Translate

Sep 30, 2011

Isaiah 2:2 - Robert Hawker

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it." [Isaiah 2:2]

Sweet thought! JESUS is the desire of all nations; because poor awakened sinners in all nations, find their want of him. Hence here is a promise, folded up in this blessed prophecy, that all nations, the Gentile as well as the Jew, shall flow unto CHRIST, They shall come that are ready to perish, when the great trumpet is blown. And their certainty of coming is secured; for it was one of the covenant promises of GOD the FATHER to GOD the SON; Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, Psalm 110:3.

1 Corinthians 3:21-23 - Robert Hawker

“Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.” [1 Corinthians 3:21-23]

All are yours he saith, things present, or to come; all are yours, because ye are CHRIST’S, and CHRIST is GOD's. Reader! behold the security, the everlasting security of the faithful! As CHRIST is the sent, the sealed, the anointed of JEHOVAH, GOD's CHRIST, GOD's chosen, GOD's salvation to the ends of the earth: so CHRIST and his Church being one, in the divine mind, will, and pleasure; all are the Church's in CHRIST, being one with CHRIST, and deriving all from CHRIST. So that if CHRIST be mine, all is mine. His blood to cleanse, his righteousness to justify, his holiness to sanctify. CHRIST and his fulness, CHRIST and his all-sufficiency, lies at the bottom of all mercies. And, when it be considered, the greatness of his Person, and the glories of his salvation, the infinite nature of his blood-shedding and perfection, and the infinite merit of his work and righteousness; here is enough for a child of GOD to live upon, in time, and to all eternity. JESUS gives a fulness of blessedness, and a fulness of duration, to all that He is in himself, and to his Church and people for ever. His presence sweetens all, sanctifies all, gives a blessedness to all; and makes all completely blessed. All are your’s, and ye are CHRIST’S, and CHRIST is GOD’S.

2 Corinthians 2:14, 16b - Robert Hawker

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned… But we have the mind of Christ.” [2 Corinthians 2:14, 16b]

In prosecuting this enquiry, I need not go over a large field, on a point already known and understood; that by the new birth, or regeneration of the soul, a total change is wrought on the renewed mind. I shall for once, consider this as granted; and that, what the Apostle saith elsewhere, my Reader is already convinced of. For if any man be in CHRIST, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, and behold all things are become new, 2 Corinthians 5:17. But while this great truth is, and must be, most fully allowed, by every regenerated child of GOD, it is not so well understood, as the importance of the subject renders it necessary, that this new creature is wholly in the spirit, and not in the body. It is our spiritual part, which at regeneration is awakened, and brought forth into life, from the death of sin; and not our bodily part. The natural man, as Paul here calls our bodies, is not renewed, neither made capable of receiving the things of the SPIRIT of GOD, more than before. This is a grand point, to be well and thoroughly understood, by the renewed man, And there is another like it, namely, that while the gracious act, wrought by GOD the HOLY GHOST, in regeneration, is confined wholly to the spiritual part of every child of GOD, and leaves the body, for the present life, in the same state as before, of an unrenewed nature; this one act of GOD the SPIRIT is a perfect and complete act, and makes the spirit of the happy receiver of this unspeakable mercy, as holy as it will ever be, in time, or eternity. When this blessed work of regeneration is wrought, it imparts all that is essential to life and holiness, in CHRIST. The act is but once done, and it is completely done. There can be no defect in it, for it is the SPIRIT that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. All that are regenerated are alike regenerated: similar to the analogy in nature. Infants, when born in nature, and born perfect in all their parts, are born no more. And the child in grace hath no after addition to its Being. The spiritual life, into which it is brought, can receive no after being, or addition. Growth in grace, there will be, as there is a growth in nature; but the life itself, the spiritual being, and the well-being, deriving, as it doth its whole, from such a source as GOD the HOLY GHOST, is but once done, and done for ever.

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 - Robert Hawker

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” [1 Corinthians 1:30-31]

I beseech the Reader to observe how blessedly CHRIST is here spoken of by the HOLY GHOST, as made all these things to his people, and that by GOD himself. It is not only said, that CHRIST is the wisdom, and the righteousness, and the sanctification, and the redemption of his Church, but that GOD hath made him so. Here, indeed, is the blessedness of the whole. For, when GOD the HOLY GHOST leads a poor sinner to GOD, in the perfections of JESUS; if it be demanded how, or by what authority, the poor self-condemned creature comes in another's perfections, and not his own? this is the answer: this is faith's warrant, CHRIST is made of GOD unto the soul these things. So that here is the authority in which all the Persons of the GODHEAD join. GOD the HOLY GHOST, who regenerates the sinner, and makes him a new creature in CHRIST JESUS, leads him to the throne, in the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption of CHRIST JESUS; and, taught of GOD the SPIRIT, the regenerated sinner pleads in CHRIST, and by CHRIST, on the footing of CHRIST’S person and work, for acceptance before GOD, and in the covenant word, oath, and promise, of GOD the FATHER! And, how then can any soul fail of justification at the throne, who thus pleads GOD’S grace, and CHRIST’s righteousness, as the sole means of acceptance? Who doth not see all human glory tarnished, and divine grace praised, when as it is written, he that gloried, thus glorieth the LORD? Jeremiah 9:23-24. Reader! pause a moment longer over these precious verses, for they are most precious. You, and I, are both by nature and by practice, so lost and fallen in the Adam-state of sin and corruption, that we are not only miserably blind and ignorant of our state by nature, but so utterly senseless of our ruin, that Until CHRIST, the sun of righteousness, arose on our benighted souls, so far were either of us from seeking redemption, we did not even know that we needed it. How blessed that CHRIST was made of GOD to us wisdom, to open to our view a sense of sin, and to make us wise unto salvation? But it would not have been enough to have made us sensible of our misery, and to have instructed us in the way of obtaining salvation by CHRIST out of it, had not the same LORD which taught us these precious things, taught us also, that He who made CHRIST to us wisdom, made him also our righteousness. Oh! the blessedness, when a child taught of GOD, can say, the LORD is my righteousness. But here again, a soul needed somewhat more. The child of GOD, though renewed in soul, is not renewed in body. The flesh lusteth against the spirit. I feel, I groan daily under a conscious sense of indwelling, inbred, corruptions. Oh! the grace, the mercy, when my LORD taught Me that CHRIST is made of GOD sanctification also, and He who justified me, as freely sanctifieth me. And, finally, to crown all, and to counteract all the exercises, which at any time sin or Satan, the world without, or fears within, might suggest; how blessedly doth this scripture come in to our aid, that CHRIST is not only wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification, but redemption GOD’S works, and not man's. GOD’S providing, not our's. And He who gives the covering, puts it on. First gives a gracious acceptation to the persons of his people, in His dear SON; and then blesseth them with all spiritual blessings, in CHRIST; that they may be holy, and blameless before him, in love! Thanks! thanks be to GOD which always causeth us to triumph in CHRIST! 2 Corinthians 2:14.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 - Robert Hawker

