Aug 30, 2011

To discern the hand of a gracious, wise, and love ordering LORD - Robert Hawker

The verse is Psalm 105:25. He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtly with his servants. Oh! how often hath this sweet Scripture taught my soul to look through the cobweb malice of men; and to discern the hand of a gracious, wise, and love ordering LORD, Ezekiel 1:26-28.

ACTS 2:37-38 - Gilbert Beebe

Brother G. Beebe - Dear Sir: Your paper has been a welcome visitor for a number of years in my house. My papa and mamma think there is nothing in all this wide world beside it that is equal to it. I belong to, or live in the same church with them, but I cannot see things just like they do, and I would like to have your notions on Acts ii. 37, 38. You may guess that I am somewhat tinctured with what is commonly called Campbellism. Now I wish you to do your best with this text, for if you are right, you know that I am most woefully wrong; and I assure you there is nothing that you could do that would please my old pa and ma so much as for you to give me what they would term a good whipping on this subject. You can do as you like with this. Yours, as ever,

A. G. C.
Franklin, Ky., Sept. 19, 1858.

Reply: The propriety or impropriety of our querist holding the Campbellite doctrine and retaining a membership in a Regular Baptist church, we leave with that church to consider and decide; but it is a little remarkable for one claiming such membership to publish to the world that he is not what he professes to be; still such discrepance between profession and reality may be harmonious with Campbellism. There being no Campbellites in this section of the country, that we are aware of, we do not profess to be very well posted in regard to what they hold. Nearly all we have heard of their peculiar views has come to us from those who profess to disagree with them. We shall, therefore, in offering our notions” on the text proposed, do so without regard to the manner in which the Campbellites, or any other ITES may interpret it. And as to whipping our correspondent, we will leave his or her (as the case may be) papa and mamma to use the rod, as our calling requires that we “be no striker.” The text itself is to us a precious one, and taken as it stands in connection with the wonderful display of divine power and grace, and the outpouring of the Spirit of God on the day of Pentecost is the more interesting.

“Now when they heard this.” The people addressed were from many, and perhaps all the nations and tribes at that time on the earth, many of whom being Jewish proselytes, had come up to Jerusalem, as their custom was to keep the Pentecost, and they testified that they heard the preaching of these illiterate Galilaeans in their own mother tongue in which they were born, and others mocking, (for there were mockers in the apostles’ days as well as at the present time,) said, “These men are full of new wine.” Not a very unusual charge to be hurled against the advocates of the truth at the present time. “But Peter standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice,” and repelled their slanderous charge, and preached unto the multitude, the gospel, as he was inspired to do by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, and after having proved by the most unanswerable testimony, that this was in fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures, and especially of the prophecy of Joel, and having charge upon the Jews the crucifixion of the Son of God, and that they had done it with wicked hands, he asserted also the resurrection of Christ, and that what they then witnessed was in evidence that Christ was risen and exalted at the right hand of God, and that he having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he had shed forth this which they saw and heard. Then addressing himself to the house of Israel, proclaimed the triumph of the Redeemer, saying, “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” These were the people addressed, and they who heard; and this was what they heard.

“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart.” Men may be wounded, and survive their wounds, but no man, ever pricked in his heart, could recover from the wound. On another occasion some were cut to the heart, and it only made them gnash with their teeth. But when God had poured out his Spirit, quickened their ears, and pricked them in their heart, they cried out, or said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Here was a change wrought in them; before they were thus pricked in their heart, they mocked and slandered the apostles, but now the Holy Spirit had operated effectually, not only ON but IN their heart, sin revived, and they died; that is to their legal hopes they stood convicted of murder, of sacrilege, and of having wickedly and maliciously crucified the Lord of glory. Every filthy rag of their selfrighteousness was effectually stripped off, and their lost and helpless condition was felt and confessed. But although quickened by a spirit that they were strangers to until that hour, they did not know how deliverance could reach their case unless it were by theirdoing something; and what that something was, or by what power they could perform it, they knew not, and hence the earnest inquiry, “What shall we do?”

Let our querist here observe that those guilt-stricken, heart-pricked sinners, were at this very moment of their anxious inquiry subjects of the quickening power of the Holy Ghost, and that their being quickened was the reason that they were thus affected by what they heard the apostles preach. It was not the preaching that had quickened them, and stopped their mocking, and impelled the heartbroken cry, “What shall we do?” but it was the outpouring of the Spirit and the power of the Holy Ghost that had circumcised their ears and hearts, and prepared the apostles to preach, and them to hear, and feel, and tremble at the word which was declared unto them. This had disarmed them of their rage and malice against the apostles and their doctrine, and brought them down at the feet of the apostles as humble inquirers after the way of life and salvation through the crucified, risen and exalted Redeemer. If the preaching could of itself have quickened them, it would have also quickened all who heard the sound of the apostles’ voices; but such was not the case. The exalted Jesus has himself declared, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words which I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.” As he only hath immortality, he only can speak life to the dead. The dead shall hear the voice of (not simply the apostles’ or preachers’ but of) the Son of God, and they that hear shall live. I give, says Jesus, unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish. He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. No man cometh unto the Father but by him. Now these quickened sinners require living bread, as new born babes they desire the sincere milk of the word that they may grow thereby, and Peter is already commissioned and qualified to feed these lambs. They bleat for living, spiritual food, for the spirit of life which has entered their heart has given them an appetite: “What shall we do?” Peter now deals out the children’s food, not to dogs, but to new born babes. “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you,” &c. Neither repentance nor baptism precedes life, but both follow as the genuine effects of life. If Peter had regarded repentance and baptism as conditions on which life was to be offered, he would not have confined his words to those whom the Lord our God had called, and whose hearts were pricked. But in this case he makes the exclusive application of his words to “every one of you,” and gives us the reason of this special and exclusive application, “For,” says he, “the promise is unto you, and unto your children, and unto all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” What promise? The promise of the outpouring of the Spirit, and its life-inspiring effects, as in Peter’s text, in the prophecy of Joel, and the promise of repentance and remission of sins, for the giving of which the crucified and risen Savior is exalted to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance unto Israel and the remission of sins.

All descriptions of Arminians and workmongers seem to regard repentance as a something preceding spiritual life, and exacted as a condition of salvation, but the Scriptures assure us that it is the gift of God, and that it is a sense of the goodness of God entertained by quickened sinners that leads them to repentance; a vital principle in them leading them to a godly sorrow, which worketh repentance unto life, which needeth not to be repented of. The repentance enjoined on these converts at Pentecost, was that they should renounce Judaism, confess their sins, and rely alone on the risen Redeemer for salvation, to take his yoke, own his name, obey his commands, follow him as their leader, and honor him as their God and Savior.

And with the presentation of these fruits meet for repentance, they were to be baptized, not to put away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience; not to procure remission of sins, but as an ordinance in which is set forth figuratively the washing away of our sins, our death to the law, our burial from the elements of this world, and our resurrection to newness of life.

“And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” Over that generation awful judgments were impending, according to what Christ taught his disciples. (Matt. xxiii., xxiv. and xxv.) And the repentance of baptism enjoined on these disciples would effectually disconnect them from that generation and from the temporal judgments which was to be executed on Jerusalem before that generation should pass away.

“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls; and they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship,” &c. They were in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship before they were baptized, or they could not have continued steadfastly in it, for if baptism had initiated them into their doctrine and fellowship, it would not be mentioned as a continuance, but as an entrance into it.

We have thus stated some of our “notions.” As to “our best,” we always try to do as well as we can in giving our views on the Scriptures. We have made no extraordinary efforts, but such views or “notions” as we have, we have presented candidly, and if A. G. C. is benefited by what we have written, or if it shall prove edifying to any of the lambs of the Redeemer’s flock, we shall have great cause to rejoice and be thankful.

Middletown, N. Y.
October 15, 1858.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 4
Pages 144 - 149

Aug 25, 2011

When a Sinner is thus Quickened - Gilbert Beebe

"When a sinner is thus quickened, the incorruptible seed, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever, is implanted in his heart, and the evidence of this implantation is first given by a sense of the purity and holiness of God, and the spirituality of his law, contrasted with a sense of guilt, pollution and just condemnation of the person to whom this communication is made, and consequently a struggle for deliverance. The ear is now opened to hear the thunders of Sinai, and the eye is made to see the justice of God as a sin avenger; a brokenness of heart that he or she, as the case may be, has been all their lifetime in open rebellion against so holy, just and righteous a God, who has followed them with his mercies all their days. A sense of his goodness leads them to repentance, contrition and humble acknowledgment of their guilt. Now the quickened and awakened sinner becomes burdened with the load of depravity, which they vainly try to put away from them; an effort is made to reform; a resolution is formed to sin no more; tears flow in anguish of spirit, and prayers are offered for pardon; the sinner is pricked in the heart, and cries out, Men and brethren, what shall I do? But all that he can do for himself, and all that kind, sympathizing friends can do for him, does not ease his pain or lighten his burden. At length he concludes there is no hope in his case, he sees that all his efforts, cries and tears, have been unavailing, and all hope of salvation seems to be shut out from his view.

 Now all this conviction, contrition, lamentation and distress, is the legitimate consequence resulting from life implanted, and indicates to all who know experimentally the way of life, that the poor sin-burdened soul is drawing near to the time of his birth, or deliverance. He who has thus arrested him, and brought him to a sense of his lost and helpless estate, will perform the work in his own time, but the burdened soul must wait until "God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shines in [not into] his heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." -2 Cor. iv. 6. Or, as Paul relates his own experience, "When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me." - Gal. i. 15. Then by the revelation of Christ in us the hope of glory, the way of salvation through him is brought to view, the burden of guilt is removed, the blood of Christ is applied, the demands of the law are canceled, the curse is removed, the prison doors are opened, the captive is delivered, the love of God is shed abroad in the heart, old things are passed away; behold all things have become new; a new song is put in his mouth, even praise unto God, the gospel pours its joyful sound into his quickened ears, his goings are established and he is a new creature..."

The Common Salvation - Hassell commenting on Silas H. Durand

The Common Salvation Written by Sylvester Hassell ADVOCATE AND MESSENGER Williamston, N. C., October 1924 "Brethren, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it is needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). Elder Silas H. Durand, who was born in Bradford Co., Pa., June 5, 1833, and died at Southhampton, Pa., Nov. 12th 1924, was one of the ablest ministers and writers that ever lived in the United States. He often attended the Kehukee Association, and was heartily welcomed by our members. His preaching was very deep and experimental, spiritual and comforting. More than twenty years ago he published his early writings in a book called "Meditations on portions of the Word"; and since his death, his two surviving daughters, Mrs. Mildred Durand Gordy of Southampton, Pa., and Mrs. Edith Durand McCall of Winnipeg, Canada, have published his Autobiography and later writings in a book of 353 large pages, called "Fragments by Silas H. Durand," which his daughter, Mrs. Mildred D. Gordy, sends post paid for $2.50. Elder Durand was a strong predestinarian, and no one who knew him well and heard him preach and read his writings would ever charge him with the slightest taint of Arminianism. On pages 73, 74, and 75 of his "Fragments," is published an article of his on the above subject, "The Common Salvation," which was first published in the "Signs of the Times," at Middletown, New York, in March, 1900. It is a masterly and accurate exposition of the third verse of Jude, and his views are the same as those given in my article in "The Gospel Messenger" of June, 1897, and republished under the title, "Salvation," in "The Gospel Messenger" of Jan., 1921. For the information and edification of our readers, I will now give some extracts from this article of Elder Durand’s, as well as some similar extracts from other parts of this interesting volume. He holds that the "Common Salvation" of which Jude speaks, is the gracious and everlasting salvation from sin and hell, by the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, of all the elect – a salvation common to the whole family of God. And he says, "There is no other salvation which is common, either to all men naturally or to the saints. Natural salvation, as salvation from wounds or death in battle, from shipwreck, from loss or destruction by earthquake, fire, flood or disease, from misfortune or affliction of any kind, cannot be called a common salvation, for all are not saved from these things. Nor can that salvation of the Lord’s people from error, from fleshly walk or the loss or death that results from it, from stripes on account of transgression, which may be called a time salvation, be called common, for all are not saved in this sense. Some do works after the flesh and die; some transgress and are visited with the rod. His liability to wander from the right way, and yield to temptation in some of its many forms, and so suffer, is referred to by all the apostles, and is made the subject of faithful, earnest and tender admonitions and exhortation. But some do yield to the temptation for a time and suffer the consequences. There is an experience of the weakness of the flesh on the part of all the saints in some measure, so that very one that is received is scourged and chastised (Heb. 11:6). All must learn that they are dependent entirely upon the care and grace of God for the orderly walk which shall secure them this time salvation so that they will not depend on themselves, as Peter did, but upon the Lord. They must learn that we have the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead. Some, through the faithful labors of brethren, are saved from death (James v: 19, 20). Ministers, by faithful labor in the Gospel, save themselves and them that hear them from false doctrines and practice (1 Tim. iv: 16). All this is the work of grace. But some are left to see more fully, and experience more deeply, the corruption, depravity, and untrustworthiness of the flesh, even going so far in an ungodly walk that they are "delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." All for whom Jesus died are saved with an everlasting salvation, and shall finally be restored from all their wanderings, healed from all their backslidings, and brought home to glory, to the praise of the riches of God’s grace. This everlasting salvation is common to all those who are sanctified, set apart, chosen, by God the Father. But the enjoyment of this common salvation, while here in the flesh, is more in some than in others. To enjoy an inheritance which must be divided, the heirs must be as one, must be of one mind and one soul. And so it is with the Lord’s people when they are in the Spirit. They then dwell together in unity, the unity of the Spirit, and find how good and how pleasant it is (Psalm cxxxiii). But when the flesh prevails in the case of any, and they strive to walk by sight instead of faith, then their right to that salvation is not fully enjoyed. Sometimes their birthright is sold for some fleshly good, and they are deprived for a season of the light and comfort. But they cannot dispose of their inheritance, though they suffer loss in their daily experience. It was needful for them, therefore, that the apostle should exhort them to contend earnestly in their daily life, in their walk and conversation, for that faith, that doctrine and order of the Gospel Church, unto the obedience of which they have been called, and that they attend with care to all that pertains to the Church of the living God, seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, above all worldly things. The grace which brought them salvation taught them all this proper Gospel walk (Titus ii:11, 12). Jesus is our salvation here in time, and to eternal days." On page 178, Elder Durand says: "There can be no turning aside by any of His people from the way of holiness, and from the truth of God’s salvation without an experience of pain. The chastisement will surely be felt for every transgression." And on page 270, he says: "Of course the Lord does not regard sin in the same way that he regards holiness. Of course His attitude toward it is not the same. How could one have such a thought? He hates and abhors sin: His infinitely holy nature is absolutely and forever opposed to it; is obnoxious to Him, and abominable in His sight." I desire to add two remarks: The Lord, our Heavenly Father, does not unmercifully chastise His children (Psalm 103:13, 14; Isa. 3:9). And sometimes He suffers His obedient children to walk in darkness to teach them solemnly the sinfulness of their natures, and their entire dependence upon Him (Isa. 50:10; Job 2:3; 8:25-27; 9:30,31; 14:4; 40:4; 42:6). S.H.

Aug 23, 2011

The quickening spirit - Gilbert Beebe

"First, the Spirit of the Lord God, which is the quickening spirit, makes them alive, quickens and animates them with spiritual vitality, and makes them feel the need of living water, which can only be found in Christ, who is the place of broad rivers and streams. So far as we can perceive any distinction between being born of the water, and of the Spirit, the Spirit first operates upon the sinner, and makes him sensible that he is guilty before God, righteously condemned by the just and holy law, and utterly helpless and bankrupt. Then the water of life flowing through Christ from the throne of God and the Lamb, with cleansing, cheering and life inspiring power, is applied, and he is born of the water into the liberty of the sons of God." - Gilbert Beebe

Aug 20, 2011

George Mueller on Prayer and Reading the Scriptures

‎"Above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord's work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself!..." ‎"...Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself." "But in what way shall we attain to this settled happiness of soul? How shall we learn to enjoy God? How obtain such an all-sufficient soul-satisfying portion in him as shall enable us to let go the things of this world as vain and worthless in comparison? I answer, This happiness is to be obtained through the study of the Holy Scriptures. God has therein revealed Himself unto us in the face of Jesus Christ" "Now in brotherly love and affection I would give a few hints to my younger fellow-believers as to the way in which to keep up spiritual enjoyment. It is absolutely needful in order that happiness in the Lord may continue, that the Scriptures be regularly read. These are God's appointed means for the nourishment of the inner man. . . .Consider it, and ponder over it. . . . Especially we should read regularly through the Scriptures, consecutively, and not pick out here and there a chapter. If we do, we remain spiritual dwarfs. I tell you so affectionately. For the first four years after my conversion I made no progress, because I neglected the Bible. But when I regularly read on through the whole with reference to my own heart and soul, I directly made progress. Then my peace and joy continued more and more. Now I have been doing this for 47 years. I have read through the whole Bible about 100 times and I always find it fresh when I begin again. Thus my peace and joy have increased more and more." "I saw that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the word of God, and to meditation on it. . . . What is the food of the inner man? Not prayer, but the word of God; and . . . not the simple reading of the word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts." "... that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, by means of the Word of God whilst meditating upon it, my heart might be brought into communion with the Lord... The first thing I did (early in the morning), after having asked in a few words the Lord's blessing upon his precious Word, was, to begin to meditate on the Word of God, searching, as it were into every verse to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the sake of obtaining food for my soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this; that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession or to thanksgiving or to intercession or to supplication; so that though I did not as it were previously, give myself to prayer but to meditation yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer. The difference then between my former practice and my present one is this: Formerly when I arose I began to pray as soon as possible and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer or almost all the time... But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour or half an hour or even an hour on my knees before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc; and often, after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes or a quarter of an hour or even half an hour, I only then began really to pray. I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the Truth, being brought into true fellowship with God, I speak to my Father and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it!) about the things that He has brought before me in his precious Word. It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this point... (some years later he writes) I generally read after family prayer large portions of the Word of God when I still pursue my practice of reading onward in The Holy Scriptures, sometimes in the New Testament and sometimes in the Old and for more than thirty-nine years I have proved the Blessedness of it. I take also either then or at other parts of the day, time more especially for prayer."

"The wisest of our absolute brethren" - Sylvester Hassell

‎A phrase, "the absolute predestination of all things," not found in the Scriptures, but invented by one of our most esteemed elders sixty-six years ago, and thought by him to present the teaching of the Scriptures, and not so objectionable as explained by him, has traditionally become almost the entire Confession of Faith of some of our brethren, and has been carried by some to such an extreme as to make God the efficient and responsible cause of sin, and has thus produced endless and bitter controversy among us and even division in some sections. But I am glad to say that the wisest of our absolute brethren virtually admit the utter distinction between God's permissive predestination of sin and His efficient predestination of holiness, and clearly maintain that all the blame of sin belongs alone to the creature, and all the glory of salvation from sin belongs alone to the Creator. Let not this humanly-invented, traditional, undiscriminating, and unexplained phrase, so offensive to the large majority of Primitive Baptists, because seeming to ignore the infinite distinction between sin and holiness, be erected into an idol to which to sacrifice the peace and union of the church of Christ.

Aug 2, 2011

Immediate Infusion - John Gill

The instrumental cause of regeneration, if it may be so called, are the word of God, and the ministers of it; hence regenerate persons are said to be "born again by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Pet. 1:23), and again, "of his own will begat he us with the word of truth" (James 1:18), unless by the Word in these passages should be meant the Eternal Logos, or essential Word of God, Christ Jesus, since λογος is used in both places; though ministers of the gospel are not only represented as ministers and instruments by whom others believe, but as spiritual fathers; "though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ", says the apostle to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 4:15), "yet have ye not many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel"; so he speaks of his son Onesimus, whom he had "begotten in his bonds" (Philemon 1:10) yet this instrumentality of the word in regeneration seems not so agreeable to the principle of grace implanted in the soul in regeneration, and to be understood with respect to that; since that is done by immediate infusion, and is represented as a creation; and now as God made no use of any instrument in the first and old creation, so neither does it seem so agreeable that he should use any in the new creation: wherefore this is rather to be understood of the exertion of the principle of grace, and the drawing it forth into act and exercise; which is excited and encouraged by the ministry of the word, by which it appears that a man is born again; so the three thousand first converts, and the jailor, were first regenerated, or had the principle of grace wrought in their souls by the Spirit of God, and then were directed and encouraged by the ministry of the apostles to repent and believe in Christ: whereby it became manifest that they were born again. Though after all it seems plain, that the ministry of the word is the vehicle in which the Spirit of God conveys himself and his grace into the hearts of men; which is done when the word comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost; and works effectually, and is the power of God unto salvation; then faith comes by hearing, and ministers are instruments by whom, at least, men are encouraged to believe: "received ye the Spirit", says the apostle, "by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith": (Gal. 3:2), that is, by the preaching of the law, or by the preaching of the gospel? by the latter, no doubt.

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions