will earnestly strive to divest ourselves of the last remnant of prejudge, partiality and prepossession; and we will resolve to follow TRUTH whithersoever it may lead--fearlessly, unfalteringly, perseveringly--until we arrive, so far as we may be divinely enabled, at THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH."

To be sure we are aware that in our present state, sin has so corrupted our hearts and darkened our minds, that we cannot now perfectly attain to the truth in all its divine fullness and glory. Even inspired Apostles but "saw through a glass darkly," and confessed that they "knew only in part;" much more are all uninspired men liable to darkness of sight and partiality of knowledge, especially upon the deep mysteries of the Divine Nature, and of sin and salvation. Not pride, but humility, is the mark of the highest worldly and of the highest spiritual wisdom belonging to any creature, especially any sinful and imperfect creature like ourselves.

To the truly humble child of God, the SCRIPTURES are, on all points of doctrine and practice, the highest and final standard of truth; and all the assertions and all the reasonings of all uninspired men, if contrary to the Scriptures, are "less than nothing, and vanity."

And now comes in the question-what is the teaching of the Scriptures? that is, what is the eternal truth in regard to the great doctrine of God s predestination of whatever comes to pass? Let it be clearly and continually borne in mind that the real question is not what any confession of faith, or any human periodical or book, or any uninspired writer or speaker says upon the subject, but alone what the SCRIPTURES declare. We are to cut loose from the last foothold of human authority, and to launch forth on the pure ocean of divine testimony.

And on this great subject we are to seek to know not only "the truth, and nothing but the truth" but "THE WHOLE TRUTH" is so far as the Scriptures reveal it to us. The perception of only half truths is a fruitful source of darkness and controversy. If one class of scripture passages bears upon one aspect of the subject of predestination, and another class of scripture passages bears upon another aspect of that subject, we have no right to receive the one class and reject the other, but are bound to receive both as equally divine and eternally true, and also, as essential to a scriptural understanding of the subject. It does not matter in the slightest possible degree, what uninspired men reject either of these classes of scripture passages, we are unhesitatingly and unreservedly to receive both classes of scripture passages as the indisputable truth of God. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." For our understanding and guidance in the present world, we have a need of not only a part, but of all the scriptures, otherwise they would not all have been given. And we are to "compare spiritual things with spiritual," "not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but what the Holy Ghost teacheth." One class of texts represents one aspect of the Divine Character as merciful and loving, and in the manifestation of this attribute, God saves His people from their sins; while another class of texts represents another aspect of Divine Character as just and holy, and in the manifestation of this attribute God plunges His sword into the bosom of His dear Son, the Shepherd of Israel, the Covenant Head of His sinning people, and pours out upon voluntary, unredeemed and impenitent sinners, the vials of His eternal wrath. We should be equally in error to reject the one or the other of these classes of texts-to consider God as merciful but not holy, or as holy but not merciful.

Even so there are TWO classes of texts, (sometimes blended in the same sentence) bearing upon the doctrine of the divine PREDESTINATION of the future, and the truly humble child of God will receive the one as well as the other, and believe both, to be equally and certainly true, no matter in the least whatever any other human being, in the pride of human reasoning or preconceived opinion, decides to reject or ignore of the Divine testimony.

1st. The first class of texts bears upon the truth of God's predestination of all things-whether the infinitely free, sovereign, wise and powerful Creator, who knows the end from the beginning, and who create, all things out of nothing-did from eternity foreordain all the consequences of His creative work-all the events in the universe? In the light of the Scriptures, this question answers itself: "In the beginning; God created the heaven and the earth."-Ge 1:1. "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made."-Joh 1:3. "By Him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him; and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist."--Col 1:16-17. He is "the Most High."--Ps 9:2. He is "the Lord God of hosts."-Ps 80:19. He is "the King of kings, and Lord of lords."-1Ti 6:15. "His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?"-Da 4:34-35. "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world."--Ac 15:18. "I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel stand, and I will do all my pleasure."-Isa 46:9-10. "Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will."-Eph 1:11. "He hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation."-Ac 17:26. "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered."-Mt 10:20,30. "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord."-Pr 16:33. "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."-Eph 2:10. "Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us; for Thou also hast wrought all our works in us."-Isa 26:12. "It is God who worketh in you both to will and to dc, of His good pleasure."-Php 2:13. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."-Ga 5:22-23. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved."-Eph 1:3-6. "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will."-Eph 1:11. "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow He also did to be 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: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"-Ro 8:28-31. These four verses just quoted {Eph 1:5,11; Ro 8:23,20} are the only places where the word predestinate, occurs in the King James or Authorized version of the English Bible, and in each of these instances the revised version substitutes for the word predestinate 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"(Greek pro-orizo, elsewhere rendered predestinate, or foreordain, or ordain)"to be done."--Ac 4:27-28."But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained (Greek, pro-orizo) before the world to our glory?--1Co 2:7. The simple verb orizo, without the prefix pro, (meaning before) occurs in these eight, passages: Lu 22:22; Ac 2:23; 10:42; 11:29; 17:26,31; Ro 1:4; and Heb 4:7. In these passages this word is rendered, in the King James version, determine, ordain, declare, and limit. Two of these passages bear especially upon our present subject: "And truly the Soil of Man goeth as it was determined"-Lu 22:22. "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain."-Ac 2:23. The writer to the Heb 6:17, speaks of "the immutability of His (that is, God's) counsel." In Ge 37:25, we read: "Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver; and they brought Joseph into Egypt;" while in Ge 45:7-8, we read: "And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God." And in Ge 1:20 "As for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." In Ex 9:12 "And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he harkened not unto them." In Ps 17:13-14, we read: "Arise, O Lord, disappoint him, east hint down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is Thy sword: frown men which are thy hand." And in Isa 10:5-7,12, we read: "O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoils, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Howbeit, he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is irk his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few. Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed His whole wrath upon Mount Zion, and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruits of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks." In Job 1:12, we read: "And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself, put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth froth the presence of the Lord." After Satan had destroyed the property and children of Job, the latter says, in verse 21: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord." In 2Sa 16:10, we read this language of David: "So let him (Shimei) curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David." In 2Sa 24:1, we read: "And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he" (the word he is not in the original, but is supplied by the translator. Some think that it would be better to supply the word one, referring to Satan, as in 1Ch 21:1) "moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah;" while in 1Ch 21:1, we read: "And Satan" (or an adversary; the article is not used with this term here, as it is in Job)"stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel." In 2Co 12:7, we read: "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me."

I must confess that I am convinced by these Scripture passages (as I have said on the 485th page of the Church History) that, in one sense, God has predestinated or foreordained all things; without Him they would never have been created; and without Him they would not be sustained now for an instant. "If God is omniscient and omnipotent, and existed alone from eternity, and created all things out of nothing, and disposed of all things in his providence, with all the surrounding circumstances, exactly foreknowing all the results, then certainly, in one scene, His foreknowledge of all things is equivalent to His foreordination of all things, including the violations of his creatures, yet without the slightest degree of sin on His part, as the Most Holy God tempts no one to sin. The sinful, carnal mind of fallen, darkened rationalism, paints this-certain truth of nature and Scripture in the most revolting colors, preferring that senseless and heartless fate or chance should sit at the helm of the universe; but the regenerated, enlightened, spiritual mind of the child of God incomparably prefers that his Holy and Heavenly Father should sit at the helm, and direct and work all things according to the counsel of his own will."

2nd. In regard to the difficult and mysterious subject of God's predestination or pro-orization of sin, there is a second class of Scripture passages, which are just as inspired and truthful as the first class, which we have not a particle more right to reject than the others, and which are absolutely necessary to the scriptural understanding of the subject; and the truly humble child of God, who harkens to God rather than man, will receive them as the eternal truth with the same unquestioning reverence as the first class of Scripture passages, no matter, in the slightest possible degree, what human being may reject them. "Let God be true, but every man liar."-Ro 3:4. Now for the second class of texts, some of which, as partly belonging to the first class, have already been quoted. "Predestinated according, to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel" (boule--will, determination, plan, design, decree; so Liddell and Scott define the word) "of its own will."-Eph 1:11. "The immutability of His counsel;" (boule, the same word as above, in the Greek).-Heb 6:17. "Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world."--Ac 15:18. He is "the same yesterday, and to-day and forever."-Heb 13:8. "With whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning"--Jas 1:17. "Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure-Isa 46:10. God is"the Sun of righteousness."-Mal 4:2."God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."-1Jo 1:5"The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works."-Ps 145:17."Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts."-Isa 6:3."Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty."-Re 4:8."Be ye holy, for I am holy."-1Pe 1:16. It's impossible for God to lie."-Heb 6:18."He cannot deny Himself."-2Ti 2:13."And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good."-Ge 1:31."and spared not the angels that sinned, but cast. them down to hell."-2Pe 2:5."The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."-Jude 25. The devil"was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him"-Joh 8:44."Let. no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man; but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."-Jas 1:13-14."For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."-1Jo 2:16."And the Lord God commanded the man saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat. of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."-Ge 2:16-17."Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Ye shall not surely die, for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eye, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her; and he did eat."-Ge 3:1,4-6. And then God pronounced severe judgment upon the serpent, the woman and the man."As for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good."-Ge 50:20."But when Pharaoh Saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and harkened not unto them; as the Lord had said."-Ex 8:15."Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Execute true judgment, and shew mercy and compassion, every man to his brother: and oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger n hosts hath sent in His Spirit by the former prophets; therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts."-Zec 7:9-12."O, Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thine help."-Ho 13:9."And the Lord said, O that there were such an heart in them that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!"-De 5:28-29."O, that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!"-De 32:29."O, that My people had harkened unto Me, and Israel had walked in My ways!"-Ps 81:13."O that thou hadst harkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea."-Isa 48:18."Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall bow down to the slaughter: because when I called ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not."-Isa 65:12."Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life."-Joh 5:40."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! Behold your house is left unto you desolate."-Mt 23:37-38."In the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him Hezekiah to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart."-2Ch 32:31."And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand"-Job 1:12."And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold he is in thine hand; but save his life."-Job 2:6."So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lusts: and they walked in their own counsels."-Ps 81:12. "He suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew Him."-Mr 1:34."And all the devils besought Him saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave."-Mr 5:13."And He suffered them."-Lu 8:32."And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined; but woe unto that. man by whom He is betrayed! "-Luke 22:22."Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain."-Ac 2:13."Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven."-Ac 7:42."And about the time of forty years suffered He their manners in the wilderness."-Ac 13:18."Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways?--Ac 14:16. "God gave them up to vile affections, and to a reprobate mind."--Ro 1:26,28. "God endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction."-Ro 9:22. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain."-Ps 76:10. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"-Ro 11:33.

These scriptures thoroughly satisfy me that God is as holy as He is sovereign infinitely and eternally holy, not only in His will and law, but in His essence and nature; that holiness is not an arbitrary creature of the divine will; but a fundamental and changeless attribute of the divine nature, of which His holy will is but the expression; that sin proceeds, not from the Creator, but from the creature; that "God neither causes sin nor approves it., but only permits, directs, restrains, limits, and overrules it for the good of His people and the glory of His name;" and thus that God's predestination or pro-orization of sin was not of a compulsive but of a permissive, directive, restrictive and overruling character. The very word pro-orizo, (the only word rendered predestinate in the English Bible) seems to me to set forth this momentous fact in its primitive and radical meaning; it signifies, as every Greek scholar knows, and as every Greek dictionary will show, not the fore-compelling, but the fore-bounding, the fore-limiting of anything, the fore-determining of its bounds, as shown by the same root word in Ac 17:26. This fact is in exact accordance with the scriptures already quoted, which speaks of God as leaving, giving up, suffering and enduring men in their sins; and what God thus permits in time, He must, if He is unchangeable, have eternally decreed to permit. His connection with the existence of sin is, thus, not a bare permission, but a voluntary and predestinating permission, but still a permission and not a compulsion. Sin originates in the will of the creature, and not. in the will of God, to whom, and to all who have His mind, or will, or Spirit, sin is utterly detestable and abominable, and not at all admirable and lovely. Even when the incarnate Son of God bears in His body the sins of His people, the ineffably holy nature of the Divine Father necessitates His forsaking Him and leaving Him to die. There could not possibly be a more emphatic and stupendous demonstration of the essential, unchangeable and infinite holiness of God. Men are voluntary in the commission of sin, and therefore accountable and justly punishable for their sins. This is the view of predestination and sin held by all the Baptist, and by, I suppose, nine hundred and ninety-nine thousandths of all the predestinarians of former centuries, and, I believe, by nine-tenths of the Primitive Baptists of the present century. It is precisely the view of the Westminster (the most esteemed Presbyterian) Confession of Faith, and of the London (the most esteemed)Baptist Confession of Faith. My special and careful, and I hope sincere and prayerful examination, during the past month of the original Hebrew and Greek Scriptures in regard to what the Scriptures teach of predestination and sin, apart from all human teachings, has greatly increased my appreciation of the scriptural wisdom of these two old Confessions, which declare that God decreed all things, but does not force the will of the creature, or originate nor fellowship sin (Chapter iii., Section 1); that He did not compel Adam to fall, but was pleased, according to His wise and holy counsel, to permit him to fall, having purpose to order it to His own glory (Chapter vi., Section 1); that He leaves (or permits--these two words have the same meaning in all English dictionaries) men and angels to act in their sins to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice (Chapter iii., Section 3); that He loves His own children oftentimes for a season to manifold temptations, and the corruptions of their own hearts, to humble them, and make them feel more sensibly their dependence upon Him for support, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin (Chapter v., Section 5) and that He wisely and powerfully boundeth and otherwise ordereth and governeth the sins of angels and men, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice infinite goodness and mercy (Chapter v., Sections 1 and 4). It is worthy of observation that the King-James version of the Ac 4:28, and perhaps in 1Co 2:7; and the Greek word orizo is used in regard to sin in Lu 22:22, and Ac 3:23.

To say that "God is infinitely and eternally holy, and that He reigns in righteousness, and there is no unrighteousness in Him; that He is not the author of sin; and that men act voluntarily when they commit sin, and are accountable and justly punishable for their sins; that God had a purpose, worthy of Himself, however inscrutable to us, in not preventing the entrance of sin into the world; that He sometimes binds and at other times looses Satan; and that He restricts the wickedness of ungodly men, making the wrath of men praise Him, and restraining the remainder of wrath; and that, by His supreme power and decree, He restricts all the rage and malice of Satan to do no more nor less than what He will overrule for the good of His people, and His own glory," as the most able, and sound, and esteemed Northern Old School Baptist writer has declared (see Church History, pages 943 to 950), is exactly the same in substance, if language has any meaning, or if I understand the meaning of language, as to say, in the language of the Scriptures, that God permits, or bears, or suffers, or endures, while He does not tempt to sin, but that He directs and bounds, and makes it praise Him.

All of our most strenuous supralapsarian brethren (whom I heartily esteem as among the excellent of the earth,) agree in declaring that "God is not the author of sin." Now the latest and most approved dictionaries of the English language gives the following definition of author: "One who makes to grow or increase, originator, beginner, former, producer, creator, maker, first cause, first mover, efficient cause." Such being, beyond all controversy, the meaning of the word author, it is certain that when these brethren say that "God is not the author of sin," they say that God is not the originator, beginner, former, producer, creator, maker, first cause, first mover, efficient cause of sin; and God's connection with sin is not an origination of it, or a compulsion of the creature to sin, but a foreknowledge, a permission, a direction and an overruling of sin for the glory of God and the good of His people. In no other way is it possible for us to conceive how the creature can be responsible and justly punishable for his sins. And it thus seems to me indisputably established that supralapsarianism and inpralapsarianism amount to the same thing, and that there is no substantial or essential difference among Old School or Primitive Baptists on the subject of predestination.

Why God, who is infinitely wise, powerful, holy and merciful, ever permitted sin, and consequent misery in the universe, is a question "peculiar to no system of theology, but pressing equally upon any system which acknowledges the existence and moral government of God, and the moral agency of man; a question perplexing heathen philosophers of old, and deists in modern times, and Pelagians, Socinians and Arminians just as sorely as Calvinists; a question that must ever demand submission, and defy solution." As truly asserted by Sir William Hamilton, "the two great articles of the Divine foreknowledge and the Divine predestination, are both embarrassed by the self-same difficulties;" for a Sovereign and Almighty God, who knew what the result would be, created all things out of nothing. So irresistible is this conclusion that Arminians have begun to recognize (as the Socinians did long ago) that in order to maintain their system, they must deny the foreknowledge of God. Other unscriptural writings are: that if the doctrine of predestination and election be true, the punishment of the wicked is "injustice," and what is called "grace" is "unworthy the acceptance of honorable free agents;" that "every man has a free, unpredestinated chance to be the artificer of his own eternal as well as temporal fortunes;" and that men will be finally saved for their "obedience and holiness," and rejected for their disobedience and unholiness." Thus human reason and religion affirm that salvation is of man, while the Scriptures affirm that "salvation is of the Lord."

The most intellectual and virtuous heathens of ancient and modern times, have believed in the doctrine of pantheistic fatalism; while under the enlightenment of the Divine Spirit, the most intellectual and virtuous Christians have believed in the doctrine of the all-comprehending predestination of the personal and perfect Jehovah, who, in the most wise, and holy, and gracious manner, "works all things after the counsel of His own will" for the good of His people and the glory of His name. Such is the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures, in church history, and in every Christian experience. As admitted by all writers on the subject.

Divine predestination is a mystery which no finite mind can explore, and upon which, therefore, brethren should not disagree, at least to the extent of non-fellowshipping each other. "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." 1Co 14:13.


The Gospel Messenger--1888

Dear Brethren:

In accordance with the request of several of our members, I send you an account of my recent tour in Central Georgia and Western Alabama.

I had for several years been contemplating a visit to some of our churches in the States south of North Carolina, but my school duties and work on the Church History had prevented. Last summer the History having been published, I employed my vacation in attending the meetings of many churches in my own State. This summer my mind was more deeply impressed with a visit to Georgia and Alabama, and Divine Providence opened the way for me to follow that impression. I was not sent out by any Missionary Board, nor supplied with funds by any religious society; neither were the apostles sent out or supplied in any such manner. Only the Lord knows where He has prepared the ground for the sowing of the heavenly seed; and He impresses the minds of His ministers now as He did in the apostolic age, in regard to where and when they shall go to preach His word; and all the silver and gold and everything else are His, and He can use them as He pleases. I had not the means with which to pay my traveling expenses; but a gentleman not connected with any religious denomination, offered, of his own accord, without my having said anything to him on the subject, to lend me whatever amount of money I wished. I left Wilson July 3rd, and returned August 1st. I was gone twenty-nine days and tried to preach twenty-nine times. Everywhere I found the hearts of the people open to receive what I had to say, their homes open to entertain me, and their purses open to help me on my way. I did not ask any one for money, and yet twice as much was freely given me as was needed to pay my traveling expenses, and half as much more was handed me to help pay the Church History debt and to pay for copies of the History, although the great majority of the people whom I visited were poor, many of the living in log houses, and although money is during the summer, very scarce in the South.

My appointments were from Milledgeville to Macon, Ga., then from Butler, Ga., to Opelika, Ala., and from Opelika to Roanoke, in Randolph county, Ala. I found on my journey as firm, true, solid, gentle, humble and loving Baptists as I ever met elsewhere; and though there exists in some sections transient disciplinary troubles, for which the caution of the Apostle Paul in Ac 20:30; Ro 16:17; and 1Co 1:10-13 seems to me a plain and sufficient remedy for every spiritual mind, yet in general peace, and union, and life, and love abound. I was glad to find no doctrinal divisions among the brethren whom I met, whether on the subject of predestination, or regeneration, or the resurrection, or anything else; and I can see no just occasion for division on these subjects anywhere among the truly humble and spiritual children of God, especially when the entire contention is nothing whatever but an unwholesome, unprofitable and subverting war of words against which Paul repeatedly warns us. {1Ti 6:4; 2Ti 2:14} Such contentions are particularly to be deplored when the writers are animated by a harsh, bitter and unchristian spirit.

Every Saturday and Sunday, and sometimes also on Friday, I was at the regular meetings of the churches; and thus I had the pleasure of delightful and edifying interviews with twelve of our ordained ministers and three licentiates.

Elder John H. Gresham accompanied me in love from Mount Zion to my appointments in Macon; Elder J. G. Murray, of Butler, distinguished me from other passengers while we were riding together on the train; Elder F. M. Casey, of Adairsville, Ga., was with me at both Butler and Opelika, and become very dear to me by his gentle and lovely Christian virtues. Elder Bennet Stewart greatly interested me by the relation at Elder Respess' of a part of his religious experience; and he and Elder Casey and I made some public remarks together at Brother Phillips' (husband of Sister R. Anna). Elder H. Bussey, of Columbus, though feeble from two weeks' illness, walked with me from his residence to my night appointment in Browneville, Ala. Elder A. J. Harrison of Hampton, S.C., and Elder J. S. Baxley of Notasulga, Ala., met me at Opelika. Elder J. T. Satterwhite, of Stroud, Ala., the youthful and lovely pastor of three of our largest churches, was with me at five of my appointments, and I had the pleasure of spending a night at his home, and of endeavoring to speak words of Christian consolation to his greatly afflicted but still highly favored wife, who, seven years ago, was baptized in her chair. Elder W. R. Avery, of Stroud, was with me at three of my appointments; he is an intelligent and faithful minister, has a large family, farms and teaches school, and serves three churches. Elder J. W. H. Cliett is the Moderator of Beulah Association, and tries to call out all the gifts in his churches; I stayed with him one night, and he conducted the General, or District Meeting of three days which I attended at Zion's Rest, where my appointments closed.]

Generally speaking, the congregations were large, and everywhere they were remarkably quiet, orderly and attentive. A considerable proportion on some of the audiences was composed of persons who were not Primitive Baptists; and I spoke in some places where a Primitive Baptist sermon had never been heard. In all the sections that I visited I found, to my great joy, that the Church of Christ was letting her light shine; so that the members of other denominations, both Catholic and Protestant, did not hesitate to say that they had more confidence in Primitive Baptists than in their own professors. Such remarks as these were common: "No locks are needed where Primitive Baptists live;" "Primitive Baptists are not required to sign cut-throat notes waiving homestead and all other legal exemptions;" "A Primitive Baptist who is in good standing in his church may have on credit anything in my store, from cellar to attic;" "Primitive Baptists who do not pay their debts are turned out of their churches;" "Primitive Baptists are the most reliable people in our community," etc. Let all our members so live as to deserve such and still stronger commendations from others; thus they glorify the Lord who has purchased them with His own blood.

I regarded it as among the greatest privileges of my life to be with dear Elders J. R. Respess and W. M. Mitchell, at their own homes and churches; and solely for the general welfare of the household of faith, I must be permitted to give a few of the most impressive remarks that I heard from these highly esteemed brethren. In his bedroom Elder R., who was very feeble in body, said to me and others: "Love is the soul of Christianity; and just as the body is dead without the soul, so Christianity is dead without love." "The recent controversies among some of our brethren remind me of a sermon said to have been delivered by an old minister: 'First,' said he, 'I shall speak of what I know something about, and you know nothing about; second, I shall speak of what I know nothing about, and you know something about; and third; and most of all, I shall speak of what neither you nor I know anything about." "Several years ago I removed with my family to a very poor section of the country, in order that my children might be brought up in familiar knowledge of and real sympathy with the poor." "I never sent away a poor person empty from my door." "The most precious seasons that I have ever realized were in this room, while engaged in praying with my family." "I said to one of my sons, as he was about to go to live and work in a large city: 'My dear boy, you will be surrounded by great temptations; but never do what you would be unwilling for me and your sainted mother to know;' and I received from not long ago a letter in which he says that he has never done what he would not be willing for us to know."

Said Elder M. to me and others at his home: "I have always been poor, and have raised a family of ten children on a little farm. I have suffered many severe misfortunes, both physically and pecuniarily, and am never without pain. But I have always lived within my income; sometimes my entire store account has only amounted to ten dollars a year." "Parents, in this wise age of the world, endeavor to shift the divinely-constituted and inalienable responsibility of rightly bringing up their children upon the Sunday-school, an institution that has no soul." "I had thought for about fifty years, as much as I thought anything, that I believed in the Bible doctrine of predestination; but some recent communications, both public and private, seem to say that I do not. During all my ministry of about forty years, I never received such bitter attacks from brethren as since the appearance a few months ago, in The Gospel Messenger, of my short article entitled 'Time to Call a Halt.' Brethren do us an injustice in substituting their extreme, and what seems to me unscriptural views of predestination for predestination itself, and then declaring that if we do not accept their views, we deny the doctrine of predestination." And in a house of worship Elder M. said: "The church is not a prison to the true people of God. Her door stands open all the time, either to come in or go out by. If the retention of a name on the church book is the only bond that connects one with the church, the sooner that bond is severed, the better. And if any one loves a worldly institution better that the Church of Christ, he should not be a member of the church." Feet-washing, as observed as commanded by the Lord Jesus, seems to me to teach three important lessons-------humility, equality and purity. I never aspired to any higher position than to be accounted worthy to wash the feet of the disciples of Jesus.

The solemnity and tenderness of this last remark of our aged and venerable brother, adorned with flowing locks and beard of snowy whiteness, as he was down upon the floor, with towel and basin, at the feet of brother Casey, deeply touched my heart, and filled my eyes with tears. What a different world this would be, thought I, if such were the highest aspirations of all its inhabitants! How divine is the religion of Jesus!

After consenting to have appointments made for me in Georgia and Alabama, I very deeply felt it to be the height of presumption and folly in me to undertake to instruct or comfort people served by some of our most gifted and esteemed ministers; but then I also felt that the Lord had called me to visit them and their congregations in meekness and love, and add my own feeble testimony to the glorious and eternal truths for which they had so long contended. And, as I went, the Lord seemed pleased to revive His precious work of grace in my own soul, and to strengthen my little faith, and hope, and love, and to make my mind unusually fruitful in spiritual things, and to supply me with a new subject almost every day, and to give me a message to His dear people, and to prepare them to receive the message. Notwithstanding the very warm weather, and my traveling by private conveyance, and speaking almost every day, and sometimes at night, and my constant change of water and diet, my bodily health was also well preserved through the Divine goodness, and I was spared to find my family in tolerable health on my return.

Before starting on my Southern trip, in order to try to benefit at least physically, if not spiritually, the people I should meet, I had printed at the office of Zion's Landmark, 200 copies, for gratuitous distribution, of the excellent effects of which I am myself well acquainted. It is called, "The Sun Cholera Mixture," having first been published by the New York Sun in 1851; and it is the best known remedy for diarrhea, dysentery, cholera morbus and cholera. The recipe can be filled at almost every drug store, and is as follows: "Take equal parts of tincture of rhubarb, tincture of opium, tincture of cayenne pepper, essence of peppermint and spirits of camphor, and mix well." The dose for an adult is 15 to 30 drops in about two tablespoonfuls of water (either with or without sugar) every twenty or thirty minutes until relieved. One or two doses are generally sufficient. Even infants may take a few drops without harm. Our Lord and His apostles delighted to relieve bodily as well as spiritual troubles. The body is one of the best channels through which to reach the soul.

Desirous of feeling especially thankful to the Lord for His wonderful goodness to me during my trip, and invoking His blessing upon all with whom I met, I remain as ever,



The Gospel Messenger--October 1889

In Appleton's Annual Cyclopedia for 1887-88, I find the following very interesting and instructive account of Mr. C. H. Spurgeon's withdrawal from the Baptist Union of England and Wales

``The Rev. C. H. Spurgeon gave notice of his withdrawal from the Baptist Union, by publication in his journal, The Sword and Trowel, for November, 1887, and in a letter to the Secretary of that body dated October 28th. As a reason for taking this step, he affirmed that the Union was tolerating error, and permitting a downward tendency of ministers in points of doctrine, in that some persons were allowed to remain in it who make light of the atonement, deny the personality of the Holy Ghost, call the fall of man a fable, speak slightingly of justification by faith, refuse credence to the dogma of the plenary inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, and hold that there is another probation after death, with possibilities of a future retribution of the lost.. While efforts to induce him to reconsider his decision were without avail, be declared that he remained as much a Baptist as ever-his denominationalism not being affected by his relations with the Union, a voluntary, unofficial body.

``In December, 1887, the Council of the Union, a kind of Executive Committee, consisting of one hundred members, appointed a committee to visit Mr. Spurgeon and deliberate with him as to how the unity of our denomination in true love and good works may best be contained. The committee reported to a subsequent meeting of the Council, January 18, 1888, that Mr. Spurgeon had declined to discuss the question of his action toward the Union, and that he could not see his way clear to withdraw his resignation; but that he had furnished a statement embodying the following conditions:

'In answer to the question what I would advise as likely to promote permanent union in truth, love and good works; I should answer:

(1) Let the Union have a simple basis of Bible truths; these are usually described as 'evangelical doctrine.'

(2) 'I know of no better summary of these than that adopted by the Evangelical Alliance see Church History, page 596 and subscribed by members of so many religious communities for several years. The exact words need not be used, of course, but that formula indicates the run of truth which is most generally followed among us, and should be so followed.'

He had, however, declared that he would not undertake, on these conditions being complied with by the Union, to rejoin it, but would await results. The question was again considered at subsequent meetings of the Council, and a declaration was adopted (at the annual spring meeting in April, 1888,) which was intended to define the attitude of the Union in relation to the question at issue, in terms that would be acceptable to Mr. Spurgeon. In this declaration, 'while expressly disavowing any power to control belief or restrict inquiry, yet, in view of the uneasiness produced in the churches by recent discussions, and to show their agreement with one another and with their fellow Christians on the great truths of the gospel,' the Council affirmed that the great majority of the Union accepted substantially the doctrinal basis of the Evangelical Alliance in the usual sense; but that, 'from the first, some, while reverently accepting all divine teaching, have accepted other interpretations, which seem to them consistent with it, and that the Union have had no difficulty in working with them.' 'This action was not accepted by Mr. Spurgeon, who declared himself one outside of the Union,' and having no right to have anything further to do with its creeds or its declarations. 'All has been done that can be done,' he said, 'and yet, without violence we cannot unite; let us not attempt it any more; but each one go his own way in quiet, each striving honestly for that which he believes to be the revealed truth of God. I could have wished that, instead of saving the Union, or even purifying it, the more prominent thought had been to conform everything to the word of the Lord.'''

Thus, with all their new nineteenth century means, and methods, and institutions, and machinery we see that the people known as ``Missionary Baptists'' in England and Wales, are affiliating with the leaven of infidelity, and are tolerating such a corruption of doctrine that their most famous, and most able, and most nearly scriptural minister has publicly and finally withdrawn from them. And there is sad evidence to believe that a similar declension in doctrine has extensively affected the people known as ``Missionary Baptists'' in the United States.


The Gospel Messenger--January 1889

Elder J. R. Respess, My Dear Brother,

Your most precious and tender and spiritual and comforting letter of the 11th inst. I found awaiting me here on my return from Wilson, the night of the 14th, where I went the day after the burial of my wife, with her mother and sister and my little children, to spend a few days and try to rest. I feel that only the Spirit of God, my dear brother, could have guided your pen to write such consoling words----consoling me not only with their heavenly depth and richness and beauty, but also with the almost startling oneness of some of your and my exercises of soul in regard to this dreadful Providence. You speak, at some length, and with deep interest to me, as though God, Himself, whose ambassador you are, did speak to me, of the dark cloud overshadowing and immersing us, and the bright cloud beyond, seen only by the eye of Faith---the lower cloud but temporal, while the upper is eternal. And dear Bro. Chick comfortingly writes me, "He maketh the clouds His chariot."

In the midnight hours of the last day of last year, as I sat by the bedside of my poor, dying wife, and near her mother and sister, and had my pen in hand, writing the last words in my diary for the year, the Lord gave me a vision, which I at once recorded in the diary and told at once to the two other tearful and anxious watchers. The year was dying, and my wife seemed dying, and all my earthly hopes seemed dying, too, and a black and heavy cloud overspread the entire heavens and blotted out the light of every star; but, as I gazed intently at the appalling gloom, I perceived that the black cloud was not all, but that above it there was a bright, golden cloud of heavenly and immortal glory, reflecting the dazzling radiance of the Eternal City of the Great King, with its pearly gates and jeweled walls and streets of transparent gold. And, in the depth of the temporal darkness that enveloped me, a heavenly voice seemed to whisper, "All is well! All is well!" I was lifted above the blackness and the beatings of the midnight storm, and basked in the unclouded beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and felt that for me and my dear one, all was well, all was well. I could but hope that this blessed manifestation indicated the temporal restoration, as well as the eternal salvation of my beloved companion; but the black cloud did not break---it was only the heavenly glory of the upper side that I saw-the brightness of the eternal things not seen by mortal eye-beyond the bloody coat of JosEph seen by Jacob, and filling him with grief, as you well say, Joseph alive and living for his father-beyond the wreck of our earthly hopes strewn upon the sea, like Paul in the tempest of fourteen days, the safe landing on the shore-beyond the midnight storm on the Sea of Galilee and the distress of the disciples of Jesus, the coming of their Lord, and the instant calming voice-beyond the sickness and death of the beloved Lazarus, and the mourning of Martha and Mary, the resurrection of their brother from the grave by the love and power of Jesus, who is the Resurrection and the Life, in whose sight the death of His saints is precious, who guards well their sleeping dust, and who will, at the last day, raise the body sown in corruption, dishonor, weakness, and naturalness, to a condition of incorruption, glory, power, and spirituality, swallowing up death in victory, through the efficacious and eternal power of His atoning blood.

You say to me, my dear brother, "I know you are beyond the reach of mere human aid, but you are not beyond the reach of Jesus; even if you are in a desert place apart, Jesus will feed you there with heavenly food." That is what I desire, if I know anything about my own heart,--to be separate from the world and to be with Jesus, to be fed with the precious body and blood of the adorable Son of God, and to be thoroughly conformed to His glorious character of meekness and loveliness and perfect resignation to the Divine will, of unworldliness and heavenly-mindedness, of unselfishness and devotion to the well-being of my fellow creatures, and to the service of my God. To that, my entire future life could be a whole burnt-offering to the honor of my ever blessed Creator, Benefactor and Redeemer! Besides the vision of December 31st, He has most mercifully given me many precious assurances that He has taken my beloved wife to the mansions of eternal rest, which is infinitely better for her than to have remained in this sin-laden and sin-darkened world. Such assurances were her extraordinary laboriousness, quietness, patience and self-denial; her feeling of unworthiness, and her little, trembling hope of salvation through the blood of the Lamb; her increasing interest, during the last year or two in spiritual and eternal things; the pleasure with which she had come to read all the pages of the Gospel Messenger, (her favorite periodical), as her increasing family cares scarcely ever allowed her to go to preaching; her dreaming, two or three times, of being baptized, though she never united with the church; her sainted father appearing some months ago to her in a dream, and saying to her that he used greatly to enjoy the spiritual company of the brethren on earth, as they sweetly communed together and sang of Jesus, but that the pure and eternal joys of the real heaven were incomparably greater; and the Virgin Mary appearing to her in a dream, two or three years ago, and showing her a beautiful mansion in the skies, and saying; "This is the house not built with hands, eternal in the heavens, and is meant for you." But oh! How lonely and desolate it is for me to live in this world without her; to see the traces of her skilful and busy and loving hands everywhere around me, and yet to know that those dear hands and that sweet form are forever hidden, on earth, from my sight by the cold, dark clods of the valley, in the repulsive limits of the tomb; to suffer the irreparable loss of her faithful and devoted ministrations to me and to our five poor, little, helpless children, all under eight years of age, and one only a month old. O! Lord, all Thy waves and Thy billows are gone over me, and I feel overwhelmed in coldness and darkness! Thou hast broken up my home and scattered my little family, and almost blasted my temporal means of support; but Thou art infinitely holy and righteous in all Thy ways and works, O! Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel! Thou gavest, and thou hast taken away; and forever blessed be Thy most holy name! I wonder not at the severity of Thy most righteous judgments upon me, the chief of sinners, even shouldst Thou at once consign me to the lowest hell; but I unceasingly marvel at the multitude and magnitude of Thy amazing mercies to me, the most unworthy of Thy creatures-the gift of two such excellent wives as I have had, and so many dear little children, and of food and raiment and shelter for them and me, and, above all else, the unspeakable gift of Thine only Son to tabernacle in the infirmities of mortal flesh, and to toil and suffer and weep and bleed and die for poor, lost, ruined, rebellious sinners, such as I am, both by nature and by practice!

"O! for such love let rocks and hills!

Their lasting silence break,

And all harmonious human tongues

Their Saviour's praises speak!

Why was I made to hear His voice,

And enter while there's room,

While thousands make a wretched choice,

And rather starve than come?

'Twas the same love that spread the feast,

That sweetly forced me in;

Else I had still refused to taste,

And perished in my sin."

Sister Cordelia Slade, of this place, the daughter of my father by his second wife, a member of our church at Skewarky, and wife of Brother William Slade, a merchant here, and a Deacon of our church, has most kindly taken the care of my motherless infant daughter, and treats it as her own; and Sister Calvin Woodard, of Wilson, N. C., has taken the two next youngest of my children, little Mary and Calvin, as she can do so much better for them than I could with the help only of a hired nurse. My two oldest children, Frank, who was seven years old last August, and Charles, who was six last November, I have with myself, and expect, if spared to start them to school here next Monday, the beginning of my spring session. I taught only four months of the fall session, on account of my wife's sickness the last or fifth month. I have broken up housekeeping and am boarding with my half-brother, Walter, at mother's, the old family mansion. Back home again at last, but under such distressing circumstances! My dear wife removed to the eternal world, my little infant in another part of town, my little boy Calvin, seventeen months old, who is very bright, and just beginning to walk and talk, and my little girl Mary, not quite three and a half years old, who is generally quiet and sad, as her mother was, both these little darlings sixty miles away, so that I can scarcely, if I and they live, hope to see them before my summer vacation! O Lord, there is not one stroke of thy chastening rod that I do not richly deserve and need, and I would kiss that rod in all its smitings, and bless thee in all thy righteous, though inscrutable, dispensations. I would be nothing, and less than nothing, for thee, and would say with thy dear dying Son, "I am a worm, and no man," {Ps 22:6} -very low and vile, capacitated for suffering, but neither able nor disposed to harm any living thing.

Pray for me, my dear brother, that the Lord would give me his sustaining and directing and consecrating grace.


The Gospel Messenger--July 1889

My dear, bright, sweet babe, FANNIE WINNIE HASSELL who was born December 9, 1888 and whose mother died January 6, 1889, was, after two months of great suffering released from her prison-house of clay, May 30, 1889, and borne I believe, by ministering angels, to the arms of a Saviour's love, After the death of her mother, Sister Cordelia Slade, the daughter of my father by his second wife, and her husband, Brother William Shade, took her to their pleasant home, and loved and cared for her as though she were their own. The Lord gave my precious darling a warm place in their hearts, and with the greatest pleasure they ministered to her every want. They employed Sister Louisa Respess, a colored member of the church at Skewarkey, and the most loving and tender of nurses to be with her by day and by night. Louisa attended her most tenderly and faithfully as did also another excellent nurse, Jane Hassell and Brother and Sister Slade, and I myself, all the time that I could get from my manifold duties, and was distressed because I could not be every moment with her, and greatly desired my summer vacation to come so that I might nurse her all the time myself; and both of our town physicians visited her, but her short race on earth was run, and the little lamb was gathered into the Heavenly fold, where sin and sickness and pain and fear and restlessness and death are forever unknown. ``Suffer little children, says Jesus, ``to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.'' Lu 18:16

Innocence, humanity, and peace were writ upon the features of my dear babe in death. Her remains were deposited near those of her beloved mother, on Friday afternoon, May 31, in the cemetery at Skewarkey.


The Gospel Messenger-January 1890

EDITORS OF THE GOSPEL MESSENGER-Dear Brethren: I wish to make some statements and ask some questions respecting a point of order which is causing a great deal of confusion throughout Northwest Alabama. The churches composing the Mt. Zion Association in the division of the Baptists in 1832, came out against all missionary operations and went on in this way for a number of years. But, eventually, the churches laid down the rein of discipline and received Missionaries on the credit of their baptism, and other institutions, into their fellowship, even going far enough to mix and mingle with them in their protracted meetings at some of the churches, and went on for a number of years in this condition. During this time they received one Brother Ballew on the credit of his Missionary baptism, and he afterwards went to preaching and was ordained by Salem Church, of the Mt. Zion Association, and he served this and other churches of the same Association, and was a man of high standing among theme Eventually, the churches resolved to return to the old land-marks by putting away all whom they had received upon the credit of their Missionary baptism, and all who belonged to any institution, secret or otherwise, declaring a non-fellowship for the same. The church, now, thinking they had complied with gospel law. This put out Elder Ballew and all whom he had baptized; arid Salem Church, while in conference, extended an opportunity for the reception of members, and Elder Ballew and the majority of those whom he had baptized before came forward and joined by an experience of Grace, and were baptized as though they had never been dipped before.

Before the churches went into the disorder above mentioned,. they had some five or six preachers who had been legally set apart to the work of the ministry, who went into the disorder with the churches. The churches, in their return to order, retained all the work done by those preachers during the time of the disorder.

After the churches of the Mt. Zion Association had put out the disorder, as above mentioned, they were then received into correspondence with the regular order of Baptists. Since this time there has been men moved into the bounds of this Association and joined some of the churches by letter, and have gone to preaching and have been ordained to the work of the ministry, and have been serving churches and baptizing people, and helping to ordain preachers and constituting churches, and believing that they were doing what the Lord required at their hands, who have stood aloof and have not been contaminated with any of the above disorders, and believing, when they joined, that they were joining an orderly Baptist church. Seeing they were sound in doctrine and orderly in practice-seeing they had neither Missionary baptisms nor institutions among them, and was in correspondence with other orderly Baptist Associations. There have been some brethren moved into the bounds of this Association that claim that all the work done since the churches laid down the rein of discipline is in disorder, because the churches failed to put out the work of these preachers that was legally set apart to the work of the ministry when they put out Elder Ballew and his work.

Consequently, they claim that everything that has been done since the churches laid down the rein of discipline is in disorder, and they are, therefore, constituting churches and refusing to recognize any one who has been baptized or ordained in the midst of these churches of the Mt. Zion Association.

Question, 1st. Did the churches do right in 1818 in putting out all Missionary baptisms and institutions, and retaining the work of Those preachers that went into the disorder with them?

Question, 2d. If not, do you think it would he right to go back and baptize all of those people over, or reject them as heretics?

Question, 3d. Would not such a course involve the Baptists into an endless confusion, seeing that the most of our churches and Associations have had more or less irregularity among them?

Question, 4th. To require those brethren to go back and be baptized again, would it not be punishing the innocent for what someone else had done? besides it would be impossible for then to know that the second administrator, himself, would be right, and that there was no disorder underlying of his standing; and to pursue this course will bring hundreds of the Baptists of Alabama into confusion, and will serve to divide them into fractions

Please give this a place in THE MESSENGER, as the brethren are deeply interested, and it will concern many of the Associations of Alabama, as some of the Associations of Georgia have dropped correspondence already, without an investigation. We wish the views of the editors of THE MESSENGER; also, Elder Hassell, of North Carolina, Elders Rowe and Purifoy, and as many others as well to have a word, as information is what we want. Please publish as soon as possible. Those brethren herein mentioned will give their views as soon as possible, either through THE MESSENGER or by private letter.

Yours, to serve in gospel bonds, J. F. STEWART. Lincoln, Ala.


The Gospel Messenger-May 1890

In The GOSPEL MESSENGER of January, 1890, there is a letter from Eld. J. T. Stewart, of Lincoln, Alabama, in regard to the troubles in the Mt. Zion Association, in North Alabama; and in the same number of the MESSENGER, pages 33, 34 and 35, Eld. J. H. Respess gives his views upon the subject. In the MESSENGER of February, 1890, pages 53 and 54, Eld. F. A. Chick heartily endorses the views of Eld. Respess.

On February 3, 1891, Eld. Stewart writes Eld. Respess again, and says that the trouble, instead of abating, seems to be increasing; and he asks for additional advice in the interest of righteousness and peace. As Eld. Stewart had previously done, so Eld Respess now requests me to write an article upon the subject; and all of us would be glad to have, also, the views of other brethren in regard to this important matter, which, in several States, threatens permanent confusion and division among our Churches and Associations.

In the first place, I will present a brief statement of the facts in regard to the Mount Zion and Mount Moriah Associations in North Alabama, and their opponents, the New Hope Association and some of her correspondents in North Georgia. In 1832 the churches composing the Mount Zion Association, withdrew from all connection with the Missionary, or New School Baptists, and so continued for some years; but, after awhile, they became lax in discipline, and for some time received Missionaries on the credit of their baptism. In 1878, however, these churches resolved to return to the old land-marks, by putting away all whom they had received on their alien baptism, and all who belonged to men-made institutions. During their laxity of discipline, Salem Church, one of their churches, had received an Eld. Ballew on his Missionary baptism, and he, after his reception, had baptized several persons before 1878; and in 1878 he and Those whom he had baptized, came forward and joined by an experience of grace, and were baptized as though they had never been immersed before. But the baptisms during the disorder, performed by those ministers who had been baptized and ordained before the disorder, were not repeated. After 1878 Mount Zion Association was received into correspondence with regular Primitive Baptists. But New Hope Association, and some of her correspondents, maintain that the churches of Mount Zion Association ought to have re-baptized all the persons who were baptized, during the disorder, by even all her old, previously baptized arid previously ordained ministers. And New Hope Association also contends that Eld. J. T. Stewart himself, and his Association (Mount Moriah), are in disorder, because he is a member of, and was ordained (in 1881) by the authority of Providence Church (Blount county, Ala.,) which church, although it never had any alien baptisms or institutions in it, was a member of Mount Zion Association until 1874, when she withdrew from it on account of these unscriptural innovations, and joined the Mount Moriah Association, and the latter Association opened correspondence with Mount Zion Association in 1878, after Mount Zion had put away her alien baptisms and institutions; and another reason why New Hope Association maintains that Eld. Stewart is in disorder, and that, therefore, all the persons whom he has baptized should by re-baptized, and all the deacons and elders whom he has helped to ordain should be re-ordained, and all the churches that he has helped to constitute should be re-constituted, is, that of the three elders (J. J. Akers, H. J. Redd and C. Whitworth,) who ordained him, the church to which one of them (C. Whitworth) belonged, had one Missionary baptism in it at that time; this fact, however, being then unknown to Eld Stewart and to his church, and to the Baptists in general, and even to the majority of C. Whitworth's church, and that member having since received gospel baptism. Eld. Stewart says that the New Hope Association came out, in 1840, from the Tallapoosa Association, a Missionary body, which had had missions in it for three years prior to that time, and yet that the New Hope has ever since retained all the work done while among those Missionaries for three years; and that New Hope has received Mount Carmel Church (of Alabama), which was a member of Mount Moriah Association, and, while putting out all work done by Eld. Stewart in that church, retains all the work done, at the same time, by her pastor, Bid. John McLeroy. In conclusion, Eld. Stewart affirms that in all points of Primitive Baptist faith and practice, the Mount Zion, Mount Moriah and New hope Associations are entirely agreed; and that though they all have been in disorder, neither one of these Associations has, in any of its churches, any alien baptisms or any men-made institutions.

The view of Eld. Respess is substantially as follows: ``it will not do to incorporate the gospel with the law, with its endless ceremonies and washings. Under the law, there was no space given for repentance. But it is one of the chief glories of the gospel over the law, that repentance, confession, and doing so no more, puts away all manner of Sin, not only of individuals, but also of churches. It is, of course, proper and right to undo all sins that can be undone; but nothing should be unlawfully undone, for that would be but to exchange one sin for another, and to leave the transgressor still under guilt. Many of the apostolic churches erred in doctrine or in order, and were commanded to repent. If a church sins, she should not visit her own sins upon the heads of the innocent members baptized by her authority; {De 24:16} and in order that a church may be purged of her sin, she must, like the individual Christian, confess it with penitence, not by force, ask forgiveness, and do it no more, and that is the end of the gospel law. Such things as she can righteously, she could and will undo, and she will know by the Spirit what they are, and there will be peace. I think the churches erred in expelling those members baptized by her authority and re-baptizing them. They were as lawfully baptized the first time as they were the second time. If the church authorized an improper person to do it, that was her sin, and could not attaint the innocent members baptized by her authorized agent.''

Eld. Chick says: ``I approve of your view of the matter altogether. It has long seemed to me that we cannot straighten out the crooked paths made by our fathers; I do not think we are called upon to attempt it. Of one thing I am sure, that if scrutiny were to be made close enough, there is not a church in the whole United States that could show a clean record-somewhere back in the past will be found some irregularities which now would throw a church into disorder. If the case be as Bro. Stewart states it, to declare all these churches and brethren in disorder would practically unchurch almost every church in the United States, and even the very churches ministered to by the apostles themselves. No doubt the brethren who are stirring up this matter are sincere and honest, and believe that they are doing God service, but they will learn that it is not theirs to set other children of God straight. It would be right, it seems to me, for them to insist that such disorders shall not again occur. As Bro. Respess has said, we are not under the law, but under the gospel. The Spirit is more than the form; to maintain a form we should not destroy the brethren for whom Christ died.''

I have tried to examine this whole subject in a prayerful, solemn and impartial manner, and I am not conscious of being actuated, in the investigation, by any other motive than the glory of God and the good of his people. I know none of the members of either of these Associations personally, and I have the same Christian love and esteem for theta all. Especially ever since I began to work on the Church History, I have desired, more than ever before, to find out and to declare, on all subjects, ``the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,'' because the truth, and the truth only, can do any one real and lasting good.

As shown by Ex 32:15,35; De 13:1,18; Jos 7:1,26; 1Ki 18:40; and 2Ki 10:18,30, the congregation of ancient Israel was to be purged of idolaters; and, as shown by Ac 5:1-2; 1Co 5:1,13; 1Ti 1:20; 2Ti 2:16; 3:5; 2Th 3:6; and Tit 3:10, the Christian church should withdraw from its disorderly and heretical members. As I have said in the Church History (pages 290, 291), ``A tender, faithful, scriptural discipline, like that observed by the people of God in the apostolic age, is of the highest and most vital importance for the welfare of the church; the neglect of such discipline is the most potent cause of evil in the church.

``'The object of faithful church discipline,' as John Gill well says, 'is three fold. First, The glory of God, whose great and holy name is dishonored by the evil principles, or evil practices, of church members, and whose honor is vindicated by their prompt and proper correction. Second, The preservation of the church from corruption and destruction; the old leaven of wickedness must be purged: out to preserve the whole body from infection; evil communications corrupt good manners; lepers were to be put out of the camp, so as not to infect others; and so erroneous persons, whose words eat as a canker, must be removed from the communion of gospel churches. Third, the good of the offending parties who, if real children of God, are, by proper discipline, brought to shame and repentance for their sins, and an acknowledgment of them, when they are to be received again with all love and tenderness, and to be comforted, that they might not be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.

The question at the head of this article, ``Can a Church in Disorder do things in Order?'' seems to me to resolve itself into two other questions: First, Can disorder of any kind unchurch a church, so that its administration of the gospel ordinances would be invalid? And second, if so, what kind of disorder? As perhaps all so-called churches now in the world were derived originally from the churches planted by the apostles, every Primitive Baptist would answer the first of these questions in the affirmative: Disorder may unchurch a church. And as to the second question, I suppose that the great majority of Primitive Baptists would say that gross and persistent departure from the doctrine and the discipline of the apostles would unchurch a church, and render its administration of the gospel ordinances invalid.

In dealing with our brethren in our sister churches who, like ourselves, accept the Scriptures as the only standard of faith and practice, and who, like ourselves, believe in the divine Trinity; the doctrine of predestination and election; salvation by grace alone; the immersion of believers only; the supreme headship of Christ over his people, as their only Prophet, Priest and King; reverent obedience to all his commandments, and the rejection of all the religious inventions and institutions of men-we ought prayerfully and earnestly to examine the following passages of scripture: Ex 20:1,3; De 6:5 Le 19:18; 2Ch 28:10,15; 30:18,20; Ezr 10:1,17; Ne 5:12-13; Ps 32:5; 2:12,12; 85:8; 122:6,9; 133; Pr 28:13; Jer 6:16; Mt 6:15; 7:12; 18:15,18; 22:37,40; Joh 13:34-35; 17:21,23; Ac 2:42; 20:30; Ro 16:17-18; 1Co 1:10; 3:3; Eph 4:1,6; 2Th 3:16; 1Pe 1:22-23; 4:8; 1Jo 1:3,10; 2:9,11; 3:14; 4:7,21. We should abandon the teachings of our own fleshly natures and of our fleshly brethren (who are certainly in the flesh if they oppose the Scriptures), and follow the teachings of our Lord, who, in these texts, plainly tells us that we should worship Him alone; that we should love him with all our powers, and love our neighbors, especially our brethren, as we love ourselves; that this principle of self-sacrificing love is the one pre-eminent and indispensable mark of true religion, without which all else is as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal; that the Church of Christ is the highest visible authority on earth; that as He forgives and receives all who, by His grace, repent of and confess and forsake their wrongs, so must His church and people do; that forbearance, and peace, and love and unity should be the never-failing characteristics of the elect, redeemed and regenerated people of God.

As baptism is the initial ordinance of the Christian Church, it may be used, in this connection, to represent and include all the other ordinances. For the present occasion, I have made a special and diligent search of all the Scriptures and of the whole field of Church History, and I cannot find that, up to the time of the separation of the Primitive from the New School Baptists- about sixty years ago-any church of Christ which had had, by its own authority, any believers baptized (that is, immersed,) in the name of the Father, and Son and Spirit, required such believers to be re-immersed.

In Ac 19:1,7, the Apostle Paul re-immerses the twelve disciples at Ephesus, who had been immersed (by whom or by whose authority, it is not stated) unto John's baptism, and who had never heard whether there was any Holy Ghost. John the Baptist {Mt 3:11-12} taught plainly of the Holy Ghost and of Christ; so that these twelve men probably never heard John I preach and were not baptized by him, but by some pretended disciple of his. The baptism which John, himself, performed, was of God, and was valid, and is never said in the Scriptures to have been repeated. He baptized Christ and several of his apostles; and the believing and eloquent Apollos, who was mighty in the Scriptures, and who came to Ephesus, also, {Ac 18:24,28} knowing only, but knowing scripturally; the baptism of John, was simply taught by Aquilla and Priscilla the way of God more perfectly, and we are not told that he was re-baptized. He was evidently, as a minister of Christ, esteemed highly by the Apostle Paul.- 1Co 1:12; 3:4,6; 16:12; Tit 3:13. Excepting the case of the twelve men at Ephesus, who are not at all said to have constituted a church, there is no other mention of a re-immersion of persons in the New Testament.

The Novations, in the third century; the Donatists, in the fourth; the Waldenses, in the twelfth; and the Anabaptists in the sixteenth, like the Primitive Baptists in the nineteenth century, re-immersed all persons who came to them from the apostate Catholic and other so-called churches; but not in a single instance, so far as history shows us, did they re-immerse a person whom they, themselves, had already immersed.- Church History, pages 377, 390, 437, 440, 473.

In 1774-1777, some churches of the Kehukee Association (Church History, page 698) re-immersed those of their members who had been immersed in unbelief and to this course, as in Ac 19:1,7, no Primitive Baptist would now object; for faith should precede baptism.-Mr 16:16; Ac 2:41; 8:36,38; 16:31,34.

The Strict Baptists of England, who most nearly, in doctrine and practice, resemble the Primitive Baptists of United States, do not exact re-baptism on the part even of the members already immersed in belief, who join them from other ``churches,'' though they require a relation of their Christian experience.-Church History, page 606. We, of course, would consider this practice disorderly, but it shows the strong feeling of our English brethren against the repetition of the immersion of believers.

Nearly all our churches, which were existing at the time of our separation from the New School Baptists, were for a few years more or less involved in at least toleration of men-made institutions; and yet no one of these churches of ours, so far as I have ever learned, required the re-immersion of any of its members who had been received during the period of such disorder. In accordance with the Scriptures, those baptized believers who had done the wrong, repented, confessed and forsook it, and in the glorious spirit of the gospel they were freely and fully forgiven by their brethren. And the sacred ordinance of baptism, which was meant to signify our death, and burial, and resurrection with Christ, was not perverted from its plain and unmistakable scriptural meaning, and required to be repeated upon a member because of his disorder; for Christ died but once, was buried but once, and rose from the dead but once; and the apostolic inscription upon the banner of His militant church is, ``One Lord, One Faith, and One Baptism.''-Eph 4.

I cannot but think, therefore, in the light of the Scripture, and of all past Baptist history, that our brethren of the New Hope Association are in error, so far as regards the present trouble, if the circumstances have been correctly reported to me. It seems to me that either they are wrong in this matter, or else nearly all the other Primitive Baptist churches in the United States are wrong in their views of gospel discipline.

May the Spirit of Christ-the Spirit of truth and love-show His people the right way, and restore peace and prosperity to the Zion of our God.



The Gospel Messenger--June 1890

Some of my brethren, whom I love and esteem as much abler and better than myself, seem to infer that I have in my article on ``The Old Paths'' set the old London Baptist Confession of Faith above the Scriptures. If I used in that article expressions at all justifying such an inference, I certainly did not mean so to do; and I take this occasion to beg my fair-minded and intelligent brethren and sister to read carefully the 5th, 7th, 13th, 14th and 15th pages of ``The Old Paths,'' and pages iii, iv., vii., viii., 659, 660, 663, and 664 of the Church history, and then to decide whether, with such sentiments as I have there expressed. I could ever prefer any human document to the only inspired and infallible standard of Divine truth, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Incomparably do I prefer the Scriptures, not only to all human Confessions of Faith, but even to all the original and brilliant speculations and theories of my own brethren of the present century. My only reason why I prefer the London Confession to these modern peculations and to other uninspired enunciations of religious views, is because the London Confession seems to me to follow the Scriptures more fully, faithfully, and wisely than any other uninspired production; and, in ``The Old Paths,'' I have urged my brethren ``especially to study the Scriptures cited in the London Confession and to compare their teachings with those of all the other Scriptures,'' and I have added, ``Let God be true, but every man a liar.'' {Ro 3:4} In the preface of the Church History, pp. vii. and viii., I have said: ``The best of the interpretations of the Bible are but the interpretations of fallible men. The right and duty of private judgment in the himself or for any other man since the Apostolic Age, ceases to that extent to be a Baptist, or a Protestant, or a follower of Christ, and renounces those precious principles of religious liberty, in defense of which have flowed rivers of the best blood on earth. A proper knowledge of genuine church history delivers us from the tyranny of both ancient and modern popes of every name, and directs us to the Bible as the only authoritative standard of faith and practice. Old School, Primitive, or Bible Baptists, should be the la people in the world 'o have a pope or popes among them. No book, no pamphlet, no periodical, no document of any kind, must be taken as a substitute for the Bible; and no author, no editor, no preacher. no teacher, no writer, and no body of men must he substituted for Christ, who is the only Prophet, Priest, and King of His people.'' And, in the foot-note on pp. 663 and 664 of the Church History, I have remarked, in connection with the London Confession of Faith itself: ``All people, whether professors of religion or not, have some kind of religious belief-that is some kind of creed either written or unwritten. A creed is a convenient summary of the religious belief of a particular people at a particular time; and may he useful as a bond of union between those who profess to believe it, as an aid to the understanding of the Scriptures, and as a safe-guard against false doctrine and practice. But let it never be forgotten that it is both the Baptist and the Protestant doctrine that the Bible is the only authoritative and infallible rule of faith and practice, and that each individual has the inalienable right, necessitated by his inalienable personal responsibility, to interpret the Bible for him self. Only the Greek and Roman Catholic so-called Churches and Romanizing Protestants put their creeds on a level with the Bible, and claim for them equal authority and infallibility. All increase of spiritual knowledge of course improves a creed, and makes it approximate more close to the Bible.''

The Bible contains a great deal of matter; few people have read it all; and no one remembers and understands, or can remember or understand it all. All professing Christian denominations claim to get their principles, no matter how different and even opposite they may be, from the Bible: ``this is the book where each his dogma seeks, and this the book where each his dogma finds,'' or professes to find. Hence Bible Baptists have always heretofore maintained the great value and importance of orthodox Church Articles or Confessions of Faith, for presenting a ``comprehensive summary of the statements of God's work, for exhibiting the unity of the truth, for guiding the thoughts of inquirers, and for testing soundness in the faith.'' On the 5th page of ``The Old Paths,'' I have quoted, from the 837th page of the Church History, the following language of my father: ``Primitive Baptists stand by their Articles; they read them, they believe them to be true, and they preach the doctrine contained in them; and hope that themselves and their successors will continue to do so even to interpretation of the Scriptures is also a fundamental Baptist and Protestant doctrine; such rights I not only claim for myself, but I willingly allow to every other human being-only let each one remember and admit that no person and no set of persons now on earth are infallible. Papacy is equally offensive to reason and to faith. He who claims infallibility for the end of the world. And this they do with great pleasure, though well aware that such a course is disapproved by nearly all other professed Christians in America. While some denominations have creeds more or less orthodox, yet it is lamentably true that they are almost universally disregarded by the ministers and members of nearly all the religious sects and societies in the land. In this awful day of degeneracy, Baptists should adhere more steadfast to the apostles' doctrine, which induces to fellowship in Christ, to communion and prayers, in order that the distinction between the Church and the world might appear greater than ever before, if possible.''

Nothing is more common to-day, in both the religious and the irreligious world, in their pulpits, periodicals, and books, than the denunciation of Creeds or Confessions of Faith, the declaration that they are useless, outgrown, false, and abominable- especially that all Calvinistic or Predestinarian Confessions of Faith are hideous, intolerant, and intolerable nightmares that should be relegated to the Dark Ages; that all denominations can unite on the broad platform of the Bible, and that it does not matter what a person believes, if be will join the ``Church,'' and help on the good and grand work of the evangelization of the world.

Now I should be sorry to believe that this false spirit of modern liberalism, latitudinarianism, and indifferentism has invaded the Old School or Primitive Baptist Church, which I regard as the true Church of Christ. And yet a stranger might reasonably so infer from the unguarded remarks of the brethren to whom I have referred in the first sentence of this article. Still nothing, I believe, would be further from the truth than such an inference. I cannot think that these brethren are prepared to advise their own Churches to throw overboard their Articles of Faith as worthless rubbish and to fraternize with all the religious denominations of the world; or prepared to advise our religious periodicals to abandon, as useless lumber, the settled principles announced in their prospectuses. No, indeed! these brethren would he among the last in the Primitive Baptist Church to advise such a course. They themselves have the most rigid and uncompromising doctrinal views; and, if human nature is the same in all men, they are disposed to think that those who differ with them in these views are not entirely sound. Like all other men, they have a creed of their own-a creed, too, not unwritten, but abundantly set forth in their writings-a creed which seems to me, at least in some respects, far more unbending than the old London Confession of Faith-a creed to which its authors and advocates seem to me to ascribe something of papal infallibility. However unsound or heretical these brethren may think me to be, I repeat with emphasis, what I said in ``The Old Paths,'' that I think more scriptural, and therefore I prefer, the Old London Baptist Confession of Faith-the Confession adopted by all the oldest Baptist Associations in the world, including my own Association, the Kehukee, and the same in substance of doctrine as the Articles of Faith, today, of my own Church, Skewarkey, and of the most of other Primitive Baptist Churches-that I prefer, as more scriptural, this old Baptist Confession to all the fine-spun speculations of my brethren of the nineteenth century upon the Trinity, Predestination, the Law, Regeneration, the Resurrection, and the General Judgment.

A semblance of a proposition at the last session of the Kehukee Association, to change some words in the first two lines of the Fourth of our old Articles of Faith (Church History, page 699,) reading thus, ``We believe that, when God made man at first, be was perfect, holy and upright, able to keep the law, but liable to fall,'' was, as graphically described by one of our oldest ministers, ``speedily thrown under the table among other rubbish,'' by the oldest Primitive Baptist Association in the world. We want no change whatever in our old Articles of Faith; if changes are ever begun to be made, there will be no end to them, and we shall be imitating the religious societies of the world, and like them may plunge into infidelity. In regard to the proposition just referred to, we do not for a moment believe, no matter what any uninspired man may say, that an infinitely holy, just, and merciful God compels any of his creatures to sin, and much less that lie compelled the federal head and representative of the human race, His unfallen and upright creature, Adam, made in His own holy image and likeness, to sin, and thus involve billions of his descend ants in everlasting wickedness and misery. Others may thin/c they believe this monstrous assertion; but the old Kehukee Association, I am rejoiced to say, totally repudiates it, as altogether unscriptural and blasphemous. Like Paul before Felix, we ``confess that after the way which they call heresy, so worship we the God of our fathers,'', {Ac 24:14} and in the manner in which our fathers worshipped Him. While we believe that, in each believer and in the Church, light is increasing and grace is growing, we do not believe that that light is darkness. {Mt 6:23; Eph 5:8; 1Jo 1:5} nor that growth a monstrosity {2Pe 3:18; Ps 92:12,15; Ho 14:5; Mal 4:2; Eph 2:19-22; 4:15-16} We do not believe that the Spirit of God teaches His people now lessons that are directly contradictory of what He has taught them in the past. God is unchangeable; and His truth is equally eternal.

Divine truth, as rev in the Scriptures, is one, symmetrical and perfect body, as perfect as the mystical body of Christ, which holds that truth (Church history, p. 512, last foot-note); and, in no other human document, have I seen that truth so fully and correctly presented, without excrescence and without mutilation, {Re 22:18-19} as in the old London Baptist Confession of Faith. It sets forth what I and the great majority of Primitive Baptists of the United States believe to be ``the apostles' doctrine;'' and, like the apostolic churches, it is only by ``continuing steadfastly in this doctrine,'' that we can continue also ``in fellowship, and in, breaking of bread, and in prayer. ``-Acts ii. 42. 1 could not, in conscientiousness and faithfulness, receive or retain, as a member of my own Church, any person who believed this doctrine, as set forth in our Articles of Faith, to be a lie. How ``can two walk together, except they be agreed?''-Am 3:3; 2Co 6:14-15. Every Baptist Church is of course independent in its reception and retention of members.

In conclusion I desire to say, what I have said on the 621st page of the Church History, that ``1 am satisfied that the differences between Primitive Baptists are mainly wars of words, and that they would disappear if the parties could meet in person and in the right spirit.'' From what I have read and heard of the brethren alluded to in the first sentence of this article, I believe that their faith is essentially the same as mine; that they have been made by the Divine Spirit able and useful ministers of the New Testament and that the differences between us are chiefly strifes of words; but, not before nor on an equality with, but next after the Scriptures, I prefer ``the form of sound words'' in our oldest Baptists Confessions to all modern theories.- 2Ti 1:13; Eph 4:11-16. In that perfect World of Light, and Peace, and Love, to which the saints are hastening, the mists that now envelope the mysteries of Divine Revelation will be dissipated by the unclouded beams of the Sun of- Righteousness, our verbal differences will vanish, and in answer to the prayer of our great High Priest, all the redeemed family of God-all the members of His Mystical Body shall be perfectly one, even as the Father and the Son are one-Joh 17:20-23.


The Gospel Messenger--July 1890

ELDER J. R. RESPESS-Dear Brother: A year ago you made, in the GOSPEL MESSENGER, a very tender appeal to our brethren and sisters and friends in my behalf., urging them to come forward and relieve me of the debt of two thousand dollars, which I had incurred by the preparation and publication of the Church History. As you know, I first declined, and afterwards consented with great, reluctance to your request to be allowed to publish such an appeal; for it is exceedingly disagreeable to me to appear in the character of a public beneficiary and it is far more pleasant to give than to receive. But, as the large debt, with its rapidly accumulating interest at eight per cent, was contracted, not for my individual benefit, but for that of the public, and as it seemed certain that, without help from others, my little family of six would be impoverished, I at last agreed to the publication of the appeal. The Signs of the Times, Zion's Landmark and the Primitive Monitor have kindly seconded your efforts; and our members and friends have responded with generous and touching liberality. During the year, since you published the appeal, twelve hundred and fifty dollars have been kindly contributed for the payment of the Church History debt, so that on April 6th, 1889, I made a payment on my note that reduced the amount to $900 (NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS), with interest at eight per cent, from that date. My property is still held under mortgage for the payment of this balance. Returning my unfeigned thanks to the clear brethren and sisters and friends who have thus been divinely moved to help me to bear the heavy bur en incurred by my earnest endeavors to serve the cause of eternal truth, I am,

Yours in love and trial, SYLVESTER HASSELL


The Gospel Messenger--August 1890

Having been specially requested to prepare an article on this interesting and important subject, I have just re-investigated the whole matter as thoroughly as I could, and will proceed to give the results of my inquiries.

The ancient Jews surpassed all other nations in the accuracy and length of their genealogical tables, as a certain part of the land of Canaan was allotted to each tribe as an inalienable possession, and as God designed that it might be shown from these tables that His incarnate.Son, the Messiah, was descended in the flesh, according to promise, from David; Jesse, Judah, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham; and Eve. Since the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the Jewish genealogical tables in that city A. D. 70, it has become impossible to trace the pedigree of any Israelite claiming to be their promised and still expected Messiah, who must, therefore, have al ready come; and also impossible to disprove the accuracy of the genealogies in Matthew and Luke, as the same person sometimes has more than one name, and as different lines of descent may be given.

In a foot-note on the 181st page of the Church History, I have said: ``Matthew gives in his first chapter, the descent of Christ from David and Abraham, according to prophecies made about 1,000 and 2,000 years before, and he abridges his genealogy as the Jews frequently did, giving three lists, each containing fourteen names, probably to aid the memory. Luke, in his third chapter, gives the descent of Christ from Adam, the seed of the woman, according to the promise made in the garden of Eden, 4,000 years before. Joseph as Luke tells us, (Lu 3:23, and as also implied by the language of Matthew in Mt 1:16), was not the real, but only the supposed or reputed father of Jesus. According to Nu 36:8, Joseph and Mary must have been of the same tribe and family. It is thought that Jacob, the father of JosEph as mentioned by Matthew, was the brother of Heli, or Eli, mentioned as the father of JosEph by Luke, and that Mary was the daughter of Eli; so that Joseph and Mary were first cousins, and Joseph was the son-in-law of Eli-son- in-law being called son by the Jews. Thus, while Matthew gives the royal or legal descent of JosEph it is likely that Luke gives the natural or private descent of Mary. The Jews, in their genealogical tables, reckoned descent wholly by males. The bitterest early enemies of Christ did not deny His descent from David. Mary is always called by the Jews 'the daughter of Heli. Matthew, writing for Jews, gives the legal pedigree of Jesus (which was always reckoned in the male line) through Joseph his legal father, in the line of Solomon; while Luke, writing for Gentiles, and proving that Christ was the seed of the woman, traces His natural or real pedigree through His mother Mary, in the line of Nathan. His birth was known only to a few; but the acknowledged descent of His legal father from David secured that the descent of Jesus Himself from David should never be questioned.'' The view thus given is substantially that of the great majority of the critical scholars of modern times, such as Luther, Grotius, Bengel, Olshauser Ebrard, Wieseler, Robinson, Gardiner, Lange, Kitto, Plumptre, Weiss, Godet, Brown, and Schaff. ``It is supported by the fact that in Matthew's history of the infancy Joseph is most prominent; in Luke's account, Mary. If we take this explanation, Jesus was in a double sense the son of David-in law and in fact, from His reputed father, and from His natural mother.''

At the close of the foot-note in the History, I have added: ``Many able scholars believe that both Matthew and Luke give the genealogy of Joseph-Mary's descent from David being implied. They think that Matthan in Mt 1:15, was the same as Matthat in Lu 3:24; that he had two sons, Jacob and Heli; that Jacob, the elder brother, had no son, and therefore that JosEph the son of his younger brother Heli, became heir to his uncle Jacob and to the throne of David; and that he married his cousin Mary, the only child of Jacob, according to the law; {Nu 10:8} ``so that in point of fact, though not of form, both the genealogies are as much Mary's as Joseph's.'' This is the view of Mill, Hervey, Mansel, Fausset, and Smith.

``From Abraham to David, Matthew and Luke agree; thenceforward the names differ. Luke has 42 from David, Matthew only 27. The less number in Matthew is intelligible, if he be only tracing the heirs to the throne; for 'the heir of my heir is my heir.' His division of the generations from Abraham to Christ. into three periods of fourteen each is significant (i, 17.) Fourteen is the double of seven, the number for completeness; and three is the sacred number. The period from Abraham to David is that of patriarchs; from David to the Babylonian captivity, that of kings; from the captivity to Christ., that of private individuals.'' By comparing the books of Kings and Chronicles with Matthew's list, it will be seen that he omits the not very important kings, Abaziah, Joash, Amaziab, Jehoahaz, Jeboiakim, and Zedekiah; ``but such artificial aids to memory were familiar to the Jews, and much larger gaps are found in some of the Old Testament genealogies.'' Jechonias, {Mt 1:12} also called Jehoiachin, or Jeconiah died childless, {Jer 22:30} and the royal succession passed to the nearest heir, Solathiel, of the house of Nathan; {Zec 12:12} as, in the 9th verse, it is probable, from the Old Testament, that Ahaz was only eleven years older than Hezekiah, and died childless, and was succeeded by Hezekiah as the nearest heir to the throne, according to the principle of the Jewish law laid down in Nu 27:8-11. Luke (Lu 3:36) mentions Cainan as the son of Arpharod; this name occurs in the Septuagint version of Ge 10:24; 11:12; and 1Ch 1:18; but it is not found in the original Hebrew, or in other ancient versions; nor is it found in all the Greek manuscripts of Luke; ``a transcriber may have inserted it from the margin, where it had been noted down from the Septuagint. Joseph being of the house and lineage of David, was compelled to go to Bethlehem, the city of David, to be taxed, and there and then, according to prophecy, Jesus, the infant Messiah, was born of Mary, a virgin, who was also a descendant of David, {Lu 2:1-21; Mic 5:2; Isa 7:14; 9:6-7; Jer 23:5-6; Ro 1:3; 2Ti 2:8; Joh 7:12; Ac 13:23}


The Gospel Messenger-December 1890

My only motive in writing the article that appeared in the May MESSENGER in regard to the troubles among the Primitive Baptist churches and Associations in North Georgia and Alabama, was to do what I might be divinely enabled towards bringing about a gospel and lasting peace between the contending parties; and for that purpose I earnestly investigated and candidly declared the principles that seemed to me to be taught by the Scriptures, and by Baptist history in connection with the controverted points.

Believing that the general principles enunciated in my May communication are in accordance with the Scriptures, I cannot renounce or modify them; but, during the last month, additional circumstances have been reported to me which seem to modify the application of those principles to the present case. These circumstances I have learned from Eld. Geo. M. Holcombe, of North Alabama, (Walter, Culman county), who was born and who, until two and a half years ago, lived in the bounds of the New Hope Association, and who is moderator of Fellowship Association, which was organized in July, 1890, and consists of thirteen churches, nine ordained ministers, five licentiates and one hundred and seventy-seven members. Eld. Holcombe writes me in a very mild, humble and loving spirit; and some of the most important additional circumstances that he relates to me are confirmed by the statements of Eld. David Tidwell, of Springville, Ala., and Eld. Enoch Phillips, of Waco, Ga.

Before stating any of these circumstances, I would say that, so far as my information extends, New Hope Association is in unexceptional order; that no other regular Primitive Baptist Association has any objection to her order; that the present question is not at all in regard to her order, but entirely in regard to the order of the Mt. Zion and the Mt. Moriah Associations of North Alabama; and that, like all other Associations, the New Hope has the unquestionable and exclusive right to regulate her own correspondence, and that she should be a better judge of that matter than any other body.

The additional circumstances of interest reported to me are as follows: That the New Hope Association was formed from the Tallapoosa Association in the same year (1840) in which modern religious innovations appeared in the Tallapoosa, and has always kept herself entirely aloof from such innovations; that she has never interfered with the Mt. Zion Association, nor prescribed their course to them, but always told them, if satisfied with their order, to remain with it, but, if not satisfied, to make prayerful investigation for themselves and act according to their convictions, regardless of what men might say; that, in consequence, there has been a steady falling off in the ranks of the Mt. Zion Association, nearly all their leading ministers and members going to the recently organized Fellowship Association, and Eld. McLeroy. with his church, leaving the Mt. Moriah and joining the New Hope; that Mt. Zion Association, which was formed in order about 1820, and which withdrew from all connection with the New School Baptists and men-made institutions in 1832, restored such connection in 1840, and remained very disorderly, both in doctrine and in practice, receiving New School Baptists on their letters, allowing their members to join secret societies, and permitting ministers of all denominations to preach among them; that, while the great majority of the churches and members in the original Mt. Zion Association remain to this day in this gross disorder, a few of them, in 1877, resolved to return to the old paths, and in 1878 they separated from their former brethren and constituted a reformed Mt. Zion Association, and applied for recognition to the Euharlee Association of North Georgia, which received them on a kind of probation, and which was the only association that ever corresponded with them, except their original correspondence, which like themselves; that the reformed Mt. Zion Association divided in 1880 or 1881 upon words to no profit, and declared non-fellowship for each other, and remains in this condition still, so that there are now three bodies calling themselves the Mt. Zion Association, meeting the same day and having nothing to do with each other; and that even in the reformed bodies some of the ministers preach conditional election, and almost all sorts of errors from Arminianism to Two-Seedism. With such disorders, of course no orderly Primitive Baptist church or Association can have fellowship.

The only point of difference between the views of Elds. Holcombe, Phillips and Tidwell, on the one side, and Elds. Respess, Chick, Harris and myself, on the other, is whether the immersion of believers baptized by a church of Christ should be repeated? and this question seems to resolve itself into that other question, What amount of disorder unchurches a church? Certainly if a body be a church of Christ, its administration of gospel ordinances is valid. And in deciding what amount of disorder unchurches a church, we should remember, as Eld. Chick suggests, the occasional disorders in almost all our churches, and even in the churches served by the Apostles themselves; and, as Eld. Respess suggests, the gross disorder in some of the seven churches of Asia, which are still recognized by the Spirit as churches, and admonished as churches to repent of their sin-s but not of their right acts.

I heartily endorse the suggestion of Bro. Sawyer, approved by Eld. Respess, that the brethren of several Associations who are acquainted with these troubles, meet in a spirit of truth and love and peace, and, looking to the Lord for guidance, endeavor to bring about a gospel and lasting settlement. And, like Eld. Respess, and in accordance with similar examples in the Scriptures, and in church history, I would be glad to see a similar passover and spiritual coming together in other quarters of our militant Zion.


The Gospel Messenger--January 1891

In the form of Church Covenant, given on the 695th page of the Church History, and adopted, in substance, by a large number of the Primitive Baptist churches, occurs the declaration, ``We agree, with God's assistance, to pray in our families.''

In the preface to the London Baptist Confession of Faith, the Ministers and Messengers of the Baptist churches of England and Wales in 1869, say: ``Verily there is one spring and cause of the decay of religion in our day which we cannot but touch upon and earnestly urge a redress of, and that is the neglect of the worship of God in families by those to whom the charge and conduct of them is committed. May not the gross ignorance and instability of many, with the profaneness of others, be justly charged upon their parents and masters, who have not trained them up in the way wherein they ought to walk, when they were young, but have neglected those frequent and solemn commands which the Lord hath laid upon them, so to catechize and instruct them that their tender years might be seasoned with the knowledge of the truth of God as revealed in the Scriptures, and also by their own omission of prayer and other duties of religion in their families, together with the ill-example of their loose conversation, have inured them first to a neglect, and then contempt of all piety and religion! We know this will not excuse the blindness and wickedness of any, but certainly it will fall heavy upon those that have been thus the occasion thereof. They, indeed, die in their sins, but will not their blood be required of those under whose care they were, who yet permitted them to go on without warning, yea, led them into the paths of destruction! And will not the diligence of Christians, with respect to the discharge of these duties, in ages past, rise up in judgment against, and condemn many of those who would be esteemed such now!''-Church History, page 666.

In the 6th section of the 22d chapter of the London Confession, it is said: ``God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth, as in {Ac 10:2} private families {Mt 6:2} daily and {Mt 6:13} in secret, each one by himself, so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly nor willfully to be {Heb 10:25; Ac 2:42} neglected or forsaken, when God, by his word or providence, calleth thereunto.''- Church History, page 687.

In 1799 this query was put to the Kehukee Association: ``Is it not wrong for a man who is a member of a church and the head of a family, wholly to neglect family worship on account of the smallness of his gifts in prayer?'' And the answer given by the Association was: ``It is wrong.'' Church History, pages 832 and 833.

In the sketch of my father's life in the appendix of the Church History (page 929) I have said: ``As far back as I can remember he was in the habit of assembling his family around the family altar every morning and evening, to read a portion of Scripture, sing a hymn of praise, and to pour forth in the most humble and reverend manner his thanksgivings and supplications at the throne of grace: I can truly say that these were the most affecting, happy and blessed seasons of my life. They are ever-green spots in memory's waste, forming the nearest approach to heaven that I have ever realized on earth. He sang well and taught his children to sing. On Sunday morning, after prayers, he took great delight in instructing his children in Scripture history and the plan of salvation, and continually, both by precept and example, be strove to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I have often felt and said that I would rather have such a father than all the riches, honors and pleasures of the, world.''

The very general and deplorable neglect of family prayer among the people of God is both a sign and an occasion of the rapidly increasing degeneracy of these evil and perilous times, when Christianity has almost entirely evaporated into an empty and delusive name, when true and living faith has almost wholly departed from the earth. ``Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know Thee not,'' prays Jeremiah to the Lord, (x. 25)'' and upon the families that call not upon Thy name.'' O, for the spirit and voice of an inspired prophet or apostle! O, for the spirit of the Living God, to arouse his people from their deathful slumbers {Eph 5:14} to a realization of the transcendent importance of eternal things, to a lively sense of their obligations to their Saviour and their fellow-creatures! O, that the light and glory of the Lord Jesus might soon shine within and upon them, and end the long, cold, dark night, and usher in the brightness, beauty and fruitfulness of a heavenly day!-Isa 60; Song 2:10-13.

Dear brethren and sisters, let us address our fervent and unceasing petitions to the Most High for an early fulfillment of these precious promises. How can we expect the dead world of unbelievers to do any better than they do, when the church of Christ itself is so deeply immersed in the slumbers of worldliness or indifference! Is not this the Laodicean age of the church, wherein God says to her, ``Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.'' We can quarrel and fight each other to the death on idle and unprofitable questions of form and philosophy, and neglect the manifestation, in our words and lives, toward each other and our fellow-men, as well as towards our God, of the loving, humble, blessed and all-important spirit of Jesus, without which all our profession of religion is, in the sight of the Lord, an abominable mockery-nothing but sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal, though we might know all things, and have faith to move mountains, and speak with an eloquence equal to that of angels {1Co 13} May the Lord speedily emancipate his people from the bondage and delusion of legalism, psuedospiritualism and antinomianism, and enable all of them to stand fast in that heavenly liberty wherewith Chris hath made them free, {Ga 5:1} acknowledging Him their only master, their only prophet, priest and king. -Mt 23:5-12; Ac 3:22-23; Heb 7:21; Re 19:16.

And one of the most vitally important matters in which we should heartily obey the commandment and follow the example of our Saviour-King, is the cultivation of the spirit of prayer {Lu 18:1; Ro 12:12; Eph 6:18; Php 4:6} -to be continually coming in spirit unto God, humbling ourselves before Him, adoring and thanking Him, and supplicating Him for us mercies to ourselves and to our fellow-creatures. No mere man ever prayed so much as Jesus, our Divine High Priest-early in the morning, a great while before day (Mr 1:35, all the night, {Lu 6:12} when He was baptized, {Lu 3:21} when transfigured, {Lu 9:29} in Gethsemane, {Lu 22:44} on Calvary, {Mt 27:46; Lu 23:34,46} in his advocacy with the Father for all His people, {Joh 17} and his perpetual intercession for them at the right hand of God. {Heb 1; 3; 7:25} We are sinful and weak and blind, and can do nothing of ourselves; and it, therefore, pre-eminently becomes us to apply continually to God for cleansing, for strength and for guidance in everything that we do. Prayer has well been called ``the offering up of our desires to God, for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, by the help of His spirit, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of His mercies.'' It is called in the Scriptures, ``an asking, a seeking and knocking, a lifting up of the soul, a pouring out the heart, a looking up to and talking with God, a wrestling with God, a taking hold of God, meditation, inquiring, crying, sighing, mourning, groaning, weeping, breathing, supplication and entreaty.'' The temple of God was ``the house of prayer,'', {Isa 56:7; Mt 21:13} and his people have always been, from the beginning of their spiritual life, a praying people {Ac 9:11; Lu 18:7; Jer 31:9; Zec 12:10}

If we ought to pray always, {Lu 18:1; Eph 6:18} and everywhere, {1Ti 2:8} we certainly ought to pray once or twice a day in our families. The ancient Jews had three regular times of prayer each day, the third hour (9 AM, morning sacrifice), the sixth hour and the ninth hour (3 PM, evening sacrifice). -Ps 55:17; Da 6:10; 9:21; Ac 3:1; 10:3; 2:25. The Psalmist praised the Lord seven times a day (Ps 119:164), ``that is continually, seven being the number for perfection.'' Prayer may be ejaculatory, secret, family, social and public. Daily family worship, including the reading of the Scriptures, the singing of a hymn, and the offering of prayer to God, is of far greater importance to the well-being of a people than all the Sunday schools, Theological Seminaries, money-based religious societies, and men-made revivals in the world: We have beautiful and inspiring examples of family worship in the cases of Abraham (Ge 12:7-8; 18:19); Job (Job 1:5) Joshua (Jos 24:15), David, {2Sa 6:20} Daniel (Da 6:10), Cornelius, {Ac 10:2,30} Priscilla and Aquila, {Ro 16:3,5; 1Co 16:19} Nymphas, {Col 4:15} Philemon (Phm 25), and Mary. {Ac 12:12} Abraham, wherever he fixed his tent, built an altar to the Lord, both praying with and instructing his family. ``If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed,''; {Ga 3:29} and Jesus said to the Jews, ``If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham,'' {Joh 8:39} The Apostles formed the household of Christ, {Mt 10:25} and He both instructed them and often prayed with them Lu 9:18,28; 11:50). And that ``beautiful model of all proper supplication-the prayer that He taught them-implies in its very structure that it is to be used daily in some community like a family. It is to be a daily supplication-'give us this day our daily bread.' It is to be used not by an individual, but by a community. 'Our Father,' not my Father-who art in Heaven. 'Give us this day'-'forgive us our trespasses'-'lead us not into temptation'-'deliver us from evil.' Yet there is no community that can use this but a family; no other that are together each day, and where the prayer would be so directly adapted to the wants of the petitioners, as in a household dependent on God, bowing down before Him in the morning to ask the supply of their returning wants, and to implore protection and defense in the various trials to which the household would be exposed. It is given as a characteristic of those who know not God, that they call not on His name, and as classifying them with the heathen world.''-Jer 10:25.

We might have been so made as to live and labor and suffer and die alone; but our wise and merciful Creator saw that such solitude would not be good for us, {Ge 2:18} and therefore He ordained the distribution of mankind in families, not only for natural, but also for spiritual purposes. {Ex 12:21; Jer 10:25; Zec 12:12,14; Isa 44:3; 59:21; Ps 103:17-18; Ac 2:39; 2Ti 1:5; 3:15} Their temporal interests, resources, sympathies, labors, joys and sorrows are one; surely there cannot but be a longing desire among all the gracious members of a family, that all the other members should be partakers of the same spiritual blessing. They are involved in a common apostasy, and are going to a common tomb; and especially must the husband and father, if he is a Christian in reality as well as name, more earnestly desire spiritual than even temporal blessings for his family, and he cannot but wish at times to commend his dear ones to his Heavenly Father for guidance, support and protection amid the difficulties, trials and temptations of their sinful natures and an evil world; and most especially must he desire to pray for his children, who are inexperienced, unsuspecting, and impressible, and to whom the world is full of fresh and bright and strong attractions. ``Greatly do I wonder, that, in a world of temptations like this, and at a period of life so exposed as that of childhood and youth, any parent dare suffer his children to go forth into the allurements which they will certainly meet without having asked the Father of mercies to take them beneath His protecting care, and to defend them from the ills that may ruin them and bring anguish into your own souls. Much do I marvel that you can fail to implore the help of Him, who, when your eye shall sleep in death, and the child shall walk over your unconscious grave, can stretch forth a hand more mighty than yours, and speak with a voice more tender than yours, to save him from the ways of ruin and despair. And much do I wonder that there is rest to your pillow, when you have offered no sacrifice of praise to God for His preserving mercy, and sought no protection from Him whose eye never slumbers nor sleeps. Your household is practically heathen, {Jer 10:25} if no God is adored, no voice of prayer heard, no song of praise offered, no hands of faith stretched out to the heavens to implore the salvation of your beloved sons and daughters.'' True family worship is the richest privilege and blessing to every member of the household, and the most beautiful sight on earth. It says to all, ``There is a God! There is a spiritual world! There is a life to come!'' ``There is something infinitely more important than all natural things!'' ``It inspires thoughts of the invisible and eternal, increases reverence for God and His word, affords instruction in heavenly things, imparts strength to perform duty, resist temptation, and encounter sorrows, sweetens and strengthens family ties, and may extend a hallowing influence to unborn generations.''

Family prayer should be ``short, simple, direct, solemn, regular, and connected with the reading of the Holy Scriptures,'' which at times, if necessary, may be briefly explained. It need take but a few minutes; ``the substance of the Scriptures read may often be advantageously turned into prayer, both to prevent sameness and to impress them on the mind and heart;'' the petitions in the prayer which the Lord taught His disciples and in other Scriptures may be used, and the smallest gifts will improve with exercise, and the Holy Spirit will graciously help our infirmities.-Mt 25:14,30; Ro 8:26.

`Prayer is the simplest form of speech

That infant lips can try;

Prayer the sublimest strains that reach

The Majesty on high.

`The saints in prayer appear as one,

In word and deed and mind,

When with the Father and the Son,

Their fellowship they find.

``Prayer is the Christian's vital breath

The Christian's native air,

His watchword at the gates of death,

He enters heaven with prayer.

``Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice

Returning from his ways;

While angels in their songs rejoice,

And say, 'Behold, he prays!'

``O Thou, by whom we come to God,

The Life, the Truth, the Way,

The path of prayer Thyself hast trod,

Lord, teach us how to pray!''

H2.014 TRUTH

``The Truth of the Lord endureth forever''. {Ps 117:2} ``Thy Word is Truth''. {Joh 17:17} ``Jesus saith, I am the Truth''. {Joh 14:6} ``When the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all Truth''. {Joh 16:13} ``We can do nothing against the Truth, but for the Truth''. {2Co 13:8}

Truth is ``conformity to fact or reality''; and the perfect truth, in regard to the Creator and the creation, past, present, and future, is set forth in the Old and New Testament Scriptures, and is embodied in the Lord Jesus Christ, and is revealed by His Spirit in the hearts of His people, and can never be overthrown by His enemies.

That portion of Truth which most concerns the human race is the character of God and man, the relation between God and man, and God's purpose in regard to the destiny of man, and God's only way of saving man from sin and hell.

Under the guidance of the Spirit of Truth, the Scriptures of Truth, being searched prayerfully and diligently, state these momentous facts in so plain a manner that the wayfaring man, the man traveling along the Highway of Holiness, shall not err therein. {Isa 35:8}

These facts are: That God is the only eternal and infinite Being; that He is a person, and spiritual, and sovereign omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, and unchangeable; that He exists as Father and Son and Spirit; and that He is perfectly holy and perfectly merciful. That He made man in His own image or likeness, and therefore sinless, and that man, left to himself, willfully sinned, and thus involved all his posterity in sin and death, from which ruined condition he cannot extricate himself. That God, foreseeing this lost estate of the human race, determined before the creation to provide a way for the salvation of sinful human beings by the atoning death of His incarnate Son and the renewing power of His Holy Spirit. That this salvation is perfectly free to all human beings who feel the need of it, and who therefore desire and beg for it. And that God, knowing that man by nature would not have such feelings and desires, graciously foreordained to send His Holy Spirit into the hearts of a great and innumerable multitude of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, for whom His Son should atone, to make them spiritually alive, to convince them of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and to reveal Christ in them the hope of glory, and to keep them by His power through faith unto salvation ready to be manifested to them at the last time-the resurrection of their bodies, and the conformity of their bodies to the glorious body of Christ at His second personal coming to the world, and then, in glorified souls and bodies, they will dwell forever with the Lord. But that God justly determined to leave multitudes of human beings, as He might justly have left all, to continue in the sins which they love and practice, and to die in that condition, and to he called from their graves, at the last day, to everlasting punishment. And that there is scriptural reason to believe that those who die in infancy are subjects of God's salvation; and that He is able to save, by His atoning Son and His renewing Spirit, idiots, and lunatics, and heathens. That salvation is alone by the sovereign grace of God, the redemption of His Son, and the regeneration of His Spirit. That this salvation is to be preached by His called and qualified ministers, without money, or price, to every person in all the world, as the Holy Spirit directs them, and as God opens the way to them in His providence. That all those who believe this gospel, or good news, and no others, are to be baptized (immersed or dipped) in and under water in the name of the Father and the Son and the Spirit, and to be gathered into churches, of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Head and Lawgiver, and of which elders (or pastors or bishops) to minister in spiritual things, and deacons, to minister in carnal things, are the only officers. That Christ is the only Mediator and High Priest between God and man, and that all believers in Him are royal priests unto God, and that each local church is the highest visible ecclesiastical authority on earth, and that all the members of Christ's mystical body are bound together in a living and loving union, and that all His local churches have sisterly relations and obligations, and should maintain gospel order, and withdraw from every member that walks disorderly-every member that is guilty of gross transgression, or that, after being faithfully labored with, persists in error or sin. That the members of each church should meet together often for the spiritual and public worship of God in singing and prayer and in the reverent reading and expounding of the Holy Scriptures and in hearing such reading and exposition, and that they should,. from a principle of love, endeavor to obey all the precepts of God's Word and to be resigned to all His dispensations.

The great truths of the Divine election, predestination, redemption, regeneration, and resurrection are clearly declared in the Scriptures, and are to be heartily received and earnestly maintained; but there are mysterious depths in these truths that are not explained in the Scriptures, and that we, in our present state, cannot understand, and that we should not make them subjects of bitter discussion, confusion, and division. The large majority of Primitive Baptists are kept, by the Lord, from extreme controversy and division in regard to these mysteries, and reverently wait for the light of clearer revelations in a Brighter and Better World. And the large majority of Primitive Baptists, not finding secret, oath-bound, Christless societies, or instrumental music, or humanly protracted proselyting meetings in the Apostolic Churches, do not and will not have these new, human inventions in their churches now, so as to gain the favor of the world, which is at enmity with God.


The Gospel Messenger--August 1891

All errors in doctrine and discipline seem to me to arise from a defective and exclusive attention to one class, and inattention to another class of scriptures. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."----2Ti 3:16-17. And if there is one lesson more than another that I would fervently desire, by the aid of the Divine Spirit, to impress upon the minds and hearts of my brethren, is that they "search the scriptures," and "compare spiritual things with spiritual" {Joh 5:39; 1Co 2:13} in regard both to every doctrine that they believe, and every point of discipline that they practice. If any part of the scriptures had not been important and necessary for us to read and consider, it would not have been given originally by the Great Head of the Church, nor preserved by His providential care from generation to generation. I cannot say too often that especially in reference to spiritual and eternal realities, every person who has an "honest heart," "in whose spirit there is no guile," {Lu 8:15; Ps 32:2; Joh 1:47} wishes to know and to teach "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth;" and in every case where there is, on our part, a willful ignorance, or suppression, or misrepresentation of the truth, such a course is an infallible proof of the existence of deceit or guile in our hearts of some worldly or selfish motive---of which every true child of God, who has thus erred; will feel the burden, and from which he will earnestly seek deliverance. In the solemn light of eternity, which reveals the fleeting and shadowy nature of all worldly things, we do not wish to be deceived ourselves, nor to be instrumental in deceiving others. "All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do," {Heb 4:13} who "will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing' whether it be good, or whether it be evil." {Ec 7:14} "The truth of the Lord endureth forever;" {Ps 117:2} the great principles of His government are, like Himself, eternal and unchangeable; they were true - thousands of years before we were born, and will be true thousands of years after we are dead and forgotten. "Woe to him that striveth with his maker!" that "fighteth against God" - Isa 45:9; Ac 5:39. Such a contest, if continued, can result only in the destruction of the proud and foolish creature. May the Lord, in His great mercy, deliver us from such a course and such an end.

DIVINE FORGIVENESS.---Forever blessed be the gracious name of Israel's God, who, even when He God His holy law, proclaimed Himself, "The lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin."---Ex 34:4-9. If He should be strict to mark iniquity, not one of our sinful race would be able to stand; {Ps 130:3} for before Him 'every mouth is stopped, and all the world is guilty."---Ro 3:19. And yet the word and the Spirit of God teach everyone of His children that without two things there never would have been any manifestation of His forgiveness to them, and those two things are the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ {Le 4:20; Da 9:24; Ro 5:11; Eph 1:7; Heb 2:17} and that heartfelt repentance and confession for our sins which He always gives us before He grants us a sense of His pardoning love.---Le 16:21-22; 1Ki 8:33-34; 2Ch 7:14; Ps 32:5; 51:1-3; 130:3-4; Pr 28:13; Isa 55:7; Zec 7:10-14; 8:1; Lu 15:18-20; 24:47; Ac 3:19; 5:31; 1Jo 1:9. In Jer 31:33-34, the holy law of God is written in our hearts, and thus make a part of our inward natures, and we have that knowledge of the Holy One of Israel which is life eternal, and thus cannot but hate and confess and forsake our sins; and it is after this operation of the Holy Spirit that the Lord says, "I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sins no more." The parable of the prodigal son forms no exception to the invariable order in the kingdom of grace; the father in that parable represents God, and he knew (for He knows all things, and is Himself the fountain of every spiritual blessing) that His poor wayward son was coming back to Him with a reverent, penitent, and confessing spirit {Lu 15:17-19} before He ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him (verse 20). As for that elder son in that parable, it is perfectly evident that he cared nothing for the misery or repentance or confession of his younger brother; that he did not wish his father to receive him back on any terms; that he had no real love, but only hatred and contempt for the erring one.

Upon repentance, confession and forsaking of their sins, every true child of God is heartily rejoiced to forgive, re-admit into the church, and receive into full fellowship any erring brother or sister.

DIVINE FELLOWSHIP.---With all those who have been redeemed by the blood of His son, and quickened and sanctified by the power of His Holy Spirit, and who lovingly walk in the way of His holy commandments, God dwells in living and loving fellowship.---Ex 29:45-46; Le 26:3-13; Jer 31:31-34; Eze 11:20; 36:25-28; Zec 8:7-8; Joh 14:15-23; 2Co 6:14-18; 1Jo 1:3,5-6. But if even the redeemed and regenerated children of God walk in disobedience to His commandments, their sins separate between Him and them, and hide His face from them; and if, while they thus walk in darkness, they say they have fellowship with Him, they lie and do not speak the truth---De 32:19-20; Isa 59:2; Ps 51:9,12; Hab 1:3; 2Co 6:14-18; 1Jo 1:5-10. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all; and unless that Holy light dwells in the heart, and shines in the life of His child, the latter will not realize the fellowship of his Heavenly Father, who will never compromise His holy character, and stain His glory by showing the slightest fellowship for sin.

HUMAN FORGIVENESS.---Forgiveness is ceasing to feel anger, and ceasing to seek revenge or requital for wrong done one. All human beings are sinful creatures; and we are required, in the Scriptures, as we hope for Christ's sake to be forgiven our sins by our Creator, even so to forgive from our hearts, not only our offending brethren, but also our enemies, whether they repent and confess their wrongs to us or not---to leave vengeance to the Lord---to love our enemies, to bless them that curse us, to do good to them that hate us, to pray for them that despitefully use and persecute us---not to return evil for evil, and thus be overcome with evil, but to overcome evil with good.---Mt 5:43-48; 6:12,14,14; 18:21-22,35; Eph 6:24; Col 3:13; Jas 2:13; Ro 7:14,19-21; 1Pe 3:8-9. In Lu 17:3-4, Christ says to us, "If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him;" but in the passages just quoted, no mention is made of our brother's repentance, and still we are commanded to forgive him from our hearts, even seventy time seven times---that is unceasingly-for true charity never faileth.---1Co 13:8. Without the possession of this genuine love and mercy for our fellow creatures, all our profession of religion is sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal---an empty delusion.---1Co 13:1; 1Jo 2:9-11; 3:11-22,7-21.

HUMAN FELLOWSHIP.---Gospel fellowship is the mutual interest and delightful intercourse of saints in the truths, blessings, ordinances, and duties of the gospel---the loving union and communion of the children of God with one another in spiritual; things which they together receive and enjoy with one mind and heart. It is nor merely that natural love and kindness., forbearance, and forgiveness which all men should have for one another, but it is that spiritual principle that divine harmony of renewed souls with one another in the belief, enjoyment, and obedience of the gospel, which no power but the Holy Spirit can produce. It is simply impossible for gospel fellowship to exist between one who is and another who is not manifestly a child of God, or between an obedient and a disobedient child of God. Such fellowship may be professed, but it is a vain mockery. Those who are regenerated and influence by the Spirit of God cannot fellowship with "the unfruitful works of darkness;" {Eph 5:11} cannot partake sincerely of the Lord's supper with "any man called a brother, who is a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner."---1Co 5:8,11. It is only by "walking in the light that we have fellowship one with another."---1Jo 1:7. It was only by "continuing steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine" (including both their declarations and their precepts), that the primitive believers in Judea continued in "fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."---Ac 2:42. Righteousness can have no fellowship with unrighteousness, not light with darkness, nor Christ with Belial."---2Co 6:14-16. The faithful children of God bear, in this respect as well as others, the image of their Father, who hides His face from His disobedient people, in jealousy for His glory, and in love to them---not to destroy them, but to save them. In loving sorrow, we are to "withdraw from every brother that walketh disorderly."---2Th 3:6. When we disobey this injunction of His apostle, we dishonor God, corrupt the church, and injure the offending brother. Gospel discipline is neither malice nor Pharisaism. Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians contains more instructions in regard to discipline than any part of the New Testament, and yet it also contains, in perfect consistency the glorious thirteenth chapter on Charity, of Love. Faithful discipline is true, and not false charity. Without proper government, the church would degenerate into the world, and families, schools, states, the universe itself, would be reduced to primeval chaos. Faithful gospel discipline has always been a characteristic mark of the true Church of Christ; and its absence has been a mark of the Anti-Christ.

The wisdom that is from above has no respect to the persons of men, and is without partiality.---Jas 2:1-9; 3:17; Jude 25. It uses the same discipline towards church members who are learned, exalted, and wealthy, as those who are ignorant, lowly, and poor, and thus proves its heavenly origin.---De 10:17; 2Sa 14:14; Mt 23:16; Mr 7:14.

May the God of Israel mercifully deliver us from that evil spirit of idolatry, of self, and man, and the world., which, when it reigns, always confuses and divides His people, and breaks the fellowship of the churches of the saints.---1Co 14:33; Eph 4:1-6.


The Gospel Messenger--October 1891

In the June number of THE GOSPEL MESSENGER, Elder I J. Clabaugh, of New Hampton, Mo., in a letter to me, says: ``Please write for the MESSENGER an article on Ac 2:38, with especial reference to the clear understanding of the word 'for' as there used in the construction of the sentence.''

In his work entitled ``Religion in England from 1800 to 1850,'' vol. 1, pp. 117 and 118, Mr. John Stoughton, speaking of Thomas Scott's ``Family Bible,'' uses the language of Daniel Wilson, who says: ``The capital excellency of this valuable and immense undertaking perhaps, consists in following more closely than any other, the fair and adequate meaning of every part of Scripture, without regard to the niceties of human systems.'' Sir James Stephens says: ``Thomas Scott would have seen the labors of his life perish and would have perished with them rather than distort the sense of revelation by a hair's breadth from what he believed to be its genuine meaning.'' By this exact spirit of truth I wish that every Primitive Baptist was actuated in every article of doctrine and in every case of discipline, no matter what the consequent sacrifice might be. The truth alone can be of real and lasting benefit to any of us; and if the Scriptures are not literally and perfectly true, we have no standard of faith and practice. Impressed with a solemn and implicit belief in the verbal and plenary inspiration of the Scriptures, and looking to the unerring and gracious Spirit of truth for guidance, let us approach the examination of Ac 2:38, with a simple and sincere desire to understand precisely what the Apostle Peter meant to teach us by this exhortation of his on the day of Pentecost:

``Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.''

In the first place, every intelligent and candid reader sees that the great central living truth in the second chapter of Acts, without which all the remainder of the narrative would be nothing, is the presence and power, and work of the Holy Ghost-'' the grand blessing of the new covenant, which was to descend upon the church from the risen and glorified Savior''-``that signal event which was reserved to grace the Redeemer's triumphs, and to attest His resurrection and ascension to heavenly glory.''-Isa 44:3; Joe 2:28-29; Zec 12:10; Joh 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7,8-14; Lu 24:49; Ac 1:4-8.

I cannot do better than quote in this connection the language of Mr. Philip Schaff, in his ``History of the Christian Church,'' vol. 1, pp. 225-245:

``The ascension of Christ to Heaven was followed ten days afterwards by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon earth and the birth of the Christian Church. The Pentecostal event was the necessary result of the Passover event. It could never have taken place without the preceding resurrection and ascension. It was the first act of the mediatorial reign of the exalted Redeemer in heaven, and the beginning of an unbroken series of manifestations in fulfillment of his promise to be with his people alway, even unto the end of the world.' For His ascension was only a withdrawal of His visible local presence and the beginning of His spiritual omnipresence in the church, which is 'His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.' The Easter (that is, the resurrection) miracle and the Pentecostal miracle are continued and verified by the daily moral miracles of regeneration and sanctification throughout Christendom. We have but one authentic account of that epoch making event, in the second chapter of Acts, but in the parting addresses of our Lord to his disciples the promise of the Paraclete (the Holy Spirit) who should lead them into the whole truth, is very prominent, and the entire history of the apostolic church is illuminated and heated by the Pentecostal fire.'' ``The Pentecost in the year of the resurrection was the last Jewish (that is, typical) and the first Christian Pentecost. It became the spiritual harvest feast of redemption from sin and the birthday of the visible kingdom of Christ on earth. It marks the beginning of the dispensation of the Spirit, the third era in the history of the revelation of the triune God. On this day the Holy Spirit, who had hitherto wrought only sporadically and transiently, took up his permanent abode in mankind as the Spirit of truth and holiness, with the fullness of saving grace, to apply that grace thenceforth to believers, and to reveal and glorify Christ in their hearts, as Christ had revealed and glorified the Father.''

``While the apostles and disciples, about one hundred and twenty (ten times twelve) in number, no doubt mostly Galileans, were assembled before the morning devotions of the festal day, and were waiting in prayer for the fulfillment of the promise, the exalted Saviour sent from His heavenly throne the Holy Spirit upon them, and founded His church upon earth. The Sinaitic legislation was accompanied by thunder and lightning and a thick cloud upon the mount, and.the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud, and all the people that were in the camp trembled.' The church of the new covenant was ushered into existence with startling signs which filled the spectators with wonder and fear. It is quite natural, as Neander remarks, that 'the greatest miracle in the inner life of mankind should have been accompanied by extraordinary outward phenomena as sensible indications of its presence.' A supernatural sound, resembling that of a rushing mighty wind, came down from heaven, and filled the whole house in which they were assembled; and tongues like flames of fire distributed themselves among them, alighting for awhile on each head. These audible and visible signs were appropriate symbols of the purifying, enlightening and quickening power of the Divine Spirit, and announced a new spiritual creation. 'AND THEY WERE ALL FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.' This is the real inward miracle; the main fact, the central idea of the Pentecostal narrative. To the apostles, it was their baptism, confirmation and ordination, all in one, for they received no other (they were baptized with water by John, but Christian baptism was first administered by them on the day of Pentecost; Christ himself did not baptize, Joh 4:2) To them it was the great inspiration which enabled them hereafter to be authorative teachers of the gospel by tongue and pen?'

``But the communication of the Holy Spirit was not confined to the Twelve: It extended to the brethren of the Lord, the mother of Jesus, the pious women who had attended his ministry, and the whole brotherhood of a hundred and twenty souls who were assembled in that chamber. They were 'all' filled with the Spirit, and all spoke with tongues, and Peter saw in the event the promised outpouring of the Spirit upon 'all flesh,' Sons and daughters, young men and old men, servants and handmaidens. The beginning was a prophetic anticipation of the end, and a manifestation of the universal priesthood and brotherhood of believers in Christ in whom all are one, whether Jew or Greek, bond or free, male or female.''

``The Holy Spirit was certainly at work among the hearers as well as the speakers, and brought about the conversion of three thousand on that memorable day. In these first fruits of the glorified Redeemer, the typical meaning of the Jewish Pentecost was gloriously fulfilled. But this birthday of the Christian Church is in its turn only the beginning, the type and pledge, of a still greater spiritual harvest, and a universal feast of thanksgiving, when, in the full sense of the prophecy of Joel, the Holy Spirit shall be poured out on all flesh, when all the sons and daughters of men shall walk in his light, and God shall be praised with new tongues of fire for the completion of his wonderful work of redeeming love.''

As Mr. F. W. Farrar remarks: ``This new dispensation was no exclusive consecration to a separate priesthood, no isolated endowment of a narrow apostolate. It was the consecration of a whole church-its men, its women, its children-to be all of them 'a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.' This miracle was not merely transient, but is continuously renewed. It is not a rushing sound and gleaming light, seen perhaps for a moment, but it is a living energy and an increasing inspiration. It is not a visible symbol to a gathered handful of human souls in the upper room of a Jewish house, but a vivifying wind which shall henceforth breathe in all ages of the world's history; a tide of light which is rolling and shall roll from shore to shore, until the earth is full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.''-Isa 11:9; 65:17; 66:22-23; Ps 65:2; Ac 3:21; Ro 8:21; Da 2:35; 7:14; 2Pe 3:13; Re 11:15; 21:5.

Now, Peter and all the other apostles and disciples of Jesus had already been born of the Divine Spirit and on the day of Pentecost, they were additionally and specially endowed with that Spirit to be, unto all whom the Lord should call, effective witnesses for Jesus. After being thus endowed, Peter, on the day of Pentecost, preached Jesus and the resurrection, the Gospel of the Son of God, with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven. {Ac 2:22; 28:31; 1Pe 1:12} And thousands were pricked in their hearts and cried out, ``Men and brethren, what shall we do?''-Ac 2:37. They felt that they were murderers of their Lord and Messiah, and justly deserved his terrible vengeance, {Ac 2:23,36,19-21} and in sore distress they ask what they shall do. To these awakened, convicted, penitent and distressed souls, Peter answers: ``Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; 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.''-Acts ii. 38, 39. From the testimony of the Scriptures, there is nothing more certain than that the Holy Spirit, before Peter thus answered them, had already quickened and convicted these inquirers of their sins; {Zec 12:10; Eze 37:1-10; 36:26,31; Jer 31:9; Joh 16:7-11} and Peter, being himself filled with the Holy Ghost, exhorts them to do what the Holy Ghost was already working in their hearts-to repent-to change their views and feelings and life toward Jesus of Nazareth; this gracious change already going on within them under the power of the Divine; and as the perfectly appropriate and divinely commanded outward symbol of this inward spiritual change, he exhorts them, everyone of them to be baptized, immersed in water in or upon (as the preposition epi literally means) the name of Jesus Christ-resting entirely upon him, the Rock of Ages, upon which he builds His church, and not resting at all upon anyone or anything else for the remission or forgiveness of their sins; and then they should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, some of them in His miracle-working power, {Ac 8:15-20; 10:44-48; 11:17} but all of them in his comforting and sanctifying power. {Ac 3:19-26; Joh 14:16-28} Peter's exhortation in Ac 3:19-20,26, seems to me almost exactly equivalent in substance to that in Ac 2:38-40; the word opos rendered when in Ac 3:19, seems more properly rendered in the revised version, ``that so.'' Unless the inward baptism of the Holy Spirit precede, outward baptism in water is a mockery and delusion; {Ac 10:47-48} but if one has been inwardly and spiritually renewed, it is his bounden duty and highest privilege to be buried with Christ in the liquid grave and raised therefrom with Him, and he will enjoy more of the refreshing and saving presence of His Holy Spirit afterwards than before. The brightest and gladdest day of my life was that day on which I was baptized-publicly espoused to my Divine Bridegroom, my adorable Redeemer; and, as he hates putting away and never changes, and loves his own unto the end, His ready bride shall, at the close of the present dispensation, be welcomed to the eternal marriage supper of the Lamb.-Isa 54:5; 62:4-5; Mal 2:16; Joh 13:1; Re 19:9; 21:2.

The phrase rendered ``for the remission of sins,'' in Ac 2:38, is, in the Greek original, eis aphesin amartion, and is rendered more literally in the revised version ``unto the remission of sins.'' Exactly the same original phrase is found in Mt 26:28; Mr 1:4; and Lu 3:3. In the last two passages it is used in connection with John's baptism; but in Mt 26:28, it is used in connection with the shedding of the blood of Christ. Now we know plainly from other Scriptures that ``without shedding of blood there is no'' real ``remission'' of sins, {Heb 9:22} no real ``atonement for the soul''; {Le 17:2} and that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us really from all sin (1Jo 1:7; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; 1Pe 1:18-19; Re 1:5; 8:13), and therefore that the remission or washing away of sin by water baptism (in Ac 2:38; 3:19, and Ac 22:16) is only symbolical and experimental. Just as in the other ordinance of the Christian Church, the Lord's supper, when Christ says of the bread, ``This is my body,'' He means, ``this is the symbol of my body,'' and when He says of the wine, ``This is my blood,'' He means ``this is the symbol of my blood;'' and, when his Spirit is in our hearts while we partake of these emblems of His sufferings for our sins, our souls partake experimentally by faith of His broken body and shed blood, and the holy life of heaven, the Spirit of God, who is our life, pervades and purifies our inner being. Thus, and thus alone, do we die to sin and live to God; and ``the life which we now live in the flesh, we live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself for us''; {Ga 2:20} and we are ``constrained by the love of Christ to live no longer unto ourselves, but unto Him who died for us and rose again''.. {2Co 5:14-15}

As for the expression in Joh 3:5 ``Born of the water and the Spirit,'' and in Tit 3:5, ``The washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,'' John himself tells us (Joh 7:37-39) that the water means the Spirit, or is the symbol of the Spirit, of course, because of its indispensability to life, and its purifying and refreshing power, and so we might have easily gathered from Isa 44:3; Eze 47:1-12; Re 22:1, in connection with Mt 28:19. The word rendered and in Joh 3:5, and in Tit 3:5, is kai, and has two meanings, as Liddell and Scott tell us in the seventh edition of their Greek-English Lexicon, that of the Latin et, (and) is of the Latin etiam, (even). In the latter sense it may be used to explain what goes before, as it certainly is used in reference to ``God, even the Father,'' or ``God and our Father,'' in 2Co 1:3; Ga 1:4; 1Th 1:3; Eph 1:3.

The preposition eth rendered ``for'' or ``unto'' in Ac 2:38, refers in different passages to place or time, measure or limit, relation to or towards, or an end, purpose or object. In Ac 2:38, it has, I believe, this last meaning of an end, purpose or object, as shown by Ac 3:19; and it signifies, I am sure, not the real, but the symbolical and experimental remission of Sins. For Peter, the speaker in both these passages, says in his first Epistle, 1Pe 3:21, that baptism is ``not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God.'' The conscience, made good or pure by baptism in the blood of Christ, answers or responds to that internal saving work of the Holy Spirit, by following Jesus in the order of water baptism.

The great importance of believers being baptized in water is shown by such Scriptures as the following: Mt 3:13-17; 7:24-27; 10:32; 16:24; 28:18-20; Mr 16:16; Ac 2:38; 8:12; 10:47; 16:33; 19:5; 22:16; Joh 10:27; 14:23-24; Ro 6:3-6; Col 2:12. But the fact that water baptism is not essential to eternal salvation is proved by such Scriptures as the following: Mt 5:3-12; 6:14; 25:31-46; Lu 24:47; Joh 1:12-13,29; 3:3,6,16; 5:24-25; 6:40,47-50; 11:25-26; 17:3; Ac 5:31; 16:31; Ro 3:23-26; 5:19-21; 6:23; 8:28-39; 11:5-6; Eph 1:2; 2Ti 1:9; 1Pe 1:1-5; 1Jo 1:7; Re 1:5-6; 21:6; 22:17.

I will close with a very important additional proof of the correctness of my explanation of the phrase, ``receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.'' Jesus was begotten of the Holy Spirit, {Mt 1:18-23; Lu 1:35} and, in his youth, ``the Grace of God was upon Him,'' and He was ``in favor with God''; {Lu 2:40,52} but, after he had been baptized by John in the Jordan, the Holy Spirit descended visibly like a dove and lighted upon Him, and a voice came from Heaven saying, ``Thou art my beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased'', {Mt 3:16-17; Lu 3:22} and thenceforward Jesus was more fully and consciously ``anointed with the Holy Ghost and power''. {Isa 60:1-3; Lu 4:1,14,18,22; Ac 10:38} So it was with the apostles and disciples and their devout hearers {Ac 2:5} on the day of Pentecost; they had already been born of the Holy Ghost; but, on that day they were more abundantly and consciously gifted or endowed with His heavenly power, illuminating, comforting, strengthening and sanctifying them; and the presence of the Divine Comforter was especially manifested to the hearers after their baptism. {Joh 14:21,23}

Williamston, N. C., October 9, 1891


The one hundredth and twenty-sixth annual session of the Kehukee Primitive Baptist Association was held on the 3d, 4th and 5th of this month with the Great Swamp church, near Greenville, Pitt county, N. C. Out of forty churches thirty-five were represented, and all were in peace, love and fellowship, and all the deliberations of the Association were perfectly harmonious. We were blessed of the Lord with fine weather, good order, and excellent preaching. Thirty ministers were present, including nine from other Associations. The Kehukee corresponds with twenty-six sister Associations. Seventy-two members were added by baptism during the past year, and the whole number of members is 1773. It was estimated that three or four thousand persons were present on Sunday. Trading and money-making of all kinds are strictly forbidden on or near the grounds occupied by the Association. I delivered the introductory discourse from Luke xv3: 8, ``When the son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?'' Elds. Andrew J. Moore and D. A.. Mewborn preached the same afternoon. Elds Gold, Chick and Hardy preached on Sunday, and Elds. Adams, Gardner and Wooten on Monday. The Kehukee Association, the oldest Primitive Baptist Association in the world, stands squarely and uncompromisingly on the platform of the Holy Scriptures as expounded in the old London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, and utterly discards all the new religious inventions and innovations of men. We propose, by the grace of God, to continue to walk in the good old paths of the Baptist fathers, the prophets and apostles, and to contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. The aberrations, confusions and divisions of many whom we have called our brethren, but confirm and establish us the more in the faith of God's elect. For this wonderful blessing we would render all the praise to the God of our salvation.

Williamston, N. C., November 1891


MY DEAR BRO RESPESS: Your very interesting and precious favor of the 24th reached me last night. As always, I was very glad to hear from you, and to see that, although you feel to be in the furnace, the Son of God is working by His Holy Spirit so powerfully in you, and conforming you more and more to His meek, and lowly, and self-denying image. My dear and tried brother, I believe that I have realized that it is far better to be in the furnace with the Lord Jesus than to be in a palace without him. And if your exercises do not show that He is with you, I must confess that I know nothing about the operations of His blessed Spirit. The most favored servants of God, in their most favored moments, when the Divine Spirit was most abundantly with them, have most felt their nothingness and unworthiness. The opposite feeling is the very essence of pharisaism, which is most false and most abominable to God. Christ indeed made Himself poor that we might be rich; and those who have most of His Spirit will most imitate Him in this respect, both for His and their brethren's sake. The spirit of Christ, like self-denial, is exceedingly rare, not only in the world, but also in the Church; and the ministry are expected to make the most of the sacrifices for truth's sake. The Apostle Paul, knowing that the Lord had a wise purpose in permitting such things, learned to be abased and in want, and hunger, and thirst, and weariness, and painfulness, and frequent fastings, and cold, and nakedness, in scourgings, and stonings, and perils of many kinds, even among false brethren, in more abundant labors and imprisonments and deaths, and besides these outward trials, in the care of all the churches. 0, for the rich grace that sustained him, and enabled him to reflect the unearthly, the heavenly glory of his crucified and risen and exalted Lord! For all the outward and inward trials of earth are but fleeting and momentary, when compared with the eternal glories of that sinless and sorrowless land, that better and heavenly country which is just a little ahead of us, which surely awaits us when this poor feverish dream of life is presently ended. And, in bearing the heavy cross which He who died for us puts upon us, we are but treading in His holy footsteps, and being prepared by His Spirit for the glories of an incorruptible crown.

``My feet are worn and weary with the march

Over rough roads and up the steep hill-side;

Oh, city of our God! I fain would see

Thy pastures green, where peaceful waters glide.

``My hands are weary, laboring, toiling on,

Day after day for perishable meat;

Oh, city of our God! I fain would rest;

I sigh to gain thy glorious mercy-seat.

``My garments, travel-worn and stained with dust,

Oft rent by briers and thorns that crowd my way,

Would fain be made, O Lord, my righteousness,

Spotless and white in heaven's unclouded ray.

``My eyes are weary looking at the sin,

Impiety, and scorn, upon the earth;

Oh, city of our God! within thy walls,

All, all are clothed upon with the new birth.

``My heart is weary of its own deep sin,

Sinning, repenting, sinning still alway;

When shall my soul Thy glorious presence feel,

And find its guilt, dear Saviour, washed away?

``Patience, poor soul; the Saviour's feet were worn,

The Saviour's heart and hands were weary, too,

His garments stained, and travel-worn, and old,

His sacred eyes blinded with tears for you.

``Love thou the path of sorrow that He trod;

Toil on, and wait in patience for thy rest;

O, city of our God! we soon shall see

Thy glorious walls, home of the loved and blest!''

I was very much interested to learn of the whereabouts of your children, in whose welfare I feel greatly concerned, and for whom I believe that the Lord has given me a spirit of prayer. 0, that He may bless them eternal mercies! You did not speak of dear widowed Sister Minnie and her dear little fatherless children. I would like to hear where they are, and how they are getting along. I would desire to be remembered in love to dear Sister Respess and mother, and all the children, as well as to all our, dear brethren and sisters in your section. Often do I think of them, and with abounding love. Surely I never mingled with a more lovely and loving people. While life and memory last, they -will occupy a warm place in my poor heart. I can hardly hope ever to see them again on earth; but I do have a precious hope that we shall meet again in heaven.

Through the great mercy of the Lord, my health -seems to be gradually improving under the use of the Electropoise. Sister Cordelie has been decidedly benefited by its use, in the case of her long-standing nervous dyspepsia.

I have baptized three persons at my own church this summer; and I attended a delightful Union meeting in Pasquatauh county, not far from the ocean, the fourth Sunday in July, and hope, if spared, to attend another near Nag's Head (a summer resort on the beach) in September. I was at the Skewarkey Union, at Marattalt, near Plymouth, in May; and hope to go tomorrow to the same Union at Kehukee, near Scotland -Neck, thirty-five miles northwest of Williamston.

Mother expects to go with me by rail tomorrow; her health is about as usual. She is in her 77th year, and sends her love to you.

An Episcopal ``Evangelist,'' in a lecture here last Sunday night, stigmatized all who believed in immersion as the only baptism, as ``tyros and ignoramuses who have more brass than brains;'' so I wrote off, a day or two afterwards, and sent to the Episcopal rector here, a list of one hundred and twenty of the greatest scholars in the world, who maintain that the Greek verb baptizo does not mean to sprinkle or pour, and means -only to immerse. Yours in love,

H2.019 PEACE

The Gospel Messenger--January 1892

God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.-1Co 14:33.

In accordance with the brotherly invitation of Elder Respess, I am spending the winter with him in his hospitable arid Christian home at Butler, Ga., my infirm health for the past year seeming to require a milder and drier winter climate than that of my native place and usual residence, Williamston, N. C.

A letter just received by Eld. R. from a ministering brother in Texas has been handed to me with a request that I should write a short reply for the pages of the GOSPEL MESSENGER. This brother (Eld. Paul E. Corbet, Georgetown, Texas) writes in a gentle and humble spirit, deploring the contentions and divisions prevailing, in his section, among Primitive Baptists in regard to the doctrine and discipline of the church. He says:

``Crimination and recrimination are all the go in this part of Texas. What is the matter with the dear old people, the Primitive Baptists? It seems that they have thrown away the teachings of the blessed Son of God. I often think of what Jesus says and what the apostles taught among all the churches, 'Little children, love one another.' Now, we are taught that 'love catsteth out fear;' and further, that 'charity hideth a multitude of faults.' We may differ on some minor points of doctrine. No one is perfect in this life. There is one life that is perfect, the life which is hid with Christ in God. Therefore, considering that we are all finite beings in this world, we should always bear in mind that there is something in our own eye as well as in our brother's eye. My only reliance is that the God of all grace can bring order out of confusion, if it is but His holy will. John says, 'Little children, keep yourselves from idols.'- 1Jo 5:21. Now, if I am a child, I am a very little one, and I think there are some pet things which some of us have made idols of. I will not attempt to say what I think those idols are; yet I do not want to follow a multitude to do evil. Therefore, I will have to be alone yet, only depending on Him who is able to keep that which I have committed to His charge. To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is 'life and peace. Now, where there is so much talk about order, do we manifest the love of Christ? I am aware of the fact that we are not to keep company with 'fornicators, covetous, or extortioners, or railers, or drunkards, or blasphemers.' But I know that when we sin so against the brethren, we sin against Christ.''

The friends of Zion are deeply pained to know that, not only in Texas, but in nearly all parts of our widely extended country, similar strife and bitterness and divisions, springing from carnality and idolatry, as in ancient national Israel, are rampant among those whom we have called our brethren. Not only in the world, but also in the churches of the saints, Satan, our great adversary, is busily going up and down, seeking whom he may devour; {Job 1:7; 1Pe 5:8} and he is never better pleased than when he can get the people of God to biting and devouring one another.-Ga 5:15; 1Co 3:3; Jas 3:14-16.

It makes no difference to him upon what particular subject they quarrel and fight and consume one another, whether it be a point of doctrine or a point of order-the Trinity, predestination, eternal vital union, regeneration, the resurrection, the laying on of hands, feet-washing, or anything else, if only he can infuse his spirit into them, fill them with pride, selfishness, intolerance, malice and revenge; induce them to misrepresent, slander, vilify and unchristianize one another, to raise the black flag, and declare everlasting war to the knife against their former brethren. Thus, if the Almighty would allow him, Satan would rule or ruin, would reduce to primeval darkness and chaos, not only the little kingdom of light set up by the Lord on earth, but also the heaven of immortal glory. But, thanks be unto God, the Father of lights is infinitely above the Prince of darkness, and He will restrain and subdue the evil passions of men, and, in His own best time and way, even though it be after the purifying fires of the last day, fill the earth with the glories of His heavenly kingdom of light and truth and righteousness and peace.-Nu 14:21; Ps 85:1; Isa 11:9; 2Pe 3:13.

In regard to the great mysteries of Divine revelation, none of us can ever understand them in our present imperfect state, {Job 8:9; Ps 131:1; 1Co 8:2; 13:12} and even though we understood all mysteries, charity or love is of infinitely more importance.- 1Co 13; 1Pe 4:8; 1Jo 2:9-11; 4:8. While we are to ``contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints,'' (Jude 25) we are not, in order to maintain our own peculiar notions of Divine mysteries, to fight proudly and madly against our brethren who have the same experience of grace as ourselves, and thus rend in pieces the churches of the saints. And while we are to esteem the honor of our Lord above every other consideration, and cannot and must not fellowship the unfruitful works of darkness, we should not unchurch our churches, and require the re-baptism of their members and the re-ordination of their elders and deacons every time they get some disorder among them; for there is no New Testament authority for such a. procedure. The plain and simple requirements of the Scriptures, in the case of au offending member or church, is that the wrong should be repented of, confessed, and forsaken by the erring, and then he fully forgiven by their brethren.


The Gospel Messenger--February 1892

The Lord hateth the man of BeliaI, the sower of discord among brethren.-Pr 6:12,19.

The Hebrew word BELIAL occurs twenty-seven times in the Old Testament, and once in the New Testament, as follows: De 13:13; 15:9; Jg 19:22; 20:13; 1Sa 1:16; 2:12; 10:27; 25:17,25; 30:22; 2Sa 16:7; 20:1; 22:5; 23:6; 1Ki 21:13 (twice); 2Ch 13:7; Job 34:18; Ps 18:4; 41:8; 101:3; Pr 6:12; 16:27; 19:28; Na 1:11,15; 2Co 6:15.

In seventeen of these twenty-eight places, the word Belial is used without translation in our English version; and, in the other eleven places, it is rendered ``ungodly,'' ``wicked,'' ``naughty,'' and `` evil,'' in the King James version; and ``base,'' ``wicked,'' ``worthless,'' ``ungodly,'' ``vile,'' and ``evil,'' in the Revised version. According to Gesenius, the chief Hebrew lexicographer, Belial means ``worthlessness,'' ``wickedness,'' ``destruction,'' ``a destroyer,'' and in the New Testament {2Co 6:15} is the same as ``o poneros,'' ``the wicked one,'' ``Satan,'' (as in Mt 13:19,38; 1Jo 2:13-14). The word is used in the Scriptures as the combination or personification of all that is bad-of every thing that is opposed to God-intense selfishness and worldliness, and enmity to everything holy and divine. By consulting the above passages it will be seen that the inspired writers characterize, by this term, the sins of idolatry, selfishness, covetousness, sodomy, drunkenness, irreverence, lawlessness, self-will, rapacity, fornication, rebellion, perjury, forwardness, secret scheming, mischievousness, discord, pride, falsehood, slander, murder, whispering, back-biting, enticement, peace-breaking, unrighteousness, darkness, and infidelity; and that they use this term to designate the depraved inhabitants of Gibeah, {Jg 19} the wicked priests, Hophni and Phineas, sons of Eli, {1Sa 2} the stingy and foolish Nabal, {1Sa 25} the selfish followers of David, {1Sa 30} the rebellious Sheba, {2Sa 20} the false witnesses against Naboth, {1Ki 21} the rebellious followers of Jeroboam, {2Ch 13} and Satan {2Co 6} In 1Sa 2:12, it is declared that these persons ``know not God;'' and in 2Sa 23:5-7, they are contra-distinguished from the covenant people of God. The learned John Milton, in his Paradise Lost (Book i. lines 490-505; and Book ii. lines 108-118), well represents the personified Belial as not only ``reigning in courts and palaces.'' but also ``frequenting temples and altars''- as ``fair and graceful in appearance,''

``But all was false and hollow; though his tongue

Dropp'd manna, and could make the worst appear

The better reason, to perplex and dash

Maturest counsels; for his thoughts were low:

To vice industrious, but to nobler deeds

Timerous and slothful; yet he pleased the ear

With persuasive accents.''

But the still wiser Solomon, who was inspired with the Holy Ghost, gives us the fullest and closest portrait of ``the man of Belial,'' in Pr 6:12-19: ``A naughty person literally, a man of Belial, a wicked man, walketh with a forward mouth. He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh or shuffleth with his feet, he teacheth or maketh signs with his fingers; forwardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief or evil continually; he soweth discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly: suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.''

Here, for the first time, we have, as it were, the portrait of the man of Belial-the man who is not to be trusted, whose look and gestures warn all who can observe, against him. The picture is wonderfully life like, individual, yet generic, indicating physiognomic facts that are true at all times. The speech of such an one is tortuous and crafty, he walks (literally) in crookedness of mouth. Not speech only, but all other means by which man holds- intercourse with man, are turned to instruments of fraud and falsehood. The wink which tells the accomplice that the victim is already snared, the gesture with the foot and hand, half of deceit, and half of mockery, these would betray him to any one who was not blind. But here also there is a Nemesis. The duper and the dupe shall share the same calamity. The closing words of the 14th verse ('he soweth discord'), and in the 19th verse ('he that soweth discord among brethren'), show that the same character is meant throughout.

With the recognized Hebrew form of climax, the teacher, in verses 16 to 19, enumerates six qualities as detestable, and the seventh (sowing discord among brethren) as worse than all, (seven, here as elsewhere, representing completeness. whether for good or evil), but all the seven in this instance belong to one and the self-same man, the man of Belial of the 12th verse. ``There is a parallel well worthy of notice between the seven cursed things here and the seven blessed things in the fifth chapter of Matthew. The first and last of the seven are alike in the two lists. 'The Lord hates a proud look,' is precisely equivalent to 'blessed are the poor in spirit'; and 'he that soweth discord among brethren' is the exact converse of the 'peacemaker'. The seven vices, twice enumerated here, are all of them manifestations of hatred against one's neighbor, or sins against the second table of the Decalogue; yet it is not so much a general unkindness as rather an unkindness consisting and displaying itself in falseness and malice that is emphasized as their common element. And only on account of the peculiarly mischievous character of just these sins of hatred to one's neighbor, is he who is subject to them represented as an object of especially intense abhorrence on the part of a holy God, and as threatened with the strongest manifestations of His anger in penalties.

Just before & the portraiture of the man of Belial in Pr 6, the sluggard is described and warned. The indolent person becomes a busy-body in other people's matters. ``For idleness is the mother of mischief. 'Pride, fullness of bread and abundance of idleness' were the sources of Sodom's iniquity. {Eze 16:49} The idle are sure to be tattlers and busy-bodies, 'speaking things which they ought not.'-1Ti 5:13. He who is nobody in deeds is often strong in words. He whose hands are idle has a tongue anything but idle; and. he tries by words suited to men's humors to win that favor which he cannot by deeds. He who will not move even his little finger to any good work, is very energetic in badness. As the agriculturalist applies himself wholly to the plowing and sowing of his land, so the man of Belial gives himself wholly to iniquity, seeking his harvest of gain or of enjoyment of malignity in traducing and lying, or in praising with words, whilst all the time traducing by signs. 'If the godly, on the contrary, put their hand to the plow of sin at times, yet they look back, and do not sow the bad seed so as to disseminate it far and wide.' The heart (not merely evil, as all men's hearts are naturally, but) deliberately and continually, of set purpose, devising wicked imaginations, is set in the middle of the seven abominations; for it is the centre whence the rest emanate. The 'feet swift to mischief' expresses the eagerness of unhesitating energy of the bad to carry into effect the wickedness which their hearts devise. Though evil thoughts arise in the godly, yet the feet, at the promptings of conscience, refuse to carry out the bad suggestions of the heart. Contrast David's conduct when Saul was in his power in the cave at Engedi, {1Sa 24:5} David's heart smote him because he had cut off Saul's skirt; so after the numbering of the people.-2Sa 24:10).'' ``The thoroughly evil heart cannot long be hidden; it soon shows itself in evil gestures, words and deeds. Pride is in the front of those sins which God hates. A proud heart has never done anything specially for God's honor and a neighbor's good; through humble hearts God does great things.'' ``The man of Belial is a great hypocrite; with the language, the attitudes, the affected demure looks, and every appearance of extraordinary piety, he 'carries on his trade of 'devouring widow's houses.' His mouth, hands, eyes and feet are all employed; and even in his closet, at the church, and at the Lord's table, he pursues his own selfish and malignant object, with lifted eyes, and bended knees, and hands spread forth. Forwardness is in his heart, and he is continually devising mischief, and sowing discord among those who are at peace, that he may reap some advantage for himself; or because, as the child of the devil, he loves mischief for mischief's sake; and by all this he only ensures his own destruction, and that often very suddenly, and without remedy. O, that every Christian were as industrious in doing good, as the man of Belial is in doing bad!''

In Pr 16:27-30, Solomon gives another similar description of the man of Belial: ``An ungodly man literally, a man of Belial diggeth up evil or deviseth mischief-diggeth an evil pit for others to fall into; and in his lips there is as a burning fire. A forward man soweth strife; and a whisperer separateth chief friends. A violent man 'when violence is not likely to succeed' enticeth his neighbor 'he stitcheth the fox's skin on the lion's skin', and Leadeth him into the way that is not good 'to effect his violent purpose of destroying his neighbor'. He shutteth his eyes 'in deep meditation' to devise forward things; moving his lips 'in silent mental soliloquy' he bringeth evil to pass.'' The expression ``shutting the eyes,'' may mean the half closed or averted eyes that never look you straight in the face; and moving the lips may mean biting the lips, a sign of restlessness or cunning.

Such is the faithful and repulsive photograph that inspiration draws of ``the man of Belial,'' for the solemn warning of the people of God to the end of time. Such persons were found among his people in ancient times, and are undoubtedly found among them now; and their number is evidently on the increase. On account of the providential restraints of modern civilization, they do not openly manifest all the abominable traits mentioned in the first paragraph of this article; but the germ of those vices is in their hearts, and the development is checked from the fear of man, and not from the fear or love of God. It seems especially deplorable that some of these marks of the child of the devil may at times exist in the heart and life of a child of God; but, when such is the case, the latter desires to be purified from these pollutions more than delivered from any bodily ills, and esteems it a kindness and a healing excellent oil for God or a faithful and loving brother to search and try, smite and reprove him, and lead him out of the evil way in the way everlasting-Ps 139:23-24; 141:3-5.

That trait of the man of Belial which Solomon says is most abominable to God, because it is most distressing to His people and most dishonoring to His religion of love, is sowing discord among brethren- industriously destroying the fellowship of the saints- laboring, if the principle were fully carried out, to annihilate the visibility of the Church on earth, and proving, as far as such a course could prove, that the Bible is a lie, and that there is no God.

In the only place {2Co 6:15} where the word Belial is used in the New Testament, it means Antichrist, or Satan; and it is certain, from the Scriptures, that Satan, and not God, is the author of discord and confusion among the creatures and the people of God.-Ge 1:11; 1Co 14:33. All was love and peace and joy in Eden until the great adversary of God and man appeared in the form of the crooked, subtle serpent, and perverting and denying the word of God under the pretence of friendship and advantage, lied and deceived Eve, the weaker vessel, and artfully and malevolently induced her to eat, and to give to Adam, ``the fruit of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste brought death into the world, and all our woe,'' all the strife and ruin that have cursed the human race. As Satan did in the beginning, so he continues to perpetuate dissension and destruction among mankind, and even among the people of God, by ``transforming himself into an angel of light, and his ministers into ministers of righteousness.''-2Co 11:13-15. To accomplish his ruinous purposes, he still sugar-coats his lies with a thin covering of truth. The ``peace-breaker's words are smoother than butter, and softer than oil, yet are they drawn swords, and war is in his heart.''-Ps 55:20-21. Satan is the prime cause of strife, but the secondary causes, or the means he employs in his devilish and destructive wisdom and workings, are stated in the Scriptures to be falsehood, crookedness, selfishness, prosperity, pride, covetousness, ambition, plotting, conspiracy, scorn, fury, tale-bearing, whispering, back-biting, slandering, carnality, flesh, wicked, designing demagogism, repeating matters, hypocrisy, envy, innovations, words to no profit, foolish and unlearned questions, the untamed, sharp, mischievous, deceitful, devouring tongue, set on fire of hell, and setting the world on fire, and to be destroyed by God. {Ge 3; 26; 36; Ps 7:1; 52; 57; 101; 120; 125; Pr 2; 6; 15; 16; 17; 22; 26; 29; Isa 58; 59; Jer 6; Ga 5; 1Ti 6; 2Ti 2; Jas 3; Re 21}

In one sense, to be sure, truth makes strife; Light can but contend with darkness, truth with error; Christ sends a sword on earth-institutes and wages an everlasting conflict with the detestable principles of Satan's kingdom; {Mt 10:33} God puts enmity between the woman's and the serpent's seeds, between the flesh and the spirit, between those who are on the side of God and those who are on the side of the devil.- Ge 3:15; Ga 5:17. ``Clothed with the whole armor of God, we are to wrestle, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.''-Eph 6:10-18. We are not to compromise the truth, nor make a false, hollow peace with the ungodly world, nor take hush-money from the wicked, nor buy peace from them with money- (Ps 117:2; Jude 25; Isa 8:12; 1Sa 7:3; Isa 33:15-16; Mt 28:12; 26:14-15; Isa 1:23; Jg 16:5; 2Ki 15:19, with Ho 5:13-15)

But we should keep separate from the world as we shall finally be separated from it at the end of time. {Ex 33:16; Ne 13:1,3; 1Ki 11:2; 1Co 5:11; Nu 11:4; 33:55-56; Ps 106:35-37; De 7:3-4; Lu 6:22-23; 1Co 10:20-21; Mt 13:29; 25:32}

Yet we should speak the truth, not in hatred, but in love both of God and of our fellow-creatures-that love not only in word, but also in deed, without which all our profession of religion is vain.- Eph 4:15-16; 1Co 13:Even in all our conflicts, we are to be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, the soft, strong, safe, comfortable, blessed shoes made by the Lord of hosts as a part of the heavenly armor for all the soldiers of the cross (Eph 6:15; we are not to wish to call down fire from heaven to destroy our opponents, {Lu 9:54-56} but to heap coals of fire upon their heads by doing them good, and showing them the meek, gentle, forgiving and loving Spirit of Christ; {Ro 12:19-21} we are not to forbid those servants of God who follow not with us; {Lu 9:49-50} nor kill our brethren (that is, non-fellowship them) who cannot exactly pronounce our shibboleths, cannot exactly endorse our imperfect views of such great and unfathomable mysteries as predestination and regeneration; {Jg 12:6; 1Co 8:2; 13:12; Ro 11:33; Joh 3:8} nor should we dispute for vain glory, which shall be the greatest, in order to gain the victory or mastery over our brethren, nor to lead off a party to be called after our sinful, foolish, and dying names.- Mr 9:33-37; Ac 20:30; 1Co 1:10-13. And if, after showing the humble and kind and patient spirit of Christ, we cannot see eye to eye with our brethren, there should be a quiet discontinuance of the agitation of the controverted point, if it is not an essential article of faith; and, if we think it is essential, when our brethren do not so regard it, there might be, for awhile, not permanently, in some degree, not fully, instead of everlasting quarreling and bitterness, a peaceful separation, as in the cases of Abraham and Lott, Jacob and Esau, Rehoboam and the ten tribes, and Paul and Barnabas {Ge 13:18; 1Ki 12:24; Ac 15:39-40} -looking to the Lord for guidance, and praying Him to heal the breach, and to show us and our opponents the truth more fully and clearly, and to give us more of His gentle, unselfish and loving Spirit.

For God is the author of peace, and has promised to bless His people with peace. His kingdom is one of peace; His gospel one of peace. He is the God of peace; Christ is the Prince of peace, who calms the storms of nature and of sin. Blessed are the peace-makers; for they shall be called the children of God. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth, and will cause the nations to learn war no more; and the lion and the lamb to lie down together. He calls us to peace, and to follow after the things that make for peace, and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace, and to be at peace among ourselves. And especially as strife generally originates with the ministry, Christ commands us first to be reconciled to our brother before offering our gift {Mt 5:23-24} -the reverent and loving obedience to which simple precept of our Lord would bring about at once a great decrease of strife among the people of God.

My brethren, let us not imitate the proud, ambitious, selfish, hateful and hurtful example of Diotrephes, {3Jo 14,14} but the meek, unselfish, lovely and loving examples of Moses, Ruth, and the Psalmist.- Heb 11:24-29; Ru 1:8-18; Ps 137:5-6. There should be no schism in the body of Christ, but its members should be one as the Father and Son are one.- 1Co 12:12-27; Joh 17:21. If associations or periodicals foment strife and division among the people of God, they should be abandoned; we would, in that case, be far better off without them than with them. The professor of religion who sows discord among brethren is a man of Belial, a follower and instrument of Satan, and an enemy of God. He is an abomination to the Lord and to all that are animated by the Spirit of the Lord; and he shall he destroyed suddenly and without remedy.


The Gospel Messenger--March 1892

So far as I am aware there are no Primitive Baptist Associations held in the winter. I write the present article, therefore, at a distance of some months, both anterior and posterior, from the period of these annual gatherings among us, and consequently at a time when we ought to be able to consider this subject in the most unprejudiced and dispassionate manner.

The scriptural authority for Associations, as meetings of the people of God for united worship and for mutual edification, may be found in the three great annual festivals established by the Lord for the ancient Israelites (Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles), which, as I have shown in the Church History (pages 94 to 97), had a three-fold bearing-natural, historical, and spiritual. And, as I have said in that work, ``God's object was to promote, in this way, the religious zeal and knowledge and union of his covenant people, to bring them frequently together in loving, brotherly fellowship for the worship of God-the very same object that is now beautifully and pleasantly subserved by the frequent assemblies of the people of God in their quarterly, yearly, union, corresponding, and associational meetings.'' It was when the day of Pentecost was come, and when the disciples were all with one accord in one place, that the Holy Ghost was abundantly poured out upon both speakers and hearers with the glorious results described in the second chapter of Acts. And, when the writer to the Hebrews (x. 25) exhorts us to forsake the assembling of ourselves together,'' he does not limit the assembling to the members of any local churches. In partial imitation of the final general assembly of the church of the first born in heaven, {Heb 12:23; Re 4:5; 7:17,17} it is certainly right and proper for all the members of the mystical body of Christ who can to meet when they can on earth for the edification of one another and the glorification of God.

For such worthy purposes, the first regular Association of English Baptists seems to have met at Bristol in 1692, and of American Baptists at Philadelphia in 1707. These Associations grew out of yearly meetings, and the messengers who composed them were very careful to affirm that these organizations ``had no superior or appellate jurisdiction over the churches, but were simply designed to promote yearly correspondence and communion in the gospel;'' that ``each church was independent in authority, in regard both to its doctrine and discipline;'' that ``the several independent churches being the constituents, the Association is not to be deemed a superior judicature, or having a superintendence over the churches, but subservient to the churches, in what may concern all the churches, or any one church in particular;'' and that ``the Association should withdraw from a church only for persistent defection in doctrine; or disorder in practice.'' (See Minutes of Philadelphia Baptist Association 1707-1807, pages 29, 31, 60-63). The oldest Primitive Baptist Association in the world is the Kehukee, and the messengers composing that Association said, in 1777, (Church History, page 700): ``We believe that every church is independent in matters of discipline, and that associations, councils, and conferences, of several ministers or churches, are not to impose on the churches the keeping, holding or maintaining any principle or practice contrary to the church's judgment;'' but they recommend associational meetings for the mutual comfort, union and satisfaction of the churches.

As my father remarks (Church History, page 702):

``Should the churches ever allow the Association, or any body of men formed by their combination, to dictate to them against their consent, it has ever been held that their liberties in such case will have passed away, and they become no longer churches of Christ, but tools of tyrants. Associations are not considered absolutely necessary for the existence of a church or churches, but only as a convenient method of correspondence and intercourse among the churches, so that acquaintance and personal contact might be promoted among a larger circle of brethren than could be done in a single church or neighborhood. Much satisfaction also is found in obtaining the views and advice of each other on questions of importance in the kingdom of Christ.''

In the ninth chapter of the Church History, which gives the twelve characteristics of the Apostolic Church, I have said: _The Fifth Mark of the Apostolic Church was the independent or congregational polity, or government of each local church, subject only to the Headship of Christ; all the local apostolic churches being united by no outward bond of force, but by an inward bond of love. A visible church is always in Scripture a local body, and every local church, acting by a majority of its members, is invested by Christ with the exclusive and final power of receiving, disciplining, excluding, and restoring its members, electing its officers and transacting all other necessary business. {Ro 14:1; Mt 18:15-18; 1Co 5:4-5,7,11-13; Ro 16:17; 2Th 3:6; Ac 1:15-26; 6:1-6; 1Co 16:3; 14:23} Especially does the language of Christ in Mt 18:15-18, demonstrate that the church is the highest and last ecclesiastical authority on earth; that there can be no appeal, under the law of Christ, from the decision of the church to a presbytery, or synod, or general assembly, or' conference, or convention, or priesthood, or prelacy, or papacy, or Association, or any other earthly authority. After a church has excluded one of its members, and classed him with heathens and publicans, it is not only thoroughly unscriptural, but also thoroughly absurd, to suppose that any man or set of men can, by any exercise of authority, put back such an offender in the fellowship of that church. With true repentance, confession and reformation, the fellowship will he restored; but without these exercises gospel fellowship can never be restored. Each gospel church is a separate and independent republic, having Christ as its only Head and Law-giver, and not subject, in ecclesiastical matters to any outside jurisdiction; such, according to the oldest scholars and historians, was not only every apostolic church in the first century, but also of the second century. (See the works of Gibbon, Mosheim, Neander, Coleman, Whateley, Burton, Barrow, Schaff, etc.) The church is repeatedly declared in the New Testament to be the body of Christ; the only Head, therefore, of this body is Christ, who guides and controls and preserves the church as His body. Hierarchies and synods are unscriptural, tyrannous usurpations which have, through the ages, inflicted grievous wrongs upon the people. Each true church, in its divinely established individuality and independence, has ever presented an insurmountable and indestructible breakwater against the countless tides of error, strife, and corruption setting in from every quarter, and these churches have been united, by no mechanical, outward, worldly, usurping and oppressive bond of force, but by an inward, heavenly, spiritual, emancipating, purifying, and elevating bond of divine love and peace and fellowship, such as the Lord Jesus Christ, their Ever-Living, Unchangeable and Omnipotent Head, in the last solemn moments of His suffering, earthly ministry, tenderly enjoined upon them and earnestly besought His Father to grant them. {Joh 13:34; 15:12; 17:20-23} Born of and taught by God, being one body and having one Spirit, even as they are called in one hope of their calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in them all, they, not in word only, but in deed and in truth, love one another, and endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. {Joh 1:13,45; Eph 4:1-6; 1Th 4:9; 1Jo 2:27,14-18,7-21} They have always corresponded with each other by brotherly letters and messengers, and have from time to time met in a general or associational way, not to lord it over God's heritage, but to worship God, and to edify, exhort and confirm one another in the most holy faith once delivered to the saints. {Ac 13; Php 2:25; Heb 10:23-25,22-29; 1Pe 5:3,5; Jude 25,25} Scriptural Associations are only general meetings of churches, or brethren from different churc the functions of an individual church, such as admitting, disciplining or excluding members of a church, or electing or disciplining the officers of a church. It cannot be repeated too often that each gospel church is, according to Christ and His apostles, the highest ecclesiastical authority on earth. While all gospel churches should always so live as to maintain peace and fellowship with each other, Christ no where in the New Testament gives the slightest authority for an organic union or consolidation of gospel churches. Such a union would be a fruitful source of corruption and oppression. It would be disloyalty to Christ for any church to alienate from itself and delegate to any other person, or set of persons, the rights and functions which Christ has committed to her; a gospel church may have messengers, but cannot have delegates. But the sisterly relations of churches involve sisterly obligations. They are all members of the mystical body of Christ, permeated by the same Divine Spirit, and should be sweetly constrained by the same heavenly love to maintain the same strict faith and order of the gospel, to have tender regards for one another's feelings, and to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.'' {Eph 4:1-6}

There are about a thousand New School and two hundred and fifty Old School Baptist Associations in the United States. Some of our churches, as they have a perfect right to do, have deemed it best to withdraw from all connection with Associations, which, as organized bodies exercising control over the churches, have no scriptural authority whatever. When Associations are perverted from their original and fundamental purpose of promoting the loving and scriptural union of the people of God, and become machines for spreading falsehood, slander, covetousness, oppression, heresies, licentiousness, arminianism, and human religious inventions, confusion and division among the churches, they are instrumentalities of Satan, and should be immediately and utterly discountenanced and abandoned by all the faithful servants of Christ. It would be infinitely better that another Association should never be held than that it should be prostituted to such ungodly purposes, and thus bring reproach upon the beloved and blessed cause that should be dearer to us than mortal life itself.

In the constitution of some Associations formed during recent years in North Carolina, it is well provided that the members chosen by the different churches to represent them in the Association ``shall, when convened, have no power to lord it over God's heritage, nor shall they have any ecclesiastical power over the churches, nor shall they infringe upon any of the internal rights of any church;'' and that ``the Association shall have power to withdraw from any church in this union which shall violate the rules of this Association, or deviate from the orthodox principles of religion;'' thereby plainly implying that the Association has no power or right to withdraw from a church which has not violated its rules, nor deviated from the truth; and, of course, exactly the same provision should apply to its correspondence with sister Associations-such correspondence should not be willfully dropped, unless the other Association has plainly departed from scriptural faith and practice, and such departure should be ascertained by the most careful and thorough and brotherly investigation. Upon such investigation it might be found that there was no such departure, but that the accused parties were walking in the faith and order of the gospel. Neither one man nor one set of men should lord it over the churches in this highly important matter of Christian correspondence. There are too many little kings among us, who do not rule themselves, but who think they can rule, and who try to rule, and whose rule would ruin, the church of God. From such bondage and ruin, may the God of Israel, who is our only true King, be pleased to deliver us.

I desire, in conclusion, to give my most cordial and unqualified approval to the ``Constitution of the Olive Primitive Baptist Association,'' and the wise and excellent remarks thereupon by our esteemed, gifted and venerable brother W. M. Mitchell in the GOSPEL MESSENGER of December, 1891. And to make the present article more complete, I must ask the privilege of repeating here a small part of that Constitution and of those remarks-especially as the matter is of great importance to the Primitive Baptist cause:

Art. 3. It is understood that no church, on becoming a member of this Association, parts with or surrenders any of her rights, duties, or responsibilities given her by the Great Head of the church, and made binding on her in the New Testament.

Art. 4. It is further understood that all disciplinary power and rights pertaining membership or fellowship in the church belong exclusively to the church or churches, and that this Association shall not assume the right to dictate to, advise, or in any way interfere with the internal rights of the churches.

Art. 5. Any church of this Association can withdraw at pleasure, either by letter or without it; but in either case it will be expected that said church first give notice of her desire in this particular.

Art. 6. Any church may be dropped from this Associational compact of course by a vote of the majority of the messengers or churches, as I understand by request of two or more churches; but this nor any other act of the Association, shall not of itself be regarded as officially impairing or breaking church fellowship among the churches of this union, or among the members of churches. We regard all matters pertaining to church fellowship as belonging exclusively to the church or churches, and requiring their official action to make it valid.

Art. 10. Whatever may be the deficiency in the wording of this Associational agreement, nothing herein shall be so construed as to imply that this Association is in any way a separate and distinct institution from the churches; and no amendment shall ever be made constituting it a body separate from, or independent of the churches of which it is composed.

Among his remarks, Eld. Mitchell wisely says:

``Associations are not disciplinary bodies to discuss or investigate disorders of either churches or members of churches. Neither should they ever attempt to re-investigate any point of gospel order or discipline touching fellowship after a church has already investigated and decided upon it. If there is anything wrong in the act of a church in a matter touching fellowship, or supposed to be wrong, the church itself and not the Association, should right that wrong; and if it refuse to do so, some orderly sister church should call attention to it and labor with such church, and, if need be, call for the assistance of one or two other churches, to labor with them to save and reclaim their erring sister church. If they fail, then church fellowship is broken and withdrawn, and all that an Association should have to do with such erring church is to erase the name from the scale of churches.''

If this judicious advice of our intelligent and experienced and beloved brother were universally followed, there would be far less trouble and division in the ranks of the Primitive Baptists than at present.


The Gospel Messenger-April 1892

Jesus said to Pilate, ``To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate said unto Him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and said unto them, I find in Him no fault at all.''-Joh 18:37-38.

Pontius Pilate was the sixth Procurator or Roman Governor of Judea and Samaria, A D. 26-36, his administration extending through the whole ministry of our Lord and continuing several years later. As we learn from both sacred and profane history, he was a selfish, venal, unprincipled, cruel, and a despotic ruler; and yet, even such a judge, though, to please the Jews whom he hated and to retain his place as their governor, he gave up Jesus, to the vengeance of their priests, repeatedly and solemnly testified to the innocence of their victim, and even publicly washed his hands of His blood, the guilt of which-the most horrible crime ever committed-they fearfully and prophetically imprecated upon themselves and their children. Pilate's intolerable tyranny finally led to his deposition, and he is said to have died either in prison or in exile, and by his own hand, like Judas. As were nearly all his contemporaries, he was a thorough worldling and a skeptic; and the question which be addressed to Jesus, ``What is truth?'' was probably asked in idle curiosity or in cynical derision, since truth-spiritual and eternal truth, of which Jesus spoke-was to him ``an empty name, the dream of visionaries, in his opinion undeserving the attention of politicians and sensible men,'' and as he went out again to the Jews without waiting for an answer from Christ, perhaps thinking that ``he was getting into interminable and unreasonable inquiries, when his business demanded rather prompt action.'' ``The Gentile people then regarded all religions equally true, the philosophers equally false, and the magistrates equally useful.'' The opinions that all religions are equally true, and that all are equally false, like pantheism and atheism, amount to the same thing in substance. There is but one true and living God; and, as he requires His creatures to worship Himself alone, so His revealed truth is not to be blended and corrupted with the falsehoods of human imagination and invention.

That revelation, as we have it in the Old and New Testament Scriptures, is both very voluminous and very profound. No man thoroughly understands all the works or all the word of God; and, since the apostolic age, there has been, even among those born from above and made sincere and honest by the Spirit of God, a difference of opinion in regard to many things declared to us in the Scriptures. The Sacred Writings inform us that God has a people in ``every kindred and tongue and nation,'' and in ``all the families of the earth''; {Re 5:9; Ge 12:3} and yet not.only the physical and mental, but also the religious differences of these families and nations are very great. All Christians of course receive the Bible as the written word of God; and yet of it the remark has been made:

``This is the book where each his dogma seeks;

And this the book where each his dogma finds.''

We are commanded to ``search the Scriptures,'' to go ``to the law and the testimony,'' and ``compare spiritual things with spiritual;'' and, like Paul, we may and should ``reason out of the Scriptures,'' of course in humble dependence upon the Divine Spirit for light and guidance, and in an earnest desire to ascertain the pure and unadulterated truth. {Joh 5:39; Isa 8:20; 1Co 2:13; Ac 17:2; 18:4,19; Joh 16:13; Ps 43:3}

In regard to the search after truth, whether natural or spiritual, Francis Bacon has well said: ``I would advise all that they take into serious consideration the true and genuine ends of knowledge; that they seek it not either for pleasure or contention, or contempt of others, or for profit, or fame, or for honor and promotion, or such like adulterate and inferior ends, but for the merit and emolument (excellence and improvement) of life; and that they regulate and perfect the same in charity; for the desire of power was the fall of angels; the desire of knowledge the fall of man; but in charity there is no excess; neither men nor angels ever incurred danger by it. We humbly pray that the venom of knowledge infused by the serpent, whereby the mind of man is swelled and blown up, {1Co 8:1} being voided, we may not be too aspiringly wise or above sobriety, but may improve and propagate truth by charity. The proper inquiry after truth, which is the wooing of it; the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it; and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature. The first creature of God, in the works of the days, was the light of the sense; the last was the light of reason; and His Sabbath work, ever since, is the illumination of His Spirit. First, He breathed light upon the face of matter; then he breathed light into the face of man; and still He breaths and inspires light into the face of His chosen. Certainly it is heaven upon earth to have a man's mind move in charity, rest in Providence, and turn upon the poles of truth. Men have a natural and corrupt love of lies, he adds, ``not only for pleasure and advantage, but for the lies' sake; and the almost entire departure of truth or faith from the earth will be the last peal to call the judgments of God upon men.''

``We should contend earnestly for the truth,'' says John Locke, ``but we should first be sure that it is the truth, or else we fight against God, who is the God of truth, and do the work of the devil, who is the father and propagator of lies; and our zeal, though never so warm, will not excuse us. Some people save themselves the trouble of thinking by putting implicit faith in others; a second class will neither use their own nor hearken to other people's reason any further than it suits their humor, interest or party; and a third class, more intelligent and more sincere, look at one part of a truth, and think they see it all, and, ignorant of the beam in their eyes, strangely pride themselves in their own blindness and darkness, like the barbarous inhabitants of the Ladrone Islands, in the Pacific ocean, who, when discovered by the Spaniards, knew nothing of the balance of the world, and yet thought themselves the happiest and wisest people in the universe.'' As he truly says, we are all of us, more or less, members of this third class. Our faculties are finite, while truth is infinite; we cannot see it all, and in our present fallen and darkened condition, we mistake a part for the whole, and deny the remainder, which is equally true.

Like the leading rationalist and. materialist philosophers of the present century, Haeckel, Huxley and Spencer, their ancient heathen prototype, Titus Lucretius Carus (B. C. 99-55), professed to know everything except about the gods; as for them, he thought that they were either creatures of the imagination, arising from images seen in dreams, or else highly refined material beings, dwelling in some distant world, perfectly tranquil and happy, neither the creators nor the rulers of this world, nor caring any thing whatever about it, and neither propitiated nor pleased with any worship that men may offer them. In the first lines of the second book of his poem, ``De Rerum Natura'' (On the Nature of Things), Lucretius calls upon his readers to take a position with him on the lofty, clear and serene heights of philosophy, and look down upon the errors and wanderings and conflicts of poor, blind, wretched mortals in the vale below. He is himself, as he thinks, above the clouds and the darkness, and sees no mystery in any thing. He understands the essence and the origin, the course and the destiny of all things-atoms, the earth, air, water, plants, animals, men's souls, disease and death, sleep and dreams, heat and cold, earthquakes, volcanoes, storms, springs, waterspouts, clouds, rainbows, meteors, magnetism, electricity, light, sound, taste and odor, generation and civilization, politics and religion, day and night, the arts and sciences, music and metals, eclipses, the sun, moon and stars, and in fact everything of interest to the human mind. He taught that matter was eternal, and that the soul was composed of four elements-air, heat, vapor, and a fourth nameless substance which he seems to identify with reason, and that these are dissolved at death, and that the human being then becomes totally and forever unconscious. He was a follower a worshiper of Epicurus, who taught that death was a dreamless and eternal sleep, and therefore not at all to be feared, and that pleasure should be the chief object of life. In his poem of six books, and 7,415 lines, he of course could not fully explain everything, as he did not have the space; but then he professed to know it all (except about the gods), and he declared that it would take him a life time to tell what he knew about any one subject. His great object, he said, was, like that of Epicurus, to emancipate the human race from the terrors and the crimes of Religion. The most of his elaborate and confident explanations of natural things are of course now looked upon as utterly false and perfectly ridiculous; and his explanations of spiritual things are as good as those of his nineteenth century Agnostic followers.

Men who are truly wise, whether in nature or in grace, talk very differently from the pretentious Lucretius. Solomon says:

``Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.''-Pr 26:12. And Paul says: ``Be not wise in your own conceits.''-Ro 12:16. And again: ``Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God; for it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.'' ``If any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.'' ``Now we know in part, and see through a glass darkly.''-1Co 3:18-19; 8:2; 13:9,12. Moses was the meekest of men.-Nu 12:3. Jesus was, more than all others, meek and lowly in heart.-Mt 11:29. Socrates, pronounced by the Delphic oracle the wisest of the Greeks, said that this could only be in that, while others knew nothing and thought they did know something, he knew nothing, and was conscious of his ignorance. The elder Pliny said that nothing is certain but this: that all is uncertain, and that man is at once the most miserable and the most proud of all beings. Pascal said that man does not. know himself-the nature of his body or his soul, much less their union in one being-and that he certainly does not understand anything beyond himself. Sir Isaac Newton, the greatest of natural philosophers, said, a little before his death, that he did not know how he appeared to others, but to himself he seemed like a little child playing on the seashore, discovering now and then a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay unexplored before him. Sir William Hamilton said that the highest reach of human science is the scientific recognition of human ignorance. The last words (in 1827) of ``the titanic mathematician,'' Laplace, were: ``What we know is little; what we do not know is immense.'' Prof. Richard A. Proctor, the distinguished English scientist, lecturing on ``God's Universe,'' in my school at Wilson, N. C., in 1886, said: ``Modern science at the close of this most brilliant of the centuries of natural discovery, goes beyond Laplace, and says: 'What we know is nothing; what we do not know is infinite.''' Just as was said in the book of Job nearly 4,000 years ago, ``We are but of yesterday, and know nothing.''-Job 8:9. ``Humility, then, is the cardinal principle both of reason and revelation.''

But, blessed be the name of the God of Israel, His people, taught by Him, know that he is a God of truth, {Ps 31:5} and that his Son Jesus Christ is the perfect incarnation of essential and eternal truth, {Joh 1:14; 14:6} and that His Spirit is the Spirit of truth, {Joh 14:17; 16:13} and that His word is holy and everlasting truth, {Joh 17:17; Ps 117:2} upon whose declarations and promises they may securely rest their hopes of salvation for time and eternity. Yet no man, nor do all men together, understand the written word of God in all its depth and fullness, and in seeking to understand it we are, like others, {2Ti 4:22; Jas 5:19} liable to err. Among the leading causes of error are one-sidedness, partisanship, prejudice, passion, inattention, haste, sloth, forgetfulness, imagination, hope, fear, self-love; pugnacity, limitation of our faculties, infinitude of truth, imperfection and ambiguity of language, and consequent logomacies, or mere wrangling about words. Bacon arranges the fallacies into which the human mind is prone to fall in four general classes of error, which be calls idols, or false appearances:

1st Idols of the tribe or race, the proneness of the mind to look only on one side of the subject, and see things as it wishes to see them;

2nd Idols of the den or cave, the tendency to make all things subservient to or to take the color of some favorite subject.

3rd Idols of the market place, errors arising from the influence of mere words; and

4th Idols of the theatre, fallacious modes of thinking resulting from a false philosophy and erroneous methods of demonstration.

We can see all these causes and classes of error operating not only in natural, but also in spiritual matters, not only among Arminians but also among our brethren, who truly believe the teaching of the Scriptures in regard to the Divine foreknowledge and predestination. Professor Tyndall has well said that ``truth is often of a dual character, taking the form of a magnet with two poles; and many of the differences which agitate the thinking part of mankind are to be traced to the exclusiveness with which different parties affirm one half of the duality in forgetfulness of the other half. It seems hardly possible to state any truth strongly without apparent injury to some other truth. The proper course appears to be to state both truths strongly, and allow each its fair share in the formation of the resultant conviction.'' It is said that, in the Middle Ages, a British Prince erected on his domain, at a place where four roads met, a statue of victory, the right hand holding a spear and the left hand a shield, of which one side was of silver and the other side of gold; and that two knights, completely armed, the one in black and the other in white armor, approached the statue at the same time from opposite directions, and that one maintained that the shield was of gold and the other that it was of silver, until they became enraged by their contention, and challenged each other to mortal combat. The result was that each unhorsed and sorely wounded the other. A venerable Druid, who was a physician as well as a priest, came along, and applied a healing balsam, and restored them to consciousness. Learning the cause of the quarrel, he told them that they were both right and both wrong; that if each had taken time to look at the other side of the shield as well as the side he first saw, they would have been spared all their high passion and their bloody struggle; and he advised them never to enter into another dispute before they had well considered both sides of the question. And this is excellent advice for all of us. The final, terrible and unanswerable indictment that the Duke of Argyle, in his magnificent work on ``The Unity of Nature,'' makes against the Agnostic infidels of this century, is that ``they systematically suppress more than one-half of the facts of Nature, and as systematically silence more than one-half of the Faculties of Man-and these the most momentous Facts and the highest Faculties;'' and thus that, in the view of every truly honest mind, their methods are self-condemned. Kepler, in endeavoring to ascertain the exact shape of the orbits of the planets, took the observations which his faithful master, Tycho Brahe had made of the places of the planet Mars, and found that, if the planet were supposed o move in a circle, its computed place varied in certain portions of its orbit from its observed place by eight minutes of a degree; and with these eight minutes he said that he would construct a new theory that would explain the movements of all the planets, which he did, finding the true orbit of the planets to be not a circle, but an ellipse

And now I come to the leading point of this whole article- What is the truth-the truth of truths-in regard to the relation ship between God and man? Of course the Scriptures of truth must decide this all important question. The scriptures demonstrate that the relationship between God and man is a duality, represented by the double-sided shield; and that ONE SIDE OF THIS GREAT TRUTH IS THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD,

(Ge 1:1; Joh 1:3; Ps 80:19; 1Ti 6:15; Da 4:34-35; Ac 15:18; Isa 46:9-10; Eph 1:11; Ac 17:26; Mt 10:29; 11:25-27; Pr 16:33; Ro 8:28-39; Ac 4:28; Lu 22:22; Ac 2:23; Heb 6:17; Ge 37:28; 45:7-8; Ex 9:12; Ps 17:13-14; Isa 10:5-12; Job 1:12,21; 2Sa 16:10; 24:1; 1Ch 21:1)..


{Ge 2:16-17; Jas 1:13-14; 1Jo 2:16; Ex 8:15; 20:1-17; De 10:12-22; 5:29; 32:29; Ps 81:13; Isa 48:18; 1:19-20; Zec 7:9-14; Ho 13:9; Ec 12:13-14; Ac 17:31; 2Co 5:10; Mt 11:20-24; 12:36; 7:27; 25:31-46; Mr 9:38-50; Ro 1:18-32; 2:5-16; 3:19; 2Ti 4:1; Re 20:11-15; 22:12}

The willful suppression of either one of these parts of the truth is falsehood; it involves dishonesty to God and injury to man. Prophets and apostles and the Lord.Jesus Christ Himself proclaimed, with equal candor and emphasis, both of these twin truth these parts of the same dual truth-the relationship of God to man; and so should we, if we are followers of the Lamb. The reconciliation of these two aspects of eternal truth is too great and too deep for our finite minds to comprehend, just as there is nothing in nature or in grace that we thoroughly understand; but the second list of Scriptures that I have quoted above, as well as those that declare the essential, unchangeable and infinite holiness of God (such as Ge 18:25; Ps 145:17; Isa 6:3; Hab 2:13; Mal 4:2; 1Jo 1:5; Heb 6:18; 2Ti 2:13; 1Pe 1:16; Re 4:8), and those that say He permits, or bears, or suffers, or endures, or leaves, or delivers up, or gives over men to sin (such as 2Ch 32:31; Ps 81:12; Mr 1:34; 5:13; Lu 4:41; 8:32; Ac 2:23; 7:42; 13:18; 14:16; Ro 1:24,26,28; 9:22). should thoroughly and forever emancipate and purify our minds from the horrible blasphemy that God is in any degree responsible for the sins of His creatures ``All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine.''-2 Tim 3:16. The Divine permission of sin repeatedly declared in the Scriptures, is, like the eight minutes of a degree in Kepler's calculations, indispensable to bring us to a true view of the relationship of God to man-of the dual truth of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. The great scriptural fact that God permits sin (while He also over rules it for his own glory and His people's good), is incorporated in the London Baptist Confession of Faith, and in all the great predestinarian confessions; and it is inevitably implied when we say that man is voluntary in the commission of sin, and justly punishable for sin, and in all the savings and writings of the spiritually enlightened children of God, whether they express it in words or not. And the whole contention of Primitive Baptists about the Divine predestination of sin is nothing but a trifling logomachy or wrangling about words, condemned by the Apostle Paul as ``unwholesome, unprofitable and subverting.''- 1Ti 6:3-4; 2Ti 2:14. All the true people of God believe essentially the same thing about this matter-that, while God is an absolute, infinite, and eternal Sovereign, and ``works all things after the counsel of His own will''. {Eph 1:11} He does not tempt, much less compel, His creatures to sin {Jas 1:13} and the idea that, if God permits His creatures to sin when he might prevent them, He is just as responsible for their sins as if He compelled them to sin, and is as guilty as His sinning creatures, is a blasphemous sophistry in which we allow Satan to entangle us, and ignores the radical distinction between the creature and the Creator-the creature being made by the Creator, and being necessarily placed under law by his Creator, and justly accountable to his Creator for his disobedience; while the Creator is not justly obliged to sink His voluntary and rational creatures to the level of inanimate and insensate matter, to reduce them to mere machines or automata, and compel them to obey His laws, but may justly leave them to obey or disobey, and justly punish them for their disobedience.

Our obedience is the fruit of the Spirit of God working in us, according to His electing love, to the praise of His glorious grace; {Php 2:12-13; Heb 13:20-21; Eph 1:3; 1Pe 1:1-5} while our conscience assures us that our disobedience is the work of our own sinful wills, according to the permission of His providence, and will certainly meet with due punishment, to the praise of His glorious justice. {Ro 2:15; Jas 1:13-15; 2Ch 32:31; Ps 81:12; Ac 12:25; 13:18; Ec 12:14; Ro 2:5-11; 2Co 5:10; Re 15:3}


The Gospel Messenger--May 1892

``All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.'' Mt 7:12.

During the last two years I have suffered very much from insomnia, or sleeplessness; and, as I do not doubt that many readers of the MESSENGER either suffer now, or may hereafter suffer, with the same affliction, I desire, in accordance with the Golden Rule laid down by our Lord, to give them the benefit of my own experience in this matter. Christ and His apostles ministered to both the bodies and the souls of men.

The immediate cause of wakefulness, when pain is not the cause, is too great a flow of blood to the brain; and the remedies for this diseased condition tend to diminish or equalize the action of the heart and blood vessels. The milder remedies of this kind, because they soothe the nerves, are called nervines. The preparations of opium (such as laudanum and morphine) and of chloral, are dangerous, and should' be avoided; they finally injure and ruin every organ of the body and every faculty of the mind. Slight cases of insomnia are relieved by ``music, monotonous sounds, gentle frictions of the surface of the body, soft, undulatory movements, the repetition of words, or figures, or ideas and many other similar devices.'' Moderate exercise in the sunshine and open air is conducive to sleep, as are also tonics to restore the general health, the application of cold water to the head, and of hot water to the lower extremities, and the copious drinking of hot water. I have found great relief by taking the following nervines (which may be repeated every two hours if necessary) in a little cold water just before retiring, sometimes using one and sometimes another, (and, where there is likely to be any difficulty in knowing where to procure them, I have added the address of the manufacturer) For the sake of convenience, I give the doses of each. The remedies are as follows:

Sulfonal, 5 to 15 grains.

Fluid Extract of Jamaica Dogwood, 1/2 to 1 teaspoonful.

Tincture of Valerian, 1 teaspoonful.

Pulverized Scullcap, 1 teaspoonful.

Bromide of Potassium, 10 to 40 grains.

Oxide of Zinc, 2to 4 grains.

Wampole's Bromo-Pyrine, 1 teaspoonful.

Horsford's Acid Phosphate, 5 drops to 1 teaspoonful.

Warner's Safe Nervine, 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls.

Dr. John Rose's Nerve Cordial, 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls. (Win. H. Randle, Sr., 22 S. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md.)

Dr. Warren's Insomnia Cure, 1 to 2 teaspoonfuls. (J. N. Murdoch, Parkersburg, W Vs.)

The Electropoise, the garter being worn round the ankle, and the polarizer placed in cold water, from 4 to 8 hours at night (made and sold for $25, by the Atlantic Electropoise Co., 1405 New York avenue, Washington, D. C., and claimed to supply every part of the body with the needed oxyGen and thus to be an inexhaustible home-treatment for nearly all diseases.)

I obtained benefit also last spring from a three weeks' stay near the large Natural Electric Rock at Hillman, Taliaferro county, Ga.; and I learn that from ten to fifteen minutes' daily use of a galvanic or faradic battery relieves the tension of the carotid arteries, and thereby produces sleep, and is at the same time a good tonic.

Of course the Lord is the only real source of relief in morbid wakefulness and in every other affliction. Every good and perfect gift cometh from Him. If there are any healing virtues in these remedies, they emanate from Him; and He is, therefore, entitled to all the thankfulness and praise. The inspired writer, in Ps 127:2, tells us that it is the LORD who ``giveth His beloved sleep''-not only sweet repose, from the cares and toils and sufferings of life, in the slumber of the brain; but also still sweeter rest, from the assaults of the flesh, the world and Satan, in the salvation of Jesus; and the sweetest rest of all, when, at the close of our earthly pilgrimage, we fall asleep in the arms of our Divine and Everlasting Lover and Friend. The greatest English poetess, the long and sorely afflicted Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1809-1861) feelingly and beautifully wrote:

``Of all the thoughts of God that are

Borne inward unto souls afar,

Along the Psalmist's music deep,

Now tell me if that any is,

For gift or grace, surpassing this

He giveth his beloved sleep?''

Southampton, Pa., June 1892


Dear Brother Hassell,

In your article in THE GOSPEL MESSENGER of this month (April) occurs this sentence, "and the idea that if God permits His creatures to sin, when he might prevent them, He is just as responsible for their sins as if He compelled them to sin, and is as guilty as His sinning creatures, is as blasphemous sophistry on which we allow Satan to entangle us, and ignores the radical distinction between the creature and the Creator."

Ignoring the radical distinction between the creature and the Creator is, I think, the main cause of difficulty in considering the things of God, and one of the principle causes of apparent differences between brethren, "Thou thoughtest I was altogether such as one as thyself." Ps 50:21. I have understood from the scriptures that the Lord has given no rule by which to judge of him except his own word; that his own declaration is all we can present to show what he has done; and that whatever he has done it was infinitely right and wise for him to do. And the mere suggestion of guilt as applying to God under any circumstances whatever may well be characterized by you as blasphemous. So far as I know of their views, those who believe that God's eternal purpose embraced every event in time, both good and evil, which I understand to be teaching of the Scriptures, would regard it as blasphemous to speak of sin and guilt as applying it to him. He cannot be tried by the law under which he has placed his creatures; nor has he given us any reasoning powers by which to judge of him, except so far as pertains to the understanding of the language in which he has declared in his works and ways.

I have said through the MESSENGER, and other periodicals, in effect, that if God permits a thing to be done when he could have prevented it, then it was his will that the thing should be done. It is not at all likely that you had me in view when you wrote the sentence that I have quoted, or so far as our correspondence and our personal intercourse have extended there has been no word of disagreement expressed between us, but mutual fellowship and Christian love. But knowing my clear and decided views on the subject of God's foreordination of all events, some might associate my name with those evidently referred to by you, and by your courtesy to the readers of the MESSENGER. It is not in self defense for a servant of God, in the line of his duty, never needs to speak or act in self defense. His defense is fully provided. But it is to prevent a troublesome apprehension on the part of dear brethren of disagreement where none exists, and also to remind them that there may be difference of understanding between servants of God on some scriptural subjects without disturbance to excite their anger toward each other, or to mar their peace and fellowship. They should freely confer upon such subjects, but steadfastly avoid the use of such terms that express reproach or are likely otherwise to jar upon the feelings.

I believe that God has purposed acts to be done which are sinful and wicked in them that do them. My reason for believing this is simply because he has said so. "He turned their hearts to hate his people, and to deal subtly with his servants."---Ps 105:25. He said to Shimei, "Curse David."---2Sa 16:23. "It was of the Lord to harden to hearts of the Hivites that they should come against Israel to battle, that he might destroy them utterly."---Jos 11:20. He moved David against Israel to number them.---2Sa 24:1. He gave Pilate the power which he exercised against Jesus.---Joh 19:11. Wicked men are his sword, and the sword executes the will of him who handles it---Ps 17:13. He declared the end from the beginning, saying, My counsel shall stand. A part of that which was thus declared was, "calling a ravenous bird from the East, the man that executeth my counsel"---Isa 46:9-11. He created the water to destroy.---Isa 54:16. He purposed that Pharaoh should do what he did do.---Ro 9:17.

These will suffice to show that my belief is founded upon a direct thus sayeth the Lord. Sometimes a reason is given, as in the case of Pharaoh, that God's power might be shown. But all the reasons are included in this, "Even so Father, for it seemed good in thy sight."---Mt 11:26.

Now, in the other hand, I want to say that I believe God hates all sin and wickedness. This I believe because the Scripture says so. I humble hope also I have a closer and more vital cause of this belief than the letter of the word, even his own spirit within me, which teaches me the hatred of sin. "He is of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look upon iniquity." Hab 1:13

Some tell me that this cannot be reconciled, that if God should purpose that to exist which he hates. I simply reply that he has done so, for he says he has. I have nothing to do with reconciling or explaining. That which is impossible with men is possible with God, even to a camel going through the eye of a needle. The same reasoning powers that see an impossibility in God causing a thing to be done which he hates, and then taking vengeance without himself being unrighteous, {Ro 3:5} would say that a man cannot live three days and nights in a whale's belly, and therefore did not; that three men could not live in a fiery furnace, therefore they did not. The same reason says, "Why doth God yet find fault, for who hath resisted his will?" The apostle simply rebukes the one that would question as to why the Lord does what Scriptures say that he has done, and show his power over man to be the power of the potter over the clay.---Ro 9:21; Isa 45:9; 64:8.

Job, when smitten by Satan with boils, says with reference to it, in reply to his wife, "What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?"---Job 2:10. He knew that the devil could do nothing but what it was God's purpose he should do. As Job afterward learned, these terrible afflictions, and all the sore temptations and buffetings of wicked men and devils, are among the "all things" which "work together for good to them who love God; to them who are the called according to his purpose." Some have said, as though it were Scripture, "What God purposeth he doeth." But it is not Scripture. Nor is it true. He sent fiery flying serpents among the Israelites, and purposed that they should bite many of them, which they did. It would not be right to say that he did that, nor that the venom was his. He purposed the act of the raven that fed Elijah, but the raven brought the bread and flesh to him. He purposed the manner of the Savior's death, and what he purposed and before declared by the prophets he "so fulfilled." He fulfilled it by the hands of those wicked men, using them as his sword---Ac 3:18. And we are again reminded that it is not our right or privilege to say, "Why doth he yet find fault, for who has resisted his will?" (Ro 9) nor, "would he not then be unrighteous to take vengeance?"---Ro 3:5-7.

I learn from the Scriptures that all men are dead in sin, are condemned already, instead of being in a condition of accountability, as the religious world regards them. Death has already passed upon them, and the dead know not anything. A new birth is necessary, a quickening by divine life, before anything can be known of spiritual things. When one is made alive from the dead spiritually, then he will feel the weight and curse of sin, not before; then, and not before, he will hate sin and hunger for righteousness; then, and not before, he will feel the bondage of sin, from which the truth alone can make him free, and then he will ever after feel and groan under "the bondage of corruption," until that blessed time shall come, for which he waits, and longs, and hopes, when he shall be delivered from that bondage into the "glorious liberty of the children of God."---Ro 8:18-24.

I have written thus briefly and freely to you, and I think in brotherly love, feeling assured that there is no essential difference between us on these scriptural subjects. I express myself as carefully as possible where I do not use the language of Scripture and my own expression of my views is all that I am willing to be held accountable for.

I have always read what you write with care and interest, and I hope not without profit. I hope to meet you at our associations. Your brother in the hope of the Gospel,

Silas H. Durand.


O, that the God of Israel would be pleased to endow every Primitive Baptist in the world, with the spirit of wisdom, reverence, humility, and love that He has so evidently imparted to our dear brother! Then would unprofitable and subverting wars of words cease among us, and gospel peace and prosperity would abound. We would then delightfully feel ourselves and clearly prove to others, better than by any amount of wrangling, that we had indeed, not merely by profession, been with Jesus, and had received in our hearts from Him that heavenly principle of Christian charity that "suffereth long, and is kind, that envieth not, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things, and never faileth, and is greater even than faith and hope."---1Co 13: O, that every one of our brethren might have the grace to avoid that species of idolatry that puts anything in the place of Christ---whether it be predestination, or feet-washing, or anything else which they believe to be a part a part of scriptural doctrine or practice! "God so loved the world that gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth (not in predestination or foot-washing or in any other doctrine or practice, but) in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."---Joh 3:16. The central place in the Christian system belongs only top the person and work of Christ---the incarnation and the atonement. Christ is the center of God's revelation and of man's redemption, of Christian doctrine and of Christian history, of each believer's faith, yea, of the very history of this our earth, Jesus Christ is the full, the radiant, the only center---fitted to be such because He is the God-man and the Redeemer. Christ is the center of the Christian system, and the doctrine respecting Christ is the heart of Christian theology.

I thoroughly and heartily agree in the sentiment of my dear brother that there is no essential difference in doctrine between him and myself---between our highly esteemed supralapsarian and our infralapsaiian brethren, as I have said on the 138th page of the April MESSENGER before, and on the 621st page of the Church History. From much personal conference, and from a long and wide-spread correspondence, I have become as thoroughly satisfied of this fact as of my own existence. No Primitive Baptist believes that anything takes place by chance, or that God does "not work all things after the counsel of His own will."---Eph 1:11. And I would repeat and emphasize the remark of Elder Durand that "there may be a difference in understanding between servants of God on some spiritual subjects without any disturbances of the holy bond of love and fellowship between them," and that such differences should not excite their anger towards each other, and that they should confer on such subjects in a free and brotherly manner. As I have often thought and spoken favorably of a remark made by the brother in a former number of THE GOSPEL MESSENGER, that brethren should not stand guard over their own words, to the extent of sacrificing the peace of the church for them.

In regard to the apparent difference of understanding between Elder Durand and myself on the present occasion, I desire to add only a few words. In the sentence quoted at the beginning of Eld. Durand's letter, I did not allude to him, but to others who seemed to charge their maker with guilt. Instead of saying that God cannot sin or do wrong because He is not under any law, it seems to me more scriptural to say that He cannot sin or do wrong, because He is essentially, infinitely, and eternally holy. (Ge 18:25; Ex 15:11; Le 19:2; De 32:4; Isa 6:3; 57:15; Hab 1; 3:19; Mal 4:2; 2Th 1:6; 2Ti 2:13; Heb 6:18; Jas 1:13-17; 1Pe 1:15-16; 1Jo 1:5; Re 4:8).

God's precepts are for us, are actual, a perfect, and a supreme rule of right. They are right, not only because He commands, but because they are in themselves right. The distinction between right and wrong inheres and abides in the eternal, self-evident and necessary principles of His moral essence.

`The Scriptures often speak of God as doing what He permits to be done---(see Job 1:12; 2:6; 2Sa 16:10, compared with 1Ch 21:1; 1Ki 12:11; 22:20-23; Ge 37:25, compared with Ge 45:5; Ps 39:8-9; Isa 42:24; Am 3:6; Ac 4:27-28); for he is the Creator and Upholder of the universe, and could prevent the occurrence of anything He chose. God hardened Pharaoh's wicked heart by lifting from him the restraints which His weighty judgments had laid upon him; he chastened sinning David with the cursing of Shemei; He punished wicked Ahab by a lying spirit in his false prophets; and He uses the wicked as a sword to accomplish His righteous purposes' but He "cannot be tempted with evil, neither He tempteth any man."---Jas 1:13. To arrive at the whole truth on this subject, those Scriptures that declare the divine permission of sin, are just as true and important and indispensable as those other Scriptures that declare the Divine predestination. {2Ch 32:31; Ps 81:12; Mr 1:34; 5:13; Lu 4:41,32; Ac 2:23,42,18,16; Ro 1:24,26; 9:22} "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,"---2Ti 3:16. Hence any doctrine that ignores or denies any Scripture is defective or erroneous. The great scriptural fact that God permits sin (while He also overrules it for His own glory and His people's good) is incorporated in the London Baptist Confession of Faith, and in all the great predestinarian confessions; and it is inevitably implied when we say that man is voluntary in the commission of sin, and is justly punishable for sin, and in all the sayings and writings of the spiritually enlightened children of God, whether they express it in words or not; so that there is no sort of occasion for any contention among Primitive Baptists on this subject. The denial of creature responsibility seems to me to undermine the foundations of all moral government, both human and divine, in families, schools, churches, nations, and the universe. Certainly all men by nature are dead in sin, and condemned already; and yet, if there is any meaning in language, the Scriptures plainly teach us that they are accountable, or justly punishable, not only for their past, but also for their present and future sins, whether they feel the weight of them or not. {Ec 12:13-14; Mt 11:20-24; 12:36; 7:24-27; 25:31-46; Lu 19:14,27; Ro 2:5-16; 3:19; 1Pe 4:5; Re 20:11-15; 22:12} The accountability of God's people---their just liability to temporal chastisement---for their sins, is plainly declared in Mt 18:22-35; 25:14,30; Lu 19:12-26; Ro 14:10-13; 2Co 5:9-10; Heb 13:17. Therefore, let all men know that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God;" for the "Holy, Holy, Holy One that inhabiteth eternity" is, to sin in every form and every being, "a consuming fire,"---Heb 10:30-31; 12:29; Isa 6:3; 57:15. May the Lord Jesus, who alone is able, save us from our sins---from their power, their defilement, and their righteous retribution.---Mt 1:21.

If the Lord will, I shall meet our dear brother at some of our Northern Associations in May and June.

The Gospel Messenger--October 1892


WILLIAMSTON, N. C., August 28, 1892.-Dear Bro. Respess:

I saw a sight to-day that I never saw before. I saw Eld. Henry Peal, pastor of our church at Smithwick's Creek (eleven miles south of Williamston) baptize twelve persons, seven female and five male, in the presence of an immense concourse of people. Twenty-two have been added to that church this year, and some are being added every meeting to our churches all around. In the Church History, pages 874 and 875, you will see an account of the glorious revival in this church in 1851 (forty-one years ago), and this was the beginning of seasons of ingathering and refreshing in all our surrounding churches. And it really seems that the God of all grace is again working in the same glorious way among us, and that the long spiritual winter is past and spring has come, and the flowers appear on the earth, and the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is beard in our land. The Lord is making his ministers flames of fire; large and solemn and interested audiences meet them everywhere; converts come bending to Zion, and tell the ever new and wondrous story of redeeming love; eyes unused to weeping are wet with tears, and the old saints take down their harps from the willows and sing with renewed love and fervor the glorious songs of Zion, and each one of us feels to say, `` Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!''



The Gospel Messenger--November 1892


My reasons for undertaking so extensive a journey among our Northern and Canadian brethren, were several: A desire, as my father had done, to form their personal acquaintance, and see and hear them in their religious assemblies and their homes; the promise that I made my own Association (the Kehukee) last October, to visit our Northern Associations this year, if my life and health were spared; the kind and repeated invitations that some of our Northern brethren had given me to visit them; and the earliest desire of my beloved and venerated step-mother, Mrs. M. M. Hassell, that I should do so.


I had been suffering very much for three years with a serious kidney, heart and nervous affection, brought on by excessive mental labor, day and night, for six years (in preparing the Church History and teaching and preaching at the same time), so that I had, two years before, discontinued teaching school in order to rest and devote myself more to the ministry; and though, through the Divine mercy, my health had considerably improved during the past year, I was still quite feeble; and, a week before I started, I was very greatly wearied for some days by attending a quarterly meeting only eleven miles from home. But two days before starting on my Northern tour, I felt better and stronger, and this seemed to me a providential preparation for the journey. And I was also encouraged by the fact that, in a pocket calendar for 1892, which I had recently procured, and which contained a text for every day in the year, the text for the day of my departure from home was, ``He goeth before you''-Matt. xxvi 7. And an additional encouragement. to me was the parting expression of an evidently heart-felt wish of a helpless in valid gentleman, with whom I sympathized, and whom I had been visiting weekly, that I should ``not be sick a single day while I was gone.''


When our Lord, during his earthly ministry, sent forth his twelve Apostles and seventy disciples to preach his gospel, he told them to provide neither purse nor script for their journey; yet, when they returned, they testified that they had lacked nothing; though the night before his crucifixion he told his Apostles to provide purse and script and sword, {Lu 22:36-38} but this language seems figurative, and meant simply to warn them of the difficulties and dangers that awaited them after his departure, for two swords are not enough to defend twelve persons; and Christ rebuked Peter for using his sword that very night, and said to Pilate, ``My kingdom is not of this world; if it were, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; {Joh 18:36} and his kingdom is one of ``peace on earth and good will toward men''; {Lu 2:14; Ro 12:18-21; 13:9; 14:17; Ps 46:9; Isa 9:6; 7; 11:6-9; Mt 5:44-48; Ga 5:22,2; Jas 3:17-18} and, if swords were not to be actually provided, neither was purse or scrip, for all these terms are used in the same connection.

The God of grace is the God of providence; he knows what his servants and people need, and provides for all their necessities. {Ge 22:14; Ps 23; Mt 6:19-34; Mr 10:29-30} Without any exertion of mine, the dear members of my own church obtained for me an appropriate suit of clothing; a kind-hearted brother in a distant State sent me a remittance, and a man in my own town paid me a debt that was not due in about two years. The expenses of my trip were much more than met by the voluntary contributions of the members and friends whom I visited. I never asked any one for a cent. Like the Apostles and disciples of Christ, freely did I receive and freely would I give, rejoicing to endeavor to preach the gospel without charge; {Mt 10:10; 1Co 9:18} and, like the primitive saints, those to whom the gospel was proclaimed freely gave of their carnal substance to those ministering to them in spiritual things. Such should always and everywhere be the order in the house of God.


I left my home in Williamston, Martin county, N. C., May 16, 1892, and returned July 26, and was thus I absent about seventy-two days. I attended the Baltimore, Delaware, Delaware River, Warwick and Chemuug Associations of Old School, or Primitive Baptists, the quarterly meeting of the Covenanted Baptists of Canada, and also meetings with the following churches: Baltimore, Wilmington, (Del.) Southampton, Warwick, Ricker's Hollow, New Vernon, Middleton, Ebenezer, (New York City) Hopewell, Philadelphia and Black Rock. I tried to preach twenty-eight times, besides speaking at a few covenant or Conference Meetings. The Associations were held Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of each week, and there were meetings at the churches on the intervening Sundays. The Canada meeting was on the fourth Sunday in June, and the Saturday preceding and Monday following; and was held at the meeting-house in Ehfrid Township, three miles from the depot called Appin, on the Grand Trunk Railroad, in the Province of Ontario-120 miles west of Niagara Falls. The Associations, in the order named above, were held with the following churches: Warren, two and a half miles from Cockeysville, in Baltimore county, Md.; Bryn (that is Mount) Zion, one mile from Kenton, in Kent county, Del.; Hopewell, Mereer county, N. J.; New Vernon, two and a half miles from Howell's, in Orange county, N. Y., and Burdet, Schuyler county, N.Y. All the meetings were held in the house, and the audiences generally numbered from one to three hundred; but at Hopewell, and in Canada, about a thousand. The congregations were quiet and orderly and attentive to the preaching of the word. The following twenty-two ordained ministers were present at one or more of the meetings: J. N. Badger, Virginia; W.L. Beebe, New York; C. H. Bogardus, New York; Balas Bundy, New York; F. A. Chick, Maryland, H. M. Curry, Ohio; S. H. Durand, Pennsylvania;J. G. Eubanks, Kentucky; A. B. Francis, Virginia; P. D. Gold, North Carolina; Wm. Grafton, Maryland; Lee Hancks, Alabama; L. M. Hardy, North Carolina; J. D. Hubbell, Benton Jenkins, F. W. Keene, New York; P. G. Lester, Virginia; Wm. Pollard, Canada; W. J. Purington, New Jersey; E. Rittenhouse, Delaware; D. M. Vail, Pennsylvania; and W. B. Williams, North Carolina. I heard nearly all these brethren preach, and believe them to be excellent and able ministers of the New Testament. I was often greatly edified under the preaching, and several times did I receive especial comfort under the grand and gracious deliverances of Eld. Beebe, who, in both his health and his family, has passed through severe trials, and experienced the fellowship of his Redeemer's sufferings, and has thus been divinely and peculiarly prepared to administer to other tried ones the same consolation with which he, himself, has been comforted of God.

Nine miles from the greatest seat of theological learning in America (Princeton, N. J.), the Lord specially poured out an abundance of his spirit upon one of our most unlearned ministers, and thus demonstrated that human learning is not essential for the preaching of the gospel, as He had already done in the case of John the Baptist, and most of the Apostles, the Montanists, the Waldenses, John Bunyan, John Howe, John Leland, Wilson Thompson, and thousands of others.

At one of the meetings, one of our elders (whom I shall call A) had spoken and was followed by another, a very able and brilliant minister (whom I shall call B) who, as he himself said, abandoned the subject upon which he thought to have spoken and took another connected with one of the thoughts presented by A, and, without saying a word in endorsement of the many indisputable and fundamental truths stated by A, severely devoted almost the entire force of his argument to the attempted demolition of the one incidental thought of A to which he objected, and probably had the satisfaction of supposing that he succeeded in his undertaking. A was mortified at the unseemly Spectacle and chose to endure the attack without a word of reply, not being willing to do anything to injure a cause more precious to him than life itself and to hurt the feelings of the dear children of God who were present, and to degrade an assembly convened for Divine worship into a modern debating society. The pastor an leading members of the church afterwards privately endorsed the thought of A to which B had objected, and expressed their disapprobation of B's course, declaring that the latter had, in order to establish his position, totally misapplied the context of his subject; and others of our ablest ministers agree with them in these views. The matter is here mentioned simply as a warning to our brilliant pulpit orators against such a course in the future Let them remember that it is not so important for them to shine as it is for Christ to shine; and that the spirit of love and humility and weakness is of far more value to the church than the keenest intellectual penetration, especially when such penetration sees the false and not the true. Though Apollos knew and preached only the baptism of John, Aquilla and Priscilla did not correct him publicly, but took him aside and expounded unto huh the way of God more perfectly. {Ac 18:24,28} Let there he no wrangling or van glorying in the pulpits of the servants of the meek and lowly Lamb of God.

After the meeting in Canada, I spent five days in Middletown, N. Y., a week in New York City, a week in Hopewell, N. J., two days in Princeton, N. J., three days in Philadelphia, some hours in Wilmington, Del., and in Baltimore, a day at Black Rock, Md., and about a day in Washington, D. C.

In his prayer at the close of the Canada meeting, June 27, Elder Pollard was overcome with emotion, as were also many of the members, while he besought ``journeying mercies for the dear brethren in the ministry who had visited them, and that, if not permitted to meet them again on earth, they might meet them in heaven;'' bringing vividly to mind the affecting scene in Ac 20:36,38, at the parting of Paul from the elders of the church at Ephesus.

And so, after I had spoken at Hopewell, N. J., July 17, Elder Purington made a closing prayer, and, with great earnestness and tender emotion, implored of the Lord for me, restoration to health and my accustomed avocation if in accordance with the divine will, and, if not, then resignation to the ordination of Providence.

I learned, from ``the beloved physician,'' Dr. B. F. Coulter, 1910 North 22d street, Philadelphia, that Kamnia, a new and elegant preparation from coal tar, a powder as white as flour, is a safe and an excellent substitute for morphine in the relief of all kinds of pain, without any of the bad effects of morphine, and may be bought for $1.20 per ounce-the dose being from three to ten grains; and in some cases in which I have already tried it, I have found it admirable.

Just before or after the meetings, I spent one or more delightful days at the hospitable homes of Elders F. A. Chick, E. Rittenhouse, S. H. Durand, W. L. Beebe, Wm. Pollard, B. Jenkins, and W. J. Purington, and Brethren John Home, Robt. Townsey, J. M. Willard, D. T. McCall, A. S. Cook, Elijah Leigh, B. F. Coulter, John McConnell, and J. T Campbell, and Sisters D. Slawson, Hannah Worcester, and Sallie Brooks.


The brethren, sisters and friends received and treated me with the utmost kindness everywhere. They loved and revered the memory of my dear father, who had visited them several times; and they manifested a large share of the same affection for myself notwithstanding my feeling of unworthiness. I feel that I can never repay them for their words and acts of kindness, but I am sure that the God of all grace and father of all our mercies has already blessed and will continue to bless them, both temporally and spiritually.


My health was wonderfully sustained and improved on the trip. I suffered but little from pain or nervousness; could sit and hear four sermons a day, and one at night; eat and drink anything day or night without injury; and slept as well, if not better, than I did at home, and, though I could not expect it, the cordial wish of my afflicted friend in Williamston was realized. I was not sick a single day. I took no medicine while I was gone, and did not even use the Electropoise at all; so that I know that my thanks are due to the Lord alone.


Upon these I will dwell but briefly, as the leading purpose of my journey was spiritual and not natural.

Among the most interesting of natural objects to me on my trip, were the rich lands and beautiful lawns of the middle states and of Canada, the luxuriant grasses and fruits, fine stock, abundant milk and butter, improved agricultural machinery enabling one man to do the work of some half dozen without such help, the industry, economy, intelligence, and prosperity of the people, and small amount of grumbling that I heard about hard times.

With Elders Beebe and Curry, I explored Watkins' Glen, near Watkins, in western New York, one of the most picturesque spots in America, a magnificent. freak of nature, a gorge or ravine from two to three hundred feet deep, and three miles long (at the head of Seneca lake), traversed through the middle by a dashing cascade, crowned on either cliff by lofty trees, and affording a delicious coolness, visited annually by 30,000 persons. With Elder Gold and his son, Joseph., and Sisters Maggie Banes, of Philadelphia, and Susie Woolford, of Md., I rode in a carriage fourteen miles on both sides of Niagara Falls, the most stupendous cataract in the world, down which (150 feet on the Canadian and 164 feet on the American side) pour four hundred thousand cubic feet, or twelve thousand tons of water per second-the surplus of five lakes-four of which are among the largest on earth; illustrating in a slight degree, the eternity and the omnipotence of God, and the transitoriness and feebleness of man. Niagara is an Indian word, and means thundering water. With Elders Curry and Keene, I clambered the most of the way up Hector's Falls in Schuyler county, N Y., which descend by different ledges of rocks four hundred feet into Seneca lake. And with Sisters D. Slawson, of New York City, and H. Hooten, of Brooklyn, I rode through Greenwood cemetery in Brooklyn, N. Y., one of the -largest and finest cemeteries in the world, covering six hundred acres, abounding with artificial hills and lakes and fountains, and with lawns and flowers and splendid and costly monuments and vaults and sepulchral houses of rock. To economize space, sometimes two and even three persons are buried, one above another, in the same grave. On the immense and lofty iron facade above the gate to the cemetery are shown four scenes in the Saviour's ministry; on the outside of the cemetery, at the left, ``Weep Not,'' under a view of Christ raising the daughter of Jairus; at the right, ``The Dead Shall Be Raised,'' under a view of Christ raising the son of the widow of Nain: on the inside of the cemetery, at the left, ``I am the Resurrection and the Life,'' under a view of Christ comforting Martha and Mary; and, at the right, ``Come Forth,'' under a view of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. Mr. and Sister Slawson took me through Central park, New York, and Brother Coulter through a part of Fairmount park, Philadelphia.


I purchased, at a Hebrew book-store, 53 Division street, New York City, a Jewish-English Bible, a new translation of the Old Testament into English, by Isaac Leeser, a Jew in England, adopted by the Jews of England and the United States, the chief object of which seems to have been the industrious perversion (either by the rendering or by notes) of all the Messianic prophecies, so as to prevent an appearance of their fulfillment in Jesus of Nazareth. And I examined, in the Astor Library, New York, and have since purchased of H. L. Hastings, 47 Cornhill, Boston, (price by mail $2.50), James Murdock's translation of the Syriac Peshito version of the New Testament into English- the first, and clearest, and most important version of the New Testament ever made-two or three hundred years older than the oldest Greek Manuscript of the New Testament that has come down to us. On my trip I showed some of the brethren a copy which I had lately secured of Edward Irving's ``Orations for Missionaries after the Apostolic School,'' to which I have made allusion on the 610th page of the Church History, and which contains the most powerful and unanswerable vindication of the scripturalness of the Primitive Baptist position in regard to Missions that I have ever seen. John B. Alden & Co., 57 Rose street, New York, have now in press, and expect to issue this year (price $5, besides postage or expressage), James Strong's Bible Concordance and Lexicon, the only complete Concordance of the Bible ever published, containing absolutely every word in the original Scriptures, translated and pronounced, with a Hebrew and Greek Lexicon, and a comparative Concordance of the Old and New versions (all in one large quarto volume of 1,720 pages), putting the English student of the Scriptures more nearly on an equality with the Hebrew and Greek scholar than any book over before published.

Of all these books, I hope, Providence permitting, to write more fully hereafter for the GOSPEL MESSENGER.


The Northern Associations were formerly (about 35 years. ago) held on Sunday, and as now generally in the South, large promiscuous crowds attended and disturbed those who wished to hear the preaching; but since they have been changed to the week, very few go who do not wish to hear preaching, and quiet and order prevail; and the visiting ministers preach at the churches on the intervening Sundays. Each Association has a short business session each of the three forenoons; then there are two sermons; then an intermission of an hour or two for refreshments, which are spread in common upon tables in the grove, or in a neighboring house; then follow two more sermons in the afternoon, and often another at night; and the messengers can hear all the preaching. After the first sermon on the second day, contribution baskets are passed around, and a collection is thus taken up for defraying the traveling expenses of visiting ministers. These baskets are also used after the sermon at the separate meetings of the churches, to collect funds to help the visiting ministering brother on his way; and the contributions for this purpose are generally liberal. The pastors of churches are also generously aided, during the year, by the donations of their members and congregations; and they are thus able to devote a good portion of their time to the service of the churches, and the latter are correspondingly benefitted. The membership and congregations, with a few exceptions, are small, and generally decreasing; so that a leading minister there thinks that the church will lose its visibility in the North. The churches are more widely separated than in the South, and have meetings two or four Sundays in each month, whether they have a minister present or not; in his absence, two or three of the male members read a portion of the Scriptures and make some comments, and lead in prayer. On Saturday afternoon, or at some other time in the week, a Conference or Covenant Meeting is held, at which all the members, both male and female, as well as other persons who may be present, are at liberty to speak of their spiritual exercises, and suggest hymns to be sung or read. Among the Covenanted Baptists in Canada, the Church Conferences are held with closed doors. In the North, the order of Divine service id the same as in the South, except that a second hymn is sung between the prayer and the sermon; and in Canada the order is prayer, praise, preaching, praise, and prayer. During public prayer our members in the Northern states sit erect in the seats' and in Canada, likewise t he Presbyterians, they stand up. Family worship, except grace at meals, seems almost entirely abandoned, the excuse being that it tends to formality; but the same reasoning would do away with thanksgiving at meals and stated public and private prayer. The Covenanted Church in Canada has about 150 members in four meeting houses 20 or 30 miles apart, at each of which the pastor preaches once a month. The meeting houses there are kept insured; and most of our members in the North insure their property. Voting in the churches is done by raising the right hand (as in the Apostolic churches, see Church History, pages 291, 292 and 304, as indicated by the Greek verb cheirotoneo).Deacons are not now ordained, but simply chosen by the churches. Families, generally have few children in them. Ministers are usually referred to as Elders, and brethren and sisters as Mr. and Mrs. The meeting houses are painted and comfortable, and frequently have connected with them good stalls for horses. In one of our meeting houses in Maine, I learned that an organ is used to aid singing.


I am very glad to say that I did not hear any anti-trinitarianism, or dualism, or fatalism, or pantheism preached; but one or more of some other extremes and dangerous innovations were either advocated by one or more of the ministers present, or reported to me as being advocated by others of our able ministers-such as the apparent denial of any real fundamental change in regeneration or the new birth; the applying of every passage in the Bible to none but the children of God (calling the wayside, the stony ground, and the thorny ground hearers, the parable of the Sower, the five fooling virgins, the elder brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son, persons accepted by the dog and swine, the idolatrous, the unbelieving, the infidel, the blind, the lost, the damned-calling those who still maintained the odious and horrible characters children of God); the declaration that the whole object of preaching is to comfort the children of God (just as though such passages as 2Ti 4:2; 1Th 5:14,1; 1Ti 5:20; Tit 1:13,15; Re 2:5,16 and Re 3:19 were not in the Scriptures), and that the exhortations of the New Testament are not meant as exhortations, but simply as parts of the experience of believers, and that it may partake of legalism to enjoin them, as some do, upon Christians; the apparent denial of the personality of Satan, and of the literality of the resurrection of the body, and of a general judgment (though few things are more plainly revealed in the Scriptures, or more emphatically declared in Primitive Baptist articles of faith than the resurrection of the body and a general judgment); the denial of any hell after death (thus amounting either to Universalism or the annihilation of the wicked at death) and the limitation of the scriptural passages heretofore thought to refer to the heaven of immortal glory to the present scriptural enjoyment of the believer (insomuch that the beloved and venerated Eld. Thomas Barton of Delaware, now deceased, said before his death that he was afraid his ministering brethren would not have him any heaven to go to).

The new and brilliant discoveries, theories and imaginary revelations seem to me to be luring on some of our able ministers and the churches that follow them to the Niagara of Infidelity. I dare not, neither do I wish top fall in with them. I prefer to remain on the eternal rock of plainly revealed truth; to abide in the good old restful paths trodden by the poor ignorant and despised saints of by-gone days; who sought not to be wise above what is written, but was content to live and die in the faith of God's elect. As I have said in The Old Paths, ``a so-called spiritualization that denies the literal truth of Scripture or that makes one Scripture deny another is false spiritualizing and proceeds from a false spirit.'' The same system of interpretation that denies the literal truth of the prophesies would if applied to the past, deny the truth of Scripture history, and (like the Dacetism of the early centuries, Church History, pages 242, 246, and 439) would represent the incarnation, life, sufferings, and death of the Son of God as not actual, but only phantasmal and visionary, and would thus undermine the very foundation of the believer's hope. It seems to me that the excessive materialism of the masses in the wealthy Middle States tends, in its reaction upon thoughtful intellects, by a well-established law of the human mind, to produce this excessive spiritualism of many of our brethren there. May the Great Builder and Keeper of the Church save His people from this rising tidal wave of refined, mystical unbelief. The salvation which the Lord Jesus brings His people is, I believe, a real, a holy, and an everlasting salvation; otherwise it is a delusive and detestable nonentity; and like the universal skeptic, David Hume, we may reduce all beings and all events, to shadows and dreams; and like the unprincipled diplomatist, Charles M. Talleyrand, we may consider all language as meant to deceive.


A German brother, a private member, who lives in a city distant from his church, said that when he returned to his place of residence, he felt home-sick, and sat down on the steps and cried, thinking of his brethren and sisters from whom he was separated.

Another German brother remarked to me that something inside of him kept telling him he was a hypocrite; but he felt that he would rather be nothing in the world than be a hypocrite.

A gentleman in New York City, alluding to the Convention of the so-called ``Christian Endeavor'' people there, and their wearing badges, said that he thought it a good idea for ``Christians'' to be tagged, as that was the only way of telling them now-a-days from other people.

Half a century ago, said one of our elders, if a farmer wished to borrow a few hundred dollars, he could readily obtain it from his neighbor without even giving his note, and if he failed to pay it back at the time agreed upon, he fell into life-long disgrace; but now, if a man does not avail himself of every legal quibble to avoid paying his honest debts, be is almost thought to be a fit subject for the lunatic asylum.

Eld. H. C. Leachman, of Virginia, a Boanerges in the pulpit, used to say that when he had no liberty in preaching, he went to lampooning Arminians. The most of the religious denominations of this country have such a surplus of what they consider the gospel, that they ship large quantities of it to foreign heathen.

An elder said in his sermon that every true minister was like John the Baptist, and baptized Christ every time he baptized a subject of grace; and another elder remarked privately that, in the same sense, he might be said to baptize the devil at every baptism also.

As Elijah prefigured John the Baptist, so Elisha prefigured Christ; and the little cloud, like a man's hand, that arose out of the sea, {1Ki 18:44} was a type of the Son of God in human form, who sent down a copious rain of grace upon spiritual Israel in His own and the apostolic age. Clouds may represent ministers who filled with grace and wafted by the Spirit of God where He pleases, will yield showers of blessings to the spiritual hearers; otherwise, they will be clouds without water, and will yield no refreshing. The dew may represent the gracious influences of the Spirit apart from the ministry.

Old School Baptists are less numerous than other denominations, because there are no factories (such as human religious institutions) for manufacturing them.

The daisies and buttercups that clothe the hillsides around us with garments of silver and gold, but show the development of the life that God has implanted in them; so the godly walk and conversation of the child of God are but the out-blooming of the Divine life in his soul.

The hand of the little child Jesus, {Isa 11:1-9} laid upon the otherwise discordant and rebellious faculties of our being, brings them into harmonious and loyal submission.

Jesus is the only real preacher in the church. {Isa 61:1-3; Lu 4:16-21; Ps 22:22; Heb 2:12}

A sermon may be like a beautiful, unbroken, white loaf of bread that nourishes no one; it takes broken bread to feed the multitude.

Wax fruit may seem rich and lovely, but it will not satisfy the appetite; so fine preaching, without the

Spirit of life and love, does not comfort us. Dry doctrine, no matter how sound, we cannot swallow, and digest, and assimilate; unless doctrine is preached experimentally, it does the hearer no real good.

True preaching is not from the cold memory, but from the warm heart.

Others work to get life; and we work because we have life.

The only service that God, who is love, accepts is the service of love.

The precious cause of Jesus is above every other cause in the hearts of His people.

One of our elders said that, when he went to preach on a funeral occasion, he always, on his arrival, asked the family whether they had any text that they desired to be used, and if so, he took that text as his subject. Another said, that when he arose in the pulpit and took a text to preach, he did not know, any more than any one of his audience what he was going to say; and when he ended his discourse, he could hardly tell, as well as any of his hearers, what he had said; and when he had no liberty, he was as well satisfied as when he had liberty, because he knew such was the Divine purpose; and he could fill up any convenient vacancy, desired, whether ten minutes or an hour and a half, and could quit any time. Another elder said that the preaching of this elder was like unstopping a bottle of pearls, which pour forth rich and beautiful, however short or long a time they run. All the children of God, when in the right spirit, said the elder whose preaching was like the flow of pearls, are of exactly the same size-less than the least of all the saints, and there is ample room in the church for any number of them; but when one of them grows large, the church is too small to hold him, and he has to flop out in order to develop his proportions.

He whose name is Holy, and whose dwelling place is Eternity, gives to His people his incarnate Word to be expressed in their lives for His glory. {Ps 68:11}

The child of God, if allowed the privilege of receiving one of the strokes of the cruel lash that tore the flesh of his dear Redeemer, would consider it a greater honor than all the glory of this world.


The almost universal unrest pervading the physical, political, business, social, scientific, and religious world has reached the Old School or Primitive Baptist churches, so that within their ranks are found persons having different views on almost every point of doctrine and discipline, and on almost every passage of Scripture; yet I believe that those entertaining novel and extreme views are largely in the minority; and that, in all the great essentials of doctrine and practice, the majority are united; that this majority are more nearly like the Apostolic churches than any other people now on earth; that they have a much larger percentage of regenerated members than any other communion; that they are united in their views of the salvation of Jesus, an experience of grace, and the practical teachings of the Spirit of God, and the great fundamental scriptural truths of the total depravity of the natural man, and the unconditional election, special redemption, effectual calling, and final perseverance of the saints to glory By the grace of God, and for His glory, and the good of their fellow-mortals, may they stand in the ways and see and ask for the good old paths and walk therein, and thus find rest for their souls; contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints; mark and avoid those who cause divisions contrary to the doctrine which they have learned; and walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, remembering that there is one body and one spirit, even as they are called in one hope of their calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in them all; and may He turn them again, and cause His face to shine upon them, and re-weld them in stronger bonds than ever of Divine love and fellowship, and consecrate them more fully to his holy and blessed ser vice, and to Him alone shall be all the glory to eternal ages.-Amen.


The Gospel Messenger--January 1895

``He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.''

Thus the Prophet Isaiah (Isa 53:7) writes of our Divine and Perfect Redeemer. And the Apostle Peter {1Pe 2:19-23} says:

``This is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps; who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.''

If I know anything of my own deceitful heart, I would incomparably prefer to have and manifest this Spirit of humility, Love, and self-denial, than to have all the knowledge, power, wealth, and honors of the universe.

A most worthy, able, and esteemed brother, whose views on nearly all points of doctrine and practice, if I understand them, are now substantially the same as my own, has seemed to me and others desirous, for two years, either to overwhelm me with reproach before our brethren for my writings in the GOSPEL MESSENGER during 1892, 1893 and 1894, or else to provoke me to a contention with him either privately or publicly. But, by Divine grace, I never intend, for the defense of my own poor sinful self, to quarrel with a brother, or to say one word to confuse and divide the Zion of our God. What I have written has been sincerely and earnestly meant only for the spiritual and lasting good of all our ministers and members everywhere. The truth of what I wrote in regard to what I myself had heard has been abundantly confirmed by private letters to me and by published articles in our periodicals. I could solemnly assert the kindness of my motives and the truthfulness of my statements in a dying hour. If my life itself were at stake, I could not help believing the Primitive Baptist Articles of Faith and the plain declarations of the Scriptures in regard to the eternal future. And, Dear Brethren, in conclusion, if proving the truth of what I and nearly all Primitive Baptists believe, by copious references to the alone inspired and infallible Scriptures, be met by the startling judgment that such a course only weakens our cause, I am put at sea in a leaking boat without sun or moon or stars or chart to direct my way. It was and is my understanding that ``the sure word of prophecy,'' received in the simplicity of a little child (2Pe 1:19; Joh 5:39; Lu 18) is an infinitely better and safer guide on the dark and troubled sea of life, than all the feeble and uncertain lights and imaginations of our poor hearts not only unconfirmed but clearly condemned by that divine testimony.


The Gospel Messenger--February 1895

In accordance with repeated and earnest solicitations from brethren, and with impression, I believe, from the God of Israel, I left home Oct. 25th, 1894, and visited and tried to preach in Montgomery and Carroll counties, Md., Fairfax, Fauquier, Rappahannock, Page and Warren counties, Va., Fulton county, Pa., and Morgan county, W. Va., in the bounds of the Ketocton, Ebenezer, Juniata and Patterson's Creek Old School Baptist Associations; and I returned home Dec. 7th. I was everywhere most cordially received, and most kindly treated; and I had abundant evidence to feel that the Lord had sent me on my journey, to labor with some success, to teach, establish, and comfort His people, and thus afforded me fresh and clear proof at the time, that I was indeed His servant, and that those whom I addressed were His children.

On pages 912, 925, and 926 of the Church History, my father records the names of all these Associations in the tables of Primitive Baptist Associations; and on pages 916 to 920 I have given an extended account of the Ketocton Association, which is, after the Kehukee, the next oldest Primitive Baptist Association in the world. Few pages in the Church History are more interesting and satisfactory than these four pages. More sound and orderly Primitive Baptists I have never found than I did on this trip. Without fear or favor of man, they are contending earnestly for the faith once for all delivered unto the saints; and, like nine tenths of all the Primitive Baptists in the United States, they, with equal faithfulness, oppose the perversions of Jewish (Arminian) and Heathen (Speculative) Philosophy, by which Satan beguiles and corrupts the minds of even some of the people of God from the simplicity of the gospel of Christ. {Jude 25; Ac 11:1; Ga 3:5; Ac 20:30; 2Co 11:3-4; Col 2:8; 2Ti 2:17-26; 1Jo 4:1-3}

During my tour, I met and was very much pleased with Elders C. H. Waters (Gaithersburg, Md.), E. E. Oliver (Kenmore, Va.), J. K. Booton (Luray, Va.), J. A. Norton (Sperryville, Va.), T. S. Dalton (Stanleyton, Va.), W. T. Eaton (Elkton, Va.), T. N. Alderton (Great Cacapon, W. Va.), C. L. Funk (Needmore, Pa.), A. Mellott (Needmore, Pa.), and B. W. Powers (Slanesville, W. Va.); but I had the pleasure of hearing only Elders Waters and Dalton preach. The two latter are Moderators of the Ketocton and Ebenezer Associations, and are Editors of "Zion's Advocate," an excellent monthly periodical published at Stanleyton, Va. Eld. Waters has a fine female boarding school, is a skillful Physician, a noble and lovely man, and gifted and fearless defender of the doctrine of salvation by sovereign grace alone, showing no mercy to the errors of conditionalism. Eld. Dalton, a native of Tennessee, is one of the ablest Primitive Baptist debaters, and a strong and comforting preacher and writer, and as uncompromisingly opposed to conditionalism as is Eld. Waters. Eld. Booton has a valuable religious library, and a musical voice with which he leads his congregations in singing; though in his 72nd year, and lame from his youth, he still crosses the Blue Ridge Mountains four times a month in his buggy, attending his churches, riding east from 30 to 40 miles and back each trip, over a rough and lonely road, sometimes meeting snow-drifts twenty feet high; and he has suffered great persecution for his steafast adherence to the cause of eternal truth. I saw him baptize brother Abner Paine and his wife in the fellowship of Battle Run church. Eld. Norton moved from Texas to Virginia three years ago to serve destitute churches, and his labors are very acceptable. Eld. Eaton was brought out by the power of God from the errors of Lutheranism, and is highly esteemed. Eld. Alderton lives in the Great Cacapon Valley, in riding up which 13 miles, between the mountains of West Virginia, to the meeting-house of Enon church, I saw wild and romantic scenery, the rushing river, giant hills, and dark forests, and wheat farming on land sloping at an angle of about 70 degrees; and in this Old Baptist Valley, where no other denomination has a house of worship, the poor, simple and devout people of God love to gather in their rude meeting house, and to engage, like the Primitive saints, in the humble, heart felt service of God whom they love. The most delightful congregational singing that I heard on my trip was in this favored valley, where the voices were as sweet and clear as the pure air and water of their mountain homes, and the hymns which they were fondest of singing were those that tell of Jesus and Heaven. Eld. Alderton serves, with ability and faithfulness, churches hundreds of miles apart, and dearly loves to find and feed and gather into the fold, the scattered sheep of Christ.

I saw, on my tour, for the first time, the very sound and meritorious Ebenezer Selection of Hymns (sold by Mrs. J. G. Wiltshire, Front Royal, Va., and sent by mail for 80 cents, $1.25, and $1.90, according to binding). The collection occupies 668 pages, and contains some admirable hymns that I had never seen, of four of which I will give the first stanza:-

"Sweet the moments, rich the blessing,

Which before the cross I spend;

Life and health and peace possessing

From the sinner's dying Friend." -page 222.

"Beneath the sacred throne of God

I saw a river rise;

The streams were peace and pardoning blood

Descending from the skies." -page 394.

"Love was the great self-moving cause

From whence salvation came;

Free grace, the channel where it flows,

Eternally the same." -page 396.

"Now, in a song of grateful praise,

To my dear Lord my voice I'll raise,

With all His saints I'll join to tell,

Jesus hath done all things well." -page 522.

I was especially pleased with the Index of Scriptures (from Gen. to Rev.) unfolded in each hymn, and proving the truth of the sentiments of the hymns. I was glad to notice that the churches which I visited, not only had no new doctrines among them, but also used the same old tunes that we use and think unequalled in North Carolina.

On Nov. 20th I explored the Cave of Luray, near Luray, Page Co., Va., in company with a pleasant and competent guide, Mr. Smith, and Eld. J. K. Booton, Bro. John Grove, and Miss Burner from Ill. The Cave was discovered in 1878, and is one of the Natural Wonders of the world, not so immense as the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, but containing more beautiful and varied limestone drip formations, in many shapes, sizes, and colors; marvelous works of the unseen Creative Hand. It is lighted by electricity, and is half a mile long, and in some places 300 feet wide, and 70 feet, 100 feet under ground. Some of the most striking formations are, the Flower Garden, Natural Bridge, Fish Market, Crystal Spring, Pluto's Chasm, Spectre, Saracen's Tent, Fallen Column, Cathedral, Organ (from which the sweetest music is elicited by the guide,) Tower of Babel, Cemetery, Giant's Hall, Madona and Child, Angel's Wing, Christ Blessing the Children, Empress Column, Castles on the Rhine, Lake Lethe, Wet Blanket, and Leaning Tower. Each male visitor has a tin candle-stand with three candles burning at once, and the guide has also magnesium wire which he burns at times to make a very brilliant light. The temperature is uniform and comfortable in both Winter and Summer. In very rainy seasons, explorers have to use a small boat to go about in the Cave. A house is built over the entrance, and steps and walls and balusters are arranged for the convenience of visitors.

In the libraries of Elders Booton and Dalton, I saw, for the first time, the first two full volumes of the Signs of the Times. In Vol. 1 No. 5, pages 70-72, Eld. Gilbert Beebe writes his first editorial on "The Absolute Predestination of All things." In this article he seems to make predestination but little if anything more than fore-knowledge, and he uses the sound scriptural word "suffered" in reference to the providence of God--which word, as I have repeatedly shown, occurs fourteen times in the original Scripture, sometimes in connection with the providence, and sometimes in connection with the predestination of God. In Vol. 2, No. 3 pages 33-35, Elder Samuel Trott (the most scholarly and able of all the early contributors to the Signs) says what I have often stated, with both my tongue and pen, that the literal meaning of the Greek word, pro-orizo, which is translated predestinate in the King James version, is to fore-bound, fore-limit; and, in accordance with this true meaning of the word, he gives the most able, correct, and unobjectionable statement of the doctrine of the "Absolute Predestination of All Things" that I have ever seen. He says:--"God exercises universal dominion over His creatures,--exercises control over wicked actions and thoughts to limit their extent, to over-rule their results in accordance with His purposes. The predestination of God determines the results, fixes the limits, and so controls the actions and devices of wicked men and devils as to cause them to terminate in the furtherance of His own glorious purposes." Thus, according to the plainest teachings of the Scriptures and of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, the origin of and instigation to sin are not at all to be ascribed to a Most Holy God, (which would be the most horrible blasphemy,) but to his rebellious creatures; while the limitation and over-ruling of sin for the furtherance of his glorious purposes are truthfully to be ascribed to God. This great and momentous truth, every Primitive Baptist and every Christian joyfully believes. If those who maintain the doctrine of the "Absolute Predestination of All Things" had always confined themselves to these original scriptural statements of the original advocates of that doctrine, there never would have been the confusion and division that have arisen among Primitive Baptists on this subject. Only by a return to the original scriptural ground can there be a return to gospel fellowship and union.

While on my tour, I spoke ten times in Maryland, thirty-five times in Northern Virginia, three times in Pennsylvania, and six times in West Virginia. Thus the most of my labors were in Northern Virginia, which was the leading battle ground of the Federal and Confederate Armies in the late Civil War, and which has been for 44 years, the battle ground of the so-called Beebeite and Clarkite Old School Baptists, whose strifes have, for 7 years, been complicated by the extreme development, bitter contention and ultimate separation of the so-called Smootites (Eternal vital Unionists) from the Beebeites, and of the so-called Burnamites (Means-ites) from the Clarkites. The two little opposite extremes (the first comprising two churches and fragments of one or two others, and the last comprising fragments of eight churches) having been thus sloughed off, there remains no sufficient reason why the great body of Primitive Baptists in Northern Virginia should continue at variance. As the two White Water Associations in Indiana, after a similar unhappy division of about fifty years, when they had been providentially ridden of the same bitter unscriptural extremes, returned to harmonious gospel fellowship in August 1893, so should the so-called Beebe and Clark Primitive Baptists, whom the Lord has now brought nearer together than they have been before in forty years, be similarly re-united. I am glad to know that the Old School Baptist church in Baltimore has always received the Clark brethren; and the Baltimore and the other Northeastern Old School Baptist Associations have nevertheless fellowshipped the Baltimore church. To promote the re-union of the Beebe and Clark Baptists on a scriptural basis was one of my chief objects in undertaking my recent tour, and in writing and publishing the present account of that tour. I unexpectedly found myself, on my trip called by a new name - a Beebeite; and wonder was expressed at my travelling and preaching among the Clarkites. I told my congregations that I was neither a Beebeite nor a Clarkite, a Smootite not a Burnamite; that we knew no such unscriptural, carnal divisions and names in North Carolina, where all Primitive Baptists are a unit in doctrine; that I came among them to preach the pure, simple, old fashioned gospel of Christ, without any human additions or subtractions, unadulterated by a spurious gospel of philosophy or a spurious gospel of legality {1Co 1:23-24; 2Co 11:2-4; Col 2:8; Ga 1:6-9} -the gospel as taught by prophets and apostles and Christ himself (so plain that a wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein. Isa 35:8; Lu 18:17), and as received by all our Baptist fathers and by nine tenths of the Primitive Baptists of today -the gospel of the free, full, holy, almighty and everlasting salvation, in soul and body, of all the people of God, by the electing, redeeming and renewing love of the Father, Son and Spirit- the gospel that esteems every statement of the Scriptures as literally, spiritually and eternally true, and affords the strongest consolation to all the children of God, and ascribes to God alone all the glory of the salvation of his people. And I found that such preaching was just what the dear children of God delighted to hear- simple Bible truth, comforting the people of God and glorifying him alone.

Elder Gilbert Beebe of New York was born in 1800, and died in 1881; Elder John Clark of Virginia, was born in 1800 and died in 1882. Entering and leaving the world at almost the same time, and evincing by their long and devoted lives that they were objects of Divine love, it would seem highly unreasonable to doubt that in the heavenly world of perfect light and peace and love, their glorified spirits have now for many years been hymning in purest unison the praises of God and of the Lamb. Eld. Beebe started the Signs of the Times in 1832; and Eld. Clark, Zion's Advocate in 1854. Until 1850 Eld. Clark was a frequent and friendly correspondent of the Signs; and neither he nor Eld. Beebe ever departed from the principles of the Old School Baptist Address of the Black Rock Convention of 1832. But Eld. Clark noticed that there were published, in the Signs from 1849 to 1853, articles in which the writers, misled by certain misunderstood and misinterpreted passages of Scripture, and rationalizing or philosophizing upon the unfathomable mysteries of the Divine Nature, and incarnation, and election, and regeneration, said that Christ, as the Head and Life of his church, and as Mediator between God and man, was a creature of God; and that the spirit of life by which we are regenerated, is a creature (these expressions savoring strongly of Arianism); and that the church was eternally created in Christ, and is therefore as eternal as he; and that there is no change in the soul of man in regeneration (these expressions savoring strongly of Parkerite Two-Seedism) These gross heresies being carried by a few later speakers and writers into a denial of the immateriality and endless duration of the soul, the second bodily appearance of Christ on earth, the resurrection of the dead, the general judgment, and the everlasting punishment of the wicked. For the erroneous doctrines of the creatureship of the Son and the Spirit of God, and that there is no change in the soul in regeneration, the Ketocton Association in 1852, and the Ebenezer Association in 1853, very properly declared non-fellowship; and to combat such ruinous errors, Eld. Clark began, in 1854, the publication of Zion's Advocate. On pages 636 and 637 of the Church History, I have said:- "In regard to the charge of Arianism made against the first edition and some of the old correspondents of the 'Signs of the Times,' my father, who was personally acquainted with the parties, was fully satisfied that the charge arose from a misconstruction of the real views of the writers; while, at the same time, it must be admitted that some of the expressions of some of the writers were unguarded, ill advised, and unscriptural." From a careful examination of the Signs of the Times since its first publication to the present time, and a personal acquaintance with many of its leading contributors, I am perfectly assured that, while some of them 45 years ago very incorrectly understood and interpreted such Scriptures as 1Co 15:45; Eph 2:10; 4:30; Col 1:15, no one of them ever meant to deny the eternal uncreated Divinity of the Son and the Spirit of God; and I do not suppose that anyone now in fellowship with the North-Eastern Old School Baptist Associations, believes that the Church is as uncreated and eternal as Christ, (only as he is her life), or maintains that there is no change in the soul in regeneration; and the most of the later unscriptural theories mentioned above are held, I am sure, as I have said many times, by only a few unsettled brethren, whom I rejoice to see the God of Israel is gradually but surely bringing back to the landmarks of eternal truth. The heresies, therefore, for which the Ketocton and Ebenezer Associations in 1852 and 1853 declared non-fellowship, do not now, if they ever did exist, in the North-Eastern Old School Baptist Associations; and the extreme and bitter expressions used by some in the Ketocton and Ebenezer ranks are now universally condemned by the members of those Associations; so that I can see no adequate reason for any further be no schism in the body" of Christ. -1Co 12:25 "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgement." -1Co 1:10 "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." -Joh 13:34-35 "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me." -Joh 17:20-22 "We know that we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him." "Brethren, let us love one another, for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also." -1Jo 3:14-15; 4:7-8,20-21 "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." - 1Co 13:13.

Elder Wm. M. Smoot, of Occoquan, Va., used to make a yearly visit to my own church and other churches in the Kehukee Association, and we esteemed him dearly and highly as a minister of the gospel of Christ; and we mourn over what seems to us his carnal preference of consistency with former human philosophical error to consistency with Divine eternal scriptural truth, and the increasing bitterness (which demonstrates the erroneousness of the position) of the little faction that he has helped to lead away from the fellowship of ninety-nine one-hundredths of his brethren; and we would implore the God of Israel to give to him and those with him more of his enlightening, humbling and loving Spirit.

Eld. E. H. Burnam, a native of Kentucky, and a resident of Missouri, Mexico, Virginia and now of New Mexico and his very few followers should know that Primitive or Old School or Regular Baptists are no longer entitled to that name when they abandon the fundamental principle of John the first Baptist (the almighty spiritual power of God alone, Lu 1:15,80; Mt 3:9,11), and the distinctive principles of our fathers who in 1827 and afterwards declared non-fellowship for modern religious institutions, unknown in the Scriptures and for 1500 years after the birth of Christ, and invented in the 16th century by Papal Rome, and that it is the height of unwisdom for Old School Baptists to be taking up, at this late day, with these idols which the most intelligent Arminian advocates now pronounce "unmitigated evils;" and they should understand that no genuine Primitive Baptist is opposed to the proper study and teaching and dissemination of the Scriptures; and that God alone can give spiritual or eternal life to those dead in sin, and that only after such life has been given, can the written or preached word be of any spiritual benefit to the reader or hearer, and that such benefit to the reader or hearer, is a temporal one; {Joh 1:12-13; 5:25; 6:63; 8:47; 10:27-30; 17:2-3; 1Jo 4:6; 5:1; 1Co 13:9-10} that the substitution of a few minutes a week religious instruction of children by an unrelated and incompetent Sunday School teacher for the daily and hourly training of children at home by their parents both by precept and example, especially when the Sunday School is made, as it is by many, a substitute also for the Holy Ghost, is thoroughly unscriptural, and has been and can be only pernicious; that the failure of so-called "Regular Baptist," Modern Missions, Sunday Schools and Periodicals, proves that they were not of God; {Ac 5:38-39; Ne 4:15; Job 5:12; Ps 33:10-11; Isa 7:7; 8:9-19; Mt 15:13} and finally that confusion, division, hatred and bitterness, brought in, by these unscriptural, idolatrous inventions and innovations, between the members of families, neighborhoods and churches, are the work, not of God, but of Satan. {Mt 22:37-40; Ga 5:19-26; 1Co 14:33; Eph 4:1-6,15-16,30-32; 1Pe 2:1-5; 1Jo 4:1,7-8,20-21; Joh 13:34; 17:20-21} May the Lord deliver all his people from the subtle and ruinous devices of the Devil, re-unite them all in love, and preserve them blameless unto his heavenly kingdom. {Ge 3; 2Co 2:11; 11:3-4,13-15; 2Ti 3:6-9; Eph 4:15-16; Re 21:2; 2Ti 4:18; Jude 25}

Williamston, N. C. Sylvester Hassell. Dec. 18, 1894.


The Gospel Messenger--July 1895

I have always been a great lover of home, and have preferred to read the travels of others rather than travel myself. And, in his great and most unmerited mercy, the Lord has, blessed. me with a delightful home-the dear home of my childhood and youth and early manhood-the home consecrated by the prolonged residence and godly example of my devout, venerated, and beloved father and step-mother, and by tens of thousands of their humble, loving, and fervent prayers around the family-altar, the home where thirty-two years ago, as I reverently hope, my gracious and Divine Savior appeared in His dying agonies upon the cross to my eyes anointed with His Spirit, and spoke eternal peace to my sin-burdened soul. And, since the death of my last dear companion six years ago, and the severe bodily affliction that came upon me five years ago, I have been still more loath to leave the comforts of home and the company of kind relatives and friends and of my four little motherless children. And it is a pain to me to part with the daily privilege of consulting my instructive library, and of visiting the poor and afflicted members of my own church and people pf my native town. Were it not, therefore, for the solemn impressions made, I believe, by the Lord upon my mind, and the urgent invitations of dear brethren for me to visit them on preaching tours, I would never again turn my back for months upon all that is most dear to me by nature, and subject myself, in the frail and uncertain condition of my health, to the severe labors, privations, exposure, and hardships of many kinds, by day and by night, incident to constant travel, in all states of the weather and roads, mostly by private conveyance, and to attempt to preach once or twice every day. As for clearing money above railroad expenses by traveling and preaching among Primitive Baptists, I do not know of any other business in which an educated, industrious man could make less money; and, as for the insinuation of covetousness, my past life ought to be sufficient to prove the injustice of such a suspicion. On my preaching tours, I do not even solicit a subscription for the MESSENGER; and I dislike to hear one word said about paying my expenses.

In accordance with the requests of both ministering and private brethren, I left home Feb. 1st (returning April 8th), and tried to preach sixty-three times, mostly in Southern Georgia. My labors were in Bulloch, Lowndes, Echols, (Hamilton Co., Fla.) Thomas, Berrien; Colquitt., Worth, Irwin, Wilcox, Dooly, Houston, Monroe, Taylor, and Wilkinson Counties, Georgia. I met with Elders M F. Stubbs, A. W. Patterson, J. L. Smith, A. V. Simms, Wm. Tomlinson, Lucius Register, Chas. W. Stallings, Isam Weatherington, D. Johns, Aaron Parish, H. H. Barwick, I P. Porter, Ansell Incker, W. W. Williams, P. G. McDonald, Richard Hall, P. M. Taylor, W. E. Pittman, W. C. Cleveland, T. J. Head, W. W. Childs, S. T. Bentley, Isaiah Grant, J. T. Reynolds, J. G. Murray, and Bennett Stewart. My preaching appointments were mostly in Primitive Baptist meeting houses, but also in private houses. school houses, and New School Baptist meeting houses.

I encountered a great deal of severe weather, storms, snow, and sleet, and had to travel over very rough roads and deep waters. I suffered much at times with cold, and with nervousness and sleeplessness, and with pains in my heart and bowels; but was blessed of the Lord to obtain relief by the occasional use of the Oxydonor, (I have used no medicine for more than three years). Southern Georgia is a region of pine forests and wire grass, lumber, turpentine, cattle and sheep. The land is very cheap, having risen in value in the last few years to two or three dollars an acre. The people are generally poor, and live mostly in log houses, and produce rice, corn, syrup, sweet potatoes, and meat (some making light brown sugar out of their syrup), and they are beginning to grow peaches, pears, and long-staple cotton (which is worth three or four times as much as the short-staple cotton). Scarcely any of the meeting-houses have stoves; and some have no glass windows. One meeting-house in Bulloch County has an organ, left there for sale by an agent, and used in the meetings.

I was received and treated with great kindness; and many dear brethren and sisters, some very poor and some very afflicted, assured me that they believed the Lord had sent me to strengthen and comfort them. A dear sister who has been an invalid the most of her life and has long been confined to her bed, said that, by my discourse at her home she felt repaid for all her sufferings; and a dear, poor, and afflicted ministering brother said that, while listening to me, he felt glad that he was poor. Such assurance from the dear tried children of God are more precious to me than all the riches, honors, and pleasures of the world.

Of the eighteen thousand Primitive Baptists said, in the United States Census of 1890, to be in Georgia (which is more than there are in any other State), I believe, from what I have seen and heard, that the great majority are sound in doctrine and orderly in practice.

But, during the last thirty years, departures, in doctrine or practice, or affection, from the main body of our brethren in Georgia have been made by the Towalagians, Coonites, Battleites, Youngites, Sykesites, Wilsonites, and Hallites. The particular causes of these fleshy seditious {Ga 5:20; 1Co 3:3; Jas 4:1} have been Secret Societies, Two-Seedism, Arminianism, political ambition, ministerial jealousy, and personal envy. The entire membership of these ``slabs off,'' as they are called, is probably less than two thousand; and I was informed that the largest proportion of these are sound in the doctrine of salvation by grace.

I found that a few of our best brethren in Georgia have an opinion that Judas Iscariot was a child of God and is now in Heaven. This, (if course, is no matter of doctrine or order, but a peculiar interpretation of certain Scriptures. The following Scriptures prove to my mind, as they have to the minds of nearly all God's people, that Judas, though chosen and gifted as an Apostle and probably a preacher of the truth (as was the inspired, but covetous and devilish Balaam) and a worker of miracles, was not a subject of regenerating grace, and is now in Hell:-Joh 6:70-71; Mr 14:21; Joh 17:12; Mt 27:3-5; Ac 1:18-25; 2Co 7:10; 1Co 13; Mt 7:22-23; 1Jo 3:15; Re 22:15. The general language of Christ to His Apostles in Mt 10:16-20, and in reference to His people in Joh 6:39 is shown, by Joh 6:70-71,12; Mr 14:21, and Ac 1:25, not to apply to Judas, in the sense of his regeneration and eternal salvation.

Another strange and I think erroneous opinion that I found entertained by a few of our worthiest brethren in Georgia, is that the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, the unpardonable sin {Mt 12:3; Mr 3:28-30; Lu 12:10} can be committed by none except the children of God! As I told some of these brethren, all the other Primitive Baptists among whom I had traveled, while not claiming to know what this terrible sin is, felt sure of this one thing about it, that a child of God could never commit it; for Jesus gives repentance and forgiveness of sins to his people, and His blood cleanses them from all sin, and they have eternal life and can never perish {Ac 5:31; 1Jo 1:7-9; Joh 10:28-30} When the child of God is under conviction, he sometimes fears that he has committed the unpardonable sin, but, as proved by his subsequent experience, this is a delusion of the Devil. The context in Mt 12 and Mr 3 shows that Christ's language in reference to the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost was called forth by and addressed to the scribes and Pharisees who had ascribed His miracles to Satan, when they had the fullest and clearest natural evidence that the miracles of Christ were wrought by the infinite power and goodness of the Divine Spirit in Jesus {compare Ac 7:5; Mt 23} In studying Primitive Baptist literature on this subject, I find that some of our wisest brethren, North and South, doubt whether this sin could be committed by any others except those who witnessed the miracles of Christ during His ministry on earth. Certainly not his humble, trembling, penitent people but only His scoffing, malignant; pertinacious enemies could or can commit this sin. Heb 6:4-6 and Heb 10:26-31, as proved by these passages themselves and by the remainder of each of these chapters, and by 1Pe 2:1,20-22, and Mt 12:43-45, refer, primarily, not to the gracious children of God, but to those who, in the apostolic age, were partakers or witnesses of miraculous gifts, and then fully and finally, deliberately, maliciously, stubbornly, and continuously apostatized from the profession of Christianity to-Judaism, whose legal sacrifices were fulfilled and virtually ended in the antitypical sacrifice of the Son of God, {Da 9:4-27; Heb 10:1-18} and were literally abolished forever by the destruction of Jerusalem a few years after the Epistle to the Hebrews was written, the God of Israel and of providence thus tremendously emphasizing the argument of His inspired Apostle. {see Mt 7:21-23; 13:20-21; 1Co 13:1-2} And, if Heb 6:4-6 and Heb 10:26-31 are applicable to any since the apostolic age, they refer, as proved by Heb 6:9 and Heb 10:39, not to heart disciples, true believers, the elect, redeemed, and regenerated people of God, but to head disciples, stony-ground, temporary believers, the merely nominal people of God (like the most of national Israel), never really cleansed by God's grace any more than the nature of the sick dog and the washed sow is changed, who, after mental illumination and a brief profession of Christianity, renounce that profession, and walk no more with Christ even in name, but become his scoffing and implacable adversaries, who shall, at the judgment of the great day, he consigned to everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. {Joh 6:66; Mt 13:20-21; 2Pe 2:1,20-22; Mt 7:21-23; 25:41-46} God's fatherly chastisements of His children for their spiritual good and referred to in Heb 12:1-3, and are nowhere called in the Scriptures a sacrifice for sin; the only real, efficacious, divinely appointed and accepted sacrifice for sin mentioned in all the Scriptures is the atoning death of Christ; a single one of our sins, before or after regeneration, left unatoned for by the blood of Jesus would sink us into everlasting perdition. The child of God who has sinned, and who, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, humbly, sincerely, and penitently confesses and, forsakes his sins, is for the alone sake of Christ freely forgiven of al

I was sorry to be informed that one of the able ministers whom I met believes in the annihilation of the wicked. This doctrine is as strongly unscientific as it is strongly unscriptural. Science proves that nothing is annihilated; and the following Scriptures prove that the wicked will not be annihilated, but will suffer forever, both in soul and body:-Da 11:2; Jos 5:15; Mt 10:28; 25:41-46; Mr 9:43-48; Lu 16:23-26; 2Th 1:7-10; Re 14:11; 19:20; 20:10-15; 21:8; 22:11-15. Such, has always been the belief of the people of God.

I learned that a worthy brother, chosen to be a deacon by his church, refused for several months to be ordained, because he said he could not believe the Article of Faith of his church and Association, that ``there are three persons in the Godhead;'' but that, after having been long labored with in vain by several Elders, he was finally and feelingly convinced by the argument that the ``person'' of the Father is plainly referred to in Heb 1:3, and that the word ``image'' must refer to the ``person'' of the Son, and that, if the Father and Son are ``persons,'' the Holy Ghost must also be a ``person.'' The Greek word hypostasis rendered person in Heb 1:3 is perhaps better rendered subsistence (as in the London Baptist Confession of Faith, Chap. iii Sec. 3); it does not mean an entirely separate and distinct individual, but that personal distinction, in the one indivisible Godhead, which arises from the peculiar mode of existence of Father, Son, and Spirit, as set forth in the Scriptures (no more and no less), and which occasions a mutual love and concurrence in council, and the use of the personal, pronouns, I and He, and a distinct order of operation-the Three Divine Persons being co-eternal, consubstantial, and co-equal, having the same identical numerical essence and the same attributes and constituting the One Only Living and True God, as revealed in the Scriptures and by His Spirit in the hearts of His people, and as totally distinguished from all the false gods of man's imagination and invention. The Three-Oneness of God is clearly shown in the baptism of Christ, and in the baptism of every believer in Christ, and in the apostolic benediction {Mt 3:16-17; 18:19; 2Co 13:14}

At one of my appointments in Hamilton county Fla., a ministering brother was silenced, and then, at his own request, excluded from the church, for preaching the absolute predestination of all things in such a way as to charge the real blame of sin upon God, declaring that we can not do differently from what we do, because we are predestinated to do so, and that it is perfectly useless to exhort or admonish the children of God to do any better than they do. In regard to God's connection with sin, he denied all the force of the word meaning to permit used 14 times in the Scriptures {2Ch 32:31; Ps 81:12; Mr 1:34; 5:13; Lu 4:41; 8:32; Ac 2:23; 7:2; 13:18; 14:16; Ro 1:24,26; 9:22} and uttered, the most diabolical blasphemy 'that' I ever heard fall from human lips, saying:- ``If I should take that little child and carry it to the river-bank and leave it; and a rattle snake should come and bite and kill it, I of course could say, 'I didn't do it,' 'I didn't do it' but'' then, 'I did do it.'' Thus he most blasphemously represented the eternally and Infinitely Holy God as vainly, trying to excuse Himself from the blame of sin in allowing His creatures to sin. The human being who takes the little child to the riverbank, in the above illustration, is indeed 'a' murderer; but the Holy Creator and judge of man is 'perfectly righteous to' make man 'upright, in His own image, and put him under a holy law, and, if he willfully and rebelliously violates that law, to inflict upon him the just penalty of his transgression. The Most Holy One that inhabiteth eternity is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; He is light, and in Him is no darkness at all; he does not even tempt, much less compel, His creatures to sin; He is, to sin in every form and every being, a continuing fire; even His sinless Son, when representing His sinful people, was forsaken of His holy and loving Father, and delivered up to suffer the horrible death of the cross {Isa 57:15; Hab 1:13; Heb 12:29; Mt 27:46; Ac 2:23}

I heard of a great many weak-minded and deluded Methodists and New School Baptists in Georgia claiming to have attained sinless perfection in the flesh, some of whom disgraced and injured themselves by vainly trying to fly and to walk on the water, and of one, while professing holiness, indulging in the grossest sin.

On the same train with myself one day in Georgia, the notorious infidel, R. G. Ingersoll, asked an illiterate Primitive Baptist if he had ever seen God, and the Baptist answered, ``Yes, in my experience.'' Ingersoll confessed that the Baptist had the advantage of him, as he himself had never had such an experience; but he added that he did not deny that there is a God, and said that there might be three or four of them, that he had never seen them. Our brother asked him If he believed he (Ingersoll) had any brains; he replied that he did, and, when asked if he had ever seen his brains, he had to answer, ``No.'' ''A more appropriate and convincing question would have been whether the infidel believed he had a mind, and whether he had ever seen his mind. The reality of the invisible mind is as certain as the reality of the visible body and the reality of the invisible, omnipresent divine Spirit, is as certain as the reality of the visible and invisible works made and upheld by him. The one-ness of the universe proves the oneness of God; and, in the North American Review of August, 1881, Ingersoll admitted that, if there is a God of Nature, he is the same as the God of the Bible.

On my tour I met with the admirable little book, ``My Reason for Leaving the New School or Missionary Baptists,'' by Elder John H. Fisher, of Collinsville, Texas; who mails it for 25 cents per copy, or $2.50 per dozen copies. It contains 127 pages, and is divided into 18 chapters, 9 of which treat of the unscriptural doctrines, and 9 of the unscriptural practices of the New School Baptists. Elder Fisher was pastor of four of their churches, with a salary of $800 per year, and a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, at Louisville, Ky. He had a great struggle of mind in leaving them and joining the, few, poor and despised Primitive Baptists. He writes ably and kindly of his former brethren. I would be glad if all the subjects of grace in all the denominations could read this little work.

The ninth Chapter of Eld. Fisher's book speaks of the ``affiliation (of New School Baptists) with nearly all kinds of secret institutions of men,'' which he shows to be plainly condemned by such Scriptures as Mt 10:26-27; 6:24; Eph 5:11-13; Lu 14:33; Col 2:20-23; 2Co 6:14-18; Jg 2:1-2; and Re 18:4. The Masonic, claimed to be the most ancient of these Secret Societies, is explained (in its purposes, ceremonies, signs, degrees, and awful oaths, with an authenticated account of the abduction and murder of the author in the mouth of Niagara River, in 1826) in Captain William Morgan's Freemasonry Exposed (sold by L. Fitzgerald, 18 Ann St., New York, for 25 cents.) Modern Speculative Freemasonry, as critical scholars. know, while having some vague analogies with the secret heathen rites of ancient Greece and Egypt, can not be traced back, by authentic history, to Solomon, or Moses, or Adam on the first day of his creation, as some credulous Masons believe, but finds its true historical precursors in the Building Corporations of the Middle Ages, and itself actually originated in London, June, 24th 1717 (see the Ninth Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. ix, page 749.) The Masonic traditional additions to the Scriptures {see Re 22:18} are as mythical and incredible as those of Roman Catholicism. The Church of Christ is the only Divine Society on earth, and it needs none of the additions or pretended improvements of me-n. 'The anti-Christianity {1Jo 2:18; 4:3} of Secret Societies is proved by their ignoring the name and salvation of Jesus Christ. A Youngite Baptist told me that he had been a Mason 30 years, and that it had never done him, and he was satisfied never would do him, 25 cents worth of good. One of the most intelligent Masons in the United States, Mr. E. J. Hale, of N. C. and then of N. Y. wrote a few years ago, in the Raleigh Observer that he had long since ceased to attend Masonic Lodges, because he found that his time could be more profitably employed. Masonry is substituted for Christianity in the usual obituary declarations that deceased members have all gone to the Lodge Above.

I met, on my trip, with perhaps the youngest Primitive Baptist in the world, sister Ada Moran, of Okapilco, Brooks county Ga. She is eleven years old, and was baptized last October, after telling a satisfactory and touching experience reaching back two years. And the most remarkable family, in some respects, that I ever visited, is that of brother Wm. W. Williams, of Ty Ty, Worth county Ga.; he and his wife are living, and have 13 children, of whom 10 are at home, 5 boys and 5 girls; five are Primitive Baptists, and four others have a hope, and all are excellent singers and performers, carrying all the different parts in music, and seem to be able to sing every hymn in the note books, and make their commodious home seem a heavenly place. This dear brother is himself about to build a good meeting-house near his home.

I was glad to learn that one of our most able and esteemed ministers in Georgia had been faithful a n d bold enough to teach and train his four churches to obey the Apostle Paul's injunction, in I Cor. ix, to furnish their pastor a temporal support, and that two others of our worthiest elders there are following in the same scriptural line.

I attended a Union Meeting of the Echeconnee Association with Mount Carmel Church, near Culloden, Monroe county Ga., the last three days of March; and it was a union indeed-a time of blessed and wonderful peace and love and joy-a most interesting, tender, and melting time, not only the speakers but hundreds of the eager and attentive hearers seeming to be blessed with the outpouring of the Divine Spirit.

Eld. W. C. Cleveland took me 18 miles in his buggy from the Union Meeting, Monday, April 1st, to Butler, Ga., where, when I left home Feb. 1st, I hoped to meet dear brother Respess on the first of April-my first idea of making this trip having been suggested by him to me when I was last with him at his home in Feb. 1894; but the freed and purified spirit of the humble, self-sacrificing, and afflicted servant of Christ had, on Feb. 4th ascended, I believe, into the immediate, holy, and blissful presence of God; and it was a most mournful pleasure to me to visit and try to speak words of comfort to his sorely-bereaved family and church Patriarchs, prophets, apostles, ministers, and members pass away; but the Divine Head of the Church ever lives, and will never leave nor forsake His people, but will be with them, in His gracious and saving presence, to the end of life, the end of time, and the never-ending ages of eternity.

H2.029 Matthew 23:37

The Gospel Messenger--November 1895

Mt 23:37

``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!''

Brother J. J. Pickrell, of Good Hope, Ga., requests my views of this passage of scripture, and a statement of what I believe to be its application in the present age of the world.

In the beginning of the present century it was the custom of Baptist Churches to present their pastors with a copy of John Gill's exposition of the scriptures and thus help preserve them from ignorant and Armenian perversions of the written word. Unfortunately, that most valuable exposition of the Inspired Volume is out of print; and the rapidly increasing down-grade tendency of the present age in religious belief does not call for any other edition of this soundest, ablest and richest of all the expositions of the scriptures. Any explanation of any text by a man of grace and information is of value; and there is not an article of difference, in principle, between reading the explanation in a book or a periodical and hearing it from a person. The Lord has raised up teachers in His Church, and we do well to hear them. {Eph 4:8-16.} Of course the Written Word is the touchstone of all exposition and all experience.

I have never seen in any ether book or in any periodical, nor have I ever heard from any human, being, so accurate and satisfactory an explanation of the profound and intricate text referred to by Brother Pickrell as that given by John Gill, and I therefore reproduce his exposition:

Jerusalem was the metropolis of Judea, the seat of the kings of Judah, yea the city of the Great King; the place of divine worship, once the holy and faithful city, the joy of the whole earth; wherefore it, was strange that the following things should be said of it. The word is repeated to show our Lord's affection and concern for that city, as well as to upbraid it with its name, dignity and privileges; and it designs not the buildings of the city, but the inhabitants of it; and these not all, but the rulers and governors of it, civil and ecclesiastical, especially the great Sanhedrin, which was held in it, to whom best belong the descriptive characters of killing the prophets, and stoning them that were sent by God unto them; since it belonged to them to take cognizance of such as called themselves prophets, and examine and judge them, and, if false, to condemn them; hence that saying of Christ, {Lu 13:33} which goes before the same words as here, _it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem ' and these rulers are manifestly distinguished from their children, it being usual to call such as were heads of the people, either m a civil or ecclesiastical sense, fathers, and their subjects and disciples children: besides, our Lord's discourse throughout the whole context is directed to the Scribes and Pharisees, the ecclesiastical guides of the people, and to whom the civil governors paid a special regard. _Thou that killest the prophets that is, with the sword, with which the prophets, in Elijah's time were slain by the children of Israel, {1Ki 19:10} and which was one of the capital punishments inflicted by the Jewish Sanhedrin; and also that which follows was another of them. And stonest them which are sent unto thee; as, particularly, Zachariah, the son of Jehoiade or Barachias {2Ch 24:20,22} before mentioned {Mt 23:35} The Jews themselves are obliged to own that this character belongs to them; say they: 'When the word of God shall come, who is His messenger? we will honor Him.' Says, Rabbi Saul: 'Did not the prophets come, and we killed them, and shed their blood, and how shall we receive His word? or how shall we believe? And a celebrated writer of theirs has on these words, this note: 'they have killed Uriah, they have killed Zechariah.' How often would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings and ye would not! Christ here speaks as a man, and the minister of the circumcision, and expresses a human affection for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and a human wish and will for their temporal good; which he very aptly signifies by the hen, which is a very affectionate creature to its young, which it endeavors to screen from danger by covering with its wings. So the Shekivah with the Jews, is called 'the holy birds' and that phrase, 'to betake one's self, or to come to trust under the wings of the Shekivah,' is often used for to become a proselyte to the true religion and worship of God, as Jethro and Ruth the Moabitess did. An expression much like this is used by an apocryphal writer, {2Es 1,30} _I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but now what shall I do unto you? I will cast you out from my face It seems to be a simile much in use with that people. Our Lord is to be understood, not as of His divine will as God to gather the people of the Jews internally by His spirit and grace to Himself, for all whom Christ would gather in this sense were gathered notwithstanding all the opposition made by the rulers of the people; but of His human affection and will, as a man and a minister, together them to him externally, by and under the ministry of His word, to hear Him preach; so as that they might be brought to a conviction of and an assent unto Him as the Messiah; which, though it might fall short of faith in Him, would have been sufficient to have preserved them from temporal ruin, threatened to their city and temple in the following verse: (Behold! your house is left unto you desolate). Instances of the human hath resisteth Hs will? this cannot be hindered and made void; He does whatsoever He pleases; and further, that this will of Christ to gather the Jews to Himself is to be understood of His human will, and not divine will, is manifest from hence, that this will was in Him and expressed by him at several certain times, by intervals, and therefore, he says how often would I have gathered thee,etc., whereas the divine will is one continued, immovable and unchangeable will, is always the same and never begins or ceases to be, and to which such an expression (how often) is inapplicable; and therefore these words do not contradict the absolute and sovereign will of God in the distinguishing acts of it, respecting the choice of some persons and the leaving of others. And it is to be observed, that the persons whom Christ would have gathered are not represented as being unwilling to be gathered, but their rulers were not willing that they should, and be made proselytes to Him and come under his wings. It is not said, how often would I hare gathered you, and ye would not; nor, I would have gathered Jerusalem and she would not; nor, I would have gathered thy children, and they would not, but how often I would I have gathered thy children, and ye would not; which observation alone is sufficient to destroy the argument founded on this passage in favor of free will. Had Christ expressed His desire to have gathered the heads of the people to Him, the members of the Jewish Sanhedrin, the civil and ecclesiastical rulers of the Jews, or had He signified how much He wished and earnestly sought after and attempted to gather Jerusalem, the children, the inhabitants of it in common and either of them would not, it would have caused some appearance of the doctrine of free will, and have seemed to have countenanced it, and have imputed the non-gathering of them to their own will; though, had it been said, they would not, instead of ye would not, it would only have furnished a most sad instance of the perverseness of the will of man, which often oppose his temporal as well as spiritual good, and would rather show it to be a slave of that which is evil, then free to that which is good and would be a proof of this, not in a single person only, but in a body of men. The opposition and resistance to the will of Christ were not made by the people, but by their governors. The common people seemed inclined to attend his ministry, as appears from the vast crowds which, at different times and places, followed Him; but the chief priests and rulers did all they could to hinder the collection of them to Him, and their belief in Him as the Messiah, by traducing His character, miracles and doctrines, and by menacing the people with curses and excommunications, making a law that whosoever confessed Him should be turned out of the synagogue. So that the plain meaning of the text is the same as that of verse 13 in Matt. 23: and consequently is no proof of men's resisting the operation of the spirit and grace of God: but only shows what obstruction and discouragements were thrown in the way of attendance on the eternal ministry of the word. In order to set aside and overthrow the doctrines of grace in election and particular redemption and effectual calling, it should be proved that Christ, as God, would have gathered, not Jerusalem and the inhabitants of it only, but all mankind, even such as are not eternally saved, and that, in a spiritual, saving way to Himself; of which there is not the least intimation in the text; and in order to establish the resistibility of the grace of God by the perverse will of man, so as to become of no effect, it should be shown that Christ would have savingly converted persons, and they would not be converted, and that he bestowed the same grace upon them that He bestows on others who are converted; whereas, the sum of this passage lies in these few words, that Christ, as man, out of a compassionate regard for the people of the Jews, to whom He was sent as the minister of the circumcision, would have gathered them together but their governors, and not they, would not, that is, would not suffer them to receive Him and embrace Him as the Messiah. So that from the whole it appears that this passage of scripture, so much talked of by the Armenians and so often cited by them, has nothing to do with the controversy about the doctrine of election and reprobation and the power of man's free will. This observation alone is sufficient to destroy the argument founded on this passage in favor of free will.''

As shown by the whole twenty-third chapter of Matthew; the ``Jerusalem'' referred to by Christ in the 37th verse means the Scribes and Pharisees, the unregenerate, self righteous, devilish enemies of God, who had slain the prophets whom he had sent them to testify beforehand of the coming of Christ, and who after this time slew Christ Himself and His apostles, {Ac 7:52} and who were afterwards visited with the righteous and most terrible vengeance of God in the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. {Mt 24:21; Lu 21:22} If they had not so treated the ministers of God, He would not have inflicted such awful temporal judgments upon them. As the ritualistic, covetous, hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees were, in the first century of the Christian era, the leading apostates from the pure, spiritual faith of the ancient patriarchs and prophets, and the bitterest and bloodiest enemies of the believers and preachers of. the truth so, beyond all question, since the first century, has been the exactly similar hierarchy of the Roman Catholic, so-called, Church, the great apostasy from Christianity, the Masterpiece of Satan, Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth, arrayed in purple and scarlet, decked with gold and precious stones and pearls and drunk with the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus the bloodiest institution, as Mr. W. E. H. Leckey, the chief of living historians, well says, ever known among men. And, as the literal Jerusalem, Rome's abominable prototype, the authorities of the apostate Jewish Church, went down in the execution of the righteous and fearful vengeance of God, in a sea of blood to rise no more, so shall it be with apostate Rome, herself, who shall he forever overwhelmed with the richly merited and irremediable judgments of the Almighty and Eternal King. And in the spirit of the Son of Man, the ministers of Jesus have been willing for hundreds of years and are now willing to assemble and address and warn and preach the gospel of Christ to the deluded and oppressed members. of the Romish Anti-Christ, but the lordly, pharisaic, covetous authorities of that apostolical communion, popes, cardinals, bishops and priests forbid their votaries, on pain of excommunication from attending other religious services than their own; and God will, in due time, visit them with desolation, as He has the Jews, and, as, by the almighty spiritual power of the Lord, the Jews, who have been the bitterest enemies of Christ, will yet be brought to recognize and believe in and worship the true Messiah, {Mt 23:39; Zec 12:10; Ro 11:25-26; 2Co 3:15-16} so by the same power, in the fullness of time, the Lord will pour out His spirit upon all flesh and the kingdoms of this world whether political or ecclesiastical, however hostile, previously, will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ and He will reign for ever and ever.. {Joe 2:28,32; Ro 11:12,15; Re 11:15; Nu 14:21; Mt 6:10; 2Pe 3:13; Re 21:1,24}


The Gospel Messenger-March 1896

Invited by brethren in Texas to visit them, and feeling, I trust as a Bible Missionary, impressed of the Lord to do so, not sent, or directed, or sustained by human societies or boards, but going forth as the Apostles went, looking to the Lord for guidance and support, I left my four little motherless children and my beloved and venerated step-mother, all that was dearest to me by the ties of nature, in Williamston, N. C., October 31, 1893, to undertake my long and lonely journey to that distant, frontier State. When I boarded the cars at midnight in Wilson, N. C., November 1st, I was dysenteric, and feeble, and nervous, and felt far more like taking a sick bed than a train, but I thought of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus for me, and felt it a sweet privilege to suffer for Him, and that I could joyfully suffer not only all manner of pain and privation, but could freely lay down my poor, sinful, and unprofitable life for His dear sake. As usual, I slept very little on the train; but as we were nearing Columbia, S.C., just before sunrise on the morning of November 2nd, I was blessed with a season of glorious refreshing from the Lord, and the barren and solitary desert of my heart rejoiced and blossomed as the rose, and I felt strongly encouraged to believe that the Lord was directing my steps, and would accompany me with His indispensable and gracious presence.

After a wearisome journey of four days and nights, during which I traveled about 1,500 miles, I reached Greenville, Hunt county, in Northeast Texas, Sunday evening, November 5th, and in the course of the next three months, I tried to preach one hundred and twelve times; eighty-six times in Texas, two times in Louisiana, and twenty-four times in Alabama-in our meeting-houses, in school-houses, in court-houses, in private houses, and in meeting-houses belonging to the Methodists, the Presbyterians, and the New School Baptists. I met forty of our ordained ministers in Texas, two in Louisiana, and nine in Alabama.

I spoke in the bounds of ten Associations in Texas-New Hope, Red River, Bethel, Pilot Grove, Village Creek, Bosque River, Old Harmony, Little Flock, Primitive Baptist, and South-East Texas, situated in twenty-three counties-Hunt, Fannin, Cooke, Grayson, Collin, Dallas, Kaufman, Ellis, Johnson, Erath, Coryell, McLennan, Bell, Milam, Navarro, Freestone, Limestone, Robertson, Brazos, Madison, Tyler, Jasper and Orange. I have good reason to believe that these Associations, and those with which they correspond, as well as those I visited in Louisiana (the South Louisiana, in Calcasieu parish), and in Alabama, (the Conecuh, in Montgomery county, and the Olive, in Lee, Chambers and Randolph counties), are maintaining apostolic doctrine, and walking in gospel order. I am rejoiced to say that in scarcely any of these Associations did I find even the slightest acceptance of excessive and false spiritualizations or philosophizings of the Scriptures. The Lord has graciously kept His people in these localities from disbelieving and denying the literal and eternal truth of His written word.

The weather, during the most of my tour, was remarkably delightful. I was most cordially received and most kindly treated by the brethren and sisters in all of these three States; and I had numerous and touching assurances from them that my poor labors had been blessed of the Lord to their instruction and comfort.

Only on one occasion (in Jasper county, Texas) did I learn that my preaching was not heartily and fully endorsed by every Primitive Baptist who heard me; and this brother spoke, not in a harsh and abusive, but in a kind and mild spirit, saying that he could not exactly adopt the language that I had used in regard to predestination, but that perhaps if he studied the subject more, he would, and that the difference between us was mainly one of words, and that he did not believe that any sin was committed under a Divine influence; he also commended the spirit in which I had spoken. He thought that as our periodicals contain so much controversy, their usefulness had come to an end. Whenever I treated of predestination on this tour, as always elsewhere in what I have written or said of this subject, and as ninety-nine one hundredths of all ablest predestinarian writers, and as all the full predestinarian Confessions of Faith have maintained, and the Scriptures certainly teach if there is any meaning in human language, I earnestly contend that, while God's predestination of purpose embraces all things, its connection with sin was essentially and infinitely different from its connection with holiness, it was to permit or suffer and overrule sin for the glory of God and the good of His people, but it was to cause and work holiness in the hearts and lives of His children. I formed a delightful acquaintance with a most worthy and intelligent English Strict Baptist brother, Thomas Bancroft, in Orange, Texas, and through his kindness examined a large volume of Augustus M. Toplady's writings, and I was rejoiced to see that not only Jerome Zanchius, the Italian Reformer of the sixteenth century, in his fine Treatise of Absolute Predestination, but also Toplady, in his preface to his translation of that Treatise, and elsewhere, take precisely the same view of predestination that I do, and Mr. Toplady makes these wise and admirable remarks; "In my opinion, the single word permission solves the whole difficulty, as far as it can be solved in the present beclouded state of human reason. Certainly God is not bound to preclude evil from among His works. It is equally certain that He can permit it, not only to obtain, but even to reign. And it is as certain that He actually does so permit it. Why? Not for want of knowledge to perceive it. Nor for want of power to hinder it. Nor for want of wisdom to counteract it. Nor for want of goodness to order all for the best. But because it was His unsearchable will (and the will of God is rectitude itself) to allow the entrance and the continuance of that seeming foil to the loveliness of His works." Mr. Toplady was a minister of the Church of England during the last century, and a life-long and earnest opponent of Mr. John Wesley, a minister of the same church, on the subject predestination, and as powerful and scriptural an advocate of predestination as has lived in modern times. His position on the subject, as just given, was exactly that of Elders William Gadsby and J. C. Philpot, ministers of the Strict Baptist Church in England during the present century, and editors of the London Gospel Standard.

Eld. W. H. Harrell, of Dallas, Texas, the founder and corresponding editor of The Baptist Trumpet arranged my appointments in Texas, and was with me forty eight days in that State. I found him a true yoke-fellow in the gospel, sound, able, orderly, earnest, tender, and practical, highly useful and acceptable to our churches in Texas, and probable better acquainted with the condition of Texas Baptists than any other man. He feels that he has been impressed of the Lord to give up his occupation of architect and builder, and to devote all his time to traveling and preaching, and his labors have been greatly blessed to the establishment of our churches there in gospel doctrine and practice. Last year he traveled 6,500 miles, and preached 361 times in Texas. I was a few days with Elder J. G. Webb and George A. Paine, proprietors, and Elder W. B. Sikes, a corresponding editor of the Trumpet, and was pleased with them, but did not have the privilege of hearing them preach. I must also specially mention the aged Elders J. W. Ray, W. H. Daniels, F. L. D. Koen (who has four sons that are Primitive Baptist preachers), W. S. Harris, M. C. C. Maples and J. P. May, whom I met in Texas, and learned to love for the truth's sake, in addition to many younger ministers whom I saw, and who are faithfully engaged in the service of their divine Master. Elder John H. Fisher of Collinsville, Texas, had been a New School Baptist preacher, and had been a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Louisville, Ky., but seeing that his leading text-book, Boyce's Theology (a condensation of C. C. Hodge's Theology,) taught the Bible doctrine of salvation by works, he felt that he could not endure such inconsistency, and he therefore left the New School and joined the Old School or Primitive Baptists, who consistently maintain that salvation is by grace alone, which does not spring from but produces good works. Elder Alex Mason, of Greenville, Texas, prefers farming, but reluctantly practices law for a while, to pay large security debts that have fallen upon him; and says that he never takes a case unless he thoroughly examines it and is satisfied that it is right, and then he pleads conscientiously for truth and righteousness, and nearly always wins, and has a fine practice, though he has refused more cases than he has taken. I stayed all night and tried to preach at the house of a greatly afflicted sister, Mrs. E. T. Ussery, in Hunt county, Texas, who has had spinal meningitis five times, and who, deeply sympathizing with the suffering, invited Sister Della Smith, from a poor house in Alabama, early in 1893, to come and live with her---three "Disciple" sisters in the flesh refusing to take care of Sister Smith unless she would renounce her religion; and the latter had come to Sister Ussery's, and in less than a year has gained thirty pounds in weight, and was in much better health than she had been. I stayed one night with a Brother in Madison, county, Texas, who had lost his father when he was three years old, and his mother when he was thirteen, and had been raised a poor cow-boy, and by industry and good management, accumulated a competency; and when he had heard of Sister Smith being in a poor house in Alabama, he sent her twenty dollars---this being but a small part of his many and large benefactions to the suffering poor and the ministry. How beautiful is the Christ like spirit of self-sacrificing love! O, that our energies as a denomination, were less frittered away in theological and heartless controversies, and were more applied to the loving imitation, in our daily life of the meek, and lowly, and gentle, and merciful, and self sacrificing Son of God, who went continually about doing bodily and spiritual; good to the poor and suffering, and delighting to devote all His human powers to the glory of God and the service of the afflicted and destitute!

I met while in Texas, Elder I J. Taylor, of North Carolina, a most esteemed man and useful ministering brother, who has for twelve years devoted his entire time to traveling and preaching; an aged sister, near Lone Oak, in Hunt county, who once belonged to my own church in North Carolina; three married daughters of my father's half brother, in Gainesville; and the oldest brother of my first wife, in Belton.

I learned that the Methodist Annual Conferences in Texas and other States have recently expressed disapproval of female preachers, of traveling, sensational, money hunting revivalists and of hypocritical pretences to the attainment of holiness in the present life, leading to life long separations of husbands and wives; that a new sect of Campbellites in Texas, calling themselves "Firm Foundation Christians" have renounced all human religious institutions; that an "Evangelist" named Martin, followed by a hundred other preachers, in Texas, has greatly confused and divided the New School Baptists, maintaining that a person is not a child of God as he has any doubts, and re-immersing all who profess to have attained to the full assurance of faith; and that "Dr." Burleson, President of Waco University, says that Primitive Baptist baptism is as valid as the Apostle Paul's, because the Primitive Baptists have in no respect departed from the apostolic doctrine and practices.

In Louisiana, I learned that our brethren there made a noble and successful stand, two years ago, against the legalized gambling system, known as the Louisiana State Lottery, which for many years, demoralized and impoverished numerous families in that and other States.

In Montgomery, Alabama, as we passed by a grand church building surmounted by a lofty spire, a brother asked me if monuments were not built over the dead. In Tuskegee, an "Evangelist" last November frightened a multitude of little children, four years old and upwards, into "joining the church," by telling them that the Devil would get them before morning if they did not do so; and in taking up collections for foreign missions, he called upon the people to remember that for every ten dollars they gave, they saved a soul---remarks than which few others could be more false and abominable, idolizing the church and money, and substituting them for Christ. In Roanoke, a New School minister announced that "Elder Hassell, of the Anti-Mission Order, will preach in this house tonight," as though we belonged to some secret order instead of the Church of Christ, and stigmatizing us as "Anti-Missionaries." When we are almost the only Bible Missionaries on earth, going to preach the gospel wherever we feel directed by the Spirit and providence of God, as the Apostles went, with no guarantee of a cent of our expenses being paid by any man or set of men. In Opelika, Alabama, one of our oldest, wisest, and most esteemed ministers said that some of our brethren had, in their speculations, gone far beyond the landmarks of the Bible, and had spun out their theories so fine that they could not be seen, and did no good to anyone.

Texas, in which I was during most of my tour, is the largest State in the Union, and contains the greatest extremes of climate, soil, productions, seasons, roads, and population. It has some features to suit almost everybody. Settled from all the world, and on the frontiers of civilization, its society is in a transitional state; and a journey through many of its principle counties has been the most interesting and instructive sociological study of my life. While the most of our twenty seven Associations have no correspondence, still have all the heresies and disorders of the last nineteen centuries (as do some Presdestinarian Baptists in other States)----dualism (Two-Seedism), fatalism, anti-trinitarianism, a denial of the Covenant between the Father and Son, the belief in the eternal Devil with his eternal family, an eternal spiritual family of God, eternal vital unionism, no angels of a higher order than men, no fall of such angels, no soul in man to endure forever, no change in regeneration, no incarnation of Christ, no resurrection of the body, no second personal appearing of Christ, no eternal judgement after the resurrection of the body, no hell after death. And heaven after death. By studying the literature of the subject before I left home, that the most of these heresies entered the Primitive Baptist church through the broad door of Two-Seedism, or Parkerism; and this conclusion was strongly confirmed by my personal observations in Texas. The grand primal speculation of an Eternal Devil with his eternal family is the entering wedge to all these other speculations of the carnal mind upon the scriptures. The spirit of this heresy has a perfect contempt for dictionaries, histories, and all other books of human learning, even as throwing true and needed light upon the letter of the word. But I am rejoiced to say that the circle of light is rapidly advancing among these brethren in Texas, while the circle of darkness is correspondingly receding and decreasing. May the God of Israel soon deliver them from all this viperous and prolific root heresy of Two-Seedism (which nine tenths of all the Primitive Baptists do not and never will fellowship), and from all its poisonous brood of errors. Every sound and orderly and well informed Baptist in Texas will heartily endorse what I have written on this subject.

During my tour I was blessed with unusual spirituality and fruitfulness of mind, and a most comforting sense of the gracious presence of the Lord.


A brother writes from Texas February 4th, and says: "I pray God to send us again another Sylvester Hassell in the ministry. God be praised for his coming among us and to us.--S. Y."


The Gospel Messenger--June 1896

This phrase is a good name for the horrible practice against which the Apostle Paul warns us when he says:

``But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.''. {Ga 5:2}

The truth should be earnestly maintained, but maintained in love-in love for the brethren as well as in the love of the truth itself. ``Loyalty to truth cannot produce so hellish a thing as hatred towards a redeemed brother.''

We should not unchristianize or non-fellowship a brother who believes essentially as we do, but who uses a different form of words from ourselves in expressing his belief. We should, if possible, meet the brother in person and discuss such differences in brotherly love, and then most probably the differences would disappear, and the two parties would be more closely united than ever. All the members of the body of Christ need all the other members; there should be no schism or mutual devouring in that body. Christ prayed that all His people might be one, as He and the Father are one; {Joh 17:20-21} and all that are animated by the Spirit of Christ will earnestly desire and pray and labor for the same loving and indissoluble union of all who believe in Christ.


The Gospel Messenger--June 1896

From recent numbers of periodicals published by other denominations, I gather the following statements and admissions:

1. That only about one-half of the children in the Southern States are in Sunday Schools; that this is no reason, however, for supposing that they are growing up without Bible instruction; that it is the duty and privilege of all Christian parents to give their children such instruction; that it is a sin for which they must account to God if timer turn that instruction to any other human being-that they cannot shift their responsibility in this matter upon Sunday School teachers; that very many of the best churches, composed of the godliest men and women, do not have Sunday Schools, and yet delight to teach their children in regard to the great truths of Divine Revelation, calling upon them to see God in everything, and to fear Him always, so that the very a atmosphere of their homes is thought of God.

2. That self-supporting missions in foreign lands, receiving no help from abroad, are much the most spiritual and effective; that the Southern Baptist Convention is a most heterogeneous body, and its measures of co-operation wholly unsatisfactory and disappointing, and that it is now threatened with disintegration, and that, after fifty years of effort it has enlisted only one-third of the Baptist churches in the cause of missions; that, during the last Convention rear the members of the Southern Baptist churches gave only an average of a fraction over six cents apiece to Foreign Missions; and that Baptists need more general education, more enlightened leadership, and less acrimonious contention over small, almost infinitesimal doctrinal matters; and that some Foreign Missions are teaching that it does not matter who wrote the books of the Bible; that a good deal of the Old Testament had better be cut out and thrown away; that it may not be necessary to maintain the virgin birth of Christ; that Christ knew only about what other rabbis around Him knew about the Old Testament; that His death was not an atonement for sin; and that there is ``a second probation,'' or ``another chance'' for sinners to save themselves after death.

3. That Young People's Meetings, Leagues, and Conventions are really courting schemes under the semblance of piety.

4. That Theological Seminaries in Europe and America have become the chief hotbeds of a disguised and therefore most dangerous form of infidelity, denying, under the pretence of an honest reverence for the truth, the perfect inspiration and truthfulness of the Holy Scriptures.

5. And that not only other denominations but also Baptists are drifting towards both rationalism and ritualism- having elaborate musical services, observing sacred days (Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter), and using incipient liturgies, and clerical vestments, and blessed collection plates, chanting responses, and reciting ``the Lord's Prayer'' and ''the Apostles' Creed,'' thus substituting diseased formalism for healthy spirituality.


The Gospel Messenger--July 1896

Eld. E. S. Counts of VA., requests my views on Mr 16:15-16: and brother E. J. O'Neal asks me to write an article on Baptism, for the GOSPEL MESSENGER. As baptism is embraced in the text in Mark, I will endeavor to comply with both these requests in the same article, with such ability as the Lord may grant me. All our attempts at expounding or understanding His Written Word are in vain without the enlightenment of His Hold Spirit, which He has promised to give for the sake of His Son, to those of His children who ask Him.

The text reads:--"and He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."


As I have tried to show, in the GOSPEL MESSENGER for Dec. 1892, the FINAL COMMISSION of Christ to His Disciples seems to have been given, in words somewhat different but having substantially the same meaning, on four different occasions after His resurrection from the dead---1st, on the night of the first day, when He rose from the grave: {Mr 16:14; Lu 24:33-48; Joh 20:19-23} 2d, at His appearance to seven of His Disciples by the sea of Galilee; {Joh 21:15-17} 3d, at His appearance to eleven of His Disciples, and probably to five hundred brethren also, on a mountain in Galilee; {Mt 28:16-20; 1Co 15:6} and 4th, when He met the eleven apostles for the last time in Jerusalem, and led them out to Bethany, and ascended in their sight to heaven. {Mr 16:15-19; Lu 24:49-53; Ac 1:1-12}

Just as the direction which Christ gave to Peter, in Joh 21:15-17, to feed His sheep and lambs undoubtedly applied also to all the apostles, and is applied by Peter to all elders---1Pe 5:1-4, so I feel sure that (as plainly intimated in His words in Mt 28:20, "Lo, I am with you always," not to the end of each one of your personal earthly lives, but "even unto the end of the world.") Christ in His words in the Final Commission, commands His true ministers, to the end of time, to go unto all the world, as they may be impressed and directed by His Spirit, and as the way may be opened to them by His providence, and to teach the nations, whether Jew or Gentile; to tell them of the infinite holiness of God and of their just condemnation by His righteous law, and of their sinful, lost, and ruined condition, and of their indispensable need of being regenerated by His Spirit, and of Repentance, and turning from their sins; and to point every creature; every human being burdened by a sense of sin; to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, to the dying and risen Savior of sinners, who calls every laboring and heavy laden soul to Himself for rest; and to exhort all those who heartily receive their message to follow Jesus into the liquid grave, and to thus unite with His visible Church, and to yield humble and loving obedience; to all His commandments all their lives, and in this manner to benefit their fellow creatures and glorify God (in addition to the already cited, see Ac 26:15-20; 20:21; 17:30-31; Joh 3:1-17; 1:29; Mt 11:28-30; Ac 2:38-42; Joh 14:15; Mt 22:37-40)

As I have said in the ninth chapter in the Church History, "the qualifications laid down in the New Testament for a gospel minister are that he must be a regenerated, Christ-loving, God-called, and God-qualified man---kind, gentle, humble, quiet, firm, virtuous, upright, just, sober, temperate, unselfish, not covetous, well-proved, exemplary, of good repute, sound in doctrine, able and apt to teach, and divinely impressed with the work of the ministry, not for ambitious or sordid ends, but for the good of men and the glory of God." He is not to resort, for preparation to preach the gospel, to Theological Seminaries, the chief hot-beds of infidelity; but he is to read, search, and meditate upon his one great infallible text-book; the Hole Scriptures, and to beseech the Lord Jesus for His indispensable Spirit to enable to understand His written word aright, and not to despise true light given to the meaning on the word from any source opened to him by the providence of God, but to test such instructions by the Scriptures and his own experience, and himself to be a personal witness od the living and eternal truths of the gospel, and he is to preach those truths fully' faithfully, fearlessly, and tenderly, to all to whom he has opportunity both at home and abroad, both publicly and privately, and he is to proclaim, not the power of dead sinners or of human appliances of any kind, but the power of a Divine and Almighty Savior not to save every sin-laden soul but also to quicken into eternal life those who are spiritually dead. Thus he is to find and teach and guide and tend and feed (not goats and dogs and swine but) with the sincere milk of the word, and the strong meat of the divine, sovereign, and all-sufficient grace, and the sound doctrine of the apostles and prophets, including faithful and continual exhortations to hearty obedience to all the commandments of Christ. Having freely received of God, he is to freely give of his spiritual service to the saints; and they are with equal freeness and faithfulness, to give to him of their substance for the temporal support of him, and his family. The Lord only knows where are His people who need teaching, guiding, tending and feeding, and, as He did in person in the days of His earthly ministry, He only, by His spirit now can direct His servants where to find His people; and the history of Modern Men Made Missions demonstrates that He has not delegated this directing power to Missionary Societies or Boards. If a true minister of Christ is divinely impressed to visit and preach to people at a distance from his home, in this country or any other country, the true children of God should as in the apostolic age, help him on his way after a godly sort {Ac 15:3; Ro 15:24; 1Co 16:6; 3Jo 14}


"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned"---Mr 16:16.

This language of Christ proves that none but believers shall be baptized; and that want of belief, and not want of water baptism, is followed by damnation. The most eminent scholars and preachers, in modern times, in all enlightened nations, both Catholic and Protestant, frankly admit that there is not the slightest New Testament authority either for the baptism of unbelievers, whether infant or adults, or for and so-called "form of baptism" than immersion; and yet the Strict Baptists of England and the Old School Primitive Baptists of the United States, who are one in doctrine and practice, are the only church that stands fully and firmly upon the fundamental New Testament principle of a regenerated church membership, baptized, first with the Spirit of God inwardly and then in water outwardly, as an external sigh of the inward renewal of the Holy Ghost, quickening and convincing the sinner of his sins, and then leading him to Jesus and giving him to realize his sympathetic union with the blessed Son of God in His sufferings, death, burial, and resurrection.

As I have said in the Church History, "the practice of infant baptism is a weak thoroughly unscriptural, idolatrous superstition, and probably arose in North Africa in the third century (the first recorded instance being in A. D. 256) from the false idea of the magical, regenerating, saving power of water, and which did not become general until the fifth century, thus securing its triumph in the Dark Ages about the same time with the establishment of the papacy; and it is worth only of the Dark Continent and the Dark Ages. It is a vain human tradition which utterly make void the commandments of God----those commandments requiring baptism after repentance and faith, as fitly symbolical of those internal graces; while the human tradition requires the baptism of unconscious, impenitent, and unbelieving infancy. It is a solemn mockery, substituting for the indispensable faith of the recipient the unscriptural proxy-faith of humanly invented sponsors, god parents, and sureties. It is a cruel falsehood and deception, pretending that the unconscious infant is regenerated and grafted into the body of Christ's church, and depriving him the comforts of believers' baptism if he should even believe. The Catholics, who invented it, deny its Biblical authority, and rest its validity on the authority of the church, and they justly insist, therefore, that Protestants who practice the rite abandon the great Protestant principle that the Bible is the only rule of faith, and revert to the authority of tradition. A most terrible and all sufficient argument against infant baptism, is the implementation of the diabolical doctrine, that all infants who die unbaptized, even though they die unborn, and even though they be elected, redeemed, and regenerated by the Triune God, are for the want of a drop or two of natural water applied to them, consigned to everlasting torment or privation of happiness.

There are few stronger proofs of the total depravity of the human heart than the willful and deliberate perversion, not by the Catholic, but by the Protestant world, of the meaning of Greek word Baptizo, from which comes the English word Baptize. There is not a Greek Lexicon received as an authority by any University in Europe or America that dares to define Baptizo by the English words sprinkle or pour; Mr. T. J. Covant, of New York, has proved that such a meaning of that word is not found in the whole range of Greek literature; and yet nearly all Protestant churches pretend that the word is susceptible of this meaning. The Roman Catholic apostasy bases the charge from baptism to sprinkling on the authority of the "church" to change rites and ceremonies; (for which, however, there is not the slightest authority in the Scriptures) and their scholars do not, like the Protestants, falsify the meaning of the original word Baptizo. The Creek Catholic Church, which certainly ought to understand the Greek word Baptizo, has always immersed and still immerses, even in the severe climates of Russian and Siberia, all its members, both infants and adults, and uncompromisingly declares that every other form of the rite is essentially invalid. The Roman Catholic Council of Ravenna, in A.D. 1311, was the first council of that "church" which legalized baptism by sprinkling, by leaving it to the choice of the officiating minister. John Calvin, the founder of Presbyterianism, and John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, admit that immersion was the practice of the Apostolic Church. "There can be no question," says Dean Stanley, of Westminster Abbey, "that the original form of baptism, the very meaning of the word was either unknown or regarded, unless in the case of dangerous illness, as an exceptional, almost a monstrous case. In the early centuries baptism was an entire submersion in the deep water, a leap as into the rolling sea or the rushing river, where for the moment the waves close over the bather's head, and he emerges again as from a momentary grave. This was the part of the ceremony on which the Apostles laid so much stress. It seemed to them like a burial of the old former self and the rising up again of the new self.

The change from immersion to sprinkling has set aside the most of the apostolic expressions regarding baptism, and has altered the very meaning of the word."

How any child of God, who is acquainted with the above indisputable truths on the subject of baptism, can remain satisfied with any pretended form of baptism administered to him in his unconscious infancy, or with sprinkling or pouring administered to him for baptism after he believed in Christ, is beyond my ability to understand. O for light from Heaven to dissipate the ignorance, superstition, and perverseness in which the religious world is enveloped!


The Gospel Messenger--December 1896

1st, Regeneration; 2d, Repentance towards God; 3d, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; 4th, Obedience to God; and 5th, The Certainty and Fullness of Eternal Life in Heaven, of which Life, Regeneration, Repentance, Faith, and Obedience are the Fruits and Evidences on Earth. Joh 3:1-21.

Mr. W. A. Short, of Putnam, Texas, requests me to write a sermon on Joh 3:14-17 "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness," etc. In partial compliance with his request, I will present, in a brief manner, my understanding of the text which he mentions, in connection with the context, which is absolutely indispensable to a full, Scriptural, and accurate view of the subject-a subject which, in its comprehensiveness and importance to sinful men, is surpassed by no other subject in the Scriptures. The text upon which I will write a few thoughts comprises the first twenty-one verses of the third chapter of the Gospel of John-the conversation of Nicodemus and Christ, which I understand ends with the 15th verse, and in the commentary of John, in the next six verses, upon that conversation, the language of Christ and of John being equally inspired and infallible. Divine wisdom, most instructive and important to us, is shown in the order and connection of the truths presented in these verses. The fact that a human being has eternal life, and will therefore be safely housed in heaven at last, is manifested here in time, at least in the case of adult and rational persons who live where the gospel is preached, by these four occurrences, in this invariable order: lst, regeneration; 2d, repentance towards God; 3d, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; and 4th, obedience to God; and no human being, even though dying in infancy, irrationality, or heathenism, will, without regeneration by the Spirit of God here on earth, and redemption by the blood of the Son of God, enter the heaven of immortal glory. There is no salvation, no eternal life, no enjoyment of heaven, without the renewing power of the Holy Ghost and the atoning death of the Son of God; and, unless we are first regenerated, or born again, or born from above, or born of God, or born of the purifying power of the Holy Spirit (called by Paul "the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit," Tit 3:5), we will never truly repent or believe or obey or enter heaven; and, if we are thus born of God, we will certainly repent, believe, obey, and inherit the fullness of eternal life. That the new birth precedes faith and obedience is shown clearly by John in his First Epistle, 1Jo 5:1, and 1Jo 2:29 "is born" should, in each of these verses, be rendered "has been born," for the verb is in the perfect tense. "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God;" "Everyone that doeth righteousness has been born of Him." In Ezek. 36 and 37, and Zech. 12 and 13, it is perfectly clear that the renewing work of the Holy Spirit precedes and causes evangelical repentance, faith, and obedience. This fact is further demonstrated by such Scriptures as Ac 5:31; 11:18; Ga 5:22; 1Co 12:9; Eph 1:3,19; Heb 12:2; Php 1:29; 1Pe 1:21; Php 2:13; Heb 13:20-21; Joh 5:25; 6:37,39,45; 10:15,26-30; 17:1-3,24. The first step in time, in the manifestation of eternal life is the new, heavenly, spiritual birth, which is the work of God alone, {Joh 1:13; Jas 1:18; 1Pe 1:23; Eph 2:1-10; 2Co 5:17-18} and which Christ illustrates by the water to devote its purifying power, and by the wind to set forth sovereignty and irresistibility of the Divine Spirit in this work. The word rendered "man," in the third and fifth verses, "Except a man be born again," or "born of water and of the Spirit," is not a noun but an indefinite pronoun, tis, and means "one," referring, as the context shows, to a human being. That the work of regeneration takes place in the soul or spirit of man is just as certain as that the Scriptures are true. {Eph 4:23; Ro 2:29; Php 3:3; Ps 19:7; 66:16} In the new birth, a new life, a new nature, a new heart, a new mind, a new principle, a new will, are imparted; the former nature or principle was fleshly or corrupt, the new nature or principle is spiritual or holy. The second step in the manifestation of eternal life, which may seem to us simultaneous with the first step, but which we know from the Scriptures that I have cited is caus represent the curses of God's fiery law against sinners. When the Holy Spirit comes to us, He first convicts us of sin. {Joh 16:8-9} The bitten Israelites exclaim, "We have sinned." {Nu 21:7} If they had been dead, they would not have felt the bite of the serpents; and so, when we are dead in sin, we do not mourn because of our sins. But, being the chosen people of God, and being alive, they were distressed by the poison rankling within them and the fear of death, and they penitently and earnestly sought healing and relief. By the merciful command of God, Moses raised a fiery serpent of brass, having no poison in it, upon a pole, a banner-staff (or cross), as the word literally means; and the bitten Israelites looked upon the brazen serpent and lived-that is, as explained by Christ, they did not perish or die, but they were healed and saved. And so the ceremonial law-ordained by God, and given by Moses-points the convicted sinner, the bitten Israelite, to the sinless and crucified Son of Man, who was also the Son of God, made a curse for the sins of His people, and forever putting away those sins by the sacrifice of Himself. No agonizing and dying Israelite in the wilderness would for a moment refuse to look upon the brazen serpent for healing; and, when he looked, he was instantly and forever healed of the poison within him; he never died so far as death by the poison was concerned; he did not, after he looked, have a different life from what he had before, but the life he already had, continued-he did not perish or die. And in the same manner the quickened and distressed sinner, led by the Holy Spirit, who takes of the things of Christ and shows them to him {Joh 16:14} --third step in salvation--beholds, by the eye of faith, "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world," {Joh 1:29} sees "Christ as the end of the law for righteousness to him as a believer," {Ro 10:4} feels "the fellowship of Christ's sufferings," is "crucified with Him," and "conformed to His death," and "lives by faith of the Son of God, who loved him, and gave Himself for him," {Php 3:10; Ga 2:20} mourns over his wretched sins that pierced and slew his Lord with an inconsolable mourning except by the consolations of the blessed Gospel, and feels the cleansing and emancipating efficacy of that precious blood that poured from the veins of his dying Redeemer, {Zec 12; 12:13} and rejoices in the Lord Jesus Christ as the God of his salvation, and--fourth step in salvation--delights in obedience to God, {Joh 3:21} and lives on forever, and can no more perish or die eternally than Jesus Himself can die an eternal death. {Php 3:3; Joh 14:19; 3:16; Col 3:3-4} He is a sheep of Christ, for whom Jesus laid down His human life, and to whom He has given spiritual and eternal life, so that he can never perish. {Joh 10:15-16,26-30; 17:1-3,24} His believing in Christ, instead of being the cause, is simply one effect and evidence of his having already been born of God, and having eternal life. {1Jo 5:1; Joh 6:47} When he comes to the moment of temporal death, instead of perishing eternally, as he feels that be richly deserves to perish because of his sins, he shall by the wonderful mercy of God in Christ, enter upon the fullness of eternal life; so far as his disembodied soul is concerned, he shall depart and be with Christ; {Php 1:23; 2Co 5:5} and, when Christ shall come a second time, in His glorified humanity, to the world, He will, by His almighty power, raise the dead bodies of His saints, and conform them unto His own glorious body, and--fifth step in salvation--they will be forever in His likeness, both in soul and body, and then they will be perfectly satisfied. {Php 3:20-21; Ps 17:15; 1Jo 3:2} The first and sole cause of this salvation is the eternal love of God, {Joh 3:16} which is manifested to His people in all the world, in every nation and kindred and tongue, {Re 5:9; Ge 12:3; Tit 2:1-11; 3:15} in the gift of His Son and His Spirit and eternal life through them; and this holy and everlasting everything in the doctrine of election and predestination, everything in the doctrine of special atonement, everything in the doctrine of divine regeneration, everything in the mind, purpose, wisdom, love, power, unchangeableness, and truth of God, is not at all against, but is all together in favor of the certain and everlasting salvation of every human being to whom sin is the greatest burden and Christ is the greatest desire. Such is the gospel, the good news, the glad tidings of a free and full and holy and everlasting salvation to every person of the Adamic family who really longs for it.

The Gospel Messenger-December 1896


As I am myself nothing and less than nothing and vanity, any personal attack upon me is nothing, and will, therefore, not be noticed in these pages; but when the truth, which is more precious to me than mortal life, is attacked, I hope to be always ready to speak in its earnest defense, utterly regardless of the fear or favor of men. Like my Divine Master, being reviled, I would not revile again; and, instead of cursing, I would pray for, my persecutors. By the grace of God I will not violate my conscience, pervert the GOSPEL MESSENGER, disobey and dishonor God, and distress and divide His people by publishing vain and pernicious strifes of persons and words; but, in humility and love, I desire rather to speak ``those things which make for peace, and the things wherewith one may edify another.''. {Ro 14:19}

The things which make for peace and edification are not the not the new inventions of men, either of men's hands or of men's brains, but the old teachings of the Scriptures of eternal truth, so plain that ``a wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein.''. {Isa 35:8} The great fundamental principles of truth for which the GOSPEL MESSENGER contends, have been believed by the people of God from the beginning, and will be believed by them to the end of time for these principles are taught them, not by men but by the Spirit and Word of the Unchangeable Jehovah They were believed by the children of God before the London Baptist Confession of Faith was written, and are believed by multitudes who never read that Confession. The leading features of these principles are embodied in all the Primitive Baptist Articles of Faith today, not because of any fallible words of men, but because of the infallible words of the living God. And the truth of those of these principles which have been disputed by a few of our brethren was proved by me, as had been done by others, in my articles on The Interpretation of the Scriptures in the GOSPEL MESSENGER for 1893 and 1894, by arguments from the Scriptures themselves that have never been answered and, I am satisfied, can never be answered as long as the Scriptures remain true, and that will be forever. Only one out of thirty-five editors of the thirteen Primitive Baptist periodicals published in the United States has assailed these principles; and I am sure, either from, my personal acquaintance or correspondence with our brethren editors, or from their published writings, that at least thirty-two if not thirty-four of them are substantially agreed with me upon these principles, and we could dwell together all our lives, as members of the same Church, in unbroken love, peace, and fellowship. And, in the case of the brother editor who has assailed these principles, It is contention about the moral law denying, with the Strict Baptists of England, that it is a rule of life for Christians is a strife of words to which I will not be a party. Neither I nor any genuine Baptist ever said that the Christian is ''under the law as a covenant of works nor did Paul ever say that the believer is dead to the moral law as a rule of life. The brother admits that ``the law is written in the heart by the Spirit of God.'' Those who say that the law is a rule of life for believers simply mean just what the brother admits-that believers are taught by the Divine Spirit to love and try to obey, in their daily lives, the spiritual, holy, just, and good law of God, which is most clearly and tenderly set forth in the blessed precepts of the New Testament.

In the Ten Commandments, or Moral Law, God enjoins His redeemed Israel to have no other gods before Him, nor to serve other gods, nor to take His name in vain, nor to work on the Sabbath day; but to honor their parents, and not to kill, nor commit adultery, nor to steal, nor lie, nor to covet. In the New Testament God similarly commands His people to flee from idolatry, to keep themselves from idols, to hallow His name, to know that the Sabbath was observed by God Himself and was made for man, and is symbolic of the spiritual and eternal rest in Jesus; and to honor and obey our parents, and not to murder, not to practice uncleanliness, nor to steal, nor to lie, nor to covet. He and His disciples specially met together on the first day of the week. Paul says that he was not without law to God, but under the law to Christ; that instead of making void the law, we establish the law through faith.

In my Church History, pages 191 and 192, I have said:

``In His doctrine Christ rescued the moral law from the false glosses imposed upon it by the Scribes and Pharisees; unfolded its spirituality and extent, as requiring perfect love to God and man; and enforced its indispensable obligation upon all men as the rule of their correspondence with God declaring that He Himself came not to abrogate or annul one tittle, but to fulfill its utmost requirements hr His own obedience and conformity thereunto, and adopting it as the unalterable law of His kingdom, which is to regulate the conduct of His disciples to the end of time.''-William Jones.

``The judicial, civil, or political law as intended by God for the special government of the ancient Hebrew nation. The ceremonial or Levitical law was a prefiguration of the gospel in types and shadows, and was completely fulfilled and ended by Christ. The Decalogue, or Ten Commandments, or moral law, was audibly spoken by the voice of God from Mount Sinai, was written by His finger on two tables of stone, and was perpetually preserved in the Ark of the Covenant, the innermost shrine of the tabernacle and temple. It was perfectly kept by Christ for His people both actively and passively. He doing all that the moral law required them to do, and suffering death, the penalty of their violation of the moral law; so that there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. Those who are in Christ Jesus have His Spirit of life and love in them; and they have it not only in their minds, but also written in their hearts, the same holy spiritual law that He fulfilled, so that they delight in that law after the inward man, and serve God in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter, from a principle, not of bondage, but of love. As they have been made free by the Son of God, and are free indeed-not to sin, but to love-and, as where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty, the perfect moral law of God is to them a perfect law of liberty; and the blessed precepts of the gospel are but the Divine expansion and efflorescence of the same holy law, based upon the powerful new motive of the atoning love of Jesus. The oldest Baptist Articles of Faith declare that the moral law is a compendious 'rule of life for the Christian'; so did the ablest and soundest Baptist ministers before the nineteenth century. But in the present century some speakers and writers deny that the moral law is a rule of life, and affirm that the precepts of the gospel only are such a rule; and these people have been stigmatized by others as Antinomians, or opposed to the law. The question as to whether the moral law or the perceptive part of the New Testament is the Christian's rule of life is what Paul calls a vain and unprofitable strife about words, whereof come envy, railings, and evil surmisings, and which we are to avoid. {Tit 2:9; 1Ti 6:4} The law within the heart of Christ {Ps 40:6-8; Heb 10:5-7} is not inferior to, but is the same as, the law written in the hearts of His covenant people. A holy, perfect, and unchangeable God makes at all times the same moral requirements of His creatures. According to the Scriptures, love-supreme love of God and love of our neighbors as ourselves was the essence of the Sinaitic moral law, and is the essence of Christianity, so that there is no difference between the Old and New Testament Divine Moral Standards.

Christ was the only man that ever perfectly fulfilled the holy law of God, loving God supremely and His neighbor as Himself; and the entire eternal salvation of His Church is based upon His perfect obedience of the Divine law. Let all the children of God are led by the same Holy Spirit of obedience; {Ro 8:14; Ga 4:6; Ps 23:3} not able, while in the flesh, to obey the moral law or the gospel precepts perfectly (Rom. in. 20; 1 John i. 8), and reposing all their hope of Heaven upon the perfect obedience of Christ.'' {Ro 5:2; 1Co 1:30; Col 1:5,25}

As all the enlightened children of God well know, this teaching is not Arminian and Roman Catholic heresy; it is not religious witchcraft, for inculcating which men should be excluded from the Church of Christ; but it is the doctrine of the Scriptures of eternal truth-the most holy and perfect doctrine of God our Saviour which will endure after the heavens and the earth shall have passed away.

Neither may any other part of the London Baptist Confession of Faith, which was received by all Baptists before this century, and the substance of which is incorporated in the Primitive Baptist Articles of Faith today, justly be called Arminian or Roman Catholic doctrine. However they may explain these points, Arminians and Roman Catholics profess to believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures, the being, three-oneness, and perfections of God, the foreknowledge, predestination, and election of God, salvation by grace, the incarnation, atoning death, and resurrection and ascension of Christ, the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, the holiness of God's salvation, the spirituality of God, the Divine institution of the Church and the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment but these are Bible and not Arminian or Roman Catholic principles of doctrine.

The ablest defender, since the days of the Apostles, of the doctrine of predestination was Aurelius Augustine, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hippo, in North Africa A. D. 353-430); and the most profound and strenuous advocate of the absolute predestination of all things, denying all distinction between the Divine will and the Divine permission of immoral evil, and making the will of God the efficient cause of sin, as also do the Mohammedans, was Thomas Bradwardine, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury (A. D. 1290-1349); but there is no justice in calling, on these accounts, the Bible doctrine of predestination a Roman Catholic or a Mohammedan doctrine.

As I have repeatedly said in the Church History and my other writings, Articles of Faith are not inspired nor indispensable; but the Scriptures are the only in fallible and authoritative rule of faith and practice. Yet, as all professedly Christian denominations say that they believe the Bible, the people of God have generally thought it desirable, for the information of both the friends and the foes of truth, to state clearly and honestly, in a few words, what they believed to be the fundamental teachings of the Scriptures. All men, whether professors of religion or not, have some kind of religious belief-some kind of a creed, either written or unwritten. About a dozen Primitive Baptist Churches in the United States have abolished their ancient Articles of Faith, and now have none except the Bible. I can conceive of no other reason for their abolishing their Articles of Faith except that they do not believe them; and the question is, what do they believe? Their corresponding sister Churches, who plainly state their own belief, have a right to know. Unbelief always tears down, but never builds up; or, if it builds, it is a baseless fabric in the air, not founded upon the Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture.

In his commentary upon Ga 3; 1, our brother editor condemns the commentaries of men, just as though everything said or written about the Bible since the inspired Apostles fell asleep was not the commentary of men upon the Scriptures. In fact, every translation from the original Scriptures is a commentary of men, an expression of what fallible men understand the Holy Ghost to mean by His infallible words. The brother himself had already written that it is right to get the information from any source. Upon this self-evident truth we are entirely agreed.

I do not think that Primitive Baptists are foolish (like the Galatians) for believing their Articles of Faith, which are the plain teachings of the Scriptures.

I did not make myself, much less any body else, believe these Divine truths; the Lord Jesus is the author of the faith of His elect. It would be a complete misunderstanding of the facts of the case to suppose that the great body of Primitive Baptists have been or are now in the wilderness of doctrinal error, and need a Moses to lead them out of that wilderness. By Divine grace they have never, since their regeneration, been in such a wilderness; and I hope and believe that, through the Divine mercy, and by the light of the Divine Spirit in them and in their ministers, they will always be kept out of such a wilderness. To be sure, while in the flesh, they are in the wilderness of sin and sorrow; but, if the plague of error or disorder breaks out in any part of the congregation, the Lord will, as of old, raise up, from time to time, a Phinehas to stay its deadly progress, and to mediate, on the basis of truth, brotherly unity between the divided people of God. {Nu 25; Jos 22} The past and present history of the Church abounds in such examples.

All gifts of knowledge and speech, and even faith and hope, are nothing without humble, patient, unenvious, unselfish, unirritable, unsuspicious, unfailing love (i Cor. xiii.). Ultraism and bitterness, if universally indulged, would tear families and churches and nations into bleeding fragments. ``But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace''. {Jas 3:13-18} As I have said, in the July number of the GOSPEL MESSENGER, ``I can and do love and fellowship every sincere, thorough, and orderly believer in the Lord Jesus Christ,'' and ``those who really agree in doctrine may differ in their views of the meaning of particular Scriptures.''

I close as I began this article. Personal attacks upon myself are nothing, and by the grace of God they will never be resented by me in the GOSPEL MESSENGER or anywhere else; but attacks upon the truth I hope to be always ready to resist, with all the ability and zeal that God may give me; and no other person can realize as feelingly as I do the poorness of my labors for the cause of Divine and eternal truth.

I must say, in conclusion, that the Principles of the GOSPEL MESSENGER, the principles of the most sound and ancient Baptist faith, the principles of the inspired Scriptures, are set forth most clearly and beautifully in Elder Gilbert Beebe's most Scriptural and admirable Baptist Hymn Book. If there is one sentiment or one interpretation of the Scriptures in that most excellent poetical commentary on the Scriptures with which I do not most heartily agree, I have not, in a careful and fresh examination of the book, been able to find it. Elder Gilbert Beebe's Hymn Book contains no Arminian or Roman Catholic heresy. The 596th hymn in that book is as follows:

``Jesus, Lord, we look to Thee

Let us in Thy name agree

Show Thyself the Prince of Peace

Bid all jars forever cease.

By Thy reconciling love,

Every stumbling-block remove

Each to each unite, endear

Come and spread Thy banner here.

Make us of one heart and mind-

Courteous, pitiful and kind

Lowly, meek in thought and word-

Altogether like our Lord.

Let us each for other care

Each another's burden hear

To Thy Church the pattern give;

Show how true believers live.

Let us then with joy remove

To the family above

On the wings of angels fly;

Show how true believers die.''


The Gospel Messenger--December 1896

This is the very appropriate and significant phrase used by the Holy Spirit in Eph 4:14 to designate the crafty and deceitful doctrines of men who seek to pervert and overthrow the faith of God's elect. These doctrines, like the winds are noisy, light, empty, unsubstantial, spreading and changeable; while, on the other hand, truth is quiet, solid, substantial, unchangeable, and immovable, like an immense rock imbedded in the earth. The doctrines or vain speculations of men are continually changing like the wind; but the truth of God is as unchangeable and eternal as Himself-the same yesterday, today, and forever. The faith of the true Church is but one Eph 4:5; Jude 25); it was the faith of the patriarchs, prophets, and apostles; the faith of the tens of millions of martyrs who sealed their testimony with their blood; the faith of the early reformers of the 16th century; the faith of the Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries; and it is the faith of all the true, thorough-going Baptists of the 19th century as well-of all who, though children in guile and malice and in their desire for the sincere milk of the Word of God, are not children in knowledge and experience and stability, to be deceived and led astray by every passing invention of men; not like ships without ballast, tossed to and fro upon the sea of doubt as to what the Scriptures teach about God and man and God's salvation and the eternal future; not like misty clouds carried about in every direction by every shifting breeze. {Eph 4:14; 2Pe 2:17; Jude 25} One certain mark of error is its changeableness; {2Co 11:13-15} and one infallible proof of truth is its unchangeableness. {Ps 100:5,2; Joh 17:17; 1Pe 1:23-25; Mt 24:35}

The poet, W. C. Bryant; has well said:

Truth crushed to earth shall rise again,

The eternal years of God are hers:

But Error, wounded, writhes with pain,

And dies among his worshippers.''


The Gospel Messenger--February 1897

I can not conceive of a more horrible falsehood, or a more abominable blasphemy, than the declaration that God is the author of sin. It is not Christianity, but it is fatalistic, pantheistic, heathenish, diabolical philosophy. There is no more sense than there is truth in saying that sin is a creature of God. Sin is the transgression of the law of God, and therefore not a creature, but the act of a creature. God created man in His own image, and therefore without sin. The evil which God creates in His holy providence is not sin, but the darkness and suffering which are the righteous punishment of sin. Not by God, but by man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin. {Ro 5:12}

God is infinitely, essentially, unchangeably, and eternally holy, ``the Sun of Righteousness,'' ``the Father of lights,'' ``in whom is no darkness at all,'' ''of purer eyes than to behold iniquity,'' and ``cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted He any man,'' much less does He compel any creature to sin. Sin is the rebellion of the creature against the creator, and is described as ``the abominable thing which God hates'', {Jer 44:4} and which, if unrepented of and unforsaken and unatoned for, He will punish with everlasting fire. {Mt 11:12; 25:41-46; Re 20:15}

Not for a moment will a faithful Church of the Lord Jesus Christ tolerate, in any of its members, the blackest of all falsehoods and blasphemies, that God is the author of sin.


The Gospel Messenger--February 1897

I can see no real difference in meaning between these two scriptural phrases, except that the term salvation is more general, and includes life. Certainly all persons who love the one have the other. Those who have spiritual life need, and will receive, the salvation of that life, for that life is eternal, and therefore cannot perish or end. Christ gives His people eternal life and saves them from their sins. Life itself is salvation or deliverance from death. God is able, in an instant, to give eternal life or salvation to an unborn infant, a driveling idiot, a raving maniac, a benighted heathen or a dying adult. No other being but God can bestow this priceless gift; and He may bestow it, and no other being, not even the recipient, be aware of it at the time; but it will be certain afterwards to bear the beautiful bloom and the rich fruit of holiness and love, either in the present state or in the paradise of God.


The Gospel Messenger-March 1897

Willful Ignorance and Wickedness of a Denial of this Most Plain and Most Momentous Truth of the Scriptures. 2Pe 3:3-18.

A dear and faithful brother (whose name and locality I will not give, as I contend, not against persons or sections, but against errors) writes to me, as follows:

Elder Sylvester Hassell Williamston, N. C.:

My DEAR BROTHER: I desire to avail myself of the privilege of writing you and to ask if there has ever been a time in the history of the Baptist Church in the United States, that the doctrine of the second coming of Christ was believed, taught, and preached?

If I read my New Testament correctly, this truth is clearly taught by the Spirit of God, and is given a prominent place in the inspired writings of the Apostles of the Lamb.

The Church of Christ, in its primitive state or condition, would seem to be set forth as a waiting church. The burden of much of the language found in the epistles of the Apostles would seem to be of the nature of exhortations to the saints to look for the appearing of Christ, their risen and exalted Saviour.

Ever since I have had a hope in the mercy of our God to me a sinner, the doctrine of the second coming of Christ has been very precious.

With me it is so closely linked with the truth regarding the resurrection of the saints, that the doctrine of God our Saviour and the gospel of the Son of God seems incomplete without it.

I have hoped that it was to me a God-given truth, but I find so few who see it as I do that I have at times questioned the fact of having been taught it by the Spirit of God.

In the membership of the little church with which I stand identified, I know of but two who see eye to eye with me on this subject.

I know of no pulpit in this section of the country where this truth is preached. In fact it is at times publicly, discarded and denounced as error.

The language employed by the Apostles is applied and confined to the daily experience of the Lord's people.

I hope I know something of the appearing of Christ in a gracious experience of His love, but to my mind the promise of His coming is not fully fulfilled in such coming. It is an earnest, a foretaste of that which will be experienced when mortality is swallowed up of life.

My dear brother, it would seem that we are living in a day when the plain truth of God is not accepted or preached.

Language that is simplicity itself is treated as figurative. It has always seemed to me that, in reading the Word of God, there is a primary sense in which it is to be viewed as well as the spiritual truth taught.

The language of the Spirit by Peter, as recorded in his 2nd Epistle, 3rd chapter, would seem to set forth the age in which we live. We hear of no natural heavens now-a-days. It is all ``legal heavens'' or ``gospel heavens.'' Let me hear from you at your early convenience. In love and fellowship.

Your brother,


While, of course, heathens believe in neither the First nor the Second Coming of Christ, and while the ancient Gnostics (knowing ones), and Manichaeans, and Alexandrian philosophers and Schoolmen, and Mystics, and modem Socinians, Quakers, Swedenborgians, Shakers, Unitarians, Universalists, Rationalists, and Two-Seed Baptists, allegorize or spiritualize away the three-hundred Scripture prophecies of the Second Personal Kingly Coming of Christ to this world to raise the dead, change the living, judge the human race, and send the wicked to hell, and call the righteous to heaven, making these prophecies simply figurative of present Christian experience, belittling and belying the word of God (as the Devil did in the garden of Eden), and enveloping all the future in an impenetrable cloud, evaporating the future eternity out of the Scriptures, falsifying both the threatenings and the promises of God, and dissipating the fears and the hopes of mankind in regard to the Everlasting Hereafter in lying dreams,-the first (Enoch) and the last (John) inspired prophet of God declared it, {Jude 25; Re 1:7; 22:20} and the true Church has always believed it, and will believe it forever; and the Apostle Peter solemnly warns the people of God not to be deceived and unsettled by the erroneous, proud, and irreverent infidelity that made a mockery of this awful and tremendous truth. {2Pe 3:3-18} And it is a fact, as notorious as it is deplorable that, from the first century of the Christian Era to the present moment, those who have professed to believe the Scriptures and yet have denied the Second Personal Coming of Christ to the world, have invariably pretended to spiritualize or explain that great fact away by limiting the prophecies of Christ's Second Coming to present Christian experience. The very few Primitive Baptist ministers who thus pervert these prophecies may, so far as I know, be counted on the fingers of one hand; and they may have the satisfaction of knowing that, while they thus, to this extent, separate themselves from the Church of Christ, they have, as their associates in error, the most presumptuous and determined enemies of God that ever lived on earth. Their views on this subject are neither original nor peculiar; they have been exploited and exploded thousands of times; and they are today the chief characteristic of the most pretentious, insinuating, and dangerous phase of German infidelity. It has been truthfully said that ``the history of heresy is the judgment of heresy''; all the centuries are strewn with the miserable wrecks of doctrinal errors, which are the poor, weak, dying productions of men; while the doctrine of God our Saviour, plainly set forth in His Written Word, is as indestructible and unchangeable as Himself.

As I have said in the Church History (page 590): ``The Scriptures are both literally and spiritually true. The prophecies of the Old Testament in reference to the coming of Christ had not only a spiritual fulfillment in every believer during that dispensation, before His personal coming to the earth, but also a literal fulfillment in His First Advent to the world to redeem His people; {see 1Co 15:3-8; 1Jo 4:3; 2Jo 13} and, in the same manner, the prophecies of the New Testament in reference to the coming of Christ will have not only a spiritual fulfillment in every believer during the present dispensation, but also a literal fulfillment in His Second or Last Advent to the world, to raise the bodies of the dead, and change the bodies of the living, and conduct the general and final judgment, and publicly manifest His righteousness in the salvation of His people and in the overthrow of His enemies. {Joh 5:22,27-29; 1Th 4:15-18; 1Co 11:26; 15:23,50-57; 2Co 5:10; Mt 11:22; 25:31-46; Ac 1:11; 17:31; Ro 2:5-16; 2Th 1:7-10; Heb 9:27-28; Re 1:7; 17:11-15}

In Mt 24:and Mt 25, and Mr 13, our Lord's reply distinguishes, though with the obscurity of prophetical language, between a first coming in judgment during that generation, and a second coming at the end of the world, of which the time was known to none but the Father. The contrast between ``these things'' (tauta) in Mt 24:34 and Mr 13:30, and ``that day and hour'' (ekeine emera kai ora) in Mt 24:36 and Mr 13:32, distinctly shows the twofold application of the previous language, and the two events marked off from each other. The earthly kingdom of Christ should be manifested to this generation: His heavenly kingdom shall come at a time which God only knows. The expression that day is elsewhere used, as here, without any expressed antecedent, to signify the Day of Judgment. The perfection of sophistry, in explaining away all the literal, and indeed nearly, if not quite all, the real meaning of the eschatological predictions -of the New Testament, may be seen in the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, and in the recent Universalist book, 'Mercy and Judgment,' by F. W. Farrar. While sustained by the grace of God, I can never believe in the literal falsehood of any of the statements of the Holy Scriptures, especially of the Lord Jesus Christ, with reference either to the past or to the future.''

The circumstances that are to attend the Second Coming of Christ to this world, according to the Scriptures, are the darkening of the sun and moon, the falling of the stars, the convulsion of the earth, the roaring of the ocean, distress and perplexity of the nations, the descent of Christ from heaven in clouds and flaming fire with all His holy angels, the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, the resurrection of all the righteous and all the wicked dead, every one of whom shall both hear and see their Divine and awful Judge on the great white throne; the righteous rejoicing at the arrival of their glorious Saviour, and the wicked wailing and crying to the mountains and rocks to fall on them and hide them from His terrible wrath, the summoning of every human being before the Divine tribunal, the welcoming of all Christ's humble and loving people, in their glorified bodies and spirits, to the heavenly inheritance prepared for them before the foundation of the world, and the consigning of all His proud and unloving enemies, in their re-united bodies and souls, to the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.

Now every human being in the universe knows as well as he knows his own existence, that these stupendous events have never taken place; and that, therefore, if the Scriptures are true, they will take place hereafter, at the end of this world or dispensation. These predictions of the Second Coming of Christ were fulfilled only initially, partially, typically, and temporarily in His transfiguration upon the mount, and in the destruction of Jerusalem,; {Mt 16:28; 17:1-13; 2Pe 1:16-18; Mt 24:25} and these events were but emblems and earnests of their final, full, anti-typical, and eternal fulfillment at the Second Personal Coming of Christ to the world at the close of the present dispensation. The two words used in the New Testament to denote the Second Coming of Christ-epiphaneia (meaning His visible appearance) and parousia (meaning His personal presence)-are the strongest words in the Greek language to express literal bodily presence.

Since His incarnation Christ has been just as really a human being, with a human body, as any other human being; and since His ascension the Scriptures declare that His human body or personal presence has been at the right hand of God, where He makes perpetual intercession for His people. (Ps 110:1-4; Heb 1:3; 6:20; 7:25; 9:12,24; 1Jo 2:1).

Christ's Second Personal Coming did not take place on the day of Pentecost; for, as Peter said, He was then on the right hand of God, shedding forth His Spirit on His people; {Ac 2:33} Christ called the Holy Ghost another Comforter, and said that, if He Himself did not go away, that other Comforter would not come. (Joh 14:16; 16:7.) As God, Christ was of course present, but as the Son of God, the Second Person or Subsistence of the Holy Trinity, He was on that day at the right hand of the Father.

Neither does Christ's-Second Personal Coming take place in the presence and work of His Spirit in the hearts of believers; for the office-work of the Holy Spirit is to testify of Christ, to take of the things of Christ and show them to His people, to reveal unto them what Christ has done and suffered for them, and to comfort them with the assurance of His everlasting love, and the certainty that He will come again and take theme in their glorified bodies and spirits, to Himself forever. Spiritually, that is, by His Spirit, Christ is with His people always even to the end of the world, just as God the Father is with His people, {Joh 14:23; 17:21} but at the same time, and all the time between His First and Second Coming, Christ is bodily and personally at the right hand of the Father.

And Christ's Second Personal Bodily Coming to the world does not take place when the believer dies. By His Spirit and His angels He comes and takes the emancipated spirit of the saint to Himself in heaven; {Joh 14:3; Lu 16:22} but He Himself is bodily and personally even then at the right hand of God, where the dying Stephen saw Him. {Ac 7:56} At Christ's personal coming. His people, instead of dying, will he raised from the dead to die no more, and His saints then living will be changed and glorified. {Joh 21:22-23; 1Co 15:23,51-57; 1Jo 3; 2Th 3:18; 1:7-10} No wonder that Paul exhorts the saints to comfort one another with these words; {1Th 4:18} and that Peter dwells upon the glory then to be revealed to the people of God; {1Pe 1:5; 5:1} and that John exclaims, ``Even so come, Lord Jesus.'' {Re 22:20} Just as the Lord Jesus went up from the Mount of Olives, not simply in spirit, but in body and person and in the clouds to heaven, even so the Scriptures declare and the Church believes that He will come again to this world, {Ac 1:9-11} to take righteous vengeance on His wicked enemies, and to gather all His saints, in perfected souls and bodies, to their eternal home. This was an essential part of the gospel preached by Paul, {Ro 2:16} as well as by all the Prophets and Apostles and by none other so clearly and emphatically as by Jesus Himself. {Mt 25:31-46; Joh 5:27-29; 14; Re 22:20} The pretended gospel that ignores or denies the Second Personal Coming of Christ to the world in final judgment upon His enemies and mercy upon His people, is another gospel, which is not another; and such a perversion of eternal truth will be visited with the curse of God. Men should be solemnly warned of the great day of the revelation of Divine wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. (Ro 1:18; 2Th 1:7-9; 2Pe 3:7-14; Re 6:12-17) Sin and its punishment by a Holy God are not a delusive imagination, but a terrible reality; and Christ's salvation of His people by His atoning death and His regenerating Spirit from sin and its curse, is equally real, and is a most glorious fact for which they will thank and adore Him during the never-ending ages of eternity.

In the systems of its thorough-going advocates, the ancient and modern infidel philosophy that etherealizes into nothingness the Second Personal Coming of Christ to the world, allegorizes and fabulizes, in the same way, the divinity, incarnation, and resurrection of Christ, the depravity and regeneration of man, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, and a heaven and a hell after death.

It is certain that the past destruction of the world by water, to which Peter refers in 2Pe 3:6, was literal and it is just as certain, from the language of the inspired writer in 2Pe 3:7,10-12, and in the language of Paul in 2Th 1:8, that the future destruction of the world by fire, at the Second Coming of Christ, will also be literal.

The present spiritual meaning of the prophecies of Scripture is highly important; but their future eternal meaning, which is their fullest and highest spiritual meaning, is infinitely more important as being indispensable to their truth, and should never be ignored, much less denied. The universe of God is not a mere mental phantasm; the Word of God is not a mere refined mythology; and the religion of God is not a mere delusive dream. Nine-tenths of the Primitive Baptists on earth solemnly and uncompromisingly protest against this rationalization, mystification, and annihilation of the Scriptures of eternal truth.

Eschatology is the doctrine of the last or final things which are to occur in the history of the human race. As plainly taught in the Scriptures, this doctrine embraces three inseparable facts:

1st, the Second Personal Coming of Christ to this world;

2d, the resurrection of all the dead, and the change of all the living; and

3d, the final and eternal judgment of the human race. Even in the apostolic age, Sadduceean rationalism and pseudo (false) spiritualism denied these facts; and a proud, infidel philosophy has ever since denied them. The skeptical theologians of Europe and America deny them today. The Two-Seed Baptists, about 1830, spiritualized away these great and awful Bible truths; and in 1841 some Primitive Baptists denied the judgment after death; and a few years afterwards they denied the resurrection of the body; and a few years after that they denied the Second Personal Coming of Christ. But the great body of the Primitive Baptists always have believed, and now believe, and will always believe that Christ will come in person or body a second time to the world, and then raise the bodies of all the dead and change the bodies of all the living, and then, in inconceivable majesty, righteously award to every human being his eternal destiny. A denial of these unquestionable and momentous declarations of the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures is condemned by the Apostle Peter as ``willing ignorance'' and ``the error of the wicked;'' and he solemnly warns the people of God not to be led away by this delusion, and thus to fall from their steadfastness. 2Pe 3:17.

In this number of the GOSPEL MESSENGER, I publish, as showing the faith of the Baptist fathers, the faith of the Church through all time, four hymns on the Second Coming of Christ, from Elder Gilbert Beebe's admirable Hymn Book, published in 1858. The same or similar hymns appear in all Primitive Baptist Hymn-Books. The following is the 1273rd hymn in Beebe's collection:

``My waken'd soul, extend thy wings

Beyond the verge of mortal things;

See this vain world in smoke decay,

And rocks and mountains melt away.

Behold the fiery deluge roll,

Through heaven's wide arch, from pole to pole;

Pale sun, no more thy lustre boast;

Tremble and fall, ye starry host.

This wreck of nature, all around-

The angel's shout, the trumpet's sound,

Loud the descending Judge proclaim,

And echo His tremendous name.

Children of Adam, all appear

With rev'rence round His awful bar;

For, as His lips pronounce, ye go

To endless bliss, or endless woe!

Lord, to my faith Thy grace display

Frequent through each returning day;

And let that grace in my soul prepare

To meet my full redemption there!''

``We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.'' {1Co 15:2} The second personal coming of Christ to raise the dead, and change the living, and judge the world,. is the most certain event in the future-more certain than the natural death of any human being now living. Those who deny that momentous event need a New Bible and a New Hymn-Book that have never been written, and never will be; for such a religion is as false as it is new.


The Gospel Messenger--April 1897


Dear Bro. Hassell- With many others I have become more interested of late than ever before on the subject of prophecy, and I have read your article in the MESSENGER for November, 1895, on Eschatology; or, The Doctrine of Last Things, Cox's Exposition of Revelations, Graves' Seven Dispensations, and some other writings, and it seems that The Anti-Christ, or Man of Sin of the last days is to be a man, an individual human being. Milyneux, as quoted by Graves, seems to prove this. He says: ``Taking the Bible as our guide, it really seems strange that an other idea should be entertained of him. All the passages referring to the Man of Sin, his character, his acting and his end, with one accord proclaim him to be an individual man. All the attributes, circumstances, as well as appellations of individual humanity, are addressed and ascribed to him. He is distinctly called and declared to he a man, 'that Man of Sin', {2Th 2:3} which of itself, and in the absence of any positive contradiction to it elsewhere in Scripture ought to he conclusive; or, if not, it is difficult to know on what principle we are to understand the Bible, and arrive at fixed conclusions at all about its meaning. ``In Re 13:18, again he is called a man'' Here is wisdom; let Him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred three-score and six. Also he is called 'the son of perdition,'; {2Th 2:3} and so was Judas, but Judas was a man, and the natural inference is, that such also will be his anti-type. John says, {1Jo 2:18} 'Ye have heard that antichrist (or, as it ought to be rendered, the antichrist) shall come; even now there are many antichrists.' But who were these many antichrists? Who, but men-Christ-denying, ungodly men-but men! And who then, or what would be The Antichrist et to come, but a man too? But, the fact that Antichrist would be an individual man was never questioned in the first and purer ages of the church; no other opinion then obtained or existed on the matter. The idea of a power or system, or even a series of individuals, being symbolized by 'The Man of Sin' was utterly unknown. This sprang up in after ages, not from clearer understanding or closer investigation of the prophetic word, but from straining circumstances of the times.''


``He'' (says Graves) ``is to be one man, and the imperial head of the ten kingdoms of Europe-able to amass immense armies, make and break compacts and covenants.''


``He is styled in prophecy, Gog, ``chief of Rosh, Mesech and Tubal, and the King of the North,'' which I (Graves) claim is some future autocrat of all the Russias, and his antagonist the Tarshish of the West, whose emblem is a lion-which clearly points to England,'' etc.


England has been active in attempting to checkmate, and defend her interests against, this ``wild beast'' of insatiable appetite for territory. She has annexed all India to her empire, with an eye upon a ``scientific frontier which means one offering the most material defenses against the increasingly threatening attitude of Russia. While Gog of the north quarter is thus strengthening himself on the east, he is by no means inactive on the west,'' etc.


This was written eighteen or twenty years ago, I suppose, and does it not seem that subsequent and current events are in harmony, to some, if not a great extent, with the view expressed? Both Cox and Graves agree in the view that we are about now entering into the perilous times of the last days; and you, Bro. Hassell, expressed that belief (or fear) a few years ago. Will you give us the benefit of such light as you may now have on this important subject?






Reply to Elder J. C. Denton


All unfulfilled prophecy is intentionally obscure. It was a wise remark of Sir Isaac Newton, that the prophecies were not given us to make us prophets, but to prove, when they are fulfilled, that the Scriptures, which contain these prophecies, are the Word of God. The immediate object of prophecy is to comfort the tried and afflicted people of God with the assurance of their final, complete, Divine deliverance from all their enemies; and the literal and spiritual fulfillment of prophecy will glorify the infinite wisdom, power, truth, justice, and mercy of the High and Holy One that inhabiteth Eternity.


One leading purpose of God in all His dealings with the human race seems to be to prove to them that man, left to himself, even with the greatest natural advantages, is a wretched failure; and that God is all the Hope and Salvation of His creatures, and should he all their Desire.


In the beauties and delights of the Garden of Eden, man, though made in the sinless image of God, voluntarily yielded to the tempter, deliberately preferred the creature to the Creator, willfully disobeyed the wise and holy commandment of God, and justly involved not only himself, but all his unborn posterity in ruin. The ante-diluvians, though allowed to live nearly a thousand years, instead of growing better and better, grew worse and worse, and all of them, except one righteous family, had to be swept from the earth by a deluge of water. The Jews, the chosen people of God, after having been miraculously delivered from Egyptian bondage, and supported for forty years in the wilderness, were planted in Canaan, the goodliest land under the canopy of heaven, and were favored with priests and prophets, with special ministrations and revelations and mercies from God, and yet ungratefully and presumptuously renounced His authority, indulged in the idolatries and corruptions of their heathen neighbors, were chastened by seventy years exile in Babylon, and then restored to their own land, rebuilt the temple and revived the worship of God, were taught by additional prophets, studied the Old Testament Scriptures, looked for the Messiah whom they promised, but expected Hun to establish, not a spiritual but a splendid temporal kingdom, and make them the rulers of the world, and they degenerated into formalism and hypocrisy and skepticism and pride and covetousness, and, when the holy and loving and lowly Saviour came, they despised and persecuted and murdered Him, and, in righteous vengeance, they were visited with war, pestilence, and famine, their fair city and temple were destroyed, and they themselves were driven from their own land, and have now been scattered for nearly eighteen hundred years over the face of the globe, hated and oppressed by the Gentile nations. And the Gentiles, upon whom God's special blessings have been showered for eighteen centuries, who have had both the Old and the New Testament Scriptures, and to whom the pure Gospel has been preached by ministers endowed with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, not only utterly fell away from the truth into the abominable Roman Catholic falsehoods, idolatries, superstitions, sensualities, and martyrdoms of the saints of Jesus in the Dark Ages, but have, Protestants as well as Catholics, in all the blaze of modern science and civilization, plunged into almost Open infidelity, and will wax worse and worse until the Man of Sin, Antichrist, shall be fully developed and manifested, when he will be destroyed by the brightness of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ-Gentile times ending, as Jewish times ended, with righteous and overwhelming judgment. And even when Satan has been bound a thousand years, and men have lived on earth all that the, untempted and undeceived by the Devil, they will again yield to Satan when loosed out of his prison, and organize the greatest rebellion against God ever known in human history, and be swept forever from the face of the earth by a final deluge of fire. To unregenerate men increasing light and privilege lead to increasing sin and disaster; and thus the children of God will learn that man is in himself, even at his best estate, an utter failure, and that God is all in all.


The period between the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, A. D. 70, to the Second Coming of Christ, which it is generally thought will be about A. D. 2000, but which date no one but God knows, {Mr 13:32} is called, in the Scriptures, _the times of the Gentiles ; {Lu 21:24} and near the close of this period the Man of Sin, the Antichrist, the Second Lamb-like Beast, the False Prophet, is to be fully revealed, and to be cast, not annihilated, but alive, with the First Beast, by the King of kings, at His Second Coming, into the lake of fire and brimstone, {Re 19:20} where also the Dragon, or Satan, after his final deception of mankind at the end of the Thousand Years, and his final defeat, is to be cast, and to be tormented day and night for ever and ever. {Re 20:10} The _times of the Gentiles, in which we live, are the times of special and abundant Gentile blessings and Gentile supremacy-the times when God visits the Gentiles, not to convert them all, but _to take out from them a people for His name , {Ac 15:14} to save His elect Gentile people from their sins, {Mt 1:21} to bring in His sheep, for whom Jesus laid down His life, from the other, that is, the Gentile fold (Joh 10:15-16). These times of the Gentiles are set forth in the description of _the Day of the Lord in Joe 2:28-32; 3; and in Zec 14, and in the striking of the Stone cut without hands upon the feet of the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Da 2:34-35, and in the actions of the fourth beast and the little horn and the Son of Man coming in judgment in Da 7:7-14,19-27; and in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares in Mt 13:24-43; and in the Parable of the Pounds in Lu 19:11-27; and in Paul's prophecy of the coming and destruction of the Man of Sin in 2Th 2:1-12, and in his fearful characterization of the latter and last evil and perilous times in 1Ti 4:1-3, and 2Ti 3:1-9; 4:3-4, and in Re 13:18:The tares of false doctrine and practice were sown by Satan even in the Apostolic Age; even then the mystery of iniquity or lawlessness was working; and these evils will remain and be deepened and intensified, until they will be developed in the Man of Sin, who will be destroyed by the Lord from heaven. While, during this dispensation, all who were ordained to eternal life {Ac 13:48} truly and savingly believe the gospel, nominal Christianity conquered the Roman Empire and the Northern Barbarians and Europe and America, and is now attempting the conquest of Africa and Asia, but really hates God and His truth and His people, and, when not restrained by law-power, persecutes the saints. ''The present outward Christianity is to give place for a time to an almost universal apostasy under the Man of Sin, the last Antichrist. {Lu 18:8; 2Th 2} As the first, or Old Testament Antichrist, Antiochus Epipimanes, king of Syria B. C. 176-164, who did his utmost to exterminate the ancient Jews and their religion from the face of the earth, and whose career is circumstantially predicted by Daniel in the 8th, 11th, and 12th chapters of his prophecy, was the product of the highest ancient Greek civilization, so the last New Testament Antichrist is to be the product of the highest modern civilization, ignoring and despising God and vital religion, and Substituting therefore a false liberalism in faith and practice, a growing laxity of morals, and a worship of money and of human science and art and invention, degenerating into avowed atheism and an unholy alliance with the Pope of Rome for the extermination of the Church of Christ. The Second Apocalyptic Beast is the same as the False Prophet; {Re 13:11-18; 19:20; 20:10} and also seems, in most respects, identified with the great, richly dressed, blasphemous, murderous whore, Mystery Babylon, who rides upon the First Apocalyptic Beast of worldly power {Re 13:1-10; 17} and is drunken with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus; the same as 'the little horn' on the fourth beast in Dan. vii., and the 'Man of Sin,' or 'Son of Perdition,' pred heaven; it is a beast all the time, notwithstanding it has two horns like a lamb, mocking Christ, and appearing mild and innocent, yet really having the spirit of the dragon, and, out of the abundance of its heart, speaking and acting like the dragon. While the first beast was a political power, the second beast adds to the features of the first beast hypocrisy and deceivableness, and is a pseudo (false) spiritual power, prophesying and working deceptive miracles for the first beast, and making an image to the first beast and commanding all to worship the image, and killing those that refuse, and setting a mark in the right hands or foreheads of the idolatrous worshippers, and letting none buy or sell except such as have the mark or name of the beast, or the number of his name. The second beast (or false prophet), although assuming the garb of religion, {Mt 7:17} is more oppressive than the first. The dragon, beast, and false prophet, the mystery of iniquity, form a hellish anti-trinity, counterfeit of the mystery of godliness, God manifest in Christ, witnessed to by the Spirit. The dragon personates the Father, assigning his authority to his representative, the beast, as the Father assigns His to the Son; while the false prophet, like the Holy Ghost, speaks not of himself, but tells all men to worship the beast, and confirms his testimony by miracles, as the Holy Ghost attested Christ' s divine mission.'' Church History, pages 144, 251, and 255.


From a careful study of the exact language of the Scriptures and of church history, I believe that the Antichrist, the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, is not only a principle and system of enmity to God, but will be, like Antiochus Epiphanes, a human being fully inspired of Satan, {Re 17:8; 13:2} endowed by the Devil with superhuman power, malignity, craft, and pride, who will attempt self-deification as the vice-christ, the rival and adversary of the Son of God, far surpassing all other men ``in intellectual brilliancy, military genius, executive capacity, towering ambition, colossal egotism, defiant self-assertion, and savage ferocity, the supreme head of the God-opposed world power in its final form,'' who will ``come, according to the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, bringing fire down from heaven, and deceiving all men except those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life, and who will be wondered at and worshipped by the world, and will attempt the extermination of the people of God, and will himself be destroyed by Christ at His second personal coming.


Materialism, agnosticism, skepticism, and socialism have already nearly engulfed the Protestant as well as the Catholic world. When Divine Providence removes the restraining barrier, {2Th 2:7-8} the flood of godlessness will sweep over the world; the man of sin, the world-deceiver, will be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the breath of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming. {2Th 2:8} And then will follow the resurrection of the dead and the eternal judgment. {1Th 4:14-18; Joh 5:28-29; Heb 6:2}


The Gospel Messenger-September 1897

Eph 4:15.

When I purchased the GOSPEL MESSENGER, I adopted as its motto the above language of the Apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus.

The two most essential timings in all speech, whether oral or written, are TRUTH and LOVE.


Truth is the perfect teaching of God in the Old and New Testament Scriptures. The testimony of God in the Scriptures is the infallible and final standard of truth. The doctrine of God our Saviour, the doctrine of the prophets and apostles, will stand when heaven and earth have passed away. It is impossible for God to lie; and His truth 'endureth forever' and no one should either mutilate the eternal truth of God by denying a part of it, or dilute it by mixing error with it; ``the whole truth and nothing but the truth'' is the only thing that glorifies God or really benefits mankind. It is the cunning device of Satan, who poses as an angel of light, to take error and sugar-coat it with a little truth, and then deceive human beings (who are naturally corrupt and disposed to believe falsehood) into swallowing this poisonous compound to their ruin.

It has been his especial delight, for thousands of years, thus to pervert the Word of God, and he is never better pleased than when he succeeds in getting a child, particularly a minister, of God thus to adulterate the truth, and thereby to confuse and divide the people of God. There can be no real or permanent union of the people of God except upon the ground of His pure eternal truth. The chief substance of that truth, as Primitive Baptists have believed for hundreds of years and as the most of them, including myself, now believe, is contained in the London Baptist Confession of Faith, which, though the imperfect production of men, is, we believe, the most nearly perfect human expression of Scripture truth.

If in order to please any one, I should advocate in the GOSPEL MESSENGER what I myself did not believe, I would be hypocritical; and if I did not advocate it in the way that seemed best to me, I would be stupid. I hope that I desire to be sincerely thankful to the Lord that, out of the thousands of the subscribers to the GOSPEL MESSENGER, only two have, during the year in which I have now owned and issued the magazine, expressed to me any objection to either the matter or the manner of what I have published in its pages; and only one of these has discontinued his subscription. I myself take and pay for several periodicals, and yet with no one of them do I perfectly agree; still I find enough good and valuable matter in them to cause me to take pleasure in continuing my subscription to them.

Compared with the principles of divine and eternal truth advocated by the GOSPEL MESSENGER, all the gold and silver and jewels of earth are but sordid dust; and, whatever may be the consequences to myself or to the MESSENGER, I propose, by the grace of God, never to vary one hairs-breadth from those principles.


Though we should never, in the slightest degree, abandon or compromise the truth, still we should maintain it in LOVE-in love to God, the great Fountain of Truth, and in love to His children, in whom dwells the Spirit of Truth.

The Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, from which the motto of the GOSPEL MESSENGER is taken, is radiant with heavenly glory-the divine glory of truth and faith, humility and patience, peace and union, holiness and love. The great object of the Apostle in his Epistle-and he declares that it is the great object of God in all His ministrations to His people- is to unite and perfect the saints, to build up the one body of Christ in truth and love. In this Epistle he represents the Church of Christ as one building, one family, one bride, one body, animated by one Spirit, having one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in them all. The Apostle sets forth the Church as a living body, not yet perfect, but longing and seeking for perfection, growing up to the measure of The stature of the fullness of Christ, from whom are derived all the life and grace and beauty and strength and union and symmetry and growth of the body. No one of the members of the body has yet attained to perfection; but in order to attain perfection, each member is growing, and needs to grow in every Christian grace and virtue; and in order to health and growth each member needs every other member, and, instead of despising or abusing any other member, should sincerely and earnestly and tenderly seek to promote the health and welfare of every other member, as every rational human being does in regard to every member of his own body. The solemn lesson taught by the inspired Apostle in this divine, wonderful and powerful illustration is, that, if we do not feel this near and dear relationship to the other members of the body of Christ, and heartily desire and labor for the welfare of the other members, we are not really members of the body. We are deceiving ourselves with a vain profession of religion-we have no lot or part in the matter-we are in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity. If we do not love the children of God, we do not love Him, and we have no evidence that He loves us. But as certainly as we have been born of God, we will love Him and His truth and His people; and, while we will adhere steadfastly to His truth in all its purity, as we understand it, we will not pour out the vials of bitterness, wrath, and malice upon those of our brethren who do not understand every point of doctrine or practice as we understand it, nor will we seek to cut them off from the body and exclude them from the fellowship of the saints. But we will, rather, in _lowliness and meekness, long-suffering and forbearance, strive to persuade and save them to such fellowship, knowing that we are, all of us, imperfect, and have no light that we did not receive from Christ; and that even inspired Apostles saw through a glass darkly, and knew only in part; and that LOVE is greater even than faith and hope, and most nearly assimilates us to God. The loving parent, teacher, or friend uses sharpness in speech in reproving gross wrong; but such sharpness, instead of being an evidence of hatred, is the truest proof of sincere love, which strives, not to destroy, but to save the erring one. Joshua wished to forbid the two men who did not join the seventy elders from prophesying; but Moses showed a wiser and nobler spirit in not only allowing them to prophesy, but in rejoicing that the Lord had made them prophets. {Nu 11:24-30} Upon the Samaritans who did not receive Jesus, the Apostles James and John wished to call down fire from heaven to consume them; but Jesus rebuked James and John, saying _ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of; for the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. . {Lu 9:5} John said to Christ on another occasion: _Master, we saw one casting, out devils in Thy name, and he followeth not us, and we forbade him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, forbid him not; for there is no man who shall do a miracle in My name that can lightly speak evil of Me; for he that is not against us is on our part. . {Mr 9:38-40} Christ severely rebuked fi and tenderness of the divine mercy, without which they would all he lost; and they should show the same merciful spirit towards all their fellow-creatures, and especially towards all their brethren, members with them of the same mystical body of Christ. Paul declares that the gospel, the ministration of righteousness and life is more glorious than the law, the ministration of condemnation and death; {2Co 3} and so the forgiving, saving spirit of the gospel is more glorious than the avenging, destroying spirit of the law. The injunction to do unto others as we would have others do unto us, is written in the hearts of all the true children of God by the Spirit of love; and those who partake of the meekness and lowliness and loving tenderness of Christ will certainly be forbearing towards their brethren in regard to meats and days and all other minor, nonessential matters, and will follow after the things which make for peace and things wherewith one may not destroy but edify another. {Ro 14} ``God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.'' (1Co 14:33).

The GOSPEL MESSENGER is utterly opposed to any further divisions or subdivisions of our people. Too many fences have already been run across the Old Baptist field; instead of putting up any more, I would much rather take down several that have been and are now being put up in some sections. These carnal divisions of the body of Christ caused by philosophy, pride, prejudice, and passion, seem to me shameful and suicidal. We want no new tests of fellowship, no new barriers between us, unknown to our fathers. The London Baptist Confession of Faith expresses clearly and fully enough the great fundamental system of Bible truth; those who really believe and practice that system ought to dwell together in divine unity, peace, and love. If there should seem to be any important differences between us in faith or practice, a proper love to God and His truth and people would lead us to visit each other in person and in the spirit of love and humility, and to endeavor, by divine grace, to reach a Scriptural agreement; we might find out that the difference are mainly in expressions, each might receive needed light on Scripture truth, and the bonds of true and loving fellowship might be greatly strengthened. And if we cannot thus visit each other, or cannot see exactly alike after we do, we should obey the wise and holy commandment of our Heavenly Father to ``forbear one another in love.'' {Joh 13:34; Eph 4:2}

By thus dwelling together in truth and love we fulfill the dying prayer of our dear divine High Priest and Redeemer, that we should he one as He and the Father are one; thus shall we realize the divine blessing of peace and prosperity; and thus benefit mankind by proving to them the reality and divinity of the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ; and thus shall we glorify His Father and our Father, His God and our God.

The appropriate and excellent motto of Elder Lemuel Potter's magazine, The (Church Advocate, published at Fort Branch, Indiana, is: ``Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! saith the Lord''. {Jer 23:1} Such should be the motto of all ministers and of all religious periodicals.

I am heartily rejoiced to say that it seems to me that the Great Head of the Church has blessed all of our fifteen Primitive Baptist periodicals in the United States with this divine principle of love and peace. I think that those periodicals were never better than they are now, and that it would he a blessing to our members and our nation if ten times as many copies of them were taken and read The world is flooded with false and corrupt literature. In this age people, both young and old, will read something. Let the Holy Scriptures, and books and periodicals in faithful exposition of the Scriptures, be widely circulated, so that, in all our homes, elevating and purifying truth shall supplant degrading and polluting error. Let pure divine truth he maintained by both tongue and pen in humble and forbearing love, and the sweet light of heaven will scatter the foul darkness of earth, and the power of the God of light and love will transform the world from a pandemonium to a paradise.


The Gospel Messenger--October 1897

By the urgent request of a beloved brother, I will give my views of this divine, instructive, and wonderful vision.

``And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, and said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, Which are upon the top thereof: and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the Other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, what are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake to me, saying, this is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, the hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? For they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth. Then answered I, and said unto him, what are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, what be these two olive branches, which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, these are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.''

Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi prophesied after the return of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon. As Haggai and Zechariah encouraged Zerubbabel the governor (of the house of David) and Joshua the high-priest in the building of the Second Temple, so Malachi, about a hundred years later, aided Nehemiah the governor and Ezra the priest in reforming the conduct of the priests and people, purifying the Israelites from heathenish elements, and restoring the true worship of God.

Zechariah, a priest-prophet, like Ezekiel, another priest-prophet, had many mysterious visions, which had both a natural and spiritual meaning for their own times and also for future times-these prophets of God looking forward, by divine enlightenment, to both the first and the second comings of Christ, and to the history of the Church, and of the world in connection with the Church, not only to the end of time but to the dawn of eternity.

In the vision of the Golden Candlestick, Zechariah is taught the certainty of the completion of the Second Temple by Zerubbabel, the restoration of the true worship of God in that Temple, the establishment of the Church of Christ, and the divine, inward, gracious, spiritual, holy, and everlasting salvation of all the people of God. The angel, who was probably the Angel Jehovah, Christ, by His Spirit, calls and enables the prophet to see the glorious vision, and causes him to be deeply and humbly interested to learn its meaning. The Candlestick all of gold is the Church of Christ, the gold representing its purity, preciousness, and durability. The bowl or fountain upon the top of it is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, the inexhaustible reservoir of all the graces and gifts of His people. The seven lamps are all the local churches and the ministers in those churches, seven being the number denoting completion or perfection-the churches and the ministers and members of the churches are burning and shining lights in the coldness and darkness of the world. The seven pipes are God's perfect methods of communicating His grace to His people. The two olive branches are the Godhead and manhood of Christ. The golden oil is the rich, illuminating, warming, softening, healing nourishing, refreshing, and beautifying grace of God. The two anointed ones, or sons of oil, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth, are the Son of God, who is the Messiah or Christ or anointed with the Spirit of God without measure, and the Spirit of God, who is the holy unction or anointing ever abiding in His people. No might of man, or power of mail, no human or outward means, but God Himself, by His Son and Spirit, builds His Church, inwardly, omnipotently, graciously, entirely, from first to last, increasingly, righteously, immovably, effectively, and eternally; and every particle of the glory, from beginning to end, shall be His. Olive trees are beautiful and fruitful, evergreen and enduring. Men cannot make living trees; nor, in this instructive vision, do they press the oil from the berries; but the oil flows spontaneously, invisibly, silently, abundantly, and perpetually, and it furnishes a sufficient, unfailing supply to every lamp; and it is not the lamp, but the oil in the lamp, that burns and shines. Jesus is the author and finisher of the faith of His people, the Alpha and Omega of their salvation. He begins the good work in them, and performs it to the day of Christ. The light of His coming into our souls is faint and small at first, and may be despised by the unspiritual, but God's people, who have eyes like unto His, rejoice to see it, because they are confident that it will shine more and more unto the perfect day. God, in His infinite grace, and His omnipresent and omniscient providence, will ever watch and care for it, and will not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax until He brings forth judgment unto victory; He will keep all His beloved and chosen people by His power through faith unto the fullness of that salvation which is to be revealed to them in the last time; He is on both sides and every side of His people as the mountains are round about Jerusalem. The greatest mountains of difficulties are but a plain or nothing to Him; He has but to speak, and it is done, to command, and it stands fast; He does His pleasure in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth, and none can stay His hand. It is not His will that the least one of His loved and chosen little ones should perish; He gives each one of them eternal life, and none can pluck them out of His hand.

In a lower sense, the two anointed ones are Zerubbabel the prince and Joshua the high-priest, who were qualified by the Spirit of God to rebuild the Temple, and may also represent all magistrates and ministers who are endowed and guided by the Divine Spirit in upbuilding the visible Church, and who do so only by that Spirit. And, from Zec 6:12-13, it seems that the two olive trees may represent the priestly and kingly offices of Christ, for both of which, to atone for His people and to rule in them, He is perfectly qualified by the infinite fullness of the Holy Spirit.

No chapter in the Scriptures, when properly understood, more plainly and forcibly sets forth the Primitive Baptist doctrine of salvation by sovereign, rich, and reigning grace than the Fourth Chapter of Zechariah.


The Gospel Messenger--October 1897

In order to call the attention of our brethren to some evils connected with Associations, so as to try, if possible, to abate those evils, I publish, under the head of Selections in this number of the GOSPEL MESSENGER, the Rejected Circular of 1883 written by Elder Harvey Wright, of Sexton, Indiana, one of our oldest and ablest ministers in the United States. The Circular is printed in a little volume of 144 pages, entitled ``A Record of some Things Seen and Heard, by Elder Harvey Wright, Member and Pastor of Little Blue River Church, Rush County, Indiana,'' published in 1884, at Greenfield, Ind.

Elder Wright's Circular contains a great deal of important and wholesome truth.

That person is very ignorant of the New Testament who does not know that it gives no authority whatever for any permanent organization except a church of Christ; and one is very ignorant of Primitive Baptist history who does not know that, as Associations have heretofore been conducted among our people in Some sections, they have often been promotive of envies and jealousies, strifes and divisions, and have been the convenient means of ventilating, propagating, and perpetuating many unscriptural and ruinous Speculations calculated to confuse, unsettle, and poison the minds of unguarded hearers.

And some Associations are so large that it is a great burden for any church to entertain them, and half of their churches never ask for the sitting of the Association with them, and other churches dislike to ask. And large promiscuous crowds attend who care nothing for the preaching, but walk and talk and laugh as at a picnic, and disturb the speaker and prevent those interested from hearing; and sometimes those who profess to be Primitive Baptists act in this flippant, irreverent, and shameful manner. And occasionally venders of eatables and drinkables, even of alcoholic liquors, sell their wares on or near the grounds, and men become drunken and race and fight in the neighborhood. These are crying evils, and, unless they can be altogether repressed, the Associations, which are the occasions of them, should be disbanded. Certainly smaller, more orderly, and quiet assemblies are more suitable for the humble, sweet, and spiritual worship of God.

In regard to correspondence, that between churches is more nearly scriptural than that between Associations, for organized Associations of churches are unknown in the Scriptures; but the truth is that, so far as the pages of the New Testament inform us, there was no formal, periodical correspondence between any of the apostolic churches; and this human device is not necessary for preserving the union of the body of Christ. Many of the warmest and loveliest Primitive Baptist churches in the United States have no formal correspondence with any other church; and some of these churches either never were or are not now members of any Association. Real, living, and manifested love is of infinitely more importance than any humanly-invented formality, especially when such formality is insincere, and, instead of uniting, tends to divide the children of God, as is sometimes the case.

The first Baptist Association was formed in i653 ill Somersetshire, England, which was 1553 years after the close of the Apostolic Age; 31 years after the formation of the First Modern Missionary Society by the Roman Catholic Pope, Gregory XV (in 1622); 128 years before the establishment of the First Sunday School, by Robert Raikes, of Gloucester, England (in 1781); and 139 years before the formation of the First Baptist Missionary Society, at Kettering, England (in 1792). All of these human inventions originated more than 1,500 years after the death of the last Apostle. Associations, soon after they were organized, encroached upon the rights of the churches. At an early period they undertook seven kinds of business. To moralize the members of the churches; to harmonize them; to suppress heresy; to give advice, in difficult cases, to members and churches; to propose plans of usefulness; to recommend cases needing pecuniary support; and to provide for the preaching of the gospel in their own churches and in the world at large. This multiplicity of business brought the churches into serious trouble, and threatened the ruin of the Baptist cause, so that the first four of these purposes were soon abandoned- Associations found that they could not act as Courts of Appeal from the churches. In the United States general quarterly (or Summer yearly) meetings were held, beginning in 1688, at the different church-houses for mutual encouragement, but there was no representation of the churches by delegates or messengers. For 69 years (from 1638 to 1707) there were Baptist churches in the United States without Associations. In 1707 the first American Baptist Association (the Philadelphia) was formed. Messengers were appointed by the churches to the Association; and the Association soon set itself up as a Supreme Court to decide cases of discipline in the churches and to impose its decisions upon the churches. But the Philadelphia Association did not begin any correspondence with other Associations until 1766 (59 years after its formation); and this Corresponding feature developed until, in 1802, it grew into an elaborate and authoritative Committee of Correspondence, consisting of ten or fifteen members, including a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and two Secretaries, empowered to open a correspondence with all the other Associations in the United States, A request from them an account of their origin, constitution, numbers, increase, decrease, declensions, revivals, ministers, ordinations, etc, meet once a year to examine the replies made to then, and publish such information in pamphlet form every year or two, and sell the publication for half a dollar, and appropriate the net proceeds to the relief of ministers' widows and orphans, to the improvement of young ministers, or for other laudable purposes The Kehukee Association was formed in 1765; but did not begin a regular correspondence with any other Association until 1791 (26 years afterwards), when it began corresponding with the Virginia Portsmouth Association (which had been formed the previous year from the Kehukee Association); and, in 1793, with the Neuse Association (also formed from the Kehukee); and, in 1806, with the Chowan Association (which had been also formed from the Kehukee). The Portsmouth, Neuse, and Chowan Associations went off into Modern Missions; and the Kehukee ceased to correspond with the Portsmouth in 1825, and with the Neuse and Chowan in 1830. The Kehukee gradually entered into correspondence with other Associations of like faith and order, until the number of Associations corresponding with her has increased to 25; but two-thirds of these Associations correspond with her only by an exchange of Minutes; and members from other Associations are just as cordially received by her as members from Associations with whom she corresponds

Prom this scriptural and historical review, it is perfectly certain that Associations are not of apostolic origin or authority; that formal correspondence between them is a later invention and is unnecessary; that they continually tend to infringe upon the rights of the churches, and should therefore be always closely watched; and that the simpler, humbler, less formal, and more scriptural they are made, as only yearly meetings of the members of several churches for divine worship and mutual edification without the slightest authority over the churches, the more will they glorify God and benefit His people.


I feel inclined to here record that Circular Letter which White Water Association rejected. But I will first give some of the reasons prompting me to write it. When I first became a Baptist, I told the brethren that I did not consider Associations a Bible institution, yet, if properly restricted, they might not do much harm. But after following them for many years, and bearing, I think, fully my part of the general correspondence, and acting for many years as Moderator of White Water Association, I became convinced that there was no hope of restricting Associations to what I thought they ought to be, if held at all. I also saw evident evils growing out of them, and the vanity and display increasing with years, until few of the churches seemed to want to entertain or called for them. And my church having unwillingly consented to entertain White Water Association in the year 1882, only because I pressed it upon them as a duty for each church to bear its share of the burden, I consequently decided never to ask them to call for it again; and believing it wrong to go to others to be entertained when we are unwilling to try to entertain them; and feeling that I was in the way of some, and an unwelcome visitor, because I objected to the unscriptural theories and traditions which they taught, I, therefore, thought it a proper time for me to quit an institution, which I could not learn to endorse as a Christian duty, believing it to be a modern institution of the American Baptists, I consequently declined to act longer as Moderator; and being appointed to write the circular, I concluded to write my sentiments in regard to Associations; and wrote this and presented it, little expecting the Association would adopt it as a Circular.


The White Water Regular Baptist Association in session with the Shiloh Church, Hancock County, Indiana, August 8, 1883, to the churches composing the same, sends this annual address:

Dear brethren and sisters in the Lord. Being assembled as an Association, we are led to inquire by what authority are we thus assembled, and who is the author of this organization and of the laws governing it? Is it the King of Zion, the Lord of hosts, and Head of the church who has constituted it? or is it of men? And we have to acknowledge that we have, perhaps, no authority from the word of the King, nor from the Princes who rule in judgment, for such an organization, or work. And we know that in the Scriptures, the man of God is thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Therefore, can we call this a good work consistently, while we also object to others following unscriptural institutions? But why object, when we also are become followers of men, unless we would, likewise, be condemned by our own judgment? But some one may say, ``Associations have been followed so long; surely they must be right, and we cannot give them up.'' But let us remember that idols have been worshipped much longer; and that long practice does not make anything right. Therefore, are we doing any better today than ancient Israel (which was the figure of the church), did when they worshipped, in groves, the idols of their own hearts, when we likewise have instituted and are following after a service which the Lord has not ordained? And will it not as surely bring upon us the judgments of God now, as it did upon Israel then? And has it not been so done already among us? Have not strifes and divisions been manifest as fruits of jealousies and envy, which have been provoked by preferences shown to preachers, whose vanity has been tickled by being honored and flattered, until they are made to feel that they have and ought to have the preeminence among their brethren? And they seem to think that all should listen to their words or views; and sometimes preach some new things that no one ever thought of, saying, ``These are my views: nobody else is responsible for them, and perhaps none of the brethren believe as I do;'' and thus go on and preach THEMSELVES. And we all know that these things are done, and that strifes and divisions have followed the introduction of these new theories of ambitious men who seem to prefer their own glory to the peace of Zion. And need we wonder at it when we have been telling them by our acts that they are the biggest preachers that we have; and have set them up to give a public entertainment to the people, whom we have invited to our grand feast in the groves, where we promise to entertain them with some of our big guns. And need we wonder, under such circumstances, that those guns thus overcharged, explode, or shoot to kill; and thereby many are killed and wounded. The Baptist people have become so scattered by divisions, that few of the churches feel able to entertain an Association; so Associations have become a burden and a dread, and but few churches call for them any more; and they seem to do so under a sense of duty, rather than because they want them. Is it not, therefore, high time that we stop and ask whether this he of God or of men? and whether its fruits are good or evil? And we know that the Scriptures inform us of no other organization above or beside the church of Christ, which is the pillar and ground of the truth, and not a confederacy. Neither let us say a confederacy to them that say a confederacy. But is not the Association a confederacy, a federalism, with constitution and laws of men's invention? But our Lord Jesus Christ has but one body, the church, which He has instituted and established here on earth, and all of its institutions and ordinances He has ordained and enjoined upon His people; and when we obey and follow these, we have done our whole duty.

But some one will say we need some kind of correspondence, which is very true; and we have a Scripture warrant for a correspondence from church to church, as practiced by the apostles and primitive saints; as in Ac 15:22, by the whole church at Jerusalem sending messengers with letter to be read in other churches of the saints; which, when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation. And which practice is also noted in the following Scriptures; Ro 16:23; ``Gains mine host, and the whole church, salute you.'' ``Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church, that is at their house.'' Col 4:16; ``And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read it from Laodicea.'' 1Pe 5:13; ``The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you.'' Ga 1:1-2; ``Paul, an apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead; and all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia.'' We should be glad to see such a Scriptural correspondence, freely and frequently carried on from church to church, as it was then. And we have no doubt but that the fruits would be good, and cause much rejoicing now, even as it did then, and that peace and fellowship would be promoted thereby. And should church difficulties arise, they could be reached more effectually by church intercourse than by associational combinations. And such correspondence would be no burden to any church, but would be carried on without parade or great preparation, as has to be done at Associations. And such meetings would be so much more orderly and quiet, that they would appear, Indeed, more like a body of worshippers, than those great associational gatherings, scattered round in a grove; and the preacher could easily address his quiet audience, instead of bawling himself hoarse, after a moving, heedless multitude of pleasure-seekers at those grand, grove parades; and he is also, perhaps, still more annoyed by seeing some of his brethren and sisters at buggies or in groups, talking and laughing, while he is trying to preach, and more likely so, if he is not a very big preacher; for some of the Baptists seem fond of display, and show but little respect to those humble, little ones, who walk in the simplicity of gospel truth, but cannot show off so well before the people at those great public exhibitions, where the praise of men is sought after. But in those more private, quiet assemblies, where the praise of God is the chief and only object, how different the condition and the spirit that is likely to be manifested! For there is less there to tempt our vanity. And the more humble, meek, and tender we are the richer the feast, and the more little and child-like, the warmer the fellowship, and the sweeter the communion will be, while each feels little and unworthy, and esteems others better than himself; while charity instead of envy, and Christian love instead of jealousy, fill the heart with tender emotions of sweet fellowship in the Spirit. In conclusion, we would say, let each one of us consider this matter seriously; and may the Lord direct us to do what will be for the honor of His name and the good of His people, should be the desire and prayer of all who love our Lord Jesus Christ.

Your brother in Christian fellowship, HARVEY WRIGHT


The Gospel Messenger--November 1897

2Ti 3:16.

This statement of the Apostle Paul just before his martyrdom embraces the consideration of two most interesting and important subjects: 1st, The Canon of Scripture, or What Writings are Scripture; and 2d, The Inspiration of the Scriptures, or In What Manner and to What Extent were the Scriptures Inspired of God.


The Greek word canon, meaning rule, occurs in 2Co 10:13,15; Ga 6:16, and Php 3:16. By the phrase, The Canon of Scripture, is meant the collection of divinely inspired books constituting the Christian church's authoritative rule or standard of faith and practice. The inspired books, as far as written at those times, were called ``the book of the law'' in De 31:25-29, and in 2Ki 22:8-20, and ``the book of the law of the Lord'' and ``the book of the covenant'' in 2Ch 34:14-33, and ``the book of the Lord'' in Isa 34:16, and ``the books'' in Da 9:2, and ``the law and the prophets in Zec 7:12; and Christ, Peter, Paul, and Luke call these books ``the Scripture'' (or writing), ``the Scriptures,'' and ``the Holy Scriptures'' (Mt 21:42; 2Pe 3:16; Ga 3:8,22; 2Ti 3:15-16; Lu 24:27,45; Ac 8:32). The Greek word diatheke, rendered Testament, but better rendered covenant, and distinguished as Old and New, occurs in 2Co 3:14; Heb 7:22,8, and ix. 15-20. The word Bible is the English form of the Greek word Bible, which means Books, and in its later Latin form, Book; and this term began, in the fifth century, to be applied exclusively to the Old and New Testament Scriptures, constituting `` The Book of Books,'' the most important of all books. The Scriptures are called ``the Bible'' in all the languages of modern Europe.

In 2Ti 3:16, Paul means by the term ``Scripture'' is shown by his language in the 15th verse, ``the Holy Scriptures,'' that is the Old Testament Scriptures, ``which Timothy had known from a child, and which are able to make one wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus ``. {2Ti 3:15} As Zechariah (vii. 12) had spoken of the Old Testament Scriptures written up to his time as ``the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent in His Spirit by the former prophets,'' so Christ and Luke spoke of the Old Testament Scriptures as ``the law and the prophets''. {Mt 11:13; 22:40; Ac 13:15; 28:23} The fullest statement of the classification of the Scriptures made by both the ancient and modern Jews, is given by Christ in Lu 24:41-42, as ``the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms.'' The ancient and the modern Jews count twenty-four books in their Bible, which they arrange in three classes, thus:

1. The Law,-Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the 5 books of Moses;

2. The Prophets,-Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and in one book the twelve Minor Prophets, (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi), making 8 books; and

3. The Hagiographa, or Holy Writings,- Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, and in one book Ezra and Nehemiah, and Chronicles, making 11 books, or 24 books in all. The Psalms head the third class, and are the most important book in that class, and sometimes gave name to it. These were all the books in the Hebrew Bible in the time of Christ, and they are all the books in the Hebrew Bible now, as shown by a Jewish Bible, printed in Chicago in 1891, which I have now before me. They are exactly the same books, though in a somewhat different order as the books of our Old Testament (we, making every book a separate one, and counting two books of Samuel, two of Kings, and two books of Chronicles, reckon the number of books in the Old Testament thirty-nine). In our arrangement, which is more according to the of writing, Genesis stands first, and Malachi last. In the Jewish arrangement, which is more according to the subject-matter of the writing, Genesis stands first, and 2 Chronicles last. The Jewish arrangement is alluded to by Christ in Mt 23:35, where He sums up all the instances of innocent blood-shedding in the formula ``from Abel to Zacharias,'' that is from Genesis (Ge 4:8), the first book, to 2 Chronicles (2Ch 24:21), the last book of the Hebrew Bible. The 14 books of the Apocrypha (which means ``hidden'' or ``spurious''), though given in the Septuagint or Greek version of the Scriptures made at Alexandria in Egypt B. C. 280-150, were not considered, by the Jews of Palestine, to be canonical or inspired, and were never in the Hebrew Bible, and were never alluded to by Christ or His Apostles, although they quoted so often from the Old Testament Scriptures; and they are not in the Old Syriac or Peshito version of the Bible of the Second Century. The writers of the Apocrypha do not claim inspiration, and their unscriptural fables, fictions, and doctrines prove that they were not inspired; and yet the Roman Catholic ``Church'' pronounces them inspired; and the ``Church'' of England and the Episcopal ``Church'' of the United States have, in their ``Book of Common Prayer,'' extracts from the Apocrypha, to be read in their public services, ``not for the establishment of any doctrine, but as examples of life and manners.'' All other Protestants reject altogether the inspiration of the Apocrypha. The canon of the Old Testament necessarily closed with Malachi (about 400 B. C.), the last inspired prophet of the Old Testament Dispensation. ``To the Jews ere committed the oracles of God''; {Ro 3:2} and they were faithful to the trust of preserving and transmitting the letter of the Old Testament Scriptures, going to the length of even idolizing the sacred text, counting its words and letters, and zealously guarding against its corruption, so that we, at the present day, undoubtedly have the very words of the ancient prophets. The Old Testament Scriptures, of which the Jews are the chief literal witnesses, hear the most severe testimony against the Jews for their formalism, hypocrisy, idolatry, and corruption, thus affording the completest natural demonstration of the perfect truthfulness of those Scriptures. The doctrine of one eternal, infinite, spiritual God, all-holy, all-wise, all-powerful, and all-merciful, and of His blessed and glorious purposes and provisions of salvation for sinful men, utterly distinguishes and elevates the Old Testament Scriptures above all the other writings of antiquity.

Until the rise of the German rationalistic school of biblical critics in the latter part of the eighteenth century, it was always acknowledged by both Christians and infidels that twenty of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament (the four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, all of the Epistles, except Hebrews, attributed to Paul, the First Epistle of Peter, and the First Epistle of John) were written by the Apostles, Matthew, John, Paul, and Peter, and their companions Mark and Luke, in the first century of the Christian Era. Of the seven remaining books, it can be said that the Epistle to the Hebrews was always received by the Jewish Christians, to whom it was addressed, and believed by them to have been the work of Paul or of one of his companions; the Epistle of James is quoted by Clemens Romanus of the first century, and by the Shepherd of Hermas of the second century, and both the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Epistle of James are in the Old Syriac or Peshito version of the middle of the second century; the Second Epistle of Peter, the Second and Third Epistles of John, and the Epistle of Jude are not only quoted by writers of the second century, but have strong internal marks of haying been written in the first century, and by the Apostles whose names they bear; and the Apocalypse, or Revelation, is declared to be the work of the Apostle John by Papias (a hearer of John), Justin Martyr, Melito, Theophilus, Apollonius, and Irenaeus, of the second century, forming a clear and unbroken chain of testimony down from the apostolic age. The external evidence that the books of the New Testament were all written in the first century, and by the authors whose names they bear, is perfectly satisfactory to every informed and candid mind; and the internal evidence of that momentous fact, from the Jewish-Greek language used in these books, the geographical, historical, social, political, and religious allusions in them, the undesigned coincidences between the different parts of them, and, above all, from the description, in these books, of the unique and incomparable character and history, words and acts, doctrine and miracles of Jesus Christ, perfect God and perfect man in one person, the divine and holy and merciful and almighty Saviour of corrupt and guilty men from sin and hell, in accordance with the marvelous prophecies and types of four thousand years recorded in the Old Testament-this internal evidence of the apostolic authorship of the New Testament is an absolute demonstration to every competent and spiritual understanding.

The New Testament ``has not only stood its ground, but seen every successive form of antagonism-transcendental philosophy, materialistic science, and rationalistic criticism-to its grave.'' The New York Popular Science Monthly, the ablest American exponent of the Philosophy of Herbert Spencer, now acknowledges that Spencer's ``Unknowable, Infinite, and Eternal Energy from whence all things proceed'' is but another name for God. Prof. Adolph Harnaek, of the University of Berlin, the most learned, brilliant, and daring of German biblical critics, who is conceded to surpass all other living men in his knowledge of the sources of early church history, admits, in his latest book, ``Chronology of Old Christian Literature,'' that ``the books of the New Testament are the genuine productions of the Apostolic Church, and, generally speaking, of the men to whom they are attributed, and that their writers intended to speak the truth and thought they were speaking the truth.'' Harnack even concludes that Paul was converted, not 36 A. D., as heretofore thought by the most careful Bible scholars, but 30 A. D., the very year of the crucifixion of Christ, so that his Epistles, instead of being, with other parts of the New Testament, the fabrications of later times, was written by Paul himself; six years earlier than heretofore supposed. Verily divine truth is mighty, and will finally prevail over every forum of error. It is now most probable that all the other books of the New Testament, except the writings of John, were written before the destruction of Jerusalem, A. D. 70; and that all of John's writings (the Gospel, the three Epistles, and the Revelation) were written between 90 and 100 A. D Divine Providence bas separated, by an impassable gulf, the strong, inspired writings of the Apostles of the first century from the weak, uninspired writings of the Greek so-called ``Christian Fathers'' of the second century. And the same almighty superintending Providence, as it kept the Jews (the chief transmitters of the Old Testament) from corrupting,those Scriptures, has also kept the Greek and Roman Catholic apostate ``churches'' (the chief transmitters of the New Testament) from corrupting these Scriptures, from adding anything thereto or taking anything therefrom, although these Scriptures most severely condemn them, as the Old Testament condemns the Jews, for their formalism, hypocrisy, idolatry, and corruption.

Thus we have the strongest natural proof of the genuineness and truthfulness of the Old and New Testament Scriptures; and the unanswerable spiritual proof of such genuineness and truthfulness is afforded by the oneness and perfection of the teaching of the Old and New Testament Scriptures in regard to the existence and character of the Three-One God, and of His holy and merciful salvation of humble sinners, and His righteous punishment of the proud and wicked.


Having shown what books compose the Old and New Testament Scriptures, I will now briefly set forth in what manner and to what extent they were inspired of God.

As is common in the Greek, the verb meaning ``is'' is omitted in 2Ti 3:16. The exact translation of the original is:-``All Scripture God-breathed and profitable for doctrine,'' etc. The King James and many other ancient and modern Versions supply the verb ''is immediately after Scripture: ''All Scripture is inspired of God and is profitable,'' etc. The Revised Version retains this translation in the margin, but, in the text, like some other ancient and modern versions, supplies the ``is after ``inspired of God,'' thus:

``Every Scripture inspired of God is also profitable,'' etc. The word ``Graphe'' rendered ``Scripture'' occurs fifty-one times in the 'New Testament (including thirteen times in Paul's writings), and in every case, without the shadow of a doubt, refers to the Old Testament, as received by the Jews in the first century and ever since, and as received by all Protestant Christians now; the 15th verse of 2Ti 3:perfectly establishes this meaning of the term `` Scripture,'' in the present case; and Paul's testimony in the 16th verse, to the divine inspiration of all the Old Testament Scriptures, is just as strong if the inspiration is assumed (as in the Revised Version) as if it is asserted (as in the King James Version). In either rendering every book and every passage of the Old Testament is attested by the Apostle Paul as God-breathed or inspired of God. In proof that the King James translation is the correct one, it may be said that nowhere else in the New Testament nor in Greek literature is the word kai (and) between two adjectives rendered ``also''-the revisers themselves rendering this word ``and'' in a similar situation in 1Ti 4:4 and Heb 4:13. The latest Baptist Revision of the New Testament, by Alvah Hovey, John A. Broadus, and Henry G. Weston, retains the substance of the King James "Version-all Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for teaching,'' etc.

In order to justify itself in receiving or rejecting whatever parts of the Scriptures it pleases, the spirit of infidelity has, during the last 400 years, invented many false theories of their inspiration. Some of these unbelievers-Pantheists and those inclined in that direction-have maintained that, not the Scriptures themselves were inspired, but that the religion or persons or thoughts of the Scripture writers were inspired-just as though a writers thoughts can be distinguished or separated from his words. Others- the Socinians (anti-Trinitarians) of the 16th century, and some Arminians of the 17th century-maintained that the Bible is inspired only in its doctrinal and perceptive parts, in matters pertaining to faith and practice, but not in its scientific or historical statements. Others-the Mystics of the Middle Ages and of the 19th century, the latter under the leadership of F. F. D. Schleiermacher, of Germany-claimed themselves to have ``an inner light,'' ``a spiritual instinct,'' ``a Christian consciousness,'' a divine source and test of all truth able to distinguish between the inspired and the uninspired parts of the Scriptures. It is evident that all these classes of skeptics, instead of accepting the inspiration of the Scriptures, assume themselves to be inspired, and not in need of any written revelation from God, nor disposed to accept such revelation with the reverence due from the creature to the Creator.

The true doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures is that the Holy Spirit so influenced the minds of the writers that all their statements are, in every respect, divinely infallible and authoritative-the very words, though written by men, are the words of God, and are therefore, when properly understood, perfectly true. All competent scholars of every school of thought candidly admit that such was the view which Christ and: His Apostles held of the Old Testament Scriptures; that they always referred to those Scriptures in the most reverential manner, as divinely safeguarded and trustworthy in every sentence, every word, and every letter. They quote from all parts of the Old Testament-the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms-as equally inspired and infallible, and refer to all classes of facts recorded in the Old Testament with the sublime simplicity and confidence of little children. Christ declares that _the Scripture cannot be broken _ even as to one word; {Joh 10:34-35} and He proves the doctrine of the resurrection of the body by one word, _am, not _was , {Mt 22:32} and His own divinity by one word _My ; {Mt 22:44} and Paul bases an argument on one phrase, _yet once more , {Heb 12:27} and on the singular instead of the plural form of a noun, _seed, not seeds . {Ga 3:16} Peter says that _ prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved (borne along as a ship by the wind) by the Holy Ghost ; {2Pe 1:21} and that _the prophets searched diligently what the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow , {1Pe 1:10-11} thus showing that the words of their prophecies were more the words of God than their own, for they themselves did not understand them in their fullness. Paul calls the Scriptures _the oracles -that is, the utterances, the words _of God . {Ro 3:2} Christ and His Apostles declare that the words of the Old Testament are the words of God, or of the Holy Ghost. {Mt 4:4; 22:43; Heb 1:1; 3:7; 4:4; 9:8; Ro 9:1; 7; 10:19; Ga 3:8; Ac 4:25; 28:25} More than 2,000 times in the Scriptures are the Scriptures called _the word of God. The Apostles were nearer to Christ and more honored than even the prophets; {1Co 12:28; Eph 4:11} Christ promised them the infallible guidance of His Spirit; {Joh 14:26; 16:13-14} and they claimed to have His Spirit in fulfillment of that promise, and that their very words were the words of God or of the Holy Ghost {Ac 2:4; 4:8; 15:28; 1Co 2:13; 4:1; 2Co 5:19; 13:3; Ga 1:7-9; 2Th 1:5} and they regarded their own writings as equally inspired Scripture with the Old Testament. {2Pe 3:16; 1Th 5:27} Minor personal details (as in 1Ti 5:23; 2Ti 4:13), are strong proofs of the literal truthfulness of the inspired writings. In Ro 3:5, Paul means by the words, _I speak as a man, that the question which he had just asked, _Is God unrighteous (or unjust) who taketh vengeance (or punishes sin)? _ is not his own sentiment, but is the language of the vain, foolish, irreverent carnal mind. In Ro 6:19, by the words, _I speak after the manner of men, because of the infirmity of your flesh, he means that, on account of their fleshly weakness which impaired their spiritual understanding and obedience, he compared to the changes of natural services and subjections common among men, their spiritual change from the service of sin to the service of Christ And in Ga 3:15, by the words, _I speak after the manner of men, he means that he illustrates the immutability of the Divine covenant of grace by the stability of confirmed human covenants. In 1 Cor. vii., when Paul says, in the 6th verse, _I speak this by permission, and not of commandment, he does not mean _by God's permission to me to say it, but _by way of allowance, not commandment, to you; (while marriage, recommended in the second verse, is always permissible, it is inexpedient in exception should not separate, or, if living separate, should not marry another; {Mt 5:32; 19:3-10; Mr 10:2-12; Lu 16:18} in the remainder of the chapter he gives, on less frequent and minor points, his own apostolic advice, which he modestly asserts was similarly inspired, or directed by the Spirit of God (verse 40).

The few seeming discrepancies in the Scriptures are for the most part trivial, often relating to numbers, which were expressed in Hebrew and Greek by letters, and therefore easily mistaken by transcribers; many of them yield to a little common sense, and others disappear before advancing knowledge. None of them at all justify a rejection of the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, authenticated as these sacred writings are to us.

Nature and Scripture, the works and the word of God, do not at all conflict; but men's erroneous interpretations of Nature and Scripture may and often do conflict.

The principle upon which the so-called ``Higher Critics'' or Literary Guessers of the last hundred years (who frequently change their views and are hopelessly divided among themselves) are attempting to disprove the proper authorship, antiquity, and inspiration of the Scriptures, in order to eliminate from them everything supernatural or divine, is the baseless theory of Evolution, the constant, ever-rising self-development of the universe from the primitive atom, which these dreamers make eternal-a theory demonstrably false in science, art, history, and literature, one of the oldest, crudest, wildest and weakest fictions ever perpetrated by the Father of Lies. The continually discovered and deciphered records of ancient Egypt, Babylonia, and Assyria, and the majority of the ablest scholars of Europe and America, and all the creeds and most of the people of Christendom, condemn the assumptions, methods, and conclusions of these infidel critics.

The Bible as far transcends in glory all the other books in human literature as the unclouded noonday sun outshines the feeble luminaries of night. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are irrefutably the written word of the living God. Like the Personal Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom they chiefly testify, prophetically and historically, and who is the chief guarantor of their truth, they are both Divine and human. They are the very words of God-neither to be added to nor taken from-written by the fingers of a man's hand, and needing the Spirit of God in a man to interpret them. {Da 5} They teach the most momentous truths in regard to the being, attributes, purposes, and works of God, the ruin and perdition or salvation of man, the wonderful present, the eternal past, and the eternal future, far above the discovery or the disproof of human reason.

They ``are able to make a human being wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus; and they are profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God maybe perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works''. {2Ti 3:15-16} Applied to the heart by the Spirit of God, they prepare a man to live to the good of his fellow-creatures and the glory of God; to face the supreme ordeal of the dying hour in peace; to rise triumphant, in soul and body, over sin, Satan, death, and hell; to pass through the gates of pearl into the Heavenly and Eternal City; and to dwell forever in perfect conformity to the Divine image, in the holy, loving, and peaceful presence of God and the holy angels and glorified saints. EVERY SPIRITUAL MIND IS PERFECTLY ASSURED THAT THE VOLUME CONTAINING THESE UNRIVALLED, HOLY, AND SUBLIME REVELATIONS IS THE BOOK OF GOD.

REMARKS-The above article is an answer to several interesting and important questions asked me by worthy brethren; and I hope that, by the Divine blessing, it will be instructive and strengthening to the lovers of Scripture truth. S. H.


The Gospel Messenger--November 1897


DEAR BRO. HASSELL: After in such agitation of the associational question here, the following agreement was reached at our last meeting, Elders Dubose, Taylor and White being present: That, doing away within the Ebenezer Association, we re-adopt the following declaration of its preamble of principles as the text of our faith on the subject:

``WHEREAS, There is no Scripture authority for any ecclesiastical organization but the Church of Christ, and there being no other recognized by the apostles and primitive saints in the first century of the Christian era, and the Primitive Baptist churches of the present century, with whom we are identified, claim to be a succession of the apostolic churches, and the same in faith and practice; therefore, be it

Resolved, That we do not believe it Scriptural or apostolic to have ecclesiastical organizations to-day by the churches of Christ.

Fellowship Church, in conference with the above named elders, and brethren from other churches concurring with her, re-adopted this declaration as a text of the sentiment we could write on.

You say in your editorial on Associations that: ``A church is not only the highest but the only religious body recognized in the New Testament.'' We say ``Amen'' to that-and with this unquestioned "AXIOM-Truth is never inconsistent with itself.'' I will submit this proposition That each organized Association, with constitution, rules, etc., being a religious body, is unscriptural, and should therefore be abandoned.

Will you please publish this with your reply? Yours, in afflictions and humble hope,



Brother Denton writes that his Association (the Ebenezer, in Texas), finding no scriptural authority for any organization except a church, has dissolved. The Chemung Association, in Western New York, also dissolved a few years ago, and returned to simple yearly meetings. Any one and every one of our Associations in the United States, desiring to follow these examples, has a perfect right to do so. For both the word ``Association'' and the thing itself are entirely unknown in the Scriptures. The verb ``associate'' is found only in Isa 8:9, in the following words of the Lord to the enemies of Himself and His people:--``Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces;'' and the fearful warning that His associated enemies shall be ``broken in pieces'' is given three times by the Lord in this short verse. And the nearest approach to an Association in the New Testament is the Conference, in Acts xv., of some members of the Church at Antioch and the Apostles, elders, and brethren of the Church at Jerusalem in regard to the question whether circumcision is essential to salvation; this question was decided once for all in the negative, and the Conference or Council was never held again. Thus these two passages of Scripture give no authority whatever for permanent organizations of churches.

The formation of the Texas Ebenezer Association in September, 1896, is described in THE GOSPEL MESSENGER of January, 1897, pages 7 and 8. The attempt of the brethren in its constitution was to make it more simple and scriptural than other Associations. No separate and distinct constitution, rules of decorum, or articles of faith, from those of the churches were adopted. It was agreed that the Association should be governed by the decorum of the church with which it convened. The moderator and clerk of that church were to be the moderator and clerk of the Association. The object of the associational meeting was declared to be ``for the worship of God and the brotherly correspondence of the churches unto their mutual edification and peace.'' It was agreed to ``hold correspondence with other Associations of like precious faith.'' Brother Denton writes me, in a private letter, that this last provision for correspondence with other Associations was the only objectionable feature, and has been the cause of the failure of the Association. Formal correspondence between churches is unknown in the Scriptures, much more such correspondence between Associations, which are scriptural nonentities. When such correspondence threatens to spread and perpetuate strife and to divide the people of God, it should certainly be abandoned. Such correspondence is not necessary to Associations, for the first Associations were held many years without it.

If formal correspondence with other Associations, unknown in the Scriptures, is abandoned, and if the statistical reports from the churches are read only by the clerks privately and the figures recorded in the table of the churches, the entire business of the Association can be done in an hour or less, and the messengers of the churches can hear all the preaching, and there will be no unscriptural machinery to manufacture mischief in Zion.

I am opposed to Associations held for any unscriptural or injurious purpose, but I am in favor of Associations as simple yearly meetings of the members of several churches for the blessed scriptural purposes of Divine worship and mutual edification Primitive Baptists claim in that the Holy and Inspired Scriptures are the only and sufficient rule of their faith and practice; let them prove it in this important matter.




The Gospel Messenger-December 1897

Elder J. H. Purefoy, of Selma, Alabama, writes me as follows:

The Union meeting at Nashville (June 20 to 28) was well attended. There were over thirty visiting preachers. The States represented were Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Virginia. Of our editors we had Walter Cash, Cayce, Kirkland and Dalton. There were eight additions to the church, but five joined about the beginning or before the Union meeting began. We had some very able preaching, and all, in the main, was harmonious. The meeting lasted a week and one day. I would be glad to attend such a meeting every year. I understand that an effort will be made to have the next one at Luray, Va., next year. Perhaps a general Union Meeting every year would unify our people and tend towards correcting associational abuses.''

In the Messenger of Peace of July 1st, the editor, Elder Walter Cash, of Marceline, Mo., writes thus


``We have just returned from the Union Meeting at Nashville, which was held with the South College Street Church, commencing on Saturday before the third Sunday in June. We can give but a very short account of the meeting in this issue, as the paper is ready to go to press as we reach home.

``To say that the meeting was an enjoyable one would but poorly express the unanimous verdict of the brethren who were present, so far as we learned. There were ministers and brethren from many States and all seemed to be in perfect accord on the fundamentals of the doctrine and practice of the Primitive Baptist church. But few expressions were given out but such as found a hearty approval from the brethren present. There was not as much difference in expression of sentiments as there would ordinarily be at a fleeting of the ministers of one association if each one should express his thoughts as he would within the bounds of his own church.

``The prevailing sentiment among the brethren seemed to be that the only object worthy of being entertained was to perpetuate unity of sentiments, love and fellowship among Primitive Baptists. The spirit of humility, which was manifested by all the brethren present, added to the enjoyment of the occasion, for no one could think of looking for an enemy where all showed such evident gratitude for the bestowment of God's grace. If brethren held strange views, which are not common among the Primitive Baptists, they held them to themselves; and if brethren felt a disposition to criticize the remarks of others, such a spirit was not permitted to prevail, for only expressions of brotherly love and sweet fellowship were made public.

``It was, indeed, a sight to move the heart to see brethren meet from different parts of the country who had not before seen each other, or who had been separated for long years, and see their evident joy in such a glorious privilege. Old soldiers of the cross were melted to tears as they beheld the faces of their fellow laborers from distant States and realized that the Son of God was precious to all alike.

``Those who were appointed to preach displayed the meek and lowly disposition which our Master commanded, and were blessed with liberty to declare the glad tidings with power and in demonstration of the Spirit.

``The evident desire of all was to stand in the ranks without division or any hardness of feeling, but to promote peace, prosperity and fellowship among all the churches. The spirit which would dictate and rule seemed for the time laid aside, and all bowed to the rule and dominion of King Emanuel and in glad submission recognized His law as best and highest. All vied in ascribing praise to Jesus alone as the Savior of sinners, and expressed utter helplessness to give life, or any motion of righteousness before God to the unregenerated. The atonement of Christ and His present intercession were exalted as the ground and reason of the sinners hope.

``Yet the obligation of a called ministry to preach the word, as well as the obligation of the regenerated to believe and obey its teachings, were strongly emphasized and made a principal theme for many talks. Primitive Baptists were exhorted to stand by the old land-marks and to refuse to be led away with new things. Then, too, the mistakes of the present, as to the practices of the churches, were clearly shown, and many warm exhortations delivered to correct the wrongs and to follow the right. Especially was the fact emphasized that the churches generally do not give sufficient attention to persons who have received a hope, but who have not united with the church. It seemed to be a unanimous sentiment that more interest should be taken in such characters and every encouragement given them to discharge this duty.

``The meeting was crowded with stirring incidents. Several persons united with the church, which gave joy to all present. There were brethren leaving and bidding farewell, for the last time on earth, to those for I whom they had formed the strongest attachments during the meeting, or to true and tried brethren to whom they had been attached for many years. Then the sermons gave opportunity for the expression of sentiments, so that it might be known whether all were in harmony in doctrine and on practice; and surprising unity was found to exist, taking into consideration that many different States and localities, widely removed from each other, were represented. For the time, at least, envy and jealousies of every description were laid aside, and all joined in the one prayer that Zion might prosper and that peace and joy might be found in all her borders.

``We left on Saturday morning, June 26, and the meeting was to continue until Monday night following. The general expression of all the brethren and sisters present was that the meeting had not only been a pleasant occasion, but that much strength and encouragement had resulted from the precious seasons of rejoicing which had been experienced while meeting and conversing with brethren and listening to the proclamation of the word of God.

``The brethren composing the South College Street Church of Nashville, threw open their doors and cared for the visiting brethren in a most liberal manner, making all welcome who came. It was at first I the intention to provide only for the ministers in attendance; but as the meeting progressed, it was found that they could care for all, and they did so in the true, hospitable manner of genuine Old-School Baptists, too.

``Services were held at the church at 11 o'clock a. m., and at 3.30 and 8 p. m., one sermon being delivered at each service. The ordinance of baptism was administered Sunday morning to three candidates and three received the ordinance Sunday afternoon. Saturday afternoon three more were baptized, one of them being a little girl thirteen years old, but in whom the members of the church seemed to have the utmost confidence.

``The Lord's supper was administered Sunday and the brethren gathered from so many different sections communed in sweet fellowship, not only by the breaking of bread but in the comforting hope of salvation by Jesus, the savior of sinners.

``Those who were present were rejoiced at the manifestation of unity, which betokens a more harmonious and energetic movement of the Primitive Baptists in the future, discord and bitterness being put aside, with the one aim to glorify God and encourage the little lambs to find shelter and protection in the church of the living God. Farewells were said in tears, with many prayers for those who were parting. The meeting will surely redound to the praise of God and the strengthening of the church. Elder J. Bunyan Stephens is pastor of the church where the meeting was held, and is highly esteemed by the brethren for his devotion to the cause.

``The meeting at Nashville this year and the one at Atlanta last year, having proven to be such pleasant occasions, it is proposed to bold a meeting somewhere next year.

``These cordial, informal, unauthoritative general meetings, are highly desirable, not only for proving, but also for promoting the loge, peace, union and fellowship of our people. Genuine Primitive Baptists. such as are renewed and taught by the Spirit of God, are substantially one in faith and practice; and this fact becomes manifest when, laying aside all envies and jealousies and all carnal and dividing strifes of persons and words, and not seeking to lord it over God's heritage, they meet in humility and love, in order to become better acquainted with each other and to engage in the public and spiritual worship of God.''

Such meetings of the saints are divinely beautiful, strengthening and refreshing, and are faint anticipations of the General Assembly of the church of the first Born in the Heavenly Jerusalem-the Glorious World of Perfect Light and Love, where all the members of Christ's mystical body are one, even as the Father and the Soil are one. {Joh 17:20} I would be rejoiced if these general union meetings of Primitive Baptists' could he held in every State and section of our country. The unscriptural divisions of our people by associations might thus be healed.


The Gospel Messenger--December 1897

It is impossible to preserve the visibility of the Church of Christ without the mutual forbearance of its members. The children of God "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called," only when they "walk with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love." When they were children of wrath, even as other, and justly deserved everlasting banishment from happiness and God, they were graciously translated for Christ's sake, by their Heavenly Father from the kingdom of death, darkness, bondage, and hatred into the glorious kingdom of life, light, liberty, and love; and from God alone have they received all their true, spiritual understanding of the Scriptures and everything else of value that they possess. Those who have most of the Spirit of Christ are most meek and lowly and gentle and tender-hearted and forgiving and forbearing, and most do they honor God and benefit His people. The one great object for which the ministry is given is the edification of the one body of Christ in love. {Eph 4:11-16}

Those who are agreed in regard to the fundamental truths of Christianity should bear with each other in regard to differences on less important matters. Those fundamental truths are the full Divine inspiration of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the eternity, infinity, spirituality, three-oneness, sovereignty, holiness, mercy, omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence of God, the sovereignty, graciousness, holiness, completeness, and everlastingness of His salvation of all His loved and chosen people through the mediation of His Son and their regeneration by His Spirit, the first coming of His Son to the world to atone for the sins of His people and to rise for their justification, and His second coming to raise all the dead and judge the world, consign the wicked to hell, and welcome the righteous to heaven. All those who give credible evidence that they believe these cardinal truths of Christianity, and who adorn their profession of religion with a godly conduct and conversation, ought to be baptized, by a lawful administrator, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and ought to "continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship and breaking of bread and prayers." Remembering what God has done for them and how He loves all His children, and considering their own imperfection of understanding and life, they ought to bear, in unfailing humility and tenderness, with all their brethren and sisters in regard to all matters which are not clearly set forth in the Scriptures--that is, in regard to views of certain Scriptures; methods of expression on certain points of doctrine; the extent of predestination (God in no sense to be considered the author or cause of sin); the obligation of literal feet-washing; the proper attitude in prayer; the manner of opening church conferences; the propriety and method of conducting Associations; the lawfulness of insurance; the nature of occupation (if honorable); the style and value of houses, clothing, and food, etc. On each one of all of these matters the most intelligent and informed, humble and spiritual of our brethren conscientiously differ; and if these and other such matters are made tests of fellowship, it is most likely that each one of the three thousand Primitive Baptist churches in the United States will be torn into bleeding fragments, and thereby the saints would be distressed, their enemies rejoiced, God dishonored, and Satan triumphant. May the Lord endow His people with the heavenly, humble, loving, and forbearing wisdom of Jesus, and thus save them from all the insidious and ruinous devices of the Devil to divide and destroy the body of Christ!


The Gospel Messenger--December 1897

1Jo 5:16-18

I have been requested to write on this important subject.

The exact literal translation of 1Jo 5:16-17,18 as follows: ``If any one see his brother sinning sin not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for those sinning not unto death. There is sin unto death; not concerning it do I say that he shall pray. All unrighteousness is sin; and there is sin not unto death.''

It appears, from the above words of the Apostle John (the present participle sinning, and the noun sin not limited by any article or adjective) that he means, by ``sin unto death,'' not a single sin, but an habitual course of sin, resulting in death; and that the sin is plain, visible, and perceptible (``if any one see his brother ``).

The Apostle does not say that a brother, much less a real Christian, a genuine child of God, can commit sin unto death; but he implies that one professing to be a brother may commit such sin.

Four kinds of death are spoken of in the Scriptures, all of which are the penalties of sin (Ge 2:17; Ro 6:23)

1st. Physical or Bodily Death, the separation of the soul, which is the life of the body, from the body, followed by the corruption of the body and its return to dust; {Ge 3:19; Ec 12:7} this is the most usual meaning of the word death in the Scriptures; and all the children of God, except Enoch and Elijah and those who are living on earth at Christ's Second Coming, experience this death.

2d. Eternal Death, called in Revelation ii. ii and xx. 6, 14, 15 the Second Death, and in Mr 3:29 eternal damnation, everlasting separation of a creature from the Creator, who is the true life of every creature; also called ``everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power'', {2Th 2:9} and ``everlasting punishment,'' ``everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels''; {Mt 25:41,46} both in this Epistle and in his Gospel, the Apostle John emphatically and repeatedly denies that a real child of God can commit sin resulting in Eternal Death. {Joh 2:25; 7:37-40,44,50-51,53,53; 10:27-30; 17:2-3,11-12,24}

3d. Spiritual Death, separation of the sinner here in the from God, the Spirit of life, called ``death in trespass and sins''; {Eph 2:2; Mt 8:22; Lu 15:24,32; Joh 5:24; 2Co 5:1; Joh 3:14} all human beings are, by their natural generation, in this condition of spiritual death; and from this condition the elect are quickened by the Spirit of God. {Eph 2:1-10; Joh 3:5; 6:63; Tit 3:5}

4th. What may be called Akoinonian (or Non-Fellowship) Death, a loss of the light and warmth and comforts of God's salvation here in time, a separation, not from the love, but from the face and fellowship of God and from the fellowship of His people, described in the Scriptures as darkness, dryness, captivity, sleep, dissolution, and burial (Isa 59:2,9; Eze 37:1-14; 39:23-24; Eph 5:14; Re 3:20; 1Jo 1:5-10); into this miserable death the children of God may temporarily plunge themselves by gross, willful, presumptuous, habitual, persistent sins, but, just as certainly as they do, their Heavenly Father, their holy, faithful, unchangeable, covenant-keeping God, will chastise, humble, and correct them, make them repent of and mourn over and hate and confess and forsake their sins, and, in His own good time, restore unto them the joys of His holy salvation.

If the Apostle, in 1Jo 5:16-17, means that a child of God can commit sin unto death, the death cannot be the Second or Third Deaths just mentioned; for the child of God never falls into Eternal Death and has been forever delivered from Spiritual Death; and if he plunges into the Fourth or Non-Fellowship Death, he will also be delivered from that, and it would seem that his brethren should love him enough to pray for him {Eph 6:18} that the Lord would fulfill His promise to deliver him from that, and, if so, the Apostle John, the Apostle of love, either does not here mean that a real child of God can commit such sin, or he does not mean Non-Fellowship Death. It is possible that, if he here means that a real child of God can sin unto death, he may mean that such a person can commit a sin tending to result in the First, Physical or Bodily Death {1Co 11:30; Jas 5:13-20; but, if such is the meaning of John, it would seem, from the passage in James, that fervent, effectual (literally, inwrought, inspired} prayers should be made by the elders of the church for the sinning, afflicted, and confessing member, who will, according to the Divine promise, be forgiven of his sins, converted from the error of his way and restored to health; while, if John means sin of a child of God unto Bodily Death, he would seem to differ from James in declining to encourage prayer in regard to it; but, as there can be no conflict in the teaching of inspired writers. It seems certain that John does not mean sin of a child of God unto Bodily Death, nor, as I have shown above, unto Eternal, or Spiritual, or Non-Fellowship Death, so that the conclusion seems inevitable that John does not here mean to imply that a real brother, a genuine child of God, can commit sin unto death. On the other hand, he declares, all through this Epistle, that every one that has been begotten of God, does righteousness, does not, as before regeneration, keep on committing sin willfully, outwardly, habitually, and persistently, believes that Jesus is the Christ, loves God and His children, overcomes the world, and has eternal life given him by God in His Son, and, by the grace of God, keeps himself so that the wicked one touches him not, that is, to his destruction. He is a tree of righteousness, and bears fruit unto holiness, and has, as the end thereof everlasting life. {Ro 6} John says that a brother may sin so unto death; but he does not say that a brother, a real child of God, can sin unto death. The life spoken of in this Epistle is Eternal Life; and so the death spoken of in it seems to be its opposite-that is, Eternal Death.

Only the non-elect, the unredeemed, and the unregenerate can commit sin resulting in Eternal Death. One form of such sin is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, speaking evil of, calumniating, reviling, vilifying the Holy Ghost, calling Him an unclean or unholy or evil spirit. {Mt 28:20; Mr 3:24-30; Lu 12:10} Blasphemy means speaking evil of; and blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is not sin in general, but the special sin of reviling the Holy Ghost, and it is not the cause but the mournful effect and evidence of a seared conscience, a reprobate mind given up by the Lord to everlasting hardness; impenitence, and unbelief, to utter and endless ruin. Christ solemnly declares that this sin ``shall not be forgiven,'' ``hath never forgiveness''. The occasion of Christ's mentioning the unpardonable sin of blaspheming the Holy Ghost was the charge made against Him by His carnal, selfish, jealous, ambitious, proud, bitter, scoffing, malignant, determined enemies, the Scribes and Pharisees, that He cast out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils, that the Holy Ghost in Christ was an unclean or wicked spirit, thus making Christ the incarnation, not of God, but of the Devil, not of the Kingdom of Light, but of the Kingdom of Darkness. These evil trees brought forth corrupt fruit, and were known by their fruit; these wicked men had evil hearts that brought forth evil things; they were not for, but they were against, Christ; they were a generation of vipers, filled with the poison of their father, the Old Serpent, the Devil, and utterly hated truth, holiness, and God, and could not escape the damnation of hell. {Mt 12:30-37; 23:33; Re 20:2} It seems to me strange and deplorable that a few (I am glad to say a very few) of our beloved, intelligent, and devout ministering brethren violently wrest the language of Christ in Mt 12:31-32 and Mr 3:28-29, from its plain and certain connection, and apply this language to the children of God, whom they thus fill with distress and despair by the belief that they have committed this unpardonable sin of blaspheming the Holy Ghost. Such an application is not only a sad perversion of these Scriptures, but it also ignores the certain fact that blasphemy is not evil conduct, but is evil speech-nothing more and nothing less. I never read or heard of the most disobedient child of God reviling the Holy Ghost-calling the Holy Spirit a Satanic or evil spirit. The idea that a child of God can commit this unpardonable sin and then must atone for such sin by his own sufferings in this life, involves a denial of the faithfulness and power of God to keep His people; a denial of the sufficiency of the atonement of Christ for His people; and a denial of even the necessity, of His atonement for if the suffering of sinners in this world or in eternity can atone for their sins, there was no need of Christ's dying for sin, and the whole human race will be finally saved, not by the atonement of Christ, but by their own sufferings. This idea seems to me a departure from the vital, central doctrine of the Christian religion-salvation by grace alone, justification by faith alone, redemption by the blood of Jesus alone. The principle is, to my mind, precisely the same as that if the Roman Catholic doctrine of Penance and Purgatory.

Our brethren who maintain that the children of God can blaspheme the Holy Ghost fail to observe the distinctions, clearly given in the context, between ``blaspheming `` and ``resisting'' and ``vexing `` or ``grieving the Holy Ghost `` and ``quenching the Spirit.'' The corrupt and viperous Pharisees, notwithstanding the light of Christ's wondrous words and works, blasphemed the Holy Ghost in Christ, calling Him an unclean spirit, and they never would be regenerated or forgiven. {Mt 12:22-37; Mr 3:22-30} The stiff-necked Jews, uncircumcised in heart and ears, ``resisted the Holy Ghost'' in the prophets, in Christ, in Stephens and in the Apostles, and persecuted and slew these inspired men, but some of these Jews, such as Saul of Tarsus, might afterwards be regenerated and forgiven. {Ac 7:51-52; Ne 9:29-30; Ac 9; Lu 23:34; Mt 12:31} While the elect, redeemed, and regenerated children of God may, by rebellion, disobedience, neglect, falsehood, dishonesty, filthiness, bitterness, wrath, clamor, evil speaking, covetousness, and jesting, ``vex'' or ``grieve'' (the original words mean the same) ``the Holy Spirit,'' ``by whom they are sealed unto the day of redemption,'' that is until the resurrection of their bodies (the Holy Spirit being here compared to a dear Friend, who, when displeased, hides His face or frowns upon the loved ones who offend Him, but still never will utterly forsake them), Isa 63; 64; Eph 4:30 with all the Epistle. And the children of God, by not using and manifesting the graces and gifts of the Divine Spirit, may for a while ``quench'' His holy influences in their hearts, dim the light and chill the warmth of His presence within them (He being here compared to a holy flame, but the whole Epistle shows that this divine light and warmth within them will never be utterly extinguished, for they are the elect, redeemed, and regenerated children of God, and will be preserved blameless unto the coming of Christ. The inspired writers do not command the children of God not to ``blaspheme the Holy Ghost `` or ``resist Him'' by murdering His ministers, for these things the regenerate will never do But they do command them not to ``grieve the Holy Ghost `` or ``quench the Spirit,'' for these sums those born of the Spirit, and in whom He dwells, may commit.

Another form of sin unto Eternal Death is apostasy, a drawing back unto perdition by those whose minds have been illuminated by the doctrine of a gracious salvation from sin by the atoning death and justifying resurrection of the Son of God, and who have openly professed to believe and trust in Christ to have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and to have been sanctified by the blood of the everlasting covenant, and then have renounced that profession, and gone back to the law for justification such proud, scornful, contemptuous adversaries of God are worthy of and shall receive from Him, not merely temporal death justly inflicted upon a presumptuous violator of the law given by Moses, but much sorer punishment, even everlasting vengeance, destruction, burning, and perdition. {Ga 5:4; Heb 6:4-8; 10:26-39} As John does not tell us to pray for those who commit sin unto death, so the Lord told Jeremiah not to pray for the apostate, hypocritical, idolatrous, and corrupt people of Judah, whom He had continually instructed and warned by His prophets, and who, while falsely professing to he His people, were really worshippers of Baal and other idols, and whose utter destruction, for their apostasy, hypocrisy, idolatry, and iniquity, He had irrevocably decreed {Jer 7:16; 14:11-12; Eze 14} But the elect and redeemed children of God, who have eternal life, never apostatize unto Eternal Death. The Apostle Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, declares that the objects of God's everlasting love {Ro 8} have had their sins purged away by the atoning death of the incarnate Son of God, once crucified but now glorified, and are _heirs of salvation, _the children whom God has given to Christ, _the many sons whom He brings unto glory, who _believe in Jesus and enter into spiritual rest, ceasing from their own works for justification, of whom the Apostle is _persuaded (better things than falling away and cursing and burning,) things that accompany salvation, and that they are secured from destruction by _the immutable promise and oath of God and the intercession of their holy and everlasting and unchangeable High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Mediator and Surety of a better covenant than that of the law, founded upon better even unconditional promises, in accordance with which _God puts His laws in their minds and hearts, gives them a saving knowledge of Himself as their God, and is merciful to their unrighteousness and remembers their sins and iniquities no more, that, by _the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, their consciences are purged from dead works to serve the living God, that _as Christ has come the first time to bear their sins, so they look for Him to appear the second time to bring them into the fullness of His salvation, that _by His one offering He has forever perfected them, and that they _are not of those who draw back unto perdition but of those who believe to the saving of the soul, that they _confess that they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth, and look for a city which hath foundations whose builder and maker is God, that they _desire a better, a heavenly country, and _choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt, that _they all die in faith, of which _Jesus is the author and finisher, that they _endure chastening from their wise, holy, and loving Heavenly Father, that They are no more under the black, fiery, tempestuous, terrible mountain of the law, but have come in spirit to _Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, an innumerable company of angels, the general assembly and church of the first-born, who are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel, that they have

"received a kingdom that cannot be moved-a gracious, spiritual, holy, and everlasting kingdom, of which God is the Head and they are the subjects, to the eternal glory of the Lord Jesus Christ."

Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, apostasy, and all other forms of sin unto Eternal Death is characterized as utter and final obduracy, impenitence, and unbelief. Of these awful, unpardonable sins; it is certain, from the Scriptures, that not a real, but only a nominal child of God can be guilty. The true child of God, though a sinner, is, through the influence of the Holy Spirit, humble, penitent, believing, watchful, and prayerful, and is kept by God from committing sin unto Eternal Death.


``My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.''


My beloved and venerable step-mother, Mrs. Martha Maria Hassell, daughter of Leonard and Rebecca Worcester, was born in Greenfield, New Hampshire, July 17. 1815, and died in Williamston, N. C., October 5, 1897-in her eighty-third year. She was married early in 1835 to Elder Daniel E. Jewett, of New York, who died May 28. 1845; and she was married March 201 1849, to my father. Elder Cushing Biggs Hassell who died April ii, 1880. Thus she lived twenty years before her first marriage, ten years with her first husband, and thirty-one years with her second, and was a widow twenty-one years. Of the two children of the first marriage, Sophia Neffie, widow of Wm. G. Biggs, was born November 17, 1835, and died September 10, 1887; and Benjamin Emerson Green, born June 18, 1843, is still living in Evanston, Indiana. Of the four children of the second marriage, Cordelia wife of Wm. Slade, Williamston, N. C,. was born December 23, I S49; Alonzo, a physician, was born September 23. 1851, and died April 8,1888; Walter was horn October 15, 1853, and still lives in Williamston, N. C.; and Cushing Biggs was born November 29, 1856, and died November 21, 1859.

In her twelfth year, mother experienced conviction for sin and a hope of salvation through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ, and she was baptized into the fellowship of the Baptist Church, of which she was a member more than seventy years; and all the days of her long pilgrimage she proved the reality of her conversion, and adorned her Christian profession with a most godly walk and conversation. She was blessed of the Lord with a fine intellect, and with the finest spirit. Her character was of the highest order-it was Christ-like. She was richly endowed with the Spirit of Christ, and manifested, in a pre-eminent manner, the graces of that Spirit. She loved the Lord and His holy law and precious gospel, His blessed Word and house and ordinances, and His dear people. She had a special and tender sympathy for ministers of the gospel in all their labors and trials, both of her husbands having been ministers. She had a deep and growing desire for the gospel peace and union and fellowship of all the people of God. She had an extensive religious correspondence, and many of her humble and lovely spiritual letters were published in our periodicals, She was a true-mother in Israel, beloved and revered all over the United States. She spoke evil of no one, and did harm to none, but wished to benefit every one, She was the most spiritual-minded person I ever knew. She lived in the presence of God and in the light of eternity. She surpassed all other human beings of my acquaintance in the gift of prayer, My dear father always bad family prayer morning and night; and once every week he called on mother to lead, which she did in the most solemn, reverent, and thrilling manner I ever heard-it was to me a heaven below to listen to her humble, tender, and fervent voice ascending to the throne of the Divine Majesty. And, after fathers death, I have often heard her in her lonely chamber, at the dead hours of night. pour forth her earnest supplications to God for His mercies to herself and others. My own mother, who died when I was four years old, could not have treated me more lovingly and tenderly. She was always a ministering angel to me in affliction and bereavement.

Her sympathy was active and profound; her counsel was heavenly.

Her words often seemed to me as the words of God-they were in such harmony with the Scriptures and the teachings of the Divine Spirit. My intimate acquaintance with her for forty-eight years has been one of the very dearest and richest privileges of my life, for which I can never feel thankful enough to the Lord; and words seem too poor to express the painfulness of my bereavement in her death. But it is the deepest desire of my heart to say, ``The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord..''

For more than a year mother had been very feeble with diabetes and difficulty of breathing; for more than four months she had been confined much of the time, to her bed, at the home of her son-in-law, brother Wm. Slade, where she had the best medical attention, the tenderest nursing, and every needed comfort that means could supply. She became very weary of the flesh and the world and especially of sin, and she longed for rest in the sinless land where Jesus reigns and where glorified saints and holy angels dwell. For more than four days she lay in an unconscious condition, seeming to be in the gentlest of slumbers, and then painlessly and peacefully her spirit was released from its mortal tenement, and, as we have the fullest evidence to believe, ascended to the Paradise of God. Mark the perfect man and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace''. {Ps 37:37} Though mother lived the most perfect life I have ever witnessed, she felt to be utterly unworthy of the Divine mercy, and put every particle of her trust. in the atoning death and justifying resurrection of the Son of God. SYLVESTER HASSELL.


The Gospel Messenger--January 1898

A dear brother has asked me to explain the scientific cause and the spiritual meaning of the Rainbow.

A Rainbow is defined as ``an arch of light exhibiting the spectrum colors in their order, and due to the refraction, reflection, and dispersion of the sun's or moons s rays in drops of rain falling through the air, seen usually at the close of a shower in the quarter of the heavens opposite to the sun or moon.'' The white light of the sun or moon is composed of the seven prismatic colors, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet; and each color, when passing from air into water or from water into air, is refracted, or bent from its original direction, always at the same angle, but different from the angle at which every other color is refracted; this causes the separation and spreading of white light, when refracted into the colors of which it is composed, always in the same order; and, as the falling drops of rain fill that part of the heavens where the rainbow is seen, the constancy of the angle of refraction for each color makes each color appear to the eye as a part of a circle; to a person upon a great height. a rainbow appears as a full circle. The colors of the how made by the moon, though similar, are much fainter than those of a bow made by the sun. When the field of falling drops is large, and the light of the sun thrown on it is very bright, there is not only a primary bow, formed by one reflection of the light from each drop, but sometimes a secondary bow, formed by two reflections, and still more rarely a tertiary bow, formed by three reflections. The white light of the sun falling upon a prism or three-cornered piece of glass, is separated into the same colors as those of the rainbow, always in the same order; the colored band is called a spectrum; and just beyond the red end of the spectrum there are invisible thermal or heat rays; and just beyond the violent end of the spectrum there are invisible actinic or chemical rays, which produce the chlorophyll or essential green life coloring matter of vegetation. The spectroscope shows a great many dark lines crossing the bright colors of the spectrum, the darkness being caused by the interception and absorption of the bright light of the sun by substances in our atmosphere. Permanent light in large quantities can come only from a heated body. Light is propagated by some mysterious activity (thought to be the undulation or polarization) of a highly refined (almost immaterial), uniform medium filling all matter and all space, and called luminiferous (light-bearing) ether.

Only the Creator of nature could have imposed its laws or qualities upon it and made light and air and water what they are. There is but one God, and He is the God both of nature and of grace; and the kingdom of nature was made by Him not only for the use of His living creatures in time, but also, for those of them who can understand such teaching, as an illustration of spiritual and eternal truths. This grand fact shines all through the Scriptures from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation. Meditation upon the resemblances between the kingdoms of nature and of grace is most delightful, instructive, strengthening, purifying, comforting, and elevating.

The spiritual lessons to be learned from the Rainbow are deep and manifold. The Rainbow is referred to in Ge 9:9-17; Isa 54:7-10; Eze 1:26-28; Re 4:3; 10:1. As God alone created nature, including light, air, and water, according to His own pleasure, and makes the sun shine on falling drops of rain when, where, and for whom He alone pleases, the first lesson that we learn from the Rainbow is the absolute and universal sovereignty of God (``I set My bow in the cloud,'' Ge 9:13). From the exceedingly refined, everywhere present, and uniform ether, by which light is propagated from the sun to the raindrops and from the raindrops to our eyes, we learn the spirituality, omnipresence, and immutability of God. From the circular form of the Rainbow we learn His eternity, infinity, and perfection; and from our seeing only a part of the how, we learn His incomprehensibility; and from the real but unseen Heat and Chemical Rays, we learn His reality but invisibility to mortal eyes. From the Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Bows, we learn His trinity-the Father seen by the eye of unsophisticated reason in the works of nature, the Son more rarely seen, and the Spirit still more rarely. Ezekiel represents the Rainbow as manifesting ``the glory of the Lord'' Eze 1:27-28). The white light of the sun, before falling upon the raindrops, illustrates the holiness (the wholeness, the total glory), the perfect purity of the Divine nature. The seven colors represent the seven attributes of His holy character, manifested to His intelligent, His spiritual creatures-Righteousness, Knowledge, Wisdom, Power, Truth, Mercy, and Love, all perfectly harmonious and blending into each other; and, as expressions of these attributes, the seven colors also represent the glorious promises and providences of God, working together perfectly for His children's good and His glory. The Light Rays show the illuminating, the Heat Rays the warming and the Chemical Rays the life-giving and transforming power of His grace. The dark lines crossing the bright colors are not the darkness in God or His word or His works (for He is Light and, in Him is no darkness at all, but the dark lines are the darkness in our sinful and finite minds imperfectly interpreting the perfect glory of God. The emerald, or pure and permanent color of the Rainbow round about the throne of God and the Lamb (Re 4:3; see v. 6)-green being the life color of vegetation-shows that God is the Centre and Fountain of life, especially of spiritual and eternal life; it is only those thus living that are in His immediate presence and service. All true light comes from God, who is to sin in every form and in every being a consuming fire.

After the deluge, the Lord appointed the Rainbow as the token of His covenant with the earth or His absolute promise to all flesh. that He would no more destroy all living creatures with a flood of water. It is an appropriate and splendid sign of mercy rejoicing over judgment-undeserved favor staying the floods of righteous wrath and preserving and blessing the guilty. It shows that the cloud is net universal, as in the deluge, but that it is broken and partly dispersed already, and that the sun is shining out, and imprinting his glittering triumph on the retreating clouds, uniting heaven and earth together with a wreath of beauty after they have been engaged in an elemental war. This meaning of the Rainbow is also shown in Isa 54:7-11 and Re 4 and Re 10, with special reference to God's Covenant of Grace with His Son for the eternal salvation of all His chosen people, notwithstanding the lightnings and thunderings of His holy law against their sins; it was because the Lamb that had been slain was in the midst of the throne, that the Rainbow of mercy and life encircled the throne for the four and twenty elders and the four living creatures, all the redeemed family who worship God in heaven. Christ, the Angel, Messenger, Mediator, and Surety of the Covenant of Grace, who appeared in the pillar of cloud in the wilderness and in the cloud in the temple and on the mount of transfiguration and as He ascended from Olivet to heaven, and will appear in a cloud when He returns to the earth, is clothed with a cloud in Re 10:1., and has a Rainbow upon His head, and His face was as the sun, and His feet as pillars of fire to consume His people's enemies and uphold His elect against all the powers of earth and hell. The Rainbow has its arch turned upward, and it has no string and no arrow, showing that God's wrath has been satisfied by the atonement of Christ for His people-it is a bow hung up to look at and not to use for war, the bow of peace. But the children of God may use it in approaching their Heavenly Father; with the string of faith they may direct the arrows of prayer and praise to the throne of grace, confessing their sins which deserve everlasting banishment from God, and which inflicted death upon their meek and loving and holy Saviour, and praying God to pardon and sanctify them, and joyfully thanking and praising Him for His unmerited, marvelous, and eternal love. The moon represents the church; and the Rainbow cast by the moon shows that the children of God, in the night of time, ought to he conformed, in their measure, to the glorious image of His perfect Son.

The Rainbow is chiefly symbolical of PEACE. God is the God of Peace. and His kingdom is a Kingdom of Peace, and His people are the Children of Peace; and they best manifest His Spirit and glorify His name, when, in obedience and submission to Him, they humbly and earnestly cultivate relations of love and peace to ward all the other members of the mystical body of Christ, their One Divine Head, the Perfection of Love and the Prince of Peace who, just before He offered Himself to God as a Sinless Sacrifice for their sins, prayed that all who believe on Him might be one as He and the Father are One. {Joh 17:20-21}


The Gospel Messenger--February 1898

Any discourse or article on predestination that fails to recognize and express the essential distinction between God's efficient predestination, of holiness and His permissive predestination of sin is unbaptistic, unscriptural, and fatally defective, and always has tended and always will tend to confuse and divide the people of God. This undiscriminating universal predestinarianism is as modern among Baptists as it is one-sided and extreme, having originated only sixty-six years ago; and, while it has been tolerated on account of the way in which it has been explained, it has never been accepted nor is it now accepted by the great majority of Primitive Baptists, to whom it is highly repugnant, because it seems to them to make a Most Holy God the efficient and responsible cause of sin. It is the false teaching of our enemies that the Old School or Primitive Baptists originated in 1832.

The Apostolic Church were, as I believe, Primitive Baptists; and, as I shall show in the latter part of this article, they clearly distinguished between the efficient predestination of holiness and the permissive predestination of sin. No confusion of these diverse predestinations is found in the writings of the Montanists, Tertullianists, Novatians, or Donatists, of the 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th centuries. The anti-Catholic Christian denominations of the Middle Ages, the Petrobrusians, Henricians, Arnoldists, Waldenses, Lollards, Pickards, Beghards, Spirituales, Mystics, and Bohemians were, in the darkness of that period, Arminians. I have not found any evidence that there was a single Baptist in the sixteenth century who believed in predestination; the humble, godly, and inoffensive Baptists of that century were Arminians, but affirmed the vital doctrine of the spirituality of the church, and were terribly persecuted by the predestinarian Lutherans, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians, who were advocates of a connection between church and state. The earliest Baptist Confession of Faith, made February 24, 1572, at Schleitheim, Switzerland, does not say one word about predestination. The first English Baptist church, formed in 1610 at Amsterdam, Holland, of refugees from Episcopalian persecution in England, published in 1611 an Arminian Confession of Faith. The first Particular or Predestinarian Baptist church (believing in a particular or special atonement) was formed in London September 12, 1633. The Particular Baptists soon gained, and have ever since maintained, in England, a large ascendancy in numbers over the General or Arminian Baptists (who believe in a general or universal atonement). They published Confessions of Faith in 1644, 1656, 1677, 1688, and 1689,- in the Confession of 1689 generally adopting the doctrinal language of the Presbyterian Westminster Confession of 1647, but carefully omitting its doctrine of reprobation or foreordination of the non-elect to everlasting death, and substituting in its place the following "language-others(that is, the non-elect) being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice.''

``The Presbyterian Westminster'' and the ``London Baptist Confessions of Faith,'' and the ``King James Version of the Bible,'' studiously and invariably avoid the use of the word predestination in reference to sin, and repeatedly use the words ``permit,'' ``leave,'' ``suffer,'' or ``give over in reference to God's connection with sin. All the ablest predestinarian writers that have ever lived in the eastern and western hemispheres, and all the ablest Predestinarian Confessions of Faith that have ever been adopted, have used these scriptural words to express God's connection with sin, whether by predestination or by providence.

The first Baptist churches formed in America were at Newport, Rhode Island, in 1638, and at Providence, Rhode Island, in 1639, and were Particular or Predestinarian Baptists; but a General or Arminian Baptist church was formed at Providence, Rhode Island, in 1652, and another at Newport, Rhode Island, in 1656, and the General Baptists had the ascendancy in numbers over the Particular Baptists in this country from that time until about 1750. Up to that year there were but four Particular Baptist Churches in New England, and one of them, the church at Providence, Rhode Island, of which Roger Williams was the founder became extinct in 1718; and up to 1750 there was but one Particular Baptist church in the Southern Colonies, and that was in Charleston, South Carolina, and it was then about to succumb to the General Baptist doctrine. During this period the Baptist churches in the Middle States (belonging to the Philadelphia Association, formed in 1707) were about equally divided between the Particular and the General Baptists; so that the Philadelphia Association could not adopt a Predestinarian Confession of Faith (the London Baptist Confession) until 1742, and were enabled to do so at that time only under the powerful spiritual influence of the Congregationalist preacher of Connecticut, Jonathan Edwards, and the Calvinistic Methodist preacher of England, George Whitefield. The Philadelphia Association then sent able predestinarian ministers among the General Baptists of New England and the Southern Colonies, the most of whom were thus converted from their original Arminianism to the Bible doctrine of predestination. The Kehukee Association formed in 1765 in North Carolina, and the Ketockton Association, formed in 1766 in Virginia, were built up on the ruins of the General or Arminian Baptist interests. Since that period the Particular Baptists, or those professing to believe in the doctrine of predestination, as set forth in the Philadelphia or London Baptist Confession of Faith, have, in this country, become far more numerous than the General Baptists, who make no such profession; though the great body of those previously called Particular Baptists, who now call themselves Regular Baptists, and whom we call New School or Missionary Baptists, have adopted Andrew Fuller's theory of a general atonement with a special application, ``-an inconsistent invention (in the early part of the 17th century) of John Cameron, who was born in Scotland but became professor of divinity in the French Protestant Seminary at Saumur, France, and who never could induce the great body of predestinarians to accept his theory, because it is a denial of the truly substitutionary doctrine of the atonement, that the sacrifice of Christ was an actual satisfaction for the sins of all for whom He died.

All the Particular Baptist Associations formed in this country during the 18th century were established on the doctrinal foundation of the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 which restricts the use of the word predestination to holiness and salvation, and several times uses the scriptural words ``permit,'' ``leave,'' or ``give over,'' in expressing God's connection with sin; and which, though it declares that ``God hath decreed in Himself from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably, all things whatsoever come to pass,'' still in the same sentence sets forth the other most essential and salutary half of this Bible truth-'' yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin, nor hath fellowship with any therein, nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established, in which appears His wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing His decree.'' The Confession declares that God leaves His own people, for their former sins, to temptations and corruptions, to chastise and humble them, and to make them more sensible of their dependence upon Himself, and more watchful against future occasions of sin; and that He righteously gives over the wicked, for their former sins, to blindness and hardness, to their own lusts and the temptations of the world and the power of Satan, so that they harden themselves even under those means which God useth for the softening of others.

I now come to the 19th century, up to which time I do not find, in the whole range of human literature, the phrase-``the absolute predestination of all things,'' which is now claimed, by a very few of our ministers, to be the original and fundamental doctrine of the Old School Baptist church. The Modern Protestant Missionary spirit, which was started October 2, 1792, at Keterring, England, by Andrew Fuller, the introducer of the new Cameronian theory of the atonement into Baptist theology, gradually spread over England, Scotland, Wales, and the United States at the close of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. It appeared first in the Kehukee Baptist Association in 1803, and continued to disturb that body until October 8, 1827, when, under the able leadership of Elder Joshua Lawrence, of Tarboro, Edgecombe County, North Carolina, the Kehukee Association took the first bold and decisive stand, made by any union of churches on earth, against all worldly money-based institutions as necessary for the propagation of the gospel and the salvation of men. This occurred five years before the Convention of Northern Old School Baptists at Black Rock, Maryland, September 29, 1832, followed the example of the Kehukee Association, and made a similar declaration of non-fellowship for human religious inventions. The resolutions of the Kehukee Association (see Church History, pages 736 and 737) were practical, and not at all doctrinal. Thus the members of that body, in withdrawing from modern religious inventions, did not all change their views on predestination, as expressed in the London Baptist Confession of Faith. The ministers of the Kehukee Association have never believed or preached ``the absolute predestination of all things,'' and do not now believe or preach it-on the contrary, they disbelieve it, and preach against it, (because it seems to them to make God the efficient cause of sin), as do about one thousand three hundred and fifty of the one thousand five hundred Primitive Baptist ministers in the United States. The Old School Baptist Address, issued by the Black Rock Convention, is probably the best statement of our distinctive denominational position ever made. It is mostly practical, giving our views, and the reasons therefore, on Bible and Tract and Mission Societies, Sunday and Theological Schools, and Protracted Meetings; and it uses the word predestinate only one time, and then to denote God's predestination of His people to salvation, which all Primitive Baptists believe. In another passage, the Address speaks of God as ``the wise Disposer of all events,'' which also all Primitive Baptists believe. At the close, the Address recommends to Baptist patronage a paper, entitled ``The Signs of the Times,'' to be published by Elder Gilbert Beebe, a member of the Convention, and one of the authors and signers of the Address, and alludes to the latter part of his Prospectus in regard to the popular institutions of the day, and states that the views of the editor on that subject are similar to those published in the Address. To the ten principles of the Prospectus the Address makes no special allusion except in its general recommendation of the paper, which of course was an implied endorsement of those principles. The address was published in the first number of the ``Signs.''

The Second Principle of the prospectus of the ``Signs'' was ``the absolute predestination of all things.'' The most of the ministers present at the Convention may have believed this Principle, and the most of them in the same region may still believe it, and a few in other sections; but it is perfectly certain that the great body of Primitive Baptists have always rejected it, and reject it now. In not distinguishing God's efficient predestination of holiness from His permissive predestination of sin, the phrase is, demonstrably, a clear departure from all the Baptist teachings of all former centuries, and, as I shall presently show, from the teachings of the inspired Scriptures. The London Baptist Confession of Faith, which expressed the doctrinal belief of all Predestinarian Baptists up to the nineteenth century, emphatically and repeatedly recognized this vital distinction between holiness and sin, and wisely cautioned all the people of God against an Imprudent and careless handling of the high mystery of predestination to salvation, never once using the word predestination in reference to sin,-the King James Version of the Bible also everywhere avoiding such a use of the word. John Gill, the most learned and able uninspired Predestinarian Baptist writer that ever lived, strongly emphasizes this fundamental distinction between God's efficient predestination of holiness and His permissive predestination of sin; as also did the ablest uninspired predestinarian writers that have ever lived, Augustine, Calvin, Zanchius, and Toplady. So far as I can ascertain, the phrase ``absolute predestination'' was invented by Jerome Zanchius, of Italy, and used as the title of a treatise that he published about 1560 which treatise was translated from Latin into English and published by Augustus M. Toplady in 1769-both Zanchius and Toplady carefully distinguishing God's efficient predestination of holiness from His permissive predestination of sin. And, so far as I can learn, Elder Gilbert Beebe, of New York, in 1832, in the Second Principle of his Prospectus to the ``Signs,'' appended the words ``of all things'' to the ``absolute predestination'' phrase of Zanchius; but in the first editorial he ever wrote on predestination he used the Bible word ``suffer,'' and in several editorials, he used the Bible words ``bound,'' ``limit,'' ``restrict,'' and ``overrule,'' in reference to God's relation to sin, and said that ``God is holy, and reigns in righteousness, and is not the author of sin''; that ``men act voluntarily when they commit sin, and are accountable for their sins''; that ``God had a purpose, however inscrutable to us, in not preventing the entrance of sin into the world''; that ``He sometimes binds and at other times looses Satan)'' that ``He restricts the wickedness of ungodly men, making the wrath of men praise Him, and restraineth the remainder of wrath''; and that, ``by His supreme power and decree, He restricts all the rage and malice of Satan to do no more nor less than what He will overrule for the good of His people and His own glory.'' Certainly this language agrees with the teachings of the Scriptures; and if all the explanations of the doctrine of absolute predestination by Primitive Baptists had been as guarded and scriptural, there would never have been but little trouble among our people on the subject. But I frankly confess that I do not at all understand this language, as plain as it is, unless the author meant that God permits or suffers or allows Satan and sinful men to perform their own wicked acts to a certain extent, and no further, and then makes everything ultimately redound to His people's good and to His own glory. These Bible words ``permit'' or ``suffer'' loom up everywhere between the lines of such language; and if they were openly expressed, as well as inevitably implied, such a course would go far toward ending the vain and empty strife of words and establishing a universal and perpetual peace on this controverted subject among the people of God.

It not only stains the holiness, but it also belittles the wisdom and the power of God to say that He can govern His creatures only by instigating and compelling them to sin; it represents Him as a mere amoral Machinist, instead of a holy and incomparable Sovereign, who perfectly foresees and perfectly controls even their own abominable wickedness to the manifestation of His glory-who can and does allow them, within predetermined bounds, to go their own sinful way, and carry out their own sinful purposes, and who is wise enough and strong enough to make even their sins, the wrath of man which worketh not the righteousness of God, redound to His praise. {Ps 76:10; Jas 1:20} This is a far truer and grander idea of God than that which makes His intelligent creatures, formed in His image, nothing but involuntary and irresponsible machines. The Scriptures are perfectly plain upon the point that men have sinful wills and ways of their own, which God suffers, and, even by such sufferance, accomplishes His own wise and holy purposes {Joh 5:40; Isa 10:5-34; 53:6-12; 55:8; Ps 9:16; 81:11; Ge 1:20; Jer 1:17-19; Mt 22:3; 23:37; Lu 22:22; Ac 2:23; 4:27-28}

The whole trouble, among Primitive Baptists, on this subject arises from what seems to me the culpable failure of some of our absolute brethren to distinguish in express words (as all Bible predestinarians have heretofore done and as the Scriptures do) between God's positive, active, and efficient predestination of holiness, and His negative, passive, and permissive predestination of sin. God is not Satan, and holiness is not sin, and light is not darkness, and right is not wrong; and the essential and infinite distinction between them should be most carefully recognized in every thought, word, and deed of every creature-most especially in every statement of the most holy doctrine of the Most Holy God, who hates, forbids, threatens, and punishes sin, un-atoned for and unrepented of, with everlasting banishment from His holy presence, who is to sin in every form and in every being a consuming fire, and who even, in His infinite holiness, was constrained to forsake His dear, sinless Son, when He represented His sinful people, on the accursed tree.

To every intelligent and faithful subject of grace, the original Old and New Testament Scriptures are the highest, the last, the only real court of appeal on all matters of controversy. ``All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine''; {2Ti 3:16} no Scripture is false or unimportant; and any statement of any point of doctrine that ignores or suppresses any text of Scripture bearing on that point is essentially defective. The honest heart wishes to know and declare ``the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.'' The Greek compound verb pro-orizo, meaning, literally, to fore-bound, to fore-limit, occurs six times in the New Testament-Ac 4:28; Ro 8:29-30; Eph 1:5,11; and 1Co 2:7. In the King James Version, it is translated, in these passages, determine before, predestinate, and ordain; in the Revised Version, it is always translated foreordained; in the latest Baptist Version, it is translated predestinate or predestine; and in Old Syriac Version of the second century, it is translated, previously work out, predestinate, predestine, and predetermine. The Greek simple verb orizo, meaning, literally, to bound, to limit, occurs eight times in the New Testament,-Lu 22:22; Ac 2:23; 10:42; 11:29; 17:26,31; Ro 1:4; and Heb 4:7. In the King James Version, it is translated determine, ordain, declare, and limit; in the Revised Version, it is translated determine, ordain, declare, and define; in the latest Baptist Version, it is translated determine, settle, appoint, fix, and designate; and in the Syriac Version, it is translated establish, determine, appoint, set hounds to, make known, and designate. In three of these fourteen passages (pro-orizo, in Ac 4:28, and orizo in Lu 22:22 and Ac 2:23), the reference is to the crucifixion of Christ, the greatest crime in the history of the human race, but absolutely essential to the glory of God and the salvation of His people. How could a most holy and loving God predestinate the crucifixion of His Son? The inspired language of Peter in Ac 2:23 explains the matter:-``Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.'' God, foreknowing what the Jewish enemies of Christ would do, determined or predestinated to deliver Him up into their wicked hands to crucify Him-predestinated to permit or suffer them to wickedly crucify Him. The word translated ``deliver'' means to give up, to surrender, to give in charge to another.

The Scriptures speak of God as doing what He permits to be done, because He is the Creator and Upholder of the universe, and of course could prevent the occurrence of anything He chose, and has a wise and holy purpose in allowing what takes place (Job 1:12; 2:6; 2Sa 24:1 compared with 1Ch 21:1; Ge 37:28 compared with Ge 45:5 and Ge 1:20; 1Ki 22:20-23; Isa 42:24; Ac 2:23 compared with Ac 4:27-28). And it is a remarkable coincidence that, as the words rendered to predestinate, predetermine, foreordain, determine and ordain occur fourteen times in the Scriptures, so the words rendered to give up, give over, deliver up, leave, bear, suffer, and endure also occur fourteen times,-2Ch 32:31; Ps 81:12; Mr 16:20; 5:13; Lu 4:41; 8:32; Ac 2:23; 7:42; 13:18; 14:16; Ro 1:24,26; 9:22.

In only three of the first fourteen times are the words rendered to predestinate used in relation to sin; but in all of the last fourteen times the words rendered to give up or over, deliver up, leave, bear, suffer, and endure are used in reference to sin-thus it is more in accordance with the Scriptures to use these last words than the word predestinate in regard to sin, and yet some of our absolute brethren use predestinate, but never use these other scriptural words in reference to sin, when these other words (as in Ac 2:23 and Ro 9:22) show that God's predestination of sin is a predestination to suffer or endure sin, and, for that reason, does not in the slightest degree lessen the accountability of the sinner for his sins.

I desire to call especial attention to the last-mentioned passage, in Ro 9:22. This chapter is admitted to be the strongest passage on predestination in the Bible. The 22d and 23d verses read as follows: ``What if God, willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy which He had afore prepared unto glory.'' God does not fit the vessels of wrath to destruction, they are fitted to destruction by their own sins, and He endures them in their sinful course with much long-suffering; but God does prepare the vessels of mercy unto glory. And so everywhere in the Scriptures where predestination to salvation is spoken of, it is perfectly certain, from the Scriptures that I have cited, and from His holy character and the sinful character of fallen men, that God's predestination is positive, active, and efficient; while it is equally certain, from the Scriptures that I have cited, and from His holy character and the sinful character of fallen men, that in the three passages where His predestination of sin is spoken of, God's predestination is negative, passive, and permissive, and overruling, as all the Predestinarian Baptists before this century and as the ablest predestinarians of all ages have understood and declared. The Scriptures nowhere say that God delivers up, gives up or gives over, leaves, bears, suffers, endures His people to be saved; but they do say that He gives up or suffers the wicked to sin. There is an utter difference between God's relation to salvation and to sin in His providence; and there is the same utter difference between His relation to salvation and to sin in His predestination; and as all the people of God clearly see and recognize the difference in providence, so they ought to clearly see and recognize the same difference in predestination. Only upon this scriptural basis can there be true and lasting peace and union, on the subject of predestination among the people of God. One-sided, extreme, unqualified, and unexplained phrases of human invention on this subject tending towards the amorality of fatalism and heathenism, ignoring or suppressing the most of the Scriptures bearing upon the matter, will always confuse and divide the churches of the saints. By the grace of God, I would not, under any considerations for any tradition of men, ignore or suppress an essential part of the inspired and infallible Scriptures, the words of the Holy Ghost, and thereby either originate or perpetuate confusion and division among the people of God. Those who dare to do so will certainly have to answer for the sin before the judgment seat of Christ.


The Gospel Messenger-August 1898

I desire to express my most hearty commendation of the communication by brother Mitchell in this number of the ``Gospel Messenger,'' on the subject of fellowship, and to emphasize the vital importance of correct views on this question to the welfare of the Primitive Baptist cause-to the peace and union and upbuilding of our churches. The Lord Jesus Christ. the only Master and Head of the church, never established but one tribunal on earth-the local church at any place-for receiving, examining, disciplining, and excluding members. When an editor or preacher or deacon or private member or an Association or council presume to exercise these functions of a gospel church, such persons themselves become transgressors of the law of Christ, and should be brought under discipline by the church of which they are members. The last place in the world where Mob Law or Anarchy should be tolerated, is a church of Christ. All proceedings connected with the church life or death of a human being should be conducted by his own church, with solemn deliberation, perfect impartiality, and becoming order; and, in the final decision, we should, in imitation of the dealings of our heavenly Father with all His erring and sinful children, temper judgment with mercy-if the offending member can not be saved to the fellowship of the church, the act of exclusion should be performed with tenderness and sorrow, in faithfulness and love to God and His cause and the offender. Slackness of discipline, and the unscriptural usurpation of church rights by individual members and by outside bodies, have, in some sections of our country, been fruitful sources of confusion and division among our people. A return to the divine order of the New Testament would heal many bleeding schisms and tend to prevent others in the future. A multiplication of new tests of fellowship, still further dividing and sub-dividing the Body of Christ, seems to me as suicidal as it is unscriptural: and the essence of such a dictatorial and divisive spirit seems to me to be pharisaism and selfishness-an assumption that we ale a great deal wiser or better than our brethren, and a desire to start a little faction to be called after our poor, sinful, and dying names. Paul declares that such a spirit is that of carnal weakness and folly and, as Christ enjoins devoted mutual love upon His people, and prays for their living and lasting union, we know that such a spirit is Anti-Christ. Of course, we are neither to ignore nor favor error or disorder, but should contend earnestly against them, in dependence upon God, and in meekness and love, both for the glory of God and the good of His people, and we should heartily labor, if possible, to save the offender; but we should leave the settlement of his church relations with the church of which he is a member. Old School, Primitive, or Bible Baptists, should be the last people in the world to have one or more Popes ruling over them; they should stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free. The people of God are alt brethren of each other, children of the same Father. and have the same Head and Master, Christ; and no one of them is allowed by Christ to lord it over the others. The humblest of His people are the wisest, the greatest. and the most Christ-like and, instead of originating or perpetuating, they will earnestly and lovingly and meekly labor to heal the painful, shameful, and bleeding wounds in the mystical body of Christ, and the divine graces of humility, love, gentleness, and forbearance will greatly promote the spiritual success of their godly labors.

The Gospel Messenger-September 1898


From the Messenger of Peace

Southampton, Pa. March 4, 1898

DEAR BROTHER CASH:-In Elder Sylvester Hassell's article, copied in the ``Messenger of Peace,'' he says, page 61, second column. that about one thousand three hundred and fifty of the one thousand five hundred Primitive Baptist preachers in the United States disbelieve and preach against the doctrine of the ''absolute Predestination of all things (because it seems to them to make God the efficient cause of sin). Afterward, fourth column. he says. ``It not only stains the holiness, but it also belittles the wisdom and the power of God to say that He can govern His people only by instigating and compelling them to sin.'' This language in its connection might be understood to imply that those who do believe the ``absolute predestination of all things,'' do say that God instigates and compels His people to sin. This must not be understood as Elder Hassell's meaning, or as yours in endorsing his article, for so far as I know it is not the case. I therefore write this note for publication in your paper. I have never met you personally, but my acquaintance with you by correspondence has shown me that you are fair and candid toward all.

I am acquainted with a very large number of Old School Baptists. both ministers and others, in all parts of the United States who believe in absolute predestination; but I do not know of any of them who say or believe ``that God can only govern His people by instigating and compelling. them to sin.''

I feel sure that I express the sentiments of our brethren generally in this part of the country upon this subject, by quoting the first article of the third chapter of the London Confession of Faith: ``God hath decreed in Himself from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably, all things whatsoever come to bass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin, nor hath fellowship with any therein, nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established, in which appears His wisdom in disposing all things and His power and faithfulness in accomplishing His decree.''

We call this ``absolute predestination of all things.'' If that term is regarded by any one as not correctly expressing the doctrine in the above article, it is right and a duty for such a one to say so, and show us why; but it would not be right to make his own conclusion that this term ``makes God the efficient cause of sin,'' and then say that we believe that sentiment; nor would it be right to imply that we who believe in absolute predestination say that God instigates and compels anybody to sin.

I have long believed that, if God decreed to permit a thing to take place, it must have been His absolute will that such thing should take place: and I call that absolute predestination, the same as though He had directly decreed it. If one thinks that I am wrong in that he will always find me ready to listen carefully to his reasons, and with a desire, I think, to profit by the conference; but he ought not to charge upon me what I do not acknowledge is my belief.

We do not believe that God works in the wicked, to fulfill His purposes concerning them, the same as He works in His people 'to will and to do of His good pleasure.' How he accomplishes His will in and by the wicked actions of men using the wicked as His sword and hand Ps 17:13, causing the wrath of man to praise Him and restraining the remainder of wrath, I cannot tell and am not curious to know. ``His judgments are unsearchable and His ways past finding out.''

I have, in writing upon this subject, referred to the Scripture, which says that God moved David against Israel to number them, {2Sa 24:1} and to the fact that David afterwards humbly confessed his sin, and felt the blame, and supplicated the forgiveness of the Lord. And I have referred to the other record, where it is said that Satan provoked David to do this. 1Ch 21:1. I have also referred to such expressions as ``He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal subtilly with His servants''-Ps 105:25. These are unsearchable mysteries. One thing is certainly taught by such things in the Bible, and that is the absolute sovereignty of God. But it never occurred to me to think or say concerning such things that God instigated and compelled anyone to sin. Such things are in the Bible, and cannot he lightly thrown aside, nor can anyone he rightly censured because such Scriptures are solemnly impressed upon his mind.

There certainly is apparent to any living soul, as Elder Hassell says, a great difference between God's relation to salvation and His relation to sin, but that does not affect His decrees concerning ``all things whatsoever come to pass'', nor does it require that we should be silent upon that subject; although there should be great care in handling that or any other of the solemn subjects in the Scriptures. Indeed, the Holy Spirit only can give anyone a right to handle such things, which, I confess, often makes me solemnly question my right to speak of them.

The second part of the article I have quoted from the London Confession is very important, but it was not intended to set aside or render meaningless the first part. For my part, while I feel and know that God in His holy nature and character is essentially opposed to sin, and while I cannot understand how His eternal purpose should have embraced the entrance of sin into the world, which He certainly hates, any more than I can understand how He could create all things out of nothing, yet it seems terrible to me to hear it intimated that one thing can ever have transpired which was contrary to His eternal purpose. I know that objections to this doctrine that His purpose embraced everything may be but in such ways and illustrated in such a manner that our minds will shudder: yet it seems to make me shudder in a different way to think of our God as having wanted things to be different from what they have been.

I hope I shall never be left to think or speak lightly of sin, for I know its terrible nature and awful power; and I know that `` God is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look upon iniquity.'' And yet will the Scriptures allow us to think that when God made man upon the earth, it was His design or wish that he should remain upright, when He foreknew that he would not so remain, and had already provided a Savior from sin and had given grace unto His people in Him before the world began?

I do not consider it necessary for us to understand how the Lord brings about the accomplishment of His external purpose in order that we may be willing to acknowledge that He does bring it about. One thing I think we are sure of concerning all His purposes and work, however mysterious, ``Twas all for the lifting of Jesus on high.''

We do not have any trouble with the few among us who do not see with us in this. nor with those who visit us. We do not regard it as a test of fellowship, though we are mainly of one mind. In our present imperfect state we cannot any of us feel so certain of our own absolute correctness upon all points, not involving the essential truth of salvation by grace, that we can afford to be austere and censorious toward those who have different views from ours. It is necessary that each of us accord to our brethren the same right motives in presenting their views that we believe actuate us, and not allow ourselves to think much less to openly imply that they are influenced in their contentions for what they regard as truth by culpable ignorance or willful error. It is kind, and brotherly, and right, to regard all as equally influenced by the love of the truth, and as equally desirous for the honor of God's name and the good of His people. and to believe that those who do not see as we do upon all points would abhor as much as we do to handle the word of God deceitfully.

Your brother, affectionately,



We publish the above letter from the pen of Brother Durand, as we have ever been in favor of a fair presentation of every subject and each advocate of an idea can present his own ideas better than his opponent. But we cannot see what but what Elder Hassell has made the fairest presentation of this subject that we have ever read, as well as the fullest from a historical standpoint.

Elder Durand says, and rightly, too, that it is the privilege and duty of brethren to say so if they do not regard the term, ``absolute predestination of all things.'' to express the scriptural doctrine of predestination. They certainly are at liberty to do so, since it is not a scriptural term. But if it conveyed properly a scriptural truth, though it was not found in the Bible, it might be admitted, but the facts show that it has caused many to stumble on this subject. Many of the little ones of the flock have not been able to see why if the same terms of predestination apply to the works of God in His children, and sin, how it is that God does not hold people to a course of sin because He predestinated all things, good and bad. True, the originators of the term did not mean to say that God worked in the wicked to cause them to transgress His law, but the language was so poorly chosen that it has been so understood.

We have taken the trouble to show through the columns of the ``Messenger of Peace'' that neither Elder Beebe, nor Elder Chick, the present editor of the ``Signs,'' believed that God was the ``efficient cause of sin,'' or in simplest language, made men do wrong. We did this to show the many Baptists that they were in error who used language which clearly indicated that they believed that men-evil men were held to a certain wicked course, and they called this idea the ``absolute predestination of all things,'' and justified themselves by claiming that they were holding the same doctrine advocated by the ``Signs of Times.'' the oldest Baptist paper in America.

We have heard some ministers preach what they called the doctrine of predestination, and the ideas presented were in such language that ninety-nine out of every hundred who heard them understood them to advocate that the will, pleasure, decree and power of God were as much shown in the deeds of the wicked as the obedience of the saints, and these ministers claimed they were in line with Beebe, and Durand and others. We think Brother Durand would have had a shudder had he heard them.

We have often read in the communications of brethren the idea, and have letters in the office at this time in which the writer evidently understands, that sound Baptists must express their ideas of predestination in the words, ``absolute predestination of all things.'' and must never, under any circumstances, speak of God as permitting men to do anything lest they deny the doctrine of God's sovereignty, and one brother stops his paper because Elder Hassell's article is endorsed, which says the term ``absolute predestination of all things'' is an invention of the present century.

With all due deference, we think, to the brethren who want to use this term to express their ideas, we suggest that if they do not really believe that God works in the wicked to fulfill His purpose concerning them, the same as He works in His people to keep His commandments, they will have to quit this term, or be understood, or spend much time, which might be better employed, explaining what they mean. Our purpose in using language is to convey our ideas, and it would seem that a trial of more than sixty years ought to be enough for a humanly devised term: and if in that time one could not convey his idea correctly to the great majority of Baptists, he ought to be willing to drop back on Bible language or try some other phrase.

The doctrine of predestination distinguishes the Primitive Baptists from all the world, and we can never entertain the idea for a moment of abandoning the glorious truth that our God reigns sovereignly over all, and that all the elect family shall be conformed to the image of Christ, without the loss of a single one, and that the rage of men and devils will be overruled to the praise and glory of God.



My article on ``Scriptural Predestination'' in ``The Gospel Messenger'' of February 1898, was simply intended to harmonize all Primitive Baptists on the subject of predestination by showing them the complete and exact teaching of the Scriptures on this much controverted question.

Among all the believers in the ``absolute predestination of all things'' now living in the United States, I do not know of one who is better informed, more intelligent, or more spiritual than Elder Silas H. Durand. I am rejoiced to see that in his letter to Elder Walter Cash, the editor of the ``Messenger of Peace'' manifests a fair, reasonable, kind, and brotherly spirit. If such a Christian spirit were felt, exhibited, and maintained by all our brethren, this vexatious and unprofitable' contention would soon be seen to be a mere strife of words among Primitive Baptists, and would cease. While Brother Durand understands the Scriptures to teach the absolute predestination of all things, and that permissive is the same as absolute predestination, he admits that there is a great difference between God's relation to salvation and His relation to sin; that God eternally hates sin, and does not work in the wicked to fulfill His purposes concerning them the same as He does in His people ``to will and to do of His good pleasure;`` that He does not instigate and compel the wicked to sin. (I am glad to say that I do not know of any of our absolute predestinarian brethren who maintain that God instigates and compels the wicked to sin.) And Brother Durand well says that the subject of Predestination is an unsearchable mystery; and that, in the present imperfect state a difference of views on it should not be made a test of fellowship among those who believe in the essential truth of salvation by grace; and that it is kind and brotherly and right to believe that those brethren who differ from us on some points are as sincerely devoted to the truth and to the honor of God and the good of His people as ourselves. Most heartily do I endorse these wise, humble, lovely, and gracious sentiments. If such sentiments were universally prevalent among our people. peace would abound within the walls, and prosperity within the palaces of Jerusalem. {Ps 122}

While I would be glad with Brother Cash that our absolute brethren would discontinue the use of some of their phrases that seem to nine extreme and unscriptural, still we should accept their explanation of what they mean by these phrases, and we shall then find that the best informed, most intelligent, and spiritual brethren on both sides of the predestination question are not really very far apart, and the more they search the Scriptures and look to the Lord for light, the more and more closely will they come together, and will finally ``all speak the same thing, and be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment''. {1Co 1:10}

The Scriptures plainly declare, as I have shown in my article on ``Scriptural Predestination,'' that God suffers sin, which He hates, forbids, and punishes, and from which He provides salvation for His people by His Son and Spirit; and they just as plainly declare that He righteously and almightily overrules sin for the manifestation of His glory. God is essentially, infinitely, and eternally holy, and He will certainly bring every sin of every one of His creatures into judgment, and He will punish unatoned and unrepented sin with everlasting banishment from His holy presence. In the Scriptures God us sometimes said to do what He suffers to be done, simply because He could prevent it if He chose to do so, and because He has a wise and righteous purpose in suffering it. He allows the wicked to chastise His sinning people and then He righteously punishes the wicked for their wickedness. He makes the wrath of men praise Him, and He restrains the remainder of wrath that would not praise Him (Ps 76:10. His providential goodness to Israel in multiplying them caused the Egyptians to be jealous and fearful of them, and to seek their destruction by increasing their burdens and trying to murder their male children; and this cruel policy of the Egyptians made the Israelites willing to leave Egypt, to which they had become very much attached, and start on their long journey through the wilderness for Canaan, which God had promised their fathers, and which He designed for them to occupy (Ps 105:23-41; Ex 2 God did not put sin in the hearts of the Egyptians; He simply, turned or bent their already sinful hearts in that direction which would accomplish His holy purpose. he will finally put in the hearts of the ten kings subordinate to the First Apocalyptic Beast (the Satanized World-Power to fulfill His will in giving their kingdoms to the Beast to execute God's righteous judgments upon Mystery Babylon the Great, the Apostate Romish Church, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth, drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. {Re 17} The hearts of kings, as well as of others, are in the hands of the Lord, to turn, as the rivers of water, whithersoever He will. {Pr 21:1} God is so much wiser and stronger than Satan and wicked men that He can allow them within predetermined bounds to carry out their sinful purposes, and yet at the same time so turn and control them as to make them fulfill His own holy purposes. Surely such a God is infinitely worthy of all our confidence, love, and adoration. There is the clearest distinction in the Scriptures between God's Secret Decretive Will, which is His purpose to do or permit to be done what He has from all eternity determined to do or permit and what will certainly come to pass, and His Revealed Perceptive Will, which is His moral law, His commandments, which are the rule of duty for all His rational creatures. {De 29:29} It is His business to attend to the certain fulfillment of His eternal, infinite, and inscrutable decrees; and it is our business always to obey, inwardly and outwardly, His holy commands. He cannot do wrong; and it is right for Him, in His unsearchable wisdom, to permit or suffer what it is wrong for us to do, and what He forbids us to do, and will righteously chastise or punish us for doing. He alone can and will mercifully, wisely, and almightily bring good out of evil, salvation out of ruin; and saved sinners and holy angels will justly and joyfully ascribe all the glory of salvation to His Ever-blessed and Adorable Name.

If, as applied to the predestination of sin, permissive means absolute, of course absolute means permissive; and the whole contention among Primitive Baptists on the subject of predestination evaporates into thin air. It is evident that by the term absolute in this connection, our absolute brethren mean, not compulsive, but certain, just as all events will certainly occur according to the Divine foreknowledge; and that., while sin is utterly abominable to God, and proceeds from the creature, yet the Creator voluntarily permits or suffers it when He could prevent it), and determines its direction, and restricts and overrules it in that way which will most redound to the good of His people and the glory of His name, so that to the creature alone belong all the shame and the blame of sin, and to the Creator alone belongs all the glory arising from the permission. direction, restriction, and overruling of sin. Upon these fundamental scriptural principles, I believe that all intelligent and spiritual Primitive Baptists will heartily agree. S. H.


The Gospel Messenger--January 1899

Bible Baptists are those who consider the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the only infallible and authoritative standard of faith and practice, and who honestly and earnestly endeavor to conform all their faith and practice to the teachings of the Scriptures, and not to conform the Scriptures to their faith and practice. Ii'or this purpose they implore the Lord for the guidance of His Holy Spirit, and they reverently,. prayerfully, and carefully search the Scriptures daily, or as often as they can, 'to learn their perfect and holy teachings, and to subordinate their own as well as every other human being's opinions to the pure and eternal truth of God. In their view, the infinite wisdom of the Written Word of God far outshines the most brilliant speculations of human philosophy and the most splendid inventions of human genius. To their minds, that Word is effulgent with the glory of the Great Creator, Upholder, and Governor of the Universe, and its truth will stand unchanged and unchangeable when heaven and earth shall have passed away. And the wisest creature is he who is most thoroughly imbued with the teachings and the Spirit of that Holy Word. The wisest man that ever trod this globe was the man Christ Jesus, and His mind and character were wholly pervaded by the matter and manner of that Word. He was, indeed, the incarnation, the fleshly embodiment, of the Word of God. With the Lord Jesus the word of man was nothing, and the word of God was everything. In every thought and word and deed He not only professed but lived that Word. He was the great and perfect Exemplar of all Bible Baptists.

Primitive or Old School Baptists profess to be Bible Baptists; and the most of them, in most of their faith and practice, seem to me to be more truly so than any other religionists on earth; but they are far from having attained to the standard of the man Christ Jesus, whom they call their Lord and Master. They do not reverence or love or search or live or teach the Scriptures as He did; they often prefer the opinions of fallible men to the infallible wisdom of the Scriptures; they sometimes presume to add to or to take from the Inspired Record; and too often is it the case that, while professing, they do not live, the Word of God. The wisest and best primitive Baptists will freely and honestly confess the truth of this remark in their own cases, and their shortcoming is the source of their deepest sorrow. They1ought to look less to self and to men, and more to God, and reverence the Word of God more, love it more; search it more, live it more, and teach it more, and thus be more like their Head, the Lord Jesus; and thus will they more glorify God and benefit His people.

The leading object of the editors of THE GOSPEL MESSENGER is to set forth, expound, and maintain the pure and perfect truths of the Holy Scriptures. I cannot imagine any higher motive for any periodical. In writing the CHURCH HISTORY, I did not try to make a popular or a salable book, nor to please any one, even myself, only so far as the truth would please. And so, in the management of THE GOSPEL MESSENGER, I desire to publish pure Bible truth, whether it pleases or offends those who read its pages. I would rather benefit them than please them; and I am sure that the truth is the only thing that will do them any real or lasting, good, and the only thing that will glorify God. I would be sorry--sorry for their sakes-if, as some of the fickle Galatians seemed to look upon Paul, they regard me as their enemy because I tell them the truth. He who tells me the truth is my real friend, and I ought to thank the God of truth for such a message. But ancient Israel, when given up to their own hearts' lusts, not only hated the message of the Lord sent to them by His, servants, but slew the poor messengers, even the Son of God Himself, who, just before His crucifixion, tenderly and mournfully exclaimed, ``0, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that 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! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.''. {Mt 23:37-38} Forty years afterwards ``truth-hating, mercy-spurning, prophet-killing Jerusalem'' was visited with the most awful sorrows ever inflicted upon any city on earth. {Mt 24} May spiritual Israel today be saved from such carnality and such calamities!

While THE GOSPEL MESSENGER circulates all over the United States and in Canada, the majority of its subscribers live in the Southern States; I think that I am acquainted with the sentiments of the most of our brethren in these States in regard to the leading matters of faith and practice, including Predestination, Feet-washing, Associations, Formal Correspondence, etc., and, by an undiscriminating advocacy of such sentiments, I might perhaps have largely increased the subscription list of THE GOSPEL MESSENGER, but I have preferred, on these as well as all other subjects, to keep closely to the teachings of the Scriptures, believing that such a course would be more glorifying to God and more beneficial to His people.

As I have said in the Church History:-``I lay no claim to inspiration or infallibility. I believe the Old and New Testament Scriptures to be absolutely the only inspired and infallible book in human literature. By this divine standard I desire all my own writings, as well as every other creatural work, to be finally tested-to be accepted if and when in accordance, and rejected if and when not in accordance, with the standard. He who claims infallibility for himself or for any other man since the Apostolic Age, ceases to that extent to be a Baptist, or a Protestant, or a follower of Christ, and renounces those precious principles of religious liberty in defense of which have flowed rivers of the best blood on earth. Old School, Primitive, or Bible Baptists should be the last people in the world to have a pope or popes among them. No book, no pamphlet, no periodical, no document of any kind must be taken as a substitute for the Bible; and no author, no editor, no preacher, no teacher, no writer, and no body of men must be substituted for Christ, who is the only Prophet, Priest, and King of His people'' (Church History, pages v3:viii.).

And, in a ``Final Notice'' on page 964 of the Church History, I have "said:-There is not a single intentional misstatement in this volume. I shall be thankful to any person who may discover errors, and who can prove them to he errors, to address me at Williamston, Martin County, North Carolina, and inform me of such discovery and proof, in order that misstatements may be eliminated from future editions.'' And I now say the same in regard to all my writings in THE GOSPEL MESSENGER. If I am wrong in any position, it is not intentional, for I want to he right, and, instead of becoming angry with a brother, sister, or friend for teaching we the way of God more perfectly from His holy Word, I hope to have grace to be truly thankful for the precious favor. I desire to know the scriptural truth on all subjects, and always to speak that truth in love, according to the motto of THE GOSPEL MESSENGER. May the Lord enable all of us, in both faith and practice, to be far more thorough-going BIBLE BAPTISTS hereafter than ever before.


The Gospel Messenger-January 1899

(Brother Hassell was no prophet as you will discover in the following articles. Also, we see that Elder Mitchell was against the meeting that would eventually become the Fulton Meeting. Was this one reason for Elder Hassell's non-attendance at Fulton? We can only speculate. DM)

Dear Brother Hassell: The writer has been frequently consulted by several of our able ministers as to the propriety of having a general Convention of our preachers at some convenient place in the United States, to take under advisement the settlement of different points in doctrine and practice about which we differ and he has concluded to make public his views upon the subject. If there ever was a time in the history of the Old Order of Baptists when such a meeting was necessary, it is now. It has occurred to the writer that some such plans the following would be the better course to pursue, viz:

1. Let the meeting be voluntary, after due notice.

2. When convened, let it be organized by the election of a Moderator and Clerk, and have all the final acts faithfully recorded and published.

3. After organization, take the Old London Confession of Faith as our guide, and where the differences of opinion are known to exist to us as to the true meaning of that Confession, more fully explain what we understand its real and true meaning to be.

4. In cases where other questions of doctrine and practice have arisen, not take under advisement by the London meeting, strive to come to an agreement upon them if possible.

5. Advise that the adoption of the acts of the meeting be voluntary on the part of the churches. There certainly would be no harm resulting of a meeting of this kind, but the results be of great benefit to the denomination.

With good wished and peace, union and harmony among the Old Baptists. I close for the present.

J. W. Richardson, Petersburg, IND


Most heartily do I approve of all meetings of the people of God for Divine worship and mutual edification, whether the members that meet belong to one church or to any number of churches, and whether the meetings be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly; and I see nothing essential or objectionable in the name by which such meetings are called, whether Associations, or Union or District or Section Meetings, provided such meetings do not assume to exercise authority over the churches of Christ or over other such meetings. This has always been my position in both the Church History and in THE GOSPEL MESSENGER. Everything that I have ever said or written apparently against General Meetings has been really against their unscriptural and injurious evils and abuses. And I have always earnestly exhorted all the people of God to forbear with one another in love in regard to their little differences on these and all other forms not plainly set forth in the Scriptures. I have endeavored to examine these matters in the light of the Divine Oracles, and I believe that such investigations can only result in the glory of God and the benefit of His people. The more closely we follow God in His Written Word, the better will it be for us and the more do we honor Him.

In regard to the proposition of Elder John M. Richardson of Petersburg, Ind. (published in this number of THE MESSENGER), that there should be a General Meeting of all our ministers and members who can attend, from the North, South, East and West, for the purpose of personal acquaintance, and a better understanding of each other, and the promotion of brotherly feelings and relations with one another, and the preparation and adoption of some statement of our, faith and practice as was done by the Ministers and Messengers of more than a hundred Baptist churches in London in 1689, such statement not to be imposed upon any church, but to be left to the voluntary adoption of each church that endorsed it,. I would be glad myself to witness and attend such a meeting. The wise Solomon says that ``in a multitude of counselors there is safety''. {Pr 11:14; 24:6} Christ says: ``Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God'' (Matt. v. 9k And Paul says: ``I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing and that there he no divisions among you but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment''. {1Co 1:10} And again he says: ``Let us follow after the things which make for peace and things wherewith one may edify another''. {Ro 14:19} Of course, on all matters of faith and practice, the Scriptures are the only authoritative standard for all Bible Baptists.

S. H.


The most innocent, delightful and edifying General Meetings that I know of are such Union Meetings as we have in Eastern North Carolina. These Union Meetings are composed of from half a dozen to two dozen churches, and generally meet on every Fifth Sunday, with one or two days preceding-thus occurring four or five times a year. They have no connection at all with Associations. They do not exercise the slightest authority over the churches or over other Unions or Associations. In the brief Conference held on Friday or Saturday, the pastor of the church with which the Union convenes is the Moderator; and he and the Clerk of the Union and two members of that church appointed by the Moderator form a committee to decide which of the ministers present shall preach. and on what day; and the conference decides where the next Union shall be held--the churches that desire the next session petitioning for it, and the conference generally giving it to the church that has the oldest petition. Sometimes a messenger or two is received from another Union and sometimes a member or two who volunteers to go is appointed a messenger to another Union, though this seems unnecessary. No other business is done. The Minutes of the meeting are not published. There are not such crowds as at Associations. The time is pleasantly and profitably occupied in conversation, singing, praying, and preaching. Sometimes we are favored with the presence of ministers from other Unions and other States. The services close with communion on Sunday. There are no controversies, jars, or discords but all is humility and love and peace and joy in the Lord. These Union Meetings are little heavens on earth. I would be glad to attend one every day of my life.


The Gospel Messenger-February 1899

DEAR BROTHER HASSELL: A proposition has appeared in two or three Primitive Baptist papers, and now appears on third and fourth pages of ``Messenger'' for January 1899, that there be a voluntary assembling of Primitive, preachers from all parts of the United States to discuss and settle points of difference among our people, and that when organized for business they take the ``London Confession of Faith as a guide,'' etc.

Now, if this Convention is to be organized by the voluntary assemblage of preachers and to be composed exclusively of only one class of church members, having neither church nor Bible authority to form such an organization for such a purpose, would it not be ignoring the authority of both the church and the Bible to give sanction to such a grand National Primitive Baptist Convention? W.M.M. (W.M. Mitchell)

REPLY-I do not suppose that such a meeting will be held in our day. If it is ever held, it should be altogether voluntary and unauthoritative, and more for the purpose of personal acquaintance and the promotion of brotherly feeling and relations and a better understanding with one another than anything else. As I have said on the sixteenth page of the January ``Messenger,'' ``of course, on all matters of faith, and practice, the Scriptures are the only authoritative standard for all Bible Baptists. The Scriptures that I quoted in my editorial on the 16th page of the January ``Messenger'' (Pr 11:14; 24:6; Mt 5:9; 1Co 1:10; and Ro 14:19) seem to me to justify an humble and loving meeting of even the largest number of the people of God, at any time and place, for the promotion of mutual understanding and brotherly peace and union among us; and any one of our churches might request such a meeting with itself at any specified time. Of course, all the private members as well as all the ministers who desired and were able to attend could do so; and those not desiring or not able to attend would be at perfect liberty to remain away. The labors of the Baptists in London in 1689, in producing the old London Confession of Faith, and those of the Old School Baptists at Black Rock, Maryland, in 1832, in producing the Old School Baptist Address, seem to have been blessed of the Lord, and to have been acceptable and beneficial to the most of our people. As the warring tribes of Israel went in peace to Hebron to make David their only king, {1Ch 12:38} so our dear departed brother J. R. Respess said to me that he thought it would be well for the Primitive Baptists to have a general meeting, at which, uncrowning all their little sectional and factional kings, they should crown the Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the great and only King in Zion.


The Gospel Messenger-March 1899

(Below is pretty convincing proof as to why Elder Hassell did not attend the Fulton Convention as both his corresponding editors of the Gospel Messenger were very opposed to it. Their opposition was so strong that it became the official position of the periodical. It is important to note that Elder Hassell did write a very favorable article on the results of the Convention after it convened. When I get to heaven (by the Lord's grace) I intend to query Brother Hassell about all this. Too many questions, too little information. DM)

Dear Brother Hassell,

The Proposition which I have seen published in two Primitive Baptist papers and now see in the Messenger for January 1899, to hold a National Convention to be composed of volunteer Primitive Baptist preachers to take into consideration the settling of differences on all points of gospel doctrine and order, and to take the ``London Confession of Faith as a guide'' has caused some fears that the evils sought to be removed will be augmented.

I do not question the motives of brethren who are agitating such a proposal, but with the lights before me now, I cannot look favorable upon such a movement. I cannot as yet believe that it would accomplish what its advocates seem to desire, from the very fact that whenever we resort to unscriptural expedients for settling points of difference among brethren on gospel doctrine and order, by any rule outside the church and outside that divine standard by which the man of God is furnished unto all good works, we cannot hope for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the deliberations, not in the final results. The letter of the Scriptures which God hath given by inspiration and the Hold Comforter and Spirit of truth in the heats of the true disciples of Jesus are in perfect harmony. They testify of Jesus.

If our churches could be brought to see and ask for the old paths and walk therein and each attend strictly and promptly to its own church business according to the authority of Scriptures, executing discipline and thereby letting even their ministry know that they must be subject to church authority as well as other members, there, in my opinion, be a better state of things than will ever result from any classes of volunteers who may volunteer their services to harmonize difference among brethren.

If the suggestion for a general convention of our preachers, and that their meeting be voluntary is construed to mean that this grand national convention shall be composed of nothing but preachers voluntarily assembled in their own individual capacity with neither Bible nor church authority...of what avail will the deliberations and decisions of such council be to the church of God in settling doctrinal or practical differences among its members? And is this is not what the suggestion of the 3rd and 4th pages of the Messenger of January '99 means, what does it mean?

I have nothing to say as to the London Confession of Faith. Let it stand on its merits for all it is worth as the production of a few hundred uninspired men; but it is not the Bible, nor is such convention as is proposed recognized in the Bible as a guide for settling doctrinal or practical differences among brethren.

We have amore sure word of prophesy to which we would do well to take heed as unto a light that shineth in a dark place. We have Moses and the prophets, the law and the gospel, Christ and His apostles; and if we hear not them, would we be persuaded though a thousand volunteer preacher conventions should warn us?

In support of calling the aid of uninspired counselors to settle church troubles, I have often heard brethren quote ``In the multitude of counselors there is safety.'' Pr 11:14.

It is true indeed that ``In the multitude of counselors there is safety,'' and their counsel is valuable or useless according to the capacity in which they assemble to give it. But in all matters of dispute or difference concerning gospel doctrine or order, this multitude of counselors form whose wise decisions safety results to the church of God, must be composed of such holy men of God as have been moved by the Holy Ghost.

Their instructions and decisions on all points of doctrine and order constitute a perfect standard of judgment for the church of God in all occasions, and for all time to come.

We should never ignore the wise counsels of our brethren as far as they go; let them be received for all they are worth. But let us not be drawn away from the infallible standard and guide which the Lord has so graciously given His church and people in the SCRIPTURES.


P. S.-If the above letter is published, I wish it distinctly understood that no one is responsible for its sentiments but myself.



As set forth in an editorial in this number, the proposition for a Primitive Baptist Convention is entirely withdrawn so far as the GOSPEL MESSENGER is concerned. The Old and New Testament Scriptures are the only standard of faith and practice for all Bible Baptists.



The Gospel Messenger-March 1899

In deference to the views of wise and worthy brethren, Elder J. W. Richardson of Petersburg, Ind, withdraws his proposition for a General Convention of Primitive Baptist Ministers for the Settlement of Differences among out People in Doctrine and Practice. To his proposition, I added the suggestion that all our members also, who could attend such a meeting, from the North, South, East and West should do so. One of my chief reasons for endorsing the proposition with this addition was, as I stated, the promotion of personal acquaintance and a better understanding of each other and of brotherly feelings and relation with one another. The conclusions of the meeting were not to be imposed upon any church, but to be left of the voluntary adoption of each church that endorsed it. If it had been proposed that the action for the meeting should be authoritative and binding upon our churches, such a feature would have been plainly unscriptural, and I would have utterly opposed it. The position of THE GOSPEL MESSENGER is, as it has always been, that the Old and New Testament Scriptures are the only authoritative standard of faith and practice.

It is proper to state that bother Elders W. M. Mitchell and J. E. W. Henderson are altogether unfavorable to the position of either the Elder Kirklands or Elder J. W. Richardson for a Primitive Baptist Convention.


The Gospel Messenger--April 1899

Au esteemed brother in Baltimore, Md., in a long letter to Elder Mitchell criticizes the latter's editorial, ``No Advisory Council,'' in ``The Gospel Messenger'' of December, 1898, (1) misunderstanding Elder Mitchell to imply that each church has all the spiritual gifts and therefore needs no help from the members of other churches; and also (2) maintaining that local churches are but branches of the church, while an Association is the church; and (3) that pastors and elders now are inspired just as the Apostles were. These are the only three points that I see in his long letter. In the part of Elder Mitchell's reply published below, the first of the above points is shown to be an entire misunderstanding. In regard to the second point, I see no scriptural authority for calling a local church a branch of the church subordinate to some higher earthly authority; nor have I ever seen, in the Scriptures, any mention of an Association; the church is spoken of one hundred and ten times in the New Testament, but an Association is not spoken of one time. In reference to the third point, there are many passages in the Gospels and in the Acts proving that even the Apostles were not always infallibly inspired, but were so inspired in their writings in the Scriptures; {2Ti 3:16-17} and, although Christ dwells in His people and has promised to be with them to the end of the world, He suffers all of them, including pastors and elders, to go at times into error and sin, and the perfect Word of God, the O]d and New Testament Scriptures, are the only infallible standard by which to try all doctrine and all practice. The Scriptures are perfectly harmonious; but the views of parts of the Scriptures held by some of our pastors and elders are utterly contradictory of the views held by others, and, therefore, we well know that they are not all divinely inspired. Primitive Baptist editors no more claim to be inspired and infallible than others of our ministers; but no godly, honest, and conscientious editor publishes a periodical to advocate views and practices which seem to him inconsistent with the Scriptures, and no human being is under the slightest obligation to take a periodical conflicting with the Scriptures.

The Baltimore brother says that Associations ought not to be Courts of Appeal, nor to exercise supervision or authority over the churches, but that they should be loving meetings of the saints for mutual instruction, exhortation, comfort, and strength. If to these characteristics it be added that Associations should not exercise authority over other Associations-that is, if the recent invention of formal correspondence between Associations, with its great and distressing evils of nonfellowship and division, were done away with, ``The Gospel Messenger'' would not object to Associations- they thus becoming simple yearly meetings of the saints for Divine worship and mutual edification. I have received for publication long and extreme articles both for and against Associations, and I have published none of them, preferring, in this as well as other matters, to pursue a moderate, scriptural course.



Those who know the evils and abuses of Associations, in some sections, in assuming disciplinary rights and authority over churches, have sought to correct those abuses, but never once have they sought to abolish or interfere in any way with the God-given and scriptural rights of any church to assemble for the worship of God, or to attend to any business pertaining to the order of the house of God, such as receiving members, administering the ordinances of Baptism and Communion- preaching, praying, singing the praises of God, ordaining preachers, settling difficulties among members, or, if need be, withdrawing church fellowship from disorderly members. These are all church duties and church acts, with which Associations, as distinct bodies, should never interfere. But members of sister churches, when assembled with any church and invited to seats and requested to aid and assist the church in any matter that may come before it, are certainly scripturally right to do so, and are useful to the whole body of believers.

This is precisely what was done in the church at Jerusalem, of which we have such an instructive example in the 15th chapter of Acts. And you seem to fully agree with me in this when you ask the important question, ``Shall we not confer today as they did at Jerusalem?'' Yes, my brother, confer together as they did at Jerusalem. That is precisely what I insisted upon in that whole article in the December ``Messenger, to which you have presented your objections and criticisms. That is what I still hold and contend for, because I fully believe the manner in which the church at Jerusalem proceeded in settling a church trouble, is a scriptural model for all churches under similar circumstances, down to this present hour.

If you agree that it is right for an orderly church now to invite visiting brethren to sit with the church in conference and to aid and assist the church in the investigation of any matter, as the church did at Jerusalem, then I heartily agree with you on that point. Yours in love, W. M. MITCHELL.


The Gospel Messenger--May 1899

Policy is management based on one's own temporal or material interests; principle is devotion to right as right. The great majority of human beings are generally influenced by policy, while a small minority is prevailingly influenced by principle.

In the briefest and clearest manner that I can, I will present the utter contrasts, the leading historical examples, and the certain results of these two motives of action.

1. Policy is unbelief; the man of policy does not really believe in God or the Scriptures or the spiritual and the unseen; he ignores the underlying, fundamental truths of all human experience and observation, the facts of his own conscience and his dependence upon and accountability to his Creator. Principle is faith; the man of principle really believes in God and the Scriptures and the spiritual and the unseen; he deeply realizes and recognizes his relationship to his Divine Creator, Preserver, Benefactor and Redeemer.

2. Policy is selfishness; the man of policy idolizes self, and is willing to sacrifice the interests of all other beings to his own. Principle is unselfishness; the man of principle loves God and His fellow man and delights in denying and even sacrificing himself, if necessary, for the glory of God and the good of others.

3. Policy is hypocrisy; the man of policy, while seeming to be the friend, is really the enemy of righteousness, and tries to deceive others for his own advantage. Principle is sincerity; the man of principle incomparably prefers right to wrong, and does right even when it seems to be to his disadvantage.

4. Policy is opacity (obscurity); others cannot easily see through the man of policy-his motives are not understood by his fellow men. Principle is transparency; the man of principle, like pure air or water or glass, can be clearly seen through and through-he is known to do right because he loves right.

5. Policy is cowardice; the man of policy is more afraid of men than he is of God. Principle is courage; the man of principle truly fears God, and therefore does not fear men.

6. Policy is servility; the man of policy is the slave of his fellow men. Principle is independence; the man of principle is the servant of God, and therefore not the slave of any man or men.

7. Policy is instability; the man of policy, like a chameleon, changes, or seems to change, with every change of circumstances-he is one thing to one man or at one time, and quite another thing to another man or at another time; like a flea, you never know where to find him. Principle is steadfastness; the man of principle, like a rock, is the same under all circumstances and in every presence.

8. Policy is shortsightedness; the man of policy does not look beyond the present momentary life, and lives as though physical death would be the end of his existence. Principle is farsightedness; the man of principle, looking beyond the shadows and vanities of time, keeps his eyes upon the tremendous realities of eternity.

9. Policy is folly; the man of policy is a child of darkness, who stultifies, degrades, and destroys himself. Principle is wisdom; the man of principle is a child of light, who is made wise, elevated, and saved by Divine grace.

10. Policy is devilishness; the man of policy is under the influence of the Devil, and imitates him. Principle is divineness; the man of principle is under the influence of God, and imitates Him.

The leading human historical examples of carnal policy are Cain, Lamech (the first polygamist and a murderer), the Cainites, Ishmael, Laban, Pharaoh, Balak, Balaam, King Saul, Absalom, Ahab, the False Prophets, Daniel's enemies, Magicians, Soothsayers, Astrologers, Haman, Judas, the Pharisees, Sadducees, Lawyers, and Scribes, Judaizing Teachers, Ananias and Sapphira, the Popes, the Jesuits, Romanizers, and Heretics, who ``speak perverse things to draw away disciples after them,'' ``by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple, overthrow the faith of some, and cause divisions and offenses contrary to sound doctrine, deceiving and being deceived.'' (Ac 20:30; Ro 16:17-18; 1Ti 4:1-3; 2Ti 2:16-18; 3:13;). And the leading human historical examples of spiritual principle are Enoch, Noah, Job, Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Elijah, Micaiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, the three Hebrew Children, Mordecai, John the Baptist, Paul and the other True Apostles, the Christian Martyrs, Luther, Gospel Ministers, Bible Baptists, and all True Believers in Christ who prove their faith by their works, who love, and, because they love, serve God and man. None of them have ever claimed perfection in the flesh; and, while prevailingly influenced by principle, they would all of them honestly admit that they have been sometimes influenced by policy, which, however, they condemn and detest more in themselves than in any one else. The most consummate example of policy, set forth in the Scriptures, is Satan, the prince of darkness, who transforms himself into an angel of light in order to deceive and destroy mankind and dishonor God. And the only perfect example of principle, set forth in the Scriptures, is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became the poorest and most sorrowful of men, and submitted to the most painful and shameful of deaths, in order to save His people and glorify God.

A thorough and universal prevalence of policy, among human beings, would transform this world into a pandemonium; while a thorough and universal prevalence of principle would transform it into a paradise. Every human being who is to the end of his earthly life, the slave of satanic policy, will at last be consigned by God to everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels; but every human being who is actuated by Divine principle will, when he leaves this world, be welcomed by God into the fullness of eternal life, and dwell forever in the holy and blissful presence of the Lord and the holy angels and all the redeemed of earth. {Mt 25; Re 20:15,15}

May the Lord, in His great mercy and power, deliver all of us from being influenced by sinful policy, and enable us always to be actuated by righteous principle!


The Gospel Messenger---July 1899

Jeremiah complained that the Israelites in his day were ``not valiant for the truth upon the earth'' (Jer 9:3); that they were deceitful and treacherous an idolatrous and sinful and would certainly be visited with the righteous judgments of God; and he cries out-``Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging-place of wayfaring men, that I might leave my people and go from them!'' He was one of the very few men in his time valiant for the truth upon the earth, and, in testifying to the truth, he was willing to sacrifice reputation, liberty, and life itself, if necessary. Isaiah complained that none of his countrymen ``pleaded for truth,'' and that ``truth was fallen in the street, and equity could not enter.'' And the Apostle Paul in his last Epistle {2Ti 4:3-4} predicted that the time would come when people would ``not endure sound doctrine, but would after their own lusts heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and would turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned unto fables.'' Perhaps at no period of the present century has this prophecy been more clearly fulfilled than now; plain scriptural truth is disregarded, and error and sin are rampant not only in heathendom but almost throughout the entire so-called Christian world.

God is the God of truth; His Son is Truth itself; and His Spirit is the Spirit of truth; and His Scriptures are the Scriptures of truth. Nothing can be done against the truth, for it is divine, invincible, unchangeable, and eternal, and nothing else can free us from the bondage of error, ignorance, prejudice, superstition, and sin. Solomon advises us to ``buy the truth and sell it not''. {Pr 23:23} It is a pearl above all price, for the possession of which we are to part, if necessary with everything else-time, money, reputation, ease, friendship, peace, liberty, health, and mortal life itself, and from which we are never to part for anything else in the world. The prophets, Apostles, John the Baptist, Christ, and tens of millions of martyrs laid down their lives for the truth, and thus glorified God and benefited man; and everyone of the genuine people of God today ought to be willing to imitate, if called upon, their inspired and inspiring example. For this high and heavenly purpose, they should first seek earnestly and diligently to know the truth, by crying to the God of truth, in the name of His Son, who is Truth, for the Spirit of truth to enable them to understand the Scriptures of truth; and they should prefer rather to die than to give up any of the pure and simple and perfect teachings of these Divine Oracles; and for these eternal truths they should uncompromisingly, humbly, and lovingly contend to the last moment of their conscious earthly lives, thus being valiant for the truth to the end, dying in the faith of God's elect, and ascending from this world of darkness and sin to the heavenly world of perfect light and holiness to dwell with the God of truth and the glorified lovers of truth during the never-ending ages of eternity. Thus living and dying, their lives on earth will not have been in vain.


The Gospel Messenger--Aug 1899

For seven years I have painfully noticed and tried plainly, earnestly, and kindly to warn our people of the extreme danger of a growing tendency among some of our ablest ministers to spiritualize or explain away, as mere incidents of the present experience of Christians in this momentary life, the solemn and eternal realities announced in the awful sublime prophesies of the Old and New Testament Scripture--prophesies of the second personal coming of Christ to this world, His resurrection of the bodies of all the dead, His judgment both of the righteous and the wicked, His consignment of the wicked to everlasting punishment, and His welcoming of the righteous into everlasting happiness. To every simple, unsophisticated child of God these momentous events of the future are just as plainly and certainly set forth in the scriptures as are any events of the past; and the Bible that is robbed of these stupendous and eternal truths is an entirely new and different Bible from the Bible written by the prophets and apostles--so new and different a Bible that the church of God never has received it and never will, it does not matter, in the slightest degree, what human beings or what beings from the other worlds advocate its reception. The divinely inspired and unchanging faith of God's elect has for more than eighteen hundred years embraced every one of these great revealed truths and therefore will embrace every one of them forever. And I would rather that a millstone were hanged around my neck and that I were cast into the depths of the sea than that I should ever be guilty of the terrible sin of endeavoring to unsettle the faith of the weakest one of God's saints in any of these declarations of His Written Word.

In the early centuries of the Christian Era, in the Middle ages, and in modern times, Satan transformed into an angel of light, has, in the attractive but deceptive garb, of professed spirituality, been laboring to explain away, into mere present experience, all of these great prophesies of the Scripture. So did the paganizing Gnostics (Know-Alls) and Manichaeous of the early centuries, the Roman Catholic Schoolmen of the Middle Ages, and the Swedenborgians, Universalists, Unitarians, and German Rationalists of modern times.

The very same method of explaining away the prophecies has been and may be applied to explaining away all the facts, all the doctrine, and all the precepts of the Scripture, and thus turns the whole Bible into one gigantic fable. Every informed man knows that hundreds of the Scripture prophecies have already been and are now being literally and minutely fulfilled, and therefore expects that the remainder of them will be literally and minutely fulfilled. The Bible is not an improved edition of Aesop's Fables--a string of falsehoods intended to illustrate truths; but it is both literally and spiritually true. That method of interpreting the Scriptures which denies their literal truth and allegorizes away that truth into present experience, thus emptying them of their eternal meaning, has, for eighteen centuries been dragging down those who accept such interpretation into the maelstrom of utter unbelief, and will no doubt continue to do so unless sovereign and almighty grace interposes to save them.

The extreme predestinarian but able writer, Martin Luther, says: "Mystical and allegorical interpretations are trifling and foolish fables, with which the Scriptures are rent into so many and diverse senses that poor silly consciences can receive no certain doctrine of any thing. When I was a monk, I allegorized everything; but now I have given up allegorizing, and my first and best act is to explain the Scriptures according to the simple sense; for it is in the literal sense that power, doctrine, and art reside." The rigid predestinarian but clear and powerful thinker, John Calvin, says; "the true meaning of Scripture is the natural and obvious meaning, by which we ought resolutely to abide; the licentious system of the allegorists is undoubtedly a contrivance of Satan to undermine the authority of Scripture, and to take away from the reading of it the true advantage." The Particular Baptist preacher, C. H. Spurgeon, of London, perhaps the most gifted man of the Nineteenth Century, says: "Illegitimate spiritualizations is a sin against common sense, a childish trifling and outrageous twisting of texts which make such an interpreter a wise man among fools, but a fool among wise men, and is the most ready method of revealing egregious folly. The Bible is not a compilation of clever allegories or instructive poetical traditions; it teaches literal facts and reveals tremendous realities. It will be an ill day for the church if the pulpit should ever appear to indorse the skeptical hypothesis that Holy Scripture is but the record of a refined mythology in which globules of truth are dissolved in seas of poetical and imaginary detail. Legitimate spiritualizing, affirming the literal truth of the Scriptures, and making a present spiritual application of such truths (as the apostle Paul does in Ga 4:22-31) is not only allowable, but is impressive and refreshing; but illegitimate or improper spiritualizing, denying the literal truth of the Scriptures, turning them into fables, and pretending to give their only real meaning as present and experimental, is utterly false and ruinous, and is but a disguised form of infidelity. The Scriptures thus interpreted are no more like the Scriptures of the prophets and apostles than a picture of a landscape is like the landscape itself; there is only an apparent but no real resemblance between the two."

Eschatology is the doctrine of the last things that are to occur in the history of the human race. The five great points of eschatology are the second personal bodily coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to this world, His resurrection of the bodies of all the dead, His judgment both of the righteous and the wicked, His consignment of the wicked to everlasting punishment, and of His welcoming of the righteous into everlasting happiness. These five points, as revealed in the Scriptures, are perfectly inseparable, so that a denial of one point is a virtual denial of the others. All these five points are not only plainly and repeatedly declared in the Scriptures, but they have been set forth in the Articles of Faith of the Predestinarian Baptists for hundreds of years. But I am very sorry to have to say that these Bible and Baptist Articles of Faith have been abandoned or discarded by some of the churches to which some of our excessively spiritualizing ministering brethren belong; and the Scriptures that, to every simple mind, so plainly teach the five great points of eschatology, are, by these ministering brethren, applied and either tacitly or explicitly restricted to present Christian experience. The plainest and strongest texts predicting the future second personal bodily coming of Christ to this world are applied and apparently restricted to His present spiritual coming to His people; the plainest and strongest texts predicting the future resurrection of the bodies of all the dead are applied and apparently restricted to the present spiritual resurrection of the souls of the people of God from their death in trespass and sins, or to the imagined passage, at death, of a spiritual body with the spirit into the eternal world; the plainest and strongest texts predicting the future eternal judgment of both the righteous and the wicked are applied and apparently restricted to Christ's present spiritual judgment of His people; the plainest and strongest texts predicting the future consignment of the wicked to everlasting punishment are applied and apparently restricted to God's present fatherly chastisement of His people for their sins; and the plainest and strongest texts predicting the future welcoming of the righteous into everlasting happiness are applied and apparently restricted to the present spiritual happiness of His believing and obedient people--so that, by this method of explaining the Scriptures, the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of all the dead, the judgment, hell, and heaven are all right now and here in this present momentary earthly life, and, so far as we are to understand by the interpretation of the Scriptures by some of these ministering brethren, these five great events are confined to this life and to the people of God, and the human race (especially the wicked) will be as non-existent after time as they were before time, which is exactly what all infidels and atheists believe, but which I can not think is the faith of any of our Primitive Baptist ministers. Other brethren as well as myself may misunderstand what these ministering brethren believe in regard to the five great points of eschatology; and, as we are bound up into nominal fellowship with them by the modern invention of formal Associational correspondence, and as they have discarded their Articles of Faith and seem to restrict all the prophecies of Scripture to the present earthly life, we think that we ought to know what they really believe on these great fundamental subjects, and what is the reason for their belief--that is, if they believe in these great future and eternal events, what are the passages of Scripture upon which they base such a belief. With us, and we hope with them, the dreams of human imagination are but as worthless chaff in comparison with the precious and enduring Word of the living God. {Jer 23:28-40; Isa 40:6-8; 2Ti 3:14-17; 1Pe 1:24-25} False interpretations of that Word--turning it into fables--are as dishonoring to God as they are distressing to His believing people.


The Gospel Messenger---September 1899

Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein'' Lu 18:17; Mr 10:15; Mt 18:3; 1Co 13; 14:20). This is the solemn declaration of the King to His disciples in regard to the fundamental, the indispensable, qualification of every subject of His kingdom. Not only can they not have the highest place in His kingdom, but they can not even enter into His kingdom at all, can not even have the lowest place in it. unless they are converted from earthly-mindedness to heavenly-mindedness, from unbelief to faith, from pride to humility, from selfishness to unselfishness, from conceit to teachableness, from distrust to trustfulness, from duplicity to simplicity, from envy, jealousy, and malice to love, forbearance, and forgiveness. These first sinful principles must be in subjection to these last holy principles in our hearts; otherwise we do not realize any personal interest in the spiritual kingdom of God, nor are we proper subjects of His militant kingdom on earth, nor shall we ever enter into His eternal kingdom in heaven. Our Lord does not set as a model before us the monarch, the soldier, the philosopher, the statesman, the scientist, or the millionaire; but, calling to Him a little child, He takes him lovingly in His arms, and places him before us as a pattern of what all the true disciples of Christ ought to be and must be. Like that little child, we must be willing, when called, to leave at once our earthly pursuits and pleasures and go to our Divine Saviour, we must unquestioningly believe every truth that He teaches us in His Word and by His providence and h His Spirit; we must feel our nothingness; we must be self-forgetting and self-denying; we must realize our ignorance; we must trust our Heavenly Father for guidance, protection, and support; we must he what we profess to be; and, instead of hating and trying to injure and destroy our fellow-men, especially our brethren and sisters, we must love them really and fervently, and forbear with them and forgive them even if they treat us wrong.

Especially must we reverently humble ourselves before God, {Mt 18:4} and fully believe, whether we understand it or not, every statement, historical, spiritual, or prophetic, in His infallible Word- His infinity, eternity, perfections, and unchangeability; His existence as Father, Son, and Spirit; His creation of the universe out of nothing; us making man in His own image, man's willful disobedience of his Creator's commandment, and his consequent involving himself and all his posterity in death and condemnation; the incarnation, sufferings, death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession of the Son of God; the descent of His Spirit to apply the benefits of His atonement to His people; the election, redemption, regeneration. and final preservation of all the people of God; the graciousness, holiness, completeness, and everlastingness of their salvation; the second, personal, bodily coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to this world, to raise all the dead, and judge them, and send the wicked to hell, and gather the righteous to heaven. By all these clear and certain, though marvelous and mysterious, truths of God's holy Word all His children must resolutely and uncompromisingly abide, and not be moved one hairs breadth therefrom by all the false science and all the false philosophy of the world.


In 2 Corinthians, and eleventh chapter the apostle expressed a fear lest the minds of the brethren at Corinth ``should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.''

Simplicity in Christ is godly sincerity, unmixed with anything like deception, dissimulation, or dishonesty. It is plainness of manner and speech with no display of fleshly wisdom. It seeks not to confuse the minds of men by complicated questions, but like the apostle, it ``utters by the tongue words easy to be understood, that the church of God may be edified thereby.

It was a source of rejoicing among the primitive ministers in the days of the apostles that ``In simplicity, and godly sincerity, and not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, they had