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” [1 Corinthians 1:26-29]

I must not allow the Reader's attention to pass away from this most interesting view, which GOD, by the HOLY GHOST, hath given of the cross of CHRIST, as the power of GOD, and the wisdom of GOD; before that I have first called upon him to remark with me, what is also said of the LORD’S distinguishing grace in the holy calling. Every part of the Bible, indeed, is full to the same, for the whole is of electing love, from beginning to end. But here, the LORD the SPIRIT more especially calls upon the Church to notice it. The brethren, partaker's of the heavenly calling, are directed to behold it. And, while they are commanded to observe, that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called; they are no less taught from their own circumstances, to consider, that in their call, it was grace manifested to the foolish, and to the weak, and to the base things of the world. And, Reader! I beseech you to pause, and pass not away for a moment from the consideration of the Church of Corinth in those days, in which Paul sent this Epistle, and take home the same doctrine now, for it equally holds good in all ages of the Church. We have reason to bless GOD, that while he saith, not many are called from among the great, and noble, and wise men of the earth, that the LORD did not, say, not any. For, though but few, yet there have been some. In the days of CHRIST himself, we find Joseph, an honorable counselor, and Nicodemus among the rulers of the Jews. But, indeed, for the most part, we find the LORD’S people gathered from among the humbler walks in life, poor in worldly circumstances, as well as poor in spirit, made rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom. But it should be observed also, that the expressions here used by the Apostle, when he saith, that not many wise men, and mighty, and noble, are called, he adds to the term, not many wise men after the flesh; and the same after the flesh, is to be subjoined to the mighty and the noble. For their worldly wisdom, and their might, and their nobility, are all earthly. Not that wisdom which maketh wise unto salvation, neither that might which is founded in divine strength, neither that no bleness of soul which distinguisheth the Church of GOD. So, it like manner, the foolish things of the world, and the weak, and the base, which are Chosen, they are in worldly wisdom foolish, and it human policy weak, and in all their own attainments base and despised; but they are in spiritual things, both wise, and strong, and dignified. The HOLY GHOST by Peter, calls them, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. And the LORD JESUS commended John to write them to the Churches, as made kings and priests unto GOD and his FATHER: 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6. Reader! may it be your happiness and mine; through grace, to be enabled to enter into the proper apprehension of those words by the Apostle, when he saith, For ye see your calling, brethren!

1 Corinthians 1:18, 21 - Rober Hawker

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God… For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” [1 Corinthians 1:18, 21]

Never must, never can, the offence of the cross cease. The children of the bondwoman will always hate the doctrine of the cross. The pride of the human heart, the self-righteousness of corrupt, unhumbled nature, will always revolt at it. And, while the thing itself is the wisdom of GOD, the wonder of angels, and the everlasting joy of the redeemed, both in heaven and earth; to them that perish it appears foolishness, and they perish in their foolishness, And to all such, the word of GOD speaks: Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish! for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you! Acts 13:41. Reader! what a distinguishing mercy it is to be made wise unto salvation, through the faith which is in CHRIST JESUS? And we may see, and indeed we do see every day, under every ordinance where CHRIST is faithfully and fully preached, in the glories of his Person, and the compleatness of his finished salvation, as the whole of JEHOVAH’S purpose of grace, for the recovery of his Church and people, and where those who have been taught to feel and know the plague of their own heart; CHRIST becomes the all in all, and their whole souls are melted into holy joy, adoration, love, and praise; we behold no less, the wise in their own eyes, and the prudent in their own conceit, turning with the most bitter looks of hatred against the doctrine of the cross, and rejecting the counsel of GOD against their own souls. CHRIST becomes a stumbling block and a rock of offence, as much now, as to the Jews of old. So the LORD declared by his servants the Prophets it should be; and the LORD be praised, that he hath not left himself without witness: Isaiah 29:14 and Isaiah 33:18. Precious JESUS, I would say, how sweet thy words to my soul, Blessed is he whomsoever shall not be offended in me! Matthew 11:6.

1 Corinthians 1:8-9 - Robert Hawker

“Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” [1 Corinthians 1:8-9]

Oh! what a soul ravishing thought it is, that He who hath called the whole body the Church to an union, and oneness, and fellowship with CHRIST in grace here, gives an earnest and pledge thereby, of the everlasting continuance of that interest, in all CHRIST's communicable glory hereafter. Reader! take it for your daily motto, and wear it in your heart from day to day; GOD is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his SON JESUS CHRIST our LORD.

1 Corinthians 1:2-3 - Robert Hawker

"Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's. Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. " [1 Corinthians 1:2-3]

Paul doth not write to the Corinthians, as Corinthians; neither to the men of Corinth as of a province or place; but to the Church of GOD then in Corinth. It is the Church, not the world. And this is most essentially necessary to be kept in view all along, and through every part of this, and all the Epistles. For to the inattention to this important point, is to be ascribed the gross perversion and misapplication of certain passages here and there scattered over the Apostolic writings, in considering them as of general meaning, when most evidently they belong, in special reference, only to the Church of GOD, as for example. In this very Epistle, 1 Corinthians 15:22, the Apostle saith, For us in Adam all die, even so in CHRIST shall all be made alive. And no truth can be more firm, and certain, and sure, when applied to the faithful in CHRIST JESUS. For, as the Church, as well is the world, is involved in the common death with all mankind, by reason of sin; so by virtue of the Church's union with CHRIST, the church becomes equally interested in the life, which is in, and by CHRIST JESUS. But what hath this to do with the unregenerate and such as have no union with CHRIST JESUS? There must be an union with CHRIST, before we can have communion with CHRIST. The Church, as well as the world, prove our union with Adam, by reason of sin, and as such partake alike in death, which is the sure consequence of sin. And, if we can equally prove our union with CHRIST by regeneration, as we do our oneness with Adam by generation; then, and not else, we take to ourselves the blessedness of this scripture: For as in Adam all die, even so in CHRIST shall all be made alive. But without this testimony, we have no part nor lot in the matter. I beg that this may be specially noticed by the Reader, according to its vast importance, not only in this place, but through the whole of the Apostolic writings. It is to the Church Paul writes. And it is of the Church, when speaking of privileges in CHRIST, Paul speaks.

Isaiah 3:10 - John Gill

"Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings." [Isaiah 3:10]

Ver. 10. Say ye to the righteous, that [it shall be] well [with him],.... The Lord always has some righteous ones, in the worst of times, whom he can and does distinguish, single out, and take care of; and it is his will that they should be comforted by his prophets and ministers, who seem to be the persons to whom these words are directed, lest they should be distressed with what is said unto, and what they see is coming upon, the world, or upon a nation in general: and it will be, and is well with such, when calamities are on a nation, in a time of famine, war, or pestilence, under any affliction whatever at death, and at judgment, and to all eternity; the Lord has the highest regard for them; Christ's righteousness, by which they are denominated righteous, secures them from wrath, and entitles them to glory; they are blessed now, and will be happy hereafter. So the Targum,

"say ye to the righteous, ye are blessed,''

pronounce them such as they are: some render it, "say to the righteous, that he do good" {i}; exhort him, excite and encourage him, to it; such who have believed in Christ for righteousness ought to be careful to maintain good works: others, "say to the righteous", own him, speak well of him, "for it is good"; or say to him, "that he is good" {k}, a happy man. The Septuagint and Arabic versions, very foreign from the text, and sense of it, render the words, "saying, let us bind the just man, for he is unprofitable to us"; as if they were the words of the wicked Jews, respecting Christ, the just One, so called sarcastically by them: and the reason of the righteous man's happiness follows:

for they shall eat the fruit of their doings: both of what Christ has done for them, as their Head and representative, by whose righteousness they are justified; and of what they have done themselves, under the influence of his Spirit and grace; which being done from a principle of grace, are rewarded with a reward of grace, and not of debt; such enjoy a peace of conscience now, which is the work and effect of righteousness, and shall receive the reward of the inheritance, which is not of the law, but by promise, and of faith, and so by grace.

{i} bwj yk "quod bene agat", Vatablus. {k} "Dicite justum, quod bonus beatusque est", Cocceius.

Sep 26, 2011

To run unsent, is a solemn thing - Robert Hawker

I take occasion from hence to observe the difference between regeneration, which is essential to every child of GOD for his personal enjoyment of an union and interest with CHRIST, and the unction of the HOLY GHOST, when calling his sent servants to the ministry. For, though the LORD calls none to the ministry but whom he hath first called by grace, as is evident in the instance of the Apostles, yet multitudes are savingly called by regeneration for their own personal happiness in CHRIST, whom GOD the HOLY GHOST never sends forth as his ministers. A man being regenerated is no authority for ministering in the word and doctrine. And to run unsent, is a solemn thing, Jeremiah 23:20; Hebrews 5:4.

CREEDS AND CONFESSIONS by Gilbert Beebe

IN this paper will be found a letter from brother Conrad, of Kentucky, dissenting from some part of our reply to brother Buckley, of Alabama. We are sorry that our remarks have been understood as involving a reflection upon any of our churches or brethren, as nothing could have been more foreign to our intention. So far as we are prepared to answer the first interrogatory of brother Conrad, we believe the practice of writing a brief summary of the faith held, is very general among the Old School Baptist churches, but a practice by no means peculiar to them, but equally common among the New School, and nearly all orders of professed christians; but the practice we believe is not universal among the churches of our faith. It was not our design to denounce the practice, or find fault with the brethren who think them necessary, nor even to insinuate that such brethren as adopt them thereby reject the New Testament as a rule of faith and practice, or think that look insufficient (when duly understood) to thoroughly furnish them to every good work. So far from entertaining such an opinion of our brethren, or of any of them, we are satisfied that their motives are to guard against innovations, heresies, disunion and confusion. In coming together in church fellowship, nothing can be of more importance than harmony; two cannot consistently walk together if they be not agreed. One Lord, one faith and one baptism must be acknowledged, received, professed and practiced, to distinguish the church of Christ from the various branches of anti-christ. The fellowship of the saints also rests on the same basis as at the day of pentecost, when “they that gladly received the word were baptized, and they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” - Acts ii. 42. We are aware that many designing men, in order to lead the saints into some new theory, and away from the simplicity of the gospel, have commenced their work by denouncing creeds, confessions, &c., and have professed great attachment for the bible as an infallible rule; and others again, to bring about an unlawful amalgamation of the saints with the children of the bond-woman, have taught that a particular set of views are of little or no importance, and consequently all discriminating confessions should be laid aside. To protect the saints from confusion and disorder therefore, our brethren have in most instances, at the organization of churches, prepared and adopted a written declaration of what they understood to be the doctrine and order of the gospel, as taught in the scriptures.

But brother Conrad will inquire why “we, for ourself, are getting more and more out of favor with written creeds, confessions of faith,” &c.? In answer, we respectfully submit The following reasons, viz.:

First. The Old School Baptists are coming to be much less in need of written creeds to distinguish them than formerly, by their conformity to the New Testament as their only and all-sufficient rule of faith and practice; while every other sect and denomination are departing further and further from even the form of sound words. The time has been when the several branches of anti-christ professed as strict a regard for the scriptures as a rule of faith as the Baptists did; while at the same time they construed the language of the divine record to mean the very opposite of what we were taught by the Spirit to understand; but the time has now come in which they publicly disavow such regard for the bible as a rule, and take the ground that the scriptures were only designed as a general outline of what God requires, and that the ingenuity of man is to be taxed to fill up the blank, by co-working with God, in contriving ways and providing means for the more effectual execution of the divine will and salvation of sinners, and that many things, for which there is neither example or precept in the bible, are of more importance in the work of saving sinners than any thing which the bible contains. Hence a strict adherance to the New Testament is at this time a more prominent and distinctive badge of our peculiar faith, than all the written creeds and confessions that were ever written by uninspired men could possibly be.

Second. Our next reason is, that whatever written creeds have effected in preventing innovations and confusion in our churches, they cease to be effectual at present. A vast number of the New School churches of our acquaintance have as sound and unexceptionable articles of faith as ally we have ever found written among the Old Fashioned Baptists; and yet run as greedily after the error of Balaam as any of the arminians of the present age; so that the very creeds which were designed to preserve the church from a connection with heresies and heretics are used for the opposite purpose, and churches which have gone quite over into New Schoolism are retained in our associations, because they still retain the written confession of faith in their church book, and annually preface their associational letters with a copy of their original confession, thus rendering themselves perfectly invincible by fortifying themselves with the same confession of faith which we also hold.

Third. We are more and more convinced by our own observation that there is no valuable object secured by the use of written creeds, which is not equally secured to every gospel church by a direct reference to the word of God. Is it said, “But we differ in our construction of the word of God?” The same may be said of creeds; the truth is, those who would cavil with the scriptures would cavil with the best creed that was ever written by uninspired man.

Fourth. There is a very great discrepancy in the written confessions in use among those who are perfectly agreed in their understanding of the scriptures. It has not been uncommon in some of our association where the churches were in the most perfect apparent harmony and fellowship, to find in their different versions of the leading sentiments laid down in the preface of their letters an entire want of harmony. We have something like a bushel of such documents which have been sent us for publication at sundry times and from divers places; were they all spread out in the columns of the SIGNS, they would do for more to confuse and obscure the real sentiments of Old School Baptists than to elucidate and make them plain.

Fifth. Without imputing anything improper to brethren, churches and associations, the writing of a creed to be made binding as a standard of faith, does seem to us to imply what none of our Old School brethren wish or dare to say, viz.: That the New Testament is not a complete and sufficient rule of faith and practice to the saints of God. If complete, it cannot be improved; if sufficient, nothing more is required.

Sixth. The practice of adopting creeds written by uninspired men, did not originate with the church of God; nor is the practice authorized upon any express or implied command of God, or example of the primitive church. Nothing was required to identify the primitive church more than their strict observance of all things whatsoever Christ had commanded. A confession and profession of faith was required to be made verbally by every person on application for fellowship and membership in the church; on such profession they were received and baptized, and as long as they held fast this profession of their faith by walking conformably to the gospel, they enjoyed the apostles’ fellowship. And it is our honest impression, that the best confession of faith that can be adopted at this time, should be much more plainly written than with ink and paper; there is a way of showing our faith by our works, by our attachment to the cause, our submission to the government of Jesus, our love to the brethren, our close conformity in word and doctrine, and in faith and practice to the New Testament, more effectual than all the written parchments dictated by councils of good or bad men since the apostolic age of the church.

“So let our lips and lives express
The holy gospel we profess;
So let our works and virtues shine,
To prove the doctrine all divine.
Thus shall we best proclaim abroad
The honor of our sovereign God.”

A written creed may be carried in our pockets, while our hearts are far from righteousness; but the faith of God’s elect must exist in the heart, exercising its governing power over those whose happy privilege it is to possess it.

We cannot agree with our correspondent in his application of Romans i. 31, for we have no idea that the characters there described were ever guilty of breaking any covenant entered into by or obligatory upon the members of a gospel church; the violation of any contract is a species of covenant breaking, and as it is required of every one, in uniting with an Old, School Baptist church, to promise conformity to the New Testament, as the only infallible rule of faith and practice, any departure from. that rule, even by substitution of other rules, is so far covenant breaking, and any departure from the scriptures as a rule is so considered, and so treated by our Old School churches, when satisfied that such is the case, whether the thing in which the offending party has offended be named in a set of articles or not.

The confusion alluded to in the church at Corinth, (1 Cor. xiv. 26) was not to be prevented by written confessions, but by a strict observance of the directions which the Holy Ghost gave them by this inspired admonition of the apostle; otherwise, when they came together each might have a creed, each a confession and each a summary of faith, which might possibly differ is widely as the psalms, doctrines, tongues, revelations and interpretations of which Paul complained. This admonition goes rather to show the necessity of keeping everything out of the church that is not plainly authorized, than to show the necessity of additional psalms, doctrines and interpretations. Written confessions, as defined by brother Conrad, are written interpretations of the word, and show the peculiar doctrine embraced in the confession. Let each come together with his written creed, and what would they lack of the confusion which existed among the Corinthians?

Our brother inquires, if we were called to assist in the organization of a church, and we should find the constituents destitute of a written summary, whether we could report them perfectly joined together in the same mind, judgment, &c.? If we should find them perfectly joined in all things contained in the New Testament, we could. But, in our judgment, they might have a set of very clear articles of faith, and each sign his name and pledge himself to abide by them for ever; and still in our estimation lack that perfect unanimity which we consider essential to the fellowship of the gospel. We would not measure them by their written creeds, but by the measuring reed with which John was commanded to measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein; (Rev. xi. 1) and if we should find the city four square, having twelve foundations and twelve gates, and in all things agreeing with the measurement of the reed, we would not dare pronounce her deficient because she had no written creed other than the bible.

Brother Conrad entirely mistook our use of the words, “But who shall dare to say that the New Testament is not a sufficient standard of faith and practice?” in his inference that we designed to charge our brethren with denying the sufficiency of the New Testament as a rule. The church in which we hold our membership, and both churches to which we statedly preach, have written summaries of their faith, and we believe that it would be hard to find any churches in our country who more firmly believe that the New Testament is an infallible, complete and sufficient rule of faith and practice. So that according to his construction of our words, the charge would have fallen heavier upon our own head than on his or any of those brethren who held written confessions, without regarding them in the light in which he understood us to regard them.

It is true we do not regard the Old Testament as a rule of faith and practice to the gospel church, or our faith would still be looking for a Savior to come, and still we should practice the service of the worldly sanctuary, and perform the carnal ordinances of the old dispensation. With this distinction brother Conrad is not only with us, but has carried out his views in clearer language, in “declaring that the scriptures are the only proper rule of faith and practice, and in his profession of faith he only makes a declaration briefly of what he understands to be contained in the New Testament.” In this, if we understand our brother, we are perfectly agreed. We not only hold that it is lawful for the disciples of Jesus to declare frankly what they understand the scriptures to teach, but that it is their duty to do so; and this we intended to express in the words which he quoted from us, viz: “Brethren cannot too well understand each other in regard to their faith and practice.” Certainly such declaration does not require them to disown the New Testament as their only rule.

The want of harmony which brother Conrad inferred, between our remarks, and much of our published writings, and our practice, and above all, in what he understood to be an implied rejection of our brethren and their sentiments, is altogether owing to his understanding us differently from what we designed to express. If there is any implied discrepance between our doctrinal views and those of our brethren in Kentucky, and other places, we are not aware of it; and certainly our brethren abroad have had abundant opportunity to know of our doctrine and practice for the last twelve years.

In regard to Christ’s having quoted from the Old Testament, and Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, writing, &c., brother Conrad will not say that these were like the saints of the present day, uninspired men; nor do we believe our brother would be willing to give modern written opinions, even of the best of men, an equality with what was written by immediate inspiration of God.

Brother Conrad says all that we write or preach is our creed, and confession of faith, &c. Very true; but not in the common acceptation of these terms; in this qualified sense of creeds and confessions, we not only admit the propriety of them, but we consider it the bounden duty of all the children of God, as opportunity is offered, to declare verbally, or in writing, what God has taught them, and thus contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

Perhaps we have written sufficiently upon this subject for the present, and we sincerely hope that our explanation may be satisfactory to brother Conrad, and to all others who have been hurt with us. We certainly did not intend to start any new game for controversy. When we wrote to brother Buckley we wrote as we believed, and called on our brethren to examine the subject for themselves, and not trust to our views. Brother C. has complied with our request; he has written frankly, and we think in the spirit and temper of the gospel, and we hope that all that has been written by us both, may serve to edify, and at least lead our brethren to inquire at the holy oracle.

NEW VERNON, N. Y.
July 15, 1844.

GADSBY'S CATECHISM

Q.1
Who is the only self-existent Being?
ANSWER. God is the only self-existent Being.
Ex. 3. 14; Psa. 90. 2; Isa. 45. 5, 22; Jn. 8.58.

Q.2 Ought everyone to believe that there is a God?
ANSWER. Everyone ought to believe that there is a God, and it is their great sin and folly who do not.
Psa. 9.17; Ecc. 12.13; Mark 16. 16; Jn. 8.24 & 16.8-9; 2Thess.2. 11-12.

Sep 21, 2011

Those prophets who prophesy smooth things - J.C. Philpot

Deep distress of conscience, agonising fears of the wrath to come, powerful convictions of sin, putting away of all hope or comfort which does not come direct from the Lord, doubts, fears, and slavish bondage under the curse of the law and the apprehended wrath of the Almighty—such and similar experience is now almost universally set aside as unnecessary to the new birth; and an easier path is held forth as equally safe and far more comfortable. But, however plausible it may appear in theory,and however pleasing it may be to the flesh, especially when dressed up with eloquent language and enforced with strong appeals to the natural feelings, what is all this soft and gentle preaching and writing but doing the very thing which God has so denounced in his holy word? How he testifies against those prophets who prophesy smooth things; who prophesy deceits; who know not the way of the Lord, nor have walked in his counsel, but "prophesy a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought and the deceit of their heart." (Jer. 14:14.) How, too, the prophet Ezekiel denounces the false prophets of his day, of whom one built up a wall, and others daubed it with untempered mortar. How he testifies against those foolish women that sew pillows to all armholes; and how he declares what the effect of all such smooth preaching is:"With lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life." (Ezek. 13:10, 18, 22.)

[A Defective] "BAPTIST CONFESSION OF FAITH" - Gilbert Beebe

BROTHER Buckley of Alabama has sent us a printed copy of a document purporting to be a “Baptist Confession of Faith,” desiring our opinion of the same. By whom this confession is made, we are not informed; but we sincerely hope it is not even an adopted child of any of our Old School Baptist brethren, either of Alabama or any other state. Many parts of it are as inharmonious with the scriptures, with christian experience, and with the general doctrinal views of Old School Baptists, as are the sentiments of the Mahometan Alcoran. It would require too great a space of our paper to copy the entire confession, but we will copy and remark upon such parts as we consider most objectionable. Let it not he supposed, however, that we approve of those articles on which we offer no comments; we consider the whole defective, with only a sufficient semblance of truth to decoy some well-meaning but poorly taught christians. Passing by the errors and defects of the first four articles, we will notice the fifth:

"V. Of Justification. That the great gospel blessing, which Christ of his fullness bestows on such as believe in him, is justification; that justification consists in the pardon of sin and the promise of eternal life, on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed not’ in consideration of any work of righteousness which we have done, but solely through his own redemption and righteousness; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures every other blessing needful for time and eternity."

This article is altogether erroneous, and a perversion of the scriptural doctrine of justification. Neither pardon of sin or promise of life ever did or possibly can justify a guilty sinner; nor do the scriptures anywhere teach any such doctrine. To illustrate the subject, suppose a criminal convicted of the crime of murder, and by the law sentenced to die, should receive from the executive power a pardon, and with it a promise of life and liberty; would that constitute him a just man, and wash him from the stain of blood? Certainly not. He is just as guilty as though he were hung. Whether executed according to law, or pardoned and suffered to run at large, does not change his guilt; he is a murderer. Justification, in a gospel sense, removes, or rather takes away all guilt; and a justified soul is made as free from guilt as though he had never sinned. If pardon alone could justify us, the Savior’s blood was not required; it would then have been sufficient for God, against whom lie had sinned, to forgive the offender without reference to law or justice. But the testimony of the bible shows that the work of justification is that by which the guilty are made just. Therefore the blood of Christ was demanded, for nothing short of his blood could take away sill; his blood cleanseth from all guilt. While pardon and justification both occupy prominent places in the gospel, they are altogether distinct in nature and effect; pardon is an acquittal from punishment, but justification delivers from guilt. To remove the guilt from his people, Christ actually bore their sins in his own body on the cross, and put away their sins by his own sacrifice, was delivered up for their offences, and raised again for their justification. Justification has to do with the law, and required an atonement satisfactory to the utmost demands of the law; so that the law which held is in condemnation as sinners, requires that we should be set at liberty as just or as justified persons. Pardon proceeds from a satisfaction rendered to divine justice, in which we were personated and identified, in the identity of that body that bore our sins on the cross. In order to avoid the force of truth, the arminians would so separate justification from the atonement, as to preach a general or universal atonement and a limited justification, and so connect justification and pardon as to represent both accessible to all mankind and certain to none. Justification is inseparably connected with and based upon the atonement, and the atonement is predicated upon the right vested in Christ as the near kinsman to redeem.

The right to redeem captives belongs naturally only to those to whom such captives belonged prior to their captivity. The church of God belonged to Christ her Head before she had any being in Adam, and consequently before she went into captivity; being in a state of captivity, a ransom price was required for her deliverance. That price could not be estimated in silver and gold; in nothing short of the precious blood of Christ. Why his blood? Because the right of property was in him before the property or church were captivated. Had rivers of her blood been shed, it could not have redeemed the church, as the right of redemption belonged alone to Christ. The execution of the sentence of the law against the guilty upon an innocent sufferer, could not exculpate the guilty nor satisfy any law founded in justice; but, by virtue of pre-existing relationship, and indissoluble, eternal union between Christ, the Head, and the church, which, is his body, Christ’s one offering has for ever put away sin, and those for whom his sacrifice was made are freely justified through his blood, and completely secured from condemnation; for “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again,” &c. We are brought experimentally into the knowledge and enjoyment of this justification by regeneration: but we pass to notice the next article.

"VI. Of the Freeness of Salvation. That the blessings of salvation are made free to ail by the gospel; that it is the immediate duty of all to accept them by a cordial and obedient faith: and that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, except his own voluntary refusal to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ; which refusal will subject him to an aggravated condemnation."

This article is false from beginning to end. In what part of the gospel are the blessings of salvation made free to those inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, who are now suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, or to that people against whom God has said, Reprobate silver shall men call them, for I have rejected them? Or that people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever? Or those which were before ordained to condemnation? Or to those who stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereunto they were appointed? Or to those who like natural brute beasts were made to be taken and destroyed? The blessings of salvation embrace all the blessings of the new covenant, wherewith God has blessed his people with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, according as he hath chosen them in him before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before him in love. – Eph. i. 4. Eternal and immutable love, stronger than sin or death; eternal, indissoluble union to Christ the Head of the church, eternal election, redemption, deliverance from guilt and wrath, regeneration, a new heart, a new spirit: love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness and faith, are among all the blessings of salvation, and how can they be free to those who are now in hell, or to those who die in their sins? The sentiment involved in this declaration is, that the provisions of salvation are made alike for all mankind, and the benefits of them made to depend upon the volition of the human will. But the words of God declare that it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth; and that all those unto whom power is given to become the sons of God, are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man; but of God. Deliverance from sin is one of the blessings of salvation, as we have shown, and if deliverance from sin be free to all sinners, may not devils avail themselves of it? The doctrine is preposterous and false. The gospel makes salvation free for none; it is a proclamation of that full, free, and finished salvation which God has provided for his own elect, whom he has saved and called with a holy calling; not according to their works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given them in Christ Jesus before the world began. – 2 Tim. i. 9. And it is equally false, that it is the immediate duty of all to accept the blessings of salvation; for neither salvation in the abstract, nor any of its blessings were ever offered to any being, by any authority found in the divine testimony. God has never offered to save a sinner; therefore it cannot be the duty of any to accept of what has never been offered to them. We read much of offers of salvation and mercy in the filthy creeds of arminian workmongers, but not a word of it in the volume of divine inspiration. The doctrine is of men and devils, and altogether discordant with the revelation of grace and truth, embraced in the scriptures. There is not a truly regenerate soul on earth whose experience does not prove the absurdity and falsehood of the doctrine. Souls that have experienced the new birth, have seen the time when they would have freely given ten thousand worlds, if they possessed them, for one gleam of hope that there was, or could lie any salvation for them; but as to offers and acceptances, these they knew were out of the question. And when they have received an evidence of their interest in the salvation of God, they have discovered that it proceeded from the settled, eternal and immutable purpose and decree of God, and not from any will or works of their own: but the article before us goes on to state in what way its arminian author supposes that the blessings of salvation are to be accepted; namely, by a cordial and obedient faith. The faith of the gospel which accompanies salvation, follows, but does not precede regeneration; it is the fruit of the Spirit and the gift of God. Christ, and not the sinner, is the Author and Finisher of it. It is distinguished from the faith of wicked men and devils, as that faith which is the operation of God; and that which works by love and purifies the heart. The sinner in his natural state is without hope; faith is the substance of things hoped for; how then can the unregenerate put in requisition that faith which none but quickened souls ever possessed? Is not faith itself one of the blessings of salvation? Yet we are told that the blessings of salvation are free to be received by all men, by a cordial and obedient faith; that faith is a condition of faith! What consistency! But the article goes on to state, that nothing prevents the salvation of the greatest sinner on earth, except his own voluntary refusal to submit to the Lord Jesus Christ. His being dead in trespasses and sins; under the curse of the law; under condemnation and wrath; full of enmity to God; with a heart that is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, with a throat like an open sepulchre, with a month that is full of cursing and bitterness, with feet swift to shed blood, with misery and destruction in all his ways, and having never known the way of peace, nor the fear of God, with a carnal mind, which is enmity against God, not subject to his law, and which neither indeed can be; yet this article can discover nothing but a voluntary refusal to submit to Jesus Christ, in the way of his enjoying the blessings of salvation! How different the language of eternal truth on this subject: “No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him; and I will raise him up again at the last day.” Again, The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, (and the blessings of salvation are among the things of the Spirit; for it is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing,) neither can we know them, because they are spiritually discerned. So this article of faith is not the faith of God’s elect, but is an article of the faith of devils; not however believed by devils, for they know better; but by devils invented, and by their seducing spirits palmed off upon arminians. But there is yet another heresy embraced in this abominable article, viz: “which refusal will subject him to an aggravated condemnation.” What strange confusion! Condemnation aggravated beyond that of the greatest sinner on earth! But as the legs of the lame cannot be equal, we will pass on to notice what is implied in this sentiment, viz: that the condemnation of a guilty sinner, by the fiery law of God, may be aggravated or enhanced by his rejection of the gospel. Now if this be true, the gospel becomes to that soul not only the minister of condemnation, but of an aggravated condemnation, and that in direct contradiction of the express testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ, who declares that he came not to condemn the world, &c. It is not for the want of repentance, or faith, or an acceptance of the gospel, that sinners are condemned and damned, but for being sinners against God. But we will pass to the article –

VIII. Of God’s Purpose of Grace. That election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which he regenerates sanctifies and saves sinners; that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end; that it is a most glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, being infinitely wise, holy and unchangable; that it utterly excludes boasting, and promotes humility, prayer, praise, trust in God, and active imitation of his free mercy; that it encourages the use of means in the highest degree; that it is ascertained by its effects in all who believe the gospel; is the foundation of christian assurance; and that to ascertain it with regard to ourselves, demands and deserves our utmost diligence.

Election is truly the gracious purpose of God, according to which he regenerates, sanctifies and saves sinners; but this truth of God this article turns into a lie, by subjoining to it the declaration that God’s purpose according to which he saves sinners is perfectly consistent with man’s free agency, whereas the testimony of the scriptures is the very reverse: “Who hath. saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” “Therefore it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth; but of God that sheweth mercy.” “Not of works, lest any man should boast; for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them.” The doctrine of man’s free agency is not found in the bible. If man as an agent is free, he cannot be a sinner; if free, he is under no restraint or obligation to God or man. To be a free agent, maim cannot be an accountable being; for if he is an accountable being, and amenable to God for his conduct, he is not free; and if free, he has a right to do as he pleases. But it is not of man that walketh to direct his steps; and therefore the election of grace is not in harmony with the arminian notion of free agency; but is set forth by an inspired apostle as in accordance with the very opposite of what the workmongers call free agency: “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, hot of works, but of him that calleth, it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” – Rom. ix. 11—16. And after stating what the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, the apostle adds in verse 18, “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” Does this look much like free agency? But Paul anticipated how this truth would set upon an arminian’s stomach in verse 19: “Thou wilt surely say unto me, Why doth he yet find fault ? For who hath resisted his will Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” &c. Be it remembered that in these scriptures the apostle, by the infallible inspiration of the Holy Ghost, illustrates the sovereignty of God “according to election,” and not election according to man’s asserted free agency. There is no more harmony between the purpose of God in election and what is called man’s free agency, than there is between heaven and hell, or any other direct opposites. Another expression in this eighth article is, that the doctrine of God’s electing grace encourages the use of means in the highest degree! Now if what we have quoted from the mouth of God, that it is neither of the will nor works of men, that God will have mercy on whom he will, and that he hardeneth whom he will, &c., encourages the use of means in the highest degree, then is this item of the article well sustained. But the term means, when used in regard to procuring grace or salvation, belongs to the arminian vocabulary – it is not in the bible, nor is it in harmony with any sentiment that is taught in the bible. There are no more means used in the quickening of a dead sinner, than there were in the creation of the world. The work of salvation is as immediately and exclusively the work of God, as is the work of raising the dead, receiving the righteous into heaven, and turning the wicked into hell.

New Vernon, N.Y.,
March 15, 1844

(Continued)

X. Harmony of the Law and Gospel. That the law of God is the eternal and unchangable rule of his moral government; that it is holy, just and good; and that the inability which the scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts, arises entirely from their love of sin: to deliver them from which, and to restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned. obedience to the holy law, is one great end of the gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.

That the law of God is holy, just and good, is demonstrated by the express declaration of an inspired apostle; and that it is, as a standard of right, inflexible, immutable and everlasting, will scarcely be denied by any; but that the inability which the scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts, arises entirely from their love of sin, is not quite so clear. If this position were correct, the very moment a quickened sinner is made to loathe sin, he would find himself released from all inability; a thing which all christians know is not true. “The carnal mind is enmity against God, it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Not simply because he loves sin, but because the law is spiritual, and the sinner is carnal, sold under sin. In this article, the writer and the holders of the doctrine betray a very confused idea of both the law and the gospel. They mistake the nature of the gospel, in supposing that one great end of it is to qualify mankind to keep the law. This certainly is not the case; for the gospel is glad tidings of great joy to those who are prepared by the quickening operation of the Holy Ghost to receive it; but it was never designed to enable us to personally meet and fulfill the requisitions of the law of God. If the design or end of the gospel was to remove from man kind their inability to keep the law, we must unavoidably come to one of the two following conclusions, viz.: first, that the gospel has failed to accomplish that great object for which Infinite Wisdom designed it; or, second, that all man kind are now able to render a perfect and perpetual obedience to its exceedingly broad commandments. Either of these conclusions would involve the most degrading and blasphemous reflections upon the being and attributes of Jehovah. If in relation to the first, God is disappointed in what he designed should result from the law or gospel, his wisdom is impeached. That cannot be infinite wisdom which would look for effects without providing an adequate cause to produce them; and if the wisdom of God did not, with infallible certainty, comprehend all things, the end from the beginning, it must be susceptible of improvement by the experiment of passing events; and if the wisdom of God can undergo any variation, either for better or for worse, his immutability is also involved; and as one of the perfections of God cannot be impaired without effecting all of them, the moment we take the position that either the law or gospel has failed to secure all that was contemplated in the mind and wisdom of God, we virtually say, with the fool, “There is no God.” Nor scarcely shall ye find less difficulty in taking the other horn of the dilemma; for if we assume that the gospel has removed the impediment to our perfect obedience to the law of God, destroyed the love of sin which, this article says, embodies all the inability of man, we shall thereby impeach the veracity of God, who has certainly denounced, at least, a portion of the human family as “Cursed children, that can not cease to sin.” And as God has said that the carnal mind cannot be subject to his law, even since the gospel, no man can assert that the inability of mankind, or of any man, to render perfect obedience to the law of God is removed by the gospel, without charging God with falsehood.

To deliver fallen men from the love of sin, and restore them through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience of the holy law, is one great end of the gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishment of the visible church.” Now if this complicated jargon of sounds were true, instead of one great object (if we can count) there would be at least two, viz.: first, to deliver from the love of sin; and second, to bring into a state of unfeigned law obedience; but neither of these objects are presented in divine testimony, in a way harmonious with the doctrine of this article.

There are no provisions in either the law or the gospel to deliver fallen sinners, in the general sense expressed, from the love of sin. It is true that God has made ample and certain provisions in the purpose of his grace, to destroy, in his children, (the election of grace) the love of sin; and it is also true that a proclamation of such provision to the heirs of promise is one important announcement of the gospel. But it is well known by every heaven-born soul, that the love of sin is destroyed in the children of God by the regenerating power and grace of the Holy Ghost; and by nothing short of the Holy Spirit can this be effected, much less by that “another gospel” contemplated in the heterogeneous article under consideration: a gospel connected with what is called “means of grace, a cant phrase of arminians, but never found in the vocabulary of those who are experimentally taught of God.

But the work of the Spirit, in destroying, in renewed souls, the love of sin, is not, as asserted in the article, to enable them to obey the law of God. Christians, of all men on earth, are the most sensible of their utter inability and complete helplessness. But that Spirit by whom they are made alive, after destroying in them the love of sin, shows them the perfect righteousness of their Redeemer, Jesus Christ, as, not only commensurate with all the requisitions of law and justice, but also sufficient to elevate them above what they were or could possibly be as they stood in Adam, even in primeval rectitude. Instead of teaching them that they are now able to keep the law, it teaches the very opposite lesson; they are slain to the law, dead to the law, redeemed from under the law, and brought under law to Christ, whose yoke they find to be easy, and his burden light. But the “harmony of the law and gospel,” which the writer of this article seems desirous to establish, is something like the following: That man having fallen into sin, the law was given for his restoration; but finding that men would not or could not avail themselves of salvation by the deeds of the law, the gospel was added, as a second experiment, to aid man in saving himself by the deeds of the law, and thus both law and gospel, having the same end in view, are in harmony. Such delusive notions have their bearing to make graceless arminians preach a mongrel system, a workmongrel gospel; but our natural bodies could as well be fattened on winter fog, as the children of God could be made to grow and thrive on such a system of doctrine. But we will pass on to article –

XIII. Of the Christian Sabbath. That the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, or Christian Sabbath, and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes, by abstaining from all secular labor and recreations; by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private and public; and by preparation for that rest which remaineth for the people of God.

The anti-typical or christian Sabbath is not by any divine authority confined to the first or any other day or days of the week. It commenced with the gospel dispensation, and will terminate on earth with the dissolution of the world. The obligation of christians to appropriate a portion of their time to the social worship of God, is not predicated upon the supposed perpetuity of the Jewish Sabbaths, or a continuation of the Abrahamic covenant. The authors of this creed do not attempt to give any references to scriptural authority for their professed faith; and they find themselves as greatly puzzled to find any, as their p├Ždo brethren are in proving that their infant sprinkling system was embraced in the covenant of circumcision. It is nowhere in the bible said that “the first day of the week is the Lord’s Day, or Christian Sabbath;” but it is expressly said, Let no man therefore judge you in meats, nor in drink, nor in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath; which are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ. Those who have never been slain to the law, who regard the gospel only as an assistant to help us to keel) the law, are for ever grasping after shadows and always miss the substance. Their constrained service at the worldly sanctuary is tiresome; their language is, “When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? And the Sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?” – Amos viii. 5, 6. One day in seven is as many as such people can well afford to be religious in; and even that is devoted mostly to worldly business, such as school teaching, tract peddling, dunning and collecting money, selling sermons and prayers at a stipulated price, and wiping their mouths and saying they have not sinned. But such as the Son has made free from the bondage of the legal dispensation, have entered into that rest which remaineth for the people of God; Christ is their Sun, the light of his countenance constitutes their day, and all the days and hours of their sojourn on earth are not too much to be devoted to his praise. It is not a weariness to them, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light. They are not like the workmongers laboring to prepare themselves for that rest which remaineth, but they have already entered into it, and have ceased from their own works as God ceased from the works of creation and rested on the seventh day, and as Christ ceased from the work of redemption when he had obtained eternal redemption for his people, and entered into rest. But the wicked are like the troubled sea that cannot rest, for they continually cast up mire and dirt.

We have before observed that there are other objectionable things embraced in this “confession of faith;” we have, in accordance with brother Buckleys request, pointed out what we consider most objectionable. And as the items which we have dwelt upon are of general interest, we hope the brethren in other parts of our land may be led to examine this matter. For ourself, we are getting more out of favor with written creeds, confessions of faith, &c. Brethren cannot too well understand each other in regard to their doctrine and practice; but who shall dare to say that the New Testament is not a sufficient standard of faith and practice? We have received several confessions from Old School brethren and churches for publication, some of which have appeared in our columns; but with none of them are we so well pleased as with the book which God has given us, and the heavenly Interpreter, whose office it is to lead the children of God into all truth. May all who love the Lord be ever under his salutary influence, and feel in their hearts that they are not their own, that they are bought with a price, and that it is their privilege to glorify God in their bodies arid spirits which are his.

New Vernon, N.Y.,
April 15, 1844

All those, and those only - Matthew Henry

All those, and those only, are invited to rest in Christ, that are sensible of sin as a burden, and groan under it; that are not only convinced of the evil of sin, of their own sin, but are contrite in soul for it; that are really sick of their sins, weary of the service of the world and of the flesh; that see their state sad and dangerous by reason of sin, and are in pain and fear about it, as Ephraim (Jer. 31:18–20), the prodigal (Luke 15:17), the publican (Luke 18:13), Peter’s hearers (Acts 2:37), Paul (Acts 9:4,6,9), the jailer (Acts 16:29,30). This is a necessary preparative for pardon and peace. The Comforter must first convince (John 16:8); I have torn and then will heal.

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions